Archives for October 2015

Aspiring Talk Show Hosts

This is one of those posts that I start with a disclaimer. This means I was offered something cool and I took it, because life is short and cool things are not as plentiful as I would like. This time the cool thing I was offered was membership in the Netflix Stream Team. In exchange for writing about Netflix I received a free subscription for a year and an iPad Mini, and some other fun stuff. The opinions in the post are my own, but take the free gift part of it as you will.

netflixEarlier this month a box arrived on my doorstep announcing the debut of The New Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show on Netflix earlier this month. On the show Mr. Peabody and Sherman host a late-night talk show, with important historical figures as guests. My son, who is seven, loved-loved-loved the Mr. Peabody and Sherman movie, so he was excited for the show right away. The box also contained some talk show props, which definitely upped the ante. Because, you know, fun stuff.

The good news is that my son enjoyed The New Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show, and finished the first season within about a week or so. My daughter, who is 10, watched an episode and said it was good, but she prefers other shows. She says The New Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show would be really good for kids between the ages of four and eight. In the interest of honesty I will confess that I haven’t seen it myself so I can’t say, but my son is smack in the middle of that wheelhouse so I suspect my daughter is right.

One of the things that both of my kids really are into, though, is YouTube videos. Like a lot of kids their age they play Minecraft, and then watch YouTube videos of other people playing Minecraft. Although they are both too young to create their own YouTube channels, they have both decided what their usernames will be when they are old enough. It’s also pretty common for them to practice their sign-ons and sign-offs, and narrate the events as they play Minecraft. Apparently this is something lots of kids do now, according to my friends.

Although my kids are too young to have YouTube channels, I am not. So, we decided that we could make a video together. They used the talk show props we got from Netflix to create their own Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show. Do you want to know what Mozart’s favourite contemporary song is, or who Cleopatra would like to meet? You’ll have to watch the video.

Poem of the Month: The Night Before my Husband Leaves

Recently I re-embraced my adolescent love of writing poetry. Many of them are written just for me, but I have written enough that are not as personal and I’d like to share some of them. And so, a blog series is born. These aren’t necessarily my deepest poems, but I do enjoy each of them.

And now, here is this month’s poem, which I wrote while chatting with my husband the night before he left to cover the TED Conference.

W Vancouver poetry

The Night Before my Husband Leaves

I like w words –
Whimsical
Wistful
Woebegone
Wanton
Wisteria.
For that matter:
Words.
Why?
I cannot say.

Maybe the oddity
That double-u is really
Double-v (as in French)
Weirdness
Abounds in language
And life unfolds in strange
Ways
Which
Fill me with so much
Wonder.

Got Ink?

tattooJust about two years ago exactly I got my nose pierced. I called it my not quite midlife crisis. At the time I had it done one of my Facebook friends said something along the lines of, “First it’s a nose ring, then it’s a butterfly tattoo, and before you know it you’re dancing on tables and drinking vodka with rock bands.” I’m paraphrasing, but I think you get the gist. The point was clear – I was taking a step away from my middle-class suburban soccer mom existence and dabbling in counter-cultural body art.

Fast forward to today. I spent the past week as a student teacher in an elementary school, and one thing I noticed was the number of teachers in the school who also have nose rings. And also the number of teachers that have visible tattoos. I can only assume that the total number of staff members who have ink is actually higher, since not everyone chooses to get tattoos in places visible to the casual observer. This follows a trend that pretty much anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock can see. Tattoos are no longer the domain of radical nonconformists. Lots of people get permanent body art, and it’s not the big deal it once was.

Back when I got my nose ring and my Facebook friend made his commitment I said that tattoos were way too much commitment for me. However, with my 40th birthday looming next year I feel the commitment is lessening. I’m not a 20-year-old whose preferences and life circumstances are constantly shifting. I’m pretty much officially middle-aged (oh, how I hated typing that). I am pretty solidly established. And I feel confident that I could choose something at this point that I wouldn’t tire of next year … or regret when my current boyfriend breaks up with me.

tattoo piercingWith more and more of my friends getting tattoos, and with my increasing desire to make a statement about who I am and what matters to me at this point in my life, I’m seriously considering getting some ink of my own. I like the idea of having a tree tattoo. To me, trees symbolize being grounded, and standing strong while the world around you changes. I’ve started looking at tree tattoos on Pinterest and I’ve seen some really great ink. But still, I have qualms.

While it’s clear to me that a teacher with a tattoo does not carry the shock value it once did, I do worry a little bit about the message it conveys. Would I be taken a little more seriously without it? Would parents – who may hold more traditional values than I do – feel more comfortable with a non-tattooed teacher? And when I’m seeking a permanent position or a promotion down the road would it be counted against me, either explicitly or implicitly?

Teachers hold a position of trust. Even now I’m often taken aback when I hear teachers letting off some steam. For instance, in my days as a student in the public school system it never occurred to me that my teachers were just as eager for the school day to be over as I was. And I certainly never could have envisioned my teachers drinking or letting loose at a bachelor party. These are pretty tame examples, but they go to show that we think of teachers as being different, somehow. They don’t swear. They always use correct grammar. They always behave appropriately. And I am just starting my career, so the stakes are even higher for me.

Of course, I could get a tattoo in someplace no one could see it. But then, why am I getting it? If I’m that worried about what my tattoo says about me, I might be better off to save my money and not get a tattoo.

I could also wait a few years to get a tattoo. Once I’m established in my career, and all that sort of thing. But enough of my student teacher colleagues have visible tattoos that I’m not sure it really matters. And I want a tattoo now, not in three years or five years or whenever.

As you can see, I’m uncertain, so I would love to hear your input. Would you look at a teacher with a tattoo differently than one without? And would it depend on where the tattoo was, what it represented, and how big it was? Please share your thoughts!

My Happiness List: October 2015 Edition

Sometimes, you just need to focus on the good things in life. I like to do that every so often, so I’m sharing another happiness list. I blogged my last personal happiness list back in January, so it’s clearly time for me to re-visit it. And as I wait to hear what school I’ll be placed in for my short practicum as a student teacher, I could use a little bit of positivity. The suspense is killing me!

Let’s get the joy party started, shall we?

happiness list

My Happy List

  1. All the cool things I’m learning as a student teacher.
  2. Mentors who inspire me.
  3. Watching my daughter in her tae kwon do class. She is seriously tough.
  4. Raisins. Not everyone is a raisin person, but I really am.
  5. Cozy blankets to curl up in on a chilly fall night.
  6. My son who has lost his two front teeth and is now sporting the most adorable gap-toothed grin.
  7. My shower. Getting clean is the best part of my day.
  8. The community that has formed with my fellow student teachers. It’s so good to spend your days with people you like and respect.
  9. Comfy boots to keep my feet warm and dry.
  10. Thanksgiving – it’s this coming weekend here in Canada!
  11. My new computer. It doesn’t crash every time I try to open more than two browser windows. So novel!
  12. My husband, who washes all my laundry and is picking up the slack now that I’m back at school.
  13. Fall leaves, that brighten up rainy days.
  14. Writing poetry.
  15. Chocolate. All the chocolate, all the time.

What about you – what’s on your happy list right now? I’d love to hear!

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