because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Happy Blogoversary to Me & Other Cool Stuff

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It’s that time of the month year again!

Last year’s blogoversary rocked because the magnificent Julie C. Gardner wrote me this guest post.

And that, friends, was tremendous.

Before we move forward, I feel compelled to report some statistics.

First, there are only 54 days until my son’s bar mitzvah.

Can I get an “amen” right now? 😉

Thanks, I can feel the love already!

As I enter my third year in the blogosphere, I thought I would let you know some of the cool statistics I get to track.

To date, I have:

Written 360 posts (This is 361.)

Received 194,757 comments.

{And your comments are like delicious chocolates.  I eat them up. Nom nom nom.}

The post that still gets the most hits on a daily basis: In Fear of Lice. Strangely, that bugger gets over 70 views each day. And I wrote it back in June 2010. Go figure.

Another wildly popular post is In Praise of the Pencil, proving that people have an irrational love for Ticonderoga pencils. That one was written in June 2011.

Anyway, we are celebrating all month at Teachers and Twits.

I have Friday guest posts from El Farris, David N. Walker, Iris Zimmerman & Ellie Ann Soderstrom — so be on the look out for those because they rock!

Plus I have some serious cyberswag for y’all.

Y’all know how we play my 100% bogus word game on the last Monday of the month based on my love of the book THE MEANING OF TINGO: AND OTHER EXTRAORDINARY WORDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD? Well, I wanted to give one of those books away. But wouldn’t you know it is out of print! Whaaaat? How dare they? Well, I ordered a “like new” copy, so I should have that to send to the person who wins May’s Made-It-Up Monday.

My friend, author Kasey Mathews, is offering a copy of her new release PREEMIE. I got to read her memoir before it was even in book form, and all I can say is that this is a wonderful read for anyone who has had a difficult delivery — but especially for people who have given birth to preemies or micro-preemies. People who read this book will want to squeeze their children. PREEMIE reminds us that every day really is a miracle.


Author Elena Aitken is offering a download of her newest book SUGAR CRASH. I read it while I was on vacation. It is a must-read for anyone whose life has been impacted by Juvenile Diabetes. You will love Taylor and her mom, Darci.

World famous author Tyler Tarver is offering a download of his newest release LETTERS TO FAMOUS PEOPLE. There isn’t much I can say about Tyler without his wife coming to git me. Dude is hot. Also, he is a math teacher. Oh, he makes great videos and comes up with some of the funniest similes, metaphors and analogies ever. I’m not sure he even knows he is doing it. I didn’t think math people could write the way Tyler does. Wow, I think might be mathist. But I guess the first step is admitting I have a problem. So I will. I can’t do math. Did I mention Tyler is hot?

I have a HOTDOG YOGA rollpack for one lucky yogi in the house. That bit of awesome-sauce comes courtesy of my friend in real life friend, C.F.O. and big blogger, Michael Hess of Skooba Design. (I like this video that shows Michael suffering making a video the best.)

And oh yes! I have all these old New Years 2012 cards pretty stationery upon which I will write super creepy personalized messages to 3 lucky winners.

But as always, with unconditional love, there are strings attached. 😉

You’ll see as we go along!

So get psyched, my fellow twits.

It’s kind of going to be like THE HUNGER GAMES — except not at all like that. I don’t think anyone is going to have to die. Probably.

All winners will be determined by Random Number Generator and announced on June 1 (at which time there will be 22 days until my son’s bar mitzvah).

I should probably start exercising or something.

But let’s start with a little teaser right now.

Would you like to receive a special something from me? I have a copy of THE WRITE BRAIN WORKBOOK which features 366 writing exercises to help you exercise your creative writing muscles. Interested?

For one entry, answer the following question:

If we were to get together for a blogoversary lunch, where would we go, and what do you recommend I order?

For two additional entries: Tweet this post.

For three additional entries, Facebook share this post.

For five additional entries, mention my blogoversary on your own blog!

Just be sure to link back to this page.

For 20 additional entries, send a text message to my iPhone.

Just kidding. Don’t do that.

That’s weird.

Tweet this Twit @rasjacobson

Ode to Werner Barth: Guest Post by Larry Hehn

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Larry Hehn

Larry Hehn is my special guest blogger today. He is the brains behind Christian in the Rough, and I feel honored to be the Jewish girl he lets hang around the joint. As Larry says, “I encourage people to find fun in the middle of dysfunction, action at the end of distraction, and grace at the end of disgrace.” Every time Larry posts something I learn something new. I really wish I knew him in real life. Feel free to Twitter-stalk him at @LarryHehn.

• • •

Ode to Werner Berth

Werner Barth was the best teacher I ever had. A wiry man with a spring in his step, a sparkle in his eye, a gravelly voice and a thick German accent, Barth had a tremendous effect on me. Strangely, it had nothing to do with the topic he was teaching.

Barth taught statics – defined in one dictionary as “The branch of physics that deals with physical systems in equilibrium, in which no bodies are in motion, and all forces are offset or counterbalanced by other forces.”

It was potentially one of the most boring subjects on earth.

But not with Barth as the teacher.

He loved to teach. And he loved his students.

He communicated ideas in ways that were fun and memorable.

One day, to illustrate the difference in direction between a positive bending moment and a negative bending moment, he stood on his chair and swung his hand up to his head. As he scratched his head, he said, “You can do this on the subway. That’s a positive bending moment.”

He then swung his hand down to his rear end. As he scratched, he said, “You can’t do this on the subway. That’s a negative bending moment.”

Twenty-five years later I still remember the difference.

What impressed me most, though, was his reaction when our entire class performed poorly on a test.

At that point he had been teaching for more than 25 years, longer than most of us in the class had been alive. But there was not an ounce of pride in Barth. At our next scheduled lesson, he pulled up a chair in the middle of the classroom, sat down and questioned us for an hour about how he could improve his teaching methods.

Even after years of learning, applying and teaching, he was still a student.

What I learned in that classroom had only a bit to do with statics, and a lot to do with a lifetime of learning, humility and working within your passion.

Sixteen years after leaving the program, I tracked him down and called him out of the blue to thank him. He remembered me. “Ah, Larry . . . skinny guy!” He remembered all of his students by name, and kept in touch with many of them.

He told me about his retirement 14 years earlier, his recent hiking trip, and how he had beaten colon cancer a few years ago. He spoke with a positive attitude and an appreciation for life that surpassed just about anyone I’ve ever known.

When I grow up, I want to be like him.

It has been eight years since that phone call. I’m sorry to say that I have again lost touch with Barth, but I know we’ll meet again. And when we do, I’m sure he’ll have a sparkle in his eye.

Can you recall a memorable lesson? Who was the teacher? What did he/she do?

• • •

If you have writing chops and are interested in submitting a piece for #TWITS: Teachers Who I Think Scored / Teachers Who I Think Sucked, write a specific memory about one teacher you had and explain how that person helped you (or really screwed things up for you), as well as the life lesson you took away from the interaction.

Essays should be around 700-800 words.

Interested but have questions? Email me!

My information is under the Contact Me tab.

NOTE: If you haven’t yet voted in the poll to determine which definition best fits for the word “castanurgle,” click HERE. The polls close on October 20, 2011 at 7 am EST.