Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to get fired without even trying

Most of my students are angels.
Most of my students are wonderful little people with kind, if not goofy, hearts.

However, in every class you have a student or two that cause your hair to turn an unattractive shade of gray.

I am naming my silver roots after one particular little bundle of joy.

He rarely comes to school, which is why my sanity is still intact. According to my ever-accurate grade book, he has graced my presence a mere 12 times.

Each time he left the school, suspended for one infraction or another.

Lighting lighters, pulling knives, calling me a M***** F*****, throwing scissors, you know, the usual.

Today he came to school and was actually very subdued. He behaved. He didn’t even curse at me.
I thought for a moment that he had turned over a new leaf, realizing that education is important.
That, or the knowledge his parents being forced to court regarding his truancy.

I have a rule in class.
If you don’t at least make an attempt to keep your head off the desk and follow along with the material, you don’t go to PE. This is not a very difficult rule to follow.

In fact, most kids manage to follow this rule with little to no effort.
Bob (not his real name) found this rule to be too difficult. He crumpled the quiz, made paper airplanes of the homework, and drew testicles and a penis on a cartoon bunny on the class work.

So, he stayed in for PE.

There was no argument. He just stared at me and shrugged.

At this point I was still counting it as a red-letter day.

Until I made the dire mistake of stepping out into the hallway to speak with a fellow teacher.
I was out of line of sight for all of 2 mins.

Just enough time for Bob to open the window climb up on the bookshelf and jump the fifteen feet to freedom.

I didn’t see him go, but his foot prints in the snow and the hole where he landed told the tale.

He escaped.

I am so getting fired.

Monday, November 27, 2006

An Apple a Day

As I have previously mentioned, the school district in which I work has recently supplied every student with an Apple MacBook.
There are some good and some bad aspects inherent in supplying this many pre-teens with this much handheld technology.

One of the most disastrous and painful effects of the computer age is the ease of playing and replaying of teeny-bopper/ wanna-be-gansta music.
The children are very sneaky. They slip a CD of their favorite tone-deafening music into their computers and upload those little musical gems. After a few days of guerrilla transferring they have a hard drive full of the most ear splitting drivel.

Now all they have to do is wait.
Wait for any moment, any great or small span of time to unleash an onslaught of terrible tempos.

The volume starts very low. So low, in fact, that I can’t hear it over the groups quietly working on their projects.
Then, the sneaky little things gradually begin to turn up the volume. Slowly. So very slowly.
Gradually integrating that noise into the classroom noise.

Until, suddenly, I realize that “Milkshake” is dinging throughout the room.
Or “50 cent” or the “Pussycat Dolls.”
And just as suddenly, my head gets ready to explode. The lyrics are crazy dirty.

Completely inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18.
Or maybe 40.

I scamper around the room, tracking the offending computer and taking it away. Giggling about my rule over terrible music.

That’s when I notice, that though the music is gone several of the nearby students are still bobbing their heads.
As if to a different drum.

What is this? I am the crusher of music! How are they still grooving?

There is something strange about this table.
Precariously placed arms are carefully concealing a cord, which travels from the computer, under the table, up the shirt, and through long hair to an ear.

Those sneaky little somethin’ somethin’s.

My arms quickly fill up with enough laptops and headphones to start my own store.

I love technology.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Yummy sushi!

Mmmm, dinner!


About 40 miles away from the hotel is a glacier. 40 miles on a well kept highway.

This happy and would be short drive should have taken 2 hours.
Round trip.

But, if you stop every half a mile to take pictures and pee in bushes, the drive may take significantly longer.

Almost 5 hours of driving and taking pictures of mountains.
It was absolutly beautiful. The colors and peaks and rivers and trees.
Very pretty stuff.

But, after awhile all the mountains just look the same.

Here is one of the many mountain pictures.

After a longer that necessary drive we arrived at the glacier. We didn’t get very good shots of it due to the fact that the best vantage point was across a rather large and very frozen lake.
We walked part of the way across but, because of my supreme instability on shiny smooth ice, decided it would be safer to take the picture and leave the ice.

This is a little bit of a glacier.

All in all, it was a great trip. Though the destination was a bit lame, it really was the journey that mattered.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Just in case you were sitting around on Thanksgiving Day surrounded by food and brown and orange decorations thinking, “I wonder what Jody is doing right now.”
And you know you were doing just that.

I am currently in Anchorage enjoying the fascinating invention of pavement and restaurants that serve only one genre of food.
There is also beer here, not that I would partake in such a thing… but it is here which makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
The thought of the beer, not the beer itself.
I don’t drink.
Well, at least I haven’t.

Yet today.

I will be gallivanting around the city for the next few days shopping, eating, and, of course, looking at all that pretty cement.

With any luck I will get into some kind of trouble or fall into an embarrassing situation rife with humor that will make for good blogging fodder.

Have a great Thanksgiving!
And have a big helping of Cranberry jelly for me.
That stuff is so good. I love eating things that retain the shape of their packaging.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Paper Fun

In the spirit of schoolteachers everywhere.
We made paper turkeys in class today.

This is the one I made.
It's beautiful!

The Winds of Something

Obviously the students know that tomorrow marks the end of a very short week.
They all are well aware that a 4 day weekend is in sight.

And they are acting like it is already here.

One of my “favorite” little angels beckoned me over.

“Ms. Mac! I have something important to ask you!”


He stared up at me with his devilish eyes, leaned to the right, and ripped a big one.
He farted.
At me.

This made for a great beginning to what promises to be a great day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Turky Day

I have not had a traditional, normal, Thanksgiving in quite awhile.
When I was younger we used to fill up on carved dead flightless birds and cooked juicy bread crumbs. Sometimes we would hit more than one Thanksgiving dinner during the holiday.

Just like everyone else.

Then something happened. I’m not really sure what, but as my sister and I grew older the traditional Thanksgiving seemed to fly right out the window.

I remember one November feast of Chinese Take-out on a beach in Florida.
Then there was that Mexican fiesta a few years ago in Phoenix.

And of course the most memorable of all, chips and French onion dip while watching a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, alone.
That was a good day.

This year I am heading into Anchorage for fun times in the big city. In just two short days I hop on a plane that will take me to the land of shopping and pavement.
And people.

Though I have no idea what Thanksgiving has in store for me this year, I do know that it probably involves a fair amount of wine.
Or vodka.

2 days. That is two days too long.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mmmm, Ice Cream

You know that painful headache you can get from eating ice cream too fast.
The screaming crystallization of your frontal lobe.
The searing reminder that slow and steady really does win the race.

Imagine that instead of shoving spoon after spoon of yummy mint chocolate chip into your mouth, your bowl is, instead, full of dry ice.
And you continue to eat it at that break neck speed.

That was the feeling in my head had on the way to school this morning.

It was -8 degrees with a wind chill of -29.

I think winter just might be here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Sun

There are still a few more days left before the rising and setting of the sun stops.
(It sets for the last time this Saturday the 18th.)

so, I decided to scamper outside during my planning period to snap one of the last sunsets of the year.

This shot was taken at 1:12 this afternoon.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Snow Day!

There is nothing that sucks more than getting injected in each arm, getting blood drawn and then venturing forth into the great outdoors to face the gale force winds and blowing wind that had canceled school today.

Yeah, school was canceled.
I woke up this morning, got dressed, and heard the wonderful news on the radio.
“School is canceled due to zero visibility.”

Just as I happily began stripping down to my skivvies to climb back into bed for a few more hours of rest and relaxation, the phone rang.

“School is canceled today, but we need the teachers to come in anyway. Thanks!”
Damn phone tree.

I was given a choice.
Either work today or make it up on some Saturday in the not too distant future.

Sadly, I chose today to work.
Which was not as bad as one would think. It makes Mondays so much better when there are no students to get in the way.

So, yes, I worked.
I cleaned.
I planned.
I photocopied.
I hide under my desk and took a nap.

After hours of classroom dwelling the time came for my monthly shots.
To explain,
I am hoping to go to Vietnam this summer, therefore, each moth I have been pumping my body full of strange chemicals called “vaccinations”.
This month was rabies and tetanus.
Next month, Japanese encephalitis and more rabies.

The injections were complete with only a little wincing and some clawing.
Then I heard words that made me very nervous.
Very nervous indeed.

“Now, we just need to draw a little blood.”

I am not afraid on needles nor am I afraid of blood.
But something about watching blood spurt out of my arm makes me a bit queezy.

I made it through. I survived it all.
I was bandaged up and even given a sticker.

There was a spring in my step as I geared up for my walk home. The thought of not needing another shot for 4 more weeks made me happy to the point of euphoria.

That’s when the wind hit me in the face with the force of a mac truck.
A mac truck going just fast enough to make you fall on your tushy it you lose traction.
Not the speeding kind that will kill you without making a dent.

Yay snow days!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Change is in the air

The weather here is quickly changing.
Everywhere I look I see signs of winter. Signs things are moving towards that chilly season that Alaska is known for.

Last week I took this picture of the beach. Those large rock-like things are actually big chunks of ice.

Now this week I took a walk out on the beach and found that the scene was a hell of a lot different.
There was a quarter mile of ice extending from the beach out to sea.

You could just barely see a thin strip of water far out in the distance. Water splashing up onto the ice.

A friend of mine and I played chick on the frozen ocean. Dared to venture farther and farther out over possibly thin ice. We got about 30 feet out before common sense took over and we decided not to continue the game.

But, for the record, I won.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Teeth

On the 18th of this month the sun goes away.
In 8 days there will be nothing but deep dark and the occasional dusky light.

It will all be like a vampire’s paradise.

I like Vampires. They make me happy.

But, I don’t know that my love of the teeth-y creatures-of-the-night will compensate for the lack of sun.
Plus, there is the cold. And vampires really don’t like the cold.
They’re cold-blooded
Or no blooded.

Anyway, I already walk to school in the dark.
And home from school in the dark.
And just about everywhere else.

Really, the only time I see what might pass for the sun is in the middle of the afternoon out my classroom window. Which is a bitter sweet sight.
The pretty pink, purple, and blue bands of sunrise at noon while I am stuck indoors unable to frolic in the UV rays.

Luckily it’s currently 8 degrees outside, so I am not too tempted to call in sick for work and run to the beach for some sun worshiping fun.

I just press my face against the window. Hoping for some accidental beams.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Yippee ki yi yeah!

Oh joy of joys! The week from Hades has just been completed.
I know that this seems like a strange thing to exclaim on a Monday, but truly, this is a great day for the world!

The perilous piles of paperwork, will, in a few short hours, be turned in and celebrations will ensue!

A weekend full of form after form after poker after form has ended and the busy work that has kept me up at night will be gone from my desk!

Maybe I am too excited about it.
I can’t stop from giggling every time I think about how free and stress-less my evenings are about to become.

In fact, I am so very pumped about it all that I can’t sit still long enough to get those final forms filled in.
This could be bad.

I think the light at the end of the tunnel has me blinded.
And you can’t do paperwork if you’re blind.

Unless it’s brail.
But even then, the handwriting would probably be all wonky.

This could make for a disastrous evening.
Bad me.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Games of Chance

Anyone who knows me knows that I have, arguably, the worst luck in town.
I lose at everything.
Games of chance are not my cup of tea.
Then there is my ability to bluff.
I cannot bluff. You can read me like a book,
with large print,
and in brail.

Hell, an audio book.

Put it this way, I have no luck and no bluffing ability.

Poker, though I love to play it, takes every penny that I put to the game.
Usually I am the first one out. Occasionally, when I have a run of good luck, I might be the second one out.

But last weekend, somehow unbeknownst to me, I managed to win.
Four games in a row.

I was up two hundred dollars.

Then I proceeded to lose. I lost a handful of games, but still walked out with a little over a hundred in my back pocket.

Go me!

Until now, I refused to talk about this run of luck, scared that it would kill me karmatically.

But last night, I played again. This time I played against a handful of Mexicans. All speaking Spanish at the table.*
Though my grasp of Spanish is nowhere near proficient, I knew enough of the language to understand that they were talking about some, well, interesting things.

Back to the game.
I lost a game. No big deal. I stayed in for a good while, but in the end I managed to bet on the wrong hand.

That game was all the fund-age that I could afford to play away. Unfortunately, one of the Spanish speakers wanted me to keep me and paid my way.

Game two started out sane enough. I lost here, won there.
Eventually it was just myself and one other player. The two of us, playing for all the marbles.
Him, in hard concentration.
Me, in a fit of giggles.

I was down in the chips and went all in, three hands in a row.

My winning streak gave me a few charmed cards and I won, all of them.
Suddenly, I have the lead.

Senior Poker was a little frustrated. He put himself all in. And though I was ahead, it wasn’t by much. This was the hand that would make a winner.
And a loser.

As I was about to deal the cards he leaned over,
And grabber my arm forcefully and started feeling around.

He was checking my bloody arm for cards!

He thought I was cheating,
He thought I had the capability and bluffing faculty to cheat, to use slight of had, to win this game through devious and unscrupulous means.

“What the hell?” I asked.

“Just checking, I thought I saw a heart in your sleeve.”

I stripped off my sweatshirt to reveal a tiny tank top to prove the lack of things in my sleeve. There was, by the way, nothing in my sleeves.

He just shrugged, looked at me with a skeptical glare, and motioned for me to deal.

So I did,

I dealt myself three sixes to win the game.

He tossed his cards to the floor and stormed out of the room.

Two weekends in a row I ended up walking out with money in my pocket.

And I think the Mexican mafia might have a hit out on me.

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