Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I am SO tired tonight. Tomorrow I start at the high school, teaching 11th and 12th grade literature and a study skills class. Before I left my current junior high position, I prepared lesson plans for the whole year with detailed calendars for novel studies and the whole thing. I did this because the young teacher coming in to replace me is a first-timer in junior high. She's subbed a lot, taught younger children, but never done junior high. I happen to believe in this young lady and really want her to succeed. I'll be working with her for the rest of this year in a mentor-teacher relationship. I've invested a ton of time and energy preparing for her success.

This afternoon, I walked across the parking lot to the high school and began working in my classroom. There was far more stuff in there than I expected. The former teacher is coming by tomorrow so I'm going to talk with her to see what needs to be done with all this old work/projects/stuff. I love using kids' work in a classroom, but once they're out of the school, graduated, I don't actually see the point of keeping their old work. It may be that the former teacher was emotionally attached to these students and couldn't bring herself to throw their stuff away. I get that and will gladly perform the task for her if that is necessary. I do not like clutter in my classroom! I had to take all the chairs off the tables so I could see the room and get a sense of what I want to do with it. Then my hubby and I started taking things off the walls and cleaning up in general. It will be good to get the physical part completed so I can finish my lesson planning. I need to be ready to go on Friday morning, first thing. I really am looking forward to it. I don't think I mentioned that these students were my first group of junior highers! Now they're juniors/seniors. Wow! Where does the time go! Like now... it's after 10 and I'm tired and sore from working so late. Bed... I'm coming!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Break - Part 2

We have been out of school ALL week! I am grateful to have a full week to enjoy my little adorables from France. It has been so sweet, even during the time with no power. Little ones are easy to entertain. We never heard the dreaded "I'm bored" even once. Lots of cuddles, stories, make-believe play will fill our memories long after they leave next month.

And today, older son and his family came over so they could have hot showers. They've been without power for quite some time, much longer than we were. They lost it before us and it's still out. We took advantage of the time together to celebrate daughter Kassie's birthday that's actually tomorrow. Oh all right, she's my daughter-in-law, but she feels like mine. I love her dearly. I truly love both my girls! My sons chose so well; I am truly blessed!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

From 3-day weekend to who knows how many?!

My last post addressed my joy at having a three-day weekend. The snow has changed all that. Tomorrow's school cancellation gives us a five-day weekend, and who knows what will happen on Thursday! We are stocked with food, milk for the grandbaby, camping stove, and all the other supplies we need. We have a gas fireplace insert in the living room so if we lose power (which will probably happen), we can open the hide-a-bed for the little pregnant mama and three-year-old granddaughter and set up the pack-n-play for the baby, so they'll sleep warmly. Today I was able to take my mom shopping for all she needed, so she's ready. Now I guess we'll see just how much of the white stuff falls on us. It's supposed to start in just a few minutes, giving us around 10 - 14 inches. That's a lot for this part of the world. This could really be interesting, but I really am unconcerned. I'm with my children and grandchildren, and I know my other kids and grandkids are very well prepared. Plus, they have a big old wood stove that will heat their whole house! The kids are having a blast and so are we. Time together: an unexpected blessing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Three-Day Weekend!

I am so grateful for the upcoming three-day weekend. I've been fighting a nasty virus that has left me so tired. I spend the biggest portion of my nights coughing rather than sleeping. Yesterday I left school early so I could go home and sleep. I have a few things to do today or I'd do it again. But I think I have a new med combination that is going to work: musinex by day and nyquil by night. It worked last night! I'll try anything at this point. No, I haven't been to the doctor. I have no fever, no discoloration of anything that winds up in a kleenex, no aches or pains. My HMO doesn't want to see me unless something like that is present. The fact that this is the end of week #2 should mean that this will fade away over the next couple of days... I hope!

In the meantime, I have grandchildren at my house who make my days and evenings most enjoyable. I was designed for grandmothering. It is so much easier than mothering, and I'm just so good at it! I even have a Christmas ornament of two geese holding a heart between them with my motto. It reads: grandchildren spoiled here. Love it.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Dark Day

What a weird day! If I didn't know better, I'd say the sun gave up. It's not only gray but really dark and gloomy outside. This hasn't helped my homeroom. They were a group of crazies today. And it's not just me; it's not because I'm leaving junior high and heading to high school, so junior highers are making me nuts. I asked one of my colleagues about my homeroom, and she informed me that they behaved worse today than they have all year long. So... it's not me; although I feel relatively awful from coughing all night long for several nights and dealing with the afore-mentioned darkness around me. Then Mrs. History happened to mention that there was a full moon last night. Why don't I pay more attention to this? It is true; werewolves, vampires, and junior high students go nuts whenever the moon is full.

Late this afternoon, Mr. Custodian stopped by to see how things were going from a maintenance perspective. I really like this guy. He is vigilant, a self-starter, and thorough. He also has cancer and is dealing with chemo right now, so enough of me complaining about hyper-students and coughing. Mr. C is a real inspiration!

A former student asked to observe my classes for her field ed college class. I said of course, and she said she'd be here Tuesday and Thursday, until last night about 7:30 or so, when she let me know she was coming Monday and Wednesday instead. So I skipped morning staff to prepare a few things so I'd be ready to chat with her. Of course she wants to be here on full-moon-day. Gotta love the irony.

Tomorrow I will meet with the teacher I am replacing at the high school. I have a few things to ask, such as: what have you finished? and where are you in the chronology of Am and Brit Lit? I also want to ask about some innovative things she's doing on the web. I am actually sorry she's leaving. She's a good teacher, and the students have benefited from her instruction. I think it's hilarious that the one student I'm most concerned about accepting me as her teacher is the lit TA for one period. That ought to be interesting.

Well, I have after-school duty, so I'd better get my act together. Another thing I won't miss, all the duties. I won't have to eat with students, supervise their break time, or stand outside to be sure they don't get killed getting into their parent's car! Plus staff meetings are normally once a month not once a week. Joy, joy, joy!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Joys of Family

We are really enjoying our children and grandchildren. Thought I'd post a few photos:

The Joys of Christmas as a family
back row: Erin and Eliott, Terry, Kathie, and Kassie
front row: Brian, Colton, Kayla holding Grace, Scott with Sierra

Grandpa Terry and his little buddy, Eliott

It's so much fun for cousins Grace and Sierra to watch TV
on Grandpa and Grandma's bed!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Moving across the parking lot

The word is definitely out. Letters and emails were sent to parents; students were personally informed. I am moving to the high school to teach Literature. Yes, I am excited! It wasn't as easy a decision as one might think, but it is the right one. It's never easy to make major school changes in the middle of the year, but if I don't do it now when it's offered, it might not come my way again for quite a while.

The former teacher is part of a musical group, and I've been told that they are quite good. The band is planning to go on tour, and that will start before the school year ends, so the teacher resigned, effective the end of the semester. The principal investigated short-term options but red flags kept coming up, so the offer was made and I'm accepting. Yes, I am ready. I've loved teaching 7th and 8th grade language arts but I am ready for a change. Moving to juniors and seniors in high school is a great opportunity. I've taught these classes before so I'm not totally out of my element, but it's been a long time. I have some refreshing to do. I'll do it. My replacement is the teacher who subbed for me while we were in Texas for nearly three weeks. The students know her, like her, and most important - she's good, very good, at what she does.

The move will happen on January 23rd. Actually, moving stuff will happen before that, probably over the weekend. It's going to be fun!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Books Read in 2011

I had a lot more time to read this year because of our trip to Houston for T's surgery. I wouldn't mind if he never had to do that again! Part way through, I quit making comments. Oh well...

  1. Essays 1: First Series - Ralph Waldo Emerson (love Emerson!)
  2. Stuck in the Middle (Sister to Sister) by Virginia Smith (Christian fiction: so-so)
  3. Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow (Christian mystery: okay)
  4. Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry (Christian mystery, based in Amish country: I really liked it)
  5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (for the 50th time, still love it!)
  6. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (brilliant!)
  7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (magic!)
  8. Drums of War by Edith Morris Hemingway (great for lit circles)
  9. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  10. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (love these stories)
  11. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (sweetly old-fashioned)
  12. Emma by Jane Austen (what can I say? A-u-s-t-e-n!)
  13. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (incredible)
  14. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (not well written, but faith-building)
  15. Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson (Christian Romance… cheesy!)
  16. Invisible by Lorena McCourtney (old lady mystery, like Murder She Wrote)
  17. The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen (old England novel, beginning and end were good)
  18. Fated to be Free by Jean Ingelow
  19. Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli (great book, quite disturbing)
  20. The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne (like Sherlock Holmes, good read)
  21. The Heart of Rachael by Kathleen Thompson Norris
  22. A City Schoolgirl by May Baldwin
  23. Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (love her style!)
  24. I Have Lived A Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson (fabulous!)
  25. Evergreen: A Christmas Tale by Richard Taylor
  26. “Hard Creek Bridge” a short story by Isaac Sweeney
  27. Dandy Detects: A Victorian San Francisco Story by M. Louisa Locke
  28. A Chance in Time by Ruth Ann Nordin
  29. Summons From A Stranger by Debra Diaz
  30. A Lady of Quality by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  31. The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade
  32. Teddy’s Button by Amy LeFeuvre
  33. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  34. The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
  35. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
  36. The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre by Ann Rinaldi
  37. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collings
  38. April Morning by Howard Fast
  39. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
  40. Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
  41. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  42. Ragman and other cries of faith by Walter Wangerin Jr
  43. The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Patterson
  44. Cast Two Shadows by Ann Rinaldi
  45. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  46. In My Hands, Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Cut Opdyke
  47. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
  48. The Hidden Hand by Emma Dorothy Southworth
  49. Cape Cod Stories by Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  50. The Chess Master’s Violin by Jennifer Willows
  51. The Man from Brodney’s by George Barr McCutcheon
  52. Capitola’s Peril by Emma Dorothy Southworth
  53. Duty Free by Moni Mohsin
  54. Caribbee by Thomas Hoover
  55. Not Pretty, but Precious by John William De Forest et al
  56. South Wind by Norman Douglass
  57. The Radiation Sonnets by Jane Yolen