What Vice? Just Look Around.

Thomas Jefferson quote

We do not have to look very far to hear, to see, to even experience something that has vice written all over it. In one respect, a vice can be characterized by corruption. In another respect, a vice can be characterized by immoral conduct. Try to think of every negative behavior…each one is a vice. We hear about vice on the news virtually 24 hours a day.

We need some positive news at some point. We do need honest, direct, and current news. Why do we give such news coverage with seemingly unlimited time limits to people who are determined to be residents in a den of iniquity? Perhaps they are just desperate for publicity. Perhaps they are have been made transparent in a very sad way…so transparent that there is nothing left to resemble decent behavior.

 Could it be drug use? Maybe. Poor education? Lack of a conscience? No respect for laws? Determination to go against the acceptable norm? Absent childhood? Absent parents? Absent morals? Absent character? All of the above?

 Vice. I do not think that someone is just born that way. Perhaps, I am mistaken. Maybe they have a propensity towards inappropriate behavior at birth. The argument arises again regarding nature versus nurture. I have to take into consideration that people are greatly influenced by the set of circumstances that are present in their lives. Why? Why? Why?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/vice/

 

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Dr. Anita L. Archer. Literacy Expert.

 

 

River picture-confidence

Anita L. Archer, PhD

When I was a Reading First Literacy Coach from 2007 through 2009, I had the unparalleled honor of hearing Dr. Archer give the most outstanding presentation of my teaching career. Several colleagues and I were in Houston, TX,  to attend a state Reading First Conference. We chose  several break-out sessions that were of particular interest to us personally. The most strategic information from the conference came from a major address by Dr. Archer.

She spoke to a large audience as if we were in a small staff meeting as she walked back and forth across the room. My attention did not move from her voice for any amount of time. Her focus was on engaging the young literacy learner in the classroom…how to bring a five, six, seven year old child to total involvement in your teaching…    how to manage your classroom by using repetitive words and motions. I have attached a video in this post. It shows Dr. Archer in an actual classroom putting just a few of her methods into action. Fascinating.

When the grant ended for Reading First in my school district, I chose to return to the classroom. I had finished my master’s in Educational Administration and intended to move forward in my career, but I totally missed being in a regular classroom. Part of my decision to return to teaching came as a result of Dr. Archer’s speech. I could hardly wait to use her ideas in my own classroom.

Each and every strategy worked right away. I was thrilled and thankful that I had the opportunity to  hear a true expert teach… in a way that I had wondered about and considered. To teach in a way that seemed comfortable and inclusive to me and to the children. Included on YouTube are complete videos of presentations from Dr. Archer, in addition to short portions of her teaching methods. When I think of the word “expert”, I cannot think of a better personal example.

picture of Dr. Anita ArcherExplicit Instruction.

Effective and Efficient Teaching.

How Well You Teach =How Well They Learn

Anita L. Archer, PhD, is an educational consultant to school districts on explicit instruction, the design and delivery of instruction, behavior management, and literacy instruction. She has taught elementary and middle school students and is the recipient of 10 awards honoring her excellence in teaching and contribution to the field of education. Dr. Archer has served on the faculties of San Diego State University, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Oregon in Eugene. She is nationally known for her professional development activities, having presented in every state over the course of her 40-year career.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/expert/

The Best Creamed Corn Ever!

Creamed Corn.jpg

Texas Style Creamed Corn

Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ has unbelievably delicious Creamed Corn…the best that I have ever, ever tasted. Honestly, I have driven out of my way to Rudy’s and just ordered Creamed Corn. No chopped brisket sandwich. I promise…nothing else. Just Creamed Corn.

I have searched high and low, asked friends, talked to a Rudy’s manager, and I couldn’t find a recipe replica. The recipe that I have been using for the last four years or so is very close to the real thing…close enough to satisfy anyone who has a Rudy’s craving. I found one good recipe and changed it a bit here and and a bit there!

If you have not been to a Rudy’s, you won’t know what to compare the recipe to! Don’t worry…you can say you have almost been to Rudy’s when you try this Creamed Corn! Rudy’s are located mostly in Texas and they have a few restaurants in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. I have not heard of any other locations lately.

I have been making this Creamed Corn recipe every single Thanksgiving for several years. The recipe is for a large amount of people…so you might want to make a half recipe and cook it for a shorter amount of time. I have always made the large recipe! Get your crock pot out and ready for this super easy recipe!

 Creamed Corn…Close to Rudy’s Version!

4 pounds frozen sweet corn

2 packages (8oz size) cream cheese (cut into small cubes)

1/2 cup salted butter (one stick)

1 cup heavy whipping cream (do not whip!)

5 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon black pepper (I add a bit more after cooking)

1/2 teaspoon salt (that’s all the salt…really!)

Throw everything into a crock pot and stir so ingredients are well combined. Cook on medium for four hours. Stir every 30 minutes or so. I usually turn the crock pot to low for the last hour!

  ENJOY YOUR TEXAS STYLE CORN!!

Super Engaging Book #6

It's Raining, It's Pouring

A Wonderful Children’s Book… It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

Featuring “It’s Raining” (on CD) by Peter, Paul and Mary

Book Release Date: July 1, 2012

 

 

Original Recording of “It’s Raining”, 1962

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.

Illustrated by Christine Davenier

Two years ago, I happened to find this book and CD combination when wandering through the children’s area at Barnes & Noble. I was not aware of the book when it was first published in 2012. I missed two years of watching my children at school become totally enchanted by the song and the whimsical, child-like illustrations.

The entire class was singing the song within two days. They would ask every day if we could sing and read what the class called…

  The Rain Song

Honestly, the book’s popularity in my classroom lasted the entire remainder of the school year. The very  same reaction occurred this past year…especially on rainy days! The class wrote about the book in their journals, illustrated the book, completed numerous sequence of events projects, discussed the book among themselves…  a myriad of activities are possible with It’s Raining, It’s Pouring as the catalyst. The children’s response is the exact result that I would love to have from every book!

The book and the illustrations are truly fun for students and for teachers. The following two paragraphs are portions of Editorial Reviews for It’s Raining, It’s Pouring:

1. Publisher’s Weekly

Davenier’s fluid artwork illustrated the lyrics to Peter, Paul, and Mary’s 1962 recording of “It’s Raining. When rain interrupts a group of kids’ outdoor fun, they head indoors to play hide-and-seek. The folk trio’s lyrics reference the game, and the verses draw in other nursery rhymes (Hey Diddle Diddle; Star Light, Star Bright). One child reads in bed to the ailing “old man” (Grandpa) who bumped his head on a flowerpot. A sweet-natured interpretation with a happy ending…Grandpa is certainly capable of getting up in the morning!

2. School Library Journal

This cozy picture book illustrates the classic song. The appropriately watery, dreamy “illustrations corresponds perfectly with” the lyrics, creating a variety of side stories for readers to enjoy. When the rain starts, Grandpa bumps his head. Meanwhile, Grandma bakes an apple pie and kids peek out from every corner of the delightful house in an indoor game of hide-and-seek. Colorful watercolors provide appealing details and perspectives. The CD features this song and two others, and the illustrations work beautifully with the haunting melody. Both the book and the “new” recording fortunately omit the song’s orginal very sad verse: “Lady Bug, Lady Bug, fly away home, etc.

As Kirkus Reviews states: The original song with its three-part “harmony” is deliciously imagined on these pages.  I totally agree with the reviewers and recommend this book for children, teachers, parents, grandparents, and those who love children’s books like I do. Sometimes a children’s book will bring back such happy memories of your own childhood experiences. After I heard this book the first time, I remembered playing hide-and-seek with my cousins at our grandparent’s home. I even remembered the magnolia tree in the front yard, the driveway, and the white two story house across the street. I had not thought about playing at “MeMa and PePa’s” house for years. I loved that house on Noel Drive and I love this book for bringing joy to my class and remembered joy to me!

My Falling Down Mistakes.

falling down

Response to Daily Prompt: Mistake

I am not even embarrassed by falling anymore. Why bother? I am eventually going to fall down again and probably fairly soon. You would think that I would spend so much time being embarrassed. So much wasted time. I might as well keep trying to stay upright. After all…these falling down moments are just mistakes. The sidewalks are making mistakes. The stairs are making mistakes.

Sometimes, just one step up or down can make a mistake. Or maybe…a rug makes a mistake. Rugs are not very dependable. They tend to behave poorly. They get in my way. I am the moving person and rugs are supposed to be rather stagnate objects. Rugs evidently have not received the message.

Or perhaps I have not received the message. I am either incredibly clumsy, possess a short supply of balance, have a short attention span, or I am just talking too much. It is difficult to talk and receive instructions about stairs, slippery floors, or uneven rocks when I have so much that I need to say. I have to step up to the plate and admit that I have a problem.

My problem is that I really do fall A LOT. People who know me really don’t think anything about these mistakes. “Oh…there she is…on the floor again. Don’t worry. She can figure out how to get up.” If I really did badly hurt myself, I would have to either scream louder that a baby who wants a pacifier or hope that I can reach my cell phone. Or perhaps I could just ignore the pain. I have experience ignoring the pain.

Listed are my most memorable falls…better known as simple balance mistakes:

1. I was happily walking out our front sidewalk to get the newspaper. Our neighbor said “Good Morning” from across the street. I waved to her just as I stepped onto the grass to take a few steps towards the newspaper. My right foot missed the grass and stepped into a plastic utility box in the ground. The box has something to do with the yard sprinkler system. Of course, I did not look down to see that the lid was off. I fell down while twisting my ankle. My ankle wasn’t the biggest problem. I also completely tore a ligament in my right hand. Surgery was required and pins placed right above my wrist. I did not get along with those pins. The doctor was so glad when I recovered and he didn’t have to hear my complaining.

2. We were having our annual pre-Thanksgiving luncheon for the children when I taught at our church Day School. Such a fun day for the teachers and the children. We had all of the children sit on the floor in a huge circle. We sang songs, told the Thanksgiving story, and every child received a plate of turkey, dressing, applesauce, and I can’t remember what else. While I was walking around helping to give each child juice and more juice, I slipped on that applesauce. Down, down, down. I broke my right arm in two places. I drove myself to the hospital even though my husband’s office was just 10 minutes away. Independent. My car was stick shift…such a cool car. So difficult to drive with a broken arm. Before I got to the hospital, my arm was swollen so much that they could not put on the cast for three days.

3. Three years ago, I decided to move a few pieces of furniture in the family room at our farm. There was absolutely no reason for the furniture change. My husband was doing something really important on a tractor…not in a pasture near the house. Therefore, he couldn’t hear his cell phone ring when I called him about my newest fall. I barely could reach my phone. It had flown out of my pocket. I fell between the sofa and an ottoman. I broke my right thumb. Instead of being slightly curved, my thumb is now totally curved. Quite hideous. I could have surgery, but it is so close to the area where I had those pins. My memories are keeping me from having the thumb fixed. I drop things constantly. The children at school were thrilled to walk behind me and pick up the papers that I dropped.

4. I have two knee replacements…yes, titanium knees…as a result of my dramatic icy sidewalk fall. I was walking into the Texas Girls’ Choir building one afternoon after teaching school all day. The ice on the streets had melted and the sidewalks at my school were fine. The ice at the choir building was staying around for a while. I stepped onto the sidewalk while holding five large notebooks. Of course, I fell down. I fell directly on both knees, but I saved those notebooks!! Totally ruined my knees.

5. Several years after my knees had been replaced, I had my most distressful fall of all. It happened on voting day when Barack Obama was elected president. The weekend before election day, we had dinner with a large group of friends. The conversation turned to politics. I should have just kept quiet. I did not keep quiet even when my husband said, “Shhh, Shhh”. I mentioned who I might be voting for and one of my close friends said, “Are you kidding? What are you thinking? If you vote for him… something will strike you down when you leave that polling booth”…she was really just kidding and we are still good friends. After I voted, all I could think about was what she had said. I did vote for “him“. As soon as I walked out the door of the voting location, I missed three steps. I fell flat on my face and my head struck a concrete pillar. This time, my fall really scared the people walking out with me. They didn’t know my falling background. I got right up and walked to my car with people following me. “Are you ok?”, “Don’t drive!”, “I’ll be happy to call your husband”. I drove myself home…just a few minutes away. I hurt all over. The next day, I had bruises on my face and my arms. I really had a dramatic exit.

So…there you have it…just a small sample of my falls. I have so many more to talk about. My fall walking into Target was a particularly special mistake. I can’t even talk about it…even though it is a rather funny story. I have not fallen in several months, except for the step I missed stepping down from our kitchen to the family room. We have only lived in this house for over thirty years. I forgot about the step. Really…just a mistake on my part!

 https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/mistake/

 

Sort of Obvious About Football.

New Orleans skyline

Why New Orleans, Louisiana Skyline?

Daily Prompt Response: Obvious

I tried to keep it to myself about football. I couldn’t hide it. Some things are simply too obvious. Professional football does not look all that fun to me. I can watch it for five or ten minutes and my mind starts to wander. I start thinking about counting how much money I have in my tall Container Store canisters. I had (emphasis on the word “had”)  seven full canisters full of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters. That is truly the only interesting thing that I can think about when pro football comes on the television.

New-Orleans-Streetcar

Why a New Orleans Streetcar?

My time counting coins during football is coming to an end. I have been taking the canisters to the bank so the nice tellers can throw the change into the obviously hidden counting machine. To be honest, I don’t really take actual canisters to the bank. I put the coins into gallon size zip-lock bags. Goodness…they are heavy! I am down to my last canister. So far, I have added over $700 to my savings account. I have one rule about the money… we cannot spend any of the money except on a vacation. It has to be a vacation to some other country. Vancouver would be an acceptable place for me and that trip is one of my goals for this year.

Saints Sign

Professional football players surely do not save coins in canisters. They probably save gold jewelry or something. I realize that some of the players are obviously good guys. However, the good guys are outnumbered by those other players. The players who cannot seem to follow the law and seem to get away with it…those are the ones I hear the very most about. My realization that the players who are perceived as role models are really and truly just the opposite…well…it ruined professional football for me.

Drew BreesDrew Brees!

Obviously, football is big, Big, BIG in Texas! To top it all off, I am not really a Dallas Cowboys fan. Not at all! I happened to drive by their stadium in Arlington today. It is beautiful, but I did not at all have the urge to yell…GO COWBOYS!!!! Really, I have lots of relatives in New Orleans…very special relatives…and they are totally dedicated to the Saints. My brother lived in New Orleans for years. He was probably the #1 football, baseball, basketball, hockey fan for any team at any time. He was certainly a Saints fan. So, I am a New Orleans Saints fan too. I even have a Saints charm bracelet that my niece gave me. On game days, I wear my entire New Orleans Saints get-up. I do not leave my house wearing any part of this outfit…for obvious reasons!

New Orleans Saints Helmet

Even the Saints cannot keep me occupied for more than five or ten minutes at a time. I will come back ever so often. I need to find another football time activity besides my canisters. I could dust the house. NO! Or I could fold clothes. NO! What about spending football time planning vacations on the computer? YES! That is it! However, I will still save time to run around the room and yell the best football cheer ever…

 WHO DAT??!!!!!!

 https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/obvious/

 

Finding Trump in Fort Worth.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Fort Worth Donald Trump in Fort Worth, Texas earlier in the campaign.

It all started when my husband accidently left his cell phone at home. I didn’t even realize about the phone problem until I called him about thirty minutes after he left for work. His phone rang in the kitchen. I was so intent on asking him a question that I waited for him to answer even though the phone was ringing not 10 feet away from me. I was totally out of it, I guess. My mind was on Donald Trump.

Paris Coffee Shop

Near downtown and great food, but not the place for the luncheon!

I had been listening to the NBC Today Show and they were announcing that Trump would be in Fort Worth yesterday morning and then leave for Austin in the afternoon. Wait a minute…why didn’t I know about this? This retirement is keeping me way too busy to even know all the current events. As any self-respecting former newspaper person, I had an instant need to be right there in the middle of the action.downtown one

Searching for Trump!

I do this whenever I hear a police siren or fire truck or ambulance. One time I heard on the news that Prince Charles (the real one) was going to land at DFW airport and be in Dallas for two days or so. I immediately took my young children to the airport to search for his airplane or any sign of Prince Charles. We tried, but the prince was just too illusive for us.

trump%20in%20Fort%20Worth_1471969418995_1897744_ver1_0_640_360

 Donald Trump’s Jet.

That is why I had to find Donald Trump. By the pictures shown on the news, I figured out that his personal jet was going to land at a smaller airport on the north side of Fort Worth. I recognized the buildings because the airport was not too far from my former elementary school. The news apparently made no mention of where he would go in Fort Worth…only that he was going to a fundraising luncheon. A luncheon by invitation only…we must not have been invited. Maybe it was because of the cost to attend…like in the thousands and thousands.

downtown two

Downtown building…is this it?

The luncheon location is why I was calling my husband. I thought he might have heard where Trump would be having this very expensive luncheon. I finally realized that the phone was ringing in the next room. Took a while. Morning is not my best time! I called my husband on his office phone and offered to take his phone to him. Brilliant! I would have to make the 30-40 minute trip to downtown Fort Worth. I figured Trump would want to be somewhere very fancy and certainly would want to be downtown to have a luncheon with the big money people.

 skyscraper

Is this the building?

As luck would have it, I found the place while driving around and around downtown. I was on a mission. I started seeing more and more police cars. And then suddenly…there was the location right in front of me. There were motorcycle police officers by the dozen and bicycle police officers…not any police officers on horseback (although they have those in Fort Worth). They were congregated along with groups of onlookers and television people from all of the DFW television stations. Plus, a helicopter was circling the area. The location was outside of a parking garage adjacent to one of the Fort Worth skyscrapers…not too tall, but tall enough for Trump, I suppose.

car

Poor parking!

Quickly, I invented my very own parking place by parking almost to the corner. My parking was just downright poor. How embarrassing. Even one of the ladies standing on the corner mentioned my parking ability. She probably would not have understood my desperation to be there for the news event. Talk about living in the past. I have had a totally different career for over 25 years since my newspaper days.

television crews

Television crews.

I was thinking that I would never recover from thinking about the news of the day when a TV reporter from the ABC affiliate approached me. “Would you mind being interviewed?”, she asked. Oh my goodness, I would have brushed my hair better and put on more makeup if I had known. Surely, I would have worn a cuter outfit. I said yes. I have no idea why I agreed. I also have no idea of what I said. I think that I smiled.

downtown Fort Worth and Triniity RiverWhere in downtown Fort Worth was Donald Trump?

 She asked if I had gone to the luncheon. Joke of the year…I am not ever spending that kind of money to have lunch with someone. Well… maybe Jon Bon Jovi or Adam Levine. I actually thought about the fact that Trump is the one with the money. Maybe he should buy all of us lunch who were standing there in the heat of the day with the wind blowing…just to see someone ride by in a long group of shiny black SUV vehicles.

Ft-Worth-7th-Street-Bridge-D80-6437.jpg

Beautiful bridge in Fort Worth, but no Donald Trump here.

Actually, Donald Trump was riding in a silver Tahoe. He did not walk out onto the sidewalk, but entered the SUV inside the parking garage. All I could see was his golden hair, smile, and his hand waving from side to side out the window as the SUV left the parking garage. A lady was screaming at the top of her lungs. She was incredibly excited to see him and all of his entourage.

 

sundance square

Sundance Square is so pretty! Where is Donald Trump?

I had seen other possible future presidents and current presidents before…Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr., Clinton. There was something different about this possible president. I am still trying to explain it. The procession was dramatic and well orchestrated. Could this be the future leader of the United States…this man with the golden hair, the friendly wave, the wide smile, the confident look? Who knows?

2016-Election

I wished that I could  talk with him…have a regular conversation…look at him face to face. Perhaps then I would know that he could handle the massive job that he was seeking. Maybe that is why I went downtown. Maybe I hoped that somehow I would get the answer that I seek. At least, I tried. And I was on the news last night. I tried to watch it, but I was so concerned about what I might have said. And my TCU purple check shirt was on the news too. I should have dressed a bit better. Next time!

Texas