Weird and Neat

David the ten-year-old was a terrible speller.  He would take weeks to finish a spelling lesson that took his older sister only days to master.  And yet in other areas of life, he has the most phenomenal memory in the family:  if anything is lost, we ask David, because he can search his visual databanks and pull up anywhere he has seen it.  He can see something once and later reconstruct it in legos.

It finally occurred to me that maybe his 3-D memory is better than his 2-D memory.  So I began having David build his spelling words out of legos first, before trying to write them out.

The result?  Overnight success:  David mastered his next spelling lesson in one day.  The next lesson took only two days.  He tells me that he can not only spell the word, but he can picture in his head the different colors of the legos that went into each letter.

Weird.  And neat.

[By the way, I did screen him for dyslexia, and he turned up negative.  I don’t really know what goes on in his incredible brain.]

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FTT #54

Teresa the five-year-old lost her second tooth a couple of days ago.  To prevent it from slipping away and getting lost under her pillow, she put it in a small, clear plastic case (originally the case for an SD card).  After night prayers, she stood distractedly, nervously chewing on the clear case.

“Teresa!” I scolded, “Stop chewing on your tooth!”

And then I had to laugh.

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FTT #53

Each semester our freshmen and sophomores go through “don rags,” in which the individual students sits down with all his or her teachers to get feedback and ask questions about how he or she is doing academically.  Yesterday during sophomore don rags, a particularly bright young woman received accolades from every side for a stellar academic performance.  At the end, the session moderator asked, “And do you have any questions for us?”

She thought a moment, and then responded, “Well, I don’t have a question about academics, but sometime I wanted to ask why all of you got married.”

One of the professors glanced hastily around the room, as if considering this relationship to his colleagues for the first time:  “But we didn’t all get married!”

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FTT #52

Every week I attend morning Mass on at least Monday and Tuesday, because the boys serve on those days.  We show up ten minutes early, so I get to watch the boys light the candles, the other parishioners file in, and finally–just before the bell rings–the arrival of the 8:00 Club.

At least, that’s how I think of them.  There are a few ladies who come in the side door at exactly 8:00 a.m. every morning and slide into the front two pews, usually edging their way around altar servers waiting to process in.  These are not slackers, by any means:  they are the ladies who make the parish tick, without whom all would fall into confusion.  And they are never late–never–but always precisely on time.  You gotta have skills to join the 8:00 Club.

This morning, just before communion, at a high and holy moment when all eyes were on the priest, one of 8:00 club purses began ringing–and ringing with one of those bouncy ring-tones that makes everyone want to jiggle in their seats.  The poor lady leaped from the pew and hit the side door running, digging in her bag as though she had discovered a grenade.  The priest momentarily struggled to keep a straight face, and then we all refocused on the mysteries at hand.

As Fr. Dave processed out past the front pew and out the side door at the end of Mass, his face was rigidly serious, but he rubbed his right forefinger over his left forefinger in the universal “naughty” sign.

You’re not going to catch the 8:00 club out every day–may as well enjoy it!

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FTT #51

Winter in Lander is not harsh, but it is long.  By now the sun is up eleven hours a day, the days alternate between warm (40 degrees) and cold (10 degrees), and the city has decided they have enough budget left for the year to plow the roads promptly when it snows.  But we could all use a change.

This morning Jacinta hopefully commented that “It’s almost summer!”

“No,” I replied, “It’s February.  You can’t say it’s almost summer when it’s February.”

“But it will be March on Friday!” she countered.

“But today is TUESDAY!” I objected, “Aren’t you getting a bit hopeful?”

“Yes,” she admitted, laughing.

But you know?  I am, too.

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FTT #50

The boys were up early this morning, even though we had been to the vigil Mass and they could have slept in.  You see, last night David realized that he had lost his alarm clock.  And that his alarm clock was on.  He and Isaiah looked and looked, but couldn’t figure out where it had gone.

But no worries:  they found it this morning–bright and early!

[Hey, the fiftieth FTT!]

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FTT #49

Wyoming, like the rest of the west, has been under a drought for quite some time.  On the way back from evening Mass in the snow yesterday, Teresa the five-year-old jumped in her seat:

“What are those black things moving on the window?!”

Jacinta explained that they are called “windshield wipers.”  Guess she hadn’t seen those in action before.

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FTT #48

Tina, weeping and laying on the floor, her gleeful rush cut suddenly short:

“That wall was being NAUGHTY!”

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FTT #47

Well, I was sick over the weekend, and then behind on work because I had been sick, and what with this and that I fell off the wagon on my blogging.  But it shouldn’t be a problem; if it comes down to it, I’ll follow Tina around for half a day with my laptop in hand until I’ve caught up on FTTs.

But today’s Funny Thing happened at work.  As I strolled from my office to the photocopier, I became aware of a crowd of students spilling out of Dr. Grove’s office, and that from his office was emanating the loud, distorted, angry sounds of “metal” music.  (Or maybe that’s metal “music.”)  As I floated over to the door, Dr. Grove himself saw me from his post behind a Led Zeppelin video.

“Ah,” he noted, “this is one of those moments in WCC education that needs, er, explaining.”

It turned out to be his music class.  They had come to his office to watch videos of rock and other musical genres as part of a seminar discussion.  At that moment they were trying to decide whether the distortion level on Robert Plant’s guitar meant that his “music” was just noise, or whether it actually has some kind of unique musical appeal.  They listened to some atonal “highbrow” music for contrast, a strange and wandering piece that made me feel I was being brainwashed via some kind of disorientation technique.  Dr. Grove suddenly noticed me still standing at the door, and he paused:  “Did you need to say something to me?”

“No, I didn’t,” I assured him.  Then I smiled:  “But I might say something to you later.”

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FTT #46

David sat with pen and blank page before him.  “Whatcha doin’, Dave?” I asked.  He explained that he was trying to decide what to draw.  “Well!” I exclaimed, “What could be better to draw than MY BEAUTIFUL FACE?!”  And I assumed a pose.

He set to work.  For a couple of minutes he stared at me earnestly while moving his pen–not looking at the paper very often–and at last I got a peek at his progress.  “Oh,” I said slowly.  “I didn’t know I looked like a gummy bear.”

“I was trying not to tell you,” Jacinta said from the next room.

Must be because I’m sick.

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