All posts by John

Teaching and Dieting and Sweating

So yesterday I, along with my coworkers, were introduced to this concept that even though the school district paid tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars to a corporation to create and maintain a system for students to test on called LEAP 360, and that we were responsible for grading the assessments.  That unfair amount of tedious work is to be done by Friday, or, tomorrow.  The state has no sense of time and they must think that we’re on the clock 24/7.

I am also the coordinator for my school’s grade recovery program.  Grade recovery, for you older folks, is a system that allows for students to recover one F they’ve earned on their report card.  A very good program for students to take advantage of.  The problem is, I always have a LOT of names to fish through each grading period.  Stack on top of this, we are at midterms.  I am now also obligated to mail letters to a very large number of parents to inform them their child is in danger of failing 7th or 8th grade, whether it be from absences or grades.

I am also an uncertified, semi-knowledgeable, slightly under trained special education teach with a few big IEP deadlines to hit by next week and a HUGE deadline to hit by the end of the month (literally 2 months of work to be done in a matter of 3 or so weeks.)

I am also an English teacher.  So you know my job is already hard as that, but stack on the fact that the expectations of my state employers believe it’s okay to hold these lofty, unreasonable expectations.  “You have to raise all of your 8th grade students to a mastery on their state test.”  I teach students who read on a first and second grade level, and they can barely scrawl a legible, sensible sentence.

Wow, I sound bitchy this afternoon.

 

Walking is a Bit Harder Than I Remember…

Day 2 of low carbing and once again, bullet proof coffee.  Went down better than yesterday’s, and it was very effective at keeping my mind away from the tantalizing garlic bread our cafeteria ladies were making for lunch.  Oh that smell was too good, and even though my olfactory senses were trying to cause me to fall from the wagon, I persevered.  Sheesh.

I weighed this morning.  The numbers hurt me deep.  354.2 lbs.  I have gained almost all of my weight back.  Cutting that weight will be difficult, sure, but I can do it.  I have decided, instead of weight goals on time limits (I will lose 10 lbs by the end of January!) I have decided to focus on goals I know are attainable:

Continue reading Walking is a Bit Harder Than I Remember…

It’s Time to Get to Work…

Wow, time flies by and the world and life changes, but Just Chill Here is still here and it’s still my project.  I come back to the site, a little over 6 months since the last update, and I am going to make a real effort to do some things that I want to do.  No more forcing myself to write about things that generally do not interest me and no more feeling burnt out trying to keep some arbitrary pace.  So my New Year’s plan is to use this site as a hub, or launching pad, or home, to house projects that I feel the desire to complete.  That being said, I am going to cut to the chase on today’s post…

Continue reading It’s Time to Get to Work…

What Low Carb Dieters Dream About

I have been working diligently on my newest project which is all about my vacation in Washington this summer.  I needed a break, and wow, was a presented with an opportunity for that just now…

Want to know a few things about me?  Okay!  First thing I will share with you is that I am a member of a club called Swag Bucks.  It’s a site where you get paid real money (pennies) to watch ads, take surveys, etc. etc.  I do this often, and it has netted me a little bit of spending money here and there.

I am also on a diet.  Well, right now I’m not because of returning from vacation and just failing to get back into the routine.  The diet is a low carb diet that has netted me a modest bit of success.  I enjoy the diet, but I do miss out on my favorite foods.

These two tidbits of information are merely frames for the discussion I am about to have with you about crazy things that people do that I falsely say “I don’t get it.”  Because understanding this, knowing why, actually longing for this to happen would label me as some sort of social leper.  (My political beliefs, vericose veins, out of control adult language, coarse sense of humor and general angry face already kind of establishes that).

Anyhow, if you want to keep reading I warn you now.  I am going to probably write adult words that hurt your moralistic ear drums.  If you can’t handle biblical words like damn, ass, and bastard – it only gets worse from here.

Continue reading What Low Carb Dieters Dream About

Pretty Snoqualmie Falls! (2017 Summer Vacation Part 2)

If you click this banner you can go to the actual website! Smart!

Part 1 – Part 2

Snoqualmie falls is one of the post popular scenic views in Washington. There are decks to observe and of course, a waterfall that is 270 foot!

So our very first destination on our vacation, which was right after the graduation ended, was to visit a big waterfall.  Abby was super excited.  Wesley was “Meh.”  I was tired.  Brandi was tired.  Recipe for disaster?  Well, the weather was perfect and the sun was not shining.  It was lightly showering, but my friends ensured that it never really rains that hard.  In hindsight?  They were right.  It rained a few days, but never so much that it was miserable.

We visited the Snoqualmie Falls park.  It had free parking and nice views.  It was a little bit of a drive to get to, but not as far as some of our later drives (Port Angeles, Mount Rainier).  We traveled to the site with quite the great big convoy.  We had our bunch, Mike’s Bunch, and Mindy’s bunch.  Now, I know you do not know these people, so I will just assure you, without introductions, that it was a great number of people.

Anyhow, from here on out will be photographs of our visit.  Enjoy!

Continue reading Pretty Snoqualmie Falls! (2017 Summer Vacation Part 2)

Why Washington? (2017 Summer Vacation Part 1)

The Beginning of Summer Vacation, or, Why Did We Choose Washington?

Part 1 – Part 2

Oh the weather outside is actually quite nice!

We have returned from almost two weeks of total confusion.  A poor ol’ country boy who has spent many a day burning up in the gulf coast spent much of his time being cool without an air conditioner!  This was a change for me and my bunch, but the idea of trekking over 2,000 miles to vacation seems to be a tall order.

We chose the way of the bird and four hours later we landed, jet lagged and flustered from screaming demon-children that keep following us around yelling for their mother and father.  As fast as we fled, we could not shake them.  With that in mind, we made tracks for our destination:  Everett, Washington.

The reason for this particular trip was a work from many moons ago as I had discussed attending my niece’s graduation.  She would become a graduate of Everett High School (EHS), and I and my family were invited to attend.  We took them up on their offer!  A tend day visit, no hotel costs and some free gas and food to help with costs.  Friday we recovered and Saturday we went to graduation.  So, here are a couple of photos to get you started with our experience.

Continue reading Why Washington? (2017 Summer Vacation Part 1)

Weighing In

So, you two or three fans of Just Chill Here have probably been wondering to yourselves if I have died or given up on the site.  I have not.  Work started, football started, the diet restarted, and of course there’s little Abby and big Wesley to ensure that any moment that resembles a little bit of R&R are anything but.

This morning I have decided, in lieu of my weekend morning routine of coffee and Seven Days to Die, I am going to write up a little bit of what I have been doing dietarily since around April/May, and I am going to explain why I think it works.

But instead of starting at the beginning, I want to start at now, particularly last night, but before that, I want to give you an overview of where it began before details.  All you need to know is this…

As we entered the last quarter of the school year I was struggling with my diabetes and weight loss.  My weight was pretty much locked in at 365 lbs.  My blood glucose level was in the lower 200s even with medication.  I was a lazy piece of shit.  I was miserable.  I was a whinin’ bitch on Facebook (still am).

A while before that a friend of mine passed a book to me called The Carb Nite solution.  I read it, several times, and never launched.  Never really started, until one weekend, and I did the diet for 4 months to some very nice numbers.  328 lbs…and my blood sugar was hanging around at 130.  My A1C was 6.  My doctor was impressed.  I was taken off of one of my medications…I was feeling better than ever.

THEN VACATION HAPPENED

Continue reading Weighing In

E3 2016 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zbotw-titlescreen

Hello readers, I am back after a but of a hiatus.  I decided that I needed to recharge my writing batteries because writing about the destruction of my childhood home really took its toll on me (I am not done, but am trying to find my way back to the project currently.)  the E3 convention is upon us and I love this time of year.  I will be writing willy nilly about games shown at E3, in an effort to get you excited about the buzz.

Of course, with that being said, Nintendo really caught my eye with their new addition to the Zelda series my melding two of my favorite graphical schemes together.  The cell shaded shenanigans of the very cartoonish Wind Waker but with the serious environmental textures and models of Twilight Princess.

Below is a gallery of screenshots I found interesting.  Most of my writing will be in the captions of the images.  I really enjoyed that style with the flooding articles.

Continue reading E3 2016 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Water Swallows All, Eventually

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

This is a bit of a “prequel” of sorts.  These photos come from my Brother-in-law, Lance Jones, who went in with my dad the Thursday (I think, these dates are getting fuzzy) after the rains that filled Toledo Bend came through.  As you look at these photos I want to try to put you into the right mind or mood, and I want you to empathize with the person, my father, as he bore witness to his house taking on more water than it has ever taken in a flood.  You are not doing it for my dad, though.  You are doing it for the now thousands of people from Burr Ferry, Louisiana to Merryville, Louisiana, and Deweyville, Texas and all the other little towns between.  Even I10, a major avenue of commerce, has been shut down because of the flooding.  Maybe with this wide array of damage and interruption of day-to-day living and business operations, the Sabine River Authority may have to look into their policies and consider some changes.

Imagine, if you will, that you are sitting in a boat, and you are floating up to your house, and you see all you have worked for slowly being swallowed by water…

And click images to make them larger and more detailed.

This is the latest family portrait that will be hanging in this old house. That's my parents, their children, their grandchildren, and my dog (Everyone's dog). This photo was actually taken yesterday as of this writing, but I really want to use this as an opportunity to, again, set the tone.
This is the latest family portrait that will be hanging in this old house. That’s my parents, their children, their grandchildren, and my dog (Everyone’s dog). This photo was actually taken yesterday as of this writing, but I really want to use this as an opportunity to, again, set the tone.  The flood line is marked where the debris suddenly stops. 

Continue reading Water Swallows All, Eventually

As The Flood Recedes

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

It’s been about a week since we had a near record setting amount of rain fall on our region.  The rain came from the west and it was predicted a good bit ahead of time.  It was predicted that the amount of rain would be great below Toledo Bend (Not a great effect on flooding in my community), over Toledo Bend proper (A threat on my community), and north/west of Toledo Bend, where streams receiving this water would feed the lake, making that part of the storm the largest threat).  As The Sabine River Authority stood back and waited until it was too late, we were totally unaware of what was coming.  I have shared with you a couple of articles already that explore this event, and this new article is more of the same.

Before I delve into the photoblog that caused a small surge in traffic for Just Chill Here, which my sister so nicely said “I sure hope they don’t click on your other stuff with that potty mouth!” in a very judgmental way, I want to share a set of rumors I have picked up that compliment the answer to a question that we may never know:

Why did the Sabine River Authority wait until the water was upon us to lower the lake?

These rumors are just things I have heard or read, but interesting to ponder regardless:

  • They have to keep the lake levels high so the bald eagle population has a pristine habitat.
  • They had to keep the levels high to ensure that several species of rare trees on the lake would stay healthy.
  • They had to keep the waters high for a big bass tournament that was either going on, or coming up, or one that had just passed.  (I am not sure!)
  • They can’t activate the flood gates unless the lake is a certain height, and it didn’t reach that height until it was too late.
  • The Sabine River Authority is trying to force people out of their homes and land so they can continue to flood the region as they please.

I can’t substantiate any of these rumors, but I figured I would share with you some of the things I overheard while running into folks in recovery mode.

For all of you getting back into your homes, take plenty of water and try to be safe.  It’s hot, it’s muggy, and it’s ideal conditions for bad things to happen.

Let’s get back to our story…

Remember, you can click the images to get the big, prettier versions.

This little guy is a Timber/Branded/Canebreak Rattlesnake. As a kid I would walk these woods and I would catch snakes and play with them. Yeah, I was that kid. I had no general fear of animals except for maybe my grandfather's old bulls that liked to chase us around all the time. Anyhow, in all of my days I've never ran into one of these, at least, I can't remember having done so. My wife, Brandi, was with me and she spotted him. She kind of freaked out and wanted me to kill him. I went with my own choice to get out and get up close and personal. I have a full frame shot of him, but I like this close up shot because it really shows how pretty he is. Or she. We don't have to be sexist or something.
This little guy is a Timber/Branded/Canebreak Rattlesnake. As a kid I would walk these woods and catch snakes and play with them. Yeah, I was that kid. I had no general fear of animals except for maybe my grandfather’s old bulls that liked to chase us around. In all of my days I’ve never ran into one of these, at least, I can’t remember having done so. My wife, Brandi, was with me and she spotted him. She kind of freaked out and wanted me to kill him. I went with my own choice to get out and get up close and personal. I have a full frame shot of him, but I like this close up shot because it really shows how pretty he is. Or she. We don’t have to be sexist or something.  Oh, and one other thing – if you are returning to your flooded property, keep an eye out for these.

Continue reading As The Flood Recedes