“You’ll never be left alone.”

There was an assembly for academic letter winners today during my Pre Calculus class.  I had several students that had earned academic letters and were invited to the ceremony.  So at 1 o’clock they were excused to leave and there were still quite a few of us left.  One student looked back and saw that another student sitting by herself at a table.

Student: Aww look.  You’re all by yourself.  You wanna move up? (said half-jokingly)

Solo Student: No! (said with slight disdain)

Student:  Hey- NCLB.  You’ll never be left alone.

All I could do was laugh.  It’s not often (ok… pretty much never) when a student refers to a specific law like that.

For all you non-teacher people…  NCLB = No Child Left Behind.


The mist

I’m so impressed with myself.  On my route to avoid rush hour traffic I was going by our district offices.  I know that during last week and this week, they’re doing flu shots from 4 – 6pm on certain days.  I was planning on making a special trip on Friday, since it would fit into my schedule.  But as I was driving by, I had the bright idea to see if today was one of the days.  Jackpot!

As I followed the sign for the flu shots, I had the thought running through my mind: I wonder if I can get my sleeve all the way up my arm for the shot? I filled out the paperwork and then found out that I could get the shot or the nasal mist.  Problem solved!  Since I am under 49 years of age, I was able to get the mist.  Everyone else was getting the shot.  So someone sticks something up your nose… BIG DEAL.  It’s barely in your nose and you just breathe like normal.  I won’t have a sore arm and I don’t have any throat irritation either.  Since I don’t live with someone whose immune system is compromised, I don’t have to worry about sneezing the virus out…  Apparently that’s the joke about what could happen if you get the mist.

So for anyone out there wondering about the flu mist, I’d recommend it.  It was super easy and painless.

Google Earth

I went to my Google Earth training class today. Have you ever looked at Google Earth? Get the free download here. I need to practice and play with it. But from what I’ve seen so far, it’s pretty cool!

You can type in your address and get an aerial view of your home. You can type another address and fly to the Eiffel Tower. Going to London? Fly there (virtually), search for hotels and see exactly where they are in relation to all of the places you want to see. You can even see the sky view of the stars in that location.

Some of it really gives you the feeling that Big Brother watching you. When you enable the street view, you can navigate down to the camera bubbles and get a 360 degree view at that point on the street. The Google people (or whoever does it) haven’t gotten around to every street corner in the country, yet. The magic camera-people have been in front of my sister’s house, but not in front of mine, my parents or my brother’s. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they come tooling around the ‘hood with their 360 camera. I wonder who has that job… Hmm…

Apparently you can use the latitude and longitude coordinates and do some cool things with math and specifically trigonometry. I wonder how long it will take me to figure that out!



When I went to college, my sister convinced my parents to get a cat.  We had never had a pet that could actually walk around the house before.  She and my dad looked at ads in the newspaper and went to visit a few of the places.  When they found him, he was already trained to go in a litter box.  I’m sure this was the primary reason for picking this particular cat.  He was all black, with yellowish green eyes.  They brought him home and my sister named him Whiskers.  That was in September of 1988.

I remember the first time I came home from college and he jumped onto my lap while I was eating dinner.  Scared the crap out of me.  We all started sleeping with our doors shut because we couldn’t get used to a cat jumping on the bed in the middle of the night.  He would actually throw himself at our bedroom doors to try to get in.  When that didn’t work, he’d just loudly meow in the hallway.  I also remember falling asleep on the couch and waking up to this cat face right in my face.  It freaks you out a bit at first.

Whiskers has been a pretty steady part of our lives for two decades.  Yes, that’s 20 years.  According to this chart, a 20 year old cat is 96 in human years.  I mean really, how long do most cats live?  Whenever my parents go on vacation, I’m the one that goes to check on him.

My parents were gone for almost three weeks.  I’ve been doing the usual routine of going there every few days to give him fresh water, change the litter (when needed), clean up the cat puke (often), and make sure he’s got a continuous supply of food.  The first week everything seemed fine.  The second week is when I started to notice a change.  He wasn’t throwing up.  I was glad about that until I figured out that he wasn’t eating.  When I talked to my parents they had decided to just try to make him comfortable.  He had lived a long life and it was probably his time.

I spent quite a bit of time there yesterday and today.  He was so weak, and I couldn’t get him to eat or drink.  From what I’ve heard, he was doing what most cats do in that situation.  He was trying to find a place out of the way that he could just curl up and go to sleep.  For good.

So today I spent most of the day holding him and carrying him around.  Every time he tried to walk somewhere he’d get about 10 feet and have to stop to rest.  He’d usually stop, start to crouch down and then fall over in exhaustion.  My parents drove all day today and made it home at about 6pm.  Whiskers was sitting with me on the couch.  When he recognized that they were home he tried to let out a few little meow sounds.  So they held him and petted him.  We put him in his box that he sleeps in and went to dinner.  When we got home, he had died.

I’m sure that by staying with him all day I had a part in keeping him alive for my parents to get home and see him.  You have no idea how relieved I am that I got him to hold on that long.  Could he have lived longer had we taken him to the vet?  Maybe.  But he was very old, was already having some issues and had lived a full life (in cat terms).  It was his time.  How many people get 20 years with a pet?

So rest in peace dear Whiskers.  You were one cool cat.

on chair


Giving Away Power

Sunday morning I actually flipped someone off from my car.  I NEVER do that.  I was in the right turn lane and waiting to possibly turn on a red.  The car behind me honked.  EXCUSE ME?  Can you see the traffic from your vantage point?  NO!  You have no right to honk at me.

It took me a few minutes and a few miles to calm down and get over the stupid incident.  The good thing is that I could recognize pretty quickly that I let this other driver get me all worked up.  Key phrase: I let them get to me.  Did I have to react that way?  No.  The next time, I’m just going to sit there until the light turns green and be good ‘ol passive aggressive…  😉

The point is that people do stupid shit all the time.  There’s no getting around it.  But how you deal with it determines your level of happiness.  At school, I make it a game.  I don’t let them get to me.  If I do, I’m disappointed with myself.

The power to control your emotions is a pretty big thing to give away.  I’m keeping mine.

Changing Focus

Several years ago my school got a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.  We developed Smaller Learning Communities (SLC).  Students were able to pick an area of interest and would then be put into homerooms accordingly.  Teachers were put into these academies with respect to their interests too.

I was in the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Academy (NRES).  We had students that were interested in camping, animals, outdoor activities, etc.  We would take them camping and do experiential education with them.  It was a great program that the kids loved.  (Read about it here, here and here.) But being a city school, we didn’t have enough kids that were interested in our academy or really knew what we did.  We were also the smallest academy.  When the budget shrunk, my academy was the first to go.

Now I have the consolidated homeroom of the NRES kids and we’re now in the Health Sciences Academy.  The last several years the NRES academy has done things to spruce up the school grounds.  We’ve raked leaves, planted trees and flowers, and also picked up trash.  The kids were fine with doing those kinds of service projects for the school.  We did joke around about being the academy that picks up the trash.  But it was all in good fun.

As a part of the Health Sciences academy, we now learn about health careers one day per week.  Lately we’ve been watching a video that follows a man through medical school, internship, and residency.  It’s quite interesting.  As we get further into his career, we see more.  Today it was actually fairly graphic.  There were people that were having procedures done that were yelling out in pain.  They’ve shown cadavers.  And there was some woman with a head injury today that was really hard to watch.  The kids that are interested in Health Sciences were all watching.  My NRES kids were squirming in their chairs and groaning about how gross it was and trying not to look.  Finally, one girl raises her voice in desperation:

I’d rather be picking up trash!

I just burst out laughing.  Every other NRES kid nodded in agreement.  There’s nothing we could do but laugh.  It’s sure going to be an interesting year!


I didn’t want to assume that the former student was asking me out.  I’m not really into assuming that ANY guy is asking me out.  So I proceeded in teacher mode to try to get to the bottom of it.

I returned the email and said that I was super busy with a variety of things and asked, “Is there anything in particular that you need?”

What comes back to me?

Sounds like you really have your hands full, but maybe sometime when your not so busy you’d like to have dinner or grab some coffee, whatever you like is fine with me.


I guess it’s time to be very direct.