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Educat--Now With Mango!

When I started blogging, my intention was that this would be a blog about my adventures in teaching. Somehow, that isn't happening and I am afraid that as summer comes, this will be less and less about school ("because there won't be any", she thought gleefully!). So I plan to change the name of this blog at least for summer. Please comment with suggestions.

In Which She Ends The Suspense and Offers Comedy

I earlier referenced a Crispin Glover appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. In 1987, Glover appeared on the show and in an Andy Kaufman-esque turn, kicked Dave in the head. It was surreal and most people who admit to seeing it aren't sure it was even real. I have done the research and here is all the info.

Blog Entry Title Goes Here, Wish I Had One

I might have to blog all the events of yesterday in bits and pieces. Will list it all in brief and get back to it as I can.

  • Saw Cotton Patch Gospel at the City Rep theatre yesterday. They use a tiny space in the basement of the Civic Center, it seats about 75. It's been a long time since I have enjoyed a show so much! The whole thing was played with such obvious joy in their work and the material that you just couldn't help but give yourself over. I have known this show for years and had high expectations--they were mostly met and even occasionally exceeded. It's been nearly 8 years since I have gone to the theatre and wished I were working onstage again, but those feelings came back yesterday for me. Wish I could tell you to go, but it closes this weekend. Check out their season, though, seems to be a good company.

  • The story of Cotton Patch Gospel brought me big food for thought. I mentioned knowing the show earlier. My family caught it on basic cable sometime when I was in HS or College. It's a reworking of the Cotton Patch Gospel, written by Dr. Clarence Jordan (who started the Koinonia project and farm)during the Civil Rights era. Harry Chapin wrote the music (which is how it was discovered by my folksy dad). I am trying to flesh out all my thoughts here, it's difficult to tie all these ideas together. I am swimming in the legacy I know of Harry Chapin (one man can make a difference, world hunger can be eradicated if we are willing to sacrifice) and the impression I am only now gathering of Clarence Jordan. I wonder what Chapin's intention was with the work, is it meant to be subvert the church we know today(or that Chapin knew 20 something years ago)? What does that mean for me? I wish I articulated all of this as well as some of you all do, be patient with me.

  • Spent time after the show with visiting relatives and met my 16 month old second cousin ,Joey, for the first time. My aunt (Joey's grandma) has temporary legal custody of him. It hurts hurts hurts me so see this incredible happy boy who doesn't even know the enormity of what he has endured already. It angers me to see how lightly my cousin and his new wife take parenthood. I got a half joking offer to travel with my aunt and uncle to Kansas and nanny for the summer--I almost wish I could. We have a gorgeous hunk of babyhood in this kid.

  • That's the state of my head today.

    Clowny Clown Clown Clown

    Anyone besides Jill who remembers this entry's title as the name of a Crispin Glover album is my new pop culture hero. Bonus if you know of his infamous prank on Late Night with David Letterman in the 1980's.

    Just started thinking today what my blogging nightmare would be.

    Anyone else familiar with Peggy Hill's "Musings" column in King of the Hill? Sometimes I wonder if my blog sounds a bit like that...

    - "Credit where credit is due" is not just a phrase for bankers and lawyers.

    - My husband's affair with beer, and why I'm not jealous.

    - If you like knitting, you'll love this yarn.

    - When it comes to tea cozies, it's either crochet or the highway.

    - Napkin rings, those useful things.

    - Autumn: love it or leaf it.

    - The sauce thickens.

    This, dear reader, lest you are confused, is from Peggy's column and not my blog.

    Today it all came undone on an impromptu dinner date with Jill. So frustrated with the present state of student attitudes, I found myself crying out, "Yep, I make it ALL fun!! I am the clowny teacher!! Clowny town circus teacher!!!"

    Man, time for me to take off the red nose and go to bed.

    Mid week silliness

    Take some time to enjoy My present favorite is the spiral notebook.

    Poor barista. This morning as she handed me my usual, she chirped about how glad I must be to be done...what...tomorrow? Ed the Coffee Guy (whom I love for the teacher discount he gives) tried to stop her, I could see him signaling for her to stop. Listen, barista, listen! Please note that I did not snarl at the barista.

    Quote of the day from another ready for the end teacher:

    "We are on a cattle drive and they keep moving Colorado."

    A Private Moment With My Television

    I love you Colonial House. I love you sooooo much!

    I Don't Know About You, But I Could Use A Lark!

    Citizens of this fair city, if you don't attend Shakespeare in the Park, you are seriously missing some fine cheap culture!

    When you look at the price of theatre tickets these days (I will pay $20 to see Cotton Patch Gospel this weekend--and that's with local talent!!), six bucks to catch a Shakespeare play is a bargain! I had the privilege to work with these good folks in the summer of 96 and I can tell you firsthand, they are what you want to see in local artists. They care about the art and making it relevant to the community. It is in the least snobby atmosphere you could want (once you get over that it's in Edmond). You are encouraged to bring a picnic, kids can quietly run around, and there is no dress code. Good good times.

    So haul out your bugspray, light a citronella candle and plan to get thee to Hafer Park this summer. They're doing Twelfth Night, Hamlet and Midsummer Night's Dream, not a dud in the bunch!!!

    Go to the theatre, it's good for you.

    This concludes this commercial message.

    Twirling Camp!!!

    Yesterday I allowed myself to pretend it was summer. I am so horribly lazy and slacker-esque that normally if I start to wear shorts and sunscreen while there are still days (nevermind weeks in my case) left in the school year then it will be impossible to rouse myself for school. Anyhow, I caved and joined one of my favorite families for 8 year old baseball, swimming and a cookout.

    Among the legion of toys populating my friend's pool was a toy baton. Some of you might remember my stellar baton wielding performance as Patty Simcox in SLT's 1992 production of Grease so you know that I sort of know my way around a baton. I play with it a bit and start to teach Brooke (10 year old fake niece of the aforementioned 40-o'clock comment) some stuff with the baton. Her 8 year old brother Blake also seems interested so I showed him as well.

    Then somewhere deep within Blake, a fire (like that which would light a fire baton) was ignited.

    He spent the rest of the evening practicing "his moves" (his words) and by the time I left really wasn't bad. He has started making baton plans for himself, the first of which being getting a baton for use at his (police officer)dad's house and the second being getting some sort of twirling routine together for his end of school talent show this week.

    I think I have myself another summer project...

    At least MY Head Is Still Screwed On Straight

    Remember when I said that midday emails get unconditional love? I retract this statement now. Today about 2pm, our entire building was treated to this email:

    "I have been asked to remind you that you are NOT to show or share the video of the American in Iraq who was killed by decapitation."

    I know why this email was sent. I hope you didn't see the this on the local news, but a teacher in my district did show the video in her class. In fairness, I want to say that I have verified that it was not shown to the entire class as some sort of sick learning exercise, but it is still deplorable. No teacher I have spoken to could believe this happened.

    So back to the email, you really have to tell us this!? I hope that my building and district understand that this is the exception rather than the rule. Our increasingly violent news has hit me hard. My reaction times are severely decreased this time of year but my gut reaction to this horrible violence is to not just look away but to run away. How could I ever feed the already violent appetites of my students with something this graphic? I cannot even look myself.

    I somehow have the statement floating in my head that the search for this video was the most popular search on the internet according to Google. I don't even want to search for this statistic for fear of feeding this possible Google statistic (besides, I am not a news blog and don't have to verify).

    Please God please, Don't let TC Pickney watch News Channel 4. So many more of us do so much more good.

    I Will Party Til 40-O'clock!!!

    Things to do this summer:

    1. Blog more. Really. Concern has poured in from both of you and know that the summer shall be our time. We'll have joy, we'll have fun, we'll have seasons in the sun. Got blog requests? Comment. Starting June 8th, I am your blogging beast of burden.

    2. Find the delicate reading balance between Beth's discarded Entertainment Weekly-s and textbooks. I shall read something fun but smart.

    3. Rub both my cool free travel opportunities in your faces. Have I mentioned I am going to both North Carolina and Boston? Well darlin', I'm telling you now.

    4. Learn to balance my news exposure between being totally uninformed and oversaturated and nautious.

    5. Finally finally finally set up those side links. I shall link to your blog soon and will expect reciprocity.

    6. Continue my small weight loss victory my head appears too large for my body and my family wonders if I am on heroin.

    7. Orchestrate a birthday happening without appearing too self centered. Smile sweetly and modestly at guests and make them think they threw me the party.

    8. Finally purchase cheesy fake ring and procure pic of strange male and finally justify children who still insist on calling me Mrs.

    I overheard my fake niece whining to her mother tonight that surely by the time their grocery shopping was finished, it would be either "7:84" or "40-o'clock". Good one, Brookus!

    Really Bad Poetry Corner

    Kara DeAnn shares the passing of an age in her blog. I understand that The Rainbow diner in Shawnee will now be closed every night at 11. The news brings me a flood of memories of crazy theatre kids hunkered over Theatre History and greasy sugary carbs. When you smell of grease, smoke and sugar, it can only mean one thing.

    In homage to the passing of an era, I give you haiku.

    Rainbow closed at 11

    Dinner plate sized sweet rolls

    Not yummy by daylight

    Greasy smoke and pastry

    Rotating pies that I love!

    Rainbow, be missed at night.

    Something New

    If ever you have read this blog and gained something, click on the "review this site" link on the left.

    I am experimenting with this blogarama feature that allows site ratings and at last count, the top rated blog was "Hot Abercrombie Chick".

    I think this means I have a chance...or not at all.

    Of Lotion and Eyebrow Pencils...

    There are reasons I usually avoid blogging about my second job. Firstly, there usually isn't much to say. It's pretty much standard issue retail and although some stories are hilarious, they require too much backstory. Ask me in person about wiener Dog Perfume and Licking Your Arm to Test Chemistry. Funny stories, but I would be likely to loose you here. Secondly, it's sort of a sore spot with me that I even have to do have this job. You know this argument too (I should have some sort of catch phrase for "You know the argument" I use it so much. Ideas?).

    I choose to blog about the Bath and Body today because a. it's been a quiet weekend and I haven't written anything in a while and 2. this story will give insight into my life as a personal care sales advisor (or lotion jockey, take your pick).

    So I answer the phone at an uneventful night at work and am greeted with a question.

    "What sort of eyebrow pencils do you carry?"

    "Actually, we no longer carry color cosmetics"

    "Oh (suddenly sounding nervous), well, um, I have some questions."


    "How can you draw your eyebrows back on after they've been um...removed? See, I'm a guy and know, the hair doesn't grow back after you wax"

    Ok, I have limited experience in this field. For starters, I have been waxing my eyebrows for about 20 years and have yet to see a reduction of regrowth. Leave me alone for a month, and I turn into Bert. I digress...

    "Well, sir, I will confess my experience here is limited, have you spoken with an aesthetician?"

    "Yes, and they said that it's not likely to grow back!"

    So I am not only fielding beauty questions from a drag queen, I feel like a hairgrowing freak of nature.

    "Ok, well, sir, you might just get a cheap drugstore pencil and experiment with some looks"

    "I like this look when I am doing female impersonation, but I want to look like a guy the rest of the time"

    "Well, from my extremely limited experience in this realm, sir, all I can tell you is that you might experiment and perhaps consult someone at a cosmetics counter."

    ...And perhaps you should avoid seeking counseling from the gals at the Bath and Body.

    I Might Be Godless, But I Power Blogger!

    First, while I am still in a good mood (and it shall shift, reader of mine, it shall), Blogger has given itself a face lift and I am joining in. Note that the button on the side "I Power Blogger" has replaced "Powered By Blogger". More like it. I do indeed power Blogger and have gone unrecognized for lo these many months. About time, I say.

    The template change has been coming and I plan soon to toy with the mysteries of the sidebar so I can add links (to your blog! and yours too!). This is the look, more content to come. I am on a new comment system and your old ones may be lost. If you ever said anything pithy here and want it to last, you are sunk. Please add new comments now to remind us of your wit and cunning.

    Now the news.

    Seems that a resolution is a cookin for this summer's Southern Baptist Convention. shares that Mr TC Pickney claims that the public schools offer a godless agenda and subpar education and that the responsible parent would home school or at least send their children to Christian schools.

    This resolution has been submitted for consideration but may or may not see the floor of the Convention. Richard Land, head of the SBC public policy arm could not be reached for comment.

    I, however could.

    I can make the argument that the allegations of failing public schools are greatly exaggerated, ACT scores are lower due to a greater population of students taking the tests, schools are expected to handle more in terms of breadth of curricula than ever before, but I won't. That isn't what troubles me most.

    I am bothered at the lack of public trust in the schools. Educational reform advocate Jamie Vollmer refers to this phenomenon as Nostesia (Nostalgia+Amnesia). Again, we are expecting more from this system than we are willing to put into it. His commentary is worth reading.

    It also bothers me that my Grandma will adopt any resolution that the SBC passes. Will I then be assumed to carry a godless agenda? What about my two teacher aunts? I tend to wonder if such a proclamation might be a line in the sand for many Baptists who might start to see these words as a violation of soul competency.

    I can only hope that my Grandma and other folk will see the inherent contradiction in a resolution that declares that education is the responsibility of the home but then presumes to tell the parent how best to educate.

    Does this mean OBU has to close the College of Education?

    Armchair Survivor Decontructs

    First, I have never watched a soap opera and I don't enjoy televised sports so allow me this.

    Ok, my prediction came true. Amber Brkich, in a wild attempt to get a last name with vowels, accepted the proposal of "Boston Rob" Mariano. She then goes on to win Survivor All Stars, thus ensuring that he gets a million whether or not he actually wins the game of Survivor.

    Ooh, Amber, get a prenup.

    If Loving Survivor is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right

    I take no guff for loving this show. Note my prediction at 8:36pm cdt, Boston Rob will propose to Amber on the live reunion show and I will make the vomit face in response. More later.

    There Are Those Who Will Call This Entry...Tim

    As you can tell from the last entry, I am a wee bit stressed and morose this week. I have found that the easiest thing to lift my mood during the day is the midday email. Emails I get from 11:30 am-3pm don't even have to be funny. They receive unconditional love from me.

    A college friend of mine emailed midday this week to let me know about Loretta Lynn's new album. She knows of my cult like devotion to Coal Miner's Daughter and wanted to pass on the tip. After enjoying a bit of it on the NPR, I can heartily recommend. Amber and I give it a 3 kid born before the age of 21 rating (this is out of 5, but I think Loretta had Patsy and Peggy after 21)!

    Recommended link from the PCW Library: Enjoy the Lipstick Librarian! Her grooming tips are unparalleled and quite tempting for those of us who spend our days among office supplies.

    Lastly, I will one more time urge you to support Kinky Friedman in his Texas Gubernatorial bid. I am having a sort of Kinky renaissance (but please don't ever attach those words to me...kinky renaissance) and have been seen singing loudly in my car to They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore.

    Whatchoo Bloggin' 'Bout, Willis??

    I have noticed a pattern with my bloggery. I blog like a madwoman over the weekend and am mostly silent during the week (those of you who see me during the week and are having trouble with the word "silent", I mean only here.). I think school is really consuming me right now. The last month is always the hardest and I will admit that this week is the first time I have allowed myself to look at Nancy's post it note countdown of days.

    That said, this will be all over the map. Enjoy the ride on my mood swing.

    So the college kids are finishing their finals. One of my favorites came to see me at school today looking so serene and gorgeous (It occurs to me that I have noticed the beauty of my students after I am away from them for a while. There's a lesson, go away and I will think you are gorgeous.). She has her life under control and is full of promise, but shocked me with her perspective of high school. I asked her if she saw the other West kids at OU and she commented that they were all doing well. "But then, they were STUCO kids and that's your foot in the door of most of the important stuff.". Wow. Does Lisa see herself differently from those kids? From my vantage point, the world is hers. Isn't it weird what perspective will do?

    I have wasted a lot of worry on my last big project of the school year. I have dreamed all week about rebracketing debate while kids wait for rounds, my hair falling out (I don't know either), and all sorts of horrors. I have spent this evening refusing to work on anything but have tapped into my endless arsenal of Bath and Body products. I am propped up, washed, conditioned, masked (masqued?) and aromatherapy-ed within an inch of my life and hoping the bags under my eyes go away. After this week, I just have to teach and by then Nancy's countdown will be in the teens.

    See why I don't blog during the week?

    Back later with funny links for the week.

    Never You Mind Where I Find This Stuff

    Anyone else grow up in a family with weight issues? This collection of 1974 Weight Watchers Recipe Cards had me squealing with kitschy delight!

    I am pleased to announce that some of my pants can now be pulled off without unzipping and I didn't have to prepare Chilled Celery Log once. Not. Even. Once.

    Goin' Where The Weather Suits My Clothes

    I promised after a silly entry on my root canal road trip with dad that there was more I would write about later, I want to revisit my trip with dad.

    Greg inadvertently touched on what I wanted to say when he noticed that Southeast OKC is to be the site of one of three Blockdonalds (conjoined Blockbuster Video/McDonalds) in the nation. What I didn’t share in my earlier entry is that the new Blockdonald’s is on the site of a former church.

    Ok, so Dad and I are driving by and as I start to laugh at the conjoined business principal, Dad weighs in on the most shocking thing to him. “They leveled that church to put this up.” Now, I am not the kind of na├»ve that believes that the evil corporate Blockdonald’s empire ripped the church right out from under this congregation. I know how it goes. I have seen it before. I even sort of lived it.

    ~~~~Hazy Music Plays as We Swoosh Back To The Author’s Childhood~~~~

    When I look back at the things that shaped me as a kid, one of the biggest factors is the church we attended. I grew up in a church in downtown Capitol Hill in South OKC. The area was once the center of commerce and activity for this part of town (both my father and my great grandmother held retail jobs when this area was the hub of the action), but as white flight took hold of OKC, declined. Doesn’t need much explanation, you know the story. You can blame it on any number of things, but it happened.

    My family continued at this church despite the decline and I think I owe much of who I am to that fact. I grew up alongside kids of varied economic backgrounds. Residents of the Baptist Women’s Shelter came to our church and brought their kids. I taught those kids in choir and in Bible School. I sat in the choir loft on a Sunday night as an abusive husband walked in the back of the church to “visit with” his wife (he was stopped by an usher who um…shared with him and the man left…I still don’t know how willingly). I was forced into an acute awareness of just how fortunate I was to be born into the family I was. I am awash in nostalgia as I think of a thousand stories. I won’t bore you. Just know it was important.

    In the 1980’s, the church membership had shrunk. Many families had left the church in search of “someplace for our kids”. A committee was formed and plans were made. The church moved its location to far Southwest OKC. It was a rapidly growing area and a move there promised an increase in the much coveted “young family” demographic. For a time, we kept the old building and functioned as “one church in two locations” but after about 5 years of that, the church moved into its present location. The Hispanic congregation we supported folded and the building was sold and a Hispanic congregation bought the facility where they run a church there today.

    It seems this is a trend. Churches all over the city are leaving their “inner city” locations and moving to the suburbs where members can be among people like themselves and the churches can grow. Dad and I had a long discussion over whether or not we can blame these people. I hesitated to blog this right away because I have no answers. I swing back and forth. I know it is human nature to seek out people like us and in a church, but I wonder where the kids who live in Downtown Capitol Hill get to grow up. Sometimes these suburb bound churches sell their buildings to congregations who are able to grow there but sometimes they level the area for a Blockdonald’s while churches stand shoulder to shoulder north of NW Expressway and south of I-240.

    Again, no answers. In my searching for a church, I have found myself looking more for people like myself than opportunities to minister. Sure, I want to minister, but I want to find some like minded buddies to share the experience. Don’t we all?

    The picture I saw this week with my dad was too vivid not to share.

    I Thrive on Your Teen Angst

    Ok, imaginary blog audience. I am asking a favor of you. You know the difference between a funny anecdote and me really griping about work, right? If you do, I need your help. When you sense real griping, remind me of what it is to go to prom.

    If you are imagining your own teen angst ridden past, leave it for a second and witness the snapshots I will carry.

    Happy ending boy, who left my school for the alternative program in a haze of drugs both prescription and recreational, seems to have pulled it off. He was his best, most calm, most handsome self as he told me he would graduate on time.

    Our Jr Class president glowed as she offered for her grandmother to make me a Nigerian formal (Just like hers!!!), wrapped me in her African head dress, and tried to convince me on the dance floor that my hips could indeed move like hers (pictures have survived of the head dress but not the dancing, and no, I don't care to have image hosting, thank you).

    I do what I do because I get to take moments like this. I get to see these people as their best selves. It's not just that they are dressed up, that's not it at all, but I get to see those times that so much of everything clicks. If I were on Inside The Actor's Studio (and I have long since given up that dream), I would answer that my favorite sound or noise is of my student's voice filling a room. I do the job I do to witness the moments that they step up and see their potential.

    That and the hot dog suit, I love that freakin hot dog suit.