Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Times...they are a changin'

30 years ago....notes were taken on paper with a pen or pencil; today we have laptops, iPads, and Palm Pilots.

30 years ago...you found books at the library or a bookstore, you held a book in your hand an dogeared pages to keep your place; today we have Kindles, Nooks, and iPads with millions of books at the touch of a button.

30 years ago...you could call a company or business and the phone was answered by a real, live person; today we are greeted by a recorded voice who prompts us to "press one", "press two" , "enter the extension number of your party followed by the pound key."

30 years ago...we wrote letters, made phone calls, and met friends at the local hangout; today we interact through email, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

30 years ago...Microfiche was cutting edge technology which helped you locate your research topics in books in the library or newspaper; today the internet brings information to our fingertips twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

30 years ago...cameras used film and photos took several days to process; today we photos are seen instantly on a digital screen.

30 years ago...telephones were land lines and were located in our homes (some still attached to the wall via a curly cord), and only made phone calls; today cell phones fit easily in our pockets and contain texting, internet, digital cameras, address books, music players, games, and can make calls.

30 years ago...cable tv offered around 30 channels and was available in towns or cities, those of us in rural areas got 3 channels from an antenna (if the weather was just right); today satellite tv provides us with 300+ channels and kids complain "there's nothing on tv!"

30 years ago...kids were taught respect and responsibility at home, parents sided with teachers, and corporal punishment was common practice and accepted; today many parents are absent, respect has been replaced by entitlement, teachers are often told, "what happens at school is your problem", and spanking in school can be grounds for a lawsuit.

If the increase in technology means the demise of good, moral character have we truly improved society?  If the answer is yes, what does the future hold?  What has happened to personal interaction?  I despise the "self checkout" lanes in stores, and think we are losing something very important by replacing people with machines. 

Though we may worry and wonder what the future will bring, we can always count on one thing....
     For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to
                 harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
   Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oh, Food Network....

you've done it again, and I'm not disappointed!

I've been waiting all week for this new show with the Pioneer Woman, and it was definitely worth the wait!  (This woman cooks food that my family will actually eat with ingredients you can find in rural Arkansas....she's in rural Oklahoma....no black truffles and fresh lobsters around these parts.

Ree Drummond aka: the Pioneer Woman. 

So, what was the fantastic gastronomical delights she had today....chicken fried steak!  You just can't beat a good chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and white gravy.  I've had to wipe the drool from my chin more than once this morning.  

Chicken fried steak....be still my heart!
So, all this Food Network goodness has put me in the mood to cook....I hope the mood is still with me after I get this house cleaned. ......

Monday, August 22, 2011

15 Years....

....That is the number of years I have been a teacher in the Arkansas public school system.  I've learned many things in the last 15 years, so I thought I'd share a few with you, just in case you might choose to go into the field of education, or if you've ever just wondered....(I wonder about things like that)

Here you go, here are my top 10 in random order (aka: the order they pop into my head):

1.(because this is the one that is bugging me today)  Energy drinks, (such as Amp, Nos, Monster, Rockstar, Red Bull, or the numerous other caffeine laden sugar laced liquid of choice) should NOT be sold to anyone under the age of 20, ESPECIALLY before 5 pm!  (this will give said obnoxious side effects to run through the system of a teenager before they must report back to school. 
.... but wait, there's more.....  Should these companies balk at the idea of not selling these products to teens, they should be forced to spend 8 hours locked in a room with Monster swilling teens, while making them fill in the bubbles on a standardized testing form.  I think we would definitely see a change in sales policies.

2.  Spending exhorbitant amounts of money on jeans with holes is just.....stupid.  Give me the same amount of cash you spend on a new, torn up pair of Silver jeans and I will soon be able to purchase that mobile Mac lab for students.  Should you still want jeans with holes, go buy a cheap pair and sign up for a shop class....preferably welding....trust me, using a welder or a grinder will soon put many stylish holes in your jeans.  I know this because the hubs welds and we have many, many pairs of jeans and long sleeved shirts with stylish holes...they are even singed around the edges so not to fray, and all it cost was the price of regular old pair of Wranger 13MWZ's. 

3.  Teachers do not want to see the color of your underwear.  We would prefer you keep it covered at all times.  This also includes cleavage (for girls), and the slogan "Say NO to crack" applies to more than just drugs.

Four. (yeah, my numeral four key is broken...it was the result of an unfortunate orange soda accident....which is my next little tip)  If you have your own, personal children in your classroom after school, ban them from your desk, especially if they are arguing with each other and one happens to have an orange soda in his hand.

5.  Be a lifelong learner, listen, be open to new ideas and thoughts....though it is still very difficult for me not to think of Pluto as a planet.  Poor Pluto, wonder how he feels about being demoted?  (and you thought I was going say something really profound when you read that first sentence!)

6. Go when you can, not when you have to.  Roadtrip bathroom rules apply for school days, too, the minute you walk out of that classroom, chaos will ensue. (This one is especially helpful for new teachers.)

7.  Your classroom is not a democracy, it's a dictatorship, you are Hitler...or Ghengis Khan....or Ivan the Terrible....or Leona Helmsley.  Let them know that the first day, but also let them know dictatorships can be fun if they will obey.

8.  Air freshener, Scentsy, Febreeze, and other good smelling products are your friends, keep them on hand at all times.....especially if you have 8th grade boys in the afternoon.....

9.  Teachers are allowed to act goofy (at times) and make mistakes, and when we laugh at our mistakes it makes us more "real".  Teachers can also sing to their students....lovely little ditties that will be stuck in their heads the rest of the day....it's a form of mind control...."Oh where is my hairbrush, oh where is my hairbrush, oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where, oh wheeeeeerrrreeee, is my hairbrush!"  (works on students from grades 7-12, I have not yet had the opportunity to test it on younger victims, but now all I have to say is "Do I need to sing the HAIRBRUSH song?" 

10.  You will not change every single child that comes through your room, but don't stop trying to change the world;  if you make an impact on one, you have touched the future.  Results aren't immediate, it may take several years to know you have had a positive influence on a young life; it is worth the wait.

11. (yes, I said 10, but I also said as they pop into my head, so here's a bonus tip)  Sometimes kids don't need to listen, they need to talk and be heard.  We teach, but we also listen.  You never know what is going on in the home or the life of one of your students, always remember, "Be kind to everyone, you never know what kind of battle someone is fighting." 

I can have fun with the tips, but as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher.  I remember lining stuffed animals up in chairs and teaching them things on a little slate (yes, I was a huge fan of Laura Ingalls and just had to have one of those little slates.  If you don't know what a slate is, look it up....be a lifelong learner.)  Yes, I could make lots more money being a graphic designer, but a part of me would be missing.  I love my job, I love my school, and I love my kids....all my kids....even the ones who show up with an energy drink.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Life's a whirlwind!

The last few weeks of summer have been nothing less than a flurry of activity!  My great intentions of blogging more this summer just didn't happen.....the sad part; I actually had something fun to blog about!  We had a nice mini vacation in Florida, but I was sans computer....and I didn't hate it!

Here's the summer in a nutshell:
Memphis, weddings, workshops, t-ball, dolphins, swimming, bicycles, roadtrips, family, battleships, beaches, Loretta, and FLORIDA!

Yep, F-L-O-R-I-D-A! Casey was in a wedding in Florida so the boys and I loaded up and went, too. It was so nice and relaxing, and so much fun to see Austin & Logan as they saw the ocean for the first time.

So, enough with words....let's have some pictures!

Nicole and Brendan Shay.  It was so much fun shooting their wedding photos!

My little T-ball player and his cutie coach!  (Love these guys!)

Winter the dolphin.  She's a movie star, but look closely, her tail is missing.  She is the star of the movie Dolphin Tale coming out this fall.  She actually has a prosthetic tail, but she wasn't wearing it in this picture. 

This kid could definitely be a beach bum, he LOVED it....and he loved bringing me sandcrabs...gotta love those boys!

Well, it only took about 20 shots to get the youngest child to act somewhat serious and let me take a beach picture.

My boys wading in the Gulf of Mexico at sunset.

For some pictures there are no words....let's just say it was a loooong roadtrip and you found entertainment where you could.  Casey loves taking pictures of herself...I was driving, I had no control over the camera at this point.

Thanks to a GPS who sent us the long way to Mobile, AL, we found out that Guin, Alabama is home of the POST IT! Who knew?!! 

Rear guns of the USS Alabama.  Look right under the gun on the left, those tiny little things are folding chairs.  Yeah, aren't you glad you weren't flying a Japanese plane during WWII...me, too.

Boys love guns.

It's not often you can take a little rest on an anchor chain.

Florida sunset.

Casey & Mary Kate on Signal Point, Signal Mtn., TN

Signal Point....beautiful!

Lookout Mtn., TN  That's the city of Chattanooga in the distance.

The boys weren't too keen on posing, but look who was. 

A little sidetrip on the way home....waved, just in case Loretta was home and looking out the window.  I'm sure she didn't know we were going to drive by or she would have run right out! LOL.

See that blue and white sign in the middle, yep that says ARKANSAS...it was the prettiest sign I saw on the whole trip, even with dead bugs splattered and crusted on the windshield.

Whew!  I'm tired now, summer was busy, but it was definitely fun.