Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Holy Adorable

I was out sick today and I received this email from a student.

Talk about a cuteness overload.

A Pointless Post about Mercury

I noticed recently that there is a lack of blog posts out there in cyber space dealing with thermometers. I decided tonight to fill that void.

So like I said in a previous post, I'm sick. Yesterday I spent a good 5 minutes digging through my CVS drawer to find my thermometer. It's one of those old ones filled with mercury. And well, today (just now, really) it was on top of my dresser and I noticed that the tip of it had broken off. So of course my immediate response was 'Oh great, now I'm going to die of mercury poisoning'. Yes, I realize I may be a wee bit over dramatic.

Anyway, after checking to see that the mercury, as far as I could tell, was still inside the thermometer, I emailed my Mom and Joe asking them if I was going to die. Here is what my mom wrote me back:

Mom: You may have spilled it (the mercury) on your bed or clothes. Don't lick either one.
Me: It broke on my dresser. I'll make sure not to lick it.
Mom: You'll be fine then. 

Joe on the other hand, did some actual research before he responded. He sent me a link to some fancy-schmancy site on the interweb with explicit directions on how to clean up a broken thermometer. But the directions were too complicated and the list of supplies too specific. So I decided to just open my window and call it a night. Hopefully I won't die of mercury vapor inhalation.

In conclusion, if I ever write a book I will call it "Don't Lick the Mercury and other Invaluable Advice My Mother Gave Me".

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Side Effects of Teaching

Here are the top five side effects of teaching.

1. I have no fewer than four bruises on my legs at all times. These are the result of constantly bumping into desks and tables. It probably doesn't help that I'm a bit clumsy.

2. Given the subject matter I teach, I now possess random bits of information that I would suspect many people don't know. For example, I now know  the difference between the small and large intestine (other than the fact that one is small and one is large), how to build a chinampa, and I can name all 8 parts of speech (and use them in a sentence). Of course most of this information would only come in handy if I was competing on 'Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader'.

3. Every week when we have art class I  leave school either covered in marker, pastels, glue or paint. This is why I prefer colored pencils. There's no mess with colored pencils. 

4. I leave work every day with the side of my right hand covered in white board marker. Because clearly using an eraser takes up too much time.

5. And of course the worst side effect of teaching is the one I'm dealing with right now. A cold. Ever since we returned to school two weeks ago, I have not had a full class. Students have been out sick every day. And well, it was only a matter of time before I got to join the club. Nasty little buggers.

Bonus side effect:

6. Given the age group I teach (10- and 11-year-olds) I unfortunately know more than anyone should about singers like Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez and One Direction. I actually started the year off not having even heard of One Direction. Oh, those were the good old days.

Better Side

Last week it was Cough Syrup. This week's newest song obsession is Better Side by Lady Danville.

Lady Danville Fun Fact: I went to school with one of these guys in Danville, CA. As a fellow Danvillian (or is a Danvillite?) I thought I'd help support them by posting their awesome video here.

I'm not kidding when I say this song is addicting. Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Website!

Last year I made a website with photos of my kids I took throughout the year. Well we're already a third of the way through the year and I figured I should stop procrastinating and add new photos.

So I updated it with my new lot of kids. All 29 of them. Go look! They're adorable. I promise.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Check out that view!

Disclaimer: I stole these pictures from my roommate.

Today she took a trip up to Cerro San Cristobal. Normally Santiago is covered in a thick layer of smog. So thick in fact, you cannot see the mountains. Well lucky for us, it's been raining on and off for a week or so. Here's what happens after it rains in Santiago:

Those may look like clouds. Wrong. They are the snow-capped Andes!

Pretty incredible if you ask me! Thanks for sharing, Júlia!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cough Syrup

I am beyond obsessed with Young the Giant. I would not be exaggerating if I said I basically listen to this song on repeat. Become obsessed with them too, won't you?

Meet Faustino

I recently stumbled across an interesting article on CNN titled “The Loneliest Cowboy in the World”. The article profiled an 81-year-old man named Faustino Barrientos, who has been living in almost complete isolation in the Chilean Patagonia for 46 years. 

Faustino at home
Faustino is a true gaucho. Gauchos are similar to cowboys in North America. They herd cattle over the vast, brutal landscape of Southern Argentina and Chile. Just as the Wild West cowboys have faded away, gauchos too, have become less common.

Reading about Faustino’s life, and subsequently watching the short, four-part documentary was quite interesting. This is not a man who was exiled. He enjoys living in solitude and has no desire of rejoining society. He lives on several acres of land on the Peninsula La Florida, which juts out into the oddly shaped Lago O'Higgins.

Close up of the Peninsula La Florida and Lago O'Higgins

Faustino lives a simple, seemingly uncomplicated life. He is very resourceful, often recycling items to create new ones. He even built a storage shed out of an old boat. He stays in touch with the goings-on in the world through a radio. He receives a delivery of newspapers biannually. With no visitors his only human interaction is when he travels to the faraway town of Villa O’Higgins to sell his cattle once a year. Recently another gaucho has come to live on Faustino’s land with his own herd of animals providing Faustino with a more constant companionship. 

Break time with yerba mate and biblical light.

In the documentary Faustino commented on global warming. Living and relying so much on his natural surroundings for over four decades, he has been able to see, first hand, the effects of global warming. He has observed changes in the seasons as well as changes in the life cycles of plants. 

It’s hard to imagine living like this. While the idea of living off the land is appealing to some, I would suspect that most people would not voluntarily choose a life for themselves so far removed from society.  But for me, at least, it is definitely interesting to see how other people are living their lives, especially someone like Faustino, who has such an unusual life according to social norms. 

The structure on the left is the shed made from an old boat.

The CNN article can be found here.

Or you can go watch the documentary here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Holy Hell

Ten years ago today I graduated from high school. What the what??

What's the most important thing I've learned since high school? Be extra careful when choosing a color of hair dye from the store or you could end up looking like this:
Who wants glowing red hair? Apparently I did.

I wanted to include a photo from my high school graduation but I couldn't find any on my computer. But I did find this one. This was two months before graduation and it was taken on Ellis Island during one of my high school choir trips.

And if you're ever looking to feel super old, tell your ten year old students that ten years ago you graduated from high school. Especially considering some of them weren't even born yet. I think they laughed for a solid five minutes. Good lord.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Yesterday was the first day back from two glorious, sleep-filled weeks of vacation. I wrote my kids some directions on the white board. The first one said that they could sit anywhere they wanted and that I'd change their seats later.

Well, one boy came in, read the board, saw that he could choose his own seat and started singing, "Para, Para, Paradise..this is Para, Para, Paradise".

It absolutely made my potentially miserable Monday wonderful. (Hey, who wants vacation to end?)

My kids know that to get on my good side all they need to do is mention Coldplay. Or Harry Potter. Bonus points if they use both.

Coldplay dressed up as elephants? Score.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Guess who's an aunt again?! That's right, ME!

Congrats to my big brother and his wife on their beautiful baby girl! 

I can't wait to meet little Emma!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Dear Earth, 

I'm not in the mood for this. Please stop. 

Concerned Resident