Sunday, January 31, 2010

Class of 1990 Week 22

Before the school year all the teachers received some sort of in-service on T notes. This system had students putting a line down their paper and taking notes on one side and then writing questions on the other that related to the notes so that to study you would cover the note side and ask yourself the questions. I didn't like them. But then I didn't like to take any notes because it meant not having my hands folded into my sleeves where they would be kept warm. Miss Kassian went one step beyond requiring T notes to insisting that we divide our notebooks into three columns. One column for notes taken from our text book, the next column was for notes taken from her class lectures, and the third column was for the questions. She required a fixed number of questions and she would grade our notebooks. I did as required but expressed my distain for being forced into a particular style of note taking by exceeding the required number of questions with ones that were irrelevant to the subject of Physics, questions like "why do we have to do these stupid T notes?" and "what is my shoe size?" On Monday of that week she docked me a point on my notes grade for this.

That night we played Minto and just as the game was supposed to start Mom called the school. The roads were looking bad and she wanted me home. So I gave Peggy a five minute lesson on how to keep the book and left. It took twice as long as usual to get home and I never got above 35mph on the roads.

The next day Mom and Dad left for River Falls, Wisconsin to visit Grandma Szedlak on her birthday. I loved having the house to myself. In the evening I would turn on the stereo in the living room and the radio in my bedroom and one in the basement all to the same station and revel in playing loud music in the entire house.

Thursday at school was the volleyball pep rally. A few of the gifts that were given: Jaci got a back line with Mrs. Kappel's face on it. Peggy's on again off again role as a student manager was acknowledged by giving her a switch. Kevin was given a sign for cheering. One side said "Lunch" the other said "You came here to lose!" I got a set of dice to signify that I had developed some superstitious habits over the course of the season, like needing to say "over" three times before anyone on our team served or they wouldn't get the ball over the net.

The last home boy's basketball game of the season was always Parents' night for the seniors. A section of the gym was decorated for the seniors' parents to sit and then at half time of the varsity game the parents' names would be read and their son or daughter would pin a flower on their mother and escort them both to the center of the gym to stand and be looked at until all the other parents were out there.

On Friday we had a brief class meeting to discuss preparations for parents' night the following week.

Mr. Dick: Who is going to ask Mr. Hanson to announce the parents' names?

I shot my hand up.

Mr. Dick: Good Ruth, You'll do it

Me: But he's one of the parents.

Mr. Dick: (sigh) Well I guess that won't work. Didn't think of that.

Jaci (Mr. Hanson's daughter): I didn't even think of that.

Margo: Well it's a good thing someone is thinking.

Mr. Dick: OK, who is going to ask me to announce the parents' names?

Friday night Mom and Dad returned home. I spent most of the weekend watching TV, working on the LYF district Newsletter, and writing Rebecca a letter. Dad was still undecided about the call.


lhg edited and approved.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Class of 1990 Week 21

It was a week of getting assigned a lot of homework and struggling to get any of it done. I really missed my typewriter. I made some progress on newspaper stories, and working on my book case. There were a few significant things that happened of note.

Mom and Dad went to Winnipeg for the day. Mondays were always Dad's day off. Occasionally they would head north. The bummer was that the planetarium in Winnipeg was always closed on Monday's. While they were gone our cat Neko got into a fight. It was really loud and I called him a few times. When he finally came I took him in the back bathroom to check him out. He had blood drops all over him but they seemed to be from the stray that wondered into his turf. I didn’t find any wounds but his claws were splintered and bloody. After I cleaned him up I sat on the floor in the back hall and held him. He purred and because we never cleaned his teeth, after a few minutes he started to drool profusely, so I put him back outside.

Friday in Physics I got Peter and Kevin as lab partners. We were doing an experiment on the specific heat of metals: The exact project that I had taken to the state science fair two years before. I gave the directions, Peter took measurements, and Kevin did the math. We finished way ahead of every other group and spent the rest of the hour amusing ourselves by tossing ice into boiling water and watching the rapid melt. It was quite captivating, about as cool to watch as a lava lamp. We joked about setting up a Bunsen burner and beaker and melting ice that way as a conversation piece at a party. It was the most fun I had ever had in a science class in high school.

Mrs. Kappel and I had a talk after one of her classes. The volleyball team had one pep rally a year. It was before the last home game of the season and it was an all school pep rally that included the grade school. A major part of it was the acknowledging of each player and manager with a funny, sometimes slightly insulting prize based on inside jokes, personality quirks and incidents that happened during the year. (Why yes this is the inspiration behind the Walther Library Mandatory Student Staff Appreciation Meetings) I was a stat for five years starting in the eighth grade, and on more than one occasion she would use the pep rally to make fun of my difficulty with spelling. The year before she started her little shpeal about me with the words, “We all know that Ruth can’t spell…” Perhaps before she said that there may have been some first graders unaware of my learning disability, but her presentation solved that. It really bothered me. So knowing that it was coming up, I approached her after class one day and told her, in no uncertain terms, that if she made a public joke about my lack of spelling skills at the pep rally I would quit then and there and have nothing more to do with volleyball for the remainder of the season.

That weekend Sarah and Bob came and brought my typewriter with them. It still wasn’t quite right. Sunday it started to really snow. I shoveled the sidewalk and then had to clean it again two hours later. I enjoyed watching San Francisco beat Denver 55-10. Terry had made several bets against the 49ers. I noted that he was going to be "a bit sore in the pocket book come Monday."


lhg edited and approved

Friday, January 15, 2010

Class of 1990 week 20

Monday there was no school. I made a trip to town with Mom to get things I needed to finish my bookcase. I also finally got to work on an LYF newsletter only to find something wrong with my typewriter. It was not giving a clean print, and no matter what I tried it would not improve. That afternoon Mrs. Kapple picked me up in her car to get me to the volleyball game in Langdon. We lost, and it was a long ride back home.

Tuesday was the start of a new semester. I was no longer in Shop but I still had my bookcase to finish. I would be able to come in during study halls and work on it. Computer class was over and we started Senior Math. If Senior Math had been offered in the fall instead of the spring I would have done much better on the Math part of the ACT. All those formulas I couldn't think of in the exam were covered the first week of the class. We also started Business Law with Mr. Hanson. Mrs. Kappel shelved Macbeth for a few weeks so we could get another school newspaper out. The big news of the day was that my Dad received a call to Plumas, Manitoba about two hours northwest of Winnipeg. Mom and I spend all evening playing "what if?" What if I stayed with someone in the congregation so I wouldn't have to move my senior year? How would that impact Sarah's and my financial aid for college? I got to call Sarah and tell her about it, then mom took the phone and I went and watched TV. The Wonder Years was my favorite show in those days.

The next day was a half day with Parent Teacher conferences. Both Mom and Dad went. Mostly my teachers liked me. A few said that they wished I wasn't a senior. Mom and Miss Kassian got into it a bit as Miss Kassian defended the idea that there was nothing wrong with letting Goal Keepers have extra time on the exam.

Thursday was volleyball with Munich. We lost both matches, but were missing three players and just about everyone played their limit. There were no fans as the American Legion in town was sponsoring a fun night. Peter kept the score board and freshmen stat keeper David was gone so Peggy had to do stats with Kevin. The two of them had some sort of argument earlier and Peggy had been sulking all day.

Friday I got a chill first hour that didn't go away until I got home. I fell asleep after school in Dad's chair while I was looking at the new JC Penny catalog. At 5:30 pm Sarah woke me up asking for my car keys. About 10 minutes later she left for Minot. Mom and Dad took my typewriter to Grand Forks and it was left there for repairs.

Saturday we had a home game against Valley. Won the JV in 2. Lost the varsity in 4. Valley was a team we were used to beating in volleyball and since all our other sports we co-oped with them, there was some pride in beating them at the one sport we competed against them in. Peggy was sick and in the end 5th grader Eric kept the score board. He did a perfect job, but nobody really trusted him and people kept asking him if he posted points. We also made use of two eighth grade girls to act as line judges, but they kept missing things and then made bad calls, mostly in our favor. It looked really bad.

Sunday Kayla and Troy read the Sunday School lesson in turns instead of my reading it to them. It was a big deal. Sarah got back home about 5:00 pm and Mom and Dad took her back to UND. I spent the evening writing Rebecca a letter.


lhg edited and approved.

Friday, January 8, 2010

lhg edited and approved

You may notice this tag on many of my blogs. It should be on all of them, but I have a way of forgetting. Without going into all the reasons for this, let me simply say that Mr. Gaba reads and tries to catch all my errors before I post them, thus saving me from embarassment. For instance in returning to me my last post he made this comment, “By the way, there are officially about eleven different acceptable ways to spell pierogi, depending on the country. Yours was none of them. Also technically, pierogi is already a plural form, but in America, it is acceptable to say pierogies.”


lhg edited and approved.

Class of 1990 Weeks 18 & 19

“Started this New Year the way one should: I got up, showered then went to church.”The rest of the day I spent watching TV with Dad and playing Rummikub with Mom.

Tuesday it was back to school. I forgot my purse that had my eyeglasses in it; Mom and Dad dropped them off at the school on their way to Grand Forks. Jr. Becky quit stating for Volleyball so that night I had to keep both the book and the last touch points by myself. Freshmen Jayson kept the score board, it turned out he was also a fan of Robotech, also hanging out was 7th grader David, my Classmate Jason’s little brother who annoyed me greatly by constantly calling me “Ruthie Baby.”

Mr. Torgeson seemed to take great pleasure in teasing students about the opposite sex. “Who was that ugly girl I saw you with?” was not an uncommon question and I was often surprised at how much relationship news students told him. At times it seemed like he had the best picture of what students were couples and who had a crush on whom. I don’t recall the incident but my journal reports that Peggy royally embarrassed herself in front of Mr. Torgeson on the topic of a New Year’s kiss.

In English we started reading Macbeth. That day the US captured Manuel Noriega.By the end of the week I was dealing with a cold. I was also annoyed and amused by the way Miss Kassian placed us for tests. As I wrote it, “She didn’t want me right beside Cory so she moves me a desk up and I announce, ‘Oh good now I can see “Stephanie’s paper perfectly.” Almost everyone went to the Park River Holliday Basketball Tournament so it was a very quiet afternoon in the school. I was amused by the perception of many of my peers that I had spent all my time at home reading classical literature and studying for school.

Friday after taking a test in English I left school feeling too sick to stick around. Saturday I spent most of the day watching cartoons and other TV, Mom and Dad went to Grand Forks and picked up Sarah from the airport.

Sunday I taught Sunday school and there was church and then I went home and spent much of my afternoon re-reading Robotech books. Pastor & Peggy Watkins came for a visit. They arrived just as Sarah was finishing up a two hour phone call to Bob. We had pierogies for dinner. After I spent a long time entertaining little Hannah Watkins by showing her my bead collection. I helped take down Christmas decorations before bed and found that my cold was starting to get worse again.

Week 18

It seemed like there was always one week in January where, after many sub zero weeks the jet stream would move north and bring up warm air from the gulf and for a few days we would have a most welcome reprieve from winter. The problem was that with ice and snow packed it made everything a very slushy slippery mess, but the ability to step outside and not need hat and gloves more than made up for the muck. On Monday it was over 40 degrees. The roads were very slick. I lost my voice which was annoying since we were finally singing music I liked in chorus.

That night we played Drayton in Volleyball. Peggy officially became a stat again and I was so glad to have her back. We won the game. Volleyball games did not draw many spectators unlike the crowds at a basketball game, but they did have their amusements. A group of guys sat in a single line in end corner of the gym and did the wave, where the bleachers were empty they would point to where the wave would be and then anticipate when it was their turn to stand again. After one round Mr. Dick and two guys from Drayton who were sitting in the corner bleachers by the door would stand up when the arms pointed at them.

Tuesday I got my assignment back from the Institute of Children’s Literature and the deadline for my next assignment, January 30.

Wednesday my classmates all faked having sore throats so they could get out of reading in English. Mrs. Kappel didn’t believe any of us, so even though I could barely speak, I was assigned to read the part of Lady Macbeth which that day constituted more than half of the reading. It got all the way up to 50 outside.

Thursday I had two semester tests including one in Physics. This test lead to yet another conflict with Miss Kassian. Semester tests were limited to the class period. When the period was up so was your time for the test. A few years before Mr. Torgeson had instituted a program in the school called Goal Keepers. The program had the lofty goal of encouraging students to set and meet attainable goals for academic improvement. It was supposed to work like this, each week a student would set a goal for a test or assignment and would speak to the teacher ahead of time. A B average student in math would make a goal of getting an A on their pending math exam and before the test the teacher would sign off on a form stating that the student was aiming for that grade. If they met the grade they would earn a point. After earning five points they would get “Goal Keeper privileges” these included most predominately things like getting dismissed early from class to hang out in the halls or the gym, or before lunch going to lunch early. To keep your privileges you had to try for a point every week. I never participated in the program. First I was an idealist and thought grades were arbitrary and didn’t represent true learning. From my freshman year on I never looked at my report cards. Mom and Dad had a problem with this, but Mom finally reasoned that as long as my grades stayed high enough that State Farm gave us the good student discount she wasn’t going to push the issue. The second reason I didn’t bother with Goal Keepers was that I socially didn’t fit and didn’t see hanging out in the halls as a privilege, but rather an opportunity to feel awkward and invisible. At times I was the only student in the school not getting out of my classes early and most days the cafeteria staff knew that when they saw me they were done serving food for the day. So on that Thursday Miss Kassian let the Goal Keepers start their semester exam early. When I arrived in the classroom they were all taking the test. The term infuriating comes to mind. I was thankful to Mrs. Barker who let me hang out in her office after the period, until I could compose myself. To her credit, while Miss Kassien didn’t agree with me that letting Goal Keepers start the test early constituted an academic advantage that was not a proper privilege in the program, the next day she copied my answers down onto a fresh blank test and gave me ten minutes to go over it. She did however make a point of announcing to the whole class that ultimately I didn’t help my grade any with those ten minutes. I didn’t care, it was the principle that mattered.

Saturday was the Drayton Invitational Volleyball tournament and for the first time in the history of that tourney we stayed in the winning bracket all the way to the championship game. Then we lost to Thompson, ND and since it was a double elimination tournament, we played and lost to them again to take second in the tournament. After the game we headed to Grafton for a pizza party. It was the best we had ever done in a volleyball tournament. I didn’t get home until after 10pm only to find Auntie Norma and Colleen were there. They left Sunday afternoon just as all the cars were pulling into the church parking lot for the annual voters meeting. I spent the afternoon and evening in front of the TV.


lhg edited and approved

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Class of 1990 Week 17 plus Christmas break

Class of 1990 week 17 + Christmas break

The choir was recorded for a Christmas radio broadcast on Monday. In computer class we used a mouse for the first time. I had to stay at school until after the volleyball game that night. I had a Kit Kat for supper. We beat Valley in both the JV and the varsity.

It was a very cold week and Tuesday I left for school early in hopes of getting a good spot to plug in the car. That night mom and I made candy for me to share on Wednesday.

Wednesday was a typical useless day before break. There was exchanging of gifts and I wrote about how dull I found the school Christmas party to be. I mostly hung out in the library and then drew some giant faces on the chalk board in the Home-Ec room. That night the Advent service was canceled due to the extreme cold.

Christmas Break:

Sarah flew to Hong Kong and spent Christmas with Rebecca. That left just me with Mom and Dad at home. I spent a lot of my break playing solitaire, reading Robotech, doing jigsaw puzzles and watching TV including the Simpson’s Christmas special. (The first time the Simpsons ever were featured in their own show.)


From classmates
Jaci- barrette
Peggy—brush and bracelet
From Sunday school students
Kayla—Address book
Troy—tin of chocolate covered cherries
From Family
Mom and Dad—Pencil sharpener, cassette tape carrying case, a cleaning cassette, & Chocolate mints
Rebecca—a very bright pink sweater with all sorts of wild appliqu├ęs on it, A coin purse made out of a sea shell a barrette made with shells (she got them in the Philippians) and a blue and white vase and matching cat (the vase and cat are the only gifts that I still own—they survived the fire without damage.)
Sarah—a green sweatshirt that she decorated with a counted cross stitch panda holding balloons that spelled my name. Originally she had planned to work on it on the plane going to Hong Kong, but finals week at UND was so dull that she finished the gift before her break and I got my gift at Christmas.
Grandma—Sony walkman
Auntie Norma—a large dictionary

After church on Christmas Eve Mom and Dad and I used the smoked crystal glasses that Mom had gotten from her dad. We rarely used them as there were only four glasses, and five in the family. After the move back from Japan the glasses were unavailable to enlarge the set. That night I dropped my glass and it hit the side of a china plate and broke, so now there are only three of them.

Christmas church got cancelled due to weather, but it cleared up enough that we braved very icy roads and headed to Winnipeg. It was an unusual trip in that for the first and only time I spent it hanging out with my cousin Colleen. I rode along when she took Grandma home.
Boxing Day Auntie Norma hosted an open house. In the morning Colleen and I went shopping. She got jeans and a sweater that was almost as loud and crazy as the one Rebecca sent me. We also needed to find cinnamon for Auntie Norma and ended up finally finding some at the second 7-11 we stopped at. Grocery stores were closed for the holiday but most mall stores were open. Go figure.
The open house was attended by a lot of extended family of the Weitzel and Schaefer variety.
As I wrote in my journal
Q: how do you tell a Schaefer from a Weitzel?
A: Weitzels stand, talk, and eat; Schaefers sit quietly, and don’t touch the food.

We came back home on the 27th. The next day I went to Cavalier to see the dentist. Mom gave me permission to refuse the fluoride treatment—they always made me gag. Dr. Olson tried to give one to me, “What would your mother think?” he asked.
“She said I could say no.”
“All right, but if you get a cavity next time I’ll give you two!”

Bob gave our family the game Rummikub and I spent a lot of time playing it with mom. Occasionally we even got Dad to join us.

On the 31st there was a Lutheran Youth Fellowship Zone Rally at Turtle River State Park. It was a sledding party. I took one run down the hill and then went inside and watched people and hung out with my LYF friends.

I ended the year babysitting. It was not a fun gig, and when I got home I thanked my parents for disciplining me. I made $10 for watching three very poorly behaved kids & I promised myself to never spend New Year’s Eve babysitting again.