Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Teacher Tales

After yesterday's day out in the cold, I was really tired today. But, as my Mom used to say, "There's no rest for the wicked." I planned the lesson with my energy level in mind, and left the higher energy part for tomorrow. BUT...I opened an email this morning that said I'd have visitors, one district official and one Nationally-known reading guru, in my class this afternoon. So I decided to do tomorrow's lesson this afternoon.

Ten minutes before the suspected hour, I realized I didn't have tomorrow's copies yet, so I raced down three flights of stairs to the dungeon where the fire-breathing copy machine resided and made copies. I was huffing and puffing my way back up the stairs when the first bell rang.

I manage to balance the copies and the rest of my lunch in one arm and get my door opened with my left elbow when kids come racing up, "Mrs. Huerta, aren't we in the library today?"

"No. We are finishing the story today."

"There's a sign on your door that says library," he says pointing to offending sign.

"Oh, that," I respond. "That was for the 5th hour class. We're in the classroom today." With effort I refrain from slapping myself on the forehead.

"But, Mrs. Huerta, half the class is already in the library!"

I assign a girl to go retrieve the stray students and spot my esteemed visitors headed my way. It's less than 30 seconds before the tardy bell and I'm getting the usual, "Can I get a drink of water?" After I wimp out and say yes to the first 3 requests, I have no choice but to authorize the others as well. Now there's a line at the fountain and ..... there goes the tardy bell.

I invited the guru and district official into the room and stand in the doorway and greet students, "My bad. Sorry I didn't take the sign down. Please be seated and get started."

At least inside the room, my TV monitors have the day's journal entry on the screens and my students DO know what to do, although they are not doing it. What can I say? They're still recovering from that mad dash down and then back up the stairs from the library! Did I mention that they're coming from P.E. in the first place. The locker rooms are located in the other half of the dungeon about a mile away from the fire-breathing copy machine. AND they have adrenaline rushing through their veins, sweat pouring from their brows, and have completely oxygen-deprived brains from the physical activity.

One last student raced in, "Mrs. Huerta, my Gym locker lock is gone. Can I go find it?"

I SO want to have everyone sitting down working. But...his gym uniform, shoes and who knows what else he has stashed is now in danger of being stolen. My empathy wins out over the desire to impress with the order in my room. "Yes. Go to the office, and come back as soon as you can."

After a couple of reminders, the other students settle down and get started. My visitors find seats.

I'm Miss cool-calm-and-collected, in spite of the chaos. I have my remoted control in hand which will move my Power Point from screen to screen. I change to the next screen: Turn in Journals today. I had debated that one with visitors, but decided a timely collection was more important. They managed with a minimum of fuss...for 8th graders.

I hand out the papers with the outline of a person and prepared them to pair-share character traits for the story we're reading.

Then I tried the remote again. Now it won't move anything. The next instruction screen might as well be in South Africa. It won't appear. I try to stall with a bit of discussion. All the time discretely pushing the advance button on the device. Still nothing. I did a mental argument: go get a new battery, or just fake it and go switch the screen manually. I decided non-tech was the way to go. Managed to give the directions and do occasional sharing and discussion without the visual with only an occasional punch at the recalcitrant remote, hoping my face isn't showing the frustration. I think this is called multi-tasking.

The intercom in my room interrupts: "Mrs. Huerta did you give John Doe permission to go to P.E.?"

My brain whirls past visitors watching, kids talking, who's on-task, why won't this remote work, etc. "Think fast...P.E. ...permission ....there's a student not here?..."

"Uh..." I respond most eloquently. "Yes," hesitantly. "I gave him permission to go to P.E." I shrug my shoulders and look at students in the room, hoping to remember from watching their faces just what I told John he could do. At least I remembered I had released him. But I couldn't recall what for.

"Well, he was discovered moving about the halls down here for the last 10 minutes or so. He says you told him he could go, but didn't give him a pass."

"That's right." I answered with a grimace and another shrug.

"Okay. We'll send him back to class then."

"Thank You."

To my visitors, "Sorry. This is Middle School."

And that was the first ten minutes of my 8th hour class!!!

Oh yes. Halfway through the next period, when my visitors are safely stalking someone else, I discover an "off" button on the side of the little device. That was after I had changed the battery and hit the advance button another gazillion times. Now I know. The remote has an "off" button!

That's not a Grim Reaper costume I'm wearing. It's my nasty-weather cape made of 100% wool...Navy surplus from ....oh 1980 or so. It's like steal. I've used it as ground cover for a picnic on really soggy grass. It's proven it's worth in all kinds of weather conditions whenever I want an indestructible protection from the elements.

Yesterday, it was my protection against cold, wind and ...Hail? Sleet? Snow? Some kind of white stuff coming down in hard pellets!!! We were at the Kane County Cougar's game to reward kids for a job well done reading and writing. And B-r-r-r-r-r, it was cold.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Las Cruces, New Mexico
Just to prove we did something besides eat.
We sang, talked and smiled for the camera!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Did I just post as Tuesday??? Yep! And it's only Monday.

Sometime this weekend (I think, since I obviously don't know what day today is), I joined another of the communication websites. So now I have a presence on Faceb**k, MySpa** and here, at Blogspot! Quite the internet diva. That's me.

But then another page popped up to go investigate who has searched for my name on the internet. Fascinating! I always was inquisitive. Okay, nosey! So I did the "free" signup to investigate whoever was investigating me, and then it asked some other question about my email address book and I think I just sent an invitation to join THAT spot to everyone in my address book. Sorry about that. If you have a presence in my address book, my apologies.

The idea of being able to trace who was looking for this case a 37 year old female from intriguing. So who is she? What does she want? But to find out, I have to give my credit card number and pay $5 a month for the service. I mean how many people will be looking for me in a year? Is it worth $60.00? I didn't think so at this point in time.

But really, how many people are trying to find me? Maybe it's a long lost great-uncle with lots of money to leave me. Right! I suppose I shall have to be satisfied with guessing. Because right now, my inquisitive nature is not strong enough to fork out $60.
Tuesday's Test of word skills:
Thaw dorw geaninm "sressed" shangec onti a dorw geaninm "Ton krund" nhew uoy hwitcs sti tirsf dna tasl setterl?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A couple of people tagged me for a meme...I can't find the tag now...Duh!

BUT..."Write a 6 word memoir...6 words that describe you" was the essence.
I promised to do it on Saturday... I know this is Sunday...but here goes.
(And it's not 6 words...I never went to Kindergarten, so I can't count.)

Energetic, Dependable
Cooperating, Thinking Positively & Creatively
Determined like a bull dog

(And yes, I broke the Cinquain rules, too, with that third line....SO???)
That's my 6-word memoir!
And YOU'VE BEEN TAGGED! If you want to play.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Just for Fun

What do these sentences have in common?

Women understand men; few men understand women.
Bores are people that say that people are bores.

Eat to live; never live to eat.

All for one and one for all.
You can cage a swallow, can't you, but you can't swallow a cage, can you?

Jeanette and I with Abigail!
Isn't she just adorable?? Not me, silly!!! The little girl.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lord, save me from doctors!!!

I was wondering what to post about. It's been a busy, busy week. My mind is numb. Okay...more numb than usual? And my sister reminded me that the last time we talked, I was on my way to a doctor and asked for status. Let's see:

Rheumatologist: Your pain isn't arthritis or rheumatism. It isn't vitamin D deficiency. You have more restricted movement than myofacial disorder (Official diagnosis). I don't know what it is. Here have more pain killers. Let's double the dosage.

Primary Care Physician: Your blood pressure is a little high. Your cholesterol is high. Call for an appointment. Me: Oh sure. Soon.

Gynecologist: We can't get a good tissue sample. Everything is too dry. You probably need some estrogen...oh, you can't take that, you're on estrogen-killers, aren't you? Come back soon, now!

Oncologist: Your red and white blood cells are good. No cancer markers. Yes, you need to take the estrogen-killers for 4 more years. The symptoms will lessen with time. The neuropathy in hands and feet may or may not get better. Your blood pressure is within normal range. Everybody has high cholesterol these days because they changed the numbers. Used to over 200 was high. Then they changed it to 150. Soon it will be 100 and everybody will have high cholesterol. And good luck losing weight on these pills. They make it very difficult to lose weight.

Good News: No cancer
(And I don't say that lightly, I'm grateful!!!)
Bad News: Unidentified muscle pain and restricted range of motion; dried up plumbing; high blood pressure, sort of; high cholesterol, maybe; peripheral neuropathy.

Diagnosis: old and dried up; battered and overweight.
Overall: It's better than the alternative!!!!

The most lovely orchid plant . . . in my family room!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Las Cruces, New Mexico
April 18-19, 2008
A Grace Gathering

Grace Gathering
Ministry team

I just realized that all of my photos are in eating places....I guess I must have been thinking about food. I shall have to borrow someone else's photos to post anything but landscape or food. :)

Jennifer, Shelby, Rob and Rachel

Bonnie and Maria

Bob and I with Michael

Laura's plate. It just looked good to me!
Laura and I
Even the waiter gets in on the photos!

Rick and Becky at the Gathering...eating

Are these the champion tamale eaters?

Are we having fun, or what??

Who ate those tamales???

Who? Us? We did not eat all those tamales!

Did you eat all those tamales, Doreen?

What tamales? Somebody ate tamales? Couldn't have been Josh.

And in yet another restaurant...we are...eating!

Cesar and Tim

Rod stops eating long enough to chat

Asia finishes off the evening with a bowl of chicken noodle soup

Truthfully, we did sing, worship, present the Word, and pray. But since all I have are photos of us eating, what else could I talk about??? Really?

Monday, April 21, 2008

You did so well on that one!!! Try this. It just needs punctuation to make sense. No words need to be added; no words need to be moved.

that that is is that that is not is not is that it it is

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This is a read aloud passage. Can you read it correctly?
(Correct pronunciation will be posted soon!)


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Teacher Tales
I had my 8th graders, most of whom are second language learners, paraphrase "The Gettysburg Address." Actually, it was only the first two paragraphs of the Address. High School teachers say they must be able to read historical documents. So be it.

I kept finding the word "Greeted a new country" where the original said, "brought forth on this continent a new nation." It puzzled me. Then I found a couple that used the phrase "our Aunt Sisters." I couldn't figure out that one either. Finally, one paper started off the paraphrase like this, "Seven years ago our Aunt Sisters greeted a new country." And I remembered soliciting synonyms for "Forefathers" from other students in class and someone offered "ancestors." For "brought forth" a student suggested "created." So, "Four score and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation" became, "7 years ago our Aunt Sisters greeted a new country." Not quite what I had in mind.

At lunch, I wrote that last phrase on the board to see if the other teachers on my team could figure it out as a paraphrase from the Gettysburg Address. Only the history teacher got it right away. Then I wrote a second-language misspelling of Langston Hughes' name "Juses." If you think of the Spanish "J" the similarities to the English "H" is fairly obvious. Then we went back to class and left those words on the chalkboard in the lunchroom. On the chalkboard was "7 years ago our Aunt Sisters greeted Juses"

A couple of hours later the principal comes into my room and asks if I wrote the "Aunt Sisters" phrase on the chalkboard. My students were writing in journals; I was at my desk.

"Yes," I confess. "Is there a problem?" I was a bit worried, wondering if I had done something wrong. (Teachers walk on eggshells these days!)

"Not a problem," he says. "Everyone just wants to know what it means."

Apparently all afternoon teachers would see the sentence and try to figure out what it mean. They then asked the detective (We do have a full-time police officer in our building) to see if he could decipher what was on the chalkboard. He, too, worried he was going to check out some threat and was relieved when he saw what they all believed was a language puzzle.

After a couple of minutes he says, "I haven't a clue what this means. But PJ is always writing some puzzle or another. Go ask her.

Hence the principal visit.

Now what does that say about teachers and our school? We just had to figure out what the strange message meant. And went to great lengths to solve it. And know one another well enough to figure out the likely culprit!!

I'm still next post will be one of the puzzles I put on the chalkboard from time to time!!! And YOU haven't a bonefide detective to detect what it means!

Still laughing...

Monday, April 14, 2008

And because I can't "be" just one pair of shoes, I went back and answered with my second choice at every question.

You Are Cowboy Boots

This doesn't mean you're country, just funky.

You've got a ton of attitude and confidence.

You're unique, expressive, and even a little bit wacky.

You wear whatever you feel like รข€“ and you have your own sense of style.

You are straight shooting and honest. You tell people how it is.

Low maintenance and free wheeling, you're always up for an adventure.

You should live: Where you can at least get to wide open spaces

You should work: In a job that allows you to take change

You Are Loafers

You are confident, powerful, and successful.

Hard working and business like, you always dress and act appropriately.

You are consistent and a bit conservative.

You aren't really susceptible to trends, although you always dress well.

While you tend to be formal, you know how to adapt to your surroundings.

So are professional at work... but more laid back when your with your friends.

You should live: In a huge city

You should work: In a competitive field where you can rise to the top

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Do Opposites Always Attract??

I think there have never been two people more different than Hubby and I when we first married. My FSS (Flat-Surface-Syndrome) pictures reminded me!

I've never been the housekeeper type. At age 20 I was a decent cook, I could sew, was fair hand at canning and could pluck a chicken with the best of them. Still I hadn't a clue about maintaining a house. And having been in charge of the house since my mother's death 7 years before, I had developed my own random methods of doing things.

Then at age 20 I married a young man to whom routine was as necessary as breathing. But even though we both worked full-time jobs, he considered the housework my responsibility and expected me, the original abstract random, to do things according to his abstract sequential schedule. Whew! I agreed with him that it was my job, I just wanted to do things my own way.

After a few months, even he realized this wouldn't work. At various time, he would "help" with keeping things tidy. Oh, I always cleaned off the table and put the dishes in the sink. I'm still quite fastidious about the stovetop even. But actually putting things away was a problem.

But this was
Menlo Park, California, land of sunshine and ants. I learned quickly that one could not leave meat out on the counter to thaw for a few hours or the ants came, and there went dinner. I also got much better about Always washing dishes immediately, or...Eeeew! I may have lived in the country, but we didn't have bugs in the house. Or chickens in the yard. They were fenced in away from the house!

So one lovely warm sunny California evening, I left the house right after dinner to run an errand or two. When I came back the kitchen was clean. Not a dirty dish in sight. I gave a sigh of relief and figured Hubby had washed dishes.

But over the next couple of days, there were several things I couldn't find: the gravy boat, my favorite skillet, the meat fork, etc. I didn't really give it much thought. We randoms are accustomed to not finding things on a regular basis, but they eventually show up. Like the keys in the refrigerator, or the meat fork in the tool box.

Then one evening, I decided I'd better actually mop the kitchen floor just before it failed the health inspection. I opened the broom closet, and perched precariously on the floor was a plastic dishpan (Do they even exist anymore?) filled with dirty dishes including the gravy boat, the meat fork and the skillet. He was happy as long as he couldn't SEE the mess. It didn't have to be clean, just the perception of clean. Ah, the joys of differing opinions in the recently married!

We've learned to live together. My office has cluttered counters and desktops. His are as tidy as can be. My drawers, shelves and closets are organized and tidy -- for the most part. His?? It depends. He sometimes "cleans up" by throwing everything in a drawer or a box and then hiding it somewhere. I object strenuously to MY things being treated thus. So, we have areas. My goal is to get my flat surfaces cleaned off; his goal is to organize yet one more drawer, or empty a box. And we both keep the living room, the family room and the kitchen clear of clutter. Most of the time. It works.

Hmmmm. He once stashed a couple of bags of my things -- books, a scarf or two, gloves, etc. stuffed in grocery bags in our abandoned basement. I haven't been down there in ages. I wonder if it would be worth a visit to see what "lost" items I might find in the dungeon?

Probably not worth it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunday April 6, 2008

I look tired! And this was BEFORE we roller skated for 2 hours, climbed trees in the park and fed the geese for another hour. (Okay, they skated; I walked. They climbed; I snapped photos. But I WAS outside!)

Sunday, April 6, with the girls
I looked at the pics first time today!!

Yikes!! You scare me, little girl!

Yep! They both climbed trees in Crocs!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Here's a beautiful song we're learning. It's been a blessing to me. Hope you enjoy it!

CRY TO JESUS simple private sharing

Third Day

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Such a day!!

7:45 - staff meeting - I was on time, even early. I was there by 7:35. First time all year I actually made it early!

9:00 AM - 3:30 PM - taught 136 students.

Also managed to go to L.A. room and bring up novels for Guided Reading exercise next week. Stopped by Principal's office to set up meeting with community college planning to deliver career/college information to students. Reviewed parent contacts for year, helped compile on excel document with every phone call or parent contact made on behalf of a list of 40-plus students. Reviewed Calendar with team. Coordinated activities for career week. Found ten minutes to vacuum down my lunch. Oh, I think I actually visited the WC before 3:30 today. (Retired teachers say one of the most valued perks of being retired is the joy of going to the WC whenever you want!)

3:30 - 6:15 - Graded papers. My DIL helped me. She put the grades in the gradebook and then in the computer. We did all papers for the last 8 days of classes. (I know, I was behind!!)

During that time I prayed that they would pass a No Teacher Left Behind law. No such miracle!

Then at 6:30 I attended a Charter Committee meeting for Gifted education. I took along the set of tests my gifted students took today...the only ungraded papers I have. I only got two papers done...the meeting was actually productive.

So I was home at 8:30
On arrival at home my husband was just finishing an interview with a couple to plan a wedding. I hadn't seen them in some time. Spent a few minutes saying hello.

-- ate a bit of dinner and answered a couple of emails, set up an appointment for Saturday. Watched an hour of t.v. and here I sit updating my blog. Time to retire. I've had it.

7:30 - 11:30 -- It's been a long day. Gotta go to bed so I can do it all again tomorrow.

Good night!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

One Flat Surface now cleared!!

I can't pronounce a cure, but this is an improvement. Only three more surfaces in this office to go!!! Okay four, if you count this tiny computer desk that I deliberately bought small sized so I COULDN'T fill it!!!
My Husband says I have FSS
Here is his evidence

FSS = Flat Surface Syndrome
Symptoms: Compulsion to fill available flat surfaces with miscellaneous and sundry items.

This photo sort of contradicts the diagnosis...but the flat surface is too high to be easily available. It does, however, prove that my ENTIRE office is not trashed...only all easily available flat surfaces are full!

Okay. I shall accept the diagnosis for now. I have FSS. However, in a few hour, I shall post a photo of at least one cleared off flat surface!!! (This is heavier duty cleaning than Hamper Scamper, but I think I'm up to it.)

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