I hope that everyone has had a very happy holiday season and that you are with or have been with loved ones. Here is what I was up to this past year:
2009 began with my girlfriend Tamara and me playing Wii until five in the morning and then sleeping until around four the next day. We were subsequently treated to a fresh start, as we watched a new president sworn into office, and I managed to obtain a valuable comic book featuring said president and a certain friendly neighborhood wall crawler.
A few weeks into the year, Dallas ISD actually closed for an incredibly rare snow day -- of course, by 10 a.m., it was 70° outside.
In addition to the usual greatness of February -- Valentine's Day, MY birthday, Duke vs. Carolina -- 2009 brought an extra bonus. I was able to lay claim to my very own domain name! learnmegood.com just sort of rolls off the tongue, much more so than my second choice – formerengineerturnedthirdgradeteacherblogsaboutlifeobservationsandgeneralstuff.com.
February was also the month that I went ahead and finished Franz Schubert's Symphony Number 8. It had been bugging me for a while that it had been left unfinished, so I broke out the harmonica, the pan flute, and the sitar and completed it with pizzazz.
March began on a sad note as the good folks at education.com told me my services as a columnist would no longer be needed. Fortunately, the reason for this was their discontinuation of all columns, and NOT anything I had said about their webmaster's taste in interior decoration.
Towards the end of the month, I experienced a parent-teacher conference night like none before -- parents actually showed up! LOTS of them! One more difference between teaching Gen Ed and Dual-Language. Thankfully, some of the parents DID speak English, so I didn't have to resort to clicks and whistles all night.
According to news reports at the time, the H1N1 virus, formerly known as swine flu, formerly known as Porky's Dilemma, was contracted by approximately 98.5% of the population, yet I somehow managed to stave it off. I credit my immunity to an inbred affiliation with the Washington Redskins, providing the necessary antibodies to all pig-related diseases.
With schools (and an entire districts!) closing down all around us, I bought stock in Purell and sold it a week later for a profit of $250,000.
As the school year of approach to its cyclical end, we threw our traditional International Festival. This year, the third grade chose to represent China and Ireland. Our contribution of food in the cafeteria consisted of egg rolls and Lucky Charms, and our hall was decorated with pictures of Oriental-looking leprechauns.
On the last day of May, I received an email from a Dr. Clement Okon, the former prince of Nigeria. I don't want to go into details here, but suffice it to say, I will soon be a very rich man…
What was quite possibly my greatest year as a teacher -- definitely my best group of kids -- wrapped up nicely, and our long summer vacation began. I figured it was time to look Blanco up on a map and visit Tamara at her parents' home. She gave me good driving directions, and sure enough when I took a right turn at THE light in town (no kidding -- one street light in Blanco!), I was almost there. It was my first time to meet Tamara's dad, and when I left, he lovingly welcomed me into the family by calling me, "just another bozo."
With Independence Month kicking off, Tamara and I took a trip up north to the Birthplace of Freedom -- Boston, Massachusetts. We walked the Freedom Trail (all 3 miles!), visited Cheers, and had baked beans. We then took a train down to New York City where we got to see David Letterman BEFORE his scandal. I was also able to score a major public relations coup at the Statue of Liberty by thanking a 17 year-old French girl for her country's gift to mine.
With my days off, I was also able to complete my time machine project. My first usage took me back to Guatemala in the year 888 where I befriended some top Mayan officials who were working on a stone calendar. I told them about the show in our time called "Punk'd" and suggested that they Punk the rest of the world by halting their calendar at the year 2012. When I returned, I observed that our little prank had been highly successful.
It seemed like only a four-day weekend, but the 2 1/2 month vacation came to an end mid-August. My question of "would all Dual-Language classes be as wonderful as last year's -- full of hard-working students who really want to learn and do their best" was quickly answered. Not so much.
With many school nights on the horizon, we sadly ended our new summer tradition of Wednesday night trivia at the local pub. No doubt, the regulars there toasted our absence with a hearty chorus of, "Where are those people that never get anything right?"
9/9/09 was a major milestone as my debut single dropped and the music industry would never be the same. Combining country and rap, C-RAP is a fresh new innovation and "All up in da pickup" is projected to be CD of the year.
In the latest home improvement project, I had a new fence put in around my back yard. I can now sunbathe nude in peace, though I am starting to question my choice of rod iron instead of wood plank.
After nearly 3 years of paranoia-inducing back pain, I finally mustered up the courage to rejoin my beloved volleyball team. Forget going out a few times to lightly bump the ball around; I jumped right back into A League competition. Amazingly and happily, my back did NOT snap in half after the first point.
A few weeks before Halloween, I succumbed to peer pressure and joined Twitter. Almost 200 tweets of 140 characters or less later, my world has not exactly been rocked.
In early November, I took the biggest step in my life since switching from 2% milk to whole. On the warm evening of 11/11, I asked Tamara to marry me. Amazingly and happily, she said yes... and my back did NOT snap in half.
A few weeks later, I spent my first Thanksgiving away from the family since college, choosing to spend it down in Blanco with my future in-laws. Away from home, I didn't dare stuff myself as much as usual, so I went the whole day without suffering from tryptophan overload or the dreaded "Turkey sweats."
Dad and I got tickets to the inaugural college basketball game at the new Cowboys Stadium, AKA Jerry world, AKA The Death Star, AKA The Hall of Doom. We were treated to the always lovely sight of Carolina being handed a loss. Wearing our Duke T-shirts with pride, we overheard several people say, "Wow, those guys came a long way to see this game!" Yeah, all the way from the other side of Arlington, buddy!
Once again proving itself to be totally insane, the Texas weather went from 75° at four o'clock on December 23 -- Christmas Movie Marathon Night -- to 28° at 11 o'clock the next morning. Complete with snowfall that turned the ground white. There's a Bing Crosby joke in there somewhere, but needless to say, our white Christmas was a wonderful one, complete with Mom's surprise gift of a Wii to the grandkids.
So 2009 came full circle, beginning AND ending with much playing of the Wii. Of course, my fake bowling improved quite a bit in the year between.
Here's to a very merry 2010!! Go Blue Devils!