Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Famly time

It has been aweek of family time. We have shared a virus that put two of us at the hospital to be checked- and the rest in the house for a long time of quiet. Still, it has been a good time!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008












I am in Phoenix today. Yes, it is 60 and sunny. My kids are loving every minute of it. I thought I would look at a few of my mother's pictures while I am here. This is the house that she grew up in. My grandparents moved into the house at the height of the depression.The left is the living room with wooden floors that squeek when a rocking chair goes back and forth. My Nana had a high backed rocker and Mrs Dee a low back. They would spill out the coloring books and blocks in the back hall when my mom would come to visit- allowing them time to sit at the kitchen table and chat.





This is where we are headed on Saturday. Yup- snow in Flagstaff. Thrilled? I would rather be in the warmth- but Jen and James are anxious to see their old house and the town that they considered their home for six years. This is my mom's home in the pines- under the snow that we expect to see.





These are my two in uniform two short years ago. Jen is now being a full time mom while Ry continues to be the Marine he is. She did a great job- he is a real find:>)


This is a picture of my siblings and my father's parents. Yup- that is me second from the end that was a LONG time ago. The youngest person in this picture is now 45!

This is the last family picture before my dad passed away. My crew is not in it- but we all lived far away. It says that it was taken in July 2006.

Later I will post the family pictures from last night. Christmas eve with everyone except Paul and Dad...first time in a very long time!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Picturing the past


We have this painting in the living room. My dh went to the village in Vietnam that he served in many moons ago. He brought back this painting and said, "it hasn't changed much". The painting is a warm place in my heart. I do not know why it is important at Christmas time- maybe to remember those times for him. A warm Merry Christmas to all of you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Paintings




My great uncle was a lithographer for the mint- back in the day.
In 1919 he did this litho. It has wonderful depth and color.


In 1969, when he elderly and mostly blind, he painted this picture. My Aunt Catherine told me that she put the pins where he wanted in the canvas. Uncle Ned would mix his own paint and paint within the pins. I wish you could touch this. All of the gold and blues are raised. He made the frame as well.
I think of his work like my life. At the beginning of my career it was all about the struggle. Getting to where you need to be in life. When you finally have a chance to sit and think- it is really all about the love- right at the beginning.

BRRRR!


At 1 below life is still good in Kansas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

When your Mommy instincts were right

There is a man who started a huge youth program. He caused me lots of pain since I knew something was wrong in my gut- but could not figure it out. He rose to power in my Church- pretty strong backing. He sold his program to other churches and kept the profits for himself and friends....
He was finally kicked to the curb by the Church.
Another bully bites the dust.
The question is, "Can something truly good ever grow out of something started for evil purposes?"
God can make anything good...I know.
Still the question is difficult for me to answer.
I know the answer:>0 I think too much!

Three hour nap

and now it is 11 pm and I am wide awake.
Tomorrow is the last day of school for the year. We are planning a celebration day.
Whew!
Tough crowd!
Actually, there are many delightful children in my classes. The few bullies are the ones who drive me insane. This time of year that insanity is worse. I have no tolerance. And when their mommies run to their assistance when another child has finally, after being verbally assaulted for months, lashes out....I just am GRRRR about it.I just want to shake the mom and say, "Your child is SO mean!"
So, tomorrow is the last day that I have to deal with attempting to protect the boy with so many sores the others cringe, the girl who is so timid- she is the perfect victim, the child who is so hurt by life- he shrinks. They will all be with me over the break though. I will be thinking, "What could make this better?" for two weeks. Maybe I will become ...inspired.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter



From my classroom window
From my bedroom window

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I now know that most of my clothes are cotton

My time of revelation came today that my sister has changed my clothing content. My clothes were on the line. The temperature went from a balmy 59 this dawn to 5 degrees at dusk. My clothes "walked" inside on their own. They has been frozen in place on the line! Four years ago they all would have been limp since polyester does not freeze.
Thank You Cath for changing my thoughts on the comfort of good cotton!
Darn- my camera is at school.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ten great Catholics in my lifetime

Father Wasson founder of Our brothers and sisters- humble to the end http://www.friendsoftheorphans.org/
Mother Teresa
Pope John Paul II (still love that he gave his popemobile to Mother Teresa to sell)
John Van Hengle - founder St Mary's Food Bank
Father Tom Owens- teacher /priest
Sister Norma Jean Turner- teacher/ principal
Father Fessio- took on his order and founder of Ignatius Press
Michelle- walking the walk every day
Bishop Sheen- founder of the logical/public Catholic
My dad- struggled every day. Attempted to do the right thing as often as possible.

How about you Ruth, Carrie and Michelle? Anyone else? Who are the great spiritual leaders for your life?

Struggling

No- I am not struggling, some of my students are. We deal daily with kids who do not have enough. The enough that I worry about the most is emotional support.Several of the kids are on an edge and I can feel it. When they are, they act out in certain ways. Not as many smiles, a sharp word to a usual friend, walkingaway from a teacher greeting. Slowly my team attempts to work through the situations.
I even hate to let them go for the two weeks of Christmas break.
Nope- I am not depressed- I am frustrated- but hopeful.
The baby is walking and I will get to see him in ten days! There is always hope. That is what our Lady of Guadalupe means to me- hope in the winter.

Monday, December 08, 2008

December 12th

December the 12th has always been special to me. It is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is the feast where Mary shares roses with the poor man and asks him to build a Church on the spot.
My father always had an amazing devotion to Mary. Maybe because his mother had died at such a young age and he took on Our Lady as his mother figure. Roses were always his favorite. He planted them everywhere for Mary.
That my Jennifer was born on the day of the roses is amazing to me. There is that connection. I used to ask Mary to watch over Jennifer as she drove away to school or on a date. I would place Jennifer in Our Lady's hands when I thought that she was getting too far away. She was a rose- just like one of the roses that Our Lady gave to Mexico. I knew,someday, she would build a Church of her own- in her house with her boys.
Here comes December 12th again. I am not good at getting the cards out on time- but I know I will go to Mass on the 12th and thank Our Lady for helping to guide our Jennifer- a rose of my father and my Church- to be the woman she is. I am forever grateful for that gift of a rose.

"Do you know Math, too?"

I started this post last week when a student looked at me with surprise and asked me that question. Math is a subject that has to be taken in steps to enjoy. They are amazed that they are being taught by an entire team who enjoys Math. The question struck me as funny. They assume that since I only teach Social Studies that Math would be my darkness. They are always delighted when they find out not only that I like Math, but I can teach it in a different way. It helped being a SPED teacher for three years!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Why we are needed in public school

Today I was to teach a short introduction to the Jewish religion. My objectives for the year are to teach the basics to the five major religions. My thought? The Jewish religion will be easy. Everyone has heard of Moses and David....
Today we were reading the background to ring those "oh yes" bells.
The only one rung was mine!
My findings was that less than 10 out of my 100 students knew ANY Bible stories. One student even said, "What is a Bible?"
This evening I spent working up a Power Point on the history of the Jews. As an educated woman, knowing Jewish history is HUGE. There are so many things that Western Civilization is based upon. Starting with know what a "goliath" is and moving to the Ten Commandments.

Today I found out that I was on the Democrat's list because I am a member of the NEA.I guess I should not be afraid of the list- so many of the people and things I care about are their issues....don't know too many Republicans who see education as a huge priority. Just make sure they read, write and 'rithmatic.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gobble time


Turkeys are hanging around the house today. Yesterday was the first snow. The first large group of turkeys came by early to see if there was any feed out. They had frost on their back and their gobble was rather soft.
This is the fourth group and it is not yet 3pm.
It leads me to believe that the grasshoppers are almost gone and now the difficult time of finding food in the winter has arrived.
Since we have been feeding this particular group since they learned how to fly off of our walls, we will be making sure they have food through the winter. All of the turkeys though? There are way too many this year to feed.
A bit like the economy, isn't it?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Advent begins

This is my favorite song.
Thank you Peyton's mom for bringing it to me this Song Saturday

One day


When I graduated from college a great friend wrote my philosophy of education for my interview packet in calligraphy. I pull it out every so often to see if it has changed. Not yet.
"Changing the world one child at a time."
Sometimes that child was my own. At times I was not good at it. Other times it flowed because I love them.
Changing one child right now means working with one family. This year that has been a painful pursuit since the family really needs professional help and I had to be the one to call that help in. The season of giving is here. My Friday shopping is done and this family will be fine for the tree...but how to really help change that lifestyle so the one child at a time can benefit? That is the difficult question for me in the next few weeks.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Conversations

I has a conversation last night that left me in a terribly negative mood. This morning I am up early thinking and beginning to change my mood by thinking of what I am grateful for.
My husband is healthy. He is up and around and building something (I have no idea what it is). He is a joy to be around even when I am a grouch. He loves being home and taking care of things. We have been through some tough times, but he is still here with me and I with him. Twenty eight years ago yesterday he asked me to marry him. What a journey it has been.
My children- all three of them- are so dear to me that no words could explain the love I have for them. I am proud of who they are and where they chose to grow. I miss them terribly on days like today.

My sisters are loving people. I have three sisters that I am close to- two by birth and one by marriage. I thank God for them. We laugh and cry together. One is still rather shy, but we are coming closer. We each have had a journey that none of us expected. I am grateful for their presence in my life and their willingness to let me be a part of theirs.

My mother is healthy and trying to find her way without my dad and that is a difficult task. I am grateful that I still have her. Some of my friends have no living parents,what a bummer. I look forward to spending time with mom and laughing at the greatgrandbaby with her.

My home is where my heart lies and right now that is in Kansas. As much as I would like to live near my children, I know we are blessed with this beauty and land for a reason. I just have to figure out what that reason is:>)There is not a day that goes by that I do not love the beauty that surrounds me. Actually, I am surprised that I enjoy the peacefulness of the Midwest as much as I do. The dogs are all a part of the joy that I feel daily in awakening in such a wonderful place.
Last, but not least, I am thankful that God chose to place Nicholas in our lives. He is a reason to know that God will care for the future, for he loves us enough to present us with a joy that is unobtainable any other way.
Now, I think I can start my quiet day. We will not have Thanksgiving with friends or family today, we are saving that for Christmas. My day is complete though with the thoughts of all and the joy of the Lord present in my life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas is for giving

I need nothing. Really, I don't.
I am thinking about this
http://www.playpumps.org/site/?c=hqLNIXOEKrF&b=2559311
instead of my normal Christmas presents.
We won't be home anyway....so I won't miss the unwrapping under the tree!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland
 

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
 
Boston
 
North Central
 
The Inland North
 
Philadelphia
 
The South
 
The Northeast
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Friday, November 21, 2008

Amazing discussion

Today we began by looking at the caste system of ancient India. We ended by talking about green cards and who is "more American". What does an American look like? How long is long enough to be a citizen? Is a child of American parents actually "more American" than President Elect Obama - the child of citizens of the US and Kenya? How about the child of a soldier with a parent of another country caring for her while dad is in Iraq? Is she "American"? The discussion was good. There was a bit of twitching, but we did well to maneuver between questions and criticism.
Have I told you lately that I love to teach? Still, I do not think I will do it for much longer. My energy level is not the same as it was years ago and children take so much. Of course, I am honored to be renewed by their energy and questions.

Who is this generation? I am finding fewer children know the Bible- or any religion. Fewer have connection to Scouts or charities. More are involved with the "me" of club sports and fewer the "we" of school sports. What will be their drive? What will be the will to serve humanity? The need to find what is good for all born and unborn? It should be the job of parent. Some parents take that and move forward, but I see less and less of that. I guess the job has become that for a teacher. Scary that a profession that is usually looked down upon in society is really the driving force for the future.
I am thinking more and more about my grandson's world. What will his education bring to him? What will he bring to the world. Will his teacher be caring and help him form into the caring citizen that he has the ability to be? I guess I need to begin those teacher prayers sooner than later.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The small Earth

Today my student who speaks very little English came up to me at the end of class. He asked me to put up Google Earth on the smart board. Up it went. He typed in a name of a city. Up it came- zoomed in on the 6' board on the front wall of the room. He, then, proceded to grab the city and move the zoom in. Traveling through streets, he was mumbling to himself. "AHHH!
There Meses Boown!" He was showing me his house that he left in Mexico.
I know where some of your minds have gone just now.
Let me put them to rest. This child's father joined the US military. When he was shipped to Iraq the family was allowed to come to the US and live in the housing. This child is a child of my future, your future. He knows where he comes from...misses it terribly...but ...when I asked...even though he speaks very little English...he loves "THE STATES"!
My!
We live in a small world.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008



The trees outside the front window are bare. The one to the left is always the last to turn and fall. I am not sure why this is. Maybe it is the oldest.

Scott is beginning to play in the barn more. He said he would help me set "Jennifer's room" for quilting for the winter. Quilting used to come easily. Even remembering those times is sometimes difficult. Working with the fabric to make something of joy. Purchasing pieces of cotton- where ever the road leads. My favorite memory was staying up all night to make something special with a friend. Those were good times that would be welcome again.

Darkness no longer scares me as it did in my past. The sunset is not the end of the day, but the beginning of a new adventure.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two years

It has been two years since my dad passed away.
A long three years of wandering in and out of my
religion and environment.
Many good things have happened. We added a son
in through a wedding of joy. I thought how much my
dad have liked to be a person to help form another
grandson.












Our other son graduated in a ceremony that would
have made my dad proud.

We added the first great grand child.
Dad would have glowed with the joy
of the arrival. He would have read the
baby poetry and shown him the pictures
in the books as he did with his grandchildren.
Dad never really enjoyed flying, but he enjoyed seeing the
family enjoy their passions. He didn't come to that until
later in age, but he desired to bring out the passion that
each of the grandchildren reached for- horses, art, flying,sports.

He would have loved to see his James fly.








I have another set of students this year. This will be my third group that I have to mentor through the school year without his advice. He seemed to know what "my boys" needed and how I should word my comments so that others would not be offended. He saw my passion of working with children and encouraged it.
I miss my dad terribly. I miss his hard headed way of attacking a problem and working through the solution with me. I miss his leadership in how to work with the people who need help but are unsure or too proud to ask. Mostly I miss his push for the Lord that I do not feel right now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Google Earth

If you have not played with Google Earth, you need to. www.googleearth.com
Today we began our two week study of India. I went to Google Earth to show them how the subcontinent is slowly running into the continent of Asia. They were once again glued.
I live for GLUED!
Tomorrow it is on to the study of language at www.ancientindia.co.uk

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama names

I am settling into having a new first family- almost. Here are their Secret Service names....The "Obama family recently received its new (and alliterative) names: "Renegade" (Barack), "Renaissance" (Michelle), "Radiance" (Malia) and "Rosebud" (Sasha)."
Chigago SunTimes announced.
What wonderful names for the children. I pray that the Lord protects them all.
On another note- Veteran's Day went without a hitch at school. I have four boxes to mail out to the four parents we have deployed currently. More than a third of my students have family members in the Armed Forces. Many more than that have family mmeber who have once served. The stories were interesting and the day was good.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What board Game are you? Mine fits me pretty well!

What Board Game Are You?
You Are Chinese Checkers

You live a hyper, fast paced life. You rarely ever slow down.You are good at juggling many things at once. You are the ultimate multi-tasker.You enjoy being in a group - in fact the bigger the group, the better.You are an enthusiastic competitor, and you can be a little ruthless when you play games.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Plow in

My husband has cut down three trees on the land for winter wood. It is solid wood that will burn long and slow. We have emptied all of the gardening containers onto the earth around our deck and hope that it will help when spring comes again.
We have done the same thing with our stocks. We have plowed into the market again- this time buying America. We decided that sitting back afraid will do nothing for us or our children's future. We have to believe that it will get better.
It will be a long winter of recession. We will have to pull together. Our school has started a food backpack for the families that have nothing at home because parents have been laid off from their simple jobs as waitresses and food processors.
If you have a job- go out to dinner. You need to support the local people in any way you can. Holding all of your money in hand does nothing for your neighborhood. Don't go into debt- just go out to eat.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The beauty of the seasons

I will bring my camera home from school tomorrow. The leaves are already gone from the trees and winter has moved in.


My only concern is that our new puppy will need a coat!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Veterans Day

It is upon us. What will you do to remember the people, past and present, who serve the country in the armed forces?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Step back and look

The country is taking a turn. Step back and look at the man we have elected. He is quite intelligent. President Elect Obama is not crafted by others.
He writes his own speeches. Do you know how long it has been since we not only had a person in the White House who can give a speech- but actually WRITES what he says? A very long time.
The people first person he taps is a deeply religious man- Orthodox Jewish.
He is deeply committed to his wife.
He is the poorest man we have elected since Truman. He only owns one house and it is in a neighborhood.
He was raised primarily by grandparents who lived through World War II. They knew the hardships and pain of war and depression. They put all of their money and time into him and he thrived under their love. He grew up probably going to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and watching REAL patriotic parades in the streets of Honolulu. My experience was that Honolulu had more parades than anyone else.
He struggled in high school but thrived in college when he grew up.
He is----half African and half white. I am here to tell you that Hawaii is a great place to visit if you are different but not a great place to live if you are not Japanese. Still, many alternative lifestyles exist in Hawaii and they are just there- there are no worries about that ....
He CHOSE to return to the states for high school over staying in an Islamic country for high school. Yet, he experienced living overseas- seeing REAL poverty- feeling what others feel when they do not speak the language- learning that there are ways to get better (but the US is the best ).
Some fear that he will open the flood gates. His speech did not indicate that. I think this is a pensive man who cares deeply about his children's future and in turn YOUR future. He chose to be here.
Yes, I feel that President elect Obama road a wave into this election. Just like riding a good wave you have to paddle and struggle and wait. Then the ride. Then the paddle and struggle and wait again.
I may have to eat my words- but I do not think so. This man has the material it takes to be a great President. I may miss a wave or two that he takes, but I hope to take many with him.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The right to vote

Today was voting day. Duh, you might say....but it is a big deal. My school voted. My students were SO excited they wanted to vote before our school poll opened.

I knew what they felt like. I got up at 5 am to be at my poll by 6:15. That way I could vote and make it to school on time. Our poll opened at 7 am and I was about 20th in line! One of the teachers who lived in a TINY town had the line wrap around the courthouse by the time the poll opened. She thanked me for giving her the thought to go early.

The excitement had spread at school. I teach with MANY 20 something year olds. Many came up to me today and asked me questions about the process. I have been very careful to give out information from Factcheck.org and scholastic news source - which seem to be right down the middle of the road. I was passing out that information until I left the building at 5 pm last night. I have a teacher friend who went around talking Hitler and the end of capitalism under Obama as well as another who predicted WWIII under Mc Cain. I don't go for either of those things. My advice is to dismiss the extremes and look at the information. The extremes turn me and most of the twenty somethings off (I haven't figured out why others have not figured that out).

In general, 14 out of 15 of the teachers voted in my wing. All 104 of my students cast Kidvote ballots. I do not know who they voted for. Really, I do not care. I care that they finally are part of a process that makes our country the best on the earth. The right to vote is amazing. I will defend THAT to the end (a bit extreme- aren't I?)

Off to watch the results. Yes, we can- no matter who wins- we can change the direction of the country. I am EXCITED!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A good night sleep and fall is in view!




My house is beginning to be surrounded by fall. The leaves have changed on about 60% of the trees. It is a warmer fall than last year when most of the leaves were gone by this time.


My husband is out mowing the fields so they are easier to sled by the neighborhood in the winter. They love the big hill by the barn. Last year he did not mow soon enough and snow came. A number of children were bummed out.
This is the time of year that the Tom turkeys come back to the house for feed. You can tell the ones who know us. They run to me when I shake the corn feeder. The smaller ones are the ones who told the larger ones that corn is found at "that house". They are in the lead with the fat strutters carefully hidden in the grass. That all changes when the corn is thrown and it becomes a free for all.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's the kids- not the adults- that I work for

I just finished reading an Email about the Veteran's Day celebration that we are planning. One of the teachers (who does not know ANYTHING about the military) tagged on to my email stating that she felt that all civilians who work for the military should also be placed on the banner of veterans. The counselor in charge of corrdinating the event (who also knows nothing about the military or the meaning of Veteran's day) tagged on stating she thought that was a great idea....Retired are white starts, KIA are gold, Active Duty are Blue and NOW civilians are red! Did ayone tell her that traditionally red stars are for the Communists......
Deep breath.
ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
And then- I read the next email from the Red Ribbon committee that crazy sock day will be on Veteran's Day.
I GIVE UP!
I have no plans to be there on Veteran's Day now. Adults drive me CRAZY!

Teaching

Sometimes I complain too much. The simple fact is that I love to teach. The last two days of field trips took some of my "city ish kids" out to the country side. On long hikes through the open prarie they went. There were a few complaints about getting shoes dirty- and some without coats. They were troopers.




My joy came when the excitement over the knowledge that they lived in a special place called the Tall Grass Prarie. We had wonderful stories woven by old professors from the University about the area and the bison and the fires of old.
Then, today, we began to really study the issues for the national elections. The students registered to vote. There are about five new citizens in my classes. We talked about how voting was a right that many countries did not provide. A few weeks ago I taught that public schools were formed to get children out of the workforce and begin to educate the electorate. Just when you think no one is listening...that statement came back to me in every class!




They listened, they debated and then they created "bumperstickers" for their lockers. Here are a few that stood out to me. The first one is from a young lady who has a daddy who just left for Iraq the day after she found out that she was a diabetic.




She states that she will not vote because McCain wants our troops in Iraq and Obama wants them in Afghanistan. She wants them to come home!



Yes, we did discuss abortion, war, poverty, college, preschool, hunger, and the redistribution of wealth. They are hungry for information and I give it as non bias as possible. "Some people believe" often prefaces what I say. They do not know where I stand. I am not in the classroom to teach my opinion- but to educate them on how to find information. Believe me, that is really difficult on issues that I am strongly opinionated about.


We vote on Tuesday- just like the country. They ask if their vote counts. The truthful answer is "No, I am simply training you so you will not be afraid to exercise your most important right as a citizen of this county. No matter who you are for, you need to vote." My student who said she will not vote for a President stated that she will instead sign her blank ballot and vote.

Teaching is an amazing vocation. My heart delights, even though my feet are tired, that I decided to come back to the classroom.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Field trips in two days





















I am wiped out! My pictures will be uploaded this weekend. We took all 104 students to the tall grass prarie. We did a bit of research, took the mile loop through the grasses and then boarded the bus. Venturing through some major gates our eyes were peeled for bison. It did not take long to be surrounded by a medium sized herd. My words,"If you drop your camera outside of the bus, I am not going to go and get it for you!" (With a witty smile in the end). The students were wonderful. It was the best trip I have taken with a group in years.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Retirement

As most of you know- my hubby is semi retired. He is a bit older than me and with the loss of his sibling he is a bit more ready to retire. Ok, he is retired with a hobby of keeping the grounds with the prospect of building something out of wood. That is still a mystery.
SOOOO, I watch our pennies.
I kept our old portfolio active, just to see what would have happened if we had stayed the course.
Today it is official.
If we has stayed in the market, we would have lost half of our liquid assets. I cannot say life savings since most of our savings are in the place we call home.
It is a sobering thing to look at that portfolio.
How are people doing it who did not know to get out of the market when it was higher? I have so many friends who have money in 401K or IRAs who did not think that they could move their money to cash within those accounts.
I am worried about senior citizens who depend on their savings for an OK life in the future.
I am anxious for the elections and convinced that no matter who wins----it might settle down just a bit.
What a year!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A few more pictures- and politics




I enjoyed the commentaries from the morning talk shows. I really enjoyed hearing McCain actually present some information. I am not sure about the housing bail out- how that should work- but I know we need one. My area of Kansas is not particularly hard right now. We have farming, military and people who are just used to being poor. Our processing plants never paid more than $11. an hour- so big wages are not an issue here. Listening to my sister and sisiter in law- things are much worse in the big cities.
I am curious how this will work out in the long run. I am nervous on both sides. Obama because of his inexperience. He is a thoughtful man- but will he become influenced by the outside trappings. McCain has some good advisers- but his past indicated that he likes to fly by the seat of his pants (quite literally).
Here is my hope:
1) We supply our own energy (within North America) within the next five years. That is tough- but if they take the strong minds that we have in the military and tag them with the strong corporate minds of commerce- I think we can do it. North American Oil coupled with wind, solar and nuclear powers (sorry- don't think there is such a thing as "clean coal").
2) Get out of the Middle East. I have said that since we lived in Saudi. We are pawns in their tribal wars. There will not be democracy there any sooner than there will be democracy between the Native nations of the US (and no- there is not a democracy there either). I don't feel we should totally abandon Israel- but I am darn close. They are pretty strong and feel that we are something they can use in a heart beat as well.
3) Figure out the school systems. We need to improve FAST. Right now I am saving all of my materials. If my daughter and son in law cannot live in a good public school system or afford a good Catholic school (which I doubt since the Catholic schools in their area are about $10,000 a year and they only make $30,000)then I will be planning on figuring out a way to home school (or at least supplement school) the grand baby.
4) Continue to work to end abortion. That is a personal - day by day work. Talking to children about the preciousness of life every day in my classroom, lifting up programs that support young mothers- and - most of all- speaking to the 20 somethings who are afraid that a baby will ruin their lives (and there are lots of those- and white college educated women are the fast rising group of aborters).
This is something that cannot be legislated- it is taught. If it is legislated- then people will go to extreme measure to "cheat". Again, I will not vote on this issue alone since I feel that the Republicans had a majority and the White House and did nothing. They cannot be trusted to really do anything at all about this issue. I guess- from all the admonishment I have received on this issue- I am considered an excommunicated Catholic and accept that as something I will have to work out with God in the long run. But then, I have always had a different view of God than most "good Catholics" that I know.
And that is the end of my political commentary for the day!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The New Baby


Sadie- in a blur- has arrived!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One more day

of conferences. I have a good bunch of students. Tough, but good. I have been pushing personal responsibility. My belief is that a parent should be able to help at this stage. My understanding is that most of my students are on their own. They have to get up in the morning, get breakfast, get on the bus, take the bus home, do homework, make dinner and put themselves to bed---while their parents work.
How can this be considered a compassionate world where children have to grow up because their parents cannot put food on the table with only two paychecks?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Visitors

Yesterday ended our four months of visitors. Winter is gathering speed as trees lose leaves and the smell of buring fields fills the air. We have enjoyed a summer of "Spa Bowen". I am looking forward to two summers from now when I hope to have a two week session of "Spa Bowen" for my artist friends. I have come to see tht one of my roles in life is to continue the arts- even if I am terrible at putting art together myself. Scott is a wood artist, Mary is a silversmith, Trish is an assembler, Marcie is a painter, Kathy and Barb are all around woman artist, Mandy is skillful at color, Cathy is a fabric person, and Mindy is a painter, Jen is a crocheter. These women (and my man) are strong influences in my life. Sometime I am helping them- but often their art lifts me to a different level. My joy would be to see them together doing art and talking art and enjoying the Kansas country side. Maybe I could even convince my sister Lou to join us....I haven't seen her art in years.
Spa Bowen- two years from last September....anyone else up for a trip?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pumpkin

I put a pumpkin in my classroom. It is sweet and small. Then I opened my blinds.
Fall is here and I am determined to enjoy it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My sister in law and I traveled south to go to a furniture store in Amish/Mennonite country. While we were there this horse and buggy showed up with a very young family. There were lots of smiles of the shop keeper when the baby came into the shop.

She was about the size of Nicholas- and Ian. Ian is two and a half- Nicholas is one- as was the baby.

It was a good trip. We ended up just buying food stuffs-lol. No new furniture for the living room.

When we crossed the dam and saw the barn I felt like- "Whew, it is good to be home".

I have been obsessive about the stock market. Hopefully it will straighten itself out today. I feel sorry for Iceland- to be caught in the mess of bad loans. WE took the majority of our money out of the market six months ago. What we left in we have lost lots of principle.Not going where Iceland is will be important in the next few months.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Life is good




We will miss him around here!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Are you ready?

Today the Dow was down- way down. The analysts say to get everything into cash for the next five years- these are BIG investors. We went into cash about seven months ago- still I had no idea. I knew it was big- but this is REALLY big. Just in time my sister in law arrives. I have a feeling we will be doing lots of stocking of shelves and such. We may go and look for good places to plant in the spring. She will probably help me purchase good seed for that land and have ideas about the soil. Our trees should have fruit in the summer next year. I tend to be doom and gloom when I am sick (which I am) but this looks pretty gloomy from here.

So what is the 8,000 lbs gorilla in the room that we are ignoring?

Dow at 10,100. Hold on- down we go!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Baby

Babies are so wonderful. They crawl with their little tush in the air, so assured that they are loved. I love the feel of baby- so soft. He no longer wants to sit and be hugged on- he wants to move and play. Scott has been amazing with him. I love to see him play with him. He love for me to turn him up side down- but I don't get to do the walks at the lake or play in the yard.
I'll miss mommy and baby when they are gone.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

LONNNNNNGGGG DAY

What does a long day look like to a teacher?
Get up late, after a short night of sleep.
Restless after watching the market yesterday. Stomach knots over 403b's of friends who did not watch the market and are surprised that they do not know that our funds are getting walloped.
Go to school- forget that we are supposed to be in a meeting.
Arrive at the meeting 15 minutes late (with a thousand other things on my agenda)
Get called to a bus accident
Calm a few kids- no one seriously injured- and go back to school
Have a teacher shrug off that kids are going to be a bit upset "so, nothing unusual". (Yes, I work at a tough school)
Chat with a student about failing grades in other classes (Cheer leading was never my uniform- but I seem to wear it as an adult.) Arrange for meetings to keep up on work.
Settle into a day of writing and correcting. Actually, that is quite fun, but exhausting.
Have a parent meeting after school
Rush home for pictures with the baby....but the appointment was canceled due to the high volume of parents leaving for Iraq needing/wanting pictures with their babies (understandable).
Listen to my husband as he investigates where our stole credit card money was spent and how "they might be able to catch this guy---in New Jersey"
Meet with a soldier and his parents before he deploys next week
Debates on our Senate race (hotly contested)
I hope I will sleep well tonight. I NEED it!
thinking of Patty again today- I could really just use a weekend alone of farming!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fraud

What a way to usher out an old year of my life. The market drops 777 point AND my Mastercard has an extra $3,000 charged on it. My hubby is now grateful that I check balances very often (like twice a week)! No more Mastercard for a week....
Seems like I was just sharing the virtue of putting things on a card to track it....
LOL- Patty- I am back to paper money!

Oh well, next year will be better. I know it will. Fifty-one has a great sound to it!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bring him on!


Nicholas arrives today. We have not started remodeling:>) We decided to cover the stairs with this tarp instead of chancing the baby curiousity of looking over the 2nd floor edge.
We are ready- outlets covered, dead bugs removed, doggy food on counter....here comes the baby!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy birthday to him tomorrow and me the next day!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

the barn



Filling the barn with things.
These are what a young man
who leaves for war this week
is leaving behind. His stuff
will await his return.






And then the tonado doors. Scott found a man selling the doors from his 100 year old home in Chapman. He paid way too much- but it was an effort to help. I don't know what they will turn into at our house- but knowing Scott- it will be beautiful.

Lesson plans

It was one of those weeks- fast and furious. I have two KSU student aides and one group of students from the University who are learning to do lesson plans. LOL. For those of you who REALLY know me, lesson plans are ideas that roll around my head all night. I get up the next morning and pull it together. Yes, every time. With the introduction of media- those plans are free flowing. Here is what is in store on Monday....
A clip from Raiders of the Lost Arc showing Egypt
Google earth compared to map on wall for placement of Egypt
Compare terrian maps of Egypt and Mesopotamia (Iraq)
Do a venn diagram on the smart board on the comparison- have students take notes
Show a quick demonstration of flooding and silt
Finish with an entry in the vocabulary book on delta, silt and flooding

How do you fit that into a 3x3 square?

This is the 21st century. Why do we teach educators the same way we used to?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A beautiful day

After the gloom of last night, I got up early.
Sitting outside I came to admire my dad's roses. My dad never saw these rose bushes, but he planted so many like them I have come to think of them as a sign that he is here with me at this house.
Then I thought about the pictures of the sunset on the way home from school last week that I never really looked at. I do love living here.















I proceded to the post yard sale and found the perfect toy for my grandson (when he comes to visit). Yes, I am indeed in the right place. I do have enough!