Saturday, December 22, 2007


Y'all: The best Christmas present came ... Brian's Praxis scores (accompanied by a separate "EXCELLENT" certificate) ... he did so well that they're having to readjust the norms.

Congrats to my roomy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mom, are you happy at me?

I know I have missed a week, but last week I couldn’t write because I was too worried about my six-month dental checkup. Of course I have to go BACK tomorrow, but I was instructed to try out my valium tonight just in case I have an unexpected reaction. I am a pro at pre-dental valium, but still they make me fast and “try it out the night before” each time I go and “bring a driver” and do I “feel comfortable taking valium? Really?”

The short and adamant answer to that question is YES. I feel VERY comfortable taking it.

And isn’t that the point? If I felt UNcomfortable, then it would kind of defeat the purpose, right? I mean, to me, the very definition of UNcomfortable is being anywhere within earshot of a dental drill. Smelling it just about does me in. So taking the valium does take away some –though not all—of the UN. I may take two just to see if it’s like one pill for each letter: the first pill takes away the “u,” so you’re just ncomfortable. But if you take the second, then your just plain old comfortable, no prefix necessary.

However, you didn’t wait two whole weeks just to hear about my bottom left molar did you?

No you didn’t, but just to clarify: It’s not even a cavity. It’s just that my filling is old and it needs some repair work. And at this point, if they told me that I had a strange but harmless fungal rainbow growing in my mouth with a village of microscopic mites living under it, then I would just smile and say, “Here’s $500. Please suck out the fungus and evacuate the mites after I’ve popped some valium and we’ll all be fine.”

Anything to avoid another double decker root canal.

Tonight John and I attended a Christmas party which is an annual celebration of people who USED to work at my school. I am the only one still there! John spent the entire evening chasing Buddy the Poodle and rearranging the ornaments on the tree. They had white carpet. And cranberry juice. Good thing I had that valium.

Well, I gave my last test yesterday, so now I’m in the crunch numbers phase. I have wasted all manner of time and energy creating these fancy Excel gradebooks with if/then equations only to find at the end of my crunching that doling out As and Bs really doesn’t require math. It just requires a quick glance at the pile of holiday and thank you cards (some of which were accompanied by gifts) piling up beside my desk at work. I figure something like this is fair: Cards are worth an extra letter grade up from whatever I think you deserve. Card and gifts are an automatic “B.” If the gift is cute or useful then it’s an “A.”

And just for the record, a 19-inch “Fitz & Floyd” sectioned server with a pig-shaped dip bowl in the middle is not my idea of an “A” gift. A chocolate bar, on the other hand, might be, depending on how big it is, and what quality of chocolate.

Today I got a very interesting and horrendously written email from a (writing) student, which I have pasted below for your perusal (everything has been left intact):

Dear \ Kim

i would like to write this letter without any grammer ,so

i would like to say from student to the best teacher in the world , thank you about all what you did for me for your help ,your pation and your advises.

without you i couldn't reach to this level of writing ,and im sorry because i'm wont see any more because my next classes will be in southeast .

but all of us (Hany, Magdy and I will remember you ).

please when you finish our records seent it to me , because i c an't wait until Dec19,2007
thank you so much .

I hope to see you later .

Good luck with main camps's students .

Bey Bey

That's "bye bye" at the end. He's about two levels below freshman composition. My favorite line is, “without you i couldn’t reach to this level of writing.” That really means a lot despite the fact that (1) he isn’t capitalizing the singular first-person pronoun, (2) he misspelled the word grammar (for crying out loud), and (3) he is using “advice” as a count noun. This student has spent the semester slinking up to my desk after class to ask me what he refers to as “personal” questions. At first I was a little worried to even listen to the questions, but since the first one was about whether or not English has a word for the urine of a pregnant camel, I quickly discovered that “personal” can have a lot of different meanings in various contexts. Apparently, in Somali, there are lots words for various camel parts and occurrences (because, obviously, they have a lot more dealings with camels than we do and thus need a lot more words to describe these various, um, things). Pregnant camel urine has lots of useful functions, so a one-word English gloss would do us all a lot of good, don't you think? Of course.

Anywho …

In Gooseworld, there is lots of news as always. He is feisty as all get out these days … ordering us around, being asked to try it again in a nicer tone, trying again in a fake nice tone, being asked to try yet again, etc. The ugly incidents usually involves orange juice or the TV. Today was a TV OFF day because last night when Brian told him to turn it off and come to dinner, John tried to give him a spanking.

Needless to say, it was not a successful child-to-parent disciplinary interaction. Subsequent screaming and writhing occurred, and the fete finally came to an end 20 minutes later. I had already finished dinner and was cleaning up.

post nap

Then tonight at the party with the white carpet and cranberry juice (and valium) and what have you, he was a perfect angel even though he had lots of cheesecake, a candycane, and two cheese cubes for dinner. I have stopped trying to understand the connection between diet, good/poor disciplinary procedures, TV, sleep, mood, parental attention, personality, and moon phases. Kids are just 100% UNpredictable. And I don’t think even two valium can take away that prefix.

Enjoy the frenzy of the month!

doing homework with dad

p.s. Thanks to Aunt Myrtle for the "Sleepin Snowman" as seen in the first picture above ... as soon as he saw it, he said, "Ooh. A Snowman. Can I sleep with it?"