Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen: the PG version

1) If you had $100 to spend on yourself, what would you get?.. The full works Hairstyle and massage
2) Something you do when nobody is around? (talk to yourself, sing, etc.).. Dance in my classroom during my off period
3) Most embarassing moment?...Walked out of teacher's restroom with skirt stuck in pantyhose...mooned one of my students
4) Glass half empty or half full? Half empty....trying to fill it up
5) Something you've always wanted to do but haven't....Tour Great Britain
6) What did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher....of course
7) What's your guilty little pleasure? Godiva truffles
8) Wine or beer? Beer....Shiner Bock in a bottle or Bass if on tap
9) Devil or angel on your shoulder? Angel....judging from guilt grandmother is my guardian angel
10) How important is communication in a relationship? Can't work w/o....not doing such a good job myself
11) You've had a bad day at work..what would you like when you get home? A deep standing hug and a bath
12) Significant other has had a bad day at work..what would you do for him/her? Massage shoulders and make warm cookies
13) Favorite tv show? Star Trek :Next Generation or Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

10 Things to do while Hall monitoring during the TAKS

10. Redo the songs on your Blog twenty thousand times
9. Harass your brother and sister with texts about your parents
8. Check out reviews on kitchen equipment you can't afford on Cook's Illustrated Website....drool...La Creuset Dutch oven...
7. Pat your big fluffy hair constantly hoping that it calms down
6. Grade those straggle of papers that you have left from the weekend's grading that you should have put off until today.....doh
5. Update your resume....don't want it to be too fluffy either
4. Research Swine Flu Symptoms....eyeball coughing student going to restroom
3. Go raid the teacher's lounge again for some leftover fruit from this morning....yummy orange slices
2. Push back your cuticles on your fingernails...admire your pretty pedicure and wonder why you didn't get a manicure
1. Try to feel grateful for this moment since you'll be staring at testing students for four hours each day for the next three days

Springtime a la Dallas

Shampoo-conditioning for curly hair +
Deep Conditioner for curly hair +
Hair Serum for curly hair +
Mousse for soft curls +
Slow Diffusing dryer +
Hair milk for flyaways +
Large Hair curlers in hair for 15 minutes =
Soft shiny curls hanging on my shoulders
---------divided by------------
Five minutes in warm deep fog of North Texas
= equals =
big fuzzy mess of a HAIRDO


Sunday, April 26, 2009

I used to read this blog religiously every Sunday. No pun intended. I was happy to find it again this morning. Some of the secrets have hit pretty close to home at times. I find it often makes very powerful statements about the things that we choose not to look back upon. The hardest ones are the things that have a way of sneaking out despite our best intents to deny or ignore them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen: Hodge Podge of Firsts

1. First Car-Bronze 1973 Capri 6 cylinder....she was fast...if my parents had known where she was being driven
2. First Boyfriend-My brother called him Jim Bob...dated for over a year...6 foot eyes...still friends but he still treats me like I'm 16..most annoying
3. First College-Texas Tech University-Man I hate Lubbock but loved that school
4. First School I taught at: ooh....not gonna say but the kids called it Booty Story.
5. First Concert: So concert....John Mellencamp/Willy Nelson/Neil Young at Farm Aid at Texas Stadium
6. First job: Short order cook at an Arcade...awesome job...cheese fries and free game time
7. First Marriage: mustached a new name for him
8. First Child: The boy..Sean Bobbie...Seangalongadingdong...Thawn
9. First Birthday remembered: Four years old, Snow White Cake with all Seven dwarfs....nearly beat up Michael McCollough when he tried to walk off with Dopey
10. First Best Friend: Vesna Slavanovitch....try writing that as a first grader...from what used to be Czechoslovakia...what was she doing in podunk Texas in the 70's? good question..
11. First Wake up Call-head first over the handle bars, head first into railroad tracks, a week in hospital....slow down
12. First time really on my own: Summer of 1989...Austin, Texas...met the significant other the first night there...great apartment right down the road from UT
13. First Album bought with own money:(actually two) Rumors by Fleetwood Mac and Against the Wind Lake by Bob shame there

Monday, April 20, 2009


Ten years ago today, I was in my second year of teaching in an inner-city school. To call it like my kids, it was very ghetto. All of the teachers were the same ethnicity and extremely tight with each other except for those of us that taught English as a Second Language and we were all another ethnicity and mostly brand new to the school. Right before school got out, my principal got on the intercom and made an announcement that we would be having an emergency meeting after school. By that time, news had trickled in about what was happening in Columbine, CO and a sense of disbelief was quite high among teachers and students. It was honestly a relief when that bell rang and the kids walked out the door. We all filed into the cafeteria so quietly and somber. Now my principal was a very very religious man. He preached a lot at his church and sometimes his lectures to us sounded more like gospel Sunday sermons. He came in a little after us and walked up to the microphone as we all waited for some type of emergency protocol or words of comfort. Instead we got this, "What is wrong with you white people? You never hear of black kids shooting up a school". Not exactly words of wisdom and the racial aspect was a tad bit discomforting. Oh well. Everything about that school was a little bit discomforting: teachers who couldn't or didn't teach, kids literally running down the hallways during every class, water running down my chalkboard when it rained, pigeon droppings blowing through the air conditioning vents, coaches pocketing candy sales, gang shooting out the front windows every weekend. It was so dysfunctional that I was the only ESL person who came back after my first year from what used to be an eight person department. The principal had neglected to go to personnel and had not hired anyone to replace those who had left. This is how I became department head as a 2nd year teacher. A department with 300 students that didn't speak English and one teacher. Good times. Ok, I've totally digressed here. It was horrible to be a teacher 10 years ago on April 20th. The rest of the school year was kind of a tense blur and there definitely was another humongous sigh of release when that final bell rang on the last day of school. The reason I say it was so horrible is that for me there were so many questions about why that tragedy happened, what could have been done and a lingering thought that it could happen at my school. For my principal to make that comment, besides sounding stupid, he was just being plain naive. Looking at my classes today, I see several kids diagnosed as bipolar, kids with obvious gang affiliation, kids with drug issues, kids with lack of any parental supervision issues.....on and on....but I gotta say, I don't see potential killers, I just see kids. I see too many kids however. I see potential issues that can't possibly be addressed. The school is huge and my classes way too large. I hate to think that I lump kids into categories but I know sometimes my impressions of a certain kid on a specific day can be fleeting with so many things to do and so many students to teach. I think there were too many variables at play to pinpoint school or class size as the reason why the tragedy happened in Columbine. But looking at my classes today and thinking about my kiddos back then, I do wish that my classes were smaller and I was able to spend more time with them. I wish that I was better able to get to know them better. I also hope that all that happens today in all the schools everywhere is just remembering and reflecting upon the past.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Forgotten roses

It's been a very dry spring here. At one point, we were almost 12 inches behind in rainfall. It finally rained this past weekend and today is beautiful. The sky is a beautiful blue and even though its a bit windy, the birds are just singing like they are performing. I have several rose bushes that I have been neglecting in my backyard but they have managed to throw out some lovely blooms despite a lack of fertilizer and pruning. I took some pillows out to the swing this afternoon and just lay there listening to the birds and smelling my forgotten roses. All I could seem to do today.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


"Something you need most might be something you turn away from, something you turn away from might be something you regret, and something you regret, in the end, might cost you the one chance you ever had." Brian Judge

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Little Tea Shop

Neglected to post this earlier and am kicking myself. Our last morning in Memphis, we stumbled out of bed late and settled for lunch since breakfast was obviously on its way out. Coming back from Beale Street the day before, we had spied this funky little restaurant on a side street leading to the Mississippi and were kinda intrigued by the shabby charm of its exterior. One thing I definitely have found is that local quirky restaurants are always better than any chain restaurant and that shabby can sometimes equate tasty goodness. Oh my lord, forget tasty goodness, the food was so good that it made ya want to rub it all over your face. Who knew that simple boiled squash could make a magic moment between you and your eating partner as you both smile through first bites. The food is honestly that good. The peach cobbler was divine. If I favorably compare it to my grandmother's, then you know it is good. Our waitress was casual but efficient, the owner was very charming. It was such a great experience that it made me want to stay in Memphis just so I could show up for next daily special. Go there. Now. Yummmmmm.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I think these stupid allergies have hot-wired my brain. All morning long, all I could smell was strawberry my stupid classroom reeks of Fruit Loops.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Burning Rubber

Did something on Saturday that I've thought about doing but never had the guts. Actually did it not out of choice but out of desperation: slammed both feet on my brakes going almost 50 mph and made that lovely screaming noise you hear from tires sliding down concrete. Imagine a beautiful Saturday, heading down service road of Central Expressway, looking forward to lunch at favorite Tex-Mex restaurant Herrera's, laughing chit chat in the car, babbling 7 year old in backseat, SMU sorority girls walking down the sidewalk, silver SVU running through red light right in front of you. Thank goodness I had my eye on them coming through that intersection. I think I even realized that they weren't gonna slow down before whatever safety gears started turning and slammed my feet down. If that SVU had hit their brakes or if I hadn't hit mine, I would have t-boned them dead center. I hate that horrible adrenaline rush you get when getting the crap scared out of you. I'm not sure if that SVU ever realized they ran the light but they did seem to slow down past the intersection. It may have just been the sorority girls they were slowing down to look at though. The screaming tire noise should have given them a warning that something wasn't right though. Now I'm not sure if the man in the gold BMW was behind me or beside me during all this but he made a point of riding up next to my car and smiling and waving and giving me a thumbs up. See, Dallas drivers aren't all bad. One driver ran a light, one driver drove defensively and one driver practiced Texas charm. I think of all things that I do that take my attention away from the road and am feeling a bit chagrined and lucky today. Hopefully that first driver learned something also. I did learn that squealing tires aren't so cool after all.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen: a day late

Driving to school always seems to put me in a melancholy mood. I don't know if it's a "I don't wanna go to school, it's too pretty" mood or a "I can't get a grip on my life" malaise. This morning I was actually thinking about exotic things that I would do if I could but realized I needed to scale it down to things I would like to do right now.
1) Walk down the road from my house to see the huge purple irises that are blooming
2) Stop and pet the friendly dog at the bus stop down the road from my school. He stands on his back legs and licks over the fence at the kids every morning. He makes me happy.
3) Plant a pecan tree at Mama Pat and Daddo's grave site.
4) Go out to Grandmother and Pappy's grave site and plant some flowers.
5) Throw away half the shoes that I have
6) Buy a pair of red sandals that match my nail polish
7) Make copies of everything that I need for the upcoming Middle East Unit
8) Get every single culture Box Project taken home by my students
9) Call the parents of each student that is many right now
10) Sign the middle 100 Farmer daughter up for theater attempts to steer her towards Law seem to have
11) Sign the 100 Farmer Daughters up for swim team....another summer sitting in the shade at the pool
12) Go see that stupid King Tut Exhibit that I've been meaning to for months
13) Sleep for more than 5 hours sometime this weekend

Thursday, April 02, 2009

April Fool's

I have never driven a bus. Do not see myself driving one anytime in the near future. Am personally terrified by the idea of such a responsibility and give a tip of the hat to my Fellow Education Blogger, Tales of a School Bus Driver who was kind enough to contribute my April Fool's post. Another tip of the hat(well, if I ever wore about swish of the ponytail) to Mister Teacher for organizing our blogosphere prank. My post yesterday can be located at History is Elementary's blog. I can definitely say that I am in good company :)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bug Spray, Sand Gnats, and the Zoo

Over the last week, I drove a couple of decent field trips. One was a pretty typical, run-of-the-mill, sports (JV. Boys and Girls Soccer) field trip to a nearby town. All was going pretty well until… the Sand Gnats attacked. We got there around 3:30; by 5 pm they were in full attack mode. Swarms of Sand Gnats brutally and relentlessly tortured the unsuspecting patrons of the games. For those who don’t know, Sand Gnats are tiny bugs that bite. They are like mini mosquitoes and as annoying as the “No-See-Em’s.” I tried to take refuge in my bus, but being that it was hot outside, and even hotter in the bus, the Sand Gnats somehow managed to seek me out. I had the bus fans going on full blast; the windows and door were open in the hopes that the breeze would keep the Sand Gnats away. Alas, I was unsuccessful as the swarms of Sand Gnats congregated inside the bus. I was about to flee the scene in search of refuge inside any nearby building when I saw a parent spraying bug spray all over her kids and herself. “Victory is mine!” I thought as I hurried toward the woman half begging and pleading to borrow her bug spray for just a minute. She graciously allowed me to use it and soon I was repelling the Sand Gnats much to my relief. AHA!!! I must add bug spray to my bus driver bag. Later in the week, I drove a trip to the Zoo. The local kindergarten classes piled into my bus and we drove the two hours at 55 mph all the way to the Zoo. The Zoo was packed! After winding our way through the parking lot to the bus parking area, the children got off and ate lunch. Then we headed to the entrance. We had to enter all at once and together in two separate groups, adults and children. Of course it took a miracle to get the parents and children to separate long enough to form two lines to enter the Zoo. Once inside, I rented a scooter and saw the Zoo in style. My favorite exhibit was the monkey exhibit. I’ve always loved the monkey exhibits even when I was a child. While “scooting” around, I encountered several groups of people who created massive road blocks by not only stopping in the middle of the pathways, but insisted on spreading themselves out in a line that spanned the width of the pathway creating a very uncomfortable and impossible to pass road block. Additionally, these same people had children (devil spawn) who insisted on walking, and in some cases, running, into me. Luckily I was able to stop the scooter to avoid running over the devil spawn, because if I had bumped into and run over any of them, the parents of said devil spawn would probably have chewed me a new one about “watching where I’m going” without considering their devil spawn was bouncing from side to side and generally being a twit. Unlike some of the other field trips I’ve taken, the Zoo was very educational. It was a very successful day. Most of the children whose parents accompanied them took them home, so the remaining children on the bus each had their own seat and were able to sleep all the way home. I can’t wait until later in the year when I go to the Museum of Science and History.
Don’t Feed the Animals,
The Bus Driver