Friday, November 06, 2009

My first Literary Love

I realized that I probably needed a followup to my previous post. This is the first book that I absolutely treasured. I wonder sometimes if my animal rescue tendencies may spring from my love of this book. Now the first book I remember reading on my own was Alice in Wonderland at the age of four. No, I was no prodigy. Just bored. But it certainly started something. This was way before cable and the only cartoons were over by 8 in the morning and only on in the afternoon from 3-5. In our small small town, there were very few kids my age and my brother was mostly a squalling annoyance at that point. I was blessed by a grandmother who compulsively bought books for her grandchildren, especially Newberry Classics. Oh, and lots of ice cream too. FTW. My youngest and I spent a wonderful Friday night at the bookstore last week. I couldn't think of a better way to spend it. We also got ice cream of course :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Read It Day

Today, in every single class, we get to spend the first 20 minutes reading. Knowing my kids, I grabbed a mighty armload of books this morning from the library for those students who were inevitably going to walk in w/o a book despite all the announcements and fanfare. I also found a gem for myself there. Ironically, it is about a discovered book. Here is an excerpt:
Once, in my Father's bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a place in our memory to which, sooner or later-no matter how many books we have read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget-we will return.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Zen and the Art of Powerpoint Maintenance

I was so proud of my PowerPoint presentation. It was visually stunning. I had Indian Buddhas, Chinese Buddhas, Yin and Yang symbols overflowing into pictures of golden temples and crouching Chinese dragons. I was precise in my language, organized with my notes and primed to teach my eager students. "Bwahaha"cackled Murphy the God of Perversity in his divine jealousy towards the attention I was paying towards other beliefs. It flopped. If there had been tomatoes, I would have looked like I'd had a V-8 poured over my head. It wasn't ugly. They were awake and staring at me but no brain cells were involved in synaptic processes. It was like Zombieland in my classroom. Without the cannibalism of course. So, I punted. That lovely powerpoint went back to the dens of my flashdrive and we read and highlighted in my other classes. Or as I paraphrased: "we collected information". But today, a teacher's dream. We took that information and we collaboratively synthesized the data and we drew conclusion and we restated the information. In other words, we worked in groups, we took quotes and decided which philosophical school they belonged to and we rewrote it in our own words. It was awesome. Absolutely a great teaching moment where I just facilitated and nudged them along while they taught it to each other. Was all the time I spent on the PowerPoint a waste of energy? No. It helped me to refresh my own knowledge of the subject and more importantly, it put me back on the "Dao" or "the Way" that I know kids can learn better. It's all good.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Tao of Pooh

Everything has its own place and function. That applies to people, although many don't seem to realize it, stuck as they are in the wrong job, the wrong marriage, or the wrong house. When you know and respect your Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don't belong.
Benjamin Hoff

"The Tao of Pooh"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Teachable Moment

Today I was lecturing about the Aryan Invasions into India and the rise of Hinduism. Students always get into invasions and when you throw in religion too, they always seem to pay a little more attention. Most of our focus was on my shoes however. Because, according to one of my favorite students known here as J, "Ms. 100 Farmers could have conquered India with those shoes that she is wearing". Somehow the use of iron in superior weaponry and comfortable utilitarian black flats are just what you need for empire building. So, I went with it and I showed them the conquering path that my shoes and I followed through the Hindu Kush mountains and my shoes' elitist influence in establishing the caste system in India. It did get a little surreal when my shoes' bad actions in life caused such bad karma that they were reincarnated as cheap flip flops. This may have been the funniest lesson I've ever presented. Hopefully they will actually remember all of the facts and not just about footwear reincarnation.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Having a Window Changes Everything


Sometimes there are things in our life
that aren't meant to stay.
Sometimes change may not be what we want.
Sometimes change is what we really need.
And sometimes saying goodbye
is the hardest thing you think you'll ever have to do,
but sometimes it's saying 'hello again' that breaks you down
and makes you the most vulnerable person you'll ever know.
Sometimes change is too much to bear,
but most of the time change
is the only thing saving your life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Day

First official day back and am horribly frustrated because I want to jump in and get everything ready but my body is not letting me. My stupid surgery site keeps reminding that all is not quite well but only after I've done something like climbed up on a desk or pushed file cabinets down the hallway. It's nice being downstairs with the rest of the History department but am already missing my buddy upstairs. Suddenly though, I am being patted on the back and a part of the department after two years of being hid up in the attic with the rest of the 9th grade teachers. I'm a bit worried about the teacher that switched teaching assignments with me because she seems a bit freaked out and lost. I'm kinda stuck in an awkward position because I want to help her as much as possible but probably need to hint more to her that I'm teaching a new subject also. I just don't have time to spend every moment with her when I'm trying to get ready myself. I am throwing every piece of paper, powerpoint and book that I have at her. Trying to spin it positively though and thinking of it as good training for the student teacher who shows up in two weeks. One definite negative note: am assigned the icky co-teacher from last year again. Methinks she is not too pleased either. One final positive note: My new room is long enough that I can put a desk for her at the other end from mine.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cat Prejudice

There are silent victims in our house. Some are miniature, some are the size of baby dolls, one is even big enough to cause some serious damage if chucked at a window but all are daily targets of my cats. My cats hate My Little Pony. Pink, Purple, Sparkly Rainbow colored, bubble gum scented....oddly enough, they don't discriminate in their prejudice against these poor ponies. They are all attacked, tossed and mauled on a regular basis. These are hard plastic toys but are still dragged and kicked around the room more than a masochistic catnip mouse could ever dream of. I don't understand it and find it a tad bit disturbing. They're such pretty little ponies. What did they ever do to incur such cat disdain?


And What Cannot be Mended Must be Borne."

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The First Weekend of the Summer

The moon is beautiful tonight. The lightning bugs are doing their darndest to outshine it. Have spent most of the day sleeping like the dead which is obviously something I needed. Made some gut wrenching decisions the past couple of days and living with the consequences is like walking in a fog. Am either feeling relieved, happy, sad or sick to my stomach at various intervals. I think God has a way of sending us messages and I've often felt that touch at various times of crisis in my life. Today we were driving down the road and were horrified to see an elderly woman laying on the ground next to her car. She was calling for her husband who had gone into their house. Both of them lived in assisted living and had come to get their mail. He was barely able to get around himself and there was no way he would have been able to help her get up from the ground. We basically had to almost carry her back to the car as she unable to support herself. Come to find out after introductions, that he knew my in-laws from the VFW Hall but seemed unaware that my father-in-law had passed away three years ago today. We were there at the right time at that moment. It feels like I was supposed to get something from the incident. Either some message about couples or helping each other but I haven't quite figured it out yet. I'm trying God..I'm trying.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen

Thirteen Things I'd Enjoy on a Trip back in Time

1. ...running through the grass barefoot in the light of the front porch with my cousins. Back before the invasion of mosquitos we have now, we only had to worry about chiggers and the occasional toy we couldn't see in the dark.

2....taking a trip to town to go to the bank with my Mama Pat. The tellers always called her Miss Pat and gave out those little square boxes of chiclets. A trip to the bank also meant we were picking up Granny's Chicken (no, not Grandy's) and were gonna snack on hot rolls on the way home.

3...I'd corral my grandmother in her kitchen and tickle her until she gave me her Sugar Cookie recipe. She had the recipe in her head and never wrote it down. I loved those cookies.

4...Halloween in our neighborhood in North Dallas in the late 70's. Herds of kids running everywhere...makeshift haunted houses at least four to each worries about the bogeyman then. around in my dad's silver blue 1966 Mustang. Man, I wish I had that car.

6....roller skating at the Roller Rink on a Saturday night listening to Cheap Trick, The Knack, Queen and ELO....everyone fast the ground was a lot less scarier back then.

7....Make a pot of percolated coffee for my Daddo early in the morning. Sit on the back porch with him and listen to the birds.
8...relive the excitement of the looking through the Sear's Christmas Toy Catalog.
9....Eating a real Banana Bike....Laffy Taffy's just aren't the same.

10...Go to the old Six Flag's which still had six separate historical themes and animal trashcans that roared when you put trash into them. Don't miss the scary huge slide with the burlap sacks though.

11....Go back and visit my 4th period from my first year of teaching. Loved that class, loved those kids. Of course, they're all 25-27 now. Will always be junior high students in my mind.

12....Going to the Blue Ridge Rodeo. Run around with herds of kids, scarf down popcorn and dance around the cars when the band played later.

13....A week at Lake Texoma on our old boat with my Mom, Dad and even brother and sister. I would love to be able to spend a week like that out on the islands with no worries..just fishing and reading.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bare Walls

I have to admit that I teacher-geek out every new school year. I like decorating my classroom. I enjoy putting up bulletin boards. I spend an inordinate amount of time lining my door and whiteboards with decorative borders. I have kitschy stuffed animals and large cardboard monkeys that serve no purpose but to amuse the kids. My room tends to look more like an elementary classroom than a traditional high school one but it makes me happy and the kids like it so its not gonna change. Today though, I walked into a room with bare walls and felt a flash a joy. For once in 12 years of teaching, I will have my room ready to go before the last day of school. I will not be the last teacher on the 3rd floor still sorting papers after everyone has left. Those empty walls echo the success of a year of education and the promise of a summer to come. I never thought a empty wall full of mangled staples could be so beautiful.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twenty Years Ago

Twenty years ago today I packed up my Mustang and drove to Austin in a split decision to put a kibosh on the path I was traveling and to at least try something new. I had dropped out of college a year and a half before and had been working as an Assistant Mgr at a fast food restaurant owned by a very evil man where I was working 60+ hours a week shifts. I looked like a greasy, curly haired zombie and was in a pretty unhealthy relationship with an older guy. When my best friend offered her spare room during her last summer semester at UT, it wasn't that hard of a decision to drop my keys off at work, blow a quick sayonara kiss at the old dude and start throwing stuff in the trunk. It's hard to believe that it's been twenty years and also funny to think what might have been if I had not moved. You see, there was this guy that my friend had written about several times in her letters to me. He was in her photography classes and lived in the apartment behind hers and she claimed that he was probably the smartest guy that she had ever met. She had failed to mention how cute he was though. The first thing we did when I got into town was to buy groceries. Coming back from the parking garage with groceries that first hour in Austin, I met that smart guy who would become my husband four years later. Honestly, if you can't call it love at first sight then it really was an instantaneous flash of WOW. Within a week and several bowls of my tasty guacamole we were in a tempestuous romance that survived a year and a half of long distance romance when I went to North Texas and he finished up at UT. Luckily, this was before widespread email and I was wooed by the black and white postcard photos that he sent me constantly. I'm sure my mailman must have enjoyed reading them. I still have every single one stored in the picnic basket that we used to use. Now twenty years, six cats, two dogs and two kids later, I have a lot of "used to" memories. Things aren't so great right now. Too many "used to" memories turned into "should have" things that we've missed out on and it's hard to determine which path we're going to be heading down now. But honestly, I wouldn't have changed most of the past twenty years and can't possible put a value on our kids and even our cats. He is still the smartest person I know even though he's turned into the absent-minded professor and I still get a flash of "wow" when he's at sweetest and especially goofiest. I don't know where the next twenty years will find us but I can't pass up the chance to look at that paths that I could have taken taken and celebrate that I took the right one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


When the cousins get together there is much shrieking, screaming, wailing and stomping. No, there are no fits being thrown. It just seems that these kids bring out the internal banshee in each other and the noise and chaos level goes through the roof. In this old picture, the four of them were actually wrestling on the top bunk of a bunk bed. Thank goodness it was the sturdy iron version. I have found that tossing them out in the backyard is always the best way to go as four kids running along down wood floors can make the whole house shake and a shaking house is no place for my collection of pottery. Bedrooms are often left in shambles during the cousin visits and for some reason, they always seem to end up hanging out on my bed. So much for making the bed. Paper plates, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs are always welcome and even though I hate the waste of plastic bottles, Gatorade bottles save me the hassle of tracking down missing glasses. The cousins live three and a half hours away and they seem to age faster than my own kids as I feel like we never see them. Puberty is slapping the two older cousins which I was a bit concerned about because we know how snotty teenagers can get. No worries, they're just bigger but still as loud. One just has a deeper voice and the other is suddenly much taller than her male cousin. I never thought I'd miss the playing of that stupid "Billy Bass'' song over and over again when they were younger but I do. My brother added a new cousin to the mix yesterday and I'm happy that we've got a baby in the family again. A big welcome to the newest cousin. I'm looking forward to hearing you shriek through my house too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why isn't it Friday blog for Thursday

You know it's going to be a good day when you end up with a large map of South Asia imprinted across your left breast before the first bell even rings.

On a side note: our new printer ink is very cheap and does not dry on transparencies.
Another side note: am mourning the loss of my favorite blue Oxford celebrating new shirt map of Asia

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Week

The Communication classes are giving speeches in the auditorium this week to honor teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week and this is one that I received. I love this big lug of a kid.

I am here today to honor a teacher

who gets to the point

and doesn't act like a preacher

she is nice and laid back

and gives help to us all

she doesn't attack

She'll help if you fall

she gives time to do work

if you are absent one day

but if you act like a jerk

she'll just say, "Get out of my way"

some students can be stubborn

not doing their work

but she always keeps her cool,

not going berserk

this is in honor of Ms. 100 Farmers

You're my favorite teacher, teaching more than just the book(rhymes with my real last name).

Friday, May 01, 2009

Last Day of TAKS Monitoring Musings

Ten things that passed through my mind while aimlessly...I mean diligently staring at my testing students:
10. Since I've had to take down every carefully prepared display in my room for this stupid test...I wonder if I can get away with packing up my room even though there's a month left?
9. OMG, who drew the large picture of the male genitalia on my wall and how long has it been there?
8. These kids must have brought at least 40 bags of hot Cheetos between them. Man, I need to buy stock in that company.
7. I wonder if I can Cheetos to sponsor my blog since they're getting free advertising right now?
6. How many times am I gonna have to tell Mr. Skeleton shirt kid to wake up?
5. Wow, that one kid busted through that test. He even highlighted and eliminated answers. He might know more history than me.
4. Huh, the kid who threatened to blow up the school during the last TAKS test must still be at alternative school.
3. I wonder if the kids will notice if I start sneaking M & M's out of my desk drawer?
2. Aw man, who dislocated the legs on my squishy desk cow toy?
1. Hmm, how much trouble will I get into for throwing a cow leg at a sleeping student?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen: the PG version

1) If you had $100 to spend on yourself, what would you get?.. The full works Hairstyle and massage
2) Something you do when nobody is around? (talk to yourself, sing, etc.).. Dance in my classroom during my off period
3) Most embarassing moment?...Walked out of teacher's restroom with skirt stuck in pantyhose...mooned one of my students
4) Glass half empty or half full? Half empty....trying to fill it up
5) Something you've always wanted to do but haven't....Tour Great Britain
6) What did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher....of course
7) What's your guilty little pleasure? Godiva truffles
8) Wine or beer? Beer....Shiner Bock in a bottle or Bass if on tap
9) Devil or angel on your shoulder? Angel....judging from guilt grandmother is my guardian angel
10) How important is communication in a relationship? Can't work w/o....not doing such a good job myself
11) You've had a bad day at work..what would you like when you get home? A deep standing hug and a bath
12) Significant other has had a bad day at work..what would you do for him/her? Massage shoulders and make warm cookies
13) Favorite tv show? Star Trek :Next Generation or Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

10 Things to do while Hall monitoring during the TAKS

10. Redo the songs on your Blog twenty thousand times
9. Harass your brother and sister with texts about your parents
8. Check out reviews on kitchen equipment you can't afford on Cook's Illustrated Website....drool...La Creuset Dutch oven...
7. Pat your big fluffy hair constantly hoping that it calms down
6. Grade those straggle of papers that you have left from the weekend's grading that you should have put off until today.....doh
5. Update your resume....don't want it to be too fluffy either
4. Research Swine Flu Symptoms....eyeball coughing student going to restroom
3. Go raid the teacher's lounge again for some leftover fruit from this morning....yummy orange slices
2. Push back your cuticles on your fingernails...admire your pretty pedicure and wonder why you didn't get a manicure
1. Try to feel grateful for this moment since you'll be staring at testing students for four hours each day for the next three days

Springtime a la Dallas

Shampoo-conditioning for curly hair +
Deep Conditioner for curly hair +
Hair Serum for curly hair +
Mousse for soft curls +
Slow Diffusing dryer +
Hair milk for flyaways +
Large Hair curlers in hair for 15 minutes =
Soft shiny curls hanging on my shoulders
---------divided by------------
Five minutes in warm deep fog of North Texas
= equals =
big fuzzy mess of a HAIRDO


Sunday, April 26, 2009

I used to read this blog religiously every Sunday. No pun intended. I was happy to find it again this morning. Some of the secrets have hit pretty close to home at times. I find it often makes very powerful statements about the things that we choose not to look back upon. The hardest ones are the things that have a way of sneaking out despite our best intents to deny or ignore them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen: Hodge Podge of Firsts

1. First Car-Bronze 1973 Capri 6 cylinder....she was fast...if my parents had known where she was being driven
2. First Boyfriend-My brother called him Jim Bob...dated for over a year...6 foot eyes...still friends but he still treats me like I'm 16..most annoying
3. First College-Texas Tech University-Man I hate Lubbock but loved that school
4. First School I taught at: ooh....not gonna say but the kids called it Booty Story.
5. First Concert: So concert....John Mellencamp/Willy Nelson/Neil Young at Farm Aid at Texas Stadium
6. First job: Short order cook at an Arcade...awesome job...cheese fries and free game time
7. First Marriage: mustached a new name for him
8. First Child: The boy..Sean Bobbie...Seangalongadingdong...Thawn
9. First Birthday remembered: Four years old, Snow White Cake with all Seven dwarfs....nearly beat up Michael McCollough when he tried to walk off with Dopey
10. First Best Friend: Vesna Slavanovitch....try writing that as a first grader...from what used to be Czechoslovakia...what was she doing in podunk Texas in the 70's? good question..
11. First Wake up Call-head first over the handle bars, head first into railroad tracks, a week in hospital....slow down
12. First time really on my own: Summer of 1989...Austin, Texas...met the significant other the first night there...great apartment right down the road from UT
13. First Album bought with own money:(actually two) Rumors by Fleetwood Mac and Against the Wind Lake by Bob shame there

Monday, April 20, 2009


Ten years ago today, I was in my second year of teaching in an inner-city school. To call it like my kids, it was very ghetto. All of the teachers were the same ethnicity and extremely tight with each other except for those of us that taught English as a Second Language and we were all another ethnicity and mostly brand new to the school. Right before school got out, my principal got on the intercom and made an announcement that we would be having an emergency meeting after school. By that time, news had trickled in about what was happening in Columbine, CO and a sense of disbelief was quite high among teachers and students. It was honestly a relief when that bell rang and the kids walked out the door. We all filed into the cafeteria so quietly and somber. Now my principal was a very very religious man. He preached a lot at his church and sometimes his lectures to us sounded more like gospel Sunday sermons. He came in a little after us and walked up to the microphone as we all waited for some type of emergency protocol or words of comfort. Instead we got this, "What is wrong with you white people? You never hear of black kids shooting up a school". Not exactly words of wisdom and the racial aspect was a tad bit discomforting. Oh well. Everything about that school was a little bit discomforting: teachers who couldn't or didn't teach, kids literally running down the hallways during every class, water running down my chalkboard when it rained, pigeon droppings blowing through the air conditioning vents, coaches pocketing candy sales, gang shooting out the front windows every weekend. It was so dysfunctional that I was the only ESL person who came back after my first year from what used to be an eight person department. The principal had neglected to go to personnel and had not hired anyone to replace those who had left. This is how I became department head as a 2nd year teacher. A department with 300 students that didn't speak English and one teacher. Good times. Ok, I've totally digressed here. It was horrible to be a teacher 10 years ago on April 20th. The rest of the school year was kind of a tense blur and there definitely was another humongous sigh of release when that final bell rang on the last day of school. The reason I say it was so horrible is that for me there were so many questions about why that tragedy happened, what could have been done and a lingering thought that it could happen at my school. For my principal to make that comment, besides sounding stupid, he was just being plain naive. Looking at my classes today, I see several kids diagnosed as bipolar, kids with obvious gang affiliation, kids with drug issues, kids with lack of any parental supervision issues.....on and on....but I gotta say, I don't see potential killers, I just see kids. I see too many kids however. I see potential issues that can't possibly be addressed. The school is huge and my classes way too large. I hate to think that I lump kids into categories but I know sometimes my impressions of a certain kid on a specific day can be fleeting with so many things to do and so many students to teach. I think there were too many variables at play to pinpoint school or class size as the reason why the tragedy happened in Columbine. But looking at my classes today and thinking about my kiddos back then, I do wish that my classes were smaller and I was able to spend more time with them. I wish that I was better able to get to know them better. I also hope that all that happens today in all the schools everywhere is just remembering and reflecting upon the past.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Forgotten roses

It's been a very dry spring here. At one point, we were almost 12 inches behind in rainfall. It finally rained this past weekend and today is beautiful. The sky is a beautiful blue and even though its a bit windy, the birds are just singing like they are performing. I have several rose bushes that I have been neglecting in my backyard but they have managed to throw out some lovely blooms despite a lack of fertilizer and pruning. I took some pillows out to the swing this afternoon and just lay there listening to the birds and smelling my forgotten roses. All I could seem to do today.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


"Something you need most might be something you turn away from, something you turn away from might be something you regret, and something you regret, in the end, might cost you the one chance you ever had." Brian Judge

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Little Tea Shop

Neglected to post this earlier and am kicking myself. Our last morning in Memphis, we stumbled out of bed late and settled for lunch since breakfast was obviously on its way out. Coming back from Beale Street the day before, we had spied this funky little restaurant on a side street leading to the Mississippi and were kinda intrigued by the shabby charm of its exterior. One thing I definitely have found is that local quirky restaurants are always better than any chain restaurant and that shabby can sometimes equate tasty goodness. Oh my lord, forget tasty goodness, the food was so good that it made ya want to rub it all over your face. Who knew that simple boiled squash could make a magic moment between you and your eating partner as you both smile through first bites. The food is honestly that good. The peach cobbler was divine. If I favorably compare it to my grandmother's, then you know it is good. Our waitress was casual but efficient, the owner was very charming. It was such a great experience that it made me want to stay in Memphis just so I could show up for next daily special. Go there. Now. Yummmmmm.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I think these stupid allergies have hot-wired my brain. All morning long, all I could smell was strawberry my stupid classroom reeks of Fruit Loops.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Burning Rubber

Did something on Saturday that I've thought about doing but never had the guts. Actually did it not out of choice but out of desperation: slammed both feet on my brakes going almost 50 mph and made that lovely screaming noise you hear from tires sliding down concrete. Imagine a beautiful Saturday, heading down service road of Central Expressway, looking forward to lunch at favorite Tex-Mex restaurant Herrera's, laughing chit chat in the car, babbling 7 year old in backseat, SMU sorority girls walking down the sidewalk, silver SVU running through red light right in front of you. Thank goodness I had my eye on them coming through that intersection. I think I even realized that they weren't gonna slow down before whatever safety gears started turning and slammed my feet down. If that SVU had hit their brakes or if I hadn't hit mine, I would have t-boned them dead center. I hate that horrible adrenaline rush you get when getting the crap scared out of you. I'm not sure if that SVU ever realized they ran the light but they did seem to slow down past the intersection. It may have just been the sorority girls they were slowing down to look at though. The screaming tire noise should have given them a warning that something wasn't right though. Now I'm not sure if the man in the gold BMW was behind me or beside me during all this but he made a point of riding up next to my car and smiling and waving and giving me a thumbs up. See, Dallas drivers aren't all bad. One driver ran a light, one driver drove defensively and one driver practiced Texas charm. I think of all things that I do that take my attention away from the road and am feeling a bit chagrined and lucky today. Hopefully that first driver learned something also. I did learn that squealing tires aren't so cool after all.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen: a day late

Driving to school always seems to put me in a melancholy mood. I don't know if it's a "I don't wanna go to school, it's too pretty" mood or a "I can't get a grip on my life" malaise. This morning I was actually thinking about exotic things that I would do if I could but realized I needed to scale it down to things I would like to do right now.
1) Walk down the road from my house to see the huge purple irises that are blooming
2) Stop and pet the friendly dog at the bus stop down the road from my school. He stands on his back legs and licks over the fence at the kids every morning. He makes me happy.
3) Plant a pecan tree at Mama Pat and Daddo's grave site.
4) Go out to Grandmother and Pappy's grave site and plant some flowers.
5) Throw away half the shoes that I have
6) Buy a pair of red sandals that match my nail polish
7) Make copies of everything that I need for the upcoming Middle East Unit
8) Get every single culture Box Project taken home by my students
9) Call the parents of each student that is many right now
10) Sign the middle 100 Farmer daughter up for theater attempts to steer her towards Law seem to have
11) Sign the 100 Farmer Daughters up for swim team....another summer sitting in the shade at the pool
12) Go see that stupid King Tut Exhibit that I've been meaning to for months
13) Sleep for more than 5 hours sometime this weekend

Thursday, April 02, 2009

April Fool's

I have never driven a bus. Do not see myself driving one anytime in the near future. Am personally terrified by the idea of such a responsibility and give a tip of the hat to my Fellow Education Blogger, Tales of a School Bus Driver who was kind enough to contribute my April Fool's post. Another tip of the hat(well, if I ever wore about swish of the ponytail) to Mister Teacher for organizing our blogosphere prank. My post yesterday can be located at History is Elementary's blog. I can definitely say that I am in good company :)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bug Spray, Sand Gnats, and the Zoo

Over the last week, I drove a couple of decent field trips. One was a pretty typical, run-of-the-mill, sports (JV. Boys and Girls Soccer) field trip to a nearby town. All was going pretty well until… the Sand Gnats attacked. We got there around 3:30; by 5 pm they were in full attack mode. Swarms of Sand Gnats brutally and relentlessly tortured the unsuspecting patrons of the games. For those who don’t know, Sand Gnats are tiny bugs that bite. They are like mini mosquitoes and as annoying as the “No-See-Em’s.” I tried to take refuge in my bus, but being that it was hot outside, and even hotter in the bus, the Sand Gnats somehow managed to seek me out. I had the bus fans going on full blast; the windows and door were open in the hopes that the breeze would keep the Sand Gnats away. Alas, I was unsuccessful as the swarms of Sand Gnats congregated inside the bus. I was about to flee the scene in search of refuge inside any nearby building when I saw a parent spraying bug spray all over her kids and herself. “Victory is mine!” I thought as I hurried toward the woman half begging and pleading to borrow her bug spray for just a minute. She graciously allowed me to use it and soon I was repelling the Sand Gnats much to my relief. AHA!!! I must add bug spray to my bus driver bag. Later in the week, I drove a trip to the Zoo. The local kindergarten classes piled into my bus and we drove the two hours at 55 mph all the way to the Zoo. The Zoo was packed! After winding our way through the parking lot to the bus parking area, the children got off and ate lunch. Then we headed to the entrance. We had to enter all at once and together in two separate groups, adults and children. Of course it took a miracle to get the parents and children to separate long enough to form two lines to enter the Zoo. Once inside, I rented a scooter and saw the Zoo in style. My favorite exhibit was the monkey exhibit. I’ve always loved the monkey exhibits even when I was a child. While “scooting” around, I encountered several groups of people who created massive road blocks by not only stopping in the middle of the pathways, but insisted on spreading themselves out in a line that spanned the width of the pathway creating a very uncomfortable and impossible to pass road block. Additionally, these same people had children (devil spawn) who insisted on walking, and in some cases, running, into me. Luckily I was able to stop the scooter to avoid running over the devil spawn, because if I had bumped into and run over any of them, the parents of said devil spawn would probably have chewed me a new one about “watching where I’m going” without considering their devil spawn was bouncing from side to side and generally being a twit. Unlike some of the other field trips I’ve taken, the Zoo was very educational. It was a very successful day. Most of the children whose parents accompanied them took them home, so the remaining children on the bus each had their own seat and were able to sleep all the way home. I can’t wait until later in the year when I go to the Museum of Science and History.
Don’t Feed the Animals,
The Bus Driver

Friday, March 27, 2009

A pool of Substitutes: throw that one back

Walking down the hallway, I spied a "let say" very interesting man sitting in a student desk in the hallway. By sitting down, I mean crammed so tightly in there that he seemed to be bulging from the top of the desk. If you put a 250 lb. bullfrog into a suit and put him in a school desk; this is what he would look like. The desk was so crammed that the bolts holding it together seemed to be strained to a popping point. He had a huge pompadour of sprayed hair and was almost screaming into his cell phone. A substitute you ask? Is it Friday? Is this person a bit on the odd side? Oh yes, we have a substitute teacher sighting in E Hallway. I don't mean to knock people who do a job I myself avoid like the plague. Substitutes get no respect but a whole plethora of abuses thrown at them by students who will and try to do anything disruptive at all possible. When I cover a class for a fellow teacher, the first thing I do is flash my ID badge at the class, tell them what I teach and definitely make it known that I am not a substitute. In other words, I have names and numbers to call and the email to document any behaviors that I don't like. I've worked in several schools and two different districts but we do seem to have some of the strangest subs this year. One poor woman shuttles down the hallway like she's avoiding sniper fire and drags a fully loaded teacher cart of books and papers. One guy has a long braided beard, at least eight piercings in each ear and looks more like he should be juggling bowling pins at a renaissance fair rather than subbing in a World Geography class. My favorite is the extremely fussily three piece suit, overdressed sub who walked into my class during a lecture and interrupted me by announcing that I needed to fix his VCR right then. I did it because I'm a nice person. Did he say thank you? Oh no. When his class erupted into chaos thirty minutes later, I picked up my phone and called the AP's. Oh well. It may have been petty and I could have left my class alone again to help him but manners go a long way with me. He subs quite often and his classes erupt just as frequently. Has his demeanor improved? Oh no. Why is he still subbing? Who knows? There is this telepathy that seems to exist with the teachers on my hallway when we know that there is a sub. We all subtly notice the sub, pass the word around and try to maintain a discreet watch over the classroom. When the "interesting" subs come off the elevator, little warning flags seem to unfurl above our heads with the raising of eyebrows in disbelief sometimes. Like I said, I wouldn't want to be a substitute. It's a paycheck at best to some I'm sure. But where in the world do these people come from?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Trip

Graceland by Paul Simon
She comes back to tell me she's gone,
As if I didn't know that
As if I didn't know my own bed,
As if I'd never noticed,
The way she brushed her hair from her forehead,
And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart,
Everybody sees you're blown apart,
Everybody sees the wind blow,

I'm going to Graceland,
Memphis Tennessee
I'm going to Graceland

or if you prefer

Hunk of Burnin' Love by Elvis Presley

Lord Almighty,
I'm burning a hole where I lay
Cause your kisses lift me higher
Like the sweet song of a choir
You light my morning sky
With burning love
With burning love
Ah, ah, burning love
I'm just a hunk,
a hunk of burning love
Just a hunk, a hunk of burning love
Just a hunk, a hunk of burning love
Just a hunk, a hunk of burning love
Just a hunk, a hunk of burning love
Just a hunk, a hunk of burning love

Friday, March 13, 2009

The King

Pouty Elvis OR Comeback Elvis OR Vegas Elvis
Growing up, we had two septic tanks with large concrete covers in our backyard. These were perfect performance stages for me and my cousin Kim. Our favorite songs were always Elvis songs. In the summer, we would drape the water hose over the clothes line and use this as a handy dandy water-filled microphone. Either water was a whole cheaper in the 70's or my parents were gladly paying the water bill to keep us kids out of the house. Sometimes that backyard would be practically flooded. During the colder months, we played my parent's records constantly. We had slippery hardwood floors and with a sprinkling of baby powder they were wonderful for sliding around to Jailhouse Rock. My oh my we sighed over those album covers of a young Elvis. Of all the records my parent's had, those poor Elvis records were used and abused the most. Well there was an unfortunate incident with several albums used as snowboards but that's another blog. Later on I would discover my parent's Beatles and Rolling Stones records but my first love would always be the King. I will admit to a crush on John Denver in the early 70's but that was after I started school and went through my hippy stage. Which Elvis is my favorite Elvis? I have to admit a special fondness for Vegas Elvis. I remember being so bewildered by all the women screaming over his sweat soaked towels but also being strangely fascinated by it all. I get it now of course but am definitely not going into that conversation here. Why a post about Elvis you ask? I'm planning a trip to Graceland. I took down the stolen road map from my bulletin board and taped it back into my road atlas. We're heading to Graceland. Memphis, Tennesee. Oh wait, that's a Paul Simon song. Oh well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You'd Think

You'd think that if I'm really having a mid-life crisis that I'd be trying to make things better instead of seeming to make them worse.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Today's Message brought to you by WOW

Getting Outside the Game or So what if I have T7 gear, my car still needs to be washed.

1. Turn off the computer
2. Go to bed
3. Limit the amount of time that you're playing.
4. Go outside: take a walk(the lake is right there), throw a ball for the dog, watch the kids run around the park(it's right there too).
5. Make something in real life(cookies, finish the china cabinet, paint the kitchen).
6. Pick up the phone and call someone.
7. Go see King Tut exhibit before it closes.
8. Go read a book in the bathtub(you've got about a dozen unfinished books).
9. Go through your stuff and throw it away(Goodwill, take it away).
10. Get in the car, turn up the radio and drive somewhere(you're a Geography teacher for crying out loud, ya got maps).

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A blogged response: On the Road

I will admit to deliberately avoiding blogging about this. I will also admit to being a little aggravated by my significant other blogging about it. We are apart. My choice. My instigation. My decision to ask him to move out. He says that he is confused by something that to me seemed so glaringly wrong for a long time. Sadly though, under the critical eye of retrospection and those sitting side by side but avoiding eye contact conversations we have, it seems our relationship actually gradually slid many years into the miasma into which it decayed even further. Is it something that can be salvaged? At this point, I don't have the energy to revive it. I am in what seems to be a holding pattern. I don't know what I am waiting for or even looking for at this point. I imagine all sorts of roads and futures but there are so many unknowns that I can't predict anything. The possibilities are hopeful though. And having that bit of hope means more to me than anything.

Monday, March 02, 2009


"Indecision may or may not be my problem."

-Jimmy Buffett

Thursday, February 26, 2009

BBC Books Tag

I have been tagged five times here and four times on Facebook to do this. Quit sending it to me. I give up.
Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total. (83)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen x
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien x+
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte x
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling x+
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee x+
6 The Bible x
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell x
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman x
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens x+
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott x+
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy x
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller x
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare x
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier x
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien x+
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger x
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger x
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell x+
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald x
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens x
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy x
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams x+
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh x
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky x
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck x
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll x+
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame x
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy x
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens x
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis x+
34 Emma - Jane Austen x
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen x
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis x+
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres x
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne x
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell x
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown x
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez x (in spanish)+
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving x
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins x
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery x
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy x
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood x+
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding x
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel x+
52 Dune - Frank Herbert x
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons x+
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen x+
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens x
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley x
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon x
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez x (in spanish)
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck x
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov x
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas x
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy x+
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding x+
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville x
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens x+
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker x
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett x
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson x+
75 Ulysses - James Joyce x
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath x
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray x
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens x+
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker x
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro x
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert x
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White x+
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn x++
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle x
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton +
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad x
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery x
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams x
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole x
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas x+
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare x
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl x+
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo x

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen divided by 2

I know teachers aren't supposed to espouse favorites but where do you think the phrase Teacher's Pet comes from? Today's Thursday's Thirteen is a random sampling of some of my favorite students this year. Divided by two and rounded because I'm lazy today.

1. Sharon ignored me for months. Trying to make this child smile was futile. She was waayyy too cool. Then I had to call her mother because her grades had slipped badly. Oh, the look I got the next day from her and for several days afterwards. But the ice had thawed and she is quick to call me on the carpet when I am too silly for her. She always laughs first though.

2. Yuji is my sleepy boy. He used to stumble into my second period barely awake. He has really touched my heart this past month as he has become a translator and helper for a special needs student that I received from Japan. He is so kind and careful with her, I am so proud of him.

3. Stephen and I have had a decidedly turbulant year. He has had good days and bad days but seeks me out to talk about camping and his dogs during those times when he isn't wrestling with demons.

4. Harold-class clown and superstar athlete. Oye, he can get on my nerves with his talking and show-boating but he has accidentally called me mom too many times to count. I would adopt him.

5. Jordan-my Warcraft buddy and sounding board for all things dps. So socially awkward but will definitely be a late bloomer. One of those kids I will love to run into 10 years from now.

6. Zhekevia-funny, happy, wise and silly. Such a pleasure seeing her mature and grow. I call her Mary J. because she looks so much like Mary J. Blige.

7. Greg-My official "tall student" to grab those things that I can't. Such a patient gentle giant in my 7th period of yahoos. Sometimes I will catch his eye when someone is acting particularly jerky and he will turn to give that student the bugeye. Behavior issue solved.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Desiderata Part 2

One of the best gifts my Mama Pat gave to me was the gift of this poem. She loved it so much that she kept copies of it inside her bureau and was always available with a copy for a granddaughter having worries in her world. I forget about this poem every now and then, but like a blessing from my Mama Pat, I am reminded of it and gifted again.


The Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tornado Sirens

Monday night at 9, I was cheerfully playing Warcraft when that ominous, winding sounding roar came from the Rec center down the road. Having lived in Texas all my life, I am used to what seems like 6 months of tornado watches. I will however never be used to the tornado sirens going off. I hate that shot of adrenaline that shoots through your body. After a moment of stunned "what the hey", I began gathering up various pillows and blankets and began the more annoying job of waking up the zombie twins. My daughters do not wake up easily. In fact the younger Farmer has been known to go into a hysterical delirium if you wake her up in the middle of a dream. After four attempts to get her to stay in the hallway on the pillows, the younger farmer was finally corralled by her slightly more awake older sister. Grabbing my shoes and my purse, I finally hunkered down in the hallway with the kiddos and a slightly smelly black lab. For one brief moment I considered rounding up the cats and throwing them in the hall closet but figured that might just add to the general sense of chaos already ensuing. Sorry kitties. Duck and cover mis gatos. Well anyways, storm rolls over us...there goes satellite....there goes lights....Aw no....Where are the flashlights? Nothing like sitting in the dark in the hallway three feet from a catbox, a smelly dog at my feet, with a seven year old sitting in my lap proclaiming that she's gonna throw up. Aw, Good times. Ok, so obviously no tornado hit us even though three did hit in the area. Thirty minutes later, kids are back in bed trying to get back to sleep, the dog is still smelly, the cats are still totally unconcerned and I have a stack of blankets covered in dog hair that need to be washed now. Sigh. The picture above is actually from a site about preparing your cats for disasters. As if they'd listen anyway.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My own Existential Crisis

Try explaining this to 9th graders.

Throw in the concepts of the New World, the Old World, the Middle East and then a sprinkle of reteaching regionalism. A perfect recipe for either a A'Ha! moment or a Huh? moment.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Joy of Cooking

I was very blessed to have grandmothers who were awesome cooks. The first thing my Mama Pat would ask when we walked in the door was if she could make us something and Grandmother always had a container of cookies ready for grandkids. Even though my mom never really encouraged us to be anywhere near the kitchen when she was in there, her influence comes from all the different recipes and new foods that she was constantly trying. Most people don't have stacks of cookbooks in the bathroom but they're my bathtub reading of choice. I couldn't tell you though what my most dog-eared cookbook is because there are a lot of them but one of my favorites is an old spiral-bound copy of the Joy of Cooking. The page with the the recipe for Paprika chicken probably has the most stains. As you know, to find the best recipes in any cookbook, look for the dirtiest page. My most beloved cookbook is an old one from a homemaker's group in Garvin County, Oklahoma. It has old fashioned recipes using such things as oleo and lard. I have never made anything bad from that cookbook and I love the fact that it has recipes from my great, great aunts in there. So many of my favorite memories of my family are tied into the food that I cook: making cookies with my son while pretending to be the Swedish Chef from the Muppets, my brother trying to steal a cookie fresh from the oven and a melted chocolate chip falling between his toes(things always happen to him), dancing around the kitchen with the girls while music plays probably too loudly, a pressure cooker exploding into the ceiling while navy beans slowly rained down on me and my Mama Pat and we held each other laughing hysterically, my Daddo showing me how to fry a perfect sunny side up egg in an old cast iron skillet, sitting on the kitchen stool watching my grandmother's amazing ability to cook w/o measuring a single thing( brought that stool home with me recently), making fresh sopapillas with my mom...I am probably at my happiest in the kitchen and may have an unhealthy attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer. Ok, not really, but I am quite fond of it. I guess what I really love though is making that dish that makes someone happy. That lets them know I care. I guess that's my joy of cooking.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

TAG: Five things Meme

Name 5 things that are not true, but that you wouldn't mind if people thought they were:

1. I am an accomplished artist. Ok, I can throw a fairly decent mug or vase and my design skills are decent but my drawing skills are still not up to snuff.
2. I play the harmonica beautifully. So far I've taught myself to play "When the Saints Come Marching In". My 7 year old makes better noise on it.
3. I am very graceful. I can be very polite and have good manners...if that's the meaning we're using. Unfortunately, I seem to be unable to walk w/o tripping or running into things.
4. I make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. I have been challenged lately so I am grudgingly holding the title until confirmed.
5. I love coming to school everyday. Hmm, hard to come back after a snow day.

TAG, you're it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Today's blog is gonna be about WoW so if you're an education person, I'll catch ya later. I've been talking a lot to my sister about the dynamics of relationships that are formed with people on WoW. The most complicated one you first form is with your guild. It's almost a bizarre social hierarchical experiment that is impossible to explain fully to anyone who doesn't play. My guild is very casual and people tend to come and go all the time but there is a small core group of players. In the year that I've been with them, we've had two major schisms that resulted in a reformation of the guild and a loss of people that I've gotten used to playing with regularly. It's kinda strange because I've never met these people face to face but there is a sense of sadness and loss when someone g/quits as we call it. The tumult of emotions that occur watching guildy after guildy g/quit is quite interesting to say the least. I think that I have formed some very close friendships with some of my guildies and might know more about them than they've told their closest friends. I wonder though if I shouldn't become too attached to my guildies because when it comes down to it, we're all just people playing a video game and maybe I'm taking it too seriously. Is there really a friendship or relationship formed when you're communicating thru your Warlock and Rogue? I'm trying to figure this out and can't even come close to a logical conclusion. I know it hurts when people leave. It feels even worse when they don't say goodbye and drop off the face of the earth. It's such a strange alternative universe in WoW. Though when it comes down to it, I don't think I would have missed it for the world despite the people I am missing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I hope I Don't Sound Like an Idiot

A great blogger and fellow teacher in the trenches, Learnmegood has graciously allowed me to guest blog for him today. I hope I haven't embarrassed him. Go read his blog. It's a daily read for me.

Friday, January 09, 2009


There's been an unwritten post flavoring my writing for several months and with the anniversary of my grandmother's death coming up, writing this post has been in my mind more and more. It's just a subject that I am not sure how to talk about and one that makes most people so uncomfortable to even have mentioned. The week before school started my cousin James Darren killed himself. I can come up with a myriad of reasons why he might have done it but it doesn't satisfy anything. I shouldn't even be calling him James Darren because he was always Bubba to us. He was 43 years old, divorced with three kids and had been struggling with drug addiction for quite a while. He also was just one of the nicest guys you could meet. He was the kid who always carried around the younger kids and babies and the one who always let you tag along even though you were an annoying girl. He taught me how to ride a horse, how to catch a baseball and turn it around so quickly that the catcher was caught off guard, helped me get up on water skis successfully for the first time, helped me with Algebra homework when he lived with my family for a while and gave me the heebie jeebies the past couple of years because he was such a walking shell of himself. Growing up, he looked like a younger version of my dad and was obviously my dad's favorite. By 40, he looked more like a thirty years older version of my Dad but was still my dad's fave. At family get-togethers, it was always a toss up as to whether Bubba was going to show up. Sometimes, he would come in with fresh pressed jeans and a ridiculously large cowboy hat that he favored or he would slink in after dinner, hanging around the side yard, nervously chain smoking. He made you nervous. Mostly because he was so ill at ease at times and you didn't know what to say to him. My dad would catch up with him though, and after falling into some huge discussion about this and that, you could visibly see the tension fall off Bubba's shoulders. When my aunt called my dad with the news, it really wasn't that shocking. I think the saddest part though is that maybe we all had seen it coming. We knew he was slowly killing himself, but just didn't expect this. My grandparent's deaths were so hard on all of us but I think they were very much a lifeline for Bubba. Their house sat empty for about 9 months and I know Bubba used to go hang out in the side garden and just sit in the swings. I wish he had waited for my parents to move in. I thought it would be strange having my parents there but it feels right. I know my grandmother would have very pleased with the way my dad is taking care of the gardens. I think Bubba would have found a place there. My dad would have welcomed his company. I wish he had just waited.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday's thirteen...13 Random Things in/on my Desk

1. Over-sized Desktop Marines Calendar-full of doodles and random parental phone numbers-you can really track who was on my nerves on a particular day with it.
2. 500 count pastel paper clips container-these paper clips are like crack for my kids
3. Four different tubes of lipsticks-you'd be surprised about the effect of wearing lipstick on a class. You'd think I was dressing up for a ball.
4. Twelve sets of earrings-which explains why I can't find earrings on the weekends
5. A box of 100 1/4 inch folded origami stars and cranes that my ESL class from 7 years ago folded to celebrate the birth of my youngest daughter
6. A grey stuffed animal armadillo that we pass around during discussions to designate a speaker
7. Three Starbucks gift cards that I got for Christmas from students-FTW!
8. Four boxes of green Flair Pens-I am obsessed with only grading with these pens..Idk why...
9. Metal Jersey Cow Deskset(udders included) they're cheesy.....they make me happy
10. A bag of Buttered Popcorn Jelly beans....yummm
11. Lilo and Stitch Figurines
12. Box of Kashi Trail Mix Granola Bars
13. A stack of filled out office behavior referrals that I never turned in....sigh

Monday, January 05, 2009

Face Value

I'm a bit amazed by how open people are with Facebook and MySpace. I think of people from my past that I'd really like to see but there are also a couple of people that would make me duck and cover if they materialized out of the woodwork. I don't know if guys have these experiences, but I can think back to some slightly creepy encounters with guys who stood a bit too close to me while talking or guys who seemed to know a little bit too much about my personal life. I quickly took down some personal info from when I saw that one particular scary character from high school had looked at it. Let's just say, you should never tell a 16 year old girl that you know which bedroom window is hers. When I google my name, I am sometimes appalled by the info that shows up that connects the dots of my life story. This is the actually the second version of my blog. I deleted my first when I had a moment of panic with a particularly paranoid employer. Wish I hadn't done it though, because there was some pretty funny stuff there. Oh well. Maybe I'm just secretly jealous that people have such exciting lives that they share with all the other people with exciting lives. I do know that when I ask my students if they've checked my teacher page for make-up asignments, they look at me if I'm talking about space alien cloning. On the other hand, they update their mood indicator on Myspace every other hour. A quick glance online will tell me whether or not my sixth period is coming in sleepy, bored or just peachy. I am not sure if this posting of our lives online is actually making communication better as a society. I have found myself saying things online that I probably would have a hard time saying in person w/o feeling like an idiot. Is this a good thing or bad thing? Am I able to express myself better within the safety of my keyboard or am I really just creating an image? When do you take what you see of that person online for face value when they can pick and choose what people can see?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen 2009 Songs

Got up at the crack of dawn to a beautiful sunrise. Took the dog for a rather short walk around the lake because frankly, I was freezing my tail and his off. Here are the first 13 songs that my Ipod shuffled to greet the new year and my pathetic attempt at a walk. It's definitely an interesting mix of songs but for once, it didn't try to play Peter Gabriel every other song. Doesn't matter though, that sunrise had all my attention.

1. Pretty Fly (For a White guy) by The Offspring....This is so my brother in the early 90's
2. California by Phantom Planet... reminds me of that missed L.A. road trip with an ex-Bf that I will always regret passing up
3. Radio Nowhere by Bruce Springsteen...sigh...Bruce
4. Glamorous by Fergie...I shouldn't like this so much but the girls sound great singing it from the backseat of the car
5. Without Me by Eminem...ok, guilty pleasure number two
6. Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight by The Oak Ridge
7. So Much for the Afterglow by Everclear...still mourning their breakup
8. Paradise City by Guns and Roses...falsetto everyone...
9. Lonely Teardrops by Jackie Wilson....I'm sure a lot of people sing and walk too...quit staring
10. Shadow of the Day by Linkin Park...this song always seems to play on the way to school..hmm
11. Hands Open by Snow Patrol...."It's hard to argue when you won't stop making sense."
12. Love You Again by John Hiatt...I love this song....
13. Little Black Backpack by Stroke 9...what a great line, "Up smack turn around, he's on his back."