Sunday, April 30, 2006


Fortunately, all I received Friday night was some heavy rain and winds, but nothing bad. A town about 55 miles north of here, on the OK/Texas border received a lot of wind damage--they had airplanes moved at the airport even! I drove through there on my way to OK and saw a lot of debris strewn everywhere.
This time of the year in this part of the country can be crazy--but right now it's beautiful, sunny, and 80-something degrees.

I didn't find a house this weekend. I'm still mourning the one that got away. It was a quick trip an I'm tired now, but I must go start packing. If my posts are infrequent in the next weeks, it's because life is too hectic and the computer is packed away. : )

Friday, April 28, 2006


Well, the inspection of the house I live in (I'm not calling it mine anymore) is Tuesday. There are severe storms in the area moving this way. The news is showing power flashes on the ground because the high winds and possible tornadic activity, and there is also hail that has been reported as baseball size. It's near TMS (the Speedway, for those of you familiar with this area and the proximity of that to MY house--@ 30 min west). There is a wall cloud spotted.

I love storms! When we were kids, Lula, her sisters and I used to love watching for them, though I bet we thought we saw more wall clouds than we actually did see. However, I have a freaking inspection coming up. Couldn't mother nature wait a couple of weeks? Ironically, weeks before I purchased this house in 6/2000, there was a hail storm. This house did get a new roof right after I moved in. It doesn't need another; I hope it still doesn't tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Things are getting crazy

So, if all goes well w/ the inspection, I'll be closing on my house May 10. That is in 2 weeks! From today! Have I packed yet? Hell no! Well, I have somewhat, but am nowhere near done. A bit of totally meaningless but interesting never-the-less information: When I purchased my home 6 years ago, the ratio of sale price to list price was:
97.3077. If this sale closes, the ratio of sale price to list price will be:

I'm a math nerd, so I found that interesting. I don't know many people who would actually calculate that figure!

I have 2 weekends left. Guess what I'm doing for one of those? I am going to Oklahoma to look at houses. Nuts? Probably. In the meantime, I'm doing all that I can via phone regarding prequalification, talking to a real estate agent, etc. Probably the only thing I miss about my old job (besides the obvious--the paycheck) is the freedom to take care of personal business during the day. Most places aren't open before my workday starts (I get there around 7:45) and are closed when I leave (after 5). Granted, I do have time from 4-5 but I tend to get side tracked quite often. My planning period rushes by. My lunch is crazy busy too. OH well, I'll manage just like other teachers everywhere!

Today I did have a student having a meltdown so I was on my lunch, sitting in a room w/ her, talking to my real estate agent, and trying to keep her from throwing more things. We had a desk, table, chair on their side, and stuff she threw was everywhere! Just when I'd think she was getting back on track, she'd start throwing things again. Thankfully, my boobs didn't get grabbed, nor did my hair get pulled or face/arms scratched. So, it wasn't a bad day!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Special People

There is a student at my school who everyone knows. She is the most pleasant soul. Her name suits her very well, though I'm sorry I can't share that with you. She is in 8th grade and is 15 years old. I don't know her full story, but I do know the after-effects. She has cerebral palsy and has a MR label. She walks with a funny gait. She is happy. She is precious. She loves everyone and knows more students in my school of nearly 1000 than probably anyone else. She trusts everyone and fears noone. She cries when she thinks she upsets somoene. She cries when someone upsets her. She tells you she likes you. She wants to make sure you like her. She lets you know when she has a new pair of shoes, a new hair style, when she got her braces off. She notices if you seem upset and asks if you are OK. She loves heartlessly. She sees the good in all and doesn't always understand the bad.

Isn't a shame that everyone can't love so selflessly, see just the good in others, and accept all people for what they are?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hanging in there...

Cooking hasn't been top on my priority list lately. I still manage to eat, but it's mostly salads or quick things.

The school year is winding down. My house is getting lots of showings and lots of positive feedback, but no sale yet. I've managed to keep it clean for 3 weeks now. :)

I've had a student absent all week. He is doing OK and should be back next week. I was speaking to his mom earlier this week and mentioned some new things I want to try before the year is over. It dawned on me that my time with him is quickly winding down--I'm not going to have too much time left to try new things. My heart sank. I really hope we've laid the foundation for this kid to really grow and achieve. His behaviors are mostly under control. Right now we are working on potty training and eating a wider variety of foods (my new idea: giving him lentils :) ). I'm sad that I may not see these things followed through. However, I do have summer school with him and will likely come back in August to consult with his new staff before the school year starts (and that trip WILL include a personal visit to the little guy). goes on. Meanwhile, last week I did get to meet 4 students I'll have next year (and their parents). I'll have a challenging class--these 4 are all VERY different in their skills and needs. I'm excited about working w/ these little boys and their families, and am looking forward to finding out who else will fill out my class!

This has been an interesting week at school. A drug bust, a threat by a student, a raging parent. I got a new student today--another hurricane evacuee who will only be in our district for the remainder of the year. I'm still figuring out what to do with him!

The man who killed my parents' friends and injured my dad will be sentenced on Tuesday. He is expected to plead guility on a negligent homicide charge. It's been almost 8 months since the accident. My dad is supposed to get medical clearance on Monday. That is also Cynthia's birthday (one of the deceased). A bunch of bikers are riding out to the cemetary to decorate her gravesite. They want dad to lead the way. I told him not to let me know if he does. I just don't want to worry. Mom has said she'll drive.

That's all for now...

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.-- Horace (65-8 BC) Roman Poet

Monday, April 17, 2006

And I thought my hair grows fast...

These guys have a full head of 'hair' after only 2 weeks, and without natural sunlight.

Here's the whole gang.

This one needs a nose hair trim.

And this one has the high forehead. You should see the back of his head!

And my personal favorite, Grizzly Adams. However, I'm thinking Cousin It might be a more suitable name.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Our very own mountain man. I'm calling him Grizzly Adams as a tribute to a favorite childhood show.
The student who made him banged the nylon sock around quite a bit so the grass seed was more evenly distributed, hence the furry face. I think he's pretty cute.

And here is the whole gang. These were taken on Tuesday, and there has been a lot of growth in the 24+ hours since.
I'll take more tomorrow. We have one who needs his nose hairs trimmed. :)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Grassheads or Homemade Chia Pets

We made these little guys last week. They have really started sprouting. I think they are just too cute, so had to share.

Here they are the day we made them.

And here they are a week later. See the sprouts of grass?

This guy really needs a shave. The facial hair is a little too much. :)

Stay tuned for more pictures of the critters from Ms. B's class.

I'll add that because we have no natural light in our classroom, we used shade grass. I also kept them under a light over the weekend.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Few Words on Laughter

It's taken me a while, but I've learned to LAUGH! When I want to bang my head against the wall in frustration, I laugh. When I stumble over my own two feet and almost trip in front of a hallway of 12 & 13 year olds, I laugh with them. When I want to cry, I laugh (most of the time). When my students are at their orneriest, I laugh (but turn my head away and stifle it a little bit). I could go on, but you get the idea. When the going gets tough, laugh. It's a lot easier than being stressed and really lifts you up.

So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter.
~Gordon W. Allport

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
~Kurt Vonnegut

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
~e.e. cummings

And speaking of laughter--last week, we made pine cone bird feeders. We went outside to hang them in the tree that is by where the kids get on/off the bus. That's when I realized the low branches had all been trimmed. We couldn't reach any of them! So, I did what any dedicated teacher would do and climbed the tree. Two of my students were oblivious. The other two were full of giggles. I stuck my camera in a safe place so I wouldn't break it, and my student aide/yearbook staff member just had to grab it to shoot a few shots.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Potty Training: A lesson in futility?

So, I'm going through my first potty-training experience. Seeing as how the only things I've potty trained previously are my dogs, this has been a new experience. Considering that the first day this student was on our campus, I wrestled with him in the bathroom floor for about 20 minutes (in slacks), we have had tremendous success with him. However, it was be awesome if we could potty train him. His family's life would be made so much easier; his long term outcome improves by leaps and bounds. So, we put him into big boy underwear today. We've gradually been increasing his sitting time in the bathroom (I'll never feel the same about the song Who Says You Can't Go Home by Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles) and he's been tolerating it well. Today we listened to that song 52 times. Fortunately, there are two of us who tend to this throughout the day, so I only heard it about 25 times. :) Anyhow, we did have one success--after 12 songs. Then he got dressed, got his reinforcement immediately after that--a walk, and not 1o minutes later, he wet his britches. Sigh. He then proceeded to wet himself 3 more times during the next 75 minutes or so. We had a dry spell while he ate, and then while taking him back to the bathroom, he went again. This time it sort of surprised him--he was wearing shorts and it just ran down his leg. We got him in there quickly and sat him for another 5 songs. He got dressed again, went to our other room across the hall, and it happened again! I wanted to bang my head against the wall. Really hard. Bless his heart (and ours). I really feel like he can make this connection, and I know it was only the first day. But.....I have a call into our behavioral consultant. We'll try again tomorrow. Oh, I should add that food isn't a good reinforcer because he is orally averse and only eats a small number of baby foods (though eating issues are the other big thing we are dealing with).
I will say that today's occurences solicited a lot of laughter from myself and my TA. You just have to laugh, ya know?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Today was frustrating. A few days after being told (nicely) by an administrator that I have been too nice to one student-giving him too many chances, in a sense-enabling him (I agreed), I was told by parents that I have just beaten him down and he's lost and it's all my fault. Those of you who know me know it's hard for me to be 'mean', even if I want to. I guess by setting high expectations and providing natural consequences (you don't do your work-you get a bad grade), I have beaten him down.
Just what good are the parents doing when they use intimidation to try and get their son's teachers to give him a passing grade when he hasn't done a flippin thing to earn it?

OK, vent over.

Two of my students are going sno-skiing with a camp for children with special needs. I'm so excited for them! They will not be back in school until Tuesday. We've been talking about skiing all week--they know the words and the motions, but I wonder if they really know what they are headed for. :)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Don't waste today

I attended a funeral today. It was a very moving and touching celebration of the life of Mary Alice (48), my dad's cousin's wife. I only met her one time, at my great aunt's house, not long after she wed dad's cousin and became family. I was still fairly new to the metroplex, and she gave me their number and said to call them and to come over anytime (they lived about an hour from me). Well, I never called. Not because I didn't want to. I liked them, and though they are older than I by about 15 years, they seemed like fun people. I should add that I don't really know dad's cousin, but have gotten to know his mom (my grandma's little sister) in recent years. I didn't call because I was too busy, too tired, thought it was too far to drive because I hate Dallas area traffic. I didn't call because I didn't make it important enough.

So, as I sat there today and heard her nephew, her stepchildren, some of their friends, her brothers, a niece, a sister-in-law, and others talk about her life and what she meant to them, I was sorry. I was sorry that I was too busy to take the time to get to know this good hearted, strong, fun, kind person. I was sorry that I will no longer have that chance. I was sorry to see those who loved her so much hurt.

I told my great aunt that I intended to see her more in these next months before I move. She lives 15 minutes from where I teach (but it's the opposite direction of my home from school). I've not taken the time in the last few years to see her as much. I'm not going to be too busy anymore. She's important; she's a strong tie to my late grandmother and my dad's youth--she does have some gems to share! I need to take the time to get to know her family better, because they are my family too. Who knows what tomorrow holds? Make time today for those who are important to you. Tomorrow may be too late.

Rest in peace, Mary Alice. May your family and friends continue the legacy of love you left behind.