Current/Recent Reading List

26 June 2008

Top 12 Things Actually Overheard On the Yearbook Camp Trip to the Beach

Here's a fun game. See if you can guess which of these was said by students, by Wyfe, by the Boy, and by me. Fortunately, none of them were spoken by a policeman or a hotel authority.

(By the way, here's more can't miss reading on this epic foray to Atlantic Beach, NC from Wyfe herself ).

Anyway, on to the list:

12. She couldn't find her survey form because it was under her pile of dirty bras and t-shirts.

11. If you actually try to dine-and-dash, I'll hunt you down, kill you with a blunt instrument, and bury you in a shallow grave.

10. Look, this one's not my fault; the freakin' Google Map directions say "TURN RIGHT". See that - "TURN RIGHT!"

9. Really? You're from Korea? So do you speak, like, Korean?

8. Last I saw, she was sprawled out on the floor in the hallway talking on her iPhone.

7. Mr. P, will you figure out who's room you can move me into? I'm not comfortable being in there with those two girls; they're in that cheerleader clique.

6. Are you o.k., Mr. P.? I've never seen you look so tired.


4. NO! I don't want any teenagers to sit in the back seat with me! They might have on their bikinis and stuff! Yuck!

3. But they told me on the phone their average meal price was $12.00.

2. Well, I haven't actually asked my mom if that's o.k., but I know she would say "yes".

And... (drumroll, please)

1. Mr. P., why do you have such a scowl on your face?

22 June 2008

Off Again

This time it's the yearbook workshop trip to the beach for two days. Among our merry band will be Wyfe and child, 14 teenagers, and a couple of other adult chaperones (thankfully). Should prove to be fodder, I hope, for some amusing tales, and nothing more than that (he prays!). Talk at you when we return.

20 June 2008

The Boston Marathon, Vacation Style

Well, at least we felt like we'd run the marathon by the time we got home Tuesday morning.

Yes, that's the Tuesday morning following the Monday night we were supposed to return. That night we boarded our plane only to be promptly informed that due to east coast storms we were to be delayed at least an hour. After that hour passed, we heard some relatively optimistic mumblings from the captain, and began rolling down the runway. Eventually we were in the on-deck circle, when we were informed that a storm was right over Boston, and that if we couldn't take off within the next 20 minutes we would have to return to the gate because the first officer's mandatory quittin' time (FAA rules) was upon us. So, we returned to the airport, while Wyfe and I tried to console our sobbing six year-old, and after another hour or so we were informed that more storms had popped up, and the flight was canceled. After about 6 hours of sleep in the hotel they put us up at, we were back on board early the following morning, and I'm happy to say made it back fine. But patience, individual and collective, was sorely tried.

The time in Boston itself was much fun - we just missed out on the basketball celebration, which was probably fortuitous, though I sort of wanted to see the pandemonium from the safety of our hotel room. Speaking of the hotel, we were right on the harbor, across the street from Quincy Market, and adjacent to North End, with it's 90 Italian restaurants. In other words, a great location, which explains the cost (we were only paying one night's worth out of our pockets, since this was a work-related trip for Wyfe). The aforementioned six year-old adjusted quite nicely, and was content to do a lot of walking and exploring, though we threw a horse ride, an aquarium visit, and a children's museum foray into the mix.

Back to the North End for a minute. I'm an absolute nut for Italian food (any region, frankly), so we ate there for dinner both nights. Wyfe and I were there for a brief visit nine years ago, and just picked a restaurant from a hat and tried it - it was great, but we couldn't remember the name of it all these years later. Well, after walking around Saturday we passed what looked like the same place, and determined it had to be. So, on Sunday we ate there (the Piccola Venezia), and left the place so stuffed we could barely breathe. I checked with the waiter, and sure enough they were there and in business back then, and he could very well have been our waiter, since he worked there too. It was great fun, and the food was both tremendous in taste and quantity. The heaping helping of eggplant rollatini with linguini and sauce would explain the smile below:

It was my third time in Boston, and there are still whole sections of the city I've never seen. The only other major, major cities I've been to are London, Philly, Atlanta, and D.C. (which is borderline on the major scale). I love Boston, but will admit I find Philly a little more hometownish for some reason, though I grasp Boston's geography more easily.

In all cases, though, I'm afraid the stereotypical country boy comes out in me after a while. Them cities is nice places to visit and all, but I shore wouldn't want to live there, as they say (and you know who they are)! It's great fun to be able to walk a short ways to get anything you need, but a couple of days pass, and I begin to tire of buildings and bridges and large bodies of water always looming before, above, or around me. Some of the very facets of the city that seem most attractive at first - the hum of cars and crowds, the constant events, the buzz of busy-ness and things always in the process of becoming - are also what eventually repulse me or leave me feeling just a tad lonely, even in the midst of so many people. There, my friends, you have the inherent tension of many an American novel. But I'll leave that to the professionals!

13 June 2008

Don't Blink

That is the title of the ubiquitous Kenny Chesney song being heard at many, many graduations, class awards programs, senior breakfasts, baccalaureate services, etc. this year. It's really hokey and cliched and full of too many drums and hard-edged guitar riffs to qualify as real country music, or really as even a good song. And yet, I heard it three times yesterday in the course of graduation goings-on, and tears welled up every time. My God, what will I be like the day my own son graduates? Probably a total mess.

Anyway, zee school year, it eez finished, and the family is headed to Boston tomorrow for a quick little vacation trip. Upon my return, I will write a mostly comprehensive reflection on the 07/08 days of yore, but until then how about a little quiz?

Let's set this up by proposing that at a school filled with teachers who hold multiple degrees, and filled with a sizable population of well-to-do students, the level of crazy and bizarre behaviors or happenings would not be expected to reach the levels I experienced in my old poorer, rural school district which the Wyfe used to declare was cursed. Now that we've accepted that proposal, here's the quiz:

Which of the following happened over the last 15-20 school days at my humble place of occupation:

A) A teacher became the center of everyone's attention because of amassing evidence that she's been carrying on with a 16 year-old sophomore (a jerk, too, who I taught this year). Administrators began asking other teachers for official affidavits regarding the matter.

B) A screaming match between certain English teachers over the direction of the senior project over the next few years.

C) A bad teacher, who is pregnant, accidentally checked a "resignation" box on a form, instead of "leave-of-absence", and no one told her (purposely) about the mistake until it was too late.

D) A young teacher discovered e-mails and phone calls from her husband to another woman and learned that he was indeed cheating on her. She filed for legal separation immediately.

E) A student and his mom laughed together as I told them over the phone that he wouldn't pass English and would have to go to summer school. "Oh, I know!" they both said.

F) A middle-aged Spanish teacher and a poorly dressed biology teacher almost got into fisticuffs prior to graduation ceremonies when the latter heard the former complain loudly about how undignified her attire was for the occasion. A sherriff's deputy posted at their station had to keep the uh, ladies, separated until they cooled down.

G) One of Mr. P's yearbook and English students, 16 years-old, had to have open heart surgery today because her bone structure was going to lead to her sternum crushing her heart (she is petite and in good health otherwise, by the way).

H) An allegedly roid-using senior stormed off the field at graduation practice because the principal had the nerve to pull him aside and speak to him about the Blue Tooth in his ear and the pimp strut he was doing across the stage.

I) All of the above.

I won't patronize you by actually telling you the correct answer. So much for my Wyfe's theory, though I suspect her next one will involve pointing out that I'm the common denominator. Sigh.

07 June 2008

One... Week...To....Go...

losing consciousness... must reach Bat Utility Belt...

Oh, hi. Yes, I'm still kicking around, though I'm doing so with much guilt over the lack of blogging. Just gotta tell you folks, the last couple of months (school, weekend workshops, t-ball and softball) have left me drained of, well, most everything, including time and motivation for blogging. I don't even know where to begin, but I want to get back into a more regular groove now that blessed summer is almost here. Actually, along the east coast it seems to already be more than here, what with the 100 degree heat and all. That, plus the gas prices, make me wonder just how much I should be excited about summer break, but I'll choose to ignore the ominous warnings for now.

Here is a quick update. Last Sunday afternoon I went down and saw the Baccalaureate service for the senior class at my old school, which was well worth it. Everyone was so welcoming and so, well, the same! In some cases, I guess, a few months don't make a huge difference

Thursday night should be my last official day of the school year, with graduation ceremonies that night. It appears we will not be in for any major cool-down by then, so cross your fingers that we won't have a phalanx of ambulances set up to ferry heat stroke victims to the hospital.

After that, my son and I will be tagging along with Wyfe to Boston next Saturday - she has a conference on Monday. Our hotel location, right on the "Hah-buh", can't be beat, and expect us to spend lots of time (especially meal time) among the rows of Italian restaurants on the north end. Too bad the Red Sox are out of town, but we will also be hitting the famous aquarium and some of the Freedom Trail.

In the meantime, I'll try to get back into writing mode with a few odds and ends. Hope I still have some readers out there!