But They Make it Look So Easy

A wonderful post by a master teacher!

The Joy of Teaching

Image result for images of pencils  When people are skilled, they make the things they are able to do look so easy.

My son in law solves complex computer mysteries with a few clicks of his mouse.  Olympic sprinters break speed records without breaking a sweat.  And Jerry and Sergio consistently–and seemingly effortlessly–serve up the best polenta and osso bucco this side of the Atlantic.

Their complete competence makes you think you can do what they do. Except that you really can’t.

They do their work with ease.  What don’t we see?  Years of practice, training, and experience come together seamlessly–and often, invisibly– for success.

Image result for images of pencils Take teaching. To the casual observer,  an accomplished teacher makes it look simple to wrangle twenty first graders to the carpet or to get middle school kids excited about the Age of Exploration or guide sophomores through the steps in a science lab. Students seem to shuttle from station to…

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The Crazy Teacher’s Advice Book


In honor of summer vacation, Crazy Teacher, my alter ego, will be posting to this blog. Crazy’s advice for dealing with difficult people and situations is, “Show them that you are crazier than they are.”   Here is an excerpt from The Crazy Teacher’s Advice Book.

Question to Crazy Teacher

When two sixth graders get into a fight in a school hallway and there is no one else around, what do I do to break it up?

Answer Provided by Crazy Teacher

Blink your eyes three times, and transform into that legendary crazy teacher, able to end fights, make students laugh, and turn moody adolescents into sweet little boys—Grandma Edna Cohen!

Read on to learn Grandma Edna Cohen’s trade secrets…

“Oy! Oy! Oy! This is not good. How can you do this to me. Oy! Oy! Oy!” Edna holds her head in her hands and rocks back and forth, back and forth. She waits.

The boys stop fighting.

“Do you know where most of my friends are now?”

The boys stop fighting and look at Edna.

“My friends are in Miami Beach, in Florida.  Do you know what most of my friends are doing in Miami Beach, Florida now?” Edna waits a second or two. “They are lying on lounge chairs by a pool, drinking pina coladas.”

The IS-SHE-FOR-REAL?  look on the young boys’ faces warms Grandma Edna Cohen’s old teacher soul. “Do I look like I’m lying on a lounge chair at a pool in Miami Beach?  Do you see a pina colada in my hand?”

The boys try to maintain their fury, but alas, they fail.

“So, dahlinks, listen to me, bubalas! Be good little boys and go back to class and be nice. OK?”


Application and Follow-Up by The Crazy Teacher

I excel at doing Grandma Edna Cohen, but that doesn’t mean I can’t transform myself into another character in my repertoire. Another favorite of mine is celebrity pole dancer, Lola La La La Lampert.  When Lola sizzles out “Hi boys,” her low-pitched guttural voice coming from the body of an elderly woman wearing a blousy top,  wide pants, teacher cardigan and thick soled, brown, sensible shoes is guaranteed to make perps stop whatever bad stuff they are doing. (By the way, I don’t share Lola’s pole dancer moves, I just use them in my mind to get into my character.)

If you’re a new teacher, you might want to use part of this summer vacation to develop your own repertoire of characters. If you’re a veteran, you might want to share one of your own creations.

Thank you and best wishes for a great summer!

Crazy Teacher.

Showdown at the Double Doors


I was leaving the post office. She was arriving.

Through the glass, we saw each other approaching the doors.

We arrived at the doors at the same time, on different sides.

She pulled open her door for me and waited for me to walk out.

I pushed open my door and waited for her to walk in.

We stood there, letting all of the air conditioned air out of the post office, sizing each other up.

I’m seventy-one. She was at least 10-20 years my senior. Her hair was “done” and not a hair was out of place. She wore those Florida resort clothes that only snow birds back in New York for the summer can sport. “Go ahead,” she said, holding the door for me, a vicious smile spreading all over her “worked on” face.

“No you go,” I replied sweetly, ever so sweetly, never speaking the B word.  I made a slight bow as I motioned her to walk through.

Her eyes narrowed and locked on mine before she walked through her own open door. Those eyes said, “It ain’t over, bitch. We will meet up again.”

I got in my car, put on my soft rock station, opened the windows, and sang along with my music.

The Next Writing Adventure

Hello Friends,

Please give me six “I” bullet points and then I’ll come back to “You.”

  1. I finished my book and self-published it in October.
  2. I was proud beyond belief.
  3. I did what I thought I couldn’t do.
  4. I goofed off in November,—wrote nothing—but thought about lots of stuff.
  5. Now, I’m  for my next writing adventure.
  6. I don’t know what it will be.

Now, back to “You.”

I want to write with much more of an awareness of “you,” my readers. I’m not sure if my new writing will be sad, glad, mad, or bad. (those pesky words are for you, writing teachers)  I’m just going to write, and see where it takes me. I hope you return to my blog and find stuff that touches you.

Also, there’s the other thing… the second book????????????????????  Ten mainstream publishers are engaged in a bidding war on it now. I’m waiting to see who gives me the largest advance. My agent is also negotiating for international distribution.

Please do not make the mistake some of my earlier readers (my wonderful cousins) made. I once wrote that someone had bought my short story for $75,000.00—and they believed me!

I love my cousins. See ya soon.

Working, then Walking to Brooklyn in a Blizzard

A man walked to Brooklyn from mid-town Manhattan during the blizzard.  He missed the last subway running at 11 p.m. because he was doing his job, shoveling snow. I don’t remember the details, only my own outrage.  Why was I outraged? I was outraged because the news reporters told the guy’s story, and then they left him to walk to Brooklyn from somewhere in Midtown, in the snow and oncoming blizzard.

I wanted to play the news clip for you here on this blog, but I could not find it. My husband says the guy was walking from somewhere on Park Avenue to somewhere in Brooklyn. His memory is better than mine, and, as much as I “search” for a recap of the story, I can’t find it. Coincidence?

Is it that the local TV station  received some heat for not helping the guy, perhaps by giving him a ride in their van, making some phone calls to police, or getting him hooked up with a warm place to sleep?

The man was dressed warmly, and he did not complain about his impending trek.  Am I just an overprotective liberal New Yorker? What would my conservative Arizona son say?

It might be something like, “Ma, Pop Pop (his grandfather, my father) walked to work in the snow. You are an overprotective liberal. The man made the choice to walk. Celebrate the guy’s self-reliance, his fortitude, his American gumption. The reporters probably asked him if they could help, and he probably turned them down.”  Then, knowing my son, he would say, “It’s people like you, Ma, who are ruining America.”

I don’t know. I do know that I’m beginning to see there are so many different perspectives on just about everything.

I Want to Join a Task Force

href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/53187029@N02/5120883445/">The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Cos. via Compfight cc

href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/53187029@N02/5120883445/”>The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Cos. via Compfight cc

I have always wanted to be on a task force.

I don’t really know what a task force does, but I think it would be great fun.  First of all, when you are on a task force, you usually get fed, sometimes they even give you pineapple and cheese pastries and bagels. Warning, if you are on a task force west of the Hudson, skip the bagels and go right to the croissants.

Then, on the task force, for the first hour you just play.  The activities are called icebreakers. Some people, particularly introverts, call them b… breakers. If you like building trust by falling into others arms or taking off your shoes, then these are the kind of task forces you should consider joining.  I’m probably much more cerebral because I like the icebreaker where you are supposed to listen to somebody’s boring story and then retell it to the group.  I like this because I say to my always willing partner….”You tell your story and I’ll tell mine and no one will know the difference.”

Usually during the icebreaker, someone in the group notices that the evaluation sheet is in the packet. When she starts filling hers out, others follow her lead. By nine o’clock, everyone has evaluated the entire day.

When you finish all of these team building activities, your facilitator is really charged up and the rest of you are thinking, “Isn’t it time for lunch?”

Sorry no. Now, your task force must establish its norms.  Nobody really knows what norms are, but everybody pretends to know.  I think norms are the things you are supposed to do in a task force to keep you from jumping up from your folding chair and strangling another member of the task force. The facilitator believes that the only way the group will arrive at “healthy norms that we can all live with” is if the group members engage in hair pulling, sucker punching and dirty words to establish the “healthy norms we can all live with.” Usually at this point in the norming, when the issue of “Cell phones? On or Off?” comes up, two people use bad words and one person leaves in tears.

When you’re finished with norming (A cool word, don’t you think?) it is time to take a snack and bathroom break. The coffee is cold and the only pastries left are the prune danish. Not good at a meeting.

Then , when you return, the facilitator finally gets his power point presentation to work and he skips to the slide that says. “Why are we here?”

Get into your groups and blah blah blah.” he says. “You will have fifteen minutes to work until your presentation.”

I am really hoping that my heroine, Susan Cain, and her Quiet Revolution is working on these group think sessions because every time we have one, I want to throw up my cheese Danish and coffee.

So there you are in your groups, and there’s always that one person who has to grab the markers and the chart paper. There are three reasons that woman grabs the markers.

  1. She has the neatest handwriting, and she gets high from the smell of new school supplies.
  2. She knows if she writes the damn chart, she won’t have to present it.
  3. She is the only one talking in the group because the others are all texting on their phones, while nodding sagaciously at her blither-blather.


Fifteen minutes later, the next slide goes up and it says “Break for lunch.” Everyone loves that slide. They love it so much that they add on an extra half hour for networking which is the real reason they joined the task force.

After lunch the “sharing” begins. In each group, the extrovert who did the least in the group, presents. He’s not worried, however, because he knows no one is listening because they are all rehearsing their own presentations.

Then, it is time to end the day and the facilitator says, “We are going to collect all of your ideas, and then send you the minutes.”

Yeah sure.

The facilitator wraps up all of the charts and puts them in back of his car. Two weeks later he takes them out, but they make no sense at all.  He’s embarrassed to send them out as minutes, so he puts the charts up in his attic.

That’s probably why on Antiques Roadshow, somebody brings in a document, discovered in the attic of an old house. On The Roadshow, the appraiser verifies the authenticity of James Madison’s signature, but, he’s most intrigued by the thumbprint on the parchment…probably from Madison’s cheese pastry.

A Child Dies: She Was Hit By a Plane

On July 21st. I wrote “Not funny. Dangerous guy. Take away his plane.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”>

Pilot Lands Plane On LI Highway Twice In Eight Days http://t.co/c8eCW6bQ7v via @ Not funny. Dangerous guy. Take away his plane.

— Rose Perlmutter (@RosePerlmutter) July 21, 2014


Then I read this today about another small plane. I am sick over this.


Please excuse my technology mess ups. My deepest condolences to the family of the child.

A Wimpy Liberal Mother Talks Life with Her Big-Mouthed Conservative Son

Photo Credit: Yogendra174 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Yogendra174 via Compfight cc

“Do not publish this; just draft and send to D.”

That’s how I started to write this blog post because I am a wimp. My son, not only thinks I’m a wimp, he is certain I am a wimpy liberal.

I live in New York, where he says, “The rest of the liberals live.”

He lives in Arizona, where I say, “The rest of the conservatives live.”

He says, “Ma,  you believe that whatever goes on in New York, goes on everywhere.”

I say , “Whatever goes on in Arizona is typical of those  what-do-you-call them states?”

He says, “Flyover.”

I say, “Right.”

Then he says, “That’s your problem, Mom; you and all the rest of your ignorant, narcissistic liberals in New York measure the whole world by your own fogged up lenses. “

We were discussing a political question relative to the day’s news….something that was posted on Facebook that my son was totally shocked and offended by.  Because I am a wimp and afraid to put too much out there, I won’t tell you what the issue was or who posted it. Sorry.

I listened to my son. He said, “How can anyone put such a thing on Facebook? It’s totally narcissistic and indicative of the way people in NY feel.

I said, “Believe it or not, I agree with you.”

My son was not letting me off the hook. “Why don’t you write about the real important things in life instead of fear of driving over bridges, peeling onions,  farmers’ markets, piles of excrement on the sidewalk, etc.,” he said. “Then someone will pay attention to you. “

I said, “Because I am an old lady, and I want to have fun with my blog, and I must write about what I know….as evidenced by the categories listed in this blog.”

There is that part of me that says my real book could be based on these conversations between mother and son…… A Wimpy Liberal Mother Talks Life with Her Big Mouthed Conservative Son, but I’m too chicken to write anything…..for now.



Advice to FIFA about Luis Suarez

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall via Compfight cc

I may not be an expert on many things, like soccer, but I am an expert on biting.

When my son, at age three was a biter, I solved the problem. I went to the closet, and got our dog Bo’s  leash.

Then I held the leash in front of my son and said,“If you act like a dog, then we will have to go to the vet and get dog shots.”

My son never bit again.

Chatting with Dr. Ruth on the Line to the Ladies’ Bathroom


Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Me

Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Me

We were both on the 45 minute wait line for the Ladies’ Restroom at The Javits Center during Book Expo America and BookCon. Most of the other ladies were under the age of twenty, and did not recognize the celebrity in our midst. I recognized her immediately and chatted with her about…you’d really like to know, but I won’t say.

Dr. Ruth was one of the kindest, friendliest people I have ever met! When I asked her if I could take her picture and send it to my kids with the caption, “Mom giving advice to Dr. Ruth,”  she readily gave her consent! What a wonderful lady!