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.

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,'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


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 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 to get some audio from Katherine in Indiahoma. I asked her to call a phone number given to me when I registered at When she calls, and enters the exchange number, she leaves a voice mail telling about the Wichita Mountains. 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

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


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


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


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


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


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.