Thursday, March 23, 2006

What ARE the kids wearing these days?

This is an email conversation between myself and a veteran reading teacher in my building. I have used initials/changed names to protect the anonymity of the parties involved and/or mentioned, but it cracked me up. Now I'm not saying that there isn't an issue here, but the response made me think of a little old lady or group of elderly people standing around at the mall. Then I wondered, am I just getting less tolerant of pre pubescents or am I just getting old? As most may or may not know, school districts have a dress code policy, and students fight this battle more than most (as if tucking in your shirt was the worst thing ever!). At my school, there is no uniform policy (though going with standardized dress K-12 is about to happen), but there are standards to what is appropriate for school. One rule is that shirts must be tucked in, another is no sagging, no obscene language or slogans involving firearms, tobacco, drugs, or sex...etc. You get the idea. Now keep in mind here that my school contains only 5th and 6th graders. They aren't in full-on teenager mode yet. But the girls are developing rapidly and the boys are noticing rapidly, so things of this nature can become an issue.

From ME:

" Hi All,

This is probably an email that should be geared more towards team leaders, so I apologize in advance if it's junking up others' inbox.

APC and I are trying to collect some data on the dress code issues so that we can select a more severe consequence beyond silent lunch for repeat offenders. If you could, please send me information on those students who consistently receive silent lunch due to dress code violations, and how many they have served thus far. We know this is an issue, and we are trying to come up with a policy that makes sense.

Thanks so much!
Sassy Blondie
Assistant Principal"

Her response:

"DM, TB, HS, JD (as of recently), DG (has recently improved). HS should be required to go to the office every morning for approval and come to class with a note. She is rarely appropriately dressed (at least in my opinion).
I've gotten to where I ignore DM (bless his heart ;I sure do like him!) and TB (he gives unpleasant stares).
I've just about given up on this dress code thing. What we are doing is not working. I dread when the time comes that we have school uniforms.

Reading Teacher"

I do have to tell you that this particular reading teacher is the absolute BEST! She's very calm and even, and walking into her room dissolves all the tension in my shoulders and neck. She's an amazing reading teacher. That's why the email cracked me up, I think....especially the comments in parentheses (my favorite kinds of comments seem to be in parentheses because it's like what's really knocking around in your head). I usually explain to persistent dress code violators about the origins of their inappropriate dress. For instance, we all know that young men everywhere walk like they have cannons for thighs because if they don't, their sagging pants will come completely down, and they'll trip and fall. Not too cool for a G to be clumsy (think Malibu's Most Wanted). But what these young men do not know is that the practice of having sagging pants was started in the prison culture. Once I say that, I do not have to elaborate as to why. With the girls, I explain that while their outfit may be cute, showing that much skin presents a message found at the nearest strip club (believe it or not, one told me her mom was a stripper...I didn't miss a beat and told her that it was all fine and good for her mother, but she couldn't wear her mother's clothes to school because it's not a strip club...and I believe everything has its place in the world). I also work the "do you really want to fight this battle and have people on your case about it every hour of every day you are in school" angle. Frankly, I know it's difficult for young girls to find clothing that doesn't sexualize them. We've evidently decided as a culture that this is acceptable because it seems to get worse every year (as I see each year I pick out clothes for my soon to be 12 yr old niece). I also know that the clothing they make for boys is incredibly oversized and extra long, or the only other choice is to dress like a 55 yr. old semi-retiree with pocket protectors. So what I want to say to this teacher is, I don't know how to make it better for you. I do commiserate, and I do see a need to do something else, but I am still doubtful of any significant change. They are kids, and putting them in our in-school suspension won't do it either. They've taken on this battle and decided that it's important to keep fighting, so we need to decide how important it is in winning the war. Until then, keep reminding them to tuck in their shirts and cover their midriffs... and to say no to crack. It's almost April...9 weeks to go!

Monday, March 20, 2006

What the F**k?

Seriously, people need to take a pill lately. No less than 5 people have been entirely shitty to me for no reason, and I'm not sure what bug they have up their ass!

So people, if you can't say anything nice, don't bother saying anything at all. Or take a laxative, for the love of Mike! Unclench. Regardless...don't call, write, or otherwise speak to me until you can be civil. I got nothing for ya otherwise. I'm done listening to it....


Monday, March 13, 2006

Message in a Bottle...Seriously

I came across this story and thought it was truly amazing! I then began to think about what, if I were to launch a message in a bottle, it would say. Where would it end up? Where would I like it to end up? Who would read it? Would they answer? Would I care by then? I think I just might do it.
I just have to think awhile on what I want to say. What about you? What would be your message in a bottle?

Massachusetts Bottle Message Ends Up in Africa

A message in a bottle launched in Massachusetts two years ago has traveled halfway around the world. In a letter postmarked from Morocco, 26-year-old Assila Ahmed wrote that he'd found a bottle thrown into the water by Genevive Hernandez of Lynn.
Hernandez, now a 13-year-old seventh grader, was among group of fifth-graders who on Nov. 20, 2003 put messages in bottles and cast them off from Lynn's shores that stormy day. Hernandez said she's amazed that her green Sprite bottle made it as far as it did since most of them either bounced right back to shore or ended up only as far as the Cape.
"I thought it wasn't going anywhere," said Hernandez. "Mine was stuck on the seaweed."
Students received replies from 14 people before Hernandez received hers. Most were from the Cape Cod area. One made it as far as England.
But Hernandez's bottle had, by far, the longest journey, traveling 3,500 miles.
In the letter to Hernandez, Ahmed said he found the bottle about 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2005. Hernandez' bright orange card wrapped in plastic bore the address the Brickett School in Lynn, where she attended classes two years ago.
The only request from the African man: a letter back from Hernandez.
Hernandez's teacher fifth-grade teacher at Brickett, Sheila Thomas, said he will get one.
Thomas recalled the stormy day the bottles were launched.
"The bottles kept coming back up on the rocks and I ended up getting down in the water and getting them back out," she said. "It was not an easy launch — I ended up soaking wet up to my knees."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

To Do...

1. Laundry...CHECK
2. Pick up 12pk Diet Coke...CHECK
3. Vaccum living room...CHECK
4. Move meat from freezer to thaw....CHECK
5. Give dogs a bath...CHECK
6. Confirm plans for Saturday night...CHECK
7. Call Sister...CHECK
8. Pay electric bill...CHECK
9. Pass admin certification test...CHECK!

Yes, my friends, it's official. I now hold a valid Principal's credential from the great state of Texas. And forgive me saying so, but I kicked the test right where it counts! 240 minimum to pass...269 final score. Winner: ME I guess this means I really am qualified for my job. That test was challenging to say the record of passing and/or scoring high on important tests on the first try is still on the books. This is me thumbing my nose, yet again, to National Evaluation Systems (NES) can't really measure potential. I have now conquered some of their most difficult tests: EXCET, TEXES, LSAT, CSET, GRE...perhaps I'll study for the MCAT next...I'm feeling lucky...How does Dr. Blondie strike you?

10. Call friends and family to celebrate...I'll be in touch soon! Love y'all!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Appreciating the Threes

Do you ever wonder why things happen in threes? I remember some old saying about things happening in threes, but what I can’t remember is if it’s supposed to be good or bad. Here are my threes:

Death: I recently, very recently, lost someone whom I loved deeply. It was unexpected, and the fact that his family did not contact me regarding the funeral made it even more painful. There was quite an age difference, 22 years to be exact, but some of the things I believe were thought of me by his family was hurtful. Why is it that the older man-younger woman thing is so prevalent, yet still is so unaccepted? His son is only about 7 years younger than I, and for someone I would expect to have the biggest problem with the nearly 7 year relationship I had with his father was by far the most lovely about the whole thing. He was the person who contacted me about S’s passing, and he graciously offered to take me to the gravesite upon my next visit to Los Angeles. I am feeling more reflective but still very sad about this loss. I want to know more, talk more about him, and still wish I could see him just once more. However, I truly believe it is because of S that I am a better woman. He was a quiet gentleman, uniquely gifted in music, and had a grasp of words that I think I shall never encounter again. He cherished me, even after I had to leave him. I wish I had been born earlier, as then the timing might have been right for us. I love you, S. You’ll always hold a piece of my heart.

Birth: One of my oldest and dearest friends from college just had her second daughter. Funny that the first person I called when I learned of a death was her. So I’m elated to meet this new joy soon. Her big sister is pretty special, and if this little girl is anything like her mom and sister, she’ll brighten this world more than most. I’m so sorry, as I am for your sister, the Bean, that you will never know your grandmother. She’s the reason your mom is so fabulous. So welcome, little JoJo, I’m so glad you’re here! Your Aunt Sassy will be seeing you very soon!

Birth: Well, tomorrow there will be another birth. Another of my oldest and dearest friends will be induced tomorrow to give birth to her first child. She was unfortunately married to the wrong person for 10 years, but she found her soulmate in recent years and at 36, she is welcoming her son with her husband who is 15 years her senior but a first-time dad as well. This birth is a happy one as well, but I have much more mixed emotions about it. Her story has turned out how I had wished my own with S had. But a hearty welcome to baby P as well! You will be a much loved little man…by your Aunt Sassy as everyone else. And don’t worry, I won’t let your parents dress you funny!

See what I mean by threes? It’s a great comfort when a baby is born. It renews my spirit and gives me pause to appreciate the color of life and living. One day maybe I’ll be blessed with my own child, but until then, I’ll just keep loving everyone else’s kids. It may be good for them, but it truly is my reward and my pleasure. And as for death it, at the very least, renews my appreciation for the blessings I have had thus far in my life. So, I apologize for my sappy and sentimental post. Feel free to pass on by. I just hope you are appreciating the threes in your life.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Little Shakespeare Never Hurt Anyone

I was off work today, so I needed to occupy my mind. Television in the mid afternoon just doesn't offer enough to fuel my need for entertainment, so I went to the bookshelf. I looked at my "Classics" shelves because nearly everything on it is what I refer to as "meaty reads". As my fingers traveled each title, The Canterbury Tales (in the Old English), The Brothers Karamizov, The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe...or C.S. Lewis...or O. Henry (insert any classic author here..I'm big on complete works), and so on, I settled on Shakespeare. I didn't necessarily read thoroughly through this complete works, but I did begin to write down things that struck me. Perhaps it was my melancholy mood, or it might have just been my love of beautiful words and phrases, but as you will see below, there seems to have been a theme. Let me say, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I have always loved Shakespeare...ever since my British Lit class in high school. So I'm a bit partial to my Brits and their clever accents and funny words. Of course...they were also great at lovespeak. So take a seat and enjoy this little taste of the old Bard. A little Shakespeare never hurt anyone....

Hear my soul speak:
The very instant that I saw you, did
My heart fly to your service.(The Tempest)

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.(A Midsummer Night's Dream)

Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor
But was a race of heaven.(Antony and Cleopatra)

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.(Hamlet)

But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain;
But, with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.(Love's Labours Lost)

One half of me is yours, the other half yours
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours. (The Merchant of Venice)

I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,
Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.
Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,
For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause
But rather reason thus with reason fetter,
Love sought is good, but given unsought better.(Twelfth Night)

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.(Sonnet 18)

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings. (Sonnet 29)

All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me. (Sonnet 43)

The prize of all too precious you.(Sonnet 86)

Such is my love, to thee I so belong,
That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.(Sonnet 88)

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.(Sonnet 116)

Love is a spirit all compact of fire.(Venus and Adonis)

She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i'th' bud,
Feed on her damask cheek. She pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.
Was not this love indeed?(Twelfth Night)

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
O that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek.(Romeo and Juliet)

This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.(Romeo and Juliet)

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite. (Romeo and Juliet)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Just One More Day...

Music has always threaded through my life. And in this most difficult time, music has touched me again. I heard this song on the radio today, as I scanned the channels. I remember loving this song when it came out, but I always thought it was sad. I haven't heard it in over a year, but today it literally made me weep. I had to pull over on the LBJ Freeway. I have lost my soulmate. Even though things did not work out as I would have liked, we mutually ended things amicably. He was still my best friend, trusted advisor, and the most wonderful man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing so deeply. Losing him so unexpectedly has been devastating, but I know peace has found him. So this song is for him. I'm sending it out to S, and I know he is smiling and saying, " Baby, I love you too."

One More Day

Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me,
It could be for anything
I didn’t ask for money,Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished, for one more day with you.
One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I’d be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still for one more day with you.
First thing I’d do is pray for time to crawl
Then I’d unplug the telephone
And keep the TV off
I’d hold you every second
Say a million “I love yous”
That’s what I’d do with one more day…
With you.
~Diamond Rio
Thanks for letting me purge. Sometimes when you can't find the words, you borrow someone else's. Don't forget to tell people how much they mean to you. I am comforted to know that he knew...