Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's Been That Kind Of Day

Another day of in-service began with a lawyer telling us all the different ways we can get ourselves into trouble, facebook and e-mail heading the list.  But also don't let any bullying or misconduct go unreported, confidentiality is a must, best advice - do not text students, don't give students rides home, don't be alone with one student... Yikes, our floors are covered with egg shells.

Catered lunch.

The new evaluation tool, The Tulsa Model for Teacher and Leader Effectiveness observation and evaluation, filled our afternoon.  It has 5 domains, 17 dimensions and 2-4 criteria for meeting each dimension.  Why can't we speak English? My brain was aching long before the presentation was over.

At the end of the day, our superintendent warned us that tomorrow will be the hard day. I'm trying not to think about it.

I've discovered the cure for brain pain, a visit to the gym.  Blood pumping, oxygen flowing, endorphins bubbling...the non-physical pain melts away and you feel good again. I just wish I'd worn matching shoes.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back To School Day

6:30 a.m. - The alarm rings. I don't want to get up.  I don't want to go to school.

6:50 a.m. - I get up and begin the morning routine.  I have to give it some thought since I haven't done this since last May. My favorite part is drinking coffee at my computer.

8:30 a.m. - At school. The meetings are in the library, my room. A table of fruit, cheese, bread and crackers.  A table of donuts and other sweets.  An ice chest of sodas.  An ice chest of water.  Where's the coffee? What?!?  No coffee? Get your priorities straight!

9:00 a.m. - The presentations begin. So many mandated trainings that we have to "learn" every year: Blood borne pathogens, Special Ed Confidentiality, FERPA... Because they're important, we go over them year after year.

10:15 a.m. - We hear about local programs: Speech Therapy, Study Island, School-wide Book Read (Hey, that's me!), 21st Century Grant ($1 million over 5 years).

11:30 a.m. - LUNCH.  I stay in the library and eat a ham and cheese croissant sandwich with carrots, celery and baby tomatoes followed by strawberries, grapes, pineapple chunks and a plum. Tasty.

12:30 p.m. - Principal is up. He goes over lesson plans, grade book, Common Core, pacing calendars, remediation, credit recovery, school handbook, class syllabi, State Department of Ed. website, and the new evaluation tool.

2:30 p.m. - Superintendent presents about bullying and how to eliminate it and strategies to improve our students' writing.

3:30 p.m. - Let's blow this joint.

We have homework: study the new evaluation tool and have questions to ask tomorrow.  My question is, why is this information so boring?  It doesn't have to be. With the emphasis on better writing, the challenge is to write instructions, explanations, and other tedious information creatively so that people will want to read it. The most popular non-fiction genre in current publishing is creative nonfiction.  Get with the program!

8:00 p.m. - The Closer final episode.

9:00 p.m. - Major Crimes, spin-off from The Closer.

10:15 p.m. - Finish blog post.

11:00 p.m. - Go to bed.  Tomorrow's another day.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Friends

Owen and Diego are two of the few Children who attend our church.  When church started this morning, Owen was the only child there so he and I did acolyte duty together. Owen didn't want to but he reluctantly helped his Gingie since he is the expert and I am the novice.

Before it was time for the children's sermon, Diego and his sister arrived with their Grandma. Owen was so happy that he hugged Diego and they happily danced their way to the front of the church to help Herwannah with her children's message.

After church, Diego announced that it would be OK with his mom if he came home with us after church.  He joined us for a Subway/Sonic lunch and then fun and frivolity at MeMe's and then back at our house.  These two boys can fuss like brothers and have fun like best friends. They beg to spend time together and then they spend their time in separate activities.  Diego played with toys in the living room with me while Owen was in the back with Pa on the computer.  Later they went upstairs. Diego played Mario carts on the Wii in one room while Owen played with trains in another.

Daryl (Pa) grew up in this same church going home with Herwannah after church.  Herwannah's son is like a brother to Daryl and I hope I am seeing history repeat itself.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Candy Prompts

This week was all about candy.  I don't eat much candy so I probably won't have much to say.  Which prompt could you write about?  Leave me a message with the answer to that prompt.
  • Monday, August 6, 2012 --- What was the first candy you ever tried?
Oh my gosh!  I'm 62 years old, how would I remember the first candy I ate?

  • Tuesday, August 7, 2012 --- What candy did you eat once that you wish you could get again?
I'd like to eat German chocolate in Germany again.

  • Wednesday, August 8, 2012 --- Talk about a memory tied to a certain candy, especially if it involves another person or a place.
My most memorable candy experience was being in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Beth, Owen and I were taking Mari back to college in Maryland and nipped a little out of the way to visit Hershey.  It was worth it.

Hershey, the sweetest place on earth. Lamp posts with lights like kisses line the streets. The whole town smells like chocolate. Divine. I'm sure that's what heaven will smell like. If you haven't been, you should go.  Click the link and see how fun it is in Hershey, PA.

  • Thursday, August 9, 2012 --- Are there any candies that you just can't stomach?
I don't think there are any candies I can't stomach, but there are several that I would say, "Why bother?" Candy corn tops that list. If I'm going to eat empty calories and raise my blood sugar, I want it to be something that tastes good.

  • Friday, August 10, 2012 --- What was the last piece of candy that you gave someone else?
It was at the public library.  Lee walked to the desk, placed a bag of Hershey's kisses in front of me and said, "You need to gain some weight," and walked away. Perplexing, the last thing I need to do is gain weight.

 Later that evening, Drej made his nightly appearance and started out with, "Wow! Where'd you get the bag of kisses?" I gave it to him and he became as giddy as a little kid on Christmas morning.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Some people view computers and the Internet as detrimental to connecting with other people. Spending time on facebook instead of in face-to-face real live connection building relationships by spending time, doing things and being with people.  And this is true.

But computers and the Internet can connect us with friends and family from whom we'd otherwise be separated.  My daughter lives in Baton Rouge, my sisters live in California, I'm stuck here in Oklahoma. but we connect through email, facebook and playing games like DrawSomething and Words with Friends. We  leave comments that encourage and create laughter as we play.  It's fun and it's connective.

I've connected with new friends on the Internet too.  I met Maria from India via Ireland while blogging on NaBloPoMo. Another blogging friend from Kentucky home schools her children.  She wanted to teach them Spanish so she searched for a Spanish speaking family who wanted to learn English. Connection made.

Who will you connect with today?

Thursday, August 9, 2012


NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month, now part of Blogher.com) has a different writing theme for each new month. The theme for August 2012 is "Sweet." I like the expression "Sweet!" and the way teenagers use it.

Along with the theme are week-daily prompts.  In the past I've taken the prompts and "answered" all of them on Saturday.  The first Saturday of this month was moving day for one daughter and traveling day for the other daughter so I wrote about that instead.

I had wordless Wednesday on Thursday so I'll have Prompt Saturday on Thursday too.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 --- Name something sweet you ate today.

As a general rule, I don't eat sugar. When you don't eat refined white sugar, the natural sugars in food taste sweeter. Even carrots are a sweet crunchy treat. Berries in Greek yogurt with Splenda. I splurged on Wednesday, August 1st and got a sugar free, frozen yogurt, vanilla milk shake at Braum's. Sweet!

Thursday, August 2, 2012 --- What is the sweetest thing someone said to you today?

I got the sweetest thank you card from a student, thanking me for a graduation gift. I wanted to post it on facebook but decided not to chance making her regret sending me the card. I think it will be less embarrassing here.
Mrs. Perry,
Thank you for being such an amazing teacher. I really enjoyed your class this year. Also, thank you for the beautiful journal and money.

We all need to share sweet words more often, making the world a nicer place one ripple at a time.

Friday, August 3, 2012 --- What is the sweetest thing someone did for you today?

My friend from the Lawton Public Library, Afzal from Pakistan, sent me an email with a story for our library blog. It was a charming episode of life at the library, you can read it here. I work very part-time at the public library so I need help keeping the library blog current.  It was so sweet of Afzal to write a guest post.

Wordless Wednesday on Thursday

I forgot to blog yesterday. Life got busy and I meant to do a post after I put the grandson to bed.  But instead I laid down with him and went to sleep. I'm going to finish the month anyway.

Mom and Dad

Nothing written on the back of the photo. I don't know where the picture was taken, when it was taken, how old they were... Any guesses?

Daddy was a handsome man. He drove me to school one day in his old pick up truck.  Some girlfriends asked me, "Who's that cute boy who brought you to school?" They thought I was keeping some big secret from them. 

"That was my dad," I answered in a 1960's incredulous teenage accent, thinking they might be embarrassed that they thought someone's father was cute.  

Instead, they said together, (translated into current teen language, "Your dad is hot!"  Yeah, he was. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Block Party

It's small town America. Mayberry was a metropolis by comparison.  We are more like Green Acres, without the talking pig. Three elected members make up the town council.  The town council decides which one of them will be Mayor. That's how I became First Lady of Indiahoma. A post office, a school, a cafe and the Indy Superette, but no police. There are six churches and no bars.

School starts next week; the Church of Christ had an idea to have a Back to School Bash, a collaboration of all the town churches. Together the Church of Christ, the Methodists, the Baptists, the Mennonites, the Assembly of God and the Peace Congregational Church planned and executed the 1st annual Backpacks of Love schools's-about-to-start-so-let's-celebrate block party.

The street that runs between the school and the Church of Christ was blocked off, making a large and safe area to party in.  Two bouncy houses, a dunking tank (in our HOT weather, people were fighting to be in the tank), water balloon volleyball, face painting, water gun and water bomb area, snow cones, hot dogs, lemonade, cupcakes, cookies and of course back packs full of school supplies. Every child got one, from pre-K to seniors.

Kids running and getting wet, laughter, chatter, meeting new people, wind blown trash deserting the party, clouds gathering in the sky (we pray for rain), a beautiful rainbow decorates the sky, people stay and stay and stay.

From my grandson's backpack:
The Indiahoma Churches...
are excited to present
Indiahoma students with
"Back Packs of Blessings"
We wish you a Blessed School Year!

Children are a gift from the Lord. ~ Psalms 127.3

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
~ 1 Timothy 4:12

Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. ~ Philippians 4:6

Monday, August 6, 2012


"Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future." Or does it?

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis explains time as a human illusion. There is no time in God's world, he sees all events at once... OK, wait, my brain is starting to hurt. C.S. Lewis is so smart and is an an artist at rhetoric. I'm sure he's right and what we know as time will be but one of the earthly things to evaporate during transformation; but for now I'll continue to appreciate time as a reality.

Babies - so sweet, so new, so fresh - everything before them. Holding a resting infant closely can bring inner peace and release tension, even heart ache.

Children, so funny as they they learn to walk and talk and develop a personality. From toddlers to pre-school to Kindergarten and elementary school, there are scholarly volumes dedicated to each stage of life. Isn't this all taking place in time?

Middle School and High School, the children transition into adults, becoming more independent and often self-absorbed. 18 years-old, you're an adult!  21 years-old, you can vote! This is a decade of being an adult on paper but in many ways, many people are still kids.

My daughters are both in their 30's now. This is the decade when a person arrives officially in adulthood. No doubt about it, in my opinion anyway.

40's, not quite over-the-hill but youth is slipping away.  Time to have a mid-life crisis? Some do, others relish the age they are. The possibilities and adventures still lurk around every corner.

A 50th birthday party.  Really?  Half a century old?  Is my life half over?  Can I live to 100? Introspection, a depth of spirit, wisdom, perspective... old things are new, life is still exciting.

I'm 60, how did this happen?  Where did the time go?  The end is closer than the beginning. This is a time to become comfortable with being old. Old is not bad, young is not good, they are just different stages of being; or are they two stages taking place simultaneously? Maybe I'll understand that on down the road.

From here I cannot speak from experience, but I see 70-something people working, being active, making a contribution, enjoying life. I don't know what's in their lives but it must be something good.

People begin to die of old age. Some are ready for death, they greet death as a friend. It is the natural culmination of life. It's not the end, it's a beginning.

I highly recommend Mere Chrstianity for clarity on a life lived in preparation for eternity and an understanding of how time might be a figment of our imaginations. No one can say it like Jack.  (AKA: C.S. Lewis)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Bell Tower

The bell shouts out praise, announcing a time of worship to all.  


This is a bell tower on top of a small Methodist church in a little village called Indiahoma.  The bell rings every Sunday morning reminding people it's time to go to worship. It reminds everyone, not just Methodists, that it is time to assemble together, wherever their place may be. I walk past my neighbors house and into the church yard. 

I invite you to visit Indiahoma United Methodist Church Blog to get a taste of how we worship at our place.

God bless you and may you find peace and harmony on this beautiful Lord's day.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sizzling Saturday

Every day is sizzling in August in Oklahoma. I don't know the high today, it's been up to 114 degrees this summer, breaking all records. It's almost 9:30 p.m. and it is a cool 98 degrees. I wish I were in Portland, or Seattle, or Canada... anywhere cooler.

The heat didn't stop us from getting Beth moved into her new house. Her friend's dad painted the living room and kitchen on Thursday - gorgeous.  Her furniture fits perfectly.  Daryl and Cliff got Beth's washer and dryer hooked up.  Ashley brought her mom's steam cleaner and Beth got to work cleaning her couch cushions and mattresses. Lee Ann lined all the cabinets and drawers with lovely shelf paper. I unpacked dishes, washed them and put them up.  I hope Beth likes where I put her things.

We were all busy working on something when the doorbell rang.  Who could that be? we're all here. It was my friend Penny, Beth's high school English teacher. She was at her daughter's house and thought she recognized my car.  Then she saw me walk out of Beth's house so she came over.  We knew Lindsey lived somewhere in the area of Beth's house but had no idea it was just three houses down the block.

Cliff needed some duct tape to finish hooking up the dryer so Lee Ann asked Penny if she brought duct tape with her, just joking.  Penny said, "I did.  I've wondered why I carry this duct tape with me. This must be why."  She gave us her duct tape, Cliff got the dryer working and Penny got a grand tour of Beth's house for her duct tape generosity.

Throughout the day I kept thinking of my other daughter, Mari.  She and her husband and my granddaughter are on their way to Berlin, Germany.  They flew from Baton Rouge to Atlanta to Paris to Berlin. They won't get there for awhile. Shawn is participating in a math research project at a university in Berlin. He's so smart. Mari & Jane, who is 9 months old on Wednesday, will be tourists and take in the German culture. I wish I could be there with them. Stupid job. Maybe next time.

It's time to kick off my shoes, enjoy the cool air conditioned temperature, and see what white Merlot tastes like.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Five Minute Friday: HERE

HERE Is one of my favorite places to be. First thing in the morning, fresh coffee, computer on, breakfast bar, a world of possibilities before me.

I usually open several tabs: email, blogger, good reads, facebook and leave the original google tab open for any searches that present themselves.

Today I am HERE on a mission to blog for five minutes without preparation or deep thought.  Just let it roll out as it will. It is one day in a month-long journey of daily blogging.

When my five minutes are up, I will return to my regular routine, open my email and see what my friends and family have to tell me.  I love the instant access to people I care about. That might lead to a trip to Amazon if someone announces a birth or a wedding or I get a birthday notification. Or if an email piques my interest and I want to know more, then I'm back to google to see what I can find out. I may be reminded of something at work so I'll open my work email to get that done.  The other day a friend wrote that a drunk driver ran into Fred's fence, breaking a telephone pole and shutting off the electricity for several blocks in town. Fred had posted it on facebook.  So, of course, I had to go look at the pictures myself and leave a comment.

You just never know what turning on the computer will lead to.  Some days (in the summer when I'm not "working" at school) I sit HERE until noon. But for now, my five minutes are almost gone. I'll still be HERE.  Send me an email.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Baby is 30

Happy Birthday Beth!

Beth's birthday is July 22nd but I just got this picture of her putting her birthday money in at church last Sunday.

Beth is...
my second child and my baby.
funny and has been for as long as I can remember.

the mother of my first grandchild, Owen.
a fabulous pre-K teacher, or any other grade she may happen to teach.
a loving daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin...OK, she's a loving person.
a faithful friend.
dating a lovely man, Cliff.
reliable, interesting, fun,
hardworking, innovative, thoughtful, shy,
red-headed and hot tempered.
nicely nerdy and gently goofy (she's a Tompkins)...

The expression on her face (above) reveals a lot about her, as does Fred's expression of reaction.

Be afraid Beth, I think I'll develop you into a character in a story. You might be the next female Monk.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Who is This Man?

I look forward to seeing him again.  It's been a year. It won't be long now - he'll be here when my shift ends.

I remember his walk.  He moves with strength and purpose, nothing frivolous about him, always tending to business. One look and you know he's the man in charge.

Tanned and golden, sometimes too bright to look at, he even keeps things hot at night.

His name is a description of who he is: inspiring admiration, dignified, imposing, noble, commanding respect.

He approaches with long even strides.  My heart flutters, my pulse quickens.  Why does he do this to me? Me, the party girl, full of fun, food and fireworks. Him, the no nonsense man, here to do his job.

He nods his head at me. I smile and say, "Hello August." With a simple wave I add, "See you next year."

NaBloPoMo August 2012