Sunday, February 28, 2010

Which Phase?

Last night we went over to a friend's house and had dinner and played cards.  They want me to paint a painting to go in their living room.  They just put in an addition to their home and it looks beautiful!  I only hope I can come up with a painting they aren't embarrassed to hang.

It was lots of fun.  We took a coloring book for their daughter.  And as we talked, I would glance around to find this young lady busily coloring her coloring book.  I don't know what made me happiest; that she started by coloring the front cover or that she took so much care in her wonderful color choices!  She was bent over that coloring book studiously and carefully tinting each area longer than I expected!  That is how I hope all those who get one of our coloring books enjoys them!

We played Phase 10.  It's a deviously designed card game.  I imagine it will take a dozen more times before I am nearly as cut throat and demented in my card play as our delightful hostess...who won quite handily.  I WAS in second place, but, really, who goes around bragging, "I got beat!  But I was in SECOND place!"  Of course, I have as much fun being beat as I do winning.

I don't know why we don't visit more with friends, we always have such a good time.  I guess it is just easier to sit around watching TV...but it isn't nearly as much fun.  I guess we should clean house and just have some company!

Friday, February 26, 2010


I sold seven books today!  I was amazed at my luck.  Here is a preview of some of the Transportation Coloring Book.

I started the day with subbing at that third district I so rarely sub at.  I think I have been there five or six times.  The first time I subbed I managed to make two young girls my biggest fans.  I am not even sure how I did it exactly, except to accuse them of being trouble makers when they obviously weren't.  They thought it was the funniest thing since...well, High School the Musical, I guess.  I could not even remember their names this morning.

I did not have them in class.  I finished the first period and sent my first class out.  all of a sudden one of them burst through the door and ran toward me like we were old friends.  I smiled and said hello.  She said, "I'm gonna tell Rachel you're here!"  Before she left, I asked how she knew I was here.  She said, "I heard others talking about you!"  WTH?  Apparently I could be a stand up comic for middle schoolers.  I had a good day and my classes were remarkably well mannered.  I butchered a couple names and got away with it.  As long as you are funny, you'd be amazed what you can get away with.

So, every time the bell rang, one or both of those two girls would burst through the door and say, "Hi!" and, "How are you!" and then, "I gotta go to class, I'll be back!"  And each time, they did.  I finally gave them coloring sheets.  I wasn't sure exactly what they wanted me to say, but they seemed happy to have me talk to them while I was trying to figure out what to get ready for the next class.  They would expound on how awesome a teacher I am to all the other kids on the way out.  Frankly it was kind of nice, but funny, too.

I am not sure if it stems from the way I usually introduce myself to a class that's never had me or what.  I start by telling them my name, making sure to pronounce the "U" in my name.  Then I tell them they can also call me Mr. H, Mr. Awesome, or Oh Great One.  I then mention that I try to have my wife call me Mr. Wonderful, but my wife is of unusually narrow-minded.  They laugh about that.  Yeah, I'm telling you, if all audiences were made of middle schoolers, I wouldn't have to teach, I could be a comic.

On my way out for the day, I mentioned our coloring books to the secretary and she bought 4.  Right there and then, for her grandkids.  Then I left for the El (MX for those of you wondering) to pick up a payment for a book I sold yesterday.

Before I got there, I stopped for the mail.  I was beginning to back out (very slowly) when a truck rounded the corner and then had to swing wide because I was in his way.  He kind of pissed me off.  I ended up following him to the El.  He stopped and got out.  I glared at him.  I pulled into a spot and walked by him at the entrance and ignored him.  I went in and sold another book.  Then collected what I needed and came back to the office.  There the wonderful secretary was holding court and signing a child out.  The guy who tried to ram his truck into mine was there.  The secretary (best in the world) said, you should buy one of these for your daughter!  This guy here has drawn all of these!  The guy could not very well get away without buying one for his daughter right there.  I chuckled after he left and after I thanked him profusely.  I explained to the secretary how he had driven.  She just laughed and figured it was only fair.

Another lady came in for her child and the secretary sold another for me.  I had to work for this one, though.  Apparently the lady had adopted.  However she wanted to know why we chose international adoption, and I could see from her body language she was getting ready to deliver a sermon.  (I admit, I follow the pack usually, whatever is easiest.  I did here, too.  For, instead of telling her it wasn't any of her damned business, I decided to try to explain, without going into too much detail, why we chose.)  It did not help that the ever helpful secretary decided she should say, "That's a fair question."  I gritted my teeth and attempted to explain for this woman who had adopted domestically why we have chosen to adopt internationally.  I think my attempt at a friendly explanation worked and she was visibly calmed.  She thanked me for explaining and held onto her coloring book.  I was glad I had handled a rather personal and delicate situation with seeming tact.

I left for town in elevated spirits.  I bought wine and some ingredients for dinner.  We had stir-fried beef and asparagus with ginger and garlic.  It was a pretty good dinner.  Now we are watching the last vestiges of the Olympics.  Speed skating is amazingly addicting.  I was leaning in my chair with them every time they went through a turn.

Glad it's the weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Food for Thought.

I taught kinders yesterday.  They were a hand full.  In the morning, when they first began to filter in, I was singing a Beatles song, and my voice was particularly low for once.  Some thought it was particularly funny that I should be singing.  Others seemed to be a little unsettled.

Later on in the day, one of the little girls said, "Mr. H, when I first saw you I was freaked out."  I smiled, "So, are you freaked out now?"  She looked at me appraisingly and said, "No."  I chuckled about it all day.

This morning, I walked into a third grade classroom to teach for the day.  The kids came in and seemed happy to see me.  One of them looked at me and asked, "Are you going to teach us all day?"  I said, "Yes."  He looked perplexed, "Then who's gonna be the music teacher???"  I just started laughing!  I texted the music teacher (the one I have subbed for a week at a time and a few days in between) this little nugget.  She showed up a couple minutes later and wanted to know who the culprit was.  I pointed him out.  He had of course given himself a figurative slap on the forehead when I told him his regular teacher would be there.  She chided him a little and promised to pick on him when he came to music today.  Some days, the kids just make me laugh!    

I took a few photos today.  I intend to use these for my Transportation Coloring Book.  I hope you all have an opinion on what should go in!

I always liked old trucks...

I also like big shovels.

and tractors...
And I like earth movers...

let me know...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I love macro.
I heard a train and went to take a picture of it as it came by me.  I had to pass it and go a few miles ahead.  It was only doing 15 or 20 mph when I passed it, but I think it sped up.  I had found my spot and was walking down the tracks on one side and decided to cross the tracks for a better picture when I heard it coming around the bend.  Now, if it had been going at the leisurely pace I had last seen it going, I would have been fine.  As it was I crossed the 15 or 20 feet to the other side at a slower pace than I would have if I had realized just exactly how fast he was going.  It did explain his horn a blaring.  I turned the camera on before I had even turned and brought it up in time for this much for composition.  I think he was doing 45 or 50mph when he went by me.    
I had time for this one...about a second later.
It was a long train, though, so i took a few of these.  it was about 8 to 10 feet away.
and there it goes.
On the other side of the tracks was this...pretty, huh?

It wasn't a bad way to spend the time between me getting off work and Cora getting off work...I enjoyed it.

Does It Add Up?

I was in a math class yesterday.  Enjoyed it, as the kids were teaching each other math and I had very little to do with it.  We DID correct a few problems.  The math teacher was kind enough to leave the answers.  I would have just put the answers: 2, 3, 1,4 up on the board.  But, I got the idea to have the students come up and show how they got it...good thing too, since their equations contained wood and other materials...well, it said LOG.  Anyway, so they took upwards of ten minutes to put the equation and answer on the bored to just come up with a simple number 2.  Well, that's not completely true.  One kid came up with 1.999.  I told him he was wrong.  He started to get ruffled.  I cut him off before he could explain Rifkin's 32nd Law or some such thing, and told him, "I show 2."  Then he realized he was being had and we all got a chuckle out of it.

I spent awhile last night looking for a few things.  Aircraft crashes that I was unaware of, to be exact.  It's funny how Google will put in new things once in awhile without mentioning it to you.  I found you can look things up in news papers.  All you do it type in your search parameters, then click the "NEWS" button at the top.  Some helpful person has scanned in A LOT of newspapers from over the years.  Last time I had checked you had to get subscriptions and pay to look at old newspapers online.  I'm not sure how it works, but these computer programs are pretty damned nifty when it comes to looking for things!

I have Google searching everyday for the words "Ship" and "Decommissioning."  You see, the decommissioning of the first 688 class submarine built came as a surprise to me back in January.  I would like some warning about such things...hence the search.

I also have it searching for something related to the FICON project from the 1950s.  I have a feeling that the GRB-36 bombers and the small fighters they carried were actually breaking into Soviet airspace, but I have no specific proof, just supposition by me and others, and the US government would never mention it.  On the other hand, some veteran MIGHT step up and mention it...I want to be ready when he does.

I get to teach at an elementary today.  Beyond that I know not what I am doing.  The teacher had yet to enter that information.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Diana's Does Give Aways!

Diana, at Custom Blog Designs, is celebrating CBD's second birthday by doing a give away!  You should visit because she's awesome and because I am going to win her blog makeover!  Seriously, she does good work and is a really nice person!  She is the only person I would trust with my blog!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I like Saturdays! I Want More!

Last night was a relaxing evening that saw a bottle of merlot fall victim to its own good taste.  We greived for it with toasts to our health.  I believe it met an end to be proud of.  

This morning I awoke bright and early.  Not by choice, but by the decisive and rather imperative nature of my bladder.  I decided sleep would not visit again, and that I was rested enough, so I made a cup of coffee.  Lately it has been a Rwandan Coffee.  It is delicious, especially if brewed strong enough.

My parents had planned on coming up to visit and pick up a few copies of Color Me Home.  So, Cora and I put the house in a presentable condition and waited.  Mind you, putting it into a presentable condition took much longer than the waiting.  

It was great visiting with them today!  They brought pizza!  We enjoyed their visit AND we ended up selling four coloring books!  

It was such a nice day, I would not mind having a few more just like it.  Cora and I went to town for a while after my parents had gone home.  We picked up a few things and then came home.  

When we got home I began work on some new coloring pages.  I will let you see a preview of some of the transportation coloring book that we will be publishing as soon as I have 25 decent pictures finished.  A few, as you can see, are still ...on the drawing board, so to speak.  Others have been ready for awhile.  the school bus is one that many a child has practiced on.  the others, well, I think I'm on the right track.  except for the tow truck...any suggestions?
We had a little time and a couple extra sheets, so we both took a crack at coloring to show our finished finished product!

These are actual pictures in our coloring book.  I hope that those of you who have purchased a book will send us pictures of your own finished products!!  I suspect all of us would like to see what can be done with these!

Some of the other themes we are considering are Animals, Dinosaurs, and ABCs.  One that may eventually pan out is one of Princesses and Castles.  I hope those of you who are interested will not hesitate to mention other potential themes!  I cannot thank you all enough for the support you have given us!!  I hope it continues!

Friday, February 19, 2010


The sun has been showing itself lately.
So much so that the Bleeding Hearts, our annual source of happiness, pride, and despair, have been coming out earlier than normal.  They will soon be their normal Giant Selves, but until then, they are actually very pleasing.  By July we will need to tear them out.  

Last week, I drove Cora to work.  I'd have let her drive, but I get out before she does.  So, I have had time to do stuff.  One of those things is take a few pictures.  Here are some bins outside her work.  I just liked the look of all the bins lined up.
I have ALWAYS enjoyed the look of mechanical things.  The straight lines and the metallic hues, all are pleasing to my eye.  Do you agree?  I need a better camera.  I have seen pictures from other peoples' cameras and I am jealous.  Yes, i am envious.  I want a camera just like them.  I used to think Pentax was fine.  then I got a Minolta Vectis and was quite happy with that.  Then I got a Kodak Easyshare...the best thing about that was that you could take more pictures (FILM VERSUS DIGITAL).  Then we got our beloved Canon Elph.  Now I want a Nikon D series...I need to do more research to decide just which one I might also help if I were a thousandaire.  Hmmm, doesn't one need a parent to...ummm, pass on to become an heir?  Bummer.  Maybe I just need to marry into a rich family...crud. too late.

I had a decent week.  I worked at both districts.  I managed to sell several coloring books.  I don't think it is my drawings, I think it may have more to do with the price of the coloring books.  People seem much more willing to part with five dollars than 50!  I don't blame them.  I even had students wanting to buy them...I told them i could not do that, however.  For those who were very decided that they wanted a coloring book, I gave them the site address and told them to have their parents look it over and make sure it was ok with their parents.

We have sold the majority of our first printing.  I did another today, which we will bind this weekend!  I will also be working on other books, now that we know they are going to be a seller.  I hope it continues!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Day!

I had a good day.  I think i know what to blame for it.  It was sunny today.  It was sunny yesterday, too.  I think these past few days have been helpful for my mood.  I am looking forward to spring time!

Bring on the sunshine!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Color Me Home!
Today!!!  I am pleased to show you all the fruit of our recent labors!!  This is OUR first Coloring Book!!  This endeavor, which we have dubbed "Color Me Home," is intended to help us bring our little boy, Aiden, home by raising money to help us afford some of the numerous fees associated with adoption.

Given the on-going nature of our adoption, there are many unplanned things that have come up.  For instance, we are having to update our home study for the fifth time.  We are having to renew our immigration documents for the third time.  Then there is travel!  There are other unplanned things, all of which require...yep, you guessed it MONEY.  

This is our first coloring book and it has a theme.  Our theme is "Under the Sea."  We feel that sea creatures give a greater opportunity for color choice and creativity.  You will find all manner of sea creature!  Fishes of every shape and size!  Crabs, starfish, and sea horses also complement this book.  There are twenty-five pages for your little one, or you (we promise to tell no one), to color!  We have also designed the cover to be colored.

As a substitute teacher I have had the opportunity to test many of these on willing guinea pigs.  My students seem to take unbelievable enjoyment in coloring my pictures.  What has been more surprising to me is the reaction of high school students to the chance to have a coloring sheet.  Even Cora and I have colored a few sheets.  It is surprisingly relaxing.

We are suggesting a donation of $5.00 plus about $2 for shipping.  Please go to our new SITE and have a look!!  ...and buy a book.  The name of our new site is Color Me Home!

If this first book goes well, we expect to begin producing more.  We have several ideas lined up.  All that remains is a few more drawings.  Unfortunately, I do have to work and do not get to draw as much as I might like.  Look forward to more books in the next few months!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hi Leah!

I would like to introduce my youngest niece.  Leah Jane.  She was born last night and is a beauty!  
The proud aunts gather 'round!
My sister-in-law Molly holding Leah.

Welcome beautiful little girl!


When left alone, television becomes boring.  I was left alone last night.  Cora went to be with her sister for the birth of our newest niece!  It is awesome to be a new, four times over.

I was at home all day.  At about 11 PM I decided to take Toby for a walk.  I took him to the park.  There was absolutely no one to be seen.  So I let him off the leash.  He thought he was in heaven.  I walked quietly with him.  The traffic on the highway zipped by in flashes of light and whooshes of sound.  Toby was a white spot in the dark.  He was SO happy to be free and exploring without me disturbing him except to sound off when I lost sight of him.  He would zoom by me in an extension of his parabolic orbit to let me know he heard me.  I was very proud of his behavior.  He is a good dog, he just has lots of energy!

We had walked through the territory of two exceptionally loud and annoying chihuahuas on the way out.  Toby was very polite and did not jerk the leash.

On the way back from the park, I got a text that announced that there was a new little girl in the world, and that she happened to be my niece!  I was ecstatic!  We were walking home with Toby OFF his leash.  since it was 11pm and it is our small town...well, it wasn't necessary.  We were within less than a block of home and crossed the street when the dog of one of our neighbors let loose a war cry and began to close in.  Toby did not have a leash.  He is a good 25-30 lbs.

The dog that made the report is a papillion that might be 12 lbs when he is soaking wet.  I said, "go get him!" and off Toby went.  It was a large parabolic intercept.  Toby began to cut off the attacker, and the attacker became the defender and when Toby got within 6 or 7 feet, there was a strange, plaintive high pitched yip that issued from the little aggressor.  Toby never made a noise.  I called Toby off and he came back.  The little guy decided Toby's withdrawal was a retreat and made chase...yet he kept his distance.  It was all very amusing.  The little guy never got very close after that, though he did bark.

Overall, it was a fun walk!  Not a bad way to spend a weekend!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Welcome Niece!

I am the proud UNCLE of my second Niece!  Welcome little niece!  I look forward to sharing the joy of airplanes with you!

The Waiting Game.

Weekend plans change.  Ours have a habit of doing it more often than not.  Sometimes, that is o.k., though.  My sister-in-law has been pregnant for...well, awhile now.  So, now the time for a new niece or nephew is nearly upon us!

Cora is at the Hospital with her family playing the waiting game.  I stayed home to play with the dogs and watch TV.  Sounds like it's coming sooner than later!  Hopefully Cora will be home before morning.  I DO hope she has some good pictures!

As for the coloring's looking good!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Things a-comin'!

I had a pretty good day at work.  The fifth graders were a bunch of turkeys.  There were times I wanted to strangle them.  I threatened and demanded, yet, they were too hopped-up on sugar to shut the heck up.  As usual, I banked on the notion that the day would end.  It did.  It helps that their teacher came back and watched their Musical Program and then decided to stay for the "party," which I assumed would be some sort of bizarre torture for a substitute.  It turned out we became a sort of matched set of co-teachers.  It's a nice thing having another adult in the room.  It turned out well, and despite my misgivings, she wants me back for the next time.  I won't go into how sometimes it feels like your fighting a losing battle, it's when the kids walk out, and even though you had just been after them for inappropriate...ness, they still think you are a good teacher.  It happens more often than I deserve, but it is much appreciated.  Also, many of the teachers I work for seem to like me, too.  Makes a person feel pretty good.

Cora and I have been driving to work together.  Well, I dropped her off and then went on to school.  Anyway, we both went in and got some copies today.  We were treated pretty well at Office Depot.  I think the manager gave us a good deal on things.  You see, we are working on a Coloring's coming together really nicely!  We plan on selling them to raise money for the adoption!  The first one will be an "Under the Sea" theme.

See the picture above.  Think it'll come out ok?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When We're Tired

It is amazing how we act when we are tired.  You see, I was trying to figure out what to show as a picture for today's post, but I had no pictures.  Cora, bless her heart, volunteered herself as a model!  I don't think she was being serious, though...

I have taught fifth graders so far this week.  I will teach the same kids for the rest of the week.  They were wonderful yesterday, but not so much today.  I was a annoyed by them... greatly.  I was happy to come home.

Not to be outdone in the silly looks department, I showed Cora how it's really done!  HAH!  I work with kids, I know silly looks!

Let's hope tomorrow's better!

Hurray For Cam-er-as!!

It came!  A couple weeks ago, I told you our camera had suffered a terrible accident.  Canon wanted $90 to start with and then they weren't sure how much it would cost to fix.  I determined that I needed just one part.  Then learned I would actually need three parts, because the "ONE" part I needed was actually THREE (looked like one to me).  Whatever.  It cost a grand total of fourteen bucks, give or take a few cents.  Well, the parts came yesterday and I set about fixing the camera.  

I probably spent about 30-45 minutes working on it.  The problem was two small springs that activated the lens covers.  Simple in operation, difficult to put together without instructions.  Those little teeny-weeny springs had a tendency to shoot off in directions unknown.  Much of my time was spent searching for the damned springs!  Imagine a spring about half the length of a grain of rice, now imagine the darned thing at about 1/3 of the diameter.  Next, imagine it shooting of to destinations up to a foot-and-a-half away.  

That would be bad enough, but the easiest way to seat the springs and lens covers was with the camera on.  It shuts off after 60 seconds without activity.  Imagine working with these tiny little springs, with your fingers just about to put the final touch to it, when the stupid camera sucks in the place you are putting your spring...kazoing!  Off goes the spring!  Followed by a stream of cussing that probably wilted a few plants and damaged the dog's self-image.

I finally managed it, though!  Hurray for me!  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

OK, But I Really Think I should Visit Pago Pago!

For the last four hours the television has been tuned into the Superbowl.  I, of course, have had other things to do.  I made some guacamole, some nachos, and some salsa for the game.  Of course, Cora was watching hulu, and I was reading stories from a site about the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter.  Still, both of us took time out from our beloved computers to watch the commercials.  We also looked each other deep in the eyes and pledged our love to each other.  (OK, I'm joking about that last part.)

It has been a good weekend.  Cora seems to be feeling a little better and I am relaxing.  I went shopping this morning.  I came home with deals!  OK, I came home with canned food.  I also came home with the fixin's for guacamole.  It seems that only in the past year or so, have I become a big fan of the avocado.  I made a mean guacamole!  Tomatoes, caramelized garlic, onion, lime!  Good stuff.

I have been reading from a site dedicated to the C-141 Starlifter.  It is a very intriguing site.  Each aircraft is accounted for and if there are stories that happened on or with that craft, they are there also.  It makes for some really good reading.  I hope the guy makes it into a book.  I'd buy it.  One of the places a Starlifter dropped by was Pago Pago in American Samoa.  there was a picture of the aircraft on the runway.  It looked positively inviting.  I could see a palm tree.  The hills behind looked lush and tropical.  The tarmac looked warm.  I suddenly was overcome with the urge to travel to Pago Pago!

Now we are watching "Undercover Boss."  It looks like it might be a decent show.  I'd like to have seen a few of my bosses at the mill show up to have a finger cut off.  It isn't that millwork is completely dangerous, but there are some inherent dangers.  Sometimes, things happen.  Either way, I am happy to have found myself in the profession I have chosen.

I looked outside and noticed that our beloved Bleeding Hearts are trying to come up already.  We have just been enjoying some weeks in the 40s.  Obviously the bleeding hearts are thinking it's spring...stupid plants!  They have not cognitive abilities!

Baseball Weekend! Err...what's that?

It's a FOOTBALL weekend?  REALLY?

So, I am sure some of you out there are just enjoying the heck out of your tailgate parties.  I know you have been preparing all week for the sweet par-tay that is coming this afternoon.  I know you have been aching for Sunday to come, because it can't come too soon.  I do hope you enjoy yourselves.  But, may I remind you what day follows Sunday?  Yeah, that's right, Monday!

We have no such plans.  No invitations and no party here.  Wouldn't matter if we did.  Cora has had THE most hard hitting cold she has had in quite a long time.  It has totally knocked her on her sweet little kiester.  To say she has been miserable would be a crime of understatement for which one might do hard time.  I have been doing my best to keep her comfortable, but she has had a sore throat that has not gone away!  She has not had the pleasure of tasting my cooking much at all!  She has, instead, sought refuge in ice cream, cough drops, 7up, and cough drops.  But, don't worry, I am taking good care of her and she should be up and at 'em for game time.  (Ok, that's not true, but I just wanted you guys to know I am still taking care of her, feeding and know, letting her outside when she has to go pooh...err, wait, that's wrong, she takes care of herself, mostly.  Still, I'm here to make sure she's ok)

I did get to some house cleaning not the hard stuff.  I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen a little and did some clothes.  Mostly, though, I also managed to write a blog for my aircraft site.  Which is something of a good thing, since I haven't posted a real accident report for about two months.  If for some reason you feel all crazy and want to read a real story about real men and real aircraft, you can see it here.

I think I will go out and get some minor groceries today and throw in some chips for the sake of the game.  let me see if I remember who's playing.  It's the Horsies and the, that's not right...Bolts and the Paints?  Hmmm, well, who ever is playing, I hope your team wins!

I have a niece or nephew that should be peeking into this world sometime soon.  Yesterday was the due date, but we have not heard anything.  I am certain we will, when it does happen.  Looking forward to seeing you little one.

This coming week I will be teaching 5th graders all week down in the valley.  I have taught this class several times before and for some odd reason, they are fond of me...sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes, not so much.  I just hope I won't be having to teach them calculus or anything hard.  Drawings can only go so far.

I just looked over in the fish tank and saw my maroon clown, Marvin, carrying a piece of gravel out from his adopted area.  It is fun to watch him clean house.  He will nip a piece of offending algae and then move it to the opposite side of the tank, or he will move gravel.  He will come right up to the glass and be in your line of sight, preventing you from clearly seeing other things.  If you put your hand in the tank to move something, he is right there to investigate.  Yesterday, I wasn't paying attention to him and all of a sudden he head butted me.  It didn't hurt, but it sure as heck surprised me!  I splashed some water trying to get my hand away from my unseen attacker, only to see Marvin doing a fishy approximation of chuckles.  It is really fun to see such personality in a fish.

Well, I guess I'd better get dressed for town and grab my list if I want to be back for the pre-game...

Oh, and one final thought:  Happy Birthday Dad!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Making Kids Cry

When I step into a room full of elementary students, or, for that matter, middle school or high school students, I figure on a few things.  First, I figure there is bound to be a student who is going to be a smart ass.  Second, there is bound to be one who is ultra-helpful.  Third, there tends to be, in any group, that one who gets their feelings hurt very easily.  Over the past few years, I have figured out how to adjust to these student types (I have not done any kind of scientific research on this, and I in no way endorse the following as the appropriate way to handle students)

For the smart ass.  I tend to be fairly quick-witted (especially when compared with grade school kids) and that helps.  I often will take the initiative when I find a smart ass.  Once one is identified, I await their attempt to gain control of a situation.  I am prepared with a quick remark or retort that often puts them in their place without damaging their feelings or their status.  In fact, it often makes me a semi-celebrity with the kids.  It also helps that I don't take things personally.  I figure if I am willing to give kids a bad time, I should expect the same in return.  That does not stop me from expecting respect from them.  You can tease someone and still show them respect.

The ultra-helpful child often tends to be right there in the middle of everything you are trying to do.  They will offer suggestions concerning how their teacher does it.  Often the child will offer their services to do ANYTHING at all.  No matter how much you want to tell the child to "get the heck outta here!" The best way to combat (Sometimes it feels like a fight) the ultra-helpful child is to give them a job.  It makes them happy, gets them out of your hair, and sometimes ACTUALLY helps you!  Often it is as easy as asking if everything has been picked up off the floor or even asking if they can hand out some papers.

The final student type, for today, is the child that cries.  I sometimes get them.  Most children are apt for it, but the best way I have found to prevent it is to announce early on in the day that I don't like kids and I don't consider my work done unless I have made one child cry today.  Usually, the kids ask, "Why'd you became a teacher, then!?"  I counter that I like to torture children and make them cry.  It is at that moment that all children are hardened against any possible occurrence of crying. Of course, they know that I like kids, because they often tell me so.  It doesn't matter how many times I deny it, they kids seem to know I DO like kids.  They take it as a challenge to be tough.  It's a game.

By the end of the day all is well.  The kids go home thinking Mr. H is just a cool substitute, but we all know I have just survived another day!    


Thursday, February 4, 2010

5 or 205?

As I said, yesterday, I discovered my license was expired.  See above.  Today, I managed to find myself without a sub job.  So, I got a hair cut and went to get my license.

I went online before I left and discovered that the Dept. of Licensing opens at 9:30AM on Thursdays.  Good.  I went to get my hair cut.  I then drove to the DOL...only to remember that they only take cash or debit, so I turned around and went to get cash.  Strike one.  I got to the DOL at about 9:50 only to find the parking lot full.  I walked in...the place was full.  I asked the lady behind the desk if the other DOL on the other sider of town was still was not.  She gave me a number.


That was my number.  I looked up at the numbers on the boards or those being served.  Yeah.  Not a good sign. Those numbers were:




and 009.

My best guess was there were three different lines.  I wasn't sure why there were two 009s, but either way, I could not believe they would make it to 661 anytime soon.  I stood for about 10 minutes, discussing the prospects of being done before lunch with a fellow inmate.  It did not appear hopeful.  

I then remembered something my father had mentioned to me a few years ago.  Something about the Sunnyside DOL being faster.  I made a call to my dad and sure enough, he confirmed my memory.  I shared my information with my fellow inmates, who happened to live on the other side of Sunnyside and it was on their way.  It sounded like they planned on doing what I was.  I began the walk to the door and then heard them announce number 010.  Yep!  Time to leave.

I jumped in my truck and made my semi-legal way down to Sunnyside.  With some trepidation I walked in.  There were all of a dozen people in there with two lines.  The number I took was 014.  The numbers on the boards were 009 and 298.  I figured there was a good chance I would get through!

Sure enough, within 25 minutes I was walking out the door.  So, a half hour drive and a 25 minute wait made me a happy boy.  I had a cup of coffee with my parents and then came home to tend to my poor sick wife.  Seems she got the same bug I had.  With the way the numbers were at the first place I might still be there! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It Expired WHEN?!

We have been trying to save money by not going out as much and keeping down grocery bills and cutting out some other things we do.  We have been doing pretty good.  Tonight, after a month of eating in  (and not counting this weekend when we were in the tri-cities), we decided to splurge and have pizza.  We went with the take and bake option.

While there, I decided to bring some beer home to go with the pizza.  I walked in.  I chose an appropriate selection.  I walked to the counter.  I pulled out my card.  I was about to swipe my card.  The evil lady behind the counter asked to see my ID.  I opened up my wallet and showed her.  She said fine.  I began to put it away.  She said, "May I see it again?"  Getting mildly annoyed I said yes and showed her again.  She said, "It's expired."  I summoned a word from my best, most intelligent sounding vocabulary list and said, "What?"  I happened to know for a fact it won't expire until my birthday!  HA!

I glanced at my license.  I glanced again.  And it was then that I saw the place where she was pointing.  It said 2009.  I stared blankly and then it dawned on me.  this year is...(drum roll please) ...(hey, my thought processes are kinda slow, ok?)...2010!  SHIT!  It's 2010!  This thing says it expired in 2009!  Hey!  That's like last year!

The lady behind the counter would not let me enjoy this startling realization, let alone share it.  She simply looked at me disappointedly.  Actually, now that I consider it, she might have been looking at me accusingly.  She took the beer and put it behind the counter.  "I can't sell this to you."

Normally, I might have put up a fight.  At that moment, I was...taken by surprise.  I fled the store.  OK, not so much fled, but it may have been taken as such.  Actually, I was lost in the idea that I could have been using an expired ID for almost a year.  I have been to the liquor store numerous times.  I even had my license copied for a couple jobs.  I had to show it to the state for my background check.  What I am saying is I've had it looked at MANY times.  NOT JUST ME!  Lots of people have seen it.  NO ONE.  NADA!  ZIP!  ZILCH!  NOT ONE PERSON noticed.  I was sure it wasn't due to expire until this year.

Yeah...this is gonna be a good year.    

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bomber Bug

I have discussed this subject before.  The urge to go see some airplanes.  No one else seems to suffer from it.  In fact I seem to be dealing with a double bug today.  I seem to have contracted a new cold.  It started last night with a sore throat and a sore ear.  I was up at 2 in the morning...not precisely the way I enjoy spending an evening or early morning hours, but at least I could breathe and I wasn't keeping Cora awake.  But, I digress.  I am feeing the air museum bug again.  I need to see some bombers or fighters or even a transport.

I checked the PIMA Air Museum site again.  I do that at least twice a month.  Sometimes more.  They now have their B-36 on display.  I have posted concerning the B-36 before, too.  They have rearranged the aircraft since we were there nearly two years ago.  It makes me want to go back.  We had to kind of see it in a whirlwind tour.  There are aircraft that I'd like to have spent more time examining, but that was not to be.

I know I have told you that I have seen two of the four remaining B-36s.  I have seen the one at Castle Air Museum and the one at PIMA...albeit from a greater distance than I preferred.  The latter was the LAST B-36 produced.  The former is the oldest remaining.  The damned things could carry the first Hydrogen bombs.  Those things were huge!  The Mk. 17 was 24 feet long and five feet in diameter!!  It weighed 42,000lbs and could have a yield of 15 megatons! See here!  A Megaton, by the way, represents the blast 1 million tons of TNT would cause!  When atomic weapons began they measured them in thousands of tons of TNT, or kilotons.

OK, see, I am prepared to lead a tour of a museum!  Anyone want to go with me?  I really want to go to a museum!  And not our piddly-wink little museum here!  All they have is the main landing gear of a B-1 bomber, an engine or two, and a small display of my 1/2400 scale ships.  Not exactly a huge warbird museum.  Sure, it's great for local history, especially concerning Charlie McCallister, who, interestingly enough, got his pilot's license signed by a Wright Brother.  Still, no warbirds!

Ok, even though this sight is named Plane Truth, not Planet Ruth, although, that's a cool name, I won't take up all of my time with whining about my lack of aircraft seeing.  I taught English today...well, 10th grade.  It was a big change from those unruly sixth graders I dealt with Yesterday!  It was a good day, apart from the constant pain in my right ear.  And, did I mention my pants?

My pants.  A pair that must be from ten years ago when I had a slightly smaller frame.  I am not saying I was a pixie sized man, I just wasn't lugging a few extra pounds.  Now, I have a...more...mature figure.  It probably wouldn't have been so bad, but when I work High Schools, I get up early and begin my coffee IV early, too.  Thus, my bladder fills at a much higher rate.  The tighter pants create...ahh, discomfort with a full bladder.  I forgot a belt, so I could not hide my pants being unbuttoned with a belt.  Instead I had to suffer the live long day all buttoned up.  Maybe I am just the only person to suffer that kind of misfortune, I don't know.  I will be  consigning that pair to the Good Will basket.

Now, I think I will go You Tube B-36 movies to get back in the saddle.


Come the 7th

On February 7th, 1951, my father was born.  He graduated high school 18 years later and was married in 1972.  In 1974, I was born.  In 1979, my sister was born.  I gotta say, good job Dad!

Of course, the 7th isn't until this weekend.  In the meantime I will have to toil in the schools, bringing innocent children an education.  I'd like to give you a vision of what my day was like yesterday.

Middle school.  I was giving a test.  At one point a boy issued a threat along the lines of, "I'll kill you."  I rolled my eyes and told him he didn't mean that.  I explained we need to be careful about the language we use.  He reiterated that that was indeed the word he wanted to use.  I then explained to him why he was heading off to the office to talk to the Vice Principal.

Another boy, out of nowhere decided that throwing an eraser across the room was a good idea.  He hit another boy in the ear with it and his classmates gave him away.  I sent him to the office, I assume to discuss ballistics.

A girl came up and needed to go print something in the library.  I had no problem with that.  I said, "I'll write you a note."  I started to write on a post it, "So-and-so needs to print out a-"  and she sighed and said, "Jeez, do you really need to write so much?"  I looked up into her beady little preteen eyes and said, "No," ripped up the note, and told her to go back to her desk.

Obviously, I did not have the best students.  In fact, there were times I was a little surprised that these kids had worked their way up to sixth grade.

Today, I get to teach English at a High School. I suspect it will be better.