Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Morning Drive Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

At Al's Garden Center Posted by Picasa

Kentucky Leaves Posted by Picasa

Close up  Posted by Picasa

Day from ...

This has not been a good morning. Well, it hasn't been a terrible morning either, just not a great one.

Our waterbed has sprung a leak. We patched it. It didn't hold. That was Monday night. It did hold long enough to get to sleep and wake up damp. I wasn't soaked, but I wasn't dry either.

Tuesday, Tammy went to work with me and on our way home we stopped at a great little hardware store. The guy working there was knowledgeable and extremely helpful. He had some self adhesive waterbed patches and some vinyl adhesive. We took both. When Tammy asked about chemicals, he told us that humidifier chemicals would work, but he thought he was out of them. He went to look. When he returned, he had the chemicals and gave them to us for $1. I will be back there.

We took that home and tried the self adhesive one. It was useless. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. The adhesive came with a small (approx. 6" x 2.5") piece of vinyl. I cut a piece to work with the hole and patched it. It still leaked. Part of the problem is the top of the mattress isn't flat. It has a quilt like pattern in it, so it has rises and drops. The adhesive is gluing the patch but not filling in all the crevices, and the water seeps out of those areas.

By the time we went to bed last night, I had patched it twice and didn't want to put a lot of stress on the patch. We went to the bottom of the bed and slept there. When we got up this morning, Tammy's knee was damp. There was still some leakage. One more cut, one more gluing, one more chance. This one is going to be on there all day before any pressure is put on the bed. The last thing I want to do is drain this bed so I can patch the hole flatly., but I might have too, if this patch doesn't hold. Fingers are crossed.

the problem with the bed made me later than usual this morning. Being late already, and having already called work to let them know, I decided that a few extra minutes wouldn't matter, and stopped to get some breakfast. I usually stop at a small store near the school, but if I am late, all that is left is fried bologna sandwiches. While fried bologna sandwiches are okay some days, today was not a FB sandwich day. I stopped at McD's. I got a breakfast burrito. It sorta blew up, disintegrated, leaked on my shirt. Now I am on my way to work, late, and I have my breakfast remnants spotting my nice mauve colored shirt.

There was one bright spot. I did manage to catch a gas station that hadn't raised gas prices to $2.25 a gallon yet. It was still $2 a gallon at the Sam's club station. I saved abut $4 on the fill up. That might pay to have the shirt cleaned.

Tammy is home today with a hurting back. I hated leaving her in pain. I almost took the day off. In light of the morning, it would seem reasonable. I figured, however, the day could only get better. So, I went on to work. We will see how my Murphy's law luck holds out.

At last check, the patch is holding.

That might be a corner.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Vindicated !!

Some of my regular blog readers will remember the "Christmas Perfected" post, where I described the perfect Christmas gift. It was a gift so simple, yet so encompassing, that it was the perfect gift for all ages, for male or female, for straight or gay, for tall or short, for pudgy or skinny, for rich or poor, for everyone. This perfect gift, so often overlooked when Christmas shopping, was none other than a pair of socks. You may refer to the original post. Go ahead, I'll wait.

OK, welcome back.

When I told the family about the perfect gift, they scoffed at my idea. They laughed at it. They dared call it (and I) ridiculous.

Yet, each one of them, at some point between that post and Christmas came to me and asked that one of their gifts might be, you guessed it, SOCKS.

Tammy wanted slipper socks. Chella wanted toe socks (you know, the ones with toes like a glove has fingers). Kyle wanted regular tube socks. Chris wanted warm socks.

I am vindicated.

My true genius is shining through. A genius is someone that can take a complex issue and see it in such a way that the answer is simple. This simple answer sometimes confuses those less than geniuses around him. They often scoff at his ideas as lunacy. They make fun of him. They tease him. Eventually, however, they come around. The simplicity of the answer begins to worm its way into their slow to receive minds. Then, suddenly, like a light going on, they see.

The complex problem : Christmas gifts
The simple answer : Socks

Vin-duh-cation !!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Xmas?

Kyle was asking me where the term "Xmas" came from in reference to Christmas.

At first, I was at a loss to explain the origin of a seeming harmless phrase. Later as I was looking at it, it dawned on me. "Xmas" is Christmas, without Christ.

I know that everyone doesn't celebrate the birth of Christ as Christians celebrate it, but the season is still Christmas. The very origin of Christmas is not as most would suspect. Jesus was not born on December 25th. He was most likely born in June or July. The shepherds were watching their sheep in the fields. That doesn't happen in December, even in the middle east. So, you can rule out a winter birth.

The day we currently use to commemorate the birth of Christ was a Roman holiday. When the Christians were in captivity to Rome, they were not allowed to have their own holidays. They were required to celebrate the Roman holidays for pagan gods. This was not acceptable to them, as they considered it heresy to worship another god. So, they celebrated their God on pagan holidays. Easter, Christmas, and other religious holidays were created by this tradition.

To me, it isn't the day that matters. It is the presence of Christ in our celebration. His presence is needed every day. His will is to be our guidance in every season. His love is to be the beacon we shine to the world in every hour of every day.

It is a pity that there are those that try to celebrate Christmas without Christ. The season, the day, is empty without Him. Even more empty, is the life that is devoid of His grace, of His love, of His will, and of His purpose.

Tomorrow is Christmas. Celebrate the love that created a day of hope and a way of hope. Celebrate the love that brought a God to a manger and much farther. Celebrate the love that took a man to the cross and brought him out of the tomb.

Celebrate Christ.

Celebrate Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Getting close

It is getting close to Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve is at mom and dad's house with nearly 50 of the close family. There is a dinner. There are presents. There is singing. There is Bible reading. There is praying. There is singing of Silent Night in German.

Today was shopping for last minute and forgotten gifts. It was an exercise in aggravation. There were big crowds, big traffic, and big headaches. It was great to see mans inhospitality to man in action. Have people never heard the words, "Excuse me?" they never use it and when hearing it they seem oblivious to its meaning or intent.

There will be more news later. We are going back out later to shop and sing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Catch up

It has been a while since I blogged, so there has to be some catch up.

Monday was a work day. We had a long long staff meeting. Then the principal took us out to lunch. When we got back to the school, it was just a short while until the beginning of the Advisory Committee meeting. That took til the end of the day. Pete (upstairs) got a job and needed a ride to work at 10:30 PM. We dropped him off and then went to Fayette Mall to pick up Angie (upstairs) from work. We got home around 11:45.

I didn't work at all Tuesday. I took some comp time and missed a day. We spent the day running errands. We paid taxes and got license plates. We had to take Chris to his new job to fill out paper work. Tammy had to go to Nicholasville to get Heather and take her to work. We got Pete a bus schedule so we do not have to go out and take him to work.

I told Tammy she needs to learn to say one simple word ... "No"

There are people out there with genuine needs and no way to go that just have to have the help, but some folks will never try to make their own way as long as someone is there top do it for them. When it came down to having to ride the bus, Pete found a ride. When our taxi service stopped, he found a way. The same is true of many folks. Not that they are users, but if you are always there to do for someone, they will never learn their own way.

That is part of being a good parent. You have to let your kids grow up and learn to do things for themselves. I remember an incident that happened when I was 17. I had a '67 Mustang (it was '75). I had a little trouble with the front end and took it to a garage. They told me it was the ball joints and fixed it for me for $60. Dad told me, when he got home from work that I could have fixed that myself (I have several times since then) and saved about $30. I told Dad to let me make my own mistakes. I appreciated all his help, but it was time to let me learn my own way. My immediately older sister was somewhat sickly and Mom and Dad doted over her. To this day she calls them for the slightest problem. She is 51 and still can't take care of herself with any assurance. She has to check it out with Dad to be sure it is right. I didn't want to be like that.

Anyway ... We stayed busy Tuesday as well.

Today, I went to work. I tried to get some things done, but there was a problem with the line between Frankfort and Clark County. There was no internet or email. My computer (State) has to have me signed into the email system in order for it to get past the sign in screen. With that not being possible, nothing else worked. So, there was not much work done. Well, not much on the computer.

There ya go. Now you are caught up.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Today has been a Christmas kinda day.

No, there hasn't been any snow.

The giving spirit of Christmas has been here. This morning at 6:30, we got the kids up to go to Walmart in Winchester, where we were going to 'Shop With A Cop'.

"Shop With A Cop" is a charitable program sponsored by the several law enforcement agencies in Winchester. They collect monies through-out the year and at Christmas time, they give under privileged kids a chance at a few Christmas presents. Volunteers go with the kids and guide them to clothes and toys. We, my SkillsUSA students and I, were there to volunteer. So were the Cheerleader, and the FFA, and others. It was a grand time.

Kyle was not able to go with it. It was sad. He started getting the coughing crud Saturday and was still hacking this morning. He, reluctantly stayed home. Chella had a great time and found that she really likes helping others. She wants to volunteer other places. I think it is a capital idea. She needs more outlets. She needs to be more places than hanging with the local hoodlums. She needs to meet other kinds of kids. She gets all the hood rats that she doesn't need around here.
We will see what becomes of this spirit after the holidays.

Welcome to the tightrope.

Why must raising children be such a tightrope walk?

We teach our children to defend themselves when it is necessary in word and, if unavoidable, deed. Then, we have to balance that by teaching them to respect those in authority over them. After all, in most accusations of wrongdoing, it is an adult in authority bring the accusation. Then we defend our children vehemently when we feel they are wrongly accused. We have a responsibility to our children to take their word on some things until we have evidence to support that they are lying to cover up a misdeed. Our children see the passion of our defense in their stead and know we are their champion. They also learn how to defend themselves, but not the place where they need to back off and let another fight for them. That is part of the tightrope walk for parents.

Children don't see the times that we hold our tongue, because we did just that. We didn't erupt into defense. We choose our battles. The kids see only the battles and think it is appropriate to use this defense every time.

We teach them to speak up for themselves and then we teach them to hold their tongue. We teach them to defend themselves and then teach them not to fight.

Growing up is all about taking your place on the tightrope.

Friday, December 16, 2005


ok ... Sorry to keep ya waiting ...
The assessment of Cycle One is completed. In my internship, there are three cycles. In each cycle, I am to be observed by another teacher, my principal, and the professor from EKU, Dr. D. Yesterday, Dr D observed me teaching. We had a meeting with the two of the three (my teacher observer had a class to teach at EKU and couldn't make it) to discuss my strengths and weaknesses. My strengths were good and weaknesses were just a few. This is a good thing. Assessments are one of 4 choices. N/A for 'not applicable', 1 for not 'progressing toward the standard', 2 for 'progressing toward the standard with room for improvement', and 3 for 'meets the standard'.
Most of my marks were 2's with one 3 and one 1. The single one was only because I did not provide enough evidence of one of the standards in my portfolio. Principal K says it was a good first assessment. There were no overriding concerns. They felt I was on track. I am doing the happy dance.

Today is the final day of school before Christmas break, and half of my classes are taking finals. I am looking forward to a slow day with little drama (at least at school).

We did a staff Christmas lunch thing yesterday with so much left over that I don't need to bring or get lunch out today. I thought I would take off on Monday to finish a few things and start a few things, but I remember, I have an advisory committee meeting on Monday (sorry, babe).

Still ... It is FRIDAY ! ! ! !

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Today is the day

the professor made it today. I am awaiting the meeting with he and my principal to discuss their findings. I will post later about that report and the rest of my day ...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Today, this morning, I was to be assessed by the professor from EKU. It didn't happen. He didn't have it on his calendar. We are scrambling to reschedule. According the the Kentucky Professional Standards Board, we have to have this done this week.

The problem exists in that tomorrow and Friday are finals days for the students of GRC.
We will see what will be ..
stay tuned ...
Same bat time, same bat channel ...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lazy weekends and lesbians

It has been a lazy weekend so far. I can't afford another one of these for a while.

On Friday night, we didn't go out anywhere, except to drop Chella and Justin off at the movies and pick the up 2 hours later. We did make a side excursion to the house of Ronnie turner, owner of Amteck Electric to see his outrageous display of Christmas lights. I will take the camera next time to post a pic or two. Trust me when I say it is outlandish.

Saturday, I didn't even put on clothes until suppertime. I saw no need of pants until then. We went out afterwards to sing. I knew I would need to be wearing pants for that anyway. Although, the thought of throwing Tammy on the waterbed for monkey sex did cross my mind and enter our conversation. She was all for the monkey sex and forgetting the singing part. We went to sing anyway. We had a good time, met new people, and sang our little thumping gizzards out.

Tammy sang one song just before we left, Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight." It impressed a couple 'lesbians' at the first table. We talked about that. I think, while allowing them to make that choice, that many lesbians aren't really lesbians at all. I listen to their conversations. They are just man haters. Nothing done by a man is a good thing. All ideas brought forth by the penis bearers of the species are bad, or at the very least, flawed. They hate men so much that nothing a man does will suit them in any way. They form romantic relationships with other women as a way to 'get back' at the objects of their hatred.

What they really don't understand is that we, as a rule, don't care. Why should I care if a woman has a relationship with another woman and excludes men from the chances ? I do not care if you love another woman any more than I care if a guy loves another man. These 'man haters' are never really pleased in their relationships with other women either. If they are romantically involved with a true lesbian, then they don't share the hatred that is such a fundamental part of themselves. If they do find an equally obsessed 'man hater', then the relationship is based on a common hatred and that never brings happiness.

Love who, and what you wish, but do it for the right reason. Do it because you have a love for someone, not a hatred for everyone else.

We eventually made it home around midnight.

Sunday was a lazy day as well. We did take Chris and Becca to Nickel-Vegas to help my oldest daughter and hubby move into their finally finished new place. For me it was a great opportunity to visit with the grand kids. The youngest of A's sat on my lap and we had a blast. We sat on the couch and clapped every time the guys brought something in from the truck. (they needed Chris to help with some heavy stuff. Washer and dryer, large TV, entertainment center)

We came home and finished the night by watching "Dragonslayer" which I bought for Tammy last week. It is one of her favorite movies.

How was yer weekend ?

Friday, December 09, 2005


Yesterday's Chinese blog said:

The snow is on the way. So says the weatherman. We are expecting up to four inches of that sweet white powdery stuff. I love snow, I love it on the trees and the yard. I love it in the fields and covering houses. It just needs to stay off the roads that I need to travel on.

However, the big predicted snow never showed up. It did snow a little, which was enough to throw the city into white powder panic. To really screw up traffic in Lexington, just add water, in any form, rain, snow, sleet, ice, or even fog.

Last night, we went out to return movies (gotta avoid those late fees) and the roads were not bad at all. People were still in a panic, but it was easily passable. There is school nearly everywhere in KY. There are a few counties that have called off school.

EC has called off school. Clark County has not. I will have students.
The fun is beginning.

Thursday, December 08, 2005



Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Nerve raking number 2

Just take a rake and run it across my nerves.

Today, my principal sat in on one of my classes. She chose my 4th block class. My 4th block class s one of the most chaotic classes. The students from GRC (which now number 2 with recent drop outs) are in there for about 40 minutes when the students from ECHS (which now number 3 with recent drop outs) arrive. There is a moment of pandemonium as the two classes merge into one. The girls from ECHS have to say their hello's to the boys from GRC. This take a few minutes and is not so much different form the regular class changes, except that it happens in the middle of one of the classes. GRC students in 4th block are here from 11:55 til 1:33. The ECHS students are here from 12:35 til 2:20.

I have to spilt my lesson. Ideally, I would continue the lesson after the break when GRC leaves, and teach the GRC students what the ECHS students learned after they left, the next day before they arrived. That is what should happen, ideally. Since when do things go as they ideally should. The girls from ECHS are distracted after break/and or the learn at a faster pace than the guys at GRC. Well, either they learn faster or get bored faster. Both are a possibility.

The guys from GRC are not hurting, as they both have averages in the low 90% range. The girls from ECHS aren't hurting as they all have averages in the upper high 80% range (85% to 87%). Either way it goes, both are learning.

Well, anyway, back to the Principal being in my class. This class has not one, not two, but three students with hyperactivity issues. They feed off one another as well. So, if one goes outside the box, the other take it a step further, and then another step further. It can be quiet comical at times, and to the casual observer, seem to be chaos. It really isn't. I have to let them vent it from time to time to allow them to focus back on the lesson at hand, otherwise, they would explode, or amuse themselves and lose everything I say.

I haven't heard from Ms B. What she thought of the class. One student was literally bouncing in her seat (not real noticeable) to keep from bursting out talking. One student was doing his best to stay awake, with the help of one of the girls poking him to alert him. The most ADHD one of the bunch did well. He will raise his hand and start talking about the same time. If it pertains to the lesson at hand, we discuss. If it doesn't, I either answer his query in short form or tell him we will go into that in more detail later. If I tell him we are not discussing that now, he will keep it in his mind and lose focus on what we are doing.

These are not book taught responses. These are actual trial and error responses. I have tried other methods. These are the ones that currently work. I am open to suggestions at any time.

I am now calmer. I know I can teach. I know I can reach the kids. The important thing is that I do it to the most effective level I can. I have told my Principal that I appreciate her advice. I appreciate the advice of anyone that wants to help me be a better teacher.

I have one more observation/evaluation to go. It will be by Dr. Davis, next week. He is a EKU professor and former teacher. Keep yer fingers crossed for me.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's a fat one

I read this report online and couldn't resist adding my comments to it.

MINNEAPOLIS - Schools that run bake sales and let teachers reward students with candy risk having more overweight pupils, a study in Minneapolis suggests.

Suggests ?? Have we become so politically correct that we can only suggest that eating baked sweets and candy causes obesity in children? Come on, you know it is true. Eating sweets and candy adds to obesity. DonÂ’t be afraid to say so.

That offers some vindication to the schools across the country that have cracked down on cupcakes and cookies on campus.

As if we need vindication. Kids, left to themselves, will not eat correctly. This is just the way it is with kids. Let to their own devices, they will screw it up most of the time. I know, I know, your kids would never do that, I am talking about my lids.

Lead author Martha Kubik, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, acknowledged her research doesn't prove that such food practices contribute to adolescent obesity, but there does seem to be a connection.

Seems to be a connection ?? did we just fall off the turnip truck or what ?

"I think we all have to step back and look at what we're doing to contribute to practices that might not support children developing healthy dietary behavior," she said.

Her study's results make sense to Kevin Miller, principal of Fair Haven Middle School, which banned bake sales and went junk food-free as part of a districtwide program in the New Haven, Conn. Miller doesn't allow vending machines, and his cafeteria promotes healthy food.

Kids are actually eating apples and oranges instead of throwing them away. And because there aren't any candy wrappers around, he said, "our hallways are impeccable."

Can we say, Duh !?!?

I know that we need to tiptoe around everyone in the world so we donÂ’t damage the fragile psyche of kids now days. We need to encourage them. I agree with all that, but too much is too much.

Attack of the colds

Sorry to be absent. We have been battling the colds over the weekend and yesterday. I didn't go to work. Chris didn't go to work. Kyle didn't go to school.

Today is better. Head is clearer. I am back at work. I don't know the condition of the others as I left as they were getting out of bed.

I will try to catch up as I get more time during lunch and later this afternoon.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Let the fraternization begin.

One of my students has invited me to go to a place close to his farm for a pool tournament and to sing karaoke tonight. It is a restaurant as well as a bar, therefore, the kids can come. The pool tables and bar are in the back. We will be in the restaurant portion of the establishment.

Tammy wasn't too thrilled about the pool playing part (nor am I), but loves the karaoke part. I have nothing against pool playing except that I am not good at it. It is ok as a fun game, but I would never presume to compete. That would be a waste of my time and anyone else in the contest. My brother in law (an excellent shooter) says I am a slop shooter. My balls fall in by luck in a pocket completely across the table from where I am shooting.

We will see how this goes this evening. It will be a good opportunity to talk to this students parents. His dad is close friends with the owner. K is a good kid. He has a lot on his plate. He works the farm before coming to school and is also a volunteer firefighter. He has a high "B" in my class. This morning he was tired, after rescuing a calf before coming to school. The calf was stranded in a lake.
I'll keep ya posted.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Christmas perfected.

I have perfected the entire Christmas experience. We (the family & I) were having an in depth discussion about Christmas. Tammy asked me when I wanted to go Christmas shopping. (We have done some preliminary shopping.) I told her, “December 24th.”

Here’s what you do, I explained. You go to the sock aisle at Meijer and walk down the aisle shoveling socks into the buggy. You do want to make sure you hit a few different colors for those that have favorite colors. Let me ask you, sincerely, who can’t use a few new pairs of socks? What person, rich or poor, married or single, man or woman, can honestly say that they do not have any need for a couple more pairs of socks?

They are the perfect gift. They are universally worn. They are unisex. They come in one size fits all (except Godzilla feet.) They are more than just made for the feet. They had multiple uses. A nice fluffy sock can also be used as a mitt for car washing. They can be a bank for your loose money. Extra socks can be used as mittens when the tide of the snowball fight is going against you and provide the needful protection to allow you to double your output of firepower.

They are enjoyed by young and old alike.

They eliminate the “you gave him more than me” crying, so often heard this time of the year. Everyone gets socks. They are the great equalizer of today’s society. They eliminate the need to shop for days and stand in line for hours after and before fighting maddening crowds on the road and in parking lots. As a gift, socks reduce stress (always a good thing this time of the year.) Think of the hours you can spend with the kids when you don’t have to be out in the weather, out in the traffic, out in the crowd, fighting for an X-box 360°.

Not being out in the weather reduces your chances of getting sick.

Not being in traffic reduces your chances of being in an accident.

Not being in a crowded mall or department store reduces your exposure to germs and idiots.

Socks, as a gift, lengthen your life. It is comforting to know, the years you add to your life by avoiding stressful times and places, will be spent enjoying the socks you have accumulated over the years.

Even though the Bible doesn’t mention it (and I hope I am not being sacrilegious here), I am sure one of the wisemen, along with the gold, frankincense, myrrh, thought to bring socks.

So practical. So easy. So thoughtful. So simple. And yet, so overlooked.

The gift that keeps on giving for years to come. Who would have thought, Christmas could be so simplified, as giving and receiving socks.

Keep those Christmas thoughts flowing, and your toes warm. Have a sock today.

Shop early, shop often. Keep a few extra pairs around for unexpected visitors. Your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated.

Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a nice warm pair of socks.

This message brought to you by the Association of Sock Sellers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I love this article

WASHINGTON - Airport security screeners are reportedly going to let passengers bring sharp objects on board airplanes again. Today's Washington Post says the Transportation Security Administration plans to announce security changes Friday.

Sources quoted by the paper says the new rules will allow things like scissors in carry-on bags. The reasoning is that such items are no longer regarded as the greatest threat to airline security.

Homeland Security Department officials are said to be more concerned about preventing suicide bomb attacks at airports. Officials want screeners to focus more on finding things that can explode rather than things that are sharp.

TSA spokeswoman says the new initiatives will be positive for both security and customer service.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Something I found in my files

A house that lasts ....

There is a Bible parable about two builders. One builder builds on sand. The other digs down and finds a rock. There, he starts his building. When the buildings are completed, they are indistinguishable.

The shortcut builder stands as proudly in front of his house as does the rock-finding builder. Outwardly, the houses have the same magnificent luster. The bricks are just so-so. The painting is flawless. The water flows. The lights illuminate. Everything looks solid. The parable states that eventually a storm arises. The rains descend. The winds blow. The fury of the storm beats vehemently against the house. Both builders rest in the security of their house.

The storm does not affect the bricks. It does not affect the plumbing. It does not affect the painting. It does not affect the electricity. However, as the storm continues, it begins to affect the sand. The sand begins to shift. As the sands became less and less stable, the house began to move. The foundation gave way and the house built on sand crumbled. None of its beauty was enough to save it.

The second house was in the storm as well. The fury of the storm raged against it just the same. The sands shifted around it. The rock upon which it was founded did not move. When the storm subsided, there was a house and a pile of rubble. I know the spiritual aspects of this parable. Jesus used it to demonstrate the end of those that hear and heed his words and those that hear and heed not. It is an extraordinarily fundamental truth expressed in a common tale. There is a relationship concept portrayed here.

I feel the implications go well beyond this spiritual application. Look at the houses as relationships. Think of them as the relationships we build each day. Some relationships are utility relationships. These are work relations. They encompass co-workers, bosses, and subordinates. They are the sheds we build in the back yard to keep the tools we use in the upkeep of our lives. They house the fundamentals for maintenance. These relationships are based on a common workplace. We can enhance those relationships and move them in the friendship realm. Basically, they are relationships of necessity.

Then, there are beauty relationships. These are the flower gardens planted in the front yard. We provide food and labor. They provide beauty and enjoyment. They are the give and take relationships in our lives. Most of our relationships will fall into this group. They are the friends we meet for lunch. They come over to the house for supper, cookouts, card games, and such like that. We see them almost daily. They require some effort to keep them alive and flourishing.

Then there are the warmth, comfort, shelter from the storm, relationships. They are the ones we love. They are the ones upon which we depend. They come in all shapes and sizes. They carry many different labels. They can be a spouse, a mate, a partner, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, or a lover. You can begin haphazardly in your utility relationships. You can rush your beauty relationships. This relationship, however, requires a much more solid basis. This is where we will hide away from the fury of life’s storms. This is where we will rest when trouble comes round us.

I have seen so many that rush in this building process. They are so hungry for a relationship that they skip the fundamentals. They build this most important building on the sand. They are the ones that are suddenly getting married. Perhaps, they move in together on the impulse of a good date or three. This house has to stand with you in the storm. In the parable, the storm did not know or acknowledge either house. It was just doing what a storm does. It raged. It blew. It rained. It had no vendetta against the houses. Storms will eventually try every relationship.

Take time in your relationship building. A wise builder does not rush his/her construction. Find the solid foundation. Find a rock solid core of commonality. Do not build on feel good sand. In the storm, the beauty of the relationship will not sustain it. The relationship will not last based on the peripherals. Have you ever witnessed what appeared to be a solidly built relationship crumble? When you build on the feel good sand; where does that leave you when the feel good departs?

If I were only able to give one piece of advice about relationships, it would be about the foundation. The weight of the house will only stand the strength of the foundation. Therefore, build, not as a fool builds. Build as a wise man, on the rock. Time and storm may take out a window, blow over the shed, or destroy the garden, but the house will stand. The house may shake at times, but it is solid if you have made the effort to find the rock.

The palm tree is a taproot tree. The root is as far in the ground as the tree is tall. When the storm comes, it will bend and almost touch the ground. In the wind, it will look like it is down. When the winds subside, and they do, it will slowly stand back up. It may be battered and bruised, but it still stands. Palm trees are not the only trees ever planted in this windy expanse. They are merely the only ones that survived. The mighty oak, with its vast network of roots, will not stand in this wind. The roots run too close to the surface. Eventually, the right wind will come, and the oak will not survive. Deep roots are the key. A solid foundation will survive the storm. The relationship may be battered and bruised, but when the winds die, it will stand.

Take the time. Make the effort. Find the rock.

Ron Simpson

Monday, November 28, 2005

Two to go

Another holiday weekend out of the way. Only two more to go this year. This has been an odd year. It seems to have both dragged and flown by.


More to report as the day progresses .. The students will be wildish. They are always a little out of the stream of things every Monday. It seems that two days off mess with their ability to operate within the schedule or guidelines. This weekend was a 5 day weekend for them.

I may have hair left at the end of the day .. And then again .. I might not.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The god of the season

There are several references in the Gospels to a statement made by Jesus long before the modern day rituals of the season began. One of them is in the book of Matthew, chapter 6, verse 24, which states that man cannot serve both God and Mammon. Mammon is avarice or greed. In another place, the Bible tells us "the love of money is the root of all evil." It is very often misquoted to say that 'money is the root of all evil'. This is not correct. Money is just a means of exchange, not inherently evil or good. The good or evil in money is in our love affair with it. Another place tells us those that love money will never have enough. The pursuit of the dollar is not evil. It is a necessary means to meet the needs of our daily living. It is when the amassing of wealth is the ends and not the means that it becomes evil.

In our society, many have begun to serve the god of the season. Do I believe that there are those out there that know the real God of the season? Yes! However, overwhelmingly more and more are serving the greed of the season. We are entering the commercial mecca for TV. We are about to be inundated with ads more so than any time of the year. The gods of the season are poised to attack in a vicious onslaught the likes of which has never been seen before. Brace yourself for that onslaught. TV shows will be cut in half to make room for the toy ads. Electronic toys for adults will fill our living rooms and bedrooms. Our medium for entertainment is about to become the most annoying salesman that ever lived.

The worst part of it is that we have told ourselves that we can intermingle the two Gods of the season without any harm to the other. That is like adding something to pure gold to make it better. No matter the value of the second material to be added, it will make the gold worth less. Adding anything materialistic to the season celebrating the birth of the Christ child makes it worthless. I will cling to the value of the birth of Christ. I will cling to the love displayed by the act of God robing himself in flesh and dying for me.isn'tisnt in the mass of toys that will be displayed under tinseled and lighted trees.

Tammy and I had a discussion about traditions and my lack of them concerning holidays. I cannot embrace the traditional values of this season, since said values have long ago left the real reason for the season.
There are still people out there that hold to the old reasons. There are still families out there that find the true meaning of Christmas.

That is the miracle of Christmas. The miracle is that, in the middle of all this commercialism. In the middle of all the merchants wringing their hands and counting their money, in the middle of all that is not like Christ, some will find Him. Some will find Christ in the midst of the season of Mammon. Some will hold on to that knowledge that this is the celebration of His birth. It is the celebration of the reason for that birth.

My hope and wish to you is this:
In the middle of this sea of greed, you find the gift of giving.
Merry Christmas .. And more merry as the day gets closer.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My message to my family


First, I am thankful for all of you.

I am thankful for patience. I am grateful for the way you have sometimes endured me. I am thankful for your perseverance. We come from two completely different places. Tammy and I talk about this occasionally, how different we are, how improbable we are, and how perfect we fit. Our fitting is not because there are not differences. It is because we know how to turn our differences and make them linking points in our relationship.

We, all of us, have learned to do that in some areas, with more to go. I am also thankful that we have the time to do that.

I am thankful that we are all here for one more year. I am thankful for the ups and downs. A level drive is a boring thing. You guys are lots of things. Boring is not one of them.

I am grateful for all your support this year in my career change. I hope you know that I am going to need more of it in the future.

I am thankful, that for all our bumps and mistakes, for all our misfit ways, we have each other. We may not be the envy of Hollywood, or the toast of Broadway. We will never be the wealthiest family in town. We will always be one of the richest as long as we continue to love without the boundaries of pettiness. As long as we hold each other up, we will never fall so far that we cannot rise again. This life may push us around at times, but it can never hold us down as long as we stick together in love.

We must keep thanks in our hearts. Thanks in our hearts:
Overlooks the hurts.
Ignores the sharp arrows.
Does not take into account a wrong suffered in haste.
Keeps our eyes on the riches around us.

We will never be more than we are today, if we forget how to be thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Conversation switch

It is a dangerous thing to listen to only one side of a conversation.

I wasn't eavesdropping at all. Tammy was talking on her cell phone to her dad in Florida. She was sitting in my classroom and at one point was walking up my stairs to the classroom, coming from outside smoking. What I heard caused my head to turn decidedly.
She was talking to Jim about her mom (his former wife) and her condition. Carol has Alzheimer's Disease and resides in a nursing home here in Lexington, where she is under our supervision. They were talking about how she is never going to be any better than she is right now. I was hearing this one side of the conversation without really listening. It was more background noise than anything else. Suddenly, I hear, "It might be better to just put her down, since she isn't getting any better." WHAT ?!?!?!?

I asked Tammy if we were still talking about Carol.

She laughed. No, they had switched in the conversation to talking about Docey, a 16 year old chihuahua that belonged to Jim and Carol, before Carol came to be with us. Apparently, Docey is getting worse and losing control of her body. She is quite sick. Tammy suggested that it might be time to 'put her down'.

It was just that in hearing only tammy's side of the conversation, I missed the switch from Carol to Docey. It seemed that they were now talking about the best thing for Carol was to put her down. While I will agree that Carol can be a handful at times, and she can be irritating and contrite, I don't see the need to put her out of our misery.

Still yet, that is one of the dangers of hearing only one side of a rapidly switching conversation.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I am wounded.

While replacing a tape measure on our rack for them, one pinched the flat of my middle finger on my right hand. It took a little while, but it finally decided to bleed. I wiped it with a rag and went to the first aid kit. There were no antiseptic wipes left in it, so I went to the office to get one. It was bleeding slightly. I don't know why, but when I touched that antiseptic alcohol wipe to it, it began to bleed much more. I know that the alcohol would thin the blood on the surface, but this seemed to signal something in the cut that it needed to bleed a lot. I put a bandaid on it and went to the restroom. I touched the back of the toilet and left a blood print where my finger was. It was bleeding thru the bandaid in just seconds.

I got more bandaids and went back to my room. I cleaned it again, this time with water, and put another bandaid on. It is still bleeding thru. I don't know if it is just cheap bandaids or perhaps I have opened a direct line to my heart via my middle finger. I mean, many people use their middle finger to express their attitudes, but I never conceived that the heart and middle finger were directly connected.

Hold on .. Replacing the bandaid again ..

OK, I think the bleeding has stopped. For such a small wound, it certainly wanted to make a bold statement.

It is time to be on to much more pleasurable pursuits. I need to get into these sammiches that my honey fixed for me. MMMM MMM MMMMMM

She takes such good care of me. She knows that I will love her regardless of whether she fixes my lunch or if I fix my lunch. She just loves taking care of me and I am not going to take that away from her. I love the smile she gets from doing something for me. Yes, I am spoiled, and she wouldn't have it any other way. She is a modern woman with feminist ideals, but she still holds to some good old fashion values as well. She is my sweet enigma.

There is a line in a song that says it so well.

"I treat her like she is mine to lose."

And she is ... And I do ...

I love ya, TJ ... and stop worrying. The bleeding has stopped completely.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I cannot tell you how it feels to be beside you

I can tell you about the softness of your skin.
I can describe the texture.
I can express the heat that lives with in it.
I can tell you of the sweet savor.
I can extol all the physical attributes of being with you.

However, in any words, I cannot tell you how it feels.
I cannot put in writing the love.
I cannot imprison the joy, within the words at my disposal.
I cannot corral the feelings on paper.

Words fail to explain the comfort,
that comes when you slip your hand into mine.

The rainbow strives in vain, to contain,
the colors of your sweet kisses.

The chorus of your voice,
plays a symphony in my ears.

Sensations assail,
My senses swim within.
Words fail,
language no longer my friend.
Plans derail,
forgotten beneath our love.

I cannot tell you how it feels,
to be beside you.

Ron Simpson, Jr.
November 20, 2005

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The weekend arrives ... Again

The weekend finally got here. It wasn't a bad week. It was just a week. There were good parts and there were bad parts, as any week. Chris is home. Tammy has finally slowed down enough to get sick. She is sniffle-snuffing. Kyle is still coughing and congested. Chella is still Chella, mostly mouth and full of shite (per her doctor after a recent visit). View Tammy's blog for more info on that.

We just hung around the house last night. Tonight we have a full evening planned. There will be a brief appearance at a baby shower. After that, we will be attending a negotiating class. Then there is a party at an acquaintance house. That's a full evening.

The best part of the weekend is the anticipation of much less drama. That may or may not happen, but it is an anticipation. Stay tuned.
It is time to catch up on the weekly news and see what I missed in the world while my head was buried in my world.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Reduction !!

Yippeeeee !!

Chris's bail was reduced to $750 full cash.

The prosecution, while claiming to have witnesses to corroborate the 'victims' story, was unable to produce said witnesses for court. Also, reversing her last ruling, the Judge agreed to allow Chris to be at our house. He is under our supervision. This means he will be in at a certain hour. He will not be roaming the streets. He will not be walking to the store. He will go to work or to Becca's house and that is about it. He will not be in the vicinity of the 'victims' house. He is also subject to random drug testing. I don't understand that part, as his offense has nothing to do with drugs of any kind, but, hey, he will be home instead of in a cage. He will be going back to work, as we are his ride both ways.

If he can't live with those guidelines, (I resist calling them rules cuz so many people have problems with that word.) then he will be back in the cage. It isn't being mean or cruel. It is just the facts. He needs the clean nose award for the next few months.

Other than that, my day has (so far) been uneventful. However, this is a High School and uneventful can change at a moments notice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Always darkest ...

Last night, Tammy and I had gone to the bedroom to watch "House" on the TV there. We were snuggled on the bed. Yes, there is a difference between being 'in' the bed and 'on' the bed. Tammy was talking about the situation at hand. She is quite on edge about it all, and understandably so. What frustrates her the most is her inability to do anything about it. She has (mostly) accepted that this is not her fault. It is based on the actions of another adult. The fact that the other adult is her 19 year old son makes it more difficult. There are aspects about the case that will not be resolved even when Chris is released from jail, pending trial. One of those being that the judge says Chris is not allowed to live at our house upon release. John (the pretend victim) lives just 2 houses down. The Judge even commented that if we had Thanksgiving plans at the house, that Chris was not allowed to be there then either.

So, Tammy is tied up like a big knot. I told her to snuggle closer to me and let me be selfish. Let me have all your thoughts. Let me have all your attention. She told me that I could and did have all of her heart.

As we were talking, I told her that I could tell her that it was always darkest just before dawn. That is true. However, upon thinking more about the statement, it could be taken two ways. One, is that the dawn is just around the next bend, that light will break the horizon at any moment, and that things will look brighter and clearer. That is the optimistic view.

The other way to look at that, is that it is going to get a lot darker before it gets better. That is the pessimistic view.

Either way, I still feel in my heart that things will work out. The prosecution is already backing up. They say now that Chris used excessive force (meaning that they concede that this may have been an act of self defense.) I see a crumbling in their stand. We may be closer to the dawn than we thought.

Chris has another bail reduction hearing tomorrow. Prayers will be greatly appreciated. Depending on the outcome, more prayers and maybe donations may be needed.
Either way, remember, it is always darkest ....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Oh yeah .. The peace and quiet of test taking ... Serene !!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Quiet weekend

It has been a quiet weekend, for a change.

We stayed in Friday night after long days for both of us. We engaged in some fun Saturday afternoon. That is always good for smiles all day. It was hilarious, in that, Tammy said we couldn't because the kids were up and about. I told her we could and showed her.

Saturday night, we went to karaoke and see some friends that were celebrating an early anniversary. We sang one song, drank one drink, wished everyone well, and left after an hour.

Today (Sunday) has been a slow one. It is a good weekend. There has been no drama, well, no new drama anyway.

I like weekends that can be described in a few lines and not include words like: police, arrest, trouble, yelling, neighbors, Jordan and Sierra (even tho there was a little bubble there this weekend .. It isn't worth mentioning), or crying.

We will see what a new week at school brings ...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

One Name On That Wall

they came home in planes
they arrived on America's shores in masses
eternally joined in the brotherhood of war
initiated in the fire of battle
baptized in the blood of fallen comrades
forever friends going separate ways
but .. regardless of the numbers that come home ..
thousands were left on the battlefield
we brought home remains
we brought home memories
we brought home stories
one lone soldier walks home

Today .. we walk past the memorials
in reverent silence
above it all is the sound of freedom
the sound of freedom isn't the big brass band
it is the sound of a single bugler
it is the weeping of a mother and father
it is the sound of one last breath

the silence lasted a long time
the reverence lasted even longer

all the words I can write or say
pale in comparison
to one name
on that wall

Ron Simpson, Jr.
October 18, 2003

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fall Lane in Kentucky Posted by Picasa

Backing a winner

I remember the hoopla some months back when Arnold Scharzeneggar won the office of governor of California. He was the Republican Party's golden boy. Every Republican was glad to mention Arnold. The same when GWB won (barely) the election. Republicans everywhere were just fawning all over themselves.

Just a few days ago, Arnold's initiatives failed in the California special elections. His ideas, (according to Republicans), were ideas with narrow appeal, further damaged by a flat-footed campaign and an unpopular messenger, the governor himself. The feeding frenzy has turned, with his own party leading the fray.

With GWB's rapidly declining popularity, I wonder how long before other running Republicans will begin to distance themselves from him ?
Nothing like being fickle to endear the public to your cause.

I remember an old saying that sums it up.
"Some of my friends are for it, some of my friends are against it. I stand with my friends."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oh yeah, the more ...

The mercury spill student update is here.

CO claimed that he stole a mercury thermometer from the health services classroom while we were there in class.

There are only a couple problems with his story.

There are no mercury thermometers in the vocational school. They were all removed (officially) a couple years ago. They were donated to India. (True story ... I couldn't make that up.)

Also, The students that saw what he had, claimed that it was about 4 inches long, brown and/or red, and the size of a pencil. That doesn't sound like any thermometer I have ever seen.

Then, there is the amount of the spill. According to, a spill of the amount of a thermometer or less does not require the EPA's involvement. Spills of an amount more than a thermometer require you to isolate the area and call the EPA, local, or state health agency.

Regardless, CO is now suspended. When I asked his friends how long his suspension was, they replied that the school told him they would call him when he was allowed to return.
That's the news that is the news about a mercury spill in Clark County.

Moccasin swap

There is an old Indian saying that is adapted from another old saying, that many cultures have altered to fit their particular culture, but the sentiment is still the same. The saying is:
"Don't let me criticize another until I have walked a mile in his moccasins."

I do try to see both sides when I am in a discussion with someone. If I can put myself in their shoes, then I am better able to discuss the issues with them, without getting defensive or being offensive.

Tammy is (or was) very upset about the courts/judges treatment of Chris. They wouldn't hear of any bail reduction. They have him in the jail on lockdown. He wasn't allowed to make phone calls. He wasn't allowed reading materials. He wasn't (and may not be still) allowed writing materials. He is not in with the general population. While she was in court for his arraignment, a man accused of several crimes, including a child sexual crime, was given a $2500 bond that was reduced to $250, and he was released. Chris was given a $7500 bond, full cash.

I explained that, while we know that Chris is a good kid that was in a bad situation that got out of control, and he is guilty of bad judgment, the judge only knows what the papers in front of her/him state. Those papers stated that Chris was a 19 year old, with family ties in Florida, that was arrested in a stabbing incident. While, I am not thrilled with what transpired, I can see the reason. This does not mean that I agree.

The good thing about this (if there is one) is that Chris lives with us. He isn't going to lose an apt for not being able to pay the rent and be on the street. He doesn't have a car, so it isn't going to be repo'ed when he cant make the payments. Further, his employer wrote a letter for the judge stating that Chris was a great worker and would keep his job regardless of the outcome. He, also, doesn't need to be around a bunch of criminals to learn from them. So, for all that is terrible about this situation, there are still some silverish linings around this dark cloud.

We spoke to a friend that is a lawyer last night. He told us to tell Chris to discuss his case with no-one, not even us. Overheard or taped conversations have a way of finding themselves into the wrong hands. Chris agreed to keep his mouth shut.

We have the funds to do his bond if it is reduced, but are still scraping for the cost of a good lawyer. Any donations ?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Today I had an unofficial observer. My resource teacher for my internship visited today to watch me teach. He sat in on two classes. It was a lot more nerve wracking than I imagined.

The class I worried about the most was the best. They were right there, answering questions and posing intelligent questions. The class I figured to be the best was the worst. They were distracted. They clammed up. The lesson went by much too quickly.

Whodathunkit ?

Monday, November 07, 2005


The student responsible for the mercury spill last week at GRC is one of my students. He claims that he stole a thermometer from the Health Sciences room while I had them there in 3rd block that day.

That is just what I need.

More to follow ...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Isle of the King

We spent the day at Kings Island Amusement park. Tammy says she hurts in all new places. The only thing not hurting is her hurt wrist. Kyle and Chella had a great time. Tammy finally rode roller coasters and now loves them. Chelsea rode them for the first time she remembers it and loves them too. Kyle rode them and loves them as well. So, it was a 'fall in love with coasters' day.

The Chris news is weird. The detective called us on Friday to tell us that John was pressing charges. He would have to arrest Chris. We told him that Chris got off work around 6 and we would like to feed him before he is taken to jail. He told us to call him when we had done that. He further told us that he might not be able to pick Chris up until Saturday (which was fine with us.) Well, Saturday came and Saturday went with no call and no arrest. Today came and went (so far) with no call or arrest. Detective Wilson also told us that he would do all in his power to get the bond reduced from $7500 full cash to $750 full cash. We have arranged for that to be paid (if it ever becomes necessary.) We did find a witness. A little old lady down the street was talking to Pete and told him she say the entire incident. She recounted it to him just as Chris called it. He was trying to walk away when John attacked him. We will see what will be.

Other than that, we are all tuckered. You'll forgive me if I don't run on at the fingers. Have a good night all.

Friday, November 04, 2005


We have occasional Lockdown Drills here at the school. They come on the PA system and announce that we are having a level 1 or level 2 lockdown drill. Level 1 is simple. Every student goes to a class, the doors are shut and locked, and no-one leaves. Level 2 is much more complex, as it means there is an emergency situation where there is danger to the students.

Yesterday, around 1 pm, there was an announcement on the PA for a Level 1 lockdown. They didn't say 'drill'. I was taking care of my smallest class (even smaller with 2 absences) and the Health Services class (the teacher was out sick), combining for about 13 students. Everything was pretty ok until the principal announced that we were to ignore the bell to transfer classes. This was totally new and signified that there was an actual incident. The Health students immediately began to panic.

Around 2 pm, the Principal announced that we would be in lockdown for at least an hour more. The Estill County kids go back to Estill County at 2:15. They were escorted to their bus and allowed to leave. This meant that the situation was not an armed one. Still, nothing would quell the Health girls. They had to pee. They were starving to death. They needed to call their parents. They needed to call their boyfriends. They needed to call their siblings still in the High School. They were trying to drive me crazy, I believe. My Principal came to the room to calm them. They refused to be calmed. They had every reason why the lockdown procedures shouldn't apply to them. They even threatened to leave, until the HS Principal announced that this was a state controlled lockdown and anyone leaving would be subject to arrest and expulsion. This stopped the threats to leave, but did nothing to stop the whining.

As it turned out, a student had brought mercury to school, and shortly after lunch, in an English class, dropped it and spilled the contents. This created a Hazardous Spill Situation. Some of the students in that class left and the lockdown was on.

Every student and teacher in the HS had to be scanned for mercury contamination. Over 1500 students and the entire staff has to be scanned. The scanning was being done by 2 people. We were in for a long evening.

I had to revise my definition of "mass confusion" last night. My previous definition of mass confusion was 'father's day in Indiana', but now it is a 'chemical spill at GRC'.

Anyway, we were stuck here at the ATC even though we were not contaminated, because they were bringing the busses through our lot and loading student that had been cleared through us. We all had bus duty.

By 7:30, must of the students had been cleared and the movement to the busses was a slow trickle. Karen sent us home. It was a 12 hour day.

There is no school at GRC today as clean up efforts begin. We still have students coming from Estill County, and, at last report, 60 elementary students are coming to tour our facility. Another long day.
I am sure there will be more to follow.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Finally ... A break in the storm

Since Halloween night, it has been a firestorm. The night went well enough even though there was a drastically lower number of trick or treaters out than usual. Then, shortly after we went to bed, we were interrupted by pounding on our door. Tammy went to find out what was going on and was greeted by her daughter, inquiring if everything was ok, because there were cops everywhere. It turned out there was a fight up the street and a stabbing. The cops were looking for Tammy's oldest son. He was not home.

It turned out, (we found out eventually) he was involved in the altercation. We spent the next two days trying to convince him to give the police his side of the story. He was scared. Finally, yesterday evening, he agreed and a detective came to the house and took his statement. His accuser jumped him and He was defending himself. This is not over. The other guy (in his late 30's) is out of the hospital today and has not told the police if he intends to press charges or not. The police detective did tell us he would keep us informed and if there were charges filed he would let us know so that C could come in, rather then being arrested in front of his siblings. He further stated that he would argue for 10% bail based on C's cooperation.

I think Tammy and I got our first good night of sleep, last night. I missed 2 days work because I couldn't see leaving Tammy alone to deal with this.

I am back at work today and babysitting. One of the other teachers is out and I am sitting with her class and mine combined. There is little learning going on and lots of correcting behaviors.

Tomorrow, more elementary kids will be here touring and visiting the classes. We will show them a little about electricity and how it works.

There is much work to be done.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Slow Sunday and BAM !

It was a good Sunday. It was a slow day.

Last night, the family stayed up late playing UNO. We had a blast. Chella even gave up phone time with Justin for it. I (gasp) stayed off the computer. The TV was off for all practical purposes (it was one of the satellite music channels, providing background noise.) There was laughter and more laughter.

This morning was a slow starter. We didn't get moving around much until nearly noon. Tammy and I went to pick up the pics from Saturday morning. They turned out great. There were some great fall color shots.

We ventured over to the parental units house to see if we could figure out the trouble with Dad's new DVD/VCR combo. It was a problem with the machine, not the hook-up. It was great to see them. Mom is looking fantastic. Her color has returned. She is more mom than she was last time we saw her.

Then, later this evening, BAM !

Kyle (as you remember just turned 10) started a big discussion with a question about the soul. Who makes the soul and at what point ? Does God make the soul and put it in ? Do we as humans create that soul at conception ? This went into a discussion about people being born to certain destinies. It wandered over into free choice and how we have free choice if God knows everything. He knows we will fail or succeed, so how much choice do we really have ? Tammy and I have some different views about some of that. It was a challenging discussion.

Shortly after it died from the realization that we will see differently about this and no amount of discussion will change that, Kyle went back to being 10 and seeing if he could stretch 30 minutes more out of his bedtime.

So it goes. The ebb and tide of living. I wouldn't trade my life for anything. It frustrates and challenges me. It raises my passions in many facets. It sure beats a dull evening of Hee-Haw reruns.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Be unique, like everyone else

Tammy and I were talking this afternoon, while we were out, driving in the country to take photos of the changing colors of the trees. I asked about a new term I have seen and heard the kids using lately. The term is inconsequential. What was of consequence, was the discussion that followed.

We talked about the music group the kids are following. The kids pride themselves in being independent thinkers. They are sheep. They follow this group blindly for the most part. They collect their expensive paraphernalia. They even mark their bodies with the symbols of this group. The soda they drink is even the soda endorsed by this group. They are so immersed in this 'out of the mainstream' group that they don't even realize they are just like the rest of society that they disdain for following tradition.

Don't get me wrong. I don't believe tradition is to be followed just because it is tradition. On the other hand, I don't believe either, that something should be tossed for the sole reason that it is an old notion. Honor and integrity are old notions, but they are also good ones. We don't need to toss them because they have been around for years.

I further believe free independent thinkers are the cornerstone of progression. As a society, we need to progress. We need to be a growing changing entity. Without change, we become stagnant. Change for the pure sake of change is never a good thing.

Neither is blindly accepting the path that is laid in front of you by any icon you choose, be it civil, religious, or musical. Question what you believe, but be prepared for the answers. Sometimes, the change that comes is just what was needed. Sometimes, holding the status quo, it the right way to go. It is the free thinker that knows and accepts that there are times that someone has already had the best idea.

Sometimes, you have to be unique, like everyone else.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Halloween events will now commence.

Tonight, Tammy and I are going to a costume party at the 11th Frame Lounge. We will be going as the King and Queen of LexChat. It is a long story how we came to carry such titles.

About six years ago, AOL was creating Digital Cities, which included new conference rooms with a maximum of 46 participants. When I found the one for Lexington, there were only 5 participants in the room. That was early in the year. Around July of that year, we decided to meet at a local restaurant. That first meeting included 6 people. As the number of chatters grew, so did the number at the meets. We eventually found the 11th Frame Lounge and karaoke. In December of that year, we had over 100 people attend our first LexChat Christmas party.

The room has grown since then. Originally, I kept a list of all the chatters and sent massive emails out about all the meets and greets. A few years ago, I created a group's page for the members of LexChat. This allowed every member of the group to send emails to all the other members. It took a load of emailing off my mind.

A couple years ago, I added Tammy as a co-owner of the group's page. We took care of the summer picnics and coordinated other events until last year. All the members have called us the King and Queen of LexChat for years. This year, we will look like the king and queen.

Tammy won a Z103 Halloween pack this morning. It included a Nickelback CD, coupons for Gold Star Chili, and 4 tickets to Paramount's Kings Island. The tickets are good for next weekend. Looks like our plans are made.

Pain level is lower today, which is a good thing, for me, and for my students. They think I must be bi-polar. I think I scared them today. I dressed in a nice shirt and necktie for work today. They have me leaving for a new job now. They think I have a job interview. It is funny the things they come up with, with little or no information. I just smile and let their minds wander.

It reminds me of a sticker I saw once. "Don't let your mind wander. It is much too small to be out on it's own."

The weekend beckons. Y'all be good now, ya hear ?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pain day

I hate days of pain. I am in pain today. We wont go into where and what hurts, just suffice to say, it hurts. It puts ya on edge, and it is never good to deal with teenagers when you are there. I can't tell if my trouble dealing with their antics is more because it is just tiresome or if it is the pain. It might be a little of both. I just hate being snappy. Invariably, you snap at a student that has a good reason to be doing whatever seeming intolerable act is being committed.

Alas, teachers are not allowed to be human.
I think I will call it a day a little early today and go hide in my waterbed. (like that might actually happen with kids at home ... puh-lease!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The briefest respite

It is a short time to recharge. I have from 11:27 until 11:55 to clear my head and prepare for my afternoon classes. In that time, I must eat lunch, and prepare whatever will be on the board for 4th block. First/Second Periods and Fourth block are the same class. Third block is my second year class. They do not cover the same materials.

It isn't such a major undertaking, but some days it can be time consuming.

Then there is the added fact that 4th block is somewhat divided. My GRC students are here from 11:55 am until 1:33 pm. My Estill Co, kids arrive at 12:40 pm and stay until 2:20 pm. This makes some lessons difficult. Ideally, they would all learn at the same pace. I could extend the lesson for the EC kids and then catch the GRC students up in their early non-EC part of the class. That is what would happen, ideally. I am still looking for that ideal world.

Anyway, the day progresses. My respite is nearly over.

Later there will be time to catch you up on the news of house hunting, and kid drama, and lawsuit news, and karaoke, and Halloween parties, and all the other tidbits that make life interesting. For now, it is back to the teenagers, and electricity.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Little man day

Today is the little mans birthday. Kyle turns 10 today. It is a fact of which I have to keep reminding myself. He is so smart. He absorbs information. He has already decided he plans to be a scientist and marine biologist. He wants to work at the bottom of the ocean and in outer space. I have little doubt that he could do either.

However, every now and then, he is purely 10 year old. He comes off with the most outrageous of hypotheses. He fills the room with the strangest ideas. It takes me a minute to remember that, for all his smarts, he is still just a 10 year old kid. He has the maturity level of a 10 year old, in my opinion. His knowledge and smarts sometimes make him appear much older, but he isn't. He still loves to annoy his sister. He is still all about the birthday presents. He is still learning about responsibility for his actions. He is still struggling with the age old homework question. Do I finish my homework or go outside to play?

He still requires reassurances of love and caring. He still needs hugs and kisses. He still feels the need to tell you several times a day that he loves you. He will, left on his own, forget baths and bedtimes. He will eat the wrong things. (He is learning to cook, with assistance.)

Still, for all his smarts, for all his knowledge, he is still a much loved 10 year old boy. He needn't hurry and grow up. He needs to enjoy that part of life that will help mold and shape who he is yet to become.

God grant me the strength and wisdom to guide him right.
Happy Birthday, Kyle.
I love ya, little man.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A day off

I didn't go to work today.

I woke with the lingering throat pain that has bugged me most of the weekend. There was a report on the news about an outbreak of strep throat in three area counties. They were Fayette, Clark, and Jessamine Counties. Let's see, I live in Fayette, work in Clark, and two of my 3 kids live in Jessamine. I figured I was destined to get the strep. So, rather than take the chance that this was strep and take it to my students, I called in to work and then made a DR appt.

My DR was full, so I saw one of the other DR's in the same office. DR Brown was good and thorough. He explained, after checking my ears and nose, that colds and the flu would irritate the nostrils and make them pink to red inside. Allergies would give them a bluish tint. Mine, he said, were Wildcat Blue. So, my allergies were to blame and my lymph gland was slightly inflamed. He prescribed an antibiotic for ten days and told me to take off tomorrow as well. I declined the offer to miss work. I only missed today out of concern for the kids.

The rest of the day went well. I think I caught up on some sleep.

We will see how the rest of the week goes.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Good news

Mom is home.

Brain surgery on Wednesday, home on Saturday. While she was in the hospital, she was approached by the staff about her home. They asked if she had a husband at home and if he could care for her. The answers were 'yes' and 'no'. They asked if she wanted a home nurse to take care of her. She was emphatic in her 'no'. Dad says their daughters will be staying with her during the day. I told him that Tammy and I could come cook if needed. He told us to check the schedule.

We (Tammy, me, Chella, & Kyle) went to breakfast this morning. Well, barely morning. We went to Bob Evans (breakfast anytime). It was a good time.

The day has been slow since, which is a good thing. Tonight is a get together at Chinoe Pub. We will relax until then.
More to follow ...

Friday, October 21, 2005


the work week finally draws to it's end.

I was up last night until about 2:30, and then up this morning at 6:30. My ass has been dragging today. It wasn't a bad day, just a draggy assed one. It is about 45 minutes till the work week ends and I am ready !

Today has been much less drama filled. That could be because I have been in Winchester all day. Son-n-law and daughter were driving around the block last night, up and down the street. They borrowed money from son-n-law's dad for gas to job hunt. So much for that plan. Tammy said they were driving around this morning as well. All I can say is ... "Morons."

Tonight was to be an auction night, but I am thinking it will be a 'stay at home, truck in the drive all night' night. I only had 4 students this afternoon. Clark County was out of school today. All I had very my Estill County kids. I am already ready to hit the sack for a nap. Chris will be gone all weekend. That just leaves Chella and Kyle to contend with. I wonder how much rope I have around the house?

I am just kidding. I wouldn't tie them up. I don't need too. I have two pair or handcuffs.
We will see what the night brings.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oh the drama !!

Assessment day has arrived ...
The schools has been assessed, details forthcoming (oh joy .. For those interested .. You know who you are !)

There was an open house tonight as well. I managed to run (well, drive) home and change clothes. My coworkers and several of my students saw me in an actual button up button down shirt (peach) and a necktie. The black necktie, in typical electrician fashion, had a cord running down the length and ending up at an outlet on the bottom face of it. There were gasps of amazement and squeals of delight (at least, I think they were of delight.)

From there, it was another quick trip home, one more change of clothes, back into jeans and pullover and off to the hospital to visit Mom. She looked remarkably well considering she had brain surgery yesterday. They put in 4 metal plates (about the size of soda can tabs ... As I am told) and 16 screws costing about $10K each. I told her that I heard her head was now worth of $150K. It was a good visit. My oldest sister, Barbara, and my only brother, Richard were there. It was good to visit with them as well.
We left there about 9:30. Upon arriving home, the drama flood gates opened. There was a drunk on the porch that didn't want to leave even though he claimed he would. That was the first 911 call. (Yes, the first one.)

Then there was married kid drama which resulted in another call to 911 and officers being dispatched. Needless to say, daughter and son-in-law are not allowed back for a long while. Tammy and Chella are emotional wrecks. When things finally calmed down, after another faked 911 call, it was way late.
What a way to head into the weekend !
How was your Thursday ?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Chewing through the leather straps

What a day !!

The day was in trouble from the start. At 7:30 this morning, my mom was to have brain surgery. She has a tumor on her brain behind her eye that has been swelling. The DR removed it this morning. She is fine. The operation went great. She is in surgical ICU until tomorrow. This has added to the stress level that has already been piling up for the last few weeks.

Let me give you the short list of stress factors in my life. Some of these are just common run of the mill factors until compiled by some extenuating circumstances.

#1 ... My job is on the line. Not today. Not tomorrow. BUT, I am reminded occasionally that "we" have to get the numbers up in my enrollment of my entire program is in jeopardy. It isn't like I can go to the HS and twist a few arms and force students to take Electricity. It is a brand new program here, never offered before. The counselors don't even know how to promote or schedule it. Still yet, every now and then, I hear the 'numbers' tale (it isn't long enough to be a speech.)

One of my third block students said he heard I was leaving. I explained to them the process and that I was not quitting. They were going to have to put up with me for at least 3 years.

#2 ... Program Assessment. The state instituted a program of assessment and evaluation to answer the questions of where we might be failing to educate kids in our Area Technology Centers. All schools are going to be assessed in two years. Half will be assessed this year and half next year. We got picked for the first round because we have a new principal and we had done well in the past.

The Program Assessment is a great idea. I have no problem with that. I think, we, as teachers, must be accountable for our job. This is much different than my old field of construction electricity. In CE, there was a test every time you finished a project. It worked or it didn't. It was a pass/fail kind of test. This is a much more subjective field. Whether you are passing or failing can be interpreted either way from the exact same information. One assessor may think you are doing great, and another may look at the same data and think your program/teaching sucks.
The way the State assesses us is with a program assessment box. It consists of 21 sections consisting of 108 folders. There should be documentation of our teaching process to find a place in each of these folders.
My problem with that is ... Anyone can fake the paperwork. I know some here that do and consider the whole process a 'dog and pony show'. I do not. As a parent of school age children, I am interested in seeing that they get the best from every teacher.

That assessment is tomorrow.

#3 ... The case concerning Tammy. Her wrists hurt all the time. I don't want $30K and walk away. I want her not to be in pain. I want her to be able to sleep at night. I want her to be able to dry her hair and brush it. She will fuss because I am worrying, but that is just what she will have to do. I am going to worry, even when she tries so hard to hide how much and how often she hurts. I let her get away with her act, only because she tries so hard not to worry me. It doesn't work. I could go on and on about this, but you get the point. It hurts me when she hurts. She gets frustrated when I do things for myself that she can do for me. I can't help it.

#4 ... My 4th/5th block. I am not sure that this is a symptom or a cause. There was a blow up in class. I had the Estill Co kids working on a project this afternoon. One of the kids said she didn't feel good and didn't want to do it. I explained to her that if she didn't work on the project she would receive a zero for the day. She begrudgingly got her tools and began working slowly. Another of the students was at my desk talking to me about her situation at home. She is abused. I have talked about that before. I told her she needed to work on the project as well. She opted for the zero. That was her choice. The first student began to complain about it and her friend joined in as well.

I explained to them that what they did reflected on their grade and what she did reflected on her grade. They needed to worry about what they were doing and not what the other students were doing. This did not satisfy them. They wanted to whine about it more. I told them about real life. You can't go to work and tell your boss that you don't feel good and expect that you will get paid for doing nothing.

The first student went to the office and requested out of my class. That was fine. If she doesn't want to do the work, I would prefer that she be in a class where she isn't going to flunk. Throughout the next bit of class they still whined and complained about student 2 talking to me. Student 2 went to the office and requested out of the class so she wouldn't have to put up with the others. This brought the principal in, I explained what was happening, including my becoming somewhat defensive.

The principal called the Estill Co. School and they decided to keep the students here in my class. They can pass or flunk, but they will not be moving.

Still, I hate getting defensive. I hate the edge of losing control. I hate anger. I realize it is vital in the proper context, but anger rarely comes out in the right context. If you lose your temper, you do not have control of it any more. I didn't lose my temper, but I could have.

That situation is resolved, somewhat. Anyone not wishing to work in the shop will get a zero on their daily grade and then they will go help the maintenance guy clean up trash around the building.
One of the girls said I should 'make' the students do the work. I told them, I cannot make you work. I cannot twist your arm and make you put up electrical boxes. I can put the work out there and you can do it or not. I can put the test in front of you and you can take it or not. That grade is all the force I have. Unless ... They want me to start handing out detentions and such.

Add this to the daily stress of living, driving 20 miles each way in traffic of idiots, dealing with other morons in school, raising teenagers and a smart 9 year old (for 6 more days), concerns about finances, my kids personal problems (always shared), drama from Tommy upstairs, and the myriad of other little stress inducers, and it is a wonder I sleep at all.

Some days it just isn't worth chewing through the leather straps.

On the bright side, I am happy and head over heels in love !!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mars and Venus

Who would have thought the difference between men and women could be as simple as looking down. It is all about shoes and the attitudes thereof.

In the last couple days, Tammy and I have had several conversations about shoes (yeah, we live such exciting lives ... sex and shoes). I have discovered several vital differences between the sexes.

First, Tammy tells me she needs shoes and Payless is having a killer sale. This launches the shoe discussion. She tells me she just gave away a 'buncha' shoes. I asked her how many pairs of shoes was a bunch? She gave away 4 pairs of shoes. I then asked her how many pairs of shoes she currently had. She had 9 pairs. To this I responded, "then you have 2 bunches of shoes." NO! Apparently, shoes count differently when counting owned shoes and shoes given away. This was way past logic to me.

I had one pair of shoes that I wear for all occasions. My shoes for work will work for church or a night on the town. This weekend, I tripled the amount of shoes that I can wear for various occasions. I bought a second pair of steel-toed low top work boots and a pair of slip on tan/brown leather shoes.

On Monday, I was getting ready to leave for work with the new slip on shoes on my feet. I came out of the bedroom carrying my old faithful 'wear everyday' boots. I sat them down on the coffee table for a second to get my lunch box/bag. Tammy looked at them and asked what I wanted her to do with them. I told her that I was taking them to work with me so that if these new shoes began hurting my feet, I could switch back into something I knew I could trust to be comfortable. That is just common sense to me.

I was informed that women do not do that. They wear the new shoes. If they hurt their feet, they wear them again the second day. If they hurt their feet the second day, they never wear them again. While I can grasp the 'never wear them again' part if they don't stretch and conform to the wearer's feet, I cannot fathom wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes all day. Even teaching, I am on my feet a lot. I am not on my feet as much as when I was working in the field, but I am still on my feet a good amount of the day. I am not coming home after work, limping and complaining of blisters.

Here on Mars, we need fewer shoes and we wear them more sensibly. Today is the second day with the slip-on shoes and, while they are not as comfortable as my old shoes yet, they are not hurting my feet. This pair seems to be a working match. I guess this means that I almost have a 'buncha' shoes. Or I am at least ¾ of the way there.

Tammy says we need not talk about clothes though. I have bags of old clothes in the basement and a closet full of new ones (new being a relative term). I used to have 30 suits and I am now down to 2 suits. I still have 65 neckties after giving away 35. We won't go there on shirts.

I still retain my masculinity in the shoe department.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Back to school

My week off is over. That is laughable. I really didn't have a week off. My students had a week off. I worked all week, except half a day Friday.

After the way we spent money this weekend, it is a good thing that I did work all week. With rent, insurance, truck payment, child support, and trips to the auction, Wal-mart, Meijer, and Payless, we spent over $1250 this weekend. Who can afford days off with weekends like that.

I did get a shoe education this weekend, which I will share at a later date.

We are still getting ready for our program assessment this week, which is Thursday.

My Mom is having surgery on Wednesday to remove a tumor from her brain.

It is going to be a busy week.
Hope yours is good.