If you say so, I will let down the nets* and maybe answer the door**

Last week I dreamed that my son put together an intricate project rather like a LEGO construction. A teacher allowed the smashing of the project (or did it herself). I tried to collect the pieces on a blanket, but was chased away by the teacher before all was gathered.

I scooped up the blanket and dashed off to Spanish. That teacher was busy roving around the school, but never entering her classroom. I chased her around speaking Spanish, though she couldn’t be bothered. Finally, she turned on me and stated that she was all together wrapped up in her thoughts about her husband and would I please go away.

With a sigh, I sat down next to a very sad older man who told me that he had been ordered to quit playing his violin. In fact, his violin had been taken from him by the powers that be. I told him to ignore that nonsense, get a new violin, and chase his happiness. He left to do just that. Later an angry teacher informed me that his building had a no music policy. The man was kicked out of his home as a result of picking up his instrument. I pressed her for more information and she grudgingly admitted that he had a new place to live and was happier, however I had stirred the pot and things definitely should not be changed — even if for the better.

I sat down and cried. The principal stumbled upon me and draped his arm over my shoulders as I cried and cried. Maybe I even sobbed a little.

Aside from the fact that it is clear by the way I can’t easily identify myself or my son as the student that I have a severe detachment disorder, this dream is odd in how OBVIOUS it relates to my ongoing “where the f*** is my kid going to school next year” dilemma. I’d much rather be dreaming about falling, or having my teeth fall out, or being chased by zombies.
But wait! There’s more! I had another dream last night. I was in a huge concert hall attending an audience participation performance. We were all playing along and once in a while an audience member would be spotlighted for a singing solo. Willie Nelson sang from a few aisles behind me! Then a performer handed the microphone to some American Idol flunky who refused to sing. He used the microphone instead to say this was stupid and everyone should bail. A few audience members did just that. Then a few more. American Idol wouldn’t quit deriding the effort and the hall continued to bleed its contents and I stared at more empty chairs. I began to sing louder but just a few joined that effort. I took the microphone and asked if everyone couldn’t just wait. Couldn’t we give the performance a chance to shine? Weren’t we all just enjoying ourselves? Don’t be sheep to the false Idol! Didn’t you hear Willie Nelson sing? Willie Freaking NELSON!

But people continued to leave and I woke up to rain outside my window and the remembrance of a promise to go to church to watch my daughter light the Word and maybe get rid of a few more boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

My last two posts were not simply about moving and fighting. They were about the right time and the right way to move and the fights worth having and when to have them. Obviously, I have some unresolved issues as my memories, my present, and my dreams have smacked up against each other amping my already angsty existence.

* Luke 5:1-11 ish. I’d better just cast my damn net. I don’t know what I’m fishing for, but there’s something in here somewhere I’m supposed to know, be, do. Jesus was the master of teaching through allegory. As I’m not much of an allegorist, or teacher, I probably should quit telling tales of my misspent youth and my frustrating dreamland. So, to be more pointed (or blunt?):
1) I don’t want to move and I don’t want to merge and I am trying to be sensitive that my kids may be concerned about such movement and mergement.
2) I am well acquainted with fighting with my fists, though I haven’t done so in nearly three decades. It typically leads to more fights and bruised people. Fighting with words is not so eloquent. Fighting with solutions to meet the needs of all involved is difficult at best and impossible most of the time. Must I continue fighting a fight that makes me fight with my friends, as well as those who shouldn’t be enemies, for a goal that may not be achievable or if it is it will be achieved after our time?
3) Also, for the love of whatever you love, can we who comment on news stories agree to stop being vindictive and quit punishing kids? Could we work together to support kids? I know there is a better way. If you are ever presented the opportunity, please persuade people to be pissed all they want at whomever they want but that their vengeance shouldn’t be exacted on children?
4) I really need some untroubled sleep.

**In case it’s not obvious, I’m the sinner and I’m not entirely sure if I want to answer the door, much less how to answer.

Students in the News

Hawt Mz got the kids busy setting up their own market as their first quarter project. The kids started with a field trip to a local grocer. Then they researched food groups, product labels, grocery geography, and grocer careers. Of course, Mz can’t make a move without the paparazzi, so the first of three news crews came to visit. The 7 YO is in the back of the garden row, planting with her green fingernails, and in the chicken coop.

See? It’s not just that Hawt Mz is an awesome, newsworthy teacher, she also looks damn good on video. We should all be so blessed. Unfortunately for her, her students outshone her in the classroom. Their research was, oh my. Impressive. Their preparation and presentation was insanely inspiring. My kid presented honey — from bee anatomy, hive construction, and honey production to the human use of honey and beeswax.

(Budget cut/funding rant providing an awesome transition to picking up my son at his school deleted because it seemed tangential to my unabashed bragging, but you can imagine an amazing transition right here.)

Upon retrieving the 9 YO from his school, a note explaining that he’s one of 32 students at his school selected by the art teacher to upload some of his work to Artsonia was thrust in my face.

Artsonia is a Web site that sells you stuff – postcards, bags, temporary tattoos — featuring the artwork of your kid. They donate 15% of the sales to the school. I think that’s how it works. So, if you are so inclined, go on over and comment on the 9 YO’s watercolor leaves (inspired by his idea of a flag for New Canada and sneaking in a hidden flame thrower). Buy something if you want, or not, but love the colors. I’m starting to understand Caddo’s pride (her daughters have earned some prestigious art awards and yet I find no mention on her blog or her Facebook page, otherwise they would be linked).

I should do that thing where I tell my blog to suggest other similar posts, but I suspect it’s only available for Word Press and I cannot be bothered. Instead, I’ll do it the old fashioned way by writing my own. The Fine, Fine Market reminds me of when the 7 YO’s former classroom transformed into a news paper publisher. Additionally, the 9 YO’s art teacher’s compliments on his art reminds me of his stamp art accolades.

What a Rush!

At age 14 I lived in the last house on the left (the literal one, not the movie one*). The tree shaded dead end street played home to three main residences, but so many more of us lived there. My grandmother and great grandmother resided across the street. My current computer guru lived in a tiny cottage out back making stuff on his Mac for the Oklahoma Film Society or something cooler than whatever I was supposed to know about Algebra. Various people moved into and out of our basement. There were others.

Our House* was a very very very spooky house. I foolishly didn’t want to live in Norman. Midwest City was much less pretentious and much more edgy. Big bro and I used to sneak out to find an oasis from the land of upturned Polo collars, of which I totally would have been a citizen if I owned more than one Polo. We would catch the midnight show of Rocky Horror* or run around the cemetery or see who was at Cafe Royal. We didn’t have to sneak out. My folks were way lenient about that sort of thing, but sneaking out made it all the more fun. Once we returned home about 2 a.m. running down our little street in spite of the fact that our dad was standing in the middle of the road smoking a cigarette under the full moon. He just hung his head. It made no sense to him at all that we would sneak out but neglect to sneak back in. I don’t recall that we got in all that much trouble, however, the shame of our dumbassary clouded the next couple of days.

It was about this time that my taste for Alternative Music, whatever that was, hit my radar. Big Bro was listening to 88 Lines about 44 Women by The Nails* (mental note, put that on the iTunes list). He picked it up at the used record (vinyl, I said it) store on Campus Corner before Harold’s bought the whole damn place up. I also caught my dad singing Dead Milkmen*. Or was it Dead Kennedys*? Eeww. Dad had to tell me that he knew a thing or two about hep – a fact I seriously doubted and yet totally believed.

Soon after, Dad’s friend Rush (pictured above and ripped off the LA Times) arrived for a visit. I had met Rush by a different name, but he was the same impossibly cool. He said things like, “Better dead than mellow” and “Bury Dali in Lichtenstein.” I used that latter line to end a Blue Book essay on First Amendment Law in college when it was clear I would run out of time without a conclusion. It won big points. I asked Rush why he thought Dali should be buried in Lichtenstein. “Why not?” he said. And he was right. After all, isn’t The Lizard King* buried in Paris? He also played a song for me that he’d been working on. The lyrics were as follows:

I’m sick of everything.
So sick of everything.
I’m sick of everything.
I’m sick of you,
And people like you!
I’m sick of your shit,
And I’m not going to take it!

Ah, the beauty. It was my anthem.

Rush is famous.

* Did I mention I am a sell-out, er, Amazon Associate?

These are the days, my friends…

I should start at the top of the morning. The 9 YO boy debuted his mad skillz as a photojournalist. He’s got reporting in his blood from Gramp-A-Long and a fair amount of language ability from both Gigi and Grammanina. Also, as he reported to KOLD, his mom is always at school and I guess his boredom with that or my insistence that he entertain himself inspired him. The story was written one morning after a Borton Community Garden meeting and during the time I take the girl’s class into the garden. Use the link since my scanned copy, well you can see the problem with it.

Then the Friday routine hit with the BELL coffee cart (donations welcome), frequent readers help (the 6 YO made a book mark and earned two books to reward her, er, frequent reading), work for pay, then help the newly single mechanic watch himself and his kid on television (Did you hear that girls? I have a single male friend who can fix stuff AND be daddy about school). Around lunch, I came home to find gently used shorts for the boy and these freshly picked goodies.

These oranges are HUGEMONGOUS! That’s one of the largest bowls we have and you can see the oranges dwarf it. I need a new descriptor for my friends because they are beyond “awesome” and “generous” to the degree of “intergalactic” and “magnanimous” or something like that. OH! I needn’t neglect reporting the glorious package from the artiste in Oklahoma with 50 YO heirloom 4 o’clock and lemon basil seeds, pet rocks, a pep talk, a totem for the chicks, and an indication that my pal also loves credit unions.

Oh, but that’s not the end of the day. The librarian sent to the planet to make my life wonderful set up a little RR viewing on the big screen. Robyn, point out to your mother that one of her hand sewn dresses made it onto national television. If you look carefully, I’m person in the crowd 1, person in the crowd 2, person in the crowd 3 ….

Hawt Mz Molly was mas bella tan siempre (I’m trying to learn Spanish again), if a bit touchy at being the center of the universe for all of 3 minutes. Molly, I know you love math, so how about this equation? 15-3= 12 more minutes of fame to account for. What’s next?

I hope it never ends.

Incognito on Rachael Ray

The episode of Rachael Ray featuring the hard work of Hawt Mz. Molly and crew will be aired on March 6th. If you follow the link, there are two pictures of yours truly in a flash format, so I couldn’t easily steal them. Now do you think that’s fair? Neither do I, so I learned how to poach images. BTW, I’m not saying Ultimate taught me how to do that photo stealing trick, but you know, if you need some computer work done he knows his shiznit. If they threaten me, I’ll tear the photos down asap (or as soon as possible, Brett, whichever comes first) so look quickly.

Photo 1. ‘Member my pal who teaches me how to fix my car? ‘Member the guy who taught me how to use power tools? Well, he and I totally built this farm stand. By “he and I” I mean he did the work while preventing me from circular sawing off my oppositional thumb (it’s like the rest of me). I am not clearly in this photo, but my work is. Unclearly, I am in the back ground in the jeans and whiteish shirt next to my pal Lori who didn’t sign a release and loudly cursed while proclaiming her judgeship. She did sign a release later, but she claimed it was bullshit. Judges get to talk like that.

Photo 2. I’m way more clearly in this photo. See me? Behind the kale? I cropped (oh, an unintentional, but awesome garden pun) out the rest of the photo, but you can follow the link to see the whole thing.

If this is going to be the most highly rated Rachael Ray show of all time, you need to tune in on March 6th and watch it. If for some reason, they air me not in obscurity, there is an antidote. Rubbing sand in your eyes will rid you of this vision.

Fun with Google: Part 1?

To get my job, now that it’s legit, I gots ta update the resume. Time to hit the Googles. Citizen’s League, check. Language Arts, check. But wait! There’s more!

You may or may not know that I got skills. Yup. I sure do. Perhaps you can’t think of a single one, but I did recently earn honorable mention in a photography competition that was judged by impartial professional photographers. It’s true. Here’s the evidence.

Why is the hubster smelling his fingers? Beyond the mystery, there’s not much else to recommend this photo. I presumed I was offering it up for a beginning of the year slide show for his department and didn’t realize that there was a judicial process involved. Mine was the first honorable mention. Of course I have a beginning of the alphabet sort of name and so far as I know every entrant won at least an honorable mention. Whatever. I’m totally putting it on my resume.

Once, I had an article published. Yup. I sure did. In it I provided basic information featuring the Canada goose. I bet you thought it was Canadian, but that’s not the case. Here’s the proof.

Let me just say, the article is well and heavily edited. I don’t know anything about the Canada goose. The publication resulted from me begging Outdoor Oklahoma for a writing gig. My dream of running away to NYC to work on a high-gloss magazine was just beginning to fade. Just as well because as surely as video killed the radio star, Internet killed the printing press. Regardless, I’m going to put this on my resume too.

My favorite Google result is the following:
Rebecca Ballenger’s, Martha Stein’s and Mary Sweeney’s vaginal images are seductively soft, yet menacing creatures with a life of their own (especially …

If only I had the log-in. On first read, it seems that our vaginae are soft and menacing as revealed by images. Then it can also read as though we captured images of other soft and menacing vaginae. Oh, if only either one was true, then perhaps I could retire and avoid putting a resume together at all.

Because It’s All About Me

I should have worn my Bali bra with modesty petals.

As it was, I chose a lumpy dumpy message t-shirt over anything fashionable.

The result was less cute college co-ed and more public school mommy volunteer out in the cold January rain.

I imagined Denise Richards, but all things considered I should give up the Tom Cruise samurai hair don’t. Imagine this hooker hair only less Rodeo Drive and more Main Street.

I was reminded on the way out the door at 4:30 a.m. that last time I was on television, I was made to remove my glasses (video unavailable). Not being able to see, I looked like an oggling goggler. So I put my contacts in and revealed my partially inherited, partially earned under-eye baggage.

Finally, though I’m already bloated from my premenstrual Eve’s apple thing, a mike pack was hidden under my shirt at my waistline.

And if I were to make it on to a national television show, that is how I would present myself. Of course, the media were only interested in the phenomenal teacher who made it all happen, so this is total vanity.

Yesterday’s schedule:
4:30-7 a.m. local news
7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. – film crew contracted by Rachael Ray
10 a.m. – TUSD Focus reporters
1 p.m. – different local news
8 p.m. – crash

Of course I can’t find the live coverage from the local news, but their edited piece is online and my kids are in it!

More to come – if I feel like it.

Election Results In

Obama in a landslide!

Twenty-eight ballots were cast in the 8 YO Boy’s classroom. We voted on three candidate races and three propositions. Here are the results*:

  • Presidential Electors: Obama – 23, McCain – 2, Barr – 1, and no vote recorded – 2
  • Prop 105: No – 18, Yes – 8, and no vote recorded – 2
  • Prop 300: Yes – 15, No – 12, and no vote recorded – 1
  • Prop 403: No – 15, Yes – 10, and no vote recorded – 3

We had no reports of voter fraud or intimidation at the polling place. Voter turnout was high with only one absence among Ms. P’s “Big Wigs”. To background these results, a sizeable number of children from this class went trick-or-treating together. It was their experience that upon arriving at a house with an Obama sign, they were greated with laughter and “good” candy. Four houses later they came upon a house with a McCain sign out front. The lights were on, but no one was home. A basket on the porch had two solitary (not packages but individual) LifeSavers in it. This isn’t typical for all of Tucson as reports from the foothills residents on the 8 YO Boy’s soccer team indicate that the trick-or-treaters supporting Obama were asked to redistribute their candy – an idea on which they weren’t too keen.

I had a great deal of anxiety about real-world voting. I don’t do well with parking lots, people, waiting. I heard all these frightening stories about bringing the correct identification and wearing the appropriate clothing. I’ve had bad luck in the past with being turned away from the polls (never successfully) and I am tired of the fight. I just want to vote. Please? Can’t a sister vote without turmoil? Isn’t this why so many women have rocked the vote since 1920?

So I put on my big-girl panties and went to my local precinct polling place. I walked right in, stepped right up. I was the first in line and I threw down THREE different pieces of identification. Hither thither and yon for signing in, slips of paper that trade in for actual ballots, and a nosy black box operator later, I was finished. My number was 168 (I think) at 11 a.m. No need for all the fear and loathing.

I voted for my presidential electors and at least 10 Democrats, 4 Republicans, and 1 Green candidate plus some others who aren’t identified by party for local governing boards. I chose to retain or not retain 21 judges and I voted NO on 7 propositions and YES on two. I have no clue if I made good choices, but they were at least partially informed ones.

Tonight the fam, which includes Todd-o, will be eating hot dogs with yellow mustard and watching the returns. We are going to party like the Sooners won the National Title! I mean, we are going to honor what a freaking awesome country this is where we get a say in the political process regardless of whether or not everyone goes against my better judgement to select boneheads for offices and can’t figure out a proposition from a wide stance.

If you haven’t already, please go VOTE!

* Corporation Commissioner and TUSD Governing Board results were not tallied. The expectation is that the children will take their ballots and electoral maps home and follow the returns.