Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Books and Memorial Service

This past Saturday I attended Edna's memorial service. Edna was a neighbor, friend and a fellow book lover.

I first met Edna about 17 years ago while attending a Friends of the Library booksale at  my local library. Year before I met Edna, she and her husband had been the founding members of our local Friends of the Library group. When I met Edna, the friends group was already organizing monthly booksales and generating a nice income for the friends.
Edna encouraged me to volunteer and told that I could bring my young daughter with me. That is how my volunteering with the local friends group started. Edna was always there--sometimes with even a walker when walking was difficult. She always smiled! She was patient with us volunteers who sometimes had ideas that did not mesh with hers. Edna never minded my daughter sitting on the floor while I was organizing books or cleaning selves. Maybe this is one of the reasons my daughter grew up admiring Edna as well.
Edna was involved in many other ways in our community as well, but I will always remember Edna and her books. She was always reading. She knew so much about books! And after a career at a university library, she still had the passion to volunteer, and make sure books got "recycled" in the right way while at the same time raising money for our local library.
Edna is gone, but her legacy will live in our community and in our lives. Because of Edna and the other founding members, our local friends of the library group now operates an actual bookstore at our library! It is staffed with volunteers and open daily! I have the privilege of volunteering there once a week and I love it!
Edna, you will be missed!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sometimes, when I write....

Inspired by Kate Messner's blog on September 21, 2012:

Sometimes, when I write the words that scream to be out and put on the paper (or screen). Other times, the scenarios are quite different:
I want to find the write word, but I don't know it in English.
I know that I am a good writer, but the words that I want to use don't translate into  English in the right way.
I know the vowel sounds in English--at least the simple ones, but why does /a/ have so many different sounds? Wouldn't one be enough?
And what is with the /ck/ when you only pronounce one of letters anyway?
Sometimes, when I write, I just can't the write vowel sound no matter what I try. Should I rely on the spell checker?

Sometimes, when I write, I want to use an online dictionary to help me. I know the word I want to use--just not in English. I write the word /tärkeä/ on the online translator, and I get 12 different words as the translation! Which one should I choose? See the difference:
This message is very important.
This message is very urgent.
This message is very consequential.
This message is very material.
This message is very seminal.
This message is very grave.
Sometimes, when I write, translations confuse me.

Sometimes, when I write, I get all mixed up with the prepositions in English.
I mean, think: You have to "turn off" the lights but you "close the book". Why can't you "close off the book"? And please don't tell me that would change the
meaning--I hear that all the time. What about the word "at"? We are "at" school, and don't yell "at" me? How is there consistency in this usage?
Sometimes, when I write, the mechanics of English pull me down.

But other times, when I write, I don't care if  my language is perfect; I just want my words to tell the story. I want my words to touch somebody. I want my
words--even when they are imperfect--to carry a message to  my readers.

Sometimes, when I write, it is not about perfect grammar or following an English lesson, it is about the fun, the enjoyment that writing brings into my life. I write because I want to!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mandatory conference attendance and God's strength

         Friday night I just started feeling it. Saturday morning, tired, but no other problems. Saturday late afternoon, exhaustion arrived. Didn't get much done. Sunday morning I had to really push myself to go to church. After church I had lunch with my daughter. Part of the conversation dealt with doctors; when to call them; appointments; new insurance and actually making the phone call.  Then it was time to go to my classroom and make sub plans for two days so that I can attend the Special Populations two day conference. Sub plans done, headed home.
         After a few texts to firm  up Monday morning meeting time and place, it was early to bed. I was ready. I could hardly keep my eyes open. Then it happened; the cough started! I would get up, and I would be fine. I would lay down, and it would start. I was supposed to get plenty of rest before driving to the conference!!!! 4:45am....I had to get up. Thought that maybe a cup of tea would soothe my throat and easy my cough. Come to find out, all the teabags had gone with my daughter! Really??? Oh yeah, I found candy cane tea bags, but they just did not tempt me that early in the morning.
        Little before six I texted my coworker and asked if she could drive instead of me. I felt that my reflexes might not work as fast after not really sleeping much. I was also thinking that I could have possible called in sick if I did not have this conference to go to. Well, a trip to the CVS and a chat with the pharmacist equipped me with the right kind of medicine--with promises that it will start working in an hour.
       My coworker and I met at a dark commuter lot (why they don't have even a single light there is beyond my comprehension). She drove and we chatted! (Translate: I am staying awake!) About 45 minutes into the trip I noticed that I am starting to feel better! Thanks Mr. Pharmacist! The trip went fast. We had not really had the chance to talk much since school started so this was a great chance for that. Now I am at home again, thankful for good friends and coworkers who care! Getting ready to go to sleep early, so that I can wake up again early. After all, I am planning to post this before I leave for the conference!
       What is my lesson learned? God will give you strength when you feel week; He will sustain you with energy when you feel yours is disappearing; He will provide friends and coworkers for this journey that education is; and He will help you stay awake even if the speaker (or speakers) are not the most engaging!  And remember, He will walk with you, before you, and at times, He will even carry you! I really think He carried me for a while today!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day Reflection Poem

Binders on the shelf
files--well, still a bit of a mess.
Books organized and
checkout clipboard is ready.
Smartboard is working
just need the sound.
Phone rings, but
what is my extension?

New teachers
excited and willing to learn
Veteran teachers
still excited
to welcome 
the new school year.

and lets us not forget
Just a few for all
of us to memorize and use.

Writer's notebooks are 
waiting for students
Ideas are stirring in my brain
they want to exit really fast!
What am I forgetting?
Oh yeah, syllabus is printed
and copied. 
First day survey is on the table
Rules and procedures--we
will write them together
a bit later today!

Students--can't wait to welcome you!
Whether you are new
or old
I will welcome you!
Whether you speak English or not
I will teach you.
Whether you want to be in school
or not
I will do my best to teach you.

Students--can't wait to welcome you!