Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

---Author Unknown
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:21 PM | |

I've sent my kids to the caves, that they might stand in a waterfall and have trout fall on their heads.

My precious Belle and Zappa drove down last night, and this morning they whisked my precious houseguests off to Spring Mill State Park for a day in the waterfalls, creeks, caves, and woods. Not to even mention the working grist mill and the pioneer village. I hope they take tons of pictures; I like to have pictures of our week to show off to their parents so they can see some of what we've done.

Yesterday afternoon we went to see "Madagascar," and then I took the kids to class with me. They answered almost as many questions as did my students. These are not your ordinary average kids, my friends. These are smart, well-behaved, interested, and interesting kids who love to learn things. Their week with me is one of the highlights of my life.

After class we went to Steak and Shake, and then on to the grocery store. We didn't get home last night till after eleven, and even then we didn't go straight to bed. When you're on vacation, regular hours are unnecessary. Insulting, even.

And as I've told their parents several times, if I don't return their children filthy, sleep-deprived, scratched and bruised from playing, and full of sugar for that long van-ride back to Michigan, then where's the proof they've had fun?

Besides, a chocolate milk shake IS food. Milk is food. And french fries are potatoes, and potatoes are vegetables. So is ketchup.

Actually, now that the kids are older, they don't stay filthy for very long. I guess it's time to strike that one from the list of vacation do's and don't's.

So anyway. The kids are at the park, and Hub has gone to an auction. That makes sense. We've spent weeks cleaning out the garage, so now we have all this space in there that needs to be filled up. AAAAAAGH.

I have the house to myself. Come on over. I have cookies, and I have lots of pop. And after the worst heat of the day has passed, I might bake a pie.

I started out counting the chocolate shakes but I finally gave up. That's a really big number.

One of them was mine. It was delish.

Milk. It's food.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:57 PM | |

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Cancer Man and his Aura of Stench.

We set up a big net in the back yard and the kids and I have been playing badminton.

I'd guess it took about five minutes for my deodorant to quit and for the sweat to run down into my eyes and blind me.

That was probably what attracted all the mosquitoes. We couldn't hear them or see them but we know they were there because they left their bumpy itchy little calling cards all over us. If I were smart, I'd have lit the citronella candles. If I were smart.

I took the kids to Snow's for lunch, figuring that a local hamburger joint would be fun for them. Unfortunately, Cancer Man had that same thought.

Every time we go to Snow's, this same old man is sitting there smoking cigarette after cigarette and stinking up the whole place. He stays for hours, and he smokes constantly, and he gets refills on his drink, and he smokes constantly, and he watches CMT real loud on the restaurant's tv, and he smokes one after another after another. The restaurant loses a lot of business because of Cancer Man; you'd think the owners would do something about him. Stupid small town with no smoking restrictions. People actually drive up, see his truck in the parking lot, and go somewhere else.

I suppose I should be saying things like "Poor old man with no place to go and nobody to hang out with, he gets such enjoyment sitting there in Snow's smoking and drinking pop and smoking and watching the people come to the door and smoking and seeing people see him sitting there smoking and walk away" but honestly, when I see him sitting there in his cloud of stink, I want to turn the hose on him and wash him out the door and down the highway for the good of all mankind.

But in real life? We go inside and I order a hamburger with pickles and a quarter inch of mustard, some great Snow's fries, and a large diet coke with that awesome soft flat shaved ice. Hub orders a dressed coney and a fish sandwich with pickles and some onion rings. And we sit as far from Cancer Man and his Aura of Stink as is geographically possible, and we smile at him and try to pretend that he's not spoiling the experience for everyone else in the universe. Well, the lucky ones who know about Snow's, that is.

Their food is actually good enough to make sitting in the stink worthwhile. Imagine.

Please, stupid town, pass some anti-stench anti-smoking laws. PLEASE.

And when we get back home, we have to take off all our clothes and wash them, and take showers and wash our hair to get the stink out of ourselves. Thank you, Cancer Man.

The end.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:31 AM | |

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Those grim grinning ghosts are creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, when they come out to socialiiiiiize.

I hope my houseguests are having as much fun as I am.

I think Mother Nature is trying to entertain them, too. Today we were sitting at the kitchen table watching "Scrooged" and one of the baby kittens from next door climbed up the deck-lattice and played on the patio for us. There's just nothing quite as cute as a fluffy baby kitten, rolling and lying on its back waving its paws, and chasing things. When we turned the doorknob it got frightened and ran away. Tonight, after it got dark, we looked at the French doors and saw a couple of those tree frogs with suckers on their hands and feet, climbing up the glass.

But the best, the very best thing Mother Nature showed us today was the tiny spotted fawn and its mother, walking leisurely behind the basketball court, followed by another doe. Yes, folks, Bambi has two mommies.

I had never seen a fawn that small before. It was so perfect, it hardly looked real.

It's still June and already my flowers are starting to die. This is some kind of record for me, as my flowers usually hold on till the middle of July before they start to die. I do not know why they die. One day they're looking good, and the next day they're looking not-so-good, and then they look droopy, and then they lie flat down on the ground, and then they die. I know it's hot, but I water them twice a day and I think happy thoughts about them when I do so.

I KNOW it's hot because we tried to play badminton at eleven o'clock this morning and the air tried to kill us.

The kids went to bed early tonight, around ten-thirty. I musta wore them plumb out.

I've got the two Addams Family movies laid out for tomorrow, along with The Haunted Mansion. I guess we'll call tomorrow Spooky Day.

And there's nothing like a great brain-freeze on a traumatically hot day. Yay, Hawaiian Shave Ice!

(My computer is, of course, at the shop again. I'm on Hub's so I don't have access to my files, etc. That's why I can't post a picture of me from back in the eighties, like everyone else seems to be doing. Yes, that's why I can't do that. It has nothing to do with the fact that I'm still wearing my hideous acid-washed denim jacket with the green pockets. )

That jacket is quite the stylish number. Just ask Belle; she's been wanting to burn it for twenty years.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:52 PM | |

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Ice cream for my guests, but none for the "graduates."

The fabulous Mellie Helen sent me this, but I'm not saying any more about it because I can't. It makes me too angry. Besides, I might hurt somebody's self esteem. Although, people who keep their self esteem out where life can trip over it are just asking for it. Man, I hate stupid people.

Oh, sorry, is my cronemudgeon-ness showing? (I love that word, Grace, you awesome wonderful person you!)

Thank you, Mellie Helen. I'm adding this article to my files. You always know what I like to read, dontcha.

My house is full of beautiful fabulous company, and I'm having a blast. Their favorite things seem to be reading and watching movies, and since my house is packed full of books and movies. . . .

The week of their visit has been my favorite summer week for several years now. I LOVE THIS WEEK!!!!!!

I'm taking them to class with me on Tuesday night. I'd let them participate, but they might ruin the curve. These kids are smart, and sweet, and nice, and funny, and interesting. They are also the best-behaved kids I've ever encountered. Their parents have done, and are doing, a wonderful job with them.

In a little while, we're going to town for ice cream. Also to take my stupid computer back to Powersource, its home away from home. I am really, really sick of computer trouble.

That article really makes me mad. I experienced the exact same thing for 26 years so I'm not surprised, and I don't really know why I'm still so angry, except that I know exactly why I'm still so angry. The world doesn't need any more ignorance; we've already got plenty, thank you, without calling it by a euphemism and giving it a diploma. (Those kids don't even deserve an alternative diploma. They deserve NOTHING, because that's what they put out. Do nothing, get nothing. That's what should be done.) There is no rationalization. There is only a really stupid decision by administrators, and a bunch of do-nothing kids who are no doubt smirking with satisfaction at yet another triumph over (supposedly) adult poor judgement.

Yes, I definitely need ice cream now. It's already almost ninety degrees and my temper is mounting at the thought of those happy graduates and their beaming parents.

Any excuse for ice cream. It's good for my fragile self esteem. Besides, I have company, really good company, and I'm sure they'd like some ice cream, too.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:22 AM | |

Friday, June 24, 2005

Tagged by The Zero Boss, honored by Muzik.

Jay, over at The Zero Boss, has tossed this meme my way. Thanks, Jay, it's just the kind of meme I like best! You know, one that's really me. And thank you for not asking me which Disney Princess I am.

"Do you ever read those stuffy book lists you see circulating, like 'List your five most important books,' and think to yourself- no wonder these people are so damned boring. Some of the titles give me a damned headache, they are so dull. Knowing things is great, but fiction makes life bigger and better and in color."

"So, in the proud spirit of anti-intellectualism (just kidding), I am going to offer... the ten books I liked enough as a teen/young adult to read again as an adult."

Here's my list.

1. Everything by Madeline L’Engle. EVERYTHING.
2. Everything by L.M. Montgomery. EVERYTHING.
3. Everything by Laura Ingalls Wilder. EVERYTHING.
4. Everything by Lenora Mattingly Weber. EVERYTHING.
6. “Little Women,” “Little Men,” and “Jo’s Boys”
7. “Eight Cousins,” and “Rose In Bloom.”
8. Everything by Elizabeth Enright. EVERYTHING.
9. Ray Bradbury.
10. Everything by Noel Streatfeild. EVERYTHING.

I love teen/YA books. (It's my major, so good thing, huh.) And if it’s a series, I love it even more, because one book just isn’t enough, if the characters are good. That's why so many of those authors up there have the word "EVERYTHING" accompanying them.

Back before Ebay and Amazon (I'm old, duh) kids had to get most of their books at the public library. (Back when libraries still had books.) I used to cry so hard over "Little Women" that my mom finally forbade me to ever bring it home from the library again. It was one of the first things I bought with my first paycheck when I was in high school and got a job at the dime store downtown. I still have it. I still love it.

If the Harry Potter books had existed when I was a kid, I would have devoured them then, too. Speaking as a former kid who loved fantasy, those books are class acts. Speaking as a teacher, those books have done more to get kids, especially boys, reading, than any system-sponsored state-department funded piece of scheisse has EVER done. Boys who struggled to read the front of their cereal box are pushing themselves and trying desperately to read Harry Potter books. Yes, they are just that good.

Thanks again, Jay.

As for you, Muzik. . . . well, you are one of the coolest people I've ever met. Thank you so very much for honoring me with your interview.

This post is dedicated to Jay and John: two of the greatest guys in the blogiverse.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:01 AM | |

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Batman Begins, in, among, and around the ads

We went to see "Batman Begins" this afternoon before the prices went up at six. It was awesome. They completely re-did the storyline but this time it worked. Christian Bale was the perfect Bruce Wayne AND Batman, Michael Caine was the perfect Alfred, and Katie Holmes was perky ADHD almost-a-pedophile Tom Cruise's perky look-I'm-a-grownup-now high school crush. I mean, Gotham City's assistant D.A. Same thing, whatever.

Liam Neeson was superb, as he channeled both Qui-Gon Jinn and Oskar Schindler, and all the crooks were appropriately and properly right out of the Superman tv show starring George Reeves. I swear I saw Perry White a couple of times on the screen, and I think they must have cloned Claude Akins for this movie. Claude was from this town, so his image is everywhere. I know him when I see him. The mad doctor looked like the offspring of James Spader and Myoshi Umeki.

The special effects were awesome. The batcave was dark and damp and wet and full of, well, bats. The flashbacks were effective and very well done.

Did I mention that Alfred was awesome? I've always been a big Alfred fan.

The musical score was great, too.

Really, the only sour note for this entire theater experience was the cheap and patronizing reel of local advertisements. Whoever thought of showing commercials in the theater should be publically hung. I would never give any business that advertised in a theater a nickel. In fact, I hate businesses who take advantage of a captive audience in a theater. Hate. Did you see that word? HATE. I despise the 'service' that puts local businesspeople on the screen in a theater, to try and sell me something when I've PAID TO SEE A MOVIE. A movie and a shipload of previews. That's all I want to see on the screen, PREVIEWS, lots of them, and then my MOVIE. I hate all businesses who advertise in the movie theater. HATE HATE HATE. Those advertisements are offensive and condescending and everyone involved in them should be ashamed.

Also, the hairdressers who did their own commercial all looked like hookers, and talked like Alabama slumchicks. No offense intended to smart people in or from Alabama who know that monotones are bad, and monotones mixed with poor grammar and pronunciation are even worse and make any product, even free gold bars, seem cheap and undesireable.

Michael Caine was perfect as Alfred.

The Batmobile was great, too.

I'd probably take a free gold bar from an Alabama slumchick but I'd have to wash it off good when I got it home. And I'd keep on complaining.

Wouldn't you think that hairdressers in even a sleazy local ad would have good hair? Do they do each other's hair? I wouldn't TOUCH that shop.

Who was it who first conceived the notion of theater advertisements for a captive audience? I hope he realizes how hated he is. I'm sure he's regretting his idea all the way to the bank.

That's "he" in the universal generic pronoun sense. But all of you knew that already. I only defined it in case anyone who digs those local theater ads was reading.

(Some of the syndicated ads are funny. Annoying but funny. It's those local ads that suck.) (I'd pay extra for no ads at all!)

You really should go and see this movie. Michael Caine rocked as Alfred.

Besides which, this movie also has Morgan Freeman. He's not playing God this time, except for the fact that any role he plays is God.

And I do love it when a snotty CEO gets his.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:31 PM | |

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A glimpse of my House Beautiful.

This is one of my living room walls. See the can of Pledge on top of the hollow drum? Proof that I'm trying. See that phone? It's dead. See that mandolin? My dad bought that for me when I was a little kid; he wanted me to play in a country band like Ronnie Stoneman. See that dulcimer? A truly terrible and violent kid made that for me in 8th grade shop class right before he was expelled. See that flute case? That's one of Hub's latest auction scores. See the top of that guitar on the floor? I ordered that from Montgomery Ward's catalog when I was a kid. It came with a 45 record called "How to Play the Guitar." The guitar hanging on the wall is Hub's. The banjo is his, too. See the top of that mandolin case next to the Pledge? In that case is my absolutely gorgeous bright red electric mandolin Hub got me for Christmas a few years ago.The two recorders on top of the piano belong to my kids. That's a flat dish of various kinds of picks next to the piano lamp. See that bottle of Hai Karate aftershave? It's unopened. I'm going to try and sell it on Ebay. Unless any of you wants it. The curio cabinet is full of tiny little lighthouses and 'things' my students have given me for Christmas over the years. Some of them are butt ugly, but I don't care. I saved them all, because I loved the givers so very much. See that neon-green pen? I stole brought that home from a Vegas casino. See that giant Voltron lion?

That, my friends, is absolute living proof that my living room is the coolest living room in the world.

(Do any of you know who Ronnie Stoneman is?)
(Do any of you remember Hai Karate aftershave?)

(I almost had to seriously hurt a woman in a store, right before Christmas, to get that Voltron lion. They were scarcer than Cabbage Patch dolls that year.)

(Do any of you remember when grown women were knifing each other over Cabbage Patch dolls?)

(All the rest of the musical instruments are in the computer room with the amps.)

(Except for the snare drum which currently resides at the Pawn Shop. Zappa was a little short of money that week.)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:41 AM | |

Monday, June 20, 2005

Yeah, well, I'm doing it anyway.

This diet stuff is for the birds. I'm going to the kitchen and I'm going to make some serious pecan brownies and I'm going to eat most of the batter so everybody will think I made a tiny little batch for health purposes when they see the finished product.

I figure if I survive all that raw egg in the batter, it was meant to be.

Come on over and share. You know you want to.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:19 PM | |

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Dad, Interrupted. . . .

This is my dad, back when he was healthy and strong. Actually, it's just a few years before the diabetes became stronger than he was. It didn't take long. . . . .

I've posted several times about my dying father, blind, minus both legs, on kidney dialysis, etc. That was an accurate picture, but it wasn't the only picture. It is also not the picture I have in my mind's eye when I think of my father.

Today I wanted you all to see my father before he was struck down. My REAL father. He was tall, and he was strong, and he was hilarious, and he was handsome, and he liked new experiences. He sang. He cracked terrible jokes. He was smart. He tried hard, and he did the best he could with what he had. This is my brother's motorcycle, but Dad liked to take it around town of a late afternoon.

So did I, in fact. Please don't tell Mom.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:55 PM | |

Saturday, June 18, 2005

My Daughter is a Vampire

Belle never slept. As a tiny newborn she never slept. As a toddler she never slept. All through grade school, middle school, high school, she never slept. I don't count college, because I don't even KNOW anybody who did much sleeping there. She's an adult now, and she still doesn't sleep.

Most little babies sleep their lives away. Not Belle. She put in maybe five hours in a 24-hour period. Maybe. And it wasn't in a row, either. Fifteen minutes here, ten minutes there, etc. It never changed. It still hasn't changed, except that now she will sleep a few hours in a row, at night. Sleeping through the night? I wouldn't know. And what are these "naps" I would hear people talk about?

But when she was tiny, her lifestyle nearly killed me. I'm basically a slug, and I like to get a few hours in a row every once in a while. I didn't have time to do anything when she was tiny. I didn't have time to shower, or eat, or put on daytime clothes, or run the sweeper, or cook, or anything. All I ever did was talk to my baby, and sing to her, and read aloud to her, and hold her. And hold her some more. It got easier when my cousin gave me her baby carriers; one for the front and one for the back. After that, I wore her. Constantly. I wore her, and she wore me out.

(For years after she outgrew those carriers, I still swayed back and forth whenever I stood at the sink washing dishes. Old habits die hard.)

There aren't really many activities you can do with a wide-awake baby hanging off you. A wide-awake baby who demanded every second of attention, and who knew exactly when you weren't paying attention. She was born knowing how to suck all the oxygen out of a room. She was born in the spotlight.

The books told me to put her to bed in a darkened room and walk away. My mom, and all my friends, told me to do the same. I tried that. Did you know that a baby can scream for HOURS without drawing a breath? Belle could scream solid from midnight to six a.m. Other peoples’ babies resigned themselves to the inevitable and eventually went to sleep. She didn’t. She never did. She never got hoarse, either. She just screamed like an abandoned baby banshee. I couldn't have that. What if I damaged her, emotionally? I was her slave. She was my master. It wasn't like reasoning with a child. She was just a little baby, and she was in charge, and she was winning. She never wanted to sleep, so why should she let me?

And soon I would have to go back to work. The school year was going to start, and how could I teach all day with absolutely no sleep?

I was so sleep-deprived, I was getting dangerous. I hadn't slept for more than a few minutes in ages.

I went to Belle's pediatrician and asked him for something to put in her formula, to make her sleep. Yes. I asked my baby's doctor for a drug. I was going to slip her a mickey. And I was looking forward to it. I am a mother who slipped her baby a mickey.

However, the doctor and I had reckoned without Belle. I slipped her the mickey. She fell asleep. I put her in her baby bed. I put on my nightgown. I brushed my teeth. I took a bath. She was still asleep. I almost cried from sheer joy.

About an hour later, I heard her crying. The doctor had assured me that if she woke up, the drug would help her go back to sleep before she could jerk her eyes open and start contemplating the day. Wrong.

The split-second she awoke, she was standing up in her bed screaming to be picked up and played with. But she was groggy from the drug, and furious that she wasn't completely alert, and she jumped up and down so hard she bounced over the bed's bars and toppled onto the floor, an inch from my frantic reach. I never slipped her a mickey again.

I accepted the fact that I, a lazy slug of a woman, had somehow given birth to a Tasmanian devil, a perpetual motion machine that never slowed down, ever.

How she managed this during her little phase of eating nothing but ice chips and banana pieces, I'll never know.

Surprisingly, she was never hyperactive, ADHD or any other letters of the alphabet. She was just so interested in the world at large, that to doze off and miss anything infuriated her, and she never seemed to NEED much sleep. She could sit still. She was just awake all the time.

I learned how to teach school with no sleep. I had to.

Many weekends, I would drop Belle off at my mother's so I could sleep.

She still doesn't sleep much.

She's seldom home long enough to sleep. She's on the go constantly. Gadding and traveling are her 'things.'

Why am I sitting here tonight, remembering my beautiful golden-haired babygirl curlylocks? There's a very good reason.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful Belle.

(It was actually on the 15th, but Momy is a slug.)

I love you, baby girl. And some day I hope you have a baby JUST. LIKE. YOU. For more than one reason.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:33 PM | |

Friday, June 17, 2005

It wasn't Rex who murdered your child, you horrendous mother, you.

I found this article over on Donyell's blog.

It made me so angry I still can't quite see straight.

(Donyell always has something interesting on her blog.)

Articles about unbelievably stupid parents really upset me. This mother is a doozy. This mother is a real winner.

Sometimes "mother" is just half of a compound word.

Poor little kid. Read the article and weep for him.

Don't waste your tears on his mother, though. She doesn't deserve any kind of consideration at all.

Yes, I'm mean about such things. How DARE this woman put her child at risk like this. She doesn't deserve to have a precious child.

And now she doesn't.

Thanks, Donyell, for the information.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:36 PM | |

Why would I listen to the radio? I've got music right here.

My Friday late-afternoon random mp3 playlist:

I Dreamed A Dream - Ruthie Henshaw (from the International Cast Les Miserables)
Internet Porn – DaVinci’s Notebook
The George Michael Rap – Barenaked Ladies
High Tide or Low Tide - Ben Folds & Jack Johnson
Things That Scare Me – Neko Case
La Grange – ZZ Top
Down The Old Plank Road – John Hiatt, Chieftains, & Bela Fleck
All I Have To Do Is Dream – Bob Dylan, George Harrison, & Ben Harper
Love Cats – Jamie Cullum & Katie Melua
People Like Us – Talking Heads
A Design For Life – Manic Street Preachers
This Love – Maroon 5 & John Mayer
Fragile – Sting
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo – Bobby McFerrin
Political – Moxy Fruvous
Creep – Rockapella
Dry Campus – Straight No Chaser
Venus, The Bringer of Peace – London Symphony Orchestra
Final Fantasy VIII: Full Ending Theme – Nobuo Uematsu
Fever – Eva Cassidy & Chuck Brown

It must be 'duet' and 'cover' night on my hard drive. Good thing I do love an odd mix.

I hope you have all signed up for Patriside's MixMania. It's fun, and it's educational, and it's habit-forming. As is his awesome blog; get over there now.

What are you doing still here? I said go over there NOW.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:45 PM | |

Steak, sex, ribs, and Kodaly

I teach on Tuesday and Thursday nights until 9:00, so a few precious peoples and I have been meeting for a late supper on those nights, in whatever combinations we are able. Tonight we met at the Tumbleweed; on Tuesday we met at the Texas Road House.

Yes, we love a light meal at that hour.

As for next week, who knows? We're all over 21 and we're all night owls and nobody is the boss of us.

Even though one of this crew is my daughter; heck, nobody has EVER been the boss of her!

Tonight in class we read an essay in our textbook about the basic differences between transsexuals and homosexuals. Boy, the curriculum is sure different at this level. . . . .

I have a student who has never used a computer before. Had to be shown how to log in, how to scroll, how to type things inside the little rectangles, how to click on links, etc. All of it, from scratch. From nada.

How could a person be that computer illiterate in this day and age? Okay, I know. My mom thinks that if she clicks the wrong button she could blow up the planet. Really, she does. She would much rather spend the big bucks on long distance phone calls, than use a computer. Sigh.

But since much of any college course is online these days, the students simply HAVE to have a few computer skills. This student is smart and hard-working; I am confident that he can do it.

(Shhh, don't tell anybody, but I found some sample sites for my two textbooks that have tons of practice quizzes, etc, on them. I put the links on our class website so my students can practice on their own, at home or here in one of the computer labs. )

Seriously, if your child's teacher doesn't have a class website, I think that is inexcusable these days. Every teacher should have a class website, and it should be updated every single night. It's incredibly easy to do. I use Schoolnotes.com for my class website. It's public, accessible from any computer at any time, and so easy for even a computer-illiterate teacher to use. If your child's teacher does not maintain a website for students and parents, tell them about Schoolnotes. You can go to their site and click on samples, if you are interested.

As a parent, you are also an educator. You could make a Schoolnotes site yourself, complete with flashcards and child-safe links. Go there and check it out. It's free, and really easy. If you want to see mine, I'll send you the link.

And now, since no one else seems to be up, I guess I'll turn in.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are fast becoming my favorite days.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:58 AM | |

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Carnival of Education, Edition 19

Run like mad over to Education Wonks to read up on the Nineteenth Edition of The Carnival of Education ! I'm serious. . . . if most people had any idea what's really going on with and in our public schools, they'd pass out cold.

Oh, and if you're planning to use your weed-eater any time soon, be sure it has the guard on it.

A weed-eater is a non-sentient object and doesn't know the difference between viciously ripping down a clump of weeds, and biting through all the layers of skin on your legs. It doesn't know the difference between dew, sap, and blood. It likes them all.

It's kind of like a great white shark on a stick, that raises big bloody welts on your legs at your own command.

You can take my word on this one. Ouch.

I need love. And a keeper.

It's been a long morning.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:48 PM | |

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Doesn't anybody else drive the speed limit these days?

All right, already, I'll drive a little faster. Sheesh.

But I know good and well who's going to get pulled over, even with all the other drivers in the world going around me at a hundred miles an hour.

Everybody I know has a leadfoot except for me.

Sometimes I think the anecdotes are right, and the only people who get tickets are the ones who actually pull over when the flashing lights start up behind them. The police see a big batch of speeders, turn on the lights and the siren, and take a chance. Some timid law-abiding soul will always pull over, the rest speed on out of sight, and the one intimidated driver will get a ticket. And he deserves a ticket, for he was SPEEDING.

Item: I have never gotten a traffic ticket.

Unless you count the one I got about 25 years ago for having an expired inspection sticker, which I never paid because when I went to the courthouse and stood in line for over an hour to pay it, I couldn't pay it because the courthouse wouldn't accept a check, so I went to the bank and stood in line for a long time and got some cash, and came back to the courthouse and stood in line for another hour, and when I got to the desk I STILL couldn't pay it because the policeman hadn't turned it in yet, so I wrote a letter of protest which was never acknowledged, and I still haven't paid the fine and so far so good. . . . .

And it cost me ten bucks for a sitter for my two babies so I could stand in lines and still not pay my fine. Not that I remember details like that or anything.

I do tend to be a very cautious driver, though. School buses pass me all the time.

SPEEDING school buses.

Which by all laws of logic and safety should have seat belts, but which by all laws of money-saving and convenience-of-school-system never will.

I go 55. After all, it's the limit in Indiana. I'm not a poky driver, but I do go the limit. (If 55 is poky to you, too bad. Read the signs and don't whine if you're caught.)

65 is speeding. I hope you all get caught and fined. Yes, I really do.

And if you're going any faster than that on the curvy meandering roads around here, I hope you don't have any innocent children in your car.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:01 PM | |

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Blogging for Books

This is a re-run, and many of you will remember it. But I resurrected it because I'm entering the Blogging for Books contest over at Jay's. I've never entered this contest before and I'm more than a little nervous because the competition is incredible. I mean, I wouldn't vote for mine, I'd vote for one of theirs! But I'm going to try anyway. Here goes.


They never came back, yea, nor any of their descendants.

This is about a journey, and a decision. The journey is a short one, from kitchen to front yard to the depths of My Weekly Reader/Animal Kingdom/Discovery Channel cross-sectioned wildlife habitat, and the decision was not a popular one with most, but remains one of the best decisions I ever made.

Once upon a time, there was a Mommy and a Daddy and a tiny little Belle and a tiny little Zappa who lived in a tiny little limestone house with a screened porch and about five acres on which to plant gardens and play. And mow. Oh, and a woods in which to scamper and search for mushrooms and watch deer.

One day, the Daddy and the Tiny Children were out in the front yard, and the Mommy took this opportunity to strip and wash and wax the kitchen floor before the evil Board of Health saw it and put her in prison for harboring ick where children were present.While the Mommy was down on her hands and knees scouring away with a scrub-brush and a bucket of Mr. Clean, she heard the Daddy yell "Mamacita, get the gun, QUICK!!"This is not a good thing for a woman on her hands and knees in Mr. Clean and dirty linoleum to hear.

Changing voices to make the story easier to write. . . .I ran to the door and looked out; Hub and the kids were standing together watching an area of the yard; I looked but could see nothing. He saw me standing there and told me to GET THE GUN, so I ran to the bedroom, where we kept the Thief Gun, well locked up and way up high, got it, and ran outside with it.

"What's the matter, what is it?" I asked.

"THERE! Can't you see it?" he replied.

I looked, but frankly my vision was then and is now not all that good, and all I could see were dried crusty leaves that had washed down from every tree on our side of the road over the winter. We hadn't raked them yet and they formed a crispy floating layer on top of the actual yard. But, that was all I could see.

The kids were excited. "There, mommy, it's right THERE!"

Hub hadn't fired a shot yet; he wanted me to see 'it' first. And finally, I did.

It looked like a big human brain. A big human brain, rolling and tumbling around on top of those crusty leaves. I didn't even know what it was.

I had never seen a snake giving live birth before. I had thought all snakes laid eggs.

Hub sent us all to the front steps, and fired. The big human brain scattered into pieces, and each piece was alive and went scampering across the crusty leaf layer and disappeared UNDER it.

"Well, that's that," he said.

"I don't THINK so," I replied.

He went into the house and took the children with him, and I surveyed the situation and decided what to do.

The first thing was to remove that leafy layer. A rake would take too long so I used matches.

Once the ground cooled, I surveyed the situation again. Those snakes were living somewhere in that immediate area and I was determined to find it. How could I let my children play there until I had removed every obvious danger that could be found? I considered the snakes to be an obvious danger. Duh.

So there I was, down on my hands and knees again, crawling around this blackened area and looking more and more like a coal miner with every passing moment. Hub wanted to get out the camera, but was apparently stopped by the look on my face.

Finally, I found it.A hole in the ground, about three inches wide.

Remember back in grade school, when My Weekly Reader would show cross-sections of the inside of an animal's den?

I put a flashlight to that hole, and there it was: a cross-section of a snake's den that would have been the envy of any My Weekly Reader photographer. There were snakes everywhere, down in that hole. Coiled on little ledges, slithering around the bottom; you name it. I was too angry with them to be scared. I put a pile of little driveway stones around the hole to mark its place and went back into the house for some murder weapons. One gun wouldn't be of any help. I saw the bucket of Mr. Clean. Eureka. I grabbed a pack of matches. I was ready to kill.

Back to the den entrance. I poured the contents of the bucket down the hole. This in and of itself drove a few of the snakes out, but I was ready for them with my rake and my ire. After a few seconds of head-stomping and what must have looked like wild ritualistic dancing on the blackened earth, I lit a match and dropped it down the hole.

It was awesome. I would never have believed it had I not seen it myself.

It was as if I had dropped a stick of dynamite down that hole. We heard a huge explosion down there, and the ground actually heaved up and then down again. And then there was silence, and then the real fun started.

Scorched snakes began to pour out of that hole, and I was there to greet them with my hoe and my fury. They were easy to kill, because the Mr. Clean had BLINDED THEM, and they had only red bloody holes where their eyes once were.

Hub was, by this time, nearly dead from laughing so much and so hard, but he finally gained control of himself enough to put the kids on the front steps and come out to help me stomp snakes.

Each time we got a pile, I gathered them on my rake and took them to the side of the yard to throw them over the fence, but every time I lifted the rake to throw, they slid down the handle and I ended up just sort of festooning the barbed-wire with them. You know, like Christmas garland. Yes, JUST like that.

(Zappa was really excited about the possibility of a wire fence festooned with snake skeletons. I told him he’d have to wait a few days till the OTHER wildlife picked the bodies clean. The next morning, even the bones were gone. I guess the other wildlife hadn’t wanted to pass a buffet like that up.)

Back to the present.

Finally, no more snakes were coming out of the hole. I got down with the flashlight and checked. Their den was in ruins and there was ONE MORE SNAKE down there looking up at me.

I was patient. I got a lawn chair and a book, and made camp there by the snake-hole.

While I was keeping vigil, Zappa came out and wanted to know if there were any snakes left.

"There's one down there, honey," I said.

"Mommy, could you catch him for me? Tomorrow is "Show and Tell" at school. "

I knew his teacher well, quite well indeed. When I stopped giggling, I said, "Sure, honey. Mommy will catch that last snake for you. Bring me something to put him in."

My happy smiling little boy ran to the garage and brought back a little green baitbox, the kind with the rubber slot on top to keep things from escaping. It was also the only way to PUT things into the box. Okay, I could do that. For Zappa, anything.

After several hours, the last snake slowly emerged from the hole. I was waiting; I grabbed him with one hand and thrust the baitbox under him with the other. It took both hands to force him into the box. Heck, by that time, he was probably in shock.

We sprinkled him with water all during the night, and gave him raw hamburger. He ate it.

The next day, Zappa was the happiest little boy in the whole kindergarten class. I don't think his teacher was quite so happy. The sissy.

But the really funny part of the story is this: My Mom picked Zappa up from kindergarten in her new car. She wouldn't allow him to bring the snake into her house, so he left the box in her back seat. It was a hot day. You finish the story.

It took her weeks to get the smell out.

We filled in the den. No snake has ever returned since then. We haven't even seen any back in the woods. Or in the garden.

Somewhere on our premises is a snake/hobo sign that says, "Don't even THINK about slithering over there."

They're right, too. I'm not the least bit afraid of snakes, but I don't want any in my yard, either. Even now that I have no small children, I still have my sensibilities, and I don't want them unsettled by having to deal with a den of snakes again.

Besides, I'm so old and fat now, it would be too hard to crawl around the yard on my hands and knees.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:56 PM | |

A wet and seedy rationalization.

For the third day in a row it is POURING down rain. This is paradise when you're drifting off to sleep but quite the opposite when your grass is once again so tall it's formed seed pods that cover your knees with dots and fuzz whenever you walk through it because you didn't have time to mow it when the sun was shining and now that you have time, it's too wet.

I guess I could have mowed it before but I was busy blogging.

I consider that a viable excuse.


I still consider blogging a viable excuse, and I appreciate greatly all the messages from lovely people advising me to forget the grass and let it grow, but what I have probably not mentioned before is the fact that my house sits on approx. five acres, so when we don't mow, it takes on that funky "Day After Tomorrow" persona of appearing to be sinking beneath the waves. All I need is a "condemned" sign and a lifeboat. And maybe a few hound dogs and some vehicles up on concrete blocks and a big pile of used tires. We've already got the sheet metal in the back yard.

Hub suggested letting it grow and having it baled. That's what the airport down the road does.

I suggested something else but it's not legal.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:06 PM | |

Friday, June 10, 2005

A typical bathroom. Nothing weird here. Just like yours. A bathroom.

I mentioned on Michele's beautiful blog that my bathroom was perhaps a little on the quirky side, and golly, so many of you asked to see it that I decided that, embarassing as it might be, well, why not.

After all, how 'different' can a bathroom be? Mine is probably very much like yours.

Doesn't everybody maintain a library in the bathroom? We keep all the Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side, Doonesbury, Fox Trot, Dilbert, For Better or For Worse, Adam At Home, BC, Wizard of Id, Herman, etc, in ours. Where else does a person have time to peruse classy literature with minimum interruption?

Witnesseth the Loobrary. To the left of the bookshelf, and just on the right side of the, um, toilet, you can see part of the Scrubbing Bubble my son ordered from the back of a can of bathroom cleaner when he was in kindergarten. He did it all by himself and you should have seen his proud little freckly face when it came in the mail.

I should have straightened up the books for you but you wanted to see how it usually looks.

If the silence gets to you, or you have sounds you wish to mask, just press a button. The wall art in my bathroom will sing to you, and it's very loud, too.

This one will sing "Wild Thing" as he spares a square for you. If you come over, I'll even invest in two-ply tissue so you'll think I'm cool. Whoops, almost time to replace that roll! Please notice that the tissue goes OVER, not UNDER.

The Wild Thing is motion activated but I'll turn it off for you.

Now, tell me my bathroom isn't just like yours! Well, isn't it?

I wonder what the HGTV people would do in my house. Besides pee their pants and faint, that is.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:22 PM | |

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Getcher classical art right here, before it starts raining on it again.

You want art? We got your art right here in southern Indiana. Some guy at one of the many limestore quarries loves to carve Easter Island heads, and they're all over the place down here. And they are really, really big.

Usually there are kids sitting on top of his head. No wonder he looks so stern. I think he's related to that eagle puppet from the Muppet Show. Isn't that the same severe brow? Hub has wanted one of these for years.Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello This is the main entrance to the offices of Indiana Limestone in Oolitic. Miniatures (a foot tall or less) of these eagles are the standard carving project for students here. And yes, we offer limestone carving in the high school. Tons of kids have parents who work in the quarries, though, and they start carving when they're really little. I have an awesome pair of bookends that look just like this, that a 14-year-old kid made for me.

Posted by Hello I read once that many of the Easter Island heads were mutilated by Christian priests who feared the heads were pagan symbols. The word "defaced" had deeper meaning for me after I learned that.

You like carved limestone? We have a museum dedicated to it. There's even a carved limestone Nascar racing car. Yes, we take our art seriously here.

If that ain't enough art for ya, we also have displays of velvet Elvis paintings and various patriotic t-shirts and flags, shown regularly on the roadside at the intersection of highways 37 and 50.

Not to even mention the two fleas dressed as bride and groom, which are the highlight of the local county museum. They are displayed under a huge magnifying glass, so powerful that you can even see the lace on the bride's veil, and the blossoms in her bouquet. John Hammond would be proud.

It might seem to you that I am mocking the cultural output of this area. I might be, but it's meant to be friendly. The majority of the population here are decent hard-working people and if this is what they like, then it's art. Folk art. The art beloved by the local folks.

The rest of us have only to drive thirty miles north to get ours.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:56 PM | |

I love a Dead Guy.

If I am ever in need of a good laugh, all I have to do is visit this blog.

It's not exactly politically correct, but that's one of the things I love about it.

Political correctness is vastly overrated anyway. I personally think it's weakened the language. It's condescending, and being condescending is NOT the same thing as being compassionate.

Euphemisms are stupid. The people to whom they are applied usually couldn't care less, and the people who use them are using language to mask their own insecurities and cowardice in dealing with facts.

And we all know that if we spraypaint manure, it won't stink.

Just another rant from a clumsy half-blind fat chick who's had it with asininity.

Oh, excuse me.

Just another literary piece from a gravitationally-challenged sight-impaired weight-conscious female who's offended with illogical reasoning.

Some groups have had enough of it. And so have I.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:15 PM | |

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Chinese opera, Element Lad, and the Silver Surfer

Don't forget to go to Patriside's blog and sign up for the June MixMania.

I drove up to Bloomington today just for fun, to have a late lunch. Blog friends are the greatest, Noodletown has good soup and Chinese opera-singing cooks, and on the drive home I experienced 'scattered showers.'

[edit: while there I came across this really frightening character who forced me to let him add a viable link to this song so many of you have wanted. Click here for the song. I gave him bread so he'd go away.]

I could actually see the marks of delineation on the highway. I would be driving through bright clear sunshine, and then I would cross the line into blinding rain, then cross another line back into the sunshine. Rinse and repeat. When I got home, Hub was working in the yard and said there had not been as much as a drop of rain. The car was still covered with water.


We've been sorting our comic books. His are mostly Marvel and mine are mostly DC, so of course they must not touch. Hey, we're adults here and we can manage our comic books. Some of his are of questionable content so he moved them to the storage garage lest the visiting children find them, read them, and quote them to their parents. The rest are just cool. Some are so old they're starting to crumble, but they're all still quite readable and most are in excellent condition. My comics were in good hands from the moment they left the rack at R-Street Grocery, and Hub's knew they were safe the second the cashier at Crowder's Drug Store put them in that thin little sack. If our mothers hadn't been such efficient housekeepers back in the day, we'd both have even more.

Except for Hub's naughty reads, all the comics are now in boxes, and stored neatly on shelves in the garage. And I'm a little embarassed to tell you how many boxes there are. So I won't.

Too bad we're going to have to sell a lot of them. We've been checking out Ebay and it seems we're boxing up and storing some heavily sought-after issues.

And now, back to work. I want this guest room to be nice for those kids.

P.S. Try not to spill weed killer on your hands. It makes your skin peel off. Not that I would know.

P.P.S. Ouch.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:25 PM | |

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Free flowers. FREE!

I do love fresh flowers in my house. Sometimes Hub buys them for me, but most of the time I just go outside and pick them. When the kids were little, there were always Dixie cups of dandelions and clover, and cereal bowls of floating periwinkle blossoms. Messy bouquets of Queen Anne's Lace, and mystery flowers that were probably deadly poison, in drinking glasses all over the house. Wildflowers. Just as beautiful as a purchased bouquet, and at less than 100% of the price.

I feel sorry for people who spray their velvety lawns to prevent anything but expensive grass to grow. How do they decorate their coffee tables and window sills if they don't have any dandelions or clovers in Dixie cups?

If dandelions were not so pervasive, I bet people would buy them and set them out, as we do with pansies and petunias now. It's the too-many of them, the common-ness of them, the clutter of them, that makes them less valuable. Put six dandelions in a cut glass vase and you've got beauty.

Too many crowded together, and you can't give attention to just a few.

Kind of like schools do to our children, but you didn't hear it from me.

Who needs to buy flowers when these are growing under your willow trees? I don't know what they are, but does it matter? Plus, they smell wonderful! Posted by Hello
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:35 PM | |

Monday, June 06, 2005

Know him I do, yessssss.

First, go over to Patriside's blog and sign up for the June MixMania! (Please.)

Now you may continue. (Thank you.)

On the north side of our house is a long double-row of white pine trees. We planted them ourselves, from wispy seedlings we got for free from the Indiana Dept. of something-or-other in charge of giving away free trees. It seems like only yesterday that I was mowing double-swathes between each tree and hoping I didn't accidentally mistake a seedling pine for a weed.

Now those trees are twenty feet tall and the ground between them is solid needles and pine cones. Hordes of rabbits and quail live in there. The trees are beautiful and full, and they protect the house from a lot of the north winds of winter.

Just on the other side of that piney grove is a big field. The new owners, besides loving their early-morning four-wheelers, have built a large pond there and stocked it.

I can't see it through the pines so I really didn't think about it much till last night.

Last night, as I stood on the front porch, I realized that, after dark, my neighborhood now sounds exactly like Dagobah.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:27 PM | |

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Deserved pain.

I've had a splitting headache all day. I know why, but I'm going to tell people it's because I worked so hard in the garage these past few days.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:13 PM | |

Saturday, June 04, 2005

In spite of all these run-on sentences, we still don't have a sofa.


We've been using Belle's old daybed as a couch down in the family room because we didn't have a couch because we gave it to Zappa because he didn't have one either and now he does and we don't.

It was awkward as a couch, but handy for overnight guests.

Up in Belle's old room was a big dresser. It was just the right size for a teenage girl's folded clothes (HUGE) but too big for a guest room, which is what I'm trying to turn her old room into, if I may end a sentence with a preposition.

I have Zappa's old and much smaller dresser down in the garage, which we are still cleaning out as there was so much stuff in there it was absolutely archaeological. He hates dressers and prefers to keep his clean clothes where they belong: in laundry baskets lined against the wall. He lives in an apartment so his feng shui is his business and I shut up about it and mind my own business unless I'm telling the general public like I'm doing right now. He's single but I'm sure he would put his boxers in a dresser for the right woman. Tomorrow I'm going to clean that small dresser and bring it up to the "new" guest room.

I don't want the room to be too cluttered, so aside from absolute necessities like a bed, and dresser, a tv and vcr and stereo, there won't be much in there. The bookshelves are all hanging high on the wall. (What's any room without bookshelves? We even have them in the bathroom!) (Well, where else do you get a few minutes uninterrupted leisure to do some light reading?) My mother Some might argue that a guest room doesn't need all those electronics, but I beg to differ.

Tonight I was talking with our neighbor, a really nice young woman who is currently renting the little limestone house next door, where Hub and I lived for twelve years before we outgrew it to the point that we were spilling out the windows and finally saved enough money to build this house which we're probably going to lose soon because we have absolutely no money but that's another story. She mentioned that their little girl had outgrown her baby bed but had no other bed to move into and they had no money to buy one.

Light bulb. I gave her the daybed and I'm not sure which of us was happier. I also gave her the huge dresser because her little girl didn't have one of those, either.

Then I thought of those bicycles stored in that garage. Thinks I, two families are really going to do the happy dance tonight, one for getting and one for getting rid of, if I may end another sentence with a preposition. My neighbor was ecstatic as she chose Zappa's tiny little red bike for her little girl, Belle's old yellow 3-speed for herself, and Zappa's big blue 18-speed that he outgrew in high school because he shot up to nearly seven feet and any bike you can buy in a store just won't begin to fit him, for her husband. That leaves two, so if you want a bike, come on over. I also gave her Zappa's little tricycle, till she grows into the little bike.

I hope she has a lot of Brillo pads; those bikes are filthy.

And now I can put the two awesome reclining wing chairs Hub bought at an auction for $20 the other day where the daybed had been, and people can actually be comfortable watching tv down in the family room.

They lean back pretty far, if you want to stay the night. There is also an extra-long twin bed down there. Yes, my family is very, very tall. All except me.

I also have a camp cot; it's leaning against the exercise bicycle with the Christmas wreaths hanging off the handlebars. We use it a lot. The cot, not the bicycle.

In fact, I need to dust off that cot and get Belle's old room ready, because in a few weeks I'm having COMPANY! Those precious and beautiful kids from Michigan are coming down to live stay with me for a week, and I'm already so excited I'm barely legible.

The two girls sleep on the double futon in there, and their brother sleeps on the camp cot. They are absolutely awesome kids and I can't WAIT till they get here. They are without a doubt the best-behaved kids I've ever encountered, and I am not in the least worried about taking them to school with me and putting them in the back of the classroom to read while I teach. They are voracious readers. If they get bored watching me teach, they can be trusted to 'wander' the building a little bit. They're old enough to turn loose a little bit, if they stay together.

Hmm, I'd better start stocking up the Velveeta; grilled cheese is one of their favorite meals. Yes, they're easy to care for! Oh, I LOVE it when they visit.

Don't forget to go over to Patriside's blog and sign up for the June MixMania!

And I still don't have a couch.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:53 PM | |

And so it goes, if you're the King of Spain and swallow a bug.

Several people have wanted to hear Moxy Fruvous sing the song I posted the lyrics to yesterday, so here it is. Moxy Fruvous - And So It Goes

There's a funny little surprise at the end.

Update: I can't get it to play either. If you want it, email me and I'll email it back to you.

I really wish I had some html skills.

Stupid computer.

Update Update: I took the link off. It was just upsetting Geocities, and it never worked anyway. If anyone else wants the song, email me and I'll send it to you. I've done it several times already and it seems to work.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:58 AM | |

Thursday, June 02, 2005

And every time I held a rose, it seems I only felt the thorns. . . .

*Before you do anything else, go over to Patriside's blog and sign up for the new June Mixmania! If you participated in April, you already know how much fun it is, and if you didn't, well, June is your lucky month! Go on, click over to Jim's blog and sign up.

The bedding plants are all half-price at Lowe's down here so I invested in a few more. Right now they are still reposing in the bed of Hub's pickup truck, resting securely on the muddy remnants of the load of topsoil we bought last week. The truck bed also has a few golfballs rolling around in it, and a few silk blossoms from a bridal bouquet, but that's another story. I'll plant the flowers tomorrow when it stops raining and when I get home.

Actually, I think the rain will stop by morning, but I can't do it then because I'm having lunch with a friend who looks a lot like this. Bloomington Red Lobster at 11:00; come on by and join us.

Summer before last, I bought four rosebushes at Big Lots, for $1.99 each. All four bloomed that first summer, and they were small and leggy, but beautiful. Last summer, two of the four bloomed, but they were bigger and more blossomy and really pretty. This summer, I have one living rosebush, but it is absolutely gorgeous. It's bigger and more beautiful than any thirty-dollar rosebush in any nursery I've ever seen. It's absolutely covered with huge red roses, each one perfect and fragrant. I got that for $1.98, a little time, and a few sacrifices.

When I look at that huge beautiful rosebush, I feel like the little boy who won the big fishing contest with a piece of string and a safety pin and beat out all the grown men with thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear, corporate sponsors, and big boats. Like the judge said, you just never know where the good stuff is going to come from.

Ah, the roses.


In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along.

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense.

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows.

So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break.

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows. . . .


My Moxy Fruvous boys always know how to say things best.

When I figure out how to post a picture, I will. I did download Flickr this afternoon but I haven't had a chance to do anything with it.

Belle phoned today; she spent all of yesterday in San Francisco's Chinatown and wanted to tell me all about it. She rented a car and picked up her friend and the two of them wandered Chinatown pretty much all day. That kid of mine, I'm tellin' ya, she was born with the wanderlust and a spirit of adventure that just won't quit. I told her I wouldn't believe she was really there unless I saw pictures; she said she has pictures of herself, and pictures of him, and pictures of Chinatown, but no pictures of them together in Chinatown. So I say psht, a likely story.

I have my own computer back. I'm taking bets on how long it'll work before it crashes again. Any takers?

Does anybody else out there think brownies are best when the middle is still mostly batter? You know, baked just long enough to kill any germs in the eggs, and barely solid enough to cut?

Well fine. That just leaves more for me to spoon up. I mean slice.

I have a shameful confession to make. I watched "Jersey Girl" last night. And I kind of liked it.

It was actually a really stupid movie, but I love Sweeney Todd and I love George Carlin.

Okay, maybe I didn't really like the movie itself, just Sweeney Todd and George Carlin.

And now I'm going to go to the kitchen and spoon up the entire center of the pan of brownieshave a tiny square of brownie, finish reading my magazine, have a few diet cokes, and then come back here.

"Here," being this sling-back canvas chair that my son threw out because the back was in shreds, but I fixed it with a piece of cut-off denim and now it's my computer chair extraordinaire.

It's really ugly but the canvas fits my big ass like a glove.

If fitting your ass in a glove is your idea of a good time.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:15 PM | |

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The whole nine yards, and a trail of blood.

My house is on the top of a rise. It's surrounded by a circular driveway. Today I cut the grass in the 'immediate front yard,' on the house side of the driveway. I also cut the grass in the 'immediate back yard.' I got a good start on the grass in the outer back yard, this side of the woods, but I ran out of gas. Literally and figuratively. The grass on the piney woods side, and on the tiny limestone house side, will just have to wait. The neighbor kids were riding their four-wheelers on the huge 'between the dip and the road' yard, so I don't feel bad about leaving it out, either. The front dip yard has three sections: the middle, the left, and the right. The right has two sections: ours and the neighbors, which we cut for them because they don't have a tractor and it's too much for a push mower because of all the turtles.

That expression "the whole nine yards?" I live it every day.

News flash: I sighted the first snake in twenty years in my front yard as its mangled body shot out the side of the mower. Let this be a lesson to the other snakes. Do not set scale in my yard lest ye be vivisected by the whirling blades of death.

The other day a poltergeist broke the tall glass lamp of an oil lantern. I swept up all the pieces and warned everybody not to go barefoot in the kitchen for a while.

I'm still finding pieces of glass, even after using a broom AND a sweeper attachment.

I put the pieces in the trash, and cautioned Hub about the broken glass in there.

While tidying the kitchen for the breakfast company the other day, I picked up that trash, put a twist-tie on it, and carried it out to the deck so Hub could put it in the back of his truck and haul it away. As I was dragging the huge bag through the french doors, a piece of glass broke through the plastic and gashed my leg. It's going to leave a dandy scar. If I had money, I'd have gone to get a few stitches.

As I walked back into the kitchen, dripping blood, I stepped on yet another stray piece of glass that has somehow escaped the broom and the sweeper.

I am not safe around sharp objects. They will find me and they will have their way with me.

Pop always tasted best in bottles, but I've broken too many bottle-necks off with the opener, and gashed my fingers, my wrists, my hands, to mind that they've gone the way of the dinosaur. I even cut my right thumb off, years ago. It was successfully reattached, but when you touch the scar, I can feel it on my shoulder.

As for that lantern-glass, I didn't drop it. Nobody did. It was my uncle's, and I had washed it and set the entire lamp on top of the counter to dry. Nobody touched it. All on its own, it leaped up and crashed down on the floor.

Proof positive that my house is trying to kill me.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:53 PM | |

Carnival of Education!!!

Head over to Education Wonks if you want to read some fascinating and intelligent articles about the state of education today. Yes, it's the Carnival of Education!!

Then click here to go to Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred's blog, where intelligent bloggers from all over the planet are comparing notes about schools, children, theories, and you-name-it.

When a bunch of smart people get together to discuss matters, you KNOW the outcome can only be that ALL of us will be smarter in the long run.

You know, like Billy Madison's speech. Only instead of the whole room becoming dumber, the whole planet is becoming smarter.

Over on S, C, & A, everyone becomes smarter. Yes, even those who think I am intolerant of small children and Crisco-wielding elders dervishing in religious frenzy.

(Maybe the dervishes, but not the small children. Unless they are dervishing in public places.)

What are you waiting for? You've got two awesome places to go!
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:20 PM | |


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