Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween With The Harar Family

In keeping with Harar tradition, where no holiday can be complete unless something unusual happens, this Halloween began with a pumpkin smashing on Jillian's birthday.  It was her pumpkin, of course, and she cried in the street.  I actually brought one student to tears with this tale, and another bought her a brand new pumpkin.

But let's focus on the funny moments.

Joey insisted on being Yoshi, from Super Mario Brothers, but the only Yoshi costume I could find was a size 8-10.  I bought it for him anyway, rolling up the pants and sleeves.  He looked super cute, actually.  The only problem was that the "hat" was made for a 8-10 year old.  It kept falling in front of his eyes, causing him to run straight into a pole on the day of his preschool Halloween party.  He is sporting a rather attractive purple lip right now.

Jillian found a picture of a costume in a book at the fabric store, and begged my mother to make it, which she did, of course.  The only problem is that I'm still not entirely sure what she "is".  No one is entirely certain, however, though my mom did a great job sewing the costume and Jillian looked fantastic.  We finally settled on pop star, but you can decide for yourself.

While trick-or-treating, Joey used his hand and made a munching noise after he thanked each person for the candy.  What is amusing is that almost every adult made the munching sound right back to him.

One house gave him a small container of Playdoh and he asked if it was Playdoh he could eat.

Jillian was, of course, unfailingly polite, thanking everyone and wishing them a Happy Halloween.  Her stamina was greatly improved this year, and she filled her pumpkin to the brim with candy.  She still says Halloween is the best holiday ever, beating out Christmas, even. 

Overall, it was a great Halloween!

Beth - 1
Kids - 1

Halloween - 1

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rate My Teacher.Com

This is how clear I am.  Can you get any clearer than this??
I decided to take the plunge and check myself out on Rate My Teacher.Com.

Although I have several comments from when I taught at Annandale three years ago (all of them excellent, if I do say so myself) I only have one comment in three years from Centreville. 

On a scale of 1 to 5, with one being the worst, my scores were:

Rated 5 for easiness

Rated 5 for helpfulness

Rated 4 for clarity.

Comment: Ms. Harar is really nice and makes learning fun. I like how she incorporates humor into the classroom. she also doesn't give out too much homework.

WHAT?!?!  I only got a four for clarity???  I'm so clear.  I'm so clear you can see right through me.  I'm a freaking window!

Just kidding.  I have my unclear moments.  Overall I was pretty pleased that someone thought of me, because I have been working there for three years, after all.  It was about time I made the hated Rate My Teacher website.  It is too bad that the commenter forgot to capitalize the S in she, however.

But the poster was right on about me being funny.  :)

Beth - 1
Student - 1

The Cycle of Life

The Student's Motto
I had an interesting conversation the other day that I thought I'd share with you.  It went something like this:

Me: How could we use the cycle of life (birth, youth, adulthood, middle age, old age, death) and compare it to the seasons? Which period of life do you associate with each season?

Student: Well, I was born in December, so I guess I'd have to say winter reminds me of my birth.

Me: Why don't you try thinking outside the box?   Apply the question to the world.  Don't make this about you.

Student: Why?

Enough said.
Beth - 1
Self-Centered Teenager - 0

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Scientific Observation About Blonds

As I enjoyed the homecoming parade yesterday with my husband, children and teacher friends, I had the chance to do an impromptu scientific study.

While the students passed by in their floats, or twirling their flags, or chanting unintelligible chants, many of them stopped to say hello to our group.  I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank them for the extra candy.

What was odd, however, is that all of the students both my friend Ashely and I have taught noticed my friend Ashley first.  

ALL of them.

If I examine this scientifically, it could be for one of several reasons.  Either she is a much better teacher than I am (and she probably is), she is much funnier than I am (also probably true) or she is easier to recognize than I am.

To save my pride, I am going with answer #3.  The explanation?  Ashley has beautiful, platinum blond hair.  My hair is a typical boring brown.

Please keep in mind that I'm not complaining.  I long ago embraced my brown hair, and am content with the way I look, but I found it interesting that students that generally who seem to like me, and come by to visit without provocation, all noticed Ashley first.  A few even talked with her for a few minutes before recognizing that I was standing right next to them. 

I've heard the phrase "blonds have more fun" many times in my life, and now I think I understand why.  We still like pretty colors, even as adults.  If I take this knowledge further, I would guess that blonds have more opportunities in life than brunettes.

Again, no real purpose to this post other than to make an observation.  So what if I'm a tad bit jealous? 

Beth with brown hair - 0 (barely noticed)
Beth with blond hair - 1 (I'm guessing)

Monday, October 10, 2011

My First Commercial

I made my very first commercial!  I'm going to ask my students to create one too, so I figured I should have an example ready.  Overall, I'm very pleased!

Check it out and let me know what you think.  I'm trying to get teenagers to get excited about reading the newspaper.

Beth - 1
Newspaper - 1
Commercial - 1

Long Weekends, Urgent Care Visits and Me - Also, Boomer Gets a Purple Sock

My family seems pre-programmed to get sick on long weekends and holidays.  This is bad because it costs double what it normally would since we must go to urgent care instead of a regular doctor.

This has been proven over a long period of time.  A few that come to mind:

Jillian:  Sick on Fourth of July
Jillian:  Sick on Halloween
Mike:  Sick in Ocean City three years ago
Mike:  Sick in Ocean City two years ago
Mike:  Sick in Ocean City one year ago
Me:     Strep Throat on New Years
Joey:   Sick on Christmas Day
Me:     Sick on visit with In-Laws over three day weekend.  **Bonus Ambulance Ride
Boomer:  Pretty much gets sick any time we have to pay double for weekend visits.
He got a cool purple "sock" on his foot.  We
get to pay extra to re-bandage on Wednesday.

The list goes on and on, for the aforementioned are only a preview of our visits to the ER, Urgent Care and 24 hour clinics over the past ten years. 

To add to the list, I spent two hours in Urgent Care with Joey on Sunday afternoon.  He had strep throat.  I would also like to take this opportunity to make a formal apology to Emily Eidem and David's wife for possibly sending strep home with their husbands who came to visit over the weekend.

We foolishly thought our long weekend doctor visits were over, but Boomer surprised us with a bleeding paw on Monday afternoon when we got home from the pumpkin patch. 

Turns out I got to spend another hour in the emergency veterinary clinic with him while they removed a torn nail and bandaged him up.  He also got a pain injection and is feeling awesome right now.
**Bonus for Boomer - Purple Sock Bandage.  And all it cost me was $154.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving!  My money is on Mike.

Beth - 0
Sickness on holidays - 1
Boomer - 1 (He loves pain drugs)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Super Powers

Watching X-Men First Class got me thinking;  I would really like to have a super power. 

However, my husband and his friend Ted think that it isn't enough to have a simple super power.  It must be a very specific superpower - one that makes you the best superhero of all.

I disagree.  There are many superpowers that I would like to have, and none of them would make me the ultimate superhero. 
Here are my choices, in order of least favorite to most favorite:

#5.  Wings
Let's face it.  Wings are cool, and I could fly.  The only problem here is my fear of heights, which I think might be null and void if I actually had wings, making my fear irrelevant.

#4.  Reading Minds
This would be amazing, for I hate liars.  Then again, I also hate liars.  So, finding out what everyone is thinking might be a huge letdown.  I'm still torn on this choice.

Trust me.  I see what is on
the end of his wolverine
talons, AND  I understand
its significance to my life.

#3.  Moving Metal
Moving metal would be an amazing talent, especially given how many metal objects are in the world.  However, I think that my choices might be limited given my job, because I don't daily encounter guns, helmets, knives, barbed-wire, fences or cutlery.  Therefore, this talent would not be of much use to me.

#2.  Spontaneous Teleportation
I had a tough time making this my second choice.  I would love to move anywhere I wanted at anytime, because the possibilities would be endless.  I'd much rather be in Tuscany than in Centreville right now.  However, it seemed a rather selfish mutation, so it lost a few points.      

#1.  Influencing Minds
There is no way this option could be any less than number one.  I can't imagine a situation where I would lose a confrontation if I could make someone think anything I wanted.  Imagine the possibilities!!  Freshman would run home to complete their homework on time.  Students, children and husbands would never argue with me!  Life would be perfect! 

A woman can dream, right?

Beth - 0
Superpowers - 1

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baking Fail

I'm just going to come on out and say it:  I can't bake. 

AT ALL.  I can't bake at all.  I burn everything I try to bake. 

I don't know why I lack this basic skill that so many women not only possess, but excel in.  So, I'm going to make a damn good attempt at blaming it on genetics by comparing myself to my family, because I want to, and because it will make me feel better.

Top 5 Reasons Why My Lack of Baking Skills Are Not My Fault, Proven Through Other Genetic Abnormalities

Evidence #1:  The "Tongue-Rolling" Gene
Everyone in my family can roll their tongue except for me.  This includes my parents, sister and children.  Somehow, this gene magically skipped over me, leaving me out of the tongue-rolling parties.

Evidence #2:  The "Everything in its Place" Gene
Everyone in my family has the "neat" gene.  Not me, however.  I seem incapable of keeping a pristine living environment, no matter how much it bothers me.  I try very hard to keep things clean, but always fail miserably.  This is noticed by everyone in my family and is the main reason I live in constant fear of "drop-in" visitors.

Evidence  #3:  The "Working-Out-Is-Fun" Gene
It isn't.  Not really.  I like Latin Fusion, but that is much more like dancing and very little like a regular workout.  I just don't like to run on a treadmill, lift weights or do push-ups.  BORING.  However, my mom, dad and sister think it is great and do it almost every day.

Evidence #4:  The "Amazing Comeback" Gene
My sister, mom and dad (and husband, though he is thankfully of no blood relation) have the ability to think of amazing comebacks on the fly.  I do not possess this gene at all.  I stammer, turn red and usually back away, floundering for something - anything - to say.  I'll eventually think of the perfect comeback . . . 20 minutes later.

Let's face it. 
We all know I got this gene.
Evidence #5:  The "Good Dream" Gene
I believe this one is pretty self-explanatory.  I don't have good dreams.  Ever.  However, everyone else in my family seems to.  Joey had a great one about visiting with Spongebob the other night, while I wandered around in the past dodging monsters as I tried to find my pants.

It may seem as if I've strayed off-topic, but there is a point to my madness.  Given the evidence above, I think it is obvious that I am seriously lacking in the gene pool, which explains why I've burned every batch of cookies I've ever made.

At least it isn't my fault.  Doesn't it feel good when you can blame your own shortcomings on your parents?  (Sorry Mom.  Don't show this to Dad)

Beth - 0
Baking Gene - 1

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Real Parents

My husband and I had a particularly rough day with the children.  For the record, we are establishing some new rules, but we've also decided that people without kids (and some with) are under the assumption that parents know exactly what to do. 

This is representative of our crazy household
Mike and I disagree.  We fully admit that we have no clue what we are doing.

Therefore, we've come up with a list of things real parents do.

1.  Real parents let their daughter wear a tutu or their son wear his Batman costume to the grocery store to avoid a fight.
2.  Real parents yell at their kids in front of company.
3.  Real parents let their kids watch Spongebob.
4.  Real parents let their kids fight . . . to a certain extent.
5.  Real parents hold late-night conversations where they question their abilities.
6.  Real parents let their sons pee on the side of the road without question, and support their son's assertions that his "thingy" has grown because he is drinking milk.
7.  Real parents sometimes let their kids sleep in the bed with them, especially when they are too tired to get up.
8.  Real parents offer to coach soccer teams when they hate soccer.
9.  Real parents don't want to get up before 7:00 to cook breakfast for their children.
10.  Real parents don't get up before 8:00 on weekends to cook breakfast for their children.
11.  Real parents forget to return library books and end up owing $40 fines.
12.  Real parents will order a $14 mini-slider maker to ensure their child receives the next prize up in their fundraiser.  Estimated value of said prize:  $3.
13.  Real parents are too tired to move their child back to their bed at 2:00 a.m.
14.  Real parents are too tired to move their child back to their bed at 4:00 a.m.
15.  "                                                                                            " at 6:00 a.m.
16.  Real parents reward themselves with a shot of Jim Beam Red Stag for successfully putting their children to bed before 8:30 p.m.
17.  Real parents hug each other and laugh (cry) when they realize they have no clue what they are doing.

There are many more, but it is late and I need to go to sleep because either the children or the dog will have me up by 5:30. 

Mike and Beth - 1
Parenting - 0 (with a possible +1 in the future)