Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 can't come soon enough

Will 2010 never end?  If it can go wrong for us this year, it has.   Marty and I want it out the door so we can move on to hopefully a better year 2011.

A couple of minor examples of how the year has gone:  last night Marty was making ground beef from chuck roast he found on sale.  He is feeding strips of it into the grinder on our Kitchen Aid stand mixer. These are workhorses.  Suddenly there is this awful whacking noise.  It sounds as if a spatula is caught in the beater; except there is no spatula nor any beater.  This is not an old mixer, it's less than 5 years old.  People will Kitchen Aids, they last forever.  Not ours. So a trip 20 miles away to the only place in the Bay Area that repairs them is in our future.

Then the frosting on the cake, the big screen TV died.  It also is only 5 years old.  Tuesday it worked, Wednesday we tried to turn it on, nothing, just a flashing power button.  It says temp, lamp, timer. According to the troubleshooting guide that is not a good thing.  Next Thursday the repairman comes.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

CHRISTMAS (very long, settle in for a good read)

We have had a wonderful Christmas.  We went to Davis to be with my nephew Tres and his family. Our son Erik joined us.  Tres' father and mother, my little brother and his wife, flew in from Kentucky for a week. Last night they came home with us to spend a couple of days.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were so much fun. We have eaten good food, drunk excellent wines, had a Bourbon Ball taste off, laughed, cried over childhood memories, and had an incredible good time with three little children. 

This post will be long, it will have lots of pictures, it is written to share my good fortune of a family Christmas.

We began our trip on Friday afternoon.  There was a fog warning on the Benica Bridge.  You couldn't see the hood ornament on the car.  Then we had higher fog and stop and go traffic.  We drove for 20 minutes and went 2 miles.  Finally that broke up and we took off.  We are at the speed limit.  And I see on the ramp beside us a Highway Patrol car flying by us and then he begins that zigzag traffic control thingy.  We are the first in line behind him, and our speed drops to 25.  I am expecting a horrible wreck or a white out fog bank.  We go several miles and the Highway Patrol car suddenly flies off an exit.  No reason for the traffic break, so we all crank it back up to 70.  Finally we make it to Davis.  And we are hours behind the party.  Wine is flowing, taste treats are out, and laughter ensues.  We caught up quickly.

Below are some pictures of the two days.  As usual I have edited them down from 65+ to a fairly reasonable amount. Well sort of reasonable.

 Little Brother Hank greeting me.  He does have a weird sense of humor.  But I love him.
 Marty and the appetizers to hold us until supper.
 The beautiful table Casey set for our Christmas Eve dinner.  And those are not napkins on the plates, they  are English Crackers.  All kinds of little toys flew all over the table.

Tres and his father having a timed Spoons hanging from your Nose contest.  Hank won.  Tres says cheating was involved.

 Marty does love fire.  Here he is torching the creme brulee.  It was out of this world yummy.
 Little Brother does have more fun than everyone else.  Love the antlers. 
 We walked down the block to "Candy Cane Lane".  Every house was this decorated.  It was beautiful.
 The children are snug in their beds. Santa's elves are putting together a Disney Princess castle.  Behind them is Casey with the card table cover that makes a "castle". 
 Hall and family dog, Dexter, checking out the toys Santa left.
 More toys.
 Bella on her princes sleeping bag, ripping open a gift.  She was so polite.  They would hand her a gift and say this gift is from Aunt Janet and Uncle Marty.  Before she opened it she would come over and thank us.
 Sister in law Ann opening a gift.
 Casey screaming with joy.  She got exactly what she wanted.  A Garmin sport watch, it tracks all kinds of
things that a Iron Woman athlete needs.
 Tres with Ava, and Marty's hands.
 Closer view of Tres and Ava.
 Christmas Day brunch.  Egg and country ham sausage casserole, 7 layer salad, shrimp salad, cookies, fudge, hot biscuits.  And Mimosas.
 Ann reading the Christmas story to us before we ate.
The adults "helping" Hall with his toys.

We have had such a good time with little children and Christmas. The visit continues. 

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


It is that time again, The Dreaded Christmas Letter. Will they brag? Will they whine? Will they bore you to tears? Will they ramble on and on? Probably.

In January we attended the Fancy Food Show again. Fabulous good eats. Every kind of food you can think of and more. We sampled wonderful hams from around the world, cheeses that I still dream about, risotto made in a Parmesan cheese wheel, wines, chips, chocolates, and more. Loved it.

Janet is still volunteering at an Oakland school. The highlight of the year was going on a field trip with the whole school. She quickly found out that riding a school bus for over an hour is just as uncomfortable as it was in the 70’s. Still no shocks on those buses, or are there any seat belts.

Janet continues to volunteer at the County Recorder’s Office doing wedding ceremonies. The sister of a friend asked Janet to perform the ceremony for her wedding. That was great. The family treated Marty and Janet as if they were blood kin. This was a really feel good wedding and reception.

Janet continues to blog regularly. On her blog she shares what is happening in her life and sometimes Marty’s: X rated weddings, art projects with first graders, testing recipes, chasing down garbage trucks, pictures of our road trips, blowing glass.

Marty is still advising at Phi Gamma Delta. He is on the alumni board and enjoys it very much.

We both worked the San Francisco Aids Walk again. A wonderful event, that every year we hope is our last time. We hope every year that next year there won’t be a need for the walk.

In January Marty went to Los Angeles to watch friend Luis in a billiard tournament, The West Coast Challenge. This is an annual event. Luis is that good, and Marty is that excited about billiards.

Marty is consulting with Horizon Wealth Group and assisting them in their marketing. He also continues to work with Reverse Mortgages. He has a new website so go check out

Marty continues his love of making glass. Throughout the year he has assisted Randy Strong at demos in Berkeley and in San Francisco. He also has crafted pieces that are used by companies and agencies as awards. His website displays some of the pieces he has made.

Marty has continued with his gardening and enjoys seeing orchids blooming all year round. We have 6 plants in the house now full of blooms.

One of the funnest times we have is when we get together with two other couples a few times of the year. We call us the “A Team” and we have a blast going to each others’ homes and cooking great food and drinking some fabulous wines. Look out GORDON RAMSEY. We are on your heels.

In August our nephew and his family were transferred to Travis Air Force Base. Travis is just up the road from us. It has been great to have extended family close to us. Their son asked us to come for his school’s Grandparent’s Day since his grandparents live out of state. We went and had a wonderful time. My brother and his wife are coming for Christmas to be with them. We will join them Christmas Day as will our son Erik

In September we decided to downsize for many reasons. We need to find a place where we don’t do the maintenance, no steps, and a place to grow old in. Well, we are old, grow older in. We got the house ready for market, and that nearly killed us. Erik and a friend moved furniture out to the garage. The stager wanted a nearly bare house. We painted and cleaned carpet. Friends helped us pack up, Marty and another friend put in new windows. Our 72 year old windows were rotten. We had traffic through the house, lots. But no one was buying, just lookie loos. With the holidays, we have taken it off the market. Maybe in the spring we will try again.

We are still fairly healthy. No big issues that a pill won’t fix. We struggle with the economy as the world is. We value our friends and family who support us. We wish we could be with the far away friends and family. But please know we think of you and miss you.

May you have a wonderful Holiday Season and a healthy Happy New Year.

Love to all of you,
Janet       Marty

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Again with the garbage truck

Last week the green waste truck skipped us. Our pick up is on Tuesdays.  We didn't know until Saturday they hadn't picked it up.  Marty did some yard work and saw the can was over half full.  Too late to call and complain.  He did his yard work, filled the can up and then filled a smaller one that is ours and not Waste Management.

Tuesday, pick up day, I hear the truck.  I look out later and the can is open and sitting full at the base of the steps to the street.  WTH???  I called the company.  "Your can is too heavy.  We tried to call last week to let you know, but the number we have is not a working number."  Too heavy? Not a working number?  Not as heavy as the recycling can, and that driver yanks that can up with ease every week. 

We were told no more than 65 pounds in the can.  That is nothing in the garbage world.  I told them we would get the can to the street and they then could use the mechanical arm to dump the can.  No, if it weighs too much the mechanical arm on the truck will snap off.  Really, I don't even  believe that.  We were told to dump their can and place the contents in other paper bags or cardboard boxes.  I told the clerk it is raining and that would not work.  I told her we would put it into smaller cans that we owned.  She then said there would be a charge for an extra pick up.  I threw a hissy fit on that one.  They did not tell us why they skipped us.  If they won't pick up they should notify us.  Finally she agreed to do a free "courtesy" pickup.

So Tuesday afternoon Marty and I dumped the contents onto a plastic sheet, gathered it up, and dumped it into another can.  Then we did that with another can. Green waste is yard waste and food scraps, bones, seafood shells, paper that has food on it. Trust me after two weeks, this was right up there with Dirty Jobs. Rubber gloves and a lot of gagging and we got the job done.

This morning they picked up the green waste.  And then the driver took the three cans back down to our yard. We have read all the info we have from Waste Management.  No where does it say limit 65 pounds.  If they want it that light, we should have two cans instead of one huge one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Last Wednesday and Monday the 20th there were lots of weddings.  I unfortunately did not do that many of them. Wednesday there were only three ceremonies for me.  Monday they were mostly Asian.  Again it was a lucky number day.  I don't do Cantonese, so I didn't do but 2.  There were also 5 Spanish ceremonies that afternoon.

On Wednesday I did an Indian ceremony.  They will have a cultural wedding next summer.  The bride had on the most beautiful sari I have ever see seen.  And I have seen a lot of them. The sari was the traditional red.  It was trimmed in gold threads, there were gold designs all over the sari, and each design had a jewel in the middle. The witness wore a black tunic, long sleeved blouse, and pants. The neckline was jeweled  like a large necklace.  The sleeves  and the vest were trimmed in jewels and gold trim.  The pants were gold trimmed from the knees to the ankles.  Again there were gold designs with jewels in the middle.  When I say gold trim, I am meaning gold.  Real gold thread.  These were the most gorgeous Indian clothes I have ever seen.

I told the women they won the prize for the most beautiful Indian clothing contest.  These women were magnificent looking. The bride told me that she was honored to have such a wonderful sari to wear.  She also said it was extremely heavy.

As you know I attract strange weddings.  But for once it was not me.  The commissioner J, who works the shift before me had a strange request.  A man came up to her and asked her to redo his wedding.  He was very upset.  He felt the commissioner L who did their ceremony had not shown respect to him and his bride.  He said they were rushed and not allowed to take pictures.  None of us believed this.  The commissioner is a very sweet woman.  She is polite, she takes pictures of the whole group, she is very good at doing weddings.  No way she was disrespectful.  But the customer was upset.  After much discussion the head supervisor allowed  J to do a do over.  The couple was now married, so the license would not be changed.  But J did a ceremony and the couple left happy.

Again no way L had rushed them or been disrespectful.  This woman is just too good at what she does.  But just like Nordstrom's, Alameda County says the customer is always right.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Duck, duck, no goose

Last night we had a spectacular meal.  A friend had given us two wild duck to cook, IF we invited him to dinner.  We love duck.  Marty has a luscious recipe for duck breast on porcini mushroom polenta with a Port wine sauce.  It was easy to adapt to whole duck.  Easy because he did it, I didn't. 

My contribution to the meal was to make shrimp and garlic chive dumplings with two sauces. That sounds easy, takes longer than the duck.  So I am a saint to make them.  They are well worth the effort. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

Below are pictures of the duck being served.  I was told I should take pictures all night of prep, finished product of the dumpling, etc.  Well, I was enjoying the evening and just didn't.  So all we have are pictures of the ducks on the plates.

 Marty is placing the Port Wine sauce over the duck.
 Close up of the rich rich sauce.
 More with the sauce.  Marty also grew all the orchids that are blooming.
 Not great pictures because you can't smell the wine, the porcini mushroom, the duck.  It was fabulous!
I forgot, I took a picture of dessert:  Bourbon Balls.  The recipe is Marty's Mother's.  So it is probably 50 or 60 years old.  The pecans were soaked in Maker's Mark for a month plus.  The sugar has bourbon in it.  These can not be eaten by anyone under 21, we could go to jail for serving liquor to a minor.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weddings, and a suprising story

Wednesday was really stretched out between weddings.  As soon as I walked in at 12:45, I had two ceremonies to do.  And then nothing until after 3:00.

The couples were all very normal.  And you know for me, that doesn't happen.  They were sweet, in love, nervous, and then all happy the process was over.  So yes, very normal.  Yet I do get the strange ones, if not the couples then the witness.

Oh yes the witness for couple number 3.  I went to get the couple, and the bride is all a flutter, the volunteer witness B has disappeared.  I walked through the lobbies and called her name, nothing.  The bride went in the restroom and called her name, nothing.  The couple is in a panic.  Can they still get married?  I told them that we can always reprint and put someone else as the witness.  But don't give up, we will find her.  I asked where they found her.  She was at the desk next to them with her sister, and her sister is still there.  OK, I will go ask the sister where she is. 

I interrupt politely and the sister tells me B has gone to feed the meter.  So we wait some more.  I noticed the person talking to the sister is not a clerk.  It is one of the top level supervisors who is over the supervisor of the clerks.  Something serious is going down.  B comes running in and says she'll be right back.  I assure the couple that whatever happens they will be married that afternoon.  Finally B runs up to us and says, "Do I have a story for you.  This will be something for you to tell your grandchildren.  I was switched at birth at the hospital and I'm trying to find out who my birth mother is."  Well we were stunned.  You better believe we put the wedding on hold until she told us the story.

She had had some blood work done and found out she couldn't be related to her sister and parents. The blood types just don't match. The Navy hospital where she was born had closed. The records are somewhere.  She wanted the births recorded for the week she was born to be pulled.  That can't be done for many reasons.  She doesn't know if her birth date is correct.  In the 50's mothers and babies were kept in the hospital several days.  She could have been born the day before or 2 days later.   All this woman wants is to know her birth family medical history, and to maybe meet the family.  The family she grew up with wants to meet the blood daughter.  B wants nothing from the birth family.  She is not interested in suing anyone over the mix up of babies.  She said she has a great family who love her and she loves them.  But there are medical issues she needs to know.

Her next step is to try in Sacramento for the information.  If that doesn't work she will contact the Navy, her Congressman, and her Senator. 

And as my blog title says, I have no endings.  This one will haunt me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weddings, some

Wednesday was a little slow at the marriage factory.  I only did 4 marriage ceremonies.  The morning volunteer had more than she usually does, 4 or 5.  Nearly all the couples were Asian.  Wednesday was December 8, 2010.  And in the Asian community 8 is good luck. 

I did two ceremonies that had couples from India.  They could not have been more opposite.  The first couple asked for a short ceremony.  They stood apart from each other. They did not look at each other.  When the ceremony was over, they just walked away.  No touching, hugging, kiss, nothing. She had the traditional hennaed hands and lots of gorgeous diamond bangle bracelets.  I felt as if I were doing a business deal.  And basically that is what it was, an arranged marriage.  I hate, hate, hate doing them.  They really bother my old fashioned romantic senses. I may have been married 43 years, but still think you should be weak in the knees when you see your partner/lover/spouse enter the room.  Don't stand there and hope this will all go away.

The other couple from India and their 2 witnesses were so American.  They were the same age as the couple above, close to 30.  This couple was in jeans, no rings, IPhone for a camera, they were laughing, hugging each other.  So happy to be there.  None of them had an accent.  In fact they teased me about my Southern accent.  They were very in love, very intense during the ceremony, just a little teary eyed.  And yes, big kiss after I pronounced them husband and wife.

And my favorite wedding:  The bride was so nervous. When I got upstairs I asked my standard questions:  do you have rings, do you have your own vows, will anyone stand up with you, etc? After that, I said, "Please come up front and face your guests." The bride looked at me in panic and said, "We're going to do it now?" 

I told her we would not begin until she felt ready.  If she wanted to sit down and pull it together, we could do that. She said she was ready and we began.  She was so nervous and expressed it in laughter and giggles.  Which is very normal.  After the the ceremony she thanked me for such a lovely moving ceremony.

All in all a very nice day of weddings.  What will Monday's weddings bring?


I have some new followers.  Welcome to my world.  I hope you enjoy reading my blog.  I hope you will comment or at least check a box at the bottom of each post.  I don't know who the new people are, and that is exciting.  People are reading my blog who don't have to.  They are not family or close friends who I expect to read the blog.  As I said exciting.

I am honored to have you follow me.  I hope I never disappoint you.  Oh, and tell your friends.  :)

Friday, December 10, 2010


Last Saturday Marty did a demo at the glass studio for Berkeley Open Studios.  He made a piece that is just gorgeous. I took 53 pictures of the hour plus demo. I cut it down to 14 for your viewing pleasure.  Below you will see Marty creating this piece of art.  Remember to click on the pictures for a larger image.

 Marty is heating the glass in the glory hole.  The  glass is at 2000 degrees in the glory hole.  The glass at that temperature is the consistency of warm honey.  The glass artist must keep the puntee moving at all times or the hot glass will just fall off. 
 Here he is letting the glass cool down a little.  He can tell from the color how hot the glass is.
 Here Marty is picking up pieces of dichro glass.  They are in a small oven that heats them so they will work with the glass he has on the puntee.
 Here Marty is using the marver (steel table) to shape the glass.
 Flo is opening the furnace doors so Marty can gather some more clear glass.  After several gatherings the glass can weigh 5 to 10 pounds.  Then you do the physics thing of weight on the end of a 6 foot pipe, and he is hauling around 40 or 50 pounds.  Some of the large pieces they make factor out to close to a 100 pounds on the pipe. Not an art form for wimps.

 Marty is starting to cut the piece in half.  Part he will pull into a Fleur de lis.
 Here he is putting the top he is cutting off in the little oven to stay hot.
Brendan is reattaching the part Marty cut off  now that he has shaped the Fleur de lis.
 Marty is hand shaping the piece with only wet newspaper between his hand and 2000 degrees glass.  Flo is shielding his arm with a wooden paddle.
 Can you say white hot???
 Marty is pulling the tip of the piece and shaping it for the finished look.
 He is twirling the puntee like a baton.  That will stretch out the glass.
 More twirling. He sure looks like he is having fun here.
Marty is knocking the piece off the pipe.  Brendan is catching it and will place it in the annealing oven. The piece stays in the oven for close to 24 hours.  It must gradually cool down.  If it cools too fast it will shatter.

As you can see, glass art is hard work and just a little dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Because I'm getting better."

Tuesday was a busy day at school. When I arrived the children were in small groups and each group had a different project.  My group was working on contractions.  They had a worksheet that had a Christmas wreath on it.  At the bottom of the page were contractions inside a circle that they were to cut out and then paste on the wreath.  All around the wreath were leaves which had the words that a contraction came from.  Between the words was a berry.  The children found the contraction, such as won't and glued it between will and not.  If they had trouble, a chart was in front of them showing the different contractions and their origins.  Not a hard project.  But two little boys just could not focus.  Every contraction I had to prod them to cut it out, find the two words, put on the glue, pat it down.  Then on to the next one.  They just were so easily distracted.  But they finished and it was correct.  YAY!

There are maybe 10 children that I work with regularly in reading.  They have a series of little books they read to me.  The books are 6-8 pages long.  They began with pictures and words in the sentences.  Now they are all words.  There are no more then 2 sentences per page.  We work on the phonics highlighted in each book.  Then they read to me.  Some struggle sounding out every word; some can't remember words they work out the next time it appears; some guess the words; some read slowly and get all the words, and some read quickly with expression.  We have many levels of skill. 

One little boy R was a book behind the others. This happens to many of them for different reasons.  They miss school, the adult helping them doesn't have time to get to all the children, there is special testing, there is an assembly.  I had him read the first book to me.  He struggled, he couldn't remember words from one page to the next. Nearly every word had to be sounded out.  He finished and I moved on to the other children.  They all read the next book and I had time to take R again and have him caught up. 

R came up, sat down, and we began.  The phonics, easy.  He began to read.  Slowly but surely every word was perfect.  Very few words did he even have to work out.  It was if a different child were reading to me.  I complimented him on his reading.  I told him what a great job he did.  I talked to him about how much trouble he had with the first book (which was no harder) and how he breezed through the second book.  I asked him how come he did so well.  And all puffed up with pride, R said, "Because I am getting better."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Monday was very slow.  I did no weddings until 2:30.  Then shortly thereafter another couple.  And then I sat.  It was almost 10 minutes until 4 and P brought me a license and then another.  Timing was just bad yesterday.  I thought I would be out of there right after 4:00 and be off to the grocery.

My first couple was Chinese.  The bride had only a last name.  And the fathers of the bride and groom just had last names. I have only seen this one other time and the bride was from India.

We had one license with a big time error.  The couple are to put in the computer where their parents were born.  If they were born in the United States they put the state.  If they were born outside the USA they put the country.  The groom put his parents were both born in Europe.  Ding, ding, ding, not a country.  Luckily I caught it and the clerk got the correct information and reprinted the license.  The couple had the neatest ring box for the ceremony.  It was hinged blue enamel box with a jeweled butterfly on top.  It was lovely.

When P bought me the next license she said the bride is pregnant with twins.  I did my paper work and went out for the couple.  The bride comes up and tells me the groom has gone to feed the meter.  Great.  Those of you who are regular readers know it ticks me off when they are not ready when I come out.  But this woman is so pregnant, so upset,  so worried I will be upset with her.  She is so miserable carrying twins I can't say anything to her.

 I tell her we will wait, no big deal.  And we wait and wait, and wait. I now know her life story.  (She is 33, she has a 14 year old and a 5 year old by her first husband.  Her mother has a church wedding planned in the spring.  The bride said she won't have these babies unmarried. Her mother will just have to be upset.)  She says she will go look for her groom.  I hurried back to my desk to call Marty.  He was to pick me up in 15 minutes.  I told him to wait 30.  I grabbed the other license and plan to take them up. But the groom has arrived.  I did a lovely unhurried ceremony for them.  They both were so emotional, tear spillage.  After the ceremony the bride told me these are her last babies.  NO MORE!

The last couple were so happy, excited, so giddy.  All through the ceremony he would lean over and kiss her.  Then he would look at me and ask is that OK?  I told him of course kissing is allowed.  They were fun.

We had to wait to get the certified copy of the license.  Another couple was in the office asking about getting married on Valentine's Day.  They wanted to make a reservation right then.  They had the license and wanted a time so they could send out invitations.  We don't take names for Valentine's Day until a month before.  But this couple convinced the Marriage Desk Clerk to do it.  So she entered them at the time they wanted.

Even when I have a slowish day, things happen to make it interesting.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Monday Weddings

Monday I performed seven marriage ceremonies. Wednesday I had an appointment and did work.  On Monday the lobby was packed when I arrived.  Everyone showed up within an hour's time.  At one point I had 4 licenses on my desk.  And then around 3:15, when we usually get the rush, nothing.

The first couple were probably the most extreme in tattooing and body piercing I have had.  Their arms, legs, necks, hands were covered in body art.  They both had multiple plugs in their ears and multiple piercings.  He was not wearing the plugs in his ear lobes and they were huge holes swinging. His lobes looked like a coffee mug would fit in them.  She had plugs which kept popping out.  Their faces had multiple piercings.  Looking at them made me just a little queasy.  Yes, I admit, not fond of body art, face piercings, nor the plugs. 

Again you can't judge a book by its cover.  This was one of the sweetest, loveliest couple I have married.  They were so serious about what they were doing.  They were very intense during the ceremony; listening to every word I said and to every word they said.

Another couple turned out to almost be my neighbors.  They live a couple of blocks away.  And he was from the deep South and even had lived in Louisville.

One couple had lots of family and friends with them.  The bride wore a cocktail dress that was black and white.  That seems to be the choice for the majority of brides lately.  I began the ceremony, the groom was hesitant when I asked Do you take . . .  finally croaked out yes.  Everyone laughed.  I thought that was weird and rude.  Then I began the vows and nothing is coming out of his mouth.  I asked is there an English problem.  More laughter.  It turns out he had laryngitis and sometimes nothing comes out.  Just a squeak. I offered to let him skip the vows since they aren't a legal part of the ceremony.  He said he could do it.  And he did.

Lots of weddings, lots of ethnic groups.  Some deeply touched me. And one I hope will last but doubt it.  The bride was 35 and this was her 4th marriage.  That seems to me to be a person who doesn't do marriage well.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What a great day at school.

Today was a great day at school. The children were working on different projects when I arrived this morning.  I worked with the group who were working with antonyms and with blends.  Part of them worked with words that were opposites-such as many/few and some worked on words that began with blends. The blend group worked with cards that had the beginning sound and the ending of the word- sk/unk or br/idge.  The children then had to write sentences with the words they had made. 

Making a sentence is a big deal for a first grader.  It is very difficult to make a sentence, spell words correctly, and to write the letters correctly.  And two I worked with zoned out as we worked.  I had to constantly restart them writing.  They just could not stay on task.

We had a wonderful bonus today.  We had an assembly.  The Pacific Boychoir sang for us.  This is an amazing group of young boys. They are a group of children from the 5 Bay area counties, who attend a school in Oakland dedicated to music.  They are a professional choir that has traveled the world: China, Russia, South Africa, Denmark, Ohio, Hawaii, Germany, Hungary, France. . .They visit schools in the area, they sing with major symphonies, they are Grammy winners.  I have never heard children sing so wonderfully.  I wish I had had my iPhone with me.  I really wanted to record the performance.  Pretty amazing assembly.

After the assembly we had recess and then back to the real world.  We had a math test to do that all first graders in Oakland would be doing.  It is multiple choice, they just bubble in the correct answer. Testing first graders is so hard.  They want help and we can't do more than read the question; they can't find the problem we are on;  they yell out the answer; they get upset because the answer they think is correct isn't one of the choices; they check out the answer their neighbor has; they can't find their answer and are one question behind.  It really is hard to keep all of them on track.  We made it through, mostly.  Some of the children were so upset they just quit.  So Ms. H gave the test individually. 

After the test I read the book The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland to the class. I can't find a good web site. He also is a well known photographer.  The sites are more about his photography than his book.

This was a special day.  The children really enjoyed the holiday show from the boy's choir.  They worked hard in class, and they loved the book I read.  The math test, not so much.