Etc: Of Math and Munchies


I know this never happens to anyone else who writes but sometimes the ole’ well of wacky ideas is a bit on the lacking side. To help with this, I jump start my efforts by doing such things as procrastinating in other areas of my life, going to the grocery store or looking up words at random in a dictionary and then challenging myself to write using them. This is one of THOSE blog posts and today’s word is PARALLEL.

Parallel. Now that’s an interesting word. It makes me think of math. I hated math, especially in high school. It made me feel unsuccessful. It may be feel as though I was sitting in a foreign country with no translator. It made me feel, well, incongruent.

The terms, the geometric proofs, the theorems. I’m even getting a little ligh headed thinking about the “consumer math” class I took as a senior. While the rest of my buddies were in “math 5” – what was that anyway, I was in a class with shall we say students of all varying incapabilities trying to remember that the checkbook register contained both addition and subtration problems and that in the real world, we would NOT be dealing with Monopoly money.

Fast forward to my early twenties when stand alone ATM machines were the hottest trend in banking. I was enthralled. Pull up. Punch buttons. Get money. Spend. Receipts? Sure, I had them but was I really supposed to do something WITH them? In sweeps future husband to the rescue. But that’s another story. Back to high school and math there.

Am I still haunted today? I’ll let you guess on that one. That’s probably why God’s mercy extended to making sure the man I married was an accountant! I no longer had to cross my fingers and hope that when I hit the calculator’s total button at the end of the month, it would have a whole number and not one with a little dash in front of it, if you know what I mean.

Chocolate chip cookies + my high school math class = success. (Google images)

The only GOOD part about my math in high school was when I had Coach Meade for geometry. Chocolate chip cookies were helpful, and I’m not saying that my GPA improved, but it was easy to well, steer off the subject of mathematics and say, talk more about sports.

The first of my two cheating experiences in high school (and no, I am not proud of either) occurred in this class because, well, I didn’t trust myself to memorize what seemed like 3 billion theorems for proving proofs. Like I said earlier, I could have used a little help actually understanding the terms. Yes, I know what a right triangle is!

The episode was a one-time thing but from it I learned that it was better to struggle and flounder or barely make it than deal with guilt.

So, I’m guessing that the sum product of my math experience was a lesson worth learning. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Has math also blackened then brightened the experience of your life? My neice says M-A-T-H is actually an acronymn meaning Mental Abuse To Humans. Tell me what YOU think!


2011 in review


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

ETC: I Got “Schooled”


Late? Twice.

Without proper supplies? Yes. Once.

Doodled during class? On numerous occasions.

Stressed out? Pretty much consistently.

Confession? No.

This is how I spent my summer vacation.

While my 6th-8th grade students were sunbathing, eating sushi and whatever tweens do these days, I was voluntarily in summer school – for teachers. Actually, the EPI  (Educator Preparatory Institute) is for folks like me whose college degrees are in fields other than education.  With the experience freshly seared into my almost half-century brain, the clearest lesson was realizing how hard it is to be a student. So much of life takes place outside the classroom – yet so very much takes place within it as well.

And did I mention the walking field trip? I almost left the class because I didn’t WANT to participate. My idea of fun was not to go to a cancer survivors park with people I barely knew – especially when cancer recently took my sister’s life. The park had caught my attention weeks ago.  I had planned to go alone but it became our field trip destination and we were to investigate the park and talk about its symbolism. After I saw where we were headed I contemplated an escape but later decided to work through it. As I stood off to the side (don’t we all do that occasionally in life and in learning?), I told myself I could handle the experience. I’d just avoid eye contact with my classmates. Later, as I stood at the end of a miniature replica of one of Jacksonville’s bridges, a classmate came by and walked with me – figuratively and literally – from one side to the other.

How many times have my students wanted to disengage? More than I know, probably.  How many of them could point to make progress with the help of a friend? All of them, I hope.

And the other complimentary facets of the EPI? Deadlines, homework and being “graded.”  I even called my mom hoping to raise some cashola for my “honor roll worthy” grades. Too late, she said. The bills were paid and nothing was left.

Wow. That’s how I felt after seven weeks of school. I did the work, met the deadlines (except once, there I go again) and built a little extra arm muscle toting around my laptop computer. No, it’s not an Apple and yes, I’m sure it affected my social status.

So what DID I learn?

It always took longer to get to class than I thought it would.

Life outside the classroom affects my ability in the classroom.

I enjoy working hard because I’m proud of the results – even if mom doesn’t pay me!

I don’t mind the extra effort when I know my teacher believes I can do it.

Hmmm. I’m thinking these lessons should help refine my classroom to be a better place this school year. I’m glad.

I’m also one huge step closer to earning my professional teaching certificate.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have 7 days of summer (without school) to soak in before pre-planning calls.








ETC: A Memorial Day Tribute


Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Image from

We don’t know much about sacrifice these days
Because we are the centers of our universe
Making sure we have the latest this or that
To do what we will, when we want and with whomever we desire.

But there are others…
who know the life of “chosen burden”….
who work longer hours  than we can imagine…
train to know what what don’t have to know…
who say “hello” and “goodbye” regularly to their friends and family
through the tears born of commitment that most of us will never understand.

Yet they do this here, in states far from our own
and in countries where daily deliberate violence is the “norm” of the day.
They move their families across the country
or into other countries to be close to them if it’s possible
and they and those loved ones “deal with it” when it’s not possible.

Maybe I won’t have to wait
until I grow up to at least appreciate and reflect
on this uncanny, quiet, strong sacrifice
lived each day in the lives of some I know
and many I don’t.

Thank you seems pretty inadequate but it’s a start.

2010 in review


The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 58 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 74 posts. There were 95 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 40mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 1st with 74 views. The most popular post that day was FUN: Of stickers, raisins and graduations.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for cheryl lemine,, lemine, shrek neon marker cereal, and

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


FUN: Of stickers, raisins and graduations April 2010


About October 2009


Family: More Ties and More Love September 2010


FUN (not): Don’t Count on Donkey July 2010


Guest Post: Family, Faith, Fun and FINISH LINES! July 2010

ETC: The Work of Freedom



I'm stuck on voting.

I remember as a kid being in tow with my parents when they went to vote. They never discussed their decisions or even asked each other for whom the other voted. It was an almost sacred ceremony and they respected each other’s opinions enough to let each other have an opinion.


Now as an adult, I continue the example they showed by casting my vote. Instead of waiting in long lines and then entering a voting machine with a curtain open and closed by a manual lever, I simply show my drivers license, obtain my ballot, and fill in the ovals to register my opinion.

People have lots of opinions – especially about why you shouldn’t vote for someone. The advertisements and landline phone calls can create a sarcastic feel to an otherwise awesome ability we each possess.

I timed it today when my husband and I went to vote early. Our lives are pretty hectic right now and the thought of waiting until the actual voting day made me nervous in case something came up and prohibited my participation.

My husband wondered why I stopped and looked back inside the room after we’d left. I needed the stop time.

Four minutes. From the time we walked into the early voting area at our regional library to when we walked out. Check-in. Custom printed ballot, which was double-checked before handing it to me, and then the “bubbling in” part. Heck, you even get a sticker. I miss that from being a kid.

Seriously, though, if you don’t like others making decisions for you, vote. If you’re fine with that we have a really great city memorial to veterans and a long history of living sacrifices made to protect and make available the ability to decide.

I can’t guarantee your time in and out will be the same or that the person you select will win, but I can promise that you won’t regret participating.

ETC: Proofs and their positive effect


Math was like being in a country without a translator.


That’s an interesting word. It reminds me of math. I hated math – especially in high school. Math made me feel unsuccessful. No one likes feeling unsuccessful. Sitting in math class was like sitting in a foreign country without a translator.

The terms, the geometic proofs, the parallelograms, the theorems.

Proofs were my ultimate mathematic downfall - but they taught me a lesson

Does it still haunt me? Yes! At the end of the month when I hit the total button on my calculator – I always hope it’s right. Sometimes I’ll go back and check. Good for me that I married an accountant!

The only good part about math was that it helped if we brought Mr. Meade chocolate chip cookies. I’m not saying it improved my GPA, but it made him happy and when he was happy we could distract him more, talk about sports and THEN get around to the math.

My first of two high school cheating experiences was in his math class because I did not trust myself to memorize the theorems for a test. What I did learn was that it was better to have struggled and barely passed than to feel guilty knowing that I had chosen to weaken my integrity.

Maybe math wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

(I wrote this post using a technique author Ray Bradbury used many times called “word association.” You pick a random word – I opened the dictionary, closed my eyes and pointed to a word – then write about whatever comes to mind for 5 or 10 minutes. You should try it!)

Just wondering: Do you have a special “association” with certain words in your life? Tell me!