fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

EOG's Test... Knowledge?

It's EOG (End of Grade) testing time again. Boy are those tests grueling. But I don't think the tests were quite as bad for the kids.

This year's test results were phenomenal! In the classroom that I proctored, we recorded no less than 73 yawns, 16 audible snores and only one seemingly self-induced coma. While we're not exactly allowed to talk about the test, I can tell you that it's a lot different from when I was in the fifth grade.

When I was that age, we called the tests... Never mind. I won't print that. However, the teachers and administrators called them the CAT's, otherwise known as the California Achievement Test.

Thinking back on those tests, I have since discovered why they were called the CAT's. First, I think I read that the questions were created by some free-spirit from California who was probably smoking crack. Second, the rows of "bubbles" to fill in were so incredibly long, you felt you'd actually achieved something by making it through the test without passing out. This is especially true if you made it all the way to the end of the test before "time's up! Pencils down," was yelled. I never did.

And third, it seemed like they only tested one's ability to read and answer questions quickly, but not necessarily accurately.

I actually remember the teachers telling me (many decades ago!) that the CAT's will reflect the sum of our knowledge we have gained throughout the school year. Judging from my own personal math portion of the test, my knowledge may not have been added correctly.

Also, judging from my incredible ability to mentally freeze up under a test with a timed deadline, it's a miracle I even got halfway through the test before the teacher yelled her announcement, "time's up! Pencils down!"

I'm glad to report that I'm still alive and kicking. And those CAT's didn't mentally damage me... Too badly, anyway. And, perhaps, there's a free-spirited Californian on crack who has summed up all the knowledge I gained in school. I hope to meet him one day so I can find out what I learned.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Field Trips, or Crazy Meets Insane

It was about time to let the inmates out of the asylum, so to speak. Or, in plain English, we finally took the first-graders on another field trip. That poor strawberry farm never knew what hit it!

We visited that same strawberry farm last year. Now THAT was interesting!

Last year, one child asked about the giant dogs by the side of the road. They were goats. Another refused to pick the strawberries. He was really worried about the bugs hidden under the leaves. They might be deadly, after all.

Considering that and other things that happened the previous year, this last field trip dropped considerably low on the weirdness scale.

This time we lost two kids. No worries, though. We replaced them with two red, juicy strawberry monsters. We teachers were hopeful the two giant, walking strawberries were our missing kids.

The only other major snafu involved bathroom doors. In other words, the bathrooms at our lunch destination were locked tighter than Fort Knox!

"Mr. Haworth," came the cries. "I can't hold it!" "Why is it locked?" "Can I go in the woods?" "Can you break the door open, Mr. Haworth?" "Why don't YOU unlock it Mr. Haworth?!"

If I had a key, I would have opened the door. That would have been the only thing that could have stopped the miniature dancing flash mob that was taking place just outside those locked restroom doors.

There were other incidents that aren't even worth mentioning here. However, suffice it to say, this teachers assistant is field tripped out until next year! Ciao!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

To Mom. Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Sunday, May 12, 2013. Today is, obviously, a very special day. Today is the day dedicated to mothers the world over for having to put up with kids like me who will, ultimately, turn into outstanding adults like me.

For this oh-so special day, this post is dedicated to and about the poor, unsuspecting woman who unwittingly brought me into this world!

Mom, thank you for saving me from those killer bannister bars. Those things hated me and trapped my young head at least... Well, numbers are irrelevant. Thanks for freeing me!

Even though I didn't believe you at the time, thanks for using nonpoisonous mushrooms in all your recipes. I still question, though, the number of recipes that really call for fungi as an ingredient.

There was a time, some decades ago, that I wished I was an only child. Regardless, thanks, Mom, for my two sisters. They taught me that life is not always fair. Through them, I discovered that allies and alibis mean the same thing. They also taught me that leaving the toilet seat up can be really painful.

A heartfelt thank you is also in order for your touching sense of humor. I've laughed many times over your humorous suggestions to give me up for adoption or sell me to the circus when I decided to shave my head myself. I didn't get your humor at that age and thought you were serious! Ha ha!

I suppose I should also thank you for the small messes I made that you cleaned up. There were a few little blood splatters from my skateboarding phase. Perhaps there were a few from my stuntman phase, too. And the bike-turned-flyer incident. And, perhaps, just a few other small mishaps.

On top of all that, you managed to keep your cool despite the crazy phone calls. I only hope you realize now that the neighbors were merely exaggerating. None of the streaking, fireworks explosions or "go-cart accidents" were reported accurately.

So, Mom, a great big happy Mother's Day to you! I hope it's an awesome one! And you know that dent in your car? Not my fault, but we can chat about that later.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring Diet Trials

Spring is a time for cleaning, flowers (and pollen!), soccer and new diets. Especially diets! I'm currently in the process of transforming my six-pack abs into ripped, buff abs. So far, so good.

I've begun work on some new dieting ideas. I'm also trying to work out the kinks in some previously attempted diets.

Today I started Phillip's Mix It Diet. Here is what happened. For lunch I had a non-fat vanilla yoghurt. However, since it was teacher appreciation day, I ended up with a largish pack of peanut M&M's. The end result was that I mixed the two.

It's kind of a mathematical equation, so to speak. The reciprocal qualities of each cancels each other out, or, in plain English, the good effects of each cancels out the bad effects of the other, and vice versus. In a way, it's like you're not even eating anything!

I finally gave up on the greens diet. Man cannot live by collard greens alone. And, besides, some serious flatulence is a most unattractive by-product of this particular diet.

I'm still perfecting the formula for the freeze pop diet. My newest innovation there is breaking them up to use as fun ice in your favorite drink. However, they don't taste right in milk, tea or water. Besides, they're just too fun to eat.

My newest idea is a low fat or no fat diet. I've discovered there are many foods that actually have no fat in them! Swedish Fish are fat free. Marshmallows are fat free. So are gummi bears, peppermint patties and jelly beans! This may be easier than I thought.

A good friend of mine suggested juicing. She did well with it, so I may just give it a try myself. The hardest thing about it, though, is what I'm supposed to turn into juice. I can't think of many fruits or vegetables I actually like to eat. The ones I do like to eat should be healthy just to eat, right? Will juicing them make them tastier?

So naturally I began looking at those things that might be tastier to juice like candy corn, circus peanuts or jelly beans. Milkshakes are already kind of juicy. I am still trying to figure out how juicing these items actually makes them healthier for you...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Good Behavior Has Its Perks

I've often wondered what I'd do
if I ran the classroom...
Well, today's the day! I'm a sub!
I'll make those kids' brains bloom!

When they came in quietly,
it was obvious to see
that, already, these young children
were all enamored with me.

I greeted students. I smiled at Jeeter.
I know how this works.
"Please sit and behave," I told them nicely.
"Good behavior has its perks!"

The first assignment for today?
"Let's see how well you write!"
But later, as I walked the desks,
I spied gleaming pages of white.

"My pencil's broke!" "My elbow hurts!"
"Hey! Jeeter took my pencil!"
How much trouble would there be
if Jeeter's head should meet a stencil?

I shook it off and told myself,
'I'm the teacher. I'm in charge.
I think I could be just as good
as their teacher, Miss LeBarge!'

We transitioned oh so smoothly
into guided reading,
until I noticed Jeeter was gone
and Brianna's arm was bleeding!

As I began to really panic,
full-blown stress took over.
I stopped the bleeding and Jeeter
came back, thanks to Mrs. Clover!

It took all of specials and recess
to pull myself together.
And then I noticed Cindy's gone!
Is she testing? Did I forget her?

Have I mentioned that Jeeter's gone nuts
as we tried to coast into math?
I'd have preferred some literature
like teacher's "Grapes of Wrath."

Then we eased uneasily into
something called 'team time,'
which I affectionately refer to
as the final downhill climb!

Now Carmella's locked in the bathroom
and Jeeter's screaming on the rug.
All I can do is heave a sigh
and reach for my travel mug.

Water?! Oh, Lord, please help me!
Make something stronger in my cup.
As the day's end slowly approaches,
I yell, "Jeeter! Just shut up!"