Monday, October 23, 2006

A regular school week

The last few weeks at school have been wonderful. Two weeks ago it was only 4 days, then last week was 3. Now we have a full week of 5 days. Stupid vacation ending! The next big thing to look forward to is Thanksgiving break. For the first time ever I will not be at home for Thanksgiving and will my first NorCal DeMolay Convention ever (I've been to the last 10). I am excited about a holiday in Richlands, NC. Unfortunately, Sarah and I have to be back by Friday afternoon so I am taking that Tuesday off. This plan will give us two days at home. We are going to Stockton for Christmas.
This weekend I had my US History class and the bright side was that I actually did the reading for this month's session. The bummer was that the lecture had very little to do with the reading. I also found it boring and consequently was nodding in and out. I felt terrible since I hate it when my kids go to sleep. Oh well. The funniest moment was watching a commercial for Sonic where a character proclaimed how he would let all the readers of his blog know about the new dessert he was eating. The lady in the car called him out saying, "all your readers, you mean your mom?" I though it was great to include in my blog.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October Break

Vacations are the best! I didn't really go anywhere (except for Tuscaloosa for the second weekend in a row), but do you really need to go anywhere to be on vacation? Whatever, I don't want to get into the semantics. The important thing is that I have not been at Pleasant Grove High School since Thursday afternoon. In the end, that is what really matters. It almost feels criminal to be outdoors when I am normally teaching. I learned that autumn in Alabama can be real nice during school hours. It all balances out when I figure that when the heat is bearing down in August I get to be in an air conditioned classroom.
Saturday I ran in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The race was 5k and that works out to about 3.1 miles. It is amazing the difference 8 years can make. When I ran cross country in high school the course was three miles. I am not trying to convince you that I was an excellent runner. The reality was far from that, but I would do alright. I had a good time and we will leave it at that. What matters is that breast cancer research received a great check because there were a ton of folks there.
On Sunday, I went to Tuscaloosa for Crider's wedding. She is a teaching friend of mine from PG. The ceremony and everything was done real well. She cut it real close to finish the ceremony by sundown, but she made it. In a close second for highlight of the day was the performance of my fantasy football team. After a few bad weeks my team was in last place. Week 6 was a huge score and that was with little to no contribution from two of my receivers and the kicker...stupid kickers!
I also finally registered my car here in Alabama. This had to take place not because the cops pulled me over (although I suppose I was flirting with danger on that one since I could have been pulled over at any time for it) but because my apartment complex was going to tow my car because of it. Can you believe it? These are the issues the management pursues. Nevermind people park in two spots or that there are way too many people living in some units. They decided in all their infinite wisdom that the infraction to push was the expired car tag of a guy who never misses a payment.
Forgive me, that is the frustration of having to go back to school talking. On the bright side, three day week, woohoo!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Duke Game

Last night Sarah and I went to the Alabama-Duke football game in Tuscaloosa. I was looking forward to it because we were going to head down early and tailgate with a teacher friend of mine. The tailgating and pregame scene was something else. It was almost like the game was secondary to all the pregame festivities. The tailgate we went to was great. The host barbequed up some quail and wrapped it in bacon. He also cooked up some wild boar sausage. Then there was the normal tailgate cuisine of burgers and hot dogs. Sarah and I had no expectations that Duke would win the game. After all, coming in to the game Duke was an impressive 0-4. I even told the people tailgated with that you don't have to expect your team to win to at least show up and cheer. There were a few people there that agreed with me on this one. I put emphasis on a few because the visiting crowd section was so small. The game itself was thoroughly disappointing. We would not have been upset if Duke just lost. The frustrating part was that they were contending for almost the whole game and seemed to be looking for ways to give the game away. I don't want to go into it. It will just make me mad again and I am finally in a good place about the loss. As we left I just imagined how difficult it must be to be a Duke football fan because competing and then blowing the game late is par for the course.
I am looking forward to the week. This year we don't have a week for fall break, instead we have a long weekend. We get this Friday off, plus we get the following Monday and Tuesday. It is always nice to have a 4 day week followed by a 3 day week. Also, I made a number of changes to my fantasy football team. So far the changes seem to be a wash. Some of the new additions are really tearing it up. While at the same times some are just stinking it up. I just need something after a terrible outing last week.
It is about time to start the day. Sarah and I are about to go and finish registering, woot!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Quite the week

This August was the beginning of my third year of teaching. Last year was a definite challenge, but I felt real good about this year. I was convinced that this year would be just a ton better. Luckily, for the most part is has. Last Sunday brought with it an experience I really could have gone my whole professional life avoiding and being just fine. One of the teachers from the high school called and told me that one of our students had died. The details surrounding his death are vague and I don't think the full truth will ever be revealed. I think this hit me hard because in all three semesters at Pleasant Grove this student had been in one of my classes. He was for sure not the easiest student to deal with in class, but he always meant well. It is like my principal said in the newspaper article about the death, there was not a mean bone in his body. I will not lie, there were many things that Jeffrey did that were truly confusing. In the end though, he always thought what he was doing was helpful or in the best interest of everyone else.
Yesterday, Sarah and I went to his service. The fact that there is a funeral can be sad because it means that someone has passed away. Especially in this case when the deceased is a 15-year-old boy. I thought his church did a fantastic job of truly making it a celebration of life. The turnout was impressive. The number of students that showed was particularly touching. I say that because it was not that Jeffrey was unpopular, it was just that he didn't hang out regulalry with one group. Overall, the support of some members of the student body was touching. At school some students organized a fundraiser to help his family. It was an incident that reminded me that while some teenagers can be real difficult there are still a number of compassionate and caring young adults.
While that ordeal was a considerable downer, the rest of the week was rather decent. This weekend Sarah and I registered at Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I will just say it: some of the things we registered for seemed rather over the top. At the same time, I understand that nice dishes and glasses are traditional things that couples register for in preparation for a wedding. We did not finish registering, but we did get off to a good start. After starting the registering process I did not realize it would take so long. One of the guys who helped us at Bed, Bath, and Beyond said that couples put a lot of time into choosing what they want and many people end up walking in on the day of the wedding or shower and just end up getting a gift card. I am not sure what point he was trying to make with that. I just looked at him and asked what was wrong with that. I guess I don't know as much as I need to about this stuff. On Friday, I worked the gate at the football game. It is a nice way to earn a little something extra on the side. Also in the earning a little something extra on the side category I just finished working the scoreboard for volleyball here at BSC. It is always fun to see an opposing coach get a yellow card (warning). My knowledge about volleyball is real basic so I did not know if his complaints were legit, but it was fun to see him challenge the referee. The situation was comical. What did he honestly expect would be the outcome when he consistently asked the head official if she was "going to make a call?" three times when she warned him to stop. Truly, it is fascinating stuff. Then consider his team was getting schooled and he does not take a timeout. If my volleyball knowledge is basic, then my opinion about coaching moves is not worth a three dollar bill. The fact that the opposing team was down by about 10 in the third game and dropped the first two games and did not take a time out until his team was 4 points from the loss was unexplainable. I could not help but think that those timeouts do you no good on the bus. I guess he figured out like everyone else did that the match was already decided so why even bother.
I have nine more days of school until our long October weekend. Last year it was a full week and I used that as an opportunity to head home for a few days and also head to Seattle to visit Matt. This year in an effort to create a 180 day school year (the number of days that is pretty much standard), instead of the 175 day school year we were on three days were taken from the break. It is no big deal because teacher salaries were boosted a little to accomodate the extra days. The down part is that with the bump, at least in my case, that meant more was witheld for taxes. I am aware that some of that will come back to me next year at tax time, but that is very little consolation at the time when you compare what you actually got to what was earned. Oh well. What are you going to do?