Had a good last sub day as the art teacher. Today I tallied up my stats and realized I biked to 60% of my 25 sub jobs (at 6 different schools). There's still a 7th school I need to figure out how to bike to, but that's a good start for my first year of biking.
K'naan, Troubadour (****)  – Rapper K'naan was born in Somalia. Right before the war broke out his family immigrated to New York and then Toronto. His album is full of upbeat hopeful rap and hip-hop songs about the immigrant experience, with plenty of realistically sad details and a touch of bravado about what a badass he is for coming from Africa. Favorite Songs: T.I.A. (This is Africa), Fatima, Wavin' Flag, Take A Minute.
Ms. Evil Octopus Goes on a Field Trip – I made an exception to my Friday-only subbing rule to help out a teacher in need and subbed for 3 days for the class that calls me Ms. Evil Octopus. On the second day we went on a field trip with lots of helpful moms (but sadly no dads). The Thanksgiving program at Woodland Manor had fun hands-on activities for the kids to do, the kids were great, and we had sunny warm weather. My favorite part was what happened when I introduced myself to each mom:
Mom: Hi, I'm Sarah's mom.
Me: Wonderful to meet you. I'm Ms. Eureka.
Mom: [Looks strangely disappointed after hearing my name.] Oh. Ms. Eureka?
Me: But the kids like to call me Ms. Evil Octopus. It's just a fun joke we have going on.
Mom: [Perks up.] Yes, Sarah told me this! She said you're really funny.
Heehee. I guess even moms like silly jokes.
What I Learned About Biking to Work – For the past two years I've wanted to bike to my sub jobs. This week I finally got my act together and biked to work for all three days. Yay! Here's what I learned:
1. Biking makes me feel good all day.
2. I need a change of clothes for the top of my body but not the bottom.
3. Fully inflated tires make the ride a lot easier, so does a range of gears.
4. It was good to have the daughterling's bike as a backup bike at home for when I discovered a flat tire right before I needed to leave home.
5. The bike ride home is the best and made me feel less tired after work than if I drove.
6. Being a super slow biker is okay. Just getting out there is what counts.
Young Adult Fiction:
Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins (****)  – This is one of those addictively good books you might accidently stay up all night reading. Seventeen-year-old Anna Oliphant has lived her entire happy life in Atlanta, Georgia until her father decides on a whim that she should spend her last year of high school at an American boarding school in Paris.
While Anna would love to visit Paris, she hadn’t planned on leaving her best friend, possible boyfriend, and entire life to live in a country where she doesn’t even speak the language. Meredith, the girl next door, hears Anna crying in her room on her first night of boarding school and offers sympathy, hot chocolate, and an invitation into her group of friends. One of Meredith’s friends turns out to be the boy every girl in the school has a crush on. Though St. Clair has charisma, great hair, and a British accent, Anna warns herself not to fall for him and instead to just be his friend.
Anna’s a likable character. Her life in Paris is both realistically charming and difficult at the same time, as is her friendship with St. Clair. [For ages 12 and up. I read the eBook on Nook for Droid Phone.]
"Mrs. Evil Octopus" and Other Names I Should Totally Consider Using – I subbed this past Friday and Monday for a delightful first grade class. Their teacher found out she needed surgery unexpectedly a week before. So by Friday, when I arrived, they were mighty tired of subs.
I commiserated with them about how hard it is having a parade of substitute teachers when all they wanted was their own teacher back. Then I noted that it must be especially hard for them today because I was sure they were looking at me and noticed that secretly I was an evil octopus. Having an evil octopus for a sub is sooo annoying. They perked right up when I said this.
Apparently first graders are pro-evil octopus. Who knew? I had a fun two days being their teacher. I especially got a kick out of the students who raised their hands and said, "Mrs. Evil Octopus, can you explain this problem to me?"