Saturday, December 31, 2011

New girl...maybe not

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It is around the corner...chasing us.  Or are we chasing it?  The new year is coming and so is the end of my vacation. Had such high hope for this last week and a half...muph.  Family drama sucks up a ton of does being sick. My wish for the new year is that those two will take up many fewer hours than they did this year.

It looks as though the first part of the new year will be spent getting ready for school...and my darlings. I miss my little 7th graders. On these long breaks I watch stuff like, the top educational video and get all sorts of crazy ideas.  That and a solid 8 days of reading my book club book, Digital Natives.  Those kids won't know what hit them.  Not sure I will remember their names...bless their hearts, but we will take on the world together.

I gotta go...the family is napping and it is 7pm...we definitely won't be making it to midnight unless I stir this place up a bit.

My prayer for 2012....

   Amen! Be safe everyone.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ode to Pinterest

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The Siren calls to my unconscious.

Deep inside I feel her thick gravity.

Images, swim and scroll

To Pinterest I must succumb.

She seduces with her promise

of projects and low fat dishes.

A temptress to the attention

So much so it  this post took three days to write.

Pinterest is like facebook in that it is a social network...however instead of sharing your daily activities you "pin" things that you like from online.  And you get to see what your friends "pin" when you subscribe to them. 

So...let's say you see this awesome low fat dish you want to make for New Year's hit the "IPin It" button that you have downloaded on your computer when you became a member of  Pinterest and it adds the blog post or web post to one of a collection of boards on your profile. Your friends can see it and you can then go back to it later to make the dish or to send friends to if you loved it.  

Be is a whirlpool of creative fun.  Once you step into Pinterst it is like Narnia you lose track of time and you are no longer sure who your are but you won't care.  

You do need to be invited to Pinterest...if you need an email let me know and will be thrilled to add you.    

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It is a I've heard

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My Grandfather used to always ask me if it would make a bit of difference in a 100 years? It is the yardstick I have been trained to measure all worries. Clearly not easy when certain worries strike...but extremely reassuring when I get all twisted up about something.

For example, there was the one time I forgot to pay a speeding ticket and I got a phone call that there was a warrant out for my arrest.  I know right??? I hear you all gasping with fear and images of that show OZ in your heads.  When I went to pay the ticket I am pretty sure I could hear the Imperial March as I trod up those steps.  I was expecting the lady behind the desk to come out with the cuffs to throw me in the clink. She didn't.  She gave me a receipt and said in a sweet East Texas sass, "You have a good day, now!"  And here I had prepared for the worse: wore my clean big girl panties (no free show for the guards), did not bring my purse (didn't want some handsie guard going through my goods) and I made sure to call the family and say goodbye (I did cry...I will admit it.)  100 years from now I mostly likely will have wiped that smudge on my record away forever or at least I won't remember it.

Or like last May, when budget cuts had (and still have) teacher's jobs on the line.  I have thirteen years in this great institution...I know if something drastic and crazy happens with the district I can and will find something.  It will be okay.  I have a little talent with this writing thing...worse case scenario I send some extra hours driving students...but it will be okay. I may have to ditch my "Weasley house" (minus all the cool magic) but I will make it and might find my own magic along the way.

However, this normal self possessed calm I try to maintain faded last week. It was two days prior to Christmas...I had the worse back pain known to mankind and well...when I went to make "water" there was blood in it...not the kind you expect but the "Oh dear God, I must be about to die" kind.  I was worried...but I had to drive I did.  Thank goodness we were busy and I never got around to googling a self diagnose of my ailments because I would have gone straight to the hospital.  After 6 hours with the kids and the pain growing exponentially and adding a new element of fever to the equation. I limped into the local Care Now.  It took a short 2 hours...not because I was in a room and they were running test...but instead because every person known to mankind wanted to be better before seeing relatives for Christmas.  The good news is I did not die.  (Deep sigh of relief.)  It was a kidney infection and after a single day of the strongest antibiotic she had, I'm had already started to feel better.  The best part about that near death incident...found out I've lost more weight...but the scale was super sketchy so I am not sure I trust its accuracy.

If this posting was a math problem we could see it all equals up.  It will be always will and worry changes nothing.  Grandpa was so smart.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lift off to another year...almost...

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A year is almost in the rear-view mirror.  365 days, each one similar in schedule but each had its own interesting turn of events.  Out of the 8,760 hours I was given I slept  1,825 of those maybe more surgery takes a ton out of you.  I spent 1,095 hours writing on the blog or my book.  I spent probably twice that on facebook.  (Don't judge...I have stressful jobs.) My goal is to have those numbers swapped for next year.

This is my favorite time of the year, "The Retrospect," and "The looking ahead." A time to assess and to plan for the future.

I come to the year with a pocket full of wishes...I've noticed that those wishes don't change so much:

  • better health, 
  • to lose weight, 
  • to work out more, 
  • to worry less, 
  • to have more money,  
  • to be wiser with the little bit of money I am given, 
  • to get somethings...lots of things fixed in my little house, 
  • to finish a book that I am proud of, 
  • to grow my blog enough so I can quit my second job, 
  • to be a great teacher and a better daughter/friend/person, 
  • to explore my creativity,
  • to be stronger,
  • to give myself credit for my successes,
  • to be nicer.
 I am pretty sure I have had mostly the same list since I was in high school.  Not sure what that means...maybe my growth is super slow...or I'm not growing. (That was a tough one to think about.)

"to give myself credit for my successes..." well I could start that here...
  • I've lost 45 pounds 
  • I've completely changed my diet (no sugar, low fat and low carb) I feel so amazing because of it.
  • I have joined a professional learning community on purpose and feel more inspired as a teacher because of it. 
  • I traveled someplace on a moments notice with a friend and had a blast.
  • I know I have talked about this before...but my blog has gone from 25 readers to 124 followers, 55 who follow by email, 94 who follow by facebook and 254 twitter followers.  
  • My blog has gone from on average 30 hits a day (half of those coming from me) to on average 200. I know it isn't Pioneer Women numbers but it is incredible growth that I am truly proud. 
  • I have faced my immortality (liver disease)...sounds awful but it was extremely freeing.  I have the choice how long I want to live (through the daily food choices I make)...and I have chosen to stick around a bit. 
  • I have grieved, I have loved, and I have learned.  I hope to do it all some more...well except for the grieving part...that sucks.
I think I am ready for change.  No one really likes change...but I think I am ready.  That means everything...including the blog.  A face lift for her second birthday...not a bad deal.  Wish I could get a few things lifted.

What are you guys looking forward to for the new year?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hello?? Not sure where I have been lately...

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Ever feel like the fog has cleared and you can see again?  We all need to wipe away the heavy moist condensation sometimes.

When I started teaching I spent much of my free time reading professional books, researching trying to be better for my little darlings.  Some years I have been more diligent than others about improving my craft.

Working two jobs distracts you.  I wonder what kind of teacher/writer/friend  I would be if I didn't have to have the second job. Every now and then I get sad and sappy...maybe overwhelmed is better word for it. I feel that I do too many things and can't do well at any of them because of being spread too thin and for what?

Last weekend was a rough drivers ed weekend.  A student didn't break wouldn't work...the light was red for us.  She was looking straight at the cars, her knuckles were white from her strong grip.  We slipped slowly into the intersection flirting with stopping but still rolling.  I think I cussed at her. I was standing with both feet on the break and my arms pulling and tugging at the steering wheel. I got the tire to bump a curb she finally stopped us.  The trucks' tires were screeching I remember seeing the bodies of their cabs wobble and shiver on the wet roads.  They stopped.  We hadn't moved.  I was wrestling the steering wheel to point us in the right direction if we survived.  The squealing tires were abruptly silent. The trucks' grills were the only thing I could see in the windows.  The two little girls were silent in the back seat...frozen in a crash position. It was the first five minutes of the driving lesson.  It didn't get much better. This was when I started heavily thinking why do I do this?

I might have shared the story on Facebook.  My fellow drivers ed teacher posted this:

Because when you go to bed at night you can rest assured that you did your very best to teach that person how not to die. That is the higher ethic of teaching Drivers ed. You are not just teaching a lesson, you are teaching life and death. 20 years of facing that challenge and several student deaths has taught me one thing, you do your best all the times and never take your job as just a lesson, its a responsibility. You did well tonight Val.. Rest assured you may not have made her understand but you did your best, and if you face that challenge again, you will always do your best. She did not try to kill you, you tried to save her life :) thats why we teach drivers ed... its the ultimate responsibility.. its not just a job.. its a calling you are good at... as far as people honking at you... lets see them do a better job :) guessed it I was back in the car on Monday. I have cut back my hours.  December is busy and I want to spend it with my family.

A friend has requested my presences in her professional learning community...PLC.  PLCs are how teachers get together and discuss their craft, do book studies, and generally try to improve their skills.  I said has been a while...I need a professional recharge.  The group is doing a book study on Teaching Digital Natives, Partnering for Real Learning by Marc Prensky.  At first look I was pretty sure it was super LAME-O.  I have been pleasantly surprised and inspired.  I love unexpected inspiration.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ice that Toilet Folks...we need some snow....

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It is freezing. is nearly freezing.  I love the cold.  It is even better if I don't have to leave the house.  The best thing ever, is being home on the sofa wrapped up in a super soft blanket...and nothing to do for the day.

The Facebook rumor mill is busy with predictions from my former students of an impending ice storm.  Pretty sure they might exaggerate a tiny bit.  There are an equal number of ice/snow rituals taking place.  The only time white, upper class kids believe in voodoo is when it comes to a minuscule chance it might result in them getting out of school.  I can't blame them I am pretty sure I feel the same way.  The only difference is I have a enough sense to feel a bit ridiculous chanting in front of the toilet, flushing three ice cubes and doing the well respected snow dance. Some things have to stop when you reach  a certain age...there are greater chances of falling and we all know that gets ugly in a bathroom.

I have been inspired of late.  My good friend, Aunt J-Me, has recently become a crocheting maniac.  I am in total awe of her ability to whip out scarves in a few hours, blankets in a night, it is crazy how good she is.  She invited me to a Stitch and _itsch club.  It was excellent food, laughter and learning.  They finished scarves and I got something that resembled a worm...or maybe a super thin Barbie scarf.  I know pitiful.  I am learning. Maybe if we get some snow I can get some practice.

I better get busy...I gotta go get some ice and head to the bathroom  make a rubric I have been promising for the last three days. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What if...

What if instead of playing with fake farms on Facebook we each sent $20 to help buy farm animals for people we didn't know?

Heifer International

What if instead of driving by lakes low from the summer drought and wondering what it all meant...we helped fund clean water for those with none at all?  
Charity Water

What if we stopped complaining about our life being unfair and we gave that energy to an organization that helps people destroyed by those in their lives?
Amnesty International
What if instead of boycotting banks we became the banks?

What if welcome arms helped instead of blocked people from coming into a country?
American Refugee Committee

What if we worried about the health of the planet as much as we cared about our own comfort?
Earth Day Network
What if instead of cussing and pepper spraying people over cheap Christmas gifts we chose one of these?

What if instead of saying our bra color on Facebook we said the charity we chose to support?

What if....