Friday, March 27, 2009

Look in the Mirror, People

This school start time thing continues to be totally out-of-hand.

At the school committee meeting earlier this month, a woman opposed to the change got up and spoke about how our children are watching us, watching to see if we use "I Care" rules, then she accused the school administration and school committee of not using I Care rules in the process to make this decision. Meanwhile, other women on her side of the debate were saying derogatory things about certain school committee members and the superintendent under their breaths. Including the "B" word. Nice.

I ended up speaking at that meeting in support of the time change, though I hadn't intended to (and seeing myself onscreen afterward as the meeting has been rebroadcast about 20 times on local access is not at all pleasant), and since have been the recipient of some nice phone calls - and plenty of dirty looks.

Things have only gotten worse.

One woman I know was verbally attacked in the parking lot of her church, told she was naive, a sucker for moving to this town with "crap" schools, told she better pray no kids die because of her, and so on. There is a contingent of women engaging in bullying behaviors around this, and it's more than disconcerting.

The content of the attacks changes daily, and this is really because none of their issues are truly valid. When you peel away the layers, it's about personal inconvenience for these women, not about what is doing what is right for the kids, big picture and long term - or even small picture and short-term. While I know our solution for this time change is not perfect (none are, really), it's decent, there is data and research behind it, and we need to go forward with it. My husband has found acceptance surveys online of other school districts that have done this kind of change and even with vehement (though minority) opposition at the outset, there is upwards of a 92% acceptance rate (yes, ninety-two) by the end of the first year.

This group is actively and vocally supporting an incumbent school committee candidate (town elections are tomorrow) just on the time change issue (he opposed it) - a known bully himself! He actually said to another school committee member at the Feb 4 meeting, "Well, G, you and I can settle this in the hall." And this guy actively supports increasing class size through the whole system, which I think would be far more detrimental than a start-time swap. Can you imagine 30 Kindergarteners with one teacher?

Sometimes this town is really hard. Insular is just the tip of the iceberg. There are some seriously entitled people out there. People who think that democracy means they always get their way, and when they don't get what they want they throw around words like "travesty of justice" and "permanent psychological damage." Perspective and true reason is hard to come by. But, damn, the view is nice - which I suppose is why we put up with it.

(I was just reminded of the big hullabaloo over PAYT last year. You'd have thought the world was ending the way some people went on about that. That has gone JUST FINE. Truly. The world did not end. Selectmen were not recalled. I'd say over 90% of the town likes it now.)

As for the woman who talked about "I Care" rules? Look in the mirror, lady.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


C is desperate to get a food item on Vegetarian friends are encouraged NOT to visit that site.

This is what he has come up with:

  • French toast
  • fried egg
  • hash browns
  • couple slices bacon
  • Island style pulled pork(which we happen to have leftover at the moment)
  • couple slices bacon
  • hash browns
  • fried egg
  • French toast

He has almost convinced me to try it Saturday morning. Think we'll make the site if we do it?

(The really sad thing? I'm salivating thinking about it.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Today would have been my dad's 84th birthday.

The older my kids get, the more I feel just how much each are missing out on the other. I think my dad would have had a distinct, special relationship with each of them.

And he and I would still be pissing each other off to a certain extent. I'd be annoyed every time he laughed when my kids did something to challenge and exasperate me just as I did the same to him. Which is to say, often. And he'd he annoyed every time I voted Democrat. Which is to say, often.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Last night when we arrived home from our day, while I was getting S out of the car, I noticed that there was a spill on the floor by her car seat. Apparently she hadn't finished her loved Vanilla Milk that morning (first time ever) and left it in the car when we arrived at her school. I picked it up, put it in the door pocket, tamped up the liquid as best I could with a napkin, and made a mental note to come back and finish cleaning it all up after I got the kids inside.

That never happened. The evening got away from us.

This morning while getting into the car, I saw the milk box again, briefly berated myself silently for not cleaning it up last night, then noticed something was different about it. There was now a hole about 3/4" across in the top of the box and the straw was back on the car floor.


A mouse.

In my car.

As we were already running late, I couldn't go back into the house to get anything, and what would I have gotten anyway? Down at the bus stop, I enlisted M to help me pick up all the trash in the car, containing it as best I could. I took a good look around. Although there were a couple small tufts of white stuff under the third row seat, I didn't see other evidence. Knock-wood, I think this is a recent resident. And hopefully singular. I had vacuumed the car quite well about 5 weeks ago, before we went on vacation, and saw no evidence then

Still, grossed-out enough, I dropped S at school and went straight to the car detailing place the next town over. They have promised that they know how to deal with such issues - and they are going to make the interior of my 5 year old car spotless. No more bits to attract mice. I hope. Pray?

I'm still going to pick up some humane traps to put under the third row seat, just in case. And maybe put some repellents around the driveway to deter them from that whole area. Mice can do some real damage if not dealt with promptly.

Meanwhile, I have a rental car and a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.

UPDATE: While my car is now remarkably clean, the kid at the detailing shop said he found no actual mice, and was sure there were none in there. Phew. Kind of. I set a trap in the car last night, just in case. And yes, there was a mouse in it this morning. Looks like I'll be setting more just in case traps - the kind that don't put the kids at any risk and I don't have to actually see the little critter. Euw.

A Milestone

We picked out this year's mobile. It's this one:

Yesterday I asked C if he wanted to bring the mobile to the PICU. When we asked the last couple of years, he's said no, and it's produced a little anxiety in him - though he did write notes. This year, though, he said, "Yes."

This is pretty huge. Like accepting his scar, it was something I thought we'd see someday, but had no sense of when. It's also a reassuring moment in a season that is full of anxiety and memories for me (and I think that's something that will never go away).

He's fine. He really is.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

An Appreciation

This movie has been repeating on the pay channels a lot lately. It's one of those sweet, mildly sappy movies that's easy to watch, and not just because of this guy. Even though I could watch it just for that guy. I could.

But whenever I watch it, or a part of it, I end up thinking about Michael Hedges. Man, I miss that guy.

Don't know Michael Hedges? You should. Don't hold his association with the quintessential new age record company against him. This guy rocked. He died way, way, way too soon.

If you've seen the movie, the technique of using the guitar almost as a percussion instrument and resulting unique hybrid sound is all Hedges. In fact, one of the compositions in the film is his. That technique is just the tip of the Hedges musical iceberg, though.

You should go check Hedges out on YouTube. Like, now. Then go download tracks from iTunes - or go old school like me and get some CDs.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Finally Spring

It's the first day of spring. Finally. I thought it would never get here. I don't care if it's 33 degrees out. It's mindset change as much as a calendar change, and I am ready for it.

Today would also be my paternal grandmother's 105th birthday. She was a feisty one, her. I've written about her before. My husband once told me that one of the reasons he loves me is because I am feisty. I definitely get it from her.

So, happy spring everyone. Enjoy every daffodil.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


This guy is not my favorite player. He's not. Mostly because of the game-winning home run he hit off our knuckleballer in extra innings of a series deciding ALCS game in 2003. Deciding it the other way, obviously.

Not the smartest bulb in the pack, either. He signed a rockin' contract with the Evil Empire after that performance - but the contract had a stipulation that he NOT play basketball in the off season, not even at the park. Doing so would invalidate the contract. So what did he do? Yup. How did the Evil Empire find out? He screwed his knee in the process, requiring surgery. (And opened the door for one A-Roid to join the team.)

But that's all water under the bridge. Uh huh.

Today comes news that he's going to have heart valve replacement surgery. Why is this of interest? Because he needs surgery due to the deteriorating condition of his bicuspid aortic valve. Same as M has.

I think the most interesting thing is that he only learned that he had this defect in college.

We've been told that a fairly significant portion of the population has this same defect and doesn't even know it. While I do think it's better to know about things and prevent problems long in advance (and M has that pesky - kinda more concerning - enlarged aortic root, too), I wonder how our life with M would be different if we didn't know for a while longer? Hmmm....

Monday, March 16, 2009

An Afternoon in the Forest

In January, in an effort to keep M engaged in school (boredom - or at least the expression of it - has been an issue), his 3rd grade teacher and I decided to have him keep a writing journal. In this journal he would write a story, a little bit every day.

We chose the writing approach as it was the one area she thought he could use some work. His writing at school had been very succinct, almost to the point of terse. It was fine, but it wasn't what she thought it could be.

We had a little issue with the journal in early February. One night he lied about having completed his daily writing. That was no fun to address, but we did. Since then, though, he has been consistent about his writing and says I get to read his story "soon."

This afternoon, M brought home this writing assignment, unrelated to his writing journal. It is written in very neat cursive.

An Afternoon in the Forest
by M

The treetops are dark green with light gently pouring in between them. There are olive green grape vines with shiny purple grapes on them. The tree trunks are light brown in color. There is a hole in one of them; an owl lives there. The grass is all the shades of green. There is a stump in the middle of the grass. And the air is crisp with a hint of grape.

I think the writing journal has done its work.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...

The stuff at church has come to a head. And not a pretty one at that.

Today I've been told (in separate communications) to find someplace else, about affairs within the parish, a myriad of tidbits on how people have been treated, and others have gloated at very nasty communications to me.

I can be logical. People in positions of power are very threatened when the laity speak up. I spoke up.

It still hurts, though. And I'm a touch bitter. Just a touch.

I think it's time to take a break from organized religion and from hierarchy/patriarchy.

Yesterday, I heard about a comment another disillusioned person in our community made. It keeps popping into my head.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus has left the building."

Monday, March 09, 2009

Weird People

I was just thinking about the comment Lynne left me on this post. People ARE so weird sometimes.

In 2000, we were still living down south. We lived in a complex of apartments and townhouses, and there were two other families in our little row with kids in the same general age range. We were all friendly, but not close. Our kids played out back together - four little boys running around (M was an infant). It was cute and pleasant.

When it came time for C's party that year, he wanted a space theme. I found glow-in-the-dark fabric paint for the kids to make themselves tshirts (on navy tshirts), and some inexpensive spacecraft themed flying toys from this company for something for the kids to take home. We invited the neighbors, of course, as well as C's preschool buddies and some other friends. I made sure that all the items were appropriately "aged" for the kids who had them, yet still kept a close eye on everyone. The party was a big hit. Everyone went home happy. End of story, right?


About a week later, one of the neighbors called. Her name was Jessica.

Jessica: Hi, it's Jessica. I wanted to let you know about something.

Me: Okay.

Jessica: You know that flying toy you gave away at C's party?

Me: Yes.

Jessica: Well, Zachary (3) took it apart, and the metal piece that was in the middle was on our living room carpet. Yesterday morning, he tripped and landed on that metal piece, and it cut his face near his eye. It came very close to puncturing his eye.

Me: Oh no! Is Zachary okay? Did he have to get stitches?

Jessica: He's fine. He was very lucky. I just wanted you to know that it was the toy you supplied that did this to him.

Me: I'm so sorry. I never dreamed that could happen. Is there something I can do?

Jessica: No. I just wanted you to know. That it was a toy you gave him.

And that was it.

What. The. Fuck. Of course I felt badly, was upset about Zachary being hurt, but what was all that about? Clearly I was being blamed - but I think wrongly so. The toy was in their house, under their supervision, and their son had taken it apart. I think it was a really unfortunate accident with a very lucky outcome for Zachary. He did end up with a small scar near his eye. I still feel bad this kid was injured and is scarred, but I don't think I'm to blame

I tried to imagine a scenario it which that exchange would be valid, and I was at a loss. I still am. My sister joked to me at the time that it's like an adult contacting a gift giver and saying something like, "Hey, Mary, you know that knife set that you gave us for our wedding? John used it to stab the neighbor. Just wanted you to know." That's a bit extreme for a comparison, granted, but still.

Jessica never talked to me again. We lived two doors down from her for another 15 months, and never a word, and she would barely let our kids interact. The other neighbor, also with kids and who had been at the party, was close to Jessica, and opted not to speak to me for that length of time either. What. Ever. This was very confusing for C, however.

About six months later, Jessica's older son had a birthday party at their house. C clearly had not been invited - not that I would have expected him to be given how things had been, but it was a potentially awkward situation. I realized what was going on the day of the party and had quickly made plans to take C (and M) out of the neighborhood when Tony, Jessica's husband called. He tried to invite C to the party, said they'd intended to invite him all along and so sorry for the delay in calling and won't he be able to come. No, we have other plans, I said. And we left the neighborhood and had a great afternoon at the local science museum with other friends.

I admit I flipped off their door when I drove past it for the last time. Not particularly mature, I know. But it felt kind of good.

Depth Being Evaluated

I am in a rut.

I've been fighting it and denying it for some time, but it's there. Motivation is low, my fuse is short, and my general outlook pessimistic. My tolerance for idiots, normally low, is somewhere in China right now.

It doesn't help that it's gray and dreary out. We're not even getting the snow that most of the rest of my area is getting. If it were white, at least I could call it pretty outside.

It was a beautiful weekend, but that didn't break the rut.

I had my haircut yesterday. I told my loved stylist that I was in a rut. He asked if I wanted to do something different. I said sure. I asked, "What can I do that's different?" He walked around me for a few moments, running his fingers through my hair, thinking. Finally, he said, "Oh, honey, I'm sorry. Not much." He's a good man - not giving me change for the sake of change that will only make me more unhappy down the road. But still, it was a kick in the psyche.

The calendar is fairly full. There are things that are happening. But everything feels kind of "Eh." I've been mostly sticking to my exercise routine, getting out of the house when I can (went for a walk on the beach yesterday), but it's there.

I talked to a couple of girlfriends in the last couple of days, too. They are feeling very rut-like themselves. We're all looking for ways to pull ourselves out of it, even when we'd much rather just pull the covers over our heads. Is it a middle-aged woman time of year thing?

So if posts are particularly crabby for a bit, please forgive me. I hope to be back to my regular slightly snarky, only mildly pessimistic, generally together self soon.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Get a Grip, People

More and more, as I even just hear about things going on in town politics, I think to myself, "Don't you people have something better to do?"

This school start time thing is getting ugly. There's a group of parents who want to recall the school committee members who voted in favor of it and call a special town meeting to rescind the change. I note that all of them have very young kids who have yet to exit the K-2 school, and are freaked out about having to get their darlings to the bus early in the grades 3-5 years. Seems like those of us with older kids who have fought the getting the adolescent out of bed before dawn battle are fine with the change - I'll take 3 years of getting 8-11 year old up early than 7 years of battling my 11-18 year old to get up any day. This group is throwing their support wholly behind this one school committee member up for reelection who voted against it; man, are they going to have a rude awakening when this guy increases the class sizes down to the K level (something he long said he wants to do) - typically a topic near and dear to the parents of young elementary students.

This town is so standardized test-happy, and research shows increases in standardized test scores with this kind of change, so they should be jumping for joy.

Some people have far too much time on their hands.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Almost Six Years Later and I am Still Thinking of Things

The approaching spring is not just spring. It's two of my kids' birthdays and the anniversaries of C's illness and my dad's passing (six years ago, both).

I've mentioned before, I think, about my dad's second wife and the fiasco of dad's illness and her games - but I've only scratched the surface. It's still a very raw spot for me and for my siblings. She screwed him and us, in so many ways - emotionally, financially, in terms of family heirlooms, where dad is buried, and so on. The only comfort I take from the situation is that she'll get hers one day, though I can't be the one to give it.

It's interesting, though, how things are still popping into my head about all of it.

Yesterday at the grocery store, I went through my usual line. The clerk is a really nice older man and we have a good rapport. Today, B was wearing a bolo tie. I noted that one does not often see bolo ties in New England. And in that instant I was reminded of my father's old bolo ties that I haven't seen in a decade perhaps - ones that he intended for my brother and any male grandchildren.

Generally speaking, I am not fan of bolo ties. But my dad did have some very nice ones and always reminded us that they are the official neckwear of the state of Arizona. One in particular was the shape of the state of Arizona in big hunk of turquoise, with thin ribbons of silver outlining the counties (back when there were only 14 counties). I believe it was a gift to him from a political ally, and from what I remember it was always intended to go to my brother. There were others, too. Silver and turquoise were recurring themes, of course, as were Hopi and Navajo symbols.

They all appear to be gone now, taken by the 2nd wife, and who knows what she did with them.

In the end, do a bunch of bolo ties really matter? Probably not. Given the whole of the situation it's just another hurt. But it does hurt.