Monday, March 31, 2008

Desert Props...


It was like being in an old western, minus the horses, the cowboys, and the indians. Just the cactus. They are awesome! Weird how they just pop out of the ground. They only grow a little bit a year, some sources say an inch, others less. Guesses at their age range from hundreds to a thousand years. Our guide said they MIGHT get arms at 75 or 80 years of age...who knows.


We had a fun day. We went on a 4X4 tour. The guide was a little opinionated, but we had funny anyway. We got to see saguaros, barrels, choyas, and “jumping cacti.” It is a cactus that breaks off to make more cacti…budding. I thnk it is actually called a teddy bear or bearded cactus. We got a taste of the interior of one…your basic plant taste, if you’re curious. We saw a few lizards and a bunny and a squirrel. It was a very pretty locale.
We went to lunch at the Sonora Brewery. Good beer. I think Cora already mentioned it…so I won’t elaborate. We did climb “Hole in the Rock.” At Papago Park. That is near both the Zoo and the Botanical Garden. The weather was great today. I love it. Cora says I have a bit of a burn, but I think it is simply your run of the mill red tan. She also questions the utility of having sunglass marks on my face. I like the “raccoon in negative” look.
We dropped by the zoo after climbing to see the rock. There is a bridge across a lake/pond. There were tons of turtles basking in the sun on some logs. There were also several LARGE koi…something like 2 foot long koi. BIG.
We came back and Cora lay down because she was tired. I laid down next to her with the computer on my chest putting our pictures on it. I was not tired at all. An hour later I woke up and finished putting the pictures on the computer.
Tomorrow…hmmm, I don’t know what we’re doing maybe the botanical garden…how many times have I mentioned botanical garden in my blog so far? Probably enough times to convince the average person I am a plant lover, or a botanist, or just a nerd…I think the latter is the best approximation of my interest in plants that are not native to my home area. Weird. I know. I get that a lot. Mostly from Cora. She likes Cacti too, though, look, I can prove it!

So far we have had SO MUCH fun! Cora asked what we are doing next year…hmmm…camping? Probably not.
Below you see Cora inspecting a saguaro skeleton...cool, huh?
This is the wonderful family we went to dinner with last night. That poser in the middle of the back row is the wonder student...history student? the perfect student? She seems to like history... some think that is just weird... I think it is the way it should be. It was a fun evening. They surprised me with the Lychee Fruit birthday dish...it was great!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

PBX to PHX, Awesome Birthday!

I had a wonderful birthday! Cora and I left the hotel at 5 this morning and got to the airport and were among the last to arrive for the flight. We had to sit separated…by the isle.
It was a lengthy flight. I asked the guy next to me if his daughter could hold my GPS. It is aging and not picking up satellites as quickly as it used to. She needed to hold it near the window so it could pick up the signal…and Cora would not let me turn it on until she made sure it was among the safe and approved electronic devices…it was. Anyway, it tracked our progress to the South Eastern corner of Oregon before it slipped away from the window…last known speed? 517 miles per hour. Altitude? 864 feet…something wrong with its logarithms I think.



We arrived over Arizona and I watched the cloud cover below us loosen and disappear. I am pretty sure I saw the Grand Canyon from 30,000 feet…wow, it is big. Our fellow passengers were having a pretty good flight. Our Flight Attendants even better. They were very funny: “in the event our Southwest Airlines flight becomes a cruise, please use these flotation devices.” “ In the event of an unplanned cabin depressurization use this…and if they were planned, we would have all called in sick today.” They got funnier. “If the cabin depressurizes, and you have a child next to you, please put your mask on first, then your child’s. If you are sitting with two children, put yours on and then choose the one with the most college potential.” They sang us songs about why their airline is best…and faster than a bus. To cap it all, as we pulled up the to the gate, one of them simply said: “Now, get out.” They were at the end of their four day week and heading for home.


We got the car, got misplaced and found our way to Beth’s. Phoenix, by the way, is much easier to navigate than Portland.


We had lunch with Beth and then went off to explore Phoenix. Wow, what a cool town! Well, warm. We found the Zoo, and the Botanical Garden…and Papago Park. Also we located the capitol, where we found the Anchor of the USS Arizona and her signal mast. It was awesome…very touching.


We met Kim and John and Kids! Cora has been corresponding with Kim for several months, so we decided to get together for dinner. They are great people! I had SO much fun! Dinner was great and they did not even seem to mind listening to history! Their daughter Kylee is apparently a fan of history and her classes recently went over WWII. She gave me a run for my money by coming up with obscure facts and questions. I wish my students showed half her interest. I hope we did not bore the rest of the family too much. Cora has been looking for a book for the past week now and could not find it. Kim went out and found it and gave it to her! Cora had brought down two baby blankets for Kim. It was a fun end to a great day.
Cora is asleep...she wanted to blog, but was just too tired to keep her eyes open. Tomorrow is another fun filled day of exploration!

Cactus grow wild here…everywhere! Awesome!



This has been one of the very best birthdays ever. What more could I ask for? I have it all, a great wife, great new friends and wonderful old ones, great relatives and a chance to see something new. Maybe being 34 won't be bad after all. In fact, I welcome it.

I have been lying in bed awake. I cannot sleep. Too hot, too cold, uncomfortable, whatever the reason, here I sit. I was thinking of some things I forgot to post earlier. I want to post them now because later, I will forget. First, We saw 6 F-15s of the Portland Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard. They are big planes. Dark grey and ominous.
The other thing I wanted to mention was something I saw moored to a pier on the North shore of Jantzen Beach Island. It was the low grey shape of a military, or ex-military, vessel. When I got closer, I recognized the lines of a WWII LCI, or Landing Craft, Infantry. About 180 feet long with a narrow beam. It was a striking shape. I wanted to see it again, but you had to be on the right side of the road. Darn it.
A quick search led to a site devoted to an LCI sailors memorial.
Oh, and Cora just wished me a happy birthday! I had actually forgotten.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fun Day, Bad Noodles

Portland for the night. We are sitting in bed in the hotel room. For a three star hotel there are a lot of SNAFUs going on here. The girls at the front desk were…well, shall we say, annoyed by customers’ presence? The maids were just beginning to get the rooms clean as we were bringing our bags in…at 330PM, we nearly tripped over piles of dirty laundry. Then Cora wanted to go explore. OK, so did I. I enjoy exploring with her. When we take wrong turns…errr, explore…we get a few laughs. I enjoy driving around a new city and seeing how things work. Unfortunately, Portland is not like most cities. Most cities have a layout that make sense, or at least you can imagine what the city planners were thinking. Portland seems to have been designed by an epileptic cartographer during a seizure (If there are any epileptic mapmakers out there, please accept my apologies ). Yes, I blame the guy who designed it, not my sense of direction, which is supremely accurate! It was rainy (no sun for direction finding), and there are a whole lot of trees that all look the same, not to mention all the identical buildings (Cora claims we drove by the same one several times, I don’t think she realizes the guy who designed the buildings here was also an employee of Xerox [no offense intended for employees of Xerox]).

We drove by an IKEA when we got here. We have never been to one. I doubt if we ever will again. Lots of neat stuff, but jeez, if I was lost once today, it was in the IKEA. We had a really bad time at first, then we noticed the arrows on the floor. Everyone was in a human river going one direction. There were numerous coves and eddies, in which the human flow slowed down, but mostly they all wound around the maze slowly. Then we went downstairs…upstairs was the display floor! Cool stuff. Really, it was interesting, and I thought some of the stuff was very well priced, but the human part was, well, like rivers in the American Midwest! Overflowing. It is either a very new store or a very popular one. Cora will doubtless have something to say about it.

The drive was nice. The car was a dream. It galloped up the hills over Satus Pass. Just prior to that, I was noting the gas mileage was 36mpg. That soon deteriorated. By the time we reached the pass, behind a Sherriff, it was 31mpg…I like to rocket uphill, and the Sherriff probably saved our mileage. But, by the time we were done driving around and around Portland it was back to 36mpg. Love that car.

Phoenix tomorrow. I am SO JAZZED!! I suppose that is an acceptable turn of phrase. I cannot wait!! We expected to head out for my parents about noon to drop off the dogs. We found ourselves wandering around looking for things to pack by 10AM. So, we got in the car and left. My parents gave us some money for our birthdays to spend on our trip!

We had dinner tonight at the Pacific Grill(?), here at the hotel. It was NOT good. I don’t think I have ever had such horrid food. we ordered a Chicken Pasta dish. The Chicken was hard on the outside…hurt to chew. The noodles…well, might as well have been a noodle mush. Oh, and Cora said there was supposed to be bleu cheese in there…but I don’t think I got any flavor out of it. I have never left a dish uneaten…I could only stomach a few bites. The waitress? She came by and asked how it was. Cora told her. I expounded on that. She looked at us and said, “hmmm, that’s what others have said, maybe I should tell customers not to order it.” She got a two dollar tip. I would not have left that, but Cora said I should. I suppose, if I were more outgoing or self-righteous or had a wife who would let me, I would have demanded to see the manager. As it was, dinner took forever getting to us, as the waitress wandered by dazed and confused at best, harried and desperate at others. She thought we had ordered Jack Daniels at one point, even though we had both clearly repeated our desire for soda directly to HER. By the end of the evening, I think we regretted turning away the Jack Daniels! The table behind us ordered a BLT, the server came back and asked what was in it. She had mistaken it for a drink. When they explained, she replied that there was no bacon. Cora said she was glad we would not be here for breakfast, I agreed. We decided just to bag it and go back to the room and sleep. Phoenix beckons and so does bed.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I Said Dr., Mister MD, Can You Tell Me What's Ailing Me!?


“I went to my family Dr. and asked him just what I had, I said Dr., Mr. M.D., can you tell me what’s ailing me. He said, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…” What you need is some Anti-biotics, some Sudafed, and some Benadryl. By tomorrow you won’t be contagious. Oh, and you are NOT dying.

I stepped out into the office to pay the extortionist. As I did, I glanced out the window. It wasn’t bad enough the Dr. told me I was perfectly fine, and should be fine by Monday, but it was now snowing. Crap. I thought we were done with snow. It snowed till almost 2 PM.

I spent the rest of the morning running around buying too much stuff. Well, it was stuff we needed for the trip. I began to feel better by noon. I am feeling much better now. I kind of think the Dr. was a waste of money, but at least I now know I don’t have pneumonia or bronchitis. The anti-biotics will probably help, too.

So, tomorrow, we drop off the dogs, then flee for Portland. We will probably relax a bit and then leave early in the morning for the airport. We expect to arrive in Phoenix about 930AM. From then on we expect to relax and enjoy the experience. We only have two things planned specifically for a particular day, the rest we can do or not do as we see fit (4X4 trip and the AMARQ tour). I can’t wait!

My parents will be watering the fish and our neighbors will be watching the place. The dogs will be watched…all will be well.





So, next Friday Battlestar Gallactica comes on for its final season. Frack! I might miss it…well, I will miss it live, but we have a DVR, so missing it is not possible, barring some unusual bend in time and space. I have been a loyal viewer since it began. They played a couple “behind the scenes” specials on it tonight. I am ready to watch it…not sure I am happy about this being the final season…but last March is when they played the last new one…maybe it was last May…but the thing is it took them FOREVER to get to the new season!! Am I a Sci-Fi freak? No. Well, if you keep it to yourself and don’t tell anyone, yes.




Well, I have to pack…well, Cora’s done it for me…but I feel the need to participate…

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Get Up! Come On, Get Down With The Sickness!

“Get up! Come on, get down with the sickness, Oooo-Wha-Ah-Ah-Ahhhh!”…yeah, it’s a song, but, you know what, I think it fits.

I started getting a cold last week, but did something that caused it to go into my chest. Yeah, what fun. I have been dosing myself with Airborne and taking cold meds. Cora is convinced I should see the Dr. before we leave. I may give in. I am feeling pretty close to miserable.



I hate this part of teaching. They say, “The first year is worst. After a year, you stop getting as sick”…yeah? Bullshit. I think I now know why I had so many grumpy teachers and bad grades. They blamed students for getting them sick. They probably sat there, without benefit of Airborne, looking at students walk in each morning and thought to themselves: “These little %$#@ come in here with their grubby @*(&^$%# hands and spread their $%@# pathogens like rock salt on a sidewalk. Look at Jimmy, rubbing his nose. I think he just sneezed in my direction. I think he did it on purpose! I think little Jimmy missed 60% of the test!! That’ll teach him! I will limit his future the same way he is limiting mine!!!!! Wuh-Haa-Ha-Ha-Haaaaa!!!!” So, Mom and Dad, with that information, I think you owe me some back allowance, some TV time, an Atari Game, a Transformer, a Gobot, several stickers (I liked the shiny ones and the Scratch ‘n’ Sniff in fifth grade), oh, and an apology!


On another note, I see how limited my future became: so much for becoming an astronaut, fighter pilot, and all-around American Hero (I am sure it wasn’t because of my short-sightedness, or my startling lack of appreciation for mathematics, I am sure it was because of those teachers!). Well, I guess I will just take it out on the students!


I got home at about 1:00pm. Conferences at the elementary. I changed the water in the fish tanks and washed the dog bedding. Cora usually does the dog beds…and I think she is going to continue doing them…I can’t believe how hard it was getting the hair to come off. I could not even put the cover back on Toby’s bed, I had to have Cora do it when she came in.

The kids were fun. Since it was a half-day, the teacher seems to have forgotten that certain reading teachers would not be coming in. So, Jim had to shoot from the hip. I had to come up with an educational fakery of sorts. The kids know I can draw. We went through as many letters of the alphabet as I could stomach, then I told them to take a sheet of paper and I would show them how to draw something. So they learned how to spell elephant, duck, and number. They also learned that you can draw with numbers. I showed them how to use number shapes to draw a duck. Yeah, I am a one trick horse. If all else fails, draw them a picture.

Well, if I go to the Dr. tomorrow, I also have to squeeze in some other getting ready details. I CANNOT WAIT to go to Phoenix!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Grand Canyon vs. Evergreen


Click for Phoenix, Arizona Forecast


So, here is a little teaser for those of you in the Evergreen State. For those of you (read Kim here) in the Grand Canyon State, disregard, all you have to do is step outside.

If you all would like to compare the two states, here is a weather quote from our area:


Click for Moxee, Washington Forecast


Should I stop bragging? Yeah, I should, but when have I been one to quit while I am ahead? That's right. So, what are we doing on MY birthday? Stepping off the plane in Phoenix, Arizona! Where the weather is fair and the planes are in museums and the sky. Oh, the sky will likely be filled with a giant sun, just look at the flag in the Arizona sticker above. It must be... simply awesome. Look at the darned Wahington sticker...looks cloudy and nasty, huh? (ignore the Rainbow, we don't get those here) You can decide for yourself.

Substitute Heaven, and Month Eleven


This picture is of my Split Leaf Philedendron, the plant that would not die. I thought we needed some color.

Substitute Heaven is when you get to sub for a teacher that has a student teacher. During student teaching the “cooperating teacher” is supposed to remain in the room, since it is the law that a certified person must be in the room. Even when the student teacher (ST) graduates to teaching the classes, a certified person is supposed to be present. Therefore, if the cooperative teacher is sick, a substitute must be in the room. If the ST is teaching classes, then the sub simply sits on his or her butt and enjoys the show.

When I was student teaching, my cooperative teacher was gone quite a bit. I often had a sub in the back of the room doing nothing more than reading a magazine. They were getting paid. I was paying to be up there in front of the class, while they were being paid to sit in the back.

Well, today, I finally got a chance to enjoy the other side of the coin. I subbed for a teacher who has a ST. It was fun. It was her first day to do it, she had been observing until now. I think she did pretty well. Her advisor came in to arrange a time for him to observe the ST, but the cooperative teacher was gone, so he left again. When he was gone, I gave her one of my best pieces of advice for a student teacher: Bribe the kids to behave when he comes in.

I did that. I believe it was one of the other teachers at the school I student taught at who suggested it, and my cooperative teacher concurred. Whether the kids would have behaved if I had not bribed them is neither here nor there, but I felt it helped. It worked for me. It gave me one less thing to think about. It was cheap, simply a couple bags of candy. The result allowed me to then concentrate on the lesson. My advisor apparently approved.

Well, today marks 11 months that our paperwork has been logged in to China. Our adoption continues to flounder along at an agonizing pace. When we signed up, it was supposed to go somewhere between 18 and 24 months, the latter being on the outside. Well, now it looks like it may be 2011 before we bring home our little girl. It is hard, but there isn’t much I can do about it except fret, and that does no good. It is with grim determination that we continue. One day, we will have our Little Miss. In the meantime, the wait, simply put, sucks.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring is come the walrus said...




Here it is, the day before Easter. I volunteered at the Air Museum today. They seem to like me. I enjoyed it, even though things relating to my specialty are not prevalent. I like a good sized aircraft, but all they seem to have are models hanging from the ceiling. Yeah, they have a JT-Something engine, the civilian equivalent of a J-57, but mostly they deal in odd little civilian jobs. They got an ultra-light donated a couple weeks ago…they seem excited. Yeah, I looked at it and thought, “…hmmmm, an ultra-light, where are the real airplanes?” Maybe I am picky. Or maybe I want REAL airplanes at my airplane museum. Strange, that, don’t you think.

So, I took my ships in. If you are not familiar with my ships, you probably need me to fill you in. I have model ships at a scale of 1:2400, meaning for every 12 of our inches, my ships have 2400 feet. So a 2400 foot long piece of real estate in the model’s world, would be 1 foot in ours. Or, better put one inch equals 200 feet. A battleship sits nicely in the palm of your hand. Most of my ships are made of pewter, a few I have hand carved from different materials, usually balsa wood or styrene. About 6 months ago, I built a 5X7 inch diorama. It featured several buildings and a few large piers and a dry dock. I am enclosing a photo. I took it and several of my ships to the museum, since a few of the members have asked to see it. The members who saw it ooohed and ahhed. There was one member who had asked me about it, but I did not see him. I told him about them. So, I looked around and found a display case that was unused. I asked if I could leave a few of my models and my diorama so he could come in and see it. I was told that I was welcome to, if I wanted. I did. I left Yorktown, Enterprise, Missouri, Omaha, a DD, and a DE. Plus whatever was on the Diorama. When you think that the steam engine alone had 14 pieces on it…well, it is smaller than a grain of rice.

We had my parents over for dinner, no, they did not taste good…a bit stringy. Yuck. O.k., it was more a reason to show them how we want them to feed the fish while we are gone. My sister-in-law will be taking care of the dogs. Sully will be staying inside…we will have to get a litter box for him. Last time we left and he was allowed to go out side, he did. Then, when we got home, we looked and looked for him. He stayed away for several days. We think he was mad because we left him to fend for himself. He thinks he is at least part dog, if not mostly human, like he acts. My parents will be around to feed the fish and water them. Yes, water them. You ask, aren’t the fish immersed in water. The answer is “yes, but they are salt water fish and the water evaporates, but the salt does not.” Therefore. As the water evaporates, the water left behind becomes more and more salty. There is only so much salt a salt water fish can stand.

Tomorrow was supposed to be the day where we were going to get packed up and get ready for our trip, but my niece, lovely little gem that she is, wanted to make sure that she saw Uncle Jim before he went away; before his birthday! She was worried that I might not have a birthday party…lord knows, I could not manage without that! I am SO glad she worries about me, for, really, realistically, who would? She is a little angel in jeans…sometimes a pony tail. She is, honestly, my favorite niece!

So, our Easter is filled; hopefully we get something done. I guess there is the rest of the week…though it leaves us less wiggle room.
Jimh.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Any Happy Little Thought?


Remember the opening lines of Peter Pan's song about how to fly?

Hum a perfect tune…or at least use a computer. Then have the kids try and help decide what makes a good tune. Not as easy as it sounds, since some yo-yos think animal sounds, digital beeps, and cowbells belong in songs. I guess Christopher Walken actually had it right on SNL.

Yep, I subbed for the music teacher again today. She was busy doing cool teacher stuff, while I taught her classes…as best I could. I was to use a computer program to help the kids compose a song. Using a format of A-B-A…yeah, it was news to me, too.

But, despite that, music was just as kind to me as before, but not so much for the kids today. I began classes with my expectations, but in almost every case, they did not live up to my expectations, which were more often worded as what they were NOT supposed to do. Well, I told them what I wanted and they often provided things they should not do, but, I wonder if they did not give their classmates ideas. Still, kids will be kids. These were kinders, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. Remarkably the kinders did the best, and the 2nd graders were all over the board. I ended the day having had six or seven kids in the corner…they deserved it. Some of them were just so annoying I should be commended for being that nice. There was the kid whose voice hits the octave that could possibly shatter bone, of not ear drums…trust me, he tried. Then there was the one who was eating popcorn off the floor…I dared not touch that one, but, since he decided not to follow instructions, he went to the corner, too. There were several others who just decided that, since the rest of the day had been screwed up by class photos, they need not follow direction. I did my best to disabuse them of that notion. I had several ask me to be funny. I told them I could be funny, or I could be the teacher they wished they had not crossed. One class spent the last few minutes of class with their heads down…more entertaining to me for their wiggles and unconscious comments than anything. The teacher came in, looked at them and just shook her head.

Cora and I went out for dinner. Not the best place in town, but we are reluctant to spend obscene amounts of money for ambiance. We settled…and then walked away from the table asking if the other was full, then giggling because we were thinking the exact same thing. 8 and ½ years of marriage does that, doesn’t hurt to have had an extra five before that.

I taught HS photography yesterday. Enjoyed the high schoolers. They get my jokes more often. Usually because I hide the humor in a bit of trick language. I love a good play on words. Some roll their eyes, others laugh. I appreciate either.

Well, this weekend is the last weekend before our Phoenix trip. We have lots to do, but I just can’t wait!

I get to volunteer at the local air museum on Saturday. They are short on volunteers and I told them I was interested in volunteering for them…I can’t wait. I had SO much fun at McClellan Aviation Museum, I hope this is half as much fun. Then again, McClellan had about thirty more aircraft. Oh, well. Maybe the local museum will gain a few more. I hope to convince them to look into how to link themselves with the Air Force Museum…they seem to have scads of aircraft to loan. Might be nice!

Well, since I brought it up, here is yet another picture of me in front of an aircraft…This particular aircraft is an F-100D at McClellan. Note my vest, pretty, huh? Volunteers got those. They let me keep mine, patches and all. See the tube above me? That is the refueling boom. It plugs into a fan/funnel device on the tanker. It was the first production aircraft that could break the sound barrier in level flight. One of the gentlemen I worked with at McClellan claimed it would burn through all its fuel if it stayed in afterburner for eleven minutes. I am not entirely sure of that calculation, but it does illustrate the obscene amounts of fuel used during afterburner.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Nifty Nice Niece Key Chain

Oh, I forgot. For Christmas, my wonderful niece, Emma, made us key chains. I put mine on my key ring immediately. I never dreamt that it would be so handy. I carry 3 different sets of keys…well, five. One ring is full of our home keys, the next ring are my work keys, and the last is my OTK (One True Key-came with the vehicle) for my Tacoma. The other two key rings I refer to are in my left pocket. One is about 6 different keys which unlock a variety of pad locks and our mail box. The last is the STK (Second True Key-for the Camry, it never comes out of my pocket, since it is a wireless entry/keyless start, etc., Cora has the other. Basically, that car is a bundle of magic on 4 wheels). So, the reason I told you that is so I could explain the importance of the Niece’s key ring. It allows me to differentiate between my work keys and my home keys. Usually the OTK falls to the bottom of the pocket, but the other two jockey for tops. My work keys are on a key ring I found on the roof of the intermediate school, apparently kids love to throw things on the roof of that school. I picked up $5.00 of change while I was fixing the gutters two summers ago (the repair worked as I had promised: until the next rain). The key ring was apparently a souvenir from Chicago. It has a chain on it which is not always east to feel. The Niece key chain, however, has these wonderful beads, which, I found out recently, glow in the dark. The beads are large and nicely recognizable by touch, so it really made quick entry to either work or home much faster and easier. Well, the other day, it broke and the beads fell loose in my pocket. I was disappointed, and thought my niece might be able to help me fix it, so I called my beloved sister and asked to speak to my four year old niece. She had no problem about helping me with another key ring. In fact, on Saturday, I went to the post office and got our mail. There was a package from my niece and nephew! New key chains for the both of us!!!! What a wonderful surprise! Alo included were several sheets of finger art and a few hand written notes. So, I had to call and thank her today. She could probably have talked for a good hour or so, but her mom rescued her from getting a sore throat or going hoarse (though, truthfully, that might not be a bad thing, from what I have heard: might be nice to get some quiet). I, however, enjoyed our conversation, no matter how one sided!

Egyptian Treasure


I mentioned my plans for a summer game for my Mother-In-Law's daycare kids. Here are the earliest stages of my plan. The front page of the dictionary of my terms. See also the jewels and riches that will be in the treasure from the tomb. I thought these might let some people see how cool it is to be at the daycare!

Medicated Tea-th


So, have a cup of coffee, jump in the truck and drive to the dentist. PAY for some bastard to jump in your mouth with a jackhammer, sledge hammer, and I assume a pick and shovel. That’s what I did this morning. I am fairly certain he had a monkey wrench and a pair of pliers, too.

I followed the nurse down the hall to the room in which I would be tortured. She helped me put on a little sheet and promised me the Dr. would be in soon. He came in and began sticking me with a needle. He said he would let it sit and become numb. I agreed silently.

He came back in a few minutes later. He said he wanted to make sure it was numb, then took a sharp object and inserted it into my gum. I gave a bit of a twinge and he decided, aloud that he should give me a bit more numb juice (my words, not his). This time, I concurred aloud. The nurses snickered.

This time he left me for quite awhile longer. When he came back my jaw was considerably more numb. He wasted no time in getting to work. He used a rubber thingy to wedge my mouth open. He took his drill and made a quick attack on my mouth. I assume it was my tooth he was interested in, but it was numb. He then took a few tools from the nurse and began a mining operation in my mouth. The nurse had to put her hand under my chin to stabilize my jaw while he worked. I was too worried about losing the other teeth to move. After about fifteen minutes, seemed like a decade, he had finished up with two stitches and was telling me thanks for keeping still. I was only too happy to oblige.

He gave me a prescription for some pain meds and an anti-biotic. I wandered around Safeway waiting for my prescriptions. I must have looked pathetic with a wad of gauze in my mouth and my lips not quite looking the way they should. Finally, I made it home. Cora beat me. She has a Dr.’s appointment for her back, and could not use a mouse, let alone do work. So, she came home early.

My jaw is beginning to ache and my head is, too. Hopefully tomorrow I will be feeling up to being a substitute teacher. I already have three jobs lined up for this week. Two for the teacher that teachers the life skills at the elementary, and one for the music teacher I subbed for last week. She apparently approved.

Well, I am going to have some medicated tea. By the way, my prefered medicinal tea additive is rum. Oh, and that smiling tooth fellow up there, wouldn't be smiling if he knew what happened to mine.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Eternity Welcomes Safe Drivers, Red Dwarf, and Corned Beef!

“Dead Dave, everybody’s dead Dave. Dave, dead, everybody is.” If you have never seen the BBC series Red Dwarf, then you are missing something. Just thought I open with that. Not sure why, just seemed like the thing to do.

Cora hurt her back this morning. I tried to make her stay in her chair all day, but was unsuccessful…she is very stubborn. She did laundry and worked around the house, nevertheless. I could see the pain on her face, but she is very stubborn. She finally slowed down and rested in her chair for awhile. We had planned to have my parents up to have dinner, but they were not feeling up to it. We had planned to get groceries, but she was not up to it. I went in and got them. I also got some craft stuff.

Last year, I accidentally set off a trend at my Mother-in-law’s daycare. I left a drawing of a pirate and a pirate ship and a couple verses about treasure on the refrigerator. The kids loved it and Nancy bent to their will, and I helped by getting some pirate toys. Then each day the kids got a new hint for another part of the pirate booty. It was a hit with the kids and I think Nancy enjoyed it too.

This year, I got the idea to create an Egypt theme. Same basic idea, but now I am going to throw hieroglyphs into the works. I bought some stuff to make hieroglyphs, complete with gold dust…ok.,.its golden mica dust, but it works. It looks cool. This is a long term thing and won’t be finished for some time. Should give me something to do, though.

Well, we had Corned Beef and Cabage and Carrots. Cora started the beef while I was still in town. I finished it off. It tasted good.

Tomorrow, I get a tooth removed. To better make a bridge. They wanted to put me out, and frankly, I would not have minded, but the price was some 60% difference, so I opted for the cheaper one…hopefully they’ll give me some good pills to go with it. I won’t miss that molar root.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fresh Fish!!


Well, it’s Saturday. We slept late. Well, later than normal. When Cora got up, I ran into town with her car and got some McD’s breakfast sandwiches. I like the sausage, egg, and cheese mcmuffins, whilst Cora prefers the new mcgriddles.

We decided we had best move from our chairs. So, we donned our clothes and went to town for groceries. I got a haircut and then we went to the bookstore. After that, we got some lunch at Mongolian. Then we went to Costco. We both bought some clothes. I took a pair of shorts and put them in our cart, and then Cora and I were trying to decide which shirt to buy. When I turned to see if the shirt would go well with the shorts…the cart was there, but the shorts were not. I looked to see some bastard with my shorts in his hands, but there was no one. I was greatly annoyed and ready to accuse someone of this heinous deed, but never did see anyone with my shorts.

We decided to stop at Petco before going home. Cora needed a small net. When we walked in there was a Coral Beauty angelfish for $14.99. Its regular price was $24.99, and the ones online are usually about $30. This specimen seemed in good health, and my tank has been in need of another fish. Cora and I decided to buy her. Here s how she looks in my tank! Also you will see Marvin the Maroon Clownfish and Stitch, the blue damsel. The Coral Beauty’s name is Penelope, or Penny…not sure yet. Note how the blue one, Stitch, seems to be a camera hog, yet he won't slow down long enough for the camerato focus. If you want a good place to find fish online, try
Dr.s Foster and Smith.

Cora suggested we have Corned Beef and Cabbage tomorrow, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Should be nice!
OH, Yeah, I REALLY CAN'T WAIT FOR PHOENIX.

Friday, March 14, 2008

WHo?? BEE?? PI??


Ok. Dr. Who is the coolest. I have seen the one that was on tonight before, bt seeing the rest of the series sure puts it in prospective. I can’t believe the depths of the storyline of Dr. Who. Tonight’s was the End of The Universe. It included Captain Jack Harkness and Dr. Who, of course, but now having seen most of the preceding ones, I get a lot more. I love the Dr.’s humor and his quick wit. Of course, some have told me that British humor, or shall we say humour, is different from American Humor. I disagree, it just depends on how simple you are. If you like British humor, you are likely to be a bit sharper. But, that’s just me.

Tonight we were watching the African plain. Cora told me to go to one of the cams. I did and there was a “Happy B-day” message for someone named “Campbell.” We thought it was cool.

We also watched a “Bee Movie.” Good movie, even better than Ratatouille. So, that’s it.

Oh, I also taught for a reading specialist at the elementary today. I was still hearing things from kids and teachers alike. I suppose I should be less fun. I may not be tops in the learning category, but the kids seem to like me and that makes a day easier. Well, the weekend beckons! I must fly…

Oh, check out CORA's BLOG!!!! She has some excellent Pi stuff!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Musical Day

I taught music classes at the elementary today. It was FUN!! I got a kick out of the kids. They asked me to dance and I told them I could not, because my wife says it looks like I am being chased by bees. One child said she would not sing (that’s what we were supposed to be doing) unless I danced for them. I put my hands on my hips and moved my head back and forth and said, in my gangsta accent, “It’s on!” I heard that the kids thought that was the greatest when I got to the lunch room. Apparently they think I am very funny…it doesn’t take a whole lot to impress 3rd graders. It was loads of fun though. I am certain that you could combat old age simply by being around kids for a few hours a day…of course, it would be important that you have not lost all of your childishness. I have plenty.

We went to dinner at Applebee’s. Neither of us felt like making dinner. Now we are back home, sitting in our chairs, using the laptops. Now that is heaven. Oh, Monday, I go in and get one of my molars removed. This is to allow me to get a bridge…yeah, what lovely teeth I have.

Well, I teach again tomorrow. Again at the elementary. Different class. Still fun. Well, I need to go figure out what will help my sore muscles…apparently, I WAS dancing…dammit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

teaching broken dishes 4X4 tours.


So, I taught at the High School today. I managed to click on the photography teacher’s job before anyone else. When I got there, I found that they were doing the WASL this week. That meant I had no classes for the first two hours.

I was told to go down to a specific classroom and observe a senior project presentation. I did. There were only two. One had decided to refinish her mom’s old “Ice Box,” but did not know how a block of ice was supposed to keep anything cold. I guess they don’t teach thermodynamics in high school anymore.

The other had decided to do a talent show to raise money for the Special Olympics. Apparently planning was not part of the process and her “volunteer” talent had a bad habit of bugging out on her. She had to replace her “volunteers” with other “volunteers.” She also included in her presentation words and phrases like: “more better,” and my mom is “pretty high” in that organization.

After that, I walked back to my classroom and surfed the internet. Because of the way the WASL had broken up the day, students only went to their 1st, 3rd, and 5th periods. My plan period was 3rd, so all I had to do was teach two classes. I thought that was a pretty good deal: a little over two hours of teaching and I got paid for the whole day!

I came home and did dishes, cleaned at the house, and made dinner. I was especially happy with my carrots and mashed potatoes. I added a touch of honey to my carrots and they turned out yummy. I boiled them first, along with some basil and garlic and onion. The potatoes started out to be potato salad, but I kinda let it boil too long. I usually throw carrots and celery in with the potatoes along with whatever else strikes my fancy. I threw in some green onion, too. When I realized I had let it boil too long, I decided to go with mashed potatoes. I added a little sour cream and mushed it about a bit (like my technical terms?), it turned out good. The chopped carrots and green onion really made it look good. Oh, and for the main course, we had Costco tri-tip roast.

I have a tendency to destroy glassware. There are countless victims in the landfill because of me, the one exception is a wine glass with the stem missing, which I use for port. I make no distinction between glass types. I have dropped wine glasses, highballs, short glasses, dishes, plates, one coffee carafe, and large bowls. I have, until tonight, managed, through selfless acts of gravity defying and bone cracking acrobatics, to avoid breaking large baking dishes.

Well, tonight I had the tri-tip on a metal grate suspended over a baking dish. The drippings were creating some smoke, so I decided to add a little water. Aware of thermodynamic stresses caused by rapid cooling and heating, I opted to use hot water and dribble small amounts into the bottom of the baking dish, which I also assumed to be tempered and fully strengthened against such things. It was going well. The smoke began to subside (yes, smoke is a sign that I am cooking) and I thought things were looking good. I was beginning to think I might be able to salvage some of it and maybe even make gravy. Just as this thought entered my head, a loud CRACK split the air and my front was showered with shards and chunks of glass. Cora, with her gift for asking the obvious, asked, “Did you break something?” My response was stunned silence…I had not expected such an explosive reaction. So, she came in and asked if it was the one she liked. Fortunately, it was not. Nevertheless, it seems my streak continues.

Cora and I have decided we are going to need to stay in Arizona for a few weeks just to scratch the surface. For Monday the 31st we have reservations for a 4X4 tour into the desert. For Wednesday, we have reservations for the AMARC tour, that is, a tour of the aircraft bone yard, to break up the walking involved in exploring the giant air museum. The rest of the week will be filled by the following: Phoenix Zoo, The Desert Museum in Tucson, The Desert Botanical Garden, and the Arizona Science Center. These are just a few of the numerous things that Arizona has to offer. Jeez, I sound like an Arizona Tourism advertisement. But, man, there are tons of things to do. There are mines, Native American ruins, Saguaro National Park…then there are the things to do in town. Basically, we will be able to stay busy.

I cannot wait to go. Of course, you all know Pima Air Museum and the AMARC tour are the big things for me. They have VERY historic aircraft on display!! This B-52, known as “Balls Three,” because of its serial number, was one of the mother ships for the X-15. I am looking forward to seeing it and the other two B-52s in the collection.

The B-58 was a supersonic bomber. I think it was a sexy bomber. I am looking forward to seeing it! Note the four jet engines? Fighter jets used those.

This helicopter was a heavy lifter of its time. The CH-37 Mojave. It had, unlike today’s jet turbine powered helicopters, two radial engines.

How can you NOT want to go, too? O.K., look at this:

See all the aircraft at the bone yard? LOADS!!!!! Well, I should get going, this was a long post.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Daylight Savings

OK. I don't really care one way or the other about Daylight Savings. I think they should leave it this way all year long, really. What really bugs me is the fact that the past three nights I have ended up going to bed late. I attribute it to the time change, so I am a little annoyed with it all. I felt so warm and cozy in bed this morning, but got up nevertheless. I needed to check and see if I could sub, but alas, the other subs are faster than I am. I could have gotten another 40 minutes sleep, since I don't need to look pretty for the maintenance dept. Well, I am fnally getting tired. I am off to bed. Tomorrow, I sub for a photography teacher, figure that! Something I know something about!!!! Yeahhhhh!!!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Digging escape tunnels and fencing lessons


Ahhh, Spring is coming. This picture is of the front of our house in California, in the spring.

Well, Sunday was a nice day. We took the dogs to the park and gave them a nice long walk. Then we visited Cora’s Grandmother and her aunt. It was good to see that part of the family. Aunt Karen looked like she wanted to take Gypsy home with her. Yet, she seemed to like Toby as well. We figured that Laura, her daughter, would have had a fit if she had taken Toby. Laura fell in love with Gypsy, and even offered to give Cora her sister’s car in exchange. Her sister was not pleased. Well, no family feuds will develop; we still have Gypsy…unfortunately.

Gypsy chose us. Cora was walking me to work one day, while we lived in California. The plant was about two blocks away. If you look at the picture of Sully in the window, you can see the plant and the bins. Trailers of pears used to sit in front of the bins. It was under one of the trailers that Gypsy was waiting for us. We were walking with Toby and Cora was going to go back home. This ugly, dirty, bedraggled coyote-type creature came out from under the trailer and attempted to play with Toby. We tried to shoo it away, but it kept returning. Finally, Cora dropped me off and went back home. She called me later that evening. She said she had put some water out for this animal, which seemed to be a dog, not a coyote. A little while later she called again, this time to tell me the “dog” had broken into the fenced back yard.

We tried to find a place for her. I called the pound. When I discovered that most of the animals brought to that particular pound were euthanized, I decided not to take her to the pound. I was not pleased with her, but I figured we might find her a home. She was a nice dog. Finally, we decided to keep her, mainly because she would not go away. It seems she was aware of the day, if not moment, we decided to keep her, because within a VERY short time of that she began escaping the yard. The fence around the back yard was not spectacular, but Toby had been content to stay within its confines. Gypsy proved that it was insufficient. Repeatedly. And often.

Gypsy is the penultimate escape artist. As soon as we decided to keep her she began escaping the yard. My existence soon centered on keeping her in the yard. It became my ultimate goal in life. I began by wiring the existing fence together better. Still she escaped. Then I bought some fencing that prevented her from squeezing through the holes in between the wires. Still she escaped, this time under the fence. I replied to this by buying stakes and staking the fence to the ground. Still she escaped, now over the fence. I responded with using sharpened wire twisted on the top of the fence. Still she escaped. This time: by digging. I responded by taking every twig and stick I could find and cutting them diagonally, so they would go into the ground better. I began with a distance of no more than a foot between each. Gypsy proved that to be far too distant. By the end, the stakes were separated, often by centimeters, but in some places by millimeters. They were also overlapping, and several deep. I intended these to injure her paw when she began to dig. She has paws of iron.

Her escaping, in and of itself, was not what bothered me so much. I would have been ok, alright, a little upset, if she had never come back. The bad thing was she would stand outside the fence and call to Toby. She would explain to him that there were wonderful things to be seen, sniffed, and rolled in. He began life as a very good dog. He stayed in the fence and was always SO polite. Then SHE came along. She is blonde and she was a little more worldly. She has been a bad influence. She asks him to come along on her “adventures.” Ultimately, they get caught. Toby must answer for his crimes, but Gypsy gets off lightly because she was “abused.” I don’t beat her, although there are many times I would like nothing more. Basically, it comes down to the fact that we paid for Toby and we got her for free, although she has been no cheap dog. She is going to get him killed one of these days. She just does not run off all by herself. She takes him with her.

Luckily, my in-laws live in town with us. My father-in-law works for the school district. He is often in town and has, on more than two occasions, seen the dogs out on one of their jaunts. We have been able to recapture them relatively quickly on those days. Our dogs like their grand parents. My in-laws have a dog named Pepper. Our dogs think she is great, and Pepper loves them in return. On several of their short journeys they have made their way over there, we assume to visit Pepper.

So, back to the reason I originally posted: I got home for lunch this morning. I walked in the door. Toby met me and looked guilty. I just assumed he had done something he felt he shouldn’t have and, having seen no pee spots or messes, ignored it. I washed my hands and put my lunch in the microwave. As I was walking back to my chair with my Pepsi I caught a flash of fluffy yellow out the window. It occurred to me that there should not be yellow fluff outside that particular window. I decided to re-examine what was outside the window. It was Gypsy. Gypsy, by this time you know this, was not supposed to be out there. I let her in and went out in search of the hole.

It happens every six months. I now respond by stringing more wire and replacing the batteries in our electric fence which is about 6 inches off the ground. And last fall I dumped some Portland cement in one of her holes and added water. I mixed it around and, by golly, she hasn’t dug out that hole since.

I found the hole and then set about to place bricks, sticks, and dog poo in the hole. Hopefully that will slow her down. Stupid dog.

(This picture was taken in the field in the front of the house in California, also you will note Cora, Gypsy, and Toby [left to right, in case there is confusion])

I helped my Father-in-law with some fencing today. I did not get a sub job…due in part to computer issues, and in other part to the other subs who were annoyingly quick with their mice last night. So, I worked for the maintenance dept. today. For some reason, a senior has decided to re-do the baseball dugouts as a "Senior Project"…however, I have yet to see said senior. I suspect the senior has not seen this particular ball field, and have doubts as to her/his existence. We were supposed to remove the old, perfectly good, fencing. A fence company is going to put up new stuff in its place. It was heavy and sweaty work. We finally got it, but the last couple panels required us to use a tractor to remove them. I had a good day, even though my father-in-law made some observations concerning my physical prowess, or lack thereof. Yes, I am flabby and a bit weak, but he seems to take so much glee in pointing it out. I sometimes manage to get even. Like last summer, I asked the break room, no one in particular, what the difference was between toilet paper and a shower curtain. My Father-in-law said he did not know. I pointed at him, “So, you’re the one!!!”

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Given the choice: Choose Monkeys!!!!!!

Today we went shopping. Well, first we paid bills. I should say, She paid the bills and I put stamps on envelopes and wrote the return address. Yes, I am useless when it comes to bills, but it has taken me years to craft this fa├žade! I have yet to convince her I am completely unable to do the laundry, despite the large number of her sweaters that have been mangled and shrunk. Well, I keep telling myself, only one more. It is a pricey practice, but if it works…priceless.

We ended up buying clothes. Yes, I got some, too. Some for teaching, others for Phoenix. Cora got both, too.

OK. Cora is always looking adoption BLOGs. Well, the other day she was surfing and found a blog in which the owner said she liked a particular site. It was of a couple African watering holes. These are live streaming videos. She went to it. Immediately, from my vantage point next to her, I could hear crickets. Well, I went to this sight, too, since the sound of crickets has been absent around here for several months. Well, as the evening wore on, the day broke in Africa. Soon we saw a duck fly onto the scene. The camera eventually turned to color from the infrared that it had been showing.

We watched the duck in awe, knowing it was halfway across the globe from us and we were watching in nearly real-time. Then, pretty soon, the other (we were watching two on our screens by this time) showed some sort of tiny deer coming down to the watering hole. Then Cora noticed some Wildebeests. We were instantly infatuated with this site.

The next morning I turned it on and saw Zebras! Tonight we tuned in about sunrise. There was nothing for the longest time, then some ducks showed up. The camera apparently has some guy on the other side panning it this way and that. Usually he is pretty good. He pans WITH the wildlife and usually stays with it. He is sometimes behind the times, and is slow to react, but most times it is pretty good.

Tonight, Cora was threatening the man’s life. I was not very far behind. We were watching a hawk/eagle (?) for awhile, then the eagle/hawk flew away. Then the camera panned to show the grass land, out of the grass came a grey shape. It turned out to be a Baboon! We were ecstatic. The only thing is one of us is usually a few seconds behind the other. Tonight Cora was ahead of me in the video stream.

She started cussing the person out. I did not understand why, but then I began to see it on my screen. The camera panned to the baboons and watched them. They came up to the watering hole and began to drink. One had a baby on its back. There were several juveniles chasing each other and jumping into and out of the way of the adults. It was fun to watch.

Then, as the camera panned with the movement of a couple of baboons, we saw a crane in the background…wading in the water. Well, it soon became clear that the bastard controlling the damned thing was a bird lover to the worst degree. I uttered threats to this man’s life and basically called into question his lineage and that of his boss. I could not match Cora’s ferocity, but was just as inclined to fly across several continents to find this man and punch him in the face. Clearly, the animal on the screen was your average everyday blue heron. No one cares. If it was a Chinese Streaming Video, yeah, like Cora said, “that would be cool.” But, when you are on the African Savanna or wherever, and you have the choice between putting monkeys on the screen and a crane, well, you should really stick with the monkeys. Don’t go shopping for birds when there are monkeys on the screen! No, this idiot zooms the camera into the crane. We watched it wade, we watched it shake its head, and I am SO glad we didn’t miss it ruffle its feathers. By the time the crane flew away, the monkeys were long gone. Cora and I were displeased. We discussed ways to find this man in his home and stuff a crane down his throat…well, no, we didn’t, but when you’re married as long as we are, you can read each other’s minds. I know she was thinking the same thing I was.

Here is the link: Africam

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday, Finally...and Phoenix Feathers.

Friday, finally. Glad to finally have the week end! Nah, it hasn’t been too bad. It actually seems to have gone pretty quickly. I worked two days in the maintenance dept. I moved stuff mostly. Since they are taking down the old middle school in the next few months, I have been given the fun duty of removing the stuff that had been stored there and putting it in a storage container. Yes, one of those large truck trailer thingies. I got quite a bit done on Tuesday, took down several pallets full. The best part about it, I got to drive the forklift. I get to drive it all the time, but I enjoy it anyway.

On Wednesday and Thursday I taught at TH Elementary, but today was high school. I am always amazed at how many students know me and seem to like me despite that strange little fact. Of course, it could be because the ones who have had me call out in the hall way, “It’s that cool sub.” Truly, it’s a bit disturbing…shouldn’t I be less cool? I don’t know how to tone down my coolness. How can you ask the sun not to shine? How can you ask the wind not to blow, or the rain not to rain? It is in their nature, so it is for me. Is it right for me to try to tone down my coolness, when it is obviously my part in history to be the cool substitute? Nah, I thought not. Good, I am glad I worked through that bit of worry.

Cora and I are heading to Phoenix for spring break. We will be flying...IN A PLANE. I am beginning to get antsy. I have been looking up things to do in Phoenix. Obviously there is the PIMA AIR MUSEUM and Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, but there are Jeep Tours in Phoenix, and there is a botanical garden that has all manner of plants, Cacti, succulents, and many, many more. There is also the zoo. Plenty of shopping. I like different plants. I have a pineapple I have raised since shortly after our marriage. The one that I had from before our wedding died last summer. I also have a “Split Leaf Philodendron,” which I am quite fond of. I bought it in California and was really happy with it, because it could grow outside down there. We brought it home with us. I packed it in a box shortly before we moved. One month later I stumbled upon it, still in its box, in a locked, cold storage unit. It had not had water or light in over a month and it was still firm and green. I figure if it lived through that, it must be special. Below you can see my Split Leaf straing to look out the window over Sully. This picture was taken out our front window in California, you can see the juice plant in the back ground.

I can’t wait to see what’s in Arizona!! And, oh, yeah, there are literally TONS of airplanes waiting for me! SO MANY! I will be sure to post pictures here, no one need worry.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

So, I am annoyed with trying to introduce invisible people to me. Since I suspect only people who know me will actually read this thing, I am going to make it a little more personal. From now on, I will not go into the pains of introducing the reader to my history or explain more than is necessary.

So, I subbed at TH elementary today and yesterday. I taught second graders today and first graders yesterday. Up til now I have taught mostly kindergaertners when I have subbed at the elementarys (or is it elementaries?).

I also have subbed for the reading teacher over at Moxee. She apparently has been saying great things about me. The funny thing is the reason she seems to like me is probably the reason she should not like me. See, she was testing children in the library and I was lucky enough to have...

hmmm, ok, here is the thing, it is difficult to explain, but I will try. One of Cora's mom's moms...a mother of one of the children in Cora's mom's daycare...is a teacher and has put out a good word for me. The reading teacher requested me from that good word.

...ok, back to the story. So, I show up and find that she taeches different batches of kids through out the day. Generally kids who are a little behind the rest of the class. So, they arrive and they leave and they arrive and they leave throughout the day. So, this one child, we will call him Jose, comes in and I was helping him read. I kept watching the clock, but for some reason missed the fact that it had switched from eleven to twelve. He got squirmy, but I just put it up to his personality. Well, this teacher walks by from her testing. She looked confused all of a sudden, then realized what was wrong. She came in and asked if we had had lunch. I said no, and then glanced once more at the sheet with her schedule on it...we had worked through lunch. The thing was, though, he was very engaged in learning about the endings of words and he seemed to be responding to me better than he did to others. That and our dedication to the task at hand apparently created a place in her heart for me. She has since spread the word to several other teachers. Saying nothing but good things. So, that is how a mistake on my part, and a pretty stupid one at that (could not tell time), has helped me get more jobs.

The new (for our district) computerized substitute program allows teachers to request specific subs. On the down side, it ties you to the computer, which, I suppose, I am not really complaining about. Apparently the fact that I also work as a custodian/maintenance guy for the district also helps, in that I have met many of the teachers and I never lost a chance to let them know I was working toward a teaching certificate. now many of them are requesting me. I worked at the high school at the beginning of February for a sophomore biology teacher. Apparently, there were kids in the hallway saying the "Cool" sub was there today. Well, another teacher walking by heard that. She decided she would ask if I would sub for her the next day. She told me the reason was that she wanted her kids to have a fun sub or someone they would like. Apparently I passed the test, because she has spread good things about me at the high school. I have been requested again to work tomorrow.

Now, why am I the "cool" sub? Probably because I interact with the kids like they are humans. If they give me a smart alleck remark, I am more than likely to retort in a similar way. My humor is something they seem to understand, and when they see that I genuinely care about them, they seem more forgiving of any missteps or mistakes.

I worked in the sped/lifeskills classroom the previous two Fridays. The Parapro who works in there told me on the way out for the day that she was looking forward to seeing my "water walking," after hearing all about me from others. I was apparently (I seem to use that word alot) good with the kids, because they asked me back.

So Cora found this cool site. It is a live cam of a couple African watering holes. The sounds are really cool. Here is the site: http://www.africam.com/wildlife/node

Well, that has to be plenty of post, especially since my bladder is now considerably more full than before.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Post Four, Day Two


Here is a picture of me in front of an F-4 Phanton. This one also from the ex-Mclellan Aviation Museum. I could probably go about a week or two with pictures of me in front of aircraft, but I won't necessarily subject you to that kind of suffering.

Here I am again. Nothing extra to say except that the sun today was VERY nice. I worked in the maintenance dept. today. Fewer responsibilities and some nice hard work. I particularly enjoy driving the fork lift. Filled up a storage container with left overs (surplus) from the school...well, almost.





Tomorrow I get to be a substitute teacher. Tomorrow is first graders. I was about to check that but the computer said my certification has expired... I have been working on my temporary certificate...ooops. I forgot to take my genuine real certification in to the district office. I guess I will do that first thing in the morning. Hopefully I still sub...that would suck to lose out on that.





I have many hobbies. One of those is wreckchasing; something I have not been able to actually go out in the field and do. Wreckchasing is a little like geocaching and history put together with a touch of aviation heritage. It is the search, both on paper and on the ground for aircraft crash sites. Something many people don't realize is that there was quite a bit of pilot training here in Washington State during WWII. With training comes training accidents. I have been doing the research part of the hobby. I corresond with the Air Force Historical Research Agency I have now gotten several accident reports. One even shows a picture of the hills just outside of town. that one crashed at the local airport in 1942...it was a B-10, one of the original bombers. The pilot took the aircraft knowing that the gear status light was not operating, but still landed with his landing gear up...pilot error. I am looking forward to finding one of these sites...one of these days. I sent a request to the AFHRA not too long ago. Usually I get the accident reports in two to three weeks. it is awesome.

Hangover or Cold


I woke up at 4 AM this lovely morning with a headache ringing around the back of my head...well, from back to front. I don't think I drank that much wine. It was Tempranillo, a Spanish wine, last night if anyone is wondering. I liked it for its peppery bite. Last week, about Wednesday, I began to feel an oncoming cold. It now seems to be on its way out, but I would not put it past it to try and torture me a little more. I finally got up because it felt like my pillow might be the root cause, it was not. So, I have been semi-vertical for a half-hour and the headache seems to be leaving my head for more hospitable climbs. Of course it may also have been the cold medicine and two aspirin I took, too.


Now, here is a thought about my blog picture. What in the world does "Final Sense" mean on the side of that Hawker Hurricane (sorry girls, gonna be using airplane names here, not just referring to them as planes, get used to it...its called planetruth isn't it?)? I found this particular template after a brief search on the subject. When I picked it I was not exactly paying attention to the side of the airplane. So, hopefully it isn't an advertisement for pine boxes or cemetery plots. With my luck its an advertisement for Viagra or something.


Oh, and do we need proof that I love airplanes? I will see if I can leave a picture on this thing, but that too will come. I have been asked when I state my fondness of aircraft, "Do you fly?" the straight answer is no, I have not had time, opportunity, or money to do that...yet. The smartass answer is, only when I take the blue pills...or is it red ones?

So, did the darned thing work? Yep, but not in the place I expected. Ahh, well, it looks like I will need to practice some. hmmm...well, that is a North American F-86 Sabre. Used from the 50s into the 1960s. It was THE American fighter of the Korean Conflict. As you can see, it is none too small. There is a panel about between the boomerang and the US map that housed 3 X .50 caliber machine guns at one time. I opened it and they were gone, alas. That photo was taken in early spring of 2005. three years ago, it is hard to believe it has been that long since we were in California. The temperature was in the seventies and it was a nice February day not windy like it was here yesterday.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Props

Oh, I need to give props to my homegirl Cora for setting me up with this new account! No, not airplane props, yet. Oh, and I might mention: I like planes. Jimh.

First Flight

Well, here I am creating a BLOG of my own. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Jim. I am an avid history buff and, by education, historian and teacher. I am also VERY fond of airplanes. My wife is Cora (I am very fond of her, also, but I try not to show it), she and I have been together since 1994, and married since 1999. I will let you do the math...hmmm, I am already being optimistic in assuming that this will outlast the year...I hope I am right.

I have a tendancy to skip a extra line in my emails to separate paragraphs, I see no reason to discontinue it here. I may have some odd habits, but you will adjust...if not...well, this is for me, isn't it? ADJUST!!!

I was born in the year of the Tiger(1974). That is the Chinese calendar I am refering to. We are adopting from China...someday. When we signed up, they said, "the wait is about 18 months to two years." Now it looks like five years. hmmm, we sure bought the sales pitch on that one.

We live in Washington State. Ah, the Evergreen State...huh, only evergreen on the OTHER side of the mountains. Here, it is brown 3/4 of the year, Cora informs me it is white part of the year. She is misinformed. We get some green during the Spring...Yeah, I like the Spring.

We lived in California for two years. I miss it. Yes, the winter was a rainy season interspersed with days of bright, BRIGHT sunlight with temperatures in the 70s, but I can live with that. Plus there were NUMEROUS museums...air museums. Did I mention my fondness for airplanes? I will post more on this subject often, so I will only mention it here once.

We have two dogs and a cat. One dog is a Jack Russel and the other is what I call a "Goldenchowyote." We picked her up in California. Not on purpose, she chose us. The Jack Russel is named Toby. We have had him for six years. Gypsy (the Goldenchowyote) saw us walking Toby and I to work and decided to follow Cora and Toby back home. She broke into the backyard. She is, as you might guess, a Golden Retriever/Chow mix. No, she isn't part Coyote, but she looked that way when we got her, hence the name. The cat is named Sully. He came up to Cora while she was on a walk at work. He is a black and white longhair cat. He is about as malleable as a cat can get.

Well, that should do it for my first EVER post on a blog! Maybe next time will be more interesting...nah, you better not count on it.

Jimh.