Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Inference

I lost a good kid to a private school last week. After she left, I was told by other kids that her mom objected to the book I was reading aloud. Mom told the kid to pray before I begin reading, so that nothing could happen. The book was and is Gossamer by Lois Lowry.
On Friday, I read a chapter about a mom who admits to a social worker that she has made some bad parental choices, resulting in her kid being taken to foster care.
"What can you infer about the choices this mom is talking about?" I asked the group, in true teacher fashion.
"She was a PROSTITUTE!" announced knitting peep, loudly and matter of factly.
Hands shot up like wildfire as I mumbled, "Yeah, well, okay, let's leave inferences behind and read the next chapter." It hadn't really occurred to me that the character might have been a prostitute, so I had to think more about that before delving into the inference in greater detail.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Voles

Student teacher dissected owl pellets with the peeps yesterday. A first for most of them and for all of me. One owl coughed up 3 vole skulls. What a great hunter. Where do people get these owl pellets I'm wondering. Are they just out there on the ground in meadows or woodlands? I never see them.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Result

When I got home from my 3 hour dental appt, #1 son offered to take me out to lunch with his Steak and Shake gift certificates. I thought that was nice, but I told him I would happily take him out to lunch, but we needed to go somewhere quick and he should save his certs for some other occasion. As we drove off mallward, I told him I was heading for our regular corporate chainfood spot. #1 said, "We've never gone to other nearby corporate chainfood spot. Why don't we try that?"
"Okay," I said.
"Wait a minute. Will they have mozzarella sticks?" he asked me.
"I've no idea. Remember we've never been there before."
"Right. Well, let's try it anyway. This lunch will either result in future shunning of this restaurant, or future appreciation of it. Either way, it will be productive."
After that he launched in to detailed descriptions of possible gifts for his birthday that's coming right up in April.
After my soft lunch of soup and a side of mashed potatoes, we decided the place was just okay, and we will probably not be back for awhile.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Scotches

The new hamsters are not working out so well. There's been both biting and fighting. Last night, I went back to the pet store to buy a new cage to separate the gals, now named Hannah and Hope. Today after lunch, we put Hannah into the new cage which is a piece of crap that must be returned to Petco asap. I then put Hope into a plastic hamster ball so she can run around our new "hamtrack." While I'm screwing the ball shut, I look down into her cage and see something so appalling that I want to vomit. A peep nearby says, "Is that food?"
I whisper, "No, that's a baby hamster."
"How can that be?" other peep says, "They're sisters."
I mutter resentfully, "One, or maybe even both, must have been pregnant when I got them at the pet store."
I put Hope back into the tank with the baby and try to transition the class into the taking of a spelling test on long o words. I'm up to about word 5, "broke," when I say to the assistant teacher in the back of the room, "That could be Hannah's baby. You better put her back in the tank with the other two." At the end of the day, a mom comes in during dismissal bedlam. I've been staying away from the hamster cage and ignoring any hamster comments for the last few hours. I'm still slightly nauseated by what I've seen. After a peep tells her of our discovery, she runs over to the tank and says, "They never just have one baby," and starts poking around with a chew stick. She counts four babies and the kids are running about with glee. One peeps comments, "Now we can use the other "h" names." There had been eight h names on our slate of nominees. Finally everyone leaves and I head over to good pal Menosky's house for some scotches. The scotches helped calm me down, but you have to admit, I am facing one hellacious hamster hassle in the coming weeks.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Mayor

Homework for last week: Write a letter to our mayor telling him what you think about our town. Most letters mailable: thoughtful and to the point. This letter won't be in the envelope with the others:
"Dear Mayor,
What I enjoy about this town is that it's peaceful and the kids can do different activities. It is also very clean and the schools are great, especially mine. Keep this to yourself, Last Name of Mayor, but this school is funner than my old school and I'm serious. Keep this to yourself, or I'll hunt you down."

Maybe we'll just erase that last threatening line.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Hamsters

I'm settling for the dwarf hamsters for a variety of reasons we won't go into right now. Our 2 new hamsters are sisters and they're getting along well so far. There was some fighting about the wheel, so I headed back to the pet store to get wheel #2. Husbandman questioned the purchase, commenting, "I'm not sure one hamster is going to think 'Hey, this wheel's occupied, I'll just go over to this other wheel.'" But I think it's good to provide options anyway. I'm thinking I need a new cage as well. The one I had from before is fairly heavy and I'll need to transport them home every once in awhile.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Reports

Second term report cards are done and ready to distribute. I wrote my comments while waiting for a mammogram. Having only 18 peeps is a miracle. Another miracle is the general improvement in behavior. I'm not sure if it was all the parental phone calls, or the nifty knitters that everyone's crazy over, or what. But we keep getting compliments and we actually have started getting work done regularly. At this new workplace, I've had to be kind of mean and crabby, and a kid remarked the other day that things had improved in that department as well. I agreed with her and then she said, "We're not bad anymore." Not sure why they're not bad anymore, but let's not look a gift horse in the mouth. And let's also knock on some wood.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Flix

Mitzker and I saw Lust, Caution last weekend. It's a movie directed by Ang Lee. Very intense and sad, eerily compelling. It's set in China during WW2. It's a movie that's hard to shake off. Husbandman and I rented The Hoax, the movie about Clifford Irving pretending to write about Howard Hughes. Very good as well.
Please see them both.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Books

The Nick Hornby book I just finished was a good read. It was one of those books that you wish you could keep on reading after you finish, which in some ways is kind of an unsatisfying sensation. Now I have nothing much to do. I may have to take a little adventure somewhere. When I worked at the books for prisoners project this week, I worked to fill requests for: books on physics, chess, welding, and poetry. Someone wanted a grisham and another guy wanted a james patterson, but there were none to be found that night. I found some titles that I thought would satisfy. The poetry requester also wanted a dictionary, but the shelves were bare of dictionaries. I may start on the new Sherman Alexie. Teendaughter got it for a holiday giftie. Let us see.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Consumerism

Yesterday when we bought a neato torpedo orange office chair, the store owners offered us some of their take out Chinese food to take home with us. It would be a good idea to have partner shops I think, where you could get two very distinct items, but only 2.
I also thought yesterday about gifts I wanted, but didn't get, and now no longer want. Like the iPhone. I wanted it, but then I heard someone on the radio at 2am saying it's not all that great. It still appeals to me, but I'm okay about not taking the iphone plunge. I think I'll wait and see what happens.
I went hamster shopping yesterday, but the pet store was sold out of normal hamsters and only the dwarf hamsters remained. I still want that hamster.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Anecdotes

#1. I had a dream last night about M, a sweet kiddo in my class who can be incorrigible and who talks about his dad often. Whenever I take a photo of M he wants to know if he can send a copy to his dad. I've given him a few photos here and there. I think his dad's incarcerated, but I can't be certain. In my dream, I was in a jail with M, and we were showing his dad a 3 page story M wrote about the Transformers and Optimus Prime especially. His dad was proud and M seemed to be proud. I felt proud that I could hook these 2 up this way.
#2. This morning, bumps appeared on my right shin (and fewer bumps on my left shin) and this brought back memories of the horrible polymorphous light eruption I had a few years back after a trip to Florida. After gathering evidence on the internets, Husbandman agrees with me that my diagnosis is probably correct. I'm feeling a little scared because a few years ago I was covered with itchy skin that would not go away for weeks, but at this moment in time, the itching isn't too bad and I have applied cortisone, the typical treatment. Here's a further complication. Tomorrow I have a massage appt., and I suppose I'll ask massage giver to avoid my shins, for obvious reasons. I wonder what she will think about that. It will be doubly embarrassing because I'm not shaving my legs, for obvious reasons. I've considered canceling the massage, but in my heart of hearts, I don't want to.

The Beginning

A new year begins and we all feel some hope about what's to come. I talked to a good pal tonight about my hurt ankle and he's going to take up his doctorly identity and order up the boot for me to wear around for a few weeks. He thinks my ankle can be cured. I didn't tell you all about my ankle injury because I didn't want to worry you, but let me tell you, the ankle pain has been severe. But don't worry, help (the boot) is on the way. Happy 2008 good friends. With the boot in my future, I'm feeling upbeat.

Gratitude #9: Power of Song

We've been listening to , singing, and reading about, songs for social change.  Fables of Faubus, Which Side Are You On?, Wavin' ...