Friday, April 30, 2010

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing

I really would. I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.

Every morning I wake up praying that something like this might take shape around me. And I carry that prayer in my heart throughout the day. Hasn't happened yet- but hope is a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, right?

If not Barney, Then I'd settle for a group of hulking, strong solders dancing a little Gaga to pass the time in Afghanistan, Quite frankly I think most international disputes/wars should be settled with a dance off. It worked in Westside Story and Beat it. What more proof do you need? Osama vs Michelle and Obama? Like him or not, I think we've got that one locked up.

And just in case they are not ready to shake the money makers, I've been workin on some dance moves that will be sure to win friends and influence foreign dignitaries.

I'll Skip the Bath

Google has an uncanny ability to guess what I am thinking. I type in 'Dod' and it knows I am looking for the Dodger score. I type in 'Amer' and it somehow guesses that I am looking for American Literature lesson plans. I type in 'Tiger' and I am automatically directed to white page listings for high priced hookers. It's amazingly accurate. Scary almost.
But when it comes to French Bed and Breakfasts, they have totally misread my intentions. Turns out when looking for B&B's across the pond, Google is not nearly as accurate as it is here in the west . I was hoping for quaint, homey, safe, and travel friendly. They thought that I was looking for a racy, hot, gay bath house. Who knew they even had those? I thought that was strictly a Roman Empire thing. Truth be told, I'm not even sure what a bath house is. I mean....I can put some general ideas together, but huh? Really?
After my conservative Mormon, knee jerk reaction I thought,
"Hey- at least I don't have to worry about getting drugged, raped and killed in a foreign country!"
But then my more sensible side won over. I realized that there is no way my fragile self esteem would be able to handle spending a week in Paris and not getting hit on a single time. I love my dear sweet day gay, but when it comes down to it....I'm holding out for at least one semi-exciting 'Romantic Night in Paris' vacation story. I'm not above embellishing the details, but I'd at least like it to be based in some legit hetero-wooing.

Bad Romance

I don't think I am a terribly demanding soul, but there are a few things that I can't deal with.

-Having to turn on the heater on the last day of April.
-Unpainted/chipped toe nails.
-Vacations that require me to pile clothing on rather than strip it off.


-The freaking Dodgers losing to Pittsburgh. The Pirates. Seriously.

These are a few of lifes little maladies that I just cannot stand for. I demand that they be remedied, asap. My action plan includes the following things...

-I will throw open the blinds in my classroom and house, then strategically place myself in the sunlight that spills through. While it is freezing outside, the sun is still shining brightly. I'm hoping for some sort of radiant, microwave heating effect. Not really sure if that will work, though. I'm not a scientist, get off my back.

-Me+Sam+3:00pm=pedicure date. Yes, this is my second pedicure in as many weeks, but I kicked the leg of the coffee table. One thing I cannot abide, chipped polish.

-Summer in freaking Africa. I'll bless the rain down in Africa. I'll bless the hell out of that rain.

That leaves me with the last and most vexing problem in my life right now. The Dodgers. Being born and bred in Dodgertown, I have no choice but to bleed blue. I'm Dodger blue, through and through. I think there may be a little bit of Mafia blood running through my veins because we are a wildly loyal bunch. Giving up on the Dodgers would be equivalent to going against the family. And I think we all know how that story ends. I have just as many memories and life lessons learned at the feet of Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully as I do from my own grandparents. To this day I would still choose a Dodgerdog, crackerjacks and a frozen lemonade over the most sprawling Thanksgiving feast.

But as of late, it seems the bloom is off the rose. The thrill is gone. Maybe I am having a crisis of faith. Maybe I am running out of nostalgia and good memories. Maybe it is the shame of Mannywood. Maybe it is the empty bullpen. Maybe it is the stupid freaking McCourts and all of their bad mojo. But top all of that with a loss to the Pirates...and I am nearly crushed.

I've heard it many times, from may people, that the Dodgers are like that bad boyfriend you know you should break up with but don't. Just when you have had enough, he gives you a glimmer of hope and you decide to give it one more try. Stick with him just a little longer. He's changing, really! For good this time! Yeah- that's exactly what it's like. And that's what has me thinking that I may one day become a battered wife. I've had 31 years of practice thanks to the Dodgers. No one can break your heart like the Boys in Blue can.

But really guys? If you insist on beating me down like the second cutest girl in the trailor park, could you at least hit me where the bruises won't show? I mean really, the Pirates? That's just cruel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Does This Count as Second Base?

(Sorry for the premature posting of just the title....I got a little ahead of myself and hit publish too soon)

Over the course of the day, I have just about every member of the varsity baseball team in my class. Sixth period I have a few of them together. Once they figured that I have a deep and abiding love for the great American pastime, they found an ally, a confidant, a BFF. While I do think it is good for teenagers to have an adult that they feel comfortable talking to, I'm not particularly comfortable with a throng of teenage boys following me around, pestering me about the silly, the not-so-silly, and sometimes the inappropriate nonsense du jour. I'm all about avoiding even the mere appearance of impropriety. Call me paranoid if you will, but I watch the news. It's ALWAYS the English teacher. *Ick, cringe, shiver.*

During the passing period the Mighty Casey came in with his bat and all the rest of his baseball gear but looking more than a little frazzled and certainly wildly uncomfortable. He came over to me and leaned in to whisper, "Ms King! My chest was I put some Icy-Hot on it....and now my nipples are ON FIRE! What should I do?" I did my best, but I just could not manage to convince my face to join in the cover up that I was hysterically laughing on the inside. It was sad, really. It wasn't just the regular Icy-Hot, it was some super strength, made in Mexico, make you want to die regardless of where you put it, kind of Icy-Hot. Poor kid.

Luckily- my internal censor was up and functioning at that time and I realized that "I think you've just got to keep rubbing it," was only going to solicit a round of giggles and 'That's what she said" jokes. Regardless of the fact that rubbing is the only way to get Icy-Hot to stop burning, I decided to go with a less suggestive course of action and settled on, "I don't know what to tell you, buddy. Good luck with that," and sent him to his seat.

I heard him confiding in one of his team/classmates about his nipple predicament. Funny as it was, but to add insult to injury, the kid he was talking to is the complete and total embodiment of Eddie Haskell. With a knowing grin I heard Eddie tell him, "Oh no man- you've gotta blow on it." It was clear from his face, and the look I shot him, that we both knew how this was going to end. In case you are an Icy-Hot virgin, second to adding water to it, the WORST thing you can do is blow on it. That makes it burn with the intensity of a thousand fiery suns. But- because I didn't want to be any more involved in the Case of the Slippery Nipple, I sat back and let the mighty Casey learn this lesson the hard way.

The next thing I saw was Casey holding out the collar of his shirt and Eddie blowing on his nipple like it was the last birthday candle on the planet. Needless to say, Casey didn't let this little love fest continue for too long. And needless to say, not much by way of book learning happened that period, but sometimes life's most important lessons don't come from books.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Tail of the Jackalope and the Great Cowardly Dog

In an effort to pull myself from the reaches of this years bout with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or as I like to call it, "Why does everyone seem so hell bent on annoying me this time of year?" I decided to crawl out of my cave Sunday morning and take my dog for a walk.

Vermont Cabin Fever be damned.

My housing development backs up to a desert hillside that is pretty ripe with critters and rodents of all sort. More often than not, when I leave for work in the morning, bunnies skitter away from the flowers they were grazing upon in the front yard. Cute, fuzzy, cotton tailed, little bunnies.

So I took the dog out. I had him on an electronic collar and not a leash. There were no cars, he couldn't get too far and he likes to wander. I glanced up to see Freddy and a bunny almost nose to nose with one another, sniffing and wiggling like they were BFF's, getting ready to film some new version of, Bunnies Homeward Bound. Neither seemed to be bothered with the presence of the other. I figured there must have been some cross-species bonding going on during all of those morning continental breakfasts at the flowerbed.

I stepped closer with caution, not wanting to disturb this inter-species Geneva Convention. However, the once cute little jackrabbit with one hop transformed from cute and cotton tailed, skipped right past jackalope, and wolverine, then landed squarely on the freaking Chupacabra. There was hissing, and claws. Spinning and yelping. I'm not sure what or how it all happened, but within seconds Freddy made two laps around my feet then took off as if to say, "WTF? This biznatch is crazy- I'm outta here!" His nub of a tail tucked as tightly between his legs as possible, and scooting away with his butt tight to the ground, just for safety's sake.

This is the part where it becomes apparent why I mentioned he is on an electric collar, not a leash. At this point he would have successfully tied my legs together and taken off dragging me neatly behind him. Laugh if you want- it's happened before. It didn't take long for me to follow Freddy's fearless lead. You know how on cartoons when a persons legs move so fast they just become a complete circular blur and then they take off, practically leaving their torso behind? That is not a completely fictional phenomena.

This one goes to you nature...but I will not be defeated.

Round 1-Chupacabra

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Point is This

Months ago....literally MONTHS ago, my students were taking a test. It was multiple choice, on a scantron, so they needed pencils. Halfway through the test my sharpener crapped out. Considering the fact that during test time, even the most mediocre students require a pencil sharp enough to rival the scalpel of a world class surgeon, this situation had to be remedied, STAT.

I sent my TA, a modern version of Jessie Spano, over to a friends classroom to see if we could borrow her sharpener. The problem was that the teacher I sent my TA over to didn't have class that period. So-she did what any reasonable kid would do and went to the next closest classroom that had a teacher she knew.

The problem with that is, she didn't take into account the wack-a-doodle nature of the other teacher. First off, her classroom is locked up tighter than Fort Knox, lest anyone surprise her playing solitaire on the computer. Secondly, I would only expect her level of disdain for children from someone much more weathered and long in the tooth than she. Thirdly, well there is no three...she is just bizarre and hates kids, but who makes a list of just two things?

Jessie came back a few minutes later and made no mention of her changing the game plan due to the fact that the original teacher was not available. We sharpened our pencils, to the point that they could double as Japanese samurai swords, and promptly sent the sharpener back to it's original owner. Maybe 10 minutes total.

Anyhooter, last week Jessie Spano came into my room, frantic and waving a piece of paper like a wild banshee. As it turns out Ms. Wack-a-doodle wrote her up for "stealing a pencil sharpener that is for classroom student use." I kid you not, the referral read, "Jessie Spano came into my room and asked to sharpen her pencil. I turned to answer a question and as I looked back at Ms Spano, she shoved my sharpener into her bag and ran out the door. I sent one of my students to find her, but she was gone."

Seriously? Jessie Spano, little miss 4.2, never missed a day of school in her life, and has more than three college acceptance letters in that very bag of stolen pencil sharpeners? She 'stuffed it in her bag and ran?'

I am sure there was probably a number of mature options that I could have taken in order to deal with this situation in a grown up and mature manner. But really, where would the fun in that be? Instead, after a few emails regarding the ridiculous nature of her referral and accusations of thievery, I conceded that I did borrow her sharpener. If it didn't get back to her, even though I am certain it did, I would more than happily replace it.

With that, Operation Power Point was in full swing. A few of my more giving and thoughtful coworkers began to send over sharpeners. Every day. Every period. For the next two weeks. Pink ones, decorative ones, broken ones, battery powered ones, plug in's, manual ones, hand held ones, more broken ones, crayon sharpeners, full ones, empty ones, pencil shavings, etc. She must have at least 35 sharpeners.

And with work was done. She has a plethora of pointed pencils, my type A, overachieving, wildly honest TA didn't get suspended and my passive aggressive muscles have been sufficiently exercised.

Seriously, back up off my TA. It's not like she could sneak in, being that the mayor of Crazytown keeps that place locked up 24/7. The teacher had to let her in. Stuffed it in her bag and ran? That is laughable. It's not our fault that one of her own kids probably broke the sharpener and threw itaway rather than face the wrath of Sra. Wack-a-doodle.

I think this is the feeling people must be talking about when they refer to pride in a job well done. Perhaps this is the very best of me that I was referring to in my last post.

Crazy Train

The players were these:

-Weeks worth of dealing with ridiculous bosses and coworkers.

-Teenagers done with the school year and restless from a week of state testing.

-Equal parts anxiety/anticipation for Africa. great supply.

-Adorable babies all around, none of which I get to keep.

-Nearly constant badgering about themed YSA activities (Which I have no intention of attending, no matter how many people ask/insist. P.S. I'm not a Y-SA, just a SA. While that distinction may be blurry for some, it is crystal clear for me. )

-And a general overriding sense of ennui and confusion about life in general.

Couple that with:

-Late nights

-Frayed nerves

-Stuffy noses, Nyquil and sleep aid's.

And what you have is: Me, last night, but with tears.

What can ya do?

Say what you will about Marilyn Monroe, but she had this one right."I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at me worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

I sometimes worry that being single, without children, independent, forced succeed and move forward on my own, has brought out some negative characteristics in me. Not always, but sometimes. I think that life being what it is, I am growing more harsh than kind. More rough than refined. More rigid than accepting. I laugh less and roll my eyes more. I am cruel, when I could just as easily be kind. Granted...feeling this way ebbs and flows, but I just wish 'my best' would work a little harder, and show up a little more frequently.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Shelf

When I finished writing on the dry erase board, I capped the marker and went to put it on the shelf. Instead, I flipped it in the air and it landed right between my boobs.

The first girl to notice started to giggle, which brought the attention of the rest of the class to my smooth moves. Without thinking, I responded with, "Yeah- they're good for catching crumbs too."


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Light it up

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.— Albert Schweitzer

I don't think Fran and Marlo have a problem with the inner fire going out.