Indulging in Poe

FINALLY, it’s happened. I am done subbing for biology and world history and I am finally offically employed at Bending Oaks High School. It went like this- I interviewed in Sept. to become their 11th grade English teacher, but they immediately needed me to sub for one of their teachers who was having lung surgery to remove a tumor. And, of course, the recovery took longer than anyone expected.

This lead to lots of interesting discussions with my students and I, all about what I know concerning genetics, Attila the Hun, and even the Phoenecians.

Okay. So they were very SHORT discussions.

But hey, we all made it through! My students only flunked a few tests (this actually wasn’t my fault- some of the kids went off of their meds and became the poster children for ADD on steroids).

The day after Thanksgiving break was the big moment- finally, an English class all to myself! Finally I can scratch my burning desire to diagram the grammatical structure of sentences on white boards (I seriously LOVE doing this!!). Finally I can discuss the Transcendentalists to my heart’s content.

So there we were, discussing The Cask of Amontillado, having a blast. I told my kids that basically, they were going to suck at discussion for a good long while, but I would have fun antagonizing them until they got better.

Muhahahahahaha!!!!!!

If you want to see my syllabus, here it is. Keep in mind that I have been greatly influenced by Dr. Vonk (Aaron Kleist). Also realize that while many of these kids are bright, most of them flunked out of normal public school. Actually, that being said, public school is really really strict here- you can get kicked out for having a nose piercing.

Anyways… here it is:)

11th-grade-english-syllabus1.doc

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COLD!

I know that I may sound like a baby, but I am cold. Cold cold cold. You know it’s cold when you go to church wearing 3 layers under a wool peacoat and you’re still shivering after 1/2 an hour of being in a heated building. I also knew it was cold when I overheard two ladies say, “Yeah. If we’re lucky, it may warm up into the 40s by the end of the week!” Huh.

Oh yes. The wind chill factor put it into the 20’s, not to mention the freezing rain.

What’s going on? This is supposed to be Texas, the land of cactus, tumbleweeds and sand!

Luckily we have plenty of stores just a block away from our apt., so after church I went on a search for anything that might help. Never in my life have I needed an entire wardrobe for chilly weather- maybe a few sweaters here and there for when we went on our annual ski trip with the Trinidades and the Blacks. But never everyday-wear. Thank God that I found another wool jacket, some sweaters and some furry boots.

Yes, I now own furry boots. But now my toes won’t freeze!

Dreaming of a White Thanksgiving

We just got back from celebrating Thanksgiving at Christine’s apartment in Houston. While we were waiting for the actual dinner to commence, we started watching the Dallas Cowboys on TV. All of a sudden, they panned out to a far away shot of Texas Stadium, and we realized the truth- it was snowing!! Snowing in Irving!! Granted, we weren’t there since we were 4 hrs. away in Houston, but still- snow on Thanksgiving! That was a first for us, especially since it was over 80 degrees just a few days ago! Weird weather, I tell you.

Anyways, the 3 days we got to spend with some of the Voss family were filled with eating, football, sightseeing and funnel cakes. We even went to see “August Rush” at the theater, a movie which I enjoyed immensely (if you love or teach music, you should see it!!). All 3 of us younger folks are pretty tired, seeing as we stayed up until 3am all 3 nights talking, but it was welcome company, and a great way to start the Holidays! Here are some pictures on Facebook.

As another recommendation, you should all go out and buy the new Josh Groban Christmas album. Jesse and I bought it on the way home tonight, and absolutely LOVE it. Yay for finally being allowed to listen to Christmas music!

Cold Front

Well, it’s finally happened- I think winter is here to stay in Dallas! For the last month or two, the weather has done a little bit of fluctuating, but not as much as they say it normally does (the locals have an expression here to describe the random changes- “Don’t like the weather? Just wait a second.”). For the last month, it has felt like spring with the temperature moving between daytime highs in the 70-85 degrees F and the nightime ones 60-70 degrees F.

But today…they warned us that a cold front was moving in. And boy was it! I actually pulled out my one remaining pea coat today (I had to give Courtney all of my other ones…:( They say that in the next few days it should be between 15-20 degrees during the night, which means lots of dangerous ICE.

So, here’s to winter!

Yesterday:

High: 80°F Low: 65°F

Today!:


Fair and Windy

46°F
Feels Like
37°F

Updated: Nov 21 06:45 p.m. CT

We are Grandparents!

Actually, we are grand-friends! Today was Grandparents’ Day at Christiana’s school, Cambridge School of Dallas. It’s a hardcore classical Christian high school about 10 min. away from our apt. complex. Since Christiana’s grandma lives in Tennessee, she decided to invite us along as her honorary grandparents! Thankfully, I was able to go since I have this entire week off of work. Ah, how much I love being a teacher!!

Jesse and I thought about dying his hair white, but then people would think he really WAS a grandfather, escorting a potential 16 year old student around campus. This is actually referring to me and not Christiana, seeing as I am asked at least once a week, “and which high school do you attend?”. For me, life is an ongoing battle to look old.

But enough about how I am destined to look 16 until the day I turn 70. The visit to her school was charming, and a bit nostalgic at times, especially when the little 6th graders got up to recite the Lord’s Prayer in Latin and Chaucer’s intro to the Canterbury Tales. I felt like I was right back at the Latin School! The high school is a bit more intense, however, as is demonstrated by the fact that the seniors have to spend the entire year writing a thesis, then defend it before a panel of College Professors a few weeks before they graduate. Hey, isn’t that what you do for your PhD, not your high school diploma? They also have extremely strict dress code standards- white uniform long-sleeve polo shirts with plaid skirts, saddleback shoes, and specific stockings for the girls, and uniform shirts, ties, blazers, and doc martens for the boys. Apparently, this is lenient compared to most Dallas private schools, as Cambridge actually lets girls wear jewelry and makeup!!

Anyways, the school totally fits Christiana, who, as I said, is in her sixth year of Latin as an 11th grader, having won a summa cum laude on her Latin V National Exam. She also gets up at 4am every morning to row on Lake Dallas with her school squad. Here is the website if you wanna check it out. Most of their professors have MA’s or PhD’s. Sounds like an amazing high school! Except for the fact that it costs around 15k/year. Oh well:)

Here are some pics from our visit, iffin you want to see!

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For Chocolate Lovers Only

Yesterday, I had an affair with my best friend. Also, the universe collided and I had three of my favorite people visit me at the same time.

Okay, what really happened is Tess was flying home for Thanksgiving and had a layover in DFW airport. Now, she had told me this much earlier, but I didn’t put two and two together to realize that she would be here when my mom and Janelle were visiting. So she gives me a call telling me that her flight will be in at 4:15, and we should hang out until 6! We spared no expense and kidnapped her, taking her to my apartment to hang out for a bit (since we are less than 10 min. away from the airport).

It’s really a lot of fun having Tess here, not just because we’ve been hanging out for 17 years, but also because she is great friends with my mom and sister. She not only accepts our goofy-off-the-wall-Honeycutt-randomness, but she joins the fun. For instance, I had not told Jesse anything about Tess’ possible visit, so when we got back to the apt., we simply had her unlock the door and just walk in as though nothing were out of the ordinary. Jesse was just a tad bit surprised.

Here are even more examples of our weirdness when we’re together:

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Once we had to bring Tess back to the airport after her brief hangout with us, my mom and I went shopping at Kohls, then picked up Jesse and Janelle and went to hang out with Katie, Christiana, and John in Downtown Dallas at a “Chocolate and Wine” cafe. It was a lot of fun, mainly because we love chocolate and coffee and late hours of the night, and also because there was a live Jazz band.

Here’s a little of what it was like:

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Try to guess what Christiana’s sign language means:)

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Believe it or not, she’s actually saying, “Statuatory Rape”. It’s sorta an inside joke. Don’t worry if you don’t understand.

We hung out with them all today too, as is typical after church. Today was a little different, however, because in honor of my mother we set up a Scrabble board at La Madeleine’s and held a huge game! I was a little sleepy, but it was so nice to be with friends and family at the same time….sorta like Thanksgiving! Only…..a little premature:)

Rich Kids, Nice Schools

I just recently found out how much many of my kids are paying to go to the schools I teach at. It astounded me, so I wanted a little feedback on what you’ve heard about Montessori, and if it works. So far, I do notice that the kids seem to be brighter and more confident, but I would like a little more proof than that before I shell out the money for my kids someday. Keep in mind, these are PRESCHOOLS.

Here is the most expensive of the schools- Castle Hills Montessori. They have electives in the afternoon, such as Chinese, Spanish, ballet, sports, drama, and of course, piano. It costs around $1100/mo. for an 8-3pm day (not including the extra for afternoon care and/or tuition for electives). They have cameras in every room, and they are projected to at least 10 tvs in the lobby so that visitors can see EXACTLY what happens all day. Here is their website. They also have a virtual tour at the bottom of the page where you can even catch a glimpse of my piano room.

Here is the website for the affiliation that a lot of my Montessori schools belong to called Montessori Unlimited (all of the schools have the exact same layout/floorplan). They only charge $800/mo. tuition for an 8-2pm day. Here is the website.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things!

Well, you asked for it and here they are! Pictures of our apartment. There were too many to post here, so I put them on a folder on facebook and posted a link.

Click Here

As a bonus, I am including 3 videos of my incredibly adorable piano students! These are just 3 from a school that I teach on Thursday nights- I couldn’t possibly capture every cute moment from all 150 of my students, but I did happen to get these:)

This is two of them singing my “Jack In a Box song”. It teaches them both piano and forte in an easy to remember way:)

This is Grace- she is 3 years old, and already a cheerleader!

Lastly, this is Lydia. She is five years old, and only been taking piano for 6 weeks now!

That’s all for now! Gotta get up and go garage sale-ing with the mommy and sissy tomorrow:)

Thanksgiving

Halloween is over- thank goodness! If you blame me for being relieved, let me tell you that EVERY teacher hates Halloween. In my case, picture tons of rich kids (who are normally on some sort of monitored organic-vegan diet) all coming to school with the WORST hangovers due to flooding their delicate digestive systems with hundreds of pounds of sugar. Yes, it’s a miserable day for everyone. What’s even worse is the week leading up to Halloween where their every thought is hell-bent on being the most selfish one yet, since they have a horrendous case of the “gimmees”.

Okay. But enough about Halloween. I shouldn’t complain, I got the night off and got to go to church on a Wednesday night! Ironically, Halloween was the only night that my schedule would allow it, as all of my kids were out shaking hands with the devil.

Anyways. Around this time of year, my head is always filled with all the good things God is doing for and through me. Perhaps it’s the autumn air, or the fact that I get to pretend I am going to ACTUALLY get around to baking Christmas goodies. But whatever it is, I have not been able to stop thinking about how good life is, and how grateful I should be.

So I will start with what I am most grateful for at the moment- Jesse.

It is amazing what a completely changed person he is now that he is no longer working the grave shift and instead studying what he was meant to. Sure, he stresses out about Greek and about how he hates doing little stuff like paying the bills, but he sticks through it- no matter what. Nearly every night when I get home, he has dinner waiting on the table. He takes care of all the budgeting, bills and paperwork and even does most of the shopping and housecleaning. The past few weekends, his breaks from studying have been filled with doing the mini decorating projects I have lined up for him around the house. For example, when I eventually post pictures of the painted walls in our house, most of it was him (okay, so I got pretty over ambitious and needed a ton of help…)

My personal favorite is that he has taken it upon himself to lead our little family in prayer and singing every night. Some of this is because he was asked to be a reader at our church (they even picked out a robe for him!), but it’s also because I confessed to him that I was having a hard time getting in a prayer routine. So he remembers for me:) Hopefully, I will form enough of a habit that I will be able to do it on my own in the mornings. It’s quite a shameful thing that I have been able to work out at least once a day for the last 8 years but have never formed a prayer routine.

Next up- my job!

I have now been through 3 stages. First, there was the Disneyland dreamworld stage, where not even the bad guys seemed all that real. Then there was the “I HATE WORKING!! I MISS STAYING AT HOME ALL DAY!!” stage, which I knew had to come someday.

I have now adapted well enough to see the truth behind it all- I love what I do!!! I have over 150 piano students, and I love being a part of their lives. Most of the logistical kinks have been worked out, and it is now such a joy. Every day when I walk into the doors of the different Montessori schools, I am bombarded with 50 hugs, and sometimes if I’m lucky, lots of little kisses:) It can be sort of unnerving at times, because kids have no shame and are willing to be completely honest about anything (<real conversation>”Miss Kelly, do all girls get boobies??”–“Yes” ….I lied), but this also means that I know they like me, and that the relationships I have been forming with them are real. I know that I am a huge influence in their lives- what I see is confirmed every time another parent calls Melodie and says, “My kid LOVES his piano class! He comes home singing all the songs…”. Sure I’ve had to go out of my comfort zone and dance and sing. Sure I have seen “C” and “D” so many times that I want to scream. But I know that I am good at what I do and getting better with every lesson that I teach. I especially love the in-home lessons, because I get to know the whole family as well. It’s nice to talk with the moms and have them remember everything going on in my life.

Then there is Bending Oaks High School. I never in a MILLION years dreamed that I would get to teach high school without having to go through the arduous process of getting certified. I always knew that there might be schools out there like North County Christian, but then again, I like getting paid more than minimum wage:) Now I get to make up my own lesson plans, have deep conversations with the kids whenever I feel like it, and even share with them about the Orthodox faith (every Wednesday and Friday they teasingly taunt me with cream cheese on their bagels::).

One of the most exciting aspects about both of these jobs is that I feel my specific gifts are being used in capacities I never dreamed that I had. Among getting a “real world” education from my high school kids about the world of drugs (sometimes they forget I’m there and try to sell things right in front of me!), I am also being bombarded with how much they look up to me and care about what I think. Many of the girls have been confiding their deep secrets and problems with me since I am “almost their age and understand”. I love knowing that they will remember me for more than what I taught about that day.

So there you have it- my two top thanksgivings for the time being. I will have more later, but it’s time for bed. Gotta get up and teach in the morning!