Saturday, May 31, 2008

Vacation Day

I spent the day goofing off for the most part. I spent most of it in misery with allergies. I didn't want to take anything for them since I had to play at church this evening. The only medicine that seems to work is benadryl and it knocks me out. I don't know how Andrew takes more than one. One will totally make me loopy.
When I went to church this evening there wasn't any power. I noticed when I was driving there that one of the traffic lights was out and sure enough the church didn't have power either. Thankfully a few minutes before the service started the power came back. I was pretty miserable with the allergies right up until the Mass started and then finally they seemed to subside. The Mass was a confirmation Mass for the students at the Church. It was a nice service. There was a brief reception afterwards. I had a small piece of cake and then went to the store for yet more groceries. I made a quick dinner and then spent some time playing rollercoaster tycoon. While at the store I got some zyrtec. It seems to helping but I'm feeling very sleepy so I'm going head to bed in just a few minutes. I wanted to make a brief post before turning in.
I don't have to go to church in the morning since I went this evening.
Tomorrow I'm going to have to start cleaning. (No, I'm not getting to the garage just yet, Summer - but you know I will eventually!) Well, time for bed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

School's Out for the Summer

Well, it is officially my summer vacation - if you can call it that. I slept in a little this morning but not too late. Josh knocked on my door shortly after 8:00 to ask me a question so I got up after he left to go check in at school. I spent some time on the computer this morning piddling around not doing much of anything. I did sell one of my rosaries today, however. After I got ready to go to Hereford, I went to the post office and sent both the rosary I sold and the one for Andrew off. Then I went to the music office at the college campus to pay the deposit for Josh's band camp. After that I went to Sonic to get a coke. From there I headed to school to get some work done before the graduation ceremony. I got there about 3:30 and I worked for 3 hours. I finally got everything packed. I was exhausted by the time I was finished, but then I had to go to the graduation. It started at 7:30 and lasted until 9:00. I got home a little after 10. I picked up a sandwich at McDonald's since I hadn't had dinner.

Tomorrow I have to play at the confirmation mass for the kids at our church. That means I won't have to go on Sunday. I'm going to try to get started on the reunion stuff this weekend as well as some house cleaning. My aunt and uncle are coming this weekend so I've got to get some work done. No rest for the weary it seems.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Missed Anniversary

I just had my four year blogging anniversary and totally missed it. I started blogging here four years ago on May 25. I have to thank my friend Patrick for it. With this post I have posted 1358 times. That averages out to .92 posts daily. Not quite a post a day, but close. It's mostly dull reading but I value all of you that stop by to visit and most especially my regular readers. Well, enough of that.

Today was totally exhausting. My first class today was comm. app. and the majority of them had to take the test. I had to keep answering questions for one particular student and then he went and clicked out of his test without saving it. He had to take it over. I told him to answer all the multiple choice and I would help him with the questions that had to be typed. I couldn't grade the test for that class until the end of the period. Then my debate class came in and finished their test within 25 minutes. They helped me by taking stuff out to my car. After that my students that are going to Nationals came in to turn in their scripts. I had to leave them working so I could go to the end of the year banquet. The hamburgers were really good, but it took longer than I wanted it to. Our superintendent is retiring so they had to do a lot of good-bye things. I didn't get back to the school until 2:30. Thankfully, I got all my grades and paperwork done before the luncheon. When I got back to the school I made additional backups of all my files. I have a back up on my external hard drive, my jump drive and on 3 CDs. I would really hate to lose a lot of the files I've created to use in my classes.

I stayed at school until a little after 5:00 packing up things. I'm not finished but just had to stop because I was so tired and couldn't focus. I have to go back to Hereford for graduation tomorrow so I'll just go in early and get some work done. I also have to go back on Monday for laptop training and then again next week on Thursday for a yearbook meeting. It's going to be a busy summer. I just picked up some reunion registrations so now I've got to get started on the book - and the powerpoint stuff - and the video - and the name tags - and the tickets. I really think maybe I need another tattoo - I'll put the following right on my forehead - "Ask me anything, I can't say no." Or maybe I should just put "over-achiever".

Well, I'm going to veg out this evening and go to bed when I'm tired. Thankfully I don't have to get up early.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Packing up

I spent a good portion of the day sorting through and packing up things. I don't have enough boxes though. I haven't even started packing the books. I did catch up on grading mostly - just two more tests tomorrow and a couple of papers to quickly grade. I went up to see the new room I'll be moving into. If all goes well it should be a great space. The room is large and has low shelves along two walls. The desk in there is great with lots of storage on it. It has a dark room that has a lot of storage as well. There's another room that has a copier (that I'll get to keep) and it currently houses an air-conditioning unit that will be moved out of there. When that is gone, it will be a huge additional storage room that will be great for kids to practice in and for storing the library of books.
On the down side I'm not sure I really thought about what I'm getting into. It is going to be a lot of work. Not only do I have be in charge of the creation of the yearbook, but also selling ads, the "H" awards and Koobraey awards show which occurs right before our speech tournament. So in addition to the tournament, I have to plan an awards show. Hopefully by getting rid of my comm. app. classes I can have a little more time.
Another issue is the fact that I won't get to move into that room until possibly a week before school starts at the most. They are going to be working on the upstairs air-conditioning starting this Friday and won't be finished until August 16. All the teachers on the 2nd floor have to move all their equipment downstairs before school is out and they have to pack all their stuff up as well. Sounds like it is going to be quite a mess up there.
I backed up everything from my school computer today. I really have too much stuff that I need to sort through, but I don't have time. Hopefully I can do it this summer. I'll be getting my new laptop on June 2.
I picked up Sonic for dinner and now I'm going to take it easy and watch t.v. before bed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Moving Again

I talked to my principal today about taking the exit level test for journalism since I had said that I would do the yearbook if they got rid of my communication application classes. It turns out that I don't have to take the test, but I'm still probably going to be doing yearbook. He said that he's 90% sure that I'll be doing it. That means I have to move rooms again. Just as a recap for my new-ish readers, in the three years I've taught at my school, I've been in three different rooms. I've painted two of them completely, but I'm not painting the next one - at least not until I've been there a few years if that should happen. I still don't know about library and if I'm going to pursue that. I think I'm going to see how yearbook goes. I am getting kind of excited about it. I do love the creativity of doing a yearbook. The student who is editor next year is already getting everything ready and he is a smart and organized kid. I had him in speech class this year and I felt sorry for him as he was one of the few English-speaking students in that class full of English-language learners.

So now I have to pack up my room again. The custodial staff will move everything for me some time this summer. I won't be able to get into my room probably until July because they will be working on the air-conditioning system and the second floor will be closed off. (Yes, I'll be upstairs again - actually almost next door to the room I used to be in.)

Today I had two classes that had to take tests and a conference period. Only two students in my interp class had to take the test. It was on the computer and was easy to grade. One student passed and the other failed but both passed for the semester. In my 5th period comm. app. class, everyone passed. I was really nice. Last week I gave them a review sheet (consisting of all the questions on the test) and went over all the answers with them. During the test, I let them use their review sheets for 10 minutes. I'm sure that helped boost the grades some. During my conference and after school today I worked on cleaning my room. I started taking posters off the wall and throwing papers away and sorting through the piles of papers that I had. I've made a big mess but that's the way I clean - make a big mess before everything gets put back in its place. I'm going to need some more boxes.

I had to stay after school today for a reception for UIL that we held for the parents at the admin building. We had some snacks afterwards and that was my supper (along with the ice cream sandwich I had when I got home.) Tomorrow I won't have any students. All the students in my 2nd period are exempt from the test and then 4th period is my other conference period. I have to go through all the files on my computer and organize them and then back everything up to my spare hard drive since they are getting rid of our computers. We're getting new Mac laptops which I hear are really cool.

Well, I'm going to relax for a bit and call it an early night. I made the mistake of sleeping late yesterday and couldn't fall asleep last night. I finally took a 1/2 a tylenol p.m. at midnight.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Do nothing day

I went to the 11:15 Mass this morning. Afterwards I visited with my friend Carol for a bit and then I had Father Phan bless the rosary that I made for Andrew. I'll finally be sending it to him this week. I bought the beads quite a while back, but didn't have my craft desk cleared where I could actually work on it.
I picked up a grilled chicken salad for lunch and have spent the day in my recliner with my computer and watching t.v. I changed back into my pajamas as soon as I got home today and have spent it relaxing. I thought about cleaning but decided against it. Josh is on his way home from his trip to Austin/Dallas. His clarinet ensemble made a first division at state which is good.
We had some interesting weather come through tonight. No tornadoes (though we're under a watch) but had some major straight-line winds come through. It wasn't too bad here, but north of us there were some road signs blown down and trees uprooted. It was a little hairy for a bit, but it's started to clear. I found my matches in case the power went out so I could light the candles.
Now I'm watching Harry Potter and I'm a little bored at the moment. I've been glad to see that Prison Pete has been blogging again. (Well, he's been writing letters that his editor is posting.) I should probably write him a letter soon. Well, I'm going to watch t.v. some more and continue to sit and do nothing. I won't even feel guilty about it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A free weekend

I slept in this morning and it was quite lovely. I went to Amarillo around 2:00 and picked up tickets for the show and then went to the Catholic bookstore. My friend Pam and I went to the 4:30 showing of the new Indiana Jones movie. I thought it was o.k. It had some nice humorous moments but the plot was way far-fetched. But it was nice to get out. Afterwards we went to TGIFridays and had dinner. I had an ultimate margarita and the fish tacos. (They are better than they sound.) Then I went to the hospital to visit her daughter who is still in there. It seems she may be there for another week or so.

Now I'm home watching the end of Titanic and I'll be going to bed shortly. I'm going to the later service at church tomorrow.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Alone and a three day weekend

Josh has gone to the state UIL solo & ensemble competition in Austin and will be gone until late Sunday. We have Monday off for Memorial Day. I'm not sure what I'm going to do this weekend except that I'm going to the movies with a friend tomorrow. We're going to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I've heard mixed reviews about it, but I do want to see it. Please - no spoilers in the comments.

Yesterday I tried to donate blood but couldn't because my iron level was one point too low. I'd never donated before but decided to give it a try. I've been kind of tired lately and feeling a bit weak. Now I'm thinking it's because I could be a bit anemic. I think I'll go to the doctor next week and get another prescription to have my blood work done. I came home today exhausted and I tried to take a nap but I couldn't fall asleep. I think I'm going to find something to eat and then watch some t.v. this evening.

I am making progress on all the school stuff but it seems like every time I get something done two or three more things pop up. I brought lots of work home this weekend that I absolutely must do. I have one more semester test to get done and then quite a bit of grading.

Regarding the question about the lazy student in the previous post's comments - I don't know what his home situation is, but I don't think it is something tragic. I think this is a kid that has always made excuses and has always gotten away with them. On the day of the performance I had students call him to see if he was going to come and twice he said that he was on his way. After I finally let one group perform we called him again and he was still at home and said he wasn't coming. He told me the absence was excused but I haven't verified that with the attendance office. He has been absent from my class at least 18 times just this semester. According to school policy, he has the right to make up the work if it is excused. But with it being a group performance and the fact that all but two of my students will no longer be coming to class, it is impossible for him to perform with them. He was absent the day after the performance and didn't ask me about making up the work until yesterday at the END of class when he had both of those days in which to perform. He was gone again today since he was going with the band to the competition in Austin as well. He never came by this morning to ask me about what he needed to do to make up the work. I finally sent him a message via the band director that indicated what he would have to do to make up the assignment. He would have to find 7 other performers to perform the Reader's Theatre pieces and they would perform it for another teacher's class at 8:15 on Tuesday morning and that if he was late, he could not make it up. I thought that was very generous of me.

And as for the SSI - Josh is receiving it because his father passed away 2 1/2 years ago. He is supposed to stop getting it when he turns 18, but he can receive it until he graduates.

Well, I think I'm going to go pick something up for dinner. I don't really want to cook for just myself tonight.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Just call me stupid

Sorry I haven't posted. I haven't been out of town, but I've been enormously busy trying to get grading done, tests made, etc. It's been very crazy for me.

So I had a meeting with my principal today. I had to go over budgets for next year with him. It turns out that the teacher that does the yearbook is retiring and he asked me if I wanted the position. He didn't ask me if I would do it. He asked me if I wanted it. I had heard about the lady retiring the day before. I told him that I'd do it only if they took away my communication application classes because I would not have four preparations to teach. The reasons I'm considering it is because it has a pretty nice stipend (more money) and I do like the creative process of creating the yearbook. When I started applying at schools I originally was looking for a yearbook position. There is another teacher interested, but she has no yearbook knowledge at all. She teaches English and she thinks that by taking yearbook she would get two "free" periods. I don't think she understands what is involved in creating a yearbook.

If I take yearbook, keep the speech team, become UIL coordinator and Department head, my stipend would go from $1200 to $3350. Since Josh will lose his SSI when he graduates, I'm going to need extra income. I will get rid of one major loan about the time he graduates. The other will continue until the December of 2009.

But if I do take yearbook, I'm adding a huge workload. But to be honest, it would be better than taking theater and one act play. My principal told me that they are going to try to hire a theater teacher and if they can also teach speech then I could get rid of my comm. app. classes. But I don't know if I could pursue the library certification. I would have to see how I handle doing both the speech team and the yearbook. Next year would be the most difficult with Josh being a senior. After he graduates, I would have a lot more time. I wouldn't have to schedule around his activities and I would really have no life.

So it's a lot to think about and I have no idea what to do about it. It would also mean moving rooms... again. This would be four times in four years. But really I just have to pack everything up and the custodial staff will move it for me. But it is still another move.

On another note, I am mad about a student in one of my classes. This student has been late to my 1st period class all year and has missed about 18 days. My class performed their Reader's Theatre pieces for an elementary school last week and he didn't show up. This created a problem for my other kids performing. Now he wants to be able to make up the performance. Since it was an "excused" absence, he is supposed to be able to make it up. The problem is that I won't have my full class any further this year. So what do I do? I have to be able to let him make it up but it really ticks me off. He has been such a slacker this year and now he's worried about his grade.

Well, I've got to get a review sheet completed for my debate class tomorrow so I better get busy on that. It's already bed time but I won't be going to bed any time soon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Another long day

And it's only Monday. I still have the rest of the week to go. But now it's down to seven more days until school is out. (Sorry Mago... I should have clarified that yesterday.)
I managed to do a few things today, but not much on my ever growing to-do list. I still don't have grades in the computer nor have I graded much of anything. (Though I did get through two days of journals for comm. app.)
We started watching "The Great Debaters" in debate class today. So far I like it a lot. That's one reason why I didn't get much done because I watched it instead of grading papers. My comm. app. students are doing practice interviews tomorrow so I have to get that set up. My interp class is performing their Reader's Theatre pieces at an elementary school tomorrow. I still don't have my semester tests ready or my reviews. I need to stay after school tomorrow and get much more done.
Tonight was our Orator banquet. It was nice. My seniors seemed to like their gifts. I talked to a lady that is on our school board about the situation with school board here and she also thinks it is ridiculous. I'm glad I'm not alone in this. One of my friends is sending $50 though. I think we'll get enough to do the trip, but I'm still upset about the lack of support from the district that he is representing. But enough of that.
I just got home a few minutes ago and now it's time for bed. I hope I have a more productive day tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Is time to go back?

This weekend seemed too short. I hardly accomplished anything and I'll be paying for it tomorrow. I did, however, write my letter to the editor and sent it off today. I was a little nervous about sending it, but I do feel strongly about it. So I guess I'll see if it gets published. I don't know if I would call it a masterpiece, but I thought it came out well and I wasn't very scathing.
I played at church this morning but I don't think anyone heard me. The guitar was pretty loud and I think it probably covered me up. I didn't have much stamina this morning and couldn't play much by the end of the service. After church I brought donuts home for Josh. I started a roast that morning and we ate it for lunch.
My dad took us to dinner on Saturday so it was nice to not have to cook. (I had the Hawaiian Chicken with Rice)
I haven't graded any papers this weekend though I had great intentions. I still can't make myself do work like that at home. I will have to stay after school tomorrow so I'll try to get caught up then. Tomorrow is our banquet and one of my senior gifts didn't come in as well as the graduation cords. I guess we'll have to do without.
Only 8 more days. Surely I can make it just 8 more days.

Friday, May 16, 2008

In a funk today

I can't explain my mood any better than that. I guess it's just being overwhelmed and frustrated and moody all at the same time. At least I know the feeling will pass... eventually. I did get a response from the assistant superintendent. It was as expected... it is a policy that isn't written, but still a policy and I'm sorry you were misinformed.... blah, blah, blah.
I made a little bit of progress at school today, but I'm not even close to being caught up. I'm giving thought to going up there this weekend. The only reason I might not is because I don't want to use the gas now that it is $3.65 a gallon (and that is on the low end of prices in this area).
Tonight Josh and I are going to the band banquet. That should be nice except it will probably take a long time as usual and I'll be ready to go before it's over. My dad is coming to town this weekend so I have to get the spare bedroom ready as well. Well.. I've got to start getting ready so I'll keep this short so I don't complain any more. I'll write again when I'm in a better mood.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not the best day

I don't know where to begin. Well, let's get back to regularly scheduled complaining. I haven't had a conference period at school for two days. Yesterday I had to be a sponsor on a trip with the sophomores to go to a career fair. Today I had to act as the substitute for a teacher that was involved in a funeral. So not am I only way behind on EVERYTHING I get even more bad news about the trip to Nationals. I mentioned in the previous post that we needed to raise about $800 to pay for Josh's trip. Although it seems daunting I thought it might be doable with some friends and family helping out and maybe a business sponsor or two. Now it turns out that they will not pay for any part of the trip with district (taxpayer) money since it is out of state. This is supposedly a board policy, but I could not find anything in their posted district policies online in this regard. So now we have to cover the two airline tickets and the registration which adds up to another $650 or so. I was going to be quiet about this because I thought the district was at least helping out some by covering the airfare and that since this was a somewhat unexpected trip (being the first student in many years to qualify) that we would do whatever it took to raise the $800. Now it's up to $1450. I'm still going to do whatever it takes, but I'm also going to write a letter to the local newspapers about this. I'm not one to stir things up but it really makes me mad. It's not as though we're just wanting the board to pay for a nice trip to Vegas for a kid to just compete in a random tournament. This a tournament that Josh had to qualify for. It's not like when the band wants to go march in some parade in California. This is something a student earns.
So now that I've vented... I'm starving. I didn't eat lunch today because I was so wrapped up in this news and then I had to deal with being a sub. I have to rehearse tonight for Church on Sunday. So I've got to figure out something for supper and then go to rehearsal and then work on my first letter to the editor masterpiece. (Hopefully they won't just scrap it.) If anything, it will make me feel better just to send it. Am I going too far? Should I just let it go?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shameless Plug

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I hate to do this on my blog, but many of you are what I would call friends in a strange sense and since I have so few friends in real life, I've got to look somewhere.
As you know, Josh (my son), qualified for the National speech tournament. While being an exceptional accomplishment, the school refuses to fund the entire trip. The registration has been paid and I think they're covering airfare, but it is now up to Josh to raise an additional $800 in less than three weeks to pay for the hotel and meals for both he and his sponsor.
The following is a letter (with some links added) that I'm sending out to the few friends and family that I have (about 25 people). If you feel moved at all to help, that would be great and if not or if you don't have the means, I understand.

May 14, 2008

Dear Friends & Family:

As you may or may not know, Josh recently qualified for the National Forensic League (NFL) National speech tournament to be held June 14-21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a prestigious honor to have qualified for this level of competition. The NFL is the nation’s oldest and largest debate and speech honor society. Since it’s founding in 1925 they have enrolled over one million members in all 50 states. It exists to promote secondary school speech and debate activities and interscholastic competition as a means to develop a student’s lifelong skills and values and to increase the public’s awareness of the value of speech, debate, and communication education.

This is the first time in many years that Canyon has had a student qualify for Nationals. The registration fees have been paid, but since the team has been more active this year, they do not have funds remaining for travel expenses. The school is willing to pay for the airfare, but is unable to help out beyond that. An additional $800 is needed to cover the hotel and meals for both Josh and Ms. XXXX.

This is where you come in. We have two weeks of school left to raise this money and we can’t sell enough candy bars to raise the amount needed. We’ve decided to do a different kind of fund raiser called “Stock in Talk” which was originally promoted by the NFL and used successfully by other schools in the area. If you choose, you can “invest” in Josh’s speech career by purchasing “stock” in him at $10 a share. Of course you may buy more “shares” if you have the means, but any amount you can give is appreciated. This is strictly a donation to the Speech team and the funds will be used to pay for the travel expenses in Vegas. If excess money is raised, it will be retained by the team and used for expenses next school year.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once stated “According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Despite the humor, public speaking for most is still daunting and those that overcome those fears tend to be more successful. The skills gained through speech competition will last a lifetime. The experience of participating in a National tournament will help Josh hone his talents by being in the presence of other great competitors.

With that said, I hope that you will be able to financially support Josh in the National competition. By doing so, you will receive a Stock Certificate that shows your support and Josh will write back to you about his Nationals experience. Please include an email or mailing address. Checks should be made out to Speech Team. Again, any amount will help in this endeavor. If possible, please respond by June 1 so the money can be deposited and available for use.

Here's more information about the fundraiser. Again, if my panhandling bothers you, I promise this is the only time I will make this request and will go back to regular blogging soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Still counting down

This time of year has me frazzled. I'm so ready to be out of school but at the same time, I'm so ready to not be out of school. There is still so much to do, but everything just gets in the way. We couldn't debate in 2nd period today because the seniors were gone. The 7th period debate was a good debate, however. I hated that the affirmative team didn't pick up on some major contradictions by the negative team, but overall it was enjoyable. I had to install Java on all my computers in my room so that my comm. app. kids could take an online typing test. Of course that had issues, but I eventually got it done. I discovered that one of my computers does not work at all and one of the mice had the ball taken out of it so it is useless now.

Tomorrow I have to go with the sophomores on a bus to Amarillo for a career day thing. That means I'm going to not get my conference periods at all tomorrow which stinks. I will probably stay after school tomorrow and work since Josh probably won't get home late because of drum major and drill instructor tryouts. He doesn't have to try out for drum major again but one of the two will be named as head drum major. He wants the position, not for the prestige, but so that he can lead the conducting style.

I have hardly been home today. I had to run to the store right when I got home to get lettuce for Josh to take to a cookout for National Honor Society. Then I went to Amarillo to get my hair cut. (I finally had enough.) I think I like it but I haven't had a chance to really admire myself in the mirror much or play with styling it. It's pretty short, but it feels great. After the hair cut I went to Fazoli's for supper and got the pizza/pasta trio. It was very yummy. Then I went to the hospital to visit my friend Pam whose daughter is in the hospital again. She has cystic fibrosis and goes to the hospital about once a year. She'll be there for about two weeks. So if you're a praying kind of person, I'm sure they wouldn't mind some help in that regard.

Well, I've been home about 15 minutes and it's already about bed time for me. I need to make sure that I get to school early for the trip back to Amarillo. I think I'll take a book to read. Josh gave me one that he wants me to read so I guess I'll start it. Anyone have an idea of a good adventure story that can be told in 5 minutes? It has to be published. Josh needs one for storytelling at Nationals.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Again

My mother's day yesterday was pretty nice. Josh surprised me with a digital photo frame. He gave it to me before I went to Church and I spent time adding some photos to it. I need to dig out some photo CD's to add more to it. After church I went to Amarillo and to Best Buy to get ink for my printer which has been a waste. I've cleaned the head on it several times and both the yellow and blank are still clogged. I think it is about time for a new printer. This one is three or four years old which I guess is ancient in terms of technology. I paid $250 for it at the time and now I can get the same quality for $99. I just can't get a new one right away.

After Best Buy I went to Walmart to get some groceries and a new router and wireless card for Josh's computer. We've been using the wireless "B" system which I guess is also ancient. My brother said that is the problem with Josh's internet issues. I couldn't afford to upgrade to "N" but I did get the "G" system and installed it myself, thank you very much. It took some doing with some trouble-shooting and a couple of calls to my brother, but I eventually got us all hooked up. I haven't notice a whole lot of difference yet, but it is stable on Josh's computer which is a good thing.

Today was a decent day at school. My interp class actually worked on their Reader's Theatre scripts, my debate classes actually had debates today and in my comm. app. class we had a guest speaker that explained how to properly fill out a job application. (Because if they hear it from me, they won't listen.) I did remember to go to band rehearsal tonight. I felt bad after missing so many rehearsals so I decided to get the website set up with it's own domain. I still love playing in band. I hate that I missed two rehearsals and I'll miss again next week. I did bring music home to practice so hopefully I'll be o.k. We're playing Rossini's overture to the Barber of Seville so it will take some work to get it up to tempo. You'll recognize it if you ever watched Loony Tunes cartoons with Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in the barber shop also known as the Rabbit of Seville. (2:10 minutes into the recording on rhapsody).

Well that is all for today. It's past my bed time so I need to head that way.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

In Honor of my Mom

On this occasion of mother's day I'd like to tell you about my mom, Ruth. She was born in 1944 in Hammond, Indiana where she grew up. Her mother passed away when she was about 12 and her dad remarried, but she did not like her step-mother at all. Her family was fairly religious, but she rebelled as a teen. She and my dad started dating when she was 13 and he was 16. I think that is about the time she also started smoking as well. She was a good student in school excelling in English. She was always a favorite of teachers. She once told me a story of how her teacher asked her if she would like to be cheerleader and my mom said "yes". The teacher then said "O.k. we will now vote on the rest of the cheerleading squad." She and my dad married when my mom was still a junior in high school. I think her home life was not ideal and she lived with my dad's family most of the time anyway. This was in 1961. My mom had my sister, Paula, when she was about 19 (1963) and my brother, Tim, followed two years later in 1965. They moved to Texas in 1968 and I was a surprise in 1969. My mom didn't realize she was pregnant for a while and her due date was a guess since she didn't have a reference point of her last cycle (they were irregular). I was due on Oct. 10 officially, but I didn't arrive until Nov. 10.
My mother was the creative type. She learned to decorate cakes when I was young and she always made a special cake for me and my siblings for our birthdays. She would let me look in the decorating book and pick out the cake I wanted. She also made costumes for my sister when she was in drama and I remember her making a pinata for my first grade class. She was an amazing cook and it is really a shame that I grew up to be a picky eater. She loved to cook and Thanksgivings and Christmas dinners were always my favorites. She made homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch on Christmas mornings.
She was involved with the Beta Sigma Phi sorority for many years. I've been told that she was fairly shy when she was younger, but once she got involved with Beta Sigma Phi, she came out of her shell and was fairly outgoing. She was often nominated as social hostess because she always had great ideas for parties. She would often do gag gifts for people she worked with and would write silly poems to go with them.
She worked hard all her life. In Perryton (where I was born and lived for six years) she waited tables at K-Bob's. When we came to Amarillo in 1976 she again worked at K-Bob's to bring in money until we got on our feet. (My parents declared bankruptcy due to a law suit by a family member.) Later my dad went to work for IBP (now Tyson) and my mom got a job in the scale house there. Although she moved up in job titles, she worked there for 26 years.
My mom and I weren't really close so to speak, but she was a good mom and always made sure my needs were met. When I wanted to go on the Washington DC trip in the 9th grade, she made sure we had to money to pay for it. She loved doing things for people. I think that brought her the most joy. (I've inherited that bit.) She was kind to everyone. My ex-husband adored my mom and all the meals she made for him. I think if she had more choice in a career, she would have loved to be a baker or caterer.
Although it wasn't apparent to me as a child, she was fairly religious. She didn't get back involved in church until I was in high school or college, but it was a big part of her life and many people in her church looked up to her. She was raised Pentecostal (I think), then attended the Methodist Church, but in the later years attended the Baptist church.
In March of 2003 she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. The doctor gave her a prognosis of up to two years at the time. Once we started doing research, we realized that two years was very unlikely. She smoked for 42 years. She wouldn't go to the doctor for a long time and by the time she did go (because she blacked out at work) it was too late to do anything about it. She did chemo to slow the progress, but a cure was impossible. She managed to hold on another 8 months. Throughout this time, she continued to work until about three weeks before she passed away and she lost the ability to walk when the cancer hit her spinal cord. I think that was the hardest part for her because she had been so active most of her life and always taking care of other people. Even when she was told she only two weeks to a month left, she still tried to take care of everything. She made all her funeral and cremation arrangements beforehand so that we wouldn't have to deal with it. Even when in hospice she would ask everyone if they had enough to eat.
She wasn't afraid in death. Her faith helped her get through it. In hospice she was often saying "Let's get this show on the road." One night when it was my turn to stay overnight with her, she started talking about church songs. I wrote them down and that is what Josh and I played at her funeral. She wasn't very lucid at the time - going in and out of consciousness and often talking nonsense. At one point she was talking about random websites that didn't make sense and then something about putting the dinosaurs in the cage. (I think that might have had something to do with Josh since he was obsessed with dinosaurs when he was little.) She passed away on November 22, 2003. We had a memorial service a week later. My aunt, Josh and I had made plans to go to San Diego for Thanksgiving and we went ahead and went on the trip for a couple of days because we knew that mom would have told us to go. She wouldn't want us to have canceled plans for her. Since she was being cremated and we were only going to have the memorial service the family decided it could wait.
I dealt with her death pretty well for the most part. I think the fact that she was so accepting of it and took care of everything made it easier on us. She told my dad to go on with his life and to not pine over her. I have those moments now and then, however, where I do miss her. Like when I want to make something I haven't made before I think about calling her and then it hits me that I can't. When Josh does something well, I think about how proud she would be of him. I've even had several dreams about her in the past few years. It's strange, but the dreams have always been of her in her younger self. The images of her that I remember as a child. Although I can't remember the dreams, I think they were all a positive message. I do know that in the dreams she was very real.
So that's my mom. It's only a brief glimpse of her, but she was a great lady whose joy came in doing things for other people.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Finally a free Saturday

Of course I slept in this morning. I don't know what to do with myself on a Saturday. There's hardly anything on t.v. worth watching on Saturday. I can't stand today's stupid cartoons. Thankfully an episode of Monk is coming on at 10:00. I have intentions to continue cleaning house this weekend. I'm not going to attempt the garage yet. I need to wait until I have several days in a row for that so it will have to wait until school is out.
I'm still up in arms as to what to do about one act play next year. I haven't been approached to take it on, but it has been made clear that they are not going to hire a theater teacher. So what do I do? It would be very disappointing to the students to not be able to do one act. I just don't know how I could take it on and start grad school in the fall. It will be very time consuming. But then again, it would only be for a year or two until I can move into library. Then there is the issue of the room. If I take it, I could probably move into the best room in the school. It is the largest room (aside from choir and band) that is right off the stage with a large storage closet and then another office with even more storage (including bookshelves). I could also get an additional printer that wouldn't be as expensive to maintain and keep the LCD projector. Those things alone make it tempting. But then again, it would mean moving to yet another room. Four times in four years. I definitely would not spend time painting it. I still don't know what to do. I just need to go talk to the principal. He might even have a solution already. He may need to hire an English teacher or something that might be willing to do it. Well, I guess I'll continue to give it some thought.
Well, I'm going to continue watching Monk and then figure out something for lunch. I want to get my hair cut again. I want to go even shorter. It is getting to that annoying stage where it's hard to style. I just don't know how exactly I want it cut. I see lots of cute styles, but I just don't think my hair is the right texture for some of them. I need to find a good stylist, but I don't know where to begin. I wish Cheryl lived here - from reading her blog, I can tell that she is amazing. If I ever get up where she lives, I would want her to cut my hair.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Where was I?

I'm a bit out of focus today. I just can't seem to get into anything. I should have stayed after school to do some work, but I just didn't want to. I did get my supply order done, however. I came home and was starving but had to wait for Josh to get home to cook something. He didn't get home until 5:30 so I just put a pizza in the oven. I must get to bed early tonight. I had the intention last night, but an episode of Monk came on at 10 that I hadn't seen before. So I stayed up and watched it. Then we started getting storms. They didn't keep me up, but the dogs did. They whined and scratched my door all night since they were freaking out about the storm. I finally put in earplugs to drown the sounds out. But I didn't sleep well. I drove to school in a thunderstorm. It rained off and on most of the day until I came home. We needed the rain though. I'm watching Criminal Minds now and am just going to take it easy this evening.

A Case of Spring Fever

I am not in the mood to get any real work done. I'll all about avoidance right now. We're down to the home stretch and I still have a million things to get done and I don't want to do any of it. I have to get semester tests completed by next week. I've been taking grades, but haven't uploaded anything in the online gradebook. I need to order more supplies to use up the rest of my budget, but I haven't found the time to do that either.
My office desk is a mess of papers and stuff. I don't know why I let things pile up. I'm really great at organizing and cleaning but I can't seem to maintain such a state.
See... I started this post 45 minutes ago and I haven't even finished it. Well, I'm going to wrap it up for now and I'll try to write something this evening.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday Off

I enjoyed sleeping in this morning until the phone rang. It was probably a bill collector, but I wouldn't know as I don't answer the phone if I don't know who is calling. I actually had a dream about Abbagirl last night. I think that's the first time I dreamed about one of my blogging friends. It was kind of strange as we were getting tickets to a Garth Brooks concert and they were amazing seats. But it turns out that the concert wasn't that great because nobody really wanted to hear him sing since he had been away so long... or something like that. It was very weird.
I got up around 10 and didn't do much of anything. I called my friend from high school around 11:00 and we decided to meet at Thai Kitchen for lunch at 11:40. I still hadn't showered or anything so I did a marathon session in getting ready. I was actually there by 11:32. We had lunch (cashew chicken with fried rice) and visited. We weren't really friends in high school but we knew each other because we were in band.
I came home and just took it easy most of the day. I started cleaning my shelves and desk area. Talk about a mountain of stuff! I can't believe how much junk I've sorted through - and that is just a rough sort of separating the junk into piles that will still need to be sorted. I need the area to work on the reunion stuff.
Josh came home in a pissy mood. I went to the store so I wouldn't have to deal with his slamming doors. I made some dinner (cheese ravioli) and had a glass of wine with it. I mastered another RCT scenario and then worked on the desk again. It's not there yet, but I am getting close. I plan to get the main desk area cleaned off before I go to bed.
Now I'm having a second glass of wine and am relaxing before I head to bed again. We expecting storms tonight so I'm not sure if I'll get any sleep. I should try to go to bed before they hit, but I'm not quite ready. I don't want to go back to school, but the fact that there's only three weeks left is keeping me going. Woo hoo!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Home with Allergies

Ugh. I started sneezing a little on the way down to Austin, but I got hit much worse on the way back. I drove the first 6 hours of the trip and was fairly miserable. It wasn't constant sneezing, but I could "feel" allergens penetrating my sinuses. My eyes were watery and I started to get a mild headache. What fun. We stopped for lunch in Post and then the other teacher took over driving. I finished a book and almost finished a second one on the way back. I was happy to not be driving. (For lunch I had chicken strips with gravy and fries.)

My brother called me on the way back and said he would be coming over to get rid of the weeds in my ward with his weed-eater. Josh wasn't happy about having to help him. Hopefully I appeased him by picking him up dinner from McDonald's after I got home. I felt pretty miserable once I got home, but I didn't want to take anything since I had to go to church. I went to Mass at the student center. It's not my favorite place to go, but I have no choice when I'm not here on Sunday mornings. It's either that or the Spanish Mass and I think I prefer to know what everyone is saying.

After church I went by Wendy's to pick up a small bit of dinner. I order a grilled chicken wrap but they told me that it would take 7 minutes. I opted for the homestyle wrap so I could get it faster, but they overcooked it. I also asked for a vanilla frosty and they gave me a chocolate one. I just took a benadryl and will wait for it to kick in and hopefully sleep well tonight.

It's another boring post, but such is my life at the moment. I made it home safe and mostly sound. I was bored quite a bit on this trip, but oh well. I played a lot of rollercoaster tycoon to pass the time.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Winding down in Austin

My student didn't make it to finals. That stinks, but at least we don't have to haul the files tomorrow. We picked up our other student at the airport this evening and just go back a short while ago. We had dinner at a place called Springhills that serves farm raised catfish. I thought it was pretty good, but the clientele was a bit, uh, interesting. I really try to not be judgmental, but sometimes it's really hard. Maybe I really am a snob, but I couldn't help but think of Jeff Foxworthy as I watched some people dine this evening. He has this redneck joke that is one of my favorites: "You might be a redneck if you prom date's dress is strapless, but her bra is not." There was a woman in there wearing a strapless shirt with a regular bra. I know it's kind of a trend to show off your bra straps for whatever reason, but I still think it is a bit tacky. He sister came in later and she was wearing the same get up of sorts but she had the clear, plastic straps... like I couldn't see them because they were invisible - yeah, right. She also had on short shorts with rhinestones on the rear. It was at least interesting to people watch this evening. I hope that doesn't make me sound judgmental - but I guess I am, huh? I guess others probably judge me just as much - oh well.
I toured south Austin a bit as we had to wait to pick up the student that flew in this evening. Now I've got to go to bed shortly so that I can get up at the crack of dawn - ugh. Well that's all the excitement here this evening.

News in Austin

Note - this post is rated "R" and is not intended for young children or those that act like children.

The Austin area is far more liberal than the Bible belt that I live in. There are certain topics that simply would not be featured on the news stations back home. Last night I had a raucous bit of laughter after a particular news segment. The story was about erectile dysfunction (e.d.). (Hmmm... how many weird hits am I going to get to my blog now that I've typed that phrase?) It is hard enough sometimes dealing with all the ads that promote Viagra and such. But this was a news feature that showcased an elderly couple in their late 60's and the problems they faced with the husband's e.d. So they talk about various methods that people have used including pills and surgery. This particular man had a penal implant (oh joy more interesting visits to come!). They showed the device on the news and how it worked. (You just pump this part up and waa-la - instant erection.) O.k. that part was bad enough - but wait! It gets worse. The very last part of the news feature was a comment by the wife. And I quote: "The great thing about this is when he pumps his penal implant up, he's good to go for however long it takes!"
O.M.G. I couldn't control myself. I laughed for a good five minutes and thought "They would never do a story like this in Amarillo - thank goodness! Can you say "Too much information"?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Made it to Austin

We arrived around 2:00 today. We checked into the hotel but had an issue with the rate that was originally quoted to us. Thankfully they changed the rate to match our check. We piddled around the room for a while and then another teacher from our area came and visited for a while. We left around 5:30 to go register and then went to dinner at a deli called Katz. I had a roast beef sandwich and fries. It was very good and filling. Now I'm stuffed. I just watched CSI. I'm a bit tired from driving so I'll probably go to bed fairly early tonight. Tomorrow we are leaving around 10:30 so that will be nice to sleep in. That's all there is to report right now.