Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stuff Students Say: March Edition

I've got to say, the fact that today is the last day of March makes me gleefully happy. Partly because it is Elizabeth VanDrunen's birthday. Partly because that means that today is my first day of SPRING BREAK 2013! Wow. I've been waiting to say that for a long, long time. Also partly because that means we are ending the third quarter. I love fresh starts, so when I return to school we have a brand new opportunity to love life, have fun, and feel successful in Room 22 with a new quarter. Here are the latest gems that my kids have uttered in the past 31 days.

Ms. Gassshhh I saw you on TV on the eyeglasses commercial with them big black glasses ayours. 

I was showing this girl a word problem in math that had to do with sharing grapes among kids.
Grapes?!! That my uncle nickname! They be callin' him grapes because he eating them all the time.

Do you got a twin? I saw her last week at Jewel. She lives in Chicago. 

After I told the class I'm going to Washington, D.C. for the first half of my spring break.
You going to be chilling with Barack Obama?
Yes. Michelle invited me for dinner to discuss the latest controversial Supreme Court cases. Wanted my input.

Do you have a daughter? When you have a daughter, can she come to my house so we can have a sleepover? Ms. Gesch you're so beautiful to have children. 

Said on Good Friday, last week, by one of my most ridiculous kids to another student who didn't know what Good Friday was.
So today Jesus died at 3. He actually died from noon to 3. Just to let you know. Don't you know that already? Y'all needa go read a Bible!

Willy Wonka is real. He made these sweet tarts of mine himself. It says on the wrapper.

Student 1: Ms. Gesch you got kids?
Student 2: No she don't, she's a teenager.
Student 1: Ms. Gesch you passed MIDDLE SCHOOL already?

My brother he broke up with a girl and then now he went back with her. Now that don't make much sense. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

You Be (Road)Trippin'

I just returned home from a really great weekend reunion with Spain friends in...drumroll please...the great state of...Kentucky! Yes, Kentucky. I've only ever driven through it, but now after spending a solid two days with some of its finest residents, I can now say that it is a wonderful place. I'll be posting who I actually got to see while I was there later on this week, but first I want to talk about the process of getting there. That's right, the road trip. I drove the six hours each way on my own, and I must say I enjoyed it quite a bit. The trip went straight south all the way through the great state of Indiana, through Louisville as I entered Kentucky, and then on to my destination in Lexington. This is a special part of the country we call home, let me tell you. Here's a few distinctive features of a great road trip to Kentucky.


First, I started the day on a breakfast date with my mom. Granted, not all road trips can begin this way, but I highly recommend it. She coincidentally was meeting her sisters in the city for lunch, so she came a few hours earlier to see me first. It was wonderful. We ate at a place called Sweet Maple Cafe in University Village (the neighborhood just north of mine) and it was deeeeelish.


The next key to a great road trip is the food. Every road trip needs road trip candy. I had my quintessential nerds and gum (I'm a chain chewer). Plus, you GOTS to make a stop at an unhealthy restaurant. This time, I chose Culver's. Culver's, Chik Fil-A, and Sonic round out my trifecta of best road-trip-lunch-stops, and this one was just south of Indianapolis. Not only was it a great excuse for consuming lots of barbeque sauce, it was a great opportunity to people watch. I have to say that I saw one pervading theme: poorly fitting denim. It was everywhere. People of Indiana, get yourselves to a GAP store IMMEDIATELY.

Finally, the best part of a road trip is, of course, the radio. This drive had lots of great ads for things that people in Indiana are interested in, like fishing boats and GED completion courses. One thing I loved about this particular drive through the Midwest was that just about every other station I scanned to was a country music station. This is something that brings me back to my roots as a hick Wisconsinite as well as summers in Indiana visiting Karley and her friends. There was a lot of Blake, a lot of George, and a lot of Tim. Not to mention the classic rock stations that I don't have in Chicago. It was nice to hear Tom Petty again. When I wasn't listening to some good homestyle music, I perused the pop stations. I think I heard The Lumineers' Ho! Hey! more times than I can express. (You all need to chill on that song. It's great, but give it a rest.) After that, I did what every roadtripper does: indulge in the guilty pleasure music. You know what that means. Justin Bieber. Ha! Oh yikes. I'm a little ashamed to admit that instead of switching the station when the song below came on the radio, I turned the volume up just slightly. It couldn't be helped.

You know you all love it too.
And now you have all the ingredients for a great trip to Kentucky. Plan your weekend soon!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Four Things

Life is swirling these days. I like the verb swirling. It reminds me of vanilla/chocolate twist cones at Dairy Queen. Yum. (Can you tell I want summer to get here, like yesterday?) But, in the tradition of this blog making me slow down and reflect for a few seconds, I'm going to put down my grading and take twenty minutes to share four things with you.


These are the cookies I made for my newspaper club last week. I've been teaching an elective every Friday for some fourth and fifth grade girls as a little something extra for our school. We practiced brainstorming article ideas, interviewing key players in the stories, and put all of our hard work into a news article on our respective topics. I figured nothing fits hard-hitting-journalism like sugar cookies with funfetti frosting as a celebration for our publishing day. We did a "paper route" around the school and delivered our finished copy of The Titan News to each classroom. Then we ate cookies and drank cherry limeade. I think I'm seriously misleading some of America's youths as to what that job must really be like. I'll bet The Tribune has significantly fewer sugar cookies. Maybe I'll write in and ask because I think it'd seriously improve employee morale. 


This is the list that somehow began to form while I absentmindedly doodled during last week's grad class. I actually really enjoy my current professor (as for some of the others...I have never missed Trinity's English department so badly...) but am just a doodler/lister at heart and this started to happen. I'm still thinking of things I'd like to add. A few of these options require more schooling, a few don't. Anyone out there have ideas that you think might work for me? ...Anyone? ...Bueller? I figure my best bet might be to score a TV show starring me as a counselor who blogs about her patients. This would result in me getting sued for violation of patient-doctor privilege, losing all of my money and possessions in the ruling, and ending up as a homeless bum. That would knock four off the list right there.  


I'm a girl who likes to brush her teeth. My friend Osvaldo works for a toothbrush company. Fancy that. Meet my new, wonderful, orange toothbrush. It looked a little too furry for my liking but it turns out to be a great tooth-cleaning experience. This was a happy day. Also, I cleaned the bathroom that Kristin and I use yesterday with so much bleach that I was starting to consider things like getting into Keeping Up With the Kardashians and other nonsense. My hands are still shriveled from the chemical burn. It makes me feel like a hard worker. And a really good Dutch person. (For you non-Dutch-people...apparently my heritage was supposed to make me enjoy doing housework and chores and being clean...I think there was a gene mutation somewhere along the way when I was born.) 


Aaannnnndddddd. Last but not least. My student K came up to me last Friday and asked if she could give me something. I said, "Of course! How sweet!" She gave this box to me. Thankfully, nothing was inside of this box. The box itself was the gift. I said, "Wow! What a nice box!" and she said, "It's my mom's, but she was going to throw it away. So I thought I'd give it to you." There's a whole lot I could infer from this situation, namely that my student thinks garbage is something that I will enjoy as a present, but I'm going to go with that whole it's the thought that counts thing and call it a night. Adios, muchachos. There are my four things. Tell me some of your things sometime. I'm sure I'll have one or two (or seven) more tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mean Girl

I knew it would happen eventually.

All the signs were pointing in that direction.

I've officially become a mean teacher. Maybe the meanest. 

Here's the quick little story: One of my kids was "cutting up," as we like to say. Also known as trying to be funny so everyone else laughs at him. I told him to go chill on the carpet so he could get himself together and come back to his seat in a few minutes. He then blared out "MSSSS GASHHHH CAN I GO TO THE BATHHHROOOOMMM!?" to which I replied that we were all going as a class in 5 minutes (we have to go as a class on bathroom breaks because our school is taking standardized tests that require silence in the hallways, so I can't send him out alone). This kind of thing happens approximately 6,534 times a day and I've never had a problem. Except this time, instead of him nodding his head and waiting a few minutes, he had an accident on the carpet.

I'm sorry about the time I made you pee your pants in class.
And I'm sorry for telling everyone about it.
And I'm sorry for repeating it now.

I felt terrible. Like, absolutely terrible. I can not shake it. I helped him out into the hallway once my co-teacher got back and dealt with him, his parents (that's another story), and myself. I explained to him how awfully I felt about it and of course how he needed to be following directions in the first place so that I could've really understood that he had to, indeed, use it bad. He said he knew that he should've been following directions and not yelling out. He also said he knew that if it is truly an emergency he can quickly go and explain it to me afterwards. My apology was given, his apology was given, and we're all good. Luckily my class was pretty chill for some reason at this time and he wasn't embarrassed at all and only one or two kids even knew what had happened. I keep telling myself excuses like "Hey, there was nothing you could've done! He would've been sent right back in our classroom if he went in the hall by himself because of the testing going on! He shouldn't have been acting crazy! He should have told you earlier!" Still, no matter what, I go back to the fact that I am the teacher who made a little kid have an accident. I suppose it could happen to any teacher. But tonight I totally feel like scummy Regina George when she wouldn't let Gretchen Wieners wear her white gold hoops to school.

And that is SO. NOT. FETCH.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Auf Wiedersehen Remy

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...lend me your ears. I come to bury Remy.

It's official: Remy the Wonderbug is no more. The little grey bug that could no longer zips these fine Chicago streets like he/she once did. He/she was a great car (although I could never settle on a gender for him/her) and gave me two blissfully happy years. We've been through thin and thick, snow and heat, rain and sleet. We've seen drive-thrus of all varieties. We've trekked to the middle of nowhere in Iowa, the middle of nowhere in Indiana, and the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin together. We've been through a rusted out catalytic converter, a flat tire, confusing check engine lights, coolant issues, and oil burning problems alike. So many jams were shared. So much Blink 182. So much Mariah Carey. SO MUCH T-SWIFT.

I loved him/her from the first time I laid eyes on him/her. Remy (short for Remington Steele) brought me to this city on four wheels and a dream. Parked on 18th Place every morning so quaintly, ready and waiting to cheerfully whisk me to the west side 'hood. So compact and conducive to parallel parking in those other spots that the SUVs need to leave behind.

People would look at Remy and say to me, "Oh yeah, that car is so YOU." 

SURE there was not a functioning cruise control. And YES there were multiple times where I feared he/she might spontaneously combust. But we had a bond, that beautiful German car and I. And while nobody can replace Remy, alas, another vehicle has risen to the occasion. Meet Sam.


Sam is a Toyota Corolla. Also nice and compact. He is definitively male and has already started to bond with the other cars on my street. He enjoys Mexican takeout just like Remy did and Pilsen suits him well. The Germans have conceded the defeat for now. Sam, I should tell you, is imported from Japan. Sam, short for Samurai. He brings a new set of cultural values with him. He will work tirelessly to dependably bring honor to my household by not flashing weird warning lights every two minutes and therefore embarrassing me in front of the same Autozone guys every two weeks like his predecessor. He's smooth I tell you. I think Remy and Sam would've been friends. 

A new era has begun: Sam and Anna, Chapter 1. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What My Parents and I Talk About When We Go Out to Eat

Brian Gesch shares candid thoughts (does he ever share thoughts that aren't candid?) on pop culture icon and female rapper Nicki Minaj: the reason why he believes his once-beloved American Idol is now unwatchable. The following is a direct quote, taken from our dinner conversation at Rupp's in Sheboygan when I was home visiting last weekend.

That Nicki Minaj is so SO unlikeable. She is the MOST unlikeable person. She's either on drugs or something else because she's got this "neahhhh neahhhh neahhh" kind of whine-voice that she uses. ZERO appeal. That one, that judge, is dead to me. I now have absolutely no desire to watch the show. For goodness sakes, get Usher in there! He'd be a much better judge. He's got personality! Now THERE'S your guy.