Thursday, June 28, 2012

Camping with WIFI-


Lets make a list.

1. Tents
2. Wood fires
3. Dutch Oven cooking
4. Sleeping on a rock
5. Family togetherness
6. Wildlife
7. Wildlife eating a pack of marshmallows
8. Deer
9. Road runners
10. Fresh caught fish dinner
11. Creative use of water to wash
12. Ants
13. Camp songs
14. Reading
15. Coyotes in the distant
16. Card games
17. Meeting new friends
18. Silliness
19. Billions of Stars
20. The Moon

21.  WIFI!!! The internet!!! Really??

The campsite we stayed at had WIFI to hook up to if we wanted to start up our computers. Boy, camping has sure changed since I was a kid.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Proud Moment

I have taught more then a hundred students over the last fifteen years of teaching. There have been some students that really tested my teaching ability, really challenged my patients, were pure joys to have in the classroom, and some were those awesome souls that encouraged me to stay in teaching.

Then there are students that really leave a mark on my heart. 
Sabrina Diane Silbar 
Class of 2012

Sabrina was born addicted to a laundry list of drugs because her birth parents were illicit drug addicts. The poisons from the drug left her with a failing heart and liver, two kinds of blood disorders, seizures, hormonal imbalance and additional health issues complicated from a failing system.
Sadly, the doctors decided this year that she was not a candidate for heart and liver transfer and in April she was placed in Hospice Care.

Despite all of this Sabrina will be graduating with her class. 
The class of 2012 this Thursday!

I am so proud of her! 

These are the moments that I am glad I stayed a teacher.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Manic Monday-Camping during Final's Week

I love camping. I love being outdoors. I love the smell of cooked bacon, coffee and early mornings. But, I have never mixed camping with finals week. I think this is the calmest I have ever been starting finals week. 

There is something about walking into the classroom smelling of wood smoke, dirt between my toes, and jeans. It is so rebellious and grounding.

However, it does through my entire routine off and I am running 30 minutes EARLY!! What's up with that!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Little Bit of Reality- Please

I have 935 more days before I can "retire" or find a job within the Waldorf Community. In the meantime the reality is that I still have to work. I have been a Special Education teacher since the late 1990's. I have seen a lot of changes. Some really good; like the Re-authorization of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that allow students with disabilities to have access to a free and public education. I have seen a growing understanding of various disabilities and how teachers can reach out and educate and touch these students lives in a meaningful way. I have also seen some terrible decisions that have significantly impacted California schools.  Budget cuts are not the only nemesis regarding Special Education. Unrealistic expectations is part of the culture of Special Education. Today's memo from my district is just but one example of the unrealistic expectation being imposed upon us by the state.

The district I  teach in had courses called Applied Arts or Liberal Arts for students who need the extra little help to access core curriculum in the schools. They are by no means "dumbed down" but often go back to basic skills for reading, English or Math or different books that are district approved but are not used by the mainstreamed teachers. The Applied Art and Liberal Art classes also allowed students to access the core curriculum as required by IDEA.  The classes in the memo are now no longer available starting next school year.

Some of these courses aren't even "remedial" or simplified but alternative classes for students who wanted use them for electives. Now, ALL students no matter their skill levels will be attending College Preparatory classes. 
 But, "Viking Mom what if a student is struggling with College Prep Algebra 1, which is a graduation requirement?"
 Well, the answer to that one is that the student who is failing Algebra 1 will continue taking the class and also attend a "supplementary class" to improve their skills so they can pass the class. 

What does this mean. It means that now in a high school College Prep English, math, history and foreign language class of 40+ students the classroom population will look like this: regular education students, students who have scored below ore far below basic on the California, students with mild to severe disabilities, students whose second language is English, and insert any other student population you can think of into this scenario. 
It is promised that teachers will receive assistants and support for students but we all the reality of that promise.

Bless Bless

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good Samaritan killed in deadly crash was longtime teacher - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

I usually like to have a Manic Monday post and then a Random Act of Kindness post on Tuesday. But, this tragedy needs a post on it's own.
It is always a tragedy to read about an car accident especially when carelessness and alcohol is involved. It is heartbreaking when a good Samaritan who is giving assistants during the accident is also injured and/ or killed.

When one lives in a small town like our Humble Little Town the Cheer's song applies. "Everyone Knows Your Name." Yesterday, a day that was suppose to be a day of celebration and family turned into heartbreaking tragedy for two families.

Good Samaritan killed in deadly crash was longtime teacher - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

The girl, and I use this term loosely, who is responsible for this tragedy is wanted in two states for being under the influence, drugs, driving without a licence, and whole laundry list of other felonies related to vehicles. When I see the picture of her smug face I want to throw something at her or shake her and scream, "What were you thinking!"

I have to wonder if time in jail will eventually wipe that smug look off her face.

Bless Bless

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Viking Mom's New Workshop

The Beginning 

My humble little homestead house is only 1,300 square feet. It doesn't leave much room for my crafts, fiber artwork and a growing family with their multiple projects. I have boxes full of materials that also serve as end tables. 

We do have a barn but it is total Viking Man Land.

I was blessed to acquire a slightly used workshop from an artist community in My Humble Little Town. They were forced to close because of the Sunrise Power Link construction. I was attracted to the building because of the huge window and French doors. How perfect to let in natural light for my weaving and other projects. It will also be made from re-purposed materials. It doesn't look like much but in that spot will be a 12x12 workshop with a patio and sitting area.  

Viking Dad and Viking Son setting the first "Corner Tire"
One of the problems we have is a hillside that moves with each rainstorm. So, we have to build a retaining wall to prevent the hillside from moving into my workshop. What do you do with used tires? Use them for a rammed earth retaining wall. Viking Dad and Viking Son have started to dig and place the tires in place. They have also discovered many gopher tunnels, and old sprinkler pipe and other curious debris. 

Viking Dad and I have talked over the years about building a Earth Ship house out of tires and hay bales. In California it is illegal to build any structure over 20'x20' out of tires. I think this is Horse Pucky, personally. What a great way to recycle unused tires and keep them out of our landfills. 

Progress! And sexy legs.

It has taken a couple of days for Viking Dad to make progress. Little did we know that he would hit clay!  
The red dirt is actually clay. Viking Son and Dad have also found interesting pieces of debris that have left us wondering what their purpose was before. So, far as of this post there are five tires laid out. The plan is to add three to five tires high to build the first section of the retaining wall. 

The chickens are having a blast hunting for newly exposed bugs and two of the homestead cats have explored the exposed gopher tunnels. 

I can't wait for the foundation to be laid out. 

As we progress I will post updates. 

Bless Bless

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


My Humble Little Town of 15,000 people is full of small town business that are mostly family run. We do have an Albertson's, Starbucks, Carl's Jr and soon Fresh and Easy. But, we also have wonderful little shops like Chic Boutique, Celenes, and Cafe Adesso ( They have the best chocolate mochas in the world!). We have a wonderful restaurant called Janet's Montana Cafe that makes the most amazing breakfasts. Their breakfasts would make any cowboy happy. I am a huge supporter of supporting local businesses and Chic Boutique is one I support. 

But, all these small business have been suffering since SDG&E decided to put in the Sun Rise Power link right down the middle of town. There is a great deal of controversy regarding the Sun Rise Power link and it's future viability. A painful reality the messy construction has caused is the loss of businesses in our Humble  Little Town. I lost count after seven which included my favorite restaurant, The Vine. Chic Boutique has suffered but remained opened and continues to carry the most adorable clothing and home items. 

Chic Boutique

Cute and Funky items and clothes can be found at Chic Boutique
 One of the promises that was given to the residents of My Humble Little Town and the businesses was that the construction would only be two years and completed in two phases to minimize the damages to the business.  My Humble Little Town was also promised new side walks, a new street and new street mediums. Many business along the way received updated parking and landscaping. This summer was suppose to be the end of the Mess! You can imagine the excitement the residents and the business were having when June arrived. The original date for the end of the construction.

See Ya! Party Invite

So, you can imagine the anger, the disappointment and WTF sentiments the residents and businesses 
had when they received this letter on June 5th. 
The newest letter! Thanks SDG&E

According to Chic Boutique and other business SDG&E will be continuing construction and remodeling on the main road through My Humble Little Town. It is estimated that construction will last another year. The new construction is to fix the drainage problem that wasn't factored in during the original plans for the main roads and for a new hotel being put in up at the Indian Casino/Reservation. My Humble Little Town has an active creek that runs down the center of town. It is covered mostly by the road and extensive drainage pipe but it can be seen as one drives through town. When power lines were dug in some how this humble little creek was not factored into the equation. Now, with the new sidewalks the drainage is messed up.

Now, the Casino wants to add another hotel??!!

Why wasn't this factored in three years ago? Really???  

So, residents of My Humble Little Town... Another year of delays, deconstructions, strangers, higher crime, and potential loss of business. Whats next?