Friday, April 12, 2013

Sunshine Award

Thanks to author Sheila Boneham, writer of Write Here, Write Now, for giving Out of the Lockbox a Sunshine Award, which is for “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”

Like many such online honors, the Sunshine Award asks recipients to do a few things:
-Thank the person who gave you the award in your blog post.
-Answer a few questions (see below)
-Pass on the award to deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.

Sunshine Asks & I Answer.

Favorite Color: Too many—red, purple, and silver are my top three but not together.

Favorite Animal: Wolf. They are sleek, graceful, powerful, and independent—everything I want to be.

Favorite Number: Is this the part where I get ridiculous and fill the next four lines with a 200-digit number?

Favorite Non-alcoholic Drink: Toss-up between lemonade and cranberry juice.

Facebook or Twitter: I use both, but I like Facebook a lot more.

Your Passion: How about a few passions? Writing, singing, striving to live and be happy.

Giving or Getting Presents: I love finding the right gift for a person and watching their eyes light up when they open it. But getting is fun too. Lol

Favorite Day: Every day I wake up and the little green men haven’t taken over. ;)

Favorite Flowers: They all make me sneeze, but irises are pretty. They lined my family’s driveway when I was growing up.

Finally, these are the fantastic authors I’m tagging for this award. Check them out!

-Rachel Robins
-Heather Sedlak
-Tiffany Avery
-Matthew J. O’Dwyer
-Teffanie White

Monday, April 8, 2013

Algebra, Eighth Grade, and an Okapi

Good Monday,

This post is a promise to some people who commented on a Facebook status of mine last night. The status read as follows: “I have a short neck. I’d never make it as a giraffe.” A friend then commented that I could be an okapi. I responded that I had an awesome okapi story but that it was rather long and would be better as a blog post.

So here’s that blog post.

Algebra, Eighth Grade, and an Okapi

***All names, except my own, have been changed to protect the innocent. This is a from-memory account. Dialogue and events are accurate enough but perhaps not exact.***

“Morning, class.” Mr. Nelson rushed into class like he did every morning. He closed the door and ran to his desk at the back of the room. “I have a competition today.”

I groaned and hoped desperately that it wasn’t a math challenge. Math used to be my best subject, but algebra was kicking my teenage butt. It didn’t help that Nelson wasn’t the best teacher.

“What is it?” Kevin said. He was our class genius and probably hoping to show off.

“It is a guessing game,” Nelson said.

It was Kevin’s turn to groan. By contrast, I perked up. I had a chance now.

“Ah,” Nelson said. He rushed back toward the front of the room. “This is my favorite animal. Who knows what it is?”

My hopes died. I couldn’t see what I assumed was a stuffed animal, and there was no sign of my classroom aid.

“Llama,” Kevin said, his voice brimming with confidence.

“Wrong,” Nelson said.

The pre-class chatter stopped for a second. Kevin, wrong? Kevin was never wrong.

“What do you mean?” Kevin said.

“I mean it’s not a llama,” Nelson said. “Any other guesses?”

“Deer,” one of the girls said.

“No,” said Nelson.







The guesses kept coming, each more ridiculous than the one before.

“Sorry I’m late, Mary.” My aid, Ms. Heckman, said as she took the empty seat behind me. “What’s going on?”

“Guessing game,” I said. “Nelson’s holding up his favorite animal.”

“Ah,” she said. “I’ll describe it for you. It’s—“

“All right,” Nelson said. “That’s all the time I’m spending on this. We need to move on to today’s lesson.”

Half the class groaned. The other half continued to yell out animal names.

“Enough,” Nelson said. “Today, we’re discussing FOIL.”

And so class dragged on, Nelson yammering about first-outer-inner-last.

I took my typical detailed notes. Usually, they were completely useless, but I actually understood FOIL.

“Homework,” Nelson said after about a half hour. He rattled off a page number and instructed us to only do the even-numbered problems. “Because the answers to the odd are in the back of the book.”

I wrote down the homework and closed my notebook.

“Time to switch classes,” Nelson said.

I gathered up my stuff and shut off my magnifying machine. Even moving pretty quickly, I was the last one out of the room.

“Nice animal,” Ms. Heckman said to Nelson as she wheeled my machine toward the door.

“I thought so,” Nelson said.

“Do you know what it is, Mary?” Heckman said. “It has a black body and a black and white face. Its rear legs are black and white striped.”

“Oh,” I said. “I know what it is.”

“Oh yeah?” Nelson said, his voice doubtful. He was probably positive no one would get it right.

Little did he know just how much time I’d had to myself over the years. Or how much of that time I’d spent playing the computer game for the TV show Amazing Animals.

I moved beside him and lowered my voice to a whisper. “Is it an okapi?”

Nelson made that teacher-is-irritated-because-student-knew-something-he-didn’t noise. “Hold out your hand.”

I did, and Nelson counted out five mathbucks—the reward point system he used for people who got tough questions right or got a certain number right on their homework.

“Oh yeah,” I said, fist pumping. Five mathbucks was a homework pass, and with my recent grades in the class, I hadn’t even seen one mathbuck in weeks.

“Don’t tell anyone what it is,” Nelson said.

“I won’t,” I said, almost skipping out of the classroom. In the hall I grinned to myself and slid the mathbucks into my folder. Oh no, I wasn’t telling anyone. I was going to relish in the fact that I’d known something Kevin didn’t and that I’d outsmarted Mr. Nelson.