March 31, 2010

I Like Burgers

Soon after President Obama took office, I read an interview in which he claimed that the food he missed the most since moving into the White House was a burger and fries from Five Guys. I had never heard of this place, but my interest was certainly peaked. After all, if it's good enough for the President, it's good enough for me, right?

Flash forward to the first day of spring conferences. I live far enough away that it's not worth my time to drive home in the short break between our institute and conferences, so I was at school getting (even more) ahead in my planning, when a co-worker suggested the infamous Five Guys for an early dinner. I gladly accepted the proposition.

If you've never been, FG is a very simple place. I don't know exactly how to classify it, as it doesn't quite meet my standards for fast food but is also not a sit down restaurant. The very first thing that impressed me, though, was the fact that they start cooking your order after you order it! Can't get any fresher than that!

The menu is simple. If you don't want a burger, hot dog, or grilled cheese, this is not a joint for you! If, however, like me, you love a good burger, I suggest you try this place out. My favorite part was building the burger the way I like it (very much like a Jimmy John's... another love of mine): cheese, mushrooms (bonus: free add on!), mustard, lettuce and pickles. Yummy!

And if you like fries, this is the place for you. I ordered a small and watched as they not only scooped a heaping amount into the cup but also added an additional scoop inside the bag. Let's just say that this french fry lover wasn't able to come close to finishing them off! And just like the burgers, they are cooked after you order them, ensuring their freshness.

Some might think that $9 for a burger and fries is a little steep. I would normally agree, but based on the quality and quantity of food I received, I think it's worth it. Burger King and McDonald's don't even begin to compare to this place, and any restaurant with similar-quality burgers will cost you at least $9 with tip anyway.

My suggestion: Eat here with a friend and split the fries! It's so worth it!

March 28, 2010

As Seen on TV

Ahhhh... spring break!

Time to leave the drama of behind and indulge in stress-free relaxation. While I may not be escaping for a luxurious getaway, I plan to enjoy leisurely lunches with friends, catching up on several novels I've been meaning to read, day-dates with my boy, and, my favorite part, chillaxin' on the couch in my pajamas as long as I want because I don't have to do anything!

Whenever I have a break from school, I am reminded of how terrible daytime TV really is. I mean, really... it's the same soap operas from when I was in junior high, and the talk shows have become trashier (and that's saying something). It's almost not worth turning on the television at all...

Except for the infomercials. I'm a sucker for them and always have been. I mean, what's not to love about products that promise to make us look better, feel better, more efficient, etc. for such low prices ("but wait... there's more!").

Over the years, I've created quite a list of "As Seen on TV" products I've wanted to try: Sweet Simplicity, Magic Bullet, Sham Wow, Shake Weight, Point n Paint, BumpIt, Smooth Away, Heel-Tastic... the list could go on and on.

Sadly, the only product I've ever actually purchased is a Ped Egg. And for the record, it works really well... and satisfies my obsession with endlessly exfoliating, buffing, and scraping away to try to attain silky, smooth skin.

How about you? Surely, I can't be the only one fascinated by these products? Which have you tried? What would you recommend? (Where are the Snuggie lovers?) What "As Seen on TV" product are you dying to get your hands on?

March 24, 2010

For the Birds

There is a courtyard in the middle of our building, which happens to be the view from my classroom. It's actually pretty nice, since my other options are the parking lot or the field (full of PE activities and pretty cars driving by in the background... like I need anything else to compete for my students' attention!).

People can only enter said courtyard from a door inside the building. Birds, however... well... they fly. And they seem to have a knack for flying in and not being able to find their way back out.

For two weeks now, this stupid bird keeps flying into our windows. He immediately falls to the ground each time, but he's a persistent fella. (And yes... I assume he's male because men never ask for directions.)

All day long... thud, thud, thud.

And when he's not flying into my wall of windows, we can watch him across the courtyard flying into others. All. Day. Long.

As if my pre-spring break kiddos aren't distracted enough this time of year!

Oh, how I hope he finds his way out!

On a related note, this bird story reminds me of a story I once hear about why God sent Jesus. Have you heard it? Let me know if you haven't, and I'll share it on another post.

March 23, 2010

Laugh of the Day

Currently, my students are reading The Outsiders (which just happens to be my favorite middle school novel). For this novel study, students are participating a unit focused on helping them learn to be self-directed. They get to choose how much they read, when they want to take the 5 comprehension checks, what journals they want to complete, and what activities suit them best as learners. I truly believe students are motivated by all of the freedom and choice in this unit. No matter what your learning style, there is something in this unit for you!

The hardest part for my seventh graders is to plan and adhere to a schedule. In the beginning of the unit, my over-achievers panic that they will never have time to finish and beg to take the book and their packets home (which is not allowed until the last week of this unit). The students that are less motivated by my schedule, seem to do much better when they are accountable to their own plans. (I think this holds true for any of us that don't like being told what to do... it's amazing how that works!)

As my students work, work, work the days away studying characterization, imagery, theme, vocabulary, social issues, etc., I grade, grade, grade. This part of the unit is NOT my favorite, because I literally feel like a data processor. Submit project... score... return feedback to student... repeat, repeat, repeat.

The fun part, though, for me, is getting a further glimpse into their little minds. It's incredible to read their journals about social groups and being orphaned and trying to survive against all odds. Some of my kiddos astound me.

Today, I was grading a Character Shopping Spree, where the students are given money to spend on one character from the story, justifying each purchase with a reason that character might need or want said items. This shopping spree immediately caught my attention because of the girly items in the pictures (most students choose the more prominent male characters in the story because we know more about them). While this student didn't quite nail the assignment, her justification for her choices were highly amusing. Here's a sample:

Marc Jacobs Bag: Because every girl needs an every day bag. [Oh, how I wish!]
Jacket: For the nights spent watching sunsets with Ponyboy.
Clutch: For the classy events when a bag just won't cut it.
Tampons: For when "Aunt Flo" visits. [I, for one, appreciate the clarification there]
Bra: For that extra support.

And my favorite...

Nintendo DS: To help kill time between the rumbles.

March 14, 2010

Welcome to the Hallway

I know it's been a while since my last blog, but that certainly isn't because I don't have anything to say. It's quite the contrary, in fact, but I struggle with how much of my life I wish to divulge in this public forum. Sometimes, I feel it would be extremely cathartic to let it all out and journal about whatever happens to be going through my head. Other times, though, I worry about who might see it and what people might think (a thought that enters my mind far more often than I'd like to admit).

What I will say, for now, is that my life is at somewhat of a turning point, both personally and professionally. I am standing at the fork in the road and will soon take a path. In some instances, the path I choose will be chosen for me, and in others, I will have a say. Regardless of how I get there, the idea of ending up on a path I've never before ventured is terrifying to me. I am not a person who embraces change... I like the comfort that comes with knowing what lies in the direction I'm headed. But, as happens in life, change is inevitable.

My coworker shared with me a metaphor passed down from her father. We've all heard that when one door closes, another door opens. But his wisdom takes the metaphor one step further to acknowledge that the hallway between those doors really sucks. I find that to be amply appropriate when I think of the anxiety that exists in a middle school hallway.

If I'm about to head into another hallway in life, I pray I will not have to dewll there long. I hope, instead, that I will find the newly opened door quickly and fully embrace what it has to offer. And I hope what it offers is even better than what I've already experienced.