Saturday, June 30, 2007

the roof is on fire

As though the recent fires in Tahoe and Palo Alto and the terrorist attacks in London aren't bad enough, The Simple Way Community Center in Philadephia (home of Shane Claiborne's ministry) was destroyed in a major fire earlier last week as well. They're slowly rebuilding with the help of the communtiy as well as the eight families whose homes were also destroyed in the fire, but a lot of damage was done and a lot of loss occured.

You can donate to the Rebuilding Fund and the Kensington Families Fun here, but your prayers will do just as much good. The Simple Way is an incredible ministry doing unbelievable work in downtown Philadephia with the mission "To love God. To love people. To follow Jesus". Already, in the midst of rebuilding their homes, they have convinced the city to transform part of the H Street Lot (where the fire originated in an abandoned warehouse) into open space for a much needed park and recreation space.

If you're unfamiliar with Shane and his work at The Simple Way, check out his book The Irresistable Revolution. It will probably change your life.

on my list

A summer reading list is forthcoming (before Hawaii, I promise), but for now, here are some blogs that I especially enjoy:

Saturday, June 23, 2007

somehow here again

Daniel leaves for Japan tomorrow.

I'm experiencing some serious déjà vu here. I swear, hasn't this happened before? Hopefully this one will come back...

Friday, June 22, 2007

nothing but a summer jam

Well, it's officially summertime. I know this because my dad has been doing a lot of grilling and I've been doing a lot of... nothing! Finally!

My little summer school class is just awesome. I have about 12 kids and we have been reading books and doing art projects and telling riddles and just having a super time every morning. I've been working a few 4-hour shifts for my dad as well (our business has boomed ever since we recieved the Tall Tree award for Outstanding Business not too long ago), but overall it's just nice to relax, lay out by the pool, read some good books, and not worry about much of anything aside from packing for Hawaii in three weeks (I'm already dreaming of Mai Tais and fresh pineapple, believe me).

I cruised up to Davis yesterday for a meeting with WJUSD to finish up some paperwork and get all of my health insurance stuff figured out. I also swung by WHS to pick up my books for next year. I'm teaching 2 periods of English 9, 1 period of Senior Literature & Composition, and a 2 hour ELD block. I'm super excited about Senior English, which focuses on British and World Lit. The anthology is awesome and includes excerpts from Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, the Decameron, tons of great poetry, and a lot of really great Holocaust material too. I can't wait to start planning!

But right now, it's dinnertime. I've missed my mom's cooking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

to take me away

I walked out the front doors of Hiram Johnson High School for the very last time today. I might not be exaggerating when I say I did a little dance as I got into my car.

Because I won't be in class on Thursday to give students their final grades, I emailed the student from the previous post to let him know about his final grade and tell him how proud I was of him. Today, I got this in response:
You just made my day. I'm glad i was able to have the chance to be your student for the second semester and I have not problem at all keeping in touch i think that is a wonderful idea. Maybe i'll send you some of my 10th grade english work i complete next year and you can let me know wat you think. Well Ms. Garcia its been a honor.

I graduate tomorrow and will probably take a little blogging break as I move back home and start my new teaching gig. Here's to summer (finally)!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

impossible things are happening everyday

Things are really winding down now! Tonight we had an English cohort party at Val's place and I'm giving my last final tomorrow morning. Then... graduation! I can't believe I'm actually done.

I have such incredible news I just can't contain myself. I have one student in my English 9 class who I have just totally fallen in love with. If you remember, he is the one who did very poorly last semester, but got really into Romeo & Juliet back in February. He's been hovering just below a D- all semester and I've really been encouraging him to get his work done and study hard for the final. Well, he completed an incredible project when we finished reading the Odyssey and got a 90% on his final today, bringing his grade in my class up to a C-. I'm so proud of him and just feel so... fulfilled, I guess is the best word to describe it. Like, I made a difference. A real difference. That's awesome.

Friday, June 08, 2007

what i got

I'm stoked to see that my boy Kelley Jimenez is doing well, coming out with a new album, and generally making awesome music all over Southern Cali.

I'm even more stoked to see that he's still playing "Save Tonight" at almost every single show, the very first song we ever performed together way back in the day during our junior year at St. Francis in the Little Theater, of all places. It served us well then and I'm pleased to see it's still doing it's job.

Man, that's such a good song.

Edit: And what do you know, I actually still have the original recording here (with the incomparable Greg VanBuskirk on drums, of course). Whoah.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

you move along

I presented my research today! It's over! I can breathe again!

You can check out my presentation here. It's actually pretty interesting and my research held up, which was super exciting. Overall, I'm glad I did it, but it sure was a pain and a whole lot of work and a bunch of stress over presenting, which ended up being no big deal at all. But still. It's done.

I give finals next week and then head home for a glorious 8 weeks of Mom's cooking and lots of napping. This is the first summer that I'm not actually "working". I mean, I'm teaching summer school, but I've got 9 sixth and seventh graders for an hour and 20 minutes every morning. That's not teaching. That's... playing.

I just can't wait to really, truly, legitimately relax for the first time since August 15.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

a million miles away

They are webcasting my graduation! You can watch me graduate at 4pm next Wednesday June 13th right here. Mark your calendars!

Yes, I'm actually walking this time. Amazing, I know.

Aaaaaand, I finished my research slides! And my credential-year portfolio! And my finals! I am amazing! And done!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

apologetically dressed

I have a feeling this will be useful next year, as I write my master's thesis of doom. Ugh. It makes me sick just thinking about it.

I have a ton to complete today, so I'm looking forward to a lot of coffee and random email/RSS feed checking (you know, when I take "breaks" and whatnot). I just want all of this crap to be done. I took my US Constitution exam (long story) on Friday and think I did well enough to pass, have my CPR certification this Thursday after I present my research slides (I'll put a link up when they're done, I'm actually really proud of them), and have yet to write a final for my ELD class.

Last night the ADX actives had a sort of BBQ thing for all the alumni. Daniel and I went and it was... interesting. I had a really nice chat with Bo and it was great to see Katie and Lindy and some other girls. In general though it all felt kind of... forced and I was glad to get home and (amazingly) continue working on all my stuff. I don't know, I guess I just don't know how I feel about the group these days and definitely don't know how to put those feelings into words.

Aaand, back to work. 10 days!