Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Remembering Tony

So today I did something I would have rather not had to do. In fact, when I got up this morning I tried to think of a reason not to, I went to the funeral of one of my former students. He was sixteen years old and was killed in a car/train accident that also took the life of his grandfather. Tony wasn't a perfect kid by any stretch of the imagination, but he was a student I was very fond of. Ornery is one way to describe him. He had little brown eyes and they would shine when he was thinking of doing something he shouldn't be doing. I saw the gleam many a time. In seventh grade he and a girl named Nancy were wildly, madly in love. In fact their relationship last for almost two months! That is how serious it was! But then the love turned sour and they would break up, get back together, etc. I just remember that every time they "broke up" he would ask out one of her best friends and that would cause major drama in my seventh hour class. Tony enjoyed every minute of the drama and having those girls fight over him. I have to laugh now thinking about it, the girls would be mad, near tears and Tony would just set back. The reason I think of this particular story was I saw all three girls at the funeral today.

I had this group of kids my first year back to teaching after a five years hiatus. I lived way out in the country 9-20 miles from the three little towns near us. I thought at least none of them will ever be able to find my house and TP it or egg it. Well, about two or three months into the school year Tony burst in the room and announced I know where you live! My grandma knows you too! I do believe his grandparents had lived down the road from us for awhile.

One thing I really enjoyed about this morning was seeing so many of the students I had in the past. After the service there were hugs, tears, and a lot of laughs. They started telling stories of things they had done with Tony. Now normally these stories wouldn't have been shared with any teachers, but I have to say my spirits were definitely uplifted to be around these young adults and talk to them. When you know them as a 13 year old they can sometimes make you doubt yourself and what you are actually accomplishing as a teacher. Sometimes they, at that age, can make you actually doubt humanity and the future. But as young adults they are uplifting, out in the world trying as best they can. Today they weren't a 13 year old who forgot to do their homework they were: a state champion soccer player, baseball players who served as a pall bear for their teammate, wrestlers, thespians, fast food workers, a tomboy turned girly girl, no longer young kids, but future adults.

Of course after hearing the stories I am once again reminded of the things boys that age do. Right now I am trying to figure out how to keep my kid nine forever. I took Jonathon to school with me one day when I had those kids. He took this rug he had with roads and stuff printed on it and some hot wheels to play with, some the kids there today remembered laying of the floor with him playing hot wheels.

Please remember Tony and his family and friends in your prayers. I know in the coming days, weeks , and months they will need them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This That and the Other

Well, it has been awhile since my last update, but we have been busy. We have had relatives here from Iowa, New Hampshire, and Illinois so that was fun. We always enjoy seeing Dan's cousins and visiting with them as they are really fun people to be around. On Wednesday evening they came to our house for pizza and hanging out. Thursday they went to Pittsburg, Kansas to visit other cousins and have a cookout. Friday we all met at noon in Liberty for lunch. Friday night there was a big family dinner at the local community building. My bunch missed that dinner because Jonathon had a ballgame. But the nice thing about having a ballgame that night was Jonathon's older cousin, whom he idolizes, got to come and watch him play.

Saturday we finished our ball season. I like Jonathon to participate in sports because I want him to be active. I have to say I was more than a little disappointed in the last game of the season because I don't think it was about the kids. It was sort of the coaches pitted against each other with one trying to outwit the other one, and one certain parent on the bleachers complaining and berating the umpires the entire game. The coach thing wasn't hostile or anything--maybe they were just trying to get the kids to play the game better mentally, but it was a very long game for the rest of us. Now we have one more week of swimming lessons to go and then we will be done.

Abby spent the weekend with us. Her mom was out of town and the guys are starting wheat harvest. Sometimes I think Abby thinks she lives with us. She is very comfortable at our house.

So Saturday afternoon we get in the car and head to Sonic for Happy Hour, we get the corner to turn onto the main drag and bad brakes. I managed to get us back home. Dan isn't sure what is wrong with the car, but I think today once wheat harvest gets underway he is going to look into that. Even though I wasn't happy about a vehicle breakdown it did give us an excuse to just stay home and hang out. I actually got a lot of stitching done on Lady Liberty even though it doesn't look like a lot. I was working on the head and face area. Lots of color changes and stuff. Of course in her inspection of the cross-stitch Abby quickly pointed out that she had no head. I told her I was aware and she would have one shortly.

Today we are going up to the Aquatic Park for awhile and hang out. I am hoping that will wear them down and when they get home they will just want to flop and do something calm.

The pictures above are from this weekend and a couple of the flowers in our front yard. Have a great Sunday.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


This week we have family here from Iowa, Illinois, and New Hampshire. The visitors are Dan's aunts and cousins. They have had this trip planned for a long time as Dan's mother was very ill and they wanted to see her one last time. Well, Dan's mom passed in April after a very prolonged battle with breast cancer. The out of state relatives decided that instead of making a mad dash here for the service they would wait until this summer when they could stay longer and everyone would be more able to visit. So, my SIL and I kept hearing all of these whispering about a big family dinner, etc. We asked the husbands and they claimed to know nothing. We asked each other's husbands they knew nothing. We asked all the important questions when? where? do I need to cook or bring anything? Neither of them had talked to their sisters since the funeral, was the one answer we kept getting. Then they switched to the standard mumbled I don't know. ETC ETC.
Well come to find out the sisters had talked to both of their brothers and dad numerous times about this, they just don't remember. Why are men like this? All they had to do was say a family dinner tomorrow at Liberty School, but did they? NO. Both of my husband's sisters were mortified that we knew nothing about it. It isn't as if tomorrow wasn't going to be busy enough with swim lessons, running here and there with the visitors etc, now we have to throw cooking into the mix.
I am just so irritated right now!
One SIL said it must just be men. Her husband went back to his hometown last week to help out with something for his parents and totally forgot that his nephew's wife had a baby the day he got there! He went to the hospital to see the baby even! He did remember they had a cookout and what he ate etc, but forgot about the newborn baby. Seriously, people!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays.....

always get me down. I was really hopeful that we would miss yesterday's batch of rain, but we didn't. We are supposed to receive rain for about the next four days. Tonight would have been our last baseball game of the season, and swimming lessons were supposed to start this week, but alas no we will set home today and watch it rain and rain and rain some more.

This weekend we didn't do a lot. On Saturday we went to the pool for awhile in the afternoon. As luck would have it several of our school buddies were there, so Jonathon had lots of fun. I finished painting the second coat in Jonathon's room and mowed our yard and my mom's. That is about the extent of our fun filled weekend. I am really ready to get this room thing finished. I can't stand all of the clutter in the living room.

We also have relatives coming in this weekend. I don't want the house to be a mess, even though I am not even sure that they will be at my house. Today I guess would be a great day to start cleaning in the basement, which we call "Manland". It looks like it too. A great big messy man cave.

So until tomorrow have a great day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I love it when the flags fly all up and down the main drag of small little places like ours. I don't think there is anything more beautiful than that. The above picture was taken at the cemetary where my dad is buried on Memorial Day. A local couple in my hometown wanted to have the flags flying at the cemetary on such holidays, so they started a campaign asking people to sponsor a flag and pole in someone one's memory. One of those flags is flying honor of my dad. He was in the army, but never fought in a war. Actually he was stationed in Germany at the same time Elvis Presley was there serving our country. He never said anything about that until Elvis died. He remembered Elvis coming to the base where he was stationed a couple of times.

God Bless America!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Room Makeover Has Begun

Yesterday we got the paint, wallpaper paste etc. Today we have the room cleaned out. I have just finished taping off the trim and stuff. As soon as Dan gets home to help me make the line (using that Black and Decker thingamagig) around the room to separate the two colors we'll be ready to paint!

We got everything off of the walls and I pulled the nails where stuff had been hanging and Jonathon did the spackling. My mom nearly fainted when I told her I let him do that, but he really did a good job. I bet in the construction world he would win an award for Most Enthusiastic Spackler for June 12, 2008.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Can Understand, Sort Of

I had to turn the channel several times in the last few days. I couldn't stand to watch those homes in Wisconsin being washed away, it was just a little too much. Tonight reading the news on I came across a video from the Today Show where Matt Lauer interviewed the family that lived in one of the homes. It was really sad. The older little girl stood there and bit her lip and cried.

Last July 1st several towns in our area had massive flooding. My small city was one of the worst hit. Nearly 2000 people were displaced here. Water breached the levy north of town shortly after midnight. The local refinery didn't have time to shut down properly and inadvertently and spilled about 60,000 gallons of crude oil into the flood waters making matters worse.

My in-laws lived on the family farm. Dan's dad was born there and raised his family there. Their house was located about 30 ft. from the levy and my in-laws lost their home and it obliterated all of our crops for last year. The two pictures above are of the family farm. Thankfully the equipment was all high enough it didn't get damaged, we did lose some stuff in the shops. The green stuff you see growing there is the corn crop, which was probably in excess of 6ft tall at the time of the flood. I get a little anxious and anxiety ridden when it starts to rain now, especially since we have had too much rain already this spring.

We spent most of the week with little running water to no running water. One day when the water went off completely it was just surreal. I went to Wal-Mart to get paper plates and it was just a mad house people were grabbing bottled water right and left. You could actually feel the panic. I guess it gave you a feel what others go through in a natural disaster. I can tell you for a fact I never want to go through something like that again.

My son and I went one day down to the local elementary school and handed out water and ice that was sent from FEMA. My sister in law got ready to put ice and water in the back of a jeep and the lady said be careful the tea set was the only toy her daughter had left. It really made you stop and think about being thankful for the things you had.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

He Did Win A T-Shirt

By golly my son did win a t-shirt at basketball camp this morning. He thinks it is for the Hot Shot Contest because he got 31 points, but his friend said that no it is because he was a good listener and followed directions. But here is the kicker. Because of basketball camp he doesn't think he wants to go to college. No, he isn't going straight to the NBA out of third grade! Three of the college players (this is a community college) came to the end of camp today. The coach introduced them to the kids and told a little about each of them, you know where they were from and what positions they played. Then one of the them dunked the ball, I was actually quite impressed by that as the guy wasn't that tall. Anyway on the ride home Jonathon announced that he doesn't think he wants to go to college because those guys just came from summer school and he just doesn't think he would like summer school. I didn't even try to explain that college summer school is different than elementary summer school. I merely stated he had to go to college.

So I am posting twice in one day because tomorrow I don't think I will be able to life my arms above my head. I did clean out the basement window wells, but I also cleaned up this messy place in the front yard where I have some flowers in pots and an old wheelbarrow. The previous owners of this house layered landscaping rocks covered by that black cloth to stop weeds then about 2 inches of mulch on top. It was all moldy and had toadstools growing everywhere, so I shoveled and raked all of that up, sprayed with roundup, put down more black cloth and then a minimal amount of mulch.

I have decided that we will practice the multiplication tables this summer as part of our learning. It always drove me crazy when I taught fifth grade and kids were still counting basic facts on their fingers. So we will work on that. But I am also going to get a blank map of the U.S. and he can start learning the locations of the fifty states. I don't think I will have to make him read as he generally will sit down and read on his own.

We are getting ready this week to redo his room. Right now it is clouds, moons, and stars. We are changing that to ARMY! We are crazy about anything army. Last year for AR we read several books about the World War II era. We have camouflage bed sets for the bunk beds. We got some really neat wallpaper border from a wallpaper wholesaler, so tomorrow we are going to start cleaning out the room getting ready to paint, paper, and throw stuff away (I haven't really told him about that part).

Tomorrow afternoon it might be back to REBA, Lady Liberty and diet coke.

First Finish of 2008

Okay, Ladies and Gentlmen, here is my first cross-stitch finish of 2008. I believe the name of this is Bloomin Alphabet. Sorry for the poor picture quality, but when you wake up at 4:30 am perfection is hard to obtain. This project was a little kit sent to me by my friend Eileen in Rhode Island. It was stitched on linen using Weeks overdyed thread. What am I going to do with this finished piece? I am not sure yet. I just finished it and trust me that was the only constructive thing I did yesterday, besides watching six (yes,six) reruns of REBA. Abby and I like Barbara Jean. When Abby is here she watches REBA reruns with me instead of playing with her cousin.

Now you are probably asking why I was awake at 4:30. My husband is off spending money today and it has me a little nervous. He is going to Nebraska to buy a trailer to haul his header for his combine, then going somewhere (I dont' even know if the place is in Kansas) to buy a header for the combine he just bought. He has to do this otherwise he won't be able to harvest any wheat this summer. Then there is all of this rain we are having right about the time wheat harvest should begin, high fuel prices, spending money. Can you get that this is all a little stressful for me? This isn't like me going down to the Silver Needle and enhancing my stash a little. The other reason I got up so darn early was to make sure he set the alram for 6 am, then I couldn't go back to sleep.

Yesterday was our first day of basketball camp. It was just "a little fun" and we don't know if we learned anything or not. We did score 12 points at Hot Shot, but did not win the t-shirt. I guess as a parent I have failed to teach my child it is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. However, today our friend Eric is going to come home with us to play after basketball, so we are going to be up and at it today.

I have kind of decided that this summer he has to do something in the line of chores everday to earn his allowance. I later decided that on some days he will have to do some sort of homework to earn his allowance. I think we will start with reviewing his multiplication facts. I am pretty sure at the end of last year he knew all the facts up to the 12's. I read on some blogs their kids have to do something in the line of school work everyday, and while I like that idea I also like the idea of forgetting we ever heard about school. As a teacher I like to get away from school once in awhile.

We do have some sort of educational things planned for this summer. I am going to take him to Woolarc. When his class went there on a field trip he had to miss school that day because his grandmother had died. I told him that we would go there one day this summer. It will only cost an arm and a leg to go to this nearby tourist attraction in my car, but we will go.

I have made a firm plan that when it is blistering hot today (and not raining buckets) I will accomplish something besides stitching on Lady Liberty and drinking too much caffeine laced Diet Coke, while watching reruns of REBA. I think today is the day I clean out the basement window wells. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Another Rainy Day

Yep, it's raining again. I think we have received somewhere around 25 inches of rain since the middle of May here. When it isn't raining the wind is blowing like mad. I don't know who made Mother Nature so angry, but I wish they would either make amends or she would get over it.

Yesterday I finally got some laundry done. We went the local walking track and I walked while Jonathon went fishing. My mom sat at the dock near the pond there with him. Ofcourse we had no fishing bait, so he took some corn. Don't laugh some of his friends used it at the scouting thing, even though they didn't catch a thing. He was a little put out when we got in the car because he didn't catch anything. I was glad he didn't catch anything because 1. It is catch and release there, he couldn't have kept the fish and he would have wanted to... and 2. I don't know how to take a fish off the hook, so then what would we have done?

I am due to finish my first cross-stitch project of 2008 today. It is nothing big. I do have some projects I wanted to get finished or started this summer. The first is Lady Liberty. I think it is a Mirabella pattern, the second is a Stoney Creek old time schoolhouse. The last two projects are for my son and husband. The son wants a WWII plane stitched from a Stoney Creek book and there is this old pattern called Wintertime Feeding my husband has wanted for a very long time. (Is ten years really that long?) I started it last summer on linen, but holy moly trying to get all of those snowflakes in the right place on linen, can you say headache? I ordered some overdyed aida from Silkweaver's to start it over.

The second picture is of my neice Abby and my son, Jonathon. This was taken last summer. They are one year and two weeks apart. Most people would think being so close in age they wouldn't get along very well, but really the opposite is true. They get along really well. I think part of it is due to the fact that while Abby can be a girly, girl she is also a tomboy. The first picture is Abby the girly girl. I had just gotten my new camera and needed some practice. she is always willing to strike a pose for me, where as Jonathon doesn't pose.

Well, I still have three hours left to myself this morning as basketball camp started. We have been a little lazy and sleeping late since school got out, but this morning we have to get up and get moving. It was hard.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My First Blog Post

Let's see. Here I am on a cloudy, windy day in Kansas, just sort of looking for stuff to do. It isn't that I don't have a lot to do, it is just that I don't want to do it. I could do laundry, mop the floors, or clean out the wells to the basement windows, weed some places in the front yard, but yeah, well I don't want to do that.

A little about myself I teach eighth grade at a local middle school. All told the school probably has about 500 kids give or take a few. Most people always get a look on their face when you say you teach middle school. Sort of like eewww or "are you crazy", but hey some one has to do it. Generally, they aren't bad kids, just a little naughty. But they come and go every 52 minutes, and you can get along with everyone for 52 minutes. Unless they have stolen field corn from the science room and proceed to my class where they stick it up their nose and blow it back out. In that case before the 52 minutes is up you get to go to the time out room. But that rarely happens. And yes that is a true story.

My immediate family is pretty small. My husband, who farms, is eternally patient and levelheaded. He is also part of his family's farming operation. Right now that consists of just D and his brother. My son, who is nine, and is a nice mix between my personality and my husband's will be in the fourth grade next year. I am an only child. My husband is one of six, therefore, I thank God everyday I am an only child. We live in town. We used to live in the country, but really with kids it is just easier to live in town. Gasoline would have ate us up this summer running back and forth to ballgames, practices, basketball camp etc. It is also hard to be a kid and live so far from town. Most moms don't want to bring their kids nine miles out of town for a playdate. I wouldn't either. So everyday D goes off to the country to spend the day farming and J and I stay in town and have fun.

The above photo is of J getting ready to bat at his baseball game the other night. This is the first year the kids pitch. It seems to be a little imtimidating for our team right now as most of them are first year players. We are improving though.