He’s Here…

My best friends have just had their first baby!

Meet Evan Michael. He was born Wednesday, 30 May 2007 at 11:32 pm at Emmanuel Hospital in Turlock, California. 8.4 pounds, 20 1/4 inches. Has the look of both parents in him, big time, and arrived at nearly midnight just as I did. The world is most definitely this kid’s oyster. He’s got two of the best parents you could ever find in this world. I wish I was there to celebrate with them. Now I have three Howenstines to miss every single day…

I Got Reviewed…

I neglected to mention what else happened Friday. I got called into the principal’s office to have a chat about the work I’ve done this year. Thankfully, she was in a little competition with one of the vice principals to finish her reviews first, so the bandage was ripped off nice and quick.

I, as usual, was a little more nervous than I should be. I have never liked getting called in to the office. Especially since I have a knack for appearing guilty even when no crime was perpetrated. My wife can especially vouch for that trait. So yes, there was good reason to be nervous, and it is because the universe regularly conspires against me.

I was presented with a rubric that was something of an outline of the various aspects of my job and the four rating categories that each may fall into. The principal blew through it really fast, but explained about the categories ‘unsatisfactory’ being what it states, ‘basic’ would be the entry level of knowing how to do your job and is the expected point for doing one’s job, ‘proficient’ is doing incredibly well in what is assigned and having above-average outcomes, and ‘distinguished’ meaning going far and beyond the call of duty to do something worthy of being pointed out. The last category is not meant to be the final goal of all job aspects, but rather something extra being done, which I thought interesting.

Well my review, as it turned out, left me rated as ‘proficient’ in all categories except my amount of work accomplished. In that, I was deemed ‘distinguished’. That surprised the heck out of me, and as I told my reviewer, I thought I was just doing my job. She said that is usually how it happens. I must say, that is a nice way of putting it.

All of this makes for a prelude to an exchange I had with my mom via email, where I sassed her about emailing while at work, to which she promptly replied:

Like you don’t blog on the taxpayer’s dime, Evan.

So to my mother, I say just look at my grades!

The Week, continued…

So my midweek wrapped up with a tornado watch that sent me into a stinky basement. Good times, I say.

Thursday was Michelle’s birthday. I had worked a non-student day, so I was able to have a floating holiday to use as I please. I took the day off, and headed down to Minneapolis to have a nice lunch with my wife on her birthday. Such was my plan all along, but as it turned out, she had been having a long week already by that point, so it also gave her a lovely little break. On my out to her building, I picked up a fresh bouquet of flowers from a street vendor, as well.

We had a long lunch at an Applebee’s. Then I took her directly across the skyway hall to present her with her birthday present. It was a Borders bookstore, and I let her go hog wild in there. Thank the great forces that be (and my own amazing luck), they were having a 3 for 2 sale on her favorite author, Jodi Picoult. Plus we got a few other tidbits for reading pleasure too. I felt it was quite a proper Fryer gift, as little reading material was ever turned down when I was growing up.

Best thing about taking your wife to shop at a bookstore? It’s fine if you pick up something for yourself. I picked up a book my father recommended, The Coming Anarchy by Robert D Kaplan, as well as something else I’m excited to read. I enjoyed reading Frank McCourt before, and have enjoyed them greatly. But this book seems rather appropriate: Teacher Man. I can’t wait to dig in after reading Kaplan, which is also turning out eerily fascinating and telling.

That evening, we three headed up to the in-laws’ for a nice birthday dinner. We also managed to negotiate with Grandma to babysit for Friday night. When Friday afternoon rolled around, Michelle’s folks stopped by to say hi and Mike checked out the new sprinkler pump I picked up to replace our busted one and formulate a plan for installation. They took Austin with them, and all reports were clean; he was the consummate Mr Manners.

Michelle and I spent the evening being free and relaxed. We went out for a little shopping and other wanderings, and got some drinks and appetizers to finish the night. It was such a nice break for all the week’s hullabaloo. We had real conversation, with actual thought and pauses free of whining. We love our son dearly, but if there’s hardly a moment to be an adult, not just a parent, one’s mind will surely depart this world.

I liked being able to celebrate my wife’s birthday over two days. She deserves it. After all, she means the world to not only me, but to my son as well.

The Week is Done…

Okay, here’s the recap of what happened this week, plus some extra fun things that managed to occur:

Monday’s golf tournament was fun. It was set up as foursome scrambles, and all those playing from work took over the back nine of a pretty nice course in Anoka. I had a blast, and on one hole, we actually played off of each one of my shots, getting us a par. That sort of stuff makes me almost believe I could be good at the game. Of course, I then realize golf really is a silly game, plus it is quite a bit more fun when you plan to be awful in the first place.

Tuesday I went with my friend the band director and her 7th grade band to the Mall of America. Each half of the band performed their set, then it was off to a couple hours of eating and running amok. The MOA has an indoor (duh) amusement park, formerly known as Camp Snoopy. It was just going to be her as the sole school staffer on the trip and none of the parents going with on the bus from the school. She was pretty grateful to have me around to help, and I was more than happy to help my friend and get most of a day off from work.

Of course, after we had come back from those escapades, I still had to teach the final session of my Animation class after school for two hours. I had compiled all the kids’ animations into a whole video, which I hope to post up somewhere on the web when I can. There was only a little tweaking left to do, and then we all had some pizza along with throwing the whole thing onto a DVD and setting up the good projector and sound system. Though there were some days I really did not have it in me to run that class (namely since spring makes kids lose their minds), I was still a little sad to have it end. Here’s my small group of 7 kids:

Wednesday… holy cow Wednesday. Jazz Band was planned for after school, as I managed to have ‘other things’ planned after school two days before (like coming in second in a tournament). By afternoon, some of the storms that have been teasing us for a week finally arrived and dumped some precipitation. That is all well and good. Of course, then about 10 minutes into the final hour of school, the sirens across town went off, and then the announcement was made: we are under a tornado watch.

We had not, to my knowledge, run any tornado drills this past school year, so the kids went a little haywire. All they had to do was get up and head down to their designated areas in the basement. The kids did well enough, but it was slow going. Had we had a drill or two, I don’t think it would have been so chaotic getting to the right places. Once finally in the basement (my group was in the wresting room with another few hundred) we had everyone sitting, but terribly noisy. And smelly. It was overly humid in general due to the weather, then we were all crammed into a basement room below hot water pipes. It was just a tad foul. At least no tornado actually formed, and we eventually all made it out of the school about 40 minutes past our normal day’s end.

The short story is, I had my first jazz rehearsal canceled due to my first tornado watch.

That’s it for now… it’s a lovely Sunday morning, and I have a garage to clear out in the desperate hope of parking in there by winter. Plus, I’m sick of tripping over junk to get to what I actually need. I write again later.


Expanding My Horizons…

I have added myself to Technorati’s listings, and now below my archives is a search bar for looking up content in my past posts. It works pretty well, and hopefully it’ll help toss me around the blogging realm.

Still, if anyone wants to give me a direct donation, I will readily accept it once the check clears~

Heeeeey Technorati…

Okay, I’ve finally added both blogs to Technorati, and in return, they’ve added a spunky new search engine for this blog. You may now peruse my blog or the entire blogging realm right from your favorite website about me. Enjoy!

Busy Little Week…

I have a busy a little week ahead of me. After school today is a staff golf tournament. I have not touched my clubs since sometime last year. I don’t even think since moving back out to Minnesota. So this is fair warning to my back and to my wife: today is going to be rough. And that, my dear friends, is a golfing double entendre.

Tomorrow, aside from teaching the last session of my afternoon animation class, I need go and get an new sprinkler pump and start getting it put together with my father in law. Of course, it’s supposed to also be storming the next couple of days, and God willing it’ll drop enough water to finally wake my lawn back up. Oh yeah, and I’m going with the school band on a field trip to the Mall of America during the day. I like having the band teacher as my friend; she gets me out of class!

Wednesday I will be having a makeup jazz rehearsal for having missed Monday due to golfing (shucks). These afternoon classes are tough, because the kids have completely checked out for the summer. There are still three weeks remaining, but they all lost it three weeks ago. Kids can smell summer coming over a month away. I really think that schools might better be served by ending at the end of April, or even on the Vernal Equinox. And I think society would be better served and humbled if we had true holidays, like the solstices and the equinoxes (nuts to Columbus). That and everyone should have their birthday be their own legal paid holiday.

Speaking of birthdays, my beautiful wife is turning a still young 23 on Thursday. I have no idea what we’ll do, but we’ll do something. Oh, and I should get her a gift, too. Y’know, so she doesn’t hold it against me for the next ever.

Friday I may even be allowed to breathe. It’ll be sweet. Although I think all that is a start for a hefty weekend for Michelle. There’s always something going on these days. And when there’s not, we still go out and do something for the kid. He loves to just go and visit the neighbors. We’ve recently lucked out and met a few people with four year olds, and so hopefully we’ll have a lot of playmates for the summer.

But I think my mom and sister started off the busy week the best by gallivanting out to Austin, Texas. They sure sound like they’re having a ball. Here’s a great line from an email from my mom:

Nice to see such an active downtown scene–horse drawn carriages, outdoor dining, pretty cool, though a bit loud and party heavy for Leann’s taste. Oh, and street vendors–including one just for Evan: The Best Wurst hot dog stand.

Stuff like that reminds me that life really is good.

Leaps and Bounds…

You know, it used to be the United States at the forefront of human rights and, even more so, human freedoms. Now, in the 21st century, all we seem to do is catch up, or fight against the backtracking that occurred in our country.

We were founded as the most liberal country in the world, and we should continue to be so. Of course, liberal, in this sense, means classic liberal (read ‘libertarian’ now) and means being for freedom from government intrusion, regulation, and oppression. Classic liberalism means that one may think, say, act, and worship as they please, and are bound only by the brilliance of natural human reason and the simple golden rule.

So all that brings me to give Britain their due credit for doing what is right. And who would have guessed that the world did the exact opposite of pulling apart at the seams?

It is almost depressing that we still have not fixed what is wrong, just as Truman did when he integrated the military in nearly six decades ago. But then again, with the people who have been in charge for as long as they have, it is no surprise.