Garages on Halloween

Garages on Halloween are a piece of Americana. Taking my kids out last night I saw all kinds of marvelous things in peoples’ garages. Most of them were decorated as haunted houses. One house we walked up to had a dad looking guy in a Jason mask handing out candy. He had implements in there reminiscent of a SAW scene. I must admit, even as a regular dad taking his kids around to trick or treat, that one kind of freaked me out. Overall it was an awesome night. There were not many people out though. I wonder if it had something to do with the recession. How was the Halloween traffic where you are?

F is for Field Trip

It’s field trip day! Perfect for “f” in the AtoZChallenge! We’re going to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. When you teach kids day in and day out using curriculum on paper and overheads, it’s so effective to get them out into the real world where they can experience it with all 5 senses.

Today, about 70 kids from our high desert school get up close with Science. On exhibit is the Shuttle Endeavor. I plan to take a few choice photos and post them here on the blog so stay tuned. I’ve heard there are so many amazing exhibits, I can’t wait to see the wonder in my students’ faces. I got to pick my 5 students that had the highest chapter book reading points (AR) to go. The rest of my class is back with a sub. Im helping out the 6th grade because they didn’t get enough parent chaperones. Later this month I’m taking my regular class on a Gold Rush simulation field trip. I’m serving as a chaperone on this trip with my 5 plus a group of other kids. These are very rewarding times as a teacher when you get to see the kids really engaged with learning.

Summer 2011 was a Time for Relaxation

Damien RileyThis has been one of my best Summers. We went to San Diego and saw the animals at Sea World do their flips for fish rewards. We took in the wonder of the Museum of Natural History and the Reuben H. Fleet Science museum. It was there we saw the IMAX images from the Hubble telescope. It was life changing. For me it is hard to look at those images and then accept that the mysteries of a god can be understood through a book. For me, that was significant.

We went to a few Orange County beaches: Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Balboa, and Newport. It was tranquil and serene watching my wife and kids laying out getting relaxed and thinking about how good we have it.

I have been able to genuinely relax this Summer, partly because I was focused on the value of that and partly because we had the money and the free time. I have been really pushing my stress levels to the limit and I need this Summer to remind myself that I can be still and foster the molecules in my body to come together and be strong again.

I’ve ordered my blogging job to where I have a schedule again. This will make me more productive. I know the type of writing I need to do and I intend to do it. Remember the value of relaxation before it’s too late. It will eventually hit through high blood pressure or shaky hands or other unwelcome malady. Take time to relax and your body will be strong to move toward your dreams.

You can see OC Beach Trip 2011 photos I‘ve shared in my album.

Little to You, Big to Others

Mister Buffalo With Trophy

I give a trophy out to kids who win the multiplication competition. They have to return it once another kid wins but it’s big notoriety when one does win. They get to keep it on their desk. They smile a lot. Today one of my students told me the winner’s mom was proud of him, really proud, like telling everyone in the laundry area of the apartments proud. Needless to say I’m encouraged by this news. I had a few arrows shot at me today, but who cares when you get news like this :)

This post was published first as Little to You, Big to Others on Riley Central.

Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

The Memory of Running

Walking through CVS today I saw this book on display and had to buy it. The title absolutely flowed through me. I have no clue what the plot is about but ever since I picked it up I have wanted to post a memory of my running here on my blog: I have many.

My dad told me in my freshman year of high school that I had to either pick a sport and compete or get a part time job. I see the wisdom in that so much now that I have a son of my own. I weighed around 100 lbs. at 5’8″ so football was out. I suppose I could have been a wrestler like my friend Kevin, he was 5’5″ and about 95 lbs. Before meets he would fast and run in plastic to sweat it off. I wouldn’t have had to do that because I never ate and I was a bag of bones. Literally you could see my ribs. I was healthy, just very gaunt. Thank goodness I finally filled out in college. I’m about 170 now, and needing to lose a spare tire. My how age changes your worries.

But back to the memory of running. I chose running X-country and track instead of getting a job. It was a wise decision. I have 4 years worth of remarkable memories stored away in my mind forever and anon. If you’ve run, you know that running is ethereal … other-worldly. One practice for X-country, we were running a 10 mile workout. Can you imagine that? It was from Mission Viejo to San Juan Capistrano and back again. The coaches ran with us but one took a car halfway and parked it beforehand so he could ride alongside us driving like horses to the destination. I would do those workouts without a thought. It was like riding on my legs. I do my treadmill now all these years later and remember how I was back then … so much endurance. I miss that, but I know it would take far more discipline than I have to get there again. In fact, it might not even be possible anymore. Back to the memory: It was almost prom and I had no date. My mom had been pressuring me like moms do to ask someone ANYONE. based on my slight frame and my somewhat immature disposition back then, I wasn’t the BMOC in the eyes of the girls. Nonetheless, I found myself staring during that workout at a freshman female. She was a friend, I was a senior. I ran up alongside her and after a few words regarding the prom, she agreed to go. I remember running faster than I ever had to finish that 10 miles.

Nothing ever came of the friendship between she and I. We had a great prom night of dancing and walking on the beach with our friends in our formalwear. I’ll leave her name out because too many people have found me through things I’ve posted and I’d rather just keep her mysterious anyway! My wife has seen the prom picture. My mom has it or I would post it. My hair was like a pompadour and her hair was like an exploding lion’s mane. Don’t you love the 80’s?

I have memories of running in so many situations now as a  dad, teacher, blogger. It’s like I wouldn’t feel as much if I hadn’t pushed back then. All I had was what I gave and as long as I did my “personal best” the coaches were happy. Great paradigm for life I think. It certainly is mine. Today was good run for me, I’m back at it after a long time away. The body reacts a little slower when I make it go fast. I think I can get it back up to pace … after a while.

Oh yeah, and I will review the book I mention when I get around to reading it. It probably has nothing to do with this post, but you never know ’til you pop the cover. I got inspired enough, just seeing it on the shelf to write my own post of the same name.

UPDATE: I wrote a song with the same title a little after this post was written. Check it out below:

My Top Ten Tunes in Heavy Rotation

These are the top ten tunes I have in heavy rotation currently. Spotify playlist link

  • The River – Imagine Dragons
  • All Night – R5
  • Brand New – Ben Rector
  • Nobody to Love – Alex Newell
  • Demons – Imagine Dragons
  • Superheroes – The Script
  • Man on a Wire – The Script
  • It’s Not Right for You – The Script
  • Renegades – X Ambassadors
  • Superhero – Cher Lloyd

Tagged as part of: #TopTenTuesday on Twitter.

The Guilt that Haunts Me

tumblr source

This is potentially a very personal writing prompt! I could have been silly with it and write about all the ants I’ve stepped on but I decided to go serious and share a real thing.

Share a time when you were overcome with guilt. What were the circumstances? How did you overcome you guilt?

Source: The Guilt that Haunts Me | The Daily Post

This is actually a story fromany light years ago that makes me feel vulnerable so go easy on the judgment. When my younger sister and her friends wanted to go to a concert, she asked me to drive. After I said yes, somehow the topic came up with the three 18 year old girls to get some booze before the show. I guess I wanted to be the cool big brother so I bought a bottle of vodka and took them to AM/PM where they bought sodas. They poured the liquor into their sodas and proceeded to drink drink drink.

By the time we got to the venue, they were drunk. I went somewhere and waitied as I recall. I think it was a local arcade? Like I said, it was years back. When I showed up to pick them up, one of the friends had disappeared. She ended up showing up later and nothing bad happened but a lot worse could have transpired. It was up there with one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done. I felt guilty for a long long time, especially when the girl was lost. It goes to show you what bad things can happen when a big brother decides to be a showoff.

Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk is a powerful war epic directed by the mega director Christopher Nolan. In this review I share the good and the bad in my opinion about this highly anticipated film.

Dunkirk (2017)
PG-13 | 1h 46min | Action, Drama, History | 21 July 2017 (USA)

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard

Read the entire text post Dunkirk (2017) at Riley on Film.

The post Dunkirk (2017) appeared first on The DRP.

The Clencher

“What to do with my ride of an afternoon?”

The Peanuts movie is out. I heard Snoopy does a mean WWI Flying ace vs the Red Baron. Food courts are nice. Getting a chair massage at the mall while reading could work but maybe not because I have the girls. Fact is, I could do any nuber of things because it’s early dismissal and the teachers go home early today too. Sometimes the ride defines itself as you go along.

In 1997 when I was 27 years old I was offered a job as a 5th grade teacher. It was unexpected because I was only a substitute but they liked that I was bilingual and that I had a Master’s Degree. They grandfathered me in on what is known as an “emergency credential” in California. There was a teacher shortage at the time so if you had a few requirements and you passed fingerprints, you were in like Flynn.

Before I accepted the job that would later become my passion and career, usually it’s reversed for people, they follow their passion and it becomes a career, they took me to the school I would be teaching at. I observed the classes with the Principal and instatly knew this the right job for me.

But there was one clencher. I talked with a teacher, a male, who told me he had a wife and 3 daughters. He said teaching was a great job for raising a family. As I was talking with him, he got a phone call and I oerheard it. He was arranging a meetup with his wife at the local cinema for a matinee … AFTER WORK.

I knew this was the job for me at that moment. Today it continues to  give me the time I need to be with my family and follow my personal dreams alongside teaching.


Writer’s Workshop: Listening Experiment

It’s Thursday! The day I set aside to respond to one of fellow blogger “Mama Kat‘s” writing prompts. Today I chose: #3 “You have one wish…what do you wish for? I wish I could be a better listener. I get so much when I tune in to people and yet I am so on the go all week, I forget to discipline myself to do it. Listening is far superior to taking. Reading, in a similar way, is far superior to writing. I now this and yet I spend the majority of my time talking, as a teacher and also with my family/friends, and far less time listening and really accepting the input of other minds. Every once in awhile I challenge myself to do a “listening experiment.”

Most of us get hoodwinked into believing we must always be speaking, earning, racing, fighting to get ahead. As we buy the lie, we stop receiving knowledge, wisdom, encouragement, and other input from others.

I’ll be challenging myself in the upcoming set of days to focus on receiving input more than sending it out. I call it the listening experiment. So far, every time I have done it and blogged about it, I’ve been radically impacted for the better.

I don’t mind telling you that listening is the hardest thing I can challenge myself to do. I guess I’m afraid I’m wasting tie. Perhaps at my core I truly believe my thoughts are superior to other people. I hate the sound of that. A person like that ends up on an island with a Walkman and no one to talk to. I definitely don’t believe that and yet I act that way by not being a good listener. As I do the experiment, tv doesn’t count as “receiving” or listening, although it does has some value that way, you can’t interrupt it. Listening to my wife and kids does count. Reading others’ words in books and on a computer counts as well. I’m not sure why they are superior to tv, but they are. Active listening includes responses but rarely gives examples from its own life (a big pool of quicksand for me).

Active listening is an ongoing practice.

I think I’ve gotten better at listening but I still have many miles to go to be the type of listener I want to be. So that would be my wish, in response to this wonderful writing prompt. It was a nice reminder of what’s truly valuable to me and what I desire most out of life.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Leaving the Crayons at Work

What a feeling, closing a classroom for the weekend. What’s more? A 3 day weekend! I’m looking forward to reading, taking photos, watching some movies, and planning for my return to the crayon place on Tuesday. Weekends are yet another perk of teaching, I’ve enjoyed having them off work for 17 years.