Friday, March 31, 2006

Where Things Stand Now

So here's where I am on the road to my new adventure. Because my bachelor's degree is in Communications, I needed 9 additional credits to meet the Maryland state requirements for teaching English (luckily, I had taken a lot of English classes as electives in college). So in the Spring and Fall of 2005, I took four online classes with UMUC, which I loved, to bring myself up to code, so to speak. I even voluntarily took a math class in case I decide to teach in PA some day. (Maryland only requires 3 credits of undergraduate math to teach at the intermediate level; PA requires 6.)

After completing these classes, my original plan was to enroll in UMUC's Resident Teacher Certification program this Spring. Two other requirements for this program were to take and pass both the PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II exams. I took both last year and passed (I was sweating bullets on the math section of the PRAXIS I), even earning a certification of excellence from ETS for my score on the PRAXIS II in the English content area (props to me!). I sent in my application for the RTC program, but much to my disappointment, this year they changed how the program was organized and there was no way I could work it into my schedule. Previously, you enrolled in online certification classes for the Spring, culminating in two weeks of student teaching. You could then begin teaching in the fall as a fully paid teacher, but the teaching experience was a mentored, supervised experience. And this experience could take place in one of several counties in MD or in Baltimore City. After the year-long teaching assignment, you would be certified, However, the new program eliminated the two weeks of student teaching and now the supervised year of teaching only takes place in Prince George's County. Living in southern PA, I just couldn't commit to driving to PG County every day for a year.

So this Spring semester was a lost semester. I applied to the teacher certification program at Loyola College and was recently accepted. I have also sent in an application to the College of Notre Dame's Accelerated Certification for Teaching (ACT) program and I'm waiting to hear about my acceptance there before I make my decision where to enroll. With both programs, I can start taking classes this summer. I think I will be able to complete the Notre Dame program more quickly. ND offers two summer sessions instead of one, so I could complete six credits out of 21 before the fall semester starts. Also, ND only requires one semester of student teaching. Loyola's program is more credits and requires one semester of observations one day a week and then a whole semeseter of student teaching (I need to keep working my regular job for as long as possible before I make the transition to teaching - and a lower salary). Believe me, I created a whole chart comparing the two programs! And both programs offer the opportunity to put the certification credits toward a master's degree, which is another long-term goal.

So between now and May, I'm just in a holding pattern, waiting to hear from Notre Dame before registering for classes in one of the two programs. But I'm very anxious to begin!

Thoughts on a Friday Afternoon

  • I can upload photos to my blog from work now. I didn’t used to be able to do that because of our firewall. I’ve probably been able to do it since Blogger reconfigured how you upload photos, but I never bothered trying until I had that photo of H. to post. A new way to procrastinate!
  • Do you think it’s strange that there are three different commercials airing right now using three different songs by the Go-Go’s ("Vacation" for Priceline, "Head Over Heels" for Pantene and "We've Got the Beat" for Papa John's pizza)? And just for the record, changing the lyrics to “We’ve got the meat” for Papa John’s is totally disgusting.
  • I’m very excited about the release of the new Dixie Chicks CD on 5/23.
  • As of this moment in time, I am completely caught up on scrapbooking – from H’s birth to the present. Let me enjoy it while I can; it won’t last long. (Not to mention all of the photo projects from the past that I have in mind.)
  • Spring happened yesterday. It wasn’t just the nice weather (finally!), but trees that weren’t blooming yesterday morning were starting to bloom and color by the time I drove home in the evening. Although we also desperately need some rain around these parts. That would really make things start to green up.
  • I’m hosting Easter this year and I think I’ll have to get the Peeps paper plates and napkins that I saw at Walmart the other day. Apparently, there are quite a few Peeps novelty items on the shelves this Easter. I’ll have to check out Target, too, this weekend.
  • To add to the Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and Home Depot that recently opened here in small-town America, we now have a Rita's, which opened last week, and a Domino's, opening this weekend. It will be interesting to see how the Domino's fairs. All of the pizza places around here are local places, with the exception of Pizza Hut, and don't deliver, I guess because the houses are too spread out to make it economical (and it would be a stretch to do it in 30 minutes or less). With all the new buildings and housing developments, it should work in the area around Domino's now.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A New Adventure

I've decided to to chronicle the newest phase in my life here (instead of in an originally planned separate blog) - my mid-life crisis. Actually, I'm contemplating a career change, one that has a huge online journal presence, and I wanted to join in. Last year, I began working toward becoming certified to teach high school English. I'm doing this for both selfish (holidays and summer vacation) and unselfish (a naive ambition to make the world a better place) reasons, but the more I think about and the closer I move toward the end goal, the more I know this is what I really want to do, even though a lot of people think I'm crazy.

I'm still in the very beginning stages of the process and it's slow going at times, but things should pick up speed this summer and I want to be able to document all of it. So come along for the adventure!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Celebrity Look-Alike?

My sisters and my mom keep telling me they think H. looks like the young actress, Sofia Vassilieva, who plays Eloise in the TV movies. (Now older, this is the same girl who plays the daughter Ariel on Medium.) I just don't see it - Sofia has brown eyes and H. has blue, and H's lips definitely aren't that full (although she does have full lips, and I don't know where she got those from!). What do you think?


Sofia, aka Eloise

And no, I did not stage this photo. When I saw that picture of Sofia on, it made me immediately think of a very similar picture that I took of H. at the end of last summer. It's just a coincidence that they're both wearing orange, posed under a tree with purple flowers.


The above headline is a note to myself, a reminder not to give in to any more books in the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. I swore up and down the last time, after Blow Fly, that I wouldn't read them anymore, but on my last visit to the library, the latest in the series, Predator, was on the New Books shelf, so I checked it out along with Trace, the prior book in the series and one I had avoided reading. Well, I should have left both of them there. It's really sad how far downhill this series has gone. All of the main characters are completely unbearable, especially Pete Marino. Back when I used to read the new ones as soon as they came out, there was usually atleast a year lull in between books. Reading these two back to back was worse. In Trace, Lucy's company The Last Precinct is still up and running and her right-hand man, Rudy, is a main character and the only person Lucy trusts. In Predator, there's no mention of The Last Precinct or Rudy; instead, Lucy and Kay are running a National Forensics Laboratory that the local police in Florida are just all too happy to have butt in and do all of their crime scene work. Completely unbelievable and inconsistent!

The dialogue in both books is stilted and repetitive. Lucy, Pete and Kay live in a cocoon where everyone around them is evil and against them and out to get them. The way they treat other characters in the book, even the good guys (see Pete and Reba's relationship in Predator), is pretentious and induced eye-rolling from me on several occasions. And I can do without all of the descriptive text about how many expensive cars, motorcycles and other "toys" they all own. Again, pretentious.

So let's move on to some much better books I've read since then. Starting From Square Two is the second novel from Caren Lissner, author of Carrie Pilby, which I read back in 2004. I don't know why it took me so long to read this one, I guess because I needed to request it as an ILL from the library, but I finally did and breezed through it on Tuesday and Wednesday (it was the book I took with me to the hospital). If you're not reading Caren's blog, Addled Writer, you should be.

I also discovered a new author this week, thanks to a comment in an online chat Jennifer Weiner posted. Sarah Dessen is a YA author based in North Carolina and I just finished Keeping the Moon, which I read in about two hours yesterday. She also has an online journal and website, so check her out. I like her, even if she is a Tarheel fan. As part of my renewed interest in the YA genre, I plan to spend the next few weeks devouring her other five books (my library branch has all of them but one, which I'll have to get through ILL), maybe even before her new one comes out some time in April.

Also, right before I lost myself in the insane world of Dr. Scarpetta and friends, I read Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. If Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird is one of your favorite characters in literature (as she is for me), then go read this book. You'll love Swede as much as you love Scout.

That brings me up to 17 books read so far in 2006.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Back to Normal

Almost. I'm officially stone-free. I had my surgery yesterday and it went very well. They put me to sleep around 10am, I was awake by 11am and home by 1pm. They showed me the stone and I'm really glad I didn't have to pass it. It was larger than they thought it was. And FYI, kidney stones don't look like small, little round pebbles or stones. They look more like rock candy, sharp edges and all! Once I was home, I ate some lunch, took a two-hour nap and then pretty much felt as good as new. I didn't even stay home from work today. So hopefully we can get back to business as usual around here instead of this turning into a sick journal!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Back to the doctor yesterday for another x-ray and consultation. The stone is still there and has moved some, but still has to move some more to get into my bladder. Since I'm young and healthy, the doctor would prefer that I pass the stone, but since he could sense my high level of frustration, I'm now on the surgery schedule for Tuesday, March 21, which seems really far away, but atleast there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, March 13, 2006

And This Too Shall Pass

No news to report. Still trying to flush out the plumbing. I saw the urologist at 11:30am on Friday (actually, that was my appointment, time, but I didn't see the doctor until almost 12:30pm) and he wanted me to try and pass the stone over the weekend. I didn't. (It was a long weekend.) Now I'm waiting for his office to call me back to see what the next step is.

I lost my patience with this whole thing in the middle of watching Grey's Anatomy last night (that's what I get for watching a medical show in my condition). It may be similar to labor, but I was only in labor for six hours, not a week plus!

Also, for the record, if you picture Ben Stiller in about 20 years with a head full of gray/white hair, that was my urologist, both in looks and personality. Seriously.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I'm Very Thankful That I Have Health Insurance

I realize there are people out there with a lot more serious health problems than me, but I would really like to make it through a whole month feeling healthy. Is that too much to ask? As I write this, I am in the process of passing, or not passing as the case may be, a very large kidney stone. I'm waiting for a phone call from my doctor about an appointment to see a urologist some time today. All week, I thought I was fighting off a urinary tract infection, but when I didn't feel any better by yesterday, I called the doctor back and she saw me in the afternoon, then immediately sent me to the hospital for a CT scan. I had to wait for the results and the doctor's exact words were, "You do have a kidney stone, a very large one, probably too large to pass." My options were to check myself into the ER or wait until today to see the urologist. I wasn't in excrutiating pain, so I opted to wait for the appointment today instead of spending god knows how many hours waiting in the ER last night. So I'm at work, not feeling that bad, just waiting for the phone to ring. I don't have any meetings today except for one at 1:30 that I'm supposed to chair. I can pretty much guarantee that my appointment will be at 1:00 or 1:30. But I've already made back-up plans if I need to leave.

I think I get to blame genetics, atleast partially, for this one, too. My younger sister Vanessa has had kidney stones since we were in high school and she gets about one a year. My older sister Jenn had one several years ago, but that was her one and only so far. I'm hoping my experience is more like Jenn's. And I'm trying to look on the positive side - I went through natural childbirth, surely I can handle this, right? Logically speaking, it's the same concept of a big thing being pushed through a much smaller hole. I'll just keep telling myself that, especially since Vanessa told me that passing a kidney stone can be worse than childbirth.