Friday, August 29, 2008
This photo was taken on top of Haleakala National Park, Maui as the sun was breaching the horizon. As you can see we were above the clouds. Haleakala is a dormant volcano. We rode bicycles down the face of the volcano that morning...never had to pedal once!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I remember working in a place where the the adminstration sucked the passion out of your soul. Where no matter how much you loved the job, the co-workers, the people you served, it just was not enough to keep your heart and soul nourished.
I knew when I hated the administration more than I loved the students, it was time to leave. I knew when I was sick to my stomach with the thought of entering the building everyday, it was time to leave. I knew when I couldn't advocate for my students because I couldn't bear to talk to him, it was time to leave.
It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. This is the girl who has lived in the same house since she was five...I don't like change. I loved my co-workers. I felt like I was abandoning my students. I had worked in this building for nine years, it was home. But one man was robbing me of my passion. And without my passion I was completely ineffective.
I applied for a similar position in another building in the same district. I was hired. I said my goodbyes to those who mattered. Most understood why I was leaving and wished they had the same opportunity. I wanted to throw up!
I was frightened...oh man was I frightened. I hate change! But it was the best decision I have ever made. I would scrub toilets for my new principal. I don't think there is a thing she could ask me to do that I wouldn't. Do you know why? Two things happened when I was in the building last week.
1. When she saw me for the first time after the summer break, she grabbed me and wrapped her arms around me and hugged me tightly and said, 'You look great!" She meant both hug and the compliment.
2. The same day, as she was sitting in her office working at her table, she called me in and looked at me and said, "I am so glad you are here. I don't know what I would have done without your help today. You saved my life and have allowed me to spend the weekend with my family. Thank you."
In the four years I worked for the 'Jackass' (my pet name for my previous administrator) he never complimented anything I did, let alone tell me he was glad I worked for him. I don't think he said those things to anyone, as he is a true narcissist.
My passion for my job and my students has returned with a vengence. I no longer want to throw-up just thinking about going to work. My heart swells as I walk into the building in the morning. This staff is family. They take care of each other...they really do care about each other and that comes from the top!
Epi, I wish you well in your endeavor to find a job where your passion can flourish. Where those who employ you will recognize your gifts and embrace them. I hope you will be as lucky as I have been and be able to put behind you the adminstators that suck you dry and find the one who will nourish your heart and soul. Keep us posted.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
When I was born, my mother's father was already approaching his 80's. Grandpa was born in 1886 and lived a very, um...interesting life. I was 18 when he died at the age of nearly 95. He had outlived all his friends, four of five children, and eight of nine wives...yes, I said eight of nine! My granny, my mother's mother, was the only one left when he died and she had divorced him some 30 years earlier!
Grandpa was born in Kentucky and was given the name Jonathon at birth. I think Jonathon is a very respectable name don't you? Well apparently Grandpa didn't like being called Jon and at the age of 18 changed his first name legally to...Ulysses Simpson Grant. From that day forward he was know as either Sally to his friends (how that is an improvement over Jon is beyond me) or USG to his business associates.
As I alluded above...Grandpa liked woman or at the very least, being married. He was indeed legally married nine times. My Granny came in the line-up seventh I think. He fathered two children with her: a son and my mother. Somewhere else there were three more daughters. I knew one: my Aunt Iggy (Virginia).
Of course, you can't have nine marriages without having a scandal. It was rumored that Grandpa committed bigamy. Details are sketchy but it goes something like this: He was married and keeping house here in the Midwest when he decided to take an extended trip west (alone). While traveling he took a fancy to another woman, set up housekeeping and married her. Fortunately, for him she died and he traveled back here and picked right back up with wife #1 like nothing happened.
While his personal life was fraught with drama he was a very talented man. He was a wonderful photographer but not much of a business man. He made and lost millions several times over. Grandpa's specialty was portrait photography. He worked with Kodak in the early development of color film. He is the founder of the Professional Photographers of Ohio. To this day there is an award given in his name to a photographer at the annual convention.
His last commissioned work was the official portrait of Ohio Governor John Brown who served for only 11 days. It still hangs somewhere in the Ohio Statehouse. I did not know about this photo until I came across a old newspaper clipping while going through a box of grandpa's old photos. In fact, there is so much I don't know about this man. And now there is no one to ask.
I regret this. I regret letting this man slip through my life. Imagine what he might have told me. Consider the era in which he lived. The 1800's through the 1980's. He saw man invent the automobile, planes fly, men not just land on the moon, but walk on it. And what about the technology that impacted his trade? What did he see there? It must have blown his mind.
I cherish what I have of him...boxes of his old photos and slides. Beautiful images of my mother and grandmother he took. It is amazing to see the resemblance of my youngest to my grandmother...eerie at times. He dabbled in hand colorization...the photos are magnificent.
At times I feel saddened when I look at the photo of the dashing man I never really knew...but then I look into the images he left behind, I imagine him behind the lens, I imagine what he saw and I feel like I am looking through his eyes...the eyes of a photographer. It is a gift, that eye, and there is no doubt he had it.
I can only hope a little of that was passed down to me. My grandfather...I aspire to make him proud.
Monday, August 25, 2008
This was taken over the big island of Hawaii from a helicopter. The steam you see, is due to lava flowing into the ocean. It was an amazing, as well as, a humbling site. The hardened lava covered the ground for as far as the eye could see. Its destruction was encompassing.
It is so versatile. Did you know you could use club soda to make your pancakes and waffles fluffier? Just add it instead of the liquid called for in the recipe. Or how about this...use flat club soda to water your plants. The minerals in it are good for them.
Club soda is also good for cleaning bird poop and other things off your car windshield. And speaking of cleaning...how about getting those stains out of your clothes? Did you know it works on urine too? What about green hair? I talking about the green hair we blonde's get from too much chlorine in the summer...yep, it strips it right out!
I'll bet you didn't know that club soda could help you plan that romantic evening with that special someone! You've been to the store to pick up those oysters (just in case) and you need a little help shucking them? CLUB SODA! Soak them awhile and VIOLA...they open a little easier.
Me...I prefer my club soda with a few other ingredients:Mix equal parts of all and serve...refreshing on a hot summer day!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The seventh graders look small to me...but they do every year. They are nervous and hide behind parents, preferring to let them do all the talking. We explain the schedule to them and I know they hear nothing. They are overwhelmed. They look around, eyes as big as dinner plates. The building seems so big!
My eighth graders...their smiling faces greet me in front of the table where I stand. I hear calls from down the hallway, "Mrs. ........ is that you?" They run, yes some of them run, to wrap their arms around me. Others are a little more hesitant, instead waiting for me to make the first move. There is equal adoration and it is genuine. We are glad to see each other.
The eighth grade boys are taller and their voices are deeper. The girls have lost their 'baby fat' and are quickly turning into young women. How is it they change so drastically over just a short time? There are no nerves here. This is old hat to them...they are home. No longer 'sevies', they own the place now.
How is it I was so full of trepidation? This is where I belong...this is what feeds my soul. I just needed a few hugs from some smelly eighth grade boys remind me! I too am home.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
This was taken over the over the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean as we were heading out to the island of Molokini to snorkel. I was staring out toward the horizon contemplating the beauty and trying not to vomit!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Manic Monday is multi-blogger meme that uses words to tap into that creative side of bloggers. Every Friday a new word with multiple definitions is posted at It's A Blog Eat Blog World
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
As I fed my addiction this morning I was rocked to my very core. It happens to me sometimes... more than I like. "Who are these people?" I have asked myself on more than one occasion. How is it they know how I feel? How are they writing my thoughts, just as I would write them, if only I had the courage to do so? It takes courage to bare one's soul for the world to read. After all, it is out there forever.
I am grateful to all of you whom I read. For when I am unable to bare my soul: when I don't have the courage to do it myself, there is always one of you who does it for me. Thanks.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
I took this in D.C. on a trip with 40 some eighth graders. That in itself could have been considered DARK!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
But I have found I have a problem with all this blog hopping...I often forget to mark my favorites as I go and then I can't find them again. I have been searching for a particular blog for about a week now. I had no idea how I got to her, but I knew I wanted to find her again. Today I did! It was purely accidental...she left a comment on one of my favs.
So welcome Epi to my list of "Blogs you should read". I am glad I found you again.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We have all been to that picnic where the casserole is stupendous and we exclaim, "Oh, can I have that recipe." 'I'm sorry," we are told, "it is a family secret." A family secret? And then dear old Aunt Millie dies and takes that stupendous casserole recipe with her and no one else will ever taste it again. Maybe St. Peter will like it as much as the rest of us did.
Or Uncle Pete and his special way to tie off his fishing line. I guess it works really well and he is the envy of all who see him do it. But will he show anyone how to do it...nooooooo. Well guess what? Uncle Pete is in the ICU with a bum ticker. Guess he will be taking his special fish tying technique with him to the pearly gates. Hope there's a lake there for him to fish in, cause the rest of us are shit out of luck.
So my point folks is this...you never know when you might step out in front of that bus and end up with tire tracks across your back. So if you know something special and/or other folks envy your skill or talent, don't be so selfish...SHARE IT!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
My solitude is interrupted by the vibration of the cell phone...it is the youngest daughter. She has gone to the state fair and is texting me, a phone call takes too much effort I guess. Her message, "the fair is more fun with you!" I text her back and believe me, it is much more effort for me than a phone call: "everything is more fun with me." And she responds with, "yea yea." I can see her eyes rolling and I laugh. She can always make me laugh.
As I have watched this one grow into an adult, I have been unsure of who she is. She is very guarded with her feelings, preferring to retreat inward...to learn to take care of herself. As a young child she spent hours playing alone...content to be by herself, comfortable in her own skin even at a very young age. I didn't understand at the time, she was preparing herself for the unconventional paths she would soon walk down.
This daughter of mine is on a mission to discover her passion. Her latest attempt involves becoming a paramedic/firefighter. My Lou...five foot tall and 100 pounds after a double cheeseburger meal and a large fry. I can tell you that no where in the casting of any mold did I include axes, hoses, ladders and fire trucks for her. But she is determined and when she becomes determined there is no stopping her. She recently passed her EMT Basic exam ...she is on her way (I am PROUD).
She has an ardent desire to take care of people. I have seen that in her ever since she could carry a baby doll. The tender way she ministered to the needs of these imitation infants...rocking, feeding and nurturing them as if they were flesh and blood.
She has since traded in the polymer babies of her youth and finds herself part of the village, caring for children while their parents seek to make a living. For ten hours a day, this daughter of mine, loves and cares for these infants as if they were her own. And often, better than the parents they came from.
Recently, a text appeared..."Mom, I'm emailing you a picture of one of my babies." My thoughts run from, "Not another picture of someone's baby I have to oh and ah over" to "I'm busy." But I humor her and wait for the mail to arrive...there are oh's and ah's. And then tears.
For the picture I am pondering is one of a beautiful tow-haired infant with an indescribable black eye. The pictures of the burns on her torso would not transmit. My daughter is beside herself. The story of the injuries is flimsy at best, the daycare administration is unconcerned. The potential injustice will not be addressed.
The story is long and involved....I will cut to the chase. Foolish were those involved who did not take this seriously. The little girl who so diligently made sure her baby dolls had nothing but the best, was not going to allow this to be swept under the carpet. She took a stand...a stand that cost her personally. She doesn't regret it for one minute
Children...they are the precious resources of our world. Tragically there is no criteria, no license or test required for giving birth or becoming the life-long caretaker of a child. And though I am not a fan, Hillary was right about one thing, it does take a village. For when the parents fail their own, it is up to us, the members of the village to protect our precious resources.
I am proud to shout from floor to rafters, this is MY daughter and she is a member of your village.
The moment we are with child we begin to fantasize...."will she look like me", "will he have my brains", "his father's height", "good god I hope he doesn't get his grandpa's nose", "I just know she will be the next Mother Teresa." Most parents create these idealized plaster molds for their children to fit into from the moment the stick turns pink. Therein lies the problem.
Rarely do our children fit into the molds we create for them. They come into the world kicking and screaming, already to the beat of their own drummer. Maybe we got a boy when we wanted a girl, or he did get grandpa's godawful nose. Or worse yet there is something catastrophically wrong and we are ill prepared to deal with it.
The majority of parents adjust, abandon the much coveted mold, love and support their prodigy, yet give them the freedom they need to painstakingly create their own molds. The children become their own little people, eat their boogers, play in the dirt, wreak havoc and then become contributing members of the village.
I created and then shattered three separate molds. Oh did I have plans for my children and the audacity of all of them...they had their own! Not one of my kids became the person I wanted them to become. Not one of them had the consideration to squeeze themselves into the matrix I had assembled for them and come out on the other side as the perfect specimen I pictured. Not one!
No, the inconsiderate little so and so's...they did their own sculpturing and oh my...what they have created is by far better than anything I could have come up with. Stay tuned.....
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Update @10:35...The other thing I forgot to tell you. If you are running Explorer you obviously can't get into your account to make the changes you need to make...duh! You have a couple of options:
1. As the comment suggests get out of Explorer and download Firefox
2. Or do as I did and give someone with Firefox your password (hopefully you trust this individual) and have them delete sitemeter from your page.
3. Or do the same as above with someone who as already made the changes on Explorer as I have.
Again GET THE WORD OUT!
Folks...it seems we have run into technical difficulties. If you are using sitemeter and running Explorer you are having problems getting into your blog. But you know that don't you. Your friends are having trouble too.
To solve your problem simply remove sitemeter from your blog. The problem will be corrected immediately. This is not a problem for those who are using Firefox. Go figure.
Pass the word along. Email everyone you know who blogs and is using sitemeter. Get the word out! We don't want anyone to miss out on the important things we have to say!
Friday, August 1, 2008
Meet this years "Hogzilla" He weighs 1180 lbs. Now that's BIG!
I love to scratch pigs behind the ears. It is the softest place on a pig and they love it! They will grunt softly giving you their approval.
My husband has a different opinion. He thinks this is the softest place on a pig...says they feel just like velvet. Sounds like a bad pick-up line to me!