Saturday, June 30, 2007

Trinity Vote

Gerry J. McCarthy / DMN Photo Staff
I try to avoid getting too political on my blog but I am happy to say today that it is very cool to see Democracy in action. Many years ago, we voted on a bond package to improve the Trinity River here in Dallas. Nothing has been done yet and the plans we voted for are not the ones that have materialized in the works. Trinity Vote gathered over 80,000 signatures supporting a vote to prohibit a proposed toll road from being built in the Trinity Park. Now, the Trinity only looks like a mighty river during the flood stage above but it would certainly look a lot worse with a six lane toll road running through it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Meme by default

I'm going to do this even though I think my tagger Mister Teacher may be stretching the truth on some of his random facts.

1. I am scared to death of balloons. I can't imagine my reaction if I ever come face to face with a hot air balloon.

2. I used to be a Rainbow girl. Those Demolays sure were cute.

3. I have four cats and a black lab. I believe the dog thinks it's a cat too.

4. I don't feel like I could belong to either political party right now.

5. I make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.

6. I could take a road trip any time. If the gas wasn't so expensive that is.

7. I have a boxing devil puppet hanging above my monitor. The nuns are in the garage.

8. I would probably be a better teacher if I could wear shorts and flip-flops every day. Okay, at least a more comfortable teacher.


The rules are
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

Now, I am going to tag:

juniorhighteacher-miss your blogging
The Pig's Tales
Teaching in the 408
The Science Goddess

Just for Grins

The sun is shining today in Dallas. Just ate some bodacious barbecue and am fixin' to paint my kitchen a lovely shade of orange. Hooray summer. Hope you like this video. Captain Kirk, Peter Falk, Christopher Walken...oh my....

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday's Thirteen: Driving Songs

My current love these days is my pink Nano that I got for Mother's day. It was an absolute life saver when I took myself and the little farmers on an impromptu gallop to Austin. The shuffle feature kept me alert and it was very interesting to see how the songs that popped up often matched the mood between the sometimes warring farmers in the backseat. Don't worry, no matter how tempting, I didn't have the earplugs in my ears. Got the handy FM transmitter to go with it. Woo Hoo! No more warping CD's in a hot car in a broiling Texas summer. Anyway, here is a list of the first thirteen songs that drove us South down I-35.
1. If the House is a Rockin'...Stevie Ray Vaughan
2. Talkin' at the Texaco...James McMurtry
3. The Pirates Who Don't do Anything... Veggie Tales
4. Texas 1947....Guy Clark
5. Overkill (Acoustic version)...Colin Hay
6. Normal Like You...Everclear
7. Visions of Johanna...Bob Dylan(I was going to name my youngest Johanna until my stupid ex married a woman by the same name.)
8. Walk Away Renee...The Four Tops
9. Just Like Heaven...The Cure(Stuck in construction traffic in Lancaster singing to the truckers in the lane next to me)
10. Still In Love With You... Al Green(that's the Reverend to you)
11. Tenderness...General Public
12. Illegal Smile...John Prine
13. Australia...The Shins

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not quiet because I want to be

Social anxiety disorder is a persistent fear of one or more situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others and fears that he or she may do something or act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing. It exceeds normal "shyness" as it leads to excessive social avoidance and substantial social or occupational impairment. Feared activities may include almost any type of social interaction, especially small groups, dating, parties, talking to strangers, restaurants, etc. Physical symptoms include "mind going blank", fast heartbeat, blushing, stomach ache.
Hi, My name is 100 Farmers and I am scared of people. We had a party today for our youngest 100 Farmers and I am drained of all energy and thought. I love planning parties and the whole creative process but the actual thought of interaction ruins the days leading up to the actual event. I haven't slept and I've had acid reflux come up the back of my nose. I come by this honestly: my father actually gets physically ill before extended family events and my mother is just certifiable. The funny thing is that it doesn't happen like this in the classroom. I might feel nervous the night before school starts but being in front to those kids has never been an issue. I have accidently spit on the overhead during a presentation, gone flying across the room after tripping, fallen on my rear out of my chair and even belched. I just laugh with the class and the larnin' goes on. As I get older though, I am finding that my nervousness is actually getting worse. I tried Lexapro for a while but really hate medicating myself. I am afraid that I might be limiting my kids from what constitutes normal interaction. We never had people over to the house growing up and absolutely never went anywhere as a family. Well, camping alone as a family on an island at Texoma doesn't really count. How do I reverse this though? It's not like I was raised by wolves but sometimes trying to get the words from my brain to my mouth is like learning to speak. When people comment about quiet I am, they don't realize that the person they see is not the person I am inside.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Rain, rain go away

Quit raining all ready. We get it. The drought is over. I am developing webbed feet and a short fuse. I want to see the sun!!!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

No more bellini's after dinner dream

Dreamed that I ran into my friend "Don" at the grocery store. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and army pants a la Trapper John from "Mash" style. Anyway, what is strange about this dream is that "Don" has been dead about 18 years. He fell off a mountain while on a weekend pass in Germany while serving in the Marines. That really has nothing to do with the dream but is an interesting aside. Anyway, "Don" was telling me how happy he was and that he was teaching at this really great school for disadvantaged boys. He insisted that I had to come teach there with him. So, in the contractual no-man's land that I am in right now, I go. Who is his co-teacher in this wonderful new school? By Gosh, it's my principal from this past year. Boy, are they teaching and they're helping the youth and they're happy and for some other strange reason, their students include all boys that I have taught the past 10 years. Some from my first year of teaching, some from last year, different schools but all at the age that I taught them. Poor kids, some of them have been magically transformed from 25 to 15 years old again. Ooh, puberty times two. Sorry guys. So, I jump in and we're teaching and so proud of ourselves for what we're doing to help these poor youth and the impact that we're having. Remember, it's a dream. Then I woke up. What the hey? Why am I dreaming of someone permanently stuck in my mind as a 22 year old Marine? Why am I dreaming of my principal? Why have I doomed my former students to another gawky go at acne? Is this a guilty dream for going to the suburbs? Who knew that peach schnapps activated your dream conscience? Who knew that I have a thing for Alan Alda?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Regrets: Am I out there?

Way back in that life that doesn' t belong to me anymore, I came back home to Lubbock from visiting my folks to find that someone had broken into our house. This lovely person had broken in through our baby son's window and smoked several Marlboro's while choosing what things were of interest to him. My wedding set knives, a camera, jewelry boxes, my curling iron, 7 rolls of undeveloped film from my son's first year of life, my wedding album, my high school annuals, my junior high yearbooks, my scrapbooks from elementary and Rainbow Girls, and my family picture album. Now I should note that he did leave behind my son's baby book. All of these albums were collected from various parts of the house. Some were taken from a chest underneath my son's crib. Some from inside cabinets. Some from our bedroom. Some from the living room. We were in college at the time so we were really slim pickins but he managed to carry away about 10 years of my memories during his visit. Now you might be asking why I refer to our burglar as a he? Funny thing is that about two months and a residence change later, I got a cute letter from an inmate at a prison in New Mexico. He had seen my picture in Texas Tech's yearbook and thought I was a real sweetheart. He described his Fraternity days at SMU, drew me funny little pictures of himself as an inmate with his Greek letters on the pocket instead of his inmate numbers and invited me to keep him company via our correspondence. Did I write him back? Oh yeah. Played it stupid to get more info about him but kept getting more cutesy letters talking about his time in prison for a crime that he wouldn't even have been put in jail for in Texas. After those couple of letters, my heebie jeebies got the best of me and my correspondence with my prison buddy came to a halt from my side. I just threw away his letters without opening them and shortly afterwards I left Lubbock for good. Goodbye marriage, goodbye Lubbock. Good Riddance. If I spent time mooning over every object that got lost, stolen or destroyed, I would howl at the moon every month. It's gone and I can't change it. But I do regret not following up on that inmate. I wish I had contacted the prison officials or the detective who investigated the robbery or something. There is ten years of ME out there somewhere and I don't want it back. I hope that stuff has long been thrown away. But that stuff is a heebie jeebie that I can't get rid of because it's like a part of myself being owned by someone else. I regret not doing something about that.

One last Vis-a-Vis

One of my favorite teacher bloggers is saying sayonara to teaching. His daily observation on teaching, his gaffes, and misdirections have kept me looking forward to reading his blog every day. You have made me feel like a co-conspirator in educamational anarchy. Good Luck and here's to a lucrative deal no matter where you are. Hip, Hip 123 I Love You.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Favorite Buttons

Kudos to Education in Texas. Here are some of my favorite buttons.

And last but not least, I wish I had worn this back during my waitressing days.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

And now for the other side of the story.....

Things that make me proud to be a teacher......
1. The 7th grade TX History teacher that prepares the most exciting lesson plans for her kids and makes those classes ROCK. Did I mention the radiation, chemotherapy and shunt in her chest these past three years? This woman is one of the strongest persons that I know.
2. The Science classes building and then shooting rockets over the building. I think we may have freaked out some people in the neighborhood but we got some kids back into school with this.
3. Okay, I am a nerd but I loved the Comic Book and Gamers Club. I can say with pride that I rule Wii Golf and that Wolverine is the best X-Men. BTW-they incorporated reading, math and technology into these after school clubs.
4. The technology teacher who goes out of her way to get us the best technology for our classes. She also has a gentle way of getting our worst Luddites to use technology better in their classrooms.
5. The principal who greets those kids at the curb everyday, frequently pops his head in the classroom door just to say hello to you and "his Kids", walks that school constantly, seems to know every kid and delivers your paycheck to you with a candy bar.
6. The teacher who has the most amazing gift for involving even her most special of special ed students in all classroom activities. This woman goes beyond accommodating in a way that lifts her entire class up.
7. The counselor who mentors students and teachers. The kids love her because she is always available for even just a chat or a hug, but also because she is sensible and really expects the best from them. That's why we teachers love her too.
8. The collaboration that goes on with my team. When those kids begin to realize that all we ever do is talk about them, they seem so bemused. I also think they really like the idea that we've got their back.
9. That teacher whose class is hard, that doesn't take late work, who makes you redo an assignment when it isn't up to her standard, whose room is so so organized for learning that the kids can't wait for the next assignment or project. The students may complain about the rigor but they kvetch with pride in what they've learned and can do.
10. The kids. I love saying that I teach kids. I am proud to be a teacher.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wednesday Whine

My Top Ten List of Things that Should Never Happen at a School
1. A teacher selling the snacks and water designated for testing days.
2. A teacher taking her 7th period Social Studies class to gym every day for 12 weeks because the class is out of control and she can't handle it.
3. A teacher discussing her new boyfriend with her classes. What's so bad about this? The new boyfriend is the roommate who has been living with her and her husband.
4. A principal announcing to a group of fellow principals that the only white kids that go to her school are white trash.
5. Money for new student restrooms being diverted to replace carpet, tile and paint in the front office. Oh, Did I forget the new office furniture?
6. A teacher who sends her AVID classes to the library everyday while she prepares state AYP paperwork for the principal.
7. A teacher who stole a printer from one teacher, pens from another, personal stationary from another............
8. A teacher selling spray paint to junior high students. I don't know what is worse: the fact that he sold a state controlled item to students or that he pocketed the money and never actually delivered the paint.
9. Failing to provide essential 504 accommodations or SPED testing because your SST doesn't meet.
10. Keeping this person principal for four years.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Old Red Courthouse Life

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

John Lennon

If you look very, very closely, you will notice the men hanging off the side of the dome. I wouldn't and couldn't do that job. Just imagine the errant winds whipping you around and the scramble to get down when a ferocious summer storm whips up like it has the past couple of days. Just imagine the view that you get everyday though. Now I sometimes go a little stir crazy during the summer and it has hit me a little bit earlier this year because I am cooling my heels waiting for my contract to be prepared. I realized yesterday while laying on my back watching the ceiling fan at 6 o'clock in the evening that my restlessness has regressed into a zombie-like state. I'm spending so much time waiting that I forgot to keep living the past two weeks. So today, we hopped on the train and headed downtown. We just walked and looked at everything. We went to Dealey Plaza, we went to see the cow statues, we went up Reunion tower, we checked out books from the downtown library, and took pictures like tourists. It was hot, we were attacked by mosquitos in front of city hall but I wasn't staring at my ceiling fan. It's not the same as hanging off the clock tower at the Old Red Courthouse building, but it's a much better way of living than eyeballing cobwebs.