Sunday, June 29, 2008
Then service Saturday night was awesome as well. (I'll post pictures and video later). New LIfe Drama Company outdid themselves in the skits. We laughed, cried, and worshipped God together. Then we went out to eat. It's always interesting. Here are Bob and I (two old people) and all these young things in the restaurant. I know people watching are thinking, "Wow, those two have a wild variety of children!" And we do!
This morning, Chris had an hour with our music team...and service was again awesome (I have to think of a new word). And lunch was served here in my house. I did get surfaces cleaned off. And we had a lovely lunch -- and I forgot to get out my camera -- for 23 people. My DILs were wonderful as was the Drama Company to serve and clean up.
Just a Sartorial note: these days Crocs feel best on my feet. I had on these little black ones. And I FORGOT TO PUT ON MY HEELS. Yep! I was up there on the stage singing in my little black Crocs!! Duh!
Now...It's time for my nap....In less than three hours we take a one hour drive for a final service with Chris and Alecia Chism...To Rockford. So, nap time it is. My age is no longer creeping up on me, it's jogging!! and may well overtake me if I don't get some shut eye!!!
Did I mention that tomorrow we go to Chicago for the Taste of Chicago? We'll have a group of 6 adults and 2 kids, ride the train, walk to Grant Park, graze, and graze, and graze before we return home tired and stuffed!! Whew! Naptime. For real.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
And this looked totally zany -- my mood today -- or maybe I'm just being hedonistic!
What Your Fridge Says About You
You tend to be a very hedonistic, greedy person. You have trouble saying no to what you want.
You are not careful with your money. In fact, you rarely think about how much you are spending.
You are a very adventurous person. You love to try new things, and you get bored very easily.
You are responsible, together, and mature. You act like an adult, even when you don't feel like it.
Truthfully, I'm a very tired cranky woman who should be cleaning up this room in order to convert it to a dining room for about 25 people tomorrow after church, before driving an hour to another church service...but after the concert tonight which is after the meal for about 35 this afternoon...but that one will be served at the church, not here in my home office/dining room. Did you get all that?? Neither did I. I may not be in the right place at the right time this weekend.
Thank God for DIL who purchased all the food and stashed it in my fridge -- which is why I got labeled hedonistic. I hope she also threw away some moldy cheese and stuff...the mold is why I'm not careful with my money. But I'm sure she didn't toss the frozen vegetables in my freezer (which are also likely past the date) which was the responsible part. The survey didn't ask about past date stuff in the freezer or it would have said I belong in an asylum somewhere...Bedlam, probably. I'm not sure why my fridge says I'm adventurous!!! Silly fridge talks too much!
And speaking of schizoid...didn't I just say I didn't feel like blogging??
I got the Talking Fridge from Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. Go check out her blog...she's somewhere close to crazy as me....but don't tell her I said so.
Friday, June 27, 2008
I've been sitting in a class this week. I've learned a lot, but not what I expected. Why is it that to teach teachers to teach more actively, we sit them in rows and talk to them? In this case, to teach us about diversity the prof is showing us data and giving a myopic interpretation of the data. He did not survey the class to see what course work or information we already had. Thus, people with Master's Degrees in psychology, sociology, education, etc. have sat through a review of basic principles of sociology, anthropology, communication theory, and educational practices. Sigh! And this is the precise thing he's instructing us about with our kids: don't teach down to them. Sigh again!
His egocentrism has no bounds. "It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows." -Epictetus. So he has spend all week in one-way communication with us telling us to teach using two-way communication. He's telling us to be sensitive of student needs while he has omitted breaks (Yikes! I needed that P-mate and a bottle to store the stuff in!!) and kept us waiting over an hour with our lunch sitting ready on the side table while he prattled on about something.
So...my insight. Are we all that egocentric?? Yeah. We probably are. My world and my point of view is most important to me.
What have I learned? If I want to be effective with my students, don't do what this dude just did!!! Good lesson, I guess. I must remember that God looks at my egocentrism and sees that if I get my view off myself, I'd do better at changing my world. Yeah. Good lesson.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Some things never change. Men just don't get the social restrictions required to deal with the world of women. Driving out of my sister's subdivision, we pass a house under construction. There facing us, partially hidden by a truck, is a man assuming “the stance.” You know the one. Guys don't go for privacy, but “the rules” require they NOT make eye contact. I'm looking at the house being built and inadvertently notice the guy. He maintains eye contact and grins as I raise my eyebrows askance at his obvious activity. He could at least have the decency to look elsewhere. But no, I break eye contact and roll my eyes at the incivility of it all.
A few days later, I'm in a major department store restroom. Fortunately, this one was equipped with the tissue paper seat covers. I dutifully double paper the seat cover (I absolutely abhor “the stance” taught my mothers everywhere which requires squatting in midair touching nothing at all!) and prepare to lightly perch on the white throne. Just before I make contact, the automatic flush engages and with a loud “whosh” my tissue protection is gone. Sighing, I prepare the seat yet again. Double covers, trying not to move much, I prepare to sit. Alas, as before, the flush engages. The protection is gone. Determined now to win over the motion detector, I once again prepare the facility. And...for the third time, the flush engages. I'm mad now. With the stealth of a F/A-18*, I move aside away from the radar eye of the detector and ONE MORE TIME! I cautiously set out the covers. Trying not to move, I gingerly perch on the seat. Voila'! Success this time. I beat the motion detector!!!
Life is just so unfair!!!
(Care to share a bathroom story???? Leave a comment!)
*Note: I changed the plane reference to be congruent with my sister's employer. Silly me, I didn't know what company made which plane!!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Photographer and Videographer: PJ
Sound and Lights: PJ
Key Grip: PJ
Best Boy, Action Unit: PJ
No animals were harmed in the filming of this project.
No body doubles or stunt doubles were used. Actors are playing their own parts.
(I'm on Vacation in the summer sun!)
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Remember the day of the test? I mentioned that I got up at 4:30. Cognitively, I'm not at my best at that hour of the morning. I'm standing at my closet groggily contemplating, "What shall I wear?" I grabbed a tried and true skirt, long loose, comfortable, but I couldn't find the blouse I usually wear with it, a soft peach cotton knit. I'm going for comfort. So I picked another orange sleeveless cotton top. I'm thinking the testing room might be cool, so I'll put on a denim jacket just in case. It also dresses up the outfit a bit. When I donned the jacket, I noticed it felt really soft and silky inside. "I don't remember this jacket having a lining," I thought in passing. But dashed to the computer to print out the directions and left. Did I mention I got up at 4:30 a.m.?
Fifteen minutes later, I noticed that the top was ORANGE, no even close to peach, but blazing bright orange. Okay. Doesn't match the skirt with taupe, green and a peachy-pinky color. But I have the jacket to cover. I continue mentally practicing my Spanish.
After I'm seated in the testing room, I begin to get warm. My attempt to take off the jacket was hampered by....what??? another blouse stuck inside the jacket. I'm in a small room of about 20 people struggling to get out of a denim jacket and still keep the "other" blouse inside and unseen. I sort of succeeded. Covertly checking the room, I don't think anyone has seen my dilemma. I get a bathroom pass, take the jacket with the offending blouse inside so I can stuff it in my rather large purse. So....for the rest of the test time, I have a silk blouse stuffed in my fortunately large purse -- beside the smuggled electronic remote for my car.
I can't say that my unfortunate outfit caused me to do worse on the test, but it certainly didn't help me do any better!!!
Monday, June 16, 2008
NOTES FROM THE ROAD
Traveling today is certainly interesting. People in the security line were grumbling. Why do they pick me as a audience? Do I look interested? I feel grouchy and critical.
Random Comments (Is it a conversation if only they are talking?) from travelers or from my brain:
Passenger 1: I'm taking the train from now on. This is the last time I travel by plane. Did you know I'm a smoker?
My thought: Yes. I could smell you a mile way. (But I did grimace at her, which she took as encouragement.)
Passenger 1: I came from California to Dallas, then Chicago, then Philadelphia. Now I came from Philadelphia here to Chicago. I'm going to Dallas and back to California.
My thought: Wouldn't it take, like, a year to do that by train?? And would they really let you smoke in a train? (Aloud) Ah.
(No conversation, just my thoughts). Is that Irene What's-her-face? In her “Granny” character from “The Beverly Hillbillies”!! If I were that woman, I'd cash in my plane ticket and purchase teeth!!! Is that a corncob pipe in her pocket?
(My thoughts on the above comment): PJ, did you really say that? You are not kind to toothless people today. You need to attend sensitivity training for toothlessness.
(My answer to my thoughts about my comment:) I have some appendages missing as well. At least when I go out in public, I fake it. Hence, my difficulties buying a bathing suit this year. Do you know how hard it is to find a bathing suit for “girls” (ala Clinton and Stacy) that don't match—one being a replacement for the missing appendage??? I shall have to find a suitable swim bra for my suit before I venture out in public.
Passenger 3 (Loud enough to be heard by me two rows ahead of her on the plane): I can't believe I'm finally getting home. This has been a 36 hour trip. I was stuck on the runway in Barcelona for 8 hours. Then we were diverted to .... and another 16 hours wait. Then as I was landing my connecting flight took off. Another ?? hours. When I got to Chicago, there was a long line at the desk, so I just went to the front of the line. The attendant said, 'these people are waiting in line.' But I answered, 'they are standby passengers. I'm fully paid and need to get on this flight.'
My thought: Bet they all love you, the FULLY PAID Princess!
Passenger 3: So, I finally got the last seat here. I'm in this row that won't even recline. The next time my boss says to go to Barcelona, I'm gonna say, 'send someone else.'
My thought: Sure, Princess. He'll just keep paying you whether you actually do anything or not. Let some other poor schlob get stuck on runways and miss flights.
Did I mention that travel makes me grouchy and critical of others?!!!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Site Meter Trauma
I inadvertently deleted my site meter!!! For two whole days I will have no data. Okay only a day and a half. My monthly data will be skewed!!
All of those tens (or ones?) of people who read my blog will be uncounted for a day and a half. What shall I do?? What shall I do???
The amazing thing is that for that day and a half, I didn't check the thing. I am addicted, enslaved by my site meter. But from 2 P.M. on Thursday until this morning??? Could it be??
Anybody know a therapist who specialized in Site Meter Trauma?
Friday, June 13, 2008
Listening to all of the political fighting and bickering, I sometimes wonder if any of us remember what this country is about. I received a reminder of the power of Freedom, the power of our country united when I read this article once again. Written by Cornel Nistorescue, a Romanian Journalist, it was published in a Romanian newspaper September 24, 2001.
ODE TO AMERICA
Why are Americans so united? They don’t resemble one another even if you paint them! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct, others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious beliefs, not even God can count how many they are. Still the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White Hosue, the army, the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets nearby to gape about.
The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand. After the frst moments of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colours of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a minister or the president was passing. On every occasion they started singing their traditional song: “God Bless America!”.
Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.
How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being? Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put into a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy. What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their history? Their economic Power? Money?
I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace, I thought things over, I reached but only one conclusion... Only freedom can work such miracles. - Cornel Nistorescue
And today, I thank God for Freedom!!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Done: 3 closets, the "spare" bedroom, jewelry box
2. Have a garage sale -- Rained out tomorrow-- Try again in two weeks
3. Spend a week with my sister -- Tickets purchased
4. Go to my nieces wedding -- Looking for a dress. Didn't find it, but I found the perfect Father's Day gift for hubby.
5. Perform the ceremony at nieces wedding -- looking for my little black book...where did I put that thing? Hope it's not with the garage sale stuff!!
6. Start cropping -- date set for tomorrow with DIL
7. Now get my pictures and projects organized.
8. Oh! First clean up the mess made from cleaning closets
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Me: (Laughing) She lost her sense. (Tragically) She lost her sense!
8-yr old: Grandma why are you laughing?
Me: She lost her sense!!
8-Yr old: Oh I get it. Like her...her...like she can't sense things. Like she doesn't understand. (Laughing) Get it M2? You lost your sense!
6-Yr old: I found one.
Me: Great she found some sense. (Now both are laughing)
8-Yr old: Grandma you're funny.
Three minutes pass. It's starting to sprinkle rain. My wipers are on slow.
8-Yr old: Turn your wipers faster.
Me: They're plenty fast for this rain.
8-Yr old: (Makes up a song) Pour!! Pour! Let it Pour!
Together they continue sing-song: Pour! Pour! Pour! Pour!
Me: (In harmony) Rich! Rich! Rich! Rich!
8-Yr old: Grandma! What are you doing?
Me: I'm making a joke! You say pour; I say rich!
8-Yr old: Oh I get it!! (To her sister) Do you get it?? Rich. Poor!
8-yr old: Grandma, you're very funny.
Isn't it nice to have an easy audience????? Can't wait for the eye rolls at my jokes. I'll probably just continue, if only to amuse myself.
Monday, June 09, 2008
1. What was I doing 10 years ago: (I had to think a long time to remember!!! Selective memory at work.)
Struggling to finish my Doctoral Dissertation (Struggle: Sitting up late at night staring at a computer screen with frozen poised hands and dead brain!!! )
Simplify my house (Simplify: code for toss out junk I am hoarding for God's knows what reason)
Write at least a chapter a day all summer on one of my projects (Okay, five a week)
Finish the boys' scrapbooks
Finish the Heritage scrapbook
Exercise at least once in a blue moon
3. Snacks I enjoy:
Semi-healthy: Laughing Cow cheese (light) on Wheat Thins
Strawberries -- better covered in chocolate
Popcorn -- lots of butter preferred
Frozen Coffee Drinks -- preferably Mocha
Jamba Juice drinks
Did I mention chocolate or dark chocolate?
4. Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
Build a retreat/conference center designed to promote effective personal ministry
Then organize and staff the center. I'd stay very hands on, except...
Spend several weeks in the tropics, near the ocean each year
Continue to enjoy the company of family and friends
5. Places I have lived:
California both Stockton and Menlo Park
Ecuador, Quito and Santo Domingo de Los Colorados
Illinois, Chicago area
And I am tagging: YOU!!!
Saturday, June 07, 2008
First of all, I got up at 4:30 a.m. this morning. The time of the test was 7:15, and the location is 50 miles from here which can take anywhere from an hour and fifteen minutes to two and a half or three hours to drive depending on variables like Chicago traffic and Chicago construction. It also depends on whether or not one's car is equipped with jet boosters. I don't have jet boosters, but I made it in an hour and a half and that included one little miscue taking Cicero Avenue South instead of North off of the 294 Toll Road. Just minutes from the Indiana border, this is the far South Side of Chicago, Eastern European territory.
I was fortunate. When I turned around, there was this nice toothless young man who gave really accurate directions. Fortunately also, he wasn't an employee of any government agency. In Chicago public servants are seldom hired and are immediately fired if they don't maintain the attitude of an executioner when dealing with the public. This is true whether it's a Illinois Toll Road employee, an employee of the INS, the Passport Office or one of the courts in Chicago. It goes with the territory. One must at all time maintain a scowl, a gruff voice and absolutely no eye contact with the public one is serving. One of the toll booth attendants today looked me in the eye, almost smiled and spoke in a pleasant voice. He's not long for that job unless he makes drastic changes.
So I arrived on time. At 6:45 a.m. The door to the school opened at 7:15 a.m. About 500 or so mostly 20-something people each about half my body mass hung around outside or scrunched into the entryway waiting to be tortured. There were several language tests being given: German, French, Chinese and Spanish are ones I remember. Also many people were there to take the basic skills test to obtain Illinois teacher certification for the first time. So, it's me and all of those recently-out-of-college young things just hanging out for half an hour.
I had my entry ticket with me containing my registration confirmation and seat number in the testing room along with the required two forms of ID, social security number, and several sharpened #2 pencils. I had also carefully removed all electronic devices from my person including cell phone and digital camera which I locked in my glove box. Just to be safe, I also removed my Argus presentation remote which has a laser pointer. I might have been able to Morse Code answers to someone with that, assuming I knew any answers to laser. Also assuming I knew Morse Code. I worried for a couple of minutes about the remote to my car, but decided to be very brazen and leave it in my purse. The directions clearly stated, and I quote: "Cellular phones, personal digital assistants, and all other types of electronic information or communication devices are strictly prohibited in the testing facility. Reported possession or use of any such device will result in the voiding of your test scores." I didn't want to risk anyone reporting me for possession of a device, so I hid the car remote in the bottom of my very large purse. I also took the precaution of taking out a very large Kleenex (Okay, it was a napkin) and placing it on my desk in plain view (no chance of notes being written on it) in case I should sneeze during the test. I have asthma and sometimes sneeze VERY LOUDLY. I didn't want to have to risk digging in my purse for a tissue. Thus, I was prepared.
After checking all ID's several times, verifying social security number, and the test registration number which is about twice as long as a social security number, I was allowed to take a seat. I decided to take a bathroom break before the test began. When I came back my water bottle had been removed from my desk and placed on the floor because water bottles are not allowed on the desks. For real.
Then the proctor came around with an ink pad so that we could each place a thumb print on the answer key. Next we were all given a cup to pee into. Okay. The cup was hyperbole. The thumb print was for real. And I was so glad I had my napkin handy to clean my thumb. More procedures followed. We had to sign the test document, the answer booklet and the attendance sheet before they brought the mortgage documents for our first-born child. I gave a wrong phone number for him, just in case they decided to follow through. After all my first-born is thirty-six years old and might object to being mortgaged thusly. I didn't mention that I had granddaughters. You just never know.
After being soundly warned, yet again, that if we violated any of these rules we would immediately be tossed out of the room on our tin ears, the test begain.
There were three parts. We had up to five hours to finish. Five hours??? I had a dance recital to get to almost two hours away. So I held my breath and started. The first hour and a half I spent on reading short passages and answering multiple choice questions. A lot of them! I'm certain that I did very well on this section. I ran across two questions containing words that I was uncertain about the meaning. With context clues I believe I guessed right. I may have aced it, or at least did well.
The second part was the essay. I spent an hour on an essay that I could have tossed off in English in twenty minutes. My Spanish version was basic, contained bad grammar and spelling errors galore. So at 10:30 I was ready for the oral section of the test.
I was escorted by a young man who may have been old enough to be a college student from the testing room to the other testing room. When I needed to take a bathroom break, he asked to hold the audio tape that I had been given. Since no testee could have any electronic device, I'm not sure how I would have tampered with the tape. Maybe with my car remote? He did not give me a cup for a specimen. Dodged that one again.
He waited for me outside the bathroom. Do you know how long it's been since someone did that?? Then he escorted me to the test lab for the audio test.
I had mixed emotions. Usually I do very well speaking Spanish. Even though I knew there would be a stranger sitting there (one of those young things) watching me speak into a tape recorder, I felt undaunted. Then I learned that my response had to be two minutes long. And there was only one question. Two minutes!!! You have to be kidding. I can't even write a teeny blog! This one testifies to that! I get a prompt; I have two minutes to think, then two minutes to speak. In two minutes I was confident I could think at least a thought and a half if I didn't have a senior moment. But condense that thought and a half down to two minutes? Incredulous, I said to another very nice young man, "You mean the future of my career is going to rest on two minutes of conversation?"
Mostly businesslike, he replied, "Pretty much. You have two minutes to answer the question. The tape will tell you to stop."
He did smile though. I knew then he wasn't a Chicago public servant, but a real human being helping proctor this test.
I did manage to get at least a thought and a half together and to talk for two minutes. And only two minutes. Do not pass Go; do not collect two hundred dollars.
On the way out I stopped at the information desk and asked the very nice young lady there when I would receive word on the results. She said it would be emailed to me on July 3. If for any reason I don't receive an email, I may check the website. But I'm sure that for that I will have to now mortgage my younger son. There goes the family. All for the sake of a job.
Oh yes. I did make the recital at intermission time. Unfortunately I missed the performance of the 8 year old, but I did catch the 6 year old dancing. She had been very weepy at the prospect of my absence. I was able to see the 8 year-old lead her team on stage and make a very snazzy pose for the curtain call.
Now I have to learn how to think about something other than, "Did I fail the essay?? Or did I squeak by with the strength of reading comprehension?" Until July 3. Until July 3? For the next 26 days, I must ignore my screaming brain? That's harder than telling everything I know in two minutes!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
It's right up my alley. A combination of my teaching and psychology backgrounds...and I'll be working principally with Spanish-speaking students so I get to use that background too.
Then, I realized I'd better get my provisional bi-lingual certificate and to do so need to take a Spanish-language test. I called to find out the info...and voila' the test is THIS Saturday...and registration closed at 5 PM yesterday....I got the info at 3:30. So with one hour to spare I registered for the test. Yikes!!! I have to write an essay in Spanish!!!!
Go girl!! Run to the library and check out "Man from LaMancha" or some such book to beef up on your Spanish!
The sad part???? The girls ballet recital is Saturday!!! I didn't check my calendar before I paid nearly $200 for the test administration. (Not that I had a choice. It's the only one being given before school starts.) I still don't have the location or time...they're emailing those. Maybe...just maybe....I can make both the test and the recital. If not....it will be the FIRST recital of the girls I've missed. Takes the edge off the professional excitement a bit. I hate it when necessities like jobs and education interfere with LIFE! Sigh!
I'm frantically packing up my classroom to move to a tiny office that is about 1/6 the size.