Thursday, August 30, 2007

Teacher Boot Camp

I have left the kiddie pool of my educational career, and dove head first into the deep end. As of this week, I have started a highly intensive and involved academic program in order to prepare me for recommendation for the New York State Initial Certification in Teaching. I affectionately refer to this year as "The Teacher's Boot Camp". Everything is intensive (a word students and instructors alike use often), compact, fast moving, and time consuming. I am reminded of the words of the Borg (Star Trek reference), "Life as you know it, is over. From this day forward, you will service us."

It was made very clear to us today at the orientation for the field experience part of the semester that school, not work, not family, not friends, is to be our highest importance. In fact, the excuse of "I can't make it because of work" is not acceptable, and actually considered a sign to the instructors and TEA's that we are not serious about this program and our career. In a way, I understand where they are coming from.. there is so much to do and get involved in. On the other hand, this is a very EXPENSIVE program, and the money (not to mention health insurance) has to come from some where. --> Please not I am gladly accepting donations!! HAHAHA!

While my courses are fascinating in and of themselves, lumped together they can be over whelming and daunting. The enormously heavy course work that is done outside of campus is so great that I need to remind everyone just how unavailable I may become for the next two semesters. While I will do my best to get out and see people as often as possible to help maintain my mental sanity, please keep in mind that I will not always be available for social get togethers. Text messages, IM's, e-mails, and the occasional phone calls will be the best way to keep in touch with me... with actual visits being much MUCH less frequent.

Sounds like fun eh?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Michael Vick

My friend Nick forwarded this to me via e-mail.. I thought I would share it. It seems they have chosen the jury for Michael Vick's trial. Looks like Snoopy is about to open up a can of "Whoop-Ass!". =-)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lions, and tigers, and Jason.. oh my!

Jason wanted to go to the Buffalo Zoo on Saturday. Of course, he would pick one of the hottest days of the summer to go! We had fun, but I was a puddle by the time we left. Most of the animals were inside where it was probably air conditioned (or at least cooler)... and the ones who stayed outside were laying on their backs doing nothing.

We went for a late lunch, and then I had the brilliant idea to walk up and down Hertel Ave. to look at the various stores and antique shops there. And I thought I was hot and sweaty at the Zoo?? Thank God for CVS and bottled water!! We had fun, but at times it felt like a death march.

I had a visitor with me at Mass this morning. An acquaintance of mine who moved up here from North Carolina asked if he could accompany me to Mass. He met at the Church, and though we didn't get to socialize much, we did get to catch up for a few minutes out front after Mass was over. It was nice to have the company, though odd that it was a southern Protestant.. though a good kind of odd. He had been to the Classical Mass before, and likes the "smells and bells", along with all the customs and traditions. I know he's a little uneasy with starting his doctoral work here at UB, as well as looking for a job... and he said this helped him a bit mentally. It keeps me going. :)

My folks are once again gone for the week to Disney World. For my mother, Disney World and Cinderella's Castle are to her what the Vatican and St. Peter's are to me. She and my father (and sister Kristy) are going to meet their friends from Austria there, and spend the week vacationing together. Sounds like they will have a good time.. though they will have the August Florida heat to deal with.

For those of you who have been curious as to Toby's health, he is doing well, and has his appetite back. His blood work showed he has a liver condition which is treatable with meds that he is now on. He is having trouble with his back hips again, however, and is having a rough time getting up when he lays down. Every now and then we have to lift his butt up for him, then he does fine. He'll need to get another cortisone shot in his hips when he goes to the vet next month.

Sex and the City - Parody starring Bea Arthur

I hope you all aren't getting tired of so many video clip posts, but I laughed my ass off when I saw this parody of Sex in the City. Come on now.. Dorothy from the "Golden Girls" as Carrie, Gloria from "All in the Family" as Samantha, Mona from "Who's the Boss" as Miranda, and Mrs. Garret from "the Facts of Life" as Charlotte. Too funny!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Friends Forever...



This will be Jason and I thirty years from now. Hell, that's us now. :-P

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Golden Girls

This is classic!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Piss and Moan

This is to be my piss and moan entry. Enjoy :)

I took Virgil (my car) to Midas to get a front end alignment. I've needed one for some time now, and the tires have been wearing unevenly as a result, so I decided to get it done before taking my road trip to Pa this week. We got a call from the Midas man, and come to find out, in addition to the alignment, the car needs new struts and studs (I think). All in all, it would have cost $700!! Needless to say, I was pissed.

So, I brought home Virgil, non-repaired. We were warned not to let the condition linger as the parts that need replacing are well worn. So, we put a call into our family mechanic who works for a dealership (and who's children I'm sure we have put through college) to hopefully take the car, and repair it himself sometime SOON, and for less. My trip has of course been canceled. Virgil is in no shape for the 300 mile (one way) trek.

I was really looking forward to spending the time with Jason, as well as visiting my Great-Aunts whom I have not seen since Grandma's funeral over two years ago. Not to mention the summer is over (classes start next week), and I have gone NO WHERE. So, I am disappointed not to be able to see my family, and pissed off at the huge car bill I will end up paying to get the car repaired. Yay!!! -- Where is this crappy carma coming from anyway???

As I mentioned, classes start next week. This also means my tuition bill is due. I just paid it online... $4200. Woo hoo!!! The joys of being a student. Can't wait to see how much books cost.

Toby is still hanging in there. He finally has his appetite back. His bark is rather horsed, and he sounds like such an old fart when he barks. I'm still eager to get his test results back from the vet on Thursday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Toby update

Toby was taken to the vet the other day, and is doing much better. They are not sure exactly what was wrong with him, but they believe it might have been a severe case of a strain of "dog" flu. He has been put on anti-biotics as a precaution, and was also given anti-vomit meds. He has more energy now, and is walking around and greeting people as normal.

Much to our relief, the vet said his kidneys are functioning just fine, and we are awaiting the results of the other blood tests that were done. In any case, we are all very relieved to have our dog back. :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Long, LONG Day

I had come home around 1 in the morning from going out with Jason. Once I walked in the front door, my sister called me to go upstairs. "Look in the hallway" she said, and as I glanced, I saw it was covered in feces... Toby had lost control and gone to the bathroom all over. Toby was never like that, he must have been sick.

I couldn't find him in the house, so I went out on the deck. There, on the lawn below, lay Toby by himself in the dark. I walked over to him, and he simply looked at me, but didn't move. I thought perhaps he was ashamed of what he did, and felt he was in trouble.. so I approached him calmly and reassuringly. As soon as I got up to him I knew something was wrong.

He wouldn't move. No matter what I said, no matter what I did, he just lay there.. perfectly still, looking like a Sphinx with it's head down resting on his front paws. I manged to coax him into following me up the stairs of the deck to the dining room door to let him in the house. Once in the light of the deck lamp, I noticed his hind quarter was covered in the feces. He was sicker than I thought.

By this time my parents were up, and Toby had again laid down.. only this time on the deck in front of the door leading into the dining room. Again, he wouldn't move. I brought a bucket of warm water and began to clean him off as best I could. Normally, Toby gets very irritated when people touch his tail or anything in that region.. almost always causing a twitch of some sort. He never moved.

Again, nothing we could say or do would get him to move. My parents decided to head back to bed, but I couldn't leave him alone. I got a pillow and blanket and laid on the floor by the sliding door so he wouldn't be alone. Occasionally I'd scratch his nose or pet him to let him know I was there, for at this point I wasn't too sure how aware he was of his surroundings. At about 4:30, I went downstairs to get something, and heard that he had come into the house. I went upstairs and saw he had laid down in his usual place in the hallway by my parent's bedroom door. Knowing he was at least in the house, I went to bed.

9:30am rolled around rather quickly, and I had to get up, showered, and dressed for Katie's sister's funeral. I was half expecting Toby to not have survived the night, but he did, only in the same lethargic state as I had left him.

Watching the grieving family was so hard. To lose a daughter and a sister so young.. I can't even imagine. The pain on their faces said more than words would ever describe.

We went with the family to Panes for lunch, and came home around 1pm. Again, not knowing whether or not Toby would still be with us. He was there.. nothing had changed.

I managed to take a brief nap before going into work. I felt like a zombie, and would never have made it through if it wasn't for the energy from the green tea pills I took before going in.

I was so worried about Toby my whole shift, and called home every hour or so. Nothing changed. When I came home he was laying at the top of the steps, where he remains. No bark, no tail wag.. just stares.

There was a plate set out for him with hamburg and rice on it, as recommended by the vet (whom he is going to see tomorrow morning). He hadn't touched it.. only drank water, and vomited it up outside. I brought the plate back over to him, and he finally started eating, and consumed most of the food there. When he was done, I brought over his water bowl, and again he started to drink heartily. So far, it has stayed down.

There is a chance this is some kind of flu. This same thing happened to my Aunt's dog two weeks ago, and she is a year younger than Toby. Aunt Karen thought she was going to have to be put to sleep.. she wouldn't move or respond either. We're hoping that is the case with our dog, but something inside tells me it isn't. We will see.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another Tragedy

Once I finally crawled out of bed, my mother quickly called me over to her. She had some really bad news to tell me. Come to find out, Katie's (my sister-in-law) sister Carrie was found dead this morning by her boyfriend. We do not know yet what was the cause of death, all we know is that she had died hours before her boyfriend arrived home from work this morning. Carrie was only 31.

I can't imagine what Katie's parents are going through right now, and I know Katie is taking this very hard. She can't believe that now she is an only child. For me, it helps me realize how life can change from day to day, minute to minute. As cliche as it may sound, it's important to appreciate the people we love, and let them know that each and everyday... for we never know when it will be the last we see them in this life. Death knows no age.

I ask all who read this entry to please keep Carrie and her family in your hearts and in your prayers... and in honor of her, make an effort to say "I love you" or "Thank you" to the people you care about in your life. Don't put it off till tomorrow.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yammerings

I have had a horrible time sleeping lately. I'm not sure if it's a result of my medication or not... but here it is, after 2am, and I'm still up. Last night, I didn't fall asleep until almost 4am, and that was after a 9 hour shift at work... and even after I did manage to fall asleep, the nightmares make it so I'm not well rested when I awake. The Fall semester, as busy as it is sure to be, is going to be rough.

I received my final grade for my second (and last) summer grad class. I earned yet another A!! Woo hoo!! I'm so happy. This class was very enjoyable, and I learned so many new ideas to bring to the classroom I had never thought of before. I just hope the rest of my courses will be as enjoyable and informative. So far.. so good. :)

Jason and I spent most of Wednesday together hitting the antique shops in Clarance. I'm so proud of both of us for not buying a thing... though, we were both tempted numerous times. Jason treated me to a late lunch/early dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, which has become one of my favorite restaurants. We had a gorgeous waiter named Brian (I'm a sucker for that name), which made the meal all the more enjoyable. On the check, I wrote my e-mail addy, but never got a reply. I wasn't expecting to hear from the guy, but I firmly believe in the old saying of "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

It was nice spending time with Jason.. doing what we do best.... SHOPPING. The antique stores are a lot of fun for us, and of course, the Galleria mall is too. We couldn't believe how many of the stores already have their Halloween merchandise out. I love that holiday, but come on.. let's not rush it too much. Seasonal things get boring fast.. I don't want to be sick of it before October even arrives.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Confessions of a Match Maker


There is a new show on A&E called, Confessions of a Match Maker. There was one guy on there, Grant, who is living in Buffalo, and sought out the match maker for help. To quote the show, he is a "suit and tie kinda guy in a blue jeans kinda town". GASP! That's me!! No wonder I'm single here in Buffalo. That's it.. I'm going to Manhattan... in my best suit and seeing if I can get a guy there.

Yea, cuz my fashion sense is the reason I'm single.

Summer break?

I finished my final paper for my second summer class at last. This marks the "beginning" of my summer vacation or recess.... all three weeks of it. Whop-dee-do.

It's been a long, LONG summer... and even though I've only done one course at a time, it's been hard to keep up with the mountain of work that has to get done since everything is condensed to fit it into a smaller time allotment. The Fall semester is going to be quite difficult and time consuming, taking 5 courses, and doing my 100 hours of observations in various schools and classrooms. It's going to be crazy, but my attitude has always been, the sooner I start it, the sooner I get it over with.

What I am most worried about is being able to successfully keep up with my course work, observations, AND put in enough hours at work to pay the bills. If I can do all that, and still keep my sanity, then I know I can handle just about anything.