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Mawiage... and all that

3689 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

So, what – it’s probably been at least a year since I’ve posted? ::sigh:: Sorry guys. Since obviously the world has changed a bunch since the last time (literally, we don’t have an economy any more, two of us are engaged, one of us has sowed his oats again and we hopefully won’t be laughed at and otherwise hated so much in around the world), I figured I would give an update a try. :)

So on to the topic of mawiage… some rough infoz so you guys can hopefully be prepared since things have to remain a tiny bit open-ended for a bit longer…

Ceremony/Reception 1 Location: Guana Cay (pronounced “key”), Bahamas
Date: TBD – Spring Break for Sarah of 2010 (prolly third week of March)
Passports: Required – you’re probably all up to date, but just a reminder…

So here’s the deal in a nutshell: Sarah and I really want a destination wedding – specifically a beach wedding – which until CA breaks off and sinks bringing Atlantis back and converting the western slope into some gorgeous beach-front property, we can’t have it in CO. Since Sarah’s ‘rents (mom and step-dad) have a place in the Bahamas, it just makes sense for us to have the wedding there. (That and it’s mind-numbingly gorgeous).

The basic plan is this: we want to do it over spring break of 2010, but we can’t know precisely when that is until next year’s school calendar is released. Typically her spring break happens in the third week of March, so plan on that being the most likely time. We anticipate going out there at the front-end of the week and having the actual ceremony and reception on the Friday night of that week. We realize that this will probably make it a little bit harder on people, so we’re going to call the official ceremony piece “small and private” and have a second relaxed reception in CO at a later date. We obviously cry if we couldn’t have all the Goofy Guys out, but if it becomes absolutely impossible to achieve, we totally understand.

There are a ton of places on the island (both private cottages for rent as well as a couple of “resort” style hotels, so we’re hoping to coordinate some type of deal, or deals, for the close famry and friends. We’re hoping to get out to the island this early summer to do our homework, so we’ll likely have some good details in a few months.

If you’re curious about the island, you can jump out to Sarah’s ‘rent’s site and use that as a hopping point to find out more info about the island. It’s an amazing place, so we really hope that everyone will be able to get out and enjoy a fantastic celebration with us!

In other news, I do I believe I received a text message that had the words: “colorado” and “we” and “celebrate” (i’ll ignore the 30 part :) ). These are all favorite words of mine when combined together as they were, so here here! Come one, come all!!! Seriously though, I obviously think this is an absolutely swell idea. I’ll take a look at the calendar and see if we can get a nice little thread going to discuss some potential times. We start getting pretty busy again (if things go well) in late May, and we also already have a bunch of stuff that is planned for around then, so I’ll throw some known-bad-times out and maybe we can all come to consensus. A fair warning though… my house is officially “the barrio” of our street. My re-grading project ran out of money and time and it’s officially scary – we are “them” of the street so you’ll have to pardon the ambiance.

Anywho, yeah – so there is my first posting in nearly a year. :)

Comment [5]

More blog action...

3983 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

It’s like that from a bad geek porno – hotter, steamier, wild blog action! K, so maybe not like that, but go check out our new blog Asante Photography… The Dialogue.

So, yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to participate. Hopefully I’ll be seen a tinier bit more. For those that don’t know, the reason is that I’m now self employed. The evil company that I worked for after Maxtor had another round of layoffs and I was on it. This was quite alright IMO since they were burning me out like a candle in a forge. So, I’m now entering the next chapter of my career aspirations: to be a starving artist. :)

We’re frantically scrambling to get a studio location and everything into gear for this season so that I can go full time and see what happens. We think that, while it won’t be easy, we’re positioned to make the business a viable form of income. Our largest competitor (who’d been the brand name in Longmont for 32 years) has retired and all the wolves are moving in. We have some pretty good footing in the area and think we’re positioned to take a large portion of the open market share.

Anywho, hope the rest of you are good!

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Maybe it's the Tequila...

4193 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

So… I haven’t posted in a long time, I realize this – sorry all. I love you, but working two 40 hour jobs a week just takes it’s toll, ya know?

Anyway… maybe it’s the Tequila, but I had to post these two quotes cuz it’s just funny to me:

Jim: “I should drink tequila more often when processing…” (you should pronounce often “ouphtin”, cuz that’s how I would probably say it right now – it took three tries to spell it right… :)

Sarah: “It could also be that fact that you’re doing a good looking guy right now.”


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We have an announcement...

4349 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

...and no, we’re not getting married – but it does involve children and Sarah…

(and now for Sarah)

Well, that’s what he says, anyway ;o)

WARNING: You know I’m verbose. Never allow me to make my own post again because it’s a novel. Only read if you have time.

Okay, so the not-so-big-anymore news that should have been posted… oohhh… 18 days ago (but who’s counting?) is that… I’M A FIRST GRADE TEACHER!!! Mwa ha ha ha… er, I will be starting in August anyway.

I started working on my resume, etc. before we left for our little road trip out to California in March, but I really hit the job search hard after we got back. (‘Tis the season for elementary schools to be running through the numbers.) Tyler was AWESOME and offered to spiff up my resume and make it all pretty and professional-looking. I just couldn’t say no to an offer like that! I did all the online applications I could find before the fair (it’s recommended), which probably took about 20 hours total, no joke, it’s ridiculous.

Armed with the best-looking resume ever and having done tons of research (and spending too much on a new girl-suit… pinstripes all the way, baby!), I headed off to the Greater Denver Teacher Fair.

Now, I didn’t expect to actually find a job there. No… you talk to anyone, and the fair is just mostly to get practice interviewing. It’s a madhouse with over 300 interviewers and 800 interviewees. You interview with the big districts, get your name out a little, drop off some resumes… and then the districts put you into either the “maybe” or “maybe not” piles. THEN, after having already applied online and having interviewed with the district, you watch their websites like mad. When a specific position opens up, you contact the principal, visit the school, and try like mad to get an interview with a whole board of people, including principals, faculty, parents… then you hope like hell they consider you. From all of the horror stories, I was expecting to get an offer in July at the earliest… and maybe not even until August. I was in it for the long haul.

On a whim the night before the fair, I started checking out websites for some smaller schools. I found one that was sort of interesting, and the more and more I researched it, the more excited I got. After waiting in the entrance line, I decided to head for this school first to sign up for a slot. I was the first (and only) one to arrive at the table so early, and I was surprised to find that the principal herself was actually there.

Mrs. Witt was very friendly and seemed surprised that I was so enthusiastic about Landmark Academy, and that I had researched it. She seemed even more surprised when I was most interested in teaching the curriculum for first grade, and said that it wasn’t very common. We had a nice chat, I gave her my resume, and signed up for the first available slot. I signed up for a few other interviews, and nervously waited the hour and a half until the interview.

I was really bored. I showed up 10 minutes early… just in case. We started 5 minutes early.

She said first thing that she loved my resume (Ty, you are a god, I owe you) and that I was at the top of her list. That interview was the best out of the six that I had at the fair. She didn’t make me nervous for some reason, which is a great sign from a principal if you ask me. She was easy to talk to… and besides, I was really excited! (An interesting aside… not surprisingly, I interview better with women than with men…)

While that interview went pretty well, the rest went pretty much terribly, I felt… but I did get compliments on the resume! ;o) So, my confidence wasn’t too high. I was hopeful anyway, but tried not to be… it’s really hard to do!

She had asked me to send her an e-mail… so I did. She had been excited that I’d already applied online. I was a little confused… she answered my questions in bullet form, but at the bottom she said “I’m going to love working with you.” Longest week of my life.

One week later, I got the call! Just as I was about to send another follow-up, I decided to check my messages. I think the dogs thought I was crazy, because I let out a little “eeeek!” that sounded like it came from a 14 year old girl (or, I just acted like I did 9 years ago, haha). So… I accepted the offer, went to a parent meeting, met the other teachers (so far), and was introduced as a first grade teacher!

That’s a long story. I could have simply said “Ty made me a great resume and the interview went really well and I got an offer a week later…” but face it guys, if you’re reading this you want something to read anyway, so I’m here to help!

Now, you’re probably wondering about this school and what I meant by the teachers “so far”.

This is such a great opportunity and I’m SO excited for it. Landmark Academy is a charter school (not to be confused with a private school) operated by National Heritage Academies (NHA). (The short of it is, charter schools are tuition-free and open enrollment, and funded by public monies, but separate from district regulations… but at the same time, still held accountable for all the same testing.)

This is the first school that NHA is opening in Colorado. It is BRAND NEW. In fact, it’s not even a building yet. I drove to it today with Marge while Jim was at work :) Right now it’s a big plot of dirt, and it looks like they’ve got the plumbing all rigged up and have poured the foundation. Hurray for running water! It’s in Reunion, Colorado… right out by DIA in Commerce City :) (Yep, Jim finally taught me how to make links work! Only took a minute, sheesh…)

Perhaps the thing I’m looking forward to most about this school is that they use the Core Knowledge Sequence. The more I read about it, the more I like it… though I’ll let you know for sure once I actually teach it :) But I mean, come on! The girl who took college courses in Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Archaeology and Astronomy actually gets to teach these things?? I’m so stoked! First-grade version, of course… and they said I’d never use it. Pish posh. We’ll use Core Knowledge in addition to other programs of course, including Lucy Calkins for writing. She’s one of my heroines, so this is good news!

And, this may seem silly, but I’m really excited because there are three teachers per grade (K-5, we’ll add a grade each additional year until we’re K-8)... and she’s specifically hiring two first year teachers and one veteran teacher per grade. Do you know what this means?? 11 OTHER FIRST YEAR TEACHERS TO PLAY WITH! Silly, but I’m hoping to make some friends… because the few girlfriends that I do have are all moving :*( PLUS, we get our very own new teacher coach for the school. Usually there are only one or two for a whole district. I’m going to get lots of attention! Hurray!

I’m getting excited too because they’re flying us to Michigan for training and team building (since that’s where most of NHA schools are) July 30th-August 2nd. It’ll be a lot of work, but should be fun and I’m stoked. Then they’ve promised they’ll have the school open when we get back from that so we can set up our classrooms together. It’ll be fun work :)

Basically, this is amazing. I get to work in a great environment with a great team, I got to pick my grade, and I had a job offer in mid-April instead of mid-July. I almost don’t know what to do with myself :) Well, I am reading about Core Knowledge a lot… check out The Knowledge Deficit for a good read, especially you Andy and TyTy. I found it at my library. Okay, the first few chapters aren’t that great, but it gets better…

It’ll be really hard work, but work that I think I will like. They hold us to very high standards since it’s run more like a corporation. We have a rubric as teachers that we’re evaluated on, and it’s really comprehensive. They hold the kids to high standards. According to NHA, my job title is “Life-changer and Life-saver”. I’m not under “contract”, since they hire us just like a corporation would. At the same time, they put a lot into training us so they don’t like to see us go and have very high retention rates. The benefits are competitive with the market.

So, once I actually get in there, I’ll let you know if I still think Core Knowledge and charter schools are so great ;o) I hope so!!

I don’t know if I even want to know how long this is. You’re troopers if you made it this far. I hope you enjoyed the entertainment!


PS- Thanks again, TyTy, I really think you had a whole lot to do with me having a job already!

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Oh the sweet, sweet taste

4455 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

... of booze and cameras. Hey wait, isn’t that supposed to be “of mice and men”? Meh, not in this case; I don’t heave nearly that much class. But I do have a glass, and it’s full of something yummy; something layered. Why yes… it’s an Oatmeal Cookie. Kind of a funny name for a drink ehh? Why yes, I would agree, but it’s just so durn good that I just couldn’t help but post about it. It is composed of equal amounts of (pay attention to this order if you want it to layer right), Kahlua , Bailey’s and Jäger. Kinda neat ehh? it tastes just as good as it looks. It’ll also give you that nice Bailey’sesque warmth running through your veins on a nice cool (12°) snowy CO evening. (According to a friend of ours, the Farmer’s Almanac claims that we’re going to have a “blizzard” every weekend for the next 6 weekends. Wow. I mean… have I mentioned… wow?! The snow from the last 2 huge storms hasn’t melted yet and we’re actively getting more as I type this.)

So it may seem as though this post is pretty much about booze and nothing important, but the reality is that I have a new toy – a very smooth, black, gorgeous toy. (And no… it’s not a sex toy.) It’s… a Nikon D200. Well children, I finally cracked and bought it. About two months ago, we finally replaced Sarah’s very well loved and exceptionally faithful Canon 300D with a beautiful new Canon 30D. She was very much in need of the new body for a myriad of reasons, but this last season had exposed that we both needed new bodies. Well, after a few months of deliberation and budgeting, I finally concluded that I could do it too and that I could easily justify it. I ordered it on the 21st of December and received last week thanks to all the splendid weather we’ve been getting lately. The wait may have been a great test of my patience, but trust me, it was well worth it. This is, quite literally, the camera that I’ve been waiting for since before I purchased my D70. Nikon listened to us and though they may have taken their sweet bloody time, they produced a digital F100 (+ more.)

I’m still in the process of digging through the vast and nearly overwhelming amount of features, options and toys in this thing, but I can already say that it’s going to be the best camera that I have owned yet. I hope that I can bring honor to its existence.

_Oh! I forgot to bring up a fun fact about the Oatmeal Cookie picture – I took it on the D200 at ISO1600. If you look at the larger size of it, you will notice a small bit of noise that has the seemingly typical Nikon Digital film grain flavor. I’m not sure how much you’ve played with higher ISOs on your digis, but if you have, you’ll probably notice that this thing has a truly splendid lack of noise at such a high ISO. We had thought that Canon had the edge in the noise arena (and it does when shooting in JPEG), but when processed from RAW in PShop CS2, the two bodies perform almost identically. Saweeet – those low light wedding ceremonies that forbid flash will be just a touch less hellish._

Take a shot... [1]

We want...

4457 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

Sarah and I have decided that we should definitely buy one (pssh… make that two) of these :)

OK, so we’re not really rich and we really can’t justify it, but we can always dream yes?

(Frightfully enough, for those of you that don’t know, we’re also sitting in front of our new 20” iMac (like Tyty’s).) Sorry Andy… I think you’re the last one who hasn’t been converted. :) But don’t fret, we’re still PC users.

Seriously though, wow… Apple seriously hit a home run here. This is the first of the “dorkberry” class devices that we’re lusting after. Eeek!!!!! I’m Thinking Different. (And my grammar is going to crap too.) :)

Oh yeah, watch the keynote – it’s actually kinda cool. (The A.D.D. child says she wasn’t bored too.) :)

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Merry Christmoose!

4472 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

Ho! Ho! Ho! (and stuff)

Hope everyone enjoys this joyous day of famry, fun and RumNogs.

Merry Christmoose,

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Dude, that guy just took a hit off Rudolph!

4493 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

So I had to share this random quote, of myself, from Friday night cuz it was just too random. Sarah and I were volunteering as “Balloon Marshalls” in Denver’s annual Parade of Lights. A Balloon Marshall’s duties are sort of vague at best, but they include overseeing the inflation and deflation of the large character balloons that float through the parade.

We ended up doing a lot more than the standard Balloon Marshall would normally get to do on both nights, but our standard duties of overseeing the deflation occurred as they should. As I was standing next to “The Red Nosed Reindeer” coiling cords and watching him deflate (Pssst, you can’t call him “Rudolph” because of trademarks), a couple approached the half inflated carcass as the woman blurted out “oooh, hey, there’s one!”. Immediately the guy accompanying her ran in, snatched one of “The Red Nosed Reindeer’s” gigantic versions of a balloon end and took a gigantic hit of helium off of it. Both walked away giggling their butts off as he chattered forever in chipmunk voice.

“Dude, that guy just took a hit off Rudolph!” Okay, so I broke the trademark rule, but how often do you get to say something like that!? :)

On another note, volunteering as Balloon Marshalls was fun as hell. As I said, normally our duties would have been to oversee the in/deflation of the balloons as well as to help stage them for the parade and guide them out at the correct times. However, Rudolph’s (f* the trademark, it’s shorter to type) captain bailed out on both nights. Additionally, on Friday due to the extremely frigid ambient temperature, the balloons ended up being very short staffed from volunteer attrition. As a result, we were asked to help out with tugging the balloons in the parade! That alone promised to be a super fun experience, but the plot thickened as we were in the staging area. I was approached by “Jumping Jack’s” captain and was told to go back to Rudolph. They needed a radio on each balloon, and I was carrying one for Sarah and me. I went back and asked where the captain was so that I could be assigned a tether when I was greeted with many a blank stare and the comment, “Uhh, we were told you were being sent back here to be one.”

Ironically, I had the opportunity to look like a deer in headlights while standing under a reindeer that was illuminated by headlights. I calmly walked back to Jack’s captain and said, “Uhhh, what’s up with the captaining situation?” and he replied with something along the lines of, “well, they don’t have one and we want the radio back there… ”.

Well folks, I have officially been the balloon captain of Rudolph “The Red Nosed Reindeer” in the Parade of Lights. :) It was a super cool experience and wasn’t that hard after all. Anyone with a little marching band experience, some common sense, two eyes and a general idea of basic physics can captain one of those balloons through downtown Denver. The crew of volunteers that I worked with on Friday was fun, intelligent and very capable and we did a great job. Saturday night was a bit different since they had plenty of volunteers, so they added Sarah to the captaining mix and we trotted ahead of Rudolph (instead of under) and played captain together (ultimately this ended up being a god-send). Our crew on Saturday night wasn’t quite as with it, but we managed to guide Rudolph safely (albeit with many a hoof scrape) through the parade route.

(P.S. I took a few good drags off Rudolph on Saturday night as we were deflating him. In fact, I took a few w/o intending to and found out that your hearing also gets freaky when your entire environment becomes saturated with helium.)

How was your weekend? :)

Take a hit! [5]

I need a hug

4506 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

On my way back from picking up my car, I was sitting at the very last light before my house when BAM, I watched a nearly brand new Maxima t-bone a Camry at about 40. I was first in line to turn, so it was front row seating. I called 911, threw my blinkers on and got out to make sure everyone was ok. Several other people were doing the same, so there was plenty of response. The people in the Camry jumped right out, while the lady in the Maxima cleared her a) head b) all the airbags that were limply surrounding her.

Since the Maxima turns into a gigantic marshmallow on that type of impact, I have no doubt that the lady driving it will be fine, but it’s so very upsetting to witness still. That’s the second really nasty accident that I’ve witnessed this year and I don’t know why, but it really just leaves me feeling so… i don’t know… just like a need a gigantic hug.

I think I’ll have Sarah drive me very carefully back to the auto shop to go get my pickup after she’s home from working (I had just picked up my Acura from having a frightful amount of work done on it and had to leave the truck since no one was around to drive me there). Then, I think I’ll be done with driving for the evening.

I was going to run out and make a test romp on the Acura, but I have this lingering feeling that the cosmos would prefer that I don’t drive (Brandon will undoubtedly be disappointed since I’m sure he’s gonna really want to feel the car). After watching the accident, I dropped my bags and the car giblets off in the garage and took the car out to confirm that the rattles I was hearing were just from the parts in the back flopping around. On my way around the long block, I watched a gigantic F250 have road rage on someone’s butt and then had someone nearly pull right out in front of me in perfect alignment for a similar t-boning. If I hadn’t been in ultra-paranoid mode and had leaned on the gas a bit harder, I most definitely would have yanked the guy’s’ bumper off.

Bleh, so much to ponder… life is a really fast, precious thing.

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4513 days ago · from the mouth of Jim

I’ve only been mucking around for a little while now, but Pandora seems to have a ton of potential for some neat music discovery. It looks like they even have an ad. driven free version. I foresee signing up…

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