Sunday, September 6, 2009


I had a visitor to my classroom last week after all were gone. I was gone this day and the visitor came between the time the sub left and the custodian came to empty trash. The picture above is the result of my visitor. Papers were scattered on the floor, covered by coins used in math. On my chair, a bottle of hand sanitizer was emptied then covered with beans from a cup to hold pencils. Thankfully it could all be picked up with nothing permanently damaged.

The culprit was discovered after reviewing tapes. Another classroom had also been violated with candy taken. Consequences were applied. Another day in the life.......

New Dishwasher

Unlike my amazing sister who seems to figure out how to fix anything, my fix-it strategy is usually "buy a new one." I put this strategy into place when my dishwasher showed signs of leaking.

My son and I went window-shopping for a new dishwasher at 3 places. The first place the prices were all much higher than I was willing to spend. The second place had moderate prices and the salesman ( Who we found out later was the owner of the shop) spent about 30 minutes with us showing us all the features of various brands and models. The final place we went to was a big box store and the prices here were the lowest. Yet, as we stood looking at what was available no one ever came to help us or ask if we had questions.

I decided to go with the little more expensive product from the local shop with the customer service. When I called the next day to purchase the dishwasher over the phone, I was sure to tell the owner that his service is what sold me. The dishwasher was installed that afernoon and I couldnt wait to dirty enough dishes to use it!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Knowing What to Do

I was in a quandry earlier this week. There was something I wanted to do, but felt a reservation about doing it. I fretted for more than a day waffling between doing this and not doing this. I thought about the possible consequences pro and con about it and I thought about what I might miss out on if I didn't do it. ( I tend to over think things *sigh*) "What shall I do? What shall I do?" I repeated several times over the course of a few hours.

"You know what to do" was the inaudible voice in my being.

"But that doesn't help me, " I argued. "I don't know what to do--I want to do this but I don't know if I should right now!"

"You know what to do." The feeling persisted.

I decided that the time was not right for what I wanted to do and that I would pass for now, regardless of any missed opportunity.

And a peace fell over me. The anxiousness rolled away. All is good.

I guess I reallly did know what to do.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philipians 4:7

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Blogs in my head

Do you find yourself writing blogs in your head? I do. If I actually wrote our every blog I think up this blog would be overflowing--or at least daily.

Usually these blogs write themselves in my head while I am busy doing something. I make a mental note to "get this on my blog." But sometimes I don't get to my blog until hours or days later. By that time I have either forgotten what I wrote or the idea doesn't seem as relevant as it did when my mind crafted it. Occaisionally, the topic will show up on here but more often it doesn't.

Is this something that happens to others who keep a blog? Do you write blogs in your head?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Supreme Court Nominee Sonia

I had a bit of a bias against Sonia Sotomayor when President Obama nominated this Hispanic woman to the Supreme Court and asked that the confirmation hearings be rushed to let her join the court before the next Session in October.

I felt that Obama merely nominated her because she was both a woman and a minority. If confirmed Judge Sotomayor will be only the third female Supreme Court Justice ( the first two being Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg) and the first Hispanic.
Some controversy surrounding Judge Sotomayor some of her rulings and her speech that implies that she is biased towards people of color and towards women. Senate confirmation committee hearings have been taking place this week and Judge Sotomayer has been on the hotseat in front of a bipartisan panel of Senators.
I have been watching the hearings and although I don't know if my feelings have changed towards her nomination, but I do know that I have a respect for her. Sonia Sotomayor is intelligent, cool under pressure, and classy. If I am to take her for her words, I feel she would make an excellent Justice. The question is whether her words match her true nature.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New Words

A book my students like to read is Frindle by Andrew Clements. In short, it is the story about an upper elementary boy trying to create a new word after he finds out that the English language is dynamic. It is a great book--a favorite of not only my students, but of mine too.

I am reminded of Frindle this week after seeing that Merriam-Webster has released a sampling of the new words they are adding to the 2009 Update of the 11th edition of their dictionary. Just like the character in Frindle discovered, when people start using words and they become a part of the vernacular-they may just become "official" and be placed in the dictionary.

Here are some of the new words and their definition.
  • staycation - staying home or close to it for vacation
  • carbon footprint - the negative impact someone has on the environment
  • frenemy- one who pretends to be a friend, but is actually an enemy
  • locavore- one who eats foods produced locally whenever possible
  • webisode- an episode that may or may not have been telecast but can be seen on the web
  • zip line - a cable that is suspended above an incline, with a pulley and harness attached for a rider
  • cardioprotective- serving to protect the heart

Now you can use these words formally and not be worried!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Before and After: The Story of Progress

Before & After : The story of Progress

Driving down the two lane road with no shoulders to my home used to be called the "back way." There are better roads that are used to get through town , however we never actually call them the front way. The first picture above was taken on a road similar to my "back way" because PROGRESS is coming to the back way. The route is scenic with huge trees lining it. Instead of shoulders next to the road you have ditches that threatened to swallow your car should you slide too far over. Wildlife crosses the road occasionally, therefore one always needs to drive slowly yet hardly no one does.

Welcome Progress. The second picture above is the face of progress. The powers that be have decided to upgrade the road, no doubt because the back way is now becoming a front way. Planning commissions are even thinking of extending it a few miles from here to reach to the interstate.

While it will be safer and much easier to to drive on the new roadway, someone has to sacrifice to make it happen. The most direct sacrificer ( is that a word??) is the TREES. Within a week the land was raped and violated as trees were chopped down, pulverized into huge mulch piles and bulldozed to prepare the land for shoulders and wider lanes. The scene was shocking and sad.
Progress is good, but it leaves questions:
  • Where will the deer and bunnies sleep?
  • Will the neighborhood get louder now that the buffer is gone and presumably more traffic will flow?
  • Is progress really progress? What about the benefits of mature trees, i.e. beauty, oxygen, shade?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Castle

The castle: that is what I used to call this building as we were driving towards downtown on our way to my dad's work. If you stretch far enough, you could even say that the castle is the most interesting part of our city skyline--a skyline that you can barely see when you are at that one intersection on Stadium Boulevard.
In reality, this is the Student Union at our University. I found myself across the street from here for the second time in the last month as I attended performances of former students. Ok, well, not my students, but former students of a friend of mine. We watched a dance recital with ballerinas and this week we were entertained with a cello performance.
I'm going to the castle get some culture!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just what I Need!

Uh oh. I did it again. Let me loose with a credit card, the Internet, and a desire to learn and I spend WAY too much money!

I bought 7-8 books today. Here is my rationalization:

I bought 2-3 books on teaching students who are not native English speakers. This was my first year teaching ELL's [English Language Learners] and it was a steep learning curve. My students were literally just off the boat and it was time to test them with our state tests for No Child Left Behind and accountability. Now how can you test someone who cannot even speak the language?? I don't get it, but it doesn't matter-- it is a fact. I must teach these children and I need some help from others who have gone before me. Therefore, a couple of books on strategies to use with ELL's.

Then I also found some books on writing-- a good little book by Ralph Fletcher teaching children to write the story or their lives. It looks like an informative book written for kids on their level. I had to have it!

The "sisters" have a new book out called The Cafe that is a good nuts and bolts book on how to make literacy work in the classroom --conferences, assessments, mini-lessons--everything. I saw lots of charts in this book, so I thought it was a must read!

None of the books I bought were simply for pleasure. They all have to do with teaching and learning. I wonder if I could get a tax break?? Probably not.

Those of you who know me well know that what I really need is more books. My only problem now is where am I going to put them??

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Afternoon Adventure

My friend called the other day. She had just purchased a Garmin GPS system and wanted to go out and try it. We were off on an adventure! We spent the afternoon typing in locations and letting Garmin tell us where to go. There were only a few times that Garmin led us down a wrong street.
A fun afternoon--- geesh-- what does this say about me?? :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Paths Uncrossed

This will probably be the last time a picture with these four co-workers together will be taken. Not because of some rift, but because each of us will soon be traveling down a different path.

At one time, the four of us all worked together teaching children in the same elementary school. Last year, Cindy ( in light blue) left the elementary school and began working in a secondary position. At the conclusion of this year, Janie ( in white) is retiring after 32 years in public education. Tara (in dark blue) just found out that she has been awarded a grant to attend graduate school in the fall, so she is taking a leave of absence next year. I (in red) will continue to teach in the same classroom as this year.

Of course, we all promise to stay in touch and get together but the probability of that happening on a regualr basis is low. We are all too busy. It does not diminish the friendships we've cultivated for the last 5-8 years, but it is reality.

So the paths that crossed for a period of time now uncross and untangle. These gals have been more than colleagues, they have been friends. They have given support, shared stories, and lent a helping hand. I honor them and their work. I will miss working with this crew.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Check out this blog!

Take a look at Dottie's Blog

She makes beautiful floral pieces and is having a give-away.

Check it out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A modern day connection

We're learning about the body systems and a group were presenting on the Nervous System. They explained that the brain sends and receives messages by way of the nerves and spinal cord. A girl raised her hand and made this timely connection: It's like texting---only faster!

Being known

A first grader approached me in the hall on the way to lunch. She asked me what grade I was in. I replied I was in 4th grade and asked her if she knew anyone in 4th grade. I thought perhaps she had an older sibling or cousin.

The young girl thought for a minute then said, "Nope, except for MM." I told her that I knew MM, but that she was not in my class. The girl looked at me again with a puzzled look on her face. "What's your name?" she asked. Again, I replied and told her my name.

Immediately, the little girl blurt out " I've never heard of you in my life!" then spun around and walked off.

I guess that is that!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dogs on the Loose

One day last week while eating lunch, the voice on the intercom notified us that all children will be brought inside and there would be no outdoor recess until further notice. A loose dog was in the area and this was all done for safety's sake. Within the next few minutes, I saw our school resource officer out in the parking lot scanning the area. While I thought "this is a first" I didn't feel it was scary. I was glad our school was taking a safety view of the situation.

Later in the afternoon I went to the office and inquired what the details were. They had not much to offer except the fact that Joint Communications had called saying there was a report of a vicious dog in the area.

The evening news filled in most of the gaps and made the whole situation even more scarier than what i had imagined. At a nearby shopping area, two pitbulls were loose in the parking lot chasing customers. People were running up on their hoods and roofs of their vehicles to escape the dogs. One store manager tried to distract a dog from chasing a woman and succeeded in getting bitten. One woman reported that she went driving around the parking lot to warn people just pulling in to stay in their cars. Imagine if you had your young children with you --how would you escape the raging dogs?

Eventually the police arrived and they attempted to distract the dogs. One dog lunged at the policeman and the dog was shot. The other ran off later to be found back at his nearby home.
The owner of the dogs was cited for assault.
Letting my imagination run, I wonder what the scene would've been if the dogs had made their way to the schoolyard where kids were out playing at recess. Now that's scary!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


We enter this world alone and we exit it alone.

I do not like being alone. Is that the fear I feel when I go somewhere? The fear of aloneness even within the midst of a crowd of people?

Maybe we are not alone. Maybe we always have God with us. Maybe as we enter the world God is with us—guiding us and protecting us. Maybe as we exit the world God is with us comforting us ready to welcome us home.

Did Dad have God with him when he left this life? Was he scared? Did he know there were loved ones –his brothers and his wife there? Did he think of his daughters at all in his last moments? His daughters who impotently sat 8000 miles away without the means to know what he was going through. Were his last breaths full of struggling thoughts, peaceful ones or devoid of thoughts at all.

Did Mom have God with her as she slipped out of this life? Were there any thoughts surrounding her as she lay in the coma? Did she know that she was going to die as she lay in the hospital bed unable to put her thoughts and words together?

Where are my parents now? Are they together? Are they singing with the angels along with the chorus filled with other loved ones? Or, ban the thought, are one or both gone for eternity.
These are the thoughts that rumble through my mind and dwell as I spend time alone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Taj Mahal

My daughter Vicki has been in India this month ministering to college students. While in India, she is required to wear traditional Indian dress. The group took a trip to visit the Taj Mahal.
Looking up the Taj Mahal, I learned that it was completed about 1652. It is a Mausoleum built to honor the emperor's wife who died while giving birth to her 14th child. There are aproximately 2 -4 million visitors to the Taj Mahal annually. The Taj Mahal is considered a fine example of Mughal architecture which includes elements from Persian, Ottoman, Indian, and Muslim architecture.
Look how big the Taj Mahal is --those are people standing on its porch!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who ever thought I would celebrate Purim?

I've been meeting the last 6 weeks with some fantastic women for an evening Bible Study. We are going through the study Esther done by Beth Moore of Living Proof Ministries. ( or their blog at )
Purim is a Jewish holiday that is fanciful and partylike. It reminds me of Brazil's carnval and Greece's Apokries. Purim derives from the Old testament story of Esther and celebrates the reversal of destiny for the Jews. In Israel, people dress up and party to celebrate the uplifting of oppression during the time of Esther. They publicly read the book of Esther, cheering when her name is read and booing when the antagonist Haman is mentioned.
This year Purim fell on March 9, around the 3rd or 4th week of our Bible Study. We brought treats, and took onthe party-like atmosphere of Purim as we discussed the week's lesson in Esther. Our table brought leftover Mardi Gras beads and we each had tiaras that lit up.
We had fun :)
Don't ever let someone tell you that Bible Study is boring!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Little Tiger ( Mizzou Style)

My grandson came over ready to watch the Missouri Tigers in the Elite 8 play against the Uconn Huskies. He was in the team spirit with his Mizzou attire.
Alas, the Tigers did not advance to the Final Four--as you can see by his more subdued picture.
We had fun though--spending the night at Grandma's!

What in the Heck is a Bumbo?

I'm flabbergasted at all the new products available for families with babies. Things that weren't around 20-30 years ago. Who thinks up these things? Take, for instance, a bumbo. When my daughter told me she had a bumbo, I replied like any good grandma, "What in the heck is a bumbo?"

A bumbo is like a chair made for babies who really can't sit yet. It supports them and helps them to at least look like they are sitting. The bumbo is made up soft, spongy material. Stronger than foam rubber yet malleable.

We put Dane in the bumbo to feed him. I have to is a pretty good invention!


The number 21 is significant.

* To drink alcohol legally in most areas of the United States, you must be 21 years old.

*Years ago, you had to be 21 to vote. Now they have lowered that age to 18.

* If you are playing BlackJack, you definitely want a 21.

This week I found a new significance about the number 21. I was flipping through the channels with my remote and I landed on the Home Shopping Network. The somewhat famous Dr. Rey, a plastic surgeon from the reality cable TV show Dr. 90210, was promoting his new products -- girdles and shapers.

* The measurement between the jugular to the nipple should be 21 cm. Furthermore, gravity begins to lengthen this measuremenr by the age of 22.

21 cm! That is less than the length of a ruler.

Now I know what you are going to do. Curiosity compelled me to go get my ruler and see what my measurement is and I bet you will do the same. Let me warn you though, if you are over age 22 you may get depressed.

I know I did.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blogger Vs. Yahoo 360

I blog about as much on Yahoo 360 as I do here. That's not saying much. Literally.

When I first began blogging on Yahoo I did it pretty consistently. But then Yahoo began to change and rumors of its demise were rampant. People began leaving and going to various other blogging sites. I finally jumped the ship as well and came here to Blogger.

On Yahoo though there is/was community and checking blogs was somewhat an easier task. Perhaps it is because Blogger has more members that community is harder to achieve.

Anyway, it now seems that I neither blog on Yahoo or here. I want to though. I actually think the software here is more versatile.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Family Time

My cousin's son and his family came to spend a few hours with us today. Wes & Tiffany live a couple hours from here and they met us for lunch at our favorite place to eat.

We spent a few hours chit-chatting before the kids decided to try their luck at the stuffed animal machine. Put in a quarter and try to fish out a toy. You are lucky if you can get one out without spending more quarters than it is worth! The kids were talented though--they left with three of the critters.

It was good to spend time with family that we hardly ever see.

The picture is one I took from my sister's Facebook page. What did we do before digital photos?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Trying on New Clothes

I've been playing around with backgrounds and formats for this blog. Trouble is I have never been good at "interior design."

What I found is that I don't like busy patterns. I am not big on fancy either. In fact the blue flowers on this page kind of irritate me, but I also sort of like them, if that makes any sense.

I also don't like the bright colors. But I don't like boring either. It is all so subjective, isn't it.

Bear with me as I try on different clothes for this blog. One of these days the perfect background will reveal itself to me.

Hopefully soon, I can get back to blogging something a bit more deep.