Wishing Stones


These are my stones. They are on a peak that overlooks Lake Titicaca in Peru. I built my stack this summer. At the time, I was more thankful to be alive and healthy than anything else. Wishing for more seemed like asking for a lot after what we had just gone through. I think I added something to my wish about being happy and living a full and wonderful life just for good measure.

For the most part, I feel like I’m the one in charge of making my life what it is. I’m too logical to think that a pile of rocks in Peru has anything to do with it. But just once, I’d love for a wish to come true.

So on this last day of 2007 I’ll contemplate what I can do to keep healthy, happy and all of that good stuff that I have control over. And of my wish? I think I need to make sure that I don’t lose my hope first.


Change in Perspective

Do you remember getting a sliver as a kid? I do. If it was really wedged in there good, my dad would use a pin to get the skin out of the way so he could pull it out with a tweezers. You were scared but you knew that you didn’t really have a choice about getting it out. It was not a laughing matter.

Tonight, my niece got a sliver. We tried our best to convince her to let grandpa take it out. She was just not buying the arguments that we gave her to let grandpa do it. Maybe it was partly because we could hardly contain our laughter for parts of it. Thirty years sure changes your perspective on getting poked by a pin. We’ll see if she changes her mind tomorrow…


Asking yourself questions…

“I was not rescued by a prince; I was the administrator of my own rescue.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love.

I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love.  There are lots of reviews about this book.  Some people like it, some don’t.  I liked it.  With anything you read, you take away what is relevant to you and your life.  Since I love to travel, I enjoyed many aspects of this book.  But the thing that I appreciate is how it can make you ask yourself questions.  What gives me pleasure?  What do I do to nurture my soul and my spirituality?  What am I doing to maintain balance in my life?  These are questions that we should all be asking ourselves.

I really like the quote found in chapter 108 (above).  I’m partial to it because I’ve always thought the princess/damsel in distress getting rescued by a prince thing is a big load of crap.  If you wait around for someone else to rescue you, life will pass you by.  This isn’t a new concept to me.  I haven’t had to hit rock bottom to figure it out either.  I’ve been the captain of my ship my whole life.

I did see the Oprah show with Elizabeth Gilbert a few weeks back.  I’ll admit, that’s what got me to look at the book.  Elizabeth seemed like a wise woman that was at peace with her life.  She’s only a year older than me!  The program had all sorts of people who had read the book and it had changed their life.  If it takes a book like this to get people to think about how they live their lives, great!

My point is that I think it’s worth it for us all to ask ourselves what is it that gives us pleasure, spirituality and balance in our lives.  I’m a fan of New Year’s resolutions.  As I think about what mine will be for 2008, I’m sure I will be asking myself those questions.

Slacker Teacher

I’ll admit it.  I’m a slacker.  At least tomorrow I will be.  The kids are ready for a break and so am I.  I am giving a test to my Algebra kids, so I’m not a complete slacker.  There’s this problem of finding a good stopping place for Pre Calc.  I got to it yesterday and strung it out into a quiz today.  My 4th hour kids have been busy little beavers and several will probably be gone.  So what is the plan?  Shrek the 3rd.  The goal?  Make it to 2:00 pm.

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Playing the Game


My college roommate is Sharkey of the Sharkey Malarkey blog. Today is the day to post a photo of your pet or kid in their Christmas finery. I asked Sharkey, “What if I don’t have a pet or a kid?” I thought about taking a picture of one of my plants. But that’s not too exciting. Then Sharkey asked me, “Is Whiskers still alive?” Whiskers is my parents’ nearly 20 year old cat. Yep. Whiskers is still alive. He’s moving rather slowly, but he’s still around. When I left for college, my sister begged my parents for a pet. So, Whiskers is my replacement.

Taking a picture of a cat is not very easy – especially an old one. So here it is. Merry Christmas!

Where did you learn that?

Today I had a student show me a different way to multiply. It’s called the lattice method and apparently they teach it with the Everyday Math curriculum. I had seen it on his test from last week and meant to ask him about it. To me, it looks complicated. It’s a box with diagonals drawn and the kids are taught where to put the numbers and then they add along the diagonals. After he showed me how to do it, I asked, “Where did you learn that?”

He looks at me, raises an eyebrow, “Jail.”

I’ve been doing this long enough where that answer doesn’t even phase me. I don’t really want to know why he was in jail. I just continue to talk, acting like it’s no big deal, and encourage him about how well he does in math. He says that he wants to get ahead in math because it’s his birthday Saturday. The sad thing is that he’ll only be turning fifteen.


If you haven’t noticed lately, we’re pretty much in re-run land on tv. We all know this is because of the writers strike. I am a member of 2 unions. The first one I joined was the Bakers and Confectioners Union so I could work in a local bakery. And now I’m, of course, a member of my local teacher’s union. I believe in the power of unions. So my own little tribute is a re-run of my own. This is a story that happened to me a few years ago. It’s one of my better teaching stories. Enjoy!

When I went to school this morning I thought I was going to have a nice, uneventful day. You see, 1st hour I was taking my kids to see a “Motivational Speaker”. All you typically do during an assembly is make sure the students are attentive and not doing anything too embarrassing. We’ll just say that this one was a bit more interactive…

By the luck of the draw (assigned seats) I was sitting with my students in the first 3 rows of the auditorium. Reggie, the speaker dude, travels the country telling his message to students. He does a great job at mixing humor with various life lessons and “build up your self-esteem” messages.

During the part where he talks about drugs (you know… “say no to drugs”) he decides he’s going to do a rap about it. This is not a solo effort. He needs help. So he gets the students to yell and scream for their teachers to do it. Being as I was sitting in row two, you guessed it…

Three other teachers and I were suckered into coming to the stage. At first Reggie had us repeat what he said. Then he taught us what we needed to do to look cool while we did it.

You’ve got to stand with your feet in a wide stance and have your knees fairly loose so you can sort of “bounce” to the music. Then you put your right arm out in front of you kind of like you’re driving a car. So while you “bounce” to the rhythm, driving your car, you get to say this…

“Ain’t no party like a drug free party ‘cuz a drug free party don’t stop, uhh.”

Now when you do the “uhh” at the end you sort of throw your arm down across your body.

Now picture doing this in front of a few hundred students. Yep. That’s how I started my day today.

Whatever you get to do today at your job, hopefully you’re safe from having to rap in front of your colleagues!