Monday, November 26, 2012

Of Lincoln, Elections, and a hectic life

It has been a crazy 6 months or so since my last post. Started a new school year at LHS... keeps me very busy and time seems to fly ever more quickly as I plow through the weeks with my students.

It is our second year on this new (now not so new) 4x4 schedule and things are going along swimmingly well. We are still into iPads at our place although not so new anymore as many other schools are doing 1:1 with this remarkable tool as well.

Thanksgiving break was this past weekend and we had a quiet one. It was nice, restful, and probably about a day too short for me, personally. I am really finding it takes my batteries a bit longer to recharge than it has in recent years.

A highlight of the past weekend was a visit to the movies to see Spielberg's newest film, "Lincoln". A deeply moving account of our 16th President and all the valleys he trudged through in order to get the 13th amendment passed abolishing slavery. It struck me then as ever it does that this particular piece of our history is not all that far in the past. 160 years is not all that long a time in the grand scheme of things.... and certainly not in the lifetime of a nation. Seeing this chilling fact played out on the big screen was intense and made me come home and do some reading about the men on both sides of the issue.

Having just completed an election here in which there was much polarizing talk on both sides of the experience, I was struck by how it has ever been so to varying degrees in our nation. Democracy is an incredibly messy and boisterous way to run a country. It takes people of strong fiber to pull it off. We have never been a nation of weaklings in that regard and it is worth remembering leaders like Lincoln who had the courage to make uncomfortable choices that may not have been politically beneficial to them at the moment they made them. Interesting.... and a lot to think about.

Hope to be back soon.....

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Halfway Point

Here we are... the very last day of June.... and wow, as usual, summer has flown. Why doesn't the school year go as fast as the 10 or so weeks of summer.

Here's the list... and what is left of it!

Things I will do this summer (or would like to do)
1. Travel with students to Europe - Done! And it was a great trip, even though United Airlines did their very best to try and make me crazy and miserable!
2. Travel with family to Florida.  - Soon to be done... absolutely going to be the highlight of summer.
3. Visit grandkids in Mich. Doing in the next couple days! YAY!
4. Travel with Ed to some yet to be determined locale. don't know yet where that might be!  hmmm...
5. Clean the basement and PITCH stuff out.
6. Paint the house. Finished.... and I didn't really do all that much... Ed, however, painted the entire house, the tool shed, and the front door! It looks fantastic. My next door neighbor started calling him "Rembrandt".
7. Paint the "pink" room
8. Meet with the new yearbook staff - just learned I will HAVE one... so plan to hop on this real soon!
9. Knit - finished a baby sweater for Laina Maddick and a big girl sweater for yours truly!
10. Read at least 8 books. Done that too! LOVE my Kindle.
11. Bottle the 2010 wines.
12. Catch up on my sleep. - will I EVER do this? unlikely! :-)

So I am left with # 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, and 12 (?) That is half the list, and we have 1/2 of summer left.
It's been SUPER hot here for the past 10 days so maybe, all this indoor time will result in my knocking a few more thing off the ol' list!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Ahhhhh... Summertime!

It's here at last! That stretch of weeks where I can set the tempo of my days and work productively at my own projects without a bell ringing every 80 minutes to call me to the next thing! Summertime! Have been officially out a week today as faculty meetings wrapped up on May 31. Cleaned my classroom and shipped the last pages of the yearbook off to the publisher and then....

And then, I made a list and quickly discovered summer was going to zip by almost as fast as the last term did! Well, here's the list... see what you think.

Things I will do this summer (or would like to do)
1. Travel with students to Europe
2. Travel with family to Florida.
3. Visit grandkids in Mich.
4. Travel with Ed to some yet to be determined locale.
5. Clean the basement and PITCH stuff out.
6. Paint the house.
7. Paint the "pink" room
8. Meet with the new yearbook staff
9. Knit
10. Read at least 8 books.
11. Bottle the 2010 wines.
12. Catch up on my sleep.

I figure if I accomplish one thing a week, summer will be over before I hit #12.  Think I'll go take a nap.... at least it will count as #12.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lions and Taxes and Bears.... Oh MY! (or why I wish we just had a flat tax!)

I am going out on a limb tonight, but the mood I am in is solely responsible. Tonight I finished the tax prep for our 2011 taxes. That is not to say my taxes are finished, but the data is now assembled and I will drop them off at my friendly accountant (I love you guys at Bredensteiner and Associates!) and they will magically be transformed into the forms that I send Uncle Sam each year.

So it's finished... and I am tired... and each year I think, "There HAS to be an easier way to do this!" Couldn't I just be asked to GIVE the government a chunk out of each paycheck and NOT have to file all the blasted paperwork? It seems to me that all the info about what I make is readily accessible via my filed W2's - why can't we just pay the feds a flat specified amount and be DONE with it? I would dearly LOVE never to fill out a tax form again. I am certain there are a myriad of reasons for why this isn't feasible... but each year when I complete the 3-5 day process of sorting, tabulating, calculating, and spread-sheeting all the expenses, deductions, etc etc. I just want to run screaming into the nearest IRS office and say, "Just take 15% and LET ME BE!"

I am willing to bet there are more people out there who feel like I do than who don't.... sigh... But at least I am finished for this year!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Joys of Being a Learner

For the last two days I have been immersed in the Midwest Educational Technology Conference here in St Charles. the best part of it is that I get to be a "kid again"; that means I get to be a learner. I get to discover new things and I also get to find things I can bring back to school to share with my students! It has been a total blast and the PERFECT thing to spark ME back to life in the middle of the winter!

Right at this very moment, I am sitting in a session on blogging and got inspired to revive my AP Lit blog. It is called "Our Tip of AP Lit Iceberg" and there's a link to it in the sidebar. So give me a couple days to get back to class... And then come have a look at what my kids will be buzzing about.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Gift of Snow

Today the snowflakes FINALLY fell for real in Missouri. It's been such a long, gray winter and we were about to lose hope of seeing ANY of the white stuff. However, today it arrived. It made one little 4 year old person VERY happy!

Syd is staying with us for a 3 day visit and she and I headed out into the white stuff just as soon as the grass was covered. We slid down the neighbor's hill, rolled in the snow, threw it at each other, and made the mandatory snow angels. She giggled the entire time and I have to admit, so did I! What is it about the magical combination of cold air and water that can make us drop our stress levels and just act like a kid? I don't know... but I am not about to question this wonder of meteorology! For a February snowfall- this was just right! Thank-you God - and any of your assisting snow angels as well!

Monday, January 09, 2012

When the Fairies Dance you have to Smile!

I had a delightful Saturday this past weekend. Got to spend it with 8 little gals all 4 and under who were at my daughter's house to help Sydney celebrate her birthday. Being four... wow, can't remember being four. That was, after all, in 1959, I think I got a puppy but I am not completely sure.

Syd, however, had a marvelous time. A highlight was when "the birthday fairy" arrived. One of the youth from our church is a high school junior who dances at the studio where Syd takes class. She graciously consented to come and fill the role! She was absolutely convincing as a fairy and the little gals fell in love with her! Kudos to Taylor Plodzien for being one very classy gal who made all those little people smile. The photos will tell the rest of the story.