Wednesday, November 30, 2005

'Tis the Season...of my child misbehaving

Last night was my 7-year-old's school Christmas program. He does
not have a good track record. Let's just dwell on last night, for now.

We kept him with us in the bleachers until the last minute. That way
(we thought) he could not run wild and get up a good head of steam
for the performance. We had a talk about his behavior at these
programs over the last two years. He promised to be good. He
said he would make me proud, not embarrassed. I promised that
I would take away his GameBoy until the weekend if he acted up.
We both agreed to the terms. His dad took him to the staging
area. I saved his seat. I felt like Elaine at the movies, on that
episode of Seinfeld where the four of them keep missing each
other and describe their friends to ticket-taker: "Big wall of hair,
face like a frying pan?" "A short guy with glasses, looked like
Humpty Dumpty with a melon head?" "About 5'11", big head
with flaring nostrils?" "Tall, lanky doofus, with a bird face and
hair like the Bride of Frankenstein?" Something like that.

The start was only 5 minutes late. Grades 2 & 3 marched out of
the band room and into the gym. My first inkling of what was to
come was his position in the 160-member choir. He was in the
center of the first row, carefully packaged between 4 girls on one
side, and two girls on the other side. He walked out like a little
gentleman, hands in the pockets of his dress pants. My Hillbilly
Mama said, "Oh, he's being so good." I wanted to say "Bite your
tongue, Woman! He is freakin' walking across the gym!"

The choir sat on the risers, three rows high. My boy sat down. He
was good for the first song. But wait! There were still 6 songs left,
and in between, 4 acts of the Frosty-the-Snowman play that some
kids got to perform.

He couldn't see the play from where he was sitting. I'm sure he was
just bored. He must be gifted, you know, and have a short attention
span. Yeah, that's the problem. The little girl on his right had on a
long Christmas dress. He put his shoe on the bottom. She gathered
it up and pulled it around her legs. He lifted it up and poked at her
shoes. She gave him the cold shoulder.

He pulled up his pant legs past the knee one by one. He pulled up
his black socks to his knees. He admired them. He put his pant legs
back down. Time for a song. He gave the girl on his right the bunny
ears. He gave the girl on his left the bunny ears. He gave them both
the bunny ears at once. Talented, that boy of mine. His dad was a
giving him the "stop it" sign, like how an umpire spreads out his arms
to say "safe." I frowned and shook my head. Oh, he saw us. The
giveaway was that little grin. A grin that said, "Oh, but the night is
mine, Mother and Father, for you can not come out here and spank
my butt. There is a musical program in progress, you see. And I
am the center of attention."

A fifth-grade teacher was sitting next to HH. She laughed. She
thought it was hilarious. Because she knows she is safe for 3 more
years. The choir sat down again. My boy picked at some dried
Silly String on the plastic liner put down on the gym floor. It was
left from a senior class 3 years ago who did not obey the principal's
command of "No Silly String. It will ruin our brand-new gym floor
liner." The custodians struggled for a week to remove the petrified
string. They tried every cleaner imaginable. Silly custodians! All
they had to do was bring in a crew of 2nd-graders and say, "Now,
don't touch that Silly String! It is dangerous."

My boy began to kick his foot. Because he was wearing his
"churchy shoes," the Wal-mart slip-on loafers. His right shoe
went sailing through the air, and crashed to the floor about 15
feet away. Good thing the teacher was about 20 feet away. He
got up to get it. He karate chopped himself in the genital region.
He opened his mouth really wide and rolled his eyes. On the next
song, he kicked his feet, kind of like a chorus line dancer, only
not as high. "He's just dancing with the music," said HH. "He's
trying to kick off his shoe again!" I told him. Man! Men can be
so clueless!

Song over. Another act of the play. By now, he was running out
of steam. He picked his nose. With both hands. He got the girl
on his right to pick at the Silly String. Mercifully, it ended. He
looked a bit worried. HH went to retrieve him. My boy's teacher
told HH: "He's improving." EEEEeeeeee!

My boy swaggered over and said, "I'll take m'GameBoy now."
"Uh, no, you won't. You can not have it back until the weekend."
That did not go over well. He decided to be a holy terror on the
way home. Everything was: "Well, I would have, but since I can't
have my GameBoy..." He even got his Little Bear taken away.

"Didn't you see us telling you to stop acting up?"

"No. I saw Dad make this sign." He demonstrated it perfectly.

"Then why didn't you stop?"

SIGH. "Uh...the sign for 'stop it' is this." He acted as if he was
explaining it to a 2-year-old. He made a chopping motion with
one hand onto the other. The International Sign Language sign.
Darn those teachers for teaching my kid this stuff!

He apoligized just before bed, so I relented on the bear. But the
GameBoy is mine! Until Friday evening.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Today we tried to solve a crime. A student in my class said she
"has issues" with some other students in the class. I know. Nothing
like that has ever happened before with my students, ha ha.

She said that when she was in her math class, she went to take off
her jacket and had gum all over the back of it. Little bitty gumballs.

Aha! Didn't I just talk to a kid yesterday about throwing gumballs?
"Why yes, Hillbilly Mom," I hear you all chorus. "I believe I read
about it right here on your blog." I'm glad y'all are so observant.
I did talk to a kid about it. He said it was only spitwads. Now
bear in mind, this did not happen in my classroom. The kid who
had the previous gumballs/spitwads infestation is not even in my
class. But my kids do chew gum. I watch them buy it every day
from the teacher who sells it as a fundraiser.

So we began the trial.

"I know one of yous done it. You always do stuff like that."
"They were kind of fidgety yesterday..."
"I didn't do it."
"What kind of gum did you chew yesterday?"
"I know he had green apple, and something else."
"I had green apple and bubble gum."
"I had green apple and some blueberry stuff."
"I had what they had."
"What kind was on your jacket?"
"It was some gray stuff, like Juicy Fruit, but that wasn't it."
"Then it didn't happen in here."
"But nobody in math was chewing gum."
"No. They were throwing it."
"I don't think so."
"Did you sit in the cafeteria before you came in here?"
"Look around your desk. Are there any on the floor?"
"Then I don't think it happened here. Oh, they are capable
all right, but the evidence doesn't match up. They are not such
super gumball throwers that ALL gumballs would stick to you
It has been my experience that you will find a circle of them
on the floor, which never reached the target. Remember, the
time I caught Mortimer, there was a circle of them around
"Yeah, and Mortimer made a big deal about picking them up."
"Yes, he didn't want to touch his own spit."
"And I haven't thrown any since then, either."
"So I don't really think it happened in here. But because there
was a question of it, then no more gum is allowed during this
hour. So don't bring it tomorrow."
"Uh, since it's just the boys having the problems, can we girls
still chew gum?"

And thus ends another Hillbilly Mom lesson, utilizing the skills of
induction and problem-solving. Your tax dollars at work, Missouri

And for all you smarty-pantses...don't think the janitor swept them
up overnight. He cleans my room right after lunch, and he makes
one big sweep around the perimeter, not through the desks where
the gumballs would have been. I know. He does it while I am sitting
in my room. If you care to continue the investigation, it is about 20
feet from the accuser to the accused. They sit in opposite corners
of the room. I really had hoped for the evidence to match up, so
we could have a little vacation from the alleged spit/baller.

Monday, November 28, 2005

3 Things I Didn't Need to Hear Today

"I didn't shoot 30 little balls of gum in his hair! It was SPITWADS!
How did you know, anyway?"

Well, it's like this. The duty teacher saw it in the kid's hair in the
lunch line. You admitted to the duty teacher that you did it. The
duty teacher sat down at the teachers' lunch table and told the
principal. What? You think I'm psychic?

And while we're at it...the distinction of spitwads over gum balls
does not strengthen your case. That's like telling the detective:
"I didn't stab him in the heart! Gah! I stabbed him in the GUT!"


"That green poop stain isn't MINE! It's that lady that helps that
kid. It was already there when I went in. Don't think it's mine."

OK. Well. Obsess much? Have toileting issues? It's a toilet, for
cryin' out loud! That's what they are made for. We know this
thing won't even flush paper until 3 tries. So much for the water-
saving toilet. What's that woman supposed to do, bring her own
toilet brush to clean up after herself? Reach her bare hand down
in there to scrub it? Get over it. It's a freakin' TOILET!


4:08 P.M. Message on answering machine: "This message is for
Hillbilly Mom. The jury case for Tuesday, November 29, has
been cancelled."

Thanks. I have been calling your recording all day. When I last
checked at 12:10 P.M., the case was still on. When the secretary
asked me at 9:30 A.M. if I still needed a sub for Tuesday, I told her
yes. More importantly, I wrote up detailed lesson plans for the sub.
Darn you, circuit court, for taking your sweet time to settle this
case! Some of us have jobs, you know. We are not just retirees
and Hannibal Lecter wanna-bees. And I will call all day Thursday,
too, since I seem to be a jury duty magnet, and got two cases in
one week.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thrifty, or Just Plain Nuts?

I love my Hillbilly Mama. I really do. She helps out with my spoiled
children all the time. But there are some habits she has that are a bit
odd. She doesn't think so. I don't want to hurt her feelings. I don't
think she reads my blog. I will find out if I get the cold shoulder.

My HM is a saver. She has about 30 rolls of paper towels in her
downstairs closet under the stairs. One time, she said, "Oh, you
like ranch dressing. I know I've got some." She fetched it from
the closet. It looked a bit runny, even after I shook it. I checked
the expiration date. Yes, it had expired. FOUR YEARS AGO.
She swore she was not trying to poison me.

I went to her house for lunch the day after Thanksgiving. There
were some plastic plates on her dining room table. I said, "Can
I just use one of these, or did you set them out for something?"
And she replied, "Oh, I washed those. They were the kids' plates."
I thought the purpose of plastic plates was that you can throw
them away. I didn't mention it.

At my HM's house, you get one paper plate. Not Chinet. The
cheap, limp ones. If you wheedle, sometimes you can get two...
IF you promise to put back the bottom one when you're done.

She buys the select-a-size paper towels. And tears them in half.
I needed to blow my nose on one, so I tore off half of a half.
That's a fourth, for all you I-hate-math people. A fourth of a
select-a-size paper towel. She washes out the gallon-size zip-
lock bags, sometimes, too. You notice I didn't say "Baggies."
That's a brand name. It costs a few cents more.

She's not as bad as the guy I saw on Oprah years ago, who
bought 2% milk, poured half in another jug, and added water
to make two gallons of 1% milk. He also made his kids separate
the two-ply toilet paper, and make two rolls.

My HM is a child of the Great Depression. She is thrifty. If I
ask her to pick up something for me, she knows how much it
cost, down to the penny. For example, if it was $9.37, that's
what she wants. I would give her $10.00. But if I pick it up for
her, she gives me the exact amount. She can't help it. When she
was a kid, one of her 3 brothers threw her shoe out of the car
window. They went back and looked, but couldn't find it. She
had to wear one shoe until they could afford another pair.

I admit to using margarine tubs as Hillbilly Tupperware. I use
Wal-mart sacks for trash bags. That's normal, of course. But
today I saw a new habit my HM has picked up. If she doesn't
drink a full can of soda, she stuffs a scrap of paper towel in
the hole. (!) OK, first of all that doesn't work. Secondly, that
is a waste of her select-a-sizes!

My Hillbilly Mama. I think I'll keep her. I wonder if she is

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mountain Dew: Soft Drink or Elixir of the Devil

I mentioned a few days ago that I would not allow my children to
have any more Mountain Dew...even for a holiday. Chickadee
wondered what spurred this decision. Let's just say that my nerves
can't take it.

I do not let my children drink Mountain Dew. #1 son is 10. He
is allowed to have a Pepsi or Coke if he wants it. I know, they
have just about as much caffeine as Mountain Dew. #2 son is
7. He can only have Sprite or Sierra Mist. I must have had a
reason when I made this arbitrary decision, but it escapes me
now. #2 asks for it every now and then, but isn't too disappointed
when I tell him "No way!" He has always been my good kid at
home, the perfect baby, toddler, pre-schooler, who only got in
trouble at school. Unlike #1, who was high-maintenance, and
as a baby tried to headbutt me daily to see my lip bleed. Yes,
I know he did it on purpose. His gleeful screams of "Mommy
beeb! Mommy beeb!" gave him away.

At Thanksgiving dinner, #2 asked my Hillbilly Mama if he could
have Mountain Dew. She did ask me. I must have been going into
a fat & sugar coma, because I said it was OK, what with this
being a holiday. I could hear #1 telling his grandma as she poured,
"Hey! He's not allowed to have Mountain Dew!" I had to call in
to the kids' table that it was OK. #2 gave an evil little laugh. I
believe that is called a precursor.

The kids finished their meal, such as it was, #2 having a boiled
egg, a roll, and some macaroni & cheese, while #1 dined on
3 rolls, a chicken strip, a deviled egg, and some carrots with
Hidden Valley Ranch dip. These boys just don't know how to
do Thanksgiving. They went downstairs with their cousins to play
a 4-way Nintendo game of Mario something-or-other on the
GameCube. Next thing I knew, my sweet #2, my self-proclaimed
"gift from above," had morphed into a whiney, hyperactive demon.

The first clue was the shouts of the other 3 kids: "Get out of the
way!" Their cousins are 16 and 19. For them to join in screaming
at the little devil, he must have been acting up. I looked down to
the family room, and saw him prancing right in front of the TV,
with that "nyah, nyah, nyah" dance. Boy Cousin made a move to
grab him, and he yanked out his controller and made a run for
it. Seeing that they were playing, not chasing, he returned to the
scene of the crime. He laid across #1's head, and emitted an evil
chuckle. #1, of course, screamed, "MOM!" because he puts on
a good front of being the good kid when people are around.
#2 was called up to the kitchen for a spanking, and said, "NO!"
Which is something that is just not done around the Hillbilly
Mansion. He was rounded up, swatted on the behind, and

All was well until the Racetrack Incident. The Boy Cousin, the
brother-in-law, and #1 spent about 2 hours trying to put together
a mega-racetrack. It had two levels, amazing curves, and two
out of four cars that worked. #2 grabbed pieces of track, and
snapped them together willy-nilly. He had a section about 5 feet
long before he was caught. After some futile attempts to reason
with him, a threat of another whoopin' convinced him to relinquish
the track. Then he grabbed the cars and ran them on the short
section of track that they had completed. When Boy Cousin told
him to knock it off, he took a car and ran. Hillbilly Sister grabbed
him and wrestled the car away. He fought for it awhile, until she
promised him he would get ONE turn when it was done, but no
more, because he didn't help with the track. When it was finished,
he knocked cars off the track as others were racing. On his turn,
he drove too fast and spun out on the first turn. As they were
putting his car back on, he slammed down the controller and
yelled, "I QUIT!"

His grandma offered to play a game of hide & seek with him. He
crawled behind the TV while she counted. When she said, "Here
I come," he jumped out and shouted "I give!" He wound up a
Frosty the Snowman figurine, and danced like a maniac. He ran
around the racetrack and slammed into HH's knee, the one that
he just got the staples out of Tuesday from his surgery, and made
a staple-hole bleed. He demanded that his grandma get him a
homemade Coke popsicle, and when she was talking to Girl
Cousin, ran up to the kitchen and got it. He looked at his grandma
and said pointedly, "It was taking so long, I figured I might as well
get it myself!"

He hopped into a chair and yelled, "Spin me, spin me!" Which
several people did, trying to induce motion sickness to quiet him.
No such luck. He crawled behind Hillbilly Sister, leaning against
the fireplace, and pounded her on the back. "How about a
?" She grabbed his arms, which worked for about a
minute. He was tricked into chasing the cars when the track
was turned into a drag strip. And then, all at once, he climbed
onto the couch and said, "We're going home. NOW!" I think
he was winding down from his caffeine high.

So that, Chickadee, is why I made that statement about not
allowing my kids to have Mountain Dew until they no longer
live under my roof. Perhaps now you understand.

Friday, November 25, 2005

On HM's Mind Today

The day after Thanksgiving--a time for reflection. My reflector is
not working very well. These are the odd things that have popped
into my head today:

You know you are old when you hurt your shoulder shaking the
can of non-stick cooking spray to coat the pan for your Oreo cake.
It also hurts when playing pool against the boy young 'uns, when
opening the back hatch of the giant SUV, when trying to lift the
3 lb. box of fine chocolates HH gave me for our anniversary,
and when trying to reach the large economy size box of Tide
Mountain Spring off the shelf in the laundry room. It hurts in
a specific spot in the deltoid, a little bit posterior, when I abduct
my humerus. Heh, heh. Old Hillbilly Mom had classes in Anatomy,
Physiology, and Excercise Physiology. I can even understand
about 3/4 of what those characters on ER talk about. Except for
that new Dr. Clemente, John Leguizamo, who I can never under-
stand, and those low-talkers Abby, Luka, and Sam.

No child of mine will be allowed to drink Mountain Dew again
he is no longer living under my roof.

Until 9/11 and Bush's war, I was blissfully unaware that my
Hillbilly Mansion is under the airspace used by Scott Air Force
Base to train fighter pilots. It is especially noticeable on my days
off, and during the summer. Even in my basement office, I can
hear the whine of the engines as they buzz my house. One day,
we saw two of them VERY low, playing the game where the pilot
tries to lock in the target, I think, because the lead plane was
twisting and weaving and pulling a big circle thingy. We are over
a hundred miles away from SAFB. Play in your own backyard,
boys. Oh, what's that? You can't kill that many people if you
crash? And hillbilly lives are less valuable that city people's lives?
Yeah. I get that a lot.

One of my all-time favorite movies, True Grit, should have won
an award for Worst Acting in All Lead Roles. They stunk. And
to think, John Wayne received an Academy Award for playing
Rooster Cogburn. Glen Campbell, you sucked at acting. The
best line you had was, "Squirrel-headed b*****d" to that guy
in the boarding house who told you to watch out for the chicken-
and-dumplings, because it would hurt your eyes--looking for the
chicken. And Kim Darby, I know the character was supposed
to talk kind of backward-like, being from Arkansas (no offense
to my dear neighbors to the south), but a puppet could have put
more emotion into that performance than you did. Yes, I am
Hillbilly Mom, accomplished actor and movie critic.

That was it. Now I can go back to doing what I do every night:
try to take over the world.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Gift? For Meme?

Well, while I was away for the holiday, Misha left me a little
somthing. It's better than the little something my cats leave on the
porch. Hey, look! It's a MEME!!!

I had a son who was not quite one, and was attending my grandma's
funeral. She went quickly, due to a stroke, and that's the way to go.
You don't know you're going to die, it's over and done with. No
stress and no lingering. She was in her 80s. I should be so lucky.

I had just returned to teaching, after a five-year break in which I
adjudicated unemployment claims for the Missouri Division of
Employment Security. I had two sons by now, ages six and one.

My husband was preparing to have spinal surgery during Christmas
vacation, and I was preparing to help Santa carry all those presents.

Sonic Cherry Diet Coke
Chex Mix-my recipe
Hunan Chicken
Soft Pretzels with horseradish mustard
Symphony candy bar

Sand and Water...Beth Nielson Chapman
Gimme Three Steps...Lynyrd Skynyrd
Do You Love As Good As You Look...Bellamy Brothers
Trouble...Kristen Hersh
The Grass is Blue...Norah Jones

Pay off our house and 30 acres, the large SUV, the Ford F-250
Donate some to St.Judes, American Cancer Society
Buy a home computer for each of my students
Buy electronics for my genius son
Invest it to live on, in case I quit my job

Thong. It's not for me.
False eyelashes
Spike heels
White pants

Amazing Race
Porter Wagoner Show (from the 1960s, on RFD channel)
Saturday Night Live
Real World/Road Rules Challenge

Tormenting my kids
Listening to music
Watching DVDs

The headless apparition I saw in my basement
The 3-foot tall white entity I saw in the Cuba High School Gym

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ooh! It Burns.

Minor irritation. I have a few. And whining about them here will be
like a soothing salve for what galls me.

1. People (cough*HH*cough) who rinse the dishes in the sink and
leave noodles and hamburger where no garbage disposal has been

2. Kids who have not turned in work since August (who are
always "caught up") who bring work on the half-day before
Thanksgiving vacation and ask, "Can you help me with this?"

3. People who rant that reading blogs with black text on a white
background strains the eyes, yet 7 months later say the simple
look is best. (Don't think I'm stepping on anyone's toes--it's
nobody on my blogroll.)

4. People who act like they're your friend...until somebody
"better than you" comes along. (Yeah, well, actually we KNOW
there's nobody better than Hillbilly Mom.)

5. Little boys in Wal-mart who cry because you won't buy a
$49.95 Nintendo GameCube game.(Tell it to Santa, crybabies!)

6. People who I really like, but need to get it together on the
duty situation. Don't trade two people a duty on the same day,
and if you have gym duty, uh, that means keep the kids in the
until the bus duty person calls for them.

7. People who bring the cheapest or easiest thing to a potluck
Thanksgiving dinner. I used to think "loaf of bread guy" was
the most despicable, until I observed "frozen bag of corn gal"
and "can of green beans chick." Thank them, "storebought pie
quintet," for moving y'all down the list.

I will leave you with this pre-Thanksgiving conversation:

"What'd you bring for the potluck dinner?"
"Green beans."
"No. A can."
"How are you going to fix them?"
"Microwave, I guess."
"Did you bring seasonings?"

I know one person who didn't try the green beans.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Welcome Back, Squatter

No! Are you kidding? I hate squatters! No welcome for youuuu!
I hear you all asking, "What do you mean, Hillbilly Mom? Are
people moving into your homestead and claiming it as their own?"
No, silly people! This is not the last frontier! There are many
different varieties of squatters. And I dislike them all.

There are the kid squatters, who come in two flavors: the home
version and the school version. The home version insists on
squatting on his kitchen stool to eat his vittles. The kitchen stools
are at a cutting block in the center of the kitchen. When occupied
by a squatter, these stools leave little room between the protruding
kid-butt and the sink, refridgerator, and stove. The dishwasher,
cook, grocery-putter-awayer must navigate carefully so as not
to dislodge the squatter from the stool.

The school version does not grasp the purpose of that new-fangled
invention: the chair. If you listen closely, you can hear the gears
turning in the mind. "Look, a raised platform on which to squat!
What will they think of next?" Never mind that each day the student
is instructed to sit and not squat. Never mind that if one day the
teacher commanded all students to squat, no sitting allowed, there
would be a mutiny and a petition for firing. "What? Are you crazy?
I can't squat! It is bad for my knees. I am only allowed to sit."

Another squatter invades the property of those who don't know
about it. Hey, did you spend a fortune on some land for your
vacations or future retirement? Fool! Don't you know that people
are using it while you're not there? They explore, they hunt, they
camp, they ride 4-wheelers, they pick your blackberries, they
ride horses, they let their dogs take a dump. Fool! And to think
you PAID for some land, when you could just be "borrowing"
someone else's.

The classroom squatter sometimes has a legitimate reason to squat.
Sometimes classrooms must be shared. Leave it like you found it,
and if you're lucky, you'll get a drawer and a shelf to call your own.
The black sheep of the classroom squatters is the one who only
needs the classroom for an hour, or a meeting, or to use something
that belongs to you. Shame, shame, filthy squatter! Pick up your
candy wrappers, wipe the ink off the desks, replace the candy
you took from the candy jar, drop that pen, erase the board, and
never, ever, lie that "my kids couldn't have done it, it must have
been yours."

The meeting-seating squatter is that lowly critter who waits until
the last minute to show up for the meeting, goes to the choice
seating area (usually near the back), and moves someone's stuff.
When he returns, the squatter innocently throws up his hands:
"Was this your place? Who knew?" And stays put.

The worst squatter is the women's restroom squatter. Hey! Who
told you your a$$ is so pristine that you can't set it on the toilet?
They have those protector thingies, you know! Squatting while
you pee all over the seat is not a very neighborly thing to do.
Get over yourself already! If nobody acted like you, the seats
wouldn't be so nasty. Snap out of it!

This now concludes your lesson on squatters. You may return to
your regularly-scheduled blog-reading.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Of Mice and Boys

A couple weeks ago, the boys and I were preparing to vacate the
Hillbilly Mansion for our mad dash hurtling at the speed of my car-
singing toward school and work. #1 son came back into the house
as I was loading #2 with his backpack. "The cats have a mouse!"

"Great. Now we have to look at a partially eaten rodent. That will
take up time."

"No, Mom. It's OK. He's just sitting on the sidewalk by the garage

I expected to find a big hole in his side, or a bloody trail. Nope. It
was a little field mouse, with big Mickey Mouse ears. He was a
cute little thing, like a fluffy gerbil. Not a sleek, rat-looking mouse.
He did appear to be in shock, and his fur was kind of damp. The
boys squatted down to get a good look.

"Don't expect him to be here when we get home. Those cats are
going to eat him, and leave his liver on the sidewalk." (That's what
they did to mice on the porch twice. Nobody would eat the liver.
Go figure.)

"But they don't want him, Mom. Look, Genius is just sitting there
by him."

"Yeah. Till he moves. Then he'll eat him. It's a game of cat and
mouse." Ha, ha. I crack myself up sometimes. "Let's get moving."

We went into the garage. #1 poured the cat food in the feeding
bowl, his usual morning duty. He turned to look back through the
garage door. "Uh...Mom? He's gone."

I looked out to see Genius, the big orange-striped cat, sitting with
his tail curled around his feet. He looked at us, then turned his head
left to look at the road. That's when I saw it. A tail hanging out his
lips, right in the front, like a spaghetti noodle. #1 and I started to
laugh. "Look, Mom! It's just like Garfield, the Movie. 'Have you
tasted yourself lately?' I can't believe he put the whole mouse in!"
So much for sympathy for the poor little mouse.

I don't have a good ending. We had to leave for school, so I don't
know if he spit out the mouse or ate it. The mouse was nowhere
to be seen when we got home. And we never saw a liver, either.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lunch Time Tale

This lunch time tale will make you lose your appetite. Once upon a
time, I had lunch duty. I have taught at 5 different schools, and one
of them twice. Guess I shouldn't make fun of my friend for marrying
the same husband twice, huh? So you can take your pick in which
school this occurred, because I'll never tell.

It so happens that I was minding everyone's business, eating away,
when what to my wandering eye should appear? If only it had been
a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer! But no! It was a ninth
grade girl eating her pumpkin pie. And it really was pumpkin pie,
not that Cool Whip pumpkiny concoction with graham cracker
crust that some cafeterias try to pass off as pie.

What, you ask, could be disturbing about a girl eating her pumpkin
pie? Let me answer for you...she took her index finger and twirled
it around in the Cool Whip on top of the pie. Then she said, "Hey,
Mortimer!" (not actual name) to a kid two tables away. Next, she
put that finger into her mouth, left it a minute while making eyes at
him, then slowly withdrew the finger with her eyes closed. Of
course Mortimer's eyes bugged out, he wiped drool from his chin,
and said, "Hey, guys! Look at that!" As she was about to reload
her finger, I walked up behind her and told her that it needed to

"What did I do?" Her lunchtime companions looked down at the
table, snickering.

"You know exactly what you did, and so do all these people at
your table, and that other table. Unless you want to carry that
pie to the office and demonstrate for the principal, you had better
eat it with a fork, or not at all."

"All riiiiight." Eye roll.

Like a gave a rat's behind if her eyes rolled right out of her head.
She settled down. I wouldn't say she was remorseful about what
she had done, but she was remorseful about being caught. I
really did not want to write up a description of this on a discipline
form. This kid's mom had been there a bazillion times over one
or another of her brood. It would have been my word against hers,
and I would have been the dirty-minded ogre. OK, I am one, but
not everyone knows it yet. The behavior stopped, which was my
immediate goal.

Eeewwwww. How can even an immature kid find that behavior
appealing? She wasn't that pretty and she wasn't that smart. Oops.
That is what Luka told Abby on ER when they had their giant
break-up. You know, after he had killed that man by banging
his head against the pavement on their first date (Luka and Abby,
not Luka and the dead guy), and before he threatened to kill
Abby's neighbor in a bar after he had broken Abby's nose and
smacked her around (the neighbor, not Luka). Gosh, I'm glad
Abby and Luka are getting back together this season. But I

Kids. They want to act like adults, but without adult responsibilities.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Childish Things

OK, so he's not very photogenic. He
really looks like this.

This is one of my 7-year-old's favorite

When he was 5, he got it in a treat
bag at his kindergarten Halloween
party. This was kind of surprising,
because they are not allowed to have
"Halloween," so it was really a "Fall
Festival" party. I guess nobody was
in charge of searching the treat bags.

#2 son took him out of the bag on
the way home from school. He set
him on his shoulder. He carried him
through the house once we got home. He put him on his pillow
when he went to bed.

His older brother bowled in a league on Saturdays. Since my
Hillbilly Husband was working, I had to take them. #2 did not
bowl, so he sat at a table and watched. He ate a hot dog, drank
a soda, and played with the green skeleton.

He twirled him around his head by an elastic string. He made
him dance. He propped him into sitting position to watch the
bowlers. He held him on his shoulder and stroked him. He took
his napkins from lunch, made a bed and a cover, and put the
skeleton down for a nap.

Between turns, our 8-year-old neighbor boy came over to our
table. "Let me see it." They took him over to the carpeted steps
and sat down. NB flew him like a Superman. He stretched him.
He tossed him in the air. #2 wanted him back. He reached up.

"Let me have him."
"In a minute."
"No. Now."

A bit of a struggle ensued. NB dangled the skeleton, #2 jumped
up and grabbed him. NB wouldn't let go. #2 pulled to reclaim his
skeleton. He streeeeeetched. He snapped. It was a spinal injury.
He was severed just below the ribs. NB said, "Hey, sorry." He
gave up the head and torso, and went back to bowling. #2 came
crying to the table, a piece in each hand. He cried until bowling
was over, and the whole way home. "You can fix him, Mom."
OK, that made me cry. How was I going to fix a 5-cent rubber

#2 carried the two halves tenderly, wrapped in a napkin, and
laid them on the kitchen counter. "Here he is. Now you can
fix him," he sniffled. He was so trusting. He went off to lie on
the couch and await the miracle.

I examined the patient. It was a clean break. I searched the
cabinets until I found HH's little stash of Superglue. Hmm...the
instructions didn't mention green stretchy skeletons. I figured it
would either work, or it would dissolve the poor thing and put
him out of our misery. I applied a drop of glue, and pressed the
upper and lower halves of the body together. I held it a minute
and let go. It stayed together. I wrapped him up in the napkins,
laid him on the cutting block, and told #2 that the patient had to
rest for two hours. He asked the position of the big hand and
the little hand when time would be up.

When at last it was time, #2 uncovered the skeleton and picked
him up. He examined the spine. "You can't even tell. I knew you
could fix him!" He put the skeleton on his shoulder and hugged
me. Yeah, that made me cry, too.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hillbilly Mom Gripes Again

Does anyone else have issues with Because
everything I get from them arrives like this. I used to think the
problem was with UPS (Unqualified People Shipping).
Anything that came by UPS was smashed. Most of it was from
Amazon. Today I got this Amazon box from the U.S. Postal
Service. What's up with that? It must be a problem within the
Amazon family.

Do they use used boxes? Do they use gorillas to load the trucks?
Do they have a bunch of nosy factory workers who "inspect" each
box before it leaves? This is the worst package I ever got from
them. AND I even paid for shipping. No SuperSaver for me this
time! This is what my money brought me. It's an outrage, I tell you!

There was only one item, Superstud: Or How I Became a
24-Year-Old Virgin, by Paul Feig. I can't recommend it, because
I haven't read it yet. Duh! I just got it today after school. I am not
a speed reader. I do highly recommend his other book, Kick Me:
Adventures in Adolescence. I laughed, I cried, I loaned it to a
teaching buddy. The first chapter alone had me laughing until I cried.
Poor Paul, in his Christmas Elf costume. What were his parents
thinking? No wonder he was scarred for life. He's the guy who
wrote the ill-fated TV show Freaks and Geeks, which which
kickstarted the careers of Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Busy
Philipps, and Jason Segel.

Yes. I'm a geek. And sometimes I'm a freak. I have the Collector's
Edition DVDs of this series. It was based on the life of Paul Feig.
Man! That guy has serious issues.

I have serious issues, too. With

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Duality of My Nature

The duality of my nature, courtesy of Little Miss S, 7th grader.

So don't be mean to me. Cause I'll be mean to you. I can hear
you all clamoring, "Tell us a story, Hillbilly Mom, about when you
were mean to someone!" Oh...if you insist.

Tuesday, I was standing in the doorway between classes, minding
everybody's business, and I turned to look into my classroom,
which is always a good idea, because you never know when you
might catch a kid using the GermX as hair gel. And what did I
spy with my all-seeing eye? A 10th grader sitting in MY CHAIR
behind MY DESK who had taken MY STAPLER out of MY
DRAWER and was clicking MY STAPLES into his hand.

You could hear the sharp, collective intake of breathe as the
other students saw that I saw. It was like a herd of gazelle at
the watering hole sensing that a lion had just walked up. I
bellowed from the doorway: "WHAT DO YOU THINK
YOU ARE DOING?" And the kid kind of stammered,
"Uh, well, um...I was getting some staples."

"Uh, well, um....I don't know."
"Don't you EVER sit at my desk or go through my things!"

By this time the bell had rung, and he slunk back to his seat.
I hardly ever go off like that. Once or twice a year. But nobody
sits at my desk but me. It is a control issue. I kind of felt bad,
because my moment of desk rage had passed. He's not a bad
kid, just a little different. He is usually timid. He wouldn't say
"Boo" to a person who said, "Say 'Boo' to me."
So I told him. "See what you've done? I've had to be mean
to you. And I really don't like to be mean to you. But you
are not going to sit at my desk and get into the drawer without
permission, and waste staples to throw at people. Is that


I think he might have had a tear in his eye. I felt kind of bad
until I remembered that he had been sitting at my desk
staples. But everything was fine. He went back to
being his weird boo-less self, and I went back to being nice.
And we all went back to picking on the 9th grader who drums
his hands on his desk and sticks his butt out when he walks.
We are not exactly a lab school for political correctness.
We might need some sensitivity training. But 99% of the
time, we co-exist just fine in our little microcosm.

OK, now here's my "nice" story. What's that? You say you
didn't ask for one? Well, sit back down! You're hearing it

Once upon a time, last week, my class of mostly 9th graders
were actually doing what they were supposed to. Which is
working and not bickering and backtalking. So this one kid,
my pet if I had a pet, which I don't, but it would be him, needed
something round to draw for his ITEC paper. Another kid gave
him a quarter.

My nonpet finished drawing it, looked at the kid next to him
with kind of a Tom Sawyerish gaze, and said, "Have you ever
rolled a quarter down your nose?" He looked at me and raised
an eyebrow. Oooooh! I love to play a prank on a little pest.
I joined in.

"Not just anybody can do it. It's kind of hard."
"I've never tried it. But I bet I can."
"You have to close your eyes, that makes it harder."

The kid proceeded to jam the edge of the quarter between his
eyes, and let it go. Now usually, you tell them to hold it and
roll it down the middle. The quarter leapt off the end of his nose
onto the desk. Another kid behind him looked up.

"Let me do it. I know I can. C'mon. Let me have a try."

My nonpet picked up the quarter and said, "Here, let me fix
this quarter for you." He put it on his notebook and circled
around and around it with his pencil. The nose-roller turned
around to the begging kid.

"It's harder than you think."
"That's just because your nose is shaped funny."

Then the beggar saw the black mark between the nose-roller's
eyes, and said, "Uh uh! I'm not doing that."

The older kids had been choking, trying not to give it away.
One said, "Man! I can't believe they'd never heard of that."

I told them, "Since you have all been working so well today,
tomorrow maybe we can play some 52-Card Pick-Up, and
plan a Snipe Hunt for the weekend."

And of course one of them said, "Can we really?"

It is such HARD work preparing these kids for life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hillbilly Mom Has Issues

Well, surprise, surprise...Hillbilly Mom has issues. How very
uncharacteristic of me! Hey! It's my blog, and I'll whine when
I want to.

This morning I arose at 4:30 a.m. to take my Hillbilly Husband
to the Outpatient Surgery Center for a lateral meniscectomy
and a synovectomy. Ooohh...sounds gruesome, doesn't it?
The doctor took out part of his cartilage, and took out a bursa
from the other knee. That is from when he thought he was
dying with a septic knee, but it was truly "housemaid's knee."
He's fine. He didn't wake up during surgery. He has meds.

Now, let's get down to business, since everything IS ALL

We were the second couple to get there. We went to a table
in the waiting room, and I staked out my spot. It was in a row
of chairs against the wall, at the end of a table, facing the TV.
I put a coat on the chair to my left, and HH's crutches on the
chair to my right. I set my bag of magazines, book, bills to pay,
phone, checkbook, HH's billfold, HH's glasses, bottle of water,
etc. on the table. Hey! It was too much for a purse. Man, was
I settled in. If I didn't think people would look at me funny, I
would have turned around 3 times like a dog before I sat down.

And now, here's my issue. People did look at me. One couple
came in and sat across the room. They were fine. Next, a
threesome arrived. It looked like an old lady with her daughter
and son-in-law. There were 26 other chairs in that room.
Where did they sit? Right freaking next to me. HH had been
called in, and the chair at the table by my left side was still
moved out. Old Lady and the kids grabbed it, and the next
two. So I was at the end of the table. They were down one
side of the table. Did they turn to look at the TV? H*** no!
Did they turn to talk amongst themselves? H*** no! They
freakin' stared at ME! Every now and then I would lift up
my head, thinking they would look away. That wasn't

I was reading an old TV guide. The oversized new edition
with a lot more articles. How exciting could that be? Watching
Hillbilly Mom read? I don't even move my lips! I am a human
being, people! I am not an entertainment center! If "Fitty"
chops me up, do I not bleed all over his fifty-five gallon barrels?

A new couple had come in, and sat at the opposite end of the
table. When the woman was called to surgery, her husband
also stared at me. I know this is Redneckland, but don't these
people have TVs? They were showing Coach reruns. What's
not to like? It's Craig T. Nelson and Jerry Van Dyke! Hayden
Fox and Luther Van Dam! They are more entertaining than me
reading a magazine!

After about 45 minutes of this abuse, the nurse called me in to
be with HH. He was scheduled for 7:30. By 8:10, I was antsy.
"I have to get back out there," I told HH. "They will be moving
in on my territory. I know I will go out to find them in my chairs.
One will be wearing my coat, and another will be doing laps
around the room on your crutches." HH thought I was nuts. He
thinks this most of the time. Go figure.

The nurse came in to get HH, and told me I could wait in his
little private room. I told her I needed to get some things. I went
out to put HH's crutches in the car. My stuff was where I left it.
But they still stared at me.

Now to the next issue. HH got fake vicodin pain meds. His
doctor gave him 30, and one refill. Now I am really mad at
my operating-on-wide-awake-patients surgeon. I only got
20. No refill. Not that I am addicted or anything.

That will be my last issue today, due to the length of the post,
and people not really caring about my issues.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Duty, Duty, Who's Got The Duty?

This is my week for lunch duty. I circled it in the Faculty
Handbook. November 14-18.

Monday, I got to the lunchroom, and Mr. K was walking down
the line, checking for ID cards. If the kids don't have their card,
they have to let the ones with cards in front of them. I got there
before the lunch tardy bell, so it wasn't like a pointed reminder
that I was late. Mr. K likes to needle the students, so I thought
he was just doing it for fun. He saw me standing by the kitchen
door, and said, "Oh. Do you have duty?" These men! They won't
read a schedule. They try to guess alphabetically.

The problem started last week, when it was Ms. A's duty. She
was gone to a conference, so Mr. G said he was doing it, and
she'd owe him 2 days. When she returned, she agreed. Monday,
she showed up, too. She usually doesn't eat with us unless it is her
duty week, because she has a flexible schedule and can take any
of the 3 lunch shifts. Now, there might have been some confusion
because Mr. G was gone Monday.

So...I did the lunch line thingy. Then I sat down at the faculty
table. We are lucky to have HS lunch duty, and don't really have
to walk around the perimeter. The kids are pretty good. Pretty
good, because we have the worst HS lunch duty: 9th Grade!

Whoever has duty watches them while eating, and tells them
to clean up their ketchup, and not to mix the pudding in the
mashed potatoes, and not to drink the gravy like a shot, they
can't leave to use the phone, go to their locker, etc. So at the
end of lunch, I waited to make sure nobody left a tray or
trash on the tables, necessitating a stalking and extradition
from 4th hour class to clean it up. Ms. A was also walking
around. I wanted to say, "That's really nice of you to help me
with my lunch duty today." But I didn't. I want to see it hit
the fan when Mr. G has his next duty week (after mine) and
accosts Ms. A for the two days she owes him.

I am not very sympathetic toward Mr. G. One day he asked
me to do his lunch duty for him so he could put his grades in
the computer. I agreed, because they had trouble hooking
up the computer in his room, and I assumed he would trade
me for a day of duty when it was my week. Well, you know
what they say about assuming... He never offered to take
one of my days, so now he can work this out himself.

I am not very sympathetic to Ms. A, either. She has missed
duty before because she forgot.

I know. I'm Evil. But all these people have to do is read a
freakin' schedule. There's even one posted in the teacher
workroom across the hall from the lunchroom, in case they
have lost their Faculty Handbooks.

Hey, I am only trying to teach them responsibility.

Monday, November 14, 2005

HM, We Hardly Knew Ye

Because I haven't done it yet, but mainly because ...................

I present to you, 100 Things About Hillbilly Mom.

1. I am an Aquarius. That means I have big dreams, but I'm too
lazy to follow through.
2. I have one husband, two sons, and two stepsons. I try not to
act like it.
3. My stepsons and I get along well. We never had a fight. I met
them when they were 5 and 7. They are now 25 and 23.
4. I am a big old geeky nerd. I like trivia nights, and games like
trivial pursuit.
5. I was valedictorian of my high school. I was proud, but afraid
I'd have to give a speech. I didn't.
6. History bores the pants off me. I like science, math, & literature.
7. I am a loyal friend. You would be lucky to have me.
8. Someone in my family has an IQ of one hundred forty-eight.
It is not me.
9. When I'm not working, I like to stay up until 3:00 a.m., and
get up around 9:00 a.m.
10. I don't like people getting into my stuff, or nosing into my
business. I will tell you what I want you to know.
11. I have a Master's Degree in Education, & a B.S. in Education,
with a major in Physical Education and a minor in Biology.
12. I am certified to teach PE K-12, Biology 9-12, MS Science,
and Health 9-12.
13. I was happily teaching Biology and Physical Science when
my superintendent asked me to start a HS At-Risk Program.
14. I love working with the At-Risk students. At one time I was
asked if I wanted to switch to the Gifted. H*** no!!!
15. I can't stand snobs and fakes.
16. In this day of Political Correctness run amok, I wonder why
it is OK to ridicule and discriminate against gays and the obese.
17. I think gay people are born and not made.
18. Kids these days cheat and have few morals. Their parents
are too busy living their own lives to teach them right from wrong.
19. I have 2 novels in my head. They're too lazy to fight their
way out.
20. Saturday Night Live makes me laugh out loud. My husband
calls it "entertainment for morons." I wish he had a sense of humor.
21. I was named after my dad's sister, who died as an infant.
22. I lived in a trailer until 7th grade, when we built a house on
the outskirts of a town of 1800 people.
23. I used to drink. I quit because I liked it too much. May 27,
1992, was the date I stopped. It had a little bit to do with a bad
hangover, and that blood that came out my nose when I vomited.
24. My friend called me the day I quit. She said, "I've been sick
as a dog. Do you think it was something we ate at the Cardinals'
game?" Uh, no...not something we ate.
25. I am afraid of heights, and don't like water. Or summer. I'm
a rainy day kind of gal.
26. I like to gamble. Slots mostly, occasionally video poker.
27. I don't win big, but I come out within 20 bucks of what
I took in. Here's my system: say I take in 200 bucks. I put that
whole 200 bucks through the slots. BUT, everything that comes
out, I save to cash in when I leave. I don't put it in and play the
credits until it's gone. That's what my husband does. Loser.
28. It takes an hour and a half to get to the casinos. I only get
to go about 2-3 times a year.
29. My second son was a "surprise." It only takes once, girls.
30. The doctor thought he had Down's Syndrome because of a
prenatal test. I had to have amniocentesis, and wait for the results.
31. Both my parents and my husband thought I should terminate
the pregnancy if it was Down's. That angered me. I have always
been pro-choice, but when it came to me, I could not make that
32. I was working, filing claims at the Unemployment Office when
they called with my results. I had to take a 15-minute break to go
into the bathroom and cry with relief.
33. This son was the perfect baby. He told me when he was 4:
"I am your little gift from above." It made me cry.
34. I have worked other jobs besides teaching. Park's Dept.
softball coach for 14-18 year olds, cashier/clerk at an insurance
salvage store, claims technician for the MO Div. of Employment
Security, a convenience store clerk.
35. I have taken a lie-detector test. It was kind of creepy.
36. I am a terrible housekeeper. Once, after a burglary, the
policeman asked, "Did they do this, Ma'am?" I was embarrassed
to tell him, no, that I piled up the laundry in that bedroom until
I folded and hung it.
37. I like living in the country, and couldn't stand to live in a city.
38. I got my undergraduate degree from Southwest MO State
University in Springfield, MO. They recently changed their name.
Kathleen Turner, attended there, though it was before me.
39. I did my student teaching at Springfield Kickapoo, Brad
Pitt's high school. He was in 11th grade at the time. I don't
remeber seeing him. Duh! He wasn't famous yet!
40. I don't like crowds. I like to sit in the back or near an aisle.
41. People have told me that they thought I was stuck-up until
they got to know me. I am not comfortable with new people.
42. A fellow staffer says my superintendent thinks I walk on
water. I try not to disappoint him.
43. I have been to Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Florida,
and Massachusetts, and all the states in between to get there.
44. I have walked on the campuses at Harvard and MIT, but it
didn't make me any smarter.
45. I am a procrastinator. I am planning to work on that one of
these days.
46. In college, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a lesbian
couple. They let me have the bedroom. Their friends made mine
look BORING.
47. Man, did those girls know how to party! And you really
can't tell by looking.
48. I do not tell this to people, because many of them make
fun of gays. I feel bad that I don't speak up, but you have to go
along to get along in this region of the country.
49. I have worked at 3 schools where teachers had affairs with
students. A woman with an 18-year-old girl, a man with 13-14
year-old girls (too many to count), and a man with a 17-or-18-
year-old girl.
50. Only one was prosecuted. His Missouri teaching license was
revoked, but he moved back to New York state, where he was
from. He is now a convicted felon and can't vote.
51. Nobody knew about him until a college-age girl told. It had
gone on for years. He and his wife packed up and left town in
the middle of the night.
52. I can draw a good picture with pencil, but can't work in any
other medium.
53. People piss me off.
54. My mother and sister and nephew have red hair, but I and
my boys do not.
55. The only night I schedule around TV is Thursday: Survivor,
The Apprentice, ER.
56. I did not take English 4 my senior year of high school, and
tested out of Comp I and Comp II in junior college.
57. I played on the junior college softball team. First base. I was
not such a great hitter in fast-pitch softball. I liked them high and
outside, and always hit to right field.
58. I am no stranger to the cigarette, the porno, the pot, the XXX
theater, the adult bookstore, or the women's bookstore. Let's just
say I bend a bit too easily to peer pressure.
59. I currently live my life so as not to embarrass my children.
60. I have rolled a car at 60 mph and walked away. I never wore
a seatbelt, but that day I had buckled up, because my friend
was teaching driver's ed that summer and said I should.
61. I can not stand George W. Bush.
62. BUT...I am not at all political. That stuff bores me.
63. I used to run 6 miles a day, and participated in 10K runs.
64. I like funny people, not Type A world-changing people. My
friends are the nice people, not the popular people.
65. I hate a$$ kissers.
66. I like 70s/80s classic rock, and old country like Dolly Parton
Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Bellamy Brothers.
67. The only concert I have been to was the Ozark Mountain
Daredevils. I don't remember much about it. I know why.
68. I hate roller coasters.
69. When I go to the movies, I spend a fortune so my kids can
have popcorn and snacks. That is the fun of going.
70. My first date was to a school play, with a longtime friend.
He dressed up, wore cologne, and acted totally different.
It was sweet.
71. I was the only girl in the Independent Study Chem 2 class
in high school. We were mostly unsupervised in a long narrow
classroom. I learned the meaning of the expression "pounding
your pud," and to duck when someone threw a superball as
hard as he could against the wall.
72. I do not wear makeup, though I have in the past.
73. I do not like to wear jewelry, but I have pierced ears.
Most days, I do not even wear my wedding rings.
74. My kids are the most important things in my world. I cry
sometimes, thinking about how much I love them.
75. I don't have a lot of friends, but those I have are quality.
76. I coached volleyball and basketball for 8 years. Enough is
77. I believe in ghosts or entities. I have seen two, and do not
wish to see more. I would never go into a dark building and
say, "Is there someone here who wants to speak to us?"
78. I love to read. I picture actors as the characters, like a
movie in my head. I have never imagined myself to be one
of the characters
79. I am mainly right-handed, but can write with both hands.
Things I always do left-handed are deal cards, blow my nose,
shoot a basketball. My oldest son is left-handed.
80. I like to fish, but haven't been in years. I like to go alone,
sit on the bank, bait with worms or grasshoppers, and see
what I can catch.
81. I am a redneck country girl, but I go to see the St. Louis
Symphony at the junior college once a year.
82. I hate it when I go by the rules, and other people get
away with breaking them.
83. I resented that I had to work so my husband could pay
child support to his ex-wife, who didn't work.
84. My favorite season is fall, followed by winter.
85. My favorite comedians are Kathleen Madigan and
Chris Rock.
86. I have too many favorite books to name. I read them over
and over. A whole wall of my office is a bookshelf full of books.
87. I hate putting away laundry and vacuuming. I would rather
clean sinks and toilets.
88. When I worked for the Unemployment Office, I called the
claimant and the employer, and then decided who was more
believable, and made a decision based on our laws. I loved it.
89. My students respect me, and even like me most of the time.
90. I have been fired twice. Both times over coaching.
91. My eyes are hazel, but look green when I wear my favorite
color: green.
92. I sprained my ankle in a square-dancing class at college
when a big clumsy guy behind me stepped on my foot. It
sprained the inside (medial) side of my ankle, not the outside
part that most people sprain when they 'turn an ankle'.
93. Times and places that fascinate me are the Middle Ages,
U.S. Civil War, Scottish castles, Ireland, Australia. It makes
me wonder if those reincarnation people know something.
94. When I was a kid, the St. Louis Cardinals quarterback
Jim Hart rang our doorbell and asked for directions.
95. I have a friend who met Wernher von Braun.
96. Men remind me of little boys. It is easy to tell what they
are thinking.
97. I have turned in students who appeared to be under the
influence of drugs. Some have been suspended for 180 days.
I do not feel sorry. It is my job to provide a safe environment
for the students. I would rather have them mad at me than dead.
98. The school nurse has asked me to "smell" certain students.
She said I was the next best thing to the drug dog. I think that
was a compliment.
99. I do not like visitors to come to my house.
100. I must have alone time every day, even if it means I only
get 5-6 hours sleep each night.

Wow. I could do a hundred more. Don't worry. I won't.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Update on the Conscious Surgery

On Thursday night, I got a phone call from the RN who is the
Director of Surgical Services at the hospital where I had surgery,

She apologized to me for about 10 minutes. It would have been
better if it wasn't on my TV night, but hey, I'll take what I can get.
She sounded sincere. She said that when she read my (4-page)
letter, she was just sick. She said they have meetings all the time,
and her nurses are told that they may not think people can hear
them, but they might, and some might remember it. She said she
knows who was in that OR because she checked the log, and that
they will get a warning that any other incidents like this will be
grounds for dismissal.

She also asked if she could use my letter at one of her monthly
meetings. I told her it was OK if they didn't know who I was.
She said she wants to emphasize to them that they certainly
wouldn't want their mother or sister to be treated that way.
She said that she hoped I'd come back--not because something
was wrong and I needed surgery--but that I would continue
to use that hospital. She thought I needed to bring it up with
the surgeon, but I don't want to do that.

Anyhoo, at least I got an apology. That's the least they could
do. An apology is much cheaper than a lawsuit. But really, that
RN sounded like she meant it. She said she has been an OR
nurse for 22 years, and this was very upsetting to her. Yeah.
To me too.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Generation Gap

I am just tripping over ideas lately. In a comment to my post about
a substitute teacher telling one of my students he needed to get
himself a joint, Erica mentioned how it is hard for older people
to sub at high school and middle school, because they don't
know the lingo. Which of course reminded me of another story.

Several years ago, I taught science at a school of about 270
middle school kids. This was a very rural area. We had an older
woman named 'Marge' who was a teacher's assistant for the
Behavior Disorder classroom. I passed Marge's house on the
way into and out of town each day. Once we traveled through
there on a weekend, on our way to Branson, and saw Marge
sitting on her front porch snapping green beans.

We didn't pay much mind to Marge. She was one of us, but
we didn't seek her out, or ask her opinion on anything. We
were cordial, and didn't make fun of her. Until...One lunch
period, Marge came into the teachers' lounge shaking her
head. "I just don't know what to do with those boys!"

"What's going on, Marge?" asked the Social Studies teacher
from behind the sports section.

Marge set her paper bag lunch on the table, pulled up a chair,
and took out a sandwich. "Well, every day Rocky and Tony
come in, and they're picking and poking at each other. They
can't settle down. So today, I was getting onto them, and
Rocky asked me why I was so mean. I told him, 'I don't
want to be mean. If you two would just stop fingering each
other...' And they started laughing and couldn't stop. What
did I say?"

By this time, we were laughing and couldn't stop. Tears
streamed from our eyes. The Social Studies teacher had
put down his paper and was coughing on some food. He
said, "Marge, I can't tell you what that means. But if I was
you, I wouldn't talk to the kids about 'fingering'."

MamaKBear says I'm "IT"

Here is a little something that MamaKBear passed on to me. It's
called "Flick, Pick, and Riff." The procedure is:

1.FLIP open a dictionary, and point to a word.
2.Type the word into Google images.
3. PICK an image that strikes you.
4.Write a 10-line RIFF on the image.
5. Use the word or meaning of the word at least once in the first
five lines of the riff.
6. Tag 3 other bloggers on your list.

My word: SACRED

On the third day, she arrived at the floor
of the valley. The guide had sent her on
alone after day two, as the charter
required. She dipped her face into the
icy springwater and scrubbed off the
makeup. In this sacred place, there was
no need for the painted image she
showed the world. She sat down on a
boulder, and
let its coolness seep
through her clothes
and skin.

No Man's Land was everything the vacation brochures had promised.
No men. No hassles. No one to serve. She
had eight days left to be

Once upon a time, on my old blog, I did the Book Meme, thanks
to the generosity of Redneck Diva. I tagged 3 people, but only
DeadpanAnn responded. Since my record is 33%, I am not going
to tag anybody, but if you want it, have at it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Torture the Little Children

What are they teaching kids at school these days?
My 10-year-old #1 son told me a tale on the way home from
school. He babbled on about a story he read in a school library
book. A car hit a deer on the highway. A boy who was doing
community service at Jackie's Wild Seattle, a wildlife rescue and
rehabilitation center, ran down to the road and found it. With the
instructions of an adult worker, who had an arm injury and
couldn't do it himself, the kid cut a fawn out of the dead deer's
belly. The fawn survived. The car's driver was a newspaper
reporter, and wrote a story on how the kid saved the fawn.

"And he was in trouble before, kind of a juvenile delinquent,
"What did he do?"
"Well, there was this stray dog, and he hit it on the back with

a stick, and accidentally broke its back."
"That's sad."
"Well, after he broke its back, it wouldn't stop whining, so he
held it
underwater in a creek until it drowned."

"Mr. Teacher told us about pets he used to have. He had a bird
named "Elvis." He
kept Elvis in his cage, in the kitchen. One day
his mom was
cooking something in one of those non-stick pans.
forgot about it, and all the water boiled out, and then that
stuff on the pan started to burn. They were all in different parts
of the house, and smelled the smoke. His mom turned off the stove,
and they all got out. They had to air out the
house for a long time
with all the windows open. They had
forgotten all about Elvis.
When Mr. Teacher remembered,
he went in and found Elvis
dead in his cage."

"Are you sure that's a real story? It sounds kind of like one of
Mr. J's stories."
"No, Mr. Teacher really did have a bird named Elvis."
"So it's like the canary in the coal mine thing, where the canary
is very sensitive to gas, and if it dies, the miners need to get out?"
"No. That must be a Mr. J story. We didn't talk about a coal mine".

"Oh, and Mr. Teacher didn't have good luck with pets. He had
this little dog named Troubles. His dad let her out one night to go
to the bathroom, and then forgot to let her back in. So she was
all night. It was winter, and she froze to death."
"Did they find her huddled up against the door, trying to get in?"
"No, she was under the car, trying to stay warm. Unsuccessfully!"
"What kind of dog was it?"
"A chihuahua, I think, or a poodle. She was 13 years old."
"Was she stiff?"
"Haha. I don't know. He didn't say."
"Was he sad about his pets?"
"I guess he was then. He said he would never get over his Troubles,
but he was laughing when he told the stories."

Hmm...#1 son is very tender-hearted about animals. Not like
#2 son, who put #1's kitten in the pan of drinking water right
after we got him. I asked him, "How could you put a cat in the
water? You know cats don't like water." And he replied, "It
wasn't my cat."

So anyhoo, #1 didn't seem too perturbed by these tales. That's
good. He cried when another kitten died, and he couldn't watch
his dad bury it. He asked that HH wrap the kitten in the blanket
that it slept on, and not to get dirt on its fur. After it was buried
and a stone marker put in place, he went by himself to "say a few

He's got to grow up sometime, I guess.

RIP, Troubles.

RIP, Elvis.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

You Need To Get Yourself a Joint

In the comments concerning my recent substitute (yes,
I know, there is no substitute for Hillbilly Mom--I meant
my substitute teacher), Mrs.Coach2U and Erica gave
me an idea for this post.

Once upon a time, I knew I was having a substitute for
one day. She even came by the day before, to ask about
my routine. No, not my comedy routine, that is just my
daily life. She was asking how we did things in my class.
I did not mind this intrusion, like I usually hate visitors.
She meant well. She was one of our good subs, but just
a little bit off.

So she comes in, and we were talking about learning
styles, like how I have to read things for myself, I don't
get it if someone tells me about it. That's why I was
good in school--it's set up for the visual learner. Most
teachers are this style. Well, most of my students are
not--that is why they are not successful. Well, that
and being lazy, some of them. Tell them something,
discuss it, watch a show about it, use maps, or cut up
stuff, and they've got it.

Mrs. Substitute looks at one kid, who is telling me he
can't remember anything he reads, unless he reads
it out loud. Aha! Auditory learner! So Mrs. Substitute
says to him: "You need to get yourself a joint." He
is trying to be polite. He looks at me. He looks at her.
He says: "Excuse me?" The other kids are trying not
to crack up. These ain't your student council kids I
got here, you know. These are the "at-risk" kids.
And to them, a "joint" means one thing. And it ain't
a knee or elbow.

Mrs. Substitute says: "Go to the hardware store.
Get yourself a joint. (The kids are exchanging looks.)
If you can't find one, ask the salesman."

One kid says: "Uh...what are you talking about?"

"You know, a joint. A curved piece of pipe, like that
PVC pipe, an elbow joint that hooks pipes together. can read out loud to yourself without
bothering anyone else in class. Put one end by your
mouth, and the other end by your year. That way
you won't distract anybody."

The kid politely says: "Oh." And I know they're all
thinking what I'm thinking, like how a kid sitting in
class holding a big piece of PVC pipe to his ear and
talking to himself is not going to distract anyone.
Well, that, or getting themselves some real joints.

Mrs. Substitute leaves, and the kids all look at me.
"She means well," I told them. "But please don't
go home and tell your parents: 'The teacher said
I need to get myself a joint'."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


See, I told you Rebecca stole the Crown of Hillmomba!!! Check
this out! She even incriminated herself with these pictures! Don't
listen to the Beclakian propaganda. We are stealing back the
crown. I don't want that gaudy jazzed-up model, either. The
Emperor of Hillmomba does not need to put on airs. We are
a common people. Nothing fancy for us, thank you.

Did you doubt that we would come after you, Beclakians? Did
you doubt that our fine vehicles could cross the ocean? Think
again. You ain't the only nation with big feet.

And don't think we can't see the spies you sent over here, either.
We know a foul, spitting Beclakian when we smell one!

Oh, we WILL defeat the Beclakians. They will run crying like
little girly-men when they see our uniforms.

Our boots alone will have them begging for mercy.

You see, once upon a time, Beclakia had a problem with rabbits.
They mistakenly thought a fence could contain the rabbits.
Hahahaha! Have they never planted a garden? A fence can't
keep a rabbit in or out, you silly Beclakians!

And what do Beclakians wear as their uniforms? Yeah, a bit
frightening on the miming cowsuits,

but their boots! Hahaha! Oooh! I'm shakin'!!!

Now, is a regular royal crown good enough for the Emperor
of Beclakia? I don't think so. Here is Bec's Minister of Rabbit
Fences modeling the Beclakian Royal Crown. (That boy ain't
quite right, if you ask me.)

Nooo...Rebecca must have a Royal Bodysuit as well as a crown.
High-fallutin' Beclakians!

Rebecca is jealous because I had a Las Vegas wedding. You
might say she was green with envy. So she thought she'd post
some pictures from my first marriage. The joke's on you,
Rebecca. I already sold those photos to the National Enquirer.
You ain't showin' nobody nothin' new!

Watch your back, Rebecca. You don't know when I'll strike
again. Bwahaha!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dear Substitute

I was absent from school last week because I had surgery. AND
I've mentioned that a couple of times. I usually don't miss work. I
could have gone, except for the day of the actual surgery. It's not
like my job is physically demanding. I don't dig ditches, or hang
drywall, or rope steers, or carry shingles up to the roof, or unload
the turnip truck, or fasten steel beams on the tops of skyscrapers.
I sit in a classroom. But the administration kind of frowns on sitting
in a classroom with a fresh incision held together by tape, while
under the influence of hydrocodone (or fake vicodin, as I like to
call it). Sweet, sweet, hydrocodone. Oops! My inner Homer
Simpson is trying to get out.

So...the school hired a substitute for the week. We only have
5 on our list. I think that is for three buildings to share. I know
for sure that my two buildings share those 5. Anyhoo, I was
none to happy to hear some tales my students told me. I know,
you can't always believe what kids say. And I know, if I don't
like it, I should have been there myself. Hey! Simmer down.
I've had perfect attendance for 3 years. Not this year. I need
to write a little letter to my substitute. The sub will never read
it, but I will feel better for writing it.


Dear Substitute:
Please read my list of DO-NOTS for the next time you might sub.

Hillbilly Mom's List of DO-NOTS for SUBSTITUTES

DO NOT take the students outside for a walk.
What if there was an emergency? We had drills all week. Did
you notify the office where the class would be? I think not, or
else you wouldn't have instructed the students not to tell me.

DO NOT bring a movie to show to 6th graders.
All videos/movies in this building are to be approved in advance
by the administration. There is even a form to fill out.

DO NOT let the students write/draw/play hangman on the board.
There is a reason the chalk and dry-erase markers are kept in my
desk. They are for TEACHER use only. I do not want the extra
chalk dust, waste of chalk, extra work for custodians, sayings
such as "Hunky McHunkerson is so HOT!", don't written in front
of the instructions I have left on the board, or any other nonsense
just because you let the kids play around.

DO NOT refuse to follow the plans that I left.
Sometimes a few kids work slower. I read to the ones who are
done. I left 3 books that we had been reading in the middle
school classes. When my students asked you to read from
them, why did you tell them, "I'm not reading anything"? So
they could write on the board?

DO NOT give away my pencils.
I have to buy them. Students will bring their own if you give
tardies to go back to the locker and get one. "Loaning" is the
same as "giving" if the pencils are not returned. If I gave away
6 pencils every week, that is 216 pencils for the year.

DO NOT rearrange my classroom furniture.
You were here 1 week. I have been here 262 weeks. There is a
reason my rooms are set up like this.

DO NOT let my students move the posters on the walls.
What were you thinking? That the students are in charge?

DO NOT go through my desk.
The things you need are in plain sight. There is no reason for
you to go through the papers/money under my pencil tray, or
to read through my pocket calendar.

DO NOT write on my "Pink Pet" eraser to use it as a hall pass.
The students told you where the hall passes were located. Why
did you say, "We're doing it this way"?

DO NOT tell the students not to tell me what you did.
That is the first thing they do. If you are old enough to substitute,
you are old enough to be the one in charge. You are not buddies
with the students. Act like an adult.

DO NOT tell the students I am absent because I had surgery.
Five people in the entire school district knew this. Four had no
reason to talk to you. It is confidential information. If I wanted
the students to know, I would have told them myself. If an
administrator tells you why you are needed for a week, it is
not necessary to provide that information to the students.

I know you do not have a teaching degree and years of experience.
But if plans are left telling you what to do, DO IT! These kids are
in my class because they have failed. They do not turn in work.
The purpose of my class is to give them help if they need it, and
make sure they do the work. That is why I said they should have
something to do, and to give them the math practice worksheets
if they didn't. Of course they will tell you they don't have work!
Try handing them a math worksheet, and see how fast they
remember an assignment that they need to do! But if you take
them outside and let them draw on the board and show movies
and who knows what else, of course they are going to say they
have no work! How many math worksheets did I see were given
out? NONE! Hmm...

My favorite sub was already booked for that week. He would
be turning over in his grave if he heard what went on in my
class. Well, that is, IF he was dead, which he isn't. Teachers
do not choose the subs. We can ask, but they don't always
listen. I am glad that there were no problems. You really don't
have problems when you let the kids do what they want. I am
sorry that my students spent one full week doing absolutely
nothing of educational value. Next time, I will ask for someone