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Friday, February 19, 2016

National Board With The Loss

A little more than two years ago, I blogged about something called National Board Candidacy. You can read the back story HERE to better understand this post.

Following the powdered donut incident of 2013, I did proceed with my weekend. I went to a Hogs game later that day. My husband and I went to War Memorial Stadium with his brother and our sister-in-law. We froze, we watched the Hogs play, we ate at Cajun's Wharf, we had fun. I was able to get my mind off of the crushing blow I had suffered that morning, if only for a little while. The next day, once we got home from Little Rock, it was a rough evening. My emotions were all over the place. But after a few days of disappointment, I came to grips with the reality of it all. A couple of months passed, and it was time to either commit to a retake, or stop my pursuit of certification. Ultimately, as the deadline to retake approached, I decided I would retake only one part, as I only needed one point... PLUS the retake fee was $350 per section. I chose not to retake any on-site testing since that was my weakest area (the anxiety, remember?). I was only eligible to retake one portfolio section, as my scores on the other three were too high to retake. So I decided instead of an entire rewrite, I would improve upon what I already had. I did just that. I passed it along to several teachers who'd already been through the process and knew what scorers look for. I turned it into what I felt was the perfect paper. I mean, all I had to do was improve it by one point and I'd be set.

Then it was time to wait. I submitted in May, but again had to wait until November for score release. A year after my original post, I was in the same position. Waiting for scores to be released. The day came. Same story, different year. Once again, one point away. At first, the devastation was too much to bear. I didn't know how I could bounce back. I didn't know if I had it in me to retake again for the final time. (three times is the max before you have to start over) I inquired about an appeal. I pondered filing a complaint. I was ready to take legal action. I basically let arrogance take over. Seemed impossible I didn't improve. I felt so confident that I couldn't accept the fact that I was STILL one point away. How? Why? What could I have possibly done wrong? I would soon find out.

In my pursuit to prove wrong-doing, I read every word of the retake guidelines. This turned out to be something I had failed to do before. I discovered that retake candidates are strictly forbidden to use a previous entry in any way, shape or form. So as it turned out, I had submitted an unscorable entry. I was still one point away through no-one's fault but my own. So there it was. The biggest professional mistake of my life. A $350 retake fee down the drain. Lesson learned.

In light of this, there would be no debate this time. I would retake without a doubt! But this time, I retook that same portfolio section, as well as two of the on-site assessments. Six months and $1,050 later, it was once again time for score release. Only this time we didn't get the email warning us to be on the lookout. I just simply waited. After being off for a 3-day weekend, then missing a 4th day with a sick child, I checked my email November 18 and saw THE email in my inbox. The email stating scores are released. I opened the email to find this, the most beautiful email I've ever received...

So there it was, in black and white. I passed, or as the National Board world calls it, I achieved! All was right with the world. I almost couldn't believe my eyes. I immediately went to the website to confirm this news. Then I checked again the next day, and the day after that. Three months later, it's still true. And it's still surreal. And now that THIS (below) arrived in my mail box, I do indeed believe it now. I am officially a National Board Certified Teacher!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It's Raining Ben... And Apparently Cankles

Hello again, lovely readers. It has been way too long. I really can't explain my unacceptably long hiatus except to say life happens. Husband, kids, career, social calendar... you get it. Blogging has taken a back seat for far too long. So here I am again, as sarcastic and judgy as ever. I hope you've saved a place in your heart for my snarky take on this thing called The Bachelor franchise.

So here we are, already in week four of Ben's season. I have been back and forth about which Brady he favors most, so we'll just say he's not Cindy, Jan or Marsha Marsha Marsha. I've started a blog each week but never made it very far. And by the time I was prepared to sit down and finish, the week was nearly gone and I figured my thoughts would, at that point, be irrelevant.

I'm really mad at myself for not ever finishing a week's worth of insults and offensive innuendos, though. I had so many things to say. So many thoughts on important matters. Okay okay okay, important may not be the right word. But c'mon, we're Bachelor watchers. It's all important. I'm so sad that I never got to elaborate on some things:

  • The unicorn/horse head, which metaphorically represented the opposite end. Seriously. What the?! And yeah, her name WOULD be Jojo. I think I bet on her to show at Oaklawn a few years back. I lost.
  • Not all dentists can be taken seriously. A giant rose hat? She didn't get a mani for this? A dental exam during her first conversation? Camel toes in a high school hallway? So she's a dentist. Big drill deal.
  • The chicken enthusiast. Remember her? Man, I had so many rooster euphemisms to get off of my chest.
  • I really wanted to talk about how psycho Lace was in episode one. And two. And three... And done.
  • I am so thankful for Olivia's mouth. I mean - Bruce Wayne needs a place to park his Batmobile, after all. Right?
  • Just how sour did Sam's pits smell? Gross enough to send her packing, as it seemed.
  • The soccer game. Did they ever find Waldo? No? Just asking. But it seems they'd have found him if he had fat toes.
  • Sho-sha-sha-sha-na-na-na.
  • Olivia's body parts.

  • And one last question before moving on to current events... twins? Their profession is twins. They finish each other's sentences. They look exactly alike. And they're both on a reality show for the same man. Guess they really do share everything.
This week's episode begins with a bunch of exhausted (their word, not mine) women gathered in the living room like the Ouija board just told them piling up 12 deep on the couch increases their chances of a date. Chris announces they'll be going to the marriage capital of the world - Las Vegas. They were so excited you'd think he'd just told them they'll all be getting complimentary push-up bras and free margaritas. Or in Olivia's case, free tickets to a Chippendales Celine show.

Jojo gets the first date. Will the jockey tag along? Will they go to the tracks? Will they buy riding boots? Nayyyyy, none of that stuff. I'm hoping they'll go shop for her some different jorts. Ones that aren't circa 1992. Yes, I'm well aware they've come full circle and are now somewhat "in" but I'm also well aware that I lived through that era. They weren't cute then, and they aren't cute now. Shorts that make your butt crack look 15.5 inches long?! Well, they're just never flattering. Never. Like ever.

The helicopter shows up to pick up Ben and his jorts enthusiast. The same jorts that are riding up her booty hole while simultaneously causing a hint of a camel toe situation. Yesssss. I knew I could work in a CT reference. I applaud myself for being so lewd. But I'm being for real. Seriously. Look.

If you wear high waisted jorts, I promise you look like this. Promise.

After a chopper tour over sin city, Jojo and Ben go for a heart to heart. She tells Ben about blah blah last boyfriend. Blah blah blah 5 months ago. Blah-ba-dee-blah insecurity blippity bop ready to move on. Rose. Done. Ick. Oh, do I sound cynical? Sorry. I really do like Jojo. Kindof. Sortof. Not really. Not at all. More like, don't let the bottle rocket hit you in the horse head. Horse, unicorn, tomato, tomahto.

Group date time. Amanda, Jubilee, Caila, Lauren B., Amber, Haley, Emily, Leah, Lauren H., Jennifer, Rachel, Olivia. Looks like they get to be the opening act for Terry Fator. As a loyal AGT watcher, I'm familiar with this dude and I suppose I like him. But his stage... on a date. Cringe. Time to take out your best talents, gals. Jube showed she can straddle a big instrument. Lauren proved she can handle balls flying through the air. And poor, poor bat cave. I don't know whether to feel sorry for her shameful "performance" or to revel in the downfall of her ego.

As the girls on the group date each get their time alone with Ben, I am more convinced that Ben is kindof a horndog. Reminds me of Juan Pablo. Remember THAT GUY?! Gross. Yeah yeah, I know. Please don't dig up my former posts and remind me what I once said about him. It's all in the past, friends. It's all in the past.

Can I just ask... why would you list your career as "twin"... or "unemployed". Can we pretend that last one isn't from Arkansas? PLEASE. At least call yourself an entrepreneur, or a professional Pinterester, or a scrotum enthusiast, or even a hooker. I don't care. Just please don't let the world think you're milking someone else to survive. As a proud Arkansan, I don't appreciate the reputation you're giving us.

Other group date oddities:
  • A passionate puppet kiss.
  • A finger biting (literally) interview.
  • Ben awkwardly not wanting a 2nd chat with the "showgirl".
  • Did I mention the puppet kiss?
Anyhoo, the group date rose went to our resident flight attendant. Passengers, the exits are this way. Feel free to grab an oxygen mask and a package of deez nuts on your way out.

To quote Leah, "This morning, Becca received a giant box." Draw your own conclusions. Excuse me while I gag at the irony of the wedding dress. Everyone seems to think she still has her flower. But she's 26, y'all. She's either lying, or she has a hint of a penis. But hey, that's none of my business. So they officiate a few wedding chapel marriages before heading off to the neon sign graveyard. Or museum. Or whatever it was. As she proclaims her dedication to this season and expresses that she is way more into this than she was into farmer Chris, I can only assume it may or may not have something to do with the fact that Ben has lips. It's important. But conversation moved to the more serious things. Like the V card.

Ben: So you were closed off last time? I need to know that's changed.
Becca: Yeah yeah yeah, I plan on opening up more.
Ben: Sooooo, about the virgin thing.
Becca: Here we go again.
Ben: No, no. I'm just curious. I've never actually met one. Is it because you're embarrassed by the cob webs down there?
Becca: No. I just love Jesus.
Ben: I get that. But you're telling me it has nothing to do with maybe some sort of rancid stench situation?
Becca: No seriously. It smells like roses.
Ben: But Outkast says roses really smell like poo poo.
Becca: Whatever Ben. I love Jesus.
Ben: Me too but I'm definitely easy. What do you think about that?
Becca: Not an issue. It's a personal thing. No big deal.
Ben: But...
Becca: Ben. I'm not going there. It's hard at times but...
Ben: Don't you wanna jump my bones?
Becca: The only bone I'm interested in is a T-bone. You have nice lips.
Ben: Speaking of that...
Becca: NO!
Ben: Ok, I'll try the twins.

And just like that, Becca gets the literal flower and keeps the metaphorical one. Yes, I hear myself. I should be ashamed.

For me, this is where things got weird. He takes the twins home to mama cougar. Haley shows Ben her bedroom. She couldn't believe (yeah right) there were pics of her boyfriend still up. I couldn't believe she hasn't featured her bedroom on an episode of Hoarders. Ben sits down with the coug to talk about her daughters. She explains the differences in their personalities while Ben checks out his reflection in her forehead. And HOW does he not get distracted by ole coug's over-bleached teeth? I'm all about white teeth but sheesh. It's like the episode of Friends with Ross and the blacklight. In front of mama cougar and her lap full of dogs, Ben ultimately chooses to take Emily back and leave Haley home to practice her twinning. Let's hope she finds time to purge her room of some of her Bath and Body Works stockpile. Hello? Hoarders? Is that you?

The cocktail party begins with Ben being stolen away before Olivia got the chance to have yet another awkward conversation about her botched burlesque performance. Oh but never fear, she found a way to interrupt. And she found a way to make it even more weird by maybe possibly probably trying to eat cheesecake as a talent?? Listen lady. Leave the innocent cheesecake out of this! That delightful treat has never done anything to you!

After a few boring conversations, and some confirmation that I do indeed dislike Jubes, it's time to hand out roses. They go to:

Amanda - No surprise really. I predict she's here 'til the end.

Lauren H. - He liked the chicken suit.

Jubilee - I plea the fifth.

Emily - Well duh. He didn't leave her in the cougar den, did he?

Caila - Again... duh. Finalist for sure.

Jennifer - Has she always been here?

Leah - She's barely on my radar.

Final rose - drum roll please - Olivia. But she wasn't surprised. She told us this much... in third person.

I've suspected for years that producers make them keep certain people around for ratings. Now, I've never been more certain. He cringes every time Olivia pulls him aside. He had a death grip on that rose. As soon as Ben gets the green light to let her go, Ron Burgundy's out.

The Razorback is sad she's headed back to The Natural State. But then again, she needs to be using her time looking for a j-o-b. Am I right or am I right?

Amber got no rose. She and Becca shouldn't have been allowed to come back anyway. Girl bye.

Next week: MĂ©jico. A "Teen Mom" situation. Lauren H. and her cheek mole hit the runway. More JubeJube drama. More bat cave drama. Should be fun, readers!

Until next week. Stay lovely!