phương tiện giao thông

...translated from Vietnamese, Means of Communication

Teaching quarter classes gives me the luxury and pain of having four first days of school a year. The change is refreshing but I miss the routine of even a crazy class (for the record, I will say I have been pretty lucky this year, nothing truly wretched).

So today it's all new. I have the tedium of my tried and true first day speeches ("Have you been in the good class? What's it like? Have you been in the bad class? What's it like?") and the reteaching of routine. This morning a challenge was added to the routine---several non english speakers have been placed in this speech class. Today there were three lovely Vietnamese girls and I understand I have several Hispanic kids and perhaps one Jordanian. My district has pulled all ESL teachers to perform testing for the entire last quarter.

So here we are.

I think my English is better and much clearer when it is spoken with wide eyes, deep knee bends and sweeping gestures. I think that made it sound like Vietnamese and I'm sure it will help with Spanish and Farsi also. I am taking this advice. Hoping for success.

Additionally, I don't know if you all wished this on me, but be aware that Princess Grace has joined us in Modern Humanities. I will now be teaching Art History to a young lady who claims that holding your farts in will kill you.

Farewell, Your Majesty!

The third quarter ended today. It meant the last day altogether with two of my classes and a significant personnel shift in Humanities.

It was my last day with Princess Grace and the Songbird.

Enjoy one last conversation...

Educat: "Songbird, I need you to sit down until the bell rings, please."

Songbird continues her slow trip to the door whilst emitting an R&B style

Educat: "Songbird..."

Songbird grimaces and mutters something unintelligible

Educat: "Songbird, do you have any general ideas about propriety?'

Songbird: "Uhhhh....what that?"

Educat: "It's the noun form of proper. So if you are being proper or acting
properly, you are showing propriety."

Songbird: "Oooh, I mo use that. I mo tell people that be rude that they ain't
acting propriety."

Educat: "Do you mean using propriety?"

Songbird: "Shoot, thass what I hate bout this class, all those long ass

Princess Grace: "Girl, you ain't got no propriety!"

I will admit that I have come to appreciate Princess Grace. I don't know that
I'd say miss, but I will say appreciate.

Tomorrow morning I get a new Communications class. Due to some administrative mixup with testing (I will save my anger until I know who to blame), we have lost our English as a Second Language teacher and all those students must be placed. So what's the logical place to put kids of many
nationalities who can't speak English?


Stay tuned for more.

One of The Masses Of Pissed Off Former Beanie Wearers*

I am recovering from a nasty case of strep and had sworn off blogging for a time. See, when you see nothing but four walls, a television and the internets, it's easy to hear an imagined crowd in your ears cheering you on to some dumb blogging and well, dumb blogging is just dumb. More on this later, I think.

So what pulled me out? News is that my alma mater fired an employee for writing an editorial for a local paper. Read the whole story and see the sad changes in Oklahoma Baptist University. It's all so ironic to me as OBU was a major player on my road to critical thinking. It was there I learned a different perspective on Scripture, and broadened my focus in ways I never thought I would.

So now they fire someone for asking a question that I think the church should be asking. What happens to the people that we leave when church moves out into the cushy part of town? I asked the same question about a year ago here and still do as I see churches all over OKC continue their mad dash to the edges. It's a good question and the kind of question I thought OBU had taught me to ask. Guess not.

I haven't recommended a student to OBU in a long time. It hasn't been a conscious thing, but I have felt for some time that the experience I had there is over. My student loans are paid off, the era has ended. I will have to find other places to love handbells and men's choruses. I am, however, still open to the "Cranking Out Cynics Since 1910" t shirts, we just might have to put an end date after 1910 now.

*For non OBU alums, a green and gold beanie is issued to all freshman during Welcome Week. They are worn at all times at the first of the year (the time spent in a beanie has grown shorter and shorter over the years as the University has grown afraid of hazing). The campus is chock-a-block full of such traditions that are moving when you by in to them and goofy when you don't. For the record, I bought in.

A series, as of names or words, printed or written down: catalog, register, roll, roster, schedule.

...that's what the thesaurus said. I just didn't want to say "list" again. Theme of today's catalog is minor illness and hilarity that ensues.

  • I was hit late Saturday afternoon with a blazing fever. It was the whole cavalcade of grossness; chills, weakness. I hoped to rest it away.
  • I fell asleep with the Food Network on TV and had dreams about the shows that were on. Rachel Ray and I went to the Capitol to lobby for something (I don't remember what, but she was too chatty for my liking), I think I went hiking with the woman from Everyday Italian.
  • I woke with my socks near my head. How did that happen? Why?? Because my feet were on fire!!!! Pies en el fuego!! Flames were shooting from my big feet of fire!!!
  • Sunday was nothing but a hazy day of self loathing. It's not important. Called for a sub.
  • Today I woke feverless! Only the weakness remained and I am sure it was from lack of food.
  • The woman in the grocery store saw my old school circa 1989 Late Night with David Letterman tshirt and asked if I had been on Letterman. Should've said yes.
  • The school secretary hit a trifecta of incompetence by a. losing my lesson plans b. losing my check to renew my teacher's certificate and c. not listening to the announcements to hear that my afterschool tutoring gig was cancelled.
  • A 3pm school email check showed a call from the parent of a tutoring kid. I called as she has proven in the past that her calls are to be returned sooner than asap. After I identified myself she exclaimed in an almost accusatory tone, "Are you at school!? Baby boy just came home and said tutoring was canceled!!". "Yes, ma'am, I am out sick today." "Oh, good. I thought Baby Boy lied to me."

And now, a question of bloggery. My hits are way up today, but I show nothing to reflect those numbers on the "came from" command on my stat counter. I would love a record of your visit, but where did you people come from??

Bring In The Okie Noise, Bring In The Okie Funk

OkieFunk is running a fine series of Okie Rebels With A Cause. He has profiled Woody Guthrie, Will Rogers, and Tom Joad. It's fine, fine stuff.

I also just learned that Woody Guthrie actually penned the lyrics to Billy Bragg's All You Fascists.

I am hoping to ward off a bit of the Okie Funk myself and am off for more sinus meds. Yum.

This Is Why My Sister Still Refers To "Those Internet People"

Beth at CrazyUs gives the most astute quote about blog world I have ever heard (actually, her husband said it, but it's her site so I credit her).

"It is like talking about the absolutely most famous pop star in Kazakhstan. Outside Kazakhstan, no one knows, nor do they care who this person is."

No One Laughs At My Cousin But Me!

I found myself in a really odd spot tonight. A woman at dinner took a lot of the regular knee jerk jabs at the large-C-Church. She was full of "Oh, so they have women deacons" and "Well, you know, they're Baptists.". How many times have I said those same things?

Maybe it was because I felt she had no understanding of context, or maybe I had too much wine (Hey! Let's all get drunk and be Baptist!!!), but I found myself defending the very organization at which I am constantly rolling my eyes. It's a hard situation on the Baptist end as I with they could understand the larger world but also from those who have never been in the fundamentalist church. I think these people still live in bubbles too. It's a kneejerk liberal bubble and it's just as bubbly as the one the fundies inhabit.

So maybe I'm just anti bubble.

LYASS, BFF, and Potty Training

Just so you don't think the carefree single life is entirely devil may care...

I took the teenyest, babymost, steps to searching for a home Sunday. My sights are set on a charming patio home community in NW Oklahoma City so what does a girl do in such a situation? She takes her father.

Her father who is on water pills.

That said, the trip was short. It would have been longer had my father been able to use the model home's lavatory.

I related the story to Crib Chick via phone and we laughed over how much this was like traveling with her three year old. It's all about timing trips with three year old's potty schedule.

Our lives are still parallel.

Time On My Hands=Shameful, Shameful Things

I have a little extra time on my hands this week and was blog surfing. Visiting blogrolls about 5 times removed took me to the another blog. She wasn't doing anything too deep, wasn't trying to change the world, but she had some funny posts so I checked her archives.

There it was! A post that forced me into drive by zealotry! I became vigilante commenter! You know the argument. We have all those breaks and get out at three. You've heard it before.

I guess after you hear the same crap so many times and then just one time you see it in print with a link that says "Comment" you can only wait so long before you do. I didn't say everything I was thinking--drive by zealots don't change minds. She emailed me to more softly tell me how easy I have it and I emailed back thanking her for taking the time to email. No minds were changed, no point in arguing. I even told her I will keep reading, and I will.

So I guess I just need a second to tell you what I wanted to tell her (or if she is reading to tell her this now).

The blogger's post encouraged all those complaining teachers to "get a full time job" and "shut the fuck up". I have some figures that might shed some light on the "full time job" argument. Addtionally, you can be pretty sure that even if I quiet down, I won't "shut the fuck up".

Here are some figures I played with regarding the "part time job" argument.

  • I figured 36 weeks to the school year at 60 hours a week ( this counts my after school job and 10 weekly hours of prep work and grading. It's a conservative estimate). That's 2160 hours a year.
  • 12 of those 36 weekends (again, a most conservative estimate) are spent with kids on some sort of extracurricular party. Let's conservatively call those 8 hour days. That's 96 hours a year.
  • During the summer, I will spend about 4 of my 10 weeks in some sort of inservice or on a trip with kids. Let's call those 40 hour weeks and add 160 more hours to that total.
  • Adding all these numbers and dividing by 50 still gives me a 48.32 hour work week.

So here's something else. I enjoy most of those hours. I know that my choice to work those kinds of hours doesn't diminish a single hour worked by anyone else on earth (with the possible exception of pro atheletes and TV Spokesmodels). When I work another hour, I don't wish one away from a single mother working hard in a family business and when I take an hour off, I don't add one to anyone else. If I gave up my tenure and union, it wouldn't give these benefits to anyone else. I wish other jobs had contracts and unions. My choice of a job doesn't automatically infer disrespect for yours (again, with the exception of pro atheletes and TV Spokesmodels).

Even if I did "shut the fuck up", none of this would change.

Sing Along With OETA and Dad

Posted by Hello
Oh, nerdy rapture! The voice of BJ Wexler on a Tuesday can only mean one thing! I just realized that it was OETA pledge week!!! Nerdiest of all raptures, There's a Peter Paul and Mary special!!

**As a side note, if you loved A Mighty Wind, these specials are gold. It takes the "mock" out of "mockumentary".**

Peter Paul and Mary music has the same cozy nostalgic effect for me as other 70's kistch. From my mother, avocado green and macrame makes me warm and safe...

**Peter is asking for pledge money and I swear to God, he's about to cry. Good God, throw a bone so the kids can watch Elmo. He just likened the effect of your pledge dollars to the March on Washington!**

...ok, sorry. Safe and warm music is all from my father. I learned to sing all of Mary's parts in this music at 10 or 11, I know too many words to Harry Chapin music and thanks to Dad, I wept openly upon hearing Pete Seeger live at the 2003 Woody Guthrie festival.

There is no point to this post, no conclusion. I am just so glad that this heritage held stronger than my fundy upbringing. Otherwise, this post might be about this.

That and Mary Travers looks creepier and creepier.

On Marrying Up

I had almost forgotten about this article, but am so glad to find the link from Oklarama.

Did you happen to catch the New Yorker article in August, 2003 about the "Marriage Cure" set in OKC's Sooner Haven projects? Someone passed me a five-times read photocopy that August--it's facinating!

Read, it's good. Discussion to follow.


Two drafts sitting in queue, nothing in my draft section makes me want to hit publish. Maybe the Jerusalem Prayer Team can help.

H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

We streamed a video today on Dante's Divine Comedy and how his images have shaped our view of the afterlife.

Two things of note here:

  • Christian Slater narrates
  • Al Mohler is used as an authority on hell.

Both of these are creepy, sad, sick and wrong.

I Mo Rewind My Day For A Story...Shhhhoooooop!

Songbird: "Uh, Ms. Educat, this heifer be..."
Songbird is stopped short by Educat's steeley over-the-glasses stare.
Songbird: "I mo rewind that...ssshhhhhhooooooooop!(child makes a mouth noise meant to resemble a tape rewind) This girl be..."
Educat cocks her head to the side, continuing steeley gaze.
Songbird: "Ms. Educat, Princess Grace be..."
Educat: "What do Princess Grace be?"
Songbird: "Shhhhhhhoooooooop! Princess Grace is...uh...I forgot. Can I axe you later?"
Educat: Axe me anytime.

Ignorance Is Bliss

I think the worst thing to have might be a light case of Alzheimer's.

We went to see Nana yesterday and she knew just enough to be miserable.

We found her in her room wearing a sweatshirt and slip, standing over her bed, looking thoughtfully at a pair of sweatpants. The three of us helped her into her pants, Nana asked us if we thought she still needed the slip, we told her no and sat her down in her wheelchair for a visit.

We watched her go from as sharp as a tack, remembering my sister and telling us how she knew her son had died to lost in her head, calling me by the name of an elderly man in our old church (I am serious. It put only a slight dent in my self esteem but know that anyone wanting to charm me can do so by sharing how I don't look like an 80 year old man) and telling some long story about how her grandson had invited her to his wedding and she sat, dressed and ready to be picked up, and no one came.

Who knows what it was that made her upset, it could have been either of these stories. But she became very upset. She cried to the point of sobbing and took me with her with her words.

"You know, I have always been a good girl. I have been religious and good my whole life and I just don't know what God is doing to me."

It was the first time I had seen my Nana in pants and the first time I saw her cry. I know she won't get better and although I am guilty and afraid to do so, I am beginning to wish she would slip a notch deeper into this awful disease so she wouldn't have to know the truth of her life.

Insert Trumpet Flourish Here

Note: This tiny post was emailed to the blog on Friday morning, but floated around in cyberspace until its eventual landing on Sunday morning. Enjoy the nostalgia now for the first time.

Please bear witness that at this exact moment 7:45 am on March 4h, in the Year of Our Lord 2005, Princess Grace is putting on deodorant in my classroom of my High School.


Internet, Meet My Best Friend Since I Was Fifteen, Crib Chick, Meet The Internets!!!

Since she confessed to me that by starting a blog, she wondered if the Manson family would come after her children, I will refer to her by her blog monkier.

The Crib Chick has started a blog!!!!

Crib and I have been friends since we were wee things. You think I am witty? You don't know from witty. In fact, Mr. Crib has been known to mock our phone conversations by simply howling, "You are sooooo funny!!!!", "Oh no, you're sooo funny!!!"

Is it premature to blogroll her after only two entries? Not if you go read her right now!!!!

In The Year 3000, Chain Emails Will Be A Literary Genre

...albeit a bad one.

I wanted to share this "chain email" that I got, ironically, via email. I decided that forwarding it to others is just too many layers of irony.

I want to thank all of you who have taken the time and trouble to send me your chain letters over the past few years. Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy. Because of your concern...

I no longer can drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains. I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr.Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans. I no longer drink anything out of a can because I will get sick from
the rat feces and urine. I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.
I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS. I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a
water buffalo on a hot day. I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me. I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise. I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a stupid number for which I will get the phone bill from hell with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.
I no longer eat pre-packaged foods because the estrogens will turn me gay. I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.
I no longer date the opposite sex because they will take my kidneys and leave me taking a nap in a bathtub full of ice.

I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from Nike. I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish. Thanks to you, I have learned that God only answers my prayers if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five
minutes. (Jeeze, the BIBLE did not mention it works that way!) I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl who is about to die in the hospital (for the 1,387,258th time).
I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

Yes, I want to thank all of you soooooooo much for looking out for me!
I will now return the favor. If you don't send this e-mail to at least 1200 people in the next 60 seconds, a large bird with diarrhea will crap on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and the fleas of a thousand camels will infest your armpits. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's 8th husband's 2nd cousin's 3rd husband's ex-wife's
mother's beautician!!!

But You Can Leave at Three!

A teacher in my building suggested this a couple of years ago when we were at an impasse in negotiations. Since we can't strike (and with good reason), what if we did only contract time? It's good stuff.

Link comes from posthipchick.

This Is The Part When The Internet Wishes I Didn't Live Alone So I Would Just Write About Yarn Again

I think that 4:30 pm every day is my unravel time. When Kristen arrives to pick up the SYO, I am nearly undone. How she has not walked in to find me dressed like Baby Jane or sitting at my desk surrounded by vials of my own urine, I do not know.

So today when she arrived, I had just googled a phrase in desperation. Most stressful jobs. Yes, bad logic fans, Google can help you prove anything you want to believe!!! The second link shows exactly what I want to hear.

"Teaching and social work appeared in the top three for both poor psychological wellbeing and physical ill health caused by stress.
The researchers suggested that 'emotional labour' involving face-to-face or telephone contact with clients, and sometimes the suppressing of emotions, was a central factor in what makes a job stressful."

So here I go, not suppressing my emotions.

I think the counselor's office thinks me to be their whore. Bear Witness to an email I had to send.
Child was recently parked in my first hour. Evidently, he got out of his Physics class and was put in Communications to have a place to be. This is what he tells me. He also tells me that he is aware he cannot get credit. This was the only communication I had about Child's placement. He has attended first block once.
That same day, he joined me in 5th block. It was his only day to attend 5th block and on that day I told him how important attendance was and that there is a waiting list to get in. Today he returned as though nothing had happened and he told me he was playing soccer. I don't see this on his schedule, it shows swimming. He uses this excuse for his past absences and his tardiness today. When I asked him about first hour, he continued to charm me with "Oh, I was home asleep. I ain't gonna lie, I'm just sayin'.".
I guess my question here is how patient should I be here? I feel like there might be some story here I need to know before I drop him from 5th block and handle the first block truancy.
Do I not have some part of the puzzle? Why did this child leave AP Physics to get into Communications? Is he in Soccer and therefore should be allowed to miss 5th block (while I am asked daily if I can get another kid into 5th block?)?
Again, help!!!

How I long for an answer. I am telling you, I am gonna post The Ten Commandments in my classroom so all of this will go away.

And The Winner?

In a stunning move combining many of my favorite things, Steve Martin is producing a reality show!

Titled The Scholar, it will feature 15 high school seniors all vying for a full college scholarship.

And Steve Martin is producer!!!

How did I not hear of this before the application deadline!?! I fully intended to download this application and get it to school. If anyone sees good television, I think I do.

Both of these kids deserve college as much as you deserve good television.

Dreaming of Sleep--But Not For Me

Tomorrow promises to be like a day without sunshine. Princess Grace will be on a field trip (be astonished--she is going to a college library to begin her Senior research project. She is a Senior!!) and I have unlocked the key to silenceing the songbird.


Today her total lack of effort showed as she presented her persuasive speech. The 55 she earned was partially a gift on my part. No sources cited, no main points, blah blah. I silenced her moanings about this grade and asked that she write down any of her complaints alongside her grading rubric with what she feels she earned. She snorted something I am pretty sure was profanity and went to sleep without a single yodel.

She went to sleep!!!

Should I feel guilty? Some days, I just let 'em go.