Thursday, December 24, 2009

For Bowzer

I took my wallet out of my purse and dropped it into a gift bag with Beth's Christmas cards that needed to be mailed. I said out loud to myself, "This is going to be problematic. I will forget where my wallet is and spend hours looking for it." That didn't slow me down. Off to the post office I went. Got home, set the bag, that now contained only my wallet and some stamps, on my letter writing shelf.

The next day I got a stamp out of the bag but never even thought about my wallet (it was invisible under the stamps). Looking back, I think God was trying to help me remember that my wallet was still in that bag. I took my stamped letter, got in my car and headed to Lawton to run errands and then go to work at the public library. I had an overwhelming feeling that I'd forgotten something. But what? No clue. Was that God again? I mailed my letter, dropped stuff off at the Good Will and then remembered I had checks to deposit at the bank. Definitely God saving me from a heap of trouble. At the bank I realized I didn't have my wallet. God finally got through to me. Luckily the bank teller didn't ask for ID when I requested cash back from my deposited checks. I was going to need some money to buy food for Christmas and gas. I wondered what I would say to a policeman, if I got pulled over. Luckily I didn't have to find out.

Will God one day get fed up with my constant need for help? I don't think so. And I certainly hope not. OK, I gotta go now and check to see if my wallet is back in my purse or if it's still in the bag.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Word Nerd

I made word pictures with the text from the Lawton Public Library's newsletter, Musings, January-December 2009 at www.wordle.net



Which one do you like better?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ATT

All because of a free holiday ringtone offer that I received in my cell phone statement last month, I just spent an hour on the phone with ATT. Several days ago I texted "gift" to a number as instructed on the free holiday ringtone insert. There were several holiday choices. Each one I chose told me "unavailable" until I was down to two: Jingle Bells and the Dreidel Song. I went with Jingle Bells. Hooray! Jingle bells downloaded. It costs $2 to access the media mall to get the free ringtone so in this case, free wasn't really free. And to top that, Jingle Bells was nowhere to be found on my phone.

I finally had time before 5:00 p.m. to call ATT. It was 4:45 when I dialed the 1-800 number. I explained my dilemma to the first guy. He had me look around in my phone. I found the confirmation text saying I'd purchased a ringtone, but I didn't find Jingle Bells. He removed my web connect charge. He discovered that Beth and my phones are listed backwards in their system and he fixed that. He tried to figure out where the ringtone could've gone and finally sent me to Isaac the Tech guy.

After much deliberation, Isaac tried to find Jingle Bells on his computer. He thought he could send it to my phone. He found two versions of Jingle Bells, one by the Chipmunks and one by George Straight. I chose George. When that plan didn't work, he walked me through going to ATT Media Mall and getting it myself. Jingle Bell Rock by George Straight, nowhere did it say free. I clicked on "purchase for $2.99" per Isaac's order and it downloaded. I even did a couple of things to store it in my phone. I was on the landline with Isaac and he called me on my cell phone, George started singing to me. Everything was good. Isaac assured me that he would get all charges removed so that this ringtone would really be free. He said it might take a month or two to get them removed. I should call back if it was still there after 2 months. He said he put a note in my account about all of our transactions.

I had flashbacks of phone calls with ATT when we bundled our cell phones, Internet, and landline together for the low monthly price of $135, but were charged $275 a month instead. I had to call every month for 4 or 5 months to get the bill corrected and was assured every month that the bill would be correct the following month. I was not very nice to the last person I talked to. I didn't believe him when he said, "The bill will be right next month," and I told him so. All the others said the same, and it never got corrected. Sometimes do you have to mean to get stuff done?

We're only talking a few dollars for this ringtone and I'm not sure I'm willing to hassle monthly phone calls again. My time may be more valuable than the few dollars. But still it's the principle.

And speaking of time, it was 5:45 when I said goodbye to Isaac. There went an hour of my life. But I think I'm going to enjoy hearing George sing to me whenever someone calls. I think I'll go listen to it right now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Be Careful Who You Sleep With

I should've known better. But, no.

Daryl left for Lawton to pick up Owen at Beth's school. Owen's school had called Beth to tell her Owen was sick and she needed to come pick him up. Beth didn't think he was very sick. Owen was having a great time playing with Beth's Pre-K kids. Too bad he didn't enjoy Pre-K that much when he was in it. He did not want to leave when Pa got there but he had to. If he's too sick to stay at his own school then he's too sick to stay at Beth's school. Owen cried so hard, according to Daryl, that a huge river of snot dropped out of his nose and spread across the parking lot as they were leaving.

Later that afternoon, Owen came to see me. Through the coughs and the sneezes, I kissed him and hugged him and cuddled as much as he would allow. After his bath we got into bed and watched Yoyo Ma on Mr. Rogers. We both fell asleep before it was over.

Saturday was more of the same with sleeping together on Saturday night. He was still a snot factory at church on Sunday. We ate lunch in Lawton then I tended to my school activities (the newsletter) and didn't see much more of Owen.

Monday I was fine. Tuesday I got worse as the day wore on: achy, stuffy/runny nose, sneezing and coughing. Wednesday I was a little better but it's my long day. 8-3:30 at school followed by 5-9 at the public library. I was now producing the snot river reminiscent of Owen's. I stopped at WalMart and bought his & her Niquil for me & Daryl.

Did I learn my lesson? No! If I had it to do over, I'd do exactly the same. I can't resist that precious little boy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Surprise











It isn't even Christmas yet and I'm going to blog about what I bought my daughters for Christmas and at the same time what I didn't buy them for Christmas.

It was black Friday and I ordered the QVC special value of the day. A purple Sylvania flip style camcorder for Mari, $29.68. I didn't know if Beth would like a blue one or a pink one (hard to tell what kind of pink it would really be). I figured at that price ($25.65 for the second and third cameras) I could get both and use the one that Beth didn't want at school.

These cameras don't have internal memory but use a standard SD card. That may be better than internal memory so I went ahead and bought accessories as well. For an extra $19.75 and then $16.75, I got carrying cases, 2 GB SD cards and packs of 2 AA batteries.

Oh yeah, I was excited. Expected delivery date, DEC 7. I printed and saved the receipt.

December 7 came and went. I wondered about it so I looked on the QVC web site. No record of me ever having ordered these cameras. WHAT?!? I checked my receipt. All looked good, so I called QVC. The guy asked me to give him my order number. When I found it on the receipt I knew things weren't good. The receipt number was just a bunch of zeroes. The guy told me that means the order didn't go through. Why not have verbiage saying, "Your order did not go through" instead of "Your order is complete, click here to view your receipt" with the order number 0000000000?

Needless to say, I'm annoyed and disappointed. Of course they don't have any more of these. They don't even sell them anywhere else. Nothing comes in a rainbow of color choices. And I can't find any flip style cameras anywhere close to that price. So this is what I did not get my daughters for Christmas, but I certainly meant to. Bummer!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Last Day of November

The last day of November is the second day of advent this year. Leaving one blogging theme (thankfulness) and moving into another one (Advent).

Mari sent me a link to a wonderful daily Advent email. You should check it out. http://www.unclutteredheart.org

Today's email Advent theme is Hope Thrives in Adversity. The daily photograph is of a dandelion growing in the crevice of a tree trunk. There's a two sentence prayer and a five word thought to think about during the day followed by a brief description of the picture and a question to reflect upon. You have the option to leave a comment about the reflection or just read what other people had to say. The email ends with a book suggestion for further reading and a short song you can listen to and learn. I highly recommend this. It's such a simple yet meaningful way to celebrate Advent daily as we anticipate the celebration of Jesus' birth.

PS--On an unrelated last day of November note, today I randomly said to a student, "Today is the last day of November." He randomly replied, "Yes, for this year anyway."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

getting ready for school

I have created a classroom blog on class blogmeister. I want the kids to create avatars that they can upload to their part of the blog. Here's my practice one...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

High School Reunion

I attended my first high school reunion tonight. And I didn't even graduate from that high school. Every other year Indiahoma High School has a reunion for all classes. Daryl's mom bought reunion dinner tickets for Daryl, Lee Ann, herself and me. Virginia didn't graduate from IHS either but she taught there 50 years ago or so. Teachers and friends of alumni are invited to the reunion also.

We met in the auditorium wearing name tags with the year we graduated. Mine said "Librarian" (Daryl filled it out for me). We ate catered "home cookin" in long rows with folding chairs and sat with colorful characters who might have been paid extras. After the meal, members of each graduating class were announced and applauded. Pictures were taken for this and that reason. Virginia and I even got our pictures taken in the IHS teachers group photo.

There was a controversial discussion about changing the reunion from the Saturday after Thanksgiving to the Saturday before Easter and making it every three years. There were so many conversations going at once that I'm not sure if the change passed or the whole idea was dropped or what. I guess I'll find out when I get my next invitation in 2 or 3 years.

There's a word for evenings like this...bizarroland.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Black Friday, a day of super shopping so retailers can end the year in the black. I bought a Christmas present online. That's my kind of black Friday shopping.

I worked at the big library (Owen's name for the public library) today and got 8 extra hours to work on the Library Newsletter. I like the Christmas theme and the way it turned out. I spend a lot of time on color and clip art and banner design. 30 seconds after I sent it out to the city of Lawton employees and a short list of other "subscribers" I got a phone call from the library director telling me he really enjoyed an article I'd written about Magazines in the Library. That made me feel really good. Writing is my main creative outlet mainly done in blogs and in my vast Newsletter Empire. I love it when someone leaves a comment or calls me to tell me they liked something.

Here's a note from Owen: 1234567891011121314151617181920212223 Owen loves his numbers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

What a wonderful idea to set aside a day to be with family, to relax and enjoy one another. We missed Mari and Shawn of course but they'll be here for two weeks at Christmas. Worth the wait!
Good food, good company, time to enjoy morning coffee and read emails, time to sit outside and visit (nice weather too), just a lovely day doing things that really matter the most.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Beauty is Everywhere

My friend Cheryl emailed me this picture of Oregon mushrooms. I think it is so beautiful. It reminded me of how green and plush and beautiful Oregon is. How different is the beauty of SW Oklahoma. The old granite Wichita Mountains, golden prairie grass, wildflowers surviving against the odds and the big blue ever changing sky (just look at the slide show). And in stark contrast to both of these places, how about New York City? The lights, the people, the energy, architecture, history...it's another all together different beauty.

Tell me how it's beautiful where you are.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday, the New Friday

Nothing like having the weekend begin on Tuesday. Had an easy going, laid back day at school. Exercise and a little shopping at WalMart (last minute essentials for Thanksgiving) then eating leftovers at home. Fell asleep watching NCIS. It was a nice nap. I did a little work for the online copyright/fair use/creative commons class I'm taking. No hurry to get to bed, I can stay up as late as I want and sleep in tomorrow. Days like this are a welcome change to the regular daily routine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

He's Always There

And that's a good thing, because I'm talking about God.

Pray without ceasing, be in constant communication with God, even without words, even without conscious thought because God is always there. He watches my TV shows with me and he NEVER talks during the good parts. But he's there.

I was shopping for Thanksgiving at WalMart this evening. It was crowded. The aisle was full of people moving like a two lane highway. If one person stopped, everyone stopped. But there was a middle lane, a passing lane. I nipped into it and said, "Thank God for the middle lane." Did I hear him laugh?

I stopped to get a water on the way out but the machine wasn't working. What did I do with my wallet? Didn't give it a thought until I went to get money to put in my daughter's birthday card. It was not in my purse. I remembered having it out for the water, but then what did I do with it? I searched the car but it wasn't there. Was it in the laundry with my gym clothes? No. Was it in the bags with the groceries? No. Did I drop it in my school bag? No. Was it with my keys? No. Search and search but no wallet. I started thinking about calling to cancel my credit cards and get a new license and...then I remembered the groceries were in the trunk. I got a flashlight and opened the trunk. There it was, my wallet was found! And to think the sermon on Sunday was about the woman who cleaned her house from top to bottom to find her lost coin. Thank you God! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Stuff like that makes me feel like I'm losing my mind. How grateful I am that God is always with me and helps me locate my lost mind.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What will it take to make you happy?

Part of our Sunday morning sermon today included mention of a survey done by a major magazine. The magazine asked people, "What do you need more of in order to be happy?" Top three answers were money, better friends, and time. Of course none of those things are going to make you happy. Happiness is a state of being that is not dependent on what you have.

And yet, how happy would I be with more grandchildren?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's the Little Things that Count

It isn't an expensive car, a huge diamond ring, lots of money, a mansion or anything like that.

After work at the public library today, I met Owen and Beth at the mall. When Owen saw me, he lit up and ran in my direction with arms stretched out. He jumped up into my arms for a big hug. Now that's the kind of thing that matters. We ate dinner at El Chico's and then Owen said good-bye to Mom. He was going to spend the night with Pa and Gingie. It doesn't get much better than that. Owen and I walked to my car, hand in hand. Holding his warm little hand in mine, I thought, "It really is the little things that count."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oops!

So much for blogging every day.

I missed Tuesday, November 17, because I worked until midnight thirty on my COV project. I got into bed and was mulling things over, when I realized I had not blogged. Oh well, it was already tomorrow.

Next day, we arrived in Indiahoma at 4:00ish. I got in my car and drove back to Lawton to work at the public library until 9:00. Home, talk to Daryl, unwind a bit and then went to bed again without blogging. I'd already blown the perfect November.

It was crazy at school today. I was supposed to open the book fair but the administration had different ideas for me...a full day of curriculum alignment meetings. Allen Johnson was there to do activities with 7th-12th graders while the teachers spent the whole day together aligning curriculum. Am I ever thankful for teacher aides and substitute teachers who will run the book fair at a moment's notice. Tomorrow is promised to be the same. A flexible nature again comes into play.

And so good night. It's good to be home. There's nothing like sleeping in your own bed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Celebrating Oklahoma Voices

We're here and it's great. Digital storytelling, using audio editing software today, video editing and synchronization tomorrow, then creating our own digital story. You can see videos created by former "students" at http://lc.celebrateoklahoma.us/ Click on the video tab.

I plan on telling my story about the Wichita Mountains. I'd like to make it funny but not sure how to pull that off. I am using a program called drop.io to get some audio from Katherine in Indiahoma. I asked her to call a phone number given to me when I registered at drop.io. When she calls, and enters the exchange number, she leaves a voice mail telling about the Wichita Mountains. Drop.io puts it in usable audio format and I pick it up at their web site. How cool is that?

Educators often cite research that says students learn more and remember longer when they enjoy what they are doing. I've already learned a lot and had fun doing it. I hope the remembering part will prove true as well.

I am thankful for the opportunity to come to this workshop and be a part of the COV project.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Live in the Moment

I thought I might not blog tonight because I am so living in the future and have no time for now. Then that seemed like an interesting thing to blog about.

I have the Celebrate Oklahoma Voices training tomorrow and my day has been consumed with getting ready for it. I went to church this morning and felt God saying, slow down, focus on what's going on here. And I did, sort of.

But after church I skipped Sunday School, skipped lunch at my mother-in-law's and started packing for the big trip to Oklahoma City. About 2:00 p.m. I went to school to get pictures off of my computer to use at the workshop, post grades (progress report go out while we're gone), do the school newsletter, get lesson plans and materials ready for a sub and generally put all my energy into preparing for the future. I got home at just about 10:00 p.m. with still a bit of packing to do and of course a little bit of blogging.

C.S. Lewis has an interesting take on time, but since the clock is reading 11:00 p.m. I will save that for another time.

For now I am thankful for places to go, things to learn and for living in the present.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Give thanks in all circumstances.

Thessalonians 5:18

I understand that the Pilgrims loved this scripture and thanked God even though many of them did not survive the treacherous trip to the new world. Then that first winter in Plymouth, half of them died of the great sickness. And yet the Pilgrims offered up their thanks to God and celebrated the first Thanksgiving.

That said, I guess I can maintain an attitude of gratitude even though I have come down with what Owen had earlier this week. I threw up all of my breakfast and I think some things I ate last week as well. I was glad it was Saturday. I have many things that need to be done, but most of them can wait until another time. I got back into bed and slept until 11:00 a.m.

That helped some but I knew I wasn't going to be able to take Owen to see the Thomas movie at 1:30 like we'd planned. Thankfully Owen has a Pa who is happy to take my place in the movie theater. They had a great time. Owen came rushing in talking so fast like he just didn't have enough time to say everything he wanted to tell about the movie. He's a good boy. It's easy to be joyful about him at all times.

I also had thoughts about this being a temporary illness. Sometimes we have to get sick to appreciate our health. It's not a battle I have to fight to stay alive. It's really no big deal. Just a little inconvenience.

I think I better go lay down and get some rest. I'm glad I have a house and a comfortable bed and clean sheets and blankets and a TV set with DISH network and chicken noodle soup...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

I love special days, even superstitious ones like Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th occurs at least once, but at most three times a year. 2009 has the most Fridays the 13th possible, in the months of February, March and November, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th.

I love words. There are some great ones associated with Friday the 13th, like paraskavedekatriaphobia, friggatriskaidekaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) and triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13). How often can you work that into a conversation?

I'm grateful that each day is different, and some are more special than others.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flexibility

I am grateful that I have learned how to take things in stride, sometimes anyway.

I probably have too many things going on at once. Our fall Book Fair arrived today. I was planning on opening it Monday, Tuesday Wednesday of next week and Monday & Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. Closed on THU & FRI of next week because I am going to Celebrate Oklahoma Voices training WED-FRI. Our counselor offered to have the book fair open on WED to take advantage of Grandparents Day. This is an annual event celebrating Thanksgiving with an elementary program and a meal for grandparents. A great time for grandparents to go shopping with their grandkids at the book fair. Everything's good.

Then Mrs. Senkoff, elementary program director extraordinaire, had to change the date for Grandparents Day to Friday. She also has too much going on. She just did the Veterans Day program, has a Native American Day program on Monday, and needed the extra time to get ready for Grandparents Day. Carrie the counselor didn't think it would be a big deal for her to do the book fair on Friday instead of Wednesday. Everything's still good.

I got notes out to all of the elementary teachers and their students with flyers about the book fair being open for preview on Friday, open to buy on Monday & Tuesday, closed on WED & THU, a special event on Friday, and open again the following Monday & Tuesday. Notes written, printed, copied, cut, stapled and delivered. Whew. Everything's good.

As I was about to sit down, Carrie called me and told me she'd just returned from a state department meeting...they've changed the dates for Celebrate Oklahoma Voices. It is now going to be MON-WED instead of WED-FRI. I'm nothing if not flexible. My student aide and I headed out to the classrooms getting back our incorrect flyers and apologizing for interrupting classrooms twice in one day.

I still need to change the hotel reservations and rearrange my schedule at the Lawton Library again. Everything's good.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day!

What a great day it's been.

The school day begins with a morning assembly. Today, Noah Copeland played the Star Spangled Banner on his guitar. It was an amazing performance. I don't know what others were doing, but I had my eyes closed so I could hear each note and a huge smile on my face. I knew I was going to have to clap at the end, but I only joined in with others. The kids burst into applause. Noah played again at the end while students were leaving the gym. He has incredible talent and I imagine one day we'll be saying, "We knew him back at Indiahoma School."

At 10:00 a.m. the entire school gathered in the auditorium for an elementary Veterans Day program. Kids saying parts and singing patriotic songs. After the program, JB McClung spoke about the time he spent in Iraq. I admit it made me feel good when he thanked me for the Beanie Babies project, but the best part was when he pointed out Army Sargent Billy Burgess (BJ) who was home from Iraq but heading back soon. First applause and then everyone was on their feet honoring my sweet student.

I left the assembly feeling proud to be an American, grateful to the people who have fought for our freedom, remembering my dad fighting in WWII.

Wednesday is my long day. When some people had the day off, I got to go to both of my jobs. I enjoy the drive to the public library. It takes 25-30 minutes and I always have a book on CD going. I look forward to the time in my car, listening to my book. I walked in the library and thought, "I'm glad to be here. I like this job."

Before I went on duty, the library director called me in his office. He told me I've been working at LPL since 1995. Do the math, that's 14 years. And I've never had a step increase raise. I am called Temporary part-time. I always thought, and this may be right, that I worked on a year-to-year contract. I just started over as a new employee each year. David, the director, didn't think that was right after all these years and talked to the legal department, human resources, and his supervisor at the city office. They all agreed and are going to get me raised up to the level I would be at if I had been getting step increases over these past 14 years. The city manager still has to approve it so it isn't a done deal. But still, what icing on the cake.

It was foggy when I drove home. But I know the way well, my car is dependable and I still had my book to listen to. Quite a nice day it's been today. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Students

The things that I am grateful for come in no particular order other than what happens to inspire me each day. I have wonderful kids in my classes and I enjoy the ones who wander in as library patrons. But they aren't really at the center of this story, although I am grateful for each and every one of them.

It started today when BJ Burgess walked into the library. He's a student from several years ago who joined the army right after graduation. He started his career as a military policeman in Italy and then deployed to Iraq. We have kept in touch through myspace. What a joy it was for me to see his gorgeous face, so strong and mature, so handsome in his uniform and to catch up with him a bit. Then in behind him came his younger brother, Chris. Chris is in his second year of college in Kansas. He's been in Peru on a mission trip and will be returning soon. So proud of both of these boys.

After school, on my way to exercise, stopped at a stop sign, I saw one of my students run out of the front door of her friend's house, jump off the porch onto a small trampoline, sail through the air making cheerleader motions, then land with a triumphant "stick." I applauded. I don't think she saw me. She turned around and ran back toward the house, jumped on the trampoline, back onto the porch and disappeared into the house. It was funny and quirky and I was so glad I was there to see it.

My final student encounter of the day came in the Walmart parking lot. I was there to find a copy of "The Star Spangled Banner" for our Veterans Day assembly tomorrow. Walking from my car to the store I heard, "Hi Mrs. Perry." I turned and there was Casey McClure. I haven't sen her in a hundred years. She was with her fiance, Ricky, who is from California. That gave us something to talk about. We chatted all the way to the doors and then parted ways as we took off on our separate missions. (The only SSB I could find was Jimi Hendrix, so I got it.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Snail Mail

Isn't it wonderful to get a real card in the mail? I love when people remember my birthday with a "hard copy" card. I should really be better about remembering other people's birthdays.

My friend, Linda, my only friend who reads my blog that I know of, sent me a card from New York City. It's such a good feeling to know someone took the time to buy a card, write in it, stamp it and mail it (that process takes me months). And I also got a really cool card. There it is, second from the left, next to Mari & Shawn's engagement picture taken in Central Park, displayed on my New York shelf. Lots of precious items from the Big Apple.

Thanks Linda! Today I am grateful for you and our friendship.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Favorite Book

The sermon in church today was about Ruth and Naomi. I planned to check out a few things, refresh my memory. King David was a descendant of a Moabite woman? And just what is a Moabite? The conversation continued in Sunday School. Daryl encouraged us to read the whole book of Ruth. It isn't long, but it is quite a story.

Sparks went off. I knew that today I am grateful for the Bible. What a book! On a deserted island you'd never get bored. Amazing stories to entertain and teach. Stories that give new insights every time you read them. God speaks to each person individually. I've just understood that it's OK if someone else "interprets" a scripture differently than I do. God has shown them something other than what He showed me in the same verse. It never gets old. Each reading is fresh and new. It truly is the living word of God.

It helps to have a plethora of translations. My new favorite is the Message. I like to have another translation at hand to compare. But, my, the Message is funny. And I do love to laugh. I'm going to go read "Ruth" in the Message now.

Happy reading!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Life in Oklahoma

I have now lived in Oklahoma longer than in California where I grew up. Could two places be more different? Yes, the contrast between Indiahoma and New York City is even more so.

I'm thankful that I've gotten to live in a variety of places. I'd still like to spend a year on the New England coast. Who knows what the future holds?

What's wonderful about Oklahoma? In many ways it is less expensive to live here. Gas prices and housing are lower. There aren't as many people so there aren't crowds and traffic jams. And you can do oddball things like go to the Cotton Festival in Frederick, Oklahoma. That's what Owen, Pa & I did today. So many things to be thankful for:
  1. A daughter who will let her son come spend the weekend with us
  2. A grandson who wants to come spend the weekend with us
  3. A car & gas to get to Frederick for the Cotton Festival and the same car & gas to get just about anywhere
  4. Warm weather in November
  5. Hamburgers for lunch
  6. The joy on a little boy's face as he inspects the monster cotton combine on display in the town square
  7. Inmates out for the day to help with the festival setup and breakdown
  8. Being too full to even think about getting any cotton candy
Last but not least, getting home in time for the OSU & OU football games! (That's a Daryl joy.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

TGIF

Is Friday everyone's favorite day? I love it because it's a nice change from the routine of getting up at 6:30 a.m. Most Saturdays I can sleep as late as I want so I can stay up Friday night with no worries of being tired the next day.

What really makes Friday special is I pick up Owen and bring him home to spend the night. He watches Sponge Bob with Pa and plays trains and cars and drums. He usually takes a bubble bath, brushes his teeth to the Thomas tune "They're two they're four their six their eight..." and then watches Bob the Builder and/or Thomas on DVR. It's almost like Christmas Eve knowing that in the morning there will be new adventures of Bob, Thomas, Dinosaur Train and Mr. Rogers to watch on DVR. They come on EARLY Saturday mornings on PBS. But this is getting into what's wonderful about Saturday. More on that tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Computers

Here I am at my computer. I start my day with coffee and email, I use the computer throughout the day at work. Here I am at the end of the day writing my blog. Today I got all new computers in the school library. I can hardly wait for my computer class to see them and try them out for the first time tomorrow.

I am grateful to be able to keep in touch with people far away. Email for in depth stories and invitations to see pictures. Blogs for the continuing story of their lives. Twitter for brief updates. Facebook for a fun community get-together.

How did we get by without the Internet? We have immediate access to information. We can look up nearly anything, anytime. Play games, watch videos, listen to music, even watch TV shows.

Today I am grateful for my computer, high speed Internet and computers at both jobs.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Work (in progress)

I probably work too much. But I like it. That's got to be a blessing to like your job.

I am a full-time school librarian by day and a part-time public librarian one night a week and one Saturday a month.

What's to like about that?
  1. I like being with people. I work at a pre-K through 12th grade school so I enjoy the company of four-year-olds, teenagers and everything in between. I love 'em all. I don't see as much of adults at school, although coworkers and community members do stop by sometimes. At the public library I see more adults than younger people. Of course people of all ages come to the public library, but mostly teenagers and adults come to the Reference Desk, where I wait to answer their questions.
  2. The work is enjoyable. I help people use computers at the school and public library. I also help them find books and information. I do newsletters at both libraries.
    At school I teach classes, none of which are core classes (English, math, science, history) which makes them less stressful. There are no standardized tests for computer classes, pre-teaching or service learning and no end-of-instruction tests either. We can do the lessons and activities that I want to do and we don't have to rush to get through everything that will be on the tests. It's in class that I connect with the students and form relationships. I'm glad I get to teach classes as well as run the library.
  3. It never gets boring. Especially in the libraries, things are never routine. You never know who will come in or what they will need. At school I have to do planning and have scheduled activities. At the public library I just show up and go with the flow of the patrons. I like the variety and newness of each day at work.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 2

I got an email from Crayola today that said, "November, A Month of Thanks and Giving! Celebrate the beauty and bounty of the season..." See, isn't November a way nicer month than October?

A quote from Mother Teresa: We can do no great things, only small things with great love. And, by the way, I am very thankful for Mother Teresa's work and for the person she was, and still is. But what brought that quote to mind was the small thing that gives me joy and smiles in the morning: the AOL theme button with themes set on random. I first chose a theme that I liked but then decided to try the random button. I love it. You never know what the page will look like, but you know it'll be something different from the day before.

This is a great time and place to be alive. I wonder what technology is like in heaven. :~)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November

Ah, November is here again. It is always so welcome after the craziness that is October. October goes out with a bang including the school carnival and Halloween. I enjoy the costumes and the party frenzy but am so ready for the quiet peace that comes with November, the month of gratitude and thanksgiving.

I have started many years with a Thank Journal but have never made it through the whole year. Good intentions, but...My plan is to make my first on-line thank journal for just one month. Can I do it? Yes, I can! I begin by saying that I am thankful for November and the rhythm of the seasons and how they flow through the years.

Wishing anyone who reads this a blessed November and may you remember to give thanks for those blessings.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Creating a Comic Strip

My latest accomplishment in Web 2.0 is the creation of this comic strip.











We are learning about being good digital citizens and the responsibilities it entails (don't steal people's work off the Internet, don't bully people in emails, don't use another person's password...) in our "Computer Warriors Class." www.computerwarriors.ning.com. It is fun and an incredible learning experience.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Avatar

I created this avatar as part of the web 2.0 Playground classes offered by the State Department of Education. I had a hard time thinking of something for my avatar to say. Technology really is a lot of fun to me. My computer warriors are making avatars for their class social network pages. I need to make it public so people can see what we are doing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hotel Humor

I thought this was funny enough to take a picture of and then blog about.

The card on the pillow reads:

Caution!
Comfy pillows may cause drowsiness. Avoid operating heavy machinery while using.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall Break in OKC

Sitting in Java Dave's drinking java, of course, and enjoying their free wifi on my little purple netbook, feeling part of city life. I'm up here going to some free workshops at the State Department of Education, all about social networks. Today was Twitter, Wiffiti, Poll Everywhere and Delicious. Tomorrow is a full day of blogging and copyright, both appeal to the librarian in me.

This is a nice get-away for me. I enjoy the solitude of a hotel room to myself. And being alone with me in a crowded cafe. I'm a people person but I also need a dose of solo from time to time.

In some of the classes I teach, we learn about learning styles, brain dominance, multiple intelligences... Almost all high school students are social or interpersonal. I tend to be intrapersonal. I crave time by myself.

I'm off to find a Curves for my daily exercise and maybe a Target to buy an umbrella.

Happy Travels!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Scary Walk Home

It was a busy day. Up early to make it to a before school meeting. Then school until 3:30. Change clothes and dash into Lawton to exercise. Home to change back into original clothes then walk to school to attend a PhotoShop class held in the school library. I opened the doors at 5:30, class started at 6:00. I stayed until 7:00 and then went to a meeting at church. The meeting lasted until almost 9:00. Walked back to school to collect my things and set the alarm. Then headed to the house. The school is a block west of the church. The church is north of my house on the same block. Not a long walk. Nice cool fall weather. All was well, until I rounded the corner of the church. That's when a big black rottweiler came out of nowhere barking and growling and running at me and running around me. I yelled at him to go home. He lives across the street from me with several other dogs. The sheriff has been called numerous times but they can't really do anything and we don't have police in our town. I started to walk on home as the dog continued to bark. I could hear him coming closer so I turned around, pointed at his house and screamed, "GO HOME!" That just brought the other dogs over. Now I had the big black dog and medium sized fluffy dog (cute but rude) barking their heads off and two littler dogs watching. I told them all to go home and quit barking. I was in front of the house next door and I was so happy to see the neighbor's front door open. Collin stood there, probably wondering if he should go get his pellet gun. He's the same teenager who helped me with the snake ordeal. Then the people across the street opened their door (the dogs' owner) and yelled for the dogs to come home. Strange how those dogs will obey a little 2nd grade girl, but they did. I thanked Collin for coming to my rescue and hurried home. I was a little shaky when I got inside and more than a little upset. It is safer to walk the streets of New York City than it is in rural Oklahoma. The sheriff will be getting another call tomorrow.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Plarn Purses

Last summer, in Kansas for a Tompkins family reunion, we went to church at the St. John United Methodist Church. That's where I was baptized as a baby! Somehow we met a woman who had a crocheted purse made out of plastic "WalMart" bags. It was too too cute. She gave us a little lesson after church on how to make one. She so enjoyed our time together that she came to the reunion to show us some of her other bags.

I began making my first bag (the one on the right) as soon as I got home. The one on the left is my second creation and the one in the middle is a Trick-or-Treat bag for Owen. If he doesn't want to use it, then I will put my treats in it to give out to the little goblins. Any suggestions for my next project?

Plarn n. PLastic yARN

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Flowers for Mari

......................................................................................................................

Monday, September 21, 2009

Swarovski

Susan makes gorgeous earrings. I asked for black and white and got these beautifully wonderful pair. They are made with Swarovski beads, something I'd never heard of until Susan told me about them. You know how that goes? When you hear about something new then that something pops up over and over leaving you to wonder, "How could I not have heard of it before?" I started seeing Swarovski everywhere...in craft stores, on jewelry displays and even a whole store in an upscale mall!

Susan made an angel magnet for Gran. I received it today and can't wait to see Gran open it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Encyclomedia

It's library conference time again. Instead of staying downtown at a hotel across the street from the convention center, I decided to be frugal and get a room 15 miles away for almost half price ($67 a night instead of $139). BUT, this morning, the 15 mile drive took 1 1/2 hours. Pouring rain and traffic. I sat in Oklahoma City traffic for 45 minutes as everyone was searching for a place to park. Sitting and not moving for 15 minutes at a time, I decided to create a rain hat since I didn't have an umbrella. I first put my hair up in a pony tail then put on my ball cap. I had a fun plastic bag left over from the Cops and Kids picnic last Saturday in Lawton that I used to cover my cap and make a little shelter for my head from the rain. I looked at myself in the visor mirror and thought, "I've gotta have a picture of this." You gotta do something while sitting surrounded by other non-moving cars. What do you think? Fetching?

I finally made it to the convention center having missed the first class. I made it in time to visit the exhibits and get lots of freebies (pencils, pens, pedomiters, rulers, plastic cups, color books, big plastic paper clips...) then off to the second class: EBSCO database.

Next up, join Carrie for the 21st Century Grant luncheon. The speaker was Keith Jackson, former OU football player (1984-1987) and NFL player for the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers. He got a Superbowl ring with one of those teams. I thought some of you football fans would enjoy a picture of me with Keith. He was a great motivational speaker and Christian man making a difference in the world. Beyond football, he now works with teenagers at risk, getting them through high school and into college.
Me and Keith

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Symmetry

Is it left brain or right brain to look for patterns around you? Whichever, that's me. I had a very symmetrical afternoon. I went to the post office to mail a letter. It cost 62 cents. I paid with 2 quarters, 2 nickles, 2 pennies. Then, on my way to OKC, I got a coffee at Starbucks that cost $2.22. Symmetry again! I paid with 2 one dollar bills, 2 dimes and 2 pennies. So, what's so special about that? I'm not sure, but it must be something.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Sky is God's Canvas

Coming home from Wichita Falls on Labor Day after leaving Mari & Shawn at the Wichita Falls Airport, we drove through a little rain on the Interstate. When the skies cleared, there was the most amazing rainbow that nearly filled the sky. It was a complete rainbow that touched the ground on the left and spread across the sky meeting the ground again on the right. Each ROYGBIV color was a bright and distinct band of its own. It would have been a perfect subject to do a photoshop panoramic picture, but we were in a hurry to get home and I didn't think of it. Words will have to do.

Later that night after I completed the school newsletter I walked out into the night and there waiting for me was another sky work of art starring the moon. It was a 3/4 moon shining big and bright white like a full moon does. It was framed by clouds that made the rest of the sky completely black. The spot light was on the moon. Wispy black clouds floated in front of the moon like a shredded spider web. It could've been a Halloween decoration, but a lovely awe inspiring one. Before I could get my camera out, the clouds moved and the moon disappeared. I didn't think I could get a good picture anyway. Even in the best of situations, photographs don't do the original justice.

I hope you will take time to visit the free art gallery in the sky. God is an awesome artist!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Added Memory

You might think I'm going to tell you about some recent special event that will be long remembered and cherished. Not so! The news is, I installed RAM in my computer increasing its memory from 256 MB to 1 GB. I did it all by myself. How is this possible?

I took an after school class from Mr. Wood last semester. We built a computer from the ground up. Everything I did was explained thoroughly beforehand and then guided step by step pointing out exactly where every strange piece of equipment went and how to get it there. I didn't think I'd learned anything but if I ever took a similar class at VoTech, I'd have a little familiarity with the inside of a computer.

Mr. Wood assured me I could add the memory. "It's easy." I've heard that before! He opened one of his computers and showed me what the memory stick looks like. Then he let me pull it out and put it back in. Feeling confident, I ordered the memory from DELL (where I bought my computer). They knew the exact computer I bought from them and what memory I needed plus it comes with instructions. Unbelievably I found my computer owner's manual in the first place I looked. It has detailed instructions for installing memory.

The only trouble I had was getting the back to flip up so I could get to where the memory needed to be. It reminded me of when I lived in California and took an auto repair for women's class. Among other things, I learned to change a tire. I KNOW exactly how to do it BUT I was not/am not strong enough to loosen the lug nuts. I need a big strong man to do that for me. So I might as well let him change the tire too!

I called DELL tech support for help. While on hold, waiting to be transferred to a live person, I finally got the back off and I hung up on DELL. The rest went easy as promised. I got everything back together and it actually worked! I was so happy. And still am.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vacation

We've just completed the 4th day of school (4 down, 176 to go) and I find myself dreaming of vacation, especially travels to New York City. Who knew that Queens has such beautiful beaches? Not your average tourist! This beach has clean blue water, white sand, gorgeous skies, and it isn't very crowded. The beach front property is lined with public housing! What a great idea to provide low cost housing at the beach.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last Week of Summer Vacation: a Novella

I've decided to spend my last week before school starts in computer pergatory. It's not quite hell, but it's close.

I finally made the leap to high speed Internet and got a good deal by bundling our ATT land line, cell phone and Internet together. I apparently send out Murphy's Law vibes, though, because if it could go wrong, it did.

A box arrived from ATT. I let it sit for a couple of days, hesitant to find out if it really would be easy to set up, as promised. When I did open the box, I found it filled with pamphlets, cables and gadgets wrapped in plastic, a modem and a CD that was labled "Important! Back-up CD only. DO NOT USE UNLESS DIRECTED." Why do I need a CD that I am not supposed to use? And what do I do with all this new equipment that needs to be installed? It turned out to be easy, just like they said, because Beth hooked it up for me.

It didn't take Beth long to discover that ATT sent the wrong modem. I'd ordered a combo hard-wire and wireless but got the single non-wireless kind.

A quick phone call to ATT (Well, I say quick because it didn't take long to dial the number. But then I spent 10 minutes talking to the automated guy who had the gall to tell me to be patient. Then I waited another 10 to be connected to a real guy who was able to help me after gathering critical information: Daryl's ss# and his mother's maiden name). In under an hour ATT knew they had sent the wrong modem. They promised to get the correct one in the mail, no charge, and asked me to send the wrong one back to them. It's a deal!

In a few days the new modem came and Beth finished the installation, almost. When it was time to attach the ethernet cable, the port was too small. I now know that my DELL that I've had since 2002 only has a phone jack. To find that out I called ATT again. The automated guy was getting on my nerves but Matt was excellent help. He told me that I could get an ethernet cable adapter at Radio Shack (or any similar establishment) and then I'd be good to go. He also helped me configure my laptop so the wireless internet would work. No kidding, he was on the phone with me for an hour. ATT really picks good tech help people or trains them well or pays them a lot or all of the above because no matter how stupid I acted, Matt remained calm, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. When I hung up from talking with Matt, I had "get an ethernet adapter" on my to-do list and I could hop on the Internet with my laptop. Too fun.

The next day we got a bill from ATT with a charge for both modems and overnight shipping which I neither ordered nor received. Another quick call :~) and I got them to remove the wrong charges and agree to the amount quoted in the first place. We paid that bill and headed to RadioShack, got the ethernet cable adapter, and did a little other shopping (we went to the RadioShack in the mall).

The following day Beth put the finishing touches on the hook-up process. Everything worked great. I called AOL to cancel our dial-up but in the process took them up on their $11.00 a month 10 hours of dial-up plus free McAfee deal. I found out later that free McAfee comes with ATT Internet as well. Daryl likes to check his email on our old computer so I thought the AOL deal might be worth it. We'll see. There is probably another phone call in my future.

I hadn't realized that you can still use AOL software even if you don't pay for their service. I downloaded AOL onto my Dell (it had never been on the Internet before!) and went to bed.

The next morning I hopped up ready to check email only to find out there was no connection. AOL couldn't connect and Internet Explorer couldn't connect either. WAH!!! I called ATT hoping they would know what the problem was. I wanted to talk to Matt again, wishing I had his direct number so I could bypass that annoying automated guy. No such luck. But I was lucky when Felix answered my phone call. Another gem. He stayed on the phone with me for well over an hour. He had me reboot the modem, did diagnostic tests from his end, walked me through the guts of my computer checking configurations and fixing any problems found, and finally said, "I don't know what else to do." He asked if I knew anyone with computer knowledge who might be able to look at the computer and figure out what was wrong. I know a lot of teenagers, does that count? And when school starts I can ask my building buddy, who is a tech genius, for help.

I fretted and fumed and then was hit with a thought...last night it was working, I loaded AOL and now it isn't working. I deleted all things AOL from the computer and voila! Internet connection. I wish I had Felix's phone number so I could call and tell him.

My next project was to load the free McAfee. Not as easy as you'd think. Oh sure, I went to ATT and clicked on the free McAfee download. Went through the download process only to find out at the end that, "your version of windows is out-of-date, McAfee can not be downloaded." Gee Whiz, what next?

I'm not sure how I figured out it needed service pack updates. I'd never heard of service packs before. My DELL had not been online for 7 years, therefore no updates for 7 years. Through trial and error and a lot of time, I hit upon the first update needed to start the upgrade process. I also don't know how I came to the conclusion that enough updates had been downloaded, but at some point I thought it was time to try to download McAfee again. This time it didn't mention that Windows was not worthy, but it did say, "Cannot download, not enough memory, need a minimum of 256 MB RAM." I'd seen that before and checked my computer. I have exactly 256 MB of RAM. I ignored their message and clicked next anyway and it finished downloading. Hallelujah!

I was so happy, I danced around the house. I guess pergatory is just as close to heaven as it is to hell.

That was my last major accomplishment. I've done some little stuff like switching to Firefox (I do think it works better than Explorer) but nothing big. I do have a project in the works. I'm going to add memory to the computer. I have ordered two sticks of 512 MB RAM to total 1 GB (the most my computer will hold) from DELL (it should be the right memory, don't you think?). I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bryn's Baby Shower

Bryn's baby is due July 30ish.
She's hoping a little later in August so sister Chris can be there. Chris will be out of town the last week in July.



Most of the W girls made it in for the baby shower. We missed Mrs. Walker though.











Coretta taking a picture of
Bryn & Jared behind the
refreshment table.








I wonder if Jayme feels
left out of the W club.







Coretta reading Mari's card.






Mari's blanket was the hit of the shower.














People liked Gran's blanket too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Just in Time for Summer.













These are the first blooms in my whiskey barrels.
These are all volunteers, coming back up from last summer.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More Snakes

After our adventure with Snake #1, I saw Snake #2, he could've been our original snake's twin, crossing the road, heading to my neighbor's house (seeking revenge?). I ran over it with my car, which didn't seem to phase it much, but it did turn around and slither back from whence it came. Yesterday, after hanging up a wind chime on our side porch, I got to meet Snake #3, their little brother. He was curled up in a plastic case of Coke holder with his little head peering out at me. I tried to block the holes to keep him inside, maybe make a pet out of him, but he was a great escape artist and made a break for it before I could get him penned in. In this first picture you can see him making his escape.
Here's the head end. I guess they like to weave in and out of places.










Front View of His Head











I touched his tail to see what he felt like. He turned around and glared at me, I'm sure to let me know he did not want to be touched again.

I tried to get a picture of his full length but cut off his head end. Sometimes it's hard to take digital pictures when it's bright out. This last picture is the longest one I got of him. I'm not sure how much snake is left behind the Coke holder. From here he slithered on across the porch and down underneath it. I wonder just how large his family is.

Friday, May 22, 2009

High School Graduation 2009

videoMarch 21, 2009

Indiahoma High School Class of 09 marches into the auditorium for their final high school daze. The auditorium was packed. I went to the library to get a chair to take to the auditorium so I'd have a place to sit. The slide show was long but entertaining. Allan Johnson spoke and was inspiring and funny, as usual. The best part is after the recessional, when you hunt down the graduates to give them a gift and get a hug. Stop and talk to people you haven't seen in a long time. The community gathers together for big events like graduation. It's always a lot of fun and a feel good time.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More Wildlife


My sister had a mama opossum build a nest in her garden shed and now the babies play in the yard. Susan named one of them Petey and fed him a snack every night. She'd put a little food out and he'd come along and eat it. V cute. One eve around dusk, Susan went into the garage from gardening and found Petey snacking IN the bag of cat food that she keeps in the garage.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Prom Night

Seth, Lauren & Seth's date.





Vanille & Kyle









Brooke
&
Robert











Gui & his date











Maykon & Brittany








Josh & his girls,
Kristina & Melinda

Friday, May 8, 2009

A SNAKE IN THE HOUSE



























Imagine going to the back of the house to get the newspaper and seeing this curled around the table.

Hmmm, what do we do? We need a boy. Daryl was gone playing music and Owen is only 4. I was going to start calling people when I saw the high school boy next door enter his house. I called him and got his mother. She ended up being the brave snake fighter. They both came over with trash barrel, shovel and hoe in hand.

This guy was not going to go easily. He backed into the corner of a book case where he rattled and spat at us. Just get in the trash can! He didn't want to. Collin had an idea, "I can shoot him with a pellet gun." He went home, got his gun, came back and aimed for the snake's head. He missed the head but shot the snake in what I would call his neck. You can see the discoloration a few inches below his head where he'd been bleeding. The injury slowed the snake down quite a bit so Trisha was able to scoop him into the trash barrel. Whew! Trisha and Collin drove the snake out into the country where he could recover or die.

My final question: What was a snake this size
doing in my house in downtown Green Acres?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dancing the Hodown

I had the best time with these girls, teaching them to blog. We should have spent more time perfecting this dance routine and the filming of it, but we were running out of time and I wantedto show them how to post a video before they had to go home. video

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Beanie Babies

Just when we thought we'd packed our last Beanie Baby, Grady brought in three more bags to be sent to his dad, JB, in Iraq. This brings our total up to 1083 with promises of even more. The generosity of people has been awe inspiring. To date, we have sent 22 boxes of Beanie Babies to Iraq, postage paid totally with donations. The remainder of our service learning grant will pay for the rest.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cheryl's Boys

My friend Cheryl in Oregon sent me this picture.
It is so charming and endearing that I just had to post it
so that others could enjoy it too.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More Beanie Babies


A student, Kirsty, created this ship for our Beanie Babies to pose in. We'd like to wave "Bon Voyage" to them when we raise enough money for their travel expenses to Iraq.




Another student, Noah, drew an ark so the Beanie Babies could gather around in pairs as they prepare to depart two by two.