Yes, I'm still alive.
I didn't really mean to neglect this blog for so long, but sometimes things kind of get in the way and I keep thinking, "oh, I'll do that tomorrow." So very Scarlett of me, I suppose.
In any case, my father has been up visiting for about a week. He lives a little over three hours away and tries to get up several times a year. For someone who's retired, trying to find free time where he can actually come visit is insane. This man is busier as a retiree than he ever was when he was working for the airlines. In between activities with his church, his hobbies, and traveling, finding time to come up to our neck of the woods is a challenge. So, when he's here I like to devote my time to him and tend to neglect the computer. After all, I realize that my parents won't be around forever, so I do want to maximize my time with them.
Even if it means watching NASCAR all freaking day.
Honestly, we had a bit of a heat wave while he was here, and it was brutally hot and humid so we didn't do a whole lot of outside work (we did, however, fix my yard gate which was a mess). Daddy is a handy-man sort of guy (and has taught me quite a lot), so in between daily trips to Home Depot, Lowes and Harbor Freight, we managed to watch a lot of NASCAR, baseball, and golf in air conditioned comfort.
I don't mind the baseball or golf one bit. In fact, I really enjoy baseball and have had a lot of fun watching the College World Series. And truth be told, the U.S. Open with Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate was amazing golf. But NASCAR is not my thing. I do, however, have to give my dad credit - he doesn't have a favorite driver. He likes anyone who beats Junior.
So Dad and I hung out, celebrated my birthday and Father's Day. Mr. Bluebird wasn't able to join us as he was up in Washington D.C. (or as he calls is, the "Lair of Satan") doing research at the National Archives. In other words, squinting for hours and inhaling very old dirt.
And then I had four days of in-service work. The first one, on podcasting, I took by choice because it sounded useful and interesting...and it actually was. The second one I took because I was the middle school teacher from the district that was going to a "train the trainer" session on our new standards, put on by the State. It was local (thank goodness) and had teachers from all over the middle part of the State, and actually was not, for once, a complete waste of time.
Which brings to mind the absolute worst in-service that Mrs. Eagle and I attended a few years ago. This was another one put on by the State and it was mind-numbingly dull. The major focus was a CD that the State produced that had all these very cool links and resources to help us find wonderful lessons that have lots of inquiry and align with the state standards. Not a bad thing at all except it was presented completely wrong. The fellow who did all the work to put together the CD basically sat up at the computer and we spent the whole day watching him click from link to link to link and talk about what he was doing. I wanted to put a needle in my eye. It would have been a lot more effective if they had let us play with the CD ourselves on computers.
Anyhow, I spent three days at this workshop and now will be expected to host some of these workshops (smaller versions, definitely not three days) to help our teachers become familiar with the new standards which go into place in the 2009 school year. There's some big, big changes in middle school science and the workshop really helped me get my mind around some of it. There was also a large section devoted to textbook adoption which should be interesting as new books are often the first thing axed when budgets are tight.
But hey, it's summer, and what else is a teacher to do on "vacation"??