Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Zombies Present...

I was working with fifth grade zombies yesterday. They were putting the finishing touches on their big research project on a famous immigrant of their choice. I spent the morning helping kids find facts and pictures of The Great Khalil, Edge and Arnold Schwarzenegger for their posters. After lunch, the ones who were ready gave their presentation. Not one presentation lasted more than a minute, some less than 15 seconds. Some kids read off note cards; some held cards but never looked at them. Most just stood with their back to the class and read off the poster while they pointed to pictures. But it wasn't torture to watch, not like those sixth graders back in December. These kids didn't seem nervous, were definitely not quiet and, surprisingly, they knew their stuff.

But one report really stood out among them all. This kid was doing his presentation on Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners. He gave the entire report reading straight from his note cards, talking really fast and repeating the same three facts in different ways. It was pretty hum-drum until he got to his last card.

"Now I will now show you a picture of a baseball field, a baseball and a bat because they have to do with baseball, which I like and it is what Ichiro Suzuki plays." He turned to his poster.

"This is a baseball field." He pointed to a picture of a stadium on his poster. "This is a baseball." He pointed to a ball. "And this is a bat." Another point. "These all have to do with baseball". He turned back to the room.

"Thank you." And then he gave a little bow.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cedar Point at last

Yesterday we finally got a day that had good weather and no dance practice for the Girl, so it was off to Cedar Point!

We got there around 1 PM and rode six roller coasters and a couple of little rides before we called it a day. It was just the right amount of CP considering the crowds and that it was getting colder by the minute by the time we decided to take off. We finished the day on the Raptor which is such a kicking cool coaster. We all rode it last year, but the Girl rode the whole thing with her eyes closed. This year she kept them open and now says that it is her favorite coaster in the park.

Next visit, we're hitting the Millennium Force! Have a happy Memorial Day everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sick Zombies and Extra Tea- A Double Feature

Another doubled up post! If I could just get in the habit of blogging everyday then I could stick to one subject. But- GAH - writing everyday sounds like torture! And besides last night on TCM they had Vertigo and Rear Window back to back, so my night was completely taken up with Jimmy Stewart love!

So for your approval...

Story #1- Sick of Music

Yesterday I was sitting back in my home school kicking it with some second grade zombies who LOVE me. Big time love me and wave their little arms off whenever they see me in the building with a class that is not them. It's all good, I love them right back. Well, most of them.

The day ended with the Spring Music program. We were to be entertained by the third and fourth graders singing their hearts out while doing silly hand and arm gestures. It was gearing up to be your classic spring program. On a side note, I've seen more winter and spring programs than probably anyone else on Earth. I average probably about four shows a season. I suspect that there are some teachers out there taking this day off on purpose just to miss the show! How shocking! I also average about three field days every year as well. I KNOW teachers dodge that day on purpose! But really I don't mind, it's a full hour that I don't have to teach and the kids sit there completely mesmerized during the whole thing.

This show yesterday was twelve songs long. I sighed as I read through the program and got as comfortable as possible in my fold-up chair. I nice relaxing hour was at hand. But, in the middle of song seven, something went very wrong. The zombies were singing and gesturing when suddenly a third grader, right in the front row, stopped and then threw up. It was just one quick BLAH and it was over. He missed himself completely but did get a couple of pom poms that were sitting on the floor in front of him.

Not an eye missed what happened and room shared a collective gasp. The music stopped and teachers flew in every direction; some towards the sick kid, others out the various doors and everyone shouting for the custodian. When Mr. F. did appear with a mop, bucket, broom, dustpan, roll of paper towels and the bag of orange stuff that cleans up puke, all the kids applauded. The kid had been bundled off by then and by some strange coincidence his mother was in the audience, with a clean shirt!

A few minutes later you never wouldn't have known there was a problem. The music started up again and the show continued. I have to say that the evil part of me was disappointed. When that kid barfed, I instantly foresaw the fabled chain reaction barf happening all over the gym. It could have been an unstoppable tidal wave of barf. It certainly would have been a best spring program ever performed in an elementary school.

The most amazing part of this is how it ended. Right in the middle of song twelve, the sick kid came back in the gym, took his place on the riser and joined in. He had a big silly grin on his face the whole time but the kids on both sides of him were giving him lots of room. Now if that doesn't get you an A in music class, then I don't know what will!

Story #2--Iced Tea Happiness

I won't bore you again with my love of iced tea and my ongoing search for good tea and the banishment of bad tea. Actually this story is about a waitress who if I had a Waitress Hall of Fame would be inducted today.

The Man and I went out to breakfast this morning at a location that has good tea. We both ordered iced tea and what arrived at the table blew me away. It was a regular glass of iced tea with lots of ice in a nice tall glass AND a second glass of tea with no ice. The second glass was for refilling the first, like having our own little pitcher of extra tea right at the table!

Now you are probably saying to yourself, "What they had there was a lazy waitress who wanted to make as few as trips possible to their table. She could probably tell looking at them that they were a couple of tea buffalo and would wear her out with their perpetually empty glasses." And you may be right. Hell, you probably are right on the money. But I don't even care. That extra glass of tea made my whole day! That and not being around zombies today.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunburns and a new baby

Whoa! Now that's a bad title!

Last Thursday the Girl and Boy went to an Indians game with school. They were gone forever! The game ended around 3:30, but they didn't get home until after 5 PM. The hang-up involved the stupidity of bus drivers it seems. The kids must have had a good time anyway because when I asked them if the Indians won, neither of them were sure. I already knew that they did win, but it cracks me up that they were there and didn't pay attention to the game at all!

They had to sit in the bleachers and both of them came home with sunburned faces. Every kid who went did as well. We had a Girl Scout meeting that same night and you could easily spot who went to the game. The Girl has quite a bad sunburn on her nose which started peeling today much to her dismay. She has pretty much hid her face from the world as much as she could today.

Friday night I get an unexpected call from Weaver. She just wanted to calmly as anything drop the news that she had the baby on Thursday. A little early? Yep, just a bit. I'm all down with that preemie baby and NICU scene, so here's big love and happy vibes to #4. Welcome, welcome, welcome!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why it might be time for a job change

I looked it up. I've been zombie-sitting since October of 2001. Ugh.

This must end. Truly. There are 16 more school days and I've started to look at them as my farewell tour. Yesterday I had an experience that really brought it all home to me.

I was at Ely, my home school. I was having a perfectly lovely day in third grade kicking it with kids I have known since kindergarten and I'm on first name relationships with almost all of their parents. None of these kids give me any trouble. But, in the class next door things were going bad. They also had a zombie sitter, but she was being given a run for her money. I could hear them through the wall going crazy. They were running in halls. They were disgusting animals at lunch. (Oh, wait a minute. That's everyday.)

Anyway, by the end of the day I had had it with them giving that poor, confused woman a hard time. They were lined up in the hall, outside my room, acting like fools when I decided to say something.

"Look here! You guys have been out of control all day. And somebody on this floor wrote on the walls in the girls restroom again! Why are you even taking pencils in there? This has been going on for weeks."

Much mumbling, staring at the floor and shuffling of feet. Someone whispered, "I didn't do it."

"I didn't ask who didn't do it. But I bet someone here knows who did. Everyone is probably going to be in trouble, again, because a few people can't control themselves. I know for a fact you are all better people than this."

All eyes are down now and the mumbling has stopped. Out shuffles their sitter.

"What is going here!??!?"

I explain about the restroom situation and how disappointed I am with their behavior today.

She blustered, "Is this something I should know about?"
Hmm. Shouldn't she already be aware that these kids have been bananas all day? Maybe she's been sleeping... "I'll make sure the teachers know. I've already spoken to the janitor."

Some of the kids' eyes go super huge at this news. And I've obviously also upset the befuddled sitter as she shuffles off with the class of zombies in tow, most of whom have forgotten I'm still watching and start acting like idiots again behind her back.

About a minute later she's at my door. My zombies are at gym, so I'm all alone.

"Excuse me, but if you have a problem with my class, then please speak to me first. When you speak to my class like that, you undermine my authority."

With that she exited double quick not giving me a chance to respond. That was really disappointing. The comebacks I could have peppered her with came to me one after the other. The missed opportunity of it all almost made me chase her down. But no. Instead I did the mature thing and flipped off the spot where she was standing.

So it's come to this. I've been reduced down to the level of a zombie. I'm going to go now and cover myself in band-aids and find something in my pants to throw away.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends, of which I have a lot more this year than I did last. It's that true I run with a mighty fertile pack of women. All but Weaver have had their little bundle of joy. Hang in there, Weaver. You're time is soon!

My big plan for Mother's Day this year was breaking out the brand spanking new season passes and head for Cedar Point. But, the biggest mother of them all, Mother Nature, had other plans in the way of non-stop rain and cold, cold, cold. So we had to break out Plan B, which was to go see Ironman again. This was my idea, don't worry. Yes, I liked this movie enough to want to pay to see it twice. Even more, I liked it better the second time around. And we waited around both times to see the extra scene after the credits because it seriously speaks to the super geek lurking inside the man and myself.

There's also the matter of Robert Downey Jr. He so does it for me in this movie. Big time. The Pioneer Woman has a particularly cute way of expressing how he makes me feel. I'll spare my male readers the phrase, but I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about.

Oh my, oh my, oh my!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spring colors, part two

I know what you're thinking. If only we could see a picture of J's house everyday on this blog, then my life would be complete!

Well, I can't take a new picture everyday, but here's another post about my yard just for you!

The little shrub by the front porch suddenly bloomed brilliant pink over the weekend. The rest of the year it is completely unremarkable, but for a few short weeks it looks like this.

The little shrub bloomed before the dogwood's drooped, just like I hoped, but rarely get to see. Here's the whole scene with a little bit of neighbor's lilac sneaking in front.

Unfortunately, we had to mow the yard so the violets are gone. The purple lawn would really compliment the rest of it right now.

But I'm sorry, that's it for yard pictures for awhile. You'll just have go on without for awhile or at least until my roses come in.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Two quick zombie stories with a side of mayo

Last week was a new record for me. I worked five days and all five of them were in the first grade. Not the same class either, five different first grade rooms. First grade zombies have a special type of neediness that really gets under my skin. They think they are big enough to mouth off, but on the other hand lose everything that they put in a pocket and cannot, under any circumstance, sharpen a pencil. I have two unique little stories to share from this week.

I was sitting on the rug with a group of first grade zombies discussing the invention of clothes. It was a social studies paper we were all reading together. The zombies were following along and they were mostly fairly good readers. I stopped along the way to ask, "What do you call someone with no clothes?" A little fellow raised a hand.

"Naked!" Lots of giggles all around, but I congratulated him on the right answer. Another hand was raised, this time a little zombie girl.

"Do you know another word for it?" I asked. I was waiting for her to say nude or something like that.

She smiled broadly. "Yeah," she said. "Hillbillies!"

I think my jaw might have actually hit the floor.

The next day, another teacher was taking my class to the library in small groups while I kept the rest back. Seems that 25 first graders in a library at once is too much in that particular school. The other teacher, who was also a sub, took the first group, but then came back earlier than I expected without any kids at all. I knew she was a little confused on the procedures, but this seemed extreme. She motioned me over with that I have a grown-up thing to tell you look on her face.

"One of your boys", she began very quietly, "won't be coming back. He's in the office."

"What did he do?" I quickly tried to remember who she had taken and which boy she could be referring to. The other teacher looked very hesitant to tell me.

"Well, the librarian saw him...", she paused, very uncomfortable.

What could he have done? My mind raced! Destroy a book? Stand on a table? Attack the librarian? Pick his nose? Finally she spoke, spitting it out as quickly as she could.

"The librarian saw him put his hands down his pants, pull out some poop. then drop it in a garbage can!"

Again, jaw on the floor. I had to be sure of this. "He did what?"

"OH! I can't repeat it!", and she hustled back out the door.

No one with that weak of a constitution should be working in an elementary school situation.

Now for the mayo.

A few weeks ago, Fearless Co-Leader gave me a lovely little plant for Leader Appreciation Week. (Just so you know, I didn't get her anything, not even a card. I completely forgot about this little occasion.) I brought this plant home, put it on the side table with nothing under it and left it. On Wednesday I noticed it was looking a little droopy so I picked it up for a watering when I noticed a big white circle on the wood where the plant was sitting. A water mark, big as life, and I had no one to blame but myself.

But wait. Didn't I just read a strange article about using mayonnaise to save wooden furniture from just this very ailment? I did! Quickly I found the article again and it was pretty straightforward. Rub mayo into the spot and leave it there for six to eight hours then wipe it off. I figure it was worth a shot. It would either work or the cats would have a big time licking the table all day.

The end of the story is that it did work, too well in fact. The rest of the table looks just a little less shiny and new than the mayo spot, so I'm planning on giving the whole surface a mayo face lift someday soon. I'll have a prettiest, tastiest table in town!