Sunday Frustrations

Yesterday, my oldest and I went over some things on the new blog page and got a bunch of things accomplished.  Included among them was the change in the header’s picture to one I took in France in Auvers-sur-Oise in 1998 and a change from the Blog theme, which was malfunctioning, to a simpler one.  It turns out that many of my issues were related to the cool Blog theme I had chosen.  Simpler is better, lol!

Christian showed me how he was going “behind the scenes” to make changes in the blog that were not happening from the “dashboard” and that helped a lot.  However, this morning when I went to do it, there were radical changes that didn’t allow me to put in my subscription widget.  Adrienne e-mailed me yesterday and asked that with the move, would she automatically get e-mails with my blog entries?  I figured not, that was one of the widgets I needed to add.  When I used the dashboard, as mentioned, nothing happens.  When I went to do it behind the scenes as Christian taught me, the resident technology ghost in my house decided to take charge and mess up my plans.  So at least the new blog is up and running.  Sorry, Adrienne and others, the subscription thing is on my list. In the move from the old WordPress address to my new one, I have lost about thirty of my entries and numerous photos.  That is next on my list of things to do.  The old one is still up and running but today’s entry is the second one that will only be present on this site and not on the last site.

I hope that this move of mine isn’t going to be as inconvenient for everyone else as it currently is for me!

Yesterday, after having Samantha and Christian over and having major haircut day with Mikey trimming my follicularly challenged head and doing Christian’s hair as well, we headed out to see a movie with friends.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, The Eagle, which featured the less than totally respected, Channing Tatum as the protagonist.  The movie is ostensibly about a real event in Roman times taking place in Britain which was then one heck of a primitive, scary place.  The movie kept me awake during its entirety, which for me says that it was pretty entertaining.  I must say that it had some horribly cheesy moments and it was a bit drawn out at times.  What inevitably fascinated me at the end was the fact that it was filmed in Scotland and Hungary, Hungary being a great movie location of late due to the low cost of filming there.  CC and Tony, our friends are always delightful to be with and the dinner afterwards was also good.  CC and I marveled that the movie managed to pull together both of our ethnic backgrounds into a film.  We wondered, as well, whether we would ever find something to match MK’s and Tony’s backgrounds:  Italian (or Swedish) and Slovak!  I think not.  In any case, it was fun seeing a bit more of an “action” film as MK and I are not generally into “couple’s” watching of them, so this was a treat. 

Dinner was at Boston Blackie’s and it was one of those, “We don’t care where we eat as long as it is decent” evenings.  While at Northbrook Court, after the movie, we thought we could stroll over to the “Claim Company” and have dinner, unfortunately, everyone and his uncle had the same idea and the noise and the hour wait wasn’t in our thoughts as being wise, so we went elsewhere.  So it was Burgers at Blackie’s.  Again, doing anything with Tony and CC, who are also our Stratford, Ontario companions, is always a pleasure.  It is a no brainer, always fun, never ever stressful.  The only stress that there might be is figuring out the check because we are on the same wavelength and want to do the right thing.  That is good stress because you never have to worry about trying to deal with an unpleasant situation. 

Today we have a quick birthday party for the three year old daughter of one of Mikey’s good friends who is a talented chef in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He is in town since his parents live here and so we have a quick trip to the bookstore beforehand to get a gift for the young lady.

The rest of the day is somewhat up for grabs though I feel the need to go to the gym.  That is my job at the current time and that was one of my major goals, to get fitter, when I retired from my teaching job.  Our gym is amazing and really, like our local swimming pools, is country club like.  I guess we do get something for our taxes.  In any case, seeing the geriatric issues in our families, I have decided that I am going into this situation head on and I will deal with aging on a kicking and screaming basis.  My sons have repeatedly reminded me that  if and when I get to the point of being geriatrically beyond control that I am going to have a Viking’s funeral set up for me, put on a raft, pushed out into Lake Michigan and having the raft set on fire.  I guess I have my work cut out for me!

The snow has melted a great deal and I continue to watch the progress of the melt on the roof, it frankly worries me.

This week I shall work on bringing my new website up to snuff and seeing how my electronic flashcard app works with the students I am tutoring.  I am planning on working with it a bit with Samantha, doing the numbers for fun..  There is always something and I guess that this is what keeps us young!



At 5:30 AM, I literally sat up straight in bed.  I knew that there was no sleep to be had.  As I shuffled around the bedroom, MK asked me why I was up.  I responded, “Because I am awake.”  My internal alarm had gone off for some reason.  When it goes off, I heed its call!

I had slept well although seem to have experienced strange dreams.  Every so often I would somewhat awaken to mentally rehash the story line of the dream.  At that point, I wasn’t sure whether it was dream or reality.

So, up I am and set to making the coffee and then to a task I didn’t want to do later.  Before going to bed I had thrown a load of wash in.  Our front loading washer is wonderful, but unfortunately we didn’t follow a Koerner tenet, never to buy something when it is a new model.  Despite the fact that the Europeans have been successfully producing front loading washers for what seems like centuries, we Americans are new to it.  Our model works well but it took us a while to figure out its quirks.  One of the quirks is that you cannot leave the door closed as it will begin to take on a musty odor from the moldy matter it must be producing.  We also learned that you can use almost no detergent, it needs to be very small in volume.  Excess soap makes must as well, or so I am told.

So, I went down to the laundry room after my toilette and coffee production to deal with the laundry.  I knew that I had to deal with the issue of folding the laundry in order to place the new laundry on the racks.  That took a bit of time and then I was finally able to install the newly washed whites from last night.

It is now 6:30 AM and I am finally seated with my cup of coffee.  It is time to reflect on yesterday and today.  I got my coffee and took out the recycling and picked up the newspaper which is too large for Ali to deal with.  I almost killed myself on the slippery pavement which is ice covered from Snowmageddon and now has at least an inch of white fluffy snow.  Apparently we are going to have our record beaten this year.  In the past there were never more than three years in a row with over 50 inches of snow.  The past three years were over that limit and we were at 47 inches the other day.  I am guessing this is a “no brainer” and we shall have a new record. 

Yesterday was nice despite the less than auspicious beginning after our exercise foray.  We went to the nursing home to take clothing for MK’s mom.  Once there we learned that she had not been cooperating.  For us, news of this nature is never a surprise.  We dialogued with the nurses and staff, made them aware that we had two charges in the facility, which surprised a good many of them, and we informed them that we understand what they are going through and that we are very supportive.  We told them, as well, that MK’s mom is to get dressed each day and they are to try to make sure she gets in her rehab and tries to socialize a bit.  We even managed to get her to lunch and she seemed to enjoy it.  My mom was her usual self and doing fine with the situation although she hasn’t been eating as much.  She has lost weight and I think she may have gotten into some bad habits while waiting for her mouth to heal and for her new dentures.  Anyway, there is always something.

We saw The King’s Speech in the early part of the afternoon.  It was amazing from so many standpoints.  I was in awe of the way that the film was made and managed to keep you involved despite what seemed to be a very simple plot that wouldn’t be able to hold your attention for the whole film.  The actors, Colin Firth in particular, managed to totally convince the spectator of the seriousness of the undertaking.  The pain of “Bertie,” AKA King George VI, was evident, obvious, and strongly felt by the audience.  It was a great film and managed to keep us awake throughout the whole time, which at my age is how you can measure the interest of a film!

Did I mention it was snowing?  I just opened up the blinds so we can enjoy the beauty of the falling snow which is continuing to come down in a steady, but persistent way.

We ended up last night going to a Tapas Restaurant with one of MK’s colleagues and spouse.  We had a delightful dinner and then returned home.

Yesterday I also completed my tutoring schedule for the coming week.  I am tutoring two girls consistently each week and yesterday I received an e-mail from another who wants to make sure she understands The Stranger by Albert Camus, one of my all time favorite books. 

The kids are supposed to be heading north this morning for a Super Bowl Day of skiing.  I kind of thought that they were on an early schedule, Samantha is to spend time with “Mumma” and Papi today.  We shall see.  That newspaper seems to be inviting me to read it.  Now that I have my world in control and can approach it and see what is going on.

Oh yes, the Super Bowl.  Weirdo that I am, I am probably not watching it.  Honestly, had the Bears been involved, I would have at least attempted to watch a bit, maybe even more than a bit.  I shall be glad when the game is over; I am sure tired of being asked at the grocery store if my stockpiling is due to that celebration!  Traditionally, we always find something to do that is usually crowded, on this Sunday, during the game, crowded venues are amazingly empty and so much more enjoyable!

Time for some more coffee…

La Semaine du Français 2003, an example of how to set up a successful National French Week at a High School

 I pulled this out of my archives to show the basic plan for a National French Week production at New Trier High School.  This is pretty much the format that we used every year with modifications here and there.  Here’s hoping this could be something of use to a current French teacher who needs an extra resource of information.

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November 3rd November 4th November 5th November 6th November 7th
French food in the cafeterias French food in the cafeterias French food in the cafeterias French food in the cafeterias French food in the cafeterias
    Immersion Day Film:  400 Coups AP & Conversation classes teach on the Freshman  Campus


  • Please locate folder from LSDF2003 on the MCL server folder!


  • Film night, Thursday, November 6th, in a large enough, well-equipped venue
    • Presenter/moderator to set up the film and guide discussion (film teacher from the English Department chosen for this)
    • Film choice:  400 Coups
    • room setup :  « U » shape
    • Refreshments provided at low cost by French Club
    • Publicity:  10 posters enlarged on the poster machine,
    • e-mail:  to administrators and WL and ENGLISH departments


  • Field Trip from French classes to local elementary/middle schools to teach a lesson
    • How many students solicited to teach?
    • From which classes:  AP &  French Conversation and 4th year


  • Movable Bulletin Boards placed in main lobby/meeting area of school with info


  • Poster Contest
    • Voluntary and stated to all French classes


  • Public Relations
      • Yearbook
      • School newspaper
      • School Video Yearbook
      • Public Relations person for the district
      • District Webmaster
      • group e-mail to all teachers and administrators


  • Immersion Day (Students are required to sign a pledge to speak in French all day, in all classes; teachers of the other classes need to sign a permission form for it)
    • 4th, and 5th year students (special permission for some 3rd year students)
    • wear “bleu, blanc, et rouge”
    • Wednesday, November 5th
    • permission slip


  • Trivia Contest
    • Production of questions / answers
    • Duplication
    • Collection
    • Purchase of croissants  / jelly at either Costco or Sam’s club to provide adviser room (homeroom) breakfast
    • Monies to purchase breakfasts
    • Delivery of breakfasts on Monday, November 10th..
      • to five adviser rooms


  • Staff Dining Room and Student Cafeteria
    • contact people in charge of above and ask to provide something French each day
    • Different menu each day
    • walls
      • get permission to decorate the bulletin boards in the above (Le Petit Prince Paintings and/or posters)


  • Signs in school / Decorations
    • Placement by October 30th …the official date we meet after school to do the job
      • Various French classes


  • Selling of  “French” baked goods by classes to make money for Trivia Breakfast


  • Removal of posters/signs at the end La Semaine du Français
    • from walls of school
    • from Staff Dining Room and Student Cafeteria
    • classrooms


  • Thanks you notes to appropriate personnel for their part in the success of La Semaine du Français 


Questions for next year:

  • Have we thanked everyone, forgotten anyone? 
  • Current monies in our account, do we need more fundraisers? 
  • changes?

©2010 RJK

Happy Feet and Le Petit Prince

As I am watching bits and pieces of the movie Happy Feet, I cannot help but think of some similarities between it and Le Petit Prince.

Not that they are the same, but I find that both are multi-level works.  Each has a decidedly “children” look to it but yet has other levels that are seen by the older crowd.

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Le Petit Prince (here are a few of the adult themes that immediately come to mind):

  • organization
  • friendship
  • loss
  • love
  • dealing with problems
  • incomplete people who don’t realize it
  • imagination
  • being stifled by others because of their “tunnel vision” and/or narrow-mindedness
  • creativity
  • art as something for everyone

Happy Feet (some of its adult themes):

  • being different and not accepted
  • learning disabilities
  • ecology and the effects of the modern world on the environment
  • society values which may not encompass all they should
  • loss
  • love
  • dealing with problems
  • incomplete people who don’t realize it
  • imagination
  • being stifled by others because of their “tunnel vision” and/or narrow-mindedness
  • creativity
  • art as something for everyone


As I look at them, I see more and more in common.

Family movies

Our family has a couple of movies that we really like to watch.  In the past, when we were less scattered, we would watch more as a family.  If Mary Kay had her way, we had “Jammy Time,” excuse me, “Jammy Wammy Time,”  and watched in pajamas.  I must say that I don’t really participate properly in that activity, nor do the boys, but she and Laura (our wonderful daughter-in-law and mom of Samantha) like to.  The boys and I are quite remiss as we are not “pajama” people and don’t even own any!

The French movie, les Visiteurs, has its American version with pretty much the same actors, at least the main ones. It is called Just Visiting, and it is a family favorite.  It features French actors in French themes with a zany plot and twists that are so ridiculous that we laugh like crazy.  It takes the French historical stuff and transposes the situation in time from modern day France (in les Visiteurs) to modern day Chicago (great since that is where we live) in Just Visiting.

The boys always used to like to torture me with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  They like to compare me to Clark Griswold because of the exterior lighting that he did in the film.  My efforts to decorate the house at Christmas don’t compare to Clark’s but I have had all sorts of mini crises.  One year I decided to put up the old fashioned type C-9 bulbs.  I was so tired of the little mini-lights burning out and then the entire string wouldn’t work.  So I replaced them with the C-9 set which was surprisingly fraught with technological issues, the bulbs kept burning out.  No sooner had I replaced one that another burned out and I was incessantly on the roof as I had lined the gutters with them.  So they therefore like to sit the family down with a bowl of popcorn and watch the movie and await the lighting scene, very much unlike mine, but enough a reminder of my issues on the outside with exterior lighting.  I am now in my LED phase and I am very happy about that because of cost, safety, and the fact that I can string more lights together easily.

Samantha has followed in her dad’s footsteps, Christian was totally enamored of The Wizard of Oz, Samantha has become a “Mumble” follower and in love with Happy Feet.  She cannot seem to get enough of it and immediately starts to dance when the movie plays.  We play it with the French soundtrack when I watch it with her.

As time goes on, I wonder what other movies will find their way into our collection.