Thursday, February 26, 2009

...our river trip

Success! I am spending waaaaayyyy toooo much time on making videos, but they are so much fun, now that I know how! I don't think it will transfer to my Facebook note, so look for River Trip 1 on YouTube. :-) And now, it's time for bed! (Past time, actually! zzzz)

Monday, February 23, 2009

...finally! The video of Mexico...

I originally started this post in early January, before Christmas vacation was over. After working on this video for several months it was finally ready to share. was too long to save on You Tube, and evidently too long to insert here just as a Photo Story file. Last Friday I showed it to my coworkers and instantly got insecure about it--they had been in meetings for two days and were itching to get to their classrooms, it was too long, too boring, too...too. Perfectionism and self-doubt kicked in--Why did I choose THIS photo? Why did I choose to caption THAT photo and not a different one? It didn't help that afterwards a well-intended coworker corralled me and said, "You know what you SHOULD have done..." Ah well. It is finished. (And my mom loves it.) The next one will be better. The computer guy saved it to our school website for me today, so click on the link to see where I spent two weeks last summer. It was an incredible time and I am so very grateful to our district for the opportunity.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

...the great gray beast February

The great gray beast February has me in his belly. (Read The Thief of Always by Clive Barker to understand the reference.) Days like today make me glad that there is only one week of this gray, gray month left and spring is just around the corner. Cold, gloomy days like today make me think of an acronym I learned years ago--HALT--never let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. On days like today I can add my own acronym to that--DIP--discouraged, indecisive and petulant. I am ready for the sun to shine. I am ready for it to warm up. I am ready for the taxes to be done, the resume to be written, and the phone to ring. I'm ready to come out of hybernation. Come on spring! Release me from the beast!

Friday, February 20, 2009

...a book recommendation

Last week our librarian insisted I take a book home to read. He wanted to know what I thought of it, since it was being recommended as a "Battle of the Books" title. I was already in the middle of a really good book and had a couple more waiting to be read, but couldn't say no. I am glad I didn't. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a fresh, intriguing approach to a subject that has been written about countless times--WWII and the Holocaust. The narrator of the book is...someone unexpected. (The librarian told me who it was and I wish he had let me figure it out on my own.) This is a book for adolescents, but that shouldn't keep adults from reading it. In fact, I'm going to go curl up in my chair right now and find out what happens next to "the book thief"--the main character.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I don't use the word "hate" for many things, but can almost use it when it comes to forwards. I delete at least 90% of them without opening and too often regret opening the ones I do (like the one tonight--the first picture was of cycling, so I was tricked into thinking it was a "safe" one. It wasn't). Forwards don't give me the feeling of "keeping in touch." There are numerous ways to do that these days, and a personal one-liner--on Facebook, email, text or postcard--means more to me than any forward ever will. Forwards leave me feeling sad, annoyed, disrespected, unloved, and filled with negative thoughts towards the person who sent them. (Which is why I delete them--I'd rather not feel that way.)

There are 5 basic categories for forwards (and they sometimes overlap):

1. sappy/saccharine sweet/religious,

2. mean-spirited/political/anti-liberal (I voted for Obama and want him to succeed.)

3. bigoted/biased/anti-immigrant/anti-brown-skin (I've worked with beautiful brown-skinned immigrants for 20 years--why is this type sent to me? Go figure.),

4. crude/crass/sexually inappropriate, and,

5. friendly/get-to-know-you/clean humor/cute babies and animals.I enjoy the last category, but have probably missed quite a few over the years because of my unrestrained use of the "delete" button. No worries, forwards have a way of circling around again. I'm not under any delusions that this rant will stem the flow of forwards into my in-box. I will just continue to delete at will.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

...a dirty little secret

Or is it a clean little secret? Today was a blue-sky sun-shiny day and I couldn't wait to get on my bike after school. It was clear and warm, with only a bit of a breeze. As I was riding along I was thinking...I have never gotten my hands dirty by changing a flat on my bike! Never! Not once in the 1 1/2 years that it has been mine. Sure, I put air in the tires, and I did have to fiddle with one (once) that wasn't quite right, but I have NEVER taken a wheel off, pulled out the flat tube, found the offending sticker, put in a new tube, pumped it up, and put it back on the bike. Why? Usually on a group ride there is a guy or two who can change a flat in no time at all (they'd rather get it done quickly and get back on the road), and luckily, I have never had a flat when I'm out on my own (like today). It's not that I'm afraid of getting my hands dirty, and it's not that I don't think I can. (I come from a long line of strong and capable women.) I keep meaning to practice at home, really I do, and statistically, if I keep riding alone (which I will do whenever good weather and time are on my side), the chances are good that I will sometime experience a flat, and be forced to change it. So I'd better put my good intentions aside and actually practice. Really.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

...nightgowns for Jadyn

Last week my sister Arlene mentioned that if I was looking for a sewing project...Jadyn really needed a new nightgown. I remembered a cute piece of fabric on the sale rack at Joann's, so on Monday made a quick trip over to TriCities to see if it was still there. It was...along with some other cute prints that I couldn't resist. (I had to leave a couple behind and made myself pick just the top three.)
So here are three new nighties for Jadyn, ready to go in the mail on Tuesday. They are made out of a soft, waffle weave cotton knit. I had to modify the pattern though--I hadn't noticed that it called for velcro at the shoulders. Velcro? On a toddler's nightgown? That didn't sound the least bit comfortable to me, so I enlarged the neck a bit and did a binding instead.
(I won't be using this pattern again--but not because I don't like how they turned out. A couple important pattern pieces fell on the floor under my sewing table, and for some odd reason my old dog thought she should chew them up while I was at school one day.

Friday, February 13, 2009, friends, and conversation

Good food (can't miss with spaghetti and garlic bread), good friends (coworkers, neighbors, cycling buddies), and good conversation (how DID we get started on broken bone stories??). Next month...a Mexican food potluck anyone?

...the day the power went out

Today started out as just another ordinary day. Once I got to school though, I could tell something was up. The office was dark. A beeping sound was coming from downstairs. Kids were milling around nervously. It turns out there was a fire on the power pole right behind our school. I don't know all the details, and I couldn't see what was going on from my room, but suffice it to say that--without electricity--it was a very different day. No online attendance. No copies made. No telephones. No digital clock telling us the time. No lights in the (dark) restrooms! No computers. No "get with a partner and edit your writing and get it turned in!" No "Can I check my grades?" No "Look at this cool site I found for you to get some information." No interruptions from the intercom (a good thing--if we'd been able to work!) No bells. Add Singing Valograms, day-before-Valetine's Day gift exchanges and the Red Cross Blood drive to the mix--trust me--it was a CRAZY day! Thankfully the decision was made to send students home at the same time as the middle school--11:20 or so--instead of holding them until 2:45. A memorable Friday the 13th.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

...a silly old dog

This evening when I got home from spinning I was puttering around in the kitchen. The door to the garage is right off the kitchen, and that's where I keep my panty. (I also park my truck in the garage--an important detail.) I had the door open and was back and forth, putting things away. (My old dog likes to go sniff around in the garage whenever she has the chance--also an important detail.) I thought the dog had come in, so I shut the door and turned out the light. Then I heard her turned the light back on and opened the door and called. More whining. She's pretty deaf, so I snapped my fingers and called again. More whining. I walked to the back of the truck, thinking she was on the other side and couldn't get turned around (it's a small garage). The whining was more urgent--and coming from under the truck! She was stuck and didn't know how to get out. I wasn't sure how to get her out. Luckily, she saw my feet and got turned around and crawled towards the back...and finally shimmied out. She's dirty, slightly bewildered, and has no idea why I am laughing at her! Silly old dog.

Monday, February 9, 2009

...the moon

This afternoon after school I made a quick trip to TriCities to go to Joann's. (One of life's little annoyances that Walmart and a quilt shop are the only places in town for sewing supplies.) On the way home the moon was rising...a full moon. It hovered above the hill to my left all the way home. Of course, I didn't have my camera with me (but even if I had, no photo could have captured the mystery of it). I took a picture anyway once I got home...just for a is good.

...teaching grammar

Early Saturday morning I must have been dreaming about teaching grammar to my students. What the heck?? I like to sleep in on Saturdays (when the dog will let me) so why was my brain wrestling with "school stuff?" In my half-awake state I was trying to explain why it's correct to say "I went to the store." and "I should have gone to the store." but NOT "I should have went to the store." (I should have came, He should have ate, they should have saw, he shouldn't have stole) Augh! So many native-English speakers make these mistakes and they are the language models that students are exposed to the most. And, sadly, I hear coworkers (who are educated) make the same errors. (It's like fingernails on the chalkboard to me.) to teach this so my students get it? Ideas are rolling around in my brain and something will come to me. What will my next early morning dilemma be? Double negatives? (I ain't got no clue.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

...a random act of kindness

Sunshine and a quick bike ride after school yesterday helped pull me out of the doldrums I've been in. And just now a coworker stopped by with new music he copied for me--2 CDs of an artist he knows I enjoy. IS good! And the title of the album? Waiting for a Miracle. How appropriate is that???

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

...25 things about me

There's another email/Facebook thing going around...compiling a list of 25 things about oneself to share with others. I started a few times but stalled because I had already made up a random list here on my blog, with color and everything! I decided to give it another shot, but my mood has not been the best the past couple of days so it was a struggle. I'm going to try again.

25 random things about me:

1. I love all kinds of food but have a weakness for lasagne, quiche, and tamales.

2. One of my favorite places is my mom's backyard on an early summer morning, drinking coffee and listening to the birds sing. I still imagine the view of Mt. Fanny as it was before the neighbor's tree grew so tall and obstructed it.

3. I've lived in 6 states and 1 province, and attended 3 elementaries, 1 junior high, and 2 high schools.

4. I like my job (most of the time), love my students (most of the time), and love that my job alllows me lots of time off just to "be." I had never thought that I would be a career woman...always wanted to be a stay-at-home teaching has been a good compromise. I will love retirement--time to travel and read and sew and cycle and volunteer to my heart's content.

5. I voted for Obama. He gives me hope.

6. I have college credits from EOU (BA), WOU (MS), SOU, PSU, OSU, and Lewis and Clark.

7. I can talk to my kids about just about anything. They get me. And even when they don't get me they still love me.

8. I'm having a hard time identifying myself as a Christian these days when the word seems to be synonymous with so many things that I don't believe.

9. I am easily embarrassed and cry easily. And don't do a very good job of faking that things are ok when they're not.

10. I love working alongside my mom in her garden.

11. Cycling has become my passion.

12. Could only see the big E when I had my eyes checked in 6th grade. Often wonder if that is why I'm a bit of a social misfit--I couldn't see others' faces so didn't think they could see mine.

13. I once wanted to write childrens books.

14. My list of places to visit in the world is never-ending.

15. I know the Holy Spirit is in sunsets and laughter.

16. Conversations on speaker-phone with an audience is something I will avoid in the future.

17. I'm a pretty good cook when I make an effort, but most of the time can't be bothered.

18. I have watched Sense and Sensibility so many times that it is now my napping movie. I put it in for background noise and zzzzz...I'm out.

19. I am book-rich right now. Was just given another by the librarian today. "Only" 600 pages, he said!

20. I have never smoked pot. Amazing for someone who was a teen in the 70s! My brothers make up for my lack of adventure in that area.

21. I have my grandpa's Victrola. He had quite a record collection and played them for Saturday night skating in the Cove gym. Can you imagine roller skating in the school gym now?

22. I've had my sewing machine since I was in high school. I bought it used then. It's time to save for a new one.

23. I know from watching my sister with her granddaughter and being around the children and grandchildren of my friends that I am going to love being a grandma. But no hurry.

24. My hair was very long when I was young. And for several years I wore it very short. It will never, ever reach my waist again, but it's long enough now to pull back under my bike helmet.

25. I went on a field trip to Providence, RI in the 4th grade. We saw "2001: A Space Odyssy," and also went to the capital building. There was a protest going on. Hearing the song "We Shall Overcome" immediately transports me to 1968 and I am 10 years old again. word

There's a forward going around...the type of forward I actually enjoy and don't delete without's on Facebook and in my email inbox a couple times at least. I'm going to cheat and post my answers here on my blog. Here's what to do:

Type only ONE word answers. It’s harder than you think!! Copy and paste into your own note (or email or blog), type in your answers and tag a bunch of people - including me.


Where is your cell phone?.......pocket
Your hair ..........blondish
Your father? ........ humorous
Your favorite thing? ......... laughing
Your dream last night?....running
Your favorite drink? ........... water
Your dream/goal? ...........kindness
The room you are in? ...... computer-sewing
Your fear? ........ unloved
Where do you want to be in 6 years?... retired
Muffins? ............. blueberry
One of your wish list items?.......... Subaru
Where you grew up? ..........haven't
The last thing you did? ....... cycling
What are you wearing?...... spandex
Your TV?........... silent
Your pets? ......... dog
Your computer? ...... desktop
Your life? ......... changing
Your mood? ........ content
Missing someone? ...... kids
Your car? ..... pickup
Favorite store?.... BN
Your summer? .... fun!
Your favorite color? ......... blue
When is the last time you laughed? ...... today
Last time you cried? ....... Sunday
Three people who email me? ........... Arlene, Katie, JeanAnne
Three of my favorite foods? ........lasagne, quiche, tamales
Three places I would rather be right now? .... Italy, France, Spain