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!