Sunday, May 24, 2009

Holy Flying Bats Batman!!

Just this past week I started reading the Harry Potter series and I am on the second book. Last night I was home alone reading in bed. In the book it is October and Harry and his friends walk into the great hall and start describing the Halloween decorations one of them being real bats flying around. Just as I read that I saw a shadow out of the corner of my eye.

Oh Ha Ha imagination - I'm not falling for it. You just want me to believe that there is a real bad flying around my bedroom. But the shadow was not relenting. So, against my better judgement I look....and scream! There is a bat flying around my bedroom...

I throw the quilt over my head and begin to wonder how I'm going to get my phone without the bat getting me.

I do get to my phone and call my husband who made it home in record time by the way.

I crawl down the steps (yes crawl) with a queen size quilt over me.

Dan comes home to find nothing. Nora, are you sure that you saw a bat?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Breakfast as a Class?

I have something to say. There has been something bugging me for a while - Public Education. I have been teaching for 9 years and I have often encountered the situation where I am blamed for a student's failing grade. And not only by the student, but by their parents. Many of these parents see no responsibility in their child's education. Honestly, by the time their children are in high school the parents shouldn't have to be too involved.

That isn't even the point of my post...I read an article in the paper this morning about public schools serving breakfast. Serving breakfast is not the issue either. It's breakfast counting as educational time for the students. The example the paper uses is about a 7th grade student who is too lazy to wake up early enough to eat breakfast. So then the poor child can't concentrate during his morning classes. One question - Where are his parents? Why don't they make sure his butt is out of bed? And now the responsibility falls on the schools again to raise their children. The article goes on to say that there are families struggling to feed their children due to the economy - and I get that. But there's no reason we have to give up instruction time to feed them. At our school we serve breakfast, but it's before the morning bell rings - no instruction time is lost.

Not only do we have the talk with them, and test their eye sight, and test their hearing, and teaching them how to interact with each other, and provide free sports activities, but now we will also give up our time to feed them. Why don't we just set up a few dormitories and have them live at school? Then the parents wouldn't have to pretend to do any parenting.

Whew! I feel better. Thanks. That won't happen again...for a while anyway. What do you think? Am I out of line here?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Looking Back

What do The Bucket List and The Last Lecture have in common?

They both refer to the to-do list that people make. The list of things to do before they die. For this post I've decided to work this idea backwards. I am going to look at what I have accomplished, both planned and unplanned, that I am proud of none-the-less.

If you remember I was rather upset about turning 30. Don't remember? Click here.

So, let's take a look back into my golden twenties in no particular order:

I suppose the biggest thing was buying my own house when I was 22. After one year of my 'real' job I wanted to move out of my parents' house. I had my mind set that I would not rent. My thought process was that I have to make a monthly payment regardless, why not pay myself? So, I did some research and the median age of first time home buyers is 32 (according to That's 10 years older than I was. That's 2 years older than I am right now. So, yes. I am pretty darn proud of that fact.

Second on my list is learning to drive stick shift. I know that this doesn't seem like a big deal, but when I was first learning it just seemed so impossible. So, that first year of teaching I needed to buy my own vehicle. There was no need to drive my parents' car any longer. My choice? A toyota tocoma - stick shift of course. Yup, I bought a truck that I couldn't drive. Sounds a little crazy, but I have this incredible father who totally understood and could drive standard. So until I learned, my dad and I swapped vehicles. And every evening my dad took me out driving until I was comfortable with my new skills. I'm happy to inform you that I now drive a little kia spectra - standard transmission - and this little car is SO much fun to drive. I will never regret the decision to buy that truck. THANKS DAD!!

Here's a good one...earning both my bachelors and masters degrees in my twenties. I graduated high school in 1996 when the graduation rate was 83% ( And I graduated from college in 2000 with my bachelors degree, only about 24% of the national population has done that ( I also earned my masters degree a few years ago (can't remember exactly when) and only 9% of the population has accomplished that ( I've never been in the top ten of anything - least of all my high school graduating class - but when I look at these numbers, it appears as though I've finally made to the top ten percent in my education.

Getting married to the right person is next on my list. Have you ever fallen in love with your best friend? If you have then you know where I'm going with this. When I see my husband there is a weight that is lifted off my shoulders that I didn't even know was there. I see so many relationships around me fall apart and I can't help but wish they had what I do. I don't know that this is something to be proud of as much as grateful for. I'll word it this way...I'm proud that I was smart enough to marry him.

Becoming a mother. Being a mother is nothing to sneeze at. Warning! There is a cliche coming. Motherhood is the hardest yet most rewarding job I will ever have. I love being Jared's mom. Being given the opportunity to guide a human being in this world is so incredible. Being a mother makes he want to be a better person. I absolutely love my little buddy!!

Lastly, surviving a tragedy. I don't really want to go into detail on this one, but surviving this it is something I'm proud of. At the onset of this situation we were prepared to get professional help for me if there was a need. I wondered about how this would effect my mental health, my marriage, my relationship with everyone, and my ability to work. It seems as though I made it. Our marriage is stronger than ever and all other aspects of my life have strengthen, the ones that matter anyway. By surviving this, I feel strong and I have a new view of the world and how I fit in it. I'm proud that although I could have curled up in a ball and died (figuratively) I didn't. I allowed this to only strengthen me rather than weaken me.

If you haven't seen the movie The Bucket List or read the book The Last Lecture I do recommend that you do. Time is ticking...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

7th Grade Geography

My 7th grade geography teacher, Mr. Beagle, use to tell us that he was so mean so that people would remember him after he died. In the school district where I grew up we had a junior high that contained the 7th and 8th grade students. We were only a few weeks into my 7th grade year when this story takes place.

As I'm walking to school one morning a friend of mine offers me a jaw breaker which I cannot turn down. Now, it's against the rules to eat candy or chew gum in school. But, this was okay because I wasn't at school yet. As you know, jaw breakers cannot be eaten too quickly and I was just finishing mine as I was entering the building. Mr. Beagle stops me and asks me to spit out my gum. I inform him (politely I might add) that I was eating candy and I swallowed it. He told me that I could sit in his room until I was ready to tell the truth and spit out my gum.

So there I his room...panicking. I was panicking not because I was afraid of being late to homeroom, I was afraid of the attention that being late would bring upon me. So I gave in...I took a tissue from my purse, balled it up, and told him that the piece of gum was in there and threw it away. Every time I saw him after that he called me 'the liar'. Ah, there she is, the liar. Oh, look, the liar is in my study hall. This devastated me. Obviously, my reputation as a goody-two-shoes did not in fact follow me to the junior high school.

All 7th grade students were required to take one quarter of geography and there was only one 7th grade geography teacher....Mr. Beagle. I had my mind set on changing his opinion of me and showing him what a great student I was. One day Mr. Beagle sprang a pop quiz on us about States and Capitals. I started to freak. But, what's this? He left the map of the united states up in the front of the room. This is not a test about the states and capitals, it's a test to see which students are observant enough to look up! This is it! This is my chance to show him that I'm smart and have common sense, and to show him that he was dead wrong about me. I start to copy down the answer and I see him walking toward me with a big smile on his face. Yes, he is smiling because he is proud and I am the only student smart enough to look up. When he reaches my desk he takes my paper and throws it away. What the hell just happened? He then says to me, "Not only are you a liar but you are a cheater as well." And he quickly takes the map away before anyone else has a chance to see it.

I'm almost happy to report that Mr. Beagle is dead and I still remember him.