Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5 Days! Random Thoughts

5 days with kids.  That's it.  Really it.  I want to tell a couple of stories just because I won't be collecting any more of these stories.
So, at recess sometimes, when a child needs a time out, they have to stand "on the wall" (leaning against the wall out of the way).  I like to stand "on the wall" when I am out for recess duty because I can lean and it is a little shady there.  One day I am standing there watching the kids, when a little guy who had been put "on the wall" to calm down, sidled up to my side, tapped me, looked up with huge amazed eyes and said, "Wow!  What did you do?"
Today it is very hot here and my room has one tiny window and no AC, so I wore a sleeveless dress and it made me remember this story.  One other warm spring day I was directing some song in the play we were rehearsing when one of the little hunka chunka boys looks at me aghast and says, "Oh!  Mrs. Lohr, your arms are really flappin'!"   Thanks.  I needed to hear that!  And you should have seen me trying to direct AND keep my arms glued to my sides.  I have just learned to love my flaps and direct the singing with flaps flying!
Just the other day while I was teaching a reading group and the writing group was working at the next table over, I start to hear a bit of a hubbub and look over to see two of my girls arguing about who has the most vowels in their names...complete with the attitude faces smirking at each other.  I just smiled.  Of all the things they could be arguing about...vowels work for me.
That same day, they were to choose a partner to practice reading a poem with and I look around to see two of my tough guys all snuggled up together practicing (and enjoying it) diligently together.

I will miss these stories.

One thing I will not miss is making decisions, large and small, all day long that effect other people.  I especially don't like it when someone asks me to make a decsion, I do, and then they go ask someone else when they didn't like the decision I made.  No, I will not miss making decisions.
I will not miss the chaos and confusion of trying to organize something for a school our size AND keeping everyone happy.  Really?  You need your planning period the penultimate day of school?

I still have 3 biggish events to get through:
Little Red Riding Hood - The Musical
Awards Day

I'll keep you posted!  I can't quite grasp the whole 5 days thing.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birth of a Bloomer

The rhododendron is the state flower of West Virginia and we have a lovely large bush in our front yard.  I chose one bud to photograph each day through fully bloomed....amazing.

Ta - da!  And here she is with some of the rest of the beautiful bloomers!

A happy sight each time I pull into my driveway....ahhhh.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Retirement Dinner

Today was the day that the county honored this year's crop of retirees.
They served us a delicious dinner: salad with strawberries and pecans, fresh rolls, beef kabobs from the Grand Champion Steer at last year's Buckwheat Festival (that I really did not need to know!), cake and sherbet.   It was served in the cafeteria of the high school on Fiesta plates...or really nice fake Fiesta!  We ate and they gave us a plaque.  Typical.  But, the cool thing was they gave each of us a copy of our years of service record that showed what and where we had taught each year.  Some had taught in each school in the county and I have taught at the same school for all but one of my years in the county.  There were only 4 ahead of my 33 years and the total years experience in all the retirees (20 maybe?) was 811 years!

It really was just perfect.  I loved that the food service people prepared the meal.  The county office staff served the meal.  It was at the high school and I could watch out the window and see kids coming for evening activities.  It was mostly people that I have shared a good chunk of my life with...some only tangentially, but enough that we could spend a good while doing the "remember whens?"  Some have shared much more closely the joys and sorrows.

It was another step closer to my retirement reality.
Tomorrow it is 10 days and counting....10 days.


Oh.  And I got my first retirement card in the mail today!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Measuring Mercy

My last two dogs have been named Grace and Mercy because you just can't have too much of that stuff in your home. Sadly, Grace died earlier, in the fall. Mercy, who almost died several times when she was a wee puppy with immune deficiency problems, is now alive and well and BIG. So, I took her to school today to do some measuring with the kidlets.
Mercy has always been more settled than Grace ever was even at 7 years old. It never crossed my mind to take Grace to school...she would have knocked them down and licked them, one right after the other. Mercy has been to visit the past two years. I think getting her certified as a therapy dog might be something I look into after I retire...she's that mellow.

But she looks big and impressive. She is a Shiloh Shepherd (plush).
I had the kids sit backs against something, wall or bookcase, in a semi circle and Mercy got to go to them. She sniffed a few and kissed a few and they were all good about keeping the noise down and their backs back.

She loved on a few of the adults, too.

Mrs. Bayles, comrade in arms!

Mercy wasn't all that keen on getting measured, but we got it done and did the same measurements on one of my tiny ones...Mercy was bigger on all counts, but Alexis was much easier to measure!  We measured ears, legs, tail (we measured Alexis' ponytail for this one), height, nose and compared tongues without actually measuring.

Then, we took some photos with the kidlets.   I think it is something they will remember...

(That's Alexis in the white shirt in the photo on the right.)

Mercy is my big, cuddly, 90 pound provider of unconditional love! No matter how my day went, Mercy is there to greet me with all the doggy love she can share for as long as I need it to be shared.
Love that!

(Thanks for the photos, Connie!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Clouds, Glorious Clouds!

This was a 10 minute drive around town this evening about 7:30...ahhhhh, love these things!

                    From the top of the hill at Shangri La Ti Da...looking from the front yard.
From the same spot, but looking toward the backyard.  See our little "practice house"?
Driving out of the neighborhood...to the left...

And to the right.  Our current home is pretty much right through those 2 trees on the right.

Black sky with sun trying to peak through.
Or blue sky.
 Nice enough shot out the window while driving.  Look at that underlayer of blue.
                                                Oh.  Gotta stop and get out, now.  Look right....
Look left.  Both taken from the same spot.
Our river, the mighty Cheat...one of the few in North America that flows north...up, full and heavy...a bit threatening.

OK.  Maybe it took more like 20 minutes with all the stopping to take the pictures and all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday Kitties

Two of my favorite girls had a birthday on Monday...they turned all of 8 years old.  They are sweet, cute and oh, so lovable.  So what could I do but make them something almost as special as they are for their big birthday?  Have a look....
I got these fun felt circles off of Esty.  I have lots of plans for them.
Plan #1 was to put a cat face on, add a dotty ribbon and a necklace.

Plan #2 was to make one more with different colors.

Ahh, yes, plan completed successfully and cutely, if I do say so myself.

And check out that very cool green glass hand.  Perfect for showcasing cuteness.

Wrapped and ready to be gifted.  I'm not even too nervous about
letting them go and live with these 2 sweet girls.
See?  Aren't they the cutest?  The kitty necklaces and the girls, of course!

This is exactly when I am most grateful for being blessed with my gift of creating.  Seeing their faces was worth every single needle prick...
And the hugs?  Even better!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Another Last: Signs of Encouragement

Each year our students, in WV, beginning in 3rd grade, have to take the WESTEST...
Each year, for the last several years, I have had my students make signs of encouragement for our 12 classes of 3rd - 5th graders.  We brainstorm some slogans that will fit on the 1/2 poster and be encouraging.  They trace letters...lots of thinking and arranging...outline with marker and color inside the letters they traced.  They are supposed to use one warm color and one cool color for letters and background...usually looks nice.  There is team work involved and support for others.  They have to go into the "big kids" classrooms and make a little presentation speech with their partner.  Standing and speaking in front of others is a major life skill that I give them as much practice in as possible. 
Here we go...

Always interesting to see the different ways they go about a job.

All good sentiments and encouragement for test taking and living!

We have practiced our "speech" and are ready to go....

They look so tiny.

I think the signs will be missed next year.  I have been doing it long enough that the kids taking the tests remember making the signs for the "big kids" when they were the "little kids".  Making memories....

Wonder if there are any jobs out there for professional encouragers?  I think I could do that job!

Fly Out, Cat In...Oh, NO! Cat Out, Fly In

So, a sure and certain sign of spring is flies in the house.  Well, spring has sprung and we have a giant big fly cruising around the house with 2 cats and a 90 pound dog in hot pursuit!  Can you say, chaos?  Not being one to just kill any bug, I decide to open the screen on the window that is a story above ground and let the poor giant buzzing thing out.  I shoo Skippy Jo Lohr (named after the kid's book kitty, Skippy John Jones and one of the cats in pursuit) away from the screenless window several times, but then I turn away for a moment and all I hear is SWOOSH!  Out he goes and lands on the little roof that covers the entrance to the garage.  I look out to see what happened and notice how lovely my little Japanese maple, blue blooming vines and day lillies to be look so I decide to take a picture...or seven.  Watch the adventure of Skippy Jo Lohr...well, this day's adventure!
See the pretty landscaping and the crazy cat.

Yes?  What can you possibly want?  I just got out here.

After 10 minutes of me hanging worriedly out the window...oh, and taking a few photos...he begins to think about his predicament.

Hmmmm.  Wonder if it will hurt much to land on the hood of the Jeep down there....

Oh.  Maybe I can jump up into the kitchen window. 
NO!  That window is not open and you will bounce off and fall down into the driveway.

OK.  Then how about if I just climb off here into the rhododendron where I always see those birdies hiding out...ummm, maybe I am a bit heavier than the birdies.  These branches don't seem all that sturdy to me.   And he did reach out and try a few.
Well, I suppose that I could go back in the window I came out.  That is just so much less adventurous.   
But she does keep calling me....

Hey!  Can't a guy get a little help here?
He could reach the window, but his back feet were just not touching.  So, I did finally put the camera down and drag him inside once again.

Who put this screen down?   Is my adventure over?  

And of course the fly is still buzzing all around the house!