Friday, May 29, 2009

Can we all just pause for a moment of silence?

Earlier this week, my laptop, Horatio, headed to that place in the sky. For weeks, he had not been feeling well and I simply turned up the volume on the TV remote to drown out his whining.

After all, he just had a bad case of the stripes. Who needs to see the entire screen? It was just a minor inconvenience and I begged Horatio to put on his big boy panties toughen up and get with the program.

Today, the Fed Ex man will take Horatio's coffin to the HP headquarters. They claim there are some life saving procedures that can still be performed.

I'm trying to remain hopeful. For Horatio's sake.

And I'm trying to bond with my son's old laptop, Agatha. She is rather bitchy and likes to turn the screen to a blood and saliva shade of pink. Getting old ain't for sissies and she is still hanging on despite having lost a button or two. Her hinges are loose and she often falls down.

Still, I'll treat her with the respect she deserves in her golden years.

(Please bear with me as I try to navigate the blogging world with this archaic machine.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Country Boy

On a quick errand to the store, I ran into a former student of mine. In fact, he had had to suffer through me as I blundered through my first year of teaching because I didn't have a clue.

He always was a country boy and now he is full grown. I almost didn't recognize him. The last time I saw him, he was a gangly teen who hadn't yet grown into his feet.

Country Boy: "You'll never guess what I am doing now."

Me: "Are you working on your grandmother's farm?"

Country Boy: "Nah. That farm has done been sold. A bunch of years ago. I'm a mechanic." (Great! Thanks for making me feel old.)

Me: "That is great! Do you work on cars?"

Country Boy: "Actually, I mostly work on farm equipment. I wanted you to know what I did cuz you always did say I was good with my hands."

When he hugged me to get back to his task of buying a video game, a flood of memories came rushing forward causing me to choke back the lump in my throat.

This was the student who put three tables together in my classroom when I couldn't figure out the directions.

This was the student who got up extra early one morning to milk the cow because I had never had *fresh* cow milk.

This was the student who could not figure out commas. (We won't even discuss colons and semi-colons.)

This was the student who had some serious anger issues. Who didn't want to smile. Who didn't want me to like him.

Before the first day of school, I had read his IEP (Individualized Education Plan). It clearly said Country Boy needed me to help him with his emotional outbursts. He also needed serious instruction in the areas of Reading and Writing. As I read each IEP of all my upcoming 6th grade students, I found all 16 of them to be eerily similar and I knew I wouldn't be able to tell Country Boy from Spitting Girl based on the words written on the documents.

Since I needed to get to know my students, the first day of school was filled with Ice Breaker activities designed to get my students to talk. And to hopefully begin the bonding process of this journey through education.

When Country Boy came into the room, he slumped in his seat with his arms crossed. Clearly, he was not humored to be in school. At the end of the day, he finally began to share a story. As the story poured out of him I was left in awe. His story involved a father who beat his mother until he was arrested and sent to prison. Then, when the mother remarried, the new step-father was also an abuser. That step-father found pleasure in abusing Country Boy along with the mother. One day, Country Boy came home from school and found his mother strangled to death. After living in foster care, he was finally sent to live with his grandparents in Georgia. His grandfather died two years later from a heart attack and now his grandmother was battling cancer. He was worried that she might die, too.

I was supposed to teach him to read. And to control his emotions.

And this was the first student for whom I cried.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Who smoketh whom?

About 3 weeks ago, I ran my first 5K. Before that date, I could barely spell the word 5K and since then, I've ran two more. Let us take a moment to reflect upon my athletic delays progress.

Three weeks ago, I ran kind of ran but also power walked like it was time for happy hour my first 5K in 49 minutes. I know, I know. I'm fast. It may surprise you to know that I didn't even train for the event. That's right. I'm just a joke gifted in the running arena.

My children were so impressed they decided to become runners, too. And they wanted to sign up to run 5Ks with me so they could kick my ass I wouldn't have to run them alone. This involved buying new running shoes for them because I don't think it is advisable for them to run in their high top Converses. For this, I should at least be nominated for Mother of the Year.

The next 5K came 2 weeks after the first one and I ran ran/walked it in 39 minutes. I could have finished near the front but I graciously stepped out of the way before I almost passed out let the others pass me and get to the finish line first. They should hand out awards for people who are this nice.

My children breezed by me and finished 9 and 5 minutes ahead of me. And like their mother, the only preparation for their first 5K was showing up.

They were all gloat-y and full of pride at how they had smoked me out on the road. I reminded them of who has the money in the trio of the 20 something year age difference in our ages.

At the award presentation at the end of the race, guess who got an award? Yep! The 74 year old dude who beat me three weeks ago. And ME!

Holy schnike! I came in second in my age range!

Clearly, more older women need to take up running. I don't think I'd be that hard to beat.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Not a good idea

Last night for supper, I ate a bowl of Fiber One cereal.

And for a little snack, I followed that with a Fiber One pop tart. Ok. Make that two pop tarts but why in the name of Gas X do they put two pop tarts in a package if one is the recommended serving.

According to my calculations, I've had the suggested fiber intake one would need in a week.

Big mistake.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

One day down, only one more day to screw up

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the students for this school year. It is the time of the year when emotions are hanging by a thread on every one's sleeves.

I had to go to court today about a child who is being deemed unruly. And unruly is probably one of the kinder words used to describe him. He was expelled for the remainder of the year. That saves us from dealing with him for today and tomorrow.

After letting my feelings get hurt yesterday because really I only shared the tamer of the insults I let the faculty know about all the comments from the anonymous dissenter in my school blog. The good news is the faculty seems to be pulling together more. And we needed that. I'm over being upset about the untrue, mean accusations but I can't help but wonder who the snake in the group really is. It is just one of the perks that goes with the territory. Teachers have the same issues with a few of the parents. It just is what it is.

I'm ready to get my sense of humor back. Lack of sleep and too much to do has taken a toll this week.

But I still have it better than this little guy who was found on the table in the garden.

What the hell happened to him?

And maybe I'm twisted, but this fetal position looks comforting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Can't Please Everybody

There is an old saying out there that says something about no good deed goes unpunished. That certainly has felt true today.

Each year, we provide a really nice meal for the faculty (at no cost to them). Since my husband has a catering service, I've been able to get him to sell us the food at cost and donate his time to cook, set up, serve, and clean. We don't have a lot of money in this hellish economy so our options are limited.

For the same price, I could serve the faculty sub sandwiches or chicken nuggets with chips instead of the fancier menu of chicken cordon bleu, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, tea, and raspberry trifle.

Today, I received an anonymous complaint about the school using my husband's catering service.

Is it wrong of me to want to just cancel the whole damn luncheon?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cake Day for Mr. Funny

You came into this world 6 weeks early. It was as if you couldn't wait to face the world. In fact, you would rarely sleep on your stomach and didn't you know they said babies were NOT supposed to sleep on their backs. You could have barfed and choked. It was as if you didn't want to miss a moment life had to offer. And what an experience you have been on our lives.

One of your first words was "choc-it" (chocolate) and that made me proud although I would later disappoint you when I wouldn't pony up the chocolate for breakfast. For the most part, you were a toddler of few words. It was as if you were watching and waiting for your moment to make your mark on the world.

And make a mark you did! Before you started school, I began to worry you would be a class clown and I would be an embarrassed parent because you rarely took life seriously. You had a knack for making people laugh.

And you might have inherited a bit of my selective OCD-ism. Remember that period in your life when you dressed like Urkel when you had to have everything tucked in just right and you had your pants pulled up to your nipples? We adapted and allotted the extra time for you to bask in your Urkel-ness neat ways.

Still, you made us laugh. Jokes were often being played and they were usually funny even if one backfired and almost got you suspended because pasting the Principal's face on a picture of Hitler is probably really not that funny. Your funny exterior was sometimes a disguise for how seriously you took school. It always cracked me up when teachers were surprised by how studious you were.

And that studious nature is beginning to pay off for you. All those college letters and brochures make me freak out because why do you have to look at colleges so far away so proud of you.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Funny! You've brought so much laughter and fun into our world.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trying to be like Honest Abe and Sojourner Truth

Because ain't I an honest person?

So after telling you lies (sweet little lies), it is time to tell the truth.

You all had excellent guesses! The scary part is some of you know me so well which has caused me to lose sleep in the relentless search for hidden cameras in the house!

Now, for the moment you've all been waiting for! (drum roll, please)

1) One time, I pretended to have a finger print kit in an attempt to get a child to confess to his crime. This is TRUE! Actually, we have used this tactic a couple of times and it entertains the heck out of us. The kit is really an old waffle iron in a black case that has been renamed the Mass Spectrum Analyzer. Seriously, it has a label and all. We've even stored a magnifying glass with a black light in the kit. I wish I could show you the deer in the headlights looks we get when we pull this baby out of the closet! It is amazing how seriously the kids take it when you throw around words like epithelials and modus operandi.

2) When a child brought dog crap to school as a prank, I had the student write a report about various kinds of canines as his consequence. This is a LIE! The truth is probably worse but in my defense, I totally had the backing of the parent. The truth is that when the child was caught trying to open a container of crap in the classroom, he had to write about the digestive system WHILE ENJOYING THE FRAGRANCE OF THE DOG SHIT. We set a special seat for the student away from everyone else because we really didn't want to have to suffer the odoriferous issues. That kid's prank totally backfired on him.

3) When I was caught skipping school as a teenager, my mother made me ride the bus for 2 weeks as my punishment. This is a LIE! When I was caught skipping school one day, my mother was indeed angry with me. She was mostly angry because I didn't invite her to go shopping with me. After being subjected to the longest lecture ever talking with her, we planned a sick shopping day for the following month. Wasn't she the coolest mother ever? Well, except for Jane because this is one mother who knows about oregano! Besides, the bus didn't even stop in our neighborhood because we were less than a mile from school and they expected us to walk our fat arses to the school house and back every day.

I don't know about you but I feel a lot better now that I've gotten that off my chest. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The basic truth about humans is we all lie

I was tagged by Jane at Gaston Studios to participate in a lie fest rather unusual quest.

According to Jane, I’m supposed to post two truths and a lie, invite fellow bloggers to select which is the lie and why, and then I pony up the truth a few days later.

Just for kicks, I decided to tell two lies and one truth.

Can you guess which one is the truth?

1) One time, I pretended to have a finger print kit in an attempt to get a child to confess to his crime.

2) When a child brought dog crap to school as a prank, I had the student write a report about various kinds of canines as his consequence.

3) When I was caught skipping school as a teenager, my mother made me ride the bus for 2 weeks as my punishment.

Can you find the truth?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sometimes I wonder, sometimes I worry

People are down right weird interesting.

Yesterday, we had a meeting with the parents of a girl who is on her way to never really passing a single grade not doing well in school. The mother made some statement about "not blaming the school but this is a new issue because the girl didn't have issues in the last state they lived in."

When I pulled copies of her report card out of the girl's permanent record and reviewed the final grades, the mother wanted to change the subject to discuss her pink hair argue that a grade of a 67 was passing in the state they came from. I guess that makes her a rocket scientist a fantastic student in some dream world state.

Big whoop-dee-doo!

Way to raise that bar! When are we ever going to "grade" the parents?


Little Miss Dizzy was talking to her teacher yesterday.

Little Miss Dizzy - "Oh. I need to tell you something. My mother has lung cancer."

Teacher (clearly freaking out) - "Oh my gosh! Oh no! Is she ok? Are you ok? When did you guys find out?"

Little Miss Dizzy (who really needs one question at a time posed to her) - "Ummmmm... I think she only has a little bit of cancer. In her lung."

Teacher (ready to start a collection for the family and rambling with worry) - "What can we do to help? Cancer is so scary. I am so sorry..."

Little Miss Dizzy (puzzled at how concerned her teacher has become) - "Hmmm... Maybe it isn't cancer... I always forget the right word. Maybe she has pneumonia. Yeah. I think that is what she said."

I swear that teacher was ready to cry but when will the teacher learn to confirm the confusing stories from Little Miss Dizzy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Great Aunt Mabel

My great aunt Mabel was born with Down's Syndrome in 1926 after a long, hard labor that, in the end, left the family mother-less. My grandmother was 2 years old and was sent to live with the child-less neighbors. The doctors suggested that Mabel be put in an institution as she would most likely not even live to the age of 5.

The rest of the siblings, most of whom were already married and had children of their own, decided that Mabel would be passed from sibling to sibling, switching Mabel to her new house every two months. As soon as my grandmother was married (when she was 20), she joined in with the sharing of care for Mabel.

As a child, I was fascinated with Mabel, almost as much as Mabel was fascinated with gaudy costume jewelry. She was a woman of few intelligible words but she had a lot to say.

She loved to say the blessing before eating and while praying in her own language my grandmother would stand beside her yelling 'Amen' in the hopes that she would wrap it up. As children, my sister and I had to bite the insides of our cheeks to keep from laughing out loud. Even then, we knew that Mabel would finish only when Mabel was finished. No need to rush her.

Once my grandmother laid out her breakfast while on her way to take care of business on the farm. When she came back a few hours later to fix lunch, she found Mabel sitting at the table still waiting to eat her breakfast. My grandmother had forgotten to say the blessing with her. She never forgot to pray with her again.

When Mabel would get upset, she would lean over and say, "I'll slap the shit out of you." My sister and I would roll with laughter. I don't think she was humored with us. She never laid a hand on us but would slap her hands together in exasperation, as if she were indeed slapping the shit out of us.

Once Mabel had terrible stomach pains and after a few hours was rushed to the hospital. It turned out to be appendicitis. When Mabel slowly woke up from the anesthesia, she started slapping the bed to get the nurses attention. When the nurses would respond, she'd hold her arms as if she were cradling a baby. She didn't understand appendicitis but she did understand a terrible stomach pain and a trip to the hospital usually correlated with the arrival of a baby. And she wanted her baby.

We bought her a doll to appease her. It didn't really work.

Mabel died in her sleep at the age of 59 while I was a senior in high school. It would take years to realize what a miracle and a blessing she was to our family. She brought us together and taught us to slow down.

We could use a Mabel in our lives right now.

Happy Mother's Day to all - and especially to the ones who are wishing for a baby right now.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Growing up is optional

You came into this world two days before my first official Mother's Day.

And you weighed a whopping 8 pounds 15 ounces. No wonder I couldn't fit into some of my maternity clothes and I hope never to wear a jumper again.

I started feeding you cereal when you were about 6 weeks old. It made you happy. And it made me happy because you began to sleep a little better.

Early on, you became fascinated by how things work which probably explains why we all call you for technical advice.

I've always loved your smile because it lights up your whole face and I still remember the first of your gassy smiles.

Throughout every stage of your life, you've remained kind and considerate. You've always taken it upon yourself to look after me.

I didn't ask you to become the man of the house. You just did it on your own.

You are a caregiver by nature.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Funny! I've enjoyed every one of your 19 years.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The children made more sense today

Really the children make more sense most every day. That is the truth and the truth can hurt sometimes. Especially when dealing with school issues.

It's the adults who drive me to drink.

First, the story of the day. A little girl in Kindergarten announced in class that she and her boyfriend had had sex. The whole class heard and the little girl seemed pleased with her ability to shock everyone although most were rather puzzled.

When the teacher marched her to the office, I told the girl she would need to call her parents and tell them about her announcement. She immediately began to cry. In fact, she cried so hard she couldn't tell her father what had happened.

Me: "Hi, Mr. Father of Ms. I Love to Shock Everyone. Do you have a minute? Today, Ms. I Love to Shock Everyone made an announcement in class that she and her boyfriend had had sex."

Mr. Father of Ms. I Love to Shock Everyone: "Oh my God. She doesn't even have a boyfriend."

Sometimes it is hard not to laugh right out loud!


Thanks to all the comments and well-wishes about my upcoming conversation with the Deans of Education earlier this afternoon. Currently I am enjoying my favorite drink, the Georgia Peach. I need the drink even though the meeting went well. The Deans were very nice even if their names really aren't Dean.

But I have some problems. Damnnit! I'm really thinking of a new title for me. How does Fry Girl sound?

Apparently, some of my teachers (most of a grade level) have been making some inappropriate comments about particular students while they meet as a grade level for lunch.

This was heard by several practicum and student teachers. Not just the one with issues.

Which makes my school have issues.

Guess what I have to look forward to on Monday?

Why, oh, why can't the adults act like adults?!

Until then, I'll plan to lay out in the yard with my Georgia Peach and finish reading A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Have a great weekend y'all!

I feel like screaming

Last week, we sent a student teacher on her way. Without going into details, everyone at the school had had enough. Besides, she was finished with her solo teaching. While I would never hire her, she'll graduate this weekend even though she hasn't taken the test in order for her to be certified.

Because she has to have the last word, she has been telling all kinds of stories about the teachers at my school. While most of them aren't likely true, I am concerned about one thing she reported. And it could be true. And I can't ignore it.


All this to distract from her faults. All this for me to contend with which is probably going to make me want to drink the whole box 'o wine tonight.

This afternoon, I have to go meet with the Deans of Education. Should I introduce myself as the Beth of Education for my school? Am I the only one who thinks the title "Dean" sounds silly?

Why do I feel like I'm going to be in trouble?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May Day! May Day!

Last night I watched my youngest, Mr. Funny, in his Spring Jazz Concert. One girl had a flute solo and was obviously nervous about it. Once her part was over, she audibly sighed and wiped her brow.

Clearly, the worst part for her was over.

It reminded me to take a deep breath.

So far in May, I've...

Ran around at Field Day

Helped host a jewelry sale

Helped with the Relay for Life

Kicked off the March of Dimes coin drive

Ran/walked a 5K and let a 74 year old dude beat me

Helped my husband with catering

Attended a PTO Executive Board meeting

Had my final School Council meeting for the year which is really a dog and pony show I have to host 4 times a year

Attended my school's Spring Concert

Hosted lunch for my PTO Executive Board members who are leaving

Organized stuff for Teacher Appreciation Week

Hosted meet and greet for the upcoming 6th graders with the middle school

Attended a School Board Work Session

Attended a Principal's Meeting

Organized a meeting with the 5th graders and parents going on the NY Trip

Planned Enrichment class for 3rd graders on photography

Attended son's Spring Jazz Concert

I still have yet to accomplish:
Buying both son's birthday gifts

Ending the school year with a bang well, not really with a bang because that would be scary - but ending the year in a happy way

Honor's Day

Making class rolls for next year

And the list goes on and on and on

But I know in a couple more weeks, I'll be able to sigh and wipe my brow.

Until then, I'm afraid my posting and commenting may be a bit sporadic.

Maybe if I had eaten, my hands wouldn't have been shaking and the picture of Mr. Funny would have been clearer.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

No longer a virgin

That's right! I'm no longer a 5K virgin. Yesterday, I ran/walked my first 5K I probably walked more than ran but I didn't have to crawl (although it was considered)! There were a few moments where I thought the golf cart following the crowd was going to have to push me along - but I made it which doesn't say a lot for the 20 or so folks behind me who quit or cheated by turning around at an unmanned point in the race! And now I see the addiction but for the record, this addiction is legal. I'm already signing up for the next local 5K being held two weeks from now.

When my school's PTO decided to host our first 5K, I knew I had to participate because it just wouldn't look good if I didn't (besides, I couldn't let my assistant principal show me up). While working at the registration table, I signed up a 74 year old man who was so excited to be running his 827th race. I made him repeat the number because I thought my ears deceived me. EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN! Holy running shoes! He told me he started running when he was 35 and became addicted.

I hope that I become addicted, too. The dude looked like he was in his fifties and he totally smoked my ass on this run by leaving me in a cloud of dust (which could have been from the dirt road - but he still beat me. Bad.). And because I want to live forever to a ripe old age, I'm going to forge on and take my health more seriously which really means run more so I can eat more desserts.

Running is something I love and I really need to get in training mode. Since I broke my knee when I was ten (seriously, I ripped that knee cap to the back side of my knee - gross), I have to be careful. Sometimes my knee creaks and moans and complains which is my sign to slow it down. Other times, I favor the other leg causing her to flare up a nasty attitude. Regardless, there is something about my feet pounding the pavement, the sun in my face, the sweat running down my back that calms me. Running is the activity I crave when I've tried to do yoga because Braja hasn't taught me the proper form and I have a difficult time calming myself down by being still.

After my big run, I looked in the mirror and I swear my ass looked a little smaller but that may have had something to do with the ass chewing I got on Friday morning. Apparently, the folks in Emerald City (the School Board Office) didn't like when I emailed them that I was sick of them saying 'we should always ask what is in the best interest of the students' when they clearly don't always answer that question. That should be all the incentive I need. Well, and I plan to beat that 74 year old dude one day.


Have you heard of Jan? She is one funny, talented, neat lady who COOKS and SHARES HER RECIPES! She bestowed an award on me and I'm trying to do my duty to pass it on. There are many, many blogs out there worthy of this award.

A Sushi Grade Blog is a cut above other blogs that are canned and turned into salad or casseroles. A Sushi Grade Blog is fresh, lively and of superior quality. It is rare, has character and is of good taste.

Oh, and it’s packed full of heart healthy Omega 3 oils which is a LOT better than taking those nasty fish oil supplements that make you burp up a fishy smell all day.

And since it seems there must be rules for awards, here they are:
1. Grab this nifty little graphic and display it proudly on your site
2. Choose 5 blogs of superior quality and list them, along with why the are A Sushi Grade Blog
3. Link to them, announcing their award
4. Leave them a comment letting them know they've been given an award
5. Link back to the blog that awarded you

So (drum roll, please), here are my choices

* Michel from Facts are Strictly Optional - Michel makes me laugh every day! And she volunteered to hide me in Sudan, if I ever needed but I'm not sure I want to hide where they have no sidewalks because that will totally mess up my shoes.

* Jane from Gaston Studios - Jane is funny, cool, and my new adoptive mother! Seriously, doesn't everyone want a mother who gets suspicious packages of *oregano*? Besides, she makes fantastic jewelry, too!

* Kulio from Ottava Battuta - Kulio is a *real* writer. She can say so much with so few words a gift that was not handed down to me. Plus, she has that dry sense of humor that I LOVE! And ottava battuta means something to musicians because I googled the term and that shit is over my head.

* Erin from Only a Movie - Erin is a teacher of students with special needs. Only her students have more special needs than most students who have special needs. And she is a single mother who honestly describes her feelings about the events in her world. If I could convince her, I'd totally talk her into moving to Podunk, Georgia so she could teach at my school.

* Em at Life, Liberty and the Pursuit... - Em is one of those ultra sarcastic people that I LOVE! She has a knack for seeing the zany in the mundane. Plus, she likes boxed wine.

So there! I even followed the rules for once. Have a great Sunday, y'all!