Ten on Thursday: Things that Happened During My Three (Nearly) Blog-Free Weeks

Somehow, I’ve only written three blog posts in the last three weeks — my mojo has been almost entirely gone. But, as of today, it’s a whole new month, so I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. And, since it’s Tuesday, it seems that the best way to recap the past few weeks and move on is with a list of ten things I’ve been doing while not blogging.

[Yes, I know it’s now Thursday — thankfully, the alliterative title still works. I started writing this on Monday, intending it to be posted on Tuesday. See #10 to find out why it wasn’t.]

1. I went to my 20th high school reunion. It was neither the most fun nor the least fun I’ve ever had.The best part, hands down, was having a chance to catch up with Dana, my high school best friend. The biggest bummer was that a bunch of people who I really would’ve liked to have seen only made it to the Friday night mixer, which I missed.

2. My first round of Arabic lessons came to an end. We liked our second instructor even more than we disliked the first one (which is saying something), so once our schedules calm down again — November-ish, I think — we’re hoping to retain him for more classes.

3. I’ve watched the first three episodes of the third season of Mad Men, and still find it to be one of the best things on television. I have a feeling there will, at some point, be a post or two on some of the issues it raises; in addition to being well-acted and beautifully designed, it also never ceases to be thought-provoking.

4. I helped my mom buy and set up her new iPhone. I think she loves it.

5. I saw a terrible movie, The Time Traveler’s Wife, with Joanne. Our evening was, however, redeemed by the tasty noodle dinner we had at one of Chinatown’s few remaining Chinese restaurants.

6. I ducked out of work a little bit early on a beautiful Monday afternoon and took in a Nationals game with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews. The highlight was the Presidents’ Race at the midpoint of the fourth inning, because in this instance, George, Tom, Abe, and, Teddy raced against faux sausages, challenging the  Brewers to bring their famous mascots along next time.

7. My friends Julia & Michael had a bowling party to celebrate their 45th birthdays. It was a ton of fun, but I was dismayed to discover that all my Wii bowling has done nothing to improve my real-life skills.

8. I had another fun day at Bethany Beach, this time guest-starring my nephews. When the riptides caused by Hurricane Bill forced sprite, Rudi, and I to push our day trip back a week, we ended up there at the same time as Brian, Jen, and the boys, so we decided to meet up for some quality time in the sand.

9. My friends’ families expanded — babies Hazel and Angela arrived to Jessica & Bennett and Rachel & Don, respectively. Both are, by all accounts, lovely and perfect.

10. I ruined my plan for a post every day in September when I woke up with vertigo on Tuesday which turned out to be the warning sign of a migraine. (Silly me; I didn’t realize that Monday’s headache was a warm-up, so my body had to kick it up a notch.) I spent all of Tuesday in bed, and have been suffering residual pain since, though today’s headache seems to be mostly sinus-oriented. Yeah, a migraine-allergy double-whammy — fun!

Not Going Well

I hate to say it, but three classes in, the Arabic lessons are not going well. Our teacher has been late twice, and spends as much time expounding about why her methods of teaching are the best as she does actually teaching us anything. She has also steadfastly refused to teach us any vocabulary at all — so I learned more words in nine days in Jordan than I have in these classes.

On its face, her rationale for not teaching us words makes some sense, because we do need to learn the alphabet and connections. However, last night she told us the best way to practice the connections (that is, how the individual letters come together to make words)  is to choose random letters and try to connect and then pronounce them. When Farin asked if instead we could practice using real words so we could learn some vocabulary, this instructor spent the next 30 minutes arguing with her in a way that made it clear she had no real idea what Farin was asking. She was unbelievably defensive (see note above that she had already established that she was the best Arabic teacher ever, so how dare we question her) and made no sense at all, contradicting herself all over the place: “The book is wrong!” followed by “I did not say the book is wrong!” and so on…

An aside here: we picked private lessons specifically because we were told we could focus on spoken Arabic rather than reading/writing. While none of us dispute the importance of learning the basics, we want to be able to talk to people — so her refusal to let us learn any words at all is making us crazy.

The only thing that has a chance of salvaging this situation is that we’ll have a new teacher starting with the next class. The argumentative vocab-hater is off on a two-month trip that was scheduled before she was asked to teach our class. I think this is the only reason we haven’t quit and asked for our money back, because really, there is no way we could deal with this woman for 10 weeks.  We’re each paying $40 per two-hour class, and to lose 30-45 minutes per session due to tardiness and pontificating — not to mention a half-hour last night to unnecessary fighting — is just not appropriate. We’re all optimistic that the new teacher will be better… but if s/he isn’t, we’re planning to ask for a refund.

It’s such a shame, really. We were all so excited to be giving this a try.