Friday, May 30, 2008

Who Do You Live With?

Ah ... the college life.

My cousin Jenn and her roommate are looking for a 3rd roommate. They are Grad school students and live in Santa Cruz, CA. The girl who was supposed to move in, bailed at the last minute. In order to fill the empty room, they put an add on Craig's List.

Jenn has been updating me with a colorful description of each person that responds ... and I've been thinking about it all day. I can't keep it in any longer. I must share it with you.

Here is a list of the people they have interviewed today:
1. a 51 year-old church-loving, chain smoker, tattooed lady
2. a 50 year-old Dojo-owning family martial arts man (with a karaoke business on the side)
3. a 23 year-old writer/cell phone salesman dripping in cologne

To top off the list of potential roommates, Jenn just received this email (and I quote):

Dear Jenn,
My name is Kandice. I am 23 and the way I pay my bills is by providing patients with medicated edibles. I don't have a real job or go to school, but I am a Life Student! My business partner and I work out of a kitchen in Redwood City, so I would not need a working space where I am living. I was supposed to be moving into a house off Empire Grade at the end of this month; however, things at that house obviously fell through. Now I am emailing you in desperation because the last thing I want is to have to couch surf and get a storage unit which is Plan A at the moment. I am coming from Pacifica, I love the coast and cannot leave it! I am a DJ but practice at my friend's studio off of Soquel and Ocean so I shouldn't be that loud. I also help put on underground non-alcoholic/strictly psychedelic events, mostly in SF. I clean my dishes after I eat. Sometimes my room gets a bit cluttered but I always have organized piles. ;)

I was wondering how much money you need up front and how soon I could move in? I am a bit broke right now because I just paid some bills but I can round up enough to move in, I am sure! I look forward to hearing back from you!

Love + Light,

Um ... no offense 'Kandice' but I think the last thing that Jenn is worried about is you're cleanliness factor. Maybe we can get back to the fact that you have a lot of very odd/illegal jobs! Jeez people!

How 'ISH' are you?

For your viewing pleasure!
(see previous blog)

How Tall Are You?

During a math lesson at the beginning of the year, I introduce a measuring tape and I measure the kids' heights. We do this three times a year. Once at the beginning of the year, once in January, and once in June.

The kids totally look forward to this lesson. They desperately want to grow and see the change in their height. I feel so bad when they don't grow. Their little disappointed faces just break my heart.

So ... in order to avoid this, I may stretch the truth. Just a little.

For example, if I know a particular student was 50 inches in January, I might say they're 50-1/2 inches now. Not a terrible lie. But also not the truth. Whatever. I'm trying to avoid tears here.

So today, when my shortest student came up to me, I just knew a lie was coming. In January, he was 47 inches tall. Today, he is also 47 inches tall. But I didn't have the heart to tell him.

So I lied.

I feel so bad when I lie that it usually comes out really uncomfortable and totally unnatural sounding. Like it did today.

Here's what I said, "Um ... (thinking of what to say) wow (not really wow cuz you're still the same height) ... it looks like you're actually 47ish inches."

What? Who says that? Who says "47ish inches?"

Me when I lie. That's who.

Here's the best part though. Later, when I was looking at their math journals, he actually wrote:

Height: about 47ish inches.


Heading To Africa

Hi family and friends ...

On Saturday, June 7th my neighborhood will be having a garage sale.

All the proceeds from my garage sale will be going towards raising money for my mission trip to Africa in December. I will be working with an organization called iThemba Lethu (which means 'I have a destiny'). Their vision is "to impact the lives of the babies and young people in Durban, South Africa, whose future is being threatened by HIV/AIDS".

I will have the honor of working with the babies in their two transition homes, and also helping to run 2 camps for children in grades 4th-12th to raise an awareness of their self-worth and educate them on HIV/AID prevention.

I CAN'T WAIT! I feel deeply passionate about this cause and feel a calling to be a part of this mission trip. The first step I'm taking (to fund raise) is participating in our neighborhood garage sale.

You might be able to help.

Do you want to get rid of anything? Want stuff 'off your hands' but don't know how? Do you have a Goodwill pile that I can take for you instead?

If so ... I'd be more than happy to pick stuff up from you if I can sell it in my garage sale. All proceeds will be going to fund my trip to Africa.

Thanks for thinking about it.

Feel free to respond by commenting on this blog and I will get a hold of you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Got Tagged

Jodie tagged me to answer these questions ... now I'm tagging Robbin, Veronica, Eve, Marisa and Amy ...

Five things on my to-do list today:
1. Work
2. Burn my SPU papers onto a final CD
3. Take my SPU CD to my professor
4. Pick Cooper up from doggy-daycare
5. Cheer on the Mariner's while being surrounded by the ruthless Sox fans

Snacks I enjoy:
1. String Cheese
2. Chez-Its
3. Any type of cheese/crackers (do you see the 'cheese-trend?')
4. Anything in front of me if I'm hungry enough
5. ...

Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Pay off my house/car
2. Think of a way to donate/pay-it-forward, etc.
3. Attend more Garden Company events
4. Pay off my brother's house
5. Invest

Places I have lived:
1. Woodinville, WA
2. Richland, WA
3. Helena, MT
4. Bend, OR
5. Mill Creek, WA

Bad Habits I have:
1. Eating (too much) in general
2. Procrastinating
3. Being REALLY lazy about cleaning my house
4. Over-worrying about things out of my control (money, bills, life, etc.)
5. #4 is worth two slots

Jobs I have held:
1. Barista (I love you coffee)
2. Waitress (for WAY to many years)
3. Camp Counselor (I miss you Mt. Rainier National Forest!)
4. Daycare worker
5. Teacher

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Grocery Store + Hungry = Random Purchase

So ... I totally know the rule: Don't go to the grocery store hungry.

But tonight, I couldn't help it. I worked in my classroom after school and didn't want to make dinner. I knew I had stuff to make a salad, so I thought I'd quickly stop and get some salad shrimp.

As I unloaded my hand-basket onto the checkout belt, I couldn't help but notice the randomness of my purchases:

- A pack of Light String Cheese
- A bottle of white wine
- 1/2 lb of salad shrimp (only item I was really shopping for)
- Pack of gum (yep, impulse item at check-out stand)
- A bag of pretzels (I craved them last night, and to be prepared in case the craving came back)
- Two 1/2 gallons of Organic Milk (this is a random purchase for me. I hardly drink milk. I'm still mulling over this particular purchase)

Items I looked at but didn't actually buy:
- Chicken breasts (why am I looking at these? I'm eating a shrimp salad tonight!)
- Cottage Cheese
- Corn on the Cob
- Salmon
- Turkey for sandwiches

I suppose it could be worse. But still.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Love You So Much

Dear Grandpa,

I'm so sorry that you're in pain. I know you have a doctor's appointment soon to see what is going on with the pain in your hip. It makes me sad to know that you have been in pain for so long.

I know you are sad to cancel our Family Reunion this summer. I know you are worried to disappoint everyone. I hope you know that all of your family loves you. ALL we want is for you to be pain-free. 

The first time you were diagnosed with Cancer and I was living in Montana, I almost dropped out of college. I was so sad for you and it was very painful to be so far away from you in your time of need. It was hard to concentrate on my studies. 

All I thought about was you.

You are not feeling well again .. and I am finding some peace, knowing that I am closer to you now and am able to help you whenever you need it. 

The tears I cry are for your pain.

I honor, respect and love you so much.

You will always have your families love and support.

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Frogs, Flowers and a Bazillion Dollars

A few years ago, our school was completely torn down and rebuilt, environmentally friendly. We now have a beautiful school garden which is kept looking pretty by our wonderful garden committee (parent and student volunteers). Each grade-level has their own garden bed to plant in and make beautiful. I've never planted anything in ours before because of my fear of killing the kids' hard work.

On Friday, my class and I planted seeds in our classroom garden bed. With the help of a volunteer mom (born with a green-thumb), we set out to plant our seeds. We planted Sweet Peas on one 1/2, and a Hummingbird Seed mix on the other. It was really fun and the kids just loved it (except for the handful that complained about how hot they were).

Yesterday, I was on STRIKE ONE towards killing our flowers (which haven't even broken-ground yet) when I forgot my water bucket at home to water our garden bed. Oops.

On our way back from P.E. this afternoon, we took 'the long way' back to class so we could check out our garden bed. And guess what? I saw green! There were actual 'green things' sticking out of the freshly-turned soil! I was so excited. As I bent over to inspect it, I realized that the 'green things' look awfully like weeds. Shoot.

Do I just fake it and get the kids excited about 'weeds?' Do seeds really sprout that fast? Since I honestly didn't know whether they were new sprouts or a variation of our weed-enemy, I just told the kids that they may ... or may NOT be weeds. I'm thinking in this case, honesty is the best policy. The 'sprouts' got a lot of "oohs and aahs" which I thought was very cool.

But then ... the REAL wing-dinger happened! The kids saw a frog! Cool!

It was all over. Kids going crazy. Frog trying to dodge 23 pairs of eager hands. Me yelling, "Let the frog go!", etc.

Chaos man! I tell ya!

Once I get the kids calmed down and in a single-file line to head back to class, I start thinking about how cool that experience was, but that I definitely don't get paid enough money to rally 23 kids all day. To my peaceful dismay, one of them starts crying. Oh brother.

What now? I just really wanted this to be a leisurely stroll through the garden!

The child stops to sob, "I want to see the frog! I didn't get to see it. I want to see the fffrrrroooogggg!"

All I can think about is getting the kids back into class. They've just been to P.E. Everyone is thirsty, it's snack-time, everyone is hungry. So I jokingly say, "I'm sorry. I know you want to see the frog, and I want a million dollars." If he's saying what he wants ... I'm saying what I want!

Without missing a beat, one of my other kids got this really excited expression on his face and he said, "I know how you can get a lot of money! You have to play that game that adults play, and if you win, you get a lot of money!"

I say, "You mean like the Lotto or something?"

And he says, "Yah, you play the lotto and if you win you get a bazillion dollars or something like that!"

Isn't that sweet!?

P.S. I guess I better start playing the Lotto!

Monday, May 19, 2008

HaPpY bIrThDaY tO mE

A big THANK YOU to my family and friends for making my birthday so special. I was totally pampered and spoiled:

Friday: Jay had flowers delivered to me at work. Thanks babe! Went to Purple Cafe with Danny, Erica and Jay. And since I am a Piper-girl I have to tell you about the food ate (we ALL LOVE talking about food). We each started with a flight of wine. Yummy! We ordered a Baked Brie appetizer that was served with crackers, walnuts and grapes. I ordered a Blackened Prawn salad that had HUGE chunks of avocado in it. Enough said. Too full for dessert (amazingly true!).

Saturday: Woke up early to a sunshiny morning with the birds chirping! Yeah, it's my birthday! Melaine, Jay and I washed our cars. Jay weed-whacked my entire backyard. For those of you who have seen my backyard, you know that this is truly an amazing feat. For those of you who haven't seen my backyard, allow yourself this visualization: grass up to your knees. Gross. My mom and dad came over and we all drove down to Maggie Bluff's for lunch (under Palisade Restaurant in Magnolia). I decided since it's my birthday, I'd drink a few mojitos during lunch. Why not?!? After said mojitos, I went home and took a nap (guess you can't drink like that when you're 32 years old!). After refreshing nap, we all went to La Palmera to watch my brother's video premiere. Very fun.

Sunday: Woke up early again, did quite a few hours of yard work, ran errands, did more yard work, took a nap, went to mom and dad's house to have cake and ice cream. Fun.

So ... I pretty much ate, napped and yard worked during my birthday weekend. My three favorite things.

Life is good!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


So ... I've been in a slump lately.

I think it started last weekend when I got the flu.

Yesterday, I SWEAR I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Really. I totally woke up grouchy. Nothing had even happened yet!

How is the possible?

What's bugging me ...?
Money worries?
Turning 32 this weekend?
Job stresses?

I've been really stressed lately because all my homework for my night-class is due next week. I way stress myself out with stuff like that. Jay swears I'm going to give myself a panic attack one of these days.

You know when you're 'having one of those days' and the littlest thing feels so big? That's my day, every day this week. Little stuff feels so big and heavy. ARGH!!!

I totally recognize these characteristics and can usually snap myself out of it ... but this week ... I just can't shake it off.

Perhaps I need a trip to my counselor! It's amazing when you sit in a room with someone for an hour and they listen ... and you finally hear yourself.

I arrived to work early yesterday and spent a 1/2-hour trying to give myself an attitude adjustment in my empty and dark classroom. It didn't help. It takes a lot of energy to be my usual patient self with my students this week. I look forward to being by myself each evening and crave the quiet comfort of my house.

I'm not sure what's going on. I'm going to work on excepting my mood and honoring my feelings.

I am setting an intent to stop resisting my feelings and perhaps with my exceptance, I will feel better.

Plus, I always think: the bad days, make the good days that much better!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pictures For A Purpose

Your child's smile could help save a life ...

Eastside Women of Purpose is launching their 1st annual Pictures for a Purpose fundraiser!

We have five super-talented photographers lined up to photograph our kiddos on Saturday, June 28th from 9am to 6pm.

The coolest part is that every photographer is donating their entire day and all profits to Eastside Women of Purpose! Everything we make will go towards programs that help protect children at risk of being trafficked in South East Asia.

Experts estimate 5.7 million children are trapped in forced or bonded labor. About one million of these children are exploited in the sex trade each year (Source: UNICEF). Many times, unwitting parent hand over their children to slavers under false pretenses, such as promises of schooling.

You can help.

Take advantage of this opportunity to secure a lasting memory of your child. All proceeds will be used to pay for desperately needed educational and training resources used by World Concern to combat child trafficking throughout SE Asia.

Your $30 sitting fee goes directly to this cause. Pick the photos you like from our easy-t0-use website -- flexible a la carte pricing lets you pick the photos and sizes you want. The site will even change the pictures to black and white or sepia tone for you! There is no obligation to buy. Again, all of the proceeds from this event will go towards this project.

We have just started selling photo sessions at OCC or by finding an Eastside Women of Purpose member (that's me!). If you live in the Seattle area and would like to participate but have absolutely no idea where OCC is, feel free to comment on this posting or visit to schedule an appointment!

Last but not least: Thank you so much for your support!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sick Day

I'm home from work today. 

I had the flu all weekend. I mean the type of flu where you can't stop throwing up and even though you're almost 32 years old, you still want your mommy.

That type of flu.

It's only 1:35 pm and I'm already bored. REALLY bored. 

Though I'm not throwing up anymore, my body is exhausted from all of it's um ... 'activities' this weekend. I slept for 20 hours yesterday. Jay had to come upstairs and see if I was still breathing. I woke up to his hand on my back at one point. I murmured an "I'm feeling better" and quickly went back to sleep. While drifting back to la-la-land, I heard him say, "Just checking" as he walked out the room. 

I think he thought I was dead.

We had to postpone our Mother's Day celebration. My mom is also sick in bed with a cold she's had all week. I feel terrible about not seeing her on Mother's Day. Out of all the mothers in the world, she deserves the biggest and best Mother's Day of all!

I've been in bed all day stressing about all the homework I have for SPU that is due next Wednesday. Don't get me started on my homework (the state makes teachers do it to keep up our certification and I have VERY strong feelings about it). 

People have been known to be sorry for bringing up the topic of teacher certification with me.

At any rate, this Saturday is my birthday ... and I refuse to do homework on my birthday weekend, so I'm trying to get it done this week.

However, here is a list of things I've done (so far today) to procrastinate:
1. Slept til 9:45 (why not ... all you have in front of you is day of homework).
2. Ate a bowl of Raisin Brand (probably not the best bet for my queasy tummy ... but I've already eaten an entire box of Saltene Crackers this weekend so I needed something interesting).
3. Flossed, brushed and mouth washed.
4. Watched The Today Show
5. Watched The Ellen DeGeneres Show
6. Walked outside (in my PJ's) to look at my plants. How are my bulbs coming? How many broke ground overnight? Does anything need watering? Oh man, I really need to weed! Etc.
7. Thought about mowing the lawn, then came to my senses. This is my first day out of bed, why would I think mowing my lawn would be the next logical step?
8. Read the grocery store ads in the paper. Made notes of which stores has things on sale that I need.
9. Clipped coupons from the ads sections of yesterday's paper.
10. Emailed my co-worker: asked her to do afternoon parent pickup duty for me.
11. Cleaned Cooper's ears (here's where I start getting really desperate for things to do).
12. Took my toe-nail polish off, cut my toenails.
13. Walked around my house and noticed that my carpets need vacuuming.
14. Thought about playing my Wii, then realized how much energy that would take.
15. Let ex-husband into house to pick up some mail. Listen to him make comments about how pale I am, let that roll off my shoulders.
16. Cuddle with Cooper.
17. Channel surf.
18. Make myself turn off the TV
19. Write this blog
20. Start on SPU homework ...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Big Ones What?

Before teaching in public school, I taught at a private Montessori. I was the Kindergarten Teacher, lunch lady, and recess monitor all in one.

One day during recess, I decided to play Tag with the kids. I remember is was late spring and it was a really warm afternoon. After playing for a while, I got warm and took my sweater off, which left me running around in my t-shirt. I thought NOTHING of it.

In mid-game, a preschooler ran up to me, looked up and said, "You got big ones."

Dear lord. 

I didn't know what to say. But guess what came out? I have NO IDEA what inspired me to say this: "Big one's what?"

Oh. My. Goodness. Why do I do this to myself?

He stared at me for a really long time. 

I know what he was thinking. He was trying to think of the word "boobs." I tried to talk myself out of this thought. Surely a 4-year old wouldn't be thinking that.

Staring up at me with his big blue eyes, he said, "You got big bellybuttons."

And quickly ran off to play.

The best part is, whenever someone says "those are big ones" about anything (you'd actually be quite surprised how often people say this phrase in everyday conversation) I think "big one's what?"

Kids Say The Darnest

Well looky, looky.

I was grading papers tonight and came across this gem. 

This is from the infamous 'cylinders' lesson (why does this draw so much attention?). 

This students wrote: can, Clorox wipe and wine cap as the cylinders he sees around the room. 

Too funny.

The best part ... we actually DID have wine caps in the classroom. I asked children to bring in 3D objects they find at home for us to make a "Shapes Museum" in our classroom, and one student brought in a bunch of wine corks.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Nothing In Moderation

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.

The students and the PTA have been sHoWeRiNg us with gifts, treats and goodies all week long.

Yesterday was AWESOME!

The PTA provided the staff with a HUGE smorgasbord (I had to look up the spelling on that) of desserts.

I feasted on a variety of sugary treats ... all ... day ... long.

I'm not kidding.

Last night I barely ate (because I could NEVER officially skip a meal altogether) any dinner because all I could think about was my caloric intake for the day.

For the entire day, I ended up eating:
1 brownie
1 chocolate/peanut butter bar
7 ... yes 7 sugar cookies with frosting.

Allow me to sum up the gravity of my food choices yesterday: I ate NINE dessert items!

I had to wear my 'fat pants' today.

I'm walking on the treadmill when I get home.

Thank you PTA! Thank you students!

You are loved.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Adopting out of Africa

I saw Madonna on the Today Show last week.

She spoke about adopting her son David from Malawi, the ever-increasing need for adopting children ... along with the heartbreak and excruciating process of adopting a child (she specially addressed adoption out of Africa).

She said two things that have stuck with me:

When asked about why she's adopting from Africa.
"If I was challenging people to open their minds and hearts, then I had to be willing to stand at the front of the line."

When asked, "What is it that you want to feel about your life?"
She responded, "That my soul reached it's true potential. And that I did everything I was put on this earth to do."

I wrote down her quotes and I'm still thinking about them ... because it's easy for all of us to apply what she said to our own lives in whatever situations we're experiencing.


Kristi is my best friend from high school.

We are like sisters.

When we get together, it's like time has never passed.

I call her Klisty-Ann and she calls me Mary-Pat.

I miss her dearly.

She lives in the Tri-Cities (where I went to high school) and we rarely see each other. The last time I saw her pretty face was when I made it over to her house for her son's 1st birthday.

She sent me this picture of her son the other day. I thought it was so cute (though I know I am partial!).

I am thinking about her a lot today. Fun memories replay in my mind and cause me to long for 'the old times' while a smile creeps across my face.

Love you Kristi.

Let's see each other soon.

jOyFuL tUmMy

One of Ms. Phan's* students wore a candy necklace today.

During snack-time, she offered Ms. Phan a piece of candy off it (lucky her!).

Ms. Phan politely declined with a sweet "No thanks honey, you keep that all for yourself."

The little sweetie quickly responded, "You really should try some. If you do, it will fill your stomach with joy."


I want something to fill my tummy with joy! I guess I'll go home and eat a brownie!

*Ms. Phan is my grade-level teaching partner

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cylinders - Part 2

Seriously ... I wouldn't be able to make this up.

It's that time of year again ... when my 1st grade class gets the infamous "cylinders" lesson (see previous blog titled CYLINDERS).

And my mind visits the cutter.

Here is a picture of ... um ... three cylinders.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Eight Belles

YES! I'm not the only person who thought this. So glad this was written. Found the following article online:

by, Michael Rosenberg

Well, I don't know about you, but I sure won't watch the Preakness the same way now. Big Brown will go for the second leg of the Triple Crown, but my thoughts will be with the filly who should be challenging him.

Eight Belles is dead. She broke two ankles after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby, and since horses can't live after that kind of injury (for various reasons), she was euthanized on the track.

Eight Belles is dead. It is strangely appropriate that the second-place finisher is the one who died.

If Big Brown had broken his ankles after winning, he would have been the biggest story in America this morning. There would be many calls to rethink the sport of horse racing. There would be a national conversation about whether horse racing is a worthy sporting endeavor or unfit for a civilized society.

If a horse had broken his ankles after finishing last, it would have been one paragraph in newspaper stories — a footnote. Fans would not have paid much attention, because it would be easy to separate the death from the reason we watch the Kentucky Derby — to see who wins.

But when the second-place finisher breaks down and must be euthanized on the track, it becomes a nasty little thought that you can't get out of your head. You might just find yourself blocking it out and concentrating on the winner, but that will only bring guilt.

Why? Why do we put racehorses at risk for our own amusement? Where do we draw the line? I have done zero polling on this issue, but I suspect most people would agree with this statement:

Kentucky Derby

It's OK to train horses to race but not OK to train dogs to fight, because the frequency of death and pain is much lower in horse racing.

Heck, that's how I have long felt. But what is an acceptable fatality rate? If Churchill Downs goes to an increasingly popular synthetic racing surface, which is believed to reduce injuries, will we feel better because we're doing something?

According to The New York Times, "Dr. Mary Scollay, a veterinarian at Calder Race Course, organized an equine injury reporting system for more than 30 tracks and has found that fatality rates have been lower on synthetic surfaces: 1.47 fatalities per 1,000 starts for synthetic surfaces against 2.03 per 1,000 for dirt tracks."

This is not just about horse racing. It cuts to the heart of our relationship with animals. It is a relationship that, for most of us, is steeped in denial.

Hunters love deer but also love to kill them. Chick-Fil-A cannily uses a cow as its spokesman — eat some chicken and you'll save the big lug. The quintessential American scene is the backyard barbecue, with slices of cow on the grill and the family dog playing catch. I'm not judging — I have two cats and eat meat. But try making sense of any of this.

Last summer, I joined most of the Western world in excoriating Michael Vick for his dogfighting operation. My feelings on Vick haven't changed. But I wonder, more than ever, about the level of outrage. Did we call Vick a thug so we would feel superior?

There is only one other major sport where we understand that the participants are risking death. That, of course, is auto racing, and it brings its own brand of denial. While we subconsciously tell ourselves that racehorses are just animals, we also tell ourselves that race car drivers have a choice. They don't have to race. They choose to. It is a risk they are willing to take, and it seems almost un-American to try to stop them.

With horse racing, we pretend that it is perfectly normal for a horse to sprint 1¼ miles down a track with a jockey on her back and a whip in the jockey's hand.

In our minds, racehorses fall somewhere between Michael Vick's dogs and our own pets. They are there to entertain, but we fall in love with the best of them.

And when Barbaro or Eight Belles dies, we tell ourselves that nothing could have been done. The truth is that if nothing had been done, if no race had been held, then those horses would have lived.

We don't like to admit that. We'd prefer to think that these deaths are part of life instead of just a part of racing. We say that Eight Belles was "euthanized," as though we did her a favor.

But on the official Web site of the Kentucky Derby, the death of Eight Belles was neatly squeezed into a single sentence, in the fifth paragraph of a story about Big Brown's historic win.

Some favor.

Inside-Out Rainbow

I'm a 1st grade teacher. I should know how to draw a rainbow.

I don't.

I learned today.

For my ENTIRE life, I've drawn a rainbow with the red on the INSIDE.

No one has EVER corrected me. I LOVE THAT!

The first clue that something was amiss was last week when one of my students said my rainbow was 'inside-out." I argued back with him, insisting that my way was the right way.

How was I to know any different?

My second clue came this morning when I walked into Veronica's Kindergarten class. She has a rainbow made out of the kid's hand-print on her front window.

"Weird" I thought. Maybe I'm missing something. Why does Veronica have her rainbow inside-out? Surely she should know, she teaches Kindergarten after all!

Is the joke on me? Am I on Candid Camera today?

I walked into Veronica's room and wearily said, "Please tell me your rainbow is inside-out." She gave me an odd look ... and I knew right then and there ... at the age of 31 ... I have just learned how to correctly draw a rainbow.

Now all I can think of is all the places I've incorrectly drawn a rainbow in my classroom.

You know what ... I'm gonna go with it though. I'm creative. I'm different. I make my own rules.

Plus, it took 31 years for someone to point out I was wrong. So maybe I'll just see how long it takes for someone else to notice!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pay It Forward - Part 2

Ever since my neighbors mowed & fertilized my grass for me ... I've been looking for an opportunity to "Pay It Forward" to someone, and today I got my chance!

While waiting in the Starbucks drive-thru this morning, I decided I'd pay for the person behind me. I was hoping it would be a woman by herself. You know ... she has a quick break from her busy family to get some coffee for herself, and SURPRISE!!! A free latte'!

The drive-thru line was REALLY long. I was the last car. A few minutes later, a car pulled up behind me. YES! It was a woman by herself. PERFECT. However, she quickly changed her mind, parked her car and ran inside. I thought "Bummer for you because you just missed out on a free latte'!"

Another car pulled up behind me ... a woman with her young son. Perfect. She too, got tired of waiting, and drove away. Jeez, this was harder then I thought!

Moments later, another car pulled up behind me. A man and a woman. I thought "Oh dang! I didn't want to pay for a guy!"

LISTEN TO ME!!!! I'm was actually being PICKY about who I Pay It Forward to! Isn't it the ACT of Paying It Forward that's important? What is my problem? I quickly gave myself an "Attitude Adjustment."

So ... I ordered my Tall Skinny Hazelnut Latte' with no foam and pulled forward. I TOTALLY listened while the car behind me ordered. A Grande Frapaccino with a muffin, and a Vente' something-or-other with a scone. 

GREAT! Now my Pay It Forward is going to cost a trillion Starbucks dollars. This just wasn't turning out how I thought it was going to! Then I heard their total: $9.89.

SERIOUSLY? All THAT for under ten dollars at Starbucks? SWEET! I'm in!

So I pulled up ... payed for my latte', and paid for their 47 drinks and 34 muffins. It felt good. REALLY good.

As I pulled away, I saw the man in the driver's seat hand the woman (in the drive-thru) his credit card, look confused, then look at my car. YES! That was fun to witness! 

I wanted to sneak away without them knowing who I was. But this particular Starbucks is on a corner, so as I pulled up to the stoplight, I was actually parallel with their car in the drive-thru ... and it ended up being the best part of the entire experience. 

Besides the 'high' of treating someone with some morning goodies, the sight of their pleasure was unmeasurable. As I passed their car, they BOTH had their heads hanging out their window, smiles wide, happily waving a 'thank you!' wave.

OF COURSE I got tears in my eyes (I cry at nearly EVERYTHING!). If you want the truth. I was a hot-mess. I couldn't really pull myself together. DANG ... that felt great.

Paying It Forward is a win-win situation for everyone involved. It feels good to receive, but it feels GREAT to give!

Now it's their turn ...

Kentucky Derby

As quickly as Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby today ... tragedy struck.

I happened to be walking past a TV this afternoon when the final race of the Kentucky Derby was just starting. I've never watched a race, and thought it might be interesting. It really was quite thrilling. Such large, beautiful animals, running in quick bursts with all their might.

Big Brown won by 5 horse-lengths, but it was the 2nd place horse that caught my attention.

Eight Belles was the first filly to run the race in nine years. A few feet past the finish line ... she collapsed after fracturing both front ankles. I held my breath, seeing the image of a beautiful horse laying on it's side on the race track. Vets immediately ran to her, and moments later ... she was euthanized.

I had NO IDEA they did that to horses when they injured like that. 

I just sat there, staring at the TV and started crying. I'm sure the people I was with thought I was crazy. But SERIOUSLY ... WOW. That was a shock. I was wishing there was something I could do.

... I'm still thinking about her ...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Because I Tried My Best

So you all know I have about a bazillion boys in my class.

Boys are competitive.

This year has been all about "who won this" or "who won that" or "I was there first" or "he cut me in line."

Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of "it doesn't matter, we'll all get there at the same time" or "we're all winners, let's not keep score" or "it doesn't matter who wins as long as you try your best." I mean, these boys cry if they get 14 out of 15 correct on their spelling tests.


Well, I think it's starting to sink in, because during sharing last week, one of the boys brought in his soccer trophy and I overheard this conversation:
Student in class: "How many games did you win?"
Sharing student: "None"
Student in class: "If you never won any games, why did you get that trophy?"
Sharing student: "Because I tried my best."

WaRm FuZzIeS!

PrAnKsTeRs AnD jOkEsTeRs

Understatement of the day: I Love May Day

I grew up in a family of pranksters and jokers. We LIVE for the opportunity to scare each other, do pranks, practical jokes and surprise each other. So naturally, I LOVE May Day. I LOVE putting together a beautiful bouquet of flowers, putting it on someones doorstep, ringing the doorbell, and running away.

I'll have to admit, it's actually quite a self-serving act for me. The flower arranging. The running around. The potential lying about your whereabouts. The sneaking. The door-bell ringing. The running. The adrenaline.

I love it all.

I hope you had a wonderful May Day!

The Value Of A Dollar

In Math yesterday, I taught the value of a dollar. A dollar equals 100 pennies, 20 nickles, 10 dimes, or 2 quarters.

But it's equals a whole lot more to a group of 7-year olds.

I asked the kids this simple question: What can you buy with one dollar?

Here are some of their answers:
1. A Match Box or Hot Wheels car before tax (I was then informed that a Match Box car is .97 and a Hot Wheels car is .99 ... before tax of course)
2. A tennis racket
3. Nascar Jeff Gordon car (but then another student spoke up and said, "No, at the Evergreen Speedway they are like eight dollars!")
4. A box of crayons
5. Something at the dollar store (love that!)
6. A lunch box
7. A donut
8. Hot Wheels Speed Gun (apparently this is a toy that measures the speed of your Match Box/Hot Wheels cars). Can you tell I have a lot of boys? I'm learning so much!
9. Kite or bowling game
10. Weights for working out

I then said, "It's so weird, because when I was little, you could buy SO MUCH MORE for one dollar!"

One of my kids piped up and said, "That's because of the Industrial Revolution change. Especially in Canada."

Love that kid.