Friday, August 29, 2008

Teaching colors to monkeys

Can it really be that two weeks of school has already slipped behind us?  Well, apparently it has but lousy, someone has surely sped up the clocks lately haven't they?!  I don't even think my crows feet and previously mentioned gray hairs can keep up with this new time pace the world seems to have taken to.  

Now that first week WAS super busy with non stop school related action.  I was up at both the boys schools at different points throughout the week either helping file the massive amounts of registration forms each student turned in at the third through fifth grade building. Or I was busy helping the tiny cuties sharpen their pencils and find their red crayons to color their first of many theme related coloring pages at Dandy's school.  I even sang along in my best school marm voice to the hit song

R-E-D red
R-E-D red
I can spell red.
I can spell red.
Fire trucks are red.
Stop signs are red too.

To tell you the truth, spelling "red" is actually the easiest part of learning to go to kindergarten.  Boy those kids were ca-raze-y!  I just don't know how teachers of first year students handle all of those little bodies going every which way and doing everything BUT spelling or coloring anything resembling red!  

When I arrived in one of the classes after lunch on the first day, I went straight to the class who's teacher had been called away to jury duty for her whole first week of school (Bless her heart).  Now, the sub was doing the best she could (now bless hers) on such short notice, but 23 five year-olds who barely know their own names in a new setting, is hard on even a seasoned prepared teach!

As the kids were supposed to be napping but were instead doing the worm on their mats and scooting from one side of the room to the other with a stream of endless chatter, "Teacher, what's this?!", pointing to a bolt on the chair. "Teacher, when do we get to leave?", "Teacher, my eyes are burning." One child was granted permission to go to the bathroom and I volunteered to escort him there.  Well, that was of course a GREAT way for bored nappers to pass the time, so pretty soon bladders were spontaneously filling and kids were getting up to crowd around their new diversion: Me.  I was starting to get a little nervous at this point because these were not orderly young Vontraps eagerly lining up to their own distinct whistle calls.  No, these were ferrel kinder pupae who at this point all looked EXACTLY the same to me!  I didn't really know how to contain them or keep them straight.  

My concerns became very real to me as I almost immediately lost all eight of them at the end of the hall into a  great sea of classes who's teachers had decided to declare a universal bathroom break and took to the halls by the dozen. 

Neither my little troop nor I knew how to take turns in the mass urination process, so we all just dispersed into different directions, some against walls with other classes to get in line, some went straight in to the toilet area, and some (me) just sort of did a clumsy pirouette as confused new students passed on either side causing me to turn myself round and round straining to see if there were any familiar faces from the short walk from our classroom.  

The teachers of the hallway classes all looked my way with pity and a hint of disgust.  I felt bad because someone's child could have easily gone down the toilet and been roaming the sewers unbeknownst to me and would never get the sheer joy of hearing me sing the R-E-D song later that afternoon.  I really had no clue how to get them all back to the room from which we came.  And neither did they.  

In fact, at the very same time I was losing 6-7 clonelike children (The eighth one I had fully in my sites.), the principal and an assembled posse with walkie-talkies were describing one particular little girl with milk carton concern.  I heard them telling what she was supposedly wearing  and saying things like " "You try the East wing!" and other uncomfortable sentences like "We've got the doors locked down and there's no one on the playground."   Yikes.

I decided that I would just pretend like whatever little children remained after the congestion subsided, would be the group I take back to my assigned classroom. And then, if there seemed to be some discrepancies when each child found his or her desk, we'd go from there.  

It all turned out better than fine because the missing "purple dress with a flower on it" girl actually was sleeping in OUR classroom!  By the time I got in there, someone in the walkie-talkie group was guiding a drowsy Goldilocks  back to her assigned room and  once again all Kindy classes were accounted for.  I was not the only one confused that day.  There are probably more than 13 classes in each grade so this school is always an absolute beehive of activity on the first day of each new year.

The rest of the day we stayed safely in our room singing those perky songs and coloring with fresh new crayons.  It was cute how some of them didn't know which crayon was red even after we learned the song.  Oh what simple beginnings we come from.  

One precious tiny boy, who appeared to mumble quietly in a language I couldn't make out(perhaps Farsi, perhaps English), kept methodically going over to his backpack and loading up all of his supplies.  The sub or I would walk over and say "These stay right here Soandso.  This is YOUR cubby and your crayons will be here for you when you come back tomorrow."  He'd give an unintelligible  but unemotional argument and allow us to escort him back to his desk, only to start the whole cycle over. He must have done that eight or more times in about a two hour period.  It was quite peculiar to me but also so endearing.  Poor little guy probably has to learn English as well as adjusting to a school environment.  

I left school that day feeling like Dandy, with all of his delays and physical challenges, might just pull off this Kindergarten thing.  Of course, that same day, in a room around the corner from ours, some other parent was probably kindly unpacking my boy's bag over and over, pointing him back to his chair.  Only time will tell I suppose.  Happy weekend all!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

WFMW: Always Look Your Sharp(i)est!

(Here again, I thought I'd join in on the handy tip dispensing that goes on over 
at Rocks in My Dryer. My tips aren't necessarily conventional but they do "work-for-me" on Wednesdays and sometimes even on Thursdays too, if I'm lucky.) 

Once when I worked at a dental college in Oklahoma City, I was sitting in the small enclosed front office of our building chatting with the lady working the desk there, when a largish fairly well dressed  woman in her mid-sixties walked in.  As she made her way up to the information desk, my co-worker asked if we could help her. Exasperated, she set her purse on the counter and told us what clinic she needed to find and we, in turn, directed her to the elevator. As she gathered herself up again she said "Well, Ok. You see,  I'm running a little late because I couldn't find my lipstick anywhere and I finally just had to use a magic marker!  

Well, on she went to her appointment, but the lady at the desk and I had a good laugh over that one.  I wasn't sure what natural progression of thought would take one from beauty product to office utensil used as a beauty product.  Until this morning....

THIS morning I completely understood.  I was getting ready and lo and behold  my grays had reached alarming levels in the part of my hair overnight!  This was no time to crack open the Nice-n-Easy box sitting in my cabinet! I didn't have an extra hour to get ready!  I finally just had to use a magic marker! 

So that's what I did.  I pulled out a permanent brown shade that I thought would go best with the copper penny color of my hair, and just went for it.  It worked for me!
And who knows, it might still be there tomorrow  (as I used a permanent Sharpie type marker in case of rain).  It works especially well if your hair is a primary color in the first place.  I don't think I'm quite desperate enough for lip use yet.  Hmm...but that fine tipped black Sharpie might make a snazzy eye liner touch-up for an evening out straight from the office... You did not just hear that from me!   Stay colorful bloggers! 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Giddy as a schoolgirl who skipped out on math class

(Cue: sporty sounding triumphant music)

Decision '08!!! Here on this fateful day, well a few days ago really, in August, my decision regarding THIS particular school year has thus far been made!! 

 Yes, after much mulling over and uber-much transcript scrutiny. I HAVE DECIDED TO RETURN TO SCHOOL. 

 (crowd cheering sounds go up as music dies down) 

What I decided on is a multi-leveled plan including a group of dependent variables that would be allowed to unfold as this great experiment, here on out to be called "The Reschooling of Shan (TRS)", begins...ahem...again.

(cheering sounds now fading into dissappointed sigh)

Right!  So, as I was saying, this plan has several parts to it, therefore allowing me to work on it in sections.  This is helpful for several reasons.  

One being that I can accomplish small goals all along the way and give myself little reassuring pats for each separate goal achieved.  "That a girl Shanny Shan!  Look at YOU!  Who needs a treat?"

A second reason small goals are helpful is that my plan would more easily allow for those pesky little life happenings (i.e. limb breakage, spousal job change, or new fickle fancies that decide to reveal themselves amongst the daily grind). 

(Huh?  Fickle?  She must have said "pickle" because surely she's not bringing back that old excuse.)

And thirdly, if my second reason only counts as one, I'll be able to pause after phase II of my  plan and re-evaluate if more schooling is the goal or if I will be able to work happily with the choices opened up to me from phases I and II.  

(What are these phases and why is she taking so long to get to her point)

And since I just heard "phases mumble mumble long mumble mumble", maybe I should just type out my plan to have as public record.

Phase I-Get school rolling

After having three interesting part-time jobs waved under my nose, I realized something fairly important that I keep forgetting:  Most jobs go through summer and I am not willing to work at something this summer that doesn't further my eventual goal of getting a permanent interesting job.  My kids are small and I want to enjoy summers with them as much as possible.
The next thought was, I might as well be in school.  It would have been good to realize this a drop earlier, however, as the classes I need were full once I was admitted. So algebra and biology are on hold until further notice-Whew, I mean, rats! 

While enrolling and researching the possibility of getting in at the local RN school, I overheard an advisor say that one's chances were slim to none if applying to their Nursing program with anything less than a 4.00.  Now, I'm no dummy.  But I WAS when I racked up around 100 hours of moderate to hideous grades back in the day. And even as much as I have avoided taking statistics, I know there is absolutely no way if I made A's from here on out that my G.P.A. would be anything close to the perfect I need. plan in a nutshell(has she ever seen the actual size of most nutshells?). Get my L.P.N at the tech school.  And then either stop there and work, or take the classes needed for my B.S. in Nursing and go straight into that program.  With my L.P.N. I can somehow bypass all those other smart students and get right into the university's program!  Of course that's a much longer prereq. list but well worth it if I want that elusive R.N. as well as the equally elusive bachelors degree.  

('Course I may be dead or in the circus by then.  Only time will tell.)

Phase I (revised)-get certified in whatever you can.

Ok, the new phase 1 will help me to get into the new program I am wanting to pursue.  I'm relicensing myself as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) at my previous employers office.  He has kindly agreed to order the testing materials for me and proctor my dental test.  I think this will be cake- but I'll study as to not be overly cocky.

Also, I have enrolled in Healthcare providers C.P.R. at the tech school so that I'll also have that up to date.  

Having both of these will give me two points on the admittance form for L.P.N.  The more points you have, the more likely you are to be admitted into the program.  Fortunately I have years of health related experience that count, and and a great highschool GPA.  Points for me!  And I get to count my years of college as well.  Points a plenty there.  
That brings us finally to the next phase.

Phase II- L.P.N. school

This will take about 20-25 hours of class time per week for nine months to 1 year.  Highly doable.  This summer will be a sacrifice toward my end goal so it should be worth it to pay a babysitter while away at school.

Phase III- Decide to keep schooling or start working

 I could do lots of interesting things with this certification including:  Being a school nurse(with summers off and good hours for fam), working in a doctors office(where I can secretly diagnose people all day long), work at the new hospital soon to be built in town.  Lpn's make more than dental assistants. Especially now that there is a nursing shortage.

On the other hand, if I'm still up to it, I could do two more years of Nursing school once I have all my prerequisites out of the way.  An equally daunting and rewarding final step.

So, that's my official plan.  Hopefully I don't just stop once I get my dental license and work again.  But, if we move and I have to work,  I'll be alright with that too because of my "Small Steps to Success(SSS)" experiment, or whatever I was calling it earlier.  

How does this sound to you guys?  You can just say "HORSE HOCKY!" or you can elaborate and tell me what circus to join.  I just like to hear from you! 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My first car

Well, I've done it.  I have used my new scanner for the first time and I didn't even have to break out the manual.  Sure it would have taken less time to get this jazzy little number into the sweet light of current technology, but as Tom Jones (and whoever else) put it, "I DID IT MYYYYY WAY!!!!"  And what we have now is a shining new ability to post pictures of any sort from my piles and piles of unorganized old photos!!

But before you cry out "What small fortune have I just stumbled 
upon?!!" I'll probably not feel like digging through a bunch of 80's pics of non de-script personal nostalgia on a daily basis, so lets just revel in this lone accomplishment together, shall we?  I DO have plans for a hairdo's in history post in the semi-near future so there will be more scans.  This birthday present will not and has not gone to waste no sir-ee!

And now on to the car.  No, not you silly.  ME!  I am seen here proudly perched upon my 1981(?) Chevy Chevette complete with faux luggage rack (no doubt) and powder blue exterior.  This baby went at least 55mph on the highways if you could find the pedal-which was smaller than a pantiliner- and punch it to the floor with steady bug squashing pressure at the ball of your foot.  

Yes, it showed nicely.  Especially when my bff Kim and I parked our Chevettes beside each other or nose to tail in the street.  Her car just happened to look exactly like mine right down to the color.  Well, hers WAS lacking the "for hot looks only" luggage rack.  And she tended to have a nip more punch in her standard transmission, allowing "Skeeter" to be that smidge faster than "Lurky" could manage on the uptake.   

They were truly pals just as Kim and I were and fortunately still are. Our cars had a much shorter friendship due to my early attempts at multi-tasking.  Lurky met his death when I rear ended the car in front of me while driving to school.  It didn't take a real seasoned detective to see who was in the wrong when I was the one with liquid makeup sloshed all over the inside of my front window.  

From that wreck I learned the valuable lesson of always using a cake like base coat or wand of makeup for ease of car application . No messy windshields for me next time!   Uh uhh.

So, there's my entry to the first car challenge set before me by Katie, Dive and Scout. Hope you enjoyed my tale as much as my white socked pose.  Now does anyone else want to dig up a photo or wax on about your first beloved car?  

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tardy school thoughts: My yearly battle

It's time.  It's time for Wall Walker and Orange Fang to file into school whether I like it or not.  Why do I send them when it clearly causes me such pain?  I can't seem to accept that life must go on and it is normal for children to go to school and leave their mother for seven hours every day.  I am such a homeschooler at heart, yet I can't get my brain to board the same line of thinking that my heart is on.
My mind tells me our school system is fine, safe, and plugs away day after day giving our kids the information that they'll need to keep up with their peers.  It also tells me that I COULD teach them myself, but I would probably end up boring them to tears and cause them to resent me for wanting to be a larger part of their daily lives than their friends.  Also I suspect I might not be as patient as I would like to be.  Sometimes I can't handle more than one chirpy noise in my ears at a time. I know I shouldn't even admit that.  But on those days I wonder if I could act like chirpy noises are just that, and not tiny woodpeckers rhythmically  jabbing new contours into the sides of my head, so that I could patiently go on with our lessons.
I also think that I suffer from A.D.D. and couldn't possibly focus long enough to see anything through to its finality.  That is not an option in home schooling because teaching children is not a hobby that I could walk away from in search of a new shiny object to catch my fickle eyes.  It's a way of life.  I would need to take to it with steady diligence and know when to allow myself  a break and when to knuckle down and kick in the afterburners to follow through on a challenging task. 
But my heart.  Oh, my heart!  I have grandiose plans in my head of thrilling the freckles right off my boys faces with exploratory trips to museums and historical sites after having thoroughly studied a subject and  noted their favorite parts.  I can see my blissful self sitting in a field on a blanket, book in hand, while my equally delighted offspring run about exploring the ecosystem to their hearts content.  "MA!" They would exclaim, because suddenly we're living an episode of  'Little House on the Prairie',  "We found a horney toad!"  Then of course I wouldn't run away screaming and flapping my arms, because it's my special vision of the kind of natural learning that I am all about.  Shhhhh...Let me have my moment naysayers!

But that is my problem.  I'm a little all or nothing at times.  I'm pure fun and quick thinking somedays , but I'm sludgeheaded, highly distractible and easily frightened on others.  Just now in fact I forgot where I was going with this whole thing because I stopped to eat a few corn chips.  Pitiful Shans, truly pitiful; but tasty, truly tasty.

{Reflective sigh} And so off they go, first thing in the morning, to sit and (try to) listen to some lady who looks nothing like their mother, but who can probably form complete thoughts in a roomful of activity.  I still don't like it.  They are mine, and much too young to be one of 25 tossed into old cramped rooms filled with hand sanitizer and glue sticks.  What will they possibly do with all of those dadblappity glue sticks anyway? I'm sure it would never match the corn husk crafts and prairie visions swirling around in the perfect school in my mind.  Ah well.  I guess it's time to go get myself a job or do one of those 14 other things I've been thinking about. 
Reality really bites you in the haunch sometimes doesn't it?  YOWZA!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's Friday. Wanna watch a video?

A friend of mine sent this Youtube around the other week, and I still scroll down to it and watch occasionally because it made me 
chuckle so heartily the first time. It would be fun to have the skills to add your own 
sillies to old clips, methinks.

I don't necessarily understand this 
performance style because I am 
just a Rod Stewart knock-off 
wedding singer, but people like Joe 
Cocker and Bruce Springsteen seem 
to have done pretty well for themselves 
with their pained faces and flailing sweaty 
limbs. So who am I to critique?  
John Mayer is a devotee of face pulling 
as well and it doesn't stop Jennifer 
Aniston types from going after him.  
Every jar has a lid I s'pose.  
Ah, but once again I seem to be straying off 
into the Neverlands so I shall be off. 
Have a drug-free weekend everyone!! :D

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Now I lay me down to sleep....

Finally something happened today that I can't blame on "The Diabetus" as we like to call it.   I have been suffering from an inability to blog this week and it's not really even from being too busy or preoccupied.  I simply haven't been able to form sentences.  I'm still struggling with it as I lumber through this post.  And it's a little startling to see myself attempting to explain something in my usual long winded way, but getting nothing useful and erasing time and time again.  

It seems I've been slowly exfixiated (no not exfoliated, spellcheck but thanks for trying to help) by something toxic underneath this room.  It has gotten so bad that last night when a friend was over, she even said it was giving her a headache.  I must admit my lungs feel like they've been chemically burned and my throat has been getting sore as well.  I hope whatever that was has not actually done permanent damage to my grayer than usual brain.  Some days my bulbs are brighter than others so it's hard to tell-durn diabetus.

I started combing the place today in desperation trying to find the source of this ever increasing smell.  It is so chemical, like a bug bomb or I don't know, Agent Orange or something.  It's not an organic smell like dead possum or a misplaced broccoli crown. (Btw, try to keep track of your broccoli.) 
 No, This is skull and bones toxic!  It burns the insides of my throat and makes my brain pulse.  Did I already mention that?  I'm still suffering fume damage you know.  

Jamey went under the house today because the smell had only intensified and I had checked everything I could think of that could possibly be a source up here.  Well, botta bing!  The toxic odor was even worse under there and he found a rusted can that was leaking and fuming like crazy.  YIKES!  How many brain cells and years have I just lost due to that thing? I DONT KNOW I'VE BEEN CHEMICALLY ALTERED!!! Papa, can you hear me?...... 

If THIS turns out to be the cause of my eventual cancer I will be so annoyed.  I had it all planned that I would strictly blame the deadly aspartame/saccharin  combo I've been using in my coffee for years.  But now I just won't know.   I feel like I've been poisoned and the epidermis of my communication center was the first layer burned off.  

My only hope now is that by breathing this toxin for several days, I have begun to develop some sort of super power.  I realize I didn't actually fall into a vat of chemicals but I wouldn't want THAT much of an altering anyway.  Perhaps something more discreet and less angry than green skin or a joker's grin would be nice.  Maybe I'll notice I'm a little more stretchy than usual.  That could help with housework and such. Or, if I'm lucky, I'll  suddenly be able to cook food with my pointed finger.  That might be marketable.  I could be called KeBabs!, or The Human Skewer. This could  surely excite people who watch  the Food network channel.  

More likely I'll suffer lung rot and my power will just be spitting green wads of acid at weeds in my yard or something equally non-heroic.  I'll try to note any new developments and keep you informed of physical alterings.  I did take a pretty long nap today but now that I think about it that's not really newsworthy at all.  

We've got the doors open and other than the throat burning, I think my head is beginning to clear up a little so only time will tell.  This could be the end to my career as a wedding singer. But then again Janis Joplin got a lot of gigs with her rasp so maybe I'll just have to limit myself to Rod Stewart songs and  keep scratchin' it out until all of my friends are happily married.  "Faw  ha hawa eva Young".  

And now all I can do (other than spike and bleach my hair of course) is pray the Lord my soul and lungs to keep another day.  Have a fresh Monday my friends!  XOXO

Friday, August 1, 2008


I've got lots of packing to do today as we are heading out at noon for OKC.  I just wanted to quickly point out my friend Trish's blog so that you could have a little laugh (or sympathetic groan) in Pierce Brosnan's general direction.  She's got a little snippet of him singing with Meryl Streep in Mama Mia that just says it all! 

 This movie was EXTREMELY entertaining but mostly because Meryl and her man crew seemed to be trying way too hard at different points to be "musical".  Meryl sang fine but tended to gesticulate wildly throughout the movie like an overly dramatic teen and it was too much even to be considered "campy".  Oh, she WAS a trooper though.  

I don't even want to get into the others.   You'll see the awkwardness if you want to and hopefully you'll enjoy it to the fullest.  I certainly did!

Speaking of uncomfortable performances, I'm racing out of town to make it to a rehearsal dinner of a friend of mine from the city.  She asked me to SING at her wedding and my heart is beating faster just typing that.  Yikes.  Where did this stage fright come from?  I'm dragging Jamey along to play guitar and sing with me to make it easier, but I'm getting Pierces bulging neck veins already and I haven't even gotten there yet!  It's goint to take some prayer, and then I  need to keep chanting  " It's not about me. It's not about me...." to work out the nerves.  That oughta do 'er!  Now if I can just remember the words....

Ok then, just wanted to check in and say "HI!"  since I haven't been making my rounds very well lately.  Have a great weekend everyone!!