Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pin It When I left my classroom early this evening I was dreaming about the case of Dr. Pepper I had in my car. I had originally planned on taking it into my classroom and hiding it. One can never be sure when the need will strike for the good doctor.

The case was open and sitting on the front seat.

As I pulled out onto the street I approached an intersection with a stop sign. As I came to a halt, the end of the case (which admittedly was ripped) came open and every single one of those cans of glorious, heavenly nectar came crashing to the floor.

Like a game of Russian roulette, would one want to take a chance on opening a ‘now loaded’ can and suffer the possible consequences?

I think not…at least not in my car.

So, no Dr. for me.

I drove to the post office to mail the dry dough I’d offered out last week. I’d found boxes of sufficient size and took these treasured little parcels to the automated machine to send them off—I couldn’t believe my eyes when the machine told me that the cheapest form of shipment was going to cost $7.55.

Each.

You’ve got to be kidding.

Thinking that this was perhaps an early April Fool’s joke, I tried it again. The appalling results were shamefully unchanged. Thinking that a living postal worker would be able to find a cheaper mode of transport, I joined the throng of people waiting in the line of ‘nearly dead’ which always seem to be at the post office.

I am convinced that most people in bad moods either get jobs at the post office or merely go there to hang out. There must be something in the air which attracts them like lemmings to cliffs over large bodies of water.

As I waited in line for my turn to send my various and sundries, I tried to pass the time by reading over shipping charges for certain boxes and envelopes, the costs of new series of stamps, and tried my hardest not to listen in on the conversation between the postal workers and the customers they were currently helping. However, since there is little to no talking in a post office, it was impossible not to hear what was being said.

I couldn’t believe that a woman was at the counter wanting to purchase one…one stamp with a picture of somebody on it. She then struck up a conversation with the postal worker about how one could get a stamp with a photo of Mullett Spunkle—world’s first nose-hair braider in the continental U.S.

I couldn’t believe it.

In the end she made a $ .73 purchase…and used her credit card.

Some people.

Sometime between now and the millennium I finally found myself at the counter with my three parcels. As the first was weighted I was asked, “How would you like these shipped?”

“As slowly and as cheaply as possible,” I answered. I was still thinking about the automated machine and the ‘joke fares’ it had been trying to charge me.

Poppycock. I thought.

“Looks like the cheapest mode of transport is going to be $7.55.”

Say what?

“Are you sure?” I asked. “Isn’t there a rate for shipping dirt or something? This isn’t crack cocaine, you know.”

Her eyebrows went up a bit.

“What is in these packages?”

“Just dry cookie dough ingredients.”

I was now expecting her to rip one open and investigate the contents, simultaneously throwing herself over the counter and wrestling me to the ground while calling the police with the drug-sniffing dogs. Meanwhile the next customer would get my place in line.

Curses.

Luckily, she didn’t.

She instead began to talk about how much she loved cookies.

As the three weighed up packages were shipped out at somewhere near the cost to buy the three disk Blu-ray version of Prince Caspian, I paid for my shipping in disbelief and started out the door with a smile and a thanks.

However, to my surprise, even as I was leaving the post office, the woman kept talking…she loved cookies. Girl Scout cookies, those sold by schools…heck, she’d love to try them. She’d probably even love to buy some dough…even without trying it. In fact, there were lots of people at the post office that probably would. In fact, if people from Arizona, Washington, and other places in the continental U.S. were wanting to get this stuff, how come she hadn’t heard of it?

I’m taking some samples by tomorrow.

Why the new look?

Mostly because I am lazy.

Oh, and by the way...shipping is going to have to be $4 now...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Photo mosaic

Pin It While I am not one to ‘tag’ others, and I usually don’t take part in this type of—as my cousin would say—blog fodder, I felt that this one was right up my alley.

My friend, Meg, challenged me to find a set of nine photos which answered a series of nine questions about myself from Flickr. With theses photos, I was to then create a mosaic of these utilizing Flickr’s Mosaic Maker.

I do not want to challenge anyone in particular to do this; after all, it can be a bit time consuming, however, the image can be quite aesthetically pleasing.

If you feel so inclined, please feel free to do so; if not, then don’t. There won’t be any hard feelings on my part.

  • Flickr Search: http://www.flickr.com/
  • Using only the first page, pick an image.
  • Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s Mosaic Maker (http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/mosaic.php).
  • Save the image and blog it (but only if you want).
  1. What is your first name?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. What is your favorite color?
  4. What would be your favorite drink?
  5. What is your dream vacation?
  6. What would you say is your favorite hobby?
  7. What you want to be when you grow up?
  8. What do you love most in life?
  9. What is one word which describes you?

My photos were: Jason, hamburgers, green, water, writing, desert, and I'll just let you guess about the others...

1. Brandi & Jason's Wedding Preview, 2. Dick's Hamburgers, 3. Go Green!!!, 4. Seminole State Park, Georgia, 5. Write your destiny, 6. Desert Spires, 7. Winter Road near Wakefield Qu├ębec - Kite Aerial Photography, KAP, 8. Flor y Ventana by Leticia (student), 9. Autumn melancholy#3

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The voice

Pin It As we grow to be adults, many things become lost to us. Grated, there is much that we gain, but we do lose something…something which can be a terrible loss.

When a person grows up, they lose the guidance of a wiser voice telling them that they’ve had enough, gone too far, stayed up too late, or simply are just plain out of line. It is these voices which help us to remember who we are, what we stand for, and what we should be doing.

There comes a time when those voices no longer speak to us as they once did, and one must then become the voice. Many times, we not only become the voice for ourselves, but for others around us—whether they are related to us or not.

Self-discipline is vital today; in a world fraught with indulgence we have to know when it’s been too much, we’ve gone too far, or have stepped out of line. We need to have the wisdom to simply say, “no.”

Friday, March 27, 2009

Backroads Contest III

Pin It

So Teachinfourth, isn’t it about time you had another contest?

This has been the recent question I’ve received from a few friends and to be honest, up until now, I hadn’t really thought about it.

However, I think it’s a smashing idea.

Official rules are found HERE.

Good luck!

Moments with Joey – Vocabulary

Pin It
SCENE 1, INTERIOR. EARLY AFTERNOON, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. The teacher is sitting at the back table going over vocabulary words with his students. They are checking off their definition and sentence to ensure that they make sense before heading home to do their posters for the evening. The teacher checks off nearly the whole class as a boy, age eleven, comes to the back table holding a small slip with his vocabulary word on it.

JOEY:
I can’t find my vocabulary word means.

TEACHER:
What’s your word?

[Joey pauses, thinking.]


JOEY:
Mass-a-cree.

TEACHER:
Mass-a-cree? Do you mean, massacre?

JOEY:
Sure, that sounds right.

TEACHER:
So, have you looked it up in the dictionary?

JOEY:
[Spoken quietly] Well…kind of.

TEACHER:
Kind of? How do you ‘kind of’ look it up in the dictionary?

JOEY:
Uh, then not really.

[The teacher reaches behind his desk and grabs one of the red, Webster’s Dictionaries. The boy looks at it. From his expression, you would think that he’s never seen one before.].


JOEY:
I don’t think massacre is in the dictionary.

TEACHER:
What makes you think it isn’t?

JOEY:
I couldn’t find it.

TEACHER:
You didn’t look, remember?

JOEY:
Oh yeah, but what if it isn’t in there?

TEACHER:
Tell you what…I’ll look for you, however, if I find it, I’ll charge you…let’s say…two hundred pushups for all my hard work?

[The boy snatches the book from the table and begins to madly flip the pages toward the M section. After a minute, he points to the entry.].


JOEY:
I don’t understand what the meaning is really saying, Mr. Z.

TEACHER:
[Verbatim reading of the dictionary entry] 1: The act or an instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty. 2: A cruel or wanton murder. 3: A wholesale slaughter of animals. 4: An act of complete destruction.

So, what do you think the definition is? Can you tell from any of the meanings given?


JOEY:
It means…to…kill people? [Pause] Cool…but gross, too.

TEACHER:
Usually the death is performed in a horrible way, without mercy. Of course, the word is used in other ways too.

JOEY:
Like, ‘I massacred my food?’

TEACHER:
[Shaking head]. No, more like, ‘We massacred the other team when playing basketball.’ In that case, it doesn’t mean death at all, but just beating the team by a bunch of points.

JOEY:
Yeah, it would get blood all over the gym floor if it was the other type of massacre, wouldn’t it? So it would be like saying that ‘we slaughtered the other team,’ right?

TEACHER:
Yeah.

JOEY:
Cool.

SCENE 2, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM.
The class is gone with the exception of Joey. He is sitting at the back table while the teacher is finishing up grades. The boy is digging through the bucket of crayons and is selecting the colors he intends to use on his vocabulary poster.

JOEY:
This crayon is broken.

TEACHER:
Broken? Did you break it?

JOEY:
No, I mean that it’s broken…as in it doesn’t work.

[The teacher glances up and notices that the crayon is white. Joey is grinning sheepishly].


TEACHER:
It’s a white crayon, Joey.

JOEY:
Ah…then that’s why it doesn’t show up! I colored the whole page with it…it only took me a second.

TEACHER:
I bet it did.

[Pause].


JOEY:
I stink at drawing people.

TEACHER:
You do?

JOEY:
But not stick people. I can draw them really good.

TEACHER:
So draw stick people.

[The boy shrugs and spends the next several minutes drawing in silence. He finishes the wagon on his poster as well as the clouds of smoke. He stares at the paper for a few moments.].


JOEY:
I stink at drawing people…will you draw some for me?

TEACHER:
Sorry, my people would look far worse than yours.

[The boy sighs and stares at the paper again.].


TEACHER:
Maybe if you draw them behind things, it would be easier. Like draw somebody’s legs from behind the wagon, like they’re lying back there.

JOEY:
Like the wagon just ran over them! Awesome!

[The boy draws several ‘parts’ of people on his picture and finally looks at it.].


JOEY:
I should probably draw horses, too, right? Only, they’d have to be dead horses because the Indians who killed the people in the picture would have killed the horses, too. [Pause]. Did you know that I’m part Indian, Mr. Z?

TEACHER:
So, are you planning to scalp me?

[Joey considers this for a moment then shakes his head.].


JOEY:
Probably not, I’d get expelled from school and have to retake the fifth grade.

TEACHER:
[Spoken with a mild sarcasm] Sorry to hear that happen…

JOEY:
Hey, my horse looks like a big dog! Hey, do you think they ever used dogs to pull wagons? [Answers his own question]. Probably not, but in my drawing it looks kind of like a dog…[Chuckles to himself].

TEACHER: You might want to hurry up; I’m leaving in a few minutes. I’ve got to get home.


JOEY: What are you going to do, Mr. Z? Hang out with your friends?


TEACHER: I don’t have any friends. Well, I used to have two, but they were both imaginary.


[Joey puts his crayon down and stares hard at his teacher].


JOEY: Don’t worry, Mr. Z. You don’t need friends.


TEACHER: I don’t?


JOEY: Nope. You’ve got ME! Forever and ever and ever and ever….[Joey slowly fades out his own voice and adds an echo-like sound effect.].


TEACHER: Well, I guess I’ll just have to count my blessings then.


JOEY: It’s better than getting massacred, Mr. Z.


TEACHER: Yep, it probably is…


Fade to black.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The decision

Pin It Dear blogging friends,

I sit on the threshold of a decision.

You see, my sister showed up not too long ago with this magazine advertisement for a photography contest. According to the official rules, a photographer is allowed to enter this contest and ‘showcase’ a sampling of images which summate their photography experiences.

So, I have a decision. I have to pick approximately 12 images to submit should I choose to do this. However, there is a problem. You see, I feel that my photos are like children, I simply cannot choose a few of them as my favorites without offending all of the others.

Now comes the favor…

Would you help me to decide?

Now, this doesn’t have to be painful…in fact, you could just let me know (if you have a minute and feel so inclined) which of the shots from my photography website (or this blog) is your favorite(s). Oh yeah, if they don’t have a name (such as on this blog) would you just briefly describe them?

Thanks, in advance.

Teachinfourth

P.S. Sorry I’m not all that eloquent tonight…after 6 hours of parent-teacher conferences, I feel like I am going to drop.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It was Friday night

Pin It The entire fifth-grade had been invited back to the school in order to take part in the fifth grade ‘late-nighter’ from 5:00 until 10:00.

The kids were having a great time. We dressed in pajamas, ate cold cereal, read picture books, played math and language games against each other, played ‘Star Wars’ in the school gym, and had even set up a ‘big screen’ movie of HOLES.

Overall, it was a great evening.

It was nearly 9:00 when I stepped out of the movie to put a few things away; I was walking down the school hallway when I heard the noise.


It sounded like an elephant running across the roof.

I went outside to investigate, and heard nothing.

I had a feeling that I should walk the exterior of the building to make sure that nobody was really on the roof; it was at this point that my cell phone rang.

It was my friend, Jaqus. I told her what I’d heard, and what I was doing.

“Are you CRAZY?” she shrieked into the receiver. “Don’t you EVER watch movies? You NEVER go outside where the killer is! You stay inside and wait for them to find YOU!”

Just what I needed to hear as I was walking around a dark building which, consequently, has one side located in the suburbs, while the other side is classified as being in ‘farmland.’

Yes, it was dark.

As I walked around the building I suddenly saw the three long boards huddled together in a corner, and a school ladder leaned up against the building inside the small, fenced-in storage area.

It was only a second before I knew what to do.

I jumped the containment fence and took the ladder down. I quickly gathered up the long boards and other ‘vandalism’ items which had been sitting with them.

I took the items inside the school, notified another teacher what was going on, and called the police.

In a matter of three or four minutes, two officers arrived; soon after a third came as well.


The ladder was put back up against the school, and two of the officers ascended the rungs to the rooftop.

They found the four miscreants who’d climbed to the roof for only heaven knows what.

When the fire truck arrived to get the teens down, a few parents and neighbors had gathered to watch the proceedings. The teens were carefully helped from the roof and were then taken into custody.


By now it was 10:00 and parents were arriving, picking up their children from the night’s activity.

As I moved to the front of the school, I greeted parents as they thanked us for the fun activity for their children. Little did they know just how much fun I’d had, unbeknownst to practically everyone else.

This is one late-nighter I’ll never forget.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Violation

Pin It Have you ever felt like somebody stepped into your life and rooted around without your consent?

Have you ever felt like somebody looked into the depths of…well, you?

That’s exactly what I feel like right now; what I’ve felt like all day.

It’s hard to explain, really. This blog post is an attempt to expound on how this felt, and one of the reasons why this weekend was such a difficult ordeal—a marathon in endurance—so to speak. While some of the hardships brought on were of my own doing, many of them were the direct result of the actions of others.

Today was a day off for kids and a work day for teachers. We were to be at work by 8:00 and work until 3:00, giving us ample time to get standard reports ready, and to get prepared for parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday. I was driving to school when I noticed that I had a message from a fellow teacher on my phone. I listened as I drove, and I was shocked by what I heard. Sometime, last night between 9:00 and this morning, my school had been broken into. I was instructed in the message not to come to school until 9:30; that way the police investigation would be complete.

My school was a crime scene.

I promptly turned my car around and began to drive home, wondering whose rooms had been broken into; wondering just what had been taken.

A few minutes later I pulled into my parking space when my phone rang. It was the school. I needed to come in as soon as possible—my room had been broken into.

My heartbeat quickened as I drove to the building, envisioning the worst possible scenarios. Stolen computer monitors, TV, overhead projector, stoplight, and so on. As I drove, I felt sick to my stomach and called my sister—I needed to talk to someone about what was happening. As I drove, the migraine I’d woken up with this morning had returned in a fury and began throbbing in the center of my skull like the heartbeat of a bull moose.

When I pulled up to the school parking lot, I at once noticed the police car.

All was quiet.

As I entered the office, I noticed that the principal’s door had been forced open, and all of his cabinets had been rifled through. The school office as also in a state of ‘unkemptness;’ it was obvious that whoever had been looking for valuables had been in a hurry.

I saw the small huddle of teachers who’d been phoned to come to the school because their rooms had been broken into. I at once felt close to each and every one of them—we were all in the same boat.

The police officers were still doing their policely things, and we were informed—for the time being—to simply wait until they were finished.


It wasn’t long before we were escorted to our classrooms; the feeling of trepidation was rising incrementally as we came nearer and nearer to ground zero. As I walked by a few other classrooms, I noticed that each of them had had the doorknobs broken off—probably with a sledgehammer—realization of what had really happened began to sink into my marrows.

I stood at my door, staring at the dents and broken door handle, wondering what I would find when I went inside.


As I snapped on the light, my eyes shot around the room, doing a quick inventory. I had expected to find all of my flatscreen computer monitors gone, perhaps the TV, and wanton senseless destruction left in the wake of those bent on the larceny and anguish of others.

As I began to analyze my classroom, I noticed that my desk had been rummaged through, as well as several of the cabinets.

It looked like most everything was in place. That’s when I realized that my HD video camera was missing, as well as my new Nikon Coolpix camera. My heart skipped a beat as I suddenly remembered the 5th grade late-nighter activity on Friday night. I remembered a parent staying after to help put things away when the activity had ended, and she had taken my video camera and put it in my car. I didn’t usually take it home, but this weekend I did, I remembered that it was on my kitchen counter.

I breathed out a heavy sigh of relief—that camera had cost nearly $1,700 when I’d bought it. I searched for my Nikon, but it was nowhere to be found. I chalked up the $200 loss as ‘it could have been much worse.’ As I traversed the school and saw the losses of others, I felt very fortunate; some teachers had lost projectors, laptops, digital cameras, and video cameras; basically anything which was lightweight, electronic, and worth money was taken.

Luckily, the projector in my classroom was the oldest in the school…the proverbial ‘brick’ projector. I am pretty sure that it was the same projector Noah brought with him on the Ark. Since it was obviously old and archaic, it was left behind as worthless.

When went into the kiva by the library, I felt my heart drop out of my chest. Whoever had broken in had taken the two carts containing the school laptops and cleared them out. The cart doors had been ripped off and every one of the computers was gone. One of the printers on the cart top had been shoved to the floor, where it had broken into several pieces; it was now ruined.


I felt myself not only sickened, but angry. I was angry that someone would break into an elementary school and steal from kids.

I was at the school for a couple of hours, but it felt different to me now. I felt…violated. I found myself not wanting to be there as I worked on students’ scores for standard reports. In the end, I talked to the principal and got permission to come home to work.

I still feel ill by what happened. I find myself speechless.

As I dug in my computer bag, I was grateful that I’d made it a habit to take my Nikon D60, my laptop, and my iPod home each night. In fact, for some reason or another I’d taken home most of my other small valuables this weekend. As I reached into in an inner pocket of my laptop bag I found my Nikon Coolpix.

Like I said, I was fortunate.

By the way, you can read more about it HERE.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday

Pin It The first streaks of early morning sunlight leisurely reached through the eastern windows of the room. Bit by bit, the rays began to steal back nearer to the window from whence they shone, as the sun outside ascended higher over the chiseled crags and rocky promontories of the massive eastern mountains.

Slowly, insidiously, oh most gently, it bathed all it touched in golden warmth.

I moved into this unsullied light and closed my eyes, feeling it envelop me.

It was then that came the darker hues of shadowed light, as the clouds gathered in heavy clusters overhead, bringing with them the brief torrent; a gift from heaven.

Let it rain.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chunk-A-Poo for you - II

Pin It Last weekend’s supply went pretty quickly to be honest. However, like I said, I only want to make about 4 or 5 batches of this stuff each week.

I also had several people email and ask if there were any way I could get them some of ‘the goods.’ To appease everyone—far and wide as well as near and close—I have decided that I’ll ship a bag of ‘dry’ ingredients with instructions of the ‘moist’ ones. This is the best that I’ll be able to do in this regard.

Those that opt for this option should optimally know that this is an optional way to optimize options for those optative optimists who’re optimally opting for this option. Of course, it would be about another $3 to ship it…after all, I’d need to go someplace, find (or purchase) a box, package the stuff, and then take it to the post office and send it—just know that I am trying to optimize.

I’m also trying to be fair with this.

If you are a ‘mailer’ then you could expect to get ‘the package’ in approximately 7 days—less if the mail carriers are running on winged feet of destiny.

4 or 5 batches today—that is all.

But don’t worry…I’m planning on doing it again next week—so getting it this week could be optional.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The container was empty

Pin It I realized this, with a rush of horror.

I’d been allotting myself small amounts since I’d noticed my supply slowly dwindling down. I knew that if I were careful, I would be able to make it to the weekend.

I’d make the necessary stop on Saturday, and pick up a fresh supply.

Victory was inevitable…that is, until I entered the store.
You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that they no longer carried it.

“That’s been discontinued since back in August.” One salesman told me. “If it were really that important to you, perhaps you should have bought some back then instead of waiting until now.”

I gazed at the man silently for a beat. “I did,” I replied. “I bought eight containers of it back in July.”

He looked taken aback, undoubtedly, his little comment backfired…after all, I had purchased said amount back then…however, if only I’d known…I’d have bought a case. No, make it two cases.

I won’t say that I didn’t panic at this point, because I did.

But just a little bit.

Could there be a substitute? I perused among the various product offered. This one was too goopy. That one was too hard. Those were too runny. These smelled funny.
In the end I felt at a loss, and I bought something which I was positive wouldn’t be nearly as good. I was right. It made me miss the old days and times of plenty.

I even hit several other stores which should have carried it, however, they didn’t. I was almost ready to throw caution to the wind and purchase it from Ebay…despite the horrendous costs they were charging for shipping—even for just one container.

Thankfully it was then that I had a friend who pointed me in the right direction. Did you know that you can buy gel online and not on Ebay?

Neither did I...

I guess I got a bit carried away…however, about 7 days later the box arrived.
I bought 10.
After all, there are some things in life which are vital. This is one of them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Neurologist Visit (part II) - The man headache

Pin It

I sat in the doctor’s office and filled out the plethora of forms needed before they could see me.

On about page twenty-three I found myself confronted with some questions which I thought were pretty bold. A few of my favorites were:

Do you have difficulty making decisions?
Do you find yourself depressed?
Do you have a great deal of worry or stress?
Do you experience social difficulties?
Have you ever considered suicide?
Do you snore?

Well, needless to say I felt inclined to utilize the “please explain in detail” space for each of these questions and explained them with the following:

Do you have difficulty making decisions?
At times I do, then again, I’m really not sure.

Do you ever find yourself depressed?
Yes, I do. However, I believe that this is a regular condition to everyone, so I’m not necessarily worried.

Do you have a great deal of worry or stress?
Yes. I’m a teacher.

Do you experience social difficulties?
Only around people.

Have you ever considered suicide?
As a fix to migraines? No. However, I have thought about it…haven’t we all?

Do you snore?
So I’ve been told; I was never awake to check.

When the doctor came in, he began to make inquiries, flip though charts, and narrow down the probable cause of my migraines. At one point, he took out my CT scan and proclaimed, “You have a beautiful brain.”

“Why, thank you.” I promptly responded, to which he started laughing.

He clarified with, “What I meant was the folds all look good, and there doesn’t seem to be any abnormalities. Well, other than Chronic Mastoiditis.”

There’s that accursed Chronic Mastoiditis again….

After several diminutive ‘tests’ of my reflexes and of how well the two hemispheres of my brain interact with each other, Dr. Andrews voiced his prognosis of my particular case. As it turns out, I don’t have any type of specialized strain of brain damage or anything like that whatsoever. What I do have is…

Migraines. Classic migraines to be exact.

Of course it would turn out that whatever I had, it would be a classic…

It turns out (in layman’s terms…I’ll not confound you with his technical jargon and doctorish explanations) that I have an area in my brain where pain is registered. There are certain times when all of the little ‘pain receptors’ just get slaughtered with incoming calls…like my email account with spam. As this little waiting room in my brain fills to capacity with incoming registerizations that I am in pain, it starts to take notice, freaks out, and starts to send out mass signals that I am in pain—hence, I soon am.

So, the remedy?

Head removal was one possible antidote; however, this was not the only means of repair. As it turns out, this might be treatable with medication which is to be taken daily. It is his hope, with this certain drug, that my headaches will start to do one of two things: go away altogether OR lose intensity.

Either one of these options would be a welcome change.

I pick up the meds tomorrow and from there starts what could be the end of a not-so-beautiful relationship with pain I’ve enjoyed for most of my life.

Prognosis?

I will live.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Neurologist visit

Pin It

Well, tomorrow after school is the big day. I’ll find out what I can do about the migraines which have haunted my life since I was 5…in other words, the past 47 years…

I think I’ll request the blunt method though.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Moments with Joey – Superpowers

Pin It
SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. The school day has ended. All of the students have left for the day. A teacher and a fifth-grade boy sit at the back table. The teacher is correcting a few assignments as the boy begins to put his assignments into his backpack. He notices a paper arrow another student made for his literature response. He picks it up and holds it close to his face. He turns to the teacher and pretends to shoot the arrow, flying it in slow motion with his hand. The teacher looks up].

TEACHER
: Sorry, Joey. I’m bullet and arrow-proof today.

[Joey stops the arrow in midflight.]


JOEY:
Are you paper-proof today though, Mr. Z?

TEACHER:
I’m pretty sure that I am.

[Joey sighs and looks again at the arrow].


JOEY:
I had a dream about you last night.

TEACHER:
You did? Hopefully I was as cool in your dream as I am in real life.

[Joey sits down in an empty chair facing his teacher and grins].


JOEY:
You had superpowers!

TEACHER:
Really? [Pause]. What kind of powers did I have? Was it something like super-strength or flying?

JOEY:
No.

[The boy yet again examines the paper arrow, and once-again pretends to shoot it from an imaginary bow with whooshing noises].


TEACHER:
Well, what were my powers?

JOEY:
You found a ray gun and accidentally shot yourself with it.

TEACHER:
So, my powers are that I’m a clutz?

JOEY:
No. Once you shot yourself you got your powers. You see…you started to smell like cheese.

TEACHER:
Like cheese?

JOEY:
Yeah, in fact, you could shoot cheese—

TEACHER:
[Interruping]. Let me guess, out of my fingers?

JOEY:
Nope. Your armpits!

[The boy raises up each arm in turn and pretends to shoot cheese from them, making 'cheese-shooting' sound effects.].


TEACHER:
Wow, guess I could always use my powers to put out fires or something.

[There is a mildly-long pause while Joey gets to his feet and hops from foot to foot].


JOEY:
I have powers too, Mr. Z.

TEACHER:
You do?

[The boy tenses his body and then lurches to the side about an inch and then back again].


JOEY:
Yeah. I just zipped home and made some sandwiches.

TEACHER:
You did?

JOEY:
Yeah. I’ll get you one.

[The boy lurches his body again and holds out his hand].


JOEY:
There you go, want another one?

TEACHER:
It was delicious. I already ate it.

JOEY:
Whoa, that was fast!

TEACHER:
Shooting cheese isn’t my only ability.

[The boy watches as the teacher begins to correct again. He leans over the table and stares hard at him].


JOEY:
So, did you want another one?

TEACHER:
Another what? Superpower?

JOEY:
No. Sandwich. You could always reeat it.

TEACHER:
ReEAT it? I don’t think that’s possible…I’d have to throw it up first.

JOEY:
Actually, there’s another way too.

[As the teacher looks up, Joey grins and heads for the door, shouldering his backpack. He begins to throw himself up against the door humming the ‘Superman’ theme].


JOEY:
I’ll take him out, Mr. Z! [Throws himself against the door]. I’ll beat him up! [Throws himself again]. I’ll save you!

TEACHER:
Yeah, you just do that, will you?

JOEY:
Oh, I will. [Several more throws of self against the closed door].

TEACHER:
Joey, that’s the door…use it.

[The boy twists the knob with a flourish and leaps into the hallway].


JOEY:
To save the world!

[Silence again reigns in the classroom as the door shuts. There is stillness for a few moments. The teacher turns on some soft music and once-again begins to correct papers. A moment later, the door is flung open. The boy leaps into the classroom with the paper arrow in hand as it streaks in slow motion toward the teacher, guided by the boy. The boy screams out in a deep, slow motion voice...].


JOEY:
NOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooo! [Swooshing sounds].

[The boy ‘deflects’ the arrow which is placed neatly back onto the table. The boy pauses and breaks into a big grin].


JOEY:
It missed you, Mr. Z.

TEACHER:
Yep, I guess it did.

JOEY:
Well…you’re welcome.

[The boy ‘speeds’ to the door which is once-again thrown open to self-made music. Before he can depart, the teacher calls him back.].


TEACHER:
Joey?

JOEY:
Yeah?

TEACHER:
Did you call home and tell your mom that you’re on your way?

JOEY:
Uh…

TEACHER:
Better go call her then.

[The boy mills around for a few seconds, not speaking].


TEACHER:
Are you going to call?

BOY:
I don’t remember the number…well, I remember part of it.

TEACHER:
Okay, what do you remember?

JOEY:
Four.

TEACHER:
Well, that’ll get you far…now won’t it?

JOEY:
Remembering phone numbers isn’t my power, Mr. Z.

TEACHER:
I guess it’s not…

Fade to black.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chunk-A-Poo for you

Pin It People have been asking.

After all, they have needs…as do I.

As of late, I’ve found that several people have been craving cookie dough—Chunk-A-Poo dough to be exact. Of course, I can’t blame them…after all; I love the stuff myself and would not be opposed to making a nice, large batch of it and eating a bit without even cooking it.

Take that back—eating most of it without cooking it.

What can I say? I love the stuff, like I love to breathe.

I have found that I usually only make this delicacy about once every 4 weeks or so; however, there seems to be a ‘demand’ from various friends, and one batch tends to change into two just so that enough people can get a little baggie of it.

I was talking to a dear friend recently who made the observation, “If there are enough people who want the stuff, why don’t you just sell it?”

Sell it? To real people?

Now, I don’t want to make this into a weekly drudgery where I am feeling obligated to make it all the time; however, I’ve decided—for the time being—to make a few batches each week. To be honest, I don’t know how many I’ll make each week…at least not yet. I’m going to put them in gallon-sized plastic freezer bags, and put them in the fridge or freezer. It is there that they’ll sit and wait until somebody wants them. When that week’s supply is gone…it’s gone. I’ll do it again the following week.

So, how do I get one?

Good question!

Either make a comment on this post or send an email to teachinfourth@gmail.com. Be sure to include something in the subject line like, ‘Chunk-A-Poo.’ I’ll let you know on this post when those I’ve made for the week are gone—I think I’ll make 4 or 5 and see how this goes at first. I’ll decide from there how I’ll handle it in the future.

Hey, I still have a few questions…

Fire away.

Are these free?

Well, no. Unless the stores start giving away all the ingredients, this dough will not be either (I know, what was I thinking?). Also, it takes time to get the stuff together and make it. Therefore, I’ve decided to let the batches go for $11 each. That way, the several hours it will take each week to make them will be worth it. Also, I won’t go into debt purchasing the ‘secret’ ingredients—after all, there are several of them.

What if I really have a need and you’ve run out for the week?

Bummer. Sorry to hear that. Don’t worry though, there’ll always be another Saturday and I’ll make a few more then—provided I’m not out of town on a photographic expedition of some type. If you emailed (or commented) as the first person after the last batch is sold, you’ll be on the top of the list for the next week.

How many cookies does this batch really make?

To be honest, I have no idea. Most of it is consumed as just dough (I’m pretty sure) so I’ve never really found the answer to that question. However, I am pretty sure that it’ll make anywhere from 80 - 95 cookies—depending on the size you make them.

What if nobody wants to buy this stuff from you?

I’m not really that worried, to be honest…if they doesn’t sell, no big deal. Nobody can’t say that I didn’t offer it up, and I’ll still provide it on a ‘as needed’ basis for those who are die-hards.

Do you ship the stuff?

No…sorry. Your address has to be local. That way, I can either drop it off or you can pick it up. I haven’t decided on the delivery mode as of yet…if you live in Provo, I’ll probably deliver, someplace else…you will most likely need to come to me.

Do you provide the Rolos for the center of the cookies?

No. I could only do that if I charged more…I know, those aren’t free either, are they? Curse those grocery stores!

When are you going to start doing this?

This afternoon. I’m going to lunch with a group of friends and will check back on my email when I’ve returned. Like I said earlier—I plan to make about 5 batches today.

Well, I guess that’s it…after all, I have nothing else to say on the matter—for now.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Moments with Joey – Kittens

Pin It
SCENE 1, INTERIOR. MORNING, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. The teacher is currently giving a series of 5 different spelling tests simultaneously to his class. He has made it a point to use each students’ name at least once in a sentence. He has now reached the end—having successfully used each students’ name. There are only a few words left on each list. The teacher looks down at the current word: kitten. He pauses momentarily, remembering a shirt he saw online a few days before about grammar, and uses a similar sentence].

TEACHER:
Kitten. Every time you spell one of your words incorrectly on this test, somewhere, a kitten dies. Kitten.

[A ripple passes through the classroom, some students are surprised, others are amused at the sentence which was used.]


SCENE 2. A FEW MINUTES LATER.
The teacher is now checking over students’ spelling tests. Students hand their teacher their tests one at a time. With each misspelled word, the teacher circles the word and then hands the test back to the awaiting student and comments:

TEACHER:
Two wrong, Morgan? Bummer, it looks like you just killed two helpless little kittens. Better luck next time.

TEACHER:
Tanner, you only missed three this time! Great job! Not too many kittens were sacrificed for your test today!

[A boy, standing at the end of the line slowly makes his way to the front. He is clutching his test to his chest like it is a letter from a dear friend. As it becomes his turn to get his test checked, he hands it over to his teacher. The teacher’s eyes widen in surprise, Joey usually does far better than this].


TEACHER
: [In a hushed voice]. Joey, what happened? You usually do much better than this on your tests each week.

JOEY
: [Leaning in to whisper his response]. I don’t like kittens. [Joey pauses, as if in deep thought, after a moment he whispers] How many kittens did we kill today?

TEACHER
: [Still caught off-guard]. Uh…about 26 altogether, I think.

[Joey nods solemnly as he takes his test back and whispers].


JOEY
: Don’t worry; I’ll be able to get a lot more of them next week.

Fade to black.







8-18-2011: Did you know that there is a shirt available?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

No turning back

Pin It I went out to dinner with a friend tonight.

We went to this lavish restaurant; perhaps you’ve heard of it: Village Inn.

As we sat in the pinkish, cracking, vinyl booth, we conversed about the answers to all of life’s posing questions. Overhead music undulated through the air, via the speakers embedded in the ceiling; like songs playing from the heavens.

As we talked, the music progressed from songs of my childhood to those which have just recently come out. It was as if each song had been selected simply for me…a summation of the transitory years of my life to the current moment.

I felt…blank; like a videocassette that has been recorded over in far too many places with static.

Though all of the music was recognized, I couldn’t readily recall the time I’d first heard each song. There were only fleeting glimpses of memories; tired and washed-out. There were far too many holes; so many open places left behind where I might find myself falling into the nothingness there.

As we finished our meal and made our way into the bracing coldness beyond the swinging glass doors, I turned and began walking to my car. My breath rose in stiff puffs of steam in the night air as I climbed into my CR-V and started the ignition.

I pulled onto the busy avenue, turning my wheels towards home. As I drove along the darkened streets, I found a song from yesterday playing inside my head. As it did, I realized that Tears for Fears were right…

There is no turning back. But still...welcome to your life.

April 11, 2009

Pin It As a general rule, I try to blog each day.

Yet, at times I have nothing I want to share with the world; hence, my sporadically deficient communication over the past few days.

Not that there isn’t blog-worthy materials, it’s just that I don’t feel inclined to share any of it.

Am I selfish?

Yeah, probably.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Moose Butter

Pin It

When I first heard this song at a live Moose Butter concert I was amazed. It had me rolling with laughter (along with the rest of the audience). As I was talking to a friend of mine tonight, I remembered this song I hadn’t heard in a few years.

While searching the vaults of YouTube, I stumbled across a lip sync/tribute version of the song. It was the best version I could find, and so I share it with you forthwith.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



Sunday, March 8, 2009

Moments with Joey – The Decision

Pin It
SCENE 1, EXTERIOR. AFTERNOON. MIDDLE-CLASS SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD. A boy—aged eleven—and his mentor from the Big Brother’s program are traveling the streets after the day’s activity of Penny Golf and lunch at Wendy’s. The boy is talking animatedly, leaping from topic to topic as they pull in to his cul-de-sac. He pauses for a second as he notes that of the cars are absent from the driveway. He surmises that his family is not home.

JOEY:
You know nobody’s home at my house right now [pause]. I was just thinking…You know, I could take off all my clothes and run naked around the house if I wanted to.

[Joey pauses, in contemplation. He is unaware that the comment is a bit uncomfortable for his mentor. After a silent beat, the mentor responds.]


MENTOR
: Well, if you do, just make sure that the blinds are pulled—otherwise the neighbors will talk.

[Joey bursts into a fit of uncontrollable laughter for nearly thirty seconds. His mentor joins in laughing as well. The car comes to a stop in front of the house.]


JOEY:
[Quietly, to himself]. That’s funny; ‘the neighbors will talk.’

[Joey chuckles softly for another few seconds. He opens the car door and starts to get out.]


JOEY:
I probably won’t do it though…but I could if I wanted to.

[Voice trails off into silence.]


SCENE 2, EXTERIOR. AFTERNOON. MIDDLE-CLASS SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD.
Exactly one week later. Mentor pulls up outside same house. Joey comes out, he’s wearing a grin. Opening the car door, he climbs inside. Even before the door closes he starts to talk.

JOEY:
I didn’t do it after all—you know, running around the house naked. I thought about it, but then changed my mind. I just thought I’d tell you.

MENTOR
: Thanks, I was wondering all week....

JOEY:
[Spoken quietly]. But I could have, if I wanted to.

MENTOR
: I bet you could have.

Fade to black.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vandalized

Pin It I was standing in my classroom after school had ended. The call came from the office saying that something had happened to my car.

My heart constricted in my chest, and I found myself gripping the phone rather tightly.

“Vandalism?” I asked incredulously.

My principal immediately began to clarify. “It’s nothing bad. In fact, it’s something good. You need to get outside before it’s ruined though.”

Good vandalism? Ruined? How odd, I’d never heard of that before.

I hung up the phone, grabbed my camera, and headed out. So just what was it that met my wandering eyes?








I guess somebody thought that I was down due to my post last night. I wasn’t—really. It was a post about something…good. About not giving in, and moving to fresh waters. It was about newness & hope. It was about others’ needs, and not being willing to give up on them…no matter how terrible the waves, and how many times I’m buffeted by the winds of change.

Refusing defeat.

It was while writing last night that I decided to listen to music I’d not heard in a long time…it was this which led my questing mouse to The Weepies. As I was listening to their music, “The World Spins Madly On” came over the speakers. At once I found myself lost amidst the chords and harmonies. I was thinking what a wonderful song this was, and how I wanted to just share it with my blogging friends. I didn’t think of the ramifications of the song along with the poem, until I started to get a few emails and postings about life becoming better.

To whomever it was (and I have my suspicions) who ‘vandalized’ my car today—thank you. The gesture was duly noted—as well as appreciated. Just remember, good things always come baack to us. Dear friend, I thank you—whoever you are.

I especially enjoyed the Dr. Pepper. Just the doctor everyone needs, no matter what kind of day they’re having.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Vessel

Pin It A single vessel on a stormy sea
so sail the tides do I
Far from the safe port which
once so gently housed me.

Left to the vastness of waves
which threaten to capsize
and sash against the cold, silent
sea bottom below.
I rise yet again
refusing defeat.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March 3, 2009

Pin It Life is how we respond, isn’t it?

Silly question, after all, I already know the answer.

Today was one of those days which required a response from me.

The other teachers had left the school long before I did.

I was going through piles of student work, old assignments, and various items which had magically seemed to find their way to my desk.

As I worked to reduce the pile, the headache I’d had for the past several hours seemed to get a little stronger, as if just to let me know that it was there, and far more powerful than I was.

I found myself getting irritated at the fact that I was still in my classroom. I was surrounded with tasks screaming for my time and attention—each seemingly wanting to be completed first.

I also found myself thinking of my kitchen counter back home, strewn with piles of receipts and items necessary for tax season.

There was simply too much going on inside—and outside—my head.

I fumbled for my iPod. I selected my playlist titled, “Feel good music” which never fails to alter my mood when it’s getting dangerous. However, this time the music it did nothing. I instead found myself getting annoyed at each and every one of the songs; I switched it off.

The resentment was coiling in my guts, like a snake waiting to strike. I really found myself questioning what I do and why I do it. Memories of my staying long hours after school to track assignments and correct student work came back to mind.

That was not the teacher I wanted to be again.

I finished up and left.

Outside the inversion of pollution did nothing for my mood—or the migraine throbbing inside my skull.

I drove home, and upon arriving there were just as many—if not more—tasks waiting to be done. I blew out a sigh and began to get to work…

That’s when it happened.

Somewhere, somehow, a little realization occurred within me.

It happened as my headache started to melt away like mist burned off by the early-morning sunlight.

It’s going to be okay.

Things are going to get better.

The tasks don’t all need to be done right now.

Things are good. Life is good. I am so glad that I am a teacher.

What is it that I want to do with my life?

Teach.

So now I sit at my keyboard, typing these words. Not just typing, but smiling while I put these thoughts down on the digital canvas before me.

I am finished.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for understanding.

Goodnight.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Technology

Pin It So, just how does one go about picking out a new piece of hi-tech equipment with all of the available items out there? To be completely honest, it is a marathon of research which involves evaluation, comparison, and assessment between available technologies and making an informed decision as to which is the best for the individual making said purchase.

However, it may also be summed up with the following:



In the vein of discussing various and sundry technologies, I just thought I’d let you all know that my iPod has since returned home, and we’re both doing well. It sends its best regards, as well as the following song in celebration…

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