Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

The following is from the U.S. Memorial Day History and Information website:

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day... It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his
General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

After World War I the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.

How can we observe Memorial Day today? According to the website:

The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:
  • by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.

  • by visiting memorials.

  • by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.

  • by flying the 'POW/MIA Flag' as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act).

  • by participating in a "National Moment of Remembrance": at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played.

  • by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our falled dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.
The words to "Taps":

(Note: there are no "official" words to Taps
below are the most popular.)

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,This we know,
God is nigh.

In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day.

Below are pictures from 2001 when C was in scouts and his troop (along with several other troops from our area) placed flags at the gravesites at Mountain Home National Cemetery.

It was very moving to see those boys decorate the cemetery. As you can see above, the scout would plant the flag, step back, read the tombstone, and salute. There were times when I felt that I was intruding.

Happy Memorial Day! Remember: Freedom isn't free.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's a Thriller...or not

You know what it is like at work when you get ready for vacation? Making sure everything is taken care of before you leave; cleaning off your desk even more then you do for the weekend. Teachers do the same thing before summer break. (I prefer to call it a break.) Only teachers make sure their valuables are locked up or packed up and taken home. But the excitement is still there. It's also a time for me to look back at the year I just had.

All in all, this was a good year teaching wise. In one sense it was unusual. Can't put my finger on it exactly, but I'm not the only teacher that feels that way. I had challenges, both in the concepts I taught and the classroom management.

Teachers do strange things to keep their students' attention. At least, I think I do. I have acted like an old southern Baptist preacher--"preaching" my lesson. (Example: "Now let me tell ya, brothers and sisters!") I've taught my students songs to help them remember: (to the tune of the William Tell Overture--scroll to 2:09) "Take the change, take the change, take the change in y..." (Oh, that's the beginning of the definition of slope.) I acted like Erkel (from Family Matters), pulling up my pants: "I'm going to wear you down!!"

This year, I did a very small part of Michael Jackson's "Thriller". That led one student to tell me if I would do the dance, he'd pay attention and try. OK! I'll do the "Thriller" on the last full day of school. I figured that would give me time to learn the dance (and make a fool of myself) and possibly allow time for the student to forget! Well, he told his then girlfriend who was in another period and she made me pinky swear. Later, he was sent to the alternative school (out of school suspension) for the rest of the year and she told me she would be going on homebound for the rest of the year. Yes! I'm off the hook.

But, then, she didn't go on homebound and kept reminding me. Ok, ok. I will do it on the last full day of school (which, by the way, was yesterday, Thursday). And he returned this last week of school. Oh, my. I better learn the dance. So I went to YouTube and found a video that taught you how to do the dance and seemed easy to learn. (No, it wasn't exactly like the real one, but it was close enough.) On Wednesday evening (because I actually forgot until then), I learned the dance.

Thursday morning, my iPod in hand (downloaded the video to help), I watched one last time. First period...7:45. He's not here. No one mentioned "Thriller." One down, one to go.

Fifth period...12:10...she's not here. No one mentioned "Thriller." Whew! I didn't have to do it...but then again the motivation just wasn't strong enough because neither showed up to class. (I saw him second period...he was tardy to school.)

I learned something new. I like that.

Now, to review my schedule to see what is in store for me the next eight weeks: a math workshop, a symposium, two technology workshops, and 2 conferences. Yep, I like to learn!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Wednesday (already?)

It's Wednesday. That means it's Random Dozen for me. Link up and join the party.

1. Would you rather host party or simply attend a party?

Depends what type of party it is; however, since the parties I've hosted have been a bust (no one showed), I'd say it's better for me to attend a party.

2. Tell us about the most memorable party you've been to.

One of my wedding showers. No guests came so it was just me, my mom, and the two friends who hosted the shower. Both of my friends had just gotten married themselves so they told lots of stories that they probably wouldn't have had told if anyone else was there.

3. What is one thing you hope for in the after-life?

To see Jesus Christ.

4. What do you enjoy most about sunshine?

The light

5. When you attend a bridal/baby shower, do you prefer to bring your own gift or chip in with others to buy a larger gift?

Depends...If it is someone I know well, I'd prefer to bring my own gift. If it is someone I don't know very well, I prefer to chip in.

6. Would you rather have a FREE week of having your house cleaned or all of your meals cooked for you and your family?

Meals cooked, no hesitation there.

7. What song describes your mood today?

Uh, what song goes with a gray cloud? I was in a really bad mood this morning...but please don't suggest "Gray skies are gonna clear up." You'll just make it worse.

8. What is something you received for your own bridal shower/wedding that you still own or use? (If you are not married, feel free to sub a gift you received a long time ago.)

How funny! Just about an hour ago I decided to really clean my waffle iron that I received for a wedding gift 27 years ago. We used it last night. (It was a breakfast-for-dinner type of night.)

9. Your favorite flavor of ice cream is?


10. When was the last time you felt "tested?"

This morning. She wanted to use the restroom so I told her to go see our discipline principal about her top. (Did I tell you I was in a bad mood this morning and the first thing she does when she comes in, late, is talk to the guys around her?) Couldn't find the principal so the graduation coach said it was okay. Are you kidding???!!!??? I marched straight to the graduation coach and asked, "Are you kidding me?" Her response: "I didn't even notice her top. I asked her about..."

11. "[Fill in the blank] is a food that once I start eating I find really hard to stop."

Milk chocolate (or maybe anything sweet)

12. "-----" is the best motivation.

Ouch! This is a very hard one for me. I'm thinking simple gratification.

For the record, I did not read any other Random Dozens first!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Show Us Your Life -- Show Us Your Hometown -- Tri-Cities TN

This Friday's "Show Us Your Life" is to show you my hometown. I do not consider myself living in one town. I live in one town, work in another, and shop in yet another. The area I live is referred to as the Tri-Cities, TN.

The Tri-Cities is home to a very popular NASCAR race.

There are many colleges in my hometown:

There are also many festivals throughout our area:

Blue Plum Festival
Fun Fest
Rhythm and Roots...just to name a few.

Each major city has a sports complex and very good schools. The county schools are very good also.

We are surrounded by mountains and lakes.
We also have one of the few drive-in movie theaters in the country! there is also something fun and interesting to do!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thank you, St. Anthony!

I feel that I misplace things...alot. Maybe I am getting old. Maybe I just have too much "stuff." I'm thankful that St. Anthony helps me find what I'm looking for!

St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost items. When I can't find something, I say a little prayer for him to help me and intercede on my behalf. Then I find it!

My mom introduced me to St. Anthony. She told me a story about how her mom was looking for something (I have forgotten what it was...maybe a button?) She had searched everywhere, including the top of a chest of drawers. She said a prayer to St. Anthony, ran her hand over the top of the dresser again, and found the item! Could that really be true, I wondered?

Well, yes, it can! We were vacationing when the boys were 6 and 2. For L, it was a working vacation (worked in the morning, then spent time with us). Unfortunately, it rained the first 2/3 days...2/3 days in a 2 bedroom condomium with 2 very active boys! When it stopped raining, I rented two bicycles--one for N and one for me with a carrier for C. We also had helmets (of course!). Having those bicycles saved our vacation!

Until the evening before the last day, L took the boys out on the bikes while I finished packing. He came back asking about those little foam pieces that velcro in the helmets that help the helmet fit those little heads. Yes, C had taken his helmet off and took those little black-on-one-side/gray-on-the-other-side foam pieces off while they were riding on the black asphalt paths that meander through the little community with dark mulch on each side of the black asphalt paths! Do you think you could find them?

I took the boys out that next morning thinking how in the world are we going to find them? I stopped N and told him we needed to ask St. Anthony to help!! Guess what? We found each and every one of them!!

Just recently, I was searching for a CD that has Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" comedy routine. (I wanted to use it in class.) I looked everywhere! I asked St. Anthony for help. Suddenly, while driving down the road, I thought: "Look in the other car!" Yep, that's where it was!

Last year, I was looking for a booklet I borrowed from my school's library. When I remembered I had it, I looked everywhere! Could not find it. Did not ask St. Anthony for help. Found it a year later. (Good thing the library didn't charge a daily past due fee!)

St. Anthony has helped me many times! There is even a little poem you can say:

Tony, Tony
come around
something's lost
and can't be found!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I need to explain

My last post had a couple of comments I need to comment on.

One comment stated my son would enjoy a home cooked meal...then the next comment said that made her laugh.

I don't enjoy cooking. I don't like deciding what to fix for supper. I don't like going to the grocery store. Whenever my husband says, "Do you want to go get something to eat?" I don't hesitate.

So, will my son get a home cooked meal? Yes, he's already had several. And we've only had leftovers once. C is an athlete...working out every day. Tonight when he asked what we were having he said, "hamburgers? yes!"

Maybe I don't have a specialty, but my guys enjoy the chili, the broccoli ham ring, the potato salad, and the deviled eggs I fix. Oh, yeah...L likes the quiche I fix too. (Real men do eat quiche!) They don't starve.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

He's Home!

C is home for the summer. He arrived home last Wednesday. He'll be leaving June 14 to fulfill an ROTC summer obligation--on the other side of the country! So for now

my grocery bill will increase

my water bill will increase

my electric bill will increase

I'll have more dishes to wash

I'll have more laundry to do
(actually he does his own)

I'll have more conversations with him

I'll get more hugs from him

I'll worry a little less

My joy is increased!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm Sooooo Excited!!

I am a math teacher; however, I am not a math geek. I like doing math problems but there are times when others are talking math and I'm thinking, "Huh?!? What in the world are you saying?"

I am a techie wannabe. I really enjoy teaching my students to use technology. Especially Texas Instrument's newest generation calculator -- excuse me, it's not a's a handheld...that's how powerful it is.

The TI Nspire is a great tool for a math teacher. I first learned about the Nspire about three years ago. I was able to purchase one for myself but was having trouble learning how to use it on my own. I met a wonderful math teacher from a school located in the middle area of my state. She met me at my parents' home one Saturday over a year ago and taught me how to use the handheld. She then told me about a grant that the state was securing to have teachers train on the Nspires and teach other teachers how to use them. She encouraged me to apply for the program. I was accepted...that meant I received a class set (30) of the handhelds. But, I had to do presentations...300 face hours total. I've had since June of 2009 until June 2010. Today, I hit 303 hours!!!! If I didn't get the 300 hours, I would have had to return the handhelds. :(

That is why I am so excited today!!

Now, I just have to submit two more activities to TI's activity exchange and attend one more training session, which I am already prepared to do.

I loved doing those presentations. I'm already planning to do more this summer.

I am now one step closer to keeping those handhelds!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Raise My Glass to You, Mom

Happy Mother's Day!

Mom, I want to thank you for

giving me life

raising me to be a lady

listening to my silly girl problems,
then my silly young lady problems,
then my silly wife/mother problems

teaching me how to listen

teaching me to appreciate music in all forms

showing me how to me a good wife and a good mother

being there when I needed you

being my mommy, mom, and mother

I raise my glass to you!

I love you!

Here is a picture of my mother-in-law and my mom, October 16, 1982.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother = Worrywart

I always thought when your children grew older you worry less. Boy was I wrong! Seems that as they have grown I've worried more. I know we are not suppose to worry. Matthew 6:34 says "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. " But yet I worry...I think that is one of the job descriptions of a mother.

My worry with my children began before they were born. While pregnant with my first son, I dreamt that I just walked out and left him. (Why in the world would I do that?) For me, that is a nightmare. With my second son, my alphafetaprotein (I spelled that wrong I know) level was high and I was told to make a choice as to whether to terminate the pregnancy.

My children were healthy growing up...just the usual childhood illnesses and scrapes and bruises. But you still worry when their temperature is high or they don't sleep. I remember my son's pediatrician's nurse saying N had "pretty knees". Pretty knees? They had scabs on them! She told me that the scabs meant he was getting out and playing! (I'm glad he had pretty knees.)

As they grew, I worried about the friends they chose to run around with. Fortunately, they made good choices. Both continue to communicate with a couple of their high school friends.

And dating? Well, I worry that they aren't dating! They both are leading unsettled lives right now that serious dating is out of the question. C was seeing someone in high school which I worry that I broke up. One day I told him to be careful about getting serious (I felt like they were). She was graduating h.s. early and going to another country on a mission trip then to Pennsylvania for college. The next thing I know, they aren't seeing each other. (Did I do that?)

I worry about their happiness. Are they happy with the paths they have chosen? N is right now on the disable list due to having surgery for a torn lateral meniscus. He is out for 4 - 6 weeks. When C decided to commit to the Army, we asked if he was sure. He said, "Is anyone every really sure about the choices they make?" (Yes, Army. So soon I'll have something else to worry about.)

But maybe worrying is good. When I start to worry too much, I turn to prayer. God told those of us who are heavily burdened to turn to Him and He will carry the yoke. So I pray...for my a mother.

To all you ladies: Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Answers to Random Dozen

When doing Random Dozen, I cheat...I read others before I answer. Why? It makes it easier for me to answer!

1. What was the last thing about which you procrastinated?

What do I not procrastinate about? (Refer to my second post.)

2. How long does it take you to fall asleep, and do you sleep through the night?

Lately, it takes me awhile to fall asleep. Don't know why. I've been praying a lot of rosaries lately. (A rosary is a group of 10 "Hail Marys" called a decade. There are 5 decades in a rosary with a "Lord's Prayer" between each decade.) It's rare that I don't fall asleep before I finish. Mom told me once that my guardian angel finishes it for me.

I don't always sleep through the night. If my husband gets up through the night, I usually hear him or when he comes back to bed.

3. Which decade would you choose to exemplify your favorite fashion styles?

I like the 40s/50s style...that business/professional look. Don't care for the footwear though.

4. What is your personal best dish to feed a crowd?

I don't usually feed a crowd. But I have made cowboy beans to take to a pot luck before.

5. Are you an impulse shopper? What was the last thing you bought on impulse?

I'm not an impulse shopper.

6. What is one wish you have for your own funeral?

I want everyone to celebrate my life...both the old I left and the new one I went to. (I also want the songs On Eagles Wings and Hail Mary to be played/sung.)

7. If it's true that joy is in found in the simple things in life, what does your joy look like today?

My students participated in the activity and enjoyed it.

8. What is your favorite type of bread?


9. What trait do you fear developing the most? (Laziness, greediness, grumpiness, etc.)

I can't think of the name...I don't want to become insensitive, especially to the needs of the people around me.

10. What trait would you like most to develop?


11. Which room in your house best reflects your personality? Why?

I don't think any room reflects my personality...does that mean I don't have a personality?

12. How do you maintain balance in your life regarding, work, family, church, other organizations and activities, and blogging?

Who says I do? Seriously, it's not so bad now that the boys are gone. Keeping a calendar helps. Making sure I have down time is important to me.

Hope you had a great day today and an even better one tomorrow!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Class Rings

Wow, this week went by fast! Almost as fast as last week!

Many of you know that I am a high school math teacher. I prefer that my students use a pencil in class...I require it on quizzes and tests. So, if a student doesn't have a pencil, they may borrow one from me. But, they must give me something of value (a teaching moment -- they are learning about collateral!). Students have given me many things. My favorites are cell phones, wallets, and keys. I have been given compacts, chap stick, money, backpacks, and in-school suspension notices. One day this week a student wanted to borrow a pencil but said he didn't have anything to give me. I happen to see his class ring and suggested that. "I am not going to give you a $500 ring for a pencil!!" $500??!!?? for a high school ring???!!! That got to me thinking about class rings.

I still have my high school class ring. It is sorely in need of a cleaning. I like the stone (garnet...the closest thing to our school color) and think maybe, one day, I'll take it and have it reset (along with some other stones that are set in pins I received from previous jobs). We received our rings when we were sophomores so we could wear them at least two and half years. I think I wore mine a year after high school, I just don't remember. It is a mini man's ring really. We may have had a choice of the smaller, more dainty rings, but there wasn't and isn't anything dainty about me. I didn't buy a college ring. I dropped out and when I went back I was working 40 hours, had a toddler and husband to worry about. (My husband did give a Monte Blanc pen for graduation!)

My husband still has his high school ring. I wore it one year as a Halloween prop. I dressed up as a 50/60 teeny bopper. I wore his ring on a chain, pulled my hair back in a pony tail with a scarf, jeans, and his college letter jacket (another item that is usually worn a couple of years depending on when you get the letter). I have no idea how long he wore his ring (I met him after he graduated college) and he did not have a college ring.

Neither of my sons got a high school ring. By that time, the rings were over $100. Both said they didn't see buying something that costly that will only be worn a couple of years. (They are so smart!)

My oldest son did buy a college ring...I don't think he had a choice. Where he went, it is a tradition to get a ring. They even have a special ceremony when they receive their rings. It is all about tradition. They call it "Ring Weekend." We went up and joined the festivities. It is really amazing to watch the ceremony and how excited the cadets get. (I think they are just excited about getting away from base for the weekend!) The freshmen get to harrass the seniors after the seniors receive their rings. It is the only time the freshmen have an opportunity to get back at the seniors. The freshmen recite this:

"Oh my god, sir/ma'am! What a beautiful ring! What a crass mass of brass and glass! What a bold mold of rolled gold! What a cool jewel you got from your school! See how it sparkles and shines? It must have cost you a fortune! May I touch it, may I touch it please, sir/ma'am?"

It's called "the Ring Poop." The freshmen scream this. When N was a freshman, he called and held the phone out so I could hear. It was loud. It's funny, too.

N got me a replica of the top of his ring. Next to my engagement ring, it is the most expensive piece of jewelry I own. I always get compliments when I wear it. They call it a mother's pendent. For the dads, it is a tie tack or lapel pin. L doesn't wear either, so he didn't get one.

I think N's ring is here at home with us. He doesn't wear it much anymore.

My younger son's college also has a special celebration. I remember him telling me when he was a freshman that his mentor gave C his ring to hold until the celebration, "Ring Dance" I believe is what they call it. Couldn't believe a freshman would be asked to hold someone's class ring...more tradition. But C has decided not to get a college ring. I kept asking if he was sure. He told me he would probably not wear it much and didn't see any reason to buy one.

I remember my younger sister wore our mom's nursing school ring for a while. Did you get a class ring? Do you still have it? Do you still wear it?