Forgotten Beasts...what a great surprise!

One of the fantastic perks of being a writer (in addition to a teacher) is that many publishing houses are eager to send me advance copies of amazing books. I am careful about choosing to review books that seem to fit what I feel I would use in the classroom, or books I think some of my friends would love.  

I was so excited to receive the book Forgotten Beasts by Matt Sewell.  I have learned over the years that children have a huge fascination with dinosaurs, monsters, mythical creatures and the like.  Frankly, so do many adults I know! I know that I do. 

This book is larger than your typical book, which immediately lets you know that you are about to enter a larger than life world. The book’s actual title is Forgotten Beasts, Amazing Creatures that Once Roamed the Earth. The title alone lures you in. 

I was immediately intrigued by the beautiful illustrations that are colorful and beautifully done. 

The author uses almost all of the space on the pages to bring the creatures alive- and the size is a nod to the larger than life theme of the book.  The text is just long enough to engage readers of many ages, and yet packed full of fascinating information about each creature. He provides information such as size and weight of each creature, but also compares each to the current animal that it is in close relation to. This helps the reader make important connections which is what we as teachers are always trying to help the children with. 

I particularly love the 8 foot turtle called the Meiolania, the Pygmy Mammoth and the 9 ft. Diprotodon.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this online. It will not disappoint. 


Beware the buzz at the pool....

Sniff.  Sniff. Can you smell it? You know what I mean. That smell is here; the smell of new pencils, new books, new crayons and markers, the smell of new shoes, new clothes, and a new backpack and you know what that means. School is in the air!   Perhaps the biggest sign that school is right around the corner is the buzz that is flying around the pool, in the supermarket and at your local fall sporting practices.  Who will get the Best Teacher of All?  Who will be the lucky kids to get in the Best Teacher of All’s class?

Remember on Mary Poppins, when Jane and Michael wrote a letter and asked for the perfect nanny?  The father was stunned when Mary Poppins handed him the list that he had thrown into the fire.   It went something like this: 

(Start humming…) “If you want this choice position, have a cheery disposition; rosy cheeks, no warts; play games, all sorts.  You must be kind, you must be witty, very sweet and very pretty; take us on outings, give us treats, sing songs, bring sweets.”    

That’swhat keeps going through my mind at this time of year. That super duper wish list.   The wish list each parent and child has.  Here’s what I think the wish list is for the perfect teacher.  Wanted:  teacher; must be sweet, even-tempered, hip, funny, pretty, smart, young, experienced and energetic.  Must never yell, get mad, throw things or lose her temper.  Must be very patient, wear stylish clothes, have a lovely laugh and smell like fresh baked cookies.   

So, basically, that would count me out.  (And, perhaps, everyone I know.)
While we teachers may not all be young or hip or very tall, there are some things we have in common.  We are committed to our jobs and to your kids.  These are some of the things we can promise you.    We will get to know your child inside and out; we will learn about his pets, his siblings, his likes and dislikes and will always notice when he gets a hair cut.  We will push him to be independent, self-sufficient, confident and responsible.  We will help guide him when things don’t go his way and will laugh with him (and applaud) when they do. We will push him until he reaches the potential that we know he has, and we will be there when he falls, to pick him back up, dust him off and start him back up that hill. That’s our job, and that’s what we love to do.  

Contrary to what my kindergarteners recommended to our student intern, we will not be teaching kickboxing, having cinema time every day; they cannot ride mechanical bulls in class, skateboard off the roof (with kneepads, of course) and we will not buy them happy meals for lunch once a week. (I gotta give them credit for trying, however.)

As a mom, I’ve learned that often the teachers who work with my child every day know more about what is a good match for him than I do.  I have learned that it is important for me to keep my mouth shut on some occasions and it is equally important to voice my concerns at others.  I have learned that a teacher that was not the best match for Mrs. Jones’ son (that darned Mrs. Jones—always so hard to keep up with), was the perfect teacher for my son.

Yeah, we teachers don’t all look alike.  Some of us are tall, short, skinny, chunky, old, young, and black and white. However, we all love kids and want what is best for these young souls.  So please; trust us, respect us and join us in making this the Best Year Ever for your child.   One more thing - beware the buzz at the pool.  Sometimes that bee will come right back and sting ya. 


A funny thing happened on my way to my hip replacement...

It was supposed to be a fairly easy procedure. Well, at easy as a hip replacement could be. 

They would knock me out, go in and replace the old, arthritic hip and replace it with a shiny new one. Bing,Bam, Boom.  Easy, Peasy Lemon Squeezy. 

I planned on having it done June 27th- which would give me plenty of time to heal. Hell, after the last one I was walking without a cane OR a limp when I went for my 2 week suture removal.  I would have time to heal, recover by mid-July, go wedding dress shopping for Bitchy’s September wedding and all would be well! 

However, we all know better than that.  

Things were going way too well.  I had made it through the year, had several amazing retirement parties, attended a kick-ass bridal shower for Bitchy (more to come) and was just gonna check this last tiny thing off my list.

I was the first one for surgery on the 27th, which meant an arrival time at the hospital of 5:30 a.m.  (This is when being a morning person comes in a little handy.)
Fred and I are getting a bit used to these kinds of things, so after checking me in and wheeling me back to the pre-op area he decided to head back home for a few more winks.  

I was very comfortable with my surgeon, for he has replaced not only my other hip but both my knees.  Now don’t go thinking he’s surgery crazy, because he’s not. In fact he normally goes the conservative route- except when he knows there is no recourse.  He is also very well known for his low rate of infection and the nurses in the hospital all rave about him. Frankly, I’ve been raving about him for years. 

I woke up in my room after who knows how many hours of surgery and recovery and Fred was by my side.  I felt okay, but certainly groggy.  

“You’re fine honey,” he said.  “But there was a bit of a complication.”  I was still a but fuzzy, but he continued. “Apparently when they were hammering the joint into your bone, your bone fractured. “ 

“Oh, okay.”  I said, and went right back to sleep.   It wasn’t until later that afternoon when the doc came to see me that I fully understood the ramifications of said bone fracture. 

“Well, I don’t want you putting any weight on that foot for 6 weeks.” 

“WHAT?”  I said. 
“I said, I only want you to use a walker and toe touch on that side for six weeks.” 

“SIX WEEKS? Six.  Weeks??” I looked a him.  I was really trying to wrap my head around this. “Oh.  Okay.” 

He shook his head, “These things happen sometimes. Your bone was very brittle, and it fractured. We need to be very careful so it can heal.  We will take a look at it in 2 weeks and see if it’s healed enough to put any weight on it. But I want you to be prepared for the fact that it MIGHT take 6 more weeks.” 

So here I am, a week and some change into recovery, and reminding myself that things could be way worse.  Well, to be honest it was Fred that reminded me. As I was having a pity party yesterday, he said, “Hey, are you done working? Did you just retire?” 


“Do we have a great thing here together?” 


“Do we live in a beautiful home and get to go on wonderful trips?”


“And are we having a beautiful wedding here soon?” 

“Yes!” I said.  “Okay! I get your point!  No more whining!!” 

Now, if anyone out there hears me whine ONCE, come on over here and slap me.