Monday, September 30, 2013

September Snapshot

Once again, I'm linking up with Leigh for this month's edition of What I'm Into.

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

Reading: The Time series by Madeleine L'Engle. They're good every time. And they're small and easy to get lost in, so they fit in my school bag and make the commute fly by. I am amazed I've not yet missed my station...

My "at home" book (because it's big) is David Leavitt's The Indian Clerk. It's based on mathematicians G.H. Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan, and delves into colonialism, relationships, and the nature of genius. Human stories behind complex, often baffling math theories? If they'd taught this in math class, I would have been waaaay more interested!

Watching: The Americans. Timely, since we were in Russia last month. And a whole lot of House of Cards. If it were a book, I'd be up all night to finish it.

Listening to: Steve Bell. You can never have too much Steve Bell!

Drinking: 100% Arabica fair trade coffee from Nicaragua. Fair trade in Spanish is "commercio justo" (fair commerce), in case you were wondering. Finally, after MORE THAN ONE YEAR!!!, I've found a coffee that I just love. It's my new "house coffee". If you come over, I'll brew you a cup and also give you a muffin!

We've also changed "house wines" - the red, anyway. Our white is still a German Riesling, but today I'm raving about Laya, a young, smoky oaky red from Almansa, in Eastern Spain. It's a blend of two grapes, Garnacha Tintorera (or Alicante red grape) and Monastrell. Sorry Ontario, it's not at the LCBO, but they do have  246 other Spanish reds, so go in and ask - I bet they can find something similar.

Eating: Banana muffins. I've started popping one into my school bag in case lunch in the cafeteria is a bust. Never thought I'd be eating school lunches again. All in all, they're pretty good. A little heavy on the carbs (um, pasta with a side of potatoes, anyone?), but most days I can get salad, and fish a few times a week. If not, the burst of protein from the almond flour gets me through the afternoon!

Browsing: Teaching websites and Pinterest for classroom management ideas. I've got a class of unruly sixth-graders, but I've got something up my sleeve to motivate and keep them in order. It's a contest. Watch for details soon. Otherwise I'm using essentially the 1,2,3 MAGIC system - index cards with numbers (1, 2, and 3). Instead of interrupting class or losing your cool, just put a number card on the disruptive student's desk. They get three warnings, then they're on a time-out, during which they must write why they're on a time out. Then, this paper must be signed by a parent. Emotionally detached, encouraging students to take responsibility and ownership of their actions, and lets you get on with things - magic!

This idea is amazing, but too elaborate unless you're the homeroom teacher.

Doing: Biking! Big news, and nerd alert: I have a super awesome folding bike.

Dahon Vybe C7S, folded

Of course it's red, and of course I bought it at... Buho Bikes (Buho is Spanish for Owl... Owl is a bird... I love birds... and there you have it). I save nearly AN HOUR each day commuting, since I've cut out the subway completely. (Cuts down on reading time, but also cuts out nearly all commuter rage...) I bike to the train station instead. It's so nice to be outside, and biking in Madrid is a lot better than I thought it would be (it helps that people here think 7:30 is the middle of the night - there's not a lot of traffic when I head out. After work, I'm home before evening rush hour.) So far cars have kept their distance, and the only problems I've had have been with pedestrians! Two ladies, one crossing in the middle of the road, and the other in a crosswalk when her light was red. I didn't want to swerve on my bike, you know, being surrounded by cars and all, with no place to go, so I just ran into them. They'll learn. The first lady was mad and yelled at me. I got my Spain on and yelled right back. "Good girl", Tall Guy said when I told him. The Canadian me would have ended up apologising even though it wasn't my fault, and the ME in me would have had a breakdown and bawled her eyes out in the street. Never mind, I'm 6 for 6 for riding days, and today not even the rain stopped me.

Thinking about: Five babies. I know four women, three who are adding to their families and one (my cousin) soon to be mother (of twins), due to give birth ANY DAY NOW. Waiting to meet, via Facebook or Skype, and one in person, a boy, two girls, and a twin girl and boy. I've heard the name list for the boy, I know the names of one girl and the twins, and the last one is a mystery. It's amazing when people I know (who are my age!) have babies. So much responsibility! Such a life change!


  1. I love the Time series! So, so good. I gave up on The Americans about halfway through the season because it stressed me out too much. I did love the storylines and learning more about that part of history, though. Plus, you can't go wrong with Keri Russell.

    1. I know - talk about adrenaline! But it's pretty cool to see Keri Russel acting again. She must have been in a time warp, she looks the same! :)