Quitting Smoking One Day at a Time...

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Saturday, May 31, 2008


OK, Lets Enjoy Reading Today.....This picture really shows what my students think of when you tell them to "read for pleasure!"
Hey all,
I am crazy busy but its all good! The job interview that I had last week went well, and the principal that I interviewed with knew one of the previous principals that I had worked with when I was a teaching assistant. I was a Teachers Aide....actually more like Teacher's Maid; way back in the day of Magnet Schools. Magnet School here focused on speciality areas and were at one time the solution to forced busing back in the day. The alternative education school that I worked at was one of the best in the state that I lived in and really taught me how to teach. (TA's taught their own classes under a teacher because well, they were "alternative!" Back in the early 90's, there was a big push for "Project-Based Learning" and use of materials that were high interest and related to student's real life and interests. Fast forward to 2008 and most schools are pushing the No Child Left Behind mandates, including the school district that I work for. More and more schools are pushing "standardized curriculum" to get students to grade level. Much of the curriculum is "softly scripted" to make sure pretty much anyone is capable of teaching it. I spent a lot of time in the interview responding," Of course I am able and comfortable teaching to the standards," and " Of course I know how to analyze periodic assessment data." Its sad to say that my biggest challenge is not being "Highly Qualified," it is the need to convince school administration that I am able and willing to be on the same page as the district....in other words they want someone who will "get with the program" and not complain when they teach the state adopted "Concept Lessons." From what I can see, schools do not want teachers that think too much or give into my own needs to be creative or stimulate student interest. There are a lot of teachers who feel that they are professionals and should have creative freedom to use their expertise to select what they think will work for their classes and student population. Administrators are definitely looking for foot soldiers and not generals. They do not want to hear about how creative or engaging a teacher is. They want to hear that you are comfortable with doing as you are told. I am really going to have to think about this. In all honesty, I am really used to being able to do whatever I want to do.

Back to the interview, the panel and I discussed two potential jobs:
Option One: 1.) Teaching the bottom 20th percentile scoring students to read in a two hour block using a program called READ 180.* Lets discuss option one for a moment....maybe you guys can give me some feedback. I have no problem teaching the lowest skilled population and never have. I just don't know if the program is any good. I was trained to do the same thing using a program called "LANGUAGE!" and I just about wanted to kill myself! It was horrible! A lot of phonetic drills sounding out words like F-A-T and C-A-T. My eighth graders were definitely not impressed! They did have fun making fun of the program by rapping their way through the phonetic drills. I will need to do some additional research on Read 180 before I can know what I think. I do know that Read 180 has a big computer component and that part definitely sounds good.

Lets go on to option #2:
2.) Teaching Grade 9 or 10 using "Concept Lessons" and then an elective teaching Yearbook. Teaching Yearbook would use a computer template driven program and so that would be interesting. The Concept Lessons are well, the Concept Lessons and are OK. I would still be able to supplement them to make them more interesting.....They would also need to be supplemented as the reading selections are too difficult for most students as they do not have the necessary academic vocabulary to read and comprehend them. DOESN'T ANYONE READ IN AMERICA ANYMORE?? A quick survey: Moms out there from other states, do your kids read and how much? Its amazing, most kids here are AT LEAST two years below grade level in reading AND writing and we are not talking about the bottom 20th precentile either...I'm talking "regular" education!
Anyway, I know that the school is interested in me and I need to decide if I am interested in Read 180. In any event, I need to write the principal, English Department Chair and the Literacy Coach a thank you letter. I will do it tonite and see what happens. I must say they did seem relatively impressed that I am going on a paid fellowship to Harvard University. Speaking of Boston, who has been there? I need some ideas of fun things to do. In conclusion, I will definitely be more prepared for interview #2 which is on Monday. I am still not sure what type of that position that school is looking to fill. I know to really stress understanding of the Concept Lessons.

BTW, Yes this is a Chantix quit smoking blog. I have 193 days off cigarettes today! Thank God I don't have to worry about how to delouse myself of cigarette smell after smoking just before the interview because I was nervous! I used to think those body sprays did the trick but have come to the realization that I was fooling myself. All the body spray did was make me smell like cigarettes AND Vanilla or whatever I happened to be spraying all over myself.

Gotta Run,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Job Interview Today..I am Kinda Nervous!

Hi all,
I just thought I would blog quickly about my upcoming job interview today. As many of you know, I have been looking to leave the school I am teaching at and other schools are FINALLY interviewing and having positions open up due to transfers, retirements and other things. I am SO happy! I got a call for a high school me much closer to my house and it seems like a great position. This will be my first interview and a panel one at that! I am pretty nervous and really want a new job! I spent a lot of hours last night putting together my portfolio and even thought it is not where it should be, it is a start! At least people will get and idea of what I have done. I took the day off as I am really burnt out but I will still go tutor my boys at the group home tonite and tomorrow night. We are out of school on June 20th! I will let you guys know how it goes today and wish me luck!

PS: If anyone can give me some easy blogging tips I would appreciate them. I really want to work on my links on this blog. Some people are gone,some have never been added. I also want to add a section for education links. Anyone out there know of an easy way to attack the blog link issue? I hate to say this but something fun like blogging sometimes seems like WORK to me....I don't know if anyone else feels like that but I want the links changed but don't wanna do it! I guess I am turning into a blogging Diva! LOL

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Baby Yoda.....She was smaller than my shoes when I got her!

My princess in the sunlight! This cat loves hanging out near the sunshine and eating! She is currently on diet food from the vet as she has an eating disorder and does not know when to stop! Most people feel the need to tell me she is fat! (Like I can't tell!)

Since everyone posts all kinds of pictures from grand kids to pets and even various nature shots; I thought I would do the same and post some pictures of my beautiful baby girl Yoda! I was feeling kind of left out! Yoda is a Siamese cat who thinks she is a princess! She likes to eat and lay in the sunshine. She is a tad bit overweight right now and is on a special diet so she can be healthier! I will be joining her shortly! I am working on improving my eating habits before I go on a full on diet. Anyway, she is the first girl cat I have ever owned. (I still think boy cats are so much sweeter than girls but I had a female dog who hated male animals when I got her so I decided to get a girl kitty.) I love Siamese cats...they are true Diva's but they are like dogs in many ways! They are one person kind of cats and are really loyal when they love their humans! She is nine years old and I adore her!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Still Smoke Free! My Cousin is in Town From San Jose...Doing the Tourist thing!

Hey all...

I just thought I would post really quickly to let you know I am still here and still smoke free! It has been over six months, which is something like 200 days and I have been wanting a cigarette like crazy! I have not smoked one but I think the cravings are a bit stronger because I am almost off the Chantix and my brain chemistry has not completely adapted yet. I have been on Chantix for the full six month dosage and have found myself having more cravings since I am pretty much off of it. Oh well, sometimes in this lifetime I will get a feeling that a cigarette sounds like a good idea and I will just have to abstain and then the feeling will pass. One thing that I do know is deep in my heart, I know I do not want to be a smoker. I hate being addicted and a slave to big tobacco. My friends and relatives are still really shocked that I have remained steadfast in my resolve to stay quit.

I have been super busy doing the tourist thing this weekend. My cousin that I have not seen for probably 15 years came into town to visit me and it has been weird to say the least. Today we went to Hollywood and I took her to see the Hollywood sign and to the Grumman's Chinese Theater and a bunch of other places. We went to a club last night and there were a bunch of people smoking and sometimes smelling it and seeing it look somewhat acceptable does pull at me. Last night a lot of people were there drinking away and since part of the club is outdoors, there was smoking. I thought I would include this photo of the club that I was at. The Abby is my favorite club in West Hollywood. It is a really cool club and cafe that is mostly gay but has an eclectic mix of clientele. There are straight couples out on dates, gay guys hanging out with straight women and the age range varies from really young to an older crew. I felt like it was a good place to take my cousin because she likes to see all of the different cultures of Los Angeles. There are lots of interesting people at the Abby and the decor is off the chain! I included a photo of the rod iron fireplace that uses glass instead of wood. There was a HUGE celebration party because the gay marriage ban was overturned here in California and it is the beginning of Gay Pride. My cousin thought the place was amazing!

Well, I am not sure what the schedule holds for tomorrow but I am exausted. Being a host for out of town visitors can be draining because you want to make sure they have a good time so you push yourself to do a lot of things. I hope to get lots of rest tomorrow. Hope everyone is well.


Sunday, May 11, 2008


Six Months of Freedom is a Good Thing!
Well, today is the six month anniversary mark since I quit smoking. LET FREEDOM RING! I quit on November 11, 2007 and here it is May 11, 2008! What a miracle! Don't get me wrong, there are still times that the Nic-o-demon still tells me that a cigarette sounds good and if "I only smoke one I will be OK." Fortunately, I know that "one" cigarette will turn into a pack a day within a week so I just try and delay lighting up in the first place and tell myself all of the positive things about quitting. I tell myself how much money I am saving since I no longer have to spend $4.50 a day to kill myself slowly and I also try to remember how healthier my body is now that I have quit. The one think I do not miss since I have quit is being a slave to lighting up every hour to suck down the poisons and other addictive substances that are put in those things to keep me good and hooked! The things that have really kept me on the right path in this journey was meeting other people who had quit successfully, taking Chantix, blogging and online support. (You guys are da bomb!) I also had to learn some new habits and strategies to replace the twenty times that I went out in rain, extreme heat, fog, humidity or whatever the weather elements were to smoke. Learning to do things differently was probably one of the hardest things about this whole process.
If you are person who is reading this and you are considering quitting or having difficulty staying quit, it is so worth it! Keep trying because you never know when you will be sick and tired of the cigarette madness. I cannot tell you how many times I quit cigarettes and other things too! I hope I stay quit forever but for now I will take it one day at a time because for me that is the easiest way to measure my success.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I NEED HELP ON A BIO ASSIGNMENT..7-8 sentences about me!

Hey there all...
I could really use some help. I have been given the assignment to write a short biography of 7-8 sentences to share with other participants, professors and whoever else wants to know about me for the summer fellowship that I will be attending. What the hell can I possibly say in 7-8 sentences.....Diva in Da House of Chantix...Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Stop the foolery...take Chantix? I am kind of at a loss for words about myself today. Yesterday, my car's alternator and my battery went out and I was left with a dead car in the left hand turn lane. It wasn't cheap either! I don't know why I am stressing out on this so much and I know its more like a Public Relations assignment so what exactly should I tell the world about myself? I am supposed to write this brief sketch in the third person too! I figured I would ask you guys to give me a few sentences about myself that I could possibly use. Any observations about me will be gladly accepted. I will be asking my God-Mother tomorrow.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday Thirteen...What the Hell, I Might as Well Try it!

Canda Rocks! 13 Things I like about the Country and the People!

I saw MamaFlo's Thirteen Thursday and decided to do one on Travel also. Instead of doing Thirteen different trips, I decided that I would post thirteen different pictures of my trip to Vancouver and Victoria Canada and talk about why I think the country is so cool! Canada is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I wouldn't mind living there. There is tons of nature to be found as well as a big city to explore. People are really opened minded and cool and the overall attitude is pretty much live and let live.

Here Goes....I think I am going to have to do this in increments and hopefully one of you will tell me an easier way to do this at a later date!

1.) I really like that nature is everywhere in this city! You will see birds and other wildlife right in the middle of the city! I was near the harbor and was so close to this seagull I could have reached out and touched it!

2.) There are amazing bridges all over this country! I am finally goint to post a picture of myself walking across one of the huge swing bridges that can be found in the forest and parks.

3.) Here is another type of bridge that is used as a highway from one side of the city to the other!

More on Canada...13 Thursday

4.) The butterfly sanctury has some amazing looking butterflies from all over the world!

5.) The sunsets in Canada are absolulty amazing!

More on Canada...This is Harder Than I Thought!

6.) There are beautiful flowers all over the place! I stopped and saw these on the side of a road while driving into Whistler.
7.) This was an awesome stream on the way up to Whistler. I loved the fact that I never knew what I would encounter!
8.) Some wild horses that some friends and I saw on a daytrip while we were on our way to somewhere else.
9.) This was a flamingo pond at the butterfly sanctuary. The butterfly sanctury also housed birds and other animals and plants.

Ok,you guys, I am figuring out that I really don't know much about posting multiple pictures! Help me out fellow bloggers! This is WAY too much work for me and probably the first and last time I am going to do this!

The Last Things I Love About Canada (Finishing 13 Thursday)

10.) People feel free to express themselves and their political beliefs all over the city. This was a "Peace Car" that had messages all over it and even had a running water fountain inside! People just stop and appreciate different messages whether they agree or not!

11.) This close up shot of the car is one of my personal favorites!
12.) Canada has some truly amazing parks that are relaxing and beautiful to hang out in.

13.) What's a Diva without a parade? The gay pride parade in Canada is not just for gay people but everyone is welcomed. Tons of different types of people come out and show support and no one thinks its the least bit strange!

Well, I survived doing my first Thirteen Thursday and I don't think I will do it again for a LONG time unless I can learn an easier way to do this! Blogging can be a lot of work! I feel good that I was at least willing to finish what I had started because I was almost ready to quit! I have the utmost respect for all you who do really creative blogs! It is definitely time consuming.

After going back through these pictures, I cannot wait to go back to Canada. The next spot I want to go to is Eastern Canada particularly Ontario. The underground art, music and film scene is supposed to be mind blowing! I hope anyone who has never been to Canada considers checking it out as its really a beautiful place.