Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Frankenstein chicken probably ate lemon pie.

How can chicken broth be 99% fat-free? Isn't that what broth IS? Fat globules and water? I know the big chunks are skimmed off, but still. . . .

And if there is no fat in the broth, what's in it? The chemical analysis on the can did not help me figure this out.

It reminded me of a lecture** back in college. The professor made a complete and tasty lemon meringue pie, in front of our very eyes, using no actual food whatsoever. He just used chemicals and artificial colorings and flavorings. In other words, he used the ingredients listed on the store-bought-pie box.

What kind of creature would we behold, if Victor Frankenstein tried to create a chicken using only the ingredients listed on the 99% fat-free can of this alleged 'broth?'

Talk amongst yourselves.

** Yes, I have a degree in Human Nutrition, among other things. I obviously haven't used it in any way whatsoever. Well, when Dad was alive, I used to make out his menus and cook for him without sugar; and at Camp Towaki, I set up all the menus and approved the menus for a few of the other camps in Bradford Woods. Other than that, nothing. Well, I guess I utilized it when my children were small; I always tried to have nutritious meals for them back then.

I guess I mean that it's obvious that I don't use any of that knowledge on myself.

It's also obvious that foods containing 'fat' don't intimidate me in the least.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:10 PM | |

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bed rest is for sissies.

I was sitting here remembering all the times Hub and I took two buses of Beta Club honor students to Indianapolis for their annual convention. We all stayed near the top of the Hiatt Regency Hotel right smack in the middle of downtown Indy. I was remembering, in particular, the last year I went with him.

Yessiree, two buses of starving hormonal high school kids, two insane chaperones, two small children, too much free time built into the conference schedule, hot tubs, and hotel rooms.

I guess Hub did all right with them, I really don't remember. I spent most of my time riding up and down in the glass elevator with two tiny excited children. Well, when we weren't walking around downtown and buying invisible dogs, fart spray, magic fairy wands, and hair glitter at the joke store. It was so windy I felt as though the children might blow right out of my grip.

We did this every year for years. But it was that last trip that I remember the most. It wasn't the fart spray, although I'm sure everyone else in the lobby and on the bus remembers that. It wasn't watching Hub sitting all night in a chair in the hallway between the rows of girls' and boys' rooms, either. It wasn't even watching two giggling children and their invisible pooping dog.

No, what I remember most about that last field trip was that on the morning we were scheduled to leave, Belle had walking pneumonia and Zappa broke out in chickenpox. They both swore they felt fine, so we went anyway.

I figured if I could go with my arm in a sling, they could go with their various diseases.

Talk about clearing a path through a hotel lobby. . . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:43 PM | |

The mother from Hell.

Several years ago, back in the middle school, we had a student whose mother was Satanella. When we referred to this woman as "the mother from Hell," everyone in the building knew exactly who we were talking about. She snooped through everything. She criticized the subject matter and placement of the posters on the walls. She liked to "inspect" the cafeteria. She constantly asked how other students (by name) were doing in a class, and became angry when none of us would divulge other people's children's grades to her. She rearranged furniture and wall art. She interfered, and infringed upon boundaries, and loved to call meetings conferences with her daughter's teachers. Frequently. VERY frequently. For example, after every test, quiz, notebook evaluation, speech, or 'question that went unanswered in a classroom' issue.

She chaired all the meetings conferences. She would spread all of her poor humiliated daughter's graded-and-returned work across the long table, and force us all to study it. Then she would pull out whatever grossly unfair score she was whining about that particular day, and start it around the table, insisting we all study it and compare it to all the previous work.

Then she would stand at the head of the table, put her hands on her hips, smile at us like a not-so-benevolent dictator, and say, "Now, I know you kids mean well."

Yes, she called us 'kids.' Every time she gathered us together, she referred to us as "you kids."

Wow, mom, can I have a raise in my allowance?

And then she would proceed to extoll the praises of the teachers in the school her daughter had attended 'up there' before the family moved 'down here.' I would really like to tour that school some day, now that I've finally stopped hating it, because frankly, I've never seen a perfect school before and I have some questions I'd like to ask those 'excellent' teachers, the main one of which is "How long did you kids up there celebrate after this family moved away?"

Because we kids down here had to put up with this bitch for four years: two daughters, grades six through eight.

Of course, the poor daughters had to put up with her for much longer; no wonder they opted for early graduation, out-of-state colleges, and never came back home afterwards.

Poor kids. Hers, not us.

Well, us too. But you know.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:27 PM | |

Monday, November 28, 2005

Two heads in a piney grove: the movie.

If a package was mailed out over two weeks ago, and it still hasn't arrived, is it time to consider it lost in the mail? What if there were two of them?

Also, I still haven't even begun to put up my Christmas tree, and usually I'm all about that after Thanksgiving. Am I sick? I do have a migraine but that's never stopped me before.

I'm also in a blind funk, worrying about money, but you'd think putting up the Christmas tree would help take my mind off that. Everybody else on our road has been busy, busy, busy putting up lights and trees, but not me.

Do you suppose that if I threw the two big pumpkins that are still on the front porch into the piney grove, it might put me more in the Christmas mood? I think that maybe throwing something resembling a human head against a big pine tree and hearing the cool sound it would make, might cheer me up somewhat.

I might be in a mood.

I don't even care about toasting the pumpkin seeds. I just want to hear something go 'thunk' and hit the ground.

Stupid post office.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:14 PM | |

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I won't want to eat again for at least a week. Yeah, right.

We're back, from a lovely weekend with family across the state line to the north. Whenever I visit them I always think I could never love them more than I already do, but each time I'm proven wrong, because each time I love them more. If families could be custom-ordered, I would still choose these people. I'm not sure they would choose me, though.

Our visit culminated with a trip to Jeff's church, which is quite possibly the first and only church I've ever attended that I found perfect in every way. Jeff himself is the best minister I've heard in a long, long time, even better than that evangelist our home church hired, years ago, who filled the pews night after night, spoke right to our hearts, and on the last night, confessed that he was a pedophile who struggled against temptation every day. It was what you might call a surprise ending to revival week. I will say the guy had our full attention that night.

Jeff, I've said this before but I'll say it again. If I lived in Michigan, I'd go to your church every time the doors were unlocked. Yes, you are that good, and I love you, and all your family.

And you know, too, that even though I do love you dearly, I'd tell you if I didn't like your preaching.

Do any of you live in the Detroit area? Check out Jeff's church. Seriously, you'll thank your lucky stars every day that you found it.

Jeff will be starting a blog soon, too. I'll keep you posted. You won't want to miss that.

I also want to thank everyone in both of our families for not fixing green bean casserole. I hate that stuff.

Thursday, we hosted my family here. The only problem I have with that is that they never stay long enough. They always start to pack up to leave way sooner than I would have them go. Come on, Mom, Sister2, Sister3, NieceAndHubby, Nephew, etc, sit back down and stay longer. It's really important to me that anyone who enters my house in any way, for any reason, have a pleasant time and want to return soon and often. I hope this held true for my sisters and their families. Sisters dear, if any of you have a bone to pick about your time in my home, just let me know, and I'll post my reply along with a dozen or so interesting pictures we took while you were all eating.

Seriously. I love company, and I love my families, and I love my children, and my friends, and all of you. Is there a limit to how much love the human heart can hold? I think not.

I hope all of you had a grand and glorious Thanksgiving weekend, full of family and fun and friends and all kinds of positive things.

And I'm REALLY glad I didn't have to gag oversmile and force down any green bean casserole. I would have, and the bringer of it would never have known, but this way is much better.

I would like to know why my youngest sister didn't bring her usual strawberry pie, though. What's up with that?

I'm glad to be home again. Jiggety jig, there's no place like home.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:09 PM | |

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving to my beautiful Blogosphere Neighbors.

Apple pie: check. Pumpkin pie: check. Pecan pie: check. Yeast rolls: check. Persimmon pudding: still in oven. Turkey: thawed and waiting. I know it's thawed because it leaked blood all over the inside of the refrigerator and I had to take everything out and scrub it down. So that's spotlessly clean now, too. Tomorrow: play obstetrician with said turkey, put three small peeled onions in the cavity, tie a roasting bag around it, put it in the 99-cent roasting pan, stick it in the oven, and forget about it for five hours, or until the little thingy pops up. Put huge pot of green beans on top of stove, throw in a diced onion and four strips of bacon, and simmer for hours until formerly crisp and healthy vegetables are Hoosierly mushy. Noon: put big pot of potatoes on to simmer, to drain and mash later, at the last minute. When turkey is done, remove from oven and scoop up a cup of broth, for the dressing. (Don't stuff your turkey with dressing unless you like it soggy and possibly full of ick.) One hour before dinner: cook noodles, mix with cheese-laden white sauce and let bake a half hour. When all the guests are here, make the gravy. Re-heat the yeast rolls. Check table for salt, pepper, butter. Take one last look at the buffet spread out on the big kitchen bar; make sure sisters' contributions have serving spoons. Hope someone brings ice, because there isn't any in this house.

Say grace. Eat. Enjoy each other's company. Talk about Christmas. Eat some more.

The end. Or will be.

How is your holiday shaping up tonight? Almost done?

Whatever your plans, whatever your beliefs, I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. The internet has turned this huge planet into a neighborhood of friendships, deep and lasting, and proof positive that we don't have to know what people LOOK like, to know what people ARE like. I have found many wonderful friends via blogging; it's amazing how close we have all become in just a few months' time.

I am thankful for many things, and one of the biggest is all of YOU. Thank you, for being there, for finding me, and for being wonderful lovely people. Tiny Tim said it best: God bless you all, every one.

That's from a Christmas dinner but the sentiment holds true every day of the year.

I just have to say it again: Thank you for being the lovely people that you are.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:08 PM | |

Tee hee

There's a reason I've posted this picture. I'm not sayin' anything more.

But for now, click on over to Betsy's blog. Maybe you can get some information out of her.

Hahahahahaha, right. Well, maybe.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:42 AM | |

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The post where I rant and rave about stupid people some more.

The Three Good Doctors are posting about "home," and it has made me pensive. I used to look at my young students every day, every year, and wonder what they went home to every night. Sometimes, I knew, and my heart broke for them daily. With others, I had no idea. When a child comes to school in rags, shoes held together with tape and rubber bands, it's pretty much a done deal that there's trouble at home. Usually, these children were ravenous because the only 'decent' meal they ever got was at school so Monday mornings, so they RAN from the bus to the cafeteria for that free breakfast that was sometimes the first food they'd had since Friday lunch.

Most of the time, THOSE parents never darkened the door of the school for any reason. Occasionally, one of them would actually show up for a conference, and I would sit there on the other side of the table gritting my teeth and gripping a pencil so tight that sometimes it broke, because nine times out of ten, the parent of my raggedy little starveling was dressed pretty darn well, and it was rare that he/she didn't reek of cigarette smoke. In other words, money WAS being spent, but not on the child.

Cigarettes in the purse, no socks on the child. Beer in the refrigerator, no decent shoes for the child. Nice clothes on the adult, rags on the child.

I can feel my blood pressure rising as I remember it.

Why, why, WHY, when these poor kids are constantly removed from these 'homes,' are they just as constantly put right back in to be mistreated just like before? Sometimes, in fact most times, 'keeping the family together' is NOT important. Sometimes, splitting a family apart is the best thing that could ever happen to it. When parents do not behave like adults, they have no business inflicting it on innocent children. Get the kids out of that house, and put them where they'll be fed and clothed and loved. Any adult who would buy cigarettes when his/her child has no socks, is a monster, not fit to raise a child. Addictions? Cry me a river. The needs of children always come before any needs of an adult. And especially before an adult's hobby, toy, or habit.

SC&A are always reflective and wise, but it wasn't only their posts today that have made me remember these things, and sit here fighting tears.

Today in class, we were discussing "It's A Wonderful Life," in relation to our own lives. I asked my students to think about how life might have been for their loved ones had they never been born.

That was when we all learned that one of my lovely students, who is still only nineteen, has been the 'mother' of her seven siblings for eight years, ever since her mother 'left.' If she had never been born, those siblings would probably have been sectioned out to foster homes. Her brothers might have gotten in trouble with the law, with nobody at home to supervise them. Her sisters might have sought 'relationships' in an attempt to get affection. Her father might have succumbed to his depression if he had to work four jobs knowing nobody was watching over his children. She told us that her youngest sibling was only two when their mother 'left,' and that he started calling her 'mom' within a few days of her leaving. She talked about cooking, buying clothing, budgeting, potty-training. . . . when all the other girls her age were dating, hanging out, and staying after school for ball games and club meetings. Was she sorry? No, she would not have done it any other way, but it would have been nice to have been a teenager during her teens, instead of having to be an adult.

Look around. Every person has a story to tell. Sometimes you can tell by their outsides, and sometimes you can't.

Most of the time, that story has something to do with their home, and who was there, and who WASN'T there.

Some people are parents via biology or adoption, and others are parents via fate. There is no guarantee which kind will be the best kind.

I would bet money, though, if I had any money, that an adult who would put his/her own selfish wants and addictions over and above the needs of a little child, is not even going to be in the running. Shame on them. Shame, and more shame.

I do not understand many things in this world, and one of them is this: when "everybody" knows a home is not a fit place for a child, why does "everybody" talk about that fact, yet allow the child to remain in the home?

"What a shame, those poor kids, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, gambling, live-in lovers, possible molestation. . . . ." and then we watch them get on the bus, knowing they're going "home" to hell house.

I know that mistakes are made all the time, in removing children from so-called 'homes,' but I think even more mistakes are made all the time in NOT removing children. Why should their worthless parents have all the rights, and the children have none?

I am so down tonight. I wish I could gather up all these kids and wash them, and feed them, and put clean socks on their feet, and intact shoes, and pretty clothes. I wish I could fill Christmas stockings for them, and hug them, and give each one a doll or toy of some kind that would be their very own and nobody else's. And if their worthless deadbeat parent tried to take it and sell it for drugs or booze, I hope a sensor in it would explode and wipe that bum off the face of the earth. Peace on earth, yes.

Read it right: "Peace on earth to men of good will."

The other kind can bite me.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:46 PM | |

When the postman rings at all, I know I've got LOOT!

I got a big package in the mail today; can you guess who it was from?

Why, it was from sweet Lu! Oh, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU so very much!

And she packed it with such care and attention to detail! Whose details? MINE! She remembered all my quirks and preferences, and she stuck a little something in there to please them all. Well, most. (um. . . .)

Tea, and lavendar incense. Shower gel. WHITE Hostess snowball cupcakes. LAY'S potato chips. A peace symbol magnet to reflect my former hippie self. The coolest pen EVER. And more, and more, and MORE!

She sent me a report card, on which she may have exaggerated a bit, but oh Lu, thank you for that. And the sweet little note from her daughter just made my morning!

There are so many lovely people in the world. Are you reading this, Lu? Look in the mirror, Lu.

If I had a camera, I'd take a picture of my gorgeous loot so you could all see what a great person my sweet friend is, and the care she took in packing this box. As it is, you will all just have to picture in your minds me, grooving over a box of thoughtful gifts, sent by a dear friend who has been much in my thoughts, especially lately.

Thank you, sweet Lu. I love it, and I love YOU.

Hey, that made a little poem! Man, I'm just that good.

So, Lu, have a safe journey west, and may this visit prove a positive turning point for both of you. You both know where I stand, and you both know where I live, just in case.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:39 AM | |

Monday, November 21, 2005

Just because you've never met them, doesn't mean you can't love them.

God bless you, dear Hoss. Good friends you've never seen are thinking about you at this time. I wish we could do more than waft our love your way.

I said 'love' and I meant 'love.'
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:40 PM | |

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Puncture wounds and ear candy.

Ah, Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon random playlist:

1. Long Black Veil - The Chieftains and Mick Jagger
2. Don't Wait Too Long - Madeleine Peyroux
3. . . . Like An Animal - Nine Inch Nails
4. I Will Love You - Sarah Slean
5. Medulla Oblongata - Dust Brothers
6. Peter's Dream - Lennie Gallant
7. Rockin' The Suburbs - Ben Folds
8. Walk in the Irish Rain - Off Kilter
9. The Goonies - Cyndi Lauper
10. Like Knives - Dallas Green
11. Everything You Do Is A Balloon - Boards of Canada
12. Let Me Entertain You - Robbie Williams
13. Love Is Nothing - Liz Phair
14. The Day The Bass Players Took Over The World - Trout Fishing In America
15. Barbie Girl (Hardcore Mix) - Aqua
16. Give A Man A Home - Ben Harper *
17. Avalon - Roxy Music
18. I'm Shakin' - Rooney
19. Beautiful Nature - Finley Quaye
20. We Don't Know Where We're Going - Gomez

As I type: Anitra's Dance, from Grieg's Peer Gynt.

*Back in the public school, the students used to call this the "Suicide Song," because it was used in a Channel One commercial about not being embarassed to seek help for mental problems. Whenever I hear it, I think of that commercial and the kids singing along with it.

And now I am going to go take a shower in one of my extremely clean bathrooms, because my sweet MIL is taking us out for dinner tonight.

(Item: when you step on a wilted holly leaf with your bare foot, it feels a lot like I've always imagined a rattlesnake bite might feel.) (Good thing I'm such a stickler for tidiness. You'll find no one or two maybe a few a lot of those, here and there, on my freshly vacuumed carpets.) (Of course, it only takes one snake bite to do you in, too.) (Those things are sharp!) (I have Star Wars bandaids, so try to imagine how long it's been since I had to buy those!) (I don't think even Big Lots still carries them.)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:00 PM | |

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The geology lesson under my bathroom sink.

It's a good thing I had a Domestic Goddess fit today, otherwise that huge can of crystal Drano that somehow got wet and erupted all over everything in the bottom cabinet of the big-bathroom sink might have gone unnoticed for yet another year week.

That Drano can was almost completely eaten away, and the dried crystals were everywhere. From the looks of it, the thing must have blown months ago. It couldn't have been a full year, because I distinctly remember cleaning out that cabinet before the holidays last year last St. Whuppin's Day.

It's a very private, family holiday which we invoke whenever we need to take a Mental Health Day from work.

And like any family's personal, private, invoked-when-we-want-to holiday, it's a euphemism for "Can't see myself going to work/school/anywhere I don't want to go" syndrome, but "you'd better pay me/give me makeup work anyway." Yeah, yeah, don't get me started, Bahamas-during-the-school-year parents.

Item: Ancient got-wet-but-dried-out Drano is still potent and will eat the skin right off your hands.

I really need to check things out in this bathroom more often. It's seldom used unless the kids are home or we have guests, so I tend to forget it's there. But it sure looks good right now.

Yes, it's THIS bathroom.

Item: I threw out all the Kotex and tampons that were under there. The possible scenarios that might have arisen were too horrifying to comprehend.

I also threw out three never-used cans of air freshener that had been almost completely eaten through. And while I had the stuff all over my hands anyway, I scrubbed out the toilet. I really don't mind cleaning a toilet; it's the base of it with those little bolt-covers on the floor that I hate to clean. But you may all come over and sit on it now, secure in the knowledge that the germs have been frightened away so completely, your butt will be cleaner when you stand back up than it was before you sat down. Please let me know if you feel any twinges; I think I got all that crystal Drano cleaned up but you never know.

The bag of trash is sitting out on the deck. I bet the wildlife will leave this one alone. And if they don't, they'll wish they had.

I also hope I never have to clean up a mess like that again. We're talking stalactites on the bendy-pipe, people.

(stalaCtites = "C for ceiling") (stalaGmites = "G for ground")

No charge for the geology lesson.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:12 PM | |

Because I said so. That's why.

Weirdos. . . . . . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:19 PM | |

Bash, bash, bash, in, among, and around rare bursts of domesticity.

My stereo receiver seems to be dead, and I'm near despair. It used to belong to my brother when he was a teenager. As he is now the head of the school of business and finance at a major western university, and has been for a long time, you may all safely assume he hasn't been a teenager for a long time. A lot of us fall under that heading.

All the wiring is original, and has been stiff and crumbling for a long time. I think the receiver itself has 'transistors' in it. You young things might have to consult a dictionary for that one.

I usually listen to music via my computer anyway. But it was nice to have music in the living/dining/kitchen areas, for those many, many occasions when I cleaned, cooked, sewed, baked, and did what the history and home ec books call "domestic" things. I think that's what they're called. I really can't remember, it's been almost a year since last holiday season I bought my new sweeper which I've used maybe four times since then daily, because, as we all know, cleanliness is next to impossible godliness.

My turkey is thawing in the refrigerator, and I keep opening the door and giving it a pinch to see if it's thawing properly. I'm sure once a day would be sufficient, but every time I open the door I feel compelled to pinch it. Maybe it's a weird courtship of sorts, because when you really think about what I'm going to be doing to that turkey in a few days, a little foreplay is certainly to be appreciated.

I can't believe I just wrote that.

Well, it certainly gives a person respect for the Roto-Rooter guy. And the gynocologist.

We were planning to see the new Harry Potter today but Hub went to an auction and lost track of the time, so we'll go later. I'd rather see Harry Potter at a midnight showing anyway, because only the diehard fans go to midnight showings and I won't have to hear everything being explained out loud over and over to stupid illiterate old people who thought they were going to see a movie about the Last Supper .

I've heard there ARE people who don't know what it's about. I find that almost incomprehensible. I hope they don't have children.

I'm also looking forward to the new Narnia movie. I loved those old PBS Wonderworks Narnia movies, but that one little girl with the absolutely enormous teeth kind of spoiled it for me, because those teeth fascinated me. I couldn't take my eyes off them, and they really detracted from the rest of the really very, very good film. Honestly, that poor girl looked as if she had tried to swallow a grand piano. I wonder if she is related to Marcus Flint. . . .

Enough bashing of innocent people with different tastes than I have. Well, for now, anyway.

I'm off to do more of my domestic tasks. I wonder where my sweeper is?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:13 PM | |

Friday, November 18, 2005

"If women really dressed for men, the stores wouldn't sell much. Just the occasional sun visor."

Once in a while, a little cat just gets cold and lovey. Once in a while, a little cat just can't stand the feeling of cold grass or wood or concrete or gravel on his little pink paw pads, and he wants to be where it's warmer.

That is why he is draped across my shoulders as I type this.

I like to feel him there, and to hear him purr right into the side of my face.

But I have to tell you. . . . as he was making the climb up there, I had my doubts. This cat's claws are really, really sharp.

I'd take a picture for you, but I can't. For one thing, Hub took his camera with him to the ball game, and for another, I'm very afraid that I might look too much like Margaret Dumont with a little fur fox-head dangling down the side of her neck.

"Well, that covers a lot of ground. Say, you cover a lot of ground yourself. "

"You better beat it - I hear they're going to tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing."

"You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. "

"You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here? You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle."

"I can see you standing over a hot stove, but I can't see the stove."

"Remember men, we're fighting for this woman's honour; which is probably more than she ever did."

"I saw Mrs. Claypool first. Of course, her mother really saw her first but there's no point in bringing the Civil War into this. "

"I bet your father spent the first year of your life throwing rocks at the stork. "


I read somewhere that Margaret Dumont never understood a single joke in any of the Marx Brothers movies. That's a sad thing, and more so because she was THERE and missed it.

(title and quotations by various Marx Brothers.)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:01 PM | |

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Poor, pitiful me.

It is now very cold here. My shabby black leather coat is no longer sufficient. I must get out my shabby warm coat, with gloves and safety pins in the pockets.

Once in a while, when I wear my winter coat for the first time, I will put my hand in the pocket and pull out money. It's always an incredible thrill when that happens.

It's not going to happen this year. We're so short that I sought cash through every pocket in the house months ago. There wasn't any then. There isn't any now.

But we still have our house. That's something.

My flowers are dead. There are a few chrysanthemums hanging on for dear life but everything else is wilty and gross. Plus, the utility company trimmed around their wires yesterday and now we have some really funny-shaped trees. (They left huge limbs all over the yard, too. I think they should have cleaned up their mess, at least.)

And. . . . I bought our Thanksgiving turkey yesterday, and it's thawing in the refrigerator. I love preparing for holidays. (They were on super-sale, too.)

The college was giving free flu shots this morning, so I got one. I've never had one before, as my immune system is very compromised (Jerry's Kid) and my doctor always said it was a bad idea to deliberately inject even weakened germs/viruses/whatever flu is made of, into it, but this year with all the new flus hovering about, he told me to go ahead.

I am also being evaluated by my students this week. Last semester, the evaluations all went really well; I am hoping for similar results this semester. It's impossible to make everyone happy; indeed, it is not my job to make them happy. (It's nice when I can, though.) From the expressions on a few of their faces over the course of the past few weeks, I think I'm doing pretty well with the 'not making some of them happy' part of the job.

We had to watch a film tonight about grammar. It was almost two hours long. I thought I was going to die of sheer boredom after about forty minutes It was very educational and interesting. And honestly, I've seen worse. They weren't in English, and we threw things at the screen, and we got up and left before it was over, but I have seen worse.

The dialogue was, shall we say, different. If I tell you that the best part was when they kept saying "Wow! That's a big wheel of cheese!" you might understand why we all kept nodding off enjoyed it so much.

It did make me want some cheese, though. And now that I'm home, I think I'll go to the kitchen and get some.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:14 PM | |

Mad Libs, Schoolhouse Rock, and MetroDad.

Over the past few days, MetroDad has posted about Mad Libs, Schoolhouse Rock, homemade popsicles, Free To Be You And Me, Poprocks, and the importance of good grammar. Throw some Fudgsicles and grape snowcones into that list and I'm yours forever.

How cool is that?

But it was this post right here that has proven to me that he is a god. I even read through his comments and made a list of other people who might be gods, too. I must check out their blogs; there's plenty of room up here on Mt. Olympus for anyone who would never write "parallel" or "genealogy" without making darn sure they were spelled correctly, and who cringed when they saw that Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant had made a movie called "Two Weeks Notice." (grammar not included, apparently. . . .)

And yes, parallel structure is very important, but after you understand and can use the rule correctly, you are allowed to break it if you do it on purpose. (see above paragraph.)

Oh, who am I kidding? I would never judge anyone based solely on their grammar. I might hire or not hire you, but I would never judge you.

Well, maybe I would, just a little bit.

Or a lot. It depends.

You know, 'depends.' Adult diapers made specifically to hold a lot of shit.

(Above rant was an aftereffect of wading through a zillion really bad essays, several of which spelled 'told' TOLLED.) (One essay used the expression "should have gone died.") (So it isn't really any of you I'm after.) (Please don't be offended.) (I mean, how would you deal with an essay wherein a student in his twenties wrote "Them women must never ever be feared to report such nonsense as rape and destructivation of the soul."?) (Or how about this one: "I wish I could be on time more eventfully, but my car isn't my car, it's my girlfriends car, and she say it idn't mine to judge who drive it when and where and the clock beats me ever time so nobody can judge me facetelly unless fate beat them out of chance like me. My latess and failures are other peoples faultes.")

Help me, Obi-Wan. You're my only hope.

("In the end, it's the end that matters, not the other kind of end. Endings are important, except when they're sometimes not, like death or marriage.")
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:37 AM | |

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Reason # Fifty Kazillion Why I Am Nuts.

Dear Students,

Both "calendar" and "grammar" end in "-ar." Kindly do not forget again. It makes me crazy.

I didn't have far to go, either.


Mrs. Mamacita

P.S. The title of this post does not in any way refer to the subject matter of the previous post.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:36 PM | |

The post where I'm crude and then try to tell you I'm not really crude.

I am a 'word' person. A language person.

In my classes, I jump on almost any excuse to highlight a particular word and force my students to take it back to its point of origin. I've done this for a zillion years, and I'm still doing this.

It is , of course, the high point of their day. Well, today it might have been.

Today, we were discussing grammar via a selection in the text that highlighted legal precedures. The words 'testimony,' 'testify,' and 'testimonial' kept coming up.

Coming up. Mwahahahahahaha. . . . .

Although there are some who do not agree, many scholars, theologians, and historians DO agree that the word in all its aspects hearkens back to. . . . testicles.

Ancient Greeks swore in court by holding on to their testicles. In the Old Testament, Abraham's servant swore an oath by placing his hand "under the thigh" of his master. (This is a euphemism for 'penis.' The ancients seldom used the word itself because it was considered sacred.) (See laughter above.)

Jacob tricked his brother out of his inheritance, but he didn't get blessed until after he wrestled with the angel, when an oath was made for a blessing, by putting his hands on the angel's testicles. And many scholars believe that the "sinew that shrank" was actually. . . .well, you know. And we are advised not to eat it.

Hey, no problem here.

Well, actually, there is a problem here. The problem is that now I have this stupid Twisted Christmas song running through my head:

Grahbe Yahbalz like Michael Jackson,
Fa la la la la, la la la la. . . .

Well, you get the picture. Now try to remove the picture. Not so easy, is it.

I am really not a crude person, at least not most of the time. I am really a gentle person. But life can be so darn funny, it would be inconsiderate not to laugh.

P.S. Do not confuse 'testicles' with any of his brothers, such as Pericles, Sophocles, or Heracles.

P.P.S. Yes, I said Heracles. Hercules is just. . . . wrong. I'd blame Disney, because even though I love Disney I like to blame Disney for plotlines gone perverted, but people were saying and spelling it wrong long before Disney stepped in. The word is "Heracles." Not "Hercules." He was named for Hera. Heracles.

You may now go back to your usual programming.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:05 PM | |

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My children always obeyed Cowboy Bob.

Tornadoes are, as I write, ripping through parts of southern Indiana again. Bloomington, where both my children live, is supposed to be hard hit. Belle called me about an hour ago and told me to take shelter, and assured me that she and her roommate and neighbors were clustered out in the hallway. This comforted me greatly until I pictured them there, and realized that their hallway has three solid walls and a huge WINDOW WALL.

Heaven help me, did she not pay attention to Cowboy Bob all those formative years, as he regularly instructed his viewing audience in what to do when tornadoes strike? (This is southern Indiana; tornado education is part of the regular school curriculum.) Cowboy Bob TOLD her what kind of shelter to take, and he specifically mentioned avoiding windows. Especially huge three-story window-walls.

Come to think of it, Cowboy Bob was the one who also told my children it was nap time, and snack time, and time to pick up toys. Cowboy Bob told my children he agreed with their Mommy about looking both ways before crossing the street, and trying at least one bite of mystery foods before making up their minds about it, and asking permission before going outside. Cowboy Bob told my children to go to the bathroom before lying down for their nap.

We used to watch Cowboy Bob's show in college and perhaps we giggled and poked fun just a little bit. . . . . I apologize, Cowboy Bob. Had I known then, what I know now, I would have taken you more seriously. Even when we would see you in real life, still wearing that cowboy suit and hat, and always with the dog. . . . .

I mean, if adults buy shampoo, cars, and novels the way a celebrity tells us to, why shouldn't a little child eat, sleep, and pee the way a celebrity tells them to?

And in these parts, my friends, Cowboy Bob was about as cool a celebrity as they come.

Yes, and his buddy Sourdough the Singing Biscuit, too. And his faithful dog, Tumbleweed. He had a horse, too, but I was never into that. I mean, my kids weren't. (oops)

My brother and sisters watched the show as children, too. Heck, Cowboy Bob was on the air for sixteen years. But my sibs weren't big fans or anything. Oh, no, never that. And my sister didn't search for years and finally find Cowboy Bob's Christmas Album and give it to our brother for Christmas a few years ago, either. That would just be silly.

I'm tellin' you, the guy was a local icon.

Now, where was I. . . . oh yes. Tornadoes are a'comin, so take shelter. Cowboy Bob said so.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:40 PM | |

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Food, holly, backsides, and crotches.

I made a HUGE pan of homemade lasagna yesterday, so I won't have to actually cook today, or tomorrow, either. Hub and Zappa have already plowed through half of it.

I don't care for it myself but I love to make it. It's one of those dishes that's fun to put together.

Now that I think about it, most of the foods I love most to make, are not foods that I like to eat. How odd.

And since I don't personally care that much for it, it's hard to know if it turns out well. I have to follow people around the house begging for commentary. Because, "fine" isn't what a cook wants to hear. I want to hear "FANTASTIC, please PILE MORE OF IT ON MY PLATE" and other non-slanted opinions.

Speaking of plates, though. . . . I confess. I'm already using my Christmas dishes and glassware. I was listening to some Christmas music (okay, oKAY, I've already got all of that out, too!!) and suddenly I just wanted to get them out.

Many of the people on this road already have their Christmas trees up, and their houses covered with lights. I do not go that far. I like my holidays individualized, thank you, not a mishmash of combinations. But I've blogged about that before.

I do not want my house to look like an early October WalMart seasonal aisle, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas things sitting side-by-side as if they were supposed to. Because they're NOT supposed to. Don't let them touch; it's just wrong. WRONG.

And now I'm going to go eat some leftover meat loaf (we always have lots of leftover meat loaf because nobody likes my meatloaf but me.) on a pretty plate with a Christmas tree surrounded by a wreath of smiling children and Christmas holly on it.

Oh, and speaking of holly. . . . . I have a HUGE bunch of it in a vase on my coffee table. It's like a smallish tree. I love it.

And there's still a huge pile in the backside yard. Come and get some. If you put it in water, it'll take root!

Yes, I said backside yard. What would you expect from a woman who maintains a crotch garden in the front?

Besides, the backside yard is different from the plain back yard. Duh.

About that meatloaf: I guess it IS pretty bad. Maybe I'm just used to it.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:38 PM | |

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Postcards from the edge. Of my deck.

I can't get over how beautiful the view from the back patio is, right now. Most of the trees in the woods back there are bare now, but there are a few leaves that were standing behind the door when the order came to "jump," and they're still clinging. . . . like a scared parachute jumper who got to the edge of the open airplane door and changed his mind. They're gripping the branches and trembling; they're determined in their cowardice. Or maybe they just liked the status quo. Or maybe they're rebels.

The sun sets behind those trees every night and the past few nights it's been spectacular. And after the sun is finally gone, the night sky is extra-beautiful, too. The moon-shadows of the woods look like a reflection in water, and the blowing leaves look like fish. When the cat walks through the leaves, it sounds like Rockchild's Bigfoot. I love the crunchy sound the wind makes, blowing through and across those leaves. See what people who rake, miss?

Some day I'd like to have a digital camera of my own. Hub has one, and when he's here he's great about letting me use it, but he carries it with him all the time so my chances of getting my hands on it are small. When I do, some day, get my own camera, I'll carry it with me all the time, too. You never know when you see something you'd like to see forever.

Somebody is soooo getting a package in the mail soon.

(Does anybody else's blogroll seem to be missing tonight?)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:21 PM | |

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sustained Silent Reading

Dear Student Who Was Reading A Novel Instead Of Paying Attention In Class:

Glad as I am that you are reading for pleasure, please put your novel away until class is over. If you think I embarassed you today, just you wait.

If you don't believe me, ask the student in the class before you, who was reading a newspaper while I was lecturing.

It was the third time he got it out that set me off.

Yeah, that third time is a charm, all right.


Mrs. Mamacita

P.S. Couldn't you at least read a GOOD novel in my class?


Speaking of Sustained Silent Reading, I'm all for it, but I can't help but think that a public secondary school teacher who devotes half of every single class to it is perhaps a bit on the lazy side. . . . .

It was hearing about him saying "If we have enough time left after your Silent Reading, we'll have a lesson," that tipped me off.

I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but REALLY now.

I'm just sayin'. And so are your students.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:18 PM | |

Veteran's Day, formerly Armistice Day

I wanted to say something about the significance of this day, but there is no way I could ever top Ed or the Three Good Doctors.

Go to both of these pages and you will read far better commentary than I could ever manage.

Back in junior high, we all had to memorize the poem Flanders Fields, written by Canadian field surgeon John McRae. I had no idea what it was really about until much later, in college.

Once you realize that meaning, you'll never look at a cemetary of any kind in the same way again.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:26 AM | |

Thursday, November 10, 2005

This is how I take my children's advice.

Belle: Mom, stop it! I can't BELIEVE the things you tell total strangers over the internet!

Me: What strangers? I feel like I know these people! They're awesome!

Belle: Mom, internet people can turn out to be psychotic ax murderers! You KNOW that! You're too trusting! You're like a little KID!

Me: Little kid? Me? Why I oughtta. . . .Do we have any more popsicles?

Belle: At least you haven't told them about your cataract surgery. That would definitely be too gross.

Me: Hey that's right! And listen, little miss smarty pants, "little kids" don't HAVE cataract surgery. So there.

Belle: Mom, honestly.

Me: See? I win. I think. . . . .


My Cataract Surgery: An Essay In How To Remain Dignified Whilst Undergoing A Procedure**

Step One: Do not shriek like a banshee when your extremely attractive eye doctor tells you that "it's time."

Step Two: Look up horror stories on the internet. Say fogey things like "pshaw" when you read a particularly gruesome one. That won't be YOU. You're cooler than that. And far too young for this surgery. It's a fluke. You're an exception. Yes.

Step Three: Tell everybody you've decided to pay a man a million dollars to stick a sharp stick in your eye.

Step Four: Schedule the procedure for the day before school starts.

Step Five: Eat lots of pizza the night before your pre-dawn surgery is scheduled.

Step Six: Take three or four thick novels to the hospital with you, as just because you're scheduled for 6 a.m. doesn't mean you're going to be wheeled anywhere at 6 a.m.

Step Seven: At 8:30 a.m., ask for more popsicles. Those grape ones are pretty good.

Step Eight: When the nurses come in at ten a.m. to hook you up to a thousand little hoses via a thousand little blunt needles, smile and be nice. You're lying down and they're standing up, and they're all armed.

Step Nine: After forty minutes, they still haven't managed to find a viable bloodline. Keep smiling. They're more frustrated about it than you are. You can wear long sleeves to hide the bruises.

Step Ten: Gratefully thank the passing heart surgeon who graciously takes over the intravenous situation, striking blood with the first stab. Include him in your will, which at this point is starting to sound like something you'll need soon.

Step Eleven: Start babbling stupidly BEFORE the drugs actually hit your system. This will confuse everybody and they'll start conversing about it over your inert body whilst awaiting your utter paralysis to kick in. It's fun to eavesdrop. Usually.

Step Twelve: When the eye doctor asks you to scoot down a little more towards the end of the table, coyly inform him that the last time a masked man asked you to do that, he handed you a newborn child before it was over. When he tells you that he used to be an obstetrician, agree with him that old habits die hard.

Step Thirteen: Sing an inappropriate song all through the procedure, and don't remember that at all.

Step Fourteen: Discover after the fact that two of the nurses are sisters of your coworkers, and they love to gossip.

Step Fifteen: Discover that the song you sang all through your surgery was "Gangster's Paradise." Which you didn't even know you knew all the words to. But apparently you do.

Step Sixteen: Go home and sleep for hours and hours and hours and hours. Or maybe it was fifteen minutes, you don't know for sure, hell, you're high as a kite.

Step Seventeen: Show up for the First Day of School, groggy and whiny, and with the most incredible shiner anyone has ever seen. Tell strangers your husband hit you. When they start to commiserate, tell them you broke his nose. Ask the group if they'd all care to meet at the Hideaway after school.

Step Eighteen: When the principal calls you into his office and sternly orders you to remove your against-the-rules sunglasses, say "Certainly" and do it. And laugh when he telll you to go ahead and wear them for a few days anyway.

Step Nineteen: When the kids come into your classroom that first period of that first day, tell them you're friendly and perfectly reasonable, UNLESS somebody talks back. Then remove your sunglasses and say, "Any questions?"

Step Twenty: When the swelling goes down and the discoloration finally fades completely (around Christmastime) you will realize that you're having an exceptionally good year.

Step Twenty-One: It won't last.

Step Twenty-Two: But when you did have it, you HAD it.

Step Twenty-Three: Six months later, pay the eye doctor a million dollars. Your school's insurance gave him nothing but $75 and the runaround.

Step Twenty-Four: Run into your eye doctor at a social function, remind him who you are, and thank him. Tell him you really appreciate him. Because, even though he's a jackass when his school-age kids are concerned, he's a crackerjack of a doctor.

**(apologies to Muzik)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:35 PM | |

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Out of sight. Right on. Carnival of Education!!!

Click on over to the latest Carnival of Education, hosted by the incredible EdWonks! And while you're there, please thank him for caring enough about the children of the world to gather these posts from all over the planet and put them in one place, so we can easily read them and become more informed and enlightened about our children's schools, teachers, and general well-being.

It's especially important that you go there and read up this time, because our very own fantastic Goldie is featured there!

What? You don't read Goldie or Ed? Then I must tell you, my friend, that you are sadly lacking in enlightenment, entertainment, and hep. ALL the cool kids read Goldie and Ed.

(Please note that my use of the word "hep" in the above paragraph was strictly contextual, and not an echo of anything I might have said in my youth, long-past though it may be. I ain't THAT old. I mean, sheesh, how groovy would that be?)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:26 PM | |

Yeah, like right, whutever.

A student who seldom comes to class decided to saunter into the classroom today, fifteen minutes before it was over.

"Where have you been?" said the cruel instructor in a loud whisper. "You haven't shown up for the past two and a half weeks!"

"Well, um, like, you know, I wuz, like, in XXXXX* and stuff, and busy and all, you know. Are they taking a test?" was his reply.

"Really. Yes, they are." said the cruel instructor.

"Hey, Teach, like, if you wuz to gi' me dat test, I think I could, like, still finish it before anybody else."

"I'm sure you could. IF I were to give you the test. You'll find the outline of the past few weeks on our class website. The url is on our syllabus."

"Whut website? Oh yeah. Do you got another copy of that thing? You know, like, that syllabus? I lost mine somewheres."


We stare at each other. He leaves.

Will he return? I dunno. I'm, like, not a mindreader. I'm, you know, only the teach.

And I'm a mean one.

*actual word deleted. TMI
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:34 PM | |

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

She knew some of the answers, too. And I made her take the test.

My mother sat in on my class today so I had to behave myself somewhat properly while she was there. It wasn't as easy as it should have been. It was easy, because I always behave myself properly.

After class I went to the grocery store. I bought milk, bread, and potato chips. And then I came home.

Yes, it's true. I lead a fabulously exciting life.

I guess I could have phrased it better. Okay, how's this?

Today, after work, I paid for a good Lay. I love Lays because after you lick off all the salty goodness, they're still hard.

Yes, it's true. I DO lead a fabulously exciting life.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to run into the kitchen and, um, get something.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:11 PM | |

Monday, November 07, 2005

Once upon a time in the midwest. . . .

Today has been busy and nice.

I taught two classes this morning. We talked about apostrophes, a few differences between British and American English, how Cinderella's slippers were really made of fur (some sources say yes, some say no), why the Little Mermaid had to die, and the fact that Snow White was seven years old, yet she still married the Prince.

In other words, it was typical.

We might have discussed the brutal and bloody death of the Stepmother. It was hours ago.

Then, I had lunch with my delightful friend Garrison Steelle, walked around Target and Borders BookStore, picked up Hub at the Student Union (big day-long math conference), drove back to the college, dropped Garrison off at his car, came back to Bedford, dropped Hub off at his class, went into my friend LaShona's office, and gabbed away for an hour or so till Hub's class was over, and then we dined elegantly at Wendy's, and came on home.

I was going to pick over the pile of holly in the back yard and try to root some of it but it's too dark now.

I was so happy that I hadn't seen any of the Westboro Phelpsians yesterday when they were here. And then today, while we were driving downtown, I saw two police cars, lights flashing. At first I thought it was a wreck or a robbery, but then I looked to my left and saw the Phelpsian Ilk standing all over the courthouse lawn, holding their signs, and looking for all the world like the drooling, slackjawed hillapes that they truly are. Hub thought a few of them looked somewhat intelligent but I didn't see it.

So I guess in a way I was right. It was a train wreck of sorts, and a robbery of aesthetics and sensibilities.

We also saw their bus. These people have absolutely no class. Honestly, there really ought to be a law, forbidding ugly buses from taking to the road where people have to see them.

Then again, the looks of their bus pretty much matched the looks of the passengers. Both ugly. Inside and out.

And insistent on inflicting that ugliness on others.

I opened my window to hear what they were shouting, but Hub and Garrison were talking about how people shouldn't pay any attention to them so I closed it again.

But I'm home now. And it's peaceful and quiet and all I can hear is the sound of my fingers tapping on the keyboard.

I hate it.

I'm going crazy. I want noise. (. . . cranks up computer and sets it to 'random. . . . .')

And now I'm going to sew some more. Christmas is coming, you know.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:05 PM | |

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday night

I did not go hate-gawking this morning after all. I figured that a big audience was something they wanted, and I didn't want to give them anything they wanted. Besides, I have enough trouble in my life. . . . I didn't need to borrow any more from the likes of them. They're gone now, to stir things up (ie promote evil and intolerance) in some other town.

Life is so short. Why must people be so nasty?

The whole thing has made me sad. I didn't need any help in that area, either. Thanks a lot, Fred. You barking moonbat.

I needed music.

Sunday random playlist:

1. Girls With Guitars - Dave Matheson
2. An Eagle in your Mind - Boards of Canada
3. Cliff Notes Theater - Bob and Tom
4. Day-Old Hate - Dallas Green
5. Another Night in Tunisia - Bobby McFerrin and Manhattan Transfer
6. Why Can't I Breathe - Liz Phair
7. Endearing Young Charms - Nunnies
8. Sad Cowboy Song - Red Elvises
9. Blow Wind Blow - Moxy Fruvous
10. Summer - Vivaldi - London Symphony
11. Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice - PDQ Bach
12. Pulmonary Archery - AlexisOnFire
13. She Will Have Her Way - Neil Finn
14. Moondance - Van Morrison
15. I Would Die For You - Jann Arden
16. If I Threw My Guitar - Cake
17. How To Tell A Witch - Monty Python
18. Mandatum Novum Do Vobis [Antiphonal and Psalm 132] - Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos
19. In Aimsirs Bhaint an Fheir - Connie Dover
20. Amazing Grace - Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger

Eclectic enough for ya?

My sweet MIL took us for BBQ ribs at Rusty's again tonight. The Sunday night karaoke wasn't quite as shrill as usual, but the guy who kept singing "A Boy Named Sue" needs to tone down the shouting. Also, the Beatles' "Oh Darling" just isn't a song for a woman's voice. Not that woman's voice, anyway.

I'm thinking that maybe I won't grade any more papers tonight, and that I will try to get to bed earlier than usual. There is something about the last few days that has drained me.

Currently playing: Watching The White Wheat - The King's Singers

I hope you all have a great week.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:06 PM | |

Sunday morning

I hate it that my mother had to walk past the Westboro Phelpsians this morning, who were lining the sidewalks and parking lots around her church. I hate it that she had to see those words on their signs. I hate it that she had to see the pictures, and hear their shouts. I hate most of all that she now knows such people really do exist.

I hate that.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:48 PM | |

Hostess cupcakes rock my world. IF they're packaged correctly.

When I was little kid, my mother always put a Hostess cupcake in my lunchbox. She always packed a twin-pack: two Twinkies, two Snowballs, or two chocolate cupcakes with the squiggle icing.

When my kids started school, I went to the store to buy Hostess cupcakes for their lunchboxes. There were no twinpacks. All I could find were those boxes of wrapped singles. I was really disoriented. What good is one Twinkie? You need TWO, because there is always supposed to be TWO. Who could eat one Hostess cupcake? I had no choice but to buy the box of singles, because I HAD to pack Hostess cupcakes in my children's lunchboxes because my mother always packed them in mine, and we all know that all children's lunches are the same.


I really thought every kid in the world had the same lunch that I had, in their lunchboxes. Even though I sat with kids who brought chicken legs, tuna salad, applesauce, and all manner of oddities, I sat there complacently seeing only peanut butter and jelly, a little bag of Chesty Potato Chips, a Hostess twin-pack, and either a thermos of milk or a tiny little bottle of Welch's grape juice. Or, after the third day of school, a square cardboard container of milk with a too-short straw. We removed the silver foil sealer and wore it on our teeth. Why? Because we were cool, even in second grade, and maybe the big kids would think we had braces.

My thermos bottle only lasted one, maybe two days each school year. Back then, they were lined with really fragile silver glass and one soft bump broke them. Whenever milk started running out from under the cloakroom door, everybody looked at me. Sometimes I didn't even know I'd bumped my thermos bottle. All I had to do was think about it, and it shattered. Mom always got upset with me, as though I'd done it on purpose, but I didn't.

The school cafeteria was always a room that represented trauma for me anyway. Not as much as did the playground (I HATED recess with a passion that would shock the universe), but I also hated lunchtime. I hated standing in lines for no apparent reason. I hated having to eat in fifteen or twenty minutes. I hated pawing through the trash almost daily, trying to find my retainer. I hated having to obey the noon monitor, a kid only a little bit older than me. And I hated sitting at the long tables in alphabetical order. When someone was absent, we had to leave a space. Even when I was a really little kid, I could see the idiocy of it.

But yeah, Hostess cupcakes should never be individually wrapped. Hostess cupcakes should be packaged in twinpacks.

Heck, I have to go to the gas station to get them now. When I asked about them at the grocery store, the guy just stared at me and belched chicken salad peanut butter and jelly breath in my face.

How silly am I over this issue? Whenever we go on a trip, even if I DON'T have to go to the bathroom when we stop for gas, I always run inside the building and buy a Hostess Snowball twin-pack.

Because, that's the only right way to package them. Whoever stocks the gas stations KNOWS. I wish the same guy stocked the grocery store shelves.

Oh, and here's a message to the guy who is responsible for the coconut icing on the Snowball cupcakes being dyed pink or green for holiday purposes. . . . . Can it. The icing is supposed to be WHITE. They're SNOWBALL cupcakes.

Not that the color of the icing ever kept me from snarfing them down.

"Them." Because I buy twinpacks.

There's a time and a place for creative expression. Hostess Cupcakes aren't that time or place. What's next? Creative expression with the squiggle icing? Don't even think about it.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:06 AM | |

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I know where some of the good men are.

It seems like for the past several years, people have been asking each other and no one in particular and the universe in general, "Where are all the good men?"

A lot of them are right here in the neighborhood blogosphere, my friends.

On my blogroll are many lovely people. I don't put just anyone there, you know. The size of that list may fool some into thinking I'm not very particular, and that I'll put anyone there who passes by. No, no, and no. I like, and in a few cases, I love, everyone on that list. Every one of those people is there for a reason.

Some, of course, have become more than just internet acquaintances. Some, I've come to truly love and cherish, sight unseen, just from their blog and some correspondence. Some, I've been lucky enough to meet for real, and a monitor-friend became a genuine real-life friend.

And speaking of 'genuine' friends. . . . .

I ask you all now, seriously. Would you like to meet a man who adores his children, is madly and passionately and truly in love with his wife, who works hard every day more for his family's sake than for his own, who is funny and kind and reliable and all the things women look for in 'personal' ads, who is always willing to help someone in need, who can cook, who laughs a lot and SLEEPS a lot, who is pithy and zingy without being hurtful, who thinks it's funny when the whole world sees a picture of him in severe pain with a bag of frozen peas on his crotch, and who is the walking definition of chivalry, class, and a big hearty laugh? Could such a man be real?

Sure he could. There are lots of them on my blogroll, but the one I would like for you to visit tonight is my wonderful friend Genuine. Most of you already know him. Some of you might not.

But EVERYONE should dash over there RIGHT THIS MINUTE, and tell him you love him.


Because I'm the teacher and I said so. Move it.

P.S. He's also very sexy. And good-looking. And NOT available. (see paragraph 6 above.)

P.P.S. We trimmed the holly today, and there's a mountain of it the size of a nursery rhyme haystack in the back yard. Want some? I'm serious. Come on over and get as much as you want. You can have the huge pine cones too.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:47 PM | |

Friday, November 04, 2005

My town is in the news.

In a few days, my smallish commmunity will be hosting, most unwillingly, I might add, a group of the most disgusting people on the face of the earth.

Yes, Fred Phelps is coming to town. He calls his organization the Westboro Baptist Church but I do not see anything about it that is 'churchy.' What I see is organized hatred.

I don't know whether to hide for three days, or to take Hub's camera and go gawking with the multitudes.

These people are walking examples of hatred, intolerance, and the unbelievable depths the human soul is capable of sinking.

I have read in many places, and my experience with the public for so many years also demonstrates, that the majority of extremely prejudiced hate-mongers have a lower-than-average IQ, which makes them tend to follow strong leaders blindly, and to copy whatever beliefs that strong leader has, instead of cultivating their OWN beliefs. It's just easier to follow and copy, than to think for oneself. And, of course, many violent people tend to have low IQ's. Put it all together, and you have Fred Phelps and his followers. And they're coming here.

The energy that some people waste on hate could be used so many different and more positive ways. . . . .

They are coming here because our representative, Brent Steele, has authored a bill making it a felony to picket a military funeral. Honestly, I have never heard people who are such name-callers in all my life. There is nothing whatsoever remotely Christian about any of them.

I was just over to my friend Scotty's blog, and he has posted about this same thing. He's not putting the Westboro Church's link on his post, and neither am I.

There are four motels in this town. I think if I owned a motel right now, I'd lock the doors and take a little mini-vacation, rather than rent to these people. I would not want their money.

And now I am the one who sounds prejudiced. I don't mean to be. But I just can not tolerate gleeful wanton cruelty to others, in the name of their god (who is not MY God) and in the name of freedom of expression. Or for any other reason.

They specialize in passing judgement on others. Preferably, to send them straight to Hell, a place they seem to know quite a bit about. Perhaps they have forgotten, or conveniently by-passed, the fact that passing judgement is God's prerogative, not ours.

I'll say this again: I wonder how some people can sleep at night.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:15 AM | |

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Potty mouth

The Carnival of Education is being hosted this week by Dayton Daily News education reporter Scott Elliott, so scoot on over to his blog, "Get On The Bus," and read up on this week's news about your children's and your tax dollars' schools.

You're all helping to pay for this stuff, and your children are directly affected by this stuff; don't you want to keep up on how your money is being spent? Sure you do. Get over to Scott's blog and read this week's Carnival.

I taught two classes today: one that mainly consists of older students, and another that mainly consists of younger students. The division is purely accidental, a matter of convenience of scheduling.

Both classes are studying punctuation. (still.) Today's lesson was about interjections and parenthetical expressions. Pretty standard stuff.

One of my students asked me if it was true that a person could go to hell for saying "shit."

(It's an interjection, set off by a comma or an exclamation point, so he really wasn't too much off topic, and apparently it was on his mind.)

He said that his preacher had told him that he was going to hell because he said 'shit.' I was more than a little bit flabbergasted, for a variety of reasons.

One, I'm still not used to adult students who say 'shit' a lot and I don't have to give them detention or act shocked.

Two, someone in a position of authority in this kid's life has scared the shit OUT of him, for saying shit. So much so that this quiet well-behaved kid (who apparently has a potty mouth in church) asked his college instructor if it were true.

I have no desire to enter into any kind of debate with this boy's preacher. Neither is it my place to talk religious doctrine to my students.

But I do know a lot about shit. I had two babies, remember? And I taught in the public school system for a long, long time. I'm not really sure which of the two had the worst shit. I think probably the schools.

So I explained to him that some people believed that being profane was a sin, but even so, 'shit' is not a profanity, it's an obscenity, so going to hell isn't part of the package. The commandments are about profanity, not obscenity.

He was really relieved. He'll probably also continue to say shit in the preacher's presence.

If my preacher was that stupid, I probably would, too.

I mean, honestly, a minister should know the difference between obscenity and profanity. They are not the same thing. Not a bit. Get a clue, preach. Then maybe he would refer to you as his "minister" instead of as a 'preacher.' There's a big difference between THOSE two words, too.

We also discussed the word "condemn," its presence in the chapter today being perfection on a stick, and going right along with the student's question.

Because to condemn someone is also a profanity. We've watered down the word, but its point of origin was pithy and terrible.

I wanted to tackle "awesome" and "awful," but we ran out of time.

When I got home, I did some sewing. Well, first I did some cutting. A few years ago, a dear precious friend gave me a razor-sharp roller cutter. It's wonderful. So fast, and so easy.

This afternoon I almost cut my left-hand pointy finger off with it. Apparently, you are supposed to keep your fingers out of the way of the rolling blade. Who knew.

It hurt. I might have said 'shit,' too. I had no witnesses, so you'll never know.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:59 PM | |

A surfeit of coincidences.

Well, would you look at the time!! It's purely coincidental that I always seem to update between midnight and one. Really, it is.

Only three students came to class today, in the rain. It was coincidental, I'm sure.

So were the two quizzes I gave at the last minute, in class, which may not be made up. Coincidentally, all three students did extremely well on both quizzes.

That's whatcha get when you skip MY class, kids.

If it ever happens again, we're ordering pizza from the Pizza Hut across the parking lot, and having it delivered to the classroom, and you won't get that, either. You know, just as you're not getting any points in the gradebook today?

I used a form of "coincidence" three times in this post. Or four, if you count, well, that fourth one.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:24 AM | |

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I use my shoes as furniture.

Once again, it's nearly one in the morning and here I am blogging instead of packing up my briefcase for tomorrow's class. I'm really tired, too.

If I had a footstool, I'd put my feet up. I do have a pile of shoes under my desk; I guess that will have to do. It's pretty high; the entire summer's collection of footwear is under there, plus a few select fall podiatal fashions. (Translation: my sandals and my loafers)

Well, I'm usually sitting here when I take my shoes off. And when they're under the desk, I can't remember their existence. That's when I run frantically through the house, looking for two shoes that match.

Eventually I remember to look under this desk, and I calm down, and I go to school with matching shoes.

I used to have a pair of navy blue shoes but I gave them away. They looked too much like black in the early morning, through sleep-glazed eyes, and more than once I've worn them when I intended to wear the black.

I'm not going to tell you about the times I wore one of each.

I'm not exactly a fashion statement. Well, yes I am, but not the sort anyone would wish on themselves.

Why am I up so late, when I have to go to school in the morning? It's because I'm still lost in the glow of having company. Yes, I've had company tonight. Precious, beloved company, and I can't wait 'till they come back again.

And I've also had company right here on this blog. Precious, beloved company, and I can't wait 'till YOU come back again.

When Michele sends her friends to my blog, I feel as though a Queen has noticed me, and sent others to visit with me too. I wonder, truly I do, how she can be so absolutely cool. In her own inimitable way, she IS the Queen.

Okay, I can't stay awake any more. I'm going to bed before I either bonk my head on the keyboard, or get a second wind and start babbling even more nonsense than I usually babble.

Senator Kennedy - caps, it's specific

the senator - no caps, it's generic

Okay, my lesson is ready for tomorrow.

G'night all.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:31 AM | |


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