Friday, March 31, 2006

Not only is it Friday ....

It is the Friday before SPRING BREAK !!!

It is spring break for my students anyway. I will be working during spring break. I have decided that I might take off Friday next week to spend time at home. Tammy is going to Florida in the morning. She is borrowing a friends van and actually leaving him her Camaro. Yes, shocking.
I will be working on Monday and Tuesday with another electricity teacher on a lesson plan data base for the whole state. Wednesday and Thursday will be spent working on my KTIP portfolio. If I get enough done, I will take off on Friday. I have cleared that with my Principal. She is all for it, since she told me just a few days ago that I was amassing too much comp time and needed to use some of it. Friday looks like a good comp time day.

I will catch you up with the rest of the week and weekend, but right now, it is almost time to go home.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A momentary respite

I have a space to breathe for just a minute or two, so I will try to catch ya up on some of the details of the highlighted activities.

The "return a car" and "buy a car" story is told on Tammy's blog. You can find that at

The student in handcuffs story is simple. One of my morning stars was in a mood, I guess. We were working downstairs in the shop, when he and another student started talking in the corner. I could hear the talking but wasn't tuning into the conversation. I was leading other students in instruction as to their part of that days project. In the back of my ear, I hear, "this MF said... And I said MF... blah blah blah" I turned to the student and cautioned him about his language.

I know the way these kids talk to each other. Profanity is just a by word for them. I don't agree with the casual use of profanity, but my agreement or disagreement is not going to change that fact. I don't write them up whenever they slip and forget where they are or who can hear them. I caution them. That usually brings an apology or an 'ok'. The incident is over.

The response was different that Monday morning. "J" said, "it ain't gonna F'in change." I told him that if it didn't change, he could just go to the office. "Well, send me to the GD office," he said as he threw his tools to the ground. He headed for the door. I headed for the door as well. "Oh no," he said, "you aren't going with me," and blocked the door with his 6'4" 300 pound frame. I moved him aside and told him that I was, in fact, going with him. "Then I ain't going." he informed me. "No problem," I assured him, "I will just call security." "Call F-ing security. See if I care."No problem, security called and responded in several minutes.

"J" was back in the classroom when I returned. I stayed in the shop with the students. Security arrived and talked to him for a short bit and then walked him out in handcuffs. Now, I know times have changed, but if I had cussed out a teacher and was defiant, I think I would have gotten more than one day suspension. That's right, all J got was a one day suspension. He was back in class yesterday while I was in questioning class.

Yesterday was my Questioning class. I liked most of what I heard, but have to strongly disagree with one thing. I think, by the time you are in high school, a wrong answer should be a wrong answer. I am not for crushing the self image of anyone, but when you are dealing with electricity, a wrong answer could mean serious injury or death to yourself or someone else. If you are on the right track, I'll tell you, but if you are just wrong, I am going to tell you that as well.

This generation is the generation that played T-ball and soccer and everyone got a trophy. We have coddled these kids until nothing they do is wrong. I agree that we need to praise them for the right things, but we cant make everything right and expect them to learn anything. Right answers are only right because something else is wrong. In the abstract or the real world, 2 plus 2 is not now, nor will it ever be 5.

My observation went well this morning. My Principal had asked me to show her how to replace an outlet. She wants to replace the outlets in her mom's house. So, with her observing (and participating) I taught today's lesson on "Replacing an Outlet" complete with outlets mounted in boxes on 18 inch studs. The students watched my PowerPoint presentation, listened to my lecture, and did a hands-on demonstration in which they actually replace an outlet. I got a thumbs up from her when she left.

Oh yeah, the Camaro needed a tranny mount, so it went into the shop today. Tammy took my truck for an errand in Louisville. The 'Ro will be ready when she returns.
So, how has yer day been?

Sincerest apologies

I have not abandoned you.

My week has been rather hectic.

Student taken away in handcuffs
Returned car to dealer for full refund
Bought car in Ohio
Attended a class on questioning techniques
Worked on new classroom
Being observed for final cycle (today) by Principal

details will be forth coming in (what Tammy calls) a novella.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The big (and I do mean big) catch up

Ok .. Things got busy and blogging was put to the side. It has been an interesting couple of days.

Let's start with the "N" word story ... If you are offended by the N word, I will apologize right off. I, for one, am not exclusively offend by the word. I don't use it, but it doesn't offend me, persay. There are many other words scattered throughout the English language that are used derogatorily that are much more offensive to me, but that is another story. The word itself, nigger, means an uneducated person. It was used incorrectly to generalize blacks in the past. It was during the time of our history when blacks were not afforded the educational opportunities as white Americans. That was not my idea, my choice, or my plan. Every race has suffered the indignities of some other opposing group latching onto a word and making it stick in a derogatory way. We are familiar with some and others are so localized that we may never hear or know them. Nigger is not any more hurtful or special than any of the others. When I was in high school (way back in the 70's) it was used by blacks as well as whites, each with their own meaning. The word has taken national prominence through groups that spew it out like a poison. This is what is offensive to me. It is not the word, it is the usage. I know, it is hard to separate the two now days.

Anyway ... One of my students (white) dates a girl that is mixed (white/African). We were working on a in class project, when a couple of my students, knowing the situation, began to talk and tease C about his GF. C was fine with it. He knew they were kidding and had nothing against he or his GF. One student said, jokingly, "I hate niggers." (He did apologize within a few minutes when he thought C was reacting to his comment.) These are guys that have been in my class for a year and a half. They know each other well. On this particular day, I had the students from Automotive and one of them kinda joined in the ribbing. C stated the he didn't like rednecks or racists. One particular student in auto made a comment that was out of my earshot. He said, "Well, you can just suck my dick, then."

Corey reacted. He was hot. He wasn't violently hot, but he was hot. I tried to calm him down thinking that he was reacting to the N word comment. C slammed his stuff down, grabbed his books and out the door he went. He hit the wall and kept going. I went after him. He was out the door and on his way to the HS before I got to the door. I called but he didn't respond. I went back to my room and called the HS to have them call him to the office to try to calm him down and to keep him from getting in trouble for being in the HS when he was supposed to be at the ATC.

While I was on the phone, he came back. I sent him to talk to one of the asst. Principals.

C was back in my 5th block class. I have him twice a day. He was much calmer. He told me what was said that I didn't hear. I addressed the class on Friday about the whole ribbing thing.

OK .. There is the N story.

Now, during the day Friday, Tammy called me to tell me that the car lot called to tell her there was a problem with the title of the car we had just bought on Saturday. It seems that the title was a 'rebuilt title'. This means that, for some reason or other, the car, at one time had a junk title, or salvage title. They told Tammy that she needed to come in and sign a paper saying that we know and it is ok, or they could refund us all our money.

PROBLEM. We bought tires for the car already. Tammy told them she wasn't doing anything until she talked to me. I told her that we would call the car lot on Saturday, to tell them what we were gonna do. I called a friend to look at the car. He used to rebuild salvage vehicles. He told us that the unibody was not broken or welded on. So, any damage was repairable damage and did not affect the primary support of the car. Still there were issues to be resolved.

I called another friend, who just happens to be a lawyer. He told me that the car lot was guilty of fraud. They claimed they didn't know it was a salvage title. Of the two of us, they and us, they are the ones that should have know and should have disclosed that info. He said that had to reimburse us for the tires as well.

Saturday, I call the lot. JB says we can bring it back for a full refund. I tell him I want a cash refund. I paid cash. I want cash back. He stammers that he can't do that. I tell him about the tires. He says they don't have to pay for those. He suggests that we have the old tires put back on. Yeah, right ! Well, he calls his manager and returns to the phone with an offer. They will give us $500 and we keep the car. NO. He offered $600. NO. He offered $800. Hmmmmmm.
We taled to several friends that deal in cars. The opinions are split. One says he has 21 cars on his lot with rebuilt titles that are just as good as any used car anywhere. We are still vacillating on this. We are leaning toward keeping the car. Tammy has a trip (possibly) to Florida in a week. She is concerned. I told her, if we keep the car, and she is concerned about the trip, she can take the Bravada. I will drive the Lumina to work that week.

We went to our monthly meeting last night. We talked to another mechanic. He checked it, said it was wrecked on the passenger side, but was put back together very well. There are several considerations. If we want to resell it, we will have problems with that. If we keep it and it isn't mechanically sound, there will be money problems there. So, we are in the middle. It drives great. It looks good. It runs great. It looks, drives, and runs like a nine year old used car. No better, no worse.

Now you are caught up. We are trying to get hold of a friends that has his own business and should have a diagnostics machine. Tammy wants to run it on the machine and see if there are trouble codes. We will be sure to keep you informed (as if our life is so exciting.)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Welcome to the Clark Co Nursery

Once again, a teacher is out. Once again, I am babysitting. The Principal is out sick as well. There are no substitutes available, so we shoulder the load. I know IT (Information Technologies) can't take them except 1st period (which he did.) HS (Health Services) is full most classes and not really able to take a rowdy Auto class. Carpentry is just unwilling. Welding is willing but full as well. That leaves me.

Yesterday, when I didn't blog, I had them all day. This was one of my 7:30 AM til 6 PM days. Every day this week is like that, except Friday (long, not filled with Auto students, I hope.) The morning two classes are the same students. That is the first two hours.

It went something like this:

I was in the office getting the roster for the class. When I arrived in my classroom, the tables had been moved to set up a table in the left corner to accommodate eight chairs. There were cards on the table and spoons. They intended to play a game called "Spoons". Spoons is a rowdy game where cards are passed around the table one at a time with each player trying to make 4 of a kind. The spoons are in the center of the table. There is one less spoon than there are players. When any of the players gets his 4 of a kind, he throws them down and grabs a spoon. The other players use this signal to begin grabbing a spoon. One player will be spoonless. He is eliminated. One spoon is removed and the game resumes.

It is a fun game. However, it is not the game for a classroom. It was played once before with the Welding students in my class. There was diving across the table and much noise.

I told them that we were not playing spoons. They opted for playing cards. Shortly, I looked up and there was money on the table. This was not going to work either. I could just see this situation unfolding. "J" comes home hungry. Mom asks why he is so hungry. "I didn't eat lunch." "Why?" "I lost my lunch money gambling in Mr. S's Electricity class." "What ???" The sound of a phone dialing. Yeah, not gonna work.

I told them to put the cards up. They could do homework, read a book, read a magazine, look at pictures in magazines, sleep, whatever, but they were not gonna play cards.

Several minutes later, after the cards were put up, I noticed three of the students kinda hunkered down a little. They were playing cards. I said something to them about being able to see them playing cards. They decided that they didn't have to put the cards away. No problem. I wrote them up for refusing to follow the directions given by a teacher. They became someone else's problem. One of the three went into the Principals office cussing. Not a good plan.

Anyway, the rest of the day was okay.

Then, this morning, Auto students were back. The cards came out. I told them to put them up. They did, but for the next 10 to 15 minutes, they would make comments like, "I have three kings," or "I'll take two cards," and such. Just trying to antagonize. This class makes me appreciate my mischievous class. My class is rowdy at times. They are mouthy at times. They are never, to my knowledge, malicious like this class. This class tried to cause troubles. They have a great future ahead of them at some penal facility.

Then there was the "N" word situation today ... More on that later

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The real issues.

I can’t remember now where I heard the question, or where the idea originated in my head, but something sparked this query. I heard, or thought I heard something about defining events in a person’s life. I began thinking about my life and the things that define it. I thought about the things that brought me to this point, the things which make me who I am, and the things that I want people to think about when they think of me.

I would call these the real issues.

I thought about being the guy that finally accomplishes world peace. This is not to be my legacy. I will do well to accomplish peace in my own life. I will consider myself an extreme success if I can reconcile all the facets of my life and get them to co-exist in peace.

I thought about having millions of dollars. I know it is the dream of many to be financially independent. I just don’t see this as a real possibility and therefore it cannot be a defining event in my life. Also, one has to only look at the number of suicides committed by those considered to have it all. I know poor, lower class, hard working folks commit suicide as well, but if the absence or presence of money is not a differentiating factor, it cannot be a life defining event. These are just surface events in this equation.

I am convinced that in this country, there are more people concerned about supper than there are concerned about their investments. More time is spent in a day, trying to decide what to fix of dinner than is spent trying to decide what mutual fund might be the better investment. More people, every day, are concerned with getting the kids to their games, or practice, or their friends houses, than are concerned with making it to the airport in time to make that international flight. More people are listening to 10 year olds asking questions far advanced of their years than are listening to job counselors.

Elections and special sporting events may corner the nation’s attention from time to time, but they are merely the distractions that take our minds away from the real issues of each day. All my discussion of my political views does not change the direction of our country. It does not shape world policy. The real difference I make in this world is when I take time to spend one on one time with a kid, whether it be one of my students or one of my kids.

The real defining moments in my life are not centered around some election. They are not tied to any world event. They are the quiet and not so quiet moments in an ordinary life. Being in the delivery room three times to watch the wonderful miracle of birth made a great impact on my life. Watching a child fall, and rise, and fall, and rise, and finally walk, did more for me than every time I cast my ballot. Don’t be confused, I still believe in the power of the vote. I still cast my ballot every opportunity I get. However, the feel of a tiny hand, letting go of yours, to take their first halting steps alone, far outweighs the results of our mayoral race.

Talking about the latest major sporting event can never compare to talking to the kids about the events of their day. These are the defining moments in a real life. They are the quiet times we spend with someone we love. They are the moments that change us forever. They are the real moments. I will always be affected by the decisions of the President and the work of the Senate and House of Representatives, but they will never move me like the members of my inner circle. I read a paper once that told how to measure a man. It involved taking a pail of water and sticking your hand in it. Then you were to remove your hand, and the hole that was left was the measure. I can’t make much difference in a pail of water. I can make a difference in someone’s life. I can make a difference in a real way. I can make a difference in the real issues.

Now, what is for supper, again?

Monday, March 20, 2006


Ok, I bought a car on eBay.

I bid on, and won, a '95 Camaro. Tammy wanted it. We had already decided that we were in the market for a car for her. Her van is killing her wrist to drive it. We were looking for something smaller and easier to handle. This car fit that description. It was 100 miles away in Ohio. We planned on getting it over the weekend, but hit a snag in the paperwork, which required me to take off half a day on Friday to take care of it personally. We drove to where the car sat. It was a good trip, slow and enjoyable.
Then we hit the big snag. The car would not start. Turn the key and nothing. I checked the electrical. The battery was fine. I think the starter was shot. The guy with the car told us he had just driven it 5 minutes before we arrived. It was odd then, that the engine wasn't warm. Regardless, he told us that he would take it to a shop on Monday and if we were still interested, he would give us a call when he found out what the trouble was. We drove home, enjoying the slow drive. The route there and back was devoid of major highways. It was mostly two lane roads the curved and winded around Kentucky and Ohio.

when we got back home, Tammy was depressed about the car situation. We didn't have to have a car that day. Her van was running, but she had her heart set on the Camaro. I jumped online and did some searching. I found several cars in surrounding communities. One of them was a '97 Lumina. You have to understand, Tammy doesn't do new cars. Now, she wouldn't turn down a new Lincoln Navigator, but would not drive it as much because of gas prices (which shot up recently.) She prefers older cars. They are cheaper and easier to maintain.

We drove out to look at the Lumina on Saturday. She drove it. It drove well. It does need tires. It might need a front end alignment. Other than that, it appeared to be mechanically sound. We bought it. It was within the price we had set. It was within the year she had set. It met all our other criteria. Best of all, Tammy loves it.

The rest of the weekend was good. We ran errands, disciplined kids, grocery shopped, and did the usual family things.

Tammy named her car, Rose.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The best last minute stand in sub ....

Once again, my class is inhabited with other non-electrical students. Our Health Sciences teacher is ill and the availability of subs is scarce. The High School has 4 unfilled spots as well. So, our principal has called on the 'go to' guy. (That would be me.) I have the students (23) here in my class. It is better than usual. Usually, my class goes to their class. This sucks as it takes my kids out of their element and puts me where I can't work on important stuff (like this) because of limited computer access.

I will report later (in an update) to let you know how the babysitting goes and what world events stir my indignation.
OKAY ... Back ... Took advantage of the break in teaching to work on my teaching philosophy statement for my portfolio. It follows. See what you think.

Philosophy Statement

My philosophy as an electrical instructor is to be a leader, first and foremost. I want to be someone the students respect for my expansive knowledge of the electrical field, based on my education and experience, both on the job and in my personal life.

One of my main goals is to reach and teach each student, to the best of my ability, the skills that I have been taught and acquired through experience so that each of them increases their employability in this field, regardless of their gender, race, creed, or color. I must strive to keep up with changes and advances in the industry to give my students the greatest edge in this highly competitive field. This will require me to keep up with technology and the needs of local industries. To do this, I must keep in close contact with both industry and students. I must become the conduit through which this information passes.

By having the latest information, textbooks, and materials, I will outfit my students to be advanced electricians. Hands-on applied learning will insure that the field is no stranger to my students. The experience gained will follow them throughout their careers, whether in this field of another. Everyone can learn something they will use in their lives in my class.

I must also be an example of good work ethics for them to follow. I will do this by being a good employee in their sight. In doing so, I will better equip them to meet the needs of employers, locally and beyond.

I will seek to be an example of good manners, honesty, responsibility, and respect.

I will instruct my students that my ‘job’ is to teach them to be electricians, problem solvers, rational thinkers, and quality employees. It is not my job to flunk them. I will not give out any unearned grade, but will assist any student in earning whatever grade they desire. Students will learn from classroom lecture, using videos, powerpoint presentations, and open discussion. Then, we will reinforce said instruction with hands-on projects that challenge and reward the students. Hands-on projects will include more instruction and the opportunity for personal attention.

It is my goal, realistic or otherwise, to help each student in some fashion. I fully realize that every student will not become an electrician, but that every student can benefit from the math, science, and problem solving skills that will be taught as a regular part of my curriculum on a daily basis.

I will lead, first by example, then by knowledge and instruction. I will lead my students into their futures. I will seek to give them the tools necessary to open every door of opportunity with which they are presented. I will have succeeded when I have given them the confidence to ask questions, and seek more knowledge.
There ya have it ...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The sacred and the profane ...

Isaac Hayes says he is leaving his role as the voice of the 'Chef' on the satirical cartoon "South Park," citing its "inappropriate ridicule of religion."

"There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs ... begins," Hayes said in a statement.

It was okay as long as they were making fun of the Baptist or fundamentalists beliefs.

That is what kills me about all these folks that get filled with righteous indignation, but only as soon as it hits close to home.

Ethnic jokes are ok as long as they don't hit my ethnicity. Gay bashing is fine as long as I am not gay.

I don't watch South Park as a rule. I have caught a few episodes and found it to be rather humorless. It was more malicious satire than it was a comedy. It bashed any and every belief and or race/gender issue. No one was exempt. It was just a matter of time until Isaacs particular beliefs were cast into the limelight. Then, suddenly, their intolerant ridicule was over the line.

I have a Ron-ism about truth. Truth is truth. It doesn't rely on circumstances or situations. Truth is truth. It is the truth if it hits me. It is the truth if it hits you. It is the truth if it hits my mother.

There are conditional truths. These are truths that rely on the situation.

The fact that intolerance of racial or religious differences is wrong is a truth. It is not conditional. It is not ok to make light humor of the Baptists unless it is also ok to make light humor of the Methodists. You can't have it both ways.

It was wrong to to be irreverent of any of the beliefs, just as it was wrong to be irreverent of Scientology. I am not a scientologist, but I don't cotton to being irreverent to them. Light humor is one thing. South Park has never been accused of being lightly humorous. I don't like the show for that reason. It is an open game show. Nothing is sacred, and I believe that there are sacred things.

In the temple plan that God set down for his house, there were broom closets (of sorts.) There were places that the sacred items used in worship and sacrifice were kept. There were places in the temple that other items were stored. There was a command that the profane things were not to be kept in the place of the sacred things. There are sacred things today.

I am glad that Isaac has 'seen' the light, but saddened that it took an 'attack' on his beliefs for him to see it.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Easing my way into the week

It was a nondescript weekend.

Friday was a competition day for the SkillsUSA students. We took 10 students to Lexington to compete in the south regionals.

One carpentry student took the silver medal.
One student took the bronze in cabinet making.
One student took the bronze in Related Technical Math.

It was an all day affair. We left the school at 7:30 am and left the competition around 4:30 pm.

The weekend was one of those rainy dreary rather stay in bed all day weekends. We didn't stay in bed but we did mostly hang close to the house. The kids father was in town from Florida, so we were kidless on Friday night and part of the day Saturday. We managed to get out to the Red Lobster for lunch. That was a good time.

The kids got home shortly after we did and we spent a good portion of the rest of the weekend fixing the damage. It seems there was a fight at the house where R stayed with the kids. There was a poker game that got excited and potentially violent. Chella was scared and wanted to come home. She called, but for some reason Tammy's cell phone never rang. We didn't see a missed call until after the kids were home.

Kyle is on a diet and has done well. We aren't starving him, but we do watch his intake and he drinks primarily diet drinks. He gets the full flavored variety every now and then as a treat. While he was with his dad. He asked for a diet dew and was told to drink regular cola. It was R's way of hitting back at Tammy. The only thing is that Tammy isn't the one he is directly hurting. It is his son. Kyle has lost 9 pounds in the last couple months. He is growing upward and losing a little weight. Both of those are good things. While he was with his dad last summer for 3 weeks, he gained 9 pounds. R thinks he is punishing Tammy by allowing the kids to do whatever they want regardless of the rules imposed at home.

He thinks he is doing two things. He is doing neither. He thinks he is striking back at Tammy for leaving him 4 years ago. Puh-lease, time to grow up, man. He isn't striking back at her, he is hurting his kids.

The other - he thinks he is buying his kids love by being more lenient with them. You don't buy a kids love by giving them free reign. You earn a kids love by setting rules and teaching them responsibility. It is the harder path of parenting. It is the most rewarding path.

R fusses about not being able to see the kids as often as he would like, but he moved to Florida while he had a place in Danville, just 45 minutes away. He moved form 45 minutes away to 12 hours away, and then fusses because he cant see the kids. Again - grow up. He made a choice and now whines about the consequences. And, if he thinks the kids are fooled by his whining about it, he is sadly mistaken. The kids know it was his choice to move, just as they know it is his choice not to pay his child support in a timely fashion.

I have never put myself in the place to take his place. I have never once tried to be anything more than their moms hubby and their step dad. I am not trying to replace R. However, I am doing the job he refused to do. I am involved in their lives every day. I am supporting them every day. I am there when they have a problem. I am there when they have good news. I am there when they need advice. It is not my fault that he is not there. I refuse to do less than I know to do, just to make him not look bad.

I am a dad. It is one of the things I do. That part of me is in my teaching. It is in everything I do with the kids at home. It is what I still do with my kids, married and on their own. I will be a dad as long as I live.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Scarier even ...

An attorney for Cloyd, Tommy Spina, declined comment on the charges, but added: "This is not a hate crime. This is not a religious crime."

This was a statement made by the attorney of one of the three college students arrested for the church burnings in Alabama.

This is scarier than if it had been a group of religious zealots. This is scarier if it had been a hate crime. While both of those are terrible, the acts of violence would have a pusher. This - no reason - is scarier.

It gives way to the speculation of what we are growing in our society. What are we producing when a few college students, as a prank, set fire to churches and destroy them?

What does this say about us as a society? Have we so glorified the violent and senseless that now those are the only things that our young understand or desire?

I see teenagers every day. I see the ones that worry me. I see the ones that are just teenagers. There are many on the line, wavering, could go either way, looking for someone to say the right thing- do the right thing. I try to be that someone.

Unfortunately, there is not always someone there.

That is scarier.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006



I noticed it in a passing glance

By chance to find me there
It wasn’t my intended aim
But once my eyes were drawn
I was like the moth and it – the flame

It had to be a mistake
For surly this could never be
Yet – there – in sight plain as day
My heart – open and free

This is impossible
I know there had to be wounds by far
It had to be torn and tattered
Or at least covered with many a hardened scar

Where could the wall have gone
I toiled so tediously to build
Not even a brick strewn about
Gave evidence of how I thought it sealed

A curious thing
This sight to behold
A thriving beating heart
Where once I felt the cold

It wasn’t by malicious choice
I locked this heart away
Each stone stacked neatly
Blocking a hurt where it lay

I thought it was safe
Far from harms advance
Resting in security
Should I need it, perchance

Now I find it tender
And willing to trust the dance
Willing to believe in love
And hurt in the balance

I can’t explain the days
Or the myriads of parts
Your love has gently opened
The petals of this heart

I know there should be fear
And probably there be
But hope sings the louder
And fills the whole of me

So, heart open
And eyes in tune
I walk in sunshine
And dream about the moon

Today will have come
And soon today will have passed
And I will live in it
In joy, for the role is cast

Meet me, my love
In the open

March 8, 2006

Lost a day

OK ...

I lost today.

I have been belaboring under the assumption that today was Thursday. Maybe I am ready for the week to be over. Maybe I am in a hurry to get older. Maybe I was this SkillsUSA competition to get here and get done with. Maybe I am ready for the weekend early. Who knows?

Whatever the reason, I was ready for tomorrow to be Friday.

I gave my first and second periods the 50 question/100 point open book test I had scheduled for Thursday. So, now I have moved all classes up by one day. That isn't a big deal. I can always have them in the shop re-arranging equipment and setting up for our open house (Tuesday night, next week).

While the students scour the book (or at least 10 chapters of it) looking for the plain sight answers to the question, I am busy with this and portfolio stuff for my internship. Welcome to Teaching, or Writer's cramp 101.

It is just such a let down to be in a Thursday mindset and find out that it is only Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I remember

I am like a child
chasing the flittering butterflies
when I try to find the words
to tell you how much I love you

I remember

Sitting in the floor in our bedroom,
I remember

I remember the first time I saw your smile
I remember the first time you spoke to me
It was the beginning of our, thus far,
nearly four year conversation
I remember our first kiss
I remember the day I wanted the world to know
I remember the song too which we danced
the first time, sang badly
by a drunk karaoke singer
I remember the way you felt in my arms
I remember every time you asked
I remember the day I asked
I remember the way I felt
When I saw you at the end of that aisle

I remember
Because ...

I can still see your smile
I can still hear your voice
I can still feel your lips
I still want the world to know
I will still ask
And I still see you
the way I saw you
at the end of that aisle

I will always remember

Ron S
March 3, 2006

Monday, March 06, 2006

How do ya follow ...

After my rant of Friday, how do I follow up on Monday?

I can tell you that my weekend was a mixed one.

Friday night, Tammy and I watched "Big Fish" at home in the waterbed. Tammy told me that she was tired and might not make it through the movie. I wasn't worried. I knew the movie would hook her and she wouldn't sleep. It did and she didn't. She did cry a lot, however.

We didn't make the grandsons birthday party because I talked Tammy into going to the DR Saturday afternoon and they confirmed that she didn't have strep, but did have the flu. We didn't think it was a good idea to take that to the 30 or so that were going to be at the party.

Sunday morning we went to my parents house (they weren't home to work on their computers. I fixed the one that Dad calls "mom's computer" and worked on fixing his laptop. I have to stop by there this week as early as I get a chance and reinstall his ISP.

We went the Chasity's to deliver birthday presents and pick up GS cookies that afternoon. We avoided the close contact that is normal.

Brother in law, Bobby came by later that evening to look over Tammy's van, which got over it's momentary fill of good will. It is broke again.

Today has been uneventful. Students have been working in the shop in efforts to bolster any sagging grades before the end of the nine weeks (this Friday).

I have a meeting this afternoon with my RTA (Resource Teacher Advisor) so I will be hanging out here for an extra 2 hours.

the busy of the weekend is spilling over into Monday. After working late, I have to go to Nicholasville to look at Audreys car and determine if it is worth fixing. Then, if it is worth fixing, how she is going to afford to fix it. I have ideas, but need to see the extent of the work to be done first.

On a good note ... The week didn't start out bad at all. I showed Tammy that getting up at 5:30 on a Monday morning isn't always a bad thing. (Sorry, Russ ... I know I ain't supposed to tell ya this stuff, but ...)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Far removed from the original idea

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

If we take that and the ideals set forth in the “Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” then we can see how far we have meandered down the wrong path. The “Declaration” was written to show forth the cause to break away from the governmental control of England, far removed from the wants and needs of such a growing colony.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—“

The founding fathers looked well beyond the scope of their years to see a time when even this government they were establishing might become the same as the government they sought to be free of.

It was a government out of touch with the needs of the people.

It was a government subsisting of it own self realization and whose chief concern was the furtherance of itself at the cost of the people it governed.

It was a government rife with examples of abuses of power and abdication of responsibility to its citizenry.

It was a government for the government.

Today (and for several years now) there are more people employed by the government of this nation than are employed by the manufacturers of its products. Car manufacturers produce cars. Clothing manufacturers produce clothes. Trucking companies produce transportation of goods. Governments produce nothing. They make no money. They only spend.

Spending money, in and of itself, is not an issue. I know it takes money to run the government. I know they provide for our common defense. I know that state and local government provide services to me, for which I cheerfully pay taxes. I have no problem paying for a steak dinner at a nice restaurant and tipping generously for good service. It is all part of buying what I want. I gladly purchase my part in the armed forces securing our borders and our way of life, even in far and away countries. I pay local and state taxes to provide police and fire protection.

Recent revelations about the tragedy called Katrina show a remarkable and complete lack of concern for the citizenry of this nation. It isn’t a lack of knowing, as the government kept telling. The White House didn’t even confirm that the levees had been breached until the day after.

Michael Brown, the former FEMA chief who resigned under fire for mishandling this disaster, said that rescue workers should have been sent to New Orleans earlier, regardless of whether reports about the breaches had been confirmed.

"In emergency management, you prepare for the worst," Brown said on CBS' "The Early Show." "So, whether there had been a breach or a topping of the levees, we still need to be getting rescue people in there immediately."There have been two disclosed videos showing briefings, one prior to the disaster. That video “makes it perfectly clear once again that this disaster was not out of the blue or unforeseeable," Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said Thursday. "It was not only predictable, it was actually predicted. That's what made the failures in response — at the local, state and federal level — all the more outrageous."

Now, Homeland Security, is refusing to release videos from 5 other days (which they first denied even existed).

This is not a Government for the people. This is a government that cares only for its own self preservation. The government has become self aware. Not the individuals within it, but the ‘government’ itself. It is now reproducing itself. It is creating its own reasons, justifications for being in existence. It does not now represent the interest of the people except where that interest is in its own preservation. The government does not serve us. We serve the government. It is in the interest of this entity to keep us fed and keep us working.

We have become the battery feeding the machine. The movie, “The Matrix” was not too far off in its idea, except it isn’t the machines with whom we are at war, it is the government. Even reminiscent are the “Terminator” movies. All these movies claim that we need to watch out for machines and computers becoming ‘self aware’. I am not worried about my computer or my toaster. I am worried about my government. I saw a bumper sticker once that read, “I love my country, but I fear my government.”

I have to say that I agree. I am not abdicating the overthrow of the government by force. I am not a militia-ist. I am not stockpiling weapons. This is my forum. This is my soapbox.

I don’t think one party has the solution over the other. I think both are pawns of the entity known as “The Government.”

For those die hard readers of mine, thanks for listening to my rant. Feel free to chime in your opinion. I ain’t scared of opposing opinions.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Yes, honey, you were right and other revelations

I know she would rather not hear that right about now. She will worry more when she reads this.

Tammy suggested that I probably needed to take another day away from work, but I am stubborn. I insisted on going to work today. So, here I am, in class, miserable. The funk is trying to keep me in it's grip. I do have moments of feeling good (I think that is just in reference to how bad I have felt in the last 48 hours). These moments are short lived. They are usually followed by me trying to do to much in class and then I have to sit down for a while.

I know, Honey, you told me to stay home. I should have listened. However, my students are so happy to see me. It seems that the sub just read to them from the chapter that I left as their assignment. Today, they are taking a 40 point open book quiz. That saves my voice (somewhat.)

There is a lots of memorization involved in working with electricity, but it comes with doing the work every day. It doesn't come from books for the most part. There is a good deal of book smarts necessary as well, but a good head for basic memory and problem solving is essential. We read it. We do it. It sticks in there then. I try to tie what we do in the class with something we do in the shop. It is just one more way to reinforce the knowledge. It shows the student how knowing something actually applies to earning a living.

I don't want to appear to be kicking the academia, but I do think that, sometimes, they forget that students don't crave knowledge for knowledge sake. I don't think we should be entertaining our students with a song and dance, but do feel we should be giving what we are teaching some relevance to their futures. Even my students that never plan to pursue electricity as a career, can benefit from my class. A basic knowledge of electricity is always a good thing to have.

I tend to score highly on IQ tests because I have spent the last 30 years solving problems. IQ tests are basically problem solving exercises. Problem solving is a mind set. Someone tells me, I have this and this, and I want it to do this. It is my job, daily, to put the pieces together and make something work. Electricity teaches basic problem solving skills. Next semester, my class will move into some trouble shooting exercises. They will be given circuits with something wrong with them. They will be graded on their ability to look at the circuit and access the trouble. Anyone can rip it all out and start over, and there are times that is the solution. However, it is easier sometimes to fix one wire, or one switch, or one outlet.

So, beside loving what I do, I love imparting that knowledge and skill to others, even tho I should have stayed home today.

See, Honey. That's why I do what I do.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blink !

Blink and it's gone.

The last two days have been a bit of a blur.

Tuesday, my principal, came into my classroom and asked if I could sit with the health sciences class in the afternoon. Combining two classes as varied as health sciences and electricity precludes any actual teaching. It is impossible to teach one class and babysit the other. However, it was to be in the afternoon, which are my smallest classes.

Then, about 9 am, one hour into the day, the secretary calls me and asks if I can come down early. It seems the teacher that was watching the class got too busy to do it. So, there I am, babysitting the rest of the day.

One of my students, a senior and football player told me that he didn't want to be in Health Class. He wanted to go to carpentry. I told him that wasn't his decision. He decided to enlighten me. He told me, "Mr. S, you just don't understand. You have been here only a year. I have been here for 4 years. As a senior and a football player, I get to do whatever I want. When I get in trouble, it just disappears. You will catch on."

Needless to say, he did not go to carpentry.

I did manage to hack the computer of the health teacher, so I could work on my powerpoint presentation. After school, I had 2 hours with my Resource Teacher Advisor. I noticed that my throat was getting sore and my head was getting stuffy. Tammy picked me up and we came home. On the way, I called my DR and got advice. My grandson and step son both have strep, so, most likely I had strep. My DR advised that I not go to work the next day. I called my school secretary at home and told her the news. She got me a sub.

I came home and went to bed. It was the weirdest thing. All night long I had the same recurring dream and woke up every hour. Every time I woke, I looked at the clock and it was some hour:forty-five. I peed every hour. I chilled and then I sweated. It was a lousy night. The day was about the same. I am now on meds, so that is better. Add to that, the fact that Tammy is doting over me and taking very good care of me.

I hope to be back at work tomorrow. I wont be up to 100%, but I will be there.