Monday, December 26, 2005

Movie vs. the book

Eliza, Hannah and I went and saw "Memoirs of a Geisha." And then we had a rousing disucssion at dinner tonight - better than most book groups in fact!

My take on "Memoirs" was typical for me - sometimes I wonder why I go see the movie! I guess I do because sometimes the movie is different from the book, but good in its own way.

Not the case here: the book was informative and a good read. The movie was true to the story line - maybe too true - there was a kind of predictability that detracted. I knew what was going to happen next - and then it did!

I don't know if it was the Chinese actors portraying Japanese characters. Or if it was the lack of a true historical context - which the book established but I didn't feel that the movie did. Or if it was the lush cinematography that was like the great wrapping paper on a fairly mediocre gift. (It's all in the packaging is what we all like to think. And that's true for some things - but not movies.)Or maybe it was the excessive length of the film - 2 1/2 hours.

But I'd still recommend the book.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Hey, what's this?

Hey, what's this?
Originally uploaded by grannybabs.
Grandma Clayton has taken down "the wall" that has graced the living room on Horace Street for over 40 years! (I know that because it went up the year I graduated from high school - Joan and I got hers, mine and Lyn's pictures framed and gave them to Mom and Dad for Christmas that year. It just grew from there!)

So yesterday she brought my pix back to me - not sure what I will do with it - seemed to have more class (no pun intended) when it was up there with the rest of the crowd!

For now it's hanging up in the guest room - there was an empty nail there!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

West Meets East

I recently finished reading "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden. It was for a new bookgroup I've been attending. The plan is to go see the movie and compare it to the book. It turns out that the movie is in an exclusive run here, so we may not end up going to see it. (Who wants to battle going to the West side at 4 in the afternoon?!)

I am always struck by how different Asian culture - specifically Chinese and Japanese culture and history - is from Western culture. The whole Geisha concept is mind boggling if you think about it for any length of time. Especially in this novel, the girl is basically a slave - since she has no say or choice in her life.

I guess the part that doesn't set well with me is the fact that women are definitely 2nd class citizens. However, they do manage to exert influence anyway - guess you really can't keep a good woman down!

I read that the author researched the novel for 15 years before finishing it - and his credentials in Japanese art and history were pretty compelling - so did he want to be informative? controversial? or did he just want to tell a story.

It's not quite as Eastern as China and Japan, but India offers some interesting insights also. I had been given a copy of "Life of Pi," but hadn't gotten around to reading it, so H. and I bought it and listened to it up and back to Phoebe's. It makes for great listening - I'm not sure how it reads, but it kept us awake!

I'm inereseted in other's insights and opinions on the symbolism in the boat, the boy and the animals. And of course the overwhelming question - which one is a dream? I always wonder, when people start seeing things as symbols, if the author had that in mind or just wanted to tell a story.

I'm about a third of the way through "Death Comes for the Archbishop." I watched a PBS documentary about Willa Cather last week - now I want to read some of the books I hadn't even heard of - because it seems to be that her work should probably be studied as a body of work, not just individual novels. She certainly is an interesting character - and burned all her letters before she died - and instructed those she had sent letters to to do the same!

I am going to dig into C.S. Lewis - my kids have all read him but I have not - it took me a while to read the Anne of Green Gables books and the Betsy Tacy books - I think I was too busy when they were reading them to read them myself. Or maybe since they were absorbed in a book, I took the opportunity to read what I wanted to read!! (that's how I explain that I never watched "Princess Bride" all the way through until I showed it to my students!!)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Daffodil Principle

The Daffodil Principle
Originally uploaded by grannybabs.
I used this story - and the poem "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud" by William Wordsworth (someday I will learn how to do links) - in my Visiting Teaching Seminar address last week.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story - it's a true one. High in the San Bernardino mountains, five acres of daffodils burst into glorious bloom every spring - and they are all planted by one woman, one bulb at a time, over 35 years.

The message is simple - start now to change the world - your world - one step at a time.

It's a great principle - and I think it answers the query posed when I said sometimes our best is not good enough, we have to do what is required. (If I was a true blogger extraordinare, I'd have a link here too!)

I think what is required is that we do good continually - one step or one bulb at a time - no need to run faster than we are able - just one at a time - I can do that!

And keep the "big picture" in mind all the time - so the little steps don't seem too small to be significant.

And of course, that's how to be an excellent visiting teacher - one sister, one action, one call, one visit, one note in the mail, one plate of cookies, one prayer, one thought at a time!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Jury Duty!!

Jury Duty!!
Originally uploaded by grannybabs.
I got a summons for jury duty a few weeks ago. I contemplated postponing it until summer - but they only let you postpone for 3 months - and I didn't want to do Christmas vacation - although I suspect that when you call in each night they probably say they don't need you the next day - I mean, who schedules trials at Christmas?

So I bit the bullet and called in to register and get my number!! Day one was October 31st, Halloween Day - a scary thought! Since we left on the Thursday before to go to SLC, I not only had to make sub plans for Friday, but for Monday too, in case when I called Sunday night, they told me I had to report.

Called Sunday night - do not report. Called Monday night - after leaving sub plans at school, because you can't call until after 7 p.m. - and they said, do not report. Ditto for Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, I figure I'd better leave sub plans for Monday too, in case I'm called in on Friday. The instructions say that if you are called on Thursday or Friday, you need to plan on possibly having to serve the following week. "Plan your schedule accordingly" they say!

Then Thursday night I call - everyone at work said, No one will tell you to report on Friday!!

Wrong! I get the word to report at 8:30 a.m. SHARP!! Fortunately it was to El Monte - not a long drive.

So I reported - and since I worry about finding unfamiliar places, I got there 30 minutes early!! Fortunately I had a good book to read. And I did read - for over an hour until they did the "new juror orientation."

Then we waited some more - and some more - and then the judge came in and thanked us for being willing to serve - but he was sorry they didn't need us! And it was only 10:15 a.m. So I went over and visited Grandma Terrill and Susanne.

2 1/2 years ago I had a jury summons too - and went and waited - and didn't have a good book with me. Fortunately it was in Pasadena - so when they gave us a 2 hour lunch, I went to the Paseo. Window shopping is a good way to pass the time. After lunch, we waited some more and at 2 p.m. they came in and dismissed us.

Maybe one of these times I will serve on an interesting jury - Harry enjoyed his jury duty experience on an attempted murder charge. I'm just happy to have my certificate that lets me off for the next 18 months!

And I have enough sub plans on file to go on a nice trip somewhere!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Family Photo 2005

The Family Photo 2005
Originally uploaded by grannybabs.
We had a very brief, but fun, visit to SLC. Drove to St. George, up early and drove to SLC. Went to the wedding, the dinner, (with some shopping in between) then back to Eliza's. The Saturday A.M. brunch was fun - even if the invited guests didn't come - those of us who did had a nice visit. Left that afternoon for St. George - the only plus was the fact that we got to set our clocks back 2 hours since we were headed for California! And got to Monrovia at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday!! In time for the fireside - more on that later - and even got unpacked, and called and found out I didn't have to report for jury duty - yet! (I have to call nightly for a week!!)

I will confess to a little melancholy that the visit was so brief. Sometimes you don't realize what you are missing - until you have a taste of it and then you miss it all the more. We are looking forward to Christmas!!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Rockin' and Rollin'

Rockin' and Rollin'
Originally uploaded by grannybabs.
We recently went to Portland, Oregon for Wade Nebeker's wedding. As we were about to leave the festivities, Rye asked me to dance - and it was a fast dance!

It was fun - even if I was convinced I was going to slide out of Phoebe's slick silver mules I had borrowed for the occasion.

Fast dancing - something I have not done in a pretty long time - unless you count racing through the house with my little kids to "In the Hall of the Mountain King" or "Super Trouper," - brings back many memories - especially the Y Center Grand Opening in 1964 when I met Harry - at a dance!

I also remember going on special dates in borrowed finery - must be the Cinderella Complex in women - roomies can't let someone go out without "something borrowed" now can they??

Remembering things fondly is one of the perks of old age.

So is dancing fast if you want to.

Dick Clark would be proud!!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

All That Is Required

At Weight Watchers, they had a quote up, from Winston Churchill, "Sometimes doing your best is not enough. Sometimes you have to do what is required." You can guess what their drift was.

It's a statement that is certainly meaty! (no pun intendend either!) I recently completed my clear credential - I have been plugging away at this for 5 years and this summer, since time was almost up, I took two classes online to meet the requirement. Then last week I took CPR. I had my appointment at APU with the advisor - who had neglected to tell me that the check I needed for the state (there is always money collected by the state!)- had to be a cashier's check or money order. So I had to hustle over to the local 7-11 to stand in line with all the riff-raff and buy my money order. Of course, that was the day there was a lightning and thunder storm - and a big rig jack-knifed on the 210 by Mountain - so the traffic on Foothill was horrendous - and the lightning had also knocked out power, so the traffic lights weren't working. You can see this ugly picture in your minds I am sure! But I finally left with a light heart, thinking, "Yes, I'm done!"

Yesterday I got the form back in the mail. I had not dated the signature page!! My best was not enough - the date, in my handwriting, was required!!

Then Wednesday I left school early to go give blood at Ryan H.'s Eagle project. My hematocrit was 37 - the requirement is 38. Needless to say, they wouldn't take my blood, regardless of my efforts to come and be supportive of Ryan and the Scouts.

I think you see my drift. I thought, well, this could discourage someone. There are some times when trying your best is sufficient. A poor math student who studies his or her heart out but still gets a C, is probably doing his or her best. And unless they need a specific GPA for something, a C in Calculus won't ruin their life. But what if they do need a specific GPA for a program or job - then the best you can do doesn't cut it - the requirement needs to be met.

So now I'm seeing things a little differently. And I'm thinking that trying to get my visiting teaching done, my scriptures read, my prayers said,my calling fulfilled, just may not be enough. The Lord asks more than just doing our best - there are requirements. And those requirements should drive our thoughts and actions.

On the plus side, fulfilling those requirements will bring great blessings - well worth the extra effort required.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Summertime Blues

This would more accurately be called the "End of Summertime Blues." School starts tomorrow - I'm not really ready, either. I will survive - they are middle schoolers and I pretty much know more than they do - at least about teaching Language Arts and Math!

End of summer and start of school is fraught with so many memories and feelings and sensations. It's something that most of us can relate to also. We can mark off time with such designations as "the year I started high school," "the year I was a senior," "the year I went off to college," "the year my first child started school," "the year my last child started school."

So this year it's "the year my last child started college" and "my first year in MUSD without one of my own kids enrolled." I'll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, I will try to carefully chose my outfit for the first day of school. And maybe have Noah take a picture of me!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Granny Babuska!

Granny Babuska!
Originally uploaded by grannybabs.
My blog has been bereft of pictures, but no more! The Terrill Family reunion was sparsely attended, but those who came had a great time!! I feel like such a matriarch - planning and executing family reunions!! Watch for more exciting details!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Never thought I'd run out of stuff to say!!

One thing about online classes - they require a lot of writing on the old computer - at least the classes I am taking. I am tired of trying to think of interesting ways to write essays about coronary heart disease and managing stress. And this guy doesn't even do threaded discussions.

The SPED class is another story - we have to do a devotional each week, then reflections on our reading, then assignments - and threaded discussions (where I feel like I am always losing the thread!) I thought I would enjoy the anonymity, but that is not turning out to be the case. I usually am not at a loss for words either, but sometimes I'm just tired of writing it - it's much easier to just say it!

I wonder how I would feel if these were literature classes?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Coming up 50 years!

We took the sister missionaries to the temple for the early a.m. session. They can go to the temple with a ward member as long as they are back "on the job" by 10 a.m.

It was fun to drive to the temple and point out all the unique things we don't even think about unless a tourist (or missionary) is in the car! The Wrigley Mansion, California's oldest freeway, the cluster of Victorian Houses, the Lummis House (what is the Lummis House? Polly says it's quite interesting.), Dodger Stadium, China Town (we took a "short cut"), the Mormon Battalion Monument, the Shrine Auditorium, ad infinitum. It was foggy, so the temple was pretty close when we saw it - missed the drama of seeing it from afar!

It is nice to go early in the morning to the temple - no lines, no rush, every worker eager to help you (they are usually eager, but we were their first patrons of the day) - about 35 or 40 in the session. Moved along nicely - there were several elders and 2 other sisters from the Arcadia Mission.

It was nice to see things through other eyes. To talk about being there 50 years ago for the open house and dedication, shaking President McKay's hand. The spiral staircase as imposing as ever but we're so used to it now. Showing them the room where we were married (we got engaged 38 years ago this Thursday!!)

It was nice to come out after - still foggy and cool - taking pix in front, admiring the flowers - you know, the temple wasn't always awash in bright, colorful flowers. It used to be lots of bushes and hedges - flowers in yards were not in vogue - I guess you didn't realize that there's a landscape equivalent to avocado green appliances and shag carpet!

Your dad had to go to Beverly Hills to drop off plans - so we cruised the ville - Rodeo Drive, lovely mansions, sculpted yards, Jewish schools, Koreatown, San Vicente Blvd - traffic - good thing your dad knows the shortcuts.

And got back to Monrovia at 9:58 a.m. - can't beat that with a stick.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The jRoom In The Garage

The room in the garage is something of a barometer of life here at the Terrills. For one thing, it only gets worked on in the summertime. For another thing, it's started to become the repository of our lives. Finally, it actually is getting some food storage in there! (for the uninitiated, the room was orginally carved out of the garage to be a food storage room - and it has never been just a food storage room - at some point it did have a lot of empty Mason jars in it though!)

Yesterday I took everything out of there and put it on the patio. Harry is putting more shelving in - I am convinced that shelving will help. Hauling the boxes out was enlightening. A Batmobile, baby pictures of me, some great little Sunshine family-type dolls and accessories that Eve already loves, old clothing as in a sweater I took away to college, the corporate seal that Harry has been looking all over for, three large Raggedy Ann dolls that belong to Bonny, Phoebe and Eliza I guess - there's another doll too, some seashells and the rock collection that belongs to Bonny. There's a lot more - and I keep thinking - Didn't I just go through all this? I guess we are acquiring stuff faster than I get rid of it - because I do get rid of trunkloads of stuff on a regular basis.

Maybe I'd better have someone take a picture of me in that old sweater and then I can toss it!

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Senses of Summer

I went walking this a.m. and it was cool and quite overcast. I hoped against hope that it would stay that way - but it didn't. But I was reminded of other overcast days - and wondered why they stand out in my mind.

I remember an overcast summer day in Centerville, Utah when I was pregnant with Phoebe. We were living in the Cook Apartments, and so I decided to sew. (You need to understand that this was long enough ago that not only did we not have air-conditioning, we didn't even have a fan!) I made a red checked top for Bonny - with appliqued strawberries on the yoke. It was cute, and there are a number of photos of Bonny wearing it.

I remember going to UCSB for Parent/Student orientation in July of '88 - and not only was it gray and overcast, it was downright cold. We kept saying to ourselves, "It's July - why is it so cold?" Come to find out it's the norm for SB - they are hot at odd times too!

I also remember a gray overcast day in 7th grade - it was a Saturday and the Student Council was going to the beach! You need to understand that even though I was not truly deprived as a child, I pretty much never went anywhere very exciting so a trip to the beach was a BIG DEAL! It was also drizzly and cold - it was May or June, and Marguerite Hardin and ended up huddled in the bus eating our lunch!

Another cold July also comes to mind - about 4 or 5 years ago - we had just come back from the Scout Pancake Breakfast and it was cool and overcast, so I decided it was the right time to can apricots. What is memorable is the way Hannah carried on - she claimed it was child abuse to make her work so on a holiday! (I think she doesn't like canned apricots either!)

It seems strange that a gray day can evoke so many specific memories. I suppose a sunny day or a rainy day or even a snowy day could evoke specific memories too, if I thought about it. But that's not what I thought about this a.m.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pomp and Circumstance

We recently attended David's impressive graduation ceremony at UC Davis - and the hooding ceremony, which I'd never seen before. So I was reflecting, as we walked the hallowed halls of academia to the parking structure, on other graduations that have been part of my life.

Graduations represent significant achievement on the part of many people, but sometimes the ceremonies themselves leave much to be desired. An excellent example is Donna's graduation from Cal State Northridge. She worked hard and accomplished a lot - but the yahoos on the bench with us managed to spoil our pleasure in a major way. They were probably a contingent from the local fraternity there to cheer their frat bros - in a noisy, drunken kind of way. When I tapped one on the shoulder and mentioned to him that they were so loud that we couldn't hear the name of the person we were there to cheer, he looked a little puzzled - as in "There are other people here?"

My mom's graduation from CSUN was a bit rowdy too, but we were so far back in the crowd it didn't seem to matter much - and the graduating class was so large, they were not reading individual names. You might ask, why attend such a ceremony? It was important to my mom - and we got a good picture of her with my dad.

My own and Harry's graduation from BYU is a foggy memory. If there was not a photograph, I would forget it entirely. I think there was a significant speaker - like Bobby Kennedy or someone - he spoke at some BYU graduation I attended. And your dad and I graduated at two different times, but they blur in my consciousness! And I don't have a picture from your dad's ceremony. As I have said before, I didn't grow up taking pictures of significant events - but we do have the diploma to prove it happened. (And back then, BYU required your attendance at graduation ceremonies.)

Bonny's graduation from UCSB seems bucolic in memory - anything by a lagoon on a summer's afternoon ought to be poetic in nature. I think we all got sunburned too! And we had Hester and Hannah with us. My most clear memory though is the man who pronounced Bonny Brae Bolander - he was Scottish and it was beautiful to hear! The pictures from that day are pretty good too - the one of Bonny in her cap and sunglasses is a personal fave of mine. (and no, I'm not scanning it on right here - I'm not exactly sure where it is!)

Harry did graduate from BYU but didn't attend the ceremony. So that's easy to remember. But his graduation from the Police Academy was impressive - and he got honors and mention so it was a nice celebration. And we have pictures!

Phoebe walked - but hasn't officially graduated from BYU yet! She says it will happen - when it does, we'll celebrate. And we did celebrate when she walked - and we have some great pix too!

Eliza's graduation was just last year - can it have just been one year?! Where does the time go? It was a nice graduation - not too rowdy - although BYU graduations are a lot rowdier than I ever expected them to be. Here I thought it was a California, west coast thing! It was fun to have all the Kerksieks there too - since Hester graduated - and to break bread together afterwards.

Marcie Hoopes has her BYU diploma framed and hanging in her classroom - whenever I see it, I think, "I should do that. Give my students a goal, something to shoot for." When I find it, maybe I will! (Frame it and hang it up - not shoot something!)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

P.S. I love you!

P.S. I Love You is an old movie title - I think. At any rate, I'm not talking about post scripts here. I am waxing eloquent on the time-honored institution of public schools - which I am no longer personally connected to! (To which I am no longer personally connected?) Professionally yes, personally no.

As of Thursday, June 9th, the Terrill offspring of Harry and Barb are finished with the K-12 adventure. And it's been a long adventure. Other adjectives may come to mind - at this point, long seems the most apt.

In 1975, I trundled off to Centerville Elementary with Bonny and Harry in tow. And Bonny was tow-headed too (and mostly still is, I might add.) I don't remember her kindergarten teacher's name, but if I passed her in the street - and she still looked like she did in 1975 - I'd recognize her! I remember filling out the paperwork before she started school - it seemed like such a milestone in all of our lives. And I suppose it was. We shopped beforehand - new clothes, new shoes, new socks, new underwear - and a lunch box! Much has changed, but there were always new lunch boxes on the first day of school. I don't remember what Bonny wore, but I remember that it was a dress that I made - I made most of Bonny's clothes then - and that most of the little girls wore dresses. (I also remember that for many years Bonny's favorite dress was a K-mart special someone gave her for her 4th birthday!)

1977 saw a very pregnant mom and Bonny and Harry once again trundling off to Centerville Elementary for Harry's first day of school - with the same teacher whose name I still don't remember. We no longer lived in the old rock house on Main Street but around the corner in the Cook Apartments. Harry had new clothes too - mostly striped polos and tan cords . And the other little boys dressed the same. And there was a new lunch box. We walked to school though - and I would walk to meet Harry in the afternoon. After Phoebe was born, I started standing out on the road and watching the children walk by themselves. Slowly letting go . . .

The next first day of school was Phoebe's - in 1982 - and I was once again pregnant, but just barely - and feeling awful. We were in California then - at the house on Lime. I think the walking there was probably good for me, but the crashing on the couch back home once I got there seemed even better - at the time anyway! Phoebe started school in store-bought finery - a red corduroy jumper I personally loved, but in recent years Phoebe has denigrated its loveliness! She was always outspoken about her clothing, so I'm not sure why she didn't say anything then! I don't remember her teacher's name either, and I would recognize her too. She was older, but had trained at SMCNS, so we knew she was in good hands. A new lunch box was clutched in her hand too.

Eliza's first day is fuzzier than the others - I wasn't pregnant, but did have 3 little ones at home, so I probably had 2 toddlers in tow. And we were headed for Mayflower School from the house on Primrose. She wore a store bought dress too - I did sew some for Eliza and Hannah but mostly Sunday dresses or sun dresses - not first-day-of-school dresses. There was a new lunch box - I remember casing the aisles at Ralphs letting her choose. And a backpack may have been part of the scence too - I don't quite recall when backpacks became as essential as lunch boxes. It seems like they have always been part of the scene. (I often find myself saying things like, "When did we not have a microwave, a VCR, a computer, etc.) But I do remember her teacher's name - Mrs. Eden. She was great for Eliza - seemed to understand her very well - and encouraged her brightness and creativity.

The telling element about Eliza's first year is that everyone was some place different. Bonny was in college, Harry was in high school, Phoebe was in middle school, Eliza was in elememtary school, Hannah was in nursery school, and Noah was at home in diapers! I suppose I should be grateful that your dad wasn't the bishop yet! We got through that year - but I'm not always sure just how we managed it! (And now that I think about it, that was the year Andrew started coming every day too!)

Hannah's first day is quite clear - because Linda Rich came along and took a picture of Hannah with Andrew and Noah. (If I was a blogger extraordinaire, I would scan that photo on now - but I'm not a B.E. and I don't know where the picture is at the moment!) Hannah had Mrs. Rittenhouse and Mrs. Frias was the aide - and she is retiring this year after 35 years! And Hannah wore a pink and white dress made from two tee shirts - it was a perennial favorite of hers too - she's wearing it in lots of pictures from that year! She had a lunch box too - maybe she even still has it. She had short hair that turned under - I loved it, but Eliza and Hannah poke fun at their "Yellow Balloon" hair cuts of that era.

Noah and Andrew started school at long last - they too had Mrs. Rittenhouse - and I'm pretty sure they both wore jeans and tee shirts - although they may have worn shorts. There is undoubtedly a photo I could check, if I could find it! There were new lunch boxes, and I remember backpacks - although I wonder what they put in them! What I remember most is how sad and melancholy Linda was about seeing Andrew start school - and how exultant I was at being home alone for at least part of each day!

Centerville Elementary, Bradoaks, Mayflower, Clifton, MHS - the circle closed as Noah checked out last Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 30 years well-spent - may the next 30 be just as well-spent!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

On Turning 60

My postings on the personal blog seem to get fewer and farther between. This must be indicative of something - not enough to say, too much to do - or neither. But I did not want to let May go by without some notation.

And what is notable about May? This particular May? Of course the significant birthday figures majorly (is this a word?) And other important birthdays - my mom, my son, my old friends from public school days, my daughter-in-law, my we-share-a-birthday sister-in-law, assorted neices and nephews - May is a jam-packed birthday month.

And Mother's Day - my least favorite holiday usually - wasn't too bad this year. I remember the first year I thought I qualified because I was pregnant - and Harry didn't do anything. When I said something, he said something like "You're not my mother." It wasn't rude - I'm sure he'd just never thought of the holiday in any other terms. So the first official year as a mother, he and Bonny gave me Julia Child's "The Art of French Cooking." The only recipe I've ever used in that book is the French bread recipe - fittingly enough - but I still fondly notice it's presence on the cookbook shelf. Mostly I don't like going to church and hearing about all the excellent mothers - I feel deficient somehow. And I feel bad for the legion of Mormon women who truly feel bad on Mother's Day - and there are a lot of women like that. Maybe like Harry they should just focus on their own moms and what they have done for them. And not feeling their own deficits as a mom - or their lack of Momness!

The major b-day this year was great - for anyone who hasn't heard about it, Harry sent letters to all the women in the ward and suggested they send me a card - no gifts, no money, okay, maybe a hug - and I got a total of 83 cards! They started arriving on May 19th and the last two came on May 28th! What a great way to celebrate - mantel and the piano were awash in cards - it was quite festive looking. I think I will send the idea in to Women's Day or something and get $50 when they use my (!) idea.

So May is almost gone - June, end of school, start of summer, reunions, visits, trips, is on its way in - what new insights await?

Stay tuned!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Choosing between good and good - where is better?

I find myself choosing between good and good all the time these days. It never seems to end - and it is fairly frustrating. For example, I would like to walk to and from school - for the exercise, since I don't seem to get it otherwise. But I have to drive one day because I have a dr. appt. at 2:30 - not enough time to walk home and then drive to the appt. Or I want to stop by and say hi to Ken C. or Hubert L. - but I have to hustle to the grocery store to get the goods to feed the sister missionaries (Harry forgot to tell me he'd invited them or I would have undoubtedly been prepared for them.) Or I want to write to my good friend Eileen but everytime I start, the phone rings or someone calls me for something worthwhile. Or I want to stop by and see Sister W. on my way home from the cleaners but we have a wedding reception to go to. Or I just want to come home and sort photos or read or write letters or plant flowers - but the phone rings and someone wants or needs to talk. Choices, choices, choices - will a day really come when I will wish that a phone call would interrupt my day? That's what I keep hearing - somehow I thought I'd be there by now!!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Suffer the children

I have a student who is a member of the church and attends my ward. He has real behavior problems stemming from a head injury he suffered. But he is a dear boy - sometimes his eyes haunt me because I think the "real" boy is trapped inside sometimes - and he doesn't have the skills to get him out.

One day I asked him if he had thought of praying and asking the Lord to help him - he said, "I prayed once and asked for my mom and dad to get back together." Those words have haunted me ever since - I know that divorce is sometimes inevitable and not always anyone's fault - but I see the fallout from dysfunctional families all the time in my line of work - and I get discouraged - I can't take them all home with me!!

There is one student I have whose parents are getting a divorce, but they are not only civil to one another, but they come to all the meetings and conferences together - and maintain "family" where it is needed to help their son succeed - makes me wonder why they can't make their marriage succeed! They are an anomaly though - another set of parents getting divorced are using their son as a pawn - at least the dad is - I feel like smacking him sometimes!

It's a societal issue - but I get tired of Bush and his very misguided NCLB rants - and his Secretary of Education and her smug pronouncements about conditions she really knows nothing about. Teachers can only do so much - we can't make happy homes for these kids - and nearly every kid with real issues comes from a dysfunctional, unhappy, unstable, chaotic home - not of his choosing!!

And nearly everyone of those kids is lovable and dear and worth saving!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I seem to talk a lot about the weather!! Kind of like a first date or something. But it seems to be impacting life around here - Noah is trying to finish filming his Twilight Zone assignment for his film class - I said, can't you rewrite the story to have it be raining? He got a little annoyed.

But the weather impacts us around here - and it usually doesn't, so that is why we are so consumed with it. It's not like it's the first time in our lives that we have had a rainy/cold/wet Easter. In fact, I have a photo of Bonny and Harry standing in the snow in their Easter finery, holding their Easter baskets - maybe I should find that one and post it!!

Mostly these rainy days make me wish I could lie on the couch, warmed by one of your dad's great fires, reading one of the many books on my stack of books I am currently reading: Kristin Lavransdatter, I Capture the Castle, Without Words, and Raspberries and Relevance (this is about Enrichment - and very fun and inspiring to read. I need to figure out a way to share it with the sisters in my ward. In my friend's ward, the President reads an episode to them each week - I may publish it on the back of the newsletter.)

So now I need to go type up the agenda for tonight's presidency meeting - I have at least learned in this go round as a president of an auxiliary to have regular presidency meetings.

Monday, March 07, 2005

In Like a Lion . . .

Now it's March!! It did not exactly roar in like a lion, but we have had rain, and wind, and a bit of a chill - you people who live in truly cold climes like to snort when we So Cal people freeze at 50 (degrees that is!) but it is a different kind of cold - it is damp!!

However you look at it - weather is just always there! And our spate of rainy weeks has yielded some lush green and beautiful flowers and trees - and every lawn is beautiful - you can't tell the weeds - everything is green!

So, here come the Ides of March - watch for a critical review in my next posting!!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

A Short Month

I like February for a number of reasons. Valentine's Day is one - I love frosted sugar cookies and usually end up making them in February anyway. I like pink and red too. I love sending Valentines - even if I did give pencils to my students. And I like the fact that there are always 2 days off in February. Finally, money goes farther when you only have to count your pennies for 28 days!

Monday, February 14, 2005

XXXX's and OOOO's

I remember Valentine Days of yore. I was always worried that no one would give me one. (In the old days, the school didn't send home a list of everyone in the class - some people really didn't get very many.) Coming from a very large family with not much money, my mom bought the cheapest ones they had - you had to cut them out, they didn't punch out. And she never bought candy to put in them. So I was only allocated a few - and so I only gave out a few. But each year I got a respectable amount - enough to at least feel like I wasn't the class reject anyway. Maybe the mothers in the class said, "be sure to give one to the little Clayton girl - she probably doesn't get much!"

Along those lines, there was a mother in the class who always baked a cake for me at her daughter's birthday party (which occurred 2 days after my birthday) In retrospect, that is incredibly kind and thoughtful. It was always an angel food cake - which is probably why angel food cake is my all time favorite dessert.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Learning Store

I am off to the Learning Store - to get some very simple science worksheets for an incredibly low student I have. He really belongs at a lower level, but parent is in denial and will not sign. So the aide takes him and another very low student with just an uncaring parent - I have some sad students, let me tell you - and does work with them outside on the lunch tables during Science.

Doesn't it sound kind of oxymoronish to go to a learning store - I guess you really can buy anything with money!? The other Special Ed. teacher - who is brand new - went there - to the Learning Store that is - with a 20% off coupon and reported that they just had tons of good science stuff to choose from - so I'm pretty excited.

Just wish I had a 20% off coupon. (Thank you Mr. Bush and Gov. Schwarzenegger for you fiscal assistance to teachers everywhere!)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Non sequitur

I have to give the lesson in Relief Society on Sunday. It is on "Prophets, Seers and Revelators" from Teachings for our Times. I have read the material - I have jotted down some "good ideas for opening salvos" and not much else. Then the newly called ward newsletter editor -who was my ace, number one Enrichment leader before this new calling - emailed me (they wanted her because she is so computer savvy - no concern about her language, grammar or spelling abilities) and asked me to be the front page editorialist for her fledgling issue. And she wants it Sunday. I feel less than creative - I feel tired, coughed out, TGIF, etc. So I thought that maybe blogging a bit might get the creative juices flowing.

It is raining - I am home from school - there is no school Monday - do I feel like being productive? No. I feel like curling up in front of the fireplace and finishing the new John Grisham novel Harry bought. (Why must I hurry and say Harry bought it - like I don't want anyone to think I was so eager that I bought it in hardback or something??!!) One thing I will say for John Grisham - he is the master of escape fiction. It is not good literature - the stories are all the same - but they are engrossing.

I am also reading the last in the Ladies Number One Detective Agency series - they are well-written - and actually just as compelling - but that is my Sustained Silent Reading book, so it stays at school.

I have felt no inspiration for either my lesson or my editorial - maybe I will go curl up!!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Monday, Monday, Can't Trust That Day!

It's the Mamas and the Papas - hardly a Monday goes by in my life that that refrain doesn't flash through my brain at least once. Good thing there aren't songs like that for every day of the week!

I keep losing students - even difficult ones! It has given me a whole new lease on life - I want to get creative - I'm even looking into taking my students to Citrus College for a production of "Music Man." We could ride the city bus out to the college - I did call and leave a message to see if any tickets were still available. I will keep you posted.

The students I'm losing have all moved - and the district said no to requested transfers!! Hooray!! (They haven't always done that in the past.) Two were problem children - poor behavior that made you want to turn them over your knee and spank them. One was just very low -and her parents are in major denial about it - so it was hard to see her struggle so much when she would not have to struggle if her parents didn't have such a problem with the label she would need to have to access the help and placement she needs.

Noah stayed home sick today - last Monday there was not school - and next Monday is a pupil free day - Noah stays home but I have an in-service - then February has 2 Mondays off - he may get used to a 4 day weekend!

Maybe we will make pretzels for FHE. After the girls made them at the Grandma's Slumber Party, Noah commented "I thought they were crunchier!" They usually are - the girls just didn't want to limit themselves to pretzel shapes - so they made some rather thick ones - tasty but not pretzelly (is that a word?!)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

January Showers Bring February Weddings

I am off to a bridal shower for Tiffany Reed, who I know is really excited to get married - I heard her say years ago that she just wanted to be a housewife - so she gets her wish!

I went hunting for a gift - didn't want to deal with the registry, because it would mean dealing with the mall - I'm not often up for that anymore. So I went to Country Cottage and got a cool cookbook and a valentine cookie cutter as a package tie on - and I wrapped it splendidly with white shiny paper and a bright red bow! It's all in the presentation you know!

Off to fix grilled cheese and soup for dinner - we have a very limited repetoire around here - but no one complains.

Also, my student from hell moved to Covina - will attend Traweek Jr. High - which is where Harry the elder (to differentiate from Harry the Elder) attended Jr. High many eons ago. I did wish him well and suppressed the desire to turn cartwheels down the main hall as his mom checked him out of school. There is hope!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tuesday Night After Class

I complain about my classes - the ones I have to take anyway - but in truth there is something comfortable about going to class each week. And I don't have to fix dinner either!!

Now the classes I teach are another matter - I have finally encountered the Student from Hell. He appears to have no redeeming qualities - even his mother doesn't seem very fond of him. I know I am on the wrong track here and need to repent. But this boy seems beyond helping - and he is rude and obnoxious and the other kids are scared of him to boot! (He is a little shrimp too - I could take him over my knee and give him a few swats with ease - but he still has this power.) I've tried positive reinforcement -which worked for 2 weeks - then he got tired of dong the right things, I guess. The negative reinforcement hasn't worked either. He gets suspended about every other day!! I hope to have a more positive spin to report soon!!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Is is a Utah thing?

I have asked numerous people I run into or work with if they know anything about blogging - and none of them have a clue. Is is something college kids do? Or high school kids? Or people who live where it snows? (If I forget the "s"in Terrills.blogspot I get a blog from Colorado - someone named Terrill Dent.)

So I am feeling very au courant and avant garde and bohemian and hip and definitely 21st century!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Five Hours Til Bedtime

I have figured out why it is so hard to work and run a home. If you get home at 5 or so and feel like you ought to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep to stay healthy (which I keep dreaming of doing but really never do!) you only have 5 hours til bedtime! And 5 hours is nothing - it's not even a full school day - and only 2 hours longer than the Sunday block! If you want to veg out or read or read your email, there goes all the time. So the key is get home at 3, so you have a full day until bedtime! As a teacher, I could get home at 3 - but it would take a lot of organization - and that same amount of organization would probably make the 5 hours til bedtime very productive. What a conundrum - I think I'll go have another Hershey's kiss with almonds!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Hack, cough

Every couple of years I get a cold and hack and cough and blow my nose a lot. I am very fortunate that I don't get sick more often. I recognize it as a great blessing. But then it gets to the tickle-in-the-throat stage and I have to live on cough drops and it gets yucky. Such a trial I know - but the older I get the more aches and pains I have and the less tolerant I get of them.

Monday, January 10, 2005


We had the first FHE of the year for the little Terrill family that resides at 428 - we set up a plan to help Noah earn his Duty to God Award before he turns 18 - and I thought I'd checked everything off when he got his Eagle! No rest for the wicked (and the righteous don't need any!!) It will someday be an empty nest around here - it doesn't really feel like that will ever happen, because it's always pretty active around here. But last Monday night, when we arrived home after our marathon drive from Davis CA (it's normally a 5 1/2 hour drive - took us almost 12 hours!!) Anyway, we came home and Hannah's stuff was gone and Karl's stuff was gone and the house was cold and quiet and still and I felt a little melancholy. There was a note from Hannah and I thought how quickly the 2 weeks of a very full house had just melted back into the memory.

The Weirdness of Water

It's been a long Monday in the old special ed classroom - full of a real cross section dysfunctional humanity disguised as middle school students! I have been at this for about 8 years now - and the kids are getting more and more dysfunctional each year. There are one or two each year who give me hope - but the rest seem so damaged I wonder if they will make it. And the steady rain is just not making things any better. They delight in getting very wet. You can traverse the entire campus without getting wet - but they persist in standing in the downpours and stomping through the puddles like adventerous 3 year olds - but it's not the carefree, exploratory glee of toddlers - there is almost something demented in it. Hopefully Tuesday will be drier and maybe more normal - i.e. less surreal!!

The Weirdness of Water

It's been a long Monday in the old special ed classroom - full of a real cross section dysfunctional humanity disguised as middle school students! I have been at this for about 8 years now - and the kids are getting more and more dysfunctional each year. There are one or two each year who give me hope - but the rest seem so damaged I wonder if they will make it. And the steady rain is just not making things any better. They delight in getting very wet. You can traverse the entire campus without getting wet - but they persist in standing in the downpours and stomping through the puddles like adventerous 3 year olds - but it's not the carefree, exploratory glee of toddlers - there is almost something demented in it. Hopefully Tuesday will be drier and maybe more normal - i.e. less surreal!!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

And the rain it raineth every day . . .

It is raining steadily - has been for 3 days now -and the ground is saturated and the Monrovia Police Dept. has called twice with their recorded message about finding shelter at the Community Center if we have to evacuate!! Kind of scary, but compared to giant tsunamis, it seems like such a paltry thing.

Today is Sunday - and I always wonder where it goes - especially on rainy Sundays - when I think that somehow I should have been able to get a nap, visit and crochet one of the dozen scarves I have started, or sit by the fire and read. I did get two visits in and a PPI that may or may not have been productive.

So it's back to school tomorrow - why does Monday always come? But next Monday is a holiday - hooray!

Have a good week!