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Showing posts from 2012

My life in a Chinese prison gang

Ok, let me start by saying that I am not, have not ever been and have no plans on ever being a member of a Chinese prison gang.  This is for a few reasons:

(1) I'm not Chinese.  My husband does insist that I'm the most Asian person he knows - I was born in Okinawa, I lived in China, I speak some Chinese (no where near as much as I did a decade ago) - but I'm still probably about as white as they come.

(2) I've never been to prison.  In my life, I've had two traffic tickets & there was a bench warrant issued when I forgot to pay one of them, but I paid it.  I don't commit crimes, I don't hang out with people that commit crimes.

and (3) I'm not in a gang.  I don't think I'd be very good at it.  I don't like wearing the same color all the time.  I don't like following directions.  And I'm not good at those hand signal things.

Despite all of this, being in a Chinese prison gang is AWESOME!  This all started about 8 months ago.  It …

Election Day!

I'm going to open this up by saying that this isn't a political post.  I voted about 2 weeks ago while wandering through the mall.  I encourage my students and friends to vote... Don't forget to vote!!!!  (See, like that)

But, I don't get particularly political outside of my own four walls.  I could probably count on two hands the number of people that I've had true political discourse with.  It's ok.  That's how I like it.  America is the land of choices.  Each individual is free to choose their candidate and support said candidate.  The beauty of the system is that I don't have to agree with you.  That's it.

Nonetheless, today I was able to reflect on all the elections of my past - 24 years worth of them & while there are a lot of things in my life that I don't remember.  I remember past election days and the excitement that came with them - be it positive or negative outcome (in my opinion).

I will start with 1988, because that's as f…

Why I'm in law school

There is an easy answer to this and a much more complex answer.

Easy answer:  It's Monday night and I'm not supposed to be skipping class.  For the record, class won't start for a while yet, so I'm not ignoring my responsible-student duties by blogging.  :)

More complex answer:  I'm here because of my students.  I actually spoke about this in one of my classes today.  In the past six years, I have seen countless students railroaded by the school district and the Nevada legal system.  I'm not blaming any one person in particular.  It isn't anyone's fault; it is, rather, a culture without forgiveness and without second chances.  Parents and students go blindly, assuming that the schools know best and will do what is fair.  For the record, they won't.  The school will do what it wants to do.

So, you may ask, what does all of this have to do with sitting in law classes?  More than you'd think.  I've seen too many students with poor representati…

On teaching...

Ok, I always have thoughts on teaching.  I do it every day (mostly).  This week, I've gone through what is probably my 10th round of state proficiency tests.  I've never worked in a school where proficiencies come easy to the students.  There are a dozen schools in town where 80% of students or more are likely to pass/graduate/etc.  The graduation rate at Biltmore is less than 30%.  For every hundred kids that sit in my classroom, only 30 of them will graduate.  Another hand full will get a GED.  A few will go to college, a few more will join the military.  A few will pass through our doors and realize that they have NO INTEREST in ever coming back.  Some will stay for years.
I think this has been one of the most disheartening weeks in my career, but at the same time one of the most hopeful.  For the past month, I've been teaching my students to pass the writing proficiency test.  Realistically, it's not hard to pass.  Follow the formula, write in complete sentences, …

To all the friends I've loved before.... (a la Willie Nelson)

I had a chat with a friend of mine yesterday (Stacey, I'm calling you out on this one, because it really made me think) and I realized that I've lost touch with a lot of people, including myself.  Stacey and I discussed the fact that social media (especially Facebook) fools us into thinking that we maintain relationships with people that we realistically don't talk to or have only a superficial connection to.

And Stacey, you're right.  I don't know if you'll ever read this, but you're completely right.  I'm not as bad as I could be, but there are people that I maintain very superficial relationships with, just for the sake of appearances.  I'm not going to name names, because it's not about the individual relationships, it's a matter of the trend that has slowly crept into my life.  When I was in my teens, I would make phone calls and write letters; as I got older and technology increased, I would make phone calls and send emails.  Now, I do…

A "Healthy" Saturday morning

It is 11am on Saturday and I already feel like I've done so much!

I woke up at my normal Saturday time: about 745am.  I don't like getting up at 745am, but I do it for a reason.  After throwing on whichever clean, semi-matching clothes are near me, brushing my hair and teeth and putting in my contacts (sometimes), I walk across the street to Chaparral High School to participate in my weekly produce co-op.

I grew up in a world of farms and gardens, fresh and home-jarred fruits and freshly baked bread.  I do not have a farm, I don't even have a yard in which to plant a garden.  Besides, I live in Las Vegas.  We can't keep geraniums alive outside during July and August; I don't see veggies making it.

I also decided that I don't really have the patience for baking my own bread.  I've tried it and I'm actually pretty good at it, but I have to block out an entire day on my calendar.  Something like "the cable guy is coming between 9am and 3pm today, I c…

Working in the coal mines...

Ok, I'll be honest, I don't actually work in coal mines.  I think coal mines would be safer  :)

On Friday, I went back to work after a month of recovery - actually about 2 weeks of recovery and two weeks of hanging out bored silly.  Now, I've been working for three days and it almost feels like three months.  I'm so tired!

My day consists of teaching seven classes, five different titles to approximately 120 total students.  Other teachers reading this are thinking "well, 120 students in one day isn't that many, I have 250!"  This is true, I used to be in a "regular" school with hundreds of students under my wing.  Two years ago, I switched gears and now teach at a specialized school.  Normally, specialized implies gifted students, or those focused on arts, culinary programs, etc.  I WISH that was the case.  I work at a specialized school for students that haven't figured out that the rules of civilized society also apply to them.  My student…

In today's episode of General Hospital...

Today I had two doctor's appointments.  Early-ish this morning, I got up and went to have some lab work done.  It has been 30 days since my kidney donation and the doctors needed some follow up labs to make sure that my remaining kidney is doing its job as required.  What would normally be a simple trip to Quest turned into an enormous pain in the ass.

I had made an appointment to go at 830am.  Since Mike managed to take both his and my keys to work this morning, I got there at about 835, after digging around for my spare keys.  I will grant that I was late, but that should not mean that what would typically be a 10-15 minute appointment should turn into an hour-long headache.  I spent much of that time standing in line waiting for the guy to take my appointment slip.  Instead of letting people check in (there is an appointment line and a walk-in line), he was calling names off of his appointment sheet, which meant that even though I was third in line when I walked in the door, ei…

My demonic spaniel

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Today, I'm going to tell you about Lily.
She even has glowing eyes in this picture.  That's not even a mistake or camera-glare.  That's Lily's true evil shining though.  I will grant that most of us say lovely things about our dogs and talk about how they are life-long companions with hearts made out of marshmallows.  Nope, not Lily.  Spawn of the Devil.

From a young age, Lily was always very different from Paris (shown here with a bad haircut and a look for horror on his face that I'm capturing said haircut on film).  Paris is a snuggle-whore to the nth degree, mellow and an amazing dog.  Because he was so amazing, and also lonely, I got Lily.  It seemed like a good idea.

But, where Paris was mellow and laid back, Lily was that kid that ate too much ice cream before bed.    She ran and jumped and barked and whined all the time.  I thought "ok, she's a puppy, she'll outgrow it."  I was right.  She outgrew crazy and went into evil-genius mode.  She…

It's Monday...

... I'm not really sure what more there is to say... lol.

I had a fantastic weekend with Shelley at the weekend scrapbook retreat.  I was amazingly productive and got so much done.  I had nearly three full days of focused scrapbook and crafting time, in which I completed more than I have in the past year combined (perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but not too much) and also ate an absurd amount of fruit.  I understand that it's an inexpensive catering option for our hosts, but a fruit tray at every meal is insane.  On the plus-side, no one at the retreat will have scurvy.

We came home yesterday (Sunday) afternoon and I got to spend a fantastic evening with my husband to round out the weekend before Monday rolled around.  We got out of the house and visited the Las Vegas Foodie Fest - a collection of food trucks and bad 80s cover bands.  I had a tasty, tasty crab cake sandwich and some truffle oil-infused fries.  Oh, so good.  :)

And, now it's Monday.  Nothing happened, not…

Creativity abounds!

In about ten minutes, I am leaving for Primm (a tiny pretend town, er casino) on the state line of California - about 25 miles away.  My friend Shelley and I are having a girl's weekend at a scrapbooking retreat.  I am soooo excited.  I'm finally going to sit down with the photos from the past 18 months and create scrapbooks from the wedding, honeymoon and some random trips that we've taken. 

There are a few scrapbook challenges that I'm going to try to take part in, maybe win some sort of amazing prize... I'm not crazy creative, so I don't know about winning, but I know I'm going to have an amazing good time.  I went to this same retreat two years ago in it's infancy and I've heard that it's grown a bit and become more organized and all in all, more fun.  I love fun, I love crafting!

So, while I'm only having a pretend post today, there it is:)

Musings on Rock Stardom

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**Normally I'm not a YouTube person, but for this post, I've added some videos so you can listen to the music I'm talking about.  Most of it, you may know, but it's fun to listen to it while you're reading about it.**

Last night Mike and I went out for dinner and Maroon 5's catchy "Moves like Jagger"

came on the house stereo.  That started a conversation about rock stardom and the concept of being a rock star.  He told me that it never fails that at least once a year he had to explain to a student or two that no matter how awesome a rapper was, or how hard they managed to party, they still wanted to "party like a rock star".   Even Lil Wayne, deep down, wanted to be Mic Jagger. In recent years, no single artist has been banned from an entire chain of hotels, nor have there been rumors of trying to remodel one's hotel room with a chainsaw.  No one has managed to drive a Ferrari into a hotel swimming pool, no one has made national news wi…

Dogs and God

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I wanted to post this on my blog because it's soooo sweet. It reminds me of my Paris and Lily dogs.

A new identity

Today, somewhere between my house and UNLV and Biltmore, I lost my wallet.  UNLV and Biltmore are probably the two worst places in Las Vegas to lose one's wallet, short of a crack den.  I was really excited because I was going to UNLV to pay my tuition deposit for law school.  Oh yeah, I said it, law school.  I haven't made a huge announcement, but I'm starting night school in August.

I went to UNLV to pay my deposit, had to show the gal my driver's license and then was on to Biltmore to sign some papers for some students.  Then I had to go to the post office.  When I got to the post office, I had no wallet.  Just an empty purse. Of course, I was heartbroken.  I called some people, I went back to look and nothing!

Not only was this sad for the obvious reason, but it was also sad because it killed my lunch and mani/pedi plans with my friend Jessica.  I went home and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too difficult to report everything lost.  My biggest fear was…

My first post

Of all of the things I've done, I've never blogged before.  Maybe it's just one of those things that seems like a page from a bad Lifetime movie... woman begins blogging and the next thing you know, she's involved in an international crime syndicate based on internet fraud.  Actually, that doesn't' seem like such a bad idea.  Not the crime part, or the internet fraud part... actually, mostly just the international part :)

Mostly I want to have a blog because there are a number of scrapbooking contests that require it.  Damn those silly rules.  So, I'm going to have a blog to enter the contests!

I'm not going to go back to the beginning and chronicle my life from birth until now.  Rest assured, as the title implies, it is a life in progress.  I like the idea of that - like a work in progress.  It's not perfect - yet.  We are working on it.