Saturday, November 28, 2009

Them’s fightin’ words

shopping My mother is someone who lives to shop a big believer in all the hoopla that is known as Black Friday. Despite my need for rest after cooking, cleaning, and serving for three days, I agreed to, once again, go shopping with my mother at an ungodly hour. Because I am trying to get nominated for mother of the year, I dragged my two boys along, too.

After picking us up at 4 a.m., we soon found ourselves standing in the long line at Kohl’s just waiting to pay for our purchases and it was exciting because with a line like that, I just knew there had to be a ride at the end. When I noticed the red light blinking on my crackberry Blackberry, I looked to see what message I had. I didn’t recognize the number who’d sent me the text – and I was shocked when I read the message.

“You act all fly when you wit them hoes.”

Wha?! Immediately I knew I had to defend my mother’s honor. Frantically, I typed back.

“Don’t you be calling my momma a hoe.”

How rude! I can not believe someone would call my mother a garden instrument. She hates being outside (unless by outside you mean waiting in line to get in a store) and she does not do gardens even though she is an upstanding garden club member. But her secret is safe with me.

A couple of hours later, my phone rang – it was the number from the offensive text sender.

Me (irritated): “Hello.”

Offensive Text Sender: “Uh… hello?”

Me (even more irritated): “Yeah. Hello.”

Offensive Text Sender: “I think I’ve got the wrong number.”

So, there. I told him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

This is just how we roll

Mr. Strong: “Now, tell me again.  How many people are coming to our house for Thanksgiving?”

Me: “Are you serious!  I’ve already told you 52 times! We are having 21 people.”

Mr. Strong: “And just for me, let’s go over the menu again.”

Me (sighing loudly because we’ve gone over the menu a bazillion times): “I think I just want to kill myself.  We are having turkey, brunswick stew, dressing, sweet potato crunch, green beans, broccoli casserole, squash casserole… key lime cake, pumpkin cheesecake…”

Mr. Strong (beginning to sharpen a knife): “I just need to know that we have enough food.”

Me: “All you are responsible for is the turkey.  That is all.  Don’t worry about the rest.  Just do the turkey.”

Mr. Strong: “But with 21 people, do you think we have enough food?

Me (through gritted teeth): “You are starting to sound like your mother.”

Mr. Strong (handing me the knife with a big smile): “Here you go.  Just in case.  You know with that suicide business.”


Thanksgiving was a hit.  We have leftovers enough to feed an army.  E-mail me and I’ll send directions.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The post where I get to make fun of a friend

While taking a break from the Law and Order marathon Thanksgiving baking, I went to retrieve the mail. In the pile were sale circulars, magazines, bills, and one card.

Oh, goodie! A card! I love getting mail.

It was a card from one of our close friends who is trying her darnedest to keep the US Post Office AND Hallmark in business.

Awww. What a lovely card. I didn't even know they made Thanksgiving cards.

Holy turkey feathers! What is that she wrote?

Remember its a USA holiday only

So, not only is this a card, it is a history lesson. Apparently, I need to quit drooling and to act my age not my shoe size when she comes over.

I wonder if Hallmark sells a Thanksgiving apology card.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A trip down memory lane… or make that a moment when I remember how much of a glutton for punishment I am

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is that our school system takes the entire week off. A whole week of not going to school, not getting crazy mad phone calls from parents, not correcting kids for breaking the rules, and not being sleep deprived.

As usual, whenever I get a day off, I decided to clean. And by clean I mean I began to tackle chaos known as the picture cabinet.

That was where I found a picture of Queen.*

One year when I was teaching, Queen came to me around Valentine’s Day with ratty hair sticking out all over and dresses that were a little too short. Especially when she rolled around on the ground.

And she liked rolling around on the floor a lot. She refused to talk. She refused to make eye contact. She refused to even grunt when I asked her a question. Yet, she would scream and yell every time she was in the hallway.

I had to have a meeting with her grandmother to ask her to dress Queen in pants because there is a limit to the number of times one should be allowed to see someone’s underwear. The principal wanted Queen moved to a *special* school and I begged him to let us have more time with her.

He gave us until the end of the school year.

Queen ruined the calm routine that had been established in my classroom. My bad boys didn’t know what to do with Queen and her horrible communication skills.

Time passed. Queen began to trust. And I began to find a girl who had a great sense of humor. A girl who loved to draw. A girl who wrote rap songs.

She screamed less. She talked more. In class, she became a really likeable student.

Since we had to have success outside of just my classroom, we set a behavioral goal for Queen. For her reward, she wanted to go to the movies (a big reward for a big change in her behavior).

Just before the school year ended, Queen met her goal and I called her grandmother to set up our date. Since Queen had never been to the movies before, she insisted upon sitting on the front row. In a dress. Where no one else could see her panties when she rolled around on the floor for a few minutes.

I wonder where Queen is today. And I wonder if she still wears dresses.

*Not her real name

Thursday, November 19, 2009

While it might look like I’m being all friendly…


It’s that time of the year - the time when parents have decided their annoyingly spoiled precious off-spring would fare better in a different teacher’s classroom.

Because the problem is never with their child.   And it is possible that Jesus wasn’t the only one who could walk on water.

And when they make legal threats and my boss tells me to move their child, I’ll do it because I am the picture of compliance.  Really.  But don’t expect me to be understanding when your little pain in the rumpus child continues to have problems in their new classroom because obviously the new teacher made the child throw a fit and break a glass treat jar on purpose.  Why would we ever want children to be responsible for their behavior?  Such a ridiculous idea!

And just because I was all nice and smiling and you couldn’t see or hear what I was thinking about the whole situation doesn’t mean I want to be on your e-mail forward list.  Take me the heck off! 

You really don’t want to make a bad situation badder worse.  After all, I do get to decide what class your precious angel will be in next year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Dear Kindergarten Mom,

I really don't know how to gently lead into this one... so, just smile.

Today, there was a commotion in the cafeteria, and one of my teacher assistants went to check out what was going on and to settle our darlings down...when your son turned and looked at her with what looked like dried blood coming out of his nose. Before you panic, I want you to think, "what did I put in his lunch today?"

Yep, your precious boy shoved some raisins up his nostrils...both sides...about three each. He was encouraged him to blow them the hell out get them out and finally, after blowing hard, the intruders were dislodged. No harm, no foul. Your son and I spoke about the dangers of shoving things up noses and why this is not a smart thing to do.

I probably shouldn't add this, but it made us giggle all day...when the teacher assistant came back to get the raisins in a napkin to throw away, they were gone. Yep, you are probably guessing right on that one too.

This is just one of the reasons why I love kindergarten. You may want to reinforce the no sticking things up noses conversation.  Please remember to laugh becauseSchoolCenter Picture it will all pass too quickly and he will be grown.  But this will be a great story to revive at his wedding.

Have a great evening!


Friday, November 13, 2009


broken heart As I drove home from school thoughts of you were rolling through my head. 

How is it that you can be only 5 years old and yet so indifferent about school?

You show no fear.  No remorse.  You even say you don’t want to learn.

Still, I see a lost look in your eyes.  A look of despair. 

And like a sucker punch to the gut, I gasped for breath.  Suddenly, I knew what to do.

No more reactions.  No more consequences.  Only encouragement and praise.  And time to heal.

We’ll believe in you while you don’t.  We’ll love you since you don’t.  We’ll build you back up to the little girl you were meant to be.  Even when you behave like you don’t deserve it.  

Because you do.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just a word of advice

Dear Pushy Company Rep,

The next time you want to provide lunch for my faculty so you can peddle hand out your information, please bring more than 6 pizzas for my faculty of 85.  And when I point out that you don’t have enough food, it would behoove you to act like you care because it really wasn’t my responsibility to go buy more food

pizza And don’t have the pizza place cut the slices and then cut each slice in half again.  That makes you look cheap and it is insulting to us because, hello!, we can tell you are a real jerk.

There is a big difference between lunch and appetizers.

We do, however, appreciate your boss who understood our point of view.  And we will try not to rub salt in the wound when you come back by on Friday with your tail tucked delivering breakfast for everyone.  And by everyone, that means 85 hungry people.

Still craving pizza,


P.S. I don’t think this helped you land any sales.  Just sayin’.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Really, all I wanted to do was make a difference

DSCN0252 As I drove to the Georgia coast for an elementary school principal conference, I reminisced about why I ever went into administration. The answer is simple.

I wanted to make a difference.

It is hard to feel like you are making a difference when you phone a parent to let her know her Kindergartener loudly took the Lord’s name in vain because he wasn’t getting his snack fast enough and all she was concerned about was whether or not he got the snack. Apparently, God didn’t want her child to be hungry. Don’t mind the swear. I’m guessing he is only a product of his environment.

And when you call the parent of the child who had a tantrum and crumbled and threw his peanut crackers in the classroom when asked to eat his snack in the hallway in an effort protect the child who has severe peanut allergies, it won’t be his fault because he is impulsive. What the hell?! The student could have died! A grand excuse that I intend to borrow.

But then there is the bad boy who knows how to push his teacher’s buttons. How I love those bad boys! This boy dreams of becoming a professional football player and I hope he makes that dream come true. In some shape or form. In the meantime, I’ll keep encouraging him and I’ll keep a desk in my office for those moments when he is driving his teacher mad because I believe in him. And he knows it. And when he is raking in the millions, he’ll probably remember some high school jerk coach who helped him. Not me. Still, my goal is to be his manager.

And then, there is the little girl who should be in the movies because she is beyond adorable. Too bad it isn’t acceptable to call adults “doo doo head” her behavior isn’t always as pretty as she looks. But I appreciate that her mother is working with us because in my office are some u-g-l-y clothes for this little girl to wear anytime she is misbehaving. Since she loves to be the center of attention cute, she has made HUGE strides in her behavior so that she won’t have to wear the despicable clothing. She will probably grow up and land some great modeling gig. Or become the next Lindsay Lohan.

While this isn’t the Hollywood ending I envisioned, I guess all hope isn’t lost. Still, I wish I could save them all.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

All the cool kids are doing it…

Getting sick, that is.  I was supposed to run my first 10K this morning.  Instead, I’m snuffling and sneezing on the sofa.

I can feel the roots of my teeth when I walk.

Still, this is not going to stop me from going out with two of my best friends from high school this evening.  It has been a long time since I’ve had a girl’s night out.

They make Bendadryl martinis, right?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

She sells herself short


She was nine years old when I met her and instantly, I was in love.  She has always been my favorite niece even if she is my only niece.  That doesn’t matter!  Because if I could have picked out a niece, I would have picked someone just like her!.  I’ll never forget how desperately she wanted my oldest son to be born on her birthday.  When he came a day earlier than her big day, she shrugged it off and said, “That’s okay.  He can have his day and I’ll still have mine.”

She has always had an amazing outlook on life.

When my ex-husband and I were divorcing, she was sad and said she felt like I wouldn’t be her aunt anymore.  Marriage may have made her my niece but there was no way I could have let her go.  She’ll always be my favorite niece.  While we may not really be related, we have a bond that has stood the test of time.

Life hasn’t always been kind to her.  And life doesn’t always wrap up with a nice ending; however, the story is her story to tell.  I hope one day, she will.

Her mother used to accuse me of wanting her for my own daughter.  On one hand, she was wrong.  I never felt the urge to be her mother.  Besides, being her aunt was more fun.  On the other hand, she was right.  I would have loved to have had the chance for her to know stability.  And love without condition.

Despite the miles between us, she remains a big part of our lives.  I love to chat with her on the phone.  She often apologizes for doing most of the talking but what she doesn’t know is that I could listen to her all day.  Most of the time, she is upbeat and excited.  Sometimes she is sad.

She questions her abilities.  Her education.  Her experiences.  Her memory.  Her background.  Her worth.

I pray that one day, she’ll know, like we know, how completely wonderful she is. 

Monday, November 2, 2009

If it walks like a duck…

IMG_4697 Over the years, I’ve had several testy conversations with a local quack child psychologist.  This quack doctor does a lot of school-bashing and loves to tell us all the things she thinks we are doing wrong.  All this she does without us asking ever having set foot in our building.

Let’s get this straight.  We don’t tell her how to treat her patients though I have some ideas.  She doesn’t need to tell us how to educate children especially when she makes ridiculous suggestions like for us to have beads strung across the base of the desk for a particular student to rub his feet on when ever he wants.  Because that wouldn’t be distracting at all.  And it would be oh, so sanitary.

Today, a parent came to see me because she wanted my help with her daughter who has been seeing this quack doctor.  I wanted to tell her to run like hell but I found I didn’t have to.  This quack doctor had sent the mother a letter stating that the daughter had been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and there were some problems.  Apparently, after a mere two weeks in therapy, this quack doctor had determined the child was “resistant to treatment” through her program and was being dismissed.

This quack doctor rejected an oppositional child from her program for being… well… oppositional.

Am I being Punk’d?