Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Attention and Control

I went to see my acupuncturist yesterday, who is married to a family friend of mine. (I'm having back pain that he is unable to treat directly. He can't get close to my hips, since I'm pregnant.) He is teaching his first lecture course at an acupuncture school. He said there were a couple of students who were disruptive in the classroom. That's Flip Flop for you. College students are like junior high school students, except they don't bathe as regularly.

He talked to my dad, who is a retired junior high school teacher, and he gave him what turned out to be some very useful advice. He said disruptive students are of two types: ones who just want attention, and ones who want to control the classroom. You have to figure out what type you are dealing with, and act accordingly. If you give the one who want attention what they want, their discipline problems stop. But if you give attention to the ones who want control, you're just playing into their game, and they will just continue being disruptive.

I thought this was interesting advice. I have a few teachers who read this blog, so I thought they might find it interesting. I also wonder how much this can apply to people in general, and not just students. I think I generally assume that people just need to know you care about them, and they will start to treat you well, but maybe that isn't always the case.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Seattle Highlights - Draft 2

Um... I published this last night when I was very, very tired. I still am very, very tired, so there might still be mistakes. I know there are still fragmented sentences and don't care, but at least what is written below makes a bit more sense than what I wrote last night. I hardly ever go back and fix my mistakes, but it was way too embarrassing.

I spent last week in Seattle with my family. My father, mother, sister, two brothers, two sister-in-laws, two nieces, and my husband. It was nice to get away from work, and to be surrounded by family. We rented a big house on Lake Washington. My mom did tons of cooking, and I helped a little by making fried chicken one night and pasta another. It was fun, although sometimes a little overwhelming.

Highlights:

1. Swimming with my mom. We found a pool close by, which was old, but clean, and we were lucky enough to be able to split a lane both times we swam. I made up little workouts which we sort of stuck to. She acted proud of me when I tried to keep up with some high schoolers in a lane adjacent to ours. Not bad for 17 weeks pregnant.

2. Meeting a third cousin of mine, who is family historian. I learned a few interesting things about my family. One thing I learned is that my great, great grandmother was illegitimate, and the details surrounding her birth are a complete mystery. I knew a bit about it beforehand, but was told what was apparently a tall tale that her mother was made pregnant before her wedding night by a Jewish baron a "rite of the first night" sort of like in Braveheart. This was apparently not true, as my great, great grandmother was born 5 years after the husband of my great, great, great grandmother died. Various stories surround how it happens, but no one knows for sure. Most people don't want to talk about it, and those that do have different stories.

I also learned that it is sort of in the habit of my ancestors to move around quite a bit, which might explain a bit of my own restless nature. What else? One of my ancestors invented the sign that businesses hang in windows that says "Will Return" with a clock where you move the hands to a time. Another designed a large church in Rotterdam, which is where my family in the Netherlands is from. That's kind of funny, if you know my husband Raybon's last name. Also, my great grandfather, who I always knew as Harry, was actually named Hendrik. At his funeral, he was called Henry, which confused me, but Hendrik makes sense, since he was born in the Netherlands. Apparently, he, like lots of people in my family went around changing their names a lot.

So now I know lots about my great grandfather's portion of the family. I know a bit about my Japanese family, at least I know they are from Japan, which is helpful. I know little about the rest of my Dad's family though. I don't even know where my last name came from. Could be Irish, Scottish, French, English, or German. It's a Latin, biblical name and has origins in many countries in Europe. I always thought I was Irish, and there may be some basis to that, but my family tree ends before it gets back there.

3. My hilarious niece Aliana. She's only 3, but smart as a whip, and has a natural sense of humor. My other niece Anjali is 6, and is shy, so sometimes Aliana fills us in on what Anjali is thinking when she won't speak up herself. She seemed upset, and wouldn't answer why, when we all piled into the minivan to take a trip into downtown Seattle. Aliana explained "She's upset because she has to sit next to that guy." That guy was her uncle, my brother. We all cracked up. When we exchanged presents later, Rose and my brother signed the card on Aliana's present "From Rose and That Guy." After everyone cracked up again, Aliana spent the rest of the week referring to her uncle as "That Guy" in order to get more laughs.

4. Sitting and reading with my Dad while everyone else watched Wall-E.

5. Having time to read, and just get out of my daily routine and habits. Finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Secret Life of Bees, started a hastily written book about Michael Phelps.

6. Seeing how beautiful Washington State was, especially the views of the mountains on the flight over.

7. Buying my first maternity clothes.

8. Getting to know my older brother and his family a bit better, and spending time with the rest of my siblings.

9. Raybon being a real trooper and chauffeuring everyone around in our rented minivan.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Harry Potter

I finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I started it shortly after it was released in July 2007, after Raybon, who always has first dibs on the books finished it in a couple of days. When I first started reading it, I was kind of sick of Harry Potter. I felt like J.K. Rowling had blown her wad in Book 4, wtih the rise of Voldemort. So much of the next couple of books seemed like annoying filler in overly long books where not enough plot advancement or character development to merit the pages. Hermione and Ron's bickering was annoying, Harry's anger got old. But I feel like the last half of Book 7 redeemed it for me, and I again love Harry Potter.

Harry Potter is my hero. Why?

1. He genuinely loves his friends. They are more than sidekicks to him. He appreciates them, relies on them, and lets them feel like heroes, too. Since I feel like I am much more the sidekick type than the hero type, I can genuinely appreciate this.

2. He is both goodhearted and modest against all odds. He was brought up by a cruel and neglectful Aunt and Uncle, then thrown into fame and glory in the wizarding world. Neither of these things spoil him.

3. He's brave. It's one thing I admire in people more than almost anything. I know almost no one I would think of as truly brave. To me, courage means more than what it takes to be an amazing athlete or war hero. Someone who is brave has integrity, will stand up for his friends at any cost, and has the courage to love others.

4. He's a fictional character. The series is over, so he'll never break my heart.