Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Take Your Child Out Of School Day

Don't get me wrong: I think taking your child to work to learn about what you do is a great educational tool. However, I think it's stupid as all get-out to have it during the school year.

No, it's not that I mind having only two classes of kids, and three additional planning periods. No, I don't mind making up some fluff lesson about careers and math for only 40% or so of my students.

But it is such a stupid waste having this during the school year. And, it totally marginalizes careers in education.

I mean, if you are of school age, and your parent is a teacher, there's no reason to go to work with him or her on this day, as YOU SPEND MOST EVERY WEEKDAY FROM MID-AUGUST TO LATE-MAY WATCHING A TEACHER WORK. So it's not as if we have to have it during the school year so the children of teacher can get an idea of what this whole teaching-thing is about. Also, trust me, teaching on this day is NOTHING like teaching on most any other day of the year.

So, I move that we either change the name of this day to "Take Your Child Out Of School Day" or move it to the summer, when schools are traditionally not in session. Teachers with kids can take them to their summer job, or to the classes they are obligated to take... or choose some other way to show their kids to be sure to pick a career that recognizes hard work with financial reward, not scorn, heartache, and high blood pressure.

I kid.

But seriously, when you have only so many days to teach kids WAY too many objectives, days like tomorrow are just a huge frustration.

However, I will be enjoying having several hours of plan time tomorrow.

Coming soon: The Great Orange Juice Fiasco (it's fun... I nearly wreck my car!)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Flat Tire from Hell

Okay, it wasn't from Hell, but you know what, everything is right now, which is the point I want to make.

My schedule right now is so wall-to-wall, I'm going crazy. Yes, there are a couple of things I could cut out, and I know this, but these are the keeping-me-sane things (chorus and dinner with friends and bowling). Plus, if I cut them out, it would free up more time to work, which would be nice financially, but I'd be dead in a week.

Anyway, this morning, on my way to work, I had a flat tire. There went my WHOLE DAY!

I walked to NKC Hospital when I realized the tire WOULD NOT COME OFF (see the report on Christmas Day 2005 for a similar experience on my part) and called the school from there. Of course, the secretary didn't appreciate me starting off with, "This is Mark. I'm at NKC Hospital."

But someone sent the resource officer after me, and I got to school mostly on time.

Then my planning time started with Bowman (I'm sure I've said elsewhere what a great guy Bowman is, but I'll say it again, just to make the point clear: Bowman is a great guy) and I going to my car and trying to ge the flat tire off the car.

That done, we returned to school, where anything I was going to get done got almost done. I have an application for this summer learning thing to get completed, this other application for some sort of financial assistance completed, and--oh yeah, TAXES to get completed. WHEN!?!

Anyway, all my plans for AFTER SCHOOL were shot, because I had to go get a new tire. Wal-Mart took way too long, and the guy didn't read the note about the door being tricky to open, and he actually made my trick door handle WORSE. But, whatever, no time to kvetch and moan to management, because now instead of running my errand, calling Lyndsey, sneaking in a 30 minute nap, and THEN going to rehearsal, I had to go to rehearsal and arrive late.

Anyway, that's why everything is from Hell these days--especially if it unexpectedly takes up any of my time.

Okay, I am going to watch something on TV for a while, maybe a show I've taped, and then I'm going to get my stuff out of the dryer.

Hope all is well in everyone's world.

Church, Rounds Two and Three

Not that I'm wanting to compare it to a boxing match or anything...

The second week, I sat with JEC's sister, Robyn. Early on iin the visit, before things got started, I noticed a sign over the door I normally did not use. It read: SERVANT'S ENTRANCE.

I gasped, and made some comment to Robyn about it, and she laughed... then explained that the sign was over the door you were walking OUT of... so... SERVANT'S ENTRANCE to the WORLD, you see...

And plus, duh me, there was one just like it over the door I'd gone out the week before.

Anyway, it set a lighter tone for the service, and I felt okay for the whole thing.

Last week I sat with John, JEC's dad, and things were fine again. There's something internal going on with me, and I don't know what it is exactly, but at least it's not leaving me an emotional wreck each week.

And I'm liking going, so keep going I shall, methinks.

And methinks I use "methinks" too much.


So, why am I on the computer, posting these things instead of sleeping?

I'm glad I assumed you asked me that question...

My dryer has some sort of timer issue. It doesn't know to stop after such-and-such time of drying. So I have to stay awake to finish my laundry (yes, I know, you get wrinkles if you turn on the dryer and then go to bed, but what do I care about wrinkles?) and it's just one more thing that's KILLING ME!

Because I'm all tired and stuff.

And the stupid part is, I have another dryer down there. I just need to take the time to hook it up... but it is a smaller capacity dryer, and plus, I don't have time to hook it up, with all the staying-up-late I'm doing to do laundry now.

So it goes.


As promised: THE CONCERT!

The concert went pretty well, I think. Maybe someone who attended can post a comment. I'm not a huge Judy fan myself, but I liked a lot of the songs in the concert.

I had a speaking part, and didn't sing most of the concert. I did have a solo, and apparently I have some sort of Ethel Merman-like attribute to my singing.

Finding my costume was a bit of a chore, and I don't know that I was as happy with the end result as I could have been with a huge budget, but it was okay enough. I think I was spoiled by my costume for the holiday concert in December. If you've seen the pic of me in a purple suit, I think you'll know why!

It was odd not rehearsing with the rest of the chorus for most of the concert. I missed that. I'm looking forward to this next one.

Some day I want everyone to come to the same concert, so I win the "most people came to see you" prize. I think there's a gift certificate of some sort.

Okay, everyone but Jhoneric, who can't stand the "hand jive" aspect.


Well, I'm sure JEC can explain it better than I can, but I think that comment was either: 1) an honest reaction to me sharing emotions, etc., which, if I were to do in person--as I seldom do--would seem sorta strange to me (and him, methinks) or 2) an attempt to sound like a middle school girl who just found out there are urinals in the boys room. I'm not sure which... and those are just theories.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

By Popular Demand

I should be going to bed, but I want to write this down before I forget some of the things I remembered earlier tonight...

I don't work as hard as I should to hide it, but in general, I have this wonderful wellspring of anger that I can pull from any time I need it. I don't mean "wonderful" in the good way.

Anyway, I coast at angry, with plenty more where that came from. It's there when I need it.

So, over the past... I don't know... 10 months or so, my cup of anger has just runneth over. I mean, I had an abundance to begin with, and now I've got it in spades.

Also, Andy-the-sometimes-commenter had made a comment to me in person about not everyone in a pew necessarily knows what they believe, and that stuck with me.

So, with these two things in my mind (the anger and the pew-thing), I'd been thinking--since late December, actually--of going to a church service where Andy-the-sometimes-commenter was... um... preacherizing... or ministerizing... or whatever the verb is. The big reason was I wondered if being at a service and singing some songs with a bunch of strangers who--in theory, anyway--weren't angry hate-mongers might help me with this overabundance of anger. So I planned to go the first Sunday of the year this year.

Well, there was always SOMETHING... the fact that I work the full-time teaching job and the 17-to-26 hour pizza delivery job (and thus have very little ME time--something else to get angry about) being the most popular reason... although that didn't start until February. January 1st was an issue because... well, it was January 1st.

Anyway, after much putting-it-off-ed-ness, I managed to figure out how to avoid avoiding it: e-mail Andy and say I was thinking of going, and needed to know what people tend to wear to this particular service--which was very true, because I have no clue about such things.

Thus, having said I was planning it, I had the additional motivation to actually wake up, shower, get gussied up, and attend.

This all came to pass, and at 10:20-something I was walking in to the doors (I wasn't sure if it was the right door, but it looked like the best bet) of the Methodist Church in question.

I saw Robin (Jhoneric's sister), her daughter Miranda, Andy, and John (Jhoneric's dad), and I made sure all of them knew Jhoneric was not to know of this trip of mine down the path of going-to-church-ed-ness.

There was something... almost from the time I woke up, really, but intensified once I was actually in the church--there was this something. I'll try to vague that up for you. Or clarify it.

It wasn't like an adventure, and it wasn't like anticipation. I guess it was mostly like... I don't know. Wonder? I don't know. I just had this sense of "Wow, this is not entirely outside my range of experience, but I haven't experienced anything in this range for a long while." That will have to do, but I'm not capturing the feeling.

Anyway, I opt to sit with John, and I read the program--or whatever it's called--and make chit-chat with John.

Alberta (Jhoneric's mom) was the liturgist (and judging by the context, that translates to "person who reads stuff"), and she started the service by saying, "Welcome home."

Now, promise me you'll read on even if you think I'm a total bastard after this next paragraph.

Without even a millisecond's thought, my brain said, "Oh, jeez, "welcome home", whatever."

And I didn't think anything of that reaction. It made perfect sense. I'm a cynical person. I know this.

Then the pianist started playing some song, and that was the end of the ball game. I don't think my brother Eddie is right--I don't think songs make people cry, but I do think music has it's own special key to everyone's heart, and it has a way of getting to places words alone cannot reach.

Yeah, okay, stupid, perhaps. But I hope you get the idea of what I mean.

There I was, crying, but trying real hard not to be loud about it. First of all, I didn't know WHY I was crying, so I didn't want to draw attention to myself, in case someone should ask. Secondly, can you imagine being John, sitting next to me, and suddenly I'm a basket case?

Part of it was me realizing that what Alberta said was... well, I mean true, but I don't like that word for what I mean, so... I don't know what I mean.

It was like someone in some foreign land said, "Welcome home," and just as I'm thinking "whatever", they open the door and right there is everything I've ever loved--most of which I thought I'd lost. I guess I mean like something that feels like finally coming home where you least expected it. But again, I'm saying it wrong. It's great that I'm so good with words, eh?

Anyway, I'm leaking out my eyes, hoping John isn't noticing and wondering if I'm more insane than usual. And prayers are the worst, because I instinctively close my eyes out of childhood habit, and when I open them, all this backed-up tearage comes running down my face.

I wanted to run out... or walk out in a "oops, I left the oven on... be back in a jiff" sort of way, but John was on one side, and... I can't remember who was on the other side. But I couldn't just slip out without people maybe glancing at my face and thinking, "Ah, nervous breakdown. How nice."

I kept wondering if there was a park nearby. I just wanted to get outside and breathe and try to come to grips with whatever had come over me, and maybe do so in a park sitting where I could sorta... collect my thoughts.

And, in TV terms, what was going through my head was from Season 6, Episode 22 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Willow, who was evil at the time, suddenly got a burst of magic that allowed her to feel what everyone was feeling, and she says, "It's too much... it's too much."

Seriously, folks, this was in the first 10 minutes or so.

As you may have guessed, when it came time to sing, I was worthless. Less singing and more croaking.

Anyway, when it came time for the message/sermon/what-have-you, I was maintaining a bit better.

Here's what I have to say about that part: If it's par for the course, I'm thinking I'm going to like this church. I won't go into the details here, in case Andy should decide to publish his collected what-have-yous, but the points that stuck in my head are: 1) Love is all you need. 2) It's not your love to give, just allow it to be given through you.

I would love to repeat the whole thing, but I didn't memorize it, and I've already gone on way too long here.

By the time the whole thing was over, I was less emotional and more about figuring out what happened to me.

Oh, and I knew I had to tell Jhoneric as soon as I got home, because I knew I wanted to come back... so, the sooner I got that over with, the better.

I didn't discuss what happened with JEC, but I did want to discuss it with SOMEONE. I had no idea who or when. I had a concert to perform in that late afternoon (more on the concert soon, I promise), so I couldn't bring it up to Tricia at their place--since I wouldn't be there. I wanted to talk to Patrick about it, but he ended up not working on Monday night. I was going to talk to Lyndsey about it, but by the time I got around to it Tuesday night at their place, Damien had gotten home, and I didn't think I could tell the tale for the first time to an audience of two.

Also, I've so firmly established myself as anti-church to so many people, I didn't want to have to deal with that aspect of the conversation. I spent a good part of my alone-time this week trying to figure out what that was all about.

Tonight (or this morning, I guess) after work, I just decided to talk to Patrick about it. So now I can share it with anyone on the internet who happens to stumble across it.

I'm going tomorrow... er... today. I'm hoping I'm not overwhelmed again. I'm hoping it's not as full of surprises--the internal emotional kind, I mean.. Hope springs eternal. Hope Springs, Indiana.

Wish me luck.