Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Melvinism

Last Sunday my parents, Aunt Liz, Uncle Chuck, and my Grandpa Melvin were here.

At one point, Grandpa got up to take some medicine. He dug a couple of loose pills out of his pocket. He went to the kitchen to take one, and Liz suggested that he just take both of them then.

"Nah..." he replied.

"Why not?"

"They might fight!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011


"Children who are not spoken to by live and responsive adults will not learn to speak properly.  Children who are not answered will stop asking questions.  They will become incurious.  And children who are not told stories and who are not read to will have few reasons for wanting to learn to read."
-Gail E. Haley

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Well, I don't think I have much to say today, but I haven't posted since Friday, so I feel like I should. I mean, what else are you going to do if not read my blog?! So here's a bunch of random for your Wednesday.

I was asked to donate some headbands and/or a bag for an elementary school BINGO fundraiser. I said yes. It's not 'til January, so I have some time. Maybe I can experiment with a new headband idea I had a while back.

The weather is driving me crazy. 85* yesterday, 54* today. Just choose, already. I did see that long-range weather forecasters are predicting that we're going to have a snowy winter, with about 50% more snow than last year. This is going to be great if I get to stay home on some snow days. It's going to be bad if  I'm working and have to travel from one school to another in 14 minutes (which is doable is good weather - I guess we'll see how it goes in snow). However, it will be tapering off a bit early... the severe storm season (meaning tornadoes) could start as early as the end of February. Goodness.

We are having a little trouble with our lack of cable... not the "we don't have all those channels anymore" part (that's going pretty well) - the "our antenna isn't picking up all the local channels" part. It wouldn't be a big deal, except that one the channels that's not coming in well is Wichita's "Jayhawk Network" station. We'll be exchanging our second antenna this weekend. But we probably should have gone with the outdoor antenna in the first place, living out in the 'burbs. Oh well. I think Brad's going to take care of it on his day off on Friday. I hope.

We both have three-day weekends at the end of the week. Brad gets Friday off; I get Halloween off. I have big plans, like serious homework time and finally closing our Bank of America accounts. Exciting stuff, I know.

I decided it was time for a blog update. I love red and yellow leaves, even though I don't like fall because it means winter is coming.

I'd better wrap up my post - too many words without pictures can be tough to keep reading. Hope you're having a great week!

Friday, October 21, 2011

special day

Today is a special day. It's this guy's birthday. He's my baby brother... (I can't call him my little brother anymore because he's a lot taller than I am now. So baby it is. I'm sure he loves that.) 23 years ago, exactly three months (to the day, anyway) before my third birthday, he was born.

Happy Birthday, Daniel! Have a great weekend celebrating... 

And, by the way, I AM sorry I threw the book at you that one time and it hit you in the eye because you didn't duck. I really am. But it's still kind of a funny story.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Today was rough. Inservice is like that sometimes - life is like that sometimes. But today, I am thankful. So thankful that I have someone I can go to to vent, to unload my frustrations to, to look to for advice and encouragement and a shot of confidence.

I can honestly say that, as a high school freshman, I would never have guessed that I'd be sending Mrs. H. facebook messages 11 years later. But here I am. And I am so grateful that I can send these messages and count on a reply that happens to be just what I need. (I've tried really hard to call her "Susan," but that just doesn't feel right. She'll always be my teacher.)

So thank you, Mrs. H., for being that person who understands me, or at least pretends to,on the days I just want to quit and on the days I feel like I just don't matter and the days I just feel like a crappy teacher.
I need to record here (and share with you) what she wrote, if only to save the words for when I next need them; pay special attention to the words I bold-ed. I wrote to her that I was struggling, and I didn't even know with what... 

"With not making an impact. With working your buns off while other teachers seem to coast. With teaching a test when you know that isn't what they need. With being treated like a warm body in the classroom, one that any dummy could replace and not miss a beat.

"All of which is a lie. Down deep somewhere you know that. The test is a test is a test. 

"What we prepare them for is life in a world we can't even imagine. In sixth grade, I was in a one room school that didn't have running water. Not one of my teachers ever imagined a world of computers and technology.

"You teach kids. You teach them to pay attention and turn in assignments on time, to express themselves using words, to read for information and for pleasure. You teach them to cooperate with each other and get along. I know you know how to teach and to write and to read. Make those ideas you have fit the programs. Do what you know is right."

Like I said... just what I needed. Thanks, Mrs. H. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kansas Adventures

Warning: this is a post with a LOT of pictures. 

When we were little, my mom (and sometimes my grandma, dad, and/or uncle) used to take us on Kansas Day Trips. We went so many places - to the Seelye Mansion, Dalton Gang Museum, the underground city in Ellinwood, Monument Rocks, to name a few. (And we got lost so many times. This was before mapquest. Or GPS.)

Some of my pictures are looking a little pixel-ated when I upload them. Weird.

Brad and I have been wanting to go on Kansas trips for a while now, especially since we don't get many big vacations while we're both in school. So yesterday we loaded up the dog (crazy us!) took off.

It wasn't really a tourist thing; we just stopped at a few random places. It was fun, though.

Our first stop was Teter Hill / Teter Rock / Teterville. My dad used to pasture cattle out on Teter Hill, and I remember a couple picnics on the spot. We once caught a horned toad there, which became a class pet. I think in 4th grade.

I even got to herd some cattle off the road on the way out! When we were headed back toward "town" (Cassoday), we ran into the owner of the cattle. He told us he had about 100 head missing. We saw probably 40-50 in our 12-mile ride out to the hill.

Teter Rock was put up by James Teter in the 1870's to guide pioneers to the Cottonwood River. This is not the original but a replacement erected as a memorial to James Teter in the 1950's. The original Teter Rock was used as building materials in the 1920's for the oil boom town Teterville, which lasted less than 40 years.

We also saw a herd of wild horses in the pasture next to Teter Hill.

I love the prairie!

Our second stop, and the real reason for the trip, was Chase State Fishing Lake, so Brad could fish.

I entertained myself by taking pictures...

...and watching the dog.

There are waterfalls by the lake that are pretty cool... when there's actually water to run down them. This was more like a trickle.

This is the stream bed that runs from the lake to the waterfalls.

We make a quick stop at the Chase County Courthouse. Unfortunately, there was a very modern Saturn Vue parked in front that hindered my picture-taking.

The third and final destination was the Clements Stone Arch Bridge. I've always seen the KDOT sign on Highway 50 but never ventured off the beaten path (in my defense, most times I was on a junior high sports bus and couldn't exactly stop). It is beautiful... but it's also in need of some restoration/cleanup. Thankfully someone's working toward that. The stone is all dry fit, which means there's no mortar; the limestone blocks are fit together by the skill of the mason. Amazing.

And for some strange reason I'm having trouble focusing on homework today. Huh.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


The other day I ran across this interesting article on busyness. You can read it HERE.

If you don't want to read it, here's the point:
Busyness is becoming a status symbol, something we take pride in. The busier we are, the more "full" our lives supposedly are. And so, we make ourselves busier and busier. But the busyness consumes us instead of filling us.

It's an interesting take on things. And it may be true of some people.

But I disagree, at least for me. I'm not busy just to be busy. I don't say "yes" just to have another thing to do or to pad my social resume. I carefully weigh my decisions, based on what my schedule already looks like and what the new commitment will add to it.

I am busy by choice, yes, but my busyness has a purpose. And that purpose is not a status symbol.

I work because I love my job. I know that what I do is important. And I am encouraged by my students on a daily basis.

I go to school because I have a passion for books and reading and public services. I am excited about the possibilities it will open to me. And I kind of like to learn.

I am involved in my church because it fills me. I do not commit to much. And I love my few commitments here - VBS, reading scripture, greeting...

But - I am not busy for the sake of being busy. I am not busy to the point where it consumes me. I am not so busy that I can't take an evening or a weekend off and do nothing or do only what I want to do at that particular moment. (Obviously, since I just made a laptop sleeve and another bag today.)

But it's something to think about, something to keep in mind... What do you think?

weekend projects

I made some time to sew this weekend. Here's what I came up with...

a laptop sleeve...

and yet another bag because that's just what I do...

I'm starting to think it won't really be feasible to sell stuff I sew. I mean, I timed the bag. It took approximately 2 hours from start to finish... And the supplies cost maybe $8. So to feel like I'm actually making a profit, I'd have to sell it for probably $25-$30. Would people really pay that much for a 15" x 17"  bag with three inside pockets? I'm doubtful. (And no, I'm not talking about selling stuff to people who sew because you're probably not going to buy something that you could make for $8 and a couple hours of your time. That's why I started making some of this stuff...)

Anyway, what do you think?!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

off the air

Today, we canceled our cable TV. (It's not actually off yet, because someone has to come to our house and physically turn it off. But we've officially called them out to do it.) Now we have a sweet little antenna. Seriously - no rabbit ears for us. We're too far out in the sticks for that to work. A big deal? Probably not to anyone who's reading this.

But, I've been told I should mention that it's the first time in Brad's life that he hasn't had cable or satellite. And we'll be saving a nice pile of cash on a monthly basis, so it's kind of a big deal to us. 

Instead of cable, we subscribed to Hulu Plus, so we can watch our TV shows the day after they air (because we do enjoy our shows... and once basketball starts and then we continue into track, we're often not home the nights of our shows...); we can stream it to our TV with our Roku (which we purchased for this purpose).

We also listed a few things on craigslist today. And already sold one. As in, they came over to pick it up and paid already. Crazy.

Well... there you have it, the big news in the Kohlman household. (Nothing exciting enough for pictures this week.) What's new with you?!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

the light by which you see

“Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.” 
-Flannery O'Connor