Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006

Well, it's been a heck of a year. I started it out by returning to Egypt to complete my last school year in Cairo. I saw Egypt win the African Cup, relaxed on a few well-deserved beach vacations on the Red Sea (Italians included), saw an eclipse, traveled to a distant oasis town called Siwa near the Libyan border, traveled back to the US to try to land a teaching job, experienced sand storms, crazy taxi rides, sold 2 paintings, a beautiful dinner in the desert near the Giza pyramids (in a custom made dress), paid off Egyptian airport workers to load my luggage, layover in Vienna, caught up on Lost, taught summer school, lived with a crazy woman who kept food in her fridge from 2001 ($1200 a month thank you very much), visted Seattle (for a day - sniff-), went to Alaska - the last frontier, began teaching at a juvenile detention center (at least it's an art position), almost moved into my own apartment, but decided to save money and move back home, visited Kansas City (who knew I'd like it?), commuted, stayed at friends houses, ran upwards of 5 miles a day (then stopped because commuting takes it out of you), made tons of christmas cookies, joined a second gym (who does that?), and waited for the new year to come.

I'm sure I've missed some other things. But according to the calendar a new year is coming. It could be an interesting one. I will probably move again. Big news there. But I have a few things in mind that might make the year go by at a nice pace. We'll see what happens, you can only live in the present, and deal with what happens on a day to day basis. Who knows what one can do?

I wish everyone a happy and peaceful new year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Everything is relatives

Yea, it's that one time a year where my family regroups at the assisted living space where my grandma lives. Everyone comes out of the woodwork to see and catch up on everything family.

It's ok. I mean, it's something you feel compelled to do, because it's the very least you can do. The only problem is, I'm the only one representing my sisters every year. And it get's darn hard to turn on the smiles and say things like," They're doing great, they ran out of vacation leave (or insert another excuse)."

It's interesting to see the family dynamics. Who sits with who. Who doesn't sit with who. Who makes the rounds to everyone. Then there are the words that are exchanged. Yes, my grandmother is extremely traditional when it comes to family. She kind of lets you know who's in the blood line and who's not. This year was no exception," Bless those who are related by blood, and those who have chosen us." I guess I made the cut, because I'm in the blood line. If you're married to one of us...well, sorry for you.

I look up to see who caught wind of that one. And I look over at my cousin, who brought his girlfriend, and I'm thinking...she's a brave one to even set foot in this place. Not only because almost every family member is here, but because she's now "chosen" us. GO-- run for the door.

As if that weren't enough, I got the usual questions: How do you like your job? When are you moving again? Do you have a boyfriend? Where are you going to next? How's commuting? Are you sure you want to move again? or...if you're sitting next to a "chosen" member of the family... it's more like: Is your work doing anything for you? Are you taking it day by day? How's life?

At any rate, we're all family. You can't change that one bit. I had several offers to live in their homes, find a new job. All very nice ideas. I guess that's one think I do like about family. They do look out for you. They want your life to be alright too.

check this out.

Poor middle and upper class kids and their white parents. Nothing like this would ever happen at a low income school:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What I didn't want for Christmas...

Ouch, I banged my patella straight into the stone ground as I was letting the dogs in from the rainy night. I didn't expect it to still be hurting a day later. I thought maybe a bruise or something. Alas, no bruise. Just pain when anything comes into contact with it.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Break Time

While in other parts of the country it appears that winter has struck, here in the little town where my parents live...not so much. I think it's about 55. More like spring than anything else. It rained all day yesterday, but it's nice and bright today.

Winter break has started for me, and I couldn't be more relieved. Although break didn't come before an amount of strange issues at work.

The first? Well, we were asked to go meet with the director of the D-home. I decided to go up and just share my view that it's a communication problem, but yet it’s a dictatorship down in the school wing.

Number 2. I was observed on the last day of classes. Yes I know, she can come to my classroom whenever she wants... BUT, to observe and give me an informal evaluation? Get real! I guess that's just her loving way to say," Happy Holidays, from your tyrant boss".

Number 3. Decided that I have nothing to lose and I might as well air out the dirty laundry before break. So I talked to the lead teacher (or the tyrant's puppet). I just acknowledged the issues that I was concerned with: slander, intimidation, prejudgment... and communication. The "lead teacher" went straight to the tyrant leader, of course. And on the last day of school (Thursday) I had an impromptu meeting with the tyrant and puppet. So I aired it all out. I told them everything that I was thinking. I was expecting some kind of support, and maybe an apology. I did get an apology for the way she spoke to me last week, but of course she was having a "bad day". The tyrant also lied straight to my face. I reminded her of the fact that she has had way too many discussions with me about past teacher indiscretions (if you know what I mean). And I told her I was offended and it was unnecessary to keep recalling that. She denied it, but I told her I wrote it down, and that I wouldn't bring it up if I weren't affected by it. So whatever. The puppet intervened and well, I just let it go. All it all, I thought I hung in there quite well. The whole meeting just made me realize what a crazy person she actually is. She even was twirling her hair and staring off into space as the meeting progressed. Is this an adult or a student?

Numero quatro. I confirmed a meeting with the tyrant's boss when I get back from break. I will bring my notes, my observations, and everything that I have experienced by being in the presence of the tyrant.

Everyday that I see her I can feel my blood boil. The less I see her, usually the better my day goes. I'm so happy that I'm not even on the school wing, and that I am out on the unit. One of the detention specialists even asked me if I was coming back next year. I said,” I haven't decided yet." And he said,” Well, I hope you do." That was nice to hear, but I don't think so, bro. One way or another I'm in KC or New York!

Ok, well, on to better things. I'm excited about the fact that I will be able to join the YMCA in PA. I really need an outlet with these crazy days just rolling in and out of my life. I miss running so much, and I was doing so well a month a go. Now I have to start over and it's getting cold. So I thought it might be a decent alternative. Oh well. It's good for the soul. That and cooking.

Started a painting last night. It's one of the mazes I've been doing lately. Not sure if I really like what I'm doing right now. I may wipe some of it out and start again.. I do that a lot. I'm a big under painter, I guess you could say. I start out with something on canvas and then usually I end up clearing it off and starting again. Then I keep the next one. I guess it's part of my process... if I have one.

In about a week and 1/2 I'll be out in KC to visit Amy and Travis! YEAH!!! So excited to look at the city again, and really think about it as the place I'm going to be living. I kind of hope so. I never ever thought in a million years I'd be trying to move to exactly in the middle of the country.

That's about all from here for a while. Hopefully I can post some artwork someday soon. That'd be good.

Happy Holidays...........and PEACE!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I would totally move for this house:

Monday, December 18, 2006

On to what's next

It's Monday. You know what that means? Tomorrow is Tuesday. But that's not all, you see it's a short week for me and I get to start vacation on Thursday evening. That's right! And I'm really happy about that.

I think we all need a break right about now. It's time for no more commuting, only happy thoughts, lovely beverages, and good food. I plan on all of that and more. Even, oh I don't know, paint, perhaps? FINALLY! I'm really looking forward to going through some of my boxes that have been packed up for almost 3 years too. I miss my cappucino machine. I gotta find it. And I can't just keep buying art supplies. I have a ridiculous amount already. (but I think I deserve a new brush or two), that's what's next... Break.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Interesting View

I drive 15 to 270 to 495 frequently... many times a week infact. During those drives, I had never seen what I saw last night coming back from my best friend's house. There's this huge cemetary on the side 15, and last night they had candles at every gravesite. It was an amazing picture. I kind of wished I had my camera. I could see all the flickers of the candles through the trees. There must have been hundreds of them. I decided not to go in and tour, although I saw many cars pulling in and out. Instead I just slowed my car down, and took in the sight for a brief moment. Life comes too fast for most of us to take notice. To turn something such as a cemetary into a beautiful memorium during the winter season is a great offering to those who have passed on.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's been a long time

I guess I'm trying to figure out what I want to write on this page. There is so much rambling around in my mind, that I'm not sure what I want to put down. I guess the first thing that I always am thinking about is my job. I know by now, that there is no perfect teaching job. For instance, sometimes it's the students. Sometimes it's the administration, sometimes it's both. I think I'm hitting the wall, though. I'm not quite sure how I'll make it through the next six months. This is the first job I've had where I thought I could actually make a difference in the lives of the students I teach. I have small classes, no behavior problems, and they're actually learning. I'm not bored either. I get to know my students, I get to see them everyday.

But the principal. She makes it horrible for me to accomplish that everyday. She is a tyrant. She's not pleasant, she's sarcastic, moody, and filled with hate. She has no life and makes it an intolerable atmosphere.

So I need to be proactive, even though I'm not going to be there next year. I can't let this woman ruin the teachers that are here. So I'm going to talk to her boss. I already talked to her about some of my more diplomatic concerns, but she passed me by. So, I've decided to go up the chain of command.

Only one more week until break. And I think, I can make it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Catch up

Well, it's been a while since I've posted. There's been a lot going on that I needed to take care of. Some of it has been taken care of, but most of it won't be taken care of until the end of the school year. It's a struggle everyday to get to work. And then it's a struggle to not be in the middle of everyone else's drama when I get to work. Mainly, I try to stay out of the way, and I try to maintain what my job really is... to work with the students. It's the only part of my work day that I like. Which I'm thankfrul for.

This Friday was enjoyable too, I had it off. What was originally a moving day, became a day that I ran errands. But they were fun errands. And I was happy to have the entire day off. Not worrying about whether or not things would be waiting for me at work. Which I'm sure they will be.

Thursday I had to drive all the way down to Fredricksburg to hear a document being read to me. It had nothing to do with me at all. It was a complete waste of time, and all of our students missed a day of education because of it. It wasn't my decision to do it. So I guess that's not my problem.

Anyway, another weekend has come and gone, and there are two weeks left until my good-sized break (but not as good-sized as it was when I was in Egypt). Can't wait for it!

I'm out of practice for writing about, that's it for now.