A wet, snowy journey home

It seems as if yesterday I skipped over Saturday morning, so I guess I will go back to it before skipping ahead to Sunday.  Saturday morning several of us met at Ritzy’s (did I get that right?) for breakfast.  For those who weren’t there, they somehow interpreted a party of 12 as a party of 20, so here were five tables put together in a C shape.  Most people sat together, but Jamiahsh and I kind of sat alone on the opposite side, though in my defense there was only one seat between C and I.  The eldest girls and their cousin Austin had some fun being little animals under the table.  The look on J’s face when he was caught unawares one time was priceless- sorry J! 😀

Following breakfast (oh yes, the food was good) L’s family bid farewell and headed out.  The rest of us headed back to C and L’s house.  The girls invited J and myself into their room to play with their pet rats.  Now, I never had rats growing up, but we did have hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs at various times so I was familiar with rodent pets and didn’t freak like the preschool teacher mentioned in T’s blog.  I was happy when they didn’t relieve themselves on me during this playtime as often happens with rodents.  After we had enough of the rats, T took us into their closet and showed us some Viewmaster (R.I.P.) slides on the ceiling using their projector.  Call me old-fashioned, but I think the whole point of the Viewmaster was lost by using the projector, that of the images in 3D.  I think we went through their entire library.  Finally, T and S put on a puppet show for J and me, during which time I was called away and we finished organizing our fun activity- see previous blog entry.

So… Sunday rolled around and I got up and showered, then went to Mickey D’s for a small breakfast before church.  Too bad for me it was 10:28 and they had just closed breakfast.  I’m I the only one who thinks anything before 11AM should be considered breakfast?  I must be in the minority, else why would McD’s have changed to 10:30 so long ago and stuck with it?  So breakfastless, I headed to the house.  Fortunately I had bought a box of Crunch and Munch at the dollar store the previous day.  That worked.

We headed to their church, which I had to admit was pretty nice.  I’m not sure I liked their pastor’s preaching style, but that’s probably because I’m used to my own pastor constantly on the move while he gives his sermons.  I did enjoy the worship time though.  Following this service T, who had gone to children’s church was waiting for us- apparently grade school kids can be trusted to be let out on their own, or maybe their teachers were still watching, I don’t know.  The younger ones still needed to be retrieved from their rooms though.  After church, we headed to a hotel by the turnpike for brunch.  There was no waiting time to be seated as there were plenty of seats, but there was definitely some waiting to get the food.  I would have to rate this meal lower than Saturday’s breakfast unfortunately, but at least I could eat as much as I wanted since it was a buffet.

Back at the house again, C and L pulled out their Office board game and we played.  Unfortunately, I learned that seeing every episode only once, including deleted scenes for seasons 2-4, did not mean in any way shape or form that I would remember the details.  I did manage to get three Dundies, though once by a complete guess and once because C pretty much gave the answer away (thanks!).  L won the day though, but even C earned more than me even though he took the harder (“regional manager”) questions while I barely managed the “assistant to the regional manager” ones.  Oh, well.  Finally, they had to do some cleaning for the meeting that night and I bid my farewell.  This, however, doesn’t end the post…

As most of my readers here are well aware, Sunday was a day of rain, starting after brunch.  For much of the trip driving was fine, but as it got later it stated coming down pretty hard.  The worst parts were the trucks- just approaching one would cause a torrent of water to be unleashed onto the windshield from their wheels.  Passing them was a nail-biting experience.  Remember- the speed limit for trucks is 15MPH less than for cars until Illinois.  Speaking of Illinois, when I got there- you think I’m going to say traffic, don’t you?  Well, traffic can be a hassle, but I lucked out.  While there were some traffic spots, for the most part it was fairly light for suburban Chicago.  Maybe people just weren’t driving because of the sleet.  That’s right- the rain turned into sleet and snow.  Wonderful.  No longer was it a nail-biting experience just to pass a truck- now just driving was problematic.  But as I said, traffic wasn’t bad at all and I did manage to make it home in one piece.  Next time I think I will check the weather report before I leave, even if it might mean having to leave earlier.

So, that was my weekend, how was yours? 😉

Has it really been that long?

Well, it’s been awhile since my last work-related post.  I finally got season 4 of The Office from my library and have been watching it.  For those who don’t remember back that far 😛 , Ryan, who was the temp at the Scranton, PA office is now Michael’s boss, and is trying to make many changes to the company to bring it more up to date with the times.  Oh, and he is making Michael’s life miserable.  I watched the first five episodes so far, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the first few were 40+ minutes.  I thought at first these were two-part episodes combined into one, but apparently they are actually extended versions of the original episodes.  There are supposed to be five of them out of the fourteen episodes on the DVD set and I saw four of them.  The fifth episode was the normal 20+ minute length.  I am guessing the season finale will be the fifth extended episode.

Anyway, on to work.  Today was a difficult day with a pleasant ending.  I substituted for 3rd-grade ELL at the school that made the local paper a few months ago for its supersized 3rd grade classes with 30+ students per class.  As far as that went, I prepared myself for it.  It turned out to have 24 students- 23 after today as it was one student’s last day.  For some reason that student is transferring to another school in the same district.  To any who didn’t catch it, this was an ELL class, which I’m guessing is why the class was a normal size.  I bring up ELL because while I prepared myself for a supersized class, I forgot to prepare myself for ELL kids.  Fortunately most of them understood English to a point, and there was an assistant who spent most of the day in the class to translate when there were difficulties in understanding.  However, the behavior in a few of the kids was just off the wall.  As I have mentioned in the past, ELL kids can be challenging when it comes to behavior, and these kids were no exception.  Again, I think this is due to us being to soft in this country as compared to other countries like Mexico.  And I especially am more easygoing than other teachers.  I would like to think I have gained better management habits, but I know I am still kind of a soft teacher, at least when I am in a good mood.

In the end, I did make sure to point out the kids I had a problem with in the note to the teacher, so something will happen I’m sure.  So what was the pleasant end?  Well, a 4th-grader from my church is apparently a student at that school.  As I was lining up the kids for dismissal, he spotted me.  A few years ago I had a student who showed some major excitement when he recognized me when I subbed in his class, with a very excited, “Hey! I know you!!”  Well, that boy’s record for excitement was just broken today by this other boy.   He shouted to everyone who could hear, “Hey, you go to my church!!” which was repeated a few times, once to his teacher.  When I failed to come up with his name right away, he happily offered it, not disappointed at all like a few others I have run into.  I should remind you that I am not that great with names at all and this year I lead a fifth-grade small group so he isn’t in it.  Tomorrow night I will make sure to give him some extra attention.

This week I was was in middle school only one, which was just an okay day in Spanish, with two 8th grade, two 7th grade, one 6th grade, and a 7th/8th combined class (which I thought kind of strange for a Spanish class).  The other days were strictly elementary.  The music class was a highlight of my week.  Normally these can be difficult classes behaviorally, but it was a rather pleasant day.  The teacher left plans that were clearly meant for the Friday before break with some of the classes having a Christmas-y theme, but since that turned into a snow day she apparently thought it would be just fine for the day after break.  Three of the classes watched part of the Nutcracker while coloring Nutcracker pictures.  It was in one of these classes I ran into a rare occurance- an Albino.  Okay, that term was politically incorrect.  I guess I should say he was albinistic.  I joked with him having hair blonder than mine was at his age (I had very light blond hair once- it has since become almost gray.  Yes I have some grey hairs now, but most of it is still blond when looked at closely.  It was pointed out to me that he had a vision problem which is often an effect of the condition and when I looked at his eyes a certain way I noticed some red which I think may also be common, though seeing red in pupils apparently is not.

Well, time to head back to Scranton, PA- I only have a week on this DVD set.  Later!

EDIT: Whoops, forgot the title!

(Drama × 2) + Teacher + (Leader × 2)= Full Weekend

Definitely a full weekend this time around. My normal schedule is fairly busy as is, which is one drama and kid’s leader for two services (one same service as drama). Then I go to the worship service during the first Sunday service. This weekend was also a teaching weekend for me and I filled in for another drama member as well. What’s the difference between teaching and leading? Well, in a given service there are 30-40 kids in 4th/5th grades. That means several leaders are needed, at least one for every ten kids but the lower the ratio the better. These leaders lead discussion during small group time and of course all are on hand to assist whenever needed whether it be to take care of someone injured during game time, redirect wavering attention, whatever. There is only one teacher though who teaches the actual lesson during lesson time. Today that was me- I do it once a month typically. Today was actually probably the shortest lesson I’ve given in a long time, meaning more time for small groups. If only I could keep it short all the time that would be ideal. Moving through the Old Testament we focused on King Saul, and why he didn’t have a true heart for God. Next week will be focused on King David and how his heart was for God. King Solomon will follow the week after. Of course today the lesson started with how Israel wrongly wanted a King in the first place so God gave them the type of king they thought they wanted- tall and handsome. Just like the idols thrust before us today. Unfortunately good looks on the outside don’t equate to a good heart on the inside. Yes he did lead Israel to some victories, but he showed himself as one who shifted blame to others, was jealous, and was disobedient. Eventually God just removed his right to rule and selected a king for them that they should have wanted. I would bet that David would have been completely happy with just being a leader while God remained king, but since the precedent was set David would inherit the title of king once Saul was finally killed. This last thought is my opinion of course, so if it is wrong then don’t blame the Bible please.

The drama was about doing the right thing, in this case my role was typical of my real self- procrastination. My character knew he had to clean up the lab after a failed experiment, but let it sit instead for three days without doing anything about it, so now it’s showtime (remember, imaginary TV studio with live audience) and the place still isn’t clean! He almost gets fired when the studio owner calls and asks what’s up…

Anyway, now I’m home and three hours later writing this up. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some of The Office to watch- it is due today and I am not even finished with half the season! Good show, but it took a few episodes to get into it.

Been a while

Well, it has been awhile since my last post, so I will have to pick up the pace.  I had some insane idea that I would be able to post from my friend’s house when I was in Ohio for the last few days.  Of course the opportunity to ask really never presented itself.  If I was making more money I could have had a laptop with me, but as a poor substitute (no pun intended…) I am still trying to afford a new desktop to replace my old 1.1GHz one that stopped working last year.  Yes, I use another’s computer to do my blogging and other stuff.

Well, Ohio was entertaining, at least when we could decide on something to do.  On Thursday I was able to get some use out of my new phone with the camera feature.  I have yet to see if any of the pictures actually look any good full scale.  Once I transfer them to the computer I will show a couple of them.  Anyway, we were at the Toledo Zoo even though it was an overcast, somewhat rainy day (especially in the late afternoon- we got soaked!).  We were one of maybe a dozen families there enjoying the day.  Many attractions were closed but for some reason it still cost me the same $10 it would cost to enter on a bustling summer day.  Not all were closed, so we still saw a large number of animals.  Again, pictures will follow.  At night we watched some Office episodes and split up to go to bed.

The following day was the day of indecision.  We went to Defiance (yes, as in The Prizewinner from…) for the day and besides eating and playing some Highway 66 mini-bowling we did some shopping of all things.  The bowling was definitely different than the full-scale version, but I was just as bad at it. If nothing else, the shopping was good social time.  Speaking of social time, once we got back their friends started arriving shortly after (they were invited- they weren’t those sort of friends…) and we played a couple of games while the kids watched TV.  Finally, after bearing our souls in one of the social games I left for home (about an hour and a half after I wanted to, yes the game was fun) and didn’t get home until after 1AM.

At least the traffic was good, even through the city, until I encountered a bottleneck where the expressway was bottled to just one lane.  I have no idea what was going on- there were many trucks lined up on the other side of the highway but the side I was on was recently finished road work and so looked excellent.  Were they doing a late night inspection to see if the job was done right?  Anyway, that only lasted for a couple of miles so after that there were no problems.  I quickly got some things unpacked then I got ready for bed, so again, no post.

Today I was busy for much of the day so I am only now finally getting to the blog.  Well, time to end this post so hopefully you will get in some happy reading!