Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Break, Yearbook & Letting It Be

In a few hours, Thanksgiving break will be gone. Sadly, the three bags of stuff I bought home won't be.

Some how, some way, some day I wish I could wave a magic wand or twitch my nose like Samantha in Bewitched and be done with it all--the bags of stuff that is.

At least I managed to sort through most of the disaster I refer to as "yearbook."  I even met with my yearbook rep over Thanksgiving Break to discuss yearbook-related stuff. I believe if the pilgrims had to do that, they would have skedaddled right on out of Plymouth Rock as speedy quick as the ol' Mayflower could sail. (No, silly, the pilgrims wouldn't have skedaddled because of my yearbook rep, who really is a rather nice guy, but because of yearbook stuff in general.)

I guess only a yearbook adviser would truly understand my angst.

In order to calm myself in these last few hours before the end of break, I thought I would (1) eat a little bit of chocolate and (2) drink some green tea. I buy the kind of tea that contains nifty little philosophical ditties. The one for this evening said, "The best way of life is to be, simply be."


Obviously, the writer of that little cleverness was never a journalism adviser.

Or a teacher.

Could be fun though. Maybe tomorrow when I go to class, I'll just let things "be."

Yeah, let's see how well that one works for me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Carnival is Up!

OK, so it's Wednesday and you'll notice that I didn't post anything on Sunday or Monday. In my defense, it is Thanksgiving Week and instead of spending the time writing (as I would like to do), I am spending my time trying to make some sense of this mess they call "yearbook." I also have two pies in the oven, the turkey stock cooking and some coffee brewing. I hope to resume my regular blog postings next week.
In the meantime, though, I plan to head on over to Scheiss Weekly who graciously agreed to host the Education Buzz--Life's a Carnival. There's lots of good stuff to read, so why don't you join me and head on over there and get caught up on all the goings on in the EduSphere.

Our next edition of the carnival is scheduled for December 8. It will be hosted by the amazing Steve Spangler. Deadline for submissions is 7 p.m. December 7. Please use this this handy-dandy submission form.

If you are interested in hosting an edition of the Education Buzz, please let me know by emailing me at

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yellow Mellow Jello & Things I Learned Recently

My mind seems to be made of jello lately. 

Yellow, mellow Jello.

Yellow, mellow Jello roughly translates into "I've been so scattered lately I can't focus long enough on any one thing" to write something clever.

So instead, I spend my time doing things like laundry, or I decide to make a vat of chili, or I play with that cute little puppy we're babysitting, or I eat a nice chocolate custard cone from Sheridan.

Compound all of that with the fact that in the last two weeks, I've taken two days off. Now before you start turning green around the gills with jealousy, let me just tell you I'm using that term rather loosely because "off" meant spending my day away from work walking 20 miles as part of that little 3-day for the Cure 60 mile walk thing I did.  And, then, of course, my most recent day "off" meant spending my entire Monday grading all those projects I didn't get a chance to grade because, well, I was off walking and then recuperating.

As a result, my blog along with my feet has suffered from my neglect. It's rather difficult to feel clever when you're walking around with feet the size of Bozo the Clown (especially since I never really felt Bozo was all that funny to begin with.) 

See how this whole grading thing tends to make me rather cranky? Oh, and let's not forget whiny. Yeah, I've pretty whiny lately, too.

But since I promised some amusing stories regarding the 3-day for the Cure extravaganza my team Pink Me Out participated in a week ago, I probably ought to write something before my short term memory fails me and my long term memory embellishes it. So here are the top three lessons I learned…

Lesson #1… If there ever was any doubt, there is none now. I am not a camping kind of gal. I do not like sleeping in a cold freezing tent with wet hair. Nor am I fond of bright, prison-type lights shining down into our little tent (so bright that you could actually read a book at 9 p.m. without a flashlight). And, no, I wasn't fond of those same flood lights coming back on at 5:15  in the morning. (And to think I was worried about oversleeping.)

Lesson #2… One should not bring hot chocolate into one's tent unless the hot chocolate has a lid on it because the law of averages pretty much guarantees that the offending beverage in question will somehow get knocked over and spill onto everything. On a positive note, everything smelled pretty good after that. It's like living in the Chocolate Hotel but without the spa treatments, towels, beds, running water, flushing toilets, room service etc.

Lesson #3… Self control skills. I must say it's easier to understand now how one can just snap and exhibit violent tendencies. You know, tendencies such as popping a perfect stranger upside her little pointy head especially when that stranger sneaks in a blow dryer to camp and dries her hair you're standing on a chair under a portable outdoor propane heater hoping your hair doesn't catch on fire. (They did say NO blow dryers.)

I could ramble on and on and on about other lessons I learned, but quite frankly, they were more confirmations of things I already knew and not particularly funny.

Most of the funny stuff doesn't translate well into a written rendition. This one doesn't fare too well, but it's just too good to not try, so if it loses its funny my apologies…

It was Day 2 and apparently the planets all lined up perfectly because something very funny happened. We had walked probably 18 miles. We were tired, sore and probably just a tad cranky. One of my teammates--Susie Sunshine-- was wanting to pass a slower walker. At that moment, Susie (who tends to be overly polite all the time) said to the other walker, "Excuse me, passing on the left." At that moment, the other woman said, "Kiss my…"

Susie Sunshine, of course, was mortified and asked in disbelief, "Pardon me?"

To which the other woman, who was equally mortified exclaimed, "Oh no, not you, it's written there on the side walk."

And sure enough there it was. 

Someone, when the concrete was new and wet had written the offending phrase. The walker just happened to read it out loud at the exact moment Susie Sunshine was trying to pass.

What are the odds of that? Probably a gajillion to one. 

If my feet hadn't been so tired, we probably would have dashed off to buy a lottery ticket.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The End of the Line

[Writer's note: This article first published as The End of the Line on Technorati. I have included it on my blog for those of you who wanted an update on my 3-day for the Cure Walk which was held in Dallas  Nov. 5-7.]

I returned home exhausted from the 3-day for the Cure 60 mile walk. I along with the other three members of my team--the Pink Me Out team--walked every inch of the course, and yes, we have the sore feet to prove it. 

According to The Dallas Morning News, there were more than 2,700 walkers who participated in the Susan G. Komen walk to battle cancer. Organizers told us Dallas alone raised  $7 million. All in all, I suppose you can put a big check mark in the win-win column.
In my 3-day journey, I discovered lots of things (including Thing 1 who posed for pictures at one of the pit stops). And while I found Thing 1 rather amusing, it's really the other things that were more interesting and/or surprising. Things like…

•How well an event like this runs… It's well-orchestrated, well-planned and well-done--except for whoever thought it was a good idea to throw in some steps on the last day.

•My teammates and I were surprised at the number of participants who don't actually walk the entire course instead opting for a ride in the sweep van to the next pit stop or a bus back to camp. No judgments here. I do understand why some cannot complete the course. It was difficult to do. We just figured our level of being uncomfortable didn't come close to what cancer patients face.

•I was amazed at the generosity of some people. The people who I least expected to donate for us to walk donated a lot. The people who I thought would donate or who I thought would donated substantially didn't. I'm still surprised that our team did not get one donation from anyone on the Internet as a result of this or any other blog posting made. (But then, I'm still waiting for Oprah to read my book and "discover" me. Ah, if only wishes were horses, beggars would ride…") 

•I learned I can technically "rough" it. I survived frigid  temperatures in a tent with wet hair (no electricity for blow dryers). I succumbed to three days of portable toilets (except for that one incident when I hobbled into a Starbucks for coffee and running water).
But most importantly, I learned firsthand that life as a participant beats life as a spectator. Hands--make that feet--down.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Woo-hoo Education Buzz #8 Is Up

If you came here looking for the fab-u-lous Life's A Carnival: The Education Buzz #8, you will have to bebop over to JM Holland's place at Emergent Learner. He so graciously agreed to host the carnival there this week because I didn't just talk the talk, I walked the walk and walked all 60 miles of the 3-day for the Cure in Dallas. My team--Pink Me Out--raised almost $10,000 in the fight against breast cancer. Overall, Dallas raised about $7 million.  (And, yes, my feet are tired and I am still recovering.)
But I'll write more about that later. In the meantime, head on over to the Carnival to find out what's buzzing about in the EduSphere.

Our next carnival will be graciously hosted by Mamacita over at Scheiss Weekly  and will appear November 24. Deadline for submissions is Saturday, November 20. Use this handy-dandy submission form.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Richie's Top 5 Things To Be Thankful For

Sadly, I've spent the better part of the week trying to come up with something to write about.

Sadly, it's not that I have been without topics. It's just that every time something flashes through my brain, I'm not even remotely near something (computer, pen, paper) to jot it down. Then, because my brain apparently is the size of a tee-tiny pea, by the time I finally do get to a computer, I can't remember anything. Nothing. Nadda. Zilch.

Such is the sadness of my life. 

I am, however, grateful that J.M. Holland agreed to host the next Education Buzz Carnival except for one little tee-tiny problem--he wants his theme centered on thankfulness. So now, I have to come up with something clever, and that something has to relate to thankFUL instead of thankLESS. You see, I have lots of thankLESS things I could write about, but then that would make me a Naysaying Nellie, and Jeepers Creepers, we certainly have enough of those floating about. So here it goes…

Richie's Top Five Things To Be Thankful For

#5… I am thankful that I haven't done anything where I would have to talk to my children through glass.

#4… I am thankful that I have my BFF Jennifer working with me at school now so that I don't say out loud the bubble above my head.

#3… I am thankful that somehow, some way I managed to train for the 3-day for the Cure, survive newspaper deadline Number 2 and turn in my six weeks grades without setting my hair on fire and running screaming from the building. (Although I do wonder if that little running bit would count as a training walk for the 3-day for the Cure.)

#2…I am so very, very, very thankful for Halloween chocolate. Because without Halloween chocolate, I seriously doubt I would have survived Item #3.

#1… I am thankful that almost 400 days have passed since I've audibly called someone a Big Fat Stupid Head. Although in all honesty, I must admit I  have probably mumbled the phrase, and I'm 100 percent certain I have said the phrase in the bubble above my head. Lately though, the phrase has lurked there, just waiting on the tip of my tongue. I'd tell you about all of that but I'm about 100 percent certain it's one of those things that probably belongs in "My things that will get you fired" folder. So then I'd have to write a list of Richie's Five ThankLESS Things. And that, of course, would then make me a Naysaying Nellie, and then JM Holland wouldn't put me in the Carnival.

So let's all be thankful about my progress here, and hopeful that I can make it to the end of the year without calling someone a Big Fat Stupid Head.