Monthly Archives: March 2013

Katie Confessions “dog edition”

I am the butt of a lot of cat lady jokes.  Need proof?  I recently found this in my mailbox at school:

No, I did not put it on my car.

Another colleague led staff devotions and explained that she still had morning voice because unlike some of us, (looks straight at me) she doesn’t talk to a cat in the morning.  Dotty totally answers back, so I really don’t think it’s that weird.

Yes, I recently wrote a sample argumentative essay arguing that cats are better than dogs.  Sure, I probably post a few too many pictures of Dotty on Instagram.  And yeah, this happens more often than I’d like to admit:

Her favorite time to be pet is when I’m on the toilet.  Weird, I know.

But despite the growing evidence that I am one of those over the top, covered in cat hair, cat-loving cat ladies,  I actually really love dogs.  Like I get weirdly attached to them.  When I was 13 and found our golden retriever, Odie, dead in the kitchen when I was home alone, I screamed until neighbors on both sides and across the street came running over.  Talk about traumatizing.

When someone tells me that they don’t like dogs, I try to not judge them, but I totally do. How can anyone NOT like dogs?

So when nearly my entire family went to Hawaii for ten days, I had no problem house-sitting and watching their dogs: Nike, Nash, and Dunkin.

However, those 10 days were riddled with confessions.  It started when my brother brought his dog, Nash, over.

Instead of telling you the story, I’ll let you read the text Trent sent the family, but let me preface it by explaining that I was eating Thin Mints and drinking milk when Nash jumped on top of me.  The screaming was hardly unprovoked.

I know I don’t sound like much of a dog-lover in that text, but Nash had just completely ruined my dessert and I was covered in milk!  If you had just been clobbered by a giant dog while trapped under a blanket, you’d probably be pretty annoyed too.  Right?

Despite the rough start, I warmed up to Nash, especially when he got sleepy and became a snuggler at night.  Because yes, I let dogs sleep on the bed with me.  When I mentioned this in the teacher’s lounge, one of my colleagues was so disgusted that he looked like I had said that I eat dog ticks.  But I had grown up sharing my bed with Odie, then Swish, and even Gizmo who would climb under my mosquito net and hog the bed in Mozambique.  So this scene:

was totally normal for me.

Except having to fight for my pillow- now that was a little extreme:

Walking the three boys to the park was a bit of an adventure.

because moments after I took this picture, I dropped Dunkin’s leash, Nike swerved behind me, and chaos ensued.  I was too panicked to pay any attention to all the people in cars pointing and laughing.

When we got to the park, I took off their leashes and let them run free.  Nike, my parent’s lab, always stayed right by my side but my sister’s golden and my brother’s golden doodle had other ideas.  They found friends.  If you watch THIS VIDEO you’ll witness Nash’s impressive soccer skills.  You’ll also hear me breathing awkwardly loud, for which I apologize.

The three sometimes stayed right on my heels, though.  In fact, one of them clipped my heel and I nearly did a face plant but caught myself as I screamed and flailed.  When I looked back to reprimand the tripper, I discovered that the culprit was actually a pit bull who had joined our pack.  His owner was sprinting towards us to get his dog, surely laughing to himself about my scream and near fall.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that people like me are the reason you should NEVER put your lips on a drinking fountain.

Sure it’s a little gross, but dogs get thirsty too, y’all.

When we got home, Dunkin tried to sniff Nash when he was relieving himself, so Dunkin ended up getting peed on.

He really didn’t seem to mind, though:

Then I nearly peed on Nash’s favorite toy because Trent and Teri failed to mention that he likes to put his ball in the toilet:

Yes, I did have to reach my hand in to retrieve it.

And Heidi forgot to warn me about Dunkin’s habit of snacking on underwear.

But despite some chewed undies, massive roaming hairballs in the kitchen, and some super muddy floors, there wasn’t too much damage done.  All the dogs survived and Dotty was only slightly pissed that I had left her for 10 days.

Now it’s time for your dog confessions.  Do you let them share the bed or does that thought disgust you?  Has your underwear ever been eaten by your dogs? Were you traumatized by “Where the Red Fern Grows” or “Old Yeller” like I was? Any and all dog confessions can be made here.

Oh, and since we’re on the topic, you must watch THIS VIDEO about the difference between cats and dogs.  My new friend, Claire, shared it with me and it is hilarious.

To the student who continually picks his nose with his pinky finger and then eats his boogers in my class,

You realize that I can see you, right?

Do you understand that when we make eye contact while your pinky is deep in your nostril digging around, I know what you’re doing?

I can clearly see that your nail is scraping the walls of your nostril for a tasty treasure.  And I hate to break it to you, guy, but you’re not nearly as sneaky as you might think you are.  When you slip those gooey green gobs of snot into your mouth, you’re not fooling anyone and you are forcing me to throw up in my mouth.

Look, I care about you, kid.  And someday a teacher or a classmate is going to call you out on your booger-snacking ways and you’re going to be mortified.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, there is a social stigma attached to nose-picking and it is social suicide to be caught eating your finds.  So I’m writing this letter to let you know that I CAN SEE YOU and to ask you to kindly stop.

I realize that it’s hard to let that cliff-hanger hang.  But, please, just come grab a tissue from my desk.  Blow that dangling boogie out.

Or, if you really can’t give up the pleasure derived from dislodging your dried nasal mucus, could you possibly adhere to the “roll-n-flick” tactic?  Because while I gag every time I see you sneaking a mucus munchie, it would actually be worse if you were wiping your snotty secretions on your desk.  So thanks for not forcing some unsuspecting victim to wipe their hand across your sticky snot globs.

Perhaps you are of the philosophy that eating one’s boogers keeps you from getting sick.  I get it.  My brothers are staunch believers in this method and you know what?  Some DOCTORS agree with you!

According to Doctor Bischinger, “Eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system.  Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.”

So I suppose I shouldn’t judge you for trying to stay healthy.  But for the sake of my gag reflex and your social standing, could you possibly wait to chew on your crusty critters until after class?

Thanks so much,

Sincerely,

your booger-picking, but not-booger-eating teacher

ps- do you grow your pinky nail longer for this purpose?  Just curious.

 

Reasons I love to teach #5

Teenagers can be super insightful

Not all the time.  Sometimes I shake my head at how dumb they can be.  Whoever coined the phrase, “There are no stupid questions” clearly was never a high school teacher.

On the board in the teacher’s lounge last week, one teacher wrote a note that while in the library, her student had googled “cerealism.”  He was trying to research surrealism.  Another teacher responded with note about how her student had to be told to stop licking the batteries.  Today I had a student ask to use my staple remover because she had accidentally stapled her essay to her sweatshirt.

So yeah, they’re not all geniuses.

And yet, there are moments when kids blow me away with their honesty, vulnerability and insight.  These moments typically occur when I’m reading their essays.  My students will lie to my face without batting an eye when it comes to explaining why they didn’t turn in their homework.  But when asked to write about their flaws that hinder them in life, they were shockingly honest.

Case in point:

This kid is bright!  And I’m not just saying that because he used the correct spelling of “affect.”

How often do I too say things without thinking about the effect of my words?

Ummmm, all the time.

He wasn’t the only student to realize the power of his words:

As adults, we often embarrassed ourselves with our careless words.  The difference between us and this student is that he will admit it.  He gets it.

Several other kids admitted that they struggle with pride and were able to articulate this struggle with simple and profound statements:

How many of us want everyone to know who we are?

Gulp.

How many of us feel superior to others often without even realizing it?

Double gulp.

You don’t react well to people telling you that you’re wrong?

You think you’re way is always the right way?

These kids were hitting a little too close to home.

Not me.  Not at all.  Not ever.

Yeah, right.

Or listen to this kid’s take on pride:

How often do I think I’m hot stuff when I’m really not?

Way too often.

How easy is it to forget and ignore those I feel superior to?

Way too easy.

Then this kid brought up something I’d venture to say most of us struggle with:

Not wanting to look like a fool in front of others: oh how I can relate!

When I think of all the silly, “white lies” I’ve told, it’s almost always because I want to hide my foolishness and make someone think I’m cooler than I really am.

Pathetic.

At least this kid admits it.  I justify my little lies but when it comes down to it, I simply don’t want others to think less of me.

And lastly, there was this girl who voiced a similar problem:

You might not worry about your clothes, but do you worry about what others think of you?

I know I do.  And I know I’m not alone.

My professor recently told the story of how he (or a friend of his) sat next to R.C. Sproul on a plane.  For those who don’t know, Sproul is a big-wig in the Christian church- a highly respected and very well-known theologian. (Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of him; I hadn’t either).  Apparently they were on their way to some giant speaking gig and when asked how he was feeling about it, R.C. replied that he was feeling really nervous.  When asked why, he responded with the following confession:

“Every time I speak I always wonder, ‘will they like me?'”

Will they like me?

Have you ever wondered that?

I sure have.  Though I really don’t like to admit it.  But hearing that a man like R.C. Sproul struggles with wanting to be liked suddenly made me feel less foolish.  A famous theologian can admit it.  My 15 year old student can admit it.  Surely I too can stop denying the truth and fess up.  I want people to like me.

I don’t think this is a sin itself, unless I care more about the opinions of others than the opinion of my God.  But all too often that is exactly the case.

In my Spiritual Formation class we recently learned about the “Sanctification Gap.”  It’s the gap between the person I am supposed to be (the ideal version of me, the one who bears all the fruits of the Spirit all the time, who lives like Jesus did and loves like Jesus loved) and the person that I actually am today. We talked about how different people deal with the fact of life that NONE of us are perfect or living exactly as we should.

Some people just try harder to be good.

Others try to follow a specific program to fix their sin.

Still others try to lessen the gap by ignoring or justifying their sin.  Guilty as charged.

I try to fool myself and make the gap between who I am today and who I’m called to be smaller by making my sins seem inconsequential.  I am the queen of ignoring and hiding and justifying my sin.  But clearly that’s not healthy or God-honoring.

So if my freshman students can admit to their shortcomings, surely I can too.  I may be teaching them where to put commas and how to write thesis statements, but these kids are teaching me so much in return!