Log in


As some of you know, I have a little hobby! It's of the "G" rated type as well! I make a little past time of collecting student errors that, to the ears of a native speaker of English, are just hilarious. A big part of humor is the unexpected such as an unexpected turn of a phrase or a malapropism (even accidentally on purpose!) - and these little gems fit right in.

Again, some school marms may be saying this is totally inappropriate. We shouldn't be sharing these things. However, remember saint Kathy Griffin who said that when we say bad things about people we have to do the right, good and Christian thing and say the bad things when they're not around! I do want to spare their feelings, so to respect them, I only break out my collection when they’re not there… during margarita fueled parties. Nothing breaks up my fellow teachers or the church ladies with lines such as “I had raised six cats two years ate, but I made some mistakes, so now I just have four cats.”

LIke I said earlier, errors like this are in the tradition of Richard Lederer’s “Anguished English” and Jane O’Boyle’s, “Free Drinks for Ladies with Nuts.” Like Lederer and O'Boyle, I am making light our wonderful language, English,... or, Engrish, and what can happen with one little slip up. And yes, it’s a teaching tool.

Anyhow, the cartoons below are inspired by my students, elaborated by Tim and me, and then drawn into life by my crazy talented husband, Tim. There are more a comin'!


It just sums things up quite nicely.


Dec. 10th, 2009

This evening we are gathered here in fellowship to honor our dearly departed er…. departing colleagues Susan Marie , Carl, myself and our outgoing chair Alan. As my students would say, It had been nice knowing to you and I know I am sad that this will be my last gathering with you all. You know.. that …. as commissioners we have learned many valuable lessons and experience that we will take with us as we work tirelessly in our field. So, I ..and my students, with the help of some volunteers would like to share some wisdom and reminiscences as we reflect on our terms here on the commission.

Susan Marie once told me her feelings about the commission… it was, of course, the valuable work that we do, for ,as we know, English is our grobal ranguage as our modern world is towarding a globalize economic…. . but it was also the people… She said “They are very kindly to me…I can spend everyday finely by their anxiety” *I know what she means—insert deep sigh* I think she also developed a new respect for her fellow human beings as she came to the conclusion that “People who stand on their own 2 feet are longing for me

I for one, will miss the great times and the great dinners we have at commission expense. At the Japanese restaurant, when I eat lots of rice, I feel comfatable. Many of you remember that one place with the Japanese home cooking? ,…They make a wonderful Nikujaga with the wonderful taste of mother. It reminds me of my time spent in Japan oh so many years ago. My Japanese homestay mother is a good cook. She likes small dogs. I also recall the wonderful Indian Restaurant on King Street. I remember that I was a bit naive that first year on the commission because I forgot that most Hinduisms don’t eat beef. ..To them, it’s like eating your pets or babies. We all know that in some places “dogs are dinner If we eat them, we feel cannibalisms and we see as disgusting even though taste may be good. Some of the most interesting experiences came from the various wait staff we encountered. One told us that some types of customer are very obedient..so you have good time with them. .. In addition, often you service your customer well, the customer will get a good impression from you and will probably will remembers you and he often will come to your restaurant…

I know that some of our commission chairs have never met a wine list they didn’t love. Speaking of drinking… one night after a wonderful dinner, We saw three girls who was drunk and they are saying a bad word, but we just smiled and passed away….

And Alan…. Our Alan…. who has just finished his fourth year on the commission. What can we say about Alan. He’s had an interesting story. As a young man in the UK, he studied hard in school.. and he is very rascal because he has many girlfriends.

But life changed for Alan as he left his little island home… and crossed that ocean to seek his fortunes. After working hard and considering his options, he realized he wanted his American dleam. His greatest challenge was dealing with the language. Seriously… because people in Alabama speak mercilessly. Another challenge was Culture Chuck and he and his fellow internationals had some problems in adjusting themselves. Academic were also an issue… when he had to study hard for his citizenship exam… he had to learn such things as…

1. You must learn t he value of money through your hardly work.

2. ..immigrants come to the US seeking economic opportunities, freedom or political persecution.

3. American people are really hard to get alone… (dating is difficult!)

4. There are three branches of government… the executive, legislative and the judicious branch.

5. There were also the history topics such as “The civil war lasted longer than it seemed to “

Alan had to learn other things that you just can’t learn from books. It took him a while to see that American husbands wash dishes and clothes as well as American wives and that there were difference in urban and rural culture, or in other words… you have to learn the difference between the city people and the village people. YMCA….

Susan Marie, Alan and I have learned so much about ourselves and our field while serving the commission. We have learned that to survive as commissioners and as educators, we have to learn the relevance between humor skills and long life. The results of research has shown that people who love longer, are worthless and boring. Above all… teaching.. is the greatest undertaking job in the world.

But because teachers are respected and hankered that’s why we do what we do. So, to wrap this up, I just want to say… and I think that I speak for the three of us… we will miss all of you. It’s been such an awarding and wonderful experience… and… *snif snif*… I don’t want to get too serious but….I just want everyone to bow their heads in NON prayer and consider something someone very wise once said… you must believe that there is one God and his passenger is ***he whose name shall not be mentioined***…. Piece be upon him. ..and peace be upon you all.

Good night.


Jul. 1st, 2009

Use email addresses to share with people not on Facebook.

Garden Update - July 1, 2009
20 photos
By Tom Riedmiller
Everything is starting to bloom! It's amazing. Before, I was taking a lot of closeups. Now you can see more panorama shots. In about 2 weeks, the blooms will be amazing. Stay tuned!
Everything is starting to bloom! It's amazing. Before, I was taking a lot of closeups. Now you can see more panorama shots. In about 2 weeks, the blooms will be amazing. Stay tuned!
Added 12 minutes ago · Comment · LikeUnlike
You like this.
<input ... >
use this link to see larger versions of my latest garden pics.  


Another Garden Update!

So... another Garden Update!!!

Click the linky below and help me identify a few plants.

Garden Update June 18, 2009

Tom has shared a link to an album with you. To view the album or to reply to the message, follow this link:


Sorry I haven't been updating for a while. I've been busy outside taking care of this garden.

Click the linky below and help me identify a few plants.
Garden Update June 3, 2009

Tom has shared a link to an album with you. To view the album or to reply to the message, follow this link:


Stay tuned for a medical rant.....!!!


Another Hotel Review

I just want to say that I enjoyed my stay at the Sheraton Suites Old Town Alexandria. The property is about a 15 minute van ride from the airport. Simply hop on their shuttle which runs every 20 minutes. Just make sure you get in the Sheraton van marked for Sheraton Suites Old Town Alexandria as the there are also vans from several other Sheraton properties trolling the airport for potential guests. The van ride was pleasant and the driver was friendly. He offered to answer any questions we had about the area including restaurant and recreation advices.
After pulling into the parking lot, I realized that I had stayed there about 5 years ago on a business trip. Back then, it was a quiet place with furnishings that celebrated the 1980s and not in good way. Everything was blue, I recall, making one tend to feel seasick if one stayed in one position for too long. Even then, it was a bit threadbare, but the generous sized two room suites with the king sized beds and travertine baths were pleasant nonetheless. To my surprise, it’s now an updated modern place with pleasant and contemporary public areas. Everything is done in rich wood tones with brown, gold and hints of red and green. It’s all very tasteful, earthy and contemporary. Check in was swift, efficient and businesslike.
Rates: Rates seem to yo-yo quite a bit. Checking online, rates went from 89 to 250. We had a group rate which was $125. Check other reviews on TripAdvisor for rates that other reviewers had.
Regarding location, it’s not in the center of all the action. If you want to be central to the action on King Street and beyond, this is not the place to be. However, everything is accessible if you are not adverse to walking short distances. If you make nice with the van drivers, they may be able to take you to local destinations as long as the trip does not interfere with their scheduled airport pick up schedule. Each trip such as this must be individually arranged and a generous tip is in order.
In this residential and business area, there is little to entertain you. Trader Joe's and a GIANT supermarket are good for picking up treats to store in your room. There are two restaurants to use for your eating pleasure, however and they seem to serve the locals rather than the hordes of tourists. The Stardust on the next black has eclectic American cuisine, a great bar and an amazing wine list. They beat the overpriced places on King Street with good food, honest service and reasonable prices. This is ideal for a special dinner. Eat in the bar for a lively get together or have a cozy rendezvous in the dining room. They also have nightly drink specials such as ½ price martinis. The Royal is just across the street from the Sheraton. It’s a local, family run institution which is ideal for any meal of the day. For breakfast you can get your fill of eggs, sausage, coffee and pancakes for under $7! It’s the place where you can eat in a relaxed atmosphere and read the paper for a couple of hours not feeling rushed.
The hotel restaurant and bar are not the best choice and I suggest you avoid if possible. I arrived to the restaurant for breakfast (which is attached to the bar) to find bar old drinks left over from the previous night still on tables. There were very few tables that were not cluttered with bar leftovers or the detritus from other breakfast guests. I spent my entire breakfast looking at the leftovers of the people who had sat beside me. The service was spotty and not of the highest quality. I felt they were also dishonest. This is the type of place where they pour you drinks at breakfast before you even order anything or even look at the menu. After consuming the coffee and orange juice, you read in your menu that they are not included in the price of your meal unless one orders the buffet. Moreover, the prices are enormous and the food is simply meat and potatoes. It appears to me that those who are eating in the restaurant are either pressed for time or first timers about to have their first and last experience in that restaurant.
The rooms were also refreshed but not to the high tech modern design of the public areas. The blue aquarium look is gone, but some vestiges of the past remain especially some blue wallpaper and blue curtain. As a result, the rooms are very traditional in design; a stark contrast to the public areas. However, carpets and furnishing are brand new as are the 2 LCD TVs. There is one TV in the bedroom and another in the adjoining living room. The king bed has plenty of pillows and the most amazingly clean white linens ever. However, remember to turn on the air conditioning for the bed can get very warm. The bed is “heavenly” and I didn’t want to leave it! Best of all, the room was impeccably clean.
The bath was updated with new bath hardware, granite counter tops and a curved shower bar. The bath connects the living and the sleeping areas. The closet area is very generous. There’s a sink in the dressing area and there is also a full bath. It’s set up so while your sweetie is doing his/her thing in the bathroom, you can still brush your teeth or pouf your hair to your heart’s content at the sink and vanity.
From the bedroom’s French doors, you enter the living area. You first see a wet bar area with a complete coffee/tea service. Below, there’s a fridge for keeping drinks cold. However, I don’t recommend keeping perishable food in there as the fridge didn’t get cold enough. Leave the doggy bag at the restaurant. The décor and furnishings were pleasant with a sofa, generous work area and an easy chair. The sofa folds out to a bed. The desk area is fine for doing some light office work. No complaints!
Internet access is wireless and wired, but at a cost. If you are desperate or are on an expense account, go ahead and pay the fees. BUT….. Come on folks, if the cheap – o hotel chains can offer free wireless, so can you Sheraton!!!! It’s the nickel and diming of your clients that is causing larger chains to lose clients! Get over yourselves.
Internet access is available and free in the business center which is smack dab in the middle of the lobby. Hotel guests hover over your shoulder like vultures waiting for you to finish your e-mail or PowerPoint presentation so that they can see what their friends are up to on MySpace. The login process is excruciatingly complex and the computers are painfully old and slow. Printing a small amount is free but it takes the help of the desk clerk to go through the complex process. Let’s just say, the Sheraton gets an F for business services.
Pool Area and Exercise area: Satisfactory. The pool area was clean but the hours are very limited. If you want a quick dip after dinner, you may be out of luck. Expect the pool area to be filled with children during tourist season.
I would stay at this hotel again despite the awful restaurant and by the amateurish attempt to set up an Internet service for guests. The plusses outweigh the minuses. The efficient desk clerks, the van drivers and the comfortable rooms made my stay a pleasant one.


I just remembered, I just wanted to invite folks to find me and friend me on Facebook! (if you feel so inclined!) Look for Tom Riedmiller!

In the words of a friend, "Getting old sucks!"

I bruised or irritated a/some nerve/s along the elbow. It may be a combination of poor form with lifting weights, balancing on my elbow while using the computer, and/or banging my elbow at least once a week (ow!!). As a result, I have little feeling in the left pinkie and ring finger. Therapy has some good parts and bad parts. It kind of feels like pins and needles making using the keyboard a real annoyance.

The good, bad and the ugly.

1. Good: The therapist has me do stretches are designed to elongate and stimulate the nerve and healing. Furthermore, the stretches are assisted by a very handsome and kind therapist. (I'm in love!!)

2. Good: The therapist and the Orthopedist both have their clinics at the university. I see the Orthopedist next week. I hope to get the "shot" which should make me all better. The regular doc and the therapist say that most respond well to it.

3. The Bad: The rest of the therapy involves electrical stimulation. First, there is about 5 minutes of electrical probing, promoting healing along the nerves. Then, there is some ______phoresis. I didn't hear the rest of the word. Ionophoresis? Electrophoresis? First, a plaster is applied and that plaster has an electrical thingy on it. Then, some kind of device is attached that creates shocks in the effected area for 5 minutes. After the shocks, the device is removed and the bandage's two little batteries administer more shocks (______phoresis) for about 2 hours! Yuk....

Word to live by!

The following word came from a conference handout.  The error is theirs - but the definition is all mine.... er... except for the Wikipedia part.

Ignoractive: a style of classroom management in which students are given a topic to discuss or an interactive activity to complete while the instructor goes out for a smoke break. This style of teaching traces influences the Linda Richman and Mike Meyers school of Communicative Competence.  Application of their research demands that the instructor clutches his/her chest and says "I'm all
verklempt" or "I'm a little verklempt"  and follow by saying  "I'll give you a topic" (Wikipedia). 

Examples (From Wikipedia):

  • "The radical reconstruction of the South after the Civil War was neither radical nor a reconstruction. Discuss."
  • "The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Discuss." (This quote is based on a famous comment by Voltaire.)
  • "The peanut is neither a pea nor a nut. Discuss."