Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Recycled Paintings

I am working on my Final exam for my tenth graders and I needed a break and isn't it amazing how things come to us. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, and then a little tape here and some streams of paint of Festive Green, Dark Patina, and calligraphy gold ink there changing a painting I started years ago into layers of different. I'm glad because I think I like it now and will no longer have to be buried in a stack.
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Teaching

Work
Work
Work
Lesson Plans
Mini benchmarks
State exam practice
Final exam reviews
Creating final exam reviews
Writing Final exams
Some would call Mid terms
Small group work
Noisy small group work
FCAT Writes Practice 3
Grading
Essays
Exams
Quizzes
Holiday, Christmas Break
New Year's Celebration
Seeing my students again
Hugs
Even some surprise gifts
from abroad
Kids sneaking into my classroom briefly
to get my attention
Laughter
Smiles
Progress Reports
Report Cards
Smiles
Hugs
Did I say Laughter?
The light in their eyes when they understand
The thank yous
The sad goodbyes when they move
When they say they missed me over the break
Its a great job even when it is so
Demanding!
I can't believe I am saying this...
I love my job!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

This Christmas Break was Unusual


These holidays were unusual for me. I didn’t do my regular routine of going to Old San Juan and walking around. Neither did I get to eat at the Hamburger in Puerta de Tierra overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I didn’t go to El Yunque or Luquillo. In fact, I was hardly able to do any of my customary walking, exercising, and sightseeing because I had my 87 year old mother in tow and this year she wasn’t as strong as other times. No this was an unusual Christmas break.

Regardless of the fact that I was less active it was still a great vacation and holiday. One of the best things I did was spend time with my mother. I don’t know about you but when I do something for someone else to make their life better, I am the one that receives the greater blessing. My mom had been in a nursing home until I went to PR on vacation and she was so happy to be out of there. (This nursing home is excellent I know but its not family.) She would tell me everyday, almost at every opportunity. In fact, even without words. If she had to get up during the night and saw me at the dining room table painting she would just laugh and smile. Just to see her be happy for that made me feel strange. Strange because all I was doing was being there, nothing spectacular, and now I realize that sometimes that is enough.

Please don’t feel sorry for me, I did plenty of sightseeing in the car and thanks to my ex-husband, I had a great car at my disposal. I saw the ocean almost daily and got to spend time with dear friends and family. So I am not complaining, just reflecting. Life is good. God is good.

The top photo shows me with my friend Camille and her family and the second with my Morales cousins and my sisters. Mis queridas primas y hermanas. And finally my mom in front of the Atlantic Ocean in Puerta de Tierra.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Celebrating Three Kings in Orlando

No children at home but so many at school. So I took a survey. Funny how so many of the Venezuelan and Colombian students all said they also celebrated The Three Kings and would it be a valid excuse if they were absent tomorrow, you know for religious reasons? Of course I was of no opinion. This is not to say people from Venezuela or Colombia don't celebrate the coming of the Magi, since the Catholic Church celebrates it world wide as the Epiphany. This is the day when the Wise Men, assumed to be three because of the gifts they bore, came to worship the Messiah.

By the time they came to see Jesus he was no longer in a manger but in a house still in Bethlehem, and probably an infant, perhaps starting to walk or walking (see Matthew 2:11-12). I don't assume to be a Bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination. But we know they came. Exactly how they came is the question. It was probably on camels, but since in Puerto Rico, camels well weren't readily available, folklore has it that they had horses transport the Magi or Wise Men. There are Arabian horses, aren't there?

So kids in Orlando, just like their cousins back in Puerto Rico go look for grass and water to put under their beds tonight, hoping for a gift tomorrow. I asked them. My ninth graders and some tenth graders proudly, with eyes opened wide, said yes, of course they did. I told one group, that I got grass for "Los Reyes" until I was in my twenties. (None of them laughed, to my surprise.) This is not like Christmas, where you only have to be a good kid. No, for the Three Kings, you have to work a little. Though I had long known who was the "Three Kings" in my house, since daddy was a traditionalist having come from Mayaguez, he said to me in no uncertain way, " si no hay yerba, no hay regalos." (No grass, no presents.) I never questioned him on that point again.

Now my daughter, who resides in New York, already had her little girls secure the grass and the water for the horses, tonight. She let me know with an "all done" on Facebook. I wish she would take a picture. Children grow so fast and we seldom record something so special and magical. The delicate and tricky part will take place later tonight when she will be getting the supplies to the horses without disturbing the sleeping children and then disposing of the grass without being detected. Little cat's feet are required stealthily as they go. I know, because I worked with the Kings one time, I'll have you know.

Surfing You Tube

Wow there is a treasure trove of beautiful things on You Tube. For a long time I thought only silly things were on You Tube. You know how they have all these funny videos of animal tricks,and also a lot of not so funny things. But as I sift through it, I am realizing there is everything there as there are people who know how to hold a video camera and have a voice and a message to deliver.

I wanted to hear a country version of "Oh the Blood of Jesus" and I found it. I found it so moving I had to listen to it several times. Of course there were many others that followed. Then I found another video that I found rather surprising, including a very moving one, appealing to end abortion and letting precious babies live, called "40 Days for Life - Praying to End Abortion." I know people are passionate about their stubborn opinions about abortion, but there is nothing more precious than an innocent baby. We are not worthy to be stewards of something, someone so innocent and helpless, as an unborn child, when we consider how many babies have died. But we are and we will be accountable.