Friday, August 31, 2007

Towel Tale Continues

Not really the towels. This morning before 6a.m. I filled the little green wagon with a box full of motel sized 4 cup electric coffee pots. These were also slated to go to the dump in Maine. Teachers loved them to have hot water for tea or make a spot of coffee at their convenience. There may be more pots out front, I will have to look because I have way more carafes than pots. I took in two medium sized boxes full of three ring binders to one of the special ed teachers who wanted them for her kids in her classroom. I still have towels to deal out to my daughter, my brother, another special ed teacher, and, of course, US! I haven't taken ours out yet.

We Lost One Today

A good one, a sweet one, one from my very first year at my school which has been 14 or 15 years. That makes him about 27. He did the right thing, he worked hard in school. He went to the military. He got a college education and had good jobs. He was living his life. This is the worst thing about teaching. Hearing one of your students has died.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Up At Four A.M.

did some laundry
took out the trash
took a shower
read my favorite blogs
played two rounds of spider solitaire
checked my e-mail--no sign of Leah
got dressed and headed to school
noticed it was 5:55a.m.
too early
went to my favorite local restaurant for coffee and the paper
still got to school at 7a.m.
good day of teaching
a really good (for a change) convocation
hour and a half working out
can barely walk
hour and a half watching our girls get stomped at volleyball
but they played harder tonight
home now
looking for Tylenol p.m. and bed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First Time Cross Country Scorer

I get a little panicky when I score even the simplest athletic events and I screwed up twice. You are in all this noise with people crowding around wanting to know their times and their parents wanting to know their times and one is receiving numbered sticks from runners and you must get their name and on run on run on sentences.... I got stick one and stick two, BUT there happened to be an unnumbered 1.5. Two girls finished literally 0.001 apart-- so my list was one off from then on. Then the boys, I got all the sticks and names right, but didn't notice the first score was an inch or so higher on the ticket than all the other scores, so I was off again. At any rate, I got it all fixed and I will do better next time.

Then off to dinner at a favorite spot with DH and SIL. it is almost 8:30 and the only thing keeping me up is this writing! Man it's hell turning 60. Truth is I have been like this for several years. At least Ben Franklin would be happy about it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Strange Thing

When your MIL who is suffering from dementia, threatens another client, scratches an aide and threatens another aide, she becomes a nursing home criminal...that is one of the most disturbing things I have ever heard. She can't even stand up. It is freaky and it is so sad what dementia does to a human being, ever so slowly picking away at parts of their humanity. The meanest thing she might ever do under her own brain power would be to hurt someone's feelings.

Golden Toilet Brush

I picked up a toilet brush at the dollar store and a can of 24 karet gold paint, too. I presented it to the "winner" of the toilet decorating. This was at a faculty meeting and got quite a laugh. That was fun.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Teachers Are Silly, Too

We have a new person on our floor and she always brings good smelling things with her to make the bathroom more pleasant. This time she added a desk with a table cloth and a small lace table cloth over it plus a small bunch of artificial flowers. Hey, it is a place to put your things besides putting them on the floor. The team leader dressed up the staff bathroom on the other end of the hall with MORE flowers, lots of green vines, a table cloth, and a framed photo of the team on display. (we are not the only team who uses that bathroom) THEN someone, some mysterious person put in a partition. If you have ever gone to the bathroom and you hear 160 children changing classes and you realize you have forgotten to lock the door, well, you immediately understand the thrill of the partition. Suddenly we hear reports that the 8th grade team upstairs has gone with a theme, a cabin at Christmas theme, with lights in one bathroom and a yellow lagoon--what could that mean--in their other bathroom. This bathroom fever has flown around the building in less than 24 hours and it takes "no child left behind" to a whole new place for teachers' behinds behind a partition. I wonder if the other teams will step up to the stool, how far will it go? At any rate it is fun and there is a lot of laughing even though our high stakes testing starts in the middle of September.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I was sound asleep when my cell phone alarm started going off, it is set for 5:30 to give me time to go to the pool if I want., Then the real phone started ringing and it was the ultra cheerful voice of my DIL__"hi!!" I said its 5:30 a.m.--she was confused, I was confused, then I realized the NFL game was still on TV, it was only 9:30p.m. My three hours of sleep the night before with a whining puppy and a snoring hubby sent me to la la land really deeply. At any rate, I had a lovely conversation with my oldest granddaughter who has another 2 weeks of summer vacation. We can talk books. Much to my amazement, she is going into 8th grade. I don't know how these babies grow up so fast, it seems my own daughters should be in 8th grade instead of 30, let alone a granddaughter! I struggled back to sleep and did not want to get up at 5:30 AT ALL.

DH brought home some absolutely fabulous carvwed wooden animals by a Bolivian artist, the colors are brilliant and the animals themselves are very humorous. I expected them to be a lot smaller than they are, they would certainly intimidate a very small dog~

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another vegetarian site for Amy and Dondi

Beautiful, beautiful, maybe not gluten free though.

I've Been to the Pet Store

I wanted some tough toy that you stuff treats in and dogs work it out for entertainment and I wanted something better to teach her to walk and heel from the leash department. I was almost successful except that, even with many illustrations, I did not get the gentle leader on correctly. Even without using the nose thingy, we had a good 7 to 10 minutes of walking practice and she sits nicely. DH must have taught her that already. The expando leash was so unsuitable for training. We may be bonding a bit, I came home from shopping and she was quietly crated and gave me a few minutes to read directions before I attempted to get the gentle leader on properly.

It's back to school in the morning and I am going to make a concerted effort to get up at 5:30a.m., get to the pool by six and swim for one half hour only. If I can improve my laps my even one lap in that time, I will feel good. I better pack for it now as my really tough workout is tomorrow evening after school. Won't I be a goddess of exercise if I get both of those things done! Do you think I could also get my hair to look cute instead of ending up with one wisp standing straight up like Alfalfa? That may be too much to ask. I have the easiest haircut in the world and yet I cannot seem to manage it very well.

Knock Knock

Who's there? A long lost husband and a four month old puppy that hasn't been housebroken or crate trained. And I am back in school. I slept from 4 to 7 this morning and had to pick up poop in the night. grrr. This is going to be tough. Lots of groovy objects from various artists in Maine, wait till you see those!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

20 Laps

I did 20 laps non-stop and it either took 30 minutes or 35 minutes, I forgot to look at the clock when I started. I had a mantra--working on one, working on one, working on five, working on you think that is meditating? I think maybe it is. my mind was clear, or empty, however you prefer to see it, except for my mantra. That is why I am so sure it was 20 laps, and yes, I know the difference between laps and lengths. A couple of years ago i could swim one mile in one hour, maybe I can get back to that. My present goal is to swim laps for one half hour before school at least two days a week, maybe three. My face and particularly my left cheek were red and hot by the time I finished. Now I must go try to wear my new flip flop sandal birks for 5 minutes, building up from 5 seconds!

First Week

You'd think I'd have a lot to say. I am tired, my feet hurt, I had a fabulous massage after school and forgot to go to the first football game of the season--too relaxed I guess.

Dh's one month job on the east coast turned into three months, but he WILL be home tonight. I am clearing all the clothes and books and magazines off the bed and I will certainly have to move my new bike out of the little hallway that leads to his bathroom. Hmm, what am I going to do with it now. I am not keeping it outside like my huffy and it is too big a mess in his shop/garage. I never stepped in this summer, just reached in to retrieve the gas for the mower. I should mow, but I think I will go swim some laps. later dude

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First Day of School

I left home at 6:30 a.m. to go to the teacher rally. We got a nice contract and really did have an inspirational speaker.. an incoming high school freshman who suffers from brittle bone disease. He looks like he is 7 or 8, then this amazing funny routine comes out, he actually cracked a joke at the expense of our superintendent who is always very well dressed. He also relayed a story about a teacher who made him and his class recite a poem every week and gave vocabulary tests every week, but credited that teacher from bringing him out of a case of terminal shyness. These speeches are usually boring, to very boring. This was the best in 15 years and I think the kid may have a career in comedy. It was a LONG day, and that was followed by open house, two hours of standing around after working all day. I think I forgot to take my arthritis medecine this morning! It is almost 9:30 p.m. and I have not been home long. Maybe tomorrow I will be ready for school! And I am gong to try to swim for one half hour before school. I am not going for a mile, just one half hour. My goal is to do that at least twice a week with the rest of my exercise program. I just must drag myself to the Y early enough.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Movie Summer

I have never been to so many movies in one year. In fact, I may go a couple of years without attending a movie, or I may see one a year. Today I saw "Becoming Jane." I was a lovely gray damp period piece, The sun shone three times, only once bright enough to cast shadows. Ann Hathaway was a wonderful Jane and I think fans of Jane Austen are going to love it, as did I. I spent my youth reading the likes of White Fang, Big Red, Lassie, Beautiful Joe, and many, many, many many horse books, I never picked up Jane Austen, even in college. I looked at Les Miserables and was such a bumpkin I thought why would anyone read a book called less miserables (American pronunciation) I expected to enjoy this movie, and I did, I did not expect to have tears spring into my eyes in the last 5 minutes. See it, and once again, wedding and prom dresses will be empire waisted.

I took "Gossamer" to a restaurant and read it in one sitting. (Lois Lowry) Many of you will know her from "Giver" fame. She is a wonderful writer for human beings. I was very touched and moved by the sweet story she weaves from a place we suspect might exist, and it brings us our dreams. Another emotional work, but this one fiction to top off my day. You could read it out loud to third graders, and 10 year olds would probably love to do it themselves. I love it when literature for children moves me as an adult. This was recommended by my dear friend and mentor who is preparing young people to teach at the University of Wisconsin. Those students probably know how lucky they are. Thanks Tamara.

Friday, August 10, 2007


A huge fantasy fairy tale with humorous bows to "The Princess Bride", "Titanic", "Witches of Eastwich" and maybe some Jules Verne, though I can't be sure of that. Michelle Pfeiffer is not afraid to "go there." She is a force to be reckoned with this summer. DeNiro is a hoot, and Claire Danes alternates between the ethereal and the clumsily otherworldly. There are great special effects, there is a lot of humor, and, though I felt for a moment, a bit of dragging, I was ready to cheer for happily ever after.

20 Years, No Flip-Flops

OUCH! I am just trying to learn to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen in an 800 sq ft house. Will I ever be able to wear them to the car? I don't know. I am feeling a little tougher already, but my gait is weird. and the little owie sounds I am making are not very flattering. I felt of those things that run between the toes and they are surprisingly soft, so I will soldier on for the sake of cuteness.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Green Gifts I like to buy my dear Seattle niece gifts from this site, bamboo rocks.


This is where I like to get my birkenstocks. I haven't had a new pair in over three years. These are the shoes the podiatrist recommended for my very painful plantar fascitis, and I swear by them. I am CURED as long as I wear them most days of the week. I also shop at to get my Brooks Addictions for severe over-pronation. These shoes keep me pain free most of the time. That said, I got a pair of birks with a thong style because it looks girlie, and believe me, if I can find something for my very large feet that "looks girlie" even a little bit, I am going to snap it up. I have not had something go between two toes in footwear for over 15 years, and I am definitely going to have to break these in. ouch. Tender in there, I used to live in flip flops in the last go round of flip-floppiness, until I realized that most of my ankle pain came from the spongy lack of support that those things had and I swore off. Then, after years of working on cement in flats, I had to move to sensible (possibly ugly) shoes to get through the day. So, no flip flops for me, but I do have a cute skinny strap shoes that can pass as a girl's shoe in any company. This year I am going "back-to'school" with NEW SHOES! remember the thrill? Maybe I should go get a new box of crayola crayons.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Physical, Physical, 72 1/4in

Here is a first, I am just 60, and I am 1/4 inch taller than I ever have been. Is it better posture? Is two days of yoga improving my spine already? I go whew each year that I do not lose height as I know that means my spine is not crushing down upon itself..but taller? The nurse did say she was so short she could hardly reach the stick. But I can tell you, she did get it flat to my head. I was old enough to have the vaccine against shingles, and after having shingles, I gladly take the vaccine. Don't want any more of that, and I caught them early so treatment worked pretty well.

I spent the rest of the day with school friends and their children at one friend's pool up in paradise. It was a lovely relaxing day, the last Wednesday before school officially starts and daily swims stop.

We have had several days with humitures of over 100*, even 110 or 112, so it is HOT and miserable out there, if you are not in a pool of water!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Ladies Who Lunch--or Breakfast

After my 90 minutes in the pool, I stopped at my favorite locally owned restaurant for breakfast where a colleague spotted me and we had breakfast together. I had a plan to meet up with another friend at a not so near by metropolis. I didn't call her until I got within two blocks of the house she is general contracting on for her aunt. She wouldn't be there until after the time I needed to get back to town for my exercise class. What could I do? I was forced to go shopping for school. I HATE shopping, but there I was. I got a great parking spot in the new modern all the rage shopping center and went into my favorite national chain fat girls shop. I must say, the gauchos this year are GREAT! I did not get them, if I got paint on them in the course of my job, I would be very upset. I have plenty of pants for that and two new pairs of long shorts with cuffs from wal-mart that are at a paint proof price point. I got several fresh new tops and the new longer t-shirts that are finally coming out. Nothing more uncomfortable than the last couple of years rises combined with the short t's and the worries of THAT combination.

Now I am home writing this and watching something disturbing about identity theft and job loss on blogs......maybe I should pay attention. Then it is off to the hot sweaty gym for me.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Third Time's a Charm

I made three hot sweaty swipes at mowing the yard today. The first time lasted until the wet grass choked the mower. The next session finished off the back yard. The third session took care of the front and the street. Whew. I got it as done as I can. Well, I could get out the weed whacker but I am not. (maybe tomorrow) The entire block breathes a sigh of relief when I get this job finished. As we love to say in the Midwest, it's not the heat, it's the humidity.

That Was Yesterday, This is Today

Today I stubbed my toe on a cardboard box and down I went, turning my little knee bruises from yoga into one nice big bruise. I do think I really bounced nicely from all the weight training and cardio work I have done in the past year and a half! Oh, what caused it? Besides the boxes of goodies we have saved from the landfill, I just got off the phone with the nursing home where my teeny tiny mother-in-law, who is slowly disappearing with dementia, tried to attack her roommate with a pencil. That is not who she was. They have kept her in a room alone because of her recent propensity for violence against roommates, so I don't know what possessed them to put someone in there. I felt for a second they were going to put her out on the sidewalk, but of course, they were making an incident report. I hope they just let her live alone in her room reading books and working crosswords. Yes, she still loves to read and do crosswords.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


I got to Pi-yo and it was just yo/yoga. Many planks and downward dogs and other things I cannot remember hearing the names of-- I was literally dripping with sweat, it was falling off my head onto the floor. Yo mama. If 60 is the new 40 then I better get a little more limber,that said, I did not fall down. I could have slept on that hard floor as we did our last relaxation breathing at the end. I will go back. And maybe I will find when the Yoga class is being taught. My year and a half of working out vigorously has prepared me for this challenge. Soon I forsee lifting that toe off the floor for 3 seconds.

Friday, August 3, 2007


I thought I'd come home from a massage and mow....that turns out to be not very likely! I am so relaxed, I am nearly in a trance. Maybe I'll mow before Pi-Yo in the morning. I have one week left of my summer vacation, time is winding into school time and I keep feeling little zips of eagerness. UH oh, I am almost ready to go back, but first a pre-sleep nap.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

"Life Is Not Fair"

I said to the almost 31 month old grandson, "no", he replies, "life is a highway." I am still laughing 24 hours later.

Towel Saga

The largess of towels have come to a fork in the road. I still have some boxes on the front porch with goodies from the east coast, too much to bring inside. Someone came up and took the case with the most towels packed in it. I sure hope there was a need. At any rate, I checked and I still have enough for Chicago daughter, and for us, whew. What a bummer that would be to end up without towels after bringing so much terry happiness to so many. Please tell me why it pisses me off?

Birthday Joy

Yesterday H arrived bringing his mommy with him and about 20 matchbox cars. We prepared a tasty lunch and went to our favorite park about noon. We have a wonderful park with fantastic equipment, but at noon on the hottest day of the year there are no kids, why? They have already figured out the slides are HOT, the spongy ground is HOT the benches are in full sun and HOT. H did meet up with another teacher's 3 sons and they ran and ran until their faces nearly melted, then we cam home to rest, hopefully nap, but at least rest and cool off. The heaps of pillows from Maine are too distracting for naps, you can practically build a castle with them. I thought a little PBS might help, and it was enjoyed, but it riles the boy up for some reason. We went out for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and over to the baskin robbins for a birthday treat. H was adorable decorated in brilliant blue icing, particularly a perfect circle of blue transferred from the frozen clown treat to his own clown nose! Sleep was hard won as H wanted to go home and sleep in his own big bed, he slept in my extra big bed until about 1:30, when he woke up and realized I was not mommy, whoo-- he is sleeping with her in her childhood room. I may hear little noises up there right now and he is sleeping at least an hour or more longer than usual. And he is missing the fact that a back hoe is hard at work on the closest corner, a dream come true for him. He better get down here before they take a break!

Another Dozen Down

Friend who was 18 when we knew him--stopped by, he had the gall to say he is 45 now! How can that be? I was 30 when we met him, my now 30 year old daughter was here and I was gobsmacked by the passing of time, at any rate, he deserved a dozen of our finest fluffy off-white towels. He said his daughter uses two a day every day and don't even get his wife started on the towel situation, so I hope she enjoys an extra day of freedom from laundry! Go for it Beth!