Like A Love Poem, But With Far Less Poetry

You know I love The Crib Chick. I've never hidden it. Tonight, I loved her more. I was at the suburban grocery store picking up processed sugary candy to throw at tomorrow night's football game (Maybe not suckers, you think? Because I totally have this vision of this kid with a stick in his eye and the business end of a Tootsie Pop sticking out, staggering to the ground, yelling for our team...) and she's driving her organic produce home to her rural paradise.

And who's the Liberal here? Who is Conservative?

That's right. I'm an Educat and she's a Crunch-servative. We're like Hall and Oates, this one and I. But we're agreeable enough that we can sing "White Devil Be Craaaa-zy!" or "Solid As Barack" to each other (If you're not down with this, go back and watch the video. You're just not paying attention.). Sure, her teenage daughter might roll her eyes and giggle and my fellow shoppers might arch an eyebrow, but this is love, kid.

And it's SOLID! SOLID AS...

Well, it's solid.

Remember The Last Time This Happened?





Can you see? It's $1.98 gas! I remember when I used to pay less than a dollar for gas. It was in my adult life, even.

The last time it happened, by the way, is here.

So to all my other kinds of nerd, you can add "gas price nerd".

NaBloPoMo

Should I? I totally might, but it means you might just see pics of knitting projects and hear me whine about grading.

Prayer by a student...

So today was quite an interesting day. The most humorous moment of the day came when Autismkid came in and immediately asked, "Ms. Spring can I talk to God about my family?"

I thought he was meaning later on, not in class. I was so wrong.

I said, "Sure, it's nice to talk to God about your family."

And with his eyes pointed upward to the sky, he replied, "God, I like my family. I like my grandparents. Be with my grandparents. See you later. Bye."

I just sat there stunned.

I have taught 10 years and have never had a kid pray out loud, much less had Autismkid come in and stay in our world for more than two seconds to talk to God.

Afterward, he stared at me. Not sure how to finish the prayer.

I just smiled at him, and said, "Amen" and he said, AMEN! as if he was cheering for a crowd of people.

I just laughed.

Everyone looked at me.

I just sat there a moment, said a silent prayer, and told the kids it was time to do our math.

However, it impacted me greatly.

In a world where this kid has to be brought back to task 99% of the time, he knew what he wanted to say to God.

The bible says we're to have childlike faith.

This kid has it covered.

Later!

Things I Cannot Do While Our Hot Water Heater Is Leaking And Therefore Unusable

1. Take a hot shower.

2. Felt the Christmas trees I've been knitting all week
Here's a pic of someone else's. Someone who had hot water.
3. Properly wash oatmeal residue from bowls without much scrubbing. Have I ever told you about how my dad used to tell us that the pyramids were actually made from dry, leftover oatmeal? He'd say that while scrubbing said oatmeal and so the declaration was punctuated with his scrubbing. "Girls...the pyramids are made of the stuff that dries in your oatmeal bowls!"
4. Did I say take a hot shower? Because I'm saying it again.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

It is always amazing to me that parents don't come to their child's scheduled conference. I have had several no-shows today and I have even called parents to talk to them and I don't even get to talk to them, I get to talk to the answering maching instead. I tell ya, it floors me. At the elementary level in our district, all students are out of school tomorrow all-day, and I'll still have several no-shows. It still floors me and I've been doing this ten years. Amazing...

I was blessed because in my family, the kids came first...ALWAYS. In fact, in our family if you got in trouble at school, it was worse at home. (No abuse, just high expectations) Today I am incredibly thankful for my parents for that. My parents were in the middle of stuff, making sure we were doing what needed to be done.

I just wish my students had what I had. I know, this is what I've said repeatedly before, but it's true.

Seriously...

defies title

We've started reading Night and have watched parts of a documentary showing Elie Wiesel visiting his old village and then traveling to Auschwitz.

I'm starting class.

"What have we seen so far?"

"Wiesel goin home"

"Right, he went to Sighet and then traveled to where?"

"Ass-wash"

No one laughed. They all believed it. We have work to do.

Sub-Normal Social Awareness

It's seemed to be the day of the annoying sub for me. I'm pretty sure the annoying albino one came on to me today during my plan.

"You have such an incredible sense of grammar. What one book was most influential in your ability to teach grammar so well?"

Now, if I were an lesbian with an albino fetish (and there's nothing wrong with anyone who does, I'm just not one of them), she still wouldn't turn my head because somehow she managed to ask me this while I was RUNNING into the workroom to pee (last chance for two hours!!) and fill my water bottle. Not smoove.

The other one (I have no identifying name for her...yet) was sitting on the sofa with a book while I was having a meltdown (left my class in the room, trying to "wake up" a computer whose monitor has died [I was not yet aware of this] so that the district tech could remote into the machine so he could help connect our super great assessment program that WON'T WORK. I really almost cried this morning...) and she somehow thought it was the right time to ask if I ever sensed that the students choose to play down their intelligence for social reasons. Does today's popular High School student want to appear smart?

You know what, Margaret Mead? I. Don't. Care. About. That.

I'm Waiting...

I have been waiting for a long time on God. I guess we all have...we all have something in which we long for and don't have. Whether it be a spouse (my waiting place), or a job to open up, or a secret dream that hasn't been shared with someone...everyone is waiting for something. I'm not saying it's a horrible thing. I'm finding that in the waiting God is teaching me things I never would have grasped if I hadn't had to wait.

For example, I'm learning how to budget and live within what I make and not rely on credit cards to get me what I shouldn't have if I don't have cash. I have done the credit card thing, am paying off my last two cards, and am not using them anymore. If I can't afford it, why get into debt more just to have something I can live without?

I can honestly say in the past 10 years I've learned how to be independent. Just ask my Mother, she'll suggest something helpful and I'll often bulk just because I want to do it my way. I'm sure it drives her nuts, but she's incredibly patient with me, waiting for me to figure it out...and inevitably learn that Mom was right to begin with. I just never actually admit that to her. :-)

I've learned to ask for help. It's hard...incredibly hard for a single gal to ask for help when I'm an adult and should be able to do things on my own. And, to be really blunt, I hate to bother people. Everyone has a busy life and doesn't need to help another person. However, I have learned that people REALLY enjoy helping me and NEVER mind to help out. This past week I had a flat tire after Homegroup, and SuperAmie changed my tire for me. It was good for me because I'm not strong enough to get the tire off, so I have to rely on someone else. That's a good thing to learn.

I have learned how to put myself after others. I have two roommates and there are moments I get into my ugly selfish mode and want things my way, but God is faithful to keep me in check and I find it's becoming easier to put their needs first. Five years ago it was a shock to my system, and now it's almost natural to think of others first. I don't know if I would have had that if it hadn't been for this season with my roommates. I still have a lot to learn but I can say I've come quite far in this area of my life...

So, of course, while all this waiting has been good...and I know each step has been led by God, it has been hard too. I often tell God I'm tired of the wait...that it should be my turn and I'm sick of waiting. Of course, he's faithful to listen and I'm sure He's up there giggling at me, thinking, "patience, my dear, patience."

So, I find myself going up and down in this whole waiting game. This weekend has been really fun. My roommate and I had a great time Friday night just talking about stuff, yesterday I went to the Maple Leaf Festival in Carthage and sat with a friend for 4 hours just yakking abuot stuff, and today I had church and went to a mentoring meeting and had a great time. This weekend has been easy. Next weekend will be too because the Women's Retreat is in Branson and it's ALWAYS a fun weekend. So, I won't be alone...won't have to entertain myself...won't have to dread what is going on for the weekend. It will be easy...

So, as I was pondering all this waiting stuff...and honestly griping to God about it...God led me to a song by John Waller. I want to type out the lyrics just because it has impacted me so greatly. You can go to iTunes and download the song for $.99 if you are grabbed by the lyrics. I realize just reading lyrics may not speak to you. As for me, when I first heard the song I had tears in my eyes because for the first time in years a song pierced my heart. Perhaps you're in a waiting place. Maybe not for a spouse like I am, but perhaps for a child to be conceived or an adoption to take place, or for your kid to get into a good college. Whatever it is, I hope this helps you...

I'm Waiting by John Waller

I'm waiting...
I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently I will wait
I will move ahead
Bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting, I will serve you
While I'm waiting, I will worship
While I'm waiting, I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait...

I'm waiting...
I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it's not easy, no
But faithfully I will wait
Yes I will wait
I will move ahead, bold and confident
taking every step in obedience

I will move ahead bold and confident
I'll be taking every step in obedience..

When I first heard the song, I had tears in my eyes...I wasn't hopeful...I wasn't patient. I was hurting. But, slowly, I'm returning to hope and patience...and I'll be running the race, even while I wait...

Boldness

As I was driving on the way to work yesterday I prayed that God would help me to bold throughout the day. I knew I had a parent meeting at 1:00 that the parents had requested, which is never a good thing, and a meeting at Homegroup were I would need to be bold in order to get some thoughts out that needed to be shared. Little did I know that God would give me boldness in ways I never would have thought possible.

I started the day with our first Literacy Team Meeting of the year. I'll be honest, I dread these meetings. The team I am a part of is pretty good for the most part. Okay, well, fourth grade teachers are great. My fifth grade teachers tend to build my character quite a bit, and this year that is proving to be true on SO MANY levels.

So we entered the meeting, and everything was okay. I mean, you get a bunch of teachers together the week grade cards are due for a meeting when in reality there are PLENTY of things they could be doing, and you can expect a bit of reluctance to be there.

Like I said, it started out fine. But at one point the Negative Nellies reared their ugly heads and I spoke up. I started talking and about halfway through it thought, "Why did I pray for boldness today?" But, I did it. I basically told the group that we are adults and no matter how many things are required of us, we are to be the adults and just do our job. WITHOUT NEGATIVITY.

The room was silent as I spoke. After I spoke, the topic shifted, and I was thankful. As soon as the meeting was over, I left the room thinking two things. The first thing I thought was "What did I just do?" I wasn't sure of the reaction and fallout of what I had said, and that made me a bit nervous. The second thing I thought was "I don't care. I'm working with adults and I'm tired of adults not acting like it."

So as the day progressed I was preparing myself for negative things to be thrown at me. I guess that's normal, part of being an adult and doing things we prepare ourselves for the worst and hope for the best. I know that's true of me.

But, as the day progessed, three people walked over to me and very quietly told me they agreed with what I said. One of them even said, "You rock!" While I didn't go looking for that, and certainly didn't expect it, it felt good to know that stepping out and sharing my heart was definately a positive for a few people. I wasn't alone. God led me. It was a very good thing.

Then I had a meeting with a some parents of one of my kids. In the meeting the parent stated, "Since last year was a waste we need to get this child caught up." I know my face didn't hide my thoughts after that comment was made. I have worked my tail off for this kid, giving 110%, and they felt last year his teacher and I wasted his time. I sat there and listened as she said it, and waited. Then I did it. I said, "Why do you feel last year was a waste?" She went on to state that he wasn't reading grade level books and that we were lowering his level of course work (having him read 2.5 level books, for example) when he should be on grade level. I listened but didn't fight her. That was her perspective, and I had to respect it. Of course, as the meeting progressed, we were able to show her why we had lowered his level of academics. HE CAN'T DO THE WORK! HE'S L.D.! In the end, we determined we're going to re-test him. As she was leaving hte meeting she said, "I'm sorry if I offended you, that wasn't my intent." To which I replied, "You did offend me, but I accept your apology." I tell ya, in the past I would've just shrugged and left the meeting mumbling under my breath how offended I was about the comment. God is really teaching me how to be respectfully bold. Whew...

I left school yesterday thinking, "I still have Homegroup to get through." I went to homegroup and for the first 1.5 hours we chatted about piddly little stuff. I knew I was going to have to break the ice and really "go there" with our leaders. I'm not really sure how I became the spokesperson for the group, but I did. As it turned out, God gave me the words, and everything was fine. It was emotional, as our homegroup is no longer going to be meeting, but I am excited. I've been in such a dry place spiritually in the homegroup and I am looking forward to trying some new homegroups and seeing where God is going to put me next. It was a long day...

I have pondered all day today about boldness. I realize I just blogged about yesterday's events, not today, but I have given a lot of thought today to boldness. I work with such an usual group of people. Some people can just be blunt and not worry about other's feelings. Others say things and don't give a rip about other people's feelings. Others say things and are just plain clueless as to how it will affect those around them.

For the majority of my life I have been the quiet one who didn't say much about anything because I was afraid of how I would look to others or worried that my opinion was wrong or just plain lacked the confidence that what I had to say mattered. What I've learned this week is that there is a fine balance between boldness and rudeness and that sometimes I'm going to piss people off or have people think I'm stupid. But, sometimes (not always) it's just simply the right thing to speak up.

In the case of the Lit. Meeting and Homegroup I positively affected people because I spoke up.

I realize I still have a great deal to learn about boldness, but for now I think it's a good start...

Later...

Shut Up, I've Earned This

End of the Nine Weeks+Mojito=Fun for you, the at home reader!

No one believes grades are real until the end of the quarter. No one understood their outside reading assignments (despite our bi-monthly library trips and repeated explanation with handout) until the end of the quarter. No one!!! How DARE I!?!??! And it's worth pointing out that a SENIOR who is somehow taking Sophomore English wanted me to take seriously her reading of "High School Musical, The Junior Novel", and allow me to count it for ten percent of her grade.

Chortle.

I spent a better part of the day logged in to our new assessment system (Have you experienced these things? You upload your exam, they print a scantron for the test, and you send those in via scanner and get kick-ass data? I'm in lurv.) and at the end of this long, wretched, day, I realize that I've been ignoring the question of my new assessment system...

What Would You Like To Do Today?

Now, none of the options were really honest for me. I wonder if perhaps I could get a button on the site that said "Leave now and go home to knit" or perhaps, "Tell the children exactly what I'm thinking" or best of all, "Feed children to the wolverines".

Their options were just ridiculous. "Manage classes". Yeah, manage my butt. You get over here and manage these bitter nasty children with a button.

It's all messed with my head to the point that when describing the free gift from the local "take and bake" pizza place, I could only think of "Father Murphy" instead of "Papa Murphy", so I keep think of Merlin Olson bringing a pizza with a tickle me bouquet.

Did I mention that I'm out Thursday and Friday? Ha!!

Death and Life

This week has been interesting. Monday I entered the building and heard that one of our former students committed suicide over the weekend. The kid wasn't in my class, but I knew who he was and really liked him. I felt kind of down all day Monday because of it. It made me wonder about life and death and how bad life would have to be for someone to do that. It pretty much put my "problems" in perspective. I have character-building moments throughout my day, but my life is really good.

And then I have another student who lost her Dad about 3 weeks ago. It was an unexpected death, and my heart leapt for the kid. I have no idea how I would handle that as an adult, much less as a fifth grader. So, I knew we would have some rough spots, and she's a pretty good kid so I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Gosh, it's been a rough week. This gal is trying to figure out how to cope and is not finding quite the right strategy to do so. Her teacher and I have been working hard to help her adjust and it's not working very well so far. This kid without behaviors has become a Lostboy Junior. All the while I'm still praying for the key to figure out how to help her. Gosh, life shouldn't be this tough for this kid.

All this life and death stuff has really made me ponder a lot. I turn on the TV to hear the news and our world isn't getting any better. It seems to be getting worse.

So, I have made up my mind to stay focused on the good even in the bad. And even though I will fail at that goal from time to time, I think it's better than the alternative.

I guess that's it for now. Later!



Let's all just make peace. If Hall and Oates can do it, the world can live at peace.

Dad Wakes Up Early

I've been awake very early this week, no idea why. Monday when I woke, I found myself putting on music. All I wanted to hear, it seemed, was Dad music. I listened to The Carter Family and Levon Helm and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and I can't explain the feeling it gave me. Crazy as this sounds, I got up for the day feeling like I'd spent half and hour with my dad. It didn't make me sad, I only cry as I remember it (like now, a little bit), and I felt rested.

Yarn In The News

I fear that this might be exactly the sort of cranky I will be when I grow old.



Criminal
gran gets knitting punishment
Tuesday, September 30 2008, 20:08 BST
By Daniel Kilkelly, Entertainment Reporter



An 89-year-old grandmother who went on a tyre-wrecking spree in her street
has been ordered to knit jumpers for her victims.



Heidi Kohl, from western Germany, was arrested after one neighbour spotted
her slashing the tyres on a car. She later confessed that she had resorted to
drastic measures after becoming "fed up" with so many drivers parking in her
neighbourhood.



Kohl was initially told that she would be fined for her behaviour, but
authorities came up with the more unusual punishment after the woman claimed she
would be unable to pay.



A spokeswoman confirmed: "When she's knitted the sweaters, then the matter
will be over for us."Kohl is believed to have wrecked 50 tyres in total.
Prosecutors have said that she will not offend again as she has since been moved
to a retirement home.


I can see my temper flare up in this dangerous sort of way. I'd be living alone, no classroom to give me perspective and practice at patience, and then I'd snap and go on a slashing spree.

This leads me to wonder, however, about the punishment. Was she forced to knit with scratchy acrylic on metal needles? Do the victims get a say in the design of the sweaters? Sad the we'll never see the woolen end to the story.

One kid...

This week I found myself working my tail off for one of my kids. Renaldo began the week lying to me twice in one day. I was ticked to say the least. I'll be the first to admit though, I believe people at face value. I know kids are manipulators, but I really thought Renaldo was at least honest with me. He not only lied to me twice, but lied to two other teachers as well. I tell ya, it was quite the day for me.

As the week progressed, my patience was thinning out with him. He was taking up just about as much time as Lostboy was, which was frustrating to me. And the even more frustrating part is the fact Renaldo is more capable than he's letting on. I have a different kid, Silentboy, who is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than Renaldo academically and he puts forth more effort than all my other kids put together.

So, last night I came home and spent some massive time in prayer. While there were MANY things I prayed through, one of the things I wanted was more patience with Renaldo.

And, of course, God answered my prayers. Today Renaldo had a much better day, and I was MUCH more patient with him. Don't get me wrong, he still has a LONG way to go, but today was a great way to end the week.

Cool, eh?

Later!

Pardon Me

This is my life's true ambition. Forget teaching, I never really graded all that crap. I want to tease my hair up high and travel the land, knitting and bringing this song to the masses.

And are you aware that the second Mason Dixon Knitting book is out? And that they are truly the most engaging knitting prose ever to be written? It is because of them that I plan to start Fair Isle knitting as soon as these essays are graded.

If you don't knit, they'll make you want to.

You may post in comments your intention to serve as my roadies, band members or whatnot when my tour hits the road. Just me, the music, the yarn, and a dream...