Archive for March, 2008

One of my former students, whom I taught over 4 years ago, found me on Facebook and wrote this on my wall:

I am glad you are still teaching American Lit. We still talk about your classes when we get together and hang out. It’s funny thinking and talking about high school. We’ve been out for three years but it seems like it was just yesterday….

Knowing that my class made enough of an impact that a group of my former students still talk about me make me feel amazing!! No amount of money could ever replace that.


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Ahhh Sunday… the day to catch up on all of the things I was supposed to do over the weekend, but didn’t quite get to.

I always make huge plans for myself (in my head) about all of the thing I want to accomplish over the weekend.  This weekend it was getting through (grading) 3 sets of essays, doing a bit of grad school work, working out, errands, laundry, grocery shopping, and light cleaning.

What’s gotten done so far?  A bit of laundry, a workout on Saturday, some light cleaning, a trip to Target (not for grocery shopping, mind you), and a mere peek at the stack of essays.  (Ok, I’ve graded a few, but not nearly as many as I would’ve hoped I’d get through).

I did watch a great indie movie last night called Broken English.  It was a quirky movie starring Parker Posey.  Quirky and Parker Posey seems almost redundant, doesn’t it?  It was a movie I could really relate to, because Parker Posey’s character, Nora, questions whether the fact that she’s still single is about her poor choice in men, the fact that men just don’t like her, or something deeper about herself.  I’ve asked myself all three of those questions, and I’m still waiting for an answer.  Watching the movie was a fun way to examine these questions again and come to the conclusion that maybe I need a change of scenery to really invigorate my love life.  (A trip back east, perhaps?)

Ok, I should get going and get busy.  I have to pick CBCB up at the airport in a couple of hours and I’d like to get a few more things accomplished before I do.

Happy Sunday to you!

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Born on the wrong coast?


I’ve been asked quite a few times in the past if I was from New York. I was born and raised in California, and I don’t think I have what people would consider a NY accent. Whenever someone asks me if I’m from NY, I just chalk it up to my Italian-American background. (Loud, fast, boisterous voice. In-your-face, blunt, type-A personality. You get the idea).

Then last week CTLB’s fiance sent me a Facebook quiz to measure which type of American accent I have. It asked things like if “horrible” sounds more like “horse” or “harness.” I was really surprised to find that the quiz said I had a North American accent: ” Your accent is specific to New York State, the Great Lakes Area, and Western New England.”

Also, when I interviewed for the summer internship, the woman who would be my manager asked where I was from back east. I told her I wasn’t from back east and she said that she would’ve sworn that I was. She was born in NY and went to school in Boston.

I find it really interesting that somehow the cadence of my voice has taken on this NY persona, even though I’m a California girl. Maybe I was born on the wrong coast?

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Yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had in recent memory. I must be living right, because the good karma is flowing for me.


  • I had a phone interview for the summer fellowship program that I applied to. The position is at a research company in Palo Alto and is called, “Employee Communications Blogger.” How perfect does that sound?! The job entails web design of the employee intranet page, along with blogging about the “hot news” about the company. The page is going to serve as a way for the rest of the company to understand what the marketing department does. The best thing is that in the paragraph that I had to write to show my interest in the job, I wrote that I thought this job was custom made for me. When the woman who would be my boss called me for the interview she started off my telling me that she thought this job was custom made for me, too, and that she thought I’d be a perfect fit. Talking to her was so refreshing because she was so real. She has great energy and spirit, and I think we’d work well together. She wants me to come in and meet the people I’d be working with, which is a great sign. I’m 98% sure that they’re going to offer me this position, and I am tickled pink. This is my top choice of the positions I’ve seen, and I really hope I get it.
  • CBCB told me that because her father travels 3 weeks out of the month for work, he’s going to be able to get us free hotel rooms and a free rental car for our trip back east this summer for CTLB’s wedding! What luck! This is going to be a huge savings, because we would’ve been spending at least $400 each in hotel rooms for the week. Now this allows me to spend that money on doing some fun things while in Boston/CT, and I can’t wait. I told CBCB that BeachGirly and I would definitely buy CBCB’s dad a nice gift certificate as a thank you for being so generous.
  • In other east coast trip news, last week CBCB had to fly to Massachusetts unexpectedly for her uncle’s funeral. It was so sad, but one of the bright sides was that she got to reconnect with lots of her cousins who live in the area. The cousins were very excited to hear about our plans for the trip back east and said we could stay with them the week after the wedding. So, it looks like CBCB and I will be able to go to Rhode Island, Cape Cod, Stamford CT, and another town in Massachusetts (I can’t remember the name). Beachgirly won’t be able to join us because she’ll be leaving a bit earlier, but she’s going to be going to visit friends in NYC the week before, so she’ll have a great time on her solo part of the trip before joining us. This whole trip is something that I’ve been looking forward to for so long, and now it’s going to be even better than I imagined.

I felt like I had hit the jackpot yesterday with all of the great things that happened. It was such a nice feeling to know that so many things were going right.

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I love springtime. The blossoms are just beginning to bloom, birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and people seem a bit happier.

With spring comes color — both in nature and in people’s clothes. Gone are the gray and black outfits of winter. Pinks, blues, greens, and yellows abound. Fashion becomes fun again! I’m more of a winter-color person because of my olive skin, but I do try to lighten my clothes up just a bit and add in some turquoise, deep pinks, and green hues.

Yesterday at the salon I decided it was time to lighten up my hair color, too. My hair is naturally black, but I thought some caramel highlights might look nice. Dez, my stylist, said that she thought we should just highlight the first layer, to add some depth. She said she thought it would look cool when I put it up for the darker hair to show through on the bottom. I agree. Plus, it was a lot cheaper to just highlight the top than the whole thing.

(I got highlights for the first time 2 years ago, and I was so worried about what they would do to my hair. I opted for brown highlights that time, and while I liked them, they didn’t pack the impact I was looking for. Soon enough I went back to my normal, raven hair).

This time I decided that the caramel color would offer the impact that I was looking for. That wow factor, if you will. When my stylist finished blowing out my curly hair into straight sections, she turned me towards the mirror, and I definitely liked the change that I saw reflecting back. It’s the perfect look I was hoping for for this new spring season. I’m thinking I may keep it going for a couple of months — we’ll have to wait and see.

My new hair color debuted last night at a girls’ dinner to rave reviews. Everyone said they loved how it looked. The real test will be tomorrow when my mom sees my hair. My mom always tells me that she thinks my hair is too dark, forgetting somehow, that my hair is naturally black. So, she should be very happy with this lightened up version. Either way, she’ll tell me the truth. She’s not afraid to give me her honest opinion, so we’ll see what she thinks.

It’s so interesting to me how changing one small thing, like the color of your hair, can make such a difference in how you look and feel about yourself. This new color may not be permanent, but for now it’s a happy, springtime change that I’m looking for.

Before:(black, thick, naturally curly)dsc01335.jpg

After:(caramel highlighted, straight (for now) hair) photo-12.jpg
This picture was taken in the sunlight, so my hair looks quite a bit lighter than it really is, still, you get the idea of the difference.

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CTLB and I are at it again. We’re making another iMovie for grad school.


This time we took on the task of creating a “commercial” to be shown to administrators and faculty members throughout our district about the importance of forging personal connections with students, especially students of color who often struggle in our educational system.

The data shows that Latino and Black students rank lowest in standardized testing. With No Child Left Behind, standardized testing is the norm, and schools are judged on how well the students perform on these tests. There are lots of acronyms like API, AYP, etc., that most of you wouldn’t understand — unless you’re teachers or parents who know about such assessments. The bottom line is, there is a racial achievement gap in California (and schools around the country), and teachers aren’t doing a great job of reaching our lowest performing students.

So, our commercial is all about how to form C.A.R.E. (Collaborative Action Research for Equity) groups with students in order to raise their achievement and let them know that teachers care about them. Not just about their academic performance, but about them as people, too. We interviewed other teachers from around our district who explained how much they got out of leading C.A.R.E. groups. We also got footage from students who explained how much it meant to them both personally and academically to know that their teachers really took the time to get to know them and how to better serve their needs.

We’ve spent over 8 hours editing this 15 minute commercial. Editing is fun, sort of like piecing a puzzle together. The frustrating part is how long it takes to do simple things, but we kept at it and now have an amazing commercial that we are really proud of.

In doing this iMovie and the other one we did last year, CTLB and I asked ourselves how those film editors in Hollywood do it. If it takes us this long to do a simple 15 minute film, how long must it take to do a much more complex, feature-length film? It makes me appreciate films so much more.

I just hope our message gets a warm reception from the teachers and administrators, and they decide to spend the extra time and effort on students who just need a little more care and consideration to succeed.

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Barack Obama: ‘A More Perfect Union’ (Full Speech)

I am glad that Obama spoke about the issue of race. His speech is incredibly eloquent and powerful. We are at a critical time in our nation to show the world that we are more than our past and that we are finally ready to truly embrace the notion that “all people are created equally.”

We have a major problem with racism in America, and it is finally time to examine our values on the issue and begin to deal with the notion of White privilege that is still at work in our country.

My hope is that we look beyond gender and race and vote for the best person for the job. A person who can help us move forward and evolve as a nation. To me the only choice in our next leader is Barack Obama.

I have the audacity to hope; maybe you do, too. Yes we can!

Yes We Can Obama Song by will.i.am

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