Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday Evening

It has been a good day with the girls getting a lot done. We grabbed Mark Herron, design guru who helped us come up with this theme and idea in the first place, and went to dinner at In and Out. (Famous burger place only on the west coast I think.) I enjoyed getting to talk to him and hang out. He recently moved to Dallas and only lives a couple of miles from me.

I think there are going to be some problems when we get back to Dallas. 1. I have 3 senior editors and that now know more of what the book should look like and the rules of design and how everything should be than the editors-in-chief. I already have to have a come to Jesus with the eic's about putting forth the type of effort that this book will require. sigh.

Comparing this workshop to Cindy and Tread's, I have to say their's is much better. It is organized to give more time to the kids to actually work on their books, and it is more efficient. It starts first thing Monday morning and ends Wednesday night. This one starts late morning and ends late morning Thursday.

I'm feeling confident that having them arrive Sunday and leave Friday is going to be a really good choice because it gives us time on the front and back end to get more done.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Posting into a void

I'm remembering something that was said at the Building Learning Communities workshop. The reason most people stop blogging is because they never receive any feedback. It is funny when I talk to people and they make a reference to the blog. I have changed it so that people can post anonymously. I figure that might make it more likely that someone will post when they wouldn't otherwise.

But, days like today when I am so cranky and have been all day, it is a lot more satisfying to complain to someone in person than into the void.

I had to leave the editors working so that I could go to Fed Ex and drop off a book that had to get sent to the publisher (for The Book) since I'm still working (or rather Tread is still working) on trying to get it published and where. (They want an odd size so it is messing things up, not as straight forward as it was originally).

Now I am back and they are working on the table of contents. I'm going to start snapping their heads off soon.

Back on the Farm

I had made the reservation for Sabrina to go to Canine Country Club, but I had the wrong date. So, when I called back to get her in starting Saturday, they told me they were booked, she couldn’t come until Monday. That is a problem. So, I talk to my neighbor Gene who sweetly agrees to take Sabrina to CCC Monday morning. Great, problem solved.

So, I left Sunday morning at the crack of dawn and left Sabrina in the backyard/utility room.

3:00am this morning (5am in Dallas) my phone rings. I click it to make it stop ringing. It rings again. I answer. It is my neighbor Dave. He has called to tell me that Sabrina is barking and has been barking for sometime. Uh oh.

I tell him the bad news is that I can’t do anything about it because I’m in California (hint hint it is two hours earlier), but the good news is that she is going to be boarded for two weeks, and it won’t be a problem. I will make sure that it doesn’t happen any more when I return to town.

Tragically, the conversation didn’t end there. He was very busy broadcasting, but completely unable to receive. He tells me that she barks all the time that early and that it was right by their bedroom window etc. He told me it had been especially bad this week . . . she had been boarded the week before, so I would have loved to ask him how that week had been to see his response. At any rate, he went on and on and on. It was frustrating for him because she was barking and frustrating for me because there was nothing I could do about it.

I have no doubt she was barking, and probably the morning before too since I left so early, however, she sleeps on my bed and I think I would notice 60lbs of dog leaping off the bed in the night, and she wakes up with me in the morning. I told him that I wish he had let me know sooner because I would have done something about it sooner.

In addition, I’m not sure of what time he deems acceptable for Sabrina to be barking. I’m not thinking they are early birds, and I do leave for school at about 7:00 or so during the school year. So, we may have a problem no matter what.

He calls back a little later. I’m not sure of why he called the second time, except she was still barking. He asks me at one point if I can hear her, but I couldn’t, so I’m sure that was disappointing for him. I told him (again) I couldn’t do anything about it since I wasn’t actually there. He wanted to know if my other neighbor Emily had a key, I said yes (although I wasn’t thinking she would want a 5am wake-up call). I told him again I was California and she was going to be boarded and I would solve the problem when I got back.

Then he went on this whole tangent about how he didn’t realize the problem could be solved. Really????? Then leave me alone and suck it up. He told me that they realized they had to put up with her barking during the day. (I told him I appreciated that since his dogs also barked during the day.) He told me that is why his dogs are always inside. Hmmm, how many of you have been to my house and commented on those obnoxious little dogs and their barking?????

He also said that he was so sleepy the first time he called that he couldn’t remember what I had said. Tell me about it. He probably achieved what he was really after, he woke me up and I didn’t get any more sleep either.

At any rate, I called Emily (later) and she said she had already seen Dave and listened to him rant, but that Sabrina had not disturbed her sleep.

In Sabrina’s defense, I don’t believe that she barks that much. I think she was bad Sunday morning and Monday morning. Note to self, leaving her alone for 24 hours not a good plan.

So, that should be an interesting issue to deal with when I get back. I do feel badly about the barking the last two mornings, but nothing I can do about it yet, and it is really hard to feel too bad since more than once I haven't been able to go to sleep because of his yappy little dogs.

San Diego here we come.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I arranged a 9am flight to San Diego, but that translated as a 5 am wake-up as I finished my last minute to do’s before heading over to my friend Diane’s. Since her daughter, Kendall is a senior editor and one of the trip goers, she arranged for Heather and Kitty to meet at her house before we headed to the airport at 6:30am. All of us were sleeping and hardly functioning.

They had some trouble getting the plane to the gate (These are the types of things that worry me tremendously about air travel. If they can’t even get the plane to the gate, how am I supposed to trust their capabilities to get the plane in the air?)

So, we finally took off. The movie was Wild Hogs which some of you may remember is the movie I saw returning from Europe. I still think it is wildly hilarious.

We arrived in San Diego and went to pick up luggage. Fun story #1. We are waiting and waiting, but Kitty’s luggage doesn’t come. So, we are standing there 10 minutes after the last piece has come off and there is still about a dozen pieces of luggage circling on the carousel. Circling, circling. All of a sudden she says, Oh, there it is. That’s right, it had been there for quite some time and she hadn’t recognized her luggage. Sigh.

Fun story #2 But she isn’t the only ding dong, because we arrived and I realized I had left the information about rental company, hotel etc at home. So, called my friend Diane who went through the info I had sent and told us Hertz was the rental car company and Marriott Courtyard was the hotel, but there was no address. Crud.

Made our way to Hertz where we got a Toyota Highlander with GPS. I love GPS; it really makes getting places much easier. So, rental car down. I got the Hertz people to give me a phone number for Marriott double tree who said that we didn’t have a reservation. Oh dear. Diane had a main number, and they helped us figure out which hotel and the address. I’d like to think I’m usually better organized than this, but I have been so busy, this is something that never made it to the forefront of the get your act together program.

We arrived in Old Town San Diego at about 11:00, but they told us there wouldn’t be a room available for a couple of hours. They would call us when it was ready. We walked over to old town to eat. Lovely lunch. Then we took a trip to Mission Beach. Great weather, lots of people enjoying the sun. By the way, they never did call. We finally returned to the hotel, and they had a room ready. We went by the grocery store on our way back to the hotel and got some snack food etc.

We worked for a couple of hours on pulling magazine spreads and deciding what spread would work for what subject in the book. We finally went to dinner at about 7, got back to the hotel and were in bed by 9pm. We were very tired.

One of the girls turned the air on before we went to bed, but only turned the fan on, not the cool. When the phone woke me at 3am, I was already hot and uncomfortable. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night, finally figured out the cool issue at about 6am. Guy above us was a very heavy stepper and he moved around his room all night.

I’m going to insert a weird incident that I think is descriptive of potential problems with the yearbook staff. It isn't a big deal in and of itself, but it is indicative of problems. I had been talking since we arrived about being thirsty and wanting water, but we never passed any convenience stores or anything. After we went to the beach, they started walking around and I stopped into a nail salon (it was necessary, my toes were a mess.) They walked by and I asked them to get me a bottled water. The nail guy said he had water, and I could tell he was offering me a glass. I said yes, I’d love some. And the girls walked off. When we met back up, they all had bottled water. So, my last words were please get me a bottled water. If they were confused, they didn’t verify that I did or didn’t want one anymore. They didn’t text me when they got somewhere and bought their bottles of water. It’s about communication. We can’t produce this yearbook and not have people really being sure that they are communicating.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Started my 3 days of training for the Promethean board. This has been a heavy summer of learning for me. Of course she is still on the intro part to get people interested, but I'm sure we will get to specifics. We have had one thing after another go wrong. Changed rooms etc. It is 10:30, and very little to show for 2 hours work.

At least I'm sitting by Shelly, changed from English teacher to Technology specialist this year. We have been talking about some of the stuff that I want to do this year.

We finally got things rolling, and I'm excited about the stuff I'll be able to do with this. I am really tired. I have to see learning this much is exhausting. I'm very tired. And I forgot that I have dog training tonight.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Long, long day

I left the house early this morning, got to school and tried to get through my list of to do's that included getting the letter written to parents about the Europe trip next summer.

I had a doctor's appt this afternoon. I figured it was time I had a monogomous medical relationshiop instead of these one night stands I've been having with Primacare. I went to Dr. Winter, the father of one of my former students. Great guy. He agreed that I have a sinus infection and gave me some medicine.

After that I headed over to Shawn's. He helped me work on the design of the book and to get a spread done for the boys to see. I've already done that once, but I'm doing it again. I got home at about 7:45.

Tomorrow should be should as busy. I meet with the boys, and I have an interview with Starke Taylor.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I should be in a session right now, but I'm sitting in the lobby giving my poor head a rest. I feel the same way I did at the workshop/convention I went to teaching how to use the promethean smart boards in the classroom. My mind is spinning with all of the possibilities. My brain hurts.

While I am sitting here with approximately 9 other people from the convention or not (not sure), three are reading the newspaper, 7 are on computers or palms (including myself obviously). Interesting. No one is actually talking. Well, two of the gusy are looking at one computer and talking about something.

ONe of the presenters remarked on how much money is being spent to create networks etc at schools and then how much is being spent to keep kids off the internet (I can't even begin to describe how many internet sites that are benign are blocked AND what a pain it is to get them unblocked.

I don't know where the rest of the group is. . . I doubt that they are all in sessions. But they could be. We are taking a bus to the airport at 1:00pm. (It cost me $55.00 to get a cab here on Wed). The bus is free. However, the 2:30 Flight (I'm not on it) has lots of open seats. I'd love to leave earlier and get home earlier, but I doubt the bus manages to get us there with enough time to catch the 2:30. BUMMER.

Did I mention that in my one week home before leaving for San Diego with students I have 3 days of training (on the promethean board which I desperately need) ? I am going to have to learn to get by with a lot less sleep if I'm gonna get the real estate book done.

I keep forgetting to post pictures from Europe etc. I really want to do that too. Ah the to do list continues to grow . . .

Last day

The keynote is Dr. Young Zhao. He has a thick accent, but a great sense of humor. Just said technology redefines talent. hmm. Interesting thought. Now he is talking about concept of the flat world. Once again I want to remind everyone to read The World is Flat. Amazing book. He just mentioned a book I'm in the middle of reading. Daniel Pink A Whole New Mind. It talks about how the world is changing (a theme perhaps?) Going from information age to conceptual age. (This includes aesthetic, contextual, synthetic, metaphorical, simultaneous) Essential aptitudes design, story, symphony, empathy, play, meaning. hmmmm.

As I sit here thinking about alllll of the things I want to change in my classroom, and the girls trying to do the most creative yearbook ever done, and my trying to write a book that doesn't seem to be writing itself very easily, I also think about my eye tick and how pronounced it is going to become in the coming months. Yikes.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

This is it

So, I finished in Denton late Tuesday night, and got to the airport early Wed morning to try to get an early flight to Boston for the November learning conference. It is really cool. It is really about incorporating technology into the classroom etc. Part of the greatness is that they ENCOURAGE people to have their laptops in the sessions. The fun is that I can go straight to websites that they talk about and take notes on the computer.

The session I am in now is taught by Dr. Tyson at Mabry Middle School in Cobb County (for those that don't know that is the county in which my sister, Monica, resides.)

So, while I learn about blogging, I am blogging. When I started the blog, it was to keep everyone up on my life, but also to contemplate life etc. I want to think about things and reflect.

I know my yearbook classes are totally self-teaching and learning and all of that stuff. BUT my English class isn't. I know they are dingy freshmen, but there are a lot of things I can do.

I think I'm going to have them do journaling on-line (blogging) as they reflect on what they are learning. I also want them to create vod-casts of what they have learned; i.e. do a unit on poetry, and have kids do a dissection etc. cool huh?

While I was sitting here, I found a couple of websites that are really cool. One shows kids how to diagram an argument. How cool is that?

More later.

Friday, July 6, 2007

For those of you keeping up. . .

I am supposed to have 10 "stories" done by the 15th. I have 4 done. Gonna have to kick it up a notch.

I have to have four yearbooks critiqued by the 15th. I have 2 done.

I have to be at school Mon, Tues and Wed to help Scoobie Doo get the scope and sequence done for the journalism I classes. Beat me now.

The cleansing process is suspect. Certainly I am nervous about straying too far from a restroom, but mostly, not much happening. It is a little disappointing.

The sun came out today. Hallajulah!!!! I mowed the lawn this afternoon. Heaven knows it could start raining again at any minute, but I think it is actually supposed to be clear skies for a couple of days. Ha.

My eye tick reappeared yesterday with a vengeance. Very annoying.

Oh, and I met with my friend Kristen today. She is going to help me lead the trip next summer to Europe. It will be 15 days, and we are going to Madrid, Barcelona, Province, Nice, Florence and Rome. Sounds like fun doesn't it?

Ok, well I'm off to bed.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Lunacy worthy of the blog . . .

So, there is a small (I do mean small) break in the rain. I think to myself, "Poor Sabrina, she really needs to walk. Poor Me, I really need a break from writing. I'll take the Hellion on a walk."

There we are walking along, when she begins to act like a total hooligan. Seriously. Leaping about. Trying to knaw on my arm. Trying to grab for the leash. Dragging me about like a rag doll.

I look up and see a man in a green sedan trying to get my attention. Obviously he wants to know where we went to obedience school. No, he has a small puppy in the car. He tells me his mother doesn't want the dog, do I want it. Really? I mean, I know I have iron control over the 55lb Hellion on the end of the leash, but is he kidding?? The poor puppy is desperately trying to back up and get away from us. The man then looked shocked. As if he thought for sure he had found the perfect person to take his puppy. Oh the insanity.

P.S. She is now looking out the front window barking like a mad thing.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Today the part of cranky girl . . .

will be played by me. Quite frankly I've been really good the last couple of days, and I'm losing my will to continue.

After being fixed, Sabrina hasn't been allowed to go on a walk since last Wednesday. She really needs a walk. I'm going to be short a toe soon at the rate we are going.

I'm really, really sick of the rain. I know it's good for the ground, and it means I don't have to water my lawn, blah, blah, freaking blah.

I'm trying to eat healthy, doing yoga and working with an exercise ball, of and "cleansing" still not losing weight. auuuggghhhhh

Oh and I feel like every step forward is two steps backwards with the book. I have nothing fun to say. grrrrr