Friday, August 28, 2009

Introducing Andy

I want you all to meet Andy. Due to privacy rights and such, I won't be posting his charming face here, too bad, too, because he would have captured your heart as well. Andy has been diagnosed with autism, however, he has to be one of the most social autistic boys I've ever taught, and I've taught quite a few autistic children. Andy has a power about him that sends out threads emanating from every pore in his body. These threads stream out and slowly tuck into you, immersing Andy's charisma deep into the hapless victim before they even suspect it. I know this...I'm a victim. He's smart, he's charming, he's bright, he's unaware of the effect he has on people. They are automatically drawn to him, and I just can't figure the how or why. He demonstrated break dancing for the class today. It was wonderful. It was astounding. It didn't look a think like break dancing, but Andy just held up his hand to someone saying that's not break dancing and said, Now wait, (holding out his hands) I never told you it was break dancing. It's my dance

Now that I am giving him time alone, just me, him, and my post, I think Andy is for us, what Yoga is for Madonna. He touches our inner peace and allows it to work again. Sometimes all he can deliver is a vacant stare, but when he is on the go, what he gives is priceless. I wish you could all meet Andy. He is a diamond in the rough.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What was old again is now new

Crayon smells drifting from a newly opened box, paste, not glue, smeared across pieces of construction paper, and the smell of old paper back books stacked once again on a rickety bookshelf bring back the welcome of returning to school. Stacked with that also comes the slam of lockers, screeching of new shoes, and voices dreading and loving being back in the halls of the hallowed. Even as a teacher, my nose has a hard time resisting the urge to bury itself within the box of newly opened crayons, or smear glue over the palm of my hand creating faux dead skin. Admit it, you all did that at least once in your life...if;re missing something wonderful.

Walking back into the school year was as rough, and not as rough, as I expected. Getting into the swing of thing, flooding my brain with new curriculum (ugh), a new reading series, and one hundred fifty students to learn from, and of course, educate. With it, though, came a flood of memories that find my healed heart hurting once more, and I find myself dealing with a grief I thought I had managed. I find myself grieving once again...and I'm okay with that.

So once again I share with you this story.

We were both new. The size and volume flowing through the halls of the school threatened to bulldoze the both of us, and although we were eager to meet and greet the swarm of people buzzing around us, the sheer number of over one hundred fifth graders threatened to topple the poorly assembled self confidence that allowed us to put one foot in front of the other.

It was my first teaching first one that had me teaching a full classroom for more than one week at a time. I was a student teacher. Christmas break was over, and the kids were definitely not ready to begin the second half of the school year. Standing in front of the class (did I mention that I was shy?) being introduced to the reluctant prisoners, I could smell the nervous sweat emerging from pores I didn't know existed. I had no idea fifth graders could be so intimidating. And right when the buzz saws starting going off in my head and I knew I"d be making imminent contact with the concrete floor, totally embarrassing myself, he walked in and saved me.

He was the new kid; just moved in from another school. His fist clutched tightly around a stack of pencils, a worn out binder, and a school bag slung across his shoulder were the weapons of choice. However, he clearly won the battle with a huge smile as he introduced himself, Travis...came from so and so just moved back to hometown...where do I sit?...and so on. Together we took on the school and awkwardly danced our way through the fifth grade year. But this really isn't about me at all, and then again, it is.

You see, teachers love their kids...we really do. Well, most of them anyway. When they walk through those doors of the hallowed insane, they become ours, and we love them and teach them and encourage them to reach for the stars and tackle the universe. But every once in awhile there comes a student that for some reason invokes more. And even though you only have them for a short while, the impact they make on your life lasts forever. For me, Travis was that student.

His fifth grade year wasn't all peaches and cream. Although he had that winning smile, it wasn't easy for Travis to make friends. As far as school went, Travis was an average kid that loved science and never did his homework. His bowl cut hair and ill fitting jeans kept him apart from most kids, but eventually he found a niche with a small group of boys, trading cards and telling stories. The stories that child would tell like the time his mom introduced him to this famous rock star, or the time he got to stay up all night playing some game, and how his parents let him do whatever he wants, and why he didn't do his homework because his step dad punished him last night and made him did holes in the backyard and then fill them back up again and he was doing that until 2:00 in the morning. Or the time he threw him out in the middle of a winter night wearing nothing but boxers because he was being too loud. I wanted to take him home. Keep him safe. Allow no harm to come to him again. He moved before the year came to an end.

He came back the next year, and then moved again. Two years later he returned once more. He was no longer the scruffy little guy in ill fitting jeans struggling to fit in. He fit in. Not with the best of crowds either, but he fit in. His eight grade year was a rough one, in and out of trouble, in and out of school. He found his first love, albeit a rather young first love, and finally, moved on to high school. Of course, it wasn't all caviar and champagne. Travis fell into a rough crowd, dropped out of school, and just kind of wandered. I never knew when I was going to pick up a paper and read about his incarceration or even worse, death. And even though I was no longer his teacher, I still wanted him to succeed. To get out of the rut he was in. To become, as corny and cliched as it sounds, the man he ought to be. I still loved that kid.

I saw Travis last spring, and you wouldn't believe the turn he had made. Yes, he was still the goofy kid I taught in fifth grade. They never do grow up you know. But he had reached his turning point. He was clean, drug-free, sober. He was employed, responsible, alive. He was in love, and with the same little girl he had met in eight grade, and she loved him in return. He had gone back and earned his G.E.D. His life was on the road to recovery and damn it all he was becoming the man he ought to be. I had never been so proud. We talked for a while, I think I told him how proud I was at least a half a million times before giving him the teacher student hug and walking away. I cried, not in front of him of course, did the Calvin and Hobbes happy dance, and went back to school and told everyone I could meet that my baby boy was becoming a man. You see, I wasn't the only one whose heart Travis had captured. The science teacher became his "mom" during sixth grade, and in the eight grade, the guidance counselor adopted him. We loved him. We were his alter ego moms. He made us proud.

Travis died in February. He was killed after loosing control of his car and crashing into a tree. I am going to miss that kid. The one I saw grow up into a man. And I will always remember him as the fifth grade boy who walked into my classroom and stole my heart.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Top Ten

As I have posted previously, this week marked the week of my return to the work field, and while the negatives of my return are surely numerous, the positives have been piling up, thankfully, so all is not for naught but a paycheck.

Of the positives that have I have been collecting:

Humans. Yes, they really do exist (faint)!

Voices, other than the ones sounding off in my head and from the lips of small children.

A different sense of purpose other than using a toothpick to scrape off things from under my nails that must NOT be named (or eaten, tasted, and smelled either).

Silence while the sun is still shining and my eyes are open.

Lunch that is MINE, all mine.

Dropping the kids off at daycare.

Looking forward to picking the kids up at daycare.

Missing them during the day.

Not having to cook, uh huh...yeah...uh huh. Wait...nevermind. I still have to cook. Damnuson.

and the top positive that comes with the return to work...


::dramatic pause::

Going to the bathroom by myself and not having six hands knocking, three mouths wailing, six feet stomping, three persons demanding to be let in.

PIP (potty in peace)...who'da thunk.

Now, while I have a moment to my PC, I'd like to extend my thanks to Ms. Viv and Ms. Fiona who have bestowed upon me ego boosting awards...I am humbled and honored. The awards are posted in my side bar with an active link to each of these wonderful blogger's blogs. Thanks, gals.

By the way, Ms. Savant, you never muck up anything when you drop by for a matter what the topic.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Don'tcha Want My Body...and You Think I'm Sexy: A Sookie Stackhouse Review

Double, Double, Toil, and Trouble, the witches have invaded Louisiana, and our rust flavored heroine finds herself bubblin deep in the cauldron's melting pot.

In Charlaine Harris's "Dead to the World," another New Year's Eve has come and gone, and Miss Popularity, Sookie Stackhouse finds herself spending it at Bon Temp's local watering hole, Merlotte's...working. Although the past few whirlwind months of Sookie's life was filled with hot dogs and cold meat, New Year's Eve finds our beloved blond still holding on to her summer tan for dear life, but desperately single. Contemplating the fate of a cold, lonely bed, Sookie's drive home finds her something even colder, a half naked, barefooted hunka hunka burning vamp by the name of none other, Eric Northman. The problem is, as Sookie is soon to realize, Shreveport's sexiest vampire hasn't got a clue as to who he is, where he's going, and to whom he is running.

Dorthy's tornado has nothing on the whirlwind adventure Eric's amnesia takes Sookie on: Witches, bitches, and a were in disguise! Sookie sets out to find the keeper of Eric's memory, dodge a bitch in heat, and find her missing brother.

Could life get any more complicated?

Will our eternally tanned, blond, ponytail wearing heroine make it through the wilderness without losing her life, or her heart?

This time it's Eric Northman...and he ain't just playin Dixie...

Eric Northman says, "Sookie"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Words of Wisdom

This is just a rambling of ramblings, nothing to write home about but something to sit to tea with.

First note of business! Take a moment to click on this link here and read the words of wisdom that came from the mouth of Lynn. I am so thankful I did. I had NO idea that my nether regions were much smarter than my upper regions! Brilliant, just BRILLIANT, I say.

Next point of meaning! I've been out of the loop lately. Quite out of the loop. I miss being able to calmly read my normally scheduled blog spots, add my two cents, or just laugh for laughings sake. Life here has been quite chaotic. Girls in band camp, my arm hurting like the hounds of hell have been chewing on it, havoc, you name it. To those of you I follow like Kirstie Alley stalking Jenny Craig, I have not abandoned thee, its just these new meds I'm on make me pee alot, and whine alot, and sleep alot, and make my housework grow alot, and it just drains my courage at attempting anything that remotely causes my brain to function alongside the ass that needs to function all at the same time. I'll figure it out someday.

Moving right along, Sandy at It's a Jungle Out There (Or something near like), has awarded me with a most honorably mentioned award. I have it displayed on my side bar (Or will once I'm done writing this here post). She thinks my commenting style is worth something mentioning...Personally, I feel that in most of the blogs I read, comments just have a way of finding themselves left behind. I read some of the most comment worthy blogs. I would hope that mine can only inspire the same. The award calls for me to nominate five amazing commenters as well...Well, truth is, even if you're stopping by to say hello on an average basis, in my eyes, that makes you pretty darn amazing. I honestly would have stopped writing long ago if I didn't have anyone stopping by to share their opinions on what I have to say. Silence is golden, but not here buddy. So I share this award with YOU. All of you. Yes, I know what you're thinking...I've got a case of lazy ass that won't let me link up your names to your websites so I'm taking the easy way out (busted!), but that's not true...not true at all. Sandy is a wonderful commenter who like Pam comments back when you comment on her's like having a wonderful conversation. Kathleen builds my ego up so large that a dull pencil could probably pop it after reading the comments she leaves behind for me (she's a comment back person like Sandy and Pam as well), Housewife Savant's comments are like reading mini posts when she stops by...if they fail to crack you up, then the post material was too maudlin and it's time to refocus. When Anita and Tammy stop by to leave their words of wisdom, I feel like I just got off of the phone with them and they imparted crucial information to some serious chic flick drama, Mimi is just a rollicking bellyful of laughs when she stops by...I swear her comments make my monitor tremble with her joyful noise, and Brandy is into vampires...well sexy vampires just like me! But when I'm asked to hand out awards I feel like I'm going to leave someone out accidental...someone that definitely deserves a mention like MsMoonlight, a comment backer like Pam and Sandy, too, but she's got really nice layout on her blog...very tasteful...very peaceful...just very. ah hem. Yes. She and Ms. Fiona are new to my commenting world. I feel like I'm at the oscars and the band is starting to play over my I'd also like to include Ms. Tink, Ms. Kaye and Ms. Viv. My commenting section would be quite lonely without you. In leaving this section, have I cheapened this award by offering it to more than five of you? No, I think not. It is more of an honor to me when you decide to take the time to leave a few words of encouragement, wisdom, humor, or just plain saying hey, howya doin. Thanks, guys. (see? even as I speak I am leaving out Sheila and Yaya, how can I even think of doing that?)

I am going to be making an effort to step away from my maudlin posts for a while. Things have been crazy here!

On parting. The school year is starting up...soon...very soon...knocking on my back door...August 6th. I ignored it for as long as I could, but knocking it did a come. Beginning August 6th, I am leaving my year long sabbatical and heading back into the work force. Not willingly, I will tell you now, but not kicking and screaming either (I will save that part for later). Not being a SAHM, and having oodles of test papers to grade, lesson plans to write, and books to read will surly knock into the time I've been able to spend here, writing and reading and commenting. So, Pam, please don't clean up your blog list and throw me out. I'm still here, I promise! (plus it would break my heart to pieces!). That goes to all of you...don't clean your blog list and throw me out. I'm still here. I'm still reading you guys. And I will still be writing as well.

Just not as much.

And my humor may take on a bitter sound.

And I may complain alot.

And I may talk about playing the lottery.

And I may cast poisonous eye darts to the majority of you.

And I will definitely be counting the days.