Thursday, May 31, 2007

It is finished, with extreme prejudice

After years of cringing at the thought of enduring the 4-hour BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, I finally caved. Not, fortunately to the BBC and their low-grade film stock, but to Hollywood - a version mercifully 2.5 hours shorter and featuring an additional 1.5 hours of Keira Knightly - a woman most certainly of mild and steady candour.

Actually, I enjoyed it, but doing my obligatory wikipedia search on the old PnP yielded the following, which I found to be quite comical:




(Note from Kacey: the plot to rent P&P was hatched while being forced to watch David Lynch's newest movie at a theatre. Yeah, I shouldn't watch his movies on screens bigger than the size of the computer screen you're now staring into.)

First Hike Since the Broken Leg!

We hiked in the mountains around Graubunden, which according to our Swedish source is the largest canton, but as most of the land is above 1500 meters - "it issss un-inhabitable".

Plenty of other folks went with us, Pete and Bianka from Australia, our ol' Swiss roommate Barbara, a new friend Kay (who, tangentially, is an ace in the popular twenty-somethings card game, Danish Bastard), Angela from New Zealand, and of course, the duck that gives his name to this blog, Pierre. They aren't featured in our hiking pictorial because we just didn't take that many photos. (but I bet Pete and Bianka did, they've got one of those sweet fancy digital cameras...so sweet....)



Looking like I stole a leg off of one of the mannequins at Sears. You know, the Sears mannequins...




Lars provided plenty of sage advice from his years in the Swedish Military Service...




Blocky rock



Yours's truly

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Her voice is full of money, old sport...



Some 11th grade nostalgia prompted me to pick up "The Great Gatsby" at the Atlanta airport. Some lines from Mr. F.S. Fitzgerald:

"There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion."

"Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans."

"At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others--poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner--young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life."

"Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Belka and Strelka

Drip, drip

Well, my kids have survived the 'Miss Nelson is Missing' treatment (also known as the Viola Swamp switch-a-roo for those of you who know the book) and I have to say that we're all the better for it. I really do want what's best for my students and, overall, I think we've had a terrific year together. Perhaps I shouldn't have complained so publicly when I've not blogged about all the wonderful things that have happened this year. My school is fantastic - super support from administration and families, my kids are smart and pretty fun to be around, and the schedule is hard to beat. (In fact, it's another holiday today! Yeah, I'll take the second 4-day weekend this month!) I think one reason the discipline issue has arisen is that I've brought a different scale of comparison to my classroom. One of my biggest struggles now is kids calling out the answers without raising their hands. Coming from years of working with kids where fist fights, horrid language, and theft were commonplace, I have thought that discipline was a non-issue here.

But the fact is, I should have been asking for more from my students. Not just for the sake of having an orderly and quiet classroom but because they would truly benefit from it. Since writing the 'crack down' entry, I've been starting most mornings with a chapter of Proverbs. The comparison of the wise and the foolish has been all the motivation I've needed to want more for my students than I've been asking of them. 15:2 Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense.

There are only five weeks left in school. And I haven't even been counting down. (My first year of teaching, I knew how many days were left when the count was still in triple digits.) Maybe what I'm getting at is that I want to be a great teacher. And if I can't do that here with absolutely every advantage imaginable, then I'm just not seeing the breadth of kids' potential. So if my last school post sounded angry or like I was hoping to just punish the kids for making me look bad, my thoughts on the matter have evolved a lot in the last week.

Just wanted you to know.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

There's no place like home...

I woke up this morning and, for the first time in a long while, I had to remind myself that I was in Switzerland. It just didn't make sense to be here today when all of my family is gathered to celebrate my cousin's wedding in Memphis. Months ago, the decision to stay sounded reasonable enough- even the bride agreed. But today it felt like I should have dropped a grand on spending more time on the airplane than in Tennessee if only I could see Susannah get hitched. How could I have possibly put a price tag on something as monumental as this? How could I have passed up on the occasion to dance with my dad or meet the girl that my brother has dared bring around my inquisitive family? Tomorrow I may be thinking rationally again but today I'm longing to be home so badly that it hurts.
If only I had a pair of these:

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I forgot to add a photo of the couple whose wedding I missed (photo by Russel Hays (am I in copyright violation if I give him credit?)):

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Do you remember this book?

http://www.mandygregory.com/images/bookcovers/HO_395_66498_5_big.gif

My kids are about to live it.

They've brought the wrath upon themselves. I know that discipline is not my strength but that's no excuse for kids to start their summer vacations early in my classroom. I've always prided myself on my patience and kindness when it comes to children but my students may not recognize me tomorrow. We had a rough afternoon today that was unfortunately witnessed by my vice principal who was there to review my teaching. My class mistook him for an audience and proceeded to put on a 3-ringed circus. He was not amused.

If you want to know my plan of action, read the book.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lyon

Our chateau in Joyeux...


Ivy eyes...


In or out?

A showman with a shy monkey and a fake hand...

The inner-workings of the monkey's box...A new breed of grape pickers...

A duck in a wine cave...