Just call me Cliff

This relates. I promise. Just hang with me. (Pun intended.)

If you’ve ever watched any PBS or “Between the Lions”, then you have certainly met Cliff Hanger. Here’s his blurb and a video.

“Cliff Hanger
The intrepid explorer Cliff Hanger stars in a continuing series of animated adventure stories. Luckily for our viewers, who may not always watch our shows in order, each episode begins (and ends) in the same place—with our resourceful but spectacularly unlucky hero hanging from a cliff. Through a combination of quick thinking, his trusty survival manual, a backpack filled with every necessity, and, yes, literacy skills, our hapless adventurer once again manages to get off the cliff. But after a series of unexpected twists (naturally involving our key words and sounds), our man Cliff always ends up back where he began—hanging from a cliff.”

Remember the “mountain top” experience that *I* had with R____o the other day? Well, let’s just say today I was hanging from the cliff again. But not with him–with some other kids. With 150 of ’em each day, there’s always another Yahoo waiting in the wings you know.

If you will run over to Antique Mommy’s place and leave a comment, she will sign you up for a drawing to win a “mountain top” experience.

Below is the comment *I* left just a little while ago. . .

“Okay. . .so if you’ve read my blog in the past couple of days you know that I have: lost a Mastercard (it’s not next to the seat in my car either), lost a Discover card, gone to the “female” dr. for an unpleasant event, figured out on my way there that I had no cash, no check, and no Mastercard OR Discover card with which to pay my bill or get out of the parking garage, forgot my cell phone at home, forgot my keys at home (difficult I know), and today I found out that the job I wanted no longer exists (though I am really grateful for the one I currently have), a substitute AND a room full of 8th graders laughed (serious “You-are-such-an-idiot” laughter) at me for trying to get them to behave (after that I left the true idiot sub in there to fend for himself, and his days are numbered as three of us on the same hallway ratted him out without even consulting each other), AND I walked boldy into the restroom at McDonald’s only to greeted by a urinal cake. . .and you don’t find THOSE in the WOMEN’S restroom.

So. I’m not so sure how the whole internet/web/tour thing works, but I need a whole lotta sumpin’ so sign me up, sister.”

As mentioned in my comment, the job in our nearby district did not work out. They are losing rather than gaining teachers. Alas, I AM among the employed, so I will soldier on with the job God’s given me and be glad for it.

And I’ll also look at the door in McDonald’s before I walk into the restroom next time.

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Like a Fine Whine

I just keep getting better y’all. Seriously.

Today I had to run to the dr. I am fine but needed to get there quick as the thing that I have can get out of control fast. During my lunch break I called for an appt. (got one for 2:30), found someone to cover my 8th period class (it’s from 2:30-3:15 and my dr. is 40 minutes away), got permission from our principal to leave early, ran by Tony’s room to tell him where I was going after school so he could get the kids, AND ate my sandwich.

At 1:40, I went into a computer lab to type up directions for the gal who was taking my 8th period class–then deleted them before the printer (which was supposed to be holding onto my information) died a horrible death. I realized about the same time that I did not have a cell phone, so I re-typed my lesson plans then went to get Tony’s phone. . .and then he didn’t have one. It was now 1:50, and I needed to leave IMMEDIATELY. I was on my way to the parking lot when I ALSO realized that I did not have my car keys.

So I went to get Tony’s.

I finally peel out of the parking lot at 1:58 and hurtled onto the freeway.

Where 20 minutes into my trip I realized that I had:
a) no cash
b) no check book
c) no Mastercard
d) no Discover

So. . .I opened the place where Tony ALWAYS keeps his wallet.

And it was where his cell phone and keys HAD been earlier–which was in his possession. At that point all I could do was laugh. It was too late to turn around and there was nowhere to go but to my appointment.

Luckily my nurse practitioner has known me for about 15 years–managed my two pregnancies–delivered my two babies–and passed the prescriptions or Kleenex to me more than one time. She laughed. Then diagnosed me. Then wrote “no charge” on my chart and gave me a free parking sticker.

Not bad at all.

A list of various and sundry things

1. Thank you for all of your very kind e-mails regarding R____o’s success. He was, indeed, NOT suspended today and left my 8th period class with his note to his mother. He was also good. At least for today. That is all to which any of us can aspire really.

2. I have misplaced not one but TWO–count ’em–TWO credit cards today. I had my Mastercard this morning when I stopped to get a $.99 Diet Coke at Sonic on my way to school. And the gal at the drive thru window even made sure I did not leave without it. Alas, it is nowhere to be found. So I used my Discover card to distraction this afternoon thereby receiving a call from the Discover Fraud Management system–we normally only use it for gas–yet when I went to get my Discover card to enter the last four digits of my account number *POOF* gone. I need to discover the whereabouts of my Discover. . .and it’s Mastercard companion.

3. I just called someone to leave a message because they forgot to put Victoria’s Powder Puff Derby car on their front porch for me this afternoon, and while I was waiting for their machine to give me the beep, I was multi-tasking so that I let it record about 10 seconds of silence before I remembered that I was, indeed, on the phone. That’s right–I forgot to talk. That is a TOTALLY new phenomenon ’round here.

4. My very own child made a perfect score on HER TAKS test as well. We celebrated by going to Chik Fil A, and Hobby Lobby, and buying gas, and losing my Discover card.

5. I got the cutest pink flamingo serving plate at Hobby Lobby for 1/2 price. I MUST show you. But not now, ’cause I’m one minute past time to go to bed. ‘Night.

Another Life Lesson for an “Experienced” Teacher

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I have a student. He is Hispanic. That is important not because of racial negativity–I have taught every nationality in the greater Houston area and can tell you good and bad about them all–but because many, many Hispanic males in urban areas show up to school each day with a set of issues and mores (read “morays”) that I as a caucasian female will never fully understand. Despite my lack of understanding, it is my job to teach them, to discipline them, to move them along the road to high school and beyond.

This particular student is one of a handful I have kicked out of my class this year. As in, “Get out.”

My exact words.

I don’t say it often. I like to handle issues in my room, because if a student is in the office rather than my room, that student isn’t learning. When their disruptive behavior becomes such that NO ONE is learning, I kick them out. He’s been out at least five times this year. I do not find this pleasant. It makes me cranky.

That being said, he is the ONLY person in my 8th period class–including the “smart girl”–who knew exactly what the word “propaganda” meant today. Lots of people were throwing out various and sundry things that were close, when, under his breath with his face turned to the wall he said, “political.” I had him repeat it, “It has to do with politics and governments, miss.” Then I explained how everyone else’s statements were also true, but HIS statement was the most exact.

This all happened after I had to haul him into the hallway because he didn’t bring paper to class. When I told him he had a phone call home for not bringing supplies and tried to GIVE him a piece of paper, he ignored me and let the paper fall to the floor. Then he refused to answer my question about whether or not he was refusing to follow directions. You see? This is not fun.

We had a little conference out there in the hallway. Most days he says, “I don’t care,” and we proceed from there. He also knew–from experience–that the next step was getting kicked out and, for some reason, he didn’t want that to happen today. I’m not sure why.
But it’s a good thing since he was the only one who knew what propaganda meant.

He is also the one who got REALLY angry about how people treated Charlie when we read “Flowers for Algernon.” He felt sorry for the orphaned boy in “A Mother in Manville.” He was the one to whom I referred when I talked about big, bad kids playing in the snow. He asked permission to call his mom on his cell phone. Kids aren’t supposed to use their cell phones during the day, but when it snows in Houston and you want to call your mom, I will let you.

So I made his “didn’t have supplies” phone call a little bit ago, at which time I ALSO got to tell him that he made commended on the state’s TAKS test. This is a big deal for anyone–but it is especially a big deal for him. It means he missed three or fewer questions on a 52 question 5 passage test that took about three hours. He asked me twice if I was serious. I had to talk to him because his mom doesn’t speak English. He’s a pain, but he doesn’t lie, so I knew he’d tell her about the fact that he didn’t bring his supplies to class today. And I also promised to have a note written in Spanish for his mom tomorrow, because she didn’t believe at first that he had made commended.

Then, I got to do what most teachers dream of. I got to say, “R____o? What have I been telling you ALL YEAR LONG?” And he replied, “That I am capable and need to do my best.” “Yes. That is what I have been telling you. And I was right.” “Yes ma’am.”

Yes ma’am, indeed. He is capable. In fact, he is SO capable, that after I got off the phone with him and dug a little deeper into his scores, I found out that not only did he get commended, but he made a PERFECT score. That’s right. He didn’t even miss one. So I called back, but he was outside helping his dad, and his brother had to deliver the good news rather than me. I hope he’s not suspended tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the look on his face.

I also hope it makes a difference that I have kicked him out of my class. I hope it makes a difference that I let him call his mom when it was snowing. I hope it makes a difference that I am proud of him now and may be mad at him tomorrow but will always care about what happens to him–even when I don’t really want to–even when it makes me tired–even when I want to quit–to give up on him. And I HAVE wanted to give up on him. More than once. There have even been days when I have done just that.

Yet somehow I keep on learning as much as I am trying to teach my students. You don’t give up. Ever. I sometimes forget that I am still in God’s classroom. But since God hasn’t given up on me, He just keeps the reminders coming.

Come and visit. We even have a bed.

I didn’t even get INTO my craft room until late this afternoon, but I am HIGHLY motivated to create a haven. I’m not done yet, but at least we can walk in and use it now!!! Please pardon the various and sundry shades of color in the photos. I wanted to NOT use the flash ’cause it washes everything out–but then I had to mess with the color and some of the photos just look funky. In real life, the colors are very warm and girly and WONDERFUL!!!!!

This is what I started with. . .
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And this is the same view right now. Except the lights are off ’cause I’m about to go to bed. This color is pretty true to what the paint actually looks like.
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The “table” is the construction door that was our front door until the REAL front door came. They pitched it into the trash pile, so I had Tony help me pull it out. It will be painted at some point–and raised a few inches.
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I really wanted this hutch to go against the wall beside the window, but we are LITERALLY 1/2″ away from it being able to fit there–the windowsill sticks out a smidge too much, so this will be it’s home. The curtains at the bottom are the ones that hung in Victoria’s room at the old house. Recycling is GOOD.
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The twin bed was Victoria’s too. I had fiddled with the idea of putting it into the craft room just to have an extra bed. My mother calls this area of the house her “suite.” 🙂 I finally decided it really WOULD be good to put the bed in there. It takes up some floor space, but I like the way it turned out. I even called Momma at 10:30 p.m. ’cause I was so excited that “her room” was ready.
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The pink pillows on the bed were made for me by my Granny back when I was in 8th or 9th grade. They had been in Victoria’s room, but I stole them back. She didn’t mind since she was glad her old bed was back up again. This lamp was also my Granny’s. It was in her livingroom, and my Aunt Norma recently gave it to me. It came shadeless, so I just grabbed one that would fit. I wanted to see how the light looked. I will get an appropriately shaped and colored shade ASAP.
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I am SERIOUSLY happy with my room. . .and I can go back to school on Monday knowing that I (finally) accomplished the goals I had set for myself for spring break. To that I say WAHOO for pink and yellow rooms and WAHOO for accomplished tasks.

How to Make Your Boy Happy

1. Rest most of Saturday and Sunday so you can actually face this mess. And believe you me, the pictures do not do it justice. It was horrific. . .but the closet is small, so you can’t actually see all of the horridness at once.

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2. You find this cute (and also cheap) idea and ponder it for a while before your spring break.

3. Then you use part of it to bring order (and recycled plastic storage bins) to chaos.

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4. You get a happy boy who is playing with toys he forgot he had. Which is a good way to keep him busy and out of the closet while you are cleaning and organizing.

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This photo montage didn’t even include what I did to the actual bedroom–which involved moving furniture and clearing out a toy box and. . .

*Next item on the agenda: Craft room. GREAT, HEAVENLY DAYS!!!! And also egads.

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