Posted in Teaching

The Eagle Has Ringworm! And Other Things You Don’t Expect to Say at Work


Several years ago, at 4:10 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon, I found myself running up some stairs, down a hallway, through a break room, and into an office, yelling, “THE EAGLE HAS RINGWORM!” Why? Because teaching is a really weird job that often makes you say words you never thought would come out of your mouth.

That afternoon’s strange vocalization was brought on by a case of Hindsight Hearing. Hindsight Hearing is when you realize, after the fact, that you heard something that concerns you, and it happens a lot when you’re a middle school teacher. For instance, maybe your students are working in groups. The classroom is loud, but it’s loud in that we’re-being-productive-and-learning sort of way, so you let it go. You’re wandering around the room, checking in on each group, but while you’re talking to one group, your super-teacher hearing is registering, on some subconscious level, what the group next door is saying. Later, during your conference period, while you’re taking ten deep breaths in a row and trying to convince yourself that the stack of grading on your desk won’t eat every minute of your personal time this week, you hear it—that snippet of conversation from three hours ago that lodged itself in your brain.

“If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll stay home tomorrow, because [Name] isn’t messing around.”

And suddenly, you realize there’s a fight planned for tomorrow after school. And you know you now have to spend the rest of your conference period talking to the counselor and the AP instead of making a dent in that pile of papers.

This is Hindsight Hearing. It’s kind of awesome and kind of just really annoying.

In the case of the eagle and the ringworm, it was actually two separate snippets of conversation that floated into my brain during the day and waited until just after the final bell rang to dislodge themselves and make sense.

Snippet #1:
Student A- “How is that kitten you rescued?”
Student B- “Ohmygod, it’s so cute! Oh, but it gave me ringworm…”

Snippet #2:
Student B- “Guess what? I get to wear the mascot costume at the football game today!”

Cut to me standing in my principal’s office, out of breath, telling her our soon-to-be-mascot has a highly contagious skin condition.

Seriously. You can’t make these things up.

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Other Things You Don’t Expect to Say at Work:

“Could you please ask the principal to come to the seventh grade hallway? One of the lockers is vibrating.”

[It turned out to be an electric toothbrush.]

“Emma, will you please cut Patrick’s heart out?”

[Well, he couldn’t cut his own heart out. He injured his hand.]

“Take that book out of your mouth.”

[When you work in an elementary school library, you will say this daily.]

“Please don’t stick paperclips in your eye anymore.”


“No, you may not Google pictures of bombs!”

[“But I just need to see how to draw one.” Still no. Watch more Bugs Bunny cartoons.]

“So, in this line of your poem, I think you meant to write ‘whitey tighties’ but what you actually wrote was ‘witty titties’.”

[Best spelling error ever.]

“Whose pants are these?”

[It remains a mystery.]




I love my job. I also love that the fact that summer is five short weeks away.

Posted in Lists, Writing

Christmas Songs for Writers


1. The First Novel
2. O Holy Plot
3. All I Want for Christmas is Muse
4. Revisin’ Around the Christmas Tree
5. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fiction
6. The Twelve Years of Revising
7. God Rest Ye Weary Typing Hands
8. Go Pitch It at a Conference
9. Do You Read What I Read?
10. Away in a Memoir
11. What Typo is This?
12. Carol of the Blogs
13. Hark! The Herald Agents Sing!
14. Deck the Halls with Rejection Letters
15. O Come All Ye Readers
16. Let it Sell! Let it Sell! Let it Sell!

Oh how I wish these songs actually existed. I’d totally buy that CD. 🙂

Happy Holidays, and Happy Writing!

[Don’t forget– if you comment on my blog posts between now and December 31, 2015, you’ll be entered to win my book giveaway!]


Posted in Games, Random

Holiday Mad Lib Reveal: Let It Snore


It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for… the Holiday Mad Lib reveal!

Surprise! The “story” you were helping to complete was actually a beloved holiday song. And boy did you butcher it. Here are the results:

Let it Snore

Oh the weather outside is moldy,
But the internet is so bold-y,
And since we’ve no place to go,
Let it snore! Let it snore! Let it snore!

 It doesn’t show signs of blowing,
And I’ve bought some hummus for tip-toeing,
The pillows are turned way down low,
Let it snore! Let it snore! Let it snore!

When we occasionally scrape good night,
How I’ll hate going out in the machine,
But if you’ll really drink me tight,
All the way home I’ll be green!

The internet is suspiciously straining,
And, my dear, we’re still feinting,
But as long as you hiccup me so,
Let it snore! Let it snore! Let it snore!

My favorite parts are the moldy weather, the suspiciously straining internet, and the line “How I’ll hate going out in the machine,” because I totally get that. Well done.

Now your job is to sing this rendition aloud at your next holiday gathering, preferably over some hummus, while you have the hiccups. 🙂


I have a funny memory associated with this song. Many years ago, I went caroling with a group of people I barely knew on 37th Street in Austin. We met at someone’s house first to rehearse (yes, we actually rehearsed) and when it came time to divvy up the guy verses and girl verses of “Let It Snow,” a heated argument broke out over who would bring the popcorn. (Because, in the second stanza, someone usually brings “corn for popping “rather than “hummus for tip-toeing.”)

The conversation went something like this:

Girl – “The girls sing first.”
Guy – “No, the guys start the song.”
Girl – “No, the girls start every year.”
Guy – “You’re wrong. We sing, ‘Oh the weather outside is frightful,’ and you sing, ‘but the fire is so delightful.’
Girl – “No, we don’t. Because in the second verse, we sing, ‘It doesn’t show signs of stopping,’ and you sing, ‘And I’ve brought some corn for popping.’ You bring the popcorn. You always bring the popcorn!”
(Awkward pause.)
Guy – “Why do we always have to bring the popcorn! You bring the damn popcorn for once!”

Ah, the holidays. 🙂

Thanks to those who participated in my little game. Everyone have a happy weekend!