Friday, May 25, 2007

Why moms are all a little crazy

Today I took the Sons to see a movie. We got out of the theater at 6:30. They immediately started talking, about nothing. They continued talking about nothing, without a break, until 8:20. I then had 5 minutes of blessed peace.

And then they turned on the TV.

I think my brain is going to explode.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Jimmy Carter has an opinion!

I say, shut UP, hostage boy!

Kudos to the White House for not just firing back "It takes one to know one."

Score a point for martial law

Last night, I took the oldest three Sons to the mall. This is a bigger deal than you might realize, as our mall is an hour away. We go maybe twice a year, when Son #1 needs to see the kindred spirits at Hot Topic.

Our mall has had some problems, in recent years, with assaults and roaming wads of rambunctious teenagers. So I told the Sons, in the car, that I would gladly take them to any store they wanted to visit, but they had to be with me. Because unaccompanied youths are banned, in our mall, on a Saturday night. The boys thought this was blatant age discrimination. (and plenty of people think it is racist, too, but I didn't go into that)

I had no idea, though, that since our last visit the mall had totally beefed up security. There were not just mall security guard types, but actual law enforcement officers, everywhere. Which was a little disconcerting, at first, but after a while you realized that the increased police presence had pretty much eliminated the marauding teen thing. It was just families, shopping, and eating in the food court. No bad language. No shoving. No groups of kids staring you down if you ask to be let past them to the sale at Lane Bryant.

We had a good time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What are Parent Teacher Conferences for, again?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of parents: Parents who give a crap, and therefore do whatever they can to make sure their kids are doing what they should, and parents who don't.

Parents who don't give a crap aren't going to suddenly change, because they spent half an hour in a school desk. Parents who do, are ALREADY telling their kids to work hard, have a good breakfast, get plenty of sleep, and do their homework on time. They are, if need be, ALREADY tearing their hair out and threatening the child in question with a lifetime of bitter regret, if they do not push themselves in every class, every day, even if it is not fun.

So, what's the point? Have teachers ever actually met with a parent, to have the parent say, "I had no idea I was supposed to encourage my child to attend class. What a great idea!" and then had the student's grades improve? Or is this just a system that we are all stuck with, that everyone knows doesn't actually make a difference?

Fortunately, I have found a teacher who is willing to conference by email. I can get the information I need, she can get the information she needs, and neither one of us has to move mountains to make time for it. Plus, I have a written record of it all. Which, as I have said more than once, is absolutely crucial in dealing with any large organization that has your kids by the scruff of the neck.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I want a rejection notice

Other writers complain about the stacks of rejections on their desks. I would LOVE one. Not that I crave rejection, per se. I just am way too used to sending out queries, or spec pieces, and all.

Rather than be one of those crazy writers the editors all complain about in writers' forums, I don't repeatedly email them, asking if they've considered my latest pearls of genius. I just...wait.


The few times I've been officially rejected have actually been kinda nice. At least I know that they read my stuff, and liked it enough to respond to it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Beware the Finger

This is my poking finger. I have been exercising it quite a bit, lately, in dealing with the administration of Son #1's school.

Persistent errors on a report card that the teacher says only the guidance office can fix, but the guidance office says only the teacher can fix? Poke.

Referrals that refuse to use the words "self defense", perhaps because the school doesn't want to admit that they put my son in a position where he was obligated to defend himself? Poke.

Administrators that keep shuttling my son back and forth, because he wants to start an after school organization that maybe doesn't appeal to them? Poke.

Secret hoops for Son #2 to jump through, before he starts there next year? Poke.

I will be poking with this finger for the next eight years. I plan to develop a mighty poking callus, a strong wrist, and an easily tracked email-paper trail.

Ask not for whom the finger pokes. It pokes for the Sons.

Join me on The Artist's Way?

I am finishing reading The Artist's Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. It has been an interesting and illuminating 12-week course.

I picked it up at the library sale, for a quarter. It has a lot of notes and underlinings and highlightings from the last reader, whose name was Susannah--her name tag was stuck to the cover, when I bought the book.

I feel I've gotten a lot out of it, and want to pass it on. Anyone want it? Let me know and I'll send it to you. Great book, gently used, almost for the taking.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Son #3: Speaking truth since 1995

"They're paying all these grown-ups millions of dollars to prove they're smarter than a fifth grader. Why don't they pay kids a million dollars, for going through fifth grade?"

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

There oughtta be a law...

If you have several children. Male children, who do not think ahead or participate in the womanly arts.

If the grandparents of those children insist that they come over, on a Wednesday, and stay from before your oldest child arrives home until the second you need to drive another child to the library.

If you have deadlines out the wazoo.

If your spouse is busy (and legitimately so).

If your doctor has made it clear that regular exercise, rest, and time away from the daily grind are no longer optional for you, but rather crucial to recovering anything like normal health.

If one of your children has braces, and those braces broke this week, requiring an emergency visit to the orthodontist.

If you have a dog whose favorite pastime is peeing under your desk, followed closely by pooping on the rug beneath your bed.

If you regularly wake up at 2am, and find it difficult, if not impossible, to get back to sleep, meaning that you go through your days in a mental fog.

If all these conditions are met, then, and only then, are you allowed, as a teacher, to assign my son the following, on a Wednesday:

Bring in a cake, decorated to represent the 8 places Odysseus visited in his wanderings. Extra credit if you also bring in other food items that fit with the Odyssey theme. Due Friday.


Our cake won the Edible Map competition. By a landslide. Not only was it cool, with a map of ancient Europe made of cocoa and colored sugar as a backdrop for our fondant Olympus, pig, flaming goat, Siren, whirlpool, diamond ring, Trojan horse, and eye, and with lines tracing Odysseus' wanderings...Son #1 was able to tell everyone every little detail about the story, in order, with detail, and special emphasis on the fact that we placed our little figures accurately, based on historic research.

Yay, us! We totally kick butt.