Diapers and Dragons

Friday, April 30, 2010

I Didn't Anticipate This When I Chose My Nom de Plume


Today did not start well. The boylets have gotten into the habit of staying up far too late regardless of when I put them to bed, and last night was no exception. I sleep downstairs on the couch, too far away to monitor all that happens up there after lights out, and I discovered this morning that The Widget had committed the No-No (NO NO NO!!!!) of playing with my makeup. An eyeshadow container displayed mini-finger-sized gouges, which also explained the interesting brown war-paint that decorated his sleeping face. I suppose I should be happy it was makeup and not, well, Other Brown Stuff.

So we began the day with whining and complaining and Consequences. I was all set for the day to be a Horrible, Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

Then I got my Good Morning text from MTL.

The Widget wore Big Boy Underwear to school today, because he has finally turned the corner with potty training.

The boylets stopped whining and gave me kisses instead.

The Color Guard Booster Parents coffee stand had cherry-flavored coffee this morning.

And I started counting my blessings.


One of my students who had Messed Up begged me for mercy over email the other day. He showed up with donuts and coffee for me this morning. My students seem to have figured out my weaknesses. They are:
  • Bavarian Creme or Boston Creme donuts
  • Brownies, especially thick gooey fudgy ones like another contrite student brought me yesterday which were the Best Brownies Ever. I had to scoop them into my mouth WITH A SPOON. And with every bite, I giggled. No, really. And then I took the rest to MTL and he nearly wept with every bite. That student gets an A+, he informed me. For everything. Especially if he makes them again.
  • Godiva dark chocolate bars with raspberry filling
  • Dark chocolate anything, really
  • Especially paired with raspberry, for that matter
  • Food, now that I think about it

My waistline is becoming an issue, what with all the Tribute and Mercy Offerings and the lack of exercise due to OMG MY BACK AND HIPS OMG.

My physical therapist said yesterday would be our last session until fall, when hopefully some of my OMG STRESS OMG will fade and he can focus more on my neck and upper back issues. In the meantime, I am carrying on with the alignment exercises and strengthening exercises and the strange things I do with a long white noodle and a small yellow ball. Don't ask.

I asked what kind of exercise I am allowed to do that would address my waistline and brownie muffin-tops. He said nothing weight-bearing or high-impact (so no Zumba, *sob*). Ideally, I should do twenty minutes on a stationary bicycle three times a week, achieving an aerobic heart rate level of 120-130 bpm.

This would be lovely, except I do not have a stationary bike and am a bit hesitant to fork over cash for membership at a fitness center, what with OMG NO MONEY OMG and only using one machine for an hour a week. I suppose I could exercise here at school, but that would involve finding space and time in the weight room, as well as puffing and swearing sweating away in front of students. Oy. Must think on this.

But at least I have options and my hips and back are so very much better and I cannot recommend my physical therapist highly enough because he is a miracle worker.


Not all students clog cheer up my heart with chocolate alone. Yesterday a young lady came in the room with her mother.  I had her two years ago as a sophomore, and she has visited me frequently since then. She came yesterday, however, to say Goodbye. For various personal reasons, she had decided to withdraw from school, get her GED instead, and pursue college after that. But she came to find me first.

I wanted to tell you, she said, that I'll miss you and you were the most influential teacher I've ever had.

Later one of the co-principals told me she had mentioned my name in her exit interview and said I was one of the only people who had made her academic experience a positive one.

I can't win every student's heart, and that's not the reason I'm here, but hearing these things from time to time is what makes this career worth all the stress and exasperation and downright pain.


My classroom has scattered memorabilia from current and former students all over the walls and boards. Bizarre cartoons, surrealistic sketches and paintings and drawings, amusing or stunning posters and projects, senior pictures, little notes of affection and/or snark. This morning a student whose schedule change required her to switch to a different English teacher at the semester break came to visit before her next class. She left behind a markered note on my board: Kaylee <3s you!

I like Ms. P, she said, but I miss your class so much. I wish I hadn't had to switch out!

She had nearly failed my class first semester. Oddly enough, quite frequently it's the students who fail or came very close to it who come back and say they miss me the most. I was always an academic high achiever: I cannot help but wonder why I connect so strongly with students who struggle in the classroom setting.

It certainly isn't because I coddle them. I'm more likely to give them a verbal kick in the ass for not living up to their potential. I believe in Tough Love. Success only matters if you earn it.


I've never considered myself a maternal sort of teacher. At least, not in the gentle, cuddly, sweet sort of way. Not that I'm a soulless sort. I'm fairly decent at adjusting my approach to individual students as appropriate, and I've had my share of sessions comforting a distraught student in the hall. Nevertheless, I'm more likely to kick them in the ass (metaphorically speaking) than not.

So I was caught off guard this year when a close-to-my-heart former student told me he sees me as his mom, certainly more so than his biological mother (let's just say they have a difficult relationship). And then when I had a good half-dozen or so current students tell me I sound like their mothers. And then I realized that a good number of the comments I leave on former (as in graduated) students' Facebook Walls have a rather mothering tone to them.

In a snarky, raised-eyebrow, slap-upside-the-head sort of way.

I mean, I'm barely old enough to be the biological mother to my (younger) current students, and even then I would have had to be a teen mother! Somehow, without meaning to, I've crossed some invisible border into Mom territory. Although definitely more on the Roseanne (but with WAY more class) (I hope) (please God) side of the mothering spectrum than the June Cleaver one.

I'm not sure what to think about that. I'm still figuring out how to be Mom to my biological kids without adding a few hundred more to the list.


Those kids and those relationships, however, are the real reason I do what I do. It's the main reason I've stayed in the high school arena rather than moving up to the college level, as was my original plan when I started this career. I would miss the kind of interaction I can have with high school students.

There are perks to maintaining those connections, too. Tonight I will attend a play at Wayne State University in which a former student is performing, and I'm going for free. She gave me a comp ticket out of gratitude for a small favor I did for her. MTL is going along, and we'll go out for coffee with my gorgeous, talented former student afterward. And who will be watching my kidlets while I do this, you ask? Yet another former student. One of the four or five former students who babysit for me. At a marvelously reduced rate, I should note, and occasionally with my offer of payment refused.

Because they love me.

I may never have a building named after me or a statue erected in my honor or be a household name. But when I look at my life and what I do and why I do it...

I have not wasted my time.

Today is a good day.


As a two-for-one, today is also Flog Yo Blog Friday over on MummyTime. Join in the awesome!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

No Escape From Reality

Single mommyhood. Rollercoaster rides. They have much in common, only single mommyhood has more screaming.

Last night was a Toggle Day, and I arrived at the boylets' school to be greeted by the news that The Widget had officially completed his transition from Early Learners (30-36 mos) to Skill Builders (3-4 years), better known as *sob* Preschool. It's official. My not-so-babyish baby is a preschooler. He proudly showed me his new cubby and the pretty picture he had drawn for me and announced, I went potty in the TOILET!!!

Imagine this said in an adorably squeaky little Widget voice and your heart will melt much as mine did.

Then we went outside to collect DramaBoy off the playground, where he bounced over to me with a treasure clutched in his fist. His fingers uncurled to present me with....


I heroically fought down my shudders, exclaimed appropriately over its Awesome Worminess, and suggested that perhaps he needed to put it back in the dirt where it lives. Thank the dear Lord above he didn't try to bring it home as a pet. I draw the line at...well, at pretty much anything nonmammalian, and most mammals too. I'd rather not even have the frickin' dog, but that's a story for another day.

(Dog lovers, please don't hate me. If you knew the story, you'd understand. Some of my readers already do. Trust me on this.)

So, happy and wormless, we headed home; the Widget playing happily with a Viewmaster and DramaBoy spelling words on his little toy computer, myself singing (and dancing, because that's how I roll) along with the radio.

This was the Fun Part.

Once we got home, the ride took a sinister turn. I committed the great sin of lifting The Widget out of the car rather than letting him get out by himself, and the resulting tantrum wended its way from the garage floor to the hallway floor to his bed, where I informed him he could stay until he got himself under control.

DramaBoy made snarky comments from the sidelines. Which made things SO MUCH EASIER.

And it went downhill from there. I found myself dealing with a temporarily bipolar Widget, a DramaBoy who kept changing his mind which game he wanted me to watch him play and losing his patience with my inability to focus on any of them, a phone call from a bill collector for a credit card I'd forgotten about, a dear friend who needed to vent on Facebook, and a dog demanding to be fed. I was also trying to make dinner, change out of my work clothes, counsel MTL over the phone about his daughter's school issue, and not scream at anyone.

Finally I had enough. I shut down everything. I let the oven keep heating without putting in the biscuits, put the phone on silent, and sat down (in pajama pants and my work shirt) with a kidlet on either side.

We watched this

and then this

and then this

and then I let the now happy and giggling boylets sit on the couch by themselves and watch this

while I changed my shirt, popped the cheesy biscuits in the oven, heated the soup, finished my conversation with MTL, and got dinner on the table.

Then I sat down with my boylets, put on Barenaked Ladies' Snacktime CD (my favorite children's album, because with song lyrics like these, how could I not love???) and we ate our meal while singing and dancing along.

There was a brief hiccup in the bliss when DramaBoy temporarily objected to the soup selection before he'd even taken a bite.

What kind of soup is this? he asked. I don't like green soup.

It's broccoli soup, I answered. You love broccoli.

I like BROCCOLI, he responded, but I don't like broccoli SOUP.

I'll confess right here that I lied to him. Without even a twinge of conscience.

Of course you do! I said. You liked it the last time you had it!

Oh, okay! he said, and that was that.

Keep in mind that yes, DramaBoy does love broccoli, but he has never had it in soup form before. I FEEL NO SHAME. Sometimes you just do what you have to do to survive.

After all, you never know what's coming once you crest that next hill. That drop might be a bitch.

I'll admit, they're awfully cute. I guess I'll keep them. For now.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


There are times when silence clogs my throat and I cannot say what needs to be said. I am fixed by uncertainty, frozen by fear. What will be the reaction to my words? Will they be met by scorn, ridicule, disappointment?

Habit. Years of keeping my tongue still, swallowing my words, saying only what I think will be met with approval. Years of fearing to make my own decisions or suggestions or, God forbid, demands.

When I was a little girl, I was very opinionated. According to my parents, I was the very definition of the Strong Willed Child. My children come by their Attitudes honestly. Well, that and apparently God was listening when my mother cursed me lo, those many years ago.

Somewhere along the way that little girl crawled into a corner of my mind and my backbone went AWOL.

How pitiful is this: when someone asks me what I'd like for dinner or which restaurant I'd prefer or what activity I'd enjoy, I rarely respond with anything other than Oh, I don't know. It doesn't matter to me. I might indicate a few options I would NOT like, but I am far more comfortable with the decision being made for me. That way, you see, I won't chance ridicule or disagreement.

How sad is this: I went up north this last weekend to MTL's parents' place. Saturday morning MTL and I both woke early and, unable to sleep, took our coffee out on the back porch to enjoy the sunrise. The morning air was damp and chilly. When MTL rose to find the off switch for the glaring porch light, I suggested he bring out a sleeping bag to cover our legs. I had been thinking about this for five minutes and had to overcome enormous reluctance to make the suggestion. His response? A big smile and a comment about how smart I am. What I subconsciously expected? A scowl and a comment about it not being THAT cold, and if I was chilled, maybe I should go get the blanket myself. Which, I should mention, is not typical of MTL. That didn't matter. It was still my automatic apprehension.

I started thinking.

Put me in charge of a group of students and I have no problem being Queen and Goddess of the Classroom. Put me in a professional setting with my coworkers and my Voice is Heard.

Put me in a social setting with my peers and I falter. I follow rather than lead, give way rather than stand strong.

Don't get me wrong: if something is suggested with which I strongly disagree, I won't do it. I'm not mindless. But when it comes to anything that is smaller in scope, that doesn't involve moral or legal issues, I'd rather not rock the boat.

I'm better than I used to be. Saturday I overcame my illogical fear and suggested the blanket. And the blanket was fetched. Monday, when asked what I wanted for dinner, I responded, Taco salad. And taco salad we had.

I'm building my backbone. It helps that my dearest friends and loved ones have been responding with encouragement rather than disapproval. It helps that I've had to stand on my own for a year now, that I've had to learn to say


This is the line I will not cross. 

That won't work for me. 

This is what will work for me.

This is what I need.

This is what I want.

The healing continues. I just keep wondering what happened to the little girl who always had to Have It Her Way and why it's taken so long for her to show up again.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reheated Coffee

For various reasons, I'm reposting this poem (sorry Lauren, I know you aren't fond of my poetry) from November 17th. This event was real. This is a conversation I've had in various forms with a far larger number of people than any of us would like to think over the last year. It's a far too common story.

"one night over coffee"

you werent the only one
she said
and gazed out the window at the sun
dying in crimson glory on the horizon

i knew there was a reason i was drawn to you
a similarity of pain
our scars are sisters in formation
her mouth twisted a moment and then

her face was blank
no one looking at us would know
we spoke of secrets held for decades
not forgotten

never forgotten

but stuffed beneath our breasts
in pockets of poisoned past
lives we lived in another space and time

perhaps her eye glistened a moment
as did mine
but there was no breaking down
in tears or gasping sobs
that too lay in the years gone before
shut away by minds well trained
no breaches of security
for public curiosity

i cried in the shower the other day
i said
my lips moving in subdued confession
it just happened
i found myself on the floor
with water beating on my back
and tears streaming down my face
and didnt know how i got there

she nodded
ive done that too
but not in a while
it catches me by surprise sometimes

did you ever tell
i asked
and knew the answer before she spoke

i tried
but the only ones who believed
were the other ones they did it to
our parents didnt want to hear
didnt want to believe
because of who they were

im lucky
i said
my parents didnt know
but at least they believed me
and they are mourning now

i looked over her shoulder
at the older man sitting behind us
his eyes kept flickering to my face
to her back
and i wondered if he could hear
the murmured words

his eyes were avid
almost hungry
for what i wondered
salacious stories
of ancient pain
and modern wounds
or confirmation that
he too was not the only one

or had he been one of those
who had torn and ripped away
someones innocence
in the long or not so long ago

too many stories
too many sides
too many scars
and ours will not be the last

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm Pretty Awesome With Toast, Though

Look, I just don't cook from scratch much these days. Generally speaking, I'm capable of being a damn good cook, but for the last couple of years I've been incredibly reluctant. I'm also far more prone to messing up than I used to be. I even found myself overcooking good old mac 'n' cheese the other day because I wasn't paying close enough attention.

I blame DramaBoy, really, or rather the food sensitivities he had for so long. I had to focus so much on food and what was in it and finding special foods and cooking everything from scratch. It was overwhelming. Couple that with major depression, and I burned out.

You'd think that this would have faded with so much time. It has been two years, after all. Surely I'd have rebounded by now. And in some ways I have. I don't hate being in the kitchen like I did for a while. I find myself quite willing to be part of a cooking team, in fact. But cooking alone and every day? I still dislike it. Strongly.

Nevertheless, when Lauren posted about making Pizza Loaf, a variation on one of the meals I actually loved at boarding school, nostalgia worked its magic. Besides, I thought the recipe looked simple enough.


I should have known better. Lauren is one of those women who makes things look easy. I love her, but like my sister, there are times when it's a really good thing I do, because that stupid inferiority complex of mine comes surging to the surface. Just sayin'.

(And I didn't giggle AT ALL over her post the other day confessing that she and her beautiful children are, in fact, human. I'd never do something like that.)

I SWEAR I followed her instructions. But I was all stressed and chaotic and whatnot, like that's anything out of the ordinary, and it took a lot longer than it should have and my pizza loaf was huge and falling apart and had holes where it shouldn't and I forgot the cheese and had to open it back up to put cheese in and it looked like a Huge Mess.


I felt like crying. I got crabby with MTL instead, because of course I didn't cook this massive meal for just me and my two kidlets. Oh no, I tried out a completely new recipe involving dough from scratch while cooking for other people in an unfamiliar kitchen. I AM SPECIAL THAT WAY.

I baked the damn thing anyway, and it turned out okay. Just okay, not fabulous, but good enough that I decided that perhaps, with a little tweaking and practice and maybe, oh I don't know, FOCUS, perhaps it would be worth trying again.

In a few months.

Until then, I'm going to practice making mac 'n' cheese.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

To Tell the Tooth

Today is Earth Day. Happy Earth Day. Go recycle a bottle or plant a tree. Woot.

Now that I got that out of the way, let's talk Dentists.

I don't know anyone who loves going to the dentist, but I have had a particular horror of them rooting (hehe) from some horrific childhood experiences. It may come as a surprise to you, but there aren't too many qualified dentists hanging out in West Africa. Mostly people chew on sticks and, when their teeth fall out in their older age, gum down on some nice soft foutou.

When I was a child, however, there was one American dentist with a practice in central Ivory Coast. As our water lacked flouride and I wasn't particularly conscientious about brushing my teeth, he had a good bit of work available to him courtesy of my cavities.

I hated him.

He was short-tempered, horrible with kids, completely unsympathetic, and heavy-handed. When I had to have a crown placed on one of my molars, he refused to allow my mother to stay in the room with me, despite my obvious terror. He then proceeded to talk to his assistant in French the entire time, only addressing me to bark out the occasional order. As he drilled into my tooth, so deeply that the Novocaine became moot, he shouted at me not to flinch or cry. When I, inevitably, did so, he pounded his fist down on my shoulder so hard that it left a bruise.

Oh yes.

I was so frightened of him, in fact, that I didn't even have the courage to tell my parents WHY. They knew he wasn't great with kids, but they didn't know for years that he had actually hurt me in non-dental ways.

I'm pretty sure there was a good reason he was working in Ivory Coast rather than the U.S. of A.

So I am less than happy about visiting the dentist. Nevertheless, because as fond as I am of foutou banane and cream of wheat and split pea soup, I would rather be able to eat a good steak now and then in my old age, I faithfully go and sit in the chair of torture every six months.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Don't get me wrong. I shopped carefully for a dentist when I came into the area and found one who is so dang gentle I sometimes wonder if he's even anywhere near my mouth. My hygienist is awesome too. So it's more the lingering trauma that gets me each time than the reality.

So yesterday I sat in the chair, opened my mouth, and submitted to my hygienist's loving attention. Ann, marvelous as she is with my teeth, is An Odd Duck. The woman loves teeth. I do mean this. She is passionate about teeth, gums, and jaw bones. She can speak on the merits of flossing for half an hour. She has story after story about her clients--or rather, her clients' teeth. Because here's the thing: she'll remember every detail about your teeth for decades, but damn if she can remember much about you!

I get the same questions every time. She finally remembered after about three years that I'm a teacher, and after another year or two she started remembering where I teach, but she's still working on my area of expertise. Our conversation is much the same every time:

You have nice teeth. I like working on your teeth, she says. Some of my clients just don't take care of their teeth. I knew this one man who said he only brushed his teeth every ten days. I had to wonder, how does he know when it's the tenth day? But you have nice teeth.

Ankhh ooo, I respond. Sort of.

What is it you teach again? she asks.

Eeenhgicscssh, I gargle.

Oh right! Which grades?

Enh, eyeyench, and telchhh.

Oh right. Do you ever run on the track up at [school]?

Onh. I hanh eecaush uh y eees.

I like to run up there sometimes, she goes on, because my response and explanation about my bum knees is not actually essential to her train of thought, because I think it's always safer. I mean, unless you have a dog or something to take on your walk or run, who knows who might come after you? But I don't like to go up there when there are lots of kids around. It feels like they're all watching.

At this point I stop responding other than the occasional grunt to let her know I'm aware of her ongoing patter. I try to ignore the whine of the waterpick and let my mind drift to an image of her running awkwardly along the sidewalk. What would make someone attack her? Would they see the flash of her perfectly flossed teeth and be so jealous of their loveliness that they wouldn't be able to resist trying to obliterate them?

Violence and dentistry are meshed in my twisted mind.

She told me a story yesterday that had me thinking that perhaps I need to pick up some more of those flossers, though. She knows an older woman who has now had every single tooth removed from her mouth due to (OMG major) dental problems. Rather than going the dentures route (which, according to Ann, can cause bone thinning because the bones are not being used) (see what one can learn while sitting in the dentist's chair?) (or reading a blog?) this woman had false teeth implanted in her jaw.

And here's the shocker: this ended up costing a total of EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.

She remortgaged her house in order to have teeth. I KID YOU NOT.

I'm thinking the occasional $5 pack of flossers and a few minutes of dental discomfort might be worthwhile.

That or learning how to make foutou.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

If Calgon Won't, I Will

For years and decades and ages and holy crap this stuff is ooooooold good old Calgon has been telling us to tell it to "take me away."

For about as long as I can remember, I've wondered what the heck Calgon IS. I never owned any Calgon products. In my mind, that brand name sounds medicinal in a vaguely hemorrhoidal old people sort of way. I wasn't sure what it was, and I really wasn't sure I wanted it to take me anywhere.

Recently I spotted an actual Calgon product in someone's bathroom. Lo and behold, it was very feminine, flowery scented body lotion. In a pink tube. Ah ha! I thought. If they make that sort of product, then the brand must be trying to take its consumers Away From Here, as in Reality and Daily Life.

Turns out I was right. Well, I assume. The tropical theme certain indicates that sort of thing. Though that wouldn't be very Away for people who live in, oh, say, Jamaica or coastal Florida or that sort of place. Perhaps they should be able to link to a site that shows mountains or scenic deserts or something? Whatever. Wherever you are, apparently Calgon takes you Away From There.

Why the heck didn't I google that word ages ago? (And why the heck did they pick such an ugly brand name? Or change it for these here Modern Times? Helloooooooo!)

Anywho, all this to say I could use some Calgon spa products right about now, because Daily Life, it is worth leaving for a while. Too much stress, too much student angst, too much political and economic strain. Too much, in general.

I'm not entirely sure a tube of body lotion will cut it, however. So I'm planning a Getaway. Oh yes. In a few weeks I am Getting Away for realsies, at least for a couple of days. The details aren't all in place yet, but it's being planned. No phones. No computers. No kids. No work. Nothing other than utter relaxation Elsewhere.

And I'm not going to tell you where I'm going, either. Even though I love you all. So there.

Now to get through the next two-and-a-half weeks....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I am limited in options and choices and actions at the moment, and the anxiety wells up in my chest and chokes my breath momentarily. A tell-tale muscle twitches at the corner of an eye. My neck is tense. My hands are shaky. My tongue stumbles and trips over words.

The stress is rising to the surface.

One month from today I appear in court to, hopefully, finalize the termination of a marriage that no longer exists in anything but legality. There are still is to be dotted and ts to be crossed, discussions to have and decisions to make, finances to analyze and a settlement to complete. The unknowing swaths my mind in confusion, uncertainty, indecision. I yearn for the finality, the end to this in-between time, yet blanch at the thought of what must be accomplished in that time.

One month, but in that one month we must determine the pattern of years. We must accommodate the inevitable changes: solidify some areas while including flexibility. We hope for the best and plan for the worst. We navigate the minefield of negotiations, building the fragile scaffold that must sustain us through a lifetime of working together as parents of our beloved sons.

My world is filled with uncertainty these days. Some decisions, like those made while negotiating this settlement, are somewhat within my control. But only somewhat. Others--like those made by the Powers That Be who are even now determining what my economic reality will be in my career, my workplace, my doctor's office, my dentist's office, my retirement--are in the hands of people I do not trust. Those who crave power are rarely those who should have it; those placed in positions of power are too often corrupted by it.

There are so few rocks upon which I can stand. I cling to my God, hold to my beloveds, and trust that some way, somehow, certainty will come in its time.

I twitch, and breathe, and struggle to focus on the next step I must take.

One thing at a time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Numbers Say I Win Mommy of the (Yester)Day

This weekend was crazy busy. And I mean CRAZY BUSY. There are times when I get a little taste of being SuperMom again, and this was one of them. When that occurs, I feel the need to pat myself on the back. Because I survived.

Besides, it doesn't happen that often these days. I'm far more often Lazy Bad Mommy than Productive Good Mommy, to tell the truth.


So here's the breakdown of my weekend:

Friday--ran around to multiple locations trying to find party supplies, especially the all-important Dinosaur Stuff. Limited success. The children's blessed grandmother had more success, because she is the Queen of Dollar Stores, and I ended up meeting her to get the DS she found. Then I scooped up the kids from school, picked up Lucky Duck Pizza, and headed home. My parents called all the way from West Africa just as we were pulling in, so the boys and I had a nice long chat with them. Then it was time for the kidlets to take a bath and watch tv until they fell asleep go to bed, and then I attempted to sort out stuff for the party. Around 9:30 I realized I had no eggs for the cupcakes. And that my cell phone was nowhere to be found. MTL came to the rescue shortly after 10 with eggs delivered to my door as well as a handy cell-phone-ringing service. My phone, it turns out, was nestling in the big bed along with my kidlets, nicely camouflaged in the matching comforter.

I finished my baking and got to bed around midnight.

Saturday--The party happened, and happened well, despite the nasty weather gods. The Widget then went off with his grandma for several hours, while I cleaned up and then took DramaBoy and MTL's daughter K to meet up with MTL and his other kids to see How To Train Your Dragon. In 3D. Which was awesome. DramaBoy dealt with it pretty well, but said he didn't really like it because HIS dragon was not in the movie. Remind me to tell DreamWorks that they really need to work his personal toys into their films from now on.

Then I picked up The Widget, where we were fed thank God because I was so tired by their blessed grandma, and we went home. To collapse.

Sunday--You'd think that after all the craziness of the weekend so far I would have stayed on the couch all day as is my modus operandi. But no. We didn't go to church because The Widget's sniffles had turned into a nasty cough and misery. Instead, I accomplished mighty deeds. No training dragons and saving the village, but nevertheless. In one day, I managed to do the following:
  • went grocery shopping with 2 boys in tow (thank God for the car carts at Meijer)
  • washed and dried 6 loads of laundry
  • folded and put away 9 loads of laundry (there were already 3 loads of kids' clothes sitting in baskets)
  • washed 1 load of dishes
  • decluttered and tidied the kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom
  • collected 4 garbage bags of trash from around the house
  • collected 1 giant garbage bag of giveaway clothes (from going through the kids' clothes and some of mine)
  • monitored 2 little boys as they put away their toys
  • medicated and comforted 1 little boy with a cold
  • cooked chicken and dumplings for dinner for 6 people
  • drove to Grosse Point Woods and back to drop off the 1 little boy with a cold with his grandpa, who is watching him today so that I can go to work
  • packed for my 2 days away from the house
Oh yes. I am that awesome.

Some days.

Today? I'm planning on getting through the work day, going to physical therapy, and collapsing.

TeacherMommy out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure Dinosaurs Don't Like Snow. Isn't That What Killed Them Off? Perhaps I Was Tempting Fate.

I don't know which weather deity I ticked off when I moved into this house, but for the last six years about three-fourths of the parties I plan (or are planned in honor of me) have been cursed with snow. As in massive snowstorms, many of them.

You'd think a birthday party planned for April 17th would escape the curse.

You'd be wrong.

I knew the weather was supposed to be a little chilly and windy today. I did not, however, cancel my reservation for the gazebo in the park nearby, because we're Michiganders, dagnabit, and temps in the low fifties are No Big Deal.


I was a little worried when I was loading things into the car and spotted a few particles that looked suspiciously like random snowbits. It was only ten in the morning, though, and the temp was in the mid-forties. I had to be seeing things.

The kite-making went well. DramaBoy and The Widget were joined by MTL's youngest daughter K, and they all had fun decorating their own kites. Then we put them together with little rods and string and label stickers. Flying the kites was no problem, either. The Widget dropped his on the ground shortly after getting outside, and when he tugged at it, the wind caught it and UP IT WENT!!!

For being a newb at kite flying, he was pretty dang good. Mostly I just kept an eye on him to make sure he didn't get tugged into the parking lot.

But then the wind began to blow in earnest. And along came the snow. My friend M, who was driving with her husband and daughter to join us, said the temperature dropped nine degrees in ten minutes. When The Widget began crying because he was so cold, we decided to give up and head back to the house.

Thank God for the boys' father and grandmother, who scooted through the house cleaning like mad while I waited at the park to direct stragglers in the right direction. We somehow managed to put everything together and had a great party, sudden changes in plan notwithstanding. Since it was too cold for the kids to go outside, I didn't even have to worry about the horrendous state of the yard!

It all worked out. But I think I need to figure out what propitiations need to be made in order to rid myself of this curse. I know it's Michigan, but people are starting to talk.

And I LIKE parties.

Also: WEATHERPEOPLE SUCK. No one said anything about snow.

Gratuitous photo evidence, with captions:

The Widget has a very free-form artistic approach.

Two blondes with kites
(good name for a band)

Up, up, and away!

It's a wrapper! It's a plastic bag! No...it's a kite! (No, really.)

He had on three layers and STILL ended up shivering and crying. Sigh.

Dinosaur cupcakes! Brilliant brainchild of SoccerSister (and some others, but she beat them to the punch). They almost didn't happen. I thought I had eggs and discovered at 9:30 last night that I did not. MTL came to the rescue by dropping off some eggs and calling my phone, which had managed to get lost somewhere in the house. It was a fun night, let me tell you.


The spread. Again, kudos to my friends and family who gave me ideas for what to get. Also HUGE thanks to the boys' grandma, who used her magical shopping skillz to track down all the dinosaur Stuff that I could not seem to find ANYWHERE.

The Widget kept rolling his eyes while we sang to him. It was very teenager. I wish I could have captured it on camera.

But then he made up for it with a huge grin. The chocolate may have helped.

PRESENTS!!!! There were many dinosaurs. We have several dozen inhabiting the house now. Also: a happy Widget. And that, my friends, makes it all worthwhile.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wanderings and Wakings


I yawn and flick the cursor from window to window. No new messages. No new comments. Nothing has changed in the last two minutes. I stare blankly at the screen, willing the words to spill from my fingertips through the keyboard onto the silicon page.

I feel the need to write deep and stirring prose about how Spring has Sprung, but there are all these annoying people sitting around me discussing things like curriculum pacing and summer reading choices and rubrics and syntax. You'd think such things would excite me, but no, they don't. Not in this context, at any rate. These meetings seem to be created for the sole purpose of dismantling any progress that has been made in previous meetings or decisions that have been made by curriculum committees.

Let me return to my classroom. More will be done there than in this room full of professional blathering.


I watch his hand smoothly shift the mouse over the desk, expertly locating and opening the program he wants. Odd little creatures bounce onto the screen and he scrolls through the options.

Look at this one, Mama! he crows as a flame-painted alien comes into view. This one is a bad guy because he's all scary! But this one, he says as a panda-like being takes its place at center, is a good guy because he is cute.

I want to tell him that appearances can be deceiving, that not all that is beautiful or adorable or cute in appearance will be good. I want to warn him that covers conceal, that shiny can coat deep rot, that outer loveliness can shield evil. Likewise, that which appears fearsome may be pure within.

I watch his innocence and cannot bring myself to lecture it away today.

It is cute! I say, and my eyes trace the beauty of his precious face.


My fingers drum the steering wheel, my left foot keeping time with the rhythm thrumming through the car. I sing with abandon, carefree in my isolation as I speed along the highway.
You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed, sing like bird
Dizzy in my head, spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Ohh, you make me smile
The wind from the open window tosses my hair wildly about my face. I dance in my seat and sing, happy in my space, happy in my self.


Yesterday the temperature climbed into the low eighties. Windows flung up in stuffy winter-shielded houses; windows rolled down in SUVs and station wagons and Hummers and compacts. Motorcycles appeared around every bend; convertibles sped sleekly along each road.

Today it is cooler and pearl-grey clouds shield the sun. Tomorrow will require long sleeves and windbreakers, just in time for the birthday party taking place in a park. The weather website says the chance of precipitation is low. Still, I am grateful I rented a covered gazebo and hope the chill of winter's lingering grasp will not chase off the guests.

Kites might fly farther than planned.


Strong hands slide under my shoulder blades and begin their patient, persistent movements to soothe my muscles back into place. My body resists: its bones and sinews have been twisted into these shortened, strained positions for so long that they no longer remember where they should be. The hands move in subtle persuasion.

My eyes cannot remain open. This is the fifth time I have lain here in this long, slow retraining. Every time I find myself dozing. Lazy thoughts drift through my mind, half-remembered images and snippets of ideas that trail away in peaceful demi-dreams.

He is teaching me how to restore my body back to where it should be, and I relish the ability to treat my pain at will. But I will miss this half-hour of somnolence and peace.


The relentless blare of my alarm yanks me from vague but blissful dreams. I switch it off and bury my face back in the pillow. Soft warmth weights my limbs with reluctance. Five more minutes. Maybe ten. Surely I can shower rapidly enough to make up the time.

Every morning feels earlier than the one before, this time of year. Two months from today I will walk through the school doors for the final time of this academic year. True, the occasional committee meeting and the early morning habits of my children will still wake me before I'd prefer, but for the rest of summer I will be able to sleep later than I may now. Two hours makes all the difference.

I groan and swing my legs over the side, stumble wearily to my feet, and wander towards hot water and soap. Today will be a two-coffee morning. But then, most of them have been, lately.


The flowers are waking up! he says, small body crouched low to greening earth, brown eyes sparkling inches away from shy crocuses.

The world wakes, and the birds trill the song of Nature's Morning. Slim branches that mere days ago stood stark and barren are fuzzed with budding leaves, verdant life sprung from winter's seeming death. The Judas tree I planted with my own hands bears no green in this early month, but subtle purple blossoms edge the sapling like evening shadows. It will grow again this year, thickening its limbs on its journey from adolescence.

The remnants of the farm this once was wend their wilding paths through the orthodox landscaping. Sharp tang of onion will scent the air. Grape leaves will climb sturdy trunks. Small raspberries will tempt small fingers to brave the danger of thorny vines. The sour cherry tree will bloom with the promise of cobbler to come.

For a moment, I feel Earth turning under my feet.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Older They Get, the Tougher Planning These Things Gets. What Was I Thinking???

I've always been of the opinion that children's birthday parties should be fairly simple and low-key, especially when the children in question are quite young. I've heard about the incredible extravaganzas that some people put on for their tots, complete with petting zoos ("We come to you! Added bonus: excellent excuse to replace your whole lawn afterward!"), inflatable bouncy thingies, clowns (Ack! Really, who thinks kids LIKE those creepy things?), cakes from specialty shops...In other words, people will spend the equivalent of a small wedding budget on a birthday party for a child who may, at most, have some hazy images imprinted on his/her mind for a while.


In the past, all my kidlets' parties have been held at the house. There have been a few snacks, a cake, some balloons and festive party plates, a few inexpensive favors for the young guests. The guests themselves have been limited to family members and a few close friends who also have young children. Fun was had by all. In a very low-key, inexpensive way.

The Widget, however, is having a party this Saturday, and I'm doing things just a touch differently.

First, the party will not be at the house. I have two reasons for this: (1) I really don't feel like cleaning up the house that much and there isn't all that much room on the main floor, and (2) I'd rather have the party at a neutral location, especially because DramaBoy keeps getting confused when his father and I happen to be at the house simultaneously. He's still working through the idea of our separation being a permanent thing.

So I have rented (yes! rented!) a small gazebo at a marvelous little city park nearby, one that has a built-in farm/petting zoo for the delight of our guests as well as a very nice playground that's safely enclosed and has plenty of seating and shade for adults. In addition, the Parks Department is holding a little kite-making and -flying event that morning for kids of all ages. What perfect timing. It's supposed to be in the mid-fifties that day, but shouldn't rain. Let's keep our fingers crossed on that one!

The second big difference is that I actually invited The Widget's little classmates from his Early Learners class at daycare. I decided that since this is happening out of doors and I don't have space issues, I could manage it. Also, I kind of delayed putting this thing together, so a number of The Widget's little friends who are the children of my friends can't come. The more the merrier, right? And even though I know not all of them will be able to come, there should be enough little people running around to keep my boylet happy.

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to serve them all for a light picnic lunch, how to decorate cupcakes to reflect a kinda-sorta dinosaur theme, and try not to break my limited budget while still decorating that gazebo so it's festive.

Suggestions, anyone?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Boy Called Widget

My baby is three today.

This means, in my mind, that I no longer have any babies. I have two little boys, yes, but neither one can truly be called a baby in the true sense of the word.

Mind you, The Widget has not been very Baby for quite some time now though it would make me very happy if he'd be a little more cooperative with the potty training and not just reserve the perfection for his father thankyouverymuch. A few months ago I looked at him as he bounced around in his pull-up and realized that his chub is gone. His little body has lengthened and slimmed and stretched into that body shape that speaks boy rather than baby. His proportions are mini-adult rather than mini-leg.

And I miss my chubbers. I miss those pudgy, dimpled thighs. I miss the soft roundness of his arms around my neck. I miss that buddha belly that jiggled when he ran.

Not that I don't delight in the boy he is becoming. I love the mischievous twinkle in his eyes, those hazel eyes that are clearly Me. I love his linguistic leaps and explorations. I love his infectious giggles, even when they are triggered by teasing DramaBoy by repeating everything he says.

(Mama! The Widget is copying me! DramaBoy protests.

Mama! The Widget is copying me! The Widget mimics, and bursts into giggles even as his brother groans with exasperation.)

He is more reserved than DramaBoy, who has a tendency to burst into rooms with fanfare and sparkles. The Widget likes to scope out the scene first and determine just how he fits. He is a people watcher. Lately, however, he has become friendlier even through the initial shyness. When greeted, he says Hi! and waves rather than just hiding behind my legs--though that often happens as well. He becomes more comfortable in new settings far more quickly than before, particularly if there are other children around.

One of his best friends is an adorable little dandelion-fluff-haired girl, B, who is the daughter of a coworker and exactly one month younger than he. They have always been in daycare together. In fact, when he changed daycares last year, she was switched over to his new one a few months later.

Since B's mother works with me, we drop our children off at the same time in the mornings. As we approach the school, The Widget will call out, Is B there? Is B's car there? And when he spots that red-orange minivan, he switches to B is here! B's car is here! Yay! B is here!

However, as soon as we walk through the classroom door, he's all cool and reserved. It's very much a Hey...what's up, girl? sort of attitude.

He's playing hard to get already.

He's still my little cuddlebug, though, that boy. I still get those arms wrapped around my neck, those plump little lips pressing kisses on my cheeks. Now, however, I also get the words I wuv you, Mama! I wuv you! 

And I melt.

He'll always be my baby. But there are compensations for the loss of his babyhood.

Happy Birthday, my not-so-little Widget!

Monday, April 12, 2010

If They Thought I Was Tough Before, They're Realizing Their Error Now

It's that time of year again.

They're scowling at me. They're whispering that maybe they should have switched out to another English teacher's class at the semester break. You know, three months ago.

Of course, it doesn't help that I practically brought some of them to tears today when I ranted gave them a lecture about the sloppy job most of them did on the small research papers they turned in just before Spring Break. The ones I spent several hours grading last week. The ones I was tempted to rip into shreds and use as kitty litter since that was obviously the value their authors had placed on the assignment.

It's not like I hadn't been clear about my expectations, or given them insufficient time to do the work, or neglected to provide them with the resources they needed. No, apparently a large percentage of my students decided my rules and guidelines and such didn't really apply to them.

I informed them they weren't that special. I mean, there are times when they get to be unique little snowflakes. This was not one of those times.

They were lucky I was relatively merciful. But that was then. This is now.

Not only am I creating a nice little assignment that will drill the rules they so carelessly disregarded into their heads, I've made it abundantly clear that I will NOT be remotely merciful when it comes time for them to turn in the final drafts of their Great Big Papers.

Ms. "Nice" TeacherMommy is gone now. This marking period I will be The Bitch, The Hardass, The Nasty Teacher Who Makes Us Do Crazy Work. And you know why?

It's summed up by a poster that hangs on my wall:

You Won't Be Rewarded For Having Brains, But For USING Them.

Gear up, kiddos. It's going to be a wild ride.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Living Words

Such is the discombobulation factor of Spring Break that I realized today that yesterday was not Friday. Last night when I Flogged My Blog via MummyTime, it was, in fact, Friday over in Australia, which is where she lives. But not here. And so I flogged yesterday's post, which is probably better anyway because today's is more likely to be much in line with the posts of Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday which were less than thrilling.

Yesterday at least I had a poem. Which made some people happy and others probably not so much, since some of my lovely followers get the happies when I post poetry and others groan and sink their heads into their hands, wondering why I persist in putting my nonprosical, uncapitalized, unpunctuated whatnots up on this blog.

Oooh, you should see all the red squiggly underlining Blogger is throwing at me. THOSE ARE NOT REAL WORDS! it says, huffing about and glaring at me through all its little 1s and 0s*. It doesn't understand the concept of linguistic creativity, of creating nonwords from words and suffixes and prefixes, of conveying meaning in ways not contained by Standard English.

I am a teacher of English, yes. I instruct my students in the use of Standard English for formal and academic use. However, in my own nonformal, nonacademic writing, I find myself quasi-following the footsteps of e. e. cummings and Lewis Carroll. I love doing this. I love the playfulness of language, how meaning can be conveyed through context and the bits and pieces of recognizable vocabulary, how it changes and evolves and lives. Language is a living entity, affected by and affecting its users, its speakers and writers and creators and creations. For we are as created by the language we speak as we are its creators: our identities are shaped by the words we use to describe ourselves and others, by the words we choose in our different contexts, by the dialects and codes that mark us as members of this and that community.

My students mock me gently (and sometimes not so gently) for the use of words/phrases like y'all and all y'all. I smile and tell them it marks my history as the classmate of Texans in the long ago of my youth, a trace that lives to this day. I listen to the verbs used by my friends and family: the dialect transformation of wash to warsh by my grandmother, a friend's modification of I saw to I seen. I listen to The Widget's experimentation with syntax: his declaration that I want all by myself walk!

Look at the transformation of language by the wave of Internet communication today. Our language is changing at a speed and in ways that we've never seen before in the history of the English language. Just look at my own blog: I use webspeak like cuz and lol and Intarwebz and blogosphere....the list goes on, and I only touch the tip of what is used these days. Consider the new verb google. Just like Kleenex and Xerox back in the day, Google is now something one does. I google information all the time. Don't you?

Not all of this is marvelous. I cannot express my disgust when papers are turned in using webspeak. I cross such words out with massive, heavy marks of the pen and let my students know just how unacceptable this is. How long will this last, however? Already words that were the unacceptable slang of the Long Ago are acceptable now: cool, gay, yeah, slick...Check out the complete Webster's Dictionary--the latest edition, because they add new words every year. Oh yes. That copy that's been sitting in the bookshelf for a few decades is outdated. Chances are you'll find words in there that are no longer in regular use, and it will be missing countless words that have crept into the center of our language since.

We (technically) still speak Modern English, just as Shakespeare did. Oh yes. Didn't you know that? From the point of view of the linguistic eras, the language we speak today is the same as his. Tell my students that, however, and I receive disbelieving stares. It is true that, with some concentration, one can read Shakespeare and discern the meaning. Most of the words are still in the dictionary. For that matter, Shakespeare coined many a word and phrase for the English language.

But no, we do not speak, from a realistic and practical point of view, the identical language as Shakespeare or Benjamin Franklin or Lewis Carroll or Edgar Allan Poe. We have a different body of words, and even old words have often shifted meaning. The skeletal structure remains, but the flesh has changed.

How dull if language remained static. Life is not static. Life changes and grows and morphs and diverges. How lovely that language does as well.

And what do you know: I had something to say today after all!

*This is a reference to binary code for the uninitiated into the confusing world of computer code. Keep in mind, I'm clueless about how this all works, but have been around so many computer geeks for so very many years that I can't help but pick up a few things here and there.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


you climb so high
stretching limb and limb
grasping handholds
slipping a moment
then triumphant
stand tall at the summit

i stand in wonder
memories wisping through my mind
not long ago each eight inch stair
from first floor to second
was too much for your chubby legs
you clutched my hand
strained in determined effort
you could climb
but not alone

now you and your brother
race each other floor to floor
my heart in my mouth i issue warnings
not on the stairs
don't play on the stairs
someone could get hurt

yet here i stand below
this wall of fiberglass and plastic
higher than my head
and watch you clamber vertically
poised to catch you

should you fall

you reach the top every time
small and slim and seraphic
your joy contagious
i feel another string stretch and snap
my hands are empty of all but applause

i watch you turn away
run toward another adventure
and wonder when the next step will come


It's FlogYoBlog Friday. For those of you who haven't, check out MummyTime and her lovely blog, and check out some other blogs too! And for those of you visiting me, I don't write poetry all the time. Just when the inspiration strikes. Welcome!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To Tell The Truth

Okay. Perhaps I haven't been as honest as all that. There's some angst. It's just angst I don't feel like I can write about much. You know. The Big D. And money. Evil, nasty, wish-I-had-more Money. And the whole What Does The Future Hold? thing. And hot water. And mailboxes.

Um, yeah, about those last two. The house hasn't had hot water for two weeks now. The kidlet's father has been great about handling it, but it's been a nightmare. The hot water heater is broken; the Roto Rooter guy keeps misdiagnosing/lying-about/whatever it; Sears apparently doesn't feel that keeping stock in, well, stock is anything very important; and two weeks later we are on our third diagnosis, second part being shipped, and impending fourth visitation from el Roto Rooter dude whenever it is that the all-important (and please dear God correct) package arrives.

And no hot water.

Then today someone decided to take a detour off the beaten path and obliterate the mailbox. As in smashed to smithereens, metal bar twisted and awry, wooden slats and muddied mail spread about the road. That someone was kind enough to deliver the remains of the mailbox to the front door, along with its damaged contents, but was not kind enough to leave a note so that we could have it replaced via his/her insurance. Which is, by the way, what happened three winters ago when the ex lost control on the icy curve and took out four mailboxes. WE left notes with all our insurance information and explanations for how to file claims at each house's front door.

Because we are Good People.

And yes, I'm judging him/her.

Life is not horrible or even bad, but as my chiropractor said, I am under stress. And as well as I am handling things in general, as happy as I am in many ways, that stress is still there. I think it's bubbling to the surface this week, what with money being extra tight, so many things going wrong (aren't they supposed to be limited to threes? I think we're on five or seven), and the switch from my regular routine.

So tonight? Tonight I'm tired and anxious and lonely and just a touch sad.

And that's the truth of things.

All Apologies (Yeah, It's a Song Title. It's Like I'm DraftQueen or Something. Whatever.)

Okay, so here's the thing. I know I did that contest last week, and I actually had two entries (really? only two people? and Heidi, darlin', I know you're busy and all, but really? no entry?) and no, I haven't gotten around to "grading" them and coming up with a winner. Yet. I promise, I will. But I still haven't finished grading all the many, many papers I need to grade this week and I'm fighting the lazies like you would not believe and I have playdates scheduled for the kidlets (now with added bonus: adult conversation during!) and then this weekend has all sorts of other non-kidlet-related fun scheduled as well.

I haven't even done any diagramming this week.

You'd think I'm on VACATION or something. I know, right?

Also, I'm behind in reading my blogs.

Wow. My posts this week are incredibly boring. I apologize. I promise to try harder.

To make up for it, here's some gratuitous cuteness. My photos are working again. So here are my kidlets looking for eggs at my aunt's house (so adorable!!!!):

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Before y'all get all upset about my lack of coherent posts this week, please realize that I am on Spring Break and therefore have no real routine.

I know. It's such hardship.

Anywho, at some point I'll write something real. Just not...not now.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled existence.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Not Much To See Here

Yeah, haven't written in a while. Yeah, lots has been going on. Nope, don't really know where to start or what to write or anything.

In case you were confused, my last post was, in fact, an April Fool's joke. My hair is still right where it belongs, on my head (I was going to write "legs" and cross it out, but then realized that I have, in fact, shaved my legs quite recently and therefore would be kind of lying and I'm living a life of honesty now, right? So didn't. It would have been sort of funny, I suppose. I also just had to type, delete, and erase "suppose" five times because a third "p" kept popping in. I don't know what's going on with me, really.)

Spring Break has sprung and broken, Easter has eastered, and now I'm sitting in Panera taking a break from grading papers for an hour before my head started exploding and thinking that perhaps I will be wild and crazy and GO TO A PARK WITHOUT CHILDREN IN TOW. But with my Kindle. Because I'm not young crazy brave silly enough to go play on the playground without the excuse of kidlets. Besides, I did that yesterday. I EVEN SLID DOWN A SLIDE.

But it is ever so beautiful outside, and I think that sitting in the sun for a bit while reading a book would be lovely.

Speaking of Kindles, I really think I should approach Amazon about getting a commission from them for my spokesmodeling skillz. Cuz I haz them. I get more comments and questions about that lovely little bit of technology...I was at J's family's place for Easter yesterday, and I think I have at least two people planning on buying one soon. Perhaps more. I have the spiel down by now, both in long and short versions. I even know how to play to the specific audience. For example: for younger individuals, one should emphasize the mp3, whispernet, and highlighting/notetaking aspects; for older prospects, focus on the adaptable text size and electronic audio text features. Always, of course, discuss the all-important "no backlighting/low glare" screen, as that is often the main point of concern people have about e-book readers. It goes without saying (except I will) that one must mention the savings on books (many are FREE or next to it!). Though the Kindle itself isn't exactly cheap. Mine was a gift. It is $110 cheaper than when mine was purchased, however!

There you go. That's the condensed I-don't-feel-like-typing-it-all-out-and-you-really-need-to-see-one-to-love-one version of my patter.

Hey Amazon, wanna throw some moolah my way? I could use it. I'm running low.

Gah. I have no idea why I'm writing this post today. I just feel the need to avoid grading more repetitive test essays get some thoughts out of my head and onto the screen, I guess.

Life is good. I'm happy. Maybe that's the problem. Not enough angst. And y'all know angst makes for the best blog fodder, right? Well, that and kidlets.

I would show pictures of them hunting Easter eggs, but the photos aren't working.

Oh well. That's the way it goes. Buh-bye!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bald is Beautiful

I shaved my head last night.

I've been getting irritated with my hair lately. The color is growing out, so I have about four inches of roots, and I don't have the spare cash to get it redone. It's also been getting in my face--a LOT. Constantly. And because I'm always touching it in order to move it out of the way, it gets stringy, which is, you know, Such a Good Look.

I've also had an annoying habit of playing with my hair since I was in seventh grade. It's a bit of a nervous habit, though it's become more frequent. I don't just do it when I'm anxious any more. I do it All The Time. So I get split ends and look like a dork with my hand up by my ear, twirling a piece of hair between my thumb and forefinger.

Add to all this a broken water heater and very cold showers, and the whole having hair thing becomes WAY overrated.

So last night I just got rid of it all. Very a la Britney Spears, except with fewer paparazzi.

I have to say, I'm surprised by how good it looks. I was afraid I'd have all sorts of nasty bumps and ridges all over my head that would make me look like some sort of misshapen freak, but it turns out that I have a rather nice skull. Who knew?

My students were a little taken aback. I think they might have been mildly blinded by the glare. It's a bit on the white side at the moment. But the weather is rather lovely right now, so I'll spend some time in the sun this weekend, and I'm sure I'll look just fine by the time I show up at church on Sunday.

Hey, Natalie Portman and Demi Moore did it. Why can't I?
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