Tag Archives: Wizard of Oz

Equations with the Stubbly Good Witch

“Think about what things mean.” This was my advice to my son as I drove him to his little slice of hell — school.  That particular day would be more hellish than usual as he had both his Geometry and Science final exams.   Like me, he would almost rather have a colonoscopy, including the dreaded prep, than be forced to learn math or science.  I felt for him, so I offered him the words of advice that got me through high school math.  Mr. Scott said them almost daily.  Whenever he would write a super long equation on the board and look out at sea of confused dog looks, he would simply say, “Think about what things mean.”  This simple philosophy has gotten me through a lot more than math.

 Mr. Scott was my favorite teacher even though he taught my most hated subject – math.  I had him for Algebra in ninth grade, and again for Integrated Math my senior year.  As a teacher, he was the perfect combination of firm, professional, and funny.  He knew his subject, but he didn’t just stand there and drone on and on about variables and the order of operations.  No.  He always kept our attention, even if he had to wear a dress.

 Yes, I said a dress.  No. Mr. Scott was not a drag queen, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  He was a Vietnam veteran with a permanent five o’clock shadow who usually dressed like a gas station attendant.  I’m serious.  He had a bunch of gas station attendant shirts with his name, Frank, on the front.  They were from all different stations.  I used to sit there and try to imagine where he got them.  He couldn’t have just ordered them on Amazon because it was 1987 and Amazon, or the Internet, or laptops, or iPhones, didn’t exist yet.  No.  He would have had to work at all of the gas stations to get a shirt. Either that or he toured the country finding gas station attendants named Frank who needed some extra cash.  No matter how he got them, I wasn’t sure why he wore them.  Maybe it was to remind himself that no matter how horrible high school students were, teaching was still better than pumping gas.  (Young people, gas station attendants used to pump people’s gas for them.) Whatever the reason, he wore them almost daily, except, as I mentioned, when he wore dresses.

 One particular Halloween (See, I told you he wasn’t a drag queen.), I remember walking into his class on the second floor of the old 600 hall at South Broward High School and almost walking right into his magic wand.  That’s right.  Mr. Scott, Frank from the Shell station, was dressed as Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.  I couldn’t help but laugh all the way to my seat.  He just stood there and looked at me like, “What?”  I took my seat expecting an easy day of not really doing math.  I was wrong. 

 Mr. Scott began class by walking carefully across the classroom in his sparkly shoes and shiny dress, and pointing to the board with his wand.  He called on me, of course, and said, “Lisa, what is the quadratic formula?”  I looked at him like he was nuts, but he insisted that I say the formula out loud while he grabbed a piece of chalk with his wandless hand.  I’m happy to say that I got it ALMOST right.  I forgot to say “the opposite of” before I said “B.”  I’m sure at age 41 I still know MOST of the quadratic formula because of this experience. 

I never grew to love math, but I sure remembered it better after watching a man with a five o’clock shadow in a dress teach it.  Over the years, Mr. Scott donned many costumes, some of them dresses and some of them more masculine, like when he was Vince Fontaine in the school’s production of Grease.  No matter how he was dressed, he always took the time to slow down and show us HOW to think about what things mean.

 I kept that in my head during the SAT and I actually scored higher in Math than in English.  (Note: I ended up becoming an English professor.) I kept thinking about what things meant through college, marriage, caring for a baby, a divorce, a new marriage, moving across the country, and a host of other experiences.  Basically, whenever I was getting frustrated or taking things too seriously, I would stop and think about what things really meant.   Usually, they weren’t as bad, or as serious as I thought, once I really THOUGHT about them.  Sometimes, all I needed to do was put on a sparkly dress and laugh.  That always helps.  Thank you, Mr. Scott, wherever you are.

 

Potsie Weber Lived Under My Bed

The Witch's Roommate
The Witch’s Roommate

So, recently, my personal hero, after the Dalai Lama and Heidi Floyd of course, Jennifer Lawson, AKA The Bloggess , posted about silly things she used to believe when she was younger.  She also shared comments made by readers who shared their mixed up truths.  One of those readers was my friend and co-worker, Miss IHeartConsumers .  As I’m sure you can imagine, I broke out in jealous fangirl rash that THE Bloggess actually knew that my friend lived, breathed, and used to think that people got “awfully married.”  Well, some people still do, Miss.  Not me of course. I love my husband more than Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Anywho, this all started me thinking about some of the silly crap that I used to believe.  Like all kids, and some adults, I had my own little weird system of truths.  I still do, for the most part, but I now know that the things listed below are not true.

  1. Color did not exist before the 1940’s or so.  I blame this on the Wizard of Oz.  I mean, it’s in black and white at first, and then, like magic, there is color.  The same thing happened in Pleasantville, but I was a grown-up by then.
  2. As I got older, my mom would get younger.  Seriously, I used to tell my mom things that would happen when “I get big and you get little.”  Well, I guess wasn’t too far off with that one.  As people age, they need more care, and sometimes care involves diapers.
  3. A witch lived under my bed.  I blame this one on the Wizard of Oz, too.  That Wicked Witch of the West was scary.  I just KNEW she was under my bed, ready to grab my feet as I got in and out of bed.
  4. Potsie Weber from Happy Days also lived under my bed. I guess that made him the Wicked Witch’s roommate, which really makes no sense given their very different personalities.  Also, I wasn’t afraid of Potsie. So, I’m not sure why it was even an issue.
  5. You really can dig to China.  I tried it once in my father’s back yard during one of the 4 times I visited his house. My parents were divorced, and I lived with my mom.  Anyway, I vividly remember digging a big hole in the back yard and just knowing that I would be able to get “real” sweet and sour pork at any moment. I guess I also believed that sweet and sour pork was real, another falsehood.
  6. Shake cheese had cooling properties.  Whenever I went to take a bite of my Spaghetti O’s, they always seemed to be too hot.  So, I would shake some Kraft canned cheese on them to cool them down.  What, it’s kind of white and sort of snow like, at least to a Florida girl.  I loved Spaghetti O’s and continued eating them, with or without cooling cheese, until my step-dad pointed out that they smelled like “bah room vomit.” He was from Boston.  I have yet to get a good whif of bar room vomit, but I’ve moved on to better food.

I’m sure I believed in a lot of other silly things like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, and honest car salesmen, but these are truly my top 6.  What did you believe when you were a kid?  Post one of your craziest kid beliefs in the comment section.

Equations with the Stubbly Good Witch

“Think about what things mean.” This was my advice to my son as I drove him to his little slice of hell — school.  That particular day would be more hellish than usual as he had both his Geometry and Science final exams.   Like me, he would almost rather have a colonoscopy, including the dreaded prep, than be forced to learn math or science.  I felt for him, so I offered him the words of advice that got me through high school math.  Mr. Scott said them almost daily.  Whenever he would write a super long equation on the board and look out at sea of confused dog looks, he would simply say, “Think about what things mean.”  This simple philosophy has gotten me through a lot more than math.

 Mr. Scott was my favorite teacher even though he taught my most hated subject – math.  I had him for Algebra in ninth grade, and again for Integrated Math my senior year.  As a teacher, he was the perfect combination of firm, professional, and funny.  He knew his subject, but he didn’t just stand there and drone on and on about variables and the order of operations.  No.  He always kept our attention, even if he had to wear a dress.

 Yes, I said a dress.  No. Mr. Scott was not a drag queen, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  He was a Vietnam veteran with a permanent five o’clock shadow who usually dressed like a gas station attendant.  I’m serious.  He had a bunch of gas station attendant shirts with his name, Frank, on the front.  They were from all different stations.  I used to sit there and try to imagine where he got them.  He couldn’t have just ordered them on Amazon because it was 1987 and Amazon, or the Internet, or laptops, or iPhones, didn’t exist yet.  No.  He would have had to work at all of the gas stations to get a shirt. Either that, or he toured the country finding gas station attendants named Frank who needed some extra cash.  No matter how he got them, I wasn’t sure why he wore them.  Maybe it was to remind himself that no matter how horrible high school students were, teaching was still better than pumping gas.  (Young people, gas station attendants used to pump people’s gas for them.) Whatever the reason, he wore them almost daily, except, as I mentioned, when he wore dresses.

 One particular Halloween (See, I told you he wasn’t a drag queen.), I remember walking into his class on the second floor of the old 600 hall at South Broward High School, and almost walking right into his magic wand.  That’s right.  Mr. Scott, Frank from the Shell station, was dressed as Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.  I couldn’t help but laugh all the way to my seat.  He just stood there and looked at me like, “What?”  I took my seat expecting an easy day of not really doing math.  I was wrong. 

 Mr. Scott began class by walking carefully across the classroom in his sparkly shoes and shiny dress, and pointing to the board with his wand.  He called on me, of course, and said, “Lisa, what is the quadratic formula?”  I looked at him like he was nuts, but he insisted that I say the formula out loud while he grabbed a piece of chalk with his wandless hand.  I’m happy to say that I got it ALMOST right.  I forgot to say “the opposite of” before I said “B.”  I’m sure at age 41 I still know MOST of the quadratic formula because of this experience. 

I never grew to love math, but I sure remembered it better after watching a man with a five o’clock shadow in a dress teach it.  Over the years, Mr. Scott donned many costumes, some of them dresses and some of them more masculine, like when he was Vince Fontaine in the school’s production of Grease.  No matter how he was dressed, he always took the time to slow down and show us HOW to think about what things mean.

 I kept that in my head during the SAT and I actually scored higher in Math than in English.  (Note: I ended up becoming an English professor.) I kept thinking about what things meant through college, marriage, caring for a baby, a divorce, a new marriage, moving across the country, and a host of other experiences.  Basically, whenever I was getting frustrated or taking things too seriously, I would stop and think about what things really meant.   Usually, they weren’t as bad, or as serious as I thought, once I really THOUGHT about them.  Sometimes, all I needed to do was put on a sparkly dress and laugh.  That always helps.  Thank you, Mr. Scott, wherever you are.

 

Ding Dong! The Rat Poison is Gone.

You should have “Ding dong! The witch is dead” stuck in your head now.  You’re welcome.  Just like the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz, I am thrilled that my personal wicked witch is gone.  I got the best news ever from my doctor.  My DVT is gone, and I no longer need to take Coumadin, the human life saving, rat killing blood thinner.

When I first started taking Coumadin, I thought for sure it would kill me.  This is because I Googled it as soon as it was prescribed.  Big mistake.  Go ahead.  Just for fun, do a search for “Coumadin.”  What do you see?  Um, I’m going to guess there’s a bunch of stuff about gastrointestinal hemorrhaging. Trust me; you haven’t lived until you’ve spent at least three months being on high alert for signs of this.  I will spare you the details.  You’re welcome again.

In your Internet search, you probably also found a little background information on Coumadin.  Yes, it really is rat poison – a comforting little fact that kept me on edge for the past three months.  Because it is a poison, Coumadin requires constant monitoring.  Blood levels have to be kept in a therapeutic range.  If the level is too high, you get that hemorrhaging you see online.  If it’s too low, your blood clots.  To make things super challenging, just about everything interacts with Coumadin.  So, I spent three months avoiding green vegetables (Vitamin K counteracts Coumadin) and ibuprofen, and seriously limiting my alcohol and green tea intake. While the children in Iraq aren’t exactly weeping for me, it was challenging.  As you can imagine, I am super glad to be done with Coumadin.  As with any life experience, positive or negative, I did learn a few things.

  • If you drink enough water and strong black tea, you can get rid of a headache without ibuprofen.
  • Canola oil has a load of vitamin K in it and it is in just about EVERYTHING fried or baked.
  • Canola is NOT USED to make fries at Five Guys.  Peanut oil is used instead, which was wonderful news for me, not so much for all of the people who are allergic to peanuts.  I would hate to be on Coumadin and allergic to peanuts.  I only got fries from Five Guys once while on Coumadin, but it was wonderful.
  • Red wine really does have blood-thinning properties.  I intend to use it medicinally from now on.

    It's medicine.
    It’s medicine.
  • There are a lot of green veggies in Chinese and Italian food.
  • Green tea tastes really good when you haven’t had it for three months.
  • There are thousands of people who have to take Coumadin for life due to genetic blood disorders, mechanical valves, or certain heart issues.  I don’t know how they do it.
  • Tylenol is only useful in larger doses.  Taking large doses of Tylenol is dangerous.
  • Color-coding is a great tool.  Since my dosage of Coumadin needed to change periodically, I had three different varieties of pills.  The pharmaceutical industry realizes that it could be easy to confuse the different pills, so they are colored differently, depending on the strength.  The five-milligram pills are peach, the two milligrams are blue, and the one-milligram pills are pink.  The other varieties are also different colors, but I only had fives, twos, and ones.

So, this will be my last Coumadin/DVT related blog.  I will now go back to writing about John Stamos, kittens, jeans, and whatever else irks or amuses me. You know, the serious things in life.