Monday, May 27, 2013

Meet and Greet

Nothing like a grizzly in the back yard to bring the neighborhood together!

We had just passed through a terrific bear jam on our way home from Cody and then heard on the park radio that the bear was headed up into employee housing. Sure was! So, like happy rangers who get paid in sunsets and grizzly sightings, those of us who were home headed out back with cameras, binoculars, and smiles. It turned into a lovely visit! With Mr. Bear Management as our next door neighbor, I learned a few things...

This bear is about two years old. It's been having a tough time lately. Mom kicked him out, so he's on his own now, which is sort of tough. The females are in estrus, so the males won't have a thing to do with this kid--he can't find a friend anywhere. He's a little young and lacking in confidence. That same day he had been chased by bison and elk. He's getting tired of eating salad all the time, but he's also a bit timid to take down a calf elk. I guess it's sink or swim for this guy. I'm sure his belly will help him figure it all out. He was just enjoying the meadow, munching here and there. Sometimes he would plop down, roll over, and just play while on his back. The ranger said they had been observing another two year old earlier in the day who had fed on a calf elk. Afterward, he just lazed on his back playing with sticks and swatting at butterflies. They are like little kids sometimes.

Another thing K taught me (he learned all this in training) is that the bears used to eat a lot of cutthroat trout from the lake and river. However, they are becoming scarce due to lake trout which seem to be upsetting the balance with cutthroats, trumpeter swans, and bears. No one knows how the lake trout got there, but they are non-native and the whole deal is a bit of a mess. The bears don't like the big lake trout, so they have changed some of their feeding over to elk. They still eat a lot of other stuff, but they don't eat the fish like they used to. Sigh, the cutthroats need to be saved...

We Went to Cody...

We got up early on Sunday morning to go to Church in Cody, Wyoming. It's about an hour and forty-five minutes away. Church in the park doesn't begin for a few more weeks, so until then, we are driving quite a ways to worship. I thought I would throw in one picture of a bison and K took this really nice shot of Sylvan Lake. On the way to Cody in the morning, there was a bear jam, but we didn't see the bear. A ranger was there managing it, so we just drove on by. On the way back, there was a bear jam in the same place, so we "participated" and took a few photos ourselves. We talked to that ranger later and she said she was babysitting that bear all day, even while it took a nap. I should clarify, the bear isn't really the one she was babysitting--it was the people who get so excited about getting that perfect shot. K and I had both been to Yellowstone numerous times. Until he moved there on Mother's Day weekend, neither of us had ever seen a bear in the park. That's all changed...

Mud Volcano

Mere photographs could never do the place justice, but the area known as MUD VOLCANO is one of the various programs on K's list this summer. We had a lovely, sunny evening on Saturday to stroll around. Too bad you can't feel the heat and smell the sulphur and hear the blurps and blips coming out of the Earth! There are so many features in this 2/3 mile loop! You should go.

Ranger Living

There are still piles of snow sitting around. There was a lightning and thunder storm last night that woke us up. This morning on the park radio we heard a request for a snow plow to make a run over Sylvan Pass. Ranger Garrett said last summer was the coldest summer of his life and we are starting to believe.

I was just sitting at the table and noticed how different it looks than our usual dining table. K has government issued bear spray plus one can he already had. I have another can of it for my use. You just have to carry it all the time and keep it handy.

The stove/oven in park housing has this great sticker on it letting us know it belongs to the fed. We made little jokes about how it truly is a ranger's range! We're so glad we don't have to inventory all the government property in YNP!

Happy in Uniform!

The Mister is happy to be back in uniform and doing his ranger thing. I showed up at the Visitor Center (I usually say VC) about a half hour before he got off duty. I looked at the displays and exhibits, browsed the bookstore, and went out to the lake. First of all, it has melted! I'm glad I got to see if frozen a couple of weeks ago. Second of all, it reminds me of the ocean, but smells much different. That lake is so calm in the early morning hour, but by afternoon, the waves are rolling in. That other ranger at the desk has personality plus--love her already. She lives close to us, but in a different housing area. She told us her address and apartment number, "G as in GREAT!" K is working with a lot of really great people!


Remember this guy from Mother's Day? Well, it just so happens that K lives right next door to a member of the Bear Management Team! We were all chatting and I showed him my pics on the camera while saying, "I'm sure people show bear pictures to you all the time, but this guy passed my car at West Thumb on Mother's Day. He barely glanced at it and said, "Oh, that's Preacher!" Then he asked another ranger on the Bear Management Team to take a look and she agreed. I didn't post the fourth and blurry picture originally because it was blurry. But that actually helped those rangers to make certain that it is indeed Preacher.

Before I tell you why they named him Preacher, I need to let you know that K has informed me several times that all of the rangers learned in training that you just don't give names to wild animals! In fact, when I told him the name of my grizzly, the first thing the obedient fellow said back to me was, "We don't name the wildlife!" He's so good! But I guess the Bear Management Team has a special relationship with the bears because they observe them a ton and I guess he thought he could trust the ranger's wife to not spread a bad habit, so folks, you heard it here from me, WE DON'T NAME THE WILD ANIMALS AT YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK! They are wild and they will kill you and we need to respect them as wild animals doing their thing in their habitat.

So, Preacher has a collar. Not a real collar around his neck like a dog, but the color of his fur is a bit lighter around his neck, which reminded them of a clergyman. Also, the profile pic showcases Preacher's beard, which also nicely lended itself to the stereotypical Preacher Man image. The other thing is Preacher's ears. They said "no ears" which of course is wrong--he does have them. It's just that his don't stick up the same way as other bears...not as prominent.

Not that you care what I think, but Preacher is the most perfect name in my opinion because I was actually headed to Church in West Yellowstone that morning. I was late (still in the park when Church started) and I didn't know where the building was located. I was a little melancholy for various reasons and I suppose Heavenly Father knew I would think it a treat to meet this bear. He also knew I wasn't going to make it to Church, so he sent the Preacher to me instead! It makes me smile. What about you?

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I left school this afternoon to head to my favorite national monument to volunteer for a couple of hours. Why? Because I love that place and have a desire to help. Some people look at me like those dogs that turn their faces from side to side while staring really hard...desperately trying to understand. Some people don't comprehend volunteer in this day and age. Believe me, I'm super busy these days, but I still have something inside of me that thinks it's great to help out once in awhile. With no pay. It's my choice.

When I arrived, an employee asked, "WHY aren't you working here anymore???" Oh, if I had a dime for every time I've answered this particular question. I've explained it so many times to so many people, but I think I'll go ahead and explain it here once more. I gave eleven summers to the cave and loved every minute of it (well, except for the rockfall minutes). I worked hard, learned a lot, made tons of friends, became a better teacher because of it, grew to love and cherish the national parks more than I did before, met my darling husband, and enjoyed the paid exercise and extra income. Many rangers have given far more than eleven summers to the cave, so I'm not setting any world records.

Last summer was one of transition in our marriage. K was finishing his four year term at another park. We had lived apart for FOUR YEARS, people. We didn't know if he would get picked up by another park or not. After four years of separate households, I chose to make myself more available to him for the summer since I really can't let go of my teaching contract during the school year. It turns out he did not get picked up by another park at that time, so we were together for the whole summer and used that time for rejuvenation. We spent time nurturing a garden. We road tripped all over the place, spending five weeks out of state. We made so many memories and had some really fun adventures (that bear in Colorado...). We spent time with my mom, not knowing she would take her last breath five months later.

It may not have been as satisfying to have worked at the cave full time while my husband played housewife each day. We would not have been able to do all that we did. Which would have been okay...but the rewards of what we did do would not have been received. And yet, the FBI interrogations continue: "Why did you quit? Why didn't you come back? Is there a reason you're not working here anymore?" I have explained and explained, like a broken record, but I guess my answers have been less than satisfactory. I guess people were looking for a scandal, a complaint, or anything more newsworthy than the truth. The cave is great, the rangers are great, I got really high scores on my end of season evaluation, it was a tough decision to not return...but yes, I chose to spend more time with my family, something folks say you won't ever regret. And let's not leave out that teeny tiny other little detail about me having a very full career as an educator which means the cave job overlapped with the teaching job in the spring and the fall (April, May, August, September, and October). I was particularly amused when fellow teachers who have NO summer job at all, in fact, EXHAUSTED teachers, would fish and fish for more information by repeatedly asking, Why ARE you quitting the cave???" I wanted to reply, "I don't know...why don't YOU have a summer job???"

Which reminds me of something Ranger Kristen has said...

One of the standing jokes between TICA rangers is this question, "So do you guys, like, hike up here every day?" The general public cannot get over the fact that TICA rangers hike to their job (and keep hiking all day long). Sometimes we would joke around with visitors for a few minutes telling them we had an elevator (we even had a sign on the ranger room door that said "elevator"). We've made up stories about riding four-wheelers or catching the morning helicopter. Sometimes we've said some pretty outlandish things and some visitors actually bought it until we quickly told them we were only kidding. Just so you know, we always told them we were joking. However, Kristen said it best, "You know, people are willing to believe anything except the fact that we actually hike up here every day." True dat! The simple truth just isn't juicy enough. People insist there must be more to the story. And while I'm at it, NO, there is NO secret Kung Fu way for us to get from the Cave Exit back to the Cave Entrance. It is just as long of a distance for us as it is for you.

Now people want to know WHY I'm volunteering. They think I'm back on the payroll (nope, didn't even compete for employment). They think I'm trying to build up my ranger resume. Nope. They think I'm trying to volunteer for the 240 hours required to earn an interagency pass. Nope. We've been buying those annually for years (since they started the program?). While I'm no Mother Theresa (or is it Teresa?), I just want to help a little. Just a little. That's all. The truth can be so hard to swallow at times. I just like hanging around the old place.

Monday, May 20, 2013

This Sort of Thing Makes Me Happy

I went to see the doctor today and on the way home I stopped off at Costco. We've been staying away from the store due to our out-of-town-ed-ness. It was time. It makes me so happy to have fresh vegetables and fruits! Would you just look at that color??? Honestly, it screams, I don't know, it screams something like, "You KNOW you want me!!!" I even got a little feng shui about it by selecting five vegetables and three fruits. When you throw in a little tuna, it all adds up to nine, which seemed like the right thing to do. My husband laughs at me when I make such expeditions and then proceed to play with my food. After snapping a photo, I set about portioning everything according to expiration dates so that nothing will spoil. And then I cooked. And I ate. And I am so grateful.

From where does this gratitude stem? I know not. I have never been deprived of food. We ate fresh fruits and vegetables all throughout my childhood. I remember my mom cutting up two cantaloupes, musk melons she called them, and letting us have at it for dessert. This afternoon I found myself visualizing the migrant workers in California whose hands harvested most of this stuff and wondered if any of their experiences are similar to those I've read in Esperanza Rising. And then I thought about the affliction known as White Nose Syndrome affecting so many bats. It is rapidly moving west across the United States. Also, the bee colonies have been collapsing for several years now. What will happen if we lose all of our pollinators? It means so much to me to have access to quality nutrition.

Perhaps next time I'll get avocado and pineapple. They were calling my name but alas, I had to draw the line somewhere.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I should have kept a list of all the cities around the country in which my husband and I have met after journeying separately. Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Antonio, Long Beach, name a few. This weekend, it was Pocatello, Idaho.

Since I was first to arrive at the hotel, I checked in and proceeded to "veg" for a couple of hours. K arrived, tired and hungry, so we took care of the hunger and crashed on the King.

Because we lead such terribly exciting lives, we headed out Saturday morning to a laundromat suggested by Siri. She said, "I've located something pretty close to you!" Aw...thanks, Siri! We started K's wash and then he left me there reading while Siri directed him to a Great Clips. All of the other customers at the laundromat were men. K returned, we folded, and then got the lay of the land in downtown Poky. We used a Cafe Rio gift card for lunch!

Then we headed up Pocatello Creek Road in search of Pebble Creek Ski Area and eventually ended up in Inkom. The place was all greened up with bright yellow arrow leaf balsam root flowers--every slope fully loaded! We saw some wild turkeys and met a couple of horses running toward us on the road. One was saddled, but riderless, and the other had a halter, but kept tripping on a lead rope. Further up the road, a cowboy was walking with his faithful dog who would not leave his master's side after watching the poor guy get dumped by his horse (I'm only guessing at the sequence of events). He sort of glanced our way and gave a little wave. Looked like his pride was hurt more than anything.

After that we headed to ISU's Idaho Museum of Natural History. We had seen signs for it everywhere and we knew it was FREE! Well, not only was it free, it was closed. So then we headed over to the Museum of Clean. That's an interesting place and with our AAA discount, we only paid $8. We twice watched the video on how to clean your bathroom in 3.5 minutes, just to make sure we were catching it all.

Along with laundry and hair cutting, we had bills to pay so we returned to our hotel to take care of our financial business. Next we fueled the cars, ate out at Chang Garden (really good!), and then stopped off at Winco so the ranger could load up on a few vittles. Please note, however, that I did tote along a box of dry goods from our own pantry and K looked through that before we went food shopping. His comments were, "Wow! Great! You're amazing!" At Winco he purchased a tub of margarine, a package of hot dogs, some string cheese, and some cans of soup. Oh, and a box of baking soda for the stinky fridge. Yes, it's clean, but it still stinks.

K checked for a Church schedule and we found an 11:00 a.m. Sacrament Meeting just up the street. Life is sweet when your check-out time is the same as your Church time. We found the ward to be very friendly and chock full of memorable personalities. Gospel Doctrine class was interesting, and Relief Society and Elders Quorum were even more interesting. The RS teacher had a basket of chocolate to pass around. After it had gone around the room twice, she said, "Just keep passing the chocolate. Just keep passing it!"

And now we have gone our separate ways. We are so thankful for technology that allows us to communicate daily! K gets to spend three more nights in the dorms with other rangers for training. He has some excellent ideas for some of the programs he'll be presenting! I can't wait to be in attendance!

Some of the advice presented at training included things like, "Be sure not to fall into the the lake while giving your program." Another, "If you're presenting and a wild animal appears, go ahead and change your topic to that animal because no one is going to listen to anything else you've prepared." There were some other no-brainers such as, "Never promise a visitor that they will see wildlife!" I am currently reading Death in Yellowstone and there are some horrible accounts of people diving head first into hot pools to save...their dog...even after being told by others to not do it! Yes, both the human and the dog died.

Anyway, it was a gift and a blessing to hang out with the ranger this weekend. He sent a picture of the Tetons on his way back to the park this evening. Such a cutie! In case you were wondering, I really love him.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Waking Up in Yellowstone on Mother's Day

My husband now resides in Wyoming. We drove our separate vehicles up over the weekend loaded with things we thought necessary for living in the caldera of a super-volcano. First thing the maintenance guy said was, "Do me a favor and don't drink the water. It's probably okay, but we need to wait to get the offical report back." Good thing we were prepared, each having brought bottled water in our separate vehicles without consulting the other about it. We try to be smart in the woods and there ya go, it pays off from time to time. There was one other ranger trying to move her things in, however, her front door was completely snowed in. I mean, snowed in. A couple of maintenance guys took notice of all this and hurried over with a snow blower and shovels. It reminded me of showing up for cave training and hearing Mike say, "We have an agenda, but we're throwing it out. Everyone grab a hard hat and a shovel. We need to clear the trail!" The park service is suffering from the sequester and it's extremely difficult to get 2000 Yellowstone employees moved in!

Anyway, we unloaded both vehicles, and proceeded to clean everything even though maintenance said, "It should be clean." He gave me that puzzled look with squinty eyes, uncomprehending. I didn't want to offend him, so I said, "It's just me." And then I flashed him a smile and told him how GREAT the walls look (they really do!). Don't get me wrong, it was clean, but it's just been sitting empty since last September, so, you know, it needed going over.

After unpacking, we went out to play, drive around, and get our bearings. We found some pullouts with good cell phone service and called K's mom. The ice on Yellowstone Lake is breathtakingly beautiful just now. Bison on the roadside, elk in the river, an eagle soaring over the lake...I was giddy, GIDDY!

This morning, I put my church clothes on and headed out to West Yellowstone via West Thumb. And that's where I found the big grizzly ambling down the road. Can you see those claws? My photos aren't great because I was actually worried about breaking the rules by stopping (plus I was shooting through all the bug guts smeared on the windshield). Here are all of my self-justifications for breaking the rules: I put my hazards on, not a soul was around (no one came from behind), and I was on a longer, straight stretch where others would be able to see me in plenty of time, both directions. As the griz passed my Corolla, he (I think he's a he) glanced over as if to say, "I could take you and your Corolla if I wanted to." I was so sad that K wasn't with me! And I was so glad I was in my car rather than on a hiking trail. That thing was HUGE.

It's my first Mother's Day since Mom passed. I listened to music in the car and cried here and there. Mom is gone, we have no posterity, and I was driving away from my husband rather than toward him. Oh, and I was still in the park when Church started so I ended up skipping (no idea where the meeting house was...just kept driving, sinner that I am). Having said all that, let me say just one thing more. And I know most of you will think I'm weird for saying such a thing, but God sent me a grizzly bear for Mother's Day. He knew I wanted to see one so badly. Some women get flowers, but I got a bear! I'll never have another Mother's Day like it!

Teacher Appreciation Week, Day Five

Another day of being spoiled with a delicious panini lunch and more sweet notes and gifts. Today's notes and letters really made me cry, especially the long one from a mother who wrote to me NOT about teacher appreciation, but about Mother's Day. I will always treasure it! The gift that made me laugh the most was the one pictured above. She handed it to me saying, "I forgot to give this to you at Christmas!" I adore it. And her. I adore them all. I really do. Sigh.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week, Day Four

Got invited "off campus" for lunch. It was amazing on so many levels. Her bowtie, mmm, mmmm! We've got some incredible parents in our school community.

I was in the building all day, but had a sub so that I could inventory books in the guided reading library along with five other teachers. I would have rather been teaching, but we got 'er done. I popped back into my room to find a few more things including a puppet! Homemade! And a little pot of violets. I'll have to find out tomorrow who the generous parties are! Sub's note said, "Wow! Big class!" Just the usual, my dear, just the usual. I keep telling myself, 35 is two less than 37 and I once had 37.

The errands after school are what's killing me: Lehi, Saratoga, AF, PG...I sometimes just want to get home but it takes hours and hours. Tonight will be a late night helping my husband with a few little tasks. I hope the children will get way more sleep than I will!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week, Day Three

Today was the day the PTA fed us lunch! Such a custom! We had taco salad, fruit salsa, and cookies. They feed us a lot throughout the school year for various reasons. I hope the Snow Springs PTA Chefs know how much we all appreciate it!

One of my students brought an entire bunch of bananas to me--6 bananas! I hope her mother knows...

Three more sweet notes trickled in. And then we went to Library. The media specialist read a cute picture book and related it to appreciating the teacher. Then she proceeded to write down all these things the children told her about me. Right in front of me. And then she put tape on the back of it and told one girl to stick it on our window next to our classroom door. They said I teach them algebra (they LOVE throwing that word around). There were a lot of comments about reading--surprised to hear a couple of boys talk about how they used to not like it and now they do (You???). One thing I would not have guessed was, "She teaches us how to be kind." Today was a much better day in terms of our class having a bit of calm .

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week, Day Two

Warm fresh apple homemade muffins, home-canned "V-8 Splash" from the fruit trees in their yard, and a box of strawberries with a note that starts, "I love you." Yep, this teacher began her blog post with an incomplete sentence.

I keep seeing on Facebook that today is the actual day...National Teacher Appreciation Day. Well, someone forgot to inform most of my class, judging from their behavior this afternoon. It was a complete rodeo and I hope we all do better tomorrow. I'm hearing comments from the principal and other teachers that the kids are getting a wee bit crazy this time of year (do I sound like a first year teacher?), but I don't remember it being quite this challenging. I'm glad at least that I seem to be in good company.

Still, what's not to smile about when a girl pads up to the front of the room to see if that spelling paper with no name on it might be How is it that you have been shod all year, Child, and today, on National Teacher Appreciation Day, you just stroll right up to me barefoot? You see, if I don't smile, I might cry.

Found out after lunch that the father of one of my students suffered a heart attack this morning. The mom came in to tell me (as well as her child) and ask about her son's emotional welfare. The boy witnessed the onset of things as Dad was transported to the hospital, but never said a peep. He did not cry, he did not ask to call home, he did not share his concerns...rather, he showed complete family solidarity and was able to cowboy up when his family needed him to be strong at school. I mentioned my admiration to him while remembering all the cool things he wrote about his dad in his journal recently. Looks like Dad will be just fine.

And then there's the girl who somewhat belatedly realized her coat was missing! She jumped up, scurried over, asked permission to retrieve it from the art room, and soon after returned from the art room still worried that she hadn't found it. She headed back to her chair and said, "Oh! There it IS!" Right on the floor right behind her chair. This may or may not have been the same child who was barefoot earlier.

The rest of that strawberry note included this, "When you teach, it is easy to understand." Here's to knowing I might possibly be getting through to someone.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week, Day One

I don't even know if I'll have anything to write about for days two, three, four, and five, but I thought I should share a couple of cute things from Day One.

First of all, my classroom door is decorated. So cute. I just love the fact that our PTA and Room Mothers and the students all get in on the action.

Second of all, and I mentioned this somewhere last year, Pinterest has really boosted the teacher appreciation cuteness. Today I got a bouquet of candy glue-gunned onto sticks and put into a vase. Darling. The creativity of others is astounding.

My FAVORITE things, however, are the notes. Today I received three.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
You're lucky to have,
A class that loves you.

I love it when children put me in my place and let ME know how lucky I really am! I cherish this dear little soul.

One girl wrote some sweet, sincere, and sweeping statements which she may someday regret: "Thank you for making things much easier for the years to come. Consider this the SWEET before the apple and enjoy it as you devour it (she gave a caramel apple to me and yes, she used the word devour...not sure this reflects well on me). I think I've learned most things I now know from you. You are bright, intelligent, and kind and that's what most people look for in a teacher." So, wow. I have a lot to live up to! I love this little girl so much.

And another boy gave two drawings to me with captions. One is a fire breathing dragon standing on its hind legs and it is simply labeled, "Kyburzilla." Yes, I am laughing as I type. But if you only knew this boy, you would understand his truly loving gesture--this is for sure his love language. The other drawing is of another dragon with a number line underneath measuring 16 feet. There's a separate smaller drawing (close-up/inset) of just the head and the fire being breathed out. The caption says, "23 mph." I asked and yes, that is how fast this dragon runs! The note says, "Dear Mrs. Kyburz, This is a drawing of a Yellowstone Dragon. You are my favorite 5th grade teacher. I like the extra recess." Oh, and this child has MOVES when it comes to dancing the hukilau. It has been an absolute pleasure to have crossed paths with this gentle young man and watch him blossom, not because of anything I've done, but because it was simply his time to emerge in our classroom garden.

Today's take-away: I am one very lucky, bright, intelligent, kind, apple devouring, fire breathing Kyburzilla teaching on my hind legs while looking for Yellowstone dragons during extra recess.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Wonderful Day!

So...not the best photo, but we drove up the canyon today to say "so long" for a little while (Yellowstone is a pretty good trade). It was such a pleasant afternoon. We did not hike. We drove up to where the road is closed and snapped a couple of photos. The air was nourishing and the sun delicious and it was all very soothing! We stopped at the picnic area across the road from the Visitor Center and sat on a bench with the place all to ourselves. Oh, the memories!

Church this morning was fantastic for many reasons. K shared his testimony and of course that brought about millions of love bursts in my heart. The Elders Quorum president messaged me on Facebook after church and said, "I love it when your husband chooses to speak. I learn something every time." Right, my husband isn't as chatty as I am, but he's wonderful and solid and kind and that's right, folks, he's mine.

After our little drive, I proceeded to cook. I made "Sunday Pork and Potatoes" which we first ate together nine years ago this month. K had invited me to dinner on Mother's Day in his little apartment in Provo and not only did he serve this fabulous dish (he got the recipe off KSL's noon time news), but he cooked a frozen vegetable as well! And he made a cake! Since we'll be waking up in Wyoming next Sunday on Mother's Day, I decided I had better cook this particular recipe today. I also made No Bake Cookies for him. He is AMAZED that I can make them so perfectly, which just cracks me up because everyone in the world can make No Bakes, but he is convinced that there's something special about the way that I do it. Which is just fine with me. Go on thinking I'm incredible, Honey!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gary Paulsen Is Amazing

I just finished reading Woodsong aloud to my students this afternoon. They loved it. I got all choked up as I read the last paragraph. Gary Paulsen is so amazing and if you don't know why, Google him. Woodsong is non-fiction, a memoir. The kids were so quiet when I read. They laughed at all the right parts. They liked Gary's humor about Willie being dumber than a walnut. They care a lot about Storm. And Cookie. They totally caught the inferencing when Gary spoke of eating nineteen bowls of moose chili at an Iditarod checkpoint and then inside of four hours finding himself in extreme "gastric distress." And they roared as he ended that story by saying it got so bad that even the dogs stopped, turned, and just stared at him.

Hawai'i yesterday (May Day is Lei Day in Hawai'i) and Alaska today (Iditarod story by Paulsen). I guess we'll head down to Mexico soon for Cinco de Mayo. But first, let's peak into the southern states.

We are also learning about the Civil War. My students used real cotton to experience a day in the life of a slave (more like four minutes in the life of a slave). They could not believe how sharp the thorns were and how long it took to get one seed out of the cotton.

Management in May is something of a challenge. One student had to write a note home to parents today explaining poor choices. This student became rather dramatic saying, "I'm going to get my butt whipped! Do you GET that?" I emailed the mother and she said, "Lots of butt whipping."

I love teaching children. I love hearing their compassionate feelings toward people in our history (and present day) who never got a fair shake. I love Gary Paulsen's writing. I love dramatic comments and questions. Have you had any great moments with your "coworkers" lately?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Snow

I know it doesn't look like much, but it snowed today. Today is May 1st. It was coming down horizontally from the North. Brrrr....

Luckily, I had remembered from teaching in Hawai'i that "May Day is Lei Day in Hawai'i." Therefore, we "threw our cares away" for a few minutes and made leis with yarn, construction paper flowers, and cut up drinking straws. We also danced the Hukilau for good measure. After all, we are half way through testing.

So, this snow has Facebook lit up like a Christmas tree! There are the people posting pictures of snow in their various locations: Utah, Denver, etc. There are people exclaiming, "Are you kidding??? It's 85 degrees here!" There is that predictable group of people who love to post things like, "What is the big deal? It usually DOES snow here on May 1st. Where have you been?"

Which is all some study in psychology I'm sure. Here's the thing...the weather just never gets old. People joke about not having anything better to speak of, but the weather sure is notorious. And talked about. Hence, today's post. You should go check your Facebook page now!