Saturday, April 27, 2013

This is powerful!
Still chewing on this blog.  I don't think Christianity will end, but I do see the demise of its influence in America.  I was especially struck by what the Christian view of marriage changed how women were treated in ancient times, and it was for the better!  Christian marriage,  if viewed  as Christ and His bride the church, is a beautiful union of man and woman.  
"In fact, Paul’s teachings on sexual purity and marriage were adopted as liberating in the pornographic, sexually exploitive Greco-Roman culture of the time—exploitive especially of slaves and women, whose value to pagan males lay chiefly in their ability to produce children and provide sexual pleasure. Christianity, as articulated by Paul, worked a cultural revolution, restraining and channeling male eros, elevating the status of both women and of the human body, and infusing marriage—and marital sexuality—with love."
"In Christianity, what people do with their sexuality cannot be separated from what the human person is."
"What makes our own era different from the past, says Rieff, is that we have ceased to believe in the Christian cultural framework, yet we have made it impossible to believe in any other that does what culture must do: restrain individual passions and channel them creatively toward communal purposes."

When I read articles like this I am glad I am old.  I do feel for my children and what they will probably have to go through in this country.  I guess it's always been a scary world out there, but this seems so much worse.

Of course then I reflect on my marriage and my relationships.  I am direct evidence of the failure of the "sexual revolution".  It was the 70's and I embrace the women's movement and free sex and love.  Only it wasn't free and it damaged me for all my relationships to come including my marriage to a man with a different world view than mine.

I can only look back in sorrow at where my choices have led me.  At this point in time I can only see the bad and feel regret and bitterness for my choices.

I am resolved that if there is to be another relationship(Christian marriage) I will not make the same mistakes.  I would be treated as Christ treats His bride the church.

It is my prayer.

The original blog I found this article in , ended with this quote and I say,

 "Amen, say we!"

"If Christianity becomes radically marginalized, having no cultural power at all, perhaps Christianity will have to return to its essence:  Christ, the Gospel, the forgiveness of sins.   Because no matter how much people wish to erase anything that restricts them and makes them feel guilty, if Christianity is true (and it is), the moral reality remains.  It’s like thinking we can destroy nature; nature always destroys us.  Sin kills.  People in a society that give itself over to sin will feel those sins.  The Gospel will become good news again.  Christ will save them.  And, ironically, once the Gospel predominates again in the Church, cultural influence–including the Christian view of sexual morality–may well come back as a byproduct."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Girls play with their hair and boys crawl in and out of their shirts

I was sick the day I was to be video taped by Teena.  So today I got out my IPhone and taped a calendar discussion.  I actually was filmed by one of the students half way through it.

BUT first, math aside, I noticed all the girls playing with their hair and boys crawling inside and out of their shirts.  I noticed the flab hanging down on my arms(EW) and the dimples in my knees(double ew).  I also must have started every other sentence with "so".

I had to do a lot of pressing because of misunderstandings arising about shapes, two dimensional and three.  As I got more into the discussion I realized I had some reteaching to do and some clarifying.

I could not get clear attributes from the students on shapes.  It is difficult to have discourse when the students can't describe a shape and get confused over two and three dimensional figures.

I spent most of the discourse trying to get them to converse about Nick's statement,

" A rectangle is made up of 2 cubes".

It then morphed into a rectangular prism , and we had to spend some time on the difference between two dimensional and three dimensional.

I finally got them to the point where it was decided it was a square he meant and not a cube.  We played around with a piece of construction paper to see if it was really made up of two squares.  It became obvious they needed to go over what makes up a square.  I finally got the statement a square had equal sides and a rectangle did not.

By that time I knew we needed to move on .  The phrase "beating a dead horse "was reverberating through my brain.  (Hey Ashley could I iterate that for you again?)

What did I learn from watching myself besides the disgust of how I perceive myself on film and the total squirminess  of 1st graders on the floor??

It was humbling.  I was so sure they had a stronger sense of shapes.  I did quite a bit of pressing, and I think the questions were good.  I also think I stopped it in a good place because it was obvious to me I had some reteaching to do.  I see improvements I need to make both in management and in teaching.

I think I could probably have a class recorder to tape me and it would be fine with them.  An Iphone can be a handy thing.  

Hummm I wonder how they would react to seeing themselves in this video?  I think that could be a valuable discussion.

"Do you see any mathematicians sitting on the floor?"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Math Studio next week

I just finished doing some of my homework for math studio this next week.  I hate the fact that I can't spend the time I would like to on math studio.  For my sanity I have been cutting things out.  I'm tired of spending at least 3 hours every Sunday in my room.  I just can't keep doing that to myself.  I want to have 2 days off, not one.

I took today off.  I got enough planning done so I did not have to go in to my room.  I'm angry the district puts so much on our plates and  gives us large class sizes so we can't do a good job.  It is not humanly possible to do the kind of job I want to be able to do in my classroom.

I resent not being able to do all the work for math studio.  I have learned so much from the experience, and I am a much better teacher in all subject areas because of it.  Just think how much better I would be if I had the time to do it all!

I made the decision though to eliminate the stressors in my life if possible and to spend more time taking care of myself.  It has paid off for me, and I need to continue to do these things for myself.  I need to find other things to eliminate also.  

It is another reason why I am worried about the negotiations on our contract this year.  I am afraid they will put more on our plate, keep giving us large class sizes, and add a new evaluation.  If they start to evaluate us on test scores how can we in the Title one schools ever get a good evaluation?  We can't control parents, families, drug use, gangs, abuse, unemployment, and hunger.

I don't know... that missionary work in Papua New Guinea keeps sounding better and better to me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wheat in June

They got the song wrong , you know.  I'm as corny as Kansas in August is really not part of my reality of growing up in Kansas.  But I guess it really would not work to be as wheaty as wheat in June.  In my part of Kansas all I could see growing was wheat, and milo.  The wheat was dominant , and in June it turned the prairies to gold.

I would walk through the jungle of the goldening wheat where it would tickle my chin and graze my neck. I would laugh at Nikki's black and white body porpoising through the strands of grain.  Poor little guy, it was the only way he could see where he was going.

I'd start out about the first of June, and I would venture into the wheat field to test its doneness.  At first it would be predominantly green with the tips barely turning gold.  The kernels would be tiny and soft.  To peel them from the hull was difficult and I would wind up spitting the whole thing out.

In a week the waves began to rustle with gold.  The only green I could see was up close on the stalks and undersides of the leaves.  The grain heads would be bigger, and I could squeeze the soft head out and mash it between my teeth.  It was not the full flavored chunk of hard grain that signaled the harvest.

About this time Daddy would spend his evening out on the porch, watching the clouds form.  One bad wind and hail storm could turn the gold to dust.  A tornado would spell disaster for the whole farm. This was the peak of the thunderstorm season and how ironic it was also harvest time.  I was always strangely comforted by the fact my Daddy stood guard over us on the front porch on those nights.

I can imagine how he must have prayed; first for his family's safety, and then for the harvest.  I never remember my Daddy missing  church on Sundays. I know he had faith in God.  I don't see how else farmers could do it- farm at the whims of nature.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm thinking of Harvest

I started thinking about Harvest time in Kansas when I was a child tonight.  I am amazed I was not killed or severely injured as a child.  Oh the things I did with my sisters and daddy!

The first thought that occurred to me was:

"Daddy must have been on babysitting duty!"

Here, the man was out cutting wheat on a combine with four small girls hanging out on the combine or in the large truck!  I wonder if Mom was at work or if that is just what we did during harvest?  As always it was an adventure...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Math Studio, 3 years later

I have written a lot about math studio.  Nothing has stirred up so much anguish and learning in my life than math studio.  Math sends my brain into a downward spiral that usually results in flee or flight.  It has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  I have had battles and struggles of gigantic proportions to just keep myself fairly calm.

The first day of math studio 3 years ago found me hiding in the bathroom crying.  Since then I've cried in many a bathroom, under a pine tree, in class, and all over the pages of this blog.  Math does not make me feel warm and fuzzy.  It sends my heart to my throat, panic to my brain, and anger and frustration to the table as I try and work math problems.

With this clouded perception it seems that everyone around me got it, except for me.  I never seemed to have enough think time to figure out a problem.  A lot of the time I never even knew where to start to figure out a problem.  I was choked with envy at the ease at which some people could whip out the answer.  I was aghast at how much some of them could care so much about what I thought was a stupid math problem.  I mean really- passion over math?  "Mathorgasims"?  EW!

When it actually came to the teaching of Math Studio I was lost a lot.  Math Habits of Mind?  Math Habits of Interaction?  Slowly, though as I started implementing some of the concepts it began to make sense.  ( I think they must know that and hence the 3 year grant to teach it.)

Now these concept permeates every aspect of my teaching.  Each year more and more has made sense to me.  Let the children talk.  Questioning strategies.  Select and sequence. Perseverance and stuck points.  Explain your thinking.  Private Reasoning Time. Granting Status.  Public Records.  Connections.   Multiple Pathways.

Along the way I started noticing things happening to my students.  Six and Seven year olds able to explain their reasoning, critique and debate each other, re-voice, and make conjectures and generalizations and defend them.  They went from rolling around on the floor like puppy dogs to actively being engaged and responsible for their learning.  One of the best moments was them using a math poster to explaining something in reading. I am a much better teacher because of Math Studio.

I changed myself.  At first I knew I would never really be comfortable calling myself a mathematician.  I wasn't going to be any good at it.  I knew Math Studio was not going away at my school either.  I had a choice,

 "Get the hell out of Dodge."

 or submit myself in all my vulnerability to learning how to teach math the Math Studio way.

So submit I did.  I opened myself up to all the coaching I could get as painful as it was for me.  It helped that I had an awesome math coach and some really good math instructors.  I may have cried in the bathroom a lot and written bloody poems in numbers, but I did learn.  It started showing up in my teaching.

I'm probably never going to be a whiz bang at math.  I probably will never have a "mathorgasim" over a math problem.  I can appreciate numbers and their puzzles, and I see it reflected in all of nature.  My students love math time, and I can truly say from my class there will not be a child that will hate math.

I've come from sniveling in the bathroom to asking questions with a confidence and aplomb.  It shows in my teaching and in my students.  So much so that I was asked if the elementary principals could come in and take data snaps in my room today.  I said yes.  It may have not been "perfect" but 

"I've come a long way, baby!"

I got some great poems out of all that math too!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Limestone Quarry: An exercise in words

A rib of rock, a vertical
carcass, piercing the greasy sod.
The prairie vestments, liturgical
death, rubbed cattle trails we trod.

The road cut, spills corpses
into ditches, littering the earth's
shoulders:an aged grassland warp.
If not for the roads, their births
would be unknown, their deaths
revealed.  This trail to sea, breath
forgotten, dips like veins rolling
from needles.  The sloughs lee-
side where winter runoff, cajoling
me to wade barefoot to my knee.

Fine grain dust, powder puffs
with each wet foot imprints, transitory
when stacked against limestone bluffs.
House, fence, sidewalk, quarry
mined, a reliquary of ancient days.

The quarry, the ends of ends,
an indent between hills.  A clump
of household trash.  The debris depends
on a paradoxical glimpse
of the Permian past, a dump
of childhood rubbish,
tin cans mixed with trilobite seas.

The grassland rises to a seam-
less crimp. Rocky Mountains erode 
to form the High Plains. A felled scheme,
hiding the rough edges, a mother lode
from the sea; sandstone laid bare, a salt
cavern tomb, Therefore lies my life
exposed, layers of rock, a crooked fault,
diatomaceous earth rife with veins of grey milky chert.
My life in layers of rock and dirt.

I bleed my stories upon the plains.
Leviathan fragments deposed
and ossified.  the stains
from rusty barbs, fenceposts imposed
upon the cattle pastures.

The trail of tales to the quarry
road, belies a childhood treasure:
fossil rocks and family trash, an allegory
of life, death, and family pleasure.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Quarry

The mystical magical quarry that I probably only visited a handful of times.  I'm not sure there was even a reason to visit it .  Yet we did.  I don't remember walking to it.  It was always a ride in the pickup.

At first glance it just looked just  like a prairie pasture.  The more I would look at it thought I would start to see the jumble of rocks, carelessly strewn about in piles.  The rejects?  It was not a natural looking pile of stones. I could see   half formed rectangular prisms.  Fence posts incomplete and discarded?  In other places there would be slabs of rock slung against earthy walls.  The earthy walls would reveal a strata of rock, creamy buff with dark streaks.  The layers of the ocean revealed.  The rock was never naturally on top of the earth.  It was always buried in the prairie loam.

The quarry dipped down to form a small valley or a large ditch.  I don't think anyone would have recognized it as a quarry even.  I knew because that was what we called it.  There wasn't just rock revealed in the grass though, there was also rusty tin cans, bottles of blue, green, and clear glass.  I remember something a baby blue that might have been a baby carriage.  The quarry was repurposed as a "dump" after all rock excavation had ceased.

When I tired of looking for my dinosaur bones I would start to look through the trash to see  what treasures I could find.  Never anything to take home.  The rocks were more of a treasure than trash.

Now I think what treasures or artifact could be found in that midden?  The quarry was started by my great grandfather Henry Bentrup Sr, and he mined it to build the farm house, barn, and fence posts.  My mom says we did not dump our trash in that spot so it must have come from my great grandfather's era.

The last time I visited the quarry was with my husband before we married.  He found a bigger dinosaur bone than I ever found.  It was a slab of rock with a fish diving through it.  My mom brought it out to Oregon for us.  It sat by our pond on Sterling Creek for 30 years.  I did not take it because it was Pat's treasure not mine.  I don't know if he took it or not.  I know he discarded everything else I gave him.  

The only treasure I have from the quarry is a limestone trough my great-grandfather hollowed out to pour milk in for the barn cats.  My dad did the same thing after milking the cows.  It sits on my patio by my apartment, in the city in Oregon.  I have it filled with my treasures for the shores of the Pacific ocean.  From one ocean to another I have my treasures.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I talked to mom today as I do every Saturday.  I asked her where exactly was the limestone quarry?  It was in a different place than I remember.   I never remember walking to the quarry.  We always got there by pickup. The way she described it was within walking distance.  Oh how I would like to see it today!

It was Henry Bentrup Sr. who mined the quarry and built  the house and barn.. That would be my great grandfather.  He is the one who came over from Germany.  I'm in awe that he knew how to cut limestone into blocks and build a house and barn.  Plus he knew to cut the fence posts.  My understanding of limestone is that it is soft until exposed to the air.  It becomes quite heavy after exposed.  I think I will need to google that.

As always good to talk to mom and I will have questions to ask at the family reunion this summer.  Henry Bentrup Sr. died before mom was born and she was only 5 when Great grandma Bentrup died.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Limestone Quarry Part 2

I think most of the times I went to the pond was for Daddy to either check the windmill to see if the water was flowing into the stock tank or the level of the pond.  The stock tank by itself was mystical.  It was the water, clear, cool, and inviting.  Deep green algae would grow at the bottom of the tank.  The water, from the bowels of the earth, ( Did the waters still remember being part of an ancient sea?) was frigid on a 100 degree Kansas summer day.  It invited me to stick my hands in as far as I could and hold them till they were numb.  My fingers would scrabble through the rusty metal sides , plucking snails to observe them outside of the water.  I would then release them and watch them drop to the bottom of the tank.  I was amazed at how many could live in the stock tank.

The thing about growing up on a farm in Kansas was the sight of standing water was an invitation to get wet!  If there was a mud puddle it was meant for our feet to squish through the silty mud.  If I saw water running through a ditch, well, that was too wade in up to our ankles and knees.  A stock tank was to bathe our arms and see how long it would take for the fingers to go numb.  A pond?  That was a swimming pool.

Whereas the stock tank was crystal clear water, the pond was a muddy brown.  The edges of the pond were indented with cattle hooves that filled with water.  Interspersed with the hoof prints was the inevitable cow pies.  I would carefully negotiate my way to the water's edge.  I would walk in up to my ankles and wait for the water to settle.  My toes would dig into the muddy bottom, and the feel of the cool delicious mud squirting through my toes soothed any prickly stickers I might have encountered on my way down the path.

As the water started to settle I would be able to see the tiny minnow fish dash and dart around my feet.  They were always too quick for me to catch.  This water did not numb the toes.  The surface was bathwater warm, and the deeper I would walk in the cooler it would get.  I would usually go waist deep then sink to my neck.  Our clothes would be dry within minutes, and before mom would find out we got them dirty in the pond!

My favorite memory of the pond was the summer our cousins came out from S. California.  Marty and Bill were older than me, and I looked up to them in awe.  They had found an old metal canoe shaped boat out behind some shed.  I don't really remember if it was a real boat or not.  They spent days getting it waterproofed so they could take it out on the pond.

The day came when they thought it was ready, and it was loaded in the back of the blue Ford pickup along with all the rest of us.  At the pond they took that boat out waist deep and started to paddle.  It promptly sank.  I can still see them today, frantically bailing out the boat as it sank.  It was an adventure.  I think it is probably still there today.  An artifact for someone to find someday!

When the sun became too hot outside by the pond the grove of cottonwood trees would rustle in the wind and breathe an invitation.  It was also a favorite place of the cattle so once again I would be dodging cow poop.  I guess I  spent a lot of time dodging things with my bare feet.  I  would eventually find a clear spot to sit and lean up against the back of the tree trunk.  I'd close my eyes and listen to the meadow larks in the field.  The cicadas would eventually forget I was there and start their mating calls again. In the distance I would hear the windmill creak and groan as water gushed out of the pipe.  I could smell the grass baking and the cow manure drying and composting.  It was a clean crisp smell of heat, things growing, and things dying.  


I signed the paper yesterday.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Limestone Quarry

Farther up the road , at the top of the 2nd or third hill was a cut off track that led to the pond and the limestone quarry.  I don't remember exactly how to get there because we never walked that far.  It was always a trip in Daddy's dusty blue ford pickup.

The cut off track was really nothing more than a heavily traveled cow trail that ran along the barb wire fence.  The other side of the trail was a slight imprint in the prairie grass.  The gate was barb wire attached to an old tree branch which hooked to the fence.  Often times it was our job to get out and open the gate and then to stand watch so the cows did not get out.
To this day I'm not sure if it was really a job for us or a way to keep us out of trouble.  All I know was we were left all alone with the gate open to make sure the cows did not get out till Daddy came back.  We took that job very seriously and did not budge from our guard duty  while Daddy was off checking the cattle or feeding them.

Sometimes we would choose to walk instead of riding 4 abreast with Daddy in the truck.  We would travel the cattle trail.  The dirt would be fine and soft on our bare feet.  Cow hooves had pounded it to a fine powder that would poof up as we trudged up the hill.  It felt fine on  our feet because there was nary a sand burr, a goats head( ie puncture vine or in kid language a sticker!), cockleburs, buffaloburs, devils claw, prickly pear cactus, sharp pebbles, or fire ants to look out for on the path.

We roamed those pastures and fields on barefoot.  We wore thongs if we could find them.  (and yes we called them thongs not flip flops)  The only other shoes we had were our Sunday church shoes. Those shoes only made an appearance on Sundays! We were very aware of every plant, animal, insect, rock that was out to get us on the farm.  The dirt on the trail felt like velvet to our calloused feet.  We only had to watch for the cow pies.  The fecal dropping of Hereford cows could be fresh, soft and gooey, or dry frisbees.

As soon as we ascended the hill, our crooked bangs plastered to our freckled foreheads, we could see the dip between the hills and the pond.  It was an oasis in the Kansas summer heat.  It must have been another spring because I don't remember the pond ever drying up.  It was flanked on one side by a rusty, tattered windmill that fed into a stock tank.  The windmill would creak and groan as the wind would buffeted it first one way than the other.  On the other side was a grove of cottonwood trees. 

to be continued....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Channeling My Style

I work  with a young colleague who has helped me to get reintroduced to my former style.  She is a beautiful young lady with a quirky sense of style and she pulls it off.  I love it.  She can come to work with a darling top and skirt, and pair it with leggings and sneakers.  She looks fabulous.  I've started taking my cue from her and getting a bit daring with my pairings in my "old age".

Back in my younger days, I am talking the "70's, I was unusual in my school for the clothes I chose to wear.  Before it was cool I was shopping at the DAV(Disabled Veteran's Store) and the Salvation Army.  I picked up funky costume jewelry, Padded shoulder jackets, Pendelton jackets, hats with feathers and veils, dresses and coats from the 40's and 50's.  I even sported one of those ruched swimming suits from the forty's.

Also since I considered myself a "theatre freak" at the time, I  raided the costume department for prom and homecoming dresses.  My college professor gave me some really nice dresses from the costume shop.  I also started receiving clothes from friends who found them in their attics and closets.  I was given a fabulous black cashmere coat with a huge fur ruff.  The mint green wool coat with padded shoulders screamed of the 40's. Another friend gave me furs that were left in storage and never claimed.  (Poor little foxes and ferrets.)  Everyday was an adventure in dressing.  I had characters and symbols named for each outfit.

Then came the reality years:  work, marriage, children and fat.  I no longer had places to wear my costumes.  As I put on weight I became more concerned about finding inexpensive, comfortable clothes, to hide the fat.  Fat clothes are seldom attractive or stylish.  I hated wearing what I considered to be old lady tent clothes for fat people.  It was horrid.  Inside that fat woman was the same fashionista who wanted to wear sparkles, capes, scarves, hats, and bling.

Finally, I started getting my life turned around and losing weight.  I started shopping at the Goodwill because I could not afford to buy new clothes every time I dropped a size. I can no longer find the treasures I used to find but what I can find are name brand clothes that usually cost more than what I want to spend.

So I'm a namedropper now with my J Jills, Chicos. Talbots, Ann Loft, and Coldwater Creek.  I mix and match with the best of them.  I gleefully put outfits together and love the compliments I get on them.  I am having the best time dressing up in my new roles.  I tell everybody I am making up for 25 years of  fashion deprivation!

My only worry has been about "my age".  I am 56 and sometimes I wonder if I am dressing too young for my age or if that is even something I should be concerned about?  It's not like I am dressing racy, but oh I love the bling.  I want to wear feathers in my hair!  I want to wear leggings and bright colors, and scarves with texture.  I want to wear unusual jewelry and skirts above my knees.

I can't wear high heels anymore.  I am afraid I would hurt myself by falling down!  Shoes have to be comfortable so I do invest money in good shoes.  I can't really do thongs, bikinis, or skimpy tops.  I have a difficult time enough wearing sleeveless shirts.  Unless I want to do plastic surgery there are just some items of clothes I can't wear.

I can, though, put together clothes like my colleague and hang the age thing.  I can dress as funky as I want and recreate some roles and symbols.  I just don't want to be frumpy anymore.  I want to have fun!

My colleague assures me I am rocking the look.  Hey she's 28 and I like the way she carries off her style.  So I can be 56 and rock my style and channel the styles I see around me!  I am going to take my youthful influences and mix it with my "old lady" self and have some fun!

The thrift stores are calling me!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The "helpless female"

I admit it.  Sometimes I do play the helpless female, especially when it comes to cars.  I know I should be a self -sufficient woman and be able to put air in my tires, add a can of oil, change my windshield wipers, change a tire, and put in a new lightbulb in my headlight.  But just because I know I should be able to do it doesn't mean I want to do it.

I'm just not into it.  I feel stupid around cars.  I have no interest in knowing anything about cars.  Yet I hate being thought of as a "typical" woman that a male can take advantage of when it comes to fixing a car.  I'm a Pollyanna!  I believe what people tell me.  I hate the feeling that someone is playing me for a sucker when it comes to cars.

Remember the light that came on yesterday?  I know what it means.  It comes on when the tire pressure is low.  I looked at my tires, and I could not tell if any of them is low. I figured I had three choices.   I could take it to the dealer.  (I wonder if they would have charged me to put air in the tires?)  I could take it to Les Schwab, where I bought the tires.  Or I could go to my local Chevron station that I go to every Saturday.  I figure the guys know me, and I could play dumb, and they would fill my tires with air.

The dealership is clear across  town, but  it is my work out day and I needed to walk Queenie first.  Les Schwab is by my apartment, but I still would need to walk Queenie first.  Both could require a long wait.  I figured if the gas station was not busy I could be in and out of there, get home to walk Queenie, and then go work out.

There was hardly anyone at Chevron, and I asked the nice young man if he could show me how to put air in my tires. ( Read : I really don't want to know how, I just want you to put air in my tires.) It was no problem for him.

I found out how much pressure needs to be in each tire. (44).  All the tires were low with the lowest one being at 30.  I observed how to work the air and read the gauge.    I don't know if the next time I will actually try and put the air  in the tires  myself.  I know I should so I can be self reliant.  Sometimes it is just easier to play dumb.


Monday, April 8, 2013

the first day back

I actually think the kids missed school.  They were on their best behavior.  I secretly think they miss the structure and routines of school.  I don't think many of them have that structure in their lives.  It's hard to believe we are on our last 9 weeks of school.

Tonight I came home to grade the papers I put off during spring break.  All I could think of was how many parents were going to be wanting to talk to me over grades.  The new report card grades on content and work effort only.  So the  grade in Language arts  will include phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, grammar and sight words.  If they fail in one area they fail completely.  It makes for a brutal grade.

We get Wednesday afternoon to do our grades.  It is our normal prep time so it just doubles our work.  I am glad I managed to enter grades through out the grading period.

I still am experiencing some disequilibrium about everything.  I did not hear from the lawyer.  I made a list of things to do and did not do any of them except grade papers.  I need to call the vet to make an appointment for a blood test for Queenie.  I need to call about retirement.  My light came on that says I need air in my tires.  I need to call my dentist and doctor.  It seems the more that is on my list the more I don't want to do it.

There was snow on the hills today.  It doesn't seem to keep the spring birds from singing.  That's what I need right now- the ability to keep the song going.  I need to not dwell on what seems to be all the negativity in my life.

I think I shall dwell more on just writing to be writing.  I want to continue the journey up the road.  The next stop is the limestone quarry.  The quarry that built the farm house, the barn, and the fence posts. It also held the household trash and functioned as the "dump".  It symbolizes more "debris" in my life.

Debris is not always bad I think.  Sometimes it becomes our treasures.

I am remembering last April when I blogged every day.  That is appealing to me right now.  It may not have much content, but it has me.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Should of, would of, could of

I talked  with the lawyer last week,  and we made some adjustments.  I could have rushed home from the ocean to sign the papers but I did not want to give up my time at the coast.  Somehow I will need to find a time next week to go and sign the papers.

I am more disturbed then I thought I would be by this ending.  I think part is pride and part is genuine sadness at the ending of a marriage I thought would last forever.

I have a lot of overwhelming thoughts going on in my head right now and it is just not the the divorce.  

As I drove away from the ocean I thought to myself,

" I need some new memories."

I'm tired of looking at things and being reminded of my husband and my family that don't exist anymore.


Up the Road

The plum bushes were at a dip in the road: a hollow.  Fifty years ago they were the only greenery on the road.  Since then a grove of cottonwood trees has sprung up. It's like they guard "the gate" to the plum bushes.   They dwarf the plum bushes; and if I did not know they were there I would have missed the plums.

After the plums were finished I would hike farther up the road.  The road began a  steady rise in elevation.  Of course, being Kansas, I am not talking about mountains.  The hills rose and rolled from there on.  They appeared as camel humps, a savory green in spring and a dusty gray green in mid summer.  

If this camel were to shake out its hair, out would fall the cactus, devils thorn, wild onions, chokeberries, and dusty tumbleweeds caught on barb wire fences.  The glue would be cow patties in various stages of freshness;  from gooey with the blue-green flies, to dried feather weight saucers.  In the ditches by the road were sunflowers happy as the mid day sun to just be alive. They crowded each other shoulder to shoulder, a choir of joy just begging me to pick.

All this I  could see from the road as I  trudged up the first hill.  I  called it , "the dinosaur hill."  As I ascended, the dirt filled ditches and shoulders began to spot with buff and cream colored spots:  limestone fragments uncovered by  the blade.  I  called it,  "the dinosaur hill" because this is where the treasure hunt began for finding prehistoric fossils embedded in the chunks of limestone buried underneath the prairie loam.

In the stones I could see clam shells and mussel shells.  I always kept my eye open, hoping to find some prehistoric monster sleeping in the stone.  I would pick up rocks to keep, only to discard as I found a new and better one.

At the top of the hill I had a view of the low lying wheat fields. In the other direction the hills, rumpled in grass, flowed like the ancient waves they were made of long ago. Here, I would stop to examine the outcroppings of limestone and catch my breath.  I would load my pockets with the best looking rocks.  I tried to imagine the ancient seas and creatures who lived in the seas.  

Inevitably it would be the low of the cattle and clink-clank of the windmill shifting in a dry wind, that would bring me back to the present and the reality of the chores calling my name.  There were the cows to call home.  With my pockets stuffed I would crawl under the barb wire fence and kris cross cattywampus across the pasture to where the cows huddled by the windmill and stock tank.  I'd call,

"Come Boss.  Come Boss", 

and like the Pied Piper I would lead the cows home to the barn, Daddy, and the milking stool.

That was not the only adventure on that Kansas dirt road.  In my mind the road was always a path to some kind of other world, either in my mind or in reality.  It was just one of many treasured playgrounds on the farm outside of Sylvan Grove, Kansas.