Archive | April, 2012

Odds and Ends

30 Apr

Just a quick one today.  I have a few, brief thoughts:

-I hate inaccuracies in movies that are blatantly inaccurate, but you know, whatever if it moves the plot forward.  Ex: In National Treasure, Riley is filming with a video camera inside the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence is kept.  Um, sooooooo against the rules.  They are brutal about that sort of thing!!  I know from experience!

-There is nothing like the annual Children’s choir program at BridgePoint.  Every year it is fantastic.  I will say that those 6th graders ROCKED the leads in the play.  And all the kids were so cute and sang so well.  Our church has a looooooong history of great children’s choir.  The adults that run it work tirelessly and deserve any accolades they get!

-I think allergy season is lasting a lot longer this year.

-There are only 22 days of school left!  Of those 22, 5 are finals, one is 8th grade picnic, one is a field trip day, one is a day that I am off campus for school business and 2 are “personal days”.  This means that I have 12 more normal days with kids 🙂

-For all of you wondering, the Katy ISD job fair was fine.  I talked to several schools.  I know nothing right now and probably won’t until at least the end of the week.

-Mad Men was reallllllllly good last night!

Tomorrows Top 10?  I’ve been thinking about it all week long!

A Gettysburg Soapbox

27 Apr

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

I love this speech.  I picture Abraham Lincoln standing on this land that just 5 months previous was the site of the most devastating battle in American History.  Lincoln is brokenhearted that this war has taken so many lives.  Lincoln is brokenhearted that differences between the north and the south couldn’t be rectified without so much death.  Lincoln stands before these men and women trying to make sense of the devastation that took their sons, fathers, husbands and brothers.  He has gone to Gettysburg to pay tribute to these men.  To dedicate the battlefield to their memory.  He realizes that the best way that Americans can truly honor those who died is to come together as a nation, work through the differences and celebrate the rebirth of the United States of America.  What is interesting is that this speech came at the end of the ceremony and many people, relatives of those who had died had already left.  So many of the people that Lincoln meant this for never got to hear it.  Fortunately for us, someone somewhere along the line found value in this speech and it made its way into our History curriculum.  It made its way to the National Archives in Washington, DC.  

In the movie Remember the Titans, in an effort to bring together the black and white football players at the newly opened TC Williams HIgh School in Alexandria, VA, Denzel Washington’s character takes the boys on a 3:00 AM run.  They end up on the battlefield at Gettysburg and Washington turns to them and explains that 100 years ago young men; black, white and everything in between had fought on that battlefield for their rights.  He explains in words that I wish I could remember right now that those boys gave their lives, and here it was, 100 years later and it was like people were still fighting the same battle.  I can’t even think about that scene without tearing up.

What I think is really sad, though, is that Lincoln was killed before he got a chance to see his dreams realized.  I shake my head when I think about the words that Lincoln delivered,  

“..that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  

All he wanted was to see America put back together.  Sometimes I just want to ask God to make sure that Lincoln knows that, although we still argue, athough we are still divided on so many issues, we are SO much better as a country than we were back then.  I think that it would warm his heart to know that although it took another 100 years we finally got rid of racism as a tolerable right of the white man.  This is to say, obviously there are still racists in the world, but that sort of behavior is not tolerated as an appropriate way of life.  What joy Lincoln would have taken in seeing his dream of reunification realized!  His leadership and his vision did so much to shape reconstruction.  Andrew Johnson worked tirelessly to see Lincoln’s Reconstruction put into effect.  Sadly, Congress took over and the process of Reconstruction did not look like what Lincoln had meant it to be.  

So, although this has gone on longer than I originally meant it to, I do have a point.  I try hard to mostly stay out of politics.  I know what I know and I believe in what I believe in.  But what I see around me is a broken country.  Certainly not to the extent that it was back in Lincoln’s day, but broken nonetheless.  I feel like we are becoming more and more divided and are simply trading back and forth Democrat and Republican presidents and senators and representatives.  And to what end?  No one is ever happy enough.  “We aren’t progressive enough!” Cry the liberals.  “We need to get back to family values!”  Shout the conservatives.  And you know what?  Both are right!   We don’t ever want to forget that our freedoms, the ones that give us the right to vote and speak freely and carry a gun and be treated with dignity, we hard-won in battle.  Is fighting always the answer?  Holy cow, no!!  But when we throw away civil conversations and we refuse to try to work together, we disregard the sacrifice of those soldiers on that battlefield back in the summer of 1863 and we make meaningless the effort put forth unabashedly to reunite the United States of America.  

In closing I would like to refute one thing that Mr. Lincoln said:

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here…”

So untrue, Mr. President.  We remember and we thank you for reminding us of what we have in America.

Three Things Thursday!

26 Apr

First of all, thank you to all my friends who commented on yesterday’s post.  I definitely appreciated the way that you all had a slightly different view on what I was saying.

Today, however is my 2nd favorite day of the (blog) week.  I came up with Three Things Thursdays because it was alliterative and I already had a day for top 10’s.  Honestly it really makes me think about how to narrow down a topic to just three things.

Today is… Three Things for the next Three Days

1. Friday– tomorrow is the 8th grade US History STAAR test.  This is what I have been teaching toward all year long.  I think my kids are ready.  I know that they are aware of the need for taking testing more seriously than they take their everyday classes.  When I ask the kids if they think they are ready, I get a variety of responses.  “no, I am totally going to fail!”  “Well, are you going to study tonight?”  “Nah, I’m going to McDonalds with my dad”.  Oh, okay.  Sure.  Whatevs.  In my  9 (NINE!!!) years of teaching this is the first “high stakes” test subject I have ever taught.  I’m definitely nervous!!  At the same time, I KNOW I have taught this information.  I also know that most of them will probably do better than they think they will 😉

2. Saturday– Less than 48 hours from right now I will be at the Katy ISD job fair talking myself up to at least 10 prinicipals from the district.  I am excited.  I am nervous.  I am hopeful.  I am excited that my friend Kristin will be there at the Seven Lake Junior High table and I am excited that my friend Cindy is going to the job fair also, so I will have people to talk to!

3. Sunday– In June our Children’s Director at church, Christy Conder is moving to Nashville.  That is in Tennessee.  Tennessee is not in any way close to Houston.  Therefore she will not be our director anymore 😦  Sadness in our hearts!!  So we are having a going away/birthday party in her honor at church on Sunday.  It promises to be a VERY fun afternoon!

So that’s my life in the next 72 hours.  I know, you’re jealous aren’t you?  Well, in the wise words of Cher Horowitz, “not everyone can be as fabulous as me!”

Laters!!

3rd Time’s the Charm??

25 Apr

It’s about to get real.

I tend to keep things bottled up, especially when it comes to certain topics.  I am as honest as the day is long if you ask my opinion about something or about topics that don’t bring about real discussion.  Or even if I know that the person I am talking to has the same opinions that I do.  But there are a lot of things I am uncomfortable talking about.  I don’t like to talk about politics.  I know what I believe and I hate having to defend myself.  What if I am wrong about certain facts?  What if my information is not the most up to date or I got it from an (unbeknownst to me) unreliable source?  I don’t like when I walk into a store and the sales staff ask me if I need help.  I LOATHE when people who work the little kiosks in the mall try to get me to try their product just because I didn’t avert my eyes soon enough.  I don’t like talking about my body issues to anyone, even my sister.  I never talked to my parents about boys that I liked growing up.  I was embarrassed when I started to need a bra and when I started my period.  The only reason I told my mom was because, although I knew what products I needed, I wasn’t sure if there were any in the house.  Basically, I don’t like to show weakness.   So, all that being said, you can imagine how difficult it is to share the following information with you.

I joined eHarmony.

Just typing those three words scares the crap out of me.  I know a lot of you are probably thinking, “why is that shocking or weird in any way?”  And I guess for most people it isn’t.  It wasn’t for my sister.  She met her husband on eharmony, so clearly it worked out for her.  I know other people who have met and married because of online dating.  So why the disconnect?

Let me back up a bit.  I am going to try AS HARD AS I CAN to not veer off on rabbit trails, but seriously, the inside of my head looks more complicated than a 1990’s Bev Hills, 90210 hook-up chart.  Everything is connected.  I barely even know where to begin.  There are 3 prongs on this eHarmony fork.

Ok, so if you had asked me 15 years ago when I graduated from college where I would be at age 37 I definitely would have said that I would be married.  Like, without a doubt.  And yet, despite some near misses, here I am, still painfully single.  Brutal Honesty- I feel most alone when I am at church.  Yep.  Church.  I think that’s really what prompted this whole post idea.  Last Sunday night I was at a meeting at church for the new building project.  One of the elders got up to speak (I should note that he is about my age) and said that when he and his wife started coming, family was a big reason that they stayed at BridgePoint.  It doesn’t matter where you go, you are going to be greeted by people and shown to the appropriate Sunday School class and hooked up with men’s or women’s or kids’ groups.  He’s right.  However, if you are single, a lot of that goes out the window.  Fact- I really don’t fit in with the Single’s class.  Not going to go into detail, just…. it isn’t a good fit.  Fact- I don’t fit into the classes that host people my age because they are all married.  I just can’t tell you how heart-breaking it is to feel like you don’t fit in at church. I can’t tell you how many times I have left church in tears.  Yes, there are other churches.  I tried it.  I didn’t like it.  Spring Branch/BridgePoint is my HOME!  What many people- even my close friends- don’t know about me is that in every other way, I am a mid-30’s married person.  I just don’t have the husband.  I don’t go out partying (much) and when I do, it’s awkward.  We’ll get to that more in my second fork prong.  I like to be at home on the weekends.  I like having dinner over at a friend’s house and being home by 9:00 PM.  I like sitting with my friends while their kids are at swim practice. I am very fortunate that I have made a LOT of really close married girl friends.  They are very good to me and for me.  And you know, maybe everyone feels like this a little bit.  But I feel SO awkward around people at church sometimes.  I feel like people are saying to themselves, “I wonder what’s wrong with Elizabeth that she can’t get a man!  I wonder why Elizabeth hangs out with married people when she isn’t married!”  Oh, goodness, my imagination is a gift from the Lord, but sometimes it gets carried away.  I have always wanted to meet my future husband at church.  I mean, what better place?  But it just isn’t working that way.  I HATE the idea of online dating, but I don’t know what else to do!!

Prong number 2- When I  see people in casual situations, like at the gym, with their make-up totally done I usually think that they look like they try to hard.  But what if that is what *I* should be doing?  I’m just a grown-up tomboy at heart.  If I didn’t have bad knees I would still climb trees and jump off of swings at the park.  I am most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt with my hair in a ponytail and minimal, if any, make-up on.  So I’m left to question how much of that I just need to grow up and change and how much of that is just who I am, so I shouldn’t change at all.  I guess it’s that old question of balancing when “doesn’t put much effort in” become “doesn’t give a crap”, and when does “tries really hard” become “desperation”?  And where do I fall on that scale?  And more importantly,  where do I *WANT* to fall on that scale?

Prong 3- I’ve tried this eHarmony thing before.  When I was 28 I was on for about a month or so.  I really wasn’t all that into it and honestly I feel like they have changed it some, so I actually like it better.  I tried it the second time when I was 32.  In the three months I was on, I did not get a single person who was even remotely interested in me.  Not one.  So I quit to go lick my emotional wounds and vowed that online dating wasn’t for me.  But ever since the Charlotte situation I have been wondering if maybe it was me.  I know that I wasn’t completely honest with myself about that personality survey in the past.  Maybe I wasn’t getting any nibbles because I wasn’t putting the real me out there.  So about 2 weeks ago I came home and filled out information (for free) on eHarmony, match.com and Christianmingle.com.  I was brutally honest both with myself and about myself.  I looked to see who I was getting.  This is not an easy feat since there is a lot they won’t let you see unless you give them money :(.  I noticed that on both match and christianmingle, the “Christians” they were matching me with didn’t really seem to care if their mate was a Bible-believing Christian.  They would say, I’m a Christian/Protestant.  I want my match to be Christian/Protestant, Christian/Catholic, Christian/LDS, Christian/Other, Athiest, Muslim.  WHAT THEY HECK?? I decided I didn’t want anything to do with that,  However, after thinking very carefully about it and shaking my head at what I was about to do more times than I can count, I joined the most expensive of the three (doesn’t it always seem to work that way???).  So here’s where I am at:  Everyday eHarmony sends me “matches”.  Some of them I archive-which is a fancy way of saying, “please get out of my potential husband pool”, but most of them I look at and then wait.  And wait.  And FREAKING wait!!!  Why?  Why don’t I contact them?  Not so much out of fear.  More because of this:  Anyone I am matched with has me a potential match too.  Most of them have not archived me.  So they are just sitting there waiting for ME to make the first move?  Why on earth would I want a guy who can’t take initiative???  It’s frustrating as all get out, because some of them seem really nice and like guys I would love to get to know.  I just wish SOMEONE would start that conversation.  So then I start wondering if I SHOULD start the conversation.  But then Julie Ortiz would kill me because she knows that isn’t want I need.  I NEED a man who will take charge.  So do it already!!!

I know this is long, and if you have stuck with me, I love you for it.  I swear to you that this is not something I take lightly.  One of my biggest fears is that I will never get married.  It scares the CRAP out of me to think that.  As far as kids- I am a solid maybe on that, but I have NEVER wavered in my desire to be a wife.  To support someone as they support me.  To grow old with.  To worship with. To sit with in church!  To share all those fabulous road trips.  Heck, I want someone I can cook for!!

I may never get this real again on this blog.  I hope so, but this was hard, ya’ll.  For reals!!

Top Ten Tuesday

24 Apr

First of all, I really have wanted to write the last 2 days.  I have a lot floating in my head…. I’m just not sure I’m ready to put it into cyberspace.  But enough of that.  Today is Top Ten Tuesday, and with no further delay I present to you….

TOP 10 PICTURES ON MY CELL PHONE

Oh, you KNOW this is going to be good!!  I have a LOT of pictures on my phone.  These top 10 aren’t even ones that have been sent to me.  I hope you enjoy this!

10. A student asked me to sharpen his already stubby pencil.  When I was through with it, this is what remained.  Yes, he proceeded to use it all period.  No, I have no idea how…

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9. One of my students told me he lost his notebook.  I had no sympathy since I was pretty sure his negligence was to blame.  So I pretended to be very concerned and made this:

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8. I don’t even know where you GET a rabbit foot this big.  Nor do I really care to know….

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7. Oh Dorothy.  You are a source of constant amusement….

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6. Possibly THE most entertaining spelling of my name EVER….

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5. This is what a perfect Saturday morning looks like 🙂Image

4. Opening Day 2012.  A Clark tradition that my dad and I started in 2006 and my friends were kind enough to help me continue in 2011 and 12!!

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3. This is what my sister got me for my birthday.  The first opportunity I had to use my new set of light-up martini glasses was with my neices and nephews.  NOT an ideal drinking container for an 8 year old…  but especially unadvisable for a 3 and a half year old boy.  I mean I kind of knew it wasn’t my brightest idea, but they LOOOOOOVED the light up part!!

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2. The first picture of all 5 kids!!!  This took me about 7 tries.  If you think that it was easy getting Abie to look at me and not his new baby brother, you would be sorely mistaken!

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1. This was literally taken 3 minutes after he was born!  I looked at the time stamp to check.  I love my sweet nephew!!

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The happiest of Tuesdays to everyone out there!!!!

Kisses XOXO

What to wear to a Roller Derby bout….

22 Apr

Guess what I did this evening??  

A few years ago, Drew Barrymore wrote, produced, directed, starred in and provided craft services for a movie called Whip It! all about the interesting world of roller derby in Austin.  Besides Drew it also starred Ellen Page (from Juno and Inception) and Kristen Wiig among others.  I had never thought too much about roller derby before that.  No, scratch that I had never thought once about roller derby before that, but I was totally enthralled and I might totally own it now 😉  I had no idea that there was an actual league in Houston, but sure enough, the Houston Roller Derby exists.  It is made up of about 5 teams who play one another as well as teams from other cities around Texas.  There is also an All-Star team that competes against teams from other places (like Chicago).  So last week while I was being supportive of a friend at speed dating we found out that there was going to be a roller derby bout tonight.  

Now, as some of you know, I participated in a car wash earlier today.  I was worn out, dear readers!  Not going to lie.  Then I started thinking about getting dressed.  And I knew that jeans were pretty much a must.  But WHAT ON EARTH does one wear to a roller derby competition (I later learned the word ’bout’)????  So I did what any self-respecting girl would do.  I thought about WWSJD….. I know you have the “What would…..do”  but you are dying to know what (or in this case, who) SJ is.  To explain that, I have to start another story.  This is one of those “peel back the onion” situations.  This story has many colorful layers.  

Fifteen years ago I moved to Houston a wide-eyed innocent who was not intuitive about what to wear in various situations.  I was also not great about knowing what make-up worked for me.  I remember when I was about 15 I went though a stage where I had red hair and wore BRIGHT PINK LIPSTICK.  It was sooooo not a cute look for me!!! Anyway, my dear friend whose name is now Stephanie Jones (but was not back in the day) took me under her stylish wing and taught me the ways of Sephora, Bobbi Brown and the godmother of all make-up M.A.C.  I LOOOOOOVE MAC makeup!!!  And Steph taught me how to choose, buy and wear this makeup.  She also taught me how to dress cool.  It took a long time to take hold, but in a situation where I am unsure of the dress code, I try to think about situations where the dress code would be similar.  

So back to tonight.  I decided that someone who goes to Roller Derby is probably pretty laid back.  I pictured leather jackets, biker books, eyeliner.  Except for the leather jacket, I could make that work.  So on went my favorite jeans, a basic cream-colored top, sandals (which were later switched out for the aforementioned biker boots because I wasn’t sure what the status of the floor would be….) and eyeliner.  I added teal eye shadow, bronzer, silver hoops, a stick straight, blonde ponytail and some lip gloss and I was ready to rock.  My favorite cream colored clutch finished the outfit.  I looked like I was ready to possibly kick butt and take names, but also probably blend in to the crowd.  

In the end I did not have to kick any butts, I did pretty much blend in, and I learned that reserved seats in the VIP section for a mere $10 more would be a very wise investment in the future!  What a fun evening!!

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Three Things Thursday

19 Apr

Here are three things that are on my mind today…. of course this is subject to change as it is not even Noon yet, but whatever.  I’m going over to Julie’s after school and I didn’t want to put off writing until afterward.

1. I just found out that my favorite salad in all the land; the one I go to when I want to eat healthy, the one I have turned others onto… is on the list of “20 Salads that are Worse for you to eat than a Freaking Burger King Whopper with Cheese”.  Ok, I may have bungled the title a bit, but it really is about 20 salads that you should avoid.  And there it was at number 11… Coming in at 1150 calories, the Chopped BBQ Chicken salad from California Pizza Kitchen.  Of course, I do always order the half salad, but still- WHAT THE CRAP???  This (points to self) is NOT a happy face!!

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2. I am looking to change jobs (not careers, just going to a different school.  Preferably a high school).  What I really want, is to go back to private school.  I’m not sure if everyone is aware, but private doesn’t pay NEARLY as much as public school.  In Houston, public school actually pays really well (for school anyway…).  This would be a non-issue if my multi-millionaire lawyer/model/baseball player husband had not run off and joined the circus, but sadly I find myself the sole breadwinner of my household (modest though it may be), so making less money is not really something I am prepared for.  Now the exception to the “private pays less” rule is a few schools in the area that cater to the superbly wealthy, and therefore charge a figurative arm and possibly a literal leg for tuition, and therefore can pay their teachers more.  These are the schools to whom I want to pimp myself out.  The trick is finding a school that A. wants a teacher for high school (or middle school) history and B. isn’t sitting in that awkward place where they have already filled the position but have yet to remove it from their website.  My alternative (which is slowly becoming my only option) is to transfer to a different district.  This being said I will be selling myself like a cheap hooker at the Katy ISD job fair next Saturday.  Wish me luck!

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3. I was just called “Clark Grisswold”.  Just now, by a student who is ANNOYING, but sadly, also hilarious.  He was calling me Ms Clark, then just Clark, then it turned into Clark Kent and finally Clark Grisswld, complete with references to my inablity to take a decent vacation and my weird relatives who come at Christmas time.  I’m torn between being irritated that he’s interrupting my class and the super-important STAAR reviews and being kind of impressed that he knows who Clark Grisswold is.

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To answer your unasked question, YES, I should totally be using my time better.  But I’m not.  I have spring fever and it is a strong case.  Also, I can mult-task like you wouldn’t believe.  Also, this post has taken me almost 3 hours to write since I do actually attend to the students’ academic needs.  Happy Thursday, see you tomorrow!!