I am a Pirate.. a mighty, mighty Pirate


Who am I?  Why am I the way I am?  What am I doing with my life?  Where am I going to be  in the not so distant future?  In the very distant future?  How did I get here and where will I be going?  All questions that can probably be answered in just one picture –

IMG_0088

Yes, you are right.. I am a Pirate.. a mighty, mighty Pirate.

228774_10150183461725954_1961330_n       20634_269508660953_448273_n

They were the best of times, they were the worst of times.. Ahhh high school.

560969_10150649194660954_145263991_n

There will be people who state that high school was a low point in their lives or that it didn’t matter at all and made no difference to them in regards to how they turned out as an adult.   Maybe they hated it or thought it was a complete waste of time. However, it cannot be denied that by having gone through it, high school exposes a person, to a certain level, on how to become (or not become) an adult.  It’s a place where you must decide what is important and what is not; how you want to be treated or how you will never treat someone else.  High school, if done right, is a place where you might meet some of your longest standing and best friends in life.

I do understand that high school today is a much different beast than it was when I attended (1981-1985).  We did not have to worry about someone coming in and shooting up the school.  We had authentic learning experiences that were not focused on taking tests.  We didn’t have a lot of parents suing schools, so most of the science experiments and field trips were more spontaneous and exciting than some of what I have seen in schools today.  We were also not monitored as much as kids are today (rightfully so) because we knew that our neighbors would rat us out if we got too out of hand.  We were also given “breaks” by some of those same neighbors resulting in a different kind of learning lesson. There was accountability in the school as well as out of it, which in my opinion, led to a greater amount of freedom because we all knew that we were being looked after.  There is a certain amount of safety connected to discipline and accountability which is not as prevalent today as it was when I was growing up.

Another thing that we had in the 80’s were AMAZING teachers.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying at all that teachers today are not amazing, or at least not trying to be amazing.  The problem is teachers have so many more constrictions and confinements today than my teachers had.  The issues might be the same, but the tools and freedoms to solve the problems are not as available and often times not considered as acceptable.

Teaching to a state/federal/national test limits how much spontaneity a teacher can use in the classroom.  When I taught in California, our administration stated basically, “As I walk by one 1st grade classroom I should be able to hear the beginning of a sentence and as pass the next first grade classroom, I should hear the end of that same sentence.”  This of course is ridiculous, but that is just one example of how tightly planned a teacher’s day sometimes is.

The 80’s were an amazing time of transition as well.  A time of loosening up of some of the more stringent ideas of what should be taught in school so there was a little more play in the school.  I remember our teachers being pretty hip.  It was the beginning of an era of group motivational speaking.  We had so many convocations about self-esteem and enjoying life.  We had a leadership weekend once a year where our entire class could sign up and go to a campsite and sing songs, compete in team building activities and just learn how to bond and enjoy each other while receiving messages about how to be a better person in general.

I think these things that happened to me in my high school years made me the person I am today.  I do realize this is not the case for everyone in high school and that I was fortunate to have gone to the school I went to and had the friends I did and even fortunate to have survived it all unscathed.  I’m still friends with many of the friends I made in high school and actively try to find the ones I lost contact with because they are that important to me.

I had several favorite teachers and coaches/counselors/mentors in high school.  I remember one teacher randomly stopping me in the hallway when I was going through a very low point in my life and telling me how amazing I was and how I was going to be an inspirational and remarkable woman one day.  I don’t even know how he knew I was going through some tough times but he did.  At that particular moment in time I didn’t believe him and I didn’t think it would actually happen at all. Guess what?  It did.  Sure, I’m no more amazing and remarkable than the next woman, but when I feel down or beaten those very words start echoing in my head and push me on.  This man was not an anomaly.  This was a message that many of us got from many of our teachers.

Another teacher/coach/mentor/counselor always wore purple and gold clothing to school.

20634_269523815953_5480407_n

26698_401978100953_3266342_n

I saw him several years after graduation when I was substitute teaching in a different school and strangely, he wasn’t wearing purple.  In retrospect, purple and gold were probably not his favorite colors. These colors were obviously our school colors but to him they were a little more than that.  They were a symbol to him. A sense of pride was demonstrated in this man for being who and what he was while he was what he was. His only objective in life seemed to be wanting to instill that same sense of pride in each of us.  His convocations were always full of life and humor and hoping that we would all be able to acknowledge at some point who and what we were while we were what we were.

More than that though, our teachers seemed to want to help us understand that what we were right now was only temporary.  What we were going through at any given moment was only what was happening at that moment and it was all a preparation for everything that was to come.

One of my favorite convocations we were shown (I think 4 years in a row) a video entitled “Greatest Days of your life (so far).  This film has also echoed in my head when I’ve felt down and out and even when I have been as up as I could be.  I’ve been able to apply it to nearly every situation and time period in my life.  It’s also why I am who I am today and I just wanted to share it and hope you all enjoy it as well.  Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. For some reason I could not actually attach this youtube video.  When I did try, some Mindy Mcready videos popped up in their place.  At any rate, take some time to click on the links.. they really are good, if not a little dated.  Again, thanks for stopping by.

This award winning film, “Greatest Days of Your Life,,,so far” written and performed by Mark Scharenbroich (Mark Shake and Bake) in 1981 has been seen by more than 10 million students

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4vCCP8qi6g&feature=share&list=FLguvhB-JXvilrXL9OlStWGg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg42uFcfj-M&feature=share&list=FLguvhB-JXvilrXL9OlStWGg
Mark Scharenbroich’s The Greatest Days of Your Life…(so far) 1981 film

http://www.youtube.com

Related articles

Advertisements

SUNDAY POST : Plains


This week’s theme with Jakesprinter happens to be a theme that is close to my heart.  The definition of Plains is:  “A large area of flat land with few trees.”  Jake further explains that plains are important for agriculture because they support grasslands, are deep and fertile so they are great for crop production and grazing for livestock.

As I mentioned this theme is a bit close to my heart as I view plains in the same category as farming, agriculture, farmers and the depression. Sort of strange I suppose, but my grandfather had to work his way through parts of the depression and would take on odd jobs such as truck-driving, frozen foods delivery, gas station attendent and farmer.  As a child and up through my teen years I would occasionally help him bale hay, feed the horses and more often then not just watch him pitter around his “farm”.  I do wish I had some old pics of him during those years.  I might have to try to find some at my dad’s house the next time I visit.

Because I can’t show pictures of my grandfather and all of his “hay” days.. I’ll settle on farmland and agricultural areas of Venezuela.  With the temperate climate and non-stop mountains and hills it is hard to imagine that there could possibly be “plains” in Venezuela. As a matter of fact, up until the oil boom which started in the 1970s, agriculture was the main economic support system for Venezuela.  At this time only about 1/5th of the land is now used for the same purpose.

One of the most striking areas of Venezuela houses amazing plains where the horizon is the only thing you can see.  I visited Los Llanos, which makes up about 1/3 of the country, during both of its two very different seasons.  I caught the edge of the rainy season where much of the land is under water and you commute by boat to many areas.  During this time we weren’t able to see much of the wildlife because the water was sufficient in all parts to keep all the animals away from the main travel routes.  I also visited in the dry season with some friends. This was a time where the wildlife, ranging from crocs to rats (Capybaras) to all kinds of snakes, converged directly in the high traffic areas to get at the water.  Cattle breeding is the most important economic activity for this region and we were able to travel by horseback to visit much of the area.

There is also the high plains of the Andes which I hiked with my sis and her boyfriend.  This is not really considered a plains area but the population farms it as if it were flat.  It’s amazing to hike through here and travel by donkey passing farms and slanted “flatlands” where crops such as organic coffee and potatoes are grown.

Once you pass the Andes, you have the lower farmlands of Barinas with rolling hills (not really plains but so much of the milk and fruits and veggies come from this area it wouldn’t be fair to not include it here.)  Finally there is Colonial Tovar which is also not really plains either but has many hillside farms like the Andes.  It has the most amazing farmland and grows delicious fruits and veggies as well.

Pardon me for not sticking strictly to the “plains” theme.  I got a little side-tracked with agriculture and farming in general. I hope you enjoy.

Here’s the text of Paul Harvey’s 1978 ‘So God Made a Farmer’ Speech, which inspired the Ram Trucks Super Bowl ad that has resonated with so many Americans:
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.

“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.

A Word a Week Challenge Theme ‘Zoom’


This is my first time working with A WORD IN YOUR EAR‘s Weekly Photo Challenges.  What I like about this particular one is it offers opportunities to enhance your knowledge about photography techniques as well as just some of the terms that relate to photography.

This week’s theme is ‘Zoom’.   Obviously this word relates to bringing things that are far away closer.. I also like some of the other interpretations of zoom that were presented on this blog.

It’s a very interesting challenge and not as easy as one would think if you love to take close-ups of people.  I have some favorite facial zooms that others were not entirely pleased with but I love them because they are very natural and beautiful.  So my first small set will be of some of my favorite zooms of people and things.

Travel theme: Bridges


Ailsa from “Where’s My Backpack” travel themes is “bridges” this week and her personal inspiration was the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Click here to see what everyone else has come up with.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward


Forward. This week’s photo challenge… inspired me to think about how many times I have moved forward and what that moving forward has meant for me.  I can remember many times in my life certain people stated that I seemed to be a person that was constantly running away from people, places and things.  The truth is, I have never ran from anything but have spent a lot of time running towards everything.

This week’s photo challenge asked what ‘forward’ meant to us.  Well, to me it has always meant finding interesting people, places or things that are ahead of me and that have caused me to want to move forward and toward a new and unknown destination.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have had an amazing life with many shiny objects ahead of me that have distracted and caused me to want to leave behind one thing (or in some cases many things) that I truly loved and appreciated in order to move on.  For this I am grateful.  I cannot imagine, even for a second not moving forward.  Because of my inability to run away from things I will always remember fondly the places I have been and the people I have met.  Because of my ability to move forward, I will always anticipate the amazing things that are yet to come.

Go check out the other photo challenge participants here.  Or bust out some pictures and join in the fun!