Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
This is a very humbling experience. I guess I have believed all my PR and my previous job titles gained while I was deaf. But really...what the hell have I been doing? Just going to work, day after day, and not doing a whole lot for anyone, humanity least of all.
It's been years (10) since I sat in a classroom, and many more than that (35) since I stood in front of one. I've just begun to hear after being deaf for 45 years or so. I am so out of touch with popular culture and so effing forgetful, I feel as if they may send me to the Alzheimer's Unit rather than give me a certificate for teaching ESL. "Where are you going?" they ask, meaning, which continent and which country. "Ummmm...." I say.
Actually, as the young kids and Supergrandma have told me, it takes some years to get your plans in order. Yeah, right. Well, years it will be, then. Korea is looking pretty good....they pay the most US$$, plus air fare and room & board. Gee....
Update 4/28/08: Whaddya know? On Sunday, April 27, I passed my practicum and got my teacher training certification in TESL/TESOL (for the curious, the O stands for Other = "Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). English is not always a pupil's second language. Some of them know and speak many other languages besides their first language.) Anyway, the teacher wrote some very nice comments on her evaluation. Modesty prevents me from typing ALL of it, but here's the first comment:
ORGANIZATION Engaging, thought-provoking warm up. Transitioned
into study and activation very smoothly; well-planned, well educuted--good elicitation of responses (Oh, what the heck. It's all such a boost for my ego. Here's the rest:)
VERBAL DELIVERY Good delivery; good pace & articulation; excellent engagement of students; good flow
NON-VERBAL DELIVERY Good eye contact; comfortable mannerisms; good presence
MATERIALS Integrated activities with activating activity, use of board; worksheet very fun & engaging, clever; stimulated learning & completed "study"
INTERACTION WITH STUDENTS Very good interaction & rapport; excellent questioning, positive reinforcement
That pretty much confirms the evaluation of my ONE YEAR of full-time teaching back in 1967. I was between babies (Tom came along in 1968), and I continued to stay home and teach religion (mad, hysterical laughter) on Saturdays.
When I needed to look for work in Iowa, I applied to a parochial school for a position teaching biology (my college major). I already had a ND certificate for junior high life science & earth science, but the principal, a nun, agreed to interview me. However, she changed my appointment three times. Then, on the day I got there for the interview, she was not at the school--she was across the street taking a nap! I called the convent, roused her from her slumbers, and she agreed to meet me there.
When I arrived, she then told me she thought I wouldn't be able to get a state of Iowa certificate in time for the school year. She said she had colleagues who had needed MONTHS to get a certificate from Iowa. So, no job. I thanked her and went home, thinking of how people tell you their intentions by their actions, without saying a word.
Just for the heck of it, I sat down and filled out the application for a first class (the permanent, good classification) certificate in secondary Biology for the state of Iowa. I mailed it that same late afternoon. The certificate arrived in FIVE DAYS.
But needing a job, and despairing of finding a school who would accept a very deaf teacher, I accepted a very kind offer from my friend Deb's family to hem pants in their tuxedo shop. I went on that fall to hem pants until after the first of the year, when the tuxedo business slacked off, and they laid me off.
I then worked in a wonderful little restaurant doing food prep and assembling orders at mealtimes. I quit that when the kids arrived for the summer, and I cleaned student apartments until time for school. After that, I painted houses for a while, many thanks to our friends who supplied me with jobs.
I applied finally to a marketing research firm as a proofreader. The first guy that interviewed me mumbled that they needed an "English teacher." No job.
About two months later, the same place again advertised for a proofreader. This time I told them that, yes, I did have a degree in English. (As a published writer, I figured if I didn't have a degree in English, who did?) They hired me, and some 10 years later, when I retired the first time, I was director of editing and writing.
Anyway, I did like teaching. I like chasing commas and "fixing the English" well enough, especially if it puts food on the table, but there are other things out there. I'd say taking this class and not quitting every weekend (as I wanted to do) was well worth the $900 tuition. And maybe I'll be able to actually earn a few bucks doing this!! What's not to like?
Friday, April 18, 2008
Hmmm....has anyone seen him?
He's often on the metro in the late afternoons going home, presumably.
Do you suppose they sent him to Cuba for a nice vacation? Guantanamo, more specifically....????
Where IS Waldo? I miss him. He's got a great sense of humor, although he's very serious about his work.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Altengeseke is on many maps here in Europe. It's a beautiful village close to my heart, as I lived there for 4 wonderful years between 1987 and 1991, growing up with the British military. I left in 1991 aged 16, but always missed it and some of the good friends I made there. I regularly returned there to visit friends and stayed for 6 fantastic months in 1995.
These motorcades always remind me of Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, in which the royalty careen through the streets in their carriages and send the peasantry flying out of the way so as not to get run over.
Of course, the peasantry of Georgetown were not flying out of the way. They were trapped in traffic that was backed up all the way from Dupont Circle to Wisconsin Avenue.
P.S. Here's today's Rob Rogers cartoon from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I've posted this for Ex-Shammy's enjoyment (see her comment).
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Like Christopher Hitchins in today’s Slate, I have two questions for you.
1) Considering that George W. Bush’s illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, WHY HAVEN’T YOU REFUSED HIS INVITATION TO DINNER AT THE WHITE HOUSE? [Oh, I get it….food is expensive in Italy, too. A free dinner is a free dinner.]
2) Speaking of food, some 37 nations now are reported to have serious FOOD SHORTAGES. In some countries, this has led to rioting and, in Haiti, to at least two deaths. So my second question is WHY HAVEN’T YOU SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THE MORALITY OF USING CEREAL GRAINS TO MAKE SUBSTITUTES FOR PETROLEUM-BASED FUEL FOR ALL THOSE BIG, FAT CARS that clutter American highways, including the SUVs that will accompany you from Andrews AFB to the White House???
Friday, April 11, 2008
We just can't win. Look for more Rice for Veep sentiments floating around in the big newspapers and networks. Never mind that she is the dominatrix type--it's not just that she wears the boots.
Anyway, my TED space is given over today to a great James Pence speech on "If I were a terrorist." What would YOU do if you wanted to ruin the U.S. of A.?
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
A Licensed Counselor was conducting a group therapy session with four young mothers and their small children...
'You all have obsessions,' he observed. To the first mother, he said, 'You are obsessed with eating. You've even named your daughter Candy.'
He turned to the second Mom. 'Your obsession is with money. Again, it manifests itself in your child's name, Penny.'
He turns to the third Mom. 'Your obsession is alcohol. This too manifests itself in your child's name, Brandy.'
At this point, the fourth mother gets up, takes her little boy by the hand and whispers, 'Come on, Dick, we're leaving.'
Monday, April 07, 2008
Just about everybody's house had oil heat when I was a kid, and my dad could fill the tank of our 1936 Plymouth for a couple of dollars. Until OPEC retaliated for our support of Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur war by quadrupling the price of oil, the U.S. had enjoyed a long period of cheap gas & oil. To deal with the higher prices, President Richard M. Nixon and Congress in 1974 passed a federal law aimed at forcing people to economize on the highway, at least. (For which God bless Richard Nixon and absolve him from all his sins.) The law lowered the national speed limit on the highways to 55 mph. In 1987, the law was amended to allow the individual states to set their own speed limits within their borders. And in the early 1990s, the SUV craze hit. The highway economy act was on the books, at least, until 1995. And we know what a mess we're in now.
In 1978, when we moved to our big old Iowa house, it was heated by fuel oil. The tank held 300 gallons, and one gallon cost about 30 cents. A fill cost about $90. The furnace was made by Coleman, the camp stove people. It was about as effective as a camp stove for heating the 11-room house, too. The flexible tubing leading from the furnace to outlets (less than 11, btw...some rooms didn't have any) were a bit skinnier in diameter and thickness than the flexible tubing leading from a modern clothes dryer to the basement window. We ran the furnace full blast night and day, but the temperature never got much over 55 degrees F. inside the house. To achieve this mirage of central heating, we used two tanks of fuel per month. The price of fuel doubled the next winter, so while I was home recovering from surgery on my eye socket, I hatched a plan to replace the totally ineffective furnace and ductwork and install a wood-burning stove in the parlor to supplement it.
The girls' pals Andrea and Cathy's dad and his dad installed the ductwork, which took at least a month longer than anyone estimated or expected because there had never BEEN a need--or space--for heating ducts of any kind in 1853-1855, when the house, one of the first in town, was built. The new furnace's duct work in the basement was made out of sturdy metal sheeting and the sharp corners stuck down so much lower than the old flexible tubes that our wonderful plumber, who was my coworker Ruth's dad, smacked his head on it when he came to install the new water heater and bled all over the basement floor.
Next, we went to the woodburning stove shop in La Crosse and bought a Le Petite Godin wood & coal stove. That particular stove had been designed in the 1700s but manufactured in modern-day France. While doing my research, I learned that the best stoves were all of ancient design. Once people figured out how to make a good stove that was fuel-efficient but gave great warmth, they stuck with it.
To set it up in the parlor, which was the central room downstairs, we needed to rebuild part of the chimney in the attic and build a nonflammable stand for the stove on the wooden floor. Dave and Jim, two of the best carpenters in the whole world, acquired the broken slate bed of a pool table and trimmed it to a nice square, which they set up on 1x2's as a platform. They fixed the chimney, set the stove on the chunk of pool table, installed the stovepipe, and hooked it all up.
I forget where we got the first load of wood, but our first fire was not the aesthetic delight we had been dreaming of. The stove, after it was manufactured, had been coated with something like mineral oil or petroleum jelly to prevent rust. This had to burn off first, so we had some ugly smoke floating around for the first few hours of the fire.
The result was we had to open the windows and doors to keep from suffocating, and there were many frowns and shrugs among the residents until it became clear that the stove actually would give off heat (not make it even colder) and not toxic fumes. When the last of the lube had burned off, Patches, the dog, peed on the stove. This was his way of claiming it for his own--or may for OUR own. I think dogs and cats are much more attuned to human thoughts and feelings than we realize. "Hey! We got a new stove! There! Now everyone will know it's ours."
Cast iron wood stoveThe residents complained a bit that the stove, which I fired up every morning with oak scraps from the Stave Company in Anamosa, did its job too well. "Mom, it's 95 degrees in here!" The little wood stove kept the whole house liveable, and when the fire finally died down in the wee hours of the morning, the furnace would kick on maybe once, around 4 a.m., which kept the water pipes from freezing.
PETIT GODIN 3720
Since the oak scraps from the stave company cost us about $3 for a whole trunkful--enough to last the week if we used Peggy's old graduation present of a car, which had belonged to Steve and Elaine, our landlords on the farm, where we lived before we moved into town--our heating bill went down to practically nothing.
Nobody liked to make the weekly run to the Stave Company, but we did it. And we got through.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Here it is, my last Sunday afternoon of freedom: Every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 6pm until the end of April, I'll be taking a course (hopefully) culminating in a certificate in teaching ESL and maybe ESOL, too, wotever that is. The mood in la casa Carew has segued from
"Brief Thoughts of Energetic Activity"--walk? chop veggies? do laundry? toTalk to ya later.....
"Wonder If I Can Make It to Whole Foods for More Red Wine" to
"There's Lots of White Left, and I Can Get Just as Happy On That" to
"My Feet Are Cold...Think I'll Put On Woolly Socks and Climb Under the Covers."
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I'll keep working, see, and I'll save a bunch of money every month by staying on my diet.
When I get enough for a round-trip ticket to Paris, I'll go there and sleep in the airport.
When day breaks, I'll take the train to the church across the street from Les Abbesses metro stop.
I'll sit on my overnight bag, which I'll fill with books and sweaters to provide the proper altitude and cushiony comfort, and put out my lucky Bank of Minnesota "The Magic Is You!" cup.
Passersby will drop in my cup various denominations of EUROS, which I will stuff in my overnight bag.
At day's end, I'll go down to Sancerre, have a bowl of their supreme onion soup and a glass of red wine.
Then I'll head back to the airport to nap while I wait for the return flight.
Before the nap, though, I'll deposit my earnings in the airport branch of the UBS bank, where they will draw interest IN EUROS.
Euros drawing interest on Euros! Think of it!!
(Hopefully, the UBS bank will not have collapsed from its losses in U.S. real estate market.)
Miss Baltimore has said she will consider coming along, but that we cannot work together. I thought it would be nice if we could entertain the passersby by singing old show tunes, but she says she is too shy to sing in public. Hah.
Anyway, I'll catch the red eye back to D.C. and go to my place of employment, where I will continue to please the management and rake in my queenly salary, part of which will go to the next ticket to Paris.
I'll come home refreshed from my sojourn in the City of Lights--and my Euros will be gathering interest like sons of bitches.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
I've been allowed one glass of wine per day for a long time now, not just since I started my current diet. This has something to do with the notion that a glass of wine a day will do my heart good. However, when I pour four ounces of Carlo Rossi's best (worst? only?) into a big 12-oz glass and fill up the rest with diet orange, I've got a nice, big drink that lasts me while I read through at least three blogs and eat my miserable supper. Not only that, the diet orange really aerates that red wine, which improves the taste. Also, don't try to get fancy. If the jug wines have cabernet sauvignon, that's as good as it gets. Never mind the merlot or the pinot noir.
Menu for tomorrow:
Meal 1 - Ham slices and cottage cheese
Meal 2 - Roast beef slices and hard-boiled eggs
Meal 3 - Peanuts, cashews, and garden salad
Meal 4 - Turkey slices and walnuts
Hmmm...I'm having Miss Baltimore over for supper tomorrow night. I'm wondering which meal to serve (you can eat the four meals in any order, and you can eat only one of the items in a given meal if you want). Let's see. She doesn't like ham, and I don't think she's a big fan of roast beef, although she does like cottage cheese and hard-boiled eggs. She definitely does like nuts and salad, so I guess I'll have that for supper and include something from Marvelous Market to supplement hers.
Glory jee to besus, but I'm HUNGRY tonight! Today was day 2 of the 11 day cycle, and that's ALL FRUIT DAY. Gack.