Thursday, May 23, 2013
The preschool had its open house/40th anniversary party this week and we went to celebrate with them. The boys have each spent two years there, and it was great to get to talk to the teachers, who are as loving and caring as you can possibly imagine preschool teachers to be.
Midway through the administrator thank-yous, Buster trotted off and sat down at a picnic table. Puzzled, I followed him over and saw why. He'd observed that there was a large cake on one end of the table, and he nabbed the last seat on the bench.
The children waited patiently for the announcements to conclude, cake to be cut and served, and dug into their pieces. It's not a proper party without cake, after all.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
During my brief interlude in Frankfurt earlier this month, I stopped by the city Historical Museum. For hundreds of years, it has been a commerce city, given imperial rights to host trade fairs, leading to its role as a financial center today.
There were some of the typical cool museum items like suits of armor.
And a few more unusual ones, like this excavated underground brick tunnel that originally led to a chapel. Today, you can squeeze through the passage to get to another gallery.
The architecture and presentation was interesting as well. These stark concrete columns . . .
. . framed and led to a room of very traditional items - old books, sculpture, baroquely decorated vintage navigation devices.
I also loved this old staircase, in the midst of a modern building.
I'm becoming the master of tearing through a museum in an hour. Rather than feeling sad that I'm not getting to see the whole thing, I'm learning to treasure whatever I manage to see. It's more than I would learn at the airport or my hotel room.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, Q-ster was telling us about a tree octopus, which sounded familiar in an urban myth-y sort of way, so I questioned it. "It's true, I read it!" he said.
We looked at his National Geographic Kids magazine (which was an awesome gift from his great aunt,) and read the article a bit more carefully. See the headline?
"REAL OR FAKE?"
We read each sub-article together, made our guess on which ones were true and checked the answers.
So indeed, the Pacific Northwest tree octopus is a hoax. The wikipedia entry is pretty funny, mentioning that its alleged primary predator is the legendary Sasquatch. Presumably, it's friends with the Loch Ness Monster as well.
Topics related only highly tangentially related (education! critical thinking!):
Lots of school events now, towards the end of the year. One of the benefits of working long and odd hours at my job is that it's easy to spend an hour each week in the classroom, doing some filing (alphabetizing skills!) and getting to see Q-ster in his school environment. This morning, the elementary school had a thank-you tea for all the volunteers. It was lovely - food and company, but most of all, seeing how many parents come to help out.
This evening, the school district held a session explaining the new Common Core State Standards for teaching math. The professor giving the talk gave an extended example about how fractions are very poorly taught in traditional math textbooks and made several references to how the parents in the audience probably had bad memories about fractions. I scanned the people around me and made a sweeping racial generalization. With so many Chinese parents, I doubt it. Do you really think that many would have struggled or their own parents would have let them? Ah, stereotypes.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
I made a stop at the grocery store with a colleague last week before we joined his family for dinner in our favorite Scandinavian capital. I saw some deli meats labeled "Appelsin Skinke."
Me: Dude, tell me that this isn't a package of orange-flavored lizard. Not a blue tongued skink?
Him: Of course not! It's ham.
Sometimes, you think you can figure labels out, but others times, you really need a translator.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I sewed a few small turtles with the spare fabric (from the Ninja Turtle shells) and a spare hour before I flew out over the weekend . . .
. . . to give to some of the kids I've seen this week, as well as the other half of the ruffly fabric to make a fancy dress skirt for the daughter of another colleague.
I also added a ribbon to a long skirt for me to wear for national day. I'm in my hotel and quite excited to see the festivities in an hour or two!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
We returned to my parents house after our Disney adventure last month and celebrated their birthdays with balloons and cake.
Hi-float, the coating you can squeeze into the inside of a balloon before inflating, is amazing. My mom said the balloons stayed in the air for days and days.
The candle-handlers had two candle distribution strategies. I placed mine evenly (above,) and my sister placed them tightly, which had a more dramatic flickery impact!