Thursday, May 23, 2013
One of the little girls doesn't think rules apply to her. She does not listen to directions, she talks out, and she is the one who played me a few weeks back. The children were doing a worksheet for reading comprehension. They were to read the story, read the questions, and write answers in complete sentences. She had no answers in a complete sentence. (The class had done the first question together.) The first question was Who was our first president? Her answer was George. She threw a dramatic crying temper tantrum when I erased every answer and said do it over. Daddy is one of our good volunteers and she was playing to him. He wisely watched from a distance. She got up to go to him and I made her sit down. Great drama was performed over not listening to or reading the directions. Then Ms. H got on her case too. The sad thing, she could have done the page easily, just didn't.
Ms. H was later called out of the class room. A special reading teacher, Ms. S, and I were left in charge. All the children had work to do and were told no talking, no one get up, finish the workbook pages. Ms. H was not out of sight and they all went nuts on us. Under desks, talking across the room. I told them to sit down and be quiet or they would stay in at recess, It continued. Ms.S told them to quiet down. A half minute of calm and then again with the noise and being out of their chairs. The third time I told they had now lost part of their recess. Ms. H returned and blew a gasket.
It was recess time, Ms. H had yard duty, and left. The whole class had to put their heads down and stay in 3 minutes, an eternity to a first grader. I set my timer and said I would put push start when every head was down. Anytime a head came up after start, I would add a minute. There was a lesson to be taught here, cause and effect. It took about 2 minutes before I could hit start, and then heads came up and chairs were rocking, I added time. When I finally let them out for recess they had missed over half of it.
The lesson really wasn't learned. The noise and breaking of rules continued. Who knows why the children were acting out. We are getting close to the end of school. That is when the children turn on you.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Right now I am ticked off at me. I nearly always wear an apron when cooking and eating at home. I am just a little messy. Well today, while wearing white, I forgot to wear an apron. The juicy tomato on my sandwich dripped down the front of my shirt. I am now trying to salvage my shirt so I can wear it tonight.
We have neighbors who have a deep sense of entitlement. No more than two cars per apartment is the rule. They have three that they just park where they want, behind their other cars, in front of their apartment which makes it hard to get through the cars to our space. Their guests park in illegal spots too.
Neighbors who put their trash in our cans rile me. I am not just talking about the apartment complex people, the property next door has two houses and only have one set of cans. So when their cans are full they put their trash in the cans in our complex. We take it out of ours and put it on top of their cans. Even if we have room, I don't want their garbage. Most of these people don't separate compost, recycle, or landfill. If it is wrong, the garbage company could give us grief.
And speaking of the garbage company, why do they start at 5:00 in the morning? Why can't I ever live where there is an afternoon pickup? Why every Tuesday do I have to be awakened at 5:00 hearing them go up the other side of the street and just as I fall asleep again, they come down our side.
My biggest pet peeve, incorrect grammar usage by people who should know better. You would think to be a TV or print reporter the correct use of the English language would be a requirement. I know grammar is still taught. We teach our first graders contractions, possessive, verb and pronoun tense, how to write a complete sentence. The reporters have no idea of what pronoun to use. Last night a reporter said, "Them and her went to . . ." In print your and you're, they're their and there are used incorrectly. I want to get a big red pencil and go mark up what they have written. I have just about given up on the correct usage of can and may.
I grew up in mountains of Kentucky and trust me they taught English. From day one in the first grade you were corrected if you spoke or wrote incorrectly. And this teaching went on until you graduated from high school. I am betting 90% of the people in my high school class still could conjugate verbs and know which contractions or pronouns to use. Because if they use them incorrectly they know Mrs. Riddell and Mrs. Pope will rise from their graves and make them do it over and over until they get it right.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
For workshop the whole class was doing picture writing. They chose a picture taken at an event, glued it to the paper, and then wrote about the specific picture or the event in general. This time they were doing a follow up on a visit from Ranger James. This took place in January 30, so some details were a little fuzzy for all of us. I got my phone and pulled up my blog post to help. Was it a gecko, a salamander, or a newt Ms. H held? It was a live newt.
We all remembered the Ranger blindfolded Ms. H and had her identify objects by touch and asking yes and no questions. I told the children I would have thrown the live newt and run screaming from the room. They all thought that was funny.
I was walking around helping where needed and saw my picture on one of the papers. N had written: Ms. Appel would have thrown the newt. She would have run away screaming. Ms. Appel thinks she is preshcious. I asked him what that meant and he said, "You said you're precious." I have no idea what I said to have him come up with precious. It is his story so I left and moved on to the next child.
posted by Precious Ms. Appel
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
This morning I was checking Facebook before I left for Kaiser School. One of my friends from my hometown had posted a recipe. There was a big picture and then the recipe under. It was banana pudding. I could taste it, smell, almost chew it. It was in the room. I shared it so the recipe would be saved on my wall. Later tonight I will do a copy/paste to my recipe file.
When I saw the picture I flashed back to picnics of my early childhood. Mother was not real interested in cooking, but some things she cooked were outstanding. Her high points were chuck roast the best in the world, great potato salad, pimento cheese, white fruit cake cookies (soaked in rum), and banana pudding. At pot lucks and family reunions she brought potato salad or banana pudding, sometimes both.
We had lots of picnics at Levi Jackson State Park. They had swings, see-saws, tables, grills, and Shelter Houses. The Shelter Houses had huge fireplaces on either end and lots and lots of picnic tables. if it was pouring rain as it does lots of the time in the South, you sat in the Shelter House and ate good food. You roasted marshmallows on sticks in the fireplace. Sometimes we even cooked our hot dogs on a stick all by our selves. I have great memories of being pushed in the swings, playing hide and seek in the woods. And we always stopped at the grist mill which is still working after 200 years. And ghoulish children that we were, we would reenact the Indian attack. Some would hide and the Indians would look for us. But they always had to not find three of us.
Why is banana pudding so strong a trigger you ask? Bananas were a food we could not buy every day. Bananas had to be brought inland seasonally from a port on the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico. There was not much commerce between the Tropics and the mountains of Kentucky. My little town of less than 5000 people had bananas in the stores, but it was a big deal. Bananas were nectar of the gods to me. And to have a whole banana of my own, no sharing with rotten little brother, or eating the part with the brown spots my big sister wouldn’t eat, heaven. We are talking the 1940s and 50s. Not much fresh food after Labor Day. Canned fruit and vegetables only. But sometimes someone (usually my Uncle Fessor) would drive a truck to Georgia or Florida and load up fruit in the middle of winter. And then we would have banana pudding out of season. It was a special food, you couldn’t just decide you wanted it.
Mother fixed it and we would be given dessert if we ate those awful canned vegetables. The next morning we would have banana on our cereal.
I can still see Levi Jackson, see my friends, taste the awful sulfur water. It was the best picnic place ever!
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I went out to talk to to the couple. The couple was Japanese and the groom did all the talking while she looked to him for a translation. That is never a good sign. I told the groom he mustn't talk, she had to answer my questions. I asked her what was her birth name, blank stare. What was your name before you married? Is Worth your married name? No answer and then very broken English that I could not understand. I asked if she could understand what I was saying, blank stare. The groom says she has a problem with English. He said Worth was not her birth name. I told him we had to correct the license. Then I explained if she could not understand me I legally could not marry them. I told him it was for her protection.
I talked to F and she was bent out of joint. She didn't want to correct the license, and the bride spoke English. We have no Japanese translator so we would have to credit their credit cards. Not a happy clerk. I went to get the lead clerk Y to do the refund.
About 5 minutes later Y says, "She speaks pretty good English and if you aren't comfortable doing the ceremony someone else will do it." I agreed to do the ceremony, not understanding why the groom said she had a problem with English.
The bride and groom explained they only speak Japanese at home and it takes a while to totally switch to English. The bride said she just got nervous and couldn't think of any words. We laughed and I tried to make them comfortable. They both relaxed and I did the marriage ceremony. The groom asked if we really have men bring in non English speaking brides and we have to refuse to do the ceremony. Yes, yes we do. More than you would think.
I think the bride thought I was going to make her take an English test before they could marry. I feel bad that I might have scared her. I thought I was being nice and professional. Maybe I need to work on professional being a little softer.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Wednesday the Bay Area was in the middle of a heat wave. Even San Francisco and Oakland were in the 90s. Because they rarely are that hot the air conditioning doesn't seem to understand it has to crank up and fight to keep the buildings cool. The Marriage Factory was warm on the first floor. The Wedding Room was hot hot hot. That room is usually 69 or 70 degrees. It is kept cooler than the rest of the building because nervous couples feel the heat more. A cool room will help them stay calm and maybe keep them from passing out.
Wednesday I was warned the room was hot, from the setting and from the two sides of the room being glass. The blinds were pulled but the room was 5 degrees higher than usual and climbing. Maintenance had been called to lower the setting, they never showed.
As you all know, I do not do heat. There's an old saying that horses sweat, men perspire, women glow. I don't glow, I sweat. Not a nice feeling when you are dressed up in your big girl clothes. So how did the heat affect the wedding couples? A little bit. But I was the one literally mopping my brow.
One bride was really really nervous. The wedding party and I got on the elevator and then three other people got on. One was "boss" L from upstairs. They were all carrying plates of food. Boss L congratulated the couple and asked how they were doing. The bride said she was so nervous and she was really hungry. L offered her his plate of untouched food. She declined but seemed touched he would offer it. I thought it was a sweet move.
After the ceremony I apologized for the hot room. The bride laughed and said she thought it was just her and her nerves.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
First we really like this apartment. It is the top floor of a Victorian that has lots of charm. It is light filled because of 8 foot tall windows. The rooms are large and there is, for an apartment, some storage, cause we got stuff. We are happy here. The landlord lets us drive nails in the walls and hang pictures and shelves. He let us put a storage shed on the property. We feel at home.
Of course we miss a house. We could paint walls lovely colors. Our houses had more room, more storage, Air Conditioning, a washer and a dryer, better kitchens, professional stoves. Did I mention I miss the AC? It is bloody hot today, 90 right now. And I don't do heat well.
Back to other things. Living this close to the downstairs couple is not as intimate as we were with the neighbors in Rockridge. We were urban there, we could hears their twin babies scream all day and night, with the windows closed. And we could hear their doorbell and phone sometimes.
Owning a house means you fix it. You get on the tall ladders and change the porch light bulbs that are sky high. The sink leaks here, the landlord handles it. Leaky faucets, landlord's problem. Need new window screens, again the landlord handles it. All that is a nice thing. At our age we don't need to climb ladders, or crawl under sinks.
There is a convenience to being renters. You have a lovely home but someone else has all the responsibility. Right now renting is the best thing for us. Maybe we will buy again, but we better win the lottery to pay people to pack us and move us. I am sure our friends and son will not move us again.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013
The first thing I noticed was that the bride was born in 1939, the groom in 1955. Now I am not one to care about age differences, but this couple just seemed off. Very rushed and impatient. No love in the room. They were in traditional Indian dress. The bride wore teal pants and a burgundy embroidered tunic.She had a 10 foot scarf of variegated colors wrapped around her neck. She had on several gold necklaces and bracelets.
This is rude, but true. The bride looked like a cow chewing a cud. She wasn't just chewing gum, she was working it to death.
She was not rude to me, but sure was to her witness. She handed him a digital camera and he couldn't figure it out. She fussed at him, kept showing him, and he kept hitting the off button instead of the shutter button. She was blessing him out in their native tongue. Finally to speed things up, I took the camera and showed him the the green off button, and said, "Do not touch this." She showed him again and again with some yelling, and I realized part of the problem. She was showing how to set the timer for a delayed picture. He wasn't waiting for the count down to take the next picture. I did not even try to show them how to bypass the timer.
As I did the ceremony they just seemed bored and impatient with the time it took. Yet when the ceremony was over they suddenly got all tender and sweet to each other.
We never know how people are going to act/react.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
As the ducklings became larger, they were placed outside in a large covered pen with water and food. (weekends Ms. H took them home with her) They would visit the classroom some days and some days the class went outside to watch and feed the ducklings. Tuesday was the last day the ducklings were at school. They were being moved back to the home of the mother duck.
The ducklings look yellow in some of the pictures. They are closer to white now, especially the larger one. I cut off the heads of the children on purpose. Not cool to post pictures of children without the parents’ consent.
Ms. H put a big tarp down, a pan of water, and then turned the ducklings loose. The children had chard they tore into small pieces and then threw on the tarp for the ducklings. Amazingly the ducklings stayed on the tarp. They seem to like people.
They are just a little silly, they swim where they drink.
This picture is truer to their color. Notice their tiny wings. They are Pekin ducks, raised for meat and eggs, not for flying. And yes, the children were told this.
The story I read to the class was a classic, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck. Again in the middle of reading the book, the same little girl was pulled away to go to a special class. She did not want to leave. I promised her I would read her the rest of the story when she returned. And I did.
I have a picture update of our globes. Slow process you may think. But they were really really wet with glue and must be bone dry to paint.
As you can see, the painting has begun. Some are only partially painted. Some of the children have been out sick. By next week we should have the continents on the globes. I hope the globes don’t go home before you see the finished product.