Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Look Me in the Eye"

Another book down in my quest to become an avid reader again. I just finished the book "Look Me in the Eye" by John Elder Robison. I had heard many wonderful things about the book from general reviews to my mom's response after reading the book and I assumed I would end up liking it. Here's the review from Amazon...

"If one looked at only Robison's impish sense of humor (he once ordered a blow-up sex doll to be delivered to his junior-high-school teacher—at school), or his success as a classic-car restorer, it might be impossible to believe he has the high-functioning form of autism spectrum disorder called Asperger's syndrome. Clues abound, however, in his account of a youth encompassing serious inability to make and keep friends; early genius at pyrotechnics, electronics, and math; and pet names such as Poodle for his dog and Snort and Varmint for his baby brother. Much later, he calls his wife Unit Two. It is easy to recognize these telltale traits today, but Robison went undiagnosed until he was 40. In the 1960s, he was variously labeled lazy, weird, and, worse, sociopathic. Consequently, his childhood memories too often read like a kid's worst nightmares. Not only did his parents fail to understand the root of his socialization problems but they were also virtually as dysfunctional as the pair Augusten Burroughs portrays in Running with Scissors (2002). 'Nough said? Not nearly. Robison's memoir is must reading for its unblinking (as only an Aspergian can) glimpse into the life of a person who had to wait decades for the medical community to catch up with him."

By the end, I was sad that the book was coming to a close. It was truly amazing. I couldn't put it down. It is a must read for anyone in education, but also for anyone who just wants to understand people a little more. I cannot imagine living with Asperger's and not having any idea that there was a specific reason you stood out from the crowd. Its amazing when finally finds out he has Asperger's, such a revelation! Anywho... I suggest it to ANYONE.
Grade... A++++

Next up: "Pretty is What Changes: Impossible Choices, the Breast Cancer Gene, and How I Defied my Destiny" by Jessica Queller.
I accidentally found this book while looking for another book, and it caught my attention because of my family history with different types of cancer. Not sure if its going to be good for me to read or will only make me think about cancer more but we'll see. Also... found out the author has written for TV Shows such as Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, Felicty and One Tree Hill.

** For those who have never heard of Asperger's, here's a link to a page about it... 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

End of an Era

It is bitter-sweetly the end of my time coaching lacrosse at Kent Roosevelt High School. It's amazing that we have our Connecticut jobs and we are looking forward to it. But I do not know what I will do when January rolls around next year and I'm not planning Kent Girl's open gyms into my schedule. We just ended our season on Monday and already I feel weird in the afternoons not heading off to games and practice. I'll be okay in the summer, fall, and winter when we normally don't have lacrosse. Spring, however, will be very hard!

I have not loved a team of lacrosse girls this much since it was my own team my senior year. This was our first year without drama, our first year of complete trust between a team, and our first team where every girl wanted to win. It was a true true blessing to be a part of.

Our senior girls were truly amazing girls to look up to for our underclassmen. They loved each other, and in turn loved their team, and their team loved them back. And their coaches? Well... their coaches were amazed by them.

This was the first year we had the same coaching staff two years in a row since I've been there. Christy and I have always been there the past 5 years, but every other coach always rotated. This year, Leah stuck in for another year with us and it was wonderful. She had the patience to be with JV two years in a row, and it was truly a blessing for Christy and I. Leah has become such a good friend and it has been amazing coaching next to a good friend.

And as for Christy - how can I blog about lacrosse and not say anything about Christy?! The first day I met Christy she asked me coach with her. It was like the second week of school my freshman year and I was sad and worried I'd never be in lacrosse again. I didn't know what I was doing, and then I found out she was also pregnant, due in the middle of the season, and I'd be left to coach by myself a few games! Nevertheless, five years later, Christy is my sister, Josh a brother, and the boys feel like nephews. If it weren't for coaching and lacrosse, who knows what I would have scheduled my classes around throughout college. Nevertheless, lacrosse and Christy have been a huge blessing to my life for the past five years. And even though it won't be Kent, lacrosse will still bless my life in some way, and for that, I have Christy to thank, by way of God! 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tales of a 3rd Grade Nothing...

Its freezing in this classroom. My hands are frozen, I can barely type on here or on my phone to text, and I look like a mean teacher because I can barely stand to uncross my arms from my chest! And I'm wearing a long dress (which basically doubles as a blanket) with a cardigan over it and I'm still freezing. Its warmer outside.

Oh yeah, I'm a 3rd grade teacher today. Some of my students are really cute, some.... are ridiculous. And some are two-faced!!! Thankfully, praise the Lord (!), I have an aide in the room with me to work with a couple students. She's my saving grace right now!! Also... my teaching skills really aren't wrapped around 3rd grade math/science/social studies/spelling. Sure I know all the answers, teaching it is a different story! 3rd grade art I've got in the bag. Hmm... time to go pick the kiddos up from Music class. Math, then lunch (yesssssss) which I unfortunately have to share with some 3rd graders who didn't get their work done.

This makes me PUMPED for Grove School and my own art classroom with high school students... still can't believe its in Connecticut.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Book Review

Alright... time for a book review. Steve and I have gotten hooked on the library lately and are quite pumped about it. I've got 2 books finished ready to review, and one in process. Here goes!

First up is "Who By Fire" by Diana Spechler. I hadn't heard anything about this book when I picked it up. I wanted something to read, it was on the "New Non-Fiction" Shelf, and the cover intrigued me. Not to mention the book had rave reviews on the front and back. So I gave it a try. Here's the description on the back...

"Bits and Ash Kellerman’s family unraveled when their younger sister, Alena, was kidnapped and never found. Their father took off with a younger woman, and their mother has never recovered from the trauma. Bits, a teacher, loses herself in promiscuous sex. Ash, who blames himself for the kidnapping, runs off to Israel and joins an Orthodox yeshiva. This pushes their mother over the edge, and she insists that Bits go to Israel to convince Ash to come home. Bits refuses, but when Alena’s remains are recovered, her mother is insistent that the family be together for the funeral. Bits’ adventures as she attempts to bring her brother home and deal with the ensuing family crisis provide this above-average debut novel with plenty of dramatic tension. Add this one to recommended lists of dysfunctional families in fiction. --Barbara Bibel"

So I read it, and as I went along I noticed it was hard to put down, but not necessarily for the reason you would think. It was hard to put down because I kept waiting for something to happen. I kept reading each small chapter expecting something to happen on the next page. Did something happen finally? Yes, but it wasn't until the last 40 pages!! This book was SO frustrating, I felt like I ended up wasting time on it. Would I suggest it? Not necessarily... 
As for a grade? I'll give it a C. It had its good parts, but it had a balance of boring.

Book #2: "You'll Never Nanny in This Town Again: The True Adventures of a Hollywood Nanny" by Suzanne Hansen. This book I had heard about through a friend in ArtEd. She mentioned it in passing, and because I had really enjoyed Nanny Diaries I thought I'd end up enjoying it. Here's the book jacket summary...

"Misadventures in nannyhood" is how Hansen, an Oregon teen who'd trained at the Northwest Nannies Institute, characterizes her amusing account of several years as live-in drudge to the stars. Readers of James B. Stewart's DisneyWar are already acquainted with her first employer, Michael Ovitz, then still the superagent commander of the CAA talent agency, and parent, with his wife, of three children. Hansen isn't a flippant writer; she doesn't try to score easy shots; and she cites her own inexperience and shyness, but it becomes increasingly clear through her account (backed up by the diary she kept) that the portraits drawn by other writers—of a cold, shrewd, controlling man—are accurate. Still, there was glamour, which at first made up for the grueling 24/7 workload and a curious chintziness. However, Hansen lasted just over six months. She later found work with the charming Debra Winger and left only because it became clear that the doting Winger didn't really need a full-time nanny. Her next and last nanny job was with the wonderful and thoughtful Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito and their three kids. Hardly backstabbing, this entertaining book possesses a sincerity other nannying tomes lack. 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved"

As it turned out, I ZOOMED through this book. I could not put it down, I couldn't get enough, and I loved every minute of it. Hansen does such a great job of detailing her famous employers and their kids that it felt like a friend was telling me about her job. And its fun to see inside the lives of three different famous families from the nanny's perspective. Being someone who has babysat most of my life I sympathize and empathize with Hansen and her escapades in nannydom. Overall, I would suggest this as a breezy beach/pool/summer read for any girl/woman who has babysat a day in their life. Even if you haven't, read it! And a grade... is it a surprise at all I'm giving it an A+, loved it!!!

Up next? "Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Asperger's" by John Elder Robison, brother of novelist Augusten Burroughs who wrote "Running with Scissors."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Love wins!

Well... I forgot my book today for subbing so it looks like I'm blogging. I'm at the middle school today, which is not my favorite, but is at least better than the elementary schools. Only problem with elem is time frame, the days extend into lacrosse which is a pain. The good part about middle school is that I get 2.5 hours in the middle of the day for planning and lunch. So I watch shows on hulu! Today  I actually get to teach something which is nice, but weird considering I'm subbing math.

I'm currently listening to Rascal Flatts new album (Don't worry, students are still at lunch for another 10min) and I give them credit because once again they have created a flawless album. I may actually even like this one better than "Me and My Gang" (which had the stupid "Backwards" song), but its currently tied with "Still Feels Good." And I don't own any of the other albums in their entireties. Thanks to my fantastic hubby I get to listen to this album today (He got it for me) and during lunch (He lets me use his laptop.) Speaking of my hubby who I love tremendously... my favorite song on the album is "Love who you Love" with a chorus that goes like this...

"Love who you love
With all that you have
And don't waste the time that flies so fast
Love who you love
And say that you do
Hold on as tight as they'll let you
Love who you love"

Good call Rascal Flatts... good call!