email: okaybyme at gmail dot com

View My Complete Profile

Compost Happens is a personal blog: part family, part garden, part crunchy green eco-writer. I'm Daisy, and I'm the groundskeeper here. I take care of family, garden, and coffee, when I'm not teaching and doing laundry.

Subscribe in a reader

  • The Garden Central
  • Your Garden Show Interactive Online Community
  • Hometown Seeds
  • Live to Garden
  • WormsEtc; composting, vermiculture, and more
  • Rion Greenhouses - modular kits
  • Rose Gardening A great source for pictures and information on roses!

    website metrics

    My Stats

  • Monday, March 31, 2008

    Politics -- as usual?

    It's election day tomorrow -- and IEP day for our family. This means Husband and I will plan ahead to get our voting done early, before we go to work, before we leave our respective workplaces to go to Amigo's IEP.
    We have concerns. He's doing well in some areas, not so well in others, and we worry. It's what we do. We ask questions that are not always easy to answer.
    He has a Behavior Intervention Plan. How and when was that distributed to staff members who work with Amigo? (We know the answer to this one.) How can this be handled better in the future?
    Are Braille materials available on time? (I hope for a yes answer, but I'm afraid it's inconsistent.)
    And the one that has us really worries now: He's sixteen. We're looking for transition plans and job training. So far, Amigo has signed up (with our help) for a job-training camp next summer, but we haven't seen anything remotely related coming out of the school team.
    After the meeting, we usually stop at a nearby, locally owned fast food joint for supper.
    Amigo calls it an I Eat Pizza. The meeting, not the restaurant.
    I'm glad he maintains a sense of humor. We'll see how well I maintain mine. It'll be easier if the line at the polls isn't too long in the morning. Long enough for a good turnout, just not so long I lose before-school preparation time at my desk.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, March 30, 2008

    Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

    It's not unusual during Spring in Wisconsin to watched a little baseball and then go to a hockey game. The annual Teddy Bear Toss has become a family tradition. It's almost, but not quite, a regular hockey game. You can tell it's not a typical game because...

    The passenger on the zamboni is stuffed, and not with popcorn.

    The goalie, dedicated soul that he is, remains in his stance while surrounded by teddy bears. Fans throw new teddy bears on the ice after the Green Bay Gamblers (the home team!) score their first goal. They (the bears, not the Gamblers) get donated to a local children's hospital after the game.

    Volunteers gather the bears, bag them up, and get them ready for donation to a local children's hospital. The Gamblers won, 3-2, and the organization collected over 5,000 bears.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, March 29, 2008

    Weekend Yummies

    Since I didn't feel obligated to make something La Petite liked today, I tried out a new recipe from an older edition of the WE Energies Cookie Book. Backstory to follow: first, the recipe.

    Chocolate Cherry Nuggets
    2 cups butter or margarine softened
    2 cups powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
    4 1/2 (yes, you read that right: 4 1/2) cups sifted all-purpose flour
    2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    2 (10 oz.) jars maraschino cherries, drained and quartered

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream butter. Mix in powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla and salt. Add flour gradually, mixing until well blended. Separately mix in chocolate chips, nuts, and cherries. Dough will be stiff. (I'm not kidding. It will be stiff.) Drop by teaspoonfuls (cookie scoop)onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake a 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Makes 8 to 9 dozen. Note: they will be round. They do not flatten while baking.

    Now while they're in the oven, I'll put my own spin on this recipe.

    I picked it out last week and put the maraschino cherries on the shopping list. During the week, husband has been "sneaking" a little of the cherry juice to dress up his seven-up. I don't know if there's anything else in the glass, but it sure looks pretty. When I drained the cherries for the recipe, I saved the juice for him. Yes, he's a sweetie, he deserved it.
    I baked cranberry hootycreeks and kitchen sink muffins earlier this week and finished off my vanilla extract, so I couldn't bake cookies again until I had a chance to go to the store or wait for Husband and Amigo to do their weekly grocery shopping. That's how I ended up making them today instead of, say, two days ago.
    And now, La Petite. We let her use Husband's car to visit friends who attend college near here. She left last night and then spent the night, with our permission. I text messaged her mid-afternoon today and asked, "When are you coming home?" Her response was "When I feel like it." So rather than text her my first thought response ("Snot!"), I decided to make cookies that she wouldn't like. She strongly dislikes cherries in any form, so this recipe was perfect.
    So there. Take that, kid. Revenge is buttery, chocolatey, and sweet.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, March 28, 2008

    Procrastination, with chocolate

    I made myself an M&M creature at PlanetM&M, and then I couldn't download and publish it here. It even had a cool, color-coordinated coffee cup, so I was a little down about the whole process.
    So I did what any self-respecting, computer-literate adult will do; I asked my daughter to help. She took a break from her homework and with hands covered in charcoal (she was working on an art project), guided me through an option for copying and pasting my new Image into Adobe Photoshop.
    But first, she insisted on making a few changes. She didn't like the hair shade or the hairstyle I'd chosen (Mom! You have bangs!), so she found something she deemed more suitable. She decided the glasses should be colorful, too. Am I really that colorful? No, don't answer that. I don't wear bunny slippers in public, either, but these were too cute to pass up.
    And again, we couldn't do a clean download, so we did a printscreen and the cropped it in Adobe.
    I must say, I think I look pretty good in green. I think I'm ready for Earth Day. At least I have chocolate.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    We also need...a list for this

    I admit it. My name is Daisy, and I'm a list-maker. Our summer vacation, the first in four years, is still in the planning stages, but I have list potential growing on the same back burner.

    Things we should look for now so we don't pay full price later

    • A bike rack for the minivan. Amigo's bike will take up a great deal of the minivan's interior. In fact, I'll probably put the cooler in the bike basket and my suitcase under its back wheels. Our bikes (mine and Husband's) will go on a rack on the back bumper. This ought to be a good season for buying a rack like this, so I'll start reading the sporting goods stores' ads in the Sunday papers. Something will turn up. A visit to the bike shop may help, too.
    • Husband needs a bike helmet; they're required by law in Canada.
    • Amigo thinks I need a swimsuit. Hah! Not a chance. If I wade at the beach, I'll wear my capris. I should, however, make sure Amigo's suit still fits him.
    • Travel size generic meds. Let's see -- goodies to ward off headaches, stomach-aches, and motion sickness can fill up the little pocket of my purse.
    • Sunscreen. Sunglasses.
    • Reading material! Right? Shouldn't I get a few books for the long drive and the ferry ride, too? Okay, I give in, that can wait.

    And... I have a new post up at MidCentury Modern Moms today. "My" day is every other Thursday. Enjoy!

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Yes, I'm on spring break. Random is good.

    To-do list:
    Make coffee.
    Wash the winter jackets.
    And more, and less.

    The thrift store called, and I always say yes to a pick-up. It forces me to clean a closet or toss a few things. Since my purse strap broke, I've been putting off moving everything into a new/old one, saying I didn't have time. The truth wasn't exactly the lack of time to move things from one bag to another, but the time to face the junk in my purse, sort through it, and clean it up.

    Here's the inventory, along with random thoughts and reactions. Starting at the top and going clockwise (sort of): Wallet. Card-holder. Calendar, small notebook, assorted gift cards. Inhaler. Chico Bag (where was this when I went to Target last week?). Cell phone. Four -- yes, 4 -- pens. Comb, small scrunchie, and bobby pins. Receipt from bookstore. Tide-to-Go pen. Mints. Reading glasses with case. Sample pack of dental floss. Did I forget anything? Hey, wait a minute. I think I missed a pocket. Where are my hearing aid batteries? Where's the little bottle of Tylenol?

    It's not a picture with a purpose, like the last time I posted a picture of my schoolbag for a contest at WorkIt, Mom. This time, it's just (in La Petite's words) lame. Look, kid, it's my spring break, too. It's okay to be lame. Just be careful you don't think it's lame that I'm doing laundry; I'll make you wash your own.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    On my reading list

    Spring break means sleeping in a little, catching up on schoolwork (my schoolbag is heavy, quite heavy!), and reading. Lots of reading!
    Work-related & Classroom Books
    • The One left Behind by Willo Davis Roberts
    • Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements
    • The Scary States of America (I can already predict which students will pick this one up)

    (The above titles are books purchased with book club bonus points, destined for my classroom book nook. I like to at least skim each one before I put it out for students, even when it's by a known and respected author. I can place the books properly by reading level and recommend to eager readers who might enjoy them.)

    • Book 4 of the Lucy Calkins Writers' Workshop series: Writing Fiction: Big Dreams, Tall Ambitions. This book outlines and guides the next unit I'm teaching to my fourth graders. Implementing Lucy's program has meant a big time investment for me, but so far it's been worthwhile. I'll skim this volume, then go back and read it in detail, breaking down the lessons into manageable pieces and sketching out my own plans. Lucy Calkins is amazing. If I ever get to meet her, I'm sure I'll be speechless, like a teenaged fan meeting an idol.

    Pleasure Reading
    • Local newspaper. Every day, every article, savoring having the time to read it all. The crossword puzzle, too, if Husband doesn't get there first. It's okay, we usually share.
    • Other newspapers. I like to pick up newspapers for fun when I have time to read them. Reading news online, while fascinating, doesn't have the same feeling as holding and folding a real paper.
    • Road Map to Holland by Jennifer Graf Groneberg. This is not strictly pleasure, as I volunteered to read and review it for Mothertalk. However, I only offer to read and review books that interest me. It's still pleasure reading.
    • Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg, a classic found at the Goodwill store. I enjoyed Fried Green Tomatoes and Standing in the Rainbow, so this one is a logical pick.

    The next decision: which coffee should I brew to accompany the reading material? Ah, such a dilemma.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    A trip to the French place

    Amigo needed underwear. How's that for a boring excuse for a trip out of the house? Well, he's a growing teen. So I headed out to the nearest Tar-jay and picked up his necessary items.
    Typical of my shopping trips, though, I made a side trip through the bargain aisle for some Easter basket goodies, stopped and thought about a tote bag to replace my broken purse, looked at the latest in Brett Favre commemorative t-shirts, gazed at the rack of spring-fever Milwaukee Brewers shirts, and then went to the checkout. On the way there, I decided to spring for the tote bag. I'll use it for our trip this summer, if not all summer. Then a bag of peanut M&Ms in spring pastel colors jumped into my cart, and I headed to the checkout for real. I had exact change (yippee! get rid of pennies!), and then I loaded my bags in the van and left.
    Next stop: the thrift store down the road. I bought jeans for Amigo and then (does this sound familiar?) got distracted on the way to the checkout by a garden display. I bought seeds in a brand I've never used before. Most look usable, but I didn't bother to put on my glasses, so any fine print escaped me. I hope they grow! Next, I noticed the book aisle right next to the checkout. I bought (gulp) three. Then I felt guilty for buying used books because the authors don't get paid for resales, so I checked out. Finally.
    So instead of coming home with just one bag of underwear, I carried in two bags from Tar-jay and one heavy bag from Goodwill. And I didn't bring my own bags, either, darn it. I've got to do better on that count.

    Next job: fill minivan with gas before prices go up again. What else will I find there? Coffee, perhaps? Mmm. That sounds like an errand for me.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Spring Break -- but not a week off.

    My to-do list for Spring Break is much too long. If I work on at least one pile of schoolwork each day, I'll get through everything in my bag. Well, that is the correcting and scoring part. I also have lesson plans to prepare. Social Studies is ready (did that before I left for break, and even ran the copies). Math is ready for the first day back, but I need to run the copies when i get there Monday morning.
    Reading. Writing. Language Arts in general. That's still hanging over my head.
    Spelling is ready.
    But before I start a Book Club or Literature Group unit, my class needs a little more practice in teamwork. Cooperation. Reminders that every Me is part of a We. No, not a Wii, a group of individuals where the total can be greater than the sum of its parts - if the kids can learn to work together instead of fighting against each other.
    Fighting isn't as much a problem as the attitude of I Am King of the World. Do Not Disturb me with Learning; I Am King. Cooperation is a little tough to come by with kids who imply they're getting interrupted when I tell them to put down their Pokemon books and pick up their math. Then there are the kids who are highly gifted, but don't lift a finger to do the regular work, much less the advanced work of which they're capable, and then go home and whine, "I'm bored." but that's another story. I won't worry about them during break.

    Writers Workshop needs to be planned, too. I brought home the next book in the series we're using, and I'll examine it and sketch out the unit while I'm home. This takes thought and analysis. I'll have to plug in some strong coffee to get this unit planned, I can tell. Oh, such a sacrifice.
    Maybe that's the philosophy I need for the next week. Coffee + Schoolwork. The only variable will be the coffee type and flavor. My supply may run low before the week is out. Jo to Go, I'm on my way! I saw my favorite hazelnut listed in your whole bean flavors!

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Stranger than Fiction, my job is

    Honestly. If I wrote a teaching memoir, people would doubt its truthfulness. Not even Oprah would believe it.
    Let's see -- there's the kid who was on in-school suspension who stood on the office's bathroom toilet and got his hand stuck in the old-fashioned Kotex machine.
    Then there's the child now in middle school who is still featured in a photo on the kindergarten teacher's desk: stuck in a dumpster in the nearby park, feet hanging out and kicking wildly. She had a hard time getting him out because she couldn't stop laughing.
    That story leads to the first grader (now in college!) who somehow got himself twisted between the bars of the stair rail. How, we still don't know. The building engineer had to physically take apart the bars to get the kid out. The teacher, now retired, has a candle holder made from a piece of it to remind her of how entertaining her job used to be.
    Ah, but those are just the legends. Then we come to today.
    Today was popcorn day. Once a month, our Service Club sells popcorn to raise money. Kids nibble on it all day or at snack time, depending on when the teacher decides it's okay to have it in class. Eleven students in my class prepaid and get popcorn every time we have it. Others can buy it at lunch.
    First, the student volunteers bagging popcorn today were rather messy. I caught one trying to pick up what he'd spilled on the floor. "No, you can't put that back in a bag after it's been on the floor. Here, take the broom. You can sweep it up. The trash can is right here." We got him on the right track and all the popcorn got bagged and sent up to classes in time for the bell.
    Next, my class was not willing to settle in for the day. Surprise! That's not unusual on the last day before a break, but this time it meant I had to keep them from stepping on the popcorn bags for our class. Yes, step on. The delivery crew had dumped out the basket on the rug instead of on a table. It's okay, the bags were stapled shut, but my heavily ADHD class has a hard time walking in a straight line on a good day, much less a pre-break day. Luckily, no popcorn was harmed during attendance, announcements, pledge, and lunch count.
    Wait -- there's more!
    Later in the morning, I brought the class to the rug so I could read aloud to them. Have I mentioned how sloppy this group can be? Well, the rug had tiny popcorn remnants, too small to be called kernels, all over it. As I sat in my Teacher Chair and read, two students right at my feet played catch with a tiny kernel remnant. I put my foot between them (yes, they were that close). Instead of stopping, they moved to the side. "Ahem, throw that in the wastebasket. Stop distracting the class. Now!"
    The student sitting next to the wastebasket then began reaching inside it where another child, no longer hungry, had thrown away half her bag. He was eating out of the wastebasket. A fourth grader. A ten-year-old. In his defense, this young man is very ADHD and his family refuses to consider treatment. His impulsivity is truly not under his control. But still...the other kids were, well, a bit disgusted by his behavior.
    And that was just the morning.
    Fortunately, mean teacher that I am, I planned a math test that took up half the afternoon. The popcorn was gone, the wastebasket had been emptied (thanks to my friendship with the cleaning staff, I know where they keep the extra trash bags), and the kids had to focus on double digit multiplication for a sizable length of time.
    Now I'm home, sipping cappuccino, nibbling on Girl Scout cookies (lemon! Mm) and looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.
    I'm not sure I can look at Popcorn Day the same way ever again. Thank goodness there are only two (April and May) left.


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Lister of lists

    I'm resisting making lists for our potential vacation this summer because there are still a couple of major variables, a couple of big questions without answers. For one, Husband doesn't know if he can get the time off yet. For two, we don't have our reservations yet. We'll make the reservations as soon as Husband finds out if he can confirm the time off.
    But in the meantime, since I'm not making lists, I'll just think about which lists need to be made. That's not too much, is it?

    • List of Potential Lists
      Things to do far ahead of time (includes passport applications, reservations, work schedules, etc.)
      Packing list (general)
      Packing list for the road (should I bring my coffee thermos or just my insulated travel mug?)
      Packing list for the ferry (most of the luggage will stay in the van, but it's a five hour ferry ride)
      Groceries (What can we buy ahead, and can it be transported over a border?)
      Medicines (prescriptions and other important OTCs)
      Maps, atlases, and Map Quest printouts
      Laptop? We may have a new one by then, or the trip might use up the money budgeted for a new laptop
      Camera and charger and memory cards
      Cell Phones and chargers
      Toiletries: Amigo and Husband will actually have an easier time of this than I will. Maybe. Things to do nearer the trip, but before traveling (give the garden a last minute weeding, convert currency, make sure cell phones will work internationally if we stay on the North American continent)

    I guess I'm already listing, although it's not formal. I'll either create a computer file or designate a spiral notebook to the cause. That way, Amigo and Husband can add to it as they think of things.
    My family teases me about my compulsive list-making, but they always ask me to go over a verbal checklist before they leave on a trip of any kind. It's okay that I"m already thinking ahead. Really.


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    spring fever

    I want to plant my garden. Unfortunately, it's still snow-covered. After that stage, it'll be a mud puddle for several weeks before I can even set foot in it to spread the compost and convince husband to run a rototiller through the ground.
    That doesn't stop me from thinking, though. Husband came home from the grocery store with a small squash, reminding me of his personal goal to eat more vegetables, and also reminding me that if he likes squash, we could plant more than zucchini this year.
    I also found a great recipe for the crockpot that includes spinach -- lots of spinach. I could grow that, too. There's a nice little connection between the pet rabbits and my garden: if I grow too much, they'll eat it. If I don't grow enough for the humans to enjoy, the rabbits will still eat it. It's a win-win. The parsley and the lettuce I grow primarily for them, even though I enjoy adding it to my own salads.
    So I hinted to the Husband that he and the kids could make me happy on Mother's Day by getting everything I need for the garden. I suppose I need to make a list, then. Lists R Us, here goes.
    Tomatoes. Always. Big ones and little ones.
    Peppers. Green bell peppers, red chili peppers. I wouldn't turn down red or yellow peppers, either, if they'll grow in our rather dense soil.
    Broccoli or cauliflower. We'll eat the "fruits" and the rabbits will eat the leaves and the stems.
    Lettuce. Parsley. Spinach.
    Stringless Pole Beans, green! And how about yellow bush beans to provide ground cover and give us the pleasure of Packer beans when the pre-season starts?
    Zucchini. It seems like I either have feast or famine with this squash. We gave them away at our rummage sale in August, free with any purchase. People thought we were kidding until we handed them a squash on their way down the driveway.
    Carrots. They don't grow well in our thick soil, but the rabbits love the greens. Every time I thin them, the bunnybuns get a treat. To them, it's like candy.
    The green onions and chives will come up on their own. So will the rhubarb around the corner. The wild raspberries? The birds beat me to them last summer. Maybe I'll have better luck this year.
    All this makes it sound like we live in the country and have a huge yard. Nope. City house, less than a mile from downtown in our lovely small metropolis, with a small but decent backyard. Right now that backyard is covered with melting snow, and lots of it. I can glimpse the mud and brown grass at the edges, which means there is a growing season on the way.
    I love our Wisconsin winters, but I'm really looking forward to spring.

    Labels: , , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Politics as usual -- or not?

    I don't live in New York.

    That said, New York politicos often get a lot of press, even out here in the thawing and muddy midwest.
    And the dark cloud over Eliot Spitzer has spawned a silver lining: David Paterson.
    It's exciting to see an African American take the leadership of an important state. To me, it's even more exciting to see this talented and intelligent blind man take on this leadership role. Attention all nay-sayers and condescending sighted folk: Watch him in action. You'll see his skills are not dependent on twenty-twenty vision, but intelligent thought and professional experience.
    Apparently, if I'm reading between the lines correctly, he's a large-print reader rather than Braille. I have no indication whether he uses a white cane for mobility or not. but the major message in his position is this: A blind person can be successful. Very successful. Hard work plus talent placed Paterson in the right place at the right time to take on a very challenging position. All indications are that he will handle the responsibilities well.

    And as a hearing impaired adult and mother to a blind teenager, I send my congratulations. Please excuse me if I cheer loudly for a little while, too.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    I look so great in that picture...oh, wait, it's not me.

    But it could be me! It could be any one of the ten of us gutsy bloggers who contribute to Mid-Century Modern Moms. We take turns on weekdays, and any one of us with a keyboard and an idea can post on weekends. I have alternate Thursdays.
    We're excited because we now have a new home and new domain name. We'll have a grand opening contest -- with prizes -- and we hope you'll come back again to read us and read some more. With ten of us sharing our adventures in raising teens and young college kids, there will always be something interesting posted. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, sometimes simply venting our frustration that makes us want to croak, "for this I went through thirty hours of labor?!!" Several contributors are published authors, meaning you can expect high caliber writing.
    But seriously, check it out. And please feel welcome to come back -- many times.

    The picture is actually Margalit, her angelic teenaged twins, and her lovely cat.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, March 15, 2008

    Like you have spare time in your life -- right. Uh-huh.

    Take a break anyway. That's what I'm doing. I have too much on my to-do list, but I decided I'd earned a short mental health break and I'll hit the blogs to relax my mind. Deep breath now --

    Like prizes? Try these.
    Win a lovely beaded bracelet.
    Go to Scribbit for her weekly Saturday Giveaway.
    Check out Mir's latest contest with a gift card for Outback Steakhouse.

    Take a survey for BlogHer. I did!

    Sally forth and read the latest episode of Saffron Sally, a woman with spice. Er, I mean a well-seasoned woman. She gets updated regularly, too, in true serial style.

    Check in on Mir's latest advice and buy something. You know you want to.

    Speaking of shopping, this is La Petite's new favorite clothing store.

    Read a book, join a discussion group at MotherTalk.

    All this and coffee, too? Life must not be as bad as I thought.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Simplify? Easier said than done.

    Save, share, simplify. It's a little like reduce, reuse, and recycle: it's a good slogan, but it takes effort to put it into practice.
    Our school holds a sale of used books to help fund their trip to camp. The books are donated, so the sale is 100% profit, and the kids and parents who buy are happy because the prices are low. It's a win-win.
    We swap DVDs with friends and family instead of renting. Yes, it means we buy our favorites (or receive them as gifts) in the first place, but we only buy movies we really like. The best part? No overdue fees.
    The simplify piece is the hardest for me. I've been cleaning out rather than saving lately. Old books go to my classroom collection or to the school sale. Children's toys went into the rummage sale last August, and since then more have gone to Goodwill and the thrift store.
    Lack of storage space gives us trouble when saving. Our aging Victorian home was built with few closets. We've added a linen closet and revamped our own bedroom closet spaces. We tuck a few things in the attic, but it's not very big, either.
    So I might look into the new Zwaggle, a site for parents who want to do their share to give back, both to the environment and to others. My question will be: are there other families with teens, especially disabled teens? I'll be looking for Braille items this time around or a source that would like some of the Braille books Amigo has finished. They're too good to throw away, but they take up enormous amounts of space that we just don't have.

    This blog blast suggested by Parent Bloggers Network and Zwaggle. New members who sign up through the invitation link (above) will get extra Zoinks, or Zwaggle points.

    Labels: , , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Things to do when the teen is sick

    Read his cues.
    How are you?
    I don't know. A little better.
    Do you want to go to school?
    Maybe. I don't know.
    (after breakfast of toast with jelly)
    I feel weak and shaky.
    Okay, I think you need to stay home.
    He slept on the couch from 6:30 until 9:30 AM. He wanted to stay home, but wasn't sure how to say it.

    Make jello.
    His stomach is feeling better, now he needs to fill it with safe foods that won't irritate him and set him back to square one.

    Work on schoolwork and other home projects while he sleeps.
    He doesn't really need me; he just needs the security of not being home alone.
    I wrote a rough draft of a grant application, made jello, and drank half a pot of coffee while he was asleep. Still on my list: correct two stacks of papers, thaw something bland but tasty for supper, brainstorm a few fun blog posts just for fun.

    Watch daytime TV.
    Even in summertime, we don't do this together very often. Today we watched The Price is Right and enjoyed seeing people get excited and jump up and down and win fabulous prizes while we snuggled up on the couch and drank coffee (me) and sprite (Amigo).

    Chop ice on the driveway.
    Well, any ice I chop will melt faster.
    I only chopped a little because A.) it's not really that warm out, and B.) I don't want to reinjure my wrist or back. A little goes a long way.

    Email his doctor about a related issue.
    His acne medication can upset his stomach.
    She agreed that he could stop taking it until he's back to full strength because it could cause a relapse.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    I'm not distractible, I can focus -- look! a chicken!

    Remember when I tallied a few of my report card comments and found these coming up frequently?
    Easily distracted
    Excess talking, needs better self-control
    -- and more like those?

    Today I was reminded that I must, must talk with several parents about distractibility and the potential for medical intervention. If the child has a medical reason for restlessness and lack of control, it's a whole different world from the child who chooses to act out.

    The clocks were being reset semi-manually, from a remote controller in the school office. The kids pointed. "Look, it's wrong!" "I know, kiddos, I have my watch on. I'll take care of timing today." "Look, it's moving!" Sure enough, the clock was ticking, ticking, ticking along. But instead of seconds going by, the minute hand was moving steadily through its circles. Oh, I was so mean to insist they keep practicing their keyboarding skills on the computer when something so exciting was happening to the clock!!
    One of the computers in my classroom pod was stuck in an endless loop of its boot-up cycle. I turned it off and called helpdesk. I had to: the kids were staring at it as it went through its cycle over and over and over and over again. I couldn't imagine this being so entertaining, but I guess it was better than math class.
    7 times 4 is -- look! A spider! The girl nearest the spider panicked, turned so flushed I thought she'd throw up. Five - brave souls came running up to stomp it, followed by their best friends not wanting to miss anything. Solution? I picked it up and let it loose in the hallway to terrorize the girls' bathroom across the hall.
    Poor Charlotte. She never gets any respect. I know how she feels.


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, March 09, 2008

    Darn, I need a new purse.

    I bought a new purse during a big sale at Gordman's last fall. I enjoyed using it until recently, when the braided straps decided to unravel and snap. I'm carrying it under my arm, kind of like a clutch that's too big, afraid the one last strap will give way and everything will spill all over. Silly thought, that is: it has zippers that keep all the important things safe inside.
    The big dilemma: do I need a new one?
    I have a few old bags (oops, that was a poor turn of phrase) in my closet. I can use one for a while, even for a permanent replacement. Then there's the trip we might take this summer. So should I buy a new purse, and if so, what are the main features I should look for?
    I like the little cell phone pocket on my current strapless model.
    I like the zippers.
    The pockets are big enough to hold anything I need. In fact, this purse is actually a little bigger than I need.
    I need more than pocketbook size. Any bag of mine needs to hold my cell phone, my wallet (checkbook size), my cardholder (store cards and insurance, etc.), inhaler, reading glasses with case, my school ID smart card, hearing aid batteries, and my keys. I also like to carry a small pack of mints, a bottle of Tylenol, small notebook, pen, Tide to Go pen, hand sanitizer or wet wipes, a comb, and lip gloss. For a brief time this summer, I'll carry my passport, too.
    At least I'm not in the market for a diaper bag!

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, March 08, 2008

    What a difference a year makes

    I woke up Friday morning and didn't feel the dread that used to envelop me after a difficult day. What was the difference? Location, location, location.
    School personnel talk about building climate, and we don't mean the heating and cooling systems. The current climate in my building is one of support and collaboration. My rough day was shared by others, and we got together to take positive action for change. Those changes were for kids, and we teachers were simply the means to the child-friendly end. Exhausting, yes, it was. I faded quickly after supper and didn't even do my homework. Shhh...don't tell my class!!
    Now -- yesterday, I woke up and went through my morning routine not whistling a happy tune, but at least looking forward to the day ahead. When I got to school, I had to let the bread supplier in the building. Poor guy was out there standing at the locked door in below-zero wind chill. Then I loaded two reams of paper into the copier as long as I was waiting for it to warm up. As I left the copy room through the cafeteria, a young girl had arrived at school much too early, so the chief cook and bottlewasher (don't call her a lunch lady!) invited the girl to help set up for breakfast. It's considered a privilege to Work Lunch or Breakfast, so this girl was smiling and feeling important.
    Later that morning, the principal came zooming by and closed a few strategically located doors, letting us know that we should be prepared to secure the building if need be. I hurried my kids out of the gym and to the room, and they cooperated (for a change). Fortunately, the threat never became real, but I was relieved to know that my bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, bouncy bunch could handle a quick change like this without falling apart.
    There were more issues and incidents throughout the day. It wouldn't be teaching if a few memories weren't created each day! But in the big picture, while I didn't forget the difficult Thursday, I didn't need to move to Australia, either.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    No-Good Very Bad Days can happen to anyone.

    Clues that my day wasn't exactly stellar:
    • Getting out of the driveway was a major challenge (even for me!) because of the sheer size of the snowbanks.
    • I ran a yellow light rather than stop at the Longest Light in Town on the way to buy coffee from Jo to Go. Don't tell the liaison officer from my school. She thinks I'm a law abiding teacher-citizen.
    • I touched base with five different staff members en route to the lounge to put my lunch in the fridge. At that point, I realized I was no longer holding my coffee.
    • The secretary (she was a bright point in my day!) made an all-call announcement that there was a cup from Jo to Go sitting behind her desk rapidly cooling. Mine!! My hazelnut!!
    • My students came in this morning with a major chip on their collective shoulders, making my work much harder and forcing me to be much meaner. Contrary to popular belief, "mean" is not good teaching.
    • Two computers in the lab were not turned off properly last night, leaving my youngsters to cope and wait. I can troubleshoot, but I can't speed up the network. Fourth graders do not wait well.
    • Cardboard keyboard covers kept falling apart. I've asked and asked for replacements, but I haven't gotten an answer -- not even a definite no. I ran out of tape for repairs in the lab, and I'm doggone tired of fixing them every. single. lesson.
    • Four kids didn't have their reading homework done, and that's an improvement over yesterday's seven. !!!
    • Instead of bringing a concern to the boss as a team, each team member ended up going in separately, therefore making the issue seem much less important.
    • Even though I needed to work at my desk over lunch, I needed the break more. I went to the lounge to vent a little and relax a lot.
    • Several students had put the chips back on their shoulders when they came back from lunch (see above). Not good.
    • I had to threaten detention to get one student to stop clowning around as he blew his nose. You don't want the details: trust me.
    • A meeting was announced that I wasn't certain included me, so I turned up just in case. Yes, it included me, but I didn't have paper and pencil to take notes, so I'm sure I appeared clueless.
    • The coffee I bought at 6:45 and rescued from the school office at 7:30 was still 1/4 full and totally cold when the dismissal bell rang.
    • I drank it anyway.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    Random pictures and the answer to yesterday's trivia

    Goal --> to keep my mind off staff meeting this afternoon, which could have been worse, but also left a kind of bad taste in my mouth

    Goal --> to avoid repeating what others have already said about Favre, and add my own perspective

    I wore my Favre Celebrity Softball Game t-shirt to school today. I posted yesterday's newspaper with its headlines and photos outside my classroom door along with two rather trivial Favre posters. The posters attracted a lot, and I mean a lot or attention from students. One was the Milk Moustache ad from right after Super Bowl XXXI. He looked like such a kid! No gray, no grin wrinkles, all clean-shaven, big grin. The other poster was an ad for Wisconsin's champion cheeses. Favre is sitting surrounded by big wheels of various cheeses and flashing that big "I can't believe they pay me to do this" grin. The students kept asking if the autograph on the poster was authentic. No, it isn't. It was mass-produced along with the advertisement.

    Both posters were discussion-starters, though. It was fun talking with kids who have been alive less time than Brett has been playing football. Oh, my goodness, that sounds scary! But it's true. There is a whole generation of fans -- no, two generations of fans! -- who remember only one quarterback on the Packers.

    So just for fun, here are a few you won't see on ESPN.

    --warming up before a game on a sunny day

    -- staying warm during a game on a very snowy day

    --and the answers to yesterday's question. If the picture is too small to read, the numbers retired by the Green Bay Packers are 3, Tony Canadeo; 14, Don Hutson; 15, Bart Starr; 66, Ray Nitschke. Not pictured here: 92, Reggie White. Soon to be added: 4, Brett Favre.

    photo credits all go to Husband, who had the opportunity to photograph some memorable moments while working weekends :)

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Forgive me while I ramble on a green and gold theme

    Yes, the news came out today. It's official.
    We knew he couldn't play 4-ever, but we hoped. We cheered "One more year!" one more time, and hoped he heard us. Fans all over wore the green and gold and sported their #4 jerseys. They'll wear those forever. It'll be a classic jersey, since there's not a chance in the NFL that another Green Bay Packer will ever wear number four again. It'll be up there with 15 and 66 and only a few more. For ten trivial points -- can you name the two players I just identified by number? For bonus points, can you name the other GB Packer players whose numbers have been retired?
    My husband emailed me this morning as it unfolded. Apparently one of the big networks broke the news, but it hadn't been independently confirmed yet. Minutes later, after a phone call to the team's PR department, his station also aired the story.
    I announced it to my class shortly after receiving the email. Many of my little darlings are also fans, and they were shocked and surprised. Consider that they've never known Green Bay with another quarterback; Ironman Favre was always, always, there.
    He livened up the game with his gunslinger attitude and his dramatic play. He made mistakes, but he more than made up for them. For a southern guy, he sure played well in the cold. I'll never forget the time he blocked on a running play and got called for a personal foul: unnecessary roughness. A quarterback? Only Favre.
    He faced major personal tragedies while in the public eye, and handled them with class. Hurricane Katrina destroyed his childhood home. His wife developed breast cancer. His father died the night before a major game on national television. He battled addiction to a prescription painkiller. He faced fair-weather fans who said he was washed up, too old to play well.
    Through it all he continued to inspire fans and foes alike. Anyone who couldn't laugh when he instigated a snowball fight on the sidelines had to be a bah-humbug or a Seahawks fan. But when he came running out of the tunnel, the crowd roared.
    I have many memories, including watching him lead the team to victory in Super Bowl XXXI, being in the same (large) room with him when he appeared on Larry McCarren's Locker Room show, and rejoicing in his many records established and re-established.
    What can I say? Good luck, Brett Favre, the Packers won't be the same without you. And neither will Wisconsin. Thanks for everything -- and mostly, thanks for the memories.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, March 02, 2008

    Seven Reasons I Wouldn't Survive Survivor

    I've been tagged! Dorit at Pieces of Me tagged me for the Seven Random Facts meme. The last time I shared seven random facts about me, I shared Green Bay Packer playoff tidbits. This time, I'll share seven random facts on another rather random theme.

    Husband is a big fan of the show Survivor. I've watched it with him occasionally, but I rarely get attached to the players the way he does. Early on, I knew I wouldn't be a good player in this game. So in answer to the latest tag for seven random things, I offer seven reasons why I wouldn't be a good contestant on the show Survivor.

    7. I don't have a tattoo. It certainly seems like everyone on the show, and I do mean everyone, has a tattoo of some sort, somewhere. Motherly stretch marks don't count.

    6. I'd probably insult the others inadvertently. When I watched the early shows, Australia especially, I kept wondering why these people were so uninformed. They were completely unable to forage food for their tribes. I kept wanting to say, "Haven't you people read My Side of the Mountain? Or Hatchet? Or any wilderness survival stories? Do you read, period?!

    5. I've never, ever been good at group sports. I'd fail the physical challenges, and my tribe would say, "Out!"

    4. Hearing aids like mine don't work well in warm, damp climates. If they do Survivor UP (Michigan's Upper Peninsula), I'm ready!

    3. I don't look good in a bikini. That's not a put-down or negative self-talk; it's simply true.

    2. I'm a peacemaker, not a backstabber. I couldn't handle the suspicion and the alliances that lead to tribal council. I'm much more likely to be a go-between, a mediator. Can't you see it? "Daisy, you've ruined the intrigue! Everyone gets along now! They're not willing to vote each other out of the tribe!"

    1. And last, but not least, I've never seen them making coffee. For me, doing without coffee for 36 days would be the true test of Survival.

    Here are the rules...
    1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
    2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
    3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
    4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

    Tagging seven is the hard part. I read soooo many blogs, and I've tagged most of them already or they've tagged me. I'll leave this one open: if you'd like to be tagged, go for it! Drop a comment here telling us where we can read your post.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    Swag in a lunch bag

    One thing that keeps me judging music festivals is this: festival managers treat their adjudicators (judges) like gold. They provide coffee, snacks, water, and more. Even when I've had a rough week at my regular teaching job, when I judge I feel like my time and my expertise is valued. This weekend was unusual even by those standards. At my most recent festival, there was a gift bag donated by one of our local music stores. Advertising aside (I'm already a faithful customer!), it outdid anything I've ever seen. In fact, it was almost overboard.

    Here's the basic inventory.
    insulated lunch bag sporting name of music store
    glass candy dish sporting store logo
    tiny chocolate bars to fill dish (see above)
    water bottle displaying logo and motto for store
    week at-a-glance calendar with logo on cover
    faux leather CD case, also with logo embossed on cover
    several pencils and a ballpoint pen (suitably identifying their sponsor)
    small notepad with logo watermark
    folder boldly proclaiming store's name, featuring young musicians enjoying their craft

    I can't complain about advertising when it's on free and usable supplies. Most of the above will go to school with me or find a use at home (the chocolate? ahem). I must admit, though, even though I laughed out loud at the huge batch of goodies, it sure was nice to know they appreciated my work.

    Photo from my new cell phone. Please excuse the blurriness; I'm still learning the ins and outs of the new phone and its camera.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Search & Win

    About 1 in 5 child deaths is due to injury. CDC Vital Signs


Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

    Copyright, 2003-2008 by OkayByMe. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval without written permission from Daisy, the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. In other words, stealing is bad, and if you take what doesn't belong to you, it's YOUR karma and my lawyers you might deal with.