Monday, August 27, 2007

All For The Taking

Tonight's a wonderful night in the world of astronomy!
First, it's the full moon of August, and this one is named the Full Sturgeon Moon. The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.
Any way you call it, you must call it beautiful!
Secondly, tonight is a total lunar eclipse! The Earth will move between the sun and the moon, casting its shadow upon the moon. Here, in the west, we have a pretty good chance of seeing a nice view of it. You'll see the Earth's shadow creep across the moon's face as the Earth blocks out the sun's light. The best view will be at 3:37 a.m. That's EARLY, but ohhhhhh, so worth the rise!! So set your coffee maker for a little earlier tonight before heading to bed. Get your binoculars out (even better, a telescope!) and head on out to view one of Nature's best celestial shows! You won't even have to wait in line for popcorn!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Playin' and Payin'

Meet my friend for the day.

Yup... Pledge and I have had a great reunion today...getting reaquainted again after a couple of weeks. I reassured it that I hadn't forgotten about it (as much as I would like to!). I have a big house... big! Especially for just the two of us. My yard is big, too! Almost 1/3 of an acre. So keeping it in shape is a big job and takes quite a bit of time.

My laundry and I had a nice time, as well. I'm a purist...I love my sheets dried out on my clothes line. And as much work as it is cleaning this home from top to bottom, the reward is a nice, hot shower and falling into bed on fresh, clean pink sheets!
By the way...if any of you have the opportunity to see Linda Ronstadt in concert, oh my!! You really owe yourself the evening! My wonderful friend, S, and another wonderful friend, D, treated me out for dinner and Linda! Good gravy! That woman, who is 61 years old, mind you, has not lost one single rich note over these years! Her voice is even more amazing, if that's possible! She was just fantastic - funny, warm, genuine...and that voice was just awesome! It was one of the best concerts I've ever been to! Blue Ba-youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Planting Seeds of Love

Me: "What's this?"

K: "A present."

Me: "It is? Is it for me?"

K: "Uh-huh."

Me: "Why, thank you, K. That's awfully sweet of you. Should I open it?"

K: "Uh-huh."

Me: "Okay."

(peels the scotch tape off of the kleenex that has been carefull rolled up)

Me: "Oh my gosh, K. These look a little bit like seeds. Is that what they are? Seeds?"

K: "Uh-huh."

Me: "They sort of look like apple seeds. Are they apple seeds?"

K: "Uh-huh. You said the other day that you ate an apple and I know you like apples 'cuz you said you ate an apple. So I ate an apple and saved the seeds for you." (big, toothless smile)

Me: "Oh, K! That is so nice of you! I think I'll plant them and see if an apple tree grows!" Thank you for thinking of me. You are too sweet!"

K: "You're welcome."


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Soap Boxes

(scoots her pink-striped with mint green polka-dots soap box out into the middle of the room and steps onto it)

I'm not even sure where to begin. It's been that kind of week.

As a 1st grade teacher, you expect the first several weeks to be rough. New routines, new expecta- tions, new friends...all are a bit tough those first few weeks. Add in the fact that a lot of my kiddos haven't been away from Mommy, nor have they ever bought lunch in the cafeteria and need help learning that, some still have bathroom accidents, there are always a couple with severe seperation anxiety (and a few moms with it just as badly) and as today's culture slowly evolves and changes, there are quite a few little ones who have never been held accountable for their actions, their words or have never been made to do something that they may just not feel like doing. And mind you, not only do you love, nurture, protect and guide these little spirits, you also educate and try to elevate each student's academic ability to at least grade-level standards with a mastery in all skills. This to be accomplished despite the fact that two have autism, one with emotional disabilities, a third from 'broken' homes, five from homes that do not speak English as a primary language and on and on and on. Yes, you open your door on that first day and this smorgasbord of 25 walks in...and they are yours for the next 180 days.

(picture Ron Popeil popping in to yell.....) But wait! That's not all!

As our school was starting the first full week of a new year, we were put into lock-down on Monday. No warning. No practice had been done yet. Boom! "Teachers, we are now in lock-down. Please secure your classrooms. We are in lock-down." Immediately, my students and I were face down on the floor...away from windows and our door. I had never taught my kiddos this proceedure... uh, it was only our 4th day of school. But my class was just amazing. They quietly laid on their tummies. I calmly explained what we were to do and reassured them that they were safe, that no one could hurt them in here, that I would take care of them and that they were going to be alright. As a teacher, you are looking at the micro-fibers in your carpet as you say these words, rubbing the ankle or back of the little one next to you to reassure them and wondering what in God's sake is happening 'on the outside'. But you also know that your training has prepared you for this and that you really are okay. And while you and your students are quietly proned on the floor, you trust that the authorities will take care of whatever the situation is and at some point, you will be told that all is well and that lock-down is over. When that will happen, you have no clue...but you know it will happen at some point.

And you wait....and reassure... not only your children, but yourself, as well.

And... you do this twice in one week.

That's right. We were also put into lock-down three days later. Again. For a second time. In four days.

Throw in a few extras for the ride.... a student's asthma attack warranted the paramedics and ambulance to take him on the gurney from his classroom (next to mine) to the hospital.... an irate parent chewing my ass over her son being held accountable for his actions.... another student switched out of my room to another teacher's class.... training a new I.A.... 4 meetings (3 of which were held on the same day).... and oh!!! the best part??? Due to temperatures hitting 110 degrees (I'm not kidding here, folks) we were on 'rainy day schedule' because of a heat advisory. recess!! For three days this week!!!

But the beauty of it all is that our faculty managed each and every situation with professionalism. All went well with the lock-downs. The little one with the asthma attack is fine now. Irate parents are soothed and reassured. The heat....well, that hasn't changed.

The most amazing thing, really, is that all of us will show up again Monday morning. We'll have renewed energy and commitment for the new week upon us. We'll ask how our weekends were. We'll greet our kiddos with genuine smiles and pats on the shoulder and ask "Hi Nicholas, how was your weekend?" We'll laugh with our teammates, rely on each other for answers and help and guidance. We'll have more meetings. We'll have more tears. We'll have more 110 degree days.

Part of my post today is to simply open a little window into the world of teaching. Teachers are not perfect. We make mistakes. We sometimes make a fumble. But we try our best for every child's best. Every day. Every single day. Because...

...we love what we do.

I wouldn't trade my job for the world.

(steps down from her pink striped with mint green polka-dots soap box and throws a load of laundry into the washer)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Good Morning, Good NIght, Good Bye

This is what greets me each morning as I pull into my spot at work... a beautiful Bird of Paradise bush.

How can one not smile when they see this everyday??

Sunset the other night set the sky on fire... a slow burn with embers pulling up a blanket of steel blue, then sinking into black.

*Lucky boy, may you run with the breath of spirited wind towards those who went before you. Tell Mom that I love and miss her. God's speed, old boy... God's speed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It Really IS A Wonderful World!

The other day I received a very nice comment from this wonderful gal...and I wandered on over to her blog... I LOVE her blog.. her title is a mantra of mine, I love the photography and her style. Today, her post was important, beautiful and inspiring. So I ask you to come with me to visit her.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The longer I sat here not being able to trim my pine tree, the madder I got.


one ladder - $150

one chain saw - $175

one pine tree sans eight 10-foot branches - priceless!

This Little Piggie Went ..... &^(*!@)(#**#^^@*#& !!!! ... All The Way Home

...and it's still squealing it's little head off! I had big plans for today. I was going to fire up the chainsaw and take to my alleppo pine tree that stately shelters my English garden on the side of my house. Over the last 3 weeks, I had carefully surveyed, assessed and decided on a select number of limbs that needed to be removed. I'm talking 10 foot limbs here. This was the weekend to do it as 'big bulk trash' pickup is this coming week; where the town hauls off stuff like that for free! Oh joy! I even wrote it on the calendar so that nothing would interfer with my plans!
Until yesterday.
As I was taking care of a situation in the room, my toe met the back leg of little D's chair. It happened in an instant and I saw stars. Lots of stars.
I gamely finished taking care of the situation, hobbled back to my desk and looked up at the corner of the ceiling and said a bounty of words under my breath. (later, my I.A. said she was really impressed that I didn't say any bad words outloud!). As the throbbing increased, my thoughts turned to today. &*&#(*$#* !!
So, this morning, I decided to assess the situation with an open mind and agenda. Let's just say that getting my flip-flop on to walk out and water my tomato plant was purely dicey. It's still throbbing, I can't move it and it looks like a big plum is stuck on my toe! I don't think there's any safe way that I'm going to lace up shoes, drag out my ladder, fire up my chainsaw and hike myself up into a tree to give it a trim. Man, how can something so small keep something so big down for the count???? ^&*#&$@* !
So, I'll settle on a trip to Costco, a nearby trip to a restaurant supply store for an apron and staying inside the house. Oh well. My dusty furniture, dirty laundry and backlogged checkbook will be thrilled for some much needed attention.
$#*^%$# !!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Not that you asked....

I mosied on over to my cutiebug friend's, Karyn, blog and was reading about some little known facts of hers, when lo and behold, at the end, she 'tagged' me. I'm to list some random bits of info about me that might otherwise go unknown. Moi?? Unknown facts about me?!?! I'm pretty much an open book, so this seems a bit challenging, however; I'll see what tempting little bits of info I can muster up that will just knock your socks off... lol! Not!

Fact #1: I have a thing about new magazines. Nobody...and I do mean NOBODY can look at them before I do. They can't even just open them to briefly scan through the pages!! For some reason, a new book or magazine is like a present for me, and only me, to open. If someone flips through it or starts to look at a headline or something, I feel violated and I will go to any extreme to let them know... put that down! I almost wrang a cashier's throat when she picked up my magazine and started leafing through it as she checked out my merchandise!!! After I'm done with it, I don't care who looks at it. Just don't mess with my new magazine! Ask my friend, Julie, about this little idosyncrasy.... poor girl!

Fact #2: (those who are faint of heart should skip this item and go on to #3) I own a .357 magnum. And I'm a good aim with it. I also own a Diablo recurve bow with a set of arrows and turkey fletchings. I'm a good aim with it, too. I had the chance to field-dress an elk two autumn's ago...and did! Even carried the heart down to the cabin. I don't hunt and never plan on it, but there is a bit of a 'rogue' element in my make-up.

Fact #3: I love planes! I have an aviation radio that allows you to hear the pilots talk with air traffic controllers and othe pilots on different frequencies. I love to park at the airport, turn on the radio and listen and watch as the planes take off and land. I find the airport facinating! I absolutely love to fly!! For me, half the fun of going somewhere is going to the airport and flying!!

Fact #4: John Mellencamp makes me ornery, Sting makes me romantic, Bob Seger makes me wistful and Lynyrd Skynyrd has me gettin' jiggy all night long!

Fact #5: I have never been to New York. I know I'm only one of about 7 people in the country who can make that claim, but I never have. Would love to go. Doubt if I'll make it. But think it would be a great city to be a part of!

Fact #6: I have always been 'crafty'....and it started with a love of coloring when I was 3. You name it, chances are I've done it... ceramics, painting, drawing, macrame', decopage', sewing (heck, I even made my own wedding dress and veil!), knitting, quilting, crochet, cross-stitch, wood carving, glass art, soldering, jewerly making, paper arts, book making, stenciling, beading, candle making, floral arranging, stamping, embossing, needlepoint, crewel, wreath making (literally! with real grape vines pilferred from an abandonded house!).... it's just always been a part of my life.

Fact #7: Favorite birthday cake? Vanilla cake, white buttercream frosting with yellow roses.
Bar none.

Fact #8: I love to drive! When I turned 8 years old, I jumped up and down in my kitchen and yelling 'Yeah! I'm 8!!' When my dad asked my why I was soooo excited, I yelled, 'Cuz I'm half way to 16 and getting my driver's license!' He rolled his eyes. And yet, he'd set me on his lap behind the steering wheel of our green Ninety-Eight Oldsmobile and let me drive the country roads in Ohio. Now, I like nothing better than 'running the roads' of Arizona. I just love to drive!

Fact #9: I love Yankee Candles. Especially the ones that come out at this time of year...for Fall. I was there the other day...oh my! Cider Donut! Ginger Shortbread! I could spend a fortune, I tell ya, in there! But I was a good girl. I left without buying a thing. But, oh how I do love them!

Fact #10: I sweeten my coffee with honey. Learned that while spending the summers at my Grandma's house up in Iron Springs. Hot coffee, a blob of honey stirred in it, and topped with half-n-half. The best!

Well, there you have it. That's about as good as this mush brain can muster up. Now, I believe it is MY turn to tag... sooo... Jolene and Sadira --- TAG! YOU'RE IT!! : )

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Say 'Good-bye' to Summer!

Do you know that Christmas song that goes...

"It's that time of year......"??

Well, there isn't any snow in sight, but that phrase keeps swaying in my brain... because it IS that time of year! School is in session! For me, it means tomorrow I'm officially back at work (although, as any teacher will tell you, we probably put in close to 30 hours working in our rooms before our contract even starts). I have to unpack everything I packed up at the end of May. Desks, chairs, new materials, text books, tables, games, manipulatives, computer stations, trash cans, files, carts, book cases, and on, and on and on.... I also get to figure out how to arrange 27 desks in a room that ideally holds about 22. So much to do. So very much to do. And that doesn't even begin the decorating part.


I love it! This is like a second home to me. I love my job. The kiddos that teach me just as much as I teach them. The families, many of whom return with siblings for another two years with me. My colleagues who are surpassed by no others. My principal who leads her field....and does it with compassion....for everyone. There is no other job in the world I'd rather do....and I give thanks daily for having the best job, at the best school, with the best people in the world. I wouldn't change A THING about my job... not a thing! A lucky gal am I!

*With the stroke of a pen, it came to an end. May God bless us all, give us strength and keep us safe.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Passing Milestones ... And Time

Sit back, put your feet up... come join me.
This is how I've spent the last 7 hours of the day...since 8 am to 3 pm, basically. All centered around cars.
Hit a milestone today. My 'baby'. Sixteen. Took her eeeeeeeearly this morning to get her official driver's liscense. The real deal. She passed with ease (although, the DMV person dinged her for not coming to a complete stop at the line of the 'stop' sign.... maybe she'll heed the advice coming from someone else instead of 'mom') and is beyond excited! Why am I a combination of happiness and dread? anxiety? nervousness? I was fine while waiting (and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and wa...etc.) for her to do her road test. But I think as the realization of this milestone is sinking in, my maternal fears are waking up. Given my current situation (getting divorced), there are many days that I am just fine with the whole situation...focused, determined, strong, forging ahead. Then there are days when it (the situation) walks along side me... taunting me and teasing me about how life was, and how different it is now. Today is one of those days. It reminds me how I took my son for his liscense and how, as a family of 4, we all celebrated his milestone. That won't be happening today, and it's making sure that I realize that.
So, after swapping cars with wonderful son, whose car we used since it's only the size of a ski boat, as opposed to my car - the size of a barge, I headed down to a wonderful car wash place to get my car detailed, inside and out. A feline of unknown identity mistook my car's backspace for a litter box and peed in it. I am so cautious to always close my windows and moon roof so that this very thing DOESN'T happen...but it did anyway. Couple that with a spilled mocha light wet half venti extra whatever cafe latte, and my car was looking (and smelling) sad. So, I plopped down on their black leather sofa in the waiting room, pulled out about 6 magazines from my Trader Joe's bag (I carry about 12 around...they date back to early 2006 - uh, I have some catching up to do...) and proceeded to put my feet up and read for the next 3 hours while my car was given an extreme makeover! After they wheeled my car out, I felt like I was driving a new car off the lot! It's gorgeous and smells fabulous!! So nice to start the school year off in a 'new car'!
Oh lovely...Allstate just had a commercial on that states that every year, 16,000 teenagers drive off......and never come back.
.... where have the years gone ?