Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Commoner Becomes A Rock Star

Well not really but sort of....

I very rarely talk about what happens in my classroom-however-this year I have a student who needs me to speak on a loud speaker.  This means I wear a mike around my neck and I'm broadcast in surround sound through my classroom.

Well if you know me you know I do not like silence.  There is always sound where ever I am.  Music, television, noisy children.  It's probably why I love cities so much, constant noise.

Without  noise I can't concentrate.  I start thinking about things and it goes like this.  If I don't go food shopping now,  we may have an earthquake and I won't have any milk, if I don't have any milk, we for sure will starve and die.

Thus I like noise.  This is a good thing if you teach 33 second and third graders.  But it may not be a good thing if you give someone who is always singing or dancing a microphone.

So now I am constantly singing, I sing all kinds of songs, decent pop songs, kids songs, one direction songs, I make up my own songs, I sing with the radio.  It's legendary now but useful.  

Why is it useful you wonder?  I've learned how to threaten to sing.  If you guys don't listen quickly-I'm going to sing the instructions!  Oh no -they laugh.  It's really important for the kids to have a sense of humor in my class.

My other favorite trick?  Well I don't think this microphone is actually loud enough-sometimes the kids still don't seem to hear me.  That's when I use my Wizard of Oz voice.  You know the part where the wizard has that super loud voice?  I will say things like "the wizard calls little Johnny to the back table".  They love that one.

There are some things you have to be careful of.  If you are having a private conversation with say a parent, student, or friend and you don't turn the power off-every one hears you.

A friend of mine gave me some good advice-turn it off when you go to the bathroom.  I don't care-I'm having fun singing and deep down so are the kids.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why I Love Teaching-Part 1

A lot of commoners are teachers.  I know this because I'm one of them and a lot of my family is too. 

It's important as we get ready to take on another year and all that that means -you know 16 hour days, deadlines, assessments, emails, phone calls, etc.  It's important to remember that we really love what we do and there are really good things about it.

So this week I'll be giving you 5 days of what I love about teaching.  

Now I wasn't a teacher by training I was a teacher by luck.  I went to school to get into big business in NYC.  I have a marketing degree-but alas this has been my destiny.  So let me share one thing I love about teaching.

NO CUBICLES-have you ever or do you now work in a cubicle?  I have at various times in my non teaching life.  You know what?  They are like prison cells.  You can't breath, you can't see anyone.  They suck

I get claustrophobic if I don't get to have some space.  As a teacher I don't have a cubicle I have a big room -okay it's crowded but still.  Also whenever I feel a little closed in?  Let's go outside kids and all is well.

So this week I offer you this.  One thing I love about teaching? No cubicles but a big room.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Running-The Ode to Summer

First off, this is not me.  I wish I had her nose though!  I digress.

For my final installment of the best of summer I'm telling you it was running.

Running was the trend that I stuck to all summer long.  Actually I've stuck to a schedule for months but in summer it became something else.

In summer it's easy because you throw on shorts and a t-shirt (I DO NOT run in my sports bra-well I do , but I put a shirt over it)! And you are out the door.  Well some sort of quick dry shirt.

In summer the whole day spreads out before you and you can run at your leisure.  I usually would be out there by 8:30AM.  I found that the temperature 57 was my favorite-you're not to hot but you still work up a sweat. 

 Obviously this particular time won't work for me starting next week as that is the exact time the bell rings and school starts.

I'm not a natural runner, but I'm a runner.   I'm not a fast runner , but I'm a runner.  I finally came to peace with the fact that I was always going to run around the same pace (somewhere in the 10 minute/mile range).  It doesn't really matter what I do to get faster because that's my pace.

I'm okay with that.  I'm not trying to win the Olympics here or even my age group. I want to finish the races I enter.   I like being outside, I like setting and reaching goals, I like the mental discipline, and yes I like the fresh air and sunshine. 

I learned that watching my form (I run flat footed and stomp if I'm not careful) and running to the beat of my workout play list allowed me to enjoy running so much more than worrying about breaking into the 9s.  In fact sometimes I would spend hours working on my playlist-oh summer.

Even though I didn't get to New York to run with my cousin Ironman Charlie! I did get to run in Lake Tahoe (well not IN the lake)  that was beautiful.

This fall I'll be running the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  That's 13 miles!  The training is already starting to get rigorous.  I'll be up against my 60 hour work weeks and I'll still run.  I'll do it in the morning or I'll do it after school but I'll do it.

This summer-the best part of summer was believe it or not was running!

Next week my summer is over and before I settle back into a once a week blogging routine, I'll be sharing with you The things I love most about teaching. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ode to Summer-The Beefcake Review

One of the trends of the summer was mommy porn.  Now I have no problem with 50 Shades of Grey or Magic Mike but I did not partake in either of these phenomenons.

 There was something about the pride women took in letting you know they were reading it.  It was almost always Too Much Information for me really.  If you were one of those that enjoyed it Good for you!  It just wasn't for me.

 Magic Mike just looked stupid so I passed on this one as well, just to make some point or other.  
 In spite of all of this I somehow became the keeper of women every where and their thirst for Beef Cake as I called it as I started to post -The Beef Cake of the day.

I'm not sure how it started but it had to something to do with my old friend from Islip Patricia.  I think she actually posted the first one.  Then I would find one or another on my facebook page and I would post it for every one.  Usually I would say 'good morning ladies'.

The biggest requirement for  making the beef cake status tended to be a guy having their shirt off and having muscles.  I didn't really go looking for them they would just appear-like visions and I was responsible for sharing them with the world.

It just so happened that this was the year of the summer Olympics so there were tons of options among hunky Olympic athletes, mostly swimmers-who became candidates.

Picks ranged from David Beckham, Ryan Lochte, Swimmers I didn't know, cowboys, Daniel Craig (for a little class), the infamous Tim Tebow running it the rain picture,  unknow pecs of all persuasions, divers, track stars.  I even started taking submissions. 

 Everyone got in on the action-men as well.  There were debates and suggestions from unexpected people and places.  But I think we could all agree it was a lot of fun.

But by far the most popular beef cake was someone not all that beefy really, someone who holds some unexplainable appeal to women all over the world and of every age, and honestly some of the men as well.  That would be the Beef Cake of summer Adam Levine.

This was a big responsibility and my gift to women every where.  I'll try and keep it up as the year goes on, but it's up to all of you-submissions for beef cakes are ALWAYS welcome.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pampered Chef-The Ode to Summer

One of my favorite things about this summer was Commoner Kristen's new career as a Pampered Chef Consultant.  (Don't worry -she still teaches-commoners often work too jobs).

Kristen mentioned to me in June that she was thinking of starting this new adventure and would I have a show.  Of course I said YES!!.  I love parties, I love eating, and I actually like Pampered Chef a lot.  I used to sell it myself  (3 parties and I was done).

I invited all 500 of my closest Facebook friends.  I E-vited everyone in my contact list and set the date.  Alas my party netted close to 1,000 dollars in sales and spun off 3 parties of it's own.

Mind you that meant I received a lot of free items.  I don't even know how many-a lot though.  What this also meant?  I went to those 3 Pampered Chef parties and then all the parties spun off of those and all the parties spun offered by Kristen's new under consultant  (someone she talked into being a salesperson)

By this point in time I own everything in the catalog almost.  I'm also really good at being Kristen's side kick at her parties.  Since I own everything and love to talk I jump right in with the funny comments and people actually buy those products that I relish with my humor.   We are like a tag team-except I don't make any money and help Kristen book more parties.

I've eaten countless garden cheese pizzas and microwave rocky road brownies in the red baker.  They are both yummy.

What's funny about this is that I don't really cook.  Hardly ever.  In fact I told one of the crowds I  liked the stoneware best of all the items  because it was great for frozen pizza, frozen fish sticks, chicken fingers and french fries.  But now I have tons of items.  Like the simple slicer and the food processer.

Wait do you even know what Pampered Chef is?  I'm not sure you do.  It's like a Tupperware party except it's all items for the kitchen.  I get the chef part not sure about the Pampered.  

It's like a pyramid scheme because Kristen and every consultant above her get percentages of sales, hosts get discounts, I don't know how they make money.  This stuff must cost 5 cents to produce.

Never the less it was fun going to all these parties, watching Kristen put on a show, visiting with people and meeting new people.  It was one of my favorite parts of summer.

If you want to have a party contact Kristen, if you want a guest at your party Contact ME!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Commoner's Ode to Summer-The Weaher Edition

I've been here in California for 16 years.  It's a long time.  I'm just starting to figure out the strange weather patterns that we have.

The seasons are skewed a little differently than in traditional climates.  Each season lags a season behind. 

Because our climate is so dry, the colors that change for us are the hills.  In the summer and fall they are brown, in the winter and spring they turn green.  These are all things I've learned not to fight against.-I'm not in Kansas anymore-or Westbury.

Typically June and July are cool and often breezy.  You don't get to really enjoy the warm weather of summer.  You usually have to wear long pants or a jacket.  

In August -the very week we go back to school it heats up.  It's hot and sunny and dry and it stays that way pretty much until Thanksgiving.  (Easter is the coldest of the holidays if you ask me-you asked right?)

I just want to get up in summer-throw on shorts and a t-shirt and not carry a sweater around all day.

Well this summer?  I got it.  Beautiful days of sun shine and warm but not hot temperatures-oh and never, ever, humidity.

I know we'll make up for this with a wet winter or a colder than normal spring-or best yet an earthquake.  But this year,  Northern California offered me pristine and magical days of bright sunshine.

So in the summer of 2012 one of my favorite things was our days after day of glorious weather.

The Commoner's Farewell To Summer


In keeping with past themes like The Commoner's Favorite Things.  I'm beginning a bittersweet ode to summer of 2012.  

The best thing this summer was I decided NOT to work.  I swallowed the guilt of money not earned and decided I really needed a mental vacation.  

I'm so glad I did this.  I'm recharged, refreshed, and ready for the next 175 work days (less if the initiative fails).  

This week I'm going to do a rare daily posting as I look back fondly at the best Summer 2012 had to offer  (Trip to NY not included).

Well here is one of the  things I loved about this summer.  I present to you Coffee.

I disappeared from Starbucks this summer.  I never really passed by one and certainly wasn't going to get in my car in the morning and drive there.   

I'm an early riser-up with the sun and the birds.  That's all year long 7 days a week.  But in the summer  you can make a cup of coffee at that time and you can sit on the couch and watch TV-(Still ESPN-no local news for me).  

You can read a magazine, or a book (more on that another day), do  a puzzle, play face book and then go get another cup.  Then you can decide what to do.  It doesn't matter you have all day...

So my first offering of what I loved about summer 2012-My morning cup of Joe.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Commoner Watches the Olympics


Some years I love the Olympics, some years I hardly pay attention.  This year I'll say I'm paying attention but not sure if I love them.

I've often said that I really liked the Winter Olympics because they were so different.  Not every one skis, or skates.  Most people never go on a snow mobile or bobsled.

But its fair to say that everyone has-at one point in their life, run, jumped in a pool, rode a bicycle, swam, or did a cart wheel.  That makes the summer Olympics the commoner's games-sort of. 

But I have some observations from the Olympic Games like only a commoner could.

Swimmers are commoners.  They have to spend all day swimming back and forth in a pool and no one gives them a towel.  I don't think that's easy. It makes me cold  just watching them.  They don't even get to float on anything just swim, back and forth, hour after hour.  

Gymnast ARE NOT commoners.  Dare I say this?  I can tell you this because I have met elite gymnasts when I was an almost elite cyclists at many a festival.  They walk around with their noses in the air all of the time-they are the cool girls from high school. Plus it cost a lot of money to be a gymnast. 

Runners are commoners.  It's a lot of work to be a runner.  The training is exhausting, the special diets, and the starters position and pistol is especially scary-it must make them jumpy.  They are working through running injuries and must get tired, they have to.

Any event with a horse or a boat is not a sport for a commoner.  The baggage fees to bring that equipment with you are prohibitive. Plus?  Horses and boats? I don't own either.   In fact the  very fact that a member of the royal family Zara Phillips (not related to me) competes tells you this is no place for a commoner. If you're not from Old Westbury don't bother.

Beach volley ball is definitely a commoner's sports.  Who hasn't played this sport?  Party music, bikinis, margaritas, a spanish ole horn in the background?  I can't wait for Rio to host this event.  Plus no shoes!  Commoner's sport

Diving?  Commoner's sport.  All you need is a pool with a diving board.  I never grew up with one but I knew people who did, and everyone around here has one.  Commoner!

Weightlifting?  Commoner-I do this in my gym all the time.

Cycling-oh cycling.  This was my sport back in the day. Dare I say that this has crossed the line from commoner sport when I was a cyclist-to Not a commoner's sport.  The very price of those cute outfits and snazzy bikes pretty much puts it out of the reach of the common bike rider.

Now I'm really competitive-I've told you all this, and I'm watching and saying you know-I want to go to the Olympics, come on-why not-and you know there are some sports I know I can still be competitive at.

Anything you can do at a picnic is something I can compete at.  Archery for instance-my age and maturity would do me well there.  They wear great outfits and really cute hats.  I loved their uniforms.

Shooting-I'm sure I would be good at that-no need to be young and spry.  I heard there's a woman who's 8 months pregnant in that event.  

What about ping pong.  My strategy would be stand still and stick out the paddle.  It might work.

I'm pulling for bocci to become a sport-or dodgeball-how about Steal the Bacon.

In the meantime I dare say this-most of those who were commoners before the Olympics can not be called commoner's after.  They have been lifted above the ordinary. They've experienced something the ordinary can not.

Now really -the question I've asked all week?  Why do the swimmers not use towels?

Let the games continue....