Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Years Resolutions

It is that time of year again. The time to look at your life and decide what the heck is wrong with you and overnight you are to change them all. So here are some of my goals to strive for in 2007.

1. Eat cookie dough - which not only satisfies my sweet tooth, but totally freaks out My Sweet.

2. Spend time outside wondering and wandering

3. Read one challenging and one fluff book a month.

4. Leave work on time each day - ready for tomorrow. You never know what is going to happen the next morning.

5. Find one thing daily to laugh about. I know, grammar aficionados are laughing at the fact that an English teacher ended a sentence with a preposition.

6. Give as much attention to My Sweet as I do my classes. His is the life that my interactions will affect the most.

What are you striving for?

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bah Humbug

Some people have too much time on their hands, and they are obviously not filling it with the Christmas Spirit, came up with the improbability of Santa's sleigh ride.

The Physics of Santa Claus

1. No known species of reindeer can fly.
2.There are 91.8 million homes where one presumes there's at least one good child.
3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, and assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.
4. The sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa.
5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. They will burst into flames almost instantaneously.

Here is what I have to say to this!

1. Any one who has done their research knows that Santa's reindeer are a known species of reindeer given their power by magic corn from the Winter Warlock (see the award winning documentary Santa Clause is Coming to Town).

2. You can not presume there is a good kid in each home.

3. Santa's sleigh is not man-made, it is made with elvis magic. (No, this is not a typo - check out the first Lord of the Rings movie if you do not believe me) Therefore it is conceivable that Santa can time-warp, multiply himself or freeze time. He loaned it to Hermione in to off season so she could get all of her class work done.

4. Again elvis magic, weren't you paying attention before?

5. The fir of the reindeer acts as insulation to protect everyone. And as I said before, elvis magic. Besides, I learned in science class that heat is energy and energy is what makes things go. So isn't it possible that the heat of re-entry gives the sleigh the fuel to go further and faster?

So there you go, all of you humbug spreaders, and to all the Virginias everywhere. Christmas is about magic. Man can not begin to comprehend it all. "But Jesus beheld them, 'With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible'." —Matthew 19:26

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It comes and goes

Many days I drive away from school, where I teach at risk teenagers, I sure that I am not getting through to the students and pretty sure that I am going to hand the reigns over to someone else next year. This week I had a couple of days that allowed me to doubt my ineffectiveness.

On Wednesday at the end of school, we had a meeting with Student B and his mom. Perfect Teacher was concerned because B's behavior had deteriorated over all since last year. I wanted to go because I wanted his mother to know that while he was a major pain in the behind, since we had changed his classes, he had greatly improved. Even earlier that day B came into class surly and definitely not in the mood to work. He sat quietly in to back and I gave him the day's handout and told him that as long as he was not disruptive I would let him be. He was fine with that, where as a few months ago he would have blown up and told me in no uncertain terms to get out of his face.

At the meeting, even before I had the change to tell his mother the positive changes, B said "Ms. H is my hommie. She just lets me be when I am up set." Unsolicited he called me his hommie! That has NEVER happened before with any student. The rest of the meeting was heart breaking. B's mother cried as she confessed that B has been acting disrespectfully at home and that B's parents do not know what to do with him. At one point B struggled to keep his composure stating, "You make me out to be America's Most Wanted!" We ended the meeting with B agreeing to meet once a week with the school counselor. I have a lot of hope for this kid. First of all he has parents who, though frustrated, care enough to come to school and talk, really talk. There are many parents we have begged to come meet with us, and we have never seen them. Secondly B's near tears shows that his heart hasn't hardened yet. So there is hope for B.

There was another thing that made Wednesday a good day. During the last period of the day Student J asked me a question. "Hey Ms H., how many kids did you have to send out today?" I actually had to take a moment and think about it for a minute before I told J that for the first time that year I did not have to send anyone out of class or give any detentions! Unfortunately Thursday more than made up for it, I reveled in the fact that Wednesday was a good day. Friday was pretty good, too. It was the end of the week, and nearing the end of the grading period, so I was creatively dry and had the kids work on vocabulary puzzles. But they had fun and were using the words, so who is anyone to judge.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Putting on the Ritz

Did you know that the father of Everyone Loves Raymond had John Lennon for a best man? Or that as a young man he was a monk? This was a man who turned down the lead role in The French Connection because he was being type cast as the tough guy, and he was impressed by Gene Hackman's performance.
This weekend I will have to watch Young Frankenstein and While You Were Sleeping.
Rest in Peace Mr. Boyle.

Friday, December 08, 2006


What do you think of when you see MASH? The award-winning movie staring Donald Sutherland as a wacky Korean War doctor? The Emmy winning TV show with darling Alan Alda? Or do you remember getting together with your girlfriend in the playground to foretell who you will marry and how you will live? Would you live in a Mansion, an Apartment, a Shack or a House? My friend Dot-Kat found a way to play MASH on line.

I tried this on line game, but for some reason it wouldn’t narrow down my choices to just one. This so reflects my personality! Maybe it means I still have some major live changes awaiting me. I will at one point be living in a shack and at another point I will have a house. I hope the shack is first! However, I will be living in Hawaii and Italy. So to be honest a shack in either of those places is none to shabby. Having a shack on the beach in Hawaii could fit the whole Moondoggie surfer/beach bum scene.

And what will I be doing with my life? Well thank you for asking. I will not be trudging about in some cubicle cutting out Dilbert comics and replacing the characters names with those of my coworkers. No, I will be working for World Vision, a columnist and a novelist. Sitting in front of my shack watching the waves and typing out witty observations of life sounds like a dream come true for me right now.

I will be tootling around the islands or the streets of Naples in one of the following: an Aston Martin, Herbie the Love Bug(the 1969 version), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the truck from the Beverly Hillbillies. I just hope the silver Aston Martin is in Italy and the truck is the dust colored one.

When they asked about husbands, I did not put My Sweet. As much as I love him, what is the fun in that? For this I am going to throw out a possible time line. First I will marry Jack Bower, who for the sake of national security will have to make the gut wrenchingly difficult decision to fake his death and go into hiding. Of course he will love me so much that he will not let me in on this secret for my own safety. Them I will hook up with Sawyer, who will be my bad boy with a hidden heart of gold, but he will have commitment issues. Finally Hugh Jackman will sweep me and my 3-10 children (you can't work for World Vision and not adopt a few of them) off our feet and we will live happily ever after.

Play the game yourself and let me know what the future holds for you.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fall on Your Knees

Tis the season to write about the rush of the season and the true meaning of Christmas. Well, I chose the title Jump on the Bandwagon for a reason. So here it goes.

Halloween is all about the decorations, costumes and candy. St. Patrick's day is about green beer. Thanksgiving is dinner, and Valentines Day is about chocolate hearts. In American pop culture says that Christmas is about consumerism and showing others up.

I get caught up in things, including stressing about work until the break. But this year I want to take time to remember what this holiday is about. On one level it is about remembering the joy of family and friends - how there are many more delights in people than we usually see, and how our lives would be more flat and gray without them.

On a deeper level it is a time to remember how grey our lives would be without God wanting a relationship with us. This is a time to contemplate and celebrate. One of my favorite carols is “Oh Holy Night”, and I always pause when I hear the lines:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.

I love the line about the soul felt its worth. I hope this doesn't sound preachy, but I have found truth in the fact that the deeper my relationship with Christ is, the more richness I find in myself and in the world around me.

Celebrating does include decorating the house, giving gifts and watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But when these things become the focus, then I have lost the Spirit of Christmas. So I have brought in our Charlie Brown Christmas tree (it is a living tree. I don't begrudge those who cut down a tree, but I like keeping the same one for several years and eventually planting them) and will eventually trim it. However it isn't to be a stress - my soul is worth a lot more than that.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!