Thursday, March 31, 2005

vignette from my life

For less than stellar grades, Caitlin is on computer restriction.

This is a new thing.

Noone has ever punished Caitlin for anything before.

She is too precious.

Just ask her dad and sister,they will tell you

It's impossible to punish one who has already acheived Nirvana.

"you can't go off with your friend' "Okay, mom, I'd rather be with you"

When I regretfully told her, I was going to have to take her computer privileges away,she hugged me and said,"don't feel bad, I know you feel like you have to try something"

This is the same child, when I received her report card and was appalled, told me"Everything changes,Mom, one day you'll look back on this and laugh" without a trace of sarcasm!

She makes me crazy!

So, she goes online and changes my password so she can get on and I can't! While I am foaming at the mouth ,she calmly says"I just felt it was the best thing to do at the time!"

I would consider homicide, but you ca't do bodily harm to a cloud, can you?

I end this with a loving shake of the head...Life with Caitlin...all together now....OMMMMM

spring break

well, I like my job so much better when I dont' have to go to it!

I have been spending this spring break much like the ones when I was a teen.,riding to the beach listening to loud music and giggling.

Only now I am sober and am more concerned with sunscreen than skimboarding.

My teenage buddies are at loose ends, looking at the boys, but terrified one will actually speak to them,wanting to dig in the sand,but not wanting to have anyone SEE them doing so.

ahh, let it go girls. Everyone is too busy looking to see if you're looking at them to look at you!

Life just keeps getting better!


Well,the concert was great!

Tom and I ,true to form,took three hours to make the forty-five minute drive...we laughed so hard,we missed our exit a couple of times,we stopped to look at wildflowers a few times,we made friends with a woman who may not have been a hooker but who looked the part when we took a 'shortcut" that put us in an interesting,colorful section of town.We have a saying that whenver we do something we "get all the goody out of it".

John Mellancamp snag all the songs we wanted to hear. The violin player was fantastic! The crowd went wild when he sang "Little Pink Houses " and got to the line about "vacationing down at the Gulf of Mexico" (concert was in Pensacola, FL)

Afterward, there was a foggy full moon and we sat under a tree in the parking lot and talked until the lot was clear.

We headed home to be Easter bunnies the next day. After 26 years of marriage, it is still one long conversation and our private joke on the rest of the world.

Life's too important to be taken so seriously!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

on the road

I am so excited I have to sit on my hands to keep from waving at everybody!

Tom & I are leaving at 3:15 to go to Florida (1 hour away in my senile old car) to see John Mellanchamp in concert!

 I heard it advertised on the radio & mentioned, “I‘d like to go to that. Later that afternoon, I got a call from Mariah saying she had won tickets! I was telling Caitlin all about it and she was, “that rocks! We’ll have so much fun!” “We?” I replied, “Daddy and me will have so much fun!” It never occurs to my rotten little one that I would go anywhere with out her!

But, anyway, we are, and I am feeling sixteen!

The last time we went off for a weekend was to Atlanta in September. There we were so joyful & nostalgic to be at a Dead concert that  we forgot the rule to avoid eating anything served to you by a smiling person in tie-dye (which is pretty much everybody there) unless you are prepared for the consequences. Well, the consequences were fun, but kinda precluded much memory of the occasion.

So, I said all that to say this…we are well overdue for a party

Thursday, March 24, 2005


my mom is 80 years old today.

My mom...a force of nature unto herself.

I never knew she wasn't tall until she got too old to wear stilletto heels.

She made the money to run the house but hid bills from my dad.

She wore gloves that matched her shoes.

She kept her house so clean you could lick the toilet

She stood up straight and told me that I should always"hold myself up".

When my dad died, she planted roses on the spot where he fell.

She went from a large suburban house that she designed on a paper napkin to an efficiency apartment in government housing.

 She never looked back.

If she asks for a quarter, she pays it back.

She writes thank you notes for rides to the grocery store.

Happy Birthday , Mom!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

NCLB Guidelines

okay, see if this makes any sense. Maybe it is just me.

According to the No Child Left Behind the year 20014, all children are required to read on grade level. George Bush is so smart. Here we mere educators have slaved away, buying school supplies from our own tiny paychecks to accomplish this....who knew we could have just passed a law?

I went to a semianar to have the rules explained to me. Maybe I missed something somewhere,I am perhaps not Highly Qualified enough.

No matter what grade level a child is working on, he or she can only be instructed at a level 2 or 3 years behind.The goals for the year must include 1 and 1 half to 2 years of progress.

This would mean that a 7th grader with an ability level of a 2nd grader will have to be instructed on a 4th grade level and is required to achive in one year twice the progress of a child who is not handicapped.

Children must be at least 2 years behind to even be considered for special education to begin with.

We are supposed to accomplish these miracles by providing less services to the children. They are to receive less time in the resource room, less modification of the material.

But don't worry, they'll learn to read....because if they dont' ...

It's against the law!

Schools don't need more finding, better teachers, smaller class size anymore...George Bush passed a law!!!!

who are they going to arrest?

me or the kids?

Monday, March 14, 2005

back to work

These past few days have been a blur to me. I want to live my life in love the way Papa did. It was unusual to see a funeral where there was sadness but no regrets, to see a family operated from love instead of remorse.(a new concept for me, given my upbringing by the Southeastern Guilt Distributors, Inc.) The children & his widow were fairly stoic, the grandchildren wept inconsolably. My nephew said,” you got to love him longer than I did.”

The thing that stands out most I my mind is my 5 year old nephew Seth, who, when it was explained to him what would happen, piped up,” I got a shovel!” and actually brought, not a beach toy shovel , but a large camp shovel , to the graveside! We are a family who treasures & indulges its children, needless to say. Papa always joked that his youngest great-grandsons, ages 3-6 would be his pall-bearers. And they were, standing by the side of the oldest sons from each sibling.

So now I am back at work after being off for three days. I realize again how much I truly hate my job! Whoops, let’s try & be positive here. I am so glad this job gives me the opportunity to have lots of negative energy to rise above! How is that? I just never would have believed that there can be so many anal-retentive, fearful, downright mean people teaching school! You almost never hear a child laugh in these halls & if you do, it is quickly & sternly squelched. I have been teaching for 20 years & based all my dealings with children upon love & laughter, so this place is like a foreign country to me. This is my first year here, so I keep telling myself that I will adjust, but I hope I don’t get used to the casual cruelty I see all around.

I am slowly making some friends and I keep telling myself that maybe the people here need some care & affection. I am as kind as I can be, determined not to act like them! They all act as though they are survivors of some group tragedy.Oh, well; I only have to pass them in the halls. They have to live with themselves all the time.

I can get through it, do my best for the kids, who peck like starving sparrows at the small seeds of attention I have thrown them, and get home to my loved ones, leaving work at work.

I was a great teacher back when they actually let me teach. The No Child Left Behind Act has gutted Special Education, making it almost impossible to give each child the attention deserved & needed. Rather than teach daily living skills desperately needed, we have to teach memorized answers to the standardized test questions. For example kids that read on a 2nd grade level are forced to take a 4th grade test no matter how low their IQ. A week of instruction is lost each quarter while we give the tests to crying children.

I used to think I’d teach ‘till I dropped in front of my class, now I am counting the days until I can retire.

Enough of this rant, I will be off for Spring Break in 10 days, so my mood will definitely improve!

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Tom's daddy was 92 years old. He died Tuesday. He had 9 children, 25 grandchildren & 17 great grandchildren. I knew him for 30 years & never heard him say a harsh word to any of them. He was the foundation we all stood on .This is a poem I wrote for him 


                                          For Papa


                              Papa was a merchant seaman

                              Charting his course by the stars

                              on summer nights we'd watch the sky

                              and he'd tell us their names


                              He told his children

                               No matter what you do

                              Do it like you have to

                             Sign your name to it


                             When Papa came home

                               There were oysters & shrimp

                              Christmas feelings in the house

                             And all the nickels 

                             A little boy"s hand could hold


                             Papa did small things like big things

                             Folding the flag just right every night

                           Writing names and birthdates

                            of those who came to family parties

                            Proud to sign his name


                             He has sailed home now

                             His children use his star

                              to chart their course

                            to live our lives

                             so in the end, like him

                             we'll be proud to sign our names.










Saturday, March 5, 2005

commitment ceremonies & classroom discussions

Not long ago,my family and I went to a commitment ceremony for two friends,Ingrid & Pam. we have known them for20 years and were delighted to be a part of their celebration.

the odd part about it was that it was not in the least odd.It was beautiful,sentimental & traditional,just like every other wedding. We cried & laughed.

several days later ,I got a call from my daughter's 8th grade social studies teacher. she went on to describe to me how during a class discussion of gay marriage, Caitlin had become so upset ,she had to leave the room. A classmate & she were arguing about it & the teacher had told Caitlin not to get agitated,that it was just a hypothetical discussion.

"NO!Caitlin had sobbed,"It 's not at all hypothetical,You're talking about real people, you're talking about my friends,you're talking about Ingrid , who does magic tricks and Pam , who told me stories when I was scared at night when i was little. They are real & they love each other just like my mom & dad do and you're talking about them like there's something wrong with them!"

I am guessing where this conversation might be going & starting to bristle a bit when the teacher said"Iam sorry she was so hurt,but maybe it was a good thing. I know she made me think about some of my views."

I have had way too much of the religous wrong throwing the bible in my face . I can't quote it chapter and verse like they do because I do read other books, but isn't there something in the good book about "and a little child shall lead them?"