Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Great Chair Mystery

And Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Today I shall answer the deeper mysteries of the world. The trouble is, around here, nearly every time a chicken does cross the road, it gets hit by a car. I was really upset to see one of my neighbor's guinea hens get killed in front of my house as I'd grown quite fond of the noisy critter. That aside, it is definitely not a chicken crossing area, so each trip becomes a potential suicide mission and a case of fowl play. (sorry about that)

The chair in the woods, as Claire noted, should be a anomaly, and would be in an ordinary world. But my woods are extraordinary and occasionally inhabited by all sorts of strange adventurers who, upon occasion, seem to feel the need to sit down. I suspect it was carried in by a deer hunter or other hunter who wanted a place to lie (or sit) in wait for some unsuspecting game animal to wander by. Or, it might have been left by a fisherman who decided to leave it hidden on the ridge for the next bout of bass fishing. Or...well, one can imagine all sorts of similar options. Fact it, the folk who visit the area are not always the most environmentally conscious individuals on the planet. I passed a discarded paper coffee cup as well and saw a plastic drink bottle too. Fortunately, neither of them were big enough to scare my horse. (Well, Toby did spook at a mouse on a log once--it moved!! But that's another story.) When I get the chance to walk out there horselessly, I will try to see if the chair was abandoned due to damage, in which case I will carry it home and give it a decent recycling "burial." If it's still good, then I would suspect someone left it with a purpose, so I will, for the time being, simply move it out of horse eye range so I don't have to crash down the hill through the briars again on my next ride along the ridge.

I ramble. That's because I didn't ride today. I had the energy and the will, but I made the mistake of coming in to watch stage 3 of the Tour of California bike race and got totally absorbed. (Anyone who has followed my blog in July knows I get addicted to the Tour de France and since Lance Armstrong is back in the racing game, I'm now stuck with the other races as well.)

As I'd stopped at the supermarket on the way home, the Boys were quite pleased to be fed instead of ridden anyhow. I'd measured the hay well this morning as they still had some to munch on and it will hold them until late feed when I'll give them more.

My day at school was not the best. First, I found out that I will be an administrator and not simply a proctor for the state mandated High School Proficiency Assessment which means carrying the tests and signing all kinds of papers testifying that I have not done anything in the least questionable in my top secret position of maintaining test security. This is all part of former President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" effort which has, to my mind, totally destroyed the integrity of education replacing it with hundreds of teachers "teaching to the test" instead of teaching kids.

Then, during one of my afternoon classes, I was called several rather insulting names by a student who wanted me to stop class to explain to him why the fact that he didn't have his required worksheets in class deserved a zero for the day. His language was rather colorful, so after I sent him from the room, I made note of his exact words so I could write up and office referral. I turned that in to the two vice-principals shortly thereafter. When I checked my mailbox at the end of the day, I found one copy of the referral back in my box with a note to "call his father," with three phone numbers. Uhm, I thought the general idea of a referral to the administration was an indication that the problem had escalated beyond my capacity to deal with it. Interesting how it ended up back up in my lap. I can just picture myself calling this student's father to tell him exactly what his son said to me. Rather awkward, if I do say so myself.

I think I might have to do something about this. Somehow we perhaps need to redefine just whose job all of this actually is.

I suppose I will regret not riding tonight as it's supposed to rain tomorrow. But the rest of the week looks good, as long as the footing holds up. With the arena well groomed, it should hold up well, though. And, if need be, I can always hack out in search of another chair.

It's one of the blessings of having a State Park in your back yard.



  1. The school thing sounds like a dilemma in need of some political strategizing.
    1. write a note, again, to the assist. principal. (Keep copies) Dear so and so, thanks for your confidence in my ability to handle a situation that I was afraid might produce a negative result if I faced it alone. I would greatly appreciate an outline of your thoughts about said parent-teacher conversation.

    -This puts the ball back in his/her court and documents who is taking responsibility.

    2. call parent: Hi, how are you? I would appreciate any input that you might give me regarding your son/daughter and how best to reach him and inspire him. I was hoping for additional input from the assist principal but can't get on their schedule. Would you like to call to make an appointment and we can both go together?

    - This shows you care/are trying, puts power in parents hands. I use this approach with people like the IRS. Makes them want to help you. Hee Hee
    Also holds assist principals feet to fire in very innocent way.

    Good Luck and don't forget an update.

  2. Oooooh, me like. Have an alternate route first, but I really appreciate this advice. You are very clever. And to think I have been doing this for 38 years and never once was put in this particular situation. *sigh*

  3. a devious plan. but if he reads this blog, he'll now be expecting it.

    over here teachers get fed up teaching to the test as well .... i feel sure children end up feeling that they're in a crammers!

    whilst i clearly agree that all children should leave school able to read, write, and think for themselves, i think too much emphasis is placed on education for a job, rather than education for life (which i've always thought it should be about...)