Friday, August 30, 2013

Gummy Gumbys!

I missed the first eight days of school this year because I went on a vacation with Mr. Gumby!  He travels frequently to Germany, but I always have to stay home.  In the past, I needed to stay home with our children or, more recently, to care for my Dad when he was ill.

However, this time when Mr. Gumby told me he was going to Germany for a meeting, I jumped at the chance to go!  I cleared the time with my principal and off I went!

Mr. Gumby and I had a wonderful time in Europe.  He took a week and a half of vacation time and we left early before the meeting.  We flew into Munich and spent three days there sightseeing.  We saw Mad King Ludwig's castles (Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Linderhof) and visited Oberammergau.  We also ate pretzels and drank beer at a beer garden in the English Gardens.  We rode the S-bahn and the U-bahn and even went to a holy day Mass at the cathedral and were blessed by a retired Cardinal.

We rode the ICE train from Munich to Frankfurt and soaked up all the scenery as we flew past.  (I'm amazed at how comfortable and smooth the trains were in Germany.  Absolutely nothing like our Amtrak!)

We rented a car in Frankfurt and spent the rest of the time in Mainz.  We visited the Gutenberg Museum and walked all over the old part of the city.   Renting a car also allowed us to do day trips from Mainz.  We went to Rudesheim, Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Rothenberg.  Plus, we took a day cruise down the Rhine River and saw the famous Lorilei rock and oodles of old castles.

The highlight of our trip was meals at the homes of two of Mr. Gumby's German colleagues!  One evening we ate bratwurst and a delicious vegetable and cheese casserole.  Another evening we had spaetzle and turkey schnitzel.  It was so neat to be able to see the homes and we were very honored to be invited.

I flew home Saturday by myself while Mr. Gumby stayed in Germany for a series of meetings.

Of course, Mrs. Pokey made sure everything went fine at school while I was gone.  I had an excellent substitute teacher who completed lots of beginning of the school year assessments for me.  When I returned to school on Monday, Mrs. Pokey and I could divide up the students according to their needs and figure out our schedules.

But, when I returned to school, I found a very nice note from my substitute AND a bag of Gumby and Pokey gummy candies on my desk!!  They are hilarious!  My substitute listened my instructions when we met before I left.  I showed her the assessments I needed her to complete and told her the story of how "Semper Gumby" (Always Flexible) is the motto of our ESL department.

After 8 days of substituting, I think she understood how you have flexible when you're teaching English Language Learners!

Semper Gumby!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

E-"U"-phoria and e-X-ercise!

Along with my new larger classroom (that contains a window!!) I am getting some new furniture!  My ESL coordinator and facilitator put their heads together and surprised me with a new desk AND a U shaped table!   Thanks, ladies!

I know....why am I getting excited about a U shaped table???  Because they are great!  Unlike the usual school issue kidney table,  a U or horseshoe table has a deeper part for the teacher.  It's easier for the teacher to reach the students who are seated around the table.  I had one a couple of years ago at another school and missed it.   I had to look through some specialty catalogs for schools to find it, but I did.

Supposedly, my new table will be delivered by Tuesday at the latest!   Oh, "U" table...I love "U"!!

Now, if I could convince them to get a "flower" shaped table for Mrs. Pokey....

Or the really cool "amoeba" shaped tables she saw recently as a STEM school she visited!   When she came back from the STEM school visit, she kept talking about the "amoeba" tables they used with students sitting on exercise balls!  ( Boing, boing, boing!!!   I'm afraid my students would never stay in one place with exercise balls to sit on.  They would have great core strength and ab muscles, but it would drive me crazy!) 

Here's a link to an article about exercise balls as seats in elementary classrooms.  

Hmmmmm.   I have some "squirrel-ly" students who might benefit from exercise balls, though. Perhaps Mrs. Pokey and I may have to look into writing a grant proposal this year for exercise balls so we can try them out.   Boing, boing, boing.... 

Monday, August 5, 2013

We've Been Skunked!!

Yes, the Gumby house reeks this morning with the smell of SKUNK!   Yikes!!!!

Mr. Gumby let Max the Wonder Dog outside this morning at 5 AM as usual.   When Max came back in the dog was gagging and foaming at the mouth.

Mr. Gumby came upstairs to our bedroom, woke me up and said, "Help me!  The dog's been skunked!"

Apparently, a skunk lives nearby and was out in the backyard at the same time Max was out.  Max got a blast in the face from the skunk and BOY does Max smell nasty!! Blech!!!

We quickly threw Max into the tub and began showering him off.  Imagine, if you will, a gagging Mr. Gumby in his underwear, a gagging bleary-eyed Mrs. Gumby in her nightgown and a pathetic looking dog all in the shower and bathtub.  We rinsed and shampooed and rinsed and shampooed and rinsed and shampooed and rinsed the dog over and over again.

I called the local afterhours veterinarian service and they suggested a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and liquid dish soap as a shampoo.  Unfortunately, I don't keep hydrogen peroxide on hand .  Guess I'll need to get some for any future skunkings!  They also suggested boiling white vinegar on the stove to help rid the house of the skunk smell.

So far, I'm not seeing any difference after boiling the vinegar.  My house stinks.  And, I've been up since 5 AM.  I am not a morning person!!  Grrrrrrrrr!  I hate skunks.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Camel Shakes

I have a student who INSISTS that our local McDonald's carries a special camel shake!  Mrs. Reading and I have talked with her several times and tried to convince her that while McDonald's has chocolate, vanilla and strawberry milkshakes and occasionally special shakes like the Shamrock shake or Egg Nog at Christmas time...there is no CAMEL shake at McDonald's.

Since the student in question is Taxi Boy's sister (of America's Got Talons/Talent fame), Mrs. Reading and I finally gave up our efforts after banging our heads against the wall for some time.  

However, we got a pretty big laugh when we recently figured out that we THINK she was referring to caramel rather than camel!!  OK, if you take the letters "r" and "a" out of caramel, you get the word camel.  I can see where her thoughts were going with this topic.  Caramel shakes...camel shakes.  

At any rate, when I saw that McDonald's was featuring a Dulce de leche caramel shake in July, I had to text Mrs. Reading to let her know!!  "Hey, camel shakes are back, Mrs. R!"   

However, I shudder to think what Little Taxi Girl will come up with from Dulce de leche???  It boggles my mind....