Saturday, December 30, 2006

Welcome to a new year

I know that New Years is traditionally a time of renewing. It is a time of resolving. It is a time of reflection. Allow me to reflect.

This has been a good year overall. There have been some dark days as there are in most years, but in the end it has been a good year.

We bought a house. We moved away from Lexington. Our home sits three blocks from the main intersection of the town, and yet, after 8pm, it is very quiet. I love a small town. We live simplistically. Now, I am not talking about hunting our own food supply, unless you count tracking it down at Kroger and wrangling it to the cashier. We have real heat, real floors, and more than one pizza joint. We have every fastfood place available. We have a few sit down restaurants. We have a couple chinese places too. The wonderful difference is in the ratio of land area to people. In Lexington, the density ratio is 353.5 persons to every square kilometer. In Mt Sterling, that density is 44 person to every square kilometer. That is more room to breath, and more importantly, more room to drive.

We also gained a new granddaughter this year. As my regular blog readers are aware, my daughter had Abigail on December 5th. That is a wonderful thing.

I am now back in college. I am taking classes to get my Associates Degree in Technical Education. This is good for a variety of reason. Several of those are: Higher pay with more education, self improvement is always good, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky is footing the bill.

There are things I could change about the year coming to an end. Most of them are actions and reactions to situations. I could have handled them differently. They are mostly minor things. There was one big thing. Still, changing our past changes us. One writer said, "those who do not learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them." That tells me a couple things. One, I will make mistakes. Two, they are learning opportunities. This year, I have had a few learning opportunities.

I started my 50th year on Earth this year. I turned 49. The next day began my 50th year. I am pretty sure that is a good thing (especially if you consider the alternative.)

Tammy and I are still head over heels in love. I think that means our love is upside down. I am not sure how that is a good thing, but everyone agrees that being head over heels in love is grand. Who am I to argue with the popular consensus? (You don't have to answer that.)

There are things I would have liked to have done. There are places I would have liked to have visited. I would have loved to spend more time with my daughters, and my family. However, we all have our own busy lives to live. We are still a family. We haven't broken down the familial relationship, so, while we may have wanted to see more of each other, we did see enough of each other. I have grown closer to my newest family additions, because they are here. (Some of them have come back and some of them won't leave.) Still, there has never been a day that it affected the love I have for my natural daughters. My wonderful daughters, as you read this, know that I have never loved you more than I love you today, and I have never loved you less than the day you were born. My acquired family, you are as important to me as any of these.

Between work, home, and family, it has been a busy 2006. It has been a good 2006. I can't wait to see what 2007 has to offer. That is just as well, because 2007 will not wait for me to be ready. As my wife likes to say, "bring it."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ahhh, Christmas

My favorite holiday is independence Day. However, Christmas ranks with the tops too. There was a time that I didn't really care for Christmas. I allowed the commercialism of the holiday to cloud the real reason for the season. I was sickened by the stores and the TV ads and the message of Christmas being largely obscured. I now know, that Christmas can be to me what Christmas is supposed to be and still be just a 2 month commercial to others.

I read a very interesting article before Christmas. It was about just that, the commercialism of Christmas. This was part of it:
"There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got." That was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1850

In his book "The Battle for Christmas," Stephen Nissenbaum puts that myth to rest by tracing the history of the holiday from colonial New England to the turn of the 20th century.

December was an important month because of it's cold weather. Refrigeration was not available, so December was the time when fresh meat was available in months. But most importantly, December meant beer. By mid-month, whatever grain surplus their hard summer's labor had produced would have been fully fermented and ready to drink.

In the northern Europe of the late middle ages, gangs of young men would engage in "wassailing," a cross between Christmas carolling and home invasion. The gangs would visit wealthy homes, often in disguise, and sing songs that threatened violence if they were not invited in for food and drink. "Here we go a carolling."

But with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, factory owners didn't want their employees wandering off for weeks of drunken merriment. During the 1820s, after a series of particularly raucous holiday seasons in New York, the city's elite began campaigning for a more restrained, domestic Christmas. Central to that campaign was the tradition of purchasing gifts, especially for children.

Nissenbaum states, "Perhaps that's the biggest difference between Christmas present and Christmas past. A holiday that began in ancient times as a debauched escape from everyday chores has become exactly the opposite - a frenzied season full of expectations, obligations and stress."

Merry Christmas.

We gathered, as usual, at Mom and Dad's house. My daughters were all sick and couldn't come. That reduced the number by 11. Still there were over 40 people there. There was food and drink. There was holiday cheer. There was catching up with family. There was a great time. And yes, there were gifts.

We do this: We gather in rather haphazardly even though we are given a time to arrive. It is more a suggestion than a rule. Close to a predetermined time, we begin the Christmas dinner. There is turkey and ham and various other holiday trimmings brought by families. The food is delicious and the fellowship is even more so. Old memories are rehashed and new memories are created.

After the meal, we all gather in the living room, where, this year, my niece Jenny and her husband Jerome sang as song. Then Jenny sang "Holy Night," with everyone joining in on the final chorus. After that, Mom calls home (her family in Germany) and we all scream 'Merry Christmas' to them. Mom and I sing 'Silent Night' in German. Then we all sing a chorus of it. My oldest sister Barbara reads the Bible story of the birth of Christ. I read whatever I have written for the season (it follows this story) and then I lead us in prayer.

After that, the presents are dispersed by my brother and I, one at a time, with each recipient opening their gift, before the next is given. The little children all wait anxiously to hear their name called. Once all the gifts are given, there is more time to fellowship with family. This year, we were there about 6 hours.

We came home, sat on the couch, and watched 'Miracle on 34th Street' with the family. Tammy and the kids had never seen it. They loved it.

Christmas day, we got up and opened the gifts here at the house. Later that day, we went to my middle daughter's house where 25 or so gathered for dinner and gifts. It was a great time.

Here is what I shared with my family:

My 50th Christmas

I can't recall my first Christmas, although I can see the pictures of it in old albums. Come to think of it, I can't remember a lot of the Christmases I have celebrated. I remember snippets of many of them.

When I do think about them, I don't really remember the presents, with some noteworthy exceptions. I recall the year Kevin got dumbbells as a gift, and Richard said, "dumbbells for a dumbbell." Then when Richard opened his gift, it was dumbbells and sometimes payback is immediate.

I recall there were various wrapping paper wars, with Mom always telling us at the start that there would be no wrapping paper war. But, seriously guys, this year, no wrapping paper war. Seriously.

I recall the year Richard got his car. All that was wrapped was the key and Dad made sure it was the last present given. It was parked in the lot of the church across the street on Old Frankfort Pike.

I remember the year I knew I was getting a wok, and saying as I picked it up, "I wonder wok this is."

I remember how we started growing once Barbara got married and how we haven't stopped yet. Welcome Abigail Kennedy Lewis.

The presents over the years have mostly been forgotten. I can't remember every shirt or pair of pants. I do still have and use the wok. I do still have and use the electric grill. Richard's car is long gone.

There is something that remains to this day, from every one of those celebrations. That something stays, in spite of our differences, in spite of our disagreements, in spite of faulty memories. That something is the reason I have an insurmountable debt. That something is the gift all of you have given to me, every year, year after year. Every year it grows. Every year it gets more valuable. It is more precious than gold. It is more costly than diamonds or rubies.

From my heart, I want to thank you all for marvelous gift of family. Thank you to every brother and every sister. Thank you to every niece and nephew. Thank you to every son and daughter. Thank you to all the grandsons, granddaughters, grandnieces, and grand nephews. Thank you, Dad. Thank you, Mom.

All the good fortune in the world is wasted, without a family with which to share it. You have multiplied my joys and divided my sorrows. Because of you, when I have stood, I have never stood alone.

This 50th Christmas, I welcome you to add another heaping helping to my insurmountable debt.

Merry Christmas to us all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pile-o-pups Posted by Picasa

just a handful still Posted by Picasa

The Christmas Season is full upon us.

Today is the last day with students. The final finals are given. The pizza parties are planned. Presents have been bought. The pressure is off.

This year, I want wiper blades for Christmas. Tammy says she doesn't see that happening. I guess Ill have to break down buy them for myself.

The most fun for me at Christmas is giving gifts. I love that part.

We (the family) gather at the parents house (all 50 of us) for dinner and gift giving. For years , my dad would sit in front of the tree and pass out presents to the kids. One present was given at a time. Each kid would open his or her gift before another present was given. It was a magical time.

Several years ago, dad retired as the dispenser of gifts. My younger (by 4 years) brother and I picked up the job. Dad would be tickled if he thought about two people required to replace him.

Fifty people gather for family fun. There are no arguments. There are no feuds. They range from months old to 90 years old plus. This year my granddaughter will be the newest addition. Abigail will be nearly 3 weeks old on Christmas day.

Today is a mixed emotion day for the students. It is the last day of school until next year. It is finals day. GRC has a block schedule. Three of the five classes are one full credit for ½ of the year. Therefore, three of my classes are taking final exams. The other two are taking midterm tests. The school has spread them out over two days. Three of my classes are taking tests today. Two took tests yesterday.

My fullest class is eating pizza today. They took their test yesterday. They are rowdy. They are excited. I still have to keep them corralled and somewhat calm, because they will be leaving my class and taking a final in the last block.

All of my classes get to evaluate me today. The evaluation will also cover the principal and the school itself. It will be interesting to see the results. I was surprised recently when a student dropped a bomb on me. I have suspended him. I have given him several detentions. I have nearly flunked him more than once. He has had me for 4 classes in the last three years. He told me that I was his favorite teacher. It is odd to try to figure out how kids think.

But .. After today .. it is thirteen days without students.


Monday, December 18, 2006

I can’t stop the world

There is a fire burning

Burning without control

Its blaze licking and leaping

Seeking new lives to destroy

There is a fire burning

That sears the soul of the possessor

Reducing to nothing any reason

Touching even those not scorched

Relentlessly building

Lashing out in the private darkness

Leaving bruised and battered the victims

This uncontrolled raging within

Fueled by the vessels past

Destroying the fuel it perceives

The weakness within

To purge from others

This far distant cousin to passion

The rage that is never consumed

Demons carrying the fires

Of their own private hell

A light so darkened

It blinds the mind

Denying even the aftermath

Of violence’s eruption

Victims are left with little choice

Become stronger or die weak

Never realizing the fire lives

Hiding deep within

Sometimes never to be uncovered

But always, patiently, awaiting the chance

That one situation

That one circumstance

Leaving bewildered the victim/vessel

Corrupted by the hated flame

The weakness thought purged

I can’t stop the world

That flame

Never materialized outside

Still the fuel inside

Still the weakness

Still the chance

There are days

Control seems only a word

The warmth rises

Reason still prevails

It is not a part of me

This cowardly flame

And still … it tries

I can’t stop the world

I try, a harbor to make

A place where the flame

And the whirlwind

Cannot find a history

I can’t stop the world

No matter my strength

No matter my courage

Still it turns

Still it burns

And yet … still I will try

To stop that world for one

Save one

That saves one

Stop one

That stops one

That flame

Becomes the ember

That ember

Becomes the ash

That ash

Blown away

I can’t stop the world

Perhaps … we can

Ron Simpson

December 18, 2006

Monday Review

Today is review day at school. Finals are to be given (by mandate of GRC) on Tuesday amd Wednesday, alternating the classes. All 5th block classes are to give finals on Wednesday, the day before Christmas break. This is supposed to insure that all students will be here for the last day.

One teacher was even looking for donations to make her students banana splits for doing well this week. WTF ? What happened? When I was in school, you did well because it was just the thing to do. We were raised to excell and exceed expectations. I raise my kids tha same way. However, some of the kids I encounter here have this attitude of 'what are you going to give me to make me do well for you?"

When we started making schools accountable, not by their efforts, but by their results, we killed the education system. We have endorsed the cookie-cutter education agenda. Students have learned that if they do badly, the school suffers. So, not thinking beyond today (like many kids do?) they see this as thier way to revolt. They can't see the far reaching effect of said revolt. Here is a handy phrase for the next generation coming through the new public education program, "Do you want fries with that?"

Anyway, (stepping off my soapbox) my weekend was good but busy. Sunday was a blur. It started at 4am. Then we got out of bed at 6am. We were at Wal-mart for the "Shop with a Cop" charity event. From there we went to Jesse's to pick up bluetooth handsfree earbuds. Then a fill up with gas (ouch) and a fast trip to the house. A short stop and off we go again to Flemingsburg for church.
Return home, and write a latter to the Montgomery County Board Of Education, then head to DollarTree to drop off a monitor for a friend, and then to Lexington for a Board Meeting. After the meeting, Tammy and I went to my daughter's house to drop off Christmas presents and ended up bringing Ian home for the evening.

Ian is nearly three. Tammy went into the store. Ian and I waited in the truck. When I told him she was coming, he said, " Quick, let's hide." I asked him where we were going to hide. "In here," he said. It was so funny. He is a card. He was a blast to have at the house.

Ah, a running weekend.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Slowly .. Ever so slowly .. The weekend approaches

This has been a week that cries for a weekend. Everyone in the house, except me, has been touched by the 'OMG, I am gonna puke' bug. Kyle has been out of school for most of the week. TJ called his school and they begged her to keep him out until he was completely recovered. It seems 35 students in the 5th grade are out with this flu.

The HS freshman principal has lost his mind. He pulled C into his office to tell her he saw her kissing a boy in the cafeteria one morning. However, it turned out to be a morning when she didn't attend school because she was puking as well. The issue has been that she is a white girl and K (who is just a friend) is black. It seems that racism is rampant in the small town HS. I believe it is a regularly scheduled course with a HS credit offered. (Racism 101) We are requesting a meeting to ask why nothing has been done about the several reports that have been made. As of now, the principal is denying ever receiving reports or names. The next meeting will be either recorded by me, or recorded by my lawyer.

I have tossed one student out of my class for the rest of the semester. That is only 4 days now. He has been a constant thorn. He is one of those students that knows how to dance all over the line and then suddenly withdraw. Tuesday, I wrote him up for 5 violations. Wednesday, I asked that he be removed from my class. Yesterday, I took another one out for a day. It is time some of these student learn the reality of reality.

The problem is the HS. They have no discipline. I talked to the police officer assigned to the school. He concurs. They threaten and never deliver. The students know this and press it to their fullest advantage. They come here with the attitude that they run the show. They will, if we allow it. So, it is a constant battle with some students. Add to that, the HS usually only sends us the students they can't do anything with. That makes sense, take the students you can't control, and send them down the hill to use power tools.

Weekend? Oh weekend? Wherefore art thou, weekend?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Too funny not to pass on

Subject: Bush Bumper Stickers

Bush: End of an Error

That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties anyway

Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First

If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran

Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.

If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President

Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an elephant!

Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?

George Bush: Creating the Terrorists our kids will have to fight

America: One Nation, Under Surveillance

They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It

Whose God Do You Kill For?

Cheney/Satan '08

Jail to the Chief

No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?

Bush: God's Way of Proving that "Intelligent Design" Is Full Of Crap

Bad President! No Banana.

We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language

We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them

Is It Vietnam Yet?!

Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?

You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.

Impeach Cheney First

When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46 - REALLLY!

Pray For Impeachment

The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?

One Nation Under Clod

2004: Embarrassed 2005: Horrified 2006: Terrified

Bush Never Exhaled

At Least Nixon Resigned

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Every Day

Every day is like a small book
Stacked upon the last
Anxiously awaiting the next

Rarely the same size
As each is filled
With the events of that day

Some days are bursting
Some days are sparse
Some days are sorrow
Some days are joy

Some have ragged covers
And dog-eared pages
From the repeated visits

There are light days
There are dark days
There are days filled with warmth
And days that ice reigns supreme

Some books end early
Neatly sorted and stacked
While others are written
In the wee hours of the night

We hope that each contains
A quantity of laughter and mirth
We hope there is a bucket of happy
For each measured dose of sad

Each day is a journey
From the mortuary of dead days
To the vast unknown lying ahead

Each step writes its footfalls
In the prints across a freshly mopped floor
Trudging the mud of yesterday along the way
Leaving behind the sojourners proof

Some days we want to blot out
Some days we want to hide from reading eyes
But every day a story makes
With each breath accounted for

Eventually, the volumes are stored
And some prominently displayed
They adorn the mantles and walls
Of our memory museums

So.. Write your stories
Write your songs
Compose your poems

As the day draws to a close.

Ron Simpson Jr.
December 9, 2006

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Abigail Kennedy Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Some test I took

The test I took was taking too much room and pushing all my side items down to the bottom .. so here are the resutls of the test in simple text form:
Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Work ethic..............63%
Self absorbed...........43%
Conflict seeking........36%
Need to dominate........43%
Change averse...........30%
Peter pan complex.......23%
Physical security.......90%
Physical Fitness........10%
Female cliche...........16%

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Grandkids everywhere

Whew !
My middle daughter, Chasity, had her baby this morning at 12:41 am. Abigail was 6 pounds 1 ounce, and 18 3/4 inches long. She is my second granddaughter and fifth grandkid overall. Congratulations Chris and Chas ...
AND .... We just found out the Sierra is pregnant. They figure her due date in the first week of August. More grand babies on the way.

The week is progressing at the school. There are just 11 school days left in this semester. It is wrap up time. The finals will be given on the 19th and 20th and then it is Christmas break for 8 school days and 2 weekends. Twelve days off. The state schedule is such that all I have to do is take 2 days leave and I can be off the entire 12 days.

Then, January 2nd, it is hit the ground running with about 20 new students and 15 returning students.
More news as it becomes available ...

Monday, December 04, 2006

ahhhh, a weekend

Here it is, Monday morning, 16 lovely degrees, and I am sitting in my chilly classroom. The heater fan is rattling as it tries to warm up this space. Our Maintenance guy, Steve, turned it on, I am sure, when he came up to collect the trash, sometime in the last hour. The noise makes it useless to try to teach, as it rattles above everything. We will work in the shop, where it is colder.

I will update ya on the weekend, later today. It was a good weekend. I spent money, actually.

Scary thought.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Something I wrote .. Found .. Finished


There is no light of hope. There is no glimmer of joy
The darkness bounces the sound and echoes the loneliness
Cold and dark, melded as one
Indistinguishable, as I sit At the edge of dawn

There is no adjustment for my eyes to reach
No matter how I strain, no light to gather in
Not even a fleeting of the diehard idealist
He cowers beneath the growing damp misery

Time is suspended or so it appears
For a moment, for one overwhelming moment
It seems this is to be the only reality left
Without hope of even an illusion

Then it happens, far far away
Whether it makes a sound, I cannot say
But something stirs in that distant land
Is it a break? Again, I cannot say

The sun breaks the horizon tearing the fabric of the blackened sky
Slicing like a sword through the thin velvet veil of misery
Darkness flooded with brilliance's of orange and gold
Washing away the haze of yesterdays grays

Yellows and reds strive to break the bonds of misery
Chasing away the heretofore smothering darkness
light slicing through the horizon, leading the sun's charge
Emboldened by the retreat of the shadows

There is something undeniable about this slicing light
Bringing to the front previously hidden half truths
Exposing suspicions and putting them to flight
Advancing warmth encroaching on the pain

The sun emerges like a drowning man
breaking the surface of hopelessness
but it is too late ....
I am already dead.

Welcome dawn.

Ron S

November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back to work

Another week begins. It just has the misfortune to follow a five day weekend. I was off for holiday on Thursday and Friday. We didn't have students on Wednesday, so I took off then as well. It felt kinda strange last night setting the alarms to get up on time. It is funny. Any other day when I am not working I am up at 5 or 6 am, but on days I am working, I usually have to force myself out of bed at 6:30. Weird.

Anyways, the holiday was great. Sierra and hubby Jordan have been with us since Thursday (I think .. recollection is hazy right now.) They were with us on Thanksgiving, that I am sure of. Chris went to Nick-Vegas for the holiday and weekend.

We stay close to home as much as possible. We did get out amongst them on Saturday. We went to a munch and then out karaoke with friends. It was a blast.

Sunday was a stay home day for me. Tammy had to work. I got the kids pizza for supper. It was all good. We missed church in the morning/afternoon because she had to work.

There was car news, but it is still not clear exactly what is wrong with the car. It wouldn't start. When Bobby came to replace the starter, it started right up. He replaces the serpentine belt, fixed the egr tube, and left the starter alone (it is a bear to replace.) Still, no definitive answer on the overheating thing. Tammy drove it to work and all symptoms have disappeared. We are totally confused at this point.

There is more, but students take precedence. Later all.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A litter of new rat dogs Posted by Picasa

Life takes strange turns.

Looking back, I didn't place myself here five years ago. I couldn't. So many pieces were still missing. It is like a large jigsaw puzzle, with an undisclosed ending ..

This day finds me, as most people, considering the things for which I am thankful ..

First, I am thankful for my health. I am overweight and have the problems commonly associated with that. I have hypothyroidism. It sucks. I have arthritis in my back. (that sucks too) However, I am able to get up each morning and go to work. I am able to go where I need to go when I need to go there. My health does not prevent me from doing everything I need to do. It does, on occasion, stop me from doing everything I would like to do, but I still do what needs to be done, and for that, I am thankful.

Secondly, I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for all of my family. Allow me to start with those living with me day to day. I am thankful for my wife and the love she gives to me daily, hourly, and moment by moment. I completely adore her and she returns that adoration back to me. I love the way she takes care of me, even though I fuss about her trying to wait on me hand and foot.

Extending outwardly, I am thankful for our kids, both hers and mine. We have those parent/kid moments where I think they are irresponsible self centered brats and they think I am an out of touch hateful parent (normal stuff,) but I wouldn't trade them for any other kids on this Earth. For all their bumps, scrapes, and scars, they are mine to love, and I do, love them dearly. I am grateful for my mom and dad, my brother and sisters, and all 100 or so it seems, nephews and nieces we have (every year we are adding a couple more through marriage.) There are 50 or so together at Mom and Dad's house for Christmas. It is quite the spectacle. 50 people, from 75 yrs old to 1 year old, all laughing, singing, praying, expressing thanks for the year passed, and eagerly anticipating the opening of gifts and the next year. We are a great support group. We do endeavor for the most part to support most of us. (There is a sour apple or two in the bunch, there has to be, I believe it is a law or something.)

I am thankful for my friends. Tammy and I share an eclectic group of friends. They are as varied as they can be. They include, but are not limited to, pastors, lawyers, doctors, executives, teachers, craftsmen, tradesmen, worker bees, retirees, housewives, single dads and moms, business owners, and a host of others. They range in ages from teenagers to ninety year olds plus. They each bring something precious to our lives.

I am thankful for my life. There are days in my past I am not happy with, but I cannot regret them (in their entirety) because they brought me to this day .. and today, I find myself incredibly thankful.

There is a line from a Maya Angelo poem .. "Whatever happens, this is."

I am glad that this is ..

Thanks to everyone in my life .. from then until now ..

Monday, November 20, 2006

Loooooong day !

Today is open house at the school. It runs from 5 until 7. I am off work at 3:30. My principal asked me if I planned to drive to Mt sterling (30 minutes) after work and then drive back. I was thinking, NO! She put me in for comp time from 3:30 until 7, which I thought was a nice gesture.
That makes my day nearly 12 hours at school.

This week is going to be difficult enough without adding the strain of a long Monday. We only have students Monday and Tuesday. We still work on Wednesday. Then we are off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. The students are pretty fired up for the upcoming days off. That makes today and tomorrow more hectic than usual. According to the other teachers, their students are wilder than ever. Either my students are unusually calm, or they are normally wilder than ever, because I don't see much of a difference. The key this week, as it is every week, is to keep them busy. Busy students are non trouble making students.

Still, it is a long day.

The weekend was good though. It was a quiet weekend. Chella had a friend over for what turned out to be most of the weekend. Nate was no bother though. Chris was gone for the most of the weekend. A friend, Bob came to look at TJ's car. He thinks it is the starter. At this point I can believe that. It seems, little by little, every part of the car is wearing out, lol.

I cleaned most of Hell while Bob looked at the car. I am about 2 hours of work away from parking a car or truck in there. This week should take care of that.

I am the SkillsUSA advisor for my school. The students dues are $13. I told the students that could not afford that , that I would work something out with them. One student came to me and expressed his desire to have something worked out. I told him that I would hire him to put insulation in my attic. He was happy with that. I will get him over the weekend to do that. (yes, I will pay him more than $13 for it.)

He is a good kid. He had a few problems before hand, which came to a head last week. We had a conversation with the principal, and then he and I had a sit down. I explained how it had to work. He was quiet for the first time in a while (usually some smart comment.) Since then, he has been a changed student. He always liked the shop part of the class, but didn't like the class part of the class. It takes both to succeed in this field. He is coming around.

My best student is Rebecca. After her, there is a student in fourth, Kris, that is very good. Kris is one of those hyper kids. He was all trouble last year. This year he is a go getter. He still has hyper issues, but is very happy to work in the shop. He also grasps the idea that what happens in class carries an equal importance.

After the two of them, TM is probably one of my top students. It is hard to rank them, as some are better at some things while others are the best at other things. Overall, though, I would have to give those three my top spots. I have smarter students, but they don't want to work. I have harder working students, but they are not too smart. These three are a good mix of both. They are great students, and good workers, or great workers and good students. I would recommend any of them for a job.
It is after 6 now, during another boring, nobody shows, open house.

Y'all have a good evening.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Biding ....

I am just biding time.

Tammy has the truck. She is working until 4:30 ish. We have to be in Lexington for a board meeting at 5:30. There was no need for me to take the truck, drive to Mt Sterling after I got off, picked her up, and then drive to Lexington. Well, at least not until I become a major shareholder in some oil company. So, here I am at school, biding time.

I was going to do nothing while doing my biding, but I just couldn't. I was going to avoid doing any work for the school, but that didn't work either. I came in a little late yesterday. We were running behind. I had to get gas. Chris wasn't going to work, then he was. By the time we got close, he wasn't again (not his call.) I still had to drive him to his job, because his boss was going to give him a ride home. So, I got to work close to 8. I was 1/2 hour late.

I usually stay after work most days a 1/2 hour or more and work on classwork. You know, writing tests, lesson plans, grading tests, etc., the things that all teachers do. I couldn't do that yesterday, as I had to get home to take Tammy to work (this one car things sucks at times.)

When I got to work this morning, there was a note for me, from the principal, that I needed to fill out a leave slip for that 1/2 hour. OK, I understand that I was late. I was here before any students were to be in class. I have given oodles more 1/2 hours than I have taken. It ticks me.

I decided, that even tho I had to be here late today, I was going to play games on the computer, listen to the radio, or anything else to avoid working on school stuff. Yeah, like that is going to work. Here I was, until a few minutes ago, working on a test for my second year students. I usually try to write my own tests, as I know better what I have emphasized than a group of test writers who took it straight from the text.

It just isn't in me not to do it. It doesn't hurt the state. It doesn't hurt the administration. It hurts the students, and that, I can't do. It just isn't in my makeup.

Tammy is in my ear. She is on her way. She is behind a slow poking truck that, as she says, can't decide if he wants to drive or play tiddly-winks. Life is never dull with her.

I am heading off. I will get all my stuff together and meet her outside.
Y'all have fun.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No to the Jeep

The Jeep was ragged out. The body and interior were fine. The engine was great. The tranny was crappy and there was a roaring grinding thing in the right front tire. So, no go for the Jeep.

Tonight, I find out about a 91 Mazda 626 with a turbo.

The car search continues.

Other than that it as a typical day around 35 hormonal teenagers.

Wanna trade jobs ?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Taking a minute to catch my breath and catch up

It has been a fun filled weekend.

Friday night was uneventful. We did go look at a 93 Jeep Cherokee sport. We are looking for a 'back-up' car for when or if one of our vehicles breaks down. Tammy's car has been in the mood lately to be off the road and it strains us to use just one car/truck. The Jeep was ok, but there is oil on the engine. It has a leak somewhere. The place of the leak is important. It can be something simple or something serious.

We stayed in Friday night.

Saturday morning, I was up around 5 am as usual. I had a friend coming to pick me up around 9 to go to Morehead KY to pick up a washer for my daughter (A). She called Friday. Her was broke. I made some calls and found her a used one, with a warranty. It was in Morehead. OD arrived about 8:30 and off we went. We picked up the washer and another washer and stove. OD has an auction house/furniture store in Carlisle KY. He got the others to sell. He gave me the one for my daughter at his cost, $50. A was worried about the cost. She didn't have the whole $50. I told her that I would pay for it and call it an early Christmas present. We brought it back to Mt Sterling. I told her I would bring it to her on Sunday.

We went to look at a cavalier and a Toyota at a friends car lot.

Saturday night was a class/party at a friends house. It was fun. Tammy made up 5 trays of goodies (meats, vegies, crackers, cheeses, deviled eggs.) We were there from 6:30 until midnight. Great company. Great conversation. Oh yeah, we took Brewer home to Chas. YEAH !!

Sunday was a great morning. I was up around 6 am or so. I went back to bed around 8:30 am and tried to get friendly (LOL.) Tammy was sleeping soundly and as much as she wanted to wake up, she couldn't. So, I settled in for a little more shut eye. She woke up a little after and my idea came to fruition.

We got up around 10. We did the hurry and got dressed and headed out for church at 11 am. Church was good. The pastor is OD (yep, same guy with the washer.) After church we came on home. Around 3, we loaded the washer, Chris, Becca, the pregnant Lacey, and headed for Nicholasville. We unloaded and hooked up the washer, visited with grand kids, and off we went again.

We stopped in Lexington to show Lacey to Chris and Chas. There, we helped Chris install a ceiling fan and then off to Mt Sterling.

It was dark for a while by the time we got home. We settled in for the night.

And .. How was your weekend?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Plague Warning!!

The plague stopped by my house this week in the guise of a sweet little blonde freshman. Chella brought something home from school this week that no-one wanted. She came in feeling poorly. By the end of the evening, she was worse. Then came the puking, pooping, fever, blahs. This was Tuesday evening.

Tammy took her to the DR on Wednesday. She has the PLAGUE, more commonly called the stomach funk, or stomach virus, or intestinal flu. By then, Tammy was feeling it as well.

Thursday, it got to me. I missed work, but didn't miss many opportunities to go to the bathroom. Chella still had it. Tammy still had it. She went to the DR and was diagnosed with the stomach flu PLAGUE.

Thursday evening the PLAGUE hit Chris. Thursday evening late and all night, it attacked Kyle. He spent most of his time after 8:30 puking and sleeping. He did not go to school today. Chella did go to school, but with an uneasy stomach. Chris went to work, as did I, and as did Tammy. We are hellbent on spreading this PLAGUE.

Life is good.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

One of my favorite days

Today is one of my favorite days, Election day, the 'right to gripe' day, the best way to be heard day.

We, as individuals, have largely lost the ability to control much in our day to day life.

It tickles me when I get the emails about taking charge of controlling gas prices. If we band together and buy gas only on certain days, or from certain companies, we can send a message to the oil/gas producers and effect a change. That is purely idealist BS. If you thought that worked, I am sorry to have to be the one to pop your bubble. If every citizen bought a bike and we stopped using gasoline, we might make a dent, but the Gov't and big business is still going to buy gas and ship products. We sent a message to the gas companies a long time ago. We told them, by our buying habits, that we will pay whatever they charge and drive where ever we go. So, we really don't have a voice in gas prices as a whole. We can affect how they affect us. We can change our driving habits and lower our usage and affect our own pockets.

We grumble about prices and then write the check. We are sending a clear and concise message to the industries of corporate America.

However, today I get to make a difference. I get to cast the one thing I have, that no-one can do for me. No illegal immigrant can take this task away from me. No governmental body can stop me. No police will prohibit me. Today, I get to cast my vote, my voice, into the sea of millions and it carries the same weight as each other voice. Is that great, or what ?

I was told, this morning, that I could not vote. I moved and didn't change my registration in time. I have registered to vote in Montgomery County, but I am not on their register. BUT, I found a way. I can't go to Lexington to vote, I don't live there anymore. I can cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot was introduced nationwide in 2004. Provisional ballots are to prevent wrongful disenfranchisement. So, I will be going back to the polling place to cast my provisional ballot this afternoon.

Yeah !

In August 1974, I was 16 and a senior in high school. I took a class called Current Events as part of my History credits. Our textbook was Newsweek Magazine. I studied the Vietnam war. I studied the Nixon Presidency. I got hooked on the news and hooked on being a part of our nation. My part is my vote. I am hooked on voting.

It was November of 1975 before I could vote. In KY, 784,157 votes were cast in the gubenatorial race. Of those 784,157 votes, 3318 votes were cast in Woodford County. The votes were 470, 159 for Julian Carroll and 277,998 for 'Bob' Gable. In Woodford County, the votes were 2262 for Carroll and 1056 for Gable. I was one of those 3318 votes.

I remember the polling place. I remember the railroad tracks just beside the little building used. It was a magic time.

It still is.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The workweek begins ..

Here it is Monday again. For all its bad press. It isn't really such a bad day. Any day you return to work after a few days off seems much worse.

I worked for a contractor once that killed the magic of Friday completely. We worked every Saturday on a job for 10 months and they paid us on Thursday. So Friday wasn't
pay day, and it wasn't the last day of the week. It was just another day.

I imagine that people that work swing shifts and different schedules weekly feel the same about Mondays as I felt about Fridays then. It is just another day. Fortunately, my current job does not require many weekend working days.

The students come back, for the most part, with the same Monday blahs. The weekend is over. Time to sober up. Time to put on our learning caps. This week will be different. Tomorrow is election day. There is no school for the students. I have to be at work. We have an inservice day. I do get 4 hours comp time for voting, but I will still be at the school. So, Wednesday will be a Wednesday for me and it will be a second Monday in the same week for the students.

The weekend was great. We got to see an old friend, Russ, who was in town from Owensboro. We went to lunch on Saturday. He loved the new house. He is considering a move back to this area.

On Sunday we went to church in Flemingsburg to hear my dad preach. Dad is 76 years old, retired from pastoring several years ago, but still goes to churches, preaching and teaching. He and mom are still very active. It was great to see them and fellowship with them. Afterwards, we went to Blue Lick State Park Lodge for a 50 yr wedding anniversary celebration of the pastor of the Flemingsburg church and his wife. There were 2 other couples there that also had 50 or more years in marriage. My mom and dad have been married for 53 years this month. Rev. Plowman and his wife celebrated 50 yrs earlier this year, and he did a reaffirmation of vows for OD and Glinda at the celebration.

How was your weekend ?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Insurance lunacy

Ok .. The scoop on the roto-rooter procedure ...

I called the office that is handling the procedure. They got my information and informed me that my insurance was only covering 80%, so I had to have 20%, plus the deductible up front. They prefer to collect that at the time of the procedure. The deductible and the 20% comes to around $140.

I called my insurance company to find out why the 80/20 split and the deductible were being charged. It seems that if the DR orders the procedure as the result of some underlying medical cause, it is considered a medical procedure and is subject to the 80/20 split plus the regular deductible. If the procedure is because I am of the age to have it done and it is part of a routine visit, then I only have to pay the $10 deductible. This puts me in a odd position.

My DR's exact wording was: "We are not sure what is causing the pain, and because you are nearly 50 and due for a colonoscopy at that time, we are going to schedule one." My 'procedure' fits both categories. It is not because of the abdominal pain (which has practically disappeared) alone. If I were 10 years younger, there would be no colonoscopy.

Technically, it is because I am 49 that I am getting it done.

I called the DR office doing the work and explained it to them. They refused to change the way they bill it. They did say that once they billed it, if the insurance company paid it all, they would reimburse me. Yeah, like that will happen. Once they mention the abdominal pain, related or unrelated, an insurance adjuster, who is looking for any way possible to write a smaller check, will latch on to that like a bulldog to a bone.

My insurance company further told me, that even if it were a routine procedure, if the DR found anything, it would then be considered a medical procedure and I would again be liable for 20%.Is it just me, or is anyone else tired of insurance companies telling DR's what medical procedures they should do, and what medicines they should prescribe?

How many times has a DR prescribed a medication, only to have the patient told by the insurance company that they will not cover that, but will cover this ?

Does something seem askew here ?
Oh yeah, I told the DR office doing the procedure that we were cancelling this procedure and we would reschedule at a later date when it is going to be a routine thing. So, my blind date with the roto-rooter man is postponed. So, Wednesday is still hump day, but now is not anal probe hump day. Gotta go change the calendar ... see y'all later ...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

yep, it is a new cut. The long locks are gone. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The DR said ....

ok .. It isn't my gall bladder. It isn't my appendix. It isn't my heart.

They really aren't too sure what it is, so excluding things is the second best thing. They suspect that it is something in the stomach wall, something causing spasms. The pain radiating to my shoulder, they say, is my acid reflux.

They gave me some Prevacid to take before the meal, and told me to continue to take my Ranitidine at bedtime. Then they gave me a tranquilizer for my tummy. If it begins to hurt, I am to put two of these little bitty pills under my tongue and let them dissolve, for faster entrance into my bloodstream.

That is one of the most difficult tasks to do. It seems so easy. However, them little suckers do not want to stay under the tongue. They crawl out. Then you try to put them back, with your tongue, and end up putting them between your lip and gum. Finally, I have to get them out and put them back manually.

I finally get them to dissolve, and they don't seem to make any difference.

BUT ... The real good news is: They scheduled me for a Colonoscopy next week.

Yeah, a camera in my anus, wahooooooo. Tammy says it is about the size of her little finger. The DR says they will give me an anesthetic in an IV and I will wake up after it is over. That is always a scary thing, to go to sleep at a DR's office and wake up with a sore butt. It is easier to take knowing that it is supposed to happen. It would be totally different if it happened at the dentist office.

Oh course, my luck, just before I pass out, I'll see the Channel 18 truck outside and their cameras are HUGE !!!

I'll wake up with an anus you can park your car in and a form to sign saying it was ok because the DR's camera malfunctioned and they we already in the building.

Wish me luck.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Interrupted in the middle of ...

The High School here called us about Chella's recent absences. They were not going to be excused because she has already used her THREE parent excuses for this year. THREE !!! That's it ? She is allowed only three parent notes in one year.

We called the school, and the school board, and the state office. The Asst. Principal at the HS wasn't available, and everything seemed to point to him as the person with which to begin.

So, I began composing a great email to him about this whole situation .. Here is what I got:


I am Chelsea XXXXXX's step-father. We were called by the school and informed that her absences on Thursday and Friday will not be excused and she will not be allowed to make up the work, because she has used her three parent note excuses for the year.

Chelsea has asthma and severe allergies. She is very prone to upper respiratory infections, such as colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, and a host of other respiratory ailments. We do not take her to the doctor for every sniffle or fever. My wife has dealt with this situation with Chelsea for nearly 16 years, and is best qualified to determine when a DR visit is warranted. Your own policy, which does not allow her to be at the school when running a fever over 99°, means she will miss school at times that she does not need to go to the DR.

We need to resolve this issue. Chelsea is an extremely bright student, but will fail no matter how hard she tries if she is not allowed to make up her work.

It is in her medical file at school about her asthma. It is a established fact. We can get a note from her DR stating what infections she is likely to get, and that everyone of them does not require medical attention.

I realize that each district in the Commonwealth of Kentucky has the right to set their own polices concerning absences and what will or will not be accepted as excused. However, these policies should have some semblance of rationality. A normal child will contract more than 3 colds a year.

I got this far into my brilliant email, and he called us back .. dang it .. and I was on a roll .......

Oh yeah, my DR appt is at 1:40 pm.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I know it has been a while since I posted.

It seems we are busier than ever these days. There is always something to do, or somewhere to go.

Friday, we were going to break down and go singing, until we realized that Tammy had to work on Saturday, and I had an all day class. It was the update class required for my Mater Electrician license. There is a group here that offers the classes free to teachers. I was taking advantage of that offer.

I have been experiencing some mild stomach pain on and off for a little while. Saturday morning, on my way to the class, I ate a little breakfast. This caused a sharp stabbing pain in the lower left quadrant of my abdomen. It was about six inches to the left and just below or even with my belly button. It went away once I was at class and walking around and sitting.

The class lasted about 6 hours. We skipped lunch to end it earlier. So, I was out about 2ish. On my way home, I stopped and grabbed a bite to eat. When I got home, I was in terrible pain. I looked it up on the pain chart at one of the medical sites, and it was classified moderate pain. When I got up to walk, it jumped to severe. The pain also radiated to my left shoulder. We began looking on the web for possible causes. Where the pain is, is away from everything that should be causing the pain.

I have heard from several what they think it might be. I just did the real smart thing and called my friend that is a Physicians Assistant. She says it should not be gall bladder unless my organs are reversed, which is possible but not probable. She thinks it sounds like colon or most likely, stomach. That is because the pain is almost immediate upon eating.

I have already called into work. I will do some paperwork from here and email it in, so my students will have work to do (oh joy.) Of course, stubborn me called into work on my way back from being under a house working on a furnace.

I will call my DR tomorrow morning to get in. If I can't be seen, I will go to the Urgent Treatment Center.

I appreciate kind thoughts and prayers (if ya are the praying type.)

I'll let ya know what happens.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Unbelievable !!

Ok .. Before I begin, I must warn you that this is a volatile subject, one which carries passionate arguments on both sides of the issue. That being said ... Let's go on ..

Seventeen years ago, in the middle of April, the followers of a cult leader, dug a pit. Less than one week later, on April 17th, Jeffery Lundgren bound and gagged Dennis and Cheryl Avery, and their three daughters, ages 7 to 13, put them in the pit, and shot them to death. He then had followers cover the pit with dirt and stones. The bodies remained undiscovered for several months until one of the followers went to the police.

Mr. Lundgren was arrested and convicted. He was sentence to death. He has exhausted all his appeals, and was scheduled to die on October 24th by lethal injection. Now, an Ohio judge has stayed the execution, based on the fact that Mr. Lundgren is overweight and diabetic, and this would put him at greater risk for suffering during the lethal injection.

Hey, I don't want to see anyone suffer needlessly, but if it were me, we would take Mr. Lundgren out to a farmhouse, have him dig a pit the same size as the one in which he killed the Avery's, then shoot him five times in non-lethal areas of his body. Then, after he has felt just a small taste of what his victim felt, shoot him in the head and pile on the rocks and dirt.

How is it that someone is so concerned about the rights of the condemned not to suffer needlessly and yet, it was that persons total disregard of that right in others that got them there in the first place. All of a sudden, Mr. Lundgren is so concerned about others that he wants to join in a lawsuit that would change the protocol for lethal injection, to prevent others from suffering. If he had just a smidge of that concern some 17 years ago, he would be on the outside trying to change the protocols. However, I suspect, that if it didn't concern him, he would be opening his mouth.

Maybe God told him to try to change the protocols. According to him, it was God that told him to kill the Avery's. I don't know exactly who was talking to Mr. Lundgren, but it wasn't the God I know. The one I know said, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."

I know the opponents of the death penalty are jumping all over this possibility of 'excruciating' pain and suffering from the lethal injection. Just as the proponents of the death penalty are climbing all over the brutality of the crime, and the fact that the Ohio Parole Board recommended against clemency. It doesn't matter where you fall on the fence on this one, it is a travesty, that someone with such callous disregard for the suffering of others should even ask us to be concerned about his own suffering for that disregard.

OK, I feel better now.

Feel free to post your disagreements. I am not afraid of those that disagree with me. It makes me dig deeper into my beliefs foundation, and that makes me stronger. Who's knows, you might change me mind.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

And we are still not through it


Who would have known it could be so crazy?

Now, we had festivals and events in Lexington that would carry on into the wee hours, with revellers in every corner of town. However, Lexington is a town of 268K+. It is set up to handle large gatherings, well, except for traffic. Lexington can't handle regular traffic.

(I was coming thru Lexington at 2PM on a Friday afternoon. There are 2 major roads leading into Lexington from the south. They are Nicholasville Rd and Harrodsburg Rd. At 2 PM, Friday, Nicholasville Rd was bumper to bumper for more than 3 miles. I made the opportunity to cut across to Harrodsburg Rd, and it was bumper to bumper thru town and beyond. What the heck are all these people doing on the road in the middle of a work day? This was not rush hour. This was 2 hours before rush hour. Incredible.)

Anyway, Mt Sterling is a town of just over 5600. It has 3 corridors that run east/west. They are High St, Main St, and Locust St. Then there is 1 corridor going north/south. It is Maysville rd. It even does a little jog thing thru town, where you have to turn and turn to stay on Maysville Rd. On the North side of Main and all of Locust, from 5 blocks west of the house to 20 yards of the house is COURT DAYS. It started (officially) on Saturday and runs thru Monday. It has been a zoo. From the edge of my driveway, I can look up Locust and see a slowly churning living wall of people. There is a constant stream of walkers from blocks and blocks east of us that pass to and fro in front of our house.

Tammy is freaking out because, at least, 1 out of every 5 passersby is carrying a firearm of some sort. Some have rifles, some have shotguns, some have pistols. (We did find out if you are carrying more than 2 firearms and you are congregating and talking to others with firearms, you will be fined $300 for illegal firearms trading. Odd.) There is much trading. There are many vendors. There are countless food merchants. It is Festival !!

We have allowed some to park in the side yard. Kyle goes to the corner with a sign and works the traffic. Anyone with room for 3 or more cars has a sign and offers to allow parking .. For a fee. We did the same. We made enough on Saturday and Sunday to pay for Tammy's new cell phone. (We wont talk about what happened to her old one. Let's just say that cell phone and washing machines .. Not a good mix.)

Oh yeah, we had a great anniversary. The gifts were simple and from the heart. I have no clue what the 3rd year anniversary is. I tried to buy her some outlet extension boxes and some wire track molding, but the supply house was sold out. Oh well, maybe next year.

I took off work on Thursday and Friday. That was good. There were no students at my school anyway, Fall break. A few of my students were at Court Days and stopped by to say hi.

Now, Court days ? Well, in the olden days, Montgomery County was the largest in KY. It stretched from its present eastern border all the way to the West Virginia state line. The judge was only in town on a certain Monday each month. All those that had business with the court would be in town on that day every month. They came from near and far to do their business. Since transportation wasn't as modern or convenient those days, many travelers took advantage of the day to do their monthly shopping. There was also much horse trading of items of all shapes and sizes. Eventually, vendors caught wind of the possibilities and began setting up on court day each month because of the increased chances to sell their wares.

Modernization (to some point) occurred. The county gave land to other counties. Montgomery County is now one of the smallest counties in KY. Court business is taken care of daily as it is all across the land. Court day became an annual event. It is estimated that over 130,000 people will pass thru Mt Sterling during these three days. We were out earlier to pick up a prescription for Tammy, and as far away as 2 miles, they were parking folks for $5. Beyond that, they still parked, but it was less.

Tomorrow, I am supposed to be back at work. Tammy has to work as well, but later in the day. The kids have had their two day crash course on parking cars. They will be manning the fort.

Tammy has a big case of the tired's. I am not far behind.

How was your weekend ?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Three years

Three years ...

To a baby, three years is a lifetime. To our fifth grader, it is just under 1/3 of his life. To our 15 year old, it is 1/5th of her life and the forever that has to happen before she is 18. To Tammy, it is one thing, and to me, it is another.

I turned 49 last week. I was delighted at the looks of shock amongst our friends who could not believe that I could be that old, but, yes, I am. I am nearly half a century old, and while this post is not about my age, it is a relevant fact. How someone looks at time is dependent on so many mitigating circumstance. It is relative to how long one has been living. It is relative to one's health and circumstance. It depends on whether you are looking at 3 years until retirement or 3 years in jail. It changes from the time you are 10 to the time you are 50. It depends on whether you have to endure 3 more years or have only 3 more years to enjoy.

At 10, I was a happy 6th grader at Yates Elementary, oblivious to bills and responsibilities beyond simple chores and schoolwork. At 20, I was married, working as an electrical apprentice, and preaching. At 30, I was working as an electrician, expecting our third child, assistant pastor of a church, and spending too much time on the road keeping food on the table. At 40, I was divorcing, living alone for the first time in my life, and still trying to discover who I was. In 1 year I will be 50. All of my life, in increments of 10 years, or 5, or 1, or even months and weeks, have led me to where I am right now.

So, where am I right now?

I am working as a teacher, teaching electricity to high schoolers. I am a new home owner, again. I am still on my journey to discovery of who I am , or perhaps just on the journey to accepting who I am. I am still a father, grateful of the lessons that path has taught me. I am a husband.

Three years ago, Oct 11, 2003, Tammy and I stood in front of family and friends, expressed our love in vows and song, made promises, kissed, and celebrated. Three years ago, I married one of the smartest, wittiest, prettiest, most honorable persons I have had the joy to know. Three years, we have enjoyed our life. Three years, we have walked up hills, climbed mountains, rested in valleys, together. (Really, it has been 4.5 yrs if you count the 18 months we dated, but let's keep it simple here.)

Three years is just the beginning. Three years and her touch is just as thrilling, if not more. I still smile in my heart when I catch sight of her while we are out and separated for a moment. I still watch her sleeping. I still watch her reading. I am still amazed we are together. I think I have almost stopped worrying that she will come to her senses someday.

Three years, and Honey, I'll still ask you, every day, that one question, "Will you marry me?"

Three years is not enough time to begin to know you. There are so many complexities we have yet to explore. Tomorrow, we start on year 4. I'll fill up with gas, cause this is going to be a helluva ride.

I love and adore you, TJ

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


How quickly we adapt.

We have been in Mt Sterling for just over a month now. We have settled, somewhat, into the quiet town life. We are just 3 blocks or so from the main intersection of downtown. (Yes, residential areas begin with 3 blocks of down town .. In most every direction.) I don't know about the rest of the family, but I have grown accustomed to the pace of the town. Of course, some may say that I was living in the small town pace while living in Lexington, but, I digress.

I leave Mt Sterling (pop. 5600, 73 churches, 7 motels, 1 cinema, 1 drive-in, and 1 airport[where you can learn to fly]), between 6:45 and 7:00 am, to go to Winchester (pop. 16,378, 52 churches, 7 motels, 1 cinema, and 1 drive-in) to work. I do this at least 5 times a week. I have gotten used to slowed down pace of these small communities.

About once a week, unless we can avoid it it, we go to Lexington (pop. 268,000, over 230 churches, 68 hotels/motels, 5 indoor malls, 7 colleges, and 4 TV stations.) On a recent trip to Lexington, I stopped at a convenience store to grab a Diet Dew, as I was just parched. I sat for a minute in the truck watching the people. They bustled (yes, I used the word 'bustled') about. They were all focused on their path. They had that singularity of purpose. "I know where I am going. I know how to get there. I know what to do on the way. I know what to do once I get there."

That isn't to say that people aren't the same everywhere. However, I began to think about living in a small town. I have to say, in my opinion, one of the biggest killers of hospitality is being rushed. Most people just don't have time to be kind. In Lexington, that is like a dog chasing it's own tail. The faster you chase, the faster it runs away. Everything is a hurry up. Everything is a rush. People drive like they do because they are rushed. The rushing makes it worse.

Oh yeah, back to the first word of the post. Cloistered.

A cloistered community is closed in. It is mostly self-sufficient. It operates at its own pace. I noticed, Lexington has a pace. Winchester has a pace. Mt Sterling has a pace.

Yes, there are thing we cannot do in MS. There are things that cannot be done in Winchester. I am liking, however, the much slower paced MS. I like my quiet street with only the occasional honking horn after 9 PM. I like not living in a 24 hour community.

Lexington, you are the place of my birth. You will always have a place in my heart, but Mt Sterling is quickly becoming 'home'.

Cloister me.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I just do not get it.

Violence, I understand. If raised in a violent atmosphere, then violence could very well be your first response to most things. I have personally seen children, when introduced into a violent situation, through divorce or remarriage, react to situations with the same type of reaction they have seen. Violence is a difficult cycle to break, but it can be done.

The thing I do not get, is the whole “I was molested as a child, therefore I molest children,” thing. It seems to me that something so degrading and horrifying would be the last thing you would want to revisit on some other child, in the position you were in, years earlier. I would think, that admitting it to yourself, would make you a champion against such offenses.

Now, in light of recent revelations, Former Rep. Mark Foley, has suddenly gained the courage to come out of the closet (like the revelation of you sending sexually motivated IM’s to males, didnt do that for you. “Surprise everyone, I am gay.) and has decided to bring to light (just a little light) his unfortunate childhood that included molestation at the hands of some clergy (to which every clergyman in his life is saying, tell us who it was, so we will be out from under this cloud.)

One of my pet peeves, is telling someone under me, to do something, or stop doing something, and them telling me what they are doing, as if that means they don’t have to conform to what I said. (Like today when I told one of the auto students [yes, I have them today] to leave the lift alone, he felt compelled to tell me that he was showing someone something on it. It doesnt matter. I didnt ask why you were doing the thing you shouldnt be doing. I simply told you to stop doping it. The proper response is to say, yes, Mr. Simpson, and stop.)

Dude, you were caught. You did the wrong thing, for the wrong reasons, and were caught. Do not tell me why you were doing it. Do not use whatever contrived motive you thought you had as an excuse to slip out from under the responsibility umbrella. You did it. Pay for it.

Like the sign in the glass shop window, “If you break it, you buy it.” Mr. Foley, you broke it, now buy it. I do not need your DRs excuse or your lawyers note. I need you with your responsibility and remorse, to step up, and say, “It was my fault.”

Man, you broke it. Do the right thing. Stop hiding behind your fabricated vague past. That is so lame. It is so high school.

I remember once in High School. I had a class I hated. I skipped it just about every day. The class was split by lunch. So, while that class was in lunch, I would slip in and mark myself present. If we had grades, I would give myself a decent grade. I didnt make myself an A student. Well, eventually I was caught. Someone turned me in. The principal called me in. He asked what I was doing in the lunchroom when I was supposed to be in class. I told him, “I was skipping,” and that was the last truthful thing I said in that meeting. There were drugs involved, threats, fears, retaliations, etc. I lied my ass off. He bought enough of it to excuse my skipping that day (they did not know about the other days.) I walked away a free man.

That is not going to happen here. This is the big leagues. You may garner some sympathy with your stories, but you still need to pay the price.

If you believe that this is a cycle, you need to break it here. The kids you touched (Physically, mentally, or emotionally) need to see you pay the price. They need to see the ramifications of those actions visited upon you.

I may be way off base.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Oh yeah

It's my birthday !!

Peace, y'all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

holey moley .. is it that long ?? Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tapping fools

Kyle came home with some interesting stuff from school today. One of the math problems they had involved tapping their finger on the desk. They timed themselves for 10 seconds. Then they had to figure out, at that pace, how long it would take them to tap 1,000,000 times. That was fairly simple. Kyle tapped 37 times in 10 seconds.

One million taps @ 3.7 taps/second will take 3 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes, 30.27 seconds.

The teacher has a thing he does to get the kids to work. One thing he does is offer them a problem, that, if they answer, will exclude them from homework for that day. That is pretty cool. It is, until you give them a problem that is well beyond their abilities. Make it possible. Make it reasonable.

This teacher told them to figure how long it would take to tap one billion times. OK, that isn't so hard.
1,000,000,000 taps @ 3.7 taps/second will take 8 years, 208 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes, 30.27 seconds.

Then he added that they had to figure out how long it would take to tap one trillion times. That is a little more than the average , or even above average 5th grader can figure. So, with a few taps on my calculator, I figured 1,000,000,000,000 taps @ 3.7 taps/second would take 8570 years, 78 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes, 30.27 seconds.

I don't usually give the kids answers to homework. It defeats the purpose. I know how to do the math. I know how to figure it out. They need to know. Kyle understands the concept of doing the division and multiplication to figure out the problem, but that is a bit much to keep straight. I figure at least half of my sophs, juniors, and seniors cant do it.

8570 years ... Those are some tapping fools.

Trying to get back on track

I am trying to get back on track with my blog entries. I have been doing the hit or miss thing, lately.

It has been rather hectic since the move (and some time before) to Mt Sterling. I have to admit that I love this small town (pop. 5600 approx.) versus the big city (pop. 268,000 plus) of Lexington. That is not to say that I didn't and still don't love Lexington. There are things that are only Lexington. There are things there that cannot be found anywhere else. There are places and people you will not find elsewhere. However, the traffic, I will not miss. The crowding, I will not miss. Enough about that.

Today is a 'no student' day at the school. We have an advisory meeting for each program. It will be good to see my advisors, many of which are friends of 30 years. Some are new friends. They are all related to my field and will tell me what the industry is looking for in employees, so that I can better teach my students the things they need to succeed.

Tonight, hopefully, will be a door planing night. Several of the doors in the house stick or wont close completely. They are solid wood doors and can be planed slightly to fix the problem. I have to borrow a planner from the Carpentry teacher or buy one. The C teacher will want to tell me how to do the job, so buying one might be the better idea.

Other than that, it promises to be a quiet night.

Oh yeah, one of the changes that happened coming here was Chella getting into ROTC. She loves it. She is up for promotion. She is staying out of trouble. Discipline problems at the school are detrimental to her ROTC career. I think it is that, and the fact that she is growing up. Congrats, Chella, I am proud of ya.

I might also add here, that I am proud of all my kids. All seven of them. I told my oldest once, that there was nothing she could do that would make me cross the street to avoid her or make me ashamed to introduce her as my daughter. I may not always agree with her choices and decisions, but she will always be my daughter, regardless. I feel that way about all the kids, my 3 and Tammy's 4.

later all.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Are you ready for this?

It is still a busy week.

Thursday, we went to revival in a neighboring town. A friend in Carlisle pastors a church in Flemingsburg. Another friend from Indiana, now pastoring in GA, was preaching. Mom and Dad were going to be there and asked us to join them, and we did. Now, I am used to driving in Lex, with all 268,000 on the road trying to get into the same parking place that I want. It was just over 30 miles to where we were going. We left the church at 8:47 pm and drove home. We drove 25 of the 30 miles and encountered 5 cars along the way. 5 cars ! ! Small town driving is one thing, but driving between small towns, you better have a good working cell phone and ample coverage area, in case you get lost or break down.

Friday, I get up. The clothes from going to church are in the chair. It is easier to grab them, khaki's and nice shirt, than to dig for jeans and an appropriate T. I get to work, and you would think they have never seen me dressed up that much.

Friday night is laid back. Easy going. Relaxing.

Saturday is a rush. Tammy has to take Chris to Louisville for meeting with psychiatrist recommended by the court. I have to take Chella to Kenneland Race track for a walk for DSACK (Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky) for charity. I take Kyle with me, and take him to Caimon's for the weekend. I do some work on Dad's apartment building. Then I pick Chella up and drop her off at Fayette mall to meet a friend, and off to the house.

Tammy gets home, and we go to the grocery to pick up some scripts and get some needed things. One of the things needed is toilet paper. (My girls and some of my close friends will tell you about my phobia about running out of toilet paper.) I keep plenty around. Tammy goes off to get her scripts and I go down the TP aisle. I like Charmin, but any nice brand on sale will do. Anyway, I am looking for regular rolls of Charmin. I see big rolls. (12 big rolls = 24 regular rolls, it boasts.) Farther searching brings the 30 big roll pack, equal to 60 rolls. Then there are the MEGArolls. (6 rolls equals 24 regular rolls.) All I want is to find a package of regular rolls of toilet paper.

I just want to be able to wipe my ass, not do algebra. If x=regular roll, and y=big roll, and z=mega rolls, how long will it take to give you a headache in the bathroom. Come on, we go to the bathroom to relax, not do long division.

Grocery shopping has become more and more complicated. If you cant get your kid to do their math homework, and you are worried about them failing math, send them to Kroger to get regular rolls of toilet paper. They will rush home and plow into their math books. I always wondered how math was going to apply to my life after school. (We have all heard that argument .. I'll never use this after high school.) One trip down that aisle should convince them otherwise.

After that trip, I had to go home and nurse my aching head.

ahhhhhhhhh .... Slow Sunday

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

After several attempts in vain ...

I tried several times to post to my blog, each time meeting with some sort of computer failure.

Good news ! Monday, the new Auto Tech teacher started at the school. My student population dropped from 61 to 38. I know it doesn't seem like much to have only 36 students in the course of a day, but it is, if you think it through. 3 of my classes consist of 4, 4, and 4 students. The remaining 2 classes, both first year students, are 12 and 14 students. Still, 12 and 14 don't seem like a huge number, until you consider that they are in the shop at least 50% of the time, working around power tools and some darned expensive equipment. Add to that, that the HS sends us the kids they can't control, for the most part.

This makes enormous sense. We can't control him in a classroom. Let's send him to a shop with power tools. Of course, it does make sense. He/She is out of their hair for 90 minutes.

Still, it is easier to teach 12 than it is to teach 12 and watch 17.

This week has been a mostly good one. Come on, I teach HS students. A mostly good week is a great week by anyone else's comparison.

It is hump day. All downhill from here. Let's see if I can coast it on in.

I am impressed by my Bravada. We needed to move a fridge from the old place we lived. We needed to do it today. We didn't have a truck we could borrow on such short notice (well, probably did, but didn't try too hard,) so we (meaning me and the mouse in my pocket) decided to use the Bravada. For those that don't know, a Bravada is an SUV. It is the fancy version of the Chevy Blazer. Anyway, Tammy took the Bravada and with the help of Jordan and Sierra, put the fridge in the back of the SUV. They laid down the two second row seats, and were even able to close the gate. As I said, I was impressed.

Now, we have to unload it. Awaiting the Chris. You know the type. Strong back, weak mind. Perfect for such projects.

Later y'all

Saturday, September 23, 2006

This is after much receding Posted by Picasa

Flooding on our street Posted by Picasa