Monday, August 18, 2008

and later today...getting mushy

"ponder anew what the Almighty can do"

yeah, that's what I'm doing. That's a line from one of my favorite hymns. My outlook is better when thinking about this. He can do whatever the heck he wants. And he knows my heart, he knows what I want and need. And, although I haven't always gotten what I wanted, I still believe I will have those things: children, peace, joy.
And look at what he's give me in the last five years, esp. the last three: love, intimacy, hope, friendship, and more confidence in him.
I love living with a happy god, you know. It changes everything.

school has begun, making blog posts few

The web-isodes of "Heroes" bite. I can't believe how cheesy they are; I do not like feeling like I'm watching the SciFi channel at three in the morning.

So I'm not watching them. I have too much to do anyway. I can't believe how much planning teaching takes and how I still seem to wing it, even though I've made plans. I'm completely pooped.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

realted unrealted things, that's how my brain works

I'm listening to Tori Amos's songs off of Tran's facebook page. I'm surprised, but I shouldn't be, that I know all the words and tunes still. I relish these weird moments where I feel like two people. The person I was and the one I'm becoming. We're related, but not.

I wanted to use this post to display some pics I took off Andy's budding bug collection. These are mostly sphinx moths and an order of bugs called the True Beetles (which is funny to me, it makes me think of the book on display at our church called the Total Truth -- what a crock!) and I think those are June Bugs, notice they aren't what we normally call June beetles, because those are actually May beetles (the brown ones who make thudding noises in the summer because they are running into your glass window -- did I ever tell you my dad used to squish those in his bare feet when he was about my age and I was just a widdle baby). Those pieces of paper and pins are to hold the insect in place as it dries. They are amazing, aren't they?

Guess what?!?! I get to take a CREDIT CARD that doesn't belong to me and go to hobby lobby. I have to get art supplies for the school since they've never offered art before I came along and begged my way to my dreams. I'm going to start with graphite, oil pastel, and charcoal drawings. And then I'm going to buy some watercolor pencils (they are $1.50 a piece!). This isn't all I'd like to use, but it's a nice start and I think I can write a few grants to get the cooler stuff. Speaking of cool stuff, I'm going to this totally awesome convention with the elementary art teacher (a sweet and soft spoken and fashionable grandma) and you won't believe it -- I get to take art classes for four days that are taught by professional artists!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

holy frijoles

Tonight: the first night of the school year.
I'm so pumped and I'm freakin' out.
I'm reading a book on how to get students to keep a writer's notebook. It isn't written for my age-group, but the principles are the same. The first page accurately described my first year of trying this -- frustrated and performing most of the work, wanting the entries to be student-driven, but coming up with topics for the kiddos who don't have brains.
So, what I have to do is figure out how to teach 10th graders how to think about their own topics. Should I just teach them how to write as professionals do? Or should I start them off with prompts (these are usually stupid). I remember mine from 11th grade -- it was a coach teaching the class and I read and wrote more than he did, but he was a good hearted man -- they were things like, would you tear a butterfly's wings off for a thousand dollars, or would you eat a bowl of live crickets for a thousand dollars and why? He was obsessed about doing things for a thousand dollars. I answered as I knew he wanted me to just to play with him. As you can see it wasn't genuine or (if you are a writer you would probably not say deep but...) significant. And all but perhaps two out of 110 students I had last year wrote significant notebook entries. So what to do? What to do?
I'm not at all worried about the two classes I'm teaching that I have never taught before (Art and Yearbook), instead I'm worried about English again. That great subject at which I've excelled more than my intimate peers and yet, has always made me feel inferior and ignorant. And that's got me saying, "holy frijoles."
It's hard being a jack-of-all-trades and queen of none. I want so badly to be a, as Doug said, rock-star teacher. A Earl Schrock, Donna White, or Trey Philpotts. A Mr. Dewar, my ninth grade geometry teacher, he is an Earl Schrock. I wonder how long it took him to get there. He used to call me "enigma" when he was frustrated with me and "Coop" when he wasn't. My whole life has been shaped by that first nickname, which, again, is the reason I'm thinking "holy frijoles" when I realize I'll have students in my room again in three days. Why is that? Mr. Dewar called me enigma, he said, because I was the smartest student he had and I wasted it. Here I am with the incredible opportunity of Wellston. Classes I've wanted to teach. A new huge room with computers and new supplies. A welcoming faculty. A fresh start, a new year at a new school. And I'm afraid I'll waste it by being me.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

summer vacation

This is the campsite we made the first night. We hiked about 32 miles and went up about 4,000 feet in elevation in four days. It was tough and we smelled really really bad, but it was fun. And that red blob is me. You don't get to see the closer pics of us, because we were so dirty -- you couldn't wash up because it was cold and the streams are snow-melt.

This is my view from where I was sitting.

This picture does not do the mountain justice. We were both very nervous at this point and I had mild vertigo. It was very high and barren. The trail wasn't wide enough to place both of your feet together and it was pure gravel, which doesn't look or feel sturdy anytime, let alone when you're on top of the second highest mountain in New Mexico.

Notice those storm clouds? Not good!

This is, I think, the highest point of our hike, about 12500 feet above sea level. We looked for the big horned sheep and ptarmigans, but we didn't see them. Although, we did see a marmot and a pika.

Here is a part of Palo Duro Canyon, a beautiful place just south of Amarillo. After our four day hike, we spent the night at a motel in Amarillo. It was wonderful. I washed myself and my hair twice and I used three Qtips. Then we got cokes and huge hot sandwiches and watched TV (we flipped between Ultimate Fighting and the Food Network) on the biggest bed I've ever seen (and it felt like it was the fluffiest as well).
Here is a group of baby barn swallows we saw at the interpretive center at the canyon. I hate interpretive centers, but I like these serious looking baby birds.

Here's the two inch blister I had the last day of hiking. I knew I had one earlier, but we didn't take our socks off so I tried to ignore it until we were back at the trail head. You're lucky I didn't include the horrendously long leg hair.

Friday, August 01, 2008

don't hate me because I'm funny

OK, I know this is blasphemous. But it is also very funny. I found it off a website I frequent: