Category: Fun Stuff

Some of you make think that this post is part of a master plan to get you to do something with those old photographs. Hardly. Actually, I try to read the magazine Shutterbug. I say, try, because it can get pretty technical. However, I just finished an article titled, “Prints are Precious: Or, in Praise of the Shoebox” (Shutterbug, June 2010) I’ve written before about photography. I really like some of the points that the author, Frances E Schultz has written so I wanted to share them with you.

“Going through the picture box. Real, original prints are a direct link with the past in a way that an electronic image can never be.” This is so true. This past summer we have the lovely opportunity to go through stacks of black and white photos taken as early as 1890 in an old house in Granville. This was a special experience and we thank Vincent and Germain for sharing their family photos with us.

“Old pictures are important – and the only thing that stands between new pictures and old pictures is time. Keep a new picture long enough, and it becomes an old picture. Never mind a life measured in teaspoons. For the last 120 years or more, our lives have been measured in photographs.” Never is this more true than when I pull out our wedding album from 1982. The event was so real and vibrant to us then. Now, they are ‘old photographs.’ Still special, still full of meaning and memories.

“Pictures don’t need to be “good” to be precious.”

“But as long as the picture exists only on a hard drive, or a mobile phone chip, or in cyberspace, it doesn’t really exist. You can’t come across it when you are moving a house, or searching through a closet looking for something else. Yes, you might invite your great-niece or an aged parent or even an old friend’s child, to look through a CD but really, what does it mean? It’s just another picture on a screen, another picture in what Clive James called the haunted fish tank. Are you, or they, or anyone else, going to do a web search for it? Not often, if at all.”

“A picture, a print, a Precious Object, is different: it retains the power to bring tears to our eyes.”

Last quote from the article that I found most endearing is this:

“Print your pictures, and make plenty of copies, and remember what George Bernard Shaw said: the camera is like the codfish that lays a million eggs in order that one may survive, though I suspect that with photographs, the odds are quite a bit better than that. At least they are probably better with real, physical prints. With electronic images, it’s probably not even one in a billion. Take your chances.”

I say, print those precious photographs. Get them in a shoebox or even better, get them in an album that your great, great, great grandchild can one day pick up and flip through. Imagine them pointing to a photograph of you when you were in your 20’s and making comments like, “look at those funny glasses” or “I can’t believe they rode on things like that” or “who would ever eat that.” It their way (and our way) of linking us to our past. And that is precious!

Fun Stuff Random 'Munchings"

Cartooning has been my curriculum focus the past few weeks. I thank Mrs. Edwards at Nichols Sawmill Elementary for letting me work with one of her 5th grade classes. We had a few drawing lessons, discussed some very creative story lines and started our own small comic books. Unfortunately, the end of the school year is next week so the students won’t be able to finish and share their books but we did set them all up so they could work on their books at home.

Today, I found a wonderful surprise as I scanned my Goodle Reader Feeds that has to deal with cartooning. Langwitches entry spurred such a great memory that I had to post about it. I copied my comment that I left at the blog site below.

“This brought back such a great memory!!! Both of my kids (now 23 & 25) attended Woodlake Elementary in Mandeville, LA. This was probably around 1994. Mike Artell came to share his enthusiasm with the students in the school’s gym. He was all set up at one end of the gym, the students sitting ‘criss-cross applesauce’ on the gym floor armed with a pencil and paper. Each time Mike Artell drew something, every child bowed down to mimic him. It was nearly a religious experience – not one child misbehaved – not one peep came from their mouths. Every child was drawing!

At the end of his presentation, he happily autographed a book for my daughter which she still treasures today and my son developed his own snake cartoon series that he worked on for most of the year.” Here is a link to a short presentation of his approach to doing a school presentation.

Fun Stuff

Here is a picture of our Rock Circle Garden all finished. We reset the rocks last fall and filled it with hardy, full sun plants such as: bottlebrush, pentas, bluebonnets & Indian paintbrush, and plumbagos today (March 8, 2009). There is also two crepe myrtle trees that are just twigs right now. Now, our job is to keep it beautiful!

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We’ve also hidden our water tank with lattice work and put in a bi-level planter in front of it. I’ve filled the planter with Pink Simplicity Hedge Roses and Blossom Blank Groundcover Roses. Best of all, we have a soaker hose all set up on a timer that automatically waters these babies every three days for 30 minutes. Yea!

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Fun Stuff

Most of our trip to Rio was an endurance exercise. The temperatures are hotter than Houston and New Orleans (really!), the elusive wind resulted in a fair amount of motoring instead of sailing. There was too much fabulous and food and, of course, Carnaval (which is much like Mardi Gras on steriods). Top of the list, though, was enduring the four nights in the Marina de Gloria in Rio. We arrived in port around 8 pm after a 12 hour open ocean tour. Around 10 pm, we noticed colorful lights flickering in the venue across the marina from us.

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For the next three nights, the routine was the same. Test the lights around 9, fire up the sound system at 10 pm, then crank it up at 12 pm. And the real “cool” thing was that the concert lasted until the sun came up (around 5:30 am) with everyone under the vibrating tent structure actually cheering! No joke! I recalled Amber telling me about these concerts in Europe. Her boyfriend, Germain has taken her to several in Paris during the past two years. Once I realized what we were in for, I knew my job was to educate our crew that we were in for a great deal: three more all night concerts with the driving beat of techno – a retail value of $500 per person!

Surprisingly, all of us joked about our new bedtime/wake up music throughout our time in Rio. I proudly told Amber that we’ve attended four all-night techno concerts when we got home. She quickly dashed my/our achievement when she asked me if we stood the whole time. “That’s what everyone does at these concerts”, she proudly tells me on the phone. No, we tried to sleep in our fiberglass cabins with the sound and vibrations traveling through the water.

It’s amazing how much creativity in differences in style one can hear in a constant 130 beats per minute. Every morning at breakfast, we all discussed what we liked or disliked the DJ like we were veterans in the genre. We all seemed to liked the same DJ that the popular poll at the website shows.

Na sua opini⭠qual foi a melhor noite?
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Germain told Amber that this DJ is one of his favorites, too.

We should have known something was up when we docked. There was no activity in any of the boats already there. Even the marina personnel disappeared, except for the unlucky (or lucky) security.

Fun Stuff

I thank Lauri over at Laurie’s Reflections for for inspiring me to write this entry. I can easily relate to her questions about what to do with the Christmas photos of friends and relatives she’s been sent. Every year, I put away the Christmas cards to cut up to use as tags the next year. When I pick up the collection of photos, I just can’t throw them away so I carefully put them in a box. I don’t have one place to put these groups of photos. I find them in all kinds of places as I unpack my Christmas decorations every year. It’s like I hold the souls of my friends and family in my hand and throwing them away would be a sin. I need an altar or shrine or at least a special place for them.

Laurie jumped into my head and read my mind when it comes to my everyday photos! My parents just sent me a portion of the photos that my grandparents had accumulated over 70 years of marriage. I remember sending them Adam’s artwork as a 3 year old and pictures of Amber’s graduation from high school. Grandma kept everything she received from her kids, grandkids and relatives in the handiest box or envelope. I will keep them on the counter for a while, then I will put them somewhere, too.

When I have time, I put together a scrapbook. I have around 15 now from the past 25 years. I don’t do it because it is a fad or I just saw a program on a fancy new trick. I create something for me that I think others will enjoy someday down the road. It does take time which we all have so little of. I’m not up on the newest tricks, don’t buy the fanciest empty albums. I just get started. I sit amazed when I look at how many I have assembled.

The most recent was a recipe scrapbook using my grandmother’s recipes and photos of family sharing food together. Each time I make a scrapbook, I struggle with what order, my objective, and what to include. Then I forge ahead to put together something. I have no idea if anyone else will like what I’ve done. Mostly it is a process was a labor of love and quite satisfying to me. I’ve done everything in my human power to preserve my memories except to chisel them into a stone tower like the ancient conquerors did.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of the photos that I’ve collected! I have 5,368 photos residing in digital form on my computer right now. This represents my picture-taking skills from about 1995. Photos prior to 1995 have been carefully archived onto CD’s and stored away in the security chest. I imagine I am not the only one like this. New questions come up: should I print them, if I print them what do I use so they last over time, should I store them in more than one place, or put them online? Using digital albums like iPhoto has one great advantage: they are in chronological order and the date it was taken is associated with the file (if it is set correctly.) If I were persistent when I imported the photos in, I could tag each one and sort them by subject, too. Which leads me to my next question. Will my great, great grandkids be able to see them? Which format will exist 60+ years from now?

Everyone has a different reason for taking photos. I take photos because my long-term memories are always fuzzy. My brother and husband are so good at recalling things we’ve done. I’m not. I use my photos as a crutch to help me remember. In the process, I create for others to enjoy and remember.

Fun Stuff Random 'Munchings"

Twelve days ago I started wearing a pedometer because I wanted to see just how many steps I take in a day. Turns out that I average about 4,200 steps during a week. I plugged in a screen shot of my chart below so you could see my inconsistent performance. This is my honest numbers without changing any patterns or habits. You can easily tell which days I was writing a web log entry, updating my Facebook page or some other task that was ‘necessary’ at the time and which days I took a walk.

The site that I used to input the data has a goal for each participant of an average of 10,000 steps during a week. Using my superior mathematical skills, I determined that doing a simple chore like doing the laundry be made into a couple hour ordeal if I just picked up one piece of clothing at a time and walked it from the bedroom to the laundry room. Of course, my dog, Nemo, would be entirely confused by this. He carries ‘socks’ to the laundry room for me while my other dog, Tillie, cheers for us waiting by the washer. They get a treat for their valuable contribution. I just get to enter my steps on to a web page.

Daily Report

On a totally different front, I came across a website a few days ago that encourages people to write 20,000 words a day. Their basic premise is if we can get you to write everyday starting Nov 1, you could turn out a novel just after Christmas. During the interview, the creator of the program said they have “flying monkeys” to monitor that its participants are actually writing their quota of words a day. I think he is jesting but the image of flying monkeys straight out of “The Wizard of Oz” is enough to keep me honest! In fact, I was scared enough to pull out a story I had started several years ago and see just how many words I had already written so I could get a sense of what 20,000 words looked like on the screen. I was hoping for something like 50,000 words in the statistics on the document as I had spent a number of days writing on it, instead it was closer to 20,000 words. It took me a few minutes to wrap my mind around how much time it would take to write 20,000 words that made any logical sense.

So to wrap this entry up, I’ll need to drink my quota of water, eat my quota of calories, get my quota of sleep so I can step my quota of steps and write my quota of words. If not, I can only wish that flying monkeys will swoop down and take this pedometer that started the whole thing!

Fun Stuff Random 'Munchings"

Tom Chapin has written a satirical song that was used on NPR called “Not on the Test“.
You gotta love it!

Fun Stuff

Kelly over at The Apple has found several sites where students can use their smarts to help someone else. I wanted to pass along her findings. I had used FreeRice in my classroom and found it to be very useful for those early finishers. The students are eager to surpass each other in their donations so they always tried to do their best. Teachers and grownups like to see how smart they are too! Enjoy!

Fun Stuff

Dave and I just got back from our two week vacation visiting relatives, friends and acquaintances. This trip started out relaxing, and then just stayed that way. One of the neatest things we did was floating down the North Platte River near Laramie, Wyoming. My uncle is the best! He is a Fish Biologist for the Wyo Game and Fish. Dave teased him that he had one of the neatest offices in the world, especially when you consider that it includes all the lakes and rivers in the region. On our float, we saw numerous deer, ducks and geese. We floated under a mature bald eagle and a juvenile bald eagle who just stared at us. The most interesting thing we saw was something that looked like a cross between a muskrat and beaver. My uncle is showing the pictures that I took to a wildlife biologist for identification.

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with my grandfather, who will turn 95 in a few days. Dave got him to chuckle with the comment, “I’d like to see the guy who buys a truck with 120,000 miles hauling dead animals.” (Inside joke, I guess you would have to be there.)

We also learned that his mother got to take control of a plane with some Air Force guys she knew when she was a young woman back in the 30’s. Everyone thought is was my grandma, until I asked “What was Mom’s name?” Apparently, her Air Force friends also flew from Alaska to come to her funeral and that made a big impression on my grandfather.

Dave had a fantastic time at his 30th class reunion. About 40 classmates showed up for some part of the festivities. Dave got a sunburn during the golf tournament, visited with his closest buddies and ate a really good steak cooked on a huge open fire at a chuck wagon dinner. We adopted my sister-in-law’s son, Keagan, for the weekend. What a great kid! Gifted, for sure!

The last few days of the trip involved some heavy-duty relaxing. Dave’s aunt and uncle have a place on Seminole Lake. First of all, forget everything you know about lakes. This one has NO TREES! Only bushes. This was quite a shock for me having camped as a kid in the Rockies in Colorado.

Dave’s mom and step dad also joined us at the lake. I had never been fishing on a boat. Growing up, we only fished from the shore. Dave’s mom caught the biggest Walleye! My fish-intuition told me that I’d be lucky if I fished. I was. I caught seven fish, outnumbering Dave by two. Dave’s uncle deftly skinned the fish and his aunt cooked them. Walleye is a pretty good eats!

If you haven’t gotten enough about the trip, stop by my Flickr account for pictures. I’d love to hear about your summer adventures!

Returning to Earth: I also just finished a three day workshop at Texas A & M. Every time I am out on that campus, I am impressed with the programs and people. I started to explore the idea of working on a doctorate within their gifted program if things don’t work out for a teaching position.

That’s when I figured out that my summer is flying past…..fast…..

Fun Stuff Random 'Munchings"

I love it when I visit a friend’s blog and find something neat to try out. My friend, Nancy (who just got back from the New Orleans Writing Marathon and is on my teacher blog list in the side bar as “Nancy”) keeps a great web log. She seems to stumble upon some cool little gadgets and Wordle is one. This is right up my alley! I’ve fiddled around with words and art on a page since my oldest was three months old. My closet is full of the school newsletters that I’ve done both with and without the help of technology. Oh yea, I remember when I had to type or copy, cut and paste clip art and articles to create attractive newsletters! (This is the new version of ‘I had to walk ten miles to school in a foot of snow’ story to tell my grandkids.) In any case, I used my del.icio.us bookmarks to create my own Wordle art.

Another thing I did that comes under the Fun category is setting up a MySpace page. Actually, I set up one way back during Spring Break and actually forgot about it until this evening as I was chatting with my niece in Arkansas. So here is the site address: http://www.myspace.com/teachagiftedkid.

Fun Stuff

We’ve been preparing for a school play “The Jungle Book” in the Disney version. I decided to dig out the classic by Rudyard Kipling and conduct a literary circles with various selections with the two groups. Interestingly, neither the younger group, nor the older group knew that the Disney version was not the original (except for one or two younger students).

This whole time, I’ve been recalling the cartoon version of “Rikki Tikki Tavi” narrated by Orsen Wells, wondering if I could ever locate it. Instead of doing the dishes this evening, I’m watching the cartoon online at this site. I apologize for the advertisements and such. I hope you enjoy a stroll down memory lane if you remember watching this cartoon as a child. (

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

Posted Dec 10, 2006

Narrated by Orson Wells, this animated cartoon is an adaptation of a short story titled “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” from The Jungle Book (1894) by Rudyard Kipling.

I hope you enjoy it!

Fun Stuff