Sunday, November 1, 2009

No wonder no one wants to learn English...

You think English is easy???
1)The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the row of oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with ‘quick’? You lovers of the English language might enjoy this. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.' We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special. And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it's stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP for now my time is UP, so... it is time to shut UP! (reprinted from an email)

Clueless in Seattle - YIKES!!!

In a Seattle Washington college classroom, they were discussing the qualifications to be President of the United States. It was pretty simple the candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age.

However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen. In short, her opinion was that this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president. The class was taking it in and letting her rant, but everyone's jaw hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating, 'What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by C-section?'

Yep, these are the young people that just voted for the President of the United States. These are our future leaders,

I think we are in deep trouble.

(reprinted from an email)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

In Memoriam

I went to a funeral today; Nancy Faye Tribble. Tribble was 55 years old; a year older than me. Too young! Tribble had been battling pancreatic cancer for 11 years. Two weeks ago she lost the fight; July 23. And what a fight it was. She did everything in her power to keep going. I was able to visit with her last April, during Spring Break, while she was living in Macon with friends. I am glad I got the opportunity to do so.

I did not know her as well as others did; did not grow up with her, did not go to school with her, did not teach with her, but did socialize a little with her in years gone by. I met her through a mutual friend; another Nancy. As the years passed, I might see Tribble maybe once or twice a year. We went to the opening of the movie “We Are Marshall” a few years back; to find Nancy in the movie; and many times I would see her at Nancy’s house. I knew a lot about Tribble through Nancy and learned more about her today as one of her brothers spoke about her. He tried to put her whole life into a couple of hours of time. She was a generous person, full of life, and very much a fighter.

It is at times like this you see how small a world it is. There were people at the funeral I knew. I work with a friend of hers; they went to college together. I had worked many years ago with another friend of hers; they taught on the same team in middle school. I recognized a retired teacher who teaches professional learning classes in the county where I work. I have worked and still work with other colleagues of hers, and they all speak very highly of her. She touched a lot of people’s lives.

As I was sitting there today listening to Tribble’s friends sing, and her friends and brother share their memories of her, all I could think was that whenever I met her, no matter what the circumstances (not only was she fighting cancer, but she also had MS), she always made me laugh. That is what I will always remember about her – she always made me laugh. Her sense of humor was incredible, and many of the stories told today were how she shared that laughter with everyone she knew and came in contact with throughout her life.

Nancy Faye Tribble will be missed by many; her personality, her jokes, her drive. I feel lucky to have known her to some degree and to have shared in her laughter.

Our mutual friend, Nancy, did the program for Tribble today. She did an excellent job. The picture is from that program. Nancy has a blog and will probably put into words, a lot better than I have, a tribute to Tribble, but I felt the need to say something.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Girls of '73

As mentioned in my
“Summer Vacation” blog, while I was in Dover, I got together with some old friends. There are a number of us who get together whenever I get up to Dover. We all went to junior high and high school together, and some of us were in elementary school together. In junior high and high school we were regionalized, two towns together, so this group in compiled of two groups; those who grew up in Dover and those who grew up in Sherborn; hence the name Dover-Sherborn Regional High School. I thought there were about 150 in our graduating class. I was told there were 120. Guess there seemed like more at the time.
As said, a number of us get together; not necessarily the same people all the time. Everyone is contacted, and those who can make it do so. Some live in the Dover/Sherborn area, others live in the western part of the state, and others, like me, live out of state.

This summer ten of us were able to get together; two of us from out of state. I make it home more frequently than some; every Christmas and usually in the summer if no other trips are planned. One friend brought her mother as she had driven up from Cape Cod and didn't want to do the ride back by herself.

It is a good group of women. We all do something different as far as work. Some have college degrees, some do not. Some have kids (they share their pictures and their lives), some are married, some are divorced, some are single (and get bombarded with questions about dating), and some have different sexual preferences, but we all get along. This year we celebrated a birthday.

We meet at the Sherborn Inn and catch up on the year and gossip or reminisce about times gone by. We tell stories about others or about each other. Even though we are mature women, many times we revert back to high school, maybe even junior high, ways. This time we laughed so hard, our sides hurt!

We have met at different restaurants in the past, but the Sherborn Inn has won out the past couple of times. It is very nice. It has a tavern and a dining room. We were told the dining room would be closed, but because we were a large group, they opened it for us.

The Sherborn Inn is an old house. It dates back to 1758, but it used to be a private home. We graduated with a guy who lived there. Don’t know what happened to the family, but he is now living on the Cape. It is celebrating its 20th anniversary as an inn this year. I have heard mixed reviews about it, but have always enjoyed going there; either with family or friends.

I enjoy these times with these women. It is fun to get together with them and cut up. It was a very enjoyable night, and I look forward to more to come.

My Summer Vacation

I just spent 7 days on vacation in Dover, Massachusetts. My sister bought the house we grew up in, so I stay with her when I visit. It amazes me how 2 adults and 6 kids lived in the house when I was a kid. My parents did build two additions, and I guess we did not realize how small it was at the time. My sister has 3 kids. She and her husband have done a lot of renovations, including taking down part of a wall and adding a detached garage. She, however, does not have a guest bedroom, so every time I visit I have to put someone out of their room. This visit it was my nephew Gregory’s turn. Gregory didn’t care. He got to sleep in the “cave”, the basement room with the TV and all the video games.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit home. It started out rainy and cold; I had left 97 degrees in Atlanta; but it eventually stopped raining and warmed up. I was able to actually get a tan line, which I have not done in a long time, as it is not comfortable to sit out in Atlanta. We were able to spend time outdoors. I discovered this was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. I got to sit outside all day and either visit with my sister or just read. I finished two books in 3 days. In Atlanta, it is much too hot to do this unless you have a pool you can jump into frequently.

Because of the rain, we spent a couple of days shopping; didn’t buy anything. Spent another rainy day visiting my mother on Cape Cod; a 2 hour ride took us over 3 hours because of the rain and flooding. The ride home was ok; dry; but it was a good thing we were heading off the Cape, as this was July 3 and the holiday traffic had already begun by 4:00 in the afternoon. There was a five mile backup getting over the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges; the bridges that go over the Cape Cod Canal. This is not unusual for weekend and/or holiday traffic. People have to plan to leave either really early or really late to get onto the Cape. And rain doesn’t help. The same is true for Sundays when people are leaving the Cape to get back to work for Monday.

Spent that night eating my favorite meal – lobster, mussels, steamers (a southerner asked me what these were, didn’t realize someone might not know; they are clams, as opposed to cherry stones which are small quahogs), boiled shrimp, and raw oysters. Pigged out! Ate every bit of everything! When I bought the lobsters, 1 ¼ pounds each, I thought there would probably be
leftovers for lunch the next day. NOT! Absolutely nothing left over except for the empty shells. Then we went on to make "somemores" on the outdoor fire pit. YUM!!!

Another part I enjoyed was getting together with old friends. There are a number of us who get together whenever I get up to Dover. We all went to junior high and high school together, and some of us were in elementary school together. We meet at the Sherborn Inn and catch up on the year and gossip or reminisce about times gone by. But that’s going to be another blog.

Needless to say I had a great visit home. My last day it was raining again, so I figured that was a good sign to leave. Now I just wish they would send a little rain down here!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catching up On Blogs

I have been writing ideas down as I come upon them. Before school was out I came upon two I thought would be perfect for the blog as they had to do with I D 10 T.

I am a Math Coach. I work at two schools. Didn’t like having two schools at the beginning of the year but in the end I can live with it; like both schools, principals, and faculty.

It is interesting to see how the two schools are different and how they are similar. At one school the faculty works very well together at their grade levels, and they actually teach. At the other school, there are some who come to school just to get the pay check. Both schools break some rules to their advantage, which is fine because it benefits the teachers in some way.

We give a state mandated test every year in April. It is a pass/fail test in 3rd Grade for Reading and 5th Grade for Math and Reading; though parents can appeal the retainment and the students are passed on. In some schools this is recommended, so no student is ever retained.

At one of my schools a grade level did not do as well on the Math portion as it has in the past because of one classroom. I was quite concerned about the results and the teacher. I was very surprised. I had thought this class would do well. Come to find out, only 41% of her class finished the test. They are given 70 minutes to take the test, which is more than enough time. I proctored in a classroom that had no trouble finishing the test in this amount of time. The teacher made her students use their scratch paper (GREAT! they need to use it), but she never updated the amount of time left for the test, so many of her students were unable to finish. And then she justified it by saying a number of them wouldn’t have done well anyway. Yikes!!! 59% of her class did not pass the test! I would be in tears if something like that happened when I was teaching. Needless to say the principal was very upset, though the teacher had warned her as soon as the Math portion was finished that her class hadn’t finished. She’s a veteran teacher. She has been giving this test since it was put into place. What was she thinking!? Obviously, she wasn’t? Plus side, it was not a pass/fail grade.

The county implemented new Math assessments this year. One such assessment was a Performance Task at the end of every nine weeks. A teacher at my other school was concerned with the scoring of them as they are scored with a rubric, so she asked me to come in and help her score them. No problem. We scored about 5 performance tasks at one time about a week before school was out. The teacher commented on how poorly her students had done on all of them. My comment to her was, “If you had been doing them all along, at the end of each 9 week period, instead of doing them all at once, they would have gotten used to them and done a lot better. “ Her response, “Oh.”

It amazes me how some people think or don’t sometimes!

Catch of the Day

At The Register by John Fischer
Chandler and I have a new yogurt spot we like to frequent after I pick him up from school. It's one of those places where you serve yourself the flavor of soft yogurt you want from a row of wall dispensers and then you choose from a number of toppings and finally you pay for everything by the ounce.

One day recently my bill came to $6.63. I gave the young girl behind the register a ten-dollar bill and, as is my custom, I searched my pocket for change. If I have the $.63 in coin, I like to get rid of the change in my pocket instead of adding to it. So I pulled out my change and found I had $.62—a penny short. "Will you take $.62?" I asked. The girl nodded, took my $.62 and I waited, fully expecting four dollars back. Instead, she fished out exactly $3.99 and counted it all out into my hand.

"I don't want this," I said. "The whole idea was to get rid of change, not add to it." She looked at me like she didn't know what I was talking about. I opened my mouth to try and explain, but one look in her face told me it was useless.

"Here," I said holding out the $3.99. "I'll give you back this and we can start over. Just give me change for a ten."

"Can't do that," she said. "The drawer is closed."

Why would I bother giving someone $10.62 so they could give me $3.99 back? It defied logic, but then again, she was just doing her job… recording what I gave her into the computer and giving me back what the computer told her.

I walked away realizing I was not going to get anywhere with this and finally able to laugh over it. The temptation was to call her something dumb in my head, but that wasn't going to help anything. Further reflection led me to realize this happens a lot when people don't understand each other. They are both seeing the same thing in a different way. It's not that one is right and the other is wrong; they simply have two different perspectives on the same thing.

I've realized from this that I need to not always try and get someone to understand my point of view. Maybe I need to put forth a little extra effort and try and understand theirs.

End of the Year

I have been absent from blogging for quite a while; got caught up in the end of the year work for Math and then Social Studies. Even though I am out for the summer, I have continued with my “second” job, helping out the S.S. coordinator. Now I don’t mind helping the man out; in fact he is one of a few people I cannot say no to when he asks for the help; but I never know what I am getting myself into when I do say yes. And yes, the extra money does help. Friends say stop bitching because I do get paid for it, but …. need to vent over the time it took, so I am bitching away!

At the beginning of the year he came to me and asked if I would give him a hand with Social Studies as he didn’t have any school specialist personnel like the Math and Reading Departments. He said he would pay me an extra $500 a month, total $5000 for the year. I, of course, said yes, and as they say, the rest is history; except one of the powers that be decided to change the way we would get paid, so I have not yet seen what was agreed upon. Hmm, maybe this month.

Back to venting. I have spent more time on the computer than ever before. I can’t type. I hen pick! A friend did give me a typing program to learn to type, and I told myself I would do it this summer. So far, it is still in the box. I have spent the whole year writing tests, going to meetings, S.S. fairs, and now rewriting the curriculum guide. Another person working on the guides asked me not too long ago if I was aware we were going to rewrite the whole thing. No! At the time he had only mentioned Unit 1 because he was not happy with it. Not a problem. I can do that! Then we hear he wants them all done, and by the end of the month as he is going on vacation. Me, too; so for the past 2 weeks I have been rewriting the 4th Grade Social Studies framework and curriculum guide for the county.

Now as I said before, I don’t type. I can cut and paste, but I am not necessarily good with formatting; give me the format, and I can almost work with it without too many problems, but when you tell me what you want without a template, I break out in a cold sweat!

I took the old 4th Grade curriculum guide and rewrote it the way he wanted it. It was a lot of work. Now keep in mind, I was on the committee to write these last year. I was on the 5th Grade committee, and I know we did a lot of work on it. He wasn’t happy with some grades, so everything is getting redone.

Since I am out of the classroom and working in Math, I do not know the 4th Grade S.S. curriculum. I had to go through the TEs with a fine tooth comb to make sure everything he wanted was in the guide; not only the core materials, but any additional materials, too; novels, teaching guides, websites; anything extra the teachers could use. The teacher working on the 1st Grade guide emailed me recently and asked if her hours were reasonable; 40 hours for only half the units; I emailed her back, “Yes”, I put in over 70 hours for the 8 units I did.

Ok, back to my typing. I know it slows me down, but so did the formatting; bullets for this, bullets for that, margins so wide, outside boarder (how?), take out text box (how? ). I did finally get brave at one meeting and admit I was not technologically savvy. He laughed because he knows I know more about it than he does! He laughed because he is getting a Blackberry; which does everything; and he won’t have a clue as to how to use it.

I did finish the 4th Grade Social Studies guides Thursday, sent them to him Friday, am meeting with him Monday, and going on vacation Tuesday. Let’s hope nothing more needs to be done!!!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Just a little humor to pass along. Enjoy!

We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.' I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, 'NO, it's not.' Four is larger than two..
We haven't used Sears repair since.

My daughter and I went through the McDonald's take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, 'you gave me too much money.' I said, 'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back. She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said 'We're sorry but we could not do that kind of thing.' The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change..
Do not confuse the clerks at McDonald's.

I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars out here!' I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.'
From Kingman , KS .

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal lettuce.' He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce.
From Kansas City

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, 'Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?' To which I replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?' He smiled knowingly and nodded, 'That's why we ask.'Happened in Birmingham , Ala.

The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, 'What on earth are blind people doing driving?!'
She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS

At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker. She was leaving the company due to 'downsizing.' Our manager commented cheerfully, 'This is fun. We should do this more often.' Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.This was a lunch at Texas Instruments.

I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn't understand why her system would not turn on.
A deputy with the Dallas County sheriff’s office, no less.

When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. 'Hey,' I announced to the technician, 'It's open!' His reply, 'I know. I already got that side.'
This was at the Ford dealership in Canton , MS

STAY ALERT! They walk among us... and they VOTE and they REPRODUCE

Monday, April 20, 2009

Memories of a Small Town

Two friends recently blogged about where they grew up; shared some childhood memories. So I figured, what the heck, why not;
here goes.
I grew up in the small suburban town of Dover, MA. It is located about 30 minutes southwest of Boston. I grew up there because my parents were given the land as a wedding gift by my father's parents; though one of my grandfather's sisters did argue she gave it to them as a gift. My paternal grandfather grew up in Dover. We lived next door to his family's house, where his sisters lived for years. The house is still there, but it is no longer in the family. We went to the same school he attended. It is also still there, but no longer used as a school. When we had a party line, one of his sisters was one of the operators.
Dover has a small quaint center of town. When giving directions to people from out of town, we would tell them not to blink, as they would miss the center of town. To this day, there is only one traffic light, and it is located in the center of town. The only sidewalks are found in the center of town. In the very center is the Town Hall. It used to house the police station, the library, as well as the town offices; a new library, police station, fire station, and post office have since been built. There is a volunteer police and fire department. The Town Hall has a tree they light every Christmas; red and white lights. There is the Drug Store; a few years ago it became a deli when the proprietor passed away. When we were kids, our dentist had an office over the Drug Store. He would give us wooden nickels to get ice cream cones there after our visits; one way to keep us coming back! There is one gas station (owned by a friend’s father when growing up, threw Christmas parties), a private school, a former public school, two churches, and a cemetery - where we would hang out on the stonewall for lack of nothing better to do. There is one small grocery store, Higgins; you really need to want to buy something badly to pay their prices; and attached to it, a package store (liquor store to some of you); that's where even today, you can catch up on the local gossip. The other place to do so is the American Legion. It is the local watering hole and used for
There was not a whole lot to do in Dover; in the winter ice skate at Channing Pond, in the summer play tennis and watch baseball games or attend a little two week half day arts and crafts camp. Even though Dover didn't offer a lot to do, we stayed busy. We rode our bikes or walked everywhere. We knew everybody, and everybody knew us; which was not always a good thing if you were doing something you didn't want your parents to know about. Dover is still this way today. The per capita income is higher, the houses bigger and more expensive, but the population has not grown
a lot.
When I was growing up, Dover had a population of about 4,000; the census was done door to door; I know firsthand because my mother had my older sister and myself doing it one year to make extra money. Not worth it. Babysitting was a lot more lucrative! The population has not grown in leaps and bounds. It is still very
Though Dover itself does not have a lot to offer, the areas around it do. Most people go north to ski in the winter; I did not learn to ski till I was in college. In the summer, most people head to the ocean; along the North Shore or down to Cape Cod. We spent my father's three week summer vacation (he was a sales rep for Raytheon) in Mattapoisett; not quite on the Cape, we didn't go over the bridge. My grandfather's sister Julia; we called Juju; had a house there. It was shared by three families, all related; we all got 3 weeks. Each summer a different one of the families would get the week of the 4th. It was a great place to spend the three weeks. We took swimming lessons and sailing lessons. We bowled at the local bowling alley. We hung out at the beach and at friends' houses. We went exploring to Cradle Rock. We got ice cream from the ice cream truck - we would listen with anticipation for the bell every afternoon. We went quahoging and scalloping. I hated this part. We had to bring enough quahogs home for my mother to make quahog chowder. I hated walking in the dark murky mud at low tide where these were found. We had to wear sneakers, so we would not cut the bottoms of our feet on the shells. I did like the quahog chowder! We spent hours in the sun. We survived many sunburns. My sister has returned since. I have not been back in years.
When I was old enough, I got "mother's helper" jobs for the summer. I worked on the North Shore and Cape Cod. I preferred Cape Cod. When I was in college, I got a job as a cook for a couple on the Cape. My summer jobs paid for my college education. When I was a senior in college, my parents bought and later built a house on Cape Cod. We spent a number of fun summers there. We no longer have the house, but I still enjoy going to the Cape.
Dover is close enough to Boston, we could take the train or the MTA into the city; to go shopping or to Red Sox games. We would go to Filene's Basement right before Easter to get our new Easter clothes! We could visit the many museums Boston has to offer. We are an hour from Salem, Marblehead, and Gloucester and about 30 minutes from Plimoth Plantation. We are also about an hour from
Newport, RI.
Dover has gone through many changes, though the center of town has remained the same. There are new subdivisions and bigger houses, but many of the people I grew up with have remained either in Dover or in the area. It is still a nice place to raise a family as my sister decided to do when she bought the family house. I enjoy returning to Dover every chance I get.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

Many times we forget lessons we were taught as children. We get arrogant and judgemental before ever really getting to know someone. There's a saying we were taught when we were younger, "Never judge a book by its cover." How often do we hear this? Not necessarily on a regular basis, but often enough. If you haven't heard of Susan Boyle or seen her video (she has been on a number of the talk shows this week), you need to do so. This is the best example I have ever seen or heard of that supports this saying. Susan Boyle is a 47 year old Scottish woman with a big dream. The facial expressions of the audience and the judges before and after the performance are priceless. Talk about "you've got talent", this woman has it. Lots of luck to her. I hope her dreams come true, and she becomes a success.
I tried to download the video from youtube, but my computer skills are lacking in this area. If this link does not work, go to youtube and look for Susan Boyle. I highly recommend the video. She will amaze you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I heard on the radio, on the ride to school this morning, Facebook is causing problems with teenagers as far as it is taking away from studying. It is hurting their grades. I can understand that. I have tried for a week to get some school work done but end up on Facebook instead.
I was talking to a teacher after school, telling her I liked the wedding pictures she had posted on Facebook. She said she really enjoyed Facebook. I shared with her what I had heard on the radio, and she responded with, "Never mind the kids, what about the adults?"
I have to agree with her. We talked about how we have to limit our time on Facebook, or we would be on there all the time. I come home and make sure I get everything I need to get done before I get on Facebook or nothing would be accomplished. Then I try to get off by 8:00; 9:00 at the latest. I need some down time before I turn in for the night.
I, finally today, got back to exercising. Facebook is not what interfered with exercise (though I would like to blame it on that) - when I get off my schedule, it is real hard for me to get back on it; not disciplined enough. So, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone, get the exercise I need and take time away from the computer and Facebook. Now I have to have work and exercising done before I get on Facebook, and still get off by 9:00.
Maybe I can start cutting down my time on Facebook a little at a time, slow withdrawal! Worth a try anyway. Exercise done; not a lot of work, it can wait, off to Facebook!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What Nationality Would You Like to be Other Than Your Own?

Part 2
"Céad míle fáilte"
(pronounced: kayud meela failte')
"A Hundred Thousand Welcomes"!
The question "What nationality would you like to be other than your own?" got me thinking about my grandparents. As previously mentioned in Part 1, my maternal grandparents were straight off the boat from Ireland. These are their passport pictures.
My grandmother, Ellen "Nellie" Ahern, arrived in Boston on June 11, 1920, at the age of 23. She was from Killorglin, outside of Killarney, in County Kerry. My grandfather, Timothy Sullivan, arrived in Boston on November 20, 1920, at the age of 21. He was from Skibbereen, in County Cork. They came to escape the oppression and poverty in Ireland. In my grandmother's case, her father insisted she emigrate despite leaving a boyfriend in Ireland. The myth perpetuated in "the old country" was that America's streets were paved in gold.
They met by accident. My grandfather's sister Bridie and my grandmother worked as domestics in Brookline, MA. Grandpa knocked on the door to visit Bridie one day, but instead the door was opened by my grandmother. He had the wrong house. Love at first sight!!!! And the rest, as they say, is history. (Many thanks to my Aunt Helen for the background information.)
My grandmother had a sister in Boston. She also worked as a domestic throughout her life. Her name was Katherine; friends and employers called her "Kate" or "Katie". We, her great nieces and nephews, called her "Gogo". I don't remember how that came about. She lived above my grandparents when we were kids, so we visited with her often when we visited my grandparents.
My grandparents settled in an area of Boston known as "Mission Hill". It was an Irish community. The focal point of the community was the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mission Church. They raised four daughters there. Over the years I remember my mother mentioning people she would run into from "Mission Hill".
I have many fond memories of my grandmother, called Nana by her grandchildren. My older sister and I spent many nights with her. She would get up every morning, rain or shine, and walk to the 7:00 Mass. She would tell us to stay in bed until she returned. She would then get us up for breakfast. I remember the hot sweet tea and her Irish bread. I still drink hot tea, but now without the sugar. She made wonderful Irish bread, which I didn't know till years later was also called Irish Soda Bread. She would make it in any pan or can she had available; bread pans, coffee tins. We asked her for the recipe, but she didn't have one. It was a pinch of this, a handful of that. We couldn't write down the amounts because she didn't know the measurements. Her bread is long gone; just a memory of toasted with lots of melting butter and maybe jelly or sometimes with peanut butter spread over the slices lingers. Yum!
On her street, Calumet Street, in one direction, on a corner was a candy store. In another direction, down the street, on another corner, was a neighborhood grocery store. It carried everything from groceries to more. I remember a doll I especially liked in that grocery store. We would walked to both often. It is a wonder we didn't have more cavities from the candy store. Remember penny candy!?
We would play with some of the neighborhood kids. We were the novelty in her neighborhood. We were from the suburbs.
We used to kid my grandmother about her accent. She would just laugh and tell us we had the funny accent. We would ask her to say words in Gaelic. She would. I remember asking her to say a "cuss" word in Gaelic, figuring if I used it, no one would know what I was saying. She wouldn't do it. :(
Over the years, members of my family, including myself, have looked up members of my grandmother's and my grandfather's families back in Ireland. I was fortunate enough to look up cousins in Skibbereen back in 2006.
I miss my grandparents and the stories of the "old country" they would tell with their Irish brogues. We would ask my grandmother if it was a British soldier boyfriend she had left behind, as that was something not done in her day; dating an Englishman. We would ask my grandfather about the IRA, and I know I grew up thinking he had been a runner for them. What imaginations we had when we would think about what they had left behind, not knowing the half of it, the politics and the poverty.
I remember being asked as an adult if I was Lace Curtain Irish or Shanty Irish. I had to admit I was Shanty Irish but was not the least bit embarrassed about it. My grandparents came to America to make a new life for themselves and would be very proud of their surviving daughters and what they and their families and the third generation kids have accomplished.
I was named after my grandmother. My middle name is Ellen. So no, there is no other nationality I would like to be.
"Éirinn go brách"
(pronounced: Erin go braugh)
"Ireland Forever"!

What Nationality Would You Like to be Other Than Your Own?

Part 1
Not too long ago I did a 50 question survey on Facebook. The last question was: What nationality would you like to be other than your own? I didn't have to think twice about my answer: None. I was raised Irish Catholic. We, my 5 siblings and I, were brought up to be very proud of our Irish heritage. My mother's parents were straight off the boat from Ireland and settled in the Boston area. My father was 3rd generation Irish, and his family settled just outside of Boston. When John F. Kennedy became President, what more could we ask for!? I was only 5 at the time and still remember the excitement of his election. Ok, I am showing my age!
I was raised in a suburb of Boston, but still remember all the Irish influences inside and outside of the city.
One was the music. Irish music was very popular with my parents, not so with their children. We did not gain an appreciation of the music till many years later. Even though as kids, we would complain about the Boston radio station that played Irish music every Saturday all day long, when I was in Ireland a couple of years ago, I bought a CD of Irish music my father had listened to and loved. When the radio station wasn't playing Irish music, my father had the music on the reel to reel tape player he was so proud of; no 8 tracks, cassettes, or CDs existed at that time! When my brothers and sisters got married, the bands had to be able to play at least one Irish song. If not, my father and two uncles would get up; to the embarrassment of us all, cousins included; and sing a song or two or three ..... depending on the hour of the day and how much they had imbibed!
St. Patrick's Day was always a treat for us. We would go into Boston and watch the parade and here again, be serenaded by Irish music, both by the bands in the parade and my parents (neither were singers by any means). And yes, we would eat corned beef and cabbage for dinner!
I did try to learn the Irish Jig for International Night in high school, but my two left feet came into play, and I was never able to get the foot work right!
I enjoy what the Irish culture brings with it; the songs, the tales, the language, the land, the history. One of the biggest thrills of my travels was to be able to visit Ireland, and I hope to return there one day.
So no, there is no other nationality I would rather be other than my own.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Whole World Wide Web is Watching!

It is people like this that brought about ID10T. What are people thinking? This is an article NEA sent out in a recent online newsletter. It is pretty long, but then again there are that many idiots out there!
The Whole World (Wide Web) is Watching
Cautionary tales from the 'what-were-you-thinking' department.
Way back in 1974, California teacher and aspiring actor Lou Zivkovich famously was fired for posing nude in Playgirl magazine. His response, as reported by Newsweek, "I didn't murder anyone."
Nowadays, thanks to advances in technology, you don't even need a major publisher to get fired; just post your racy photos, sexually graphic writings, or wild party stories on a personal Web blog. You'll be amazed by how quickly tech-savvy students can disseminate your postings to their friends and your employer.
Here's a roundup of some of the recent horror stories:
In Virginia, high school art teacher Stephen Murmer was fired after posting photos of his "butt art" on the Web, which were viewed by scores of students. The budding artist applied paint to his posterior and genitalia, which he then pressed onto canvases. With the help of the ACLU, he sued the school district last fall claiming a violation of his First Amendment rights.
Band director Scott Davis from Broward County, Florida, was dismissed after school officials viewed his MySpace profile that included his musings about sex, drugs, and depression.
A Colorado English teacher lost her job after composing and posting sexually explicit poetry on her MySpace site. Police were even called in to investigate.
Nashville teacher Margaret Thompson was removed from teaching after posting "racy pictures" of herself, along with candid photos of her students, on her MySpace profile.
Florida middle school teacher John Bush was terminated because of "offensive" and "unacceptable " photos and information on his MySpace page.
Massachusetts teaching assistant and Massachusetts Teachers Association member Keath Driscoll was first suspended and then fired for his MySpace postings including "sexually suggestive" photographs, videos of drinking alcohol, and references to women as "whores." MTA took his case to arbitration and won almost a complete victory. In a decision dated March 24, 2008, the arbitrator ruled that Driscoll should not have been fired and ordered him reinstated with back pay, seniority, and benefits. The arbitrator did conclude, however, that Driscoll had engaged in misconduct that warranted some form of discipline, which he determined to be a three-day suspension.]
But the clueless award goes to Atlanta-area high school football coach Donald Shockley, who was forced to resign in early 2008 for storing on his school computer photos of his assistant principal dressed in lingerie and posing in sexually suggestive ways. The photos were discovered by a student whom Shockley had asked to work on his computer and who then posted the photos on the Internet and sent them to other students at the school.
In October 2007, reporters for The Columbus Dispatch conducted an investigation of MySpace profiles posted by Ohio teachers. The newspaper quoted one 25-year-old teacher bragging that she's "an aggressive freak in bed," "sexy," and "an outstanding kisser." Another teacher wrote on her page that she had recently "gotten drunk," "taken drugs," and "gone skinny-dipping."
In the wake of these reports, the Ohio Education Association urged all OEA members to remove any personal profiles they may have posted on MySpace or Facebook. The Association also warned members that such profiles "can be used as evidence in disciplinary proceedings," which could "affect not only a teacher's current job but his/her teaching license" as well.
But what about free speech? Don't school employees have the right, on their own time, to blog about their private lives without fear of losing their jobs? Probably not.
It's the general rule that school employees can be disciplined for off-duty conduct if the school district can show that the conduct had an adverse impact on the school or the teacher's ability to teach. And it wouldn't be too difficult to make that showing if the teacher's blog includes sexually explicit or other inappropriate content and is widely viewed by students.
As to a possible free speech claim, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that it was not a violation of the First Amendment for the City of San Diego to fire a police officer for posting a sexually explicit video of himself on the Internet. The unanimous Court said that such speech was "detrimental to the mission and functions of the employer."
And last year, a U.S. District Court ruled that a Connecticut school district's decision to fire a probationary teacher because of his postings to his MySpace page did not violate the teacher's First Amendments rights. The court called the online exchanges between the teacher and his students "inappropriate" and added that "such conduct could very well disrupt the learning atmosphere of the school."
There's an old lawyer's saw that goes something like this:
Never put in writing anything that you wouldn't want read in open court or by your mother.
Maybe it's time for an updated adage:
Never put in electronic form anything that you wouldn't want viewed by a million people, including your colleagues, students, and supervisors-and your mother.
Michael D. Simpson
NEA Office of General Counsel
Can you believe these people!? Problem: I D 10 T!

Footnote to the Lesson Plans

Lesson plans are completed. A bunch of us complained but were told if asked, the Math Department can say they are in place for those who need them. Ok, I can see that. They are optional, not required; at this time anyway. With the way things change, who knows what they will be saying in the next day, week, or month. But now I can concentrate on other things on the weekends and upcoming Spring Break; like a "social life"!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Aching Feet!!!

I wore heels today. Why is that noteworthy? I NEVER wear heels! The last time I wore heels was probably a wedding about ten years ago. I just threw those heels away last summer; they were crumbling inside; a little old I guess; Etienne Aigner though! Anyway, I digress. I wore heels today because I have two pairs of pants I don't wear often because I have to "tape" up the hems to wear them. Yes, tape up the hems; both masking tape and scotch tape work great; masking tape a little better on some materials. I tape the hems, so I can wear shoes with heels of different heights. Well, that is what I have been telling myself for a year, so I finally decided to do something about the "different heights". I was at Macy's recently and found a pair of heels I liked. As you can see, not too high (or so I thought until today!), not stiletto, no pointed toes, nothing to make a fashion statement, very tame; what I thought would be just right. NOT! The shoes are comfortable, just shouldn't be worn all day on feet that have worn flats for 30 years. I work in a building with two floors and of course today had to be the day I was running back and forth between floors. OUCH! Could not wait to get those babies off and run around barefoot! I stopped and bought some Dr. Scholl's gel inner soles on the way home; put them in right away. So the next time I lose my mind and decide to wear heels, I will be 'gellin'! However, it is almost sandal season, so these heels will have to wait for another season; boxed and pushed to the back of the closet!
Don't know how people do it. My feet are still feeling the pain!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Facebook has a new look. I don't like it. It shows your posts for all to see and vice versa. "Make sure to stay updated on what the friends you care about are doing." "The stream shows you all the posts from your friends in real-time. This keeps you up to date on everything that's happening." I emailed them; told them I enjoyed my friends but didn't want to be in their space all the time, nor have them in mine all the time. This was their response:
Thanks for your feedback about the new Home page. We’re constantly trying to improve Facebook, so it's important that we hear from our users. Unfortunately, we can’t write individual responses to each of these emails, but we are reading them. We hope these changes make the site even more useful for you. If there are any specific changes you recommend, please let us know.
Thanks again for your feedback.
-The Facebook Team"
Pretty much a form letter; there was a little more with sites to contact them. NOT! Already did that!
I like Facebook. I like going on and getting posts from people I see on a regular basis, as well as from people I rarely, and people who live far away. I have been able to catch up with friends I grew up with. However, we don't need to be in real-time and know what everyone is up to all at the same time. One friend dropped out of Facebook because "they have invaded her personal space and invited everyone in she writes to!" Just because we are friends, we don't need to know 24/7 what we are all up to. TMI

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Ok, I am sitting here, setting up a blog, editing the picture, font, colors. And what should I be doing? I am supposed to be working on writing Math lesson plans for 1st Grade. Now I am a Math Coach. Love my job. Have two schools, like both of them, but don't feel I am doing either justice only spending two days a week at each school. Fridays could find me at one or the other or at meetings. We have been told we have to write lesson plans for the grade levels because the powers that be are not seeing what they want to see. Hmmm ... written lesson plans are going to change that!? I have 10 lesson plans to write, not a hard feat, but considering all I am doing is taking what is in the book and putting in on a lesson plan form seems to be a waste of my time. We were informed by email, sent to the principals, copied to us, we could use our planning time or 2:15-3:15 to write them. So, when do I spend my time working on them - at home after school, or on weekends. One principal jokes with me when she sees me, "So, writing lesson plans I see." This is it, here's my last attempt to get back to writing Math lesson plans! I will leave the blog for another day.

The Birth of a Blog

Computer trouble!
I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Richard, the 11 year old next door whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over. Richard clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem. As he was walking away, I called after him, "So, what was wrong?" He replied, "It was an ID ten T error." I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, "An ID ten T error? What's that? In case I need to fix it again." Richard grinned. "Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?'' "No," I replied. "Write it down," he said, "and I think you'll figure it out. "So I wrote down:
I D 1 0 T. I used to like the little shit. (author unknown)

I received this email from a friend recently but had heard a story along this line about five years ago at a Reading First conference. After four days of this conference, this is what I came away with remembering! Maybe it was because it was the second summer attending this conference. Thought it would make a great title for something some day.
Aren't blogs great!
We have all been there, know people who have been there, or see people daily who are there!