Archive | January, 2009


21 Jan

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings noshing on holly berries.

Yesterday was a day of national cleansing.  We felt renewed, invigorated, excited, and refreshed.

Now, we need to move forward and bring that spirit of joy with us.  We need to tackle the jobs in our daily lives with that level of commitment and excitement.  We need to put aside the bickering and disagreements of the past and find a way to move forward.  We need to be creative in solving problems.  We need to have a spirit of problem solving, not partisan ideologues.

California state govenment . . . I’m talking to you. You are destroying lives with your petty , selfish, whiney arguments.  While you complain and argue, lives are being ruined.  My school employs 25 teachers.  We are a California Distinguised School 3 times over.  For years, we have had increased demands on our test scores combined with decreased money to pay for it all.  The teachers, staff, administration and family community have reaching within and reached byeond and gotten the job done.  As a whole, we have not rested on our laurels but continued to search for ways to improve so that our students can improve and have better lives.  And, now, we are being told that the money won’t be there.  That we will likely have no librarian, no computer instructor, no classroom aides, no science teacher, and no PE teachers.  Furthermore, we are told, the state will do away with class-size reduction which limits the number of students per class to 20 or less in grades K through 3.  So, we will have bigger classes with fewer teachers.   We’ll have teachers working harder with more students and no support.  And, the children will lose out.

I’m already looking into options for what seems inevitable at this point.  I’m an adult.  I will find a way to keep contributing to my family’s survival.  But, I’m also a parent.  I have two kids at this school.  Thankfully, I know I can educate them at home to compensate for what they are not getting at school anymore.  But, most families can not do that.

And, the worst part is.  This is ONE part of life in California that is facing this sort of devastation.  While our government whines and complains and holds tightly onto their ideological points of pride, lives are being destroyed.

So, governor and legislators, suck it up.  Step up.  Do the job.  Find a way.  Work together.  Stop fighting.  Grow up.  Solve the problems.  It is a new day.  We can’t accept the old ways.  We won’t accept the old ways.

Let the spirit of hope that is sweeping our country, sweep through Sacramento so that you can find away to save our schools, save our state, save our future.  Get ‘er done!


Ruby is looking forward, too.

19 Jan

Ruby . . . uh . . . Sunday

We’re all looking forward to the events of today. To the hope. To the promise. To the change.

I really don’t have words for how happy I am about our new president. It’s a glorious day. A glorious, hopeful, promising day of change.


Hope for Spring

18 Jan

Hope for Spring

Why I love my camera!

17 Jan

Why I love my camera

I stood in my front yard and looked at this grove of Redwoods.  Up at the tippy-top, I could see something.  I thought it was a bird.  I watched closely and saw it’s head turn.  But, I couldn’t tell what kind of bird it was.  So, I grabbed my camera and took this picture.  Oh, and just to give you an idea of the height of those trees, look at the street light/telephone pole at the bottom of the picture.

Then, I zoomed in as close as I could.

Why I love my camera

Ah, a robin.  Of course.

My camera is a Panasonic Lumix FZ7.  It has 12x zoom and image stabilization.  It was new in 2006.  3 years may not be long but this is a camera I have used nearly daily for those 3 years.  It is almost a part of me.  I rarely go anywhere without it.  It may not be a fancy digiscoping rig with changeable lenses and amazing bells and whistles but it brings the birds to me and that is enough for me.

Bleak mid-winter

16 Jan

Night sky

Feeling a little blue and dark today.

While the whole country is in a monetary turmoil right now, California’s crisis is unique.  Our deficit is more than some countries spend in a year.  We have difficult problems to solve and none of our “leaders” show the will to solve them.  The legislature sends our governor a budget and he vetoes it.  Our governor sends the legislature a proposal on a budget and they won’t pass it.  Meanwhile, we are close to issuing IOUs for our debts.  (Gee, didn’t know we could do that.  Hey, phone company, here’s my IOU.  Hey, electric and gas company, let’s just say IOU for this month, okay?).

It’s nervous-making times as a citizen of this state but as a teacher, it’s terrifying.

I’m a new teacher.  This is technically my 2nd year teaching although I have taught previously for 3 years at the same school, I don’t believe any of them “count”.  We are looking at drastic changes in the way education is handled in California.  And, the worst part of it is, we really don’t know if any of it will happen or none of it but the school district superintendents in our state have been told to plan for the worst case scenario.

Worst case scenario.  I shudder to think what that means for our children in this state.  But, selfishly, for me, I could be out of a job at the end of this school year.  I will likely get pink-slipped in March.  And, hopefully, in May they’ll rescind the pink slip because they will have more information about how this will all play out.  But, worst case scenario, I could be done with teaching and out there with the masses of other job hunters, seeking an illusive, non-existent job.

So, yea, things are a little blue and dark here this morning.

For some hopefully clearer skies, visit Sky Watch.  It’s cleansing!

Unseasonable weather

15 Jan

I wake up each morning at 5:30am. I make my coffee and I check my email, tweets, and as many blogs as I can cram in before starting my day. This morning, there were many tweets from my eastern and mid-western friends complaining of temperatures well-below freezing, of schools closing due to extreme wind-chill, of hoping their cars would start in this cold.

Meanwhile, I debated whether or not to start a fire this morning because it’s only 35F and it’s going to get up into the 70’s again today so there’s really no point, is there?

I don’t post this to brag . . . really. And, I’m not going to whine and say anything about the lack of rain and how I really wish we were having a real winter. In all honesty, our weather is near perfect for me right now and I post because a friend asked me to describe what “warm” feels like.

Today, I’ll be wearing jeans, a shirt, and a light sweater. When I drive to work, I’ll forget to put my gloves and my fingers will be too cold on the steering wheel. I’ll shiver as I walk between the office and my classroom before school starts. By the time I have yard duty, I’ll be glad to stand in the sunshine while watching the kids play. Many of those kids will be wearing shorts and no jackets because well, I don’t know why really, 35F is a bit chilly for shorts in my opinion. When my kids come in from PE this morning, those that wore sweatshirts will have left them on the field and will have to go back out and get them again. The mercury is slipping up into the warm temperatures. When I walk to the staff room at lunchtime, I will be basking in the sun’s warmth, enjoying the feel of it on my face. When I leave school around 4:30 today, the sun will be getting ready to slip behind the mountains. The heat of the day doesn’t linger in the winter months. The sun doesn’t pack a punch in the winter. By the time I get home, I’ll be hoping that there is a fire in the woodstove as my evening temperatures dip down to the chilly mid-30’s. But, I will enjoy the weather today while thinking of my friends who are wishing their highs were as high as my lows.
So, Bev, does a description of the warmth help you cope or make it all worse? weather1-15-09


14 Jan

Moon over Boulder Creek

The moonlight glows through the steamy window
Giving the nightlight a run for its money.

©2009, Liza Lee Miller
All Rights Reserved

Snowy Egret Obsession

13 Jan

Flying off

Snowy Egrets are a heart bird for me.
Or a soul bird.
I see them and feel a sense of peace.
They are beautiful and elegant.
They are hunters, strong and smart.
When I see them, I know things are all right.
With the world.  With me.
Hope takes wing.

© 2009.  Liza Lee Miller.
All Rights Reserved.

For more poetic birds, visit Bird Photography Weekly.

Reason #4,537 that I love my husband

12 Jan

Last week, Greg attended MacWorld. While there, he bought the kids some games for their computer. Very sweet and thoughtful but not worthy of a declaration of undying love, I think.

When he got home, he had worked up a plan. Our Christmas tree was still standing with just the lights left on it. He asked me to wrap up the games and put them under the tree, way in the back. Then, we had the kids help him take the lights off the tree.

And, of course, they found the gift which was labeled to them from Santa.

Can you imagine the glee?

What a guy he is.

Full Moon

11 Jan

Moon with Redwood Tree

Fullest of all moons
Dangling over my head
Glowing mystery

©2009, Liza Lee Miller
All Rights Reserved.