Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday, not really as it's actually in January, and since it's always cold, the one weekend of snow, and I typically am giving exams, I like to think that June 30th is my real birthday. It was my surgery date in June 2004. I think by now most friends and family know that I had gastric bypass surgery at Duke after a year long approval process. If you didn't know and you wondered what was up with me, the cat is out of the bag.

I told less than 5 people that I was going through the process including not telling my own family until months after the surgery. I have always been kinda private when it comes to my family and me personally but I know realize that I had such a good experience, why not share it if it helps others. My recovery took most of the next year and in a nutshell really sucked and was not fun. There are still lots of foods I can't eat and probably never will again (sorry Chinese food and most meats). But the trade-off was I was happy with the weight lost and the self- confidence gained.

As many folks know my major reason was that both my parents were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in their 40's. My dad died from complications and now my mom is in what is called "end stage renal disease" and requires dialysis. I want to be here as long as I can for my family, friends, and to enjoy life. So I didn't eat cake today, instead I celebrated with a 9 minute mile something that the old heather would have never believed possible.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Talk me out of my missionary work

SO at the end of the first full week on summer vacation, I am having serious thoughts about what it would be like to be home full time. I think someone is trying to tell me something in that Bill, my doctor, even my neighborhood friends have all commented that I really need consider staying home full time. This is actually the plan once baby 2 comes along, but I have to wonder why the push to do this sooner rather than later.

I confess that my job can be a soul crushing bureaucracy at times, but I do truly feel alive when I am with my students teaching somthing I love. I don't know that I am ready to give that up just yet. I also know that although this has been a good week with ben in that we played at the pool, got together with friends, shopped the farmers market, hit a new park this week. I even managed to do Yoga at the gym two days as well as tackle 4 major items on the list of 100.

Keeping ben on daycare nap/eating schedule has helped along with watching Max and Ruby on Noggin when I needed a time out. For Bill I think it is the last bastion of his conservative beliefs that deep down he thinks moms should stay home. I also know he is really tired of my doing hours school work most nights of the week. I agree it sucks, but it comes with the job, just like traveling or sitting through multiple mindless meetings does for other professions.

With Bill moving to Microsoft this past year, we may have the opportunity to move at some point so this might be the catalyst I need for a major life change. I would actually really like to get a second masters degree, this one in public policy and either teach on the college level or work for a non-profit policy institution at some point. I refuse to believe that I am too old to consider my options including staying home with a second child for a bit. It's worth serious consideration as I think I will regret not staying home once ben and baby V part two are older and I missed an oppotunity to be with them while little.

On the political note- I'm very disappointed with the SCourt's overturn of the DC handgun ban this week. THIS is why who you elect matters as LONG after the Executive has vacated the White House as their influence over the courts continues for decades. This case is perfect for teaching selective incorpation (see earlier post) this fall so thanks party of 9!

At least their position on a death penalty case this week seems to be moving away from the Texas motto of "keeping the seat warm" as I think we are close to stripping the state's right to execute with a national moratorium. Also- looks like they also have finally decided that many of the issues surrounding GITMO are unconstitutional and that due process prevails. Amazing what a lame-duck presidency will do to the conscious of Americans and other policy making institutions. I think I hear Nixon calling and he wants his title of lowest approval rating back!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Open Letter to Barack

So as I write this my son is watching Sesame street and as I look at him I can't help but think how history will reflect on this election. Will it be the 5th realingment of party politics in our nation's history?

Right now Elmo is the most important person to him, but it is the leader of the United States that will likely impact him over the next decade as decisions about education, healthcare, taxes will impact him through a trickle-down effect the way in which public policy effects American families.

In that regard, I am disappointed to hear that Obama has decided not to take public financing of his campaign. So what, campaign finance is a snore (and I have to agree at times). But, his decision NOT to take public funds and thus cap the amount that he can spend is the first major decision as a major presidential contender. I think this shows a glimpse that of who he is and what he is willing to do to win. OP-Ed columnist David Brooks wrote last week in the New York Times that that "naive is not a word to describe Obama and he may be the smartest politician in decades to be able to succeed in politics by pretending to renounce the very system he is working from both sides of the room".

I have been a Obama supporter since he stole the show at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. He is a dynamic speaker who has the charisma and ability to lead the masses by owning the concept of change. For the first presidential election ever both Bill and I are supporting the same candidate and have even given money to his campaign (Bill's idea no less). I can only hope that Obama stays true to his supposed convictions and the man that he truly is. Inside the beltline politics changes even the best man that enters office, but this election is pivotal to regaining the nation's trust. I hope Obama will seize this moment and truly incorporate "change" that makes a lasting difference.

By the way, check out this great website I use with my students It is a clearinghouse for the last 60 years of presidential ads. Notice any similarities? My favorite is 1984's Morning in America

Monday, June 23, 2008

First Real Day of Summer!

So after being gone all last week with AP training plus an all day workshop on Saturday at my alma mater UNC-Chapel Hill on political satire that an old professor from grad school was presenting, "From Twain to Colbert"I am home and ready to tackle my list. I had a great week and got alot done on my class. Plus the chance to collaborate with other Gov/Politics teachers was the best part. So since my list officially started with Memorial Day weekend and so far here we go with what I've done:

Sort giant mound of filing cabinet papers

plant daylillies and hostas

plan ben's second birthday party (See photo- I think he enjoyed it)

make strawberry jam

organize all AP gov resources set up a place to work all summer

clean out outside storage room

start a give away/donate pile in the garage

go through all ben's old 0-12 month toys and consign/give away at least 50%

get family photos taken

Go out with Bill for one of at least 3 summer dates

Check out and pick one day a week summer care for ben

Update Netflix cue with my "heather movies" to watch this summer

Start Food Co-Op with friends and plan first month (made my entries today to freeze)

Good Start but so much more to go ( I did watch the past few weeks of 30 Days while ironing today- so I didn't use that time as effectively as I could have). Tomorrow I am taking bottles to babies r us for a store credit for BPA-free tomorrow plus keeping an appointment for myself in Chapel Hill. Mark two more items off!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Selective Incorporation Docterine of the 14th Amendment

If that title didn't put you to sleep, than imagine sitting through a hour lecture today on effective ways to help your students understand and then apply using the due process and equal protection clause. The worst part is that I was the one that asked the instructor to explain as I can't get my kids to understand it when I teach it. So one of my major tasks this summer it to work each week on my AP Government class that I am bringing on board this fall to my school. I have taught this class before, but it was over 5 years ago at another school, so I jumped at the chance to get to be a student all week at Wake Forest University and participate in a week long AP seminar.

I do believe that I could be an eternal student and live in a lecture hall as a career. That is if I didn't have to do any work/papers, but could spend my days listening and discussing with other like minded souls. I have a wonderful group of rising Seniors, most of all I already know from teaching them civics or through National Honor Society that I advise. We are working on the McCain and Obama campaigns in the Raleigh field offices this fall as part of the class. How cool is that!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To the ultimate political junkie-

I was in the car on Friday when NPR broke into the afternoon news to announce Tim's death. I literally had to pull of the road I was so upset.

I have been a Meet the Press fan since Russert took over in the early 90's and I was suffering through my gov't teacher's 1992 election campaign portfolio that required us to watch and record a journal of the way the media represented the candidates (thanks to my gov't teacher- Mrs. Leatherwood I really did learn something other than cutting up on the back row with Nathan Pugh in your class)

I have been a fan of his sharp wit, humility, political acumen, and most of all that he made politics understandable. I cannot imagine this election season without him. Every week that I watched I was his student and in turn I think I was a better teacher to my government students for what I learned from him.

When I set up my own classroom I posted page from the Daily Show book in my classroom and included the phrase "Do your homework, Tim did" to show my respect for him. I will have to add a memorial white board on election day. I hope you are having one hell of a debate in heaven and I hope to join in when I get there.

Another Summer, Another list of 100 things

So those of you who know me, may remember that, with fervor n0rmally reserved for snake handling Pentecostal revivals, I attempted last summer to accomplish 100 things from the last day of school to the first day of school. I was in a contest with two other friends and we agreed to keep each other honest by keeping a blog detailing our accomplishment. I did well, meeting close to 90% of my list. Since I didn't meet my deadline, my "penalty" was to make a donation to a local charity.

I felt really good about using my summer for good will besides just going to the pool with Ben and watching 90210 reruns on Soap Network (yes that is true and I admit I still can't pass up a brandon walsh marathon). I digress... so as I embark on another summer I have another list. But to add to the task I am going to write more frequently and also about WHY certain tasks are on the list.

I also hope to include some political banter too as those who know me, know I am following this election like it is civics porn (is there such a thing and please god don't let James Carville know). Anyway, hope you will check back in a find out some more pieces of me you probably haven't seen. Enjoy!