Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Oscar Nod

People think I'm crazy but I love Oscar season. It started a long time ag0, in a past life, although I am not as rabid about the whole thing as I used to be. I remember spending all day both Saturday and Sunday for weeks trying to get in all the Oscar noms that we hadn't seen. When I think about my life before the big "D;" those weekends are one of the things I miss the most.

I was really excited to hear the nominations this morning and then immediately got sad...I haven't seen a single picture in the Best Actor, Actress, Director or Film categories. I have wanted to see some of the films, but just haven't had the chance. Michael isn't the movie fan that the "ex" is or was. But that's okay. I will spend the next month going to the movies alone (which I actually like) and seeing everything I can. And when Michael wants to come along, well, he is more than welcome to join me. But he better be prepared...I have an angenda, and I don't care what he wants or doesn't want to see. I WANT TO SEE THEM ALL! In fact I think I might even start tonight.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Up, up and away...

This morning I got up bright and early (okay, it was dark and early) and went hot air ballooning with Michael and a group of guys he knows. I couldn't believe how cool it was.

I went with the full intention of NOT going up. Being scared of heights and all. But wasn't given much of a choice. After the first hop we were on the chase crew. As we pulled into the Paris (CA) Airport parking lot we heard that Michael and I were going up next. I have a feeling they would have picked me up and carried me to the basket if I would have said no. I am really glad I faced the fear and just did it. It is probably one of the coolest and most unusual things I have ever done. I am really looking forward to the next time I get to go.

One thing that I was really surprised about was how fast the whole process of getting the balloon and basket ready. I think they had it set up and ready to go in a matter of 20 minutes and then we had to wait for the wind to cooperate. That is done by sending up little helium filled balloons and watching where they go. That tells you which way you will go when up and flying.

In fact we had a little trouble with getting down. The case crew accidentally got on the freeway and had to go down and come back. By the time they got back to us we had missed the landing area. We had to continue over a freeway and powerlines and come down on the other side. It was a pretty long ride, and by the time we landed I was ready to be on solid ground.

I recommend going if you get the opportunity. Like I said, I am afraid of heights and I had a really go time.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Finals Week...

or should I say hell week. And I don't just mean for the students, for teachers as well. For those of you who were always asking the teacher to makeup work at the last minute, or asking for extra credit and then proceeded to complain about the difficulty level of said makeup or extra credit work...SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!

I offered students a month to make up 9 weeks worth of work, in the last three days I have been told, it's too much to expect from them, the work is too hard and I don' t offer enough extra credit. How about you just do the original work on the original due date!

Now, because I was kind enough to offer the extra work to the students (on January 3 mind you), I now have a 2 foot high stack of papers to grade (I kid you not, if I had my camera with me I would take a picture, but I am not lugging this stuff home). I guess my weekend is now completely planned...

Friday night - grade papers
Saturday - grade papers, go to Avon Walk for Breast Cancer meeting, grade papers
Sunday - grade papers, go to build-a-bear, visit Mom, grade papers

Do you see a pattern of extreme un-fun!?! I hate finals week!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Confirmed and everything

It's official my master's has been confirmed and I am now the proud owner of a master's hood! The graduation was fabulous, long but fabulous. I am still trying to figure out what the keynote speaker was talking about. The only thing I took away from is 3o minute speach was that nothing is made in one place. So, however that fits into people receiving degrees, I just don't know.

I enjoyed Texas, although was not too thrilled with Dallas. I am not a fan of cities that roll up the streets on Sunday. After enjoying Saturday wandering around Dealy Plaza and the 6th Floor Museum we went to the graduation and then a great dinner. If you are in the Dallas area check out Al Beirnat's. Very pricey but oh-my-god good prime rib. Sunday was spent driving around trying to find something to do (in the rain). We ended up at a really cool little catfish kitchen, where I discovered I don't like catfish. While driving in circles for hours trying to find someplace open to do something we looked at the huge homes in Univeristy Park. By the time we gave up and went back t the hotel it was almost time for dinner.

Saturday dinner was very casual at the Uptown Bar and Grill, and then music at Adair's in Deep Ellum. I really liked this dive bar. Apparently their theme is graffiti. It was everywhere, they even provide the markers to write on whatever you want. I was a bit offened by the fact they even let people write on the American Flag. Sorry, it that offends anyone's freedom of speach, but some things should just be treated with a little more respect than having Joe Blow write about the size of his member on it.

On Monday we drove to Fort Worth. I love this town. I really enjoyed seeing the long horns and all wandering around the historic district. Not to mention how can you not like a town that sells wine and beer to go. You can actually walk around the historic district and enjoy a nice glass of wine.

Now, to fully understand the impact of what I am now going to tell you, you must first understand my disdain for anything country. I don't like the clothes (I just don't see it as fashion), I don't like the music (although I really want to hear the song about tequilla making her clothes fall off), I am afraid of cows, and I think rodeos are mean. I don't mind the people who like this stuff. I just don't like it or find any use for it in my way of life. While in Fort Worth I fell victim to my shoe fetish and purchased a pair of cowboy boots. This is huge! I would much rather own a pair of Jimmy Choos than cowboy boots. But they were nice looking, I don't own light brown boots and they were a good price (so I was told by my mom). So I bought them, now the big question...what in the world am I going to wear then with?

All in all I like Texas, I might even consider going back for a wine tasting tour. I was pleased to find that there are many wineries in Texas, and that the wine is actually pretty good. I can stand to visit anyplace with good wine.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's Travel Time

Here I sit updating by blog when I should be grading papers, lesson planning and writing finals in preparation for being gone on Monday. This weekend is the big graduation. It is kind of weird, I finished my Masters in September/October, the degree came in the mail in December, and now in January I am finally going to Dallas to the commencement ceremony.

I am really excited. I have never been to Dallas, with the exception of being stuck on the runway at DFW for 2 hours on my way to New York. I am really looking forward to seeing the city and hopefully visiting with friends in the area. Believe it or not I actually know two people who are in that area, and they may even stop by the hotel for a visit. How cool is that!

If you are in the Dallas area and have suggestions of things to do, please pass them on. I leave Friday right after work, graduate on Saturday and have two days to fully enjoy the city. I can't wait!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's a no go

After all the stress and strife I didn't get the Activities Director job. I am a little disappointed, although not destroyed. I have a job I absolutely love (with the exception of teaching English). I am very surprised by who they are giving the job to, it's not someone I can picture really being able to control the kids and keep them focused. But then again I don't know this person very well, and wish nothing but the best of luck with tht position.

My principal was very complimentary when he talked to me about not getting the job and told me how happy he is with what I am doing with the theatre department, and that that didn't have any reflection on my not getting this job. He said he would never hold me back for the sake of what he wanted. Which I thought was very nice.

Later I went to harrass a friend of mine who was on the interview committee and she told me a big discussion was had on what a good job I am doing with the theatre department. It felt really good to know that my hard work is being recognized. I almost prefer to know people are talking about it when I am not around, than I would if they were talking directly too me.

I think this is the first time I have interviewed for something and not been really disappointed when I didn't get it. I really wanted it, but like I said I LOVE what I do. I was just looking for something that would give me the same satisfaction that I get working so closely with the theatre kids. The best thing about not getting the AD job is that I can really focus on building a TOTALLY KICK ASS THEATRE DEPARTMENT.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Big Interview

I have decided that just teaching drama isn't enough for me. I want to be the Activities Director. Our current AD has taken a position as an AP (assistant principal in educator speak) at the middle school. I have an interview on Wednesday for the job and I am a total wreck already. I really want this, but have no idea how to prepare, no idea what they are going to ask and no idea what they are looking for.

My only saving grace is that I know who is on the interview panel and that at least 3 of them really like me. Although I know that one of them is afraid I will leave the Theatre Program all together and they like the direction I am taking it.

Other teachers have asked me why I would want the job. It's a lot of work, it involves working really closely with the kids and being able to plan and organize. Working closely with the kids is what I love about my job. I am happiest when I am in a heavy rehearsal or tech day and am working with kids on a level that is very differnt from working with the kids in class. I live the raport I can develop with them in these situations and how I can affect their lives in a different way, not just as a teacher but as a mentor and a friend. I don't get that same kind of satisfaction from teaching English (although I really do enjoy doing it, everything except reading essays, which is what I should be doing right now).

I know I may know get the job, there are three other teachers at the school interviewing, one I know won't get it, the other two may have a better shot because they are in athletics, but I don't know for sure. I know I will still love my job even if I don't get the position, I just know I would be really got at it.

A Disney Weekend

What a fun weekend. I got to spend the weekend, or at least most of it, with Michael and his family at Disneyland. Grandma gave the grandkids all 2-day park-hopper passes to the Parks. Since I have an annual pass I was able to join them for a couple of hours on Saturday and all day on Sunday. It has been years since I have spent that much time in the Parks, even though I have had a pass for years.

I love Disneyland. The joy and magic it brings to so many. My only problem is the attitude that they can charge anything they want to get in. A one-day pass is almost $60. Like I said I have had an annual pass for years and this is the first year I have had to drop to a lower level because I couldn't afford the one I usually get. If the prices continue to rise I will be priced out of the Park completely, that makes me sad.
Don't even get me started on the cost of the sub-standard quality of the food they are serving. I had a $9.00 bowl of corn chowder for dinner and needless to say last not was not a happy night for me.

But all that asside I love being at the Park. If you go, I recommend eating the the Downtown Disney district, the food will cost about the same and be much better (Disney doesn't run those restaurants). Although, I don't like Disney food, I do recommend eating at Goofy's Kitchen if you have small children and can afford the buffet. It is really cute, the food isn't that bad, and the kids will love having breakfast with the characters stopping by the table to say hello. We were visited by Alice (who I used to want to be until I got tall), Dale, and Goofy himself. It was great fun. We got some great pictures of Baby Ty giving Alice a high 5. Very cute.

All in all it was a great weekend with friends and family. I can't wait until my trip to the Park, it just makes me happy (even if I do complain about the cost).

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Avon Walk for a Cure

I have made the decision to walk in the Avon Walk for a Cure this year. With everything that Mom is going through I feel that this is something I have to do. I will attend my first meeting at the end of the month and find out all the details on how to go about fundraising and training.

I am a little scared because I have to raise $1800.00 for the walk. I hate asking people for money, but then again I can't think of a more worthy cause then helping find a way to prevent any woman or man from having to go through the same thing Mom is going through right now.

S0, here's to looking for a cure!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's a Miracle

I am always amazed when things work the way they are supposed to. Today my Advanced Theatre class was supposed to be working on a Shakespeare project. Now, keep in mind that theatre students are crazy, they like to be loud and out of control. But today some kind of magic was working in the room, as I sat at my desk entering attendance into the computer the students were actually working. It was amazing, one group was watching a dvd of their play, another group was listening to another student explain the plot of the play they are working with. I just couldn't believe my eyes. I stayed at my desk, I didn't want to break the spell.

I'm Done

I have been back to work for a whole 3 days and I am ready for a vacation. Sometimes I forget how tiring high school students can be. They have wonderful energy, but man, to keep up with them...WOW!

Not to mention the question of the week is..."When are Charlie Brown auditions?" I know I have to schedule them, I know I need to get the posters out, the problem seems to be more of a musical director problem than my problem...he won't give me dates that work for him. I love our musical director, he is fab, but GIVE ME A DATE!!!!!

Next year I am just going to put it on the calendar and have at it. When I talked to him yesterday he said we should have them next week, he forgets I like to have students prepared for the auditions not have them come in and just sing. This isn't a choir performance, it is a musical play, one that I am paying to have entered into a competition. I want actors who can sing, not just singers.

With that said, there are papers to grade and a desk that is screaming "CLEAN ME! CLEAN ME NOW!!!!!"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back to the grind

After enjoying a two week break from school, which was too packed full of fun, we return to the classroom. The students don't really seem all that rejuvinated...although, I feel full of energy and am ready to go. I was very surprised at the number of absences during these past two days. You would think that after two weeks off the kids could make it to school, but I guess not.

Progress reports went out over the break and the emails regarding student grades have been pouring in. I planned to spend my conference cleaning my desk and in box, but will instead respond to parents and give them the skinny on their respective student's progress.

I am constantly amazed at the fact that students don't seem to understand that they have to turn in their work to get a good grade. When I asked the class how many of them wanted to pass all hands went up, but when asked how many felt they were passing, almost all the hands went back down. I know what the problem is, RESPONSIBILITY - the kids don't take responsibility for anything. They seem to think that they can sit and be nice to me and get a good grade. We had a long chat about that yesterday. Hopefully it does the trick and I can pick up these grades in the next four weeks.

So, now it is off to teach some English!