Thursday, May 31, 2007

Five Minutes

I'm just a little tiny bit anal about going to the movies. I like to be there at least 15-20 minutes early and even earlier if it's a really popular movie. I like to sit about 1/3 of the way back, preferably with one of the railings in front of me so I can put my feet up. I like to sit close to the aisle, but not actually on the aisle, in case I need to go to the bathroom. I would NEVER come in after the previews. I would never say "The movie has already started but that's OK. Let's just go on in anyway." Never. That's horrifying.

We went to see "Spiderman 3" on Sunday. And incidentally? If you haven't seen this movie yet, you should see it. Ignore the bad reviews. It's very good. This perspective may owe something to the fact that we have been so immersed in "Smallville" lately that we are totally open to the whole comic-book genre. The idea that good vs. evil and good will always triumph; that if you truly love someone, you will do anything to protect them; and, finally, that there are many different extremely unlikely scientific processes which, when an individual is exposed to them, will cause various improbable but fascinating mutations. You will have to completely suspend your disbelief that a scientific organization would actually be conducting a physics experiement in an open pit that a person could literally fall into and that their equipment would not be able to tell that a man and not a bird has gotten trapped in there. Forget all that. Just enjoy the powerful message about the importance love and friendship plays in our lives.

So, the movie was on at 3:30. I wanted to leave at 3:00 to get there at 3:10 and parked and in our seats by 3:15 at the latest. Yes, I calculate all this out. Yes, I am obsessive. But Tom has known this for 30 years now. So, when he was not upstairs and in the shower at 2:55, I was getting perturbed. I told him he should ALREADY be in the shower, we have to LEAVE soon!!!

And he casually said "Don't worry, I can be ready in FIVE MINUTES."

Five minutes. Right. Nobody can get ready in five minutes. Nobody. It is humanly impossible to take a shower and get dressed in five minutes. So I said "That will be 3:01. There is no way you can be ready by 3:01. You are going to make me LATE FOR THE MOVIE. So, I sat down and waited. I tapped my foot. I checked my watch. I fumed.

And he came out, clean and dressed with his watch on and his keys jingling in his pocket.

It was 3:01.

We made it in plenty of time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I May Need An Intervention

You know how when you bid on stuff on Ebay, sometimes you get a little carried away and you think, oh, well, it's OK because I won't win everything I bid on so you just bid on everything you like even though it's just way too many things because you get just a smidge carried away and then you win everything you bid on?

No? Damn. It's just me? That is EXACTLY how I ended up with two sets of brass lamps a couple of years ago when I actually needed one set.

Anyway, I was perusing Ebay for shoes. I don't buy a lot of shoes on Ebay because I normally like to try shoes on but I have found a couple of cute pairs that worked for me. I was looking for yellow slides because, as you know if you read my blog regularly, that is the only color I really need. I couldn't find any. But I found a really cute pair of kind of gold Ann Klein slides with kind of little beads and colors on them...well, look.

Now wouldn't you buy those? Well, I did. I won the auction. They are in the mail as I write.

But in the meantime, I had also found these

really cute blue kind of suede slides with a little strap

around the toe...well, look.

You know you would have bid on them too.

Well...I won the auction on them too. And in the meantime, I have bid on two other pairs. I haven't heard yet, but I will probably win them too the way things are going. But they are really cute. And totally unlike anything I have. Honestly. One is brown with a pink bow...oh, well, look. Now could you pass these up?

Now, that should probably be enough shoes. Enough for someone in their right mind, that is.

Because I saw an ad in the paper for Payless shoes over the weekend and they had these really cute thong type sandals on sale. And, honestly, I do need some of those. HONESTLY. For the pool. And to go with my casual capris. I don't have any CASUAL shoes at all. Really casual. So I went to Payless. And I bought a pair. OK. OK, I bought two pairs. All right!! Shut up. I bought five pairs. Six. I meant to say six. But you know you would have bought these too.

And that's absolutely all the shoes I have bought lately.

Well, except for that one pair.

But they were really cheap at the

flea market. And they were so cute.

And I have NOTHING like them.

See? They are spaaaarkly. I had to have them.

So. In the past two weeks, I have bought 11 pairs of shoes. That's not so bad, right? They were on sale and the thong type sandals were really cheap at Payless and the flea market shoes were a steal. So, that's OK. Right?

Only I just realized something. Something very upsetting. Something very important. Crucial, in fact.

I still need a yellow pair.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cars Will Fly

And we will all have jet packs and everyone will wear those shiny silver jumpsuit things that are skintight. What, everyone in the future is skinny? Apparently.

In the meantime I just found out that that Netflix has movies you can actually watch on the computer. I know, I know, this has been in the realm of possibilities for quite a while, I just didn't realize that my Netflix membership included this ability. If you go to the Netflix site and click on "Watch Now" you can TOTALLY watch movies. On your computer. Dude. No waiting. No adding them to your Queue (and I SO had to look up how to spell that) or, as my son-in-law called it, to our endless delight, your Kwee.

In reality, most of the movies are kinda old and kinda...lame. But I'm hoping that they will eventually offer all their movies this way. Maybe it's a copyright issue at this point.

I know this will work for us because last night? When we realized that we did not have the last episode of "Lost" on our DVR because (Tom erased it by accident) the DVR made a mistake, after crying and moaning in agony that we might possibly miss a TV show and life as we know it would come to a screeching halt, Tom found it on the network website, hooked up our laptop to the TV and we WATCHED THE SHOW ON OUR COMPUTER HOOKED TO THE TV. We are such technology wizards.

OK, Tom is a wizard and I'm a wizard-in-training.

But I did tell him after several minutes of fiddling with the audio that maybe the sound just needed to be turned up and, after sighing loudly, he turned up the sound and it worked.

So I'm getting out my jet pack. Or maybe I'll just get in my flying car. 'Cause, apparently? The future is now.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ducks In A Row

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home. - Johann von Goethe

We have ducks in our backyard. You might think from that sentence that we live in a rural area but you would be wrong - we live in the suburbs. The ducks are not swimming happily about in a pond surrounded by cattails with a hidden nest for their little ducklings - oh, no. They have made their peaceful home in the swimming pool next door.

They have actually been coming back to the swimming pool for several years now. When the weather turns warm and sunny, one morning we begin hearing some quacking and realize the ducks have returned. They don't spend the entire day at the pool, so they must have another place they go, but they are there most mornings. Often, they waddle out on the diving board and sun themselves. It's an interesting sight. Ducks on a Diving Board. Sounds like the name of a sandwich at some nouveau restaurant. I have never seen baby ducks so either they don't have any or their nest is located someplace else. Someplace safer.

They seem oblivious to the fact that this is a cement pond and that, when they first return, it is normally covered with a plastic cover. They contentedly swim around in the pools and puddles that have formed on the cover. When the owners remove the cover, the ducks happily plunk in the clear pool water.

The previous owners didn't seem to mind the ducks. They never ran them off or, as far as we could tell, did anything to discourage them from visiting. We are not very friendly neighbors (although we are not unfriendly, just rather aloof) so we never knew how they felt about the ducks.

Some new people have recently bought the house with the pool. The ducks are out there now. I hope the new people don't mind them.

The ducks are part of the neighborhood. They are different and a little special. We kind them.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Clown College

I was perfectly groomed yesterday. But you knew that, didn't you? However, I did have some issues.

I had on my great looking, cocoa brown capri pants. Only, I forgot that I bought them last year when I was having sort of a fat summer. So, they are too big. They were hanging on my hips and I had to keep jerking them up.

I had on a matching shrimp and cocoa brown silky top. Only, I wore it the other day and it must have stretched a little because the v-neck was showing a good portion of my boobs. So, I kept straightening it so it would cover them.

I had on really cute cocoa brown slides and shrimp colored hoop earrings. I looked pretty good.

Then, after I spent the day broiling with no air conditioning yesterday, I decided to treat myself to a massage. This was wonderful. Only my feet were sort of slippery from the lotion, even after I wiped them off. So, they were slip sliding around in my sandals. And I kept lurching to the side as my feet slid sideways.

So, picture it. With one hand, I am jerking up my pants so they don't fall down. With the other, I am adjusting my top so my boobs don't pop out. Then, as I try to walk, I am lurching to the side occasionally as my feet slide around my shoes.

This is quite a lovely, sophisticated image, isn't it? I think maybe I need to go to clown college.

And then join the circus.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Own Little Greenhouse Effect

It's a good thing I had a great day yesterday. Because today? Not so great.

You know those women you see at the gym who are working out so hard their shirts are drenched with sweat? You can even see sweat pattering on the treadmill as they are running? Their hair is slicked back and they wipe their faces with a towel constantly?

Yeah, that's not me.

Only, today, it is.

The air conditioning is out in my library. Not only is the air conditioning out, the system apparently thinks we are in the middle of a marrow-freezing blizzard because the heat seems to be on. When I got here this morning at 7:00 a.m, it was cool and pleasant outside. It was 86 degrees in the library. I opened the doors and windows and set up a little fan and the temperature dropped drastically. To 85.

And I just had a hot flash. Since your body temperature probably climbs to 120 degrees with a hot flash, that means my temperature is actually over 200 degrees. I may spontaneously combust at any second.

Y'all, my underwear is wet with sweat. This is not a good thing.

I have a vision today. Coincidentally, it's the same vision I had when we were standing out in the heat at our school field day. It's me lying on my bed on the cool sheets. In my underwear. With the overhead fan blowing on me. This vision is getting me through the day.

And just so you know, Tom. This is not an erotic image. Don't even think about coming in that bedroom unless you have an ice cold rag to lay on my forehead.

If I sit right here in front of the rotating fan and don't move, it's bearable. If I just sit right here...but I have a kindergarten class coming in. And I have to put out the books for the book exchange. And I really need to do some shelving.

Just a minute more in front of the fan. Just one more minute...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summertime and The Livin' Is Easy

It feels like summer today. It's a beautiful, warm day and we have a day off school for election day. But that's not it. I think it's because I just spent the whole morning cleaning my house.

My house stays pretty clean, actually. With no pets and no small children, aside from the little tornado called Wes, who visits once in a while, the house stays pretty clean. But it's in the summer, when I am off school, that it is the cleanest. I woke up at 7:45 the morning inspired to vacuum and dust today. These are two jobs that I put off because with a fairly large house, they are pretty monumental jobs. But they had been put off long enough. Something had to be done. So I just spent four hours cleaning every reachable surface. I'd like to do the bathrooms too but my strength and dedication have evaporated. So I'll save those for Saturday.

My house is immaculate and smells like orange furniture polish. This is a lot how it smells and looks in the summer. So, with the lovely weather and the day off school, my subconscious is telling me it's summer. Almost.

A few more days of school, then I work a few extra days to take a complete inventory of the library media center, and then it really will be summer.

Wes will enjoy the pool this summer. He thought it was fun last year but he was just a little baby then. Now he's a big boy who will be two in the fall and he will run and play and splash. I'm looking forward to that. And I'll go to the farmer's market and get fresh tomatoes and slice them for dinner with corn on the cob and steaks on the grill. And I'll sleep late and read all the books I can possibly read. And the days will be warm and long and lazy.

But, until then. Today feels like summer. I think I'll make a grilled cheese sandwich, prop up my book behind my plate and just take as long as I want to eat lunch.

Because summer is a good time to do that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mom Etiquette or As I Like to Call It, Metiquette

I have completely forgotten my metiquette. I used to know metiquette. When I had my children with me and met other moms, I knew how to behave. No more. Once I entered grandmother (Mimi) territory, I completely forget any manners I used to have.

I took Wes to the park the other day. We were playing and having a great time running around and rolling the ball (bah! bah! God, what a genius he is.) to each other when another mom came over and sat down beside us in the grass. Her little boy ran over to Wes and they commenced a gabbling conversation that sounded like two Martians had finally, FINALLY managed to find each other on planet Earth and now they could proceed with the invasion. She smiled and said "How old is your little boy?" Now, I have to pause here to preen a little at her actually thinking Wes was my child. The fact that my sunglasses were covering the wrinkles around my eyes and my cellulite, spider veins and flabby thighs and stomach were obscured because I was sitting down, is completely irrelevant.

I answered "Oh, he's my grandson and he's 18 months old this month." "He's darling", she replied.

And here's where my metiquette fell completely apart. In hindsight, I should have asked about her child, told her he was just a DARLING child and chatted a little. But, in my defense, I am a Mimi now, not a Mom. All my friends are grandmothers. When we talk about our grandchildren and show each other pictures, we admire how fabulous they are and it's perfectly acceptable to say "I know! He is so gorgeous!". Because, after all, we didn't really make him. We can totally take credit for how fabulous he is because we didn't make him. His PARENTS made him. So it's OK to agree about his fabulousness. We completely understand each other. And, we know, even though we don't say it, that OUR grandchild is the most perfect, the most beautiful, the most angelic child on the face of the earth. Not their grandchild. And we all understand this. Each of our grandchildren is the most perfect one. Of course.

So, when she complimented my PERFECT grandson, I said "I know". I DID. I'm cringing now. But, at the time, it seemed perfectly logical. He is perfect, after all. For someone else to comment on it seemed perfectly natural. She was a kind, pleasant woman. She didn't stare at me incredulously. She didn't reach out and slap me for not complimenting her child. Maybe her child has a similar Mimi. She just smiled.

And took her child away to find a mom who knew her metiquette.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I Am SO Cool (Not)

There is only one thing wrong with working with elementary age kids for almost twenty years. Well, yeah, OK. There might be more than one. But one is all I can think of right now at my advanced age. At some point (probably about six months in) you lose your coolness quotient. The kids are talking about games, toys, actors, singers, bands - you have never even heard of. You become completely uncool. And you used to be cool. Really. In college you were cool. Really. Seriously.

I met with my technology club students last week and we were working on creating a silly, funny script for their last day of the news broadcast. We always have a funny newscast on the last day of school, just for fun. And I suggested that they say some actor was going to be a new teacher at our school next year. The girls squealed with excitement and suggested Nat Wolf.

In hindsight, I should have just said enthusiastically "Yeah! He would be perfect!". But I can't think that fast on my feet anymore. So, instead, I said "Who?"

Luckily the kids like me. I give them pizza and doughnuts and let them play on the computers. What's not to like? So they didn't roll their eyes. But it was close. They explained who he was. In a band. Acting in a movie. They talked slowly. They spoke loudly. Clearly, I was an ancient hag who had no grasp at all of current events.

I used to be cool. Really. Really I was.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Love That Muffin Top

I have a muffin top. OK, I'm lying. It's actually more like a cake top. You know how when you make a cake, sometimes it puffs up over the pan and you have this edge that kinda sticks out and you don't really know what to do with it when you frost the cake 'cause it would make the cake uneven, so you just eat it? Yes, you do. I know you do. Don't lie to me. I know I'm on a diet and supposed to be working on losing the cake top and thanks for reminding me of that, you are such a good friend.

Anyway, I have one. And if I wear pants that zip up snugly, like jeans, it sort of...protrudes over the waistband. Even with elastic jeans. There is some protrusion. But here's what is really painful. If you wear an under wire bra and sit in a chair that is sorta just the right angle, you can create a cake top that is not only protruding, but is actually smushed between the waistband of your jeans and the under wire of your bra. The two ungiving surfaces try unsuccessfully to meet in the middle but are deterred by the roll of above mentioned flesh.This is not pleasant. This is roughly akin to the pain you feel when you ram your toe into the coffee table as you are walking across the room, thinking yes, there is plenty of room between my toe and that coffee table. But there is not. And pain results. It's like that - only continuous.

If you are at work, there is nothing you can do. You just readjust and readjust and try to recline a little more or sit forward a little more which helps a little until you get in just that right position where smushing ensues and...ow. So, really the only thing to do is stand up because the cake top sucks back in somewhat when you are standing so you find work you can do standing up like shelving books but when you run out of books, at some point, you have to sit back down. But you endure.

And then when you get home and sit in your chair with a good book, you again have smushed cake top.

This is why, if someone were to pop into my home unexpectedly, they would observe me wrenching my bra off through the bottom of my top (yes, I have many unknown talents), undoing the zipper of my jeans and sighing in relief.

Or if I have a burst of energy, changing my jeans to a pair of elastic waist pants.

Is there anything more wonderful, more fabulous, more extraordinary than taking off a pair of jeans and slipping on a pair of loose pants with an elastic waist?

I didn't think so.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Striking A Spark

"No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. She will not want new fashions nor regret the loss of expensive diversions or variety of company if she can be amused with an author on her bookshelf." — Lady Montagu, providing advice on raising her granddaughter, 1752

I had a book fair set up last week in the library. I have several book fairs a year, even though they are a great deal of work and hassle. The kids love them. And I always think, maybe, if I can get one kid to find one book that will ignite that spark, I will have succeeded. The spark I've been trying to ignite with all of them. The spark that will ignite a love of reading.

Some of them come to me with the spark. They have been read to by their parents, they have parents and other family members who read, they can recite Mother Goose rhymes and smile before the end of the fairy tale because they already know the end. They converse about Harry Potter and Lemony Snickett as if they were personal friends. They are happy when I hand them a new book I have found.

Some of them find the spark with me. They begin to read more and more, they come back to the library to ask for another book like the one I gave them, they look up in confusion when I turn off the light and it is time to line up because library class is over. They were lost in their book.

Some will never find the spark. Those are the ones who make me sad. They are the reason I have book fairs, keep reading aloud, keep recommending books, keep buying new books like graphic novels, keep trying and trying and trying. But some will never get it.

So I set up the book fairs. I unpack the boxes and make the displays and take the money and help them find books and then pack it all up again. It's a lot of work. But I'm looking for that spark.

And, sometimes I find it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Now, That's A Salad

It was teacher appreciation week last week. We got little treats and surprises and lots and lots of food. It's pretty fabulous. You already know how we feel about food in the teacher's lounge. We LOVE it. So, one day some of the parents brought lunch for us. There was fresh fruit, sandwiches, chips, lots of lovely desserts and salads. I filled a plate with salad and fresh fruit. What? I DID. The fact that I had a separate plate for my desserts is entirely irrelevant.

One of the salads looked really good, with cut up fresh apples and nuts blended together with a white, creamy substance that looked luscious. I took my first bite and - yum - that is really good! The apples, the nuts...and what is that delicious, chewy, substance? I took a few more bites and then I realized. That is a candy bar. A cut-up candy bar. Chunks of candy bar in my salad. Could anything be better? A salad with a candy bar in it. I'm still marveling over it.

I'm telling you. A candy bar. That's MY kind of salad.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ice, Ice, Baby

I can now have a Diet Pepsi over ice at home and at school. Life is good.
Contrary to what you might think, however, this is not due to the incredible competence of the refrigerator repairman who visited my house, looked in the fridge and presented me with a bill for $59. Between the time the ice maker stopped spitting out cubes and the time the repairman arrived, the ice maker decided to heal itself. By the time he arrived, it was working merrily and had filled the ice holder to the brim.
I did not cancel the visit since, as you well know, as soon as you do that the appliance will immediately quit working and you will have to reschedule the visit. And be without ice. Not a happy place to be. The repairman deduced that we would need a $250 part and suggested, quite confidently that since we had purchased the refrigerator in 1999, it was almost 20 years old and we should just buy a new one.
Not taking the time to do the calculations in my head and, quite frankly, excited at the idea of finally getting a refrigerator with ice and water in the door, I immediately agreed with him and told him I would talk to my husband about it. When Tom got home, I pounced on him, exclaiming that since our refrigerator was 20 years old and we could get a new one for roughly $1000, it was JUST PLAIN SILLY to spend that money to get it fixed and, just think!, we can get one with ice and water in the door!!
Since Tom is, compared to me, a rocket science mathematical genius, (well, honestly, anyone is) he immediately replied that a refrigerator purchased in 1999 is not exactly 20 years old, in point of fact, it is not even 10 years old.
Well, damn. He's right. So, what's with the appliance repairman? Did he really think from 1999 - 2007 is 20 years? Did he think I wouldn't notice? I will never know, since we are not about to buy a new one and we have a friend who is going to fix the old one for us. I do feel a little silly. But not in front of my husband. He doesn't mind. He knows I am a mathematical moron. A zero. Or is that zero to infinity? Or something about Pi?
Who knows. Just get me a good book to read. That I can handle.

Monday, May 14, 2007

If They Could See Me Now

OK, so I have on my new set of light turquoise lace matching underwear (but you knew my underwear was matching today, didn't you?) because I have on a capri set that has some light turquoise trim and, even though nobody but me will know it (and Tom if he gets lucky), my underwear coordinates SO nicely with my outfit.

But I just went in the bathroom and was primping my hair in the mirror and I realized - I have on white capri pants. And I thought, I wonder if my light turquoise lace panties are showing through my white pants? So I turned around and bent over really far so I could see my bottom in the mirror and determine if my panties were showing through. (although what I could do about it at that point, I don't know.) It wasn't easy to get over far enough to see my bottom in a mirror that is actually over the sink, but, by standing on my toes and craning my neck, I managed. Then I had to reach back and stretch the material to make sure they weren't showing through. OK, I'm golden. You can't see them.

Then I straightened up, staggered and bonked my forehead on the wall.

So. Now I have matching underwear. A really cute outfit. Panties that are NOT showing through my white pants. And a bruised forehead.


Friday, May 11, 2007

I Have a Little Shadow

My technology students have little shadows this week. And for the rest of the school year. When I first started working with the fifth graders three years ago to create, produce and show an electronic morning show through the school's direct feed system, it was an incredible amount of work. We figured out together how to work the video camera, how to use Power Point to create and show the morning songs and how to tie it all together into a production of which we could all be proud. It didn't take me long to realize that once those students left, I would be starting all over again with a new group. So, I created shadows. The fifth graders would work with fourth graders who had expressed an interest in being in the technology club, for the last few weeks of school, teaching them all the tricks of the trade. When they showed up the next year, they would have a basic understanding of how things work. Easier for me. Fun for them.

I really had no idea what to expect the first year we did this. I honestly thought maybe the older kids would be a little stingy with their knowledge. This was their baby, after all. They were the stars of the school. Kindergarten students pointed to them in the hall and were awed that, oh wow, that's the person who did the weather on TV this morning! They knew all about the equipment. Teachers asked them to videotape events in the classroom because, frankly, they didn't know how to do it. That's a lot for an elementary student to experience.

But raise your expectations and they will rise to meet them. I stood back and let them teach. And teach they did. They were thrilled to share their knowledge. Excited. Gentle, patient, kind. They showed the same thing over and over again. How to put in the tape. How to tape. How to pause. How to play. They did not lose their tempers. They reassured panicky fourth graders that it was OK to mess up. They praised and smiled and nodded. The fourth graders looked to them for guidance. And they glowed when they got it.

When the fourth graders came back that next year as fifth graders, they fell right into the rhythm. They knew what to do and they were good at it. I stepped to the background and let them work. One of our former fifth graders catches the bus for middle school at our elementary school and waits in the library on bad weather days. He was there when the shadows started working this week. He looked at the two students getting out the video camera and smiled wistfully at me. "I remember when we did that." He said. "It was great." "You mean putting on the show?" I asked. "No", he replied, surprised. "When we taught the fourth graders how to put on the show."

He had enjoyed putting on the show. But what he remembered was teaching the other students how to do it. I've been trying to figure out why. And I think I know. It's because he could share what he knew with them. And he could see them learn. And then watch them use what they had learned. And that's a powerful experience. For any teacher. Of any age. Even a fifth grader.

Let me show you how we choose the morning song.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bald and Beautiful, Baby

So, I'm going bald. OK, that may be a SLIGHT exaggeration, but it is a little annoying to have some of your hair fall out. It took me a while to figure out what was happening. I have been noticing, just in the last few months, that when I style my hair, I can see a tiny bit of pink scalp right in the front, through the hair. Huh. Never noticed that before. I just rearranged it absently so it is covered. Then, I noticed that there is hair in the drain after my shower. Huh. What about that. I don't usually have to clean the drain. Well, do, de, do, just cleaning the drain, not even thinking about WHERE that hair was coming from and that I'm the ONLY ONE who takes a shower in there and that hair must be coming from MY HEAD. Until this morning. When I noticed hair in the drain both BEFORE and AFTER my shower. I cleaned it out and there was more hair there AFTER my shower. Which apparently sloughed off my head during the shower. Hair. Coming out. After one shower.

Then I got a little nervous. So, I accessed the trusty Internet and, sure enough, this is another of those lovely side effects from menopause that they don't tell you when you are blithely, happily living your life as a skinny, lovely 20 year old. Not only do I get to experience bursts of irritability, a hot flash which encompasses my entire body in, like 30 seconds, causing me to burst out into a drenching sweat and wrench off as many clothes as possible (depending on where I am located at the time, this could result in almost total nudity), lie awake sleepless wondering why in the world I can't sleep, then fall asleep only to wake up drenched in sweat and having to pee and wanting a drink of cold water, only to have the cycle repeat itself - no, now I am going bald as well.

Just when we reach the point in our lives where we are comfortable financially, happily married, able to enjoy our families and friends, getting ready to retire to travel the world - I'm going to be this hot, sweaty, irritable, bald woman. What a great companion to travel the world with. Tom is very excited.

One the plus side, as soon as I mentioned this to some other women, they told me they were going bald also. One said her husband had mentioned he could now see her scalp. If Tom says he can see my scalp, I will drive straight to a divorce lawyer. And, apparently, you don't actually go totally bald, your hair just thins to a certain degree. Sweet.

I stopped at the mall on the way home and bought three new pairs of pajamas. When I got home, I put on the hot pink pair and informed Tom that we were ordering dinner. Since I had already informed him that I was going bald and I was NOT HAPPY about it, in fact I was pretty seriously annoyed about it, he said the pajamas looked great, I should even go buy more pairs and dinner delivery sounded fine, just fine, then he beat a hasty retreat. You BETTER head on out of here. Get out of my face. You man. You better believe my pajamas look good. And dinner is going to be delivered. I may be bald. But I look good. And I don't have to cook tonight.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Ideal Teacher

The ideal teacher guides his students but does not pull them along; he urges them to go forward and does not suppress them; he opens the way but does not take them to the place. --Confucious

I am not an ideal teacher. But I try. I'm having a book fair this week. I let my technology club students help me set it up. This is something they know they will get to do, since I do it every year and they always get to help. They love it. But their help is both a blessing and a curse. It's nice to have help with setting up, especially with moving the boxes and carrying stacks of heavy books. It's a curse because, in actuality,I could do it better, faster, and much more efficiently by myself. But I let them do it. I give them each a table to set up and display and they work happily, setting up sloppy displays which I could do much better myself. But they love it. And they are so proud of their displays. When their class comes to the library to visit the book fair, they point out what they have done to the other students. So I let them do it.

This is the same group that produces and broadcasts our morning show. If I was producing and broadcasting the show, I would present a polished product which had been created with several different pieces of software, had been edited and would include web pages, .wav files and a myriad of interesting reports. But this is not my show. The kid's show isn't exactly like that. But it is their show. They learn, by the end of the year, to present a fairly excellent show. They learn they have to be on time, or they will be replaced by someone in the other group. They learned how to be a supportive team member when one boy's mother was gravely ill. They learn that you can make a mistake and it's OK, and you can go on, just like real newscasters. They learn that it's always a good idea to have a backup plan. When the Internet is down and you can't get the weather, you can always use the newspaper. And they learn they can do it all without me. That I will stand back and watch and guide and help, but I will not do it for them. And they will learn that this is what real life is like. And maybe I have helped, just a little, to prepare them for that.

I'm not an ideal teacher. But, every day, I try. Every day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

That's Alright, That's OK

We just finished two weeks of testing at our school. The kids and teachers are all exhausted and on edge. We are ready for summer break, but we have four weeks to go. This week, we start working with my little "shadows", my fourth grade students who shadow the fifth graders to learn how to produce the morning show so they will know what to do next year. Instead of working with a group of 15 kids, I'll have 30. As soon as the morning show is over, I have to dash across the hall to the library media center because I also have a book fair starting this week. I have several appointments after school and this weekend is packed with Tom's birthday and Mother's Day celebrations. I'll be overwhelmed this week. It will be crazy. But that's alright, that's OK. Because we got to keep Wes this weekend.

And he chased bubbles. And laughed. And that will get me through the week.

Monday, May 7, 2007

All the Cool Kids Are Doin' It

I'm so excited! I've been tagged! Only the cool blog kids get tagged, right? Only the cool ones? So this means I'm cool. OK, I was tagged by my sister, Lucy's Mom, but I'm still cool. Shut UP. I will maintain my illusion of coolness to the end. I think all my friends and family bloggers have been tagged and I'm too intimidated to tag anyone but the sweet Nikky, who always leaves comments for me. So, 10 things about me? Let's see here. Let me try to be original because y'all already know a lot of stuff about me if you read my blog regularly. So here we go.

1. I weighed 100 pounds when I went to college. I weigh a little more now. I would like to lose a few pounds. But I think most actresses are painfully, unattractively thin. I would not want to look like that. Honestly.

2. I LOVE room service in hotels. Even when it's not that good, it's good. Because they bring it to your door and you can eat it in bed while watching TV and nobody will judge you. Fabulous.

3. I love musicals. And I know the words to a lot of the songs. I often sing along. You really don't want to be there.

4. I sometimes mispronounce words for which I know the meaning but have only read in a book. It's kind of embarrassing. Armageddon. Enough said.

5. I didn't get my ears pierced until I was 24. And my future husband had to hold my hand. I still have those little silver hoops.

6. Every time I have hot tea I think, why don't I have this more? It's so good. But then I don't.

7. I wish I had treasured my women friends more when I was in college instead of obsessing about dates. But I treasure my women friends now because of that, so maybe it was a good thing.

8. I HATE bananas. But I love banana bread.

9. I hate when a balloon pops. I really don't like balloons for this reason.

10. I used to hate slippers but I like them now. I guess your feet get cold when you turn 50.

Wait. Was that 10? Get. Out. I have so much more to say. Guess I'll make a note of those thoughts and use them for another blog post. Another day, another blog post. And so my exciting life shuffles on.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Vacation Brain

I read a blog post a while back that made me think about my vacation plans for Puerto Vallarta in October. (like I need a reminder) But I can so relate when she talked about "Marathon Brain". I TOTALLY have "Vacation Brain". I think about it all the time. When I am driving to school, it's like "At this time in so many weeks I will ordering an omelet at the buffet overlooking the ocean."

And sometimes? When I am reading aloud to my students? I will drift off into a daydream about the jacuzzi on my balcony at the resort and realize I have just read aloud 3-4 pages and have absolutely no memory of it. Hopefully, I was reading the story and not just muttering "Jacuzzi. Jacuzzi. Jacuzzi." I'll never know, since bless their little hearts, they would probably just think it's part of the story.

I'll be talking to someone and they will be talking about their lives and I'm thinking "Will you just hurry up and finish because I MUST tell you what I just found out about the shops on the boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta". Or I am having lunch with some people and someone might say something like "Next fall we can do thus-and-such with the students." And instead of processing this and thinking about a plan for changing my curriculum to correlate more, I am thinking "Next fall I will be in Puerto Vallarta."

It's a little distracting. I try to turn off my brain. To put it on the back burner since, after all, that is several months away. Actually, it's about 5 months. 24 weeks. I don't know how many days. I almost counted, but then I realized I had my planner in my hand counting the time for an event that is ALMOST half a year away. And realized maybe I need to calm down a little. I'm trying. But you know how you lie awake at night sometimes thinking about things, thinking, thinking, thinking and you think "I need to stop thinking. I need to go to sleep. This is silly. GO TO SLEEP." But it doesn't work? You just keep on thinking? It's like that. Only all the time.

So, I will try. Honestly. I will. I just formulated the plan and made our reservations, so I think the concept will fade a little before it swells and gets huge again in about September. But these words are seared into my brain. Seared. Into. My brain. As we count down to the end of the school year. As we go through testing. As we deal with students who would much rather be out in the sunshine than listening to us teach. Wouldn't they be seared into yours as well?

In a lush tropical paradise, Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is a luxury resort secluded in its own private beach cove. Luxurious accommodations include spacious ocean-view rooms and suites overlooking the hypnotic blue-green water and large private beach. Several suites and penthouses even have twin floors and private swimming pools. To unwind there are three pools, four gourmet restaurants and friendly lounges.

Three. Pools. Four. Gourmet. Restaurants. Wait. Did I say that out loud?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Step Away From The Television

"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall."
— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Our elementary students are participating in a reading contest. It involves paper race cars representing each class, posted on the walls in the hall, zooming around a race track to the finish line. Progress of the race cars is determined by how many books the students have read. Some of the 5Th graders were complaining to me this morning.

Them: Our race car is last!
Me: Well, have you been reading?
Them: We don't have time to read!
Me: Turn off the TV.
Them: Whaaaaaat?
Me: Turn off the TV. And the electronic games. And the computer.
Them: But....
Me: Turn them off. Just for 1/2 an hour. Try 1/2 hour of reading every night.
Them: Stunned into silence.

I left it at that. Didn't say anymore or lecture anymore. I felt pretty sanctimonious. I was super librarian. I was just so awe-inspiring. I even found this quote to include in my inspirational blog post.

"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."-- The Kaiser Family Foundation

And then I thought about it. Really thought about it. 22-28 hours per week. Tom and I watch roughly three hours of TV every night. More on the weekends. Say, four hours at least. That's 23 hours a week, at a minimum. Whoa. We are losing YEARS of our lives.

Now, in our defense, we do watch a lot of movies. And we DVR just about everything now so we hardly ever watch live TV with commercials. And we watch series on DVD. But...still...that's a lot of TV.

I do read a lot. Probably at least two books a week. But think how much more I could read if I turned off the TV a little more?

But then we would have to cut back on all the episodes of "Smallville" we are catching up on. Six years worth. Can't possibly quit now.

We would have to stop watching the of-course-we-watch-them-don't-you shows like "Grey's Anatomy", "Boston Legal", "House", "Bones", "Heroes", "Jericho", "Two and a Half Men", and "Christine". Can't. Stop.

We would have to give up on our new, interesting and are we the only ones watching this show?, Blood Ties. Noooooo.

We would have to flick off HBO and stop watching Rome and Entourage. We are addicted, I admit it. Would suffer serious withdrawal. Can't do it.

We would have to cut off our subscription to Netflix. I have a copy of "The World Trade Center" at home right now we need to watch. Just not gonna happen. Too many movies to see. But that doesn't really count as TV watching, right? It's ON the TV, but it's not really TV, right?

OK, I'm grasping at straws here. We do watch a lot of TV. But...we enjoy it. It's fun to watch together. We laugh, we cry (OK, I cry), we discuss, we banter, we make fun of each other, We do. We bond. It's a good time for us.

Maybe I could wait just 1/2 hour to start watching. Get a little more reading in.

Maybe I need a race track of my own. Just to have a little incentive, you know.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Smell Ya Later

"The best smell in the world is that man that you love." - Jennifer Aniston

Oh. Ok, that was weird.

I just went up to the office and there was a guy in there. A parent. I brushed past him to put a paper in the Principal's mailbox and...he smelled like my husband. I couldn't tell you what the aftershave was even if you offered me a substantial amount of money to buy shoes, but it's one that he uses regularly. Smelled just like him. My brain was like "Oh, Tom." And then, "Oh, not". It was a rapid and very strange mixed message my body received. It didn't know quite what to make of it.

Tom always smells good. He is a man who is meticulous about his personal grooming. When he gets home from work in his khakis, polo shirt and work boots, the first thing he does is take a shower. He would never dream of going out to eat in his dirty work clothes. Or even hanging around the house in them. I take that for granted until I see other guys in restaurants and stores who have not bothered to get cleaned up before they go out.

I don't smell him often. He's the one who is always smelling me. He buries his face in my neck and inhales me, sighing in ecstasy. I've learned when he comes up behind me to just cock my head to the side and allow him access to my neck. That's all he wants. It's the simple things, really.

I think when I go home tonight I need to smell my husband. Hear that, sweetie pie? I'm going to schunzzle my face in your neck and smell you. 'Cause you smell good.

And I appreciate that.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

No Salivary Glands

This is why I am a teacher. A librarian. To mold young, impressionable minds and encourage them to move on into the wide world with a firm foundation...oh, crap. That's not why. It's because I just learn more interesting stuff every day! We just had a guy from The Fish, Game and Other Interesting and Bizarre Creatures Commission (or some title like that) come to school to present a program for some of our students. And did you know? (I just know you didn't) Why raccoons wash their food? Hah! No! You are SO WRONG. It's not to clean it. It's because THEY HAVE NO SALIVARY GLANDS. They dip that food to get it wet so it will slide right down their little throats. Edited to add - apparently this is totally INCORRECT INFORMATION. I was contacted by someone who knew more than me about raccoons (and that could be just about anyone) and they do, indeed, have salivary glands. Someone needs to inform the Fish and Wildlife guy.

Now, I just find this so very interesting. I knew most of the other information he presented - in fact, don't you find yourself just REALLY wanting to raise your hand when you are with a group of kids and the presenter is asking a question and you know the answer? Oh. It's just me? Well, I find myself nodding smugly and in my mind, my head is bobbing and I'm thinking, Oh yeah, Oh yeah, I know the answer to that. I am SO SMART. Of course, this is in comparison to a bunch of second graders, but still. And my point is that I was doing the nodding, head bobbing, I'm so smart activity when he asked why raccoons dip their food in the water.

And I was totally wrong. But none of the kids knew either. And they didn't know that a skunk stamps his feet to let you know he is going to spray and I knew that. Nanny, nanny, boo boo. Of course, this is the very same class where I heard this comment as they were going out the door.

I used to have the blue Power Ranger. But now I just have his head.

This opens up a whole realm of possibilities. A whole gamut of questions. But I just let it go. They were heading out the door and I knew if I asked a question, it would involve a detailed story. So I let it go. But now I don't feel so smug and superior. If I didn't know that raccoons don't have salivary glands...what else have I been taking for granted all these years? It just boggles the mind.