Monday, September 29, 2008

An Abundance of Thanks

I have a lot to be grateful for today:
  • My pastor made it through quadruple bypass surgery, and is on the mend,
  • I was able to use my fabulous, frequent flyer miles for a WI trip in January, thank goodne$$,
  • I was given beautiful flowers and candy by a darling student, in thanks for "keeping my mom and I safe in the crosswalk each morning", and
  • I've been asked to give the Benediction at my Masters Commencement Ceremony at Regis University in December! Amen!
Woohoo! Now THAT is a great Monday!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just Keep Swimming

I think now would be a good time to tell a delightful story from my childhood. Why? Because I believe I have fully redeemed myself by keeping my 2 Betas alive and well. Four weeks and counting, thank you.

Once upon a time, there were 2 friends named Brenda and Kim. After a fun over-night sleepover, Kim's mom bids the girls adieu, tells Brenda to head on home, and leaves for her job. Brenda, not wanting to leave quite yet, goes downstairs to see Kim's magical, tropical fish. (Technically, they were her stepdad's fish, but I digress).

Brenda, always wanting to be the helpful little smurf, decided to 'assist' Kim by feeding the fish. Taking the entire fish food bucket - yes, bucket - into her hands, she proceeds to slowly pour the flakes into the large, perfectly-cleaned, temperature-appropriate, tropical aquarium. Now, the aquarium was the stepdad's pride and joy, and was filled with tens of pretty, shiny, expensive tropical fish. Fish that are fed by one person and one person only: the stepdad. Children, especially with names that rhyme with "enda", are not allowed near this aquarium.

Unfortunately, (wait for it), the bucket did not release the fish flakes one by one, as Brenda had hoped. Oh, no...they POURED into the aquarium like a child on a Slip-n Slide. A nice, steady stream of fish flakes. Many, many fish flakes.

Kim, having watched helper Brenda from the sidelines, proceeds to move directly to Panic Mode, screaming at her less-than-helpful friend. She runs upstairs to get a kitchen strainer, in the hopes of rescuing the many, and might I add once again, expensive, tropical fish, from their sure-fire death. Brenda, who has an innate ability to begin laughing upon impending doom, stands to the side, giggling. Not very helpful.

Having not found much success with the strainer, Kim calls her mother, who rushes home. Not very happy to have found Brenda still present, Kim's mother tries in vain to rescue the expensive tropical fish. Having realized her husband will be very angry, she turns her wrath on Brenda, yelling and screaming at the still-giggling blond. Fearing for her life, Brenda bolts upstairs, out the front door, and runs down the block. Kim's mother runs after Brenda, gets into her car, and chases the fugitive through the streets of the neighborhood.

Being a fast little delinquent, Brenda runs until she is out of breath, stopping only to see how close the KimMomMobile is. Knowing she cannot outrun the ever-nearing V8 engine, Brenda spies her escape in a large, evergreen tree. She dives under the large, pointy, scratchy branches of the tree, and army-crawls it to the trunk in the center. Kim's mom parks the car, and starts yelling at the now-unreachable girl. Even at a young age, it occurs to Brenda that Kim's mom must look like a total goon, yelling and screaming at a tree.

Long story, story long...Brenda was banned from Kim's home for 2 years, no evergreen trees were harmed in the telling of this story, and 13 tropical fish now rest in peace.

A Letter from my Pillow

Dear Brenda,

Thank you so much for trying out Ambien this past week. It's so nice to have you near me again, hour after hour. No more tossing and turning. No more abandoning me for the couch at 2 am. You are with me for a good 8 hours straight. It's great to have your company - I've missed you!

Your Pillow

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Great Entanglement

Ever have one of those days, where everything seems to be going completely wrong? Where people are mad at you for no reason? Where you have a ton of things to do, and seem to get nothing done? Where people try to run you over in the parking lot (ok, this one might be unique to me)? THAT was my last Thursday. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel and sit at my desk, pouting for the rest of the day, the following happens:

I'm teaching my second-to-last class of the day. My first graders, who always cheer me up, are rip-roaring, ready to go, dancing and a-singing with me in a circle. Everyone but one little guy, who is hopping around, but not really dancing. Now, having taught for 7 years, I happen to know this particular look - the one where the knees are close together, hands are usually in the pockets, and there is a look of panic in the face. Add a couple of little hops, and very little eye contact.

Now, I know from past experience that when you see this little dance, the best course of action is to excuse the kiddo, and FAST. Let them go the restroom immediately, because, by about now, they'd held it longer than they should, and REALLY have to go.

SO, I excuse the little guy to the restroom, and he proceeds to HOP to the door. Yes, HOP. Not dash like the rest of the kids do...HOP. Only then do I notice that he doesn't need to use the restroom at all. Rather, he is doing the new "I've Tied my Legs Together with my Shoelaces and can't seem to Pry the Knot Apart" Dance. It's all the rage. He has literally taken the shoelace from one shoe and tied it around his other leg, rendering him less-than-mobile. It took everything in me not to laugh out loud. Part of me wanted to watch him hop over to my desk, but decided against the all-class humiliation. My mood was certainly improving, however. I got the class going on a partner activity so they were occupied, and went and swooped up the little guy to bring him to my desk for some serious knot-untying.
Apparently, right after lunch (which mind you, is 3 hours prior to my class), my little friend was playing around with his shoelaces. By the time he made it to music class, his legs had been tied together for hours, and were rubbing a raw spot in his leg. Poor guy! After struggling with the knot for a while myself, I finally removed his shoe, un-threaded the lace, and freed my entangled friend. He gave me this big old sheepish grin for setting him free. Off he scrambled to catch up with his classmates, happy as a clam. Seriously, who could possibly be grumpy after that!?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Say again?!

"Ms. G. - my mom and dad asked me to ask YOU if you've ever Puffed the Magic Dragon."
---Second grade boy responding to the question "Did you tell your parents about the fairy-tale we learned about yesterday?"

"Can I just go call my mom and have her bring you some of her best homemade cookies? I mean, they are usually pretty good...sort of."
---Second grade boy who was in a heap-load of trouble with me after smacking both a classmate and a xylophone - his attempt to get in my good graces did NOT work, although his attempt was certainly amusing!

Projectile Snowmen

First graders are great. They still look at you in awe, curious about what you are going to do or say next. The music room is still a room of wonderment, and they are anxious and excited to learn. They are most receptive to the message of "be careful with the instruments" and "these are not toys" and "sharing is a good thing" - all things we covered last Thursday upon handing out the new instruments in our class.
We had no sooner begun our first song + instruments selection of the day, when the click-clack, talking Snowman head goes F-L-Y-I-N-G toward my face! The kiddo using that instrument got a little bit too excited, and really had his snowman head clicking to the rhythm. The snowman head flies across the circle, and lands right at my feet, just as the picture above shows. Note the eyes, staring right at me, ready to attack.

There was that great moment of complete silence - where the kids were in emotional limbo. They clearly didn't know what I'd do next, having just given them the 'be careful' speech. I put my hand to my mouth to disguise the fact that I was CRACKING UP - I mean, really, who knew I'd have to dodge a projectile snowman head! Eventually, I couldn't hold back my laughter, and the kids breathed a sigh of relief. I LOVE MY JOB!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Square Chair Goes Over There

Oh, the sweet, happy feel of NEW FURNITURE. Love it. I inherited two new pieces of furniture over the weekend. What a happy living room I now have. Out with the old leather couch (might I add it was mustard colored - blech) and in with the new, calm, comfy duds. I LOVE square chairs. I can curl up in every which direction, and be ALL that more comfortable while watching my Murder, She Wrote. The Zelem Moving Crew helped move - correction....helped HEAVE the new stuff up 3 flights on stairs. Bless them! After countless re-arrangements, I'm happy to have my new, cozy arrangement.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

That's It!

The Cheese Stands Alone

Drum roll...I finally figured out the true name of my blog. Nothing earth shattering here - just a sense of THAT'S IT! I enjoyed "When You Wish Upon a Star", but it always felt just-so to me. Kind of a 'you need a blog name, so pick one, darn it' decision. Not anymore - THIS is a good fit. Be it my fierce adoration of CHEESE, or the fact that sometimes my pals seem to go make plans with others, leaving this cheese to ultimately stand alone, I now have a blog name I can stand behind.

(oh, and palin has nothing on biden - a couple of funny quips won't a vice-presidency make)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So Proud

My little Adam WALKED into my classroom today! That may not seem like a big deal to most people, but for Adam, born with cerebral palsy, it was HUGE! He's a third grader now, and has always used this big, cumbersome walker. Only this year has he started to use his crutches. As he arrived for music today, his aide told me he had a surprise - I waited for Mr. Adam to enter my room, and did - without wheels! That little boy walked into my room! The world has done everything to work against him, and there he was - overcoming so much just to walk into my room! I was crying too hard to go grab the camera, but heaven knows I will snap a picture before the week is over! I'm crying again now, just thinking of the memory! His classmates were so proud of him, encouraging him as he joined our group, cheering him along! THIS is why I'm a teacher! THIS is why I work with children! THIS is why I love Adam! He has a power to unite children that extends far beyond his physical abilities. Unbelievable!

(Note: many fun photos removed from original post...)