Monthly Archives: April 2008

No need to move to Brentwood for the schools

 I started tutoring a student at Brentwood High School in math.  This student is a bright person who is active at school, extra-curriculars, and takes honors classes when possible.  Not someone I would describe as lazy.

Since this was my first time tutoring this student, we went over their current assignments, that night’s homework, and then looked through quizzes and tests taken over the last couple of months.  I was stunned by the results on the quizzes.  They ranged from 30% to about 75%.  The quizzes were marked with points off but showed little or no indication where the student went wrong.  Based on our conversation, it is apparent that basic concepts were skipped or spoon-fed as assumptions. 

I asked if the teacher had gone over any of the quizzes individually or had approached the student about the low grades to help improve performance.  The response was an emphatic ‘no’.  The story continued mentioning that the guidance counselor expressed relief that the student wouldn’t pursue anything related to math in college.  This isn’t a senior about to leave school in a few weeks, they still have some years to influence this student.

For some reason, it is acceptable to the teacher and counselor that this student not understand the concepts taught in the math courses offered.  This is a student that is/was on track to complete Calculus before graduation.  As I said, not a numb-brained bottom feeder.  It appears to me that this teacher is more interested in class and curriculum management than their student(s) learning.

The #1 goal of teachers should be for their student to LEARN what they are teaching.  A test indicates how effectively the student has learned.  If a student has a 30% on a test, THEY DID NOT LEARN THE CONCEPT, DON’T JUST MOVE ON WITHOUT DEALING WITH THAT STUDENT.  TO DO OTHERWISE SAYS TO ME THAT YOU DON’T CARE IF THE STUDENT LEARNS OR NOT.  This situation is wrong, wrong wrong.

 

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Filed under by DB, Rant

The Dresses

For us girls, prom is all about finding the right dress. I remember my friends pouring over wedding magazines and special prom issues of fashion magazines trying to find the perfect dress. They went to David’s Bridal and Jessica McClintock and all the big department stores trying on dress after dress. The biggest worry was whether or not someone else would have the same dress. The second biggest worry was whether or not they could find something that would fit right without having to be altered. Usually, it had to be altered to get the right look and that often added an extra expense to the price of the dress.

But while they flipped through glossy magazines and drug their moms around malls, my mom and I were looking through pattern dresses at the fabric store. My mother is a talented seamstress and she made all of my dresses! It was such a fun process. First, finding the pattern that I liked then heading into the rows and rows of fabrics looking for colors and textures and embellishments. My dresses were “one of kind” creations, no one else would be wearing my dress! My dresses were all custom fit to my form and cost a fraction of what dresses from the boutiques and departments stores cost. Best of all, they were special because they had been made my someone who loves me and understands me.

My mom made one other dress for me. The penultimate of dresses:

That’s right, she made my wedding dress! I remember finding the pattern for this dress at one of our many trips to the fabric store to find a formal dress pattern and material. I asked her buy the pattern and hang onto it. It was at least three years later before I got married but when the time came, we pulled the pattern out and I still wanted it as my dress! She made everything except the hoop that underneath, we rented that.

I always been grateful that my mom was able to do this for me. It made all of those experiences extra special!

I don’t have pictures yet from one of the nieces, once I have some, I’ll post their pictures.

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Filed under by Malia, musings

Wings, Cupcakes & Ice Cream

I’ll resume prom posting tomorrow. Right now I’d like to give a bunch of link love to all my fabulous blogger friends that I got to hang with this weekend. I know you’re probably sick of me saying this but blogging has opened up a whole new side of life for me. It still boggles my mind that I have made so many new friends just by starting a blog and reading the blogs of others. My life will never be the same and that is a good thing! So, onto our weekend…

Friday night we met up with a group at bloggers at Buffalo Wild Wings in Smyrna. (btw, yummy wings!) The occasion was to bask in the greatness of Newscoma and Squirrel Queen who hail from West Tennessee but occasionally grace us with their awesomeness here in Nashville. Ivy & her family, Kathy & her family (-1 daughter who was otherwise occupied), Ginger & her daughter, John Carney, Christian (& Vince joined us later), and Shauna were all in attendance. It wasn’t the most ideal setting for conversation but it was still very nice to be with blogger friends in person and not online.

Saturday morning, the kids & I headed back to Smyrna to help celebrate Pea turning three. We played at a playground and had yummy cupcakes as a birthday treat. Then we headed to East Nashville to hang with Jag, Lesley & Ivy (again) as they hocked their wares to unsuspecting strangers. :-P

And today, the superfab Mrs. Fussypants and I went got our toenails all prettified and then gossiped chatted over bowls of Cold Stone Creamery ice cream.

It’s been such a fun and satisfying weekend. We should definitely do it again sometime!

And one final bit of link love. I got my hard drive back earlier this week and yes, the data was recovered! That means I still have all my pictures, which was my biggest concern. I can’t even begin to describe the relief I felt when DB and I looked over the files and found (not in their original locations but thats OK!) the picture files. When DB clicked on one of the files and up popped a picture of the GMan as a baby, I let out a very long and grateful sigh. I have kind of felt as if I’ve been holding my breath for the past couple of weeks as we waited to see what would happen with the hard drive. All that to say, if you’re in need of any computer repair work be sure to go and see the gang at MouseCalls (owned by the hubby of my blogger friend known as BlondeMom)! They rock!!

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Filed under by Malia, I blog they blog wouldn't you like to be a blogger too?, link love

Prom Part Three

We are now up to my senior prom. So if you’re keeping track, that means I attended three proms. I’ve heard from some of you that say you didn’t go to prom at all. I hope you know I’m not trying to brag here. I was chatting with Lisa this morning and I told her how, as I look back on all of this, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal now though I know it was a pretty big deal (for me, at least) back then. The best part was getting dressed up and going out to eat. Most of our “dates” consisted of us hanging out at one or the other’s house and watching movies. If we went out to eat, it was McDonald’s or Shoney’s or Friendly’s (oh! I miss that place!). Getting dressed up and going out to eat at a fancy restaurant seemed so grown up! And indeed, it is. Nowadays, our monthly “date night” is going to the symphony and out to dinner beforehand. We get “dressed up” (well, as dressed up as we get these days, no formal dresses or tuxedos here anymore!) and choose a restaurant that we wouldn’t otherwise go to because we usually have the kids with us! And I have heard from some you who have enjoyed seeing the pictures, which is really my intent in all of this, to reminisce and have fun!

When we were working on the last post about DB’s senior prom, I was surprised that DB didn’t seem to remember a lot about his senior prom! I remember so much about that night! Yet, as I sit here ready to write about my senior prom…I find myself in the same shoes. A lot of what I remember is auxiliary to the actual night. It was 1992, the economy was in a recession and it had hit a particularly low point earlier in the year. I was working at the same job I’d had the year before (in a discount clothing store) and everyone’s hours had been drastically cut back. David was a freshman at Virginia Tech that year and I was spending the majority of my extra money on weekend trips to visit him. I remember at one point thinking that I just might have to forgo prom since I couldn’t afford all the expenses involved. I remember a good friend of mine suggesting that I stop taking weekend trips to Tech and save that money for prom. Though it made perfect sense, it sounded like complete crazy talk to me! Give up going to visit DB? Never!

It turned out, that we hit an upswing and once again I was working normal hours and making more money. Still, it would be difficult to pay for everything involved. The biggest expense would be dinner. Neither of us could afford to pay for a fancy dinner at fancy restaurant this year. Then DB’s mom offered to make dinner for us! She cooked a delicious meal (veal parmigiana) and had set up the dining room in their house for a romantic, candlelit dinner.

The actual prom was held at a much nicer hotel than the year before. Props to the junior class (senior class of ’93)! But I remember absolutely nothing about being there. Zip. Nada. Zilch! I know we went because I do remember the location and a room full of people dressed up and “dancing”. Or maybe that was Nathan and Alicia’s wedding reception….(it was held at the same hotel) Heh. Anyway, just goes to show how “memorable” prom can be! And afterwards? I don’t even remember whether or not we showed up back at the school for the After Prom event. Pathetic.

OK, OK, what you really want is pictures…

There is not a professional picture from this prom. Not because we didn’t have one taken but because when it arrived in the mail a few weeks later it was awful! Worst. Picture. Ever! My eyes were half closed and I was slouching and it looked really bad. There was no way I spending money on that picture! These were taken at my house. I don’t know why, but I don’t have any from that night that were taken at DB’s house. So…senior year, I was feeling rather “mature” and thought that basic black would be tres chic. I borrowed the black satin gloves from a coworker. I don’t remember my shoes. I’m fairly certain I didn’t get dyed black satin pumps like the two years. I believe they are just nice, black dress shoes (probably bought them that the store I worked at!) but I can’t really see them in the picture because of the floor length dress. DB’s bowtie and cummerbund are a black/gray/white paisley pattern. There are red roses in my corsage and in his boutonnière. Aren’t we just the picture of sophistication? My hair appears much bigger than it actually was because of shadows in the picture.

And that’s it! Up next, I talk a bit more about my dresses.

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Filed under by Malia, musings

Prom Part Two (a “He Said/She Said” Post)

He said:

I remember exactly three things (OK, maybe five) from my senior prom: 1) The incredibly good northern Italian restaurant we went to whose name escapes me. 2) The junior class was responsible for paying for and arranging the prom and it was BAD. (Our class was top notch when we did it) Malia’s class was a bunch of acidheads who couldn’t organize or fundraise worth anything because daddy always paid for everything they ever wanted or they didn’t give a rat’s patootie about anything or both. 3) How incredibly beautiful my date was…so much so that I could not keep my eyes off of her whilst driving. 4) Eating breakfast at Shoney’s…high class, very high class. 5) I can’t remember anything else….that is bad….tells you how “important” all that stuff is in the grand scheme of things I suppose or just how bad my memory is perhaps.

My junior year I went to prom with a group in a limo and we went to see the sights in DC at night after prom, very cool. I went to prom with a girl who hated me earlier that spring because I had won the Model UN Club Presidency (oh yeah, shout out to Burkina Faso) over her because the day the teacher decided to have the elections, she was not there nor were some of the other people in the club who would likely have voted for her. I truly had nothing to do with it but they hated me for it nonetheless. So, I’m sorry. I’ve left that off my resume just for the sheer principle of the matter. Can’t remember much else about that prom either…just hanging at Rob’s house and sleeping on the floor.

Ah, memories to last a lifetime there.

Hmmm…I either need to clean off my scanner or there was a lot of dust/lint on that photo! I searched high and low for this photo because of all the pictures taken that night, it really is the best one. Most importantly it’s the one that best shows off my dress! I loved that dress! It was my favorite of all my dresses. I loved the “uneven” hemline and the baby blue satin lining that peeked out in the back. Once again, everything was color coordinated to the hilt. Shoes, purse, corsage, eyeshadow, bow tie, cummerbund, boutonnière, they were all baby blue. I was very surprised once again by mother in that she allowed such a “risqué” neckline! (At least it was for me. And Mom…I’m going to talk more about the dresses later. OK?) Once again, tails on the boy. Yes boy, we look like we’re twelve right? We’re both seventeen in this picture, DB turned 18 a month later. A couple more pictures after the jump.

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Prom Part One

My sophomore year of high school I was dating a senior from another school. Round about February the word “prom” came up. I was certain there was no way I’d be allowed to go to prom with him. Like I said in my last post, we’re Church of Christ, we just don’t do that! So I took a deep breath and approached my mother with the subject. Much to my surprise she didn’t even bat an eye. In fact the conversation went something along the lines of, “Of course you’re going to prom with him! He’s your boyfriend and it’s his Senior Prom!” Wow. I was floored and ecstatic. I was going to prom!

We went to dinner at a restaurant, whose name I don’t recall, with the boyfriend’s best friend and his date. The prom was held in a hotel ballroom somewhere and afterwards we went back to the best friend’s house, played games, watched movies and I think eventually, in the wee hours of the morning we headed back to the boyfriend’s house and crashed. (I should explain that said boyfriend lived in Maryland, I lived in Virginia. I often stayed the weekends with his family and bunked in with one of his sisters.)

One particularly funny memory was the sister, whose room I was sleeping in, had told her brother earlier that day to wake her up when we got back to the house because she wanted to see us all dressed up. (I think she was working that evening and couldn’t be there when we left for dinner.) When we got back to the house, we went into her room and tried to wake her up. She sort of sat up, looked at us and then rolled over and went back to sleep. The next morning she was so mad at us for not waking her up! We insisted that we had and told her that she had even opened her eyes. We thought she had seen us but apparently she wasn’t really awake.

My, my, my! What ever can I say about this picture? Mint green dress. Mint green shoes. Mint green hair barrette. I look like a dish of mint sorbet! The boyfriend’s bowtie and cummerbund were as close to mint green as the tux shoppe had. Sadly though, the bow on my corsage was more of an aqua color and clashed with my ensemble! Look at those bangs! It was 1990 afterall. We were still working the big 80s hair! Oh! And the white pantyhose! Dear me. Nice creases in the satin. I’m pretty sure he’s wearing tails. I think I remember him specifically saying he wanted to wear a tux jacket with tails.

Next up, DB’s Senior Prom.

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Filed under by Malia, musings

Prom Prologue

Two of our nieces have their proms coming up this weekend. Well technically one is a “banquet” because it’s a Church of Christ private school and we CofCers just can’t allow dancing. But the premise is the same, you get all gussied up, have your hair did, take lots of pictures, hang out at the event for an acceptable length of time and then head out to the “real” party afterwards. Right? Right.

I’m not feeling as nostalgic and weepy as their parents are, however I do remember those two little five-year-old girls tending the guestbook at our wedding ceremony almost 13 years ago!

My how they’ve grown-up!

I can’t wait to see them in their prom gear. It has me reminiscing about prom nights from years gone by. I’ve located pictures from the proms that I/we attended and will be posting them here this week. Then hopefully, I can do a prom epilogue post this weekend and with pictures of these two lovely young ladies in their fancy duds.

Shoot, now where’d I put the tissues? It’s getting kinda misty in here…

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, musings

How Rude!

We are seasoned symphony attenders. And when you get into the habit of going to performances such as these, you can start to get a little, um, uppity about some things. There are several faux pas that can be made during a performance such as talking, not using cough drops or water to keep a cough under control, fidgeting too much, singing/humming along with the music, etc. But the two biggies are arriving late and leaving early.

Of course, getting a little too “high and mighty” about such things has a way of coming back to bite you in the proverbial arse! We had a symphony date this past Friday night. Our normal symphony nights are Saturdays but we had switched tickets with some friends. We also had a gift card to a nice steakhouse in town. We got the babysitter lined up, we got reservations for dinner and we headed out. Unfortunately for me, allergies had been getting the better of me all day. Up until Friday, I’d shown no signs of being affected by this Spring’s allergies. I took some medicine and figured everything would be alright. Well…

Dinner was so good. So good, in fact, it went a little longer than we’d expected even with an early evening reservation. By the time we left the restaurant, the performance was starting. We weren’t far away from the symphony hall so we got over there as quickly as we could, parked and went in. They have a late seating policy and we were escorted into the back of the hall even though our seats were further up. Now we had violated the first big faux pas by arriving late.

Unfortunately my head had begun to pound and my throat was getting scratchy and the allergy medicine I had taken combined with the very good dinner we had just consumed was making me rather sleepy. The first half finished, we found our ticketed seats for the second half and settled in. Then I looked at the program. Oh good, just one symphony in the second half. Um…one symphony with four movements that would last approximately 50 minutes!

The music was so beautiful! I can’t even begin to describe it. The conductor had taken some time before starting the symphony to give some background about the composer, Erich Korngold, his work history, the inspiration for the symphony, the composer he’d been influenced by (Strauss) and the composer who in turn was inspired by Korngold (John Williams). The music was utterly indescribable yet it was putting me to sleep! I was fidgeting, not coughing but having to tend to my nose every couple minutes, trying not to yawn and completely unable to enjoy the performance.

Which brings us to big faux pas number two. We left during the break between the third movement and fourth movements. I know! It was the last movement but I can not even begin to describe how awful I was feeling and DB said he couldn’t watch me suffer anymore. Thankfully we only had to slide past two other people and there was an exit close by.

Which just goes to teach me that sometimes there are reasons to arrive late and leave early, even in the same evening!

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Filed under by Malia, random

Family Fun

I recently noticed something about two family units in our extended family who have teenagers; they enjoy being with each other! The teens, all of whom have full and active social lives, still hang out with their parents and sibling. The parents, who work hard but don’t let discipline slide or communication lapse, still relate well to their teens and spend real, quality time with them. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting with these two families around separate dinner tables and witnessing the laughter and joy and fun that they have together.

And I want that for our family. I don’t know if these parents consciously and deliberately planned for their families to be cohesive or if it’s in their nature as people to get along well. I can already see that my kids have great personalities. JBelle is inquisitive, smart and has an infectious laugh. GMan is a funny guy who keeps us laughing but he’s also caring, quite persistent, engagingly energetic. Even now they can be, when they’re not whining or being demanding, fun to be with. When they’re young, like ours are now, they want to be with us. They request our presence and relish our attentions. We played an impromptu game of kickball in the backyard a few nights ago. It lasted maybe fifteen minutes but it was a lot of fun! And already, even though it is still two months away, the kids are talking about and looking forward to our annual trip to Pennsylvania to work at Camp Manatawny.

It gives me hope for the future. I know parenting those teenagers hasn’t been a complete walk in the park for those parents, but they haven’t had many of the problems so many other parents face with their teens either. I keep seeing how these early years are ultimately the easy part of parenting. And I really, really hope that our family can continue to be a family that can have fun and enjoy being together.

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, parenting

Twitter is my Watercooler

Whoa! Did y’all feel that? Nope, me neither. Heh.

So…you may have heard about the “little” earthquake this morning that our area of the country experienced. First I heard of it was from an e-mail from DB’s brother who lives outside of St. Louis. When I saw the subject line, I thought, “Earthquake? Really?” Of course, being married to a geologist, I’m well aware of the New Madrid fault line and the possibility of experiencing earthquakes in this region but it’s certainly not something we fret about and plan for around these here parts. I clicked over to Twitter and sure enough, the majority of the tweets were about the quake that awakened people around 4:30 this morning. First, it was the West Tennesseans reporting the rumbling. Then more and more from Middle Tennessee were telling of their experiences.

And all morning long there has been “talk” on Twitter. Everything from who experienced what to remembering prior earthquakes to debating whose earthquakes are worse (San Andrea fault vs. New Madrid fault). This is probably really crass and tacky for me to say, but days like today I don’t envy y’all who work in offices. You most likely spent the first thirty minutes, at least, in the office this morning with everyone rehashing what they felt and didn’t feel and recalling prior earthquake experiences and even debating whose quakes are worse! You’ll get interrupted throughout the morning with random phone calls and e-mails and the one or two co-workers who come in late and “have to” rehash it with everyone all over again since they missed the morning discussion around the coffeepot.

At least with Twitter, I can chose when I interact with this morning’s excitement. And when I need a break, I can just close my browser and walk away. It is nice, though, to have my own personal “watercooler” of sorts where I can participate in these events from my home.

I do have an earthquake story, but I think I’ll save that for another day.

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Filed under by Malia, musings