Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

New Year's Eve -- a time of renewing? I was 26 years old the last time I made a New Year's resolution. I resolved not to save resolution making for New Year's Day, but instead to make my fresh starts whenever they were needed. Base your goals for 2007 not on what day of the year it is, not on what image you want to present to the world, not on what someone else thinks you should do; base your goals on who you are, and what you need to accomplish to remain true to yourself. Anything else is doomed to fail, no matter what day of the year it is. And remember, you don't have to pin all of your hopes on this one day. The sun comes up on brand new possibilities every single morning. Happy 2007!

Need a Hero?

This is just too funny! I picked it up from my friend, Ilona's blog.

What Fantasy Archetype Are you?

The Unlikely Hero
You are the Unlikely Hero! Others like you are Frodo (Lord of The Rings), Young Aurthur (arthurian Legend), Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), Peter/Susan/Edmund/Lucy (Narnia), Richard Mayhew (Neverwhere), Harry Potter (Harry Potter) and Richard Cypher (Wizard's first Rule). You were happy to just live out your life as a peaceful schoolboy/farmer/wood's guide. But alas, greatness was thrust upon you. Don't let the hordes of The Totally Wicked Villain get you down, you have your Seasoned Veteran Friend to protect you and you almost always end up with the Pillar-of-Strength Love interest. Heed you Mentor well and keep your chin up, hero! You are simple, humble and kind but possess great potential for truly inspirational heroism, bravery and strength in dark times.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

Saturday, December 30, 2006

At The Tone The Time Will Be ...

... half-past turning off the computer and going out to play. These days I am up before the sun and my common sense. My attention span seems to be on vacation. This morning my mind is curiously blank. This is all you get. Oh, and a bit of advice: Turn off the computer and go outside. Meet a friend for lunch. Do a systems check to see if you can still communicate without a keyboard. But afterward, please be sure and come back to tell me how it went.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Wasabi Miscommunication

I like horseradish sauce and I like hot mustard, so it only makes sense that I would enjoy wasabi, the Asian blending of both; however, given it's nature, it is best to enjoy wasabi in minuscule amounts. Last night while I was eating sushi with wasabi for dinner, I was reminded of a communication meltdown between a lovely church lady and a poor street woman. Pastor liked to bring unusual foods to the Wednesday night Bible Study and entice people to try something new. One night he brought a very large deli platter of assorted sushi. The platter included a bed of shredded ginger with a scoop of wasabi nestled on it. When every one finished eating, the table was still laden with food. Only four people, including the Pastor and I, had eaten any of the sushi and wasabi, so most of it remained. Shortly after we finished eating, yet before we started Bible Study, a homeless woman entered the church and asked if we had something she could eat. We gave her a plate and pointed her toward the table. Pastor told her to help herself to anything she wanted. The woman went to the table and piled her plate high with fried chicken, potato salad and other tasties. As she came to the end of the line, she had no interest in the sushi, but then she saw the wasabi. "Guacamole!" She exclaimed. Grabbing a serving spoon, she scooped it all up. One of the good church ladies, anticipating disaster, shouted, "Don't take all of that!" She rushed toward the homeless woman. The homeless woman shouted back, "Pastor said I could have it!" And she shoveled the entire spoonful into her mouth. Wasabi fumes alone can put a hitch in one's lungs, a mouthful of the stuff can freeze them altogether. The homeless woman's eyes filled with tears. She gasped for breath and clutched at her chest. Someone pressed a glass of water into her hand. She gulped it down. And another. Finally her tears slowed. Her face regained it's normal color. The good church lady who precipitated the disaster said, "Are you alright?" The homeless woman screeched, "You tried to kill me!" And then she refused to eat anything at all. "You people are crazy!" She shouted as she ran from the church.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Extra Little Girl

Today for your reading pleasure, I direct you to: The Grownups Wanted Us Dead, where you can read about:

The Extra Little Girl I moved in the middle of 1st grade. I remember standing in the doorway of my new classroom, Gram's hand clenched in mine. The desks formed a perfect square - the same number across as down. The teacher's name was Mrs. Baker. Soon I would no longer have a name.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Paradigm Shift

It has nothing to do with being unappreciative, but I have a Christmas gift that remains unopened. It is a box of chocolates. What is remarkable about the fact that the box remains unopened, is that as a rule, chocolate is my weakness -- yet I am not compelled to remove that wrapping .... I assure you, in the past I would have had a chocolate covered yummy in my mouth within seconds of being gifted. I'd like to tell you what caused this miraculous change, but I think it truly was a miracle. It began with a fall from my porch, followed by an accidental glimpse of myself in a department store mirror -- and instantly my lifestyle paradigm changed. I no longer crave carbs. Chips and chocolates no longer seductively whisper my name. I enjoy exercise! Even at my worst, I have always been active. I never lost the ability to bend over and tie my shoelaces, or touch my fingers to the floor, but I was slower, and shorter of breath than anyone my age should be. However, regular exercise has increased my stamina, my attitude, and lung capacity. I am hoping soon it will help me get rid of a few of my insecurities. Take a look at the heart rate chart: I tend to keep myself in the 80% zone. I can actually feel a thin person inside of me trying to get out. I have my stats taken once a month. My next official weighing and measuring is January 2nd. I'll keep you posted.

Fluffy's & Chrissy's Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Birthday, Christmas!

Hello. My name is Christmas and today I am one year old. Yep, just one year ago today my cat momma had me C-section. It only cost my people momma $330.00. Of course, some of that was for my brother and sister, so if you average it out, we only cost $130.00 each. That's not bad, right? (Why does my people momma choke whenever I say that?) I was born no bigger than my people momma's thumb. I was pink and shivering and had no hair. The vet said I wouldn't live. Funny, I look pretty healthy, don't I? My left rear leg isn't very strong. I have a little problem with my balance and sometimes I just tip over for no reason. I can still run and play, but I don't jump as well as other cats. My people momma loves me anyway. You may pay homage and sing Happy Birthday to me.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

The whitest Christmas of my life was the winter of '68-69. That was the winter I learned to bake. I was nine years old. The house was warm and fragrant and Gram and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. It was my job to roll the Snickerdoodle balls in cinnamon and sugar. I got to make the crisscross pattern on the peanut butter cookies with a sugar coated spoon. I rolled the dough and cut the cinnamon rolls into perfect rounds with a piece of white cotton thread. I very much enjoyed making those treats -- I would have enjoyed eating them, too -- except Gram kept packaging them up and giving them away. That particular winter lives in my memory for many reasons. And even though I was often wet and cold from playing outside, for some reason my memories of that time are as warm as hot chocolate and melty marshmellows. See for yourself: At, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead .... ... walk atop frozen snow. ... ride on a cardboard sled. At, Matthew 28:19 ... ... enjoy a little Good News

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Cookies

I lived with my sister, Caryl, the first Christmas after her husband died. Nothing was going to make that year better for my niece, Kellie, and nephews, Kenny and Lenny, but I did everything I could to keep some cheer in their lives. I often packed their school lunches and put special treats in the boxes. That day's treat was often the first thing each child exclaimed about as he or she came through the door at the end of the school day. As is traditional in my family, Christmas found me doing a lot of baking. When I made the rolled and cut sugar cookies, I hit upon the idea of not just decorating them, but painting them and making them trully beautiful. I made buttercream frosting in a half-dozen different colors, and I painted the Christmas trees green with brown trunks and yellow stars. I decorated them in multico;ored sprinkles. Santa's sled was red, the runners were gold, and the presents inside came in many hues. I painted and sprinkled stars, angels, bells, and more -- each with an eye to detail. The house smelled like cookies when the kids came home from school. I gave them undecorated cookies and the left over frosting so they could design their own after school snacks. The cookies I had decorated were hidden. That night, after the kids went to bed I took out the hidden cookies, wrapped them carefully, and placed them with love in each lunch box. The next day I waited anxiously by the door when, Lenny, a kindergartener only in school a half day, was due home. Sure enough, he burst through the door, his face shining with joy. He cried, "Aunt Charlene! Aunt Charlene! Your cookies were the best!" Naturally I beamed with pride. He thrust out one gubby little hand with an ancient yellow yo-yo clasped in his fist, "I traded them for this!" Before my ego completely crumbled I reminded myself that I'd made the cookies to make him happy, and they had obviously been a success. Then he added frosting to my contentment by asking anxiously, "You still have some of them cookies left don't you? Can I have some?"

Christmas Meme

I lifted this from Cindra: 1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both, but I recycle gift bags and use em' till they fall apart. 2. Real tree or artificial? neither, not since I've lived alone 3. When do you put up the tree? don't 4. When do you take the tree down? see above 5. Do you like eggnog? Yum, but in moderation since it has more calories than a day's meals. 6. Favorite gift received as a child? a baby doll my daddy gave me, it crawled and cried 7. Do you have a nativity scene? yes 8. Hardest person to buy for? LB (adult niece aka Bratchild) 9. Easiest person to buy for? Betty. bubble bath, only the brands and scents change from year to year 10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Dang, I knew I forgot something! 11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I had a relative that used to buy me the ugliest dresses, which I was then forced to wear on whatever Sunday we visited her after church. 12. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas 13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I'll let you know when I get around to it. 14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, but I've received many more recycled gifts than I've given. 15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? chocolate fudge -- but I've only had one piece this year! 16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? colored 17. Favorite Christmas song? Mary Did You Know, by David Phelps 18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home 19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes. 20. Angel on the tree top or a star? see 2, 3, & 4 above 21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? I prefer morning -- Bratchild insists on a midnight compromise .... 22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People who forget Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of love, not greed. 23. Favorite ornament theme or color? No themes, just love and precious memories 24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? turkey with homemade noodles 25. Leave cookies & milk for Santa? nope, I ask him not to stop by here, and instead visit someone else who needs him more

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Perfect? NOT!

For those of you who think I am too good to be true: In the comments section of an earlier post, my sister, Caryl, wrote:

And now to that perfect part (I see the rest of the family just skimmed right over that) you are exceptional, bright, beautiful and extremely entertaining but perfect you are not. And if you want examples I can give them....may find them embarassing beyond belief though!!
Any of you thinking about bribing Caryl for those embarrassing stories just save your money. Caryl, I hope I didn't mess up your Christmas financing. As to the rest of the family -- feel free to jump in and defend me! -----Update: I wasn't going to add this, but I want to explain the post. This is not what I had planned to run, but in my email I received this anonymous post (obsenities deleted):
You with your family all over the net pretending to love each other. You think you're all that, don't you?
Now, before you really do rush in to defend me, attacks from strangers don't usually bother me, but this email, coupled with some family conversations about how "functional" we appear to be on line, and the teasing comments of perfection from a couple of my friends, I decided to address the issue. I am an ordinary person with an ordinary family. The love you see between us is real. The fdisagreements you don't see are real, too. We just don't readily share those.

Post 300 & a Meme

Today is my 202nd day as a blog host, and this is my 300th post. Dang. I talk too much. Big surprise there, huh? Alphabet Meme (lifted from Gary) A. Attitude? Generally sunny. Lately: STRESSED B- Best apples? Granny Smith (with salt) C- Cooking? not for myself, but love to for others D- Drink of Choice? water mostly; diet Pepsi E- Essential Item? my glasses F. Foreign language? Yeah, English (pft) G- Great at anything? compassion H- Height? 5' 3.75" I- Indulgence? chocolate J- Jealous? minor twinges on occasion K- Kinks? right here in my neck .... L- Life -- is to be lived M- Married? no N- Never -- received a speeding ticket O- Old? depends on who's asking, doesn't it? P- Politics? usually mum Q- Quit? Smoking May 6th, 1997. R- Rich? hahahahahaha S- Seasonings? make mine spicy T- Television? rarely U- Unknown Fact about Me? insecure V- Vegetable I hate? canned green beans W- Weeds I like? The ones I call flowers. X- X-Rays? several Y- Yogurt? yum Z- Zodiac? Whatever.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Winter in Vegas

For those of you who think of Las Vegas as fun in the sun, let's talk winter. Las Vegas is surrounded by mountains. This morning all of those mountains were dressed in a bright, fresh coat of white. They were yesterday, too. When I went out to get in the car, I had to clean snow from my windshield. In the summer, when the temperature hits the hundred and teens, nary a wind blows. In the winter when the mountains are dressed in ice, the wind sweeps over them and down into the valley like a sharp-edged knife. Come to Vegas in the Winter time. Glance out the window. The sun will be shining brightly. It will look like a glorious day, but step outside and that 30* wind will cut a path right through you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dilemma Solved

Better now ....


I just cleaned my desk and can't do a thing with it.

Attitude Adjustment

I believe an attitude adjustment may be in order. Currently there is some controversy in my life over who needs the attitude adjustment. My friends say it is me. I disagree. My niece, LB (a non-blogger, who holds little in common with my blogging nieces you know and love), called me several weeks before Christmas to put in her present order. Since then she has called me every three or four days to see how I am progressing on it and to add items. Not surprisingly, I've not progressed at all. That same niece had an argument with me about whether or not I would be allowed to attend church on Christmas Eve. Hello? She is currently considering my suggestion she attend church with me. I am not holding my breath. A friend of mine who usually travels cross-country for Christmas is staying here, so two days ago she called me out of the blue and informed me that I would be having Christmas dinner at her home. Then she was offended when I told her I had already made other plans. What in the definition of the word "gift" implies that one places orders for them? And what, in the definition of "friendship" gives one the right to define someone else's choices?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Morale Booster

Okay, I'm back and I have something to share. I don't know how exciting you're going to find it, but I am overjoyed: I started at the gym on August 1st and went bright and early every morning until school started. Once school started I had to go to the gym in the afternoons. Changing the time I attended the gym meant I had to get used to different personnel. Well, this morning I was at the gym bright and early, so I got to see Margaret, the lady who first signed me in when I joined. I actually got there before her shift started, so I was already in the middle of my exercise routine when she spotted me. I got to watch her facial expressions change from politeness, to recognition, to surprise, and finally excitement. I think she was more thrilled about how I look than I am. She wanted me to come and weigh and measure, but I wouldn't. I only do that once a month and my next scheduled time is January 2nd. I'll wait. Still, the look on her face was a nice boost for my morale.


Ha! I am on vacation. I forgot all about entertaining you folks. Now I am on my way out the door to pick up a friend at the auto shop, go to the gym, and otherwise get on with my day. I'll try to do something worth posting about along the line, but don't count on it being too exciting. Laters!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Directionally Challenged

So, I was supposed to attend a coworker's Christams party last night. Before I left school on Friday he called me from his classroom and offered me a map to his home. I am not normally directionally challenged. "I've been there already, remember? Don't worry. I'll find it." He said, "That was a couple of months ago. My sub-division is pretty tricky. You'd better come get the map just in case." I declined. I don't suppose I even have to finish this story. You already know .... I drove around in the subdivision maze for an hour and a half. The streets twist, wind, dead-end, double back and turn one-around-the-other so much that it is impossible to tell north, south, east and west. Every house looks the same. They are all beige, have identical red tile roofs, and manicured postage stamp yards. The only way to tell one home from another is by the SUV's in their driveways. I called my friend -- nobody answered the phone. Then I called a friend I knew would be attending. Of course, she was too polite to take her cell phone to the party. So I drove in circles hoping I would come across a home surrounded by familiar cars. Instead, I rediscovered the main road out and took it like an Indy driver on the last lap of 500. I had a desperate need to be where the streets were straight and rolled toward home.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Ho Ho Ho

The AP walked into my classroom yesterday morning. As my supervisor he does that often. Yesterday, being a half-day before the Holiday, I hadn't expected to see him. The reading block had just ended and my students were preparing our classroom for the party. The AP took about seven steps into the room and stood staring at the chaos. I couldn't help but notice his electronic clipboard under his arm -- the one he uses for employee evaluations. Several young ladies were opening bags of chips -- forbidden treats banned by CCSD's new nutrition guidelines. Paper plates and napkins, and mini-chocolate bars were being passed out. Cyndi offered the AP a chocolate cupcake slathered in butter cream icing. Nessa offered him a similarly iced sugar cookie. He declined both politely, then his fingers began dancing rapidly over the clipboard's touch pad. I was on my knees at my classroom refrigerator passing out caffeine laden sodas -- highly forbidden -- to my students. I stared at the AP with a sinking feeling. His fingers stopped moving. He held the clipboard up and studied his work, then he slipped the stylus from the side and started toward me. He was going to ask me to sign the dang thing. I rocked back on my heels, looked up at him and challenged, "You have GOT to be kidding." He swung the clipboard toward me saying, "Yeah, actually, I am." I looked at the screen. Bright red and green letters spelled out, "Merry Christmas!" and "Happy New Year." I offered him a soda. He said no thanks, but accepted a potato chip from Jasmine. Then he winked at me and disappeared through the communicating door into Mr. Texas-Drawl's room. Moments later through the open door I heard a very twangy, "Ya'll better be kiddin' me!"

Friday, December 15, 2006

Role Reversal

Morning assembly, all the classes stand in straight lines and we salute the flag together, then we listen as the AP gives the morning announcements. He dismisses the students with the words, "If I don't see you again today, enjoy your winter break, and I'll see you next year." Murmers immediately swept the crowd. My students were not immune. "Next year?" "Next year?" "Did he say, next year?" Sid turned to me in disbelief, "Ms. A? Next year?" The whole class riveted on my answer. I grinned. "Yep. When you guys leave here at 11:30 this morning, I won't have to... uhm, I won't get to see your grimy, uh, ... I mean, smiling, faces until next year." Sid dropped his chin and gave me the same, I-am-not-amused look I give him when I really am amused, but don't want him to know. Pansy Petite raised her eyebrows and put her hands on her hips. "Ms. A," she scolded, "that was not very nice." And I reacted for them exactly the way they react for me. I held up my hands, gave them a look of wide-eyed surprise and said, "Wha-?"

I Kid You Not

Is it any wonder I want out of here? Actually, my original plan was only to leave Las Vegas, but this whole state is crazy! Just read this: Lawmaker Says Teachers Should Have Guns In Class 12-14-2006 7:31 AM (Carson City, NV) -- If state Senator Bob Beers has his way, every Nevada teacher will be able to keep a gun in the classroom. Beers says he's working on a bill that would allow instructors and other school personnel to arm themselves during classes, once they complete a course on gun safety. The Las Vegas Republican believes students would think twice about bringing a gun to campus if they knew the teachers were armed as well. Not everyone is supporting Beers' idea. Clark County School Superintendent Walt Rulffes tells the "Review-Journal" an armed staff would actually make schools less safe. He says more studies are needed before he would endorse the idea of teachers carrying guns to class. Copyright 2006 Metro Networks Communications Inc., A Westwood One Company

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Six White Hours

I am sitting in a straight-backed wooden chair, slumped over a side-table with my eyes closed. I can hear, down the hall behind curtain 6, a drunk yelling that he came to Vegas to gamble, not to sit in an emergency room and bleed to death. I also hear a mother crying at the bedside of a child whose small body is encircled by tubes and wires. My eyes are closed because across from me is a man, face down on a gurney. There is a large shard of glass protruding from the flesh of his right buttock. He is crying. After about two hours, someone grabs my hand. Cool fingers circle my wrist. I open my eyes to a white jacket and stethoscope. I focus on a kind face with a pleasant smile. "I'm Dr. Gonzalez," the man says. "What seems to be the problem?" I frown at him, puzzled, then shake my head and point at my friend crumpled beside me in a reclining wheel chair, her left arm bound in a make-shift sling. She moans. The Doctor immediately turns his attention to her. I watch as he carefully checks her over, assures her she will soon be on her way to xray, and tells her what we all already knew: her shoulder is dislocated. The man with the glass shard is suddenly gone -- whisked off to surgery? In his place sits a shriveled old man wearing trousers, bathroom slippers and a blood soaked t-shirt. He clutches a crimson rag to his face and asks repeatedly, "Is Janie coming? Is Janie coming?" Twenty minutes pass. The xray techs appear and take my friend away. In another twenty minutes they return her. We talk for awhile, saying nothing important, but distracting her from the pain. Finally a nurse arrives. He spends almost a half an hour looking for a vein in her arm. He gathers up his toys and slumps away muttering. Another nurse arrives. She spends 3 minutes looking for a vein in my friend's hand, inserts the IV, and is finished inside of 10 minutes. Ten minutes pass. My friend is transfered to a gurney and wheeled into a cloth walled cubical. I follow. A tech appears and soon my friend is circled in tubes and wires. They give me her glasses. I hook them over my jacket pocket. Five more people crowd into the little space. I step out even though they don't ask me to. My friend calls, "Where are you going?" "Just here," I answer, and lean against the cold, white wall. The doctor explains to my friend how they will do the "reduction" and put her shoulder back in place. As he talks of force and leverage, he ties a white sheet around his waist. The nurse jokes about midnight ER toga parties. The doctor does a saucy little dance and my friend laughs. I pull my cell phone from my pocket and look at the time. 1 a.m. I flip the phone open and call Sub Services -- twice. Once for me. Once for my friend. Neither of us will be in our classrooms the next day. As I call, the curtain around the cubical closes. I can no longer see my friend. She can no longer see me. "Are you there?" she calls. "Of course," I answer. Again I listen. I listen as the doctor explains the anesthesia. I listen as he asks her, repeatedly, her name. After the third query, she doesn't know. I listen as he directs the techs, and explains to an Intern what he is doing and why. I listen as he orders the nurse to call xray back for another picture. He adds, "Although I'm sure we've got it." The curtain opens. Everyone files out until only my friend, out cold and snoring at the cealing, and one nurse remain. I step back into the cubical, sit down in a straight-backed hardwood chair and rest my head against the wall. I try to doze. I hear the steady beep, beep, beep of my friend's heart monitor, the nurse's pen scratching across paper, and some man down the hall say, "I don't think Momma's gonna make it." Another hour passes as they monitor my friend's vital signs and make certain she isn't going to have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic. Finally they say she can go. I take her home. Once in her own home she happily dismisses me and toddles off to bed. I stagger out into the darkness to make the drive home.


This blog has been temporarily interrupted due to exhaustion. It will resume it's regular fair (fare?) of silliness and nonsense after it's perpetrator (proprietor?) has gotten some much needed sleep. Please, carry on without me. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I am sitting in my classroom freezing. Once again there is no heat (second day in a row this time). My students are wrapped within their coats shivering, pencils clutched in sleeve-covered fingers. I just put a call in to the AP and told him we were all going home if something wasn't done soon. The good news is, we are having an afterschool program tonight and I am hosting parents in this meat locker. That ought to get someone's attention. 12:24 p.m. Update: The heat just came on.

Taking the Frightened Away

Everyday I get a 40 minute prep period, and Mrs. B. takes over my class. My students work on enhancing their writing skills with her. At Thanksgiving time she asked my students to write about a person they were thankful for, and to explain why. The paper below was written by Cyndi: ----- I am thankful for my teacher, Ms. A, because she is there when I need her. Ms. A. is helpful and kind. She helps me when I need her during class. She especiallly helps me a lot during math when I don't know how to do a problem or when I just don't understand. She is very clever when she teaches math skills we haven't learned. She takes all my frightened away when I try to learn something new. Ms. A. is the best ever math teacher and homeroom teacher. She is loyal and respectful to everyone. She encourages us to do new things. She is a fun and absolutely funny teacher and she tells us great stories. Ms. A. is the teacher everyone I know wants to have. I am thankful she is my teacher. ----- I needed this message. Lately I have been very discouraged and have found myself wondering why I even bother. All the testing, all the statistics, all the programs and the red tape that tangles and obscures the fact that the bottom line is the children. Today I am thankful for the reminder of why I went into teaching in the first place.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Administrative Assistant

Pansy Petite stops nervously beside my desk and eyes a precarious stack of papers. "Ms. A.," she says primly, "Would you like me to clean your desk?" "Not really," I answer. "I know it looks messy, but I actually know where everything is." She stares at me skeptically for a long moment, then asks. "May I please borrow the special white eraser?" I open my desk drawer and rifle through it. No eraser. I look up at Pansy. "I'm sorry, Sweetie. Somebody must already have it." She nods her head, reaches out and plucks the white eraser from the chaos of my desk. Holding it up for me to see, she chides, "Are you sure I can't clean your desk? I promise I would keep it very well orgnized." "Yes, Dear," I answered. "I am certain you would, and I find that thought very, very scary." "Suit yourself," she answered while walking away, "But I'm sure my way would be easier." Mmmmm --- for whom?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Cat's Query

Her name was Catherine, but they called her Cat, which suited her personality well. She was the brand new Assistant Principal's spunky five year-old daughter. It was only the second week of school and I'd already heard enough about her to wonder why her father's hair wasn't gray -- and there she was in fromt of me, hanging upside down from the monkey bars. Her hair and arms dangled toward the ground, with her pink striped shirt rumpled at her armpits and ber belly hanging out. I walked over and put one hand on her shoulder and one hand on her back to help support her. "Young lady, get down now!" She swung her hands to the bar, loosed her feet and casually dropped to the ground. Hands on her hips, blonde hair sticking out every which way, blue eyes shooting sparks she demanded, "Do you know who I am!?" "Yes, " I answered, "I do. And that doesn't change the fact that rules are rules." "Oh," she said. "Darn!" And then she grinned at me and skipped off to play.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

To Keep You Busy

I leave you for the weekend with a choice of two entertainments: First, on, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead:

When we were in Yakima, Caryl bought me a pair of HASH jeans. I was 17 years old and had never owned a pair of blue jeans, and even in my wildest dreams would never have thought I might own a designer pair. She also bought me this cute little striped t-shirt that clung like skin, a pair of chunky platform high-heels, and then she gave me the "Farrah Fawcett" hair-cut. It was like being transformed into a movie star. I looked good and I knew it.
And second, on Matthew 28:19:
You could just be sitting somewhere, minding your own business, when out of the blue your life changes drastically. You see it coming, try to stop it, but that [snap] fast, it's out of your control.
At least that's how it happened to me.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Blessed Quiet

Jake is not in school today. And he was not in school for very long yesterday. He has been in rare form lately. On Wednesday I turned away for just a moment and when I turned back he was dancing on his chair with a kick me sign on his back -- which he'd put there himself. Later in the afternoon he and his best-friend got in a playround wrestling match. When I went out to pick up my class after recess, Jake had a bright red handprint on his face and blood seeping from a scratch beneath his eye. I sent Jake to the nurse -- who cleaned him up and sent him (and his buddy) to the principal. Thursday morning before school I saw Mr. Texas-Drawl frog-stepping two boys to the office -- one of them was Jake. Fist fight. Both boys were suspended pending parent conferences. My classroom is remarkably quiet. My students are extraordinarily well-behaved. And I'm still waiting for Jake's mother to show up for his report card conference. She is only 3 weeks and 7 hours late .... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

Bah Humbug

Thursday in the teacher's lounge at lunch time -- the place full of talking, working copy machines, humming microwaves and assorted dining noises -- I casually mentioned to my lunch companion that I wasn't going to the staff Christmas party. The room was suddenly silent. Everybody looked at me as if I'd just admitted to killing babies. From 15 feet away, Mr. Texas-Drawl demanded to know why in the 7734 not? Nobody cared for any of my excuses. That is probably because they were just excuses. I never told them the truth. I hate going to parties where everyone is part of a couple and I am not. What joy is there in ... ... getting dressed up alone? ... driving across town alone? ... walking into a party alone? ... standing in the midst of couples alone? ... then going home alone with the laughter of those happy couples still ringing in my ears? Thanks to a goodly amount of peer pressure, I will be going to the Christmas party. Chances are I will even enjoy some of the evening while I am there. But I will not enjoy leaving -- walking across the parkinglot alone while everyone else is hand-in-hand. Alone and lonely are not always synonymous -- except when you are a single in the middle of a paired off crowd.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday With Words

As one travels between Las Vegas and Phoenix, there is a spot in the Arizona desert where he may travel for miles without seeing any sign of human inhabitation beyond the road shimmering into the distance. Suddenly this weary and lonesome driver spots a road crossing sign. Civilization! His eyes search the horizon ... Into view comes a wide, four-lane cross street, stop signs optimistically standing guard in this vast nothingness. Still no other signs of human occupation exist beyond these bitumen lines in the sand. Yet there proudly stands a street sign proclaiming -- testament to some man's rueful faith -- First Street.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Life Isn't Fair

We've all heard it said that life isn't fair. It's a quip we make when some minor inconvenience mucks up our day or keeps us from getting our own way. For most of us here on the net, life has probably than kinder than we acknowledge on a day-to-day basis. I have a roof over my head. Every time the wind blows I hold my breath at it's creakings, and when it rains I walk the rooms checking for leaks -- but so far it's still a roof. I am able to eat whenever I please and pretty much whatever I please. I drive a nice, fairly new car. My bills are paid -- mostly. There's one here from the power company I am a little afraid to open. Sure I have a few horrible instances in my past that I can point at and say, "Foul!" My mom died when I was a baby. I had a step-mom that made Cinderella's look kind. There seems to be little fairness there, but today I saw reason to be thankful for the truly minor unfairnesses in my life. At church tonight I held a five week old baby in my arms who weighs less than ten pounds. She is in foster care. Her birth mother has never seen her. The state welfare division is currently striving to get one of the two men who could possibly be her father to take financial responsibility. This child is literally of no value to the people who created her. I held this baby and rocked her and talked to her while her foster mother ate. The baby's big brown eyes focused on my face without wavering. She did not smile. She did not blink. She did not wiggle. If I stopped moving and talking she would whimper, other than that she was unresponsive -- like holding a hard, plastic doll in my arms. There was no softness to her. No bend. No cuddle. Could she talk, this child would have the right to claim that life isn't fair. The only heritage her parents gave her willingly, was their addiction to methamphetamines.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I've Become One of THEM!

I recently started going to the gym on a regular basis. I find I really enjoy the way I feel. My body functions better. There is a spring in my step. My patience and my temper seem to have greater endurance, and my students say I smile more -- though there's a chance the smile springs from another source. Friday I arrived at school the same time as one of our regular substitute teachers. She commented that I was looking trimmer. I told her I'd joined a gym. She mentioned one she was thinking of joining, but knew she would never go alone. The gym she mentioned was mine. I attend the gym almost nightly with another of my co-workers. We talk and giggle while we exercise, which makes the time go faster. Tonight, at my invitation and on my pass, the substitute teacher joined us. We exercised her breathless, kept her giggling the whole while, then made her sign up before we let her go. All must exercise! Everybody together now: one, two, three, four ....

Monday, December 04, 2006


If you'll recall the school year started, here in the land of 112 degree weather, with no air conditioning in my classroom. Now we are in the middle of a record cold spell -- and there is no heat. All my students huddle with their arms inside their shirts and their coats over their heads. According to the thermometer on the wall it was 37 degrees in my classroom this morning. At 9:00 we opened the door because it was warmer outside. My students were trying to write. Most of them had their sleeves pulled over their fingers and their pencils wrapped within the folds. One of the kids stood up to ask me a question. He saw me huddled at my desk with my coat over my head and my arms inside my shirt. "You can't sit like that!" He exclaimed. "Why can't I?" "Because," he said. "You're a grown up!" Guess what? Grown ups get cold, too. And fed up and tired and angry -- kind of like the way I feel about this school district. ----- It is now 2:20 p.m. and the heat has been on for about an hour. We are starting to thaw. The kids are just now starting to show some interest in their surroundings -- and you understand that I am responsible for anything they didn't learn today.

Down Time

Currently I am without words. If you absolutely, positively must read something new from me, I posted, Soup, Bibles & Blankets, on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me (MeMe)

I was tagged by SilverNeurotic, so I guess I should do this. If you've been reading my blog long you know 6 is a pretty conservative number on my weird meter; but just the same, here are six weird things about me: 1. In my life, the word "attention" is sometimes an oxymoron. 2. A little cracked linoleum offers proof that my cat is smarter than I. 3. My first car was a motorcycle. 4. I cultivate unusual flowers. 5. I am my father's daughter. 6. I also spend a lot of my time wondering. For instance, right now I am wondering why I agreed to play meme tag. However, since I've gotten this far and you're still here with me -- TAG! you're it!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Resistance Leader

The next couple of days look like they are going to be pretty busy, so I took the time last night to prepare something to entertain you in case I couldn't be around. Once again, I invite you to stop by, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead, and enjoy a bit of getting even. On occasion, we gave the grownups reason to want us dead:

We complained. We wrote letters. We walked around blue-kneed and frozen. It mattered not. The powers that be were male and they had never stood outside in 20 degree weather while the wind blew up their skirts. What did they care how cold we were?
Super heroes are made, not born. Their inhumanity called forth: The Resistance Leader.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm a Loser

In the last 11 days I have lost another 4.5 pounds. On August 1st, I decided a change needed to be made and I set out to make myself half the person I used to be. So far I have lost 13 pounds altogether. Inches are coming off, too. Of course the weight-loss is great and I definately plan to continue, but that is just a minor part of the benefit of exercising. The other day I backed my car out of the driveway and saw all the garbage cans lining the road. Trash day. I'd forgotten. I stopped the car right there at the curb, hopped out, sprinted up the driveway and took the steps in a single bound --took the steps in single bound --. Those would be the same steps that somedays after work seemed much too steep to climb. Speaking of which, when my work day comes to an end I now still have energy. I also seem to be in a better overall mood. Not to mention that I am resenting the three days per week I can't go to the gym: Wednesdays (church), Saturdays (Sidewalk Sunday School), and Sundays (gym closed). I should have picked a gym with longer hours. Since I didn't, I'm thinking of getting a stair-stepper or walking machine. I am truly liking this exercise thing. Weird, huh?