Thursday, December 18, 2008

A "Special" Holiday Party

Every year the special ed department puts on a lavish holiday party. Festivities include the induction of the "newbies," a delicious meal, the reward ceremony for the decorated item for the year (this year it was snow people), the famous white elephant game, and Sherry's coveted sugar cookies. I truly believe I work in the best department at GHS. We just have such a fun time. For me personally, I look forward to this party every year because I just laugh the entire time (we have some people in our department who could probably be stand-up comedians). Some of the highlights this year included the 365 sex position book, a lava lamp, a Shrek Chia Pet head, and Torken (a project that a student made and a teacher brought as their "gift"). In past years, I was not aware of how unrestricted the gifts were allowed to be. We have had some classics, the Dr. Moix hand painted picture was fan favorite as were the body butters from last year (oddly enough those did not make a return appearance like the Dr. Moix picture...). After 2 years of bringing nice, unoffensive gifts I threw caution to the wind and brought an incredibly tacky gift this year...a faux fur coat and a picture of a No Child Left Behind Memorial from Washington D.C. (It's a teacher joke). Here is Todd in the jacket...cute huh (it's too bad the picture came out blurry)

I was absolutely shocked that this thing got traded 3 times! Matt's Granny Barbara got it for me and while it was a very sweet idea it's just not my taste in outerwear. After sitting in my closet for a year I thought maybe it would be a perfect white elephant gift. Turns out there were some other people who actually liked the thing! At least I know it will get use now :) (Just for the record Todd did not end up getting it)
This hat was another gift to make the rounds. It started with Morag and ended up with Char! I think it's a nice look for Char!

This is Ken checking out the 365 sex positions. I will say there were some interesting ones! I love his "old man" reading stance (He was just joking, but I am glad to have caught the moment!)

Here are some of the newbies (accompanied by some others) singing the Arizona version of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" My favorite lyric is when they switch "we'll conspire" for "we'll perspire." I should get the lyrics and post them because it's a pretty funny song.

Since I didn't have a blog last year I obviously did not put up any pictures from last year's party so I figure now is as good of time as any to post them...

This is Becky (my department head) and Amos (the guys who brought his student's project as a gift). I think we have a little thing with hats! There seems to be a reoccurring theme.

Well, holiday party 2008 went off with a bang. 365 days until next years and fortunately for us we will have a new sex position to try each day to entertain us until the next one ;)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Much Needed Venting...

Just a fair warning to my 3 blog readers: This post is a bunch of mumbo jumbo about teaching certification stuff that may not interest you in anyway, but it's my blog so I am going to write about it anyway. There will, however, be a nice little picture of our Christmas decorations at the bottom though so just fast forward through the complaining section of this post.

Ok so this little debacle of events goes all the way back to November 8th. I e-mailed my college supervisor, we'll call her "Mary," and asked her to set up our final observation (the one where I had to use technology). I waited about a week and a half and there was no response. I e-mailed her again, no response (and this one was on another e-mail address). I e-mailed her a third time another week or so later only to receive NO RESPONSE!! My intern certificate expires on 12/18 so naturally I was pretty stressed because here I am quickly running out of time (At this point it is now the end of November). I decided to pull out the big guns and go to the lady in charge of this whole "intern teacher thing" aka "Mary's" superior. I politely asked her to have "Mary" e-mail me while informing her that I had tried to contact "Mary" three times before. Another 5-7 days pass before I finally get an e-mail from "Mary." At no point in her e-mail does she address the fact that I had tried to contact her 427 times. She sets up her observation for a Monday morning (convenient huh?). I am sitting in my classroom. I'm all ready to little power point review game all set up, lesson plan written and neatly placed on the center of my spotless desk with "Mary's" name on it. The phone rings. It is Stacy (the receptionist at the front desk) telling me that "Mary" has called. She is fine, but she has been in a car accident and will not be able to attend. I was torn between utter frustration and a tiny bit of sympathy. I could only guess how long it would be before she decided to grace me with another e-mail. Meanwhile, time was ticking away. I got an e-mail from her that Wednesday to set up the observation for the next day. Thursday comes. She arrives on time and I do my lesson as planned (we played a math related version of "Holiday Squares"). We have our little debriefing where she says the same useless crap she always says. She tells me that I need to get a final evaluation from my administrator, however, in typical "Mary" fashion she forgets to bring the form. Though I should point out that she never comes out an says this. Instead she acts as if this was how it was supposed to happen. Anyway, lucky for her useless self I had previously made some copies and had some on hand. Is it just me or should I be getting some of her salary since I have been doing her job for a month? I get the form back from my administrator today and race it up to the outgoing mail as fast as I could. Then, I spent my entire lunch today and a little after school calling anyone who would tell me exactly what I needed to send to Az. Department of Ed. (a whole other can of worms in itself) since my trusty college supervisor offered me no information. Come to find out I am going to have to drive all the way out to Tempe now after working a full day tomorrow to pick up my "institutional recommend" (fancy lingo for a letter saying I took all of my classes) simply because "Mary" has put me in such a time crunch and there is not enough time to mail it. I am so frustrated!!! I have dotted every "i" crossed every "t" and I am still running around like a chicken with my head cut off at the final hour...and none of this is my fault!!! If I didn't love my job, I would definitely be rethinking my career path right about now.

So that is enough of my complaining. I am going to focus on something a little more positive now such as Christmas. This is hands down my favorite holiday! I am totally ready, we have done almost all of our Christmas shopping (and we did it online so we avoided being trampled by hedonistic holiday shoppers!) Our lights and tree are up (they actually have been for a couple weeks now, but I am just getting around to mentioning it now) and the weather is getting just about right :) Bring it on Santa! I am really excited because my winter break starts the 20th this year. I get 5 whole days before Christmas to cook, bake, wrap presents, do last minute errands, you name it! Despite my previous ranting, I seriously love my job (and not just because I get time off)! Here is the casa all dressed up for the holidays.

She cleans up well (I think anyway). Well, I should probably go watch the Suns' game with my husband. From the sound of his yelling in the other room I would imagine they are off to a pretty good start! (It's about time!!!) Go Suns :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Socialite City!

Matt and I have had quite a busy weekend. The festivities started on Friday shortly after we got home from work. Some friends from work were having a "happy hour" and Matt and I were invited so we stopped in for a little while. The boys pretty much just went out on the patio and watched the Suns' game (which we won by 1 point :) and the girls stayed in the kitchen and talked about typical "girly" things. With that said, we had a really fun time with this group. Unfortunately I completely forgot to get any pictures :(
After this little "pit stop" we were off to the next event...The Tempe Improv to see Alonzo Boden with my parents. SO MUCH FUN!! I laughed until I cried. I was only able to get one picture from the night because a certain group of people would not cooperate with my over-enthusiasm to take pictures (I guess they do not have the blogger mentality in life that makes you think everything is a blogging opportunity and thus requires a picture). So here I am with my good friend Alonzo (totally kidding...were not actually friends, but he was the only one willing to take a picture).
Anyway, we had such a good time. I highly recommend this comedian. We have seen him 3 times now and each time he has a had a different act and each time has been equally funny as the one before it. He is not crude at all. His act consists of jokes that make you say, "that is so true!" (Always my favorite kind of humor). We didn't get home until after midnight which for anyone who knows us knows that this is WAY past our (my) bed time!
The next night we were out on the town again. My friend Char and her husband Mr. Fujino (my old math teacher and now colleague) had a party at their house. Again, I am a loser and forgot to get a single picture :( It was a another fun evening! They made a very nice dinner, Matt was able to catch up with his old basketball coach (Loutz), and I got to play with Jack (Char and Mr. Fujino's son) who is absolutely adorable! The evening consisted mostly of chatting, eating, and a heated game of Uno (It was not actually heated. I am going for the dramatic effect).
Overall we had a fun, eventful weekend, but I am not going to lie it is now 5:30 p.m. on Sunday and I have yet to muster up the energy to shower (Don't judge me). We must be getting old...Until next weekend when we have another 2 parties planned...Man, being popular is hard work :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Turkey Day! (Crooke side)

After going to the Smith side festivities we headed over to my side of the family for dinner number 2. It was nice and small this year (the group not the meal. My mom never ceases to cook way more than we can eat). It was just immediate family, but that has never stopped us from being the loud group that we are. My sisters and I got into a very distracted game of Yahtzee. We never actually finished. And we did the whole name drawing thing. I think it's funny because every year my mom says, "No one tell who you picked." Within 10 minutes everyone knows who picked them. Matt and I got easy picks this year, my two sisters who are incredibly easy to shop for. I say this because there is a certain member of my family (I will not say any names) who is near impossible to buy presents for. You know the episode of Friends where they pick on Rachel for returning every gift...yeah, that's this person. And, my mom and Scott picked Matt and I which is good because that means my brother didn't. It has been a running joke that no one wants my brother to pick them because we can expect to get a hug for Christmas... We had a nice time visiting. In keeping with tradition Matt, Scott and Johnny go into the other room and watch football and the girls hang out in the kitchen (though none of us actually do the cooking. We let Scott take care of that). Here are some pictures from the day.

The family picture that I worked very hard to get (no one wanted to take it)

Austin was doing a little dance on the bar to entertain his "audience."

My sisters

Brother and Sister

Courtney and Austin

Austin getting into trouble

Scott working on the turkey

Surprise! I got a tattoo. What do you think?

Happy Turkey Day! (Smith side)

Our second annual Thanksgiving has come and gone. I think I am finally getting the whole multiple houses thing down. We started the morning at the Smith side. There were quite a few people there so that was fun. As usual, they made the traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year. I'm weird and not a fan of Thanksgiving food so I brought some non-traditional meals to add to the mix (and so I would have something to eat...being a picky eater is a chore. Let me tell you). I will post my recipes separately.

This is almost everyone at the dinner table. Matt's parents set up a nice little table on the patio. It was such a pretty day out that it was nice to eat outside.

I caught Mike giving Katie a little sample of Turkey. She approved.

Then, I caught Granny Barbara feeding Katie from the table. Granny has made it her personal mission to make Katie like her. She thought a little human food would do the job, but Katie being the snob that she is simply took the food and ran away. I've tried explaining to Granny that it is not personal. Katie has a very select list of people she will let pet her and she just doesn't know her well enough yet. I swear, dogs these days :)

Granny finally wore her down.

This is Matt's cousin's son (they are second cousin's I think?). Is he not the cutest thing you have ever seen?

We hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

Katie's First Trip to PetSmart!

We had been making several trips to PetSmart for Jack's leg (they have an animal hospital inside PetSmart's...who knew?). One day we decided to bring Katie. I remember watching the Dog Whisperer one time (love that show!!) and he said it was a good idea to bring pets to the vet when they don't have to get anything done...especially when they are fearful and neurotic like Katie. So we brought her with us. I was blown away at how good she was! That place is like Disneyland for dogs.

I think the birds were her favorite. She was so intrigued with these disgusting little creatures...Maybe she wanted to eat them. Who knows?

I had to have my fun too. I was teasing her with the toys. She jumped up and tried to grab it though so I decided maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

Finally, they called us when Jack was ready so we had to end our little excursion, but I think Katie had a really good time! (We are going to make excellent parents, Katie bites Jack, and we take her to the pet store while he has to get staples in his leg...). As far as Jack goes, his leg is completely healed, we are allowed to take his cone off (he practically did a back flip), and we may have found him another home (relief!).