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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.

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  • Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    Road trip: California Dreamin' again

    Amigo got an audio book for Christmas: Bill Geist's Way off the Road: Discovering the Peculiar Culture of Small town America. He would laugh out loud while listening to the stories. As he finished, he recommended that I look for a print copy and read it myself.

    He was right. I found a copy on, thanked the swapper who sent it, and got a note telling me that the book might make me want to take a road trip. Sure enough, reading got me thinking about a long road trip on my bucket list: getting our kicks on Route 66.

    I've realized that the Route 66 trip will happen at the earliest in summer of 2013, perhaps a year later. With that in mind, I can plan and dream and seek sponsors for the potential adventure.

    Ideally, we'd rent or lease a vehicle to drive from our Wisconsin home to the end destination. At the West end of our journey, we'd turn in the vehicle and take Amtrak back to the Midwest. From Chicago we'd ride the Hiawatha to Milwaukee, and either pick up our own car or have family/friends get us to take us back to our own house and our own beds.

    In a perfect world, that vehicle would be a roomy sedan or a minivan. If we all go (essentially, four adults), the minivan would be better. It would have to have good air conditioning: a minivan type would have the passenger climate control vents to make it easy. Given the long stretches of desert on the trip, that's a necessity.

    Taking into considerating the length of the trip, good gas mileage is important. A hybrid, perhaps? A sizable gas tank, too, so we don't have to stop too often to fill up. Maybe a gas company will sponsor us; discounted gas or a gas gift card for the road? It could be done. It's not a glamorous sponsorship, but it would certainly be one of the most valuable.

    Cupholders! I request at least one cupholder per person, accommodating my coffee and the other folks' Mountain Dew. Perhaps Starbucks would sponsor me; free or discounted coffee for the trip in exchange for blogging it? I'm in!

    I know that I'm simply dreaming at this point. Driving Route 66 is definitely on my bucket list. Since Amigo enjoys road trips in general and we like road tripping together, we'd like to do it before I get too old or he gets too busy to enjoy the adventure.


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    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Glee predictions: where will they go from here?

    Friends, music teachers, and swing choir graduates: Glee left us hanging. Big time. We could sense the big events coming, sense them enough to shout "No! Don't go there!" at the television. The last episode before the break set up several plot twists that couldn't be resolved. This one episode, all by itself, brought up so many social issues that it should be required viewing for anyone who works with teenagers. Cyber-bullying, teen suicide, religion and teen social lives, texting while driving, and then again, the show choir competition.

    The next new episode will be here in the beginning of April. April! Through the entire month of March we'll wonder how our favorite characters and the ones we love to hate will fare. Frankly, the writers and producers have set us up for just about anything. Here are my own predictions.

    Rachel: Will she or won't she marry Finn? Will Finn follow her to New York as she pursues a career in the arts? She's talented, but is she talented enough? It'll be interesting to see if her star power is power enough to light up her life.

    Finn: He's really at lose ends. No football scholarship, a bombshell destroying his image of his hero father, and no plans after high school. His only plan is to marry Rachel, and he hasn't thought beyond the ceremony. This doesn't bode well for their future. I wonder if he will stay behind in Lima, run the garage for his stepfather Burt while Burt is in Congress, and settle in for some serious introspection.

    Quinn: a screech of brakes and squeal of tires as she texted a message to Rachel - I'll leave it right there.

    McKinley High School staff: When Principal Figgins claimed that it wasn't their job to reach out to someone like David Karofsky, it wasn't their job to prevent his near suicide, school counselor Emma said it best: "If it's not our job, then whose job is it?" Someone had to be there for David, to listen and to really hear his pain. That "someone" could have been a teacher. I predict the McKinley High School staff to get much firmer in their zero tolerance for bullying. They'll start a chapter of PFLAG and reach out to students like Kurt and David and Blaine. Weak-kneed Figgins might be nervous about the social implications and the public reaction, but those teachers who truly understand their students will stand firm.

    Puck will graduate, but not yet. He's bound to be credit deficient in some way, and that will give Glee another year of his singing and guitar-playing talent. If they need a fundraiser, he can bake his grandmother's addicting brownies.
    Never mind.

    Mercedes and Santana will take on the leadership and solo roles. Writers and producers have been building them up for a while. We'll have some good music next season, folks, even without Rachel Berry.

    I hope the Warblers from Dalton Academy will continue to compete with McKinley's New Directions. They provide complex characters, an interesting competitor, and above all, good music.

    Coach Sue Sylvester will have her baby and find motherhood to be to her liking. This should be a fascinating character development.

    Kurt: Finn's stepbrother is in for the biggest challenges. He's headed to a fine arts school, or so he hopes. He and Rachel will be classmates if all goes well. He's out and has a gay boyfriend, another talented singer and actor. Not all young men feel as confident as Kurt, however. And Kurt, despite his flamboyant nature and outgoing personality, still feels the inner conflicts of any teen. He's blamed himself for not returning David Karofsky's phone calls, thinking if only he'd called, David might not have tied the rope around his neck. Kurt walked into a God Squad club meeting looking for moral support and instead ended up blowing up. He told Quinn that no matter what she'd gone through in high school, with a teen pregnancy and a time with the outlaw goth gang, she had no idea what he or Karofsky faced every day. Kurt was straightforward in his criticism of poor little rich girl Quinn. Then Quinn was texting while driving on a collision course for - well, we still don't know. The show ended with a screech of brakes and no resolution.

    Kurt is the most complex of the Glee characters. I predict that he will feel guilt for not preventing Karofsky's suicide attempt and will again feel terrible that his last conversation with Quinn was a verbal slap in the face. After facing these internal conflicts, I predict that Kurt will abandon his quest for a performance career and instead enter a counseling program. He has the experience, the intelligence, and the compassion to make a difference.

    Good music, entertaining plots, and a few valuable lessons besides - what else could we ask of a television series? I still have Glee set to record. I won't miss a single episode.


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    Monday, February 27, 2012

    Whipped, not Beaten - cooking up fun with a good book

    Is a picture worth a thousand words, or is a good book worth a thousand -- whatever? I'd go with the second, really. Pour me a cup of coffee, and let's relax with a good book.

    Whipped, not Beaten by Melissa Westemeier is a great read. It's smooth, it's quick, and it's quality. Melissa manages to hit all the right buttons for an enjoyable piece of pleasure reading.

    The characters ring true. They dress casually, their friendship groups are realistic, and the dialogue is natural. This dialogue sets up characters and even directs the plot at times. The diverse group realistically could live in Madison, Wisconsin, the central location in Whipped, not Beaten. The studio apartments, the close-knit young people meeting at the corner coffeehouse or bar, the staff at Public Radio - all are based in reality. A reader could meet them on the street, or at least meet people just like them.

    On the same note, the descriptions of Madison and the tiny town of Neillsville (a stop in the road late in the book) are spot on. College towns and university cities in Wisconsin often sport a small town atmosphere where everyone knows someone who knows someone else who knows you or your best friend. That tendency is comforting, but can get in the way, too. When Sadie needs a date for a party, she's a bit stuck because all those she knows are either inappropriate or already invited. She gets lucky by running into a handsome neighbor at (of course) the corner coffeehouse. No spoilers, but when he spills cappuccino down her front, it brews up a new adventure for our heroine.

    The author has obviously attended a fair share of product parties and heard the recruitment pitches. She knows the structure and the lingo well enough to place Sadie in an entry-level sales position at Coddled Cuisine, a cookware line sold at home parties, and to grant Sophie a small but significant amount of success.

    Sadie joins the Coddled Cuisine crew to supplement her income at Wisconsin Public Radio. I loved this placement. Amigo and I (and Chuck, too) are Public Radio junkies. We just had stuffed chicken for dinner, in fact, a heart-healthy recipe we heard on Zorba's show this morning. Amigo and I have trekked to Bayfield, Wisconsin, with other Public Radio junkies and some WPR staff members and interns. I understood the workload Sophie faced each day, her research requirements, and the fast-paced atmosphere. Her need for a second income is realistic, too, which led to the adventure of Coddled Cuisine. WPR's fundraising has slipped with the recent recession, and salaries probably resemble those of others employed in the public sector in our fair state. Okay, enough politics. Back to the story.

    Too much detail would spoil the fun of reading this book. I wonder if Sadie's job changes and successful -- never mind -- will lead to a sequel? Melissa, if you write it, I'll read it.

    I hope many of my blog readers will pick up Whipped, not Beaten, and read it, too.

    Disclaimer: I bought this book; it was not donated. The review is honest and not compensated in any way. But maybe, just maybe, the author will let me pick raspberries at her homestead again next summer...?

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    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    Your homework is late because....

    Sorry, student. We might feel your pain, but the cat making your homework late is just another variation on an old theme.

    In fact, your Social Studies teacher has a cat that helps grade essays and research projects. She pronounced this one "delicious."

    In my home, projects are at risk of being eaten, but not by a dog. Note to self; do not store student projects under the piano. In addition, feed bunny frequently.

    Now if only we could train the animals to make coffee while we're busy grading, progress reports would go so much faster!

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    Dear Scottie; it's just not working.

    I didn't write this. I wish I had; it's brilliant. The original source is the Wisconsin Democratic Party leadership.

    By the way, how do you break up with a guy on a tractor? I'll tell you when we're done breaking up with Scottie.

    Dear Scott,

    There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to come right out and say it. This isn’t working. It’s time for us to see other people.

    I wish I could say that it was me, not you, but we both know that isn’t true. It’s you. When we first got together, part of me really had reservations, but the other part was so hopeful about what we could become together. But then you did it – you know what you did.

    When you dropped that bomb on me a year ago, it changed the way I thought of you. You never told me that’s what you were planning. We never talked about that. Ever. If you had told me the truth, I doubt we ever would have gotten together in the first place. It made me wonder if I could ever trust you again.
    And when I told you how I was hurting, and how your betrayal rocked me to the core, what did you do? You kept lying. You said it was my fault. That what I wanted - a great education for my kids, affordable healthcare for the people I care about, and to see my friends and neighbors work family-sustaining jobs where they are treated with respect and dignity -- was too much. An "entitlement." Well maybe you just think I'm high-maintenance, but I don't think those things are too much to ask for.

    So... I think it's best that we cut our losses and both move on. I don't know exactly what my future holds, but I know I just don't see you in it any more. You might be a disgrace in my eyes, but you'll land on your feet. You have plenty of rich friends for whom you've done a TON of favors. Someone will take care of you.
    And speaking of your friends, that’s another thing I just can’t handle. How could you think I’d be okay with inviting people who steal from the families of veterans, commit sex crimes against children, and criminally misuse public office into my home?

    But really, all of this just brings me back to your terrible judgment and dishonesty. I need someone who listens to me, is honest with me and wants to see me be the best I can be. Someone who will cherish the values and institutions I hold so dear. Because you clearly aren’t that person.


    Okay, readers. In the good Wisconsin farmland tradition, the punch line. How do you break up with a guy on a tractor? Send him a John Deere letter, of course.

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    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    On teaching, voting, and cooking supper

    Election Day wasn't bad, all things considered. My ward has a lot of well-informed and politically active people, including our representative in the state assembly. We found the new poll location, pulled our photo IDs out to prove we are who we are, the poll workers blinked at my double name (older people: most young ones don't even notice) because it didn't match the poll listings exactly. It was close enough that they let me vote.

    Yesterday I wondered why the meat was taking so long to cook. It looked done, but the meat thermometer kept giving me dangerously low numbers - at least it did until I realized what was wrong and turned the temperature readout back to Fahrenheit. Shhh. You've done that, too, haven't you?

    I must learn when to sit on my hands and keep quiet. We are short a teacher temporarily at school, a high school language arts teacher. I'm not a high school teacher, but I do know much of the literature at that level. I offered to help out. I haven't regretted it yet... but remind me later that no one forced me to do this: I stuck my neck out and offered.

    Back on the topic of Election Day, my fellow blogger and good friend Green Girl made it through her primary election for school board. Now comes the real work: the main election. Readers, head over to her blog to congratulate her; she deserves it! Instead of complaining about the local schools, she has taken action to make the situation better.

    Making the situation better: that's what running for office is all about. Go Green Girl!

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    Monday, February 20, 2012


    I talked about pocket change vs. a living wage. Right now, hubs and I are guarding our living wage and working on stashing pocket change. Did you guess why? Hint: laptop, minivan, replacement, repairs.

    We 're not desperate. We're not going to miss any bills. With recent expenses, though, we feel we must be careful. A few thoughts:

    Double duty: de-junk the house and pocket the money. It's time to clean the bookshelves and pay a visit to half Price Books again. Maybe Chuck will be willing to browse his CDs at the same time. It worked for my cookbooks! I created space on the shelf and put $20 in my pocket.

    Use caution, not credit. Paying cash ensures immediate payment with zero interest. This means preparing to have cash on hand - or preparing not to spend.

    Eat at home. Most of the time this is easy. I should say it's easier, cheaper, and healthier, too. I'm planning on trying a new marmalade recipe soon. One more set of pretty jars in the cabinet - one more product (jam, marinade, sauce) that we won't buy in the future.

    Walk. I'm lucky to live within walking distance of my workplace. In winter weather, I've managed to get in one to two days a week. That's one or two days less wear and tear on my minivan. It's also one or two days of lower gas consumption. It's an investment in my overall health, too, and there's no price tag on that.

    Put off non-essential purchases. I can't decide if Amigo's socks fall into this category or not. At the least, I can wait for a sale or a good discount code.

    Use bonuses carefully. Chuck used a prescription rebate ($10 on a $20 purchase) to replace a lampshade. The lampshade was wearing out and could have become a fire hazard. The in-store sale and the $10 coupon made it a deal.

    Clean the bathroom cupboards. Yeah, yeah, no fun, but I always seem to find toiletries in the far corners under the sinks. Conditioner, shampoo, you name it, and then I don't have to buy it. Work for me.

    And in the long run, I'm going to work and work and work some more to get the Puppet in the Governor's Mansion recalled. He and his handlers are responsible for my pay cut and the uncertainty in my job security. Getting him recalled will help many: public employees and those they serve.

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    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Making the freshman book list

    The books on this table are in consideration for the ninth grade curriculum in my local public schools. The books are on display to call for community input. The administrator in charge told me they're looking for "...balanced input" - meaning input from many, not just the loud and organized book-bashing groups.

    Oops. My bias is showing.

    I took a copy of the list and checked off those I'd read. Then I made some general observations. I logged on to Paperbackswap and requested a few titles that intrigued me, including those that had attracted objections in the past.

    George Orwell's Animal Farm was a good book for its time, but not really suitable for today's ninth graders. Most high school freshmen don't have a background in the rise of the Soviet Union. This cleverly written allegory would be more effective if students read it after or concurrently with their world history classes.

    The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci - I haven't read this yet. I ordered it. Parents have asked that it be removed from the curriculum, and I must see why. If the book is that powerful, it's probably fascinating.

    J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye - A Trivia contest once asked for the name of Holden Caulfield's younger sister. I remember that she had an influence on Holden, that he felt protective toward her, but I couldn't remember her name (Phoebe). Very introspective, this book fits the curricular theme of "...the concept of the individual as well as interpersonal relationships."

    Fahrenheit 451 - Scary. Ray Bradbury's genius shows in this book, one that the book burning folk need to read. Really.

    The Latehomecomer: a Hmong Family Memoir - I have this on on my shelves and I haven't read it yet. Local buzz suggests it's an excellent book. Author Kao Kalia Yang spoke to local teachers a few years ago. She inspired me to read her work and to keep writing my own.

    The Odyssey - Balancing contemporary books with classics is a challenge. Many Odyssey references, including the term "Odyssey" itself, have become part of today's language. The other night I heard someone on TV saying, "Even Scylla and Carybdis couldn't tear us apart." And how about those Sirens? I hope the decision makers keep The Odyssey in their collection.

    Romeo and Juliet - It's not Shakespeare's best work, but it's very accessible to young adults. It's a good introduction to the world of Shakespeare, the language of the times, and a story that's been produced and reproduced in many incarnations.

    Speak - Controversial because its main character was raped, this Laurie Halse Anderson book stimulates discussion and attracts criticism. It's a strong story showing the devastation of sexual assault and its aftermath, including the bullying that can go with reporting the incident. Readers will recognize the high school cliques and the stereotyped teachers in bits of humor that balance the seriousness.

    Step from Heaven - A library media specialist recommended this to me several years ago. It's a powerful story of the immigrant experience in a family that struggles to earn their way toward the American Dream. The author uses an effective technique by writing in beginning English as the family moves, improving the language and grammar as the characters themselves learn, grow, and assimilate.

    I noticed a few generalizations as I looked up the titles under consideration. The suggestions cover several perspectives of WWII: the nonfiction Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Slavomir Rawicz' The Long Walk: A True Story of a Trek to Freedom, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, and Elie Wiesel's Night expose readers to multiple perspectives on a single historical time period.

    There is an attempt to promote diverse voices through memoirs and realistic fiction. A Long Way Gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah chronicles a world our American teens can only imagine - if they're aware of it at all. Adeline Yen Mah's Falling Leaves shares another world as well: the Chinese culture where women are not valued and can suffer abuse for just being female. Works by Native American Sherman Alexie, Hispanic author Sandra Cisneros, and Hmong writer Kao Kalia Yang provide many varied viewpoints for students to explore.

    And isn't that what we want as teachers, parents, and role models? For our children to explore, thoughtfully consider various perspectives, and develop informed opinions? Censorship in any form interferes with the evolution of open-minded readers.

    Maybe that's why the closed-minded book critics continue to fight.

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    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    How much is a million?

    If you wanted a swimming pool that would hold a million gallons, you'd better have a big yard. Your pool would have to be 267 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 10 feet deep.
    If you counted once per second, eight hours a day, seven days a week, it would take you a little over a month to count to one million.

    If you wanted to recall a governor and your organization needed to submit just over 500,000 petition signatures, gathering and submitting a million instead sends a strong message.

    Voters don't need a backyard pool that holds a million gallons. We'd rather take time to support our families than time to count to one million. But knowing that more than one million ordinary, everyday citizens are so disillusioned with their governor that they want to kick him out of office: now that's worth a million.

    Recall Walker Rally Sign

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    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Red hats or pink ribbons? Komen or PP?

    Political or financial? Policy or personal? Planned or --

    Folks, Komen et al knew what they were getting into when they made their poor decision. They didn't realize that women of all ages and all incomes and all faiths would jump straight to their computers and blog it, sing it to the world, and then donate money to Planned Parenthood.

    Two bloggers named Margaret and Helen posted about pink razors, Planned Parenthood, and politics. Please take a look at what they have to say. These two are done having babies, but they're not done taking care of women in the U.S. Here it is: Pink Razors.


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    Thursday, February 09, 2012

    Pocket Change or a Living Wage

    Living Wage: a salary or wages sufficient for paying basic expenses such as rent or mortgage, food, utilities, transportation, and the like.

    Pocket change: small amounts of money brought in to supplement a wage; not enough to be a living or a second job, but enough to help buy extras.

    Second job: supplements a main job in an attempt to bring total income up into the range of a living wage.

    Dear So-called Governor Walker;

    When you consider job-related legislation, please keep in mind the differences between the three defined above. In order to keep citizens in Wisconsin and discourage them from moving away, people need to earn a living, not just work. It seems you've grown out of touch with the people who actually pay bills regularly. Maybe those speaking engagements (out of state, raising big bucks from PACs and wealthy donors) are giving you the wrong impression: the impression that anyone and everyone has bucks to spare. To tell you the truth, most of us everyday citizens are grasping tightly every cent.

    So Gov. Walker, next time your entourage passes a yard sale, remember that the people there may really need the money to buy groceries. When you see a second-hand bookstore, consider that a struggling worker may have sold a stack of books to put a few gallons of gas in the car. Do you see the family cleaning closets and preparing clothing for a consignment store? They may be doing more than de-cluttering; they might be bringing in the cash to buy a workplace wardrobe for someone who hasn't yet received a paycheck. And if that paycheck isn't a living wage, well, can you really take credit for job creation in our state? No, I don't think so.

    My ramblings could move yet to the need for an educated workforce, but I know you don't understand that, either. Maybe if you'd taken the time to actually graduate from college, finish that degree, you could better understand the dedication and motivation it takes to accomplish a goal. A positive goal, that is: a goal that betters the individual and all those around him.

    In closing, Governor, if you really want Wisconsin to remain a great state, think outside the box -- your isolated, security-protected box. Make yourself aware that the living wage is an essential part of living, and a quality education is essential to get there.


    Did you notice I made my points without blowing my cover as a public school teacher? Clever, eh?

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    Tuesday, February 07, 2012

    Governor Walker, the frogs, and the hot water

    Do you know the one about the frog who escaped drowning? Two frogs accidentally hopping into a bucket full of cream. One gave up hope, sank, and drowned. The other kept kicking and kicking his legs, determined to escape and survive. Eventually his actions churned the cream into butter. The frog used the solid butter as a launching pad and hopped out of the bucket.

    In another frog fable, two frogs fell into tubs of water. The first frog fell into hot water. She reacted immediately to the scalding water and jumped out. The other frog fell into comfortably warm water. She settled in, enjoying the temperature. Gradually, however, the water became hotter and hotter. The temperature went up slowly, though, degree by degree, so the frog didn't notice until it was too late: she was about to boil to death.

    The second story was related in All the President's Men. Woodward and Bernstein, the journalists who investigated the Watergate scandals, said they'd felt like the second frog. With each story from each new source they peeled back one more layer, raised the heat one more degree. They actually became scared: what if this investigation reached the White House? What would that do to the country? But they were in too far to stop; the temperature kept rising.

    Now there's Walkergate, the investigation into illegal campaigning while on company time. That "company" is, notably, both public and taxpayer funded: the Milwaukee County Executive's office under Scott Walker. In Watergate, the question became one of integrity: what did Nixon know and when did he know it? That question has already come up for now-Governor Walker.

    Nixon had tapes, recorded conversations between himself and other high-ranking staffers. He or a staffer physically erased some of the more incriminating recording before the conversations could be made public.

    Walker has an electronic trail as well, but one that is harder to erase. His emails, date stamped and word-for-word quotable, are grounds for discussion and investigation. These email conversations might, if the investigation continues to heat up, be grounds for dismissal - or even arrest.

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    Monday, February 06, 2012

    Super Bowl Monday, Monday

    The last time the Patriots met the Giants in the Big Game, I wrote a post the next day. I pulled it up during halftime (sorry, Madonna fans) and reminisced a little.

    My excuse for Starbucks went something like this: I'd sure like to get a New York Times to see their sports coverage, so I might as well buy one where I can get good coffee.
    I've been walking to school more often, but school isn't far from the downtown Starbucks. I could still do this.

    I didn't see much of Peyton Manning. Last time these two teams met, Peyton was in a box (with camera on his every move) to watch his little brother. This time they're in his team's home stadium, but Peyton isn't there. His injury, potentially career-ending, is a factor, I'm sure. But not cheer on the brother?

    What's it like to be Mom Manning in a household with that much testosterone? Or is she just kind of like Wisconsin women, who know football and cheer as loudly as the men? If her older boys, Cooper and Peyton, are home with her watching the game, I hope they brought the beer.

    Last time these two teams met in the Super Bowl, the Patriots had gotten into some trouble earlier in the season for stealing signals by taking video of their opponents. They should have just stuck to Eating the Opponents like we do. We ate both last night, with a New York dish (Chicken Riggies) recommended by one of the reporters covering the Bowl for NY, and our standard New England clam chowder.

    Last time I wondered if Belichek was in a hurry to leave the field thinking, "Oh, well, now I can wash that filthy sweatshirt I've been wearing superstitiously all season. Might as well get at it right away." My students recently read and discussed a story about superstitions. I can't believe I didn't bring up Bill Belichek's ratty sweatshirt on the sidelines. Does he ever wash that thing? No, don't answer that.

    There were a lot of flags this year. Super Bowl being the best of the best in the NFL, I didn't expect to see so many errors. Tom Brady, a safety? Twelve men on the field or in the huddle? By the time a team arrives at the Big Bowl, this kind of penalty ought to be over and done with.

    Last time I also predicted that the Giants and Packers would meet again. They did meet in the postseason this year, with an outcome that was sad for those of us around Lambeau Field. Eli, we may meet again. But look out; next time the Packers are bringing their defense.

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    Saturday, February 04, 2012

    Chuck goes to the Super Bowl - sort of

    Chuck is working in Indianapolis this week. Nope, the Packers didn't get there. He's working, though, anyway. The Cliff Notes version is this: the owners of the station needed a satellite truck and an engineer to run it, and "his" was closest to Indy. There it is, folks, the little one on the left.

    Here's the view from the truck. That's one big parking lot full of TV trucks. Do people tailgate party in Indianapolis? Just wondering.

    Here's the view from - his window and balcony. Folks, all the hotels were booked up by the time Chuck was assigned to the job, so he and his working partner are renting a nearby studio apartment. How near? Take a close look. Introducing their "pet" squirrel, a small furry creature that shows up every morning begging for food.

    I'm a bit more concerned about the shop across the street. Chuck might just decide to go browsing for something to bring home.

    I guess I wouldn't mind - as long as he remembers that anything with two wheels is really for me, the loving wife, the only one in the house with a motorcycle drivers' license.


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    Friday, February 03, 2012

    My bio - profile - whatever

    I enjoy blogging. Writing is a natural form of expression for me. So why, when I have to write about myself, is it so difficult? I had to create an author bio for an upcoming piece on my employer's corporate blog. Aside from searching for pictures (I'm usually behind the camera), the biggest challenges was -- writing.

    After an hour, an hour at my desk in which I stared at the screen, shook myself out of my trance to loan out a math book, and took one phone call, I came up with this. I'm not sure I like it. Maybe it's fine. Maybe it stinks.

    I'll use my real name, of course. Daisy is my bloggy pseudonym and my plurk-twitter persona. I teach, write, and vote (with picture ID, of course) under my real name. Okay, I admit it, I changed a few identifying details for this post, too.


    Elementary Teacher, grade 5

    Middle School Teacher, grade 6 Language Arts and Math

    Interests include: music, organic gardening, green living, advocacy for disabilities, playing Trivia games

    Daisy graduated from Lovely University, a small liberal arts school in Wisconsin, with a Bachelor of Music degree. She returned to school at University of Wisconsin – GB to earn her elementary teaching license and followed up with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Creative Arts U.

    Daisy, better known as Mrs. Teacher, enjoys bringing the arts into her teaching whenever possible. Due to a progressive hearing loss, she no longer teaches music or judges festivals. Teaching at a virtual school offers the opportunity to continue applying her teaching skills and experience while taking advantage of her own personal geekiness. (Letting her personal geek shine? I don't know. I wanted to keep it light.)

    Why she is Passionate about Virtual Schooling

    One of Daisy’s favorite aspects of virtual teaching is getting to know parents and students through regular communication. This partnership of learning coaches (usually parents) with teachers provides a uniquely strong support network for students.

    Connections Academy continues to evolve as education and technology grow and develop. Daisy enjoys continually learning new ways of mixing technology with the personal touch to help her students reach their greatest potential.

    So there you have it, audience. Readers, suggestions?


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    Wednesday, February 01, 2012

    Letters to our "Leaders"

    Dear President Lincoln,
    You told us that "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I know you meant the nation's splitting into two, Union and Confederate, fighting brother against brother. Unfortunately, your statement would be apt today in my home state - Wisconsin.

    Dear State Senator Ellis,
    Do you remember your offhand, spontaneous, condescending statement from last Monday night? No, not the one making all the media. I'm talking about when you told my friend and professional colleague that if she didn't like teaching, she should get another job. She informed you in no uncertain terms that we, the dozens of teachers in attendance, love teaching. We hate what you've done to teachers.

    Dear Soon-to-be-Former Governor Walker,
    We love our jobs; we hate how you treat our profession. We used to be public employees, dedicating to educating today's children, tomorrow's workforce. Under your rule (reign? You seem to feel all-powerful and kingly), we've been changed from public servants to public enemies.

    Dear voters;
    Bring photo ID to the polls, and be prepared for long lines. Your vote counts! Let's get this state back to its progressive tradition. Let's elect leaders who lead by example, not by force.

    Let's elect legislators who lead not by dividing, but by uniting.

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    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.