Sesame Streets --A Martin Scorsese Film

Shoo away the little ones, it contains adult language.

The Barista Sharpens His Talons

Stopped off for coffee Saturday and spent a moment chatting with the two baristas. One was a young guy, still in HS, taking concurrent enrollment at Community College.

He plans to attend Oklahoma Baptist to be a youth minister. We talked about the ins and outs of my alma mater. Classes, the dorms, the cafeteria, all of this was fascinating to him from my perspective, even seventeen years later.

He was rather proud of the jump start he was getting on his degree by taking classes now. He took special pride in telling me about the Comparative Religion class he was taking at Community College.

"After all, how will I ever beat anyone in a debate if I don't know the other

*Sigh* Yes, Sparky, and after you "beat them", they'll really want to accept your message. They'll know we are Christians because we beat 'em!!!

Where The Sweet Potato Casserole Is

I've had several conversations in the past weeks about the colorful names I know. In thinking of how to blog them, I thought about giving you a list and asking you to pick which ones are fake (If you picked Coon and Ollie Pearl, you're wrong!). I thought about telling you the story of my PaPa's brothers and all their nicknames (The oldest one, his Christian name was Buster. He went by Bully...). All these hypothetical entries existed only so I could share the response deadpanned to me by The Crib Chick...

How do you not live in a Billie Letts novel?

I probably do, and talking through this year's Thanksgiving Road Show/Grief Tour (tm) with my sister confirmed it.

Educat: So dinner is at Granny's and we're taking it to her.
Edusis: Yeah, then we need to go by familyfriend's because Texas Nana is in
town. We're taking a pie. After that, we're going to see Bobby.
Educat: Bobby? Bobby who? Do we have to take more pies? Another
Edusis: We're going to see Bobby, the movie.

Weee Gaather Together To Reeead Thelatestcompellingnewsabouteducation

The Carnival of Education has pitched its tent at What It's Like On The Inside. Go check it out. I'm the one on the end eating pie with Darren. Who is Darren? What kind of pie is it? Find all the answers and more---head over there and bring a casserole.

Check The List, Dude. You're On Notice

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I had a sub Friday afternoon. He covered Debate while I was teaching English in the afternoon. Evidently, he walked into third hour twenty minutes late, told the kids he'd be right back, and left for another twenty. Fourth hour, he held the sheet on which my lesson plans were written and told the kids I hadn't left any plans. They watched a movie.

I was told it could have been worse. One sub in our building regales the students with poetry he's written about Elizabeth Taylor. He's submitting them to the National Enquirer.

Have you ever...?

Found on But Wait! There's More. . .

Wanna play? It's simple. Copy, paste and if you've done it, bold it.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said I love you and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Start! The Bus! Start Start The Bus!!

We are taking all the English II students to a local production of Julius Caesar this week. The company is doing a matinee for students and so we are loading up a bus, taking kids to the play and lunch, and hopefully coming home with zero casualties.

Read this with no sarcasm: I am so excited I can't stand it.

I took a little survey when I had all the kids on Friday and found that for most, this is their first time to see a play that isn't a school production. Some of the kids haven't even seen a school play. This is their first ever live theatre experience. This is a big deal to me. I take very seriously the duty to get these kids to the theatre because I owe much of who I am to a teacher who took her students to the theatre.

My mother grew up poor. I realize I run the risk of sounding like the long lost verse of the Clarence Carter song, but culture wasn't much of a priority when it was difficult to feed four kids. She had a teacher in Junior High, however, who took her class to a play. That doesn't sound like a very big deal, but it really was.

See, because my mother enjoyed that play, she suggested that my Dad take her a play sometimes when they dated. Then when they got married and had a family, they made it a priority to take us to plays.

And so, the monster was created.

My parents took us to see Annie when I was eight years old. By this time, I was already showing signs of ham actor-dom. I was very verbal very early and former babysitters often tell stories of my dying swan act at bedtime. When I saw that play and realized that those were actual kids on that stage, I knew I had to figure out how to do that. All the time.

That outing begat a series of acting classes, school productions, voracious play reading, and Oscar acceptance speech planning (heady stuff for a pre-teen, I know). When the time came for college, my parents accepted my wish to major in Theatre with the caveat that I get an education degree.

The rest is history (and my present). I student taught, realized that I loved this job and loved paying off student loans. It's grown from teaching Theatre for me to teaching kids. I have taught a lot of stuff in these thirteen years and the rush I get from all of them is similar. It all goes back to that play, however. My mom doesn't remember what the play was, I don't know how important that is, but it started a new way of looking at the world for her. I don't know who I would be today if that teacher hadn't loaded up that bus.

I hope we get through the day without incident. I hope no cell phones go off, no one misses the bus, and that no one wears houseshoes. I hold out hope also that there might be a seed of change on our bus.
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?


Our school district is currently proposing some drastic changes to the POS (program of studies) for high school students. Most of the changes are a reaction to one school's failing SOL (standard of learning) scores . The FQL (framework of quality learning) is a mammoth document telling all teachers what they've been doing must STOP, and that they must meet in PLCs (professional learning communities) to be brainwashed into following a lock-step model. This, of course, is supposed to increase rigor and encourage more kids to care about SOLs. But in my opinion, it's only going to result in public education being FUBAR - more than it already is.

Loving Rome More

This started as an email to my two favorite Air Force wives. I decided it needed a larger audience.

I taught all the English II students yesterday. I taught 190 kids in three class periods. It's sort of the price you pay for spending a month doing nothing but Shakespeare. You get to be the expert.

We're taking all of these kids to a production of Julius Caesar next week. I have more to say about this later, in a loving post about another family member. Today is a different story. What you need to know here is that I used the time to do a quick orientation to the play and to live theatre in general before we took them to see the show.

It wasn't a perfect day by any means. There were kids who expressed how oppressed they were because we're asking them to leave their ipods at home and turn off their cell phones while dressed up and not allowed to leave the auditorium for two hours. I had to address why it's not a good idea to assert that Brutus is a pimp (I instead pointed them to the idea that Marc Antony is more of a pimp). But in every class period, I caught a couple of kids with that vague smile, mouth slightly open, head tilted to the side that indicated that they got it.

Most of them, however, latched onto one idea. All the Senators who conspired to kill Caesar were his friends. They didn't get it. Their entire lives right now are about protecting their friends, how could anyone who is considered honorable ever conspire to murder their friends?

I am not comfortable with murder. I am not comfortable with violence. My job, however, is to illuminate this literature and I will always get chills down my spine when I give the reason for this murder. "Not that I love Caesar less, but that I love Rome more." These men were so committed to the idea of the Republic, of self government, that no relationship mattered more. The kids are starting to get their heads around this idea.

At the end of the day, we gathered in the gym for the Veteran's Day assembly. It occurred to me sitting in that gym that perhaps this event was the perfect closure for my lesson that day. We spent an hour hearing from and honoring men and women who love Rome more.

When a soldier enters the military, the whole family enlists in a sense. This Veteran's Day, I think not only of both of my grandfathers, one of whom made a career in the US Air Force, but I think of my Grandma, aunts and uncles, and (surprise!) my father, who all served their country in countless separations and cross country moves. I think not only of The Crib Chick's Sergeant Rooster, but of her and all those peeps. I think not only of my baby cousin who can't possibly be old enough to be sent to Afghanistan, but of his baby and of my aunt who will raise him while his father is gone.

I cannot fully understand it, but I get a chill when I think of how all of these people love Rome more.

Thank you.

Obligatory Election Day Post With This Year's Obligatory Twist

For my sister, it was impossibly hard to watch the Cardinals, the family baseball team since at least my great grandfather, win the World Series.

For me, it's election day.

I took today off and had a very clear picture of what the day would have been if Dad were still with us. I'd have picked him up and taken him for coffee. We'd both go vote, probably me first and then we'd head to his polling place. After that, we'd have lunch at one of the dives that no one else in the family would go to. We'd joke the whole way about the two of us canceling the rest of the family's votes. Then I would take him home and we'd laugh about the Food Network (All my theories on how the other Food Network stars make fun on Sandra Lee behind her back or how I want to smack Rachel Ray and tell her to pipe down are bits I tried first on him.).

In real life, I voted, made all those jokes in my head, went to Target, and drove around the cemetery trying to remember just where in the damn we left him. I never found him, can't remember if it's the Garden of Everlasting Life or the Garden of Memories or the Garden of the Clean Plate Club. I wanted to tell him what we'd have done today and how we're doing now. I wanted to tell him about my classes and my month in Massachusetts.

I saw Helen Mirren in The Queen this weekend. At the beginning of the film, there is a scene in which Queen Elizabeth ceremonially asks Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen) to form a government. I had never thought of such a scene and it was fascinating to me.

In the United States, we are the ones who get to ask that question. It was hard to ask today, but I am glad I did.

Busy, Busy Me

Reports , reports and more reports. So, it turns out when your class size increases by 50% you end up with 50% more reports to write. Ya, that’s not so fun. But it’s done! Praise whatever holy entity you believe in, my reports are done!!

Now, perhaps I can finish my application essay for Grad school. I wrote half of it two weekends ago, when I filled out the application, and have been on reports ever since. We are also starting our Maps unit at school and I love maps!! So, that is taking a lot of my time now too. I got a fantastic new book from Scholastic called Our World by Millie Miller. I am going to use it to create a fabulous group project about the continents. I’m so happy to have finally found a good book for my students about geography. It can be tough hunting for the younger folk sometimes.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to try for this grad school thing again. Your support means a lot. Especially on days when I come home completely wiped out.

From October 1st to Winter Break, (that's right no Christmas Vacation here in Cali), always passes in the blink of an eye for me. Is it the same for you? It seems like school just started and yet my relationship with the kids is much different than it was in September.

Seriously, Nuttin To See Here

At this time, I offer my sincere apologies to the poor soul who reached this blog today by Googling the phrase "See my boobs OKC". I hope you make a quick and full recovery from your severe disappointment.

Dead Dad Girl's Club Meeting Minutes

I could name a thousand things that have gotten me through the last few months. Chief among them, however, is my band of friends who have also lost their fathers. I'll listen to you if you have a father, sure. But there's something about someone who can say "Yeah, I might be nearly as pitiful and insane as you". I call these kind souls the Dead Dad Girl's Club.

I have also coined the term Dead Daddy Year. I am allowing myself many wild acts or acts of slackery in honor of the Dead Daddy Year.

I've been down this week. I needed to meet with a member of the DDGC . I called Mme. Crib for solace. As are all our conversations, it's punctuated by interruptions from the kids.

"What? What? The door is closed here, I need you to go ask your father. You
have a father, go."

"And I don't!!!"

"Wha? Oh, no, not you. You don't have a father."

"Right, but not what I meant. You should tell the kids that. 'You have a
father and I don't! Go to him!'"

"I might just do that!"