Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


My friend DC once wisely said (er, wrote in an insightful blog post) that being smart is sometimes like having a piece of plexiglass between yourself and everyone else around you who is having fun.

I definitely feel that way, way more than I would like to. I've met many others who glory in that invisible barrier protecting their ideals and intellect from an increasingly distant Them. And I've met others still who seem so desperate to do anything to break it down; who will go out of their way to even try to swallow it.

Dude...can't nobody swallow walls.

But you can put windows in them. Maybe step around them from time to time long enough to take a few deep breaths of the smooth Fun Air everyone's always going on about. At the very least, you can decorate your see-through wall with conversation-starting stickers.

I think everyone's got their own wall. Call it intelligence, call it beauty, even Great Personality. We all have a strength we hide behind. We blame. We cling to.

Human behavior, yo. It's a tricky bitch.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

to sir, with love

Thank you Glee, for reminding me this song exists and is more exciting than a smack in the face.

Also, for that Journey medley. No show can go wrong with a Journey medley. No day can go too wrong with a Journey medley.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

teacher tip: be Mary Poppins. or Marty Poppins, if you're a dude.

Purses and man-satchels are magic. We’re lucky we’re humans and get to use them! Can bears and chipmunks carry around cool stuff in decorative pouches? If you’re not couting giant paws or cheeks, heck no!

Take full advantage of whatever bag you tote and stock it with things that would make a singing British nanny sigh with wonder. With a gleam of cockeyed optimism in your eye and a bit of roominess in your bag, you may just become education’s answer to McGyver.

Helpful items to keep on hand/in yr fanny packs:

-A digital camera. Duh.

-Pens and/or pencils. Double duh.

-Paper. Always. OMG, get to the good stuff right? Hold on to your satchel. I’m getting there.

-Novelty keychains/the odd finger puppet. There are a million things you can do with a finger puppet. Storytelling exercises, having kids put on mini plays, heck, even therapy sessions can be aided by a little bit o’ adorable. If Mac mania isn’t proof enough, everybody, no matter their age, loves toys. Keep one on you and see if it doesn’t get put to some creative (NOT GROSS) use soon enough.

-MP3 player + Headphones. You probably have this on you anyway, and it’s a great go-to if you want to have an impromptu soundtrack to your class or a song show + tell. I enjoy lording my headphones over kids who are required to turn theirs over before class starts, and lend them out as a privilege. Cruel to be kind, yo.

-A colored Sharpie Marker. They make middle schoolers think you’re cool, and are good for randomly inspired poster-making sessions. Yes, the latter happens.

-A slim, age-appropriate book. Sometimes having a solid book on hand is enough to calm a restless student, engage a brooding or bored one, or use to punish a wild one into the joy of reading. You can’t go too wrong with The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros or any of the Runaways comics by Bryan K. Vaughan.

K. Best of luck diffusing boredom bombs and spoonful of sugaring knowledge.

If you'd like to read more musings on the teaching lyfe, please visit the blog I cheat on this blog with,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Beauty + the Feast

He lumbered through Devilmass Manor like a wounded hound of Hades. It would be an evening for remembering if he left anyone to remember it. His experiments had gone wrong this day. No longer was he Lord Blackthorn, man of letters, distinction, and bodily sciences. This night he was no man. He was beast. He was heathen. He was-

“Master Blackthorn?” a timid voice sweet as orange marmalade sounded in the doom-tempered darkness. “Has something happened to Cook?”

The monster in him laughed a snarling, sinister response. If the organ and its most ardent player, Cousin Alonso, had not recently been set to burning in a fit of serum-soaked hellwrath a foreboding tune would surely play. For just paces from Lord Blackthorn, Cook lounged on a newly-crimson chaise holding a bowl of blackberry jam. Part of Cook, anyway.

A clatter of pans on the distant kitchen’s flagstone floor snapped him from his sinner’s survey. “Oi!” the candied cry of the distant maid called to him and his insatiable hunger. “Master, I am all thumbs and apologies!”

“Child, you will be sorrier still.” He murmured to the drawing roomful of destruction and dead before giving a bit of a howl and bounding for the scullery maid’s scent. His immense shadow soon fell over the girl and a king’s bounty of baked goods flung upon the kitchen floor. She was a bit tall for a scullery maid, and her back held a slight hump, but when she turned to see him he saw her tear-streaked face was vaguely pretty and familiar.

“Master Blackthorn!” she cried while scooping some mashed muffins into her apron. “Your eyes! They’re quite dilated!” He emitted a growl and lunged for her throat, missing her by moments as she turned to pull a tray of tarts from the oven. “All sorrows for the lateness of the meal, Master Blackthorn. Cook was to help me learn the ropes of it but has been away ever so long with business I know not-AH!” She let out a little scream as Lord Blackthorn pinned her against the stone wall and bared his bloody maw. “I understand you’re hungry, sir. I’m sorry. It’s just, it’s my first day with all the responsibilities heaped on only me, sir. I’m used to the scullery bits moreso than the cooking. Not that I can’t do it, sir. Me mum was a cook, a bloody fine cook if you excuse my vulgarity. My nerves, sir. You being a genius, perhaps you understand. It’s just a lot to take on, sir. Sir!”

He kicked the waffle press from her hand with his bloodstained boot. “Forgive my presumption, Master Blackthorn, but to look at the state of you! Clothes in tatters and what ghastly stains! Indeed you are known for your eccentricities and brilliance but what will the little-seen but oft-alluded to Lady Blackthorn say?”

“Nothing. I have eaten her.” Lord Blackthorn foamed at the mouth and furrowed his hairy brow. “I’ve eaten them all, you see. In a fit of rage brought about from my meddling with the makings of man. My potions and bottles and experiments have gifted and cursed me with the strength of a billion brutes. Watch, girl, the orange flames dance in the woodstove round your mincemeat pies-“

“They’ll be done at half past, Master. I swear it.”

“Splendid…er…The flames…they dance like my own madness. My rage. My genius. And they claim the pies as I claim my victims, wholly. Indiscriminately. Now you I shall claim the same. I cannot stop myself. I am the devil, maid!”

“Yes, sir. But are you hungry?”

“For bones and blood and-“

“Scones, I do hope. And hot buttered ham. Brunch will be served within the hour.”

“Erm…” the beastly form of Lord Blackthorn paused in pursuit of his quarry and quite near a tray of steaming pear popovers.

“The scent captivates you, don’t it, sir? Cook’s recipe. Cook was to show me how to do them properly of course, but as you’ve eaten him, I’ve had to go from memory of watching. I do hope they’re not awful. Listen to me. My nerves! Of course they’ll at least be a little of alright. Sir?” She delicately lifted his death-caked hand from her throat. “Do help me set the table? I wouldn’t ask it’s just, with the rest of them all eaten up it’s too much work for me alone, it is. And a strawberry rhubarb pudding for your trouble.” She stuck a serving tray in the crook of his outstretched arm and a spoonful of sweetness in his mouth before sweeping past him regally for the dining room. The pudding tasted even better than the flesh of his enemies, and he softened upon her near-instant return.

“Let us take our meal in the courtyard, as the dining room has burnt quite away.”He followed her out to the honeysuckle-scented courtyard and watched her spread a red-checkered blanket on an only partially-charred lawn. She enlisted his aid in carrying out another several baskets of sweetmeats and silverware before they both finally settled down to eat.

“It seems you may plan on eating me, sir. But it would, pardon me, be a bloody shame for my work to go to waste. Let us see if you are still hungry after all this.” They both cast a look at the sumptuous spread before them, and she turned her gaze to the quietly burning estate.

“Perhaps the next stroke of genius you have can be less mad and more…philanthropic?”

He looked at her in awe. Perhaps he nodded. His unearthly anger, unlike the flames engulfing Devilmass Manor, was extinguished. He snatched at a blueberry muffin with the hunger of an animal and the wonder of a child. The maid laughed a tinkling, goodhearted laugh.

“Well go on then, sir. Tuck in!”

some saturday nights you smell like baby puke

...and then you blog about it.

A baby puking is one of the saddest, scariest things to witness. I imagine new parents experience it on the regular, but as an old-hand babysitter tonight marked my first ever Baby Puke moment. The baby is now okay, wiped down, soothed, no longer spewing bits of pasta and tears.

There are times when you can say "poor baby" and mean it without an ounce of sarcasm.

Baby puke moments are those times.