Taco Bell

Taco Bell

Last weekend I found myself in a Taco Bell drive-thru, dirty, sweaty, and just plain hangry. I had spent the entire day working in the yard without taking time to eat properly, trying to finish up my to-do list before running my daughter to her sport practice. I was starving by the time The Bell caught my stomach’s attention. I pulled up to the speaker to order when my whole day turned around. The employee taking my order was HAPPY. Happy to speak with me, happy to take extra time to get the order correct, happy to be at work, exuding a sense of pride in himself that spilled over into my day. His happiness reminded me that whatever task is at hand, do it with joy. Cheers to spreading your joy!...
Read More
A Smile is Never Wasted

A Smile is Never Wasted

Sometimes a smile is all I have to give.  In a frustrating, time-restricted world I can succumb to my own fret... But, I can always muster a smile.  And that smile travels far - from me to the impatient person in the checkout line behind me shifting their weight in disapproval as I hem haw between the flavors of gum before I commit to the pack that I finally hand the cashier, softening the waiting customer's facial expression.  This spreads into a smile that they share with the cashier as they finally get their turn to check-out.  The hangry cashier who hasn't had a chance to eat her lunch since the line has not let up for what seems an eternity, sees the friendly customer and for a moment forgets her lunch and begins a chummy chatter.  When the manager walks by, seeing the cashier sharing a welcoming smile in her check-out line, the manager's pride in his team swells, making...
Read More
What’s in Your Forecast?

What’s in Your Forecast?

The Beast.  The best wooden rollercoaster I have ever met.  Each time I ride it, I relive the exhilaration from my childhood - being terrified as it raced me in and out of tunnels, through the woods, clinking, clanging every swoosh, every drop, every turn.  I couldn't have been more proud, more honored than when my tween son declared The Beast his favorite rollercoaster as well.  (Now that I have two "teens", my opinions are rarely seen as 'cool'.)  My son wants to spend any chance he can at our local amusement park, Kings Island, so I take him whenever I can.  But on opening weekend this year, the weather forecast was dismal - 80% chance of thunderstorms.  If you don't live in the Midwest, you might not realize that thunderstorms in the spring can also bring tornadoes.  Not something I wanted to chance, being out in the wide open with large metal structures and an almost positive likelihood of...
Read More
Time to Throw in the Towel?

Time to Throw in the Towel?

The amount of snot my body can produce is really staggering. I've been to the doctor twice, been on antibiotics, decongestants, and a steroid inhaler for over a week, yet I still feel like I'm hearing people talk underwater with the amount of fluid trapped in my head. But I'm sure you're very familiar with this scenario, as this nasty virus/bacterial infection seems to have met everyone in our town.  I did everything I could to destroy this invasion of my personal being-including rest and PLENTY of sleep, and I realized I'm getting nowhere with this passive approach; I'm taking this bugger head on!     Off to the gym I drug myself, complete with a can-do, positive attitude leading the way to the group class.  The warm up came and went, barely making an impression on me. I thought, "I should have gotten off the couch, out of my pajamas days ago!" I felt a rush as I hungrily attacked...
Read More
Teaching the Unteachable

Teaching the Unteachable

I ended my career working side by side with teachers who taught students from two parent, single parent, foster parent, and even transient homes.  Year after year, new standards, new instructional programs, new intervention kits, new behavior modification programs; nothing new that was tried could raise the school's scores to the top of the rating measure.  Teachers in my building, my friends, fretted  and worried themselves sick day after day that their students' data would not show that their instruction was "highly effective", or sometimes even "effective", based on the set standard benchmarks.  Lots of instructional time was spent on standardized assessments of the standards-gathering more data, graphing data points on the various standardized formative assessments to pinpoint each student's specific academic mastery and nonmastery of the multitude of itemized standards in Math and Language Arts.  Behavior of students continued to be an instructional distraction.  Students were unable to sit for uninterrupted instruction in math or reading, they did not...
Read More