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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Note to the inquiring: the phone call came while I was in route to recognition night (If you can call getting a pedicure and nails done "in route"). The message just said to call back regarding "XYZ" job. Ahhhh Monday morning!!!

The infamous "Teachers Lounge"
Note one of my cans of cream soup left over from the potato casserole still decorates the table. Every now and then someone puts out a sign: "Clean up after yourself. Your mother doesn't work here!" Apparently I pay no heed!

Really good newspapers my students did for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I photographed just a few.

I tried to get a usable picture of a killer checkers game -- boys lounging on bean bags with friends encircling them. But every time I snapped, someone looked at me. I wanted just the backs or tops of heads so I could use the photo here....I will now HAVE to learn to use the new PHOTOSHOP program I got for Mother's day to pixel out the faces!!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

End of Year to-do list

My last to-do list is all done, except SORT PICTURES. My albums have been moved to last a lot lately. I should make them a priority for summer.

New List

1. Wait for phone call to confirm new position for next year
2. Pack up room for end of year
3. Pack up room for move to new office????
4. Finish grades
5. Wait for phone call
6. Get hubby change for garage sale (Before going to school)
(This is his FIRST one ... it's for a church project and he couldn't wait one more week for me to be off school and help...he forgot to get change. Like, the #1 thing on the list of how to have a successful garage sale!!!)
7. Bring home box of books from school for sale. (Is that the #2 thing on the list of how to have a successful garage sale?? Stuff to sell?) There goes 3rd hour again.
8. Wait for phone call
9. Prepare materials for new position
10. Sort pictures!
11. Wait for phone call
12. Wait for phone call
13. Oh, yeah. Teach kids for two more days...and...
14. Copy picture CD's from yesterday's field day...and...
15. Get letter to 7th graders for summer reading list...and...
16. Wait for phone call
17. Wait for phone call
18. Wait for phone call

Find out why this blog composer goes bonkers when I try to vary the type size. It won't do different size type in the same blog....annoying. I wanted to be so artsy with font effects!!! And now it won't go back to normal size!!!! And it's 4:00 a.m. and I have no patience to spare...not one shred! I'm saving it all for the kids.

Yeah. I found a shred of patience and went to the Edit Html and found the 180% embedded!!! Yahoo. It's now normal, readable size!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another Phylis-ism

I walked into the teachers' lounge. (Why do we bother with the word "Lounge"? The "Lounge" has one long table with 10 cheesy plastic chairs, one small round table for four, a pop machine, a refrigerator and three microwaves perched on bookcases stuffed with brochures, book catalogs and sundry items arranged amid overflowing bulletin boards. This is all crammed into a room the size of a good bathroom. There's nothing "Lounge-y" about it!) The narrow shelf-like table under the chalkboard was stuffed with food.

Groggily I thought, "Oh good. Food. That half cup of oatmeal in my tummy needs some company." So I'm filling a white paper plate with scrumptious-looking egg casserole wondering what the occasion is, when someone says, "Where did you put your potato casserole ? I've heard it's great. I can't wait to try it."

I turn around with a quizzical look. (I'm calling it quizzical. It was probably more like dumb.) "Oh. Is this the day we're supposed to bring food?"

Think. Think. Okay. I have a break at 10:30 for 40 minutes. I can run to the store, buy the stuff and a foil pan to bake it in, mix it up in the "lounge" and put it in the oven in the Home Ec room...If I'm lucky I can do all that in 40 minutes.

And I did!!! Whew. What a day! Hope today doesn't hold that kind of surprise...on the other hand, so far today there's not even any oatmeal in my tummy so egg casserole sounds really good about now!!!

(Our "Lounge" is maybe twice the size of the one for which I borrowed the picture from G***le image!! And those are unknown teachers. If I remember I'll take a picture today!!!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I joined National Comment Leaving Month. I almost forgot to post this. I put my name on the list several days ago, knowing this is the busiest week of my year (except the FIRST week of school), but knowing I'd have MORE time Very shortly. !! I have kept the committment to comment on five blogs and answer at least one daily even though I didn't have this posted.

If you'd like to make new friends, clink the link above or right here and make comments on as many blogs as you will note that I am Number 167!

Join the fun!

Monday, May 26, 2008

I posted this because???

Handwriting Analysis

You fill every waking moment with activity.
You are a shy, idealistic person who does not find it easy to have relationships, especially intimate ones.
You are affectionate, passionate, expressive, and future-oriented.
You are a talkative person, maybe even a busybody!
You are self-confident and like to bring attention to yourself.

They totally left off: "You are such a klutz that with a mouse you can't write your own name." It took 4 tries!! And then....

I'm not sure why I wanted you to know that I might even be a busybody and like to bring attention to myself!!! But I posted it anyway. Maybe part of the attention I am seeking involves posting not-so-complimentary things on the internet?

I was relieved that the site gave this disclaimer: "
the evaluation you just received is not a replacement for professional help." It made me feel so much better.

If you don't hear from me for awhile, I may be seeking that professional help!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It's been a music-filled week!

Thursday night was the girls' Spring Sing. It's so much fun to watch little ones in a concert! M&M1 looked so dignified as a second-grader. I almost didn't recognize her with a pulled-back hair-do and big-girl dress. M&M2 recited scripture as a trio with two classmates. She was cute as ever.


M&M2 on the left

Then Friday night we went to a Kim Clement meeting which is not officially a concert. It's a prophetic meeting, but the medium for transmitting the message is primarily music. The service was different that any I've experienced (And believe me, I've been around the world in Christian meetings from Dr. Cho's church in Seoul Korea, to Crusades in South and Central America and Mexico, Conferences in Haiti as well as Missionary Conferences, Women's Conferences, Ministrial Conferences, Denominational or Non-Demoninational Conferences in the U.S.A. from East Coast to West Coast, from the bayous of Louisiana to the Mountains of Idaho, from the hills of the Ozarks to Harlem, New York. For real, that isn't hyperbole!)

From our front and center seats, we had a wonderful view of the action. And action it was. Word's rather fail me here. It was dynamic, moving and very real. From the violin playing of a remarkably gifted young lady, a marvelous keyboardist who remained nearly hidden the entire time, a drummer that knew his way around a drum set, a guitarist who also remained in the shadows, a bass guitarist who was very visible and lively, a couple of talented back-up singers to Kim, himself the quality of the music was first-class. Saturday evening Kim did a piano rendition of "America, the Beautiful" that was stunning. Spontaneously, the audience began to softly sing along.

Although this was his first meeting in Chicago, the audience was immediately receptive. By Saturday night, at the first clash of piano chords and roll of drums, several hundred people were in the aisles and the area around the platform dancing, clapping and singing along as they worshiped God freely for more than two hours. I joined the singing, clapping, and a little bit of footwork , but my feet wouldn't hold out for a solid two hours. At times I actually sat for a few minutes. The two thousand strong congregation reveled in the Spirit-filled ambience of the "Prophetic Blast."

My favorite part of the event was the day-time session with Lance Wallnau. I have more ideas tumbling around my head than I know what to do with. I took notes and bought a couple of CD's. I've also checked out the website. I'm not sure just exactly how to explain what has changed in me as a result of being exposed to those ideas. But there's been a change. I simply have to sort things out. The impact was profound.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Do You Mean What You Say?

At a fast food drive in tonight

Employee: Would you like anything else? (with a fairly heavy Spanish accent)

Hubby: That'll do it.

Employee: Would you like anything else?

Hubby: That'll do it.

Me (soto voz): Just tell her "nothing else."

Employee: Would you like anything else?

Hubby: That'll do it.
He drives on to the window to pick up food.

It reminded me of a phrase Ecuadorians use: "Hay no mas." Literally, "There, no more."
The conversation would go like this: (Only I'm translating all but the one phrase)

Me: Would you like more coffee? (Coffee pot in hand)

Ecuadorian #1: Hay no mas (Waves hand over cup indicating no more)

I go to the next guest

Me: Would you like more coffee?

Ecuadorian #2: Hay no mas (smiles at me and nods). I pour coffee.

A young girl from the country worked for us. I could never tell if her "Aye no mas" was a yes or a no. I would finally resort to this:

Me: Aiden, would you like more milk?

Aiden: (Expressionless, motionless) Aye, no mas.

me: Aye, no mas, Si? Or Aye, no mas no?

So I ask you, what other expressions do we use that are vague or can mean either yes or no? (My brain is me think!!!)

(Apologies to Spanish-speakers, I couldn't get the accents and such to work in this space)

Monday, May 19, 2008

1969 - Love at last!

(Was I ever that young?)

Four years later!!
(That is me under that pile of hair!)
Aah! those were the days! Not our finest hour.

I was just off blog surfing and ran across a blog that reminded me of how different my life could be. Let's see. What were my likely choices of mate?

1. Lester - In first grade I loved him madly and cried for him every Friday. He couldn't spell and always failed the spelling test Friday afternoon. So every Friday the teacher spanked him!!! Yep. You heard right...for not spelling correctly. I so wanted to help him. He learned though. He began skipping school every Friday afternoon. He'd go home for lunch, a long walk through the woods and never return to school. No spelling tests for him!

I think he still lives hermit-style in those woods. I wonder if Miss Williams is responsible?

2. Don - the brother of a good friend. Also a country boy. I think he did complete high school and got married. I lost track of him after that. He once kissed me on a dare. (We were 12)

3. Larry - a more serious contender. But not a Christian at the time. I turned down his proposal to date and headed West, California-bound, for Bible College. Before I finished my first year of college, he was married. He's now dead -- heart disease.

4. A couple of Bible College friends -- remote possibilities. One is now dead, the other married.

5. Ah...I had forgotten the one I turned down the summer I was already engaged. A few weeks later he was in a motorcycle accident and never fully recovered.

5. The love of my life -- my hubby -- We've had some rough times, but God has been good. I couldn't ask for more!! And...we're both still breathing and fully functional, mostly!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A few of the flower pots!


Purchase flowers and soil (done)
Plant flower pots -- 8 of them (done)
Pick up dry cleaning (done)
Watch two soccer games (done)
Purchase new garden hose (done)
Sort pictures (later)
Plan 9 days of lessons (later - tomorrow??)
Clean attic in search of sale-able items (much later)

Remember to be kind when faced with a "snippy" attitude (working on it)

A friend emailed this to me. I think I need this one today. As I rush around today to get flowers planted, the dry cleaning picked up, make two soccer games, finish sorting my pictures, get ready for a garage sale in two weeks and plan for the last 9 days of classes at school, I want to remember:

Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that -- based on the biopsy report she got back last week -- this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those that are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

May you have a wonderful day. Thanks for stopping by. (Leave a comment!!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chicago Bound!
9:40 a.m.

View From the Sears Tower

Two of my collegues -- and random strangers in the background
Students check out various important sites in Chicago

Looking North toward the Adler Planetarium (on the finger point of the penninsula)

Whew! I found the base of an unoccupied telescope to rest a spell!

Ten adults, ninety 13/14 year olds walked the first mile to the train, rode the train for an hour, walked another two blocks, and toured the Sears Tower. For most of the students it was their first train ride AND the first time in the Sears Tower Observatory. It was a wonderful day with some hilarious moments. Picture 90 young teens making it through an automatic revolving door for the first time in their lives. The kids were great...several adults were rude to them at various points during the day, but they handled themselves well.

On the return trip, all 100 of us grabbed fast food at the train station and managed to board the train with minutes to spare. I think the conductor was worried. He assured us that the train waited for NO ONE! We surprised him and all made it on in time!

And we even had the energy for the mile-long walk UPHILL back to school. We arrived back at school 5 minutes before the dismissal bell. A SUCCESSFUL Day. I think we'll all sleep soundly tonight. I'm going to bed NOW!

Monday, May 12, 2008

It was a quiet mother's day. We were full. The kids grew bored and entertained us. Our very own "Dancing with the Stars."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A tribute to Veterans

The story behind the song:

On this particular evening, Dr. Sam, a professional musician and entertainer as well as a physician was tired. He had parted with his band members and was headed home from a cross-country gig that had returned him to his home base in Florida at 1 AM. After retrieving his car from the parking lot, he handed his parking ticket to the elderly man in the collection booth. Retrieving his change, Dr. Sam wished the attendant a good evening. He was somewhat startled when he received an unexpected angry and resentful reply. " I took two bullets for this country," the attendant responded, "and look what I am doing now!"

Uncertain as to how to respond initially, Dr. Sam pocketed his change, rolled up his window and began to drive off. The time that it took to drive ten or fifteen feet from the toll booth was enough for him to digest what had just happened. With no one behind him, Dr. Sam backed up, rolled down his window and addressed the elderly attendant. "Sir", he said, " I have had a wonderful life in this country, and I want to thank you sincerely for what you did to preserve our way of life in this country." Saying nothing in response, the man began to cry.

As he drove home in those early morning hours, Dr. Sam was haunted by what had just occurred. As a 'Baby Boomer" his early years of life were within a decade of the end of the Second World War. His step-father had been wounded in Italy, and other family members had served in the armed forces. Distant relatives had perished in the holocaust. What would have happened, he thought, if we had lost World War Two to Hitler and his Nazi henchmen? He realized that not only would our entire way of life and system of freedom been destroyed, his parents and grandparent would have been killed, he would never have been born and his children would not exist. The same fate would have been met by virtually all other members of minorities, many religious groups, and the disabled. The personal freedoms that we take so much for granted would have disappeared. "How", he thought, "do you thank someone enough for the existence of your children, and for all of the freedoms and opportunities that we all take so much for granted?"

The next morning, Dr. Sam wrote the lyrics to "Before You Go". The lyrics came easily to him since they came so much from the heart. The challenge then came in setting them to music.

If you'd like to order music or read more:

Dr. Sam, music with a message

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thoughts on a blue day

I made a silly mistake today at work. I forgot an important appointment. The domino effect cost several people a lot of time and trouble. There are days like that, I guess. But it makes me blue none the less. And meeting a friend for dinner tonight was canceled...just one of those days.

More Blue Thoughts
And some feedback would be appreciated

There's lots of info and ideas out there about DNA and how it affects our choices. Let's just suppose for argument sake that I know alcoholism runs in my family, both sides of the family for several generations. (Which isn't true -- any family members reading's an on!!) I can be fairly certain that my DNA contains a weakness for alcoholism. Let's say that I've live my life to a certain point and never really had a problem with compulsive drinking. But one day I realize that I'm thinking about drinking. Who knows...I may have been thinking about drinking my entire life. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm sure that I have been wanting to drink ever since I can remember.

So, I decide to try out my theory. I hang out with people who drink. I limit contact with people who don't drink, be they family, friends or church associates. I go to the bars with friends from work. Sure enough. I was right. I am feeling more and more like an alcoholic every day! I am an alcoholic. So I'm going to dedicate my life to drinking. I must drink. It's part of who I am! So I drink and drink and prove to everyone that I am, indeed, an alcoholic. Yep! I knew it! I am an alcoholic.

Now if you read that, you know that it is a complete crock. DNA may provide the weakness. Experience, like being exposed to drinking at an early age, may sharpen the tendency. But when it comes right down to it, drink by drink, I choose to drink. Having the weakness or tendency doesn't make me an alcoholic. Indulging in excessive alcohol does.

But if we change the name of the inclination for another, such as I think I may be l**b**n or **y, we hear those rationalizations on a regular basis. When will we learn? The self-indulgence in an area of weakness makes me an alcoholic (or you fill in the blank). Having a genetic weakness, or early negative experience does not an alcoholic make. To be an alcoholic I still must choose to drink. It's about the action and the choices, not the DNA or the feelings.

Okay. I'm off my soapbox!!! I'm going to read a good uplifting book...Psalms??...and feel all better very soon!!!

It's Chicago. What can I say?

Last Saturday it was 38 and raining lightly from 10 A.M.-12 noon. I was sitting out in it watching soccer games!! Yesterday the high was 82. Really warm. Today??? The high is 59 and the low 42. Saturday is supposed to have a high of 62 and a low of 48 -- but at least the girls' games don't start until 11 AM. So I'll be outdoors from 11a.m.til 1p.m. on Saturday. I've been using my nasty-weather cape and will continue to do so. 100% heavy-duty MAY!!!! It's Chicago.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Hanging Tough at 48 degrees and raining (with occasional hail!)

Purple striped sleeves, white sweatpants = Granddaughter #1
With ponytail flying, soccer season has begun!

(Pink leggings & hood - #2 Granddaughter!)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Conversation with a 6-year old
6-year old: Are we almost there? (Less than 5 minutes from my house in easily recognized area)
Me: No. Go to sleep. We'll be there tomorrow.
6-year old: I can't do that. I have to go to school tomorrow.
Me: I'll drop you off at school then. Don't worry.
6-year old: You don't know where my school is.
Me: Sure I do.
6-year old: No you don't.
Me: I've dropped you off and picked you up lots of times.
6-year old: You won't be able to find it.
Me: Now I'm disappointed. That wasn't a very good answer. You always think of very clever arguments. That one was not up to par.
6-year old: But, Grandma! You answered too fast. I didn't have time to think up a good one.
Me: Now that was a good one!!!
And we chuckled the rest of the way home.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Believe it or not, the above picture was taken in 1998!
I'll have to tell the story later. It's time for music practice.
Oops. Sorry. I thought I'd be back in an hour or so.
This is Front Street in Naylor, looking vacant and a bit worse for the wear more than 30 years after the story.

It was not the opera

The windows in our little schoolhouse were opened wide and the Spring breeze blew in along with the wasps and flies. The teacher kept a flyswatter on the windowsill in the back of the room and one on his desk. The one in the back was for our use if one of the pests bothered us over much. I was in eighth grade, thirteen years old, and about to graduate from elementary school. Graduation was recognized by an eighth-grade diploma given by the County Superintendent of Schools, if one had passed the county test. I had. In fact, I had scored among the highest in the county and was feeling proud of myself. I knew that my Grandmother could have taught school (first through fourth grades) with an Eighth-Grade Diploma and thought about it. I never knew why she didn't. My Mom had wanted to teach, too. But by the time she graduated from eighth grade, the requirement was a High School Diploma. I was feeling fairly accomplished that day.

Our Eighth grade class consisted of five girls. Carol and I were both motherless. Hers had died when she was in 4th grade, mine earlier that year. Sandy lived with her mother and brother. She said her father died of cancer; the scuttlebutt was that her father had never lived with them. They were recent additions to our rural neighborhood. No one knew much about their past. Only Ruthie and Ellen Kay came from two-parent homes. Did I mention that this was 1961?

Ruthie and Carol were inseparable best friends. Ellen Kay, Sandy and I were a forever melding twosome with one left out. More often than not, I was the left out one. Most of the time it didn't bother me. I had dreams to dream and books to read.

Our little school boasted a row of shelves on one side of the room . By the 6th grade, I had read every book on the shelves and decided that I would just start at the bottom row and go up re-reading every single one in the next two years. By now I had read James Powell's Lost Horizon, (At least 3 times). Delved into Dickens Great Expectations, (the ending greatly disappointed me, but I resolutely read it again) and David Copperfield. I had learned to loved everything that Louisa May Alcott wrote. Our little library sported Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys, Eight Cousins (one of my favorites), Rose in Bloom, Under the Lilacs and An Old-Fashioned Girl. Today was the day to re-read An Old-Fashioned Girl. I didn't care for the part where Polly falls in love with Tom, but I loved when she dressed up in borrowed finery and went to the opera. Today I'd dream of Opera visits because tomorrow night we were going to Naylor.

Now that my Mom had died, my Dad had taken to spending Saturday night out. But tonight we were all going to Naylor, the only place around that sported a family-style nightlife. Saturday night in Naylor. It had a ring to it. But I knew that in order to go, I'd have to have the laundry done, the house cleaned, lunch and dinner cooked and served, and clothes ready for Sunday morning church. That would make a busy day for Saturday, but I knew that I could do it.

I was so excited, I could hardly sit in the cab of the truck. Other than warning me not to let my sister out of my sight, Dad gave few instructions. He handed me three dollars--untold wealth for two kids in those days--so we could have an ice cream soda or a malt at the drugstore. We were to be back at the truck by nine-thirty.

It was our first such adventure. With my sister firmly in tow, we set out to explore the wonders of Naylor on Saturday night.

The street was already busy at 7:00. The main street in town had businesses on one side, parking spaces and a park on the other. Old men whittled sitting on benches in front of the grocery store. Young Moms congregated outside the store discussing the latest on-dits before purchasing supplies for the week. A few doors down the general store was full of customers, mostly men, inspecting the latest in gardening tools for spring. On a vacant lot, a flat-bed truck sported a microphone and loud speakers. The MC (if one can call him that) made frequent announcements asking for volunteers to sing, while several musicians warmed up their instruments. I remember a guitar, a trumpet, a saxophone and the prerequisite bass fiddle. This was fancy stuff; the guitar was electric. My sister and I watched the excitement for awhile. We didn't seriously consider singing. Our music was limited to church, and we believed it ought to stay that way.

By the time we made our way to the drugstore, the boardwalk was jammed with people, many spilling out into the edge of the street. Little boys shrieking with excitement pushed past us as they chased one another into the alleyways between buildings. Toddlers were loosely accompanied by older siblings, all younger than my sister and I. Parents didn't bother to keep track of their children. They probably had instructions much like ours to meet someplace at a specific time. This was nearly as good as the Opera.

Tentatively, I led my sister into the strange wonders of the drugstore. We ordered ice cream sodas and sat at a little round table on fancy little chairs sipping our drinks.
I wondered if Polly had ever been to someplace as exciting as Naylor. It was my first visit to an eating establishment without adult accompaniment, and I felt very grown up.

All too soon, nine-thirty arrived. With ten minutes to spare we made our way down the street, past the singers in full voice now. I noted briefly that we could sing much better. (Think Karaoke open-air with a rustic band replacing the track.) But it didn't dull the thrill I felt at a real night on the town, although I did realize it wasn't the Opera.

This schoolhouse is not the one room school I went to, but it has the potbelly stove in the middle. The one on the right has the kids that look about the right quantity and era, but our building was more like the other, only wider. I looked everywhere for a picture of the real school. This was the best I could do. Samauri talked about his early school experience and reminded me of my elementary school.

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