Friday, February 09, 2018

Glimpse of my Food Vocab Presentation

Edited to add another image that I hope will work.
This is the first page of the presentation that pulled an all nighter to prepare. It looks kinda nice, no? I used MS Word, so I inserted text boxes the size I wanted and pasted an image copied from the internet inside each text box. An insane amount of work. Adding text would have taken almost double the time because in order to place text exactly where I wanted I would have to add smaller text boxes within the bigger ones. I LOVE what I can do with their boxes on Word!

Só, since the students had a handout with all the words in their hands, theycoile follow along. Now, if I make a recording pronouncing the words with quick comments, they can take advantage of his resource on their own. How could I “make” them do it?

GAH... I do not like teaching language, it’s so boring! :-( Its not what signed up for to do for life. I started doing that back when I was 19-23 (I taught English as a foreign language), but didn’t even get a PhD in a language/literature and didn’t teach language in graduate school. I’m stuck with it because it’s he only thing available for me... I don’t really “stand out” in other crowded field such as teaching world lit which is what I was trained to do.


My apologies for whining. I am thankful I have a job (not just a lame job, but a full time one), I promise I am. I mostly enjoy it. But I definitely long for more. A year ago I cried before teaching one of my literature classes. I can’t think about it too much.

Ok, enough of this disheartening discussion. I just thought I’d let you take a peek at the results of my all-nighter! ;-)

Thursday, February 08, 2018


Finally, after nearly two months, I made it to yoga this morning!! I was really sad that it didn't work out for me to go during the whole month of January. The teacher I love only teaches two days, Mondays and Thursdays and after classes started I can only go on Thursday.

I have a hard time, actually, it's impossible for me to work out by myself. After I purchase this ADHD course I've been implementing little things here and there to make me a more productive person, so I have been doing stretching exercises (basically yoga poses) to strengthen my lower back practically every night before bed, which is great. I know I can also work out and be more active in a consistent manner, but I'm not there yet, I'm trying little by little. In the meantime, I will continue to try to go to at least one yoga class a week.

My yoga teacher is AMAZING! There isn't one class in which she doesn't have us do at least one pose of a modification of a pose that is 100% new to me. I have been going to her classes for five years now, and even though I don't go as often as I'd like (I really cannot afford it, I wish I could!), I know for sure that she's always learning and adding more poses to her own practice and she plans her classes very carefully. It's truly a gift to do yoga under her guidance.

In any case, I enjoyed every minute of it and I'm going to try my best not to be so sedentary. I'm truly in horrible shape! (I'll try to share more about that later).

P.S. Thanks for your supportive comment to my previous post, What Now? I don't think it's a school thing at all, my colleague was just being "hirself." Sigh... I should have known better and not done the presentation. It's ok, and I defended myself from the very beginning of our talk, since this particular class is NOT representative of how most of my classes go, so I'm not really in the wrong. It was just annoying to have to sit there and be preached to by this person who is younger and more inexperienced than I am and who actually doesn't do anything for the program except chime in once in a while to say what I should do -- which I actually appreciate, even though it's much more work for me. In Spanish, everything, syllabi, exams, everything but individual classes/lessons is planned by "higher ups" so the graduate students and lecturers can teach uniformly. Thankfully, s/he says s/he's not required to share the evaluation with anyone, it's just between hir and me -- it's not part of the dossier they send to the dean for my renewal. That is good!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

An All Nighter

I pulled an all nighter.

And all I got to show for it was a few NI ("needs improvement") categories in my class observation evaluation that my colleague did today.


Eight years ago when I started to teach language, when I reached the Food chapter I had the idea to create a vocabulary handout for food words that I titled "The Food ABCs." It has these categories: Fruit, Vegetables & Legumes, Typical Brazilian Dishes & Savory Appetizers, Fish, Spices & Herbs, and Desserts/Sweets followed by lists of words in alphabetical order. Not particularly brilliant, but I thought it was a fun way to organize the really extensive and fascinating (at least to me) food related vocabulary.

I fine tuned the handout over these past years, and I have always wanted to find a way to include pictures of the foods by making a slide show or even a video (I don't really edit videos, though).  Since I had to teach this particular lesson when being evaluated, I had the "brilliant" stupid idea to make it for today's class. It was the perfect excuse! (People with ADHD are always searching for good "excuses" or firm deadlines as motivator to get things done).

After fiddling with power point and prezi, I decided I would stick to Good Old Word, a program* I've been using since 1994 when my parents got their first computer. Word kept crashing repeatedly, but I kept working and saving the document as a PDF until I was done at 5 am. The Word document is now blank (?!?!) :-( but I have a PDF!!
    *now programs are called "apps" on PCs why??!! :-( #hugePetPeeveofmine

So, after all this effort, I took 10+ minutes of class to present the document and, as a result, I got a few NIs and some "sermonizing" about the proper way to introduce vocabulary, get students talking, and teach a language class.

Such a waste of time and effort! I need to write this down so I remember to teach a class exactly as prescribed when he evaluates me again in 2 years.

I desperately need to get myself to bed now, but I wanted to write this post.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

(Long Overdue) Update

I'm sure I have one or more posts with this exact same* title, but I don't mind.
   *this is possibly one of those "wrong," redundant expressons, oh well! ;-P

After resurrecting a post deep from the drafts folder two days ago, it's time for a real update.


It's not "writer's block" exactly, but its part and parcel of living with ADHD. Certain things just feel so overwhelming! Blogging is generally therapeutic for me, it helps me process what I'm going through and also to record life's events (a really important facet of blogging in my view), but it's one of the things that I also "avoid" for fear of getting sucked in and not doing what I need to be doing. This doesn't really work because I find many other avenues of procrastinating and avoiding work that are way less interesting and productive than blogging, but well... that's what I do.

So, if you're wondering, everything went super well with the citizenship interview a week and a half ago. I was afraid it would take very long and even though our appointments were at 1:05 and 1:45 pm I made arrangements for both of our sons to go home from school (they leave at 5 pm!). My husband only waited 15 minutes for his appointment and I less than 10. In addition, the very upbeat African American lady who did my interview called my husband to come too, so we could "celebrate this moment" together.

There is nothing really "celebratory" about the perfunctory interview. (1)You swear to say the truth,  then (2) they do an "English exam" (answering one super ultra simple question and writing one short sentence that they dictate to you -- in my case it was "What money do you pay to the government?" "Taxes!" and then she says "Write here: 'We pay taxes.'"), then (3) there are the six history questions from the 100 questions we study; and finally (4) they go over the application, including checking phone numbers, trips out of the country (she declined to write down my super short trips to Argentina and Canada last Fall because she said it didn't matter, while my husband's interviewer wrote it all down), and asking all the sensitive questions at the end, about crime, and terrorism, and communism, etc. They also make sure that we understand we will have to pledge allegiance, and serve the country, bear arms, or other non-combatant alternatives (I guess in the case of females?) and it's done. It takes less than 20 minutes -- for straightforward, "clean" cases such as ours. I'm sure they keep anyone who says yes to anything much longer.

Yeah, that was it. There will be no celebration whatsoever the day we do the swearing in. We will get our passports ASAP and I will immediately register to vote.

Side note: my husband wants to register as an independent and doesn't want to donate money or work on any campaigns, ever, I don't know if I will try to convince him otherwise. He just watched a bunch of documentaries about Waco & he's mad at both parties. He agrees with everything the left stands for, but he doesn't feel comfortable being involved in politics, I guess I don't blame him, but I'm desperate to do something, anything!

What else...

Yeah, I'm undergoing my review for the renewal of my three year contract (which doesn't expire until next Spring, but that's how they do it, they renew a year and a half before the end of it). I have to prepare a mini-dossier and I was supposed to be writing my teaching statement now, not a blog post.

In six and a half years I had never read my course evaluations. That's now I bury my head in the sand, ostrich like, but just yesterday I learned from this article that most ADHD folks have "rejection sensitivity disphoria" -- I TOTALLY HAVE THAT!! This in addition to other things that I already knew I experienced, but didn't have the right terms to express: we have an "interest-based nervous system" which doesn't respond to regular incentives (importance, priority-based) and "emotional hyperarousal" -- oh, yes! The feelings of frustration when something goes wrong are HORRIBLE and physically overwhelming and just don't go away! Pretty much ever! (I mean... after a long while they get better). 

In any case. I had to read them and for a few moments there I nearly died (and began writing a desperate blog post which I didn't finish), but then I continued reading the next day and I got over the few negative comments. Most are great and very kind! YAY!!!

So, yeah... that's what's been going on. There are other things I need to blog about -- upcoming trip to LA, I'm singing in a choir again!, my parents coming in the summer, my brother abroad... and more that I can't remember now. I hope to be back soon!

Monday, February 05, 2018

Blogging and Motherhood - or When Heather Armstrong Made Me Cry (back in 2008)

WOW... This post took nearly TEN YEARS to see the light of day, how crazy is that?!? I thought of it in May of 2008, began to write it in February of 2009, went back to it in 2015 and will finally publish it now in 2018. I'm doing it now because Heather quoted her words to Leta on Instagram this past week when Leta turned 14 (my younger son L will also be 14 in May!).

Written on May 7, 2015: Heather Armstrong announced two weeks ago that she's "moving on" to other projects after blogging for so many years at Dooce and that prompted me to unearth this post that had been sitting in my drafts folder since February 24, 2009! Six years and two months later, the world is different and the post is probably slightly outdated, but I stand by my words and my feelings and I'm going to finally publish it.

I've wanted to write a post about this since last May [May 2008] when Dooce wrote a post that made me cry. She wrote to her daughter (Newsletter months 50 & 51), justifying the fact that she had not posted the her usual monthly newsletter in April:
But I guess there are some people who are very uncomfortable with the fact that I and many other women are writing about our children on our websites. How dare we violate your privacy like this, how dare we endanger you like this [. . .]. And I have been asked countless times if I am at all worried that you will totally resent me for the details I have shared here. Of course you will you resent me. I have no doubt that you will spend years of your life resenting me and being embarrassed that we have the same last name, despite the fact that I have and will spend years of my life writing love letters to you on the Internet. Despite the fact that I have declared to millions of people that you are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to my life.
This is part and parcel of being a parent, right?
(and she goes on to detail some of the ways in which her daughter will resent her)
Will you resent me for this website? Absolutely. And I have spent hours and days and months of my life considering this, weighing your resentment against the good that can come from being open and honest about what it's like to be your mother, the good for you, the good for me, and the good for other women who read what I write here and walk away feeling less alone.
And what she wrote next had me crying really hard when I read it:
And I have every reason to believe that one day you will look at the thousands of pages I have written about my love for you, the thousands of pages other women have written about their own children, and you're going to be so proud that we were brave enough to do this. We are an army of educated mothers who have finally stood up and said pay attention, this is important work, this is hard, frustrating work and we're not going to sit around on our hands waiting for permission to do so. We have declared that our voices matter. [emphasis mine]
And I have tears in my eyes again when I read the end of the last paragraph (I cry every time I read the lines above and the next ones):
Leta, some people will one day try to convince you that what I've done here is some sort of sickening betrayal of your childhood, and what those people fail to recognize is that I am doing the exact opposite. This is the glorification of your childhood, and even more than that this is a community of women coming together to make each other feel less alone. You are a part of this movement, you and all of the other kids whose mothers are sitting at home right now writing tirelessly about their experiences as mothers, the love and frustration and madness of it all. And I think one day you will look at all of this and pump your fist in the air.
YEAH!! I said, YEAH! Amen sister!

I hope Kelvin and L can virtually join Leta one day in celebrating the fact that their mothers were proud to share their voices with the world. No matter how insignificant the audience (mine) or how huge (Heather's and several other famous mommy bloggers out there).
 ~   ~       ~  ~      ~   ~
And that's where my post written on September 2008 & February 2009 ends.

Since then, Heather went on to publish her newsletters to Leta in book form, which Leta later read. I simply loved her reaction, assuming that the letters would continue to be written. I'm sure she loved it, but of course, she couldn't react as enthusiastically as the post above foresees (a pump fist in the air would be more fitting for Marlo). (I'm too tired now to go look to for the post about Leta readint the book and link to it, maybe later).

Over my ten years blogging, in spite of my very "mommy blog" name, I have blogged way less than Heather about my sons. In fact, my 13 year old sometimes complains that I'm not blogging about him enough -- he enjoys reading my posts about him. On the other hand, his 10 year old brother does NOT want to be blogged about so I try my best not to do it (but have done it a few times this year, sometimes I just can't resist!).

I love blogging, though, and the friends I've made through blogging, that's why...  (? maybe why I still blog?)
 ~   ~       ~  ~      ~   ~
That's where I stopped back in 2015. I'm still blogging, even though most of the friends I've made through blogging have moved on and now I spend lots of time on (stupid) facebook so I can keep up with my old blogging friends. 

In any case, I am DELIGHTED that Heather is blogging again, and on Instagram & Facebook. Her voice is really important and has inspired so many of us over the years. I am glad that she has continued to blog in spite of the horrible people who have harassed her endlessly online. I hope she reads this post! (and while you're at it you can read about when my son asked whether Marlo was his cousin).