Wednesday, December 30, 2009


This came to me in an email and I wanted to share it... I love stupidity (and sarcasm).

Remember the weird sign translations for the Chinese Olympics? Seems it does not end there.........

Now that Vancouver will be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, these are some questions people from all over the world are asking.

Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website.

Obviously the answers are a joke; but the questions were really asked!

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? ( England )
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? ( USA )
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto - can I follow the Railroad tracks? ( Sweden )
A: Sure, it's only Four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada ? ( Sweden )
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Canada ? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto , Vancouver , Edmonton and Halifax ? ( England )
A: No, but you'd better bring a few extra furs for trading purposes.

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada ? ( USA )
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe Ca-na-da is that big country to your North...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada ? ( England )
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? ( USA )
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-ma-ny, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary , straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada ? ( Germany )
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? ( Italy )
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? ( Germany )
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada , but I forget its name. It's a kind of big horse with horns. ( USA )
A: It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? ( USA )
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why did I do it?

I did it for Matthew, Gwen, Brandon, Lawrence and Carl. They are not the only ones I did it for, but it was Carl who pushed me to do it. It’s his fault.

What did I do?

I came out to my 5th grade students.

I did post this on my Facebook page, but I also decided to write about it here and, as I am constantly reminding my students, include some details as to where it all came from.

It all began with one word: Change. The universal theme of Change intrigued me. Change is difficult for most people; I can’t rearrange the furniture without hyperventilating and/or advanced negotiation. Ask my husband; he would love to rearrange the furniture a lot more frequently. That and repaint the house. I wanted my students to explore Change through Literature (How does the character change in the story?), Change in Math (What would happen to the pattern if we…?), Change in Science (What happened when we added the baking soda to the vinegar?), and perhaps the most intriguing; Change in History (What might have happened if the Europeans had never crossed the pond? What has changed over time?)

I’m rambling again, I know.

I wanted my students to see that 1) Change is inevitable; 2) Change can be positive or negative; 3) Change can be spontaneous or controlled; 4) Change can be slow or quick; and 5) People can cause Change.

In my school district, we are supposed to teach all the different History/Heritage/Awareness months; Hispanic, Black, Disability, GLBT, Native American, Women’s History, Asian/Pacific Islander, etc. There is almost at least one designation per calendar month. (I think only December, January and April escape designations.) October has two designations; Disability Awareness and GLBT History. (Strangely enough GLBT Pride month is in June, and therefore the only designation mentioned twice in the District Bulletin.)

Tying all this to Change was easy.

We started with defining discrimination. We listed groups of people who had been discriminated against. We then compared what we had studied about discrimination in prior grades and how things are now. That led us to realize things had changed. To dive farther into Change I assigned the students a project.

The project would consist of researching a person or event relevant to the month (I supplied lists of appropriate names and events) and prepare a presentation/report or some other product which would showcase the person/event and the change brought about by the person/event. I did not want to overload my students with a project a month (two in October!) with all the rest of their regular homework, plus I would have to grade them!! SO, I allowed them to sign up for one of the four months in the first semester; Hispanic Heritage, GLBT History, Disability Awareness, Native American Heritage. (Plus, I skirted the issue of ‘forcing GLBT studies’ on the students. If that is what the student chose, that is what the student chose. I had cleared all this with my very supportive principal.)

During this time I also began reading The Misfits by James Howe to them. The kids were enthralled by the book. Many wanted to read along with me, and also read the companion book, Totally Joe. So, I ended up making several trips to bookstores looking for additional copies. I highly recommend them!!!!

Six of my students signed up for GLBT History month and chose to write about Harvey Milk, Michelangelo, Camille Saint-Saëns, Billie Jean King, Peter Tchaikovsky, and Sir Ian McKellen. I was saddened no one chose Matthew Shepard.

I wear the Matthew Shepard Foundation pendant, sometimes over my shirt, sometimes under it. One of my students had asked me about it. I had prepared a presentation on Matthew and his story. When I explained he was attacked for being gay, one of my students exclaimed “He doesn’t look gay!” The rest of the class rose up in protest to his statement, “You can’t tell by looking at one”, “What does a gay person look like?” The original student realized his error and corrected himself. I even challenged them, So, you can’t tell a person is gay by simply looking at him or her?”

“No.” They responded in unison.

“So, I don’t look gay?”


“What if I told you I was?”

Silence. Raised eyebrows. Jaws dropping.


“Yes. I am.”

The difference between my 10 year old students and my husband’s 12 year olds is that his immediately asked if he had someone when he came out to them. Mine just said, “That’s cool,” and got back to work. (He did tell them he had me. They then gave him the third degree: what did I do? how did we meet?)

So, why did I do it?

Like I said, I did it for those who have been bullied, harassed or worse, murdered. To hopefully stop the violence.

I did it for those who are struggling with their identity now or who may struggle later on, to remember there are people who have been where they are and made it.

And I did it for me. I was tired of hiding in the classroom closet, of being dishonest to my kids.

P.S. My students did ask me at the beginning of the year, pre-coming out, if I was married. I said yes. Post-coming out, only one asked if I was married to a male or a female. I asked him what he thought. He still hadn’t equated the gay marriage question so he said, albeit hesitatingly, “Female?” I shook my head. “Oh,” and he went back to reading.

P.P.S. Neither I nor my principal heard one word from a concerned parent. Not one. And I teach in a low-income, impoverished, Latino community.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Please Be Patient

I remember, from my days as an active Christian, a little statue I had. It was more of a figurine, really. It had a head and arm coming out of a boulder and the caption on the base read, "Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet." And that I ask here, please be patient, I am not finished with this blog yet. I don't know where it is going, or even how often I will be posting.

I considered a few titles for it, but many were already taken; I thought of "Ramblings, Rants and Raves of a former Mormon, ex-Baptist, Currently gay teacher" but I thought it was too long, and the "Currently gay" part implied being gay was a choice. Which I don't believe it is, but I do believe a choice is involved, and the choice is to open the closet door or not. (I opened a big closet door this year, but that is another whole story for another post.) Plus, with the 'former' and 'ex-' in there it appeared I was very fickle about things that I would be moving on to something else later. Or at least I was on some sort of journey of self-discovery, which of course we all are, anyway. (I guess the 'rambling' part is true.)

I thought of using my favorite colors, purple and black, in the title, but couldn't come up with a combination I liked; I don't have any books coming out soon, so some type of "Book News" was not appropriate; I am not current on pop culture trends (I thought the Scissor Sisters were the younger siblings of Twisted Sister) and my jury is still out on Adam Lambert, though I will admit he has beautiful blue eyes (with or without all the liner), and a nice smile.

In the end, for now, I have decided just to use my name. It's simple, and direct. Unlike me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I can't believe it.

I never thought I would be blogging. But I guess the time has come. I hope to post some of my writing in the near future; including short stories, and poetry.

And maybe even some observations of the students I teach. This year I have fifth grade gifted students. They certainly keep me on my toes.

I think I will end tonight and come up with something for my first official post.