Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post Office

Unlike many Americans, I enjoy going to the post office. I don't mind standing in line, so much. Today, I stood in line a good 20-25 minutes. Everyone was so quiet. I wanted to make conversation with the guy ahead of me and the guy behind me, but I ended up thinking that perhaps they wouldn't be interested in chatting with me. I kept wanting to say bright and happy things like, "It's almost your turn!" I noticed the guy in front of me was fixin' to mail a package to a sister missionary in Texas. I thought about asking, "So is she worth the wait?"

There's one employee at my post office that feels like a long lost cousin. You know, feels like family, but not the kind of family member you talk to all the time. This is how he greets every customer, "How you dooeeenn?" As if he's your next door neighbor and has missed you a whole lot since your last visit. I like the way he phrases things, "Would you like this to be registered or certified or should we just get it gooeeenn?" They're all pretty nice, but I admit, while standing in line, I think to myself, "I hope I get HIM."

I did chuckle, but not too loudly as I watched a couple of young men try to find a package for which they had a tracking number. I guess three guys live together and only ONE of them had his mail put on hold while vacationing and it ended up that all three stopped getting mail, so one of them went to the post office last week to take the hold off, but now, nobody could locate this package. Man, they were at the counter forever. Finally, the employee returned to the counter and said, "It's sitting in your box--we called your carrier."

No, that's not the funny part. The funny part was watching one of the guys work on his fashion statement. When he entered the post office, he was wearing ratty jeans with a wide white belt and all of that was riding near the bottom of his butt cheeks (if the school nurse can say "butt cheeks" in front of the whole fifth grade, then I can say it on my blog). Somewhere in the middle of their missing box mess, he decided he needed to adjust things. I looked around--pretty much everyone in line was catching this. He fiddled with the front. He fiddled with the back. He fiddled all around, sliding up and sliding down. Frankly, I'm not sure WHAT all he was doing. I feared for a moment that those pants were going to end up on the floor. However, when he decided it was how he wanted it, those jeans and that white belt were in the same exact place as when he started. You had to be there.

I even got a little sentimental at the post office. It was this season a few years ago that I was standing in line at another post office. End of the day--everyone tired--bad weather outside. A really old fellow came shuffling in with a Santa hat on. He smiled at the crowd in line. His eyes twinkled. And just like that, with a clear tone, he began singing, "Sleigh bells riiiiiiiiiiingg......." He kept going and EVERYONE joined in! It may not have been a Christmas Miracle, but it surely was a Christmas Moment.

No, I don't mind standing in line at the post office.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We have this incredible friend, Suzette. We hardly see her anymore because she lives in a neighboring state, but sometimes we meet up for dinner when someone is passing through the town of the other. She was THE speaker at a special meeting at a certain university today and I know it was amazing. I've learned a lot from her.

I started keeping a reading log because of Suzette. The thought had never entered my head prior to living with her. She's taught me about how to better study the scriptures. She's taught me to love and appreciate music more than I did before. She's inspired me to exercise (she's done the marathon thing). One time we went on a really long ride together--like four straight hours of washboard gravel--and then we hit pavement in another state, eventually finding our way home by nightfall. I like the way she asks questions. I like how she plans trips and activities, and plans out her goals. I love her laugh!

One time, her college students visited my fifth grade students for Author's Chair. We had potluck chips, Oreos, and things of that sort--her class and mine. Another time, she visited my class because we had just read THE SECRET GARDEN and she was playing a role in that show at a local theater. She sang one of her solos for my students and when she hit the long, high, loud note at the end, she sort of waved her arms at my students indicating that this would be the time to applaud. Fifth graders don't know these things intuitively. One time she invited me to her class and I influenced many, I'm sure. Actually, I influenced no one because Sam Beeson was also visiting and I know everyone favored him. I loved how Suzette would grade five term papers, then go for a walk, grade five more papers, then play the piano, grade five more papers, then eat a snack, grade five more papers...if only I could garner a fraction of that self-discipline.

We've snowshoed together. We've hiked together. However, she refused to winter camp! I watched her volunteer with special needs people for three years. Those kids loved dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller with her! She took me to a Jazz game once. She's helped me a couple of times with surgeries including stopping at the pharmacy for my meds, getting me a pumpkin or egg nog shake, and putting Lord of the Rings in the DVD player so I could have all my needs met. I'm glad she's shared her family with us--great people. She makes a tasty batch of granola. Suzette is not fond of dogs. She loves Ann of Green Gables so much--you have no idea. ;) She likes her sleep. We know how to get our hands on a key to her house if she's not there. I'll never forget a Gospel Doctrine lesson she taught about how to study the scriptures. She had this tool box and pulled things out of it--a highlighter, sticky notes, a dictionary, etc. The girl has climbed on glaciers in Alaska and ridden camels in Africa.

She sang at our wedding. She danced at our wedding.

I know she rocked the house while speaking today. Oh how we love you, Suzette!

Monday, November 28, 2011


My evaluation is over and I had a calm, peaceful feeling while it was happening. The principal smiled as he walked out of the room and said, "You did really well." I guess that means I'm an okay teacher. My students were angels and I didn't even bribe them with candy. I suppose it could have had something to do with the fact that they've been staying up way too late during the Thanksgiving break. A couple of weeks ago when I scheduled this evaluation, I mentioned to the class that "one of these days" the principal would be visiting to see how well each of them was trying to learn math. Yes, I shoved the burden completely onto them. Perhaps they remembered that comment when he sat himself down at my desk this morning.

So, while I was teaching my guts out and remembering to use positive specific praise and making sure each child knew what the objective was and using a variety of technologies, our class had a pretty good dialogue about prime and composite numbers. I didn't tell them what they were, but I led them through an activity so that they might figure out what they are on their own. My heart rejoiced when one girl raised her hand and said, "I think I know what a prime number is." We wrote the definitions down, in the students' very own terms, to create a network of meaning for the class to reference. I listened to their comments. I answered their questions. We got to the point where I assigned independent work. And as we were wrapping up and I was feeling like the kids had this concept in the bag, one boy raised his hand and clearly asked, "What is a composite number?" That rejoicing heart of mine sank a few notches down and I praised him for asking a question instead of pretending he knew. I went straight to his desk to do some reteaching. When the principal decided to leave, I caught him at the door and said, "Nothing like a killer question at the very end to let you know someone didn't get it." The principal said, "It happens all the time." It does? Oh good. Maybe I'm not a failure.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Where did November go? I haven't posted since Toroweap. Well, I've been busy. Out of the blue on Sunday 30 October, a member of the bishopric wanted to have a little chat with me. Didn't see that coming, at all. I got released from serving as the Gospel Doctrine teacher for twenty-six months (glorious months) and called to serve as the second counselor in the Relief Society presidency. I cried. Only a little. I questioned God. I often don't feel like the "Relief Society type." Hah! Doesn't matter what you feel. It's what you get that's good for ya! So, my month has been busy with lots of training and handbooks and meetings (and meetings). I've been feeling my way along in the darkness. I can say that there are some pretty incredible women running the show on the ward and stake levels. Bless them. Ordinary women doing extraordinary things.

Happy Anniversary to us! Seven years! My dreams are coming true! K and I had a calm celebration this time around. We went out to dinner the day before. On the day of, I drove to BC from PG to cook pork chops and we had a quiet little dinner together. Just being in the same room is a celebration in and of itself. I love him so!

I hosted book club at our home, helped my fifth graders publish a class cookbook, cared for the poor and needy, and began Christmas preparations. We cooked a whole entire Thanksgiving Feast with all the trimmings and had one distinguished guest for an hour or so.

Racing back and forth on I-15, maintaining our vehicles, paying the bills, watching a little football, doing our jobs, cleaning the bathroom, cooking/shopping for faculty luncheons, attending stake conference,setting up an assembly about railroad safety, reading THE WITCHES by Roald Dahl aloud, and keeping thirty-four children watered and de-watered five days a week...I guess that's where November went.

And tomorrow I am being EVALUATED by my principal! I am going to teach my students how to determine prime and composite numbers. Wish me luck. Perhaps I'll get back to blogging after that.