Friday, February 29, 2008

Raising Sand

Do yourself a favor.
Run, don't walk to um...your computer and buy the cd Raising Sand by Allison Krauss and Robert Plant.

Since I suck at reviewing cds, let me quote the review on Real One's Rhapsody:

"The unexpected and unpredictable collaboration between this Led Zeppelin frontman and a modern bluegrass diva may raise a few eyebrows. But once you put aside your reservations and listen to this truly amazing album, the marriage of Plant and Krauss' voices make more sense than chocolate and peanut butter. As they cover songs by Gene Clark, Sam Phillips, Townes Van Zandt, Mel Tillis, Tom Waits and the Everly Brothers, don't be surprised to find yourself moved or your breath taken away. If Raising Sand doesn't sweep the Grammys, let there be riots in Hollywood."

Unfortunately, the album wasn't released in time to be eligible for this year's Grammys, however a single was released in time and it actually DID win a Grammy. ("Gone, Gone, Gone for best Bluegrass performance). I don't put much stock in the Grammys, but I'm not surprised that it won. It will be interesting to see whether it DOES sweep the Grammys in 2009. I hope it does.

I CANNOT stop listening to a Plant/Page tune called "Please Read the Letter." (Mary! :) I know you love that one too). I love singing along with them.

I haven't been this excited about a cd in a long time.

Check it out!!!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

More pics from Taichung

When we got to the Aboriginal theme park, we had to wait a bit while Joanne's aunt (Joanne is our friend Thomas and Alice's 17 month old daughter) rented a stroller for her.

While we were waiting, this adorable little boy in festive dress came right over to Joanne and wanted to hug her! I was not surprised at all - kids are so perceptive and she is TRULY one of the coolest, most loving kids I've ever met. Honestly, she was a little taken aback by the sudden outpouring of affection from little lover boy, and was looking to us for reassurance, as you can see.

(Please click on them!)

Gimme some sugar baby!

Oh c'mon...please?

Help me Sue! Tell her how cute I am!

Ooh pink fur...I LIKE it. So soft..

AHA! THAT worked. Now she can't take her eyes off me...

Ooh you are so SQUEEZABLE!

MUAH!!! Sucess!!!!!!! :)

A pretty little hut

Cold Men Without Shirts!

Bunnies Abound!

Anjoli with the scary hair

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Ever Evolving Sue!

Oh boy. So much has happened in the past few weeks...where to start? (That's the problem with being a slack blogger, Sue!).

The BIG news is that I was hired to teach at a nearby pre-school called Child's World.
You can check out their website HERE, if you'd like.

Thanks to my very sweet friend and present TAS PTA bookstore manager, Hilary, I called the director,Jackie, who is a friend of Hilary's (and the visiting author coordinator) and arranged myself an interview! Well, by the time I made it to the interview, I think Jackie's mind had already been made up that she was going to hire me! She didn't even look at my resume.
So I was hired as a substitute, and next week will teach a Reading and Writing class two days a week. I will ALSO train with her in the office, and I will eventually run the school one day a week, then this summer I will take her place while she goes home to Colorado. When she returns in September, I will again go back to teaching p/t, subbing and working in the office...then in January '09 I will take over as the director/principal! Please don't be impressed - I was hired for a few reasons - the most important being that I am an American who will be living in Taiwan for the next nine years (until Anjoli graduates from the Taipei American School). I do have a lot of experience with kids from pre-school through 6th grade - but not a heck of a lot! Oh and I haven't worked in an office since 1999! HELP!
Honestly, I prefer teaching to being an administrator, but I will give it a whirl, why not?

I have been subbing for a kindergarten class at the school this week - tomorrow is my last day of this assignment. I am enjoying it SO much! It's a total blast. I love singing, as most of you know, and I taught them this "Name Game" song - which is a great ice breaker for new subs and a great way to learn kid's names. Well, the brightest kid in the class (a 5 year old boy) came in this morning and handed me a rolled up piece of paper. He had written, in perfect handwriting, the words to the song! I was really impressed and touched by that.
It's so sweet - I end the day with storytime and by that time they are all clamoring to sit on my lap!
I can't believe how smart these children are. There are only 7 in the class - one American autistic boy who is just a gem of a kid (and he has a one-on-one aide), a red headed Italian boy (adorable),a super smart Indian girl (who has become my shadow), 2 Taiwanese girls, and 2 Taiwanese boys.
They were a bit out of control today (day 3 of my assignment) because they have figured out that I am a softie. My biggest flaw is that I do not rule with an iron fist...I guess I need to learn to be a bit tougher...but that just isn't ME. I did give the brightest boy (who is my favorite - even though he is the most mischevious) a TIME OUT today - oh boy! I was amazed that he actually sat in the chair for me! I plunked him down in front of a chart of numbers from 1-100 and pointed to them and said "HERE- READ THESE NUMBERS FROM 1-100!" Lo and behold, he did!

Yesterday, the same boy had all the teachers in stitches. We made Valentines and I told them that they could write a poem if they'd like. Here is what he wrote (spelling was nearly spot on):

Oh Carol , I Am But a Fool
Darling I Love You Though You Treat Me Cruel
You Hurt Me And You Make Me Cry
But If You Leave Me I Will Surely Die

It's a Neil Sedaka song! The teachers were saying that he must have been doing Karaoke over Chinese New Year break. Too cute.

Other happenings: Last week Anjoli was off for Chinese New Year (It's the Year of the Rat). Sujoy was also off from last Wednesday until February 11th. We all went down south to a city called Taichung for 3 days with our friends Thomas ( he's Sujoy's business partner), his wife Alice, their daughter Joanne and other family members. I enjoyed the city - the architecture is WAY nicer than Taipei - the buildings are newer. There are some very hip, cute areas...we went to a great little cafe for breakfast one day (where we were served the BEST coffee and "scrumbled" eggs!). The shopping is fantastic - Alice's brother took us to a really cool arty area - I bought a cool shirt, a very English looking angora hat and a Peruvian scarf. (It was FREEEEEEEEZING!!! It still IS!).

Here are a few pics from Cafe Uno (I am such a sucker for nice cafes, and breakfast is my favorite meal):

We went to a beautiful area close to Sun Moon Lake to a theme park which was like an "aboriginal Disney Land." Surprisingly, it really wasn't very tacky! I found it heartening that the Taiwanese are so proud of the 9 indigenous tribes on the island and that they have paid tribute to them and are celebrating their culture. Anjoli still has a bum ankle so we had to cart her around in a wheel chair. The crowds were slightly unbearable, so we didn't bother standing in line to go on the rides. We'll have to go back though because there were some fun ones. Here are some pictures from the park:


This is better (but I accidentally cut off the top of the guy- ouch!)

My skull will be featured here one day, I'm sure...

A cute little Aboriginal house

The Interior - These are not real aboriginals...hee hee...they are wax figures of a Shaman and a sick young man.

The "kitchen"

Cute little chairs

I really love their pottery, sculpture and art

From a pottery workshop - you can try your hand at a pottery wheel - I've always wanted to learn how to do that. It's extremely difficult though and I am not the patient sort.

Thomas and one of the cutest, sweetest kids on the planet, his daughter, Joanne

I will post more about our trip to Taichung tomorrow (I promise!!). Time for bed - it's VERY late!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Love to all,