Thursday, November 30, 2006

Karaoki and Other Disasters

This weeeeeek will go down in the history of my life as one of the longest on record. Disaster precipated disaster. I have never been given so many new tasks with so little direction in such a small amount of time. Monday I was given paperwork at 8 o'clock in the morning which needed to be returned by noon -- and I had to figure out how to complete it while teaching. Tuesday and Wednesday, for my afterschool tutoring group, I was handed incomplete lesson plans and few of the necessary supplies. After every tutoring session I am required to post online, but my password wasn't agreeing with the program. Midweek the principal came to ask how the new writing program was going -- and all of the 5th grade teachers (myself included) were surprised to hear there was one ... On top of all that, I was asked to direct an event for 175 kids -- Karaoke. Noise. Mayhem. Madness. And around 230 kids arrived. We scrambled to find snacks for all the extra kids -- my car trunk was opened and all the Sunday School snacks poured forth (hmmm, I wonder if I could get in trouble for feeding them "church" food?) and kindergarten opened their larder. The more difficult problems to solve were the two karaoke machines, one room, 200+ kids, and no microphones .... Still, a good time was had by all. The teachers at my school are awesome. We all looked around, took stock of what we did have, and made a party happen. I have to tell you, you haven't lived until you've sung, Hakuna Mata, and then done the Hookey-Pokey with a couple hundred assorted kids.

There IS a Lock on the Door

Our school staffs about 68 people. Eleven of them are men. The men and women have the exact same amount of bathrooms on our campus. Some of the women grumble that it makes no sense. Others of us take a different course. There are two single stall bathrooms in the teacher's lounge -- the one building on the campus everybody uses. One bathroom door is marked, "Women's." One bathroom door is marked "Men's." Those words don't mean a dang thing to a good many females on staff. If the door is unlocked, and one of us has to go, we march right in. The secretary really should tell the male substitute teachers that when they are given orientation. "Oh, by the way, if you like privacy in the bathroom, you'd best lock the door behind you." I met one of those subs today. I believe in the future he will lock the bathroom door.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Start Thinking

My car door was tagged. The mark was on the passenger side, so I may not have spotted it right away. It was made with a brown marker -- probably a Sharpie. It was the sign of a local gang. The discovery left me feeling doubly violated -- someone vandalized my property, but more than that, they violated my security. I am Teacher; Maestra; Miss. I am the one person, when our pod was broken into two years ago, whose room remained pristine. The vandals trashed all three of the other rooms, spray painting the walls, breaking furniture, destroying books -- and in my room they took the VCR, the TV, and every pen and pencil in my desk, but they destroyed nothing. They left a note on my white board that read, "You were cool." A few years back the teachers all walked out of their classrooms at the end of the day to discover their tires had been slashed. My car was among the few untouched. I am liked and respected in the neighborhood. I am known as fair, honest and kind. Knowing I was respected left me feeling immune. And then I discovered the tagging on my car. I said something to my students. Richard piped up, "That's good teacher. The gang, they like you. You are under their protection." I said, "That's bad, Richard. That mark on my car could get me killed. When you put on one gang's colors, you put on a target the members of every other gang wants to shoot." All the kids immediately looked at each other and started murmuring. One of them said, "I never thought of that." My response: "Start thinking." _____ To those who love me: the car door has been cleaned.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jake's Mistake

Jake just couldn't keep it together. He got in a fight in reading class (name calling, eraser throwing) and received a citation. He repeated the performance during writng period and received yet another citation - and lunch detention from me. At lunch time Jake informed me that he had also gotten in trouble in P.E. and he'd been given detention there. He said if he didn't show up, Mr. T. would make him serve an extra day. I told him to go serve his detention with Mr. T. Mr. T. and I both have lunch at the same time. Imagine our surprise as we looked across the table at each other in the teacher's lounge, each of us wondering aloud where Jake was. Jake was, of course, at recess, having told me he was with Mr. T., and having told Mr. T., he was with me. After lunch I confronted Jake with his deception, and an aditional two days detention. Was he contrite? No. He was disgusted. "How was I supposed to know you guys talk to each other?"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mixed Results

Why is it that, even though I buy the same dang box, same dang brand, same dang number, I get a different hair color every time? Not only that, but Jaime says, "Oh, you've lightened your hair." And not ten minutes later Joe says, "Your hair's darker. It looks nice." Precious ten year-old Brandi was the kicker though. She scrunched up her nose, looked at me and said, "What happened to your hair?" "Happened?" I questioned. She shrugged her shoulders and grinned. "Oh well, Ms. Charlene, I love you anyway." And then she left me with a gooey tootsie pop kiss on my cheek. Lovely. I feel so much better now.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


The Saturday after Thanksgiving we always have a talent show at Sidewalk Sunday School. The kids show off for each other and we feed them Pizza and soda. The only way you can have an 11 a.m. delivery of seven large pizzas is if you place the order the night before. The thing is, I've been a little distracted lately and my mind skips off all by itself. I'm finding this rather disconcerting. For as long as I can remember, as I'm drifting to sleep I review the day I just had, and preview the one coming up. Friday night just as I was on the edge of sleep, Connie Conscience, that little voice in my head said, "So, did you order the pizza?" "Nope," I mumbled. "Say that again?" "Not. Going. To." "Right." Her voice dripped sarcasm. "Get up!" "Make me." "Thirty kids are all going to be standing there holding empty plates and staring at you." "Crap! Why'd you have to go and plant that vision in my head?" "That's it. Turn on the light. I knew you'd do the right thing." ___ Saturday morning when I woke I was relieved that Connie had made me order the pizza. Facing the children without it would have been horrible. The pop I'd purchased the day before, and it was already in the trunk of the car. I just needed to stop by the store for ice, and the church to get the kid's prizes -- harmonicas -- and all would be set. I got in the car and started driving. The next thing I knew, I was at a red light about two miles beyond both the church and the store. "Lovely. Turn around and go back, Idiot. And this time pay attention!" I got my supplies and made it to Sidewalk safely. We were setting up and Brandon, holding the pop and ice, said: "Where's the cooler?" Cooler? Milli said, "Do we have paper plates and napkins for the pizza?" "Hello?" I picked up my car keys and walked away, assuring them over my shoulder, "I'll be right back." ___ If any of you have an extra attention span I would very much like to borrow one. "She'll probably just misplace it, too."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Sounds of Silence

When I was very young I sat at the feet of one of my father's friends and I listened to him tell adventures of his life lived around the world. That day I said a prayer. I asked God to give me an adventure-filled life, and make me an awesome storyteller. I have since learned that one needs to be very careful when framing petitions to the Almighty. I bring you yet another scene from my childhood:

I was a clumsy teenager. In fact, I've pretty much been clumsy all of my life, but there was a short period in my teens when I was truly a walking disaster. My accidents became so routine people began reacting to them as if they weren't extraordinary.
To finish reading please visit: The Grownups Wanted Us Dead Oh! And before anybody asks: No, I don't smoke anymore and I haven't in ages.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Still Thankful

Last fall I was in desperate need of a new wardrobe, so I took a summer job at an upscale women's clothing store, and traded my paychecks for clothes. Despite teaching full-time and my extra-curricular job as the school's writing coordinator, I kept the part-time job through Christmas. Even with my 40% discount, the clothes I bought were spendy. I wanted quality wear that would last awhile. Well, the other day I put my favorite skirt on and the elastic was shot. The thing spun about my waist and drooped very unattractively. I spent most of the day holding it on with one hand and simmering about how little wear I'd gotten from it. Just this past August, I'd started going to the gym. I went every single morning until school started and then things got hit and miss, mostly miss. They said I needed to go three times per week for successful weight loss, but between my church commitments and two jobs, I was lucky to make one night a week. I deliberately skipped weigh-in nights because I didn't want to be handed a slip highlighting my failure. Even though I wasn't going to the gym, I did stop eating at fast food places and take care with what foods I brought into my home. I've replaced my beloved Pepsi with water. When my students aren't looking I either giveaway or throw away the candy they bring me. November 13th I made a promise to myself that no matter what I had to give up, I would make it to the gym three nights per week, and that when the December 1st weigh in came around I wouldn't miss it. That's partially why you've seen so little of me lately on your blogs. November 21st I walked into the gym and it was empty. I should have walked out. What was I thinking staying there alone with all those employees who had nothing better to do then look at my stats and discover that I hadn't been weighed or measured in 113 days? The next thing I knew I was hustled onto the scales, wrapped up in tape measures and squeezing body fat indicators. And sure enough when all was finished they handed me a computer print out. My stats: total pounds lost: 8.5 total inches lost: 6.5 I guess it wasn't the elastic in my skirt after all ... Now, if I can do that without half trying, what might happen if I put some effort into it?

Thursday, November 23, 2006


This is my 47th Thanksgiving: here are 47 things I am thankful for -- mostly in no particular order: 1.) my grandmother 2.) Caryl 3.) Jackie 4.) Jean 5.) Harold 6.) assorted nieces and nephews 7.) God/Jesus 8.) my students 9.) laughter 10.) clothing 11.) Betty 12.) my church family 13.) Sidewalk Sunday School 14.) food at hand 15.) green grass 16.) hot showers 17.) my car 18.) my health 19.) my independence 20.) my cats 21.) my sense of humor 22.) Tina 23.) spring 24.) Eder 25.) LuzMarina 26.) Jamie P. 27.) Jaime A. 28.) chocolate! 29.) hot tea 30.) Brandi Jo 31.) the gym 32.) my washing machine (someday I hope to be thankful for a dryer, too) 33.) Pepsi 34.) words 35.) lepidoptera 36.) Ilona 37.) sunshine 38.) sunrise 39.) sunset 40.) silence 41.) good books 42.) DSL 43.) gym 44.) hope 45.) my blogs 46.) your blogs 47.) And each and every one of YOU! myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dr. John

I was asked to participate in a roast for Dr. John. To tell the truth I don't really know how to proceed. How does one roast such an incredibly nice man? What could I possibly say to poke fun at such an upstanding citizen of not just one community, but three? To the people of Crystal Falls he is their beloved Pastor, now retired, but ever an inspiration and a part of their past, present and future, whether he is there in person or not. To the people of Pigeon Falls he is Dr. Fortress, the bringer of the railroad and giver of life. To those of us who live with him here on the net he is inspiration and encouragement. He is also a pastor and a friend. Society might label him retired, but he has never stopped serving God. Now how could I possibly make fun of that? I mean, so what if he believes in dragons and talking white rabbits? So what if he confuses mailing labels and sends packages to the wrong places? So what if he lives in a make believe town, terrorizes phone solicitors, and adopts dogs for other people? Does that make him odd? Well, yes. But is that any reason to make fun of him?

Is This Wednesday?

Someone has played havoc with my "pay-attention" and I am horribly out of sync. I don't really want to be cured, so don't try to help me. Just the same, slient or not -- here's your silly Wednesday pic ....

Baby Steps

Testing again today -- we started the monthly Math Benchmarks. Mona raised her hand. I have been working with her one-on-one in math and the other day she had a break-through in understanding the relationship between multiplication and division. Still, tests are hard for her and they sap her confidence, so my heart sank as I walked toward her, fearing she would ask a question that test protocol would demand I not answer. As I stopped beside her she looked up at me with a beautiful smile on her face. "I think I get it," she said. I looked down at her paper and she had the first three problems finished and correct. I started to grin, too. "You do get it," I said. "These are right!" She didn't do as well on the geometry and measurement section, and she knew it, but she glowed all the way through the rest of the test anyway -- small steps forward.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Healthy Snacks

Monday we had a "party" in my classroom. I do it after every round of parent-teacher conferences. In my neighborhood by the time students reach 5th grade, their parents stop showing up for school events. Persuasion is needed to get them there. I usually persuade the students to drag their parents in by offering soda pop and a pizza party. The thing is, new nutrition guidelines forbid both -- and the foods they do offer don't very well lend themselves to a kid's party. For instance, we are encouraged to reward hard work with carrot sticks. (Can't you just see kids jumping through hoops for those?) Well, that's what I served. Carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cheese and baked Triscuits. I had little bowls of low fat Ranch Dressing, and a low-sugar, high vitamin C fruit drink. The students arrived at the table with their little plates and napkins and they all ah-ed in amazement. Jasmine breathed, "Just like grown-ups!" And they proceded to eat like locust. I enjoyed the comments: Rico said, "I'm not eating that white stuff (cauliflower)." Moe replied, "It's not bad." Nessa said, "This green stuff (broccoli) is really good." C.C. answered, "Nothing green is ever good." But my very most favorite comment of all came as we were cleaning up: Cyndi said, "Next time can we have more celery? That was the best part." Of course, Cyndi also asks for homework.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Compassion Limited

For your laughing pleasure, another glimpse at the trials and tribulations of my teen years:

"Come quick." "Lenny's hurt." "... fell off the slide." "... poked a stick in his eye."
For the rest of the story, pop over to: The Grownups Wanted Us Dead.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Today you must live without me. It is okay. You will be fine. I promise. Your regularly scheduled programming will return tomorrow.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Back in the Olden Days ...

Once upon a time, when schools were much less regimented than they are now, folks entering my 5th grade classroom often found themselves momentarily confused -- apparently, to hear it described, the phenomenon was rather like one of those dreams where you open the door to one place, yet enter another. It was the beginning of a brand new year and I was introducing the students to their new math books. The door opened and the principal walked in. It was my second year working for him and I was used to him often wandering through the classrooms, so I just kept teaching. He paused at the bird cage and greeted the parakeets. He stopped briefly at all three hamster cages, and all three fish tanks. He hunkered down at both aquariums. The trantula he took in stride, but when Iggy, the iguana, spit at him he backed up just a bit. At that point he had made a full circut and was back at the door. He paused to look at me, so I paused to look at him. Straight-faced, he drawled, "I find myself wondering: will this be a fifth grade classroom, or Ms. A's petting zoo?" Completely deadpan I answered, "Yes." As he turned to leave the room I saw a smile.

Busy Weekend Meme

Wanna play? It's simple. Copy, paste and if you've done it, bold it. Here are just a few of the things I have done in my life -- proof I am actually quite boring: 01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink 02. Swam with wild dolphins (ok, they were in captivity, but it was cool...) 03. Climbed a mountain (I've hiked a few ...) 04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive 05. Been inside the Great Pyramid 06. Held a tarantula 07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone 08. Said "I love you" and meant it 09. Hugged a tree 10. Bungee jumped 11. Visited Paris 12. Watched a lightning storm at sea 13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise 14. Seen the Northern Lights 15. Gone to a huge sports game (Does NASCAR count?) 16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa 17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables 18. Touched an iceberg 19. Slept under the stars 20. Changed a baby's diaper 21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon 22. Watched a meteor shower 23. Gotten drunk on champagne 24. Given more than you can afford to charity 25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope 26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment 27. Had a food fight 28. Bet on a winning horse 29. Asked out a stranger 30. Had a snowball fight 31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can 32. Held a lamb 33. Seen a total eclipse 34. Ridden a roller coaster 35. Hit a home run 36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking 37. Adopted an accent for an entire day 38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment 39. Had two hard drives for your computer 40. Visited all 50 states (close, but not quite) 41. Taken care of someone who was drunk 42. Had amazing friends 43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country 44. Watched wild whales 45. Stolen a sign (Gram made me put it back.) 46. Backpacked in Europe 47. Taken a road-trip 48. Gone rock climbing 49. Midnight walk on the beach 50. Gone sky diving 51. Visited Ireland 52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love 53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them 54. Visited Japan 55. Milked a cow 56. Alphabetized your CDs 57. Pretended to be a superhero 58. Sung karaoke 59. Lounged around in bed all day 60. Played touch football 61. Gone scuba diving 62. Kissed in the rain 63. Played in the mud 64. Played in the rain 65. Gone to a drive-in theater 66. Visited the Great Wall of China 67. Started a business 68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken 69. Toured ancient sites 70. Taken a martial arts class 71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight 72. Gotten married 73. Been in a movie 74. Crashed a party 75. Gotten divorced 76. Gone without food for 5 days 77. Made cookies from scratch 78. Won first prize in a costume contest 79. Ridden a gondola in Venice 80. Gotten a tattoo 81. Rafted the Snake River (I've swam in it and fished in it, but no raft.) 82. Been on television news programs as an "expert" 83. Got flowers for no reason 84. Performed on stage 85. Been to Las Vegas 86. Recorded music 87. Eaten shark 88. Kissed on the first date 89. Gone to Thailand 90. Bought a house 91. Been in a combat zone 92. Buried one/both of your parents 93. Been on a cruise ship 94. Spoken more than one language fluently 95. Performed in Rocky Horror 96. Raised children 97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour 99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country 100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over 101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge 102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking 103. Had plastic surgery 104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived 105. Wrote articles for a large publication 106. Lost over 100 pounds 107. Held someone while they were having a flashback 108. Piloted an airplane 109. Touched a stingray 110. Broken someone's heart 111. Helped an animal give birth 112. Won money on a T.V. game show 113. Broken a bone 114. Gone on an African photo safari 115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears 116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (all three) 117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild 118. Ridden a horse 119. Had major surgery 120. Had a snake as a pet 121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon 122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours 123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states 124. Visited all 7 continents 125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days 126. Eaten kangaroo meat 127. Eaten sushi 128. Had your picture in the newspaper 129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about 130. Gone back to school 131. Parasailed 132. Touched a cockroach 133. Eaten fried green tomatoes 134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey 135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read 136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating 137. Skipped all your school reunions 138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language 139. Been elected to public office 140. Written your own computer language 141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream 142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care 143. Built your own PC from parts 144. **Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you (Does writing count as art work? If yes, then: Yes!) 145. Had a booth at a street fair 146. Dyed your hair 147. Been a DJ 148. Shaved your head 149. Caused a car accident 150. Saved someone's life If you've not done so yet, visit Belle of the Brawl and Vote for me in the caption poll in the right hand sidebar! Please be polite and say "hi" to Sar, too, while you're there.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Accidently Hilarious

My students had a very huge amount of work to get done in a very short time. Because of this they were writing furiously and quietly for almost 40 minutes. They were all hunched over their desks making no noise save pencil scratching and an occassional sniffle. I decided they needed a break (or I was just bored myself by the silence and inactivity). I walked into the middle of the room and suggested that everybody put their pencils down and stand up. Then I told them to shake their hands -- and demonstrated. Next I told them to wiggle their rears -- and demonstrated. I ordered them to stretch -- and demonstrated. Then I told them to kick their legs high. I demonstrated that, too. And as I demonstrated I felt a pretty solid "thump" right on the seat of my pants. The room was immediately silent. I slowly turned to look at the half-dozen kids behind me. All six of them were staring wide-eyed. One of them had her hands pressed to her glowing red face. I looked right at her. "Nessa, who kicked me?" I asked. She giggled behind her hands and backed away from me. "It was you, wasn't it?" I prompted. She tried valiantly to say, "Yes, Miss," and "I'm sorry," while clutching her stomach and laughing, so it didn't come out sounding terribly sincere. "Hmmm," I said, "This might require a citation home. In a stern "announcerish" voice I said, Dear Mr. & Mrs. Nessa's parents, your daughter kicked me in the rear today." At this point the whole class -- including me -- lost it. We roared laughing. As we settled down and were gasping for breath the communicating door between my room and the next-door teacher's opened. He stuck his head in the classroom and, in his cute Texas drawl, said, "Hey, ya'll better settle down over here or I'll have to wup some butt..." Of course we fell out laughing again. Poor Mr. Texas waved his hands on the air and said, "Ya'll are nuts!" It was another 5 minutes before we could manage to get back on task. _______________ Now that you've been entertained, please indulge me for a moment: Go to Belle of the Brawl and vote for me in the caption contest NOW! You will find the ballot in the right sidebar. Please, do not read the competition. Just vote for Quilly!

A Rare Moment

For a few moments today I actually had the joy of feeling like a teacher. I was working one-on-one with Mona on an introduction to division lesson. Mona has severe math anxiety and it interfers with her learning. Today my slow careful patience with her paid off. I got to see her eyes brighten when the light bulb came on -- and that's what I went into teaching for. Those light bulbs don't light like they used to. Kids have less and less time to spend on hands on learning. These days everything is pretty much, "repeat after me." If you want to hear what else I have to say on this topic, visit my guest post at Belle of the Brawl. I am Sar's Thursday Guest.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Matter of Stress

More work, but not more time. Higher expectations, no appreciation. New curriculum, no training. Memos today detailing work to be finished yesterday. I wake every morning with a headache and a sore jaw from grinding my teeth in my sleep. It's all about scores, not kids. Less and less I am a teacher. More and more I am a task master.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Past Highlights

I always thought these things were made up until I received a few myself. An excerpt from a child's paper (1997): Martin Luther King was a great man. He believed everybody should be treated the same even if they were different colors and religions. Some people didn't like Rev. King's ideas. One of them shot him in the head and he died. Rev. King is still dead today.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Generous to a Fault

We're out of Kleenex in my classroom. This is allergy season. My nose is running like a faucet, and the Kleenex box is empty. The Kleenex is mine. I bought it. It sits on my desk -- but I am not the one who used a whole box in just a couple of days. In fact I was quite shocked to visit the newly opened box and find it empty. I picked up the empty box, turned to the class and said, "My Kleenex are gone. I just bought this box and it shouldn't be empty yet. I need to blow my nose. Since you guys used all my Kleenex I think it's only fair if you all give me something to blow my nose with." I turned to the child closest to me - it was Ike. I said, "I have to blow. Give me your sleeve." He extended his arm, holding the cuff of his long sleeved-shirt in his fingers and stretching the sleeve taut. "Okay," he said. "Just don't use the side I do."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'll Be Quiet Now

When I was a teenager I had a cyst on my vocal cords and though the cyst is long gone my voice was left all husky, smoky and low. It's not so apparent in real life, but something about phone technology enhances those qualities. At least it used to -- I hadn't had anyone mention it in years. When I was young and worked in Spokane, Washington in a bowling alley, it was my job to call the league members and remind them of their bowling night. Because of my voice, my phone calls were very popular with the men and quite detested by the woman. I actually had men come to the back office to meet me, and women come to the back office to threaten me for calling their men. The men always left disappointed. The women always left relieved. They were anticipating Marilyn Monroe and found Jane Average. Last week I was asked to make phone calls for the church and get RSVP's for our luncheon this afternoon. Without a thought, I left many messages on many answering machines. Today as I was helping clear the tables after the dinner one of the men said to me, "I really liked your phone message. I don't suppose I could get you to call me again sometime?" I looked up at his wife in shock. She nodded her head and said, "He played it at least four times before I erased it." Okay then. I want off the phone committee.

Lord Flufferson

He who was was formerly known as King of the Coffee Table has become Ruler of The Computer Desk (which resides in my kitchen). Yesterday he was quite disgruntled that his sister's face appeared before him so often. He requested equal billing. Flufferson also wanted me to tell you that he encouraged me with hugs and kisses, not death threats.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Christmas, my cat, tried to kill me this morning. I was in my bed sleeping oh-so- peacefully when -- Pft! -- My medical equipment shut off. Fortunately, when I stopped breathing my brain went on alert and insisted I wake now, so I woke. My first inclination was to grab the cat and kill her. Before that could happen the clock distracted me. I'd overslept by almost 45 minutes! Yikes! That meant I had time to get ready and leave, but I did not have time to come to blogland and play with you. I am sorry if you missed me, but I am here now. As for Chrissy, I've decided she is the most brilliant kitty in the world to know that her momma was going to be late if she slept just one minute longer. And she did pick the most effective (non-painful) way to wake me completely in the least amount of time. Therefore, I am waiving the attempted murder charges -- but I am not expunging them from her records, just in case ...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Money $pa

I spent about 3 hours this evening at a beauty spa. I was hor d'ouvered, champaigned, pedicured, manicured, massaged, aroma therapied and cosmetically enhanced -- and it didn't cost a dime. Open house at the beauty spa: held so the "have nots" can get a glimpse into the world of the "haves." I don't know if it is my backwoods Idaho upbringing, my teacher's salary, just plain common sense, or just plain jealousy, but I walked out of that place wondering why folks are willing to pay big buck$ for some of that stuff. With the exception of the massages, the greatest difference I saw between the services at the beauty spa and the services at my regular beauty salon were the prices. A $55.00 manicure doesn't last any longer than a $25.00 manicure. A $60.00 pedicure doesn't last any longer than a $30.00 pedicure. An $80.00 dollar haircut needs to be trimmed in the same amount of time a $30.00 cut needs trimming -- and it doesn't look any different, either. So what's the big deal? Somebody who finds it necessary to say, "I just paid $80.00 for this haircut," doesn't make me think, "Damn, you're lucky." They make me think I wish I'd have seen them coming when they still had some of that money. Granted, champaigne and the salmon mousse can't be found in my low rate beauty shop, but when I want champaigne and salmon mousse I generally go to a restaurant, not to a place where loose bits of hair hoover in the air. I am glad I made my visit to the beauty spa. Now I know what I'm not missing ... though I really did enjoy that massage.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lost in Translation

I teach second language learners. We are having half days this week. School in the morning, and report cards and parent-teacher conferences in the afternoon. The combination of freedom and stress is a bit distracting to the students. This can lead to unusual language confusions. The whole school assembles on the playground every morning, weather permitting, and we all salute the flag together. Then we move to our seperate classes in an orderly manner. Fifth graders -- being the eldest kids -- are last to file off the playground. My class is usually last, period. That is because mine is the closest room and if we left before the others they would have a traffic jam in the hall as we paused to enter our room. Anyway: the playground was empty save my class. The Principal and Assistant Principal were waiting by the fence for us to pass. Most mornings they offer encouraging words to the students as they walk by. Yesterday my class was standing in two impressively straight lines. I said them them, "Shall we go?" They respond crisply and in unison, "Yes!" I was a bit taken back. This wasn't something I taught them. Not only that, they didn't move. I repeated, "Shall we go?" Again, crisply and in unison they shouted, "Yes!" And again, they remained stationary. I was at a bit of a loss. We now have the undivided and highly amused attention of both of my supervisors, and I am looking impressively ineffectual. Again I said, with perhaps a bit of edge to my voice, "Shall. We. Go?" Even more loudly and emphatically my students shouted, "Yes!" I closed my eyes, took a slow deep breath, then said very softly, "Well then, move!" My two line leaders looked very startled, said "Oh!" and stepped lively. The rest of the class followed. As we passed by, our waiting school administrators offered their standard morning encouragments, but I couldn't help notice they did it with smirks on their faces.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Not So Wordless

I am the guest blogger at Waking Ambrose today. Please stop by and take a peek.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Let There Be Peace

Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me, Let there be peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be; With God our creator, children all are we, Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now. With every step I take let this be my solemn vow: To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally. Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Each and every one of us is an intrument of world peace. Americans, as you vote, vote with that in mind. Peace will not come accidently. It will take effort and deliberation. Please take a moment to stop by Path to Peace and add your voice to the many who think that all people have the unalienable right of peace.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Twenty Minutes Past Breakfast

The Background: I work at an "at risk" school. Breakfast and lunch are 100% free. Our entire school eats breakfast together every morning at the same time. This morning we had Total cereal, orange juice and 1% milk. Mini pancakes were available, but there was no syrup or butter (sugar and fat have been cut from the menus) so very few kids ate them. The Story: I put a couple of Air Wick Fresh-Matic air fresheners in my classroom over the weekend. I set them to spray every twenty minutes. This morning my reading class came in and settled around my chair. I opened a book and began to read aloud. The air freshener sprayed and suddenly the air was filled with the scent of papayas and mangos. My students inhaled as a group, exhaled on a sigh, and four of them said in unison, "Now I'm hungry!" The rest agreed. I calmed them and went back to reading the story -- about hungry mice who were trying to steal fresh vegetables from a cat-guarded garden. Rudy said, "My breakfast wore off!" Issaic agreed, "Yeah, even vegetables sound good."

Terminal Stupidity

Some days you're the windshield; Some days you're the bug. I decided to customize my email program. I have incredimail and I like it very much. I use it to consolidate several different email addresses. I went into the program the other day to delete an obsolete address I haven't used in several months -- and I accidently deleted the entire program. I shreiked. I jumped up and down. I said words my sister, Caryl, would not approve. Then I attempted to restore the lost info. It pretty much worked -- except all of my history is gone. All of my saved mail is gone. All of my email addresses are gone. If you want to hear from me, I'd suggest you send me an email so I can replace your address.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not a Cindrella Story

About a month ago I promised to tell you more about me. For a glimpse into how I became who I am today:

Cinderella stories didn't mean the same thing to me that they did to other little girls. My mother died when I was three. My father remarried almost immediately thereafter. It was not a happy union, so this is not a happy story. If you are in the mood for handsome princes, glass slippers and fairy godmothers, don't continue.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Teachers Aren't People

Some of you may be surprised by this news, but teachers aren't people. They are public school furniture and do not function outside of school hours. Just ask any first grader. My first teaching job in Vegas was 1st grade remedial reading. One of my students was a fire-haired, freckle faced, jack-in-the-box named Jordan. Jordan couldn't read because he had yet to expand his attention span beyond 20 seconds. Jordan talked frequently about his momma cat and her kittens and it came to be that I was convinced I need one. Jordan's mother brought the cat to me after school one day. Jordan had picked the kitten out. It was fire-haired, just like him. The next morning in class Jordan's attention span seemed to be even shorter than usual. He kept bouncing out of his chair and crawling around the room. At one point his face was pressed to the floor, his butt was up in the air and he was trying to shove his head under the wardrobe. I snapped, "Jordan! What are you doing?" He said, "Looking for the kitten." "The kitten doesn't live here," I said. "Now come and sit down." He plopped back on his butt, still sitting on the carpet, and demanded, "Where does it live?" "In my apartment," I told him. "He's probably curled up on my bed sound asleep." Jordon frowned skeptically. "You have an apartment?" Harvey, sitting on my left queried in disbelief, "You have a bed?" Bridgette, clearly in awe, whispered, "Do you sleep?" I assured all six of my students that I had an apartment. I slept. I ate food. I did dishes, took showers, watched TV and did all of the normal things other people do. Juan Jose, despite having touched me many times, slowly reaced out his fingers and touched my hand. His eyes widened in surprise. "She's really real!" He breathed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Teaching Vocabulary

This morning, Mona, one of my students, brought in the word "over-achiever" and asked me to explain it. The conversation involved the whole class, but it was an unplanned, totally off the cuff, 30 second lesson. I promptly forgot it and we moved on to reading, math, and lunch. After lunch I stood in front of the class trying to convey the idea of exaggeration. I was deliberately overacting. Ike told me I was weird. I told him it was part of my job description, then added, "It says in my contract I have to act silly at least twice per day." Moe immediately mumbled, "Boy, you're really an over-achiever."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vote For Me!

Vote for me at Sar's. Look in the sidebar for the caption contest.

A Post a Day

Do me a favor: go by Sar's and look for me in her sidebar. You will see that my blog provided the Word Play Wednesday Inspiration of the week. And, if you go to Megan's blog, you can see the painting I named (a contest was held). The prize was a print (copy) of the painting. I'm afraid the original has already sold, but look around the site. Megan has many bold, glorious originals awaiting adoption. I signed on to the "write a-post-a-day in November, no matter what" movement. I figured, how hard could it be? I usually one post per day anyway. Well, the thing is, it is report card time and I am up to my ears in ungraded papers -- probably caused by all that time I spend here with you. On top of that, the first day of November was Wordless Wednesday and I couldn't introduce this seal and tell anyone what I was doing without talking .... Still, I did post yesterday, even if I wasn't flying the seal. So, I hope the NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) Police are okay with that. They didn't say what kind of post or how long it had to be.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wordless Wednesday