Educat v2004.11.5

I heard David Sedaris today on Fresh Air. The interview talked about his latest book and on how he became a writer.

He started writing at 20 and said that he had no inclination to write before that time. One day, he didn't write and the next, he was a writer. It all began that easily.

I have been mulling over a year end entry for some time now. Although the first entries of this blog were written in October of 2003, I left it and came back to it in February of this year. I would not be so presumptuous as to say that now I am a writer. I'm not, really. I still have trouble saying what I mean and I don't even touch some topics here as I feel inarticulate or inadequate to say what I mean.

What I will say, and what the Sedaris interview made me think about is what I have become this year.

I began this year watching my father breathe. He had a pulmonary embolism on New Year's Eve and at 1am I met my family at the hospital. I spent most of the month of January by his bed wondering what this trauma would make him, my family, and me. I was frazzled from my schedule and scared. I wanted a church but the questions and anxiety I had brought me little from every place I visited.

The month of January changed me. It made me remember and reflect. I came back to the blog with nothing profound but just some stuff to say.

Then I got readers! Then I read my readers and the readers of my readers!

I won't thank you all individually as I know I will forget someone, but know that I take this stuff in. I might not always answer with the intelligence that I want, but I listen. The questions I had before about faith and identity have now been replaced with more questions and the anxiety has been replaced (in ever growing amounts) by medication. Some blog friends have become real friends and some real friends have become blog friends.

Thank you. It seems inadequate to just say thank you but know you have helped me become the latest (and most improved so far) me. Who would have known the part that yarn, the internet and the US Constitution would have in growing me this year!

Keep writing, friends, I'm not through listening.

Just to prove it was real, here is a shot. Posted by Hello

Father Daughter Pre Holiday Fun, II

This morning, I was given the charge by my mother to "keep your father out of the house for a while", so I took him out to finish my errands, and get coffee.

As he picked me up, he noticed the pole left by neighbors who moved out months ago. They took the satellite dish and left the pole in my "yard".
"That is some Festivus pole you have, sister."
"Yeah, just you wait til the airing of grievances. I will give those ex neighbors what for."
"You gonna decorate your Festivus pole?"
I think you can guess what followed...

...and here is the close up. Happy Festivus From The Rest Of Us! Posted by Hello

Do You Suppose That Waiting Hands On Eyes Veronica Has Gone To Hide?

My family spent the day at a funeral for a man at my home church. His 95 year old mother has been an adopted Nana to my sister and I for most of our lives and so we found ourselves in the odd role of pseudo family. Nana is suffering from Alzheimer's and so my mother helped her through the day. My sister and I spent time with her waiting for the family to get home from the graveside.

I wish I could know if Nana understood today anywhere in her mind. Somehow she knew my sister and I and told us often that she loved us and was proud of us. We talked about how many people were at the church ("Have I been to that church before? It's a nice one" Nana has been a member of that church since at least the 1930's) but never seemed to understand what she was there for. She asked where her Jim (the deceased) was today, did I see him? (I answered no, it was a closed casket). Strangest of all, when I left, she looked me in the eye, called me by name, and told me she loved me.

I love Nana too and maybe that's the point. I don't mind being single at all until I think of being old with no family left but maybe the lesson from Nana is that investing your life in people means you keep them. Then maybe they keep you.

It's Like Watching Iron Chef With Yarn

In my neverending search for free stuff online, I was searching crochet patterns. I actually found this site from a thread on crafster. If you are in anyway inclined to handicrafts and have a sense of irony, you will love a site with crochet patterns for pot leaves.

So I end up at the site of a Japanese yarn company, translate the site into English via Google, and end up with these quotable descriptions of their work...

  • This year flower motif of attention, 3 making, connect the れ れ, oh with

    while saying, be able to make, rising! It is warm, it held, it is the accessory

    of new feeling.
  • The hat which is knitted for the first time is such a simple shape the male

    is completed.With the セ ッ ト of the hat and the muffler please in the present!
  • It becomes such a checkered pattern the chart knitting and the reverse side

    knitting of the basis depending upon combination.Don't you think? it becomes

    desired being the color difference
  • First you challenge to the simple muffler.If such a BASIC color, you can use

    in the unisex, don't you think
  • Delicate pattern is beautiful, it is the muffler of the crochet needle

    knitting. Round and round while increasing, it just knits, very it is the

    luxurious completion.

I will now strive for such commentary for every item I make.

It's Like Betsy Ross, Only With A Scarf!

I know this is funny...I am just so used to it that I fail to see it. One of the kids quick like (and therefore poorly) snapped this tonight.


"Well, hon, bring the Constitution over here and let me put down my knittin'." Posted by Hello

Nerd Is A Many Splendored Thing

I am kinds of tired that no one on vacation should be. It's a good kind of tired, but tired nonetheless. Three meetings that should not have overlapped did and so that put me out of the house and running for over 12 hours.

Last meeting of the day found me at Borders for a debate work session. Yep, I said work session. On their break. And work they did (mostly, there was that one group in the children's section that I never seem to have gotten a handle on...)! I gots me some nerds!

I am questioning the logic of arranging a meeting place with children where literary and auditory diversions are sold...too much stimulus.

Wouldn't it be a perfect segue to say that I had to pull the kids away from the Brittany Spears albums to talk about the Constitution? Then I could link to this and declare a call to arms!!!

We still need the call to arms as long as we live in a world where this is so whorishly marketed (seriously, it comes in about 5 forms of calendar plus the album!), I just didn't find it tonight.

That would have been a neat entry, eh, internet?

Anytime There is New Smart Ass Poetry, An Angel Gets Its Wings!

Anyone can play solitaire on a palm in a meeting, but I think the next level of cool is to write mocking poetry in meetings!

We all use a different form, I likes me some haiku but my friend Beth-who-is-not-in-the-library writes limericks. The satisfaction comes from the crafting of the poetry but sharing it brings catharsis to a new level.

My next door teacher neighbor is a lurker here and just when I don't feel myself being all edu-catty, she comes by to giggle about something she read here. Today when that happened, she shared her first try at mocking meeting poetry.

Know first that the "Big Sticky" is the easel sized post it note that is all the rage in the Dilbert like "small sharing groups" that infect most meetings.


We live in the age of the big sticky.

There is no escape

.Nights filled with quick, smiley legs

and hairy markers.

Succumbing to them,

the living parts of us go SPLAT on the floorand die.

Breaks, vacations, mental health days,

Oh, sweet respite!

BS lurks to kill again.

Thanks, JeanAnn. Your poem is back in your box.

I Can't Comment on my Blog From Work...

but I can do a whole other entry!!

I drop a word here to respond to Marty and clarify my last entry about
the OBU. I am pretty sure what I want the end product to be (my child
somewhere besides Bison Hill), but I have to use my power for good. I
have to be smoove.

Comment, kids, what questions does she ask the admissions kid so she
sees for herself she wants to be elsewhere?

Loyal To Our Alma Mater?...I'm Trying!

I have a serious question for you, internet. I need all you OBU kids to listen.

I have this kid at school who is a senior. Truth be told, I own her and I don't for the life of me know why. She might go way too far to please me.

She told me today she is talking with the admissions folk at the OBU.

I loved loved loved and loved some more my time there. I would send 1/3 of the kids I know to the OBU I knew from 1989-94. I told Hortense* what OBU was for me but am concerned about all the changes. I encouraged her to ask hard questions of the admissions person and then told her I would give her some idea of what to ask.

That's my question, internet Bison family. Besides some real answers about the effects of the budget cuts, what can my kid ask to help her make the best decision?

*All real names have been changed. Except for me. And OBU. And you, internet.

Dish Up The Egg Nog and Prepare to Be Charmed

You know A Christmas Carol, you know Gift of the Magi, perhaps you even know Emmit Otter's Jug Band Christmas (if you don't, I own it and can sing all the songs). Add to that canon of tales The First Henderson Christmas. Go to Karina's blog and read it, check the pics to prove that neither is Tiny Tim and no one sold their hair to buy that there tree.

It is a touching tale and I am honored to be marginally a part of the story as Karina recounts our trip to Big Lots

I am pimping this blog to you, read it, comment, and clap your hands if you believe in Karina.

Rumor Has It The Christ Child Is One Of Julia Robert's Twins!

Remember Beck and Posh as the Holy Family? Here is the whole sad company at Madame Tussaud's. (from left) Samuel L Jackson, Hugh Grant, Graham Norton, Beck and Posh, Kylie Minogue (flying overhead), Tony Blair, Duke of Edinburgh, and George W Bush.

News today is the Bush wiseman (yeah, I know) was found decapitated. Comment with something pithy and stay with Ramblin' Educat for this and other hard hitting news stories. Posted by Hello

If This Works...

...I shall be posting to my blog via email and I am afraid the fun
just might not end.

What I Did For Church Today

Evangelical Expatriate (thanks, McCartys, for the link) wrote about and linked to Friday's Diane Rehm Show where she interviewed Emily Saliers (do I need to tell you she is 1/2 of The Indigo Girls?) and her father (I probably do need to tell you he is a professor of sacred music at Emory) about their new book Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. The book talks about the spirituality of all music and how music both sacred and secular communicates a shared experience (at least that's what Amazon and npr say).

The archived link to the show is here. I am going to say some stuff in the rest of this entry, but if you leave me to listen to this, you will be better off than if you just read to the end of this post. Promise.

If you are not moved by the extended version of Hammer and a Nail around 24:00 then you are dead inside. Please go to your black mountain and drink from a skull.

Hammer and A Nail has always been one of my favorite Indigo Girls songs. Nomads, Indians and Saints was the first IG album I bought back in...umm...92? I love the way the song speaks to the human (or at least Educat-esque) tendency to think and think and stew on stuff and never take action. This morning, I wept, oh yes I did, as I listened to the version on Diane Rhem. Emily sings the last verse and chorus and then the ending goes directly into "Let Us Break Bread Together". Hammer and A Nail never gives a solution, it just says "take action". This medley seemed to put a finer point on it.

"Let us break bread together on our knees.
Let us break bread together on our knees.
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
Oh Lord, have mercy on me."
Wouldn't it be easy to end this with "...and so I decided to find a church, next Sunday. No! Wednesday night! No! Tonight!! Tonight I shall go to prayer meeting and it will be easy!"? Sorry, internet. I can't find that easy an ending. I have started mulling solutions, though. We shall speak of this again.

Is there perhaps a place in heaven for women who don't own Christmas sweaters? Posted by Hello

The Teacher On The Bus Says, "Holy Crap".

Why blog I at 6:30 am on a Saturday? Because yesterday was so hard I went to bed at 8:30 in the pm.

It is a powerful, powerful, woman who can make sure 23 children are dressed up, have their cases. taken care of reasonable personal needs and on a school bus to Norman all whilst wearing a suit herself.

Thus my exhaustion. (I want my $5 for that!)

Yesterday was blogworthy on several fronts, but I will begin with the silly. I call upon those teachers and youth workers, both former and present to help me codify a code of etiquette.

I present

Ms. Educat's Rules Of The Bus Song--First Draft
  1. All bus songs must be school appropriate. Would you sing them to your mother or better yet since there is a chance that your mother might be crazy, would you sing them to my mother?
  2. There shall be only one bus song at a time If the purpose of singing is to be heard, please aim for that goal by singing only when others are not.
  3. If you are the child whose public speaking sounds like Eeyore, you may not be the child who sings "The Flinstones" with life or death passion Seriously, you are pissing Ms. Educat off.
  4. Do not mock the bus song. One teenage bus song is truly as silly as another, Do not mock the ladies singing Brittany Spears when all you want is quiet so you and your friends can sing Sponge Bob Square Pants.

Friends, I am open for amendments and additions.

Last Night's Bloggerhea

You know, internet, when I have one of those rare, so-much-to-talk-about, 4 entry nights, I really must learn to save as draft and pace myself


Oooh, yeah! Forgot!!!

Go to Keaton and read the obit from the Oklahoman! It's his 12/8 entry.

In the absence of sons and heirs (or even nieces and nephews), I plan now to sell ad space on my own obit. I will set the price list soon and you'll get in on the ground floor of a sweet deal. Who knows what ad space will be worth by the time I go??

I Remain On The Pavement Thinking About The Government

So last night's entry came after a bit of research into protocol and legality of military recruiters in high schools. I learned a coupla things.

  1. No Child Left Behind requires that the school release student information to the selective service (read about that here). This sets the stage for the relentless phone calls to the homes of my kids by recruiters.
  2. Read a bit further into the information on the US Govt site and note that it says that high schools are "to give military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as they provide to postsecondary institutions or to prospective employers". This says the same access. Same, not preferential. Are universities able to walk into my classroom and pull out students unsolicited? Do they troll the cafeteria at lunch? Demand to park in the library to see who passes through?

The answer is no, they do not. I will refrain from going all political (if you want to get all political, however, go here). The point is this, my classroom is sacred. I am not one of those teachers who hit the roof any time a note is delivered or an assembly held. I know that part of high school is learning to live and function in community. I know this. But for the sake of all that is good and holy, if you can't get these kids at home, lunch or the malls and movie theatres you frequent, they might not want to join you.

Or perhaps they just want to learn MLA citation first.

If I Could Make This Stuff Up, Do You Think I'd Be Teaching High School?

Overheard today in the classroom...

"What your baby name?"

"My baby name Jay-Kwan"

"For the rapper?"


So if all teenage girls name their babies for the music they hear, I started to think of what my children's names might be.

  • Kajagoogoo
  • Morrissey
  • Depeche Mode
  • Cramp (yeah, I listened to The Cramps)

And lo, David Beckham and that one Spice Girl shall be cast in wax and they shall bring forth much fear. Great shall be Yahoo News for publishing it. Posted by Hello

I'm On The Pavement Thinking About The Government

I will now entertain suggestions on how I can effectively teach an MLA citation while the military recruiters breathe down the necks of my students.

We are in the library researching when the recruiter asks if she can speak to one of my students about "something personal".

Seriously, let the kid graduate and talk to him on lunch. I know you don't have to do an MLA citation in order to fight terrah but I got some stuff to do here!!!

I Do Refer to Eminem as Mr. Mathers

I have learned an important lesson in my eleven years of teaching, internet. I have learned that if you want to have a really good rap star name, it has to sound ridiculous when said by your 30 something white teacher.

I submit for your approval Chingy.

Chingy the rapper!

Talk of you takes my class time.

What web do you spin?

I have three times in the last week had to remind my classes (different classes, mind you) that they would have to do their persuasive speeches whether or not they had solved the riddle of whether or not Chingy was that cute.

Go here and see for yourself, I think he's not.

Karina weighed in on the issue today via email (I had referred to the dilemma via voice mail):

Just got your voicemail and tried to catch you before class, but you must have returned to the land of discussing if Chingy is cute by that time. (An aside - at first, I truly thought you said "Cheney." Upon hearing the rest of the phrase, though, I quickly ran it back through my mind and decided that would not be a conversation it would be humanly possible to have.)
I don't think Cheney is cute either. And I think I would have been the teacher who called Beaver Cleaver "Theodore".

Oh Yeah! I Did Pick The Right Career!

In homage to Dooce, I offer my own entry in How to Charm Me

  1. Be the slack jawed one all semester.
  2. Answer no follow up questions when you do your hearings (Does this explain?).
  3. Get a referral and play real dumb when questioned.
  4. Find teacher's Worst. Day. Ever.
  5. Hand teacher a slip of paper with the quote, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. --Albert Einstein"
  6. Tell teacher you like the quote and you think it's like the ones she has on her board every day.
  7. Allow teacher to ask if you think this might be kind of like this class.
  8. Smile and say "Yeah, that's exactly why I wrote it down".

Repeat steps 5-8 as necessary.

I promise tonight to blog about Chingy but need to wash this day off.

A full entry for this hilarious gift idea escapes me, so let's just make this a caption contest. Go! Winner gets a hearty belly laugh. Posted by Hello

Gloomy Sunday

Sundays are strange for me lately. It's my only day not packed with stuff and so in the absence of a crammed schedule, I tend to just collapse. I knitted in bed for a couple of hours today and forced myself to go take my sister to lunch for her birthday (She is not a blog reader but is 30 today so happy day to Courtney! Both sisters are single and in their 30's and not a cat between them!!). While out on this adventure, I used a hand dryer in a public restroom and laughed. Printed on the dryer are the words:

Hand Dryers save trees
Hand Dryers are good for the environment
Hand Dryers reduce waste and allow for a cleaner facility
so I imagined
You will enjoy the Hand Dryer
Shut up and use the Hand Dryer
Do not wipe your hands on your pants
Lastly, my haiku has now been recognized elsewhere. Hi! Monkey! dot net is satisfying to me on levels I do not fully understand myself and my haiku submission has found its way onto the poems from pals page. It's not my best, but there it is. Don't call me a poet, just a counter of syllables.

Yarn...That's What I'm Talking 'Bout

I was called a yarn whore recently and I am afraid it is true. I blog less these days firstly because I seem to have more trouble making my thoughts make sense and secondly, all that holiday knitting won't finish itself.

I am taking more knitting classes after Christmas! By January I shall reek of yarn whoreishness. Bits of yarn will peek out of my unmentionables and I shall smell unashamedly of wool.

For the ultimate projects, I will make these and these for all my loved ones.

There. I only wrote this entry to post those links.