One More Quote From The Crochet Listserv...

"I'm looking for an afghan pattern for a pentagram with a goat's head in the middle. If anyone has a good link to one, please let me know, as it's for the altar at my church."

The Hair Of The Dog

Today, I was grossed out by my crochet listserv. You would think that the last place to find grossness is a list of folks talking about scarves and tea cozies (Susan, those people need prune juice and Depends...I'm not there yet.).



Check out this exerpt from a post to the list (bold emphasis is mine)...

I would like to share my experiences with spinning pet fur. My grandchildren faithfully brushed their Golden Retriever Sugar and sent me sandwich bags full of her down. I mixed it with alpaca and handcarded and spun the soft fluffy fiber. It was plyed with a thin sparklygolden thread, then soaked in lukewarm water and Eucalan in the kitchensink; I squeezed the water out and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. Ihung the hank, unweighted, to dry and then crocheted a keepsake bag for each child. They were delighted to have such a remembrance.



My friend saved her son's angora cat's fur for me, the cat is sparking white. I mixed Puffy's fluff with merino and angelina and spun enough to make 2 ply yarn. My friend knit a wall hanging for her son for Christmas.I used the same procedure for washing the spun yarn which had a beautiful halo.


Did you get that? Scarves from dog and cat hair!!!



Keep your pet hair, friends. I will continue to work with the yarn I know.

Where She Reaches Her Arms Around The Internet For A Full Frontal Hug

Today I am awash with love for my children and those who love them. I have never been so proud of a losing team in my life.



Today was state competition for the We The People program. We participated with my debate class and were the Bad News Bears of the competition. Picture this...

  • Two of the three competing teams were Advanced Placement Government classes
  • Those classes are made up entirely of Seniors
  • Their teams were totally white

Now to contrast...

  • My Debate class is kids in grades 9-12.
  • My Debate class is special ed kids through honors kids
  • We are very much not all white (I hear that judge for the day and OK Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Gary Lumpkin commented that we "looked like the UN")

So, yeah, we took third out of three teams. So would you. But here's the deal, here's the magic: My kids spent the day basking in the love of great people who recognize their work. Parents came out, my colleagues from teacher institutes adopted my kids as thier own and took pictures, people in high places noticed their diversity and their effort. And my friend told me that the scores were somewhat close!!!

I feel like the debutante at the orgy (all those thank you notes...). I have lots of notes to write and some of you who read this blog will get the paper copy, but some of you won't. Know how important so many of you readers are to my classroom. When you cheer my kids on in this dinky blog, you love my kids. You help me see who they are when I defend them or enjoy them with you. Thanks for that. If you have had the pleasure of loving my kids in person, hold for a paper copy but for you, internet, thanks.

There is more to say and I know I am missing something and that perhaps this didn't make sense but today has been three weeks long. It's time for yarn and sleep.

Ribbed--And Maybe For My Pleasure!

Posted by Hello



I am in the process of teaching my hands to knit. Crocheting has already shown me the relaxing joy of yarn, but knitting is a bigger challenge. Why are these women smiling? Because they have hardly begun to knit, that's why! Look how small those swatches are!! It's nothing.



My knitting homework project has been ripped out three times. I get distracted and loose count of my knit knit purl purl sequence and end up with a renegade stitch at the end of a row. Take four is successful so far, but I had to walk away to keep my head fresh. Soon I will have enough knitting to see the ribs my stitches should be forming and my stretchy hat will form.



I'm keeping this up to prove I can perfect something. I am keeping this up to develop patience. Every time I wear something I made or pull out my yarn, a student will ask if I will teach them. I hope to do that someday. I want to create a community of kids like this.



I will get there. I will leave my computer soon and hit my needles and hope to see the ribbing.

How To Be My New Favorite

Overheard today in a discussion on why we might use speech someday...



"Someday when we have jobs, we might want to organize a strike. Then we'll have to speak to our co workers and to the bosses about working conditions."



*sigh* Power to the people.

If He Caught Me Today, I'd Be All..."Yarn."

Check out The Thought Project. Over a three month period, Simon Hoegsberg stopped 150 strangers on streets in New York, Copenhagen, and Denmark and asked them what they were thinking at that exact moment.



I draw no conclusions here, just thought it was interesting.

As I Check My Stats...

I notice someone in Carlsbad, CA who read every entry I have ever written today.



God bless you, kind reader. Thanks for sinking 46 min and 40 sec of your life into this blog. That's a lot of nothing you just read!

In The Future, Even Those Without Television Will Be Famous For Fifteen Minutes

It's hard for me to get my head around the idea that it was only fifteen years ago that I was "the" babysitter for a family. The Abarrs were a family in my home church with four homeschooled kids. They didn't own a television and as a result had the most creative kids ever.



Big fun for this family was diving into their huge collection of classic Broadway on vinyl. We played Jets and Sharks in the backyard. I won their hearts when I brought my copy of Annie over.



After the kids went to bed, I would curl up with a book. The parents would leave a book recommendation and they would come home to discuss the book with me for a moment before I would go home.



For teenage me, nothing beat the feeling of having adult friends who respected me in my own right. They sent me cards much of the way through college when they moved to Atlanta. I lost touch with them sometime in college but I still hear bits and pieces of them.



Now they will be appearing on Surprise By Design! Guess they got a TV at some point. The show airs on 1/31. If you see me shortly after that time, tell me I am young. I am not so sure I will feel it!

Happy Birthday Mom

What did she get?

  • Big fancy chocolate caramel pecan turtles
  • Promise to learn to tat together--the class is on me (my great grandmother used to tat, it's a family thing...nevermind what I would do with all that lace, suggestions?)
  • Silent kind smiles from me when she told me that she bought me this book.
  • Another kind silent smile when she told me that Kristin Chenoweth will be at Women of Faith this year and she was sure I would want to go.

I love you, mom. I love that you love me and worry. I love that you ask about my students and remember the stories I tell about them. I love that you taught me most of what I know about generosity. I look forward to tatting with you and want you to enjoy your huge turtle candies even though I would gnaw my arm off for chocolate right now.

Please don't ask me about Women of Faith again.



A Harrowing Moment

I spent about 45 seconds in terror yesterday. There was wreckage in the bottom of my purse. Carnage. Oh the humanity stuff.

The metal tin of breath mints I got as a "gift" from the Oklahoma Bar Association had opened and scattered at the bottom of my purse. The mints are tiny and pill like. In fact, they look quite a bit like my 10mg Lexipro pills. WHICH HAD ALSO SPILLED. IN THE BOTTOM OF MY PURSE.

Yep, the breath mints and anti depressants lay happily mixed in the bottom of my purse.

As I gently, carefully picked through the teeney white pill salad, I thought of the possible problems with my situation. What if I mix them up? What if I just want fresh breath but I overdose? What if I can't stop crying one day and just end up smelling nice? I giggled and filed the thought away, thinking it wouldn't occur to me again.

Until...

A visit to Sonic today had me ordering my usual (diet coke, extra lime) and reflecting on how cool Sonic had become to promote Diet Coke with fresh lime. I loved it before Coca Cola thought to can it. Loving my one time to be ahead of the curve, I noticed the small print on the ad.

"For a limited time only"

Limited!?!? Limited my ass!! Your mom is limited!!!! I imagined myself off my meds because I took a breath mint as a grabbed the carhop by her weasely collar and demanded, "Tell me it's not a limited time!!!".

Good thing that at moments like that, my breath is minty fresh.

I'm Number One!!

Just about every blog I read has done an entry like this at one time or another. They talk about the odd phrases that led readers to their humble sites. Here's what I have...

  • Sad kid
  • Clowny Clown Clown Clown
  • Ramblin Road Trip Ideas (I feel bad for this person if they take my entry's suggestion and get a root canal)
  • Bsby Shower Ideas (must be more careful with spelling)
  • Hairy Beavers College Mascot

"Wow", I thought, "maybe I owe that kid an apology". I conducted the search, finding that there is in fact, no college with the Hairy Beaver mascot and that I am number one on Google for the search "College Mascot Hairy Beavers".

I am moved with this honor, my blog doesn't reach many readers. I average only 14 visitors a day. It means something, however, to be number one for something.

Thank you, fans of the Fighting Hairy Beavers, thank you.



Not Made Up, I Say! REAL...

I just had a kid come to my room with a camera and ask me if I have

any tattoos. This is funny in itself, but even funnier is that the kid

is deaf and so he asked me through an interpreter. I don't have

tattoos, but I thanked him for thinking I might be cool enough to have

any.

Suspension Of The Rules

It seems strange to have long discussions about an art form that has almost no rules, but I often find myself discussing blogging with friends. Some friends are just readers and so our discussion involves "what I will blog next". My blogging blogfriends and I tend to talk about blog rules. Can I say that? How should I say that? Does an entry have to be a story? What if I went to an event and blogged one aspect thereof? Can I revisit the event weeks later to visit another aspect? I want to compliment you for blogging more but would that imply that your blogging habits are subpar? If I said you had a beautiful blog, would you hold it against me?



I am slowly realizing there are no rules, so here is a list.



I told you about the funeral for my Nana's son over the holidays, but I didn't tell you how very hilarious my home church was that day. For instance...

  • In the funeral sermon, my childhood pastor gave the same schpeil, "Jim would want you to know that he is in heaven today, and you can be too". As he talked on about heaven, he said in a rhythm-less cadence that hid the true origin of his text,
    "Heaven is a wonderful place, full of glory and grace, I want to see my Savior's face 'cause heaven is a wonderful place"
    Do you get it?? Are you with me??? He quoted The Music Machine!!! The. Music. Machine. Don't be surprised if Nathaniel the Grublet preaches their spring revival, friends.
  • Nana's grandson in law is a local TV Newscaster. He, of course, attended the funeral but a couple of his local celebrity co-workers also came. I was humiliated to see how many people approached these guys all fan-like. At a funeral!!! Holy mother of crap!!! Let the man bury his father in law!!!
  • New semester began today. I have all new classes now, two Communications and one Humanities. As Humanities began today, I recognized one of my new students as a good natured special ed kid who I see at several school events. Seconds before we start class I can hear this loud, labored wheezing from his part of the room. I look over at him, trying to sound cheerful and say "Hey, you ok there?" "Yeah," he gasps, " I'm hyperventilating because of all these new people.". Wow. He proves to be good-natured and sweet if not a bit over eager. As I explained that this quarter, we would study man's creation from early civilization to the renaissance, he cheered, "Yeah!!! All right!!! The renaissance! Michelangelo!!!!". When he and another student volunteer to read aloud at the same time and I glibly suggest they leg wrestle for it, the kid gets up like he will leg wrestle.
  • Karina is proving to be the master of the art of the link with this post.
  • And finally tonight, a story of a blog held hostage. It seems the McCarty computer is shackled by the chains of a virus. They are praying for healing, but in the meantime, asked me to post to their blog for them. Now it seems that the login they gave me is not working!!! It's spiritual warfare!!!


New Vocabulary For The Day

Swoll---adj."You know, like all buff and stuff.

Example: "Oooh, Usher look good since he all swoll."

Props To Another Educat!

I was so glad to see hipteacher comment on that crazy entry about my near snappage in class last week. It's good to hear that even if I am crazy or eccentric, it entertains you all.



hipteacher is on the blogroll. Check her out!

I'm With The Band...Uh...Baby

Walked in the door yesterday from a long winter's leadership retreat to the one invitation that would get me out of the house. Jill's husband was watching offspring one through four while she made the trek to the big Wal Mart and wondered if I would join her and baby Chachi for shopping and burritos. Since I had yet to meet little Chaz and our time together is fading (Jill and company are moving to Virginia in a few weeks), I went.



Jill has decided (and I say this with her blessing) to try out every crunchy granola parenting trick on this her last baby. She is using a sling with wee Chuck IV.



Chiz-arlie is a hilariously goregous boy. I tend to agree that babies tend to look like old men, and Carlos is no exception. He is unusually alert and expressive for 2.5 months. He also, and I say this also with permission, has the hair of a troll doll.



So Chachi does not nestle unseen into the sling, but sits up, alert to the human carnival that is Wal Mart. Hair and all.



Now of all the freaks in the Wal Mart, somehow Jill causes a ruckus with her sling encased baby. We we stopped or spoken of on every other aisle. "Look at that baby thing!" (Jill, they did not call Charles a baby thing, I am sure it was the sling.) "Hey! Can I get the phone number from your carrier!?". Jill was a rock star. A mother of five, cordoroy jacket and khaki baby sling rock star. And I was with the band.



I had just shared the rock star feeling with my bosom friend when another couple looked in shock and approached as if to comment. I smiled and nodded addressing a comment yet unmade. "Yes," I thought, "My friend has a sling. It encourages parent child bonding. You do know that Cindy Crawford has one, do you not?"



Then the couple drew just close enough for us to hear them say, "Boy, that baby sure has funny hair!".



"Please, when you blog of this, and I know you shall. Blog kindly."

Things The OBU College of Teacher Education Failed to Mention

---Conversation with kid I just pulled from class---

-Hey, tell me about your jacket.
-What?
-What does it mean?
-It's a college.
-What college has the mascot "Hairy Beavers"?
-I dunno.
-Do you know what else that might mean?
-Huh?
-I need you to take that off and not wear it to class again.
-Why?
-Some people might think that your jacket is talking about a vagina...
**Child sniggers***
-...so maybe it should stay home.

When They Took My Mugshot, I Tried To Look Like Molly Ringwald

Writing the last entry (which you will read after this one) made me want to share the story of the only time I was ever sent to the office. It's a good Christian school flashback.

I'm in the 8th grade at Grace Christian Academy. Christian Living class, they separate us by gender so we can learn about menstruation and Proverbs 31 at the same time. Miss Cottrell is in the midst of conducting laundry drills! She names the garment, you name the temp in which to wash!

**sidebar** Miss Cottrell is of one of the sects that wears no pants, no makeup, and doesn't cut their hair. This matters later...oh yes, it matters.

I am daydreaming away...probably about Duran Duran...when Miss Cottrell comes to me. Thirteen year old, five foot eight me.

"Educat (as I was called at 13), 100% cotton jeans"

"Uhhh...hot?"

"13 year old Educat!, no wonder your pants are always too short!"

"Like you wear pants, Miss Cottrell!"

It was worth it, friends. Well worth it.

He Preaches the Gospel of Repentance to Halliburton!!

Two ideas rattling in my head led to this entry:

  • Greg's post and the following comments titled "Reactionary" have me thinking about my time growing up in the church and in Christian schools and how it has brought me where I am. I have left the church, particularly the Baptists, slowly for the last 15 years. First it was the ordination of women, then separation of church and state, then the idea that poverty is not moral failure, then I had the nerve to not get married, and most earth shattering the questions about how man actually finds himself on a journey with God. It's been hard work for the last 15 years.
  • I am packing for our school's leadership retreat. I am such a sucker for these events--they are what youth camp might have been for me if you weren't supposed to find a boyfriend or talk about hell. The big Saturday night feature event is "Me in a box"--a self explanatory activity. Searching for an old big haired pic of 1980's Educat led me looking through memorabilia from high school and early college. Most interesting are about 5 horrid religious poems by some man in his 50's who used to sit in "Downtown Falls Creek" (you know where I mean, between the book store and the Icee stand) and sign these poems that he wrote. Look for a these in a later entry. They are quite 80's retro fundy fascinating.

All this deconstruction and leaving behind of things has made me want to build---something. I know what I don't want, now it's time to find what I do want. I have found it. Join me friends, I hereby seek ordination in Rev. Billy's Church of Stop Shopping!!

Just Remember Who Got Pissed About This First

First, some blog business.



I have an entry floating in cyberspace. I have taken to the habit of blogging those "Holy crap, did a kid just say that!?" moments via email from work. It all works out, taxpayers. Takes me all of 30 seconds. So I did that the Monday, sent it in, and never saw the entry again...



Until today!



So evidently, there's a two day delay in entries emailed to this blog. It's somehow time released.



No man knows when the next entry shall come!! Keep your lamps trimmed and burning! Two shall be working in the field and one shall leave to check the blog!!!



Now the news...



Are you tired of Armstrong Williams yet? I'm not, it all just keeps a-coming! Besides, who else in this blog loop has found this way to bitch about the government? I am your one stop source for this particular brand of ire.



Yesterday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told the press that the payola deal with Williams was an isolated incident, just a bad apple.



Apparently, Mr. Williams begs to differ.



In The Nation, David Corn recounts a personal conversation with Williams in which he says that this sort of stuff happens all the time. Read now. Go. Leave my blog and read this now.

Things They Never Told Me I Would Say At OBU

"Guys, I need you more worried about the work today than your
boyfriend's criminal record."

Really, I just said that.

What Am I Missing Here?

Armstrong Williams has posted an apology on his site for "continuing to write about a topic which my PR firm was being paid to promote". It's here.



Am I grossly underinformed or has he missed the point entirely? He fails to link his support of NCLB to his support of vouchers---NCLB does not take a direct route to vouchers. He also fails to mention that the funds that paid for the radio spots also brought former Secretary of Education Rod Paige onto his radio party machine.



Aren't these both big deal issues?



I am hereby adding David Berliner's The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America's Public Schools to my reading list. From what I understand, it outlines how when elected in 1980, Reagan was given the charge to dismantle the US Department of Education. I have not wanted to believe conspiracy theories in the past, but now I wonder.



I am very much pro accountability for our schools, but it seems that NCLB is creating an unwinnable war for my friends and I. Do I think the federal govt is the most effective body to control education? Would I like to see more state control over education? Yes, but must we do so by creating public opinion that we have failed?

I have referenced Jamie Vollmer here before. He is an advocate of public education that has hit all the educrat hotspots in the last few years. He gives some real insight on the way the job of public education has changed and how well we actually do that changing job. I wanted to send you directly to some of his best stuff, but his site does not allow deep linking. Check out the tab on his homepage that outlines "The Burden" and you will see the meat of his argument.

So now this seems to be two entries, Armstrong Williams (which, by the way, has the same number of syllables and therefore the same rhythm as Hong Kong Phooey and makes me want to give him the surname of "Number one super guy") didn't apologize for anything more than having two jobs and he advertised a piece of legislation aimed to slowly cut away at public schools.

I hereby invite Armstrong to my classroom any day he chooses.

Conversation Transcript To Show How White I Really Am

Friend from another culture: Man, I went to Bath and

Body Works to get my niece the Sweet

Pea candle
she wanted and it was fifteen bucks! I'm not paying fifteen bucks

for a candle!



Former BBW advisor:
I guess this is the part where I am

supposed to tell you about the 100 hour burn time on that candle.



FFAC:
I can get you 100 hours of candle, you know those candles near the salsa in the grocery store? Those burn for five days at a time!



Confectioners Sugar, How Come You Taste So Good?:
Yeah?

Are they scented?



FFAC:
No, you have to have incense for that.



White Girl:
Unless you are praying to...



FFAC:
Right, unless you are praying to Saint Sweet

Pea.





I come from a culture where everyone has two sets of dishes, and no one has wine glasses. I am working to get over it.

Pimp My Legislation

Today, The Houston Chronicle reports that black conservative commentator Armstrong Williams was paid $240,000 to positively tout No Child Left Behind. His company, the Graham Williams group made ads with one min reads from my former boyfriend Rod Paige and also bought Paige time as an in studio guest on Williams' radio show.



Do you even need to hear my commentary here? I have spent the entire day with high school children showing them how to say more with fewer words and yet I have thousands now.

  • I am amazed that our administration spent so much of our tax money on something like creating positive images. You can either admire or hate it, but I have always seen our President as a man who could care less who doesn't like him or his policies.
  • I have heard research that says that the more the general public knows about NCLB, the less the approve of it (just trust me on this, I looked for a link...got bobkes). Perhaps the idea is that those who drink the Armstrong Williams kool aid will fancy themselves informed and not actually read the legislation.
  • I think some people did that with me and the Bible once.

I was all set to mull over and write a big entry about mood music and musical influences along the lines of Scott's and now my mind is all pissy.

Music later. Am taking myself to a movie tonight.



Hanafi Update

By way of update, my student's father has called the school to say
that Hanafi is OK. He is still in Indonesia and will be able to return
to the US on the 14th. Evidently, the family has not been able to
return together, but they are all on the way.

Dad and I Were Both Off Work...

Can it mean anything but a wacky entry???



I'll just do this in snippet format...

  • (while watching The Emperor's Club) "I think instead of having a Mr. Julius Caesar contest, they should have a Mr. Ethel Merman contest with compulsory loud showtune singing. You'd have to require There's No Business Like Show Business but after that, those prep school boys could really get creative."
  • "I always worry about the days that the Preach Unto Them Jesus Academy is closed. Will anyone be doing it on those days?"
  • I told him about my student in Indonesia. "Well, good thing he's on the swim team."

More as I remember them, both of us thank you for the warm responses to each father/daughter entry.



A Fraction of The Tragedy

It's hard to know whether I should feel cold or stupid. Of course 175,000 or more deaths around the Indian Ocean is huge. It's unfathomable. Of course I was shocked and moved. I couldn't make it real, though, until I heard about Hanafi.



I found out today that one of my former students, Hanafi, left to visit his family in Indonesia over the break and has not come back to school yet. I don't know much more than that. He was discussed and honored briefly at an assembly today when his swim coach shared the news with us.



Think of Hanafi and his family now but when you do, keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of people are in the same boat. They wonder and they pray.



What I Learned In School Today

I nearly snapped today. For you hipsters, I refer to the "Oh, the humanity! She's up on the belltower!!" sort of snapped and not any sort of finger popping jive.



Snapped.



I think all the crazy bad homelife children of mine came back crazier after two weeks of their real or imagined home drama. My "good class" is averaging a couple of temper tantrums a day. Add that to the "ohmigawdMsOIdidn'tknowitwasdueandIjustneedonemoreday ohmigawdohmigawd PLEEEEEEZE!!!!!!!" panic, add water and bake til done.



I was making my THIRD trip to the copier (never give me your only copy of anything, children) when it hit me. An urge hit me. An urge bigger than all of us. I wanted to go back to my room, stand before my beloved children, and grab my breasts yelling "These are dry!!! Dry, I say!!!! I do not lactate for you or anyone else so quit expecting me to nurse you!!!!!!!"



At this juncture it seems appropriate to extend a hearty educat welcome to those of you who found this site by googling the phrase "grab my breasts" and apologize for the lack of pictures. Trust me, I live with the breasts in question and you are better off without them.



I didn't do it. I didn't snap and in fact was able to put out one emotional fire, discuss faith based initiatives, and write a snappy letter of recommendation. Rest easy, your tax dollars were well spent.



I'm not made of stone, though. That's all I'm sayin'.



Keep Your Mitts Off penumbra!

Lake Superior State University has released its list of banished words for the new year. Evidently this has been going on since 1976 and I am only now aware of the list. I once again loose points for edgy-ness.



I concur with most of the list, all the 2004 election terminology make my teeth hurt and if I am using izzle speak, we can declare the fad uber over (I hate hate hate uber since a teenager quit Youth and Government, left her attorney partner hanging, and offered an excuse of being "uber stressed". Cry me a river, kid.).



But blog?? Blog??? How is the word blog to be banished?? On what sort of Superior Lake do you float, sir? I vote that nouns cannot be banished--otherwise we will be forced to call our treasured online journals what?? Turkey platters?



My additions to the list include:

  • "Yeah" when used as the end of an unfinished sentence. The speaker looks all vacuous, eyes roll back in head...
  • "Know what I'm saying?" Might this have made the list years ago? Please trust that if you have to ask, I probably do not know what you're saying.
  • "Up in here" This gem has made my list annually since the late 90's. Don't get crazy with your prepositions.
  • Amazing I am humiliated to have used this word in last night's New Year's toast. It has been completely devalued and my goal this year is to find at least 3 substitutes.

Please share your additions. We shall write them on paper, fold them into tiny boats, and float them on Lake Superior.