Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tweet Jesus

This morning on the news, it was announced that the Pope sent out his first “tweet” yesterday.  I’m not really sure why, but I found the story, the idea of the Pope embracing social media, the photos of the Pope on an ipad, pretty much everything, quite amusing.  pope2Even though I blog and intermittently use Facebook, I have not taken on the whole Twitter thing.  I don’t quite get its concept or its appeal.  What I do know is the likes of Charlie Sheen, the “Octomom”, and various reality show participants use Twitter to give us a play-by-play of their insane lives or lob vicious attacks on each other.  Regardless of my take on organized religion, I just don’t put the Pope into the same category as those public figures who have chosen to tweet. 

On the other hand, with the scandals that have plagued the Catholic church and the decline in the number of people who practice Catholicism, maybe this is a smart move.  Using social media to reach young people has worked in so many other cases.

What do you think?  Should the Pope tweet or not?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dedicated to Lili (and her “perfect” daughter)

A Year in Review

As I have mentioned, this year has been quite trying.  In 11 years of teaching, it is tied with 03-04 as the hardest year of my career.  I’m exhausted and so glad that today was the last day of school.  As students cried and I hugged them goodbye, twinges of missing the kids hit me.  Even though a few of them drove me crazy and, at times, their behavior was quite frustrating, they all have a special place in my heart because they are all sweet kids.  There were a lot of rough spots this year, but looking back, also a lot of great times and accomplishments.

My students learned a lot by doing
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Learning about paragraph writing by making “hamburger” paragraphs with our upper grade buddies

blog 071Understanding how government officials are elected by holding actual elections (speech writing, debating, and voting)

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rocks 071 Using what we learned about geology on our rock hunt across the street from school.

blog 094Several of my students struggled so much with writing when the year began.  As the year progressed, linking writing with art was just the push these kids needed.  These kids left today with a love of writing.

Once state testing wrapped up, teaching the test format was replaced with some fun activities which, although weren’t tested, were beneficial nonetheless. 

“Jack and the Beanstalk” musical theatre.
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Field Day Games
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And at a school where the families are not terribly involved, the best part of the last day of school was the handwritten notes and gifts I received from some appreciative parents and kids.  Even if I didn’t feel like I was very effective this year, at least someone did.
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“More tests”?  Testing has really become too  much when the kids start thanking you for teaching more tests.

After a fairly successful school year, it is finally over.  Vacation starts riiiiiiiiigggggghhhhhtttttt NOW!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I MUST See This

I’ve been to the Netherlands twice.  Both trips included time mostly in Amsterdam, and I’ve also visited Nijmegen.  Traveling back there has not been at the top of my list – both trips were fantastic, but there are so many other places I want to see.  That was until the newest Afar magazine arrived in my mailbox this weekend. 

As I flipped through the pages, this stunning picture stopped me with a gasp…
Aerial View of Tulip Flower Fields, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Are you FREAKING kidding me?

This is the aerial view of the tulip fields in the Netherlands during tulip season.  Tulips are one of my top three favorite flowers (hydrangeas and gerbera daisies are too) so I made a point to visit the flower markets in Amsterdam when I was there.  Those markets couldn’t hold a candle to what I am seeing here. 

After searching, I found more images. 

tumblr_ljh84a0SUa1qzzyuko1_500 2b415cbf 4081666262_583e7c2b03I am in awe, and this part of the Netherlands has been added to my must see list.

Have you seen the tulips?  What’s on your must see list?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Ice Cube Caper

For the last week of school (I did mention it was the last week of school didn’t I?) I packed up 4 sandwiches and 4 sodas this weekend to get me through the last week of school lunches. I did not feel like worrying or being inspired about lunch this week. This morning before leaving for school, I also packed a sandwich size ziplock bag with ice. I like ice with my lunchtime soda, so I bring in my own and leave it in the freezer at school. This way I was set for the week.
At lunch time this afternoon, I pulled the bag of ice out of the freezer to add to my soda. The bag was only half as full as it was when I put it in the freezer. Someone took my ice! A couple of my colleagues listened to my plight. One of them asked if my name was on it, while the other one disagreed that that even mattered. I didn’t have my name on it, but the idea never even occurred to me. We are adults. The person who took it knew it didn’t belong to them.
Now, please don’t think that I’m really posting this about missing ice. What does ice cost? I have no idea, but it’s not like I don’t have more at home. I would have even shared my ice if someone had asked. The issue I’m having is that someone would take something that didn’t belong to them. Taking something out of the fridge that I didn’t bring in would also never occur to me. Who does that?
After my conversation with my colleagues, I found a black pen and wrote my name on the bag because this glass of ice-chilled caffeinated soda is about the only thing getting me through the day lately, and I didn’t want to lose anymore. I can’t believe it’s come to that.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father’s Day

In honor of Father’s Day, I want to share some of my favorite posts about my dad.  This day is rough without my dad around anymore but remembering the fun stories helps. 

My Dad the Hoarder

My Dad the Good Guy

My Dad the Disciplinarian

Happy Father’s Day Dad and to all the other Dads out there!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Worry, OH! Worry, Worry, Worry, Worry

Have you ever seen this commercial?

If you haven’t, take a moment to watch as it’s quick and quite fun.  Plus, “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne is a great song.

Rigby has turned into this dog.  Over the last few months the natural instincts have kicked in, and she is now a giant worry wart about her bones (both real and pet store varieties).  rigby 011
As I write this, she is pacing around the room with a bone in her mouth; a nervous wreck.

She will wander around the house looking for places to bury it.  Once she finds a place, she returns over and over while finally picking it back up and pacing all over again.  

It all started a couple of months ago.  I was paying the bills and the torn envelopes/paid bills were sitting in a pile on the bed.  Rigby set her bone down next to the pile and then used her nose to push the pile of trash over it.  She spent a few minutes moving her eyes from me, back to the the “hidden” bone, and back to me.  Then she pushed the pile off to the side, picked up the bone, and paced around the room again. 

In addition to the burial ground that is my backyard, bones have been hidden in the laundry basket, inside my shoes, behind the toilet, under the bedside rug, in the trash can, and most endearingly, under my pillow.  At this point, I think she would take them back and forth to the bank if I would let her. 

Watching her is very entertaining, but I do kind of feel bad when she can’t relax. 

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Eventually though, she does wear herself out and finally takes a break.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Field Trip Gone Wild

Today was the 2nd grade field trip. We went to a teaching zoo. It’s a very tiny, but a very nice zoo, and is usually a very nice field trip. This year was the exception.

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As usual, we stopped at the restroom before the long ride. So far, so good.

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We boarded the buses with the other classes and headed to our destination.

All was well.

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We arrived at the zoo just in time to start the animal show.

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Our four classes filed in and took our seats. We saw animals like goats, servals, parrots, miniature horses, and a dog that did tricks.
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The “performers” also called three students from my class to be part of the show.
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Aren’t they cute?

Yah, I thought so too, until they turned into wild children during the tour part of the trip. This class has been HARD. Individually they are all very nice kids, and I enjoy each and every one individually. Together however the class dynamic has been  exhausting.

As we walked out of the show to meet our tour guide, the craziness began. Anything remotely fun makes these kids fall apart. Which is why I don’t do anything fun in class this year, and also why I was dreading this trip. As soon as they saw the first animal that we walked past, we lost them. No matter how many times the guide told them to follow her, no one did! I had to stop the tour at that time and remind everyone about their manners, or lack their of.
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We did manage to get some pictures of the primates.

The monkeys pushed these kids (and their teacher) right over the edge. To the point that when we saw the American bald eagle
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the kids got so excited they actually pushed our tour guide out of the way. A few have no concept that anyone else exists besides themselves and what they are trying to obtain. In this case a view of the birds was enough to reek havoc. While dealing with some students not listening to directions in the back of the line, I pounced to the front of the line, reprimanded the culprits, and pulled them back with me.

The following came out of my mouth over and over and over again for the remainder of the tour…
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”Remember, you need to walk on the walkway, not in the roses (or in the bushes, in the dirt, on someone’s foot).”stuff 079
”Remember, she told us the animals might get scared and bite. Keep your hands out of the cages.” stuff 080
”Walk!”stuff 082
”Even though you are excited, you need to use quiet voices so we don’t scare the animals.”
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”She (the guide) just answered that question. Please be a first time listener.”

”Do not yell! You will scare the animals.”

And to put the icing on the cake, one cute little boy threw a rock at the very last animal we saw…
stuff 086 This darling bird who carried its ball around wanting to share it with us.

At that point I completely lost my mind.

One more week left of school. I hope I can make it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Book club is on Thursday.  I am notorious for waiting until the last possible minute to start reading the book because I am either reading something else or I am too busy or tired to read.  I also read books rather slowly because I only read at night.  After about five minutes reading in bed I drop the book on my head because I fall asleep and forget everything I read the next day.  Although I checked out this month’s book about 3 weeks ago, I procrastinated long enough that the book was due back to the library before I had even read past the prologue.

The rest of my book club’s members were either done and had passed the book on or were in the same predicament.  The book was due last Friday, and we weren’t even close to being done.  I made the decision to keep the book – a decision not made lightly as I am a rule follower.  I don’t want to be indebted to the library for even $1.50.  But being able to speak intelligently about the books at book club is important to me so I sacrificed my integrity and the change in my wallet in order to read Jodi Picoult’s Change of Heart
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WHAT A WASTE!  I do not like this book at all.  I’m already not really a Picoult fan, but her books are usually pretty easy to get through albeit tear-jerkers.  This one is just weird.  So, I’m returning the book today and paying my debt upon return.  I will attend book club because I enjoy the evening with friends and the free meal.  But I will have to resort to unintelligently talking about the book.  What a disappointment.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Urbanites Go to the Country

My dear friend Elana lives quite a ways out of town in the boonies.  She’s such a sport to drive into town for work and social functions on a daily basis.  We city folk don’t venture out of the city limits too often, but a group of us piled in a couple of cars and took a road trip to the country yesterday for a visit.

We drove, and drove, and drove for miles on a winding road.  The scenery was beautiful and there wasn’t a traffic light anywhere in sight!

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After about 40 minutes, we left the marine layer behind and arrived in lovely Leona Valley

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Elana and her husband Brent have a beautiful home surrounded by mountains and enormous trees. 
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We visited their newly planted garden…an actual garden with vegetables and everything,
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and peach and apple trees.
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To further prove we were no longer in the city…THEY ALSO HAVE GOATS!  This place is like a farm!  stuff 009 from left to right - Nicole, her baby Harlow, and Paris.  (You can take the girl out of the city…)
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stuff 015 Jason, the goat whisperer.

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Homemade country drinks!stuff 030
Mike enjoying country life…
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and maybe too many homemade country drinks?
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stuff 028 After a lovely lunch on the patio, we were off to pick cherries! 
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The Leona Valley is widely known for its cherry orchards.
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The cherry pickers!
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stuff 043These cherries, straight off the trees, are so red, so sweet, and so juicy.  I won’t be able to eat a store bought cherry again.  
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Sundays are usually my self-imposed day of rest.  This visit was so nice though, it was worth the trip.  Thanks Elana and Brent for such a beautiful day!  I can’t wait to visit the country again!