Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Teach your children well...

Conversation between teacher (me) and 2 students today in Earth Science class:

Teacher: Who can remember the names of the moons of Mars?
Student 1 (frantically waving hand): Fabio and Deimos!!
Teacher (trying not to pee pants): Not Fabio! He's the guy who got hit in the face by a goose on the roller coaster at Busch Gardens.
Student 2: Did he really get hit in the face by a goose?
Teacher: Yep
Student 2 (shaking head dolefully): That's gotta suck...

Will they remember the real name of Mars' other moon? Not in a million years.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, and I know where some birdies is...

A few weeks ago, some wrens built this nest in a discarded car trash can in our garage. For several days, the two birds flew out of the garage each morning as I raised the door to leave for work, and came back every evening. After a week or so, I noticed there were 4-5 little eggs in the nest.

Nature is wonderful, but what this means is that our cars have bird shit on them every morning. The daddy bird hangs out on the garage door mechanism on the ceiling - right over our cars. He leaves gifts for us.

Meanwhile, the momma bird has settled in on the eggs. She leaves each morning as I start my car (the nest is right in front of where I park) and comes back whenever the garage door opens again. She's there every afternoon when I get home from work.

Mom worries that one day we'll get all our signals crossed, and lock the momma bird in or out. She tries to schedule our going and coming to accommodate the bird.

Should get really interesting when the eggs hatch. To be continued...

4/29 The eggs hatched yesterday.

5/2/09 - As I was leaving this morning, momma was bringing in breakfast. She froze when I was in the garage, trying to be invisible, so I was able to get a picture of her.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

owen and newt, newt and owen

You see these two guys? I think they look alike. The one on the right is Newt Gingrich. The man on the left is Owen Gingerich. Yep - he has an extra 'e' in his last name.

Here's the story: Last week, we were watching a Bill Nye the Science Guy video on the solar system in Earth Science. Owen was the resident expert on the ancient models of the solar system, and was trying to get Bill to read Babylonian. Good times. While the video was playing, I kept thinking, "God, this guy looks familiar." Then, his name flashed on the bottom of the screen. Leah (the other teacher in the room) and I both said, at the same time, "Wonder if he's related to Newt?" The kids think we're crazy, anyway, so they paid no attention to us.

During my Channel One class, I looked up Owen on Google. This is where I found out about the extra 'e' in the name. Then, I found out that Newt is not really a Gingrich, but a McPherson by birth. So, fail - not related. During our joint planning time, Leah told me she did the very same thing during her Channel One. We. are. total. nerds.

But we do find out stuff.

And now I'm wondering if, perhaps, Newt is related to my brother-in-law?

Yoga pants and sports bras

One of my chores today was to take a trip to Target (pronounced, as everyone knows, Tar-jay) and pick up the things on mom's list. I can't go in Target and just buy what's on a list - don't know why - just can't.

After getting everything on the list, I browsed through the clothing department, just in case there was something I could not live without. Over by the lingerie (I guess that's what you would call it at Target) a guy was wandering around, looking a little panicked. As I walked by, he said "I can't find anyone who works here, so can I ask you a question?" "Sure" I said. He held up a couple pair of yoga pants, then said "I'm trying to find the sports bras. Do you know where they are? If my wife is a 38 D, would she wear the same size in a sports bra?" I assured him that would probably be a good bet, and directed him where I thought the sports bras should be. A few seconds later, I heard, "Eureka! Found 'em!" Meanwhile, I looked through some camis, and wandered around a little. From behind me I heard, "Not to be creepy or anything, but these bras don't seem to have the letters behind the size. Would a 38 fit just about anyone if it has this stretchy material?" I turned around to see the guy holding up a black bra. Now, despite his assertion to the contrary, this felt a little creepy. He proceeded to tell me that he was just trying to do his wife a favor, so she wouldn't have to go out tomorrow to find a sports bra (?) I told him to go for it - but keep his receipt. He held up the yoga pants and said, " She wears petite medium, hope these are OK." I told him I hoped so, too. He sprinted off, waving the exerware, yelling "Gotta run!"

OK - couple questions:
1) Ken has never, to my knowledge, even thought about buying me any type of bra. Why would he? Would I want him to?
2) Why can't his guy's wife wife buy her own stuff? If she is disabled in some way, why does she need yoga pants and a sports bra?
3) Maybe the stuff was really for the guy? He looked a little like a 38 D, and he wasn't very tall - sorta petite, medium-sized
4) Why did I spend money in Target on crap I don't really need?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hitler's socks and other interesting stuff

This might be a long post - it's been a strange week, so far.

I co-teach a class in Ecology. It's filled with 11th and 12th-graders who would rather be somewhere else. It is not an SOL class, so is deemed less important than other science classes. I'm currently presenting information on renewable and nonrenewable forms of energy. (BTW - Happy Earth Day!) I digress...
In planning for this subject, I found out that our media specialist lived in Kiev in 1986, and had family/parents who lived in Chernobyl! Holy Can-You-Come-Speak-to-My-Class?!? She came in and told the students about how she was helping her mom plant potatoes in Chernobyl the day AFTER the accident while she was pregnant, and how nobody was told anything official for 4 days. Crazy! She and her family (including the 'rents) moved to America in 1990. Everyone in that family (including the child born after the accident) have some kind of cancer/blindness/illness directly attributed to the radiation. Pretty intense stuff, and fairly random to find someone in central VA who lived through this accident.

OK. On Saturday, a group of us from school went to check out the planetarium at a local university. We are nerds. Anyway, on the ride there I was telling the other teachers about the randomness that is our media specialist. One of my friends says, "Get this! I was talking with the grandmother of my neighbor, complimenting her on her knitting skills, when she told me she learned how to knit as a girl when she was forced to knit socks for Hitler's army." !!!! Not only that- the woman came to the US after the war as an orphan. Both her parents were killed when the Russian Army came through their town, and she has horrible scars from a grenade on both legs. Again - randomness in central Virginia!

And, oh - one more story from this week:
One of the students in my Ecology class has been out for several days. We heard through the grapevine that her father died. Very sad. There's more...
Seems this young lady's family moved to Las Vegas when she was 11 years old. Her parents gave her permission to spend the summer with a friend, here in central VA, while they got settled in Nevada. Over that summer, the parents moved - left no forwarding address! (Tell the truth - how many parents have threatened that? I know I have!) She ended up staying with her friend's family, while people tried to locate her parents. After 2 years, the parents were found - and they gave up their parental rights. WHAT? Who does that? She was adopted by the friends, and stayed in VA. Evidently, last week her biological dad passed away, and she's in Nevada for the funeral. Question for you -- would you attend this funeral in the same situation? I can't say that I would...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

George Washington slept here...

For a change, I wore my hair like this to work today:
As she walked past me in the hall (where I was doing my requisite hall duty between classes), one of my students said "Wow, Mrs. Lowe - from down the hall, I thought you were George Washington!"

Evidently, it doesn't pay to take hair risks in Stanardsville, VA

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Break -- out

Tomorrow is the last day of my Spring Break. A week ago, I had all sorts of plans and a 'To Do' list. Today, I can't even find the list. I always do this to myself - try to rearrange and reorganize my life in the space of 7-10 days. It never happens, don't know why I try.

What did I accomplish? I did get lots of rest (and I needed it), and I caught up on all my laundry. I read 2 books, and got a manicure/pedicure. Ken and I bought a new lawnmower, and I watched Ken use it. I'll get to use it, soon enough, when he's out of town and the grass is ankle-high. In the meantime, I'll let him have his fun.

I started a new online class last Tuesday, and this time I only have 7 students. I start another one on Tuesday, and there are only 4 students on the roster. Grading will be fairly stress-free, methinks. I have one more scheduled for May, and I think I might take a break for the summer. While I enjoy the extra money, I'm getting tired of teaching the classes. I think it shows in my interaction with the students - I'm starting to sound canned, even to myself.

Anyway, it's back to school on Tuesday. By my reckoning, I have 7 1/2 more weeks of school. Of those 7.5 weeks, I have 2 weeks with four workdays, one week with a Friday 1:00 dismissal, and 7 Mondays. Should I count up the days? Oh, what the hell... 41 school days left.

OK - I feel better about going back to work now. I can do 41 days standing on my head. After all, I've already done 139!