Tuesday, December 23, 2008

vacation: day 3

this was the mot busy day of the break so far. i had a lot of errands to run in the morning. i got my haircut, i registered my car, i stocked up on books at the library, and bought lots of groceries. then i came home and baked away. i made all kinds of christmas goodies to give away as gifts. won't be seeing me this christmas? sad day. :( you are missing out. meanwhile ross and a buddy of his were outside in the 30degree weather cutting wood for a bed set he is making for us. afterwards they came in and gamed away. later that night ross and i delivered some gifts, then stopped at frys for a few last minute presents to wrap up our shopping. i then spent some time reading a book about being new parents...craziness!

Monday, December 22, 2008

vacation: day 2

this day was just for hanging out. we went to a matinee showing of seven pounds, a movie that is out right now starring will smith. it was pretty interesting but mildly depressing. to me. we each took a nap and then played on the ps3 together. we had bought a new game the night before to play with our friends. its a buzz in trivia game that was surprisingly really fun. we played on line against other people and convinced ourselves that we must certainly be the most intelligent people in the world,except perhaps in regard to music. i cooked dinner for us and we watched tv. ross helped me rescue my music, photos, and files off my laptop that will no longer boot up. i am most grateful. he probably should have timed it better because i now have lots of music that i want to listen to (including christmas music :)) all the way to my parents. not to mention all the way to his parents...in missouri.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

vacation: day 1

the goals for today were short and simple: sleep and clean. we did both beautifully. i woke up around 11.30 and cooked sausage, eggs, and biscuits for breakfast. then ross and i spent all afternoon cleaning up around our poor house, neglected from so much grad school and basketball activities. a little later, a couple friends are coming over for some drinks, snacks, and to hang out. vacation? so far, so good. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stop Using Internet Explorder

In case you haven't heard yet, the word is out to stop using IE immediately. There's a really bad vulnerability that's been exposed and even Microsoft is asking you to temporarily switch browsers.

Try firefox or chrome.

Ross

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jokes Nerds Tell

So every profession has "insider" jokes that no one outside the profession understands or finds funny. For example, for computer science guys ( generally excluding techs and admins etc ) you will find ridiculous jokes like:

There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

Haha get it?

Or how about this one?

Two strings walk into a bar and sit down. The bartender says, "So what'll it be?"
The first string says, "I think I'll have a beer quag fulk boorg jdk^CjfdLk jk3s d#f67howe%^U r89nvy~~owmc63^Dz x.xvcu"
"Please excuse my friend," the second string says, "He isn't null-terminated."

Ok, so these are lame but they are funny to guys like me. On the other hand, working with physicists yields even worse zingers. Today I over heard the following headache inducing physics jokes ...

Two molecules walk into a bar. The first molecule says, "Hey I think I lost an electron." The second molecules says, "Are you sure?" The first molecule responds, "I'm positive."

Groan ...

Have you heard that entropy isn't what it used to be?

Oof ...

I can't wait for the signal processing guys start telling jokes ... I mean really, I'm soooo excited.

Ross

Saturday, November 29, 2008

updaaaaaaaate

well now that it is thanksgiving break, i finally have time to write a post. this fall has been one of the busiest times i have ever had! i have really been enjoying my new job. volleyball season has come and gone and basketball is underway. teaching is going well and i have made lots of new friends. its really been nice working at such a great school. on wednesday, our last day of school before our thanksgiving break, the PTA baked homemade pies for all the teachers. so nice! my basketball teams have both started off 2-0 with resounding wins, and december promises to be full of basketball with 2 tournaments coming up plus our weekly games. practices for basketball are before school, which i thought would be a nightmare but so far i have actually been liking it much better than after school practices.

ross has been super busy with another semester of grad school as he marches ever closer to his masters degree. he has also been working a lot at the lake test station. and enjoying our ps3. we went to several a&m football games with my family, and had a good time though the season was quite dismal. we just returned from having thanksgiving in college station, and it was most fun. however, the jo's seized their first victory in the annual turkey bowl football game. matt & bree being home and jared springing up to 6'2" proved to be too much for the no-joes, even with our fancy screen printed team shirts. ross and i got to hang around friday and spend some time with jennifer, matt, and bree, as well as go to my cousin's bday lunch at wings n more before heading back home to our puppies who were eagerly awaiting our return. i am thoroughly enjoying the 5 day break but wish it could be even longer!

definitely the biggest news of the fall is that ross and i are expecting a baby hytnen on june 3rd, which just so happens to be the last day of school. i am 13 1/2 weeks pregnant, and so far it has not been too bad at all. i definitely had a month or so in there where i was not feeling to great and i am still really tired alll the time, but so far things are going really well. we are fortunate to have already seen the baby 3 times via ultrasound and things look to be going just fine. i also strategically am seeing a doctor who is about 5minutes away from my school so i am able to schedule my visits during my conference period, with a little bit of help from some coach and teacher friends. i am going back on monday morning for another visit and hopefully another picture! we are definitely excited and spend a lot of our free time discussing baby names and what in the world i am going to do next year as far as work, etc goes. today we took another step when we were rearranging some furniture for some december company and early preparations for the room that will become our nursery. so. get ready world. here comes another hytnen.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

laboring away

i am a firm believer in 4day work weeks. i think every weekend should be 3 days long. but for now i just take them as they come to me. friday nite i was exhausted from the 1st week of school and rising at 5am for vball tryouts. ross and i hung out at the house and watched prison break episodes.

saturday morning we drove over to c.s. for one super fun bday party for my parents. m&r put on quite the party and lots of family was in town so we had a blast. they brought in freebirds for lunch and then the kiddos all swam in their new pool before we played pin the patch on the beach ball! ross won 4th place and a big box of candy to go along with our party favor bags. gotta love it. at least i do. then we headed to the a&m football game, courtesy of my parentals. and we were stunned/devastated/annoyed at the game courtesy of the lame aggie players. after the game we headed back home.

sunday afternoon we got some much needed covers for our patio furniture, worked in the yard and around the house, and got brady a new "place" or crate. he loves it! he had quickly grown to large for the cat's carrier and so we now have a giant crate for him to enjoy and rest in while we were at work. when we first got him approx. 1 month ago he weighed just over 4 pounds. when ross took him to the vet today for shots, he weighed 13.5 pounds! we laugh and say that every time we put him in the crate its like a magic growing box as it seems he's grown more every time we come home from work. sunday afternoon ross and a buddy went and picked up our boat from the shop...yeah! it looked very nice with its new paint job.

sunday nite we went downtown with a friend and had a good (and late) evening out on the town. he spent the night with us and monday morning the guys played video games before we all went and had brunch at dennys. monday afternoon we took the sailboat out with mike and anchored in a cove and swam. it felt really nice and relaxing and we marveled at how different the boat looked with its paint job. mon nite i went grocery shopping and got ready for vball practice and this week of school. and today started week 2 of school, and things are going really well.

this fall is jam packed. ross started his grad school semester last week which takes up 2 evenings and i'm going to be leading a youth small group from church on wednesday evenings along with coaching. though its going to be busy we are looking forward to all thats in store. next week we will celebrate having known each other for 3 years (we both started working at usaa on 9/12/05)!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

back to school

so yesterday was my last day working at UT. it all went very quickly, but i got a call from a RR principal that was looking for a teacher/coach as he'd had someone back out on him at the last minute. we chatted on the phone for a bit and he invited me in the next day for the interview. i was impressed during the interview and the coaching opportunity had me quite interested. i assured them i had NO experience coaching volleyball as they were looking for someone to coach both volleyball and basketball. they assured me that i would be fine and they would let me know the following week. well, 2hrs later they called to offer me the job and i accepted it the next morning. i then walked in and resigned from my job and gave a 1wk notice.

and so here we are. this is a much bigger school district with lots of resources available and a new principal with a lot of enthusiasm and good ideas. not to mention its less than 15min away from my house. so i'm ready to give this another shot. i'll be coaching volleyball and basketball for 8th graders and then teaching 6th grade math, which is nice because thats what i taught last year. i only have 4 sections of math instead of 6 like last year and my classes will be small (approx 20) because of a strong emphasis being placed this year on improving 6th grade math.

so i have a few days off as i'm waiting to officially be hired with all the paperwork and everything, and i'm studying up on volleyball and jfer is coming to stay with us for a few days as well. so here we go again! here's hoping for one awesome school year. be sure to check out the madteacherdiary blog to keep up on all the school stories.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

a fun weekend and a surprise!

UPDATED! added some pics from the camera to go w/ the cell phone pics.

this has been a crazy month. aside from everything (it feels like) being broken or messed up and needing our money to fix it, ross and i have been busy! i mean, it takes a lot of time to pay your money to a bunch of people. but we have also been finishing up our tennis league that wraps up this week. we've had a good time playing and its motivated us to get out to the courts more.

also, my mom and 3 of my siblings came to visit us last weekend. friday afternoon my mom and the girls went on a mega shopping spree at kohls. jared stayed home and played ps3 and hung out with peyton and.....our new puppy! we adopted brady from our shelter 2 wks ago today...i have not blogged about it because i was wanting to surprise my siblings, and were they surprised! brady totally stole the show (thats his name...i'll give you a minute to pick up on the football reference ). he is currently 9wks old and we are working on housetraining him and in one more week he will be old enough to learn commands/tricks so that will be cool. we have already taught him to sleep in a crate at nite. this only took 3 nites supposing he doesn't have any relapses. peyton is behaving wonderfully in attempts to either show off or garner more affection, i can't tell. but just in the past 2 days i have caught the dogs starting to play with each other (though its a little hard right now b/c peyton is 10x as big as brady...literally!) which is the motivation behind getting another dog. they follow us around everywhere and i refer to them affectionately as my posse.

ok. so back to jared. he played with the dogs while we shopped. then ross came home from work and grilled salmon on the grill and we also had chicken and some other goodies. then we played rockband into the wee hours of the morning.

saturday my mom left to c.s. to help my dad with jennifer's house, so ross and i endeavored to entertain these three teenagers (almost). ross and jared drove out to check on the boat repairs while rachel and i played tennis and bekah cuddled with brady. then we played more rockband (how could you go wrong with that?) before taking naps and then swimming at the marina. this is slightly more fun when the boat is there to chill on, but we still had an amazingly fun time. we rushed home and got ready for church, dinner at huts with B&BH, then we planned to see the bats fly out from congress bridge, but as we drove up everyone was leaving....missed it by that much! so we walked around whole foods for a bit then headed home.

sunday morning we dragged everyone out of bed to go kayaking on town lake. i had taken jared & rachel to do this last summer and it was a hit. its so much fun to see all the turtles and ducks and we even saw a snake...eww! we made it all the way down to red bud island (the dogpark we take peyton to sometimes) before it was time to head home and then head over to college station to meet up with my parents.


Friday, July 25, 2008

My very own Indiana Jones moment ...

A little back story ...

Our esteemed boat ( finally to be christened "Safe Harbor" ) has sprung a leak at the swing keel. The swing keel is a 1500 pound piece of iron that swings down out of the hull and ... is a keel. Well I was cranking it up one day and my hand slipped and rather than catching, the winch just let the keel freewheel backwards all the way from the hull to full open ... with no slow restraint. The entire boat shook with a loud "boooom" and I suspect a bolt holding up the keel pulled out of the fiberglass. I ended up installing a bilge pump and spending a frustrating week getting a hold of someone who could do this kind of work ( getting a 25 foot boat out of the water without a trailer requires a crane, hydrohoist or some other similar lifting mechanism ). Jonestown has a fantastic crew and I'll plug for them any day; awesome group of guys.

And so the adventure ...

So this evening, I was getting the boat ready to motor up to Jonestown for a repair and maybe a paint job. Sharon was going to meet me there and no one else happened to be around at the time so I was alone for the trip. I had backed out of the slip and shifted to forward gear and I thought I might be closer than I wanted to be to the other slips and boats. I leaned out over the edge to have a look and ... here's the stupid part ... I slipped in some water and fell over the side. Oops.

I grabbed a wire safety line that I hadn't fastned yet that was dangling in the water. As it turns out I was pretty close to the rest of the boats because I had to bob my head under water to avoid getting creamed by the motors on the other boats ( when tilted up they stick out a few feet from the boat ). I'm getting real close to dead while I'm trying avoid motors and avoid being crushed between a dock and my boat or another boat and my boat and the safety wire slipped out of my hand. I reached out and grabbed a fender ( bumpers on a boat ) and it came off because it was just pressed into a cleat. I threw the fender back on the boat and grabbed another fender and try to hoist my self up. The boats was just too tall and I couldn't get up it and then I finally got my thoughts together enough to have an idea.

I pushed off the boats side into a slip. As my boat motored on by me, i swam out and grabbed the rudder and climbed up the rudder to the railings and hauled myself aboard wet pants, shirt and al. All I could think was, get away from the boats, get this thing out of this marina. And I did, I cruised easily the rest of the way out. Remarkably, there were no scratches on me, and no scratches on the boat. I got off scott free.

So there I was soaking wet, still wearing pants a shirt from work, heart beating its way out of my chest and all I can do is laugh because you know what? My hat stayed on the entire time.

I guess the only thing missing to make this a full on Indiana Jones stunt is a big brute kicking my face in as I climbed aboard. Can't have everything I guess.

Ross

Monday, July 14, 2008

summer fun

ross and i have been enjoying our 2nd summer in austin, albeit significantly hotter and drier than last year. my mom and jared and rachel stayed with us a few weekends ago for about 24hrs while jared played in a basketball tournament. we still managed to have a blast. we convinced my mom to play golf on ps3, watched basketball, played with peyton, swam in the backyard pool, took rachel on a brief bday shopping trip, and introduced my mom to reef flip flops at the mall.

over the july 4th weekend we met up with my parents and rachel and also the J's at my mawmaw's lake house. we ate awesome food, went out on the boat, and played rockband! fun times.

this past weekend we had a blockbuster movie nite and then a game & cake nite over at B's place. on sunday afternoon, mike joined us and we motored the sailboat to a cove, threw out the anchor and swam, swam, swam. i say swam. mostly i wore my life jacket and...bobbed. it was most pleasant to have mike along as he can help ross get the boat in and out and do other various helpy things that keep ross and i from getting annoyed at each other as i invariably mess one of these things up. and mike does them very well, and is also a cool guy, and therefore we had a recipe for one awesome afternoon. we took our floating cooler that BH gave me for my bday and tied it to the boat and it worked awesome. it was almost a perfect trip, without incident, but ross did suffer an injury to his big toe. which resulted in blood and nastiness. but still we all had an awesome time. pics to come soon!!

we have also been playing in our tennis league, valiantly trying to improve, which we are. we also taking some lessons from a local high school coach who also plays in our league, though he is in a different league than us, if you know what i mean. ross is going to have to sit out this week though due to his toe injury, so i will play with a sub. hopefully ross will return the following week where we can snag our first match victory.

one of the reasons i love being married (and there are many) is that ross takes care of me. he takes care of me in a lot of ways, even in silly ones. for instance, i was just being a good wife cleaning the kitchen up for the evening. when i opened the pantry there was a HUGE ROACH. our house is almost bug free (which i LOVE)but when there are bugs...they don't mess around! they are nasty! so i, being the adult i am, immediately dropped the box of granola bars i was putting away and began yelling ewwwwwwwwwwww and shuddering in disgust. ross came running in and killed that sucker, as i cowered several feet away, still disgusted. see, how awesome that is? if i was still living alone, i would have tried to find roach spray (which would never have killed this thing) and then discovered him missing, and have him stalk me for weeks while i uncomfortably lived in my apt, hoping he didn't crawl on me in my sleep. but instead, he is dead and i am happy. and i love ross and his manly self. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

agua

my poor ross was very sick this week, i finally drug him to an urgent care clinic down the road for some medicine which ironically made him sicker, at least initially. he was finally feeling mostly better by saturday and was eager to get some projects done around the house. the first thing he knocked out was the leaky cold water faucet connection to our washing machine. this was high on my list because i've been having to turn the water on or off whenever i'm doing laundry. laundry is not something that needs a little extra task included with it. he took care of this with relative ease that surprised even him, haha

disclaimer: this story is told from my point of view as i understood the situation and probably contains some incorrect facts and certainly some less than technical explanations. but whatever.

bolstered with this confidence, he thought he would take care of a faucet out front that leaked from the stem when the water is on. while replacing the faucet handle with a new fancier one from lowes, the pipe cracked. pvc cement was not helping, there was still a small leak, only now all the time instead of just when the water is on.

now, if you've come to visit us (and if you haven't, what the heck is your problem!??!?!) you probably noticed crazy u of pipe in our den. we had come to believe this was related to our automatic water sprinklers. we had decided not to use these sprinklers for the time being so ross decided to bypass this other part of the pipe and just cut the t connecting the 2 pipes outside and cap it off with an elbow and just a place for the faucet. on monday he was going to go to our fave plumbing shop (yes. we have a fave plumbing shop. crumps. its by taco c.) and take them a picture and they will give him all the parts to reconnect the sprinklers because they are way cool like that (unlike the plumbing guy at lowes who told ross he couldn't help us because he was busy concentrating).

no prob. i tagged along to lowes and we got the elbow. come to find out when we got home that we got a defective elbow with stripped threading. no worries. we went back to lowes, switched out the parts, and naturally at this point we needed to stop at sonic. finally everything went well, we got everything put together (by we i mean he) and no leaks! ross cleaned up his tools and i went inside to get ready to catch the 7.30 movie. only there was no water. i was so confused, i tried the water in the bathroom then the water in the kitchen. no water.

yes, the pipe that was bypassed was not for the sprinklers at all. it was for the house. time for ross' 4th trip to lowes (my 3rd...perhaps tying a personal record). it was rather stressful at the time, but turned out good. ross bought a t and fixed the pipes all up, and actually removed the piping that went into the garage so now we don't have that awfully weird looking pipe in our den. and no leaks, and this time, we had water! and all in time for a 10 oclock movie...just like we planned :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

my 24th birthday

on friday morning ross and i packed up our stuff. after work, we drove right on down to san antonio to enjoy a weekend away in celebration of my birthday. i had gone on hotwire to get a hotel and got over 50% off the price to a holiday inn downtown. turns out it was NOT the holiday inn on the riverwalk, but one about 1mile away. i was initially disappointed, but we ended up walking everywhere all weekend anyway, which was refreshing.

some of our friends that we used to work with met us at our hotel and we all walked over to the riverwalk for a late dinner. i spied a place that advertised having live jazz nightly. we went in and had a great meal listening to some good music. turns out, they also advertise live belly dancing, which we also saw. actually, i originally forgot the name of the restaurant but i googled live jazz belly dancing riverwalk and the website popped right up, haha. after dinner we wandered around the riverwalk catching up on old times until we called it a night.

saturday morning ross and i walked over to the riverwalk and ate an early lunch at a mexican restaurant. Then we walked over to the rivercenter mall and walked around. then we walked over to check out san antonio's central library's book sale. then we went back to the hotel to rest a bit (it was super hot to be doing all that walking..like 4miles!!) and get ready for the evening. we walked BACK to the riverwalk to a dueling piano bar called howl at the moon. this was super fun! they had 6 or 7 pianists who played songs by request all night long. all pianists could also play drums, bass, and guitar so on some songs it got pretty lively. they do mostly songs everyone knows and do lots of audience contests and interactions. we stayed for over 5hrs just having a blast! when we were ready to head back to the hotel, i did demand a taxi b/c i was wearing nice shoes and my feet hurt!

sunday morning we met up with BH and her little sister at the s.a. zoo. it was super awesome! we loved going around looking at the animals. my favorite was the african animals section. we stayed for a long time...the zoo is really big! again, it was way too hot to be doing that, but we survived. then we drove home. it was a wonderful weekend that we won't soon forget!
video

Sunday, June 08, 2008

keeping cool in the pool





here are promised pics of the pool we have set up in the backyard this summer. we have enjoyed it a lot on the evenings and weekends and have been able to have several friends come over and join in the fun as well. peyton joins in the fun sometimes, as you can see, but we just came in from swimming and she didn't even ask to get in the pool, so perhaps she has had her fill.

Friday, June 06, 2008

no more teacher's dirty looks.....

school is out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i don't think any of my students were quite as excited as i was for the year to end. i bought a yearbook and passed it around for any students who cared to sign in and told them i would not be returning next year. a lot of them signed it and wished me good luck. i found it humorous that so many students were saying 'wow mrs. h you are super popular, i've never seen so many signatures on a yearbook, people must really like you.' i didn't take the time to explain to them that they too could have so many signatures if they didn't restrict who could sign theirs...

last weekend was ross' birthday. we hosted his parents for brunch on saturday morning and saturday evening i had arranged for some of his guy friends to come over for a video game and poker nite party. we both worked hard all day before the party...we bought 3 new ceiling fans for the house and ross hung one of them up in the den and fixed up stuff around the house. i cooked a bunch of homemade food for those guys...pepperoni rolls, veggies & dip, hotwings with 4 different sauces, queso & chips. and i picked up an ice cream cake from baskin robbins because this is ross' absolute fave. then i left them. with instructions to take pictures. and i went to dinner and the mall with BH. i returned to see they had taken 4 pictures. better than 0 for a bunch of guys i guess. they had 2 gaming consoles set up on our 2 tvs and i had to check out the wii. it was super fun!

armed with birthday money and giftcards, ross was certain we needed a playstation3. and so now we do. and we have enjoyed it a lot this week, from playing basketball against each other to playing against mike online, to watching blu-ray movies. very cool stuff. and a bonus! with the sixaxis controller, a lot of the games allow you to control the players by tilting the controller, similar to the wii. so now i can play a complex, nice graphics, tennis game without pushing any buttons. also in basketball you shoot free throws by moving the controller. i'm sold!

we did a bit of rearranging and enhancing in the den and are very pleased with the results. we have also been enjoying the pool...pics coming soon...i'm too lazy to go to my desktop and get them as i'm currently posting from the laptop. ross and i start in a tennis league next week so we have been trying to get some practice in this week. currently i'm enjoying my long weekend before i start my new job on monday. and mostly trying to realize that school is out and i won't be driving 40miles to get to work on monday!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

well that's settled

in 2 weeks when school is out, i will have a 3 day weekend and then i am going to start my next job as a systems analyst at applied research laboratories. this is actually the same place where ross works, though my job is a support position, not in one of the 5 actual research labs in the building, making it far less secretive/exciting position as the one ross has. in short, i will be working on web sites/applications.

i'm a little bit sad to walk out on teaching, but the thought of starting over for next year seems unbearable at this point. also, i've really missed the computer work i did and am looking forward to the mental challenges it provides. i do plan to return to teaching at some point. hopefully with this additional web development experience i can get a position teaching computers at a high school or junior college at some point.

at any rate, i am glad the days of scouring through craigslist and monster, and interviewing at schools and businesses are over! ross and i are looking forward to huge savings on gas from me not driving 80miles round trip every day, and also the ability to carpool. and i do hope he will take me to lunch sometimes!

one of the things i'm excited about is that i can wear jeans and flipflops to work if i so desire...welcome back college dresscode! i've missed you!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

go spurs go!


while slightly less devoted to watching every single game, ross and i still feel ties to the s.a. spurs even though we have moved away from s.a. therefore it was particularly disturbing for us to watch them fall behind 0-2 in their 2nd round playoff series with the new orleans hornets. i got an urgent email at work from ross, declaring our need to go down to s.a. to support the spurs in their game 3. so, we celebrated ross' birthday a couple weeks early with a trip down to s.a. on thursday night. mike came along for the journey and we all had a blast. we expected traffic on the way down and we were not disappointed. we had awesome seats at the game and it was a close, exciting contest that the spurs ended up winning. the arena was really hyped up and it was really nice time. the only downer of the evening was I35 being shut down for construction on the way home, and we thus found ourselves in a major traffic jam at 1.30am. friday was a long day at school for me!


other than that trip, i have just been counting down the days until school is over (17 more school days). ross has been playing a new video game and working like a madman around the house. he took a tip from my uncle and fixed our shower (thanks RJ!!!) that was put together incorrectly by the person who installed it and was leaking on the floor. he's been tackling other small things around the house and yard that are making our house even more awesome! and now he has another project because a friend brought over an inflatable pool yesterday that we are going to set up in the backyard to enjoy this summer. i will keep you posted on the progress of that.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

teacher appreciation day

so today is teacher appreciation day. you should appreciate me! i thought i would help you by posting on my blog, since i have neglected to do so. everyone appreciates it when someone posts to their blog and provides new reading material.

area chipotle restaurants were providing free meals to teachers and faculty members, which qualifies both ross and me to receive free dinner. we drove over when we got home about 6.45pm. we were both starving (in the relative sense of the word) and thus greatly dismayed to see every teacher in the area in line for free food with their families. the line swirled all the way through the restaurant and out the door. we refused to stand in this line, even for free food.

but we were so hungry and now the timeframe for preparing dinner was long past, not to mention we were somewhat disappointed. so we went to the nearby quiznos and picked up some toasty sandwiches. we came home, ross walked the dog, we chatted and checked emails, i went to the gym. but we could not pass up this free food!! so about 9pm (they are open till 10) we went back to chipotle. now there was no line. and so we got free dinner. the only trouble is we have already eaten dinner so here we are. but at least we got free food!

this weekend was super relaxing. it was BH's bday and so we met up with a group of her friends at a house on the guadalupe river, that had a huge porch and large glass windows. aaaand a shower with 6 shower heads!!!! shower heads on the opposite walls of the stall, AND 4 jet heads spraying streams from the side of the shower. it was pretty amazing. we all went tubing but it was an overcast day and thus FREEZING. two guys had decided to kayak instead of tube and we were grateful, as we all linked up and had them tow us to speed up the otherwise slow pace of the float. i had monday off in celebration of cinco de mayo and used it to get caught up with some errands and housework. i had such a good time that i convinced myself that staying home from work over the summer might not be so bad after all!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

reflection

i had to write this for my certification class and thought you might enjoy reading it as an insight into the past year

Where I Was
This year I taught at ******. The campus is in a rural area in east *****. There are a lot of new housing developments going in around the school, which is right next to an elementary school, and down the road from the district's high school. The building is pretty small for the number of students it is servicing, and it has about 15 portable buildings to accommodate some of these students. I taught in one of the portable buildings, along with just about all of the other 6th grade teachers. The student body at ***** is predominantly Hispanic and low-income.

What I Did
I taught four sections of 6th grade math, one section of Pre-AP 6th grade math, and one section of 6th grade math for success: a TAKS remediation class for those students who did not pass the math TAKS test last year. I met with the other 6th grade math teachers in the district last summer in an attempt to align the curriculum. We walked away with a very broad scope and sequence as well as 6 benchmark tests to be given at specified times throughout the year. Within the 6 units we came up with, it was my responsibility to set the pace and order of learning the topics. I was also responsible for coming up with lesson plans and ideas for teaching the content. We just adopted Glencoe textbooks that came with a variety of resources that I found very helpful. Our main focuses this year are fraction, percent, and decimal equivalency, along with ratios and proportional reasoning.

Challenges
This has been a very challenging year. Personally, a 30 mile (1hr) commute each way to school during my first year of marriage has been really taxing. The early mornings and late evenings have caused a lot of stress.

A very difficult situation also arose this year as it became evident that the other 6th grade math teacher was not performing her job as expected, which led to one whole team of 6th graders missing out on the first semester of 6th grade math and the re-assigning of that teacher. I was supposed to be doing my planning with this teacher, which led to some difficulties. Unfortunately, I was then put in a difficult situation as I was supposed to help this teacher with her lessons and hold her accountable, something I did not feel qualified or comfortable doing. A retired teacher was brought on to replace her and try to do some damage control before the TAKS test.

This is the first year that 6th grade has been at ***** and a lot of challenges stemmed from this. The administration was not sure how to handle a lot of issues that came up unexpectedly, and almost all of the 6th grade teachers were first year teachers. A lot of discipline problems arose from novice teachers being unsure of how to handle situations.

The other aspect of this year that I found most challenging was dealing with the apathy of students. It seems there are very few who care about their grades. Every grading cycle was a nightmare of trying to get students to complete missing assignments or projects so they could pass, something they themselves did not actually care about.

Support and the Lack Thereof
The administration failed miserably in providing support to me personally and also the entire 6th grade staff. They compounded the problem by refusing to be strict disciplinarians when classroom discipline did not contain a problem. As students caught on to this, behavior continued to decline. Aside from behavior, there were many procedures that should have been in place from movement of students to scheduling issues that should have been handled by administration and simply were ignored. Not a lot of thought was put into what it would take to have 6th grade included at the school, and it showed.

I was assigned a mentor teacher who will be paid several thousand dollars to serve as my mentor. She never came to my classroom one time the week we were in-service before school started to see my classroom or ask if I had any questions. She observed my classroom one class period in December and emailed me that she was very impressed and thought that maybe I should give her some pointers. While a kind thing to say, it was not very helpful. We met one time in March to fill out some paperwork for something she is supposed to have been doing with me all year long to analyze one of my class periods. She was supposed to meet up with me after spring break to help me analyze, but I have not heard from her again.

The math department head has been very supportive of me, however. He constantly is checking on how I am doing and how he could help me. If I have a question or just want to run an idea by him, he is always ready to listen and give his opinion. He has been very encouraging and supportive of me. Also, the new teacher they brought on to replace the poorly performing math teacher is a 30yr veteran teacher and she has been a good friend to me and very encouraging.

Progress
I know for sure that I have made a lot of progress this year. I now can fully understand why the first year of teaching is so difficult. At first I was really concerned about covering all the material, and now I'm learning to take it a little slower so the students don't seem so overwhelmed. The warm-ups used to take forever, but I was able to carve that time back to only 10minutes. Also, I used to always plan way too much for each lesson, and I'm getting better at knowing what the students will be able to handle in a given day. I'm getting a better feel for the order in which to present new information. I am learning to deal with difficult students without them getting under my skin. I have written by far the fewest referrals of any 6th grade teacher, and I feel I am learning how to discuss situations with the students rather than explode at them. There are so many things I want to get better at, but I feel like I've come a long way this year, especially with time management.

Suggestions for a New Teacher
For a new teacher, my first suggestion is make sure this is really what you want to do and commit to the entire year. A teacher quitting is really tough on the kids and on the other team members. I have wanted to quit so many times, but I told myself before I started I was going to make it through to June. You should have a similar pact with yourself.

Find some plan for grading that does not take up your whole life. During the fall I spent every Saturday morning at Starbucks grading for 4hours, and every Sunday afternoon lesson planning for 2 hours. As much as possible, try to save the weekends for yourself instead. I burned out around Thanksgiving and have yet to recover from it. This spring I have given less homework, had the students grade their own homework, taken grades on class work instead, graded while students are testing...and I've thrown a LOT of papers away without more than just glancing through them to vaguely assess them! Okay honestly, I’ve thrown away stacks of papers without even looking at them. Don't be afraid to throw things away. I'm still looking for a good plan, but I feel I am closer to it.

Make friends. School is so much more fun when you can go complain or swap stories with someone at lunch, or discuss basketball games with after school. Plus, you always need to know someone can drop by and watch your class for 2min so you can run to the restroom! Friends at school, whether they are the other teachers or the custodians, can keep you sane and employed on those tough days.

Review. It’s about TAKS time and I am mortified by how much my students have forgotten. All that fraction stuff we did during the fall seems to have vanished from their memories. I wish I had been using my warm-ups as reviews, not of the day before, but of the month before. In fact, I think this is the number one thing I would change if I had it to do over. Maybe even every Friday I would spend some portion of the class period reviewing major topics we had already covered.

Manage your classroom. There are several first year teachers at my school that cannot manage their classroom- their students walk all over them. And they are miserable. From day 1, I have let my students know I am the boss. I am a fun person, but I have no room in my class for discipline issues. The kids respond to that, they really really do. My administration has moved 15 students into my class from the other team because they were discipline problems. None of them have even been a small discipline problem for me, but continue to cause troubles in their other classes. I'm not saying I'm the only factor in this equation, but there was fear in their eyes the day they stepped into my classroom. They know Mrs. H doesn't accept any crazy stuff. Students really do live up to the expectations you have for them. I set these expectations on day 1 and I stuck by them, even when I thought they were too high. And now the kids remind each other of them, I really have to do very little work managing my classroom. Part of this is being explicitly clear with them on how you want them to act. Being consistent with these expectations is also key, because if you slack off, they will too. When these expectations are met, you can joke around with the kids and let them share things with you from their lives, and do fun activities. Many times this school year students have told me they love my class and it is fun. Many times I have also heard I am a mean teacher and that's why no one disobeys. Kids know the difference between someone who is a pushover and nice, and someone who is firm but also nice. You are the adult...be the adult or be miserable.

If something isn't working just stop doing it. There are a lot of things I have started this year that just weren't working for me so I just abruptly stop them and never mention them again. Mostly the kids just forget about them!

Switch it up. When I try to use the same instructional strategy for teaching a lesson more than 2 days in a row, they start to get rowdy. But if I will use powerpoint one day, class rotations the next, group work the next, mini-white boards the next, and a quiz on Friday...I will have no issues all week long. Keep them busy and engaged. Boredom is your worst enemy.

Keep it in perspective. Summer WILL arrive. This is only temporary. If you hate it, it will be over soon and you can move on. If you love it, you will have an opportunity to improve next year. It’s easy to be overwhelmed and overcome by despair. Keep work at work as much as possible…this is really hard as a teacher. But go home, have fun, and go back to school and really care about the kids. They are why you are there. It’s easy to forget that. So remind yourself often.

it's that time again

its official. i am looking for a new job. as of june 5th, i will be finished with my first year of teaching. sometime in june i will receive my standard teaching certificate for the state of texas, qualifying me to teach 4th-8th grade math. but i'm not sure i'm quite up for it next year.

since graduating college in may '05, i have spent 3 months working at the church up in oregon (quite possibly the greatest time EVER), 15 months working as a programmer/analyst in san antonio (6months of culture shock & unhappiness, followed by 9months of a pretty cool job and falling in love), 3 months of being a stay at home wife (this was not for me: i think i drove ross crazy!), 6wks of teacher training (i was just glad to have something to do, but it was pretty boring), and almost 9months of teaching 6th grade (what a ride!). you can note my apparent attention span towards work and see that it is clearly time for a new career.

i have been scouring craigslist since december, trying to get a feel for what's out there and what i might be interested in doing next. i have considered and even interviewed for teaching position next year. i have considered and even interviewed for another programming job. but something inside me is looking for something a little bit more exciting. :) i don't necessarily feel that it is discontentment, because really i like my life, but i think the bottom line is i do not want to be old and have my life boxed in to a certain path. i like dreaming and not knowing what in the world my future will hold. i want to do something cool. i just don't know what it is yet. in fact, i want to do a LOT of cool things...hopefully i will have time and the ability to accomplish them all.

ross is very supportive in me doing whatever i want, if thats staying home, going to school, going to work. "do whatever you want babe-really", thats what he tells me. after all, as i reminded him the other day "everything i have is yours (i think he wanted a dollar off the counter)...but more importantly: everything of yours is MINE!"

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." --Jeremiah 29.11

Saturday, March 29, 2008

comedy etiquette

last wednesday ross and i traveled to san antonio for the chris rock comedy tour that i had arranged for us to attend as an anniversary gift to ross. it was a slightly stressful trip there as we dealt with both austin and san antonio traffic and trying to find an ATM machine to get cash to pay for parking. but we made it just in time. the opening guy was funny, i have forgotten his name but he is apparently one of the voices in the Bee movie. it was not seinfeld. chris rock was also funny. it was a great time, we laughed and had a good evening together.

ok. so i'm trying to remember back, but this may have been the first stand up comedy deal i've been to. not sure. but what i am sure of is, some people are really annoying. for instance, the people behind us. it was 2 guys and 1 girl. 1 guy would sort of chortle every few seconds in a real deep guttural type noise that was really disturbing. poor guy i guess. the other guy would gasp when he thought something was funny, and then repeat it to the girl (could she not understand chris rock?!!) and then they would both laugh hysterically. this was annoying enough, but when he found something extremely funny, he would clap really really loudly...right next to ross' ear. its sort of like having the c'mon fran guys behind you at the a&m football game. the event is fun, but you remember the benefits of watching things while on your couch with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn.

there was a couple sitting next to me that provided me a side of comedy to go along with chris rock. the girl NEVER laughed, not one time. but she was enjoying herself. i just don't think she can laugh? i'm not sure what the deal was. but i knew she thought it was funny. because every time she found something to be funny, rather than laughing, she would say...'wow, that is really funny.' and her boyfriend would laugh. sometimes she would change it to...'o my gosh, that is hilarious.' and her boyfriend would laugh. and me too a little bit. a girl that can't laugh!

Friday, March 14, 2008

spring breakin' it

ahh, the blessed time of year known as spring break, that i once again get to partake in since i am a teacher. mine has been awesome, i took a quick weekend trip up to portland to help with their church youth retreat and it was amazing. it was very good to worship God with such great friends, and to see some lives changed. it was a very refreshing weekend. some of my friends had just had their 2nd baby about 2wks ago, and so i got to see him as well, which was cool. he was very cute and small and fun to hold. though i was under strict orders not to come home wanting a baby. so i don't.

i came back on tuesday and have spent the greater part of the last 3 days doing absolutely nothing. it has been wonderful. peyton thinks any time that i am at home, particularly if i'm sitting at the computer, that i should be taking her for a walk. she continually tries to get me to go to the front door. i have been taking her to the park each day, on wednesday evening ross went with us, and yesterday we were there for about 2hrs eating lunch and getting some exercise. i've done a little housework and a ton of relaxing! sadly, spring break is only a week and i shall return to school monday, hopefully remembering to wear green, as i'm sure it will be very important in the middle school world. last night i had a dream that i had not prepared a lesson and was frantically trying to come up with something just before class. this is really not that far from the truth if i don't get crackin on some school stuff at some point this weekend.

i suppose that i should also mention that ross and i celebrated our first anniversary on march 3rd!!! i guess i was so overwhelmed by school that this slid through the cracks of the blog. we actually celebrated it on sunday march 2 for convenience, but felt a little better about it since due to leap year, we had actually been married for 365 days on this date. we spent the whole day together, relaxing and hanging out. we then went to eat at saltgrass, which is where our very first date was in san antonio and has been a special restaurant to us. the food and service were excellent. ross was very thoughtful and bought me a gift certificate to a really amazing spa in the lake travis area. its good for a half day of beauty there, or i can split it up and go four separate times. he thought i might need the massage right now, or he thought i might want to save it for the week i get out of school as a celebration. i'm going to try to save it till then, but i might get desperate. i was also feeling romantic and thoughtful....and bought him tickets to see chris rock in a few weeks. whatever.


my sister drops through town on her way back to college tonight and we are hoping to take her sailing if there's wind tonight. i love spring break!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ranting on Net Neutrality

Warning: Proselytizing rant on net neutrality ahead. There's no personal news.

Disclosure: I have always been a very hard line believer in open source, open protocols and open standards. I'm generally anti-corporation (remember I quit USAA for their behavior as a corporation). So everything I say will be biased by my personal beliefs. However, that doesn't have to mean I'm wrong ;)

I'm not typically comfortable stumping for a cause or trying to convert people b/c I try hard to leave people as they are. On the other hand, this time, I care more than usual about it so I was wondering what I could do to help people understand net neutrality and what's at stake. The answer I was consistently given was spread awareness. This is my attempt to do just that.

Net neutrality is a very simple concept - but it's also easily distorted. Let's say that I can connect to the internet at a certain speed (probably b/c I pay someone to allow me access) and you can connect to the internet at that speed or higher. Then net neutrality is the guarantee that you and I can communicate at that speed. There is no magic required to ensure this guarantee because it is the natural state of connectivity. To slow down that speed (based on what you send me - say a video for example) would have to be engineered on purpose.

First I want to try to explain "the industries" arguments. By industries I do of course sarcastically refer to companies like AT&T. I want to then try to break down what I think is wrong with them and what I think the logical consequences of their ideas are.

It's become rather famous in internet circles that a certain member of congress defined the internet as a series of tubes like your kitchen plumbing. He stated that you can't just pull up to the tubes with a dump truck and dump everything in there at once b/c you ... clog it up. He went on to portray AT&T as the savior of the internet by providing access to "highways" on which special kinds of traffic could travel - approved "premium" content. Well there is no response to this argument. There is no response to it because its a big, stupid, ignorant lie. It is obvious this particular congressman knows nothing about the technical world we live in. The internet is not a series of tubes. You can't pull a dump truck up to and throw the world into the tubes to clog it up. That's because they aren't tubes. Your connection is a copper wire and you can't "fill" it. That doesn't have a real-world meaning. The internet self-controls congestion and the basic economic principles of scarcity (i.e. unavailability due to wait times)causes humans to naturally govern their usage. This hasn't had to happen yet. The reasons why are a little technical but I'll do my best to simplify them. What AT&T has paid this representative to imply is that their capacity for transmitting data is nearing capacity and they want you to believe that the internet is in the beginning of a saturation in which no information will be able to get in or out. This so far hasn't come CLOSE to reality. There is beginning to be a limit to the number of machines that we can continue to connect, but this is already a solved problem and has nothing to do with the amount of data currently being transmitted. I want to tell you more about your connectivity and the speeds you SHOULD be getting, but that is for a later paragraph regarding who owns these "tubes" and who paid for this "tubes". Just understand from this paragraph that neutrality means someone can not artificially slow down your connection and that it is mathematically provable that capacity is not yet close to reachable. I'm not completely satisfied with this answer b/c I haven't offered you any proof. I'm asking you to trust me on this one or better yet, research it yourself while being extremely careful about the source if your information.

I read a recent article that said to ensure that certain kinds of traffic cannot be slowed down would grant special privilege to that kind of content (let's continue to assume we mean video b/c videos are large compared to text). That might superficially sound plausible until you realize the big joke is that if you artificially slow down content, it's the fast content that has had an advantage conferred upon it. In this case the truth is exactly the opposite of the claim.

Media companies like TWC and AT&T are interested in controlling content and in this sense the battle for net neutrality is very much like the war being waged against bad intellectual property rights (copyright, patents, ownership etc) concerning software. A non-neutral internet could easily become a lot like cable TV for example. You can connect by ordering specific grouping of internet content. Think of it like this: maybe you want to order the social content package from TWC. This consists of email, myspace, facebook and maybe some chat forums. To get access to technical articles or news, you would have to additionally order other kinds of content. Not only are you paying for the content, but the providers of the content have to pay to be hosted. That's a lot like writing a text message on your phone and both the sender and receiver get charged. Let's call this the managed content model.

I want to make the argument against managed content on the internet as the basis for why net neutrality is important. Historically information mediums begin as a two way process. Provider and reader are interacting. Published print and radio are fine examples of something which began as a two way medium, became commercialized and turned into managed content and then became a one way medium in which only the provider has a say in what is published. My argument is that this minimalization of feedback degrades the quality of content. It provides no safeguards or fact checking of information and it leaves the "common man" out of the information loop. The laws are setup to achieve this goal (not as a conspiracy but b/c it makes money). The FCC is the perfect example of this. They split the radio spectrum largely b/w cbs and nbc. They became responsible for 97% of the radio content. Wonder what that would be like? It becomes a propaganda outlet for the owners (think FOX News and Rupert Murdoch as an example). I'm not going to explain the details of why I think information feedback loops are critically important because I think it speaks for itself. However by means of example, without the feedback loop and two way communication, the study of science could not progress.

Another argument the big media companies love to present is that it's THEIR "tubes" and they have an inherent RIGHT to mandate it's rules. This is completely misrepresenting "the tubes". The phone and cable companies were given incredible amounts of money to make sure United States homes would be connected by fiber (incredibly fast compared to your current copper wire connection) by sometime 2 years ago. They idea is that they were allowed to drastically overcharge you (500% in some cases) and not pay taxes on this overcharge if they would agree to spend it upgrading your "tubes". Guess what? They never upgraded them. The bottom line here though is that we paid for them ourselves with what is essentially a tax bailout. They didn't deliver their end of the bargain and yet the tubes are still theirs. This falls horribly wrong for another reason. The media companies never created the content themselves. They never created any browsing software, any information, any viewing mechanism etc. What they provided was a series of wires to connect the good stuff together.

So get this...
This means that under a managed media plan, you pay, your content provider pays and then you pay again through taxes. The phone and cable companies collect all three of these payments...tax free.

There is another reason they wanted managed content. I mentioned earlier that net neutrality has a lot in common with IP law. The major push against neutrality by the media corporations is that they can contain software piracy and a lock on a market. This is a big topic by itself and would be the subject of many posts. Basically however, it means something like this: I want to download your music or video game with a popular transfer protocol called P2P. TWC might recognize it and because someone else might use it to pirate data, slow the speed down to such a degree that it would takes many months to download it where as it could have taken minutes before hand. By the way, Comcast is already doing this.

In a nutshell I am advocating net neutrality based on rejecting the media companies claim to own the data and the "tubes". I'm advocating it b/c I believe managed content models are a very serious threat to the information we can send back and forth to each other and I'm advocating it b/c of the critical importance of two way communication.

So this was long and boring I know but what can you do? I can talk more about any of the topics given though I doubt anyone wants me to ;) I just wanted to spread some awareness around and warn people not to take their cues on technology from 70 year old congressmen who still use rotary phones and think a web site is some kind of new fangled construction site.

Ross

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

extra hairspray

i was watching office re-runs on the DVR in an attempt to de-stress from the craziness of school today. a teaser for the nightly news included a story about a power outage due to a copper thief and the meteorologist declaring today a beautiful day, and he would let us know if this would last. my interest was piqued but i of course was not about to subject myself to local newscast. so i of course went to weather.com

if you haven't been to weather.com in awhile, it is really worth it. you may know about their travel, sports, and wedding forecasts, should you be participating in these sorts of activities and want to know the weather. however, they are also now (for how long i am absolutely unsure) offering what i will call "lifestyle tips". for instance, tomorrow night is going to be very windy: 20-30mph winds. therefore, under the forecast there is a friendly message: "wind alert! use extra hairspray." well okay then. warning noted.

other messages for this week include:
"put glass hurricanes around candles." i can just picture old ladies (no offense, and obviously not too too old as they are on weather.com) saying O NO, i must put the hurricanes around the candles as it is going to be windy!

and

"have extra umbrellas for guests"

i would like to nominate weather.com for a caring award, for being (or attempting to be) so caught up in our daily lives. don't forget extra hairspray!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

can you keep your child away from me please?

as often as possible, i select to do my shopping at target as opposed to wal-mart. call me a snob if you must, but we try not to support wal-mart in our family when we can avoid it. so tonite i went to do my last minute valentines shopping for my Valentine, and for my students...at target. super target. and i went to the huge valentines section...and it was empty. really? they run out of valentines candy? i mean there was some stuff, but for the most part it was bare shelves and annoyed people on cell phones jostling for position to get whatever was left.

really i guess i haven't bought valentines candy the night before valentines before. the only time i have bought valentines candy was when it was actually my parents buying it and my mom would take me and matt and we'd each pick out one box of valentines and then painstakingly take the class list and write one for each of our classmates, least favorite ones first, up to my very best friends last, making sure to give them the best valentine and maybe even an extra piece of candy (at least thats how i did it). also if we had leftover, matt and i might write one for each other, and certainly for ourselves. but i digress. back to 2008.

anyway, i got what i needed: some kisses for my class and some chocolate for my man. and some other stuff on my list. and i went to check out, and of course the lines were long. AND THEN. a large family came up and got in line behind me. they were talking so loudly (and in a different language), and one of the kids was screaming and crying. and they kept encroaching upon my space. i ignored them at first, then when their daughter kept running into me, trying to push me out of the way, i gave them a raised eyebrow glare but no one noticed. they just kept pushing towards the cash register, even though my items had not even been checked out yet. 10min later, i thought my head was going to explode and i was sure my ears were damaged by the one that was screaming.

i think ross and i shall not be having children. at any rate we shall never take them shopping at super target. you can all post your thank yous.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

i heart weekends

i'm always dismayed at the speed at which weekends pass, and the length of time that must pass before a weekend comes around again. already this semester is so much better than the fall because ross doesn't have class on saturday mornings. last weekend we shared with ross' parents who were in town for a visit. we hung out, and ross and fred built a worktable in ross' shed. also, we fit in a bike ride to a neighborhood park: so fun! and i snuck over to marble falls to say hey to my dad and uncles, pick up a cool gift from my mom, and eat lunch with my dad!

this weekend we had some friends over to dinner and then got out the DDR game...should that be embarrassing? i don't know, we had a good time. the weather has turned nice, after freezing some this week, so ross took a buddy out sailing yesterday, and another friend out sailing today. i got some yard work done, and we are about to watch the super bowl with our small group from church.

ross started attending class in san marcos on tuesday night. and i went along. we actually met up at a walmart on the southside of austin after work and picked up some dinner. we rode down to san marcos together and i found the bookstore and bought his textbook and then spent the remainder of the evening browsing the internet and grading papers in the library. i felt somewhat like an impostor, but it was most refreshing: it was so quiet! it made me miss college. :( it was nice being able to chat during the drive, and so i may start going with him occasionally to be good company :) and get a good working night in so i don't get so behind in my work.

i've decided to brush up on my programming and web design skills. so i picked up some books from half price bookstore and dug out the college textbooks. i have my environment all set up on the computer finally, and am enjoying getting back into it. so if you need a website for somethin....let me know!

i was somewhat saddened this morning when grading chapter tests from friday. some kids did really really well, but there were quite a few (in one class, half!) that are clearly lost. this is unfortunate as we are moving on, and complicates by job this week. oh well, i am off to savor the final hours of my weekend. hope yours is going good.

Monday, January 14, 2008

look what my husband built

since our garage is converted to a den, we don't really have a place to store tools and bikes and lawn equipment. therefore, ross' first major project for the house was to build a shed in the backyard. we shopped around some, and decided the best deal was to purchase a pre-cut shed kit from lowes. it took about a weekend to level the ground, unpack the wood, and build the floor. then this weekend, ross and his cousin james (who unknowingly came up for a visit and was promptly put to work)put up the entire shed. it looks great, but we still need to shingle the roof and paint the shed. ross did an awesome and quick job on this project, and i'm glad he has a little (actually it turned out to be VERY large!) place to work with his tools (there's even a loft in there!) and now our bikes won't be in our closet!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

another blog

i'm certainly not abandoning this blog (at least i don't intend to), but if you'd like to read more about my teaching life, you can check out this blog of mine: http://madteacherdiary.blogspot.com. its not because i'm MAD, but because i hope to Make A Difference as i'm teaching. i shall keep all of mine and ross' adventures and happenings on this blog, but most teaching stories can be found at this new one.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

two weeks: noticed

in about 12 hrs my little students will be greeting me at my classroom for semester 2 of this inaugural year of teaching. hopefully i will be there and....be awake. i have thoroughly enjoyed my 2 week break. ross took the time off with me as well and we most enjoyed it. unfortunately for most of the time we've been up till 2 or 3am and slept in until 10 or 11am. so i will have to retrain myself to wake up at 6am.

we spent several days with my family over christmas, then came home and finished our move. we had set up shop but had left some books and other belongings at our previous residence and so we moved all that over and then cleaned up both houses. this took the better part of several days, and then it was new years day and we were joined by m&r and m&b. we all had a blast, and on the 2nd my parents and r drove down and we all went to a japanese steakhouse for lunch. m&b stayed one more night and we were so glad to get to hang out with them. ross and i then spent about 2 days working on our shed for the backyard. ross had been telling me that it would be nice to have a nail gun. after hearing him hammer for awhile, i went outside and nailed in one nail with the hammer. we then drove to lowes to buy a nail gun. so far we have studs and a floor. more on the shed to come soon.

construction halted for the weekend as ross went deep sea fishing at the coast with charles. i think this may be the first time he has gone out of town for a whole weekend with me staying at home since we got married, so i have been moping about the house unsure of what to do. on saturday a friend and i went and worked like good little teachers at my classroom to get ready for tomorrow. also, ross fixed my bike before he left so i did some exploring around the neighborhood this afternoon.

while i would enjoy even more time, i think these past 2 weeks were very needed and have been somewhat refreshing. now its back to the grind!