Sunday, October 30, 2005

DoN Says Pick Your Battles

I ran into my buddy and fellow teacher Teresa at Target last night. She told me this story about her son who is in 8th grade:

"It was Kyle's turn to bring home Baby-Think-It-Over this weekend for health class. All he heard from all his friends was 'support the head, support the head' because if you don't, the baby registers it and you flunk automatically. So, what does my wonderful son do? He straps a rubber band around the baby's one ear and hooks it around its opposite foot. And he shows me. And I say, 'After all these years as your mother, and this is what I've taught you?' And Kyle says, 'No, Mom. What you've taught me is how important school is and how important it is to get good grades. And that's what I'm doing. Making sure I get a good grade.' How do I answer that?"

Geez. By jumping up and down, cheering, and weeping openly about the fact that he heard and remembered and actually followed such an important piece of advice, maybe?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

DoN Hits the Use By Date

When did I get this old?

1. Last night, I fell asleep with my glasses on. In bed. How did I know this? I woke up with them on.

2. I fall asleep sitting on the couch. Often. With my mouth open.

3. I seem to eat Tums a lot more often than I used to.

4. I keep turning the television sound up during programs and down during commercials.

5. I spend an inordinate amount of time in conversation with the cats. -- Wait, does that mean I'm old or just nuts?

6. When my husband says, "Wanna go to bed?" I get excited not because of the prospect of sex, but because of the prospect of actually going to sleep.

7. I actually contemplated incorporating prunes or prune juice into my diet. If I have to tell you why, it just makes me feel even older.

8. I have one of those weekly pill cases that have the days of the week on each little module, and even without my daily vitamins, there are more than 3 pills in each cell.

9. I don't ever listen to anything on the car radio, and the CD player in my car has been broken for months and I don't care.

10. I say things in the grocery store like, "If they think I'm going to pay $2.00 for a bunch of broccoli, they are sorely mistaken. That is just ridiculous. I'll go without." Loudly. As if the produce manager, if he is even within earshot, will immediately and shamefacedly run up and whip out his Sharpie and mark it down while admitting he is price-gouging due to Hurricane Katrina.

When did this happen to me? I pride myself on being somewhat with it, and thanks to my job as a high school teacher, I'm pretty much up on the latest trends and slang and whatnot whether I like it or not. And having a seventeen year-old and a twenty year-old at home helps, too. But, I fear it is the inexorable march of Time; I'm 46 and it was bound to start happening sooner or later. The sad fact is this: Youth has an Expiration Date. And mine is apparently up.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

DoN Skews the Nielsen Ratings

This morning I stumbled upon The Brini Maxwell Show on The Style Network; I was trying to get myself off the couch and into the shower in order to face my day before noon, honest I was.

My husband and eldest son wandered in, and soon we were all watching, transfixed by the oddness of this show, hosted by a man in drag dressed in vintage 50-60s June Cleaveresque couture espousing hints for living the gracious lifestyle. My son shook his head. "I can always tell when Mom has the remote. It's guys in drag, Brits, or costume dramas."

I keep trying to think of the ultimate: something with all three.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


We finished up reading the play The Crucible. I wanted to impress upon the students, just sophomores of merely 15 and 16 years, the injustice of it all. I wanted them to realize that we owe something to the memory of these innocent people who died undeservedly back in Salem in 1692, that it is important to right wrongs, no matter how long it takes.

Me: Sadly, only one judge ever apologized for the part he played in the Trials, and only one
"afflicted girl" ever asked forgiveness for her role. And...guess when the last pardon
was issued by the governor of Massachusetts to a condemned Salem witch.

(students guess several years, including the 1700s, 1800s, etc. I gleefully shake my head.)

Me: Nope. It was Governor Swift in October of... 2001!

(students react suitably shocked, surprised, and dismayed, "that's horrible", "why did it take so long", etc, then above it all, like a sour note at a concert...)

Student: Oh my God! Was she still ALIVE?!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

DoN Regulates Holidays

Last night, it happened. I saw It. Brazen, bold, unconscionable, it flashed on my television screen as if the date weren't only October 18th. As if it weren't just, as Keats so aptly described it, the "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness": still the time for pumpkins and little boo-ghosts who had yet to make way for turkey, cranberries, cornucopias and Pilgrims. Good heavens! My porch furniture is still out! My neighbors are still gathering ripe tomatoes!

"It" was the first Christmas commercial.

And the perpetrator of this crassness? Carnival Cruise Lines, hawking gift certificates for the holidays. The ad showed people in stocking hats and winter coats skipping around in a fluffy snow scene carrying miniature cruise ships bedecked in red velvet ribbons. Tastefully blurred in the background were lit evergreen trees adding a hint of Christmassy ambience. I sat on the couch, horrified and speechless. To be honest, I don't even recall if there were music, although I'm sure there must have been and that it must have been somewhat jingly.

This is madness, and it must be stopped. When I am in charge, no Christmas decorations or ads will be permitted to show themselves until the day after Thanksgiving. All holidays will wait their turn, get center stage, then be done and over.

And can someone tell me when Halloween got to be such a bigass holiday? Or why? Because that's next. Halloween, you're way overinflated as a holiday. ONE DAY, that's it. And kids only.
And do NOT get me started on yard decorations.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

It's a Perception Thing

On Thursday I decided to take a break from the intense drama of The Crucible and also take advantage of our shortened work week by putting the kids in teams and playing Trivia Challenge for extra credit points. I didn't tell them what the plan was at first...

Me: Okay, everyone. We've been working hard all quarter, and I've decided we've earned
a break. Let's do something fun!

(odd pause. silence in room. students look confused, trade glances.)

Me: What gives? (I knock on lectern for comic effect.) Hello, is this thing on?

Brave Student: Well, it's just that we don't really know what your idea of "fun" is. For all we
know, you might be having us write an essay or something.

Me: (disappointed sigh.) Oh. I see.

Brave Student: But I really love your belt. It's sooo cute! Where did you get it?

Monday, October 10, 2005

DoN Says Time for a Chuckle

Some stuff just always makes me laugh:

1. Wiener dogs. Especially if they're running. I love to watch a wiener dog take a corner at top
speed. Hell, even thinking about wiener dogs cracks me up.

2. The fact that my mother does not know the correct lyrics to any songs. She denies this, and
then I have to prove to her that she doesn't even know "Happy Birthday". She gets
frustrated, tries to sing it, then totally screws it up.

3. Any episode of Seinfeld. But the one with the old set of the Merv Griffin Show is really, really

4. Kids who jump off their bikes because they don't know how else to stop.

5. Dogs chasing their tails for a long time.

6. This joke: A blind guy goes into KMart with his guide dog. Suddenly, he starts swinging
the dog on its leash in a huge circle, high above his head. A clerk rushes over to him. "Sir!"
the clerk says in a panic, "may I please help you?" "No," the blind guy says. "I'm just
looking around."

7. Hearing really elderly people cuss.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sigh. It's a Burden...

Student--(after my explanation of the science behind John Proctor's cruel comment to his wife "Oh Elizabeth, your justice could freeze beer" in The Crucible)

"Geez, Mrs. D., English teachers know everything."

Yes. Yes, we do.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Not that it will affect many, but I had to add comment verification to my blog to stop the random comment spam generators that stopped by with alarming regularity. Sorry if it inconveniences you in any way, truly.

Secondly, I am really trying to post more often. I am. It's been a tough time.

Finally (and this will explain my lax posting), if there is anyone out there who has experience with a condition known as adhesive capsulitis (aka "frozen shoulder") please tell me. The shoulder malady that I have been struggling mightily with for the past several months is not a torn rotator cuff as thought previously, but this adhesive capsulitis. It's a chronic, horrible condition of mysterious origin that has me wacked out on oxycontin and in the grip of the worst pain of my life. Worse news: it takes, on the average, two years to run its course and leaves its sufferer with compromised mobility.

I'll take any helpful hints, miracle cures, and testimonials from partners in this test of endurance.

And that's the last you'll hear from me on this subject.

DoN Wants YOU

Everyone hates whiny English teachers who bitch about poor spellers and random apostrophe usage; I do both. I whine and hate the whiners amongst us. But I am enlisting DoN readers out there to help me, right this minute, with the following infractions that I just don't think I can stand any longer. Divide yourselves into teams if you must.

1. The saying is "intents and purposes" NOT "intensive purposes", as in "George Bush is, for all intents and purposes, a murderer."

2. The word is "sophomore" NOT "southmore" which is not a word.

3. The word is "pedestal" NOT "peddlestool", as in "For some inane reason, George Bush has put Karl Rove up on a pedestal of virtue and will not see his blame in the Plame case."

4. The word is "regardless" NOT "irregardless" which is not a word and is only mentioned in a modern dictionary or because it has lapsed into incorrect and nonstandard usage, as in "George Bush has nominated another of his buddies for an important office in government, regardless of the fact that she has absolutely no experience or qualifications."

5. The saying is "I couldn't care less" NOT "I could care less" which would mean that you could, in fact, care even a little bit less than you do now, which would then be in no way an insult.
DUH. The correct usage would be "I couldn't care less that George Bush and his wife are having marital problems; she is an idiot for marrying into that family in the first place."

Help me, DoN readers! Start small; resort to small weapons only as need dictates, and even then, rubber band snapping only.
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