Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I started writing this blog a little over two years.  I'm getting close to my 500th post.  This past summer, I added the feedjit feature to the right to help me figure out who my anon poster was...He deleted his feedjit - I never figured it out -  I was a little bummed about that because I'm as nosy as heck - but whatevs...  Someone out there in the world doesn't agree with me  -  boo hoo for me ...

What I dig most about the feedjit tracker is that I'm finding out what are my post popular posts are.  My most widely read post is my "Sewing with Nancy" post.  There's a lot of people who want to know if Nancy had a stroke - and NO  - She has/had Bells Palsey - which is sort of like a stroke.  Mostly people want to know more about Nancy - because lets face it - she's awesome, and they use my blog to find out more about her health.

My second most often  read post is my Someone Who Matters post about writing assignment I gave my students my first year of teaching.  This post has traveled around the world several times.  I'm glad.  I like that post too.  I loved reading the kids' master pieces. I've seen feedjits from Canada to Panama on that one.  I like that readers from around the globe see a small glimpse of the classroom I'm going to miss so much this fall.

Other posts that seem to go around are collections from April 2009 and July  2009. I like that I get a lot of traffic from Teacherscribe's blog too -

 I'm glad I added the feedjit.  My blog isn't Dooce or The Pioneerwoman or even Penelope Trunk - but it sure gets around.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Travel Bug -

Now, I've got the bug to travel.  I've been sending Jason brochures about Disneyworld.  I want to get there before the girls think they're too old for Mickey Mouse. 

I realized my little gum drops needed to travel more as we drove into Mitchell, S.D. and Natalie announced "When I grow up, I want to live in a big city - just like Mitchell, S.D.!"  I didn't quite get it as she has been to Minneapolis.  Who knows?

Not that Mitchell wouldn't be a grand place to live...  I'm sure it would be great getting popcorn every year for Christmas - it's just that her perception of a big city seems a little off? 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why did

It just take me five minutes to think of the word compromise?  Does anything like that happen to anyone else?  I mean....  Sometimes, I scare myself to death.  I set down my glasses and two minutes later can not remember where I set them.  I go to the kitchen and forget why I'm there.  My kids tell me something and three minutes later I forget what they said? 

Have you ever been talking and in midsentence forget what you were going to say?

Scares the crap out of me.

Nat Came Home

Last night, Natalie came home from a Girl Scout adventure.  She went to Duluth saw the ships, saw Glensheen, took a boat tour of the harbor, and even spent the night in the Zoo.  We gave her $20 for her overnight trip...  this is what she brought back...

This girl knows how to spend money - I'm tellin' ya. 

After spending six days in the car with my little angel, (tongue in cheek) I was really hoping she was kind to her Girl Scout leader.  I was really hopeful Natalie would be grateful for the time Maureen spent planning the trip and taking the time to bring them on an ADVENTURE.... even if there was a little learning involved.

When Maureen dropped Nattie Bo Bo off, she took me aside and said "If only they were all Angels like Natalie, (I don't think she said that tongue in cheek) I'd go every week."

OK - so I'm bragging a little.  But sometimes, a parent REALLY  needs to hear her daughter is kind.  Because guess what?  An adolescent daughter isn't always so kind to her mum. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am a Laura Ingalls Groupie

As a little girl, I loved Laura Ingalls.  I really really loved her.  I wanted my dad to call me Half-Pint.  But he just called me Bobbi like everyone else.  We'd watch the shows.  I read all the books.  I was in love the with everything Laura.  Once my mom and grandma took my sis and I to Walnut Grove.  Oh!  How I loved that.  

As I was planning the trip to the Black Hills, I saw De Smit, SD.  Ooooo... this was my chance to share my passion with the girls.  We don't have cable - so, the girls have never even seen Little House on the Prairie.  And well, I had somewhat been lacking on my groupiness of everything Laura...  I decided that this was my chance to get the girls introduced to Laura Ingalls.

While driving, we listened to Little House books on audio cd.   Jason enjoyed listening because Laura even meticulously describes how Pa built their house and even how he made bullets for hunting their food.  

When we got to De Smit, I was pretty pumped because, well, everything was so Ingallsish.  Parts of my past came alive for a book I had read at least twenty-five years ago.  Area teens showed us how the pioneers made hay logs to keep from freezing to death in the winter.  Also, they helped Allison and Natalie make their very own rope, corn cob dolls, and some sort of button toy.

We visited an old school house and Allie got to ring the bell and wear a sunbonnet.  OH!  How I wanted to buy her a sunbonnet!

 Natalie loved roping this "cow".  Even my little sceptic had a great time in the little town of De Smit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


For some reason, I felt I knew my way around the Black Hills pretty well.  I did not feel a map was needed.  I could have not been more wrong.  Instead of taking 385 SE, I took 85 W and ended up in Wyoming.

When we stopped at Perkins, we saw they had a long line and decided to take our chances on the road.  (Never ever take a chance on the road)  As we drove out of Deadwood and headed into Lead, we admired the Black Hills. 

After about a half hour, I started wondering where all the advertisements were.  I had never heard of the towns "Four Corners" and "Newcastle" listed on the big green signs we passed. 

"Awww what the heck? Hmmm... I guess this is part of the adventure."

A voice came from the backseat... "Mom?  Are we lost?"

"No!"  I insisted.  We were not lost....  I hoped

We had admired the cliffs and beautiful trees. 

"Mom?"  Another voice came from the backseat.  "I'm hungry." 

"We'll find a place up ahead dear!"  I called back and smiled.

And then, we passed a sign...  I glanced sideways to Jason...  "Did that sign just say Wyoming?"

"aaaaa yeah - Welcome to Wyoming."

"Do we have a map somewhere?" 

Jason dug around our car and found our little tiny map.... 

"I think we should just turn around."

"But - dad?  I'm hungry...."


And so - I stopped at Four Corners.  We took a look around and only saw a post office and something that may have resembled a bed and breakfast?

We turned around.  For some reason, we thought we should just turn around.

The thing is - I had to go to the bathroom. 

A few miles down the road, I found a little gas station bar?  Because that's common?  Gas station bars are common.

I walk in and realize that I've just walked into some sort bikerish bar.

"Ummmm - May I use the bathroom?"  I ask the cowboy behind the bar?  There are four biker dudes/cowboys sitting at a table to my right and a biker couple to my left.  All six point the way to the bathroom.

On the bathroom door, there's a sign that reads "Payin' customers only."

As I'm leaving, I find a cooler with Coke and take two along with some M&Ms that are displayed in a glass case.  Next to the cash register a sign reads "BAD CHECKS = $35 or $.25 for the bullet." 

I pay in cash.

"Thanks!"  I call out as I leave.

"Anytime - Welcome- Have a great day!"  I get from all six customers as I walk out the door.

We drive back to Spearfish. 

There is no line at Perkins.  We eat lunch and take 385 this time and head southeast.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A favorite memory!

Students are so funny.

I like to be a little cheesy in the classroom.

I told them to put "I own This" on pages of homework they thought they did well on. They loved it. Many booklets came in with "I own this" on various pages. Some students will even erase it or put, "I'm going to own this." Just a responsibility issue. In one of the last booklets, a student wrote

"Mrs. Aakhus, I'm just renting..."

Kids just make me smile.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On Vacation

At this point, we should be rolling into town any minute.  I didn't write about going to South Dakota because John Tesh recommends against blogging about it or putting it on facebook or twitter.  I guess I could understand.  I'd hate to come home and find that someone has stolen Jason's car.

THAT would be a major bummer now, wouldn't it?  Anyways, it would be really easy to find car when it's stolen because Jason is constantly getting pulled over - I'm not sure why.  But, no doubt the cops would find it right away.

I'd hate to come home and find that someone has taken my used VHS collection.  You know the ones without a cover?   Now that would be a BUM MER!

MY life would totally be ruined without those....

Now...  another thing that I'd lose sleep over is the acrylic yarn that I've been collecting over the years...  I've been crocheting for the past eighteen years.  Yeah?  I'm not even ninety.  But - let's just say if someone came and took all of my acrylic yarn - I might have a heart attack.

Another thing, is maybe they'd trash the place.  Seriously now, if someone came in and trashed my place, it would probably look like they had cleaned it up a bit.  I'm seriously a number one slob!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I've gots a new job

Since my name is Roberta - I should be in like Flynn!


best of craigslist > philadelphia > Seeking bodyguard named Betty Originally Posted: Mon, 21 Jun 01:33 EDT

Seeking bodyguard named Betty

Date: 2010-06-21, 1:33AM EDT

I am a Paul Simon fan in my mid thirties. As my name is Al, for the past 20 years I've been searching for a friend named Betty with whom I could sing the Paul Simon song "You Can Call Me Al." Imagine how much fun we could have singing along with the lyrics and pointing at each other when our names are mentioned! We could sing it together on road trips with the windows down, at home with our stereos cracked loud, we can smile at each other knowingly when it's played in gas stations and grocery stores and text each other when we're apart and it comes on the radio. I'm especially looking forward to acting out our own version of the classic Paul Simon Chevy Chase music video. We can post it on Youtube!

Just to be clear, I'm not really looking for a bodyguard (that's a lyric from the song haha!) just a friend named Betty.

If you want we could maybe sing other Paul Simon songs at some point but I'd really rather we stick with our namesakes You Can Call Me Al. Of course I want proof your name is really Betty so when we meet I'll need to see a state issued photo ID with that name. I'll also accept Elizabeth, Roberta or Beatrix.

Please write back soon I can't wait to hang out
-Your long lost pal!!!

PostingID: 1802444273

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Back in '90, Tina decided she wanted to have a big slumber party.  She invited about fifteen girls to her mom's house and we crowded into her living room watching movies and eating munchies.  At about midnight, Tina stood in the front of the room and made an announcement.

"I have the  best idea ever!"  Her nose was wrinkled and she was smiling... she was a little hyper from all the Mountain Dew she had been drinking.

"You know those pumpkins everyone has all over their yards?"  She continued laughing...  "Let's take them all... And put them in front of the school"

"GREAT IDEA" we shouted.

So we piled into her early 80's Buick - all fifteen of us!  And hit the streets of Red Lake Falls.

We creeped down allies and side streets looking for respectable pumpkin bags left over from Halloween.

We made several loads that evening because - after all, Red Lake Falls is a respectable town with Halloween spirit - and plenty of leaf-rakers!

All in all, we gathered about twenty bags.

We had been stopped once by a local cop.

"Have you girls been drinking?"

"Naw...  smell our breath."  Tina blew her pizza breath all over the unsuspecting deputy.  

"Ok girls, you look a little suspicious.  You can go on your way...  stay out of trouble."

Ohh... little did he know the trouble we were stirring.

The next morning, all of the bags had been gathered up by the custodians and put through the incinerator.  We were dissapointed that there wasn't any news stories in the local Gazette or anything. 


There are only a few friends you remember the exact moment meeting them - like for instance - when I met Jason at the Plummer Dance... Tina is one of those friends I remember distinctly meeting.  She was on the band bus.  She had red hair, and she played the flute.  I thought she was marvelous.  Tina's imagination was big.  She laughed loudly and her eyes rolled when she talked to emphasize everything she was saying.  I remember just looking at her and smiling as she talked.  It was as if she was her own T.V. show.  I'm not quite sure why I haven't written more about Tina.  She's down right special.

She's one of those people who worked her way through school and became an English teacher of all things!  :)  I'd love to sit in on her classes and see how she runs her class because I bet they are fun!  Those kids have no idea the rebel that stands in front of their classroom!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I found this on List of the Day;

I remember watching these commercials and then, later spilling Kool-Aid or breaking something.  I'd run and tell my mom.....  She'd never be so cool about any of my "confessions" as the guy in this commercial. I was so disappointed in my mom -  I'd look at her with knowing eyes after watching this commercial and shake my head.

"We're not Mormons.."  She'd say and flick some ashes off her cigarette.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How I Met My Husband...

Eighteen years ago, I met Jason at a Plummer Dance.  He was sitting on the stair ledge right outside the door.  He had long blond-hair and engineer boots on with a leather motorcycle jacket.  My sister introduced us.  I thought for sure she was nuts because she thought we were perfect for each other.

I was more into boys from Spain who wore a red jean jacket with matching jeans.  What did Missi know anyways?
 I remember the first time Jason flirted with me.  I had dropped the letter "E" on the ground when I was putting up the "EVENTS FOR THE WEEK" bulletin board.  "Hey you dropped your E" he told me.  Wow - swept me off my feet!  We're talkin' sweet lips baby.

Eventually, I got over  Mr. Red Jeans.....  Jason and I became friends. He was the Math tutor at the learning center. Tina and I would go in to use our computers.... Jason would make me laugh.  I started wondering if I might have a crush on him.  Then, another girl confessed to me that she did. Well... that sealed the deal.  She couldn't have him - he was MINE!

Our first date we went to the movie Captain Ron  or was it Honeymoon in Vegas ? We don't remember. Our first dance was to Metallica's Nothing Else Matters or The Unforgiven.  We don't remember.  It wasn't Enter Sandman.  I know that for sure.  Hmmm? 

It's hard to believe we've been together for eighteen years.  Sometimes, it's even harder to believe that I fell for the guy with the motorcycle jacket and biker boots.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Primary Day

Today is primary day in Minnesota!!   Wooo hoo!!!  I just thought I'd share one of my favorite primary day posts!  I wrote this two years ago in honor of my grandma.

Tomorrow is primary Tuesday. It brings me back to September 2000 when I wheeled my Grandma Shirley down to the community hall so she could vote for Mark Dayton. Weeks a head of time, Grandma made my sister and I promise we would go down and vote at primaries to be sure that Mark Dayton would be the Minnesota Democratic Nominee for United States Senate. Looking back, how could anyone resist a seventy-five year old dynamo with oxygen tubing in a wheelchair?

Grandma told me about Mark Dayton's bus trips to Canada. Grandma was convinced that Mark Dayton was the answer to her and her friends' prayers. He was sincere, honest, and he cared about the cost of medicine. It seemed like everyday the commercials got her excited. Anytime we would call with news of her great-grandchildren, she would bring up Mark Dayton and the hope he offered Minnesota, the United States, and the world.

Valedictorian Speaks Out

I love when she says "we have to learn this for the test" is not good enough.  It isn't, is it?  With standardized testing, we are teaching are kids how to fill in the bubbles - how does Prentice Hall (The maker of textbooks and the Minnesota test) think I should answer this?  We have to waste time teaching kids to think like test makers when they could be writing about their beliefs and standing up for them.

Monday, August 9, 2010

93 degrees?

Dang - we have no air conditioning and that makes me very sad on a day like today.  Back when I was a kid, we didn't have air.  Know what we did?  We visited people with air.

To tell you the truth, I'm not as social as my mom.  I think visiting with people you see everyday for too long can get you in trouble - you just might end up talking about religion, politics, or something conterversial like "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND." 

 So this is my plan for the day.

1.  I made some really great Southern Tea.  So good.  I feel like such a super star.  I didn't even need the contraption I bought on clearance eight years ago.  The recipe is far easier than any extra small appliance. 

2.  Go to work.  I will work my lowly hour and fifteen minutes teaching reading concepts to some lovely high school students - and guess what?  There's air-conditioning there.

3.  Go home - grab the girls and spend one hour at the pool.  Any more and we just might melt!!!!

4.  Go home spread my body out on the living room floor and read, watch a movie, and drink tea.

5.  Eat a sandwich for supper.

6.  Go swimming.

Ta da!!!!

My whole day is planned....

The Rules of Writing...

I thought I've read these somewhere else before - I love them.....  I got them from annbruce.wordpress.com

Love it!

This list is old but it’s worth reviewing. On occasion, I do deliberately break some of these rules, especially #3.
  1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
  4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  7. Be more or less specific.
  8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  10. No sentence fragments.
  11. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
  12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  14. One should NEVER generalize.
  15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  16. Don’t use no double negatives.
  17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
  21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  23. Kill all exclamation points!!!
  24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
  26. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  28. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
  29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  34. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  36. The adverb always follows the verb.
  37. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  38. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  39. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of ten or more words, to their antecedents.
  40. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  41. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  42. And finally…
  43. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Allie's Stanley

I hope if you have kids that one day they will make a Flat Stanley in second grade.  What's a Flat Stanley?  Jeff Brown's Stanley Lambchop is flattened by a bulletin board that his dad puts up over his bed. - Ta da!  That is how Stanley became Flat Stanley.

Second Grade in Red Lake Falls has been doing the Flat Stanley project for years.  Allie decided to send her Stanley to Belden and his wife in New York.  And sure, Stanley hung out with Belden and Venece in New York, and after awhile, Belden, his dad and brother extended an invite to Stan to travel to Mount Everest and the Taj Mahal .  Of course,  Stanley said "YES!!!!"

I don't even think Stanley needed a passport - how cool is that?  While the three explorers trekked around the world - they would carefully unfold Stanley and pose with him. 

Here's Don with Stanley in front of the Taj Mahal.  Notice the cool Hornbacher's shirt?  Yeah - totally awesome - it pretty much matches Stanley's shirt too.

Stanley took this picture of his fellow travelers - Belden is in the middle, his father wearing the fisherman's cap, and his little brother in the blue/green scrubs.

Nothing will describe look o f fascination on Allie's face as she saw pictures of her Flat Stanley traveling the world. When Allie got Stanley back, she read Belden's letter over and over reliving Stanley's adventures imagining there is such a place as the Taj Mahal and Mount Everest.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Mouse in The House

I've been in distress the past two weeks because ladies and gentlemen there is a mouse in our house.  I've been grumbling about it on facebook.  What if it were a bunny?  Bunnies are rodents.  What if there was a bunny in our house?  Would I scramble from my bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night knowing there was a bunny in our house?  Well.... NO.... My fear/grossness is irrational.  I realize this.

I've gotten lots of advice...  but my favorite comment comes from a past student from Fosston...

Good times! Good times!

I had shown them this video this Spring - ( I think Teacherscribe had it on his blog.)

It has to be this mouse!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Fosston Files

I've finally started to unpack.  Boxes have crowded my dining room table for too long.  It's time for me to sort through my books and give some away. Before I left, I gave my set of Love That Dog to one of the teachers taking over the seventh grade classes.  I know she'll share!   I've already given my friend, Tina, some stacking file bins.  Because there's only so many of them that one household needs.  I'm throwing out random papers and filling boxes with items I can throw away.  I'm finding little notes and pictures.  The yearbook.  Stories.  Poems.  My stacks are being coming taller.  I'm realizing that unpacking is a little easier than I thought it would be.

This Fall..

This month, I will get my last pay check from Fosston.  Today is the first day of yearbook camp.  And guess what?  I'm not going...  Allison pointed this out last week.

"Yippeeeee!  No yearbook camp this year mom!!!  You can stay home with us.  HOOOOORAY!"

Wow!  I didn't realize she missed me so much.

"Wooowee Mom!  You are going to be home after school."  

Based on that reaction, I've decided to be fussy on where I apply.

First of all, I REALLY like it at the ALC.  I never expected to love those kids as much as I do.  Everyday that I leave, I have a big smile on my face, and  I only have about a fifteen mile drive every day.  

 When I first went back to school, I wanted to finish out my teaching degree and knew there wasn't a lot of jobs out there.   I figured I would sub since subbing had better pay than most jobs out there. And then, I sort of struck gold with my job in Fosston.  I graduated May 8th, 2008 and was hired by May 15th, 2008.

I had some great times at Fosston.  I worked hard and developed a thick skin.  I learned a lot.

And now, I am back to where I started. I'll be subbing.  It almost sounds like a crazy mis-hap movie. "The Substitute Teacher." 

What more can a mom want?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Things You Can't Tell My Mom

My mom doesn't read my blog - so pretty much I can write anything I want about her I want to and get away with it!  but, do me a favor and don't tell her - ok?  She's a great lady - full of drive, full of GREAT advice - (just ask her for pete's sake)

And so...  did I ever tell you about the time we picked up a hitchhiker?  Well - don't tell my mom, but we did.  She'd freak - for good reason.  Biggest mistake of our lives.  Actually, I picked up a hitchhiker twice - once with Jason and once without him - but the one without him was J's uncle, so that doesn't really count as a hitchhiker now does it?  He was hitchhiking - really... But - it doesn't count on my part because I knew he wasn't an ax-murderer.

Once, Jason and I were headed to Brooks... he saw an old guy with his thumb up.

"Ooooo"  Jason said... "Look at the poor-old guy, he needs a ride.  Should we?"

"See where he's going."  I said but thought "Oooo my mom's gonna kill me if this guy is an ax-murderer."

We pulled alongside the road.  The old guy was heading to Erskine.

"Well, we're heading to Brooks. We can take you there."  Jason - my kindhearted dear offered.

The old guy agreed.

So, we're making conversation with this old guy and I realize the smell.  OOOOO Weeeee!  This guy was pickled.

Have you ever been to the recycling center and opened up the glass compartment and smelled old whiskey and stale beer?  Well... that's what his belch smelled like.

"Thanks for taking me to Erskine..."  he slobbered.

"We're taking you to Brooks..." Jason stated.

I was tense.

"Well...  Erskine is not so far."

"And that is why you will find a ride once you are in Brooks."

"AAawww geee.... I really appreciate you taking me to Erskine.  Joe DiMaggio's - the bar"

I'm thinkin' "Dude, are you sure you need to go to the bar...?"

"Meetin' a friend..."

I turned to Jason... "Let's just take him to Erskine... Open the door by Joe's and wave goodbye."

"OK"  Jason turned to the guy in the back "We'll take you to Erskine."

The next ten minutes were very tense for me.  I mean, I don't like breathing through my mouth, but at least I knew that IF this guy was an ax-murderer, he was too drunk to be effective.

We got to the corner by Joe DiMaggio's and told him "Here ya are!"

"But won't you take me to Bemidji."

I took a look at Jason and mouthed "Get him OUTTA HERE!"

Somehow, we got him out.  I looked straight a head with my windows rolled down thinking "My mom would kill me....."