Friday, June 29, 2007


Today is Poetry Friday. My first poem is inspired by the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran. This was one of the Top Ten Books featured at the Summer Institute. My second poem is taken from the morning walk Murphy and I went on this morning. ENJOY!

My Roxaboxen
by Kathy Douglas
Did you have a Roxaboxen?
A place that was magical?
Mine was in a dirt driveway
Filled with stones, pebbles and dirt.
I'd lay out my house
The rooms,
The doorways,
The closets.
My Roxaboxen.
Do you have a Roxaboxen?
A place that is magical?
Mine is a pond hidden away.
The dirt approach is perfect
Plenty of stones,
Plenty of pebbles,
Plenty imagination.
Here's the front door,
The window overlooking the pond,
The patio stepping into the woods.
My Roxaboxen.
by Kathy Douglas
Large brown placemarkers in rows
Each sitting by a driveway
All facing the same direction.
No fancy calligraphy of names
In silver, blue or gold.
But, with x-ray eyes
You can see identification.
The trash inside tells
Who lives here...
What's important here...
Why do they live this way?

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Have you ever had a moment, a week or a day that was filled with such joy, so many pleasures that you don't want it to end? You don't want to let go of that feeling? You continually go back to it in your mind and try to savor the feelings you experienced. You can't let it slip away.

That is the way I feel now. I just got home from the most amazing summer institute. I spent two and 1/2 days in the company of energetic teachers, inspiring speakers and wonderful friends. Just when I thought I couldn't gather any more feelings into this body, this mind, another experience or speaker filled me with more sensations. Kirsten said, "I am on overload." I think that is exactly what was happening with me.

It reminded me of running a marathon. I would look forward to the race for weeks and months, practicing, training, preparing. Then the time would come and I'd put my whole effort into the race. I would spend every bit of energy, every muscle. I would hold nothing back just to finish that 26.2 mile race. When it was over, I was depleted. The next day I would think about running again and I couldn't do it. I had to give myself permission to rest and reflect on the race behind me before I could go on to conquer other quests.

That is what I am doing now. My brain is exhausted. I am going to spend the next few days just reflecting on the experiences, the thoughts, the emotions that those two and one half days brought to me. I don't want to lose that feeling. I don't want to lose that excitement. I don't want to lose those memories. And I won't because my teacher friends, the books I bought and the notes I took won't let me.

I'm already looking forward to next year. I'm already looking forward to how I can share my knowledge. I'm already looking forward to new experiences. Enjoy, Relax, Reflect. I only hope this was as great an experience for others as it was for me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I've been tagged! Here are my 5's!

Five Things I was Doing Ten Years Ago:
  1. Running marathons! No kidding!
  2. Taking Murphy to dog class. He was the star!
  3. Teaching second grade: Douglasville!
  4. Shopping with my mom. I still miss her.
  5. Baking. I never do that any more.

Five Snacks I Love:

  1. Popcorn
  2. Snickers
  3. Ice Cream
  4. Pizza

Five Things I'd Do If I Were a Millionaire:

  1. Build a new house
  2. Travel to Ireland
  3. Get D. a Harley
  4. Get D. a corvette
  5. Get a heated pool

Five Things I'd Never Wear Again:

  1. Tights
  2. Two piece swim suit
  3. Size 9 shoe
  4. Knee socks
  5. Footy p.j's

Five Favorite Toys:

  1. Cabbage patch Doll
  2. Stuffed animals
  3. Clifford dogs
  4. Barbies
  5. Treadmill

Five Things I Like to do:

  1. write
  2. read
  3. walk with Murphy
  4. run Peachtree
  5. Meet with my teacher friends

Five Bad Habits:

  1. Sneak Snacks
  2. Buy books
  3. Drink too much pop
  4. Eat a whole bag of microwave popcorn
  5. blog, blog, blog!

There you have my "5's". Thanks to NYC teacher! I am tagging Education Blather and Annie's Attic!

Let's Have a Tea Party!

When was the last time you went to a tea party? When was the last time you had a pretend tea party? Yesterday I went to a Bridal Tea. My step daughter is getting married this summer and since I hate showers I refused to do that. So, instead we had a tea party!

We were all dressed in our best party dresses. Even 5-year old Shelby had on her darling pink dress, lacy socks and white shoes with the strap across the front. We piled in, arranged our gifts and then Shelby had to try on the hats. She settled for a white one with a big flower on the front. It only came off long enough to eat.

We were treated to a delightful table laid out with fancy folded napkins, an assortment of dressings and plates full of food. We had sandwiches made with the most delicious bread. Then came the hot tea and desert. The cake was angel food with whipped cream topping. Everything was just as we had pictured it.

Angie opened her gifts: a tea pot and cup and a picture album with a heart front. Shelby was delighted with her Bridal Barbie and the heart shaped bracelet and necklace along with heart shaped sunglasses. We took loads of pictures, had lots of fun and enjoyed Angie's gifts.

As the day was winding down, we put the hat back in the box, gathered our gifts and headed for the door. It was fun pretending to have a tea party once again! Thanks to the Maple Leaf Inn for a wonderful afternoon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer For Teachers!

Have you ever heard someone say, "Boy, I wish I had a job with the whole summer off?" People even think we get paid for the days we are not in school over the summer. After all, we get a pay check, don't we? This week I have been attending the summer institute our district provides. The amount of teachers attending is amazing. Yes, they do get paid, but not enough to give up a beautiful summer day. These teachers are sitting in those classrooms working, listening and gathering all the information they can get. Why? They are wonderful educators dedicated to their careers.

I have heard things like: "It doesn't even seem like summer has begun yet, does it?" "Are you going to the All Write!!! conference next week? I can't wait for that, can you?" "I've been reading all kinds of professional books to get ready for next year. I'm excited about a new class."

Yes, I know. That is not what the public thinks teachers are like. Maybe some aren't, but the ones I've been around this week and will be with next week ARE like that. Tomorrow I am meeting with a group of teachers after our class just to discuss a book we are all reading. Will we get paid? No way! Is someone making them do this? No way! They are just hungry for information to make them better teachers, to help them reach kids.

The next time you see a teacher this summer sneak a peek in their beach bag and I bet you see a book...a professional book, too! Thanks all you wonderful teachers out there who inspire us and keep us as educators excited about learning!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Personal Policies

I have been tagged to leave my personal policies. I didn't even know I had any. Boy, these girls sure make me think. And it's summer when I'm not supposed to think! I thought. Oh, this is getting too complicated. Here goes:

  1. I have to live with a dog. I have had dogs in my life since I was born starting with a Scottie. At one time we had three dogs at home. Every time my dog had puppies we would have to save one for us. Now I have a spoiled golden retriever. He is smart and loveable. The only problem is he is getting old. We will have birthday party next month.
  2. I have to be active. I can't just sit for very long...unless I am reading. My passion is running and walking. I love to be outside doing something even in the winter.
  3. I have to be reading. I usually have about three or four books started. They are in different genres and different types but I am reading!
  4. I have to have some sort of trip in the planning. This year it is to Atlanta for the 4th of July and then Gatlinburg for my son's wedding. After that I will start planning again. Maybe New York this time.
  5. One of my most important policies is my faith. Everything I am revolves around that faith. I believe I have a purpose in life and that is to touch as many lives as I can and make a difference in those lives. The difference comes from the God I believe in so strongly.

There you have it folks. Those are my personal policies or at least the ones I can think of right now!

Friday, June 15, 2007

An Old Dog

An Old Dog
by Murphy Douglas
My days of romping are getting shorter.
I seem to be sleeping more these days.
Still new friends,
Old friends,
Or friendly people
Inspire me to
And try to jump to give them a kiss.
Time is now spent
Dreaming of catching that rabbit,
Instead of running to try to catch it.
My greatest pleasures are:
To follow my master,
To walk in tall weeds,
To roll in fresh cut grass
And to gobble any kind of treat available.
I'm an old dog,
But a loved dog!
Murphy will be 11 years old next month. He has been a Visiting Dog since he was two. He has his Canine Good Citizen title as well as his CD title. He loves to meet people and play with his girlfriend, Lucy. Murphy is loved by all the children in the neighborhood and loves them right back!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Many of you have been talking about looking at little things in nature and viewing them with fresh eyes. For the past week I've been walking in a part of our addition that isn't developed yet. It doesn't have sidewalks, paved roads or even a resemblance of houses to come. I love that area.

Right in the middle of it is a pond. You can't see it until you get off the beaten path a ways. The first day I visited it, there were mounds of dirt that a builder deposited. I think they were trying to level the ground and get rid of a big dip so the houses would eventually be on an even plain. The next day the mounds were leveled.

Each day as I stand in silence and gaze over the still water of the pond, I view birds of all types. There are ducks and geese but mostly killdeer.

Those strange long legged birds chirp and get close to you and then stiff-leggedly walk away. They are trying to get you to get you away from their nests. Without a doubt there are nests somewhere near the pond...somewhere near the mounds...somewhere near the dirt. Those birds do not want people around or mounds or dirt.

Yesterday as I entered the opening to visit my pond, there was a message written in the lose powdery dirt. I think it said, "Stay away from our nests!" It looked like cursive writing all done in bird tracks. They were wound around, over and under. Just like a message.

Tonight I'll visit again. I can't stay away. I love the quietness with just silly bird chirps, insect screeches and powdery messages written in the dirt.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Fitness Junky

Okay, it is time to confess. I have to finally admit it. I am a closet fitness junky. Many of you know that I have run marathons (that means 26.2 miles). That, of course, means hours of training. However, those days of marathons are far behind me. I don't want to spend my Saturdays running 15 miles or recouping from running 15 miles. So my new thing is walk/running and weights.

Since we are getting ready for the Peachtree 10K (6.2 miles), we decided we had better begin our running routine again. So, every other day we now run two miles. We run here in the addition. It has enough baby hills to keep us challenged. It is cool in the early morning when we start off and I sometimes even have to wear a light jacket. Our stretching time is not really sufficient, but we try to fit some in anyway. Since the Peachtree is mostly down hill, we try to run down every hill and then walk up the tough upward side. Our running vs walking has increased the running part. Soon, hopefully, we will be running the whole two miles. That is when we will KNOW we are ready for the 10K.

After our run we are back home for breakfast and Darrell is off to work. I, on the other hand, begin my obsession. I first head for the basement where I keep my fitness equipment. I have exercise tapes by The Firm. I think they are the best. I have tapes for everything imaginable. I alternate doing upper body weights one day and lower body weights the next. I also do some ab work. Since I just started this routine this week,I am already feeling the soreness of muscles that have been left alone for too long.

After the weight routine, I go back and do another mile outside...just walking. In the afternoon I meet my fitness guru. She is my coach. We walk a hard, fast four miles around town. I love that time because we can catch up on gossip and family affairs. Ususally it is so hot we are drenched when we get back. That icy, cold water from the frig sure tastes great.

When Darrell gets back home we jump in the pool for a few laps before supper. After supper we take off for another two miles when it gets cooler. Murphy usually goes with us for part of that walk, so it is at a much slower pace.

There you have it, folks. I really am a junky. I love every minute of this routine. I hate when I have to go back to school and leave it. My goal is to lose 10 pounds and many, many inches. I do have two weddings to attend this summer and those "mother" dresses have to fit!

Friday, June 8, 2007


My friend, Ruth, told me about Poetry Friday. I like the idea of once a week being forced into thinking in that genre. It doesn't matter if it is one you created or one you love...just so it is poetry. I have been wanting to get back to writing some poetry, so this seemed like the perfect excuse. I am not as good as my friend, Sarah, but I am willing to give it a try.

An Ode To Ingrid
Upon your leaving our midst
For loftier goals that you aspire
I find myself reflecting on our time together.

Ingrid: just the name alone
Causes one to visualize
A tall, striking, blond girl.
One full of life,
And beauty.
Upon meeting you,
One finds all those things to be true.

Your rich vocabulary,
Your knowledge of many languages
All bring forth a depth
Unlike any other.

Always searching for more knowledge,
For the latest research,
For new wisdom,
What inspiration to those around you.

Ah, yes, you now leave us
To seek higher aspirations,
But your spirit,
Your laugh,
Your memories,
Will linger long after you have parted.

Farewell, for only a short time,
For we will be following you with
Our Best Wishes!

By Students:

Today is a weird weather day
It's cold,
but warm.
Today is a weird weather day.
It will be
Sunny, and
Today is a weird weather day.
The sky is
Dark and bright.
Today is definitely a weird weather day.
Today I'm as mixed up
As the weather.

It was Saturday morning.
The pond smelled like morning fog.
My dad said we were going home
In five minutes.
It was my last cast.

The fog was so thick
You could cut it with a knife.
I wouldn't be able to see
What I caught.

I cast out.
I couldn't tell if
I cast 3 feet or 3 yards.
Something tugged on my pole
Like there was no tomorrow.

I reeled in.
Took out the flashlight.
It was a
Of seaweed!


Tuesday, June 5, 2007


I remember sitting at the sewing machine with the piece of material that was to become a skirt in front of me. Mom was standing over my left shoulder peering at the stitching. I would go slowly, guiding the needle by the way I moved the deep blue cloth. I wanted my stitches to be as straight and smooth as hers. I could visualize the skirt as I would wear it to school. I'd twirl and the skirt would flow around me. I stopped the machine and we both inspected the line of thread.
"No, go rip it out and try again," she'd say.
I hated to rip out. I hated to redo what I had already done. But this was for a 4-H project and had to be just right. So, rip out I would do. The slow picking, trimming, and pulling of thread. It took so much time...wasted time, I felt. To make a piece of cloth into something worthwhile, it always took time and patience. Two things this young girl lacked.

Mom has been gone for over seven years. I never did get those stitches straight enough. Sometimes I feel I never got anything straight enough. I would try over and over for her approval, for her praise. I wanted to know she was proud of what I did, but it never came.
"That's good, but I know you can do better," she would say.
I was a child that was satisfied with mediocre. I was happy with average. She wasn't. She knew more than I, what I was capable of, so she pushed.
I still, today, hear that voice, "Okay, Kathy, that's good, but I know you can do better." So I do. I try harder. I work harder. I rip out and do it again. She's making me into the woman I am today...still.

Summer Goals

I have been tagged by my friend Jen to make a list of goals I have for the summer. What a good way to get me motivated! Here goes:
  1. Read, Read, Read anything and everything.
  2. Go to the All Write Summer Institute and hear loads of authors, share with friends and have a blast!
  3. Start running again so I can finish the Peachtree 10K on July 4th in Atlanta with 55,000 other runners.
  4. Walk four miles a day with Sarah L. and catch up on all the town's gossip. She knows everything!
  5. Get through two of our kid's weddings which are only one week apart.
  6. Start lifting weights again so I can wear the dresses I bought for the weddings and not have flabby arms.
  7. Write in my writers notebook and readers notebook.
  8. Blog, blog and blog!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Summer Book Read

This weekend I have been working on our book for my book club. Yes, I know the meeting date isn't until the last week in June. Yes, I know I should at least wait until summer vacation to start it. Yes, I know I should be reading professional books now. But I couldn't wait. The cover called to me. The title called to me. I AM reading the book NOW!
The book is called The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry. I am hooked. I won't tell you a summary or anything about it since some other members of our club may sneak a peek at this page. This I will tell you: it has me on the Edge of My Seat!
I also will tell you that I am using my comprehension skills. I thought it would be fun to use some metacognition as I read. I took a notebook that I keep as a Reading Notebook. I put the title and date at the top of a page. I then began with Questions I had BEFORE I read the book. As I read each chapter I underline and make notes in the margins of the book. (I only paid $.01 for it, so I think I can do that.) At the end of each chapter, I transfer those notes into the notebook. I write my questions, my connections, my predictions. I write all the new words I am learning. This is a Victorian mystery set in London in 1881. There are lots of words I don't know! I am learning so much. I will have so much to talk about.
I can't wait to talk about the book. I can't wait to see who done it! I can't wait to read another book by this author. The cover says: "They were the finest of families--until murder set skeletons rattling in their closets..." Why don't you add this book to your summer beach list and then we, too, can talk about it! Happy Reading!