Sunday, May 31, 2009

A favorite charity of mine...

I blog a lot about Sebastian, my little guy I adopted the summer of 07. He was my best friend for my master's year at school and is a constant companion. He is loving having a brother in Beamer and a little rascal of a cat in Tyson. He lays out on the deck to get sun, is king of the couch, and snuggles at night. I never knew much about bassets before getting Beamer and now between Beamer and Sebastian, I know it will be hard once we get a new dog to get anything but a basset. They are the perfect pets - large dogs but small enough to not be overpowering, they are the right amount of active while still being lazy, and they are so loving. Not only do I know that I want to always have a basset but I also know that I will always adopt a basset, probably from Belly Rubs Bassets.

Belly Rubs is a favorite charity of mine because of the work they do with bassets all over Tennessee. They find basset hounds in shelters, they pick them up from abandoned houses, they rescue them from abusive situations, from breeding mills, and they take care of all medical needs. They house train them, foster them until they are ready for family life, and then they screen applicants to make sure the dog is going to be cared for - when I got Sebastian I had to have a home visit so they could see that he'd be safe. They charge an adoption fee but all they money goes towards the shots and medical care they had to do to get the dog (or other dogs) the treatment they needed.

There are always adorable dogs that need to be adopted.. here are some they have now:

Friday, May 29, 2009

I got a car!!!

Well today is big also because (in addition to leaving for camp.. which I need to be doing), I bought a car! I have been looking since the fall and finally fell in love with this one. Here are some pics...
It is an Infiniti G35 - I just couldn't find anything that drove as well as my last car (another infiniti). I paid $3500 under blue book for it, which made me happy. Got it checked out by my mechanic, got a loan this morning, bought it this afternoon, took it through inspection and it is mine! Most amount of money I've ever spent... But I definitely recommend saving up for a decent down payment because it helped me get a great rate on my loan (in addition to my credit score being good). I feel so grown up. Yikes!

Leaving for camp

Today I leave for a month to go be the Assistant Director at Camp Gailor Maxon. I am ridiculously excited but am going to miss home a lot. I'm a bit nervous about what Jake will get into when he is surrounded by boys at all times... especially Travis:) but I'm excited for him too because he will get to do some man-things. I think he plans to go see Star Trek, he is going to the lake this weekend, and he has a whole scheme for our front yard figured out.

I love a lot of things about camp but one thing I love the most is just being in the environment. I'm surrounded at school with negativity.. with kids that don't want to be there. Kids that are really hard to love. While I stay positive at school, it is really hard to be positive all the time - it is draining. A lot of people think I am nuts for using my summer vacation from work to work more but I feel that this will re-energize me. Being around these kids makes me remember why I want to teach. I love being outdoors and I love singing camp songs. I know I'll be exhausted at the end but that is ok -that is what July is for!

If anyone wants to write me mail:), my address is

Kathryn Jasper
c/o Camp Gailor Maxon, Dubose Conference Center
PO Box 339
Monteagle, TN 37356

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Adventures

This week is a bit of a transition for me... We're still in school but are doing exams so I'm less busy. I'm transitioning from teaching to camp stuff. I've been kicking it into high gear trying to get stuff ready to be Assistant Director for camp. I get up there late next Friday and spend two days with the director and another veteran staff member before the staff arrives. I'm trying to think of my best ideas for bonding, learning, and growing. I want staff week to be fun but informative, relaxed but structured. I've been very lucky in that I've had some really helpful and supportive people in my life that have been leading me through this process - one that some people didn't think I could do. I can't wait to get on the mountain. Lately, seeing pictures of the outdoors makes me long for camp. I smell fresh cut grass, I see clouds, anything.

I also have decided to take some grad courses this summer. I have wanted to get my gifted education certification and know that I need to do it now or it might not happen.. it would get put off. I'm going to be taking online courses through the University of Missouri (2 courses, 6 hours) for graduate credit. I'm starting this while I'm at camp and they end in August. I know it will be hard to juggle with camp but it is kind of go at your own pace since it is online so I can squeeze it in. I'm just excited about learning again and the potential the certification has for me in the future.

I've been a little frustrated with school as I wind down the year. Kids show up for exams without pencils, they have a map quiz as part of their exam and so far 9 have missed the United States, they roll their eyes and shove their hand in my face, they rap about really inappropriate things, they complain that I'm not like the other teachers because I'm actually giving an exam. Yet there have been some bright spots at school as well. I had my honors kids write what they will take away from their freshman year for bonus points (since their exam was hard) and I got some great responses. It is good to know being a hard >>> pays off sometimes. One student said she learned the merit of restraint and patience from me in how I dealt with her class. I'm not sure if that is a good or a bad thing? I also have gotten close to more teachers since we've had a bit of free time. I feel isolated at times in my room up on the 3rd floor and it is nice to get out.

I didn't get the part for the show, which was very disappointing for me. I have wanted to be in this particular show since I was little and this part was the one I dreamed of when I thought about being in it. I won't be able to be that part ever because I'm outgrowing it. I guess I just don't understand - I had worked hard and sang well. I don't like not getting feedback because I feel neurotic trying to break down what all it could have been. I was very excited about the prospective of being in the show because I was looking forward to being a part of the theatre community again. I love being in plays and devoting time to them, as well as getting to know the people that are in them.

The kitten is doing very well. He bites me out of playfulness, which hurts, but otherwise is very sweet. He loves laying on me as I use the laptop so he can watch me type. He is growing a lot too! I'll have to put up pictures.

Jake and I are about to make "fake Sawyers" for dinner. I'm so excited! I'm off to do that now...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Putting myself out there

This past year has been one whirlwind of a year. I graduated from grad school with my Master's (4.0!), moved back to Memphis, got a job, made new friends, got married, and now this school year is almost over. We've got a week left with kids and two days after that. My brothers are graduating this weekend, Jacob's team is going to state, and directly after school is over next week I head to Monteagle, TN for camp as assistant director. You'd think I'd be tired?

Yet, I yearn to do something more meaningful with my time. I don't like to fall into routines and patterns, especially when they are ones where I am not motivated to be my best. This is certainly the case for both school and home. At school I am challenged but not in the way I like. I feel, at times, emotionally abused by students and other times feel a lack of intellectual challenge. I'm addressing this and adapting in my profession (or at least trying to...) - that is a blog for another day in the future. I love many things about my job. I love being in a school because I want a job where something is always going on and where you are always interacting with people. I love my school because of the history and pride people have in the school. It is the oldest high school in Memphis. Yet, I'm teaching basic information to students who do not even have textbooks. I feel that I am doing something really important for them but at times I wish I could surround myself in my ideal classroom - one where cooperative learning is constantly taking place, one where students create their own rules and guidelines and I facillitate learning instead of instructing.

Outside of school, I'm also pursuing other interests. This weekend I had an audition for a play - my first audition since 9th grade. While I do not think I got in (they haven't called), it got me excited and working towards something. Instead of coming home, getting on facebook, cooking dinner, then watching TV, I was up doing something I cared about. I really enjoyed that and would have liked to have done the show but alas it was not in the cards. I'm pretty bummed about it but am trying to keep that PMA going.

With a week left with these kids, I'm going to try to appreciate them for who they are. I want to tell each one something positive about themselves that I have seen this year. They deserve that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So Jake and I got our kitten finally! Last Saturday, Jake and I went to Family Vet out in Bartlett and picked up Tyson Kitty Jasper. He is named after the Tyson Alumni House in Knoxville, which I think is one of the prettiest buildings on campus and is where I spent a lot of time while in school because the Student Alumni Associates were out of there.

So far, we've enjoyed Tyson. He is a little neurotic but apparently it is just kitten behavior. He chews on computer cords, will scale you and sit on your shoulder without permission, and jumps from couch to couch, lunging across the room. The dogs are ok with him but he is still a bit freaked out by them. He is getting a lot more brave, though, and now will sit on the couch and taunt them. He spends most of his time in the bathroom and is still having a bit of trouble eating solid foods, which concerns me. He doesn't lack for energy so he must be ok.

Jake even loves him. He acts all macho like he doesn't (because men apparently aren't supposed to like cats?) but he will cuddle with him and let Tyson crawl all over him. And he says since Tyson is a guy, he has me outnumbered 4-1 on voting issues of the household - but really I know that the dogs and Tyson would side with me. We'll see about that.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Calling all opinionated peoples

So Jake and I had a photo shoot of sorts tonight. See, I need a head shot. And the last one I have is from what I was in 5th grade. So tonight, our post-dinner plans involved me getting all done up and having Jake take pictures of me in our kitchen in front of a white sheet. Which leads to where you (all 3 faithful blog readers) come in... 

I need to pick one. And I can't. So you will help me. Either leave me a comment, email me, tell me in person, send a text, call or something.. please. I need honest opinions because I want it to look good. Thanks!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A less addicted life

I've given up caffeine. At first, it was horrible. I was fine for 3 days, then got a migraine that hurt so much I couldn't open my eyes. I knew I was addicted. I kept strong for about 2 days more, then caved when Jake got me a frappachino from Starbuck's one day by request. After that, I was fine for another week until I got a frappachino, an energy drink, and an iced tea all in one day. That night, I thought I was going to die. Literally... my heart was racing out of my body.

So, thus, I'm back on the no-caffeine plan. And it is working well. I haven't had any since Friday. And it is Tuesday. My big headache came and went Sunday and I am still here, drinking g2 and water. And occasionally an adult beverage. Occasionally. Check back with me Thursday to see if I still am caffeine free. That is where I have been hitting the "wall" on this marathon to get myself cleansed of addictions to caffeine.

Since I can't drink caffeine, I have been looking for alternatives. At Big Lots on Saturday with my mom, I found 25cent cans of Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper. I bought 6 and wish I had gotten more - they seem to be very hard to find. It tastes JUST like Dr. Pepper. I can't really drink the caffeine free sodas that are also diet (like Coke's caffeine free diet coke) because I try to not consume artificial sweeteners so this was an exciting day for me to find a true DP with no caffeine. It was like tricking my body - I got to taste the DP and it thought it was getting caffeine.

So, why kick the habit? Well, I found myself unable to function on school mornings without my breakfast of Full Throttle, Coke's energy drink. I realized my life had become a little too reliant on a substance and I needed to stop. If I can do this faithfully, perhaps I'll have hope that I really am someone who can follow through with something. Then I'll try to kick my sweets habit! I can't give up ice cream.

In conclusion, if you see Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper for sale anywhere in Memphis, holla at me because I need to know where to buy it!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Today, I woke up tired and couldn't find a thing to wear. I had a knot in the back of my frizzy curly hair and I was running late. I waited in line at Starbucks in the drive through for 10 minutes - in an effort to boost my mood via caffeine. I got to school late, was rushing, and kept getting interrupted. I forgot to do hall duty, I had kids tell me they didn't even know we had a quiz, and someone found one of my textbooks in the trash.

Then something happened - I walked in the hall and saw the scowl of a co-worker. She began berating her students, yelling at them about menial things. I hadn't heard a nice thing about the students come out of her mouth in months. She began talking to another co-worker, complaining about my classroom.

I realized then and there - in this profession, if you lose that positive mental attitude, that "naive spirit" as it has been called to me before, you're done. You have to believe that these kids can do better. You have to believe everyone is inherently good natured. You have to believe that you can make a difference. You have to see the good in the kids. You have to reward the successes.

In my life right now, there are many people full of negativity. It is so contagious. I try so hard not to get caught up in it. I realize there are some things that aren't going well in my life but there are also some really great things that I can miss out on if I am so tunnel-visioned towards the bad. People try to abuse their relationships with me, use my kindness and take advantage of it. All I can do is exactly what I tell my students every day - focus on yourself and your success.

Although it is tough, I am going to try to smile through the scowls, speak kindly and quietly, and celebrate successes. When I can't do that anymore, it is probably time to move on to another profession.


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