Thursday, January 31, 2008

I thought we were done with snow

I did wake up to snow this morning. It wasn't a whole lot, but the streets in town were pretty nasty to drive on. I had to stop to get gas as well and it was 19 degrees outside. Luckily I decided to go with long johns under my jeans. I slept in a bit this morning since I had a sub all day. We weren't going to leave until 9:00 so I had time. I was still tired though. It was a long day at the debate tournament. My kids did pretty well, but it was surprising. The team that I expected to do the best came in 3rd and the other team came in first. Although the first and second place teams qualify for state, I'll take my 3rd place team as an alternate. Now I need to check into flying down there so I don't have to drive.

Why is that when someone has something negative to say on your blog, they post anonymously? It wasn't on this blog, but my Catholic one. Oh well... I don't take those kinds of comments seriously. I am going to be interviewed tomorrow though. If they put my interview on the air, I'll let you know.

I'm going to try to make it an early night. I don't feel like I got enough sleep last night. Well, House Hunters is on, so I'm going to go enjoy some t.v. for a bit.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Just a brief post

Another long day. I have been getting to school late this week. Well... not late in the sense that I barely make it by the bell... but instead of 7:35-7:45, I'm getting there around 8:00 a.m. I did get some grades done today so that was good. I am still not caught up by any means. I had to spend a few hours after school getting materials ready for a substitute tomorrow. My debaters stayed after school and worked. I actually left before they did and that was at 6:00. I picked up dinner since I didn't have time to cook anything, scarfed down a burger and then headed to a music rehearsal for next week's Ash Wednesday's service. I can't believe it's already that time. I really need to figure out what I should give up for Lent. I have some ideas but I can't make up my mind. Maybe that will be for another post. Now it's bed time. Thankfully I don't have to get to school very early since I have a sub. We just have to be ready to leave by 9:00.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Moving right along

I was hoping that things would slow down after the tournament, but no such luck. Now I have even more things to get done. I did get some grading done today which is promising. Since progress reports are going out Thursday, I figure I should get some grades entered. I still can't make heads or tails of the money from the tournament without the fee sheets and there are several coaches that haven't responded to my requests. Luckily, I show that I have more money than what the fees were. If I can't figure it out, I'll just deposit the money and refund those schools that did contact me and deal with the rest later. Tomorrow is already Wednesday and I still need to put together lesson plans for my sub on Thursday and again for my sub on Monday and Tuesday. I realized that I'm going to miss 6 days in February. Four of them are personal, but thankfully I put in my requests early.

I submitted my FAFSA information yesterday. Although I submitted it for both 07-08 and 08-09, I probably will only start using it for 08-09. It turns out that they have changed the summer dates which interfere with the dates I will (hopefully) be gone to Nationals. I could possibly take one of the classes which I may do and just try to pay for it myself. I was going to save up money to spend a week in Dallas, but now I'd only have to spend a day so that money could be used for tuition. My EFC (expected family contribution) for the 08-09 school year is around $1800. Hopefully I'll still get enough in loans to be able to pay for my classes. I can't do grad school without it.

I received an email today from a lady that read my conversion story on my Catholic blog. She said she was interested in interviewing me for a radio program. I'm flattered that she is interested in me. I think it would be interesting so we'll see if it pans out.

I came home early today despite the fact that I should have stayed to clean my office at school. I just felt that for once I should be able to leave school while it was still light outside. I made supper (baked penne pasta) and have spent the evening reading and relaxing. I'm going to head to bed shortly and read a little before turning in for the night.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Good news with a little bad

First about the tournament. It was almost a perfect day. We started close to on time at 7:45 Saturday morning and despite getting 15 minutes behind in debate, we actually ended up finishing about 15 minutes early. Most of my judges showed up, but we did have to use a few replacements. Thankfully the coaches are good about that. We finally entered enough extra competitors so that almost all the events were qualifying for TFA points. I went about 100 miles per hour all day with only a few brief moments were I actually was able to sit for a few minutes. My students were outstanding. I received compliments about them all day. All the coaches seemed pleased with how the tournament was run. I received several compliments there. All of the students on Josh's team told me how much they loved my tournament. Josh had talked it up to them telling them how good it would be. Today during the announcements our principal read a letter that he received from one of the school board members who has been one of our judges for many years. She also remarked on how well the tournament went and what a good job the students did.
Today the only problems I encountered was that one of the secretary's electric blankets was damaged so it will have to be replaced. The other problem was more major. I seemed to have lost the fee sheets for all my schools that indicated how much they owed and how much they paid. I could print new ones from the program, but they won't be quite accurate because of drop fees and additions that I didn't charge some of the schools. Thankfully after sending out an email to all the schools almost all of them responded with what they paid. I only have one sheet that I need to get feedback on. So much for a perfect tournament. That was my bit of bad news for today.

Now on to the really great news. This is the message that appears on my application status page:

Congratulations! You have been conditionally admitted. Check your acceptance notification for any conditions that may apply.

I haven't received the official letter in the mail, but I did receive an email welcoming me to the library science program with information on registering for classes. I've been accepted to start the summer of 2008. I don't know what the conditions of my admission is. It could be related to my GRE scores or it could be that they haven't received one of my recommendations. Regardless, I think it will be o.k. Tonight I'm going to submit my financial aid applications and see what happens there. That's what will make or break my start to graduate school.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Trying to get rest

I went to bed shortly after I posted last night. I started reading a little just to help me relax before going to sleep. I fell asleep quickly, but once again I was awake at 3:30. I don't know what it is about that particular time. I couldn't go back to sleep so I read some more until about 5:00 a.m. I finally went back to sleep and got up at 10:30. I got ready for church and went to Mass. I was still tired. When I go feeling like that my eyes continually water. I came home afterwards and went back to bed. I didn't even eat lunch. I woke up again at 4:00. I got up and did some dishes and started catching up on missed blogs. At 5:30 I went to the store. I came home and made cashew chicken for supper. (That was for you Andrew) Now I'm sitting in front of the t.v. I just took a benadryl to help me sleep tonight. It may seem early to take it, but it takes a while to kick in and if I take it any later, I'll be too groggy in the morning.

I'm relieved that the tournament is over. But just because it is over doesn't mean I get a break. I still have several things that have to be done. I have to go over receipts and money and clean up the mess that is in my room right now. On top of that, I need to get some grades completed. Then I have to plan to be gone on Thursday for the district debate tournament. There's another team that entered so we're not guaranteed both spots to state. I also have to get my team ready for their tournament this weekend. The other sponsor is taking them. This is the weekend I'm going to Vegas to the Shot Show to work for my uncle.

I try to write more about the tournament another time. I just want to give it a rest for now.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I have been awake since 3:30 a.m. I did not intend to get up that early, but I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I gave up fighting it and go up at 4:30 and took a shower. I have been going non-stop since I got to school at 6:20 this morning. I don't have time or energy to go into all the details but will give you a brief recap.

The tournament was hugely successful and ran smoothly overall. I had to put out mini fires here and there, but nothing major. We ended on time if not a little early. We probably cleared about $2000 in profit. We had 28 schools represented. Josh placed first in Oratory from his school and earned enough TFA points to be qualified for state. Three other students from his school also qualified.

Now I'm going to bed an sleeping until the last minute until I have to get ready for church. I probably won't go to class, but just go to the 11:15 service. I'll try to write a lengthier post on how the last few days and the tournament went. I really do need a vacation, but I don't see one coming soon. Tomorrow I'll tell you more about my upcoming schedule.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I simply can't put my last few days in writing. 1. I don't have the time. 2. I don't have the energy. 3. There's just too much to try to sort it out right now.

For the past two evenings I've been at the school until 8:30 p.m. Tomorrow I have to get there by 6:30 a.m. and I still have several things to finish when I get there.

I'm having dinner right now (at 9:22 p.m.) and watching Psych. I'm going to bed by 10:00.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

No time to post so you get a meme

The Album Cover Game
Courtesy of


1. Go to Wikipedia - The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
2. Click
Random Quotes The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
3. Visit
Flickr- The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result.
5. Have fun! (And comment here if you do this so I can visit your site and see it.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

End of another long day

I'm still making progress, it's still seems like I have a million things to do. I did bring some of it home today so I'll try to do a little work here. I didn't sleep well last night. I went to bed by 9:45 and slept pretty well until 1:30. Then I woke up and couldn't really get back to sleep. I kept thinking about tournament stuff. I think maybe I dozed off around 3:30 but had to get up by 6:30. Tonight I think I'll take a benadryl to ensure a better night's sleep. I hope to get to school early and get a lot done. Today I did get all my judges names entered into the tournament software program. We had more schools enter today and now I'm up to 15 CX debate rooms. It's just crazy! But it's also a lot of money which will be nice.

I finally got my GRE scores in the mail. I did score a 400 on the verbal (which is low), 560 on quantitative (which is average) and a 5.0 on the analytical writing (which is above average). I feel o.k. about it but would like my verbal to have been higher. Oh well... now I just have to wait to hear from the Library school and see if they'll accept me. Thankfully I've been so preoccupied with tournament stuff that I haven't had time to worry about it.

There's going to be a basic automotive class offered at the high school on Thursday evenings this semester that I would like to attend. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to. Tomorrow is the first class and I'll probably be working on tournament stuff. Next week I'll be gone to a debate tournament. I think I would miss too many classes to really get something out of it. But I think it would be good to learn about basic automotive maintenance. I do know probably more than the average woman thanks to my dad and brother and being a single parent but there's a lot more that I could learn.

I may have two teams that qualify for CX state because they will be the only entries from our district. I'll know for sure tomorrow. That will mean a trip to Austin at the beginning of spring break. Then as soon as I get back, Josh and I will head to Nacogdoches to visit the University there. So much for a relaxing spring break.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So much to do

I'm getting things done, but it seems like when I get one thing finished, three more pop up. I did get to the store to get supplies for the tournament today. I still need to get more stopwatches. I have sent off all my printing and got almost all of the judges scheduled. I'm making lists like you wouldn't believe... well adding to my already lengthy list. I had to stay after school for a judges meeting this evening and we only had 3 judges show up for it. Hopefully the rest are getting their information from our website.

I picked up dinner as soon as I got back to town. I was starving. I skipped lunch (because I didn't have time and it is a day of fasting for Catholics). I went to McDonald's and got a Filet-O-Fish, Fries, a salad and a sundae. It hit the spot. I've still been freezing here. The temperature dropped again in the last couple of days. I came home and turned the heat up in the house and have the space heater going in front of me. I turned on my heater in my bedroom to warm up the room before I go to bed.

I still haven't gotten my GRE scores. I'm going to give them until tomorrow before I call and that's because there was no mail yesterday due to MLK day. UNT still doesn't show having received the scores which seems weird since WT received them last week. I already have a letter from them. I only put them down as a backup choice which was really pointless since they don't offer the library program.

I think I'm going to get in bed and read for a bit before calling it a night.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Only slightly pulling my hair out

I'm still struggling with organizing the judges for my tournament. I don't know if I should plan based on the current entry numbers or if I should "hope" for a few more entries in certain events. That can change having 3 sections instead of two. At one point today I had 8 rooms of CX debate and by the end of the day it was 11 rooms. By the end of the week it could change again.

Today I was supposed to review for a test with my comm. app. classes, but I just went over the information briefly and will let them use their notes on the test. I put the test online and had them log into Moodle today to make sure they could all access it. They spent the rest of class working on a worksheet for their upcoming request letter project. My interp and debate classes are working on tournament stuff. They are making posters for the schools that are coming. This morning I had 18 entries and by this afternoon, I had 23.

I did my taxes this evening and am very disappointed by my return. Thankfully I don't have to pay, but I'm only getting $662 back this year when I got almost $1900 last year. This all due to losing the child tax credit because my child turned 17 last year. (Which is stupid, they should still count if they are 18 or under and still in high school... but what do I know?) I did get a whopping $90 for Earned Income Credit. I earned quite a bit more this year than last year because of the $2000 raise and the bonus money I received. Next year, I'll earn less because I won't have the bonus money. Now if I can just hear something from UNT, I can fill out my FAFSA.

Well, I guess I'm not going to get new tile floors any time soon. If I get into grad school and can take the 9 day session on campus this summer, I'll need to use the money for that to pay for a hotel for that long. (At that's at someplace cheap like Motel 6) I also need to pay for Josh's band camp. Thankfully he made all-state again which makes it a little more affordable, but it will still be about $200. I also owe him money for his college classes that he's taking right now. It just never seems to end and I can't seem to get ahead.

Well, I'm going to call it an early night. I did get up early but that's because I was awake since around 4:00 a.m. I made it to school by 7:35 so I did some things accomplished before school started. I worked all day long without any breaks and still haven't gotten everything ready. Tomorrow will be a long day as I have to stay at school for a judges meeting.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A week to go

Well, it's just a week until my tournament. Today was spent as a relaxing day since I know that all heck is going to break loose this week and I'll be at school late every night. I sang at the early Mass this morning and then went to class. I came home and fixed some lunch and then enjoyed a nap. I made some dinner tonight (San Francisco Chops) and have spent the evening in my recliner watching t.v., reading blogs and just being a bum.

I'm going to try to get to school early tomorrow. I need to get some grades entered since it's the third week of school. I also need to clean my desk and get some tournament stuff done. If I get a chance, I'll post my checklist so you can get an idea of what has to be done for this event. Maybe after it's over I'll find more things to write about. Or not. I still don't have much of a life. Maybe I'll hear about grad school before long.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Shopping

It felt good to sleep in this morning. I didn't get up until 9:00. I took a shower and got ready to go to a thing at church. Our priest gave an informal presentation on bioethics and Euthanasia. After that I came home and made some lunch and watched t.v. I got cold after a while so I went and got back under my covers and took a nap. Finally I got up and decided to pay some bills. Thankfully my car insurance payment was lower this month so I had some extra money. After paying bills I headed to town to do a little shopping. I needed some new jeans since mine tore last weekend. I found a pair on sale at Penny's so that was good. Then I went to Dillard's and bought a pair of dress pants. I actually paid full price (almost unheard of for me) but it's a brand and style that works for me. (And full price was only $30) I also bought a sweater that was on sale for $15. I almost felt guilty, but not too much. I haven't shopped for myself since the beginning of school.

I stopped at the Walmart in Amarillo on the way home. They have more of a selection and I wanted to get wine so that I could make my San Francisco Pork chop recipe. (And to just have some wine.) It was freezing cold by the time I finished. Have I mentioned before how much I hate being cold?

I haven't IM'd in quite a while. Yesterday a friend from college chatted with me for a bit and then a new guy that just moved to Canyon from Tulsa struck up a conversation. It was actually a decent conversation for once. (Which is always surprising - as he didn't live in Nigeria and want me to be his one true love.) And today I chatted with Marty for a little bit. Of course I had to initiate the conversation, but he has some books of mine that I would like to have back so I asked him about it and then proceeded to chat with him for a little while. He's the same old Marty. Thankfully I no longer have feelings for him other than perhaps a distant friendship.

I have to go to bed early so that I can get to church by 8:00 to practice. We're singing at the 8:30 service. I think I need something for dessert now. Shopping makes me hungry.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hooray for the end of the week!

And no speech tournament tomorrow. Woo Hoo! I am going to a church thing in the morning - a presentation by our priest on the subject of bioethics, but other than that, I have nothing pressing to do tomorrow. Sunday morning I'm singing in the women's ensemble at the 8:30 Mass. Tonight will consist of watching Monk and Psych and then bed.

I stayed warm today. I wore long johns under my pants and a shirt under my sweater. But the temperature is slowly rising as well. It's a balmy 39 degrees right now. Well... it's better than the 12 or 18 we've had this week. I spent all day working on judges for our tournament. This morning we were about 78 spots short. After I had the kids in my 7th period work on it, we were down to 30-something spots. This is all speculation based on the potential numbers for our tournament, however. Some numbers are still low, but there are some schools that still haven't entered either. I spent time updating the website with the judging schedules and other items. I don't know if you can even imagine what goes into preparing to host a speech tournament, but it takes a lot of organizing. This is on top of teaching classes, preparing lessons, attending meetings, travel planning, budgeting and whatever else they want to pile on us. Oh yes... the words of the week which I didn't even talk to my classes about this week. Last week were the words "horizontally" and "vertically" This week it is "precision" and "accuracy". What fun!

Well Josh is going out tonight so I think I'll order Thai food and take it easy. I could use a nap, but I have to stay awake for my shows.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Still Cold

I'm ready for spring. I hate, hate being cold. I may have to break down and wear my long johns tomorrow. I kept my jacket on at school all day today. My head was in tournament mode all day today. So much so that I missed half of a mandatory meeting after school. I won't start thinking clearly again until probably next Sunday after our tournament is over. I've been sorting judges and placing them in spots and figuring out where I'm lacking. I pretty much need a ton of debate judges all day and all kinds of events in the afternoon. I need approximately 78 spots filled. That means I've filled about 120 other spots. Anyone that indicated they were willing to judge all day is being used all day. Tomorrow I need to make sure I send off my ballots for printing and then there's not much more I can do until next week.

I already changed into my pajamas and I realize that I have to go out again for choir rehearsal. Ugh. Well, at least I'll get another judge tonight which will help. My choir director helped last year and really enjoyed it. She has volunteered to do it again. Thankfully this weekend is an off weekend for me and I don't have to go anywhere. I'm going to catch up on sleep if possible. I envy those that can get away with less sleep. I typically need a minimum of 8 hours a night, but preferably 9 is better.

I still haven't gotten my official GRE scores in the mail and I'm getting impatient. I did get confirmation that I've met the basic requirements for grad school and that my application and information have been passed on to the school of Library Science. They are missing my GRE scores, however. It's supposed to take 10-15 days. It's now on day 11 or 12 I think. I'm sure it will be the full 15 days if not more.

Well, time for me to get dressed and get ready to go out again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bitter Cold

I hate being cold. I'm glad that Andrew is excited about the sleet in his area, but I hate this kind of weather. It is a windy, bitter, biting cold that chills your bones. I drove home in some blowing snow, but the wind was so fast that nothing could really accumulate. When I leave in the mornings, I turn down the heat in the house so I have to wait for it to get warm when I get home. I was desperate tonight so I got an extra space heater from the garage and put it in the living room. I made some lemon butter chicken tonight with some rice-a-roni. I didn't bring any homework home so I'm going to take it easy and perhaps get under the warm covers early. I turned on the heater in my room so it should be nice and toasty by the time I go to bed.

Things are getting better at school but I am still overwhelmed with tournament stuff. The judges aren't coming in like they should be, but it's always a last minute crunch. I have been pleased with the online form on our website. I haven't been staying after school when I should be. I wasn't sure about the weather today so I just headed home early. I had to go by the store to get some shampoo and conditioner. I guess I should check and see what the weather is going to do. I don't care what it does this weekend as long as it is clear next weekend.

Last night I reread one of my favorite books, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It's a short book of 180 pages so I was able to read it in two hours. I think I'll spend some time under the covers this evening doing some more reading. There are just some books I could read over and over. I think I'll reread To Kill a Mockingbird. It's been a few years since I've read it. Well, I'm going to try to warm up and take it easy tonight.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I couldn't seem to get focused today. Maybe it had something to do with not really wanting to come back to work. I have things that I need to get done, but I'm not getting any of them done really. I don't know if I have teacheritis or a form of spring-fever. I went to bed at 9:30 last night but I was still tired this morning. I'm still tired tonight. I had thought about going to this women's social at church, but I'm too tired and have other things I need to do.

Sixth period went better today. I did finally get an aid in there so that I could figure out what I'm dealing with in terms of the levels of my students. 11 of the 18 students in the class do not know English very well. I have a movie planned for the rest of the week so it should go well. I'm supposed to be starting Congress and parliamentary procedure in debate, but I'm focusing more on the tournament right now. I think we're coming up short on judges. I'll know more tomorrow.

Well, I've got to watch a movie that I'm thinking of showing tomorrow instead of one that I've used quite a bit. After that, I'm going to go to bed early again. Maybe I'll get caught up on sleep one of these days. Maybe.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Just another Monday

Today was an in-service day. We spent time this morning discussing schedules for next year. With yet more new state laws requiring additional Math and Science credits, students are having a difficult time getting in all their classes. It's killing elective classes because there's no time to take them. So now we're looking at adding a class during the day as well as other options. The powers that be seem to think that every high school graduate should be college bound, but they simply don't realize that there are some students that never will be college material.

We had lunch provided by the administration which was actually pretty good. They served us fajitas. Then we had a guest speaker that was actually entertaining for once. After lunch we had more department meetings, but some of my students were performing at the senior citizens center today so I went to that for a while. They did pretty well and they audience seemed to enjoy their performances. I did get to see my former mother-in-law which was nice. After that, I went back to my department meeting. After that I worked on some tournament stuff for a bit. I was home by 5:00 and made pizza for dinner. I had to go to a financial aid meeting at Josh's school tonight. I did get some good information but now I'm still wondering how in the world I'm going to pay for his school and possibly my own if I do manage to get into graduate school.

Well, it's already been a long day so I'm going to head to bed early tonight. I'm not looking forward to school tomorrow. I just can't get into it this semester it seems. Maybe it's the stress of the tournament. I think it's more my 6th period class where I still feel completely lost as to how to teach them. It's going to be a long semester.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another weekend, another tournament

We left around 11:30 on Friday and headed to our hotel in Hobbs, NM. Somehow I missed a turn and ended up going out of our way by about 15 miles which wasn't bad, but there are no highway signs in Lovington, NM so I questioned the direction I was going. Luckily, one of my students has an I phone and we used it to figure out where we were and which direction we were going. We checked into the hotel and then went to the high school. I felt quite out of place at the tournament as we were in a different area and only one coach that I normally see on weekends was there. I knew a few others, but I wasn't part of their crowd. There's actually kind of a rift between the coaches from our region and this other region. I was caught in the middle of it last year because I was on friendly terms with them but many of the other coaches were taking "sides" so to speak. I'm just not one to burn any bridges at this point.

There were some surprises at this tournament. One of my students made it to Congress finals beating the one that had more points and was hoping to get qualified. Another student who really needed to make it to oratory finals didn't even break to semis, but she placed 2nd in the event that she really hates doing which is humorous. Now she has 8 points in both events which is two short of what she needs to qualify. A few students placed in events and others didn't do as well.

The only really interesting thing that happened was the fact that my pants ripped when I got in the car to head home. I didn't think they were too tight; I'm hoping maybe they were just cheap. Now I need to find a new pair of jeans. We got back home around midnight. I dropped the students off at the high school and then headed to the bus barn to park the suburban and get my car. When I got there, however, the gate key didn't work. I had to call the transportation director and wait for him to open the gate. Then I had to transfer the files to my car as well as my luggage and all the things the students left behind. This with my pants ripped in the back. I didn't get home until 1:00 in the morning.

I slept in this morning and then went to Mass at 11:15. I picked up lunch and then spent some time catching up on all the blogs I missed this weekend. I've been watching the Monk marathon (again) today. Although I have work tomorrow, it is an inservice day. Well, back to life. I need to head back to the grocery store.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Not soon enough

Today was a frustrating day. Well, only 6th period was frustrating. It is going to be a very long semester. I really want to get out of the classroom. I hope I get into grad school. I really should shut up about it, but it's my obsession right now. It's just that I thought that I'd never do it and I'm actually making an attempt. I know it's going to be difficult and I know that my busy life is going to triple at least, but I really need to do it.

I'm really tired tonight. I'm going to go ahead and go to bed since it's going to be a long day tomorrow. I have to drive to Seminole and then spend the evening and all day Saturday at a speech tournament. We probably won't get back until late Saturday.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ms. Fix It

Sometimes you just have to take things in your own hands. I have an office in my classroom and I've had a phone in there that hasn't been hooked up all year. I asked about it at the beginning of the year and nothing happened. It didn't have a phone cord (my first mistake) so I didn't know what to do with it. I asked again about it last week since our tournament is coming up and it would certainly come in handy. Finally today one of the teachers that moved to another building caught me and told me what I needed to do to fix the problem (which was really simple). All I had to do was get my old phone out of storage where it has been sitting all year and plug it into one of the computer ports. So I did that and now I have a phone.

I don't know what to do about my 6th period class. I realized what the issue is with them. Generally they're good kids, but more than 1/2 of them are what are called "Limited English Proficient". I'm not sure how to adapt my lessons for them and I'm not sure what they are really comprehending. Hopefully I'll have one of the aides coming in every once in a while to help. I'm going to start with having a seating chart first.

The judges are slowly coming in for our tournament but I think my students aren't really working on contacting them right now. I have gotten a few from our website which is pretty cool. Only about 142 to go! Tomorrow is for the most part my last day this week. I need to get ready for our tournaments this weekend and get my sub plans ready. Part of my team is going to a small tournament about 25 miles away on Saturday. I'm taking another group to Seminole on Friday and Saturday. I'm going to miss Josh's all-region band concert, but luckily I'll be going to San Antonio to hear him in the all-state band in February.

Well, I need to do some website updating and hotel searches.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Stuck at School

I have a parent meeting tonight so I'm staying here until it's over. I'm meeting with the parents of team members so they can sign up to help with the speech tournament. I have stuff I should be working on, but I'm really not motivated at the moment. I don't have any pressing tournament preparation items that I need to deal with. It's now to the point where I'm just waiting on other things to happen, like getting judges. For that I have to wait on my students. I went and picked up the checks I need for this weekend and I'm thinking of cleaning off my desk. (Still just thinking about it.)
I received a confirmation that my application was received by UNT so that is good news. Now it is still just a wait and see game which I really hate. I want to know NOW! Patience has never been my strong suit.
I suppose I can answer some of the questions posed about Moodle. Moodle is a free online program that anyone can use. What it does for our school is allow me to put lessons online that students can access. They can download worksheets, fill them out and then upload them again. I can also put tests online. It also has a journal feature which I used for students to answer their potential job interview questions. At first I wasn't sure that I liked it, but it was just a matter of figuring out how to use it. What I hope to do is eventually put a good portion of my lessons on there so that students can use the computer to complete them. The use of technology is encouraged in schools and I am one of the few teachers that has several computers in my room because I embrace using them.
Day two back to teaching and I feel exhausted. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to have a meeting this week. Oh well... better to get it over with.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Today I finished everything and sent my application, resume, and essay off to the school of Library Science at the University. I faxed my previous University to have them fax my transcript to UNT for me. I gave my librarian and principal the recommendation forms to fill out for me and mailed the third one to my former boss. That's all I can do at this point. Now I just have to sit and wait.

I did finally get good news on the volunteer thing. Our judges do not have to have the background checks. Hallelujah! That will be a huge relief to my students. Hopefully we'll be able to get enough judges now. That makes my job a lot easier. I know that the next three weeks are going to zoom by really fast. Putting together a tournament can be such a chore, but it is worth it for the money we raise and the experience for my students.

There is so much to get done right now. I have a student in Prime Time so I have to plan to send separate assignments for that. Luckily, I think it will force me to put a lot of my assignments in Moodle which I need to do. I didn't bring any work home tonight so I have the evening to myself. I think I'll take it easy because I'm fairly certain that moments like this will disappear soon.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The first step

Well, I'm doing it. I've taken the GRE and last night I submitted my application to graduate school online. Now I have to submit another application, resume, and letter to the Library school. I should get all of that in the mail tomorrow. I finished my resume and the application last night and I'm working on the letter of intent right now. I'm asking my former boss, my principal and the librarian to fill out recommendation forms for me. I hope I'll know something in the next few weeks. I also need to fill out the FASFA information, but I think I need to wait until I get my taxes done. Then all I can do is wait and see. I'm still concerned about my scores, but I'm going to hopefully give the review committee enough reason to overlook the scores.

I went to Sunday school and Mass today. Then I came home for a bit. Around 2:00 I went to Walmart to get a present for my nephew whose birthday is today. I went to the party at Mr. Gatti's, had some pizza, and watched the birthday boy enjoy his first birthday cake. I came home and have been working on the essay. I need to do some laundry for school tomorrow.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Josh did make all-state band again. He barely made it, but managed to squeeze in. I'm going to ask for days off to go down early this year. It might be his last year depending on what happens with the school classification next year. They may move up in class which means that he would change audition classes as well. Regardless, I'm going to San Antonio again in February.

It hasn't been very exciting, but that's just life. Well, back to writing the essay.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

My Brain is Fried

The test took 4 1/2 hours. I got there 30 minutes early to fill out the necessary paperwork which consisted of rewriting a statement saying that I'm not going to cheat in my own handwriting and signing it. Then I had to put all my possessions in a locker, sign in for the test and was assigned a computer cubicle. I then learned how to use a mouse and scroll. (Yes, I'm rolling my eyes.) The test started out with the two essays. The first one took 45 minutes and the second took 30 minutes. I pretty much used the entire time allotted on all sections of the test. I felt o.k. about the essays, but not great. I can't tell you what the topics were because if I did and they found out, they would punish me to the fullest extent of the law and I'd hate for that to happen. Then I had to take a verbal test which sucked. I like to think of myself having a decent vocabulary. I don't always use grandiose and verbose words in this blog, but I would like to say that I'm above average. After finishing the verbal test, I felt more like moron. I didn't know what the majority of the words on the "choose the opposite" words were and on the analogies I thought almost all of the choices could fit in some way and that none was particularly better than the others. I felt that I did o.k. on the fill in the blank choices and on the reading of passages, but I don't think I did very well overall.
Surprisingly, I thought I did a lot better on the math. Sure, there were a few problems that I totally guessed at, but there were several that after figuring out long complicated multiplication and addition I found an answer that actually matched one of the choices. The scores were flashed on my screen before leaving, but I don't know what they mean exactly, but I think the verbal was pretty low at 400. I don't know if that score will go up once my essays are scored or if that is a separate score. Well, I did the best I could and I don't think I would have done any better by studying. I don't really have time to read the dictionary and I would bet that a good portion of those words are not in any "normal" dictionary.
Regardless, I'm having the scores sent to the university and I'm going to get my application in soon. I hope that even if I'm a little below the necessary score to get that they'll take my previous college grades into consideration along with my letters of recommendation.
So after the test, I decided I really needed a drink. I called my friend Pam, but she wasn't available, but my friends Matt and Cristal were so we went to TGIFridays and had appetizers, drinks and desserts. The test was really exhausting so I'm sure I'm going to go to bed really early tonight. I'm really tired of thinking right now. At least it's over. I just hope I don't have to take it again.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I don't know if there's a light but maybe a glimmer of hope

I spent time researching this new senate bill that is wreaking havoc on my tournament preparations. I discovered that the issue of needing background checks on our judges is actually a district decision and not part of the law. The law actually states that exclusions to the background check are for people that are: parents or grandparents of children within a district, volunteers that are in the company of a district employee or those that volunteer for a single event. I spoke to my principal about it and he told me to ask the personnel director about it. I forwarded the information and she indicated that she was quite aware of what the law says but the decision to do background checks on every person or not was in the hands of the district. It seems they have the idea to go "above and beyond" what the state requires in the best interest of the students. Here's some issues I have with all of this.

1. Although I think the intention behind SB9 has good merits, the lawmakers were smart enough to include these exceptions for a good reason. The feasibility of doing these checks on volunteer judges in the next three weeks is next to impossible.
2. This puts our students that have to contact judges and ask them to cooperate with a background check in a very awkward position. I think most judges will not want to go to this trouble and some may find it offensive.
3. I would worry more about some of the parents that visit this school (and don't require background checks) than most of the community members that will be judging. We get attorneys, business people etc. that are well respected in the community.
4. By requiring background checks community members will be less inclined to want to help with school events which will ultimately hurt the students because there is a lot of value in having community members come in because it gives more credibility to some of the lessons we try to teach.

Well, I plead my case as well as I could in emails today and requested that we get a reprieve this year on all of this. The director was going to be discussing the issue of these background checks with the principals and the superintendent and will be letting me know. I hope and pray that they are reasonable this year.

I spent a good portion of today working on my lesson plans for the semester. I'm trying to get everything planned out and worked around the days I'll be gone for everything.

Tonight I'm still studying the algebra review information. I'm not ready for the test tomorrow, but I'm just going to do the best I can. I just hope it's enough to get me what I need to get into grad school. I'll continue the rest of the evening (aside from this blogging break) and finish in the morning. I need to review basic formulas and then just do the best I can. I really just need to get it over with. If anything, I'll make the best educated guesses that I can. The test is at 1:00 tomorrow. Well, back to work.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My Brain Hurts

It's been one of those days. I got some devastating news in terms of our tournament today. First let me explain that one of the major necessities of our tournament is getting 150+ judges to judge the 200+ spots necessary. My students have come through well every year and we have never had much of a problem as almost all of our judges show up as expected. This year, because of the new state senate bill #9, we cannot have any volunteers on our campus (excluding parents and staff members) that have not had a criminal background check run on them. Therefore in order to get community members to judge at our tournament, they have to 1. agree to the background check and then 2. contact our personnel director to have it done which most likely means signing a form in person or mailing it in. Therefore, we have just lost the majority of our judging pool. I have no idea what I'm going to do.

My new 6th period class consists of a group of... well interesting students. I don't want to apply labels at this point, but I do have some concerns with the class. Let's put it this way. I'll be surprised if more than 50% of the class passes this semester.

I finally got my car washed today. It was in dire need. The local car wash that I use shuts down after 6:00 p.m. or if the temperature is below freezing. I came home and made a frozen pizza and then spent the evening reviewing more algebra. Now my brain is tired from factoring polynomials. I think I just need this day to end.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Back to work

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be to get up early again this morning. I managed it fairly well. I am going to bed early tonight, however. I got to school around 8:00 and I worked all day long (including lunch time). I entered a lot of information into a database so I can keep track of judges for our tournament. My students have to start calling for judges next week. The next three weeks will be spent getting ready for our speech tournament. It will be an intense time. I've got to carefully plan my lessons so I'm not completely overwhelmed by it.

I did get some filing done today but it's not nearly enough. I felt like I was at work forever and barely got anything done. I didn't leave until 5:30. I came home and made spaghetti and now I'm just playing around on the computer. I'm going to play a game of scrabble, watch some t.v. and then call it an early night. It seems so pointless to have school for two days this week. But they didn't ask me, did they?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Last day of freedom

But it has been an enjoyable day. I got in around 1:30 last night and so I slept in until around 10:00. Before I woke up, I had the typical teacher nightmare where I had an obnoxious class that I couldn't control and on top of it I was losing my voice. I spent the morning watching the Monk marathon and fiddling around on the computer. I started another post that I didn't finish and maybe I'll get to it later. I went to Amarillo around 2:00 today and went to the book store. I found a new study Bible that I wanted and so I spent my gift card on it. I also got a Bible case to put it in. Hopefully it will encourage me to do more reading and prayer this year.

My friend Carol picked me up at 4:00 and we went to Feldman's to visit. We ordered cokes and had some chips and queso. She gave me a Christmas present as well. She got me a set of flannel pajamas that I'm wearing as we type this. After I got home I ran to the grocery store because we were out of toilet paper. Of course I had to get a few additional items. But ground beef was on sale for .99 a pound.

Tomorrow I have to go back to work. At least it is just a work day and hopefully I'll get a lot done. I need to do a lot of filing and hopefully get some stuff done on the computer.

I have some answers for Abbagirl. The next time I'm going to Vegas is in February for the Shot Show. I'll be there Feb. 2-5. But I'll be working during the day until around 5 or 6 each day. Hopefully I'll be going back in June for the National Speech tournament. That is only if I have a student that qualifies for Nationals. That will be around June 15-20. We may go a few days early for sight-seeing and such. We're thinking of sky diving.
I have been to Cedar Point twice. The first time was in 2001. The second time was in 2004 and I drove there. It is a great park and one of my favorites. And I've ridden Millennium Force 3 or 4 times now. I've ridden all the coasters in the park except for one of the kiddie ones. Top Thrill Dragster was my 100th coaster to ride and at the time it was the tallest and faster coaster in the world. When are you going in July?

Starting off another Year

Like Summer, I generally don't make resolutions because it seems like such a let down if they aren't fulfilled. But there are things that I do want to accomplish this year so I might as well post it in my blog. Maybe that will give me some accountability.

1. I would like to lose some weight before my 20 year reunion. I really don't care how much, but I would really like to lose a dress size or two. I will try to make an effort to eat better and what the heck... I may even try some exercise too.

2. I would like to get into graduate school and start the process of getting my library science degree. As soon as I take the GRE (oh my gosh it is THIS Saturday!), I'll get the paperwork filled out and get my references lined up and get it started. I'm sure they could refuse to accept me, but I think they would really like my money.

3. I would like to get my house really clean once and for all. (This includes the garage - again.) In addition, I'd like my living room tiled as planned (and my dad "says" he is coming to help me with that).

4. Although it doesn't seem very feasible, I would love to be able to go ride some new coasters this year.

5. Even though I certainly wouldn't turn down a date, I've decided that it is o.k. to be alone. I've resolved that this is the plan for me and I'm going to work to make my life the way I want it.