Sunday, December 28, 2008

just for charlotte

because i used to call her Charlotte the Harlot and she's still friends with me. She's nice.

Books to Read:

Teaching Introductory Physics: Okay, snooze, I know. But remember that physics class you took with me once when I convinced you that you wanted to be an engineer? That was fun. And it's honestly one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I take it with me everywhere I go.

The Promise, by Chaim Potok: It's the sequel to The Chosen, which is one of my favorite books of all time. I didn't love it quite as much as The Chosen, but it's still good.

A Long way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier: if you're particular about writing styles (which i sometimes am) you might not love it, but everybody should read this book at some point in their lives.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a year of food life: pretty interesting.

The Brighter Side of Human Nature, by Alfie Kohn: I've read several of his books, and they get repetitive after you read more than two (he starts to repeat the same stories) but if you've never read anything by Alfie Kohn, you should. It's inspiring.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


has anyone else read this website? #115 is one of my favorites.

Dear people who were just now invited to read my blog,

Um, yeah. Sorry.

Don't think that I forgot about you. I was just letting the anticipation build. Or something.


a mexican christmas

So, the picture uploader thingy is being really slow and, as it turns out, I'm not that patient. I'll have more later.

Before Christmas actually came, we drove out to Cholula and Puebla where we ate some fried grasshoppers (less disgiusting than you might think)

sat on an elephant (because sometimes mom still thinks that we're five years old. That may be because we sometimes act five, but that's beside the point.)

and saw some ruins.

Then we came back to Mexico city for Christmas eve and Christmas day. We made all of our regular Christmas treats for caroling. We were planning on singing Feliz Navidad (because it's the only Christmas song we know in Spanish) but when mom ended up singing what essentially translates into "I want your anus (and happiness)" we decided to forego the song and just deliver plates of food instead. Smart move, if you ask me.
Christmas day, we opened stockings

and took a pinata to the kids at the refugio.
Later, we went to the Zocalo, which during the holidays is a lot like Disneyworld. Except way better, because Disneyworld just isn't that fun. Sorry, but it's not. All in all, not a bad trip so far.

Friday, December 19, 2008

glorious freedom

only two classes left, and i am free for 16 whole days. no more ball jokes or other teenaged antics.

today is the last day of school, and i have received some delightful gifts from several very generous students. these include:

  • a $100 gift card to Nordstrom. what should i buy? some shoes? a pair of designer jeans? too many choices
  • a gorgeous blue cashmere scarf
  • another blue scarf (apparently they're big this season)
  • a barnes and noble gift card (awesome)
  • lots of chocolates
  • candles
  • earrings

Today we have our faculty holiday party at our headmaster's house. i am going simply because the door prize is an all-expense paid trip for 4 to cape cod. i am determined that i am going to win.

i am a member of "the reason" which is a club that provides a reason to get up early on saturday mornings. tomorrow morning we are baking sugar cookies to leave on people's doorsteps.

then i'm watching mamma mia with rochelle. and attending the mandarin branch christmas party. i'm going for the food.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

not that interesting

to most of you, anyway. probably my mom will pretend to be interested, because that's what moms do. but a math teacher guy wrote this, and i am happy to say that i can (mostly) answer yes. (except for on some days when i'm annoyed. and yes, i am feeling pretty smug with myself right now, thank you very much....)

Evolution of an Educator:

At first, your students don't know anything because you teach poorly, and you know this. Then, you become happily aware that some students are learning. You know that other students still aren't, but you are pedagogically nearsighted and can make only blurry distinctions between the two camps. Your teaching improves and the ranks of the Is Learning camp swells and you know the members of the Isn't Learning camp by name. You develop better methods of tracking achievement and you know exactly what the students who aren't learning haven't learned. Moreover, as you teach, you begin to anticipate the material that will confuse these students. You realize that your intervention can effectively transfer a student from one camp to the other. At a certain point, the technical challenges to increasing student achievement disappear, but the moral challenge remains. Will you do it? Every day, every hour, every student for 180 days, will you do it?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


So we're building roller coasters in my class this week. Which is mostly really fun. The only problem is, we're using marbles (which the boys prefer to call balls - for obvious teenaged boy reasons).

Some of the marbles are too big to fit in the tracks that we're using. According to Ryan, Jeff's balls are too big. I thought about asking him how he would know that, but I don't want to encourage this.

We're also using cups for support. Ha. That's freaking hilarious.

Heaven help me. I better get a great Christmas bonus this year.

Monday, December 08, 2008

final exams

So I always give the same bonus question on all of my final exams:

"Explain any concept that we learned this year that was not addressed on the exam."

It gives the kids an opportunity to explain the stuff they studied but that I didn't ask about. Some of them impress me with their knowledge. Some do not. I always get a few interesting responses.

Some of them are blatantly butt-kissing: "I learned that I love physics and that Ms. Reed is the best teacher ever!"

Right. Sure you did.

Some of them are a little funny: "I learned that Michael Scott burned his foot on a George Foreman grill because he likes the smell of fresh-cooked bacon in the morning."

I think I talk about The Office just a little too much.

And my personal favorite: "I learned that Ms. Reed really likes candy."


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

words to live by

Yesterday, I received this email:

sometimes i underestimate how freakin' awesome you are. then i repent. today i repented.

Your Repentant Sister

I'm pretty sure I'm going to make my students read it today.

Never forget this. Ever.

The end.

Friday, November 28, 2008

dear people for whom i am buying christmas presents,

Due to the slump in the economy, I am finding extra great deals this year. I have therefore found some extra fantastic presents for you all. Even though it really is just the thought that counts.

You are so welcome.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dear Ashley,

You're right. You deserve your own bullet point. In fact, you deserve your own post. I am thankful for you because:

  • you know what a fudge turd is.

That's your one bullet point. I hope that's good enough.



dear world,

Let it be known that my banana cream pie kicks your banana cream pie's butt.

So does my chocolate cream pie.


ps - don't be intimidated. we can still be friends

Monday, November 24, 2008

things i am thankful for this week (in no particular order)

  • my AP students, for all scoring 4s or 5s on their exam. They make me look really good.
  • the recession. My job is stable and man, the sales are great this year!!!
  • the recession again, because Bethesda restaurants implemented an "appetite stimulus plan" with lots of special deals last week
  • pies. And lots of them. (4 to be exact, for a dinner with six people)
  • cranberry salad. I'm making a double batch.
  • my job.
  • my roommates for making me laugh. especially when they walk out of the bathroom at the symphony with their skirt tucked into their underwear.
  • people who are willing to drive to the outlets with me at midnight Thursday night to hit all the black friday specials.
  • my sisters. and my brother, too. and the in-laws.
  • my mom
  • my hair, for really cooperating with me these days

Thursday, November 20, 2008

the joys of teaching

So in my last period class, this kid named Ryan keeps farting. They're loud. And stinky.

So of course everyone acts like they're five year olds and laughs hysterically.

Wait, never mind. Everyone acts like teenaged boys and laughs hysterically. I'm ready for a break.

But after Thanksgiving break, I get to participate in our 2nd annual dodgeball tournament! It is the best fundraiser ever.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


There are a few things that have been going on around here recently.

  • Swim practice started last week. The team looks promising, as everyone is capable of staying afloat on their own. Not a single swimmer is relying on the lane ropes for their survival.
  • The first day of practice, we got locked out of the pool. It was super fun. Then a kid's arm popped out of its socket. Don't worry, we popped it right back in. Apparently it happens to him all the time. He's now our manager.
  • I give my final exam on Friday, and then I'm FREE for Thanksgiving break.
  • But then my break is interrupted Tuesday night for our first swim meet. Rotten timing.
  • I am going to see the Warsaw Philharmonic on Friday night.
  • We built egg-drop contraptions in my class this week. They were only allowed to use straws, rubber bands, and tape. We threw them off the top of the stadium. They were awesome.
  • I started my Christmas shopping this week. I totally want to keep the present I bought Ashley.

Monday, November 17, 2008

dear bethy,

I am coming to visit you on December 31. Please try not to work on New Year's day so I can play with you and your kids. And Brandon too, I guess.

I tried to tell you last night but you hung up on me.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

all i want for christmas (and my birthday) is...

a lot of things, actually. Which really isn't that surprising if you know me. But this year I could really use:

  • Cello lessons. Erica and I want to take lessons together, and they're offered through my school for only $35/lesson! Not bad.
  • A plane ticket to Houston to see Bethy, Bexie, and Brother. And the babies, of course. It's been way too long since I've played with the babies.
  • Just about anything from Anthropologie. Or JCrew. Or a gift card to JCrew so I can use my awesome teacher discount that I get on every single purchase I make. Being a teacher definitely has its perks.
  • A lightweight, waterproof North Face jacket (or similar). For those days when it rains and I still want to play outside. It happens.
  • Rain boots. Some black ones or black/gray.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

5 reasons i love my students

just because tomorrow is friday

1. They always compliment my shoes. Even though I own way too many.
2. Sometimes they just get so excited they can't help but shout in the middle of class. I'm not always sure what they're excited about.
3. They love the stupid games I make up for them to play.
4. They make fun of my dumb jokes. (Yes, teaching is really good for my self-esteem.) Turns out I've quoted Bring-it-On one too many times this year. (This is not a democracy, guys. It's a cheer-ocracy.) I didn't think that joke could ever get old. Apparently I was wrong.
5. They come find me during lunch so that I can settle the debate about who would be the better lead-singer for their band. I picked Harper, just because I like calling him Harp-dog. I'm pretty sure he secretly likes it when I call him Harp-dog, too.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

election madness

The Redskins lost last night. And we all know what that means.... "Obama nation" it is.

Luckily, Laura went to Costco yesterday to buy food storage. You know, for when the riots break out and we can't leave our house for weeks at a time. Seriously.

Julie was so impressed with Laura's preparations that she wrote in her name on the ballot. So who knows, Laura just might be our next commisioner of education. Or something. Go Laura.

Monday, November 03, 2008

sweet revenge

One of my students got a ticket this weekend for yelling at another driver. He told that driver that his car was gay.

He thought that the cop was kidding about the ticket.

The cop was not kidding.

Deep down inside, this story made me really, really happy.

some politics

According to my co-worker, if the Redskins win their game tonight McCain will win the election.

If they lose, Obama will win.

And if Obama wins, our country will be an "Obama Nation" in the sight of the Lord.


Sometimes I hate living in a political city.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

the weekend

a few things I learned this weekend:

  • Parents can be rude. Not to me so much, but still rude. I went to our girls' field hockey game on Friday, and was more than a little embarrassed about the comments that the mothers on both teams were making toward one another. Get a grip. They're sixteen-year-old kids, and it's just a game. Seriously.
  • I still like rollercoasters. Yesterday was the last day that six flags was open, so Troy, Erica, Ryan and I went. Fun.
  • There is a 70-year-old man in the Bethesda ward who finds great joy in fulfilling his wives fantasies. At least, this is what he told us all during testimony meeting yesterday. Then he realized how it sounded and got a little embarrassed. Old people are adorable.
  • Teachers hate halloween. Next year, I'm giving a test on all holidays so my kids are forced to sit still. Hahaha.
  • Squirrels love pumpkins. They ate the faces off of all of our jack-o-lanterns, and now they're just blobs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

by guest blogger Julie

Dear Poodle's mom,

Thank you so much for the marshmallow clown. And the caramel apples. (Both of them. I ate another while Poodle was at work today. Oh, the joys of unemployment!)

Since you were here, Poodle was on her best behavior and did not even yell at me for eating her food without asking. You really are the best.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

spirit week

It is spirit week at our school. I love spirit week. Except for the fact that kids think that:

spirit week + work = a super mean teacher (that would be me)

They might be right, and I'm kind of okay with that. Just to show the kids that I'm not all 100% mean I have been participating in the spirit week festivities. Yesterday I came to school wearing head to toe blue and gold with a blue and gold flower on my head. Bullis Pride.

Tomorrow I am dressing up as a punk rocker.

Friday I am wearing jeans because, let's face it, I only have so much school spirit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dear mom,

You have clearly been spending way too much time hanging out with Ashley. There is no other explanation for the fact that you mailed me a picture of a big, fat, hairy butt.

I think it's time you hung out with me instead.


on being a teacher

Something you should never, under any circumstances, ever say to your teacher:

Ms. Reed, if you could feel my nipple, you'd understand.


No, no, no.

I'm still angry.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dear Katie (aka white skinned goddess),

My friend Anne totally stalks your blog. She thinks you're pretty much a superhero. And now she thinks that I'm a superhero because I know you. That's why she agreed to be my friend.

Thanks for enhancing my social life.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008


So sometimes it's kind of frustrating when I'm mad at my students and then they go and make me laugh.

Like today, when my last class of the day had packed up their bags and stopped listening ten minutes early. And, sensing my frustration, Jake said: "Wow, Ms. Reed. TGIW."

So dumb. Yet so funny.


Now, I'm not trying to make anyone jealous or anything, but I don't have school tomorrow!

Wait. It gets even better.

I don't have school on Friday either!!!

And just to clarify, when I said I'm not trying to make anyone jealous, that was totally a lie.

Monday, October 06, 2008


The rules:

1. Link to person who has tagged you: Erica

2. Post the rules on your blog

3. Write 6 random things about yourself

4. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

1. (Stolen from Erica) I don't let people in very easily but once I do you are going to have a hard time getting rid of me because I become very attached. I think I would have used this one whether or not Erica had, so that probably means she stole it from me.

2. I really love being a grown-up. I don't always feel like a grown-up, but it's still pretty fun. Life gets better every year.

3. I love telling stories to my students. Sometimes I embellish. It's way more interesting that way.

4. I really want to see The Changeling. Really. Maybe there's a book I can read instead.

5. I am totally not at all good at pretending I don't have favorite students. Although the secret to being my favorite student is just being nice. And a little brown-nosing never hurt anyone.

6. I love Edamame. It's my favorite thing to buy at the Korean market. I could probably eat it all day every day. With some sushi, of course.

I tag: Bexie, Mom the Bomb, and Shady

Sunday, October 05, 2008

another weekend

Not much happened this weekend, because i'm saving all of my fun for next weekend, when I get four days in a row of no work and all fun. Awesome. Jewish holidays are great!

Friday night, Rochelle and I went out to dinner down in Bethesda, and stopped at a department store where I found some mascara that does not smudge. It's magical. I even slept with it on (because I was too tired to take it off) and when I woke up in the morning, it still wasn't smudged! I'm hooked. The woman also gave me free samples of Armani bronzer (fantastic) and some sort of hair smoothing product that better be fabulous considering they charge $95/bottle. I'll let you know how it is.

Saturday morning we played flag football (fun, even though I'm terrible) then watched conference and ate the cake Rochelle made. Sunday morning, I ate the French Toast Rochelle made, watched more conference, and made another batch of Lemon Buttermilk sherbet. Ahhh....

Now I'm ready for my glorious three-day work week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

america's future

My roommate teaches at one of the public schools here in Montgomery County. Which, by the way, spends more money per child on education than almost any other county in the US, and has a reputation of having really great schools.


When asked to define "optimist", 80% of the 11th graders gave one of two responses:

  1. I think it's the guy who checks your eyes
  2. um, isn't that the truck from Transformers?

Totally. 100%. Awesome.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

the weekend

This weekend, we headed out to Shenendoah for some backpacking. We've been planning this trip for the past two months, and did not let the rain stop us.

Well, that's not entirely true. Some people let the rain stop them. Not me. No pictures, but some highlights included:

  • Getting lost trying to find the campsite. This seems to be the theme of our trips. Troy's GPS doesn't always work as well as he'd like. But don't tell him that. He thinks it's just the bees knees.
  • Stopping at Ben's Chili Bowl on the way home. It's famous and has a great history, but the chili kind of sucks. Apparently nobody minded, because it was packed.
  • Playing Dance Dance Revolution would have been my favorite part of the weekend, but everyone decided that SongStar would be cooler. They're wrong. They don't think so, but they are so wrong.
  • Brian (the same Brian I went to Spain with) coming into Relief Society today to tell his semi-ex-girlfriend that he was ready to talk. Don't worry, Brian. Nobody felt awkward at all. Really.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

nationals baseball

and two conversations that make me question the whole "all men are created equal" idea.

Conversation #1 (taking place on the drive to Roanoke. )

We need to get on 66 West.

But that's not the way we went to Duck Beach.

Right. Because Duck Beach is in North Carolina. On the coast. Roanoke is in southwest Virginia.

But when we went to Duck Beach, we saw signs for a freeway that took you to Roanoke.

Well, you can get to Roanoke from Duck Beach. But that's not the way we want to go.

Oh. Well, why not?

Because Duck Beach is in North Carolina.

But there were signs...

Conversation #2: (taking place at the Nats game tonight. We were sitting right behind home plate. Anyone jealous?)

So, someone explain how the whole pitching thing works. How do you get out?

If you get three strikes, you're out. Or if you get four balls, you walk to first base.

Oh. So a ball is a strike.

No. A strike is when the pitcher throws the ball right over home plate.

Oh. So two balls make a strike.

No. A ball is a ball. A strike is a strike.

So a ball can be a strike?

Are you sure you grew up in America?

Monday, September 22, 2008

dear students,

There's no need to cry. Seriously. Get a grip.

Miss Reed

Dear Bexar,

We suck at book clubbing. You pick the next book.


Dear Bed,

We really should spend more time together. I've had too many other things to do recently that I've totally neglected you. I'll try to find more room for you in my schedule.

Miss you,

Dear LuvSac,

Is the dining room really where you want to live? I mean, I realize I kicked you out of the living room, but seriously. The basement's really not so bad. I think you'd come to really like it down there. Think about it.


mud run

This weekend, Troy, Katelyn, Laura and I headed down to Roanoke for the Marine Corps Mud Run. (Hipple backed out because she thought that relaxing at home sounded better than driving four hours to be our photographer. Whatever.)

Back to my story.

The mud run was awesome. We received the requisite ugly race shirt:

Then we ran through a river, a hill, mud pits, and finally crawled through the mud pool:

Laura thought it would be a really fabulous idea to dive head-first into the mud. Brilliant. It sounded like a way better idea than it was. It resulted in mud under her contacts, which is apparently kind of painful. Huh.

Instead of helping, we laughed at her. And took lots of pictures. Because even though she wasn't laughing at the time, I'm sure one day she will. And would obviously want pictures to commemorate the event. (She'll thank us later.) Katelyn also made sure the nurses didn't rinse off too much of the mud, as we still hadn't taken a group picture.

We're awesome friends.

Troy ended up looking a little bit like Hellboy. I think he secretly likes the look.

Monday, September 15, 2008


yup, i went private. mainly because my roommate found my blog (the semi-crazy one), and for her own protection, she really shouldn't read it. Seriously, it's for her own good.

So that's that.

But I'm sure you're way more interested in what I've been up to than what my crazy roommate has been up to. Although she always makes for a good story.

I spent the weekend at our ward's Relief Society retreat, where Katelyn, Erica and I skipped the spiritual thought and stayed in the basement gossiping. And laughing a lot. Way more fun, trust me. Then we came home and had a wii tournament at our neighbor's house. I lost miserably at every game I played.

This weekend, I am heading down to Roanoke with Laura, Katelyn, Erica, and Troy for the Marine Corps mud run!! I'm pretty sure it'll be the best weekend yet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The reality of September 11 never really sank in until I moved up to DC. Now, I hear stories from my colleagues of gathering the entire school in the gym to watch the television footage and to call families to make sure they were okay. And they remember watching two of our students learn that their father had been on the plane that hit the pentagon. Everyone who lived here at the time knows of somebody who was killed seven years go.

Monday, September 08, 2008

weekend fun

My roommates and I decided to host the Backyard Olympics this weekend. We were kind of missing the Olympics spirit. Luckily, the remnants of a tropical storm hit to make our water competitions possible.
We started with the opening ceremonies. Erica got to carry the Olympics torch because she was injured. Poor Erica.

Then we had an archery competition.

Troy totally dominated the handstand contest.

There just happened to be a pool in our backyard, so we had some swim races.

I won bronze in the floor exercise. This is my opening pose. I would have won the hula-hoop competition, but Toys-R-Us does NOT SELL HULA HOOPS! Of all the rudeness.
The closing ceremonies involved some slip-n-slide and ribs (prepared by Troy and Rochelle).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

back to school

School started yesterday. So far, it's fantastic.

Except that I have a student named ET. No joke.

But besides that, school is great. My robotics class is especially fun. The kids love it, my boss thinks it's the coolest thing that's ever happened to the school, and I find brilliant new things to teach them every day.

One thing I really love about this school is that they really know how to ease us into the school year. This is only a two-day week. Tomorrow I get to go camping with the seniors. And then take them rafting on Friday. "Senior bonding." Love it.

For those of you who were wondering, I found a fantastic first day of school outfit. White pencil skirt, green shirt, and brown sandals.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

website update

Check out my Class Webpage! Much better than before, no?

I finally figured out that I was working with an old version of our web publishing software. The new version is so way easier to work with. Isn't it pretty?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dear Katie and Garrett,

It's a shame you couldn't make it down to Mexico this week. Not to make you jealous or anything, but it has been way fun. It would be more fun if you were here. Maybe next time.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

i love living with a chef

Today Rochelle made cinnamon-swirl bread that gives Great Harvest a run for their money. And she's always more than happy to share. Man, I love her.


I probably had more fun this weekend than I have had in years. Laura (my roommate) came home from California this week and we stayed up until 3 am watching the Olympics and catching up. As crazy as she sometimes is, she adds fun to everything.

Friday, we picked up our neighbors (Ryan and Troy) and headed down to a Brazilian barbecue for lunch. The food was only okay, but it's always fun to try a new place. Then we loaded up the car and headed to Antietam for our campout. The drive was only supposed to be an hour, but with Friday afternoon rush hour traffic, it took about 2 1/2. This would have been a major problem if it weren't for the fact that Troy and Ryan are two of the funniest people I've ever met. And they're even funnier when they get together. Needless to say, the drive was more than enjoyable. We met five of our other friends there, made foil dinners and smores, played cards, annoyed our neighbors, then went to sleep. (By the way - Laura talks in her sleep. A lot.)

Saturday morning we woke up, tried to make breakfast, failed, and went to McDonald's instead. This wasn't exactlythe most "rough" campout I've ever been on. Then we drove to Harper's Ferry and went tubing down the Potomac. We rode the rapids, played water tag, got a little sunburned, and left happy. We had lunch at a little Italian restaurant in town (it was fabulous) and headed home.

Saturday evening, Laura and I went down to Virginia with some of our friends for some shopping. There were some great sales, so I bought my mom lots of clothes, since Mexico doesn't have Ann Taylor or Banana Republic. Now I'm packing up and heading to Mexico for a week of fun.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

so much to do

I'm planning another camping trip this weekend. We're camping at Antietam Creek campground, and then heading down to Harper's Ferry to rent tubes for a whitewater tubing adventure. I'm very excited.

Then next Monday, I'm headed down to Mexico City to hang out with my parents. They miss me. I miss them, too.

I also bought tickets to see the Warsaw Philharmonic in October, and to see the Peking Acrobats in February. I really love living here.

I made some Blackberry-lime sorbet this week that is to die for. This ice cream maker I bought was one of the best purchases I've made in a very long time. It was cheap and has been put to very good use this summer. Next up is nectarine sorbet, then maybe another batch of the lemon-buttermilk sherbet that was such a hit.

We are getting a new couch! A nice one! For free! This means that the LuvSacs will finally be banished to the basement. Halleluiah. Rochelle's friend is moving, and in typical DC fashion, her apartment complex charges a fee for moving furniture into the apartment, plus an additional fee if you want to use the freight elevator. (It's a highrise apartment, so NOT using the freight elevator is a little out of the question.) These fees, however, are waived if your furniture is bought new and delivered by the store. So it's cheaper for her to just give the couch away and buy a new one than pay all of the moving fees. We are the lucky winners.

In other news, my roommate lost her job because she thought that it would be okay to email her corporate office telling them how awful her boss is and demanding that they switch her to a different project or find her a new boss. They didn't take that very well. Now she thinks that we should pay her rent for her since she's woefully unemployed. I have one word for that. No. Rochelle had some much more colorful words to share.

Monday, August 11, 2008

mud run

I am entering this team race in September. It's going to be awesome.

the weekend

Friday night, Rochelle and I went to Five Guys, then watched Arsenic and Old Lace. Strange movie.
Saturday, I went up to Baltimore for an Orioles game. They were playing the Rangers. Turns out the Rangers aren't very good.

Sunday, the neighbors came over and we made Japanese gyoza, miso soup, watermelon gingerale sippers, some sort of vegetable salad, and a Japanese dessert that Rochelle calls almond jello. It's way better than regular jello, though.

Rochelle demonstrating the proper gyoza technique:

Sara was very proud of her potsticker:

Mary and Julie hard at work:

We made over 100 potstickers. They were delicious:

The spread:

The drinks were delicous. Watermelon, gingerale, and mint:

Sometimes we got a little distracted by the olympics. Did anybody else see the the freestyle relay last night?

Monday, August 04, 2008

what i'm reading

Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen

Sarah's Quilt - another story about Sarah Agnes Prine, my hero from These is My Words

On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

The Promise - sequel to The Chosen by Chaim Potok


The "Emerging Man" statue at the National Harbor:

WWII Monument:

Washington Monument (you can barely see it in the background. Kind of a dark picture. Oops:

Thursday was Julie's birthday, so we took her out for crab cakes:

And then to the symphony:

Then we came home to enjoy the lemon tarts I had made for dessert. They were fantastic!

Friday night, we drove across the Chesapeake Bay to attempt a camping trip:

It got rained out in the morning, so we did a lot of driving for not a lot of camping, but the drive was fun anyway. And we decided to stop at the outlet malls on the way home (since we had already driven all that way.) I found a fantastic skirt on sale at White House Black Market.

Friday, August 01, 2008

this weekend,

i am going camping on the beach. yay! after just a week of freedom, i'm already ready for the first day of school to get here already. however, camping is a good alternative for now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

my webpage

Check out my AP Webpage! I realize it's not the prettiest, but the web editing my school uses is difficult to work with (to say the least).

Click on some of the links. I have them all formatted with Review Materials, Web Resources, and Labs and Handouts. There's not a lot there yet, but I'm planning on posting review sheets, class notes, labs and other things they might need throughout the year. And some of the web resources I've found are fantastic!

What do you think? Any recomendations? Comments? Praise? (haha)

Where to eat in DC

In Alexandria:
Bombay Curry Company - not really metro-accessible, but they have the best naan I've ever tasted. SO worth the trip.

The Scoop: Homemade ice cream that (from what I hear) is to die for. I've never eaten there myself, but my roommate is always looking for excuses to go to Alexandria just for the ice cream.

At Dupont Circle:
There's a greek restaurant at Dupont Circle (very metro-accessible). I can't remember the name of it, but it's GOOD. If you get off at the Dupont Circle metro stop, it should be the closest Greek restaurant.

In Bethesda: Bethesda is a little ways outside of the city, but you can get there by metro, and they have hundreds of restaurants all within a few blocks. You can easily find whatever it is you're looking for.

Bethesda Crab House - great crabs, just a block from the metro

Faryab Restaurant - it's an Afghan restaurant on Cordell. Small, great service, and the flavors are fantastic. Even the vegeterian dishes were really good.

Brasserie Monte Carlo - I went during Bethesda's restaurant week. You have to try the asparagus soup, and all of the entrees we tried were great. The waiters and chefs are French, so they're a bit on the snobby side.

Moby Dick - I'm pretty sure they have Moby Dick in the city as well. It's an informal, cafe-style kabob house. Perfect stop for lunch or a light dinner.

Guapos - If you're craving Mexican food, this is the best we have to offer. It's not the best Mexican I've ever had, but I haven't found anything else around here that has anything better.

Lebanese Taverna: Don't order the rotisserie chicken - it's dry and not all that flavorful. However, just about everything else on the menu is great.

Penang Malaysian Cuisine: This is a great alternative to the same menu that every asian restaurant seems to have. Order the mango chicken. It's good. But if you aren't in the mood for mango chicken, they have a huge menu, and everything was delicious.

At Eastern Market:

Banana Cafe - seriously, you HAVE to try the calamari. It comes with a mango sauce, which I was skeptical of, but I will go back over and over again just for the calamari. I ordered the stuff plantains (which are ENORMOUS) and my friend ordered the Bistec Encebollado, which is definitely a favorite. The Fritas are also good. They taste more like meat loaf than hamburgers, on little toasted buns.

In Georgetown: There are plenty of restaurants and shopping in Georgetown (and you can walk up the Exorcist stairs).

Zed's - Ethiopian food is not for everybody. It's served on a huge platter and looks a little like mush. You scoop it up with a spongy bread and eat with your hands. I love it. There's another Ethiopian restaurant that I liked better than Zed's, but I can't remember the name and it's in kind of a sketchy part of town (down by Howard University and the 930 Club, if anyone wants to venture down there). Make sure you order the vegetable platter, and be sure to ask the waiter for recommendations. They know what's good.

Other Tips:

The restaurant at the Kennedy Center is supposed to be excllent (although I've never tried it myself.)

If you run into a Vive la France, stop and buy a chocolate croissant. I didn't think I liked chocolate croissants until I tried theirs. The only one I know of is in Potomac, but I'm sure there are others.

If you like hamburgers, you have to eat at Five Guys. Unlike most hamburger joints, they ONLY serve burgers and fries. While the menu is limited, they are probably the best hamburgers I've ever eaten. I crave them. The regular hamburgers have two patties, so if you want only one, you have to order the "junior".

Cosi is one of the better sandwich/lunch places you'll find in the city - their bread is fantastic.

If you are at the national mall and don't want to eat overpriced street vendor food, start walking towards the Metro Center metro stop, and you'll find some restaurants and a food court type place. If it's hot outside (which it definitely will be in the summer) you'll probably want to go inside anyway to cool off.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

high school - revisited

1.Who was your best friend?
2. What kind of car did you drive?
a 1992 Ford Festiva appropriately named Pudge
3. It’s Friday night. Where were you?
If it was my senior year, I was at work at la Madeleine.
4. Were you a party animal?
5.. Were you considered a flirt?'
I still don't know how to flirt.
6. Were you a nerd?
Yup. Probably still am.
7. Were you ever suspended or expelled?
No. I never even got a detention.
8. Can you sing the fight song?
I could. Now all I remember is "So we'll fight fight fight with all of our might, for the mustangs blue and the white, so come on team do your best you can stand the test we're Taylor, Taylor better than the REST!!!"
9. Did you go to the Prom?
10. If you could go back, would you:'
Nobody should ever have to re-live high school. Even those who loved high school. That's why I teach it.
11. What do you remember most about graduation?
My dad forgot to put film in the camera
12. Where were you on Senior Skip Day?'
At school. I skipped a lot of days my senior year, but made sure to show up on Senior Skip day, because it was the one day out of the year they actually checked attendance.
13. Did you have a job your senior year?
la Madeleine
14. Where did you go most often for lunch?
Um, the school cafeteria?
15. Have you gained weight since then?
a little. I prefer "filled out" thank you very much.
16. What did you do after graduation?
I worked that summer and then went to BYU
17. What year did you graduate?
18. Are you going/did you go to your 5/10 year reunion?
Um, no.

Monday, July 28, 2008

dear mom,

Could you send your lemon tart recipe please? I promised I'd make them this week.


ps - I bought you a pair of jeans last week. They were on sale for $8. They're cute.

weekend fun

(Pictures will be added soon...)

Summer school is finally over! Friday was our last day of class, and it couldn't have come soon enough. Friday evening, Rochelle and I went to the asian market and bought food we wanted to try out before our upcoming trip to Hong Kong. The Dragon Fruit was pretty good (very kiwi-esque, but hot pink), although I'm pretty sure the ones in Hong Kong are much better. Then we watched The Dish (about the first walk on the moon) and continued reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

Saturday, we tried to go to the national harbor to celebrate my freedom, but it was nothing more than a dock and lots of construction sites. Turns out the website lied when they said it would be done by now. So we took a few pictures with the Emerging Man statue (coming soon) and headed up to Cleveland Park for dinner at an asian restaurant. The entrees weren't my favorite ever, but the calamari was divine. Then we went down to the Roosevelt Memorial (by far my favorite memorial), the Benjamin Franklin memorial and the WWII memorial, where we ran into an enormous high school tour group.

The best part of the weekend, however, was when I got my class schedule for next year!!! I get to teach all of my favorite students from last year again, and I flipped through this year's yearbook to figure out who some of my new students are. Things are looking good.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

something you don't see every day

Yesterday I met a man who bears a striking resemblance to Jack Black. And is a professional figure skater.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Things I accomplished yesterday:

  • Sat out on the front porch and finished These Is my Words. I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest. This is one of those rare books that effected me emotionally. I woke up feeling really sad this morning.
  • Picked up Peace Like a River again. (Remember how I left it at school one day and decided to start These is my Words instead?)
  • Ate a delicious (lemonade/rock n roll) shaved ice with sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top.
  • Deposited my paycheck for the extra summer sessions I've done.
  • Paid all of my bills.

Things I need to accomplish today:

  • Finish reorganizing my closet so that I can call the donation center to come pick up all of the clothes I don't wear anymore.
  • Write college recommendation letters for my students. I have a feeling I'll be writing a lot in the fall, so I need to get a headstart on the ones I'm already aware of
  • Buy a new pair of running shoes and go for a jog along the trails by my house.
  • Eat another shaved ice
  • Finish writing my AP syllabus to submit to the College Board.
  • Clean my bathroom again. I've realized that I can't count on my roommates to do any cleaning on the bathroom.
  • Order some more books from Amazon. Any recommendations? (I'm thinking Sarah's Quilt and On the Road. Or maybe Me Talk Pretty one Day? But I'm open to suggestions.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dear Bexar,

Let's start a book club.

Peace Like a River will be first. I'm excited.



I have a crush on Captain Jack Elliot. This is only my second book crush of all time (the first was Peekay - how could anyone not love him?) *sigh*

Monday, July 14, 2008

things i learned this weekend

1. Shenendoah is really beautiful.

2. Camping is always fun.

3. I make a mean foil dinner.

4. Most people do not know the proper foil dinner pouch technique. Sad.

5. I really need to do a backpacking trip sometime soon. While the "fluff" camping I did this weekend was a great way to spend time with friends and be outside, I much prefer backpacking.

6. Sleeping next to two people who feel the need to display their love for each other in a ten-man tent equals not much sleep at all.

7. So does sleeping next to someone who snores.

8. So does sleeping in a tent that has not been staked down and therefore falls on you at night.

9. Roasted starbursts are pretty darned good.

10. But you can leave them in a hot car all day and get the same effect.

11. I still enjoy rollerblading.

12. Even in the rain.

Friday, July 11, 2008

finishing the 100(ish) things about me

35. My mom thought it was cool that I made a list of things about myself, so she copied me. (Go over and read hers. They're pretty funny.)
36. She went a little overboard and went to 101.
37. I only made it to 34.
38. this pretty much typifies our personalities
39. I consider it a triumph to not finish a book
40. This is because it means I have better things to do with my time than finish something that turned out to not be of much worth.
41. I will NOT finish a book that I don't think is well-written.
42. I LOVE finishing a really good book.
43. My favorite vacation so far was Costa Rica last summer
44. My long-time dream of going to Asia might come true this winter.
45. If not, it will definitely come true next summer.
46. my roommates are a little bit crazy
47. I still really love living with them
48. I love making ginger bread houses at Christmas time
49. one year we made gingerbread houses and I accidentally sat on one.
50. everybody laughed at me, and I vowed that I would never find it funny
51. snickerdoodles are the best cookies of all time
52. they might be trumped by oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Great Harvest. maybe
53. I inherited my mother's sweet tooth
54. thanks a lot, mom
55. I hope Bexar saves me a spot in heaven, because she is definitely going.
56. when I'm an old widow, I'm living with my sister so we can be the crazy old ladies together. (right, ashley?)
57. maybe i'll finish this later

Thursday, July 10, 2008

good news, ashley

You might be out of the doghouse. I might no longer be mad at you for bailing on our Christmas trip. Because I might be going to Hong Kong this Christmas with my roommate! Her brother is moving there next month and has invited us to come out to visit.

If I don't go to Hong Kong, I promise I'll go to Mexico, mom. And remember, you're still invited to come visit me out here in DC! (So is everyone else.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

shaved ice flavor of the week

lemonade/watermelon - the tartness of the lemonade goes great with the milder watermelon.

sad story

So I started reading Peace Like a River on Monday. It's a brilliant book. So I obviously brought the book to school with me in hopes that I could get in some reading while my students were working on their robots. (Who was I kidding?) This isn't the sad part.

I got home yesterday afternoon and head out to the front porch to sit and read when I realized that I had left my book all the way back at school. I cried a little inside. Luckily, I remembered that I also wanted to start These is my Words, which is equally brilliant. If you haven't read either book, buy them now. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

DC traveler's guide

Age: 27

Occupation: HS physics teacher.

I've lived here for: about one year

I live here because: I got a job here. And Georgia was getting boring

My neighborhood: Just north of the district

My favorite restaurant: ooh, this is a tough one. Depends on what you're looking for. Maryland Crab House is good. So is Hollywood East Cafe. And so many others.

If you go to this restaurant, be sure to order: (Hollywood East Cafe) Honey Walnut Shrimp and the Crispy Beef. Or go during lunch for dim sum, and order pork rolls, custard buns, and just about anything else they're offering. It's all delicious.

My favorite museum: Currently, the National Gallery of Art or the Holocaust museum. That might change after I go to the spy museum or the crime and punishment museum

My favorite tourist destination: The Tidal Basin during the Cherryblossom Festival.

Best insider spot: The biking trails that lead from the suburbs down into Georgetown. You'd never know you're in a big city.

My favorite area: The monuments.

Best place to go shopping: Montgomery Mall or Georgetown

When you visit, don’t forget to pack: If you're traveling in the summer, a summer skirt and an umbrella. It rains in the evenings a LOT.

But leave room in your suitcase for: Fresh jam from one of the farmer's markets.

The one local cuisine you should try when you’re in town is: Crabs, from the Maryland Crab House in Bethesda

The best way to get around: The metro. Easy to use and just about everything is within walking distance. If somebody tells you that anything in the city is not metro accessible, don't listen to them. It just means they're lazy and don't want to walk a few blocks.

If I had to describe this city in one word, it would be: busy. There's always something going on, and always people running around.

I tell my friends to stay at: My house. Or a hotel in the suburbs. Staying in the city isn't worth the cost, and hotels have shuttle services to the metro, making it easy to get where you want to go.

The one thing most outsiders don’t know about this city is: The fall is beautiful and much less touristy. Almost every tourist attraction in the city is free.

What do you want to do that you haven't done in your city yet? The Spy Museum

Monday, July 07, 2008


can i just say that Bridge to Terabithia is one of my favorite books of all time. it gets even better when you're older.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

100 (ish) things about me (updated)

no promises that i'll actually make it to 100

1. I will probably live in the DC area for the rest of my life.
2. I am going camping this weekend!!
3. I ate an entire plate of bacon for breakfast yesterday morning (Give me a break, it was the 4th of July)
4. I want to learn to play the cello.
5. I used to want to be short, now i want to be tall.
6. I wear long jeans with heels to make me look taller. It's working.
7. I love reading fiction novels.
8. I love reading books about education.
9. I don't really love reading history books. I've tried.
10. I really like changing my hair color. When I get my next paycheck, I'm going blonde.
11. I love Level 99 jeans.
12. Level 99 jeans are sold for $120, which I refuse to pay.
13. Good thing I'm such a bargain shopper, because I found a pair for $10 and two pairs for $20 each. I am in love with them.
14. I know the lyrics to just about every cheesey love song on the radio.
15. I love traveling.
16. Europe is not my favorite travel destination. There are so many other places that are just as cool (or even better) for much cheaper.
17. I'm going to Japan next summer with my roommate.
18. I am spending my time off this summer building (attempting to build) a hovercraft.
19. My roommate is giving me cooking lessons.
20. I am obsessed with shaved ice.
21. my favorite flavor is strawberry/wedding cake
22. I also love tigers blood
23. my economic stimulus check should be here any day now!
24. I love teaching high school
25. I learned this summer that I most certainly do not love teaching middle school kids
26. I tried yoga for the first time when I was 16.
27. I hated it because I had a huge cast on my arm and thumb. It's hard to do yoga in that condition.
28. I tried yoga for the second time ever on Saturday.
29. I am officially hooked. I have vowed to do yoga every night with my roommate.
30. It is power yoga.
31. Sometimes I check my email while I'm teaching. Only when my students are working on something that doesn't require direct instruction.
32. Sometimes when I'm reading my email during class I don't hear them when they ask me a question. They make fun of me for that.
33. It's okay because I frequently make jokes at their expense.
34. I'm still angry that Ashley is going to England without me this Christmas.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

wedding pictures

no, not mine. but check out my sister's blog to see her wedding pictures. they turned out GREAT!

Monday, June 30, 2008

weekend update

Thursday night the restaurant club went to a fantastic Afghan restaurant, where I picked out the best meal on the menu. It had lamb and vegetables in some sort of delectable sauce.

Friday, it rained buckets so we took advantage of the situation and put on our swimsuits and rain boots (and clothes - not really sure why we bothered with those) and splashed around in the rain. Laura tried boogey boarding down the hill, but there wasn't quite enough water.

Then our Brazilian neighbors got jealous that we were having so much fun and came out to play soccer.

I also made lots of shaved ice with my new gourmet shaved ice syrups that already arrived!!! (I decided to go with package #2.) And when my package arrived, I also received a note from the seller (I bought them off of ebay) letting me know that next time I order, I can pick whatever flavors I want! My favorite 15 out of hte 99 options available!!! I'm already excited for next summer.

Saturday, my roommate and I made strawberry-rhubarb pie and lemon buttermilk sherbet. It was quite possibly the best combination of dessert flavors ever. I'll have to post the recipe for the sherbet. It made my little heart go pitter patter. Saturday night, we tried to go to the National's game but the cheap seats were sold out (who knew the Nats were popular?) so we went down to the mall for the folk life festival, which was over. But we saw enough to know that we are going back. Mission accomplished.

ps - read my mom's blog. sometimes my family blows me away. in a good way.

Friday, June 27, 2008

dear brother,

thanks for not killing me when we did the paper route together. I owe you my life.

and happy birthday.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

my books are here!!!

I ordered a book from Amazon last week all about robotics and designing and building sensors and what not. So it turns out that when my school asked me if I'd like to teach a robotics class, I forgot to mention that I really don't know that much about robotics. Lucky for me, everybody else in the school knows exactly zero about robotics, so when I tell them that I can program a robot to look for objects and pick them up, they think that's really fancy. This book should help me turn my class into an actual high school/pre-college class as opposed to something along the lines of "Fun with Legos".

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

invoke your right to vote

So, a few weeks ago I bought an electric shaved ice machine, which is just about my favorite purchase of all time. So, since shaved ice is no good unless you have some shaved ice FLAVORS to go along with it, I found some syrups on sale that I am debating. One package has 14 flavors ($14) and the other has 15 flavors ($15). The problem is, the flavors are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. So it is your job to tell me which package you think I should go with. I may or may not listen to your suggestions, but I want to hear them anyway.

Package 1 includes the following flavors:
Blue Raspberry,
Pink Cotton Candy,
Grape ,
Root Beer ,
Watermelon ,
Sassy Green Apple ,
Banana ,
Strawberry ,
Blue Bubble Gum ,
Orange ,
Lime ,
Pineapple ,
Tigers Blood (Red Fruits & Coconut)

Package 2 includes these flavors:

Wild Cherry (Red, tangy cherry)
Rock n Roll (Blue Fruit Punch)
Black Cherry (Dark, Sweet Cherry)
Wild Thing (Wild Cherry & Black Cherry mix)
Red Apple (Red, Candied Apple)
Blackberry (Just like the fruit without the seeds)
Peach (add a little evaporated milk to have peaches & cream)
Red Hot (Red, Hot Cinnamon)
Kiwi (Tangy)
Coconut (White - no food coloring)
Pina Colada (Pineapple & Coconut)
Red Raspberry (Just like the fruit without the seeds)
Margarita (Bright Green)
Strawberry Daiquiri
Pink Lemonade (Pink, Sour)

So what do you think?

the weekend

Overall the weekend turned out to be pretty fun. Friday night, I watched Freedom Writers, which always makes me feel inspired about being a teacher. I think it might have graduated to the title of favorite movie of all time.

Saturday, we went down to the mall (national, not shopping). The weather was SO perfect in the shade, and the barbecue festival smelled perfect. However, the barbecue festival required a large fee, and nobody wanted to pay it. So we just stood and stared and smelled. But boy, the smell was worth it. Ahhhh....

We then went swimming, ate dinner, and went down to a party at the French Embassy. The party wasn't quite as cool as we had hoped for, but the strawberry lemonade smoothie I bought in Georgetown was definitely as good as I had hoped.

Monday, June 23, 2008


So this is what we've been doing this week in my summer robotics class. I now have a strong testimony that I should never, ever teach twelve-year-olds. I just don't have the patience for pre-adolescent antics. They love the battle bots, though. The real fun starts in the fall. Stay tuned.

During my free time, I finished reading this book:

Nice story, great ending, and after the first two pages I was already worried about the main character.
I also started this book:
So far, it's interesting and pretty funny. It's a great summer book because it's easy to get through, but still thought-provoking. What a great combination.

I also bought The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down and Peace Like a River, which I am excited to start: