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Saturday, April 30, 2011

In Which I Revisit Parallel Parking As Well As Visit With My Mother, Bash Social Networking, And Provide More Insight Into republicans, Royalty, And Fashion

My Spring Break is pretty much over, and while I am always glad to be At Home rather than At Work, the weather was rainy and awful most of the time, rendering me a Cat-hair covered mushbrain.  But, okay.  At least I have a few Cranial Clots to share, however chaotic they may be.

Dodging raindrops one day, I had to go to a Government Office.  As if that was not bad enough, I had to parallel park.  Which I failed when first taking my driver's test.  (About eleventy hundred years ago.) Verdict:  I still suck at it.  But this time, I find that I don't care.

My son Jared is still trying to get me to start a Twitter account.  (Oh, quelle horreur!)  "Mom!" he commanded earlier this week.  "Your Twitter feed would be amazing.  Seriously.  All my friends already said they would follow you."  Oh. Boy. Jared is in his twenties.  And...so are his friends.  This is pretty illustrative as to why I don't have a Twitter account and do not get me started on Facebook.  Also, I have now typed the word Twitter way more times than I have ever wanted to in my entire life; ditto Facebook.

I was not in the least bit surprised when browsing The Huffington Post's website and, coming across this headline Depression at Work:  10 Careers with High Rates of Depression, to find Number 6.  I didn't see Real Estate Developer/Mogul/Sideshow Barker/Closet Racist in there, nor did I see State Representative/Homophobe/History Revisionist/Clueless Idiot.  Among other things. They're just as happy as...well...they can be.  Ignorance is bliss, as Thomas Gray said.

Okay, now here's a thing.  Imagine, just for the hell of it, that Alfred E. Newman and The Angel of Death could have a child.
Did you?  Because if you did, here's who it would be:               


That's Scotty McCreery from "American Idol"
Finally, even if you could try, there was no way to escape The! Royal! Wedding! What a bigass load of hoopla that all was. I just have two things to say. First, if I were the Queen of England, hell be damn sure I would announce way ahead of time what colour I was wearing and Officially Prevent everyone else from wearing it. I mean, I Am The Queen. OF ENGLAND. If I want to wear a buttercup yellow ensemble, no one else--sitting in close proximity of me, nonetheless!--is wearing that colour. Forget that.  Second, why does the Queen always carry that handbag around? What does she need a purse for at the wedding? Or ever, for that matter?  My mother was at my house yesterday morning, and we were watching a recap of The Royal Wedding, and we had this brief chat:

Me:  What is up with the Queen always carrying a purse?
Patsy:  I don't know, but she always does.
Me:  What does she need it for? Especially at a wedding. Just stick a hanky in her glove. Or have her husband carry one for her.
Patsy:  I know.
Me:  Holy crap, Mom. She's the queen! Whenever Rick and I go anywhere, the first thing I ask him is "do I have to take my purse?" What the heck does she have in there, the launch codes?"
Patsy:  Well, she's what, over 80, so maybe she carries her Poise pads in there. (laughs)

Oh, one last thing about the Royal Wedding.
Never.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Need(ed) A Break! And After Reading All Of This, You Might, Too

It's SPRING BREAK, BABY!  And I could not be happier or more relieved.  It was a long slog to get here, believe me.  I thought March was bad, but these 20 days of April were brutal.  Brutal, I tell you.  But I made it, and now all that is left to do, really, is to clear out a few Occipital Oddments left clattering about in my cranium, and I'm good.  I can cross "put up a post at the Dept." off my list, move on to vacuuming, uncork a red, and figure out dinner.

I mentioned in Comments in the last post how awful our copiers are in our Brand! New! High! School! Well, this week we had yet another Epic Paper Jam, and because I had time, I set to work on it.  Under the watchful eye of Kathleen, I systematically began to clear the mangled copies out from the interior of the machine. "Damn it!" I exploded.  "It keeps lighting up the same error spot."  Kathleen calmly surveyed me kneeling next to the copier.  "Is it number 6?" she asked knowingly.  "I got stuck at number 6 forever last time. Forget it. There's no way to get in there."  I pulled out another drawer, undeterred.  "It says something about a conveyance in number 1.  Well, number 1 can go fuck itself at this point. I really don't...Holy shit!  Look at this!"  I withdrew a handful of tightly pleated copies.  "The Digestive System," I read aloud from the top copy, showing it to Kathleen.  "All this was stuck right in the middle drawer!"  Kathleen looked at it wryly.  "Oh, the irony," she said.

Another Workroom Diversion occurs when teachers read student work aloud.  Sometimes it's for entertainment purposes; sometimes it's out of frustration; sometimes it's because we are blown away by the high calibre of its quality and we're just plain impressed.  The best fun is Vocabulary Sentences.  Often, the nuances of usage escape students, regardless of their level.  My honors students, even, will misuse a word because they can't grasp the finer points of its usage.  For example, one of their words this week was schism.  A vast majority of them used it in this context:  The will left each of the children an equal schism of money.  See what I mean?  Here are two of my favourite vocabulary sentences shared by the team teachers Lisa and Karen this past week and a half:

*Amanda onslaught her boyfriend because he was messing with her car.
*The pizza was discernible from the living room.

You cannot put a price on entertainment like that.  Of course, we do not give points for Entertainment Value, but as we so often say, Life Is Not Fair.

Not so long ago, Jared--the son who used to co-author a blog with me--grew weary of thinking of segues or polite ways to introduce new topics of conversation.  (Sam, my youngest, used to use a Five-Second Rule:  that is, he'd wait five seconds, and if no one continued the current conversation, would simply jump in and start a new topic.)  Now, Jared simply says, "Unrelated" and then carries on with Whatever He Wanted To Talk About.  So...

UNRELATED
1.  I contacted Garnier about the hair gel I loved. Turns out it's not discontinued, only unavailable in my area.  They pointed me to drugstore.com, where I ordered 7 tubes because I'm not convinced.
2.  I think my formerly favourite TV show House has jumped the shark.
3.  Why are there so many cake-themed shows on TV? And why are they so bellicose? Cake is a dessert, people! No one should be battling, warring, building, or sweating and injuring themselves over cake!  Stop it immediately...I was going to say "before someone gets hurt" but it seems a bit disingenuous to say that now, doesn't it?  How pathetically ridiculous to take all the fun out of cake. What is next?  Will they ruin cotton candy and Nutella?  (OH MY GOD DON'T YOU DARE!)
4.  In my spare time, I worry about Richard Engel, Middle East correspondent for NBC Nightly News. First of all, is he adorable, or what? Great teeth, great hair, so well-spoken...but he has no regard for his personal safety!  He is constantly in a war zone, speaking Farsi to the locals and playing dodgeball with missiles and anti-aircraft fire.  (All the while looking fantastic and somehow cuddly and dashing at the same time.)  If he doesn't knock it the hell off, I am writing an impassioned letter to his mother.

Now then!  I think that will hold you all through Easter.  Or whatever you may--or may not--celebrate.  I'm going to have a lovely Break. Do take Some Time for yourselves, won't you? 

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Make A Superhuman Effort To Return To The Interwebs And Make You Think About Your Own Superpower

Last week was one of The Longest Weeks In The History Of Education.  My colleagues and I put in two twelve-hour days, thanks to the dreaded Parent-Teacher Conferences, which are held from 3:30-7:00 pm.  We call them The Hostage Crisis--among other things.  As a result, on the days following, we are delirious and incoherent in the workroom, which begins to take on the atmosphere of the old lounge back at The Rock.   (Ah, those were the days!)

Scene opens in the teacher workroom.  It is crowded and, uncharacteristically, noisy.  Some teachers are at computer stations, others eat lunch at the long tables.

Sue (from computer station)  Remind me to go to the bathroom.

Kerrie(looks up from her lunch, wide-eyed) Oh!  Oh!  That reminds me!  Nance! Now I know why You-know-who is your arch-nemesis.  I was standing in front of the bathroom, with my hand practically on the door handle, and she just tottered right in front of me and went on in!  I was furious!  Just because she has that thing on her foot or whatever.

Nance(peers around from computer) She's horrid. And she would have done that without that plastic cast on her foot.  She's just rude.

Sue:  Remember Sharon?  She did that all the time with the bathroom.  You could be standing there at the door with your hand on the knob and she'd just sneak right past you.

Nance:  I know!  Angie called her "The Zephyr."  She blew past you like a breeze. Sometimes, you didn't even know you'd been Zephyred, and you'd walk on in, and there would be Sharon!  It was her superpower!

(everyone laughs)

Nance: That, and disdain.  Disdain was her other superpower.  Remember when she said to me at her retirement party last year, "Moving into a new school and doing all that unpacking and settling in to a new place just doesn't interest me. I don't know why anyone would do it."?  As if we all had a choice?!   Like the rest of us could just retire too and avoid it?  Gotta love Sharon.

Kerrie:  I know!  All year last year she kept barging into my desk in the bookroom and grabbing my three-hole punch and using it and calling it "The Department Three-Hole Punch."  I didn't have the heart to tell her No, it's MY THREE-HOLE PUNCH ON MY DESK THAT I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY AND I'M LETTING YOU USE IT.

Nance:  Hey.  It's getting awfully cold in here.  Why is it belching ice-cold air all of a sudden?  Sue!  Did you turn down the thermostat over there?

Sue:  Huh?  No.  I haven't touched it.

Nance(sighs loudly)  I bet.  You know, you menopausal women in here...

Sue: (interrupts and shakes finger at Nance) Watch it, now. Watch what you say! I have the thermostat over here!  I have it right above my desk.  That's my superpower!

End Scene.
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