Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Interview

I had my interview on Monday and it was just ok.  I was disappointed that he mostly asked questions about teaching rather than about doing the job in the library.  They were all rapid fire questions as well.  There was no discussion really until briefly at the end of the interview.  He has been interviewing for a month already and won't make a decision for another month.  I don't feel very positive about it, but I guess you never know.  I just wrote my thank you letter and will put it in the mail tomorrow.

In other news, school is very busy and I come home exhausted every day.  I did get my portfolio put together and turned it in yesterday.  At this point, I don't even know if I care any more.  I'm really tired of some of the students who have no respect for anyone and feel that they should be able to do whatever they please.

UIL contest is this weekend and I'm so ready for it to be over.  Next week I have to write reports for my grants that I won this year and have my reconstitution interview.  Thankfully I'm taking Friday off.  Josh and I are going to Fiesta Fest at Six Flags and we'll get to ride a brand new coaster before it's open to the public.

I think I'm going to head to bed with a book and read until I can't keep my eyes open, which shouldn't be too long.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

On a whim...

So it's been a frustrating year work-wise.  I feel I haven't been much of a librarian this year.  I am mostly fixing technology issues and doing menial tasks instead promoting reading, doing research, and all the other things I should be doing.  Now with the reconstitution situation, it's just piling things on.  I finally started working on my portfolio this week and it's already fairly thick.  I have to turn it in by May 12 so I should make it.

So this past weekend I decided to just look and see what other job openings might be available in other districts in the city.  To my surprise there was an opening posted for one of the top high schools in the city.  A school where 93% of graduates go on to college.  The average scores on SAT and ACT tests are above the national average.  I was sure it would be a coveted and difficult position to obtain, but I decided to put in my application anyway.  I completed the lengthy online application and then took a 45 minute insight test.  Two days later I finally finished an updated resume that I submitted as well.  Yesterday I told my library facilitator that I had applied.  She of course hated to hear that I was thinking of leaving the district, but she also understood.  She knows that most of us are not getting to do the jobs that we are supposed to do.  I haven't told my principal yet since I was waiting to see if I would get called for an interview.  Today I got the call.  My phone rang while I was driving so I couldn't answer it.  (We have a city ordinance that prohibits talking on cell phones while driving.)  I got to my destination and checked the message and sure enough it was the district calling to set up an interview.  I called them back and have tentatively scheduled for next week on Monday morning.  Now I have to tell my principal.  I think she will take it ok and will be supportive of it.

Now I have to figure out what to wear and start studying some potential interview questions.  Sometimes I am not a good interviewee if I get hit with a question I have no idea how to answer.  Before I came down to San Antonio, I spent a lot of time working out answers to potentially tricky questions.  I think I still have those files somewhere.

Well, I have to go clean the house.  We have company coming this weekend.  My cousin, Rob, and his wife are coming from the Dallas area.  They are moving down here in June and need to start house hunting.  They will be here on Friday.  The house isn't too bad, but I need to vaccum, do some laundry, and pick up things here and there.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Colorado Bulldog Kind of Day

The whole last minute attitude of the school and district I work for is about to drive me crazy.  I find out on Friday, that the library and lab is going to be used in the afternoons for the next two weeks - never mind that I have an 8th grade technology assessment that I'm required to give (per the district).  Never mind that the ELA classes have a short window to complete their iStation and SRI testing.  Never mind that I have a Scrabble class that meets 7th period every day.  So I spent the day re-configuring the schedule, creating a worksheet for the classes to do after the test, and scrambled to shift my Scrabble class to another room.

I haven't worked on my portfolio since the big meeting about what a big deal it was (and then was told not to think about it until testing was over).  Now I have start working fixed assets.  And getting ready for UIL.  And work on the portfolio.  And process the new books.  And clean up the huge mess that is my library.  Must I go on?

So when I came home from school today, I made myself a Colorado Bulldog.  It is mighty tasty and makes me feel relaxed.  Now I'm watching The Big Bang Theory that was recorded on my DVR.  Once that's done, I'll go pay my bills online.  Then I'll read a book until I can't stay awake.  I've come to learn that I should try to leave work at work.  It's not that I always do, but once I'm home, that should really be my time.  And so it is.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Testing Time

This week will be our exciting state mandated tests.  I had to teach for three days straight last week covering dictionary skills and prefixes/suffixes.  It was exhausting.  I'm not used to doing that much talking and standing.  I spent all day Friday working on computers trying to get them ready for testing.  One of the alternate state tests requires using a computer and it's been a painstaking process to make sure that the test site will load and run correctly.  The site doesn't play nicely with Chrome so it has to be opened using Internet Explorer.  Then you have to make sure that Java runs.  If adobe flash isn't updated, then I have to update it.  The same goes for Java.  It's a tedious process and I had to check almost 80 computers.  I even went up to school on Saturday to work.  I did some computer checks and then worked on my portfolio that I haven't touched in three weeks.  I went in at 11:00 yesterday morning and stayed until 5:30.  Today I went up to work with Matt (though it's is day off).  I had to help him do some work up there.  I'm creating a spreadsheet for him to use to input his departments statistics.    He also has to work a bunch of technology tasks as part of his job training and I helped him with that.  Today he had to make a flyer for his department.

Josh's graduate recital is next weekend.  He wants me to make these homemade lemon cookies for him.  I'm not sure if I'm going to have time, but I'll try.  Matt and I are going to the Doobie Brothers concert on Friday evening.  Before that we're heading up to Austin for an errand he has to run.  We have Friday off from school because of the Fiesta celebration going on this week.  We're going to NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio) on Wednesday which is basically a giant food fest.

Well, Matt is about to take over the tv to watch the Spurs game and I'm going to be going to bed early in preparation for tomorrow.  Sorry for the long drought in posting - it's been kind of busy around here.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Sick on a Three Day Weekend

Matt was kind enough to share his cold with me.  I started getting sick on Wednesday and was really feeling it on Thursday.  I probably should have stayed home from school, but I forced myself to go though I didn't accomplish much.  Thankfully Friday was a holiday so I stayed in bed all day.  I'm feeling better today, but not completely 100%.  At least I'm on the couch and not in the bed.  The house is relatively clean because I cleaned it last week.  My ex-husband was coming over to take a headshot for Josh.  He needed a new one for his recital flyer and his website.  So of course I had to clean the house before he came over.  It's still clean though I never actually got to my bathroom and closet.  That is something I should probably work on today.  I have loads of laundry that need to be done.  I also need to pay some bills.  I should also start working on the program for the upcoming band concert that I can't play in.  Josh's graduate recital is the same day as the concert.  We will be heading to Houston for the day.

Now that Easter is almost here Matt is looking forward to having pizza and coke again.  I'm looking forward to drinking a margarita.  Next weekend we have dinner plans with my uncle Dave and his wife.  (Dave was married to my aunt Barb who is my dad's sister, but they divorced, but he's still part of the family and he played his trumpet in my wedding.)  His wife Linda is very sweet and has been communicating with me via Facebook.

I'm having to put together a portfolio for work.  Our school is in a precarious position since we have not met Academic Yearly Progress (for No Child Left Behind) for the 4th year now.  This puts us in a phase called reconstitution where everyone on the campus must reapply for their jobs next year.  Part of the process includes putting together a portfolio showing what we have done to help improve the academic environment of the campus.  I'm not really worried about my job as I feel I've been doing a good job overall.  But I still have to put a portfolio together and it's something that is just going to take some time.  We got an email on Wednesday about having the portfolios at a meeting on Monday.  I had made some notes, but hadn't yet put anything together.  I spent the last couple of days at school last week working on it.  The end of the year is coming fast and there are so many things that have to get done.  I have to work on fixed assets soon and put together a list of equipment that must get picked up over the summer.  UIL contest is coming up which conflicts with Josh's graduation.  But school will be out in just two short months.  I'll be glad to have the summer break.

Matt and I are planning to play at Scrabble Nationals in Reno, NV.  We may plan a short trip over to San Francisco after the tournament.  I've never been there and I'd like to go to California's Great America as well.  Thankfully we have a tax refund we can use to cover the trip.  I think our airfare is going to be covered by a Scrabble friend who is giving it to us as a wedding present.

Well, I think I'll go start a load of laundry.  I should start being somewhat productive soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

End of March already?

Where does the time go?  School will be out in just a little over two months from now.  I have so much to get done before then.  I guess it will either get done or it won't.  It's been difficult to get stuff done in my library this week.  The temperatures are slightly rising outside which means the district shuts the heat off and pumps cold air into our building for unknown reasons.  It might be 70 degrees outside, but it's 64 degrees in my library.  I stay huddled at my desk with my electric blanket plugged in.

So my students did well at the Scrabble tournament.  There were 27 teams total.  One of my students didn't show up the morning of, but thankfully one of the other student's mother brought some of his cousins along so he partnered with a cousin.  They placed 6th, 9th, and 11th in the tournament.  I thought that was a success coming from an inner-city school competing against mostly private school students.  They were nervous before they started playing but after they all won their first games, they realized they were better than they thought.

Matt's birthday was on Wednesday.  I took him out to dinner at a steak restaurant.  I feel bad that I didn't get him a real present.  My bank account was suffering this month after buying his Valentine's present and then hit with a subscription renewal for Lumosity that I hadn't planned for.  It would have been ok had I gotten my reimbursement for the trip I took for work in February.  I asked about it last week and was told that the lady who takes care of that has been out on jury duty for two weeks and I wouldn't get it until next Friday.  I even had to borrow money from our tax refund to pay all of the bills this month.  I'll pay it back when I get reimbursed, but it's been frustrating.  So Matt's birthday present was the Lumosity renewal since he had mentioned he wanted to start using it again.

So I've been completely lazy today.  It's almost 3 and I haven't showered or changed out of pajamas.  I'm looking pretty grim at the moment.  I did start dinner in the crockpot though.  I'm trying a recipe for pepper steak. I've been finding all sorts of interesting recipes on Pinterest.  The crockpot lasagna I made turned out good, but it was too much food for two people.  I should start cutting the recipes in half which is what I did with the pepper steak recipe.  I think I'll even make a cake for dessert - a belated birthday cake for Matt.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Time for some Scrabble

I can't believe that my spring break is already gone.  I didn't get much of anything done though I did read two books.  I rested a lot.  I made shirts for our Scrabble tournament that we are going to this weekend.  I got my hair cut.  I did some shopping but didn't buy anything significant - just stuff I needed for the trip.  I went to Scrabble club tonight.  I had a good night.  I averaged over 400 points a game.  I was losing the last game by about 40 points until I bingoed out with the word "WINNABLE."  I tried playing "BEANINGS" first, but it was challenged off.  I finally found winnable and wasn't positive it was good, but was fairly certain.  I also played a 104 point bingo in my second game.  I couldn't believe that my opponent forgot the D-hook for the word "JINN"  (DJINN).  He played off two other D's before I was able to play my word "TRAGEDY" for 104 points.

I need to go to bed, but I'm waiting for the last shirt in the dryer.  I realized I had the wrong size for one of my students so I picked up another shirt tonight before Scrabble practice but I couldn't wash it until after I got home.  I have the iron on ready to go - just need the shirt.  If it's not going to be dry in the next few minutes, I'm going to go to bed and will finish it in the morning.  Most everything else is packed and ready to go.  We have to leave by 8:30 to go pick up the suburban that I am renting.  We pick up students at 9;45 and hit the road by 10:00 a.m.  I think it will be a fun trip.  I hope my kids do ok.  If they draw well, they should have some good games.

Well, I'm going to go check on the shirt and call it a night.  I'll try to post the results this weekend.  We will be getting back late Saturday night.  Here's some pictures of our stuff and the T-shirts I made.





Sunday, March 08, 2015

Spring Break and Losing an Hour

I can't decide if it's better to lose the hour the week of spring break or not.  Perhaps it means I'll ease into the loss a little better as I slowly get used to going to bed an hour earlier.  But then again, spring break means I get to sleep late every day, so it will still be a shock to my system when work starts up again.  I will have to get used to it a little earlier than normal since I'll be taking my students to their first major Scrabble tournament on Friday.

Yesterday I helped out my library facilitator at her house - packing stuff up to be moved into storage.  She has had a rough time lately.  Her partner of many years passed away a few weeks ago.  She wasn't able to take much time off to spend with her before she died and is dealing with that at work.  Now she has sold her house and is moving her stuff into storage.  She is going to move in with her mom.  I can't believe the amount of stuff she has in her tiny house.  I was glad to help her out - I understand how daunting it can be to move everything without much help.  I started months before I moved down here to San Antonio.  Matt and I went back over this afternoon to help out for a few more hours.  I'll probably go back later in the week.  My back is sore now though.  Packing is tough work!

I'm not sure how I'm going to spend this week of spring break, but I plan to get some reading done.  I've already finished one book that I got at the book store the other night.  I'm in the process of reading The Princess Bride for the first time.  Yes, I can quote the movie, but I'd never actually read the book.  The book I just finished was written by Cary Elwes that was all about the filming of the movie and it was very interesting.  I also need to finish the cleaning and sorting that I left behind over Christmas break.  I can't make any promises that I'll get up the same motivation that I had then.

I need to get my hair cut as well.  It's growing out a bit too much for me.  I guess all of this should keep me pretty busy this week.  But I'm going to be a bit of a lazy bum as well.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Just stuff

Things are still busy but thankfully spring break is next week.  I spent most of today writing a grant that I have to submit by tomorrow.  I had to go pick up a check for student meals for our upcoming tirip since I wasn't sure what would happen with the weather tomorrow.  We are scheduled to get a cold blast of icy, wintry mix.  That might freak the city out and shut everything down.  I hope not.  I don't want to have to make up the day later.

I broke my chromebook the other day.  I dropped it carrying it to the kitchen to use it for a recipe I found online.  It still works, but one of the hinges is messed up.  I'll see if I can take it someplace to get it fixed next week.

I was trying to come up with an idea for Scrabble shirts for my students that are going to the state Scrabble tournament.  I looked online, but it was going to cost me $150 for just 8 shirts.  Last night I went to Michael's and got stuff to make my own.  Shirts were on sale for $2.50 and I spent less that $10 for iron on transfer paper.  I spent only $28 to make 8 shirts.  I think they turned out pretty well.  I'll try to post a picture of them later.

So I'm taking six kids to Dallas next week on Friday (the 13th no less).  They are playing in a Scrabble tournament.  I hope they do well.  It will be tough, but hopefully they will do ok.  I hope I've prepared them enough.  They are at a disadvantage in general because they have limited vocabularies already.  But we've worked on some word lists so hopefully, they will be able to make some good plays.  Their strategy is pretty good, but they need to work on not shutting the board down.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Busy as a bee

I actually started a post last week but I found it to be too whiny about the Ash Wednesday service I attended so I didn't finish it.  Let's see if I can catch you up on stuff.

I came up with a great idea for Matt's Valentine present just in the nick of time.  I bought him tickets to the Doobie Brothers concert coming up in April.  He had emailed a couple of days before asking if I would want to go so I just went ahead and got the tickets.  He did send me flowers and some chocolate, but the delivery came after I had already left school for the day so I didn't get the flowers until Saturday morning after I texted the custodian to see if he could let me in the school.  Matt sends me flowers in a box which are usually ok, but after sitting overnight, they didn't fair well.  At least it's the thought that counts and the chocolate was pretty good.

School is has been busy with practice testing before the actual testing.  It seems all we do any more is test, test, test.  No wonder kids are failing - they don't have time to learn anything because we are always testing.  I had to test Monday and Tuesday in another teacher's room which is not fun.  I had a student that refused to actually try on the test and wouldn't cooperate most of the time.  Thankfully he stayed quiet most of the time - because he was sleeping.  Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

Today was great because they were still testing 8th grades, but I didn't have to help.  The library was closed so I spent time working on getting stuff ready for my UIL Academic sponsors.  I had to make copies of materials and put them in folders.  I am also working on writing a grant to get some chromebooks for the library.

I've been doing quite a bit of designing in Photoshop and inDesign lately.  I had to create a flyer for the upcoming Fiesta concert and create the program for the next band concert.  I've become the official graphic designer for the band.  I can't say that I do amazing work, but I have fun with it and have come up with some creative ideas.  I love when I learn how to do something new.  The thing about the Internet is that EVERYTHING is online.  So I need to know how to manually curve a line in Illustrator?  Google it!  What I have discovered, however, is that I really want a new computer now.  I'm using my laptop which is ok - but it still has fits every now and then where things slow down and stops for a few minutes.  Then all of a sudden it's ok.  Then again, sometimes chrome crashes for no discernible reason as well.  I need something with more RAM and a larger screen.  A touch screen would also be nice.  I'm thinking of looking into an All-in-one computer.  I just can't afford it at the moment.  But I'm looking.

Hopefully tomorrow will be another glorious day of actually working in the library.  I have so much stuff I just need to sort through and clean.  I also have to get as much of the grant written as I can.  I need a clever title for it.  Hmm... maybe it will hit me at 4:00 in the morning.  Well, I'm going to call it a night - it's already past my bed time.