Sunday, January 28, 2007

Your Career Personality: Original, Devoted, and Service Oriented

Your Ideal Careers:

Art director
Book editor
College professor
Film director
Graphic designer
Stage actor


Saturday, January 27, 2007

I didn't get the job I applied for last week. It's not the end of the world - nothing about it really felt right - the school I mean. I'm sure they sensed my apprehension. So, what now? Do I keep looking - stay where I am - move? I flubbed the third interview - knew it when I did it - it was the "where do you see yourself in five years question" I have no idea - the "right" answer would have been working for them and living close. Ah well, interviewing is always good experience. It's hard to get upset about not getting a job that I didn't really want.


Stylistically I think it is interesting that many blog entries seem to begin in medias res – in the middle of a thought or action. I’ve been running my brain at a pretty high level this week, without enough sleep to back it up, and I am feeling a little in medias res myself – as though every thought or action is neither beginning nor conclusion, but all an extension of past and preparation for future tasks. In short, I am fried up in a skillet on a burner set to multitask.

The following paragraph will use clauses, digressions, and parentheticals in a manner rivaling Hawthorn:

I left home yesterday at 5:30 a.m. as per usual. I taught a full day covering a range of material including Act III of Romeo and Juliet for freshmen (I collapsed on my own floor as a murdered Mercutio pronouncing a pox on both houses – I was avenged by my T.A. who took out an oddly long blond Tybalt in a California pullover), distinguishing sentence subjects by excluding prepositional phrases for credit recovery students (who tried to work ahead, got them all wrong, and actually learned something as we corrected their errors together), the elements of good descriptive writing and Gordon Park’s essay on poverty in 1960’s Rio for seniors (Park’s also wrote the original screenplay for Shaft and I played them the Isaac Hayes song via a hyperlink in my power point).

Then I had to oversee a chess tournament, which started right after school and finished around eight (we had twelve students in a round robin series of matches – which is a good turn out considering how many of my kids were double booked with basketball). Afterward, I managed to do another hour of paperwork involving mainstreaming kids with disabilities – cognitive and otherwise – and then drove home, arriving around 10:30. That’s a seventeen hour day including the three hour commute. I just rolled 19,000 on the car.

I had an interview last week for a school district here in town. All parties are agreed that I must kill my commute. I am still waiting to hear back from them. I was at the front of their process, so hearing back will be determined in part by how many interviews they do. I was told they had two hundred applicants. My interviews went well; I’ve met with three different people so far, so keep your fingers crossed for me.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

My parents have always been eccentric. You don’t decide to spend thirteen years in the highlands of New Guinea, and have six kids there, without being a little crazed. So tonight they were to arrive for a weekend visit. They were going to stay with my sister V out in St. Charles. My brother Andy is also in from California and staying with V, but he is in a “focus group” meeting tonight that lasts until eight. So he obviously wasn’t there when they arrived at four fifteen.

When my folks got to V’s house she was sleeping and they couldn’t wake her so they left. To be clear, they didn’t realize that she was there. They just knocked for a time and got no response. My parents don’t have a cell phone, and yet they called. Perhaps they used a pay phone or bribed a neighbor, we’re not sure, but they called V’s cell phone from somewhere and told her they were going to my house since she was missing. Unfortunately, I am taking a night class on Tuesdays and Thursdays until six forty-five and Jes teaches until eight. If they came here around five, we weren’t here to meet them. It’s nearly eight and they are currently missing. I’d call V’s to see if they came back there, but she has no landline and she and her cell phone are no longer there.

Earlier, my phone rang while I was in class. I had remembered to turn the ringer off, but it still rang to tell me I had a message. Don’t you hate that? The call was from V on her way to her night job – which started at seven – wondering if I’d seen the rents and telling me the sad tale of the missed message. I triangulated with Jes – as V had already done when she couldn’t reach me initially- and Jes called her mother’s house, as my rents might have gone there. I also called my other sister Sandy to see if they had landed at her place. Nope.

Back to the cell phone thing, my parents are very into rates – cents per minute calculations. They discovered a few years back that they could do away with their long distance company and simply use a phone card from Wal-Mart. They don’t buy new cards. They have had the same card for years. They just keep filling it back up when the minutes get low. They have the card number on speed dial one. They have their password on speed dial two. My brother Phil programmed it years ago and I don’t think anyone knows what the actual numbers are anymore. It shows up on my caller ID as Colorado, which is additionally odd considering that they are calling from Wisconsin.

While the card is their little way of using the man to fight the man, it’s not like they bring this card with them when they travel. They bought a cell phone for travel a few years ago, but they didn’t like the rate and so they never charge it or use it. We can never reach them on the road and they like it that way, but occasionally this thinking bites them in the ass – as in tonight when presumably they drove all over St. Louis and found no one home. I hate to say it, but we are less worried than we are self satisfied in our smugness regarding their phone neurosis, and yet this smugness is but a thin veneer covering our own technology dependence.

The tricky thing about communication is the propensity we all have to miss.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Once upon a time – it seems to me – I had a life outside of my job. That’s not so much the case anymore. Jes and I have three half watched movies right now from Netflix. I make it about halfway through a movie and I have to go to sleep. Since Jes hasn’t been working yet – school starts back next week for her – she has reverted to her night owl schedule, which means that sometimes she is just going to bed when I am getting up in the morning (right around four). She loves this simpatico in our schedules (insert ironic chuckle here).

I am only able to type this because when I got home tonight I fell immediately asleep. I slept for two hours, so I have a rare window of recharged consciousness before I crash out again. It will continue like this until the summer. My school doesn’t even have a Spring Break, just the odd three day weekend (Easter) or longed for snow day (which we just have to make up in the summer anyway); one and a half down, seventeen and some to go.

I was at Goodwill the other day, browsing in the toys section, and there was a heavy duty play rug for a child’s playroom. The rug was Winnie the Pooh themed and had scenes from various stories that children could use as settings for their imaginations. The child sits on the rug and imagines that they are chasing bees by the old tree or watching Pooh get carried away by the big red balloon. There are little roads so that they can drive their cars from tableau to tableau.

It occurred to me tonight that I could get one of those rugs made depicting scenes from my life when I had more of a life. Instead of the house at Pooh corner I could have a little picture of the Dukum Inn and maybe a little Shoot-A-Rack in another corner. I could have the Saratoga bowling alley and Tiffany’s diner with a little picture of a breakfast platter slathered in week old chili. I could sit on the rug in my front room and wistfully imagine a time when I went places other than work or the grocery store.

Is this part of the reason why people have children, so they have something to do since they are going to just be sitting around at home anyway? Sometimes work is just too much work, and I am living to work right now rather than working to live. It’s a good thing I love my job, it’s just that my former life and my loving wife miss me. Perhaps when we solve the commute things will be better.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Not that you’d know it, but we’ve been without the internets here at circle JK – some problem in the external line that it took two tries to fix. Jes was off today so she was able to call and tell them to come back after their first try faltered.

We are currently attempting to imitate the pet snake and shed some skin. Jes has been taking loads of sheets, blankets, etc. that we don’t use up to the shelter for the residents. I guess the spring like weather is prompting some spring cleaning. You?


Friday, January 05, 2007

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sorry I’m not around here more – we had massive amounts of family stuff over Christmas and New Years. We went to Arkansas for a few days and had a nice time with Jes’ mother’s extended relation. I put my back out somehow during our return trip and it isn’t back to normal yet. The left side went out first and a day later the right side followed. I am using ice-hot stick-on bandages to coast me through the musculature lock up.

We were both sick last week and got in some couch time before our New Year’s Eve party – which was well attended and most entertaining. I went all out and roasted an eighteen pound turkey.

My end of term grades are due this week and they always take longer than I plan for – in part because I procrastinated a bit over the break – I needed a vacation and some time to feel like a human. Jes liked having non-exhausted Karl around for a few days (then next time you’ll see him it will be summer), but then I roped her into helping me grade multiple choice finals – my kingdom for a Scantron. My nights this week will be filled with grading.

I have to take an UMSL class this term that I thought I was going to squeak out of. It starts mid month. My advisor had been in England and didn’t catch that I didn’t have a prerequisite – it’s a risk when you do a two year program in a year. I tried to test out but missed the score I needed by four points – a rare and poignant failure for me – perhaps a bit of self sabotage. I took the test after a day of teaching and the hour and a half drive back in: silly boy.

So after my crazy drive, teaching and grading, I will have an UMSL class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I am insane. The only up side is that I think my district has to reimburse me for the class after I complete it, although I do still have to pay for it up front. Maybe when they pay me back we can use the money for a honey moon. The class will push me closer to the Master of Education degree that I am fifteen hours shy of. I have five years to complete, so I’m not sweating it. If I pace myself I can get whatever school I am teaching at to pay for the classes.

I am still second guessing myself about all of my career moves. Teaching college was much easier than teaching high school. I just don’t know yet where I belong. I’m not sure if I am becoming more ambitious than I used to be. If we’re going to start a family I’ll be hard pressed to pay all our bills on what I am making as a teacher. Still, I can’t really justify going any further into debt in student loans for any kind of law degree etc. I don’t really have any interest in the law as a career. Anyway, food for thought; I must sleep as that four a.m. alarm comes quick.