Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Prior to 2003, I always thought of celebrating October 31 for different reasons. the 31st of October is traditionally a Lutheran Holiday. That is the day that Martin Luther went to a Catholic church in Germany and nailed to the door his list of problems with the Catholic Church. He did this on Hallows Eve because he knew that everyone who is anyone would be at the cathedral the next day for all saints day. I dated a Lutheran girl for several years and her church always had a HUGE party on Halloween because for them - it was independence day. Since dating that girl, I've always continued to celebrate not only the pagan holiday, but also the Lutheran one as well.
But for the last 4 years, this day has continued to grow in what I can't help but think of but as a day of remembrance and appreciation. Because of choices my parents made today in 1970, I am a member of an awesome family with an awesome father, mother and brother.
My mother was working retail and October 31st was the last day she could get off from work prior to the holiday season and wouldn't be available for marriage until after February some time. My father had stuff going on up to the 30th of October and so the 31st was the day that was chosen. And in an LDS church in southern California my parents were married. My dad's parents were there as were two of my parents' friends. Oh, and the bishop. That was it. Small and intimate. (I think this is why I crave small weddings and eloping)
A few years after that marriage they decided to have my brother. Then they decided to have me.
So I need to say this, just so that my mother doesn't die inside of me any more today:
Happy 37th Anniversary Mom and Dad!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Habit in Action - I am constantly reading and checking e-mail. I don't always respond right away, but I do constantly check.
Good Habit - I always use my wireless headset when driving. I am not going to be one of those people that look like they are drunk and driving just because I have to use one hand to drive.
Bad Habit - I bite my nails when I'm bored or nervous.
Habit to aspire to - Always taking a good shot for PAD and not "mundane" pictures of my apartment. I think the real goal is to take a picture that brightens someone's day: Like airplanes for Dun, sunflowers and daisy's for Gu, animals for Melinda and Nina, and landscapes for my father. But I definitely need to aspire to taking quality shots.
Habit forming - I spend way too much time watching TV and playing on the internet. I'm trying to get into the habit of being creative and using my time for others if I don't need my time. If I carve more, I can give my carvings away to brighten someone's day. This is a picture of the next fish I'm trying to carve after the last one didn't turn out that bad.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I just thought you'd like to know.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Even though there is obviously a road that would have gotten me closer, this is the best I could do. The nice man with the gun standing next to the unmarked government truck told me I could take as many pictures as I wanted as long as I stayed where I was.
These boats are part of the reserve fleet located in Suisun Bay.
Monday, October 22, 2007
This house was for sale about 5 years ago and I tried and tried to get my buddy Harold to buy it. He was marrying a beautiful woman with two kids. Then there was John, Krista and I. We would still have 6 rooms left over after that!! We could have gone days without even seeing each other!! We could have built treasure maps for guests just to find the bathroom! But no, Harold bought a house in another city instead. Sad days.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
I'm still unemployed. To become a teacher is not an instant thing and there are hoops to jump through. I'm in the process of jumping through those hoops. Heres the hoops:
1. Pass the CSET & CEBEST. I took the CSET that takes the place of both the standard CSET and also the CBEST. It was a 4 part test. I found out on the 9th of October that I passed at least three out of 4 of them. On the 15th I found out I passed the 4th test. That allowed me to proceed forward.
2. Apply to Project Pipeline. I found out late on Monday about finally getting through hoop 1. So on Wednesday was the earliest I could make it to Sacramento to drop off my application. I did so on Wednesday. Now my application will be reviewed and I should know by Tuesday whether or not I can get the go-ahead from PP to proceed. If they say they are going to take me, they will mail me a letter that I can then take to districts that say I'm part of an intern program.
--I'm to this Point --
3. Apply to Districts. At this point, there are very few districts still advertising openings for Mild to Moderate Special Education Teachers. There are three districts I'm going to apply to as soon as I get the go-ahead letter from PP. In the meantime, for the last two days I have been scanning documents preparing for the day I get to apply. I had to put all of my transcripts, CSET scores, letters of recommendation, resume, and various other forms into PDF format so that they can be uploaded to the Online application process. Aggravating frustrating work.
4. Interviewed/Offering. Once I apply then I will need to be interviewed by each district and then offered a position.
5. Fingerprint, background check, TB test. After a position is offered I will need to be fingerprinted to see if I'm a felon. Next they will do a short background check to double check that I'm not a criminal. Then they will have me give them proof that I don't have TB (which for me means that I will have to get a chest x-ray. Yes, Nina dear, at some point I will glow in the dark).
6. Pre-service. Prior to getting into a classroom, though, I will have to go through a 120 hour state mandated pre-service training where they will teach me stuff I already know.
7. Finally I'll be in a classroom. And trust me - I will e-mail all of you and tell all of you. I promise.
On a different note, I got an e-mail today telling me that I have an interview with the county of Contra Costa County to be a Therapy Aide for a PT/OT clinic ran by the county. It pays 4 dollars an hour less and has less hours than a teaching job, but it doesn't have 40 hoops to jump through to get to it. Yippee!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I am an Eagle Scout. I finished up the requirements to be an Eagle 3 hours before the office closed before I turned 18. I was a boy scout for the better of 6 years and was a weblo scout and a cub scout before that. Scouting is something I naturally enjoy. I give this as a disclaimer to the rest of my post.
In scouting the boys are divided up into the simplest of organizations. A Scout is a individual scout first, who will always be prepared and do a good turn daily. Following this, a scout is a member of a patrol. Several patrols make up a troop. Several troops make up a counsel. For example: as a kid I was Sean, Bears, Troop 131, Mission Peak Counsel.
Patrols are an intragal part of scouting. Each patrol is where a boy becomes close friends with his other scouters and a bond is formed. For example, one time I was part of a patrol with my brother and four other young men. We were called "The Purple Euphoriacs." (A name my brother suggested.) I'm still on fairly good terms with each of these men.
In a patrol, there are certain things you must have. You must have a name, a cheer, a song, and a flag. It's helpful to have a badge as well, but not necessary. We were the Purple Euphoriacs. Our Cheer was repeating our name three times getting louder each time. Our song was similar to our cheer in that we repeated our name three times, but it was set to music and we then laughed at the end as if in a drug induced euphoria. Our flag had a big smiling face on it where the smile kept going around and around in a circle that resembled the rings on a 100 year old tree. We did not have a badge.
All of the before mentioned was setting up for this: I tend to run my relationships like I would run a patrol and am very unsettled when a relationship is missing either the name, cheer, song, or flag. Each part is critically important in my mind.
When a relationship is first getting started, I am often introduced as "My boyfriend." This is a pleasing title, but it usually goes to people seeing us together and saying "There goes Catherine and her boyfriend." There really is no unity in that, mainly because it is applicable to any situation Catherine is in where she is with a boy. I love it when friends on both sides of the fence have decided to get to know the prospective mate enough that it is "There goes Nina & Sean" or "There goes Sean and Nina." Either way, the relationship has a name. It's the Nina and Sean Relationship.
Choosing a song in a relationship is important and has a lot of factors to consider. First of all it is important to find a song that speaks to your relationship. For example, Nina lives far away from me so we could have "Plain White T's" as our song. Nina has brown eyes occasionally (according to her), so we could have "brown eyed girl". However neither seems to fit, so we are still trying to find a song.
Secondly the song must be a song you are willing to bring you up or destroy you for the rest of your life. While in high school I dated a girl and our song for 2 years was "I'll Stand By You". After we broke up, I had to rid my life of that song. I eventually turned to Rap and country as those were the only two stations that didn't play the song. I slowly (very slowly) came around to that being a good song that I could listen to without thinking horrible thoughts about my wench of an ex-girlfriend.
Lastly, it kind of has to be a slow song. In theory (except at my wedding), this song will be the first song you dance to at your wedding. One of Krista and I's songs (we dated for over two years and had a plethora of songs that were "our" song) was Mama Mia (the version from the play/musical). I doubt we could have danced slowly to that song.
The cheer in a relationship is important but it isn't the same type of cheer you have in scouting. A cheer born out of a patrol usually has some sort of inside meaning. I was once part of a patrol called the Marley Nachos. Our patrol had a cheer that really only meant something to those of us that were Mormon living in Fremont CA. No one else really understood our cheer which was fine by us.
On a similar vain, for me a relationship needs to have and inside joke. Krista and I had rats, watermelon, and origami shell fish. Catherine and I had my truck. The second Jessica I dated (whom my friends used to call "suck face") and I had X-Men. They are all little things that only I and my girlfriend understand. The world out there could say something and we would look at each other and smile. We smiled at the inside stories that went along with what was happening.
The flag was a symbol of your patrol. When people see your flag they know who you are. A flag also allows people to know you are there. When first arriving to summer camp (or as my mom called it - vacation), the first thing a patrol would do was place its flag out in front of its campsite. This signaled the other patrols and troops that the Purple Euphoriacs were at camp.
A flag in a relationship is a symbol of sorts to others that an exchange is going on between loved ones. Catherine used to poster gold stars all over my house when I wasn't home. Krista used to put up multi colored hearts on my garage and all over my house. Lanae used to gives bags of Hersey kisses to one of my teachers and I would get it two periods later. These were our flags.
All of this preceding was to answer a few of your questions. The answers are as follows:
Name: The Nina and Sean Relationship
Cheer: Eyebrows, funner and anyways
Flag: A thimble (as can be seen in PAD shots here and here)
Sean as a Special Education Teacher
I like to watch people succeed at the goals they have set for themselves. That is the simplest answer as to why I want to become a California teacher teaching special education. There is no other reason why I can think of becoming a Special Education Teacher. I have seen the joy, power and courage that come from success and I want to help as many as I can obtain those experiences.
I suppose a little history would be beneficial. I started my teaching experience in special education while I was a junior in high school. I was a volunteer one period a day in a resource classroom working with students with learning difficulties. My junior year I spent helping out various students with various subjects. My senior year was a little different. I was assigned to work one on one with Jason. I was supposed to help him in math and history. All year long we struggled together. I would teach him over and over again the same ways of figuring out an equation. Each day we would end feeling like we were exactly where we started. Then one day, something changed and Jason slowly began to understand the way to solve for x. He looked so happy the day he finally got a “C” on his test. He was at first going to give up, but now he was encouraged to work on the next set of equations. By the end of my senior year he had progressed so much it was unbelievable.
Following high school I worked for a market researcher. I was good at what I did, but I wasn’t happy. After a few years I returned to my old district looking to volunteer. They offered me a paid substitute position instead. I spent most of the next five months substituting at a pre-school for speech-disabled children. Some students weren’t native English speakers, while others suffered from deeper problems: Autism. I worked with the full range of students. Some would sit quietly when they didn’t know what to say. Others preferred to bite me when they got frustrated. While I was there I learned patience, practice, and quick reflexes. I’m not sure the success each student had, but I know that they are farther along because teachers cares for them than when they were at other pre-schools.
After a short time in Arizona, I returned to California to teach summer school for my old district. There were two periods in the day and it was a “sheltered” classroom. The first period was history and they other was English. For the second period I was a one on one to a student with cerebral palsy and a learning disability. Each day I would help him write essays that would be turned in as a collection of writing he needed to pass high school. As I worked one on one with his I saw power he gained in each piece of work. Each essay he got a little better. Each essay he began to see that, while he struggled, he wasn’t incapable of writing good essays. He told me that he never knew he could write like this before. At the end of the summer, he did end up passing high school, but, more importantly, he knew the power he had in writing. He could write well and he liked that power.My latest education experience was working at another high school in Walnut Creek. I worked with a young man named Francisco. Born in Mexico, and now in the US, his family originally thought he was put in special education because he didn’t teach English. Even with broken English, though, Francisco was still a little slow. After being diagnosed with a low IQ, Francisco was sent to work with me. We worked on his English and his reading skills. I know very little Spanish and he only knew broken English, so at times it was a struggle. However, in the end we were able to find common ground and he was able to learn a little bit about reading and writing. I know the power, joy and courage that can be found in teaching young people like Francisco. I know that I feel good when I help others succeed. And I know I can do that for California. This is why I want to be a California Special Education Teacher.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Baseball is drawing to a close and I can't say I'm all that excited about the world series. I was a Red Sox fan when they were the underdogs, but now they are a power house team. The three other teams don't do anything for me either.
Mad Men season finally is next week. They won't be back until Summer of 08.
My schedule doesn't really do anything for TV on other nights. Monday nights is FHE, Tuesdays are for institute and volleyball, Wednesday is institute and shooting pool. Sundays are the Sabbath an I'm trying really hard not to let sacred become a televised experience. Saturdays I'm either coaching or working on other projects. Pretty soon, Fridays and Saturdays will be taken up with class for my credential program.
At this point, the only reason I turn on the TV is to listen to the Sirius Satellite radio stations that come from the Dish we have. I'm hoping to get Sirius for Christmas (either by my own way or by the way of someone else). So I won't even need to turn on the TV for that anymore.
I think I'm getting pretty darn close to turning off the TV (except for DVDs that is). I'll let you know if I find a need to go back to TV.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I took all 4 last month. The results for the first three came out today. I passed all three. If (when) I pass the 4th (which should be known by next Monday) I could be teaching in a classroom by November.
(To see a photo of the unofficial test results go here.)
In able to become a teacher in California, you must pass the CSET. A mere 33 percent of those that take the test the first time pass it. According to the stats provided by the state of CA, 50 percent of the people who take the test take it a little at a time. A potential teacher can have 10 hours to take 1, 2, 3 or all 4 tests. 50 percent take them 2 at a time.
I took all 4 last month. The results for the first three came out today. I passed all three. If (when) I pass the 4th (which should be known by next Monday) I could be teaching in a classroom by November.
Monday, October 8, 2007
I'm on my way to FHE tonight when my cellphone rings. It's my dad. He's at Costco and he is buying items for my cousin who is serving a mission in CA. The reason my dad is calling is because he wants more suggestions on what to buy my cousin for a care package. Earlier in the day I had sent my father a list, but unfortunately, the items on the list weighed less than 34 pounds. In able to make the box "worthwhile" he figures it needs to weigh around 34 pounds, unless he is sending it to me on my mission. I'll explain that later.
Anyway, as my father is patrolling the isles at Costco he is asking me "So do you thing Elder C would like this _____?" (fill in the blank with everything from peanut butter to jelly bellys to beef jerky to cup a noodle soup.) After reminding my father several times that Elder C and I aren't as tight as I'd like to be, I finally came up with the perfect explanation on what to buy.
"When sending a missionary a care package it is best to treat it as a sampler platter at Applebees. Give him (or her) a little bit of everything. When he (or she) write back and says thank you, they will tell you, 'Thanks for the ___.' If they mention something specific, send more with the next care package. If they don't say thank you for something, don't ever send it again and pretend that you never sent it in the first place."
My father pauses in the conversation and says, "You know Sean - that's a great idea. I think I know all I need to know. Thanks Sean and have fun at FHE."
I haven't served a mission in 8 years but I'm glad I know that I still have the wisdom. Go me.
On a different note, when I arrived in Tucson on my mission, the previous elders weren't very cleanly. The toilet in particular wasn't very clean. We (My companion and I) were told 4 weeks into my mission that we would be having clean checks in two weeks. I donned gloves and a safety mask and went to it. I scrubbed and I scrubbed but to no avail. Later that preparation day I wrote a letter to my mother about my toilet experience and closed the letter by saying "We just pray that we will be good enough for inspection." I meant this as, we "hope and pray." My mother thought that what I actually meant was that Elder Hall and I got together, kneeled before the toilet and prayed for it.
My mother feared that this wouldn't be good enough, so she forced my father to drive her to Wal-Mart where she purchased various cleaning supplies and chemicals. She then typed up directions on how to use the supplies. Lastly she had my father print off picture instructions off the internet. She packaged this all up and mailed it off to me. My first care package from my mother in the mission field was a box full of toilet cleaning supplies. My companion of course shared this with other elders in the mission and I was well known through my mission as the missionary with the toilet cleaning box.
The box my father and I are sending to Elder C has not one single cleaning supply in it except maybe some hand soap.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Beyond my toes the sun is slowly slipping into the horizon. The few clouds in the sky burn brighter and brighter with hues of pink, orange and fire. I know that behind us the darkness is creeping in and soon the sky will glitter with stars. But for now, right now, the light still dominates even as a half circle sizzling the cold blue ocean. Between the horizon and the wispy clouds is a kaleidescope of colors that are like a straight rainbow stretching from north to south. The vibrant oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples and forever black stretch out before us as if we are the only ones watching.
And as every moment passes, I hold her hand. Just as I have done for 50 years. Our fingers intertwine like a vine of grapes in the fields north of us. I never want to let go. Those soft fingers, that are overshadowed by my workman's hands, have always been there. Each trial, struggle, joyous occasion, and after dinner walk has seen the appearance of this feature. Us, intertwined with our hands - together through all of it.
I gently squeeze her hand and draw it to my lips. Tenderly, I caress her hand with my kisses. I then replace her hand to the place it was before. I lean over to her and whisper, "I love you more today, than any day before." And as the sun dips the last rays of light into the sea, she turns to me and says, "And I too love you." All, as she continues to hold my hand tight.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
I went to take off my tie tonight and when it got to the knot the frail threads gave way and the tie became two. This was a tie my brother gave me when he thought it was on its last leg. I nursed it for a few more years until tonight. And I really liked that tie!
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I give that as a disclaimer to what follows because the following rant just might have something to do with it being October.
I'm very saddened with the direction national news is heading. TMZ is probably the only website I think is justified in carrying news about celebrity court proceedings. Yet today on CNN, FOX, MSNBC and various other news outlets was the story of Ms. Spears and her ex-husband's custody battle. Why? Is this a national news item? Does what happens there affect the rest of the nation? Anderson Cooper talked about the plight of abused children. I can see how that affects the nation as a whole. But the PRIVATE custody battle of a family is not any of my, or anyone else's business and doesn't affect the world we live in. Health Care, Immigration, Invasion in Iraq, Possible war with Iran, Global warming (if you believe in Global warming that is)... All of these things affect all of us. A custody battle does not. It affects only three small parties. The Ex-wife, the Ex-husband and the poor unfortunate children caught in the crossfire. Why do I need to know the tragic affairs of one person's life. I already have the burden of dealing with the tragedies of my life, why do I need to burden myself with the trials of other individuals? Grr.
My other Rant is a frustration with the political process. The 3rd quarter fund raising reports are out. I didn't hear about anyone else but Barrack. 30 million in the second quarter, 20 million in the third quarter. $50,000,000.00 WHY??? Why do we need $50 million dollars to wage a campaign in this country? Or more appropriately, why do we allow our elected officials to waste $50,000,000.00 on campaigning. That money could be used for so many other better things. Just a few that I have thought of:
1. A $250 bonus check to every active military person. It's not much, but it could pay for one more hunting trip with family, or a nice second honeymoon with the spouse or even be seed money to start a scholarship fund for the soldiers' children.
2. A few new state of the art high schools in low income neighborhoods. Let's let high schoolers have equal access to new books, new desks, and new computers. $50 Million could go to buy nearly 200,000 new computers from Dell. Which is better for the future leaders of America - an education with modern technology or a poster saying Obama in 08?
3. Cure Cancer. $50 Million dollars might not cure cancer, but I bet we could do a lot of research on curing cancer with $50 million.
4. Find Bin Laden. Start in Pakistan.
Those are just four suggestions I have. I'm sure there are others out there, but I'm willing to bet - anything is better than wasting $50 million dollars getting someone elected. What does that buy really? Balloons? Posters? 30-second spots on TV? I guess we could have that or we could help educate a cancer free America. I wonder which is more important?