Saturday, January 24, 2009

     Well, we did get to break our faculty meetings early enough to see the pre-inauguration festivities, including Aretha, Yo-Yo, and others.  Even though the John Williams piece was "Millie Vanilla'd," it was still spectacular, and I did snivel all the way through it, just the way I had thought I would.  The entire faculty broke out in applause at various parts of the ceremony, lending to the spirit of community and unity alluded to in Obama's speech.  Oh happy day!
     Perhaps it's just my imagination, but I've sensed a reaction to the inauguration that is palpable in the "outside world" as well as within our small school community.  People for whom I hold a door open, for instance, seem to be truly grateful and friendly when they say, "Thank you." and cars at the corner seem to let someone turn left before they cross the intersection.  Little things I've noticed- probably just my heightened sense of a need for us all to come together before the storm, but it is out there.  I hope it stays and grows.
     Saw "Slumdog Millionaire" last night.  In spite of a ludicrously implausible plot, the movie sucked me right in and the characters took hold of me.  I hope it gets as many Oscars as it can; it's a totally original, unique and wonderfully crafted piece of filmmaking.  I may go and see "Frost-Nixon" tonight.  This afternoon I have to video a girls' varsity basketball game at 2:30 and then get my assignments ready for next week, in addition to finishing up my 3rd and 4th grade Spanish comments.
     Sally's busy getting introduced to alumnae in Sarasota and Delray Beach today and tomorrow.  I'm watching the thermometer drop steadily toward freezing again, waiting for the weekend Times to be delivered.  As Mel Blanc would say, "Yib-yibadee-That's all, folks!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Jr. Day

It's been a little over a week since I last "blogged" (that must be a word now- but is it in Webster's??)  Exams have come and gone, corrections have been done, and - as of today - grades and comments for about 60 Spanish students have been written and will be downloaded on the school's server tomorrow morning before faculty meetings.   This year I used a test generator that comes with the Spanish text, rather than giving the same exam that Armando Perez and I have used with revisions for the last three or four years.   On the one hand, it's a teacher's dream; you simply chose the chapter and topic you want to be tested and it spits out questions in a variety of formats from which to chose (multiple choice, true/false, short answer, etc.)  Then you edit any of the questions to suit your own needs.  The only part about it that scares me a little is that it's a bit too Orwellian.  (I have to admit, though, that the answer sheet that is spit out at the end sure makes correcting ten or eleven pages of exams a lot more palatable!)

Sally drove down Saturday afternoon, took a well-deserved nap, then we dined with Tom & Canny Iampietro, former teachers at Stoneleigh, now teaching at Hamden Hall and Hopkins respectively.  On Sunday, we took time to read the Times, then Sally's business partner at EDUInnovations came over to discuss plans for their Beginning Administrator's Institute at Lawrenceville, N.J. in June.  Soon the snow began and Sally had to return to SBS (Monday was an Open House).  Being in a day school, I have MLK Jr. Day off, and I've spent it finishing up comments and grades while listening to (if you haven't tried it, DO- it's GREAT!)

Though it is still somewhat of a trial, Sally and I continue to agree that our living an hour and a half apart isn't what we'd prefer, but "it is what it is," and there isn't much that can be done about it for the foreseeable future.  I firmly believe that she belongs at SBS at this time in her and the school's lives, and it isn't a tremendous sacrifice on my part for her to be able to do the best job she can do for the school she loves so much.  (Among my greatest sacrifices are having to make the bed alone in the morning, vacuum and dust the house every once in a while, and cook my own dinner. . .)  I support what Sally's doing and look forward to the day when the school is situated well enough to be passed on to the next Head.  

Speaking of transitions, I am so excited about tomorrow's inauguration!  I met last Friday with a drama teacher at Hamden Hall to discuss ways we could get the tv signal projected on the big screen in the theater during the inauguration.  While I was waiting to get instructions from him, Charlie has made all the connections, bless his heart.  Now all I have to do is convince the powers-that-be to break for lunch early enough tomorrow during faculty meetings for us all to see not only the swearing in ceremony, but also the singing by Aretha Franklin, music by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman & others before the oath of office.  This IS a once-in-a-lifetime experience, after all. . . We can finish the faculty meeting a little later, no?

I plan to invoke the spirit of my father ( a notoriously emotional person) while watching tomorrow's ceremonies as I  whimper, snivel, and cry uncontrollably.  Just thinking about it makes me want to break out the Kleenex.  I pray for everything to go as planned tomorrow and for our President to be able to help us all to bring our nation back together again!  

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jan 10, 2009

Well,  I said I probably wouldn't post something everyday, and I haven't.  Sorry 'bout that.  Last week included a professional day, a snowday, and three (count 'em, three!) days of classes, during which I attempted to review an entire term's work with my 7th and 8th graders before next week.  There's one more day of review, a day of Listening Tests, then the exams.  (Of course, there's another snowstorm predicted for Wednesday, so it may a week of ONE day of classes)!  I'm definitely not in favor of this year's schedule (of having semester exams one week after winter vacation, with no tests or quizzes allowed during that time).  I (and, it appears, most of the rest of the faculty) hope that next year's calendar will be more educationally sound.
Unfortunately, the snowstorm today (5-10 inches predicted) has meant that Sally isn't able to come down here for the day, as we had hoped.  Instead, she'll stay at SBS, attending the horse show and preparing for next week's board meeting, and I'll stay here and finalize the Spanish A & B exams, between shoveling snow and feeding the birds.  Good thing I love snow and winter.  (It must be a holdover from my two years in Labrador, where the average temperature in January was 15 below and the days had about 8 hours of sunlight).
Anyway,  this post is primarily meant to say I'm still alive and well and to explain that I'm going to be pretty busy with exam correction, comment writing, and faculty meetings in the next couple of weeks, so I may not have much to add for the next week or so.  
Until next time!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Slow day of tweeking Spanish exams, getting caught up on correspondence, and getting this week's syllabi up and running( between CBS Sunday Morning and football games).  Picked up some friends coming back from Florida at the airport this evening, now to rest before tomorrow's mapping workshop.  Am posting some pics of Stoneleigh I took last week while visiting Sally:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

     "Home again, home again" after four wonderful days visiting Sally at her school.  Got a complete tour of the main building today after taking Chevy (Golden Lab belonging to Development Director) around campus.  Last night we met Michael (one of Sally's former students at the Klingenstein Program) and his wife  Sonia, teachers at Deerfield, for burgers and wine at the Deerfield Inn.  Before we left, a blond cat was found whining on the front porch. Because of the extreme cold, we finally gave in and brought the poor thing inside and put him/her in the downstairs bathroom with a bowl of milk, some food, and some kitty litter.  After waking up this morning, I put the cat outside again (the temp was almost 40).  We found out later that "Doc" was indeed the barn cat in the horse barn next to Sally's house.  Nice cat, good experience, knowing we'd done a good thing.
During my stay in Greenfield we didn't do anything special (other than last night's dinner and one with Pam & Ben Benson on Thursday) but it was great just to "hang out" with Sally and pretend - at least for a few days - that we were actually a "normal" married couple living under the same roof.  Abnormal as it may be, it is what it is, and we're doing pretty well with it. We'll continue to see each other - either here or there - as often as we can throughout the year.
What with a professional day on Monday and midterm exams next week, I've got my work cut out planning to help the kids prepare for exams, then grades, comments and faculty meetings.  I may not be posting every day, but I'll try.

Friday, January 2, 2009

While I've got the internet at my command, I might as well advertise the trip to San Miguel de Allende that I've taken every two years since 2000.   A description of the trip can be found at the link "Mexico 2009 Trip Flyer" above

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A new year has auspiciously begun and I've decided to make it all the more auspicious by creating my own blog.  I have every intention to post something daily, but we'll see. I know myself too well.  At least part of the reason for my deciding to do this is the fact that Sally has begun her own blog ( as a means of communicating with parents & other constituencies of Stoneleigh-Burnham School ( where she has been serving as Head since July.  I have my own website that I use to post assignments and related links ( for my 7th and 8th grade students at Hamden Hall Country Day School ( but I have thought about posting my own blog for a long time and now seemed to be an opportune time (it IS vacation, after all!)