Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Life: an update

It's been a crazy few weeks. I had a great time in DC at the TOPSS/APA meeting but then learned that J's dad was hit by a car and suffered multiple broken bones and more. J then somehow managed to balance taking care of her parents' needs, their animals, our girls, our house and --oh yeah, her grad school classes -- while I basically went AWOL finishing up my national board portfolio and submitting that on March 30 (a day early - hurrah). And my mom has been so great as the girls have been on their three-week intersession and she's been able to take them for so many days and really have them feel so loved.

Then J's dad was able to come home after two weeks of quality hospital time and we enjoyed a very eventful Easter with both sides of the family. This morning I finished the last part of the NBPTS with a test of six 30 minute essays that were, uh, interesting. I did learn that when someone that you trust and who got his certification last year says -- "Oh, don't worry about the tests, you'll know it" -- that probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

So today is day 5 of my spring break but it really feels like the first one. And to celebrate I am going to highlight some things that have happened, interjecting them with lyrics from Regina Spektor's last album Far. I listened to this album somewhere between 35-45 times over the past month and it was a great inspiration and motivation.

And I count all my blessings, I have friends in high places
And I'm upgraded daily, all my wires without traces

1) "Fair condition" is not what I thought it was.

There's a meat market down the street
The boys and girls watch each other eat

2) NCAA basketball was a wonderful distraction; when I thought I couldn't type another word, somehow watching Northern Iowa or the Baylor women got me back on track.

It's like forgetting the words to your favorite song
You can't believe it
You were always singing along

3) I am losing my edge. My evidence is that I have found it harder to hate Duke as the season has gone on this year. But come on, I'm not that crazy, they still suck.

I have no wallet, I have no wallet
I keep my cards together with a blue rubber band
And with a free hand I search in my pocket
For pieces of, pieces of paper and change

4) I don't have any ideas about how Durham Public Schools should cut $20 million, but I hope they will stop asking me to choose between stupid option A and stupid option B.

No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes

5) I'm really bummed about the NCSSM senior who died last week in a car accident. I didn't know her but I have seen her photos lately and have heard stories, and I think she must have been a terrific person. To her friends: I'm sorry for your loss.

So we made our own computer out of macaroni pieces
And it did our thinking while we lived our lives

6) I am really proud of my niece who changed her major to computer science this week. I'd like to think she got it from me but I'm afraid she left me behind long ago.

Everyone takes turns, now it's yours to play the part
And they're sitting all around you holding copies of your chart
And the misery inside their eyes is synchronized and reflecting it to yours

7) Affordable health care -- so that your life isn't ruined financially by an accident -- should be a basic right for everyone.

And I'm downloaded daily, I am part of a composite
Hooked into machine, hooked into machine

8) I had to have my palm scanned five separate times today. And surrender my ID. And have my photo taken. And have my every movement captured on video for three hours today. No, not national security -- just taking that silly test.

He stumbled into faith and thought,
This is all there is
The pictures in his mind arose
And began to breathe
And no one saw and no one heard
They just followed lead
The pictures in his mind awoke
And began to breed

9) One of the main components of National Board Certification is reflection. I had to write at least 8 pages of my portfolio as a reflection on my teaching, how students achieved, etc. I may never reflect again in my entire life.

I'll believe it all
There's nothing I won't understand
I'll believe it all
I won't let go of your hand

10) My wife is the best. Without her belief in me I'd be lost. I think she even surprised herself with the amazing balancing act she's done in the past month. I love you J!

Blue lips
Blue veins
Blue, the color of the planet from far, far away

11) (Who said I had to stop at 10?) I had the best time hiking along the Eno River this past weekend with my daughters. Despite grumpiness and complaining -- and that was just from me -- we had a great time. Pictures to come on Facebook. Thanks for reading. Here's to a wonderful rest of Spring!