Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Um, shoulda thought about that one a little longer.

I was helping my good friend, the counselor from Granite, with the web page for the counseling center at her new school.  For this, she took me out to lunch at the Cafe Rio on 33rd South up about 30th East.  If you’ve ever been there, you know that their walls are adorned with little stenciled sayings like Zagat Rated, I sold my soul for a pork salad, The best handmade tortillas in the world and The pressure is on, black or pinto?

I went to the bathroom and when I saw what was stenciled right above the john, I thought “hmmm, bad planning.”

Here it is, you decide. Click on the picture for a full sized one.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Feel like this sometimes?



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I probably shouldn’t laugh.

Some 8th graders were messing around on the loading dock after school today.  There was this water valve pipe thingy sticking out of the ground and they were trying to jump over it. 

One them caught his thigh on a sharp edge and cut a huge, deep gouge in his leg.  It was ugly, had to call the paramedics, even though it was hardly bleeding at all.  He was laying down and hadn’t even mustered up enough blood for it to drip all the way off his thigh onto the ground. 

No, that’s not what made me laugh.  I don’t usually find other people’s pain amusing, but when this kid who was barely bleeding started to cry out “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die” it was surrealistic and became kind of funny after the paramedics had him calmed down and ready to roll.

Another routine day at the Junior High…


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Good morning America, how are you?

lights1 Nothing like laying there on the couch half awake watching the news and seeing a flashing-red hue streaming through the windows.

After the input finally triggers something in the brain that says “hmm, something’s going on out in front of the house”, drag the carcass to the window to see a fire engine and ambulance across the street.

lights2 Mind starts wondering what’s going on, but it’s too cold and too tired to go out there, so it’s back to the couch and the weather lady on Channel 2.

I have no idea what was going on, they were all gone by the time I got out of the shower, but in the 10 minutes I watched I didn’t see any flames and the paramedics didn’t seem to be hurrying too much.  Means either it was nothing major, or they knew it was too late anyway.


Monday, October 26, 2009

All winterized.

  1. heaterThe water to the swamp cooler is off and drained.
  2. The cover is on it.
  3. The insulation is in the cooler shaft.
  4. The water to the sprinklers is off and drained.
  5. And I got my propane camping heater hooked up in the back porch. Turned it on full, (all 3) and it got the room from 51 degrees to 72 in about 20 minutes.  We’ll see how it does when it’s really cold out there, but I’m going to try sleeping out there one of these nights.

I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for winter.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Uneventful night at the Chevron tonight.

Just thought you’d like to know.


Fluish Weekend

…. Every year they give out the flu shot at school, and every year for I don’t know how many years I’ve gotten it.  I don’t even remember the last time I was out with the flu, which is why I keep getting it.

…. But there is one drawback.  Three days of my body building up the immunity to the vaccine.  Three days of feeling achy, tired and mildly feverish.  Well, I got the shot this Friday, so I’ve spent most of the weekend in bed watching CSI. 

…. It’s no the best way to spend a weekend, but it sure beats a week in bed with the full blown flu.  Now I just have to hope I don’t get the H1N1 before they bring that vaccine to the school.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

#50 Returneth.

…. About two years ago, when I bought the ‘69 LTD, I got rid of my ‘68 F250.  I'd decided to try to get a full compliment of LTDs, and the truck didn’t fit into the scheme.  First I tried selling it, but after few bites and one particularly annoying offer, I decided I’d rather give it away and keep it in the family than sell it.  So, I gave it to my little brother. 

050_jpg …. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago.  My little brother and his wife (The Gearheads) have put a lot of work into the body of the truck.  They’ve taken a couple of body shop classes and are 75% of the way to having it ready to be painted.  They also just bought a ‘90s era 4 wheel drive F250 crew cab.  Now this poor truck doesn’t fit into their scheme of things anymore.  So they offered it back to me.

…. My fleet of LTD dream having being halted by financial considerations, I decided that was a good idea.  I mentally reassigned parking spaces at my house and told them I’d take it back.

…. The deal morphed one more time, when The Gearheads decided they wanted to keep working on the truck, so they pitched this deal.  I get custody of the truck.  They pay insurance and registration.  I put in the initial investment by buying the truck in the first place, they’ll invest the time and money into restoring the truck.  Then it will belong to the three of us together.  Suhwheeet!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Who the hell is Wolf?

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why I keep teaching, reason #2, addendum.

….This goes under the heading “touting your own horn”, it’s the kind of thing we’re not used to hearing (“this is stupid” or “u r 2 mean” are more common to us), but it’s what makes teaching all worthwhile.

….I sent a few emails home to the parents of the students in my 4th period who have been showing an effort to change their behavior in my class.  This morning I got to school, opened up my email and got greeted by this;

Mr. Rossi,

Well thank u!  But really as much as I would like to take all of the credit-- I really must give credit where it is due.  And that is with you.  Billy had come home a couple of weeks ago and said that you had been so nice to him and had even said good morning to him and asked how his day or weekend was or some thing to that effect.  He said that you did not get after him for anything and that you even let him ask questions.  So, I think that must have made all the difference in the world to his 14 yr old way of thinking.  I know that not everyday is going to be wine and roses- but hey if its working then we can sometimes deal with the off days right?  I am glad that you took the time to explore something different when it comes to him.  Thank you!

Billy’s Mom

….Every teacher I know and respect has successes like this every year, we know it, we can see it, but it’s not often that we are told it.  At least not until years later when the student comes back to tell us how much we helped them.  This also goes to show how much a little thing, like simply asking how they are doing, can make a big difference.

….Anyway, I don’t know if my classes were really better behaved today, but it sure seemed like it.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why I keep teaching, reason #2

…. My 9th grade class is getting better.  There used to be about 6 or 7 students that wouldn’t even let me teach.  After two dozen notes home, half a dozen emails and one phone call, all but 1 are turning around.  No, they’re not perfect, and we still have some really bad days.  But they are visibly trying to be better.  All but the one will actually apologize to me when I look at them and ask “can I teach my class now?”

…. Today I noticed an amazing shift in the thinking of one, previously, troubling student, we’ll call him Jimmy.  The single most troubling student, we’ll call him George, was being his usual obnoxious self.  Made a comment about how he just hates being told what to do.  I tried a little lesson and started talking about how everyone has to take orders from somebody, even teachers like myself.  The principal, vice-principal, district, legislature.  He says, oh but I don’t have to take those orders. My response was that I don’t have to any more than he has to take my orders, but there are consequences if we don’t.  I have to follow orders if I don’t want to end up homeless sleeping under the viaduct, he has to if he doesn’t want to end up in court.  Yeah, that went on to deaf ears, he was arguing with me before I even got done with the sentence, so I just said, fine, we’re done with this conversation and went on with what we were doing before.

…. Anyway, back to the point of the story.  Near the end of the class period, Jimmy got fed up with George’s behavior and from the front of the room told George in the back of the room to shut up and show the teacher a little respect.  George responded but asking Jimmy why the f--- should he have to respect the teacher.  I was already at my desk sending in a referral for George, so I just listened in to see where this went.  It boiled down to this: Jimmy told George that he should respect the teacher because he’s an adult, he’s the teacher and he just wants to f---in’ teach us.  He also told George that he was a selfish little a----le and that he should just shut up and let the teacher teach.

…. Maybe I should have put and end to the swearing sooner.  But it lasted merely a couple minutes before the bell rang, and I didn’t really want to reprimand Jimmy for swearing when he was saying something to George that actually may make a difference when coming for one of his friends.

…. Jimmy and one of the other students who has shown a huge improvement since I called his mom, stuck around for a little bit after class and I thanked Jimmy for his comments, mentioned that he could have said them without the “f” word, and congratulated them both on their improved behavior over the last couple of weeks. 

…. All in all, it was a good day.


Monday, October 19, 2009

That sudden silence.

…. If you’ve been following my blog for long at all, you know that my classroom is really half of a big room with one of those retractable accordion walls.  You should also know that I hear a lot of stuff that goes next door through that wall. 

…. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it yet or not, but the other day I hung a blank poster on my board and titled it:

Things we’ve learned about Mr. L through the wall.”

…. A couple of classes said that it was like stalking, and I pointed out that “Things I’ve learned about Mr. L by him following home” would be, but this isn’t.  That they got.

…. Today the class was working, and as anyone who’s been teaching knows, every now and again this odd silence just hits.  It happened today.  Right in the middle of one of Mr. L’s sentences, while he was reading something to the class. All we heard was him saying “when I was in junior high school I had a boyfriend who…".  We didn’t hear the rest, the class (myself included) burst out laughing.  He found it funny too.

…. Last week the vice-principal was talking about the dress code to the students during announcements.  He mentioned that anything that was distracting to the learning was not allowed.  He mentioned a few things, but when he got to low-cut shirts on the girls, and how it’s distracting to the boys in the class, one of my 8th grade boys chimes in with “It’s not distracting. We just stare.” Um, that’s the point.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Much better night at the Chevron


…. Kid pulls up in a little old Ford Escort and comes in to prepay $5 in gas for it.  He goes out, fills up the car and gets in the driver’s seat.  Three kids get out and start pushing the car – getting it going fast enough to compression start it.  As I’m watching this whole thing unfold, I just laugh to myself.

…. My junior year of high school the starter motor went out on my ‘74 Dodge Colt.  Being broke, this would have been a tragedy if it weren’t for 3 things. 1. The car was a clutch.  2. The house I lived in was on a hill. 3. East High School is right on the Wasatch Fault, which means it’s on a really steep hill. I went 3 months before I put in a new starter motor.  I just never turned off the car unless it was parked on a hill or full of friends, and I always made sure there was room for them to push it (that was the price they paid for a ride).  Actually I probably wouldn’t have ever put in a starter motor if I hadn’t got a job at Arby’s, which wasn’t on a hill and nobody wanted to come push start me at 1 in the morning.

…. And here’s proof that I’m not the only one that thinks talking on the phone while checking out at the store is rude:



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fun night at the Chevron?

…. On and off I’ve worked at the Chevron for about 4 years now, and I’ve never been even remotely threatened.  Until tonight.

…. It wasn’t an outright threat, but I knew what he meant, and yes, this is another panhandler story.

…. It all started when I was taking the trash out to the dumpster and this guy asked me if JR* had been by the store.  I told him he was just there and had headed back to the park.  He said something about how he was supposed to meet him here “at his office.”  I didn’t say it, but I thought “Uh, this is our store, not JR’s office.”

…. 10 minutes later I was walking out to one of the pumps to clean up a mess out there and this guy was sitting in front of the store and asked me if I had any change to spare.  I said no, and headed out to clean up the mess.  On the way back in I told him that he couldn’t stay there if he was going to be hitting customers up for spare change, and he assured me that he wouldn’t.

…. A few minutes later I watched him hit a customer up for change, went out there and reminded him that we didn’t allow that at the store.  He mumbled something and walked away.

…. Not much after that I was mopping the floor in front of the store and heard him ask another customer, he’d moved to the corner of the building to where he didn’t think we’d notice him.

…. I went out and said “You can leave the property now.”  The rest is all paraphrasing, ‘cause I don’t have a photographic memory.

Him: “Oh, I can leave the property now?”

Me: “Yeah, goodbye.”

Him “Goodbye.”  Doesn’t move.

Me: “You need to leave the premises now.”

Him:  “I’ll have to look that up later, p-r-e-m-i-s-e-s.”

Me: “You need to leave now or I’m going to have to call the police.”

Him: “Oh, you’re going to get the Police, you mean a concert here?”

Me: “No, police, as in the cops.”

…. At this point is wasn’t very funny anymore.  It was obvious that he wasn’t just being schizophrenic, he knew what was going on and just trying to get to me.  Fortunately 13 years, and 2 months just recently, of teaching junior high students kept me calm.  But this is where it got creepy, although I didn’t feel it until a half hour later.

Him: “Can you spell Marilyn Manson?”

Me: “No.  Goodbye. Leave now.”

Him: “How about Slayer?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m calling the cops now.”

Him: “F--- You.”

Me: Heads into the store to get the phone.

Him: “F--- You.”

…. I went inside and called the Salt Lake Police, not 911, and told her who I was, where I was and what had happened.  I described him to the dispatcher, as I headed out the side door, and when she asked me where I last saw him I told her that he was headed off the property and westbound on 2100 South.  She asked me whether or not I still wanted them to send a patrol car out to look for him and I decided that since he was gone for now that there was no reason to waste their time on it, but that I just wanted it on record in case he came around again.  She noted that on the record and told me to call them if he came back.

…. I have to admit that 20 minutes later or so I started to get this creepy feeling and became a little anxious to get out of there.  I’ll be fine tomorrow – I don’t work any shifts alone and am usually there only for the busy times, so there shouldn’t be any problem.  But I am happy to be home right now.




*JR is a regular that has been hanging around the Chevron since before I even started working there.  He is, generally, pretty good at not bugging the customers, but he does show up quite drunk every now and then.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Old Picture #467-32D4

Ok, so my older brother scanned a bunch of old family pictures and sent them out to everyone, so of course at least one had to end up on here.  Why this one?, you may ask.  Look in the background.  Looks a lot like one of the cars I own now.  As a matter of fact, it’s a 1969 Ford Galaxie 4 door hardtop, basically the same car as Old Blue.  Same year and same color as the first LTD I ever owned.  So, of course it caught my eye.

Even more than the car this picture makes me think of my great-uncle Arno, who was your basic funny guy.  You couldn’t pass a cemetery without him saying “You know, people are just dying to get in there.”  He always had a joke, and he always had a song.  It was either “C’mon Baby Light My Fire” or “Someone Left the Cake out in the Rain”, but in my memory if he wasn’t joking around he was singing one of those songs.  Him and my great-aunt Alba, we loved going to their house because you’d always laugh your butt off.

That’s Arno on the left, my grandfather in the middle and I think that’s my mother’s shoulder on the right.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why do you ask little Running with Scissors?

Kid kind of limps into my class the other day so I ask him what happened.  “I fell and popped my butt knuckle.”

Couple days later I overhear one student saying to another “Old people are cool.  They’re just like us, only they’ve lived longer.”

4And under the category of “Thanks for sharing”, written on one of my desks:

And then there’s always the ever-loved personal opinion about the teacher:



Which always breaks my little heart to see.  If they only knew that those comments made us laugh rather than cry. (Now, if every kid hated me I just might cry or find another job, but you’re bound to tick off a few kids just trying to keep your class on task.)  Especially since I’d say the majority of the students like me.5

And I fear for the future of this kid, not being able to tell the difference between furniture and love interests: (click on the picture to get a better view of it).

And now, the finale, that part which is the inspiration for the title:

Your mom ever yUntitled-1ell at you “Don’t play with those scissors”?  Yeah, mine did too.  Must not have sunk in.  Fourth period, my period from hell, has been pretty good this week.  We’ve actually got some learning done, and although there are a couple of them that didn’t do anything, at least they let me teach the ones that wanted to learn.  So, I must have been on a natural high (yeah, that’s my excuse).  I can’t even remember why I had the scissors in my hand, but I was talking with the class while fiddling with them, and fiddled a nice chunk off one of my thumbs.  (Had to re write THAT sentence a couple of times).  Right there in class.  That’s why it’s taken me an hour to write this post, it’s cut right at the point that hits the space bar.  Fortunately I had band-aids in the desk, but we did almost have to use the oxygen mask on one of the girls that was laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe.  Amazingly, most of the class was more concerned for my finger, and didn’t find it all funny until I was all bandaged and obviously going to survive.

Anyway, hope you had as interesting a week.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


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Friday, October 09, 2009


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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mistake number 745-003-456B

Note to self:

……When wearing black jeans, do not pet your orange tabby right before leaving to meet people for dinner.


……And that was after brushing them clean.



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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Full Moon Night @ The Chevron


I don’t know if there was a full moon tonight, but from the likes of the people coming into the Chevron tonight, it was.  Too many to mention them all, but a small glimpse:

1. Guy nuked his food from Taco Bell to the point it was smoking.  Not easy to do with a microwave, but several people who came in after asked what was burning.

2.  Woman found it laugh-out-loud funny that our cash registers can figure out how much gas to put on your pump when you say “the rest in gas”.

3.  People in a big old van stole my roll of garbage bags when I was out changing the trash at the pumps.  Teach me to leave it alone for a minute and a half.

4.  Bad credit cards.  I usually see one a week or so, we saw 4 within one hour.

Yup, it was an interesting, and amusing, night.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Arches Weekend

Not really much story to tell – went down Thursday and stayed in one campground that wasn’t in Arches.  The next day we picked up camp and moved over to our reserved ones in Arches.  The weather was perfect – during the days.  No rain, nice and warm but not hot.  The nights and mornings were a little bit chilly, an extra 2 or 3 degrees warmer would have been nice.  Got a bunch of hiking done, bunch of relaxing done and a bunch of hanging out with the family done.  ‘Twas awesomely rejuvenating. Click below to see the pictures and get more details.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Bowl.

…. ‘Twas the spring of 1976 and Linda, our Sophomore6a00c2252873c4549d00d414379df16a47-500pi English teacher, had assigned us “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey as our reading assignment.  We convinced her (and she actually convinced the administration) that the best place to read it was down in Arches National Park. So one Thursday morning Linda, her boyfriend and some 20 of her students took off in a caravan down to Moab on a field trip for the weekend.  I was driving my father’s 1974 Dodge Van with 6 or 8 of my closest friends, my parent’s huge army-issue type tent, sleeping bags, a bunch of food, and other necessities.   The first night we walked down one of the wider crevices in the rock and found this bowl in the red rock about 15 feet above the floor. My friends and I ended up spending the night in it, only to wake up to the realization that had it rained there would have been no way out.  It wasn’t until 2 decades later that I actually got around to reading the book, but we sure had a fun time.
…. I went down to Arches with the family this weekend and, of course, had to go looking for the bowl.  The campground has changed a lot over the last 33 years, so it took a bit of looking, and the help from my little brother, to find it, but we did.  It’s still there, although there is a lot more dirt in the bottom, it wouldn’t be too hard to get out even if the rock was wet and slick.  The trees have grown, leaving less room up there than I remembered.  But it was fun finding it and taking a trip back in time.
…. More pictures and story to come…