Monday, May 30, 2011

worth fighting for

During the Gridley Memorial Day service this morning, a Purple Heart vet from EP/G recalled a story about a Mexican immigrant who fought alongside him in Vietnam. The immigrant said that he volunteered to fight for the U.S. because he grew up hearing that America was the greatest country in the world, where you could do what you want and be what you want. Where you could be free. And that was worth fighting for.

True story.

On a less dramatic or somber note, other things are worth fighting for. Such as the Gridley Memorial Day Parade. For those who aren't familiar, 3 years ago the Gridley Memorial Day Parade was.....well..... I'm still not sure if you could really call it a parade. A handful of veterans walked down the street, while a brass ensemble may or may not have stood on a street corner and played something. Apparently, at one time, children used to ride their bikes down the street in a festive show, but it had fizzled down to....well, whatever it was.

This distressed Callie and I, so we decided that someday we should follow behind the veterans in a decked-out golf cart stocked with candy. Memorial Day 2009 became "someday", and with Leah and Nicole we decorated a gator and followed the veterans down the street. We did the same thing in 2010. But 3 years in a row of 20-somethings throwing candy....well, it's just not that exciting...and a little awkward, to be honest. So this year was now or never. We brought back the children! :) After an hour of recruiting during church lunch on Sunday, 12-ish children showed up with bikes to the parade this morning! It was fantastic. Here are some pics:

Our Trusty Gator

Parade Committee cute....

Ezra trying to keep up on the trike :)

So....The Gridley Memorial Day Parade is saved at last! :) :) Next year we need to bring back a brass quartet and give a prize for the best-decorated bike, of course, but this year was a HUGE step in the right direction.

The poor veterans walking down the street....they just don't know anymore what to expect when they show up to their parade. Haha. But seriously, it is easy to take Memorial Day for granted as just another long weekend, but it is an important day to remember the brave men and women who haven given their lives for our freedom. Maybe this will give the younger generation more of an appreciation for that? Maybe. :) But their parents enjoyed it.

In other news, Tina moved in to the Dojo yesterday! It will be good, but for now it is a transition, like any other. She thinks she is living here to learn English.....and she is. But she will hopefully learn many more important things along the way.... and we will learn a ton from her also.

And I start the nursing home internship tomorrow. So, yep. I imagine I'll have some stories about that soon. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

memories, old and new

This is the title page from a little notebook I found buried in the bonus room this afternoon. It was meant to be a journal of funny quotes or occurrences that occurred at Hessel House (circa 2007-2009). Unfortunately, it only lasted until October 8, 2007. (Haha, of course it did. Everything historic happens on October 8...right, Dave Barry?) But anyhow, it was a wonderful gem to find, provided several laughs for its...2 pages, and I wish we would have kept it up longer. 'Nuff said.

Also today, we had a lovely evening of Dojo bonding in the form of:


It was really good. I mean, what a perfect concept for a movie... Pandas and Kung Fu together... and now there's TWO. Soon to be THREE. Good stuff. :)

Ooh, ooh-- and look what else! The man himself! I was a little starstruck....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I have a lot of map-type pictures lately


The Sirens are going off.....can't help but wonder how my buddy from UMS is coping. :) No damage in C-U that we know of yet. Church is canceled, and we're just hanging out tonight, which is sort of nice. I'm glad to not have to go out in this yuckiness....

And yes, Jennifur is with me. [Serious Face]

....I mean, look at that face.... do you want that face to get destroyed by a tornado? Come on....

In OTHER news, I had a splendid time with Andrea taking on the big city yesterday!

.....Cheesecake Factory......

Exploring Northwestern....

Downtown fun....

Andrea has good ideas for pictures~~~~~~~~

Then we had Supper with Joel and Nan and got to hang out with them for a while, which was delightful.

A very good day, on the whole. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ah...another burden off the shoulders

Meh. Bring it on.


Also, Whitney and I graduated today!! Ta-Da!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

my yea be yea

I didn't mean to leave anyone hanging, but in case there was any doubt, the angel on my shoulder won the aforediscussed (nope, not a word) battle. I don't play dirty. Although, Whitney gave me some helpful, albeit belated, advice about job negotiations that I'll have to stick in my back pocket for next time. Since VASE only gave me two days to accept/decline, I should have a) bartered for more time in the first place, and b) called Rantoul, to which I had already applied, and informed them I had another job offer if they were interested in interviewing me. This is very sound advice, I think. So if any of you ever find yourselves in that position, Whit is an excellent resource! Apparently, I should have taken a few more Labor and Employment Relations courses at the U of I... :)

In other words, I have checked out of student teaching. Unfortunately, I still have two more days. Fortunately, my supervisor has checked out also. Also fortunately, we are going on a field trip to Jupiter's (the pizza/arcade place) for lunch tomorrow. SO, I think this was the last day I have to pack my lunch! Hmm, that will give me a few extra minutes in the morning...

Ha, I'm such a panz. Have I mentioned that I'm not a morning person??? :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


There are several devils on my shoulder this morning.
Angel? Angel? are you there?
Yes, the angel is there too...fortunately...but oh MAN....

A lady from Rantoul City Schools called me this morning and left me a voicemail asking me if I wanted to interview there. She sounded really nice.... YES, yes I DO want to interview there. Rantoul is so close to Champaign.... And I already know Rantoul, having spent two days a week there my entire first year of grad school... and I like it. But, you know, there is the small matter of the other job that I already have....for which I haven't signed anything.

Everybody I have talked to at UMS this morning thinks I'm nuts for not wanting to at least interview at Rantoul. "What can it hurt? People do it all the time. Schools expect it; that's why they hired you so early...they know they would have plenty of time to find someone else... You haven't signed anything yet..." Maybe all of that is true, I don't know. It just all seems incredibly sketchy, and, well, wrong. Pretty sure that falls into the "let your yea be yea and your nay be nay" category. Dignity is the name of the game, right?

Oh, how I would love to work in Rantoul.... but who knows what is waiting for me at VASE? Yes, who knows.....

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dumpster Diving

I have hit the first snare in my new blogging hobby. My reader base has become too large. By that I mean, there are approximately 5 of you now. This presents two problems.
  1. People actually expect me to update this thing, and expectation is my downfall.
  2. My mother reads my blog. Haha. This is not a problem typically, but it may be for this particular post... :)
Consequently, I have reminded myself of the fact that one of the major purposes of this endeavor is to help me with my transparency and self-expression issues. Therefore, I will continue to write what I feel inspired to share. In this case, the best story I have recently involves digging through a dumpster in my parents' driveway. I don't like the dumpster.

Sidenote: can we start to add "ster" to the end of more verbs? Blogster should totally be a word. As in, "Hey, look at me! I'm a blogster!" Or would the blog itself be the blogster technically, because it is the thing onto which a blogger blogs, just as a dumpster is the thing into which a dumper dumps? Similarly, say someone writes on a chalkboard...could the chalkboard be referred to as a writester? ...The thing onto which a writer writes? Think about it...
[End Sidenote]

I don't like the dumpster. Treasures often get thrown into dumpsters. Either things that are actually junk, but are treasures for nostalgic reasons, or old things that presently have no nostalgic value but are just simply really cool and, by golly, should have nostalgic value because someone by now should have realized and appreciated their coolness. And yes, sometimes things get thrown into dumpsters that should be thrown away...don't get me wrong...I'm not THAT much of a pack rat...not THAT much....

But anyhow, when I heard there was a dumpster at Mom and Dad's house, I got nervous. Fortunately, I was with my grandpa at the time, and we had similar opinions of the matter. We pulled up the drive, I hopped out of Grandpa's car, and promptly hoisted myself into the dreaded red box. There was no actual GARBAGE in there, don't's not like I was rummaging through decaying food or vermin droppings...I was digging through old furniture, and lampshades that were still in their original packaging. All the while Grandpa was laughing and repeating, "What are these people thinking? They're crazy...Hey, I've got a lamp that could use a shade...hand that over here! I'm taking that home with me!..." etc. etc. The whole episode was highly entertaining. I salvaged a nice baseball glove and a few ping-pong paddles...I thought about saving a cool old clock radio with a mechanical display, but I really had no use for it...

And then Dad drove up the driveway, which time I conspicuously nosedived out and tried to hide while Grandpa covered for me. It didn't work. But Dad really didn't seem to mind... Or even be surprised. Somehow, nothing I do seems to faze him. :)