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I’m back…

I’m back…

On March 18th, 1995, Michael Jordan sent the above fax in response to questions about his future career plans…it simply said, “I’m back.”

Jordan, who retired from the NBA in October of 1993, was playing minor league baseball for the Birmingham Barons in March of 1995 when he decided to quit baseball (somewhat due to the ongoing Major League Baseball strike) and make his return to the NBA. In MJ’s first game back (wearing number 45) he scored 19 points as the Bulls lost to the Indiana Pacers 103-96 (I can still remember racing home from the WIAA State Basketball Tournament to watch that game).

 

Jordan would lead Chicago to a 13-4 record over the final 17 games (highlighted by a game-winning shot against the Atlanta Hawks in just his fourth game back and a 55 point effort in the very next game against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden) and helped the Bulls advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic.

Did you know…at the end of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Orlando’s Nick Anderson stripped Jordan from behind, leading to the game-winning basket for the Magic. Anderson would later comment that Jordan “didn’t look like the old Michael Jordan” and that “No. 45 doesn’t explode like No. 23 used to.” Jordan then returned to wearing his old number in Game 2, and scored 38 points in a Bulls win. The Bulls were fined $30,000 for the game…$25,000 for failing to report the impromptu number change to the NBA and $5,000 for Jordan wearing different shoes.

Orlando would go on to win that series in six games, despite MJ averaging 31 points per game. Losing that series only motivated Jordan and the Bulls, as Chicago would win the next three NBA Championships (their second three-peat of the decade). Jordan would retire again on January 13th, 1999…only to return on September 25, 2001 as a member of the Washington Wizards. Jordan’s final NBA game would come on April 16th, 2003 in Philadelphia.

On July 11th, 2014, LeBron James announced, via an essay he co-wrote with Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, that he was modifying his own career plans…the essay was titled, “I’m coming home.”

James, who was a free agent in the summer of 2010, announced on a live ESPN special (The Decision) that he was taking his talents to South Beach and would become a member of the Miami Heat (I remember watching that “special” at Leff’s Lucky Town). LeBron joined fellow free agents Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami and they would become known as the “Big Three.”

 

In his first season with Miami, James led the Heat to the NBA Finals, only to lose to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. The following season, James led Miami to their second-ever championship and his first championship when they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. LeBron and the Heat would go on to win their second straight NBA title when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs in seven games the next year. In his final season in Miami, James led the Heat to the Finals again, only to lose the Spurs in five games. That would be LeBron’s last game in Miami, as he opted out of his contract with the Heat and announced his return to Cleveland.

In LeBron’s first season back with Cleveland, he led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals (his fifth straight Finals appearance) where Cleveland lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games. James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game for the series, as Cleveland played without starters Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Just months ago, down three games to one in the Finals to that same Warriors team, LeBron helped mount an epic comeback and lead Cleveland (Believeland) to the city’s first professional sports title in 52 years, as James became the first player in league history to lead both teams in all five statistical categories for a playoff round, as James was named the unanimous Finals MVP.

So with ALL that being said…on this day, August 1st, 2016, Clara and I would like to announce that WE will be coming back home. I know, not as exciting as the Jordan and James announcements of their return to their respective cities/teams, but exciting news for our friends and family back in Wisconsin (we hope). We also can’t guarantee any championships upon our return…but there is always hope (Go Pack Go)!

Last July, we moved out to California, and while our stay here has been fun (and ending shorter than expected), it is time to make the change (again). In California, we were able to experience many new opportunities and explore many new places, all while enjoying a pretty successful stay in the process.

We will miss being that much closer to Theune…as a 4+ hour car ride (as long as there is no traffic) definitely beats a 4+ hour flight (and all the airport fun that goes along with that). We enjoyed hanging out with Dave (we love L.A.) and having him come visit us this past year…and we will always have a spare bedroom waiting for him when he visits Wisconsin.

What we are going to miss the most about California will be our friends Grant and Megan, and their children, Tristan and Addie (they’ve grown so much over the past year)…and not to be forgotten, their dog Gilly (the best dog around). While it would have been nice to move to Napa and be even closer to them, that just wasn’t in the cards (and no, I’m not talking about Hand and Foot). I know that we won’t be able to hang out as much in the coming year(s), but the friendship that we forged over the past year, will only make the times that we do get together in the future, all the more special. Besides, December will be here before you know it (flight booked)!

Leaving California friends behind will be tough, but we definitely won’t miss all the traffic (more on that here) and the ridiculous cost of living in the Bay Area…especially in terms of housing (as the median home price in Livermore is only $700,000). Just look at all these new homes going up in Livermore…and they’re going up everywhere! We thought traffic was bad now…just wait! I’m glad we won’t have to experience that.

So, as we pack things up over the next two weeks, we look forward to our return to Wisconsin (I hope this is our last move ever). It will be nice to be close to family and friends once again. I’m already looking forward to hanging with friends at the Wisconsin vs LSU game at Lambeau Field on September 3rd. Go Badgers!

As for our Wisconsin plans, Clara and I are closing in on a home in Whitefish Bay (thank you Closing Time)…we will refer to it as the house that Gallo bought or the San Lorenzo House (and yes, the Rau’s are only 1.1 miles away and Draft & Vessel is only 0.9 miles away). As for our jobs, I accepted a teaching position at John Long Middle School in the Grafton School District (thanks Deering) and Clara will go back to working for herself and doing a lot of consulting work for different wineries (Gallo included). So in a year, it has pretty much come full circle for the two of us, and to quote LeBron James, we are ready to accept the challenge.

On August 12th or 13th…we will be coming home. With an ETA of…August 15th or 16th.

See you soon Wisconsin!

SOH 14…

SOH 14…

Another school year is officially in the books…Summer of Hand 14 is finally upon us!

The following clip (from one of my all-time favorite movies) pretty much sums up how most students AND teachers looked as they left school this afternoon around 12:45.

 

 

Of course, the inspiration for the Summer of Hand came from none other than…George Louis Costanza.

 

So, while reading a book (from beginning to end…in that order) and Frisbee golf sound like really great ideas…I’m off to L.A. (because I love L.A.) to see the one and only Dave Theune (I can’t wait to see his show)…we’re also gonna purchase Blink 182 tickets…top priority of this summer!

This is gonna be my time!

Comedy night…

Comedy night…

Last night, Clara and I took in a stand up comedy show in Oakland (unfortunately, we didn’t see Jerry Seinfeld). I had been craving to see some stand up comedy since we stumbled upon a random show while visiting New Bohemia Brewing Company in early February. So this past week, we scoured the Internet, looking for something up and coming (i.e. affordable) in the Bay Area.

We came across, Critical Hit! Stand Up Comedy Show…and it fulfilled all of our requirements. When you advertise your show for $5 admission, free pizza and candy, and BYOB…how can you go wrong?! The guy that sat next to us actually brought in a full bottle of Bulleit Bourbon…and put quite the dent in it during the show! As for the location of the show, it took place in a games and hobbies store named It’s Your Move. Quite interesting indeed, but it worked very well.

Outside of all the Nazi references early on…there just happened to be an attendee in the audience who claimed to have lost a close family member (a mother?) during The Holocaust (yeah, that was an awkward moment when the individual spoke up about it…and yet that individual stayed for the entire show…even more strange), it was a great show and an even greater find for only five bucks! I would definitely go back again as the comics were all very good and had a great variety of jokes.

Now, a little bit about the comics themselves…

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And the headliner…

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All, very funny comics…but none, as good as this guy!

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I just can’t stop watching these Rayovac commercials…

 

Dave Theune > Michael Jordan…

 

Blind QB Resume…

Blind QB Resume…

It’s time for America’s favorite game…Blind Quarterback Resume! The following 8 quarterbacks will be competing in this weekend’s Wild Card games. See if you can figure out who each quarterback is…as the numbers are based off the 2nd half of the season (8 games).

 

              Cmp/Att         Cmp%          Yards         TD/Int        Rating

QB 1:     173/235          73.62            2,212          19/2            126.1

QB 2:     168/249          67.47            2,146          25/2            124.3

QB 3:     137/202          67.82            1,517          11/4             99.8

QB 4:     79/119            66.39             854             6/2              97.1

QB 5:     143/215          66.51            1,561           8/3              94.4

QB 6:     224/335          66.87            2,764          16/11           94.4

QB 7:     95/154            61.69            1,025           6/4              83.4

QB 8:     184/320          57.50            1,884          12/5             80.5

 

And the answers are….

 

 

 

QB 1 – Kirk Cousins (ranked 1st in the league over the final 8 games), QB 2 – Russell Wilson (ranked 2nd), QB 3 – Alex Smith (ranked 6th), QB 4 – A.J. McCarron (ranked 8th), QB 5 – Teddy Bridgewater (ranked 12th), QB 6 – Ben Roethlisberger (ranked 13th), QB 7 – Brian Hoyer (ranked 26th), and QB 8 is…Aaron Rodgers (the 27th ranked quarterback over the final eight games of the season).

And if you want to dig even deeper…Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a quarterback rating in the 100’s since week 6 versus San Diego (107.7). But hey, according to Aaron…he’s still confident…and proud that they kept it together and didn’t create any distractions. Talk about cryptic…

Anyways, I would like to have the Sun back (as Steve “The Homer” True has dubbed Rodgers)…

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And also…THE REAL SUN!

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Winter in California has officially gotten old…

But as Puddy, I mean Mike McCarthy (follow @McPackersBot) would say…it’s time to showcase who the hell we are. So, please sunS…start showcasing! Because I need some Good Day Sunshine!

 

Christmas Catalogs…

Christmas Catalogs…

As Clara and I watched Home Alone last night (in an effort to get into the Christmas spirit), I started to think about all the different toys and games from the 80’s and 90’s. With those thoughts, my mind quickly raced to…the JCPenney Christmas Catalog.

The JCPenney Christmas Catalog used to be the way everyone picked out what they wanted for Christmas. You would simply open the catalog up and start circling or checking items that peaked your interest. I really wish that I could get my hands on one of those catalogs from the 80’s and 90’s.

Well, thanks to the Internet…they are still available for you to peruse. So go ahead, take the next couple of minutes (or hours) reminiscing about Christmas past. Enjoy!

1987 JCPenney Christmas Catalog

1990 JCPenney Christmas Catalog

1991 JCPenney Christmas Catalog

1994 JCPenney Christmas Catalog

While I don’t remember using the Sears Christmas Catalog (The Great American Wish Book) as much, here is also a look back at some of their catalogs.

1986 Sears Christmas Catalog

1989 Sears Christmas Catalog

1991 Sears Christmas Catalog

Oh, how times and styles (thankfully) have changed…but there still is a part of me that wishes I could fire up the Sega Master System or Nintendo Entertainment System one final time.

Sega Master System

Sega Master System

Nintendo Entertainment System (I don't know of anyone that had the Robot)

Nintendo Entertainment System (I don’t know of anyone that had the Robot)

And I didn’t forget…HAPPY FESTIVUS!!!

A Festivus for the rest of us!

A Festivus for the rest of us!

 

 

Christmas Vacation…

Christmas Vacation…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of my all-time favorite movies! I cannot wait to sit down some day next week (I am off ALL week) and watch it over and over (traditionally Clara and I do this on Christmas Eve and Christmas, but we’ll see what Theune has in store for us).

Christmas Vacation is my go-to movie to get me in the Christmas spirit…and not to mention, all of the Christmas music I have been playing each day during PE (the kids love it, as they are super-hyper this time of year).

While there are SO MANY good scenes in Christmas Vacation…one of my favorites is the light scene. While I have seen many impressive light displays over the years in Wisconsin…none of them, can compare to the one we have here…right in Livermore, California. (On a side note, I’ve been equally impressed by many of the light displays in and around Livermore…people sure like their yard inflatables…they are everywhere!)

Deacon Dave’s Christmas Lights makes Clark Griswold’s light display look like the work of a child (even with the drumroll). When my dad mentioned something about a light display in Livermore that was on the news back in Wisconsin, I did a little bit of research and found out that Casa del Pomba – House of the Dove was located less than two miles from our place. So we followed the glow of the lights and let’s just say…

It. Did. Not. Disappoint.

Panoramic shot...it doesn't do justice how amazing it is.

Panoramic shot…it doesn’t do justice how amazing the display really is in person.

I can't even imagine have this house as a neighbor...CA blocks are a lot tighter than WI.

I can’t even imagine having this house as a neighbor…CA city blocks are a lot more compact than WI.

Year 33...where are the lights stored?

Year 33…where are all the lights stored?

Proposal 59 happened earlier in the evening.

Proposal 59 happened earlier in the evening, before we arrived.

Only 470,890 more lights than Clark Griswold!

Only 470,890 more twinkle lights than Clark Griswold!

Merry Christmas!!! #nofilter

Merry Christmas!!! #nofilter

 

Must See TV…

Must See TV…

Tonight is the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, airing on CBS. This show is quite possibly CBS’s finest hour of programming all year long…outside of sports, of course. I look forward to this show every-single-year…and I won’t even attempt to describe what this show is really all about…because there are simply – no words!

In the meantime…take a moment and browse the list of all-time Victoria’s Secret models and try to pick out your top 3 (I dare you)…it’s not that easy.

My top 3 are as follows…

#3.

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum

#2.

Gisele Bunchen...otherwise known as Mrs. Brady.

Gisele Bundchen (Mrs. Tom Brady)

#1.

Marisa Miller

Marisa Miller

I guess you can call me a little old school. Well, enjoy tonight’s show…and don’t forget to set your DVR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Give Up…

Don’t Give Up…

Don’t Ever Give Up!

The 9th annual Jimmy V Week, for cancer research, kicks off today (December 2, 2015). This weeklong initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs features special content to help raise funds for cancer research. (Editors note: Clara…save the date).

For those of you that don’t know who Jimmy Valvano is…you can read all about his life here. There was also a great ESPN Films 30 for 30 (imagine that) about Valvano and his North Carolina State Wolfpack team that won the 1983 NCAA National Championship titled…Survive and Advance.

Valvano is probably known to most for the courageous speech that he gave at the 1993 ESPY Awards while accepting the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage Award (let’s just not talk about the 2015 winner at this time). It was during that speech, that Valvano announced the creation of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. I used to show Valvano’s speech to my freshman health students when we talked about setting goals (it was actually quite moving to most 14 and 15 year olds…that think they know all there is to know about life).

So today, with the tragedy taking place in San Bernardino, CA (when is this nonsense going to stop)…take the time to watch Jimmy V’s speech and if you have some extra time…check out Stuart Scott’s speech from when he accepted the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award. Easily, two of the greatest speeches ever and great examples of how we all should lead our lives…because you never know when your time will be up.

 

Hoodie Power…

Hoodie Power…

Who knew all it would take to break a 3-game losing streak was a simple hoodie. While James Jones’ hoodie look may have reminded me of a JV football player standing on the sidelines watching the Varsity play on a Friday night (a look I have seen all to often over the years)…his six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown was just the type of performance the Packers needed to get back on track and takeover the NFC North lead. Heck, the hoodie is so popular now it even has its own Twitter account.

Speaking of hoodies, Clara and I (coincidentally) both wore hoodies to watch the Packers game yesterday at our home away from home…The Good Time Tavern.

Official Packers bar in Livermore, CA

Official Packers bar in downtown Livermore, CA

Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to watch all the Packer games from home (stupid 49ers and Raiders), I went to Packers Everywhere to find a nearby bar that would show all the Packers games each week. We found The Good Time Tavern in downtown Livermore and pre-scouted it on the Friday night before the Packers vs Chargers game…and the second we walked in, we knew that this was our place to watch Packers games. The Good Time Tavern is a classic Wisconsin dive bar…and with that description, it needs no further explanation.

Robert is a great host and a life-long Packers fan.

Robert is a great host each week and a life-long Packers fan. He also loves to talk Fantasy Football.

$3 Miller Lites in the Steinie bottle...you can't go wrong!

The GTT even has $3 Miller Lites…and in the new Steinie bottle…you simply can’t go wrong (especially in CA)!

SNOW…Thanks to all my friends and family that sent pictures of Friday night’s/Saturday morning’s snowfall. California wins! I don’t miss that crap one bit…especially when it is snowing days before Thanksgiving…that is just wrong! While I must admit, it really doesn’t feel like late November around here (as people are already putting up Christmas lights), I think I’ll be able to adjust to the Christmas season without snow rather nicely (although it is strange seeing commercials with snow). As for El Nino…let’s just hope that doesn’t happen (for the sake of my job…if I’m not on strike).

I must admit...I did chuckle when I saw this pic Saturday morning.

I must admit…I did chuckle when I saw this pic Saturday morning.

BAN REPLAY…After Saturday’s debacle in Madison, I’ve officially had it with instant replay! It is time to finally get rid of it altogether. Replay is doing nothing but extending games and destroying pace of play…and (too often), replay STILL doesn’t get the call correct after the review! Look, if we can live with pass interference calls being decided on the field…we can live with ALL calls being decided on the field. If football (and all sports for that matter) don’t want to ban replay, then rules and interpretations need to be simplified…because week after week, the officials are merely choking when it comes to making decisions and replay is not doing its job to avoid Monday apologies…or in the Big Ten’s case, standing up for unacceptable officiating because they don’t want to look bad.

I have no idea what a catch is anymore in football...and this, was ruled a catch on the field!

I have no idea what a catch is anymore in football…and this, was ruled a catch on the field!

So to sum up…I guess not all hoods were created equal.

Thank You…

Thank You…

I’m often asked, where do you come up with the material for your blog? Most days, it comes to me rather easy…and today, it came to me even easier than most. Today’s post is simply…THANK YOU! No rant about the Green Bay Packers struggles, the silliness of the College Football Playoff rankings, or the legalities of FanDuel and DraftKings is that important today. Today is about thanking ALL who have and will continue to fight for, protect, and sacrifice for our freedom. While I won’t be able to attend the usual Veterans Day program like in past school years (there is no school in California today), I will make the most of this beautiful California day…hitting some golf balls and logging some miles on my bicycle. Thank you Veterans…for making this possible!

More…the SC Featured: Going Home says it the best…kudos ESPN!

We’re still doing that…

We’re still doing that…

In case you haven’t noticed, the Milwaukee Brewers have already started releasing their 2016 All-Fan Giveaway schedule…and they’re using this whole week to do it¡ Isn’t the suspense just killing you…I can hardly wait to see what new and innovative ideas they have in store for this year¡

As you may have guessed, the all-fan giveaway line-up is littered with bobbleheads. Now, to preface, I have a rather large collection of bobbleheads myself (and I never pass up the opportunity to grab a free one from my sister or friends)…but another Hank the Dog bobblehead (this one barks¡)…REALLY?!?! I love animals, and the Hank story was really great (AT THE TIME!), but I don’t understand why the Brewers are continuing to honor this stray dog…AGAIN! This is year THREE of this mutt (sorry, I’m calling him a mutt, because he has brought ZERO on-field success to the Milwaukee Brewers organization). It is time to cut the cord (er, leash) on this experiment.

A quick check of eBay reveals that there have already been THREE Hank the Dog bobbleheads done by the Brewers alone (and don’t forget the Hank towel) plus another Hank bobblehead done by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (the Brewers Single A ballclub). Hank bobbleheads have become like The Voice episode on Seinfeld. To quote Elaine and Kramer (skip to 2:30 mark)…”still?!” and “played…SO played!” Hank, you are the voice hello…it is time to go, LA, LA, LA!!!

Tidbits…If you are not listening to the Tauscher and Kuhn show (and Greg) on 620 WTMJ, you are missing out. Check it out, Tuesdays at 6pm…it is really good. Last night’s 30 for 30, The Gospel According to Mac, was once again…FANTASTIC! Every one of these films are SO well done. My wife tells me I don’t watch enough movies…well, if they were as good as EVERY 30 for 30…I’d definitely watch more. Lastly, Steph Curry is amazing! Golden State basketball is so fun to watch. The Warriors may win 70 games this year and could threaten Chicago’s 72 wins in a season…they are that good!

Field of dreams…

Field of dreams…

If you remember this post, you will remember my love for grass. In California, there is absolutely no such grass like that…unless you are at a very high end golf course or a professional sports organization’s stadium…and even they – Levi’s Stadium in particular (host of Super Bowl L) – has had there own grass issues.

So imagine teaching PE in this “great state of California” without the use of a gymnasium (it’s like asking a classroom teacher to teach without desks or chairs for their students…good luck!”), AND without adequate green space (weed grass doesn’t count). Let’s just say, this PE teaching experience is turning into quite the sh_t show! No, I’m serious…and I have the pictures to prove it.

Sh_t happens...the geese have taken over!

Sh_t happens…the geese have taken over the weed grass field!

Just the type of grass you want kids playing around on.

Just the type of “play area” you want younger children playing on…if I had a dollar every time I heard the word “poop.”

Geese don't discriminate...they even managed to hit most of the blacktop area.

Geese don’t discriminate…they even managed to bomb most of the blacktop area.

While I tried to put on my best face for this colossal sh_t show, I just couldn’t help but feel that these are NOT appropriate teaching conditions (I said something to my princiPAL…he was going to mention something to grounds, but I’m not expecting a quick fix anytime soon). Whenever grounds has come by to take “care” of the weed grass, it usually takes the guy almost 2 hours to mow (and dust bomb the rest of us)…a job that could easily be done in 30 minutes.

Oh, and did I mention the amount of garbage that is usually left on the “prickly, sh_tty, weed grass” field…

A outdoor garbage can would be nice on the school grounds.

An outdoor garbage can would be nice to have (somewhere) on the school grounds.

And yes, Heineken is served after hours here…

Top shelf in San Lorenzo.

Top shelf in the San Lorenzo area.

So, you can imagine how excited I am to be putting in my first FULL week…yes, five days straight of teaching (maybe I need to schedule another trip back to Wisconsin). I’m sure it is going to be a fantastic week…especially after my K-2 SPARK training on Friday¡ Thankfully, there is no rain in the forecast this week (that blog post will be coming soon…especially with the talk of El Niño this winter…and no gym space).

On the bright side, I will be able to proudly wear the Green & Gold all week long…suck it Niners fans!

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Pwned…

Pwned…

Over the last couple of days, I have taken a great liking to the following burns…let’s just say, some of the people involved…truly had it coming (you’ve been pwned)!

1. Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury telling Bret Bielema what he really thought about the Arkansas Razorbacks football program. The truth hurts…but of course, “Big Game Bret,” wouldn’t let it go the next day…when Kingsbury had CLEARLY moved on from his previous days’ comments. I (along with every Wisconsin football fan) CAN’T WAIT for the day that Bielema is canned at Arkansas…and it is likely to be (very) soon. #unbielemable (I wish I still had those stickers).

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Uncanny resemblance

 

2. Aaron Rodgers crediting God for Sunday night’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks. What’s that Russell Wilson…do you still believe that God cares about who wins football games?! To refresh everyone’s memory, here is my real take on Russell Wilson. #phony

3. Thank you Deadspin, for truly summing up Scott Walker…I don’t like to EVER talk politics (especially in this blog), but this was too good to pass up. I’ll let you read the excerpt because I couldn’t have said it any better myself. #dropout

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Now fix that bald spot!

 

4. I am not an Oakland Raiders fan by any means (as a matter of fact, I like them even less – if that’s possible – since our move to California), but this response to Super Bowl L (ahem, 50)…is just too perfect. #thisleague

Does anyone else hear the Bloodhound Gang playing in the background…or as George Costanza would say, flame on! (skip to 3:11 mark) #priceless

 

When you say Wisconsin…

When you say Wisconsin…

You’ve said it all! I couldn’t agree with that statement more. Having now lived in California for the last couple of months, you realize what a truly special place Wisconsin really is (especially on a perfect Fall weekend). Clara and I just got back to California today from an extended weekend trip to Wisconsin…and all I can say – is that it was perfect. It was SO nice to see family and friends after having been away for what seems like WAY more than two months. Luckily for me, I’ll be back in Wisconsin in less than two weeks for Guy’s Weekend 12…and as Bart Scott would say…CAN’T WAIT! Again, it was nice seeing everyone (even if it was only brief)…and a special congratulations to Aaron and Danielle on a fabulous wedding celebration! I hope you two newlyweds enjoy your honeymoon in Napa and San Francisco and we’ll see you again on Saturday (glad we could escort you on the flight out West). So, here’s hoping this week goes by as fast as this past weekend did, but something tells me it probably won’t. Back to glorified recess tomorrow¡

Oh…and the Bears still SUCK!

The Valley…

The Valley…

Johnny Drama’s policy on going to The Valley (much less living there) is spot on! We live in the Tri Valley area and here is what we are currently experiencing temperature-wise (it’s September 9th, right?).

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This is day two of this triple-digit heat (oh, but it’s a dry heat¡). Imagine having to teach PE outdoors (there are no gyms) in this stuff…thankfully it’s only in the low to mid 90’s in San Lorenzo (I really couldn’t tell the difference as I was being cooked on the already fried grass/dirt/quack grass at school)¡ Some districts are actually sending students home early because most schools in California have no air conditioning (really?!). Not having AC in California makes as much sense as not having a furnace in Wisconsin.

Thankfully, we are heading back to the great state of Wisconsin this weekend for my friend Aaron’s wedding. I am definitely looking forward to the Fall-like temperatures. See you soon Wisconsin (I can’t wait to start hydrating)!

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Teacher shortage…

Teacher shortage…

There is a shortage of teachers in California (multiple people sent me that acticle when it came out…and I saw many other articles just like it)…I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised after going through the credentialing process myself. Let me walk you through my (horrifying) experience…

On August 11th, I went to the Alameda County Office of Education to apply for my California teaching credential (I figured I may as well…I was not having any luck finding a job in sports (do they even exist?) and I had finally reached my level of summer boredom). I plunked down $100 for a “preliminary” (I was missing certain paperwork…still not sure what) single subject credential in PE & Health (the Office even questioned me about not having my original PRAXIS scores from 1999!) and another $74 to get fingerprinted (so that I could, at the very least, substitute teach). With all of that complete, I decided to use my application “receipt” (who knows when I’ll get my actual credential as they are currently processing applications received BEFORE 6/29/15!) to apply to a few school districts on EDJOIN…mostly just to see if I would even get a response back from anyone.

Lucky me…I received an email about an interview for a full-time elementary PE position on August 13th (I thought…wow, that was quick…I figured they must really be desperate to find someone, as the school year was quickly approaching). On August 17th, I went in for an interview at the San Lorenzo Unified School District district office. The interview went well, but I found it strange that the interview wasn’t with a principal or with any other PE staff members (the director of elementary education conducted it). The next day (August 18th), I received a call back that all my references checked out (thanks Piitt…not sure they even called anyone else) and I was offered the job. I accepted the position (too soon maybe…another school district called me about a middle school position later) and I went in on August 20th to sign my contract and fill out a ton of paperwork (they actually left me with the paperwork and I spent the ENTIRE afternoon filling it out at home…it was nauseating). The next day (August 21st), I went back to the Alameda County Office of Education to get fingerprinted (a 2nd time remind you) because each district requires their OWN fingerprints (don’t ask me why, but can you say waste of time and energy…why not share fingerprints…probably TOO LOGICAL¡). After getting fingerprinted (where I had to show up at 8am to guarantee being fingerprinted…as they only take the first 14 walk-ins each day starting a 9am – I was fifth in line), I went back to the San Lorenzo district office to turn in my paperwork. At that time, I was told that I may not be able to start the school year in the classroom as it will take “some time” for the County to process all of my paperwork (it was taking most paperwork at least a week to get processed) and I needed a new TB test (just another hoop to jump through). Awesome¡

School started on August 25th (I was able to meet the staff and tour the building a bit on the 21st…even sat in on a staff meeting)…it was a half day at the elementary school that day. I was not able to be there on the 1st day of school due to the County “processing” my paperwork…and because of that, I could not be around students. August 26th was also a half day due to the district’s early release Wednesdays (or called shortened days in California)…I was forced to sit that day out as well due to the County. August 27th…nothing. August 28th…nothing (great, now I’ve missed the entire first week of classes). August 31st…still nothing!

On September 1st (after wishing all of my friends a happy 1st day of school in Wisconsin), I finally sent the district office an email kindly asking…why the F is this taking so long?! I received the standard response, the County processes the applications in the order that they receive them…we’ll let you know as soon as we hear something. Again, awesome¡ But, wouldn’t you know it…that afternoon, I finally received word that my paperwork had been processed and I could FINALLY start school the next day (one has to wonder if my email had anything to do with it).

So, as of last Wednesday, I have been teaching PE at Del Rey Elementary School (home of the Dragons¡) in the San Lorenzo Unified School District. Through only three days of classes, I can firmly say the experience has been “interesting.” I thought Wisconsin did things differently in terms of education, but California may just blow them out of the water. Like I said, it’s only been a week…but I’ve also seen a lot in my 13+ years of education to know how things work. I’ll leave you with what my friend Aaron said…well, maybe this is what education in Wisconsin will look like in 5-10 years. Stay tuned…he may be onto something. In the meantime, I’ll be busy taking credits to obtain my EL Authorization…if I want to teach in California beyond this school year (or maybe, I’ll be one and done).

Happy 1st day…

Happy 1st day…

Happy 1st Day of School to all of my friends back in Wisconsin (only 179 more days to go¡). Hopefully, you were able to accomplish everything you set out to do this summer and are recharged for another school year (remember…15th and 30th¡). I must admit, it sure feels strange not taking part in today’s opening day activities. This is my first missed opportunity since I was probably four years old…as I’ve always been able to take part in some fashion…whether as a student or as a teacher. Well, best of luck to everyone this year…the year will fly by…it always does (even though we say it doesn’t). As for myself…the Summer of Hand 13 (SOH13) officially becomes the Fall of Hand 1 (FOH1). Thanks California…you’ve really outdone yourself this time (more on this later). Time to hit the links (I guess)!

 

Reserved for Mr. Meinen…thanks for saving my old parking spot at KHS on the 1st day of school.

 

 

Little boxes…

Little boxes…

If you’ve seen the show Weeds on Showtime, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The “little boxes” phenomenon is very prevalent in the Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore areas. It is very strange and frankly, just doesn’t look right. So with that to comprehend and a limited amount of rental housing (we just couldn’t do an apartment complex and can’t quite afford a home out here yet), our exhaustive search appears to finally be over. We received a phone call this evening confirming our selection…yes, it is that competitive in terms of home rentals out here (there are few options and the good ones are scooped up right away). So for the next year, we are happy to say that we will be calling Livermore, California our home. (Ironically, today’s Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Randy Johnson – the Big Unit, graduated from Livermore High School…a did you know tidbit). We’ll iron out the full details tomorrow and hopefully be moving into our place rather soon. Our temporary housing has been acceptable, but we really miss our household items…especially our comfortable bed. So hopefully next weekend at this time we’ll be all moved into our own “little box.”

While we were sleeping…

While we were sleeping…

Well, that didn’t take long. Apparently there was an earthquake while we were sound asleep last night. I have to admit, I never felt a thing. I guess you could say that is a good thing…Fremont is located less than 20 minutes from where we are staying (and many people in our immediate area felt the quake). Ari may have felt the tremors…I did have to shoo him away from the blinds at one point during the night, but I never bothered to check the time (or he could have just been hungry and wanted to be fed). Nonetheless, I’m sure there will be more opportunities to ride the waves, but hopefully nothing like this (skip to 4:35 mark). A moment I remember watching live…I was in the 6th grade and was absolutely in love with baseball…especially the Oakland A’s. So, stay tuned for more…aftershocks, I’m sure.

Cat on a plane…

Cat on a plane…

We’re all here…safe and sound! We arrived late last night…after what seemed like the longest flight from MKE to SFO, the longest car rental line ever, having to navigate construction on the ride from the airport to our temporary housing in Pleasanton, AND the fun of trying to find said housing at almost 1am. It was quite eventful! But through it all, Ari was purrfect (sorry)! He never said one peep. He was such a trooper and we’re very proud of him. All told, he spent about 10 hours in his carrier. Now we are all trying to adjust to our new surroundings and catch up on sleep.

More details to come later.