Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More conjectures

Z. today made a connection to T.'s conjecture!

We were talking about the number 69 if it was odd or even. Z. said it was odd and I asked him how he knew. He said it was odd because 9 is odd and he knew that from the puiblic record we made of odd, even, odd, even...
So I wrote 79 on the board and asked him if it was odd or even. He thought for a bit and then told me it was odd. I asked hoow he knew and he said it was because of T.'s conjecture about 9 is behind the other number. I asked if he meant in the end place by saying "behind" and he said yes!

Whoo Hoo!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Math studio blog

Please post a student conjecture or "near conjecture" before December 21. Or you can post a question you have about supporting students as they try to make conjectures. "

Ok, don't fall over in shock but I am actually having some fun with Number Corner and Odd and Even.  They are conjecturing like crazy- almost like a competition.  I still struggle with when it moves to a generalization and not all the students get it or remember it.

We started examining everyday if the days in school and days in the month are odd or even.  The first conjecture/ generalization that came out of it was we decided 10 is always even so we don't have to look at the 10 sticks in days in school to figure out if the number is odd or even.

Of course we had to establish that even numbers always have partners and odd numbers do not. (Generalization, right?)

At first everyone one would come up and use the magnet squares to prove if the number was odd or even by matching partners.  Then, Oh excitement!

One day M. and M. (no pun intended) built on each other and came up with the conjecture that every other number will be even.  We made a public record and it is proving to be true.  (Generalization?)

Then T. conjectured that if we count in 2's all those numbers are even.  Again we made a public record that we add to and it is true.  (Generalization?)

Then Z.  conjectured that 4 is always even.  I let that one ride for a couple of days to see what the students would add on to that.

T. conjectured that when a number ENDS in 5 it is always odd.

I let that one sit to see if Z would think of his conjecture a little differently.  He didn't so the next day I asked him about  the number 54 and if it was odd or even.  He was so stunned.  At first he said odd.  I mentioned his conjecture.  Major disequilibrium!

I gave some think time to see if he could work through it.  (Meanwhile the majority of the class was wiggling around like worms in a coffee can.)  I should have waited but I was losing my class.  So I asked if anyone could add to what I asked.

That's when T. said the number has to end in 4 to be even.  I walked the class through breaking 54 into the ten sticks, reminding them that we had already decided that 10's were always even so we didn't have to look at the 5.  I asked Z then if he agreed with what T said and he did.

The next conjecture came from M. again.
"If you add two odd numbers together the answer will always be an even number."

I don't know about you but I was really impressed with that!  We are checking it everyday to see if it is true.  (When do we have enough data to say it is a generalization?)  I'm waiting for someone now to conjecture about what happens if you add two even numbers together?  If you add an odd or even?

My white board is covered with our conjectures and public records we have created to use to keep track of our data.

Now when I ask them if a number is odd or even that are not just using the answer that it has a partner.  They use the if you count in two's record and every other number is even record too!

I find that I could go on and on in Number Corner on this conjecturing stuff!   Wait till I have time to write about what we are doing with numbers in a game we play everyday.  Introduced a bit of multiplication and telling how many are in our class and if it is odd or even!!!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


A sword, Cavalry born,
buried in sliver strands
of buffalo grass.  Fallen,
from a running soldier's hand,
relaxed in death,
a self appointed bullet ,
lodged in a face
down, buried in a rutted gully,
2000 years before.

A man of Custer's 7th  cavalry
 with man's 2 edge sword.
Blood rusted in prairie dirt,
forgotten by time
and found by a wayward sheep herder,
Wild Uncle Bill's sword.

The heft of two edged swords
cleaves joints, marrow, arrogance, greed,
sinews of sin- dissected
in a thrust-
a parry-
a jab.
Separating  the sin from self,
flesh from bone.
Just as the heft of God's Word
is piercing and discerning thoughts- intentions.
Stripping all pretense from our souls.

We are the dead on the prairie.
Our bodies bleed out, cradled
in the soft embrace of greasy grass.
The dead pass way,
the sword has done it's job.
The words remains.

We can do nothing for ourselves.
We are the sheep upon the hill,
stumbling over half buried swords
and artifacts of ancient battles.
Losing ourselves in canyon brush,
juicy bits we spy on other sides of fence.

We are the one the the shepherd breaks
to keep us from ourselves.

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Allie girl

Alli started having seizures last night so I had to make the decision to put her to sleep.  I knew it was time and I was there till the end.  I miss her so much already.

Pastor Cwirla comforted me with this :

William M. Cwirla It's the hardest part of having a pet. And the most loving. They rely on us to care for them. In the wild, they would go off and die somewhere or be killed. I think the bond between man and animal is a little vestige of Paradise lost and of the coming new creation where lion and lamb will once again lie down in peace.


Trying to write in meter.  This is difficult.

Radiates the wire of a lonely fence,
strung round the field, a circuit to commence.
Sun burnt girls and sentential dog in rows
of chin high rusty wheat. the cattle low
a sobering moan, the wind caught boughs.
The past, in furrows of earthly plows,
a heavenly hum, a spider's bite,
a father's warning to make it right.
The sun dead on a hill, leads the flight.

It's been awhile....

I had to put my Allie girl to sleep last week and it devastated me.  It was time and I am glad that I was there for her.

I have dreaded this time for so long.  I knew it was coming.  I did not know how I was going to go through it.  But I did and I'm glad I was there for her.

She starting having seizures, my vet was closed and I had to take her to the ER vet.  They were wonderful.  I talked her through her death.  I could not even tell when her breath left her.  The vet told me when she was dead.  I loved her to her death.  I love her now.

The hardest thing I had to do was the best thing I could do for her.  The vet was compassionate as was the rest of the staff.

I miss my goofy Allie seal girl so much.

The next night, in streaming rain, we buried her besides the Applegate river in the dark.  Susie, my CLA, and Jessica, my co- teacher, shoveled dirt upon her frozen body. We stood and then talked of students and life, growth and anger, hurts and madness, sadness and joy.  That wet dark night embraced the body of my Allie girl while her spirit in love ran free.

I love that dog.  I loved that dog.  I miss that dog.  Queenie misses that dog.  There is a hole in my life where that dog used to be.

I am alone with my 14 year old Queenie beanie.  She seems depressed.  We walk together.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mulling things over...

"Baptized you are baptized into Jesus’ death to new life. You are not baptized so you can reflect on your relationship with yourself. When you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim His death until He comes to wake you from death. You don’t eat and drink to announce what you’ve chosen to do with your time until you die. Your life is hidden with Christ in God."

I want to spend some time thinking about this quote.  I am intrigued by the last line, " Your life is hidden with Christ in God".  As opposed to what the Salvation Army was handing out on their card I got yesterday.  

It was all about choosing to let God into our life. 

 We don't chose God.  He chooses us!  It's all about the Holy Spirit!  There is NOTHING we can do for our salvation.  It has been done in Christ's death!

And Chad Bird does it again!  Nails it to the heart on the door.

I also so don't know what is going on with my blog template.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wow is all I can say

and I wished I would have figured this out sooner- like 45 years ago...

Sane Sex The Truth about Men and Women
by Terril Clemmons

"Mutual and total self-giving, strong feelings of attachment, intense pleasure, and the procreation of new life are linked by human nature in a single complex of meanings and purpose. For this reason, if we try to split them apart, we split ourselves."

"The dual purpose of sex—procreation and marital unity—is firmly rooted in natural law, and everything works out better when our sex lives are cultivated ­accordingly. But alas, we dwell in a valley of destruction. "Errors about sex cause such terrible suffering," Budziszewski writes. "The worst is the suffering of those who no longer know they are in torment, for it is simply a lie that everyone is happy who believes himself happy, a slander that nobody is suffering unless he thinks that he is." When sexual behaviors and attitudes that are contrary to the human design are indulged in, they produce vandalized souls and a numbed populace that is blind to its sexually split personality."

I pray I get it right next time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

So why do I have to be right?

So nothing from the lawyer who said the judgement would be done last week.  I knew it would not happen.

Meanwhile I am haunted by memories.

Tim turned 27 today.  I wonder if he has even noticed I am gone.  I will not compete with Pat for the love of my children.  Nor will I beg for their love.

It is a 4th commandment issue.  It is between them and God.  You either love and respect your parents or you do not.

Here I stand , waiting for them to contact me.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Daddy Death

The wheat, radiant rays,
seeming to the sun,
dazzled our eyes.
Out of corners, grasshoppers
dodged, fwipping the air
with their wings.
We laughed
at the dog who led
our passage
through rows of chin high wheat.

Sentinel dog,
jumped so high
to stay the course.

The horizontal landmarks:
tree, fencepost, wire.
The tree to catch the clouds,
the fencepost to nail down the grass,
the wire to conduct electricity.
All to keep us and the cows
in the field.


The tree squatted in the ditch,
cooling its haunches in the silty brown,
from clouds tangled in its branches,
leftovers from the thunderstorm the night before.

Our toes cradled  in the muddy bottom,
water lapping at our belly buttons.
Sentinel dog with lolling tongue,
watching over us.

Later, clothes drying on our sun burnt bodies,
mud caking between our toes,
we'd march militant
in the rows of wheat,
keeping time
with hidden cicadas.

Southward to the border,
field rimmed and wired, grounded
in a metal pole
with porcelain earrings.
A silver strand,
a spider's bite
humming in its veins.

We could straddle,
crawl, 'neath the barb wire,
evade sand burrs, musk thistle, devil's claw.
This wire was forbidden.

"Did Daddy really say?"

"Would it really...?"

"Do we dare...?"

Could death be so easy?
A touch?

Like our ancestors we'd reach to grasp
the silver line,
shimmering in silence...

We felt the bite,
disobeyed our dad.

The sting was not yet death,
but almost death.

Death came not to girls
in Kansas sun.
The disobedience
was a warning for our future.
It only emphasized
the final outcome.

The passage
is in the rings of trees,
the till of soil,
a child's laugh,
a dog's bark.

That ghost of sentinel dog,
vaporized between the stalks of wheat.
Our feet became large and clothed.
The fence corrupt,
The disobedience of death in a father's words,
and the obedience of a son
to take the sting
of electric fences
and forbidden touches,
to raise the bodies.
dead in disobedience.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


When I called him last week he was suppose to have the judgement done by Monday or Tuesday.  It is Thursday night and not a word.  I could have predicted this- no action.  Still in Limbo....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bad Teacher Moment

Ok, bad teacher moment today:  I am doing number corner and calendar and in walks my math coach and new principal to take a data snap.  We are discussing the new calendar  piece which is a yellow children's crossing sign.  I asked the students what shape it is and I get the answer trapezoid.  Of course I am so focused on what I am doing to "impress" my principal and I go for details of what makes a trapezoid.

First answer I get is it has 5 corners. We discuss this for awhile and I am oblivious to the obvious when all of a sudden I notice my math coach is standing next to me showing me this yellow note.  I'm used to this because she knows I am open to coaching at any time. I look down, confused.  She whispers in my ear,

 "5 sides is a pentagon. "

I'm mortified. It's not a trapezoid, it's a pentagon.

 So gathering my wits I ask the class if they agree that it is a trapezoid?  I get  the thumbs down from a student and ask him why he disagrees with that and why?

(Meanwhile another student points to the poster"Critique and debate")

"I know it is not a trapezoid because it doesn't match the one on the wall."

 I point to the poster "Mistakes and sticking point. Perseverance"  and tell my class that even adults make mistakes and I made a mistake.

Yep that's me -transparent in my instruction.  Just a bit humiliated that I did it in front of my new principal.  But hey it's math studio time and I am used to feeling  humiliated. (My perception- not reality.)

Math studio is messy. It is ugly.  We bare our practise to other adults and de-privitize our practise so our students can learn.  It makes me cry a lot of the time. It is worth it though to see the outcomes with my students.

Girding up my loins for tomorrow's math studio.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Fence

The wheat,
radiant rays from summer sun,
dazzle our eyes.
 Dodging  scattering grasshoppers,
while laughing at the dog,
 who led our passage
through rows of chin- high winter wheat.
Sentinel dog , who jumped so high to stay the course.

Pumpkin Patch

Today we took 1st grade to the Pumpkin Patch.  I went from having only 2 parent volunteers to getting 5 that have papers filled out and 3 with out.  I did not have to take a group and could just supervise.  It was a very nice field trip and the rain did not start till we left!

Someday I would like to have a date to the pumpkin patch....

Friday, October 26, 2012


I think I'm trying to write Kansas out of my veins. I don't even know if that can be done.  I just think it is funny that the imagery of the prairie is more compelling to me than Oregon's mountains.  Maybe it is because it is from my youth.

I can write of the ocean but I am just not as stirred by mountains like I am of the endless oceans of grass, rolling hills, copper wheat, and the dust bowl sky.

Or maybe it is just that I am writing my stories down from my youth and that is Kansas.  My adulthood is Oregon and I'm not too crazy about my adulthood these past 30 years right now.  Maybe someday....

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I've been thinking about my life stories I want to share with my children.  They all seem to go back to the Bible or have been triggered by something from the Bible.  I loved being so steeped in the Bible that it pours out of me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I hate

that I can't do my job the way I know it needs to be done.  I know what my students need but I can't give it to them because of class size, politics, and other demands on my time.

I also can't take care of myself the way I need to to because of my job.

Maybe I should consider that mission job in  Papua New Guinea.  I could use my vocation as teacher and really be able to do my job!  I would be doing 2 loves- my love of God and my love of teaching!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What I enjoy

I enjoy being able to spend money on my aging dogs with out my husband bitching at me for wasting money and asking me,

"When are they going to die anyway?"

Then he would dig at it and dig at it trying to wear me down.  I refused to be worn down and give into him and allow the dogs to be put to death so his life would be more convenient.

Now I can take care of them guilt free and ease their pain till it is time.  Sure it is expensive but they are my children and my responsibility and I take that very seriously.

They have aged so much this past month and are both having difficulty getting around.  It freaks me out.

And I know it is ironic that I left my husband and I am not taking care of him which I vowed to do.  It bothers me a great deal.  But I did not know how to stay with him and keep myself and the dogs safe.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Recently we've been reading a book in school about reading- namely reading comprehension.  I always knew about how important it is to read to your children but a new fact was how important it is to tell them stories.  I realized I never told my children my stories about my life growing up.  I don't know why.  Maybe I didn't think they were important enough to tell?  I was wrong to not tell them the stories of my childhood.  How could they know where they have come from without hearing my stories.  Especially now that they don't talk to me.

How will my grandchildren know their heritage without hearing my stories.  My boys won't tell them because they won't know.  I've decided to write the stories I remember as significant to me so they will know someday who I was and why I am today.  I know now they are not interested but maybe some day.  It is important to pass on our past- it makes us who we are.

I see this in the generational poor I serve in my school.  I want my boys to know what kind of stock they come from.  Hard working German stock with ethics and a faith in God through the Missouri Synod Lutheran church.  Faith that saw them through many a rough times.  I want them to know of their ancestors and how they survived life through their faith in Jesus Christ.

So whether it comes out in prose or poetic form I don't know but I constantly flash back to the farm before Daddy became ill with ALS.  Probably the happiest time in my life.  It's kind of a Laura Ingalls Wilder kind of story...

Friday, October 12, 2012

A New Writer I have Discovered

This writer speaks to my heart and soul.  His imagery just smacks me in the face and wraps me in its coils.  Oh to write like this!

Speaking of Tongues
I am a serpent, coiled between your teeth,
A blade forged in hell, pulled free from its sheath,
A friend of the fire, a fanner of flame,

A beast that no man, is able to tame.
Who am I?
I am a healer, the linguist of life,
The organ whose keys, hymn peace amidst strife.
I can mute evil, make angels rejoice.
I've learned to be still, when heaven gives voice.
Who am I?
A treasure of light or Pandora's box?
A life-giving balm or death-dealing pox?
Who am I?
I am what you choose me to be.

Chad Bird

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


"The doctrine of vocation is Luther’s theology of the Christian life. It has to do with how Christians are to live in the world, how they exercise their faith, and how their ordinary lives are charged with meaning.
More specifically, vocation addresses how God works through human beings. He gives us our daily bread through the vocation of farmers, millers, and bakers. He protects us by means of the governing authorities. He grants healing by means of the medical vocations. He creates works of beauty by working through artists and musicians. He creates new life and cares for children by means of mothers and fathers.
God is at work in all of the people who do things for us—the ones who built our houses, made our clothing, prepared our food, picked up our trash, designed the technology that we enjoy, worked in the factories to manufacture what we need, gave us services to make our lives easier—and He is at work through us. Luther goes so far as to say that vocation is a “mask of God,” that behind the server in the restaurant who brings us our food, behind the shopkeeper, behind the business executive, and behind us in the things that we do for others, God Himself is hidden.
Luther writes, “What else is all our work to God— whether in the fields, in the garden, in the city, in the house, in war, or in government—but just such a child’s performance, by which He wants to give His gifts in the fields, at home, and everywhere else? These are the masks of God, behind which He wants to remain concealed and do all things. . . . He could give children without using men and women. But He does not want to do this. Instead, He joins man and woman so that it appears to be the work of man and woman, and yet He does it under the cover of such masks. . . . God gives all good gifts; but . . . you must work and thus give God good cause and a mask” (Commentary on Psalm 147; Luther’s Works 14:114 AE)."

I am on a mission.  I may not have my vocation as wife anymore or my vocation as mother, but I do have my vocation as a teacher. Behind my mask God is working though me to bring His love and joy of our human brains and our capacity to learn to children who live in poverty.  These children have so many needs and so many things wrong with their lives.  They don't feel safe.  They don't have food.  They don't have homes.  They don't have books.  They don't have real conversations with adults who care about them.

My district sends them to Kindergarten now and gives them all the drill and kill and none of the joy of education and school.  This last year they did not get recess, PE, or library.  I liken it to starvation and a killing of the magic of reading, writing, mathematics, art, music, science and social studies.  Gone are the days of hands on realia.  They get "intercession",  phonics, phonemic awareness, and math(by the numbers).

After thirteen years of KG I moved to 1st grade because I could not handle, physically or mentally, the rigor( and abuse) of 2 and a half hour kindergarten.  (Hey got to be able to pee sometime!)

In my 2nd year of 1st grade I am getting the first group of these deprived kindergartners.  I am putting the "fun" back in school!  We are painting, making applesauce, cutting and pasting, glittering, and reading good literature.

My vocation is not only to teach them to read and do math but to experience the full joy and excitement of using their God given brains to explore the world around them

Learning is fun and teaches perseverance and how to live in this world.  It breaks down generational poverty and opens the world to all students!  It is the hope that God has given us through His son Jesus Christ.  

God created us to use our brains.  He did not make stupid people.  He made us in His image.

My vocation is to teach.

Monday, October 8, 2012


It was a horrible experience.  I was getting side by side coaching and the kids were awful and so was I.  Did I learn?  Yes. Ugly, messy learning.  This is me and the most awesome coach: Jill Board.  Growth through pain.  I can relate.  Like hope dashed against rocks can be good.  Hope squandered. The waves just beat it out of you. Teaching is truly an area you are always growing - that is if you are good and care.  Brutal.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My dogs

My 2 old lady dogs, Queenie(14) and Allie(13) are aging just like me.  They have arthritis in their spine, Allie has had a sarcoma removed, and Queenie's bladder control is about like mine.  Children do that to you!

Queenie was Tim's 12th birthday present and we rescued Allie about a year later.  The boys moved out and left the dogs behind and they became my children.  In the last couple of years of my marriage I had to defend their lives daily.  My husband just wanted them dead.  If he did not verbally wish them dead he would mimic shooting them with a gun.  Everyday I would have to defend their right to live.  All my husband saw were the accidents on the floor and the inconvenience of pets.

He expected me to agree to put them to death even though they were still functioning and lovable dogs.  I refused to put them to death.  I knew if they were not the scape goats for his anger and discontent then I would become the object of his death wishes.

I refused to put my dogs to death even though they peed on the carpet and were a bit inconvenient.  When I moved out I found a place that took dogs and paid extra to have my dogs with me.  They are my children.  I will not put them down till it is absolutely necessary.

So my apartment stinks of dog pee and I just spent 600.00 on senior well visits.  I spend a lot of money on their special food.  I dread the day I have to make the decision.

Yet to my sons I am the bad person who left their father.  As my one son said- he wants nothing to do with me or my family ever again.  I live with this hurt daily.

I would not let him kill the dogs and I would not let him verbally abuse me again.  The price?  The loss of my sons.  I can not tell you how much this hurts as a mother.

So Queenie and Allie and myself are a family.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Math Studio again

Math studio is brutal on my psyche. It assaults every part of my self confidence.  Not only am I insecure about my math abilities I fight envy and jealousy over how well other teachers execute their math lessons. My fellow 1st grade teacher is awesome in math.  My class can not even touch where she is at. I fight the urge to just hate her for how good she is at what she does.

So while I observe her and compare what I have done in my classroom I am having to self talk myself out of envy and hatred for her competence at something I struggle with daily.  It over whelms me.  Her class is quiet and controlled while mine flops about on the floor like puppy dogs.

I keep telling myself I cannot compare our teachings and our approaches .  We are both valuable in our approaches.  Like I said I am brutal on myself.

I know that I too am valuable in how I teach- just as all teachers are.  We cannot judge ourselves by our different teaching approaches.  Envy and jealousy are poison to our relationships with each other.

I walk out of math studio beating myself up,  which just needs to STOP!  It is a battle.

Tomorrow I get side by side coaching with  Jill.  I lay myself out there, open to instruction.  How else will I learn?  I humiliate myself for my practise.  It is what I try to do- leave myself open to learning new things.

I think my new principle is awesome.

I adore Jill and what she can teach me.

My fellow co-teacher is amazing at 27.  I am honored to work with her.

Monday, October 1, 2012


So I am reinventing myself.  The best of what I was before marriage with confidence of age.  All those things I buried in my marriage I am free to enjoy again.  I still have baggage but I am trying to shed.  Damn. The years of marriage weigh me down.  I hurt and I am lonely.  It seems like it will never end.  I am such a whiner.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

It hurts

It hurts to know the past is all a lie- just things I imagined in my brain.  Survival mode?  I can't believe how much I relied on those memories to be true.  They are not.  It disrupts my time line - my life- to know that I don't mean as much to you as you meant to me,  Always in the back of my brain you were there- loving me.  Now I know that was not the case.  I am a silly goose to imagine love that was not there but only for a season.  I wanted that season to be always there and it can not be.  I love you.  I will always love you.  You took from me what I should have saved for marriage and I don't think I can ever be over that.  I hate what I did to myself and the lies I told myself.

I hate the lies I told myself in my marriage.  I tried so hard to make it work.

I am left with nothing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I just realized this afternoon that tomorrow is my 32 wedding anniversary.  I'm still not divorced.  I am still waiting on my lawyer to write the judgement.

I am disgruntled and edgy in my skin.

I am tired of waiting for things to happen.

I'm tired of waiting for my sons to show they love me and care about me.

I can't but help thinking it is a 4th commandment issue.  I know I was not that horrid of a parent.

I'm tired of waiting for my lawyer.

I want to move on with my life.  I want to experience what can be right about a relationship with a man.  I am ready to be appreciated by a man.

I want to have adventures.  Wine tasting.  Theatre.  Concerts. Walks on the beach.  Walks in the forest. Travel to different states and countries.  Art galleries in big cities.  Museums.  Zoos.  Coffee at Starbucks. Sitting in church together with his arms around my shoulder.  Communion at the altar.  Talks about theology. Walking hand in hand through a park.  Taking my dogs for a walk.  Going to a movie.  I want to live.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


"I think I can think about thinking.
I think that I know what that means.
It's all about metacognition,
what's going on in my brain."

So I experienced metacognition about my depression onslaught on Friday.  It was like I was hovering outside my brain watching it downshift to depression.  Far from being uncomfortable it was easier to recognize that I was feeling depression and not sink into self pity.  It was interesting.

Was it my adult watching my child get bummed?  Or was it another committee member watching the other getting depressed?  It was good to recognize I was getting depressed and to acknowledge it instead of giving into it.

I can even pinpoint the exact time the depression hit- 3:30, Friday afternoon when I realized I was going to have to come in Sunday to do lesson planning.  I acknowledged that I can't do my job well because there is too much to humanly do.  I am not superwoman teacher and unless I stay late every night and work both Saturday and Sunday I can't do my job well.

I find this very discouraging and depressing.  I love my job of teaching but I can't bring 26 children to grade level when 16 of them are intensive AND teach to the new Common Core standards.  Add to that math studio requirements, PLC homework(Professional learning committees) and LPA writing pieces. I just want to throw in the towel.

It's an odd storm of events that seem to conspire to failure.  Moving reading to the afternoon seems to invalidate research, and how do I double dose 3/4 of my classroom plus the students being sent to me from the 1/2 blend? That's another whole set of lesson plans to create to meet the needs of a diverse number of students.

Of course it does not help that I am in chronic pain with my back and am trying to hold out to Christmas break to do the surgery.

So I go to my light treatment for psoriasis after school because the trunk of my body is fully engaged in lesions from the stress of school.  (That's depressing too- a scabby body.)  I itch. I hurt. I scale.  What to do?

I decided on a nice bottle of S. Oregon wine and maybe a micro brew.  I stopped at Harry and David's and found a red and a white wine to try.  I did my grocery shopping and found a nice micro brew.  By then it was too late to cook because that would involve standing which was painful. I was having a difficult time walking with the back pain.  I needed something exotic in my world to go with my beverages.  I picked Sushi.

The beer was delicious and I loved the wasabi burn.  I could not find a comfortable way to sit so I laid on the floor to relieve my back.  I knew I had a date with Tylenol PM and my bed.  Those little shopping moves relieved my depression "cognition".

Another thing contributing to the "metacognition" was a conversation thread going online with my single confessional Lutheran ladies.  I was glad to hear them talk of missing sex and secret crushes they had on men.  It made them more human and more like me.  It also disturbed my feelings of being alone.  I can't even do any dating sites or anything like that yet because I am still not divorced.  Yes I take adultery seriously.  I am still married.

 I just long for that glow of feeling special to someone.  That sheen of attention where I feel alive in myself.  Where I feel beautiful and appreciated.  Where I don't feel alone.  Feelings that I hate having because I should be able to function on my own without the need of a man.  It must be a God-given hole in our hearts where we long to be a couple instead one alone.

I was so tempted to to sign up for a dating site just to have the attention of getting contacts from men who are interested in me.  Frankly the thought of dating terrifies me.  I have heard so many horror stories.  It creeps me out.  I don't even know what it would look like or feel like to date.  I did not do that well in my youth. The two men I had relationships with were so damaged that it took a toll on my self worth.  I don't even think I am capable of a "healthy" relationship yet.

Then I have this horrid dream where number 1 son is in the valley for a month and does not contact me.  It hurt.  It also reminded me once again of my broken relationship with my sons.

Things are just broken in my life and I need them healed.  The only one I can heal is myself.  I am doing that.  Maybe that is why the hovering of my metacognition outside my body tempered my feeling of depression.  I can't do my job- I can only do the best that I can and love my students.  I can't mend the relationship with my boys.  I can only wait for them to heal.  I can't date and I am probably not even ready to date.  I only have my God and myself and a ton of great friends!  That will have to be enough.

I know it gets easier.  It already has been easier to be alone.

By the way- the white wine was good- the red not so good.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I so want to vent.  Then I think I'll just come off as a whiny bitchy school teacher... but really 28 first graders?  28, 6 year olds and I'm the only adult in the room?  Add the fact they only had a half day KG and were led around by the hand all the time??!!!  The only thing they do well is walk in line.  I turn my back on them and some get into the play dough, others go sharpen their pencils when I'm teaching.  I can not physically keep them safe.  One of them today I sent back to get his lunch money( we are like 50 feet from the cafeteria ) and he is found wondering the KG hall a building away.  Humm, take care of the 26 or walk the one to get his lunch money.  What am I suppose to do?

Then let's talk about buses!!!  Most of the buses are not listed on our desk top.  I spent a lot of time going through addresses matching buses.  I turn my back on one girl after pointing out her bus to her (like right in front of her) and she gets on the wrong bus!!  The other one I blew it on but like I said there is one of me and I'm not superwoman and I can't stay until 7 at night making sure everything is fool proof.  When we  walk in a line I swear it is a half block long.  I don't have the time to hold each and every hand while they do their work or job.

Too boot the rumor is the district will not hire another teacher because of the splits in 2nd grade and 3rd.  So we have 30 in one room, 28 in mine, and the one/two split has 26.  Really? After a year of half day KG you expect me to bring most of them to benchmark with 28 in my classroom????!!!!

They then changed math to morning and reading to afternoon.  That means I will loose 30 minutes of reading time on Wednesday and at least 10 -15 minutes of reading time getting them off the playground, watered and pottied, before I can start reading.  I will need to to go into science / social studies time to make up for that.  It is like they are throwing reading under the bus for math.  Which is more important?

Yet we are being required to meet all Common Core Standards this year in First grade.  They are making my job impossible to do!  I don't know how to do it all and do it well!

CRAP.  I just want to be able to teach a decent amount of students so we can all be successful.  Does no one get it besides teachers?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Port Orford

I am in love with Port Orford, OR!  What a beautiful place!  I found my theme sign.  Yes I thought too much.  Still thinking, damn you!  Will you always haunt me every time I see beach?  You who only sees waves of grass?  You are now part of my debris.  I don't even know if you read this.  If you do, I will always love you though I can't be with you,  Bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam.  Now my heart...

And damn you if you would have just been a man about it and told me the truth I would have at least had closure.  But the just going silent treatment is not only immature emotionally but cruel to me.  All I ever wanted was for you to just be honest with me.  I'm an adult.  I can take it.  Then at least I would be able to move on and give up hope.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Damn the check!

More hullabaloo about the check. I finally talked to the lawyer.  If there is no judgement yet there is no check.  No rush.  No check.  I am going to wait.

On a school note- I have 29 students now.  17 boys and 12 girls.  Let's play football!

We are getting the party line-  We don't know how many will show up.  It will be decided the Friday of the first week of school.  Basically means they are gambling students won't show up.  It also probably means I am going to have high numbers.  Why do I feel strangely unconcerned?  Maybe the other drama trumps 29 students.?


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Yes more disequilibrium!  He called about the check because the pay off is wrong and is trying to get more money from me.  I realized after talking to my friend and lawyer he is rushing me and bullying me. He always nags, nags, nags till I give in.  I won't be bullied.  I have all of September.  My lawyer told me I don't have to talk to him and I am not going to anymore.  I thought I was stronger but not enough.  32 years of habits can be difficult to erase.  Damn what a sicko relationship.  I will not listen to his voice mail.  I will not be rushed.

I read this blog and it resonated with me and what I want in a husband. It's all hindsight now...

"Be careful – a husband can cripple or foster emotional health."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stirring up the Disequalibrium

The past 2 days I have had to see my husband or talk to him over the phone.  I find this very unsettling. As confident as I am feeling in myself now I still get moments of vulnerability around him.  It stirs up my disequilibrium and I have to calm myself down.

We are trying to get our vehicles out of joint ownership.  I am taking a loan out on my car to pay off the 401K loan he has on it, plus I am able to pay off two other debts.  By consolidating all my debt into 1 payment it will give me the amount I will need to pay him spousal support.  It feels good to be in control of my finances.

What doesn't feel good is to have to look at him, hear him, and converse with him.  There is sadness, disbelief, and disequilibrium.  He wore overalls today, unbuttoned on the side to allow for weight gain. His face is puffy.  His voice raspy.  He can still talk it and charm other people. He mentioned being allergic to gluten in his conversation with loan officer.

Disbelief that he has changed so little.  Disbelief my marriage is over.  Second guessing my agreement to pay spousal support.  I don't see how I could have fought it.  I can't believe he has so little respect for himself that he even asked me for it.  How sad and low he has become.

The worst was when I asked him about his job and whether they were still trying to get rid of him. (I should NEVER EVER ask him about personal things because I will hear things I don't want to hear.)  Yes they are and they haven't because they think he is going to quit.  He's going to move, move in with Charles.  He implied Johan was moving too.

Immediately I was plunged into anguish and turmoil.  The boys talk to him.  They don't talk to me.  That  HURT!  I tried to immediately calm myself down with the thought of-

"Wait till Charles and Val have to live with him and take care of him."

I can't see Charles tolerating him for very long.  Val would have to get rid of her cat.  Is this why he wanted spousal support?  To be able to move in with Chuck?  Did he ask Johan if he could move in with him?  Is that why Johan is moving? I can't see Johan tolerating him either for very long. Is he dying?  How will he pay for medical care?

I cannot go there.  It hurts too much to think my boys hate me and want nothing to do with me.  I have to trust that someday they will come around and talk to me.  I need to remember I have a great support system here and he has no one but the boys.  I have to keep my eyes on the future and what I am doing with my life.

See what I mean by the stirring of disequilibrium?

We are doing our job with the finances.  I doubt my lawyer is doing his job as quickly.  He has to write the judgement.  Even Pat's lawyer cannot get a hold of him.  He has the proceeds from our house in a trust fund.  I want to see if we can get that money so we can pay off our joint debt.  After that I will be down to 1 payment.

Then I will take the budget class and get in control of my finances.  I will learn how and be successful at it because I have a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset!

I am going to keep my eyes on the "prize."  My new life...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'm not sure how to title this....

This was the week.  I've been waiting for this week for a year.  No thanks to lawyers.  In fact my layer had me in his office Thursday night before the conference re figuring out things he had figured out before.  Then he gave me homework.  I was up till 11 on the night before I was to go court.

On Thursday the retirement issue was ironed out for my husband and his lawyer.  They finally understood that you use the time/fraction rule to split PERS.  BUT my husband decided to ask for 500.00 in spousal support from me.  This initially always causes me great anger.  I envision him spending it on his addictions.

Because we were down to one issue we had a court conference instead of a court trial.  My homework was to figure out where all my money goes in a month to see if anything is left over.  This includes food, household, rent, medical, insurance, car...

Come to find out I had enough left over to pay for spousal support.  I was horrified and then aghast- Where was all this money going if I have so much?

The judge takes off his robes and and goes back and forth between parties to mediate.  He told us both parties were going to have to compromise.  My take- I was going to have to pay spousal support.  My goal was not to cry in front of the judge.  I did not make it.

When he asked me how does a marriage of almost 33 years come to the end like this?  I lost it as I explained about the alcoholism and prescription meds that had turned my husband into this irrational raging monster.  I told him I moved out because I did not feel safe at home anymore.  I also told him I was not the one who filed for the divorce - it was him.

In that space of time of 10 minutes I came to a realization.  If we did not settle this in conference it would go to trial where it looked like the judge would settle for spousal support.  I also realized after  the judge told me that my husband said he would be dead anyway in 5 years and his Dr. would not put him on disability for another 5 years what a sad pathetic man he had become.

God whispered in my ear, "He will be your charity."

The amount came down to a sum I could handle and it would be for only 5 years.  Also if he lost his job he could not come back and ask for more.  I accepted that I would be paying for spousal support and I was OK with it.

I really will come out of this OK.  I have a peace.  I see an ending in sight.  I realized what a strong support group I have around me and he only has the boys.  So I guess it is OK that they don't want to talk to me. They are there for their dad and he needs that now.  I will just hope and pray that someday they will talk to me again and realize the impossible situation I was in and why I had to leave.

Later at the bank when I was taking care of financial things to do with the divorce I realized how empowered I was becoming.

I will take a beginning budget class and find out where all my money is going since I make so much money.  I will manage it, save it, and do the things I want to do.  I have a life.  I will live my life with joy and be in charge of myself.  I will be Barbara Ann Meier Holtz - excellent teacher, loving friend, child of God, and someday a Godly wife of a Godly man.  Amen !

Oh and I hope and pray I won't have to wait 6 months for my lawyer to get around to writing the judgment so I can finally be divorced.

Math Action Plan

Tomorrow is my "official" report back to school day and I'm frantically trying to finish up loose ends.  3 weeks ago I was doing the Writing Task Force. (WTF, because it amuses me!)  Tomorrow my first grade team will present to all the first grade teachers in the district.  It didn't help I could not find the email with the Power Point!  After much desperate emailing someone resent it to me.  I'm doing pages 2-4.  Somewhat reviewed my notes.

Then I realized,

"Oh Crap!  I have not posted my Math Action Plan!"

So I dug out those notes and went onto Moodle to post.  It may not be correct but it is done!  It all seems so long ago!

I was a wee bit distracted by the divorce conference, the Minerals and Martini party, and the church picnic today. I"m playing it hard until all my energy will be focused on SCHOOL.

For your information here is my Math Action Plan and what I am going to try and get done in math this year.  :-)

Action Plan August 2012
Hello 2nd year of first grade!  I am actually looking forward to being a bit more comfortable with the curriculum!

Action Plan Sub-Goal 1:

I will intentionally foster a mathematical culture of effort and growth.

1.  I will assign a letter to each student for roles.  (e.g.: Bob 1A, Karen 2B,...)  During the first month of school I will introduce and explicitly teach the role cards and practice roles.

2. I will have a math space for the Habits of Mind and Habits of Interaction in such a way that I can constantly refer to them and students can see them.  There will also be a space for the huddle.

3. I will plan in my lesson plans, explicitly teach, and carry out huddles, starting with 1 a week and increasing to 2-3 times a week by the end of the year.

4, I will spend time researching student's thinking.  This will include small group and one on one interviewing.

5. I will make a point to assign competence to low status students daily.

"Oh crap two!  I can't find the letter from the district outlining what we are to do tomorrow morning!"

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I am ok.  I am ok with what happened yesterday.  I have a peace.  I feel empowered.

It is the endings of the end.

When I have more time to write I will examine again these feelings of peace.

I have such a wonderful crowd of friends that carry me with their love.

I have a God who is merciful to the wretched sinner that I am.  He loves me and provides through all evil, worry, harm, and anguish.

I have a life that I can live with peace and happiness.

Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dead Space in Medford

Because I don't know what else to call it!

The lawyer called me yesterday and said he talked with the other lawyer last week and explained the whole time /fraction ruling of PERS to him.  All of a sudden it looks like we won't be going to court.  Of course the other lawyer needs to check it out and mine needs to write a judgment.  I don't have much confidence in either one.  Their timing is slug like.

The court date is Friday.  9 AM. Did I hear from my lawyer today, Wednesday August 22, 2012?  NO! So tomorrow I will call again and ask if we are going to court or what.  If he says we are settling in office will it happen soon?  Or will it be another couple of months? Or will we have to make another court date?

I am so disgusted with this whole process and this lawyer.  Dragging it out? YES! I want it to be over!  Please!

I am in dead space.  A vacuum...  Neither moving forward or backward.  Limbo. Just like the character in a derelict space ship, with alien monster popping out of vents and walls, waiting for the next battle scene.  I am weary of this labyrinth, where no one wins and we circle in dead ends.

I have nothing to compare my lawyer with but I do know he does not fit my definition of timely or efficient. He has dawdled through this case barely remembering my name or statistics.

My sense of doom spells out more months of fruitless negotiations.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dread 2

The lawyer called this morning and it may not go to trial. Up and down, up and down.

Self-efficacy Homework

“Self-efficacy is a belief about what one can learner can do; it is not the same as knowing what to do.” ( Scunk and Pajares, 2009)

“(…self-efficacy predicts achievement, persistence in problem solving, and interest in mathematics.”  (Isiksal and Asklar, 2005; Marsh, and Shavelson 1988, Meece, Wigfield, and Walker 1986).”

Where might there be inequities in status in your mathematics classroom, and what are the implications for your teaching?

First of all I had to re-look up efficacy because I forgot what the word meant, much less how to pronounce it.  Math Studio is great for building vocabulary, even if the definitions are math specific.  Ironically, after math studio I ran across efficacy in church, just as I first learned about plenary in a high school church youth conference.  (Hey, Missouri Synod Lutherans are all over education, Greek, Latin, and German!)

I have found that even students in Kindergarten and First grade form opinions about who is smart in math and reading.  Besides the obvious gaps because of age, gender, maturity level, years in school and parental support, students are quick to assign status to students they perceive smarter than themselves.  My job as a teacher is eliminating “status” from the playing field and making the classroom a safe place for everyone to participate.  I also expect everyone to participate!

I don’t know about non Title 1 schools and if they have the many levels of students we have in our classrooms.  In Title 1 schools, I believe we see more of the students that have not been to preschool, and had parental support.  Most of the students are highly transitory and this causes gaps in their education.  Some students come from such horrific home lives that they cannot even function intellectually in the classroom.

My job has always been to differentiate between learners.  With this last math studio, I feel I have more tools to do so in the classroom.  I was especially interested in assigning competence to low status students.  This public announcement of something they have done well in mathematics is powerful!  I should know the math instructors from studio have done it for me and it works! Everybody wants to feel successful and it did make me participate more!

Also having the belief and preaching the belief that everyone has something to contribute is a necessity for self-efficacy!    It makes everyone participate and be responsible for his or her own learning!  I have had students that try not to participate and I let them know in no uncertain terms that they are required to be responsible for their own learning.  Now I will add they are responsible for the learning in their small groups.

I have had SPED kids that function at a first month kindergarten level in 1st grade and it is difficult to find something they can be successful with in the classroom.  Reflecting back, I was at least grateful that they felt safe enough to raise their hand and participate!

More of a challenge for me was the student I had last year who was so incredibly disruptive in math class because he did not want to do the math or was incapable of doing the math.  I think assigning jobs of importance could help with this problem.

The ones with the horrific home life who can’t intellectually function in school is much more difficult.  I can see their brains just shut down or not retain anything from day to day.  I don’t know how to fix that.  It is all about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I guess keep plugging away and assign competence and give roles.

It’s a puzzle that changes from year to year with each new group of students.  I am thankful that Habits of Mind and Habits of Interaction carry through to all subject matters.  Students will be schooled in it through out the day besides just math.  It is a way of life. It could be said it is a matter life or death.  It is the difference between being successful in life or carrying through their parents’ generational poverty.  We can break generational poverty with our teaching of self-efficacy!

Monday, August 20, 2012


I am so dreading this next Friday- my court date.  I have not heard from my lawyer.  I don't know where the trial is, where to meet my lawyer, what time to be there, should I wear something special?  What should I expect?  What even happens!?  I'm not feeling very confident in my lawyer right now and it adds to my anxiety.

I wonder will this truly be the end?  How will it settle?  He revoked all other agreements so what does that mean for what I get?  I know the lawyer from up North will testify about the time/fraction ruling for PERS.  I know there is a legal precedence for the ruling.  But what happens to the other assets now?  What happens if nothing is settled?  Will there have to be ANOTHER court date far in the future?

Will I truly be divorced by this next Friday?

I do not want to cry in court.  I want to be in my adult.  I want to break down in private not public.

I can't go back to Pat the way he is now.  He has not changed and I can't live like that anymore.  I am a different person than I was a year ago.

I try not to worry about the money.  I fear there won't be anything left after all debt is settled.  My brain tries to skitter away from those thoughts.  I keep talking to God and repeat my mantra, "He will take care of me.  He always has taken care of me."

I am comforted by the thought that Pastor said he would be there with me.  I know I have great many friends praying for me also.  (Hey everyone out there I would appreciate prayers also.)

Then I worry about the boys.  They don't really speak to me now.  Will they ever again talk to me?  Will they always hold this against me?  Even though I am not the one who filed for divorce.  I did leave.  It was a safety issue even though they don't believe that of their dad.  They never saw him on both alcohol and prescription drugs.  For that matter I doubt Pat even remembers the things and actions he did to me.  I am to blame to for my lack of respect for him.

I want this to be over with without having to sit through court.  I want my boys to talk to me again.  I want the scab growing over the wounded skin.  Give me strength....

Fishermen's Wharf, BART, Foster City, and Nephew Mike

After North Beach we made our way down to Fisherman's Wharf.  Mind you this was on a Saturday afternoon.  May I say "Never again!?"  Too many people and too many cheesy stores.  Everyone recommended getting a Ghirardelli's hot fudge sundae.

 We walked a couple of blocks dodging people, kids, bikes, and traffic. The store was small and we each ordered a sundae- mine dark chocolate and Jan'e milk chocolate.

 We should have shared one!  It was too much.  Then we found out we could have ordered a min sample size.  Would I do it again?  No.  It was not worth the mess of public swarming all over Fisherman's wharf.  This was probably my least favorite part of SF.  Oh and try finding a public bathroom down there.
Jan went to see how long of a wait it was for the trolley and I went to find a bathroom.  I found one in the little museum in the same building as the Blue Mermaid.  (Where we had clam chowder on Thursday night.)
It was going to be an hour and a half wait for the trolley so we went in search of a cable car or bus.  On one of the side streets we saw a parked cable car and about 15 people.  We hurriedly got into line, hoping they would be loading soon.  A bus pulled up behind it and Jan went to talk to the bus driver.  We found out the bus would be loading right after the cable car.  We were successful and got seats on the cable car BECAUSE we had a date with our nephew!

Our sister Susan has a son, Michael, who works for Electronic Arts.  He actually wanted to see us old Aunties!  We took the BART out to see him and he gave us a tour of Electronic Arts.  He is currently working on Dead Space 3.   What a nice young man he has become.  I was so impressed by his whole demeaner and so grateful that he actually wanted to visit with us!

What  a great place to work! I was very impressed by what they provide for their employees.

I loved seeing the storyboards for the games.  As a teacher I appreciated the writing of the story.  The artwork was really cool too!
The security guard was nice enough to take pictures of us.  We are the batty aunties!

I wanted to meet his kitties that I always read about.

Michael took us to dinner and then we headed back on the BART.  We had Sunday morning set aside for shopping then catching our flights back home.  We were already talking of coming back.  Maybe every other year or maybe every summer.  We both like it so much.  Plus we had not seen everything yet.  

Next time would not be on a weekend.  I would bring mostly long pants, gloves, hat, hand warmers, and a heavier coat.  We still need to have a cocktail at the Top of the Mark.  I want to get closer to the Golden Gate Bridge.  I want more time in North Beach.  That is just a beginning of the list!

I love traveling with my sister, Jan.  She knows how to do the research. She is fun to be around.  I can't wait to do more traveling with her!