I’ve read that people who had many servants, or in ancient Rome had slaves, considered them of so little import that they would say or do anything in front of them.

I understand this mindset.

If I sit very quietly and fade behind my desk, my students will say pretty much anything within my  hearing.

Yesterday two girls were in my room and one was relating  her less than satisfactory relationship to her friend in excruciating detail. I wanted to yell ” HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU”  but I knew that like deer, any loud noise would startle them and they would run.

Sometimes though, I want them to run and they just won’t. Like when two shared the fact that their favorite couple activity was to pop the zits on their boyfriend/girlfriend’s back.



Pause to absorb this information.  Not even the three letter S word.   What ever happened to dinner and a movie?

And then the little tidbit that one girl’s boyfriend picks her nose. You know  how when parents mention physical affection and the kids put their fingers in their ears and start screaming LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!   That was me.

Results on the conversation about whether they would date or marry a porn star- coming soon.

things to do with a banana

A number of seniors hang out in my room during lunch.  Yesterday they invented a game called peel slap.  You flip a water bottle in the air. It has to land upright. If not you get slapped with a banana peel.

They asked me to play.  I asked who planned to slap me in the face with a banana peel if I lost.

No one volunteered.

They went through 3 bananas in 40 minutes.

They formulated 9 rules.

  1. Thou shalt be a gentleman.  (slap respectfully)
  2.  Thou shalt not avoid the slap.  If the slap is avoided, the slap shall be personal. (the inside of the peel is used.)
  3.  If one lands said bottle, others must land it.  If thy bottle does not land, thou shalt be slapped.
  4. If one lands and another rebuttles, that rebuttler shall be absolved.
  5. If one lands and all others land, the original lander shall be slapped by all.
  6. After a round of slaps, the flippers rotate.
  7.  If thy peel is more brown than yellow, thy peel shall be replaced.
  8.  Thou shalt only wipe upon a face that is personal.
  9.  A double avoidance shall incur a smear.

There she is…….Miss Carson Avenue

I grew on on the Aisle , not normally capitalized, which was two adjoining piers stretching out over the bay with boathouses, (storage for small boats) built on them.

When  tenants came down from Philadelphia for the summer they moved out their boats and moved in beer and beds.  The border between the two , a clothesline with a bench beneath made out of  splintery two by fours was decorated with Christmas lights.  Beer parties nightly. One of the events the aisle hosted was the Miss Carson Avenue contest.

My aunt, many many many years ago established this contest, which lasted almost 50 years.  It was a Cannery row, Popeye knockoff of Miss America. Contestants , usually ages 3 to 13, paraded up and down the boathouses on the wooden pier in bathing suits, in costumes, and had to have a talent.

Back in the day,  one of the tenants of the boathouses, who was somewhat lacking in couth, taped corks to the nipples of 4 year oldand dressed her up as a mermaid. I remember this only because I was scarred by it. Personally, I refused to ever participate in this, much to my aunt’s dismay.

One year I was coerced into entering my daughter into this. She bravely and self confidently sailed down the aisle and produced her talent: telling a ghost story.  “In a dark dark forest, there was a dark dark house. In the dark dark house there was a dark dark room. In the dark dark room there was a dark dark closet. And in the dark dark closet…..(dramatic pause) THERE WAS A GHOST.” She was crowned Miss Carson Avenue. It even made it into the newspaper. With photos. Not to diminish my child’s victory,  but there were only 3 other contestants.

My first cousin once removed, (I have a lot of cousins) , Elizabeth,  made the mistake of telling me that she wowed the crowds one year with her rendition of  “Take me out to the ballgame.” In checking Press archives, I realized that the 1995 winner was another cousin. I can’t let this go.  Three Miss Carson Avenues in one family? Are we inbred or what?

My aunt was heartbroken when no one offered to pick up the banner and carry on the tradition.


Couldn’t find my phone at work the other day, so I asked one of the French teachers to call my phone. She said, “Oh, you left it in the workroom.”  I have no desk in the workroom and hence no reason to leave it there, but I’m absent minded, so I went and got it.

An hour later I think I hear the lowing of a cow.  I look around. Nothing. Then at 1:45  I unmistakably hear the insistent lowing of a cow that needs to be milked.

I find it in my handbag. My phone is mooing.

The next day once again my phone moos at 1:45.  I check the alarm. Not only is it set to moo every day at 1:45,  it was also set to moo every morning at 3:45 a.m.

Bad Bovine Madness

I was unloading my car for work Monday morning and noticed a white box.  I have a lot of crap in my car, so that wasn’t unusual, but I didn’t remember this particular piece of crap.


cow creamer box jpg

I opened it up. It was a porcelain cow creamer with a sugar bowl in the shape of udders.



cow creamer jpg.


My classroom has become a repository for cows in alarming numbers. All of unknown provenance.

cow and sugar bowl jpg


But my car? How are they getting into my CAR?

Of course, as per previous cow post, it could have been there for days. Or was it?

I  accused the usual suspects who all denied everything and/or fiendishly laughed. As usual.

I accused my husband of collaboration.

I examined the cow for clues.The price tag of $27 was still attached. Who would pay $27 to annoy someone?

Then it dawned on me. The only person who would dispose of their disposable income on cows would be someone with my genetic material.

My offspring.

cow snout close upjpg

When you pour the cream comes out of the nostrils.





Cow Country

Growing up, my two brothers were called Tactless and Clueless. My sister and I didn’t have nicknames. I should have. I should have been called Oblivious.
Last year cows started appearing in my classroom in alarming numbers.  At the end of the year there were 23.  I never once saw anyone put a cow in the room.
Last week I saw a cow filled with toothpicks. Wearing sneakers. Not me, the cow.


cow with toothpicks jpg
Since my  desk is a repository for six foot stacks of paper that have no place to live because the papers in my three filing cabinets said the others papers couldn’t move in, he may have been there for days. Weeks even, before I noticed him.

I was looking for some post it notes around my desk. Some of my students, exhibiting obsessive compulsive disorder, cleaned and organized my desk. I looked on a little shelf that had an aluminum tin.That’s where they probably were.  I pulled out the tin.

hershey cow tin jpg