Sunday, May 31, 2009

R u ok, Volunteering & Dog Poop

Something must be seriously wrong.

Even my husband texted me…

r u ok?

It’s 6 o’clock on a Friday evening, the parking lot is empty except, of course, for my trusty mini-van, and I am just now walking out the door with my bag lady cart stashed with stuff still left undone.

Where in the Sam Hill is everyone else? Oh, yeah, I forgot. They must be out to dinner, or at the movies, or at home…anywhere but here.

r u ok?

Nope, I mutter to myself. Yep, something must be seriously wrong because now I’m talking to myself. OK, OK, OK, so maybe I’ve always talked to myself… but muttering? OK, OK, OK so maybe a bit of muttering here and there. But this latest little episode of being the last one leaving (again) got me to thinking about things. And, OMG, we all know what happens when that happens. Well, I got to thinking about those darn tootin’ things again and decided I really needed to make a list of things to avoid at the end of the school year.

I was going to make a really clever list that said things like “Don’t assign major projects at the end of the year that take a gazillion years to grade,” or perhaps something wise like “Don’t agree to take 20 or so kids to a summer journalism workshop for five days,” or something esoteric like “Don’t eat your body weight in sugar and emergency chocolate,” but that would have been a lot like closing the barn door long after the horse has vamoosed. (Come now, ya gotta love cliches.)

So, no siree, Missy. I don’t have a list for you because quite frankly I kept getting stuck on my Number 1 thing that one should never, ever, ever do…Volunteer for anything.

Yep, in a moment of weakness, flush from the excitement of the state journalism convention and filled with all that pie-in-the-sky-stuff-that-we-all-want-to-do-if-we-only-had-the-time, I actually went to my principal and volunteered.

Let me say that again v-o-l-u-n-t-e-e-r-e-d. Yes, I volunteered to produce a special fish camp newsletter to hand out to freshmen over the summer. What should have been a slam dunk, homerun, easy to assemble deal-e-oh, of course, morphed into a five-alarm-emergency-chocolate extravaganza because some of the kiddos volunteered to help. (There’s that word again–v-o-l-u-n-t-e-e-r-e-d.)

Jeez Louise, I shudder just thinking about that word.

Let me tell you what volunteering gets you. First, it took me a good hour or so to discern exactly what was wrong with the s-l-o-w loading files. Hmmmmm. Guess it had something to do with the larger than life size digital file of one of our assistant principals. I guess the 1.22 gig size should have tipped me off. A quick image size check registered 74 inch tall by 49.333 inches wide. You do the math… Hails bails, the digital photo was more than twice as wide and almost a foot and half taller than the real person.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it took many more hours to convert files, edit and clean up the other stuff my volunteering darlings did. I won’t even mention the other things I somehow v-o-l-u-n-t-e-e-r-e-d to do with only a week left of school and stacks and stacks and stacks of teacher things left undone.

Yep, something must be seriously wrong with me.

r u ok?

Next time I get that overwhelming urge to volunteer for something, I think I’ll call the SPCA. I think they need someone to pick up dog poop.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Carnival of Education--Week 225

The Carnival of Education has been up and running over at Siobhan Curious since Wednesday. Sorry for the late notice. I’ve been so-o-o-o busy. My post “D-Day, Riots & Survival Tips” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here.

But remember, if you want to know what’s up in the EduSphere, then you really must go there. Otherwise, you’ll be a…yep, you guessed it a No Nothing Nincompoop, and we can’t have that, can we?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

D-Day, Riots & Survival Tips

Whew! I survived.

In spite of the one Richie hater.

In spite of my yearbook editor’s absence.

In spite of the near yearbook riot from the kids who returned from the zoo field trip and demanded their yearbooks right then and there.

In spite of the dozen or so books with a torn page 155.

Yep, the distribution of all 1,200 or so 2009 yearbooks in a mere 50 minutes is now one for the memory books. So what better time to jot down a few hints for D-Day (that’s Distribution Day for those of you not in the biz).

Richie’s D-Day Rules

Tip #5… It ain’t no thing…
Before you hand out those yearbooks, have students who are not on the yearbook staff go through the book page by page by page looking for bad things… You know, things like naked people and bad stuff and all those things that belong in the “Things That Will Get You Fired” folder.

Tip #4… Don’t be a Dingaling. Let it ring…
No siree, Missy. Never, ever, ever pick up the phone during D-Day. Let that call go straight into voicemail. Trust me, it is not Ed McMahon calling to say you won the million dollar sweepstakes. Nor is it your superintendent telling you the school board loves you so-o-o-o-o much they’re sending you to the Bahamas. Nope. Instead, embrace technology. Use voicemail. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Tip #3… Controlled Chaos
Be more organized than the King of Organization, Peter Walsh. Become the List Queen. We have a list for everything. A list of people who purchased books, a list of people who still owe money, a list of distribution teams, a color coded map of distribution classrooms, an escape map and hatch…OK, OK, OK, so maybe not that… but perhaps we should.

Tip #2… Kickin’ it…
Take a kickboxing class. Really. I just started taking a class. Who knew hitting stuff could be so much fun? I even bought some fancy schmancy kickboxing gloves. My exercise buddy emailed me afraid I would have to miss our class because of D-Day. I emailed her back saying I planned to go especially because I was handing out yearbooks. I added, “I think I’ll need to hit something. It probably ought to be a bag.”

And Richie’s Number One Tip… Can we have a drum roll pah-leese…
Tip #1…Give ’em an offer, they just gotta refuse…
I always send out a clever little email called, “Ask the Yearbook Diva” containing those frequently asked questions about distribution and yearbooks. This year I ended my FAQs like this… Gotta a problem with the Diva? Call Dr. Al at ext. 1016 and tell him you want to be the yearbook adviser.

Any bets on how many takers there were?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Carnival of Education Is Out!

It’s Woo-hoo Wednesday, and I must say, things are looking good. We’ve got the 1,200+ yearbooks sorted, the school newspapers delivered, and I haven’t died of the ink fumes (yet). Oh, and most importantly, the Education Wonks–home of the Carnival of Education–is back after a somewhat lengthy hiatus, and the Carnival of Education is up and running over there.

My post “Yearbook Panic, Brown Bags & Underwear” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here. Still, if you want to know all the greatness bandying about the EduSphere, then you really must go there. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Lots of great posts to choose from. And hey, while you’re over there, make sure you give Ed a big WELCOME BACK!

And say a little prayer, cross your fingers and your toes and wish me luck. Tomorrow the yearbooks go out to the kiddos.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yearbook Panic, Brown Bags & Underwear

I spent most of the weekend trying not to hyperventilate and trying, rather unsuccessfully, to ignore my annual YBP–as in YearBookPanic.

Forget the Y2K hullabaloo. Never mind the stock market meltdown. And don’t you even worry your pretty head about the Swine Flu Pandemic Panic.

YBP eclipses everything. Nothing–and I do mean nothing–quite sends chills up and down your spine like yearbook delivery time. (I’ve written about it before. Let’s all hope we can go another year yelling, “Not it! Not it! Not it!)

Apparently my sick, twisted friends over at my yearbook reps office didn’t think I was quite jittery and jumpy enough. No siree, Missy. They thought it would be hilarious to send me that CNN link about the girl from Florida who went to school sans underwear, sat in the front row for her club group photograph and now appears to have pulled a Paris Hilton-Britney Spears-Lindsay Lohan shot for all eternity in the 2009 Sickles High School Yearbook (minus, of course, any good fame or fortune).

Mom now wants the school to quit handing out the yearbooks, confiscate the ones already passed out and reprint the entire book minus the offending photograph.

Jeepers Creepers. Someone hand me a brown paper bag. So you can see why I can’t wait until the 1,300 copies of our 2009 yearbook appear at my schoolhouse door. I’m sure there’s a mistake or two somewhere in those 304 pages despite ordering everything checked and rechecked. We do name checks. We do hand gesture checks. We do fact checks. We check, recheck and check again.

But an underwear check? Goodness gracious.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe… Peer Pressure and the Pandemic Panic!

Just in case you didn’t get enough of my stuff, you might want to head on over to BC magazine and check out my post “Peer Pressure and the Pandemic Panic.” It has a nice ring to it, don’t ya think? (And, no, I couldn’t make up this stuff if I tried.) Hey, and while you’re over there, why not post a comment and let me know what you think?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Very Important Blogger Stuff

Please indulge me for just a moment and allow me to pretend that I am a VIB (Very Important Blogger).

This past week or so I’ve had a request to review a book for free, the chance to get some free rock climbing stuff (yeah, as if I can get my backside up a mountain side) in exchange for embedding some advertisement hoopdedo on my blog, and, of course, my personal favorite–you’re a winner on the big Google 500 Thousand British Pounds give away (as if I know how much that is).

But I am somewhat excited about being listed in the… could we pah-leese have little drum roll here…in the Number 11 spot of the “100 Most Inspiring and Innovative Blogs for Educators.” Now if I were a cynic, I would believe that the site that posted this list was appealing to my ego (which we’ve already established is more or less the size of a barn) and was hoping that I was vain enough to mention the list and post the link.

So let’s go over this again…Hmmm…If ego is to barn as vain is to post, then yes siree, Missy, count me in. I’m there. I did it. Go ahead and zip on over there and check out the other blogs. You might find some of them interesting.

In the meantime, maybe I should contact that Newton Brown guy at Google and see about those 500,000 pounds.

As if.

Lines, Graduation & Ninnyhammers

I don’t know how I manage to do it, but I have a knack for getting in the wrong line. Surely, some of you can related to that.

Maybe it’s genetic, or perhaps it’s some undiscovered virus plaguing me, or just a penchant for bad luck. Who knows?

My only consolation is that I know, brothers and sisters, I am not alone.

About a month or so ago, I met a rabbi in the security line queue at Denver International Airport. I guess I had visions of Moses parting the Red Sea and figured it was a safe bet to follow the rabbi into his security line. But the very nano-second Mr. Rabbi and I arrived in our line (you know, the line that originally was moving rather speedy quick), it came to an abrupt and grinding halt.

The rabbi just looked at me and rather apologetically said, “I always get in the slowest line—even at the grocery store.”

Jeez Louise, who would have thought that? So much for my Moses and Red Sea vision.

Now, I probably wouldn’t care very much about this little problem of mine except it has managed to spill over into other areas of my life. Somehow I’ve become a magnet for annoying people. And not just a tiny little magnet either. No siree, Missy, we’re talkin’ the magnetic power of the superconducting supercolliding type--except mine’s not broken.

I’m not exactly sure when all that happened, but the entire magnet theory became especially relevant this weekend when my husband and I attended our eldest child’s graduation ceremony at Texas Tech University. It was such a great Mother’s Day gift to watch our daughter graduate magna cum laude. (Woo-hoo!)

A friend of my daughter’s joined us to witness the two and half hour ceremony. As he got himself situated, he told me he had stuffed an air horn down his boot. Most of you probably know that such nonsense is banned from these kinds of ceremonies because air horns tend to take away from the dignity of the event. In fact, at my school's graduation (as well as at other high schools across our great land) teachers are assigned to confiscate such offending noise makers, and in some cases, sometimes even flag down police officers to escort the offenders out. (I know all this because such is my usual job assignment at graduation. See how lucky I am?)

So when Christopher told me about the air horn stashed down his boot, I told him I would smack him upside his little pointy head if he used it because after spending thousands and thousands of dollars on my daughter’s education, I did not intend to be tossed unceremoniously out of graduation. Although he looked somewhat crestfallen, he promised not to. (I think I might have thrown in a threat involving his liver and nose, too.)

Things (there are those darn tootin’ things again) were rockin’ along pretty well, but you know they always do at first.

Well, as I said, things were rockin’ along pretty well. We were seated in the perfect section directly above where our daughter would be sitting. Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes fame gave the commencement speech, and I loved it (and not just because I am a journalist). In fact, I enjoyed all the pomp and circumstance.

What I didn’t enjoy were the poops and ninnyhammers

The row behind us consisted of a really annoying man who pretended to talk in an announcer voice and who repeatedly kicked the back of my husband’s chair. Then, of course, there was the 3-to 4-year-old girl who did stuff and said stuff that only families find cute, but everyone else on the planet finds, well, rather annoying and disruptive.

I thought we were safe once that row vacated after their graduate received his diploma. Sadly, they were merely replaced by another group jockeying for a better position who talked about restaurants, directions and their jobs all in rather loud voices.

As if that weren’t enough (and don’t ya think that should have been?), let’s not forget about the preteen boy who pumped up the volume on his cell phone so he could hear some rather bad music about two hours into the ceremony.

I looked at the rows away from me, and no one else seemed to have such problems. For a brief moment, I looked around for that rabbi in hopes that perhaps he was somewhere there, and we could commiserate about the poopheads and ninnyhammers.

But sadly, I was very alone in all this. Either the other rows paid these guys to move closer to me, or apparently the poops and ninnyhammers just naturally gravitated towards my row because of that superconducting supercolliding magnet thing.

Now, if only I had been thinking clearly, I should have grabbed that air horn from Chris’ boot and given those poops a toot or two.

Except with my luck, the usher would have kicked me out, and then I’d have lots of explaining to do.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Hideeho friends...
Normally you would find a new post here (because after all, it's Sunday). Sadly, I am off taking care of family business and do not have regular access to the internet, and quite frankly, I have zippo time to write something witty or clever or insightful. (OK, so maybe I'm not that insightful, but I do hope you think I'm a smidge clever.)

So pah-leese, check back later in the week or next weekend.