Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Birthday Month Update

Birthday month is really exceeding my expectations.

I spent 10 days in Oregon. (Thank you Ch@ndy for being such a lovely hostess for the few days I was able to visit with you. The "birthday" homemade Mexican feast was delicious!) The flight to and from Oregon was practically uneventful (my favorite kind of travel = uneventful). Although there was that one flight where Poetroad inadvertently had to entertain/watch over someone else's 8 year old boy...that would not stop talking...the entire 3 hour flight...and who almost barfed but ended up hyper-ventilating into the barf bag instead... And we did have the unexpected pleasure of changing planes - and concourses - in San Jose. If you've flown through San Jose, you know what I'm talking about here. Deplane, run 1/2 mile or so to the bus, travel to the next concourse, go through security again with your four children in tow all the while - do that in a little less than an hour. The excitement never ends with this family!

Then, last weekend, CJ and family drove over from Houston and stayed the night with us. The next morning, we took a hike through the nature preserve that is about a block from our house. I tainted her oldest child by allowing my children to go wading in the creek with their shoes and clothes on. All of our children jumped off of rocks, fell into the water, played in a little waterfall, and got muddy. I thought my friend and her husband would die from anxiety. It was good for them. Every kid needs to play with abandon every once in a while. Can you believe I am saying this? Thankfully, I have friends who have already taught me that precious life lesson.

Also, I got the final official report this week: I passed both tests that I took for Texas Teacher Certification. Just in time for me to move to California! Not bad considering that I only studied for the tests during the two days preceding the test date. To be fair, the tests covered situations and knowledge with which any seasoned teacher would be familiar.

[Side note: I realize that I never told you all about that whole experience. It is worth mentioning that test takers had five hours to finish each test. The multiple choice section of the test took me approximately 90 minutes to answer all 90 questions - this was true for both tests. That's right - I zipped through the tests because I kept thinking, "Hey, I'm moving to another state anyway," coupled with the assurance, "I can miss at least up to 20 questions and still pass the test!" So if I happened upon a test question that I didn't know the answer to, I guessed the answer and tried to keep track of how many questions fell under the "I can miss up to 20 questions" clause. What killed me - time wise - was the essay portion for the English test. Writing the essay was not difficult, but it was definitely time consuming. It took me 3 1/2 hours to write one essay, and not because what they asked us to do was difficult but because I am anal about writing. Basically, given two passages from two different novels - one written at the beginning of the 20th century and one written around 1960 - the test taker was expected to identify, compare, and contrast, and note how literary devices were used in each passage to develop the theme of the work. Of course I couldn't do just that. You know I couldn't! After brainstorming and outlining for an hour, I proceeded to write a 6 page feminist critique(a complete essay with a fully developed introduction, body, and conclusion) of the two passages. My thesis went something like this: "Both the passage from "X novel" and "Y novel" explore perception versus reality in an effort to speak to the disillusionment with expected social-norms for women in a given society." Or something such as that... Anyway, I noted that other people only wrote about a page and a half - and spent about an hour writing that darned essay. But not me. Overkill - my fatal flaw. I sincerely thought it would be my undoing, too. People have to read these stupid essays. And grade them. Who wants to waste 10 minutes of their life reading a stupid feminist critique when all I needed to do was note how literary devices were used to develop the theme of each passage? There was a strong possibility that I could have received a "no grade" and "off topic" note in the comment box, I thought. Mercy me, I earned a "4" out of "4" on that essay. The guy who took an hour to write a page and a half probably did too. Ah well, I passed! I passed!]

Speaking of tests, I took a class and aced another test this month. Okay, it wasn't actually a class to earn credits as much as it was a way to save 200 dollars. Remember that speeding ticket I got last fall? Last Friday, I successfully completed 6 hours of defensive driving training. Today, I'll drive around town gathering and turning in the necessary documents so that I can get that ticket expunged from my record. Yay!

Finally, I got a call yesterday from a friend I haven't talked with for more than a decade. This friend lives across town. Now that I'm leaving, she found a reason to call. Actually, she was calling to get Ch@ndy's phone number. Hey, at least she called! Life is funny that way.

Today is Tuesday, and birthday month is quickly coming to an end. This month has already been so full! I wonder what the rest of the month has in store?


Ch@ndy said...

Happy Birthday!

I got the call at 7 a.m. from that friend, one of my college roommates. It was a good chat. Thanks for giving her the number. It was fun, even though it only left me with 15 minutes to get ready for work!

pjd said...

Congrats on the two tests. Sounds like you had a good time in Oregon despite the wacky 8 year old. And although I've not transferred in San Jose, it sounds a lot like Helsinki. I had a harrowing transfer once there and nearly missed the last puddle-jumper of the day to Tampere because it was about a mile away and I couldn't find the shuttle, so I had to walk (run) with my bags (since it was after Customs). And in Helsinki, a surprising number of the signs are actually written in Finnish. Go figure.

bluesugarpoet said...

Thanks, all!

Ch@ndy - so glad she got hold of you today. :)

pjd - Signs in Finnish? Yeah, go figure. [mental note: learn Finnish so I don't get stuck in Helsinki *forever*...]