Tag Archives: #SOLSC17

A cleaning disaster

8 Mar

Despite the raised voices of all the people, save The Queen, at the Royal wedding, God did not  save my Solar Queen.

It wasn’t the windowless room that killed her, though it kept her from being as cheery as she’d been in the room at my old school that was windowed along one side. No, it was my own carelessness. I have a meeting tomorrow and I was cleaning my desk in preparation for my sub. I guess I was a little over zealous and I knocked her to the floor, where she fell to pieces.

I was heartbroken because the yellow Solar Queen is the Royal Wedding edition. Perhaps you saw the lovely yellow dress in the video. There are a lot of blue & pink Solar Queens, but fewer yellow, as you can see in this video, that highlights the charm of the Solar Queen.

The one good thing I can say is that none of my basset hound tchotchkes were damaged in my cleaning frenzy.  I will be more careful next time I clean. Better yet, maybe I will just give up cleaning altogether. I don’t really like to do it, and, clearly, I am not very good at it.


The Best Brownies Ever

7 Mar

My source for Girl Scout cookies has dried up. She has aged out of Girl Scouts and I have changed schools, so now, I get buy them where and whenever I find them. I have found that the local Fred Meyer grocery stores are excellent sources. And yet, I haven’t timed to right this year. Until Sunday.


After I left my last Yarn Crawl shop, still floating on the joy of having finished, I went to Freddies to do my groceries. And there they were in the entrance way, just setting up. Could this day get any better? Apparently it could.  The girls asked me if I wanted cookies and I told them I’d catch them on the way out. They were giddy with excitement.

After getting my groceries, as promised, I stopped at the table on my way out of the store. I looked more closely at these girls, They were very young – Brownies, probably. One little girl was helping one customer, her mom hovering behind ready to step in if necessary, but not necessarily stepping in. Her partner, a cute little blonde girl came up to me very confidently.

“I want to buy a lot,” I told her. “I  like to send some to my sister.”

Her eyes grew bigger and bigger as I told her what I wanted. Her little arms filled quickly and I wasn’t done.

“Do you want me to hold them?” I asked. Her mom, standing back, laughed a little.

When I finally had all the boxes I needed (needed?) she was practically jumping. This is when Mom stepped in. She took the boxes and helped her little Brownie count by fives to figure out how much I owed. In the little Brownie’s excitement, she kept going past the number of boxes I had. Mom helped her count again.

“That’ll be  25 dollars,” she announced confidently.

“Do you have change?” I asked, offering her two twenties.

She took them and Mom again helped her count by fives to figure out my change. Again, excited, she went al little past her goal as she counted by fives. Mom helped her count again.  Then, they helped me add the boxes to my shopping bag. I thanked them and walked away.

“Thank you!” called a little voice behind me. It was my Brownie’s partner.

“You’re welcome,” I replied smiling as I turned to walk away. She kept coming.

“Thank you for supporting the Girl Scouts,” she stuttered, the words almost too big for her tiny mouth.

She waved at me and kept her hand in the air so I offered her a high five. She giggled, so I gave her another high five. I turned, grinning and walked to my car, my heart full of joy.


Lucy’s Guardian Angel

5 Mar

There is a rumor in the basset hound world that every basset has a heart-shaped spot somewhere on their body. Basset slaves proudly post pictures of these hearts on the Daily Drool Facebook page and get lots of reactions.

I set out one day to find Lucy’s heart. For those of you who haven’t met her yet, this is Lucy:


She is now 10 and I have had her for 7 years. In fact, we just celebrated her 7th Gotcha Day on January 16th. (A Gotcha Day, in case you didn’t know, is the day a rescue dog is adopted.)

In any case, I set out to find her heart, but was having no luck. I was feeling rather glum and took a seat on the sofa to contemplate the deeper meaning of her lack of a heart-shaped spot, when I saw it. it wasn’t a heart. It was something even better.


Lucy had an angel!

Billy Collins wrote a poem entitled “Questions About Angels“. Here is a poem, inspired by that poem, about Lucy’s angel

Lucy’s Angel (with apologies to Billy Colllins) 

Of all the questions you might want to ask
an angel, the only one you ever hear
a basset ask is about his furever home.
Like babies, dogs see angels
and know better than to rush in
where angels fear to tread.
God might have made man
a little lower than the angels
but Lucy’s angel hovers at her side.
Human metaphysics might question
the existence of angels, and philosophers
debate how many dance on the head of a pin,
But Lucy knows her angel is with her
both now and forever,
and to the ages of ages. Arooo!

The Lowest Sort of Vermin

4 Mar

After several weeks of hard work, we held our Information Book celebration on Thursday. I have two classes, one before lunch and one after,  which means two celebrations. My teaching partner and I open the wall between our rooms for celebrations so students can see what the kids in her class did. We have forms on which they can write positive feedback and they like to see the work of their friends in other classes.   We added a new feature this celebration, author interviews modeled after Portland’s Wordstock. We set up two stages and it was a hit.

The morning celebration went off without a hitch. Two students were absent and only one did not have his book finished. My team & I had just had a meeting with his mom and he’s been playing her about his homework. He knew he’s have lunch detention to work on it until it was finished. I went to lunch feeling pretty happy. As Core 2 came in after lunch, it felt as if I was inundated with students saying they hadn’t finished. I was ticked.

All of our students have a Chromebook. If they don;t have internet access at home, we have ways of getting it for them. No printer? No problem! There are printing stations in the library. They’d been given lots of class time to work on their finished product. I felt I had a right to be grumpy, so before the celebration began, I let these EIGHT students know that, beginning the next day, they’d have lunch detention until it was finished. If, however, they turned it in to me before their first class, there would be no detention.

The next morning, most of the work was turned in. I have plan first period and I was puttering around the classroom when one of the girls with  a missing book came in sobbing. It was that sort of cry where you stutter as you inhale. Like deep profound grief.

Today was her birthday and I was giving her lunch detention. No wonder she was distraught.  My Mom once told me that if you cried on your birthday, you cried all year.I felt like the lowest sort of vermin.

She is a kid who has been struggling. We’ve had her parents in, too. She’s been trying really hard, but she just can’t seem to get it together. She promised me she would serve detention next week if only she could not have it today. So I asked her, “Would you be willing to do two detentions next week if I let you off today?” She nodded and  I told I wanted to think it over and to check with me after first period. I don’t know why I didn’t agree just then.

After the student left, I talked to my teaching partner about this. She asked if anyone had decorated her locker. Many girls in our school decorate their friend’s lockers on birthdays, but no one had decorated this girl’s. My heart sank.

When she returned, I told her I agreed and that she really had until Tuesday because I was going to be absent on Monday.

“I’m sorry I made you cry on your birthday,” I told her. Then I handed her a little bag of Hershey’s kisses I had in my desk. “I hope this helps sweeten your day.”

She left a little happier. I don’t know that I’ve solved the burden of school work she seems to be under, but maybe I’ve given her a little time to figure things out.



Goodbye, Old Bag! #SOLSC17

1 Mar

Yesterday was our last day together. After over 20 years of near constant companionship, we are splitting up.

The end came a few days ago as I was packing my school bag and I realized, the seams on the bottom had frayed to the point of no return. If I put anything more than my lunch in my bag, a disaster might happen.


Outside, things look perfectly fine, but her insides are all messed up. I suppose I could repair the damage, but my faith in her ability to do the job, especially when I miscalculate and have an essay and a test the same week, has been shaken. She wasn’t built to carry a laptop, a beverage and seemingly endless stacks of papers. My unfair expectations have taken their toll on her, and so, I retired my school bag.

Today, I carried my new bag to school.

She is a lovely thing, all blue and shiny, but our relationship isn’t quite as comfortable. My new bag is stiff and I find I am more formal with her, asking where I have put things, rather than knowing intuitively. I know over time, I will learn to love her as much as my old bag, but I am just not there yet.She is a bit of a diva, having her own YouTube video that shows off all her bells and whistles.

 Do I need three Napoleon pockets? I don’t know. Only time will tell if this is a long-term relationship or a passing fancy.

My march madness

28 Feb

Goodbye February!  Hello March!

For the next month, my writing will be less about books because the 2017 Slice of Life Challenge begins on March 1st.

You might be asking, What is the Slice of Life Challenge? 

Let me tell you.

The Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by the Two Writing Teachers blog.. Ever since the challenge began, the mission has remained the same: to support teachers who want to write daily. Teachers who write regularly can better support the students they teach in writing workshops daily. Every day for the entire month of March, participants write a slice of life story, a little personal narrative. We also comment on each others’ work, offering words of encouragement.

This will be my 4th year as a participant and my 2nd as a Welcome Wagon volunteer, which means I comment on the daily posts of first time participants. It might sound like work to make comments but I promise you it is inspiring to read the writing of others.

If that sounds interesting to you, you can learn more here and here.




Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site


A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in


A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

Tundra Books

Home of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers and Friends

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

%d bloggers like this: