Return to the Daily Grind

I apologize for the lack of updates. As you can imagine, or perhaps you know, school has started up again. The kids returned on Tuesday. Last week and weekend, I was really nervous about the school year because I have one new duty and I also took on a freelance project. On top of that, I had a few meetings to prepare.

When I went to pick up my homeroom from the gym, there was a little cheer when the counselor said, “Ms. Baeza’s homeroom come on down!”

I was a little worried about that. I like enthusiasm, but not when they’re going to be with me for a couple hours. When we got back to class and I started my first day spiel, it was all good. At the end of the day, I was really happy. The buzz that teachers talk about, the one that happens when kids are learning, could be heard several times yesterday and today.

I left school at 8 PM today, but I there wasn’t any resent. I still have some prep work to do right now, but I’m okay with it. I know it’s going to be a good year. I have great students, almost a year of 7th grade experience under my belt, great colleague, and a good plan of where I’m going.


Olympic Observations or Procrastination

I have a couple of things to do today, but I stayed up way too late last night/this morning. I don’t feel like doing anything, so I figured I would start and hopefully complete an entry instead of getting in the shower.

Part of the reason I was up last night was because I was glued to the Primetime edition of the Olympics. I wanted to make sure Phelps got his two medals and I’ve always been partial to gymnastics.

Here are a few of my observations categorized by good and bad.

Beijing 2008—The Bad

One of the things I’ve complained about since opening day about these Olympics is some of the commentary. I don’t know the names of all the hosts/commentators on NBC save for Bob “Big Head” Costas or Matt Lauer, so I will call many of them the dude or the chick.

Costas and Lauer annoyed me with some of their comments during the Parade of the Nations (my favorite part of any opening ceremony) because they poked fun at the clothes some of the different countries wore. Perhaps some of the garb seems ridiculous to you, but you are on a television station that can be seen around the world. The other thing that annoyed me is that as Guatemala marched in, one of them talked about the guy carrying the flag, Kevin Cordon who is their badminton player, and said, “He might as well go home because China has the gold medal locked in on this one.”

D-dawg was annoyed that they kept saying, “Such and such country has NEVER won an Olympic medal.” After seeing the magnitude of the U.S. Olympic team, D-dawg said, “Well, no wonder we win so many medals! They should take that into account when tallying up medal counts.”*

I know it’s their job to talk and fill us in on these little tidbits, but watch what you say. Ethnocentric much?

Then, last night, when the U.S. Women’s Gymnastic team was done and they were interviewing they team, the woman/chick would not lay off Alicia Sacramone about her mistakes. I mean, I get it that they could have taken gold and they had a chance and yadda yadda yadda, but it happens! People fall off the beam or miss a landing or step out of bounds. And from all the camera in your face shots of Alicia after her last two events, you could tell, she was beating herself up over it, why lay into her in the interview? I just wanted to reach through the TV, take the mic, and whack Mrs. Interviewer over the head and tell her to shut up. They could have not placed. They could sucked it up on all of the events and came in last place. Leave her alone already!

The Good

It was awesome when the men’s relay team beat the French in the pool. I’m not partial to smack talk. In fact, in politics, when people put out negative ads, each time I see one, I loose a bit of respect for them. I firmly believe there is a high and low road, and I like it when people take the high road.

The other good is that I’ve noticed more diversity in the U.S. Olympians. When I saw Raj Bhavsar, I thought it was so freaking cool. Then when I heard how he was an alternate and this was really his last chance to be in the Olympics, I was even happier. The icing on the cake was that his hometown is Houston.

I’m also super excited about the Lopezes who are competing in Taekwando next week. Ahem, also from the Houston area. And lets not forget Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong.

Prior to the start of the games, I had read an article about how some countries import their athletes and I thought it was unfair and certain the U.S. did this. But some of them they didn’t import; they’re actual home grown peeps with some spice. I think that’s awesome.

*Neither of us had paid much attention to prior Olympics. We watched them here and there, but not like we have this year. I suppose the giant TV helps. D-dawg says it’s not “giant,” but it is to me! I’ve always had a 21” TV; this is like twice as big!


Little Big Planet

Growing up, I had a Sega. I loved all the Sonic games. My absolute favorite was Sonic Spinball which I was never able to beat. Still, I was never really the kind to becomes obsessed with video games.

Now, we own a PS3 and a Nintendo DS. There's been talk of a Wii, but no final decision has been made. I mostly play on the DS, but I'm really looking forward to Little Big Planet. It might even make me a video game obsessed junkie.



It’s 6ish and I'm at the local Barnes & Noble CafĂ©.

It’s the first time I’ve been here all summer. Mostly because I’ve been too lazy to leave the house or because my late nights force me to do the house cleaning when I’d normally be here. Today, I bribed myself with a Chai Latte if I came here to work on my syllabi.

It’s pretty empty. People are probably at home having dinner, fresh from work, which probably felt like a Monday if they were forced to take the day off yesterday.

My usual seat next to the trash can was taken by a kid who had his headphones on and the volume turned up loud enough for me to hear. I sat two tables down. I have a clear view of the potential US Travel shopper as well as the Bargain Books section.

Before I had to turn up my iPod because of the loud father and daughter duo, I overheard the woman one table in front of me say into her phone, “Estoy leyendo. Ahorita te caigo.”

She’s about 200-250 pages into a Sherrilyn Kenyon book. She’s got a young girl with her and they’ve both been in a reading trance for a while. I smile at them behind my Grande Chai because they don’t look like “readers.” Not that I have an idea of what “readers” look like, but I know some people do.

An old man with a cane came a while later with a loaded B&N bag. He sat across from my favorite seat and looked through his bag. After the kid left, he took half his stuff and set it down on my favorite spot. Then he went and got the rest of it. He started looking through his mail and has been diligently reading and tearing up his stack.

For a while, I was busily highlighting through the last couple chapters of Kelly Gallagher’s Deeper Reading in hopes of getting down the elusive “best way for me to teach.” But when I stopped for a breath and look around, I had to take a break and tell you about my surroundings.

With my ear buds plugged in, I feel like I’m watching a movie. Here I am, having my own Regina Spektor concert watching a movie reel of people’s secret moments with books, mail, friends, a cup of coffee, or a cupcake. Perhaps it’s sick that I sit here and glance with curiosity at the couple in the Relationship section hug and laugh as they look through books or the two ladies who look like they just got off work and met for some “girl time” before going home to their families, but these are just the things that make me enjoy life so much.

For all I know, someone is doing just the same thing to me. Wondering what it is I’m typing or listening to and notice how my eyes begin to wander as I look perfect word…



Back when I was in college and still living at my sister’s house, Caro would often stay with me when my sister and her hubby went out of town.

One of those times, we were driving home from perhaps a usual Friday dinner when we noted the ominous gray clouds. It was summer; so of course, there was a chance of some sort of crazy weather.

She talked about the possibilities and mentioned a hurricane. All I could think about was that song that says, “El hura-can-can-can!” After a while, much like Homer, it got the best of me and I blurted it out.
Yesterday when the local, alarmist media began reporting on good ‘ole Eddie, people dashed off to Wal Mart making it seem like it was Christmas in August (bummer it wasn’t July!). I was surprised the even Target looked busy from the parking lot.

My school district closed (not like I was going to work anyway!), as did many non-essential businesses.

I was driving around doing some errands when my sister called. As usual, I didn’t hear the phone ring until the voice mail alert sounded. Retrieving my message, the first thing she said was, “El hura-can-can-can!”

It’s all good around here. It’s not an hura-can-can-can, but a tropical storm which is some wind and rain—nothing we’re not used to in these parts.

All summer long, I was wishing for a rainy day. I guess all my wishing built up into this storm.
As soon as I’m done with this, I’m planning to set down the lap top and settle into my recliner with my favorite throw blanket and a book.


Ode to the Cana

Growing up, my mom was always concerned about her canas. It wasn’t uncommon for my mom to don a large black trash bag around her shoulders to protect her clothes from the jet black, goopy concoction massed in her hair.

The message was clear canas=the enemy.

In my early twenties, when I came across my first enemy, I examined it carefully in my 10X mirror. Was it simply a light colored hair or was it a legit cana?

When I determined that it, in fact, was a cana, I plucked it out. A few weeks later, it came back…with a friend. This time, I doused them in Cherry Jubilee goop.

After a rinse and some air dry time, it was made known that Thing One and Thing Two were resistant to such a thing. Unlike the rest of my hair, they’d only taken a smidgen of the hue. My canas were demure ladies on a date.

Gabi was the first to begin questioning the canas=the enemy theory when she stopped dying her hair. Suddenly, I became ultra aware of them.

I noticed how the less you mess with them, the cooler they look. Men with the salt and pepper look pretty nice. But my most remarkable observation was that many of these academic types I admired were cursed with them. Because they were associated with one of my pedestal dwelling ideas, my point of view shifted and my analogy did as well: canas=intelligence.

Now every new sapling is celebrated in my 10X mirror. I run my fingers across my hair in search of them and stare in wonder as the reflection of light glistens in the reflection of the mirror like a shooting star.


Breakthrough Award

The Breakthrough

In my last post, I talked about the issue of sleep. I’ve had a breakthrough here recently. Yesterday, I actually woke up before my usual 2 PM and I didn’t even have anything to do. Although I did manage to clean up a little, hang up “art,” and run a few errands. This morning I was awake by 8 AM thanks to my alarm and having gone to been before midnight.

The coolest thing about waking up early was being able to watch Sunday Morning, Meet the Press, and This Week. I also had some early morning coffee. There are still several hours left in the day and I feel ahead of the game.

The rest of the day holds more errands and some quality time with the printed and soon to be printed word.

The Award

Not Quite Grown Up, who is starting her first year as a full fledged teacher (and a great one she will be), merited me with an award. An award! I think it’s awesome when people list me on their links.

The coolest thing about this award is the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

I like the idea of paying it forward. Without further adieu, here are my nominees:

Annette--because whenever the homesickness sets in, I can always visit her site to calm the senses.

Bad Texas—a fellow proud Texan, UH Alumni, and just plain cool.

CAD—she takes awesome pics and is living out her dream.

Cracked Chancla—another woman living out her dream. I hope I get to visit el Tianguis soon.

Cindylu—she inspired me to revamp my blog and raised my awareness to so many issues. Plus, she’s almost a Doctora in an issue I care about deeply.

ElenaMary—inspiring in so many ways. If only we could all be half the activist she is.

El Chavo—his useless kitchen tools crack me up, the HR posts make me drool (even the bad ones because I always imagine my mom’s delicious HR’s), and his pictorial tours of are cool.

Gwen—who provides tales of shopping, Metro rides, and the whirlwind that is publishing.

Because I am a rule follower, I must stop at seven. However, anyone over on my links list is a nominee.