Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Break highlights!

I love Boise. And as much as I love living on the East Coast, my roots are here. (My mom is really pushing for me to marry someone from Boise so I end up here. :) ) So it's nice to come home for Christmas break / a couple weeks in the summer / whenever else I decide to make the trek. Here are some of the highlights so far:

  • Talking to Cody and Paul on Christmas Day!
  • Watching my dad and Michael eating the canned silk worm larvae (bundigie) that my missionary brother Paul sent us from Korea.
  • Playing Rock Band with the Hadfields / hanging out with Damon. (I've missed you!)
  • Waking Michael up from his Sunday nap. Tonight my mom had gone in his room a couple times to try, but to no avail. Her solution: smear peanut butter on his face and put the dog on his bed to lick it off. Success!
  • Reading through some old high school yearbooks and realizing that I can no longer remember about 50% of the people that signed my yearbooks. (Not to mention the other 2000 kids I went to school with!)
  • Shopping with Mom. Two very indecisive people = long shopping trips.
  • Skiing at Bogus Basin. The mountains and skiing are two things that I miss living in DC. Something I do not miss: malfunctioning ski equipment. I need to remember to buy insulated snow pants, gloves without holes in them and boots that actually fit. And maybe I shouldn't use the goggles I got when I was twelve...
  • The traditional Chamberlain Sunday afternoon sing-a-long. We all gather around the piano and sing for an hour or two. Les Mis has always been the favorite, but we're working other musicals in to the rotation.
  • Mostly just spending time with the people that know and love me best: primarily my family, Amanda, Damon...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mom knows me well...

She made me this really beautiful quilt

and bought me these fabulous shoes.

Thanks, Mom!

Monday, December 22, 2008

That explains it!

For any of you who saw the slightly disgustified pumpkins on our porch this fall and wondered what happened, all your questions are about to be put to rest. For those of you who didn't see them...

We never actually got around to carving our pumpkins this year ... so the squirrels started eating them from the rind, in .

It was a momentous occasion on the day the squirrel broke through the rind and gutted the first pumpkin. We were so amused that we left the pumpkins in the yard, and they made short work of all three.

Humorous? Definitely. Gross? A little, yeah, I'll admit. But why? I didn't figure it out until this week.

According to CNN, the second-best source of all truth and knowledge (the first being Wikipedia), there was a huge acorn shortage this year. And this wasn't just in Virginia, but all up and down the eastern seaboard. The squirrels' version of the Irish potato famine. Scientists are predicting record squirrel deaths all over the east coast if they can't adjust fast enough to find other sources of food before winter. The wildlife expert's solution: leave corn, peanuts and sunflower seeds on the back lawn. Our solution: don't put away your Halloween decorations too early!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just because

I saw this on a couple friends' blogs and thought it looked fun. So of course I had to post it. It made me feel pretty good about my level of adventuresome-ness, although that's only because about 15 of them have something to do with Italy.
=) Enjoy!


Rules are: Anything you have done has to be in bold. How much have you done?

1. Started your own blog 2. Slept under the stars. 3. Played in a band 4. Visited Hawaii 5. Watched a meteor shower 6. Given more than you can afford to charity 7. Been to Disneyland 8. Climbed a mountain. 9. Held a Praying Mantis 10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped 12. Visited Paris 13. Watched a lightning storm at sea 14. Taught yourself an art from scratch 15. Adopted a child 16. Had food poisoning 17. Been to the Statue of Liberty 18. Grown your own vegetables 19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France 20. Slept on an train 21. Had a pillow fight 22. Hitch hiked 23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill 24. Built a snow fort 25. Held a lamb 26. Gone skinny dipping 27. Run a Marathon 28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice 29. Seen a total eclipse 30. Watched a sunrise or sunset 31. Hit a home run 32. Been on a cruise 33. Seen Niagara Falls in person 34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors 35. Seen an Amish community 36. Taught yourself a new language 37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied 38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person 39. Gone rock climbing 40. Seen Michelangelo’s David 41. Sung karaoke 42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt 43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant 44. Visited Africa 45. Walked on a beach by moonlight 46. Been transported in an ambulance 47. Had your portrait painted 48. Gone deep sea fishing 49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person 50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris 51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling 52. Kissed in the rain 53. Played in the mud 54. Gone to a drive-in theater 55. Been in a movie 56. Visited the Great Wall of China 57. Started a business 58. Taken a martial arts class 59. Visited Russia 60. Served at a soup kitchen 61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 62. Gone whale watching 63. Got flowers for no reason 64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma 65. Gone sky diving 66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp 67. Bounced a check 68. Flown in a helicopter 69. Saved a favorite childhood toy 70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial 71. Eaten Caviar 72. Tied a quilt 73. Stood in Times Square 74. Toured the Everglades 75. Been fired from a job 76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London 77. Broken a bone 78. Been on a speeding motorcycle 79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person 80. Published a book 81. Visited the Vatican 82. Bought a brand new car 83. Walked in Jerusalem 84. Had your picture in the newspaper 85. Read the entire Bible 86. Visited the White House 87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating 88. Had chickenpox 89. Saved someone’s life 90. Sat on a jury 91. Met someone famous 92. Joined a book club 93. Lost a loved one 94. Had a baby 95. Seen the Alamo in person 96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake 97. Been involved in a law suit 98. Owned a cell phone 99. Been stung by a bee 100. Visited Italy

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Extra! Extra! Baby Born with Three Heads!

(Name that movie)

Confession. I'm a news junkie. One of my kids was using my computer the other day and laughed when CNN popped up as my homepage. "You would have CNN, Ms. Chamberlain." Last year it was and in college I went through a New York Times phase. I probably check the news 5 or 6 times a day, and yes, I probably need to get some help for that. I stayed up all night to watch primary election results last spring and knew McCain's VP pick within minutes of it being released. I like to be in the know. And even better, I can justify it! Teaching social studies allows me to use current events in my curriculum on a very regular basis - I've even got my kids trained to watch the news/read the newspapers on their own.

Every once in a while, there's a really spectacular day in the news. And I don't mean that the newspapers are broadcasting Obama's newest cabinet pick or the Dow's 300 point plunge. On the best news days, the papers are full of slightly unusual and/or shocking news.

Here are some of today's winning headlines:

First U.S. Face Transplant Described. I was a little disturbed by this one at first. The whole idea of transplanting someone's face onto a new person is bizarre to me. Waking up one morning and having a completely different face? Not for me. For those people that need it, though, it's pretty impressive technology

Drew Petersen Says He's Engaged. Really? Wife #3 is homicide case and wife #4 is a missing person. Someone's stupid enough to date the man? Not to mention marrying him. Wow. Just wow.

Colorado Doctor Finds Foot in Newborn's Brain. This is maybe the strangest thing I've ever seen.

Update: 21 December

Facing Ice, Snow, Iowa Town Looks To ... Garlic Salt
A Des Moines, Iowa suburb uses expired garlic salt to salt its snowy streets. Inventive, to be sure, but what a smell!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.

Or at least it's finally beginning to feel like Christmas.

The Christmas season has always been one of my favorite times of the year. The excitement of picking out the perfect gift for friends and family. Driving around the city looking for the best Christmas light displays. Hiking through the mountains in search of the perfect tree, then spending hours decorating it. Dad recounting the story behind each of our ornaments. Belting out every song on Amy Grant's Christmas CDs for weeks. I've discovered, though, that as I've gotten older and don't get to spend the month leading up to Christmas at my parents' home, that it's much harder to feel Christmas-y. And for whatever reason, it's taken even longer this year to really get into the season.

A few things that have helped:

1. The National Christmas Tree. Well, the one in front of the White House. Haven't been down to check out the other one yet (anyone interested in going this week?)
2. SNOW!! (now, if only we could get it to last long enough to get a snow day...)

3. Amy Grant's Christmas music. I discovered that I cannot live without it. As hokey as it may be, Amy Grant makes Christmas at my house. I have no explanation for why, but her "Tennessee Christmas" was always my favorite.

4. Magical Mint Kisses. Kisses of the edible sort (although I'm open to the other as well... just saying...). Not something I grew up with, but they're amazing.

5. Shopping for a Sub for Santa family with the roommies. I was reminded again why I hate Wal-mart, but why I love Christmas.

6. The Air Force Band's Christmas concert. Their rendition of "12 Days of Christmas" was fabulous. And I tried to get a picture of the woman sitting in front of us, but failed. She was wearing reindeer antlers. In public.

7. The annual ward Christmas program. It just wouldn't be Christmas without spending hours rehearsing for and performing in the choir.

8. Duke Ellington School of the Arts' "Motown Christmas" concert. Check out the Temptations' "Little Drummer Boy". Really, you'll love it.

9. Watching A Boyfriend for Christmas with my roommates, Kim, Lindsay and Shawn. I'm not usually a fan of cheesy Lifetime movies, but I was entertained, I'll admit.

10. My schedule for this coming week! White Christmas night, Muppet Christmas Carol night (everyone's invited! my place, wednesday, 7.30), temple lights, Christmas caroling in the halls at work, and flying home! I can't wait!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Luminaries at Antietam

September 17, 1862 was the bloodiest single day of the American Civil War. The Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of General Robert E. Lee, was seeking international recognition for the CSA through a successful campaign on Northern soil. This first foray into the North was also an attempt to recruit Marylanders to join the Confederate cause. The Battle of Antietam (or the Battle of Sharpsburg if you went to school in the South) ultimately was a tactical draw, but was enough of a moral victory for the Union that President Abraham Lincoln gained the confidence to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

Once a year, generally the first weekend in December, a luminary is lit for each of the 23,000 casualties of the battle. The battlefield is literally lined with these candles, and to sobering effect. That's more people than live in the entire city of Eagle. Killed or injured in a single day. I really can't quite wrap my mind around that. The number of lights was really quite shocking - I only wish the pictures did it justice. Jay, Janine, Scott and I drove up to Antietam late last night to check out the display, and were awed by the beauty and the sadness of the memorial.

You can see the line of cars off to the right.

A close-up of one of the luminaries

And the professional picture.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sick Day

Wednesday I took a bona fide sick day for the first time in a very very long time. It turns out that a "sick day" is a lot more exciting in theory than in reality. Here's the schedule:

6:00 am - Alarm goes off and I decide not to go to work. Not coherent enough to make the phone call.

7:05 am - Finally get up and call the office to request a sub. Text my co-worker Natalie to have her prep my room for a sub (Thanks, Nat!)

8:10 am - Call Nat to make sure she got my text. Grab a waterbottle & go back to bed

10:40 am - I crawl out of bed and make it as far as the couch. Watch Monday night's "Chuck" (for the second time) and finish writing a test on ancient Egypt.

12:30 pm - Decide I should probably eat something. Tuesday night's leftovers? Perfect.

2:00 pm - Naptime!

3:00 pm - Get up and return to the couch for tv and to write a worksheet for my unit on SE Asia. Sad that I spend my sick day working, I know. I also discovered today (when I passed out the assignment) that I shouldn't write tests/homework assignments when I'm not quite lucid.

4:30 pm - Naptime #2

Somehow the sick day didn't translate to my evening, which ended up as busy as ever. Bridal gown shopping with Diana and Book Club with Jay, Kim, Janine and Louise.

Sick Friday night in, on the other hand, is actually much more exciting. While it might be fun to hang out with friends, evite party small talk is much less enjoyable if you don't have a voice. So...after a nice long afternoon nap and curling up in bed to watch last night's "30 Rock", I made a quick run to Pentagon Row to pick up some Baja Fresh take-out. Then plopped down on the couch with my awesome roommate Amanda to watch a tv (extended?) version of Harry Potter 1 and try out a Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate mix. Yum. And the best part is that I don't have to talk.

My best friend this week. Thanks to my awesome VTs for replenishing my supply!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

They don't pay me enough

Some days I feel like I'm babysitting. Take today, for instance.

In my 6th period class, one student comes to class with his lunch because he had been rehearsing for dance class during lunch. Fine, take the tardy, sit in the hall for 5 minutes and eat your lunch.

Student #2 had just taken medication that completely knocked her out - she answers two questions on today's quiz before falling completely asleep. Knowing her history, I decide just to let her take it later and sleep through the class.

This particular class has quite a number of dancers. Student #3 cannot hold still long enough to take his test. The rest of the class finishes while he is making all sorts of hand gestures and (momentarily) tries to balance a tupperware lid on his head. I take the lid and his test away.

The quiz ends. Students continue working on a mapping assignment from the previous day. Student #4 has already completed his map and is thumbing through the atlas in his textbook. In an attempt to challenge him / keep him occupied, I pull out a stash of (fairly difficult) National Geographic quiz questions (thank you, Dad!) and discover that he's a geography whiz. Awesome.

Classes end. I sit down to take a break and to get some grading done. Student #5 is wandering the halls because her piano lab teacher isn't there today, and she needs someone to talk to. I don't know about you, but never would have gone to a high school teacher for dating advice.

Lunch. Check.

Naptime. Check.

Discipline. Check.

Educational entertainment. Check.

Shoulder to cry on. Check.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We'll miss you, Elder Wirthlin

I logged into my email this morning only to discover that Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, the oldest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, passed away in his sleep last night. I will miss the stories he tells and the extraordinary humility and compassion that defined him in my mind. I feel like at different moments in my life, there are always one or two speakers whose messages have spoken directly to me - Elder Wirthlin has filled that spot for the past few years. Many of you will remember a year ago, during the October 2007 General Conference, when Elder Wirthlin was giving a talk and began shaking so violently that I wasn't sure he would be able to deliver his whole talk. (To be perfectly honest, I had to go back later and re-read the conference archives, because I was too focused on what was happening and not enough on what was being said.) Elder Nelson stepped up alongside Elder Wirthlin, silently and beautifully illustrating the topic of the address: the responsibility we have to love and support one another. One of my favorite passages from the talk defines the true measure of success in life as the ability to love and serve, as Christ did, our fellow man.

"The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities.

The means of this refinement is our Christlike love. There is no pain it cannot soften, no bitterness it cannot remove, no hatred it cannot alter. The Greek playwright Sophocles wrote: “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”15

The most cherished and sacred moments of our lives are those filled with the spirit of love. The greater the measure of our love, the greater is our joy. In the end, the development of such love is the true measure of success in life."

Something to contemplate, for sure. How am I going about developing the love of Christ? Am I making a conscious effort to find opportunities to love and serve?

We will miss you, Elder Wirthlin, but know that you are now happily reunited with your beautiful wife. I'm so thankful for the lessons that I've learned through your words.

I'm grateful to live in a day when we have living prophets and apostles, the true organization of Christ's church, on the earth. I know that Elder Wirthlin was an apostle of God, and I know that the things he taught us were the words of the Lord. I'm also grateful to know that whoever is chosen to replace him will likewise be called of God, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ will never again be taken from the earth.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Day of Thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, definitely one of my favorite holidays (that and Christmas...). Nothing beats eating enough mashed potatoes, turkey and cranberry sauce and pecan pie to feed a small army. The best part, of course, is spending time with family and friends that I love. I haven't been able to be with my immediate family for several of the past few Thanksgivings, including this one, and I'll miss them immensely tomorrow. They are the people I am most grateful for - for putting up with me through those angst-y teenage years, for supporting me in all the decisions I've made, and really just for loving me. I have the best family I could ask for.

I've definitely had some memorable Thanksgivings. Growing up, the extended family usually went out to my grandparents' cabin. We'd fill the weekend with sledding, cross-country skiing and snow ice cream, on the snowy years. And while it wasn't quite as picturesque, snow-less years made cutting down our Christmas tree much easier (Although let's be honest, picking it out is the hard part. Indecisive +perfectionist = bad for picking out a tree). Great memories. Last year, the Pennsylvania Chamberlains invited me to dinner at their house. I got to meet Eden & Mike's twins for the first time, and hang out with Maleah right after her mission. Plus we checked out Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty and Washington's crossing point on the Delaware. Another great Thanksgiving memory. One of the most unusual though, was when I did study abroad in Torino. Not only was I not with my family, but I was in a country completely unrelated to Thanksgiving/pilgrims/etc. Below is part of an email that I wrote about the occasion:

"For Thanksgiving dinner today, Dr. Noble requested that the kitchen make us a real Thanksgiving dinner, with turkey and mashed potatoes, but the head cook told us that they wouldn't be able to find a turkey so they were going to give us turkey breast instead. I thought it sounded fine - a little different than normal, but not bad. It doesn't seem like Thanksgiving here anyway, since it's just the 50 of us who are even aware that the holiday exists. But when we got down to dinner tonight, we walked into the dining area and the table looked just like it normally does, with all the antipasti and salad lined up down the middle, and when they started bringing out the first course, it was risotto instead of potatoes. The risotto had chunks of pumpkin in it, granted, but it still wasn't potatoes. We had all resigned ourselves to a much different Thanksgiving dinner, which was actually good, because then we started thinking more about Thanksgiving and less about the dinner. At our table we talked about what we were thankful for and sang some Thanksgiving hymns (well, they were mostly Christmas ones, but some Thanksgiving ones were thrown in there.). And then, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles... the servers started bringing out bowls of mashed potatoes and dishes of baked squash, and then the cook wheeled out a cart with this really enormous turkey! It was fantastic! Definitely a memorable holiday. I guess it's those ones that are really unusual that tend to stand out in your memory, but still..."The Feast

Good Friends: Danielle, Jewell, me

Friday, November 21, 2008

Up to the minute

Currently i am Listening (on repeat) to:

Maybe a guilty pleasure, but I love it!

Not their best CD, but there's some good stuff on here.

I am Reading (for book club):

Right now I'm Dying to see:

And I'm Planning a trip here:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Les Fotos

Day 1 in NYC. Forecast: Rain
No explanation. Not because you don't need one, but because I have no idea why.

My next job: UN Ambassador
Hello New York! And a closeup of my face.

Mom & me on the ferry back from Ellis Island

From the top of the Empire State Building. See the clouds? Yeah, that's all we saw too.

In our defense, this is what it looked like when we went in

And some extras, in case you don't know NYC sites.

New York, New York!

Best birthday ever: Mom met me in NYC for a great touristy weekend.

Thursday: Arrival. Mom got there a few hours earlier than I did, so she wandered around Rockefeller Center for a while. Once I got there, Times Square and Juniors in the rain. Walking back to the hotel (which, fabulously, was on 51st St, right next to Gershwin Theater), we ran into Katie Holmes & John Lithgow coming out of the stage door for All My Sons. Awesome.

Friday: U.N. tour - finally. I've been to NYC four times and never when the UN is open. Ellis Island & Statue of Liberty. Mourning at the NYSE. Dylan's Candy Bar & Serendipity. Yes, we were on a sugar kick all weekend. And I definitely brought home a Frozen Hot Chocolate mix if anyone needs some. =) Wicked. Wicked awesome. And then Becco. Stuffed peppers, spaetzle and pannacotta. I was a happy woman.

Saturday. Yay for the new Magnolia's in Rockefeller Center! Brooklyn Bridge (some day I actually need to spend some time in Brooklyn.). Empire State Building. In the fog. Bad idea, but funny all the same. The Strand bookstore, which I LOVE, and some shopping before Mary Poppins.

Sunday. Attempted to go to church at the Manhattan LDS Temple, but the 3rd floor is closed for renovations, so we spent the morning wandering Central Park before Mom headed back to Boise and I missed my bus to DC.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Party by Proxy

About a month ago I made some off-hand comment to my 6th period class that my birthday was on November 14. A couple of them actually wrote it down (I wish they'd take that much effort to write down their homework!) and promised to bring a cake for my birthday. I knew I was going to be out of town on my actual b-day, and I wasn't scheduled to see their class that day anyway, so I told them if they really wanted to have a party that we'd have to do it on the 13th. Well, the 13th came and went and ... no party. Not surprising, and maybe a little relieving. I'm not a big fan of being the center of attention (ironic then, that I demand attention all day long? perhaps.).

I found out today that a couple of my kids actually did bring a cake to school on friday ... but I wasn't there, so they had a party for me in the cafeteria at lunch. Thank you, freshmen! - Glitter Graphics

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm getting rather bored with this whole election business. We tune into the debates only to hear our esteemed presidential candidates haggling over whose contributors and supporters are more vile - racist, terrorist, and the like. If you're lucky enough to live in Virginia or another closely-contested state, your cable t.v. is inundated with political trash-talking (thank goodness for DVR!). And the best thing about it all is that you can go weeks without hearing actual policy proposals. Who needs real meat when you've got all the glorious fluff like Joe the Plumber and the cost of Sarah Palin's wardrobe?

On the plus side, it's much easier to hide my choice for president from my students if I don't even know who I prefer. I don't hate either candidate, which is a massive improvement from 2oo4, but I'm also not head-over-heels in love with either of them. In my search for easy to digest party platforms for my kids to read, I came across this lovely little gem:

"Government Spending


Democrats make no excuses about massive government spending. For the government to provide a happy, healthy, shameless, and even exciting society, for everyone, regardless of their personal means, requires a massive amount of cash from the citizens as well as all you can borrow. Further, to make sure that no citizen gets into trouble and is in bed each night at a reasonable hour, a huge government staff is a necessity. This, in turn, requires every dime the public can spare and just a bit more.


Republicans, in their hearts, and especially at campaign time, really would like to cut back on government spending -- especially such luxuries as the social, environmental, and health programs. But there are necessities that it would be irresponsible to avoid. Such things as National Defense, which requires a military budget far greater than any we have had in any major war, can no more be cut back than you can cut back on helping the folks back home that need a superhighway to the new park out in the country. These are essential expenditures unlike the "feel good" stuff of the Democrats. When Iraq threatens our shores by such hostile actions as flying one of their planes over the southern half of their country, we better be ready for action. "

-Leon Felkins
American Politics Journal

Read more: How to Tell a Democrat From a Republican (Really, do it, it's great.)

Hopefully sometime in the next 12 days I can sort through all the policies/drama and actually figure out who I want to vote for.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My new motto

"Come What May, and Love it"

Read it. That's all I'm going to say.


Let the festivities begin.

It's October, which means it is officially my favorite season. The leaves on the GW Parkway are finally starting to change colors, the weather is finally turning cooler (in theory) and I now have an excuse to bundle up on the couch with a cozy blanket and a book. Autumn also brings two fabulous holidays - Thanksgiving and ...drumroll please... my birthday (don't worry, you haven't missed it yet). The one holiday, however, that I have never really understood is Halloween.

I mean, I understand the history of it. It started with the pagan Celtic holiday of Samhain, when the ghosts of the dead rose from their graves and the people believed that their presence made it easier for the Druid priests to predict the future (sounds a little Ghostbuster-ish to me...). Then a few hundred years later, a Catholic pope adopted the holiday, but tweaked it to honor dead saints and martyrs, and called it "All Saints Day" or "All-hallows". Hence, "All Hallows E'en" or "Halloween". You see where we're going with this.

That's not the part I don't get. I've just never understood why we enjoy trying to freak ourselves out. We pay to go into haunted houses, hoping that they'll be scary enough to make us want to leave. We use it as an excuse to eat so much junk food that it makes us sick (fun!), and we stress for weeks over what costume to wear. This is probably my biggest challenge, and why I'm not looking forward to October 31.

Past years. You see the problem.

Italy. 2005.
The idea: Wear as much black as possible and pretend it's a costume.
Verdict: Bad idea.

2006. The Wizard of Oz
Verdict: More creative, a lot of work, and still somewhat ridiculous

2007. Last minute costume from Jill's stash.

Verdict: Take a good look, because this picture will probably be coming down. :)

Help! I seriously need Halloween ideas.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Love To See the Temple...

Most of you know of my obsession with Italy. A lot of you were probably there with me. And the rest of you may laugh and say that I wasn't there long enough to have such an obsession. Let's be honest though, anyone who has spent any amount of time in Italy can relate.

Right before I moved to Rome (about 3 years ago), the Roma stake was created. Then just after I left Torino, the Alessandria Stake was formed, and most recently the Verona Stake. In addition to the previously existing stakes and districts, Italy had more than fulfilled the membership requirements for a temple. Rumors had been flying for years about a temple and speculation on when it would actually be built. Saturday morning, President Monson laid all those rumors ro rest and announced a new temple to be built in Rome, Italy. I screamed. Follow the progress of the Rome temple.

President Monson also announced new temples in Cordoba, Argentina; Philadelphia, PA; Kansas City area, MO and Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Define the word "late"

So I've failed. It's been almost more than four months since I've blogged, which is really unfortunate because tucked inside those months was a kickin' summer break with lots of great story material. Sometime I'll actually get around to posting pictures, but you'll have to create your own captions.

My newest motivation for blogging is the realization that I talk about work too much. I'm hoping that if I write it, maybe I won't be so compelled to complain and/or tell stories about my kids. No promises, though.


12:30 pm. The bell rings, marking the beginning of my 5th period class. About half the class walks in a minute or two late, which in Ellington terms, is still early. Class starts, we discuss last night's (awful!) presidential debate and our thought-provoking quote for the day ("Illegal immigration has always been a problem in America; just ask any Native American"). The students had just finished a practice quiz on European geography when the door opens and my favorite (cough) student walks in.

Me: "Why are you 30 minutes late for class?"

Student: "I'm not late!"

Me: "Class starts at 12:30, and it is now 1:00. By definition, you are late."

Student: "But, I was downstairs with that guy. I didn't bring a note from him, but he'll write me an excuse note."

Me: "What were you doing downstairs? And what guy?"

Student: "The security guard guy. I went to the bathroom, he saw me go in there!"

Me: "So you've been in the bathroom for the past half hour?", generously thinking maybe he had been sick or something.

Student: "No!! I just went to the bathroom and then came out. That's why I'm late. He saw me go in there."

Me (by now, very confused/annoyed/amused): "Let me see if I can get this straight. The security guard is going to write you a note excusing you from class because you went to the bathroom? Which, incidentally, you should have done at lunch?"

Student: "But lunch is for eating!!!! You can't mark me late!"

Why do I even respond? Honestly, pure entertainment value. His excuses got worse and worse as the conversation continued. And he just can't figure out why he's failing all his classes. Why they blame teachers for poor performance is beyond me.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Duck, duck, duck BEACH

I did it. I broke down and went to Duck Beach. And you know what? I loved it! I'll probably even go next year.

Highlights of the weekend:

Cops showing up at the steel drum party just after I left it.
Running into old BYU friends at church.
The collection plate for the broken table at the NYC house.
Late night hot tubbers outside my window. (Yes, that was sarcasm)
The awkwardness that was the beach fireside.
Watching the very bizarre music video to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" at 1:30 am (thank you Dan!)
Joni's amazing cooking.
Early morning run with Sam and Louise (ok, let's be honest, I hate running. But it was good company)
Trying to swim out to the pod of dolphins playing by our beach.
Watching the lifeguard rush out to save Tanner, who was also swimming with the dolphins (and definitely not drowning).
Belting out classic Beach Boys songs on the ride home.
Cursing I-95 N while racing Ryan & Meghan home.

Friday, May 23, 2008


One of my friends from work is constantly telling me that my friends have cool jobs. Attorneys, lobbyists, linguists, journalists, congressional staffers, etc. But this week's "Coolest Job Award" goes to ... Kellee Koenig! A couple weeks ago, Kellee mentioned that through her connections at work (she's a cartographer), she was in contact with a biologist from UDel who was conducting a census of horseshoe crabs on some beaches in the Delaware Bay. The first time I heard about it, she was planning on including the census in a mid-week campout, which I knew I wasn't going to be able to pull off, so I kind of forgot about it. Plans changed though, as they often do, and Monday night I found myself squished in the back seat of the car between Eric & Ryan on the way to Delaware.
Now, to be perfectly honest, before we got in the car I don't think I could have identified a horseshoe crab from a lineup of 20 of the usual suspects. I did know that the species had been around for millions of years, but that's pretty much all I knew. That didn't last long.

(And see, now YOU know what horseshoe crabs look like too!)

We made it to the beach about 4 hours early, so we decided to hunt down some dinner. The local that we met on the beach kept telling us that "There ain't nothin' in South Bawrs" (and in case you were wondering, his "Bawrs" is actually spelled "Bowers"), so we headed north to Dover.

Liberty Bell replica in front of the state capitol. Just before we rang it and ran.

Our next stop was a fabulous seafood dinner at some local place we passed on the highway. Can't quite remember the name. Favorite part of the meal itself: baked carrot souffle. Anyone have a recipe?

Kellee, me, Eric, Ryan, Randy in front of a giant propeller.

We finally met up with Dr. Hall, who explained to us more about horseshoe crabs and why on earth there were a 100+ people scattered over beaches in Jersey, Delaware and Maryland in the middle of the night to count the things. Do the research or call me if you really want to know. Here's evidence of our adventure:

Me and the horseshoe crab. Upside down.

Kellee, me, Ryan and the horseshoe crab that leaked on him. Ugh.

Spawning crabs. What else can I say?

Monday, May 12, 2008

ISO Black Jetta

If you've been in or around DC for the past week, you've probably noticed the weather. Rainy. Soggy. Humid. Having grown up in the desert of southwestern Idaho, I like rain. It wasn't that it never rained, because it did, but it was something that we looked forward to because we were always in a constant drought. Even here, the rain was much needed this spring. However, by the 4th day of near-constant rain, I decided that I should probably not move to Seattle anytime soon.

By Friday of last week, the basement cafeteria of the Duke Ellington had flooded. (Luckily they patched up the roof last fall, so I don't have to dodge drips as I walk down the hall by my classroom). By Saturday, there were reports of overflowing creeks and canals all over Virginia, and on Sunday, the basement in my old house was starting to leak.

The thing I dislike worst of all, though, is driving in the rain. Half the people on the road are driving much too fast for the conditions and the other half are driving much too slow. I switch back and forth between the two groups, depending on the day. On Sunday night, I was driving north on I-395 (near the Lincolnia-Little River Turnpike exit, since I know you all were wondering) when a little black/dark blue Jetta came up very suddenly behind me. As I was looking in my rear-view mirror, I noted that it was driving rather quickly considering the conditions, and soon found that it wasn't slowing down. At all. Its tail lights disappeared from my mirror and I waited for the impact. It came, but with much less force than expected. My cursory understanding of physics reminded me that the blow was lessened because I was traveling almost as fast in the same direction, but it still threw me off. After the bumpers met, the Jetta went swerving between a couple lanes as the driver tried to maintain control of the car. I worked my way over to the side of the freeway, but watched as the offending vehicle drove on past - didn't even slow down or make his way over to the shoulder. Problem # 2: I was still in a dress and flip flops and it was still pouring rain. And on top of that, my phone had died. And it was midnight. So after ascertaining that my car was still drive-able (there actually wasn't even a dent!), I went home to call the police and make my report. And to compound the problem just a bit more, when I tried to call my insurance agent the next day, I discovered that his website had been removed and his phone disconnected. Fabulous.

On the plus side, I'm fine and my car's fine, both of which I am very grateful for.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Travelogue #2: Philadelphia

Ok, so anyone who is around me much knows that I'm skipping a trip in the middle there (To Eagle, for my brother's farewell. Way too much happened that weekend that the blogging world doesn't need to know about, so sorry. If you really want to know, talk to me.)

This past Saturday, Ashley and I drove up to Philadelphia to visit our old college roommate Liz and her husband, Justin. Super relaxing weekend, and I LOVED IT. Liz is probably the best hostess I have ever met. Not only did she buy us special milk (they're soy drinkers. ick. thanks, Liz!), but she actually made us an entire FORT in the living room so we could have some privacy. I am just now realizing that I didn't take a picture of this all, but the fort had a big blow-up air mattress, two chairs, bath towels, hand towels, etc. etc. Amazing.

Anyway, we got up there around 1 in the afternoon, chatted for a while, and then finally decided to visit Valley Forge & go shopping - something we almost never did when we actually lived together. I got to talk history with a woman dressed in full 18th-century American garb (It turns out that i can fake knowing more than i actually do. Being a teacher does that to you...), and we took some fabulous pictures with the toy muskets in the gift shop.

I guess this isn't so much a travelogue as a major shout-out to Liz. Love you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Up until now (and by now, I mean this exact moment in time), I had never watched an episode of American Idol. I've made it I don't know how many seasons without ever turning it on or even pausing for a song while flipping through channels. But, alas, my ignorance-as-bliss is coming crashing to an end. After moving in with a couple of avid Idol fans, I've become intrigued by the show. So here I am. Watching last night's American Idol on DVR. Being so inexperienced in the world of Idol, I won't give my commentary on the singers (I think some of you might be furious with me), but I'd love to hear what you all think!

On a side note, don't expect me to be watching next season from Day 1. I think I can only handle it now because we're down to the best (last?) six.

Friday, April 18, 2008


a - attached or single? - Single. Glad we got that out of the way early.
b - best friend - Probably haven't had ONE best friend since about 2nd grade
c - cake or pie - pie, especially a good berry pie
d - day of choice - Saturday
e - essential item - my phone. i feel very lost without it.
f - favorite color - blue
g - gummi worms or bears - bears if they're chocolate-covered and worms if they're sour
h - hometown - Eagle, ID
i - indulgences - Chocolate, in way too many forms
j - january or july - July
k - kids - i have about 100 right now, but eventually i would like my own! =)
l - life is incomplete without... the church, my family, friends
m - marriage date. - Uh... working on it?
n - number of siblings - Three; one sister, two brothers
o - oranges or apples - Apples, usually
p - phobias or fears - heights and bats
q - quote - "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." (if you have any other good quotes, send them my way! i like to make my kids to respond to them...)
r - reason to smile - only 7 weeks of school left! in general though, having friends that i can talk with for hours, exploring new places, reminiscing with old friends
s - season - fall, definitely
t - tags - jessica ivins and lanelle barber
u - unknown fact about me - i really want to learn to paint. maybe teaching at an arts school has inspired me! =)
v - vegetable - asparagus or broccoli
w - worst habit - i don't know that a blog is the best place to reveal your WORST habits, but in the past couple weeks i've been accused of worrying too much. that probably counts.
x - x-ray or ultrasound - i think i had an x-ray once??
y - your favorite food - Cafe Rio pork salad is up there, along with good gelato and anything chocolate
z - zodiac - Scorpio

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

All Moved In?

I've been having all sorts of epiphanies about myself over the past few weeks. Like today, I realized that although I've been faking it for several months now, I really have no idea what I'm doing at work. (How on earth do you get a class of defiant and talkative teenagers to participate constructively? If you have ideas, PLEASE let me know.) Or the fact that I'm mildly OCD.

Walking into my bedroom, I have to laugh at another of my funny habits. I hate to unpack. Anything. Period. I do my laundry, fold my clothes in the laundry basket and then get dressed out of the laundry basket for a week. When I get back from a trip, my suitcase usually sits on the floor for several days before I bother with it. Three weeks ago (almost!) I moved into a new house with some friends, and I was really looking forward to having a couple days to get all moved in and settled before everyone else got there.

The old place

When it really got down to it, however, I failed. My clothes are hung, suitcases stored and books shelved, but I haven't yet found somewhere to store extra sheets/blankets/towels. And even more frustrating, my mirror is still sitting on my floor. Not a particularly comfy place to get ready in the morning.

And the new...

Even worse than my bad habit of not unpacking is my inability to decorate. There is not a creative bone in my body. Someday, when I have the time and my roommates have the patience to help, I'll finish decorating and post some pics!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Two Festivals, One Beautiful Afternoon

Spring Break ended in the best way it possibly could. Four wonderful friends, a sunny spring afternoon, a lot of kites and the kick-off of the 2008 Cherry Blossom Festival! I had spent the previous week acting as tour guide (complete with camera and map) to my mom and brother, but decided I could handle just one more day of the Mall. Emily, Jill, Amanda, Kim and I metroed (yes, that's a verb!) into L'Enfant Plaza in an attempt to avoid the masses at the Smithsonian stop. We had tried to time our entrance onto the mall to coordinate with the start of the kite battles, but we were too early.

After darting in and out of diving kites (oh wait, there were no kites diving at us... I misspoke) for a while without seeing any battles, we decided to move on to the Cherry Blossom Festival. About 100 years ago, Japan gave a number of flowering cherry trees to the United States as a gift, and they have since given rise to one of the biggest events in Washington D.C. For any tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the flowers, the festival is held the last week of March through about the second week of April - but you have to get lucky to see them at their peak.

And here is us enjoying the afternoon.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Frequent Flier?

Frequent Flier Miles are not as cool as they're cracked up to be. At least, not if you're trying to fly from the east coast to Europe on a couple very specific dates three months from now on a partner airline of the one you actually have miles for. 65,000 miles, $300 and 17 hours on planes/hanging out in the London Heathrow airport. Is it worth just buying a ticket? Absolutely. Too bad this one isn't my call.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Travelogue #1: Spring Break in DC

First of all, I love spring break. For those of us who went to BYU-related schools, spring break is something we have not been associated with for a long time. I think they missed the boat on this one: there is nothing more welcome (or necessary) in the middle of a long winter semester than a nice break from it all.

If spring break had worked out as I originally planned, I would be flying home from Italy on Monday with a suitcase full of Nutella, an extra few pounds (mmm...gelato!) and a dozen stories of crazy Italian casanovas. Or if my second idea had panned out, a Caribbean cruise, I would be getting home from a week of reading, swimming and eating with a nice golden tan (ok, that last part was a lie. i don't tan.). Option #3 (ultimately the chosen destination) was a week in our nation's capital. Now, that may sound a little funny, seeing as I live in Arlington and work in Washington D.C., but I got to spend a fabulous week with my mom and brother Michael seeing the sights and playing the tour guide. And they even followed me around to places I had never been!
Day 1: The Udvar-Hazy Center & Old Town Alexandria

Mom and Michael got here late Sunday evening, and after a longer-than-anticipated stop at my house to pack and chat with my roommates, we made it to the hotel and crashed. Their day of traveling meant that Monday morning (mercifully) was not an early morning. Unfortunately, I'm still programmed to wake up early and was out of bed by 7 am. In an attempt to make a very historical city more interesting for my 15-year-old brother, I had scouted out some things for us to do that weren't so history-related. Or at least more hands-on history. Our first stop was the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. The museum is housed in a hangar built especially for the Smithsonian, and anything smaller just wouldn't work.

My favorite exhibits:

  • the space shuttle Enterprise
  • the Enola Gay
  • the SR-71 Blackbird

And yes, this may just be a picture of Michael and I pretending to be airplanes.

That evening, I took them down to Old Town Alexandria. For anyone that hasn't been there, it's a quaint section of Alexandria full of antique stores, restaurants, used bookstores and the like, situated on the Potomac River. Our first stop was Banana Republic. It was love at first sight. This was Michael's first experience in BR and it turns out that he's the one in the family who actually has style. I promised him a trip later in the week to the BR Outlet at Potomac Mills. We wandered from shop to shop and from restaurant to restaurant, looking for nothing in particular, but enjoying ourselves immensely, and ended up with a fabulous dinner at the Charthouse (See previous post).

Day 2: Gettysburg & Lancaster County

Last year when Mom and Paul came to visit me for Spring Break, we were completely confined to the city because I was still an intern and hadn't yet bought my car. This year, we were free to explore a little more, so we took off Tuesday morning and drove to Gettysburg. We hired a guide to drive my car around the park and give us the tour. Gettysburg always gets to me. 3 days. 51,000 casualties. Unfathomable. I'm also lucky that someone much more eloquent than myself already eulogized the Gettysburg dead. My favorite passage from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
refocuses the attention of the nation:

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. "

Sadly, there are no pictures to document the second half of the day. From Gettysburg, we drove to Lancaster County, PA, famous for and dotted with small communities of Amish, places with names like Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse. Gotta love it. I think we must have gone into a dozen gift shops and roadside stands selling everything from hand-sewn quilts, pottery and woven rugs to trinkets and mugs making snide remarks about the name "Intercourse".

Day 3: Washington DC

Spy Museum and DC. I've been saying for about a year that I wanted to check out the International Spy Museum, so I used my family's visit as an excuse. There was far more information than any of us could take in, but it was fascinating! The upper floor displayed the art of spying - gadgets straight out of 007 movie. I half expected Mr. Bond himself to sneak out from behind the curtain! The second half of the museum was straight spy history - i was in heaven! (Yes, I am a history teacher)

We checked another item off my "To Do in DC" list that afternoon - paddleboating in the Tidal Basin! After about 30 seconds, Michael tried to plead exhaustion, but we kept at it for most of the hour. Sadly, at this point I had to ditch them and head back to my house. I'm moving to a new place next week and I had to clean/show my current room to a potential renter. Still hoping that everything works out for the best!

Day 4: Washington DC

This was our early day. We left the hotel at 6:20 so we could be in line to get tickets to go up the Washington Monument. After braving commuter traffic into the city, I dropped Mom and Michael off in line, then went home to drop off my car and sneak a power-nap before metro-ing back into the city to meet them. At some point during my napping, it had started raining, and everyone in line was soaked by the time I got there. *Note to self: buy an umbrella! Our Monument tickets were for later in the day, so we headed back to Virginia for some hot chocolate, and then to the Pentagon, where my wonderful friend Melissa showed us around. (thanks Melissa! we loved it!) I must say that I'm extremely impressed by anyone who knows their way around that place.

The afternoon included the view from the top (the Washington Monument tour), and the National Zoo (we had to see the pandas). And of course the promised trip to the Banana Republic outlet. Altogether a fabulous week. Unfortunately, their departure also marked my return to reality. School starts again on Monday...

p.s. Congrats to anyone who made it through all that. I didn't mean for it to get so long-winded.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Compassionate Carnivore?

I would be a vegetarian ... but meat just tastes so good!

My mom and little brother have been in DC this week visiting (our Spring Breaks actually matched up this year), and we were eating Monday night at the Charthouse, on the banks of the Potomac in Old Town Alexandria. Nearing the end of our very non-vegetarian meal, we were discussing the merits of Maryland Blue Crabs - is it really worth all the work it takes to eat them? As my brother saw it, the idea of eating a half a dozen blue crabs in one sitting was quite disturbing. It was ok to eat shrimp because they were small and didn't really have much personality, but he had much more compassion for the smaller blue crabs, relatives of which we have seen on numerous occasions clambering over rocks (and each other) at the Oregon and Washington coasts. He hated the thought of killing those little crabs. I, of course, noted with irony the hypocrisy of it all. He (and I) were both a little bothered by the killing of animals, but neither of us have the self-restraint to turn that distaste into vegetarianism. As Michael stated, meat just tastes so good!

I do relate to his sentiments. My grandfather used to take us to the fish farm near his house when we were children. Each of us would grab a handful of fish food and toss it into the pond that was overstocked with fish. **Translation: there were nearly more fish than water.** I probably could have reached in and grabbed one if the thought hadn't disgusted me. Literally dozens of fish would swarm to the spot where the food pellets had been dropped and one of us kids (with Grandpa's assistance) would toss our fishing line into the thick of it. There was no question of whether or not you would catch a fish; within seconds, the line was wriggling and a fish pulling hard on the other end. A quick jerk of the line secured the catch and the unlucky trout would be reeled in and removed from the hook. We would pause for the obligatory "fish face" picture (no, you don't get to see one), and someone would kill the fish. It was this last part that caused me serious anguish. As a young child who would soon be expected to eat the fish, I could not bear to watch it being killed. I had no problem with it once it was filleted and no longer looked like a living creature, but I could not handle the actual death.

I am not a vegetarian, nor do I consider it likely that I ever will be. I do, however, understand the idea behind it all.

Or the haunting question of the opposition: If animals weren't meant to be eaten, why were they made of meat?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Buona Pasqua!

Happy Easter!

After a very thoughtful lesson last Sunday by our fabulous home teachers, I've taken some time this week to contemplate the significance of Holy Week and Easter. The first thing that came to mind was one Easter season about 13 years ago, coming home from Merry Miss with what I considered to be the perfect Easter lesson to present at Family Home Evening. I had a basket of plastic Easter eggs, boldly numbered from #1-12 with a thick black Sharpie. Instead of robin eggs or Cadbury mini-eggs (my aforementioned favorite), each egg was filled with the following:

  1. Three dimes - Judas received 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16)

  2. Cracker - last supper (Matthew 26:17-29)

  3. Chocolate kiss - Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss (Matthew 26:47-49)

  4. Feather - Peter denied Christ three times before the cock crew (Matthew 26:69-75)

  5. Soap - Pilate washed his hands of the blood of Christ (Matthew 27:24)

  6. Purple cloth - they put a purple robe on Jesus (Matthew 27:28)

  7. Thorn - a crown of thorns was placed upon Christ's head (Matthew 27:29)

  8. Nail - they nailed him to the cross (John 19:18-19)

  9. Piece of sponge soaked in vinegar - when Christ asked for a drink he was given a sponge with vinegar (John 19:28-30)

  10. Rock - Jesus' body was laid in a tomb (Matthew 27:57-60)

  11. Piece of tape - after Christ's death the tomb was sealed (Matthew 27:65-66)

  12. Empty egg - this represents the empty tomb after Christ had risen (Matthew 28:1-9)

As a teacher, I can really appreciate the value of tangible symbols in teaching a concept, especially to adolescents. Producing a nail or a vinegar-drenched sponge from a traditionally sugar-filled plastic egg will forcibly turn thoughts to the scourging and crucifixion of our Savior. However, it is the twelfth egg which strikes me as profoundly significant. After the deep, infinite suffering in the Garden; after the scourging and public humiliation inflicted; after feeling the Spirit withdrawn and the full weight of the world resting upon his weary shoulders, the Savior of the world died. It was not, however, the final death that many in the world fear. Instead, after three days, the Savior rose from the tomb and again walked and talked with his disciples.

But why? As hard as it is to comprehend the basic plot line of the Passion, it is harder still to comprehend the immense love that Christ had for each one of us, and the plan that would require his great suffering. For now, let it suffice to say that I am overcome with gratitude when I think of this sacrifice. It is only through His sacrifice that I may be saved from my sins and ultimately perfected and sanctified. It is for this, today, that I am most humbly grateful.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

OCD? Maybe just a little...

I discovered something about myself this morning. I suffer from OCD. Not the full-on, wash-your-hands-obsessively-and-make-your-bed-with-a-ruler-edge-type, but OCD nonetheless.

Case Study #1
Tomorrow is Easter, and I was preparing for it in the best way I know how - eating a handful of Cadbury Mini-Eggs. Only one problem. As I poured the candies into my hand, there were five: one pink, one white, one yellow and TWO blue. This was not going to work. The leftover blue had to be eaten, and quickly.

Case Study #2
I can't grade papers if they are not alphabetized by the students' names.

A little ridiculous? Perhaps.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You're doing what, again?

Why is it that every time I take the time to sit down at my computer to post, I completely draw blank on what might be fun to write/interesting to read? I'm working on it. In the meantime...

"Washington D.C.? Really?"

"You're kidding, right?"

While I've heard it phrased a number of different ways, this is the general reaction that I get from people back home when I tell them what I'm currently doing with my life. I figure I should spend a little time explaining why I'm doing what I'm doing. In case you need an update, I spent my last semester of BYU (Jan-April 2007) in Washington DC doing my student teaching at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Think of the movie "Step Up", but a slightly more ghetto version. Now, most people thought I was a bit crazy for student teaching here, but just passed it off as another one of my little adventures before my real life started. The shock came when I moved back to DC a month and a half later in hopes of teaching there permanently. Yes, I agree with all of you that teaching is hard enough without adding in the inner-city element. And I also agree that it's a little unusual for a little white girl from Eagle, Idaho to end up teaching in Washington DC. But I've always felt that if I were to teach, I should go to a place where I'm really needed. Not just as a history teacher, but as someone who can meet these kids where they're at, and help them get to where they can/want to be.

Let me introduce you to my world.

Stories will be forthcoming. (And there's no shortage of them, so watch out.)