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Spring Cleaning

written Sunday, 4/29/2007

Every so often I write an entry on various random happenings with no common theme. This is one of those times.


(following spring break)

I flew to Cancun and stretched out on the beach
For twelve restful days, put my woes out of reach
Laid out in the sun and turned orange as a peach
But good times have come to a halt with a screech
In just two weeks’ time, I forgot how to teach!

The Folks

Just as soon as I wrote my last entry mentioning Nat’s latest health woes, a stroke of good fortune came our way. During my visit the following weekend at West Jefferson Hospital, Nat was getting reacquainted with using his motorized wheelchair for the first time in months. I accompanied him as he steered through the hallways on the 7th floor. At one point he stopped at the physical therapy room to playfully chastise a couple nurses for “lollygagging” on the job. Shades of old Nat West had returned!
Nat and Joan back home in Avondale

The following week, he was discharged. Visiting Nat and Joan at their modest Avondale home last weekend reminded me of the time I spent getting to know them during summer 2005. How wonderful to finally be away from that sterile hospital environment. Nat wheeled outside into the backyard for the first time since returning home, and we all relaxed in the cool spring sunset. I’ve felt honored that Nat and Joan have both insisted that I’m “family,” and I’ve been on the short list of people who are welcome to visit them any time whether things are good or bad. I spent the last couple months trying to accept the possibility that we may lose him at any moment. I’m thrilled that Nat’s decided to stick around a while longer.

Meanwhile, back home in California, Mom’s health problems continue to pile up. As if the Multiple Sclerosis that’s plagued the latter half of her life wasn’t debilitating enough, the two years that I’ve been gone haven’t been kind to her. Breast cancer last year, carpal tunnel surgery last month, and now a macular hole in her left eye will require surgery in a few weeks. I never lived more than 25 miles away from Mom until moving to New Orleans. Now I’m more than 2000 miles away, unable to assist much short of moving back home. Even thinking of her predicament is painful for me. These are the times when I’m especially grateful that a loving and supportive family is helping Mom cope with her latest onslaught of health issues.

Crawfish Boil

Last Saturday Lusher held it’s annual Crawfish Boil. This is the school’s biggest fundraiser every year. It’s traditionally held at the elementary school site. Due to construction of a new arts facility, however, it took place this year at the middle/high school campus. Even though I don’t eat crawfish or most of the other food items served that day, I thoroughly enjoyed the event. Big tents on the back field housed all sorts of events, games, and goodies. Various musical acts kept the crowd entertained, including local favorites Charmaine Neville and Anders Osborne. Of course, a personal favorite for me is the Lusher Jazz Band. I appreciate occasions like this to see my students outside of the academic environment. In my classroom, I don’t always get to see them at their best.


Good times at Lusher’s Crawfish Boil 2007, including Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu (a Lusher Elementary parent) taking a turn in the dunking booth. In the last photo, one of my students had just sprayed me with shaving cream. Did she really think I’d be too mature to chase her down, grab the can, and exact some revenge?


Looked across Lusher field, and down dropped my jaw
What an event! I stood there in awe
This weekend’s affair scored a wonderful draw
Haven’t seen such a crowd since the last Mardi Gras

Now in my math class, emotions are raw
I asked for strong effort, but guess what I saw?
Some kids are so lazy; Their efforts are blah
They think I’ll show pity? That’s their fatal flaw
Refusing to try? Man, that’s the last straw!
Such apathy boils the fish in my craw

Dress Code Reform

Here are some posters from a presentation I made last week at a morning conference. Some students have whined all year about the dress code, which is far more liberal than the ones at my two schools last year. I proposed that we have a uniform dress code for students and teachers alike, alluding to my preference for hairlessness and chalky clothes. I also paid homage to Dr. Whelan, the chemistry teacher who wears a bow tie every day. Finally, I threatened that if both boys and girls don’t start pulling up their pants, the faculty may follow suit in the stupid trend of low-rise jeans and “sagging.”

Students seemed to enjoy the suggestions. Maybe we’ll see some changes in dress code policy next year.
My proposal for a new and improved “Uniform Dress Code.”


If I ever get good enough in this job to earn some sort of recognition for my mad teaching skillz, I want the following photos included in the documentation of my awesomeness. See, this is the kind of inspiration and motivation I instill in my classroom.
“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.”


I really should get out more. With the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival taking place this weekend and next, I feel guilty spending almost the entire weekend inside. However, I’m finishing up my latest Flash cartoon. When wrapped up in one of my art projects, there’s not much that can pull me away.

Thankfully I’m not very prolific in coming up with ideas for these things. I hope I don’t have any more ideas for a while to tempt me in my hermit ways.

Yeah, next weekend I should really go to Jazzfest.


As year-end approaches, the slide has begun
Just four weeks to go, and soon there’ll be none
Goodbye winter chill, with spring comes the sun
And Jazzfest and prom, it’s oh so much fun
Since kids can’t stay focused in class, I for one
Hardly believe we’ll get anything done