Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ah Nuts!

I have the best assignment in my church. It is called "Relief Society Teacher." Here is a list of reasons teaching relief society is the coolest job ever:

  • I teach one 40 minute lesson a month.
  • Once I get the sisters talking they take over and I can spend the rest of the lesson nodding, smiling, and pointing to the next raised hand to comment.
  • The group is actually officially called The Relief Society (I thought it was called Release Society when I was young--relief is much better, don't you think?).
  • It keeps me out of the nursery.
  • I don't have to do any paperwork.
  • I don't have to go to meetings.
  • I don't have to report to anybody.
  • I get to say whatever I want and nobody can do anything about it.

Okay, well, maybe that last one isn't all the way true . . . but I do get to steer the topic in a direction that I find useful and that makes me happy.

Last month's lesson was called "No Other Gods Before Me." I read through the material and found some bits and pieces I could use to jump start the discussion. The lesson included a story I remembered hearing when I was a youngster--about these special traps used to capture monkeys. The gist of it all was that if you take a box, cut a small hole in the top, then put a nut in the box, the monkey would inevitably reach his hand in the box to retrieve the nut. Then when the monkey would try to remove his hand from the box, his newly formed fist would be too large to extract from the hole. The simple-minded monkey would never be able to figure out the whole drop-the-nut-and-I-can-be-free strategy, and thus he would be trapped by his own actions. You see how it fits, right?

So I told the story. Except for not exactly like I just wrote it. Especially the part about the monkeys refusing to let go of their treasure to free themselves from the box. What I said, and I quote (as if you couldn't tell from the quotation marks I'm about it use), "The cute little monkeys were trapped because they wouldn't let go of their nuts."

Yep. I said that. In relief society. With little old ladies all around. And. To. Make. It. Worse. . . Somebody giggled. I honestly didn't realize what I had said until I heard the giggle. I thought to myself, why is someone giggling?? Monkeys are being captured!!! That's not funny!! And then my face turned BRIGHT red (as it is prone to do when I make a complete idiot of myself in front of others).

I should have just gone on with the lesson and ignored the giggle. That's what my brain told me to do. But I also have this thing called a mouth which spouts various embarrassing crap when I'm flustered. "Ummmm, that was a poor choice of words, huh?" It's a good thing my eloquence got me out of that sticky situation. I know how to put the "relief" in Relief Society, I tells ya. Without that quick thinking, I might be known forever more as the teacher who used allusions to monkey genitalia in church. *sigh*

I'll bet those sisters are already charging their hearing aids so they can hear what I have to say in next month's lesson: "The Law of Chastity."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Last weekend we had the rare privilege of having all of our kids together. To celebrate the occasion (and also my birthday) we took our brood to Lagoon. Thanks to Grandpa Cheney's employee discount, we didn't have to mortgage our home to pay the entrance fees. We had a grand time, even with an on-again-off-again afternoon drizzle.

Some of us were brave enough to go on the new ride, Wicked.
The yellow tower you see is the track that goes STRAIGHT UP and then STRAIGHT DOWN. I closed my eyes on the way up, but opened them going down. Yes, yes, a little backwards, it's true--but holy hell, the up was scary. The down was just roller coastery fun.

Kate, 10, and Maryanne, 8, were the only ones brave enough to go with me. They laughed the whole ride through.

They gave Wicked a thumbs up. So did I!

Grandma and Grandpa met us for a ride on the carousel. Grandpa spent most of his retirement on ice cream cones for the kids . . .

which nobody finished.

We got a little wet from a typical Utah autumn shower (to celebrate the coming of the season, I suppose), but we had scads of fun. Just look at the faces below. That's happiness!

And of course, we never pass up the opportunity to embarrass our kids in public!

Happy birthday to me!

Monday, September 24, 2007

I see London, I see France

I got the best card for my birthday on Saturday. Two boys with baggy, saggy jeans revealing a couple inches of boxers over the waistband are pointing to a boy with a shirt tucked into his belted khakis. One of the overly-panted boys says to the well-dressed boy, "Hey doofus! Your underwear isn't showing!"

As a teacher, I am surrounded by boys who are constantly hitching up their jeans to prevent gravity from taking over. The vice principal of our school keeps zip ties handy as a quick fix for boys whose pants are so loose they show their undies (two belt loops joined by a zip tie makes for pants that stay put). The girls also show their unmentionables, but not because their pants are too big--they are just so ultra low and so ultra tight that when the girls are in a seated position, they are plumbing it. A computer lab full of these girls slouched over their keyboards has so much crack in it that if a group of addicts from Pioneer Park accidentally wandered in (hey, it could happen) they would thank their lucky stars for a Christmas dream come true.

During my first year of teaching, I got stuck with the "at-risk" students (they had no hope of graduating, so they all got stuck in the same room out in a trailer in hopes that they wouldn't infect the kids who still had a chance, and I was their lucky babysitter). These kids were shameless. And they were proud of their anti-social behavior. Eventually, I got in the (bad) habit of using sarcasm when I was attempting to manage the classroom. One day, a punk senior kid named Rhett (I really liked the kid, but he was definitely a punk) came into my classroom with his pants so very low he had to walk with his feet about 2 feet apart to keep his too-baggy jeans on his too-narrow hips. At least six inches of blue plaid showed below his shirt and above his jeans. I couldn't imagine how UNcomfortable it must have been for him to have to walk like that just to avoid the embarrassment of losing his jeans.

I said to the punk, "Hey Rhett, you're panties are showing!" in an attempt to humiliate him into wearing a belt, or buying pants that fit.

"They're not panties," he unabashedly replied. Then with the very slightest amount of effort, he flicked the waistband of his jeans toward the floor and WHOOSH! he was standing in a puddle of pants. As soon as I realized what his intentions were, I covered my eyes with my hand. I was sure I was going to lose my job since my sarcasm was the tool which lead to a student exposing himself.

But the rest of the class laughed. Rhett laughed too. I peeked through my fingers and found Rhett standing in blue flannel pajama pants with his jeans pooled around his feet. There really weren't panties, and I really was going to be able to keep my job after all.

I'm now teaching at a middle school--8th and 9th graders. They are pretty good kids for the most part, but they are old enough to have figured out about the huge pants deal. I see just as many "panties" here as I did at the high school two years ago. Just the other day I was in the teacher's lounge during my prep period when I heard some boys talking in the hall. One boy said quite urgently to another, "Hey, pull my pants up!" I peeked into the hall, and there was a line of boys carrying desks over their heads down the hall. One unfortunate boy was rapidly losing his jeans and with both hands full he was unable to remedy the situation.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Will they never learn?

There seems, however, to be a change a brewin' these days. And as most things go, this one is another extreme. The latest fad for the "cool" guys at my school is to wear girl jeans. Yep, jeans made for girls. And the preferred cut for these forward-thinking boys? The skinny jean! And they wear them tight! Oh my! The good news about this fad is the undies will always be covered. The bad news is that people are buying skinny jeans! I can't imagine that any self-respecting woman would wear these jeans designed to accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive, but if our teenage boys are buying them, the manufacturers may have the false perception that women actually like these jeans which may result in the increased availability of the skinny jean.

The sky is falling!

The sky is falling!

My hips just can't take it. Here's to wearing skirts. (pencil skirts be damned!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

For the whole world to see . . .

After lurking about in the blog world for months, I'm finally joining the in-crowd and getting one of my own. How about that?!