Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
1 lbs. butter, softened
1 lbs. brown sugar
4-5 tsp. spices, we like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice
2 Tbsp. rum extract
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
Mix the softened butter with brown sugar, spices and rum extract. Add softened ice cream and mix thoroughly. Freeze. Add one heaping spoonful to a mug of hot water. This recipe makes about 30 cups.
Best enjoyed with a loved one in front of a fire while it's snowing outside. Now if it would just snow outside . . .
Friday, November 21, 2008
I mean seriously, how could I refuse these darling faces????
Thursday, November 20, 2008
But then I realized that I am surrounded by willing participants every day in my profession. I asked my principal, and he said yes as long as I don't expect to get paid for my extra time (which, duh!, if I don't know that by now I must be pretty danged stupid!!!). So I started a writing club at the middle school. The day of the first meeting I was soooooo nervous. What if nobody comes? I thought. What if everyone thinks it's stupid idea? But guess what? Students came. Twenty-five of them. That's like a whole classroom filled with 8th and 9th grader who came willingly to an after-school writing club. WOW! And the next time we met, we had 27! I just couldn't believe it.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with all the apathy I see in many students from day to day. I sometimes feel like I'm not making a difference at all--that I'm sending an entire generation into the workplace without any real language and communication skills. But then there are moments when 27 kids show up after school to spend an hour learning how to be better writers and it brings some value into it all.
November is National Novel Writing Month. Writers all over the country participate by writing a 50,000 word novel between the 1st and 30th of November. I am proud to say that we have a group of students from Box Elder Middle participating! What a great experience for them. My Emma is even working up a file of character profiles in preparation for writing a novel (she probably won't make the 50,000 words in November, but she's working toward something, and I love it!). I just love being a teacher.
Yay for writing!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
- She has a natural ability to understand how people are feeling, and she often interacts with people based on her understanding of their emotions. She has incredible empathy. What a gift!
- She loves to read. She simply devours books.
- She is an artist. I've posted her creations before. She is always drawing something.
- She is very tender. Sometimes she tries to hide her tenderness, but I can always see it in her. I think this is what gives her empathy.
- She makes friends in a moment. She is surrounded by good friends wherever she goes.
- She willingly and happily practices her piano every day. I don't even have to remind her. She finds joy in the music. Once I watched her reflection in a mirror while she was practicing. With every staccato note, she raised her eyebrows high. It was just so cute. The next piece was smooth and graceful, and her hands became very elegant, her body swaying to the music. She is so very expressive.
- She got 100% on her language arts core test last spring. 100%!!! Speaking as a teacher who administers language arts core tests, that's pretty dang rare.
- She loves the mountains purely for the beauty of it all. Her dream is to go to a secluded spot with a notebook and draw the beauty of nature.
- Her teachers love her.
- She has a very sensitive gag reflex. She can't clean out the cat box without gagging. I think this makes her even more endearing.
- She has a joyful smile.
- She has beautiful skin.
- She has a gorgeous singing voice.
- She gets frustrated sometimes. I like that because it shows that she cares deeply about doing things well. I wish she'd be a little more patient with herself, but at the same time I see kids at school every day who don't care about anything. Kids can be so apathetic these days. Kate is not that way at all.
- She asks questions. Lots of questions. She endears herself to people by asking them questions--but it's not in a fake way. She is genuinely interested in the answers.
- She recognizes that the world is not black and white. She sees the shades of gray. She also recognizes the injustices in the world. She has her own opinions about the way things should be. She is an 11-year-old with actual opinions!
- She is not judgemental.
- She is open to trying new things. She wants to learn. She wants to experience life.
- She doesn't like to play competitive games. She does like to participate in cooperative games and activities. She is always looking for win-win situations. I suppose that goes back to the whole empathy thing.
- She loves all five of her sisters. They will be friends for life, I am sure.
- She has a great new haircut. It is even cuter when we flip it out.
- She gets innuendo. (Yikes! We have to be careful!)
- She laughs. A lot. And it's a great laugh.
I sure love you, KATE!!!! I'm so blessed to be your mother.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Brock digging out the chimney. Once he made a hole, he had to squeeze himself through to come out the bottom. In other words, the kiln birthed him. My claustrophobic self would have just freaked right the heck out!
9. Starting on Thursday, she will be a student in my class, so I can make darn well sure that she is learning English.
8. Her friends say hi to me in the halls--some of them call me "Mrs. Emma's Mom".
7. Right now (my prep period) she has health in the room next to mine. I can hear her teacher using words like "gonorrhea", "syphilis", and "milky discharge". I'm almost positive I heard her say, "EWWWW!" As a side note--I also just heard a kid ask a question about oral sex! Poor Mr. Johnson.
6. She sometimes comes and hangs out in my room after school. However, it's usually just so she can take control of my computer since we still have dial-up internet at home. I'll bet ya didn't know that still existed, didja?
5. She sometimes writes me notes during health and has her locker-buddy pass the note to me during 5th period.
4. I know who her crush is--and I have him as a student starting on Thursday. hehehe
3. She completely trusts me to not embarrass her when I have her crush in class starting on Thursday. hehehe
2. I witnessed last year's crush TOTALLY flirting with her in the cafeteria the other day. I mentioned the observation later that night, but she just rolled her eyes because she was, "Sooooooo over him!"
1. Sometimes when I'm walking down the hall, I pass Emma with her cute-as-buttons group of friends, and she bounds over to me and hugs me! In the hall! Of a middle school! With hundreds of students all around! I love that!
I've adored having this connection with my Lu! I'm a teensy bit apprehensive about having her as a student. I'm sure she'll be just fabulous, but I sometimes have to get after kids who are squirreling around, and I don't want them to take it out on her. It will certainly be another adventure.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
There was a time when I swore I'd never have short hair again, just because the associations with former haircuts were so traumatic. The short hair became a symbol. I was a scared, miserable, inferior, stupid person then. I had no self-worth. None. There was a time when I even felt suicidal. I was too chicken to do it, but I thought about it quite a bit for a several-month period of time.
When my first marriage ended, I started growing my hair out. It grew. It grew and it grew and it grew. I began to associate my long hair with my happy, smart, confident self. Once again, my hair had become a symbol.
So what does it all mean? I suppose it might mean the symbols have lost their meaning because I'm absolutely content with my life. It might mean I have moved beyond silly things like the meaning of a hair style. It might mean that I got tired of using lots of shampoo and conditioner. Or it might mean I am trying to grow out the natural color of my hair, and the best way to do that is to cut off the dyed ends.
Yes, indeed, I'm embracing my grays! It takes guts, don't you think?
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Students, we have been hearing a lot of you dialoguing (yeah, he really said that to a bunch of 8th and 9th graders!) about assassination. We want you to know that this type of communication is unacceptable. Our new president-elect, Osama buh . . .
He stopped talking and paused for several seconds. Meanwhile my students were going crazy with what they had just heard. One girl kept saying, "He did NOT just say that!" Others were saying, "See, Mr. Principal wants him to be assassinated, too!" Oh dear! Of course anything he said after that had absolutely zero effect.
I felt really bad for the guy. He's a good principal, and it was obviously an unintentional mistake, but sheesh--could you get any worse than that?
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I couldn't get a picture of this without the flash making a glowing sheen on the monkey's face. Isn't he cute?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
After the ballots came in, I glanced through them. And guess what? Nobody had filled in the "straight ticket" bubble! However, all but two students had filled in individual bubbles for all the republican candidates. *palm to forehead*
Of course the vast majority of students simply voted the way their parents are voting. (Emma voted the way Brock and I are voting, though she was on the other side of the aisle from the majority here.) So all you parents out there who think your children don't listen to you--you're wrong. They soak up all your opinions, and many times they interpret them in crazy town ways and spout them back to their friends at school. For example, here are a few things I overheard students saying in my classroom today:
- If Obama wins, he'll take away all our money.
- If Obama wins, he'll just get shot anyway.
- If Obama wins, the economy will just get worse.
- If Obama wins, the whole country will have riots.
- Obama is a socialist.
- Obama is a fascist.
- Obama is going to take away all our guns!
- Obama scares the crap out of me.
- Obama is a Muslim.
- Obama hates Mormons.
- Obama is the anti-Christ.
Oh dear. I just have to bite my tongue! I mean, sheesh! Why such hatred? I really don't understand this. They can be pro-McCain without bashing Obama, can't they? I try to ask students to tell me why they support McCain instead of why they hate Obama--and they generally can't come up with a single reason.
I suppose they are quite young, and maybe I shouldn't expect them to think on their own yet, but I would love to help them understand that they should at the very least understand what their "opinions" are based on.
Actually, I would love it if more adults could vocalize why they support their candidate. It seems like lunch time talk is all centered on vague rumors and feelings rather than actual platforms.
It will be nice to have the highly charged atmosphere neutralized in a few days (after everyone calms down from their initial freak-out mode after Obama wins!)
Hope y'all voted!
The best thing about the kiln work is what it has done to Brock's manly shoulders. He has always had strong shoulders, but now--YOWZA! What a MAN! He comes home dead-tired every night from the hard work, but what an accomplishment! I'm so proud of my hubba-hubba honey!