Saturday, March 10, 2007

If I wore a hat...

I'd a thrown it into the ring this morning. And I do wonder why I don't wear a hat. Hats have such potential, you know? And some people can really make a statement with a good hat. Me? I just don't look good in a hat.

Hats aside, I called my principal on the phone at home this morning. This always takes an act of courage since she never seems really thrilled to hear from me. My mother is thrilled when I call and so is my son. And some of my friends - they are happy when I call. I think this is because I never actually call - I eMail. I have this phone phobia and it often takes me awhile to actually PLACE the call. And my princy seems to sense this and tries to make me feel as uncomfortable as possible when I call. I become this inarticulate, nervous, rambling idiot on the phone.

Of course, calling your principal at home on a Saturday morning is bound to be placed in the "iffy" catagory. She does have friends at school who wouldn't think twice of calling her at home - but I'm not in that category. Sometimes I think I am - but usually I don't think I am, which is why it took me five minutes to work up the courage to call her.

I called because she has complained about the volume of eMails she gets. So, not wanting to add to that mountainous pile, I decided to call her - only to find out that she cleared her INbox before leaving on Friday. Who knew? Shesh. I should have just eMailed her and risked being forever at the bottom of the pile, never knowing if she actually reads my eMails or not.

I send her these detailed eMails (imagine that) and often get something like, "sounds good," or "great!" in response. She is really into Terse Verse, that principle of mine. People who like Terse Verse don't often appreciate a well-written eMail. This makes people who fancy themselves as writers a bit nervous.

But a terse phone conversation? That's enough to send my heart into palpitations and my nerves to jangling. Here I am just wanting a nice casual conversation about throwing my hat and I am reduced to wreck status. Other people might be able to call and have a nice "Oh yeah, really?" conversation with her - but not me. This is after 5 years and I am starting to take in personally.

Anyway, so I called to tell her that after much thoughtful consideration I would like to loop with my kids up to first grade. I miss teaching first grade and with one of the veteran teachers retiring, now would be a good time to jump back into the nuts and bolts of teaching reading.

Now, call me narcisstic and egocentric but I happen to think I'm a good teacher and have taught my current, rather difficult crop, well. The fact that I am willing to take them with me to continue the "she's not my friend" drama says a lot for my well of patience and good character. You'd think she would say something like, "Okay. Sounds good. Let me get back to you when I've had a chance to sort stuff out." But no.. she actually hesitated. As if me moving back to first grade is a bad thing.

This does wonders for my self-esteem of course. And it has me wishing fervently that I hadn't bothered to call her at all. In my extrapolating mind I have myself looking for another job, at a district where I am truly appreciated for the 20 hours I put in last week on the Science Night and before that the Dr. King Thing and before that the Christmas Pageant.

Too early for a glass of whine - I mean wine. I think I will go buy a hat.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Trail Nasties

Even though the weather was a bit windy and chilly, I took the dogs out on our favorite "kick butt" trail. The elevation climbs quickly and steadily - guaranteeing a good workout for all of us. I also like it because of its scenery - lots of interesting rocks and plants.

Duke likes this trail because it is ripe with trail nasties - things he is sure he can eat but not without an argument from me.

He tends to pretty obedient - unless we are talking about anything edible. Then, all training, respect, and learning are OFF.

He is almost trained to "leave it!" when I holler that command. Last summer, he sat down and waited when I hollered "leave it!" as he came upon a basking snake on the trail. The trouble was, he sat down RIGHT next to the snake - which would have been a bad thing if this reptile wasn't a harmless gopher snake.

I let him chase rabbits, mice, squirrels, birds, and even deer when he happens upon them while we hike, since the chances are between NIL and zero he will ever catch anything. But "leave it!" sounds suspiciously like "eat it!" and this is the excuse he uses when he finds a morsel of what HE thinks is edible food.

Sometimes trail nasties are scat - he finds these piles very interesting. But most often, they are leftovers from trail misfortune.

It's nature. Things die on or near the trail. Bigger animals make kills and leave the bones and gristle for lesser members of the pack. Duke considers himself obligated to partake of these things - out of respect for the Universal Canine Consciousness, I suppose.

I can shout "leave it!" till the cows come home (and he would promptly chase them) - but no amount of cajoling on my part is going to make him put down what he perceives to be a tasty morsel - no way. The fact that said morsel is probably loaded with bacteria and airborne viruses only adds to the texture, as far as he is concerned.

He has gotten away with eating trail nasties at least a half dozen times and he hasn't died yet. No upset stomachs, no regurgitation, no bad gas - or worse. But something tells me he is pressing his luck here.

He also has a terrific memory for any and all trail nasties. If he found something good there once, he encodes it in his cognitive map so he will be sure to check out the area thoroughly during our next visit. If I manage to confiscate his "find" and fling it into the hinterlands, Duke will take off after it, into the brambles, brush, and great beyond. In his mind, this is like chasing a ball or something.

Tonight, Duke is one contented dog. Not only did he find a couple decent trail nasties today, he managed to snag himself some cat food.

What he DOESN'T understand is why I won't let him smooch me.