Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wordpress Plug

Why I like Wordpress:
In the weeks I have been there, I've not experienced one outtage!
When you get email notification of a new comment on your post, it not only tells you which blog, it tells you which post!
When you write to tech support, you actually get support. They write back in less than 24 hours. And they don't act like you're an idiot -- even if you are an idiot.
You can edit comments. No more eternal spelling mistakes.
Their spam blocker works.
The post editing feature is awesome!
Wordpress supplies blog stats and feed stats on your dashboard.
Wordpress tells you when someone links to your blog.
Wordpress provides free pages.
Wordpress will import your archives from another blog! It is fast and painless.
Wordpress allows you to add your own post tags.
Comments are searchable and they come up in google searches!
One drawback:
You have to pay if you want to customize your template too much -- however, I have done plenty to make mine my own, and am happy with it.
You can now find me at:
Quilly's Ouips
The Grownups Wanted Us Dead
Bits of Me in Poetry

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I don't know why Blogger is refusing to paragraph the post below. I do know that I am tired of fighting to post. Ladies and gentlemen, Quilldancer has left the building. You will find me here: Quilly's Quips & Quotes, at Word Press. I haven't learned all I need to to be competent over there, but at least the mistakes will be my own! The blog has a new name, and a new look, but the content will remain the same. I hope to see you there!


In 1996-97 I worked at The Center For New Directions on the LCSC campus in Lewiston, Idaho. I was a job coach for the Idaho State Welfare Dept. My primary job function, contracted through Americorps, was to aid in teaching resume writing and interviewing skills to welfare recipients and prison parolees (attending the class was mandatory for receiving welfare and/or probation). I got to pass out gems of wisdom such as: "Shower; use deodorant; less cleavage, more skirt; clean your fingernails, brush your teeth ... There was one young woman whose name I can't believe I have forgotten. She came into my class furious at Welfare's insistence she get a job and support herself. She said, "Having babies and living on welfare is my job. Both my momma and my grandma did it. Why can't I?" She was also the one, 6 weeks later, who came back from a job interview, sat down at my desk and started to cry. "They hired me, but I can't do this job!" The job was at a plant nursery. They wanted her to pour water and pull weeds. "Why not?" I asked. She wailed, "They expect me to go to work everyday!" Everyday? Pft. Fancy that. One of my first students was a very tall and wide, 22 year-old parolee named Gina. She bulled into my classroom, invaded my personal space and shouted from about 6 inches above my head, "I'm f-ing not taking this class and you f-ing can't make me." My short 36 year-old over-fed self was thinking: I'm f-ing dead. Still, I opened my mouth and calmly said, "You're right. I can't make you." She backed up about two steps and looked at me in surprise. "Are you f-ing kidding? I can leave?" I gestured toward the door, "It's not locked." She moved toward the door. I backed toward my desk. As her hand touched the door knob I picked up the telephone receiver. "Gina," I queried, "Would you remind me, please -- is your parole officer Tom or Mike?" She stopped. She turned around. She sat down at a desk and folded her hands. She also became one of my most enthusiastic students and my ever present body guard. When the other parolees would act up Gina would rise to her feet and snap, "Hey, Teach don't disrespect you. You don't disrespect her!" I know nothing of Gina beyond my year at the CND, but when I left, she had graduated from my class, gotten a job and enrolled in college. One of the last things she said to me was, "When I grow up, I wanna be a do-gooder like you."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Flag That Stands For Freedom?

Contrast these words: innocent until proven guilty, against these:

According to Pentagon officials, the US targets included several alleged al-Qaida members suspected of organising the attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
We are the terrorists. My soul hurts.
"They [the Americans] must have believed they knew where the al-Qaida suspects were. It seems they decided to kill everything within a certain grid square and then find out what they had hit."
These days I find it much harder to be proud of being an American.

And the Winner Is ...

Despite the fact that I am not feeling well, I did a bit of cleaning yesterday. My strength soon left me and I quit without dragging the vacuum cleaner down the hall and putting it away. I just left it sitting near the love seat in the living room. This morning when I entered the living room, Chrissy was on her hind legs batting at Fluffy, who was on the love seat. I walked passed and told them to "play nice." They never listen. I sat down at the comp, typed in my email password and Fluffy let out an indignant yeowl. I looked up in time to see both cats collide in mid-air and land on the vacuum cleaner. One of them hit the power switch and the machine roared to life. Fluffy bounced off the entertaiment center and the wall in his mad dash for freedom. Chrissy made it from the living room to the kitchen and into my arms in two giant leaps. The vacuum cleaner is off. Has been for ten minutes. Fluffy is at the end of the hall giving his best vocal impression of a siamese warrior, and Chrissy is curled up next to my feet under the blanket I have over my legs. Occasionally I feel her tremble. I think it is safe to say that my darlings each scared away one of their nine lives today.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Do Not Disturb

I took my allergy meds and had a short rest. I woke feeling much better and wandered to the kitchen for a bite of food. I then went back to get my novel and make the bed. I found this: And received this response when I asked him to move. He is curled up in a lovely sunbeam. And moving him just seemed mean, so he is still there and the bed remains unmade. But don't go getting the idea that that means my cat is spoiled.


Going to bed. Somebody bring me some hot tea, please.

Wake Up, It's Monday

Wake your brain with this: Four Comedians -- all with today's date in common: Who are they? 1.) Corporal Randolph Agarn 2.) Sidekick to both Roy Rogers & Gene Autry, and extreme irritant to Eddie Arnold. 3.) *Became famous playing a British cad: one such character was named: Lt. Col. Algernon Hawthorne 4.) A man of many voices who often had pie in his face. As a child his brothers called him, "Soup Bone." Extra Credit: Which two were born on this date in history? Which two died on this date in history? *Question three was modified after Doug graded my grammar and found me lacking.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Part 2 A ~Real~ Day in My Life ..

This is the second half of a real day in my life, January 5th, 2007, which actually started on the previous blog entry. This is part 2. (See also:Part 1 and Part 1.5. 11:40 a.m. Bring students in from playground, try to take electronic attendance -- the network is still down. Grr... Argh! And that scraps my computer lab lesson plans. Okay. No habitat research online. Fine. We'll just move on to Social Studies and extend the period, then we'll transition to writing a little early and extend that period as well. 11:52 p.m. ran finger over laptop mouse and was surprised when the screen didn't light up. :( This comp is never off when I am at work. My lesson plans are in there! 1:07 p.m. I decide to do some grading while my students work on their writing. My grade book is electronic. Pft. 1:10 p.m. living dangerously -- I am about to open my novel and read while my students write. I hope they don't know that if I get really into the book, they could all get up and leave without me noticing. 1:24 p.m. Cindy comes to me and says, "I can't spell inbaressed. It isn't in the dictionary." I said, "It starts with e-m." She said, "Why? That's silly." "Embarrassed," I said slowly. "E-m. Trust me." "Okay," she said, "I'll look, but I'm sure you're wrong." She went back to her seat. I watched her flip the dictionary pages. She stopped, ran her finger down the page, stopped again, then looked up at me in surprise. Fancy that. Teacher is right. 1:48 p.m. Still no Internet. I forgot to go to the bathroom at lunch time and there are still 51 minutes to break. Argh! 2:15 p.m. the NCLB tutor students leave for their special class. 2:17 p.m. the NCLB special tutor students return to get their tutoring notebooks and pencils. 2:32 p.m. We've been listening to Mr. Texas-Drawl through the wall for over 45 minutes. He hasn't stopped talking. I wonder when his kids have any time to get their work done. Mr. Texas-Drawl comes through the door talking. He gives my class the Vince Lombardo-Jim Valvano speech he just gave his own. We all stare at him in shock. He ltells a joke, laughs at it all by himelf, then leaves the room as abruptly as he arrived. 2:40 p.m. I tell my students to "Clean it up and get ready to go." Chaos ensures for 60 seconds while bags are packed, chairs are stacked and the homework assignment is repeated 16 times. My kids march off to P.E. I march off for my daily professional development class. 3:30 p.m. bell rings, kids leave, silence falls 3:35 p.m. I look at my laptop and realize I could have used the computer any time I liked. All I had to do before I turned it back on was unplug from the school network and Internet. I was told to turn it off. I turned it off. How can I expect to teach the kids to think when I just blindly follow orders? 4:00 p.m. home, check the net, change my clothes, head for the gym. 4:35 p.m. weigh-in. My weight stayed exactly the same. I think that is pretty good considering the holidays. I didn't lose, but I didn't gain, either. I lost a few more inches, and my body fat dropped three-tenths of a percent. Not great strides, but any loss is better than a gain. 4:50 p.m. exercise routine (45 minutes), and then home for the evening. A little dinner, a little Internet, a little novel reading, and bed. I hope you enjoyed this day in my life.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A ~Real~ Day in My Life ...

Since my blog is titled, "A Day in the Life ..." I thought I'd share one with you -- that is, one full day in my life. Here is January 5th, 2007, in detail -- which actually started on the previous blog entry: 6:50 a.m., arrive at school. Prep class for morning lessons. Check email. Start this log. 7:46 a.m. a CCSD maintenance duo just came through. They explained that they are here in response to an A/C work order. It was dated August. I assured them we don't want air. They are next-door in Mrs. Whiner's room working on the thermostat. I am worried. 7:55 a.m., the CCSD maintenance duo return to my room. "Ma'am, how has your classroom temperature been this week?" I answer quickly and enthusiastically, "Perfect." The men look at each other. One of them nods. The other says, "Okay." They go to my thermostat box and make adjustments. Finally they turn to leave. As they walk out the door one calls back over his shoulder, "You should be warmer soon." 7:59 a.m.; I tell the AP about the above encounter. He admonishes me. "What is the matter with you? You should have lodged a complaint! That they would have ignored." He's right, you know. 8:06 a.m., Jasmine is absent. It is her job to turn the TV on for student broadcast (wholly student run daily school news production, Pansy Petite is the producer). I said, "Someone turn the TV on." Cindy grabbed the remote and pushed the power button. Nothing happened. She pushed the power button again. Again. Again. No TV. She asked for fresh batteries. I told her I'd just changed those before Winter Break. She wailed, "But they don't work. Now what do we do?" Jose said, "Oh, gee, let's try this." He walked over to the TV and pushed the power button. The picture emerged. Cindy said, "I'd never have thought of that." I told her I didn't think I was going to be able to pass her to 6th grade. 8:21 a.m., broadcast ended. I said, "Could we turn the TV back off?" Jake reached out, grabbed the remote Cindy had left on his desk, pointed it at the TV, pushed the button -- and the picture disappeared. Cindy burst out, "That's just not fair!" 8:26 a.m., the PA system clicks on, music fills the room, that is our signal that it is time to transition to Reading class. I tell my students to hand in their math pop quiz. My students sit at tables. Handing in their papers simply means passing them to the end of their table and waiting for me to walk by and pick them up. This helps keep them neat and save confusion. As I picked up the last stack of papers I glanced down. There was no name on the top paper. Nothing unusual there. I recognized the handwriting. "Jon, you've forgotten to put your name on your paper again." I hand it back to him as a chorus of dismayed, Oh's!" filled the room. A half dozen kids rushed over and rifled through my tidy paper pile .... 8:30 a.m., Isaac enters reading class. "It is cold," he says. "May I shut the door?" I tell him no, not everybody is here. Two minutes pass as kids straggle in. Isaac repeats, "I am cold. May I shut the door?" We are still missing six students or so. I say, no. Moments later the last few students enter the room. I am sitting in my oral reading chair. The class is clustered on the floor at my feet. Isaac included. It is very cold in the room. I look at him and say, "Isaac, what's the matter with you? Were you born in a barn? For pete's sake, go close the door!" The class laughs. Isaac gets up and stomps to the door, grumbling, "All right! All right! All right! Make up your mind already!" Door closed he turns back, irrepressible Isaac-grin upon his face. "Anyway, who's Pete and why does he get to have the door closed?" I answer, "Pete is my favorite student and he gets to have the door closed because I like him." More laughter. Isaac pretends to pout. 9:27 a.m. -- no Internet access. 9:44 a.m., Isaac said he couldn't find the answer to question three on his reading comprehension check sheet. I told him I was certain he would find the answer if he read page 33 of the text. He responds with disgust, "I have to read the story?" Sam pipes up, "Do I have to read it, too?" Uhmmm, yes. That would be why we call it reading class. I refrain from twapping both of them. 9:56 a.m., the hot glue gun, despite being plugged in for 20 minutes, won't dispense the glue. I push on the glue stick, hard. Hot glue squirts out of the gun and splatters all over the computer screen. No glue will come out on the back of my poster. Note to self: Do not buy another 99 cent glue gun. Pft. 10:03 a.m., still no Internet connection. 10:15 a.m., math class, the students need tape measures. I remember that they are in the bottom bin of the three storage bins stacked behind the television stand. Joy. 10:19 a.m., students measuring various body parts with tape measures. After they are finished we will compare the shortest child in the class, Pansy Petite, with the tallest child in the class, Jon. Following that, I will tell them about old-fashioned measurements (handfuls, arm spans, paces) and ask them how accurate they would be from person to person. (Could Jon and Pansy follow the same recipe and get the same outcome? What if they were measuring material or pacing off a boundry?) Then I will start the Math unit on standard measurement. 10:26 a.m. STILL no Internet connection 10:31 a.m. Jake approaches me as I am working with the two Cindys. He says, "Can I go to the bathroom?" I answer, "I don't know. Do you know how?" He responds, "Huh?" One of the Cindys says, "May I please go to the bathroom?" Jake responds, "Hey! I asked first!" I don't think he'll be passing 5th grade, either. 10:44 a.m., Dave, Jose & Rico approach my desk, tape measure in hand. "Ms. A." Dave says, "We measured the centimeters, but the millimeters are too small to count." I said, "You measured the centimeters?" They nodded. "Well then, why don't you just multiply them by 10 to get the millimeters?" "Oh yeah!" Dave says, "Just like in math class!" I refrain from twapping him. 10:51 a.m. STILL no Internet. At 11:20 when I am relieved of duty for an hour (lunch and prep perios), I am going home! A body can't be expected to survive in these primitive circumstances! Btw, it is cold in my classroom. 11:22 a.m. Mrs. B. walked through my door to teach my students for 40 minutes and I shot off campus like a crossbow arrow -- cognizant all the way home that a speeding ticket would keep me from the net. 11:32 a.m. home: I placed a phone call to a friend -- two minutes later than our appointed time. It usually only takes me 7 minutes to get home, but since I was hurrying it took longer. Pft. 12:29 p.m., I return to my classroom in time to hear the PA reminder that all computers should have been shut done 5 minutes earlier for the server repairs. There are seven computers in my classroom. I can tell at a glance that all are on. I cross the room and pull the main power cord. Off. Well, six of them anyway. I was a bit more gentle with my beloved laptop. If you enjoy this, I will post the remaining adventures of the day later this weekend.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Twilight Zone

6:40 a.m., driving to work: between distorted black clouds, the sky is laden gray. The moon still hangs above the western mountains. Because of a heavy cloud bank, the sun has yet to come up, an eerie phenomena in this, the land of perpetual sun. The wind is gusting up to 18 miles per hour. A plastic trash can ran the red light at Las Vegas Blvd. and Cheyenne Ave., causing an SUV to swerve, narrowly missing my front end. Both the Internet and the heat are working in my classroom at the same time. I have a feeling this is going to be a Chris Van Allsburg sort of day. NOON -- update: The net is down at work. I had to come home at lunch time for an email fix.

Intermittent Internet

At work yesterday the Internet chose to behave in a despicable manner, taking up to 40 minutes to load a page. A little after one o'clock in the afternoon, the system crashed altogether. I guess they don't realize that a couple of months ago I started to mainline my email and only disconnect when I absolutely have to. (Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, I refuse to put email on my cell phone. Then I'd never get anything done!) At any rate, my work friends know how I feel about my Internet connectivity, so I got a lot of teasing yesterday. Mr. Texas-Drawl opened the connecting door between our rooms shortly after the system expired completely. I was at the board teaching math. "Oh, good!" He said. "You're still standing. I was certain I would have to call 911." Today, with the unknowing (I stole it) help of my friend, Bill, who calls himself, "Old Fart," (I refuse to, he is younger than I), I present my intervention strategies: click on image to enlarge

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Getting It Write

I really do love teaching. When I am in the classroom interacting with the students, life is good. Today's writing prompt was:

There are many exciting people in the world. Tell about one.
I wrote the prompt on the board and then displayed a poster board with a non-example on it. I read the prompt, then I went to stand next to my student, Cindy, and read the poster:
My friend, Cynthia, is very exciting. She is in the fifth grade, has brown hair and brown eyes and is a good student. I like her a lot.
Finally I asked: Would that be an acceptable paragraph? The class chorused, "No!" So far, so good. I asked, "Why not?" Rick said, "It wasn't long enough." Moses said, "No! No! Cynthia is not your friend, she is your student." The little voice in the back of my head said, Oh yeah, this is going well. Then Jasmine raised her hand. "Your paragraph is boring," she announced. Finally, my little voice chanted, but I pretended shock. "Boring? What do you mean?" Jasmine said, "The prompt wants to know something exciting about Cindy. You just listed a bunch of ordinary facts." "Oh!" I exclaimed, over-acting as usual. "So, what do I need to do to make the paper more exciting?" Jon, who sits beside Cindy, looked over at her and drawled, "First, choose another person ..." The class laughed and Jasmine waved her arm frantically. "Choose me! Choose me!"" "Can't," I answered. "It says amazing person, not obnoxious person." Jasmine responded with her standard open-mouthed, wide-eyed -- Who me? -- head shake. "You have a problem?" I asked her. "You just called me obnoxious! You can't do that!" Jasmine over-acts, too. We make a great team. I responded with a question, "Weren't you the kid that just came to my desk and asked me 473 questions in less than three minutes, while I was trying to read?" Jasmine tried to hold her indignant pose, but cracked up laughing. I nodded my head at her. "Yep. See. I win. Obnoxious." Jasmine turned to Pansy Petite. "Ms. A. always wins, but someday I'll get her!" Pansy nodded her head, "You just keep believing that," she said. And then she rolled her eyes.

Re-educating Squirrels

And when you finally get off the wheel, you sip from the chrome nipple, grab a kibble and snuggle down in your bed of wood shavings ...
That was a comment on the post beneath this from a friend whose intent, I'm certain, was to entertain me after a long and hectic day of teaching. Unfortunately after reading it, I read the news article just below and the two mingled together in my mind, triggering my ever increasing sense of futility.
Nevada Near The Bottom In Education Survey 01-04-2007 4:41 AM (Reno, NV) -- Nevada ranks near the bottom in a new national report on education. The "Quality Counts" report by "Education Week" magazine ranks Nevada 44th out of the 50 states when it comes to such issues as student proficiency in math and reading, and for relatively low graduation rates. Nevada also ranks low when it comes to a student's chance of going through school and college on the way to a good-paying job. But state education officials say Nevada's results are skewed by the fact that the Las Vegas Valley makes up nearly 80 percent of the state's student body. The Clark County School District is the fifth-largest in the nation, and is dealing with such issues as tremendous growth and a rising non-English student population. Copyright 2007 Metro Networks Communications Inc., A Westwood One Company
Research in second language learners tells us that it takes students an average of five years to consistantly comprehend a casual conversation in English. Research further indicates that it takes another two years to for the second language learner to be able to wholly comprehend academic language. Despite reams of research gathered over the past couple of decades, our esteemed government, lead by our Fearful Leader, Dubya, passed the No Child Left Behind Act, demanding that every child in a U.S. school be fully competent in English within three years of enrolling in the system. On one hand, I suppose I should be pleased that my government has so much faith in my ability to teach. Unfortunately I can't enjoy that delusion because I know where the real learning difficulty lies, and I don't have access to the Oval Office. If you are interested in reading more on this topic read: No Child Left Behind, One Teacher's Perspective and/or FP Update: Must Be Spring, The Teachers Are Leaving


Our school day is arranged in such a way that I have two 40 minute work periods per day without my students. For one 40 minute work period, I am free to grade papers, make photocopies and do whatever else needs doing. For the other 40 minute work period I am required to attend a professional development class. The classes focus on our currirulum and programs. The classes are designed to make us better at our jobs. These classes rotate in 10 day cycles. Every ten days I spend 40 minutes with my team going over the math curriculum. Every ten days I spend 40 minutes with my team going over the science (social studies, reading, etc.) curriculum. Every ten days I facilitate the Writing Curriculum meetings. This means I plan the lesson, prepare the materials and present them to three individual groups of teachers. My day looks like this: 7:00 a.m. arrive in the classroom and make certain all is ready for the day 8:00 a.m. whole school assembly on the playground 8:15 a.m. in classroom, morning "warm up" on the board, TV on to the school news, students eating breakfast (whole school 100% free breakfast in the classroom every morning) 8:30 a.m. pass the sub at the door and head for Kindergarten Writing Class -- teach teachers 9:10 a.m. return to class, pass the sub at the door and pick up threads of the reading lesson -- teach students 10:05 a.m. reading students leave, math students arrive -- at same time pass sub at the door and head for the Second Grade Writing Class -- teach teachers 10:45 a.m. return to class, pass the sub at the door and pick up threads of the math lesson -- teach students 11:20 a.m. -- meet with the Principal about Writing Professional Development Classes 11:40 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. student free work period and lunch 12:30 p.m. -- pass the sub at the door and head for First Grade Writing Class -- teach teachers 1:10 p.m. return to class, pass the sub at the door and pick up threads of the science lesson -- teach students (then transition to writing & afterward Social Studies) 2:40 p.m. -- take students to P.E., attend 5th grade writing team meeting 3:25 p.m. pick students up from P.E., return students to classroom to gather all personal possessions 3:30 p.m. walk students to the gate and wave good-bye Normally, that should be it, but on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I tutor after school. So yesterday: 3:30 pm. prepare tutoring lessons 3:45 p.m. pick up students in gym -- teach (Math: mean, median, mode, minimum, maximum & range) 5:15 p.m. return students to gym -- hand them over to parents, wave good-bye 5:25 p.m. off the clock -- finally Tired -- not so much from the time spent, or the activities, but all the gear switching. What time is it? Where am I? And where should I really be?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


If you want a good belly laugh, go here and read this: Of Long Drops, Land Crabs, and the Prerequisites for a Life in Science. I'm still wiping my eyes and trying to breathe after laughing so hard. Besides, I got nothing for you today but the silly meme in the post below.

Another Meme

I did something like this Meme recently, but I'm tired and my brain isn't up to being clever. Plus this is going to be a doozy of a day. This is the 10th day of the teaching cycle so today I will be in and out of my classroom, teaching teachers part of the time and students part of the time. After school I will tutor. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I got to work at 7 a.m. and get off at 5:30 p.m. That's a hard way to begin after an extended vacation. Anyway, this thing came to me in my email from my dear (non-blogging) friend, Angela. 1. Do you have any nicknames? I am not telling you guys. And my sisters will be quiet! (An observant person could figure it out, searching my blogs.) 2. What is your favorite drink? water 3. Tattoos? no way 4. Any piercing? Ears -- long since grown closed 5. How much do you love your job? depends on what day it is 6. Favorite vacation spot? mountains 7. Ever been to Africa? Nope 8. Ever steal any traffic signs? no, but I stole a traffic cone once 9. Ever been in a car accident? Yes 10. How many doors does your car have? 4 11. Salad dressing? Ranch 12 Favorite number? 7 13. Favorite holiday? Christmas 14. Favorite food? Chicken 15. Favorite day of the week? Sunday 16. Favorite brand of body soap? not picky 17. Favorite Tooth Paste? Tom's All Natural 18. Favorite smell! lilacs 19. What do you do to relax? read 21. How do you see yourself in 10 years? much thinner 22. What do you do when you are bored? bored? What is bored? 23. Furthest place you will send this message? the outer reaches of the blogosphere 24. Who will respond fastest? You are not tagged! 25. Put an X in front of all the things you have done. Remove the X from the things you have not. In your life have you ever: (x) Smoked a cigarette (x) Drank so much you threw up ( ) Crashed a friend's car ( ) Stolen a car (x) Been in love (x) Been dumped (x) Been laid off/fired (x) Been in a fist fight ( ) Been shot at ( ) Been stabbed ( ) Snuck out of your parent's house (x) Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back. (x) Gone on a blind date (x) Skipped school ( ) Seen someone die (x) Been to Canada ( ) Been to Mexico (x) Been on a plane (x) Been lost (x) Been on the opposite side of the country (x) Swam in the ocean (x) Felt like dying (x) Cried yourself to sleep ( ) Played cops and robbers naked? ( ) Recently colored with crayons ( ) Sang karaoke (x) Paid for a meal with only coins (x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't(Who hasn't?) (x) Made prank phone calls (x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose (x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue (x) Danced in the rain (x) Written a letter to Santa Claus ( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe (x) Watched the sun rise with someone you care about or love (x) Blown bubbles (x) Made a bonfire on the beach ( ) Crashed a party (x) Gone roller-skating (x) Gone ice-skating Oh, and Angela? I enjoyed this much more than I enjoyed the Wendy's Frosty in my shoe!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hi Ho, Hi Ho & Other Parades

It's off to work I go. Bleh .... You know, when they pay you to stay home (vacation), it is awfully hard to muster the energy to return to work. Lately I've been up every morning an hour and a half before the alarm. This morning I almost slept clear through. Why is that? WORK! That's why. The good news is, I love my students and all will fall into place when I see their smiling faces. Right? Yesterday I was featured on, The Bestest Blog of All-Time, as a "rerun" Monday. My repeat 24 hours of fame brought me twice as many hits as my first run! On Sunday evening 132 people skipped by my blog. On Monday, 529 people passed through. Out of all those people, only my regular peeps and three new people posted. It was rather like having a New Year's Day parade pass thorugh the living room -- except they weren't waving! (Just as well! Can you imagine answering all those comments!) Oh yeah, WORK! Better run ...

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Memories

New Year's Day, 1982 found me living in a 10 x 15 cabin 17 miles above Victor, Montana. There was no running water, no electricity and the heat was provided by a wood burning stove in the corner of the main room. Snow rose to the windows. The bathroom was out the door and down the path. A squirrel had nested between the cealing and the beams, and he would toss nut shells at us as we attended our business. The insult was that we had given him the nuts in the first place. The only other building on the property was the barn -- glorious, new, much bigger and in much better condition than the house. The day dawned bright and clear. The thermometer rose to a whopping 37 degrees, a welcome change from subzero weather. We went outside in our shirt sleeves to split and haul more firewood before the next cold front. As we worked, a power truck rolled across the cattle guard and pulled up in front of the cabin. A driver emerged, clipboard in hand, and asked where he could find our power meter. I told him we didn't have one. He tapped his clipboard. "It says right here you do. I'll just be looking for it if you don't mind." I shrugged my shoulders and told him to go right ahead. My companion suggested that if he found a power meter, he please tell us where. We kept working. The power guy circled the house, the outhouse, and the barn. He came back and asked for permission to check inside the out buildings. I told him to help himself. He poked around in the barn a bit -- even climbed the ladder and looked in the loft. I showed him the interior of our two room shack. Finally, he walked the fence line and then returned to where we were working and pronounced, "You people don't have electricity!" Shortly after the power truck slid down the hill and out to the main road, a car that had no business climbing our drive in that kind of snow rolled in. We quit working and walked toward it. A young woman emerged. She said, "I am lost and I simply must use your facilities." She walked straight to the house and opened the door without so much as a by-your-leave. My companion and I looked at each other in shock. I shrugged. Seconds later she popped back out the door. "Where is your bathroom?" She demanded. My companion pointed toward the outhouse. The woman spun on her heal and marched toward it. The squirrel followed her, hopping from tree to tree. I turned to my companion. "Should we tell her?" My companion shook his head. "Nope." She opened the outhouse door as the squirrel scampered over the roof. We heard a loud chatter, a startled scream and the girl came running back up the path. "I don't have to go that bad!" She yelled, then dove into her car. Just before she fishtailed down the drive, my companion yelled at her, "Turn left at the main road and go straight!"

Suddenly Popular

I glanced at my sitemeter and thought it must have freaked out. There is no way I had over 100 visits in two hours so early in the morning on New Year's Day. I clicked on the numbers to check my statistics. Whoa! Eleven people reading my blog all at the same time? No way. I pinched myself, then I checked my pulse. I wondered if I was dreaming. How the heck did I suddenly become so popular? That's when I got the email from Bobby. The light dawned. Here's a wave to all you folks from The Bestest Blog of All-Time, and a special thanks to Alessia for reviewing my blog. Happy New Year!

Start as You Plan to Continue

Start the new year the way you plan to continue. Many people start theirs with love and family and laughter. Still others start by drinking to excess. There are too many who start the new year in need and look toward the future with dispair. Because of them, I started my new year in prayer. However you started this new year, my prayer for you is that all of your needs and some of your wants are met, and that you realize a few of your dreams. Happy 2007.