Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Running back

Today's training got me a bit upset, rattled, just uncomfortable. I am glad that they are teaching theory and what they think will happen in the classroom and it's good that they are telling the new people the classroom management expectations. What they are not saying, is the "reality" of it all. I think this program needs a session where a first year teacher talks to them about the struggles and stress and well, everything a first year teacher goes through. Not to scare them away, but if they are serious about becoming a teacher, they need to hear what can happen. Although these people bring so much experience to the table, they have been away from the classroom too damn long. 

I heard this speaker talk and all I wanted to do was to get up and tell everyone, "Yes, what he is saying is right, BUT...." The speakers that we've had so far taught elementary for 20 plus years, we've had no high school educators. 

So all 100 people that are there getting training are only getting limited information. I hope tomorrow will be different.

This morning I spent some time at Starbucks:

My view from the training session...

We watched a movie about education.

And this is me by the end of the day...so tired.

I couldn't keep my eyes open. They talked about ways to keep the students engaged in a lesson, how to "hook" them, but all this man did was talk to us for five minutes at the beginning of the day, and then show us a 1.5 hour movie. He never once paused the movie to discuss what was going on! I have been sitting in the back and get to see the entire room. Some people were on their phones, others were talking and some were getting up. Seriously this was not a well planned out morning session.

I made a few comments about some things he was talking about and It felt like my comments fell on deaf ears. He provided no feedback. I did have some people come to me during the break and ask me questions about my comment.

I know I sound upset, angry and bitter, but if you want to keep peoples interest, do what you are preaching. Anyway, tomorrow is day 3 of training. Wish me luck! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dear brain, wah

I found it so difficult to wake up this morning. I got up at 4:30 am because I wanted to be ready before my sister woke up. She had to be at work early today and didn't want to be running late. And also because I had no idea where this training would be. The maps app said it would take about 30 min to get there, but with morning traffic, I wasn't sure.

Once I was ready I made my lunch. I also wanted some coffee, so I grabbed the only cup I could find...

Then I took off. I arrived super early, about 7:40 am...the training didn't start until 9 am but was glad I left early because traffic was getting bad as I was driving. So overall, it took me an hour to arrive.

I of course found the Starbucks, just one mile from the training location, which is great news for me. There were about 100 people in the training. Today was rather boring because they spoke about the actual job and what to expect when you go out looking for jobs and interview. It was boring because, well, I don't need a job and I already know what to expect. Some of the people that spoke, mentioned their job interviews and they frightened me. Some said they had panel interviews, others said they had six different interviews and others said they would tell them they wanted them to come up with a lesson plan and or classroom management plan at the moment of interview. Cray cray!

I am glad (and lucky) none of that happen with me. I made a comment and told then that I considered myself lucky because I didn't go through the tough interview like they did. I am not saying my interview was a walk in the park, I think my interview was tough and I think it was somewhat more stressful because even though mine was a skype interview, I had a tiny computer screen to impress the boss.

Tomorrow training will pick up and we are going to have another speaker.

Here is a photo of Prudence outside the apartments, that's her green patch is grass to potty.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tired, for sure

I left Midland very early in the morning and headed out to Fort Worth. I am so tired, been up since 5 am. We have been out and about all day long, my body has been super tired and my brain too, it's a miracle I can make sense of what my brain is telling my fingers to type. Hehe

I arrived to my sisters apartment about 11 am and she met me outside her apartment. She quickly got in to my car and we drove off to eat some lunch at our new favorite place, Pollo Regio.

I was too hungry for food photos, but managed to take a photo of this:

The green salsa is so spicy and goes amazing with the chicken. We spent the rest of the day walking at the "Mexican" mall. It felt like walking down memory lane. It felt as if we walked straight into my childhood.

Candy and Piñatas!

More Piñatas!

For now, I am in bed relaxing. Big day tomorrow with training and since I am not sure how far this place is, I am going to have to leave way early and check morning traffic.

We had Five Guys for dinner, but again, too tired for photos. Here is the leftovers.

For now, Prudence keeps me company.

Somehow it feels like I walked more than that.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lets go!

I have been sitting here at Starbucks this afternoon. Coming in a little later than usual. I overslept this morning on purpose. I woke up before the alarm, which was set for 6:30...not sure why I would even set an alarm on a Saturday.

But after three hours of just being in bed and listening to the TED Radio hour and Snap Judgement, I got up to make some breakfast. Then I got ready to head out. So here I am at Starbucks. I find that I am coming to this place and all I do is observe what people are doing. It may sound a little creepy, but it's always interesting to see who comes in, what they do and how they act.

I have met a homeless man who sits there all day. Outside the patio section, in the couch or near the tables. He watches television on his iPad or naps. I have seen him having lunch outside and I have seen him napping too, just soaking in the sun. Now when I say homeless, I really mean that. He has a good job, but he says he can't afford the high rent here in the area. I feel bad for him.

Today I met a traveling preacher who stood most of the day outside in the intersection with his bible open and preaching. To whom? I am not sure, traffic kept moving pretty fast. When I saw him there, standing and talking outloud, the first rhing that came to mind was that I too, should be doing that, but with English. Don't laugh, that is probably a good way to get speaking practice.

For now, I am packing for my trip to Fort Worth. Teacher training all wee and part of next week. Let's hope I observe and learn something!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Science fun

Science camp was so much fun today!

We had some guest speakers - meteorologist from one of the local television stations.

Kids asked so many questions, some where silly and others were very interesting. Overall,  fun experience.

We also got to do some fun expirements:

And we were even part of some live coverage about the event. Wonder if they will have something later today? Oh well, as long as I don't come out, I am cool with that.

Today I had 2nd and 3rd graders in my table, and although we don't normally have 2nd graders (they just finished 1st grade, heading to 2nd grade) I hope to never have them again! I will stick to my 9th graders. These kids were wonderful and respectful and started calling me Ms. A. But they require too much care and attention. That may sound weird coming from a teacher and someone that actually works with kids. But I think at this age, they truly depend so much on adults. They can think for themselves, but they quickly start to do other things if you don't quickly keep them on task. No thank you, I am sticking to my 9th grade students.

This little guy is in the education center and they are adorable. I love how he's holding the cracker.

I was going to head over to Fort Worth as soon as I finished with science camp, but decided to go Sunday morning. Let's see what the day brings. I should head over to my apartment, have hung out enough hours here at my favorite coffee shop.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

One direction

After spending an entire day indoors yesterday, I made a run for it today. I woke up early and headed over to Starbucks. I ordered my usual and was heading to my usual spot, but Chris was sitting there already. Chris is a regular and we always end up sharing the table. I like that we say our quick hellos, we chat for a few minutes and then go on about our work. We met about 6 months ago. I was coming to sit in the table and he was already there. I said hello and asked if he didn't mind sharing the table. Since then, we've been chatting over coffee, work and small talk, other than that, I know nothing else. And that's ok, I like that on any given day, I can walk in and visit for a few minutes.
Today I sure made up for not being their yesterday and was there for five hours. I know, crazy. And what do I do all day? I usually surf the internet, watch music videos, work on my word search or talk to Chris.
Tomorrow is science summer camp and I am so excited! I know, I probably get more excited than the kids. It has to be the candy we expirement with and get to eat. 
Until then, I shall relax.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'll change my mind

Today I decided to stay in and did not go anywhere. Usually I wake up at the crack of dawn, get ready and head out. Usually to go volunteer or to get some coffee. And then I just stay away and don't come back until later in the day.

I woke up late and have been styling bed head hair all day. I have even been wearing my PJs...all day. This is something that I don't like to to. I am very organized, I plan everything, but for some reason I decided on the opposite today.

The television has been on all day. Interesting stuff on television. I even got to watch Days of Our Lives! Fun fact: I used to rush to my dorm during lunch to watch it when I was in college. It was insane, but then it got old and stopped watching.

Oh well, I shall continue to watch tv. Tomorrow will probably be a different story. :)

Monday, July 14, 2014


Son of a beech...I had a half a page written this morning and minimized the screen to answer a text, when I opened the app again, I had lost everything I wrote. Ok, I will just paraphrase, cut it short.

Training yesterday was great. At first, I felt a little uncomfortable, I had not been in a classroom atmosphere in about 6 weeks. But once all of MFH English teachers found ourselves and we sat together, all was ok. I even won a door prize!

It was a lot of Informarion and I hope I wrote fast enough and grasped everything. Some of the strategies we did, I want to implement next year.

Last night I spent it finishing Fahrenheit 451. My plan was to read a few pages a night, enjoy it and savor it, but OMG I could not out it down. If it had not been for the training yesterday and the long nap I took while watching television, I could have finished it way earlier. I am going to read Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm. I have been thinking back at my English classes, from high school and I can honestly say, I don't remember ever reading any of the books that are in our 9th grade reading list. Sure, Shakespeare was front and center, but others like Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451 and others, were not. It was recommended that I read for pleasure and less for work, but I can't help it. This is going to sound like the cheesiest thing in the world, but I felt alive. It was awesome to have a feeling of excitement, I wanted to keep reading. What would happen next? Who are the characters? Symbols? Theme? I wanted to disect the story from beginning to end. I caught myself reading outloud. And saying "OMG run!" Or "what the hell, did that just happen?"

Anyway, I am sitting here at Starbucks and I just had a phone call with my boss. I wanted to update him on my certification process. I found out I didn't pass my test last week, but I wanted to tell him first. The day I found out, I cried. It felt as if I had lost a loved one. I felt so defeated. I had worked so hard. Long hours. Lots of stress. Lots of prayer. But in the end, I missed the passing score by 5 points. The passing score is a 240 and I got a 235. I did improve in the writing portion. The highest score is a 4 and I got a 3.

But after about five minutes of feeling sorry for myself, I went on ahead and signed up for the test in September. I am determined to pass this test. I want this so bad. If I didn't care about being a teacher, I would have walked out. I would have gone back home, I have always found a way to fit somewhere in a job. 

For now, I am taking a few weeks off from studying, focusing on the training next week and then come August, I will be working at it full force.

For now, I do this.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Notice and note, my resolution

This morning I was reading and writing notes. Reviewing some literary terms that I need to know for the school year. At my usual spot, drinking some hot coffee and enjoying a piece of banana bread, I felt someone staring at me. I looked up and saw an older man staring at me. He was standing, waiting for his drink. He smiled at me, I smiled back. I went back to writing. A few minutes later, the same man came over to me.

"So I must know," he said as he sat down in the empty chair next to mine. 

He was holding an iced coffee, something that I wanted to get, but instead opted for the brew of the day.

"I come to Starbucks almost daily, and like today, I have seen you sitting here almost everyday. The same spot, the same books and you are doing the exact same thing. And I have to ask, what is it that you are doing everyday that's so important?" He asked me, taking a sip of his drink.

"I am studying," I replied.

"For what? Are you a college student?" He asked. "What are you studying?"

"No sir, I am a teacher and I am studying for the next school year." I told him.

"But you have the summer off, are you not supposed to be having the time of your life somewhere at a beach, away and not thinking of school?" He said jokingly.

I proceeded to tell him I was a first year teacher last year and although I was able to compete the year, I felt unsuccessful. Because the content I taught, I learned more than 10 years ago, I had to study everything from scratch and I wanted to prepare. This past year was a big struggle for me, I told him.

"Bless your heart young lady," he said.

Then he said something that made me feel a little better, a little less stressed.

"I know it's hard. You came from a completely different career, you shouldn't be expected to know everything, but it's good you tried and survived your first year. I know how tough this career is," he said.

Then he told me he too was once a teacher. He was now retired, going on his 10th year now. He knew the stress of teaching and how it felt. He said at the start there were many times he hid in his room and cried. But what he said next, warmed my heart. He said that he was amazed that I would choose this career path with no prior experience. He said I was courageous and that I should keep my head up and continue, no matter what life throws at me.

But he did suggest I take some time away from the books and take advantage of the time off. 

I sat there, in silence. The sounds of the busy Starbucks faded away. I could no longer hear the loud expresso machine, I couldn't hear the baristas yell out people's orders, I couldn't hear anyone talking. For the first time in my life, I had no idea what to say. It's as if he was meant to be there, at that right time and he was supposed to say those exact same words to make me feel better.

I thanked him for the kind words and he went on his way. After he left, I just stared  at my book. Did this really happen? It was so weird and so out of the ordinary for something as direct as this, to happen.

For now, I will keep my head up and continue doing what I have been doing, but first, a few day off to clear my head and relax.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fun with science!

I just left the Petroleum museum and today's science camp was amazing! I am not sure if it's all the sweets talking, or the group of kids I had, but I learned so much and the activities we did were so much fun!

We went around the museum looking for clues to our energy discovery worksheet. We basically walk around, looking for clues to fill our out worksheet. Like a scavenger hunt, so fun.

Then we had a guest speaker, Dr. Petro, who taught us about the history of the basin and how oil is found.

Then we learned about fracking and we used jell-o and frosting. I enjoyed talking to the kids and explaining what fracking was, even though I was having some problems trying to explain, but I think I did a good job. All the volunteers have a small table with about six kids. Mine ranged ages 10 to 11 years old.

By far the best experiment we did, in my opinion, was the solar s'mores.  We made them indoors and then took them outside to a large table covered with foil.

And OMG they were so good. This was my first official s'more, like ever. Never had one as a kid, we never went camping. 

See, it was delicious.

And if that wasn't enough, we also built little pin wills and the kids played with them outside.

To be a kid again.

Overall it was a great and fun experience. When I told the kids I was an English teacher, the kids were surprised. 

"Why are you a science teacher here?" One kid asked.

Well, I was just a volunteer and science experience is not needed, but I didn't tell him that.

Today pumped me up, even though it was just a science camp, I did activities that I would not normally do and taught younger kids, not freshmen, but elementary kids.

Not sure what else today brings, first I have to get off this sugar rush.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nothing to see, hurry along

This morning I walked in to the RLWT office and the front desk lady told me she needed to talk to me. I suddenly felt like something was wrong. Was I going to get fired from my volunteer job? Had I been absent more than required? Actually we don't have a set schedule or are we required to be there, we are, after all volunteers.

In the past, "We need to talk," has always led to negative things. I can name a few, but I will not.

"Please go have a seat by my desk," she said.

Well, this was a good run. I liked volunteering here, if I am getting fired, oh well. At least I tried. I can't help it, when someone needs to talk about something and I know nothing about it, I expect the worse. It's been my experience. Especially if they just tell you to meet and discuss an item, but they don't tell you what, until you are there. It's like going blind and walking in the middle of a highway.

"I would like to go over your evaluation," she said.

Evaluation? I thought to myself. I wasn't aware I would be evaluated, but I do think this is great because how else will I know I am doing a good job or not? She had good positive things to say, I was glad. There are a few things that need improvement, but I am up for the challenge.

Vocal recording quality: Great! Constant volume.
Pace: Constant for most of the time, occasionally speeds up.
Phrasing: awkward. Some hesitation.
Pronunciations: needs to look up words.
Enunciation: ending - it's great! 
Energy: Good
Breathing noises: none
Mouth or background noises: none! Yay!

Overall a good review, but I do need to work on pronouncing words better, specially those I am not familiar with.

This evaluation brewed some emotions from last year. I am always up for a challenge, feedback is important, needs to be done, I guess I am just too hard on myself and when I hear of something negative, I get upset - but at myself.

Not much else to say. I spent my day drinking coffee, reading and reviewing for my week long training that's coming up in a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Screaming YOLO

Last night I couldn't sleep. I kept waking up, not sure if it was because I was already used to having my sister around, or maybe because Prudence the dog was not by my side, or maybe because on my way back from Fort Worth, I was listening to "Snap Judgement" and it was an episode about scary, supernatural, ghosts and other scary things that kept me up all night. Not sure why that episode spoked me.

I snoozed the alarm for about an hour. Really with no place to go, I took my time to get up. The RLWT wasn't expecting me until Thursday, so I decided to take the day off and just chill.

My first stop, as always, was Starbucks where I met a guy who had just interviewed with an oil and gas company. He was hoping to get the job as an engineer. He had flown from Ohio. We talked over tea, well, he had an iced tea and I had an iced coffee. He asked me about Midland and if I liked living here. Then the man sitting next to use, joined in the conversation - uninvited. He started talking about how this place is not fun, it's not bike friendly. He's that man I have spoken to before, he's couch surfing at night and spending his days at Starbucks.

He's the man that told me once, "I probably shouldn't tell you this because you are a teacher, but I dropped out of high school."

Really, what do you say to a man who just told you that. Do you say, "You bad man! Go back to school!"

Anyway, the guy from Ohio left and another man who is already an engineer in the oil business started talking to me. I like how I can just make conversation with anyone there. And I like that the staff has not kicked me out for solicitation. Today I was there for almost four hours. 

Later I met up with my friend and we had adult beverages and hung out by the pool.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014


I am exhausted.

Arrived in Midland a few hours ago. I left my sisters apartment at the same time she left for work, but I didn't drive over as fast as I could. It's not like I was eager to come back, and after spending most of June on the road, with family and friends, you would understand.

I stopped at Starbucks and left Fort Worth about 7:30 am. The drive went ok and I took my time driving and I mean, I took my time. I stopped at a couple of rest stops just to stretch. Usually I am in a rush to come back because of work or because I have to do other things, but today I drove slow, listened to music and enjoyed the coffee.

These last couple of days have been fun, I had nothing really to tell. But I did take photos.

Cooked for my sister this delicious meal. OMG it was so good.

Dinner at Panera Bread, because I love this place.

And me and Prudence the dog spent a lot of time together while my sister worked.

More iced coffee and a bagel.

I stopped at a rest stop in Abilene and thought this was funny. This looks like a bunch of binary numbers. It's as if a programmer, turned TxDot employee designed this.

Anyway, I rest up for the next two weeks and then I am off for a week long training for my certification program.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Clap along if you know

My sister moved to this beautiful apartment about two months ago, and she is yet to get any living room furniture, or chairs.

The view from her apartment is worth sitting on the floor for ever. But we have been spending the majority of out time sitting in her bed, napping, sleeping, vegging out, just being silly. Last night we were watching music videos on our phones until past midnight.

This morning we headed to Starbucks and had the usual. We were there for a while and then headed to Central Market. I miss you CM, wish Midland had one.

They have funny items like this:

We also had lunch there. They have delicious food.

I had a Cobb chicken salad and a diet tea. We also shared a tortilla soup.

OMG it was so delicious.

We later came back to the apartment and just talked for hours. I love my sister and love spending time with her. When I arrived here a few days ago, I was having an iced coffee downstairs and the manager of the coffee placed asked where I was from, what I was doing here. He was like, "wow, I am five hours away from my brother and I never visit him, no way I am driving that far." Then we went to buy some drinks at a store later that day and the cash register guy said something similar, "that's great that sisters hang out, even as you get older the relationship gets better."

And he was right. I plan to visit my sister and spend time with her until we are both old and grey. If I am living on the other side of the world, I will visit her. I am very attached to my sister. She has been my best friend, always there for her. We shared a bedroom since the day we were born and I have always made it a priority to take care of her. Even though she is capable and very independent, I can't help it, she's my baby sister and I always want to protect her.

Later we were listening to music and I told her I was going to take a nap. When I woke up she was laughing so hard. She said that a split second after I told her, I started snoring. 

Prudence slept with me too. Can you see her?

Anyway, we then went to have dinner.

This place has the best Mexican grilled chicken, Mexican rice and charro beans. It was so good.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Because I'm happy

Today was such a great day. Whenever I spend time with my sister, I have such a great time.

First we started off with our usual morning ritual. (See, I am not the only one)

And we posed for a few photos.

Here we are getting ready to go to a pool party at her friends apartment.

Before we left, I spent some much needed time with Prudence the dog. Then I posed for a photo with the shades my sister lend me for the pool party.

Once we arrived to the party, things go seriously. Chips, dip, salsa, jalapeño wrapped with bacon and cream cheese.

And of course, my "adult" beverage too.

And here is my amazing ribeye steak. Of course, I couldn't get into the pool or be out in the sun because of my medication, but I still had a great time. We hung around for about four hours. I was so tired.

Afterwords, we came back to the apartment and I took a 2.5 hour nap. Then we headed out across the street from my sisters apartment to Bar Louie and I had this for dinner:

This was a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg, it was so good. Great restaurant.

Soon after, we went up the fifth floor of my sisters apartment and we watched the fireworks happening at the Botanical Gardens.

Good times.