Saturday, April 28, 2007

Whats been going on around here

Life is decidedly busy these days.

School is, or was, in CATS testing this past week. I had students only in the afternoons. These students were wired after sitting and taking a 3.5 hour test. By the time they got to me, they were useless as education goes. Add to that, that two of our teachers were out at the New Teachers Institute Follow up and you have students that are not in the class they are registered for either. I had automotive and welding students mixed in with mine.

Then there is "THE BOX" ... The box is our program assessment box. It is the way the state proves we are doing our jobs. It has 21 files with 3 to 7 folders in each one. Every folder must contain some specific documentation to show a committee that we are actually teaching the kids, communicating with parents, utilizing community resources, working with an advisory committee, adhering to their recommendations, working with student organizations, using guest speakers, integrating with the academic teachers, writing lesson plans, both daily, weekly, and monthly, designing syllabi's, using technology in teaching, holding open houses, working with the community, teaching safety, technology, employability skills, and problem solving skills, along with dozens of other things that we, as instructors, are required to do.
The problem is, we are doing those things, but the documenting of all of that requires as much time as teaching. We are losing teaching time (we do not get a free planning period like the HS does) because we are constantly printing off proof that we are teaching the rest of the time. I understand accountability. I understand that the state wants proof we are doing our job (well, besides kids passing our classes and passing state tests about the things we are teaching.) Somewhere, however, there has to be a middle ground where teaching doesn't suffer for the sake of paperwork.

We have spent this week working on getting those boxes in shape for our 'self assessment' that has to be completed by May 1. The committee doesn't visit us until the start of next school year. The kicker: only documentation less that a year old is usable. So, half of the stuff we are doing now, will not be allowed to count by then.

The good news: We only had one funeral this week. Our next door neighbor that died on Thursday was buried on Tuesday.

Looks like my summer vacation (June 15 to August 1) is filling up with work. That work includes one week with a contractor (that the state pays me for,) one week in New Orleans (High Schools That Work Conference .. also state pays for,) almost a week in Louisville (State Education Conference .. mandatory attendance .. so they have to pay me,) and a few other small things that will whittle my 6 weeks off down to 2 weeks off. That will be nice.
That's some of what has been happening in my world.
Oh yeah, we traded the Bravada in for a Cadillac, so Tammy has a new ride. (Pics will be forthcoming.)

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I wrote this last night. I am still not sure I like it or not.

As They Might

Through my life I have walked into and out of darknesses
It is as natural as breathing the breaths I borrow
Part of the normal ebb and flow of life
Fully knowing, the same life that exudes joy, reeks of sorrow

Loving someone is like plowing a furrow
Turning the fallow earth, exposing the hidden tender soil
Opening up for the magnificence of love and all it brings
However, one of the tagalongs carries the weeping of deaths toil

How true those words of loving and losing
Being the more desirable than of not loving at all
But sometimes the losing is without malice or intent
Sometimes it is merely the end of the breaths that fall

Your time has come and passed
That I may know and hold you real
Now I hold the precious memories
And laugh and cry with you as ever still

Longer times, I can now pretend
In your absence that life goes on unabated
This heart will not be fooled with memories,
Precious as they are, they will not keep me sated

This pain has confirmed once again
Just how prized is this life gained
I will open these furrows for the seedlings
And welcome the joys and sorrows rained

Sharpen that blade, sower of seeds
Shove the plow into my heart
Plant the seeds of joy and woe
Give to them each, their sacred part

In the darkness, and in the light
And let them grow, as they might.


April 20, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

And the rain continues ...

Today at 1 pm, we attended the funeral of my great aunt Gladys. She was 84 years old. When I was just a kid (early teens and such) I used to stay with her and Uncle Carl when Mom and Dad were out of town at church conferences. Her son, Terry Dale, was about the same age as me. we reminisced about those days a bit today. It was bittersweet to see some family I hadn't seen for so many years.

I left school early to go to the funeral, but had to be back for a staff meeting and open house. While I was in the staff meeting, Tammy called with the news that our next door neighbor, Mrs Vivian, had passed away this morning. She was 56 years old.

I don't know if I have any more tears left in me.

I do know this, if I have to listen to "go rest high on that mountain" one more time while looking at a dead relative, I will go strangle Vince Gill myself. I love the song, but I am so tired of funerals.

It is most fortunate that this numbness still hangs on. The overwhelming sadness and darkness threatens to overtake us all. Only the tender strength of God sustains me.

My friends and co-workers are becoming afraid to be around me though. I think they are afraid something will jump on them.

I will persevere.

Nothing is going to hold me back.

There may be a catch in my throat sometimes, there may be a falter in my step, but I will still go on.

Monday, April 16, 2007

too funny not to pass along

from: New York, NY to: London - Google Maps

Click 'get directions"

type in New York, NY in the first box and London in the second one

scroll down to step 23

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mind wars with the unarmed

OK .. we have a guy at work that likes to be involved in some way in everything that goes on, even if it is only to complain about it. In most things, he does not contribute anything useful. He just likes to feel that he is somewhat in charge. Mind you, he won't take a principals job because then being in charge requires responsibility. He like to work in the background, fouling things up, so he can deny everything when the caca hits the fan.

Anyway, this week I have been messing with his mind. He hates to think that something might be going on that he doesn't know about. Monday, I came to work in a pair of olive khaki's instead of my usual jeans. I also had on a nice collared button up pullover shirt. He went crazy. He wanted to know why I was so 'dressed up'. I didn't give him any reason. That was just fuel for the fire.

Tuesday comes and I show up for work, again in dress khaki's and a real nice dress shirt. He is all over himself trying to figure out what is happening. Again, I am a clam about the reasons behind my new style of dress. One of the other teachers tells him it is most likely because I am teaching an adult class that evening. The suffices him a bit. He has already mentioned it to several of the staffers in his fishing expedition. The others that he has queried have come to me as well to tell me about it.

Wednesday (today) and I show up for work in black dress slacks, a burgundy dress shirt, a fancy necktie, and dress shoes. He is amazed. He takes my picture. He is beside himself trying to figure it out. It was hilarious to watch him work his mind trying to figure it out. Finally, this afternoon late it becomes too much for him. He has quizzed everyone he can think of asking. He even asked my students while I was out of the school having an electrical project the students have been working on inspected. My students were tight lipped, even though they knew what was going on. So, in desperation, he finally has to ask me.

I tell him it is just because I felt like dressing nice. that is actually the true reason. the whole 'messing with his head' was just a nice bonus. I told him tomorrow I would probably be in jeans, t-shirt, and a skull and crossbones dew-rag. Who knows, I might be.

How has your week gone ?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Heart In Heart

There is a mountain in my life
Comprised of memories of you,
Today, sadness shrouds that mountain like a fog
As it no longer continues its familiar growth;

I know that most of the sadness will pass
And the fog will become a cloud
Wisping by from time to time
Driven by intimate winds;
I know that memories will be added still

In conversations with friends and family
About the ways you touched their lives
As we marvel about your journey;

But today, I am lost in this fog
I cannot see that happy tomorrow
Without you in the middle of it
Part of my tether is gone;

Nothing is the same as it was yesterday
This fog obscures the once brilliant hues
It seeks to hide the happiness we shared
But that happiness will not be denied;

Even now, it valiantly struggles to be heard
It refuses to give its place to the fog
In places here, and places there
It chases away the encroaching murkiness;
Like shining pin pricks
In the blanket of gloom
Growing and adding the more
Your love, your happiness, your joys
Scattering the darkness of dusk;

To those that never met you
You are a name in a well told story
You exist in the fleeting of the tale
But to those of us living with the mountain
You are still here as our continual partner
Where we once walked hand in hand
We will now stroll, heart in heart


April 8, 2007

Friday, April 06, 2007

Beyond The Door

Living is a powerful force that does not go quietly
Such is our affinity that it must be torn from us
It holds a value beyond measure or counting

White knuckled, we dearly grasp it in our failing fingers
Because living, however difficult, is the reality we know,
We struggle to hold on to its final vestiges;
We will exhaust all our reserves of energy.
We will spend the final moments of our life
In our fruitless efforts to remain on this side;
When we release that last thread and fall
We find that His warm hands have been there
Waiting to catch us all along;

"And it came to pass that the beggar died
and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom."

Some places, our heart knows and some other places, it doesn't
Some places, our mind knows and some other places, it doesn't

"Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief"

Before me, the door to the next life looms largely
The key will be the last thing to leave my body
Beyond the door, the reward I have chosen
For all my struggling and efforts,
I will still pass through this life to the next
I will meet that reward or recompense that I have lain away

Still, I will not hasten the day of it's arrival
Still, I will fight the fight of all flesh
Still, I will spend my last breath trying to find the next one
For living and breathing is all I have known in this life
Today, I am torn between the world I know
and the world for which I have yearned

Tomorrow may find me there.


April 6, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The roller coaster ride continues

It has been a crazy week.
We started the week by going to the SkillsUSA Kentucky State Competition. I had three students competing this year. I am proud of them all. They were competing in the leadership events of Extemporaneous Writing, Job Interview, and Related Technical Math. All their competitions were on Tuesday. We arrived on Monday afternoon after a bumpy start, which included me having to find/buy a black necktie, (I have about 100 neckties, but couldn't find my only solid black one) and returning to the school to pick up a jacket left by one of the competitors.

The Tuesday competitions were split into morning and afternoon events. I had one in the morning (Job Interview) and the remaining two in the afternoon. The young lady competing in the writing event was out and about with her family in Louisville. the start time was getting close. I called her at noon (her orientation was at 12:30) and she told me they were on their way back to the hotel. By 12:20, they were still not at the hotel. I called and she told me they were lost. Oh No ! I scrambled to open a map on the computer and find out where they were and how to get to the hotel. They finally found us and rushed in at the last second for her to change into her "Official Dress" and get to the contest site. On Thursday, we found out she placed SECOND in the state in that event.

On Tuesday evening, we received word that Tammy's father had passed away. He had a stroke while Dad was in the hospital. He eventually was released and was staying at a nursing home. On Sunday, his brother took him to the hospital and he was treated and released. On Tuesday, he was taken back to the hospital where he passed away. TJ's uncle called us around 6 that evening. I made some calls and had his body picked up by Kerr Brothers in Lexington.

We left for Lexington on Thursday to make the arrangements. The Funeral Home was extremely nice to us. They helped us out all they could. Because of Jim's recent move back to KY, he didn't have many friends here. There will be a short visitation on Friday, followed by a grave side service. Our Pastor will handle the service.

In spite of the tumultuous relationship TJ had with her father, his passing has been very hard on her. I am sure it is coupled and intermingled with the grief she is still adjusting to concerning my fathers passing just four weeks ago.

We returned to Louisville that afternoon for the rest of the contest and ceremonies. As I stated previously, one of the three students finished in the top three of the state. They are all winners for even getting this far.

The final ceremonies were this morning with the awards presentations. After that, we decided to go to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. We finally made it after going into the wrong place. The door directly under the Hard Rock Cafe sign is not the Hard Rock Cafe. It is The Pub, a British styled bar/restaurant. The HRC was very nice (with prices to match.)

After we left the HRC, we headed toward Lexington. I had missed a call on my phone, so I checked my messages. My Grandmother had finally given up her long battle and passed away this morning at 11:30. I have no idea of the arrangements as of yet. I do know that I am to be a pallbearer at the funeral. I called my children to tell them the news. My son-in-law, Chris made the statement, "When is this going to end?" I responded that NOW would be a good time.

This is all catching up to me, the stress at work over these competitions and projects we are trying to finish, the passing of my father, the passing of Tammy's father, and the struggle and passing of my Granny. I don't think I am handling it very well. I have become snappy lately. I am a lot less tolerant of things that used to not bother me. I am trying to fix that,but am not sure how to do that. I know I need to talk about it, but the words are bottled up inside me. This has not been hard because it is the reporting of facts. That is easy.

One thing I wrote yesterday was: The hardest thing for a poet is the understand that sometimes there are no words to be said.

The anger inside me is building. I don't even know who I am angry with. Unfortunately, those around me are feeling the warmth. I need to find a way to let go of some of this. Scratch that. I need to find a way to let go of all of this. Snappy is not me. Hateful is not me.

I am fortunate to have Tammy, who is worried sick about me. I am fortunate that she will stand beside me. She will tell me to straighten up too. She told me to pick a person to be, Be sweet or be hateful, but pick one. I do love and adore her so. She has been my rock through this. She thinks she is leaning on me during this ordeal with her dad, but we are co-leaning. I would be completely lost without her. We will make it through this the way we make it through everything, Together.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It is raining

Actually, it is raining here in Louisville. It was storming earlier. There were tornado touchdowns nearby. However, that is not what I am talking about.

We are in Louisville for the SkillsUSA Kentucky State competitions. I have 3 students competing this week. Their contests were today. Tomorrow are the skills contests (ie. Welding, carpentry, electrical, etc.)

Today, TJ's uncle called to tell her that her dad had passed away. I will not go into her relationship or past with her dad. I won't dwell on how she felt about him. I will tell you that the news literally knocked her to the floor. We are leaving tomorrow to make the arrangements. There is no one else that can or will. He had no insurance of any kind.

I called my contacts with Kerr Brothers Funeral home. They assured me that they would help me out as much as possible. They handled Dad's arrangements. Several of the funeral home's directors and leaders came to the family to offer their assistance in any way, on a personal level. Dad had preached many funerals there. I have preached a few there myself. Our families have worked together on several occasions.

We will keep ya as posted as possible. We appreciate the prayers.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Still here and Spring Break (sorta)

Granny continues her defiance of dying. She refuses. She has such a high value placed on life that she refuses to relinquish it one minute too soon. Four weeks without food or water (save some water under her tongue from time to time,) and she is still hanging on.

Next week is Spring Break for Clark County. I still have to work. I am taking 3 students to Louisville to compete in the SkillsUSA Kentucky State Competition. I will be working (plus 19 hours OT .. Well .. Comp Time) Monday thru Thursday. It is going to be a busy time. The best thing about it is that TJ will be with me for the week. I love taking her on my state work trips. It makes the week so much better.

I am taking a laptop with me so I will be able to blog while there, and keep up with my email on all of my email accounts (I only have 10 between home, work, and college.)

Time to get ready for Church this morning. Y'all have a great day.