*sigh* I Tried

It happened again.  It was important that I give it another go, just in case last year’s results were an anomaly.

But, alas, the Girl Scout Cookie Diet failed once again.


A Sampling of saneteachers’s Girl Scout Cookies


At least I tried.


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How I Lost $20 And Saved My Life

When I left work today I realized that I had to get gas or my car would run out before I got home.  I wasn’t being stupid about it, but I didn’t stop this morning because I knew I had time to do so after work.

My mind was racing because, well, that’s what it does.  My brain was filled with thoughts of the workday and a meeting about the school year for next year and then I was thinking about home and lesson plans and my blog and genealogy and, and, and…

I pulled into the gas station, ran inside and gave the guy working there “$20 for pump 10, please.”  Then I power walked back to my car, got back in and continued to drive home.

Have you noticed the step I forgot to take in my madcap pursuit of the afternoon?

About 10 minutes later I looked down and the yellow you-better-watch-out-because-you’re-going-to-have-an-empty-gas-tank-soon light was shining brightly up at me.


I never put the gas in my car.  I paid for it and then just left.  WHO DOES THAT??

I raced back praying that a miracle had occurred and that no one had pulled up to that particular pump.  But it showed a previous purchase of $86.02.  Obviously, $20 of that had been my $20.  But what kind of a vehicle holds that much gas?

I ran inside and explained what happened.  They felt sorry for me.  So I handed over the $15 I had left, walked slowly back to the car and with the precision and stealth of a jaguar, I put gas in my car.

Well my prayers were answered, but not in the way I expected.  I had prayed that no one had used my $20.  Then I tried to let go of the feeling that I was an idiot.  Everyone makes mistakes and it’s not like the shock of the century that I lost focus and forgot to do something.

On my way back home, there had been a 5-car crash.  An SUV was on it’s side, facing the wrong way.  Two different front wrap-around grills (that’s not what they’re really called but you know what I mean) were in the road.  Glass and stuff from the cars were strewn everywhere.

However, I was not strewn everywhere.

Had I not had to go back to the gas station I would have been in that very same spot at roughly the same time as the accident.  My prayer was answered, but in a different way.

Losing $20 possibly saved my life.

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I’m living my life in a fog

filled with despair.

Tears running down my face

eyes blurry

tissues at my side.


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Top 10 Reasons People Like Top 10 Lists

  1. Easy to read
  2. Easy to comment upon
  3. Easy to skip the uninteresting topics
  4. Easy to scan without being caught
  5. Easy to agree with
  6. Easy to disagree with
  7. Easy to enrage
  8. Easy to engage
  9. East to disengage
  10. Easy to rhyme  write

See?  That was easy.  🙂


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Sergio Garcia

Photo from Golf Digest

My favorite sport to watch on TV is golf.  A close second is football (American football). Third is bowling.  From talking to friends, or rather me talking while they look at me incredulously, I gather that’s an unusual grouping of sports.

But today I’m writing about golf.  I have been to golf tournaments and there is definitely a thrill in the experience and a chance to see pros up close.  But I prefer to watch on the television.  I can see various pairs almost simultaneously and I like the commentary.

I love to watch all the games from American tournaments to the European championships to the Senior tour (which isn’t called that anymore) to the LPGA tour.

My favorite golfer since 1999 has been Sergio Garcia.  I first noticed him winning an amateur competition and seeing that Seve Ballasteros took him under his wing.

Being honest, I have to admit that he had a big leg up in my mind and heart because he’s from Spain.  I’ve studied Spanish since 7th grade, visited Spain once, and then lived there for a time period in college.

I was a Seve Ballasteros fan since the mid-70’s and was devastated when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008 and died in 2011.  His influence and his death both had a huge effect on Sergio Garcia.

What was frustrating watching Sergio play, like stomach-in-my-throat heart-wrenching frustration was watching Sergio clutch in the Major Championships in the US.  Not so on the European Tour, but definitely in the big championships here.  He would be in the lead for days and then on the last 9 holes of the last day he would fall apart.

It didn’t seem to be stress and certainly wasn’t pressure from the fans; he had been competing professionally for a long time.

It was like he psyched himself out.

Sergio came in 2nd in the PGA Championship twice and the Open Championship twice, with one of those each a tie for 2nd.  He went from leader to drop down the leader board many times.  Justin Ray of the Golf Channel tweeted out on April 9th “Sergio Garcia: most career top-10s in majors all-time at time of 1st major victory (22)”  See, I’m just a little obsessed.

Last Sunday, April 9, 2017, Sergio Garcia was in the lead, then almost gave the game away, then won in a playoff against Justin Rose to win the 2017 Masters Championship. He now wears the coveted green jacket won twice by his hero Seve Ballesteros.  To make this particularly poignant, April 9th, had Seve still been alive, would have been his 60th birthday.

Sergio Garcia won the Masters this year in a nail-biting last 18 holes on Sunday.  He is over this self-imposed jinx and I feel he will win more majors from now on.

Sergio Garcia would still have been my hero had he not won this year.  But I feel this win will get him out of his self-imposed fear of not winning majors on the PGA Tour. And I will be cheering him on in each tournament and rejoicing his every win.

Congratulations, Sergio, from one of your biggest fans.



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What’s Up With The 12th Chromosome And My Maternal Haplogroup?

I am not a geneticist.  In this article I’m going to pose a couple of questions that are baffling and fascinating to me.  I realize that I can ensconce myself in a university library and learn all about it.  I’m humble enough to know that I’d need a ton of explanation by someone who knows what they are doing and still wouldn’t understand it all.  But then this post would be a scientific journal and you’d all be snoozing in about a minute.

Here’s a quick recap of my genealogy/DNA journey.  I’ve been working on my genealogy for a couple of years.  I found some really cool and some really horrifying results.

I actually apologized to a reader the other day because I’m related to Cotton Mather and her ancestor was someone burned at the stake in Salem, Massachusetts, 10 generations ago.  I actually felt GUILTY.  Even for me, that’s taking guilt to an extreme.

At any rate, I sent in my saliva to Ancestry DNA and then to the National Geographic Genographic Project, which seems to be much more specific that Ancestry.  And it shows migration patterns in great detail.  AncestryDNA appears to be copying that with their Genetic Communities.

Then I started using the GED Match Tool for Genealogy.  With this tool, one can upload the raw DNA data from any of the tests out there and it compares your DNA with others that have used this.  You can get results showing graphics (your matches on each chromosome which look like a bar code) and positions, meaning possible distance from a shared ancestor.  Most people matched to my DNA come up as 4th-5th cousins.  Has anyone else tried this yet?

My 1st cousin’s son just did his and he comes up as 2.5 generations.  Which is kind of accurate if you go back to our direct shared ancestor who is my grandfather and his great-grandfather.  We share a ton of chromosome matches.  Our chromosomes look almost like the same person.

So here are my burning questions.

1. What’s up with the 12th chromosome?

2. Why is my maternal haplogroup so odd?

When I look at the DNA results by chromosome from my possible relatives, while we share parts of more than one chromosome, we share more parts (that isn’t the right word) of the 12th chromosome in many cases.  What the heck is the 12th chromosome?

I’m hoping that’s the one that means you’re really cool.

As to the other question, I share a maternal haplogroup with only 0.6% of all people who have participated in this study.  I looked at that figure and said WOW THAT’S CRAZY AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS.

According to The Genographic Project “Modern humans started to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. They traveled in groups, taking different paths and arriving at different destinations. These journeys can be traced through DNA “markers” that form the human genetic tree. Based on these personal markers, each person alive today can be assigned to a specific haplogroup, which identifies their branch on the tree.”

Only 0.6% !!

I feel like my maternal ancestor from a kazillion years ago must have been lost for a while and then found her way back.  Or everyone died off in my branch except one exceptionally strong woman who wasn’t going to end our line no matter what.

I really want my son and daughters to take this test.  Women can only trace their maternal line because we don’t have the Y chromosome that men do, so our results don’t seem as accurate as men’s.  I should push my brothers to take the tests.  Siblings aren’t the same as we can have more traits of one ancestor than another, but the results would be fascinating.

So those are my burning questions.  What does the 12th chromosome represent and why is my maternal haplogroup percentage so small?

Not my normal questions for a sunny day on vacation.


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The Harry Potter Challenge/Reto Results

I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the winners of the English speakers cognate challenge.

Here are the cognates that I found, but some are more obvious than others:

  1. bilingüe = bilingual
  2. no= no   lol that shouldn’t even be listed
  3. segundo= second, but not everyone may have recognized that one
  4. blog, of course.  Unless there is another word for it in Spanish that I don’t know.
  5. consistentemente= consistently.  That might be too obscure.  An interesting grammatical tidbit, if you think grammar is interesting, is virtually every word in Spanish that ends in “-mente” is an adverb.  It’s like “-ly” in English.  So cool.
  6. errores= errors
  7. obligatorio = obligatory
  8. Completas= Complete
  9. experiencia= experience
  10. colegio refers to high school not college, in case anyone was wondering about that one
  11. estudiantes= students
  12. forma= form
  13. tortura= torture
  14. día= day

Side note:  Man, I’m getting bored typing all of these words.  A kazillion kudos to those of you who chose to participate.  I think of my blog as a conversation.  So in my head this would have gone faster.  

15. partes= parts

16. con entusiasmo= enthusiastically but you probably saw enthusiasm

17. I’ve given up trying to format this list properly.

18. maravilloso= marvelous

19. humanos normales= normal humans aka regular non-magic people like us

20. pronunciación= pronunciation

I give up.  Phew!  There are more in the titles, but I’m done.   I apologize for putting anyone through that.  I didn’t count words like “uno” which I think everyone knows is “one.”  And there are a couple of false cognates, meaning they appear to be the same in both languages but aren’t exactly.

a) primero= first, not primer, but those words are connected

b) mejor= better or best, not major.

OKAY – So first of all, THANK YOU for participating in this!  I truly didn’t think it would be so time-intensive.  My idea was for those of you who have no knowledge of Spanish to see if you could get the gist of the blog.

I’m giving FIRST PLACE to gingerbread76@wordpress.com. You weren’t 100% correct but you got a lot and really tried to decipher more.  I’m impressed!   Berthold Gambrel , you had a lot too, but you get SECOND PLACE because you used phrases and sentences and I didn’t want to have a parsing smack-down between you and Gingerbread76.  Paul , you made a humourous attempt and always make me laugh, so you get THIRD PLACE.  And you have to give me credit for bowing to your Canadian erroneous English and adding the “u” in humourous.  American Paul, you get FOURTH PLACE by participating, albeit sarcastically and humorously by recognizing “Harry Potter” haha.

HONORABLE MENTION goes to Aaron for reading my nonsense and being honest that he read it but wasn’t about to put up with the typing.  Aaron, I don’t blame you and I thank you.

SPECIAL CATEGORY goes to storyteaching for your outstanding list.  You win SPECIAL CATEGORY because you have good Spanish skills which gave you a leg up.  But I’m very impressed.

By the way, the gist was that I really liked the first Harry Potter book, which in every country except the United States was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.  In the US it’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I read at the time that the publishers felt that Americans weren’t savvy enough to be enticed by Philosopher’s but would understand Sorcerer’s.  So insulting.

Again, thanks to all of you.   I promise that the next one I write in Spanish won’t include homework for you guys. ❤

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Cuando Leí Harry Potter y La Piedra Filosofál

Soy casi-bilingüe.  Es la verdad.  Si necesito completar una aplicación, siempre escribo “bilingüe.”  Pero, no soy bilingüe.  Soy ingléshablante.  El español es mi segundo idioma.

For those of you who read this blog consistently and are staring at this page blankly because you don’t know Spanish, consider this a challenge.  How many words can you find that you can recognize because they are almost the same in English?!  As you may or may not know, they are called cognates.  Feel free to list them below.  Your prize is you get a shout-out in my next blog post.  No cheating.

Para la gente que lee este blog consistentemente, y habla español, también es un reto. Uds. pueden buscar mis errores.  Pero no es obligatorio decirme que los encontraron.

He leído Las Obras Completas de Gustavo Adolfo Béquer en español.  He leído obras de Cervantes en español.  Pero una experiencia nueva para mi era leer Harry Potter en español.

Cuando yo estaba enseñando español en el colegio en donde ahora enseño ESL, mis estudiantes tenían que aprender leer en español.  Pero, no lo querían.  Fue como una forma de tortura.

Hasta el día que compré Harry Potter y La Piedra Filosofál.  Es el primer libro en el serie de Harry Potter, y lo primero que leí yo.


Estaba en trance.  Empecé a las 3 de la tarde y terminé a las 4:30 en la mañana.  Sin dormir.

No sé si a mis estudiantes les gustaban leer algunas partes de este libro con entusiasmo como yo.   Para mi fue algo maravilloso.

¿Y la cosa más divertida?  La gente que son humanos ¨normales¨ se llaman ¨muggles.¨ Porque estaba leyéndolo en español, la pronunciación en mi mente fue en español. Como ¨múgles.¨ Ahora digo mugles en vez de muggles en inglés 50% del tiempo.

Mi amorío con los cuentos de Harry Potter empezó en español y terminó en inglés.  Lo mejor de los dos mundos.

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A Beautiful Start to April

At thezenhiker.com you will meet a friend-in-real-life of mine and enjoy his poetry, hiking posts and photos. This one is so fabulous that I had to reblog it here. Enjoy!

The Zen Hiker

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day.”

-Robert Frost


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When My Brother Was The Babysitter

At 14, 15, 16, my brother was a man to me.  Because I was 7,8 and 9 then.  He was my hero and my idol.  He teased me unmercifully and I followed him around the house like an annoying puppy.  I was particularly bothersome when he had a friend over and I could knock on his door over and over until he yelled at me.

We had this magically repeated event when Andy became THE BABYSITTER.

It has just this very minute occurred to me to wonder if he got paid to do this.  I hope so. He deserved it.

Even with the age difference, we liked to do some things together that probably made it less hellish for him.  We both read and he could probably push me into the other room with a book and I’d leave him alone for a while.

Parcheesi, photo from Board Games Rule

We both liked to play board games and cards, which were a staple in our home. My favorite was Parcheesi.  If he didn’t want to play with me I would have stuffed animals be the other 3 players and would take their turns for them, carefully keeping score on a notepad to see who would win.

One night, Andy was ignoring me completely.  I don’t remember what he was doing, but brat that I was I decided to get him in trouble.  Hmmm……what could I do, what could I do.

A hah!!  I thought of the perfect thing.  I would cut my hair.

This is what my hair looked like before I cut it.  Notice the Parcheesi game on top of the pile of games on the shelf next to me.

Barb knitting

Now picture this.  That’s my 7-year-old self with already shortish hair.  That night, the night-I-was-being-ignored, I went into the bathroom, gathered my hair on top of my head, and cut away.

When I looked in the mirror I knew for sure that he would be in sooooo much trouble.

I remember gleefully running up to him.  I probably stuck out my tongue.  He yelled at me.

What I hadn’t taken into consideration was what I would actually look like.  I never wanted to go to school again.  I got into trouble; he did not.

It took him two years to seek revenge, but he came up with a masterful idea.

I think I was 9 years old when the movie Psycho came out on TV.  Andy and I were sitting on our love seat in the den watching my first scary movie.  I was leaning forward mesmerized and terrified.  My brother had his arm resting behind me, with his hand in a claw-like position, waiting for me to lean back.

Psycho Photo by fanart.tv

We got to the shower scene and I threw myself backwards, right into my brother’s claw.  I screamed and then cried.  He got his revenge and probably felt a little guilty.  You never know with older brothers, though.  He was always awesome with me.  But teasing little sisters is in the DNA of older brothers.


My parents had a strict bedtime for me.  Like crazy strict.  When I was in high school I had to be in bed by 9:00.  In 12th grade it was 9:30.  I snuck out of the house on the weekends.

But in the days when my brother was babysitting me, it was a lot earlier.  He would have friends over which was a big no-no when he was in charge of me.  I wanted to hang out with them and not go to bed.  They wanted to drink beer.

So he came up with a full-proof plan.  I had to be in my nightgown with my covers turned down.  I could stay up until we heard my parents car coming in the driveway. Then I would race upstairs and jump into bed, pretending to be asleep.  My side of the bargain was that I wouldn’t rat him out.

My brother was the best babysitter ever.

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