Again, I'm gonna defer to Mom and let her answer the "Friday's Feast" questions ... My answers would just be strange ...
What are you proud of?
I'm proud that I haven't compromised my standards or integrity in the face of legislation like "No Child Left Behind." Educators are under tremendous governmental pressure to show growth in student achievement and a few have taken unethical means to do so. I have relied on preparation, practice, and honesty with the students who are ultimately the only ones who can show this academic "growth" ... I can't take the test for them.
What is the best thing you’ve ever won as a prize?
I've won a few things in my life. One would expect me to say the prize pack that I received from the San Diego Padres and the Viejas Indian Casino that included a gift certificate for $150 to Donovan's Steakhouse ... but I'd have to say that the best prize was when I was a ninth grader and I won a case of Pepsi, a Frisbee, a t-shirt, and a Pat Benatar album ("Promises in the Dark") from an AM radio station called 13-K. I won first prize; the grand prize was pair of Werlitzer jukeboxes. They announced the winner at lunchtime over the airwaves and my school played the radio over the PA system during lunch. When the DJ announced my name, the students gathered nearby erupted in cheers.
Name something you do that is a waste of time.
Hmmm ... I try not to do anything that's wasteful time-wise because I have so little extra time. I guess that coloring my hair is a waste of time because the color fades quickly and new gray hair seems to crop up like weeds ... It's also costly. I wonder why I do it? Beats me ...
In what year of your life did you change the most?
In the fall of 1990, my life changed the most. That was when I began student-teaching (and took a six-month vow of poverty). I had no money, but I had grown-up responsibilities. That's also when I graduated college with my teaching credentials. I had a "career" where my peers still had "jobs"; I finished college and some are STILL working toward their degrees.
Where is a place you consider to be very tranquil?
Three places are tranquil for me and each has its specific purpose.
At the end of the school day when my colleagues are struggling through traffic and the kids are long gone, I find tranquility at my desk in my air-conditioned classroom. I have a comfortable chair, two fish tanks and myriad green plants (and a windchime) for feng shui, a 'fridge with snacks, and iTunes: I can work for hours.
Highway 101 between La Jolla and Oceanside is the second place. I can drive with the top down and the radio up along some of the most gorgeous coastline anywhere. There are places to stop for dinner and in the evenings, visitors at the two coastal campgrounds light their campfires. The scent is intoxicating. I return home with my hair in a "fright wig", but all is right with the world. The trip ... even with gas at $3.47/gal. ... settles me.
Finally, a drive through Julian, CA is like going back in time. The apple pies are legendary and if I drive "the long way," I can stop in Sta. Ysabel at Dudley's for some of the most creative flavors of artisan breads around. There's nothing like a Julian trip.