Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Furry Herd

Today I'm off to school to shake up the new third grade teacher. The really incredible teacher we had at the beginning of the year had to leave abruptly (something terrible had to have happened - she wasn't the kind to skip out.) and the Bohemian's class was adrift for about a month, with substitutes, until they hired the new teacher, who started right before Christmas vacation.

I usually take January off from volunteering; after doing the whole Christmas holidays shuffle that little moms do (I'm mean really- if I wasn't here, Christmas would suck outloud. The husband, lovely man that he is, just doesn't understand how to make magic happen. That is my speciality - making magic.), I'm usually pretty shot and not really wanting to go rub elbows with all the sick little tykes in the worst cold and flu month (tempting,...but, Hell No!). Considering I volunteer in three different classes, every week, during the rest of the school year, I think I can take one month off. But with this third grade class, I just don't have the heart to abandon them for that month.

They have been so adrift, so disjointed for that last month of school before Christmas, that the kids with learning, or focusing issues were frying right before my eyes, and it didn't seem like there was anyone who understood what these kids had been going through. So in an effort to maintain some semblence of continuity for them, I'm still coming every Thursday during January to help out in class.

I'm not so sure the new teacher is really that happy about it. I'm sure its hard to come into a class in the middle of the year, but is that a reason to extinguish all semblence of humor in life? I'm deeply afraid, that in their frantic scraping of the teacher barrel, mid-year, they came up with an old-school, grump of a teacher. She about had a conniption last week, when the kids and I put glitter on our heads (just a teensy bit, mind you - nothing to the amount that was on the floor, and it wasn't my idea to use loose glitter to create a snow look on a picture - I'm all about the kind suspended in glue). We had to make these Snow-ems; snow poems, that frankly, weren't poetry at all, (which vexed me greatly) and then decorate it with the insanity of loose glitter. So we did - and put a bit in our hair, to get the feel and look of snow; you know, for inspiration. Evidently it was perilously close to mutiny, because she lectured them about it after I left. (I'm thinking of a name that starts with B - can you guess it?)

It's no big news to me that creativity is a dead language in public school - but it's why I go and volunteer. If I can inspire one kid in a class to think outside of the box, to get excited about learning, then its worth the grumpy teacher looks.

Most of the teachers we've had have been wonderfully balanced between disciplined work and making work seem like play, and I knew our luck was going to run out eventually. Well, eventually was this year, evidently.

But enough grousing...I have digressed completely from where I was headed. (Such a change for me - NOT!)

For today's visual appeal, I have put up a few pictures of some of the Furry Herd, as we like to call them. If you didn't know, we run the local chapter of the Temple of Bast - also known as a cat haven - rescuing strays and living in a perpetual fluffdom of fur.

Let me introduce you to them:

This is Princess Feathertail, Feather for short. We like to call her our Norwegian Forest Cat, because she fits the description to a T in the cat book. She showed up a few years ago, a matted fur-covered bag of bones. We took her in, and the next year she gave us a litter of kittens, which was a shock, as we had thought she was spayed, based on her behavior prior to getting knocked up. She is very scraggly in the summer, but in the winter, she gets gloriously fluffy. She is very sweet to her people, and her children, but she's a bit of a diva with the other girl cats (they call it something else, I'm sure - the B word again, perchance?)
This is Rikki, one of the sons of Feather. He is the alpha male, and yes, he is neutered. He is also the cat who fractured his jaw this past fall, but he is mended and doing fine. He has the longest tail I've ever seen on a cat, but he knows he's hot - it's such a turn-off!
My particular favorite is Jezebel , whose proper name is Jezebel Maya Jungle Cat. I actually paid money for this one, which is rare, but I was supposed to be getting a lynx point siamese - yeah, I know - not so much. She's more like a torby-siamese, but Bea calls it Fudge Ripple. Regardless, she is my baby. And she isn't really cross-eyed; she just makes that face (so shut up Bea!).
This is Pooh Bear, aka Poodle, another of the Sons of Feather (it sounds like a horror movie, and sometimes, it even seems like one!). He is not an alpha male, and he's nuttier than peanut butter, to boot. He is currently chewing all the hair off of his tail, so his fine plumey tail is in a pretty sad state. He can be affectionate, but it usually entails trying to trip you in the hallway, in the dark. There are others, but they weren't around to have their pictures taken. With winter upon us, and the camellias blooming, it shouldn't be long before Miss Puff begins her flower-hunting season. Now if only I can catch her at it, that would be a great picture! I also left out Jasper, though she was featured with the Bohemian just a few days ago, and Squeak (it was supposed to be a Color Purple reference), and the ever-needy Scrawny Joe McAllister (maybe you've heard of him? He jumped off the Tallascratchy Bridge? They wrote a song about it!) But fear not - they are all hamasauri and love to pose for the camera, so they're bound to show up in here at some point.

So now you have something to look forward to, kinda, maybe,...ok, not really, but run with me here.

Ciao-a-bunga doodles!


flutter said...

oh my word, look at that herd!

see? there's some poetry for you ;)

slouching mom said...

i'm so discouraged by what i'm seeing in my older son's fourth-grade classroom this year.

he brings home the must uninspired homework, work that's essentially only busy work.

i wish there were someone like you volunteering in ben's classroom, someone who's shake things up a bit and get the kids excited again...

slouching mom said...

ok, that's the MOST uninspired homework,

and someone WHO'D shake things up a bit...

obviously i'm tired.

Maggie said...

"If I wasn't here, Christmas would suck outloud"


When I was in fourth grade our teacher left abruptly. We then cycled through three more teachers before the end of the year. The final one was my favorite - we actually folded a thousand paper cranes like Sadako, she cried daily, and we always had to hug her before leaving the classroom. Looking back it explains a lot of things....