Sing On!

This morning when I started working and signed on to my computer, I received a message that’s been making me crazy for over two years. I decided it’s time to repost a message I published my first month of blogging. I just need to vent!

From December 9, 2012

We’re in the midst of a singing on epidemic! I’m all for singing, and what better time of the year to sing than Christmas. Christmas carols, holiday songs, popular songs…sing! However, the sing on message has nothing to do with music or song.

Yesterday, a headline in the local paper read: Sings of Life at Rainbow Springs Visitor Center, an article about the rebuilding of the visitor center after a fire. The headline made three such references to sing instead of sign in a single day. Earlier, while reading information about adding the Evernote clipper function to my computer, the directions instructed readers to first sing on to the Evernote application, and the final example of the incorrect use of sing is the most embarrassing. Every day when working in my classes with Florida Virtual, the following message appears: Your session has timed out due to inactivy. Please sing in again.


What makes this one the worst is the fact that not only teachers, but our students receive this message when their session “times out”. And did you notice the word inactivity is also misspelled? It’s been that way since August (2012!). Wouldn’t you think someone at a virtual school would notice and change these glaring errors? What a bad impression it leaves! I hope my students don’t think I send that message.

So by all means, sing on! But if you’re writing, please check your spelling. Spell check can’t catch the use of the wrong word. Do you mean sing or sign? Sign on!


Beware of Parking Lot Wheel Stops!

You know those crazy concrete blocks placed in parking spots to prevent vehicles from parking on sidewalks, medians or other restricted areas? Well, beware! They can cause major damage to your car!

You don’t have to be one of those drivers who pull out and run over the concrete block and get the car stuck to damage your car. If you simply use the wheel block as a guide as to how far to pull up in a parking place, you can pay a big price on repairs. I know…I learned the hard way.

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When I detected a loud clicking noise coming from the right front of my car I took it in anticipating a problem with the tire so you can imagine my surprise when I was told there was over $1000 in damage to the undercarriage and bumper of my car most likely from a concrete wheel stop. The body shop employee said many newer model cars scrape these parking blocks causing expensive damage.

In some cases metal rods protrude from the concrete wheel stops and can easily damage the plastic protective undercarriage of the car. With the amount of damage to my car, that’s most likely what happened.

If you see my car in a parking lot, you’ll notice it’s not pulled up to the front of the space. I can’t afford any more car damage. Who needs a back up camera? I need a front end camera for parking!

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Take care of your car and beware of the parking lot wheel stops!



By the way, these concrete stops also cause injuries, especially broken wrists, to people who trip over them so watch your step as well.

And look what I found! Curb feelers! These can be purchased on Amazon for less than $10.

Soaring Since 1914


Yesterday, Eighth Street Elementary, the oldest continually used school in the state of Florida, celebrated its 100th year with a celebration including comments by the Superintendent of Marion County Schools, the Florida Commissioner of Education, a summary of the school’s history presented by students, and singing by past and present students.


The day can best be summarized by John’s closing comments:

The premier high school in the state in 1914. No electricity in the classrooms. A move from an over- crowded high school to a grammar and junior high school. Order kept with a mysterious electric paddle. New buildings constructed for the cost of today’s sports utility vehicle. Continued traditions such as the PTA/PTO, Bike Rodeo, and Spaghetti Dinner. A two million dollar renovation in 2000. History has been good to this building and the schools housed within its brick walls. This historic building has produced leaders such as Gov. Buddy MacKay and Lt. Gov. Jim Williams. It has served as a beacon for downtown Ocala.

Today we celebrate the centennial of this beautiful building, and we are looking ahead to the next 100 hundred years. I have asked students’ “What memories will you have to tell when you return for the Sesquitennial? How will schools change in the next 50 years?”

Our PTO’s mission is to use this celebration to Restore, Renew, and Revitalize our school. We want to keep our valued traditions in place. We want to continue to support initiatives such as supplying SMART classroom technology to all of the classrooms or installing a camera security system on the front doors of the school. Our PTO has set an aggressive plan to install a wrought iron fence with brick columns around this front lawn so our younger students can enjoy time under these stately trees without concerns of traffic or intruders. If this building has played an important role in your life, I encourage you to become involved with Eighth Street’s initiative to Restore, Renew, Revitalize our campus. You can donate financially to our efforts or volunteer your time and talents.


In closing, I am proud to serve as principal of Eighth Street Elementary and become part of its history. This building fosters a family atmosphere and a loyalty that is second to none. I am fortunate that my three daughters attended Eighth Street Elementary and have memories as solid as the brick walls of this school. Teachers and students have been teaching and learning here for 100 years. We will continue to SOAR.

IMG_1170_2What a great day for those who love this school to have the  opportunity to see former classmates and teachers and to reminisce about their years in this historic building.

A special thanks to David Steffey for sharing pictures of the celebration.

Green Cove Springs

While driving to Jacksonville to visit Sarah and Daniel, we passed a sign in Green Cove Springs pointing to the Spring Boil.IMG_7760 Well, of course, there’s a spring in Green Cove Springs. We found it, located across the street from City Hall.

The natural sulfer spring flows into the city pool. And I love the spring data on the sign indicating the depth of the spring, the water temperature and flow as well as an analysis of the minerals. How strange!

The water moves quickly through the public pool where it exits and travels a couple hundred yards to the St. John’s River.

I guess the goal of visiting 14 springs in 2014 was not ambitious enough. Springs Park makes number 17!

Blue Highway Bicycle

The term blue highway refers to the back roads on a road map, the kinds of roads made for bicycling. However, instead of riding on those blue highways, we took a leisurely bike ride through the neighborhood to downtown and then to Tuscawilla Park before riding to Blue Highway, a pizzeria, for dinner.

IMG_7889On a rare cool September evening, we sat outside on the porch and ordered the Micanopy Tossed Salad and the week’s pizza special…five cheeses, chicken, bacon…delicious!

This wasn’t a first trip to Blue Highway, but it was by far the best. Good food paired with a bike ride makes for a relaxing way to spend an evening after work. With the cooler fall weather around the corner, we may be frequent visitors to the porch at Blue Highway.

TBT Lesson #19

When the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame opened, my parents wanted to take their grandchildren to the event since many baseball hall of famers would be in attendance and signing autographs on that day. There was only one problem, the grand opening occurred on a school day. They asked if we would allow Meghan and Emily to miss a day of school to go to the event.

It was an easy decision. Yes, they could go! This was a great opportunity for the girls to spend the day with their grandparents and cousins and create some memories. They still tell stories about their trip to the Hitters Hall of Fame, their negative experience with Willie Mays, and the good ones with Brooks Robinson and Bob Feller, and of course, they still have their autographed baseballs.

Fortunately, their teachers also recognized the importance of this type of experience because they enjoyed the absence note I sent to school the following day asking that they be excused from school due to a case of baseball fever.

Meghan with Brooks Robinson

TBT Lesson #19: School’s important, but it’s not the most important thing.


Centennial Celebration

Eighth Street Elementary School, the oldest continually used school in the state of Florida, celebrates its 100th year on Saturday, September 27th.

For nine years from 1992-2001, our daughters were students at Eighth Street and for 15 years we had one or more nephews at the school. Then John joined the Eighth Street tradition not only as a parent, but as the principal of the school.

The celebration will begin outside on the patio decorated with bricks recognizing those who have been touched by the school.

IMG_7863Students from throughout the school’s history

as well as teachers are recognized on the patio.

In addition, businesses, service organizations, and business leaders are named on the bricks.

Classmates and friends can be found on the patio.

It’s time to celebrate, see alumni, teachers, and friends, and rub elbows with Marion County’s Principal of the Year, the Superintendent of Marion County schools, and the Florida Commissioner of Education.

Then we’ll need to add our own bricks so we can be part of the Eighth Street Elementary’s history.

12 Down; 2 To Go

My love of ferries resulted in the addition of a ferry ride to the list of 14 in 14.

When I realized that there was not only a ferry I hadn’t ridden in the state of Florida, but that it’s located in Marion County, I insisted that riding the Fort Gates Ferry was a must.

On our return from Jacksonville we took CR 308 in Putnam County to the Gateway Fish Camp where we boarded the two car ferry powered by a tug boat mounted to the side. The ferry operator collected the $10 fare, guided us on the boat, blocked the wheels of the vehicle, and then we were off.

A ferry has crossed the half mile stretch across the St. John’s River for some hundred fifty two years, and I’m not sure the boat used isn’t the same one in use for the first crossing.

After the short ride across this wild portion of the St. John’s, we disembarked on the west bank of the river and continued on our way home following the bone jarring seven mile dirt Forest Roads 62 and 29,part of the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway, to US 19 in Salt Springs.

Looking for a chance to step back in time? Then you may want to consider taking a trip on the Fort Gates Ferry.


Slow Down and Move Over

I’m sure you’ve heard of Florida’s Move Over law that requires drivers to vacate the lane closest to an emergency vehicle, law enforcement vehicle, or tow truck when driving on the Interstate. And I’m confident that you know you are to slow down when approaching construction zones on our highways. But did you know that the Move Over law applies to sanitation and utility vehicles as well?

I didn’t until a friend told me she’d been pulled over for passing a garbage truck on Ft. King Street. She approached the truck decided she could safely pass since there was a lane available to the left of the truck in which she could drive. You can imagine her surprise when blue lights started flashing behind.

Truly confused, she asked what she’d done, to which the officer told her she’d violated the Move Over law. He went on to explain that drivers are required to reduce their speed by 20mph when passing a sanitation truck performing sanitation tasks. He then challenged her to think about how scary it would be to have traffic blow past while working on the side of the road.

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After admitting that she was unaware of the law, she explained her thought process as she passed the garbage truck, hoping to convince the officer she did carefully assess the situation prior to passing.

Fortunately, the officer used the opportunity to educate instead of writing a ticket and my friend’s spreading the word so others know of the requirements of the Move Over legislation. So, in addition to moving over on the Interstate, slow down when passing vehicles on city and neighborhood streets as well.

From Florida Statute 316.126Operation of vehicles and actions of pedestrians on approach of an authorized emergency, sanitation, or utility service vehicle.

If an authorized emergency vehicle displaying any visual signals is parked on the roadside, a sanitation vehicle is performing a task related to the provision of sanitation services on the roadside, a utility service vehicle is performing a task related to the provision of utility services on the roadside, or a wrecker displaying amber rotating or flashing lights is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside, the driver of every other vehicle, as soon as it is safe:

1. Shall vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, or wrecker when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, or wrecker, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. If such movement cannot be safely accomplished, the driver shall reduce speed as provided in subparagraph 2.
2. Shall slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, when driving on a two-lane road, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
Please, slow down and move over…not only to avoid a ticket, but for the safety of others.


Pray for Peace

The International Day of Peace is celebrated yearly on September 21st and numerous organizations, individuals, and churches are organizing events, with this year’s focus, praying for peace in the Middle East.
In Central Park people will gather to hug, dance, plant flowers, and make pinwheels; and in Washington Square Park instead of individuals posting “selfies”, they are planning on taking a “groupie” at 2:00.
People have been striving for peace since the beginning of time so let’s look to the words of some of the greatest minds for inspiration.
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. ~Albert Einstein
An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. ~Mahatma Gandhi
Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
~ Albert Schweitzer
When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. ~Jimi Hendrix
Peace begins with a smile. ~Mother Teresa
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. ~Psalm 34:14

World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion. ~Dalai Lama XIV

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. ~Buddha
Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time. ~Lyndon B. Johnson
Peace is the only battle worth waging. ~Albert Camus
While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart. ~Francis of Assisi