Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ode to the Grandmother

Little had a friend over today. Here is one of their many conversations:

Friend: Wow! Where'd you get such a big t.v.?
Little: (very matter-of-factly) Oh, it's a family Christmas gift from my nana.
Friend: Wow! She's rich!
Little: No, she's not rich, but she IS cool! She has a Sega Genesis!
Friend: I really don't know what that is.
Little: It's a really, really OLD video game.

 "Santa" brings the kid the latest and greatest and SHE's cool because she owns this:


It's time to put Christmas away. The ornaments are starting to fall off  as the branches droop and the tall, sparkly thing that makes the house smell fresh like a forest is becoming a fire hazard. The tree was planted to be just what he is a tall, fully adorned Christmas Tree. He has fulfilled his destiny and will eventually  become mulch in one of the cities flower beds. 
As I ponder the meaning of life of our friend "the tree" it's  that time of the year when it's time to take stock in the meaning of our own lives. The end of another year and the beginning of a new one. 
Time to start anew, start fresh, a clean slate, one foot in front of the other as we make our way through a new year. Resolutions anyone?
I'm not big on resolutions. Because inevitably they will be broken. Exercise? Lose Weight? Eat Healthier? I don't need a new year to know I need to do those things, but I am going to use the new year to try to be BETTER.
Better at what? Just about everything because to say I'm 100% good at anything would be a big fat lie. There is always room for improvement.
So to that end, here's my Better List:
  •  a better mom
  • a better wife
  • a better teacher
  • a better friend
  • a better daughter
  • a better sister
  • a better cook
  • a better financial manager
  • a better reader
  • a better driver
  • a better non-procrastinator
Phew! I could go on, but I think those are lofty enough goals for one year. I think it's important to strive to be the best person you can be, not easy, but I know, someday, when my branches start to droop and my ornaments begin to fall I want to know I was the best sparkly thing I could have been. 
Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

and the child was nestled...

All snug in his bed...

It was a long process.
He baked cookies.

He wrote THE letter.

He prepared the reindeer grub

and put it where they could find it,

then brushed his teeth and let me tuck him in.
Sweet dreams sugar plum.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Man in Red

The preparations for the big guy's visit have begun. We had to pick just the right cookie Pepperidge Farms Ginger Men, we set aside one special packet of Swiss Miss, and dusted off the special Santa plate. At the grocery store today I bought special Reindeer carrots, the ones with the greens still attached and we polished one red apple to shiny perfection. The apple is for Rudolph, the red ones help make his red nose shiny. 
Little is on his best behavior, visions of sugar plums are already dancing in his head and have been for weeks. He's working on the letter that will be so carefully placed by the plate of cookies and we have the Santa Tracker bookmarked.
I know it won't be much longer and I'll have to pack away the Santa plate, and there won't be any need to buy the carrots with the greens attached, but I'll enjoy every crazy moment because the magic of Santa only lasts so long.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day

Don't those words just bring back memories? Remember waking up extra early to turn on the radio to find out if your town was going to be included in the cancelled list? Remember how the local am station was all staticky and you had to listen to it over and over again just to be sure? Remember how bothered you felt when the town next door was cancelled but your town wasn't? Why was it that your mom had to drag you out of bed on a school day, but on a snow day you were up bright and early in anticipation and then when school was cancelled you just couldn't go back to bed? Snow days are still exciting for me because I'm a teacher, but the snow day call isn't nearly as much fun as it used to be.
We knew today before we even left school, not a single flake has fallen. No reason to listen to the radio, no reason to watch the list scroll by on t.v. No need to cross my fingers. It's a done deal.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

L my name is Lisa

It's always fun to see a child's reaction when they see their teacher out and about, in the grocery store, at the bank, and around the neighborhood. It was adorable Halloween night when a child from school rang the bell and I answered the door. The look on her face was priceless!
Even better than that is when a child finds out his teacher's first name. They are suddenly the cool kid, the kid that's finally got the goods. The kid that has THE secret and is about to become the prince of the playground because he's going to spill the secret to every kid he knows!

It happened today. My paraprofessional called me by my first name in front of one of the kids and he jumped on it. 
"What did you just call her?"
"I called her by her first name."
"I heard you say Lisa, you called her Lisa. Her first name is Lisa!"
"Yes, but the respectful thing to do is call her Miss C."
"Her first name is Lisa, Hey guys, Mrs. C's first name is Lisa!"

So I gathered them together and admitted it. He had me. What else could I do? I couldn't lie, I stress honesty and I have to stand by it.

So, I managed to move on and turn their attention to my highly dramatic reading of The Gingerbread Baby. We got through the rest of our day without much issue. I thought the incident was over and done with until...

the end of the day as I was dismissing the kids to their parents the newly crowned prince turned to me and said..."Good-bye Lisa." 

He got me and he got me good.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

You Better Watch Out!

Around this time of year I remind Little that "Santa is always watching." Since he's 8 I know his Santa days are numbered, so I cherish every minute of it. We bake the cookies, feed the reindeer, write the letters, and last year we even tried to catch him on video...but he was too smart for us and with a jingle and a very deep "Ho Ho Ho" he shut off the camera before leaving any evidence.
We were out an about today, and on the way home we were stopped at a red light. Stopped next to us in a Jeep Cherokee was "Santa" all decked out in full gear. Full snow-white beard, long white hair, furry red hat, if I didn't know better I'd swear he was "The Guy".
So excitedly I said, "Hey look! There's Santa!" 
Little glanced over just as "Santa" held his fingers to his lips and took a long drag from a cigarette. Sigh.
Not exactly the image I wanted ingrained in Little's brain.

"A stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath."

Apparently Santa has been a smoker for years, but times certainly have changed, and the pipe smoking Santa has become politically incorrect.
It's  just my feeling, that with "the suit" comes a little responsibility to behave and act in a certain way. 

Because Santa, you may be "always watching", but so are the kids.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Flower Child

Have you ever had the pleasure of knowing someone who just seems to have been born in the wrong era? I have one such cherub in my class this year. She is the sweetest little thing. She's gentle and kind, and just a little bit flowery. She belongs back in the 60's. Her mission in life is to spread love, I'm sure of it.

She's the first one with a hug in the morning, and the last one with a hug when it's time to go home, and she's very funny and doesn't realize it. 

Just before Thanksgiving, we were following our daily routine of sharing news. 
Me: Flower Child, where are you going for Thanksgiving?"
Flower Child: To my grandma's house where we will dance around the turkey and sing songs!"
Me: Really? What else will you have with your turkey?
Flower Child: Well, my grandma makes excellent chili. And she makes corn bread and she puts in a special secret ingredient.
Me: She does? What's the special secret ingredient? Or is it a secret.
Flower Child: Well, it is secret, but I'll tell you. The secret ingredient is, LOVE!
Me: Of course it is! 

She just spreads it where ever she goes. Love, Love, Love! She wears it on her face, she shows it in her actions!

She has a little itty bitty crush on one of the boys in my classroom. Today she asked me if she could go out to the hallway to get her folder from her back pack. A few minutes later a co-worker brought her back into my room and said she found Flower Child lying on the floor with her eyes shut. She said she bumped her head and fainted. So I called F.C. over to me.

Me: Now Flower, sweetie, did you really bump your head?
Flower: No, but I took one look at Timmy with his hair combed and I just passed out! He's sooo cute and handsome!
Me: Yes, love he is indeed handsome, now hand me your folder and go sit down in your spot.
Flower: Okay. 
She sat down right next to him, glanced in his direction and promptly "fainted" again.

I'm not sure where all this love is going to take her in life, but she does have a very sweet way about her. Whatever she becomes, she will be caring and considerate, she will think of others before herself, she will be patient and reflective, she will become something to help make the world a better place...

she'll probably become a teacher!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jingle Bells

 I love a good Christmas tune. I have my favorites, some happy, some joyous, some that remind me of my childhood or some that you can just bop to. I remember playing my mom's Mitch Miller Christmas album over and over again. She probably still has that album hanging around somewhere!

But some local radio stations have taken Christmas tunes to the extreme. The oldies (now playing 70's music...ugh) started playing Christmas tunes right after Halloween...yep November freakin' 1st!  Jingle Bell Rock when the leaves are still orange and hanging on the trees...well, it's just not right!
Then WROR 105.7 followed just before Thanksgiving. All Christmas tunes all the time. 
I'm convinced it's a marketing tool to get us all to rush to the malls happily humming Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Seriously people have you ever known ANYONE who has actually roasted a chestnut other than Tiny Tim???

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone I can deal with the Christmas songs. I even choose to listen to them once in awhile. But I can't help but think of those poor radio d.j's who have to listen to Silver Bells and Feliz Navidad, over and over and over again for two solid months!
As I mentioned, I do have my favorites,
Check out Josh Groban singing O Holy Night. It is haunting and gives me chills every time I hear it. The same for Feed the World. I also love this version of Little Drummer Boy by  Bing Crosby and David Bowie.
Tis the season...sing the Falalalala's loud and proud! Just don't do it before Thanksgiving!