Monday, December 31, 2018

The Belonging

Every once in a while I find an old scrubby picture book in a free box and save it for collaging.  I never really get to the collaging, but nevertheless, I feel like I have the potential to be a real collage artist one of these days. Cleaning off my home desk this morning, I decided to become the collage artist I was meant to be.  I started with a Little Golden Book called Mister Dog.

I opened to the first page, scissors in hand. The book begins with an illustration of a dog in a bed, slippers neatly placed on his rug. The bed is a person bed, but he has a bone tucked under his pillow.  I read the first lines, "Once upon a time there was a funny dog named Crispin's Crispian.  He was named Crispin's Crispian because-----"

I turned to page two, "----he belonged to himself.   In the mornings, he woke himself up and he went to the icebox and gave himself some bread and milk. He was a funny old dog.  He liked strawberries."

"Why on earth is this dog named Crispin's Crispian?" I wondered.  I also thought it pleasant that Crispin's Crispian belonged to no creature save himself.   I read the rest and came upon additional surprises along the way which I won't spoil for you. Mister Dog is by Margaret Wise Brown, whose books always seem great and a little funky to me.  After reading Mister Dog, her last published book,  I spent an hour on the internets reading about Margaret Wise Brown and her fascinating life.

I blame Margaret Wise Brown and Mister Dog for keeping me from  working on report cards today.
The days of vacation are ticking by and as usual I'm wishing a few extra could be tossed my way. On a day like today, I am adamant that more time is my right, that  I need more time than most people do---time to not-collage and to read about Margaret Wise Brown and to devote myself to blogging about my forays into folderol.  Eventually, I'll snap out of it and get back into schoolish things.  We all get the same amount of time and it's probably enough.  Like Mister Dog, time belongs only to herself.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Educated

We drove back from Georgia yesterday.  It was a long drive, but I performed an expert reading of Educated by Tara Westover, which proved to be diverting for all passengers.  When we got home, I needed to finish the book and Husbandman didn't want me to read aloud any more, so I read silently on the couch until I finished my new favorite book.

Tara Westover had tough times with her family.  Her dad was especially bonkers.  Don't even get me started on her brother. I appreciated her comparisons of her memories of events with her siblings' memories of the same events.   It's odd that people remember their shared pasts so differently.  We should probably just videotape every minute of every day so that our memories can be corroborated and we can get to the basic truth of what's going on.

Our trip to The Deep South had mostly ups.  #1 is busy with gigs and fits right into musical New Orleans.  20 Something likes her job and is having a fun time with her friends and her beau, Kyle Kyle Crocodile (KKC).

My dad's house was quiet and calm.  My mom's death will change things for everyone in the house, but only time will tell what these changes will be.  My dad has macular degeneration, and can not see well. I'm nervous about his future, but I'm going to trust that things will work themselves out.  I wish I could write a reverse memoir, that would reveal the future turning out fine.  In my reverse memoir, my dad can make his own peanut butter sandwiches and apply his own eye drops.  He joins a monthly book club and competes in a 5K every once in awhile. He visits us in Bloomington regularly and we eat carrot cake with our coffee in the morning.

Also,  the introduction of my reverse memoir will focus on the immediate, miraculous replacement of our broken furnace.  In the memoir,  it doesn't take four days to replace the broken furnace.  We are warm and comfortable in our home, neither wearing winter coats, nor clutching cups of hot tea in our frozen hands.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Peace

Before she died, my mom wrote letters to her six living children.  She shared memories of us that made her happy.  She also asked us to get along and to help each other out.  She told me she needed me to be a peacemaker in the family.  I was happy to get the letter of course, but disgruntled about the peacemaking thing.   I'm not that great at peacemaking to tell you the truth.  My strategy for dealing with discord is IGNORE AND AVOID, which has worked great for me so far.

Mom's death has been a big fat drag in a million ways and come to find out I've now got to try to develop some peacemaking skills.  I'll give it a go, but Mom, let's have low expectations.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Bayou

 Spent some time out on the bayou recently when I saw this heron.  I wanted it to be a Tricolored heron, but I think it's a Little Blue Heron instead.

So you can want something, but you can't always get it.  That's the way of the world my friends.

Focus on the good times and on what you do have.

You can't make one bird be another bird.  Just like you can't make people change.  And probably you shouldn't even want to, when it comes right down to it.

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Eve

New Orleans is a good place to be.  #1 Son has played several gigs over the past two days and Husbandman, 20 Something and I have followed him around to Side Bar and Nola Cantina and Balcony Music Club.

The only snag in the trip so far is #1's disdain for holiday tunes, which he is forced to play for a few weeks each year. Between sets yesterday, he told us, "I'd rather everyone in the world have a bad Christmas than me have to play one more Christmas song."

 I've done nothing Christmas-y at all this year, so I was kind of excited to hear some Christmas songs.  I asked #1, "What about O Christmas Tree? Will you play that?"

"We will not," he answered, somewhat tersely.  

The good news is I got to hear a few holiday songs last night when #1 played with the Jazmarae band. I loved their jazzy Norwegian version of Silent Night.  They also played Last Christmas, a Wham classic. We received a true lagniappe when a trumpeter named Gene joined them on a rousing version of Santa Claus is Smoking the Weed.

 Today we will take a walk and see a movie.  20 Something and I will lead some caroling in the Marigny around midnight. I need to fit in a few more songs before this festive season moves on down the road. Requests encouraged.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Time

I wish some magic would happen and I could teach a bunch of kids in Thirdland more about how time works.

We're having some troubles. I created a cool virtual field trip to the zoo that involved learning about animals and solving elapsed time problems like, "You're at the meerkat exhibit from 10:05 to 10:25.  How long did you spend there?  Also, how do meerkats communicate?"

I thought it would be a fun practice for them, but many kids need way more practice with time in order to do the activity.  One kid made a time line and counted up one minute at a time.  He did not get the correct answer despite his work.  Another kid wrote down, "1379."  I mean... what the heck?  I was kind of glum about this yesterday, but today I'm back in the game.  We can do this? I don't mean to be a kvetcher, but I just don't feel time's on my side right now.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Challenge

The vacation is winding down, but I don't care.  I'm going to wring out every second of fun.  For instance, right now, I'm going to a place called Albany Bulb. I have 24 hours left of vacation.  The clock is ticking.  This just might be the best day of vacation I've ever had.  We don't know. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Super Hero Turkeys of 2018

Camofowlge can blend in with any natural setting.
Here, for instance, she's simultaneously blending in with the sky, a tree, the grass and a cow.

Face Gobbler:  Minion of the Overlord.  With his big tongue, Face Gobbler consumes  the faces of his foes.
He works to serve the evil overlord, Colonel Toddlingham.

Seeing Eye Turkey:  Power of Omniscience. 

Foxy Turkey:  She'll outfox anyone who tries to pull shenanigans with her tribe.

Infiniturk:  Can divide by zero and thereby obtain any number he wants.

Raina:  Brings rain to clean the skies and air.

Shelturkey:  Eliminating homelessness, Punching Out Excuses

Moo-rathon Runner:  A turkey who transforms into  a cow with long distance running stamina.

The Blue Wave:  Getting out the vote in 2020

Carol:  Instantaneously condenses the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Air

In the first days of our trip, we had smoky days with unhealthy air. We wore the masks off and on, but they weren't that comfortable. ( Sorry, Lungs).  We still managed to have indoor fun with museums, movies and meals as well as chats and chortling.  And a great get together with old college chums. We love them all so.

Yesterday we had rain.  We ventured into Chinatown and had lunch, saw a global calligraphy exhibit and watched fortune cookies being made, which was fascinating.  #1 Son got the best fortune of course:  You hold the wisdom of the ages.

We are liking this new situation where we travel to foreign lands for our Day of Thanks.  We started the day with cinnamon rolls (Eli) and pie is being made (Bill).

I'm blogging and reading a book.  All is swell on the bright side of the bay.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Fragile

Inspired by a snow day, I fooled around with a fiction snippet today.  You can see I have the California fires weighing me down a bit.  But other than that all is swell.  I never look a snow day in the mouth.

I woke up so early to get there on time.  Put the leash on Finn and the mask on my face and walked along 19th Avenue for a mile or so.  Poor Finn. He seemed to be lagging and confused. Was it the smoke or the earliness? By the time we got to the bridge, the sun had come up.  The smoky sky was orange and we could see the bridge towers through the haze ahead. When we reached the middle, we stood waiting.   A man nearby talked to a woman.  "The moon is in the 9th house.  Only certain Libras have the sun in the twelfth house which could be related to everything. Does that make sense?  It's the house of self determination. Saturn in the sixth house..."  She kept saying, "Uh Huh, Uh Huh" and "That makes sense," in a whispery voice.  I wanted to lean over the side and vomit right into the bay.  Would he ever shut up?  It was mid December, but it felt like summer with the smoky air blowing over the bridge from Marin, which had been on fire for weeks.  She was late.  Finn would not relax.  The buzzing of the bridge unnerved him and he circled and stepped.  She appeared out of the smoke like someone had turned on a hologram.  She pushed the bundle into my chest and held it in place because my arms weren't reaching up to take it.  I was fumbling for the envelope in my purse.  She reached down and grabbed it and walked past.  Finn stood still, staring up at me.  I wondered where I could get a mask for this baby.  A tiny mask.  I hadn't noticed any tiny masks in the Walgreens when I bought mine a week ago.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Fables

Have you ever listened to Fables of Faubus by Charles Mingus?

Mingus wrote it to protest Governor Faubus' use of troops to keep the Little Rock 9 kids out of Central High in 1957.  Here's part of the story that really gets me irked.  

After Eisenhower sent in federal troops and the kids were allowed to enter the school and finish the school year, Faubus CLOSED ALL THE HIGH SCHOOLS in Little Rock the next year. 

“The Lost Year” refers to the 1958–59 school year in Little Rock (Pulaski County), when all the city’s high schools were closed in an effort to block desegregation. One year after Governor Faubus used state troops to thwart federal court mandates for desegregation by the Little Rock Nine at Central High School, in September 1958, he invoked newly passed state laws to forestall further desegregation and closed Little Rock’s four high schools: Central High, Hall High, Little Rock Technical High (a white school), and Horace Mann (a black school). A total of 3,665 students, both black and white, were denied a free public education for an entire year which, increased racial tensions and further divided the community into opposing camps.  

You can read more about it here if you feel like it.  What's weird is this.  The teachers still went to work, in schools with empty classrooms.  Sure, that sounds great when you first hear about it, but let's face it.  It's not right.  

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Cold

There's a Thirdlander I know who's been fairly distant so far this year.  She's a great student and a powerful writer, but she's not one to start the day with exuberant hugs, face breaking smiles and long stories about hilarious escapades. She's more the eye-rolling-indignant-stare-sighs-of-annoyance kind of Thirdlander, which, truth be told, has its good points.

 On Friday, we went out for an extra recess.  It was cold. The feel of snow was in the air. This gal didn't have a heavy coat.  She stood next to me, glowering.  "Usually I play happy games at recess, but right now I'm cold."

"Sorry you're cold," I told her, and I felt it sincerely.  "We're only going to be out here for ten minutes, so maybe you should run around?"

She scowled and stared off into the distance.  I stood with her, perusing the playground, wishing I hadn't lost my gloves last year.

After a prolonged silence, she blurted out, "I'm bored.  Wanna talk?"

Her question caught me off guard, but I quickly recovered.  "Sure.  Wanna walk around while we're talking?"  She did, so we did.  She had a lot to say and was an interesting conversationalist.  Took us 3 months to get here, but we're here.  Talking about our lives and braving the cold together.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

The Broom

This is how a lot of conversations go in Thirdland.  From 2 days ago---

- Dr. H.  I'm going to be a witch for Halloween.  Can I bring a broom for my costume?
- Sure.
- I can bring a broom?
- Yes.
- You're seriously going to let me bring a broom in to the classroom?
- Do you have plans to hit anyone with it?
- No!
- I think it's not a problem then.
- So, I can bring a broom?
- Right.

Then yesterday.  Same kid.  Dressed as a witch,

- I decided not to bring the broom.
- Well, you look great without it.

A lot of my time went in to that broom's presence, so I was a little resentful, but I got over it.  Our party was fun.  Great parent volunteers ran the show.  Today's going to be a Halloween hangover for everyone.  I hope we can get back on track without too much delay.  I heart Halloween, and I'm always happy to see it pass into the past.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Parents

I'm visiting my parents in the southland.  Right now my mom and I are watching Game Night.  We saw this excellent film in the theater last summer, as you may recall. If you haven't seen it yet, you probably should, if you feel like it.

We've also watched a lot of news.  My parents have opposing political views.  Mom's with CNN down in the basement.  Dad's up in the living room with Fox.

Mom can't talk well any more, but she makes good use of her notebook.  We've had some great written conversations, many focused on the impeachment of DT.  She wants this guy gone and has even written that she could die in peace if DT could be impeached soon.

In contrast, Dad pretends that everything stated about DT is hyperbole and perhaps could be fake news?

So, that's how it goes down here in the Southland. We're not letting this rift rip this family apart.

We all side with Mom.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Observation

My principal is coming in this afternoon to observe my teaching.  I'm teaching more about red tide.  Last year, My Principal (MP) sat in the back at a table with his computer.  While I was circling around in a "with it" fashion, an expectation on our evaluation checklist, one 3rdLander decided to work at the table next to MP.  I kept moving around, interacting and checking on comprehension and focus, challenging all learners at their individual levels, when I noticed the kid at the table with MP was whispering constantly to him.  I wandered over there and MP told me that the kid didn't like this assignment and didn't like a lot of the assignments in my class.  This was the same kid who told his parents I treated the 3rdLanders like they were "mindless slaves."  

So, everything turned out okay in the end, but I want to make sure no one sits at the same table as MP today while he's writing his opinions about my teaching.  I don't need extra help, Thirdlanders.  Let's just give MP space to write about my with-it-ness, or lack thereof, without the distractions of comments from the crowd.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Reaming

I work a lot, but then sometimes things get in the way of me working a lot and my life goes to hell in a hand basket.  Ipso Facto.   Just for the sake of argument, let's say I have a birthday and I don't work on a particular weekend.  The next week is hideous.  Or, let's say I go to a book club meeting and discuss a classic book called Lathe of Heaven and I have a fun meal with great beverages and lots of laughing conversation late into the night. Because of literacy, the next day is going to be messed up, with unclear lesson plans thrown in with some fatigue.  Or, let's say I want to visit my parents and I want to take Friday off so I can hang out with them and watch movies.  I can't even tell you the repercussions of that move. Basically all hell is going to break loose.  Human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together.

But here's the thing, huddle up and listen up.  I'm not telling you anything you don't know here, but the bottom line is teachers need to celebrate their births, and they need to be literate and they need to connect with beloved octogenarian parents (88 and 89). So, knock it off, Job.  I'm sick of you falling apart every time I don't coddle you like a spoiled kindergartener. Get your freaking act together, Employment. I'm not telling you again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Maps

Alton Ziegler, the main character in Map Trap, loves maps.  He creates maps of people's brains, based on evidence he has for what seems to preoccupy their thoughts.  His map of his teacher's brain shows that she thinks quite a lot about her little brother as well as the Chicago Bears.

We used brain pictures to design our our own mental maps.

A big portion of my brain is labeled, "Thirdland."  I think about my job constantly.  Room 200 is always with me.  I also have sections labelled WRITING, WORRIES, and NATURE. I think about my family a lot, but I didn't add a section about family.  I figured everyone would have that on their maps and I want to move past expected topics.

I talked through my map with the Thirdlanders.  Then we looked up geography words in our social studies books and checked out some physical feature maps. I want this writing project to be from a cartographer's perspective, so we're going to integrate geographical terms into our descriptions. After looking over maps, I relabeled my map with The Writing Mountains, National Forest of Worries, Coastal Nature Preserve and Thirdland Urban Areas.   Many of the Thirdlanders had regions for Video Games on their maps.  They also had regions called LOVE, MY DOG, and FAMILY.  One Thirdlander said, "The biggest region of my brain is called My Brother.  I love him so much." Another said, "I'm not sure if my family or my dog should be a bigger area?"

These are kind of like the heart maps that many classrooms create during writing workshop, so I'm thinking of ways to shake it up a bit.  I want to publish pieces that tell about why we think about particular items and events so much.  Are there any down sides to having certain patterns of thinking?  I also want to look at connections and differences among all of us in Thirdland.

We're just getting started. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

The Release



Last night we went to an event to celebrate the work of people in our town who take care of injured wildlife. I was stoked to go because during the event, three screech owls were to be released into the wild. I'm not sure I told you this yet, but just last week I opened my front door in the evening (to get the mail) and a screech owl was sitting on a branch in my front yard. I never see owls in the wild, so I was stoked, as I've mentioned. Seeing the owl in the yard was a massive mood elevator. Basically I'm all about the owls right now.

So last night, we're drinking wine at the event and getting excited about seeing the owls released into the wild. While we waited we got to see a kestrel and a barn owl. KR and Nancer were there as well. When the owls came out with their volunteer helpers, we took some pictures. Then we walked over near a pond to watch the first owl (O#1) get his first taste of freedom in quite some time. As we huddled together in anticipation, O#1 flew about six feet and then dropped to the ground. The volunteer picked O#1 up and released him again. This time O#1 flew right over the pond. We were all cheering. Suddenly, O#1 froze mid-air, came to a complete stop, and dropped down into the pond. We all stared toward O#1 in silent horror, while he flapped his wings in a kind of swimming motion. A heroic man in the crowd took his phone out of his pocket and started swimming across the pond, holding his phone above his head. Volunteer started screaming, "Sir! Sir! Get out of the pond! Don't touch the owl! You'll get hurt!"

But the guy was on a mission and he kept swimming. Finally, Volunteer jumped in the pond and started swimming toward the owl as well. She still had the protective glove on her arm, so Heroic Man slowed down and allowed Volunteer to reach the owl first and swim him to safety.

After that, the volunteers released O#2 and O#3, who flew up to a nearby tree. O#1 will be released later.

Good luck, O#1. You're probably a little embarrassed about the debacle of your release, but put it behind you. Big things await. Do your best and forget the rest.

Friday, September 07, 2018

The Crawfish

A few crawfish are coming to live in Room 200.  Not sure what to do about that.  They've donated their lives for science education.  I wish they could be free, so I may release them to our playground creek. On an unrelated note, I'm looking for cat ears.  Today's Picture Day.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

The Money

We read about advertising and the ways ads are targeted to kids.  I was working with 2 Thirdlanders who were having trouble getting along.  To distract them from glowering at one another, I read an interesting fact listed under the subheading, Kid Power.  "Look here.  It says elementary age kids spend fifteen billion dollars a year."

"I don't spend nearly that much," said Thirdlander One.
"Me either.  I don't have that kind of money," replied the other.

I explained to them that the writer didn't mean each kid spent 15 billion dollars a year, and they seemed to understand.  They got moving with their sketch notes, at any rate.  I left them, in search of others who might need assistance or clarification.

Monday, September 03, 2018

The Land

I've been inside today.  It's cool in here and I'm grading papers and doing lesson plans and drinking tea and enjoying the quiet.

But let me tell you something, dear reader, on this very morning my ear was hurting horribly.  I was concerned, but the doctor had said that I would feel worse before I would feel better.  He said that I shouldn't expect my ear to feel better until late Wednesday.  I was skeptical as the worsening throbbing pain, resembling a knife being repeatedly thrust into the side of my head, greatly concerned me.  I'm not going to lie.  I even wondered if I might secure some pain meds if I drove over to the ER.  But because of my inner fortitude, I stuck it out and the pain has dissipated quite a bit.  At least we're going in the right direction now.  We're in the Land of Less Pain.  This is a Labor Day for the Ages.  I've been singing to my ear the classic Labor union song, Which Side Are You On???

Sunday, September 02, 2018

The Labor

We went on a hike yesterday at Trevlac Bluffs.  We saw two frogs and a turtle shell.  We also saw a wild turkey on the drive over there.  Later, we had dinner with Nancer and KR.  Then we saw Marc Maron at the Comedy Attic.  So yesterday was good.  But today has been a wash out.  Started off the day at the clinic because of a bad ear ache.  Come to find out, the doctor thinks I have cellulitis behind my ear.  Cellulitis is nothing to fool around with.  Then I went to school to work.  I lost the file I was working on and that put me into a bit of a sad sack funk.  I had spent 2 hours on that file.  So who could blame me?

I'm turning it around. Husbandman and I are heading out to dinner.  I'm going to pretend we're in NYC, out on the town.  I'll make comments about the exhibits we saw at MOMA and chat about the awesome actors in the brilliant Broadway play we attended.  I wonder how long it will take Husbandman to figure out what's going on.  

Saturday, September 01, 2018

The Power

Kids sign up to share relevant topics at morning meeting.  We've discussed the meaning of relevant --- "the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate."  We're learning about all kinds of wellness with our IB unit, so I believe it's relevant for kids to share about their soccer games or their chess tournaments.  We're learning about book blurbs, so of course it's relevant for kids to recommend books. We've gone outside to write haiku, so signing up to talk about a bug you found in your yard is relevant.  You get the idea.

On Friday, a Thirdlander shared this, "My mom bought me a new Nintendo Switch yesterday."  I asked, "How is that relevant? Does it connect to anything we've discussed or dealt with?"  In retrospect, the Switch purchase probably made this kid extremely happy and met some of his wellness needs for love and belonging, since it was a special gift from a parent.  But, I don't like this kind of share at morning meeting, so I put the kibosh on it and termed it irrelevant.  He had already told everyone about it, including me, before morning meeting started anyway.  I told him to tell his friends about it in the cafeteria.  It feels a little mean, but if I don't make this choice, Morning Meeting quickly devolves into show and tell.  I'm trying to use my power for good.

Unrelated Sidenote:  A Thirdlander told me this week, "I want a ferret so badly, but my dad says I'm not responsible enough yet."  I'm thinking of getting her a ferret this weekend, habitat and all.  She is responsible as all get out and she deserves that ferret.  She's going to be surprised and probably super happy. Again, power for good.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Shadow

We have a new classroom pet.  A black cat puppet.  We voted for her name, so she is now Shadow.  I walked around with Shadow during writing time because she loves to be part of writing workshop. She wants to see what the Thirdlanders are writing.  She taps their papers and pencils with her paws and utters approving meows in their ears.  

At the end of the day, Shadow came with us through the school during dismissal.  One Thirdlander, who had already spent a full day with Shadow perched atop my hand asked me, "Is Shadow a real cat?"
"No, she's just a puppet cat," I told him.  He gave Shadow a last pat and walked out the door to his bus.

Is Shadow a real cat?  It's an amazing question, but one that I like.  I wish I had told him, "She's a puppet cat, but she turns real at midnight and roams around our school." That's clearly what he wanted me to say.  That exchange would have made for a fun conversation with his parents tomorrow night at Open House.  Missed opportunity.  I'll do better next time.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Jumble

We've lived in Thirdland for nearly 3 weeks. It all feels like a jumble, to be honest.  We've wrapped seeds in wet paper towels and sat out in the garden with our notebooks and played some math games and we've sung some songs. We've taken hideous tests on the tablets and written about horses, teeth, sword fights and broken windows.  We've made brains out of play doh and hamburgers out of newsprint.  Parents have sent in crackers for snack and a very few aren't too happy that there will be no weekly spelling test and others want to volunteer in the room as soon as possible.  Harriet the Tarantula has been photographed and tapped at and blown upon and has 25 new fans.

Open House is coming up this Thursday.  25 people will ask me, "How's he/she doing?"  I wish I could be honest and say, "Not really sure.  It all feels like a jumble right now. Your kid seems to be a fun little person for the most part. I enjoy spending time with him/her. As far as the reading and math, I really can't say, but I'll keep you posted."

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Flu

I was in the drugstore last night picking up one of my dumb prescriptions when the pharmacist said, "How 'bout a flu shot?"

It seemed so inviting, like "How 'bout some dessert?"  or "Can I get you another glass of wine?"

So I said, "Yeah, let's do it."

He was so spontaneous with his question that I assumed he was going to pull the shot right out of his pocket and jab it in my arm from across the counter, but this was not the case. I had to stand around for 30 minutes while the pharmacist prepared the flu shot event.  That put me in a bit of a bad mood, to be honest.  So many times I thought about just running from the store to freedom.

In the end, though, I did get the shot and I'm glad about that. It may seem early to get the flu shot, but there's no time like the present to do the right thing for your health.  People die from the flu every year.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Assessments

I was at car duty on Friday and a little kiddo came bopping out of school with a big smile on his face.  His mom said, "Hey Buddy, how was your day?"

He said, "Good. We did another assessment."

The mom and I looked at each other.  "That's a little sad," I told her, "but I admire his upbeat attitude."

This week the Thirdlanders are going to have some assessments.  I hope they enjoy them, but I also hope these assessments don't stand out as highlights.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The New Blue

Our home is being painted.  I love this new blue.  It used to all be the red brickish color of the deck as shown above.  For various reasons we can't get the deck painted blue and we're sick of the brickish, so we're going with a dark grey.  We went with a light grey, but we don't like it.  So more stuff with the house paint, but the good news is... we like the blue.

As for Thirdland, I have another great group.  We are getting to know each other and easing into the school year.  More on my peeps later.  They are a bit too loud, but other than that, I'm enjoying them heartily.  Bon temps in Room 200 yet again.

Monday, August 06, 2018

The Supplies

I've been going back and forth for a few days on the important issue of whether or not I want to purchase a small area rug for the classroom.  Don't really need it, but why not get it anyway?  Could add a little snap and pop to my entryway.

I decided to go for it, so we ventured over to the everything store this very evening.  I got the rug and then decided I needed some new markers.  The school supply section was packed with peeps.

The atmosphere was fun, but somewhat tense over there as I heard a mom say to her kiddo,  "Just look at the supply list and focus.  Please.  Look at each item and focus on getting that item.  Please."

I decided to leave markers for another day.  These kids are coming my way this week.  I'll be talking about focus and task commitment with many of them. It's going to rock.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

The Euchre

We play euchre now.  John and Patricia taught us.  I'm okay at euchre.  Not saying I'm amazing or anything, but I'm passable. I've been known to take a trick or two here or there.

 There are parts of the game that I still don't quite understand.  Husbandman is surprised by this.  Today he said, "You've played 5 times."  Then he started to explain the bidding process again.  After awhile, I said, "I'm not really listening to you."

I'm on a need to know basis with euchre.  This is the last day of summer vacation. Euchre was my main accomplishment of the summer, in terms of learning new things.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

The Job

Husbandman and I have enjoyed a long summer of traveling and eating lunches together and solving difficult crossword puzzles.  Yesterday I headed in to the compound to start getting the classroom ready.  Husbandman said, "Well I guess I won't see you until late tonight?"
        I wryly replied, "In reality, you won't see me until late May."
        It was kind of funny, but also not so funny.
        I spent a long time at school yesterday and truth be told I didn't get much done.  I needed to keep the big picture in mind and stop getting distracted with small details like should I rearrange all the chapter books.  Today will be better.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Movies

When I'm visiting my mom, we watch a lot of movies.  Here's the lowdown on some movies you may also want to view if you feel like it.

Mamma Mia.  You might think this is going to be kind of dumb but then you might be pleasantly surprised.  The movie doesn't take it self very seriously.  The songs are catchy.  And then there's Cher singing Fernando.  SCORE.

On TV we watched Tom Cruise in American Made.  My mom and I agreed that it wasn't your typical Cruise fare, but very watchable.  We also watched Table 19, which was silly, but kind of okay because I always like Anna Kendrick and June Squibb.  We capped it off with The Equalizer, which I've seen about 12 times.  My mom had never seen it.  She said, "I don't usually like movies like this, but Denzel makes it."  So we lucked out with the movies. My dad was cranky and wouldn't watch the movies with us, so that was frustrating, but everyone is entitled to freedom.  Overall, a fun visit down in the deep South.

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...