Thursday, April 3, 2014

chipping away

 There's this wonderful red-headed woodpecker at our feeder pretty regularly.  He loves this block of suet, just chips at it all the time with his long beak.  Such a cheerful looking bird against the dreary landscape of late winter. 

What's that?  It's spring, you say?  Not here it isn't. 

I've been reading Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings.  Lovely book.  I'm also reading two novels for this teaching gig, so it's great to just sink into this novel at night and wallow in a couple of short chapters.  It's not the kind of book I feel compelled to race through.  It's written in a leisurely style and I'm chipping away a small section at a time, not devouring it as I am wont to do with a really good book. 

Speaking of chips, I've got a girls' weekend planned and there will be guacamole and chips.  And wine.  And laughter.  Also, I've got a 50 minute deep-tissue massage booked.  I haven't had a proper spa day in years, so I'm very excited.  The down side is that I'll have to start hacking away at the winter growth before I settle into a sauna wearing a swimsuit.

The other down side is that I have the mother of all bruises on my left thigh.  That's a good story.  The English 12 kids are reading Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers, which is about the Vietnam War.  I set up this marvelous simulation for them to go "on patrol" as a squad through the school's lecture hall which I booby-trapped to the hilt.  If they knocked anything over, their squad was blown up by a "land mine."  You have no idea how much fun a bunch of seniors can have moving through a pitch-dark obstacle course of furniture, black thread and paint cans equipped with a single flashlight, a 40 pound radio pack and "guns" (really long boards because even a Nerf gun would raise eyebrows, wouldn't it?).

I patrolled the back of the lecture hall to keep an eye on their progress and call out any dead squads and every time I walked down the row of chairs, I slammed my leg into the armrests.  In the same spot.  Repeatedly.  Now I have this huge purple raised bump on my left thigh and have to tell my masseuse to steer clear of half of a major limb.  Bet I won't get a discount for that, will I?

What a blur this whole working full-time again has become.  I've strategically arranged to work through my lunch at school, so I'm not bringing anything home.  Yet.  I haven't assigned a major writing assignment yet and that will change everything. 

But first, girls' weekend.  Then, the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop with Cha ChaThen I'll bring home student papers to read.  Maybe.

Oh, many of you wondered how I answered the lad with the court-ordered community service.  I gently suggested he leave it off for fear it might come up in an interview and require more explaining than he felt like getting into with a potential employer.  He agreed that he'd prefer not sharing that chapter of his life and would definitely think about other, more positive, experiences he might include on his resume.   It's one thing to do the community service out of a school requirement, quite another to do it as a mandate from a judge.

On a related note, there's a daring duo of twins who earned some community service hours for a April Fools' prank they pulled at school this week.  It involved the roof of the school and a dummy. 

Spill it, reader.  What are you chipping away at in your neck of the woods?


  1. I HATE HATE HATE pranks.

    I chip away at life.... There's always something.

  2. The Sue Monk Kidd book sounds interesting, I await your review. You sound like the teacher I would have liked to have. Sorry you got injured in the line of duty though.

  3. I was chipping away at the week to get to the weekend but now we're almost there...oh dear still just as much to do to get through the weekend!
    The bruise sounds nasty, but enjoy the spa, that's my favourite kind of treat!

  4. Oooh, I am chipping away at my book heap! I also have 'The Invention of Wings' but I haven't started it - I'm too engrossed in 'Kicks Like a Girl', which is the best bubble-bath read these days! The cat sits on the edge of the bath and reads over my shoulder, it's THAT good.

    Also chipping away at Terry Pratchett's series for kids. Max and I finished 'A Hat Full of Sky' the other night and he sighed and said 'Oooohhhhh my God, you forget how just beautiful some books are...' I am lucky to have kids who love books that much.

  5. re: community service and its effect on your life---when we all think back on our youth, mine anyway, how lucky I was never caught at anything...we have to be careful in our judgements I think.... anyway, you are tough, doing the sub teaching thing, indeed....

    1. I agree with you about being lucky, Gary! I did not ask what he did, he did not volunteer it either, but i think this kid will go forward in life just fine having we all do.

  6. You win the prize for The Most Awesome English 12 Teacher Ever, for your inventive activity related to their reading assignment. I'm awarding you a Lavender Heart for your battlefield injury.

    What am I chipping away at? A handwritten to-do list that is a whole page long. I'm half-way done.

  7. I love simulations like that! They get the kids in the mood and help them feel emotionally invested in the stories. My students used to "go into hiding" before reading Lois Lowry's Number the Stars. They loved it.
    Chipping away? Cleaning house, darn it. It's one of my least favorite chores. But since the soil isn't thawing, outdoor tasks are still in the future.

  8. "The down side is that I'll have to start hacking away at the winter growth before I settle into a sauna wearing a swimsuit."

    Hahahahaha! I get that. I've always wanted to go to the Erma Bombeck workshop. Please report.

    Chipping - well, I have the dishwasher half empty. Forgot I was doing that. Does that count?


Spill it, reader.