August 29, 2012

rollercoaster ride.

Our apartment has been a rollercoaster of emotions this past week. 


This week we are off to Chattanooga to cross another item off the Fort Campbell Bucket List!

So excited for a long weekend and quality time with Grant.

PS. In 3 weeks, I have dropped 4 min and 46 sec off my mile time thanks to Boot Camp!

August 25, 2012


Too Busy for a Friend?

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of
their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as
the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never knew that I meant
anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most
of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they
discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The
exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with
themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a lot.'

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.
'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his
pocket 'They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might
recognize it.'

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can see, Mark treasured it.'

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my
desk at home.'

Chuck's wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.'

'I have mine too,' Marilyn said. 'It's in my diary'

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all times,' Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I
think we all saved our lists'

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end
one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and
important. Tell them, before it is too late.

***My Grandma sent me this email 
so I can do this activity with my next group of students***

THE BLUEBERRY STORY : A Businessman Learns a Lesson

My Grandpa forwarded this email to me a long time ago...but with all my teacher friends starting school it seemed time to share this story with the rest of the world (or at least those of you who read our blog). Happy new backpacks, fresh lunchboxes, sharpened crayons, perfectly picked school outfits, and living for the weekend!
THE BLUEBERRY STORY : A Businessman Learns a Lesson

by Jamie Robert Vollmer
"If I ran my business the way you people operate your schools, I wouldn't be in business very long!"

I stood before an auditorium filled with outraged teachers who were becoming angrier by the minute. My speechhad entirely consumed their precious 90 minutes of in-service.

Their initial icy glares had turned to restless agitation. You could cut the hostility with a knife.

I represented a group of business people dedicated to improving public schools. I was an executive at an ice cream company that became famous in the middle 1980s when People Magazine chose our blueberry as the "Best Ice Cream in America."

I was convinced of two things. First, public schools needed to change; they were archaic selecting and sorting mechanisms designed for the industrial age and out of step with the needs of our emerging knowledge society." Second, educators were a major part of the problem: they resisted change, hunkered down in their feathered nests, protected by tenure and shielded by a bureaucratic monopoly.

They needed to look to business. We knew how to produce quality.

Zero defects! TQM! Continuous improvement! In retrospect, the speech was perfectly balanced -- equal parts ignorance and arrogance.

As soon as I finished, a woman's hand shot up. She appeared polite, pleasant -- she was, in fact, a razor-edged, veteran, high school English teacher who had been waiting to unload.

She began quietly, "We are told, sir, that you manage a company that makes good ice cream."
I smugly replied , "Best ice cream in America, Ma'am."

"How nice," she said. "Is it rich and smooth?" 
"Sixteen percent butterfat," I crowed.

"Premium ingredients?" she inquired.
"Super-premium! Nothing but triple A." I was on a roll. I never saw the next line coming.
"Mr. Vollmer," she said, leaning forward with a wicked eyebrow raised to the sky, "when you are standing on your receiving dock and you see an inferior shipment of blueberries arrive, what do you do?"

In the silence of that room, I could hear the trap snap. I was dead meat, but I wasn't going to lie. "I send them back."

"That's right!" she barked, "and we can never send back our blueberries. We take them big, small, rich, poor, gifted, exceptional, abused, frightened, confident, homeless, rude, and brilliant. We take them all: GT, ADHD, ADD, SLD, EI, MMR, OHI, TBI, DD, Autistic, junior rheumatoid arthritis, English as their second language, etc.

We take them all! Everyone!  And that, Mr. Vollmer, is why it's not a business. It's school!"

In an explosion, all 290 teachers, principals, bus drivers, aides, custodians and secretaries jumped to their feet and yelled, "Yeah! Blueberries! Blueberries!"

And so began my long transformation. Since then, I have visited hundreds of schools. I have learned that a school is not a business.

Schools are unable to control the quality of their raw material, they are dependent upon the vagaries of politics for a reliable revenue stream, and they are constantly mauled by a howling horde of disparate, competing customer groups that would send the best CEO screaming into the night.

None of this negates the need for change. We must change what, when, and how we teach to give all children maximum opportunity to thrive in a postindustrial society. But educators cannot do this alone; these changes can occur only with the understanding, trust, permission and active support of the surrounding community.

For the most important thing I have learned is that schools reflect the attitudes, beliefs and health of the communities they serve, and therefore, to improve public education means more than changing our schools, it means changing America.

Please share THE BLUEBERRY STORY with teachers, parents, politicians and everyone interested in education.

August 23, 2012

“I believe in pink, I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” — Audrey Hepburn

August 15, 2012

Yay UC Davis!

UC Davis was voted the #1 Coolest School in America by Sierra Magazine!

Here's the video for UC Davis.  

Can't wait until we're back in California and Grant can finally experience Picnic Day!

August 13, 2012

best part of the closing ceremony...

The Opening Ceremony was a little weird for me.  I didn't understand it...the friends at our party didn't understand it...  However, the Spice Girls at the Closing Ceremony completely made up for it!

August 9, 2012

New Book Reviews: The Kennedy Family

I have always loved Jackie O's style. And I've always been fascinated by the Kennedy family.  There success politically, professionally, personally combined with the constant tragedy that is now known as the Kennedy Curse has keep me intrigued.

A year and a half ago I was looking for a good book to read, and stumbled upon The Kennedy Detail while at our local library.  Growing up in my family, I've been surrounded by patriotism, politics, and even a few political campaigns and have always been a little bit obsessed with what life in the White House is actually like.  The Kennedy Detail was a great book about what it is really like to be a member of the Secret Service and what it was like to be on the Kennedy detail.

 The Kennedy Detail

Right before we left for block leave, I was loading my kindle app with books for the trip.  I found a new release called Mrs. Kennedy and Me.  This book was written by her agent in charge and details his entire time on her detail from the news that Kennedy was the president-elect until a year after his assassination.  It details the day to day life with the first lady.  She craved privacy and wanted to be able to do spur of the moment things- which clearly kept Clint Harris on his toes.
Mrs. Kennedy and Me

Both books illustrate the extreme guilt the agents feel for the president's assassination.  It is clear that these books were written not only to educate the public, but also to act as a way for these agents to release some of their guilt and begin to heal.  Both books are a must read!

August 7, 2012

August 6, 2012

Boot Camp!

After four years of being sick...and almost a year of learning to manage life with POTS, I started Boot Camp today.  I've heard my friend Amy talk about Boot Camp for a long time, but it hasn't been until recently that my body has been at a point where I felt comfortable pushing my heart rate that high.

But....I recently invested in this cool, new gadget from Amazon.

The Polar FT4F Heart Rate Monitor and Watch.  I know it looks purple online; but I was pleasantly surprised that it is actually bright pink in real life!  It completely tracks everything during my work out and allows me to feel safe while working out.  No more worrying about my POTS creeping up on me.

The women are great and I'm already feeling sore from this morning.  Can't wait for Wednesday!

August 3, 2012

Flashback Friday

As I was driving to work yesterday...this song came on the radio...

Reminds me of high school and Yearbook Camp...yes that's right, Yearbook Camp.

What's been your flashback moment of the week?
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