Friday, August 31, 2007

Let The Game Begin

The BIG game is tonight. Remember, we're trouble with a capital T? The biggest football game is tonight and it is an away game. Of course, BrownBear and PrepGirl are going, as am I, LawyerBoy and half the city. This is THE big deal. I am about to leave right now for a 7:30 kickoff. Keep me in your thoughts. I love football, but I may have to take a book. I mean, really. What am I going to do for an hour and a half in the stands alone (trust me, those girls are going to desert me and LB will be late)? It is hotter than blazes. And with my luck, we'll get one of those pop up thunderstorms we've been having in the early evening. I need a bleacher buddy. Anybody willing to come sit with me?


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why Don't You Just Write Down What I Assign You?

Part of my duties as a fifth grade teacher is to teach Social Studies for my partner next door. She repays the favor by teaching my students Science. That way, her kids learn some History and mine really will learn some Science. ("Now, boys and girls, why does Mrs. Teachergirl teach all the Social Studies?" "Because you took French in college to get out of Science." "Very good! You were listening.") I handed out some worksheets (old quizzes) yesterday, in an attempt to be efficient. I told my partner's students to work on them at will; that I would not be collecting them, grading them or doing anything of the like with them. I would let them see the answers today. It was a STUDY GUIDE and I would be taking the questions for my next quiz DIRECTLY from it.

I get a smart assed note from a parent today, telling me that I am giving precious too much homework. He goes to bed at 10 PM, after all, and this was just too much for him to handle. My first thought was 10 PM? That's when Teachergirl, herself, plops down. And my second thought was write down what I say. Give me a break. Yeah, I'm the biggest moron in the world. I give four pages of homework in one subject on Back to School night.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to School Night

It's back to school night. I have to talk in front of parents. I don't like this - if I'd wanted a corporate job, I'd have one. It also means I have to put on my big girl shoes (OK it really means I have to take off my tennis shoes, but isn't that what you wanted to know?) I have some slackers already, so I wonder if their parents are going to show up, wondering how junior and juniorette are doing. That is always a delicate situation in front of other people. "Great, if you consider not turning in her work a great thing!" Smile and shake hands. Great way to start the year off! Can't wait for progress reports!!!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Back in the Saddle

It must be time for me to fly again. As a matter of fact, I have to go back to D.C. in September. And sure enough, something explodes. I have to apologize; as soon as the reservations are made, something out of Airport or Snakes on a Plane or Die Hard happens somewhere in the world.

Watch out. I have to go to St. Louis in November.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

My New Best Friend

Last night, our house was the last call of my AC guy. He had done work for us at our previous house, including helping LawyerBoy with a plumbing problem. When ACGuy got here last night, it began to thunderstorm. And it was a bad one. ACGuy believed the problem to be with the outside part of the unit. (Kaboom!!!!) And I tell you now, in the midst of this tremendous thunderstorm, he not only diagnosed the problem, he fixed it.


Cool air in the upstairs.

Who says America isn't full of the greatest workers in the world?

Yesterday, the ACGuy for school spent all day at our school, going from tinbox to tinbox. He had our air working all day - right up until dismissal. He said he would come check on us on Monday - he's hoping that the temperatures are going to be a little lower and that that will help. The only thing that is going to help is snow.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Two Front Fight

School shouldn't be going on if it is over 100 degrees. My opinion. I teach in a tin box. I am fighting the air conditioning battle. It cools. Then it doesn't. It just blows hot air. The HVAC guys are scratching their heads because this is happening to all the tin boxes at my school. "Well, you are teaching in a tin box. It is 100 degrees out there." His words. Not mine. Just fix the damned thing before I commit homicide.

I come home. It is 90 degrees in my flipping bedroom. You have to be kidding me. The fan is blowing hot air. My HVAC guy can come tomorrow. Let's hope he doesn't talk about tin boxes and 100 degree days, because you'd see me on TV - the one in handcuffs.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First Day

Yesterday was the first day of school for the PrepGirl and BrownBear. It was a dream come true. Both are back in the same school on the same schedule. BrownBear is in 6th grade this year - the dreaded middle school years - but if yesterday was any indication, this might be fine. Prep, well, Prep is in 10th grade - the only sophomore in New Testament and Algebra II. I told her there could be worse things.

Phew! Back to normal.


Monday, August 20, 2007

It's Going Down

It took you long enough, Mike. Enjoy. I'm not sure how nice your federal penitentiary is going to be, but if I were your sentencing judge, I'd find the worst, backwoods piece of crap - something out of Brubaker or Cool Hand Luke- and just leave you there. Ta!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

To Sing or Not to Sing

When ChoirGuy came to direct our choir, a little over five years ago, he was like a breath of fresh air. He is a professor of music at a major university here in the South and he also conducts a fine acapella chorale (audition, of course). He became our part time minister of music when our "music man" retired after our church went through a major split. (Huge disaster of epic proportions, but not necessary for this now. It was serious drama, though, and would make for an interesting blog later.)

My personal group of friends had also gone through a hugely personal drama, too, as one of our dearest had killed himself. I truly believe that that episode, the church disaster and my mother's untimely death the next year really rocked my world in ways, that, to this day, I cannot fully comprehend or explain. I know that I am a different person because of all of these events. I know that, right after my mother died, I threw a lamp at LawyerBoy. Not something I would have necessarily done at an earlier point in my quiet life. It made an impact on LawyerBoy, however, and I think he looks at me in a different light and with a new kind of respect. To this day, he won't let me around the light fixtures in the house.

All this to say, that with ChoirGuy around, I had an emotional outlet for a lot of things. I have always sung. I was always in the choir, from early elementary school, all the way through college. With this new choir director, things got serious. He was about the musicality in addition to the worship. All the last guy wanted was for the music to be loud. ChoirGuy was a professional. Not afraid to try new stuff.

However, ChoirGuy was a prodigy of sorts. He has a beautiful baritone voice and has always sung. He plays the piano, the organ, and a variety of other instruments. He has a Ph.D. in something musical and has been around the world singing and teaching. Well, this comes with a price. He is a perfectionist. He forgot that we were a group of volunteers, raw and twangy.

My first clue should have been when he got angry during our first major rehearsal for a Christmas cantata. We couldn't get the rhythm right for something and it frustrated our prima donna to no end. Not pretty, but something we could handle.

Fast forward to last January. (I know, last January). We had just come back to rehearsal from a Christmas break. We were excited to see each other and there was a lot of chatter between songs. After a while, he lost his mind. He exploded. He slammed his music down on the piano. He shouted at us. He was so angry, I even think he spit.

I was so angry with him, I saw black. You know that raw anger where you actually see blackness? That was me. And then, others in the choir started. "Oh, ChoirGuy, you are so right. We are so bad. We are like little children. We are immature. We should hang on your every word. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah. Please, overlook our horrible behavior and forgive us."

I nearly came out of my seat right then. He slammed his music on the piano and shouted at us and then the mealy mouthed ones started falling at his feet? When I looked at the older ladies he had shouted at, when I realized the other pastor's wife he had made cry, I nearly threw my music at him.

So, I went home and I only told LawyerBoy what had happened. I didn't go to my mother-in-law (FlutePlayer in the orchestra) because I was afraid I would lose whatever religion I had left if I tried to tell her what had happened.

I sang that Sunday (my friends muzzled me) but I wouldn't go to rehearsal. My friends said he was repentant, but never apologized for his outburst.

My mother-in-law immediately heard what had happened. (Of course she did. She didn't need me; there are snitches all over the place. She did ask me if he had said that he could have had any church in the city: I love it when gossip gets going, but in his tirade, he never said that. )

I haven't been the same since. I haven't enjoyed the experience of rehearsal and singing in the choir. And I don't know what to do. Choir is a commitment. And if this is ruined, I don't know if I can even sit in the Sanctuary anymore.

So, how do I get past this? Will I ever? Every time I go to rehearsal, I just wonder when he's going to blow again. What's the next step?

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Wildcats In the House!

Nothing could be more exciting than this very moment in our house. I can't believe I have been sucked into this! So, party on, High School Musical 2!


Who Says You Need a Skirt and Pumps?

In a fit of heat induced hysteria, I wore my Ann Taylor Loft khaki walking shorts and lovely purple top (school colors, of course) to school today. Granted, I am not a size 0, but there are several teachers in the building who are wearing "city shorts." I plead insanity. But it was the best teaching day of my entire career.

The HVAC guy has been back and the AC really is a little better: it didn't fall apart until about 45 minutes until we were supposed to go home and then it kicked back on. I didn't hang around to see how long it was going to work, though. Just packed the bag and hit the road. We'll see how it is on Monday. The day before reality hits at my house: back to school for the PrepGirls.

Two hours before High School Musical 2 comes on. I hope the Second Coming of Oprah garners this kind of excitement.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

103 in the Shade

Help me Oprah. Today, something went bonkers with the learning cottage thermostat and after lunch, we got up to 89 degrees. I sent for the principal. Oprah love my little learners, they wanted to know what they had done wrong. "Nothing, darlings. We are just dying from heat exhaustion and I want the principal to get an understanding of our duress." We limped through the end of the day and the compressor finally kicked on, but I swear, I melted. My cute haircut looks like something I cannot describe.

My principal is a saint and she has promised help. Relief. Aid. Another trailer is still having trouble and a first grade classroom inside the building has no air at all. I can't complain if the six year olds are suffering.

Granted, my kids wanted to whine, but they managed to hold it together. I was proud of them. I was ready to throw in the towel, but they just wanted water and some peace and quiet. And I gave it to them.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bob Marley Is Alive and Well

and he arrived in my fifth grade classroom today. Apparently, he didn't do too well in fourth grade, however, and he arrived, ready to party, mon.

WTH? The newest addition was caught a little off guard today, as he swaggered into the best little fifth grade in my school. I sat him down next to the smartest, sweetest, best behaved kid in class and just let reality hit him square in the face. My kids have assignments due on Friday and I just let that tidbit hit Rastaman, too. You have to get up to speed, my friend. Your vacation was a little longer than ours and if you aren't able to tell me where you've been, you really do need to spend some extra time on some homework. Please.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Does He Feel My Pain or What?

I grew up under this man's tutelage in high school and now he is pointing a finger at this summer reading pain I am experiencing. Excuse me. Pain my children are experiencing. PrepGirl is reading some crap about an idiot who died in Alaska after running away from home, and a book about going to the mall. BrownBear is reading some goofy book about an immigrant girl and a book about dumping illegal sewage in the Keys. Whatever. They're not happy and I'm not happy, either.

But, girls have got to do what girls have got to do. So, get busy.


Monday, August 13, 2007

One Down, One Seventy Nine to Go

So, today, they came. It looked like we were giving something away. "Free education right here!" The kindergarteners were absolutely precious - except the ones who don't answer to their own names. What? You talking to me?

My class is pretty good. I had more students tell me "yes ma'am" today than I have in four years. Praise be. Someone has had some home training.

UPDATE: I wrote this yesterday before the cable blew (kaboom!!!) and I couldn't post. I had another day with the kids- and I don't think it is a fluke. They are a good group. Now, they also realize that I am a bit of a freak, because I got choked up today, talking about the Constitution. Whatever. And I don't know what I did to them Monday, because several of them described me as "organized." WTH? Who came into my classroom when I wasn't looking? I was talking a good game and I have tried to clear off my desk these past two days, but man...organized. Whooooeeeee. I already have them right where I want them.

I am exhausted today; moreso today than yesterday. (Perhaps from all that organization) I can't wait until Friday. But you know, the kids are doing what I ask, when I ask, and so far, it has been good.

BrownBear and PrepGirl pick up their books tomorrow. Praise Oprah. Only another week before they go back full time. Those two need to finish that summer reading before I have an episode. How can my own flesh and blood not like to read? I swear. It ought to be imprinted in their DNA. Instead, I've got cheerleaders and scientists and mathematicians.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Just Around the Riverbend

You scored as Pocahontas,





Fa Mulan




Princess Aurora


Snow White






Which Disney Princess Are You Like
created with
But seriously, does she really qualify as a princess? I mean, where's the castle and the servants and the whatnot? Yeah, Virginia and the dark hair qualify, but for heaven's sake, I want to be a real princess. You know, who gets to be queen.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Well, That's a Surprise!!

How evil are you?

Meet and Greet

Schmoozed with parents and kids yesterday. Nice ones compared to last year, let me tell you. I have my first sibling and I am thrilled. Thrilled!! Must not compare the two but those boys are brilliant. Can't wait. When was the last time I said that? Seriously. I haven't looked forward to the first day of school in a long time.

The fifth grade team has been told that this upcoming class is golden; their poopoo doesn't stink. For months last year, we were told that if we could just make it through with to the end with our group from hell, it would be worth it to us this year.

Yesterday, after our open house, some of the fourth grade teachers started in with a few "stories" about a few of the kids who were coming up. You know, how they could be behaviors, or their parents weren't supportive....blah, blah, blah. I looked at our team leader (not me anymore!!!!!!!) and shook my head. We ARE going to be golden this year, if it is the last thing I do.

Cooling in my room comes and goes; you have to move around to indicate that there are people in the trailer. And believe you, I am dancing around in there so that thing knows I need to be cool.

Other than that, bring it on. PrincipalGirl, laid up after some knee surgery, noted that I am in the zone - not the hysterical one, either. PrepGirl and BrownBear took some time off of their summer reading blitz to help with my classroom lay out. The first day task list is ready, the art/student table is ready. First day is ready. It is the second day that needs some planning. And during the first week, you can basically plan just about anything. It is all golden.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

It's Too Hot to Care... No Wonder Scarlett Had to Rest

This has been some week. I nearly died from heat stroke in my trailer on Monday. It is going to be 101 degrees here tomorrow. Whatever I've done, I'm sorry. This is pretty much purgatory. Can't we all just be sprung for what we've done?

Usually, it rains like cats and dogs on our school's Open House. Tomorrow morning is our open house. Here's hoping that it works this for us again this year.

Yesterday, I spent the entire day in "Professional Learning." I learned that I am a better teacher than some of the presenters. I learned that I work with some really cool people. I learned that I don't have to teach science this year. But I really learned that if you are going to send 5000 teachers to one meeting place, you had better have a parking plan in place and a way to get them all home in a hurry. You see, I sat in a bottle necked parking lot for an hour yesterday in that 100 degree weather. All the inspiration the county had hoped to instill in me just drip, drip, dripped away as I melted in that traffic, watching the clock tick and the gas on TeacherGuy's gauge just evaporate.

One more day of preplanning and then it all starts again. Can you believe it? I can't.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Again, As a Southern Girl, This Makes Perfect Sense, But How Did Sherman Make the List?

You scored as Robert E. Lee, Honorable and courageous, you've made a career of winning great battles against overwhelming odds. You, um, might want to stay the heck out of Pennsylvania...

Robert E. Lee


Stonewall Jackson


General George McClellan


William T. Sherman


U.S. Grant


General Phillip Sheridan


General James Longstreet


General Ambrose Burnside


General Nathan Bedford Forrest


General Jeb Stuart


Which American Civil War General are you?
created with


You Can't Stop an Avalanche as It Races Down a Hill

Spent the morning in my classroom, sorting out my desk and closet and putting up the two new bulletin boards. I have no idea what is going to happen at my school this year. After last year's bad ride and the revolving door I was privy to, I can't believe we are low in numbers. There is talk among the teachers that teachers will probably be cut across the grade levels.

But, you can't stop the river as it rushes to the sea.

I have a bit more seniority in the county in my grade level than my teaching partner. And it doesn't matter if you have more building seniority.

We believe that part of the problem is the new charter school that was slated to open last Monday. They didn't make it, and they have promised to open this Monday. They have had many problems getting a principal and facilities. Right now, they have trailers set up in a commercial warehouse-type park. Across the four lane road from the Waffle House. No playground. No cafeteria. (I guess they get to go to the Waffle House.)

You can't stop the motion of the ocean or the sun in the sky.

So, we wait and worry. Is anybody coming to our school this year? Where will the teachers go? And to pour salt into the wound, there was an article in yesterday's paper stating that the county was hustling to hire 90 more new teachers to fill all the positions before the first day of school. My first thought was, "let's not be so hasty!!" We might need a few of those spots.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

For A Southern Girl, This is Sweet

Which Author's Fiction are You?

William Faulkner wrote you. Yes, you're a genius, you drunken old coot.
Take this quiz!


Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Party Is Over

PrepGirl survived her birthday and yesterday. In fact, I survived the three hour wait to get the official Learner's Permit, too. So, it's zoom, zoom, zoom at our house. I can see how this is going to inflate our gas bill.

It is time to go buy BrownBear some uniforms for 6th grade. Like, right now. Before the crowd gets to the bookstore and everything.

And then, I'm off to spend the rest of the governor's money.

And vacation is officially over. So over.

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