Alice in English Class

Not too long ago my aunts were going through some of my Grandma's things after she passed away. They came across one of her "autograph books" from her Sophomore and Junior year of high school [1936-1937]. They decided that I would appreciate it. I felt honored to receive it, and have been wanting to do something with it since then. I found two entries that seemed to be connected, and today finally had some time to sit down and write. This is a work of fiction, because clearly I wasn't there nor did I ever talk to Grandma about this particular incident. It was fun to "put myself in her shoes" while I wrote this. You'll notice that the story is bookended with the two entries I found. Those were not modified [I had a hard time distinguishing the teacher's last name]. Enjoy.


November 19, 1936

Dear Sally,

I am very happy to have you as a classmate. I am sure I will never forget those days in 11th English Class where we giggled to our hearts content.

Rose Rae Ramsey


Alice slowly walked into room 114, quietly taking her seat in the third row. Placing her books on her desk, she glanced at the clock. 9:31. She smiled to herself, always ready to delight in the small victories of the day. This particular smile came at the prompting of her friend, Rose, who pointed out to Alice just last week that she couldn’t stand to be late to anything. She glanced around the room and, although she had made herself wait an extra minute before coming in today, there were only two other students present.

The seats began to fill up as the clock ticked on, and by 9:34 all the seats were taken. Rose had slid in the desk next to Alice, a sly smile on her face as she shook her head in an I-told-you-so manner. Alice opened her mouth to let her friend know of her effort, but just as she did Mr. Stacey, their teacher, began the day’s lesson.

“Yesterday we began working with superlatives. Remember, the superlative of an adjective or adverb is the the greatest form of the adjective or adverb.” Mr. Stacey had a way of enunciating the word of the skill his classes were working on, and the four syllable word “su-per-la-tive” seemed to be one of his favorites. “This indicates that something has at least one feature to a greater degree than anything it is being compared to in a given context.”

Alice glanced over at Rose who appeared to be viciously scribbling notes. I thought we took notes on this yesterday? she thought, scanning the room to see if anyone else was doing the same. She skimmed her notes from yesterday. It was all there. She looked back to her neighbor’s desk to catch a mischievous look from her friend. Rose began folding the paper and, after scribbling “Sally” on the front, dropped it on the floor between the two desks. As she let it slip between her fingers she let out a slight laugh; a whisper of a laugh really.

Alice, not just known for being early but also for not liking to break rules, shifted in her seat and glanced back up at Mr. Stacey. He was at the board now, scratching out some words in chalk. Slowly sliding low in her seat, she stretched her left arm into the aisle and snatched the letter which bore her nickname. She slid it under her notebook and tried to look innocent. This only made Rose snicker more.

“Dorothy,” Mr. Stacey turned back to the class, “Can you give me the superlative of one of the adjectives or adverbs that I have written on the board?”

“The superlative of ‘good’ is ‘best’?”

“Is that a question?” Mr. Stacey asked with a grin.

Ummm...no. Sorry.” Dorothy stammered, “The superlative of ‘good’ is ‘best.’”

“Good job. Henry, what about ‘beautiful’?” He asked pointing to the next word on the board.

“Well, Mr. Stacey, the superlative of ‘beautiful’ is ‘most beautiful.’”

Mr. Stacey chuckled under his breath, “Yes Henry. And I like your emphasis of the word ‘superlative.’” As the class laughed, Mr. Stacey returned to the board and in his neat, English teacher handwriting wrote “Pg. 163, #1-15, 17, & 20.” The class responded with shuffling pages and whispers. “You have the rest of the class period to work on this assignment. Please be sure to ask if you have questions.” He grabbed his coffee mug and returned to his desk.

Alice quietly took the note out and unfolded it carefully.


I thought you said you were going to try to be LATE today?! You just can’t do it, can you? You are simply too responsible... or should I say, you are the MOST responsible person.


She had drawn a picture of a clock and in the center wrote “Alice’s best friend.” Under normal circumstances this may not have struck anyone as funny, or even clever. But this day, at this particular time during this particular moment, it struck Alice as hilarious. Maybe it was the fact that she really tried to be late and still ended up early. Maybe it was the clever use of a superlative. Maybe it was the picture, which Alice couldn’t help but notice had been drawn horribly off scale with the numbers 8, 9 and 10 in very wrong positions on the clock. Maybe. But as she tried to suppress her giggles she realized it was the fact that she was sitting in a nearly silent room and wasn’t supposed to be laughing.

She recalled just this past Sunday at church when her youngest brother had made a face at her from the end of the pew. She was reprimanded for laughing which only made her laugh more. Why are things funnier when you know you should remain silent?

Rose was only making the situation worse. She too had caught the bug and was no longer doing her whisper laugh but was joining Alice in full blown giggles. The girl sitting behind her kicked her chair leg. Both girls giggled harder.

By the time the class was dismissed, Alice and Rose nearly had tears streaming down their cheeks from the pressure of trying to suppress their giggles. They shuffled out of the room and, as they turned to go separate ways, Alice managed to say through her giggles, “Never pass me a note in English class again, Rose!” Turning the corner though, she knew that their fun had just begun.


December 18, 1936

So English 11th is a place where you can “giggle to your hearts’ content”? Well, well, well-- that may be as it is, for I agree with De Quincy “The laughter of girls is, and ever was, among the delightful things of earth.”

And Alice, I hope you can go through life with “giggles.”

Frank Stacey

(Your English teacher)


weird week

friday night-- ball game that almost went into over time. we won. aunt linda and uncle al arrive- hang out.

saturday-- wake up early and drive brent to work so that I can swing directly over to see Henry and Beth. Spend rest of the day with them and take home Dawson and Hawkins for slumber party. [we had quite the slumber party...Dawson wanted to watch 20/20]

sunday-- church. lunch with my fam before the VZs headed back North. then back to Brent's fam to bid adieu to everyone there.

monday-- Brent and I both had the day off so we headed to South Kansas City to buy our new Mac computer... we have been saving for over a year and half and were super excited for the day...oh, but sidenote, this girl woke up slightly ill [Beth and Henry had something...sound familiar? Love you, Beth :)] I powered up and barely made it through the day.

tuesday-- I went to school as usual...but felt like death. I did not want to be there but we had a game and I didn't want to miss it. Oh my goodness. Awful. By the end of the day the secretary had already called and filled out a sub form for me the following day and at the end of the day she came to my room and just said, "All you have to do is sign this and it is all taken care of. Don't come back tomorrow." I didn't even request it. I guess I looked sick. I drug myself home for a brief break and then drug myself back to school for the game. Unfortunately it was a crazy game that required too much of my energy. One of our seniors tore her ACL, we went into overtime…and we won. I walked out of the locker room directly to my car directly to bed. I didn't wake up until…

wednesday-- noon! I was feeling better than the day before but still rested and drank plenty of fluids….Brent was good to me.

Thursday-- back to school, feeling SO much better, glad to be with students again….then SNOW! Early out. Game cancelled.

Friday-- snow day. and feeling like death again. Not fun. But it is the weekend now. My nose is raw, my throat is burning…but, as Scarlett O'Hare would say "Tomorrow is another day!" Although she would probably sound a bit sexier saying it than I do right now. Oh goodness.

Weird week. I was only at school for a day and a half days and I only vaguely remember the half day. Next week is district basketball. We have the number one seed. I think this means I need to get more sleep. I will try to write something creative soon, but for now…Goodnight!


new counter tops

B and I worked for a month on this "little project." We had several helpers for various stages...however when we mentioned GROUT the crew fled. I began grouting and learned why...grouting is terrible.

Anyway- before we had this crazy awful laminate countertop. I'm on our NEW LAPTOP [MacBook Pro...LOVE IT...more on this later, I'm sure], so I don't have the old pictures but you can imagine. Click here to see older pics of kitchen. Grandpa A.J. built a piece that we added on too give us an additional foot for a barstool area. We tore up the laminate. Scraped off the glue. Ripped out the sink. Added new sink. Water all over kitchen [remember that post]. Tiled. Tiled. Tiled. Cut tile. Cut tile. House smelled like cut tile-gross. Grout. Grout. Grout. Snow storm. Grout. Wipe clean. Wipe clean. Seal. Viola. A month later...an awesome counter top :) We truly do love it and it seems like I have MILES of counter space now [I don't know if that is because I helped in the tiling process and it felt like miles or if it is because of actual square footage...either way, I appreciate what I have]. Here are a few pictures of the crazy process. Enjoy.

[Okay, so blogger acts different on this computer and I can't get my pictures to rearrange...so they are backwards-- start at the bottom and scroll up to see progress...start at top and scroll down to see regression. Whatever.

Heartshaped pancakes on Valentine's day...on our new counter top :)
Here is the picture of my mug cabinet after consolidating a few :) Read here if you missed this post
Dishes Brent got me as a Valentine's day present. Every time I went to Kohls I would check the price on these babies and see if they were on sale. Even if they were, it was never enough to justify getting new dishes. Brent told me I could get them for Vday....I had a 20% coupon AND they were buy one [box set] get one free. :) THEY ARE AWESOME.
Finish product :) The edge pieces that were sold with this tile were almost $5 a piece...we would have needed to spend over 500 on those pieces alone... so I found 4X4 tile that matched and we made our own edge pieces. More cutting but we like the way it turned out.

[Pause for question: In all the magazine makeovers that I see when designers re-do a kitchen they always take things off the fridge and leave it empty. Sure this makes the space look "cleaner" but I like my pictures on the fridge... What do you think? Do you have pictures on yours? My dad always told my mom that he thought she had so many magnets on the front of the fridge that it would suck the back to the front :)]
My unbelievable new sink. LOVE IT. Composite granite. It is so fantastic. And the new faucet it more than I deserve :) Brent and his dad put it in together. They are awesome.
Love it!

The snow storm that kept me home for four days and gave me more time to work on counter
The day that water went every where ! So much fun.

Laying the tiles
The project that would never end... and it's SO weird we're going backwards...
what a stud
after ripping out the sink...the hole. and this is what the counter looked like after ripping up laminate
Old, small, stained, gross sink
The pantry that Grandpa and Kirby built, pre-tile
Getting started. You can see the extension that Grandpa built here. Getting ready to lay the backerboard.
Now that it is finished come one over and eat supper with us!! I have plenty of mugs :)



As most of you know I foolishly decided I should be the assistant basketball coach this year. This has caused much exhaustion and overwhelment [I just made that a word]. I have been frustrated that I can't put as much energy into my classroom, that I can't prepares meal at home like I used to, and that any free time has to be taken up with grading or cleaning because it won't come around again soon.

Also, Borders [the mega bookstore that I LOVE], filed bankruptcy yesterday. You can't even begin to believe how much this bums me out.

However, recently I have realized that I have been bitter about all of this far too much. So I want to refocus. I want to stop worrying about what I can't control and start focusing on the blessings in my life.

Things I want to focus on:

My students. They are awesome. I like laughing with them. We are getting ready to start poetry. I love teaching poetry and reading their poetry. I want to enjoy it.

This weather. Oh. My. Goodness. Windows were WIDE open in my classroom all day and we were still too warm. Beautiful.

Yesterday I asked one of my students to do/not do something because I didn't want her to get in trouble. She was like, "Why?" And then I said, "Well if you don't I may end up getting in trouble." She did what I had asked her to do then said, "I didn't care if I was going to get in trouble, but I really don't want to be the reason YOU get in trouble for something." Sweet.


A few of the girls on the team who have really made my coaching experience enjoyable and worthwhile.

Being caught up on grading: even if being caught up forces every fiber of my being to make use of every spare moment, it is a WONDERFUL feeling.

My Juniors just started reading Thoreau's "Walden" today. For those of you that don't know, he lived at Walden pond for 2 years to see what was necessary and unnecessary in life. What he discovered, essentially, is that people get so caught up in "making a living" that they don't live. He combats this, saying that he wants to "suck out all the marrow of life." He says that when he come to die he does not want to "discover that I had not lived." He finds that our lives are "frittered away by detail... Let your affairs be as two or three...simplify, simplify." Thank you, Thoreau. I needed to hear that.

"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed? .. If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

** yes..he invented the phrase "march to the beat of your own drum:



What is the point of having 52.3 thousand mugs in my cabinet? Will there ever be a day when I invite over 100 of my closest friends and they will ALL want a steaming mug of something hot? Will the town I live in have a flood and my house remain dry and I must supply warm mugs of tea to all the survivors?

I doubt it. So why do I feel the need to own all of these mugs?

For Valentine's Day Brent let me purchase a set of dishes that I have been wanting for well over a year [pictures later...they are fantastic]. Like any other set of dishes, this set came with matching mugs. So I unpacked all 8 of my awesome and colorful new mugs and, after washing them, began to place them in the cabinet. This is when I realized I have a MILLION mugs! [Okay, I have 40 but that is still A LOT for a two person house...especially when only one person drinks coffee!] 40 mugs. Seriously? We've only been married for 2 and half years, how did this accumulation happen? Several go with our dishes. I understand that. Others have been gifts from students. I get that. Others I purchased in college at local thrift stores. But why oh why do I still have ALL OF THEM?!

I now understand why thrift store shelves are lined with these ceramic vessels. Sure, it may be fun to get a mug that says, "World's Best Hair Dresser/Tax Accountant" but when does the madness stop? If you're like me there are really only two or three that you like drinking out of, and you reach for those every time.

40 mugs. Scratch that. 45. I have 5 on my shelf at school! FIVE?! I only have two hands, what it the purpose of having 5 mugs at my work place?
45 mugs for 2 people accumulated over the course of 3 years.

Do me a favor...go count your mugs and PLEASE tell me you have a ridiculous amount as well so I don't feel crazy.

Seriously...go count your mugs.

confession: I didn't even count my TRAVEL MUGS!


for the day

Since it is Valentine's day I thought I would post some old pictures of Brent and I. Oh how young we were :). This is our 8th Vday. We took pictures just about every time we were together...oh goodness. These made me laugh. Enjoy.

This was after one of our first real dates. We stopped and took this picture in front of the church were we first met. Could we seriously have smiled any bigger?
This was on a visit the petting zoo in OC.

And I found this picture while sifting through old files. TOO HILARIOUS. I had to post it :)

The first summer we were dating.

The night he proposed

Dressed up for Star's sesquicentennial ... classy.

His prom our Senior year

My prom our Senior year.

Kali and Dan's wedding...he looks pasty because I spray tanned.

When I mono...and I believe it was no shave November for Brent.

I think he was enjoying it a bit more.

Thank you, Brent. Thank you for loving me and laughing at me and with me and pushing me and praying for me and walking with me. I am a better me just by being near you.


Birthday and an anniversary

First, I must say happy birthday to my wonderful Grandma Ann! She is a fantastic lady who has taught me so much during my lifetime and it has been a treat to move back closer to her. Not only has she made us some beautiful things for our new home, but it has been fun see her more often. I'm hoping this summer I will get to see her even more :). Last year I posted this story about her home and the influence she has had on my life. I'm still so very thankful to have been married at her house...which brings me to my next thought today...

Today marks the day that Brent said, "Uhhh...I've liked you for about 3 years now..." We had just been at a bible study and he mentioned that he wanted to talk to me. I guessed that he had figured out that I liked him, and wanted to let me know that it would NEVER happen! So I quickly began talking to others and tried to sneak out of the church. He followed me out of the building and, since it was February, we got in his car. He cut to the chase, which I appreciated, and I responded with..."Wow, me too!" We talked a little bit longer, him saying he wasn't certain where this conversation would take us but that he knew he needed to say something. A week later he was at my house on Valentine's Day singing me a song he had written. Hook. Line. Sinker.

That was seven years ago. Seven. And I have loved the past seven years.

So happy birthday, Grandma...and happy "anniversary", Brent! :)



I have 5 games this week.





I have shared a poem from this book before: here. My friend and I still occasionally share back and forth from its pages [oh to be an English teacher :)] and today she emailed me this:

"In love I can become tangled, in love I become a girl wanting to be a woman, I become a schemer and a planner and a play-by-play announcer. In love I am not a still pond or a smooth flying bird. I can clench, prepare, and predict. I want the love in my life to feel like a deep breath, a blushing laugh, a view across the sea of a cortez. Love always expanding wider, glowing in love we need just the true. we need those wide kind eyes of understanding. we need tumbling play. we need to show up-to open, to tell the sweet raw here it is. We need to show the pjs before the ballgown. "

Yes, please.


a re-run

I know most of my "readers" have been hit with the snow yesterday and today [and probably tomorrow]. Every time we get a good, solid, windy snow I miss my college days. It's crazy, I know, but there is something about cold and winter that make me miss that place and the warmth of the people I was surrounded with at that time in my life.Here is a picture of me enjoying the cold. My Junior year I was an RA and I grabbed some girls on my wing and we built this awesome fort.
Just this past week I was on the basketball bus [yet again...story of my life...but we won the championship of the tournament we were in], and was talking with the driver about the "storm" that was supposed to hit this weekend. The cheer coach, lamenting the weather, said she is sick of winter and cold and snow. I said I think it is absolutely beautiful. And I really mean it. I love a good snow. It makes everything feel fresh and new and clean. It makes me think of Jesus saying He has washed us "whiter than snow." It makes me want to drink coffee and read. It makes me want to go sledding and build a snowman. But is always makes me want to be back in college--where it didn't matter if my car got buried because I had no where to go for WEEKS; it didn't matter if I didn't have food stocked in the pantry because I could walk to the cafeteria and get a warm meal; and it didn't matter if I couldn't get out to visit people because I lived with my very best friends.

So in honor of the snow falling outside I decided to post a "re-run." I wrote this during my senior year of college, and although I love a beautiful snow fall, I still thought the snow in NW Iowa would be my demise. So bundled up and enjoy:

It starts in my toes...

I just got back from supper where I had a nice steaming bowl of noodles on which I piled some broccoli I steamed in the [needs to be cleaned desperately] microwave. After cleaning my tray I grabbed my coat...

and my gloves
and my scarf
and my ear warmer

and I bundled and I bundled and I bundled until I could barely move [you know, to the point that you are so entirely bundled that in order to turn your head you have to move your entire torso?]. I pushed open the first door to be greeted with cold air.

I was still in the entry way.

I pushed open the second door and my feet instantly went numb and it had begun...I now had to barrel my way to the other side of campus to make it back to the safety and warmth of my apartment. I picked up my pace to notice the nice, hidden- jump- at- you-from-behind patches of ice. I slowed to a mere 0.3 mph to ensure that I didn't fall, unable to decide if falling on the hard sheet of frozen doom would be worse than walking slow enough to be safe and make sure that that I didn't. Option A only leaves me with bruises, maybe a broken bone. Option B leaves me with first degree frost-bite and the inability to function as a human being for a solid hour until I am thawed. I remembered my professor's wife who shattered her leg not too long ago on the ice and, 90% certain I am making the wrong decision, walked at a mind-numbingly slow pace.

Gusts of artic winds almost knock me down anyway. I'm trying to decide what the temperature is but then I realize that the cold is creeping up my body and so I try to trick myself. Hawaii. Soup. Campfire.

Not working. My eyes begin to water but the liquid in the corners of my eyes freezes instantly at their first taste of Iowa. My nose has ceased dripping as its hairs are forever frozen to my nostrils. I say hello to a fellow trekker and the cold enters my mouth and I instantly feel every single tooth in my mouth. Pain.

I can now see the lights of my building, and when I pick up my pace I remember the wife and the shattered leg and I slow, but by this point I am certain that my blood as slowed to the flow of molasses. I remember a friend in Missouri telling me it is cold there and I laugh.

I am so close now. My hands have lost the capacity to function and I'm pretty sure my nose is somewhere in the snowdrift 20 feet back. Finally I reach the door and it opens and I am greeted with warm air and I stand inside my apartment and I don't remove anything for at least 10 minutes. And then slowly


I take off my gloves. 1....2....3.......9....10. Good. All my fingers are still there [but I'm not even going to look at my feet because I know there has to be damage down there].

I take off my ear warmers. Good thing I don't have big earlobes or I'm sure I would be mourning their loss.

I unzip my coat and consider suing the company that made it.

20 minutes later I remove my scarf.

Whew. I survived. It takes me about 3 minutes to walk from the caf to my place, but I'm sure someday those 3 minutes are all it will take to kill me.

When I was finally warm my roommate walked in--- her face as red as can be and all I could see were her eyes and nose. She yells something about it being -25 outside so we check weather.com:

Actual temperature: -1
w/ wind chill feels like: -25

Why did I ever go to school in Iowa?