Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Almost the end of the year

The end of the year is coming. The end of the fiscal year, that is. Suddenly there is money that needs to be spent and it has to be spent by June 30th. I have roughly $700 to spend on shop/lab items and $2500 to spend on educational software or video/DVD's. I am scouring the internet looking for the most bang for my buck (well .. Your buck). My funding comes from the State and Federal Government. We are tied to the Welfare Program. We are part of the 'education to work' initiative. So, if you pay state taxes in Kentucky or Federal taxes at all, I am looking for the best way to spend your money. Let me just say, as a bonafide representative of the State of Kentucky ... "Thanks !"

It is really Monday here. I was off work yesterday. I have classes on Thursday and Friday. So, today is Monday (work wise) and tomorrow is Friday (work wise).

It has been a slow day here. I am trying to get things together for the end of the teaching year just finished and ready things for the next one coming in August. In the middle of all that, trying to get things ready for Tammy's trip to Florida to take the kids and to pick up her grandmother.
OK .. Just ordered $2396.84 worth of computer software for my class.
As a footnote, Bush denies that he is losing clout. It seems he is losing touch with reality as well.

Monday, May 30, 2005


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 price of freedom isn't measured in the seeming countless lives lost on other shores and our own.

It is one life.

It is one life given freely in the pursuit of a dream. It is the all of one life stopping a tyrant. It is one life counting the costs and paying that price, that freedom may last for just one more day, if that is all that one could buy. It is often paid in obscurity. It can be lost in statistics. When the final tally is counted, and freedom is placed on the scale, one life will balance it all.

The joy of freedom is the unbridled laughter of a child on a sunny day. The taste of freedom is the milk which feeds the next generation. Freedom is the bread which sustains us in the darkest of prisons. Freedom thrives on the memorials and monuments in the hearts of free people.

Today, we celebrate the freely given sacrifice of men and women throughout our history. Each giving what they had. The cost of freedom .. One life.

I remove my hat in reverence and thanks.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

And just a couple months ago .. it was this .. Posted by Hello

Holiday weekend

We tried to go grocery shopping early yesterday. We do a good bit of our grocery shopping at Sam's Club. I have business membership, which allows me to shop during the business only hours. Those are 7 to 10 in the morning during the week. The parking lot is empty. There is no crowd inside. It is much easier to shop. We tried. We didn't make it until 10:30. The lot was full. The aisles were crowded. The only good difference is that the 'sample ladies' are out and there are food samples.

The rest of the day was a mismatch of calm and chaos. I am beginning to rethink the idea of having the kids (Sierra & Jordan) living above us. It seems they are the flop house. Their friends come over to 'flop' and then won't leave. Sierra came downstairs complaining about that and seeking some remedy. Later, when Tammy confronted those people and Jordan about them leaving (along with Jordan's wanting to bring a bottle of vodka into the apt), Sierra changed her tune and screamed at Tammy and told us they were just gonna move. A little while later, she and Jordan and some of the friends left, Sierra with a little backpack. They took off on foot, supposedly to find a new place to stay. They came back shortly.

What ticks me off the most is that a little while later she was downstairs, as friendly as she could be, asking for something to eat. It wasn't that they had no food. She didn't want to eat what they had. She didn't want it. It was as if the events and her words of earlier didn't exist any more. I hate that 'being used' feeling.

Oh, yeah, the vodka thing .. The lease has a clause in it about illegal activities in the apt being a reason for eviction. No-one in the apt is over 19. No-one is legal drinking age. Therefore, alcohol in the apt is illegal. Just another reason for Sier-rama (Sierra Drama).

We were going to a 'Munch' last night, but didn't feel up to it.

So, the day was a slow start to the holiday weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Real pain

I was thinking today about the pains of parenting. I know I can never experience the joy/pain of childbirth (and don't want too .. Do I look crazy ? OK .. Don't answer that.) There are pains in all relationships that are common, yet hurting. They are still not near the apex of this real pain. There is the pain you feel that accompanies the helplessness of watching your child in sickness or pain and knowing that your best efforts are not going to change or ease that sickness. It is the pain of 'waiting it out'. There are the pains you feel as you watch the face of your child and listen to the hurt in their voice as they describe in sobbing details how someone else has hurt them (physically or emotionally.) While those are difficult and never the least bit enviable, they are still not up there with the hardest pain. The real pain of parenting is not letting them go. That is difficult enough, but it doesn't reach the pinnacle of parenting pain.

As a kid I was convinced that one of the dumbest things my parents ever said to me was in the middle of correcting and punishing me. They would express in these words or words quite similar, "This is hurting me as much (or more) than it is hurting you."

Can we say, "BS?"

Yeah, if this is hurting you as much as it is hurting me, why are you able to sit down ?

As a parent now, I fully understand those words.

Nothing hurts as much as when you are correcting or punishing a child for some wrongdoing (as is a parents responsibly .. According to the manual) and they respond with one of hundreds of hurtful expressions, such as: You don't really love me; I hate you; How can you do this if you really care like you say; and one of my personal faves, I never want to see you again.

Here you are, fulfilling your role as the patriarch or matriarch of the family. You have seriously considered the crime and the suitable punishment. You are in the process of administering said recompense, when all that vile and anger gushes out of this, your loving child. It tears pieces from your heart and stomps them there on the ground. Somehow, while bleeding profusely from wounds inflicted by someone for whom you would die, you have to maintain your composure, and be the true parent. You have to be fair, yet unwavering. You have to be stern, but loving. You have to be the molder, even when the clay refuses to be molded.

That is the real pain of being a parent.

Somedays, it just isn't worth chewing through the leather straps.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

this mornings fog Posted by Hello

from the balcony Posted by Hello

Home sweet home

We are back !!
We got back a couple hours ago from Natural Bridge State Park Resort. I had a class (or 5) and Tammy and the kids went along to explore. It was a good (exhausting) time.

My classes were about intergrating technical training and academic learning. It was about making education more real life. This is something I have been doing since the day I started teaching at CCATC. There were some great speakers. There was a host of idea sharing. It was great.
The pic above or below this post is the view from the balcony of our room.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Parental Guidance Strongly Suggested .. That is what PG-13 means.

One day after a record-shattering weekend for Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, an advocacy group is asking Burger King to stop the tie-in of its Kids Meals with the film because it is rated PG-13.

Guidance .. Noun
1 : the act or process of
2 a : the direction provided by a
guide b : advice on vocational or educational problems given to students

This group is asking Burger King to drop it's multimillion dollar campaign because the film is rated PG-13. Are they the only ones missing the 'guidance' part of this rating. The rating is to tell parents (who make the decision of what their children may or may not see) that there are things in this film that may be unsuitable for children under 13.

The rating itself places this decision into the hands of the parents. Those parents that think it is unsuitable don't have to take their kids to see the movie and they don't have to take their kids to Burger King. It is as simple as that. Why is it, when these advocay groups get a bee in their bonnet, they cannot see the simplest of solutions?

At home, Tammy and I decide what is too much for Kyle to see. We cannot protect him from everything , but we can (and do) preview some movies that we feel are borderline. Then, after seeing the movie, we decide if Kyle will see or not. Kinda what the rating implies, isn't it?

BK has, so far, refused to back down, claiming that the toys are based on all of the movies, only one of which (the latest) has the PG-13 rating. The rest were PG rated. Of the 31 toys, only 4 were related to the Sith.

I resent any advocay group trying to take something out of my hand as a parent. I will decide what is appropriate for my children to watch. I do not need some self-absorbed anal obsessive group that rides around looking for sin to tell me what kids meals are appropriate and which ones are not.

If you want to address the health content of said meals, that is fine. If you want to address the continuing problem of obesity in children. Please do so. Of course, we will blame the fast food industry. It will have nothing to do with the fact parents are not feeding their kids healthy lunches. It is just too convenient to stop at McD' or BK's or Wendy's. It is too much trouble to stop our busy weekends to fix our kids a healthy and nutritious meal.

For heaven's sake, let's keep toys that promote violence out of their hands while we stuff meals that will kill them down their throats.

Just my take. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to finish my Whopper and Fries.

My home ....

I was reading one of my regularly read blogs and it contained a question and comparison of how our homes reflect who we are. To a point, I think it does.

If my home is a reflection of me, it means that I am slightly cluttered with not enough space for all the things I have acquired. It is mostly organized, but you can find some things in the strangest places from time to time. It isn't dirty, just somewhere between full and overflowing.

When I think about it, that is exactly how my mind and heart are (the purest reflections of me).

My heart is filled to capacity with people that I love, but will always have room for one more.

My mind is a massive collection of knowledge, trivia, ideas, and random thoughts that can be found anywhere from time to time.

Both mind and heart are filled with things old and cherished and things new and modern. A new computer sits on an old worn and personal desk. A modern water bed is covered with an old antique hand quilted spread. My mind is filled with old values and new ideas. My heart is stocked with lifelong friends and some that I just met recently.

The mind and heart of a pack rat. I have more trouble throwing away friends than I have throwing away parts from something I have already replaced. My drawers are filled with old clothes and junk, tucked somewhat neatly away, out of sight, but not out of mind. There are things in these 'junk' drawers that I will never wear or use again, but they hold some sentimental value which overshadows any need for making room. My heart is just like that. New friends crowd in there with old friends.

Our book shelves are stocked and full of books, ranging from a 23 volume set of bible commentaries to the complete "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". My mind, likewise, operates in both areas. I can talk for hours about trivial things and shift gears and talk for hours about theology. We can talk about computers and how they work. We can talk about new changed in the electrical field. We can talk about innovations. Then, with passion matching we can talk about traditions steeped in antiquity. We can talk about truths that date back thousands of years. I have found, in my life, the way to reconcile these two seeming opposites.

The walls are covered with photos (memories). These range from photos of the kids to photos I have taken of sunsets and snowy days. There is even a poem I wrote superimposed on a photo I took and there is a painting I painted. It is interesting that I, a procrastinator, would favor pictures of sunsets (which represent the finishing of things).

There are antiques and 5 PC's and 4 laptops. There is a modern office chair and an antique rocker. There are low tech books and high tech satellite receivers. It is just organized chaos straining at the edge of spilling over ... YEP .. THAT'S ME !

Monday, May 23, 2005

OH yeah ..

Tuesday night ... Wednesday ... and Thursday

Tammy, the kids, and I will be at Natural Bridge State Park Resort. I will be in classes. Tammy and the kids will be in the pool.

So, There will be no blogging unless I can find internet access there. My laptop is down and it is the only one with a modem. There are 5 PC's at the house ... and 4 laptops. We are computer poor, lol.

And now another reversal

I remember as a kid that scientist came up with a theory that too much milk caused cancer. Then, there was the egg scare. It seems from time to time, some scientist will overdose a poor unsuspecting rat (that just took the job cleaning cages in the lab for extra money to pay for his kids tuition to Rattown University) on some everyday product (that rats never use on a regular, let alone excessive, basis) and declare that he has found a link to some carcinogen. The effect of this is twofold and immediate. The scientist gains notoriety and the public (in all their wisdom) rushes into a panic. The scientist stock (value) goes up and the product stock goes down.

Of course, I also remember when some other scientist or group of scientists came out and refuted the milk claim.

In my professional opinion as a licensed Master Electrician, we all have the potential for cancer within us. It is locked away in our cells. It lies dormant until some key, some product, some combination of things in our lives, unlocks the door. It isn't the same thing for everyone. For you it might be milk. For me it might be orange juice, or Bologna/cheese/onion/Mayo sammiches. Who knows ? There are (unfortunately) millions of cancer patients out there. Some have some things in common and some have nothing in common. Each did something, or did nothing (interesting theory that the right combination might cause or prevent cancer) to cause the disease to grow within them. It is deadly, yet non-contagious. How else do we explain, two people, living in the same house, eating the same foods, going to the same places, and one gets cancer and the other doesn't ?

Anyway, I digress.

The recent study/story I read is that sunshine may prevent cancer. WHAT ?!?!?!? (Hiding my bottles of sunscreen #5000 .. Mayonnaise)

Scientists are excited about a vitamin again. But unlike fads that sizzled and fizzled, the evidence this time is strong and keeps growing. If it bears out, it will challenge one of medicine's most fundamental beliefs: that people need to coat themselves with sunscreen whenever they're in the sun. Doing that may actually contribute to far more cancer deaths than it prevents, some researchers think.

The vitamin is D, nicknamed the "sunshine vitamin" because the skin makes it from ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen blocks its production, but dermatologists and health agencies have long preached that such lotions are needed to prevent skin cancer. Now some scientists are questioning that advice. The reason is that vitamin D increasingly seems important for preventing and even treating many types of cancer.

There ya have it, sunworshippers.

I think the key to cancer control is moderation. All things in moderation. We are such people of excess. God's children were desert people. They toiled in the sun. They dressed moderately. Their exposure to the sun was inevitable, but they covered their skin. I know the ultraviolet rays penetrated their clothes, but did not expose their skin to the volume of rays that laying by the pool for days does. AND I am not just picking on sunworshipping. It is everything we do. We don't know how to do anything in moderation. We are raised in a culture where excess is king. The man with the most toys wins. Obesity is the reigning cause of our ills. We over work, over eat, over spend, and over compensate. We aren't happy unless it is over the top. We over dress. We are the Dukes of overkill. Our shelves are overstocked. We are regularly over the edge.

Where was I ? Oh yeah ... Sunshine ...

So, get out there and enjoy the sun this summer, in moderation.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Saturday serene

It has been a peaceful Saturday, so far. Tammy and I went out this morning. We were going to Winchester to pick up a computer desk for Chella. It was an unused and unclaimed one in my shop. Along the way we stopped at a few yard sales.

When we got to the school and the desk was not there. I have no idea where it went. It was there Thursday.

On the return trip, we stopped at several yard sales. I guess we spent a total of 5 bucks.

We got home in time to find that Cleo has destroyed the bathroom. I left her in the bathroom to keep her from destroying the rest of the house. She had got under the sink and got a bag of cotton balls and had them strewn all over the bathroom. She had began to tear into a fresh bag of pads. She left claw marks all over the door and door frame. She scattered kitty litter everywhere. Tammy was ready to kill her. Tammy was having a Mary Kay party in under 4 hours. She still had party trays to fix and more to clean. The bathroom had already been cleaned. Not anymore.

While Tammy and the girls had fun with makeup, I hid in the bedroom. I did venture out to go to the kitchen a few times, as I was cooking some green beans for a cook out later today. I diced an onion, and shoestring cut a potato, and put a small bottle of Italian dressing in with the beans and boiled all the water away. They were delicious.

The party ended and we were off to my sisters house for the cookout. Her son, John, Jr. was in from the Navy. He proposed to his girlfriend there. She accepted.

The rest of the evening was food and friendship with family. It was a great time. All my girls were there. We just got home and I am sure we are in for the night.

Friday, May 20, 2005

And the work week comes slowly to its end

Friday is closing .. Just not fast enough.

Today has dragged on for an eternity. I am still in paperwork hell. I did get a nice break before lunch when I went to the weld shop and wired in an outlet (250v/3 phase/ 4 wire/ 50 amp) for their new plasma cutter. It was good to get my hands dirty. It just didn't last long enough. Then it was back to paperwork hell.

I tried to catch a few zzz's during lunch, but the fire alarm company finally showed up and began testing all the smoke detectors in the building. They had a can of smoke on a long pole. They would place this near the detector and spray smoke into it. BUZZZZ BUZZZZ. Then the guy in the office would shut it off. One to the next one. One by one. Every few minutes. BUZZZZ BUZZZZ. There went the idea of napping during lunch.

Paperwork hell ...
... My boss gave me a list of paper that I was supposed to be saving or creating all year long and filing in a curious gray file box that sat in my room all year. Only problem here is that I was not told this at the beginning of my year. Joe (boss) told me he didn't want to overwhelm me in the beginning. I guess it is ok to overwhelm me now. He was generous and gave me a day and a half to do four and a half months worth of paperwork. Hence, paperwork hell.

I looked at the box and the form and quickly admitted that I was completely lost. Joe and I sat down and he explained what I needed. That helped. I am well on my way. He graded me (assessment) in spite of the fact that the papers were not there. He graded me on what he knew I would put in the box. That took a little of the pressure off. Just a little, though. It still has to be finished so that I can do the next group of things that I know nothing about.

Tuesday night, Wednesday, and all day Thursday, Tammy, the kids, and I will be at Natural Bridge State Park. I will be in class and partaking in activities. Tammy and the kids will be hiking and laying by the pool. Kyle will no doubt be immersed in the clear cooling waters of the pool. It will be a short working vacation.

I also have a 2 day class in June, a 1 day class in June, a 5 day class in June, and a 5 day class in July. There might be a few others that I will attend along the way. Fun Fun

anyway ... The work week is creeping up on quitting time. I am off to see the sexy redhead. There might be singing tonight. There might be other fun tonight.

Y'all have a good Friday night.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Three things

Saw this on another bloggers blog .. Thought I would give it a go .. Feel free to email me yours at Handful0Trouble@aol.com

Three is a Magic Number

Three names you go by:

'Hey Teach'

Three screen names that you have had:

Feline Ingester

Three things you like about yourself:

My ability to find friends where ever I go
That I am surrounded and revitalized by the children I teach and/or live with
My touchable heart

Three things you don't like about yourself:

Superficially, my appearance
Medically, my arthritis and thyroid problems
Mentally, my lately lapsing memory

Three parts of your heritage:
German (mother .. full blood)
Indian (Cherokee on grandmothers side)
American Mix (and dang proud of it)

Three things that scare you:

Being unloved
Being unloved
Being unloved

Three of your everyday essentials:

A nice chilled Mt Dew

Three things you are wearing right now:

Jeans (broken in)
Hiking boots (broken in)
Denim Shirt (well worn)

Three of your favorite bands or musical artists (@ the moment):

Trace Adkins
Eric Heatherly
and the rest of the country genre singers

Three of your favorite songs:

Monday Morning Church
Cold one coming on
Seven Bridges Road
(all of which I karaoke)

Three new things you want to try in the next 12 months:

Getting book # 1 published
Finishing book # 2
Getting Poetry published

Three things I want in a relationship:

Frequent touching

Two truths and a lie: (in no particular order)

I love all my children (including step)
I have vast wealth hidden in mason jars in the back yard
I used to be a cold hearted arrogant bastard

Three physical things that attract you to the opposite sex:

Nice boobs (just kidding)

Three things you can't do without:

Kind words
Loving touches
Close friends

Three of your favorite hobbies:


Three places you want to go on vacation:

Grand Canyon

Three things you just can't do:

Believe in myself
Forget a friend
Sleep through a night

Three things you want to do before you die:

find my perfect place
Know myself
Get my freaking thyroid under control (sheesh)

Three celeb crushes:

Don't really have any of those

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Paper work day arrives full force

This has been a day of paper work. Lesson Plans, syllabi, curriculum, planning, and all manner of other official sounding State required papers. No time for blogging today.

I'll get mad about something and rant for a while later.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Time to grow up

I read this earlier today in a blog (www.indepundit.com) :

"THIS MORNING on my way to work, I noticed the car in front of mine had a Christian "fish" symbol affixed to the back. The history of this symbol is worth noting. The Romans viewed the early Christians as a threat to the authority of the Emperor, and sought to wipe out the small but growing faith. Since the symbol of the cross was commonly associated with Christianity, the early Christians adopted the fish as a secret sign, to help them identify themselves to one another.

The origins of this symbol are believed to come from Mark 1:17 ("Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."), or possibly as an acrostic from the Greek "ichtus" (Iesous CHristos THeou Uiou Soter," or Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior). Either way, the symbol is meant to be a statement of Christian faith.

Except this fish didn't have the customary "Jesus" inside the body, nor the Greek alternative "ΙXΘYΣ." Instead, this fish had "'N CHIPS" on the inside. It was clear the the driver wasn't professing her own faith, but mocking that of others. I've seen
other variations of this, including the ubiquitous "DARWIN" fish eating the smaller "JESUS" fish. And despite the fact that I'm a Christian by baptism and faith, I've even caught myself laughing at a few of these more creative desecrations.

You see, the fish isn't actually Jesus, but a symbol of His church. And just as burning the American flag doesn't really harm America, neither does making fun of a fish hurt God. So, while I don't condone such desecrations, neither do I feel that such extreme reactions as rioting in the streets or declaring holy war are warranted in response. I think most Americans would agree.

So why do we hold Muslims to a lower standard?"

I must say that I agree. Other races and creeds try to use the history of America to shame us into allowing their own immature behavior. When you were a kid and got caught doing something stupid or wrong, your first response was to point out the error of someone else. It did not excuse your behavior. It did not erase your actions. It did not make the results of said actions non-existent.

OK, at some point in our nations infancy, we had slaves. These slaves were Africans sold by Africans. Today, only the stigma of the owners remains as a reason for elevated crimes by blacks. We have somehow forgotten that the self same Africans sold the slaves to the slave market. I, personally, had nothing to do with such actions nor do I condone them. No African living today was involved in this process either. We are more than a generation removed from this atrocity. It is time to move on and leave that lay on the sidewalk.

It is time to become responsible for your own actions. Stop perpetuating wrongful acts by excusing them based of some misguided belief that your beliefs are harmed by actions against a symbol of your faith. An altered fish on the back of a car does not take a thing away from the power of my God. My God lives in all of nature. His presence fills all of the universe. He lives in the hearts of millions throughout the world. You cannot diminish His fullness.

If the God of Islam is diminished by abuse to his book, he is not much of a deity. It is time for his followers to grow up.

Understand, I know there are immature followers of Christ as well. They need to grow up as well.

And so it begins .. The end

The last day of school for this 04-05 year has begun.

There were last minute instructions by the principal. There are evaluation forms. Grades are due by tomorrow.

My first/second period students are here watching "American History X" and playing X-Box. One of the students called his work (Little Ceasars) and talked them into delivering pizza at 8:45 this morning.

3rd block is going to finish the final (they had a shortened class yesterday and were helping with 5th graders on Friday).

4th block will be in their usual form, joking and touching.

5th block has one student with an extra credit paper due (to bring his grade up to a "D").

And then it is no students until some time in August .. Not sure how I feel about that.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Unfocused energy

Today is a day of unfocused energy in a couple of my classes. They have taken the final test and completed the final project. We have two more classes with nothing to really do. Therefore, they have nothing to focus their energy upon. When this happens, this usually turns to mischief for this block. It isn't the case for the entire block, but there are a few that are unable to handle the extra time. They do have finals on the Hill and the schedule is being adjusted to accommodate that.

One student, a part of the triangle of calamity, is finishing his final test. He says he ran out of time on Friday. I am all for chances. I hate to flunk anyone, even though 3 student are flunking. I will help anyone willing to work, to pass this class. I will not give a grade just to help ya pass. One must earn the grade, but I will do everything I can, short of giving the answers, to help.

During the final project, one student came to me and asked if the 3 way switch hooked up a certain way. I reminded him that this was the final test project, given to test whether he knows how to do this or not. Then I added, "and I don't know why you ask me questions, to which you already know the answer."

When I was in voc-school, I had an instructor that would walk around during the testing. He would stop and look at your work as you were working. If he noticed a wrong answer, he would touch it and cough. He didn't tell answers, but he did alert you to problems you needed to rethink.

The goal of teaching is to impart knowledge. The goal of testing is to determine if the imparting has worked. The grade is to measure the effect of the knowledge. It is a necessary evil. Some students will never try if there is no system of measure or reckoning. Testing tests the ability of the teacher as well as the ability of the student. When a student in my class is failing, I look at myself as well as that student. Did I do everything I could to help that student learn? Did I answer his questions as fully as necessary? Did I explain the lesson or task sufficiently? Did the student fail, or did I ?

The students I have, that are failing, are not my fault. I have done the soul searching. I did my job and then some. 3 of 23 failed my class. Even those 3 have somewhat more knowledge than they did before we began. These 3 decided, somewhere along the way, that playing was more important. One turns in tests with less than half the questions even attempted. Each test includes some multiple choice and some true/false questions. You have a 50/50 chance on the true/false and a 25% chance on the multiple choice. Of the 47 questions on my final, 20 were multiple choice and 6 were true/false. 12 were work problems involving math with 93 answers. The remaining question were divided between fill in the blank questions and write in answers.

Any volunteers to take it ?

Saturday, May 14, 2005


When we got to Todd's last night, we found that he was having a mini karaoke contest, limited to around 12 competitors. It was a warm up for the bigger (he hopes) contest on the 19th of May. There were 13 singers in this one, of which I was one. Congrats to the winners: Hamp, Tommy, and Jimmy.

It was a great night. There were several old friends that I hadn't seen for a while. It was great to see Mandy and Kevin, John and Mary, Randy and Christy, Linda, and it is always great to see Russ. It was great to see Jimmy T, Johnny, and their wives.

We stayed way late. It was nearly 1 AM when we made it home. I don't think I am cut out for this late night life anymore. Life is catching up with me.

Time for today's running. Y'all have fun.

Friday, May 13, 2005

60 fifth graders


just kidding

Thursday, May 12, 2005


I am just a regular kinda guy. I don't see myself as extraordinary at all. I just do what I think is right. I try to treat others as I would like to be treated.

I was reading my honeys blog today (
www.troubleshandful.blogspot.com) and she mentioned some things that give the impression that I am some kind of special guy that doesn't exist anymore. I think that guys like me abound in this world. Everywhere, there are guys loving their wives and doing the right things. There are guys that love the children of their second wives. There are still guys that open the door for their lady. There are still guys that take care of the things that need to be taken care of.

I think the problem is, that too many ladies and gents are looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place. I cannot whole heartedly say that you can't meet a great person online, because I have met many. Everyone I met was not nice. Everyone I met did not make it into my circle of friends. There are some jerks out there of both genders. They are quite expressive, especially online. The anonymity of the computer screen and keyboard give them a false boldness that is simply rudeness wearing another mask.

As for my extraordinary-ness, I just found a nearly perfect fit. I am not perfect. Tammy is not perfect. We are, however, perfect for each other. That is extraordinary.

I know Tammy will disagree, but that is her right.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What a day ...

It is pandemonium around here almost. The students have an official free day. We (the ATC) are grilling sausage patties and hot dogs this morning for the students. We are grilling burgers and dogs this afternoon. There is no way to capture the students attention or turn it toward learning when food is present. They are eating and playing basketball.

I was manning the table, taking tickets, and explaining the 'rules'. "Two eats and one drink"

All or most of the first two periods have now made their way thru the line and have settled down to where they are eating and socializing. It is still 20 minutes before the next block of students shows up. So, I have a few minutes of peace. I have hidden myself away in my cave. One of the teachers here says I stay in my cave. Hey ! This is where I can let the feeling out through my fingertips. This is where I grade my students. This is where I prepare my work. This is where I research to improve my lessons. This is not my cave, it is my sanctuary. This is where I can control the air and stave off the encroaching madness.

Actually, it is just easier to be in one place. I have my classroom upstairs and my shop downstairs. Where else do I need to be? Except for occasional trips to the 'potty', I try to be where they know how to find me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The deceptive magic of the do-over

Someone on one of my regular blogs mentioned things that they might do over if they had the chance. She talked about changing the major of her education. That one change, however, would alter many aspects of her life and invariably cause her not to be in the exact spot she was when she met her partner and husband.

I commented to her blog about the way one change makes ripples throughout our entire life. We are the sum of our actions. There is a term in real estate, assimilation I think, that means the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. This simply means that a units or group of properties have more value together than if you tried to sell them a piece at a time. We are like that. We are so much more than any block of our lives set aside. There have been men that rose to greatness from one or more failures, but if judged by one or two life events, they would be overlooked. Harry Truman failed several times before succeeding as President of the United States of America.

I shudder to think of the changes that might have occurred in my life if just one seeming insignificant fact was changed. At the end of my senior year in HS, I had the opportunity to go to Germany with my uncle and work there for the summer or more. College was looming in the near future and I passed on this opportunity to see the homeland of my mother. I stayed in the states and went on to become a college dropout. It was that summer I met my first wife. We divorced after 20 years, but had three beautiful daughters that continue to bring joy to my life. One little trip could have changed all that.

When we look at one event and consider all the things that had to happen just for it to be possible, it is mind boggling. The ramifications of conscious and unconscious decisions is staggering. We are creatures of wonder and we will always wonder 'what if.' For me, while I may wonder, I am content to leave my past in my past and live in the joy I have in my life.

Whether you hold to the belief that we are solo sojourners in this life or that we are being led by divine providence, it doesn't matter. You are who you are because of what happened yesterday. Tomorrow is a field covered with a fresh blanket of snow, awaiting tracks to create a trail, to lead to the next day, and the next, and the next.

I can change my future, right now. I can make new and clamorous decisions. I can pick any direction and travel. However, I am stuck with my past. It makes me who I am. I can take the lessons of the past and be a bitter person or a better person. That choice is mine.

Well, here I am, thinking too much again, as my honey says.

I'm gonna turn the brain down a notch, finish grading projects, enter grades in the book, and try to come home for a few minutes before heading off to a board meeting.

Y'all come back now, ya hear ?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Eureka !!

a break through ..
I have 22 students over the course of the day. I expect that I will nearly double that next year. Of the 22 students, there are:
6 students with averages that are in the "B" area.
9 students with averages that are in the "C" area.
5 students with averages that are in the "D" area.
2 students with averages that are in the "F" area.

One of my "F" students came to me today with a question and a comment. It seems as how his grandfather (with whom he resides) bought a couple new window units to keep the place cool this Summer. He got the units home and put them in the windows. When he tried to plug them into the outlet, it was a 'no go'.

It turns out that his outlets at home were old style outlets with only two slots and no ground prong slot. The new AC's had three prong plugs on them. His grandfather picked up a few newer receptacles and they proceeded to change them out. "R" did two and his GF did one. He said he was amazed that he knew as much as he did. However, there was a problem. There was no ground wire in the box. He asked if that were a problem.

It is not a problem, persey, but it is not a desirable situation either. The AC's will work without the ground, but it is a much useful safety feature. I gave "R" an extra credit assignment to help his grade. It is an essay type assignment. He is to explain to me why they changed the outlets and how. He is also try to come up with a couple solutions to the no-ground problem.

He seemed genuinely excited that he was able to change out the outlets, but even moreso that he recognized a problem.

Hopefully this light is not too long in the tunnel to help.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Winding down on a Sunday

It has been a good Mother's Day Sunday.

We picked Carol up this morning and kept her most of the day. She went to church with us. Mom was there. It was great to see many of my old friends.

After church, we took Carol home and then headed to the movies. We saw "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy," which was hilarious. I must admit that if you haven't read the books, or are at least familiar with them, you might be lost.

It is just after 10 and the bed is calling.

Hey Russ, it called earlier, but there was no sleeping. You needed to know that.

There were many good things about today. Too many to list alphabetically or chronologically, but still many good things. Suffice it to say, the day was grand. I spent the day in the company of a beautiful woman that is head over heels in love with me and I with her. That is a great day, alphabetically or chronologically.

The kids cleaned the house as a gift to Tammy. They did well and it was wonderfully appreciated.

On a sad note, Cleo, once again nipped at Kyle, breaking the last straw. Tammy says she has to go. This is heart breaking for Tammy. She is quite attached to the little bugger. We are, once again, looking for a home for a dog. That seems to be our most repetitive action this year.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The flower chauffeur

Today, Tammy was to deliver flowers for mothers day to help out a friend that owns a flower shop. Yesterday, she did the same, but had Sierra or Chelsea to help her. Tammy did the driving. The kids did the leg and wrist work. She had planned on doing the same today, but the kids would be sleeping. I told her that I would be the driver. That way, we would be able to spend the day together.

So, this morning we get up and head out. We pick up flowers to deliver. We stop by here to get directions from MapQuest. Armed with directions, we headed out.

Lexington has to be the dumbest street city in the world. Streets are not marked. Some are just marked wrong. There are no maps up to date enough to keep up with Lexington and its road changes. We made 20 deliveries today. Some were nearly impossible to find. For the last 6 or so, we split up, armed with cell phones. Chella helped her and I manned the computer to feed them directions. Chella helped with 15 overall. Sierra helped with 7 overall. Tammy was involved in all 34 deliveries. I helped (chauffeured) with 12 deliveries. Tammy gets $6 per delivery. She splits it with the kids when they help. All I asked was to have my tank filled after the deliveries. The rest can buy Tammy's gas in her van and cigs.

It makes for a long day.

The flower shop still has 50 deliveries for Monday.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Ah, the immortality of youth

It is amazing to me how young people think. I know that I had to be the same way at one time, but it seems rather foreign to me now. I have come to realize that young people do not think they are immortal, as I previously assumed. They have a built in blinder that disables their ability to see consequences of their actions. Somewhere along the path to maturity, those blinder fall off ... Sometimes.

Heather calls me today to see if I can come get her at vocational school. She is a health services student there. She really enjoys the class and the work. She seems rather anxious to be picked up by me or by Tammy. When I begin to question her about why, she begins the explanation with ... "Well, you know how I haven't smoked pot in 3 months ... " I interrupted with, "you fell off of the wagon?" It turns out (according to her) that she stopped this morning to pick up Whitney for school, and because she has been so stressed out over the Aaron (BF) situation, she took a hit or two. When they get to school, the principal asked to see them in the office. They are clueless as to how he knew. ANYWAY, he tell them that they all must call their parents to get them and take them home.

Heather calls me. She doesn't call her mom, with whom she lives. She even asks if Tammy can come get her since I am working. Tammy is helping Sierra deliver flowers for Mothers Day. There is no one here that can give her the needed ride. She gets a ride with Whitney's mom and that is settled. The ride part, that is.

I told her that she had to tell Kaye. She has to tell her tonight. If she doesn't tell her tonight, I will tell her tomorrow. She has my silence until tomorrow.

She called me back a short time later. She was all teary and jittery. It seems the principal has told them that they are looking at 5 days suspension from both schools. Heather is now very scared to tell Kaye. I do not relent. She tells or I do. I also informed her that whatever punishment that Kaye imposes is in effect if she is at my house this weekend (we do have plans). She understands. She told me she would call me when she had told her mom.

The immortality of youth is in the fact that they never see the consequences of their actions. They are never going to wreck. They are never going to get caught. They are never going to fall. There are no consequences resulting from the stupidity of their actions. NOW, Heather sees the consequences. NOW, Heather sees the end result (somewhat). She doesn't understand that driving to school after taking a few hits is driving impaired. It is like drinking and driving. Had she been stopped along the way by a law officer, the results could be exponentially worse.

Heather is close to that age when your actions start following you around. She needs to begin seeing around the blinders.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


The safety inspector for the state just left my class. I have a passing grade. I have a safe classroom and shop.

On to other news ... Sometimes it is so easy to be generous in acceptance. Other times it just seems easier to be harsh. It takes so much less work to find that place where something someone does in appealing. I try not to judge others by what I might do in their situation. Still, at times, the easy road of intolerance seems like the best way. In my heart, I know. In my head, I even know. Somewhere between head and heart, and my mouth, the message gets lost.

There is a Trace Adkins song, that I have karaoke'd, called, "I'm Trying". ... And I am.

I wonder if it is just a spilling over. There are so many times when other things seem to call for that rage: driving, shopping, standing in line at the bank, and 1000 other times when time stands still and some moron has gummed up the works. How much of that does it take before the lines between that and the way we deal with friends and family become blurred? I am not looking for an excuse. I am looking for explanations. I must make a constant conscience choice to extend love and tolerance to everyone. I don't have to agree. I don't have to think it is a good thing. I don't have to endorse the action. I DO need gentle understanding. I need more of it out from within as well as some from without inward. Regardless, I have to live with me. Lately, living in my skin has been a struggle. Perhaps that is sunshine I see breaking the horizon. OR ... Maybe it is the lights of an oncoming train ...

Oh my gosh !!

It has been 3 days since I blogged !!

It has been a hectic 3 days at that. There has been much going on, in school and at home. I can assure you that we are all alive and well in both places. There are no bodies to be buried.

The network has been down at school for a couple days. We are just now (30 minutes ago) up and running. So, here is a quick blog fix. There will be much more to follow, I am sure.

An old friend died this week. We have known each other since we were both in our teens. She was a few years older than me, but we were both part of a core group of young people in the church pastored by my father. She found out 3 weeks ago that they did not get all the cancer that they previously claimed they did. They gave her 2 months to live. She made it 3 weeks. There will be reflective times and writing to follow. The visitation is tonight.

School is winding down. I am working on the final exam and project. This is a chance for those in my class to add 300 points to their grade. Some need it, but those that do need it will not get it unless they change the way they study or take tests. They need the help for the same reasons that they will not do well. It involves attitude and choices.

More for later

Monday, May 02, 2005

Levels of communication

When I was working in Indiana, Tammy and I communicated well. Our friends thought it was weird. We would be online, talking in the chatroom, and talking in Instant Message, and also be on the phone talking, and none of the 3 conversations be related. OKAY, that may be different, but it is just part of us. Our minds work on several levels at once. It is just the way we work.

We have added a new dimension to our communications. We now have the blog-sphere. Tammy and I communicate, sometimes, through our blogs. They give us a brand new way to say that things that need to be said. They are just another way to reach a new place within ourselves. Knowing us as well as we do, it is easy to read what is written by reading what is not written. While you are reading about our days, and our nights, we are reading our hearts. While you are reading our passions about the issues of the day, we are reading about the things bothering the other. While you are reading, we are reading.

Just another sweet level to communicate with my honey.

Meeting me yesterday .. or so

I told Tammy about my past (not that it is all sordid). There are some things that she has trouble believing. I told her that I was lacking in compassion when I was younger. It is true, even if it is difficult for her to believe. I have told the story before about my conversion to the sweet lovable guy that I am today. I wont rehash that.

Sometimes, no matter how hard ya try, ghosts still have a way of resurfacing. They come back when you are not watching. They pop up when stress or tiredness invade your life. They tend to polarize you. You, literally, become like two people. One is the person you have worked so hard to become. The second is the person you killed years before.

My past lack of compassion manifested itself mostly in the form of intolerance. It was intolerance for the mistakes of others.

In the past few weeks, I have felt it creeping in. The kids make a mistake and I feel it.

What kills me most is that anyone, a stranger, can make a mistake and it doesn't bother me. If it is someone close, however, it creeps up in me. Perhaps, it is, that seeing a 'weakness' (loosely used) in someone close like that, points out a shortcoming in myself. I remember Dad taking all my mistakes, and I made them, as a personal statement of his parenting skills. He and Mom did a great job parenting. Still, with all of the kids already in their 40's, they take it as a personal failing when we don't get along, or when we make a mistake. I try, as best as I can, to convince he and mom that it isn't their fault. It seems I have inherited that trait. It just exists as a ghost that pops it head out every now and then.

This is hoping that facing the ghost, chases it away, even if it is just for now.

One difference ... This time I have a friend, willing to help me be the best me I can be.

Thanks Honey. I love you more every day.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Laughing until I cry

Friday night and last night were trips to hilarity.

Friday , we went out to eat at Friends & Co. It is always a good trip to Friends. It is a restaurant/sports bar. We go there regularly to watch UK play sports and/or to eat. Good food, good prices, great company.

Both nights of the weekend we went to Todds to karaoke. Russ met us at Todd's as did another friend, Todd. Once there, we discovered that Todd (owner) is having a Karoke Contest on Thursday, May 19th. The first place winner gets $75, second place gets $35, and third, fourth, and fifth get $20 a piece. At some point during the weekend visits, Tammy and Todd decided that it would only be fair if I were only allowed to enter once. There are other contests scattered around the city.

Anyway, the hilarity was outside the bar. Those non-Lexingtonians that read this have to understand that, Lexington, in the heart of Kentucky, the tobacco state, has a smoking ban which prohibits smoking in ANY public building. It is a common sight in Lexington to see smokers sitting outside the doors of eating and/or drinking establishments enjoying their smokes. Tammy smokes. I do not, but I am often outside with the smokers because many of our friends smoke as well.

Friday night, we were also visited by Gary (best man at our wedding). It is his birthday weekend. He will be 48 on Monday. We were outside joking around and dying in laughter. It was great. At one point in the evening, Russ (who had been imbibing earlier in the evening) decided he was exhausted and went home. Gary went back to the bar across the street (his regular hang out .. Friends). We were then joined at todd's by late arriving David, Vickie, Susan, and Sturgill. We knew David already, the other we had only talked to in the chatroom. It was great to meet them, finally.

We both sang one more song and went home.

Saturday, we took Kyle (9) to see the helicopter and meet Officer Don, who does the traffic reports for several local radio and TV stations in the mornings and afternoons. He got in the helicopter and I took his pic. It is a small thing, only weighing 900 pounds. That was fun.

The evening, it was back to Todd's. Tammy stated before we went that she didn't want to stay long. I told her that was fine by me. We would leave whenever she said she wanted to go. The crowd was a bit more sparse than it was Friday night. A few friends, Karen and Mike were there when we arrived, as was Dwayne, a friend from another circle. We secured a couple tables close to the door and proceeded to fill the night with music. Russ eventually joined us, then Gary, then Kevin and Donna (haven't seen in a while). The hilarity began again. We didn't leave until nearly midnight. Tammy decided, in the midst of the laughter, that she wanted to stay more than a little bit.

Here it is Sunday morning. The laughter no longer makes my face ache. It just tickles my heart. It has been a good weekend thus far. We will see how it finishes.

Tammy just brought me a bowl of Captain Crunch with Crunchberries. Wahhhooooooooo. Time to roll off of here for a bit.

Y'all come back now, ya hear ?