March 29, 2009
Conversation between me and my dad:
Dad: Your brother is dissing you on his blog.
Me: What? Let me look at that.
Dad: He’s talking about how you haven’t posted since Obama was inaugurated.
Me: I just posted today! But I didn’t see his post first. I get these emails from grandma saying she misses my blog too. I mean, I was going to write about my strep throat, but…
Dad: Yeah, that’s not even news.
Me: I know. My whole blog is going to be about strep throat.*
Dad: Yeah. Save it. Count it.
November 12, 2008
Around Thanksgiving time and stretching on into the new year, I tend to realize how much I have and how fortunate I am to have it. This always inspires me to want to do something for others.
I’d like to extend that giving feeling by supporting two good causes on my blog.
First, my brother Alan (also of Bad Habit Ultimate) is growing a mustache to raise money for cancer research. If you know my brother, you know that he will use any excuse to grow some manky-looking ‘stache (remember “No Shave November?”), but this is a great cause. Here’s his site: http://www.mustachesvscancer.org/index.php?task=profile&id=148. It even has updates on the progress of his mustache, including a recent one of him in costume as Luigi of the Mario Brothers.
Secondly, DonorsChoose.org just had their Blogger Challenge 2008! We totally missed it, but I’ve learned that I can create a giving page ANYWAY, so I’m putting this out there to the world. DonorsChoose is an amazing organization that allows teachers to write proposals for classroom materials or field trips for their students. Then individual or corporate donors visit the website, browse the proposals, and fund the proposals of their choice. When I worked in DC, my students benefited from many resources and experiences provided via DonorsChoose. Those materials continue to enhance my teaching and my students’ learning. One of my favorite funded proposals was for a classroom set of Whisperphones, for which my school and I later ended up in the Washington Post!
DonorsChoose allows bloggers (and ordinary citizens) to create a Giving Page, highlighting proposals they select. You can get to the Chez Schmanz giving page by using this link: http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/viewChallenge.html?id=19454. Please let me know if you’d like to nominate any other proposals for the list, and I will add them. I’ve added over $5000 worth of proposals to the list (in the interest of choice!), and I’d love to see what good we can do by January 1, 2009!
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I’ve added one of my proposals to this list. I thought that some of you might prefer to contribute to something that would benefit someone you knew. Or, you may want to avoid giving to me; I give you the choice. My proposal is Sounding Out Success with Jolly Phonics. Another proposal on the list, From Caterpillar to Butterfly, belongs to another ESOL teacher at my school. I have no connection to any of the rest, and I chose them to span a range of grade levels and types of proposals. All these proposals focus on teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) because that’s what I teach.
All donors to DonorsChoose receive a thank you letter from the teacher. Those who donate $100 or more also receive thank you notes from the students and photos showcasing the materials during classroom time. The minimum donation is just $1! If everyone who reads this blog gave even $1 or $5, we’d definitely make a dent!
So, mustaches for cancer, materials for schoolchildren…let’s make a difference!
July 31, 2008
Unpacking brings with it an opportunity to look at old things with new eyes. So when I came across my journal from my study abroad year in Montpellier, I took a break and read it cover to cover.
As I was reading, I looked for passages that I might want to share here, but some was too melodramatic, some was too boring, some was too pathetic, and a lot was too personal. When I finished, I closed it and thought, “I should throw that away. Or destroy it.” But I know I won’t.
I’d love to hear others’ experiences with old journals. It’s silly of me to keep this one (and others) because I honestly wouldn’t want anyone reading them. (Perhaps especially Allen, in case you were wondering.) And yet I do get a kick out of reading them (when I’m not cringing so hard it hurts), and I may share very small parts with some of my “Montpellier friends” who will laugh at some of the things we’d forgotten.
It does make me wonder, too, if I’ll look back on old blog posts in a couple of years and cringe. Will my voice sound melodramatic and pathetic to me then? Maybe, however, the censorship I impose on the blog will at least save me from some of the pathetic part. (And this was a college journal! Beware the journals from middle school!)
What’s your experience with journals? Ever come across one in a box and wonder how quickly it would burn?
June 8, 2008
Just as Allen and I are Schmanz, our close friends Brandi and Steven are Gosap. And Team Gosap is off on an international adventure of their own: five weeks in Guadalajara, Mexico. The stated purpose* is to attend a language school to improve their Spanish, but the trip will be so much more. Steven (the Go- half) is returning to the homeland. Will he glory in his indigineous roots or feel uprooted? Brandi (formerly of -sap fame) will be vying for the title of Miss Blondest Mexico. She’s a real contender.
We’ll be following Border Crossings, their new blog, very closely during the next five weeks and suggest you do the same!
*Gosap, remember this? “State your purpose!” at the Cheesecake Factory in Arlington. “I’m here to eat!”
April 1, 2008
Hey look, everyone! More blog posts about how Lauren doesn’t post on her blog anymore!
I’m catching up in a very non-linear nothing-can-be-posted-here-until-it’s-chronological fashion. In the meantime, I see that all my lovely friends continue to read my blog, except on the weekends. I also see several quite amusing tidbits in the search terms. (Amusing to a self-absorbed lover of one’s own blog, that is.) I thought I’d share some of the recent searches that found me, for better or for worse:
grate walk – Did you really want to hear about walking on grates? Can you not spell? Or is it a “thing?”
“Are there Roman ruins in Paris, France?” – Glad I could help. If you need anymore information on the foremost expert on ancient Lutetia, please let me know.
eiffel tower hot air balloon – One word: POP!
My favorite and the most unfortunate was poor “places to go with toddlers tampa” who found a blog post about toddlers almost drowning in Tampa swimming pools. Sorry about that. I guess you won’t be bringing your kid to the public pool now.
In the meantime, while I’ve been neglecting my blog, I’ve been working on some of life’s more important questions:
1. Yoga? (This is a yes or no question, as yet unanswered.)
2. Am I a bad spouse? (Yes, but I am in recovery. Operation belated birthday gift went off with the appropriate fanfare for a late present.)
3. When exactly am I going to go off in French at someone? (I can feel it coming. After a confrontation with a surly ticket-seller yesterday I rehearsed a pretty fluent tirade in my head.)
4. What is the meaning of life? (Vacation. I have been planning lots and lots of vacations – oh yes, I have!)
More, more, and more to come!
March 3, 2008
During her recent visit, my friend Elizabeth asked me which blogs I read often. I didn’t have much of a blogroll to boast of, so I started looking through a few of the blogs I do read and checking out their blogrolls. So now I’ve added several bloggers to my list who I think I’ll enjoy reading (and some of the blogs were so interesting I’ve already gone back several months!), in two new categories: Blogs in France and Blogs in Paris.
Blogs in France:
Chez Loulou combines photos du jour with recipes and information for foodies. I’m looking forward to trying some of her recipes, and her pictures of the South of France are great.
Kim at Francophoney is living in Le Havre, going to school, and teaching. Yes, I have much more to read, I’m sure. But she posted earlier this week about teaching with blogs, which is the secret ambition of my life (shhh!), so I will go back for more.
My So Called Life in France stars Madame K, a New Yorker in Metz. I’m really enjoying her irreverant style. Her post about Madame Snaggle-Tooth made me laugh out loud because interacting with the French is just so….so. “Now I understand perfectly.”
Sam de Bretagne is a Minnesotan living in Bretagne (Brittany) with a Frenchman. I like her writing style, and I appreciated her recent post in which she admits that life in the US might be for her: Sam de Bretagne: All good things come to an end. That’s something we at Chez Schmanz have trouble confessing when we’re feeling it.
Soupe du Jour is written by an Australian in Annecy. So far I’ve enjoyed reading her posts about her kids and her complaining neighbors.
The Same Only Different is Joy Suzanne’s account of living in Montpellier! Oh how those pictures made me long to be there again. Her Christmas pictures were killing me. People, I know you love Paris, and it’s certainly starting to grow on me, but Montpellier will always hold my heart.
Blogs in Paris:
The American author of A Pretty How Town isn’t in Paris yet, but her family moved from France to Mexico and are moving back, probably to Paris. I decided she could go on the Blogs in Paris lineup anyway.
The first post I read on Frog with a Blog had a conversation between the blogger and some poor sap who’d been taught to say “I am foreskin” by a colleague who was messing with her. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have more contact with French speakers…
L’Étrangère Americaine is an American teaching assistant in the Paris suburbs. I kind of want to email her. Is that weird? I’m just saying – we’re both expats in Paris, sounds like she got here at the same time, both teachers, and I liked her blog.
Aside from having a witty blog name, Le Blagueur a Paris also has a sharp and entertaining writing style. This is not surprising, as she’s a writer, so you’ll also find frequent links to her articles at Gridskipper (which can be nice for those of you who prefer the more “informational” blogs).
Petite Anglaise is an English woman whose blog got her fired and then a book contract. Not bad. I like her easy writing style, and though a lot of her posts lately have been about the recent release of her book, who can blame her? But when she is posting about her life, it’s an easy and engaging read.
Polly-Vous Francais has quite a famous blog, from what I see on others’ blogrolls. Her blog is a bit more informational, but she does it well. (Usually I go for the more personal blogs, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.)
After all these new blogs on my blogroll, you are probably asking: Lauren, did you do anything besides reading blogs this weekend? (And also, do you speak to your husband?) And the answer is: mostly, no. I did take a really nice walk with Allen, which I’ll blog about with pictures tomorrow. Other than that, let’s see…I think I might have read a blog or two…