Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our Other Grandpa

I've written several times about my dad here, but today is dedicated to our other Grandpa. Today CoolGuy's dad would have been 100 years old. Happy Birthday to him.

You may be doing the math and thinking, "Wait, CoolGuy is a geezer?" Not exactly...he was a caboose. His parents were grandparents already, about to enjoy their empty nest as their third son was set to graduate from high school, when---SURPRISE! Another little boy was born. CoolGuy was an uncle before he existed.
Grandpa was married just six months before the Great Depression was officially kicked off with the stock market crash of 1929. He and his dear little wife actually lived their first few months in a teepee in a sheep camp. By winter they'd moved into a house and they had three boys in the 1930's. He worked hard at whatever jobs he could get and taught his sons to be hard workers. All of them have been successful in their careers.
CoolGuy was almost 12 when his mom died. It was a really tough time for all of them. His dad remarried about two and half years later, and she has been a really fabulous Grandma for our kids. She also took good care of his dad as he got old and sick and nursed him well until he died about 20 years ago.

Here are some great photos of their family:

This is the "honeymoon teepee."

CoolGuy's talent with the internal combustion engine is an inherited trait. His dad had motor oil in his veins, too. He was once a mechanic for the Army.

This is CoolGuy and Grandpa with the packhorse string on a trailride. This was a family business from the 1960's in which they would take (rich) people, mainly from the East Coast, for a two-week long camping trip in the wilderness area around Yellowstone Park. It was a tremendous amount of work requiring experienced trail hands who could pack up the camp and move it to the next stop before the trailriders would arrive in the late afternoon. Of course, the camp couldn't be moved until breakfast had been cooked and served, all the lunches packed and the riders sent off. Then camp was broke, packed, hauled to the new stop, (on a shortcut trail to get around the paying riders) unpacked and set up again, in time to cook that night's supper. Whew. At least they would keep that camp for a few days before the marathon started again. CoolGuy is eight years old in this photo and on his first trailride with his dad. His mom worked as a telephone operator.

So, we salute our other Grandpa in this, his centennial year. The life his grandchildren live is so incredibly different from his hard-scrabble world. They've traveled all over the world and live in big cities. He lived so much of his life up in the mountains and really didn't like big cities. But he was a kind and gentle good man, and that trait has come down through the generations pure and clear. Thanks for the inheritance.

Friday, September 25, 2009

School Daze

Another nutty week in teacher land.

First, we had the little girl who, when cutting out pictures to glue on a paper to show how the water cycle works, turned to her seatmates and announced, "Look, I'm going to cut my lip." They of course all said, "Oh, no, don't do that." And she proceeded to actually use her scissors to, yes, cut a big gash in her lower lip. DUH...

I turned to see everyone gasping and exlaiming and her with both hands clapped over her face, blood seeping through the fingers. We rushed her up to the nurse. Mom came and took her away. Today, two days later, she is back with 6 or 7 stitches holding her lower lip together. It isn't at all swollen like I thought it would be. But then, there really wasn't any bruising trauma or blunt force, it was a pretty surgical cut--clean and quick. I don't get it at all.

Although, her previous teacher told me this morning that she didn't allow the child to have scissors at all in the last two grades because she would often cut other students' clothing. Gee, I wish I'd have known that. However, the scissors she used were her own, from her backpack.

Second, we were discussing the water cycle and how evaporation happens and that when water evaporates it leaves behind all the other non-waterish parts like minerals and salts. I asked if any of them had noticed that a glass that had contained a tiny bit of milk will eventually have just a smear of white on the bottom from the milk sugars after the water evaporates and a juice glass will just have a smear of fruit sugars, etc. Somehow, and I'm still trying to figure this out, we got from there to mammals feeding their babies milk. And that mothers feed their young milk from the mother's bodies, and I had two boys immediately deteriorate into the gasping, laughing, red-faced mode that sometimes happens whenever human body functions are mentioned.

But significantly, they both proclaimed complete ignorance of, and total disbelief in, the concept that mothers feed babies milk from their bodies. Any mammal mothers....I asked about dogs, horses, cats, cows??? Nope, never saw anything like that, didn't believe me, couldn't conceive of it.

By then, other kids were chiming in to back me up. In fact, one guy backed me up with, "I remember watching my mom feed my little brother from her boobies all the time." You can imagine the reaction we got then. Sigh. So, I just used my "quiet down gesture" and then said, "Well, since we're talking about science, we'll use the science terms--the milk comes from breasts or nipples, or udders, depending on the mammal."

As you can imagine, it didn't really calm things down all that much, but I bravely marched on and we returned to our original topic of the water cycle and evaporation and all that. But, first I implored that anyone who still needed information on the topic to sit down with their parents and talk about it. And to look up mammals on-line or in a book and get the facts. Really.

I'm not adverse to discussing it at all, but sheesh...decorum is needed ladies and gentlemen and that is in limited supply with nine year boys. Bless their hearts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sleeping Sickness

Wow, I spent the weekend alseep. I was really sick on Saturday and had a long nap. Then Sunday I went to church just to play the organ and then came home and had another long nap. Then I went to bed and slept for nine hours on Sunday night. I awoke Monday morning feeling terrible. I went over to school, wrote some substitute plans, attended a meeting to sign papers for a student who has qualified for some official special help and went home.

I thought I'd have a little nap, and woke up six hours later at 3:00 P.M. Whew. But today, I feel a little bit better and I went to school. I'm dead tonight.

Last night I told CoolGuy that I'd better be feeling like a ball of fire in the morning so I could go to school. Well, I only felt like a little glowing charcoal briquet, but that was enough. The glow is dimming, so I'll eat some supper and hit the pillow again. I don't know what this is, but sleep is the cure.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What's Up Here

It was a busy week. So busy, that I didn't even write anything on the blog. School is going well. By that, I mean that I don't have any students that I loathe, yet. I can handle my schedule. My co-workers (both new to our school) are competent and pleasant. I was observed by the principal and, even though it wasn't glowing, some really good things happened, so she wasn't too disappointed. Transitions are always a problem time in a class room. Think about getting your own child changed from one activity to another and then multiply that times 25, and consider that maybe 1/3 of them are not really there to learn, just to mess around, and you can see why transitions are a problem...

I'm still understanding the teacher in Introduction to Differential Statistics, my graduate class. We have a take-home quiz that I need to work on later tonight so that it will be finished on Wednesday. Then in class we will have the multiple choice part of the test. We are allowed to use anything we need from the notes we've taken, her powerpoint notes, and our text for the test. So, hopefully, my continued understanding of her lessons will enable me to at least know what formula I need to look up.

We had some visitors Friday and Saturday. They are the children of friends from Maryland. They are going to school at BYU and their cousin was being married here in Las Vegas, so he called to see if we would be willing to put them up overnight. They are really good friends, so of course we said yes. They were really here just to sleep, mostly, because of the wedding festivities all day Saturday. But it was funny, the guy's wife (it was a husband and wife and a cousin) is a music teacher at a high school in Payson. We were chatting over breakfast Saturday about music, naturally, and he turned to her and said, "Now think of your best AP student and then square their talent and double it, and that is Peter's musical appitude." He was referring to our son, his good friend from high school. The wife turned to him and patted his arm. "I know dearest, you've raved about him any number of times." Ha ha ha ha! It's fun to know someone who also thinks my kid is a genius!

I am sick, however. Whatever germ has been causing so many of our fourth graders to go home early with a fever, and then miss three more days of school attacked me on Friday. I mostly spent Saturday and Sunday lying on the couch coughing. I went to church to play the organ for Sacrament meeting, and then went home to sleep some more. If I feel this rotten tomorrow, I'll just go in and write sub plans and go home.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday Was a Special Day

They were tiny special things...but I enjoyed them.

1) I was in the craft/fabric store waiting in line behind a lady who was holding a twenty dollar bill. When the clerk rang up the total and turned and said, "$31. 53" the lady looked at her a minute without speaking. Then the clerk repeated the sum and finally the lady replied, "Treinta?" and several more words that neither I nor the clerk understood.

She picked up a couple of her items and gestured toward the register's screen. I saw the twenty dollar bill and realized what was going on. The clerk definitely did not have a clue. So, I pointed at the screen to the cost listed for each of the three items she was holding and said, "Seise, seise, seise..." Oh, the lady realized her problem. So she handed one of them to the clerk and gestured to return it and reduce the cost of her total. She had to do it with a couple of more items, and then the clerk declared, "$17.02" and everyone looked at me expectantly!

"Diecisiete...y dos centavos" I immediately blurted out. I was flabbergasted that I knew how to say 17 just like that! I usually have to count up to get the right number. And then, half the time I end up saying it in French instead. (My first foreign language counting encounter.) So, everyone smiled, she turned over her $20 and told me something about her casa and ingles and I nodded and smiled and said, "Si, ingles es muy dificil." Hopefully that translates to "English is very hard."

Imagine!! Me---translator! I'm sure my children and grandchildren who actually speak Spanish are cracking up.

2) So, I cooked dinner and Coolguy came in from the garage as I was finishing the "plating". He looked over my shoulder to see what I was fixing and said, "Oh, look, we're having [EarthSignMama] potatoes." Huh?

"You know...sweet potatoes--lucious, delectable, succulent, wonderful [EarthSignMama] potatoes."

Ahhhh... :)

Friday, September 11, 2009


Well, it just can't be a good thing when three out of three of your teachers contact your mom in one week. Hmm.

This morning we had conversations with a mom of a boy new to our school. She'd come over to see who was threatening her son. But, I had called and left a message last night about the need for a talk about his behavior. And, unknown to me, the other two teachers had also called her this week!!

It turned out that, indeed, a boy had been trash-talking him this week, and then had met up with him outside one day at dismissal and shoved him. This was to head-off the big-brother-from-middle-school threat. But, still, you can't put hands on other kids. Anyway...the shover was sent home for the day, a mandated result of committing physical violence.

Then the boy who'd stated he was calling in the big brother reinforcements had to own up that, yes, he had called the other kid names, he had been acting out in class all week, he had told everyone that his big brother was going to come over and kick some butt.

I heard mom saying as they left the office, "Now you'd better be telling me everything this time, you hear? Because when all three teachers call me and none of them knew the other one had called and they all have the same story, it isn't a good thing." No, indeedy, not a good thing.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

At the End of the Day

We rode about 120 miles today on the motorcycle. Not all at once, of course, but eventually. The weather was marvelous--sunny, cool breeze, clear and beautiful. I remembered the sunscreen this time. Last year, I fried my face because I forgot how it is in Southern California. Even if there is a cloud cover, you are getting the rays. But, I greased up good today, and so tonight I'm just a little pink.

However, that 120 miles...Let's just say that the backseat of CoolGuy's motorcycle isn't really made for that much sitting at once. Or perhaps it's not the motorcycle's seat, but my "seat" that is no longer up to the challenge. At any rate, I'm rather tired tonight and it's too bad my hot tub is in Las Vegas.

But the most painful part of my body is the bottom of my feet. I have blisters. CoolGuy says that only I could spend all day on a motorcycle and end up with blisters on the bottom of my feet. Well, it's because of the hiking. We spent some time driving around looking at a couple of different state beach campgrounds. When we got to one of them, I wanted to go look around at the campsites and then I started following the trail that led to the beach (under the highway, around the corner.) Well, it was a rather long trail, turned out. And I didn't want to give up because next spring when I'm booking my campsite for the August Go-Camping-at-the-Beach-with-Grandpa-&-Grandma I wanted to have some good data for choosing a great beach. As I hiked up the trail from the beach, back to the parking lot, I could feel the blisters starting on the sole of my right foot, right by my big toe. Tonight it is a huge swollen blob. The left foot isn't so bad, but it is very tender.

You know why cowboys ride horses all the time, right? It's because it kills your feet to walk in those boots very far. So, anyway, after putting all those miles on the bike, my biggest problem is sore feet. Weird, huh?

Another Reason to Be a Good Person...

...Just in case the Buddists are right about the scheme of the universe....

You might qualify to be reincarnated as a Golden Retriever.

Who lives at the beach.

And whose owner has a tennis ball.

Nirvana defined.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Not-Laboring Day

We got up and drove south till the thermometer in the truck dropped 30 degrees. And here we are at the ocean! We are in Ventura for the Primer Nationals, a show we attended last year and it was fun and -- hey, it doesn't take much motivation for me to go to Ventura.

CoolGuy (aptly named) got a reservation at the Inn on the Beach. Just outside the sliding glass door of our room is the beach. A well-chosen moniker for this motel, c'est non? So, we unloaded the motorcyle from the trailer, put all of our stuff in the room and I headed out to the ocean.

It is a perfect beach day. I swam, I splashed, I body-surfed. Drat, I forgot the boogie board....Then I laid on the beach for a while to catch my breath.

After I washed the seaweed out of my hair, we got on the motorcycle and rode over to our favorite (because it was our first experience with the cuisine) Thai restaurant, Charn House, in Camarillo, and had a succulent supper at their sidewalk table. It is really a pleasure to just be outdoors and be comfortable. I've become aclimated to the desert, and I don't whine all the time about the temperatures, but the contrast is extremely vivid when you're in the perfect climate of SoCal.

Tomorrow we'll go look at all the old cars and motorcycles and freaks and their chicks. We'll just be another couple of geezers wandering around looking at cars and bikes as old as we are. It'll be fun.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Things I Like

I like salmon cakes. One of my daughters made them for us at dinner last year, and I'd never had them before. it's one of my favorites.

I like Green Day. Yeah, I know. I'm an old lady. But I still like several of their songs. I was an old lady when they first came out, but I was introduced to them by one of my sons and I thank him for that.

I like mango salsa. This was served to me by another of my sons, who happens to be a terrific cook and I don't believe I'd really eaten it before. Wow. It is awesome. Now our house will always have a mango ripening on the counter, when they're in season, of course.

I like LOL Cats. It's a website that is absolutely ridiculous! You must click on the link. Then I dare you to leave the site in less than 15 minutes. You won't be able to because you'll need to see "just one more" and you'll laugh and find you need to forward at least three of them to your friends. I was introduced to it my other daughter and I love it!

I like riding bicycles. I didn't have a bike when I was a child. That sounds so sad, huh? But, ahem...I had a horse. It was much more functional on the farm. However, when my oldest son became a teen, he really got into mountain biking. He subscribed to a magazine, he went out with friends, he got the merit badge. He made it look so fun that I bought a bike. My first, ever. Wow. I loved it! It's been a few years since I've owned one, but I'm saving up for another. In California I rode mine every day, everywhere. Thanks for introducing your mom to a great thing.

Thanks to all of my children for bringing new ideas into my life. It's one of the best parts of motherhood.