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The Peachy Urban Education Awards May 29, 2013

Filed under: education,humor,teaching — peachyteachy @ 7:20 pm
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Snarky In The Suburbs has inspired me many times, and never more than with her divine end-of-year awards to all of the special lovelies that  infest grace her favorite suburban institution.

Of course, urban schools do some damned honoring of their own, thank you very much; so how you feelin’?  I don’t understand that either.  My students recently began to use that expression, “So how you feelin?'” to follow up some razor witty jab like, “Really? Say it to my face. That’s what I thought. So how you feelin’?” I rank it up there with the thinking man’s retort: “Duh” — also a popular morsel of repartee that is parleyed about within the walls of my language-rich classroom environment.

I asked Seth McFarlane to host this year, but Mr. McRudeface has not returned my emails.  So I went ahead and asked my room mother to do it! Remember the Room Mother, who brings treats and makes crafts with the kids and goes on field trips? Oh, wait—I don’ t have a room mother. And we don’t go on field trips.  My assumption is that the reason I have not seen most moms once all year is because they are super busy laying the home foundation for success for their offspring–my students.  I have a colleague who does crazy extreme sports, such as making home visits to students.  In the process, she gets the down and dirty stories of how someone became someone’s legal guardian because he was abandoned by her crack dealer when he was a tiny baby. So the crack buyer offered to take in the tiny baby and some wise court decided that would be a good idea.

It looks like Ms. Peachy is stuck with the emcee duties this year.  Snarky has suggested that I don’t wear a maxi skirt. DAMMIT! You don’t know the neighborhood in which I teach. Snarky’s stripper on the top, Little House on the Prairie on the bottom assessment  is where it’s at in these parts. We are talking evening gown here.

PARENT AWARDS:

PTO CHAMPION!

For our first category, we would like to recognize those who do so much for our school through our Parent Teacher Organization! Oh, wait. Our Parent Teacher Organization has one person. . . Thank  you, once again, Belinda, for having been the ONLY responsible and involved parent in your neighborhood! You get a BIG box of chocolate, courtesy of the PTO! We forgive you for not trying to fundraise!

MOST OBVIOUS METH USER!

It took a lot of investigation, but your toothless, perpetually pregnant inability to navigate every wheelchair ramp in the school with a six-year-old-laden umbrella stroller eventually clued us in on your championship status in this category!  Here’s a backpack filled with school supplies, deodorant for your pubescent daughter,  a scented candle, some gourmet teas, and bath salts!  Name withheld due to pending investigation.

MOST DEVOUT/SEXY-GROSS/METH USER!

It takes a special someone to rock the low-cut tank top plus crucifix-cradled-in-my-cleavage parent/teacher/administrator meeting to discuss your child’s borderline psychotic daily behaviors look!   And who could forget your brazen disregard for the convention of TEETH?

STUDENT AWARDS:

FUTURE GANG BANGER AWARD:

It was a tough call, with more contestants in the running than we would care to admit, but after much deliberation, with your dedication to recording in writing the names of your potential shank recipients, you edged out the competition, Sh’ Diaper!  Here’s a scented candle to support you in your pyromania! Name withheld due to pending investigation. 

ONLY PERSON AWARE OF THE EXISTENCE OF MANNERS IN YOUR GRADE AWARD!

Never mind that you were not born in this country, and therefore have no prayer of ever passing any state test; somehow you have intuited the perfectly proper use of the conventions of politeness, INCLUDING the words “thank you,” “good morning,” and the advanced, “Excuse me.” You are, literally, one in 800!  Congratulations, Ay Bee Cee, and accept our golden pendant, along with this first generation bulletproof vest.

THERE IS FREE PIZZA IN THE CAFETERIA!

BUT FIRST, MORE AWARDS. . .

hello?

 

Awards You Wish Your School Gave Nominations

Filed under: Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 5:27 pm

Soon to follow: the Peachy Urban Education Awards. I am thinking of following Snarky’s lead and merchandising the school lost and found collection.

Snarky in the Suburbs

Iaward-symbol-mdt’s that time of year again when I’m in hot pursuit of Awards You Wish You School Gave nominations for the 2012-2013 school year. Share them here in the comment section, on Facebook or email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. Here’s a look at last year’s winners.

Awards You Wish Your School Gave 2011-2012

No school year is complete without the end of year award ceremonies. Chances are very soon you’ll find yourself with your butt affixed to sticky bleachers or a rusty folding chair clapping for a child who has just received accolades for “Best Cafeteria Manners on Sub Sandwich Friday.”  As you clap your silently praying, with a zealousness you haven’t displayed since last year’s mammogram when the radiologist tech told you she “saw something” and needed to take another x-ray,” that the lunch lady, who has the honor of handing out the award, will not see fit to…

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Mittens, Smitten May 25, 2013

Filed under: gaming,humor — peachyteachy @ 5:08 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

When the gods smite someone, the implication is that this is a negative experience, possibly accompanied by thunderbolts and lightning.  

Queen fans, go. 

Things get problematic, though, when we move into other tenses.  Doesn’t it render one “smitten” if the gods smite one? Fortunately, another blog, Sesquiotica, has already done exhaustive investigation on the matter, and even refers to the Simpsons in the process.  I am not the only one who has considered the possibility of having been smitten, and felt a little trivialized by the term.  I didn’t have a crush on someone; I was being punished by the gods, for Gods’ sake!   

A couple of days ago, I re-blogged last spring’s post Sweat=Learning.  Next thing I knew, the temperature had plummeted, I was digging out gloves, and my idyllic long gardening weekend was on ice. Never MIND grilling, or assembling a lovely strawberry/blueberry/banana/whipped topping rendering of Old Glory.  Hence my perception that there was some smiting going on, along with a bit of cosmic chuckling at my expense.  If there was more food in my cupboards right now, I would be sorely tempted to make soup.  I am seriously contemplating sipping hot chocolate.  And I’m not talking about that blasphemous “frozen hot chocolate” that some self-satisfied ad exec dreamed up while vacationing in Fiji.

Still, even the most epic cosmic affront can have a silver lining.  

Here’s a super-fun fact! As I was roaming about the internet with ever-bluer fingers, I discovered that SMITE is an online game of battling gods! All kinds of possibilities open up, including the option of a lowly human doing some serious virtual smiting, from the comfort of her frozen couch.  I won’t, because I am afraid of someone in the online gaming community getting mad at me and exposing me as a Smite fraud.  But it’s cool! And check out the merchandise! That phone cozy is just the beginning.  Travel mugs and stay home mugs, key chains, pendants (for the SMITE-playing couples who have become smitten with one another whilst hurling thunderbolts through cyber-space). And here I thought that “smite” and “smitten” were unlikely bedfellows.  

Image source: zazzle.com

 

Sweat = Learning May 23, 2013

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 5:44 pm
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This is from a year ago. And from today.

News flash from my classroom today: “It’s hot!” Not like the kind of hot that means cool or sexy.  The kind of whiny, extended short o comment that implies that, as a teacher, I should be able to distribute ice packs and personal fans to each and every smelly tween that occupies the rice cooker that was my classroom today.  Barring that, I should at the very least allow the whiniest and most obnoxious student a coveted chair in front of the rattling box fan while everyone else drips in silence.

On days like this, I become Teacher of the Year, submitting in my T o’ Y e-portfolio footage of myself responding to these surprising “it’s so hot” revelations with insights like, “Boys and girls, raise your hand if you were unaware of the fact that it is hot in the classroom today,” and the ultimate I-want-my-kid-in-HER-class response: “Thank you, Captain Obvious.”  I’m sorry. But at these temperatures and dewpoints, the sarcasm loses its solid consistency, melts, and just drips on out. “Eustachia,” I hear myself saying, “Let me get this straight. So, you’re saying —basically—-that you have noticed that today, our classroom—this room—it is—how did you put it? It is—- HOT?”

Did I mention that I am sick? As a result of this, there were certain points when I was pretty sure that my brain had reached the official “poached” status as defined by the Joy of Cooking, and my eyeballs weren’t far behind.  Everyone wanted to go to the handful of destinations in our building that boast air-conditioned nirvana: the main office, the library (picture big-eyed children imploring me to let them return books). And, of course, the nurse’s office. See previous post https://peachyteachy.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/hello-world/  for a perspective on how much booze I need to buy our school nurse to make up for the Urgent Care Express that my students call home. I’m the one who should have assigned everyone to make a BFF club sign while I went down and stretched out on a cot.

It would be silly and trivial of me to ask for prayers that tomorrow we may be blessed with a consistency less that of a molded Jello salad and more that of an Arctic hare.  I am more than capable of striking deals with the Universe on my own up in here.

But perhaps we could take the tiniest moment to picture together, one perfect, glistening snowflake?  Aaaah.

image: http://cookingwithoutborders.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/stay-cool-hot-day-from-ehow.jpg

 

If Jimi Hendrix Was Lactose Intolerant May 22, 2013

Filed under: food,humor,music — peachyteachy @ 6:48 pm
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An unsettling thought! I know! You knew that Jimi was a gas, but you never knew the extent of it. To be fair, neither did anyone else.

My insatiable thirst for knowledge led me to do some minimal investigative research on this issue: surely other well-known superstars suffer from the tummy malady, I reasoned, even if Jimi pre-dated the age of LI awareness (yeah, that’s short for Lactose Intolerance–pretty cool, huh?).  Makes you wonder—was it REALLY a drug overdose? Or an ice cream binge? And what medical examiner would ever own up to those un-rock-and-roll findings? No medical examiner, that’s who.

But check this out: http://www.lactoseintolerant.org/2007/11/20/list-need-to-ad-pics/ The site is so charming that it sports a cow icon.  How freaking complicated is that? The list is just super well-constructed.  See for yourself.

Other Celebrities that are lactose intolerant (we are not provided with the Central celebrity around whom all remaining celebrities become “other.” For our purposes, we shall assume that it is Jimi.)

Cindy Lauper

Lisa Cudrow (not worth a Google to ascertain correct spelling before revealing digestive secrets)

Erick Dickerson
Hall of Fame football player

Jackie Joyner Kersee

Aaron Mackie-
basketball player (THANK YOU!)

Dusty Baker (Whoever the hell that is.  Breathing a sigh of relief that Dusty dodged a bullet and only his/her daughter is afflicted)
Daughter is lactose intolerant

Woopie Goldberg

Mark Spitz
Olympic swimmer

Sherry Stringfield

Joanna Kerns
Mother on Growing Pains, in case you forgot, but still remembered Sherry Stringfield’s bio.

Dustin Nguyen
Popular Vietnamese-American actor known(by no one) for his role on 21 Jump Street

Aisha Tyler
Husband and family member have lactose intolerance Is she on some Real Housewives show? They can’t have lactose intolerance, can they? You can get cosmetic surgery for bloating, right? Mystery family member, nice to meet you. 

Anne Hathaway
Actress from Princess Diaries. She suffers from lactose intolerance. She does? That would explain why she is on a list entitled, “Other Celebrities that are lactose intolerant.” Punctuated and capitalized by dairy cattle.

Lisa Vultaggio Pretend person.

Aimee Mullins My imaginary lactose-intolerant friend. 

Randy Jackson
American Idol judge and music producer

Mira Sorvino
Academy award winning actress. She recently had her first baby. She is lactating. 

Nancy Kerrigan
Olympic ice-skater, wife and mother. She has a 9 yr old kid who is lactose intolerant. And a big scar on her leg.

Star Jones
Host on The View and coming out in Relative Strangers with Danny DiVito, Kathy Bates, etc..

Toni Braxton
Top selling music artist, wife and mother

Kimora Lee Simmons
Fashion designer for Baby Phat and wife of legendary businessman Russelll Simmons
Ron Silver
Character actor from Ali, West Wing, etc… Suffers from lactose intolerance

Kelly Lynch
Acclaimed actress, wife and mother.

Tamyra Gray
Contestants on American Idol and has made recurring appearances on Boston Public

Oscar de la Hoya
Legendary boxing champion

Scott Burns

Carl Mixworthy
TV Show- West Wing

Sideshow Bob Hands down, the best addition to this list.

Denise Lewis
Olympic gold medalist

Rachel hunter With a capital H!

Married to Rod Stewart He wishes. He dreams of those gassy days. 

Michelle Rodriguez

Michael Rasmussen
Professional cyclist

Angelica Vale

Corinne Brown
Congresswomen

Lavender Diamond A band cannot be collectively lactose intolerant. Unless that is your niche.  

Shelley Long

Terence Stamp

Michael Stipe Everybody hurts.

 

Okay, the list was clearly compiled a while ago, and its author may have succumbed to lactose intolerance and passed away before he or she had the chance to edit the horrificness, but I, for one, am grateful that it was left for our eyes only.  Please feel free to add your super celebrity secret tidbits to the LI Hall of Fame or its members!

 

Honoring Our Fallen Animal Doctors May 15, 2013

Filed under: humor,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 9:21 pm
Tags: ,

Yup, I dared to interrupt the Urban-Doodle-S-Marathon-For-The-Cure today.  The Cure for which my students search is the cure for having to think or put forth any perceptible effort that does not result in the destruction of someone else’s property–preferably mine.

Since we have been studying the American Civil War, including my fielding of the question, “Is there still war?”, I thought that I would bring up the approaching observance of Memorial Day (actually, a student had asked about  when it was, from a purely when-do-we-get-extra-days-off perspective).  A couple of kids thought it was about the Twin Towers, or possibly the Civil War, and then one came up with the memory of something.  I suggested that they might see veterans marching in a parade.

“OH YEAH! And the veterinarians were, like, in World War II.”

“Yes, we might see VETERANS of World War II.”

Another kid, who, predictably, had not listened to the previous child’s comment, then chimed in: “Aren’t veterans the doctors that take care of animals?”  You get the idea, a little, if you are picturing these comments occurring in some linear order, where one student raises a hand, shares while others listen, then another shares, etc.

But this is not what is happening in my little corner of the circus world. This is more like a circus/horror film with a nest of baby velociraptors, their razor-sharp, toothy mouths open at all times, letting out simultaneous high-pitched, nightmare-inducing sounds for hours at a time.  Even when I hand out the free snacks, the decibel level decreases only slightly, as the need to shoot baskets with apple cores kicks in, like a tiny little lobotomy, and all of the velociraptors leap and claw to the nearest garbage can.  Inevitably, this leads to the vicious babies tripping over one another, and responding to the slightest touch with angry lashing and gashing.

Someone has got to reconnect the power to that damned electric containment system.  Otherwise, I am not going to make it until the end of the year. And they are staging their own Civil War of the baby meat-eating dinosaurs, before my very eyes.

 

Image source: http://www.dinotoyblog.com/2008/06/27/velociraptor-wild-safari-collection-by-safari-ltd/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=Nam4nNNuv5rgwM&tbnid=RDlLp0IoDzpDjM:&ved=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dinotoyblog.com%2F2008%2F06%2F27%2Fvelociraptor-wild-safari-collection-by-safari-ltd%2F&ei=HzOUUfOSH6jM0AH-yYC4Dg&bvm=bv.46471029,d.dmQ&psig=AFQjCNHi3b72cGRUtgtyuGt9MMYgO0kyqw&ust=1368753312040102

Image source: cheezburger.com

 

Share: In Case Mother’s Day is Hard For You May 12, 2013

Filed under: inspiration,life — peachyteachy @ 8:17 pm

Just had to share this as an addendum to my earlier post, Messy Mother’s Day. I stumbled on it in my Facebook feed.

 

http://hopefulworld.org/blog/in-case-mothers-day-is-hard-for-you/.

 

Messy Mother’s Day

Filed under: family,flowers,gardening,life,parenting — peachyteachy @ 9:44 am
Tags: , , ,

Five years ago, on May 12, it was also Mother’s Day.  It had been a lovely day with my kids, and I had spoken that afternoon with my 80-something mom, who was on what she was determined would be a temporary stay at a nursing home.  Her voice had been so raspy that it was difficult to understand her.  We had talked about the upcoming commencement when I would celebrate the completion of my master’s degree.  She had spoken of sharing with the nurses the photo I had sent of my then four-year-old son.

That night, I was awakened by a phone call telling me that she had passed away.

Obviously, Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me.  It’s also complicated.

Thanks to my mom for all of the important things that she taught me to do and be.  Mom shared with me her passion and respect for the natural world.  I love the plants in my gardens like my offspring,  I feed birds, and I refuse to use pesticides.  I am a rabid recycler.  I apologize, however, for not saving every piece of used aluminum foil.

At least as importantly, I give my thanks for the lessons in how not to be.  Overcooked macaroni, asparagus, and most everything else led me to a determination to teach myself  to cook! Mom burned the bottoms out of enough pans to fill the quota for the both of us.  However, Mom could turn out a mean apple pie (and raspberry, and blueberry), and so she gets credit for the fact that I can make pie crust from scratch.

I also learned from my mom how important it would be to take responsibility and apologize to my children when I screwed up—not because she modeled this, or told me to, but because she didn’t.  I cannot remember my mother ever saying to me that she had been wrong about something.  What pressure to put on oneself.  This sort of coping strategy was typical of how my mother masked her considerable fear.  I resented it when I was younger, gained compassion later as I worked to be mindful of my own fearful behaviors, and slowly learned to make different choices than she had.  Sadly, the fear that my mother clung to also acted as a cloud, a protective barrier, through which I could never clearly see.  Some healing, I have discovered, has to be done after someone has gone.

Mother’s Day, then, is messy.  But it is full of love, and I will cut lilacs and bring them in (I picked Mom a bouquet on every Mother’s Day that I spent with her. She preferred these treasures from our yard above the more perfect, less heartfelt arrangements that florists charged an arm and a leg for).    Thanks to my mom, for all of it.

image source: elizabethpatch.com

 

Teacher Depreciation Day! May 11, 2013

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 9:31 am
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Oh, the comforting monotony of predictable teacher appreciation gestures.
This year, an unannounced tub of melted ice cream planted in the Teacher Lounge. Appreciation or potential terrorism?
This year, no chocolate to be found (unless they hijacked the bowl set up by the financial planner salesmen who were also planted in the Teacher Lounge. . .). Excuse me while I bask in the glow of my post-Teacher Appreciation Day weekend. This reblog is last year’s update. Or downdate, at this point, I guess.

peachyteachy

This phenomenon is real.  I remember other Teacher Appreciation Days which were marked by breakfasts, scented candles, coffee mugs and the like.  Today, there was a three page memo of George Schultz’ musings on teachers, accompanied by a microscopic chocolate treat that one required a miner’s lamp to locate in the mailbox.  I, for one, was of course crossing my fingers in the hopes of receiving SOME kind of lengthy memo, so that was a relief. . .

I don’t mean to be ungrateful.  I guess that it should be no surprise that our Teacher Appreciation is also linked like an iron vise to our state test scores.  If our students were passing, we would perhaps once again return to the glory days of finding a full-size candy bar in our mailboxes.  At one point today, I became painfully aware of the contrast between today’s reminders that I am, in…

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The Dorkess of Botanica May 6, 2013

 

That’s my street name.

While lots of folks have been out running various numbers of Ks over the weekend, and getting somehow tie-dyed in the process (see Color Me Rad), I have been seeking my color in the purple-hued Checkered Lilies  that are coming into their own amidst  creamy Sailboat narcissus. See the Checkered Lilies down there, all cozy with the white forget-me-nots? Be still, my heart.

View 2013-05-06 16.21.51.jpg in slide show

Never heard of Checkered Lilies?  Let the Dorkess of Botanica enlighten you.  Fritillaria meleagris is the correct, Latin name—for those of you who give a rip.  Lilies are something entirely different.  I can’t help it.  I am cursed with an encyclopedic memory for plants, especially flowers.  I feel disingenuous if I use common names that mislead and misrepresent. As a result, people mistakenly say “Gesundheit” around me, at least when the conversation rolls around to gardening.

I have also been waging war on the DMZ of vinca vine that tries to sneakily take over more desirable and better behaved citizens of my backyard.  For many, this would truly be tantamount to shipping out to an overseas destination for jungle-machete-ing. For me, it is a charming recreation of  The Secret Garden, where I am the rescuer of delicate treasures that have been overgrown and lost for so long.  For example, I have an old, double white lilac in my back yard. When we moved in three summers ago, I had to take down a black walnut that had insinuated itself right on top of that lilac.  It had been weakly attempting to reach into the sun enough to throw a bloom or two, but it was a sad old thing. And black walnut trees are in the business of poisoning things that try to grow underneath their canopies, so they can find no purchase in my landscape.

Most folks would probably have pulled it out and started with something new. But lilacs are so incredible, can live for well over a century, and are part of what I consider the history of the land upon which we dwell.  My mother would as soon rip out an old lilac bush as she would rip out her toenail.  It’s just a gross and painful thing to endure; why would you do that on purpose? Instead, I cut back dead wood, and have been careful to allow the new branches to grow freely.  This year, there are a handful of buds about to open, and this is a triumph for the Dorkess of Botanica.

Consider the amazing wonder of greenitude that is the unfurling of hostas.  I can gaze at this green and feel my stress level drop, despite a hellish afternoon at work.  If I could just bring my class to my garden, things would be so different.  This would, however, be an unquantifiable, unscorable “different,” and therefore, it would not count.  Wait. Stress level. Greeeeeeeen.

hosta waking up

And THIS green:

View 2013-05-06 16.26.38.jpg in slide show

That is hakenochloa, Japanese forest grass.  And lysimachia nummularia “Aureum”. I’m sorry, but it is. And if you want THAT plant, you have to know that. It also goes by the sweet, old fashioned moniker: Creeping Jenny.  It’s a creeper, can be invasive, so go for the gold kind, because you are never going to get rid of the old school, green one. So you want to plant that next to your mean neighbor’s parking strip or something.  Very passive-aggressive.  If I could plant it in some of my students’ desks, you bet I would. It would reduce their stress, probably.

This baby fern can make me emotional. This is why I am the unchallenged Dorkess.

View 2013-05-06 16.27.29.jpg in slide show

 

 
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