Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Our usual table, please.

My sweet MIL took us out to eat at one of our favorite local restaurants last Saturday. It's a very popular local restaurant. People come from miles around to eat there.

I will have to say, though, that this scene outside the restaurant was a little off-putting.

I couldn't get it all in one picture. There were two more trees full of them, as well. And they were still coming in for the landing. Buzzards galore. Huge buzzards.

We ate there anyway. I figure, it's probably the local equivalent of a popular truck stop. The more trucks, the better the food. Or maybe it's just, the bigger the parking lot, the more trucks. Whatever. It was delicious.

When the sun goes down and nobody's watching the dumpster out back, I bet it's something to see. Or not, if you're still eating.

So yeah, come on over and visit. We'll be having dinner at this restaurant.

Some nights, it's standing room only.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:42 PM | |

Monday, January 30, 2006

Dancewad and WadFriend Return.

Hey, remember that student last semester who threw the paper wads in class? The guy who danced all his conversations a quarter inch from my face? The student who seldom came to class, and was really late when he did? Remember his friend who came to class maybe four times all semester, and when he did come he sat in the back with DanceWad and tried to play games on the computers? Remember how they annoyed and bothered the other students to the point that there were cheers on the nights when neither of them showed up? Remember how they both failed my class? Remember how relieved and happy I was to be rid of them?

I've got them again. Both of them. Dancewad has been to class three times now (out of a possible 7) and was even on time once. He was absent today. WadFriend hasn't been to class yet, but we're only four weeks into the semester and I'm sure he'll show up around Easter. And expect makeup work.

He's got a surprise coming. Or not, if he's even looked at his schedule and seen who his instructor is. Again.

Oy, ay ay ay, it's the MEAN lady again. She HATE us cuz we be COOLER than she be useta. We puttin' up wit it. Crock, mon.

My sentiments exactly. Crock.

Aaaand, midway into a class session today, I got another of last semester's slackers added to this same class. He wasn't a pill, he just never came. Maybe he's wised up since then.

Or not, since he apparently tried to enroll in the next English level up. It almost worked; he lasted almost four weeks in there before the instructor realized the kid was in the wrong class.

I'm sure it was an accident on his part.

There must be something about this 11:00 class. Maybe it's the smell of BBQ wafting through the classroom from the food court below. . . . .

Well, it makes ME want to buck and run. And I'm older than any two of them put together.

Except maybe the old man in the back. And he's in better shape than some of the younger ones.

Mmm, BBQ.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:51 PM | |

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Let there be light. And there was light.

We live out in the country, and our electricity has been going off fairly frequently lately. Usually, it's because some drunk went off the road and hit a light pole, and the lights come back on after a half hour or so and it's useless and even rude to phone Public Service about it. (I place it in the category of those people who phone the radio station to see if there's school on a snowy day, instead of just turning on the thing and LISTENING like normal people do.) (Hub used to work at a radio station when we were first married, and it was hell trying to DJ on a snowy day. He would make the school announcements every three or four minutes, and STILL people were phoning like mad with the same question he was answering constantly on the air. What's the deal with those people anyway? Are they nuts?) But I digress.

Last night in the middle of Hub's intense MarrowWind game and my even more important blog-reading, our power went off again. We lit candles (the living room looked like we were having a seance in it) and waited. And waited. Waited some more.

After two hours, Zappa went out on the porch to see if there were any lights down the road. There were.

After three hours, Hub called Public Service. They knew nothing about the outage.

Or, rather, OUR outage. A transformer had blown and our house, and the house closest to us, were out, and nobody else.

In less than an hour, a huge really cool truck, lit like a Christmas tree, pulled into our driveway, locked its brakes by the light pole, and the Public Service guy rose into the air like a dinosaur reaching for a high limb, and he worked his magic on the wires and yea, there was light.

And computer power, which is the main thing as far as I'm concerned.

If we had called Public Service right away, they could have told us it was just us and not the whole road, and we would have had power within the hour.

Next time, I'm calling the radio station to see if we're having a snow day the power company right away. The lights you save could be your own.

And speaking of the light pole. . . .

I made this really great Light Polish Vegetable Soup last night (before the power went off). Hub and Zappa are eating it like gangbusters. It was really easy, too.

Take a can of tomato juice and pour it into a big pot. Throw in all the tag ends of leftover vegetables you've been saving in the freezer and refrigerator. (I had corn, green beans, and black beans) Cut up a few potatoes and carrots. Throw in some cabbage and celery. Slice a couple of onions. Cut up a Polish sausage. Sprinkle some paprika in there, and some Tabasco and some pepper. Let it simmer till everything's softer. Serve with grilled cheese and dill pickles.

Well, it worked for my men last night.

And if this recipe is 'light,' what in the world is in the regular one? Holy cow.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:01 PM | |

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Candy corn, snickers, and blood.

I went to a party tonight at a local restaurant. We had one of the back rooms all to ourselves. This is probably a good thing, as a roomful of teachers, publishers, health care professionals, ER nurses, and heaven-knows-what, making all that noise with party horns and throwing candy corn, might have been somewhat disorienting to the regular patrons in the dining room.

The occasion was LaSh's birthday! She's old now, just like the rest of us. And may I just say that she's the best boss anyone could ever dream of having? May I just say that here? Old as she is now, she's awesome. Even though she's old now. Very old.

I mean, when you can hear your boss laughing as you pull into the parking lot, she's just got to be awesome. And she is. I love her.

Hear that, LaSh? I love you. No, not like that. Sheesh.

Lucky me, to work with such a great person. Old, but great.

I won a prize for knowing the most kinds of candy. Finally, an advantage to being fat. Well, one advantage. I got a cool prize, though. It wasn't candy, but it was cool. And I tied for third place for throwing candy corn at the boss. You'd have had to be there. In fact, I wish you had been.

My tumorless sister called this afternoon. The day after I left her house, she got up out of her bed, hobbled into her kitchen, and fainted dead away on her hard floor. She landed on her face. I don't think Freddie Krueger himself could have made any more of a bloody mess. She said that her face was black and blue, and swollen almost beyond recognition. Until the swelling goes down, they won't know if any bones were broken, or how they'll put her nose back together. She also told me that when people ask her what happened, she's going to tell them that her husband asked for sex before the doctor gave her permision, and when she turned him down he went berserk and beat her up.

Holy SCHEISSE, I love my sister. Do you suppose it could be genetic?

I would so share my candy corn with her. In fact, she can have it all. I hate candy corn. If I'm going to mess with my blood sugar, I'm doing it with Snickers.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:15 AM | |

Friday, January 27, 2006

A good cause, and a good neighborhood.

The fabulous Mir is participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk in Boston this summer. Please go to her blog and read all about it, and if you are able, a donation to this very worthy cause would be much appreciated. In any case, click over to Mir's blog and tell her how beautiful she is, inside and out, because she IS.

In fact, once you have read Mir's blog, you'll want to go back day after day, because Mir is a lovely interesting person, and she shares her life with us in words that are perfection. You won't want to miss a day. Mir is the friend we all wish lived next door.

Next door. Some people don't even know who their next door neighbors are. We work during the day, and are so busy and tired at night that we no longer invite the neighbors to come over and sit on the porch with us. We live so close to other nice people, and we barely know them.

The internet has given us a second chance to hang out with nice neighbors. Tired as we are, we can press a few buttons and have instant access to lots of wonderful people. Our internet neighbors are warm and friendly and we love them, as our parents loved the neighbors next door and across the street and down the block. They had time. We don't. It's a shame.

But late at night, after the kids are in bed, when all the actual neighbors are asleep, we can sit at our computers and talk with our internet neighbors, and catch up on their lives, and learn about their children and their jobs and their pets and their homes and their hobbies and interests. We help each other with our problems, and encourage each other. We sympathize, and we rejoice. Just like good neighbors do.

Nothing has really changed except the location of the neighbors. And on the internet, there are no barking dogs, screaming kids, vandals, blaring sirens, loud parties, or cranks. Well, there ARE, but we don't have to notice them.

Unless we want to. And speaking of parties, isn't it about time for another Bash?

Yes, our internet neighbors are the finest kind. I love you all.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:20 AM | |

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Up, up, and away.

If a doctor prescribes a certain medication for a person, based on the doctor's familiarity with the person's condition, and that person has taken this medication for many years with positive results, and the patient's insurance carrier changes, and the new insurance company refuses to pay for this medication and says that another medication is ALMOST the same thing and probably just as good and much cheaper, and the doctor is very upset but nothing he says will change the mind of the insurance company, who is responsible if the patient dies?

In my mind, it's the business major who, for purely business, ie money, reasons, has the gall to negate a physician's recommendation and to substitute something that is NOT the same, but merely cheaper.

I believe that we should be told the name of this specific person who made this decision, and write in their name on death certificates where it asks for "Cause of Death."

Because, you know, whoever this is making such decisions, IS the cause of death for many people every day. Don't try to tell me otherwise.

What have we come to? Since when does someone other than a physician have the right to dictate what kind of medicine a sick person will take?

Holy scheisse.

P.S. And how come Viagara is paid for, but a life-saving medication isn't? We are fast becoming a sad, sad society.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:17 PM | |

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Did you learn anything interesting today?

A random sample of my day:

It started with my students asking me if I'd seen "Free Willy" and I said, "Yes, but I really wish they hadn't let him leap out. He was better off contained." That's when I found out there's a porn flick called "Free Willy." I suppose my comment would be good for either of them.

After we read a series of essays about famous people, it was time to answer questions and make observations. And, most importantly, to make connections.

According to my students, Hitler was once Time's Man of the Year, while Bono was Time's Shared Person of the Year. Both deserved the honor, as Hitler was ". . . one bitchin' evilmeister" and Bono is ". . . a guy who wears sunglasses and wails like a little girl."

We read a short essay about Einstein and Edison. I asked my students if they saw any irony in the fact that both men are, today, considered to be revered and brilliant scientists. One young man said that he found it ironic that Einstein would be allowed to teach with that freaky hair. Another boy said that he thought it was ironic that Edison was looked up to when his eardrums had exploded and were leaking down his shirt. Plus, he was an arsonist and once blew up a moving train with a chemical mix that went wrong.

Clara Barton was Heidi's crippled friend, who was taught to walk by goats. Florence Nightingale was one of the Pointer Sisters.

The Wright Brothers are a bluegrass band. (They are, actually, here in southern Indiana.) They built the first airplane out of old bicycles. They weren't really brothers but lived together in a kind of sin, "sorta like the cowboys in 'Brokeback Mountain,' only not cute and not gay and without Anne Hathaway." They flew their plane on the sand so it would be soft if they crashed.

Steven Jobs makes cool movies. His hobby is tinkering with old computers. He also invented Pixie Stix.

If the Red Cross didn't persuade our soldiers to chain smoke between skirmishes, our casualty rate would be even higher because the men would be more nervous and jittery and inclined to shoot at random. Like in VietNam. And "Louse." Men who were stationed in Louse came home with them in their hair. This is what the school nurse in "Billy Madison" was looking for.

Sandra Day O'Connor played Edith on "All in the Family." Rob Reiner played Meatloaf on this same show, before he became a fat rock singer and directed chick movies like the orgasm scene in "Harry and Sally."

Sally Ride used to dance with a big bubble to hide her facial expressions. It was the olden days and nobody was looking at her face anyway.

Marie Curie died of cancer caused by radium on the numbers on her watch. But she wanted to see what time it was even in the dark, and since her husband was a hit and run victim, killing him mortally, she had to tell time somehow.

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, and he used the cash cow to help other inventors make cool stuff, not necessarily to blow up barns, but sometimes they did. The interest on dynamite has grown really big in the bank, so inventors get a big piece of that when their stuff works and has a buyer.

My students are not stupid. Don't misunderstand me here. It's mostly that they are NOT well-read or informed, and have been out of the system for a long time, or are freshly out of a system that did not do well by them. And yes, some of them are dumb as a box of rocks. But they are trying.

Mostly, though, they are cool people who were trying desperately to make some 'connections' between things they'd heard, and the facts in our short essays. These are some of the results. Only some.

It just goes to show ya. Don't believe everything you hear.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:32 PM | |

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I'll take "Potpourri" for $500, Alex.

Many years ago, I was teaching Public Speaking in a small farmland high school in southern Indiana. My students' assignment was to give an informal "how-to" presentation, a demonstration of something they personally knew how to do.

That week, we all learned how to crochet a chain stitch, how to do macrame, how to carve a simple wooden toy, how to change a tire, how to juggle, how to put a belt on a broken vaccuum cleaner, how to put a zipper in a skirt, how to make various color combinations of Easter egg dyes with food coloring and vinegar, and how to make homemade ice cream.

We also learned how to put a suppository up a cow's butt, how to take a horse's temperature with a rectal thermometer, and how to neuter a bull calf.

It was a really interesting week. I've never been able to look at a rubber band or a razor blade the same way since.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:31 PM | |

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm sh sh shakin' sh shakin' I'm sh sh shakin'

I think maybe I've had too many diet Cokes tonight, even for me. I feel like my nerves are hooked up to the Honda battery.

Just checked my blood sugar. Yikes. I'm not telling. You'll yell at me.

That's what I get for eating that cookie. But oh man, they smelled so good, and Hub didn't notice one missing cookie. I made them with Splenda, too. But the chocolate chips had sugar in them, so that's probably what dunnit.

I guess I'll bounce around the house a few more minutes and then hit the sack. IF I can hit it. In this condition, I might miss it.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:41 PM | |

Pregnant or fat: the shirts don't know the difference.

Those hippie shirts I wore in the seventies are back in style here, so after class this afternoon I stopped at Kohl's to check out the bargains. There weren't any.

I did find a couple of shirts I really liked, though. But it wasn't until I picked one of them up and looked at it closely that I realized I had veered too far to the right and wandered into the swimsuit section. I'm so old now that the thought of going to Marsh wearing a beach coverup for a shirt doesn't bother me much. It was the fact that I almost didn't see the picture of the half-naked couple smoking pot under a beach umbrella on the back of the shirt, that bothered me. Not that I was offended, heck no. It's just that I might have drawn stares while wandering among the produce. Those people who shop at Marsh the same time I do are OLD. And a lot of them look funny. Some of them wear t-shirts with naked biker chicks on them. Men and women both. I wonder occasionally if I should start shopping at the Marsh on the OTHER side of town.

I found the other shirt I liked when I accidently veered too far to the left and landed in the maternity section. Sigh.

I could have cut out the tag, I guess. And I'm so fat now that the extra-long shirt front wouldn't have been noticed. And I look so old and frazzled that surely nobody would ask me when I was due.

I had absolutely no money so even the looking was a moot point anyway.

See what happens when you veer too far to either the left or the right? Of anything?

Students in a Harvard English 101 class were asked to write a concise essay containing four elements; religion, royalty, sex and mystery. The only A+ in the class read: “My God,” said the Queen, “I’m pregnant! I wonder who did it?”

That's old as the hills but then, so am I.

The instructor my students had for the first part of this writing course must have been a real bitch. Two of my students have had a death in the family and they were AFRAID to ask me if I would let them attend the funeral.

As if they needed my permission. I told them to go home that minute and be with their families. School can be made up.

Now I want to find out who their teacher was last semester for this course part I. I have something I want to say to her.

Don't get me wrong. I'm meaner than a snake when it comes to missing class because of oversleeping, or a girlfriend's car whut she won't let me take les'n I fust drops her off at work 'n she like to sleep late yes, etc. But this? I can not even imagine treating a student like that.

(I checked out the funeral story in the office; it's real. I'm kind but I ain't stupid.)

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:28 PM | |

My bad.

I want to apologize to anyone who was offended by my previous post. I did not intend disrespect in any way. I was merely trying to fend off the intense and immense tumor fear with humor, and apparently it backfired. People's feelings and sensibilities were hurt, and I would not have done that for the world.

There have been many silly 'Virgin Mary' and 'Jesus' sightings on buttered toast, dirty socks, and screen doors lately, and they have been put up for auction on Ebay and purchased for the big bucks by a casino out West somewhere.

We are describing and discussing a tumor here, and shaky refusal-to-acknowledge-fear-of-cancer led me to combine the tumor, and the silly Ebay listings, and Harry Potter, and, and, and, well, I got carried away and I apologize profusely for any disrespect I have shown to anyone's actual beliefs.

There was never any intent, not even humorous, to link Mary and Voldemort. It was only a reference to and combination of the other Mary sightings on odd things, a tumor shaped like a head, and the way Voldemort's face was attached to Quirrell's head, under that turban. No connection in any other way was intended, and I am deeply sorry that anyone interpreted my silly post that way.

Offending and hurting nice intelligent people is the LAST thing I would ever wish to do. I am so sorry.

Of course, if you're a moron or a nimrod, you're fair game. But this time, the nimrod was me.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:55 PM | |

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Mary the Mother of God, as Voldemort.

I guess there's a kind of irony in the fact that my sister gave forth a tumor the size of a BABY'S head, and that she is now curled up in a FETAL position with a CAESARIAN scar on her tum.

She didn't keep the tumor, although she did ask that it be brought to her hospital bedside, that she might be able to brag accurately.

So, they brought her a bucket containing the baby's head tumor. It was very large and very heavy and filled the bucket about halfway. Definitely brag-n-smirk material.

So Sis, when you're able to breathe without whimpering, let the stories begin. You own the bragging rights, and I, as the Favorite Sister, will stand by and nod and smile and say, "Yes, yes it was. I saw the scar. It was HUGE."

I have only this to say: I wish I could have done more for you.

And this: Next time, save the tumor. Ebay's calling, and we need the money. Oh, and if you wouldn't mind carving the face of the Virgin Mary into it, before you plopped it back into the bucket. . . . .

Because, you know, I don't think that casino-with- more- money- than -sense has a baby's head with Mary the Mother of Jesus on it. Yet.

I picture a kind of Voldemort thing.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:58 PM | |

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My sister's tumor didn't have hair or teeth or fingernails or toes. Darn it.

First of all, I just want to say that you people are wonderful. Thank you. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I'll cherish this Oscar reaction from the blogosphere forever. It's lovely to find out that people like you want to sit at my lunch table. Want a cupcake? Some potato chips? A dill pickle? I'll share anything I've got with any of you. Most people in this world are kind and loving and appreciative of each other. And funny. I thank you for being so.

Next, I must tell you that I will be gone most of the weekend. Mom and I are driving up to Indy to take care of my sister who had some fancy major surgery. This is my extremely cool baby sister, the one who occasionally drives down to Bloomington to meet me for supper. The one who does, with her husband, awesome Celtic stuff. The one who has a finger in the pie of every educational music program in the universe. The one you wish was in charge of the music program at YOUR child's school. The one who had a tumor the size of a baby's head removed from her body last Monday.

Knowing her, she's probably got it in a bottle of formaldehyde. She SAID she was gonna. And the bottle is probably in her kitchen.

I can't wait to see it. She was hoping it would have hair and teeth. She was thinking up names for it.

This nonsense was only partly ghoulish. Most of it was to cover up her nervousness and, yes, fright, at facing a serious operation. Part of it was because, let's face it folks, it was funny. A baby's head on the outside of an internal organ? The visuals are Mad Magazine circa 1970 at their best. And part of is was because, let's face it folks, it wasn't funny, it was scary. A baby's head is big. All mothers would agree that a baby's head is big, no matter where it is and no matter how it exits the body. A baby's head is big. The aftermath is painful. (All math is painful to me.) She's in pain and I'm going up there to make it better. And she has to mind me because I am the big sister. VERY big, in fact.

Don't anyone get all up in my face because we're comparing a tumor to a baby's head. That's the size and shape it was. I suppose my sister could have compared her tumor to a bowling ball, but the funk factor wouldn't have been there. Besides, hoping a bowling ball had hair and teeth, and planning to display a bowling ball floating in formaldehyde just isn't as funky. Plus, the visual of the three fingerholes wouldn't go away. It did weigh about as much as a bowling ball, though.

No disrespect intended to real baby's heads.

She was kinda hoping it would turn out to be an undeveloped twin, as in that cool Discovery Channel show, but no, it was just a big tumor. No hair, no teeth, no toes. Just a big mass of tumor, the size and shape of a baby's head.

This weekend, we might draw a face on it, and glue a wig on it. I think the hair floating in the formaldehyde would be a good touch. It would give it that mafia-victim-at-the-bottom-of-the-bay-with-cement-shoes look.

We've had practice with jack-o-lanterns, after all.

Anyway, that's where I'll be after tomorrow noon. Tonight, I'm cookin' up some things so she'll have food and won't have to worry about that.

And then I thought we'd spend a few hours lifting heavy things and doing backbends. And running some laps. I mean, she's got to feel better than before, now that tumor's gone. All those stitches? Eh, no sense acting like a big baby about them. STRETCH, girl.

You know, Baby Sis, there are better ways to lose five pounds. Or so I've heard. Obviously, I don't take my own dieting advice, so why should you?

But fear not. I'm coming up there to take care of you. And I'm bringing fudge.

(My fudge? I use the recipe on the back of the marshmallow creme. Minus the chocolate, and increasing the peanut butter to a full cup.) (You know, to make it nutritious.)

I'm also bringing a case of diet Coke. Could you get it out of Mom's trunk and carry it into the house for me there, Sis?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:21 PM | |

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

High school politics.

I am not an A-list blogger. I don't care, either.

I've always been more than just a little bit quirky and nerdy, and I still am. I don't care. I've never been cool. Not then, not now. I don't care. (much)

On my blogroll are people whose journals I read regularly. Are they A-listers? I don't know. I don't care, either. They are people I like, and even love, with blogs I find interesting.

Would I delete any of them, and replace them with A-list blogs? No. Why would I do that? I don't blog to be cool. (good thing, huh.) I blog because "it's" in me and "it" wants to get out. My blog is like a friend. It's THERE for me. (usually.) (you know how Blogger can be sometimes.) The people on my blogroll are friends. They are THERE for me, too. They listen. They help. They laugh with me and cry with me and they are THERE.

What, they're just internet and can't be classified actual 'friends?' Wrong.

The people on my blogroll are friends. They are friends, sight unseen. And they would be friends in real life, as well. In fact, some of them ARE.

Sometimes we pick our friends and sometimes they pick us. (insert crack about picking nose here) This holds true wherever we go. The internet is a place to go. There are lovely people there. The ones I've found so far are on my blogroll.

Shorten it? Never. Too many blogs on it? Are you kidding?

Nobody can ever have too many friends. And I'm still discovering treasures out there. Why would I stop mining for gold just because I found some already? In fact, if anyone is reading this who isn't on my blogroll and would like to be, tell me. I'm happy to meet you, and of COURSE you can sit with us.

Sometimes I read about a blogger going through his blogroll and weeding out anyone who isn't considered 'popular' by other bloggers. Apparently, some bloggers only want to hang out with the A-group. I can only assume they were like that in high school, too. And now, still, in real life. And I find this attitude sad, and even. . . . sick.

I am not an A-list blogger. I'm often one of the first to be cut. That's fine. Populate your list with Dooce and Wil Wheaton and see how many comments you get from them. See how much advice and support you get. See how they will get to know you personally, and want to hang out with you. And when you comment on some of those A-list blogs. . . . oh, but wait a minute. Some of those blogs don't ALLOW comments.

Don't you get it? REAL blogs welcome comments. Not from spammers or morons, but from real people who take notice and care. Many of those A-list blogs aren't even real blogs any more; they're just webpages with articles and self-promotion.

But that's okay. You've a right to please yourself; we all do. So delete everybody who isn't 'somebody.' And yes, I know, that would be me. Go ahead.

That's not how I do this, but we are all different. Sometimes, discovering just HOW different, in certain ways, is more than just a little bit disillusioning.

Do we EVER get to leave high school, I mean completely? Why is this nonsense still going on, and why is it still bothering me?

But it is. And it does. I wish I could say it didn't, but it does. It even, kinda, you know, hurts.

But that's okay. I understand. I'll just take my plate lunch and go sit at another table.

You sit there and wait for the cheerleaders and the jocks and the student council president, and while you're waiting for them, the rest of us will be sitting over HERE. And we will be having way more fun than you.

But what do I know. I'm not cool.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:51 AM | |

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gone in sixty seconds: not the movie.

You know all those mp3 files I had on my hard drive? They're gone.

I opened my music file last night and it had maybe ten songs in it. Ten. That means I've lost over eight thousand songs.

Where did they go? What happened?

I did a whole-computer search and nothing. They're gone.

And, when I turned on my computer this morning, it went into that "security breach mode" and did the NTFS Presario consistency check.

I've been hijacked before, and terrible things happened. Not again. I can't do this again. What kind of virus, etc, would delete music files? Nobody uses this computer but me, and occasionally Belle when she's home.

I haven't checked my test files yet, or anything else. I'm in shock.

If you'll excuse me for a while, I'll just dash into the shower and scream.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:23 AM | |

Monday, January 16, 2006

I have met him, and it is all true.

I have a dear and precious friend whose blog was one of the first I read when I began blogging back in April of 2004. This man is a thorough gentleman, a lovely kind funny person, whose blog is full of wit and humor and love of wife and children. Reading his blog on a regular basis is almost like peeking through his windows and observing life in his house, and occasionally being invited in to share some cake or some great conversation. And if he sees you peeking in, he'll smile and wave and ask you how you're doing. And he will honestly care about your answer.

I am, of course, talking about Genuine. I'm sure most of you read Jim's blog regularly. If you don't, then you should click on over there IMMEDIATELY, and go there every day. You should comment on his posts, and laugh with him, and cry with him, and get to know him well. You will be a better person for it.

Jim loves to interact with other bloggers, and for the second year in a row, he has organized the BOB awards. I wonder if people realize how much work he has put and is putting into this project. He had to hand-enter every single individual blog url into the voting system, among other things. He works at his job all day, and works on the BOBS far into the night. When does he sleep? Sometimes, he doesn't. He firmly believes that the BOBS are an excellent way for regular people like us to meet each other via our blogs; that's why the really big-names are excluded from these particular awards. The BOBS are for us, not for celebrities.

Jim deserves a million pats on the back, and a million words of praise, and a million messages of support and encouragement. He's breaking his back on this project. He's sleep-deprived, and groggy, and hungry, and is missing out on time with his family, all for us, the regular people who blog.

He deserves all those good things, and many, many more. Most of us haven't a clue what-all the BOBS involve, but we all know they involve an incredibly large amount of time and talent and judgement skills, and Jim is willing to do it all, with some help from a handful of equally wonderful people, and all of us should be mighty and majestically thankful for his dedication.

Everyone in the world, with working brain cells and beating hearts, loves and appreciates Jim.

Many of the blogs on our blogrolls came from last year's BOBs. This year, maybe we'll find some more people to add. It's like a neighborhood party, hosted by Jim, and at any party, there's always a chance that we'll find a new friend.

The host at any party works hard. The host of the party deserves nothing but praise and thanks, for inviting us all and for presenting us all with a well-planned and well-executed plan of action.

To criticize or put down our host would be base ingratitude of the worst kind. Only a real honest-to-goodness jerk would do that. To find fault with someone else's hard work would be a really rotten thing to do. To presume to tell our host how to run his own party, would be a thoroughly assholian act.

The host of a party is like the author of a book. THE AUTHOR chooses what to have between the bindings. If someone doesn't like it, he/she should put down the book and walk away. To presume to tell the author of anything what his rules should or should not be, would be the action of an selfish, immature idiot.

So, from me to you, is this: Click over to Jim's blog and tell him how much you appreciate him and his hard work. Tell him you love him, and tell him you always will. If you are one of the few in the blogosphere who doesn't have him already on your blogroll, put him there at once! Tell him I sent you.

And for those of you who are so high and mighty and cocky and pretentious and know-it-all and presumptious and bastardly and all the other Thesaurian words for 'bitchy' that exist, that you've taken it upon yourself to criticize him, to find fault, to whine and bitch and complain and threaten. . . . . . go to hell. Go straight to hell. Do not pass 'go,' and do not collect 200 dollars. Just go to hell so the rest of the known universe can be happy.

Oh, and shame on you. You're nothing but creeps. Whiny, jerky, creeps.

Ah, Mamacita and her home-spun witticisms and sweet mommy postings.

Do NOT mess with my friends. You've been warned.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:56 AM | |

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The stone is not bright, the girl is not right.

I'm telling you, my life is a mini-series of romance and drama. Proof? Here I am on my wedding anniversary, sitting here blogging. Hub is in the dining room helping our son with his college math. Belle is sitting beside me, typing away on her dad's computer, posting a plea on IMDB for a movie our family has loved for lo, these many years, and have been unsuccessful in finding.

Years ago, I used to check out VHS tapes from our library for the kids. The children's favorite, bar none, was a 1976 animated film called "Once Upon A Time." It was a flower-child bonanza of psychedelic flowers, cheesy songs and dialogue, and funky fun. My kids adored it above and beyond all other movies in existence.

We may even have, um, pirated that movie before we returned it that last time, but I won't tell you that lest you think ill of me.

That being said, though, our copy of our favorite movie disappeared long ago. We've searched everywhere and we can't find it. Nobody has it. Nobody has even heard of it. Ebay? Zilch. Amazon? Zilch. Half.com? Zilch. Anybody? Zilch. The back room at the Video Palace? Zilch. Besides, it's scary in there.

We have been quoting from that movie (best quotes EVER, by the way) for over 25 years, and it never gets old. If I could get my hands on a copy again, I would be ecstatic.

There are tons of flicks with "Once Upon A Time" in the title, but only one that's about Maria Del Oro and Bella Blue, and Mrs. Holley, and the bare-bottomed babies dancing and singing around a well, and a mean stepsister, and bees, and the QUOTATIONS, oh my gosh, the hilarious quotes that have enriched my family and made us laugh and make us laugh, years after we last watched this movie.

"My son comma why is your face so pale question mark"

"I'll have time to tend my beeeeeeeeees!"

"The stone is not bright, the girl is not right."

"The stone is not right, the girl is not bright."

"Milk fresh from the stable, for Mrs. Holley's table."

"Mr. Bottle loved his daughter Maria very much. . . . but he loved brandy even more."

"You're much too nice for me. If I get hitched, it'll be to a witch, like your sister."

"Marvelous, I say."

And more, and more, and more.

If you go to IMDB and look at the comments, you'll see Belle's post and plea for a copy of the movie. She's much more articulate than I am. (Update: Apparently it takes a while for a new comment to show up. Be patient.)

Oh man, I would sooooo love to have this movie again.

I'll be back later. My sweet MIL is taking us all out to eat. You know, a romantic anniversary dinner for five.

Marvelous, I say.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:37 PM | |

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The fat lady is singing in the middle of the semester. That ain't right.

In some school systems, the valedictorians (yes, PLURAL, stupidly enough) and salutorians (again, plural) (and it has nothing whatsoever to do with tied scores, either.) are selected at the end of the first semester of senior year. In other words, for seniors, after Christmas they don't have to do a darn thing and they can still be valedictorian. Woo-hah, break out the poker chips and the playing cards; it's fun time. Lots of students drop the really hard courses after first semester, because they know grades don't matter after the mid-year cut, anyway. Why keep struggling and sweating when it's all settled at Christmastime?

These schools' official excuse for this is, that it just takes too long to figure out the standing of every single senior by the end of the year, and they have to do it half-way through the year to get it done on time.

In this day and age of computers? I don't THINK so. In most large (and small) high schools, all the grades are entered, figured, and stored on the school's server. Any teacher, administrator, parent, and even any KID can go in there at any point in time, and see his/her exact standing. It's done automatically. And if choosing a valedictorian/salutorian isn't just a matter of looking a numbers, then what is it? A popularity contest? A beauty contest? A local prominence contest? Surely not. The valedictorian is that senior student who, at graduation, earned the highest grades. Key word: earned. Weird Al EARNED it. Alicia Keys EARNED it. Conon O'Brien EARNED it. Hmm, where are all the politicians? I don't think this "honor" is so much "earned" nowadays, as "presented." Ugly. Unfair. Bad. Nothing should matter except the stat. Politics, religion, popularity, parents, nothing. Just the student's score. And this is probably the only area in which I have that opinion.

Rumor has it that most guidance department and principals have 'favorites' that are going to be chosen regardless, and that prominent parents want to take their kids to the Bahamas in February which would knock them out of the contest if it wasn't over with in December, and that late-winter basketball tournaments absolutely prohibit athletes from studying, and (get this one!) that kids returning from Spring Break just aren't able to concentrate any more and their scores wouldn't be accurate, and, and, and. . . . Well. I'm just positive those are all rumors. No truth to it at all. No, not at all. Too outrageous.

Besides, when a kid can get caught plagiarizing, have the failing grade expunged by the principal, be allowed to take the course over again with a different teacher, and STILL be valedictorian, why bother trying to be ethical or logical about anything else? I mean, really.

Two years in a row, it happened here. Coincidentally, the parents of both students were wealthy influential extremely abusively vocal parents, professionals, and both connected to the system.

But as I said, it's entirely coincidental.

But you know what? With a computer, it would be sooooo easy to wait till absolutely the last minute, on the last day of school, at the end of the day, to find the valedictorian. And it would be infinitely more fair. Heck, it might even make the title MEAN something again, because right now, in this town, it's nothing but a joke.

That's right. The last day of school. Keep working and sweating, seniors, because it shouldn't be over till it's really over.

In real life, things aren't 'over' in the middle. They've 'over' at the end.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:48 PM | |

Friday, January 13, 2006

Pieces of me. (AAAAGH, that's an Ashlee Simpson song and I knew that even though I'm OLD!) (And I'm not lip-synching, either!)

I feel so refreshed! Still old, fat, wrinkly, and creaky, but refreshed. Nobody phoned. Nobody rang the doorbell. I slept 'till noon. It was wonderful.

Now it's on towards evening (Hoosier expression) and I WANT people to phone, knock on the door, bother me, etc. Un fortunately, I gave my home phone number to all of my students this semester, and they are using it. They are not calling before noon or after 11:00 p.m., but they are certainly calling. A lot. They are calling me at home a LOT. Oh well. I figure, they own me for a semester, and if they need me, I'm theirs. If this keeps up, I'll probably change my mind about that little philosophy.

When I have some time, I love to care for my house. All afternoon I've been shining things up around here. Dusting, sweeping, you name it. I loaded the dishwasher and even remembered to turn it on. Laundry. We have clean towels in this house! And dinner! Pot roast, potatoes, corn, green beens, yeast rolls, and pie. I love to cook, but seldom have time.

Belle's old futon is still in the guest room (formerly her room, till she grew up and moved out.) and tomorrow night she and some friends are driving down to take it apart and move it up to their apartment. So for a while, I will have a guest room without a bed. Fortunately, my sweet MIL has given me a queen bed, so Hub has put "bring bed to house and set up" on his long, long list of 'things to do before wife dies.' He keeps this list in his head, probably in the brain cell that would normally store birthdays and the ages of our children.

Anyway. When you come to visit me, you will have a real bed! Not a lumpy futon, but a real bed. And you'll have funky sheets with big funky psychedelidisco flowers on them. Guaranteed sweet dreams, in my house.

With the old futon gone, and with a real bed in there, maybe it's time I did some redecorating. Right now, the walls are still covered with, um, eclectic stuff. And this is the NORMAL wall in there.

Some day I will become mature, and decorate my home like other people do, with silk flowers and throw pillows and tasteful, coordinated stuff.
Until then, I will continue to be an old chick who still digs rock music, cool movies, and weird stuff, and who decorates her house with little pieces of personality.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:54 PM | |

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Music, and the sweet anticipation of sleeping late.

Tonight's random playlist:

1. I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab for Cutie
2. Danny Boy - Eva Cassidy
3. Simple Gifts - Alison Krauss
4. By the Rivers of Babylon - Boney M.
5. Aldonza - Joan Diener
6. Society's Sequence - Authority Zero
7. Beware the Friendly Stranger - Boards of Canada
8. Explain It To Me - Liz Phair
9. Sounds of Silence - Emiliana Torrini
10. In The Water, I Am Beautiful - Dallas Green
11. The Rainbow Connection - Sarah McLachlan
12. Teddy Bear's Picnic - Trout Fishing in America
13. Orange Wedge - Chemical Brothers
14. Migildi Magildi - The King's Singers
15. Dancing Cheek to Cheek - Moxy Fruvous
16. Go To the Mirror/Listening to You - "Tommy" soundtrack
17. Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice - Peter Schickele
18. Aimee Mann and Michael Penn - Two of Us
19. Apocylyptica - Nothing Else Matters
20. Operatica - O Del Mio Dolce

And as I'm typing, it's "Feels Like Rain," by John Hiatt.

It's only Thursday night, but for me the weekend has started. I have no classes on Fridays this semester. What a FIRST for me!!!!! I'm sleeping in, on a weekday!!! I've already packed Hub's lunch (I do that because I like to pack lunches for people) and I've already told him to do his stuff without waking me up tomorrow.

I wonder who will be the first to phone me in the morning? Will it be a doctor? A magazine salesman? (they've been driving us INSANE these past few months!!!) My mother? His mother? A child? (That's why I can't turn the phone off, you see. What if someone needs me?) (The mothers and the children know that if they wake me up on a day off when it's not an emergency, I will not be a happy camper. Or even a reasonable camper.) Will it be a wrong number? Will that old man who keeps calling me and getting angry because I'm not the church, call in the morning? Will it be someone with a poll? A local charity, soliciting for money? I know someone will phone me. Or worse, ring my doorbell early in the morning.

I know it will be someone, because it always happens. You'd think most people were AWAKE before noon, or something. It's almost as if there were people who were awake and up and dressed and perky and happy and ready to interact with the general public, at that hour.

Okay, most days I'm one of them. That is, I'm up. I'm not awake, and I'm not perky, and I'm not happy, or ready to do much friendly interacting with people, but I'm up. Only because I have to be.

When I DON'T have to be, I'm not. I love the night and I loathe the early morning. Unless, of course, I see the beautiful sunrise because I'm still up, and can go to bed immediately afterwards.

If you are Ed McMahon, reading this blog, please come over any time. You don't have to call first. I'll be surly and haggish when I open the door, but after I see that big check you, I'll spark right up and be sweet.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:34 PM | |

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Asses have rights, too. Sometimes I think they have ALL of them.

The new Carnival of Education is up. Go over to JennyD's blog right now and catch up with the issues. I've found a new regular read on there today.

Guess what.

Not every student is 'more alert' in the mornings. Believe it or not, many students are nearly comatose early in the morning and their brains spring into action later in the day. This is not always a result of staying up late playing video games, etc. Some people are just wired for night. I've often wondered how different standardized test scores would be, if our students were allowed to take them at night instead of so early in the morning. Dawn. You know, when a lot of old people administrators are awake.

I've read in several places that while younger children are still usually early risers, the average high school student would greatly benefit from school from noon till six.

That would have been so wonderful for a kid like me. Even better, for a kid like me, would have been high school from 3 till 9. P.M. I would have been wide awake and alert and ready to learn.

But, as Assorted Stuff says, such scheduling would not be possible for a variety of reasons, most of them stupid, such as some old principal saying "We've never done anything like that before." Or some old coach saying, "When would we practice?" Like I care about that. (You can play games in the morning. From 7:30 till noon. You know, when you're more alert.)

And, Assorted Stuff points out the most insidious reason of all, the reason many schools can't have after-school programs, the reason many schools can't have field trips during the day, the reason many schools can't have after-school detention, and the reason many kids can't stay after school for ANY reason, good or bad.

It's because of the bus schedules. They are carved in stone.

I am not putting down bus drivers in any way. Many of them are working two jobs, and can only drive a bus during certain hours of the day. I am, however, totally putting down the mentality that can't seem to separate convenience of scheduling from welfare of student population. Hire more drivers. Split up the routes. We all have to make adjustments in our jobs when circumstances force us to, heaven knows I did. When are we going to make adjustments in our school day?

Another issue, of course, is the sad fact that many families rely on older kids to take care of the younger ones after school. Sigh. A different schedule would knock that into a cocked hat.

Employers would have to make a few changes, too. But what's the difference, really, between a fast-food shift of 5-9 and 6:30-10? Some adult would get an extra hour and a half's pay?

And, of course, many administrators are getting up there, age-wise. And old people keep early hours. Again, so what?

Teachers with young children? That's a hard one, because I used to be one of those. But I adjusted for various schedules and so can anyone else. In this town, anyway, there are lots of daycare and sitters who are happy to work later in the evening. Not everyone shuts down at three!!!!!

But again. Adjustments for the sake of our kids. Why are they so hard to make?

Honestly. Sometimes I agree with Plutarch.

"Being about to pitch his camp in a likely place, and hearing there was no hay to be had for the cattle, 'What a life,' said he, 'is ours, since we must live according to the convenience of asses!' ”

What brought all of this up? My students today were talking about how wonderful it would have been, to go to high school and be alert. It's not that they didn't try to be alert. It's just that for some people, 7:30 in the morning is NO time to be talking about algebra.

I am one of those people.

My name is Mamacita, and I am a night owl.

There are many like me, and we have no rights.

Call the ACLU immediately.

(I have a hard enough time talking about grammar at nine thirty. But my night classes? My 2:00 classes? I'm on top of those, and I even remember what we've done in them.)

Equal rights for vampires! Support the ERV!
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:44 PM | |

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Flatus ozonus.

It's been in the fifties and sixties, temperature-wise, here for over a week, but it felt lots colder, maybe in the upper thirties, after class tonight. What is this, January? And it's pouring down rain. If this keeps up, I'll have to wear my light coat.

It's not like it's WINTER or anything. . . . oh wait.

This weather is so freaky. Darn farting cows.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:24 PM | |

Monday, January 09, 2006

Cordless phones are wasted on me.

The whole point of having cordless phones in the house is that a person can walk around, or otherwise talk away from the base, while using the phone.

So how come I still hug the base when I use the phone? Am I really such a creature of habit that I'm trained never to move any farther from the base than a cord would reach?

We HAVE no more cords! But there I am anyway, standing no more than two feet from the wall, whenever I use the phone.

Old people are so weird.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:03 PM | |

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Quick Mood Change Artists, Inc.

I'm tired of being in a bad mood. I think I'll buy a vowel new personality.

And just in the nick of time, too. Tomorrow is the first day of the new semester, and a teacher in a bad mood is bad news. I've had my share of those, and I don't intend to BE one.

Tomorrow, it begins all over again. Tomorrow, I will again speak like this:

brother My Jack bought pizza a large pepperoni for Jill his girlfriend hungry who was late sometimes a bit little but who was worth well waiting for.

I love it. I mean, I absolutely love my job.

I'll be teaching six classes: three of one and one each of the others. Two of the classes, I've never taught before, so I'm a little nervous. I am looking forward to meeting my new students, too.

I am actually very shy, and it takes me a few sessions to warm up to a new group sometimes.

But my syllabi are ready. Ready to be disregarded, but we won't tell anybody that. I cover all the required material and then some, but I do it my own way. I always have. My immediate superior is a lovely intelligent creative person who gives us pretty much carte blanche as long as we follow the rules and cover the material. Too bad public school administrators aren't like that.

Riddle: What's the difference between a crooked used car salesman, a sleazy lawyer, a politician on the dole, a leech, a parasite, a loud sucking noise, and a public school superintendent? (The answer is at the bottom of this post.)

So now, even though it's not midnight yet, I am going to call it a night and fold some laundry and go to bed. I have to get up at six, and I'm not used to that after being on vacation.

Good night, my dears. Sleep tight. And if the bedbugs bite, well, don't vote them into power next time.

Answer to the riddle: nothing.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:47 PM | |

Spam and tangents and opinionated rants..

My cousin Mitzi, who sends the best spams EVER, sent me this tonight. It's probably made the forwarding rounds many times over, but I hadn't ever seen it till now.

To Kill an American

You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American. So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is . So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)"

An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish,Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican,African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, orArab, or Pakistani or Afghan. " An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho,Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as Native Americans. An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit* of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country! As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of everything...the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least. The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001, earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.


*Please notice that we have the right to PURSUE happiness. Actually getting happiness is not part of the deal.

Freedom isn't entirely free. It requires WORK, and a lot of it. So, any able-bodied person who isn't willing to work, deserves no freedom. Those who use this freedom of choice to choose NOT to work are forfeiting the rewards of work, namely, money. At least, they SHOULD be. And such people do not deserve any luxuries whatsoever. Not. One. Single. Luxury.

"Constant vigilance," as Professor Moody advised. Too bad we as a society are not taking that advice, and are letting people be lazy and have luxuries both at the same time.

To be quite frank, we have so little money and are living so on the edge of desperation, that when I see someone who doesn't work at all with things we can't afford after working our tails off, it really bothers me. It isn't right. My daughter has three jobs, and still can't afford to eat some days.

I once took on a second job (after teaching all day) in a grocery store deli, working part time in the kitchen and part time as a cashier. I loved the kitchen part, but the cashier part made me so angry I could barely speak sometimes. Food stamps, federal vouchers, free stuff, free stuff, free stuff, mostly intended for children, but from most of the allowable choices. . . . who were we fooling? Nobody, that's who. And people using food stamps and then buying alcohol and tobacco products with change. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. People using food stamps to buy steak and ice cream and potato chips.

Freebies should be exchangable for milk, bread, flour, etc, Staples. No luxuries.

Sorry. By my way of thinking, luxury items are only for those who can earn them. Just like bonus points in school. Earned. EARNED.

I know I'm mean sometimes. Or maybe a lot of times, gosh, I hope not. But really, when did it happen that people who work hard all day and all night and who still can't afford certain things, fund the tab for people who take it and buy luxury foods like steak and pound sacks of candy?

Real Americans work for their stuff. That's my opinion and I'm not budging.

(Please understand that I am not ranting about disabled people. Only people who are able and who choose not to even try.) (My father was blind and had no legs, and wouldn't accept charity.)

In the old days, living on the public dole for any length of time was a disgrace. I do not go quite that far, but I do believe that living on the public dole as a permanent lifestyle is a disgrace.

As a temporary fix for people in need, it's wonderful. WONDERFUL. There is no disgrace in need, and no disgrace in accepting help for it.

As a permanent lifestyle, it's degrading, disgusting, and disgraceful.

End rant. For now.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:22 PM | |


Several people have wondered what "sarma" might be. Dictionary.com defines it as:

sarma (pronounced: "sa:rma") Serbian national dish. Made with minced meat (sometimes bacon is added for extra flavour), rice, onion and various spices (salt, pepper...), rolled into cabbage leaves, then cooked together in boiling water for few hours. A special ingredient called zaprska is added at the end of the process. It's almost impossible to make sarma for two persons. Often being served as a main dish during wedding ceremonies.

I have never been able to figure out what "zaprska" is, so my sarma doesn't contain it. I don't think. Unless maybe it's really something quite common, travelling in disguise.

Many recipe books tell us that sarma is really any kind of minced meat, combined with almost any kind of spice your family likes, as long as garlic and onions are part of it, and rice. It's fine to use more than one kind of meat. I always add some kind of shredded cheese. Many people spread sour cream concoctions on whatever they are using as the rollup before adding the meat mixture, although cabbage or grape leaves are the most common. You can also use almost any kind of dough, rolled paper-thin. (If you use dough, bake it in the oven instead of boiling or steaming it.) (With the cabbage or grape leaves, it's best to use a very steamy or damp method of cooking.) (Zappa used grape leaves over Christmas; last night, I used biscuit dough.) (stick a toothpick through it if it won't stay rolled by itself.)

For the sour cream concoction, just dump whatever you've got left over in your 'fridge into the sour cream and stir it up. Last night I used minced garlic, tabasco sauce, poppy seeds, mozzarella cheese, and cream cheese. Measurements? They're different every time. Just keep adding and stirring till it's not watery, so you can spread it. Use the remaining concoction as a dip, for the finished sarma. Honestly, sarma just uses up all your tag ends of food and it's different every time.

The end result is cool. You'll have an attractive food item that looks as though you spent hours and hours making it, when in fact it only takes a little while, plus you've emptied your refrigerator of all those baggies and tupperware containers of little bits of food that were too good to pitch but too weird or small to really use.

My son showed me how to make sarma.

Speaking of my extremely attractive single almost-seven-feet-tall 25-year-old son, he's got the flu and he's got it really bad. If anyone has a spare positive vibe to aim his way, it would be very much appreciated. He was so sick when I saw him Thursday that I made him come home with me so I could Mommy him all night long. He's back home now but I will of course worry till I call him tomorrow and find out how he's doing.

I will not call him before noon, however. He's MY boy, and if he got up before twelve when he didn't actually have to, I will KNOW he's sick. He starts back to college tomorrow morning, just as I will, so one more day of leisure before the grind starts, for him.

I'd offer you all some sarma, but there isn't any left. It was pretty good, if I do say so. And I do.

My sister D's casserole was awesome, too. And my sister T's meatballs were delicious. I was told several times on the way home tonight that they were far superior to mine.

So I guess the next time "he" wants some meatballs, he'll be making them himself.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:59 AM | |

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Points of light.

I contemplate my immediate universe tonight:

1. Dan Bern sounds like the young Bob Dylan. I find this really cool.

2. My son is an awesome cook. We're making sarma again, for tomorrow's family party at my sister's house in Indy. The sauce? I dunno. Something he made up.

3. Only a fool would try to cook wearing a big red sweater.

4. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (the one with James Mason) is fun to dice garlic and onions to. This was my first grownup movie, and I still love it. Got kids? Rent this flick. It's ridiculously corny and therefore wonderful. The worst dinosaurs ever, but it just makes you laugh. Your kids will think they're great.

5. My son has become a really cool and interesting young man, but whenever I look at him, I still see a tiny little boy with flaming red hair, jumping on the end of my bed singing "Oh do you know the huggie boy, the huggie boy, the huggie boy, oh do you know the huggie boy, he lives on huggie lane" and falling down giggling uncontrollably. I will say it's been a while since he's done that.

6. My hands really stink. How come my kitchen smells so good?

7. Inventing sauces and dips and sarma fillings is fun. Zappa and I don't need no stinkin' recipe.

8. Sunday is my last day of vacation. Classes start back up on Monday morning. I'm ready.

9. Belle isn't coming to the family party. She's going to an Anime Convention. Can you BELIEVE that? I can.

10. I love my kids. Sometimes this fact hits me afresh, and I almost laugh out loud from joy. I'll walk into a room or a situation and there are my kids, doing their thing, and I'll look at them and my heart will nearly burst.

11. Of course, sometimes my kids are humiliating and disappointing. They're human. So are yours. But the good stuff far outweighs the bad. It will for you, too.

12. If it didn't, evolution would have seen to it that humans devoured their young.

13. I'm not joking.

14. Excuse me while I go take off this huge red sweater and put on a t-shirt.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:49 AM | |

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Too Much Information, Pt. 99: Magic Poop

While it is oh, so very true, that "We are what we eat" ". . . we are such stuff as dreams are made of. . . ," it is also very true that we are made of other things as well.

I, for example, am a creature of mist and meatloaf, of whimsy and weightwatchers, of loyalty and lard, of friendship and fat, of "never too old to nurture" and "you can't fool Mother Nature," of XXX and XXL, of love and liposuction envy, of sharing and shit. . . .


You heard me.

I've blogged about everybody's poop but my own, and tonight's the night. Leave if you don't think you can take it.

Are they gone? Good. Now, here's my problem. I have magic poop.

Not the kind that grants wishes, mind you. I've tried that, but it doesn't work. Not the kind that transforms my dowdy drudge-like clothing and demeanor into a sparkly ball gown complete with coach, and transformed mousie coachmen, either. The mice here don't do anything except gnaw on expensive cheese that was left out overnight, and poop, themselves, in the silverware drawer. (Remind me to tell you some time why I can't eat those chocolate cookie sprinkles.) (Or maybe I just did.) It's not the kind that opens locks, or puts three-headed Fluffies to sleep, or makes broomsticks fly, or brings shorn lions back to life.

But it's magic just the same.

Every time I so much as think that sometime within the next hour or so I might want to consider possibly maybe perhaps going into the bathroom, shutting the door, and staying a few minutes longer than usual (ahem) , magic things happen in my house.

The phone rings. The doorbell dings. People start shouting to me from somewhere far off in the house. The cat begins to prance at the patio door. (I sympathize totally.) The oven timer goes off. The cd player starts to make that noise that sounds like somebody running a finger up and down his lips whilst humming. The DVD player freezes. Everyone for miles around suddenly needs me desperately for important things RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

I can sit alone in this house for hours and hours and nothing.

I merely THINK about poop and all hell breaks loose.

See? Magic.

Also, if it is true that we are such stuff as dreams are made of, and also true that we are what we eat, what are we if we dream we're standing in the high school cafeteria stark naked, and our clothes are in our locker, but we can't get them because we can't remember the combination, and the bell's about to ring, and you can't remember which class you're going to next, and you think you might be having a test but you're not sure, and you have to poop?

YOU think about that one for a while. Someone gave me a new magazine today and I'm going to step into the bathroom library for a few minutes more than usual, and read it from cover to cover.

When the phone rings, tell them I'm not home. Or tell them the truth, I really don't care. I have no secrets. Bloggers have no secrets. We might have had secrets when we first started blogging, but after a while, we've told it all. Down to the poop.

The MAGIC poop.

I'll be back in, um, about fifteen minutes.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:51 PM | |

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Beware. I'm in a mood again. You won't like it. You've been warned.

I wonder what kind of world we would have if everybody just simply behaved themselves. Kept their hands off other people's stuff. Assumed that others mean well and stopped being so anally offended all the time. Stopped suing people all the time. Lent a hand. Turned the other cheek whenever physically possible. Refused to allow the existence of bullies and mean people. Quit believing that the world owes anyone a living. Insisted that all rewards be actually earned by the person claiming it. Stop accepting excuses for poor workmanship in any aspect of life. Showed some gratitude. Insisted on good manners in public places AND at home. Refused to condone any behaviors that endangered, inconvenienced, or otherwise inflicted themselves on others. Outlawed habits that could harm others. Required that parents take good care of their children, or lose them forever. (Three strikes are too many.) Had some way of taking care of the TRULY helpless in each community, that wasn't dependent on politicians or funding that could disappear at any given moment. Mandated that any representative of the people be law-abiding, moral, and know what it's like to really work hard for a living. Refused to glorify celebrities who scoff at morality. Minded our own business most of the time.

Of course, this all harkens back to the first point: If everyone would simply behave themselves properly, most of the world's problems would be solved.

I'm not sure what kind of world we would have if everyone on the planet behaved themselves, but it's for darn sure it would be different from the world we have right now.

Reminder: "Rights" are worthless unless we also acknowledge "responsibilities." The first without the second is nothing but childish selfishness. The second without the first is grossly unfair. If we are to do this correctly, we MUST have both. No exceptions.

P.S. And by "everyone must behave," I am referring mainly to public behavior. What you do in the privacy of your own home is your business. Unless it hurts a child, or an unwilling partner. THEN you should be locked up, and I hope the key is thrown away forever.

Remember how even hardened vicious jailed murderers won't condone behaviors that hurt a child? Remember how even hardened vicious jailed murderers will often KILL a prisoner who is there because he hurt a little child? Remember what happened to Jeffrey Dahmer? Right.

How sad that we must sometimes rely on such people to rid us of such people.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:25 PM | |

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Willkie Co-op. The Best Years of My Life.

When I was in college, in the seventies, I lived in the only co-op dorm on the IU campus: the Willkie Co-op. The rich kids lived in the high-rises and the Greek houses, but my people lived in the co-op.

The Willkie Co-op was four stories high, compared to the eleven stories most of the high-rises had grown to. There was one large restroom on each floor, and one single room on each floor, which was usually occupied by a senior, who was also, usually, Kitchen Manager or House Manager. All the other rooms were doubles.

The RA had a suite on the ground floor. We didn't see her much; she was an opera singer and I don't think she really understood the concept of "poor."

We managed ourselves. The Kitchen Manager made out the roster of servers, dishwashers, etc, and the House Manager made out the roster for general inside maintenance, ie vaccuuming the halls and cleaning the bathrooms, which included stocking paper towels and toilet paper. We were responsible for cleaning our own rooms ourselves. Each floor had a vaccuum cleaner and we shared it. The laundry room (one washer, one dryer, both coin-operated) was in the basement.

It didn't take long for everyone in the co-op to become a family. There were always a few who remained outsiders, but it was always entirely by their choice. Most of us became really close. When you have to wash dishes with someone, it's difficult to do without conversation. Working with people brought us close to each other. Our cafeteria was small, and the tables held six or more. Wherever you sat, you were near lots of other people. We had a tiny lounge with a ten-inch B/W tv in it, which we watched in large groups. Generally, we gathered for Jeopardy and Cowboy Bob, on a regular basis. The pizza delivery guy came often.

And when we weren't in the mood for pizza on the floor of a dorm, we left the dorm and made for Funky's, or Fred's. Funky's was the, well, funkiest, with its glow-in-the-dark eyeball wallpaper and all those chastity belts hanging from the ceiling. Fred's, while delicious, was more conservative. A student could safely take a parent to Fred's, but most parents back then would not have been able to handle Funky's. Now, it would probably be different. Neither restaurant is there now.

My memories of life in the Co-op are almost all good. I loved my 'family' there very much. Some of the most precious people in my life lived there with me. Even now, years later, I still count the co-op as the best years of my life. We were small, but we were mighty. We won IU Sing. We won the Little 500, and gave them a run for their money at the 500 itself. We blew the town away in trivia contests.

Why am I remembering this now? Today, at Sam's Club, I ran into one of those precious people. He's a judge now, very prominent. Still cute, still cool, still Paul. Sooo hot. Sooo great. We talked for a while, and then had to leave and become adults again. Bummer. You can see him on my Flickr; he's the tall blonde cute one. Still in great condition, while I have fallen somewhat from fitness grace. Ahem.

I hadn't seen him for five or six years, and before that, probably ten at least. But when I turned the corner of that aisle and heard him say my name, I knew instantly who it was.

Thank you, dear old friend, for being there at Sam's today. For a few minutes, you turned back the clock for me, and we were Paul and Jane, wondering what John and Wong were doing these days, and mourning for Bruce and Meid and Mike and Joyce and Christie.

It's amazing to me, that people with so much in common, with so many shared memories, could leave a common environment and venture out into the world with hardly a backward glance at what once meant so much.

But we do. We all do.

Until we're reminded of it by a chance meeting, and we once again become who we used to be, for just a tiny little while, and when we part again, we're blessed by shared memory.

And then we sigh, and become adults, and head for the Feta cheese and the orange juice. And maybe toss in a box of granola bars for old time's sake.

Thanks, Paul. I loved seeing you today.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:37 PM | |

Two wild and crazy girls.

Thank you, Buffi. Your suggestion worked, and I think my comments are back to normal now, whatever "normal" might be for me. I don't know if I've ever been normal, but at this point I don't really care any more. I mean, why bother now?

Yes. I will be the funky old woman in the nursing home who begs quarters for the pop machine and phone from everybody's guests, bothers her grandchildren at all hours of the day and night, and hits people with a big purse if they intrude into her personal space. Just like my grandmother.

My cousin C and I used to stay all night every weekend and every other chance we got, with our grandmother. She wasn't quite right, as they say, and she let us do pretty much whatever we wanted. It's a good thing we were good little girls, or we might have gotten into some trouble with all that freedom.

I wasn't allowed to watch scary movies at home, but Mamaw didn't care. C and I stayed up way, way late, watching Nightmare Theater, hosted by Sammy Terry. We would get so frightened, watching old horror and sci-fi movies from the fifties and sixties, that we would draw our feet up on the couch so the monsters under there couldn't grab us by the ankles and drag us under. We would get so scared, we couldn't go upstairs to bed, so we'd sleep on the sofa. We were under strict orders to go to Sunday School the next morning, but C seldom went. I, on the other hand, had a tattle-tale sister in my class, so I HAD to go, or be found out and possibly lose next weekend's Mamaw's house privileges. Lucky C. I used to listen to her stories of junior high, and changing classes every period, and having lots of different teachers, and I thought she was the coolest person in the world. I still do, actually. And I couldn't WAIT to get to junior high. (Once I got there, my attitude and opinion changed.)

After Nightmare Theater came the Channel Four sign-off, with Mahalia Jackson singing. C and I used to hate to hear that, so we'd make fun of it every time because it made Mamaw laugh, and when Mamaw started laughing, she'd sometimes recite the alphabet backwards for us. I thought that was really cool, too.

I didn't understand, back then, that Mamaw had suffered a stroke in her early forties, and that was why she was a little odd. I just thought she was Mamaw, addicted to her little radio and her "Over the Back Fence" program that C and I groaned over. Terrible old songs, boring old people talking, recipe exchanges, Swap Shop, and more boring old people talking. She loved it. C and I considered it our cue to leave the house and ride our bikes all over the north end of town, play on the school playground that was just down the street from Mamaw's house, or go down to Crowder's Drugstore to read the Superman comic books and buy SweeTarts.

I looked forward to weekends at Mamaw's house as though it was a huge big deal. Well, it WAS, to me. I loved hanging out with my cousin C (I still do!) and I loved the freedom, and I loved not being the oldest of four siblings. The only thing I hated was the Sunday School requirement, and I never would have kept it had it not been for the tattletale sister. She tagged along with us to Mamaw's house I think twice, but we tortured her so badly, she didn't come back.

Every kid has a right to an experience that isn't to be shared, and weekends at Mamaw's house was that experience for me.

C and I got into our uncle's stuff, too. We spray-painted everything, snooped through everything, opened everything (our uncle was getting mail from a nudist camp!!!!) He was off in Vietnam so he didn't know. We played his records and jumped on his bed and read his love letters and everything. We were awful. Tee hee. I still have my beautiful doll he brought back from Vietnam for me. To this day, whenever I hear Brenda Lee, I think of my uncle.

C, I know you'll be reading this. Feel free to add Mamaw's house stuff in the comments.

Oh yes. Near Halloween, we went Trick or Treating in Mamaw's neighborhood, too. Double treats. And for every meal, we made french fries.

French fries. I'd only ever had them in a restaurant, before. See how cool we were at Mamaw's house? At home C and I were both just one of several kids, but at Mamaw's house, we were two wild and crazy girls, with no supervision to speak of, and more freedom than either of us had ever had in our lives.

We survived. And we're better for it, too.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:20 AM | |

Monday, January 02, 2006

Possession. The Demonic kind.

My comments are freaking out. Why are comments showing up on both Blogger and Haloscan ? Did lightning strike my computer? How do I fix this? Why is it always me? When will it end? Why is there air? (Never mind, Bill Cosby already explained that last one.)

I'm going back to the kitchen and eat leftover cocktail meatballs and fudge. And watch grownup movies like "The Princess Diaries." And turn the volume up real high so I can hear it over the dishwasher.

And then I'll go downstairs and fold towels. And then. . ..

Oh, enough already. You're all envious enough of my exciting life.

It wouldn't be fair if I told you that tomorrow I'm driving up to the college to XEROX PAPERS. Because you would be so jealous if you knew that.

So I won't tell. I'll just drop hints about reproduction and messy substances and you'll assume I'm talking about something else.

Why, what were YOU thinking?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:32 PM | |

Cheap lights and funky weather.

Hey, we've got electricity again! Just like city people!

The new year is starting out with a typical southern Indiana bang. It's sixty-four degrees outside, and it's been storming like April for a day and a half now. Lightning. Thunder. AMAZING thunder, in fact. Crane Naval Surface War Division is located just a few miles from here, and they often set off surplus bombs. That's what I thought it was, at first, because whoever heard of a thunderstorm in January? You all have, as of now.

There's nothing like having the dishes vibrate off the shelves during a big bomb disposal.

Southern Indiana. Where the weather can turn on you faster than gossip.

On second thought. . . . .

But I digress, as I so often do. It's in the sixties here, and it's been raining really hard, and the thunder is incredible, and the lightning is Zeus-like. And it's warm, WARM, and I went to WalMart this afternoon and I didn't even BRING my coat.

WalMart. In the AFTERNOON. Me.

The lights started to flicker and go out, come back on, flicker, go out, come back on, flicker. . . .you get the picture, around 2 a.m, at which time I turned off my computer lest it be struck and infected with storm-gnash, or become host to Aliens that would lay eggs in my hard drive and use my files for nourishment. Around six thirty this morning, the lights came back on, waking up Hub. I vaguely remember him muttering something hardly complimentary as he walked through the house turning off the lights. Whatever, they didn't bother me. When my eyes are closed, it's dark. Duh.

It being vacation, and none of the children being home, we slept in past noon. When we finally did drag our lazy worthless selves out of bed to face the day, we still had no power.

We had a good laugh at ourselves when we entered the garage expecting that new door opener to let us out. Hmm. I don't think so.

So, we went to town in Hub's pickup truck. Yup, yup.

First stop: Grecco's. Mmmm, pizza. Next stop: WalMart. Yikes, I greatly fear WalMart, but I went, and I went INSIDE, and I'm glad I did, because I bought a lot of Christmas tree lights for 75% off. We drove home, stuffed with pizza, and with a truck-bed full of lights, into the East and another front wafting this way. Who knows what kind of weather tomorrow will bring?

I'm on vacation, so who cares? Just keep my power on, so I can blog, that's all I ask.

April in January. We have had January in May here before, so I guess we should all count our blessings. Ah, Indiana. What I said.

We Hoosiers will enjoy April in January for most of the week, until Friday, when the temperature is due to drop and the snow is due to start falling. You know, just in time to totally mess me over because Monday I go back to school.

Indiana. If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes.


What's up with this? Blogger keeps telling me I've used up all my allotted space and can't post any more. I deleted a few old posts and it finally posted this one. I didn't know I had a limit.

Perhaps it's time to move elsewhere. Any suggestions? Please bear in mind that I am a total moron when it comes to technology, and I would need a place that's as easy as Blogger.

"Exceeded my limit." I recall a time when that little phrase had quite a different meaning.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:59 PM | |

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year.

We am really quite fortunate in that we have had only two majorly nightmarishly blockbuster bad years in our lives. One was 1998, and the other was 2004. We are still reeling from them both, but we are also realizing that what other people did and do can not continue to hurt us and keep us down unless we allow it. We will no longer allow it. So there. (insert sound of loud raspberries here.) I wanted to be mature about it.

Now, all we have to do is win the lottery and we'll be set.

This resolution (along with me losing a million pounds) will of course make no difference with our financial problems and our worry over them, but it will make a difference in other areas. It will definitely make a difference.

I sincerely hope that none of you have ever had majorly nightmarishly blockbuster bad years, and that you never will.

I wish for all of you a wonderful new year, full of hope and light and good health. Sing, and laugh, and trust each other. Help each other. Share. Don't jump to conclusions. Don't make assumptions. Think positive. Don't lay your feelings out in the roadway and act surprised when they get hurt. Behave yourselves. Require good behavior from everyone in your home. Welcome guests. Feed people. Respect others. Don't fear the unknown so much. Branch out. Visit. Explore. Read. Listen to music. MAKE music. Be kind. You might even discover, to your surprise, that you are happy. At least, happier than you thought.

Thank you all for being my friends and neighbors in this awesome still-new neighborhood of the Blogosphere. I appreciate and love you more than you could ever know.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:05 PM | |


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