Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dear Students:

What I want for you.....

I want you to develop questioning minds – to be curious and to think deeply.

I want you to find and evaluate sources and to cite them correctly so that everyone's work is given its just due.  

I want you to choose words with care to create the exact effect that you want in your writing (and speaking). I want you to have a wide and varied vocabulary so that you can have lots of ideas from which to choose. 

I want you to be able to manipulate images, audio clips to produce effects in audience. I want you to be able to use what you know about images, audio and how they interact with ideas so you can observe when you are being manipulated. 

I want you to be able to analyze tone and mood in the work of others  and I want you to be able to create tone and mood in your own work. 

I want you to be critical consumers of information. 

I want you to create – through words, images, audio – particular effects for particular audiences.  I want you to be fluent in persuading, opining, informing, delighting audiences.  

I want you to be effective communicators – both when you are producing communication in writing, speaking, and multimedia and when you are the audience.   

I want you to be able to analyze, evaluate, edit, and revise your own work. 

I want you to be able to analyze, evaluate, and comment on the work of others. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Beach Afternoon

I have been mentioning to my husband that we should go to the beach all summer.  We come from a place that has a beach that is routinely on the lists for the best beaches in the world, so he is a little sour about the Big Island beaches in comparison.  I just want to get into the ocean.  We live on an island - even if it is a younger island with mostly rocky beaches, there is no reason to treat our life like we live in the Midwest and there is no ocean! 

The really nice beaches are two hours away, but we have some beautiful places in Keaukaha in Hilo.  So, I decided to woman up and do like I did when I was in London and go by myself.  I did the one minimum requirement for myself yesterday and packed up and went down to Richardson's Beach Park.  It was gorgeous and not too awfully crowded and stayed in the water for nearly an hour which eased all the aches and pains caused by working out every twelve hours more days than not. 

I can just see a slice of ocean from my office window, if I crane my neck.  I love my job, but I would really like another beach day like yesterday! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gibby Breakthrough!

Since I have gone back to work, I don't have a ton of time to work with Gibby.  Maybe he thinks I am playing hard to get, because whenever I come home, I whistle loudly and he pops his head up high and calls back but I don't go out.  Getting his attention like that was a breakthrough - and last night showed me he is really coming around.  

When I got home, there was no dinner in the making, which normally would have me scrambling, but since my husband had told me earlier he was cooking, I was not stressed.  I looked out to the pasture and Gibby was out eating.  I thought I would go to the fence and see what happened.  I whistled and his head popped up like a Whack A Mole game and he came right over when I stood at the fence. 

Believe me, folks, this is a radical difference from run-away-Gib.  He didn't like the cheese crackers I was eating, but he did like the alfalfa pellets I brought to reward him for coming. 

I think my farrier who told me it wasn't worth my life keeping this horse is going to be really surprised next time he's out to trim hooves.  My next step is to remind him he won't die if he stand tied for a good long time (the horse, not the farrier). 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Rack on the Counter

I have a baking rack that never goes away - it sits on the counter waiting for bread or cookies.  It sometimes gets covered with mail, and it is turning into the place that people put news and tasks for me - the receipt from the latest trip to the gas station, the accident report a month ago, papers that need to be signed.  I would rather have it filled up with bread or cookies. 

Speaking of cookies, the current 10th graders have let it slip that I make good cookies - and the new 9th graders are starting to throw hints.  It's pretty funny.  One of these evenings, I will pull out the mixing bowl and fire up the oven, but today - today, I am pooped.  I haven't had but two prep periods for my own stuff since school started.  I have been in full steam helping other teachers with note-taking and stuff.  Two more days of this and I should get a little time next week to work on my online modules, grading, and general planning. 

It's been raining buckets again - I have to say, the sheep stall is getting quite squishy.  I can see why they prefer to invade Gibby's side whenever they have the opportunity.  Seeing how Gibby is so prone to bolting, it is a good thing that none of the lambs are really that young and can skedaddle out of his way.  12 sheep and a horse in a 20X 24 enclosure is fairly full - but that's where they all go if the rain gets to be too much - or if it gets close to feeding time. 

Although droughts start me to worrying about water in our tanks, a week or two of nice dry weather would be so welcome right now.  I don't think we've had 5 full days of sun since last October - we've had the occasional sunny morning, but the rain comes pouring back.  If it continues, the Cross Country season is going to be quite a mess. 

Speaking of XC, I volunteered to be the Team Parent again.  Why do I do that?  There must be something wrong with me.  Every year, at the end of the season, I think - I will NOT subject myself to this again.  I can't really say no to the coach - and I know he's really glad that I am here.  He keeps saying, "I am glad your son is running...."  Yeah - I heard you talking when my older son was a freshman - you knew you had me for 7 years, if my other son came up, too.

 I don't mind it - except for the potluck for the teams from the continent.  It is always during grade time and there is always at least one other mom who thinks I did a bad job and who audibly worries in front of me that there is not enough food.  There always is.  Always.  The kids and coaches and parents walk away with rounded stomachs and there are leftovers.  I let people bring what they feel comfortable bringing and I don't do the "if your last name starts with, bring..." and we always have a lot of chili and a lot of noodles, but everyone is always happy and full and no family struggled to buy or make something they couldn't afford. 

I got smart this year, though, and asked another helpful mom to please help me with the (damn) potluck.  I kept the parenthetical comments in my head, of course.  No need to scare away the volunteer! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Running Silent

Sorry, guys, the beginning of the school year is a mad rush to get things set up and this year is particularly crazy.  I guess that's good - suddenly people want their local resource teacher!  But it makes blogging kind of hard - as well as house cleaning, gardening, etc. 

I really need to get out in the green house and basically pull out everything and replenish the dirt in the pots and replant.  My fairly disorganized house is driving me nuts - all I can reliably do is the main bathrooms, a little laundry, and dinner/dishes.  I am mildly frantic because my oldest came home and said she couldn't stand staying with her brother any more because he didn't have any vegetables, all they had was eggs, and they were both too broke to buy food.  I sat there open-mouthed and thought, "Hello, kid, your mother is 20 miles away - call me, come home and eat, ask me to bring you cooked food - don't just sit there and starve."  He is waiting on his scholarship check and his next paycheck and his room mate to come in from Japan and give him money for the security deposit, propane, and rent. (Roomie arrives tomorrow).  Even if he didn't have the gas to come home - I would have driven down and brought food, for goodness sake. 

So I texted him to ask if he wanted or needed anything - would it be helpful if I made lasagne and stuff to go in your fridge?  Do you want fruit? - he said, "Umm...sure.  Apples."  It makes me wild to think he is sitting down there hungry and not asking for help.  There have been even leaner times in our family life, but I would skip meals to make sure the kids had.  They don't have store bought snacks, often, and they complain, but there's always food.  I should have expected it, though - we found out about the car accident last month by finding the police report on the counter where our son so carefully laid it so I would see it when I woke up.  They didn't call for help, didn't wake us, just handled everything and laid the report on the counter. 

I don't know whether to be proud of his self-reliance or shake him. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New List

Summer's over and I didn't get to everything on my summer list.  That's pretty typical - I tend to make ambitious lists. 

Here's the end-of-August-through-September List:

Pull out the old jalapenos and tomatoes in the greenhouse
Remix the soil with compost and replant those pots
Start seeds for sale as seedlings
Continue to improve outside garden soil for planting greens in November
Trim Sheep hooves
Finish quilt top (have one of four rows done so far)
Get XC blog up and running (has to be immediately since the season is pretty short)
Pull kalo and replant huli

I have a whole other ambitious list for work.  I don't know why I inflict these lists on myself - I just feel bad when I don't get them all done.  

Oh well, I really want to make cookies for our buildings room cleaner today - he really worked hard on cleaning my blinds in my office this summer, well above and beyond duty. As I didn't finish (or barely start) my Saturday cleaning and as we promised the older kids to meet them for church tonight, I kind of suspect the cookies and the bare minimum cleaning are all that's happening today.  I slept way in today - dead to the world until 7:30!  I mean that's nuts and a list killer.  I can't let that happen every weekend! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School

Wow!  What a week!  We started school on Monday with the kids.  I am now having to blog for this personal blog, for my classroom, and for the Cross Country Team.  All very exciting, but my head is spinning, that's for sure. 

I have to say, so far, I love all my classes; for kids who are supposedly behind in their English language skills, they are pretty darned quick off the block, which makes things fun.  Yes, they need some grammar and some practice with disciplined close reading, but wow - how fun to have kids who are thinking, thinking, thinking.  Even if they are also always talking, talking, talking..... 

Tomorrow I am teaching all four periods, because some teachers have asked me to teach note-taking to their classes.  I am going to be very tired by the end of tomorrow - and I seem to need to go to town for animal feed and flea spray for my cat.  The only way you can tell it is summer up here is the increase in fleas and coqui frogs.  Otherwise, it is fairly chilly and rainy, as usual.  At least, it will by Friday, so tired can be answered with a sleep in the next day.

My son really and truly moved out - well, I am sure there are odds and ends left behind, but he stuffed his new (old) car with belongings and drove off last night.  He forgot is razor, so he had to come to my office to get it, which was a bit anti-climactic, but yeah, my second baby is gone.  Now we only have two kids are home.  I will have to adjust my cooking - or suffer leftovers for days for my lunches. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I am grateful for my children - all of them - but yesterday, I was particularly grateful for my youngest.  She came back from a workshop on Peer Mediation ready to start a group in the high school - and she won't be in high school for another year!  That didn't stop her.  She went to ask the counseling department if they would help.  On her own. 

I am grateful for the new administration at my job.  Really, incredibly grateful.  We had to share three words for how we felt yesterday after our first day.  Mine were "Relieved.  Hopeful.  Grateful." 

I am grateful for my coworker how got here at 6:00 am to work out with me.  I can't do it once the kids are in school, because my son rolls out of bed only after I have yelled, "I am leaving in two minutes!" up the stairs.  I tried to trick him once by yelling it half an hour early.  It didn't work.  But somehow, he generally gets ready in that two minutes.  It makes me ponder the nature of time. 

I am beyond grateful that my efforts with Gibby are starting to really pay off.  I couldn't spend much time with him on Monday or Tuesday, but when I got home last night, he was making those nickering noises that usually mean either, "I am happy to see you."  or "Feed me."  or, you know, probably both at the same time.   I ran toward him - a move that in the past would have had him spinning and gone out the door to the pasture.  He stood rock still, let me open the gate, walk in and approach him.  When I left and came back with a rope lead, he did avoid for a second, but turned around and stood still again.  This is much bigger than it would have looked from the outside. 

It's good to feel grateful for today instead of my usual worried!