Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen

Thirteen Things I'd Enjoy on a Trip back in Time

1. ...running through the grass barefoot in the light of the front porch with my cousins. Back before the invasion of mosquitos we have now, we only had to worry about chiggers and the occasional toy we couldn't see in the dark.

2....taking a trip to town to go to the bank with my Mama Pat. The tellers always called her Miss Pat and gave out those little square boxes of chiclets. A trip to the bank also meant we were picking up Granny's Chicken (no, not Grandy's) and were gonna snack on hot rolls on the way home.

3...I'd corral my grandmother in her kitchen and tickle her until she gave me her Sugar Cookie recipe. She had the recipe in her head and never wrote it down. I loved those cookies.

4...Halloween in our neighborhood in North Dallas in the late 70's. Herds of kids running everywhere...makeshift haunted houses at least four to each worries about the bogeyman then. around in my dad's silver blue 1966 Mustang. Man, I wish I had that car.

6....roller skating at the Roller Rink on a Saturday night listening to Cheap Trick, The Knack, Queen and ELO....everyone fast the ground was a lot less scarier back then.

7....Make a pot of percolated coffee for my Daddo early in the morning. Sit on the back porch with him and listen to the birds.
8...relive the excitement of the looking through the Sear's Christmas Toy Catalog.
9....Eating a real Banana Bike....Laffy Taffy's just aren't the same.

10...Go to the old Six Flag's which still had six separate historical themes and animal trashcans that roared when you put trash into them. Don't miss the scary huge slide with the burlap sacks though.

11....Go back and visit my 4th period from my first year of teaching. Loved that class, loved those kids. Of course, they're all 25-27 now. Will always be junior high students in my mind.

12....Going to the Blue Ridge Rodeo. Run around with herds of kids, scarf down popcorn and dance around the cars when the band played later.

13....A week at Lake Texoma on our old boat with my Mom, Dad and even brother and sister. I would love to be able to spend a week like that out on the islands with no worries..just fishing and reading.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bare Walls

I have to admit that I teacher-geek out every new school year. I like decorating my classroom. I enjoy putting up bulletin boards. I spend an inordinate amount of time lining my door and whiteboards with decorative borders. I have kitschy stuffed animals and large cardboard monkeys that serve no purpose but to amuse the kids. My room tends to look more like an elementary classroom than a traditional high school one but it makes me happy and the kids like it so its not gonna change. Today though, I walked into a room with bare walls and felt a flash a joy. For once in 12 years of teaching, I will have my room ready to go before the last day of school. I will not be the last teacher on the 3rd floor still sorting papers after everyone has left. Those empty walls echo the success of a year of education and the promise of a summer to come. I never thought a empty wall full of mangled staples could be so beautiful.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twenty Years Ago

Twenty years ago today I packed up my Mustang and drove to Austin in a split decision to put a kibosh on the path I was traveling and to at least try something new. I had dropped out of college a year and a half before and had been working as an Assistant Mgr at a fast food restaurant owned by a very evil man where I was working 60+ hours a week shifts. I looked like a greasy, curly haired zombie and was in a pretty unhealthy relationship with an older guy. When my best friend offered her spare room during her last summer semester at UT, it wasn't that hard of a decision to drop my keys off at work, blow a quick sayonara kiss at the old dude and start throwing stuff in the trunk. It's hard to believe that it's been twenty years and also funny to think what might have been if I had not moved. You see, there was this guy that my friend had written about several times in her letters to me. He was in her photography classes and lived in the apartment behind hers and she claimed that he was probably the smartest guy that she had ever met. She had failed to mention how cute he was though. The first thing we did when I got into town was to buy groceries. Coming back from the parking garage with groceries that first hour in Austin, I met that smart guy who would become my husband four years later. Honestly, if you can't call it love at first sight then it really was an instantaneous flash of WOW. Within a week and several bowls of my tasty guacamole we were in a tempestuous romance that survived a year and a half of long distance romance when I went to North Texas and he finished up at UT. Luckily, this was before widespread email and I was wooed by the black and white postcard photos that he sent me constantly. I'm sure my mailman must have enjoyed reading them. I still have every single one stored in the picnic basket that we used to use. Now twenty years, six cats, two dogs and two kids later, I have a lot of "used to" memories. Things aren't so great right now. Too many "used to" memories turned into "should have" things that we've missed out on and it's hard to determine which path we're going to be heading down now. But honestly, I wouldn't have changed most of the past twenty years and can't possible put a value on our kids and even our cats. He is still the smartest person I know even though he's turned into the absent-minded professor and I still get a flash of "wow" when he's at sweetest and especially goofiest. I don't know where the next twenty years will find us but I can't pass up the chance to look at that paths that I could have taken taken and celebrate that I took the right one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


When the cousins get together there is much shrieking, screaming, wailing and stomping. No, there are no fits being thrown. It just seems that these kids bring out the internal banshee in each other and the noise and chaos level goes through the roof. In this old picture, the four of them were actually wrestling on the top bunk of a bunk bed. Thank goodness it was the sturdy iron version. I have found that tossing them out in the backyard is always the best way to go as four kids running along down wood floors can make the whole house shake and a shaking house is no place for my collection of pottery. Bedrooms are often left in shambles during the cousin visits and for some reason, they always seem to end up hanging out on my bed. So much for making the bed. Paper plates, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs are always welcome and even though I hate the waste of plastic bottles, Gatorade bottles save me the hassle of tracking down missing glasses. The cousins live three and a half hours away and they seem to age faster than my own kids as I feel like we never see them. Puberty is slapping the two older cousins which I was a bit concerned about because we know how snotty teenagers can get. No worries, they're just bigger but still as loud. One just has a deeper voice and the other is suddenly much taller than her male cousin. I never thought I'd miss the playing of that stupid "Billy Bass'' song over and over again when they were younger but I do. My brother added a new cousin to the mix yesterday and I'm happy that we've got a baby in the family again. A big welcome to the newest cousin. I'm looking forward to hearing you shriek through my house too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why isn't it Friday blog for Thursday

You know it's going to be a good day when you end up with a large map of South Asia imprinted across your left breast before the first bell even rings.

On a side note: our new printer ink is very cheap and does not dry on transparencies.
Another side note: am mourning the loss of my favorite blue Oxford celebrating new shirt map of Asia

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Week

The Communication classes are giving speeches in the auditorium this week to honor teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week and this is one that I received. I love this big lug of a kid.

I am here today to honor a teacher

who gets to the point

and doesn't act like a preacher

she is nice and laid back

and gives help to us all

she doesn't attack

She'll help if you fall

she gives time to do work

if you are absent one day

but if you act like a jerk

she'll just say, "Get out of my way"

some students can be stubborn

not doing their work

but she always keeps her cool,

not going berserk

this is in honor of Ms. 100 Farmers

You're my favorite teacher, teaching more than just the book(rhymes with my real last name).

Friday, May 01, 2009

Last Day of TAKS Monitoring Musings

Ten things that passed through my mind while aimlessly...I mean diligently staring at my testing students:
10. Since I've had to take down every carefully prepared display in my room for this stupid test...I wonder if I can get away with packing up my room even though there's a month left?
9. OMG, who drew the large picture of the male genitalia on my wall and how long has it been there?
8. These kids must have brought at least 40 bags of hot Cheetos between them. Man, I need to buy stock in that company.
7. I wonder if I can Cheetos to sponsor my blog since they're getting free advertising right now?
6. How many times am I gonna have to tell Mr. Skeleton shirt kid to wake up?
5. Wow, that one kid busted through that test. He even highlighted and eliminated answers. He might know more history than me.
4. Huh, the kid who threatened to blow up the school during the last TAKS test must still be at alternative school.
3. I wonder if the kids will notice if I start sneaking M & M's out of my desk drawer?
2. Aw man, who dislocated the legs on my squishy desk cow toy?
1. Hmm, how much trouble will I get into for throwing a cow leg at a sleeping student?