about a dream: October 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On teaching...

Today one of my physics classes did a lab in the gym that involves bowling balls and brooms. Basically, the point is to sweep the balls along with just the bristles of the broom and short sweeps (no pushing), so they can get a sense of inertia and how small applications of force affect movement.

I thought it went well. They had 7 different tasks to complete, including accelerating it from rest, keeping it going at a constant speed around the "jump circle" in the center of the basketball court, and turning a sharp corner. One kid was always recording the group on my iPad so that we could get some good examples of the motion and even run it through my video physics app to see if the speed really was constant.There are 15 kids in the class, and I was pleased by how well they did staying on task and not getting hurt.

Well, turns out there's a lot that a teacher can miss! When I looked at all the videos they'd taken on my iPad, I was shocked! Misbehavior after misbehavior! One kid trying to balance on a bowling ball, playing ninja with the broom, and nearly crashing into our poor exchange student (all the same kid). Another was holding the broom in one hand and a soda in the other (how did I miss that for half an hour??). One was stealing balls, and they were all just constantly harassing one another.

I did learn an important lesson though. If you want to catch teenagers misbehaving, give them a recording device. They'll automatically record all of their worst behavior, and all you have to do is review the evidence and punish accordingly.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Sick day for two little girlies :-(

Poor kids have fall colds. Nina was up every hour last night with a terribly sore throat and runny nose and Maggie has been sniffling for days. Nina feels slightly warm right now (5 pm), but she's not burning up, so tomorrow looks good for a return to school.

I was at a workshop today so I had a sub, which was a nice change of pace. Got to work on some lesson plans, them kids are gonna get an edjumucation whether they want one or not!

Then I had a dental cleaning, and, bad news--cavity! Eek! It's right opposite from my first cavity and very minor, probably from not flossing every night. I blame exhaustion. There were more than a few nights where I was just too tired to floss and remember thinking to myself, "I'm gonna get a cavity if I skip flossing too much." (my first cavity was also caused by not flossing in my teen years). But, ultimately, something had to give, and I resigned myself to the loss of some perfectly intact enamel. Which has now come to pass. Oh the tangled web we weave, when first we practice to conceive.


The girls have cleanings/exams in November, so I got an appointment for my filling on that day.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ghost Train!

Every Halloween, the Railway Village does a ghost train and haunted hayrides, and it is SO MUCH FUN!

Here's Batgirl and Dorothy, all ready to go:
This was the best picture of the 4 I took. I'm sure you can imagine what the other 3 looked like...

 Here's Maggie as batgirl. Notice the batgirl emblem on her chest:

I made it out of black felt. She was sitting next to me while I was looking for a good batgirl emblem online to copy, when I found this:

But right underneath that, was this:

And of course, the flame batgirl was the one she wanted.


But I have to say, I nailed it. $20 says this is going to be Maggie's first tatoo, too.

Regardless, I like it so much I'm going to sew it to one of my t-shirts on November first and it's going to become my favorite t-shirt.

Back to the ghost train; it was a blast. There was also a haunted house in the main station and some fun and treats in the old town hall. Here are the girls (getting a little sleepy) enjoying their hot chocolate and popcorn:

I love that both of their eyes are closed here. They are so my girls!

And finally, poking their heads through a Frankenstein cut-out thingy:

Frankenstein eating popcorn...

What an excited little Frankenstein!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Birthday to me!

What a lovely birthday I had. Maggie and I baked a cake, and Nina frosted it. Look!
Look at that cuteness!

I'm just so dang excited to turn 35

It took me like 4 tries to blow the candles out. Age.

I also got cupcakes at school from one of my students, and someone very wonderful made me my favorite dinner.

Ha! It was me!! I made broccoli cheddar soup and it was amazing. :-)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I tell you, the time just flies

How can it be Wednesday already?? I barely even remember Monday and Tuesday. I think they were good? Well the 4 of us are present and accounted for, so nothing too exciting could have happened.

On Friday, November 1, the first quarter grades close at the high school. That means we'll be 1/4 of the way though the year. What?!! Already?? This is going way too fast.

Teaching is going well though. I feel settled into a nice routine, and I can predict pretty well how the rest of the year will go. I know my kids and my classes, and I've gotten used to the ridiculously complicated schedule (it consists of B, R, H, and S days, which condense an 8 class load into 6 daily periods. So B days drop classes 1 and 8, R days drop 2 and 7, H days drop 3 and 6, and S days drop 4 and 5). On top of that, every Wednesday is early release, so each period is about 8 minutes shorter and the bells ring on a different schedule. Plus, on Wednesdays we have student support/homeroom time between periods 2 and 3 instead of between periods 1 and 2, and there's no locker break on those days. So when I said that the daily schedule is ridiculously complicated, you can see I wasn't exaggerating.

Tomorrow is my first day doing the Math Club at the elementary school, which is a fun birthday present for me. I love math! Nina and Maggie will tag along and participate as much as they like, even though it's for 5th through 8th grade.

That's all there is. The weather has finally dropped down into the 50s and there's a lovely fallish chill in the air. I love October!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

One Halloween costume down

Is she not the most adorable Dorothy ever?

And the ruby slippers we found at WalMart today! Perfect!!
She's going to carry a basket with Toto in it. But if Marley can come along as a giant Toto, I think that would be even better.

Adorable! We're so excited for Halloween!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday night lights!

Today the girls and I went to a football game with Erik, Isabelle, Chester, Mom, and Dad. Fun! It was actually kind of fun! The girls played with some of their friends and rolled down the hill next to the field for an hour, and I got to chat with my friend Chat. I love to chat with Chat! Ha!

Busy busy busy all the time. Yesterday we had open house at the high school. First we all had dinner, then we ran a fake "day" with 8 minutes for each class, and parents went to all their kids classes. It was nice to meet the parents and give them a quick overview of what their kids are up to during the day. And nice to get a free spaghetti dinner!

Nick took the girls to the Ebb Tide with Erik, Isabelle, and Dad, so it was a win for everyone.

Tomorrow lots of fun on the docket: apple picking, hopefully a pumpkin, and maybe even some pie. Pictures! I'll remember the camera and take pictures!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


This weekend was the Damariscotta Pumpkin Festival (or as we say it in our house, Darnriscotta. Also acceptable; Dangriscotta. We've taken the whole "no cursing" thing to the next level).

Nina took her camera and got some fantastic pictures. Check 'em out!

I had to give that beautiful fish a nice kiss!

Just, wow. Someone painted that! IT'S SO GOOD!!!

A mouse!! And the pink nose is made from the stem!! Generally I don't like the ones that are totally painted, because I feel you lose too much of the, shall we say, pumpkin essence. But I liked this one.

It's the gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel. And I think the pumpkin is the witch? I dunno, perhaps this one is too esoteric for me...

A pumpkin house! Like Peter Peter!

This is my sad attempt to bug my eyes out like these two pumpkins. But since I have a blinking disorder (my eyes are always closed in pictures!!), this is the closest we can get.

And here she is, the Ultimate Grand Supreme, weighing in at one thousand, two hundred and sixty-six pounds. That's some pumpkin!!
There were even more pumpkins than these, but I couldn't put them all up.

Aside from the pumpkins, we also saw a (free) showing of the Lorax at the Lincoln Theater and played at the new playground at the Great Salt Bay school. Doesn't get much better than that!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

And some Halloween spookiness...

The girls have been decorating the family room. Prepare for a scare!!

They say "Beware!! turn back" and "Are you ready for the spookiest night ever? Muah ha ha ha"

The funniest part of this is that she keeps calling garland "garlic," and telling people that she's 
hung up the Halloween garlic. To keep vampires away, I guess...

This purple skeleton is becoming a member of our family.

Maggie made this ghost! It's so cute!!
And, here's Maggie with a tutu on her head and sunglasses, just for the heck of it...

It's nice to have someone at home helping me write physics questions

I'll bet you're thinking my adult husband is my helper, right? Ha, kidding, I know none of you are thinking that.

It's this one!

She's as smart as she is funny, that's for sure.

First though, some back story. On Thursday my physics classes were studying relative velocities: how fast is car A traveling relative to car B, that kind of stuff. Which is pretty easy for everyone to understand, because you deal with it all the time when you're driving. If you're going 65 and the car in front of you is only going 60, you're going to be gaining on them at a rate of 5 mph. Easy.

We were doing this problem on the board about two trains. One train, train B, is traveling at a velocity of 90 km/h relative to the ground, which is written Vbg. The other train, train A, passes its 180 m length by train B in just 4 seconds. So it's going 180 meters per 4 seconds, which is 45 meters per second. That is the velocity of B relative to A, which is written Vba.

The problem, though, is asking us to find the velocity of train A relative to the ground. I write this on the board, because the kids have a knack for forgetting what we're doing, and turn to face the class.

They're looking at me and giggling, and I didn't understand what was going on. I turned slowly back to the board. I had written,

"What is Vag?" on the board.

"Don't erase it!" they shouted. "That's the funniest thing ever!!"

The worst thing is, they all have iPads and iPhones, so there's probably a pic or 100 out there. This is why you absolutely CANNOT be facebook friends with your students. It's just better to not know.

After the train question was a person on a moving walkway question (like the kind at an airport), and Nina wanted me to explain my drawing of a little person holding a suitcase with a JFK sign above his head. So I told her about what we were doing, and she sat down with some paper and started making up problems. She came up with one about a person walking the wrong way on a moving walkway. The walkway is moving at 2 meters per second to the right  relative to the ground, and the person is  walking 2 meters per second to the left relative to the walkway. How fast is the walker moving relative to the ground?

0 meters per second!

I told her that was an amazing question, and I might put it on the quiz. She said I should note that my 8 year old wrote it. Either she's hoping that will inspire them, or Maggie's love of humiliating people is rubbing off on her.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Nina and Maggie are eating their candy

Mom got them some at Orne's on Wednesday, and they're polishing it off.

"Mom, do you want some Swedish fish?" Nina asked me.
"No thanks," I said. "But do you have any Nordic fish?" I'm such a pain, how does that sweet girl put up with me?
"What's that?"
"Fish from Norway."
"No, just Swedish fish."
"How about Finnish fish?"
"English fish?"
 "Danish fish? Do you have any of those?"
"I get what you're doing you know."

Ha! 'I'm not not laughing because I don't get your joke. I'm not laughing because it's not funny.' That kid cracks me up!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My how the time flies...

No posts for a few days again, sorry about that! Evenings after the girls are asleep have traditionally been my posting time, but Maggie is still a little sick, so I've been spending that time in bed with her, waiting for the sleep coughing fits to pass. (She has always coughed in her sleep when she's sick. It'll go on for half an hour to an hour, and if I don't stay with her she'll wake up. But if I do stay and pat her on the back, she'll stay asleep). Actually, I'm posting this from the girls bed right now, on my iPad. Technology!

Not much else besides this little cold, which seems to be pretty much through now. We went to China Rose with great-grandma this weekend, then to Walmart for some essentials, including Halloween costume supplies. Nina's going to be Dorothy, Maggie's going to be Bat Girl (that's the latest anyway), and I'm going to wear my dirndl. If nick dresses up, you'll all be sure to find out.

Tomorrow's Wednesday, which is really more like Thursday since there's no school on Friday (not for the girls anyway, it's a teacher in service day for me). Yay for short weeks!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

My lab helpers!

Look at these cuties, helping me try out a physics lab after school!
Here's Maggie! rolling the ball down the ramp. Will it hit the target?

Nina's picture is even better because I actually managed to capture the ball while it was on the ramp.

This was actually a fairly complicated lab. The kids had to figure out the ball's velocity at the end of ramp and then figure out how far out it would fly before hitting the target. Let's just say that finding the answer involves trigonometry. I showed my students these pictures on my iPad and they laughed and said, "Let me guess, your kids got the math right too?" Ha! Before long they will!

Picture of Maggie and her boyfriend

As promised! Again, note that the tips of her hair are dyed red; that the boyfriend has tattoos on his arms and legs; that he's wearing shorts and a tank top; and that his hair is long.

The drawing on the left is more difficult to make out, but you can easily see the sword through his heart. It's harder to tell that his head has been cut off, but, it has.

Also, you have no idea how difficult it is to post blog photos when I take them using 14 different devices. Blech. I had to download google plus on my iPad to get photos from that to the blog, and of course it's a major pain in the butt. This blog post has taken me half an hour. Right now I'm backing up 250 photos onto google+ to hopefully get another couple up here.

Technology. They promise you it'll make your life easier, and I'm certainly happy that I can produce such a neat blog with so many memories from the girls' childhoods. But getting stuff up on here is just getting harder and harder...

Now off to see why those photos have stopped backing up!