Saturday, March 31, 2007

No Beer in Sunday School

A coworker assured me that I would, in fact, be begging to be fired if I posted what I originally wrote regarding this picture. She’s worked at my school longer than I have, so I’ll trust her judgment and let this picture speak for itself:

Yes, if you’re wondering if you read that correctly, it does say “wine” on that wooden toy. I love teaching preschool.

I think I may be fairly safe with this story, which took place in my Sunday school kindergarten class:

I had just distributed several small cups which we would be using for an art project. One child got a wild hair and began chanting “Beer for sale!” Of course, the others picked up on it within seconds and only seconds after that I called out, “WE DON’T HAVE BEER IN SUNDAY SCHOOL!”

Whether they couldn’t hear me over their own gleeful chorus or whether the temptation to continue something so deliciously forbidden was just too great I really couldn’t say. So I called out again, “WE DON’T HAVE BEER IN SUNDAY SCHOOL!” this time adding, “You can talk about wine if you need to!” They immediately changed their product line from beer to wine, but then ended their business venture abruptly after only another chant or two. Apparently school sanctioned alcohol isn't as much fun.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

How Not to Pack

As I understand it, certain people are capable of packing in 20 minutes regardless of trip length or destination. It’s always taken me days and weeks, or several hours at best and even then I arrive wondering how I managed to bring along a potato peeler, a lava lamp, but no socks. What follows is a fairly typical packing experience for me, except that I procrastinated on purpose until five hours before I had to walk out the door. It’s still no 20 minutes, but at least was self-limiting:
Take out suitcases. Briefly consider cleaning out my closet, but settle for shuffling around a few things so the suitcases can be more accessible next time.

Put clothing into suitcase. Notice that ¾ of my pants are similarly colored olive/grey cargo capris. Wonder if I actually need that many pair and consider whether or not I have time for a quick run to the Salvation Army.
Run out to the car to get my book to read on the flight. Clean out the car.
Remember I’m supposed to be packing. Pack a few more clothing items.
Put a couple of the olive/grey pants back in the dresser. Notice a pile of papers on top of the dresser. Make a half hearted attempt at doing some filing. Settle for removing the bills, promising myself I’ll pay them before boarding the plane, and stuff the rest of the papers into my desk.
Remember I’m supposed to be packing. Pack a few more clothing items.
Clean up the remains of a paper towel roll I found in my suitcase and which immediately met the fate of all fluffy, white objects that enter my home: cotton balls, Q-tips, tampons, paper towels and the like don’t stand a chance against my two cats, who thoroughly shred them, distributing the remains evenly from one end of the apartment to the other before leaving them for dead. For whatever reason, only toilet paper remains in their good graces long enough to be used for its intended purpose.
Notice while disposing of the paper towel remains that the kitchen could use some cleaning. Scrub counters. Clean out toaster oven.
Remember I’m supposed to be packing. The kids have been packing for themselves recently, but I’ve procrastinated long enough that they won’t be home in time to pack and I’ll have to do it for them this time.
Realize immediately upon entering Cassie’s closet that their packing independence has come at a price: her closet is a total disaster. Go through her things wondering how she has even kept some semblance of personal hygiene about her – I certainly can’t tell which clothes are clean or dirty. Box up and label camp clothing and hand me downs that are still several sizes too large. Make a Salvation Army bound pile.
Look around for Cassie’s second Croc. Make the dreadful error of looking under her bed. Throw away most of the garbage…I mean prized possessions…I find under there.
Pack a few items of her clothing.
Go into Jared’s closet and decide it’s just as bad as hers. Clean out his closet, adding to the labeled boxes and Salvation Army pile.
Remember I’m supposed to be packing. Gather bathroom kit.
Put away some books that are taking up space in a bag I need to bring with me. See Rise Up Singing and start looking through it for recommendations the music teacher at my school mentioned she could use.
Remember I’m supposed to be packing. Find hats and sunscreen.
Stop for breakfast. Clean out fridge. Wonder if I have time to run a friend’s share of veggies from the farm co-op to her apartment before leaving town.
Remember I’m supposed to be packing. Start packing airplane snacks. Look inside ice cream maker for hidden chocolate. Find recipe for from-scratch-ice-cream using cooked instead of raw egg. Remember that some scrapbook friends had been discussing good cooked egg ice cream recipes. Bring ice cream recipe to the computer to type in. Remember I promised myself not to turn on the computer until I was done packing...and that I’m supposed to be packing.
Pack a little more clothing and do my “purse purge” (failed purge 1, failed purge 2), remove all liquids, knives, tools, and “other implements of destruction” and clean out my purse. For what’s worth, this time I managed to remove every last prohibited item except for two books of matches and a nail.
Move suitcases to the door. Notice that I’m taking approximately the same quantity of stuff for 8 days away as I did for several recent overnights away and also a 17 day trip. Wonder if I’ll find anything I actually need inside any of the suitcases when I arrive. It’s a good thing I travel. Otherwise my house would be a complete wreck!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Doomed...or at least Twipply Skwood

So, it turns out I’m sort of doomed. According to my dad, all animals that aren’t afraid of people are doomed. “Come to think of it,” he added, “People who aren’t afraid of people are doomed.”

While we met another member of his species who did seem to fear humans at least to a certain extent, this little guy was not terribly afraid of people, and so apparantly he's doomed:

One of the benefits to being a person who stops to read every last sign and historical marker is that every once in a great while the reading material is actually interesting. We met this canned goods sized bird, a burrowing owl my mom decided to call Fred, only because I couldn’t let this sign go unread. And let me tell you that it well made up the seconds I lost having stopped to read a sign that merely chastised someone for failing to control his or her weeds:

According to my mom, who read this website, burrowing owls are in big trouble because although it is illegal to bulldoze over their borrows while they are home, the moment these tiny fellows go out for pizza, all bets are off. Their humble abode can be razed in favor the next condo or beach home…although, we joked, there’s a rule about leaving the owls an entrance through the basement AND, my dad added, “You have to put one of those little signs on your door that says, ‘Mi Casa Es Su Casa’”.

Of course I had to also run right out and find a children's book to go with our discovery - Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen.

This website did say that that their numbers seem to be up from last year: more on the twipply skwood cuties.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Have Beach Ball Will Travel

I always keep an inflatable beach ball in my purse for just these types of occasions: I was asked to substitute teach 6th grade Hebrew school tonight. Since everything pointed toward this being a “warm body” type of assignment, I issued the following orders:

“You have two important jobs tonight. The two important jobs are not to disturb other classes and not to get hurt. It would be great if you could also practice some Hebrew.”

I followed with an explanation of what constituted disturbing other classes and what behavior seemed likely to wind up one or more of them maimed. One child needed to be filled in on the definition of the word “maimed” and I needed to be filled in on how to use the classroom’s CD player. I put on Matisyahu and we proceeded to have a good ole’ time, in as much as you can have a good ole’ time in a relatively bare classroom.

The two times I was asked why I couldn’t be their regular teacher, I stuck with the facts and just the glaringly obvious facts: “Because you’d never learn any Hebrew.”

When I first got my teaching certification and even up until this very school year, the idea of teaching children older than second grade seemed absolutely absurd. But sixth grade has some definite advantages. While they’re still hell bent on testing every boundary, sixth graders actually have a much better sense than preschoolers do about whether or not it is in their best interest to get into a power struggle with the teacher.

Also, their interpretive skills are also much more finely honed. Conversations such as the following, requiring a jump in logic that would take ages to walk through with a preschooler, can happen at lightening speed:

Me – “As soon as you’ve read page 88 aloud you can go outside for break.”

6th grader – “I refuse to read.”

Me – “Then we’re going to be in this room a long time.”

(6th grader whips book open to the correct page)

These skills also helped them come to a quick decision when I made this announcement -
”You’re going to make a poster for your teacher. You can decide what to put on it or I can decide, but if I decide it’s going to be in Hebrew.” Never have a seen crayons fly so quickly into the hands of 12 year old boys who, even at age three, were “too cool for school.”

All in all it was fun. It was a lot of fun. It may possibly have even been more fun if I actually knew more than 10 or so words of Hebrew.


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