Friday, February 26, 2010

Two Roads

The contrast between these two items from today's paper really struck me. What is our future as a nation and as a world? What choices are we making to bring about this future? Are we more like Doris Thompson or are we more like Rudy Leeman?
"Age Hasn't Slowed 80-year-old Burgler"

LOS ANGELES -- Doris Thompson hasn't let age slow her down. At 80, she's still ransacking and burglarizing medical offices. Thompson, whose criminal record stretches back to 1955, pleaded guilty Wednesday to taking about $1400 from the Children's Medical Group in Torrance. During the hearing, the amiable 5-foot-3-inch woman thanked the judge for letting her serve her time in the state prison rather than county jail. She also called Deputy District Attorney Paulette Paccione ''sweetie'' and told the judge "God bless you" as he sentenced her to three years behind bars. Thompson, who has used 27 aliases during her arrests over the years, was being held without bail under the name of Doris Ann Gamble pending her removal to a state lockup. After her latest arrest, she told authorities she wouldn't have to do all this "nonsense" if the government gave people more money."

Letter to the Editor:

Born during the Depression of the '30s, I saw how people relied on themselves and supported fellow men to help them maintain their lives. Government wasn't good at improving lives. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, we grew our food and supplied neighbors and those passing through the area with necessities as we were able. It was the generosity of people, their spirit and the will to make everyone's lives better that won the day, never any largesse from city or state. This was ignored after World War II when, from the 1950's on, Americans became the "me generations." Now our economy collapses. In a new depression, we need to sow generously so we can reap betterment for our communities. If what we want in our community is important enough to wave a poster, it's important enough to put it down, roll up our sleeves and get to work on what's of such value to us. (Rudy Leeman)

Two roads diverge . . . we can only hope most people will take the higher and less entitled one!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Caleb Collage

It's hard to believe all my boys are teenagers as of today - all young men and no more kids. Caleb, we are so happy you are part of our family. You bring such joy and humor to our lives! You're a great guy, and we look forward to sharing your teen years with you! Here is a collage of Caleb:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Meek Members of the Ressurrection

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—
Untouched by Morning—
And untouched by Noon—
Lie the meek members of the Resurrection—
Rafter of Satin—and Roof of Stone!

Grand go the Year's—in the Crescent—above them—
Worlds scoop their Arcs—
And Firmaments—row—
Diadems—drop—and Doges—surrender—
Soundless as dots—on a Disc of Snow—

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hush Its Whispers

Far away is the land of rest,
Thousand miles are stretched between,
Many a mountain's stormy crest,
Many a desert void of green.

Wasted, worn is the traveller;
Dark his heard and dim his eye;
Without hope or comforter,
Faultering, faint, and ready to die.

Often he looks to the ruthless sky,
Often he looks o'er his dreary road,
Often he wishes down to lie
And render up life's tiresome load.

But yet faint not, mournful man;
Leagues on leagues are left behind
Since your sunless course began;
Then go on to toil resigned.

If you still despair control,
Hush its whispers in your breast,
You shall reach the final goal,
You shall win the land of rest.
Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Why We Call Him Fish

This picture was taken TODAY, February 15, 2010. Our fish took his first swim of the year. Yes, we DO live in California, but it is Northern California - air temp: 66 degrees - water temp: 58 degrees.
Crazy kid!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In a Hurry?

Inscription for a monument at the crossroads.
Here lies, extinguished in his prime,
a victim of modernity:
but yesterday he hadn't the time --
and now he has eternity.
Piet Hein (1905-1996)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Most people I know and most students I come across either struggle with fractions or don't like fractions. To be perfectly honest, I'd rather work with whole numbers myself. Today a student comment was an epiphany to me as to why this is.

In Math 10 we were building up to begin adding and subtracting fractions. These are adults, so they've obviously seen and worked with fractions before, but not necessarily successfully, which is why they are taking this class. I wanted them to think about why we had to lay a foundation for adding and subtracting fractions. I asked, "What is the hard thing about adding and subtracting fractions?" What I expected to hear was, "Because you have to get a common denominator."

A student raised her hand. I called on her, and she said, in all seriousness:

Because they've already got so much going on with them!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

More Than Your Eyes Are Seeing

This past week I really needed something to get me through. I feel called to my work, but this first year in a tenure-track position has surprised me, a veteran teacher of 23 years, with the level of intensity and stress and exhaustion I'm feeling.

When I got into the van Wednesday morning and turned it on, the radio came on too, and I heard the voice of a child reading Isaiah 40:30-31:

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Then, as I pulled into the parking lot, a song was on in which there was a line that caught my attention, so I stayed to listen to the whole thing and was really ministered to by it:
Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know

Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing

You will find your way
If you keep believing.
I need to remember that "life is so much more than what my eyes are seeing" - but it's hard sometimes to break through the layer of stress and exhaustion to find the reality of that - but I'm trying to remember - and I sure needed to hear all of the above on the day that I did.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Facebook Excuse

(WARNING - This post contains 2 pictures from the '80s!)

Recently facebook had a Doppleganger Week where the idea was that of swapping out your profile picture with that of a celebrity you've been told you look like. It was a fun excuse for me for find some old pictures of my younger self - way back in the day when I was teaching middle school, and my students insisted I looked like actress Tracy Pollan of Family Ties. I never saw the resemblance, but looking back, maybe, just maybe . . .

In case you didn't watch Family Ties (or aren't old enough to remember it!), her picture is posted above.
(Don't say I didn't warn you!!)

I don't know. I'm still not sure I see it, but it was a fun trip down memory lane. Where have the years gone!

Aside: I recently had reason to be reminded of my advancing years when I asked a student in my Math 101 class, whose lase name had caught my attention, if she knew a certain person I had gone to high school with. I thought maybe she was a cousin of his or something. Her eyes got really big with surprise, and she said, "He's my dad!" I had to sit down. How could a classmate of mine have a daughter who is a grown woman?!?! And then I remembered my oldest son is 17, and my middle son is 6'2'' and . . .

At least Facebook let me relive my youth this week! :-)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010