I Made a Mistake

Okay, so really I made two. 

Okay, so really I’ve made lots, but I’m trying not to dwell on them.  I’m only going to dwell on these two and for only as long as it takes me to get through this post.  Then I’m done, moving on, getting over it.

Mistake #1– Leaving two boys unsupervised long enough to let this happen:

I don’t know how well you can see it, but there’s a ridiculous amount of Scotch tape stuck to the legs of this chair.

 One of my wingnuts taped another of my wingnuts to the chair using my last roll of Scotch tape. 

I’d been talking to my student teacher about a lesson plan she’d taught the day before.  I’d meant for it to be a quick five-minute conversation, but it turned into 15.  Towards the end, we heard what sounded like muffled shouts of glee.  Like, seriously, you’re shouting for glee, but someone’s got a hand over your mouth or is covering your face with a pillow.  Why either of those would induce glee is not something I can imagine right now.

Wingnut 1 and Wingnut 2 had been playing on the other side of a shelf of cubbies for most of our conversation.  When I heard the strange “I’m trapped under a pillow but I’m really excited about it” sounds, I looked around for them and realized they were in the one spot in the room where they couldn’t be seen. 

“Hey, dudes! Get out here, please!” I called.  There were some light unsticking sounds and then the sounds of little feet scurrying. When they finally presented themselves, one looked happy, but guilty.  The other looked happy, but covered in Scotch tape from forehead to eyebrow and all down his cheeks.  This would explain what muffled the giggles.

Wingnut 2 said that Wingnut 1 had asked him to do it.  “Is Wingnut 1 the boss of you?” I asked.  Actually I think I said something like “king of your life” or “director of your days.” I’m not super fond of the phrase “boss of you.”  It just doesn’t sound right. 

So, moving on from my personal preferences regarding the English language, I ended up sitting them down for a long chat.  Wingnut 1 has had many, many chats with me.  It’s to the point now that he literally almost cries if I say, “Hey, friend, we need to have a little chat.”  Even if it’s said in a cheerful tone.  I’m taking a page from my maternal grandfather’s book.  From what I hear, death by lecture was his consequence of choice when raising my mom and her siblings.  That and boxing out their differences on the front lawn, but that’s not really an option in the public school setting.  Something I realize I’ve said many, many times since I began teaching is, “I see that you’d really like to not be here right now and that you’d rather not have this conversation. I’d really love to never have to talk to you about this again. For your entire recess and my entire planning time. The way to make that happen is to never do that again.  Do it again, and we get to repeat this entire process, which is no fun for anyone.”  Never do it again or just get smart enough to never get caught again, either way we all get our recess back.

What I was hoping they’d never do again this time was use all my classroom materials to tape their peers to the chairs hostage-style.  I still can’t find that roll of tape.

When I began the conversation, I said, “Okay, friends.  Two mistakes were made here today.  One by me and one by you.  I let my conversation go longer than I’d meant to and I let your free time go too long.  I didn’t give you any directions.”  Then we talked about their mistake and I had them process through what an appropriate choice would have been by drawing four good free time choices (not involving any adhesives).

It worked out.  Not much harm done, except for maybe a couple of totally unnecessary eyebrows that I’m sure no one will miss.

Are we ready to move on?

Mistake #2 — I bought a Costco-sized chunk of gorgonzola cheese from, um, Costco.

Who on earth, besides a caterer or the Gorgonzola Cheese Society of America (or maybe the Americas, including Canada and South America) needs that much gorgonzola in her life?  What was I thinking?

Probably I was thinking it was a different cheese, like cambezola, that I’d tried at a gathering on crackers and had really, really liked.  Probably I’d gotten confused because when someone said cambezola I thought gorgonzola because I’d had that with chicken at a wedding once a few years ago and had enjoyed it.  I tried the cambezola because I’d thought about how trying gorgonzola had worked out ok that one time in that tiny amount diluted by all that protein and sauce. And then I went to Costco a month after that, saw the gorgonzola and thought it was what had been spread on my crackers and bought a chunk the size of my face.

I also bought pears because somewhere I’d heard that pear and gorgonzola were something people put on salads and that if you could do that, why couldn’t I just cut some chunks of cheese and eat them with my pears? That sounds like a snack a sophisticated European woman would sit down for, right?  I tried it.  It was ok. Gorgonzola is a really strong-tasting cheese, though, and I had a hard time getting through the one slice I’d cut for myself. 

Then I woke up at about 1 AM with some serious tummy issues.  I was doubled-over, praying to throw up.  Is that TMI? Whatever.  I need your sympathies, people. And besides, I didn’t actually throw up.  I wish I had, but it didn’t work out that way. Sleep didn’t happen for me that night and I had to call in for a sub for that day, the first day back from winter break.  I blame the gorgonzola. 

So now I have this giant chunk of cheese sitting in my fridge and a ton of uncertainty surrounding exactly what to do with it.

I’ve tried these two things: a pizza and a pasta.

Here’s the pizza:

It is made up of a whole wheat Boboli pizza crust (better crusts can be home-made, for sure, but I rarely have the patience to let things rise), caramelized onions, pancetta, gorgonzola, and a bit of thyme sprinkled over the top. 

In the spirit of tooting my own horn, that thing was delicious.  Less gorgonzola was used on this whole pizza than what I ate that night with the pear (which honestly was maybe a little larger than a reasonable slice of cheddar). 

Here’s the pasta:

My plan was to combine baby portobello mushrooms and the rest of the pancetta with a recipe I found on The Pioneer Woman’s site: Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi.

It looks very easy and manageable, and probably would have been if I hadn’t decided to add the mushrooms and pancetta without actually being sure of my timing.  My pasta is kind of mushy because I forgot to set the timer and then I scalded the milk on accident and had to dump it out and reheat some more. All this meant that it didn’t come together exactly as hers seems to have. 

I used these four cheeses: parmesan (like she does), fontina (like she does), goat cheese (like she does), and gorgonzola (because I’m trapped under a heavy mountain of moldy cheese and am determined to cook my way out).  It’s yummy and cheesy.  I’ll try it again sometime.  Probably sometime soon because now on top of all my gorgonzola, I also have parmesan, fontina, and goat cheese.  That’s so much dairy for one girl to incorporate into her life. Besides, I’m already completely committed to Greek yogurt.

On the upside, though, goat cheese is creamy heaven, in case you were wondering.

And, because I’m sure you’re curious, I’ve used probably 15% of the huge-mondo-sized brick of moldy cheese I bought.  What on this earth am I going to do with the rest of it?

If you were so inclined, I’m sure you could search back through this whole mess and find several more mistakes I’ve made recently.  There’s probably a long list in there.  If you choose to spend your time doing that, I guess that’s up to you.  Please don’t share it with me, though.  The weight of the gorgonzola is already crushing my spirit.

I have learned a couple of things, though, besides that goat cheese and my taste buds were destined to love eachother from the beginning of time.

Thing 1: Never leave a wingnut unattended.  It’s a sticky mess.

Thing 2: Never buy a piece of cheese that, should it happen to fall from a high place, could pin your cat to the floor.

This is for your own good, people.  Don’t make my mistakes.

I Should Have Known Better

Remember “Things I Can’t Teach,” where I shared the general lack of a sense of humor shared by many of my students?  The poor things just couldn’t tell a good joke if they tried.  And, oh boy, do they try. 

One joke I get told over and over is this:

Q: What do you get when you cross beef and jerky?

A: Beef Jerky!!

So not funny.  Except that it is terribly unfunny, which is funny in itself.  Until you’ve heard it six times.  Then it isn’t. 

However, it just so happens that I stumbled across a joke that actually makes sense of the “beef jerky” punchline.  It was on a Laffy Taffy wrapper, of all places.  This is it:

Q: What do you call a cow with a twitch?

A: Beef Jerky!

Still not a side-splitter, but if you heard that from the mouth of a nine-year-old, you’d chuckle.  Trust me, you would.  Otherwise you have a black, black heart.

I made sure to write it on a post-it as soon as I found it so that I’d remember to share it with beef jerky kid.  I told him that if he got to work and did a good job, when he was done I’d share an awesome joke with him.  He finished his work in record time and our conversation went like this:

Me: What do you call a cow with a twitch?

Him: (confused, squinty face) Eeeh…uh…a cow twitch?  No…a twitch cow?

Me: No…not a cow twitch or a twitch cow…

Him: Um….um…um…a horse twitch? A cow….cow…a cow with a twitch!

Me: No, that’s what I said.

We went on like this and he said some wacky things.  I can’t even remember them because they made so little sense my brain refused to hang onto them.  I tried to help him as much as I could, even twitching around like a seizure victim to help him visualize the vocabulary.

Finally I told him the punch line.  Beef Jerky!

He was honestly disappointed.  “What?” he said. “That doesn’t make any sense.”  His speech was calm and level, like he was breaking bad news to a very unstable person.

“Yes,” I said.  “It’s funny because beef comes from cows and ‘jerky’ is another word for ‘twitchy.’  So, see? Beef jerky.” 

“Wait, what?! Beef is cows?!”  Oh, seriously? We’ve got bigger fish to fry, apparently. 

“Yep,” I said, “beef is the meat we get from cows.  So hamburger, steak, all of that is from a cow.”

By this time he’d moved on to playing with some legos.  He said, “Oh, huh,” like he was going to let it drop.  Then he said, “Wait! Do they make eggs, too?!”

Friend, has anyone ever taken you to the grocery store?  “No, cows don’t make eggs. Chickens lay eggs, ” I said.  I’m pretty sure this gets covered in some kind of kindergarten “On the Farm” unit. 

So, forget the joke-telling IEP goals.  Let’s go with something like, “Kid X will correctly match food products to animals of origin on at least 4/5 opportunities on 4 consecutive occasions, increasing from 0/2 opportunities by 02/–/2012. 

I’m seeing a giant chart with yarn connecting cows to steaks, milk, and cheese and chickens to eggs, hot wings, and the KFC logo.

Having just recently posted about the gingerbread man debacle, I might have known not to be so confident in my ability to convince a kid that something is actually funny (or safe, or imaginary, etc., etc. and so on, and so forth).  Clearly if beef+jerky= beef jerky, which so extremely literal, I might have seen that the significantly more abstract cow+twitch=beef jerky would be a little tougher to swallow.  Meh.  So is actual beef jerky, so maybe we’ve come full circle?