Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What's going on, eh?

Saturday, October 13, 2007
For lack of a better title, this post is basically an update of what we've been doing for the past couple weeks since September 25th. That's what a blog is for, right? Once again, I talk about the wedding and school (both hopkins and banneker) since those things pretty much consume my life. I put subtitles in case some people don't have the time (or don't care) to read this entire, massive blog posting.Wedding- We met with a pastor who Josh's parents knew. He was fantastic. We were very in sync with our beliefs and attitudes about our faith and all that. He was more than willing to do the ceremony for us. He agreed at the outrageousness of the huge price tag associated with "other" pastors (not to mention names). We discussed that and how wrong we think it is to turn church into a money-making business. We also pretty much solidified things with our musicians. They are friends of a friend of Josh's sister. It's a little sketchy, but I think it's going to work out. I've only emailed with one guy out of the quartet. He just needs us to tell him what music we want played. I've never heard them play as a quartet and am not sure how they're going to prepare for the wedding, but I'm just going to have faith about that because it's something that I just can't start over with right now. The friend of Josh's sister is a girl who has studied music at conservatories and such throughout her college years and the quartet are her friends whom I assume have done the same. They are probably extraordinarily talented and are going to do an amazing job. I'm stoked. I also think I have the music selected, I just have to run through it with Josh to make sure he agrees.Work- It's getting pretty crazy around this place. I may have mentioned last time that the kids are starting to come out of their shells and getting more and more talkative. I had to give my first detention for the year to a girl who has huge attitude and refused to do what I told her to. She think's she's something big. Ha. Professionally, I'm also feeling less enthusiastic about that place. Not that I've ever really loved it, but the negatives are building. There are just all of these initiatives and procedures that they expect us to handle and take care of on top of all the regular teaching duties. One big issue right now is an initiative based on "cultural awareness" that basically blames teachers for african-american and hispanic students consistently performing lower than white and asian students. We were literally told that teachers need to take more personal and professional responsibility for student achievement and stop blaming external forces like parents, community, and culture. Ok, biologically the achievement gap shouldn't be happening because by race we aren't biologically that different. But don't tell me that culture plays no part in that. Don't tell me that socio-economic status has nothing to do with it. In fact, socio-economic status is the number one predictor of academic success, NOT race. So maybe we need to close the socio-economic gap and take pains to make sure that less affluent children are achieving at the same level as thier wealthier counterparts. I'm getting really sick of the "blame teachers first" attitude that Montgomery County takes. They think it makes parents happy beacuse parents and children have no accountability or responsibility for anything. But unfortunately it hurts the school system in the long run when teachers get burned out or jaded and have a bad attitude toward their job. I won't lie, staff morale at my school is in the toilet. I'm seriously considering (as I have in both of the past 2 year) attempting a move to Howard county for the next school year. Not to say they don't have their own issues, but at least I can compare the two from my year of internship experience. I know enough to know where I'd be happier.Hopkins- You know, right now it's just another thing I have to do. It's on my nerves and it's depressing to think it won't be over after this semester and that I'm going to have to keep going on like this for several years. I'm hoping only two or two and a half if I can get some extra credits in over the summers. But the papers that are due, when the heck am I going to write them? I can't even get the books read. The material isn't difficult, it's pretty common sense. The biggest issue is time. It's time consuming to read hundredes of pages. It's time consuming to sit down and write a 10 page paper. And on top of the hundreds of papers I need to grade, and all of the other things that go on in any given week there's just not time. But again, I figure this semester will suck big time and then the others will seem easier. I'm also taking classes that are general counseling and not necessarily geared toward what I'm actually interested in doing. It's about deep therapy for people who have big time problems and dealing with them in a way that would be totally inappropriate for school children. Not to mention (and I'll let this be my last complaint) that after working a full day with my little monsters, I don't really feel like sitting in a circle and pretending to be a counselor or have a group discussion with everyone in the room staring at me. I know it's a personal and interactive askill that they are trying to teach us, but I'm just not in the mood for it at that point. Alright, Hopkins crap over.In other general M and Josh news- We painted! It was an adventure. It was a last minute decision because we finally decided to have a housewarming party and figured that could force us into taking care of some of the stuff around the house that we really wanted to do. So I went through all the trouble of choosing a color. I actually had found one of those post-card thingies that shows examples of a color scheme in a room. I really like this one room that had light blue walls and dark wood floors with dark wood chairs and some other dark wood (or black) accessories. We eventually plan to put dark wood floors down so this was perfect. We have kind of a "New England cottage" vision for the decor. Anyway, the color quoted on this post card did not look like the color in the picture and I posited that if we used the color it told us to, Cake Stand Blue, then we would be disappointed because it wouldn't look like the picture but would look like cake stand blue in our house with our lighting. After some deliberation I chose another color that I thought would do. We began painting last Saturday, 10/6. We were so awesome that we painted the whole living room/dining room area in one day. Sadly the color was not quite what I had in mind. It was definitely too dark and too blue. I had been thinking about this as we were paiting but told myself it was just the lighting at that moment or it was that I wasn't used to seeing the walls that color. By the time we went to bed that night I was freaking out because I knew I honestly did not like the color and I didn't know what to do about it. I talked to Josh and he agreed that if I didn't like the paint we could re-do it. I felt awful for wasting the money and time we had already spent but I knew I couldn't look at that paint for any length of time. So the next morning I got up and went to Home Depot and Lowes to collect all of the lightest blue paint samples that I could find. I came home with about a 2" stack of paint chips. I sat down with the picture I liked, the paint chip we had already used, and all of the new samples. I then separated all the ones that were as dark or darker than the paint I didn't like. Once I had the ones that were light enough I had to eliminate any that were too gray, too green, too purple, or too white. Then I was left with about 10 samples that I had no good way to choose between. So I took all of them and stuck them on the painted wall to compare with the bad color and decided to pick out the ones that looked lightest against that color. There were 3. One I decided was too white and I let Josh pick between the other two. He choose one called "Chilly Morning." It took us the rest of the week to repaint. Josh finally finished today while I was at his cousin's baby shower. It looks amazing- exactly what I wanted the first time. Now we have to do the trim, but that's no big deal. At least there aren't any concerns over the color of that. So now that this is officially the longest post ever, I will close by saying that Josh beat the game Bubble Bobble (original NES) and is very proud of himself. I'm proud of him too :o) Thanks for reading!

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