24 May 2012

When my students asked me

the definition of foster I excitedly told them that to foster is to...
encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good). To cherish, raise up, nurture...*

thinking they were extra engaged in the article we were reading and interested in learning some new vocabulary. Yay for English! They actually care!

Then one of them said "Oh cool. I was just wondering because there's this band called Foster the People."

Yeah, really? Too bad, "foster the minds of Spanish youth learning English" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. Then maybe they'd listen to me too. Maybe.**

It's okay though, because Foster the People really does make good music. And now my students are practically guaranteed to remember at least one word we learned this year! Success!

Anyway, I haven't been as diligent about posting music this week as I originally intended (shocking I know). But I ran into this lovely song, "Ruby," by, have you guessed?? Why yes, that one group.. something akin to Encourage the Human Race, or was it, oh yeah! Foster the People. Yeah, them. Anyway, I love the song. And I thought I'd also add an acoustic version of some FosterthePeople favorites from NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series. If you're anything like my students (and me), you'll love it!

What else should I be listening to friends? I need your expertise!

*well, I'm sure I said something like that
because when you're an English teacher you're expected to know the exact definition of 
at any given moment.
And if you don't, you make one up.
Definition via

**Also, that class are actually excellent students,
 the little smarties!

Soundtrack only, please

Florence + the Machine. 

Yep. Not much to say. I love her voice, her sound, her spunk and her dance moves. I also like this new song.

As for the movie.... well, I'm not completely sold*. But the music? YES PLEASE!

*To be fair
I'm kind of a movie skeptic.
It's just that so many mainstream movies these days are
well, mediocre.
Or just plain crappy.

And that from someone who really 
LOVES movies
(when they're good)!

21 May 2012

Something beautiful

I've been listening to some new (to me) music lately that I really enjoy. So this week I'll share a few songs/artists with you, my dear friends. Maybe you already know them, maybe not. Either way I hope you enjoy listening! Also, please feel free to share some of your own favorites too (new or old, really)!!! I'm in a new music mode. I'm bored of my current tunes and looking for something fresh. So, first up:

 Paloma Faith

The other day I randomly came across the Paloma Faith's single "Picking up the Pieces" from her album "Fall to Grace" coming out next week. She's rather quirky, and has a strong, unique voice. Her songs are fairly upbeat but also soulful. I like the retro feel of the music and her voice (and her costumes/hair/makeup). In all, I quite enjoy her and her songs. Hope you do too!!  Here are a couple to try out...

20 May 2012

If only everything were this easy!

"If you believe that earth’s natural resources are limitless, which maybe was excusable 100 years ago but is the height of ignorance now,  or that “technology will fix it” or that we can simply go mine them in outer space with Newt Gingrich, I guess none of this worries you. But if you believe in reality, and you’d like that to be a place that your kids get to enjoy, this is a big deal."

Today I read a NYTimes article called We Could Be Heroes. Intriguing, right? Who doesn't want to be a hero? So, what's the key? Essentially, the article is about a very simple, immediate way in which we can influence the world, particularly climate change, increasing greenhouse gases, diminishing land, forests, flora (and with it the loss of and endangerment of many species), etc. Can you guess what it is? The simple, small change we can make TODAY that could make the kind of difference in the world that new technologies, research, electric cars and renewable energy sources can't begin to match (at least for the time being)?

Yep. EATING LESS (or no) MEAT.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. This is one of my pet subjects. I am always harping on about the pros of vegetarianism (which isn't actually even necessarily what the article is promoting). But it's true. Read the article.  Read what I posted here about a myriad of other reasons to make the switch (or read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Great book.). But whatever you do, please at least consider the way you are eating and the affects your daily consumption has on your life, the planet, our future and the future of our children. It's at least worth giving a little thought! Especially since I can promise from experience, eating less or no meat truly is EASY! It takes a little extra thought, especially at first, and maybe some adjustment. But today there are so many options available to us that avoiding meat is no biggie in terms of sacrifice. Yet it can have a huge influence when it comes to impact!

16 May 2012

This is happiness.

Even in the early mornings now I can leave the house in short sleeves and sandals, and it feels great, like being in heaven I think.

Summer has officially arrived in Spain.

It's strange because only a week or so ago I was wearing my coat and boots and worried every day about being cold or getting rained on. Now, I'm contentedly ignoring my sweaters and tights, cheerily embracing the dresses and skirts and t-shirts I can wear without all those stifling cold weather accessories that have accompanied everything I've worn since November. In the mornings I wake up to sunlight, and the sky stays lit up until after 9pm, when it slowly fades into a soft, warm dusk. I've stripped the blankets from my bed and am leaving the windows open now while I sleep, because it's warm enough that you need a bit of breeze, even at night. It's like someone just snapped her fingers and set a great change in motion-- the goddess of all things warm and glorious! And I'm just thrilled. Overjoyed! By the way the sun beats down hard on my skin. By the greenness of the trees. The bright bursts of red and yellow and purple and white that peek out of unsuspected corners where flowers are flourishing, emitting their delicious freshness into the surrounding air, making me stop in my tracks sometimes, just to breathe. Yum!

The world is awake! And everyone knows it. They're emerging from hibernation. Families are out together on walks, in parks, sitting on benches, talking on street corners. Neighbors sit on their front porches in the evenings, just because. From my bedroom window I can hear the screams and laughter of children playing in the streets bellow. People everywhere are running and biking and walking with their sweethearts (or their dogs), taking in every minute of extended sunlight!

Oh glory, how I love it!

06 May 2012

It takes me back

I don't quite remember how I stumbled upon the video of Bon Iver performing a cover of BonnĂ­e Raitt's "I can't make you love me." His version is beautiful in its own right, but in the end I had to go back to the original. Gorgeous! (Adele's version is pretty too, by the way.)

The thing is, listening to this song takes me back in time. For some reason I was suddenly overcome by a memory of sitting in the backseat of my grandparent's car with my sister. We were driving to a swimming pool in Albuquerque while there on a visit. Maybe I was 8. The truth is, it's fuzzy and hazy and unfinished. I don't know if the song was playing on the radio, or a CD, or goodness, probably a cassette tape! while were driving. Or maybe some other Bonnie Raitt song. I can't say, but it's strange the way a lost memory can submerge like that, for no apparent reason. But beautiful too. I love it.

And it made me think about other favorite songs we used to listen to in the car when I was little. There were many-- but here are few songs that really stand out in my memory from ages 3-6 or so, when we used to drive half an hour across town to visit my (other) grandparents. At the moment I remember these specifically...

The Judds...

And Eric Clapton.. this is still one of my favorite songs..

Plus a Disney cassette
with "Zip-i-dee doo dah" and "We are Siamese if you please," etc. , etc.
that we must have played 3 million times! 
It will forever remind me of winding roads and fields of flowers
 from summer visits to the White Mountains.
But I'll spare you....

Thanks for indulging me in this blast from the past. Does anyone else have any songs that just can't be separated from your childhood?