Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cow Parade - 5 years later!

We saw Cow Parade in Houston in September 2001 and now five years later we have started our journey to follow in around the United States and around the world. I can't wait to see where all the Cow Parade will go! This weekend we are hitting Denver, Colorado to see the bad boys and I will be loading pics soon!

2001-09-00 Cow Parade Chase Tower Moo Dog alt 2001-09-00 Cow Parade Chase Tower Moo Dog

Don't stand near me

because God could strike me down at any minute and it seems God has bad aim.

** warning, religious and political whining ahead** HK, knowing how religion is handled in my home, sent me a link to a book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins which is an interesting look at how science has been undermined by those of, let's say, fanatical faith. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with any faith and I actually really respect any organized school of thought that exists to teach tolerance, love and the Golden Rule. But, those aren't the guys running the government and trying to change the laws of the United States. I honestly think it is great if you are a person of some faith and that is between you, JC and the G-man -- as long as you are not imposing your views on unwilling participants (like the nice gay couple down the road who want to be married). But check out what the author found that these loony toons have to say in the name of God...

"When I interviewed for television the Reverend Michael Bray, a prominent American anti-abortion activist, I asked him why evangelical Christians were so obsessed with private sexual inclinations such as homosexuality, which didn't interfere with anybody else's life. His reply invoked something like self-defence. Innocent citizens are at risk of becoming collateral damage when God chooses to strike a town with a natural disaster because it houses sinners. In 2005, the fine city of New Orleans was catastrophically flooded in the aftermath of a hurricane, Katrina. The Reverend Pat Robertson, one of America's best-known televangelists and a former presidential candidate, was reported as blaming the hurricane on a lesbian comedian who happened to live in New Orleans.* You'd think an omnipotent God would adopt a slightly more targeted approach to zapping sinners: a judicious heart attack, perhaps, rather than the wholesale destruction of an entire city just because it happened to be the domicile of one lesbian comedian."

Yes, everyone. Ellen caused Katrina and God has crapass aim. I wish I was omnipotent enough to throw down my reign of terror but too lazy to be choosy about who all I hit. The fact that Pat Robertson and Dubya are buddies really makes me feel good about the world Dylan will live in. Go team.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Birthday Bonanza

Sunday was the last day of my week long celebration of all things Brandy. Sunday before last, we went out to dinner with Mom, Jim, Bryan and Matthew at Maggiano's. That's what heaven tastes like, a four course meal:
2006-09-10 Bday Maggianos 5 DC 2006-09-10 Bday Maggianos 9 MP BP 2006-09-10 Bday Maggianos Cums2006-09-10 Bday Maggianos 10 JB SB
After that, the week went on and it seemed every day was another bday adventure. My favorite was Tuesday when my 3rd period class brought this and a balloon in for me:
2006-09-12 Bday cake
We had in-class parties every day and when I left school Thursday to head to the hotel for CKU, I had two cakes in hand! Good times for Brandy ahead!

CKU was a wonderful girls' weekend, especially when we "celebrated" my birthday over and over (that was Heather's constant excuse for urgent binge drinking). After I came home, my dad came over Sunday and we had the last celebration of the birthday year. Ice Cream cake from Baskin Robbins was an absolute must. What a great birthday week this was!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Checking in...

I started to create a post on Wednesday, but my computer at work ate it. On Wednesday, progress reports were gue for all 150 of my kids, and the servers were shockingly overloaded. I spent an hour twiddling my thumbs and working on my blog, and then on top of that it ate my blog. Or I accidently closed it out in rage as a result of still being at the school at 7 pm working in grades. No telling.

We just finished the fourth week of school and my sixth week back being an employed member of society. I am shocked at how easily I went back to work; I don't feel like suddenly I have no time to myself or I can't get things done and I hardly remember what having four months of free time felt like. I think it was a dream, though I do have some pictures to prove it happened. People keep asking me how I like teaching and I think it is a multi-layered answer.

First layer: I love 90% of my kids. I am amazed every day at what I discover about these kids and I honestly believe that this breed is a million times better that the teens I knew (or was) in high school. As I've read their college essays and discussed things with them, I've gotten to know them and I am sort of beside myself. They are intelligent, insightful, well-rounded, worldly, good kids. Now keep in mind, I teach IB (International Baccaulerate) English, which is going to usher in the more intelligent and insightful, but wow. So many of them have been around the world, living in other countries by themselves or with their families, speaking other languages and over and over I hear from them that their experience teaches them the American way is not the only way and that other cultures should be experienced and appreciated. All I can think is that the President of the United States hasn't had that epiphany yet, and a seventeen year old has! Though sometimes they make me want to cut on myself (all their insightful thinking can't seem to not to lead to loud talking out of turn), I can imagine that I will cry at the end of the year when I see them all go off into the proverbial sunset.

Second layer: the work part. Ugh. Grading 150 of everything sucks. Telling kids that their work sucks sucks. Giving bad grades suck, and in turn giving fair grades sucks. Having all this run into all of my free time at home super duper sucks.

Third layer: the red tape nightmare that is administration. I am biased, I will admit. I come from a large bank that is so monitored by government regulations and duty to stockholders that every "i" is dotted and every "t" is crossed. Schools are supposed to be as well, but ehhhh. I am used to sending and receiving prompt emails, having binders and online sites that document specific processes for every single thing, and a 1-800 number to ask anything and everything that crosses my mind. Let's just say that the administration is a sort of "fly by the seat of your pants" type of thing. I needed a hall pass, for example. The kids have to have them to go to the restroom, but one never magically appeared in my mailbox, as I was assured. Since I don't have a classroom, I float, and was already told by one teacher that my kids were not to use hers (wtf not?!) I spent days trying to find the elusive person who must have a closet full of these little red pieces of plastic. During the fourth week, I lucked out and a counselor gave me one that the choir teacher had left back in February of last year. Don't you know I covered that thing with ribbon and stars? It might as well be a diamond necklace for how closely I will hold on to it. Now imagine that every single mundane task has a story like this. You can imagine how much gets done.

In conclusion, I love it and hate it all at once. The fact that this is my first year and I am still getting certified takes over my personal time even more, and I think if time felt more manageable, it would all be good. I have eighty million people from the school and district wanting to have meetings and observations to"support" me, but I think we have crossed the line from support to smothering. My free periods are eaten up by meetings and clusters and I watch my after school time get eaten up as a result. But when I get into third period and one of my students asks me to check my email and I have an email that says "3rd period loves you! -all of 3rd" that one of the boys has sent over his cell phone after I put my email on the whiteboard, then I smile and know I am where I need to be right now.