Thursday, April 24, 2014

The windows on the bus

The windows on the bus go down, down, down . . .
In the winter it's no trouble keeping the windows of the bus closed
since arctic air is swirling around us.
The minute it starts to get the least bit warm students are begging
to open the windows.

"It's still cold!" I protest.

"But it's spring!" they wail.  "And we've been in a stuffy school all day!"

We had one week of 70* so the windows were down.

I reminded the students of two rules.
Please don't yell out the windows when we pass friends or foes out there on the side walk.
and . . .  Student will keep head and hands inside bus.

Otherwise we will lose the privilege of open windows on the bus.

I caught one guy happily sticking his face out the window and yelling to friends.

"Don't you remember the rule about the windows?"
Puzzled look on his freckled face . . . "No, not really."

"The one about keeping your head and hands inside?"

"No, I don't thinks so," as he rubs his head thoughtfully.

Oh come on!  I know this has been a long winter but does he expect me to believe that?

One afternoon I mentioned to some middle school students
that we had a couple of harrowing bus runs.
. . .  and they had missed out on it because they were gone a couple days.
Now they were riding again and it seemed like they were getting ready
to cause a ruckus all over again.
One student stared at me with wide eyes. 

I asked what was wrong.
It turns out this student misunderstood me and thought I was talking about
a very dangerous habit forming drug.  
"Look it up in the dictionary," I said, when they asked what harrowing
 meant.  They thought looking it up on-line would be much easier.  
A harrow is a frame with spikes or sharp-edged disks,
drawn by horse or tractor 
- used for breaking up and leveling plowed ground,
covering seeds, rooting up weeds
Harrowing - adj. very painful or distressing 
World Book Dictionary 
- to cause mental distress to; torment; vex
Webster's New World  College Dictionary
Maybe I was exaggerating to say we had two harrowing days. 
They weren't that painful or distressing.    
This episode reminded me of Anne Hobbs in the book, Tisha.
Anne was teaching school in Chicken, Alaska back in 1927.
One of her students asked why they have to all come to school at
the same time and all eat lunch at the same time. 

"How come you can't do things when you feel like it?"
"If everyone did it would be like a three-ring circus," I said.
"What's a three-ring circus?" Elvira asked.
"Well," I said,  "it's like a chautauqua, only it's bigger. 
It has elephants and clowns and ---"
"What's a shuh-tawk-wa?"Jimmy asked hesitantly.
I explained that a chautauqua was like a fair, only to have
Elvira ask what a fair was.  By the time I was finished nobody
really had any idea of what a three-ring circus was like.
They had never seen clowns, or jungle animals, or acrobats.
If I was going to cite examples I'd have to pick things they were familiar
with--gold mining and trapping, dog teams and hunting.
- end of quote

One day not long after this I was explaining to my students that
a bus is not a gym or a play ground.  They can't do acrobatic stunts
on the backs of the seats.
One girl slid across the aisle and sat on the seat beside her friend. 
"Debbie!* You can't turn the bus into a three-ring circus, you know!"

    hmmm!   did she just read my mind or what? 

* names have been changed


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sweet Sixteen!

Our youngest daughter turned 16 on the 30th of March. 
She is being very sweet and patient with us since we cancelled
"driving with the instructor" in the month of March. 
The roads were awful.
Driving in town was an adventure --
   especially residential areas
   high snow banks
   cars parked on both sides of the street
Many streets looked like one ways
when in fact they were supposed to be two way.
You had to drive slowly and wait your turn to get through some spots.

And, last but not least, our family was in the middle of planning a trip to Washington towards the end of March.  So I called the instructor and asked if there is a deadline we have to meet between class time and driving.  She was very understanding and, thankfully, there is not a deadline.

Sigh of relief from me.
Sigh of anxiety from Krysta.

She knows how many things get pushed to the back burner
never to appear again.
"Well," I told the instructor, "I will get in touch with you
when the weather straightens out."
"Ok,"  she said.  "I'll talk to you in June."

Krysta was not amused.

On the 30th of March my thoughts drifted back to another 16 year old.

February 1977
I was a mother's helper for a whole week.  Our friends had a little girl and a little boy when a new baby girl was added to their family.  I stayed at their house to make things easier.  My job was to make meals, wash dishes, take care of laundry, read stories to the little ones, help them with baths and getting dressed and taking naps. 

One day I baked bread all by myself from start to finish.  Looking back, I don't know how that was possible because my girls don't know how to bake bread.  (Dea knows how to make cinnamon rolls that are to die for.)

At our house Mom made bread once a week -- at least.  We bought flour by the fifty pound bags and stored the flour in a big tin "garbage" can.  Mom never had a recipe written down.  She knew it by heart. She measured the water and the yeast exactly.  Otherwise it was a handful of salt, a spoonful of lard,  a spoonful of honey, stir until melted in the hot water - then start dumping in the flour.  She measured the flour with a sifter instead of by the cup.  When she had the flour measured she let us girls stir until it was too stiff to stir then she added one more sifter full of flour and it was time to knead the dough. 

And that's how I learned to make bread - by watching Mom every week and eventually doing it by myself.

My girls are learning to make quilts from start to finish instead.
In home ec .. .. .. 
  taught by my mom.  =)

Back to the week away from home . . . I had my 16th birthday somewhere in the middle of that adventure.  My family and friends brought a surprise party to me.  They knocked on the door, yelled "Happy Birthday!" and served cake and ice cream all around.

Last night we had a birthday supper over at Evan and Chelsea's place.  Krysta, Chelsea, and Jorgan have birthdays close together so we've started having one big party for all.

Here is the menu:
Fried rice
Green beans
Lettuce salad
home made bread  (fresh from my mom's kitchen)
Cake and Ice Cream

And a Happy Anniversary to Dad and Mom
          who have been married 54 years!