February 27, 2009


This is a post of mourning. I remember reading the Rocky as a child, a teenager, and as a responsible adult I have taken it, relishing reading it in the morning or evening after scooping it up from my driveway. I will miss it. Farewell to the best regional newspaper. It should have been the Post.

February 23, 2009

And the Oscar Goes To . . .

. . . Mr. Cool. Every year, he has patiently put up with my intense need to watch every second of the Oscars, starting with the red carpet arrivals. Every year, he fills out his Oscar ballot, and seems to genuinely care who wins each category. Every year, he stays up to watch them, even if he has to get up at 4:20 AM. Every year, he gossips and shares his opinions on the Oscar gowns and hair.

I don't have much to say about the Oscars--I had a really slow year for actually viewing nominated movies--but I did enjoy Hugh Jackman's hosting. (I loved him when he hosted the Tonys, and I once saw a Great Performances featuring him in Oklahoma, which was awesome.) I also love me some Bollywood music, so that was great.

Most of all, though, I want to say thanks to Mr. Cool, for helping me enjoy the Oscars. Thanks to my husband, who has been amazing, and always believed in me, even when I didn't think I'd ever win an Oscar. I hope you picked me in the pool this year!

February 20, 2009

It's Over the Counter in the D.R.

I used to love baseball. My first ever sports memory is watching the 1986 World Series in the basement with my dad. Upstairs, my mom had a women's Bible study. As you might have heard, Bill Buckner let a ground ball go through his legs and the (freakin') Mets took the (my) Red Sox to a 7th Game. Where they (the freakin' (and no, I didn't use that language at my tender age) Mets) won. I stomped upstairs and informed my mom and the Bible study ladies that the Mets had won. They thought I was cute. I was just angry. At least, that's the way I remember it.

I had baseball cards, baseball hats, saw Royals and Rockies games, and eagerly awaited spring training and the start of the baseball season. Then I met Mr. Cool. Mr. Cool is not terribly fond of baseball, other than playing softball. He is a football man, tried and true and dyed in the wool. So, I started watching football. Like any sports-lovin' gal with a semi-addictive personality, I grew quite fond. I still draw the line at more than three games in a day, but I do like football. I found myself drifting farther and farther away from baseball.

Then, the steroid rumours turned into accusations and truths. My relationship with baseball was severed. Could I admit that I had rooted for Barry Bonds when he was a young Pittsburgh Pirate slugger? Could I admit that I had a letter published in our college newspaper defending the glory of the McGuire/Sosa home run chase? Could I admit to creasing my Jose Canseco rookie card out of an impassioned hatred? (Well, yes. I still have no problems with shredding that piece of cardboard.) Like so many other baseball fans, I feel betrayed.

Steroids leave you betrayed in a way that other sporting scandals don't. Sure, George Brett may have had pine tar on his bat, but so what? Tar on the bat and spit on the ball don't carry the same cheater's weight that illegal, body-altering drugs do. So now it's A-Rod. I never liked A-Rod. He was too showy, too overpaid, too craptastic in the playoffs. But he was good. Naturally good. Now we find it might be due to some substance that used to be over the counter in the Dominican Republic.

So, do I say farewell to baseball? Will I pick up the love only in occasional years when the Rockies make unbelievable playoff runs? Maybe. Am I hopelessly devoted to the pigskin? Good lord, no. March Madness is just around the corner. The one love that never fades for a girl who grew up on Wyoming 1-A basketball and Hoosiers is the game of basketball. I can hardly wait to fill in my bracket. And I won't take any performance-enhancing drugs before I do.

February 17, 2009

Dressing Master Cool

Sorry for the blog silence--I had parent/teacher conferences, and then a few days off, and I was just really enjoying seeing Tybalt pop up whenever I looked at my blog.

Anyway, for part of my time off, Mama Cool and I started to check out the baby shops looking for clothes for the boy. I discovered something--clothing for small boys has either frogs, trucks, dinosaurs, or dogs on it. There is some variation, but at the different stores we went to, each store had boys' clothing with frogs, trucks, dinosaurs, or dogs on it. Sure, it was still cute, but I was hoping for some more variety. I was also saddened by some of the gender assignment done by clothing stores--there were little girl outfits with music notes, but no little boy outfits with music themes. What gives? Mozart and Bach were boys, right?

We did find plenty of cute things (and on sale, for the most part), including a few cowboy-related items that Papa Cool liked, an incredibly dapper orange outfit for his uncle's wedding, and a cute onesie with panda bears. (I was surprised by the lack of bear items. I'd also have enjoyed seeing more space-related items, baby clothes designers.)

What clothes do you think are cutest on babies?

February 10, 2009

Why isn't Tybalt in more scenes?

Right now, in my Cool classroom, it is all Romeo and Juliet, all the time. I'm trying to restrain myself from writing thousands of R&J posts, but I thought this one might be okay.

We just finished reading Act 1, so we're watching film clips from a few different versions to compare. Of course, we always watch part of the Zefferelli classic, which I mainly enjoy because Michael York plays Tybalt. You might know him as Basil Exposition in the Austin Powers movies, but as a young Shakespearean actor, he was incredibly dishy. Even some of my 9th grade girls usually find him good-looking. I find him just plain ol' yummy, which helps me get through my 4,000th watching of this film. If only he didn't peg out in Act 3.

February 06, 2009

Thoughts About Teaching

1. If you need to vomit, please just run out of the room. Do not politely ask the teacher for a pass to the nurse, and then calmly puke into her trash can while she writes it. Just run to the nurse.

2. Giving a short quiz is a great way to distract students from the janitor cleaning the vomit off of the teacher's desk and floor.

3. As many times as I've read it, Mercutio's "Queen Mab" speech never ceases to delight me and confuse of my students. Of course, thanks to Shakespeare in Love, I can never start it without thinking of Ben Affleck saying the first line: "O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you."

4. 9th grade students really love Mad Libs, especially when they can try and insert these words: balls, hairy, wiener, and chicken. Sadly for me, those words are always funny. Also sadly for me, they have learned what parts of speech they are (which I guess is good), so I always have to use them.

5. As you might have guessed from #3, we are reading Romeo and Juliet in class right now. I always do reader's theatre, and take any parts that are left open (due typically to small classes or absent kids.) My favorite parts to read, in no particular order: Capulet, the Nurse, Mercutio, and Tybalt.
6. It's the weekend! Have a superb one, and if you're working, may it go by quickly!

February 04, 2009

TAMP: No, really, those are my pants...

I know it has been a while since I regaled you all with a story from work, mostly because my job is inherently boring - but also because there is only so much I want to share about the sadness and anger I see everyday. Often I joke that I spent tens of thousands of dollars and 5 and a 1/2 years on some college that I rarely use - to do what boils down to babysitting on steroids.

I joke, but it is so often true. Today, however, my body learned what my mind already knew: jobs and life take perseverance and a concept called the "Bullet Proof Mind." This concept is as simple as it is timeless: I will not fail, I will not lose, I will not die - I will win, I will go home today. The concept may seem a little abstract to those of you who don't carry a sidearm to and from work everyday, but it is as real for you as it is for me. It is life.
Mental preparedness, planning for the future, itemizing a budget, getting paperwork in order, faith in a higher power, knowledge those things will work they way they are supposed to. My Bullet Proof Mind may actually involve bullets, fists, shanks and so on - but your mind's protection may be knowing the car’s brakes will work every time, that the airframe mechanic really knows how to arm the ejection seat, that the post-soviet corrupted immigration officer will let me back in the county this time, or as simple as I will go home to the ones I love.

Quite Cool is often amazed that I can remain so calm in the short-term high-stress situations life has to offer. I am no ice-man (her post about the ambient temperature of our dwelling to the contrary); I can lose it over the dumbest things - how to fold shirts or even the proper order of the daily reading of the newspaper - but the simple fact is this: my day may go south in a hurry, but I will go home to the ones I love.

This may be the ramblings of post-combat euphoria, but today I stood my post, found myself on the wrong side of the floor (that’s down, not up) with an aggressor on top, and came out victorious - I won, I went home. The bumps, bruises, and scrapes will fade, but the lasting memory of the fight or flight adrenaline dump will prepare me for the next go-round. This wasn't my first brush with violence face to face, nor will it be my last. Until next time: I will not fail, I will not lose, I will not die - I will win, and I will go home today.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go check my pants…

February 03, 2009

Everyday, it's a-gettin' closer . . .

. . . goin' faster than a roller coaster.

Yes, today is the 50th Anniversary of the "day the music died," as Don Maclean eloquently put it. Around 1 AM on February 3, 1959, a plane crash took the lives of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper.

Obviously, I wasn't alive back then, but I did grow up listening to the music of Buddy Holly. My parents had a record (side note: actual question from a student today: "What are those big black things, like a CD, but older, that had music on them?") of all his hits, and I loved it. Peggy Sue, True Love Ways, That'll Be the Day, Everyday--I loved the simple, melodic nature of the songs of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. When I was going through a particularly tough period of teenage romantic angst, I would sing Everyday over and over to myself. "Love like yours will surely come my way, a hey, a hey hey." It would definitely work to help me move past the frustration. I even worked his glasses style for a while.

If you've never listened to any Buddy Holly, I encourage you to find some. He was a genius, and only 22 when he died. I remember when I first learned that, and thought of all those great songs on that record, and of how many more he might have written.
Pictured above is the actual album my parents had--Papa Cool, I hope you still have this one!

February 02, 2009

So put your little hand in mine . . .

It's Groundhog Day!

Right when I turned the TV on this morning, his handlers were just pulling Punxatawny Phil, the prognosticator of all prognosticators out of his stump. He celebrated the Steelers win (boo) and then predicted six more weeks of winter (eh, okay, if there's a snow day), and then scratched at his handler a bit and went back into his stump.

So go celebrate one of our oddest holidays by watching the superb Bill Murray movie!