Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Book review: Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

Sigh. I don’t know what the deal with my book club’s choices have been lately... but honestly... I don’t think I have truly enjoyed more than 1 in the last 6 reads. And let me tell you, Teacher Man was NOT the one I liked!

I guess I should preface this by saying I am not a Frank McCourt fan. I bought Angela’s Ashes in Heathrow airport way back in college, for my return journey from my summer semester in London. This was long before any “buzz” about the book in the US... this must have been the summer of ’98, I think. Anywho. I read the book from London to Detroit. Upon landing, I was about half-way done. I stumbled off the plane, jet-lagged and bummed to be back in Michigan. And never picked up the book again. I had no curiosity about how things turned out for little Frank and family. I have long assumed that my complete lack of interest in finishing AA (which is pretty rare, I finish almost everything) was due to it being associated with my flight home; i.e., I really had a great summer in London and was coming back to my senior year in college and maybe I just didn’t want to be reminded of that flight. Or some weird psych rubbish-y thing like that. But after reading Teacher Man, I am now wondering if it was just because it was an annoyingly bad book.

So, going into Teacher Man, you could say I wasn’t a “fan.” Mildly curious/indifferent would be the best way to describe it. The book’s blurbs all talk about how inspirational it is... thirty years in NY public schools... the triumph of good teaching over bad environments... that sort of thing.


As far as I can tell, McCourt spent the first 15 years in vocational schools, where he had no control over the students and had no idea how to teach them. To compensate, he endlessly told them the stories of his horrible upbringing in Ireland. How does this relate to teaching the English language? It doesn’t. He was just wasting time... and not teaching anything significant to his students. After about 15 years of this nonsense, he got a job at a top-notch school where the students were motivated and college-bound. At this point, his “teaching” “takes off.” Mmmm.... here’s a little secret. It isn’t hard to teach kids that actually want to learn. You can put a chimp in a classroom of bright, motivated students (I know, having had several “chimp-like” teachers in HS where I knew more of the subject than they did... I just taught myself what I needed to know.).

And talk about whiney. *Shudder* The life of a teacher is not easy. I know that. They are under-paid and over-worked. But to hear McCourt tell it, digging ditches or working on the docks is more rewarding. The book is a litany of complaints about the hours, the parents, the students, the administration... I am not sure where the “inspiration” is in all this...

Ok, enough. I just had to get this all out of my system. :-) As you can all see, I would NOT recommend this book (Ha-- understatement of the year!). I am curious what the teachers in my book club will think about it (we have two). Do they agree? Sympathize? Wish he would shut the f*&% up? (Hee hee!)

All I can say is, our next book better be spectacular to make up for this one!

Thursday, April 20, 2006


As promised, here is a picture of some of my Easter goodies to drool over:

The blue-based yarns are both Manos del Uruagay from my MIL, and the brown is Andes from my hubby. All of them look, feel, and smell great. (Cuz I am odd like that.) The book is also from my hubby; it is probably a little advanced for my knitting skills at the moment, but I love that he thinks I can use it! (It is great having a supportive husband who thinks you are the bomb where yarn is concerned... even if you are not!)

And here is what I have been crocheting lately:

This is the Spider Shrug. The pattern is uber easy to follow and I am really enjoying it so far. I bought this like a month ago, and then had yarn issues (without going into it, let's just say I do NOT like discountyarns.com!), and wasn't able to start it until last week. Hopefully, I will be able to finish soon.

That's about all for me, at the moment. Laundry, dinner, and crocheting are all calling for attention tonight...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm in love

Have you all seen this site? Check it out (and have your PayPal accounts handy!):


I think I will make this one a regular visit on my blog rotation. It will, at the very least, teach me some self-control!

Sorry I have not been blogging or commenting much lately (though I assure you, I have been reading your blogs). I had a nice, long 4-day weekend where I resolved not to even look at a computer. And the weather was soooooooo nice (spring has finally sprung in Michigan) that I spent much of my time outdoors. But I did get some sweet Easter gifts from my hubby and mother-in-law, which I will be taking pics of soon so we can all drool over them together. :-)

Now go help those fellow bloggers destash. You know you want to...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Jumpin' on the bandwagon

Yup. That’s me. Being a little lemming-- er -- follower and doing the Wikipedia Meme. If I actually had crochet content I wouldn’t need to do this... but I don’t. So, here it is... I think I saw this at Good Yarns and Crochet All Day and Quirky Musings....

The Wikipedia Game:

Search for your birthday. Post 3 events, 2 births, 1 death.

September 8th.


1636 - A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes the first college in what would become the United States, today known as Harvard University.

1945 - Cold War: United States troops arrive to partition the southern part of Korea in response to Soviet troops occupying the northern part of the peninsula a month earlier.

1974 - Watergate Scandal: US President Gerald Ford pardons former President Richard Nixon for any crimes Nixon may have committed while in office.

1157 - King Richard I of England
1979 - Pink, American singer

1949 - Richard Strauss, German composer

I am wondering, in this game, do your choices reflect anything about your personality? I know I picked people and events that were familiar to me... Is it weird that Richard I and Pink were the births that stuck with me? Hee hee... what a pair!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

April Square

Some of you may have noticed the Granny Square Swap button in my sidebar. This is a year-long swap... and I think I have posted a sum total of zero of the squares I have made (note: it is now April!). This is usually because I finish it and run out the door to the post office and pop it in the mail, forgetting that "taking a picture" phase. But, I actually remembered to snap a pic this time, so here it is:

It was a quick crochet. I like it.

The hubby and I had a "date night" last night. It was so fun. We had dinner at our favorite Italian place. We were... how shall I put this... pigs. It's hard not to be at this place; the food is divine. We started with a bottle of wine... had baked asiago cheese for an appetizer... I had a house salad with balasamic vinegar (yum)... a huge amount of pasta... and then dessert. Yes, they practically had to roll us out onto the sidewalk! :-) We then headed over to the theatre to see "A Doll's House" which was excellent. A little dated, but still relevant. I was practically cheering for Nora when she finally left her marriage! It was a good production; if you live in MI I suggest seeing it (at the Performance Network in Ann Arbor).

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I sniff yarn

It's true! Just ask my hubby, whenever I get new yarn, the first thing I do is take a big whiff. I don't think this is just a yarn fetish on my part; smell is very important to me. I sniff EVERYTHING.


Since smelling yarn does look a little odd (especially in public!) when I saw Grumperina's new button... well, I had to add it to my sidebar. It's good to know there are other yarn sniffers out there!