Saturday, September 30, 2006

Roasted QuillDancer

Stop by, Waking Ambrose, and listen to Doug's story of the day, then tell him what a good job he did capturing my character. Apparently no one has ever told him it isn't safe to feed my ego. Next week I'm running for sainthood.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Photo History

My Grandparents Minnie & Jesse Weniger myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics My Parents Charlie & Lois Amsden myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Me QuillDancer in training myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics ...................My Family ...................................Caryl, Harold, Charlene, Jackie

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Not My Era

I received my driver's licence at 14 years of age. I have had only one ticket in my life -- one. This is the story of that ticket: Past History: Last Thanksgiving I moved into this dump ... uhm, lovely home with considerable personality. I moved on purpose. I decided I would rather have a less upscale address and more creature comforts -- like internet, cable, and drunken neighbors. For the most part I am comfortable and, yes, my house is safe. Moving -- the word strikes fear into the soul of every packrat, and I am no exception. I was exhausted long before everything was boxed and hauled, even though I have some wonderful friends with kind hearts and strong muscles. Just the same, there I was down to the wire, cleaning the old place, dragging out the last of the stuff and butt-draggin tired -- and the neighbor jerk parked in my spot, leaving me to park in his; but if I parked in his spot I would have at least five feet further I would have to lug the last of the boxes -- unless, of course, I parked backward. So, logically, I parked backward. After lugging the last box to my trunk and dropping exhausted into the driver's seat, I noticed a little yellow slip on the windshield. Lovely. A $275 parking ticket for facing south bound in the north bound lane. Several days later I took myself down to the courthouse and paid 60% of the ticket. The remainder was due in 30 days. Present Time: The time has come to renew my car registration. Yesterday I opened my glove box to gather my paperwork together -- and found the receipt for that half-paid ticket. I stared at it in horror for several minutes, grabbed my cell phone and dialed the number on the bottom of the faded page. I listen to the phone ring. Officer Really Niceguy answers. I tell him I have an unpaid ticket. He asks my name and for the ticket number, then puts me on hold. I wait two life times for him to come back to the phone and say, "Ma'am, there's a warrent out for your arrest." Oh, dear saints! I left my ex-husband so I'd never have to hear those words. The officer immediately realized I was distressed. (I think it was the hysterical laughter.) He said, "It's not like you'd really be arrested. The amount you owe is too small. Just come in and pay the balance of the ticket and the fine. We haven't cancelled your driver's license or the registration on your car. This is a simple fix." I told Officer Really Niceguy I'd be right there -- and I drove straight to the courthouse -- where I paid the balance of my ticket and a tiny, two hundred dollar fine. Now I'm going to have to break another law. Prepare yourself for the headlines: Fifth Grade Teacher Extorts Students for Lunch Money.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Keep Your Eyes on This!

..............Cindra Jo's and Tom ....are both in the caption contest Sar's, Belle of the Brawl! ..........................Go vote. ...........................NOW!

BTW I won Cindra Jo Wordsmithing Contest. I cobbled together a paragraph from a list of predetermined words and her children -- the judges -- picked mine as the best. They even picked me over their adored Grandmother, my sister, Jackie.

Here is my winning entry: My mundane life took an unexpected change when, while trying to contact the urban dictionary website, I stumbled upon the online diary of an egotistical photographer who has named his blog, Whale Dong, in honor of his anatomically correct photographs. His embarrassed mom even begged him to not to post anymore unseemly pics and deemed his talents a pathetic waste. Whale Dong's less than kind response implied that his mother's constant critiques were the motivation for his behavior. Her flak only inspires him to provide even more controversial photographic perspectives. Whale Dong's posts are quite fun to read and his photographs are very educational. So let us hope mom stays on her soapbox!

Grading Math Tests

Academic Integrity is stressed in our school; as is honesty. In my mind Honesty and Integrity have always been married -- locked in Holy Matrimony for all time. This morning as I graded the math tests I was once again reminded that not everybody shares my point of view: Question 3a.) Is 24 a prime or composite number? Student Answer: prime Question 3b.) How can you tell? Student Answer: I kopeed from my nabor. ______ Oooookay .....(btw, prime is the wrong answer).

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How Foolish of Me

Reading Class: I have been calling students up one at a time and having each of them read to me outloud. Afterward I talk to them about their reading fluency and strategies good readers use. I met with 5 students on Thurday, 5 students on Friday, 5 students on Monday. After the first day the students all knew what was happening. Most of them would arrive at the table already on the right page and would start reading aloud immediately. Today the third student at my table said, as he sat, "Do you want me to read page 50, too?" I told him I did. He opened the book and began to read. Silently. "Hmmmm, Huey? Do you think you could read that outloud for me?" Horrified, Huey looked at me thorough rounded eyes. "But," he says. "Then you'll hear me!" "I need to hear you, or I won't know how to help you read better." That trully appalled him. "But you're the teacher!" He blurted, "You know everything!" Heh -- imagine me forgetting something like that.


I am a wake up, get up, sort of person. Within seconds after opening my eyes I get out of bed. This morning things were a bit different. My eyes opened. I took the cat off my head, threw back the covers and ... came to a screaming halt. My back muscles seriously protested doing their job, and my stomache muscles couldn't do it without them. I pretty much climbed up the wall to get out of bed. My back hurts. My right leg hurts. My pride hurts. Wahhhh!

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Week Begins ....

Well, today is not my day for less excitement. At lunch time I got up from the table where I ate with my 5th grade teaching compatriots, walked across the teacher's lounge carrying a large pad of chart paper, and looked back as I was leaving the room to say ...whatever. It didn't get said. Someone had left a box in the hallway. I was moving pretty fast and when my left foot caught that box, the rest of me kept going. I don't fly any better now then I did when I was six years old. And there was no bush there to cover my fall. I landed on cold linoleum. Nothing was permanently damaged -- well, except the pad of chart paper. But I am fine -- although my right knee is a bit more colorful than usual.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Interrupted Sleep

The weather is in the high 80's, so all my windows are open. Last night I woke to the sound of a woman's scream. The bedside clock glowed 12:20 a.m. I wasn't certain if the scream was real or part of a dream. As I reached for the lamp, the scream sounded again. I decided against turning the light on and grabbed the telephone instead. I heard a man's voice, but his words were unintelligible. I heard the woman say, "Stop! You're frightening me!" Finger poised above the 9 on my telephone dial, I peeked out the window. The housing development I live in is U-shaped. My home is in the middle so both the front and back yards are on the street. Across my backyard, across the street, and across the yard of the people who live across the street, stands a 10 foot high block wall. Beneath the street light I could clearly see a man -- beer bottle in hand -- walking the top of the wall. The woman, also with a beer in her hand, stood in the middle of the street. I put the phone down and went back to bed. An hour later I woke to a wailing siren. Again I looked out the window. The man was still on the wall, but sitting now. The girl, still in the middle of the street, was telling a police officer, "He climbed over that guys pick-up (she pointed to the SUV in my neighbor's driveway) and onto the wall, then said he wasn't coming down until I apologized for calling him an idiot." The police officer responded dryily, "Don't apologize." The fire department arrived with a ladder. The man climbed down off the wall and went for a ride in the back of the police car. As soon as my bedroom stopped flashing red-blue-red-blue I went back to sleep. So ended a very lively week. I am hoping the week ahead provides nothing but boredom.

And the Winner is .....

Quilldancer! Yay! What did I win? Bragging rights! Today Tom's Rhetoric featured Challenge #1 and I was the first visitor, there literally within moments of Tom's posting, and I knew all three answers! Even if I never wim again, no one else can ever win Tom's 1st Contest. His second contest is going up today. Pop on over and see if you've got what it takes to win Tom's Challenge #2.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Flying With Wonder Barbie

My mother, I've been told, loved to plant things and watch them grow. While she was still pregnant with me she planted a Bridal Veil bush along side Gram's house. My mother did not live to see the bush, or me, grow. But grow we each did; neither of us giving much thought to the other until we met one sunny Saturday when I was six years old. The story of our encounter can be read in it's entirety by clicking here: The Grownups Wanted Us Dead.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Unexpected Pause

To those of you who thought I should be wearing tennis shoes for my Two Hat Day, I was wearing 3 inch heels, a swishy black skirt and a black and white "art deco" blouse. Before the morning was half over my feet were aching. A campus big enough to house 650+ students comfortably has a bit of sprawl. It's quite a jaunt from place to place. So, after I left the Kindergarten PD I still had 10 minutes before I was expected in class. I thought that would be a great time to visit the lady's room, so I went to the teacher's lounge. Almost the moment the door closed behind me the intercom flicked on. It was the Assistant Principal, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now going to Code 3. Secure your classroom doors." The P.E. teacher and the copy machine maintenance guy were in the teacher's lounge. The PE teacher hopped up and locked the doors. We all sat to chat and wait for the drill to be over. We chatted for quite awhile. The maintence guy asked, "How long is a Code 3 drill?" The PE teacher said, "I don't think they're usually this long." I asked, "Did the AP say it was a drill?" None of us remembered hearing that word. We were silent for awhile. We heard foot steps outside and somebody rattled the door handle. None of us moved. We just looked at each other and waited. Finally the maintenace guy said, "Well, my tools are still in the truck, but at least I can open the machines up and get ready to work." The PE teacher grabbed the newspaper and offered me a section. I took my sandals off and put my feet up. A goodly time passed. The PE teacher said, "This has to be real. I wonder what's happening?" I suggested he pop outside, then come back and tell us. He put his feet up and settled farther into his chair. "Naw, I'm comfy," he answered. "Maybe later." About 10 minutes after that we were given the all clear sign. I slipped my shoes on and we went outside, each stopping like Weebles and rocking back on our heels. A police helicopter was hoovering directly above the school. "That looks pretty real," I said. Shots fired in the vacinity, we were told. Another teacher said what I was thinking. "You know, most of the time I hate these cinderblock walls and the fact that we have no windows, but today I feel pretty good about it."

Two Hat Day

This morning I will start off the day as a 5th grade teacher. After about 30 minutes a substitute will enter my classroom and I will dash across campus to facilitate a kindergarten professional development class on emergent writing. Forty minutes later I will return to my classroom for about 30 minutes. The sub will return and I will dash off to the seond grade classroom and facilitate a professional development class on modeled writing and teaching students how to find & develop writing ideas. Forty minutes later I return to my classroom for 15 minutes, then I go to lunch. After lunch I return to my desk for about 20 minutes of preparation before I run of to facilitate a first grade professional development class on modeled writing and teaching students how to find & develop writing ideas. Then I return to my class for the remaining hour of the day where the students and I try to reconnect so everyone can stop feeling like a yo-yo. I imagine the sub does the same in her own little corner of the world. I follow this schedule every 11 days. It is exhausting and I am never quite where I should be and don't get it all back togehter until sometime Saturday afternoon .....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Shameless Niece Promotion

My bright, bubbly and adorable niece Brooke is a contender in Belle of The Brawl's picture captioning contest. She is upholding our family honor proudly. Her's is indeed the best caption in the contest. You know what to do next ....

Vote For Brooke! Yay!

A Message From George

George, from my A Super Hero is Born post, wants you all to know that: His real name is not George. Jasmine is not really named, Jasmine, and he did not sit on his hands, he put them behind his back. Other than that, the story was mostly true. He also helped me put the bulletin board back up -- although we used hot glue, not tape. (No, George did not have to do any gluing.)

Not My Usual Post ....

Today I am the guest poster at Bestest Blog of All-Times. Pop on over and take a peek.

Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege. ~unknown
Reading through the Stupid Criminal Files is mind-boggling. This is where you meet the less intelligent family members of Dumb and Dumber. Every true story is linked to it's original news source, Reuters, Associated Press, Fox News, etc. The blog begins in January of 2005. My pick for stupid criminal of the month is the 40 year-old Wisconson man who stole a GPS Tracking Devise. Hello? That February a puffed up bankrobber used his cell phone to call his favorite local radio station and boast ON AIR about the heist; while actor, Tom Seizemore, had a staring role in an impromptu piece entitled, Fake Urine + Fake Penis = Jail. In March a Police Chief Drives Drunk. April leads us to Norway where two robbers attempt a getaway in a row boat even though both of them lack Rowing Skills; then back to Las Vegas and Los Angeles for the infamous, Wendy's Chili Finger Case. In August a business man sexually assaulted a sleeping woman on an airplane -- where his chances of escape were seriously limited -- and earned the title, Brave But Stupid. December offers the charming Yuletide story of the Pickpocket at Police Christmas Party. The New Year brings a fresh crop of criminals. January of 2006 begs the question, How Dumb Can One Be?, when an angry man headbutts a car windshield and gets stuck; and a Mugger Hides in a Tiger Cage. April brings a slew of SCF Tips -- pointers for criminals with excessively low IQs. SCF Tip: In Jail? Remember, They're Watching You, points out that when you are in jail, you really shouldn't contact your friend to cover your drug trade. The Stupid Criminal File has three contributors: Kicknit, Female Law Power, and G-MAN. They welcome contributions from sharp-eyed readers providing they send the source of the original news item. One such item is the sad tale of Snowy the Goat, who was Kid-napped (I couldn't resist). Another irresistable tale is, In Brief, the story of two clueless crooks clad in skivvies -- as face masks. Reading the Stupid Criminal File may not raise your IQ, but it will certainly make you feel more intelligent (unless, of course, your story is here), and leave you laughing as well.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An Exciting Day

Today my reading students were reading silently and I was engaged in a one-on-one reading conference with a young lady, when an audible, yet unintelligable ripple went through my classroom. I turned my head and saw 19 students staring up. I looked up. Black smoke billowed into our room from the air vents. I knew maintenance was on the roof working on the air conditioner. Sometimes when the air first comes on dust billows forth. I got up and walked over to one of the vents. That stuff wasn't dust -- and it smelled foul. The connecting door between my classroom and the next opened. The first year teacher next door said, "What should I do?" I wanted to respond, "How the bleep do I know?" But a decision clearly needed to be made. I thought of calling the office ... but if this was real, and not some wierd side-effect from maintenance, then precious time would be lost. "Line up!" I ordered my students, then told the Rookie teacher, "Take your kids outside." I calmly ushered my class out the door, where I paused, looked back at the billowing smoke and pulled the fire alarm. It was just a maintenance glitch. At lunch another teacher asked me, "How did it feel to pull that alarm? Was it cool?" Uhm, no ---. I was far too aware of the possibility of a real fire ... too scary to not pull the fire alarm; and too scary to get a thrill out of doing so. Then there was the "little" matter of disrupting dozens of classes and evacuating 650 kids for possibly no reason -- not to mention that the fire department, and likely my boss, would not be too impressed by a false alarm. Happily, my boss felt the same way I did -- if an error was to be made, better to error on the side of safety.

Wordless Wednesday (yummy)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Super Hero Is Born

Writing class: today's topic: Create Your Own Super Hero. The kids were brainstorming. One young lady says, "But where did you get your magic powers, George?" She, apparently took seriously my suggestion that the magic be explained. "You can't just suddenly have a magic power from nowhere." "Sure I can, Jasmine," George answers. "Like Mask, I'll just find something that makes me special." "Like what?" Jasmine demands. George jumps out of his seat and yells, "My pencil!" He waves his green mechanical pencil at the brand new bulletin board I had just finished. It fell from the wall. My students fell from their chairs laughing. George yelled, "I am magic!" I picked up my scissors and opened and closed them slowly. "George," I spoke very softly. "Bring your fingers here." George sat on his hands. I stared at him. He reached out, grabbed his pencil and offered it to me. "It was the pencil!" He said, "Take it!" Then he tossed it at my feet and tucked his hand away. "Tell you what:" I say, then place the pencil on George's desk. "You put that bulletin board back up on the wall and we'll forget this whole thing ever happened." George, still sitting on his hands stares at his pencil. Finally, slowly, he answers, "Ooookay, .... but I think I'm gonna need a lot of tape." ________ I absolutely love teaching 5th grade. And I love it that the kids are old enough to know when to take me seriously and when to play. I knew that bulletin board needed hot glue. I should have done it right the first time.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Co-Worker Abuse

I am my father's daughter. If there is someway to tease somebody I will find it. So, last week my co-worker stepped into my room and said, "My I borrow a garbage bag?" I raised my eyebrows, tilted my head and responded, "Borrow it? Were you planning on returning it to me full? Is this a con job to get me to take your trash out?" He rolled his eyes at me and said, "May I please have a trash bag?" The next day he came into my classroom and asked, "May I borrow some tape?" I raised my eyebrows, tilted my head and said, "Borrow? Is it going to come back still sticky, or will it be all crinkly and have little bits of paper stuck to it?" He glared and rephrased his request. Today he stepped into my room and said, "May I borrow some Kleenex?" I tilted my head, raised my eyebrows and -- he spoke first, "Yes," he said. "I plan on returning them used and soggy. After all, you're the one who gave me this cold!"

Taking Another Bow

I won! I won! Every week Sar at Belle of the Brawl runs a picture captioning contest. I captioned this picture: "I told you you were flying too low over that playground." I know I won because many of my loyal readers voted for me. As promised, those who voted (for ME, Alex) and left a post a Sar's place admitting they voted for me, receive recognition here: So, I'd like to thank Channa, Goldennib, and Cindy for publically voting for me. There are a few others I know for certain voted as well, like my sister, Jackie (I was on the telephone with her at the time), and Bazza (who claims to always do what he's told). There is a new picture captioning contest up right now at Sar's. Run over and submit your own caption. Join the fun!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's a Family Thing

Last night I sent my niece Cindra Jo a plain text document containing the html for her husband, Tom's, blog template. My IBM gave her Apple indigestion. We tried working the problem out through email, but it was frustrating. I sent her my new phone number. She didn't call. She did however send me another email asking why I didn't answer my phone. Hmmm, I didn't answer my phone because it didn't ring. She sent me her number. I called it. Her number is a business number and incoming calls cost her, she asked me to give her my number again. I refered her back to the email -- which, even after double checking, I didn't notice had the numbers transposed. We hung up. She didn't call back. She sent me yet another email, this time telling me my ringer must be off. It wasn't. I called her. I triple checked the number, realized I'd made a mistake and gave her the correct number. By that time she had dialed my [wrong] number many times and was somewhat skeptical of my information. She asked something along the lines of, "Are you sure this is the right number?" Well, truthfully -- no, I wasn't. I was relying on my old, cold influenced, medicated, sleepy brain and the number is new. I answered, "Don't you have caller ID?" She said, "Yes, of course I do." I made a snorting sound and answered, "Well then use it to call me!" "Wait a minute!" She says, "Don't go trying to make it look like I'm the idiot here. You're the one that gave me the wrong number." Yep, I did. But she's the one who trusted me!

Vote For ME!

Oh, before I toddle off to napland -- if you haven't been to Belle of The Brawl yet to vote for me in the caption contest, please run over and do so NOW! The contest is in the right sidebar. My caption is the bottom entry. You may read all the other entries, of course, but mine is funniest. Vote for ME! Please leave Sar a note in the comments and tell her I made you stop by. Thank you. All who vote for me and leave a comment will be acknowledged as great right here on these pages the moment I win.

I Should Be at Work

You know that sticky, stretchy yellow glue that manufacturers use to hold products in their boxes? I know where it comes from. My nose has been manufacturing it for three days. I wake every morning feeling fine, but by 11:30 or so I am exhausted. My brain stops working. After church today I tried to draw a straight forward street map for a visitor. I have always been very good at North, South, East and West, but I just couldn't straighten them out in my head. I hope the guy who took my map actually ends up where he thinks he's going. I almost always spend a couple of hours in my classroom every weekend. This year it seems that no matter how long or how hard I work, I cannot catch up. I think it is this cold. It has settled into my chest and even Mucinex is having a heck of a time dislodging it. There is no point in going to work. I went in last Sunday feeling like this and just shuffled papers around on my desk until they were as dizzy as I. Doesn't a nap sound lovely?

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Last night after work I stopped at the bank of mailboxes near the entrance to my housing development. Twenty minutes later I was still there trying to help a blind lady pick up her dropped keys while her dog contemplated ripping my throat out. The human brain is very interesting. As I was calmly and patiently telling the woman, "Step to your left; now inch your right foot forward -- no, your other right foot ..." I was also contemplating how my obituary might read, "Dog Mauls Teacher as She Helps Blind Woman," and at the same time .... ....wondering why I hadn't already gotten in my car and driven away; ....wondering why I (a perfectly normal person) always find myself in sitcom situations; ....wondering if I would ever be left alone, old and helpless, to depend upon the charity of some stranger.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Dog Ate My Homework

One of the sweet darlings in my class approached me just before the bell this morning and said, "We have a new puppy at my house. Last night it chewed up my homework." I replied, "Sweety, that excuse was old when I was a kid. It doen't work." She dove head first into her book bag and rummaged around. From the depths I heard, "My dad told me you would say that." Out she came, hair slightly mussed, with a Ziploc baggy in her hand. Inside the baggy was her homework; mangled, twisted, perforated and soggy. What do you know. The dog ate her homework.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion

There is another caption contest up at Belle of the Brawl and once again I am in the line up. I NEED each and every one of you to run over there and vote for me. This, however, will not be like last time. Sar has fixed the counter so that no one can vote more than once (per computer). If you have several computers knock youself out -- VOTE FOR ME! VOTE FOR ME! VOTE FOR ME! Ok -- please, read the captions first, THEN vote for me. And leave Sar a note telling her you stopped by to vote for Quilly. To see how the last caption contest I was in came out, click here. Shameless Sister Promotion Not only have my nieces Booke (Brooke's Musings) and Cindra (Cindra Jo & Co.) joined the blogoshpere, my sister Jackie has, too. Click here and visit Jackie's Garden. Tell her baby-sister, QuillDancer, sent you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Timely Endeavor

Today a man came to fix the clock in my classroom. I put the work order in the very first day of the school year -- the 2005-2006 school year! All last year I waited -- and complained, and called. This year I didn't even bother. I just went out and bought my own plastic wall clock and put it up! However, one of my loving and considerate co-workers turned in a work order for me -- and now my clock works. Estella, if you are reading this, from now on you are turning in all of my work orders. Apparently you have clout. (The air conditioner isn't working. hint, hint)

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Help! I'm Melting!

I am certain that my insistance on going to work is prolonging my cold. I believe my brain is melting and draining out my nose. I hab a heg ob a timeb talging and hab sahd somb ob da cradiest thigds to my studnds. My nose is raw and my current perfume is eau de Vicks. On top of that the air conditioning went down in our building wing today. The teacher in the classroom next door to me came into my room and stuck his head in my mini refrigerator to cool off. While in there he snatched a bottle of cold water. The kids melted into puddles on their chairs and used their workbooks as fans. It is probably the most productive work they've put them to yet .... For once they were eager to go to music because, as one young man said, "Even if she makes me dance with a girl, at least we'll be in an air conditioned room." I don't know if the air will be on tomorrow or not. Think cool thoughts for us.

CafePress Review

Have you been wondering about the quality of the products from CafePress? Have you considered buying something and then reconsidered because you feared shoddy workmanship? Fear no more. CafePress items look as good in your hand as they do on their website. I have right here at my left hand a beautiful high gloss finished large coffee mug with one of Rob Harrington's incredible photographs on the side. I chose Rob's logo mug with the angel-ocean collage. The photo-detailing on the cup is crisp and clear -- doing justice to Rob's originals. The weathing on the angel statue has been faithfully reproduced, and footprints can clearly be seen near the shoreline by the sea. The 15 ounce mug itself is high quality ceramic. It has some heft to it. It is not a cheap ceramic that one would sit on a shelf for show. This mug begs to be filled with your favorite hot beverage. Note: I do not work for CafePress or Rob Harrington. This is a completely unsolicted commercial. I will receive no compensation -- monetary or otherwise -- for this plug.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Family Who Blogs Together ....

The family who blogs together steals one another's limelight. Be that as it may, I'd like to introduce you to a couple of my relatives: My nieces, Cindra Jo and Brooke, have joined the Blogspot community. They are the daughters of my sister, (Jackie, who comments here occasionally and calls me CB). Both of these "kids" (grown women, but don't tell them I admitted it) are wonderful people. Stop by their blogs and tell them Auntie QuillDancer sent you. Cindra can be found here: Cindra Jo and Co. I don't know how long Cindra has been reading my blogs, but she posted her first comment to me on, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead, yesterday. Of course it was sass and she added a couple of details about my character that you all didn't need to know. Brooke can be found here: Brooke's Musings Brooke has been reading my blog since its inception. You'll find her comments sprinkled here and there. Brooke never sasses. She just says, "Yes, Mom," or, "Yes, Auntie," then proceeds to make her own decisions. There is someone else in our family she most reminds me of, but I can't for the life of me think who that is ....

This little plaque was a gift from Brooke.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

9/11 Remembered

I was turning into the parkinglot at work. The guy on the radio was hysterical and I was certain I misunderstood him. He screamed three times, "A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers! A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers! A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers!" I got out of my car, went straight to my classroom and turned the television set on. I hadn't misunderstood the man on the radio. I sat down on the edge of my desk and watched, and listened, and cried. A teacher walked past, backed up, looked at me then rushed to my side. She demanded, "Are you alright?" In answer I pointed at the TV set. She put her arm around me and asked, "Do you have family in New York?" I shook my head and told her I didn't. She stepped away from me, raised her hands in disgust and said, "Then why are you crying?" The only thing I could think to answer was, "Why aren't you?" Of course I had to pull it together for my students. An emergency teacher's meeting was called and we were told we weren't to make any personal statements until after the Principal addressed the school. The students realized from the way the grownups were acting that something horrible had happened but they didn't know what. They were very quiet and subdued. Finally the Principal's voice piped into the room and she talked about the tradgety and the horror -- but to the kids it was still just words. However, after her programmed "board of education approved" speech, she told the teachers to turn the television to the in-house channel and allow the kids to view the approved audio/visual clip. It was actually the same clip all of America watched over and over again -- nothing sanitized. Just before the video clip eneded and the television screen went blue, the newscaster explained that the men who rammed the plane into the Towers did it because they thought God wanted them to. My students were silent, still staring at the blue screen. Many of them were crying and holding each other's hands. I knew questions would come. I wondered if I'd be able to answer them. Into this silence someone whispered, "Did he say those men thought God wanted this?" I answered -- just as softly -- "Yes. They believe they have to kill their enemies to earn their way into heaven." And a youngman named Jonathan replied loud, clear and matter-of-factly. "Well, they'll be mightly surprised then when they wake up in hell." Casting Crowns: Praise You in This Storm

"You Look Like H3LL!"

That's what the lady said to me at Wal-Mart. I was standing in the back of one of those impossibly long lines cluthing Mucinex and toilet tissue to my chest. The store seemed unbearably hot. I was sweating, my knees were trembling and the back of my mouth was experiencing that saliva pooling sensation that preceeds heaving. "Come with me," she said. And she pulled me to an empty cash register and rang up my purchases. I don't remember her name, but I know I love her. I went into my classroom this morning. I had some stuff I thought positively needed to be done. I was there for two and a half hours basically moving paper around on my desk and hoping it would sort itself into sense. It didn't. The only thing I accomplished was assigning seating for my reading groups. A task that should have taken all of twenty minutes. Then I went to Wal-Mart. Then I came home and rested for two hours. The nausea passed soon after I stepped into my blessedly cool house. I just had a bite to eat. I'm starting to feel human again. I have to make it through tomorrow. I am not leaving my first day with a new reading class to a sub! Nope. I'm going to school in the morning. I'm standing at my door and I am hugging and kissing every kid -- a.k.a. germ factory -- that walks by.


Oh my, I was pathetic yesterday. This morning I am feeling better. I am by no means well, but I can function and think. I can move without my muscles protesting in agony. I am still coughing, but I no longer fear that doing so will cause my head to explode. I know my kitties felt sorry for me. One of them neatly piled all my used Kleenex up in the middle of the bedroom doorway. This jesture would have been much more touching had he or she not taken them from the wastebasket to do so. Both Fluffy and Chrissy slept on the foot of the bed last night. They rarely do that. Fluffy has a shelf on the bedroom bookcase he likes, and Chrissy usually spends the night trying to steal my pillow. Perhaps it was the Lander's that kept her at bay. Fluffy is beside me right now, keeping watch over mommy. Chrissy is in the living room wrestling with a dirty sock she filtched from the laundry. She is probably trying to clean the menthol smell of Lander's from her nose!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Miserabah ....

I am sick. Throat hurts. Head hurts. Chest hurts. Back hurts. Wheezing. Eyes burn. Even my hair hurts. It came on yesterday afternoon. This morning when I first woke I thought I might live, but I can tell now that I was entirely too optimistic.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Grown-Ups Wanted Us Dead

The grown-ups wanted us dead. I have proof. Winton Elementary School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho was built on the edge of a cliff. There was a 35-foot embankment not ten yards from the back door where I lined up every morning before fourth grade. There was no fence. There was no barbed wire. There were no patrol dogs. THERE WERE NO CONCERNED PARENTS. We were told to stay away from the cliff, the grownups of my childhood thought that was sufficient. If some child wandered too close and fell off, the general response was: "Damn idiot kid. He was told to stay away from there. Don't know what his problem is. When that back-brace comes off I'm tanning his stupid hide." The cliff wasn't all though -- there was also the playground equipment; that we weren't told to stay away from. In fact, if a day at school didn't sufficiently maim enough kids, our parents would send us back after school. "Get out from under my feet! Go play on the playground. I'll call you for dinner." I don't know why we never figured out that the grownups were trying to kill us. They'd paint us in Mercurochrome, paste band-aids on us, or brace us with splints, and push us right back out the door. We went willingly -- and called it fun. ======== More stories like this posted on my blog: The Grown-Ups Wanted Us Dead, where an observant person might even discover why my sister, Jackie, calls me CB. The latest story, posted just today, is: The Hole.

Mid-Day Surprise

I returned to my classroom at lunch time and found on the table near my desk a plate of fruit, a green salad with dressing on the side, spaghetti with sauce, garlic bread, juice and water. There was also a wonderful Hawaiian Orchid bath toiletries basket. With it was this note: "The World is a better place because YOU are in it." Now I feel special.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Day: Bestest Blog of the Day

I have to tell you that last night I came home tired. Last night I came home grouchy. Last night I didn't plan to post at all. The only thing on my agenda was email and a snuggle with my pillow. Since school started I have been on campus every night for three or four hours after hours. I am almost always on campus 30-60 minutes before hours. Days like those make exhaustion. So, I open my email and find a message from Bobby Griffin from The Bestest Blog of All-Time. He was writing to tell me that I was the link of the day and would be featured on his site for the next 24 hours or so. I couldn't believe it. I read the letter twice, then went to the site to check. Sure enough, there was Day. I was chosen by a guest blogger named Alessia. It was obvious she had read through my blog. She even highlighted a couple of my favorite posts. Alessia's blog is named, Waiting Wishing: musings of an aspiring geek. Don't let that "aspiring geek" part put you off, Alessia speaks plain English, and those of you who are Mac afficinados must rush right over (those of you who aren't, rush over anyway and see what she can create with her fancy technology). Thanks to Bobby and Alessia I perked right up last night, made a post and stayed online. I love the blogging community. I want to thank everybody who stopped by and visited. I hope you felt at home. I'll be popping around to thank you all personally for visiting. And Bobby and Alessia -- you two ROCK! Thanks!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Growing Faith

I love teaching fifth grade. I expecially love the beginning of a new school year. The kids don't know me yet -- well, a few might from a past reading class or special event -- but for the most part I am Mystery. They are often unsure of how they should react when I say something outrageous. Well, when we entered the room this morning I put my lunch and a bottle of Pepsi on the corner of my desk instead of in the cooler -- then I forgot about them. A bit later I was reading the Shel Silverstein poem, Peggy Ann McKay. In the poem Peggy Ann is giving outrageous excuses for why she cannot go to school. I do the poem as a drama, dragging my leg, clutching my stomach, and generally moaning and wailing as appropriate. At the end of the poem Peggy Ann learns that is is Saturday,experiences a miraculous cure, and runs outside to play. As I acted out her rush, I knocked the bottle of Pepsi off my desk. It bounced twice and rolled across the floor stopping against the foot of one of my students. I scooped the bottle up off the floor, held it out to him and said, "You know, I don't want to open this. Would you do it for me?" His eyes grew big. He started to reach for the bottle, hesitated; started to reach again, then pushed away, chair and all, and said, "I can't. I don't think I'm strong enough." I laughed, winked at him and said, "Great answer! I have to be the luckiest fifth grade teacher in this school. I always get the smartest kids!" Then I went to gather the materials to teach math and allowed the students to whisper to each other about being the smartest class. It isn't true of course. They come in every size shape and ability level, but there is a reason I have a high success rate with the "problem" students. I respect them. They are not my students to do as I say. I am their teacher and my job is to meet their needs. I set high expectations and I state them clearly, then I make certain the students know I have complete confidence in their ability to meet those standards. I give them my faith and help them grow their own. It works.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm In the Wrong Profession

So, this morning in my classroom I am talking to my students about summarizing stories, and I wad up a piece of trash from the floor and toss it into the wastebasket. They all do the collective, "Ohhhh!" thing, like I've performed a miracle from two whole feet away. A bit later, during Math, I attempt to write on the board with one of last year's markers. It makes squeeky noises but leaves no mark. I turn and toss the pen into the trash can - -this time about five feet away. No big deal -- little pen, big can. Still, the kids all, "Ohhhh!" I tell them they are way too easy to impress, and that they don't need to go thinking I'm all that. Later, as Science comes to a close, my water bottle reaches empty. I am standing at my desk where one of the garbage cans should be -- but it is not. I ask where it has gone. Tonio* says, "Oh! I moved it to empty the pencil sharpener and forgot to put it back." He starts to get up and move it, but another kid says to me, "Throw it!" All of the kids yell, "Yeah!" I tell them not to be silly; not only is the garbage can clear across the room, it is on the other side of the file cabinet. I can't even see it. Still, they want me to throw the bottle. I figure, why not? I'll miss and the novelty will be over. So I give it a toss. I hear it strike the garbage can, but don't know if it went in, or bounced off the rim. My students don't react. There is no cheer -- no boo -- no change of expression at all. I can't read them. "Well?" I demand. Two kids answer. One says, as though it were no big deal, "You made it." The other -- wearing a big grin -- says, "You missed by a mile." The remaining 21 just sit there, looking at me. I still can't read them. I look at Rico* and say, "Where's the bottle?" He points at the floor and says, "Right here." I reply, "See, I told you I am not all that." And the kids fell out laughing. Val* said, "You made it, Miss." And I did. An empty plastic bottle, 25 feet, over the top of the file cabinet and into a waste basket I couldn't even see. Where's an NBA scout when you need one? *fictious names

Monday, September 04, 2006

Drunk and Disorderly

At 6:45 p.m. the neighbor lady knocked on my door. I pretty well know if she shows up after 5 p.m. she's going to be tipsy. Tonight she wasn't. She hadn't been drinking wine all afternoon. No siree -- today is a holiday so she was drinking JD -- and was drunk off her butt. She sat here for an hour and ten minutes and told me the same six stories three times -- or the same three stories six times ... I quit listening. The stories didn't bother me so much, but there were a couple of small things .... First off, when she knocked on the door and I opened it, the telephone rang. I wasn't going to take the call but it was a coworker and she doesn't just call to visit, so I answered. So, while my coworker is telling me she is enrolling her nephew in his first day of preschool in the morning, and asking me to meet with her proby teacher to make certain he's all squared away on the morning's lessons, my neighbor lady is trying unsuccessfully to close my front door. Okay, to be fair, closing my door is difficult. I live in a house with "personality." To latch my front door you actually have to hold it closed while you lock it. A task which takes more coordination than my neighbor can manage even on a sober day. Tonight she was worse. I told her to leave it open but no -- she kept trying to slam it harder and harder. Finally I told my co-worker I had her bases covered and hustled her off the phone so I could rescue my door from Joan. My photo of Brandi had already leapt off the wall, but luckily it landed on the couch. I grabbed the door and Joan hung the picture back on the wall. I hang my car keys from the door knob. I keep them there because it's hard to lose them that way. In her zealous effort to close my door, Joan had bent my car key at a 45 degree angle. When I showed it to her she started laughing and couldn't stop. I took my hammer, wrapped the key in a towel, and went out to the porch to hammer it back into an almost straight position. It starts the car. Since that's what it's supposed to do I guess all is well. Except -- as I'm stepping back out of the car Joan says, "I'm sure glad you fixed that key. I need to go to the store on Friday." Silly me. Not once did I condsider that bent up key might be an inconvienance to her. When did I become a mandatory taxi, and not a favor? I didn't say anything because I know better than to argue with drunks -- but she's reminding me an awful lot why my exhusband is my ex-. How does one divorce a neighbor?

Proof I Have a Sunny Personality:

You are SUMMER. Life is to be -lived-.. dance, sing, and make merry. Adversity is simply something to overcome. You embrace life with both arms, not only because you love it, but to squeeze out of it all that you can.

What Season Are You?
created with

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Flashback in the Mail

This post is brought to you courtesy of my mailbox. Since I did not leave the house yesterday, I checked the mail today. There were three envelopes inside. One was the power bill. It was the only thing I received which I didn't like. From my sister, Jackie, came an ancient photograph (see left). She mailed it inside a gorgeous card (see above) made by my sister, Caryl. The photograph was taken in 1975. I was fourteen years old and I lived in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho that year with my father and step-mother. We used to go Square Dancing every Wednesday and Friday night. We are dressed for that event. My step-mother is on the left. My Gram is in the middle, wearing a dress I made. I am on the right, also in a dress I made. I am the tall one in the picture. That's a rarity since I'm only 5'4". The third thing my mailbox yielded was the information that my poem, Substance, has made it into the elimination round in a poetry contest. I entered the contest knowing it is a money making gimmick, but I've made it into the "you don't have to pay us to publish you" category, and am on my way to the, "we'll pay you," list. I am a bit curious though why the judges thought, Substance, a better poem than, Battered Rose. Oh well, as a poet I'll never make famous, but who needs fame when I have all of you?

Christmas Silliness

Many of you already know that my adorable Christmas kitten is crippled. One of her back legs lacks strength, so she wobbles when she walks. Despite the fact that she is now 8 months, 7 days old, she has not come to realize there are certain things she just should not do. For instance, she shouldn't try to sit on the arm of the couch, but she does so daily and falls to the floor for her effort. She tried to walk the edge of the sink the other day and fell in the dishwater. She hopped out onto the linoleum floor -- a place she has trouble running upright even when she is not wet and soapy. Last week she tried to follow Fluffy's leap from the arm of the couch to the top of the entertainment center. She crashed whiskers first into the TV and bounced to the floor. I am afraid Chrissy is rapidly using up her nine lives. This morning she tried to drown herself yet again. There is a shelf in the bathroom I keep empty for her to lay on (not by choice, if I don't keep it empty she dumps everything off of it and onto the floor). Beside that shelf is the water dish. As you can see from the photo the shelf is not high, but it is high enough to mess with Chrissy's balance. This morning she tried to get a drink while standing on the shelf. Instead she did a head stand in the water dish. While her antics are funny and I often laugh, underneath there is a bit of concern. Someday I am going to come home and find that one of her accidents has whisked away her very last life.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Egg on My Face

Despite the telephone ringing, despite the butler telling me I had email, I managed to cook two perfect eggs for my dinner. But -- there's always a but -- the toast never popped. Did you know that the machine has to be plugged in? It does. If you don't plug in the machine, you don't get toast. Who makes all these stupid rules, anyway?

This Day Passed Me By

Okay, it isn't over yet, but I sat down here for just a bit this morning to check my favorite blogs -- and suddenly it is 2:oo in the afternoon! How does this happen? And why does it always happen to me? I have read 24 blogs -- several of them twice. I've received 2 phone calls from my niece. I have read 20 or so pieces of email. And I have composed two poems to accompany some of Rob's gorgeous photographs. The poems you may view on my other blog -- Bits of Me in Poetry. Afterward, check out Rob's site, Controlled Chaos, to view the original photographs and many more!

More meme

Since my last post was a meme this seemed an appropriate follow up. I am very surprised at how much I agree with it.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile
Extroversion: You have medium extroversion. You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party. Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences. But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time." Conscientiousness: You have medium conscientiousness. You're generally good at balancing work and play. When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done. But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it. Agreeableness: You have high agreeableness. You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly. Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone. You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance. Neuroticism: You have low neuroticism. You are very emotionally stable and mentally together. Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly. Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure. Openness to experience: Your openness to new experiences is medium. You are generally broad minded when it come to new things. But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it. You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Wierd Meme Tag

Donnak has tagged me for the Weird Me meme. Here are the rules: List 5 weird things about yourself or your pets. Tag 5 friends and list them. Then, those people need to write on their blogs about 5 weird things, and state the rules, and tag 5 more people. Don't forget to let the people you tag know by posting a comment on their blog! I tag: Bill, Jenn, Nessa, Lori, & Bazza Weird Fact #1: I come from a "yours, mine and ours" family. If you count the "steps" I have six brothers and five sisters; yet I am the only child my parents had together. Weird Fact #2: My High School councelor told me that in light of my SAT scores I should find a nice boy, get married and have babies. I really believed I wasn't very bright. At 31 I finally enrolled in college. I graduated at the top of my class. Weird Fact #3: I ran away from home when I was a kid by hiding in the basement for a day. Weird Fact #4: When I was born my esophagus was not attached to my stomach. I have the distinction of being the first child who ever lived through the repairatory surgery. (Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Washington, 1959) Weird Fact #5: When I was six years old I fell out of a second story window and never hit the ground. I landed in a bush my mother planted when she was pregnant with me. I hate being tagged and I did this, so the five of you can, too!