Monday, December 24, 2007

Ice Skating at Steinberg Rink

We met Dona and Paul at Steinberg Rink on Friday night. I've always been a big fan of ice skating, not as an aspiring Oksana Baiul but as a form of fun and fitness. When I was 13, 14, and 15, I spent lots of time ice skating during the fall and winter months. However, I've only been sporadically since then so my stamina and skill has suffered greatly. Anyway, Friday was warm and it also happened to be the first day of Winter break for a lot of us so Steinberg Rink was super super crowded. More 13 to 16 year old kids than you could count. Throw in a bunch of love birds and some doting, photo-taking parents and grandparents and you got yourself a mental image of Steinberg on Friday. We skated for an hour and decided to leave for dinner and drinks at the Boathouse.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What You Lookin' At?

Well, I don't know about everyone else but this is what I've had to look at the last few days. Apparently, cats, even 20+ lbs, massive, prehistoric-sized cats--like ours--don't maneuver too well in the snow. So, the normally I-only-come-in-for-my-4-squares-a-day Lil' Man has opted instead to chill indoors these past two snowy, wet, cold days. And, out of all the places that he could have had to relax peacefully, he's picked the dining room table across from my computer to snooze. What bothers me more than the inappropriate location and the incessant licking/grooming and the mounds of cat hair/dander is how he sleeps. One eye open. Sometimes two. But always suspicious. And always ready to strike. I just gave myself goosebumps. Yes, he's that scary.

And, if you're interested in seeing 3 hours of a day in the life of our other normal-size, more stable cat, Bernice, follow the link. Don't worry--it's time lapsed so it's only a 3-minute video.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Boston Tea Party Day

Today is the 224th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. I'm not sure how, or if, one should commemorate the event but dumping my Crystal Light Raspberry Instant Tea (yeah, it's crap) into the Mississippi River just somehow didn't feel right. So, we took down the recycling instead, which, as it would happen, is a dumping event of sorts anyway. I also took these photographs along the way.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Momma Mia!

Andrew, one of my favorite 20th Century Studies kids, works at Imo's Pizza which is across the street from MRH. During privileged lunch, he ran over and made the "Andrew Special" and brought it back to share with his friends. Since I was gracious enough to let them eat in my room, Andrew was gracious enough to offer me a slice. Delicious!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wrap This Up

The kids just finished a study of immigration and migration and had to demonstrate some level of mastery by completing a final project. So what you see here is a sample of what I watched for a week. It's always fun in the beginning to watch their little minds and fingers wrestling, interpreting, constructing. But, after 4 days, the good times are over and I'm ready to move on to new territory. I think some of them feel the same way.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Reunited Cause' It Feels So Good

Former members of the St. Louis Team Henske reunited in Chicago the weekend before last. Included in the count was the leader, Mom Henske, and all 6 Henske children, their spouses, the kids, aunts, uncles, and, rumor has it, a stray dog or two. The reason? The youngest, Joe, tied the knot. While no decent photos of the groom or his new bride were taken, a few were submitted representing fan fave Team Henske from South City.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

California Here I Come!

A few colleagues and I had an opportunity to attend a curriculum writing workshop in Newport Beach, CA. While the workshop was mostly uneventful, we did take advantage of the free trip to the West Coast. It was mild weather--about 65 degrees and overcast each day--so walked around town hitting the local hot spots (Fashion Mall, Balboa Island (pictured) and the Pacific Ocean). The last night, we took a cab to Laguna Beach for sightseeing, a Thai dinner, and a run to Ralph's.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Henske Night Out

Bill and I had a night out so we walked down the street to Riley's Pub for some pizza and a bottle of wine. As usual, the pizza was great. And, so was the wine.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Harvest Festival 2007

The family drove to Gray Summit, MO on Sunday for the Harvest Festival at the Shaw Nature Reserve. We listened to the bluegrass stylins' of Augusta Bottoms and The Flying Mules while sampling some fine meatballs and fries from Portabella. Each year pony rides are provided free to the kids. This year the sponsoring group was Camp Ondessonk (this camp may not mean anything to those of you that didn't grow up Catholic on the IL side of the Mississippi but it might for those of you that did). When we were in grade and high school, Camp Ondessonk was the place to go! The cool camp counselors would come to our school each year and try and sell us on spending our summer with them in the Shawnee National Forest. The camp and surrounds were gorgeous! And, I could totally picture myself doing everything the other kids were doing in the glossy photos: swimming, riding horses, wearing face paint, having cabin competitions and pranks, sitting around the camp fire. Oh, how I wanted to go! But, who was I kidding? I couldn't even make it through a full night at a slumber party! How would I make it for a week-or two-or three-away from home?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rombach Farms

This is my absolute favorite time of the year---when it's not 90 degrees! Remember when you used to have to dress warm under your Halloween costume? Not anymore. My not-so-heartfelt thanks to those of you behind global warming..... (Insert angry pro-environment tirade here). But, I digress..... Despite the heat, Bill, Willa, and I went to Rombach Farms to have some fall fun and pick up some pumpkins. This was my first trip the Farm, but Bill and his family ventured to the "Chesterfield Valley" every year for pumpkin picking. Some things are still the same, the old frontier fort, but a lot has changed too--most notably is that the Rombach Farm is an island in a sea of strip mall development. Wonder how long it will be before the Rombach's sell the farm?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Frost and Fungus Recovery

The backyard is looking quite healthy and alive in spite of some near-natural disasters. For example, the Catalpa tree has made significant improvement after a hefty dose of nitrogen (see earlier post). According to reputable gardening sources, we had a 50/50 chance of getting the tree back. To date, it looks like we've won. It also looks like we won in the grape department too. After an unexpected spring frost, the vines did manage a nice comeback. Although we didn't get any fruit, we're hoping for a crop next year. And, finally, the bowl gourds are looking well suited for bowl making. Bill attached rope on the side of the porch assuming that the gourds would follow upward. It happened last year, but not so this year. Instead, the vines veered to the right and used the Crape Myrtle for support.

Friday, August 17, 2007

New School Year, New High School

This is my 9th year of teaching. Can you believe it? Last school year my high hopes of teaching in the history department at Roosevelt High School were dashed when I was 'bumped' out of that position. I ended up at Gateway in the special ed department, which was a great learning experience but not a permanent career move. Through a colleague, I found out about an open history position at Maplewood Richmond Heights High School so I interviewed (again--I did last year as well) and was offered the position. The school has undergone a major interior renovation and looks absolutely amazing! Here are some photos of my room. How could you not learn in this space?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Zoo!

It was at least a hundred degrees today and Willa wanted to go to the Zoo. That's the bad news. The good news is that we have an awesome zoo here in St. Louis so it's a great place to visit over and over again. A lot of people feel the same way so the Zoo draws a mighty crowd starting late Spring and lasting through the early Winter. But, if the weather is too hot, or too cold, the crowds thin out and that's when I usually like to go best. Like today. Did I mention that we saw a few celebrities?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dans Soulard avec Dona

La dame et moi avons marché le voisinage de Soulard le vendredi passé. C'est un amusement, un vieux voisinage français avec un bon nombre de maisons fraîches, des barres, des restaurants, et des lieux de visites. Appréciez !