Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Got the Job...

... just not the one I'd hoped for. You may recall me mentioning my great interview at this one high school and the human resources guy telling me how he expected that whole thing to go through right away. I went on four more interviews after that one, and it wasn't until two weeks after it that the HR guy finally mentioned that they had chosen someone else. I was really really bummed, but looked on the bright side. I did and still do maintain that I'll be where I'm meant to be, even if it's not where I wanted to be.

So of the other interviews, there were 2 high schools and 2 middle schools. One of the high schools was where I student taught, one was a school I had no interest in at all. One of the middle schools is where a good friend of mine works, so I thought that would be fun too. Needless to say, out of all of these interviews and several jobs that I actually wanted, the one that offered me a position was the school I had no interest in. It is very much like the school I used to teach in (population-wise) and that kind of frightens me. It doesn't have a very good reputation around the county and that frightens me too. I don't know why these schools are attracted to me, but they are. The position is 4 sections of Honors US History (9th grade), and one section of regular World History (11th grade). Being my only option, I took the position. I won't say I'm "excited" but I'm going to make the best of it. I am happy to be teaching in a high school (I think having only taught 6th grade may have worked against me with the other high schools), and I'm happy to be teaching US History, a subject I love and adore. I also think having advanced level classes will mean somewhat brighter or more motivated students. That's a hope anyway.

So I will savor my last 3 weeks (2.5 now) of summer and try to be happy at my new school. I know that in many ways it will be better than my last job, county policies alone dictate that. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to all of the fun things we have coming up in the next few weeks. We have some birthdays, including Josh's little brother's 21st, camping, and some lunch dates to catch up with old friends. And before I know it, I'll be all anxious to get a new school year underway.... for some reason I always am.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I'm pretty sure most of the people who read my blog have already done this, but here is mine. And if you haven't done it, consider yourself tagged, though I probably won't hold you to it :o)

I think: summers are too short.

I know: that I married the most amazing man who also happens to be my soul mate.

I want: to be independently wealthy.

I have: the life I always dreamed of as a child. Really.

I wish: I was finished with grad school so I could make a little more money and have some babies already.

I hate: stupid people. Especially when they hurt someone else with their carelessness or ignorance.

I miss: Josh when we're at work or doing separate things.

I fear: losing Josh. (not that he would leave, but that something would ever happen to him)

I smell: Josh every chance I get. I love the way he smells.

I crave: chocolate, all the time.

I search: for good in even the most rotten students. I don't always find it.

I wonder: what my children will look like.

I regret: nothing, since everything has played a part in who I am and where I am today, and I wouldn't change a tiny thing.

I love: the life I have and the people in it.

I care: about our world and our country.

I always: say "I love you"

I am not: a Democrat.

I believe: in God and heaven. That abortion is murder. And that you should treat others how you want to be treated.

I dance: like crazy at weddings and 'da club.

I sing: "Roxanne" by The Police.... no wait, that's Amberly.

I don't always: put things away. I mean I do eventually, but things sit around. Who cares unless there's company?

I write: a lot of text messages :-\

I lose: some inhibitions after a good margarita.

I win: in the "best husband" department.

I never: kill bugs because my husband finds them first and kills them like it's his job.

I listen: to silence. As a teacher I truly understand and appreciate the old adage, "silence is golden."

I can usually be found: at home or at my moms.

I am scared: of bugs and bad guys.

I need: a personal chef so I don't have to figure out what to make for dinner.

I am happy about: life, in general.

I realize this is almost entirely about Josh. I'm a newlywed... what do you want from me? :o)

The Secret 6: Second Generation

Ten years ago this month, upon my grandfather's passing, my mother and her four siblings decided to make a concerted effort to remain close since they no longer had either of their parents. They chose to meet for dinner on the last Friday night of each month, all five of them plus their spouses, therefore a group of ten. Because all of their children (myself, my siblings, and all of our cousins some of whome are grown adults with their own children) were banned from these dinners, they became known as "Secret Meeting Night." We figured the reason we weren't allowed to attend was because they were all sitting around talking about us. After a while, my mom, her one sister, and one brother who all live close to each other began meeting on the in-between Friday nights. This meeting of the three siblings and their spouses became known as "The Secret 6." Why am I telling you this?

My siblings and I, now all married or engaged decided we should begin our own Secret 6 meetings. It wasn't easy, but we held our first meeting this weekend on Saturday night. We went to Pub Dog here in Columbia and enjoyed some gourmet pizzas and craft-brewed beers. This was, believe it or not, the FIRST time the six of us have gone out together, just us. It was a real riot. The three boys together kept the three girls in stitches most of the night. We had a lot of laughs reminiscing about old stories and childhood memories -- which is actually what most of our dinner-table conversation is like anyway when we're together. After dinner we came back to my house and played RockBand for a while. The highlight of that was Amberly singing "Roxanne" by The Police. If you know that song at all, you can imagine why we were laughing with tears rolling down our faces at this.

And so, a tradition has begun. Our next meeting will be August 30th and we'll be honoring Ben's birthday (Sept.1). I can't wait to see what that one will have in store!

In other news... you may have picked up that Ben and Jenna are finally engaged! Hooray! We're very excited. Ben asked Jenna's aunt for her great-grandmother's ring and that was that. They are having the diamond reset, and Ben will plan a proposal with that. I got to go wedding dress shopping with Jenna and our moms on Saturday and she actually found "the one." It was pretty fantastic. I had so many flashbacks looking through all of those dresses. It was so much fun, but it also made me so glad that I wasn't in the middle of wedding-planning anymore. They are currently scouting the perfect outdoor location and are aiming for a date sometime in late May or Early June of next year.

Also, recently my dear friend Jenn was writing about new beginnings in her blog and how we shouldn't all wait until the new year to resolve to make a change that we want to make. And actually, Josh and I are getting ready to make a change ourselves. Over the past seven months of newlywed bliss, we've experienced what I call "the newlywed 15." Remember the "Freshman 15" from college? This happened to us after getting married. It wasn't because we decided to let ourselves go or anything, we just didn't spend the time we should have planning our meals to make sure we were eating healthy. We also recently saw on the news that low carb diets like Atkins and South Beach are best for losing weight quickly and keeping it off. They're also best for cholesterol and blood pressure. We've heard some success stories from South Beach so that's what we decided on. It's a three-phase program that initially omits carbs, then works the healthy ones back in after your body has burned a lot of your fat for energy. So after a Cold-Stone date on Thursday night, Friday begins it and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes! Wish us luck!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger as The Joker

Most people who know my husband may know that he's a little bit of a comic book fanboy. He's more into Marvel than DC comics, but let's face it, 90% of planet earth has been salivating over the new Batman movie. So add the fanboy to a movie that's exciting even for normal folks, and you find yourself sitting in a cold movie theater at midnight staring into the face of a deranged clown (see above).

That's right. The movie opens today, so we were there at the 12:01 am showing last night. I must say, it was a good movie. It felt a little long, but that could be due to the fact that I was sitting in the same movie theater seat from 11pm - 3am. The story was fantastic though and as creepy as he was, you just couldn't get enough of the joker. You wanted to stare at his creepy face, and they gave you plenty of opportunity for that. All I can say is this movie exponentially exacerbates the tragedy of Heath Ledger's death. It is an absolute crime that he is not around to enjoy everything that would have come to him as a result of this role. And not just the fame or money, but the pride in pulling off this character in an ingenious way that hasn't been done before, and doing so perfectly. It was amazing. You hate to think the villain stole the show, but in this case he absolutely did. You couldn't take your eyes off of him or stop thinking about him the entire time. Christian Bale of course was a great Batman and Bruce Wayne. I even thought Maggie Gyllenhaal played a good Rachel Dawes. But no one's performance compared to Heath Ledger in this movie. 10 Stars.

I would recommend sitting down to watch Batman Begins at home, and then going out to see this one. I think it makes the story that much more poignant particularly since I'm not the kind of person who remembers every detail from a movie years after I've seen it. I pretty much remember the basic story and who won in the end.

And I can't conclude without mentioning that I haven't heard anything else about my job. I have one of the three new interviews scheduled and am still trying to get in touch with the other two schools to set something up. I'm in class 9a-4p every day next week so that's going to complicate things a little. But hey, what can ya do? I'm off to the store for dinner stuff... trying a new recipe, I'll share it if it's good! :o)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

To Make a Long Story Long

You'll never believe this, but I did finally get in touch with the HR guy. He still hadn't heard back from the high school, but he wanted to send me on another interview in the mean time. Blah. This was a middle school not too far from our house. I wasn't thrilled and wasn't sure when I felt like calling to make the appointment. Fortunately I didn't have to decide, because the school called me. The principal was going out of town and wanted to get most of the interviews done before he left so he wanted to see me the next day (Tuesday) at 9:00. He also wanted me to bring a portfolio -- ew! So I agreed.

Let me give you a quick idea about portfolios, for anyone who isn't a teacher. You basically keep a collection of your original lessons and ideas to showcase yourself as a teacher. Well in Montgomery county, or at least at my school in Montgomery county, there was no making your own lessons. The curriculum guide was completely scripted with step-by-step directions, what to say, what to ask, and handouts. Therefore the only portfolio I had was the one from when I was a student teacher which shows nothing of what I've been doing the last three years. UGH! So I had to go out to my car (late at night of course, because I didn't feel like doing this during the day), dig out my old lesson binders and start digging through for anything and everything that was my original work. The portfolio we put together as student teachers was pristine and huge. It was a 3" binder with every page in a page protector, a one page summary and explanation of every activity, dividers to indicate each standard of good teaching and your sample lessons / explanations to follow. So here I am with a few old sheets of paper that I'm clipping into a 1/2" binder in no particular order with no style or grace whatsoever and certainly no explanations of anything. I didn't have time for that at midnight. And mind you, all of this is for a job I didn't really want, but kind of needed in case the HS job didn't come through.

Anyway, the whole interview day kind of stunk. I had my pseudo-portfolio ready, and directions. All I had to do in the morning was get myself ready and out the door. Unfortunately I realized after my second bite of cereal, that I needed to be walking out the door that minute. So I tossed the cereal down the drain, grabbed everything I needed and took off. The directions were simple and said it would only take me 11 minutes to get there. Riiiiiight. One of my instructions was - "Turn right onto Montgomery Road. Then turn left to stay on Montgomery Road." OK. I can handle that. However, there was never a right turn onto Montgomery, and I was faced several times with turning left to stay on Montgomery Road. So many times that I felt I was driving back home. It was outrageous. I finally called the school because I felt I had gone too far. The secretary gave me faulty directions because she apparently didn't know where I was even though I told her the intersection. I finally turned around to back-track and saw a sign for an elementary school and the middle school I was looking for was actually back there with it. Sneaky. So I found it and the interview went fine. I explained my weird "portfolio" and they seemed to understand. I didn't get any real vibe from them though. They had several more interviews after mine but said they should be making a decision by the end of next week.

Ironically, I just now got a phone call from the Human Resources office saying again that they hadn't heard back from the high school I interviewed with, but they wanted to send me to three more schools. I'm going to lose my mind. This time it's two more high schools and a middle school. One of the high schools is Wilde Lake where I did my student teaching. I wouldn't mind teaching there. The other is one I'm a little scared of. The middle school is one where a good friend of mine from grad school teaches so that could be fun. So now I have to call and make those appointments. July 15 is the state deadline that teachers have to resign or retire by, so now that today is the 16th there are going to be a bunch of new openings.

I will continue to update. And I'm sorry for the boring nature of these posts. But there really isn't much else going on right now, haha :o)

Monday, July 14, 2008

No News is Good News

Well, this is boring, but I never heard back last week about that job. I tried calling Friday afternoon and didn't get an answer. I also tried calling this morning and didn't get an answer. I'll keep calling today and update as soon as I know something. I do kind of feel like the fact that I didn't hear anything might mean it didn't come through, but I'm not going to stress about anything just yet.

In other news, this week is my first week of summer with no work and no class! I finished my second summer class on Thursday after an afternoon of studying in the park. It actually worked out really well for me. I had tried to study at home but got to distracted by the computer and the tv. So I decided to take Sheppie and go to the park. I sat there for hours occasionally watching people that passed by, but for the most part was just quietly by myself under a large shade tree. It was great. I got my studying done and actually remembered a lot of it when I was taking my test that night. I still have one more class this summer, Monday-Friday of next week and then I'm home free until work starts again August 18th.

On Friday I had a lovely lunch with one of my best friends, Mary Beth. Saturday we spent having lunch with Josh's parents at the airport (they were heading out of town for the weekend)and then swimming in their pool the rest of the day. And Sunday we visited my dad and then spent some time together at home.

Today I have several things on my to-do list so I'd better get started. Hopefully I'll have some good job news for you in the next post or so. Below are just some random fun photos. Enjoy :o)

Heavy Evie is getting ready to crawl!!

Josh & Leo = best buddies

Having fun being silly together

Sheppie helping me study in the park

Sheppie burried in our blankets the other morning. He's usually not allowed on our bed, so he wasn't moving until someone made him!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The BIG Interview

Ok, you read the story about the lame interview. Well yesterday was my interview at a high school where I'd just love to work. Many things about it make it a very good position for me. So there was a little more at stake with this interview. The whole interview discussion I felt went very well. It was longer than my other interviews (twice as long) which I always take as a good sign. They offered me a tour of the school which the social studies department leader gave me (he and the principal were my interviewers). Along the tour we stopped at a classroom that he pointed out would be for the new teacher. And at the end the principal had asked that I stop back by her office. When we went back she said she had one more interview and then she would be letting Human Resources know which candidate she was most interested in. She also said she thought that I would fit in very well at that school. So I left feeling good about the whole thing.

Just so you know, this position is for 10th grade government. Many of you know I'm very interested in government and politics and feel emphatic about being a good and informed citizen. So government is a very exciting topic for me to teach. The only catch to this position is that government is now a subject that is tested by the No Child Left Behind law. This means the students have to pass the test to graduate, as well as for the school to make AYP (adequate yearly progress, which is basically the benchmark to say your school is functioning well or it isn't). While I'm sure I can do this, there is added pressure. Fortunately I won't be the only person teaching this subject so I'll be able to plan carefully with the other government teacher(s) so we can together make sure the students are succeeding. Of course this is only an issue if I get this job...

When I got home, I needed to call the human resources guy to let him know how my interviews went, and then he'd give me more schools to schedule interviews with or whatever. I told him about the previous day's interview and he explained that there had been some confusion there. That prinicpal had apparently chosen a candidate before completing all of his scheduled interviews and then failed to cancel my appointment. Although, to my understanding they're not supposed to choose until they've interviewed everyone. Either way, I then told him about the high school interview that went really well. He asked if I'd be interested in working there and I said I'd be very interested in that school. So then he tells me they had been holding everything up to meet ME because they were very interested in me. And he suspected he would be getting a call or email from them that afternoon and that the whole thing could be finalized by the end of the week. I found this to be very exciting information -- although trying not to get ahead of myself and thus be devastated if it didn't work out.

I didn't hear back from him yesterday afternoon and he advised me that he'd be recruiting all day today. He did tell me that we would talk on Thursday though. So today is a waiting game and tomorrow an absolute nail-biter. I'm still of the belief that I'll end up where I'm meant to end up so I'm not going to stress even if this one doesn't come through. But I can still hope! :o)

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Interview that Wasn't

So even though I'd heard awful things about this school, I got myself out of bed, all prettied up and went to the interview anyway. It's a pretty good distance from home - strike 2. I arrived about 15 minutes early, we'll call it 10 by the time I parked, checked my hair and walked into the building. I was greeted by a stare (instead of "hello" or "how can I help you"). So I said who I was and why I was there. The secretary smiled and said, "He's not here yet, but you can have a seat." So I did. At 10:00, the time of my scheduled interview, the aforementioned secretary came over and sat down next to me. She started off with, "I don't know what you want to do. He hasn't called and I haven't been able to contact him by phone. I know he was in L.A. over the weekend, so I don't know if he's still there....." Ummmm. Ok. I said I'd wait a few more minutes since it was 10:00 on the dot. I didn't exactly want to be walking out of the building as he was walking in. I hung around until about 10:20 -- you know, like in college, if the professor isn't there in 20 minutes you get to leave. At this time the secretary once again approaches me with, "I don't know what you want to do. Would you like me to call you when I hear from him and maybe we can set something else up?" Yea, sure, let's do that. And I left. She did apologize for "wasting my time" which I thought was the least I deserved.

So yea, strike 46. I'm not going back there. To me it's just proof that it wasn't meant to be. I didn't want anything to do with that school to begin with and this just gave me the perfect excuse to get out of it. Onward and upward... I have my interview for the job I really want tomorrow. Wish me luck!! :o)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Has it been forever, or what?

I hope you survived well enough while I was gone. But I'm back, so let not your heart be troubled! We had a wonderful trip to Florida and a relaxing weekend to follow it.

We arrived in Florida late last Saturday night. The flight was great, we were randomly chosen for a seat upgrade so we got huge comfy seats and lots of leg room. We really enjoyed it. I actually had two windows. How about that? Sunday morning we had to get up early for church where Josh's cousin gave a talk about his mission to Taiwan. His parents also spoke. It was very nice. After church we had a big dinner at Josh's uncle's house. We also hung out later with his cousins (the one returning from the mission and his two siblings) to have smoothies and watch Arrested Development.

Monday morning we got up early to go on a canoeing trip. The fun of this canoeing trip was supposed to be the wildlife -- including aligators. I was a little nervous but it was a big group of us going and they had all done it before reassuring Josh and I that it was perfectly safe. We had a lot of fun and saw quite a few aligators. Unfortunately all of my pictures got deleted when I took my memory card out for Josh's grandmother to view them on her computer. Somewhere between removing the card and plugging it into her computer they got erased. It was unfortunate, but at least I didn't lose an arm, right?

Tuesday morning we got up early to go to the beach. Of course it was cloudy. We went anyway and Josh's cousins Sarah and David went with us. The beach was empty except for one other family. It was kind of comical. But we planted our umbrella (more for rain protection than sun), spread out our towels and took in the scenery. I tried to read but ended up falling asleep -- the beach is so relaxing! When I woke up it was hot and sunny. I asked what time it was and Josh said, "time for us to leave!" We were meeting the family for lunch. After lunch Josh, myself, and his three cousins Michael, Sarah and David piled in the car for Orlando. That evening we went to Universal Studios and checked out some of the fun to be had there. Then we ordered Little Caesar's Pizza around 10:00 which served us for dinner and breakfast the next morning!

on the cloudy, empty beach

Wednesday morning we got up, had our pizza breakfast and checked out of the hotel. This day had been reserved for Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure park. We had so much fun there and actually had the fast-passes so we didn't have to wait in lines. I don't know if I'll ever go to a big park without those again. We walked right on to every ride we wanted and were able to get through a ton in a short amount of time. By the time we were eating lunch (around 2:00) we had already been on all the rides we wanted to do. We had burgers in Captain America's Diner, shopped for a little bit and hit the road back to St. Petersburg.

Thursday morning our flight left at 11, so we once again got up early, packed all of our things and headed to the airport. Sadly we did not get upgraded on this flight. We were back home by early afternoon and had lunch with one of Josh's friends who was kind enough to transport us to and from the airport. By then I had just enough time to relax a little bit and head to class for the night.

Friday was cookouts galore.... again. Our moms were both having cookouts so I went to Josh's parents house with him for a few hours and then over to my mom's. It was a fun day except our fireworks got rained out. I think they still went off but it had rained a ton late in the afternoon / early evening so there was no point in trying to sit in the grass to watch them. Connor and Kelly came over instead and we watched Arrested Development.

For the past two days I've been writing papers. I have a final exam due tomorrow and a huge paper due Tuesday. I also have job interviews both of those mornings at 10am. One is at a middle school I've heard horror stories about, and the other is at a high school where one of my friends works. I'm pretty excited for the high school interview. I'd really love to get that job. The other position I recently interviewed for went to someone else... which just means I'm meant to be somewhere else.

I'll close with that and hopefully have more fun stuff to share very soon. If you want to see more pictures from Florida they're all posted on my picasa page -