Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Monday, March 2, 2015

Beware of Oat Meal Cookies, Modified Running Record, Andrew's Work, Jo Conlon

Here is a photo of a student's work that I promised that I would display.  I interviewed her on Friday.  This is Frida's composition that she wanted me to share. I was highly engaged as a reader.  She definitely sustained my focus.  This piece was very interesting to me.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Guided Writing Video

Here is a video that I made on Friday at an elementary school.  I worked with a group of young student writers.  The classroom teacher asked me to work with them on adding detail to their memory kernels.  This is the first time that I had worked with this group.  I modeled and shared my thought process and they also shared their thoughts and writing.  They picked up so much in a short period of time.  I hope there are not problems with upload, otherwise this post is useless.  It will take some time to upload.  I decided to add this post with great faith in the upload.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Interview with Children's Author Andrew Salas!

I hope you enjoy the following video interview with 8 year old Andrew Salas.  He will share with us his newest writing pieces and his inspiration.  This was filmed on location at his house in Houston. Sarah Salas, Andrew's mom, was the camera person!  Thanks Sarah and Andrew for a great interview and Saturday afternoon.  This is my second Camtasia video that I have produced this weekend. I am learning so many new features with each project. My hope is the quality will be get better and better!  Enjoy!

The Krack! by Andrew Salas

I hope that you will enjoy The Krack! by Andrew Salas!

Poetry by Andrew Salas-Best Bird Ever!

Best Bird Ever-Poetry by Andrew Salas

Meet Andrew Salas

Illustrations to Best Bird Ever

Cover to Best Bird Ever

Best Bird Ever!

An Interview with a Fourth Grade Writer

I had the great privilege and honor to interview young fourth grade writer Frida. She shares her insights and ideas about writing. I will be posting one of her writing pieces later.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Librarian-The Woman Behind The Books and The Cookies

I spoke with JoAnn Conlon today to ask if I could use her photo on my blog.  I wanted you to see the woman behind the story.  She is the librarian from yesterday's post.  Every time that I speak with her, I come out in a jovial mood.  She always has a great story to tell and is so ever serious in her delivery.  She has an impeccable timing and great sense of humor!  I still use her "cogwheel of death" phrase when speaking of the internet and it's slowness.  "Oh, no! We've been cursed with the cogwheel for death!"  Fifteen years ago, it was that stupid tea cup that would come up, while the computer was loading or thinking slooooowwwwlllly!  Now it's a cogwheel!  So without further aduiex, her are some photos taken of JoAnn in her office.  The Reading Lady statue in her office with the red Convverse Chuck Taylor's are so funny!  It's a piece of her office but a piece of who she is!  Funny lady who will eat cockroached cookies just because she doesn't want to be rude and just say no!
View of the Hilarious Reading Lady!  Notice her red Chuck Taylor Converse.

The Reading Lady sporting some cook red kicks.

JoAnn Conlon-The Unsuspecting Librarian

Good Reviews

I received some decent reviews of the Oatmeal Cookies Beware! mixed genre piece.  One person told me that after reading my post, they will never eat oatmeal cookies again.  Another one commented to me that it reminded them of a fifth grade boy who used to eat the cockroaches, on the playground, just to gross out the girls.  That is entirely too extreme for me.  Seems more like something you would have to do on Fear Factor.  Still another commented to me that is was totally gross and evocative!  I quite like the sound of that-Evocative!  That's what I wanted it to be: gross and evocative!  When the librarian JoAnn Conlon told me this story, I was totally grossed out.  I still am so I wanted to make sure my readers could feel, as I felt.  I talked to some students today about it, as I wrote about it in front of them.  When they found out what happened with the oatmeal cookies, their faces of complete disgust and surprise was nothing short of priceless!  It was something worth telling and fun to see the many varied looks of complete horror.  And yes, Caroline this is a true story.  I don't really think that you could make this one up at all.  JoAnn has assured me that she wants to tell me more great and true stories for me to write.  It is good fodder to contemplate but not necessarily consume in the usual sense.  Cockroaches aren't quite the delicacy that they never were.  I can't imagine anyone seriously dining on these nasty beasts.  Biting into the exoskeleton would give me the willies and some other diseases potentially.  Hey, I do watch the Orkin and Terminix commercials!  I kept wondering though where did the Lily of the Fields gather her prey?  Did she wait until midnight and then turn on the kitchen light to watch them scatter into little roach motels?  Did she buy them at some store?  I really don't know any place you could actually buy them.  No, I haven't searched Amazon or Craig's List yet.  I know Petco has crickets but I don't think they sell them but it doesn't mean that they don't have them.  I know where she could get some of them.  No, not my house or garage, silly!  I see them all the time in some of the schools and of course on KTRK Rat and Roach report each Friday with (hit it!) slime in the ice machine!  Anyhow, I am glad to have taken some of you from your comfortable and maybe stressed out world to join me in the world of "raisin"-oatmeal-cookies-disgust. It was a fun and enjoyable ride.

This post was brought to you by Raid Pest Control.  If you fumigate, don't wait and throw away the carcasses.  It is harmful for humans to ingest.  Call poison control at 1 800-Oat-Meal if ingested!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Beware of Oatmeal Cookies!

Beware of Oatmeal Cookies!

If you want to eat some cookies, any cookies, beware!  Ask yourself some of the following questions:
  1. Did I make these cookies by hand?
  2. Did someone else make these cookies?
If you answered no to question number one and yes to question number two, you could be in quite a disgusting quagmire.  Proceed with caution and then continue reading at your own risk.

If you answered yes to question number two, then do you know first hand what kind of ingredients your mom, aunt, cousin, friend or maybe co-worker used?  Do these cookies taste like no other?  Are they the best you ever, ever ate in your life?  Have you asked for the recipe?  Was the person reluctant to give up the goods or the "secret recipe"?  Did they say that the ingredients were "all natural?"  If you answered yes to some or most of the questions above and it was an out-there co-worker, then you might be suffering through a severe case of ignorance. Be prepared to gag.  Please be make sure you know where the nearest trash receptacle or restroom is located.  You might just be making a trip soon.  "Wanna get away?"  This is definitely  a trip you want to cancel! Trust me on this one.

I am relatively sure, that after you hear about what happened to one of Houston's best librarians, you might want to reconsider your oatmeal, with raisin, cookie diet and choose an alternative.

When this media specialist finished telling me this unbelievable and crude story, I began making plans to ban oatmeal cookies from my future diet. The only viable alternative is for me to bake them myself. I rarely bake so I took what she said in a very serious manner. You just never know.  I am just sayin'.

My librarian friend, with a very straight face, told me this true story today, late in the afternoon. Honestly, this  really happened.  She said that she had worked in another part of the country  near Virginia.  She worked in a junior high school.  On the staff was slightly touched art teacher.  She was very nice but had some strange quirks about her..  She dressed like a flower child and loved Mother Earth. She was organic before Whole Food existed.  Lily, I shall call her, lived a very organic lifestyle.  Everything from the land was appreciated and utilized.  I am sure her diet could have rivaled the Paleo diet, in our post modern world.  Lily was very generous and a proud baker.  Every week, without question, Lily of the Fields brought in plates of the best oatmeal cookies.  The staff scarfed them down, without a care in the world.  "Man, did you taste one of Lily's creations?" one staff member would say to the another. "Are you kidding me?  I had four before lunch!"  Everyone was so happy in this little educational community.  The whole staff raved over Lily's cookies.  One day, an unsuspecting librarian asked Lily for the recipe, in hopes of replicating this culinary masterpiece. "That's top secret!" she said with a great big teethy smile. "I use all natural ingredients.  I go back to nature. Always back to nature." she stated with such satisfaction and pride. "Oh, okay," replied the naive book lady.  No thought was put into the revealing words of the Lily of the Fields.

One afternoon, Lily invited the librarian to have lunch with her, during the weekend. "We can have green tea with dandelions! Hey, I will have my cookies ready!"  The librarian was a happy- go- lucky type of person and enjoyed getting to know other ways to become healthy.  "Green tea?  Dandelions? Okay, I am game!"  

The next Saturday the loopy librarian knocked on Lily's door.  Lily answered the door and invited the librarian inside.  The aroma of incense mixed with those deliciously moist oatmeal cookies filled the air.  "Come over to my dining room table."  The librarian sat down and kept her eyes locked on the many candles that decorated every corner of Lily's apartment, along with four purple sparkly lava lamps.   Janis Joplin blared out of the speakers.  "Okay, then! I would love some green tea with Marigolds...I mean dandelions," mumbled the book lady. "Here, have some tea and some of my cookies," said Lily with a sparkle in her eye and enthusiasm in her voice.

Lily then walked quickly to the oven and opened up the oven door.  Some kind of strange odor filled the air.  "What are you baking?" the book lady asked half nervous and half curious.  "Oh, come over here and see for yourself."  Lily put an aluminum pan onto the of the stove top.  The librarian walked over to such horror.  She could not believe her eyes. She gasped and tried not to show her true feelings. "Oh, my!" she whispered under her breath  Suddenly she felt faint but held herself up by grabbing hold the refrigerator door.  Right before her very eyes was an extremely disgusting sight.  In rows of four, very precisely placed on an shiny aluminum pan, lay twelve crusty, half baked, red colored, cockroaches on their backs.  Some of their antennae was burnt to a crisp.  "Aren't they just lovely to behold?"  The librarian lady had no words. No words, none.  Nothing would leave her mouth, as she tried catch her breath. Finally, after an extremely awkward silence, these words slowly emerged from her mouth,"Waaahhhaaattt are you going to do, do, do, with the ca-ca-cockroaches?"

Lily looked over at the librarian and noticed that she had turned very pale. "Are you okay?" she asked. "Come sit down at the table!" The librarian stumbled to the dark brown antique chair located next to the bamboo kitchen table."I am going to crush them down with my pharmacist's bowl and grind down to a powder-like form. I then will  add them to my secret recipe."  "You mean you add bits and pieces of cockroaches to your "secret recipe" of those moist and delicious oatmeal cookies?"  Lily smiled with pride.  "Yes, why of course! That is what makes them so chewy and moist!  I will make some more in a little while.  Perhaps you would like to help me?  Oh, won't it be such fun?" The kind librarian lady was beside herself.  She didn't know quite how to respond to this akward situation. Her mouth grew completely dry as she attempted to say, "Um, I am not sure if I can...can.." Lily interrupted the sorry librarian before she could get her words out, "Let's sit down and have some tea and  oatmeal cookies.  I have warm ones on the the table! I  took them out of the oven just an half hour ago.  You know cockroaches not only add flavor but they are super high in protein.  You can never have enough protein you know!" she explained.

The librarian smiled an anxious and uncomfortable smile, while desiring to flee this funky freak show.  "What have I gotten myself into?  How am I going to eat an oatmeal cookie with cockroach parts and drink green tea with who knows what?" she thought to herself.  "Well, you know that I ate a very big lunch with my mother today.  I don't know if I have enough room for your delicious cookies,"said the lowly librarian half ready to hurl.

"Sure you do!" Lily shouted with a great big inviting smile, as she pushed the plate of roasted cockroach oatmeal cookies toward the librarian. "Besides, I know your mama didn't raise a rude daughter! Wasn't it you who told the whole staff how great my cookies were?  Now you know why!  Isn't that great?"

"You are right!  Mama raised me right and I am sort of fond your secret recipe cookies!" the librarian stated and  sighed, as she bit reluctantly into the last oatmeal cookie that she would ever eat. Bite by bite, the thought of cockroach guts, beady little eyes and pincers made her stomach turn three hundred and sixty degrees.Chills engulfed her whole body and every hair on her body stood on end. If only, if only she had the intestinal fortitude to say no to those cockroach delights.  Not that day. Nope.  How could she?  She didn't want to seem rude, refusing to eat after Lily slaved over the stove all day! "How did she catch the cockroaches? Were they from the apartment? I am so sick," she thought as she swallowed and halfway gagged and gagged, while maintaining perfect outward tranquility. Rude?  No, she would just have to take her medicine, albeit a rather grotesque blend of cockroach innards, accompanied by the firm texture of an exoskeleton. Just the thought of cockroach pieces plastering themselves on the roof of her mouth or  between her pearly white teeth, made the poor, pathetic librarian cringe and cringe some more. Goosebumps formed over her entire body. It took every ounce of civility to prevent the book lady from screaming bloody murder and flying out of the apartment like a bat out of hell. How she maintained a calm demeanor is beyond belief. This librarian lady, finished the entire cookie, smiled as the cockroach connoisseur proceeded to impress with her in depth research into the nutritional value of cockroach consumption.  Any concerns that someone might have about the ill effects of the pesticides on the cockroaches were alleviated. According to Nature's Own, if you bake them at four hundred and forty degrees or more, then the pesticide residue is baked off of the cockroaches.  "Oh, that's good to know," the librarian replied, pretending to feel relieved.  "I think it is time to go now," she continued. "Won't you stay a little longer?" Lily asked. "Would you like to take home a plate to your mother?" 

It just goes to show you, if you don't know what people put into their homemade cookies, brownies or cakes, you might be chowing down on some critters. Be inquisitive and ask questions, lots of questions.  You can only be sure, if you make the cookies or cakes by your lonesome.  You have the power to decide which insects to exclude in the recipe. At a Thanksgiving Feast and it is pot luck?  You still have the wherewithal to dine or ditch, even if they look delectable and are "to die for." Again, I caution you, beware!  Beware of people who bring baked "gifts" for the holidays, especially if they are "all natural" or "organic".  As Elmer Fudd likes to say, " Be very careful. Very careful." Also, be extremely careful of people touting the "secret recipe". The secret could be more than you can stomach on so many levels. This makes me wonder about Kentucky Fried Chicken and Bush's Baked Beans! Secret Recipe?  Oh, my!  That trusting Golden Retriever Duke on the Bush's Baked Beans commercials, surely has a secret to tell.  What kind of  vermin is Bush hiding in the family recipe?  Who knows?  Last thought. Please beware if you are like the poor, poor Edmund fromThe Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and you happen to bite into Turkish Delight that contains raisins. YES, RAISINS! Seriously now! Are they really raisins? It gives you something to strongly consider, right? Just sayin'. Think about it! BEWARE of Oatmeal Cookies!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stuck On The Island

Stuck On An Island

It's not ground hog day
But close
It's not de ja vu
But close
Seems I been here
been there
Done that
Over and Over
Over again

I am stuck 
on this island
With not hope 
No hope
of moving on
in the stench 
of a bench

Dreams thwarted
nightmares ruling
my every thought
reruns, reruns, rerunning
in my noggin
playing a sick
sick joke
on my 

Can't move
at all
from reality
into this

Sinking down
into an
sitting on
an idiotic bench
looking around
for something
on this

to transcend
will it ever
just stuck
on this ferris
filled with 
blue skies
sand and
wishin' for 
some other turf
just try to pinch
cause I am
lost on this
mind numbing
in the middle
of this

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