Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just a Thought

For an actor whose breakout role was as Frank-n-Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry has had an alarmingly mainstream career.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cute Teenager Ways

C, at 13, has a changing body. He's rather self-conscious about it (as many teenagers are), and even though we have tried to be open in conversations since he was little about bodies, he gets embarrassed. Even so, I try to do as much talking at him as I can (before he runs away), so he continues to get certain messages from us. It's such a delicate age.

About six months ago I bought a stick of deordorant for him. I put it in the bathroom, told him what it was and when to use it. His response? "MO-OM!" As expected. I did not monitor its usage.

The other night, when I went to bed, there was a note on my pillow. From C.

The note asked me to please get him some more deodorant. He suggested spray deodorant as he needed some at school for after gym and he had the impression the spray lasts longer. It was sweet.

At Costco yesterday, I could not find spray - but I did find a package of five sticks of clear gel, and figured he could try that and not worry about using it up.

This morning he very sheepishly asked if I could help him with the new deodorant. Seems he couldn't get the gel to rise. We went through this very funny dance, each of us pretending we weren't talking about what we were talking about (because that would be embarassing). Finally the gel was figured out and the subject dropped completely. But I did get a, "Thanks, Mom." And that's more than I usually get these days.

Having a teenager is so funny. He still needs me but doesn't want to admit it. It's sweet. It's hard. I'm so glad he's sitll here - in all contexts.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Crazies Win a Round

Last night came word from the School Committee meeting that our Superintendent is resigning.

I don't blame her one bit - though this is a real blow to the town.

Ms. S has spend most of her career in our town. She was first a 3rd grade teacher for many years, then did some more graduate work and became Assistant Principal, then Principal of the upper elementary school, then Assistant Superintendent, and, for the last three years, Superintendent. She is not retiring. She's going to take everything she learned here - and another district will get the benefit. She'll be snapped up - at a higher salary - because she's forward-thinking.

She's not perfect, but was pretty good overall and she was a step up from the last Superintendent. She worked to implement programs to improve academics. The change in start time and the high end learner program were just a couple of her efforts. The teachers respected her. A majority of the parents did, too. I worry that some administrators will follow.

Yet a small group of parents and a couple school committee members created an extremely hostile working environment for her. Publicly attacking everything she did - and deriding her personally. I don't blame her for leaving.

This small group of crazies, who do they think will come into this hostile environment? Who will want to work here? There's already a lack of qualified administrators, and 30 (yes, THIRTY!) districts in our state are looking for superintendents. We don't pay particularly well, either. This is going to be a mess.

Also, two school committee members are up for reelection, and neither are seeking reelection. That's going to be a mess, too. Ugh.

The next couple of days/weeks/maybe months, the crazies in town will be gleeful. They think they have won the war. It's going to get uglier, I fear.

And our kids' education will be the casualty.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I Don't Think So

S goes to a Kindergarten extended day program three days a week. She loves it. I love it. M loved it when he went (C never got in - too long a waiting list and we were new to town).

One of the things I love is that the kids are introduced to a wide range of literature (mainly children's literature, of course), artists, and music. Far more than the regular Kindergarten curriculum can provide (I could start again on the half-day Kindergarten issue - but I won't. For now.)

As an art major in college, I particularly enjoy and appreciate the artist introductions. They've studdied Georgia O'Keefe and the Impressionists and others. When we go to museums, S (and the boys) have some sense of what they are looking at, and that's great.

S's monthly extended day calendar came home today and I happily looked for the "Artists of the Month" listing. The artists for January 2010 are:

Jackson Pollack
Thomas Kinkade

I thought to myself, "Oh, cool. Jackson Pollack. Perfect for this age. And who else? Thomas Kinkade?"

It took me a moment to remember the name, then I said, loudly, "Oh, no!" Then, "EUW!!!"

Thomas Kinkade, if you don't know already, is one of the premier purveyors of schlock in our country. It's not art. It's crap. I don't care if he makes a lot of money and has stores in malls across the country and is a good Christian, this is not equivalent talent to Jackson Pollack. If anything, Thomas Kinkade will be a sorry footnote in the art of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, noted more for his business and marketing skill than actual artistic merit.

I want so much to call the teachers and tell them this - or at least ask why they thought he was worthy of inclusion. Maybe I'll just ask in passing when I pick S up tomorrow.

Call me an art snob if you will. I don't mind. While Thomas Kinkade has made "art" accessible to the masses, there is so much out there that is SO. MUCH. BETTER. And accessible and attractive and thought-provoking...all with actual talent behind it.

Time for a visit to the ICA, I think, to counteract the "Painter of Light." (Gag.)