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Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Let's put our webbed hands together and welcome Rory to the 5th grade neighborhood!  We won't know whether Rory is a she or a he gecko for six months, so we'll just refer to her/him as Rory.  This newest addition to our zoo (and I think we're safely finished with that) came as the result of a PetSmart grant I wrote.  The habitat specified in the grant had been recalled. so it took longer than anticipated to work out the details.  Rory is quite labor intensive--different lights for night and day, temperature and humidity-controlled environment, 4 crickets a day SPRINKLED with calcium powder--to say NOTHING of a detachable tail if Rory gets peeved!  Rory is only weeks old but should grow to about 10 inches AND can look forward to the addition of mealy worms to the diet soon.  Four crickets a day translates to about 44 cents a day, so you do the math!!!!!  Once spring hits we can probably scare up our own crickets, but until then we're taking donations and looking for shuttling volunteers.  We can even send the cricket hotel with you. We're also going to have to furnish Rory's habitat with some fake plants, rocks, and  branches or whatever for climbing/shading purposes.  Today we stuck a piece of dryer vent coil in that we'd had for our hedgehog Rosie, and we found Rory stretched out in its shade basking for all the world like a beach bum!!  Incidentally Rory edged out Cupid, Geico, Gary, Jibbly, Aaron, Captain Jack, and Sonic in the naming contest today.  I'm too much of a Gilmore Girls fan to object, but as gecko names go, Rory seems unique.  Hedgehog/gecko compatibility still remains a topic for research.  Stay tuned!  Don't touch that dial!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

"I Wanna Hold Your Haaaaaand!"

I remember it like it was yesterday--the whole family gathered around our black and white TV much like we did EVERY Sunday night--Ed Sullivan!!.  The Sunday roast leftovers had been made into sandwiches--toasted white bread, mustard, sliced homemade dill pickles provided the perfect sandwich crunch.  We each had our own little plate--sandwiches like this are still the ultimate comfort food for me.  We usually had chocolate milk as well. This particular Sunday carried with it the anticipation which had been building.  The Beatles were coming!!!  I was already the proud owner of a Beatles 45 record--"She Loves You" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand".  In light of the current technology, that turquoise and white square boxed hi-fi with the center spindle and round 45 record adapter unit which you had to wedge onto the spindle when you switched from 33 1/3 to 45 seems just short of cave man.  But I remember listening to that record for hours and hours on my stomach in front of it watching it go around and around.  My three best friends and I premiered later that winter as the Fab 4 in our weekly 5th grade talent show.  I was Ringo--he was my favorite for a long time, obviously until I discovered Paul.  We had wigs and lip synched.  Great fun.  We were a hit.  Those same friends and I watched ALL the Beatles movies at the theatre on Friday night.  I've been a fan for 50 years.  I madly snapped photos a decade or so back of the pub in London where Linda met Paul.  I reverently visited Strawberry Fields in Central Park in the 90's and painstakingly took pictures of my students, lying down heads to the center of the Imagine mosaic there.  My classrooms have always sported some Beatles references--posters, biographies, bobble head dolls. Fifty years is a long long time to keep friends--especially ones you've never met and who are so very very famous at that.  I looked around my fifth grade classroom the other day and determined where we would have stood during that talent show.  The fact that my 50 year memories are connected to my year gives me warm feelings.  So I'm just pausing to pay homage to you guys.  Thanks.  You're down by half.  I'm so sorry about that.  You had a good run, albeit brief.  Rock on... You are truly in a class by yourself.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Mele Kalikimake"

Let's back up a little--slow down a bit, and pause to celebrate the good times that roll by so quickly they should be given a speeding ticket!  1:44 A.M. here in Brrrrrrrrrr Lake.  I've had 5 hours of good sleep already--you do the math.  Sometimes our good intentions walk boldly up to us and poke us in the shoulder.  "Hey Buddy!!!!  Get it together!" they say as they begin to lightly manhandle us in an attempt to jar us into some kind of action.  Such is the case with this blog.  I had high visions of documenting my last year of teaching here--a thorough chronicle.  The reality is not quite so stellar.  I somewhat resemble Quick Draw McGraw chasing after the car full of his fellow cartoon characters yelling, "I'm coming Babba Louie!!!" as he races after the car.  Or more aptly, a slapstick character who has just barely managed to grab hold of the car and is flying straight back, coat flapping, one hand trying to keep a hat in place.  I barely keep up.  Each day comes fast and furiously.  Sometimes I succeed in taking care of the business of the day; more often it spills over, accumulating into a pile that I untangle on a weekend.  On the homefront, we've been living in chaos--living room full of former loft contents, garage piled with yarn boxes and furniture, sewing room buried.  FIVE long long months of this attic renovation...stay tuned for more of that if intimate pictures and descriptions of slow insanity are your thing.

  • Our class hedgehog, Rosie, continues to delight daily.  She rolls around in a large clear plastic ball, a natural part of our day.
  • We're writing persuasive essays describing changes we'd like to see in our education program.  Radical, subversive.
  • Our biggest accomplishment seems to be our complete, utter, and glorious ability to keep healthy!!!!!  Nary a sniffle--knock on wood...
  • Upcoming events--snowshoeing excursion, double Dutch jump rope, juggling, talent show, Utah State University visit, an old Tarzan movie marathon etc. etc. etc.
  • I'm caving into a proposal that we transform our desks into independent cardboard huts!  Doesn't that sound so cool?
  • We're on the brink of the Civil War.  Our project will be to create a newspaper together.
  • PetSmart awarded me a Gecko Grant.  Two unsuccessful attempts to redeem that because of lack of habitat availability.  Frustrating.
  • Weekly 15 minute spelling bee tradition continues.  I wonder if anyone else in the world still indulges.

I'm feeling a little better.  The good intentions hit man is backing off somewhat.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley