The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Being Thankful

        This has been a rough week for us. My school is in Ferguson. And even though horrible things are happening, there are some uplifting things happening as well.
         Tuesday morning, after a night of looting and many fires and total destruction of some businesses, I drove through to check on a particular restaurant. Cathy' Kitchen was started by Cathy and Jerome Jenkins. It has the best fish tacos in town, and their apple pie makes me (a hater of apple pie) smile and purr when I eat it. Cathy and Jerome spent months renovating it (the décor and the menu have a Route 66 theme), eventually expanding  to serving breakfast along with lunch and dinner, and have been doing well.

         However, they are located right next to the Ferguson Police. This was a place where large groups of people congregated--and not all of them were peaceful.

          What happened to their restaurant--when some angry protesters threatened to destroy it--is miraculous. Here's a link to the CNN article (and I think the video is there as well)  Cathy and Jerome Jenkins

        Today I am giving thanks for my family and my friends. I'm hoping my sister-in-law, who is in the hospital, recovers quickly and completely. And on a lighter note (although it will probably end up being a heavier note), I hope I can display a bit of restraint when it comes to the mashed potatoes, the homemade gravy and the pie.

       Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a wonderful day today... and keep peace in your thoughts.

Monday, November 24, 2014

This School is On Fire...and How My Chickens Never Did Hatch

      On Friday I almost set my school on fire. For the last week, I had been storing a few pencils in the microwave in my classroom. Before you call me "crazy," I did have a semi-logical reason for it.  Our pencils are communal, and my students have been going through 913 sharpened pencils every day.  A week ago, when I was collecting pencils at the end of the day, a student had 3 pencils in their desk instead of the normal 1. When they claimed the two extra pencils were from home--all three were different brands--I explained that pencils are always sold in multi-pencil packs, so if they would bring the "matching" pencils from home, I would gladly return the pencils to them. They never did, and the incident was forgotten...and so were the pencils. In the microwave.

      Flying into my classroom on Friday morning, the only thing was on my brain was a whole bunch of popcorn I had to microwave for the two 3rd grade classes...and it needed to be done by 10, so I was in a hurry. Shoving the first bag in, I started to sharpen the first of 913 pencils when I smelled something burning.

      It's only been a minute. That popcorn can't be burning already.

       I looked through the door, and saw a fire--a real fire--going on in my microwave. All trace of the pencils (with those accompanying pesky metal ends) were gone. I carefully carried the glass plate--the plate holding the bonfire--into the teachers' lounge (it's thankfully right next to my classroom) so I could immerse the whole mess in the sink. As I transported the pyromaniac's paradise along the hall, only one fiery bit floated up into air but I was fell down onto the floor instead of igniting something on a bulletin board. All of the teachers in my building are desperate for a day off, but igniting the school? Not the best way to get a break...

      So that's lesson # 1 for you. Don't microwave pencils. They don't end up being a tasty treat. But there's more in store from Sioux's School today. Here comes lesson # 2 ladled onto your plate:

       Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Let me go back a couple of weeks.

       Getting to school extra early one morning, I checked my email. The Chicken Soup people were wondering if I would be interested in going to New York. To be on the Dr. Oz show. The taping would be done on December 4--prime time for craziness when it comes to elementary school kids. Someone--Chicken Soup or Dr. Oz--would pick up the transportation and hotel bill. Was I interested? If I was, I should let them know and they would put me in touch with the PR people.

       I most definitely was interested...

       The horse donkey was out of the barn at that point--too late to rein her in. By the time the PR department emailed me late in the afternoon, I had told a few colleagues at work, my principal, my husband and my sister. My husband galloped out of the barn, too, prancing around the pasture with the news.

        The cavorting ended when the reins were pulled back with firm, reasonable hands. Things were still in the preliminary stages... The PR rep would need a head shot from me, and I'd have to interview over the phone. Then they would relay the information to Dr. Oz's production people, who would then make a decision.

          At that point, I figured it was not going to work out favorably for me. But I tried my hardest and hoped for the best.

          A head shot? Yikes. They were probably trying to ensure I was not a Cyclops...I'd have to turn my head to make it appear I had two eyes. An interview? Shudder. What were they looking for?

        For the last week and a half I sat on pins and needles. Late Friday afternoon (the same day as the fire, by the way) I got the news. Unless someone breaks both their legs and develops a horribly disfiguring--but curable--disease, they probably would not have a need for me. (Look for a show that features some of the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel authors sometime in December. If I find out the exact air date, I'll include it in a post.)

       For the few hours when I thought a trip to New York was a sure thing, this is what was happening:

  • Yahoo! I was going to get my hair and make-up done by a TV stylist. Oh, I know, panel guests probably don't get that kind of star treatment, but once they got one look at me, a dozen make-over experts would converge, create a plan, and work furiously to make me semi-presentable.

  • Since bundt cake is not allowed on Dr. Oz's show, I'd probably get fitted with a foundation garment, too. I'm way past the muffin-top. It's a full-blown bundt cake now...

  •   I was going to get a change of pace--a day or two off work!

         And that's your bonus lessons today. Fantasizing--even if it's fleeting--is a good thing and prepare for the worst, so if it's good news, you're pleasantly surprised.