Friday, March 31, 2006

Hereclitian Homage:

For better or for worse, I've accepted the Hermann job offer. I hate the thought of moving in August right before the wedding, but I don't want to resist change either as it brings growth. So there you have it Hereclitus, it's not the same river - Missouri vs. Mississippi, and I won't be the same either.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jes is off trying on dresses again with Tempe. I think the 23rd of September is our official date. I am sitting here sipping a glass of Three-Buck-Chuck from Trader Joe’s, which I don’t think I’ll buy again. If I am going to buy sipping wine I should buy something worth sipping. Three Buck Chuck is just middle class Thunderbird, strap on a muzzle and guzzle thee to oblivion, or serve to congregants while reading from Corinthians.
I am wishing I’d gotten more school work done over break. My term is over on the twenty seventh and I have no idea how I am going to get all my work done. Wow, that means I have less than twenty days left teaching in the current term. I have yet to declare my intensions to the schools. Crap. What are my intensions? Does anyone have a calculator?


Sunday, March 26, 2006

I like Mike. Mike would be my mentor if I take the job to the south. “Not that you need one, but I guess I would be it,” said Mike at our last meeting. Mike is a draw, someone I could learn from. I would have great colleagues in the south. Mike is teaching the classes that I will get to teach if I take the job to the West. However, Mike is thinking about quitting and if he does, I would get his AP classes. There is a new school board and they’ve fired the principal, the same principal that has offered me the job. There are some serious red flags associated with institutional instability.

Jason said something interesting the other day. He’s been through some hard times over the past few years, but one of the hardest things he’s had to do is get over the need for external validation drilled into him through years of schooling. I think the koan version of this dilemma is expressed as, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” I keep looking outside myself for the answers and I need to follow Chuang Tzu’s advice and turn the light around. I think I might get a better shot at that in the job to the west, the Hermann job.

I think I know what my long term goal is. I think I want a Ph.D. in education so I can teach teachers. Ultimately, I want to be at the university. Teaching at this more rural school, now that I’ve taught inner city, will give me a breadth of experience towards that career goal. I think we’re close to a decision and have a five year plan as well.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

In a sense I am still unpacking. I say that not because so many things are still in boxes, but because I don’t know where a good many things are; I haven’t rediscovered them enough times to be sure where they are. Specifically, I can’t find my bowling ball.

I’m in a pensive mood this morning as I have, we have, some big decisions to make. I have two job offers on the table right now. One is in Herman and the other in Hillsborough. I don’t have to take either job. Both jobs are good offers. One is a little more money while the other is teaching more advanced students. If I take either position we’ll have to move, either south or west about an hour. I have until Wednesday morning to make this decision.

Do I take the job? Do we move? Do we buy a house? I like this apartment, but it’s too small. I like this neighborhood, but obviously the crime is a little high. Do I hope for a job offer in the city and say no to both offers? In Herman I would be division head after a year. In Hillsborough it might take longer, but the base salary is higher…


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Odd synchronicity:

I was thinking of the theme to Into the Woods earlier because of the line "opportunity is not a lengthy visitor" and then I read the following in the Writer's Almanac for today:

"It's the birthday of the lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim, (books by this author) born in New York City (1930). He was twelve years old when he became friends with a boy named Jamie Hammerstein, whose father was the lyricist Oscar Hammerstein. Sondheim's parents had recently divorced, and he spent as much time as possible at the Hammersteins' house. He wrote his first musical when he was fifteen."


Well my dears I am having a beer. We just got back from a day trip to a rural school district in Missouri wine country. I interviewed with the principal and then met with the superintendent to discuss benefits. We brought Jes into the second meeting and they were quite charmed by her. They did not extend a formal offer yet, but indicated that they were very interested and I expect an offer in the next few days after they check my references. They also indicated that they might make Jes a part time offer.

I can provide them with the ability to give their students duel enrollment classes. This would mean I would get paid both by the school district and the community college. If I keep my online teaching job while reducing our cost of living I might be able to make strong financial progress both by buying property and working on student loan debt. I would only be two hours from my friends in the ville and an hour and a half from St. Louis. Four or five years in wine country before I go back for the Ph.D. doesn’t sound too bad. Jes would be working on developing her technique and personal style while potentially also having teaching opportunities.

There are down sides. I don’t like the idea of moving again. There are also definite up sides.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Snow Day – not really. I am on my spring break and it’s the first day of spring so in true global weather crises tradition we had a big snow and ice storm last night. It really wasn’t bad. We were hoping for a big snow so that Jes would have the day off and we could go sledding, but alas twas not to be.

My parents were in over the weekend and we did the meet the families thing with Jes’ parents. That seemed to go well. We had dinner with Gary and Sue on Saturday at Pietro’s on the hill. I am still eating leftovers from that meal. Jes’ nephew Brad and a friend of his came along and my sister Vicki as well. Sunday we had lunch at Olympia with Jes’ mom and stepfather. That also seemed to go quite well, so we’re that much closer to the wedding. I think we have a date and a location now, but we’ll keep you posted. We have to get our reception to line up with the evolving ceremony.

Oh Christ, our idiot president has just come one the TV to tell me how well things are going in our oil war. You know, he really is a great public speaker. I think his logic gaffs humanize him. I thought conservatives were opposed to big government. It seems odd that we would have a bigger deficit now then ever before in the history of the country. It seems odd that the democrats had balanced budgets, but Republicans aren’t even going to try. Instead they just changed the cap on how much debt we can have (8.9 Trillion) – lifting the ceiling by billions of dollars. Our national debt is up 58% since he came in. Helen Thomas is giving G.W. a hard time. I love Helen. It is nice to see idiot in the hot seat.

Ok, must dash. I have a great deal of school work to get done this week. No travel for me, so sad.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

I feel like I haven’t seen my friends in forever (hello friends). They told us to tell our friends goodbye at the start of the term. They weren’t kidding. It’s not just the hours and the work; I am just exhausted from being on stage for six hours a day. I am asleep most nights before ten p.m. Are blogs for kvetching? They are today!

So the Ides of March are now behind us. My nine months in the land of wagon has come to an end (ET TU Brute Champaign). My folks are in town, and have been since Tuesday, but I haven’t seen them yet because of the schedule. We’re doing a pot luck at Sister #2’s tonight and a party at Sister #1’s tomorrow (numbered to reflect years on the earth, not preference). The party tomorrow is poorly timed as I am free to drink and St. Louis is putting on a fine St. Pat’s day drunk with the Dog Town Parade.

St. Louis is known for many fine traditions, but the public drunk is one of the most important and spectacular. The word hasn’t gotten out nationally because they are so good that no one remembers them. People, being creatures of habit, attend every year because they vaguely recall parking and walking in the year before. Less clear is the recollection of hunting for their car in an unfamiliar neighborhood on the following afternoon.

I am also on Spring Break as of tomorrow. How cool is that, to be an adult and still get spring break. Teaching offers me the two Vs: Vocation and Vacation (I think I like one more than the other, but trying to decide leads to vacillation). I could also work ventilation, vagary, and voluminous into my free association on V words, but I imagine that you’d vacate the vicinity and leave me to my own vapidity.

I am only just off the meds and think it wise to ease back into the hot water of the thinking, drinking life. We do have a bash planned for BJ’s birthday at months’ end. And so shall we “March” - in like a lion, out on the inflatable lamb. Apparently hotel rooms are already reserved to parachute the weak at head into the next day’s overages (hung and otherwise hampered (headily harangued by hazy homunculi)). Apparently I’ve left Pandora’s Dictionary open somewhere in the apartment. I best go close it and abscond with the salad to Sister #2’s abode.

Did nine months really go by that fast? People say that all the time… it was actually closer to ten.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Random Word Cloud

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My online teaching started again yesterday. I was in virtual land for several hours last night. I’m contractually obligated to remain obsequious about most work doings but I can say that I woke up today grateful for the job. It’s nothing fancy, but it has kept my head above water financially. I also think I am good at it, for what it is. This remains a potential career path for me.

I bartended an event for doctors last Friday at Third Degree, so that’s another random source of money, I need to get freelance bartender cards made so I can hand them out to the various caterers that I’ve been meeting. Once I am teaching full time it’ll be sad to give up any free time, but a little extra money can go a long way.

And that’s all I have time for, off to teach.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

I keep waking up earlier and earlier. I am up most days by five, but lately I’ve woken up at two and three and I’ve had to force myself to go back to sleep. My internal clock is messed up. I’m on spring break from my online job, so it’s nice to have a break in the grading.


Details: I was walking the dog by the library to get us both some exercise and to drop off some movies that I had rented there and I passed through a small crowd of Ethiopians waiting on the library steps for the bus.

I live in the most international part of St. Louis such that walking through a crowd of Ethiopians is not an unusual thing. There seems to be a social/cultural fear of dogs in the general Ethiopian community and so I made a show in small gestures of how friendly my dog is and also how restrained he was. Still, as I neared the steps, there was a general retreat towards the safety of the library doors. I was thinking about the history of violence wherein a fear of dogs might develop when it occurred to me that I had forgotten about Johan.

When I was fairly young my parents began to help a small family of Ethiopian refugees that had landed here in St. Louis. The oldest brother, Johan, had escaped across the desert in the middle of the night. He’d managed to smuggle out his siblings later, but not their parents. I believe that their parents were killed. They stayed with us for awhile; we always had people staying with us in the guest room and on the fold out couches.

We helped them find an apartment in the neighborhood I live in now. We helped find furniture and get the younger siblings in school. There was a daughter, slightly older than me, who I had the ubiquitous crush of proximity on. We had lots of families that we helped like this. Some have stayed in touch and others not. When I go home to Wisconsin my parents sometimes have new pictures up on their refrigerator of new children or people who have come to visit them.

As I think back on my mental shoebox and rifle through for memories of Johan, I come up with the Thanksgiving dinner we shared with his family; his sister and two brothers. A simple detail – before and after the meal my father gave up the television so that they could watch soccer on a day traditionally given over to football. To a child raised in a house of rituals and certainty, the surrender of the TV to this foreign game seemed to encapsulate casual generosity that was neither casual nor ordinary.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sorry not to be on much this week, but I have reached new levels of busy and my future hangs in the balance - so I'll be on more at some point - just not in the near future - thanks for checking in -k-


Friday, March 03, 2006

Do you remember when I told you I'd sell out but no one was buying. I was wrong.

I went on a job interview to a rural school outside of St. Louis, but not so far that I couldn’t just commute. They told me that they were blown away by the interview and had no numbers together to put in front of me. The job is mine if I want it. They are mailing me the formal offer and salary schedule. I told them it was early in the interview season and that I need time to consider my options. They are fine with that. Jes and and I now have a safety net for next year. It feels really good!!! I told my current place where I am student teaching the news and then the principle came to watch me teach today. They are putting together an offer as well.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

At your urging I have taken a closer look at the MP3 player. Having done so, I do not think that it belonged to the thief. The NPR podcasts and the music selection on it (Life in a Northern Town – The Northern Pikes) do not jive with the milieu of my thief. It is a Rio Chiba Sport with 256 megabytes of memory (how much is that?). It runs off an AAA battery and it docks with my computer using the same cable that works for my Palm Pilot. I just downloaded the drivers from the Rio homepage. Do I have a new toy? How would I find the real owner? What if the real owner is the thief? Hmmmmmmmmmm. I suppose I could check the serial number and see who it is registered to. They would have had to use the same registration software that I just did. Isn’t that the ethical thing to do?