Monday, September 07, 2009

Over-herd At The Most Recent Staff Meeting...

Friday was a teacher inservice day, and it started off with a big meeting for the entire staff. Our school is huge: my department alone has 18 teachers. Staff meetings, therefore, sometimes turn into impromptu social events wherein teachers whose schedules and the imposing physical plant of the building would normally prohibit it finally get an opportunity to reconnect. The result is a Delicious Irony. We teachers exhibit the undesirable classroom behaviors of our students. We talk during some presentations, we pass notes, we send text messages, we work on other things, we go hang out in the bathroom during the boring stuff.

And so it came to pass that on Friday, the following conversation occurred at my table during the General Staff Meeting:

Nance: Did you do anything over last weekend? Did you go to your lake condo?
Linda: Oh, god. I had so much crap to do. You know? Did you do anything?
Nance: We went to the Fair. Did you go? Oh my god. I saw the cutest cows. I had to be physically restrained. I mean it. I am more determined than ever to have one.
Linda: Have what? A cow? Are you serious? Like when? Are you being completely serious?
Roger: (leaning in, rolling eyes) Are you still talking about this? Linda, Nance is getting a cow for a pet when she retires.
Nance: (indignant) I don't know why you say it like that. I love cows. I always have. Rick is completely on board with getting a cow.
Roger: Somehow, I don't see cow maintenance coming from you.
Pam: Will you be going out to the barn in your heels?
Linda: You're serious about this. A cow. You've thought about this, I take it.
Nance: Oh, yes. And now that they've begun breeding mini-cows, it's even more ideal.
Roger: Cows are dirty. They roll around in mud, they crap a lot, they--
Nance: That's not true! They don't have to be dirty! Cows enjoy a nice bath; they do! Unlike dogs, cows can be bathed daily. I'll have a nice, clean little cow!
Pam: I like cows. But--
Nance: See! See! Oh, I do too!
Pam: --but I've never wanted to own one.
Linda: Why not just get a dog, Nance?
Nance: Dogs are too worky. You have to feed them, walk them, play with them. All that crap. Besides, we had Sam's dog with us for a while. Linda--it ate a door. Okay? NO DOGS.
Linda: Get a chihuahua. Like my dog. I swear, it's like a purse. You just sling it over your arm and carry it around. Really.
Nance: Huh? Then just get a purse. I want a cow.
Roger: There is no way you can sling around a bale of hay or straw and haul manure. No way. Look at you. Poor Rick. Rick is getting this cow. (shakes head.)
Nance: You know, Roger. I am so tired of this "poor Rick" crap from you all of the time. I'm not holding Rick hostage in this marriage, you know. There's no gun to his head. Like he has it so bad! Hmpf.
Linda: (squints at principal at lectern in front of room) What did he just say? What about semester finals?
Nance: He changed the days. Here, write this down...(recites new exam schedule) Will you email me that? I'll never remember it.
Linda: Sure. So you're serious about this whole cow thing, huh?
Nance: Of course.
Roger: Ask her the name. Go on.
Linda: Bossy? Elsie?
Pam: What is it? What's the cow name?
Nance: Velveeta.


  1. 1. Teachers are THE WORST to present to - they ALWAYS talk.

    2. A cow? Seriously? No. SERIOUSLY?

  2. Nance, you're not getting a cow. They stink. And you'll get all dirty giving her a daily bath. Stop being delusional. Stop it right now. And yes, poor Rick...the thought of making your husband clean up cow shit, my god!

  3. I loved this post. I am a retired art teacher who also loves cows. For ten years (1989-1999) I published "the MOOsletter" the international cow lovers' quarterly, featuring "all the MOOs that's fit to print." I went a little overboard with my cow obsession, but I had several subscribers that were even more nuts about cows than I was.

    You can read about it HERE..
    That post also includes a few of my cow paintings (visual puns.)

    For more cow posts, check my right sidebar under Post Categories, then look for posts listed under COWS.

    You might also enjoy a short fiction piece I wrote about a teacher on an in-service day, which you can find HERE.
    (That story was written for a writing challenge which I love. It would make a great writing assignment for your students, but I have to warn you that some responses might not be appropriate for students, so I wouldn't send the student's to the website, which is listed on my post, but you could use the challenge or make up your own. It forces one to be creative and to use words one might not normally use and use them in unusual ways.)

    I always enjoy your blog.

  4. Don't listen to the naysayers, Nance. You can have your cow. And I think Velveeta is the best cow name EVER.

    We went to Holland for a few days on our honeymoon, and we saw some lovely cows that were white with a huge black stripe down their middle. Like a black head, white neck, white forelegs, black middle, white end. I thought they were beautiful. But I'm horsey, now bovinish, unless the bovine are building spaceships, ala Gary Larsen.

    I have a somewhat similar dream. I don't see anything wrong with a miniature horse clopping around my little condo, as long as it can be trained to poop outside. They're not just cute, they're GORGEOUS. Seriously. There's a show here every year for miniature horses, and some of them just *slay* me.

    And if our homeowners association has issues, there's a condo complex in our town (which I only recently discovered, to my dismay) that borders an equestrian center, so you can board your horse and have an arena to ride in, and yet, you don't have to be a multimillionaire. Lovely, no?

  5. Go on, Nance! Have a cow! (But are you zoned for it?) Velveeta is a wonderful name. And hardly has any milk in it, since it's "processed cheese food." My kids suspect it has some form of plastic in it somewhere.

    When my DH went through his homemade food phase and decided to work at cheesemaking, we lived a mile or so away from a rural community where there was a community farm. Right, like a commune! We almost adopted a goat. You put in a couple of hours a week of work at the farm, but the goat lives at the farm. In exchange, you get milk. But when we calculated (cowculated) the number of gallons of milk we would get for our investment, we realized it was way too much for us to manage and it would just be wasted. No one we knew was into dividing a share of a goat. 'Tis a pity. I think it would have been fun.

  6. As a long-time horse trainer and owner, I can attest to the fact that for most people, the IDEA of horses (or cows) is always a lot more fun than the actual work of ownership. If you don't like getting dirty, sweaty, and smelly every single day, or devoting a fair number of your waking hours to your animal, then just buy a nice painting or photo and call it a day.

    At our house, we love the work and the dirt and the smell, but we're also insane. What can I say?

  7. Mikey, have I ever told you I love you?! I haven't laughed that hard in a while!!!!

  8. Mikey--(Holy crap, is there anything you DON'T find a reference to on YouTube!? LOL) Well, the differences btw me and that airhead who called in to Suze are myriad. Being a compulsive student, I've already studied up on the whole Owning A Cow Deal, and it's not something spur-of-the-moment because I got mooed at. I also don't have all that chick's $$ issues. And Suze is not the Last Word on Cows, either. Cows do NOT have to smell. That stench is the smell of Poor Cow Ownership and Sloppy Cow Maintenance.

    Life @ FF--Do you have cows, too? If you do, then you are so lucky! But you also know the point I made above that the animals do NOT have to smell bad. Their manure does, naturally. Duh. As I mentioned, this isn't something that I've just come up with and not looked into considerably.

    sputnik--no, we are not currently zoned for any sort of farm animal. when i retire, we are mooving. i want to live someplace where i am not a driveway's width away from my neighbors, as i am currently. ideally, i'd have a lot of room. a cow would need at least an acre and a half (for a full-size cow), so that would be where we'd start. in my Perfect World, i'd have way more than that. i'd be a hermit. ;-)

    j.@jj--oh, thank you! (and i don't listen to anybody, so don't worry, dear.) i've wanted to own my own cow for more than half my life, so this has been a Major Project of mine forever. and if you want a mini-horse, i think you should start working toward that as well. i saw a special on tv once where someone had trained one as a therapy animal, and it went into hospitals and stuff. go for it!

    CJ--oh, yay! a fellow cow lover! so you know exactly how i feel. very few people get it, as i'm sure you understand. i read your links, and i wish i had discovered your moosletter; i'd have been an avid subscriber/contributor! oh, and of course i own The Field Guide To Cows (the book linked at the bottom of your post). the breed i'm looking at if i can't swing a minicow (for whatever reason) is a Limousin. They're a small breed, have a pleasant disposition, and are known to be one of the most manageable breeds to work with/train. And their coloring is very lovely. I left you a comment at your story post, too. Thank you for reading.

    Nina--I don't know why you are being so mean in comments. Do you need a hug?

    Jan R.--1. I know, but we were doing most of the talking before the meeting, and we are all veterans, so much of the stuff presented was Old News.

    2. Very.

  9. Nance,

    Perhaps you should give this article a thought before deciding.

    A Colorado State University animal nutrition professor named Donald Johnson has been studying cow flatulence for 20 years, and has determined that the average cow emits 200 to 400 quarts of methane gas PER DAY, resulting in a total annual world cow methane output of 50 million metric TONS! Don't light a match around a cow and never allow a cow inside your sleeping bag.

    It's not all bad though,Nance. With all that gas, maybe you can heat your home.

  10. I KNOW!!! I hate how it's so hard to get teachers to come to order. They never stop talking!

  11. Oh Nance, I'm not being mean...I just don't get it!!! LOL!!

  12. These are the cows I thought were so cool in Holland:

    To Life@FF, amen. Nance may be ready for all of that, but I am not yet there. Perhaps when I'm retired, and I have more time. Right now I find I only have time for a dog, a kid, a husband, and a job. Not in that order. ;) I ride once a week, and I always think, I wouldn't have time and energy for this every day. Maybe, though, someday. And some people DO have time, no matter how busy they are, because they make the time. I'm just not there yet.

    Do you have a picture in your mind, Nance, of what Velveeta looks like? My picture of my perfect horse keeps changing. I'd kinda like one that looks like an Arabian, but with the temperament of a Tennessee Walking Horse. Which ain't gonna happen.

  13. Oops. never mind. I just read in your comments about your dream cow. :) lovely.

  14. J.@jj--tried to go to your pic link,but got an error msg. that the webpage could not be found. and my picture of velveeta changes, too. i am in love with herefords as well, but the mini variety only. i like their fur and their topknots. but their dispositions are not as reliable.

    Nina--you were pretty strident. but i forgive you.

    apathy lounge--we're naturally chatty, as a rule. and we love the company of ourselves. i vastly prefer the company of other english teachers. i mean, "outsiders" are great, but i do love a chat about english teacherish stuff.

    Nancy--I'm used to the bad press about cows. i just read a series of horrifying articles about cow suicides! honest! i might do a post about it.

  15. Nance--We don't own any cows. They're cute and all, in a "look at the nice Holsteins in the field over there" sort of way. I don't have any real interest in cow ownership, but I couldn't own one even if I wanted to, as one of our horses is absolutely positively convinced that cows are carnivorous. He freaks out at the sight of them, and gets nervous if you even make cow noises anywhere near him.

    J@JJ--I completely agree that there is no way that an Arabian is going to have a Walking Horse mindset without a lot of drugs involved. Our perfect horse: a big warmblood that can jump 5-1/2+ feet. My daughter has aspirations to ride Grand Prix jumpers.

  16. Ha! Love it! You're going to have fresh cheese, milk, yogurt, cream! How cool! And they are so cute! : )

  17. Anali--No, I'm not. I won't be milking. I'll be the owner of a "dry cow." Milking is too much work. But I'm so glad that you see the Cuteness of Cows!

  18. Really? When I copy and paste the link it works. Hmmm. Try this. They're worth it.

    They're called lakenvelder cows.

    I like the idea of english teachers having English teacher conversations. :)

    Tonight is back to school night at my daughter's school. The night we meet all of the teachers and hear about their classes, etc. Hope it goes well.

  19. j.@jj--got that pic to work. incredible, those cows. now i am going to research them just for fun. don't remember seeing them in my field guide book. hope BTS night was a good one.

  20. I would seriously LOVE to be at a faculty meeting with you. Or an inservice, so help me God (thought I was going to commit hiri-kiri at the last one). Velveeta, huh? Did you ever see the episode of The Simple Life, when Paris Hilton went on the cattle drive, and adopted one of the steers as a pet? I think his name was Norman, and she had him shipped to Beverly Hills...that's sorta like Cleveland, right?

  21. Melissa B--I am proud to say that I have never watched a single moment of any of P.Hilton's forays into television. Erg. And Cleveland is to Beverly Hills what Velveeta is to Brie. ;-)

  22. Nance--With all due respect, I don't think you'll really be getting a cow. My husband's family had cows for many years and they are much better viewed from a distance than when you actually own one and have to take care of it. And, have one stare you down one day when it won't get out the driveway and you have to drive through its poop. That's a lot of fun. They are smarter than sheep, that's for sure, but not exactly bright.

    A few things come to mind. We have a "greenway" area on the way to our mtn property that's basically a paved walking/jogging/cycling circle around a field and also surrounded by fields. In the field in the middle, there are often cows. I commented on this to Mr. GFE wondering what the cows might think of the idiot humans going around in circles. He said he was sure they liked it because cows like company. He raised many calves as a FFA high school student (I don't need to tell you how that ended). His sister had a bottle calf named Jelly Bean when Mr. GFE and I first started dating--again, same ending.

    I read a news article about one dairy cow owner converting his barn so that the cows were basically sleeping on the equivalent of water beds. Milk output went up 40%. He said the water beds were costly, but worth it. I am not making that up. I do think the sweetest and most appealing cows are the dairy cows, the Guernseys, and especially, the Jerseys ... much smaller, brown, and have doeish eyes.

    How about going back to the bunnies? The worst they can do is poop profusely and eat your speaker wire and nobody even has speaker wire any more so you're safe there. My niece just got a lionhead rabbit ( with her college roommates. They named him Mufasa. I think he beats a cow any time. Then you could just share everchanging photos of your own bunny on the sidebar. :-)


  23. Shirley--Sigh. You read about cow water beds HERE, on my blog, dear. Unless my LinkWithin widget changes, you can even click over to it at the bottom of my current post. The post is called "If There's Such A Thing As Reincarnation, I'm Coming Back As One Of This Guy's Cows". And I have already had a pet bunny. Nowhere near the same. As I've said, I've done my research. I'm fully aware of all the demands and all the needs. I'm starting to become concerned about my Readers and their Poop Hangup, though.

  24. Okay, now, I'm sitting here LMAO and God bless you for that because I've been home all weekend sick moving from the sofa to the bed and making a few noteworth forays into the kitchen. The laughter felt good even though hubby is baffled in the other room since I was just whining to him moments ago. Clearly I'd completely forgotten that the cow article came from you and I don't know that I can blame it all on illness. I should have known that any bizarro animal news that I had heard came directly from the Dept of Nance, which has a reputation for conveying such information.

    I'll just add this ... sometimes all the research in the world doesn't prepare one for the real deal. How'd that work our for you with childbirth and taking care of an infant? I seem to recall you sharing a few words on the incongruity of the research/prep and the actual experience before, dear. Whatever you decide, I'll be looking forward to the reports, although, of course, I can't guarantee I'll remember them LOL ... I'll probably attribute them to BW or Diane Sawyer when she takes over her new spot.

    Going back to my invalid state now. My sincere apologies for any harm inflicted by my cluelessness ... but I really do think I might have heard that water bed story on the news AND at the Dept. I remember discussing it with Mr. GFE and we don't discuss news from the Dept.


  25. I'm late to the party on this one, but I must comment. I want a mini-cow too! There's a commercial (for Jack-in-the-Box, I think) showing around here with mini-cows, and I told my fiance that I wanted one. He told me that they didn't exist, so I had to prove him wrong!

    To be perfectly honest, I'd love a mini-animal farm--goats, horses, cows, etc.

    I hope you get your cow--I would HAVE to come visit!!

  26. I like cows too. They taste good.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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