The Container Club

February 6, 2012 at 11:54 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment

I belong to a number of highly exclusive food clubs, of course.  There’s the Prezel Eaters Club, the Clean Plate Club,  Kettle Corn Anonymous, and the latest one that I’ve decided to call The Container Club.

The Container Club is comprised of nurses, mothers, and me.  We, the fine members of this protective organization, have learned when a human is going to hurl, puke, vomit, etc.  We can sense the signs.  We feel it in our pinky toes.  We hear it in the wind.  We see it in the pale cheeks.  And we are dedicated to finding a receptacle to contain IT from the rest of you even if that means catching IT in our own sacrificial outstretched palms.  We are your first and only line of defense.  We deserve customized t-shirts.  Also, I would like a manicure.

My most recent Container Club moment happened at work.  It is the most wonderful time of the year in public schools!  It is standardized testing season!  Whee for bubble-filling and #2 pencils!  A shout out to “Please fill in the circle completely, and make your mark heavy and dark.”

Confession: as a kid, I LOVED standardized testing.  I thought the reading selections were interesting.  I was also the child  hovering outside the library attempting to use the power of MY MIND to get it to open early and the one who rejoiced when my second grade teacher sent me home with the third grade lesson book to borrow ALL SUMMER.  I am who I am.

So, being a compliant little teacher in good standing, I implored the iChildren in my classroom to take the testing so very seriously because otherwise bats will eat the sun and a puppy’s head may fall off somewhere, blah, blah, blah.  NOTE TO SCHOOL DISTRICT: I DID NOT REALLY TALK ABOUT BATS AND PUPPY HEADS FALLING OFF.  I READ THE DIRECTIONS WORD FOR WORD.  I AM A GOOD GIRL.  And the iChildren all nodded and blinked their little eyes earnestly because they aren’t really allowed to do anything else during testing.

And it was all going beautifully.  Bubbles were being filled in completely with marks that were heavy and dark.  I was monitoring the room and fully prepared to recite the testing creed, “I’m sorry, but I cannot help you.  Please do your best.”  It was then that I sensed IT.  I detected ITs approach.  I saw, in the pallor of one of my scholars, that IT wished to be known.

See, I know vomit and IT knows me.  IT is my life partner.  I complete IT.  For some reason, kids who are sick always choose to hurl in my teachery presence.  Someone displays dinner every year, including leap years, in my class.  Field trips are not complete without a trail of upcycled Skittles festooning the side of our bus.  Taste the rainbow, indeed.  My sister puked on me during our own middle school years (fish n’ chips and black cherry ice cream in a waffle cone).  My nieces think The Black Thing and I are excellent used food storage places, particularly if I am wearing something nice or if I have just had the car detailed.  Artemis the Cat saves her best hairballs for my shoes.  I’m getting used to it.  IT.

So, I grabbed the trash can.  I gracefully placed it with utmost compassion in front of the heaving and pasty child.  I teamed with gravity and the plastic trash bag (which does not dull temperature or texture, by the way) to adjust the, umm, flow of things when some…things…hung on the edge of the trash can.  And I maintained an appropriately concerned expression as he shared his breakfast with the trash can and Part 2 of the reading test.  And with all the other kids in the room who actually, to their absolute credit, took it like champs and kept filling in bubbles, making their marks heavy and dark.  Excellent and lovely children, they were and are.

The sufferer went to the nurse.  I sprayed a little Lysol, swapped out some #2 pencils that were getting dull and appropriately notified people about the possible test disruption because I am a good little soldier.  Also because it was fun to write “VOMIT EVENT” in the subject line of a work email.

I mean seriously, “VOMIT EVENT?”  Who gets to write that?  I thought about writing “VARSITY VOMIT” to be sporty but decided that plain and classy was the way to go in the serious testing environment.

Above all, let us be classy.

And let us not eat Froot Loops before taking standardized tests.  Just saying.





New Seafood Marketing Campaign?

June 24, 2011 at 8:55 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar, We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment

A friend who moved to the far, far, far away realm of Alabama reported the following: in his local fish market, Copper River red salmon was selling for $17.99 per pound.  Copper River sockeye salmon was $18.99 per pound.  Being the wily ex-Alaskan that he is, he went for the red salmon.  Why?  Well, because red and sockeye ARE THE SAME THING.

Hi! I am a sockeye salmon! I am also a red salmon! Please buy me and all my friends so that Stephanie's commercial fishing family can have your money.

I suppose you pay extra for extra letters on the packaging.  The letter ‘y’ isn’t free, you know.



Still Grading…

March 28, 2011 at 12:03 AM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Still grading research papers.  This is sort of like eating Grape-Nuts.  You bite and bite, but the bowl is still full.  It’s always full, despite your diligence.  Why won’t the Grape-Nuts go away?

I really haven’t done justified procrastination today which makes today way less fun than Friday.


Back to it.

Under a rock deep in a hole inside a cave.

March 25, 2011 at 9:54 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Another Day Another Dollar | 1 Comment

I’m grading research papers.  I’ve been grading research papers.  Tomorrow, I will still be grading research papers.


Since I have been grading research papers, I haven’t been with the rest of you up on the crust of the planet.  So, I didn’t know that Elizabeth Taylor died, and I didn’t know about that movie with the cartoon animal guy in the desert.  Actually, I still don’t.  I have no idea what I’m talking about with this movie, but an acquaintance mentioned it as a happening thing.  And I wasn’t a fan of Elizabeth Taylor, but she’s a big enough star to notice and respect as her life ends.

But I’ve been grading research papers.

I’m getting tired of grading.  So, I’m engaged in an evening of carefully justified procrastination.  I finished a library book instead of grading research papers because it needs to be returned…in two weeks.  But someone might want it before then, right?  I made a relatively elaborate dinner because I will need energy to grade the research papers.  And now I am blogging because I haven’t blogged in a long time, so I should post something because the world is, after all, waiting for what I have to say.

Oh, someone looked at my sketchbook today!  I better go check the details of that.  That’s my artwork out there, you know.  I need to keep an eye on it.  Right now.  I better post a picture here too:

One picture really isn’t enough.  I had better post another one:

It’s too late to start grading now.  I need to go to bed.  Maybe the papers will grade themselves while I am sleeping!  That would be great because then I would have time to figure out what that movie with the cartoon animal guy in the desert is all about.

Or if it even is a movie.

Or if I’ve missed any other events of pop culture relevancy.

Or I could just spend a weekend without grading papers.  That would be nice.  Of course, then I wouldn’t have these exercises in justification.

I like to keep my brain molecules sharp.  For grading research papers.

And I have survived another season of coaching.

October 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment

Yes, I have been gone for a long time.  I have been in the chaos called coaching middle-school cross-country running.  Imagine 120 gerbils under the influence of Red Bull or a similar abomination of caffeine.  Now, release the gerbils into the open road.  Try to get them to go in the same direction and keep them from getting smashed by SUVs.  Also, get them to keep track of a two-part uniform.

Now you know what the last six weeks has been like.

Bright spot this year: no angry moose came charging through the line of runners milling around at meets.

Really lousy part: the 32 degree meet when I forgot to bring a hat.  Fortunately, I had remembered the rest of my Arctic expedition gear, so I didn’t die of hypothermia.  Only in Alaska does one coach running in a down jacket, snow pants, boots, and mittens.  And a hat when you remember it.

Best part of it all: it’s over.  Please excuse me, I must go find all the pieces of my life now.

Back to School Night

September 4, 2010 at 10:10 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment

Sounds wholesome and harmless, doesn’t it?  Back to School Night.  How Norman Rockwell!  How apple pie and ice creamy!  This is the sort of thing that makes our country great, right?

Well, sure, if you’re not the teacher.

Back to School Night is like being jammed into a humid jar of forks.  It’s like a 94 hour day.  And there’s always That Parent.  The one who demands from the audience that you list the four modes of writing (descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository–so there), wants to know the due date of every major writing assignment you’ll be assigning throughout the year and the topic of each, or wants to get into a spitting match in front of all the other assembled parents.  That Parent will be my reason for chocolate throughout the year.


These are truffles left over from last year. We had truly awesome parents last year, so I didn't need to eat these.


That Parent 2010 got in my grill about an assignment he misunderstood.  And I’d had it, and my feet hurt.  So I provided the explanation he needed to unwind himself and then politely asked him in the future to inquire before blasting shots across my bow since I am not an ogre, nor did I go into teaching to inflict impossible tasks on 12-year-olds.  And that was that.  I was achingly professional, of course, because good teachers cope professionally.  And because many parents are reasonable and supportive people, so coping is worth it.

It is, however, very tempting to go all Wolverine, complete with snarly, twelve-inch adamantium claws.

All I need are some battery cables and body parts.

August 24, 2010 at 10:20 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment

School has started, as you lovely BlogPeople can probably tell from the fact that I have been missing in action for a few weeks.  I loathe school starting.  It’s not because I detest being back at work or that I don’t like my students.  It’s because our routine has not been set.

I adore routine.  I like the mundane of life to be on auto-pilot so that I can go butterfly-chasing big ideas and interesting designs.  The beginning of school is so much training, so much talking, so much having to remember to teach kids mundane things like where the pencil sharpener is and when the lunch bell rings.  Blah.

I want to get them writing about things that matter and discussing things they care about.  I want to work on problem-solving.  I want them to create and edit and publish and brag.  I want them to experience.  I want the nuts and bolts to screw into place so that we can hit the monster with lightning and all scream, “It’s aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!”  When do I get to start up the monster?

Tomorrow we have to learn emergency drills and read the student handbook.  Yes, it is as boring as that sentence just was to read.  No lightning and no monsters.  Just drool.

I should be grading papers, but I’m being warm instead.

October 31, 2009 at 9:15 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment

I know I should be grading, but I have graded and graded and graded and graded.  And it’s like eating Grape-nuts: you keep going, but the amount doesn’t diminish.  The bowl remains full, and the pile on my desk gets no shorter.  If only I could figure out how to apply this phenomenon to the gas tank in my car…

It’s our first really cold night.  I’m thankful for the twelve-pound cat who considers my lap her personal couch; I’m getting all cat-haired, but I’m toasty warm which is unusual for me since my usual body temperature pretty much qualifies me to be one of Stephenie Meyer’s vampires.

More warm feelings: I got a the annual progress report on my sponsored child and her community.  My life is so enriched by that sponsorship.  For one thing, I get little works of art several times per year:

Maria's Picture 2

The latest imported art.

More importantly, it’s one of the few ways that money leaves my bank account without leaving me weary.

Okay, okay, I’m getting back to the paper grading because I have one extra hour today, and that’s not an offer I get very often.

In an attempt to prevent Monday from coming, I’m still up.

October 25, 2009 at 10:46 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment

Here’s the logic I’m currently using.  My dad always told me on Christmas Eve that I had to go to bed so that Christmas could come.  It makes sense, then, that if I don’t go to bed, tomorrow won’t come!  Now, that would be great.  I could really use another day off.  Or night off.  Whatever.  I’ll take whatever form the time off chooses to have.

Yuck, Monday.  Monday is trash day, which means that I have to drag my carcass out of bed even earlier than usual so that I can plod down the driveway in the dark, lugging trashbags and hoping that no psycho moose are lying in wait for me.  Monday is the day that I set for the iChildren to turn their essays in which means that Monday will bring an entire mountain range of grading, and more grading, and more grading.  Yup, I’m having a hard time thinking positive thoughts about Monday.

Oh wait!  Here’s one!  Monday will bring a new day to work on the scarf I am crocheting.  Oh, it’s so pretty!  Purply varigated yarn and black eyelash yarn all swirling around together in inky coolness. 

scarves 018


So, I guess I have to go to bed so that Monday can come so that I can have scarf time after work. 

It’s a good thing there is crocheting to keep the calendar moving.


September 3, 2009 at 10:12 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar, Intentions | Leave a comment

To the parents and students of __________ Middle School: I’m sorry that you are being served by a school district that sees no problem in slamming 35 kids together in one classroom.  I’m sorry that, as a mere mortal teacher, I have no control over scheduling and, therefore, no way to fix it.  But I know it’s wrong, and I’m advocating for you and totally annoying the administrative building in the process because they know it’s wrong too.

To my students: I’m sorry that your schedules have changed a minimum of three times.  I know how important it is for you to adopt a routine and feel comfortable.  Believe me when I say that I am convinced that your school district has lost sight of what is important: you.  Your district is too busy creating administrative positions to care about your interests and your need for space to learn and grow and try stuff.  I have no control over what the district does, but please know that I’m making all sorts of protests on your behalf.  And I’m not giving up because what’s being done to you is not okay.  And this isn’t over.  And you do matter. 

I know that most of you won’t read this, but I had to put it out there so that I’m reminded of why I’m getting up every day and slamming my head into rows of cement trucks parked end to end.  Because that is really starting to hurt.

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