Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gifts for Teachers - Good or Not so Good?

School is out for the small humans tomorrow. I can't wait. One thing that has always really bothered me about the end of school is gifts for teachers. Some school districts have outlawed gifts for teachers. Our region has not. It seems to me that I am asked to pay for more and more at school as it is. There are more field trips than ever. On top of that I'm supposed to send in tissues, sanitizing wipes and hand gel. I just received the list of supplies that I am supposed to send in with my son for 3rd Grade in the Fall. I was astounded. More and more items that should be supplied by the schools are now being supplied by the parents. This is not a new trend in my school district.

Which brings me back to the teacher's gift. I taught religious school and made it clear that I did not want anything at the end of the year. I was paid to teach. I was there to teach. I wanted to teach. I did not teach to get an end of the year gift. My students' learning was present enough for me. Watching them grasp ideas and be able to discuss them was enough for me. But that's me. I'm sure if we asked the teachers if they wanted end of the year gifts, they would probably say no while perhaps thinking yes! I don't know.

Apparently my son's teacher wanted gardening things and cash! Yes, cash. I find this particularly annoying because teachers in our district are well paid. In addition because of the economy, the unions for the teacher's aides and the school maintenance crews voted to not take pay raises this year. The teacher's union would not even consider or allow a vote on it. So did I make a cash contribution? Yes, I did. I also got her a separate gift of Godiva chocolates and a B&N gift card. We did not always get along, but she was a good teacher for my son. I don't like the end of the year gift giving, but while it is allowed I will participate.

I also sent in a gift for the School Nurse because she is leaving. She took very good care of my small humans over the years. She's a wonderful person. I also have gifts for the bus drivers. I appreciate that they safely transport my small humans.

Qwill's Qwestion: Does your school or school district allow you to give end of the year gifts to teachers? What's your experience with end of the year teacher gifts?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Vampire in the Cinema and TV

I watched Dark Shadows when I was a kid. Loved it. It was creepy and interesting. I can still hum the theme music. I even liked the remake with Ben Cross as Barnabas. Forever Knight is also a favorite though I'm still not 100% sure what happened at the end. I also really enjoyed Kindred: The Embraced, which was based on the White Wolf role-playing game, Vampire: the Masquerade. The vampire Prince of the City, Julian Luna, was played by Mark Frankel. The series lasted 8 episodes in 1996. Mark Frankel perished in a motorcycle accident in Sept. 1996. And let's not forget Buffy and Angel.

Recently we had Moonlight and Blood Ties, neither of which lasted long. Now True Blood is on HBO and L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries is coming to the CW.

Of course there are many more vampire films than TV shows. I collect vampire films and have a penchant for really really awful films. Two of my favorites are A Polish Vampire in Burbank (1985) and Uncle Was a Vampire (an Italian film, Tempi duri per i vampiri, 1959). Both are so bad that they are funny. I'm not sure that I could pick a favorite film though. I loved Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). Gary Oldman was a terrific Dracula. I also love Dracula (1931) with Bela Lugosi. I like most of the Hammer Films with Christopher Lee. I could go on; I won't.

But I'm really at a loss to think of which book or series that I'd like to see as a film or TV show. Any suggestions?

Qwill's Qwestion: Do you have a favorite vampire film or TV show? What book or series would you like to see made into a movie or TV show?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Flowers in the Rain

It's been raining off and on here for the last couple of days. Today is mostly on though. I love to shoot pictures in the rain. To me the flowers take on an added dimension. I'd like to share that with you so here are a few pictures. The picture of the blue Gazing Ball is a self portrait of me taking a picture of the blue Gazing Ball.

Even rainy days can be fun!

Qwill's Qwestion: What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Yet More Flowers From My Gardens and a Recipe

I'm up to my assets in screens, renders, and trailers from E3 along with news, news, news. Nonetheless I took some time over the last 3 days to make sure all is well in the gardens and to take a few pictures. I do grow more than Iris though they are the stars of the garden at the moment.



More Iris

Oriental Poppies

Abraham Darby Roses

A Green Echinacea

A View Looking Down the Iris Garden

I'm looking forward to spending much more time in my gardens next week. I still have not planted my herb garden. That is my weekend project. I usually plant Lemon Grass, Tarragon, Thyme, and Rosemary. I have Oregano, Garlic, Mint, Dill, and Chamomile already growing as they overwinter each year.

Qwill's Qwestion: Do you have an herb garden and/or do you have a favorite herb or spice? Share a recipe if you'd like.

Here is one of my and Small Human No. 1's favorites. It's why I grow the Lemon Grass: Thai Style Tilapia. (click the title to go to It's easy and delicious. I triple the puree though since it's awesome over rice!