Thursday, November 20, 2008

The halfway mark

I typed a bit more. Checked. 187 left to go. A few more minutes of typing. Some dialogue. Checked again. 25,013 words. I instantly threw my hands up in the air, like I had just made a half-court shot in basketball. I made it tonight! I am halfway there. Only twenty-five thousand more words left to write.

Yesterday I told you the girl, Hollis, and the guy were going to get piercings, and then I might have them go to McDonald's and place a super long order to use up lots of words. Well, they got pierced but never went to the golden arches. This is what happened tonight: I was in a big rut because I had no idea what to write about, (well, I did, but it was just filler stuff), so then I made Hollis and the guy play Fugitive with a group of friends. In case you didn't know, Fugitive is when a group of people go on foot and they have a destination to get to without getting caught. Then there is a group of people in a car riding around trying to find them. I used my own Fugitive playing experience while writing, and I got super creative and even had the destination spot be Burgerville, and the dilemma be that they had to cross Main Street to get there. Where do I come up with these ideas, I know. After they got there, they placed a (reasonably sized) order and sat down to eat burgers and fries. It was after Hollis dipped her fry in ketchup that I hit 25,00 words. Now, I realize it took me over half a month to write 25000 words, and that I have a fraction more than a week left to write another 25000, but I have gotten this far.

Now, a bit more about burgers. The students at school are doing this fundraiser selling cookie dough and pies, and if they sell X amount of items, they get a certain prize. There is this pamphlet of prizes, and I took one from a kid and was looking at it. If a child sells 40 items, they get a hamburger phone! Like the one on Juno! I totally want it, but I am not a 4th grader and thus do not get to participate. And even if I did, we all know what would happen. I'd sell like 5 pies and then end up buying 35 buckets of cookie dough myself just so I could get the hamburger phone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sorry, I'm on my hamburger phone

I just found out some exciting news that brightened my boring day. I was reading Samantha's blog and she mentioned that The Bachelor starts in January. I don't have TV, so I haven't seen any previews, so of course I had to google it and see who the bachelor would be. I wanted it to be Jason, the guy I was rooting for in The Bachelorette. He was in the final two, down on one knee to propose, and DeAnna broke his heart. And guess what. HE IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT BACHELOR! I will get to watch him in every episode now. Just when I thought I'd never watch that stupid show again, ABC sucked me in.

Now for the finale to my boring day (minus the part where a kid got hit in the head with a Webster's dictionary), I'm going to do laundry.

Oh, and I need to write two-thousand words before I go to sleep. And this blog doesn't count. Here's what's going to happen in the next scene I'm going to write: the protagonist and the drug addict (but no one knows he's an addict yet) are going to go get piercings during Christmas break. They have already played a horse racing game on the Wii (hey, don't judge, I needed more words and I used dialogue there), and the protagonist has already hurled three insults at the addict. In case you were wondering what they are going to get pierced, he's going to get a lip ring and she....well, I haven't decided if she's going to get a piercing or not. Then maybe they will go to McDonald's and place a very long order so that I can use dialogue and use up a lot of words. Sounds boring but I have had a lot of fun writing it so far since this girl is really edgy and the guy is really clever and together they make you wish you had more pages to read because it's funny.

P.S. Sorry the word choice and sentence structure of this blog was such CRAP, but I am saving my intelligent words for the novel I haven't written.

P.S.S I guess I will have to write about the namesake of this blog tomorrow, because it's already 7:52 and I haven't done laundry or written 2,000 words.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Class Photo Special!

I was going to give you a real treat (or horror, depending on how you look at it). I was going to post a photo that was taken during 8th grade and I was also going to post my first teacher classroom photo. I was a bit apprehensive about posting the 8th grade shot because of the following reasons: braces with missing teeth, 70% hair taking up the space, acne, dumb necklace. But I figured for your entertainment, I would post it, if only to show you how much I have improved over the years. I went digging in my photo box, and it was then that I remembered.

I shredded all the left over 8th grade class pictures. Yes, I still have one in a scrapbook, but it is at my parents' house. So I am sorry (you should actually be grateful), but you will not get to see a photo of me in said awkward adolescent pose.

Instead, let's talk about this picture:
The pose was a bit goofy because the photographer made me lean my elbow on one of my knees. It wasn't my choice. But the hair's pretty good, right? And no braces. No visible acne. I think it turned out all right. It's the photo that is going to haunt 27 children for the rest of their lives, because my face will be stuck on their 4th grade classroom picture.

Here is another photo I would like to talk about: The day I got my nameplate (approximately three weeks ago), I felt pretty legit. It is hanging on the wall outside of my door. My name is engraved on a piece of plastic, a sign that I am a real teacher. I have to say, I started off the beginning of the year kind of jealous because all of the other teachers already had their nameplates. (Danny, if you are reading this--which you said you always do, but I'm not sure if I believe you--the woman who used to teach in my classroom was named T. Lehman. Any relation? I hope not, because she had a very poor taste in wall color (not shown here). If, by chance, she is an aunt, and if, by chance, you hate visiting her house, I can understand why. And I feel bad for your eyes.) But now I have an engraved nameplate and children take me more seriously because of it.

Here is the last photo I would like to mention:

Mmmmm. I miss LOST.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My 100th Blog

What a great announcement for my 100th blog. Complete victory. I made it past twenty thousand words this weekend. As in 20,000 words. As in, I now have 43 pages typed single space, in size 12 font. As in, I MADE IT. Well, for my weekend goal, anyway. I still have 30 thousand words left to write to win for NaNoWriMo. But you have no idea how hard it was this weekend. I kept updating my word count on my profile, watching that little blue bar move up. I thought I would stop at fifteen thousand, but then I was like, why not go for it? Get to 20. I might not have any lesson plans for tomorrow, and I never did my laundry, but I have 20,418 words. Such torture it was, but I think I got some really good scenes out of it.

For those of you who are coming into this late, I am attempting to write an entire novel during the month of November. Me and thousands of other people.

There is a countdown on the NaNoWriMo homepage. As of now, 14 days, 3 hours, and 45 minutes until the deadline. It's enough to make you go crazy.

P.S. Look for tomorrow's blog. I got my class picture back! Haha!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hot Tub Poker

It’s Friday night. My sister, Jess, is supposed to take me to dinner to celebrate my birthday. I get to her house, look at her veil and wedding shoes, and we talk about where we should go.
“I can’t decide between Panda Express or IHOP,” I tell her.
“Ooooh, pancakes!” she exclaims.
“But the thing is, if we go to Panda, then I won’t feel like I have to eat everything and I can just take the leftovers home. If we go to IHOP, then I’ll have hot pancakes and they will get soggy if I save them, so I will feel like I have to eat everything, and then I’ll just be fat, with no leftovers.”
She somehow convinces me to go to IHOP, even though I like fried rice better than waffles. We get in her car, go about four blocks, and then she swerves into the driveway of Taco Bell.
“I said I wanted waffles, not tacos.”
“I know, but I have to mail these.” She points to the big mail truck stopped near the parking lot of Taco Bell.
“You just saw a mail truck, so you decided to pull over and give him your letters?”
“No, there’s a blue drop off box.” Which is true, but it is currently being blocked by the mail truck since he is picking up the mail. My sister gets out of the car, runs up to the side of the mail truck because it is about to pull away, and says, “Hey, do you have room for a few more?” From my position in the passenger seat of the car I can see the mailman’s eyebrows furrow. He takes the letters. My sister gets back in the car.
“You just handed your wedding invitations to the man driving away in a mail truck. Why didn’t you just put them in the box by your house?”
“Because this box gets picked up at 5:30, and the one by my house doesn’t get picked up till 2:30.”
I point to the clock in her car. It’s 5:47. “But Jess, it’s past 5:30. If you had put those invitations in the blue drop off box, they wouldn’t have gotten picked up till 5:30 tomorrow. If you had put them in the mail box by your house, they would’ve gotten picked up at 2:30.”
“I know, that’s why I wanted to take them here.”
I am utterly confused. “2:30 comes before 5:30. If you wanted to get them in the mail sooner, you should have put them in by your house.”
“But I didn’t. I mailed them here, and they already got picked up.”
“Because you gave them to the MAIL TRUCK! Did you know the mail truck was going to be here? If we had stopped just one minute later, you would’ve put the invitations in the blue box, and they would’ve gotten picked up at 5:30, instead of 2:30 if you had put them in the box at your house.” She makes no sense sometimes. “The ONLY reason they are in the mail now is because you caught the mailman in his mail truck as he was driving away.”
“ I know. I don’t like walking to the mail box by my house. The neighbors look at me.” So the truth comes out. I give up, and sit quietly until we get to IHOP.

The hour spent at IHOP was incredibly funny, but I’m not going to write about all of it. These are the important parts: I go to the bathroom and when I come back, Jess is on the phone. After I sit down, I ask her, “Is that my fake brother?” She nods and tells Travis what I said. He says something about me being his imaginary sister. Without talking to each other, we both tell Jess something along the lines of “We’ll just pretend like the other person doesn’t exist.”
When choosing off of the menu, we notice some holiday pancakes with red and green sprinkles. This causes us to invent “Party Pancakes,” which are like funfetti cake. You would mix sprinkles in the batter so that they are all polka-dotty, and then you put whip cream and more sprinkles on top. Yum, right?
I leave some of my pancakes on my plate, because I could not fit them in my stomach. Our waitress comes back to see if we were done, and my sister surprises me by pointing to the sad looking eggs and mushed pancake on my plate and saying “Could we get a box, I think I could feed that to a critter.” The waitress nods, a bit confused, then leaves.
“Feed it to a critter?” I ask.
“Yeah, my dog would like that.”
“You’re going to get a to go box for your dog?”
“Yes,” she says, like that’s normal. I pester her about it some more.
“A lot of people get to go boxes for their dogs. At work, I have people ask me all the time to box up the fat from their steak to take home.”
“You have people ask you to wrap up the fat from their food so they can take it home?” I cannot believe this. Such things I never knew.
What happens is, we wait for a long time for a box that never arrives. I get impatient and we go to pay, leaving the disgusting remains of my eggs and pancakes on the table, denying “a critter” of a tasty morsel.

We leave IHOP and go back to Jess’s house to go in the hot tub. We put on our swimsuits. It’s incredibly cold both in her house and outside, so I change in the bathroom then zip my coat up on over my swimsuit. I go to the kitchen and look out the window to watch Jess get the hot tub ready. When I know I cannot possibly stall any longer, I run outside in my coat and flip flops. I take off my coat and start to get in the hot tub, but as soon as I stick a toe in, I am conflicted. The contrast between the heat and the cold makes my foot seem as though it is on fire.
“It’ll sting a little at first, then it’s fine.”
“AAAHHHH. UAHHHHH.” I scream. Eventually I suffer and get all the way in. After about five minutes we settle in to play cards, because Jess has waterproof playing cards. I watch as she lays out atop the water a sheet of pink bubble wrap . It’s going to act as our floating card table. She shuffles the cards underwater, and then I deal them out so we can play Screw Your Neighbor. I win. Next we play Egyptian Rat Screw, or Rats Crew, depending on who you are. I win at that, too. Jess whines because she always loses.
“Hey, if you want to come up with the game to play, just tell me. But you don’t know any games.” She tries to construct a house of cards on the floating bubble wrap.
“Let’s make up a game,” she says, so she shuffles the cards underwater again and deals them out. “It’ll be like Indian Poker.” It takes some working out to decide how to play since we don’t have chips, but in the end we decide that you can bet your cards, and whoever collects the most cards wins.
We hold the wet cards up to our foreheads, then find that they will stick there. She never seems to have a card lower than a 6. I always have 3s or 5s. At first, I always make the initial bet, but then I decide maybe I can figure out what my card is my gauging the reaction on her face. She bets first from then on, and seems to win a lot.
“Don’t you feel like we’re in some sort of tribal ritual?” I ask. Because we’ve got these peacock type cards stuck to our foreheads, we’re sitting in steaming water in the dark of night, and this light from the hot tub is shining up from the floor.
“Ooooh, oooh, eee ha ha, ooooh oooh, eee ha ha,” I imitate from that scene in Finding Nemo where the fish in the tank initiate Nemo into their little club. We keep playing, and then I seem to run out of cards. Jess still has a stack.
“Hey, where’d my chips go?” I look around on the bubble wrap table. I look in the water to see if they’d sunk.
Jess says to me, very gravely, “Jo, you haven’t won any.” It’s the funniest line of the entire night. As soon as she says it, we burst into silent laughter. We’re laughing so hard we’re not making a sound. I clutch my side and move to the edge of the hot tub to breathe. I look over at her. She’s dying. Eventually we calm down.
“Seriously, I didn’t know I hadn’t won even one time until you said that. I seriously thought I had some chips.” I was having so much fun that I was oblivious to the fact that I was losing. Yeah, I knew she had better cards than me, but I thought I had won a hand at least a few times.
To start on a more even playing ground, we decide to divide the cards out equally so we get the same amount of Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, tens, and so on. We play a game of Go Fish to sort the cards. I win with 14 pairs. Then we separate the cards, saying, “pick up a pair of twos, pick up a pair of threes, and so on.”
“We’re being incredibly methodical, here,” I say to her. She laughs. “No really, we are exhibiting higher level thinking.” I say this because I’m thinking of my 4th grade students and how they don’t seem to have a pattern or a plan when solving math problems.
We shuffle our pairs, then continue playing Indian Poker. Halfway through the came we notice two dark figures come out of the house next to us. They go to their truck, which is parked in a way so that when the headlights turn on, they will shine right on us, like critters about to become road kill.
“Hide! Hide!” my sister says. She sinks low into the hot tub. The engine has revyed up. Where am I supposed to go? It’s a hot tub. I don’t want to get my head wet, so I’m not going to go underwater. Desperately, I flatten my body against one of the sides and turn my head so my face is away from the truck. The headlights turn on. It’s like there is a spot light directly on the hot tub.
“This is awkward,” I whisper. It takes about two minutes for the person to drive off. “Geez,” I say when they’re gone, “What if you and your boyfriend were having a make out session? No privacy there.”
We reposition the floating coffee table and continue playing. The most amazing thing happens, because I WIN THE GAME OF INDIAN POKER! I splash up out of the water, stand on the highest level of the hot tub, hold my arms up in the air, and yell “I WON!” It is a triumphant moment. I wish you could have been there to see me.
We stayed in the hot tub for about another 40 minutes, talking about random things. I decided that Jess and I will jointly hold a “Party Pancake Poker Soak” in which we will prepare pancakes with brightly colored sprinkles and whip cream for dinner, then we will get in the hot tub and play card games. Anybody reading this right now is invited, unless your name is Melvin or you have a burly amount of chest hair. I don’t know when such a glorious night will once again be held, but you should start to be like me and keep your swimsuit/trunks in a bag in the back of your car so you can do things on a moment’s notice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fantastic Experience for $31.96

I got my bridesmaid dress fitted today. It's going to cost an additional 35 bucks just because I'm not seven feet tall. But whatever. While the Ukrainian seamstress was poking pins in the hemline, I thought about the fact that my sister is going to commit her life to one person in less than 25 days. Commit her entire life. But I've never committed myself to anyone, so maybe it's easier than I think.

After getting my dress measured, I went to Rite Aid to pick up some drugs. The experience was more, yet still less, than I had imagined. My total came to $31.96. The cashier scanned my debit card, bagged my goods, then said "have a good night." After $31.96, you'd think she could be nice and say "I hope you feel better." I mean, the sniffling was apparent.

And okay, maybe $16.99 of my total was for my new pink hair dryer, but still. I bought three different kinds of medicine. Let me get on a tangent for a moment, but then we are going to get back to the pharmacy experience. Tangent: I absolutely hate blow drying my hair. I almost never actually dry my entire head. My arm gets too tired. I have too much hair. When I was in junior high, my friend Melissa and I did a report on sea otters. One astounding fact that I still remember today is that sea otters have one million hairs per square inch. I think my head is like that. I cannot possibly sacrifice the hour that it takes to blow dry all of my hair. Usually I give up after the first eight minutes and say "good enough," even though the under layers are still wet. Off tangent.

While buying my three types of medicine and pink hair dryer, and while observing the actions of the drug store cashier, I decided it would be exceedingly surreal to be a Rite Aid employee for a week. I would love it. I could wear the blue cotton vest and plastic nametag, super matte foundation, pink pearl lipstick, and blue eyeshadow. I could develop people's pictures, restock the Depends, sweep the floor, and scan customer purchases.

Imagine the people that would come in. The white haired granny buying stocking stuffers for her grandchildren, the mortified middle school girl buying tampons, the elementary school kids paying a dollar for a mini bag of hot Cheetos, the overly confident high school male buying his first box of condoms, the 30 year old going through a mid-life crisis and purchasing hair dye, the PTA president secretly buying a 24 ounce bottle of cough syrup even though she's not sick, the college age girl buying a pink hair dryer.

You'd know everything about everybody, but your response to all of them would be the same. Take their money and say "have a nice day."

I would love it, just for a week. As it is, I have to take my NyQuil and go to bed since I have to teach in the morning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dirty Words

Seriously, people need to start harassing me about my word count. Peer pressure, people. I am trying to write a novel by November 29. I am bringing this up again, so that way I won’t want to look stupid in front of you and I will get it done. Ask me on December first if I hit 50,000 words. Or if I am just lame and never got past twelve thousand.

This is ironic considering the title of the novel is Clean, but I have used more curse words in my first 11,000 words than I have said aloud in my life. Shocking, right? But I am writing about a drug addict and a girl with a snotty attitude. What else are they going to say?

Still haven’t decided how it’s going to end. Basically, when you read the last page I want you to feel pissed. What would do that for you?

P.S. On my way home today it was raining, and at a red light the driver in the car next to me rolled down his window and stuck out this long handled wiper thing and wiped the rain off of his windshield. Like he didn't have window wipers or something. Bad time of year and bad state to live in with that situation, I think.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Totally Inappropriate

I can’t really believe that I am sharing this with you, but whatever. Think of all of the people you’ve ever had inappropriate thoughts about. I’ll give you some time to think about it, but not long enough to imaginably make out with them.

Got it? Good. For some bizarro reason, I was thinking about this when I was at school yesterday in the book room, picking out readers for my kiddos. Don’t ask me what sparked my mind to think about this. It certainly wasn’t Beezus and Ramona.

So here is my partial list: James Franco from Tristan and Isolde, Jack from LOST even though he is kind of old, Michael Vartan of course, that hot construction worker doing work on Capitol Street right now, that one guy from that one ED class who looked like Jack from LOST, only a lot younger, and maybe a few others that I’m not listing.

Stay with me here, we are not dwelling on what your imagination has conjured. I know you were starting to think about that hot guy/girl at school/work/bar/airport/laundrymat/ restaurant.

Here is the part that will freak you out. Think of all the people you never want thinking inappropriate thoughts about YOU. That creeper in the library. The old guy at Les Schwab helping you buy tires. Someone you work with. Go through your mental list. Now, you don’t know what they were thinking, or when they were thinking it, but aren’t you pretty sure that at least one of those people has thought something about you? And now you’re grossed out by it? Wish you never read this disturbing blog? I know, I should’ve warned you.

I was going through my mental list when I left the book room and started walking down the hallway. Suddenly my deeply private intrusive thoughts come to an abrupt halt, because the bathroom door swings open and someone comes out. The person says hi to me, and I talk back, but the whole time I cannot help but wonder, what about this person? I swear, it’s like this person knew what I was thinking about. Their timing coming out of the bathroom just as I was walking down the hall deep in thought is uncanny.

So the next time your mind starts to drift, remember all the people you wish would never think about you, and stop. Besides, he never has as many ab muscles in real life as you imagined.

P.S. My NaNoWriMo word count got updated to 11,133 but I am fairly certain that the blue bar shrunk backwards, instead of moving toward the 50k word mark. I almost posted an excerpt from my novel, but I fear judgement too much, and after this blog, who knows what you are thinking.

P.P.S I am going to be very old tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dull Party? Add Gasoline and Cocaine!

Only the best party games make you wonder 1) will I live? and 2) is this legal?

Party #1
Halloween night. Kaitlynn's house. We decide to play hide and go seek. Kaitlynn and Aaron had a fog machine, strobe light, and utterly eerie soundtrack. After setting up for a creepy atmosphere, we disperse into the darkness to find hiding spots. BTW, I removed my Juno belly prior to this so that I could fit into smaller spaces.

Kaitlynn tells me to follow her into the garage. We scramble to hide before the seeker comes. Kaitlynn decides to hide in the back of her car, and I think about stowing away in the back of Aaron's Jetta. Then I get an ingenious idea. I'll hide in the trunk! No one will find me there! So I pop the trunk lid and get inside. Kaitlynn tucks inside her car.

I'm in the trunk, but it's not closed all the way so the trunk light is still on. I don't want the light to give me away, so I make a hasty decision. I pull the trunk lid down. All the way. It slams. Instantly my nostrils fill with the smell of gasoline and I regret my actions. I think: I will never be able to get out. Someone must find me in order for me to get out of this trunk. They will never find me because I've just hidden in the best spot of all time. All these noxious fumes are going to go to my head. I'll pass out before anyone finds me. I bring up the front of my sweatshirt and cover my nose with it. I feel around the inside of the trunk, hoping for a light. Nothing. I hold my hand five inches from my face and look at, hoping I will be able to make out its outline. I can't see anything. I am panicked, but decide I must relax. I lay down my head for a nap.

Two minutes later I start to count, eyes closed. I count slowly, ticking off the minutes on my fingers. I get to ten and figure it's been awhile. This is hide and go seek, but more than anything I want to be found. If any one opens this trunk I will be curled up, smiling at them. Seek me. How long does it take to find a house full of people? Should I yell now? I remind myself that at least Kaitlynn knows where I am. I won't die. Unless the fumes get to me. I think about the headlines in tomorrow's papers. "College age student hides in trunk at Halloween party and perishes." I need to take a more proactive approach. I open my eyes even though I can't see anything. I think, maybe I'm like a cat and my night vision will adjust.

I think I start to imagine things, because it seems like something is glowing faintly from the inside of the trunk. The gas fumes must be affecting me. I reach out and touch the spot that I see. Wouldn't you know, it actually is something! I feel out a handle. A handle, people! There is a handle on the inside of this trunk. I don't turn it, I don't have to. I know what it must be for. I rub my fingers on it, can't let go of it--like a dying Catholic clutching the rosary. It will save me. Relief washes over me. I can get out whenever I want.

I hear laughing. The seeker must have found everybody. Everybody but me. I hear Kaitlynn call "Joelle, you can come out now!" I turn the handle instantly and jump out of the trunk. I suck in some fresh air. I have lived.

Party #2
Saturday afternoon. My sister's second bridal shower, this one hosted by her fiance's side of the family. We have already played a word jumble that was quite taxing to my brain. The hosting aunt hands out paper and pens and instructs us to write "Name the white powder" at the top of the paper. She shows us twelve zip lock baggies filled with various white substances. I know right? You're thinking is this legal? Are we going to get raided? Will I lose my job?

I number my paper. They pass me baggy number six. We are allowed to touch and smell the substance, but we cannot taste it. I open the bag up. It smells weird. It's more yellow than white. I write down "Parmesan cheese" as my guess. The next bag I receive looks like baking soda. I open all of the bags, and touch and smell all of the powders. Most of them smell like plastic bag. It's hard to tell. I figure, if there's anthrax I'm dead, but if there's cocaine, I'll know, because all I have to do is snort a little and see how I feel afterwards. I start to wonder if my sister should've done a criminal background check on all the members of the family she's marrying into.

The woman next to me cheats and tastes one of the powders. I tell her, "I wouldn't do that if I were you. One of these might be borax or some sort of cleaning detergent."

When I'm done inspecting all of the substances, my paper looks like this:

Name the White Powder
1) baking soda
2) sugar
3) parmesan cheese
4) powdered sugar
5) salt
6) cocaine
7) baking powder
8) salt
9) flour
10) baking soda
11) powdered sugar
12) flour

Yes, I realize I listed several things twice. I figure I'll get at least one of them right. In the end, #1 is Splenda, #3 is not parmesan cheese but powdered milk, #4 is cornstarch, #5 is alum, and #12 is Bisquick mix. Number six is not cocaine (I only wrote that because I had no idea), but is something called "fruit fresh," which I have never heard of. The other ones I got right. But still, it makes you wonder if there is a #13 bag hiding out in Aunt Jan's car.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Your Child is a Monster

Dear Parent,
Today your child disrupted the class 23 times. Yes, it was only him. The class was being perfectly quiet but your child persistently yelled out inappropriate and rude comments.

After clean-up time when all of the other students were sitting in the chairs, ready to go, your child was laying on the floor. When I asked him to have a seat, he replied "Oh my freakin' gosh!" quite rudely. As if sitting in a chair was a difficult task.

During reading time, your child likes to accuse other students of bothering him, when if fact, he is the only one not reading. I have a video if you'd like to watch it. On said video, you will see your child sneakily making disgusting faces at other children.

Even though it is November, your child consistently does not line up in the correct order. We have been lining up in alphabetical order since September 3rd, but your child apparently cannot remember which two students he is supposed to be in between. Has he suffered from any brain trauma that may have caused amnesia?

I will be calling you next week to set up a meeting to discuss your child's behavior. It is likely I will recommend: anger management, meds, and homeschooling.

Thank you, and I am sure finally meeting you will be a pleasure.

Ms. Grossen

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Death in the Classroom

I know I am a liar. I told you last week that on Halloween I would tell you about the spirit of the dead child that haunts my place of work. In the classroom opposite the hallway from me, a child once died. This was back in the late 70s, so I've been told. The kid perished at school.

How did he die? I am just as eager to find out as you. I haven't interviewed enough old teachers to know. However, Susan, who is the teacher in this classroom, often hears weird things coming from the vent in the ceiling above her classroom. It could be squirrels, but maybe not. The custodians have up and said that they have seen, yes SEEN and heard weirdo things late at night. They say they hear someone coming up the ramp, even though there is no one else in the building.

I made the suggestion of having a sleepover with a video tape, camera, and/or EVP equipment to record spooky sounds. I've been told the spirit is friendly. It doesn't pull chairs out from under children or anything. But it is a bit eerie to think about, because on Monday night I fully was the only one in the building (besides the custodian) at 6:45 pm. I think I might take my camera and see if I can catch some orbs tomorrow night.

P.S. In case you were wondering, I still have 9,373 words on my NaNoWriMo account. No time to write since I've been getting home later than 7 all this week. Plus, I have no idea how to end the story. I mean, happily ever after is always nice, but I am pretty sure I want this novel to have an unsettling end. The girl can't always get the guy, and drug addicts don't always recover, and separated siblings aren't always reunited. Maybe I should just kill a character off. Then they could haunt a classroom.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Despite the fact that my teaching life leads few moments for free time, despite the fact that my sister is getting married in less than 40 days, despite the fact that I've been working on the same book for five years, I've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. Basically, National Novel Writing Month encourages writers to throw all procrastination into the wind and just get it done. Output is the most important thing. It can be all crap. That's fine. As long as you write. National Novel Writing Month is this November. It started on the first and it ends on the 30th at midnight. The goal is to write a 175 page (50,000 word) novel by the deadline.

The book that I've been working on for eons has 46,000 words, so I could totally cheat and just finish that, but procrastinator that I am, I've started a new book. I will finish the other one, assured. Some day. It was supposed to be last summer. I feel kind of good about the new book because it's only November 2nd and I have 9,373 words. That's 22 pages single spaced in size 12 font on Microsoft Word. I figured if I busted that out over the weekend, I could get maybe reach the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month. If I write ten thousand words every weekend, I'm golden.

The working title of my new project is called Clean, and it's about this girl who meets this boy and they hate each other's guts. He has a drug addiction and she has a shopping addiction, and eventually they put their animosity behind them but still go through turmoil. You can check out my NaNoWriMo user profile to find out more about it. I'll probably update it more and maybe upload a few excerpts. Plus, there is this blue bar that shows how much more I have left to write, so if I am slacking you can totally write me a comment and tell me to get to work or I won't meet my deadline.
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