Monday, June 25, 2007


Firstly, I should let you all know that this is the inaugural post on MY brand new MacBook Pro 15" 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo.

Yes bitches, she's ALL MINE.

So school is over. And this is going to be the first summer -- uh, ever? -- that I will not be returning to some form of 'school' in September. And I really don't think it's sunk in yet. Or perhaps I have spent so long getting used to the idea that it has sunk in via osmosis over the past four months and I'm just really okay with it all.

In any case, I feel pretty good these days. I chaperoned the 8th grade trip to Boston again a couple weeks ago and it was a total blast. The kids were great and the other teachers on the trip were a lot of fun. I had my own sweet hotel room again, and rather enjoyed sleeping diagonally across the luxurious, king-sized bed for two nights.

I spent two weeks submerged in iMovie, finishing the end-of-the-year movie and I must say, it really came out great. We showed it to the entire school on the last day and everyone was roaring. It's safe to say I went out on a high note [pun schmun.]

Now I have two weeks until I start the new job. Two long... empty... weeks. I feel a little deflated after being on such a high, I must admit. I really wish I could learn to relax and enjoy free time a little bit more, but I don't think I'm wired that way.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I'm attending an ethics symposium at the high school. All things considered, I find it a little ironic (don'tcha think?) that they're holding an ethics symposium in this school district, but they have really good speakers lined up and it's free to faculty members. Otherwise it's $250 to attend. I'm all about the gratis education.

So there you have it -- the less-than-exciting life of a Turtle, in review. Try not to get blown away.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


1. You must first learn to pronounce the city name Newark; it is New-erk
not New-ark. Never go to Newark.

2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 a.m. to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00 p.m. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

3. The minimum acceptable speed on the Turnpike is 85 mph. & on the Parkway it's 105 or 110. Anything less is considered wimpy.

4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Jersey has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second.

However, in Monmouth county, SUV-driving, cellphone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended, cussed out, and possibly shot.

6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. It's another offense that can get you shot.

7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of Jersey. Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit more exciting.

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs, cats, barrels, cones, celebrities, rubber-neckers, shredded tires, cell-phoners, deer and other road kill.

9. Mapquest does not work here -- none of the roads are where they say they are or go where they say they do and all the Turnpike EZ Pass lanes are moved each night once again to make your ride more exciting.

10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been "accidentally activated."

11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65 mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be cursed at accordingly.... If you curse back, you'll be shot.

12. Do not try to estimate travel time -- just leave Monday afternoon for Tuesday appointments; by noon on Thursday for Friday; and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Alright, so I REALLY suck as a blogger. I've been very busy rescuing orphans from burning buildings and helping families in third-world nations construct mud huts.

Okay, maybe not. But it sounds a lot better than "I just don't feel like blogging."

Actually, life has been pretty fucking stellar these days! Morning Band has mercifully come to an end and I have been using the extra hour to run. There's something incredible about getting out and running first thing in the morning. No one else is up yet, and I find it really meditative to just be out there with the birds and squirrels and relative silence. It also gives me a chance to wrap my head around what I need to do each day. I really have been feeling much better these past couple weeks.

As Media Club Advisor (read: "Nerd Shepherd") I've been spending most of the schoolday working on the End-Of-The-Year movie in iMovie HD. It's a total blast! I really can't believe I am getting paid for this!

In other news, HE and I found a place to live!! We got a great 3-bedroom condo in a sweet town. We'll be renters, but it's what we decided we wanted to do. Owning a house is a huge hassle and we both agree it's better to make sure we can live together before making such a huge investment. Also, we're not sure just how long we wanna stay here in NJ.

Speaking of NJ - how cool is it that I live within 10 miles of the Raceway gas station where Phil got whacked?! I mean, it's right across the street from the Barnes & Noble that we're at on a regular basis!! Unlike many people, I actually LIKED the last episode of The Sopranos. I think it was great how David Chase kept us in suspense during every scene and ended it with them in a diner. You can't possibly get anymore New Jersey than that!

Besides, in real life things don't always end up neatly and concluded. With this ending, practically everyone was left up in the air -- especially Tony. And in my opinion, that's worse (and more realistic) than knowing your fate. He'll continue to live on the edge. Such is life.

Alrght - enough of that. I'll try to do a better job of posting. It's just that all this mud gets into the keyboard and really gums things up.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


This morning I ran in a local 5K. It's a route I run frequently and therefore know every inch of. I'd been looking forward to it for weeks. When I woke up this morning, it was already pretty warm and muggy. I did my normal pre-run routine and got to the registration table in plenty of time.

I hate being early to races because then you have more time to stand around getting nervous. I found a patch of shade and just kind of stood there... getting nervous. I wasn't out to break any world records, that's for sure. But I wanted to do well. My PR for a 5K is 26:55 (although if we wanna get technical, that was a race without a chip so I suppose it could have been a few seconds less than that.)

Over the years, I've definitely improved. I used to always be in the 28:00 range. I guess what would make me really happy would be to break 26:00... even if it were just 25:59. There's something about having that 25.

So anyway, I'm standing there minding my own business when this lady who's stretching beside me says,
"Guess we're all fighting for the shade today, huh?"
"Yeah. It's pretty hot already," I answered.
"Yeah - I hope I don't go down again."
"Last week I collapsed in the middle of the SoAndSo Classic, see?" She pointed to her nose. There was a scab on it and one on her cheek.
"Ouch! I bet that sucked," I replied.
"Yeah, I really pushed myself. I'm not so good in the heat. Last year I went down in a 5K right at mile 3. I could see the finish line! Not today. I'm taking it easy. Gonna jog it. Not pushing for more than a 24:00."

Great. I should have known she was one of "those people" by her 2% body fat. She proceeded to tell me all about how fast she can run and how she only needs a 4:10 to qualify for Boston because she's 51. Then, the dreaded question:

"How fast do you usually average a 5K?"
"Uhh.. like 25 or 26," I lied.
"Oh good. Maybe I'll just stick by you today then."


"You know, you're young. You could really improve your time with some speedwork," she offered.
"Yeah well, I haven't really been running that long," I lied again.
"Hey, I'm gonna so get some water - I'll be right back!"

When she walked away, I quickly rounded the corner and lost myself in the crowd. She'd totally fucked up my self-esteem and I was pissed. Pissed at myself for not running more or doing speedwork. Pissed at ice cream for being so creamy, sweet, and evil.

As I was running the race, I started letting go of my bad feelings. So what if I am not the world's fastest runner? At least I am not insane enough to push myself to the point of passing out in a race... seemingly on a regular basis! So what if I don't have 2% body fat? Who cares what the clock says anway? I passed younger, fitter people and had a really good race, despite the oppressive heat and hilly course.

When I got to the clock at the end, it said 27:50 (without chips). Although a little deflated, I still felt pretty good. I was out there doing something that not everyone can do, and I did it to the best of my ability.

And now I need to go take a shower and get to a graduation party. A friend of mine from high school just earned her law degree from Fordham and I'll get to see a bunch of people I haven't seen in 13 years. And 13 years ago, I wasn't a runner and was 30 lbs. heavier. So there's hope that my ego may bounce back today after all!