Monday, November 23, 2009

Did you know...

That some people find it amusing to bowl with frozen turkeys?
I happen to be one of them.
And I did it at work.
I got paid to bowl with a frozen turkey at work.
Have I mentioned I love my job?!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Memory Lane

Or in my mind, Foxdale. That's where I spent 10 years of my life in California. From the age of 4 to 14. A lot of memories are on this street...

This is the house I lived in. It looks so much different now. The landscaping was beautiful before. There were bushes against the house, out by the street, and a tree by the street in the front yard (not the one that is there now). My tree was more to the left. I used it for shade in the summer. My brother used to chase me out of the house in my bare feet in the evening, because there would be snails covering the yard then. We watched fireworks from the front yard, and we all would hang out in the evening and play "ditch", using the entire street as our hiding place.

This is the library/firehouse just around the corner. I walked here all the time to check out books. This is where I read everything I could get my hands on about Hellen Keller, or horses. They also used to have these wonderful plum trees that all of the people in the neighborhood could come and pick. I picked a grocery bag full once.

This is the gate to my elementary school, also around the corner from our house. This is where Dad and Steve picked me up to tell me that I had a little brother. I immediately started crying. See, Steve and I had a praying contest going...I was praying for a sister, and he was praying for a brother. He "won". And he was standing behind Dad with a smirk on his face. Don't judge me too harshly. I was only 7.

See the tree in this yard? Well, when it was only a sapling, Mrs. Mauriello (across the street) would use it to communicate to the kids in the neighborhood whether or not we could swim in their pool. A red flag meant no (there was rarely a red flag), a yellow flag meant bring a parent, and a green flag meant kids could come anytime. I remember being afraid that Jaws was in the deep end. Oh, and the infamous Louis and Glen lived here. Louis, the older brother, would get out his pellet gun and give Glen the count of 10 to run. He usually started shooting at around 8. It's amazing Glen ever survived.

The view of my street. I believe that's Mt. Baldie in the background.

Cathy's house. Her dad was a little grumpy, but he always wanted me to play the piano for him.

Maria's house. She always had the coolest room. And she's the first person I ever knew who "travelled." She went to Hawaii!

Our poor neighbors. I can't tell you how many times we had to ask if we could get our basketball out of their pool.

Pricilla Payne's house. She was actually a direct decendant of Pricilla on the know, the Pricilla and John story? "Speak for yourself, John...." She was also my piano teacher. Very patient woman.

I know I'll probably never be able to go back to this street, but being able to take a "virtual walk" is the next best thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall Didn't Pass Us By...

I was afraid all of the rain caused Fall to pass us by, but the days have been gorgeous lately. The result, kids taking their books outside to read and work on school work. It was a wonderful sight to see.

A quote we pondered in class today:

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. ~Pauline R. Kezer

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I'm Noticing...

In my middle school teaching days, we studied a bit about the Ancient Roman Empire. Actually, we took part in a simulation, and within that unit of study there was a lesson called "Bread and Games." It was an interesting study, in that it explained the tactics the Senate used to keep the "mob" from rising up against them. One of the tactics was called "Bread and Games." The thought behind it was simply this: If we keep the "mob" fed and entertained, they will be more reluctant to rise up. So they made sure that free bread was available to all citizens, and they instituted more than 200 official holidays per year. This in turn made the people dependent on the government for sustenance, and turned the economy to one that was dependent on the holidays, much like having an economy dependent on tourism. The result was that over the years, the people lost their trade and service based economy, the economy collapsed, and eventually Rome was weakened to the point of being invaded by Germanic tribes.

Bread and Games. It's starting to feel less like a simulation and more like the real thing...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Night at the Museum

Big Dad treated me to an evening at the Kimball Museum in Fort Worth. It featured Mayan artifacts and limestone carvings, Babylonean wall carvings, paintings by Monet, Manet and Pizarro, and one of my favorites, Michaelangelo's first known paintings. He painted it when he was only 12 years old, and was completely amazing.

Then, to top it off, we ate at the restaurant there. The asparagus quiche was absolutely delicious.

It was so fun just walking around the museum, look at the art pieces and talking about art and history with him. He's such a neat guy.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Things that make my day:

Hugs from random children
Random hugs from my children
Kudos from fellow teachers
Kudos from principals
A drop in gas prices
Funny videos that Christopher finds (the Button)
Phone calls from family
Green lights all the way to work
Good Dr's reports
A ball hit far by the boys
A high fly ball caught by the boys
A neck massage
Finding that little something you've been looking for. And it's on sale.
Dishes already done
Laundry almost done (I'm realistic)
My flowers in full bloom.

And unexpected phone calls from good friends far, far away. Love you, Sandy!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Good Teenage Decisions

You know, parenting when our kids are young is in many ways much easier. Sure, you're tired all the time, and it requires a certain level of mental, physical and emotional energy at all times, but as a parent you also know all that is going on. Your kids talk to you then, about everything. I remember my kids would tell me about getting in trouble in class. I used to laugh, thinking it's funny that they don't know NOT to tell me. But I loved that, because we could talk through their decision making process, and we could problem solve situations together.

Somewhere in middle school, though, there is a disconnect that happens. Not completely. They still talk, but it's more at their own pace, and the information trickles in a little more slowly. They process things more on their own, and handle things more on their own, too.

So I guess as parents we are gradually weened from that control, and the relationship turns more into one of a guider or counselor as they start making more and more of their own decisions. But for us, every now and then, through parents of our kids' friends, we hear of some of the decisions they have made, and I have to say I'm pleased. They not only make good decisions when placed in tough situations, but they are making them decisively. No question about it, and the stand is made. When my friends tell me what they hear about my kids, I just have to thank God for those moments we had before. Those tough times with friends or sticky situations that they had when they were young were important life lessons about dealing with people and making stands.

I think it's important for kids to know it's OK to talk to us about their mistakes, and it's OK for them to make them. My kiddos are not perfect. They are learning like the rest of us. But they are also making some good decisions, and I'm so happy to see it.