Archive for July, 2008

Karma and Green Beans

July 27, 2008

I sometimes say in respect to certain things that I have ‘paid my dues’.  I sometimes invoke Karma.  I’m not sure if I’m using any of these phrases properly but what happened this morning tells me that I might.

Today was Green Beans Day #2.  George was in a great mood but – being his usual wiggly self – managed to scutch me at every turn.

Mouth full of green beans –  talk to the cat – green beans on the floor.

Mouth full of green beans – kiss the Lamb Beanie.

Mouth full of green beans – chew on the snoolie (pacifier) – wipe the snoolie all over face.

Mouth full of green beans – hand shoots out to grab spoon.

Mouth full of green beans – chew on his tiny-bit-loose onesie.

If you’re getting the feeling of a bucking bronco then you know how I handled this.

Wipe off his face, snatch away the bowl, exclaim, snap back the spoon before he grabs it, exclaim, wipe off the snoolie, exclaim…all the while still feeding the boy without learning my lesson and thinking “why are you scuthing me this morning?!?”

And then it happened.  Before I had a chance to fill his mouth up again – he sneezed.  And I realized the scutching ain’t so bad.

I paid my dues.  I dodged a bullet.  I garnered some Good Karma.  Whatever.  I ain’t got no green beans on me.


How To books with a first grader

July 18, 2008

During the school year I give my first graders the task of creating their own “How-To” book.  They love book-making and the task analysis really gets them thinking about how things work.  We read lots of “How To” books to prepare for it and have lots of discussions about how they are written.  

I usually steer the topics of their How To books towards something that *can* be broken down into obvious and definite steps.   This is why, when I came upon this title: 

  (It says HOW TO – I fudged the scanning!)

I was a little hesitant about allowing him to continue.  BUT he’s a stinker and I didn’t want to argue with him so I allowed it.  

The following are clips of the planning page we use before we dive into book making.  Usually this is the place where I will say that their topic is too broad (or too narrow) and I try to steer them toward something they can chew on.  The activity is about writing first, task analysis second, choosing a topic notatall.  Please be aware that after the ‘materials’ block there is only room for 5 steps.

It started off okay: 

This is the materials page.  It has a list of all the materials you would need to write.  That big blue thing with the beady eyes is a pencil sharpener.  Spelled : charpener.  Its spelled that way because that is the way he says it.   This kid has a thing for charpeners.  He stole mine.  A nice one.  And he never gave it back.  I’m not dwelling.  Materials page.  Check.

Step one and two.  Okay, I’m not the least bit surprised that he worked in sharpening the pencil as a whole step.  It *does* make sense and did I mention that this kid is obsessed with pencil sharpening?  Ask me how he did on Field Day.  The second step is kind of a cop out.  I shoulda seen the rest coming but when have I been good at signals?

OKay – step three.  Remember – there are only five steps.  There are too many things wrong with this – I just don’t know where to start.  But I’ll tell you that the major problem was accepting the topic in the first place.  After that, I tried so hard to make everything fit after….*sigh* 

So, for one thing – please ignore the tense.  He’s a first grader for Chrissake.  Next, I would have a BIG problem with a How To book that simply states “and then you__”.  HOW?!?  

Steps four and five (may they rest in peace) continued with “and then you write some more” and “and then you write some more”.  I shit you not.  And now you know why they are resting in peace.  

So now we discuss why its important to EXPLAIN how to write.  We reread the How To books we modeled.  We look at my example again.  He reads some of his peers’ work.  He TELLS me how to write and what his plans are…..

….and then he sits there for a REAL LONG TIME doing absolutely nothing.

So again we discuss why its important to EXPLAIN how to write.  We reread the How To books we modeled.  We look at my example again.  He reads some of his peers’ work.  He TELLS me how to write and what his plans are…..

***this goes on a few more times***

Eventually, he’s good and annoyed at me.  Which, in hindsight, is decent payback for stealing my pencil sharpener.  

And he turns out this: 

Although he was never given the chance to finish it (ahem) the fifth panel would have read “and then your charpen it again”, I’m sure.

P.S. My Cat is Dead (Sorry A.S.!)

July 9, 2008
So one of my cats had a very aggressive, cancerous tumor growing on her face.  Her lower jaw, specifically, which made it very hard to biopsy and consequently treat.   Don’t worry, it was the cat that most people don’t even know I have.  The one who hides behind the couch most of her days and when she *does* show herself, it’s usually to hiss at someone or scratch their proffered hand.  That doesn’t mean that *I* didn’t think she was a cuddly kitty.  It took me a long time to come to that conclusion, though.  For a long time *I* was one of the people that she scratched and hissed at!    After much deliberation I finally decided that the poor dear would be better off being put out of her misery.  The surgery was very costly, very invasive and, after all my research, not necessarily a better alternative.  I made the appointment for this past Monday.  This was a very hard thing for me to do – until now I’d been lucky enough to come home and find my sick animals…dead.
The “procedure” went off without a hitch.  I got the cat cuddling and comfortable and purring.  She didn’t flinch a bit when the doctor gave her the syringe.  He checked her vitals and, after spending a few minutes with her in the examination room, I took her home with me to “rest” with the other critters (the neighbors are going to start calling the police if they see us head back there again with a shovel – my husband keeps assuring me that we’re not damaging our [well] water supply….I’m not sure I believe him).   I drove home with her on the front seat with the open end of the carrier facing me, I left her sitting on my front stoop while I ran next door to tell my animal-loving neighbors that the cat has moved on (and grub a cigarette), I put her on the back porch for ten minutes while I waited for my husband to gear up to dig a hole and then another 20 minutes while he dug said hole.  The whole time I could see the kitty in the carrier and I’d glance at her now and then knowing that it was the last time I’d be able to say goodbye….

I’m trying to establish a pattern here.  I spent a lotta time with kitty in between the time that the doctor checked her vitals and offered me his sympathies and the time when I jostled her body to get it out of the carrier and into her finally resting place….

Now, back track for a moment to the second and final ferret who met her demise a few months ago.  She was very, very old and was suffering from a tumor that eventually killed her.  (Do you see a pattern?  Don’t get sick around my house.)   According to my husband, ‘something’ had been digging at her grave.  So when he buried kitty he wanted to make sure that this would be her FINAL resting place, indeed.  She after I somewhat ceremoniously laid kitty in the bottom of the – well – hole, my husband laid a rather large rock on top of her in an effort to deter thieves.

I will try to tell the rest from my husband’s perspective as he retells the events to his brother – on the phone (I embellish but little – never let the truth get I the way of a good story:

George: “So you’re not going to believe this – after I put the rock on the cat, it GROWLED! …Yeah! Growled – like a cat does when you do something that they don’t like…. Yeah – like put a rock on top of them. ..No she didn’t check, but *I* looked for a few minutes and it didn’t move or make any more noises so I finished shoveling dirt on top of it…she *couldn’t* check because she was ten feet away….because when the cat growled she turned around and ran…so *I* bent down and looked but I didn’t see anything so I finished burying the cat…well, when Dawn ran away….yeah, uh huh….but when Dawn ran because she was scared….uh huh….Dawn made me lock all the doors and windows last night….well, when she ran away…I think that I noticed an eye twitch. Like a blink, maybe. Coulda been a fly…or my imagination…Well, when Dawn ran away- –
I’m only a little embarrassed to tell you that the part about locking all the windows and doors was not one of the embellishments. I worried all night about a Zombie Cat coming to exact revenge. S.M. was right – I should have sprung for the extra bucks and had her cremated! That’s what I get for being cheap. Perhaps I should have rigged her grave with a string and a bell.