Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 52

Oooh look,,, a deck of cards :) Whoa yeah!

Been thinking about  GPS devices...actually, I read an article that likened them to our internal GPS system..... you know, it's that little voice inside our head that tells us where we are, and how to get to where we want to go. The problem is I always seem to second guess that little voice. If our internal GPS is programmed correctly, then it not only tells us how to reach our desired destination, it also tells us the best route for the journey. So why do I second guess it? Why deviate from the course? That little voice in my head is always having to "recalculate settings" in order to get me back on track.... And sometimes, I end up so far out of bounds that I lose the signal altogether. Why do I do that?  I've been told what to do about my book, why don't I just do it? In the profound words of my brilliant children, I must say, "I don't know!" ---- and I must say it with that sing-songy voice that makes me want to pinch their lips together :)

Planet "M"---My students had a substitute teacher today, Mr. Saeger. I am anxious to find out how it went. When you ask kids, their responses are always very interesting. Good for a chuckle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 51

A busy day... and way too much to do after hours. Four more days until the big reunion. Slammed my botched nails in the door, that sent a few sound waves into the atmosphere. Searching... ever searching... for ways to engage and challenge my students. Why am I never satisfied with my program? It keeps me humble.

That's all I've got. There simply isn't anything left in me tonight.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 50

Wow! Day 50. That seems like a lot, until I measure it against 365. I better ignore the numbers for a while.

My 30 year is in just 5 more days,,, nope I haven't lost my 20 pounds magically. Dang. I was hoping it would sneak off in the middle of the night... after all, we've been pals for such a long time, it's time to move on :) Okay, I turned down candy corn tonight... CANDY CORN! I've never turned that down before (hence the 20 extra pounds, duh!) I even drank... water... bluh! Tonight I got my hair done by the amazing Chelsea... she is so awesome at color and style... I love her work. It makes up for the totally botched nail job I paid good money for on Saturday. It is the worst nail job in the history of the nail industry. Ah, but botched nails or not, I am looking forward to Saturday night... and all that great 70's music...woo hoooo!

Planet "M"---Today I received an insulting e-mail from a mom. I think she was trying to be sarcastic and funny, but she came off ignorant and dare I use the word bitchy on my blog? Gasp! I did what I often do; I wrote a nice winded letter telling her exactly what I thought,,, then deleted it, and wrote something politcally correct. ;0 It's what we do. Someday....when I am rich and famous... I will tell the truth. And it will make you LYAO!!! Till then, I am merely the PC Queen of teaching.

No quote tonight... I heard a good one about directions this morning, but I can't remember it. Ah, the joys of a sagging mind. Truth is, I'm too tired to look for a good quote. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 49

"Rather than passing through our trials, we must allow our trials to pass through us in a way that will sanctify us." Neal A. Maxwell.

What a profound perspective. If you've ever read his books, then you know that they are rich with pearls of inspiration and new ways of looking at old ideas.

A friend visited today and asked me about the book. Would that I had something new to report. Waiting is excrutiating, but I feel in my soul that the pathway will reveal itself soon, and doors will open. The story was penned through inspiration, I refuse to consider that it was all for naught, or that it was simply a gift to be enjoyed by me alone. Nope. There is a plan, and just because I don't see it from my limited view, doesn't mean it isn't there. "Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to." Isn't that the miracle? Or as Alma put it, "...therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." I don't see the path. I don't see the when, the how, or the who. Yet I know the path is there. "Dispute not because ye see not... rather be believing."

It's a good story. If this waiting period is a trial, then I pray that I allow it to pass through me,,, and that it will leave me a bit more sanctified in the process.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 48

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." Henry Ford.

Is that the problem? Hmm... then I suppose the reason I am not 20 pounds lighter yet is because I keep seeing obstacles like rootbeer floats, nachos, "In-and-Out", and of course---there's my Coca Cola Classic! I'm just one of those people who don't get truly focused on a goal unless I see a possibility of achieving it. Well, I guess that's true except where my book is concerned. The world says that is an impossible goal, but I am still headstrong and committed about seeing it in print, and I have faith that it will happen.

Tonight I attended a women's conference and dinner with some of my friends. I don't make friends easily, but once I do, they are stuck with me forever. ... Either that, or they move away. I wonder what high school would have been like if I had spent more time nurturing friendships and less time worrying about the future. Ah, who cares. Life is so good now, that the past no longer holds my interest. That is an interesting place to be emotionally... and it feels good. Let's hope I still feel that way next weekend at my 30 year reunion. Should be fun... a bunch of old people trying to act (and look) young... dancing ridiculously to Cheap Trick, Chicago, Kiss, and Earth Wind & Fire. Yeah, that should be interesting.

Bed time for the ridiculously old lady :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 47

I'm afraid I over did it this week; I had "In-and-Out" twice! Yikes! With fries and coke even. At this rate, I will never shed those 20 pounds. I was doing so well, and I finally started to see the scales tip in the right direction, then... In-and-Out! What is wrong with me? There goes the neighborhood. This is too depressing, new topic!

I had a book recommended to me this week called Readacide. It is about how we have destroyed the love for reading in kids because of the emphasis on testing, analyzing, and breaking books apart--instead of just reading them. There's more to it than that, but that's it in a nutshell. I agree with the sentiment. As much as I enjoy analyzing literature, the love of reading is by far the greater good for society. I've only barely begun the book, so I will let you know what pearls of wisdom I stumble across. (I know, don't end a sentence with a preposition... I get it.)

"The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn't know how to read." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Planet "M"---spent my entire prep period calming a disgruntled parent who was angry because her child was moved out of my class. Did you catch that? An entire period! Those are minutes of my life that I will never get back! I mean, come on... be reasonable. I'm not THAT good :)

Alright, my eyes are burning.... It's nearly 11:30, and I have to get up at 4:30am to take my daughter to her Cross Country meet. Whatever happened to sleeping in on Saturdays? What is with these sports teams? Don't even get me started on that, or I won't make my midnight deadline.

So what am I going to do about those two "In-and-Out" splurges?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 46

I have spent hours reading essays today, and making comments on each of them..... That, on top of designing a 6 station science rotation to explore energy. I'm grumpy, my eyes are crossed, my back aches, .... and the last thing I feel like doing is posting a blog. Yet here I sit.

"The daily grind of hard work gets a person polished" ~ Unknown

Dang... No wonder I'm so shiny.

RAK??? Today it was a group of students. They brought in disinfectant wipes and cleaned all my to bottom, because one of our students was diagnosed with swine flu. How cool is that?

Planet "M"---Today we were "P"'d on. Yep, our invasion into another classroom with 200 "M"s led to a retaliation. We have been "P"'d!  It's all about throwing those fish!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 45

Today's quote is from my favorite writer (I seem to say this a lot... don't I?) But truly, C.S. Lewis is probably my #1 favorite across the board. I was feeling a little resentful today...and then I heard this on this quote, and it caused me to pause and reflect a moment on what it means to "lose myself in service." It's a bit lengthy, so get comfortable.

"The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first--wanting to be the centre--wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake...What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could 'be like gods'--could set up on their own as if they had created themselves--be their own masters--invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come...the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."

I often moan and complain that I am tired...tired of saying "yes" to opportunities to serve, either in church or at work. When that happens, all I can think about is how exhausted and stretched to the limit I am; I long to enjoy time to myself. In short, I whine. Loudly. Granted, there is a need to take care of myself, but too often I fear I fall into the trap of entitlement---believing that I am entitled to something that I am not currently receiving. Dallin H. Oaks said, "Entitlement is generally selfish. It demands much, and it gives little or nothing."

I suppose, as in all things, finding the right balance is they key.

Sometimes I think I need a new locksmith :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 44

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou

Today I was the assistant principal again...It's amazing how different people are...and how much they are the same. As AP, I have the opportunity to sit down and truly talk with kids. 95% of the time it is very enjoyable, even though the students are there because they're in trouble of some kind. Then there are some...and these will be in one of my books someday...that truly entertain me. They fall into the dategory of "Is this an audition for a TV reality show, or are you truly out of your mind?" Those are the ones where you earn your stripes. The best part of the job is when you successfully make a child feel that you are on their side and that you care. It is magic when that happens.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 43, 322 to go

When people hear that I work with middle school students, they get this odd expression on their face, like they should bow down to me...or check my pulse--or maybe give me an Alka Selzer. Truth be known, middle school can be a whole lot of fun with just a tiny amount of effort. Kids this age are a blast. Today my students made around 200 "M"s during advisement. Yep, we set down our silent reading books and had some fun. Shame on us! After school, a group of kids came to my classroom, and together we invaded another classroom---a secret invasion, no less. Stealth was the operative word, although there's not much stealth in 11-13 year olds :-) We snuck into another teacher's classroom and plastered our 200 "M"s all over the place with a note letting them know that they had been invaded by Planet "M". The kids had a blast, and I am 110% certain that the recipients will enjoy the fun just as much as the perpetrators. And I get paid for this? Nope... duh, we did it after school, remember? One of my students asked me, "Why are we doing this?" To which I replied, "Because it's fun." Then he flashed a very wide grin and said, "You rock!"

And that, my friend, is called "throwing some fish" at work. If you don't know what that means, then you obviously have never visited the Fish Factory in Seattle.

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." ~ Dale Carnegie

It was a good day for Planet "M".

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 42

"Physical strength is measured by what we can carry; spiritual by what we can bear." ~ Unknown

Today I heard a profound thought, "We are not earthly beings on a spiritual journey; we are spiritual beings on an earthly journey." I find this little nugget rather significant, and a nice reminder for me to keep things in the proper perspective. It also fits with a scene from the movie I saw yesterday---you know the one that all the critics have bashed because it is so cliche'.... "Love Happens." There is a scene where the main character takes a group of people out into the middle of a busy street, and he asks him to tell him what they see, hear, feel, etc. Cars honking, people yelling, profane gestures, birds, music, screeching tires, etc....Then he takes the same group to the top of a sky-scraper, same street below, and asks them the same question. From there, they see all the way to the ocean, past a sea of rooftops. His point? That their location did not change, only their perspective. Sometimes I forget to look up and see things from the vantage of immortality and eternity...a simple thought, but it makes all the difference in the world.

RAKs? I made my husband another chocolate pie...does it count as a RAK if I ate a piece of the pie too? Okay, I'll keep working on my kindness meter.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 41, Taylor is 18!

Happy 18 Taylor. You are now a member of the majority. You can buy a car, get a loan, stay out after curfew, enter into a legal contract, and work overtime! Wow! What will you do with all this freedom? Oh, did I mention, you need a job in order to do all those things? The world is yours to experience and explore; man-up and make the most of it! Your destiny and your success are now solely in your hands. I love you wholeheartedly and unconditionally.

My husband is the king of the RAK today. He took me to see "Love Happens," without complaining (too much.) He even wiped away my tears. What a guy! I'm sure there is a boxing match or ultimate fighting competition in my near future to make up for stealing another piece of his manhood. Thank you honey.

I made my first double-layered pineapple upside down cake today (Taylor's request.) Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

"Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest." Larry Lorenzoni

Day 40

I still can't get the MP3 file to upload... darn. Anyone out there know how to do it?

It's finally Friday, and I am looking forward to sleeping past 5am tomorrow. I have ten minutes to get my blog posted, and my mind is a total blank. Suddenly, I have no memories of the day...nothing clever to inspirational thought to quote to share. I spent an hour in a massage chair having a European pedicure.... Now THAT's the way to finish off a week. Topped that off with a trip to In and Out.

Tonight I had a parent payback moment. I received a letter of appreciation from my daughter. That made my whole week. Tomorrow my son turns 18. How did my kids grow up so fast?
Oops... it's midnight. I missed my deadline. Too bad... Deduct 10% from my grade :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 39

When I was young, I suffered from such severe rejection anxiety that I faked excuses to get out of anything competitive. I would rather deny myself an experience than face rejection; it tied directly to my sense of self value and worth. My husband feared when I began the process of getting published, that I would not deal well with the onslaught of rejections that were sure to come. If nothing else, I have developed an amazingly thick skin over the past few months. The first, say 20 rejections were like knives slicing me open--revealing all my innermosts to the whole world--- "Look at me... I'm a loser!" That was a good 30 rejections ago.... and now I just grunt, sigh (heavily,) and toss them into my "some day you are going to regret this" rejection pile. Remarkably, I have learned not to bleed when an agent or publisher rejects my manuscript....or rather, my one-page query, which perfectly incapsulates the very best my book has to offer (cough cough... swallow my tongue.) I am pleased to announce to the world that being rejected by OVER 60 agencies/publishers has not destroyed my self-esteem... but rather has made me more determined than ever not to quit. I'm not sure how that is possible... perhaps it just proves what all my friends and family have known for years, but I have refused to admit..... I am very stubborn. Hmmm. Well, if it gets me published, then yeah for me.

I stopped counting after 60 rejections.

Let's be fair though... not all my responses were rejections. I had at least two of these: "Yes, we will publish your book... it has such high social value, and we are pleased to inform you that you have been selected by our publishing group to have your manuscript published... We are very particular about the limited number of books we publish each year, but we feel your book has what it takes to find success in the market place." Oh,,, did we mention??? That's all for the low, low price of $1,000---give or take a couple hundred.

Then there are those two agents who actually requested my full manuscript. Wow, that was cool. Too bad one of them decided my book just didn't seem to "have what it takes to compete in a post-Twilight market". ... which is very interesting because my book is pretty much NOTHING like Twilight....except that there are boys and girls in it. No vampires. No werewolves. No perfectly glorious, marble chested leading man who yearns for the heroine's blood. Well then, perhaps that's what my book is missing???? A hot, blood-thirsty hero? Sigh sigh. The other agent still has not responded. That is the toughest part of all.... waiting (and I do it so gracefully.) Finally, there is my ace in the hole. The one traditional publisher who has agreed to publish me---strictly small time with limited release, but hey, what the heck. It's a beginning.

Then, to top it off, there's that annoying prodding that keeps whispering to me that I should start the query process all over again... because my book should be queried as science fiction. I know. What am I waiting for, huh? .

One thing is for sure... I have been bitten by the writing bug. I am excited about the direction my next book is taking... it's a surprise even to me. And then, lying in wait are many more books... inspirational stories, a comedy about becoming a leading man, and my personal favorite,,, the pending "Pickle Jar Science" which was supposed to be a joke, but now ???

I close tonight with a quote from one of my all time favorite authors. "Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough." Og Mandino

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 38

I tried to upload a very funny MP3 file tonight... but haven't figured out how to do that yet. BUT when I do, I promise you are going to laugh out loud... especially if you are a teacher!

It is actually way past my bedtime, so I'll hurry. Today I was the assistant principal and had the opportunity to do some observations of teachers. That was very cool. One of the classrooms I visited was the SDC class. It nearly moved me to tears to see the dedication and devotion of the teacher and the student peer buddies who care for those children with severe handicaps. Wow, they put me to shame! It truly does require a special person to handle that responsibility and our SDC teacher exceeds all expectations. She's my new hero.

On the book, the impression hit me stronger than ever today to market it as science fiction. I think I need to act on that instinct. It's a risk, but I don't think I can ignore the prompting any longer. Wish me luck, please.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 37

"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Jimmy Brickey.

These are the words from a note my neighbor gave me after his wife's funeral... and I thought it would be a nice message for my blog. Truly kindness is a universal language.

You know what I find interesting, and even a little sad? It seems to be easier to show kindness to strangers than to members of our own family. I can't tell you how many times I've heard of people who go out of their way to extend kindness to others, yet treat their own spouse with disdain or contempt. Why is that? Aren't we a little backwards when we treat others better than our own family? I am as guilty as the next person...willing to do anything to help one of my friends or a colleague, but too blind to see the needs of my husband or children. I talk about RAKs ... and I realize that those should begin at home. Am I alone here?

Got another rejection from a literary agency today... this one came from Reece Halsey North Literary Agency in California. I had completely forgotten about them. Ironically, as I mentioned once before, even a rejection makes me feel like I'm still in the game and still connected to the industry. I had a sudden wave of new energy about my book recently, accompanied by a feeling that I need to submit another round of queries. Why? I don't know. I already have a publisher willing to publish my book on a limited release basis... isn't that good enough for starters? I guess not... or I wouldn't be holding on to the hope that a literary agency will call and offer me a contract soon.

Hope is a good thing.

Planet "M"--- Tomorrow I am the assistant principal. Be good kids!!! You don't want to end up in my office :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 36

Loyalty. I wonder if this is a concept lost on today's youth. I suppose it's all relative; kids would likely argue that they understand loyalty as well as anyone. Perhaps the better question is where are your loyalties? And what price are you willing to pay to demonstrate that loyalty?

"Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice. " Woodrow T. Wilson

Maybe that is what I am looking for, a willingness to believe in someone or something so passionately that you will lay it all on the line in the name of loyalty. In our microwave society of self-service and instant gratification, self-sacrifice is overlooked and underrated. In fact, the very concept is frowned upon with disdain. Think I'm being cynical? Perhaps. But ask around... the motto too often is "loyalty to self."

Where do your loyalties lie? Where are mine? What and/or who am I willing to sacrifice for? That is a telling question.

I close with another question... what was your RAK today? I think I might have been kind to someone today---on purpose---which is nice for a change. I still need to be more deliberate in showing kindness to others.

Planet "M"--- Nothing notable to report today,,, just that I will be losing about 9 kids per class in the next week or two. It will be difficult for me to let go of them, I have such great kids this year.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 35

"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."
John W. Whitehead

Today was our children's primary program at church. I couldn't watch the children without pining for my own babies, who are anything BUT babies now; I still see them as 2-4 years old... no matter how old they get. Looking into the innocent faces of those little ones, I realize that in way too short a short time, they will enter the realm of adulthood and will become the leaders of our future. What am I doing to ensure they are nurtured, loved, and taught well while they are still young enough to listen? Childhood passes far too quickly (unless of course, you are the child!)

So,,, (never begin a sentence with the word, "so"... it is a NO NO!) So,,, somebody tell me what I should wear to my 30 year reunion. Bear in mind I'm 20 pounds overweight, everything is 6 inches lower than it should be, and whatever I buy has to make me look young and hot. Okay, that is an impossible request... but I am open and waiting anxiously for your suggestions.

RAKS??? Hmmm. Rats... I don't think I was kind to anyone today. And it was Sunday! Shoot. I suck at RAKs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 34, My husband

This morning I went for a walk with my husband, and then we went to the gym together. Now,,, that may seem unexciting to you...even unworthy of note, but to me it was a momentary glimpse backwards---back to simpler times when we actually spent our weekends together. I have cluttered my life with so many "important things," that I sometimes take the "most important things" for granted. I am the absentee wife---wrapped up in worthy causes and good deeds---neglecting the "better part" of life sometimes. Fortunately, I am married to a man who appreciates all that I was, am, and aspire to become, all the while waiting for me to get through my next phase. I sometimes mourn the fact that I am not the girl I was when we first met. I'm 30 pounds heavier, with age spots, wrinkles, and gray hair, and as distracted as ever. Yet through it all, somehow, he still chooses to stick around. Could it be that he truly loves me as I am, and not merely as I used to be?

"An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her." Agatha Christie

Well, for my sake, let's hope Aggie is right :) Kudos to my honey---the man who stands beside me, behind me, and in front of me---depending on my needs at the moment.

And with all that,,, I think eventually we shall kill each other, either by loving each other to death or by irritating each other to death! No one has ever gotten under my skin the way he has. Take that however you want. Either way, he has given me the best ten years of my life...and who knows, the best may still be yet to come :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 33, 332 to go

Yesterday I received a call from a publisher interested in publishing my book. For a brief instant my heart raced, and then I realized it was yet another self-publishing publisher. Sigh. My deadline is moving closer; though I prefer not to publish with a small group, I am anxious to see my story in print and available to the public. An agent requested my full manuscript on May 25th, and I have yet to hear from her. I wonder how long I can wait before it is "okay" to contact her for a follow up. With this industry, I never know if no news is good news, or just another silent rejection.

Today marks 8 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. My students have no memory of this historic day for Americans. Sadly, some of them insist they have never heard of it. Surely, they are mistaken, right? They were 2 and 3 years old when it happened. I was two when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and I remember it clearly. I remember it because my mother cried. I can still see her hunched over the kitchen sink in my memory, crying. And I can still hear her words as she explained to me what a president was... the father of our country. I wonder, in today's world, if kids are just so desensitized to violence, that it barely impacts them when something like 9/11 happens. ???

Planet "M"-- Donna Lione will soon join our staff as the new math/science teacher. I am so excited to have her on board! She is a welcome spice to our salad of mixed greens :)'s

Today's quote: "The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain." George McGovern

I can live with that.

RAKs? Hmm. I took out the trash for my daughter, does that count? I'm starting to truly realize that I am just not a very kind person. It is really difficult to find RAKs in my normal routine. How pathetic is that?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 31, 334 to go

Okay, that whole walking 4 miles or more a day... losing 20 pounds... training to run.... WELL,, it JUST AINT HAPPENING! I would love to blame the exceedingly hot weather we have had recently, but honestly I don't think that's the problem. I'm not giving up, I just don't have a plan that I can seem to stick to for more than a couple days at a time. There is always something to distract me. At this rate, I can't possibly look great at my 30th HS reunion!! It's only 3 weeks away.... um,, on my best behavior I couldn't lose 20 pounds by then. Heck... I couldn't lose 5 pounds by then. So... what the heck... have an icecream coke float!!! Mmmmm, that sounds so good right now!

"People often overestimate what they can reasonably achieve in a year. But they vastly underestimate what they can achieve in 5 years." Steve Pavlina

"Willpower is the spearhead of self-discipline." Steve Pavlina Are you kidding me? Self-discipline? I'm dead before I even begin!

Well, there it is. There were only three quotes on the topic of willpower on my finest quotes page. I think that says it all, eh?

Planet "M"-- No shortage of willpower there! Kids are full of it.... It's just not always focused in the most beneficial direction. But then, that's why they pay me the big bonus every year, right? Hey, I've got an original Monet to sell you too, if you're buying :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 30, 335 to go

Planet "M"-- Recently I was asked to shape my mission statement as an educator... and to put my vision for my "dream" school into writing. So, here it is:

I am a teacher. My mission? Teach kids.

My personal vision statement: (Name of my dream school---where I, of course, am the prinicipal,) will be a place where teachers are committed to establishing and implementing the best practices possible, and where those best practices are continually revised in order to ensure success--measured by students' academic growth, social development, and their desire to become a self-learners.

Now, on a totally unrelated note...

Time is our enemy. When we are young, time seems to pass at a snail's pace. We wait and wait and wait to start school, to finish school, to get our driver's license, to be old enough to date, to wear grown up shoes and make up. Then, like a thief, time suddenly robs us of our life. We get old, and then time darts past us like a run-away train, over which we have NO control. Our children have grown and moved away from home... and then suddenly there is not enough time....not enough time to complete all that we hope to accomplish. Our wrinkles are solid evidence that we were indeed present while time came and went. If I could turn back time, or even buy back a moment or two, I know exactly where I would go and what I would do. And it would not be to work. :)

I would spend more time with my babies.

"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back." Harvey MacKay

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 29, 336 to go

Visited Ryan and Jen today... my stepson and his girlfriend. They will become parents in about three weeks, which makes me a grandma again :) Little Jane Ellen will have no lack of love and attention in her life. There is nothing like preparing for the arrival of your firstborn child. 18 years ago, I was awaiting the birth of my 3rd child (son, Taylor,) and 22 years ago, I was an impatient and nervous mommy-to-be as I waited for my firstborn, Raechel, to arrive. As long as I live, I will never forget the moments that each of my four babies were laid across my chest for the first time. The emotion attached to those memories cannot possibly be captured by pen and paper, at least not by me, and not ever in their entirety. It was far too sacred, even godlike in the sense that I had been a partner in the creation of a living soul.

Jen is about to have this experience for herself; though I would not trade places with her, I envy her.

"I begin to love this creature, and to anticipate her birth as a fresh twist to a knot, which I do not wish to untie." Mary Wollstonecraft

"A woman has two smiles that an angel might envy, the smile that accepts a lover before words are uttered, and the smile that lights on the first born babe, and assures it of a mother's love."
Thomas C. Haliburton

In closing, what RAK did you perform today? Mine was to package goodies for my son. Sadly, I have to admit that is the only kind thing I did for someone else. Hmm. I better work on that.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day 28, 337 to go

Four weeks down, 48 weeks to go. Heard an interesting quote today, "Large gates work on small hinges." I love all the layers of meaning laced in those words. It is true that sometimes the smallest, most seemingly inconsequencial acts can have the greatest impact on those around us. We perhaps will never see the power in our small acts. It might begin by taking a step toward your neighbor and saying hello. Or maybe it begins when you take a meal to a family in need. Better yet, how about all the daily acts of a mother tending to the needs of her children.

"I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of kindness and compassion." William Faulkner 1897

Before I sign off for the night, I must ask myself--and you--did we perform any act of kindness today? RAK--random acts of kindness--I will make it a point to watch for these, and I will do my best to perform at least one RAK each day in the coming week. Consciously. Care to join me? I'd love to hear about your RAKs... or those of others from which you may have benefitted. Feel free to pass them along in a comment.

Totally off topic: I watched Pride & Prejudice with my daughter--again. Can't count how many times we've shared Jane Austen and coke together. It's one of the finer things in life, in my opinion.

Who could ever tire of Mr. Darcy?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day 27, 338 to go

Today was the funeral for my next door neighbor, Sue. Some day, I will include in my blog the letter that her husband had read at the memorial. It was such a beautiful tribute to her, and so eloquently written. Few marriages boast such a deep level of devotion. I guess that gives us something to aspire to :)

So, I retired to my Lazy Boy, and embarked on a cruise through three chick flicks: PS I Love You, 27 Dresses, and Bridget Jones Diary---all with gorgeous leading men, fantastically predictable and formula plots (oh that I had written one of those blockbusters!) and all with amazing kiss scenes. Gotta have a great first kiss, or the movie (and/or book for that matter,) just isn't worth the effort in my opinion.

"The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender."
Emil Ludwig

Amen to that! Yeah. Let's have a moment of silence in honor of all the greatest kiss scenes through the decades....And while you're at it, add your own personal favorite memory in there too, why not?

Better hurry and post... only 5 more minutes until the day ends. Happy kissing everyone :)
PS... I'm still trying for a night of uninterrupted sleep. And, no, my cat has not returned. Thanks for asking.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 26, 339 to go

I smell like I took a bath in a Hoffy Hotdog pool of oil. And if I don't see another hotdog from now till I die, it will be too soon. Well, let's not be too theatrical... after all football season is upon us. And what's Monday Night Football without hotdogs? Still, nothing competes with 348 excited sixth graders hovering over solar hotdog ovens in 100 degree heat. Ohhh yeahh. Sigh.

Tonight I am hoping to finally sleep through the night--for the past 3 nights, I've awakened at 3:30am only to lie awake and play mind dump with my pillow.

Oh, and Saphire, if you're out there, please come home. Been looking for our lost cat for the past several days...and fear the worst has happened. She's such a beauty... and such a sweet cat. I keep hoping I will hear her meow in the middle of the night... perhaps that's why I can't sleep.

Planet "M"-- Everyone put your hands together and repeat after me... "THREE DAY WEEKEND!" I'm still waiting for my students to start bringing me M&Ms,,, but so far, they haven't caught on. I guess the M&M shirt, 3 M&M mugs, and M&M characters plastered all over the walls are just too subtle a hint :) I'll work on that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 25, 340 to go

My feet are killing me! One day I'm going to find me a foot masseuse who will massage my feet every single night. Ah, the thought of it makes me tingle all over.

The word of the day is "collaboration." Interestingly enough, among the thousands of quotes in my quote bank, there are none on this topic. Why do you suppose that is? I did, however, hear a noteworthy comment on the subject today---"The greatest problem with collaboration is that too often, groups "coBLABorate" rather than collaborate, and coBLABorating accomplishes very little."

"It seemed rather incongruous that in a society of supersophisticated communication, we often suffer from a shortage of listeners." Erma Bombeck

Listening is a huge part of true collaboration.

Planet "M"--Tonight was Back to School night. Thanks to all the parents who attended and listened to my sputterings. Whenever there is 30 minutes of material to cover in a 10 minute segment of time, I seem to babble insessantly, and I dance all over the material without ever landing into something concrete. Parents,,, if you are reading this,,, I promise this is not indicative of my teaching style.

Tomorrow is hot dog day in science--300 solar ovens all cooking hotdogs! Umm baby!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 24, 341 to go

"Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven." Henry Ward Beecher

I have witnessed such an outpouring of charity from so many women this past week. They are truly an amazement to me, and such an example of all I aspire to become. They know nothing of my neighbor and his wife, and yet they have bombarded my e-mail and phone with offers to bring in dinners, bring meals for the luncheon following the funeral, and offers to help set up and decorate for the same. There is no wordly recognition, thanks, or reward for their efforts. Yet to the family of Sue Brickey, these women are all nameless angels. Truly, their unselfish service is a modern miracle.

Planet "M" -- Today was our museum walk to view and assess the solar ovens. We also made predictions as to which ones would cook most efficiently. Kudos to the kids! This is the first year we didn't receive a large number of "parent-made" solar ovens. It is great to see the originality and ingenuity of our 6th graders. Looking forward to the big hot dog cook-off on Friday.

Please... don't let it rain :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 23, 342 to go

Hurray, no more gray! Thanks to my amazing hair dresser. Thank goodness for modern science!

Tonight I browsed through (compliments of Jenny @ ,) and I realized I could easily start with the first topic, continue for the entire year and never run out of possibilities for great quotes. I should make that one of my goals in the "365 days, 365 posts" challenge. What the heck, why not? Here's my quote for the night, I love this one... (perhaps because I read it on an empty stomach):

"There are three things to remember when teaching: know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly." Lola May .

Why do I suddenly have a desire to eat Thanksgiving dinner?

Planet "M"---Today I asked my students if they know where the trend for saying "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah," began. You know the trend... the one that tells us to hurry up because the other party obviously already knows what we are going to say. Okay,,, guilty... I do it too. One of my Philipino students raised his hand and told me that in his language the word is, "Wah," and they do the same thing over there... "Wah, wha, wha, wha, wha." I don't know about you, but my mouth doesn't even work that way. Well, it's a fun joke in our class now. Ya gotta laugh!