Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas is coming,

The goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny
In an old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny,
A ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny,
Then God Bless You.

No idea where or when I learned this rhyme. I like it, though. And it kind of makes me think of the Salvation Army Bell Ringers. My mom and dad believed in the Salvation Army, and a childhood Christmas tradition was putting loose change in the kettle. I also remember mom and dad discussing how much they would send in a check to the SA. So, of course, I continued the tradition, and when my children were young, I gave them change to drop into the kettle.

There was a bellringer at one of the stores I visited over this holiday weekend. Since I didn't roam very far or visit very many places, it had to have been Michael's, I think. Anyway, I was delighted to see that dear person, a lovely man who offered God's blessing to me as I dropped in a small donation. For years a bellringer would linger outside Target, and I always felt happy at this childhood memory. When Target decided against having the bellringers, I thought it was the end of an era, so I was doubly pleased to the gentleman this weekend.

I have a lot of admiration for people who act on their faith. I admire the Mormon missionaries who come by, and the Jehovahs who proselytize on my street - even though I am not willing to convert - and the bellringers who donate their time to collecting.

I do believe that I have a ministry, too. My ministry includes working with children, it includes my art and my writing and my needlework. Hmm. I'll have to think about that.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Letting People Down

I have a dear friend who frequently tells me how much she admires me for always taking care of myself. To me, it feels like surviving. Maybe the two aren't that far apart.

I have another dear friend who always says "yes." Teach Sunday School? Be in charge of Vacation Bible School? Emcee the school talent show? Have 1200 people over for Thanksgiving? She seems to thrive on doing so much, and everything is always done well.

Several weeks ago at a meeting at church I volunteered to make some posters for our Hanging of the Greens (all-church decorating for Christmas), and for the Christmas Revels (a custom brought to us from England by one of our parishioners, to add to the seasonal celebration). Of course, I didn't know at the time that I would be dealing with some difficult personal issues that might get in the way.

So the posters aren't done. I've stepped down and away from my obligations at church. I can't step away from my job without giving up my living, and something had to give. I already had given up a great deal of my personal pleasures. I can't see to drive to Calligraphy Guild or Writer's Roundtable, and even if I could, I'm too tired after all the other obligations are met. I'm feeling pretty badly about all of this, frankly. Resentment that my job and my health are taking such a toll. Sadness that I have let people down. Physical pain. Emotional pain.

Maybe things are getting better. I hope so. I did vacuum most of the house yesterday, and it has been a couple of months... Living alone isn't always a bowl of cherries.
You Are Lisa Simpson

A total child prodigy and super genius, you have the mind for world domination.

But you prefer world peace, Buddhism, and tofu dogs.

You will be remembered for: all your academic accomplishments

Your life philosophy: "I refuse to believe that everybody refuses to believe the truth"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving! Why, yes it was...

Son in law must have worked hard because it was a great meal. He did sweet potatoes in a candied orange sauce that was new to me, and delicious. And he always makes a large, generous bowl of REAL mashed potatoes. We had turkey with dressing, of course, and an excellent green bean casserole (my contribution), and all-in-all it was a great meal.

After dinner, Jack and I retired to the bedroom to play, while Mama read the paper and Daddy fell asleep in his recliner. We played with Bob Da Mato. We put him to bed, gave him a binky, and sang to him. Then we tucked in the big rubber ball and gave it a binky... After we tired of putting the toys to bed, we played ring-around-the-rosy, we sang the ABC song a few times, we played was so fun. After a while my bottom just couldn't take floor, and we retired to the living room, where Jack tucked his blanket around Daddy, and tucked his stuffed puppy under the blanket, too.

I must add that one of the highlights of the day was the phone call this morning. I answered the phone to hear a dainty little princess wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving. The princess is 4. She is smart, funny, and beautiful, and I hardly understand a word she says on the phone (I really think it's my hearing, not her talking). Then her big brother wished me a Happy Thanksgiving and ignored me for a while. I don't know what happens to their dad when they call. It's almost as if he fades into the ether. At any rate, it was wonderful to talk to my little ones in Texas. I surely do miss them.

I hope all the rest of you had as nice a day as I did.
You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)

You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.
You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

You Are The Moon

You represent the unconscious side of life, what happens in dreams.
You are capable of great genius - but also of great madness.
Emotions tend to be primal for you, both your fears and your fantasies.
Your intuition is always right, listening to it is the difficult part.

Your fortune:

You are about to embark on a very important journey - and a very difficult one.
Some of your deepest dreams will be realized, as well as some of your deepest nightmares.
Follow your creativity and visions; stay away from your weaknesses.
You are taking a voyage to the center of yourself, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

Tough Weekend

I've been home sick for four days. Not much fun, but I've slept a lot and watched a lot of tv, finished two books and begun another. Wrote a few lines on my novel (yeah, I'm even doing that), and last night I hollowed out a book for my grandson.

Remember those secret books that opened to be a box containing a treasure? I stopped by the Goodwill while I was out yesterday and picked up an old, inexpensive copy of Treasure Island. I've left a few pages in the front loose, so the book appears to be normal...then several pages are glued together and a flap that opens and closes is cut into them.

Then, using a box cutter, I measured and cut a rectangle through the next 300 pages, and have begun gluing all of tose pages together. When finished, I'll tuck some money inside, and wrap the whole thing for his birthday, with a note telling him his gift has a secret...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

***You Are Likely a First Born***

At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.
At work and school, you do best when you're researching.
When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.

In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.
Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.
You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.

The Birth Order Predictor
***Your Inner Child Is Surprised***

You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.

How Is Your Inner Child?
Your Vocabulary Score: A

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I don't know why people have problems with Mondays. Tuesdays are the worst. Where I work, Mondays are pretty mellow. I think everyone, including students, is tired from staying up too late or playing too hard on the weekend. On Tuesdays it all catches up.

There are a couple of little boys I can depend on to wreak havoc on any given Tuesday. They are both darling little boys in first grade, cute as buttons, and both are very intelligent. Today was a Tuesday, and I'm not going to tell much. Let it be said that they were both rarin' for a Tuesday; they did not disappoint any of the staff who have come to know them. They sure are cute, though. Lucky for them. (I jest!!!)

Not only was my Tuesday blessed with them, I had a student come to see me - I had forgotten I had scheduled her, so she was a surprise. I didn't bat an eye, professional that I am, but pulled my notes on her (I was so excited that I remembered her name) and saw where we had left off, and picked it back up in a very smooth move. I hadn't had more than half a dozen words fall from my lips when a second student plopped herself down at the table. "Did I send for you?" "Yeah, remember once you said on Friday..." "No. I did not send for you. Did your teacher send you?" "Yeah, remember when you said once..." "No, your teacher did not send you. You need to go back to class." "But once you said..." "No. You may not come to see me unless you bring a note from your teacher." "But once you told me..." "I told you I would talk to you, and I did. We already did that. You may not come to me without a note." "But you said..." "You must go back to class now." "But I want to stay here. Remember, you said..." "Go back to class." "But you said..." "Go back to class." "But..." "Go back to class."

How is that for counseling technique? Really, this little doll is also precious, but has a habit of doing whatever is desired, whenever the mood hits, and we work to reinforce getting permission. It seems this child overheard the other one talk to the teacher about coming to see me, and had a wonderful idea to do the same. It is special to be loved in this way.

And just as my office was emptying out and I was getting ready for my afternoon at my other school, the boys hit again. Not to worry. I called the other school and explained that we had a lot of stuff going on, and I wouldn't be over today, ending with, "I don't really have anything scheduled except the first grade lunch group, so if you could let that teacher know I won't be there..."

This is a Tuesday, remember. So as soon as I finished my lunch the secretary called me back and said, "Mr _____ is gone, and we just had a call from CPS about a situation and we need you to come over after all." No problem. All the children were nestled, all snug in their desks, pe classes, or recesses, so off I went.

It was a Tuesday there, too. But mostly only for me. I forgot that I was going to have lunch with a teacher and show her how to conduct a test she was unfamiliar with. I forgot that I had scheduled a couple of students. I forgot that I was scheduled to do a lesson on bullying in a 4th grade classroom. And where did that stack of student cumulative files come from? Meeting? What meeting? Oh, I'm sorry - I completely spaced on the special ed social skills group...

Oh yeah, the CPS situation never happened. Probably because it was a Tuesday.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

How it began...

I had to look it up to check the accuracy of my memory, and it's a good thing I did, because I didn't have it quite right.

Veteran's Day had its beginnings at the end of WWI. At 11:00 in the morning, on the 11th day of the 11th month - November 11, 1918, a truce was signed which ended the first World War.

World War I involved 35 countries and was proclaimed "the war to end all wars."

"(Armistice) day was set aside to reflect and remember the sacrifices men and women made during World War I in order to ensure peace. The first official celebration was on November 11th, 1919. Veterans who survived the war marched in parades and were hometown heroes. A Veteran is any soldier who has fought in a war. Ceremonies were held and speeches were made. World War I was called ‘the war to end all wars’ because everyone hoped there would never be another one.

Almost 20 years later in 1938, Congress voted Armistice Day a federal holiday. Unfortunately the very next year, in 1939, World War II began."
(quote from Wikipedia)

After the second World War, in the US, the name was changed to Veterans Day, to honor all who served in any of our country's conflicts.

On Thursday my elementary school honored veterans with a special assembly. Veterans in our community are invited to attend, and are recognized and asked to stand as their hear "their" song sung in a medley of service songs by our students.

With several military installations surrounding us, the area has the honor of supporting many, many veterans. My thanks to all of them.

Thank You

Find a veteran, and thank him or her for answering the call to defend and protect us. Me. My children and grandchildren.

I honor my grandfather, Steve, who served in the US Cavalry during the Spanish-American War;
my father, Ed, who served in the Air Force during WWII, the Berlin Air Lift, Korea, and Vietnam;
my father-in-law, Earl, also a "lifer" and veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam;
my former husband, Lee, a Vietnam era veteran who served for 22 years, and who was there when the Berlin Wall came down;
my son, an Air Force Linguist who is a veteran of Operation Allied Forces;
my son-in-law, who served in Kosovo;
and all of the parents of "my" students at the two military bases my school district serves.

Thank you! Thank you!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

What do they want of me?

Tomorrow I have to get a crown. On my tooth. Friday I get a physical and an eye exam. It seems like I'm always having something looked at lately, and I don't appreciate it. I have pretty much all the same parts I came into the world with, except for a couple of teeth and a gall bladder, but the parts don't work like they used to and I don't appreciate that, either. I wasn't ever going to get old. I remember thinking it wouldn't happen to me. My parents were old. Then my parents died, and that wasn't in my plan, either.

Shoot. It just doesn't seem fair.


I sat through a long day of training on Friday. Some of it was pretty good stuff, and some of it was so basic (to my specific job) that it was pretty dull. We spent a good share of the morning on collaborative IEPs. The gist of the presentation had to do with listening skills and a team approach to writing an IEP. The listening skills and teamwork are what I teach. The IEPs, on the other hand, are written by the special ed professionals who are trained in the Law. Usually I am a "related service" on an IEP, and as such should have some input; but I am not required to write them. For whatever reason, I am finding more and more often that I am written into an IEP to provide counseling toward social skills. I think it is odd that social skills - those rules of social behavior we learn as we grow up - need to be taught in school. Forgive my sarcasm here, but do parents have any responsibility anymore? Or is it their job just to pop kids out and leave the rest to the teachers?

I digress. The rest of the morning had to do with writing 504 Plans. This is training I have had up to Here, but in our eclectic group, it was necessary because not all are familiar with it. So, to while away ten of the minutes, and I really did take notes, by the way, I wrote:

Ode to a Fallen Leaf

O little bud where has thou gone?
Uncurl'ed in the warm spring sun,
Thou stretched and grew til fully formed.
Then turn'ed red and fell to ground
And crumbled to dust without sound.
And yet once more thou shall appear
As a brave new bud again next year.

Well, it ain't Shakespeare, but it amused me.