Thursday, June 29, 2006


What ever happened to customer service?

Turns out the DSL software that the people at AT&T told Dad should arrive yesterday...didn't. He called again today and guess what? It was never going to arrive. Nope. No order for us.

So now it's on its way, except that they "can't process the order until Monday," because GOD FORBID anyone get any work done on a freakin' Thursday and Friday. It could be at least another week--maybe more--before we have internet! All because the people at SBC and AT&T are morons with no customer service training!!

My rant of the day.

So it looks like I'll be consuming more Frapuccinos in the next week or so. I want to throw up just thinking about it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We Have a Dial Tone!!

Yes folks, that's right. Our phone is up and running--two days ahead of schedule. Woohoo!!

Now we are waiting on the DSL software to arrive so we can set up the internet. So here I am, at Starbucks, drinking an Odwalla Orange Juice and reading my emails.

What's new in my world? Not a hell of a lot, but here goes:


I drove down on Monday, and have to go back tomorrow. I had a TB test done on Monday; tomorrow they'll look at my arm to see if I've reacted (which I haven't, other than a bruise). After that, I have a meeting with the lady in personnel, and then an appointment for a Livescan (fingerprints). I'm doing all of this stuff in Antioch because 1) they paid for the TB test because I did it at the Antioch Kaiser facility, and 2) the fingerprints should process faster if I do it at the Contra Costa County Office of Education.

I looked around some more on Monday and it's a nice enough town. I am starting to see where I could live and which areas I'll avoid. Like any other city of over 99,000 people, it has it's nice neighborhoods and it's sadder neighborhoods.

Social Life!!

I have one!

I met Summer for dinner last Saturday, and it was lovely to see her again. I will probably have lunch with a couple of old high school friends on Saturday, which will take me back to Folsom for the first time since December 2004. Heather and I have vague plans for a movie night at some point. Lots of people to see and hang out with, which is wonderful.

Kittygarten Graduates

Because they are shelter babies, Mom and I don't know when exactly Bella and Duchess were born, but we figure they must be near their first birthday. They're as big as Millie (and fatter) and absolutely beautiful. They're still kittenish in many ways, but I am proud to announce that they have graduated from kittygarten into the world of adult felines.

They're all doing well (Millie included) and seem to be settling into the new house quite nicely, with no lasting trauma. We keep finding mouse toys all over the place, so they're playing. They're eating and using the litter box, so we can't complain.

What's a Girl to Do?

I don't have internet at home, I'm not unpacking much because I'll just be moving again in August, so how am I passing my time at home?

When I'm not helping Mom and Dad unpack, I've been going through all of my digital photos that are saved on the computer and watching the Harry Potter movies. Life is good.

...And that's about all. My life is pretty danged lazy and boring at the moment, but after the chaos of moving, I deserve it!



Thursday, June 22, 2006

Frappucino, Anyone?

I'm sitting here at Starbucks. For another few days, this is how I get to check my email--on the laptop, with a Strawberries and Cream Frappucino in front of me.

You see, a few weeks ago, a laptop computer was stolen somewhere in this world. This computer had the information of millions of America's veterans in it. Dad, being a cautious man, had an alert put on his credit card. The phone company here in the Central Valley of CA had a coniption fit and didn't activate our phone service. Instead of calling Dad, they let it drop for three weeks. So Dad moved to CA, thinking there were no problems, only to have no dial tone and no idea who to talk to. And good luck getting a human being on the hotlines!

We finally got it all ironed out on Tuesday and the phone company told Dad that they'll be out to hook up our phone service--next week. So basically, we suffer, even though Dad did his job in all of this. Gah!

So I have many Frappucinos in my future, and trips to the nicely air-conditioned Starbucks near our home with Dad's laptop. I'd prefer my jammies and the desktop computer, but what are ya gonna do?

In other news...

The move went well, the kitties are just fine, it's hot but I'm not too nasty from it yet, and I need to make some phone calls to friends to catch up and make plans for lunch, dinner, whatever. I've been soooo tired this week!

So, dear friends, I'll be in touch soon. Give me some time to get over the laziness, and to find my cell phone among the boxes of stuff. That's another thing. If you need to reach me, call my cell phone, Washington number. I won't change that number until we have land line phone service. You can email, but I won't be checking more than once a day, so that can be problematic...

More soon!



Monday, June 19, 2006

California Girl? Forget That.

I'm a California Driver!

Yes folks, it is true. I drove back into this state yesterday, and despite the Washinton plates on my car, I fit right in on the highways. In other words, I want to be off of them as soon as possible.

Some stories from my most recent adventures (as ever, Wild and Absolutely True).

Improving Seattle's Economy

Heather and I hit three of Seattle's best offerings: Old Navy, The Gap and Macy's. Last time she came to Seattle, we did the tourist stuff. This time, we shopped. One pair of jeans, three cute tops and a Clinique blusher later, I made out pretty good.

Saturday night we spent a large amount of money at Amber, a hip new restaurant in Belltown. We both had steaks, and enjoyed flirting with our adorable waiter. Good times!

More Evidence

We really were twins in a past life.

On Friday night, as Heather settled into our airport near SeaTac, we were doing our normal chattering and giggling when I noticed her purse on the desk.


I walked over for a closer look, and sure enough:

"Heather, a few months ago I went to Macy's and I came thisclose to buying this very purse."

"You're kidding!"

So it turns out that even when 800 miles apart, we have an uncanny ability to shop alike.

"Just Keep Going South."

The bad news about driving from Seattle to Sacramento is that it's a long haul (780 miles or thereabouts, and about 12 hours of drive time). The good news is that you hop on I-5 Southbound in Seattle and you stay on it until you hit Sacramento. No maps, no confusion. Just point the car south and press the gas pedal. Stop occasionally for food, water, sugar, the loo, gas, a stretch.

Wonder aloud why the rest stop bathroom in the middle of Oregon does NOT have any soap (not out of soap, but no soap dispensers to begin), then dig in the back of the car for those wash-and-wipes you know are in there.

And who knew Oregon could go on for so long? It's so small-looking on the map (relative to say, California) but driving it felt like driving across Texas. It just went on and on and on...It did provide its moments of hilarity, however.

For Example

Anyone up for a trip to Drain? Yep, Drain. That town name provided at least 2 hours of giggling. Williamsville, on the other hand, seemed to be a pretty slow place. We stopped there for a Starbucks and it seems to be the happening place in town. I've never seen a line so long in a Starbucks...well, except the one in SeaTac, but that's an airport, not a middle-of-nowhere town.

Lay of the Land

Washington = Green, green, green and trees, trees, trees. Even the farmland is very green, and there are a lot of long, tree-lined stretches.

Oregon is much the same. Then you pass that cute little "Welcome to California!" sign and in the snap of a finger, the grass is yellow, the terrain is much drier, and the trees are scrubbier. It's not a bad change, but it is such a dramatic change, it's almost scary.

It's also familiar in a comforting sort of way.

The other dramatic change between the two PNW states and California is the mood on the highways. California drivers, I am not kidding, are overall, more agressive and self-centered than those in Oregon and Washington.

The New Gig

Drove to Antioch today to meet my new boss (very nice) and the band teacher (also very nice and very helpful).

I was driving throuh town, thinking I might have missed the left turn onto the street the school is on when I came around a bend and saw, through some trees, a huge gray building with the word "Wolverines" painted in teal. My first thought was, "Holy Cow!!" I knew it was the school. It is HUGE! I knew it would be, with an enrollment of 3500, but actually seeing it was pretty amazing.

I'm feeling overwhelmed and excited all at once. Lots to do and think about in the next few weeks!


I had a two-hour nap this afternoon, upon my return to the hotel. I woke up at about 6:30, to find Dad gently announcing that he'd brought me some dinner. I had Millie on my lap and the Terrible Two on my feet, and Mom reported that I'd been snoring. I guess I needed that.

And That's All For Now

Tomorrow is move-in day at the new house, so there's more fun to be had. For now, I need some more sleep and laziness. I've earned it!



Saturday, June 17, 2006

Good Morning, Seattle!

Yay! Heather's here. She made it in safely (though exhausted) and we both got a good night's sleep. She kindly let me use her laptop to check email while she showers, so I thought I'd post a quick blog update.

Yesterday was a little bit emotional, as was to be expected, though not nearly on the same scale as when I left England. I didn't allow myself any "final tours" of anything--just drove straight to Bremerton to catch the ferry. I relaxed at the hotel for a bit before meeting Heather at SeaTac, and now, here we are, looking forward to a day of shopping and relaxation in beautiful downtown Seattle.

Ahh. My turn for the shower. WIll update again in the week!



Thursday, June 15, 2006

Root Beer

Live from's a Little Pink Blog update!!

Goodbye, House!

Well, that's all folks. The contents of our house are loaded into a large moving truck (and our cars). The movers were there all day yesterday, working hard. This left time for the parents and I to sit around for a while, then clean like mad. Some stories (I wish I could get the pics up, but I packed the cable for my camera, silly girl).

Reminiscing About Root Beer

One of our happiest family memories is the time when Grandma Bean ordered a root beer float at a restaurant, then got flustered as she watched it overflow onto the table. As she fretted and swiped at the mess with a napkin, Grandpa looked at her and said, "Well, don't shake it up!!" We all fell about laughing (though of course Grandma just glared at him), and it became a long-running family joke: "Don't shake up your root beer float."

Mom and I were reminiscing about this yesterday as we sat among furniture and boxes upon boxes of stuff. As ever, it made us smile. If we'd known what would happen later in the day, we'd have been laughing harder.

New Adventures in Root Beer

It was late by the time the movers finished, so Mom and I took the cats to the hotel in her car, leaving my car with Dad at the house. When he finally arrived at the hotel, I was more than ready to retrieve my suitcase, have a hot shower, and go to bed. Dad was thirsty for something sweet, so I offered to stop by the vending machine for him.

The only non-caffienated drink in the machine was root beer, so I bought one and carried it to my car to gather my belongings.

I had cleaned my bathroom using bleach products that afternoon, and had changed into my old, ripped-near-the-crotch jeans and an old shirt. I carefully folded my nicer jeans and nice top and put them in a bag with my book and some other stuff.

When I unloaded my car, I put the root beer in the bag, and tied it to my suitcase. Which promptly fell forward. Oblivious, I hoisted it back up and started tugging it and a plastic tote of toiletries up to our third-floor room (thank God for elevators!).

When I got to the room I took Dad's root beer out. Uh-oh. There's a leak in the side of the can, and it's spraying a tiny stream of root beer.

I ran to the bathroom and set the can in the bathtub, then went back to my back to survey the damage.

"Crap!! My only clean pants! I was gonna wear these to school tomorrow!!"

My jeans had a huge spot of root beer...right on the crotch. Mom held them up and it looked like I'd peed my pants! Dad, who hasn't laughed much in the last few days (he's a worrier), snorted and Mom and I started laughing, as well. Pretty soon, I was laughing so hard I almost did pee myself and had to run to the bathroom. I had to get by Mom, who couldn't understand what I was trying to say because I was nearly choking with laughter. Tears were streaming down my face and I was actually almost sobbing with mirth. It was about the funniest thing I've experienced in years.

Ahh, damn. Lunch is finished, and I have to go sub. More stories and adventures later.

No more root beer for me!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


188 boxes of it, packed by two young men who work for the moving company (this does not count the boxes in the storage room--holiday decorations, my crap, etc.--and other stuff we packed ourselves in the last few days).

But we're all packed now, and ready to go. The movers will be here bright and early tomorrow. With the last of our stuff in the truck, we will be at the Inn at Port Hadlock, and most likely without internet access. I have limited chances to check email at school, and once Friday rolls around, I'll be having fun in Seattle. : )

Other shtuff...

New Job Happenings

I've heard from both the instrumental music teacher and the choir teacher (the lady I'm taking over for) and both seem very eager to help me make the transition as painless as possible. I'm getting quite excited, especially as I've been looking online at apartments and seeing some nice-looking places (the goal is 2 bed, 1 bath, with washer/dryer and a dishwasher--at an affordable-on-teacher's-salary price, of course).

Three Days!!

Only three more teaching days, and one of those, there is no 4th period (I'm subbing, though). On Friday, I'm not really teaching--I'll just be there for the assembly to give out awards and have my kids sing. Easy day, there.

High Maintenance

I have a lot of crap to haul in my car over the next few days (see blog post below). Chatting with Heather last night, I told her that Mom had asked me if all this stuff would fit. I replied, "It will. I might not have a place for Heather, but my stuff will fit..."

: P

Heather's retort when I told her about this exchange was simply, "If it comes down to me or the clarinet, I win."

No worries, though, on that score. Rosie is the small sedan that thinks it's a pickup truck. And, like her owner, she's got a big trunk.

Gotta Go

...if I want to eat. We have nothing but junk in this place, and I'm craving veggies. Mom and Dad are ready for dinner, so we're off!

Cheers (from the laptop)!


Monday, June 12, 2006

Suitcases in the Bathroom

Everything I will possibly need in the next week (and quite a few things I won't need) is stuffed in my bathroom so the movers will know not to pack it and stick it on the truck. This includes enough clothing and clean underwear for 2 weeks, make-up, two hair dryers (one regular and one with the round brush doo-dad on it), a plastic under-bed-storage box of toiletries, my two favorite pillows, a blanket with my scent on it (for de-stressing the kitties), the first two Harry Potter books, my beloved "London England" hoodie, 4 pairs of shoes (not counting my Nikes, which are on my feet right now), my jewelry, the cell phone charger, my iPod and its various cables, my digital camera, some clothes hangers and one very old Snoopy doll.

Snoopy does not get packed like other common baggage.

The fun part will be hauling all this crap down to my car, then into a hotel room, then back to my car, then into another hotel room, then back to my car, then driving to Sacramento.

I'm feeling very high-maintenance right now. : P

Right. This will most likely be the last blog update (for real) before next week. When next I post in my LPB, I will once again be a California Girl.



Sunday, June 11, 2006

Oh, and a Few More Pictures...

Taken in the last few days...

Another of Oak Bay Road:

I love these signs:

"A village in the woods by the bay."

The ferry coming into Port Townsend:

The cliff in Port Townsend:

Okay, under this cliff is a hotel called The Tides Inn. It was featured in the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" with Richard Gere and Debra Winger. It is between the cliff and the water, and you actually see the cliff in the movie. The hotel itself has been remodelled extensively, but the sign is the same:

In the movie, Gere's character, Zach, gets upset about something that happens at the hotel, and stomps off to the beach. Here's that beach:

Debra Winger's character, Paula, works a dead-end job at the local paper mill--which actually exsists on the outskirts of Port Townsend:

Pretty cool, eh? I'll have more pics to share when I get back to California, and am once again connected to the internet.

Need to Talk to Me?

Good luck. Seriously!

This week is going to be very hectic. I am finishing up school (Friday's the last day) and helping with the packing. Here's a brief look at everything that's going on:


The movers will arrive sometime between 8:00 and 9:00 to start packing our stuff (mostly books, dishes and the like). I have to go to the bank, then do my normal thing at school. At 1:30 I have a hair appointment.


The movers will be back to finish packing our things. I will be working on my grading and teaching choir, as normal. The key is working on grades, so I can get those finished (as ever, I find myself finishing at the wire--they're due on Friday).

If the computer hasn't been packed already, this will be the last day I'll be able to access most of my favorite sites. I'll try to get into my email, but no promises.


The movers will be back to load our stuff into the truck. We will load our suitcases and other miscellaneous stuff into our cars and head over to the Inn at Port Hadlock with the cats. I will continue to work on grading.


Mom and Dad will be up at the crack of dawn to make the drive to California. I will have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then go to school to finish grading and teach choir. In the afternoon, I will hang out a bit, then get a good night's sleep.


This is the last day of school. I will be there early to be at the assembly. My kids are singing in it and I have some awards to give out. When school is finished, I will check out, give my key back, and head south to Bremerton to catch the ferry to Seattle.

Normally we use the Bainbridge Island ferry to Seattle, but the Bremerton ferry is longer, affording more time for Meg and her camera.

Once in Seattle I will drive straight to a hotel near the airport, unload my stuff, check in, and relax for a little while. At about 9:00, I'll head over to SeaTac to meet up with Heather, who's plane is due at about 10:00.


Watch out, Seattle, Meg and Heather are BACK!!


We'll set off early to make the 780 mile drive to Sacramento. I'll drop Heather off at her house, then meet up with Mom and Dad at the hotel. It looks like the truck will arrive on Monday to move us into the new house, where I will have unlimited access to my email, MySpace and favorites once more.

...So if you don't hear from me much this week, well, that's why!



Saturday, June 10, 2006

California, Here I Come

A short list of songs I've had stuck in my head of late. They're about California, and places within.

"Going Back To Cali"
Notorious B.I.G.

The only words I remembered from this song were the chorus:

I'm going going, back back to Cali Cali

It's probably a good thing--I just looked up the lyrics and they are quite nasty. But still, the chorus anyway, is quite appropriate.

California Girls
The Beach Boys

You wish they all could be California Girls. And that is what I am. I've never quite left that aggressive-driving, tofu-farting, soy bean-eating girl behind, even with all the tea I've consumed. And even though I moan about the traffic and the fact that the Sacramento Valley is basically one big slap of concrete, well, I guess I sort the Golden State.

Besides, I've got lots of California Girl friends waiting for me.

California Love
2 Pac

Right--sing with me: Californiaaaaaaa, knows how to par-tay...

Another song that glorifies the gangsta culture, which, of course, I don't really identify with. Still, the chorus is catchy.

Hotel California
The Eagles

Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
Relax said the nightman
We are programed to recieve
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave

This song might just be about a trip into insanity, but I like to compare it to my own attempt to leave. I left for England and beyond...and here I am, coming back.

California Dreamin'
The Mamas and the Papas

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray
I've been for a walk on a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A.
California dreamin' on such a winter's day

Even in the bitter cold of a snowy English February in Burnham, I never once missed the skin-melting, sweat-drenched days of July in Sacramento. Not once.

The good news? Antioch isn't as hot. : )

If You're Going to San Francisco
John Phillips

It's safe to say that any time I go to San Francisco, I will not wear flowers in my hair. One of my many adorable hats, perhaps, but hippy fashions thankfully died out with the 70s.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco
Tony Bennett

The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay
The glory that was Rome is of another day
I've been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
I'm going home to my city by the Bay
I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me
To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
The morning fog may chill the air, I don't care

My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco
Your golden sun will shine for me

Well, I actually left my heart in London (but San Fran will do in a pinch).

California, Here I Come...

C'mon, sing along!

Right back where I started froooooommmm!!

And so the California Girl returns...June 18th, in a Golden State near you.

Finished (Sort Of)!!

After a gestation period of nine months, I joyfully announce the delivery scrapbook. *Ahem* Scrapbooks.

Yes, my friends, I have completely, "officially" finished the scrapbooks for one year in England. I actually finished the chronological order of things on May 21, but have spent some time since adding pages here and there, and putting in pages of my pictures of Burnham-on-Crouch, my home, and Kathy and Derek's animals.

With the Big Move looming in a few days, I needed to get the project wrapped up, packed up, and ready to roll to California, so last night and this morning I completed a few pages, added stickers and other doodads to the mix, and made sure everything was in order. I will probably add a little bit to it at a later date, but for the most part, it is finished.

You may be wondering how many books this project took. The answer is five. Yes, five. In this order:

Book One: Autumn Term--The Wild and Absolutely True Adventures of Meg from Departure Day to her Christmas in CA and WA.

Book Two: Spring Term--The Wild and Absolutely True Adventures of Meg from her return to England to the end of that term and her departure for France.

Book Three: France--Two weeks of Wild and Absolutely True Adventures of Meg in Paris and Normandy.

Book Four: Summer Term--TheWild and Absolutely True Adventures of Meg commencing in May and ending with the last day of school in July.

Book Five: After St. Peter's--The Wild and Absolutely True Adventures of Meg in her last week-and-a-half in England (a party, a wedding, a day trip, reflections, and lots and lots of pics of beautiful Burnham-on-Crouch).

I'm actually kind of sad that it's finished, even as I look forward to starting my next scrapbook project: All-American Anglophile Returns to the States and Raises Two Kindergatos.

But that will have to wait until I am settled in Antioch. In the mean time, I have a long drive to make, friends to catch up with, and apartments to hunt for.

...Not to mention a huge scrapbook project to show off. ; )

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Port Lovely

As I prepare to leave Washington for California, I have decided to take short "photo tours" of the area when I have the time. A few nights ago, I did just this in Port Ludlow (also known as Port Dud-low by those of us still angry at Puget Power).

For all the remoteness and lack of any conveniences, it is very, very lovely here.

Ludlow Bay and the Cove

There is a small cove I drive by every day, and I watch the tide's activities through this. In the following picture, the tide is not completely in just yet. When it is out, this little cove is one big mud pit.

A lady in my mom's book group who lives along the cove told Mom that the does bring their fawns here to learn to swim:

Looking out at Ludlow Bay through the trees:

The marina in Port Ludlow affords some spectacular views of the hills surrounding the bay. On a clear day, you can see the Olympics in the background.

A flower's-eye-view of the Inn at Port Ludlow, on the marina:

The Inn:

Rosie the Protege, patiently waiting for me as I come back from the marina, and a bunch of trees--pretty typical for this area:

Part of the village of Port Ludlow. That's my bank:

Oak Bay Road (I take this road a few miles every day to work):

You can see how true it is when I say I basically live in a forest!

I'm getting excited about the upcoming move (and job opportunity), but I will be a little bit sad to drive away from the gorgeous, gorgeous Pacific Northwest. I'm glad I had a chance to live here.



Sunday, June 04, 2006

Holy Cow!

So I took all of those CDs that I've downloaded to my iPod to the Wherehouse store in Silverdale yesterday. There were about 10 they couldn't take, but the most of the other, I dunno 30-40 (I didn't count) they were able to buy from me. I chatted with the guy behind the counter while he scanned them all and inspected for scratches.

Finally, he was finished and he said, "That'll be one thirty-eight."

I knew he couldn't mean "one dollar and thirty-eight cents." Therefore, I figured I'd heard him wrong. I looked up to see him staring expectantly at me, waiting for me to say either, "Okay!" or "That's it?!?" Instead I asked, "I'm sorry, how much?"

"One hundred, thirty-eight dollars."

He received another few seconds of blank stare before I said, "Really?!? Um, yeah, okay, great. Wow." He just smiled and we completed the transaction. I walked out of the store a few minutes later with $138 in my wallet, took a hard right, and walked straight to Barnes and Noble.

I didn't spend all of that money there, and I still actually have a good bit of it left, even after a quick trip to Target.

One hundred thirty-eight dollars!! For a bunch of used CDs. How cool is that?

Friday, June 02, 2006


I was brought up by a military man. Dad retired from the Air Force in 1986, at the rank of Lt. Col., but never let go of the habits he learned in his military career. To him, being an upright, responsible person is important. The key to a successful life, he taught me, is to do your job. Just get it done. If you need support, by all means, ask for it, but never, ever, leave your responsibilities unfinished. I can't tell you how many times I heard phrases like:

1. "Cooper's don't quit."

2. "Cooper Rule Number One: Try not to be a pain in the ass."

3. "Don't let your alligator mouth get the best of your cardboard butt."

...but I can tell you that I heard them a lot. Once I got through the dramatic years of adolescence, I even started to live them.

Sometimes Mom and I still roll our eyes and call him "the Colonel" when Dad goes on one of his toots about getting the job done. Jokes aside, however, what Dad has taught me about responsibility has stuck--and, in many ways, given me an edge in life.

When I began my teaching career, I learned one key thing about managing a classroom: I am the one in the classroom who has responsibility for every student in my charge. I am the one who has to be the adult. And I have a responsibility to my kids, the parents, the school, and the community, to take that responsibility seriously.

That's why I get so pissed off when kids think they can just walk out of my classroom without permission. I try to impress on them the importance of my knowing where they are at all times. If someone sneaks out of my class when my back is turned, and they then crack open their skull in the hallway, the responsibility comes down on my shoulders--and I don't want to live with that. Most of my 6th graders this year have gotten that message. When, on occasion, a student storms out in a snit, I simply call the office and report it as a truancy, so that I cannot be held responsible if something happens.

It's responsibility--and it's sadly lacking in some people.

This morning, I was jarred awake about 2 minutes before my alarm clock went off, by the ringing of the phone. It was the high school secretary, begging me to come sub. I groggily said, "Yes, I'll be there," and proceeded to shower, dress, and schlep on the makeup in quick-time.

I arrived in the high school office, screeching to a halt with a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and a Pop Tart in the other, to be informed that the teacher had left no lesson plans. I looked at his subjects: Business, Computers, Portfolio Assessment. I have absolutely no idea what these kids have been doing, what they are supposed to be doing, etc. In other words, it looks like a long day of babysitting.

As the day progressed, things weren't too bad, but the kids had this idea that they could just get up and walk out of the classroom to go to the bathroom, get a snack, wander around socializing...whenever they pleased. They looked a bit surprised when I would say, "Excuse me...uh, where are you going? Do you need a pass?" as they reached for the door handle.

It got to the point that I sat there wishing the door was a revolving door, so I wouldn't have to listen to it open and shut so much.

So I sat there, most of the day, watching kids play computer games and try to leave class for fifteen or twenty minutes of socializing and cruising. Outrageous! If I had been given some type of lesson plan, even a hastily planned assignment or video, I would not have had quite so many kids "needing" to leave the room. It would have been easier to keep track of who was supposed to be there, and who was not (the teacher has a habit of letting kids from other classes wander in to socialize, apparently).

Responsibility, people!

When I was at St. Peter's, I always made sure I had a good lesson plan for any teacher who had to cover my lessons. I left seating plans, procedures (please don't let the kids use my computer, or the keyboards, when I'm not here...etc.). Even when I was sick, I would walk the half mile to school at 7:30 in the morning to make sure I left a good lesson plan, and all relevent seating plans. Only then would I be able to go home and relax and get better. My sense of responsibility dictated that I never leave my classroom anything but organized and ready for learning. That is my job, and I take it seriously.

Some people learn this value and live it. Others find it is too hard, too much work, to be responsible, and just let everything slide. And then, you've got kids.

Remember Kandace? Yes, Kandace, the one who called me a bitch two weeks ago. It just so happens that she decided to call me a bitch on the first day of a special two-week period:

You get a pink slip, you don't get to go to the dance on June 2.

Ever since her little slip of the tongue, Kandace has been--almost--a model student. I have seen her following my instructions. She has not once been rude to me, or to any student. She has actually done some of her classwork.

Remarkable...and a little bit scary. I've been waiting for the bomb to go off. It went off today, but not entirely as I expected it would.

Halfway through choir rehearsal, I noticed that half of my class was turning around and looking out the window in the back of the room. I went back to investigage, and one of my kids told me that he'd seen a "full moon" from one of the high school kids outside. I called the office, and Ms. Dean came down to investigate herself. While she was there, and my kids were loudly singing "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" (hey, they voted for it...), Ms. Dean told me that Kandance had come to her to discuss the possibilty of getting her dance privelege back. Ms. Dean had told Kandace, "I can't make that decision. I leave it entirely up to Miss Cooper." I told Ms. Dean, in no uncertain terms, "Uh-uh. She's been a pill all year, and one week of good behavior is not going to make up for calling a teacher a bitch." Ms. Dean just smiled and said, "I figured you'd say that. And I agree."

After class, Kandace stayed behind to talk to me, and I gently told her my decision.

She just stared at me. Kandace has learned in her home life that anger and agression and making people uncomfortable will get her what she wants. What she hasn't learned is that I may be short, but I carry one helluva big stick. And I'm stubborn when I want to be.

Most of the time the staring gives away to anger and fireworks. Imagine a round face turning bright red and the spit flying from her teeth as she makes rude remarks and tries to argue her way out of a punishment. But not today. Today, the tears came.

I recognized typical Kandace manipulation tactics, but also genuine disappointment--and that was new. She started sobbing, "But I've been good this week, I've tried so hard!"

"Yes, Kandace, I have watched you, and you have tried very hard this week. You've done a wonderful job, too. But I just can't give you this dance back after the disrespect you showed in what you said to me."

I had to get back to the high school, so I took Kandace to the office and explained to Ms. Dean and Mrs. Secretary what was going on, and please give Kandace an excused late slip for her next class. As I rushed off to the high school, throwing a silent, "Sorry for this!!" over my shoulder, Kandace bawled her eyes out in the office.

I don't know if Kandace learned the lesson she was supposed to learn today. Probably not, but I'll be happy if she took a few baby steps towards it. You can't call your teacher, boss, colleague, classmate, friend, enemy, family member, anyone a rude name and expect them to do you a favor. Do I forgive Kandace? No question--yes. She made a mistake. Maybe it was, as she cried to me, something she did not mean to say. But the point is, she let her alligator mouth get the best of her cardboard butt, and part of my job as one of her teachers is to help her learn now not to do that.

Maybe the next time she is angry with a teacher, Kandace will remember the time Miss Cooper took the school dance away when she feels like saying something really rude. And maybe that will help her to bite her tongue and respond to her teacher in a more positive manner. Then again, maybe it won't. I won't be around long enough to find out.

But it would be terribly irresponsible of me to not teach her this lesson.