Thursday, May 31, 2007


Today I had lunch with my oldest friend. Not oldest because of age, but oldest because of years we have been friends. We like to say we were friends in the womb. You see, our mothers were friends and our grandmothers were friends. So, it was like we didn't have a choice, of course we would be friends.
Our grandmothers were farm women, simple women who loved God and their families. I remember getting off the bus at her grandmother's house. There were cookies and milk laid out for me. Her grandmother would say, "All children need a snack after a hard day at school." I loved that women and have practiced that motto to this day!
Our mothers were best friends. They even dressed like twins and were inseparable. As teenagers they had the same friends and did the same things. I think there were adventures that we would be shocked to find out about. They made sure we spent loads of time together as we grew up. We have the pictures to prove it.
Today was a day to celebrate her birthday. I won't tell you which birthday because that would give away too much. We have had so many experiences together. We had our first sons only a few weeks apart. We both were teachers. We both have been married twice and now have wonderful loving husbands. We have been through all kinds of trials like her cancer that brought us even closer.
Today we celebrated her birthday with memories that only we can share. We caught up on our families and adventures to come. Her life to me is a treasure. I know so many others that feel the same way. I am just so thankful that I have had the chance to have her as a friend for so many years and we have this wonderful history together.
If you have a friend that you've had for years, cherish it. If you have a new friend, grow that friendship. Friends like mine are rare but a life experience no one should miss! Happy Birthday, Friend!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

4 New X 2....

What in the world is a meme? We did learn questioning for our comprehension strategy today. Okay, Miss Sarah, I have to do this. What are you thinking! Here I go.

4 New Things I Have Done in The Past 4 Years:
  1. Retired from a job I had for over 30 years.
  2. Started a new job in the second largest school system in Indiana.
  3. Got a new cat.
  4. Got a new VW yellow bug!

4 Things I Would Like To Try In The Next 4 Years:

  1. Learn to dive.
  2. Publish something...anything a book, an article, a poem, whatever!
  3. Take more trips with teachers to visit teachers in NYC.
  4. Take a trip to Las Vegas and visit my friend Laurie

Okay, that's it for me. I will try and find some friends out there who are willing to be as crazy as you guys are!

I've Been Tagged...

I've been tagged so here are eight things about me:
  1. My golden retriever, Murphy, is a Certified Visiting Dog and he visits a nursing home once a month.
  2. I have NEVER been without a dog.
  3. I have run in three marathons: two in Washington D.C. and one in Detroit, Michigan.
  4. I used to coach high school track.
  5. Two of my favorite cities to visit are: Atlanta, Georgia and New York City.
  6. My favorite food is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.
  7. I absolutley LOVE books....especially professional books that make me think.
  8. This year I will have been married for 25 years to a wonderful, handsome man!

There you have it. If you are tagged you must do the same! Watch for your tag.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Family Memories

Memorial Day. I know it is Monday. I know it used to be called Decoration Day. I know it was started to remember the war heroes. When I was young my parents used to load my sister and I up in the car with cans of flowers, buckets, and shovels and we would take off for the cemeteries around the neighboring counties. We thought it great fun. Our parents would busily put the cans of flowers beside the graves, digging down to set the cans into the dirt. We would play around the tombstones and rest beneath the trees. I think we knew this was a serious occasion, but it was still a time of adventure for us.
Now it is my turn to decorate the graves. The graves of those who took us around to those cemeteries so long ago. Today as my husband and I drove to my grandparents' graves we discussed the appearance of the big heavy cement urns on each side of the stone. Each year we vow we will repair the cracks and patch the spots that have fallen off. Each year we never do. This year as we pulled up close to the site we knew it was too late. One of the pots was hopelessly cracked and falling apart. I was sick.
My gallant husband saved the day however. He said, "Let's go find some to replace these." I thought the task too overwhelming. I would have spent days hunting just the right size and type. But, no, we were set on finding them and finding them TODAY!
Home Depot was our salvation. We found two pots that were not cement, but looked it. They were the same size and rather classy looking if grave pots can be classy. We lugged them to the cemetery. Dug out the old ones. Carried them to the car and replaced them with the new. I carefully and lovingly placed all the artificial flowers and greenery into those two pots.
As I drove away, I felt that my parents would have been proud and happy to see that I really am carrying on the tradition. I am sure years ago they wondered if anyone would. Since my sister lives many, many miles away, it is my responsibility to do this act of love and honor.
As you get ready to celebrate the three-day holiday, be sure to spend some time thinking of the traditions you shared with your family and those who have gone ahead. May you have a blessed Memorial Day!

Friday, May 25, 2007

A New Day

As I sit here ready to take on another day of teaching I am excited. Today will be different. Today I get to gather with my All Write friends and work on the Summer Institute that we will all be a part in June. Mindy says we have LOTS of work to still do and we will be super busy. That's okay with me. Stuffing envelopes, filling folders, oh, yes, and talking. We will do lots of that.
This is where so much of my learing has taken place. Here among the most talented educators in northern Indiana. These people are risktakers. They are the ones who are still working on things at home late at night. They are willing to leave safe classrooms to excite other students and teachers.
Who wouldn't be excited to spend a day with this type of teacher? My bag is packed with new books to share with them. Tidbits from other teachers who want me to deliver things to their mentor teachers they've met in workshops. It all reminds me that we are ONE big family of educators working for the same goal: KIDS.
I want to close with a poem from one of the fourth grade students I work with:
Outside can be dangerous
Screaming, crying, hollering
Outside can be dangerous
Dealers, robbers, junkies
Outside can be dangerous
Guns, drugs, stealing
Outside can be dangerous
But I'm going to live.
This is why I teach.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Proud Teacher

Tonight when I got home from school I took Murphy for a quick walk, grabbed the mail and began to read. The newspaper I was reading is the local weekly paper from where I used to teach. I love reading all the latest happenings, gossip and other news.
The information that took my attention this time was pictures of all the seniors graduating in a few days. There were 42 pictured in the paper on the middle pages, crossing the entire spread. Several of them I had never seen before because they were exchange students. However, I counted nine that I squinted and could kind of recognize because they were my former second grade students.
For each one of these students I could still remember bits and pieces of stories that were bouncing around in my memory. I loved reading what their future plans were, where they were heading for college and what they planned on being when they graduated.
This class was one of the fun ones. They were so creative and ready to tackle anything. I remember Jennica's writing. I used one of her pieces to get me into the All Write!!! mentor program years ago. That is why I am where I am today. I don't think I ever told her that. I remember Scott for having a kitten that I eventually adopted. (I still have him. The cat, not Scott.) I remember stories and class trips and crazy things we all did together.
Watching students grow into young adults, finish high school and become worthwhile citizens, is something every teacher wishes for his/her class. I know just looking over those pictures, remembering the past and dreaming of their futures puts hope and inspiration into my life.
Good luck, Hamilton Graduates! May you continue to soar!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Book Club

Have you ever had something fit the minute you tried it on? That's the way I felt last night. No, I didn't get a new dress, new shoes or even new jeans. My fit was a brand new Book Club.
There are five of us--all teachers--all lovers of books. We drove up to the new Starbucks in Auburn clutching notebooks, bags of books and datebooks. As we piled out of cars, the chatter was sporatic.
"How've you been?"
"How have the last days of school been for you?"
"When is your last day?"
After grabbing our favorite drinks from the counter we gathered outside--it was so warm--on couches and chairs with a coffee table in front of us. Then the serious business began. We had so much to decide.
We past books. We looked over handouts of book information. We made lists of possible titles. Finally, we made a book pick, figured out a future meeting date and place, and even made a promise to keep our eyes open for future reads.
As we were winding down we talked about personal plans for the rest of the school year and summer. We all loaded into our cars with new dates in our books, addresses to look up on the web and dreams of the newest read to start. As I pulled out of Starbucks, I felt so intelligent, but also so comfortable knowing that my friends would all be reading the same book and then we could talk!
Now, I can't wait to share the experience of a book club with my fourth grade students at Waynedale. They are starting book clubs and I had told them about mine. They had asked, "Why are we going to do book clubs?" My answer: "Because they are so much fun!"
And they are!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Moments

May 20, 2007
Today was our first day to sit by the pool. Granted, it really isn't ready for swimming yet. We did take the cover off and clean it, somewhat, yesterday. That in itself is a rather amazing accomplishment. We were still cleaning the pool cover at 7:30 last night, along with eating pizza from Pizza Hut.
But, back to today's events. We did get to sit by the pool, read, nap and just enjoy the outdoors. Our favorite thing to do in the summer is to lay on the deck chairs and listen to the birds and hear the water lap beside us. There was no water lapping today, but the birds were in rare form. Their silly spring chirping was loud and clear.
As we packed away our books, Cokes and chair pads to take an evening walk, I had to smile and think: "This is the first day of enjoying the pool and just sitting out here all day." I love doing that and can't wait for Sundays just to relax and be alone by the pool.
Summer can't be far behind, can it?