Archive for September, 2011

Being a cool kid in high school

Posted: September 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

One of the pluses of teaching college English to dual credit (re: high school) students is all the stuff you learn about teenagers today.  Like the fact that they don’t understand the word “Democrat” and aren’t sure what a “political party” is.  Because, really, who can care about silly things like that when there are way more important things to figure out – like how to pay for eyebrow waxing.

Yes, really.

Did I miss something when I was in high school?  Or did I just avoid it by not being friends with those types of girls?  Or did my friends just never talk to me about it?

I can’t imagine being in high school and being worried that my eyebrows weren’t the right shape or size.  Even today I get annoyed when someone at the nail salon asks if I want my eyebrows waxed.  Why should I pluck and poke at my brows?  Aren’t they perfectly happy as they are? Are they really crying out in the night for more room to spread out?

I guess I could look at this as a bigger rant, especially considering the recent DC re-launch (fiasco to most women, anyway) http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/22/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/?a_dgi=aolshare_twitter, but I don’t want it to be.  It really is just about eyebrows.

Viva la unibrow!

While reading Thedore Geisel’s biographies, I came across the story of how he got his first book published. Now, depending on the person telling the story, his first book (And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street) was rejected upwards of 38 times. He was still convinced it was good, though, and he hadn’t given up on it yet.

Then this particular day, he was walking down the street and happened to run into an old friend who was just starting to head up the children’s department of this publishing house.  He invited Geisel up to talk, and the rest is the legacy of all the books that Seuss wrote and published. Geisel claimed that had he been walking down the other side of the street that day, he’d have become a vacuum cleaner salesman.

And maybe he would have.

Sometimes what it takes is that one lucky break, mixed with some good writing and a lot of blind faith. It would have been easy for Geisel to give up. It would have been easy to not proof his work. And it would have been easy, when he ran into his friend with a tale of good fortune, for him to sit quietly and not offer up his manuscript. Instead, we got Dr. Seuss.

Of course, I am no Seuss. (And I may as well go there – I am also not a crook…or a Kennedy…) And while I may tend towards the unlucky, maybe that’s just because I haven’t been walking down the right side of the street. Yet.

Back to School Blog

Posted: September 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Facebook has opened up my old world again.  I’ve been down in Texas for over fifteen years – and mostly thrilled to be here.  Sure, there’s the heat.  Sure, there’s the humidity.  Sure, there are the mosquitoes big enough to carry guns.  (But, they’re not able to qualify to carry concealed, so it’s all good.  I mean, where would they be able to conceal them anyway?  They are mosquitoes…but I disgress…)

The thing is, in Texas, the school year doesn’t start in September.  It starts in August.  It used to start in mid or early August, but now it waits until the last or next to last week of the month.  Still, at first it was weird to get used to.  I grew up being able to pick out something to wear for my first day of school that might involve jeans or even – gasp! – long sleeves!  Not so much down here where it’s still hitting 100 degrees of higher when the call to the classroom comes out.

Here it is now, the day after Labor Day, and suddenly people I knew once upon a time – and, most importantly, don’t mind knowing again – start posting up pictures and messages of kids going back to school up in the not-so-great not-so-white north. (Sorry, NJ just doesn’t have it going on!)

It’s weird, like looking through an old times Sears catalog that’s selling buggies and gingham fabric. The concept of school starting in September seems like something out of the past. In my mind, that was when school *used* to begin, way back when. When I left the state, I left the school year behind, too, and assumed it changed like I had. No more September to June. Now it should be August to May. It’s like when I pull up the weather for Maplewood.  It’s cold up there! And somehow my brain has decided that we should share the weather, so it always comes with that moment of shock – 60 degrees? How can it be 60 degrees? It’s not December yet! My now Tex-ified brain thinks.

Anyway, to stay on point: back to school.

As a perpetual student myself, and one who teaches and takes classes year round, you’d think that the old back to school vibe would be wasted on me. Yet I still get caught up in the excitement, thrilled to buy notebooks and pens for virtual classes that don’t need them. Maybe that’s what’s really missing from the newfangled online education – no more pencils, no more books…