Sunday, December 19, 2010

Southern California, Here I Come!

I'm taking a brief break from my life in the frigid north to enjoy sunny (God willing) Southern California.  Before I go, I thought I'd take a moment to channel everyone's favorite, Ms. Margaret Wise Brown, and say a temporary goodbye to my North Dakota treasures:

In the great white room
There was a plant
And a colorful basket
And nesting dolls of—

 The fantastic Swedish pop band ABBA

And there was one stylish girl lounging on her yellow chair

And one owl
And a kitchen towel

And a rolling pin
And a sugar bin

And a can of kraut juice
Next to a menu from Blue Moose

And a beautiful sunset and snow on the ground
And classes of children who make lots of sound

Goodbye plant
Goodbye ABBA
Goodbye yellow chair
Goodbye owl
Goodbye kitchen towel
Goodbye rolling pin
Goodbye sugar bin
Goodbye kraut juice
Goodbye Blue Moose
Goodbye beautiful sunset and snow on the ground

Goodbye North Dakota children

See you next year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shrimp, Sauerkraut, and Me

In the intervening month between this post and my last (I set myself a simple goal--one post a week--and blow it only two months in), I've fallen in love with the North Dakota third-grader.  With streetwise smarts at the level of a Chicago kindergartener, these students are reminding me how kids can take a person to the highs and lows of self-esteem.

Last Friday, a third-grade girl asked me to stand "just for a second" in front of her.  After I stared back at her quizzically, she explained, "You're just so beautiful, Miss Robertson."  Monday's third-graders, on the other hand, picked up on a different attribute: "Miss Robertson, you smell like shrimp."  I like to think this comment was based on my super awesome Miss Frizzle-style crustacean earrings (thanks, Dani!).  I also like to remind myself that North Dakotans have most likely not even been exposed to shrimp, so it's possible this girl thought that the shrimp's scent is a sweet-smelling cross between roses, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and California oranges.

Despite the crustacean comparisons, it is good to be back in North Dakota's schools after a week in my old Chicago haunts.  There's nothing like being greeted, too, with snow on the ground, Christmas tunes weakly sung by a gaggle of blond fourth graders in a school gym, and a fridge of canned plums, canned peas, and canned sauerkraut juice.

(Photo courtesy of Wegmans,
the best grocery store in the lower 48.)
As to that "Kraut juice"?  Not as delicious as one might think, but anything in the fight against scurvy.  Skol!