Friday, May 21, 2010

Upstairs, Downstairs

Last week when I visited Mark Twain, I remembered things about the place that I do not miss. At all. The photo above shows one of them.

My classroom was on the second floor. I had to walk up the stairs to the landing, turn, and continue upwards on these stairs:

On a typical day, I walked

1. upstairs as soon as I got to school

2. downstairs to take my class to music, art, or P.E. (midmorning)

3. upstairs so I could work in my room while the kids were at their "specials"

4. downstairs to pick up my kids from the special class

5. upstairs to the classroom

6. downstairs to take my class to the cafeteria

7. upstairs so I could work in my room during lunch

8. downstairs to pick up my class after lunch and recess

9. upstairs to the classroom

10. downstairs to walk my class outside or to buses at the end of the day

11. upstairs to work in my room

12. downstairs to go home

That was the minimum. There were other times when climbing stairs was necessary, too.

Did all that stair climbing keep me in shape? No. My generous students, who knew of my chocolate addiction, kept me so well supplied with goodies that my intake of calories far exceeded my caloric expenditure.

These stairs (and the pain they caused to an old, fat teacher with bad knees) were a large factor in convincing me that it was time to retire.

And guess what Mark Twain has, now that it's been remodeled? That's right! An elevator!

Oh well, kids aren't allowed on the elevator. Since I had to accompany my students on most of those upstairs/downstairs trips, it would have eliminated only half of my pain.
I enjoyed trying out the elevator. And I enjoyed remembering one of the many reasons it's good to be retired.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Old Mark Twain Gets a Makeover

My last teaching assignment before retirement was at Mark Twain Elementary. The building is even older than I am. But during the last couple of years, it has gained an addition and received a makeover. Last week I attended the ribbon cutting celebration and Open House.

Here's what the building looked like in 2008 when I retired.

Now it has a new part that looks like this.

And here's the pretty part that connects the old with the new.

There are lots of exciting changes at Mark Twain. The addition includes a computer room with enough computers for every kid in the class.

There's a beautiful new library.

A colorful hall has given Mark Twain new life and excitement.

Speaking of color, life, and excitement, take a look at some of the student art work. Mark Twain has always had wonderfully creative, artistic kids.

After the special assembly, the Mark Twain community celebrated with a balloon release. (Thanks to principal Sandy Phillips for the next two photographs, as well as the photo of the ribbon cutting.)

Congratulations on your beautiful building, Mark Twain. You're looking good!

May your students continue to soar to great heights.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Cat and a Catastrophe

We have been providing foster care for Vivienne, our daughter's cat, for a few months. Vivienne is beautiful, and she's very sweet. She has a few bad habits, however, such as her practice of seeking out extremely high perches. Several times she has climbed far up our huge pecan tree or onto the rooftop of our two-story home. When she decides to come down, Vivienne suddenly realizes how high she has climbed, and she freaks out. At that point, she emits pitiful sounding meows, and backs away from anyone who tries to rescue her.

Yesterday, on her first birthday, she celebrated by once again climbing the pecan tree. Dr. Lobo took this video of her adventure.

Then Dr. Lobo enlisted my help. In this video,you will hear how stupidly I talk to my cats. (I didn't know he was recording.) You will also witness what happens when a very big man trips over a wagon tongue and falls. Either because he's dedicated to his video art, or because he was too shocked to react, he just kept filming.

He doesn't seem to have broken anything, but he is very sore. (He is also rather sore at Vivienne.) That cat is definitely hazardous to his health.


For Dr. Lobo's report of this incident, go here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

There's Something Fishy Here

I love themes, and I love it when someone's passion becomes absolutely quirky. I figure, if you love something, take it all the way.

On our recent trip, we stayed in Fish House Inn in Daysville, Oregon. The owners of this place obviously have a thing about fish.

Dr. Lobo, Wild Child, The Blonde, and I stayed in the "Main House," where we were thoroughly entertained by our surroundings. The antiques were interesting, but the fish--well, the fish collection was fascinating.

Join me for a quick tour.

Junior, our "grandbear," got hung up on the fish stuff even before we got inside.

The kitchen probably had the most fish.

I was particularly fond of this pot holder.

There was no shortage of fish shaped dishes or serving platters.

Not all of the fish lived in the kitchen. Plenty of others could be found throughout the house. (And many of them didn't even get photographed!)

Even the ceiling fan pulls were fish shaped!

Not everyone would be as amused as we were, but I appreciate the creativity. How many standard rooms from hotel chains will you remember through the years? This was a great break from the usual traveling fare. Let's hear a cheer for the eccentric collectors of the world!