Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Meme

Halloween meme
This one is brought to you by Oh the Joys.

1 - What was the scariest movie you have ever seen?
I hate anything even remotely scary, so I rarely watch anything that might
fall into that category. I'd have to say Cape Fear nearly scared the
living shit out of me. Robert DeNiro as a crazed killer with a thing for an
adolescent girl? *shudder*
If you count things that I never saw all the way through, then I'd have to say
The Exorcist- even the mere idea.

2- What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
Anything where I got to wear a lot of makeup.

3- Given enough money what would be your fantasy Halloween costume? Cleopatra

4- When was the last time you went trick or treating?
8th grade

5- What is your favorite Halloween candy?
Tiny Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfinger, fresher than fresh Baby Ruth bars

6- Tell us about a scary nightmare you once had.
I have a recurring rat dream that creeps me out.

7 – What is your supernatural fear?

Possession. (as in by Satan, not of a bag of weed)

8-What is your ‘creepy-crawlie’ fear?

Rats. (snakes and bats are a close 2nd and 3rd.)

9- Tell us a time you saw a ghost or heard something go bump in the night.

Does waking up to a real god damned bat flying around in my bedroom count?

10- Would you stay overnight in a real Haunted House?
Hell freaking no.

11-Are you a traditionalist or a creative carver of your Jack-o-Lantern?
I'm not creative enough to be anything but a traditionalist.

12- How much do you decorate the house at Halloween?
Not much outside- we fill a few orange pumpkin leaf bags. Last year the
squirrels ate the pumpkins and gourds artfully arranged on my porch, so I
kept them inside this year. (the pumpkins and gourds, not the squirrels)
I do a bit inside- leaf garland on the mantel, candles, Halloween tchachke.

13- What do you want on your Tombstone?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trick? or Treat?

Tonight was Trick or Treat Night, and as usual, I've got something to say about it.
Such as:

1. Since when did the wearing of pajamas constitute a Halloween costume?

2. If you are NOT wearing any sort of a costume, you do NOT say the obligatory "trick or treat", and you do NOT say thank you, then you do NOT get full treats.

3. Full treats means Reeses, Snickers, Kit Kat, or Butterfinger. In order to qualify, one must come in costume, say "trick or treat" (and hopefully "thank you")and have not yet gone through puberty. Those who do not qualify for Full Treats get individual boxes of raisins, plastic spider rings that will never fit on their sausage fingers, or pretzel dippers with cheese that my kids no longer like. Tonight I gave one teenaged boy who stood on my porch with his backpack, sans costume, a small bag of prunes.

4. Don't even TRY the ol' "Can I have some for my sister? She's home sick." trick. No one buys it- even if it's true.

5. Do NOT DRIVE your kids around the neighborhood. You want free candy? You've gotta work for it. I actually had a woman pull up in her mini van in front of my house tonight, another woman got out - NOT in costume- and came up to the door with 2 buckets, explaining that she had 2 little ones in the van. Um...? It was like 68 degrees out, no rain, no snow, no wind, so the weather was not an excuse, so what was she thinking?

6. There must be a special place in Hell for people who smash other people's pumpkins.

7. I hate scraping the goo out of the inside of a pumpkin.

8. Has anyone ever, in the history of Tricks and Treats, found a razor blade embedded in an apple or other treat?

9. What kid actually likes Mounds and Almond Joy? I mean, those are really for the parents, right?

10. There is nothing cuter than little girls dressed as fairies or little boys dressed as super heroes. (Except these girls dressed as a Cheetah and Laura Ingalls Wilder)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

30 Day Challenge

I've accepted the challenge, inspired by Sarah, over at Sarah Says. I will attempt to blog every day during the month of November. I will adopt some of Izzy's blog philosophy and just blog for the sake of blogging and try not to be such a comment whore. I am doing this mainly for me (and for the comments, because, like Sarah, I heart comments)so I don't want to hear any haters out there with their "I could never do that" and "Who has time?" and "What would I even write about?".
To the above I say 1.I am going to TRY and do this. Hell, what's 30 days?
2.I will make time. Laundry? It'll be there tomorrow. Dishes?
2 words: paper plates.
3.Oh, believe me, I have not yet begun to write!

So, stop by, check up on me, leave your card, tell your friends- hell, tell mine!
In November, I will be a Writin' Fool. Anyone else up for the challenge?


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

To the boy whose cell phone keeps going off in my class:

It's not like Yahtzee. If it happens 5 times, you will not get 50 points.

I'm sorry.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Letter I'd LIKE to Send (only I need this job...)

Dear Miss Snotty Prissy Pants,

While I appreciate the fact that you would like to learn a new language, and I recognize that you are indeed an above average student, I feel that it is necessary to communicate with you the following:

1. You are really kind of a whiny baby and you would do well to learn that the world does not revolve around you.

2. When I tell the class that I don't want them to talk during student presentations, I do in fact mean to include you.

3. I'm sure that you probably knew you were going to be absent to have your mystery surgery well before the one day's notice you gave me. I would have been able to give you much better "make up" work had I known earlier.

4. When I tell you that in your absence, we did some activities in class, you know, for practice and to prepare for the upcoming TEST, curling your lip and saying "Oh." and then walking back to your seat and taking out your copy of The DaVinci Code does not in any way, shape, or form, endear yourself to me. Nor does it make me want to help you understand any of the new material.

5. I do not enjoy seeing the "T" of your thong peek out over the top of your jeans on a daily basis. Either spring for the bigger pair of pants or choose a different undergarment. Because you know what? It's called an undergarment because it's meant to be worn under one's clothing.

6. You can roll your eyes at me until they get stuck in that position, but it will not make me cater to your every whim. Because you know what? I was a teenage girl once and I couldn't stand girls like you.

I hope that this clarifies any confusion you may have, which by the way, wouldn't surprise me, since every time any kind of instruction is being given, you are talking to the girl next to you.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

Mrs. T

Monday, October 23, 2006

Clap Your Hands

Did you know that the Spanish word for "to win or to earn" is ganar?

Did you also know that to form the conditional tense of a Spanish verb, that is to say, the form that means "would do something", one only need add a series of "ía" endings to the end of the original verb?

Now say "I would win" in Spanish. G'head. It's easy. "Ganaría". The spoken accent should fall on the "í" - ganar-EE-uh.

Say it again- loud and proud: "Ganaría!"

Now try teaching that to a room full of high school students.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hangin' With the Stars

Remember how I said I was going to Chicago with my students? Well, we went last Thursday, the day that we had SNOW flurries here on the prairie. The kids were great- they were all there in the parking lot, tapping their watches when I rolled in at 6:45am. They had blankets and snacks and movies- who doesn't love a road trip?
We let them have some shopping time in the Water Tower area before we went on our tour of the Mexican Fine Arts Center and Museum in the Pilsen neighborhood. It's such a great experience for them to be in downtown Chicago. We made them buddy up and told them to grab lunch and meet back at 2:15. My friend and colleague, Carlos'Mom (Mrs. P) was my partner in crime and we hit the bricks. We went to Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and whatever else caught our eye on Michigan Ave. We were also lucky enough to be there to see
these people. Click on the photo gallery- photo number 9- we were there! I am a sucker for celebrity sightings- and this was a doozy. I watched Oprah the next day and got to see the inside scoop. Fabulous. Our kids got some great photos, too.
After all that excitement, we made a quick pass through the American Girl store- because, ya gotta. I bought the girls each a pair of "Ugg-ish" boots for their dolls- for Christmas. It's quite a racket-did you know that you can get your doll's hair done? You can have brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner with your doll at the cafe? You can see a show? And you can buy all kinds of American Girl dolls, books, clothes for the doll, clothes for the girl, accessories? You can also get your picture taken and a massage with your doll. Ok, I made up the part about the massage. We saw a couple of moms there with their toddlers. Um, why? I mean, who is this for?
After all that retail, we had to have lunch, which Mrs P and I enjoyed sans students, at
this place. It was lovely.

As I mentioned,we were to meet back at the bus at 2:15, and once again, our kids were there right on the dot- some of them even got there early and were able to browse the gift shop at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I bought a set of these, which are great fun, especially for those who can't get the hang of the real deal.
We then boarded the bus and went south for many blocks and got a guided tour of the Day of the Dead exhibit at the Mexican Fine Arts Center and Museum. It was a great exhibit, and I think our kids got a lot out of it.
Our trip home was quick and uneventful- someone had bought Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and since we were on a chartered bus, equipped with DVD player, we got to watch it. We stopped in the very chilly DeKalb and had some fast food, and then on home. I thought our students were wonderful travelling companions and did a great job of cleaning up after themselves. Our bus driver, did not. He was un-necessarily harsh and rude to the kids- in fact, he even kind of scared me a little. Mrs. P and I noticed that he had freakishly long hair all over his arms, wrists and fingers. I said to her in Spanish that we were lucky ist wasn't a full moon, which of course prompted us to get a raging case of the giggles.
It's so great to have the opportunity to travel with students- you get to know them on a completely different level, and they you.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It only takes a spark, to get a fire going.....

We had a short week last week- Thursday and Friday off as comp. days for parent-teacher conferences. Wed. is normally shortened by an hour, so that we can have "collaborative time" with our departments.
Last Wed. was no different- I was running around during my prep like a lunatic, printing off handouts for our Thurs. field trip, running grade sheets, and forgetting that we were on a shortened schedule, so really feeling the time crunch when I looked at the clock and realized that instead of almost an hour, I had only about 15 minutes left. At about 10:05, there is an announcement over the PA, "Teachers, should the fire alarm go off, please disregard." Ok, we've all heard that one- they come in and test the alarm and it annoys, and everyone just shrugs their shoulders, business as usual. A few minutes later, surprise surprise, the fire alarm goes off. I have my prep in a classroom where my colleague teaches, so she and I looked at each other, the kids kept working. Then we noticed that people were actually leaving the building, so we decided "what the heck" and slooowly walked out the building, making my "crispy critter" jokes all the way to get the kids to hustle it out the door. We didn't hear it, but there was a second announcement that told everyone "THIS IS NOT A DRILL! EVERYONE EVACUATE THE BUILDING!"
It was a lovely fall day, overcast, the leaves have turned beautiful shades of burgundy, orange and yellow. We stood on the lawn in front of the building, chatting with teachers we don't normally get to talk to at 10:15 in the morning, chatting up former students, starting to shiver as the wind picked up. We caught the eye of one staff member who is kind of administrative-like. We asked her "Is everything ok?" and she shook her head quickly-her eyes wide.
Huh. We still continued to chat and shiver and wait. Pretty soon the fire trucks arrived- three of them, and an ambulance. Someone shouted for us to move away from the building. It was circulated around the crowd that there was indeed a fire- in the boiler room. We continued to wait. I began to think about my purse inside the building. The pretty orange leather one that contained things like my car keys, Carmex, a rosary,my cell phone, my wallet, which contained my entire life (credit cards, license, library card, Blockbuster membership and my Borders rewards card). I silently panicked thinking about having to replace those things.
The NBC affiliate showed up- they are just about a block away. They got their story- only they got it wrong, as we discovered later that day. We continued to wait and shiver.
After about 45 minutes, a whole mob of the kids (our student body is about 1600) started to move across the street- fast. I hadn't heard any directive, so I could only speculate- was there danger of an explosion? Were they revolting? Were they told to run to the nearest church and pray?
I quickly figured out that we were being shuffled over to the gym across the street that belongs to the chiropractic college. At first, I was not going to go in- feeling every inch of my height impairment. The cold front that was upon us forced me indoors. As I walked in, I thought of the Katrina victims last year- not that I was in any way near their situation. We felt kind of like refugees.
The students of the chiro. college who were working out in the gym continued working out- as if the influx of 1000+ high school students happened every day. We joked that what we really needed was for a fight to break out. Our administrators and security officers must have had the same thought, because after about 15 minutes, they got everyone to sit down. The kids got out decks of cards, they got on their phones (which sent some teachers into a frenzy), they chatted, they asked if they could leave (no.). I silently wondered if we were actually discouraging students from leaving. I mean, if they've got their own cars, why not? Oh, right, that whole liability thing where we are responsible for them during the school day.
At about 11:30, they told the kids they could go back into the building and get their stuff and go home. WE, on the other hand, had to meet for a facultuy meeting, where we were told to go grab lunch and be back at 1:35 for our "collaborative time". The fire marshall and the head of operations declared the building safe for us to be in, damn them. I guess a filter in the welding room caught a spark and was smoldering, released a bunch of smoke into the lower part of the building, then got sucked into the ventilation system and it took a while to find it. It stunk up the lower 3 floors of our building. (there are 6 floors)
This was definitely a case illustrating how sometimes the Contract works with you, other times, not so much. Had we gone home, we would only have had to make up the time later. I'll endure some toxic smokey air just to not have to come in later!

So, that's my story. A little too much excitement- I'm glad we had the next 2 days off, then the weekend. And now, as I type, all I can hear in my head is some comedian (reference, please, I can't place it) from the 80's who sang that song "Fire" (Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah...) only they sang it in an Elmer Fudd voice. Let me know if you can think of who that was.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I've told you mine

I come from a long line of salty-tongued women. We swear. I'm not talking Jerry Springer "eff this, and eff that, you effing effer eff face" kind of swearing. No, I'm talking about the much more refined art of peppering one's talk with some candid language.

Having said that, I am very careful about what I say in front of my children, although as they are getting a bit older, I've been known to let a few hells and damns loose- especially in traffic. I can't help myself.

I have also always chosen my words very carefully in the classroom. Under the watchful eyes of teenagers, I check my zipper and watch my language almost obsessively. (I'm also pretty good about spinach in the teeth, smeared eye makeup and anything that may remotely be misconstrued as a booger.)

But, I am human, and so are my colleagues, and, I'm guessing, so are you. Every once in a while, things fly out one's mouth and would that we were robots, we could rewind and erase them. But we are not. I was telling my students why I hate pinatas. I was getting to the part about not wanting to be in a room where blindfolded kids whack the hell out of something and in my mind, a voice was screaming, "Say heck! Say heck! Say heck!" and , I said hell.

These are my colleague's stories, which are much better than mine, so I told mine first.

At parent conferences, a parent approached my colleague and said, "We don't appreciate your swearing at the students in class." My colleague, bewildered, asked what she meant. "Little know-it all Daughter claims you said the "b" word."
"Oh! I know what she's referring to! The kids had played a game and were just horrible, so the next day I told them that because they had bitched and moaned so much, we wouldn't be playing any more review games."
"Well!", sniffed the mother, "WE do not talk like that at our house and my daughter was very offended by that."
Now, I personally wouldn't ever SAY "bitched and moaned" to my students in reference to their behavior, but in the grand scheme of things, this really wasn't that bad, and if Little Miss Prissy Pants is going to get her undies all in a wad about that, she will not survive. I guess the thing that bothers me about this situation is the "I'm going to tell on my teacher" mentality. If this were a teacher who repeatedly, day after day, swore at her students, then I would say yes, this is a situation that needs to be addressed. But this? Come on.

Another colleague was reading a student the riot act for coming in late for the 20th time this term, and instead of getting right to work, he pulled out 3 cans of pop and a BOX of Ho-Ho s. And proceded to eat them. Until his teacher yelled "What are you doing?!! If I were you, I'd be thinking 'Shit! I'm already late, I really need to come in and get to work so I don't get in even more trouble! I'd be thinking I need to do some work so I can pass this class!" His response? "I was hungry!" Ok, Spiccoli, why don't you go visit Mr. Hand down the hall? After her rant, my colleague did turn to the rest of the class and ask "Did I just swear? Sorry."

I've heard tales about teachers completely lose it and let all kinds of stuff fly. I've heard of coaches who really give it to their players.
What are your tales? I know you've got some good ones.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Sunday, October 01, 2006

In Which Mrs. T goes all political on y'all

This summer, my family and I took a much-needed, long-awaited vacation to Disney World. We loved it! Yes, there was the occasional line to wait in for some of the more popular attractions, but the Disney Way is to entertain you as you are waiting in line. Music plays, sometimes there is video, and, particularly in the Animal Kingdom, the waiting areas look like safari-booking agencies, or white water rafting places.

Contrast the above with our return flight, where we had to wait for freaking ever in the Orlando airport, where no fewer than 4 televisions in our small waiting area had the loathsome CNN late-breaking news story, which just happened to be "Terror in the Tunnel!" (July freakiness in the Holland Tunnel in NYC, scary shit, but still...) It went on and on and on. And you know what? It totally did not fit into my "Disney Bubble" that I so enjoyed while being at Disney World.

I had the pleasure of being cradled in a different kind of bubble yesterday, when I had the opportunity to go and see this man. He was with Bruce Braley, who is campaigning heavily in our District for a seat in the US Congress. They appeared, along with some other Dems who are running for office this November, at a local elementary school gymnasium. It was not a fundraiser, nor was it a ticketed event- anyone, I repeat, ANYONE was welcome to attend. Mr. Obama is an amazing speaker and I do not question his honesty, his integrity, his earnest-ness (is that a word?). I was so impressed with his position on the war, the economy, health care, minimum wage. Listening to him, I was filled with hope, with optimism.

On the way back to our car, which was parked on a side street about a block from the school, we saw a guy who goes to our church. I won't use this space to say how creepy I have always thought he was-oops, too late. He was out in his yard, playing catch with his son. He was deliberately avoiding looking at us, until Mr. T addressed him with a "Hi, John, how are you?" Without looking at us, he replied "Hi, fine, how are you?". His words were nothing but polite, but his tone gave him away. His 5 year old son asked "Do we know them, Dad?" and then, he kind of had to save face and answer nicely, "Yeah, they go to our church." And as an aside- (to us?), definitely meant for our ears, "I'm just glad it's someone I know who's parked in front of my house. I'm outraged that they would use a public school for something like that. It should have been held at a private venue instead of wasting our tax dollars." We didn't further engage him in conversation, but as we were driving away, I thought of a million things I'd have liked to have said to him, like, "We'll pray for you, John." or, "Then I'm sure you were equally as outraged when Dick Cheney came to town and all of our police officers and other emergency workers were making sure that no "outsiders" attended the event and that 70 year old women waving small flags were arrested, because those little sticks could be used as a weapon." , or "How about that president of ours, junking the Geneva Convention and potentially putting our troops in danger, despite advice to the contrary from well-respected sources like Colin Powell and the FBI?" Grr. The man is running for PUBLIC office. We VOTE in public schools- hell, we even vote in CHURCHES, which seems to go against the grain. Why is it such an outrage that people running for public office be given the opportunity to appear to the public- and speak? Again, it was not a ticketed event, unlike the one that Laura Bush appeared at on Friday, which was a pricey fundraiser for Mike Whalen, I think. When the Republicans have had events here, they have definitely NOT been open to the public, and in some cases, people had to pledge allegiance to the GOP. Shouldn't everyone be welcome? What if someone was undecided? What if attending that event made them change their mind in a party's favor? Do we not have the right to assemble?

I love our country. I love that we have the freedom to express our opinions, even when they go against what the current administration says and does. I welcome every one to vote and to vote their conscience. I have friends who are all over the map of the political spectrum- from staunch Republicans, to a friend from high school who actually worked for the Socialist Worker Party. I admit that most of our friends lean a little more left of center, but I don't treat people differently because they don't vote like I do. It's ok that we don't all agree. BUT! Why did this jerk feel that it was ok for him to spew his own political opinions to us? All my husband did was say hello, as is the norm in CIVILIZED company. He didn't say anything about his feelings about the president, about the war, about anything, and he definitely wouldn't bring it up in casual conversation with people he doesn't know very well.

I don't get it, and it definitely didn't fit into my "Obama Bubble".