Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 52 - Office Hours

The weather was so gorgeous today and I had tons of papers to grade. So I set up my office in the back yard to get some work done. Here I am keeping office hours.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 49 - Too Much of a Good Thing . . .

. . . can still be a good thing. I'd estimate that about one-third of the students on my team constantly have a book in their hands. They read when you are not looking in class. They read during any down time. They read as they walk down the hall to the cafeteria and back again. It's makes you feel really good as a teacher to see this. Here are just two of our many kids keeping their minds engaged and enriched. I'm so thankful to have a great teammate in our language arts teacher who has done a great job getting these kids excited about reading.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 47 - Movie Review

This is supposed to be a photoblog, but I'd like to take this opportunity to post a little more. Today we took all the sixth graders to see The Lightning Thief. Just to justify our decision, it fits into the curriculum in that we study Greece (and its mythology) plus the kids are reading up the books like crazy in language arts. After seeing the movie, I give it a great big thumbs down!

I've read the first three of five books in the series. They have great story lines and characters. It's no wonder the kids love them. Well, this movie resembled the book very little. I don't expect movies to be exact replicas of the books they are based on, even though the LOTR and Harry Potter franchises seemed to have done quite well in that department. But this was crazy. So much of the story line was changed. With the exception of Percy and Grover, the characters were not developed at all. Even the altered story line was somewhat shallow.

The sixth graders loved it, despite my qualms above. There were some great fight scenes, but that was about it. They liked the action. The movie will make a lot of money targeting this age group. Which leads to an even bigger issue I have with the movie. There was way too much sensuality in a move targeting middle and high school kids. Sexuality and sensuality were used throughout. One of the few scenes that remained true to the book was the main characters plight in Vegas. The movie directors made the poor decision of exploiting as much of the Vegas mentality as possible and still keep their PG rating.

Again, I give it a thumbs down. Make it two thumbs down. When the sequel comes out, I hope they get things back on track.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day46 - Yummy Gooey Fun

At only 9 years old, my youngest son is a prize winning chef. He won a recipe contest at the NC State Fair last fall, going up against adults. He always wants to experiment in the kitchen and I'm usually impressed with what he turns out. Tonight he wanted to make a simple dessert out of a tortilla covered with marshmallows and chocolate chips. He then rolled it up and warmed it on the griddle.

Well, thinking that looked like a good idea, my other son and I copied his efforts, except we added a layer of peanut butter. Joshua chose marshmallows and I chose chocolate chips as as our second ingredients. They were really, really, really gooey. Next time I'm trying marshmallows because I literally had chocolate peanut butter goo dripping all down my hand and arm.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 45 - Me & My Valentine

Here I am with the love of my life. She fought taking this picture because she "looks horrible". She hasn't looked horrible a day in her life to me. She even tolerates the non-celebratory way Valentines Day has been observed the last few years because I work too darn much. Who could ask for a better Valentine?
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 44 - Easy snow, Easy Go

We awoke this morning to a winter wonderland. It was typical NC snow, very fluffy and powdery due to lots of warm air still around. The first pic was taken about 10am. The next pic was taken at 5pm. That too is typical of NC. Easy come, easy go.
Posted by Picasa

Day 43 - Sword fighting

Here's a shot of me doing what I do best - cause trouble. This is me and son #2 Noah having a Nerf sword fight in Wal-Mart. It was a draw because we had to clear out for other shoppers, but let the record show that I got the most potentially fatal strikes in due to my longer reach and Jedi reflexes.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 41 - How many toothpicks?

I actually took this pic during halftime of the Super Bowl but used it in class yesterday.  My students had to determine how many toothpicks were in this picture by applying the method of population sampling.  The bottom picture is what I actually gave them to assist them.  How many do you see?  I've posted the answer in the comments.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 40 - The Old Bridge

Bridge support
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
Today in one of my workshop sessions, we were given a tour of Smithfield, NC by Wingate Lassiter of the Johnston County Heritage Center. We learned quite a lot about the history of the town in a very short amount of time. This is one of only 2 remaining supports for the old bridge that was torn down in the '20's , replaced by a steel bridge that could handle two way traffic of automobiles.

Day 39 - Mmm Mmm Good!

Tammy made a big pot of homemade vegetable beef soup on Monday. I mean a BIGGGG pot, like a 3 or 4 gallon pot. We enjoyed it for supper that night. Then she put 10 quarts of it in the freezer. I can't wait to have it again.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 38 - empty communion cup

communion cup
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
Every Sunday we celebrate Holy Communion at our church. He emptied himself so we could be filled.

Day 37 - The latest technology

Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
Very recently we received a new microwave oven in the cafeteria. Can you guess which one it is? Wrong, it's the one on the bottom, with the big dial on the front, the yellowed push buttons, and Carol Brady's favorite recipe taped to the side.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 36 - Lever 1500?

Lever 1500?
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
EVERYTHING is down-sized nowadays. Or as the marketing department says "new fun sized" or "more convenient space-saver size". Upon opening my new-make-up-your-own-positive-spin-size bard of soap, I wondered if they didn't need to just change the name to Lever 1500.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 35 - Goodbye Mt. Dew :-(

Today I isolated and confirmed what has been causing me so much gastrointestinal distress the last few months. It was not anything I would have imagined. I'm 99% sure it's Mt. Dew. I'm saddened and disturbed because Dew was my drink of choice when I go out. Someone asked me why all of the sudden after 40+ years. I don't know except perhaps the intolerance has built up over time. What I do know is that I have drunk my last drop of this extreme minded ambrosia.

Image of "Black Death" from the Tonngeburg Bible courtesy of Wikimedia Public Domain.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 34 - Dark Hallway

dark hallway 2
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
This is the usual scene for me each evening as I leave my classroom to head home. Now that the days are getting longer, there is a little light at the end of hall. In December it would be pitch black when I finally left.

I'm frequently of the last five or ten people to leave school. That includes secretaries and other coaches. I once commented to a colleague that he was very dedicated. He and I usually leave about the same time - 5:30 PM. His response? "Nope, I'm just incredibly inefficient." I know that feeling.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 33 - bird at feeder

bird at feeder - cropped
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
I don't know how they know when we fill the feeder, but within minutes, they come. This is one our frequent visitors, the male partner of a tufted titmouse pair that live somewhere near by. Someday I'm gonna get a closeup of his head and show you how he reminds me of a blue marlin.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 32 - bees on snow

bees on snow
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
Yesterday I cleaned away the snow blocking the entrance to the bee hive. Today while I was up on the hill I could tell they had come out. The janitor bees had deposited the latest pile of deceased bees on the snow. This happens everyday, but something about seeing them gathered on the snow made it more dramatic.

P.S. Now that we are into February, it's going to be harder to keep track of the day number!

Day 32 bonus pic - 'Nuff Said

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31 - Rosebud

Today Tammy and I got out in the snow with the boys. What I anticipated to be a 15 minute "do my duty as a father" kind of thing turned into two and a half hours of fun with the neighbors. Besides getting pulled around by their four wheeler, they also let me try out their Radio Flyer. Let's just say they don't call it "Flyer" for nothing. There has been talk of an after dark event as well.

P.S. Click here for those of you who don't get the rosebud reference
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30 - Snow Dudes with their Quiver

Here are my two snow dudes, reluctantly coming in after an hour and half of sledding out on the street in front of the house. Every good snow dude needs more than one option depending on the conditions. This was their second trip out of the day. The best part - they spent the last twenty, thirty minutes working together.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29 - Ghost Tree

Ghost Tree
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
Yesterday morning as I was heading out the neighborhood, this tree jumped out and caught my attention. All the hardwoods are bare, then suddenly this ghostly white tree stands alone. It's hard to tell if it's an ancient guardian, forest nymph, or something more ominous and evil.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28 - Full Moon before Snow

Full Moon before Snow
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie
Tonight's sky was beautiful. Clouds are rolling in, preparing for tomorrow's winter storm. Right now they are evenly spaced rows of cotton. The sky itself looked like a blanket of snow. I tried to capture it with the camera on my phone and got this result. It looks more like something the Hubble Telescope would take, which is kind of a cool effect. Sometimes not having the best equipment gives nice results too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27 - Sunset Commute

Sunset Commute
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

On my drive home everyday, I literally head off into the sunset. It can be a fairly treacherous drive, depending on the height of the sun. Despite the "danger", it's always a beautiful drive. I love the color of the sky - the blue was heightened in it's last few minutes before transforming into orange and red.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26 - Curriculum

Okay, so I didn't take this pic, but it is what I've dealt with all day in some form.  Evaluating, developing, using, and discussing my curriculum has been my sole task today.  And it was not as boring as you might think.  At least not the way I do it.

Wordle: NC 6 Gr Sci SCOS
Image from licensed Creative Commons License.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25 - Homemade Armor

Gourd Helmet
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

No, it's not a scene involving the Lost Boys from the movie Hook. This is my youngest son, reluctantly showing off his latest creation. He is in the process of creating his own suit of armor constructed out of gourds. You can't tell from this photo, but you can actually raise and lower the visor.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24 - Chaos

Chaos 2010/01/24
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

Today was another one of those days where I awoke in a funk. Today was not as dark as it was chaotic feeling. Everything felt and looked out of control. I knew that it was better and brighter on the other side, but my path there was blocked. Finally I got close enough to catch a glimpse and I found love, joy, and best of all peace. These pictures taken today tell that story.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23 - Recycling

Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

Here is our first load of recycling since moving to the Garner/Clayton area over three years ago. This is the first place I've ever lived since college (a long time ago) where I hadn't recycled, until now. In every other place, whether urban, suburban, small town, or rural, it was relatively easy to recycle. It was either picked up for you or a recycling center was close by. We finally made the commitment that we would not let such obstacles stop us from doing what we wanted to do anyway. So, this morning I drove eight miles to the nearest drop off and did the right thing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22 - What's missing in this pic?

Me & the boys
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

This weekend is Tammy's annual scrapbooking weekend. She goes away to the beach with two of her friends and all they do is scrapbook. They literally have to rent a UHaul trailer in order to get all their stuff down there. It's unbelievable how much stuff they have.  You think I'm kidding.  I'm not.

So, it's just the boys and me. They look forward to it each year, thinking it's going to be a testosterone festival - burping and other rude noises, improper eating, guns, power tools, video games and movies that mom won't approve of. We get a little bit of all it in, but not to the extent that any of us will get arrested.

It's *usually* a lot of fun. But I'm always glad to see Sunday night.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21 - Robins in a Tree

robins in tree
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, robins were converging on this tree. The temperature was dropping and they were hunkering down to get warm. Apparently they didn't like getting their pictures taken because when I came out later in the morning they had made quite a mess all over my car. Glad it rained!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20 - Relief supplies

Relief supplies
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

Here you see all the dry beans and rice collected by the sixth graders at my school. I will deliver this and a few other bags collected by the other two grades to a church coordinating local collection tomorrow. I'm very proud of the sixth graders. They did a lot in a very short amount of time. I'm anxious to add up the weight when I'm loading up.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18 - At the Dentist

Fish Mural
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

Today I had my six month cleaning and dental check up. This is the view from the chair. I guess it's suppose to relax you, but going to the dentist doesn't bother me. For those of you looking for a more traditional view of the dentist, here's a picture of his instruments of torture.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17 - Sights of Home

Sights of Home
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

While spending a few days at my mom's, I decided to drive down to where I grew up - Harkers Island, NC. I took some pics of the sights and places that mean home to me, including the no-longer-owned-by-my-mom-house-I-grew-up-in. Locals will immediately recognize the bridge that took me home everyday and the daily cruising destination of Shell Point. Our old elementary school still looks the same. My siblings will recognize the volunteer fire department where my dad served as chief for many, many years.

Close friends will note the two things that are glaringly absent. The Cape Lookout lighthouse - there was just too much mist on the sound today, plus my phone would not have been able to capture it - and the Free Grace Wesleyan Church where I grew up. The buidling was destroyed in a fire two years ago after it was struck by lightning.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16 - The Curious Cat

Curious Cat
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

This morning as I was writing, I watched a stray cat walk across the fields behind my mom's. I love cats. Dogs make better pets. I enjoy watching dogs play. I enjoy playing with dogs. But I LOVE watching cats. There is something regal and majestic about them. There is something about the way their face is shaped and how they look at you. There is something about the curiosity that sometimes directs their paths. I especially love how no matter the size, whether the stray behind my mom's or the cougar high in the mountains or the lion on the plains or the tiger in the jungle, they all look the same. They each carry the same qualities that I love in them all.

I watched this little gray cat follow his curiosity. He stopped at a couple of holes along the way and furiously clawed at them. I thought for sure he was going to bring up a small mouse or a mole. Eventually his curiosity led him up the steps of my mother's deck. As long as I stayed on the other side of the glass door, he was content to watch me. He so wanted to give in to his curiosity and investigate further, but his instincts saved him. When I finally slid the door open very slowly, he scampered down the steps, but not far. For a few minutes he continued to deliberate about whether he should give in and see what I had to offer. I love how you can see his little head just above the step and below the gate.

Instinct took over and my friend ran away. But it was a nice visit.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15 - Beyond the Fence

fence 2
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

This morning I left for a four day weekend at my mom's. The purpose - spend some concentrated time getting my "aspiring writing" groove on. On my way out of town, I stopped to take a picture of this fence. This fence, near the back entrance to our neighborhood, inspired the story I'll be working on all weekend.

Unfortunately, three years after seeing this fence for the first time, I'm really only halfway through the story. But I've never stop imagining what lies Beyond the Fence. This weekend I'll discover more about the land and people who live there. It's an adventure I can't wait to take. . . and share.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14 - Beans & Rice

Beans & Rice
Originally uploaded by mattguthrie

Tonight we had a simple meal of beans and cornbread. My wife has this wonderful recipe where the beans slow cook all day in the crockpot, seasoned with the required ham bone and also with diced tomatoes and green chilis. It is sooo delicious.

Today I helped my homeroom create collection boxes for each hallway in the school. A local church sent a plane load of medical supplies and clothing to Haiti today. Now the urgent need is food. In the aftermath of Monday's devastating earthquake, this already impoverished country is literally crawling out from under the rubble. The same church has issued a call for food - specifically dry beans and rice. Our goal as a school is 300 pounds by Tuesday afternoon.

While I enjoyed the wonderful taste of my beans tonight, I thought deeply about the beans the Haitian people will be eating in the weeks to come. Chances are they won't be slow cooked and seasoned just right. My guess is that they will be cooked just enough to provide sustenance. Tonight I am deeply saddened by their plight but perhaps more thankful for my own blessings.