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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Here I Am Baby (I [almost]B40)

Spring has sprung in South Texas. And, with exception to yesterday's vicious-mad-tornadic-hail rainstorms which pounded several surrounding areas, left some nice rain in others and our place with a mere 1/2 inch [Hubby might be complaining but I'm not; 1/2 inch vs. tornadoes and hail is a fair swap], I am happily enjoying the sunshine and heat!

Today was a great day and not too warm; perfection by Hubby's standards and the wind was way loooow. But, I'll take the sunshine with triple indices heat and all.

It is when I blossom and bloom and my spirit rises to the sky, the clouds and I feel all warm and shiny inside. I break free of winter's binding and spread my colorful wings [and wear lots of shorts, tanks and capris!]

After my appointment and seeing my [GYN] doctor for the annual [prodding], she looked fabulous! She's been eating right and exercising and all those things I've forgotten to do lately or postponed on the check list over the house, laundry, music, school, studies, subbing, girl scouts, dance, entertaining friends, weddings, birthday parties - blah, blah and so much more.

THIS song was on the radio on the way home from that appointment this morning and the sun was glazing through my windshield, every so glamorously and I thought - TOTALLY!

And, I found it two fold because after seeing how awesome my doc is looking I made a vow that I can be that too! Even at 40. I can lose that stupid ring around the waistline that has been plague-ing me (and growing by leaps ever so happily since 2012 has arrived) and I can feel better about myself. Why give at 40?


See how I did that whole bring it back around to a great jazzy song to get your going? I'm all cool like that! Especially, when I'm blossoming! ;-)

Happy Hump-day. I'm TOTALLY putting some 'dignity in it'!


Thursday, April 12, 2012


As some of you who read me regularly know, I've mentioned the new standardized test, the STAAR test, that is being implemented into the Texas educational system this year - in replacement of the TAKS test.

People had issues with the TAKS test because they felt like the teachers had to basically spend half the school year 'teaching the test'. Although, the test was supposed to be an assessment of A) are the students learning and, B) are the teachers teaching and/or teaching the information effectively.

[NOTE: Teachers out there, this is just my understanding as a parent. I realize there are a lot of other factors at play within the reasoning and requirements of State Standardized Testing. And, this post is in no way any negative reflection of all that you do - because we truly need our good, dedicated, caring teachers.]

The TAKS test basically required the students to regurgitate what they had learned at particular levels within their education.

The STAAR test, from everything I've read, heard, learned, ease-dropped, etc, is more of a critical thinking type test. The children have to apply what they have learned, reason that knowledge, and implement it into 'figuring out' various problems, questions and scenarios = cognitive thinking.

This is great. Although, the teachers and everyone says 'we have NO IDEA what the actual test will be like'. I myself have researched online to find 'practice' test that may or may not be similar. I've also been directed to and have visited the New York Educational Site for Standardized testing as I've learned that our test in Texas is mirrored after the testing New York has already had implemented for the past few years. And, believe you me - I printed them out so my kids can have reviews/exercises to work on while we travel this summer. I don't want any brains going to mush...

What I've seen my kids bring home so far and the methods their teachers are using to guide them through their exercises seem appropriate. Although, many of them require three and four steps to mentally process before arriving at the final answer. And, I'm talking third grade here - not Junior High. Even I have to think them through, and weigh each step. I found myself silently working a test when I was subbing one day [4th grade] because the students had questions - I had to understand the process on each problem (this was math) so that I could help them 'think' on the right track without giving them the answer.

It was quite enlightening. [And, I realized I rely waaay to much on google and my calculator] :-P

With all of this STAAR this, and STAAR that, I realized last night that the kids are feeling the pressure. Lil'Gal brought this to my attention because she was crying last night at bedtime worried that 'if I don't do well on the STAAR test I'll fail third grade!' This is an A-A/B Honor roll child. This is a child who puts every effort forward to make the grade and is very hard on herself when she doesn't succeed to the level of accountability she holds for herself.

She received a 71 on the practice STAAR math test. Mind you, the teacher mentioned to me that the entire class failed it with exception of a couple - Lil'Gal and I'm guessing her friend who she studies with a lot is probably the one who made an 80 on it. SCARY. These two gals are the top in their class.

This year, the test 'doesn't count'. So, I guess we all should sit back with relief and just do our best and see what happens, right? Wrong. We've got to get it right this year so that next year we don't get smacked upside the head.

I did explain to Lil'Gal that this year it won't count against her. And, that the teachers aren't even sure exactly what the test will entail other than requiring more processed thinking skills and cognitive thinking = thinking out of the box and applying what is learned to new and different situations/problems.

I explained to her that this test THIS YEAR is testing the students knowledge as well as the teachers ability to prepare the students for this test. That is is a gauge in which to see where everyone is and how the educational system can best help everyone learn better. I explained that depending on how the scores come in the state can reevaluate the test for next year and provide better curriculum to prepare for it.

I know that sounds like a lot to explain to an almost 9 year old - but, she got it and her anxiety level came down a bit. And, she was able to think about happy thoughts and finally go to sleep. Pondering on this last night I thought back to my childhood. We think our kids are just kids but they have a lot going on in those minds of theirs. I remember the stress and anxiety I had at that age wanting to make THE GRADE.

So, I've reminded myself. While I need to impress the importance of making The Grade I also need to be aware and compassionate of the effort my children are putting into it and praise them for those efforts more. Not that I don't already. I guess last night just reopened my eyes to see the inside as well as the out.

Well, its time to feed those brains and bodies to prepare them for another day of learning so I best get off the LT. Hope you have a 'cognitive' Thursday!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Seems like most my posts lately have began, been totally about, full circled or ended in music. So is the flow of my brain.

Today I've up'd, readied, fed kids hot breakfast, delivered them to school, finished the large grocery shopping list, put away said groceries, made a trip into 'the city' to pick up Mom's prescription (this type of med can not be called in, faxed, emailed or otherwise transmitted electronically),. Back to the house, finish with a few things make several appointments for the week/next week (on the phone, y'all know I hate actually 'talking' on the phone. Thank goodness most appointments confirm via text message these days, LOL!)

I mixed up a quick salad with a homemade salad dressing that included a healthy serving of horseradish - SHLURP! - and, now I'm out the door to deliver Mom's prescription to her pharmacy about 45 miles away then to return asap another 75 miles to get back to the kids school in time to do some volunteer stuff for Lil'Gal's teacher and then pick up the youngin's for early release Wednesday. Needless to say I'll have put over 200 miles on my SUV when all is said and done today.

Dinner is pretty much set to thrown in the dutch oven for 45 minutes this afternoon for something delicious the family will rave about as if I slaved. [Don'tcha love those kind of meals?]

Anyhow, THIS song has been in my head ALL. DAY. LONG. So, as with all things of this nature I've downloaded to iTunes and will play it in the Chariot over and over and over and over until my brain has had enough that it will either reset or at least remedy itself with a new tune.

So, with that I'll leave you pumping it up :-)

Oh Hot D@MN! THIS is MY JAM!

Oh yeah - happy Hump-Day!!!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Somethin' 'bout a truck

I remember when I first met my husband and me and the girls would see him when we went out dancin'. Then, I kind of regrouped (you know, an after New Year's kind of thing) and I hadn't been going out as much. My friend kept telling me that Hubby had been asking about me and wanted to know if he could have my number.

Now, I didn't give my number out like that but since I'd met him through another dance partner, who happened to also be a farmer, I told her "OK, but make sure he knows I don't usually give my number out like this." "She replied, "OK. Oh, BTW? Have you seen his truck?"

So, this song strikes a note with me not to mention the rhythm and the lyrics are awesome!

FYI, when I finally did see his truck on our first date it was a crew cab, 4WD, long bed Ford Pick up truck - Aggie maroon. SWOON! His friends from college had nick named it the freight train. :-D

Anyhow, I must say. There is something about a truck. So, I leave you with my newest, favorite [country] song. For those who aren't crazy about country this is an instrumental type song. I watched a YouTube video where he and two friends played their guitars and picked the notes of the song while one strummed the rhythm. Really cool!

Now get out there and enjoy this beautiful weather! We are having another day full of warmth, spring, and sunshine! I'm going to get outside and clean my windows!!

Happy Sunday!