Thursday, December 30, 2010


Megan Hilty was the third girl to play Glinda in Wicked on Broadway. Almost her first professional gig debuting on Broadway in one of the biggest shows. She's left Wicked, doing other things to increase her skills. This is one show that examines how songs and shows are written.

Friday, December 24, 2010

for the holiday season

from pogo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

academic advice

If your teacher on a quiz or test has a question that says "explain in as much detail as possible." write until you run out of room.

If your teacher on a quiz or test has a question of "explain, you may use diagrams if you wish." you are being given a hint.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I teach an advanced class with hairy math.

From day one, I have told them to buy a calculator. The math classes have them, but I don't. We have tried to get them but my attitude is, "you buy the shoes I see you wear the clothes I see, you can get a calculator."

with hair trigonometry.

"I don't have a calculator."

"sucks, been telling you all year to get one."

"can you lend me yours?"

"nope I'm out of batteries and I need the calculators I have for the semester test. the calculators hook up with your the equipment you need for the lab test."

"can I use the calculator option on my cell phone?"

"nope, you can afford a cell phone, you can buy a calculator."

(sparky what do you think will happen college you want to go looking for a no math degree?"

one student could not get the trig functions on his borrowed calculator to work (didn't understand how that calculator worked)

I"m not helping a lot, you were supposed to get them to work right during practice assignments.

"can we go to the math department to borrow some?"

"nope they need them all for the ACT test tomorrow and are not letting them out of site"

One student accused me of enjoying their discomfort..."a little, you know I have a dark side to my soul."

buy a calculator they are 13 bucks

(okay I have some students who honestly do not have 13 bucks to spare I know who they are and would loan them a calculator, not the one with the 20 thousand dollar car her grandmother bought her)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

helleuva day

I generally do not refer students to the office. 1. I have reasonable management skills. 2. I have higher performing students.

Two students in my lower class were making noises. I put my plan into action. One has escalated up my scale that he has detention with me. Then another noise comes out. Okay you're going to the office. I can't teach if you are doing this. Of course he claims he is an innocent as a newborn lamb. Really, as bad as it sounds I don't care which of them did it, though I'm certain it was him. Noises keep happening one of you is being written up.

Other class, high performing, but social and large. Half of them are gone to college day. Lot of of empty seats. I move students around "hey move up front..." One student flat refused. Okay, I"m not going to argue. I"m not going to send you to office, you are not disrupting class.

Student sulks. finally I tell her "look you think I'm wrong you can complain to the office." Student does just that. I'm thinking what is student going to say? "Mrs. W. wanted me to move up front and didn't tell other students to."

crickets chirping

"she's picking on me. She always does that."

More crickets

"like when I was pregnant last year and she helped me do all the catch up work from the time I missed."

Seems also a student went into labor. I think we have no more pregnant students now. Wait until spring.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

TSA what's wrong

I and my husband are at the airport. Not that we are going through. We are seeing our youngest daughter off. She's going back to OCS training in Fort Benning after Thanksgiving holiday. Like many travelers she is taking everything carryon, including the new laptop we got for her. We like other people wishing their loved ones off stand at the "no go point". We wait and wait. She is out of our sight while going through the security.
One problem with our family, we have active imaginations. "what if there is aproblem?...what if there is some TSA flunky with Napoleon complex?" and if we see something wrong what would we do? After all if my husband has any inkling that there is somebody pawing at his "sweetie" those jumped up rent a cops don't stand a chance with him. This is a guy who decades ago cold cocked a nearly grown calf.

Eventually we see her moving on down the walk way.

Then next to use is some son seeing his elderly mother off. He's explaining the security procedures she has to go through.

This is not the way.

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA scanning

Smart alect me.

"i refuse the scanner and request a pat down." *pointing* "him yea him the tall hispanic looking gentleman, can he be my searcher?" *takes hand* "I promise, I'll respect you in the morning."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

must be something in the water

The town I live in has had a ex choir director from the school arrested for rape. Boys of course.
One of my school's substitutes was found to like the girls, he was removed by the third party that runs the substitutes now.

Considering that the school I work for has two former teachers in prison for sex crimes. One took pictures of little boys. The other would fondle the girls. My current class has victims from him.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book of the day

Defying Gravity the Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz by Carol d Giere

I wonder how people who I admire can create things. Books, movies, musicals. The short answer is there is something about these people that makes them able to do it. No, there is something about these people that they _must_ do it.

I am a Wicked fan. I have seen the show now 5 times' once on Broadway the other times a tour. Last time I got a backstage tour, the result of donating to Broadway Cares. Schwartz wrote that along with Godspell, Baker's Wife and Pippin among others.

He does in the book talk about his inspirations and the struggle of actually getting his project from an idea in his head to something that people can see.

Oh yea if you are a female who ever felt "I can't fit in" go see Wicked.

Best Years of our lives

I truly love this scene from this movie.

I love how the wife goes from mortified that her husband might embarrass them to the realization what a decent and honorable man he is.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We need posters

My brother was hired at my school to teach math. That is working out quite well. He, my husband and I went a football game. A student I knew was talking to us. When being told that my husband taught business at the local college her response was "So he's more eviller than you?"

The three of us nearly died of laughter. "okay we have _got_ to get pictures with titles, evil, eviller, more eviller."

Friday, November 5, 2010

do not push it

Yesterday I covered for a colleague who is currently in the fight of her life, for her life. Problem student decides to be cute. As I do not know many of the names, problem student decides to show me who's boss. Children will not cooperate by telling me names or such. No problem. Hit call box, call for Dean of Students who comes down and escorts problem kid and buddies to office. Class was quiet for an an entire hour.

The next day I was asked to do the same thing. A bottle of perfume had been spilled and with her immune system suppressed from the chemotherapy she had an allergic reaction. Problem kid sat up front and pretended to do his work. All the time giving me the evil eye.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

gender bullying

okay, a student gets filmed having sex with a member of the same sex and it gets posted on the internet. Said student then commits suicide.

People go into conniptions about bullying.

Change it.

A girl has sex with her boyfriend. Her roomie films such and posts it on the web.

said girl student commits suicide.

Would there be such an outcry? would there be snickering? Playboy offers? selling of said film on the internet?

Well, no. So is there a difference? Isn't that what we are supposed to be working for? No difference?

Look the loss of any human life, especially a young unsure one is tragic.

and this was not bullying

Not really.

Though it was a clueless person.

Friday, September 24, 2010


One of my students came to me.

"ms widget, I need to go to the office, I totalled my car yesterday. I need to get my medicine."

I am not a cruel woman. I will not deny a child in pain.

"okay" Glad she's still here in one piece.

after kiddo had left.

*blink* *blink*

This was the kid I had last year who always complained when she was behind me. Claimed I drove too slow. She never believed me when I said "no, the speed limit does not mean you can drive 5 miles faster."

glad she's sill in one piece, sorry she's hurt, concerned that she was frightened.

But still *snicker*

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

not for childen's ear

You are a high school student staying late because your school janitor uncle is your ride. There are some hefty teachers discussing upcoming homecoming week. Dress in camoflauge day, tropical hawaiian day, dress as your favorite super hero da

As you are bopping down the hall you hear the 200 pound plus bald math teacher opines "I'm going to be spandex man."

High school student immediately backs up.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never forget

My niece worked at the WTC. Grace of God, she was off that morning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

where's my drink?

*ooooh Jezus*



The Jacuzzi water is hot.

Teaching means being exposed to little germ factories of students. I have my first cold of the season. Technically its a cold but I don't have cold symptoms beyond a headache and fever. My allergy medicine covers up the other symptoms.

Its the 5th day of school. My legs aren't used to it yet. Fever, leg pain, fatigue. Hubby was kind enough to take care of dinner and dishes. I'm going back into the tub and soak some more. I know from experience that the fever will pass quickly. I just rest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

leading the insurrection

We had training today on how to make lesson plans from our new consultant's rep. For those that don't know, if a school is doing bad we have to hire people who tell us how to do our job.

First comment that started the protesting from ms purina cat chow lady. "our research shows that what we do help raise test scores."

Me ( loud enough to be heard) "Every other consultant we hired said the same thing."

I agree with what on of my colleagues said and explained our position, "look every few years we change what we are supposed to do before we get results, we get a new administration who comes in with a new plan and everything resets."

Then the lady after some instructions asks after explain wanky new idea asks in that stupid "i used to teach kindergarden voice" ..."now everybody can do that?"

Me "no," pause

Okay I"m not totally cold and explain, "look sometimes I give three lessons in one day, sometimes it takes me three weeks I'm just trying to teach them one thing. Example it takes me about 2 weeks to teach molestomoles, gramstomoles, moles to grams, atomstomoles, molestoatoms. Its not just a one day lesson."

I realize that as I use the "moles..." words I am completely terrifying this former english teacher. I'm enjoying this. Really. You want to come to tell me how to do my class you better understand what I'm teaching. The music teacher next to me is dying of laughter.

Then the lady later wants us to writing something using text. Me "wait you want us to write this as if we were texting? Like the letter U for "you"?"

"yes, just like you were texting somebody."

(who told her this would be cute?)

Me "never on god's green earth I've never texted in my life." (and the spirits of my english teachers would rise from what ever pit of Hell to shove pitchforks at her)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

can't wait for school to start

Yesterday we looked at our yard and of course it is a mess. Grass growning. The tomatoes and cantalopes going strong, too strong, they are choking each other.

So we needs must mow. I was tasked with mowing, hubby took up weed eating and youngest's job was general roustabout. She gave me water but I had trouble drinking it because of ice. After a bit of work (three loads of clippings to the compost pile) I decided that the ice water was cramping my stomach. We have a rather large yard with garden, beds and blackberry patch so it is not one clean swipe back and forth. I went inside to adjust my body temperature and get water. I realized as I sat that I felt the sweat trickling down my back. The next realization was that previously I wasn't sweating. Heat sickness! I drank two glasses of water and went back outside. Both daughter and hubby said I looked flushed more than normal and demanded that they finish the work. No argument.

I sat in the shade, removed my t shirt revealing my A-shirt drinking water. Yard looks much better now though the garden back area is a mess. I got the front yard mowed today. Small beginning blisters on my hands from maneuvering the mower around.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

who needs guns?

Because at a nearby eatery I was reading the local paper while waiting for a table. The restaurant is a steakhouse that does its own butchering, well worth the wait. The paper had an article about another nearby town (think a circle, lots of nearby towns...:) ohh, about 45 minutes from where I live. The town in the article I used to teach at.

So there it is one town, two shootings two weeks ago. In fact one of the shooters was a student I taught. He's in jail for that awaiting trial. My daughter's comment was "you must be so proud." Then this week, a group of 4-5 people try to break into a house with a couple in it. The police dispatcher tried for 1/2 hour to get ahold of the chief of police or any police for that matter. The culprits were prying the doors, drunk and threatening to kill the ocupents.

The intruders were arrested, and are waiting trial.

Friday, August 13, 2010


In a little over a week, my youngest ships out for boot camp.

She found out that her liberal arts degree is not very good in our current depressed economy, so after thought and talking to the recruiter, she is joining the US Army.

She got a max score on the ASVAB, scored very well on the language test and is going to OCS.

She hopes she get some language training. Officers do not get to pick their specialty, considering her scores and her drive, she should do well. She is out exercising, doing everything she can to get through boot camp and OCS as a high prospect.

When I tell people what she is doing, I get the "aren't you scare for her?"

*Well heck, I'm scared making a left turn on our main thouroughfare.*

The world is a dangerous place, the army moreso, but it is a matter of proportion.

my response, however, is always. "no, she's my daughter."

What I'm thinking
I raised her, I know her well and her ticks.
She was raised to be independent and a free thinker and with a strong work ethic.
She's not going to do anything stupid.
She's not going to pick up duds, asking "what's this?"
And if she does do something stupid, like charge the enemy, she has a plan.
She has expressed no desire for any medal beyond "3 years of excellent service".
If she does go to a combat zone, she is getting armor, which she will "wear to the bathroom."
If she goes into combat she's getting a heavy caliber pistol and knife.
Now all we worry about is the odds luck of IED or HumVee accidents.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

busy beaver

I got good news this week, my astronomy class was approved.

So now my schedule looks like I am teaching Physics. Chemistry, Algebraic connections (read math for those that can't do algebra) and Astronomy. I have the lessons for the first two. I am reworking all the lesson plans so they make more sense. Tossing out the assignments that do not work, clearing up typos and badly framed questions in tests. Although I did the math classes before, my lesson plans are not that good. I have some projects they can do, and surprise surprise surprise. I actually learned something I can use in class, a neat online poster generator (much like a blog).

Astronomy is pretty much laid out. I had to have much of the work planned for submission to the state.

Speaking of that now that my printer is working I need to make my class rules print up and there is a posterizer program.

In fact next week I'm planning on spending every day getting ready for next year. Organizing supplies, hoping my new ones come in, organizing desks, getting my roster together. Heck right now I don't even know the schedule.

I have taken classes and am now a mentor teacher. Which means some more pay and less free time.

Now my brother is insisting I get national certification.

buy a Kukri knife

After reading about a Gurkha who removed the head of a war lord in Afghanistan.
Now I absolutely agree with the comment that if it happened in a movie this is where the audience would cheer.
Now I'm not a British citizen, no letter I write would help. Also I am not one to second guess military tribunals, I hope they come to the right decision.

But what I can do is buy a knife. This supports the Gurkhas and may show solidarity to their cause.

The hard part was deciding which knife. I went for the classic but there is a double edged one, American Eagle, a Some Gave All series. I was seriously tempted to the the wooden one for training, but I may do that when my martial arts lessons are advanced enough for weapons.

Boy is hubby going to flip when he sees the package arrive.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


My brother is staying with us for at time and is helping garden.

A raised bed has been cleared then planted with bok Choy and snow peas. He leveled out some rocks that are holding back some erosion. I weeded my labyrinth along with laying out some more seeds in the trays. He's now tilling an area where I want to plant some radishes. I'm going to lay down some more peat moss in the strawberries. Mental note if we go to the hardware store either get there or the garden store we love a new sprayer and a rain gauge.

Hubby is sanding the bathroom door for repainting. He's spent two days doing this, I'm to the point of "just get another F** door."

Friday, July 9, 2010

home improvement

Like many homeowners we make improvements every year to the house.

This year we installed a jacuzzi. We thought it would take a week.

It's taken a month, and still not done. Remove old sheet rock, which was covered by previous remodeling by wood paneling. Wait for plumber to start, he's on another job
Get toilet and sink out of way, removed old bathtub to see what kind of pipes are in and what is needed and find part of floor and floor joist needs replacing...etc etc

Finally the walls are painted, jacuzzi works, toilet back in place..still need to put in medicine cabinet, get faucet in sink.

To youngest daughter who is staying with us... "here's 20 bucks, go watch a movie, your father and I have a bottle of wine, strawberries and we need to make sure the jacuzzi works. Unless you want serious psychological damage and be around for the floor show."

Friday, July 2, 2010

why I carry

Its nearby. We've made sure at night that the cars and were locked. We are involved in our usual summer home improvement project, this year a jacuzzi. When the electrician came we asked for more motion detector lights.

why do I do this?

Again this summer I teach an ACT prep class. The goal is to raise students' ACT scores. Last year was a blast, one student after the class raised her score 3 points. They tried. This year we have to hunt them down after a break. As I told the counselor, "we have no way to control them, the only thing we can do is kick them out."

One student said "what do you care, you still get paid." Yea, but if your scores don't go up, the program doesn't get renewed. Our worst offenders are some graduated seniors who are trying to get their grades up enough to get out of remedial college classes. I wish I could wake them up to the economics of it. You have to pay for a class that you get _no_ credit for when taking a remedial class.

One student has potential for a football scholarship. His ACT score sucks. He will not be eligible for college. As I said, "he works nights he has a child which he has assumed responsibiltiy for, he drifts off in class, but he's not gonna make it."

I threatened to quit, and i would if it were not for the fact the class is almost over.

Monday, June 14, 2010

consider it a form of weight loss

today in the south, according to my car over 100 degrees, and my daughter wanted to run and took me with her.

I ran, all of oooh 50 feet, then I walked.

This evening was karate practice and the dojo is not air conditioned, though it has a large fan and a large garage type door that opens in the back to a screened porch.

I do not turn on the air conditioner in the car when going and coming to practice. I think I can convince my body that extra poundage equals extra heat.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

new game

After much talking, since it is summer, husband and I have decided to storytell a Garou larp.

Both of us STing, that way we get a chance to play.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Now I oil him

He may be the perfect man. You can whap the hell out of him and he truly does have sculptured abs.
I noticed an ad for a used BOB (Body Opponent Bag by Century). I have been taking karate and discussed getting a heavy bag. Then I nixed the idea. But my husband went and got it anyway. My daughter and son in law were both startled by the shirtless man in the carport. He's in the yard now, I noticed he was dirty from the previous own and scrubbed him. My older female neighbor had a laugh. "okay he's clean now, lets oil him up."

Monday, May 31, 2010


Love the icon

My father was retired military and a leader in a veteran's organization. Memorial
Day, Flag Day, Veteran's Day, we were always at a ceremony or a cemetary.

I went to the local one's again. One veteran honored was my daughter's Army recruiter.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

queen Elizabeth's corgies are jealous

I love food. Currently in the fridge is a rack of baby back ribs with a gentle rub on them. Later they will be gently braised with a sweet sauce or mustard.

I dearly love Eggs Benedict (though I can't handle poached eggs, I just fry them). So I get up and make the Hollandaise sauce per Julia Child, fry three eggs for each of us, toast, canadian bacon. My husband doesn't like the sauce. No Problem, he just doesn't eat it. I make small amount but some is left, so I throw in the left over egg whites and cook it up. The contents of the pan are dribbled over my loyal corgie's dry kibbles. At least his coat will be shiny.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Now the greatest gift any adult can to a child is time. Time spent showing how to catch a baseball, knit a scarf, or help with a chore. The simple task of setting the table for young children can be awesome. An adult can do it faster than a child, and it can be done much faster if you did not have to give instructions.

Children understand this. Whenever I stay late to help, work with struggling student through lunch or attend a school sports game, the students understand that I am giving up my time.

So to is graduation. Teachers are not required to attend but I do anyway, even though I live 40 plus miles away from school. I showed up early and met with the seniors all lined up in their robes. Some I have to blink at to recognize, some shave, many girls have put on make up for the first time. All of mine are excited to see me. "mrs.'ve dress up"

"just for you Jonathon."

Hugs are all around. Many students are coming over to make sure they meet me and get a comment. Most of mine are going to college and have one type of scholarship or another. My best students have full scholarships. The ones giving speeches are rehearsing their lines. I am tons of support, "remember if you don't pass out or hurl, everything else is a bonus."

I will say this for our school.

When graduation say "6 o'clock" we do not kid. One member of the school board came running in covered in sweat, we would have started without him.

I glance back. They are in our school's tradition of students in a circle swaying back and forth. Some will go to parties, some will go home with families or out to an out of town decent restaurant. This is their moment. I'm done with them, I push the door open, got through, and walk to my car.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It must be mine

The cold weather, time and the wreckage taking down two trees have taken a toll on the yard.

Our over 50 roses have dwindle.

We are ripping out the bad roses that have no more to give and getting new ones.

I'm perusing through the web and finally find some green roses. Whoever I bought some from many years ago folded. These are much better. I bought some Judy Garland ones too, replacing the ones that died. Look I have an Oz patch, judy garland, yellow rose in the middle, minature "over the rainbow" in the East of the patch, "elphaba" green roses in the west. A neighbor who is gay loves this.

Then glancing at the poorly designed web site..."Julie Newmar"? Wow! I knew the grand lady was an avid gardener. I ordered one without even seeing it. She is where I get my expression "I don't have hobbies, I have obsessions."

So here she is, enshined in florabunda, Broadway actress, dancer, businesslady and gay icon, the only true Catwoman

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

why question Kagan?

She's not a judge. No problem for me. I think there are too many judges on the court anyway. Lets not only have not judges, lets try having a real person. Like my neighbor who's a contractor.

My question to her would be "are you a moral coward?"

When she was Dean at Harvard, she would not allow military recruiters on campus because of "don't ask don't tell policy" which she found as a moral outrage.

It is long agreed that an unjust law is no law at all. Citizens and civilians and military personnel must often draw the line on what their concious says. Though few governments or their agencies have ever thrown up their hands and and says "wow, You're right we're messed up." It requires sacrifice and courage. Our founding fathers opposed injustice, promising their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. Henry David Thoreau went to jail for refusing to pay a tax to support a war he found wrong. Those brave souls who fought for civil rights risked jail, beatings and death in the pursuit of Dr. Kings vision of a country where we are judged by our character. In a country once known as Burma, Aung San Suu Ky risks it every day under house arrest by the generals who rule her country.

When the Solomon act required that she do so, or loose federal money, she caved. She did not resign in protest for having to agree with something unjust. She did not say "go pound sand", and appeal to alumni or concerned citizens for extra money. She shrugged her shoulders and said "oh well".

I am sure she justified it with the "greater good" argument, but there are some things you are not supposed to compromise on. As I tell my students, "somewhere you draw a line, where that line is, that is up to you, but you draw a line of you shall not pass."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Right now the school systems is training the evaluators.
One day our principal, the principals from the middle and elementary school, the trainer and I think a few characters from Shrek came in (okay I didn't know who they were) came in and observed my class.

There were more observers than students.

They asked several students "what are you doing?" this is to check if the students understand what we trying to instruct.

After they left my students wondered what was going on wondered when they were getting their reward of cookies, and almost said "we're doing that *pointing to assignment and objective on board* "cant you read."

I relayed this story to the principal he said next time the students should say that. He can't stand the lady doing the training.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

she'll make a fine officer

My youngest is still waiting for her ship date for basic training then OCS. In the meantime my little intellectual is training for the military. Recruiters are now responsible for training and exercising the new troops under the future soldiers program.

She's finding out she likes exercising. Plus it helps relieve the stress she is under. She purchased a program, Yourself Fitness for the Playstation. You type in your weight, height, pulse rate and a quick evaluation of your strength and it sets you up. So she shames me into checking out out. We get me through it, two minutes of jumping jacks...yea right. How many pushups. Me "Three"..."mom you didn't do any.."


Then she set up the workout..."okay I"m done."

You didn't do it all.

I did all that other stuff, that counts as a workout.

Get back here woman.

Okay 15 minutes of cardio...106 calories burned according to the program.

"Lets have a doughnut."

quote of the day

One of my co workers liked what I told a whiney class.

"of course this is hard, this is an advanced class."

Friday, May 7, 2010

book of the day

30 Years of Adventure a celebration of Dungeons and Dragons.

Published in 2004, this is already out of date with the publication of D&D 4.0. The book has high graphics. I am old enough to remember playing Chainmail, and the little booklets that had no organization. Those are mentioned. The history with Gygax and Dave Arnson.

There are segments by famous people who play the game. The intro is by Vin Diesel. My students recognized many of the authors who were singers. Of course Whil Wheaton has a page.

There is a history of the game, the good the bad and the corporate.

Every gamer should read it. It is _not_ a rule book, just about the game.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

book of the day

There and Back Again by Sean Astin. Okay its interesting. It focuses most on Sean's acting in Lord of the Rings. The initial chapters on his upbringing in a family of actors, Patty Duke Astin, and John Astin. His starting off in acting such as Rudy, Encino Man.

There's nothing really standing out, but it was a nice read.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

politics for football

Like one education leader in our state, I really think that instead of having schools sponsor athletics, it should be the job of the community. Hey want your kids to play, fine practice is after school at the park. Your taxes pay for it. Everybody can play. Coaches do not have to deal with classes or teachers complaining that the star athlete is a discipline problem. Then they can deal with what they love, coaching. And I don't have to worry about students missing class because of games or practice.

Because our school is doing poorly academically, the state may get rid of practice during school time, errr..."athletics" Right now, football is a class at end of day that extends into practice. Sure we can have sports or such, just its not during school time. I personaly hope it happens. More class time, and heck the extra coaches just might have to teach something, or go out and dig ditches.

suck it up

Chemistry finished a lab which required lighting stuff with matches and sulfuric acid. So my lab room reeked of sulfur. My 9th graders came in complaining. No I can't spray air freshener, it won't do any good, just wait the fumes will vent out.

One problem student is ranting about it. Thought process. "you need to get used to it Arnold, brimstone too, for it is your future."

What I really said, "Arnold, act half as tough as you think you are and suck it up."

Sunday, April 18, 2010


There is a stack of work 1 1/2" some of it make up that I need to grade. I need to make my lesson plans for the upcoming work.
And I want to sleep or play computer games or garden or go to karate class or practice my sword or lightsaber, or practice karate.


At least my lesson plans are pretty much made I just need to update what I did last year and turn in a planning calendar.
That and I need to go back on my liftstyle changes this week, so I need to plan what I'm doing. I need to plan my exercises.

okay think about the figurative cup of tea at the end. You can order a bayonet for your ar15 or a tactical sling, or a karate gi, or a shinai...

*grumble* being sick last week put me behind.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

candid conversation with my students

"Ms W? do you think *insert teeny bopper boy idol of the week* is hot?"

"no" blandly

"I think he is."

"goody for you."

"why don't you think he's hot?"

"because I have different tastes in men since I'm older."

"what do you like in a man?"

absolutely no pause in answering "A Gold American Express card."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

wooo hooo!

How I spent my Easter weekend.

Most professional theaters use fight directors to stage fights. The directors themselves monitor themselves through the auspice of the Society of American Fight Directors. This is for the safety of all. Nobody can just jump up and say "hey we can do a fight." There are safety and style to consider.

Ruston Louisiana has hosted for several years a stage combat workshop. This is for actors (or wannabe actors) and instructors, directors or fight choreagraphers. I have been interested in this for a while, so I took a leap and went.

I think I was the oldest student, certainly the oldest "starter" Age though has its advantage, for instance I knew my left from right. My intellect helped to, any break and I wrote things down. Also I knew how to use my body more than some, others, oh boy, young people. Some of them are awesome. I also knew about swords and such.

Introduce yourself..."Hi I'm a director at *small theater*, I'm a theater major, I'm a professional actor out of *city theater*, ..." me "I teach science"

I do not hurt as much as I thought I would. I credit that with the care and stretches and warm ups the instructors did. Some of it was me because I was training for this and had started exercising.

So what did I learn? The simplest broadsword, single sword, unarmed, and rapier and dagger. (and if anybody wants to know what I want for christmas I want a stage combat rapier and dagger set). Also got to handle a whip.

The instructors were good. I enjoyed both as a student and as a person who teaches watching their different styles. Some were more free flow, others structured.

I tried to be a good student, pay attention, supportive of my fellow students, and ask good questions.

My biggest problem was overcoming what I think I knew.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This past weekend we (my husband and I) attended our first Appleseed shoot. Neither one of us shot rifleman. But we learned a lot. I'm better now. The history part was not much more than I already knew but I have a book to read now, _Paul_Revere's_Ride. I lost control (apologies) when the instructor said that the British regulars were in part looking for a canon the colonials had stolen. A brilliant way to steal one. I just blurted out "can you imagine being the British artilery officer? 'sir, I beg to report that we have misplaced a canon.'" I knew the revolutionaries stole rifles from the Brits, but a canon. Colonel Knox, later in the war seized several canons and moved them quickly.

My first shooting was bad, though I could hit something. Then better and better. Two attempts for AQT, the second was worse because I was tired, and loosing light.
We did not stay Sunday. The snow was our clue to leave. Yes snow on the first day of spring.

Friendly polite people. One young man got his Rifleman patch. One couple like us who had just started shooting and were like me in information overload. They had a good point, they got high quality rifles, my husband used an sks until he gets the one he wants.
We are going to the one next month!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"understanding versus doing"

The next time some clueless consultant keeps stressing that students need to understand not rote learn its rage time.

"okay, I know what a statue of liberty play is, the quarter back pretends to throw the ball and everybody on the team pretends that he throws the ball when really he is passing or running. I "understand" what all that is. But Thor's Hammer I couldn't do it if the souls of my children depended on it. I _might_ be able to if the coaches had me practice 6 hours a day for half a year. Doing is what it is about. Can you diagram a sentence, solve an equation, play a tune or bake a cake."

cheerleader meets science teacher

One of my brighter than she realizes students has a very borderline grade. I offered to give her the 0.04 percent she needs if she makes me a poster of a table in a book.

She gave it to me today. Multicolored with sparkley heading. Really. She glued glitter all over "Names of covalent prefixes". I was in sensory overload just looking at it.

Freya bless her.

Monday, March 15, 2010

do aliens have gimmer hats?

Great, just great, Robbie Rodrigez is making a Predators movie. For everybody's fascination, the Predators are not sportsmen. They have super scopes and special equipment.

And I can't but wonder if their people treat those that hunt humans as the left wing view hunters in our area.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

buy a gun day

I will either get my husband an AR10 from gunbroker or a garand from the CMP program.
For myself I'm not sure. I think instead of a gun I will get accessories. A scope for the AR15 I have, maybe some cases.
Possibly a shoulder holster for my revolvers.
Truth is, I have enough guns and do not shoot them nearly enough.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

my knifes

I actually have more than these, these are just the ones that I use the most. The assisted opening bayonet is held quite a bit, but it is mostly a "by the bed" knife...:)

Work knifes. My gerber multi tool. This was fun getting. The one I normally had "walked off" when I was teaching at an alternative school (ie problem kids). At Wal mart I asked the guy behind the counter to "show me all of them." My hands are smaller than most people and I have to hold things. Think he was a little put out, but is not as if I took forever. I easlily eliminated many and the "maybe" stack got smaller and smaller until the "yes' was left. Besides, if he is helping me, he's not having to stock shelves. Especially something that needs to be used. The multitool is mostly for work. I have to repair lab equipment. Minor things. Any multitool of mine has to have a scissors attatchment. When subbing for another class, problem kids wanted to "sharpen my pencil" and wouldn't you know it, the pencil sharpener was broken, they wanted to go next door and use that classroom's sharpener. "Gimmee"...student "what?" me "gimmee your pencil" a few strokes of the blade from the multitool and the pencil was sharp. Student "you can't have that! its a weapon." me "its a tool, I'm a teacher, and besides if you want to talk weapons, I have an entire chem lab at my disposal. Eventually everybody in the class wanted me to sharpen their pencil. The fact it could be done like this was new to them. They even showed their buddies after class, "Ms W used her knife and sharpened my pencil."

The garden knife is falling by the wayside. But it opens bags, trims branches, etc. I got it when I went back to bury my mother.

Folding tools. The gerber knife I got from Wally world again. Quick open, lightweight, serrated toward the handle for rough stuff. Tanto point. I like it.
The Mantis karambit I purchased on ebay. Its my back up for when I can't carry my gun, but I find it is razor sharp, and useful for many things. I may go to more mantis knifes in the future.

Last on is a boot knife I purchased from ebay. I use it to practice throwing. (hey some people play golf) its place is here on the computer table when not outside

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

average just like everybody else

I'm calling parents. 9th grade student is failing my class because if he didn't have bones he'd ooze across the chair. He's that lazy, he answers my questions with a shrug, doesn't do any work. One problems is they do not understand "you do not do work, I will fail you, no problem I will not loose any sleep. God will not strike me dead before grades are due. Nobody will come to your rescue

I start my conversation after introducing with my usual "what can I do to help your child?" this is a nice way of letting the parents know there is a problem and deflecting the issue away from them. After all trying to get a parent to help puts them on the defensive.

The father opines that he doesn't know what the problem is the student does okay. Glance at computer with grades and bite back.."sparky a D is not okay...C is barely okay."

On the other hand I have a student sweating, she almost has an A and a demanding father. I'm thrilled to find he takes time for her to study with her.

Then I called "dumb as a brick, God love him he tries and after time he really gets it." This student is one reason I come in. He's personable and asks good questions, it just takes him time to get it. I was able to tell his mother he got a B and his answers showed understanding.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

what they are shooting for

Last week as a national event go to college week. The promoter at our school did us proud. He had pins for teachers, a large banner for pledging to go to college, speakers the first day who were from the area who had made successes and a college day in which representatives from colleges and trade schools showed up and talked to the kids.

One day was wear your favorite college apparel. I wore a humorous tshirt about the mascot my master degree is from, borrowed from my husband who teaches there. Friday was "dress for college success". I wore my Master's robes. As I explained to the sponsor, who really loved my doing it, this is what they supposed to be shooting for the priviledge of wearing one of these. Every class I explained the meaning of the colors, the sleeves (master robes sleeves were designed to hold pens and such), the hood ("no really its not a cape or scarf, its a hood," flip up to show that it does cover my head). And that some places, very few, they are worn every day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A friend asked me "don't you have any good students?"

"well yea, but they don't make good stories."

Today I finished a letter of recommendation for one of my best students. I was proud to write it and I hope she gets the scholarships she's trying for.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

well at least I get some free time

One of our consultant groups is testing our Seniors. No we do not test them enough. They only are tested in 4th, 6th, 8th, Algebra, English, literacy, biology, geometry and Algebra 1. Heaven forfend we just say "hey, there are legitimate well established tests such as the Iowa that we can use every year and track how our students are doing. We only have to test them for one day and can do it all at once" No, like all the others, our state makes up the test we use. I am willing to bet that by the time the 8th graders reach 11th grade, we will have an entire new test for them.

Our consulting group has its own test. So 60 out of our 75 seniors have to go off site tomorrow. The office is calling off their names to go to the meeting so they know where to be...I swear its like the draft lottery, no student wants to spend all day testing. The name gets called and the student slinks out the door to the assembly. out of 11 students in the class, 1 is not called.

Monday, February 15, 2010

another one

Count of students
1 semi student (only taught a few days) in jail for capital murder.
1 former student in prison for manslaughter
1 former student on charges for robbing and killing an elderly couple. Since this was in a different town than mine I have had trouble following up.
A few former students in and out of jail for petty thefts, burglary and drugs.

Now another former student in jail for shooting into two homes. Seems he had issues with the residents.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

good thing they like me

My students asked if Rosa Parks sat in the front.

"no, she was sitting down and was told to move..."


"see she was sitting in the back of the bus where she belonged..."***70 percent of my class is black. "boy, did that comeout wrong, she was sitting in the back like the rules then said."

Monday, February 8, 2010

new music

the clueless b...ehem our educational consultant suggests that we play classical music for our students when doing seat work

this might work

Though a lot of my 9th grade girls really liked it when I played the Hairspray cast album. Had to explain the differences between the Broadway show and the movie.

"okay first off, understand, John Travolta sucks..."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book of the day

My children learned to read partly from Calvin and Hobbes. There was only so much time in the day for us to read, so they taught themselves.
They actually tried the alien robot in a cardboard box in search of cookies. First kid tried it, I gave a cookie. The other two looked at each other with a *ding* look. Later, seemingly two other robots showed up looking for cookies.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

One reason I do my job

Comment I made to a newer teacher.

"you and I have no idea what kind of hell our kids have at home."

At least once a month I am deeply disturbed or humbled by my students

Children who live with grandparents, or other relatives because the parents are druggies.
The tourette syndrome child, who cannot go to a movie
The child who _must_ be on the cheerleader team because she has a medical condition that if she is not active, she will go blind and possible candidate for Crohn's disease.
The child with juvenile arthritis.
The child who does not know what his next meal will be.
The child who has never had someone say in word or deed, "you are the most important thing in my life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

need pocket knife

The next time I'm out on an errand to Walmart I plan on checking out the gerber knives. The pocket knife I have is a little big. Plus I need one for the workshop next week.

4 lovely days, doing stupid, and I mean stupid stuff that will supposedly make me a better teacher. 2 of my comments have been "If they make me do a balloon sculpture" or "if they make me do a puppet show" ..."I will hurt somebody".

I'm told they make us make dolls representing the "student who fell through the cracks". No student of mine "fell". They may have jumped, many were certainly pushed, but none "fell". We spent a great deal of time and effort trying to save these kids. Often to the detriment of other students.

One of my coworkers who has to come with me asked when learning of the dolls "can we stick pins in them."

The pocket knife? I and considering gutting it open and taking the stuffing out of the doll, just to see what will happen.

Okay I won't do that I'll be a professional, ...but I'm not going to be quiet about it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

prepping for school

Today was first day of school. I was not there because I was getting a medical test done. As far as my health, and my doctor's schedule I go when they tell me. Nothing wrong, even blood count and blood pressure are in normal range.

So after napping off the anesthesia and general puttering around, I got myself ready for school tomorrow.

Lesson plans, check, done before I left for break. Even went in over break and left instructions for today's substitute.

Observation forms filled out. Not check will tomorrow, formal observation set for Friday. I schedule early in case things happened.

Fountain pens filled, check. Red, black and the blue. Blue supposedly does not show on copies will test it.

New posters printed, laminated and ready to put up, double check, I now have 2 student aids to help me with this.

Word wall. not yet either will give to aids to do or as assignment to students. (word wall is stupid, by the time I get it done and up I've moved on. But this is what I'm told to do.

Student work on walls Again not yet, again stupid.

Bag packed, check. Have professional bag with notepads, pens and calendar etc Have Versipack with first aid kit and emergency supplies.

Clothing. Check, ironed mostly and ready to go with some new outfits.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

first aid kit

Considering my long drive and just general preparedness, I finally got inspired to assemble my first aid kit based on Nutnfancy level 1.

putting it ina bag, much better than my attempts at in a tin. I upped it by putting it in my vacum food bag then pumped the air out.

In bag now, neosporin, band aid, large pads, antacid, azo, allergy pills, latex gloves, eye drops, q tips and tape gauze.

To be put in Antiseptic Towels, butterfly strips, tylenol, iodine, sudafed, alcohol swabs, triangular bandage, true bandage (like had in army).

Friday, January 1, 2010

jedi review training

Since I do not live in New York city, or the other cities where there are training for lightsaber choreography, I must read, use online tutorials, youtube. Caine Drathul offers a DVD. He is polite, responds quickly, gave a full folder of information. Being a martial arts teacher he plans the lessons out and explains well. He is planning a second DVD.

Now I just have to train. I have not watched the entire DVD but that is lack of time.

To watch and train I need everybody out of the house, so I can watch on the TV and swing the lightsaber in the living room...the dog doesn't know how to use the video camera...:)

jedi review

After learning of the New York Jedi, I got a saber to practice with from Saberforge. I cannot find anything wrong with the blade though I wish the customer service would be a little better. There were no instructions. I emailed for help and the email back was curt with little help. It took me a while and a trip to some web sites to figure out out that the battery pack came out so batteries could be put in. I am now trying to put a soundcard in it. Since I have never soldered before this is slow going with the cold and damp. If I can't fix it I suppose I will send it back and ask Saberforge to do it for a small fee. I did not think at the time I wanted sound when I got it.

how many angels dance on pinheads?

There is a theory that says people learn 3 different ways. Verbally, visually and kinesthetically (physical memory). One of our consultants really harps on it, "your worst students are kinesthetic learners." Now I've done some reading. There is no viable test for learning styles. The tests look more like something out of the self evaluation page in Cosmo magazine. In fact right now learning styles is being questioned as there is no criteria.

In 2 weeks I have to have a 4 day workshop with the consultants. I will loose my cool whenever anybody makes a faux scientific statement. "your worst students..yada yada."

Me "Learning style theory is not viable."

"there is tons of research."

"there's never been a double blind study, besides explain to me how to kinesthetically teach the Gettysburg address."

Now I know what this woman does, she was told this by someone else, who was told by someone else...Nobody in the chain ever looked at the data.

I warn my principal. "tact, I know what that is, holds stuff to my bulletin board."