Trust it, or not?


I just got back from a road trip. Each direction was 670 miles and about 11.5 hours. The drive is not very difficult. I just get nervous driving through Chicago.

On the drive back, I need to take the Toll Road exit. I knew the exit and was prepared for it. But, I hesitated, read the signs and didn’t keep right and missed my exit. The problem is: you can’t just turn around and re-do it. So I started following what the GARMIN was telling me. But then it re-calculated onto some obscure route through Chicago. All I wanted to do is get on the I-90 W Chicago Skyway. Somehow I was able to drive around and disobey the Garmin and find my way to the toll road.

You can go around Chicago, but it adds on a significant number of miles and isn’t any faster that going right through downtown. I drove through around noon. You will always encounter traffic here. Most if the time it moves pretty well even though there’s lots of traffic. There were a few times when I had to slow down. It is kind of cool to see the downtown.


On my way back, I was not alone in the car. I thought I was going to have someone to talk to. But why would you want to chat with your aunt when you’ve got movies to watch and a game to play?



Nice Timing

Each year before school starts we get a Welcome back letter from our principal.  Sometimes we refer to it as the Lemonade letter because one year she talked about sipping lemonade on a nice summer day.  Anyhoo…  Last August the letter came and there was this cool little tidbit in it.  All Math and Science classrooms would have Promethean boards installed.  Cool.  (A Promethean board is another version of a SmartBoard).

When I arrived for opening week there were no signs of new technology in my room.  Hmm…  maybe I read the letter wrong?

Well guess what?  They finally arrived.  June 14th.  Yep.  The last day for students was June 11th.  At least I know it will be there in the fall!

(Your age/2) + 7

Several years ago I was chaperoning students during a winter camping trip.  Part of what makes these trips interesting is the interaction with the students.  There were only a handful of girls on this trip.  During some of the free time we would have some eye-opening conversations.  One conversation had to do with dating.

The parent of one of the girls was dating someone quite a bit younger.  So I asked what their definition was of being too young to date.  To my surprise, they gave me a mathematical equation: (your age/2) + 7.   I was quite impressed.  y= .5x + 7 seems like a pretty good equation to me, provided that x is greater than or equal to 15 or so.  Would that mean that the inverse is true for how much older one can date?  The inverse works out to: twice your age – 14.  If I work this out for my age, it means I can date in the range between 27 and 66.  When putting this in perspective, I have many former students in the range from 27 – 31.  Creepy.  Sixty-six would be just shy of my parents’ ages.  Even more creepy.

I kind of have a thing with age.  I know, people say that age is just a number.  Yeah, yeah.  But honestly, why would I date someone in their sixties?  What is the intention of someone in their sixties asking me out?  Even if it is just to chat, I’ll go hang out with my parents or aunts and uncles if I want to hang with that generation.

I know there are people who would disagree with me.  But we are not in an age where a woman is dependent on a man for her survival.  I don’t need another father figure.  I like the one I’ve got.

So what do you think is the appropriate equation?  I know a lot depends on the individual and if they’re young at heart or an old soul.  Right now, I’m thinking that your age plus or minus ten is a pretty good range.  From there, evaluate on a case by case basis.

Know thy strength.

One of my many skills is the ability to open a bottle of wine. I’ve got a lot of practice. I happen to have one of those fancy contraptions to un-cork a bottle.

Last week we were having a little party for Margaret at my house and I had a little trouble. My fancy contraption was not budging the cork. I got out another (less fancy) corkscrew that you typically see used in restaurant. I was starting to work it out when I felt less pressure from my left hand. Another person was holding the bottom of the bottle.



Luckily it broke below my hand and I didn’t cut myself.

It’s Time

Here we go again!



Margaret is a colleague of mine. She is also a dear friend. I’ve been teaching with her for the past decade. Margaret has been teaching for 21 years (I think). She started taking coursework this year to become a school counselor. She has another year of school and was planning on taking a leave to do it. In the fall, Margaret’s husband applied for a sabbatical and it was granted. They will be living in Portugal for the next school year. Margaret’s counseling classes will be pushed off for a year while she has wonderful adventure in Braga.

I first heard of Margaret way back before she was a teacher. You see, she student taught with my dad. This was way back when I was in high school. My dad has always raved that she was the best student teacher he had over his entire career. She’s very creative and is a wonderful teacher. She connects with kids and has a natural ability. Her leaving the classroom is truly a loss to the profession.

This entire year, I’ve known that it would be Margaret’s last. But now that we only have 5 days to go, it’s really the end. Back when I first started teaching with her, I realized just how special she is. She is five years older than me and is a truly unique individual. After getting to know her, I decided that I wanted to be like Margaret. Because of her, I’ve done many things that I don’t know I would have done otherwise.

Margaret is always learning new things and taking classes of some sort. I’ve taken various cooking classes, drawing and wine classes. I went to my first wine tasting with Margaret. I’ve traveled with Margaret. Going anywhere for spring break is great, but it’s even better with Margaret. She always has cool ideas. Last summer we took a field trip together. She regularly has given me recipes to try. Over the last year I’ve been following her adventures with having chickens. There are actually lots of references to (or because of) Margaret in this blog. Two years ago, Margaret got married. I even tried the same dating service that worked so well for her. Clearly, that wasn’t the case for me, but hey… I tried it.

Margaret’s influence on me has been larger than she probably realizes. I go to her for advice about teaching, dating, food & wine, travel, books to read, you name it… I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do without her down the hall. It probably won’t really hit me until next fall when there’s someone else in her room.

Margaret will be missed more than she knows. She has a wonderful and exciting future and I for one will be watching to see what she does next. She is a truly amazing person that is gifted in so many ways. Margaret, I wish you the best! You have been a wonderful inspiration!

In the meantime, I’m planning a spring break trip to Portugal… 😉

It’s that time of year again

Yesterday was locker the big locker clean out.  The last combination was changed a mere 2 hours and 40 minutes after the start.  I think that’s a new record.  It’s a big job, but I think I’ve mastered it.

This year I had 6 students helping.  I sent 2 of them home after the clean-out portion.  I kept 4 of them for changing combinations.  I only had 4 keys, but I wanted to have the 2 sophomores stay to get trained in for next year.  For some reason, they seemed to be having fun with it.

Part of the reason for the “fun” could be that I had 2 couples helping me.  I kind of felt like I was providing a pseudo-date experience for them.  One couple is the Sara and Jake from a previous post.  Sara and Jake actually went to the prom together this year.  The other couple could just be friends, but you never know with these kids.  I think they’re the age where they’re starting to date and these two seem fairly innocent.

We had some good laughs over what we found.  One innocent helper held up this round dial of pills and asked, “Is this birth control?”  Yep.  She then followed it up with, “How does it work?”  I walked over, showed her how the dial turned and the pill pops out the back.  I’m sure the information will come in handy in a few years…  Not much further down the row there was a box for Plan B.  We found one of those last year, so she didn’t need to ask any questions.

The real fun came when we were changing the combos.  When I do it, I just change the combo and shut the door.  They would do a row, take a running start and shut them in a domino effect.  Two years ago, one helper did that at the very end.  This crew did it throughout the entire process.  I was downstairs while one pair was finishing up right above me.  If I didn’t know what the ruckus was, I would really be wondering what was happening above my head.

Having good helpers makes a big difference.  If I can get them cleaning so I can start changing combinations about an hour after the start, the job goes much faster.  The last of the clean-up is done while four of us our changing combinations.  The overlap of the two parts of the job is the key to getting it done in a timely manner.  For some reason, the kids think it’s fun. I do pay them about $10 an hour.  I think they’d actually do it without the pay.  But they deserve something for their work and I think it’s worth it.  So until next year, that’s it for the lockers!