Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Letter

It came today. I knew it would eventually. It always does this time of year. I wasn't really ready for it. I never am.

It was the letter. It said that I need to report back to school on August 13.

Summer vacation is rapidly coming to an end.

I've been getting these letters for about 34 years now. You'd think I would be better prepared, but every year I have this "Oh, No!!! Not Yet" feeling envelop my being.

Don't get me wrong. I like what I do and when the time comes, I will be ready. I'll have my wardrobe planned for the first 3 weeks of school. I'll have my supplies ready. I'll even have my mind ready.

It is just that initial shock that the letter brings that always gets me.
The letter changes with each administration. Some have been chatty, some have been informative, some have been encouraging, but as of late they have been brief and to the point.
Show up on the said date at the said time for professional development. An agenda is enclosed.
Oh yeah, and we are excited about the new school year and look forward to seeing you.
I really need to go by the school before then to see what they have me teaching this year.

It's nice to have my wardrobe planned but it's even better when I have my lessons planned. Most years I have gotten to teach at least one subject that I didn't teach the year before. Sometimes I have gotten to teach three. I guess they figure I can do it...or maybe they are trying to get me to retire. Hmmmmmmm!!!!

They are going to have to come up with a new plan.

Two weeks and five days to go!!!!!
I can handle it. I just need to lose 10 more pounds so that my good clothes will fit, have a cataract removed, clean the house, do all the fix ups, get on my exercise plan...no problem!!!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Good Day

Some days are okay and some days are great, but every once in awhile that Good Day slips in there. It really isn't anything special. Last Saturday was one of those Great Days. The Dareing Family got together for fun, food, singing and laughter. Today was just one of those Good Days.

The bloomin' cat woke us up earlier than usual. We had breakfast, read the paper, and watched a little TV. Then, we got ready and went to Walmart to pick up some necessities. We always see someone to talk to at Walmart and today was no exception. Of course, we forgot a couple of things so they have been added to the next list. We came home and had some lunch. Sounds exciting doesn't it?

Hubby D checked the movies at the new cinema right here in good ole Miami town and discovered that Bruce Willis' new Die Hard movie was on. So instead of changing out of our shopping clothes, we or at least I flopped on the couch to do a little reading and TV watching. Hubby D ran some errands for his mom. He is such a good son and a better husband!!! About 3:45 we started getting ourselves moving and headed to the movies.

This Die Hard is like the others. ACTION, EXPLOSIONS, BLOOD, DEATH AND MAYHEM!!!
We really enjoyed it. Let's face it. Having an old guy whup ass and still come out on top can't be beat especially when you get to be our age. Reality must be checked at the door when you buy your tickets. Nobody could live through all of the things that happen in this movie except a good ole smart mouthed hard as nails cop.

On the way home we stopped at Montana Mike's for dinner. It was busy. Of course, it's Friday night. Oh well, we got to see people we hadn't seen in ages and I got to talk some more. I usually don't leave the house more than once a week during the summer if I don't have to. I don't do the hair and make up on a regular basis during my time off. I talk on the phone and via the net, but sometimes I need face to face interaction. I got that today and it was nice.

We have spent the rest of evening watching TV and here I am blogging. Life is good and so was today.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Church of Tom Jones

As I perused the Joplin Globe this morning, I came across an article in the FAITH section that got my mind going again. I have kept my thinking at a very low level since school has been out. I watch "Magnum" reruns, "The Price is Right", "Family Feud" and of course "Wheel of Fortune". None of these take very much thought on my part so I have really had no incentive to blog. However, this article screamed "Oh, my goodness!!! What?", and I felt the need to blog again.

The title of the article is "Church of Tom Jones: It's not unusual...or is it?

Some of you may not have a clear idea about who Tom Jones is or how his show impacted the world but let me tell you---Tom Jones was hot back in the day. He had his own TV show where he sang and gyrated so that the camera could only show the upper part of his body. I knew a girl in Tulsa who was very active in her church and Tom really got to her. I don't think her reactions to him were of the spiritual nature. She blushed and giggled everytime he did that hip/hunch thing. Yeah, we were clearly quite naive back then.

Back to the article...Somehow he struck a cord with a 7 year old boy back in the day and now Pastor Jack, Jack Stahl, uses Tom's music to minister to the world. The article said, and I quote, "His voice enables me to get in touch with the holy spirit and cast out demons. I don't know how it works, I only know it does. It has nothing to do with the lyrics of a particular song. ...It has everything to do with his voice."

When I first started reading this article, the only lyrics that came to mind were "What's new pussy cat, whoa oh oh oh oh?" and "It's not unusual to be loved by anyone. It's not unusual to have fun with anyone." I was relieved to get further into the article to find that he didn't use the lyrics because I don't know about you, but those are not songs I ever heard in church.

This man evidently casts out demons while listening to Jones' music. He has a 24 hour Tom Jones Exorcism Hotline for help "If the devil has slithered into your life." That number is 206-309-0GOD. The church is The Progressive Universal Life Church and is located in Sacramento, California. Pastor Jack dresses like Tom Jones and uses Tom Jones' music in his sermons. He says, "I perform marriages, baptisms, funerals and exorcisms with the aid of Jones' music." The church's Web site is http://www.churchoftomjones.com/.

This man has his own radio show where he preaches and offers online certifications to those who want to be ordained ministers. He has appeared on more than 100 radio and television shows in seven countries.

I'm not making this up.

I don't know about you but to me this is strange. I know that Jesus works in wondrous ways so I am not going to totally count this out. The man isn't touting Tom Jones as a saint or promoting the worship of Jones. If we truly believe that nothing is impossible when we put our faith in God, we have to give the guy credit for having faith and moving on it.

BUT it is strange.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Last Thursday was the last day for teachers but I had to miss that wonderful in service day to drive through the pouring rain to pick up Cap'n N at the Tulsa airport. I drove through horrendous rain from just past Vinita to Tulsa. I drove 55 mph on the turnpike so you know it was raining mighty hard. When I got there, I discovered that the airport was without full power. They barely had lights. To get to the bath room facilities I had to walk down the escalator, venture into a fairly dark pottying area and then climb back up the escalator. There were no flight announcements or boards to check for information. Various people who looked almost official came by with information every once in awhile. Because of the weather his flight was 2 hours late, and wouldn't you know for once I was on time, early even!!!!! Luckily, I always take some kind of reading material. I've been stuck before. The baggage carousels didn't work so they unloaded the luggage on the sidewalk in front of the terminal. Any way we got home all right.

I was going to check out of school on Friday but heck, I already had my grades posted and since they don't give out the summer checks when you check out any more, what's the rush?

We had a great week end with the kid. We did the usual...watched movies, talked, laughed, went to Joplin, and ate out or had fast food often. I offered to cook and even made a grocery run. He opted for going out for steak for his birthday. I did make brownies. They were edible but not the best.

I always thought we had planned out his arrival 32 years ago pretty well, but now I realize that while that was fine when we were younger now with the end of school every year, I get tireder and tireder. Oh well, "dems da breaks". To quote a woman who knows him quite well, "He is a mighty lucky boy to have had such wonderful parents all of these years!" He went home Monday and had to drive through terrible rain storms most of the way back to Texas. He was driving his new car though and had windshield wipers, a defroster, and turn signals that worked.

Hubby D had to work on Tuesday so I went to Wyandotte Tuesday afternoon and checked out. I had to make sure my room was in order and do my inventory. I threw away lots of stuff, but trust me, when I go back in August, I will still have oodles to sort and throw away. I always plan on doing it at the end of school but wind up piling stuff in my closets and file cabinet. I'm thinking that I might just get energetic and go down one day this summer to go through all of it. That's funny. I crack myself up sometimes.

Today was a veggin' out day. Tomorrow, I actually plan on getting something done. I've got to stop this I'm going to make myself sick laughing so hard.

I must admit I did do some dishes, some laundry, and some cooking today. The Hubby was off today and will be off tomorrow and Friday so we do actually have a few plans. Basically, this summer I will try to finish a few projects, read a few books, and get myself back into shape. Notice I said "try to" not "try and". Most people say "try and...." which indicates that you will accomplish whatever you try. I will try to do some things and be dang happy if I accomplish anything. There is a to do list on the refrigerator that I put up last summer. Nothing has been marked off so this is the summer to mark off at least one thing.


I'll let you know in August how the plan worked out. I'm pretty sure it will be one of those don't hold your breath things.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I have been grading research papers. I am learning so much. Some of them are even interesting. Some of them are helping me to learn patience. Some of them are telling me just how much attention my darlings actually pay to my written instructions, my examples on the board, and my sweet teacher voice as I entreat them to pay attention and do things the right way.

I know some of them have listened because they have actually written enough for 5 typed double spaced pages, have correctly documented 5 sources in their papers, have alphabetized those sources, and have indented the 2nd and 3rd lines on their entries on the source cited page. They used their thesis statement in the first paragraph. They tried to paraphrase and not plagiarize. They followed their outline. These students make me happy. The only problem is that there just aren't very many of these students.

Some of my students disappointed me. They had lots of time to work on this paper, and they could only come up with 2-3 pages of information. They wasted time. I had to let them so they would learn a valuable lesson. It is hard not to be on them all of the time when I know they are going to get themselves into trouble.

When they only put one line on every note card, I gave them credit but warned them that they might not have enough information. Did they listen? NO!!! But hey, what do I know I've only taught the research process for oh about 20 years.

Some tried to impress me with little information and pages of charts and graphics. I'm not that easily impressed.

Some made their margins at the top and bottom larger than 1". At least they all used size 12 and Times New Roman for their computer settings.

Computers are great...but students rely on them to correct all of the spelling and grammar errors. One example that I encounter frequently is that the computer does not know when you use there for their or were for where, etc. It always assumes that there uses a singular verb which is not true. Some things we just have to learn for ourselves. I am afraid that the majority of students aren't learning how to read and correct their mistakes.

Oh well, you can't stop progress. Our teachers worried that we weren't well enough prepared to make it in the world and we have so I guess I will trust that my efforts are not in vain and at least most of my students will be able to make it in the outside world.

Lord knows I've tried!!!!! For my seniors we only have 6 more classes then test. If they don't have it now, oops, I tried. Maybe they didn't but I did.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Miss Taylor

Miss Taylor died and will be buried on Monday. She was 93 or something like that. I remember thinking she was about that old when I had her in class all those years ago.

She was an old maid and quite set in her ways. She was a tough ole bird and I can only imagine how she would deal with today's students. I imagine they would have been whacked a few times.

She taught history and French and finally became the school librarian after I graduated. I think when I started teaching at Wyandotte she was still the librarian.

I was lucky; she liked me. I learned from her, too. I think I was afraid not to. My sophomore year in high school, I took world history from her instead of taking Home Ec. I was the only girl in my class who didn't take Home Ec that year. I was the only girl in the world history class. I majored in social studies in college. She must have had some influence on me.

Maybe some day after I'm gone, some student will read my obituary and remember some way that I influenced them for the better. I think that is what teaching is mostly about. Making a difference in people's lives is a mighty fine way to make a living.

The Eternal Prom Queen

I went to prom again for the umpteenth time. I wasn't in charge, thank the good Lord, but as senior sponsor I am invited and expected to show up. Hubby D can't be around perfume, aftershave, hairspray, etc. so "R" went with me.

I did the Cotton Eyed Joe, two stepped with a couple of my senior boys and did the Hokey Pokey. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Dipping strawberries in the chocolate fountain was fun but the eating them was even better. "R" even took a staged picture of me pretending to stick my tongue in the chocolate fountain. I have been having to watch my carb intake because of that blood glucose thing but at the prom I was far from good. I am back to being good. If being good were as much fun as the alternative, more people would be good.

One of the best things about Prom night is the students are all dressed up so they look and act better. The baseball team was exceptionally squirrelly, but hey, they were having fun sliding all over the dance floor on their knees while there dates sat at a table trying not to look too embarrassed. The kids danced most of the time and seemed to have lots of fun. We have some guys who do the break dancing stuff so they showed off; then, some guys who don't do the break dancing stuff did their versions. Both were entertaining.

One of my boys said he wasn't into this stuff and wished he had just gone rodeoing instead. We assured him that this would be the best prom he had ever gone to. He said this was the only prom he had ever gone to so we said, "See we told you!!!!!" I think he had more fun than he wanted to let on.

We stayed later than we had planned. I read my watch wrong so we got home after 11. We aren't the young swingers that we once weren't and we aren't as young as we once were. "R" got to babysit with her two darling grandboys the next day. I got to sleep in. I have taken it easy these last two days. I am going to need all the energy I can muster to finish up these last few weeks of school.

For those of you who haven't done the prom thing in years, bless your hearts. I have so many memories from years gone by--- the different styles of dancing, the different dress styles, the different hair-dos, the different songs that stick.

One of my favorite things from back then was that I used to rewrite the words to a Statler Brothers song "The Class of '57". I used some of their words but mostly I made up silly things about what the seniors would be doing in the future. I tried to make it as unrealistic as possible. I really enjoyed writing those but then somebody got all bent out of shape not wanting to be included in the song and I just stopped. Who needs hurt feelings and parents and administrators and board members getting into the act. It wasn't worth the hassle. I should just write the song for my own enjoyment. Nah, I would have to tell someone, and then, it would get out and I would get into trouble because I would write really tacky stuff if I didn't think anybody would know. Guess I will just have to reminisce about those good old days.

I hope my former students recall their prom song with fond memories because that was why I did it. I like making memories especially good ones.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

That Time of the School Year

It is that time again. Spring comes. We are told to keep our students busy. Our students are gone with FCCLA(FHA), track, baseball, Vo Tech, FFA, enrolling at NEO, and whatever else they can squeeze in there. In both of my English IV classes today at least 1/3 of the class was gone with school activities. I had started this poetry unit. I was going to use Shel Silverstein poems to get them interested before they had to do the serious stuff. Want to guess how far we got with that? At least the Juniors are working independently on their research papers. The rough draft is due Friday and some of them haven't given me their note cards yet.

My new plan for seniors is to watch a relevant movie for the next two days and then to try again next week. Of course, next week, I will run in to much the same scheduling problems as this week. Next Friday is prom. We were scheduled to be out of school that day but snow days ruined that. Students who are going to Prom must be at school for at least half a day unless they happen to be Juniors who are working on decorating. Friday will be one of "those" days. On top of that I will be out of my classroom to help with testing one day. The week after that we have a talent show scheduled. The next week is the senior/faculty game. There will be track meets and baseball games throughout April also. Each week brings new activities and challenges.

I can handle it. I have learned to go with the flow. I know that the only thing you get from beating your head up against a brick wall is a headache. Plans must be flexible. You put it out there and the students who want to will learn and those who don't want to will get by. This is reality. We only have about 29 days of classes left. This causes great joy and panic.

You would think that after all of these years I'd be used to the chaos that is the end of school. Maybe next year I will be better prepared. I am so funny. Any ole who, I must go get my rest. I am on duty at noon this week and I promised to teach them how to do The Cotton Eyed Joe before prom. At least I will be getting some exercise.