Friday, December 30, 2011

Moments with Joey - Greatest Hits of 2011

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I went through my archives and found the top 12 Moments with Joey posts of the past year – based solely from the number of comments they’ve each received, emails I’ve gotten, and Facebook shares. All of these were combined together to finally decide on the top 12.

So, I’m curious, which one of these is YOUR favorite post? Feel free to use the poll below to let me know.

Looking forward to yet another exciting year with Joey.

(Each link will open in a new tab or window for your blogging convenience).

1. Eye Doctors and Tooth Fairies          7. Guys & Boys
2. Music Time on Friday                        8. Camping Trips
3. March Wind and Silent Words           9. Diminishing Return
4. Resting Rooms                                 10. Zimmered
5. Tracking Hilarity                              11. The Tongue Dilemma
6. Mistaken Identities                   12. Life and Milk Cartons

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Pin It I’m a bit despondent tonight.

Melancholy thoughts drift about and weigh heavily on my mind; the tree—with it’s hundreds of glittering lights—does nothing to lighten my somber mood.

I went to lunch with a boy I used to mentor—now a young man. In the course of our conversation, he asked if I’d heard about one of his friends, an old student at my previous school—

I told him that I hadn’t.

The young man told me.

As the words left his mouth, my heart dropped out of my chest and I sat there in dumbfounded silence—the news washing over me in a tidal wave of despair.

This boy had been in my Math class. I’d joked with him in the halls and out at recess. I’d watched him in class working with his friends.

But now he’s gone.

It was yet another sordid reminder of how temporary and fragile this existence truly is.

It’s been on my mind all evening.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why Didn't I Think of These?

Pin It First off, I didn’t write this post. I got home last night and a friend of mine had forwarded me an email of simple things you can do to make your life just a bit easier.

I didn’t like all of the ideas though. Because of this, I chose not to show some of them simply because I thought they were lame, or didn’t apply so well…creative editing license. Yeah, it’s what I do.

I left in the links to the original webpages so you could head over to them should you wish to do so.

If not, I won’t be offended. These are simply ideas…and none of them are mine.

After all, I didn’t write this post.

Hulling strawberries using a straw.
Clever ideas: use a walnut to heal furniture scratches
Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.
Clever ideas: WD40 for cleaning crayon off TV screens
Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40 (also works on walls).
Clever ideas: keep a cut apple from going brown
Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.
Clever ideas: bowl as iPhone sound amplifier
Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone / iPod in a bowl – the concave shape amplifies the music.
Cleaver ideas: wet wipe dispenser as plastic bag storage
Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags.
Clever idea: muffin pan craft storage
A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.
Clever idea: bread tags as cable labels
Bread tags make the perfect-sized cord labels.
Clever idea: cook cupcakes in ice cream cones
Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones – so much more fun and easier for kids to eat.
Clever idea: microwave your own popcorn in a plain paper bag
Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.
Clever idea: use a tension rod to hang spray bottles
Space-saver: install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles.
Clever idea: use upside-down muffic pan to make cookie bowls
Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila – you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream. Click here for recipe.
Clever idea: freeze aloe vera lotion for soothing burns
Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekly Kodachrome - חֲנֻכָּה

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I attended Hanukkah this past week. It was my second year of taking part in this Jewish holiday.

The Menorah was lit, we ate latkes and sufganiyot, we played dreidel, we read stories of this Jewish Festival of Lights, and we listened to music.

It was truly amazing.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living
Did you take a photo in the past seven days that made you smile? If so, feel free to include it in the linky below. 

Remember, by adding your photo into the Weekly Kodachrome meme you are agreeing to do one of the following: display the linky or button to your post, or link back to this post so that everyone gets a little more exposure for the image they’ve uploaded. Those who don’t help to ’share the love’ will have their links removed. You can find the code for the linky here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lost on the Way to Bethlehem

Pin It I just wasn’t feeling it.

The magic seemed to be lacking.

I posted a link to A Charlie Brown Christmas on Facebook earlier today, mostly because I felt that it summed up my mood fairly well. I had no desire to be around anyone…I just wanted to spend Christmas alone this year.

Strange I should say this after making a decision early this morning, and then find myself packing in the space of about five minutes, and then heading out the door (sometime after 4 p.m.) and making a three–hour-plus drive to spend the holidays down south.

There should be snow, I thought. After all, this was Christmas; but unfortunately there was nothing to fulfill this yuletide wish. And as I drove through the windswept hills of southern Utah, the cloudless sky offered nothing in the hopes of a wintery wonderland arrayed in purest white.

I blew out an exasperated breath and gazed at the skyline. The angry sun was burning an evening fire, and the bloodshot cerise made an impressive backdrop to the silhouetted junipers and pinion pines atop the hills I flew by.

I needed this drive. I needed to clear my head and be somewhere ‘not home’ and yet ‘home’ at the same time.

I listened to Christmas music.

As I drove, I thought of those who’d passed on, and as the shadowy twilight shrouded the landscape, the sky above me darkened into an inky azure.

That’s about the time it happened; it was right before Fillmore I saw the snow…loads of it scattered about the landscape on both sides of the interstate…all the way to Paragonah—some 85 miles worth of it.

As a wonderfully familiar Christmas song came on, I saw a star blazing ahead of me on the horizon, though—admittedly—it was probably just the planet Mars. It brought to mind the three wise men that traveled over miles of desert, all in order to catch but a glimpse of the tiny, newborn babe…lying in a manger.

My thoughts were fragmented.

In the darkness about me, the lights of distant towns twinkled like lights on a Christmas tree…filling the space between us

It was as if I were gathering small pieces of Christmas along my journey…

I recalled a conversation I’d had with a student of mine earlier this week. He seemed to think that Christmas was all about the gifts we get. Yet, when I asked him if he’d rather have every gift on his list, yet spend the entire holiday alone, or not to get any of the presents, and have his loved ones and family with him, without hesitation he chose his family.

“I think you’re right, Mr. Z,” he’d said afterward. “I guess Christmas really is about the people and not the things.”

I thought of the Thought of the Month I’d written to my students.

I realized that before I’d been far too focused on what Christmas is not, instead of what it is. I recalled the events that spurred me into making the trek down here when I’d formerly decided not to.

It was a photograph…several, actually. It was of a Christmas—and other special times—from two years ago. In the photo I saw some of the people I truly cared about and—at that moment—decided that this is the place where I truly needed to be.


Five or so minutes later I was on the road and on my way.

Somewhere upon my arduous journey, I felt it. I remembered what Christmas was supposed to be.

It was wonderful.

And when I pulled up to the Monk’s house sometime after 7, the lights that garnished the house ignited within me a Spielbergian wonder. I turned off the ignition and slipped into the house—unseen—though the basement door. When I made my grand entrance to the living room upstairs, I was accosted by the Mancub—not yet too cool to show he’d missed me, even though he’s a middle schooler.

As I sat at the kitchen table with these people that I know and love, my mind careened again back to the conversation I’d had with my student. It was then that I realized that this is truly Christmas.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Santa did honor Tanner’s request from two years ago for a smaller head…he’s grown into his quite nicely.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Not Your Mother's Christmas Music

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Breaking just a bit out of the regular mold of Christmas tunage tonight. From Teachinfourth and Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living, may you have the happiest of holidays.

"Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves."

~Eric Sevareid

Oh, and just so you know, some of these you might have to click on and watch directly from YouTube. Also, once you start "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "Sleigh Ride Remix," "I Want an Alien for Christmas," or "I Farted on Santa's Lap," a snowflake will appear at the bottom right-ish side next to the resolution on it, it's pretty cool.

...and there are a few I added in that Mom probably would like - you know, just to keep peace in the family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Want an Alien for Christmas

Pin It It was a little over a week in the planning.

My team and I had to come up with something for our school Christmas sing-in, which we’d perform on the last day before the kids were to leave on break.

I’d jokingly thrown out, “I Farted on Santa’s Lap” as a possibility for the past three years in a row, but it’d never been considered with the least bit of enthusiasm or possibility of happening from my team…

…and this year was no exception.

However, I guess this was understandable coming an elementary school environment; you just know that you’d get a plethora of shocked intakes of breath from parents, copious giggles from children, and you’d hear the song caroled down the hallways and in the lunchroom for months to come.

It would give ‘deck the halls’ an entirely new meaning. Yeah, in other words the entire staff’d hate me.

Still, it’s fun to throw out the idea for the song every year, just to watch it crash and burn in a fiery inferno.

Yet even with this particular song being off the table, the fifth grade team has always managed to dredge up something that totally rocks…after all, my team and I are all about awesome and substandard just won’t do. Yeah, being a perfectionist with narcissistic tendencies is always a huge asset in regards to this.

It was about two weeks ago that we sat in our weekly meeting and kicked around ideas for this year’s performance. After all, our debut of “The Santa Claus Rock” last year would be pretty hard to beat.

After a few minutes I said, “Hey guys, I’ve got the perfect song for this year.”

My team waited for the usual proposal. I made it, it was shot down, and then threw out my real idea.

They loved it; it was so astonishingly overwhelming that they just couldn’t say no.

I came home and scoured the information superhighway in search of a karaoke version of this particular little tune, only to learn that one didn’t exist.


Being resourceful, I pulled out my guitar, I looked up the chords online, and three practices with the students later, we were standing in front of the rest of the school ready to blow them away with our high school musical-ish performance.

Granted, in retrospect I wish that the gym hadn’t been quite so big…the roof-shaking rocking we’d performed in the classroom just wasn’t quite as strong as it had been in that vast space.

But still we were awesome.

Without further ado, I present the fifth grade in their entire splendor and glory…yours truly on lead (and only) guitar.

But now I’ve already begun to think about possibilities for next year’s presentation, mostly because I realized somewhere along the way that we’ve again set the standard for coming up with something amazing, and besides, I have to beat out my first grade teacher friend, Abe Yospe, when it comes to performance awesomeness.

...and he can be a tough act to follow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sometimes, it's Not the Packaging...

Pin It Sometimes greatest gifts come in the most unexpected of packaging…

I walked back to my desk on Monday of this week to pick something up, and that’s when I saw the note. It sat there, inconspicuously, like a secret message passed from a friend back from when I was still in school.

I glanced at it and saw the writing on the front, claiming that it was from my ‘silent student’. According to the message, it was to be read only during the Christmas break…not while we were still in school.

I slipped the note onto the shelf behind my desk and there it lay, catching my eye every now and again. However, it was more a mild curiosity than anything else.

It was later that afternoon that package arrived, it silently appeared on my desk as if placed there by Hogwart’s house elves. It lay, unassumingly, wrapped in a sheet of notebook paper. The handwriting—5th grade chicken scratch—was the exact same as on the note which had mysteriously appeared earlier during the day.

The message on this little package was clearly written: OPEN IT.

However, the bell had just rung, indicating that lunch recess had come to an end. So as my class filtered into the room, I set the package aside and began to teach.

The parcel lay on my desk throughout the day, not moving or drawing attention to itself in any way. Near the end of the afternoon, one of my students—I’ll call him Joey—approached me and asked if I’d opened any of my gifts yet. He glanced over to my desk where a few neatly wrapped boxes and bags lay.

I replied that I hadn’t.

He nodded, looked as if he were about to say something, then appeared to change his mind.

He walked away.

Throughout the rest of the day Joey stole glances to my desk, and the package that was wrapped so diametrically unlike than any of the others there.

When he left at the end of the day he wished me a good evening, glanced at the desk one final time, and then ushered himself from the room.

I began to correct assignments, enter scores, and clean up the messes left behind from 29 little people. As I passed my desk, the small haphazardly wrapped gift caught my eye.

Overcome with curiosity, I picked it up. It was light and flexible…whatever was inside wasn’t very heavy.

I carefully pulled away one side of the wrapping, that’s when I saw the tie.

It was ugly—probably something from this boy’s dad’s closet, or one he found at the local thrift store.

I cringed as I looked at the gaudy pattern that—in the gray parts—made it appear to be filthy. You see, I’m very particular of the ties I wear four of the five days of the week, and this one wouldn’t have made the list in a million years.

It was truly and awfully horrific. The pattern of it made me want to vomit…it was a tie throwback from yesteryear.

The tie remained on my desk as I packed up and went home.

That night, thoughts about that tie kept coming back to my mind…again and again I thought of it. I knew who’d given it to me…it was but obvious from his less-than-guarded inquiries throughout the day.

I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I should wear that tie the next day to school. I brushed this feeling aside, but it kept returning…like an unwelcomed visitor during the holidays.

When I awoke the next morning, I finally decided that I’d wear the tie; however, I didn’t do this willingly. I had to practically force myself to put on my white shirt and black slacks. I felt frustrated because I wanted to wear a pair of khakis and a button-up shirt…this would have been far more comfortable ensemble than wearing my ‘suit’ as my students called it. As I thought of wearing that monstrosity back in my classroom, I felt myself settling into a bad mood. It was an ‘old man’ tie and I hated it…in fact, I even decided to take along another tie ‘just in case’ I didn’t feel that I could stomach wearing that one the entire day.

When I finally arrived at school I put the tie on.

I loathed the thing.

When the bell rang nearly an hour later, my students came into the classroom—and as we went over the language lesson for the morning, Joey’s eyes were riveted to the tie I wore…through my peripheral vision, I could see him staring at the tie intensely. He did this all morning long. Every time I went to help him with something, he’d gaze for a few seconds at the tie with a mesmerized look in his eyes.

I was can’t express how glad I was that I’d decided to wear it.

Fast forward to today…the students left for their holiday break at 12:30. When everyone was gone, I began entering grades and organizing assignments for nearly an hour. As I set something on the shelf behind me, I saw the note from Monday morning.

I opened it.

For those of you who may have difficulty reading the scrawl it says:

Dear Mr. Z,

I’m your silent student ‘Joey,’ I wrote this Journal so you can cry tears of joy. I just wanted to say that you’re the best teacher I have ever had. I like It when you tell jokes. I know you don’t know me veary much but I like you because you make school fun. So that’s what I wrote this so Merry Christmas Mr. Z!!!!!!

On the back it read:

P.S. go on facebook on Christmas and find a video that has a Lego guy on That’s my video.

I sat gazing at this note for quite some time.

Words cannot adequately describe the feeling that washed over me. It was a feeling like watching the first snowfall of the year as the silvery flakes tumble from the heavens; it was the feeling you get when the music rises at the end of the movie, and you realize that everything is going to be okay and everyone is going to live happily ever after; it was the feeling you get when your niece or nephew gives you a hug and tells you that you mean the world to them.

It now rolls on to nearly 6:00 and I still sit in my classroom as the hours trudge onward and the skies outside became dark, I look at that tie again.

This tie is one of my favorites…it’s beautiful and I couldn’t have asked for anything better from my student at Christmastime. You know what? Sometimes the greatest of gifts come in the most unassuming of packaging…

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Moments with Joey - The Greatest Gift

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SCENE 1, EXTERIOR. MORNING, 5th GRADE DOOR. The teacher is picking up his class from outside. As the students file past him and walk down the hallway, one fifth-grade boy pauses for a minute.

JOEY: Mr. Z, I was just wondering; what do you want for Christmas?

TEACHER: I don’t need anything, Joey, but thank you.

JOEY: No, I mean it; what do you really want?

TEACHER: I just want you to be the best you that you can be, Joey. That would be the greatest gift you could ever give me.


JOEY: But I want to buy you something Mr. Z.

TEACHER: Joey, really, I don’t need you to buy me anything.

[The boy gives a sly look and gives a knowing look].

JOEY: What if I told you I have eight dollars?

TEACHER: Then I’d tell you to save it.


JOEY: But what could I give you for Christmas then?

TEACHER: Like I already said…just do your best. That’s the best present you could ever give me.

[The boy pauses and thinks for a second. A moment later his face bursts into a smile].

JOEY: I think I’ll wear a bow on my head when I come to school tomorrow. I’m going to be the best present you’ve ever gotten.

[The boy grins as he continues to the classroom].

TEACHER: [Spoken quietly]. Don’t worry, Joey, you already are.

Fade to black.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekly Kodachrome - One on One

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I can’t tell you just how much I appreciate those people who come into my classroom to work with the students…it’s been this way in the past, and it’s this same way now. When a parent, educator, or someone else comes to work with a small group or a single child, it not only helps that youth become a better reader, writer, or helps them gain needed math skills, it helps me out more than I can say in my job.

To those who volunteer in a child’s classroom, in behalf of their teacher, I thank YOU.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living
Did you take a photo in the past seven days that made you smile? If so, feel free to include it in the linky below. 

Remember, by adding your photo into the Weekly Kodachrome meme you are agreeing to do one of the following: display the linky or button to your post, or link back to this post so that everyone gets a little more exposure for the image they’ve uploaded. Those who don’t help to ’share the love’ will have their links removed. You can find the code for the linky here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas - Calvin & Hobbes Style

Pin It First off, Merry Christmas...

Now, if you think you might be offended, don't click the video below.

However, I think it's simply brilliant.

You should be able to find quite a few similarities amongst these:


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Moments with Joey - Polls and Popularity

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SCENE 1, EXTERIOR. MORNING, 5th GRADE DOOR. MONDAY. The teacher has returned from his trip to New York, and it is his first day back to school. Earlier he’d put a poll on the class website asking the kids if they survived the days he wasn’t there. He noticed that though it started off with every vote saying that they never wanted him to leave again, several other students seemed to have wanted him to stay gone. As the teacher moves outside to pick up the class, he sees his students already lined up and ready to in for the day. As the kids see the teacher by the door, they get excited.
STUDENTS: We missed you! Welcome back! We’re so glad you are here, Mr. Z. (etc.,)

[One boy, Josh, pushes to the front of the group—obviously he cannot wait to share the trove of information that he is privy to].

JOSH: Mr. Z…that poll you had online before? Everyone was marking down that they missed you because we all wanted you to come back…everybody but Joey.

[Several members of the class give nods of agreement and utter statements like, ‘Yeah, it was at 100% until Joey messed with it’ along with other similar declarations].

TEACHER: Really?

JOSH: Yeah, he told us that every time he went somewhere and saw a computer that hadn’t voted yet, he picked something different than 'we never wanted you to leave us again.’

TEACHER: Guys, it’s okay...I’m just glad to be back and it’s no big deal. Now, let’s head in and start the day, okay?

[The kids murmur their agreement as they file past the teacher. The teacher notices that Joey is lagging behind the rest of the class. When everyone else has gone in, the boy stops and looks up].

JOEY: I want you to know that I really did pick those other things, Mr. Z.

TEACHER: Really?

JOEY: Yeah. [Pause] See, when I saw how everybody was picking that they never wanted you to leave us again, I didn’t want you to get all full of yourself thinking you’re too awesome. [Pause] Because then maybe you’d leave us, so I had to click on other things so you wouldn’t.

TEACHER: Ah, so you were just helping to keep me humble?

[The boy nods and grins at the teacher].

JOEY: Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered, Mr. Z.

[The teacher gives the boy a hug].

TEACHER: Thanks, Joey…that means a lot to me.

JOEY: But just so you know, you really are that awesome, but don’t let it go to your head, okay?

Fade to black.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The True Meaning of Christmas

Pin It When I looked out my window the other morning, I was greeted with a dusting of snow, glittering like slivers of diamond cuttings...and the world seemed new yet again.

Ah, snow.

You know, it seems that it happens every year...I make a steaming cup of hot chocolate and get comfortable on my Love Sac, each time Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer shows on TV. When I hear the familiar sound of Burl Ives’ voice floating about the house I feel it, it is evidenced in the lights that festoon neighborhood where every tree becomes a light show and every bush is a candelabra draped in purest white.

What is it about this time of year that brings this sudden euphoria and feeling of giving and love? It is because we hear the radio stations jammed with Christmas songs? Is it from the distinct feel of giving around us as evident the newly fallen snow? What is it that makes us all a little more patient and a little more forgiving of each others’ mistakes and shortcomings?

I firmly believe that this sense of joy does not come from presents, it doesn’t come from the snow, or even the music. Yes, each of these may attribute to the real reason, but in essence I believe that Christmas comes from the feeling we feel deep inside our hearts. It is the love of family, the remembrance of those whom have come in - and perhaps out of - our lives but who have made a distinct mark, one that helped to shape us into the individuals which we are - and the type we have yet to become.

I believe that it was Dr. Suess who summed it up best with his character, the old Grinch, who came to a sudden realization that Christmas was much more than the things we buy. In Dr. Suess’ own words:

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, ‘till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”

The gifts we give to each other are simple expressions of love we have for those around us, a mirroring of the greatest gift that one gave to each of us, which came on a quiet night when only the shepherds watched. This is the real meaning of Christmas.

May this remembrance remain always in our hearts and minds; helping us to all be a little more patient, a little more caring, and all willing to give a little more love to our fellow man.

I decided to include a little playlist to help you to get into the Christmas spirit - that is if you're not already there - it's also on the sidebar. It starts off pretty mellow, picks up in the middle, and then is mostly just fun, kid-type Christmas songs at the end. I'd have to say that the very last one is a new favorite. If you'd like the code so you could add this playlist to your own site, send me an email and I'll get it to you.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Kodachrome - Red, White, & Blue

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I stood inside the gallery looking at the varied pieces of art: sculptures, drawings, and paintings – as well as other expressions of amazing talent and skill. I roved quietly from piece to piece until I arrived downstairs and the red, white, and blue canvas caught my eye like a smorgasbord for the senses.

I was captivated.

I stood in awe.

I was speechless…

Oh, and don't forget that Wednesday at midnight is when the 100 Christmas Cards giveaway comes to an's still not too late.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living
Did you take a photo in the past seven days that made you smile? If so, feel free to include it in the linky below. 

Remember, by adding your photo into the Weekly Kodachrome meme you are agreeing to do one of the following: display the linky or button to your post, or link back to this post so that everyone gets a little more exposure for the image they’ve uploaded. Those who don’t help to ’share the love’ will have their links removed. You can find the code for the linky here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Moments with Joey - Attendance

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, CLASSROOM. The teacher has returned from his trip to New York, and his first day back at school has just ended. All the students have left for the day with the exception of one-fifth grade boy. The boy is milling about by the classroom door. After a minute or two, the boy approaches his teacher who is finishing reading their journal entries from the weekend.

JOEY: How was your trip, Mr. Z?

TEACHER: It was pretty good; I had a lot of fun.


JOEY: Cool…

[There is another short pause as the teacher enters grades, and the boy stands in front of his desk].

TEACHER: Hey, Joey…I just noticed that you didn’t turn in your journal entry this morning...

JOEY: Oh, I was absent last week so I didn’t know what the topic was.

TEACHER: You were absent every day that I was gone in New York?

JOEY: Uh, yeah…I felt a little bit sick.


TEACHER: You know I looked at your attendance records from last year; you seem to have missed an awful lot of school. [Pause]. But this year you hardly ever miss a day…that’s so strange. You usually seem to be absent only on the days that I’m not here...

[The boy looks a bit guilty and rocks back and forth from foot to foot].

TEACHER: If I didn’t know better, I’d say you stayed home because you missed me, and didn’t want to come to school because I wasn’t here.

[The boy freezes in place, stunned; his expression clearly indicates that his teacher nailed it exactly. The teacher narrows his eyes slightly and lowers his voice].

TEACHER: You skipped school because you missed me, didn’t you?

[The boy’s face flushes to bright red as he moves toward the door].

JOEY: Uh, I’d better get home, Mr. Z.

[As the boy steps out the door, the teacher calls after him].

TEACHER: Hey, Joey!

[After a second, the boy pokes his head through the doorway].

JOEY: Yeah?

TEACHER: I missed you, too; besides, if I hadn’t come to school for a few days and I wasn't me, I probably wouldn’t have come either.

[The boy breaks into a grin and vanishes through the door].

[Fade the black].

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Media of the Week - You Make Loving Fun

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There is music that affects us. We hear a particular song and it intertwines itself into our lives. It becomes embedded with our experience and becomes an extension of us. We hear it again months—or even years—later and discover that this tune has the power to bring back a slew of memories that had long since become dusty and forgotten.

While I’m not necessarily a huge fan of cover songs, I would have to say that this cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “You Make Loving Fun” by Dustin Christensen is one of those songs that simply defies the odds.

I hope you can make it a part of your memories…and better yet, it’s can even download it directly from the link below.

You Make Loving Fun by DustinChristensen

If you wanted, you could like Dustin here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

100 Christmas Cards

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This past week, like last year, I thought a lot about Christmas cards.

I received my first one in the mail just a few days ago...

It reminded me of the time two and three years ago I created two totally different cards: this one, and this one. The first sent my mom into hysterics; I think she probably dropped a few choice words as well upon seeing it...well, according to my aunt.

You see, in it I had a wife, son, and dog she'd never heard of before...

That was probably my best card ever, and I've spent a lot of time in thinking of ways to top it.

Well, I thought of something brilliant; however, this idea would take a lot of work, time, and effort. And to be honest, I am feeling somewhat lethargic about the whole idea.

Yeah, that's just a fancy word for lazy.

Then, while showering, I was struck with a brilliant idea about the ULTIMATE Christmas card…

You see, for the students in my class each year, instead of giving them something they'll simply throw away in a few weeks - knickknack paddy crap - I let them pick a free 5x7 photo from my photography site. And this little gift, my friends, is what spurred the brilliance which cascaded all around me like the hot water from the showerhead…instead of making Christmas cards, I decided to give away 100 Christmas photos.

Yep, you heard right.

I'm going to give away 100 5x7 photos from my website or blog (there are a lot of photos on my blog that I haven't uploaded to my photography site because - like I said - I'm apathetic…my friend, Tib, said I really should update my site and I do plan to...someday). Right now I don't have all of my images linked, but many of them can be found HERE. I won't lie though…there are hundreds of shots here on my blog that I don't have on my photography website (see previous comment on laziness).

But Teachinfourth, how do I get a ticket on the gravy train of love and get my hands on one of these 100 shots you’re offering up and sending out 2 1/2 - 3 weeks from today?

Well, it’s easy as getting run over by a reindeer – actually easier. There’s only three things to do...

Step 1: Be one of the first 100 people to leave a comment letting me know what photo you would like for your ‘card’. If the photo is from my blog and doesn’t have a name, simply copy the URL and post it in your comment so I can easily find it. You could also describe it...

Step 2: Run a post on YOUR blog about Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living, or my photography site, Along the Backroads. Your post doesn't have to be about this Christmas offer, but can instead be about Moments with Joey, Weekly Kodachrome, or any post you particularly like, or a link and shout-out about the photography site or blog in general.

Also, I'd love it if you'd mention the post you liked, the photography site, or this blog on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media you currently use.

Yeah, I'm needy like that.

Step 3: Shoot an email to (or simply click on the Z-Mail link below) and let me know your mailing address (reminding me again of the shot you selected, and including the link to the post you've written from step #2).

That's it.

I'll get your photograph printed and mailed out to you sometime a few weeks after the final day of this offer. Don’t worry, I won’t send you pipe bombs, junk mail, or anything of the like…


Okay, now comes all the rules and general things you probably should know, but it really isn't necessary to read...unless you really want to:

  1. Alphabetography images - as well as shots of people - are not eligible for this free gift. Well, if it's a shot of yours truly - and I look amazing in the photo - I'd probably let you pick it. Also, I have taken most of the photos on this site, however, there are a few I used from other places but these are nearly all marked with a disclaimer that they're from somebody else - and I don't think you'll be picking any of these though…I mean really, shots like THIS?
  2. These photos will not be matted, but instead will sent to you in a plain, boring envelope.
  3. Because of the 5x7 size, shots that are panoramic will have to be - sadly - cropped. Just know that the image might look slightly different than what you see on the site.
  4. Only one Christmas 'card' per blogger. Comments may not be submitted as 'Anonymous' for this, either…sorry, I'm going to have to be a stickler on this.
  5. A few of the images from my blog might not be available; you see, I had a hard drive crash a while ago and several images were lost...however, most of what I have linked should be available. Just have a second choice in mind should I no longer have the image you really want.
  6. This special ends Wednesday the 14th at midnight, or when the last 'card' is claimed - whichever comes first. You will probably get your 'card' a few days after Christmas…considering the busyness of the season.

Did I forget anything else?

Oh yes, I'd love to have you send me your Christmas card from this year, too - that is, only if you are willing. I'll provide my address to you when I respond to the email you send to me with your information -  but only if you want to, this is not a requirement. After all, I would love to have a mailbox full of Christmas cheer rather than electric bills and Publisher’s Clearing House winner notifications (I'll send you my mailing address once you've sent me that email. Is that a deal? Remember though, this is only if you tell me you'd like to send me one; there's no pressure).

I think that there was one more thing...

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.


Oh, and just in case you wanted to like it here or I said before, I'm pretty needy.

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