Sunday, December 30, 2012

Who Says You Can't Go Home

 Took this picture over my head while riding down to So Cal.  Joe and Lexie are annoyed because they both want to be in the front seat.
                                My old hangout.
                                   And I do mean Hang Out.
                       Rollerblade, tan, splash (sometimes.)
                                       This is new.
                                          This isn't.
 Neither is this.  This is my friend from when we were nine.  We looked a little different back then.  The picture is blurry and for that you must thank me.
 On the way back up THE FIVE.  We left while the going was good.  Snow was already blowing across the road.
 For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Grapevine, people have been known to be stuck up there for days.  It's not quite as bad as the Donner Pass, where people had to eat the dead people in their party to survive.  Not my type of party.
                        I'd rather eat here...Animal Style.
 When we got home, there was a gift from the people who handle our finances.  The gift was from Sur la Table, and it was packed in this way cool packing!
 Oh man!  I see an art project coming up!  Think of all the things I could do with this! There are several yards (and it's about 14 inches wide!) of this amazing stuff! I can't wait to get into my studio!
Oh, yeah, this cooking utensil was wrapped up in the wonderful packing stuff.  Cooking stores look like a store full of chores to me.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Teaching and Triage

 (My heart goes out to the people in CT whose lives have been changed forever.  I wrote this several years ago.  Revisiting it today.)
       Among my duties as a California public school teacher, I was to be prepared to rescue children from the rubble of an earthquake, should the Big One come along during school hours.  We had to be prepared for a worst-case-scenario-type event, such as the movement of the San Andreas Fault Line or what have you.  So, in addition to being trained in how to successfully teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, we had to be trained in the art of search and rescue, triage, and first aid.
         What people in the Real World, (our little term for people not in the “Ed Biz”) don’t know is, school personnel are prepared to stay at the site until the last child has been delivered to parents or authorities in the event of a calamity. We even had food, water, and blankets in our classrooms to sustain us overnight if the need arose.  I had nightmares about chaperoning a sleepover with twenty-eight frightened nine-year-olds.
There have been comprehensive studies done about what to expect at a school when a disaster occurs.  The findings were this:
         Parents will rush to the school, driving as far as they are able to, then abandon their cars and run the rest of the way in a hysterical manner.  The first arrivals will get fairly close to the school, many even parking on the schoolyard, as well as the yards of the neighboring houses.  The subsequent hysterical arrivals will be forced to abandon their cars increasingly farther back.  This activity will block any arriving rescue vehicles completely.  As I understand it, the opportunity for this study occurred when an errant boiler exploded at an elementary school somewhere in Texas. As a result of this study, the district administrators devised a complex plan to deal with any disaster that might befall us. 
We had an elaborate role-playing practice drill one day instead of regular class.  Several students and members of the staff were given little sealed envelopes containing tags that went around their necks to designate various injuries ranging from cuts to concussions.  Some had tags that simply informed them that they were dead. 
I already knew that I was to be a member of the Search and Rescue Team. This designation was probably given to me because I was in robust health and had given everyone the impression that I was calm under duress. 
They didn’t know about the little dance I do when there is an emergency.  (I call it my Turkey’s on Fire Dance, so called because I first performed it when a turkey I was cooking in a too-small pan set my oven on fire. It looks somewhat as if I have wasps in my underwear and one of my feet is nailed down. ) 
On the big day, the secret disaster code-bell rang.  Everyone went into action.  After delivering each of my ambulatory students to a pre-designated safe place and hanging the proper colored tag upon my classroom door, (red for dead and yellow for injured, and green for empty) I went on to my searching and rescuing. 
I went into a classroom with a “dead” third grader in it.  Now, you and I both know that most kids play dead with their eyes shut.  This one had his eyes open, fixed and staring at nothing.  There he was with his little Dead Tag hanging around his neck, not moving, not blinking, and most amazing, not giggling.  He didn’t even break character when I said,
 “Wow!  You’re GOOD!!” 
I waved my hand in front of his face.  Nothing. 
He didn’t budge when I said,
“OK, You. Get on the stretcher.” 
No, my partner and I had to LIFT his limp, chubby, lifeless body onto the stretcher and carry him all the way to the triage dead pile.

  If that kid isn’t acting in movies by now, someone dropped the ball.

         Teachers are champions of multi-tasking, and I mean The Best.  However I was always worried about those colored tags.  Really!  How was I going to gather crying, mortally frightened children, hack my way out of a room, (We were told the doors were likely to stick shut due to the twisting of the building in the quake.) all while determining whether a child might be dead or merely injured?  I was guessing that the proper colored door tags were crucial.  What if I thought someone was dead but he was only severely injured?  Sometimes that isn’t clear, unless, of course the head happens to be severed from the body.  More nightmares.
         When the opportunity came to retire, freedom from this worry was the first thing I thought of.  The second thing I did was pray that the Big One would just hold off until June.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Scarlet's Run Thanksgiving

Carl and Bobccc
The Driveway to Scarlet's Run

The Scarlet's Run Homestead

John, The Barista 

Preparing for the Bonfire

Rob Cooking

Lillie and Mollie


Halie Dancing with her Grandpa

Mikey, Down at the Creek

Mom and Ray

Rachel, Jack, John, Mikey, Page, and Joey

NorCal granddaughter and Martie
John, Jack and Rachel

What My Mama Started
The Children and Grandies

                         Other things to do during the Four Day Party.
Princessify the puppy.

Find the frog-s in the dining room jungle
It was a normal Thanksgiving, if there is such a thing.

  Nobody had to get stitches.  No one called the cops, but I feel sure that is because we are out here in the wilderness. There was a very loud encounter with a frog that has been living in the jungle in my dining room.  I didn’t mind him, but then I wasn’t sleeping on a blow-up mattress on the floor.

We didn’t set the house on fire.  We came close when someone put a towel on the stove and someone else turned the burner on underneath it, but thanks to my cat-like reflexes, there was no need to call the Whitmore Volunteer Department.

No one actually counted but we estimated almost fifty relatives came out to share the beauty of Scarlet’s Run.  (Rob and Jen’s spot “next door” to us.)  We had live music, delicious food, good wine, happy people, singing and dancing, and two of the cutest little tots to cuddle.

Every now and then someone would call out over the happy noise, and tell of something for which he or she was exceedingly grateful.

I believe well over two hundred photographs were taken.  You can view some of them on my blog if you wish. (Blog address below.)

As night began to tiptoe in, we moved the party to a roaring bonfire.  We sat around it on bales of hay and chairs for the elders.  The guitars were tuned up and we all enjoyed some superb singing.  There are people in this great extended family who rival anyone on The Voice, and that’s a fact.

When it got late, we split up between the two houses, and two camper trailers, and made beds on sofas and blew up mattresses for the floor space. The lights went off and people began to settle in for some sleep.

That was when the frog jumped on my brother’s hand.

Now, I had told them about my frog named Prince, who was a very loud croaker and could also throw his voice.  Yes. It was a ventriloquist frog. I liked it that he was in my dining room jungle, but worried that he might get lonely or hungry.  My clown ninja tried to catch him once but he jumped causing Ninja Boy to jump and Prince got away.  Now that he had hopped on my brother, the lights came back on and the hunt was on.

Oh the screaming and squealing!  How could a little frog the size of a half-dollar coin, cause such an uproar! 

When the frog was safely outside, and three generations of family were pumped full of adrenalin, there came a very loud “Ribbit!” from the plants.


Another one? So that’s how it threw its voice.  Now they began to look for the second frog, quietly scanning each leaf visually.  Brother-Boy grabbed my sister and granddaughter from behind and yelled, “Ribbit!”  Oh the blood curdling screams!  If we had close neighbors, the sheriff would have been here forty-five minutes later to take a report.
More than likely we would have still been squealing.  We weren’t able to free frog number two until the next day.

Balloon Award

Work a puzzle with several family members

Go shopping on *Shop Local Saturday*

Perform Scientific Experiments Involving
Ivory Soap and a Microwave

Have Coffee on the Deck

The Final Mess

And Now It Is Time To Put The Orange Stuff Away
And Get Out The Red and Green Stuff