i'm not ok with...

...being good at basketball if it means that KSU will have more games on ESPN being called by dick vitale. he's awful. his voice is awful, his comments are useless, his "diaper dandy" makes me want to surgically remove my ears, and he is off-topic for 90% of the game. if you're calling the game between the #1 and #4 teams in the nation, Duke and KSU, then why are you talking about how KU is such a great team and "keep an eye out for that Selby kid?" does he not know the difference between KU and K-State or does he only know how to talk about the KUs, Dukes, and Tarheels of the world??? i'll take bob knight over dick vitale any day, and he's about the MOST negative person that exists in the world. but, he's actually knowledgeable about the game of basketball and has never uttered the term, "diaper dandy."

...KSU's free throw percentage. what do you do if you're coach martin??? how do you coach free throw shooting at this level? can they spend the entire practice just shooting free throws?? and why has pullen's percentage dropped off? this is strange to me.

...stress fractures. or "beginning of stress fractures," as that is apparently what i have in my right hip on the top of my femur. what am i, 90 years old??? apparently, i've been playing soccer 2-3 times per week, enduring the pain of what i thought was hip bursitis, but is actually a smidge more serious. so, no soccer or running for 6 weeks. awesome. swimming and elliptical trainer it is!

...having to do my final project for my master's program over thanksgiving break. i just want to eat, sleep, swim and elliptisize (not a word you say? i defy you to think of a better word for exercising on an elliptical trainer!), watch football and basketball and wear pajamas for 5 straight days. this plan does not include working of any sort.

...finishing a good book and dreading starting a new book that cannot possibly measure up to the book i've just finished. do you know that feeling? when you've just watched a really good movie or read a really good book and you don't want it to end, but it has ended, so you must move on with your life?? i've a stack of books with which to "move on", but i'm struggling to choose THE one to read next. i'm also in the middle of 3 other books simultaneously, all of which are quality, but it makes for rather slow and/or confusing reading to do things this way. the books i'm presently enjoying: eleanor roosevelt's biography (entirely fascinating so far!), the distant hours by kate morton (who is quickly becoming a favorite author, up there with joanne harris who wrote Chocolate...morton's books are a great blend of all things that intrigue me: british people and history, mystery, flashbacks, and uncovering of characters' pasts), and loose cannons by henry louis gates (harvard professor and expert on race relations and african-american history). anyway, all really interesting books. you'll really never hear me say that "i'm not ok with" anything regarding books, except that moment of finishing a good book and having to start a new one while burdened by the weight of expectations from the previous book.

that's all i'm not ok with this week. all in all a pretty good week. considering that i do have 5 days off of work for thanksgiving break, i am THANKFUL.


i'm an adult now!

ever since kirk and i got married 8 1/2 years ago and i moved into our first apartment to start making it "home" i have been on the lookout for a bed frame. and ever since this time my mattresses have sadly rested upon the frail little metal rails that are free with the purchase of any mattress set. you know the ones. the ones that roll freely so that every time you toss, turn, or so much as cough in bed it shifts away from the wall by 5 inches. i have just never found a bed that i like and that i'm willing to spend some money on. even now, now that i am well into my adult years, it is hard to spend hundreds of dollars on a single purchase. my other dilemma is that i love, LOVE, LOVE old iron beds, but, as we americans have continued to grow wider over the decades, thus requiring larger beds, i have a queen-sized mattress and queen-sized sheets and blankets and all the great old iron beds are no larger than full-sized. it's truly tragic. every time i see a wonderful old iron bed i try to imagine how to squeeze my super-sized mattress onto it, but i've had to reconcile myself to buying a new bed. and i have done! finally! i found a bed and was able to purchase it for 20% off, assuaging my guilt over spending so much money at once, and i've ordered it! so now i feel that i'm officially an adult since i will have a "real" bed with headboard and footboard.

i also took advantage of the 20% discount to purchase a medicine cabinet for our bathroom remodel that will take place at some time in the near future. i've been looking for just such a cabinet on craigslist and etsy, wanting to buy antiques
or used furniture as much as possible, but have found nothing similar. craigslist has plenty of retired bathroom furniture for purchase if you are looking to remodel your bathroom in the motif of ugly-80's-faux-wood-hideousness style. however, this is not my particular taste. or if you like old rusty metal medicine cabinets that would require updated tetanus shots. again, not my heart's desire. this is exactly what i wanted and i'm more excited than ever about the bathroom project. so, now we've got the tub (although it needs some tlc), the sink with faucet, the medicine cabinet, the toilet (reusing our current toilet), and a tall metal cabinet for storage. still need: flooring, tiles or wainscoting for the walls,lighting, hooks or towel bars, and the fixtures for the bathtub. does anyone have any good suggestions for the bathtub fixtures? we'll need the usual faucet, but we'll also need to be able to use it as a shower. i've thought about just using regular shower fixtures and running the plumbing up in the wall, but they also make some clawfoot tub combo faucet/shower fixtures. what do you guys think? i want it to be cheap but look nice. is that asking too much?


standing in john lewis' shoes

i was doing so good about blogging regularly but it's been an incredibly busy 3 weeks or so at work so i've just had nothing but school on the brain. i dream about it, wake up thinking about stacks of paperwork, and drive to school thinking about what i should do in my class today because i didn't have time to make a lesson plan, drive home after staying an hour later at work than i'd planned, fix dinner, sleep, and start the whole thing over again. and watch an occasional football game or 2 or so.

anyway, today i did a lesson with my social development class that i loved so i thought i should blog about that since i have nothing else to blog about. this class has all of my students with emotional disturbance or behavior disorders and we're doing a unit on self-awareness and self-management. one of the objectives of the unit is that students will learn to think from others' perspectives, or to put themselves in others' shoes, which, as you know, is really hard for almost all teenagers to do and next to impossible for emotionally disturbed teens to do! the part of the brain that deals with empathy is not fully developed until adulthood, which explains why many teenagers act like sociopaths. i'm being dramatic for comic effect...sort of.

so today, we did a"putting-yourself-in-someone-else's-shoes" activity. i did a photo history of john lewis, starting with a photo of the young activist john lewis marching in protest of segregation in the south during the civil rights movement in the 60's (this picture was actually AFTER the "bloody sunday" incident, when john lewis left his hospital bed to finish the march...pictured on the right in the blue sweater).
we discussed the background of peaceful protests, sit-ins, freedom rides, marches, etc. then i asked my students to think about how they would feel if they were in john lewis' shoes: what would they be thinking while they marched? how would they feel? what would they see? what would they hear? they talked about feeling aching feet, tired legs, but feeling strong because what they were doing was important. some students said they would feel scared because of walking through the south as a black man and some said they would feel unafraid because they weren't marching alone.
the next picture i showed was of the state troopers that waited for the unarmed marchers on the other side of the bridge and then began hitting people with clubs, and john lewis on the ground trying to cover his head from the blows. the next picture was of john lewis, with a bandage on the back of his head, being arrested and thrown into jail. then, a picture of john lewis next to a young civil rights activist (a white man), both splattered with blood. for the first time all year, every one of my students' eyes were glued to the images, they did not look away. they asked questions about rosa parks and lynchings and brown vs. the board of ed and segregation and slavery (one student asked if i thought slavery came naturally to people back then and why was it that the black people were taken as slaves...hard questions.) and harriet tubman and the underground railroad. hello! do not get me started talking about history, i won't be able to stop!
the last picture that i showed was a picture in 2008, washington, d.c. the mall crowded with millions of people and newly elected president obama walking down the steps of the capitol building balcony to give his inaugural speech. but he stops and hugs a man from the crowd as he passes. this man is, now older, now a CONGRESSMAN, john lewis.
i asked the students: what do you think he felt in this moment? what did he see around him? what did he hear? what was he thinking? they said that he probably felt overwhelmed, joyful, proud, emotional, but in a good way. then, i read to them an article that congressman lewis wrote about how he felt on that day and what it meant to him. we talked about how president obama is proof that peoples' attitudes can change and that our country is able to learn from past mistakes and that even people who didn't agree with obama's politics celebrated on that day because of what it meant for this country, that his election could occur in the same lifetime as segregation and jim crow south and heinous acts of discrimination. imagine! just imagine what john lewis has witnessed in his very own lifetime!
congressman lewis is one of my favorite people in the history of our country and i was overcome with emotion when i saw him on the balcony of the capitol building, hugging president obama. i love sharing his story with students and i want them to put themselves there, in his head, in his shoes, and learn to see from others' perspectives and empathize and learn that history is important because it's a chance to learn from the mistakes of the past and apply these lessons to their own lives. i want them to know that there is a place for protesting, and expressing their opinions, and raising objections, and defying social norms and that is when it is for the common good, for human rights. my students can be particularly defiant, oppositional, argumentative, deviant. most of the time they are labeled "bad kids." but maybe there's a place for defiant, oppositional, and argumentative people, if only we would learn to direct our passions at a worthy purpose!