My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thank yous and Zarfs

Tuesday’s Blog Prompt: On September 29, 1789, the U.S. Congress passed an act that officially established the U.S. Military. What would you write in a letter to a serviceman or servicewoman who is currently serving our country overseas.

Dear Men and Women serving in our armed forces,
No words will ever be enough to show my appreciation for all that you have done for our country. You have risked your lives and sacrificed time that you could be spending with your own families. Every time I talk to my father, he reminds me what a great country we live in and to be thankful for all the people who work to keep our country free. He escaped to the USA from China in 1949 from the communists with a wife, a toddler, and an infant. After visiting China for the first time in 2000 for 30 days, I appreciated my own country more than ever. If it wasn’t for people like you who are willing to take the risks and make major sacrifices, I know we would not be able to live the way we do. Thank you!
Wednesday’s Blog Prompt: In 1894 Walter Hunt invented the safety pin. What invention(s) do you think really took off in a direction not anticipated?

I believe the zarf has taken off bigger than anticipated. Do you know what a zarf is? It is the cardboard sleeve that fits around a hot coffee cup. I just wish I was the one who had thought of inventing it.

Travel Notes:
Today we headed towards Washington DC but stopped along the way at antique stores. I bought 11 Tom Clark Gnomes for about 70% of the original price. We also stopped in Danville, VA at the Tank Museum which is pretty cool. I have a meeting this weekend so I will be busy.

Original image: 'iraq' http://www.flickr.com/photos/35703177@N00/858578052
Original image: 'Coffee Sleeve' http://www.flickr.com/photos/64419960@N00/3361053645 by: Mykl Roventine

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good Neighbors

Blog Prompt: Today is “Good Neighbor Day.” Make a list of everything you can do to be a good neighbor for those who live around you.

We have the best next door neighbors and we try to help each other all that we can. When I moved in, I had gotten a trailer load of mulch for my flower beds and my neighbor came over to help me spread it. When either of us take vacations, we water each other’s plants. We give a key to each other’s house in case something happens. We collect each other's mail if we need to. One time I forgot to pay my natural gas bill and asked my neighbor to go tell them that we were on vacation and would pay as soon as we got back (we live in a very small town). Instead, they went and paid the bill! We have gone shopping and out to eat together. When it snowed, they were great to come out and play in the snow with us! Mainly we are there for each other when we need each other but we don’t smother each other by wanting to do everything together. I couldn't ask for better neighbors!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Carnival Day 6 and 7

We arrived in Nassau on Friday but since we had been there so often, we decided to stay on the ship. I sat on the deck and read while Don walked around looking at the town and the other ships that were coming in. At noon, we had lunch on the Lido deck and then decided to play on the water slide. This was the first time we have ever tried the slide and it was a lot of fun. The best part was that there wasn’t anyone else on the slide and we had it to ourselves. Finally it was time to leave, pack our suitcases and get cleaned up to visit with the Captain again. After our visit, we had about an hour to stroll around the ship and listen to the music in the different areas.

Dinner was wonderful! Miguel, the maitre’d from the Splendor, sent us a bottle of wine (Black Opal) for dinner. Then when it came time for dessert, they brought a birthday cake to our table (another gift from Miguel) and the waiters sang happy birthday to me. We had a wonderful group of people at our dinner table! Les and Diane were from Olympia, WA, Max and Wilma were from Indiana, and Ron and Vickie were from Hilton Head, SC.

After dinner we finished packing and had to get special tags for our suitcases from guest relations. We had an early night since we had stayed up so late the night before.

On Saturday morning, it was time to leave the ship which was kind of sad. I really enjoyed meeting other passengers on the ship as well as the crew. This one guy made me an omelet every morning. Today I didn’t even have to order it and when it was my turn to order, he had it finished and ready to put on my plate! Talk about being spoiled!

We were supposed to meet Daniella in front of the guest relations at 9:30 but we were ready by 8:30. We had planned to just sit in the lobby area until 9:30 but Nickos and Ramune were there by the elevators when we got off. Ramune got Daniella to give us a special escort off the ship. We didn’t have to wait in any lines and they opened barriers to let us through. I felt like royalty! She even escorted us through customs and the baggage claim! I have to say that Carnival rolled out the red carpet for us and truly made us feel so special!

It took us 8 hours but we got back home to SC. It was kind of a let down after all that spoiling we had! J

Friday, September 25, 2009

Carnival Glory Day 5 Sea Day

There is no way to describe yesterday than utterly perfect. We spent the whole day relaxing before going to 2 comedy shows in the evening before dinner. Then we had dinner with the Captain and his senior staff. I sat beside the Captain and had a wonderful conversation with him! I learned about his family and his life when he is not on the ship. I think what also made it special is that we had been aboard the Liberty in Italy when he was the captain there also. On the other side of me was Ramuna, the head of Guest Relations, who is just fantastic and charming! Don sat between Ramuna and Nickos, the hotel director. The Chief Engineer, the Staff Captain, and another couple also were at our table. Everyone was so warm and personable that I forgot to be nervous anymore (which I really was before dinner because we had never eaten dinner with the Captain and his staff before). Then the Captain must have found out that it was my birthday and after dinner an announcement was made to the whole dining room that the Captain had distinguished guests joining him for dinner and that it was my birthday on Sunday. A birthday cake with candles arrived and it must have been the entire dining room staff that was at our table to sing to me. All of the women at the table also received a red rose. Wow! It was a truly amazing dinner and one that I will never forget.

After dinner, we stopped to take a picture and the Captain and Nickos joined us for a picture. They were totally awesome and made us feel so special. Then we went to 2 more comedy shows because I was pretty wide awake after our dinner. When we arrived back at our room, there was champagne and glasses waiting for us from Nickos. I couldn’t believe it! So we drank champagne and didn’t go to bed until after 3am. I thought I was doing pretty well for a 50 year old lady! LOL

I don’t think any other cruise we go on will ever be able to top this one!

(pictures will be added tomorrow. I'm running out of internet time today!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Carnival Glory Days 4 and 5 Belize and Mahahual


(picture: dinner mates every night!)

We had a wonderful day in Belize. At first we didn’t even plan to get off the ship because we really didn’t enjoy Belize. While we watched the ship drop the anchor and get ready for tenders to take people ashore, we met another couple, Bonnie and Lee. They invited us to go cave tubing with them on a private tour. We had been disappointed when we saw that cave tubing was not listed as a shore excursion because we really had wanted to do. We decided on the spur of the moment to go so we ran to the cabin and put our bathing suits on so we could meet them in the atrium. Since we were all platinum members we would not have to wait in line for the tender but Ramuna (guest relations manager) saw us and immediately took care of us. (She really is wonderful!)

When we got ashore after about a 30 min. ride to shore, we met Reggie, the tour operator where he told Bonnie to meet him about 9am. Four of us got in the white van and drove for an hour to the caves. It cost us $48 each. After Reggie gave us our life jackets and tubes, we walked along a trail for about 45 min. up the Sibun River before we got in. He also told us about the plants and trees along the way which I found really interesting. Then Reggie had us hook together so we could all stay together along the way. I was in front and Don put his feet in my tube under my arms. Bonnie was behind him and Lee was last. Reggie moved from the back to the front as he told us about the cave, the formations, and the bats. There was even a waterfall inside the cave and it was beautiful. Reggie explained that Carnival took this tour off their list when a woman drowned last year in the cave because the water was high and the guide was inexperienced and didn’t keep his group together. It took us about 2 hours to float down the river but it was idyllic.

I would highly recommend everyone to go cave tubing and especially go with Reggie’s tours. He told me that he likes to keep the group at 14 people and if there are more than 10, he brings another guide. I really liked how he kept us all together on the river, explained things, and kept us going in the right places along the way.

Then I had a little mishap as I boarded the tender. The guy helped a lady aboard and turned around to help me. His hand clipped my forehead and threw me off balance. I thought I was going to fall off the dock and so did the two men. They tried to grab me and one hit my hand which caused my sail and sign card and driver’s license to fly in the air. They landed in the water and sank to the bottom. The three of us stood there and looked down as they sunk and we were speechless. Don comes over and looks down and asks, “What are we looking at?” I couldn’t even talk. The guy told me to go tell security and the security guard told me not to worry about it and just get on the tender. When I got to the ship, I went to guest relations and they quickly gave me a new sail and sign card. When I told them my driver’s license was gone too and we used that to get in the safe, they sent someone to open the safe for us. I have to say that the Guest Relations department has been wonderful on this trip! Now when I get home, I will have to go get a new driver’s license (Don is a little worried about identity theft, but I guess I will have to deal with that when it happens.)

When we arrived in the room, there was a plate of goodies sent to us from the chef. Then while the lady was opening the safe for us, room service brought us a plate of chocolate covered strawberries sent to us from James, the cruise director. When we went to dinner, Terrence the maitre’d gave us an invitation for Thursday night to eat with the senior staff at 8:15 in the Platinum dining room. What an honor! I am so excited!

So, other than my little mishap, it was a perfect day! I really think God sent Bonnie and Lee to that spot where we were to invite us to go cave tubing. I also think he kept me from falling off the dock! It is truly amazing how things work out and how much God takes care of us!

Yesterday we arrived in Costa Maya at 8am and we took a taxi to the little town of Mahahual. The taxi ride cost $3 to get there and $2 to get back per person. We spent a lovely day at the beach drinking Dos Equis and eating chips and salsa. We got back to the ship about 2:30pm and by the time we took a shower, it was time to go to the Past Guest Reception. We did stop at the store and buy 4 bottles of kahlua and they matched the price of the picture on my camera. The ship’s store sold them for 2/$25 but the store in Cozumel had them 2/$17 so we bought 4 of them at the lower price. The past guest reception was nice and then we went to dinner. After dinner we saw the show which was a hypnotist. We were pretty tired by the time we got back to our cabin but we found a birthday cake in our room for a Mrs. Maria Pessoa so I had to call guest relations. Then room service called and tried to tell me it was free and I think I finally got them to understand that it was sent to the wrong cabin.

Today is a day at sea so we will rest and relax!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Carnival Glory Day 3 and Reading

We arrived in Cozumel around 10am and then we walked around downtown until about 2pm. It was so hot and humid there! Kahlua was 2 for $17 which was a really good buy. We ended up coming back to the ship and eating some lunch before going back to our cabin and watch The Curious Story about Benjamin Buttons (or something like that) and it was an interesting story but we had to leave for dinner before I got to watch the ending. After dinner we went to the comedy show again and saw Lewis Nixson who was quite funny but we missed the main show which I hear was really great too.
Blog Prompt: Talking to my sister the other day, she told me that her 1st grade son was now suppose to read his books on-line instead of bringing them home. How do you feel about that?

I think for early readers, they need to physically hold books and turn pages to feel the magic of reading. I think checking out books from the library also means meaningful interactions with the librarians who could have be a major source of inspiration and motivation for a child because they did this for me. I think as a student moves on to middle or high school, online reading may be good but I really believe they need the real books too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Carnival Glory Day 2

As usual I woke up at 5am and got on the computer for my 45 min. a day fix. This really makes me miss my high speed internet at home. I ate a wonderful special made omelette at 7am and then when I woke Don up, we had breakfast in the dining room where I got tasty French toast. In the morning we went to a shopping talk, trivia contest, and a talk about the excursions. By then it was time to eat lunch! After lunch we walked around and then decided to take a nap since we had a late night.

After our nap we went to the Murder Mystery program and it is really neat because we have to solve a murder. They presented 7 suspects and alibis (crew members) and every day we get a clue. When we figure out who did it, we fill out a paper with the murderer and the weapon. All of the right answers go in a drawing for a prize. This is the first time we had done something like this.

At 5:45 we went to the Captain’s celebration and we met Nicolas the hotel director and Ramuna Bovo, head of guest relations. Ramuna brought us to meet the Captain who remembered us from Italy and then got us some wine. They were extremely nice!

After our dinner of prime rib, we went to the Comedy Show and watched Jeff Nease who was pretty funny. There was an 11pm show but we had to clear out the room and go stand in line again which we decided it wasn’t worth it so we left and went to the show. By the time the show was over, I was ready to drop. Again, it was a wonderful day!

Blog Prompt: What did you do if you left your homework at school?

I never left my homework because I loved doing homework. I loved school and everything about it. So throughout my school years, I was very conscientious and always checked that I had everything I needed to do my homework because I always wrote my homework down. I guess even as a student, I was pretty organized.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Carnival Glory Day 1

We got on board the Carnival Glory about noon and it was such a smooth embarkation. We never waited for anything but quickly went through the procedures and boarded the ship. As soon as we got on the ship we went to see the maître’d because we wanted to move to the Golden dining room which was in the middle of the ship. Terrence Roddy, the maitre’d, was wonderful and immediately got us at a big table in the Golden dining room. After that we had lunch on the lido deck and then found our cabin on Deck 8. James the cruise director called and welcomed us to the ship which was so thoughtful! Then we walked around the ship and decided to return back to the cabin to prepare for the muster drill.

While we were there, we got a call from Ramona (head of guest services) who asked us if we would like to be upgraded to a balcony cabin so we were moved. Daniella came and showed us our new cabin as well as getting us new keys. The cabin is beautiful! We have also been showered with gifts of fruit baskets, bottles of wine, and cookies. I know I will weigh a ton when I get off this ship! After the drill, we went to the pool bar and enjoyed some beer while getting to meet the bartenders that were there (Agung from Indonesia and John from Peru).

At 6pm we went to dinner and met the other 3 couples at our table. Max and Wilma are from Indiana, Vicki and Ron are from Hilton Head, and Les and Diane are from Olympia, Washington. They all were about our age and seemed super nice! Dinner was wonderful which is usual for Carnival ships. I love the choices and the tastes. The maitre’d checked on us to make sure that everything was alright. The chef even came out and asked us how dinner was and somehow even knew our name!

After dinner we watched the Live Game Show and then walked around the ship some more. The Welcome Aboard Show was at 10:15 and featured the Carnival singers and dancers as well as a sneak preview of the comedy show. I think the Comedy Show will be a hit and look forward to seeing it. After the show we went to the piano bar and enjoyed the music but then it was about midnight when I turn into a pumpkin so we had to leave. It was a wonderful day!

(will upload pix later - having trouble w/ ship's internet)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Memorable Summer Vacation

Blog Prompt: What was your most memorable summer vacation?

My most memorable summer vacation was when we did a 30 day tour of China. I had always dreamed of going there but never believed that it would ever happen. Growing up, I had heard stories of my father’s homeland and the place where both my sisters were born but it was like a fairy tale to me. My wonderful husband is constantly trying to make all my dreams come true so we booked the tour in 2000. We went all China seeing all the tourist things I’ve read about and even did more. We started in Beijing where we walked along the Great Wall, saw the Forbidden City and walked around Tienneman Square. We also went to Shanghai and walked along Nanking Rd. The 7 day cruise down the Yangtze River was awesome and we saw the Three Gorges Dam being built which made the cruise even more important because we were seeing things that eventually would be all under water when the dam was finished. We also saw the Terra cotta soldiers in Xian and had shirts made for Don in Hong Kong. I know we stopped in other smaller places and even went to someone’s house for tea. It was a trip that I will never forget.

Travel Notes:
We got back to Port Canaveral yesterday and when we got off the ship, the van was there to take us back to our hotel. Someone fell on the gangway getting off the ship which delayed getting off for about 30 min while emergency people took care of her. We got to our car and checked in to the Hilton without any problems and then ate lunch. After lunch we came back to our room and took a 3 hour nap (only got about 3 hrs. sleep the night before because of the late night comedy show). Then we went out for dinner but Don felt sick and had to leave the restaurant. I think he is just exhausted from all the fun!

Today we take a shuttle to the Carnival Glory. I’m really excited because we like Carnival ships. The captain is the same one who was on our ship in Italy so I’m hoping we get to meet him again.
Original image: 'Badaling Great Wall in the summer' http://www.flickr.com/photos/8569394@N07/3496613091 by: Jeremy Barwick

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back to Port Canaveral

Yesterday we had a beautiful day at CocoCay which is a private island owned by Royal Caribbean. At 8:30am we took a tender to the island and stayed there until 1:30pm. There were lots of activities on the island like snorkeling, water park, children’s area, and lots of chairs and hammocks. We walked along the beach to one end of the island and then took a tram back to our lounge chairs. While we were in the water we saw a small shark, lots of jellyfish and stingrays swimming around us. Some people got stung by jellyfish and the snorkel shop was putting vinegar on the stings. After seeing the jellyfish, I decided not to spend too much time in the water.

When we came back on the ship, we went to the movie The Proprosal with Sandra Bullock and it was a funny entertaining movie. After the movie, we went back to the cabin and packed our suitcases.

The Farewell show for second seating was at 7pm and then we had dinner at 8;30. At 11pm, we went to the adult comedy show by Miguel Washington.

Today we arrive back in Port Canaveral and our reservation at the Hilton for the night. Tomorrow we leave on the Carnival Glory.

(Will update with pictures tonight when I’m in the hotel room. I left my camera in the cabin and it is only 5:30am so I don’t want to wake my hubby up to get it!)

Wednesday’s prompt: In high school were your classes geared more for college or starting work right out of school?

I was definitely working towards college because I knew I was going to be a teacher. I had wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl in elementary school. Since I had always known my goal, I never imagined that my life would ever turn out differently. I applied to a private out of state school without even knowing how I would pay for it. When I got accepted on early admission, I just knew that God would take care of me and the funding would fall in place. I don’t know if I was just naïve or stupid, but I didn’t worry about the financial aspect and with scholarships and loans, everything went according to plans.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nassau

Yesterday we arrived in Nassau where we have been many times but it still is exciting to visit. After we ate breakfast we walked around town. We walked to Fort Charlotte and then went in the opposite direction to the Queen’s staircase and Fort Fincastle. By that time it was really hot and we were tired and hungry so we headed back to the ship for lunch.

After lunch we went to the movie The Soloist showing in the Show Lounge. It was a very deep and strange movie to show on a cruise ship. It was about a cellist who was schizophrenic. Don said he didn’t like it and didn’t come on a cruise ship to be depressed. After the movie we walked around the ship until it was time to get ready for the show and dinner.

The show before dinner was a comedian and juggler who was pretty funny. I enjoyed the show and dinner. We would have liked to go to the 11pm game show but we were too tired so we ended our day.

Today we hope to go to CocoCay if the weather is good enough. This is Royal Caribbean’s private island and there will be an island barbecue for lunch. Tomorrow we will be back in Port Canaveral.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rough Day at Sea

Now you are probably thinking that the weather was bad but it was an absolutely gorgeous day outside. In my life things happen in threes and yesterday was the day for threes. I got up at my usual 5am, played in my computer for my allotted 35 min. (150 min. for $55) and then had tea while I watched the sun rise. So far, so good. When Don woke up we had breakfast and sat out on the deck waiting to arrive in Nassau at 8:30. Don said to tell people that he is such a bad driver that he drove this seadoo right out of the water on to the deck!

Around 7:30, the captain came on board and announced that we would not get to go to CocoCay because the winds were too high at the island and the waves made it treacherous for the tenders to get us there (#1 rough thing). We went to a talk by the captain and two of her staff which was interesting. We have the only female captain in the whole cruise industry! The captain rearranged our itinerary for us to arrive in Nassau around 7pm instead of the next morning so a lot of people were happy. She will attempt to take us to CocoCay again on Thursday.

At noon we had lunch in the dining room which was really good and then watched the men’s belly flop contest. At 2pm we watched a movie in the show lounge called Imagine That with Eddie Murphy and it was really cute.

After the movie we decided to walk and get some exercise so I didn’t look like a cow by the end of the cruise. It felt wonderful to get some exercise but then at 5:30pm I wanted to go to the Who Am I trivia contest. Don decided to go outside and watch the other cruise ships go past us so he ended up coming to me at the contest for the camera but I didn’t have it and he had to go back to the room to find it. I almost won the trivia contest with 10 out of 13 correct answers but someone else had 11. (#2 rough thing).

When I arrived back at the cabin, Don was in there looking disgusted because he couldn’t find the camera. We tore the cabin apart and still no camera. After retracing my steps, I realized that I probably left the camera in the show lounge after the movie (#3 rough thing). I asked tons of crew members and finally reported it missing at guest relations. Don was so wonderful and was not angry with me but I was kicking myself. I could not believe anyone had not turned it in. Still upset, we got ready for the Captain’s reception at 7:30 and our formal dinner at 8:30. As I walked around the ship, crew members stopped me and asked me if I had found it yet but I sadly told them no. I was just sick to my stomach and Don had to keep telling me not to let it ruin our cruise. So after dinner we went to the show and then finally sleep.

Only I couldn’t sleep and finally got up at 5am again this morning. As I went to the internet café, I stopped at guest relations one more time and asked about the camera expecting nothing. I was so thrilled when the man came out with my camera! Someone had returned it yesterday (but I don’t know why they didn’t call me since they had my cabin number but oh well). I now have my beloved camera in hand and all is well again!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monarch of the Seas

(We decided to blog about our travels anyway and just hope that we don’t get robbed so please keep us in your prayers!)

Yesterday We took a shuttle from the hotel to the the port which was included in the price of the room ($89) and then we got to leave our car for free. This was a good deal because it is $15 per day to park our car at the port so we saved a lot of money doing it this way.

I can’t believe how smooth the embarkation procedure went. I brought my knitting and my ipod to entertain me while we stood in long lines or had to sit and wait to board the ship but we never waited or sat. We checked right in and boarded the ship around noon. Our cabins weren’t ready until 1pm so we ate some lunch and walked around the ship.

At 1pm we went to our cabin (3506) and dropped off some stuff before walking around some more. At 4:30 we heard an emergency code announced and right there by the bar there was a woman on the floor. She was not moving at all and seemed to not even be breathing but we never heard if she lived or died. I know we didn’t turn around so I don’t know what happened.
Before dinner we went to the show which was a comedian who was extremely funny! He will be doing a comedy show at 11:30 on Thursday night that I want to go to. I really enjoyed hearing him.


At dinner we sat with three other couples who were very nice. Two couples were just married on Saturday. The third couple has been married for two years. I had a shrimp cocktail and onion soup for starters and then NY strip steak for dinner. Dessert was a chocolate brownie with chocolate mousse sandwiched in it. Yumm!

Blog Prompt: Describe your favorite or most influential teacher.
Please click this link to read about my favorite teacher.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Extracurricular Activities

Blog Prompt: What extra-curricular activities were you involved in?

I was in the Drama club and on the Yearbook staff in high school. I was in the drama club for all three years of high school but only on the yearbook staff for my senior year. I remember the Yearbook being much harder than I expected but of course it came out beautiful. At the end of the year we had a grown up party at the advisor’s house and since everyone except me was 18 (legal drinking age way back when) by that time, there was beer for everyone ( but I didn’t like beer and I planned on going to college and heard too many horror stories about drinking and driving so I didn’t drink.).

I loved the drama club because I loved being around the stage. Most of the time I helped build the sets and do whatever was needed backstage. My friends were in charge of the lights so I mainly hung out with them during the shows. A few times I was needed as an extra in a crowd scene and even was in the dance scene of Romeo and Juliet. A few times I helped turn the pages for the pianist during our musicals. My favorite musical that we did was Damn Yankees and to this day, I still love that movie.

Original image: 'waiting for her entrance' http://www.flickr.com/photos/37718677955@N01/3676386207 by: Ryan Gallagher

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001

Blog Prompt: Let's time some time today and remember those who were lost. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing? How did you react/feel?

I remember I was in the middle of teaching my high school special ed class in SC when a colleague knocked on my door. She asked if I had family members who worked in Manhattan since she knew I was originally from New York. When I told her yes, she told me to turn on the TV because someone just attacked the World Trade Center. I didn’t believe her and immediately turned on the TV. My class got quiet as we watched the news and I called my sister in New York. She said she was unable to get through to her husband or her daughter and would call me as soon as she heard anything. We all were glued to the TV when the other plane hit. My down syndrome student got so upset because he thought someone was attacking the school and I had to ask another teacher to keep him after I calmed him down. I could not stop watching the news. When I called my husband he told me that he had just heard but they were asking people not to call NY on their cell phones because it was jamming the lines. I couldn’t help myself and called my sister every 30 minutes.

We didn’t hear until around 1pm that my niece was alright. In fact she was one of the people they showed on the news crossing a bridge with ash all over her. She had nightmares for many years after that. We didn’t hear from my brother in law until almost 7pm. He had been trying to call my sister but he couldn’t get through. He had spent the whole day trying to find a way to get home since he rode the train to work each day. As he was walking he saw a man on a cell phone talking to his wife and asked if the wife would call his wife and let her know that he was safe and would get home as soon as he could. I don’t think he got home until almost midnight.

It was the scariest thing I had ever gone through and I hope our country never goes through that again.

Original image: 'Golden WTC' http://www.flickr.com/photos/7578081@N07/532664668 by: Reto Fetz

Thursday, September 10, 2009

School Changes Over Time

Blog Prompt: Do you think school has changed much from when you went?

I think school has changed tremendously. Teachers were allowed to discipline students and parents backed up the teachers. I remember my parents telling me that if I got in trouble at school, I would be in twice as much trouble when I got home. Needless to say, I did not get in trouble at school much. We also didn’t have all the technology that is in the classroom today. We just had a basic blackboard that was really black and we used chalk. One of the duties for the teacher helpers was to wash the blackboard with wet sponges and they had to be wiped in up and down strokes. We used lots of notebook paper and we even learned how to write in cursive. I’m not sure many classes teach cursive writing any more. We also didn’t have school resource officers or possibilities of weapons in the school. When I was in high school, the major problem was smoking tobacco or marijuana but usually no hard drugs. There was never any girls who were pregnant who attended school and sex was something to be whispered about but not bragged about. School sure has changed over the years.

Original image: 'School Blackboard' http://www.flickr.com/photos/85261341@N00/414924312 by: Blake

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Physical Ed Class

Blog Prompt: Did you have P.E. in junior (middle) and/or high school?

I had PE in junior high and high school and hated every minute of it. Of course I went through the humiliation and bullying in the locker room. Being smaller than most girls, I was a late bloomer in the physical attributes too so they made fun of me. I finally figured out that the “cool” girls were always late to class and the first ones to leave. So if I changed quickly I could be out of there before they arrived and if I helped clean up from the activities, they were gone before I got to the locker room.

Then of course there were the actual activities. My asthma gave me fits if anything involved running like field hockey, or track events. I liked archery but that was about the only thing I could do. I was terrible in team sports and due to my huge coke bottle like glasses, I had no depth perception. I constantly was hit in the face by volleyballs and basketballs. I couldn’t even swing and hit the ball in tennis or softball. Catching a softball in the outfield was a nightmare but the team who was stuck with me usually put me in center field where most girls could not even hit a ball so I was safe. Also in high school we were required to take swimming and I thought I would have a nervous breakdown. Luckily I have eczema and the chlorine in the pool only aggravated my skin condition so I was allowed to do something else.

Needless to say, PE was my most hated subject in all my school years.

Original image: 'jump rope' http://www.flickr.com/photos/40685310@N00/9365682 by: Chad Nicholson

Monday, September 07, 2009

Starting School

Blog Prompt: Did school start before or after Labor Day when you were attending?

I grew up in New York and I think we always started after Labor Day and didn’t get out until the end of June. It really amazed me that when I began teaching in South Carolina that we started in August. One year the teachers actually started at the end of July and the students began the first week of August. Now our legislature has made it a law that no school can start before a certain date in order to help the tourist business in Myrtle Beach. Apparently many of the students were having to return to school and left the businesses with no help even though the tourists from the north were still there.

Original image: 'School Bus' http://www.flickr.com/photos/17088109@N00/36471281 by: Beny Shlevich

Friday, September 04, 2009

Favorite and Hardest Class

Thursday’s Blog Prompt: What was your favorite class?

I really didn’t have a favorite class because I loved them all. I just loved learning and so classes were fun for me and I always looked forward to Mondays or return from holidays. Even as an adult, I have loved taking classes and learning new stuff. My easiest class in high school was French. I don’t know why it was so easy for me but I never really had to study much and memorizing the words and rules just came naturally to me. Unfortunately even though I continued after 3 years of high school French with 3 years of it in college, I never had a use for it and lost most of what I know.

Friday’s Blog Prompt: Which class do you think was the hardest?

The hardest class I ever took was Advanced Placement Calculus. I made an A in the class but I never really understood what I was doing. For some reason, I didn’t understand the purpose of why I needed to know this information or why I was in this class (other than the fact that they had no other class to put me in). It never made any sense to me and I never used any of the things I learned so I felt it was pretty useless and a waste of my time in the long run. Of course I loved learning new things and the formulas were easy for me to learn so I guess that is why I kept coming up with the correct answers. The course was a complete mystery to me and no one could understand why I kept telling them I didn’t understand yet still made an A in the class. In fact, my teacher thought I was cheating because of the discrepancy between my attitude and my grade so he kept me after school to give me a quiz (under the guise of “tutoring”) and saw for himself that I was not cheating. I scored high enough on the AP exam to get college credit so I guess in that respect it was useful and saved me money but it was the hardest course I ever took.

Original image: 'back to school bokeh' http://www.flickr.com/photos/25942127@N04/2761952426

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Yearbook Pictures

Blog Prompt: Did you like your yearbook pictures?

No, I never liked my yearbook pictures. I didn’t like it when I took my picture in high school and also as a teacher for the high school yearbooks. In fact, I really don’t like any pictures of myself usually. I feel like I look too fat, old, gray, wrinkly or whatever when I see them. I would much rather be behind the camera lens instead of in front of it. My hubby has started to grab the camera now and take pictures of me so he will have some of me. Here is yesterday’s picture of me on a bike on the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Teacher’s Drawer

Blog Prompt: Write about what you would find in a teacher's drawer and why you think it might be there.

This prompt is easy for me because I can write about what was in my drawer when I taught! As many of you know, I am a major packrat so all of the stuff in my drawer has been there probably every year that I taught except the candy. So here are things that were in my drawer.

1. Rubber bands (necessity)
2. Pens (necessity)
3. Pencils (necessity)
4. Scrap paper for notes (necessity)
5. Rulers (measuring)
6. Paper clips (necessity)
7. Safety pins (emergency kit)
8. Glue (necessity)
9. Compass (who uses this anymore?)
10. Protractor (hardly ever used it, but it looked good)
11. Needle and thread (emergency kit)
12. Breath mints (necessity)
13. Lighter (for science experiments)
14. Pencil erasers (necessity)
15. Plastic eating utensils (necessity)
16. Calculator (necessity)
17. Gradebook (absolutely imperative that I have this with me at all times)
18. binder clips (never know when you might need this)
19. keys (to what, I don’t know)
20. extra car key (I’m always locking myself out of my car)
21. walkie talkies (for field trips)
22. photos of former students (to bring back memories – some good, some not so good)
23. contact info for all current students (so I can reach parents immediately if needed)
24. pair of earrings (in case I lose one of mine I’m wearing)
25. pair of pantyhose (in case I get a bad hole in what I’m wearing)
26. Lotion (my skin is very dry)
27. Stop watch (to time certain activities)
28. Tennis shoes (in case I find time to walk for exercise)
29. Ramen noodles (in case I forget my lunch from home)
30. A couple of dollars (in case I need to buy a snack)

That is all that I can think of but I’m sure I had so much more because when I packed up to retire, it took a huge box to hold all my desk junk…I mean treasures.

Original image: 'every office needs one ...' http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035580274@N01/1105985095 by: Lisa B