What I should be doing now...
My French teacher told me that all the teachers she's ever had take her classes drop out because they can't handle how intense it is alongside teaching too. I completely understand what she means at this point, but I'm not giving up. Nope. So far, I've gotten As and A+s on everything, and that's too hard-earned to drop now. My best effort was my first composition. I admit fully that I enjoyed that part...me, my books all sprawled across my bed, and four hours to produce one page and a paragraph. I, who can easily spit out four pages per hour in English, took forever with this essay in a foreign language, but I was amazed that I had a result that I was pleased with in the end. It's the SPOKEN part of the language--thinking on my feet, having Frenchmen and Frenchwomen instantly correcting me, sounding like an American buffoon--that intimidates the most. Writing? I don't care what language it is. Writing is always exhilarating. Maybe I'll attach my essay at the end of this post for those of you who can read French (hmm...what's that, Laurita and Angie?).
The main huge change in our household right now has been the addition of THE KITTENATOR. That's what I started calling Firepaw Mercutio after we decided to keep him, and he decided to do typical kitten things around the house. He attacks the TV because, well, things move across it! He attacks Chian because a 15-yr-old cat doesn't fight back so much as complain. Yesterday, he almost toppled over the fish tank because betas swim so prettily, you know, and he just had to catch one. We hadn't intended to have another cat right now since we clearly can't afford it, but it happened by accident (it always does). Angie wanted to find a home for this cute orange tabby that her daughter found, and I told her that we simply couldn't take it. Then she mentioned on her blog that the kitten would have to go to a shelter because they just couldn't take in another cat and, well, the no-kill shelter would be full for the next six weeks. Stupidly, I volunteered to take on this kitten--then called only "Mercutio"--as a foster child for six weeks until that opening came up in the no-kill shelter.
Alex, the kids, and I have decided we can't foster squat. If it's living, we want to keep it.
So once we determined that the kitten would be kept, Ariana decided that Mercutio was too much of a mouthful, so she named him Firepaw (after a cat character in a Cat Warriors book she read and loved). We kept Mercutio as the middle name, took him to the vet's, and spent way too much money getting him dewormed, vaccinated, neutered, and deflea'd. Also, he needed a hernia operation too. He's doing great now. We're worried that he must be Maine Coon, though, because he is growing waaaay too fast and too long for a normal kitten. Still, we all love him! He's actually **MY** kitten. Only I can call him out from under the bed with simply a kissy noise. He follows me around like a dog. He loves to curl up in my hair or around my side. His second favorite seems to be Ariana, so I am guessing that Firepaw is a cat who loves chicks. Ari has created an entire Kitten Paradise in her room for Firepaw, and he loves playing in it. Nobody knows what Firepaw will do next, though...it's the nature of kittens. Sometimes he grabs in his teeth a pair of Alex's shorts or his shirt and just drags it around the house. Or he takes one of Ariana's stuffed animals and hides it under the dining room table. Surely we are not bored.
Ari just went on her first overnight field trip with the Quest folks (gifted program) from her school. She came back all abuzz and filled with the joy of learning. I'm glad for her. I just wish that the students who aren't so bright also had those opportunities too. Heck, maybe they ARE that bright but since they weren't raised in an enriched environment and never taken seriously at school, they just stare at the walls. How would we know? I really wish all kids could get to do the fun stuff that Ari does in Quest.
Ariana also found out that she's now the top reader in the fourth grade, and she's the fourth best reader in the school. That amazes me since she's always loved math more than reading. It was the Cat Warriors series, and now it's Harry Potter. She actually goes and holes herself up in her room for hours now, just reading. That sure does bring back memories.
Jared is doing great in school. His teacher fits his learning style PERFECTLY. She didn't fit Ariana's style at all, but the second Ari had her for first grade, I thought...wow, I hope she's around for Jared because she'd be perfect for him. This is her LAST year, so we really lucked out! Ms. R is amazing with her regulations, order, and love. It's just the mix that Jared needs (vs. Ari who needs flexibility and chaos!). One of the humorous things Jared did shows clearly how his mind works. He was to write the numbers backwards, per the instructions, from ten to one. The number five was inserted in the middle just to give them the idea. Well, what does Jared do? He writes the number backwards...and also backwards. That is, he writes after 10 the number 9 (inverted), 8 (normally because it's the same way front and back), 7 (inverted), etc., all the way back to 1. Hahahaha! Man, that made me laugh. Ms. R thought it was great too. He takes instructions so literally!
My only concern for Jared is his inability to correctly pronounce about three letters, and so he's being evaluated at school by a speech therapist. She did a screen and decided he really DID need a full-blown evaluation, so that's where we're at. It's a genetic issue from his dad's side. Several of them have needed speech therapy as young ones and ended up ok in the long run, so I know it'll be fine. He just will have to work at it.
We did get to bother Grant down in Atlanta one weekend since I last blogged. He fed us well as per usual. We watched tons of movies, and we had a great time. That's really been the only relaxing part of my life since I started school back up. I don't mind the stress because it's GOOD stress. That is, I have two lit classes, and I have a lot of work to do with them (reading, reading, grading, and reading). Since they are new to me, I've had to spend more time on them than my two 103 classes (I've done them before and can do them in my sleep). Then there's French. I want to learn it, and so I study, study, study, but it's so damned hard for me. I have many gifts, but languages beyond English is not one of those talents I possess. I still will not give up! And Alex makes it so much fun, too. We laugh and toss off slang and rude phrases as I do my workbook, and it suddenly becomes enjoyable.
So, that's about it! Oh, and below is my essay. There are a few little mistakes that I didn't catch nor know to catch (like when I say Spanish as a language, there is no "e" on espagnole...it's supposed to be espagnol...but I was right to make it feminine when it modifies "vache," or cow, a feminine verb). Alex also gave me two past tense verbs we had not learned, plus he taught me how to tell folks I liked fantasy and science fiction. Otherwise, it's me! And I managed to put my heart in it somehow...isn't that part of good writing? Go ahead! Encourage me! Haha!
A Propos de Moi
Je suis de Tampa en Floride. Ma mère et mon père vivent toujours à Tampa. J’ai deux frères et une sœur, mais ils ne vivent pas à Tampa. Aussi, j’ai six nièces et deux neveux, et j’ai une fille et un fils. J’aime mes enfants. Ma fille est belle, amusante, brillante, intéressante et charmante. Bien sur ! C’est ma fille ! Aussi, mon fils est heureux, agréable, intelligent et sympa. Il est si mignon. Bien sur ! C’est mon fils ! Je suis heureuse parce que mon mari est fabuleux aussi. Mon mari est de France. Son nom est Alexander Sol.
J’étudie le français. Aussi, j’enseigne la littérature anglaise à Clemson. J’aime étudier les livres sur le vin et la cuisine. J’aime manger et boire, surtout le fromage, le chocolat et le vin ! Je lis beaucoup de livres. J’aime l’héroïque fantaisie et la science fiction, mais j’aime aussi la littérature anglaise. J’écoute de la musique, et j’aime beaucoup des genres différents. Pourtant, je n’écoute pas de country.
Ma mère parle espagnole, mais elle ne m’a pas enseigne l’espagnole. Je lis le latin et le vieil anglais un peu. Je ne parle pas de langue utile. Je désire parler le français, mais je parle français comme une vache espagnole. Je désire parler le français mieux qu’une vache espagnole. Peut-être que je pourrais parler le français comme un panda au lieu d’une vache.
J’ai deux chats et un poisson. Je n’ai pas une maison. Je désire une grande maison. Je ne désire pas payer pour une grande maison.
Ma meilleure amie est Lee Large. Elle est une productrice de télévision. Elle vit à Tampa. Elle aime lire, et elle aime manger, boire et danser. J’aime Lee. Elle est amusante, intelligente, intéressante, sincère et sympa. Je désire que Lee vive ici.
Alors, j’ai de la chance. J’ai une bonne famille et des bons amis. Tout va bien.