A Quick Note…

First, a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been so happy about my job! I will talk to you individually soon.

I have much to blog about, but I just can’t allow myself to take the time right now. I am doing an awful lot of eleventh-hour room setup and class planning, and I just have to get some of that done before I can sit down and talk about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did find out what my “mystery class” is going to be. Ready for this? It’s… PE. Ha ha ha. No, not really. I now have four writing classes and two literature classes, instead of just one. Well, I have four writing classes, 1.5 literature classes, and .5 keyboarding classes, if you think of it in terms of the entire year.

(Keyboarding should be amusing if I ever have to demonstrate anything. I don’t type exactly “correctly” – my pointer fingers cross over into the other hand’s turf frequently, and I never use my pinky fingers except for the shift key – but I type in excess of 110 wpm.)

Right now, this is kind of what my room looks like (click to enlarge):

Panorama That Makes Room Look Huge and Weird

It’s a stitched-together panorama photograph, so the shape of the room is all strange and distended. I measured it with a slightly warped meter stick (all I could find was a pile of meter sticks in a science classroom, go figure) and came up with about 7 meters by 9.5 meters. I have three white boards and two doors, one of which opens up into another classroom. I’m in the sixth grade hall, which tickles me for some odd reason. There are no corkboards/bulletin boards, but all of the walls are what I call “stapleboard.” All of the stuff in there belongs the room’s former inhabitant, and I’ve been working around it for now, but I may begin shoving some of it around this weekend since I’m running low on time. I haven’t actually done anything in there except plan, but today I’m kind of planning to start setting up bookcases and whatnot. My desks will come in on Monday, and then I can really turn it into my room!

I have got to stop typing and go start doing! I’ll try to get back with a more substantive update later this weekend. โค

Cut Down on Office Supply Costs

How much money does your workplace spend each year on writing utensils that walk away in your clients’ hands and pockets? You can cut that expense dramatically by stocking your pen cups with “Borrow My Pen?” pens, available through Perpetual Kid, Pop Deluxe, Shakespeare’s Den, The Toy Lounge, eCrater


About $7 for eight pens.

So, what’s so great about these pens? It’s the corporate logos printed on them that will cut down on inadvertent theft. The pens read:

  • SPRINGFIELD SEXUAL ADDICTION CENTER: From perv to perfect in as little as 10 days
  • SHECKY THE CLOWN: Bar Mitzvahs, Weddings, Interventions
  • ELECTROLYSIS IS US: The First Name in Unwanted Hair Removal
  • DR. LANCE HUGHES, PROCTOLOGY: Turn your head and cough
  • VAN NUYS CENTER FOR COSMETIC SURGERY: Specializing in Difficult Gender Reassignments
  • VERDANT FIELD NUDIST CAMP: Get in touch with your outer self!
  • STUFFED WITH LOVE TAXIDERMY: No pet too small, give us a call!
  • HOWIE’S HOUSE OF HAIR: From barely there to awesome hair in just one hour

More About Chicks

Since my unhatched chickens have started to hatch, can I have a robot chick?

ThinkGeek (easily the best store on teh intratoobz) just emailed me about this irrationally adorable invention. (The fact that it arrived in my inbox on the same day that my eggs hatched seems entirely serendipitous.) It sits on your hand, chirps, wiggles its wings, and responds to human touch. If you ignore it, it will cry. It is so life-like that, according to the website, dogs will be fooled. It’s not the cheapest thing they’ve ever sold, but seriously, how can you resist the urge to provide me with such totally useful entertainment?

No Longer Enumerating Pre-Emergence Barnyard Fowl Ova

image from
Tom Hallam via GIS

It seems like my job interview at LSMS was forever and ever and ever ago. In fact, I’m thinking that it was actually only on the 7th, which means less than a week has passed.

At first it was easy to put it out of my mind. But then I began to hear whisperings and rumblings (because nobody works a grapevine like a bunch of teachers). They were positive whisperings and rumblings, the kind of whisperings and rumblings that takes an ordinarily rational young woman like myself and reduces her to the sort of gal who spends every waking moment counting chickens. These chickens were not only not hatched, they weren’t even mine.

I was supposed to find out by 8:30 AM on Wednesday. By 2 PM today, I knew that I was going to be a seventh grade English teacher.

I haven’t done paperwork yet, due to some timing issues, but I’m scheduled for new teacher orientation Thursday and Friday. I’ve met the principal, however, and gotten a look inside the classrooms. I’m going to be teaching four classes of English 7 (writing) and one class of English 7 (literature) first semester; the lit class turns into a 6th grade keyboarding class in the spring. There’s another class in there that hasn’t been determined yet. I’m also – and I’m really excited about this – going to be advising student council. I know that student council at the middle school level is more emerging leadership than actual government, but I’m excited about the prospect of teaching some of the skills I’ve learned through membership in and advisement of student organizations.

The scariest/stupidest thing I did, in terms of counting those darn chickens, was thinking about a classroom. To me, one of the coolest things about teaching is having that space to yourself, that space to decorate and fill and make your own. I  knew it was a bad idea to get my head going that direction. Many first-year teachers share classrooms or travel from room to room with a book cart (hence “cart teacher”). Still, it was just too much fun NOT to think about.

Well… I have a classroom. (!!!) There was a slight confusion with the room number, and the room I’m currently assigned still has another teacher’s things in it, so I’m not 100% positive which room will be mine once I can officially begin moving in. (A, right now they’ve got me in rm 8… where are you?) Apparently the current inhabitant is changing subjects and moving to another wing of the building. I was able to wander around the school and take a look inside several classrooms. Mine is like most in that it doesn’t have a window or a computer projector, but it seems to be of average size and has a cozy feel to it. I am thinking about bookcases and trying to figure out how to arrange the room so that there is some division without making it crowded… but that’s all boring teacherblog stuff, so I’ll leave that for now.

Oh man, I am so excited that I’m not even sure how to put it into words. The end result of this is what has to be the most boring blog entry ever. ๐Ÿ™‚

In closing: those chickens are hatching, and damn is it a satisfying sensation!

P.S. I haven’t updated my teaching blog in weeks (finished summer school teaching and fizzled out) but will likely start back up very soon (although I think I will post a near-mirror of this post today). Is anyone else sick of all the parentheses I’ve used in this entry? Anyway, if you would like to read that blog and don’t know the URL, get in touch and I will give it to you. I am not going to link to it directly as I am trying to keep it anonymous for professional reasons.


I hope that it is not offensive to anyone when I say that I am fascinated with autism. It is such an intriguing exceptionality, and we know so little about it. I mean, professionals have learned a great deal about how to diagnose autism, and how to provide useful therapy and support for people with autism… but we still don’t exactly know what it is. There are so many questions, not the least of which have to do with that whole “disability” term. Is autism a disability? Or is a differentability that the general population doesn’t know how to interpret? So many of the people I have known who have autism are brilliant in unusual ways, capable of processing facts and data in ways that most of us can’t begin to approach. Those with autism are not fully a part of this world, but do we know that that is a bad thing? We know nothing of the world they do inhabit.

When I was in high school (and I haven’t gotten to my ten-year reunion yet, so this wasn’t that long ago) I had barely heard the word “autistic.” I’m not sure how aware we were aware of it; Wikipedia suggests that we began thinking of autism in its current sense in the 1960s. It also tells me that incidences have increased dramatically since the 1980s, and that this may be due more to improvements/changes in diagnosis than in actual prevalence of the condition. There are a lot of kids and adults out there that are “on the spectrum,” which is the best way I know of to describe it. Basically, there is a spectrum of autism; if an individual is severely autistic, they have severe difficulty connecting with this world and functioning within it. If they are lower on the spectrum, they might have Asperger’s Syndrome (or “high functioning” autism) or simply some tendencies of the disorder.

MSNBC/Newsweek did a little quiz thing, some time ago, that allowed you to self-diagnose yourself. Of course, this is not a terribly accurate tool, but like any magazine quiz it might provide some insight that could lead to a useful discussion with a physician. I took it at the time and got a higher score than I did tonight; not sure what that indicates. Anyway, tonight I got a 24.


If you would like to take the quiz, click here.

Twelve Pictures: A Flickr Meme!


I was reading Pilgrim Girl’s very interesting blog today (thanks to Dooce) and came across a fun Flickr meme. You don’t need to have a Flickr account to play along, so show me what you’ve got!

First, you answer each of the following questions (below, in boldface) in 1-2 words. Then you go to www.flickr.com and search for “Most Interesting” photos using your answer to each question as the search term. Looking ONLY at the first page of results that come up, choose your favorite image and copy/paste the URL into a Notepad document.

Next, go to Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker and specify a 3×4 mosaic. Paste the URLs for each image into the allotted fields and hit Create. After a moment, Mosaic Maker will present you with your very own mosaic. You’ll save the picture to your own computer and upload it to your own blog, or automatically upload it to Flickr if you have an account.

And then, because you’re a nice Netizen, leave a comment here so that I can come see your mosaic!

The questions (and the answers I used to get the mosaic to the left) are:

    1. What is your first name? (Kate)
    2. What is your favorite food? (fried potatoes)
    3. What high school did you attend? (Meridian)
    4. What is your favorite color? (green)
    5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Matthew McConaughey)
    6. Favorite drink? (milk)
    7. Dream vacation? (world tour)
    8. Favorite dessert? (pumpkin pie)
    9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (content)
    10. What do you love most in life? (creating)
    11. What one word would you pick to describe you? (wanderer)
    12. What is your Flickr name? (Kate & Ryan)

My mosaic photos can be found on their takers’ Flickr pages: 1. Kate #1, 2. Homemade Chips, 3. Meridian Gate, 4. Beautiful old lady from Darap(Sikkim) village, 5. mc_horns, 6. the Army of the Brave Milk Bottles, 7. The Secret Passageway to the Treasure, 8. Pumpkin Pie, 9. Meeting the pregnant princess of the forest, 10. Some Trains Go Nowhere, 11. The Wanderer, 12. kate_ryan_star

And as a special treat to all my readers (yes, all two of you!) I decided that my better half should also have a photo mosaic. However, since I knew he would never do it on his own,  I kind of tricked him into doing it. I asked him the questions that I couldn’t definitely answer for him, and then tried to pick the picture I thought he would choose. In a few cases, I showed him a couple of options and asked him to pick. The end product can be seen below.

mosaic5076421 The answers to his questions were:

1. Ryan
2. lasagna
3. Boise High
4. blue
5. Ashley Judd
6. Coke
7. tour Europe
8. fried ice cream
9. President
10. rainy-day naps
11. intellegent (yes, I searched as he spelled, and no, he doesn’t appreciate the irony ;))
12. Kate & Ryan

Credit to these pictures goes to: 1. the edge., 2. Lasagna & Salad IV, 3. DSC_0132 copy, 4. water droplets in the shower – o.k. bokeh, 5. Ashley Judd, 6. CokeCan3, 7. Last day in Paris, 8. Fried Ice Cream with Candle, 9. Leapin’ for Obama, 10. Nap time, 11. Jax Reading, 12. I Make Babies Cry

Okay, so I think that Angela should do this, and I think that the Toones and Heatons should do it, and I also think that anyone else foolish enough to have come to this blog should do it, too. Don’t forget the part about leaving a comment so that I can come see your collage! ๐Ÿ™‚


If you use Flickr, you know that each time you log in you are greeted by the website in a different language. “[Salutation], User!” Flickr says, followed by “Now you know how to greet people in _____________!” You might be greeted in Arabic, Hawaiian, Burmese, French, Spanish, Greek – even a good old fashioned American “hi.”

I just opened up our Flickr account, and this is how it greeted me:


Flickr, congratulations. You just convinced me to subscribe again next year. ๐Ÿ™‚