7.30.2008

From Greek to Geek!

***
As most of you know, I have taken my professional dorkiness to a new level and decided to attend a pre-AP Chemistry conference at UTD this week. For seven hours a day, five days in a row, I am in a classroom of assorted (mostly older, very interesting) teachers and learning about the joys of teaching advanced chemistry. Not that I will ever get to teach this anytime soon – it’s all out of hope. I have rather enjoyed the labs, being that my peers have complimented me multiple times on my very attractive safety goggles. (I got them at Home Depot in case you’re interested.) I have actually learned a lot, being as it feels like I’m in college again – a bit rejuvenating, if you will.
I have also learned that a watched clock never moves….and that teaching is like cooking. You have a base recipe and method of going about it, but your dish becomes more memorable (and asked for) once you’ve added your own special ingredients.
I wrote a new poem today in honor of me realizing what I was, what I became, and how thankful I am for the road that lead me here…and I named it:
***
***
From Greek to Geek

From Greek to Geek, I think I have this thing down!
From pearls to lab goggles, from jeans to pants of brown.

I used to chat about being safe while I’d sing,
And schedule buses to and from Pi Phi flings.

Now I talk about the periodic table or electron pull,
The only buses I see drop off the kids at school!

I once got paid 20 dollars a day,
To teach aerobics and how to lift weight.

Now I get paid 20 dollars an hour,
To send little hoodlums to the safety shower!

I memorized every Greek-lettered organization,
Now I use Greek letters for every chemical equation.

Who ever said that being an Aggie Greek was so odd –
Must be having a terrible time at their job.

“Miss, how do you know so much!” my kids ask,
As I ponder my answer I lift an Erlenmeyer flask.

Remembering wistfully when flasks were more fun,
Buying them as presents for my friends turning 21.

“I learned it all at the best school in College Station!”
I reply (knowing it was really my “other education”) :)
***

7.20.2008

Attack on the Wedding D-Bag

***
Weddings are super-fun, especially when they are full of friends, food, a kickass cover band, and lots of cocktails. Sometimes a single man in his 20s will show up with a wingman, under all intention of bagging him a cute little lady to take home for the night. Sometimes when sorority girls get together, they recognize this guy, and turn the tables on him.
Let’s change the name of this guy to ‘Chad’, for privacy’s sake, and begin the tale of how we all crashed the wedding d-bag Saturday night.
***

Our tale begins at the end of the reception with a walk out to the lobby, where everyone is gathering their rose petals to shower the happy couple with as they escape the reception and jump in their limo.
Chad, to me: “Hey beautiful, what about that dance you promised me tonight?”
Me: “What dance?” (Followed by a prompt exit as I begin to observe his amusingly drunken behavior towards the rest of my sorority sisters)
So we get back to the empty reception and start forming a Chad-watching group, thinking of things we can get girls to say to him to enhance his d-bag behavior.
(Mind you earlier he spent the entire night on the rim of the dance floor, smiling skeezily at every girl, chatting a bit, clinging tightly to
what I’m sure was a sugary drink poured into a beer bottle.)
We convince Jacque to approach him and introduce herself.
Jackie: “Hi Chad, I’m Jacque!”
Chad: (seductively) ‘I’d recognize those eyes anywhere.”
Needless to say, Jackie joins us quickly and we launch more attacks.
After the reception we go to the hotel bar and begin to spread the d-bag’s legend. Luckily enough, he approaches me again:
Chad: (bends over in front of me and picks up a flattened, stepped-on flower) “I was waiting here to give this to you.”
And I proceed to give the flower to the rest of my girlfriends, giving them the same line.
I’m not going to lie, I ended up talking to way more girls than he did.
***

Cortneyisms for the Week

***
Cortneyisms for the Week:
I did a lot of thinking over the weekend, therefore I’m qualified to write aforementioned thoughts. I take them, package them up all pretty, channel Yogi Berra, and produce a little gem called a “Cortneyism”.
Feel the wisdom.
One happy, one thought provoking.
***
"Time is my worst enemy because I cannot change it, nor can I get it back.
Time is my best friend because it forces me to keep moving forward and remembering that even this moment will soon become a thing of the past.
Time – you either live in it or you lose it."
***
"Someone who is training to become a bodybuilder is like a woman who is slightly pregnant. You don’t know whether to tell them congratulations on how far they’ve come or to uncomfortably wonder why they’re slightly chubbier than usual."
***

Congrats Courtney and Michael!

***
Courtney and Michael are officially married!
For those of you that weren't at the rehearsal dinner, I'd like to share the toast we made to the two. Katie and I wrote it in the car on the ride down this weekend, and Kristy approved it upon her arrival from HAWAII!
This was the first time that Courtney, me, Amanda, Katie, and Kristy were all together in three years.
This was definitely one of the best weddings I've been too in a long time - more to come on that front.
Here's the most awesome toast ever. ;-)
***
***
A Toast to Courtney & Michael
July 18, 2008
As Read and Written by Katie, Cortney,& Kristy
***
Seven years ago in the summer of 2001,
We met as Pi Phi pledges, our college experience having begun

There was a girl who looked like Britney and a girl who looked like Drew,
They lived in the same dorm, even had the same name (one without a U)

They quickly bonded with their pledge sisters and as if by chance,
The Co(u)rtneys, Katie, Kristy, and Amanda joined the crew for Firedance

Formals, mixers, crush parties and football games were rocked in College Station,
Springs breaks coast to coast and New Orleans, sampling our fair share of libations!

The rest is history my friends, we sure did have a blast,
Tearing up the town, forging friendships that would last

Getting to know Courtney and even better, being her friend
Is getting to know a woman who is the epitome of genuine

We’ll never know if the world is ready for one more Courtney Fowler,
But we all know that our worlds would have never been the same if they would have been without her.

We are so very blessed to be here as Courtney begins her new life
By granting Michael the honor of becoming his beautiful wife

Please raise your glasses and join us in a toast to the happy pair
May God bless now and forever the great happiness you soon will share!
***

7.11.2008

That's What She Said

Since Merriam-Webster has so graciously honored the Lone Star State with the inclusion of the term "Texas Hold 'Em" in the dictionary, I have decided to honor my fellow citizens of Dallas with a segment entitled:
"That's What She Said: Words I've Nominated for Merriam-Webster"
JANKY
Pronunciation: \ˈjəŋke\
Function:noun, verb, adjective
Etymology:Middle English
Date: 21st century
1: refers to something that does not work, is unreliable, or is generally messed up pretty bad.
Examples: a bad laptop= janktop; a bad car=jankmobile; bad toilet=janktank; bad pda=jankberry; when someone is messed up, they are janktified; when someone has ruined something, they have janked it up.
BUTTACRUST
Pronunciation:\ˈbə-tər-ˌkrustt\
Function: noun, verb
Etymology: Cortneyism
Date: 21st century
1: the opposite of a muffin-top, when a person decides to wear tight pants and display their backside in a manner showing the spillage of excess skin up, above, and over the pack of their slacks.
Examples of usage in a sentence: "I cannot see five feet in front of me thanks to that chick's buttacrust." "Oh yes, she was a very nice person, but was one buttacrustin' fool!"
This week in Summer School:
When a student asks what they're supposed to be learning, it is perfectly acceptable for the teacher to respond with a simple "We teach the crap."
When a student complains that their calculator keeps giving them the wrong answer, it is also perfectly acceptable to respond by saying "A calculator is only as smart as the person who's pushing the buttons."
Quote of the Day:
"Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles."
Isiah 30:31
Anne Graham's comments on this really made me think, in lieu of what changed in my life yesterday. She asks, "Is there someone else who is leading you to join with him or her in decisive action? Instead of blindly saying 'I'll go with you' take a moment to pray and ask God for His direction. Then wait until He answers you. "
Thank you, Lord, for helping me see your direction - the direction in which I were meant to go. :)

7.08.2008

Is It Weird That? Vol. 1

Hi there!! Tonight is my first installment of:

Is It Weird That?
I find myself wishing I could email from my cell phone?
That my parents locked me in my room when I was eight years old until I learned all my times tables by heart and I'm still terrible at mental math?
That I still go to the public library because I figured out that the books were free?
That when I was little I thought that the little red balls on the power lines were filled with knives and fire?
That I LOVE teaching electron configurations?
That I teach chemistry and I still learn something new about it everyday?
That no matter how my day is going once I hear kids learning I get excited?
That one of the best present my mother ever bought for me was a DVD from the dollar store of my favorite Vincent Price scary movie?
That one of my favorite things to do is ride roller coasters even though I only get to do it once a year?
That I earn satisfaction from hoping that I will pay my child’s college tuition without them ever having to worry about it?
That I secretly wish I were an amazing chef and plan to live vicariously through my naturally blessed youngest sister?
That I also secretly wish I were a radio DJ and am again living vicariously through the other sister?
That I sometimes shrink my clothes hoping that they will either fit or entice me to lose weight?
That I can teach entire lessons based on Saved by the Bell episodes?
That I am convinced that I am the world's best accomodator?

I'll have a million more of those, I promise.

On a more normal note.... :)
Today, my friend Sarah asked me what my teaching philosophy is. I have never been asked what my teaching philosphy is before, and presented with a moment when I had to figure it out, I finally did.

"My personal philosophy on education is to teach to the kids that can be taught, and to not take personal the kids that do not share my enthusiasm on learning and planning for the future. In a public school system, many children have been raised to believe what their parents have taught them to believe. Many are already conditioned to think that a vocational school is their best bet, and do not expect much more of themselves - nor do their parents. All I can hope to do is latch onto the kids that care, and do everything I can to further them in their academic endeavors. If one 6 kids out of my 150 I teach every year goes to college and graduates, I consider that achievement on my part. I have learned to expect little happinesses from time to time rather than full on "change the entire student body" type achievements. It only takes one person to change the world....what if I was that one person's high school teacher? It could happen, and that's what I stand by."

Think about it - I think this philosophy could apply to anyone on Earth. What if we all could just reach one person? The great thing is that, we can! :)

Fun Fact of the Day:
The most flexible part of your body sustains the least ability to balance. The least flexible part of your body sustains ALL your ability to balance.

7.03.2008

You down with ATP?

Today in summer school I completed what I like to call the "Cell Freestyle". It's basically a rap that describes the different parts of the plant and animal cell. The idea for this song came into conception around TAKS testing time this past April. My students cannot ever remember the parts of the cell, much less what each part does. So, with a little help from Naughty by Nature, I have changed the words of "OPP" to "ATP". Tell me what you think. :)

Now the C to the E to the L is something phat,


Plants and animals are all down with that


We all know that they both can't be the same,


So let's start with similarities, both have a membrane


One covers the nucleus and the other the cell,


It's like a club bouncer or a guard in jail


Helping to keep homeostasis maintained,


While letting the nucleus serve as the brain


The brain is the best place for the DNA,


It tells us what to do, how to think, and what to say


RNA comes in and does his transcription,


And leaves with a super special prescription


Translation ensues and and makes a protein code,


The ribosomes get ready and make the whole load


The Golgi body works just like the U.P.S.,


Carb and protein presents shipped out exocytosis!


The cytoplasm is just like a Jello mold,


Cell organelles float within its hold


Endoplasmic reticulum transports everything on time,


While the lysosomes digest trash with their enzymes


Plants and animals are alike in many ways,


But now let's contrast these two for a change


Plants reach for the sun and need to stand tall,


That's the reason why they all have a cell wall


Big vacuoles store food and water in sacs,


The little green disks are the chloroplasts


Filled with green chlorophyll they can't be missed,


They're the ultimate player in photosynthesis


Food is made from water and C-O-2,


Oxygen is given off for humans to consume


Mitochondria take in the food and oxygen,


And use it towards cellular respiration


Before you know it, we have energy,


In three little letters we call ATP!




Chorus:


You down with ATP?


Yeah energy!


You down with ATP?


Yeah energy!


You down with ATP?


Yeah energy!


Who's down with ATP?


Everybody!


YEAH! C-flo original.


Happy Birthday Katie!


Today was my best friend Katie's 25th birthday.

We met my freshman year of college, and became roomies (for life!) at the age of 19. In honor of her special day, I left her present and some balloons on the counter in the kitchen - along with this poem! I wanted to wait until she read it to post it for everyone. (PS - I LOVE writing poems. Not great at it, but I try so hard I can call it a hobby.)


Katie Jane,

There's so much to say

On this, a most important

25th birthday.


Since we were 18

And pledges in Pi Phi,

We've made it from dorms to half a house and back

And seen how quickly 7 years can fly.


The years keep getting better

And the days seem to pass so fast

We lived the Ultimate College Experience

Being fun adults is now our task!


The future is looming ahead

It's something we can't ignore

But if we cherish each moment now

There's no telling what happiness may be in store.


You are the only person

I've ever been able to live with,

Sometimes I cannot imagine

Not having you, but a set of kids!


With 5 years left before we're 30

And officially very old,

I hope that you retain your grace and charm,

Abundantly spreading your heart of gold.


Love you, Katie!

Happy 25th Birthday.

7.01.2008

Random Tuesday Thoughts

So today in summer school we taught the kids what the difference is between viruses and bacteria. There are a lot of scientific explanations but I decided to just tell the kids that a virus is different because it looks like the robotic spider from the Wild Wild West movie.

While the kids are busy debating how well this fact will help them with their upcoming science TAKS test, I sit and think about what if questions, and try to figure out my answers.
This way, if I ever get interviewed for anything at all, I will know exactly what to say.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would have the ability to be awesome at any and everything I ever tried to do. I call it the multi talented superpower. (MTS)

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? (aside from donating it to charities and giving some to family and friends)
I would hire a DRIVER! I do not like driving at all, and have recently developed a bit of road rage since moving to the busier part of Dallas.

What is your favorite oxymoron?
"Happy Hour" - it's longer than an hour, and the soonest you get "happy" is after the aforementioned happy "hour" is over.

Why is owning a vehicle like being in a relationship?
The best deals are not the prettiest or the ones with the highest price tags.
To get good use out of it, you have to maintain and care for it on a daily basis.
A little scratch here and there can be fixed, or lived with.
No one wants one that guzzles down all your money without returning the favor.
Being in an enclosed space while it's running can kill you.
The first one is always dubbed a "learning experience".
Having it stolen is the worst feeling in the world.
Giving it too much bling can make it look cheap and give off the wrong impression.
The more friends that meet it and love it, the more you love it as well.
You grow incredibly attached to it until it lets you down.

Let me know if you have any more fun Tuesday musings!

Billboard Quote of the Day:
"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?" :)

Why I Love Ashtanga Yoga

So for those of you that know me fairly well, you know that I update my fairly consistent routines about every six months or so. For the past six months my newest fitness obsession is Core Fusion and Ashtanga Yoga classes at Exhale Spa (link provided above).

Being the conservative Christian girl that I am, most of you are thinking, "Cortney, in yoga? What is this?"

I began very open minded about the whole 'practice' as they call it, and have found it to be quite enjoyable. Core Fusion classes were an easy transition for me from my gym rat days because it's like dance, pilates, and weight training all rolled into one hour long kick-my-butt class.
But yoga? Now that took some getting used to.....but now I love it, and here's why.

17 Reasons Why I Love Yoga
by Cortney

1. At the end of class, we close by saying "Namaste". I say "Jesus" so that God won't think I am bowing to the porcelain Buddha sculpture next to the gong at the front of the room. I spend a lot of class time praying in my downward dog position so class also doubles as devotional time well spent.

2. All the dance and gymnastics I did for years makes me look like a pro when we do back bends and handstands, and allows me to make asshole comments to my peers like "yeah, and i only tried this six months ago...!" (kidding....or am i?)

3. I've learned Sanskrit. Or actually I've recognized what word goes with what action, leading me to believe that Pavlov's Dogs could have learned Sanskrit as well.

4. I can do crazy/ freaky stuff I've never known. I can balance solely on my forearms in about 4 different ways, only to find that it kind of creeps people out when I show them at parties.
5. Only in yoga is it acceptable to sweat and drip sweat profusely - girls included. In one particular teacher's class it is also acceptable to pass gas, as she calls this "the body's natural response to a release of stress". I'm gonna be honest, it is mostly elderly people who do this audibly during class, and it is REALLY hard to keep from snickering/ falling over in fits of uncontrollable laughter.

6. Do you have a needle and thread? Because my arms are gettin' ripped!

7. I can do a lot of pushups now - dare you to say "drop and give me 10"...make sure you add pushups, because I will tell you I don't carry cash if you don't specify.
8. Yoga is done bare-footed. Meaning that pedicures are a MUST from now on.

9. We meditate at the start and end of class. Any workout that includes essential relaxation is flippin' wonderful, because that's the only time I relax.

10. Sometimes I feel like I've entered a secret club, with a variety of members, who call themselves "yogis" and ask how the kindergarten musical went last night. :)
11. There is no one to impress or compete with other than myself. Yes, there are gorgeous girls there, whom I consider to be my role models. Oh and the guys there....well, with as flexible as they are it leaves the mind to wonder if they're checking out the teacher or the dude standing next to the teacher. :)

12. Class puts my way out of my element. It is the one part of my day where I literally have no contact with the outside world, and I cannot possibly exhibit any of my type A personality traits.

13. I usually get free massages. Yes, they call them adjustments, but I call them heavenly.

14. Although I'm improving, I'm challenged everyday. I never know what to expect, and I usually discover a new goal for my body every week.

15. I finally have something in common with the bohemian Scientologists of the world. This way, when I finally get the guts up to enter a vegetarian establishment alone, I will ALWAYS have a conversation starter above and beyond hummus recommendations.

16. I get to feel like a kid again. I'm actually encouraged to do backward rolls and handstands and see how far I can put my foot behind my head. And my peers will actually volunteer to spot me!
17. Yoga makes for an even ground. No jewelry, no bags, no shoes, just plain ol' people wearing 500 dollars worth of yoga gear on their bodies. A totally even ground, like I said. ;-)

Did I mention there was a gong? Sweet action.
BOOOOOINGGGG!