Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My cruel and hateful opinions of school spending

Apparently, I have very unpopular opinions.  Like the time I posted on the city website that maybe the fire trucks shouldn't drive parade speed through residential areas at 11:00pm with lights and sirens blaring just because the baseball team got home and was accused of hating local teenagers.  (Really?! Firetrucks waking me up in the middle of the night, and I'm supposed to assume it means good news?)

So here's what I stepped in this time.  Two teenage girls were detassling when they were killed. Somehow they came into contact with an irrigator and they and several others were shocked, and the 2 girls died.  It is horrible and tragic.  And for all of the other kids there who saw it, it was undoubtedly traumatic.  I got a text message from the school that said "Due to detassling accident counseling is available at the junior high.."  An hour later I got another one that said, "Information about accident on (city website) - school has no info."  I checked the city website and it said, in part, that the school counselors were at the jr high to help any local students who may have witnessed anything horrifying.

So while I am very glad that kids from town who might have seen something are getting counseling, I really just have to wonder why it falls on the school to offer it.  And I posted that sentiment on facebook. Why does the school have to pay for counseling for these kids who saw something traumatic outside of school?  And then a holy shitstorm opened up because apparently what I said was "Fuck all these kids my tax dollars shouldn't pay for anything and they don't need counseling anyway."  Which is odd because that's not what I said at all.

A nearby town immediately set up counseling in a city building.  I applaud them.  Our town did not do that.  Our town did not call all the local therapists (I can think of one right off the top of my head) to come down to the library, and bus the kids straight there.  No, the school did it.  The same school that fired the jr high band teacher 2 years ago.  The same school that raised the price of school lunches this year.  The same school that pleads poverty if you dare ask about any advanced programs.  So I have to wonder why the school was the responsible party for this counseling.  Local churches could have done it; aren't pastors supposed to be trained as counselors?  The city could have done it.  Ideally, the goddamned detassling company should have done it since the kids were killed on their watch.  But somehow, of all the unrelated institutions, the school was left holding the bag.  And people see this as the natural order of things.

Also, just to nitpick, I really do have a problem with schools involving themselves at all with non-school-related issues.  I think it's a huge overreach when a school disciplines students for things like cyber bullying, or drinking, or even just when they involve themselves in things that have nothing to do with school.  I know a parent who got a call from her kid's principal alerting her to the fact that her daughter may be a lesbian.  Because somehow that was the principal's business at all?!

Here is my very unpopular and apparently horrible view of schools.  They should teach kids academics.  If they have extra time and resources after that, they can move on to extras like social clubs and programs.  But if they are cutting the academics, I don't think they should be doing ANY social niceties at all. And that includes offering counseling to traumatized detasslers.  The kids were students, but they weren't JUST students.  Somebody else could have carried that burden.

Now, for the record, I was told that it was all volunteer work by the counselors and that none of this cost anyone anything, so my whole original point was null and void.  I just couldn't believe how many people posted things like "You should just be glad they're getting counseling" as though I suggested they shouldn't get any help at all.  I did tell Tom, for the record, that should I die and the kids need counseling, be a fucking parent and get it for them yourself; don't wait for the school to step in.  Because seriously, if my kid saw a coworker electrocuted in front of her, I think I'd arrange for her to get help if she needed it myself. Because like I said, it's not the school's place to do it for me.  And I think that the implication that if the school didn't offer counseling to those kids then they'd never get it is just an outright insult to the parents.  Because really, you wouldn't go get your kid help unless the principal did it for you?

Friday, July 22, 2011

His choco aches

"Tommy eat your spaghetti!"
"Choco meelk!"
"You can have milk after you eat. I'm tired of you only drinking milk; you have to eat lunch!"
"Cookies! My cookies!"  He climbs up onto the chair to reach for the long-empty cookie jar on the counter behind it.
"There aren't any cookies. We stopped putting cookies in there a long time ago.  If you start eating your lunch and dinners again, maybe we'll buy cookies again.
He reaches to open the cookie jar. "My cookies!"
"Fine.  Look all you want.  There aren't any cookies."  I take the lid off the cookie jar and tip it for him to see. He reaches in.
"My aches!"  His what? His ex?  He pulls out two Cadbury eggs and opens one.

Who the Hell hid Easter candy in the cookie jar and forgot about it?!  Now he's eaten his lunch, but it was a Cadbury egg, not spaghetti!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another quilt post; just skip it

I know I'm talking this to death and no one who reads this blog is interested, but even fewer people in my real life are interested so it seems better to type it out here where you can skip reading it than to talk someones ear off about mitered corners vs rounded and half square triangles vs 9 patch blocks.
Apparently the word quilt is not nearly as descriptive as I always thought.  I'm reading up on quilts and quilting and I'm looking at photos of quilts by the thousands as well as lurking on message boards reading up on tips, and there are a lot of quilts out there I just don't consider quilts.  Or at least, they aren't what comes to mind when I think of quilts.  To me, quilts are blankets made out of a bunch of pieces of fabric sewn together.  Just about any pattern or design, but many pieces making one blanket. In its most basic form, this:

But there are applique quilts, where you just take one big sheet of fabric and then sew other little ones onto it to make a pattern, or make your blocks out of identical pieces of fabric with different little pieced on pictured in them, like this:

And embroidery quilts are the same as applique quilts except instead of piecing on little shapes you embroider them on.  So it's one sheet of fabric (or blocks of the same fabric) with embroidered pictured on it, like this:

And finally there are whole cloth quilts, where you take 2 full sheets of plain fabric, put the batting in between them, and then the actual quilting- the sewing of the layers together- is the art. And people will get really intricate with this, with swirls and butterflies and flowers and everything, just sewn into these sheets, sometimes in the same color thread as the sheets are so that you can hardly see it.  Like this:

I think my quilts will be all patchwork, probably all in plain patterns of squares or triangles, or maybe stripes if I feel fancy enough.  And while I've been looking around the net at zillions of quilts, I've come to realize that I like faded fabrics, muted colors.  I can't really afford to buy fabric (it's $10/yard here in town and $5/yard if I want to spend $30 in gas to go to a fabric store) so I think I will just look for clothes and sheets to tear apart at garage sales.  And if anyone out there has any hideous old sheets or whatever that they want to mail me, I think most of you have my address to ship them to. If nothing else, I can always use them for the back of the quilt, since it's hard to even buy anything wide enough to do a big quilt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

That had to taste terrible

Tommy had to take a benadryl.  I had long ago given up on getting him to swallow the liquid stuff.  He had somehow turned his throat into a shooting mechanism and could cough it right back at me as I forced it past his uvula.  So I bought some solid adult-dosage pills, broke them in half to get the right dosage for his age, and was going to hide one in his ice cream.  I was so clever.
He would eat any bite of the ice cream except the one I put the benadryl in!  "Don't you want this bite?"  I would ask.
"No, you eat it." 
"It's melting.  Better gobble it up right now."
I fed it to him and watched it slide right back out onto the spoon, painfully close to melting and exposing the hidden pill.
"Pleeeeease eat this bite of ice cream.  It's the bestest bite!"
"You eat it, Mommy."

Finally, after a while more of this, he just spit the damn glob of cookies and cream onto the floor and I threw it away.  Desperate, I tried the impossible.  I showed him the other half of the benadryl and asked him, "Will you please eat this?"

He popped it in his mouth and chewed it up, then gave me a look as if to say, "I only ask that you be honest with me.  Is that too much to ask?"  He chewed a pill. Who does that?!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sewing room obsession, continued

I'm really getting into this sewing room project, and it's all in my head.  Someday some shrink will tell me that this habit of mine of jumping into hobbies or projects is the manic side of manic depression or something but I don't care.  It's not like I blow tons of money on them or anything.

I told Tom to figure out where he wants to put the playroom in the basement and then I'll find my corner and have him clear his stuff out of it.  I want to put paneling on the walls (nothing sturdy, just nail some 2x4s into the ceiling/floor joists and then screw the paneling into them to cover the cement walls, and then I have an old formica table I can use for a cutting table, and an old laminate kitchen table I could put my sewing machine on.  Then I could use the room while I let garage sales and auctions get me my shelves and drawers for material.  I like tearing apart old clothes for fabric so I might put a closet rod up in there, too.  And I'd hang curtains or shower curtains or something to block off Tom's storage shelves (if I get the corner I have my eye on) and then over time replace them with quilts on curtain hoops.

I think every wife should have a sewing room, even if she doesn't sew.  A few years ago all the talk was about Man Caves, and how men should fill their garages and basements with neon beer signs, pool tables, and flat screen TVs.  But what about the women?  Whether it's scrapbooking, sewing, collecting teddy bears, whatever the hobby, a woman needs a room to sit quietly in.  And no, floral curtains in the living room do not mean she already has her own room, not as long as you're going to go tramping through and eating Fritos on the sofa!

My grandma used to have a sewing room.  it was this tiny little walk-in closet off the bathroom but it was where her fabric could sit undisturbed and no grandkids would stomp on the pedal of her sewing machine or unwind her thread spools.  I envy her that little room. I hope to get one myself here very soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sew near, yet Sew far away.

I've started quilting.  I can generally scrounge a few hours a week to sit at the sewing machine, or kneel on the floor to cut fabric, or iron in the narrow space between the closet and the bed.  I wish I had a sewing room.

I've always made curtains, and Halloween costumes, and the occasional pillow for my kids.  I like to sew and it makes me feel all June Cleaver to be able to give the kids something that not just anyone with a Walmart gift card can pick up.  But keeping my scissors and thread and other little things in the drawers of what's basically supposed to be a hall table to toss your keys on, and all my fabric in plastic storage totes in the basement gets old.  I really want a sewing room, and I know how to get one.  If I can move enough storage stuff out of the way I could set all my stuff up in the basement.  Then I'd just need a cutting table and a sewing table, and maybe dressers and shelves from garage sales.  I get so impatient when I can visualize a goal.  I want to start looking for tables and shelves now, and setting everything up.  Unfortunately, Tom has the corner I've picked full of baby clothes for next year's garage sale, all laid out on sawhorse tables.  So I am going to drop endless not at all subtle hints that a sewing room is what I want for Xmas this year.  I don't care if it has walls, just give me a space I don't have to arrange around a king size bed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beyonce the dragon. Rawwwwrrrr!

One dog resulting from Tom's sister bringing her dog over while ours was in a friendly mood, one cat rescued by lesbians, one turtle kidnapped from the New Mexico desert, one albino catfish that survived by eating all the goldfish, two parakeets in a teenage girl's bedroom, two tree frogs (the last of their kind after a mass pool-cleaning genocide killed off the rest of the tadpoles), and now a bearded dragon inherited from a friend's daughter who got tired of upkeep when the novelty wore off.  I thought Tommy would love the lizard (I've named it Beyonce) since he loves dragons. But he alternately tells me that dragons are scary in real life (he has a point, there) and that dragons fly, therefore this must be a "Caymen" (chameleon, which just means small lizard to him).
So, maybe Beyonce's a bit much for this house.  It's not a large house, and the tank it came with is huge, and as we learned this morning, not at all cat-proof.  So I asked on facebook if anyone would like it.  I got an almost immediate response from a friend whom I've known for 15 years, but by then Tom was talking about maybe keeping the thing so I said I'd have to get back to her.  Then this morning, after we fished the cat out of the tank admit screams of "Tee tat, don't bite my caymen!" I got another response.  My half-brother, who will not speak to me because I remind him of my father whom he never knew, has children I have never and may never meet. And my brother's wife says their oldest son would LOVE to have a bearded dragon.  So, if we do get rid of the thing (and it's looking like keeping it would require buying a whole new tank with a cat-proof lid, there's a slim chance I could meet my unknown nephew, and maybe my half-brother if he comes to get it.  And I would love to get to know my half-brother, or at least see him once.  He looks just like my dad, and he's a close enough relative that he's on the list of people I need to suck up to if I ever need a kidney transplant, and I like to know relatives that close.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go chase the cat off the top of the entertainment center again. He's peering into Beyonce's tank.  I think he just wants the crickets, though. When he was in there earlier, he never even looked at the damn caymen.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It's sad

This is Sam Pucket, from Nickelodeon's iCarly. This is what TV thinks a bullying tomboy with a chip on her shoulder who comes from a bad home looks like.  Notice the curled hair, the lip gloss, the pink shirt. This is a 14 year old tomboy!

This is from Xena: Warrior Princess (retro, I know).  These women are rogue warriors trying to make it in a man's world. Notice the cropped top on one, the bustier with boob-centric ornamentation on the other, and the mini skirts on both. You can't see it really well here, but both have extensive eye make up, which they applied every day back in 500BC.  Because when you're waging war and on your guard against constant attack, you have to have eye liner and a push up bra.  No really.
I have always hated this, and apparently I'm the only one who notices it. Strong women, women who don't go for the frail=beautiful notion of femininity, always end up somehow looking like they put every thought in their head into impressing men.  The tough FBI agent, the hardened cop, the CEO who clawed her way to the top; in movies or TV they all look sexy as hell.  Because above all else, women have to cater to men's ideals.  What does it say to young girls when Lara Croft has to look like a porno Barbie?  What does it tell them when they look around the media and even the non-superficial role models have to fit the superficial criteria?  Everyone important has sex appeal.  If you want to matter, or carry any weight, in anything, you better turn men on. Men can be ugly, or even just average; women can't. They have to be thin, and beautiful, and extensively groomed.  No skipping the blush for these workaholics.  No flat shoes or sensible pants suits. No, it's long lean legs and underclothes made to accentuate.  Remember, even in 500 BC, it was eyeliner and mini skirts.

What am I becoming?!

I want to make quilts.  I'd love to crochet if Tommy would leave my projects alone and not unravel them.  I see a shirt with ruffles and think, "That's cute."  I look at soda and see thick goopy corn syrup.  I shop for bras and look for coverage and support, not sex appeal and fashion.   I read about politics and the economy, not celebrity gossip.  I think dark lipstick looks tacky.  I think hickeys look trashy ('cause they do).  I watch PBS and documentaries. I wear sweaters if the temp gets below 60`.  I regret my tattoos.  If given a thousand dollars, I'd probably go shopping for household goods like sheets and towels, or maybe a new handbag. 

I fear what the future holds.  I think I'm becoming an elderly Jewish woman, at least from what I've seen on the TV.  You want I should bring you a jacket?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Better sorry than safe

There's a chance that there's a god, I suppose, although the more I think about it the more I suspect that the only reason a supernatural creator even exists as a possibility is because you hear it nonstop from all directions. I mean, if we weren't constantly brainwashed to believe it, would it occur to us to assume there's some invisible anthropomorphic being pulling the strings?  Anyway, I guess it's possible that there's a god.  And I guess it's possible that he gives a shit about what happens in his ant farm. And I guess it's possible that he has put down some random arbitrary rules of conduct to make sure we stay in line, and that he only lets people who follow the arbitrary rules into happyland later. I also guess it's technically possible that he would design a horrifically terrible place full of pain for people who don't follow the random and arbitrary rules.  I suppose that each of these things could happen.  And I guess that's the reasoning behind the "Better safe than sorry" argument for worship (which only makes sense if there's only one religion, but you never hear of someone who worships ALL gods just to be safe).
But even though a very distinct possibility exists that the Christians have it right and that I will eventually regret living my life outside of the cone of protection afforded by choosing a religion and hoping it's the right one, I cannot help but fall back to playing the odds.  There's a slight chance I'll go to Hell and wish I'd done things differently.  But what if I lived my whole life in self-denial? What if I refused to do things I wanted to do, and refused to love people I wanted to love (as in the case of gays who remain celibate because of their churches), and followed all of the rules both explicit and implied, and then it turned out to be nothing? What if, in my last moments of life, right on the cusp of death, it became clear that all we have is our one life, and I had wasted so many opportunities? What if life is just a series of small pleasures and happy moments, and I had walked away from some of them in hopes of a reward that would never come?
There might be an afterlife, but there is a life.  I've known people who don't allow themselves to fully experience one in the hopes of being allowed to experience the other.  But we're guaranteed to have one, and only vaguely suspicious that the other one exists. (Sure there are folks who claim to know, but the whole point of faith is believing in what you can't really know.)  So when people (family) say "Better safe than sorry", my first instinct is to throw back the whole "What if the Jews are right, or the Buddhists, or the Shintos?" argument, but the real reason I'd rather be sorry than safe is because if there is a god he gave me this life, and I don't want to squander that gift on the off chance that he weighted it down with a ton of random and arbitrary rules.
Also, even if St Peter is the bouncer turning people away from the club, what's to say he's forcing people to go into another club instead?

It's just not worth the payback

I went shopping with my friend on Friday.  I shouldn't have. I should have remembered that this is the same woman who takes her 2 year old with her when she goes shopping and doesn't get home until after 10:00. We exist on different schedules and I should have remembered that before leaving at 2:00pm, but I didn't. I got home at 9:00pm.
Tom went golfing on Saturday morning.  He always golfs one weekend morning and then I get to sleep in the other morning. He told me that he had to make the painful decision to actually turn down golf (insert mock pain here) when some guy was looking to set up a game on Sunday and Tom had to say no, his wife only lets him golf once a week. I made the comment that I'd almost be willing to let him go again if he gave me some time to work on my quilt in return. Part of the joke was a sincere desire for free time to sew, and part was me just not liking the whole "My wife won't let me" comment.  Either way, we went back to watching TV.
Tommy went down for his nap at the usual time and I started working on something here at the desk, in the living room.  I printed out Ryan's name in huge font, cut the letters out, and was pinning them to fabric, to iron and sew as appliques, when Tom told me to just go ahead and go back to the bedroom (where my sewing machine is) and do it without the distraction of Danny reaching for the scissors and pins.  I probably got 2 hours to do stuff, with the boys banging on the bedroom door, before Danny started crying for me and I gave up and came out.
So last night, at 11:00pm right before bed, he says, "So since I gave you time for your quilt, I get to play golf in the morning again, right?"  I got 2 hours of listening to my children cry and bang on the door while their father ignored them and for that I have to give up my only day to sleep in all week?  But again, I'm not his mother and I kind of resent the implication that I have to "let him" do things.  I just told him to do whatever, that if he was gone when the boys woke up in the morning that I'd get up with them.  So sure enough, he left before 7:00 am, and the boys woke up not long after.
I'm not going shopping any more. Or working on quilts. Or doing just about anything else that's fun and just for me.  It's not worth the price.  Anything I get, or get to do, comes back to bite me in the ass because I have to pay for it, later, at a cost I never agreed to in the first place.  Tom has his golf, and his wood working, and his 12 hours a week of televised football all fall and winter, and I'd just like to be able to leave the house without screaming children, and piece together old t shirts and sheets for fun (can't afford to buy fabric), and it turns out that a hobby is too much to ask for.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Maybe my next tattoo. Maybe

"Mommy! Looka me! I'm Meeos*!"  Tommy comes lumbering into the room, in slow motion, making stomping noises with every step.  He's smiling ear to ear and waiting for me to say "One, two, three, Roast Him!" and then fire imaginary proton packs at him. I really never want to forget that he did this when he was little.

*Meeos is how Tommy says marshmallows. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is a Mar Meeos Man, or Meeos for short.

So now he knows why.

There are days when after dealing with a toddler, an almost-toddler, and a sullen teenager, I need a beer.  I feel that this is okay. I put the baby down, I know I have hours until he'll want milk again, so I have a beer. Tom looks at me sideways but he doesn't say anything. And yet I know he disapproves (not because of the nursing but because he disapproves of drinking in general).
Yesterday I left at 2:00 pm and got home at 9:30 pm.  He got the boys up from their naps, made dinner, fed them dinner, cleaned up after, and then dealt with the pre-bedtime and bedtime routines. When I got home, he had a beer.
Life is funny.