Tag Archives: California

Cows Suffer Sex Discrimination

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is always great. This one is right up my alley, so to speak.

Bert and friends
Bert and friends

A factoid: Do you see how they have paved a road across the lawn?  Cows and Native American foot traffic created Highway 99 North and South .

Whatcha mean I have a spotted pig on my nose? You wanna make sompin' of it?
Whatcha mean I have a spotted pig on my nose? You wanna make sompin’ of it?

Everyone should have a friendly bull or two in their front yard. One of the little guys got out one day, and wandered over to our yard. We had just finished sodding the yard, and it was still mushy. Hubby complained about his footprints in which we could have buried our cats without leaving a mound. By the way, these ARE the happy cows – no bulls – you read about from California .

happy cows?
Move over Bessie. I had that bin first.


The cows live here.  I say there’s some sex discrimination going on in this business. Cows do all the work, and have less luxurious living quarters. All the bulls have to do is play rodeo games, eat and chew the cud all day.



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An Odd San Francisco Hotel Room

It is odd to make a spur of the moment decision to go to San Francisco for the night on the way home from Redding instead of Sacramento, but I had my reasons.  I arrived at about the odd hour of 10:00 p.m. with no reservations.  This is what I got – a room with a very odd view.


It had a bit of an odd bathroom to go with it.  :)


For more odd ball pictures click Cee’s icon below.


Travel Highlights of 2013

This was my first full year of retirement.  All my life I dreamed of traveling when I retired, and certainly God granted my every wish.   When I didn’t get travel, Manny did, so I have many wonderful pictures and memories for 2013.

Manny in Wuerzburg

On January 5th Manny and I headed south in my little green Prius that has 192,000 miles on it to San Diego where we met the History Girls.  We met Russel Ray, the San Salvador, and the bronze lady.  We faced peril in the Railroad Museum, and had to keep Manny under control in the Botanical Gardens.

Manny on San Salvador
Manny is climbing on the San Salvador as it is being built.

Later in January I attended a committee meeting in Berkeley and had time to walk around the neighborhood and take pictures.

Manny walking the streets of Berkeley

I went to Los Angeles to visit my friend Elane in February and so some shopping and serious eating.  I probably visited my dentist, Dr. Moy, as well.

Brian's classroom

In March California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) held its annual conference, Social Studies on the March in Burlingame in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Marches in Birmingham.  SFW 2013 Folklorico Dancers 036

The next week the History Girls and I celebrated our friendship in Costa Mesa attending the play “Wicked,” which I had wanted to see forever.

getting made up
We all had to wear green make-up.

April is the month for the Executive Conference for CCSS.  As the President, I got to pick the place, and Vince prepared our house to host it here.  However, that didn’t work out for too many people, so we it moved to Los Angeles to the location where our conference will be held in 2014 at the Sheraton.

LA Sheraton

By May our neighbors wondered if I still lived here.  I visited my friend Elane again in Los Angeles.

Brian's classroom

My friend Jean and I went to San Francisco to celebrate her birthday for a couple of days and did walking tours.

Hotel Beresford

Towards the end of the month Vince and I took Cindy and Manny to Kauai, HI for her birthday.  The dogs watched our homes, and Kay and Mike East watched them.

SFW Luau Grounds071

We arrive home from Hawaii on June 3, and believe it or not, we stayed home until September 11, and rested up for the remainder of the year which made us dizzy.

Manny and Danny 3

Since we stayed home, we sent Manny to visit Ralph in July.

Manny going to airport

In August he left Ralph’s home in Spain, and traveled to London with Ute.

Manny at Buck palace

From September through November he went with Carol and Glenn to Cologne, Bruges, Brussels, Frankfurt, Tasmania, Toowoomba, Waterloo, and Wuerzburg.  I’ll be doing lots of posts about these trips during the year.  I just need to learn a little bit more about them, and Manny is being rather tight-lipped about the events of the trip!  Carol tells me they have some secrets they’re not telling me.  :)

Manny in Toowoomba

Then he flew home with their daughter Melissa, who was going to Florida.  She sent him home from there.  His bags arrived in December from Australia.  He had fun showing us all his stuff.

Manny and stuff
Kalev thought Roo was for her. We caught her playing with him when we weren’t looking. She never plays with stuffed animals, but she loves Roo. We had to move him. :)

By September Vince and I contracted the travel bug, and went to Oregon to pick up the best Ebay bargain trailer on the market in Southern Oregon.  We turned it into our accidental vacation when our truck broke down in Klamath, CA.

Klamath Canon288

Manny was still on the road, so he missed my next trip.  A week after Vince and I got back from our first trailer trip, I took a train from Sacramento to Portland, Oregon to attend the Oregon Council for the Social Studies annual conference, and to meet my brother.

2013 OCSS Conference321

After the conference my brother took the train ride of our lives going first to Chicago, then to South Bend and Indianapolis, IN for a week.

Randy and Marsha's elementary school.
Randy and Marsha’s elementary school.

After a short jaunt to Louisville, KY, I headed home on a plane to CA, and my brother took the long way home by train back to Portland.

Louisville Sluggers

Almost immediately I had to go to a dental appointment, and stayed in Santa Monica, an took the opportunity to visit our President-Elect, Amanda.

SFW Santa Monica155r

No sooner than I got home than my house-bound husband wanted to take a trailer trip to the coast for two weeks.  We stayed a week, then he went home for some appointments. I stayed in Avila by myself to write my contribution to 2013 NaNoWriMo, Girls on Fire.  A few days later he drove back and picked the trailer and me up and carried us back home.

SFW SLO Beach 2013104

Less than two weeks after that, I flew St. Louis, MO to the 2013 National Council for the Social Studies Conference.

The Mississippi in Missouri
The Mississippi in Missouri

Manny and I arrived home about the same day, him from Australia via Florida and me from MO.  It was my husband’s birthday, and one week later the three of us got back on a plane heading for Honolulu, HI, where we spent a week in Waikiki.

Bishop Museum 122r

We have been home eighteen days, and today we took a day trip to the coast to celebrate our friend, Margaret’s birthday, but I think we are going to stay home for a while now.

birthday cake with S & M

At least until morning.  :)

I’d love to hear about your highlights from the year?








The Accidental Vacation

Chapter One  Just the Right Trailer

20130915_1020573Vince had been looking online for months after he sold the family trailer at the coast for something more portable to replace it.  Two months later, after many false starts, he announced that he had found the trailer-love of his life in Reedsport, Oregon.

See all the spikey things coming off the new tires.
See all the spikey things coming off the new tires.

“Look at this one, Marsha.  What do you think?  I think it looks pretty good.  It’s got new tires.”


“Muh huh,” Marsha commented, then went back to her own side of the table and started working again.

oregon trip 201320130911_1230106

Undaunted, Vince purchased the trailer, and worked out the details of the vacation.   On the appointed day, they left only one half hour late by Vince’s careful calculations, at 6:30 a.m.,  on their travel adventure.  The 13 hour drive on the first day proceeded without incidents.  Between sleeping off the remains of her cold, Marsha kept copious notes as Vince dictated the mileage along with the current temperature and exact location and time, adding a few side comments of her own.  “It’s 2:46 and we are through the worst of Mt. Shasta and Shasta Lake.  It wasn’t nearly as scary as I remembered.  Only 24 miles to Yreka.”


Nothing disturbed Vince on his planned vacation.  Even the Oregon fog and misty weather couldn’t dampen his good mood as the miles drew him nearer to his dream.  Fortunately they weren’t paying for the trailer by credit card.  The American Express card had been given a “frog alert” in Redding, but Vince quickly cleared that up.  Arriving at the home of the young couple that sold the trailer in Reedsport before dark, Vince had met his first goal,  Get there before dark. 


Vince, Marsha and Kalev looked the trailer over.  They liked it.  Neither of Vince nor Marsha mentioned or even really knew what the strange smell was inside the trailer. The title and money exchanged hands, and the couple headed north 20 miles to their hotel in Florence for a good night’s sleep before picking the trailer up and starting their vacation back to California.

coming into florence resize

Even cheerful after 13 hours of driving Vince remarked, “Look a historic bridge.  How cool!  Later he added, “I think it was the ocean air.” Vince cautiously broached the forbidden topic of possible defects in the trailer.  “Maybe it’s just because it’s been closed up for a while.”

SFW Or Trip Florence resize

Marsha reminded him, “The ocean doesn’t smell like that.  Maybe they forgot to empty the holding tank.”  Hoping not to dispel the lingering optimism, she quickly added, “It will disappear.”  They reached The Old Town Inn in Florence, Oregon.  Vince quickly checked into newly remodeled Room 104  tired but not worried.  “The clerk told me they have the best doughnuts in the world,” Vince announced to his ever-dieting wife.


Little did they both know that they would have far more dangerous threats to Vince’s unbounding enthusiasm later in the journey.

Do you think Vince will be able to maintain his good nature throughout the trip?  Have you had a vacation during which nothing could irritate or upset you?  Tell me about it.

Relaxing: …. In Photoshop?

How could Photoshop be relaxing?  Well, for one thing it’s not 110 in my house!  That’s helpful because it is about that outside. I walked and swam this morning, but that was before 8:00 a.m.  If you are thinking about coming to see me, you might want to rethink coming in late June through late August.

I started another blog on Blogger and am specializing in history resources.  Basically I’ve taken some of the articles I have here, and revised them for that blog.  Today I decided to put some of my Photoshop classes to work.  I edited these photos in Bridge, and all I did in Photoshop was to add my name.  Can you tell the differences?  There are three.

In these I worked in Camera Raw. I pressed Auto and immediately Camera Raw saw things to correct that I wouldn’t have thought possible.   After CR made changes, I adjusted for more clarity and vibrance.  I was pleased with how they came out.

Actually I’m not sure I like the after better on this third set.   What do you think?

Amazingly, I spent hours doing this.  Then I checked my emails and realized that five hours before our new secretary for CCSS had asked me for some information.  So, I guess I spent FIVE hours.  I think I fixed lunch somewhere in there also!  Amazingly I didn’t get too frustrated, so it was a RELAXING day.  OK I did get frustrated with Blogger because it wouldn’t delete my WP slide show, but it wouldn’t show it either.  That resulted in having to completely redo the post and reinsert all my new pictures.  I forgot about that frustration!  hahaha!  You can check out that blog too, if you’d like.  I’ve had 85 views just today, and I just got it done right!  :)  Most of them saw the bad job that I did!  :)

Now I must stop being so relaxed and get ready for a birthday party in the next 10 minutes or so.  I have swimming hair and no make-up.  Not a good sign.  :)   Tomorrow I’ll be relaxing looking at your blogs,  So shop around in my other posts, please and leave me some likes and comments.   Have a great weekend.  :)  Lots of love to y’all  :)

Marsha Lee Not So Famous Go Cart Racer in Greater Sacramento

Yes, I did.  I came in 98.45% of over 2,000,000 go-cart racers in speed!!!  I have the paperwork to prove it!!!  OK J was 99.96%.  Here’s the big difference.  He came in #1 in our heat, and I came in ……

SFW Sac Go Cart Racing053

SFW Sac Go Cart Racing052

Here’s a few shots from the sidelines of the track.  J raced three times.  He’s wearing brown pants, and was #1 all three times.  He even got better each time.

SFW Sac Go Cart Racing003 SFW Sac Go Cart Racing009 SFW Sac Go Cart Racing016 SFW Sac Go Cart Racing020

The flags were very important.  Most people know that the white flag is the last lap, and the checkered flag means the race is over.  I got the blue flag a lot.  That meant someone was in back of me wanting to get around me. “Move over to the right, Slow Poke!!!”  So, like the polite driver I am, I did.  I guess everyone passed me.  Only one person bumped me, but V got bumped and spun around.  I sure don’t know how HE beat me!!!

SFW Sac Go Cart Racing030

The dress code was a little strange.  I expected a helmet, but not a sock cap that went over everything but your eyes and nose.  I accidentally threw mine away at the end, but the guys were really nice.  You can see it sticking out below the helmet on this guy.

SFW Sac Go Cart Racing037

Sitting in these low go carts wasn’t as bad as it looks for an old person like me.  I was glad V was along, or I would have been the only old person there in that heat!  I was the only woman.  You drive it a little differently than a car.  The right foot pedal is go and the left is brake.  The cars have governors on them, so the race way guys stop your car sometimes, or makes it go very slowly.  Then, all of the sudden, you just take off, full speed.  NO control!!!

SFW Sac Go Cart Racing041

Dad gave it up after one race even though he paid for three times.  He watched PROUDLY as his son won every race.  V was really glad I raced.  He was #9.  There were 10 racers.

If you haven’t guessed already, V’s Son, J, will soon turn 43.  Of course, I’m WAY too young smart to have had a son THAT old!!  My pride is the only thing that keeps J as a step-son rather than granting him full sonship.  I bore him when HE was 25.  OUCH!!!

SFW Sac Go Cart Racing051

So….I have a racing card now.  I’m registered in the system.  So how about you?  Want to go with us next time?

Pike Place Market

Traveling to conferences often allows attendees the opportunity to explore new places.  National Council for the Social Studies moves their conference each year to a different part of the country allowing social studies teachers to learn geography as well as history, civics, economics and all the social studies.  In Seattle I ate in some top Diners and Dives restaurants, rode to the top of the Space Needle, got lost in downtown several times, and best of all, went to the Pike Place Market.

Outside the market you needed an umbrella, which I had left at the top of the Space Needle the night before, but inside, the weather was perfect.  I hadn’t carried my Canon in the rain, so these pictures all came from my iPhone.

Since we had just eaten lunch, the flowers attracted us at first.  Bouquets ranged from $5 – $15.  This one was $10, I think.  We wondered how they sustained themselves, but would have bought at least one bouquet if we weren’t going on the plane hours later.

Honey Crisp apple grown in Washington

Free samples abounded, and these Honey Crisp apples were sweet and crunchy, just the way I like apples.  All the varieties of apples came from Washington, but other fruits and vegetables came from all over.  One item we asked about came from Delano, just south of us in Kern County, California.


Although fruits and vegetables provided the most color, while fish throwing attracted the biggest followers.  I tried to capture the fish in motion, but clicking at exactly the right time challenged me.

We saw lots of fish eyes, oozy clams, live oysters, and tasted smoked salmon jerky at $39 + a pound.

Razor clams oozing out of their shells brushed with sand.
Mary advocates for purchasing sustainable fish, and organic vegetables.

After the fish festival, Mary wanted to experience the shoe museum which meant a pay a quarter, peek through a lit window for about a minute, and have your picture taken outside the painted window display.

Robert Wadlow’s size 37AA shoe
Come one. Come all. Step right up, and put your quarters in. These shoes will astound you.

You can buy anything you might need at this outdoor market, and people come from around the world to do so.  How does this compare to markets in your city or town?  Did you like it?



Palm Desert Art Festival

Most of the time I don’t actually DO anything.  I go places and look at stuff, and I listen to people, and I talk, both verbally and in writing.  Since I met y’all I also take pictures so that you can shadow me as I don’t do anything.

When the History Ladies (that’s my friends and I)  got to Palm Desert, Debbie thought I might enjoy walking through the La Quinta art festival.  This is a timely post because if you like the looks of this, and hurry, there is another event on Dec. 1st.  I took so many pictures at this event that there is no way I can show them all.  So I’ll probably divide this post into many posts, or I will include a gallery.  Which would YOU prefer?

I’ll start with an overview of the different booths that caught our eye.  There were so many booths that I only took the ones where either the vendors or the art objects attracted me.

Delores, the MOST friendly jewelry maker

Delores was the first, and by far the most gregarious person we met, located in the first booth as we walked up.  She told us all about the regulations of participating with the La Quinta Arts Foundation.  Everything exhibited has to be hand-made.  There was nothing made in China, but I did meet a vendor who was born in France.

a large variety of hand crafted turquoise and other stone jewelry  “This is an ARTS festival, not a craft show.”  William

Delores insisted that since I was going to blog about the event anyway that her friend  Bill walk us up and introduce us to the coordinators of the event.  They gave us their blessing and introduced us to the La Quinta Arts Foundation website, for which you have a link at the beginning of the post.

my favorite piece of Jeff Davison’s work

Unassuming, friendly, and informative Jeff Davison told us how he took tree stumps, ground turquoise and filled in the gaps in the wood grain, and held it together with a resin.  My favorite item had no particular purpose, unlike the many bowls, but the differences in texture and color drew it to me.

Jeff Davison, woodworker
Jason, the metal worker

Next we stopped in to see Jason.  I immediately began taking pictures because Jason was busy with numerous customers.  He stopped me and gave me an etiquette lesson on photography before he said hello.  In spite of my photographic over-exuberance he forgave us when we both purchased a piece of his work.

Bronze cast statues by Frank and Marie Barbera

A husband and wife team produced the next exhibit that I liked.  She wasn’t there, and her husband did not want to be photographed, but he told me how they work.  She is the sculptor.  She produces the work in clay, makes a mold ifrom that, and then they cast the bronze statue.  He takes over and paints the statue.

Slate candles

My friend Debbie liked the next booth that had clean burning slate candles.  You never have to replace the wick, and the oil burns perfectly clean.

Canvas paintings marine waterproofed for durability

V would have loved these painted umbrellas by Garrison.  I loved the vivid colors against the clear blue sky.  They also had placemats and pillows painted on canvas and treated to be waterproof.

Dominique Blanchard sits pensively waiting for buyers.

Dominique Blanchard, a French artist living in California for more years than many of you are old (even though he is still young), still retained his accent.  His colors of copper and turquoise attracted me to his booth.  Although not necessarily my favorite piece, his use of figure/ground in this piece made it interesting.  What seemed unique to me was the bumpy texture and the resin coating.  Someone else liked it as well.  It was sold when I got there.

Elliott Newton , the Potter of La Quinta, happily sold his favorite piece today, so we didn’t get to see it.
The most unique pieces will be shown in another post.

As the sun was just starting to go down, these two exhibits above became the most exquisite under the umbrellas.  The glass blowers were a little hesitant to let me photograph their work because other glass blowers go online and steal ideas off websites.  So if you are a glass blower reading my non-glassblowing site, please DO NOT create one of these works of art.

High heat crystal glazes by Elliott Newton

Elliott Newton explained how his high temperature glaze creates crystals as it bakes.  The crystals made the already beautiful pieces come to life as the sunlight reflected off them.

Clothing Creator/Vendor

Finally I saw this elegantly dressed woman standing in a booth, and asked if the booth was hers.  She was visiting from the booth across the walkway which was hand-made clothing.  I probably couldn’t have afforded to wear any of the pieces she displayed, but I thought she looked interesting.

Of course what are art festivals without guests.  These pair of poodles posed and performed for the camera, sitting and lying down on demand.

Doggie Display of Discipline

Clearly this visitor was not enthralled with having to come to the exhibit.  He needs a camera.  Cameras even make car shows interesting!!!

Claim your happy husband here.

I’m guessing that his lucky wife is shopping behind him, and he’s turning his back to ensure that he can’t see what she’s buying him for his birthday.  OK, I admit it, I don’t REALLY think THAT.  He’s probably just hungry.

So did you enjoy the Arts Under the Umbrellas Festival?  In another post, I can give you more pictures of each display – or not, if you’re tired of looking at art for now.  I could do a gallery, or I could even create individual pages for separate artists.  It’s all easy if my internet works.

Teachers Pay Teachers

Want To Make A Million Dollars?

One of the services I do for SJVCSS is Chair the Curriculum Committee.  During the last adoption for History-Social Science I was fortunate to be selected to serve as a Reviewer.  Although I was unable to perform that role, I was involved at the county level after the adoptions were available to districts.

With the coming of the Common Core Standards individual teachers are beginning to search for materials on their own.  One of the most logical places to look for materials is the internet.  On September 27  CNN’s Martin Savidge aired a story featuring “a small town kindergarten teacher (who) becomes a millionaire and says other teachers can become just as rich too.”  I was curious about the website, and the materials, so I am reviewing the site, Teachers Pay Teachers in this post.

Before I start let me tell you how curricula is approved for use in public schools in California.  In the state of California curricula has to pass numerous criteria including alignment to current California subject matter standards and, in the case of history-social studies, the history analysis skills. The California state board adopted curriculum for grades K-8 is checked by curriculum specialists and teachers before it is adopted by the state of California and is available for purchase by districts.  This committee turns over their findings to the Instructional Quality Commission which ultimately approves each publisher and their materials.   After that a district committee looks through the reviewers’ notes, examines the textbooks and makes a decision as to which materials the district will adopt and use for the 6 (or so) years after that.  It takes a long time for curriculum to reach teachers because it is reviewed extensively before it can be mass produced.  This is not the case in the free market place.

Teachers Pay Teachers is a free market for teachers to sell their own materials. This is a review primarily of how the site is organized, not a judgement of the materials that are sold there.  On the home page, the menu is categorized several ways.  At each grade level, you can see how many materials for all subject areas are available.

Examining the subject areas I chose social studies to begin my research.  At the top of the menu bar you can choose your grade level.  You can see below that  there isn’t much to choose from in general social studies.

At that point I could choose a grade level or a branch of history.  Below are the first seven choices listed alphabetically.

When I went through the grade level first the choices for social studies seemed much fewer.

So I went back and looked at Asian studies.  There was only one MP3 available.  It seems that these numbers don’t agree.  How did 317 items become only 1 item?

Another way the materials are sorted are by type.  Several of these types are listed below.  They are in alphabetical order.

Next they categorize materials by price.  The website, Teacher Pay Teachers, offers several price choices to teachers.

Finally teachers could browse by several other criteria.

Browse by:

Choosing the state of California, the website took me to biographies of contributors, and how they were rated by their users.  Most of them posted how many years’ experience they had teaching.  Most contributors had at least 10 years experience.  One as little as 4, and one as many as 50.  One teacher I noticed posted that his students tested well.


Finally, I went back to social studies.  On the left the menu further divided the resources by grade level. This menu indicates that there are 4100 items social studies items available for third grade alone, and more for the next two, whereas in an earlier menu I found only 7 items.  This confused me, so maybe one of your reading this will be able to clear that up for us. 

Clicking on third grade brought me to units like “Me on the Map”.  This particular product is designed to accompany a book with the same title.  I’m not familiar with the book, but the illustrations in this particular product look professional.  It includes a description of what a teacher will find inside the project book.  “2 writing prompt pages: Each begins with, “If I could travel anywhere on the map I would go to…” (which is could lead to the higher skilled opinion-type of writing.) There is a primary ruled option and an intermediate ruled option. Both have a space to illustrate their writing.”  This teacher, like many others, has created a website to tell more about the products they are offering.

While it is not a fair sampling to check out one product, it would take a tremendous amount of time to do a thorough examination of each item and determine if it meets, not only the social studies standards and analysis skills, but also the Common Core English language arts standards as well. 

In the short time I have taken to look at the website, I haven’t really formed an opinion of the quality or reliability of the products within the website itself.  I think it is a great idea to be able to share resources and be paid for them.  I also know how much expertise and time it takes to develop resources.  In history-social studies, the biggest push is to use primary sources and to help students to read informational texts.  In the lower grades at first glance I saw what I’ve seen for years in school supplies, coloring for Columbus Day and other holidays, and art projects.  These products are rated highly by teachers, but there again we don’t know the expertise level of the teachers rating the materials either.  Do these teachers want rigorous materials, or just something to keep the kids busy?  I would like to see that the teachers that are producing the materials as well as the ones rating them are members of a professional society for their subject matter, such as National Council for the Social Studies, or their state and local affiliated Council. 

While I am not saying that the products are not credible, there are many vetted, free, or low cost curricular materials available from recognized non-profit organizations such as the Center for Civic Education, Constitutional Rights Foundation, California History Project, California Council for Economics Education, and the California Geographic Alliance.  Many of these products are developed by teachers working with subject matter experts in higher education.  They are approved by social studies professional organizations such as California Council for the Social Studies of the California Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee’s Sub-Committee for History-Social Science. 

Materials abound in all subject areas.  As you spend your hard-earned money on curriculum, be sure that you check all the sources that are available.  When it comes to what you are going to take into your classroom, reliability is key.

If you purchase or bring in any of your own curriculum, what criteria do you use to choose the best materials?  How do you know what to buy?

Sunday Post: People


Ok, this post is for Jake.  I hope I will get his dragon posted in correctly so you can see his amazing 3D people.  My people are doing similar things, but they are flat, and a wee bit older (or at least some of them are!! – not mentioning any names!)


We were at a not-so-boring California Council for the Social Studies Board meeting.  Just when things might have gotten dull, our President, Brent Heath, enlivened us with the help of his wife.

break dancing – I mean dancing during the break.
Meeting energized



The Working Retired

I don’t know how to still be likable, and yet admit to you how spoiled I have been – and still am.  I hope you won’t hate me too much.  As a county office employee, I attended three yearly statewide meetings, and represented our region of 5 Central Valley counties sharing ideas and bringing back ideas and information from the other 11 regional leads.  Since my job hasn’t been filled, I had the privilege of short-term employment to attend the first meeting of the year.

Embassy Suites, Downey, CA

For me this means driving 4-5 hours often after work, spending the night in a hotel at a government rate of about $89, having a free breakfast at the hotel, attending a meeting with friends I have made from around the state from 9:30-3:30 (or so), coming back stimulated meditating on all my plans and ideas as I drive home 4-5 hours depending on traffic.


Here comes the spoiled part.  When I was working I didn’t give TOO much thought to the lodging.  I stayed at Embassy Suites the last time I went to Los Angeles County Office of Education.  When I got around to registering myself – on the way down to LA, Embassy Suites didn’t have any more rooms at government rates.  I didn’t want to spend $179 for the room, so I got out my trusty iPhone, and started looking for hotels.  Quickly I found the American Inn.  The icon looked ok, and it was only $69, just $20 less than the government rate for Embassy Suites.  Not too bad.  Tonight  if you are looking it up online it’s an even better rate.

Embassy Suites Lobby

My first clue that I might have made a poor choice, and that I was SOOOOOO spoiled was the lobby.  There wasn’t one.  Registration took place at a carved out space in the wall with a window, and a little pass through hole like a ticket booth at the theatre into which I entrusted with my identification .  The attendant looked carefully at my driver’s license (about 5 minutes) until I began to wonder if he found a warrant for my arrest.  Finding none, I guess, he finally gave me back my license, and passed through a detailed information card to complete.  Once I had filled that out he passed out the KEY and I was on my way.  No cookie, no smile, no complimentary snacks, drinks or breakfast.  Oops!

The sad thing – and the most spoiled of all – is that I had no one to blame but myself for the plight I had gotten myself into.  And it was only my spoiled attitude that made it a plight.

My new front door, Room 102, was the second door away from the busy street called Imperial Highway.  I didn’t feel queenly or imperial in any way.  There was a plastic foot-shaped clear plastic sack that must have blown down the street and landed right outside my door.  Step right up.  I hoped that those walking down the street wouldn’t decide that my room invited a knock on the door.  I stayed outside in my car until it got almost dark because the room was dark with the heavy curtain that didn’t quite close, but I was uncomfortable leaving it open

I did finally have to go into Room 102 because after traveling for 5 hours to get there I had to use the bathroom.  I prayed that the outside door held shut because the bathroom door was broken.  I finally scraped it shut, but it bent a little along the crack around the hinge as I did so.  As I sat there briefly, I counted the long hairs left on the shiny clean bathroom floor, and I wondered how many more I would find in the tub. By the next morning I was only worried about whether hot water was going to EVER come out of the shower head.

Embassy snack bar

Of course, since there was no lobby, there was no place to grab a bite to eat in the hotel, either – at least that I found.  Actually it was a motel, and I thought about going out for dinner, but then I thought about driving or walking down Imperial Highway, and decided I could skip dinner.  Fortunately I had plenty of reading material, and a knitting project.  Who needs calories anyway?


The bed at the American Inn was firm, but comfortable, and the traffic stopped about 1:00, but I have heard traffic in some of the most expensive places, so considering that I was only a few steps from the traffic, it was not bad at all.

So here’s the deal.  I took my camera to record my trip, but decided not to take pictures.  It wasn’t that the American Inn was all that bad.  I hate being honest, but the truth is that I AM spoiled.  I had to be my own secretary, and I have a few things to learn!  So can y’all forgive me and still like me not just because I’m spoiled, but I enjoy being spoiled better than not being spoiled?


Common Core FAQs Relative to History-Social Studies

Today our San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies had their big planning meeting.  One thing that came out of that was the need for a one page FAQ sheet for the Common Core Standards for Social Studies teachers in particular – to quell their fears of the unknown.  This is all I got done this afternoon.  See what you think of it, and tell me what else you thing should be on it.KNOWN ASSESSMENT FAQs

• Common Core Assessments for ELA and Mathematics begin field testing in spring 2014.
• Common Core Assessments for ELA and Mathematics begin testing in spring 2015.
• There will be History-Social Studies reading and writing tasks included in the test for language arts.
• These assessment tasks will NOT be aligned to the California History Standards, but the reading complexity, or lexile levels, will be appropriate for the grade level of the student.
• The CST for ELA, mathematics, history-social science, and science will be given until 2014 when it will sunset.
• There are sample test items on both the Smarter Balanced and the PARC websites.

• We don’t know what will replace the CST tests for History-Social Science and Science

• We know a consortium has been working on Common State Standards for History-Social Studies.
• We know the standards will be presented at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference, November 16-18 in Seattle, WA
• We know that the one of the primary developers will present these standards at the California Council for the Social Studies, March 6-8, 2013 in Burlingame, CACome and join us if your on the left coast this year.  We are going to have a major Common Core Conference within our regular California Council for the Social Studies Conference – 8 hours of intensive training in the Common Core Standards and how they pertain to teams of History-Social Studies/English Language Arts teachers.

Here is a FAQ sheet from Sacramento County Office of Education  http://www.scoe.net/castandards/multimedia/common_core_faq.pdf

The Source, Journal of the California History Project which published an article of mine. http://www.ccss.org/Resources/Documents/CommonCore_Source.pdf

“Preparing Students for College, Career and CITIZENSHIP:
A California Guide to Align Civic Education and the Common Core State
Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies,
Science and Technical Subjects”, a white paper by Dr. Michelle Herczog, Los Angeles County Office of Education —http://www.ccss.org/Resources/Documents/Herczog-CCSSNCSS%20Journal%20Article%20for%20Matrix.pdf

The Rest of the Trail Tale

I did say hoity-toity didn’t I?The beautiful people and their enviable homes are part of the view,  but don’t get too close!We didn’t really mind.  We can’t use our ultra-ultra close-up lens if you get too cozy anyway.  Another of the plants I liked may be a bottle brush plant, but I don’t think so.  The flowers look like purple fireworks exploding.And finally, no teacher is worth her salt if she doesn’t talk about schools.  We came across a flock of birds hovering over the ocean close enough to leave their shadows.  I’m sure the fish below them were quivering with fear when they saw the shadows glide across their school crossing.With that I bid you good night, and pleasant reading and traveling.

How Committees Work Well

Social describes the social studies community of California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS).  The first CCSS.History-Social Studies people can be controversial and argumentative, or they can cooperate, and accomplish a lot.  Usually it’s a little of both.There’s a lot of persuading and synergy going on in California Council for the Social Studies these days.Committees do the work of the organization.  They set goals, review the organization’s position statements, gain new information, and network.  Their needs, and the needs of the social studies teachers they serve and represent drive changes, and keep the 51-year-old organization growing and thriving.Committee members concentrate, using the time to research on the internet.Others are planning, working out the details.Some committees are more social than others.  The Membership Committee wants to attract new members while retaining current ones to keep the organization viable and healthy.Other committees are more pensive and academic as they determine what should go into future issues of the organizations scholarly journal, “Social Studies Review”.At the end of the day all six committees had written motions describing what they wanted to accomplish by the conference, “Social Studies on the March” in March, 2013.  They knew who was responsible to carry out the tasks, and how much it would cost.  Each gave a short report as they finished up the paperwork to document the decisions that had been made.And best of all, nobody killed anybody!

Mission Inn, Riverside, California

Romantic, historic, and definitely NOT obstreperous – even with 1,000 fourth through twelfth grade students and their parents and teachers meandering through the labyrinth corridors.

May was definitely the right month to stay here.  The weather was a perfect 80 degrees.  We were Walking in Sunshine, and it felt GOOD!

You may wonder how come everything was calm and quiet with hundreds of students going in and out the buildings.  The fact was that these students, far from being obstreperous, were model students.  Serious state contenders came to compete in National History DayCalifornia.

There were lots of wide open spaces for students to congregate, and most were busy studying or talking quietly together while they waited for their turn to present their projects to a panel of three judges.

Many of them took pictures, like I did of  all the photographic locations around Mission Inn.

So if you every get to Riverside, California, stay at the Mission Inn.  Even obstreperous middle and high school students are miraculously calmed by the majestic ambiance.



A Tall Tale By An Average Size Boy

Written by: Paula Terrill

In Collaboration with Edward Haney

Illustrations by: Kara-Lynn Smith

My name is Edward. I know what you are thinking, that is a boring and common name. That’s true, but I am not boring or common. I am the most amazing person you will ever meet because my family is famous! Not like movie stars. Better than that.

Chef Paula

My mom is the best baker in the world. Just for fun, she decided to make a chocolate pudding pie big enough for everyone in the state of California to share it.

She didn’t have a big enough bowl for that, so she used the Grand Canyon to mix everything together.

When it was done mixing, she didn’t have a refrigerator big enough to chill it, so she had it flown to the North Pole. It took 200 helicopters to get it off the ground.

My dad is the nicest guy you will ever meet. He holds doors for people. He always remembers to say please and thank you. He loves kids and animals, and even old people. He loves animals so much that he is a wild animal rescuer in Africa.

Wildlife Rescuer Joey

Every week, he gets on his super fast speed boat and travels to Africa to save animals that are sick or injured. Last week, he met a cheetah with a toothache. The cheetah told my dad (you see my dad speaks cheetah) that he had been eating too many berries because he didn’t want to hurt the gazelles and the sugar in the berries caused a cavity.

My dad pulled the tooth and made a necklace for the cheetah to keep forever.

My grandpa may be the most amazing person of all time. When you first meet him, he is quiet and friendly, but don’t let that fool you. He is a knife maker during the day, but in his spare time, he wrestles bears.

Knifemaker Grandpa

This one time we were camping when a great big brown bear came running towards our camp. It was so scary, but my grandpa jumped in front of him and flipped him over. My grandpa is so strong, when he threw that bear to the ground; he caused a great big hole that went all the way through the middle of the mountain. After that, they changed the name of the mountain to Mount Vesuvius.

There was another time we came across a Yeti. That’s a Big Foot that is all covered in snow. It was three times taller than my grandpa and weighed at least a ton. My grandpa scared him so bad, he ran away so fast that it caused an avalanche and buried all the Yeti’s in the snow. That’s why no one can find the Yeti’s anymore.

Yeti and Eddie

I know it is hard to believe from someone with the name Edward, but take my word for it, my family is the most wonderful family ever.



Academic Vocabulary is one of the six major shifts in language arts standards as states are moving to implement the Common Core Standards.  Teaching academic vocabulary is going to be ubiquitous.  Every content area teacher ia already responsible for teaching vocabulary.  All content teachers teach the vocabulary that is unique to their content.  Where, but in a history class, would you learn the word Senate?  The shift in academic vocabulary instruction due to the implementation of the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts is that all content area teachers will  become responsible for teaching Tier 2 words, words that are ubiquitous across all content areas.


The word ubiquitous is ubiquitous.  While  this is an accurate and true statement it is the perfect example of why having students use vocabulary or spelling words in a sentence is not an effective learning strategy.  However, the question is whether or not the word ubiquitous rises to the level of being classified as academic vocabulary that should be taught by direct instruction by content area teachers.  I would argue that it does not.

Granted when you meet a person and he or she uses the word ubiquitous in general conversation, your first impression is that the person is well-educated.  I know that because it happened to me.  I remember exactly where I was when I when I first heard the word ubiquitous.  My husband and I were eating lunch at Hometown Emporium in Exeter, California, when a friend approached him and said, “My friend, you are ubiquitous.”  I was impressed with this friend, and we spent the next five minutes discussing his choice vocabulary word – and that was my introduction both to the word and the friend.


Only Tier 2 words are targeted for direct instruction by all content area teachers.  Is ubiquitous merely a showy, ostentatious Tier 3 word, or is it truly an academic necessity Tier 2 word? Based on the work of Isabel Beck, who categorizes academic words as Tier 1,2 or 3 level, I would classify ubiquitous as a Tier 3 word.  It is not a common or Tier 1 word like pencil or high use word like the.  It does not have different meanings in different content areas like Tier 2 words:  table, key, or expression.


To give you an example of a ubiquitous Tier 2 word, let’s put the word table on the table.  To do that I’ll create a table to demonstrate how it is used in different content areas.


Even though Common Core standards are only adopted nation-wide for language arts and mathematics, language arts standards are particularly ubiquitous.  To make a point, I would argue that Common Core standards in English Language Arts are even MORE CORE, more ubiquitous, if you were,  than in mathematics because students have to read, write, speak, and listen even to master the core mathematics standards.

Common Core standards are ubiquitous in the United States.  Again, I would argue that the major shift of teaching academic vocabulary may be the most ubiquitous of the six major shifts in language arts standards.  Words are important.  They represent the expression of all we think and do.  Words are ubiquitous.