Wednesday, August 26, 2009

playing tourist

My friend A who lives in NYC visited us the past 3 days - we toured locally famous sights and eats! Niagara Falls (both Canadian and US sides, Maid of the Mist boat tour pic above), Botanical Gardens (that's me staring up Palm Dome of greenhouse gardens), The Original Pancake House (baked apple pancakes), The Melting Pot (fondue), some shopping ... I felt like I was on vacation!

Back to reality - I hope to check in at school day after tomorrow to set up the room. My goal is clean and simple this year. I'm only going to use the small classroom that is my "home" to teach about 20 students who need extra help with reading/writing; I'll be using other classrooms for other classes.

Did I mention that I re-read Deathly Hallows after watching Half-Blood Prince movie last Friday? Then I re-read Chamber of Secrets, even though I wanted to start with Sorcerer's Stone, but my husband is actually reading SS for the very first time. I started to re-read Prisoner of Azkaban, but my friend's visit put that on hold. Guess what I'm gonna do now? Happy summer reading and any other last minute summer indulgences to you all!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

2 weeks left and more metaphors from Harry Potter

That's me at the Erie County Fair yesterday. I was pack mule mom, hanging out in this pic with a bloomin' onion while my daughter and her friend rode rides and more rides.

Last night I took husband to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie in IMAX theater (the first, like, 13 minutes were in 3D!) - sooooooo awesome!!! I started re-reading Deathly Hallows last night and finished this afternoon. I had forgotten so much from that book and the previous books - I truly enjoyed this re-read and think I need to restart the series from book 1.

HP metaphors ... endless, right? My favorite is still the impossible task that you undertake and persevere to accomplish, drawing from love, loyalty, friendship, whatever you have to keep you going.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

3 weeks left

Just a quick check-in to say HI FOLKS! Starting the school year after a very late Labor Day this year makes up for working until June 30 this past school year.

Insomnia struck last Thursday night, so I wrote unit/lesson plans :) Who knows? Maybe subconsciously anxiety about (not) being prepared for school kept me awake.

I need to catch up on my summer reading, and I don't mean fashion magazines. I started Inkheart today - very interesting! But it seemed so... long. And I'm no shirker about long books, but long books HAVE to grab me. Otherwise I just want the story to move along and wrap already. Another book that I started (back in... June?) The Mysterious Benedict Society - also doesn't seem interesting enough to justify so many pages.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

punch in the gut

I read the first few chapters of Holocaust historical fiction novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne a few days ago, then finished the rest yesterday morning. I can't and/or won't tell you the ending, but my strong shocked reaction by the end of the story surprised me because I considered myself somewhat familiar with Holocaust history. However, the rest of my day went on... I was given a parking violations ticket for expired (5 days) inspection sticker... I spoke to a friend who's recovering in the hospital from a bad car accident 2 weeks ago... I picked up daughter from art lesson... and so on... and I pretty much didn't think about the novel anymore, until that night.

I was lying in bed, feeling rather content and thankful for life in general, when BAM! I remembered the story from this novel and felt paralyzed by a nameless fear, not just general anxiety about the future of humanity, but a gut fear of danger... and when I tried to name the fear, all I could think of was ... I was afraid of the Holocaust.

I've read biographical and autobiographical Holocaust literature and taught literature and shown videos etc to my students, such as Maus, Anne Frank, Gerda Klein, but I've never experienced this personal fear of the Holocaust before. I don't know if I would ever choose to teach this particular novel, though I most certainly will continue to teach other literary and historical fiction and nonfiction about the Holocaust. I was told the movie adaption of this novel is very good, but I have no desire to watch it.