Do You Know What It Means...

I am not usually the one to blog this stuff. I am usually not the one to give the Red Cross link and tell the sad stories.

I'm gonna grab this one.

I started trying to reach my friend in Baton Rouge on Sunday night. She is the Louisiana State Director for Youth and Government and we co sponsor the conference paper for National Affairs. I can't stop thinking about her kids.

This year she took two boys from Southern LA who had never left the State. They were had never experienced any sort of National conference and they were overwhelmed. I remember that they would come and check in with her each day.

"Miss Mo, we are so glad you gave us the chance to come, but this is hard, these people are smart we're working hard, Miss Mo! Thank you for bringing us ma'am!"

I can't get them out of my head. I had hoped that Mo might know where the boys landed, if they were ok. I got a message delay from her email system Monday. Today, I finally heard from her. Evidently, she has power, but I know others in Baton Rouge do not. She says everyone is being told to give to the Red Cross. It will be four weeks at least until people can return home, and the shelters cannot hold out.

So go, here's the button...


Image hosted by Photobucket.com


We spent the whole afternoon reading of John Howard Griffin living as a Black man in New Orleans in Black Like Me. At the day's end, I heard the story of thousands of refugees climbing out of the water and making their way to the Superdome in hopes of catching a bus to Houston--so they could live in the Astrodome! The Governor of Texas will allow these children to attend school in Texas without residency verification.

Can. You. Imagine. those children showing up in your classroom?
...and which school will get their test scores so that it will be shut down?


While perusing the blogs, I saw the story Scott posted of a guy I knew only vaguely in college. His account of getting out is here (but you didn't need that, because you already read Scott, right? I thought so).

This morning getting coffee, the barista (does barista have masculine/feminine forms?) and I watched the news and he said "It sure makes you think about the wrath of God". I stepped back a bit. "Um, yeah, those people must be almost as deserving as the Indonesians.". Kevin grabbed this idea too.

Teaching was lovely today. Really. It needed to be, there is enough else in the world, don't you think?

My Boy Dang

I would like you to meet a new student.

I call him Dang, because that's all he says. When he's not calling me ma'am. Seriously, how can you not love that? He has used "dang" to express joy, distress, anticipation, and disgust. He makes his own clothes too. Daaaaaaang, how can you not love him? What's more, he sits next to Pimpdaddy.

I had to leave the room for a moment today and I made him smile as I left the room.

"Dang, you're in charge."

Thanks

Anonymous,
 
 I can't comment from work but I wanted to respond quickly and let you know that it's fine.
 
There are lessons for both of us to learn, here. If you kept me up last night, it might be because I needed to reflect on myself.
 
Please feel free to email me off blog, my profile has my email. Please email me, I'd like to get to know you.
 
I hope you have a great day of teaching too, and thanks for being a "fake only in the sense of Internet" friend.
 
...and now, if I laugh a bit, will you know it's not at you?
 
WOOOOOO!!! I'M THE LEAST CYNICAL!!!!!!
 
I don't know how true it is, but I wear the badge proudly.

Must Go Home. Get Fetal.


How to start a novel:

Talk about theme of book. Relevant and beautiful discussion takes place, human nature is revealed. Suspense for book is built, slowly and deliciously. Read aloud the poem that inspired book title. Discuss what the book might be about, what can we know about this book? Pass out novel reverently. Have students examine cover picture and read back cover. Suspense for the novel steadily climbs. Open book together worshipfully and read together the first line. First lines matter (thank you, Kristen). Write first line on the board for examination later. Read first chapter aloud. Own the class. Lament the ringing of the bell, for when the bell rings, we get another class and examine another topic...

How never, ever, to start a novel:

Talk about theme of book. Students argue over whether or not the film watched for background was "stoopit". Suspense for Ms. Educat's sanity is built. Will she remain calm and smiling? Poem that inspired book title hangs on poster in the room. Poster falls. One student throws it at another. Debate discussing the symbolism thereof. What might this book be about? "How whites hate blacks?" "Partially". Begin to pass out the books. Argument breaks out!!! No less than five students are called "Punk ass bitch" before all the books make it out. Walk two students to office. Pray for peace. Hand out remainder of books. Begin to read chapter one, opting for a solo read of opening line but noting that it might be important later. Fighters return to class. Referrals have been written. Things seem to be ok. Begin to read again...Someone farts...gain control again...peace is tentative...until...
"Oooooohhhh, make him quit lookina me!!!!"
Begin to draw breath to request all eyes on the book when evidently someone is once again a "punk ass bitch!!". This time it's a girl. She stands to fight, throwing gang signs. Draw her out of the room by voice spirit her to principal. Remove her accuser from class. Walk him through cafeteria, slip and fall in puddle of god knows what.
Sigh
Return to class so haggard, so limping, so pathetic, that classroom is managed either by pity for teacher or fear of also being called a "punk ass bitch". Weakly request class to read silently. Pray for peace. Accomplish exactly half of the reading done by the previous class.

Go home. Order pizza. Blog. Curl into fetal position. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Your Own Personal Jesus!


...and at $2.98! It'd be a steal at twice that!

Always, always take a camera to the thrift store.

How Can You Tell The Nonconformists? They All Look Alike.


When I wrote this, kiddos, it wasn't a sorority slam. For me, reading this post wasn't about the horror of such organizations. Now, I wasn't in a sorority (Such as they are at OBU. They are locally based there but you could make any of the same criticisms of those as of their large college counterparts.), I didn't need one. I was a theatre major and that automatically brought me into a family group. I do know why people join them, however. It gives you an automatic "in" to a group of people--a place to belong.

The angle I see in the post is not of the evils of the Greek system, but of humans. Are sorority girls the only humans who are cruel to the overweight?

I think what happens there is some sort of ugly groupthink--and let's not pretend you have to have letters on your chest for groupthink, either. It's the same ugliness in me that mocks my colleagues for never spell checking their emails or laughs at the inane stickers on their cars---because my friends are all above that. "Look!" it says, "people should be like me! Then I will feel more comfortable in my skin!". It's probably the same part of me that joined my friends in mocking the cheerleaders in High School or the part of me that sat with my buddies in the balcony of the Chapel in college laughing at pledges scurrying around. We all want conformity. Even the crazy goth kids dress like each other.

...and I guess I am saying that oftentimes, I am no better.

What A Funny Word Meme Is...

Kevin has hit me with a book meme. They're about books. A jolly good time will be had by all. Off we go:

1. Number of books you have owned: Oh, good Lord. When you count the books for school, books for fun, books I had as a child that I can't let go of, and books I got as a a part of all those nerd camps...it boggles the mind.

2. Last book I bought: It was a gift. I bought Runaway Bunny for baby Audra. I always buy a book for babies---there is too much research about the positive effects of reading to children. Even when I get to the point that I can knit fast enough to have acceptable gifts done quickly, I will still buy books.

3. Last book I completed: Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts on Faith -- by Anne Lamott. I will now shake my embarassment at being five thousand years behind the curve, I did just read it. There. I said it. This summer has been painful and hard for me. Watching my dad heal physically and emotionally (not that it's done, mind you) has brought out a mountain of hurt in me. I am finding scabs in places I had already removed bandaids. Reading this book has reminded me that it can be ok. Wait, that's too simple. Reading Traveling Mercies reinforced for me that a Christian doesn't just look like the people who hurt me.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:

  • There is a passage in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn where a young mother holds her new baby. She has only an 8th grade education and she worries aloud to her mother that she is inadequate to do the job ahead of her. Her mother answers that although the young mother has only an 8th grade education, she herself had only finished the 4th grade. This child will achieve more than her mother and grandmother before her, and she would do so by reading. The grandmother told her daughter to read to her. Read a page of the Bible and a page of Shakespeare every night. Read it to her when you don't know what it means, but read to her. That is how this child will achieve.
  • The whole Little House series. My aunt bought me the entire set when I was in the 2nd grade, and I still have them (they are in horrid shape and I really should replace them). Laura Ingalls Wilder's descriptive writing made me excited to learn about history. As a postscript, I do not like the television series. Michael Landon bastardized fine American children's literature to paint himself as the great white father in a sorry attempt to compensate for his own shortcomings as a father. There. I know Pa Ingalls, sir, and you are no Pa Ingalls.
  • Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities. It was through this book I began to see how our public school system shortchanges our most needy citizens. I have witnessed only the teeniest corner of this injustice, but this book coupled with those experiences are the reasons I cannot make the move to a private school.
  • John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany Kevin listed this as his number three also, so I just kept his link. In fact, his reason for listing it sounds a lot like mine. I read this book in college with my dad (he read it with his wife). Sometimes, I think reading a book is as much about the conditions under which you read as about the book itself. I remember conversations about what we thought Owen sounded like.
  • Five!?!? I can't get to five!! Every book I have thought of for five doesn't seem right for the list!! Here, I shall name them with no explanation and allow them all to count as five.

-All's Fair by Marlee Matlin and James Carville

-Charlotte's Web by EB White

-The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

-Everything else Jonathan Kozol ever wrote

-A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor

-Paddy Clark, Ha ha ha by Roddy Doyle

-The Barrytown Trilogy -- by Roddy Doyle


5. Which 5 bloggers are you passing this onto?

Karina, I am letting you off the hook since you have a show to prepare for.

1. The Crib Chick
2. Jim
3. Aerin
4. Scott
5. Susan

One Of The Reasons God Created Blogs

I just laughed out loud and teared up all at the same blog entry.

And it's here.

Read it or we are done, you and I.

My Newest Hand

Remember silly student name poker with Kristen (this is where I would link to that one great post she wrote on wacky names, except her archives don't go back that far!!)?

New one--

Onesty
I was so hoping it would be pronounced "1-sty" or even "Oh-NESS-tee". It's not. I'ts just boring old Honesty.

Pimpdaddy's Reading Corner

When Pimpdaddy feels he has to prove something to me, I somehow feel I have to prove it to you, so here goes...

I have an English class that loves to pick literature apart!!! Dearest darlings played human continuum beautifully after Alice Walker's Everyday Use and when we talked about the character who changes the most, they can give reasons for anyone to be the hero.

...and then the tag team of Pimpdaddy and Suitcase Boy!

Suitcase Boy wheels around, not a backpack, but a small American Tourister suitcase. Want to contact him? Because he gave me his business card on the first day of class!

Suitcase Boy
Aspiring Film maker, author, experienced E bay Auctioneer
Always Friendly and Willing to Help!


with anime characters all about the card.

So suitcase absorbs the whole "who is the lead character" argument and says,

"Don't laugh, but what if the story is an allegory for all of humanity. Like
Maggie is goodness and Dee is darkness, and Mama is sort of a balancing force?"

Take it, Pimpdaddy!

"Or, like, if Maggie is Skywalker and Dee is Vadar and Mama would be, like Obi
Wan, knowwhuddimsayin'?"

Holy Pimp H. Daddy, you might have made my day.

And Black Like Me starts Monday!!!

Directly From The Student Handbook...

Care of property is one of the very good ways to judge the student body. Care and respect of public and private property is part of the American way of life, and without this protection by law our American way of life would break down.
 
That's right friends, when you don't clean out your locker, you let the Terrorists win and Hugo Chavez gets to live!!
 
Seriously, I am all for care of school property, but must we invoke Lee Greenwood just to keep the cafeteria clean!?!

Balancing

With all this crazy Pimpdaddy talk, I have forgotten to point out the high points.

  • Leg Wrestler comes by often, just to say hi.
  • When I gave the call for kids to consider leaving Debate class (for the sake of space), only five volunteered.
  • The Introduction Letters from English really mostly indicate kids who are eager to please and are at least pretending to be excited to be in my class.
  • I have a child begging me daily to be in Debate.
  • A kid who just graduated came by after her first day of college, just to say hi. She also unpacked far too much nerd far too early for her new roommate by telling her "Oh, yeah, I knit! My Debate coach and the Librarian showed me how!"
  • I have more than once stayed far too long at school while the "just came by to talk" kids are there.

School is great, it's fine. I just need to show a balance with all the Pimpdaddy-ness.

The Pimpdaddy Conversion Experience

Pimpdaddy and I have a message for you: Stop sippin' on the haterade.

Besides the sincere (if not marginally written) apology on his letter of introduction, he came to me today on his lunch time to apologize for the Pimpdaddy incident. He even went so far as to make the feminist argument today on our short story. Perhaps it wasn't solely for my benefit.

I have one English class that makes me glad to be alive. They are freakishly charming and talked about the short story for so long that they actually made me believe they read it!!

I am looking for reasons to love the other class. I type this so that you, the whole internet, and I will see this and I will work harder to unearth charm. Today, about twenty minutes of our learn-o-rama was hijacked by a "make him stop lookin a me wiff his oogly face" demonstration.

All in all, the day was not a wash. I have come to own the Pimpdaddy.

Looks Like Someone Just Ruined It For Everyone

So here's the deal: I just had four spam comments in a twenty minute time span. This is it, internet, I am cracking down.

Perhaps word verification will keep the spam away.

The Next Time Someone Says....


Upon hearing that I teach, a new acquaintance said"How nice you get your summers off". I think I'm going to spit nails at the next person who says that to me.
Lemme 'splain:
During one of the neverending administrative meetings held this past week (during perfectly good planning time, I might add), I did the math. "What math?" you ask. Ahh but let me enlighten you.
Teachers work with students an average of around 60 hours a week, 36 weeks a year (this does not include the pre-service week or the built in planning days). Forty of those hours are at school, of course, and the rest are on teachers' own time. (I know cuz I took a poll among my colleagues). That turns out to be 2160 hours per year. An average full time employee works 40 hours a week, 50 weeks of the year, which equals 2000 hours.
The hours aren't that different, but the pay is. All 2160 hours are squeezed into a 36 week period which means I only get paid for 10 months out of the year. Why doesn't society value what educators do enough to pay appropriately for it? Where do people get the idea that teaching is a cushy job with lots of time off?

Settling In

The idea of going back to school is settling in. I've planned the first week for each of my classes, and I have an idea of where to go from there, so I guess things are good. This is inspite of having 21 more students than I did last year. Class size has increased by about 25% - last year my class were no bigger than 20 students. This year, there are 25 or 26 students in each one of my five classes. Ouch.

MIL is still here - until Thursday. She took the kids and my husband out of town for the weekend, while I stayed here to get some work done. I'm as finished as I can be, so today I'm going shopping by myself. BY MYSELF. Does anyone know how monumental this is? Normally, I have to take at least one of the children with me when I shop, which means I do a lot of internet shopping.......Anyway, today I won't have to bribe anyone to be good by buying him a cookie, or listen to anyone else complain about how bored she is.

First Kid Story Of The Year!

How I hope I have not found another recurring character. How I hope this is an isolated incident.

Ok, here goes...

My first day assignment was to write a letter to me introducing themselves. I am looking to get to know them, see what their grammar and punctuation skills look like, and to see if they understood the parts of a letter.

**sidebar**Because I gave this assignment, I now have seventy letters to read over the weekend. You may now address me as "Fool". Miss Fool if you're nasty.

I handed the letters back yesterday so the kids could take them through a rubric. It was a final check for them. I handed them back to the kids individually (so as to reinforce all those names). I call a kid's name, "Potsie". I have three students named Potsie here, so the kids look at me expectantly to see which one.

Flashback to Thursday, first day of class.

After my procedure talk, I ask for questions. One child, blonde and saggy of shorts, raises his hand for a question.

"Yes, sir."

"Mmmmkay, it kinda be hot upinhur, knowwhudI'msayin? I don't like it all
hot, knowwhudI'msayin? So whadda you think you can maybe kick up the AC up in
hur, knowwhudI'msayin?"

"Let me see if I do, in fact, know what you are saying. You're
warm natured, and you are asking if there's a chance that I could turn on the
air?"


child sheeplishly nods the affirmative

"I can't promise anything, the thermostat up in here doesn't always
respond. I promise I will try though, I like it cooler myself."


So we're back to me handing back letters. I am frozen looking at Potsie's letter. See, I know it belongs to Thursday's warm natured sagger, I saw him turn it in and made a note of the street English on the paper. But there wasn't a last name. There was only...

I didn't want to say it. I didn't want to call the child this in class and validate his foolishness. Scan, scan, look for a real last name, where is the last name!?!?! Crap. I have to say it.

Which Potsie, Ms. Educat?

*sigh* Well...Pimpdaddy.


The class erupts in laughter. Pimpdaddy Potsie takes the long walk to
me, head down.


"It wasn't me."

"What?"

"I'm not
Pimpdaddy."

"What do you mean?"

"The paper is mine, but
I didn't write Pimpdaddy on it!"


Clearly, he wrote Pimpdaddy.

"It's ok, but let's just use standard English in the future,
ok?"


Let's just hope this took care of things.

Raising My Bic For Khazakstani Rock Stars

OkieDoke has nominees up for the 2005 Okie Blog awards, and I am happy to congratulate some blogging buddies!

For Best Overall Blog---The Parish
For Best Writing Blog---McCarty Musings
For Best Family Blog---FridayPlaydate
For Best Inspirational Blog---Anabaptist Monk

While I will not tell you how to vote, I will make you research the other nominees on your own. Voting starts today and closes 14 days from now. Read the Blog Awards page, it shows how to vote.

Stupid Grownup Tricks

I want to do a post to answer eatmisery's good question. The answer is too long for just a comment. She asked which was worse at my school, student behavior or office politics. I thought about it this evening, and I would say that rather than office politics don't seem to weigh in as much as adult foolishness. Office politics aren't as bad. I can recognize the game and either play along or ignore it, foolishness is another story.

See, I expect kids to act up. I expect to have to teach them, that's what they hired me for. I have a whole set of policies for when they don't meet expectations. We don't have that for adults because our expectations are that they will naturally be well behaved and have a certain set of skills. We expect that they will have surpassed the kids.

But oftentimes they don't. They talk during meetings and then ask the same question that was just answered. They raise their hands to speak only so they can tell long stories. They don't read materials they are asked to review and there's not much we can do about it.

So perhaps this makes me a bit of a control freak or a snob, maybe both. When a kid acts foolishly, I can either forgive it because I know they are children or I can deal with the behavior with a predetermined set of procedures. I have to deal with and forgive adults as peers, politely forgiving and ignoring behavioral indescretions.

I should work on it, but it wears me out.

Clarification

The other day (Was it yesterday? This week is ten years long), eatmisery cited the old teacher adage, "Don't smile before Christmas". It's used in educrat circles to illustrate to teachers how hard it is to get strict later. If you want a rule enforced, it's best to start off hard and ease up later. I mostly tend follow the idea, but strict looks different on me. I am able to smile. Sometimes I even mean it. So I do smile at kids before Christmas.

Adults? Now, that's different.

And The Greatest Of These Is What?

Taken from a bumper sticker seen on the way home from school:

Three Things That Keep Us Safe--God, Guns, and Guts!

I am wondering, are these ranked alphabetically or in order of importance? If they are in order of importance, is said importance ascending or decending?

I won't argue the substance until this is clarified for me.

Slip Slidin' Away

I can feel myself slipping under the the weight of overwhelming disappointments that await. All of these opportunities, responsibilities and activities sit infront of me - just waiting for me to fail them.

At the faculty meeting on Monday, we were told that during the coming school year, we would be gathering in "learning communities" during our "planning" periods. I love the idea of talking with my colleagues about teaching - don't get me wrong - but why can't the gathering time come out of "duty period"? That means each week, I will have 3 hours to plan, grade, and complete other administrative b.s. while I will have 23 hours of teaching, 10 hours of study hall duty, 1 hour of lunch duty and 3 hours of "learning community". Good Lord, just take my veins. I'm already bleeding dry and students haven't even arrived.

Mother-In-Law is visiting this week and providing child care while I'm in school but the kids are not. Monday, when I came home, she had set the table, done my laundry, taken my dog to the vet, and re-run the dishwasher because "there was still schmutz on the dishes". It's helpful and all, but I can't help feel like she's doing it because I'm woefully incompetent by her estimation.

When I came home yesterday afternoon, both of the children were still in their pajamas watching PBS kids. They hadn't moved all day. MIL was reading "Under the Banner of Heaven" - a great read about the weirdness of mormonism by the way. I couldn't put it down either when I read it last year. But really - PBS kids all frikken day?

Around dinner time, the children were bouncing off the walls. Mother-In-Law was irritated with them for misbehaving, and I wanted to say "It's your own damn fault for letting them watch tv all day". I decided to take them to the play area inside the mall, outside wasn't really an option because it was raining. But MIL wanted to wait for my husband to get home before we went anywhere. She doesn't seem to understand that he is a medical resident who NEVER COMES HOME. That's why they call him a "resident": he resides at the hospital! When he finally came home around 10:30 pm, his beeper sounded almost every 10 minutes. In between the beeps, she regaled him with the misdeeds of his children (in other words, a commentary on my mothering).

I cried myself to sleep last night. I'm tired of being a disappointment to myself and everyone I love. I'm tired of having lofty ideas and expectations punctured by my lack of ability. It's like I have the opposite of Midas touch. Everything I touch turns to shit.

So this is how I'm starting my school year. Aren't you glad your kid isn't in my class?

:) If You <3 Back To School!

I just worked late. Really late. So late I had to arm the building. The check list on my board doesn't seem to be shrinking. Adding English is a great move for me, but I feel like a baby teacher as I start this year.

The biggest challenge of this week, however, is an old one: I am not nice as I start a school year. Don't expect it. I am simply not nice. The energy it takes to reassemble my room, attend meetings, and prepare for children cannot be divided for me to humor your silly questions. The well of sweetness, it is a shallow one. You know, you read my poetry. Yet I have to work with these folks and ideally have them like me when I can get around to liking them again.

So it's all about balancing that problem. I find myself using email smileys :) more at times like this. If you're sitting face to face with me, I try to scare up a weak smile at the end of a potentially biting comment.

Behold...

  • (from an email to a custodian) "Just wanted to remind you that I am really concerned about getting more desks into my room and that if you could come and move out that computer table and move the black cabinet, it would really help. Also, I still need sixty English II books as soon as you are able. :)"

Softer, don't you think?

  • (to a new teacher crossing my path in the library during a nasty downpour---we can see it outside)

"Wow, the sky is falling isn't it?" (see? I am already working to soften!)

"It is! But you know what? I have just decided that if I die here tonight, I know I finally died exactly where I want to be (I didn't add this emphasis, she got louder and grinnier with this statement)!"

"Oh, so you're new, then? (remember to smile, remember to smile remember to smile!)"

  • A fellow teacher emails me expecting me to set up a program on her palm for her. I answer via email "You will need to get with Palmy Palmerson, our palm tech. You also might check the website for instructions. I am just too busy to do this for you. Sorry."

Oh, yeah, I forgot.

:)

  • Our all-skate staff meeting brought me a new idea for staff development: Questions For Everyone and Questions To Ask Alone--Knowing The Difference! When I shared this idea with a fellow teacher who had just spent a sixty second minute outlining her personal plan for our all school book, I once again had to remember a softening chuckle.

Even my most welcome McCarty birthday gift contained the balance. A DVD by the gloriously evil Kathy Griffin and (to soften) a tree planted in my honor somewhere in Florida. Someday we shall visit and hoist the McCarty offspring to touch its leafy expanse!

So as I left school late, I was looking for a softener. My CD player isn't working and so I am only a bit ashamed to admit that I turned to the musical equivilent of an Us magazine and a bubble bath: Delilah.

Oh! The gleeful Delilah mockery on my way home! A woman called to confess her infidelity to her husband and Delilah played a "song of healing"--How Deep Is Your Love by those masters of healing, The Bee Gees. By the time Rafael called to tell Delilah how she was singlehandedly responsible for his returning to and finishing college, I found myself shouting at the radio "Hero!! Good Lord, Delilah, play Mariah Carey's Hero for the man!! He is a survivor!!!"

*sigh* It was like a softening smiley for my wretched soul.

Inservice Poetry

Recipe for Fun

2,500 School Staff
+One Auditorium
+One Speaker
+Four Hours
+Zero Breaks
-------------
Embittered Poetry!!!!

O! To rise and shout,
"You Sir, are a piece of crap!"
The masses would cheer!!!

Our corporate kickoff
takes my soul away from me
and sinks it in shit.

What must they pay you,
loud mouthed fount of knowledge
to talk our your ass?

If Lincoln spake brief,
and you go to twelve-thirty,
where is John Wilkes Booth?

In the very last row we sat
our buttocks now totally flat.
Because we had not one break,
our lives are at stake.
That teacher just jumped, hear her splat!

Thank You, Dear Hornblower!

Hornblower did some great stuff with the Dove Ad article I blogged about Friday. Regender allows you to switch gender in any web text!

Imagine the fun when

Briana McBride is unhappy after learning her father hired a new man to run
the family ranch - a job she wanted. And to make matters worse, her father
sends her to the train station to meet him. But after meeting him,
she discovers he is nothing more than a drunk.

Nicholas McMurtry is a man with a tortured past and a young son to care for. So he accepts a job on the Silver LIning Ranch, but when he meets his new boss' daughter he starts having second thoughts.

Soon after their return to the ranch, a string of suspicious accidents bring the couple closer together. And Briana learns miracles come in many forms, even the form of a drunken foreman.

(
Briana by Tammy Boulds)

Becomes...

Brian McBride is unhappy after learning his mother hired a new woman to run the
family ranch - a job he wanted. And to make matters worse, his mother
sends him to the train station to meet her. But after meeting her, he
discovers she is nothing more than a drunk.

Nichole McMurtry is a woman with a tortured past and a young daughter to care for. So she accepts a job on the Silver LIning Ranch, but when she meets his new boss' son she starts having second thoughts.

Soon after their return to the ranch, a string of suspicious accidents bring the couple closer together. And Brian learns miracles come in many forms, even the form of a drunken forewoman.

(Brian by Thomas Boulds)

Or better yet, this made me deeply, deeply happy. *snort* Lord's Home Journal! Chief Justice Wanda Berger!!!

Please, if you have any new fun with this link, let me know!

Even People Who Teach Tenth Graders How to Write Personal Letters Can Be Jon Stewart Funny!

Perhaps it's because I am writing lesson plans right now, but Jim just gave me the perfect excuse to quit working!!! Behold, the 3 Variable Funny Test.



the Wit
(80% dark, 19% spontaneous, 5% vulgar)
your humor style:
CLEAN COMPLEX DARK


You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

Do share your results.

Not Enough Hours In The Day

I want to make a great big noisy fuss over this controversy. I want to find the people who deface the Dove ads and visit with them. I want to go on here for hours and hours but I still want this on my blog now and I want to meet Karina and still be at the school by 10.

So this is all I am posting.

Except I will thank Liz for the info.

Belly Up To The Bard

I just posted on Scott's blog how I hope to use this space to generate ideas and discussion over the novels I will teach this fall (or, as I dread calling it, next week!!) and it got me thinking.

I don't have to do Shakespeare in English II if I don't want to. Now, although I want to, I realize this gives me a degree of freedom. The only plays I cannot do are Romeo and Juliet (which they all read in 9th grade and, quite frankly, I can't stand) and Macbeth (exclusively owned by the Senior teachers).

So it's open season on Shakespeare! I have my own ideas, but what do you think? Make a case for your favorite Shakespearean play or make a case to skip Shakespeare entirely and recommend another play to read.

I am facinated to hear what you all say. If you've been lurking, this is a nice time to speak up!

If You're Really Keeping Score, You Can't Call This Entry Too Critical


Here it is. It sits in an economically depressed area. The schools in this church's community have a high percentage of free and reduced lunch. The businesses near this building are closing.

I was with my sister when I saw it and she knew what to do.

"We're turning around so you can get a picture, aren't you?"

I agree and begin aloud an imagined letter to the Church.

"Dear Church, what a great idea! I was out of food in my home and payday is at the end of the month. So I took your advice and pulled out the Word of God and a bottle of ketchup. I started in..."

sister breaks in...

"and then I read the part where you're supposed to feed my ass!"

Indeed.

I also feel it necessary to tell a good story with this entry. I am starting to work slowly at school and today was in the mail room as about five people in matching t shirts dropped off more school supplies than I have seen this side of Staples. They're from a local church. I know lots of churches collect supplies for area schools. Keep it up. I finally have big stuff donated. Pens and pencils are welcome, but it's a whole other ballgame to be able to give a whole notebook or portfolio to a kid that needs it. Our breakfast on Wednesday comes from another local church. It's not so much that our school needs free stuff or food, it's that the food and school supplies say "we think of you". Futhermore, you think of my kids and that, my friend, is golden.

There. One crappy Church sign is more than balanced by two kind acts from local Congregations.

Where I Use My Blog As A Sort of Mental Scratchpad


Willy Wonka as Assistant Principal

  • Discipline issues are dealt with quickly, punishment is suitable to the action, and parents are quickly notified.
  • Positive concequences are administered.
  • He doesn't just wear a tie--he wears an ascot!
  • Constant parental contact

I wish there were a pill for this

I'm filled with a dull sense of dread that school starts in a week. What the hell happened to "See you in September?"Not that starting school in September would do anything besides delay the inevitable. What is it that I dread, exactly?
1. Grading, Planning, and Teaching simultaneously. Each one of those responsibilities could rack up 40 hours a week 50 weeks a year.
2. Being treated like an imbecile by parents who have confused their child with the Hope Diamond
3. Feeling like a fraud. Like I don't have a clue what the hell I'm doing, and EVERYONE can see what a horrid job I'm doing faking it.
4. Knowing that I'm burned out after only 5 years of teaching
5. Not having enough energy to enjoy the children I brought into the world.

What Could Possibly Make Me Want To Write Curriculum

This is the last Tuesday 9:23 pm of Summer 2005. Tomorrow will be the last Wednesday of the Summer of 2005. The entire week could be marked with these proclamations. They could, but it would be annoying and silly and I would spend the last week of the Summer of 2005 in total solitude.

So I am coping. A yearly part of my coping mechanism is the annual Back To School really good haircut. I spend more effort on this last cut of the summer. I scour for pictures of short curly hair (not as easy at it sounds) in preperation for school pictures and first impressions. Today on a recommendation from a friend, I actually went to a "school o' hair". I signed my release and buckled in.

Turns out, I have a new best friend now. My student-stylist is the girlfriend of a former student and she was charming. She heard my need to be edgy, but not too much so. She did not mock my skunky roots, but tastefully masked them with a blonde that truly could grow from my head (perhaps almost the blonde that did grow from my head once) and the talk was good. She attended a neighboring High School and had several teachers I had once worked with. I loved listening to her tell how her Senior English teacher made her love reading when she thought she never would. She told me what she had been reading and I made some recommendations to her. She made me excited to start school. I remembered how truly fun it can be to share a book with a kid and how a class grows from sharing literature. I made her promise to get in touch with her Senior English teacher and tell her what she is reading now. I can check on her, she knows that now.

So I left with sweet scissor love, crafty highlights, a load of inspiration, and the curly hair product I love---all for fifty-five bones with tip!

Not a bad deal, friends.

I just realized

that DD is going to be 8 years old in the next few months, and I shared this observation with DH yesterday over coffee.
"I predict," I continued, "that we will get a flurry of phone calls trying to get her baptized on her 8th birthday."
"Umhmm" he nodded. DH just looked at me like I was the paranoid schizophrenic he always feared I was....
About an hour or so later, the phone rang. It was one of my "church friends". She and I probably never would have met except for church, and since I stopped going (over a year ago), I haven't heard anything from her. It's not like we were best friends or anything.
She was just calling to see if I would like to go see a movie with the "girls" from church later in the afternoon.
Should I go? Should I not? I argued with myself for about a milisecond. It seems harmless enough, but I just don't even want to go near that territory. I don't want to explain how I came to my postition of unbelief, and I don't want to feel awkward that I'm not who she thought I was or who I should be. I don't want to open any kind of doors or windows of opportunity for her to "reactivate" me, or to have a "missionary experience" - just in time for DD's 8th birthday. Maybe I am paranoid, but I've spent a good bit of time trying to heal from the devastating discovery of lies and half-truths the Mormon church has been teaching me for the last 30 years of my life. My wounds are still raw - I don't really feel strong enough to be friends with a former "church friend" when we don't have anything else in common, and now we no longer have the church in common either.

That's Me In The Corner. That's Me In The Hancock's Choosing My Easter Dress.

While this isn't as good as a real entry with writing and everything, anyone who---

-Grew up sitting at the pattern books before every major holiday

-Had to look at pictures like this and wonder how clothes would look on someone with hips (seriously, I think these ladies fueled the delusion that at 5'10" and 135 lbs., I was fat.).

-Was forced at one point to sport a bow butt

---or---

-Just needs a comedic romp through a sewing room

should visit threadbared now.

It is funny. That is all.


Reaching A New Age: I Go To A Concert And I Knit

Carole King was dreamy. Karina speaks of it.

Just Blog-ness

So now I have just been picking, picking at my blog. It's like a kid with a scab.

I discovered last night with the help of Keaton that I have to choose. My new recent comments hack will not play nicely with the new comment system I wanted to install. There's something about this one command that both hacks wanted but they couldn't share so they would fight and it would leave a mark that said "Done, but with errors" and nothing would post. I went with recent comments. Guess you can tell.

So, whatever. I spent some time looking to see if there was another hack to use for my comments (I didn't find one) but then just wondered if there was a new bell or whistle I should add. It made me wonder where I was with blogging that I didn't want a mood indicator or a weather pixie or to let you know where I fall in the TTLB Ecosystem (Slithering Reptile, lest you wonder). I might drop a button or two when I finally find and learn to install the template of my dreams.

Stuff I Am Really Hearing Right Now As I Type On The WiFi

  • "My dream is to travel. I mean, God has just given me this gift, you know? I have a real love for hotels!"
  • We moved here from Tuttle when I was a kid and I just look at Oklahoma City and go 'Get saved!'."

While I wait for them to say more, I will recount a recent conversation with mom. It's not a full entry, but good filler while I wait for more silliness...

Mom-I bragged on you at a wedding I worked at the Church.

Educat-Yeah?

Mom-I did. The flower girl was two and just wouldn't walk down the aisle. She just wouldn't. She wouldn't even carry her basket. I told them what a good job of walking down the aisle you did when you were two years old in Aunt Becky's wedding!

Educat-(hearing the Debbie Downer "wah-wah" in the background) Gee. Thanks.

I'm getting nothing over my shoulder now. They're recalling great Falls Creek sermons they have heard and I just can't get there.

So that's all.

Things I absolutely love or hate

Things I Love:

  • Vanilla Frappucino
  • Having a zit-free complexion
  • Max and Grace's belly laugh
  • that I actually enjoy running. Who knew?
  • when my kids sing along to music in the car - it's even more loveable when they sing along to Pink Martini
  • the endless possibilities in a book store
  • Magic Shell
  • High speed internet

Things I hate:
  • Shania Twain's electronically "enhanced" music (and I use the term music loosely)
  • Getting a message to call someone I really don't want to talk to
  • RoadKill
  • The credit card bill and the look on my husband's face when he reads it
  • That I'm addicted to Diet Coke
  • Commercials - I so want TiVo
  • wearing glasses
  • zits

Nerd Camp Leftovers


Here. Use this the next time some kid tells you that dress code is irrelevant.

If You Can't Lose It, Tan It

Even though I'm running 8 mi/week now (remember: 3 months ago, the only exercise I got was from opening the fridge door and digging for something yummy), I still haven't lost much weight. Still wearing the same size that I was in June. Arrrrgh.
So, my mantra is now IF YOU CAN'T LOSE IT, TAN IT!
See you at the pool.