Sunday, April 30, 2006

Scan-tron machines, free parking, finals, pencils, bonus, and Einstein.

Hey, what happened to all that great weather?  It's FREEZING out there!  Pouring down rain and super windy and cold; my least favorite weather if I have to go outside in it.  My newly-planted deck flowers had better not die, you hear me?
It would be nasty outside today, since it's still the weekend and I have outdoor flower-planting to do.  Tomorrow, when I go back to work, it'll probably be warm and beautiful.  Or still raining and windy and cold; each is hard to deal with when going to work.  Especially when you have to park kind of far from any door.  However, I park for free, so I'm not complaining; I'm just saying.
One of the many, many, many things I adore about my job.  Free parking.
Tomorrow begins Finals Week.  In spite of what people may think, teachers do not really like just sitting there watching students write.  Teachers would much rather be actively teaching.  I hope I can stay awake.  If I find myself starting to droop, I'll get up and walk around, even though it makes test-taking students nervous.  Well, that's how I always felt, anyway.
I do not have to worry about such things as text-cheating, for reasons you can probably figure out from previous posts.
I hope they remember to bring pencils.  Scan-tron machines don't know how to read anything but a #2 pencil.  The students were all reminded, and I put the reminder on our class website, but just you wait.  Half of them will trot in with either a pen, or nothing at all and ask to borrow 'something to write with.'  Some of them will be ready and prepared, and a handful of them will amble in late and say "What, we've got a test today?"  And some, of course, won't show up at all.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Scan-tron machine.  I love it because it makes grading those multiple-choice tests so easy, and I hate it because it encourages departments to use multiple-choice tests for midterms and finals.
Multiple-choice tests are not my favorite kind, can you tell?  Even when I was a kid, I was so out-of-the-box that I could rationalize almost every choice as being correct "if you looked at it THIS way, or THAT way, etc." 
When I have students who do this nowadays, I cultivate them, for they will go far if they are not crushed by the thumbs of standardized educational conformity.  How lucky we are that Mozart and Einstein and Edison did not have to take standardized tests. 
Besides, with a multiple-choice tests, a person could walk in off the streets and take it, and get lucky.  I much prefer giving essay tests and short-answer tests, for with those, the student who did not read the material or come to class or study or do the work or participate can't luck into the answers.  Yes, I am that mean.  They're a bitch to grade, which is why many teachers shy away from them (shame on them!) but oh well.  I will give the test I was told to give. Because I am a good girl.
I also give bonus questions so people who paid attention during videos will get extra points, and those who slept through them won't.  Tomorrow's bonus opportunity:  "Give an example of a conditional statement."
If only they were to access the class website, they would know the question beforehand.  You, on the other hand, have all the information you need right here on this page, don't you.
I'm going to go put on some socks now.  It's cold in here.
That fickle Indiana weather, I tell you, it's not anything you can tie to.  Unless you're talking about variety.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:30 PM | |

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I love this time of year.

The little pansy is a volunteer. I love to see a reminder of last year, this year.
I spent most of yesterday afternoon out on the deck, and I had a wonderful time. The 'day of planting flowers' is one of my favorite days of the year. I'm not finished yet; I still have a lot of planting to do in the front yard, but on the deck, I'm finished, except for putting away some extra containers and sweeping off the spilled dirt.

The strong winds this spring caught and tore to shreds the canopy over my big swing, and I can't find a replacement anywhere. Cushions, yes. Awnings, no. I guess I'll try to make one; that should prove interesting.

Oh, I do love the turning of the season. . . . I'm worn out from all the bending, though. Pathetic shape, that's me.

Looks like a good plan to me.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:21 PM | |

Friday, April 28, 2006

Better than Easter eggs!

Shhhh, don't tell my daughter what I found behind the bushes in the front of the house this afternoon.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:18 PM | |

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Links, Packages, Observations, Tiny Little Pants, and Sex.

Hurry over to The Education Wonks; the Carnival of Education is up!  Please keep yourselves updated and aware when it comes to our schools; the fate of the universe depends on it.  This is one of the best education blogs I've ever encountered, and on Carnival day, we can read lots of great posts about education in other blogs, too.  He's got the links on there for ya; just click and become enlightened.  Got kids?  You owe it to them to keep current on all things school-related.  No kids?  Read up on how and where your tax dollars are being spent.
I got a package in the mail yesterday, and I want to publicly thank dear Bonnie for being so thoughtful and kind and just generally herself.  Bonnie's blog is a regular read of mine, and it's a treat for the eyes as well as for the brain.  She is musical, and artistic, and classy.   Bonnie, you are a dear person and I wanted everyone to know that.  Oh, they already knew, of course, but now they know, um, much more betterer.  Thank you so very much.
I'm being observed tomorrow.  Please cross your fingers for me.  I hope no more stranger-type students show up; I've about had it with slackers and I'd hate to have a stroke in front of the big boss.  I'm happy it's tomorrow, actually, because tomorrow we will be talking about figurative language and inferences, and it's one of my favorite lessons.  It's also our last lesson, because next week is Finals week. 
The big boss is, by the way, el mucho cool and I adore her.  She's not, of course, the BIG boss, but she's my immediate boss's boss.  That makes her the big boss in my immediate world. 
I was told today that one of my students, on the Teacher Evaluation forms, wrote down that I was 'sexy.'  No, I haven't lost my very-much-need-to-lose hundred pounds, and I haven't had plastic surgery; he just wanted to boost my ego because I'd mentioned once, in joking fancy, that when I was evaluated by students, nobody ever said I was sexy.
There is a good reason for that, by the way.  :)
Then again, maybe he's right.  After all, they do make Daisy Dukes in my size now.  They wouldn't make and sell them if  I wouldn't look good in them, right?
I have to go now.  I just made myself ill again. 
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:21 PM | |

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

We're nearing the end of the semester and the absurdities are still coming.

Dear Stranger Student,

I'm sorry I didn't recognize you when you came into the room. To answer your question: you haven't been to class since the first week of February and no, you're not going to pass. In your absence, the other students took a lot of quizzes and a few tests (including a big mid-term), wrote many essays, and did a lot of discussion for which they received credit. You weren't here, so you didn't get any points. I acknowledge the fact that you had a good solid B-minus up until that cold February day, but averaged in with all the zeroes you've earned in the nearly three months since last we saw you, your grade point has gone down just a little bit.

As in, from an 82% to a 12%.

Do the math. I did.

Best wishes,


P.S. Don't call your instructors 'Teach.' Dimwad.

P.P.S. The firly brinkmire is a cold, cold place.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:57 PM | |

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hopefully Not Anywhere I Am Looking.

I had some time to kill after class today so I did a little shopping and a little looking.  More of the one than of the other, and you can probably guess which one that was.  Target was its usual cool self, full of babies and old people at that hour of the afternoon.  Marsh was nearly empty; perhaps I've found the ideal time to shop there. 
I even walked down the mall a bit, and checked out a few stores to see what all the fashionable people will be wearing this summer.  I am still wearing what the fashionable person was wearing nine or ten summers ago, as discarded by my daughter, but sometimes it's fun to see the styles.
I saw.  Excuse me for a moment while I scream and throw up a little on my shoetops.
I'm sorry, and I don't mean to be hateful, but there are some styles that were never meant to be worn by certain types of bodies. 
Daisy Dukes, size 26. 
Nuh uh. 
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:45 PM | |

Sunday, April 23, 2006

My Smelly Sunday.

I was feeling lazier than usual today, if such a thing be possible, so for Sunday dinner I fixed hot dogs for Hub and the visiting Zappa.  Gourmet hot dogs, which means I cooked them on the stovetop instead of microwaving them in the bun.  Not that I would ever resort to that. . . . .
Hub likes his buried in diced onions, so I diced an onion the size of a small bowling ball and left the kitchen to do some pressing chores, ie read up on some blogs.  After a few minutes I noticed a really strong onion smell.  I guess that particuilar onion was a powerful one; the whole house now smells like fresh onion. 
I hate onions, so I assumed the stench was an omen, an portent, a definite indication that I should go outside and do some yardwork.  I revved up the mower again and took off.  I love to mow the grass, and it was a perfect day to do it.  Covered with Bulllfrog #50, so my skin wouldn't bubble, I set off happily.
After about an hour, I noticed that the outdoors now smelled exactly like the indoors. 
Where do all those wild onions come from, anyway? 
But while I could not stand the smell inside the house, I do like it outside.  The combined smell of fresh-cut grass, wild onions, and flowers is inimitable.  Nobody could ever successfully bottle it exactly.  That smell, and lightning bugs.  It's summer.
It won't really be summer 'till June 21, but as far as I'm concerned, once that smell starts making the rounds of yards here and there, and once the stars come down from the sky to play in the treetops, summer is here.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:44 PM | |

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Blame It On The Bossa Nova, The Dance of Love

Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?
--Robert Louis Stevenson

And since southern Indiana is now under the thumb of Daylight Savings Time, I'm sure our little kids would sympathize completely.

Mine wouldn't have, because I let them stay up till all hours in the summer, but normal parents (like mine, whose strict insistance on bedtime helped make me hate bedtime) make their little kids go to bed at a reasonable (??) hour. And now, with this stupid time thing, it's still light. Who can do that, without protest?

Did I say I let my kids stay up till all hours during vacation? Heck, sometimes I woke them up at four a.m. and took them outside to show them a planet or a meteor shower.

You don't have to tell me I'm weird. I know. Sigh. But somehow, in spite of me, my kids turned out cool. Funky and odd and out-of-the-box and cool. I wouldn't have them any other way.

And none of us like the morning; we're all vampires. Must be genetics.

Or conditioning.

We don't put milk or sugar in our cereal, either. And we all eat raw lemons.

It's not my fault. I'm normal. Oh wait, you already know I'm not, yikes.

Okay then. Blame it on the Bossa Nova, with its magic spell. Or blame it on Rio. Blame it on the Tetons. Blame it on the Stones. Blame it on the Boogie. Blame it on the mistletoe. Blame it on the love of rock and roll. Blame it on the sun. Blame it on the moon. Blame it on the weatherman. Blame it on the rain. Blame it on my youth. Blame it on Cain. Blame it on Mame. Blame it on Mexico. Blame it on the roofies. Blame it on baseball. Blame it on your heart. Blame it on my heart. Blame it on the heat. Blame it on a sad song. Blame it on the night. Blame it on da bay. Blame it on the dog. Blame it on bad luck. Blame it on economics. Blame it on my wild heart. Blame it on the black star. (Do you recognize the poems songs?)

I know there are others to blame but my mind has gone blank.

And I've forgotten why I'm blaming things.

Oh yes, my kids are weird.

Well, it's not MY fault. I was like the Beav's mom when they were growing up. Yes, I mopped the floor wearing dresses and pearls.

Hahahahaha, gotcha. I hardly ever mopped.

My kids are weird because of their FATHER'S family.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:23 PM | |

Spring and Fall

Spring and Fall: To A Young Child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins
. . . and no matter how many times I read, or hear, this poem, I am at once saddened, and made happier.

The learned professor who included this poem in our anthology that year told us that there was only one correct interpretation of any poem. I knew on that first day that he was either stupid, insane, or a liar. He was, most unfortunately, merely stupid: the one of the three for which there is no cure. My class was quick to point out his very pompous and dictatorial errors, but for those students who didn't, or didn't know how to, I have a bad feeling that poetry, for them, means nothing but what this man told them it meant.

According to Professor Alucard, this poem is telling us that life sucks, and when you try to analyze it, it only sucks harder.

According to me, this poem is telling us that there is always hope, and that there is always another beginning, and that no matter what we are losing, we are also gaining something in its place.

But what did I know? I was eighteen, and he was elderly unto the point of near-death, possibly even in his late forties or thereabouts. You know, ANCIENT.

He was condescending and bombastic, and he walked into the lecture hall like someone who was doing his duty but totally wasting his talents. which, of course, he was. He would have been much better suited giving eulogies for total strangers at mortuary services.

Many people, if asked, will tell us that they hate poetry. These same people, however, will tell us that they love to sing, that they love music.

Do they not realize that without the melody, they are loving a poem? Please don't judge poetry by the usually very bad selections found in typical textbooks. Don't take anybody else's word about whether a poem is good or not.

True poetry is a living, breathing entity. Like people. And, like people, we must not expect to adore, respect, endure, like, or love every single one. We are selective when we choose our friends. It is so with poetry.

Then, too, we sometimes find that after years of dislike, a person can somehow begin to LIKE a person. It is that way with a poem, too.

Give each person poem a chance, yourself. If you don't like it, set it aside and try another one.

Take your favorite songs and look only at the lyrics. Lyrics are poems, dudes.

Life can be so very, very hard. Bad things happen. But those bad things will eventually be over, and even though the memories linger, the terrible pain will pass.

We will weep and we will know why. We will weep and NOT know why, sometimes.

It is ourselves we mourn for, you see.

Be of good cheer. This, too, shall pass.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:07 PM | |

Friday, April 21, 2006

If we had opposable thumbs we could get in. . . .

For an embarassingly long time I was puzzled by the fact that the bottom few feet of my patio doors were always dirty and smeary, sometimes even minutes after the whole thing was thoroughly cleaned.

I knew that when it rained, the water bounced off the deck and spattered the bottom part of the door, but I couldn't understand the smears.

I do now.

The big cat is mine, and the little hussy in front lives next door. She does her eating and sleeping here, but she gets her petting and impregnating at the neighbor's.

She has a daughter who looks just like her. For a long time we couldn't figure out why this cat was so friendly sometimes, and so snarly at other times. Then we saw them together. This little cat's last summer's litter is grown now, and the identical daughter AND the little mommy are both preggers again. I really wish the neighbors would have their cats neutered; all this dry cat food is expensive. Plus, I sincerely believe that responsible pet owners should neuter their animals. We really have only one cat now, but our neighbors have five, and soon they'll have more. And more. And more, if they don't get on the stick and get these cats fixed.

Item: my cat is not the father. My cat has no balls; we had them removed because we are responsible cat owners. My cat acts like he still has balls, but he doesn't. They are definitely gone; we paid to have them cut off. My cat is ballsy, but ball-less. There are many jokes I could stick in here but because of my innate good breeding I won't.

When you come to visit me, you will notice the smeary bottoms of the French doors. The cats did it.

Sometimes, they lick all over the glass. What's up with that? Weird. Usually, though, they just smear their moist little paws all over it, trying desperately to get inside. When my cat rears up on his back legs, he can touch the doorknob. He pats and swipes at it all the time; he knows that the doorknob is the key to getting inside, if only he had thumbs.

Thankfully, he doesn't. No thumbs, and no balls.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:40 PM | |

What Next?

Every day, thousands of students who haven't done the work, can't read, can't write, can't pass a test, show nothing but disrespect for learning, have cheated, manipulated the system AND their parents, and are just generally and ethically and morally and academically UNDESERVING of a diploma, are graduated from an accredited high school and given a diploma that is supposed to symbolize completion of and good work done in all aspects of high school.  In other words, we give bums that which they did not actually earn.  All it usually takes is a few whines, excuses, letters of the alphabet, and parental threats.
But let a student work hard, make excellent grades, pass all required tests with flying colors, and go far above and beyond the simple requirements, and we shrug our shoulders and say, 'sorry, no can do.'  And when this student produces various proofs of accomplishment, we shrug our shoulders and tell him that his 'stuff' is too complicated to understand. 
I believe that THIS is inexcusable. Please visit the Education Wonks (I hang out there every day!!!!) and put your two cents in.  While you're there, click on the link at the bottom of the article and tell this community they're making fools of themselves and everybody in the world is reading about them.  Not that it would be anything new.
And while we're at it, let's all contact Rotary and ask them to explain why their Exchange Student policies are so asinine. 
P.S.  I'm still mad, but I'm trying to focus.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:28 PM | |

Thursday, April 20, 2006

People Talking Without Speaking. . . . .

I've calmed down now. I think that looking at this picture helped. I want to climb into this picture. Isn't this the greatest picture ever? I have always loved libraries: their smell, their possibilities. . . the very atmosphere of a huge repository of books hypnotizes me. I could live quite happily in a big library.

I loved it when libraries were QUIET. Remember how those librarians would shush you if you so much as said one word that wasn't a whisper? I wish it was still like that. I loved the silence of a library, with just whispers. People whispering, and the pages whispering as they turned. People even walked quietly in a library. And if anyone made noise, out they went. Oh, for the days of library silence, which was, in fact, simply respect for the dignity and power and general cool of books. And books, of course, represented knowledge and wisdom and fun and escape.

At home, I must have my music blasting almost every minute, but in the library, I love the symbolism of the silence.

Our local library has turned into a big daycare, full of running, screaming little kids who have no intention of doing anything with a book except throw it or tear it up. I haven't been there in years. It's not a library any more. People even bring food in there now, even though the signs tell them not to.

I guess they can't read the signs. In which case, why are they in a library, which would connote a desire to read a book? Oh, silly me. They are there to socialize, and to let the kids run wild. Please, check out your videos and go home.

Shhhhhhh. . . . .

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:33 PM | |

Still fuming. . . .

This insurance thing just keeps getting worse and worse.  I can't talk about it tonight.  Maybe tomorrow.  Grrrrrrr.
So anyway, while I'm already angry, I'll tell you about something that happened twenty years ago that I'm still mad about. 
My former school was a K-8 building, one of many schools in a large corporation.  (I hate large corporations; don't get me started. . . .)  In this school, twenty years ago, there were three third grade classrooms, and each of them had 37 students in them.  I know this because my daughter was in one of them.
At the same time, the elementary schools in TOWN were averaging between 14-18 students per classroom.
When I politely inquired as to what the hell was going on with these numbers, I was told that on paper, it all averaged out fine and the system was meeting the requirements of the 'small numbers in grades 1 through 3'  laws.  The administration honestly did not have a clue why the parents of these little country school students were upset.  Yes, that administration was that stupid.
Heck, when I first transferred from the town junior high to this little country middle school, and asked why the country school didn't have any workbooks, all hell broke loose.  The system had been saving money on the workbooks, only buying them for the town kids but charging everybody the same book rental fees.  After I threw my somewhat memorable fit about that at a meeting, and the workbooks magically appeared in all the buildings, I was told that it was my fault that everyone's rental fees went up that next year.
They had been counting on the other teachers not knowing they were supposed to have workbooks, you see.  I came from the town school where we had them, so I knew.  Parents, be inquisitive!  If your child's school is part of a consolidation, find out exactly what books and supplies you are paying for, and if they are not showing up in your building, raise a ruckus till you get what you are paying for.
Of course, several of those administrators were Administration Building administrators instead of individual school building administrators because they'd been caught in the act of boinking (thank you, sweet Yvonne, for teaching me this word!)  with an underling, in the school.   In the very act, I'm telling you.
In this school system, principals got promoted for being caught with their pants down.  The secretaries got fired.
Then again, there was that Administration Building administrator who was caught having sex with his secretary ON TOP OF HER DESK, and HE was sent to the vocational school to teach, for the rest of his contract time.
Oh, whatever.  That system had more Administrative Titles, most of them created to house a pantsless principal with a contract,  than a dog has fleas.  And the fleas were smarter. I don't think anyone in that administration is still there, but I believe that the current administration is even worse.  Try as I might, I am unable to conjure up any respect for any of them, and I would not trust any of them to tell me whether or not it was raining outside.  I'd have to get up and go look for myself.
I'm still mad about my seven-year-old daughter in a classroom with 37 other kids.  That was inexcusable.
In a school corporation, everything is supposed to be equitable.  That's the whole reasoning behind consolidating! 
You know,  I feel no loyalty whatsoever to that crooked, horrible school system, and I know tons of really interesting and scandalous facts about it.  Stay tuned. 
Unless, of course, I mellow out between now and then.  Haha, like THAT'S going to happen.
"Beware the fury of a patient person."  No duh.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:44 PM | |

Daughters of Time

Days, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daughters of Time, the hypocritic Days,
Muffled and dumb, like barefoot dervishes,
And marching single in an endless file,
Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
To each they offer gifts, after his will,--
Bread, kingdoms, stars, or sky that holds them all.
I, in my pleachéd garden, watched the pomp,
Forgot my morning wishes, hastily
Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day
Turned and departed silent. I, too late,
Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.


I love this poem. It makes me sad, but I love it. A memory associated with it makes me giggle, even within the sadness. After yesterday, I'm not sure I'll be giggling any more. Yesterday was a hypocritic day, big time. I am not happy today.

But before I tell you about mine, let me tell you about my eccentric old English teacher's example of a hypocritic day. It's not really funny, and yet I have remembered this with smiles for many, many years. How many? None of your business.


My teacher's words, more or less: "When I was young, I sponsored the drama group at the high school. One day in particular had been extra-wonderful. The students were wonderful, the rehearsal was wonderful, the weather was wonderful, my mood was wonderful, everything in the universe as I knew it was wonderful. It was a wonderful day. Nothing went wrong, not one thing. Perfection in a day does not come often. It had come today. As I was walking home from school, I felt the urge to share this wonderful day with my mother. All the way to her house, I was smiling and humming, pondering the wonderful-ness of this day. It was still light out, and the mourning doves and crickets were singing a duet that I will never forget. It was wonderful, just like everything else on that day. I couldn't wait to share this wonderful day with my mother. I walked into her house, and there was mother, dead on the couch."

Anyone who was in that Junior English class with me on that day will remember that story. (And zillions more, but I'll get to those later.)

We were teenagers. We were cool. Our first inclination was to laugh, but we couldn't laugh, because her mother was dead. Her dry, pedantic delivery made this story even funnier, but we couldn't laugh. She had a habit of saying the word 'wonderful' so much that it lost its meaning completely. That was funny too, but we couldn't laugh. Her glasses had lenses so thick, they looked like the bottoms of coke bottles, and they were so heavy that they moved down her nose and fell off every few minutes, but we couldn't laugh. Her hair was very thin and bright blue, and her scalp was bright pink, and the back of her head looked like some kind of baby shower centerpiece, but we couldn't laugh. Her dress was made of old-lady material, floral pattern, and so thin that we could see every detail of her slip, including the lace and the rusty safety pins holding up the hem, but we couldn't laugh. She demanded that we look straight at her whenever we spoke or listened to her, but it was difficult because when she sat at her desk, she sat with her knees far apart, and there was no modesty panel on the desk, and we did not want to see anything she was inadvertently showing us. NOBODY wanted to see that. So, we had a hard time meeting her eyes and she thought we were smart-alecs and often chastized us for not being willing to look her in the eye. We couldn't tell her why. She was very deaf, and could barely see even with the coke-bottle lenses, and her students in those last years played horrible tricks on her, and while I never actively participated in any of them, I observed and giggled and never told on anyone, which of course makes me as guilty as anyone who actually DID something to her. I'll tell more of these stories later. You'll laugh, but you'll feel a little guilty about doing so.

But I digress. Yesterday was a hypocritic day.

It started out really well. The best class sessions so far this semester; neither class wanted to leave when the time was up. The discussions were fascinating, and we'd probably still be there together if that other class hadn't needed the room for themselves, selfish things. I had a doctor's appointment later that afternoon in the city, so I stayed up there and graded (a very few) essays and got some things done. Then I drove down to the Dollar Tree (a teacher's paradise) for a few minutes, and went on to my appointment. It went well, too. Oh, I'm fat and lazy and my blood sugar is off the charts, but everything else was ok. I left the doctor's office still smiling.

I had a little time before my next appointment (supper with a friend!) so I drove over to WalMart and got a few necessities.

Then I met my friend Frau for an early supper, and as always, had a great time; she's such a lovely person and a truly good friend.

The trip home was peaceful and pretty; the car windows were open and the honeysuckle and tar made a pleasant fragrance. (there is always the smell of tar on Hoosier roads. They are in a constant state of repair, and yet they're never repaired. Go figure.)

When I pulled into the driveway, the sense of peace and happiness was still with me. It stayed with me until I got into the house and saw the phone blinking, with a message. Somehow I knew that message would not be good. I actually went cold all over, with premonition.

It was the police. Someone had reported that my car had bumped another car in the parking lot, and the owner had called the police, because I had left the scene. I drove back up to the city so the police officer could examine my car.

This is a nightmare. I did not bump anyone. The police found no marks on my car. I had not heard anything, I did not feel any kind of bump.

The police officer told me that I would be better off to just pay for the bumper on this other car; otherwise it would be dragged out into a long complicated thing. She gave me a copy of the accident report with the phone number of this other car's owner on it.

A few minutes ago I called this number, apologized, explained that I did not realize I had hit anything (I still don't think I did) hadn't felt or heard it, but if I had indeed done any damage I would certainly pay for their grazed bumper.

The man accepted my apology and told me that it was more than a grazed bumper; I had also taken out their brand new fender. Does anyone else sense a scam of some sort?

I swear, I did not hit anything in that parking lot. But I am going to be paying for these people's new bumper and fender. How will I pay for this? I don't know. If I report it to my insurance, the rates will go up astronomically, even though I have never in all my life so much as had a ticket of any kind. But we all know how insurance companies operate; thirty years of perfect records and one fender-grazed THAT I DIDN'T EVEN DO, and suddenly I'm a liability risk. (How can those people sleep at night, I wonder?) But since we have no savings and a negative balance (whoops) in the checking, we'll have to turn these people's two estimates into our insurance company.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful day. And there was happiness, dead on the couch.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:58 AM | |

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What Time Is It Now?

What I see when I blog every day. . . .

Yes, I am aware that it is very 'busy.' And maybe a little messy. I tried to get the Abominable Snowman and the Gargoyle in the picture but I couldn't. Yes, there are two clocks. Three, counting the one on the computer bar. What's your point? There's another one on the wall to my left but it doesn't show. Too bad, because that one looks like a Monopoly board. I might be a little paranoid about time. If it makes you feel better, no two clocks in this house tell the same time. I usually go with the fastest one. Truthfully, I never know the correct time when I am at home. I have to go to work to find out the correct time. Fortunately, I am always at work early, because when I'm at home I go by the fastest clock.

I have no trouble whatsoever with this, but it drives some people crazy.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:53 PM | |

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Movie Review. Verdict: Boring and Stupid.

I watched "Bringing Down the House" tonight.  I am a big Steve Martin fan, and the blurbs looks interesting.
The blurbs were wrong.  This was one of the lamest movies I've ever seen.  I fast-forwarded through parts of it, to get to the end. 
It was a waste of talent.  Steve Martin is usually fantastic but in this movie he was really, really lame; Queen Latifah should sue her agent for letting her do this film; Betty White was her usual hilarious self playing a clueless racist twit;  Jean Smart was a wuss, and Joan Plowright stole the show. 
Word to them all:  You don't HAVE to do every movie that's thrust in your faces, you know.  Be a little more discriminating.  Reject the lame scripts, or you'll find yourself on the big screen saying lines such as "I kicked it off the heezy and bounced... fo' real, tho!" and expecting people to take you seriously.  Oh wait, that already happened. 
That's ninety minutes I'll never get back.  Really sixty, since I fast-forwarded through most of the last half.  If I hadn't been reading a good book while I was watching, I'd really be mad. 
Multi-tasking.  It keeps me from many a tantrum when one part of it turns out poorly.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:36 PM | |

Monday, April 17, 2006

That's Just The Way We Do Things Around Here

Several years ago, back in the middle school, I noticed that one of my boys was wearing a bullet belt.  You know, a leather belt with 22 calibre bullets all around it.  Real 22 bullets. Not fake ones.  Real bullets.  22's.
Did I mention that this boy was wearing a dozen or more actual 22 bullets?  In school?  Bullets?  AMMO?
This was not a well-behaved, stable kid.  This was a volatile, scary, 'temper challenged' * kid who was suspended about as often as he attended.  In other words, not exactly the kind of kid you want wearing a bullet belt, and also exactly the kind of kid you'd almost expect to be wearing one.
I sent a message down to the office, informing the principal that I had live ammo in my classroom, and awaited his arrival in my classroom to remove it.
About a half hour later, I sent another note, reminding the principal that I still had bullets in my room and wondering what was going on with his end of it?
He never showed during the boy's stint in my room.  The bell rang, and the bullets walked out the door along with all the students, to grace the next teacher's classroom. 
Toward the end of the day, I saw the principal in the hallway.
"Didn't you get my note about the bullets?"  I asked.
"Oh yeah, I got it," said the principal, "but that's just the way we do things around here.  We're a little country school and our boys hunt, and sometimes they wear bullet belts. They're that handy;  I've got one myself."
A few days later, when I found out that one of my boys had his socks stuffed full of condoms, I kept my mouth shut about it.
I figured, society as a whole would be worse off in the long run if those things were confiscated, than if they were kept and used.  Besides, that particular kid was so stupid, he probably thought his socks were where the condoms were supposed to be, anyway.
Bullets on your belt, and condoms in your socks.  That's just the way we do things around here.
*euphemism for 'big disgusting whiny crybaby'
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:39 PM | |

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Things I Wish I Didn't Know

This post won't make much sense unless you are familiar with the books mentioned. Sorry.

When I was a kid, I read voraciously, just as I do now. My first venture into the world of grown-up nonfiction was "Karen" and "With Love From Karen," both by Marie Killilea, and "The Family Nobody Wanted," by Helen Doss. I was in the fourth grade.

I loved these two families like nobody would ever believe. I read and re-read and re-read these books over and over again, until Mom threw up her hands and forbade me to check them out of the library for at least a month. My delight at finally finding paperback editions of all three books at a neighborhood yard sale was beyond description. Thirty cents, and they were mine. MINE. My three fantastic wonderful books. Oh, I loved every member of these two families. I knew them so well, I could have ordered for them at a restaurant. I was ten years old, and I had discovered biographies. Real ones, not those stupid large-print "All About Clara Barton" things that my teachers were still trying to point me towards. Those were okay in the first grade, but not nowwwwww.

When I was sixteen, and had gotten a job at the Kresge store downtown, which came with a real PAYCHECK, one of my first purchases was these three books, in hardback. I still have them, and I still cherish them, and for many years I was still reading and re-reading them, and finding new treasures in them with each new reading. I loved these people so much.

And then, a few years ago, I got a computer. I learned how to 'google' things. I googled the Killileas, and the Dosses, and my discoveries broke my heart. It was years before I could read the books again. In fact, it was today.

I learned that Gloria's two daughters, the much-loved and long-awaited Mary DeLourdes and Evelyn Ann, were killed in a tragic house fire that also took the life of Little Marie's daughter, Michelle Smiley. I learned that Gloria and Russ are dead, as are Marie and Jimmy. I learned that nobody seems to know the exact whereabouts of Little Marie, or Rory, or Kristen, not that it's anybody's business, but gosh, I loved them all so much, and would really like to know that they, at least, are all right. A few websites gave them a vague location, but I wanted reassurance, darn it! Google did let me know that Karen is fine, living independently and usefully and happily, which was her parents' goal for her all along.

I learned that in spite of the happiness that is fairly beaming from her book and articles, Helen and Carl Doss divorced, and that Carl's whereabouts are not widely known. I loved Helen and Carl, too, through Helen's lovely book, and I loved all of their twelve children.

Mom says that Helen and Carl once appeared on Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life," with the children. I'd love to see that show.

It's disheartening. . . . no, heartbreaking, to discover that book people might have lived happily ever after when the last page is turned, but that after the book is closed and put back onto the shelf, real live goes on, and it's not always happy. With fiction, I never had to worry about things like that. With fiction, the end was the end, except in my imagination. With nonfiction, with biographies and autobiographies, life could still play you a dirty trick or two even after the last page was turned.

My beloved two families will always exist happily on the pages of those three books, but finding out what happened AFTER I closed the books has really had an effect on me. And at my age, too.

It almost makes me afraid to google anybody else. Almost.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:42 PM | |

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Greetings

My dear friend Irene makes these beautiful Ukranian eggs. She conducts seminars in this skill, and her Easter Eggs are works of art. She made one for me almost thirty years ago, and it's still one of my treasures. She and her husband John live in Connecticut now, and I still miss her terribly every day. However, if you live in Connecticut, you might watch your newspapers for information about John's political plans. And if you're smart, you'll vote for him. Seriously, he's awesome. I would trust him to be in charge of anything and everything I had.

I am daring to wish everyone a Happy Easter, even though I know some of you don't believe in it and certainly don't celebrate it. That's all right. It's important to me, but just because I believe in it, that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone else should automatically think like I do. There are many events considered to be holy and important, all over the planet, by some people. Some of those events and customs I believe in and some of them I do not. Whatever my own beliefs might be, I am always happy, and flattered, and, yes, grateful, to be wished an extra-happy day by someone. Just because I don't personally believe in something that someone else holds to be very important, doesn't mean I can't smile and thank that person for hoping I, too, am happy on his/her important day.

I know that the world is full of pushy belligerant fanatical people whose statement of "have a happy (insert holiday here)" is meant almost entirely as a prelude to a much-wanted argument about theology, but honestly, I really believe that most people who wish us a 'happy whatever' are just nice people who hope we, too, are having a good day on a day they deem extra-important.

To find offense in someone's sincere wish that we have a good day in the name of something that person believes in and holds in vast importance, is the height of boorishness, in my humble opinion. Yes, and worse than boorish. It's an assumption of ulterior motives. Sure, sometimes there are ulterior motives, but not usually. And I do not believe that most of us are that way.

I believe that most people are kind and honest and good. Yes, I've been proven wrong on many individual occasions, but that does not change my overall belief in the goodness of humanity.

To quote Anne Frank: "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are good at heart."

And so, to all of you who are good at heart, and to all of you who are not, I wish you a Happy Easter. If my good wishes offend you, so be it. I will continue to wish you all well in spite of yourselves. I won't argue, because that would negate all the good I am wishing, but I'll continue to wish it.

Therefore, Happy Easter to everyone. May all your chocolate-y dreams come true.

He is risen, indeed.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:21 PM | |

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's a kind of little road. Keep to the right, you pernicious twit.

I won't be going back to Marsh for groceries till Monday after class, and I just wanted to remind myself of some of the things I'll be missing till that day.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:30 PM | |

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's A Bird! It's A Plane!

After Christopher Reeve became paralyzed, I could not watch his movies. I tried, but I could not do it. The contrast between the Man of Steel and the Man in the Chair was just too terrible; I could not deal with it.

This was very immature of me; I realize that. I'm sorry. And I also believe that even in that chair, Chris was a Man of Steel, even more so than most able-bodied people.

I own the movie 'Superman.' I have not been able to even look at the disc for years.

Last night, I put that disc into the player and pressed 'play.' I watched part of the movie last night, and the rest of it this morning.

And it was good.

Now that I know he is truly flying, I could watch him pretend to fly.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:38 PM | |

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I Have No Heart.

There are three weeks left in this semester. The withdrawal policy of this college is more than lenient; the deadline was last Monday! (for crying out loud. . . .) I have students still enrolled who haven't been to class since the first week. these past two weeks, I've had several emails from students, begging for 'some way' to pass the class. They're not going to pass. Sunday night at ELEVEN O'CLOCK, one of them phoned me to ask if there was any way he could pass my class.

Me: "You've missed over half the class sessions."

Him: "I've had a lot of incidents."

Me: "You didn't show up for the MidTerm Exam."

Him: "That week was one of the incidents."

Me: "Your average is 12%. You've not done any of the essays. You haven't taken any of the tests."

Him: "Is there any make-up work, or extra credit I could do to pass?"

Me: "No."

Him: "I don't want to lose my financial aid, and I can't afford to pay it back if I fail this class."

Me: "Financial aid is for students who are willing to come to class and do the work. Students who receive financial aid are going to school on somebody else's dollar, and when you do anything on somebody else's dollar you'd better be willing to jump through some hoops to deserve those dollars."

Him: "I had them incidents."

Me: "You had ten weeks' worth of incidents?"

Him: "I didn't keep count."

Me: "I did."

I'd hate to have his nerve in a tooth.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:21 PM | |

Monday, April 10, 2006

Both are moist, brown, and strong-smelling. . . . .

Meanwhile, back in time in that same middle school. . . . .

There was a teacher there who had a bad habit of helping himself to bits and pieces and entire portions of other people's lunches. A teacher would open the refrigerator in the lounge, take out his/her lunch bag, and lo, something would be missing. Sometimes it was the entire lunch.

Everybody knew who it was, but we couldn't quite catch him in the act. So, the male teachers set a trap for him.

They brought in a huge luscious-looking batch of brownies, studded with pecans, covered with thick icing, and covered with foil, taped a label that said "do not touch, these are for the kids' party" on them, and put them in the teacher's lounge.

When we all came in for lunch, over half the brownies were gone.

Nobody ever said another word about it, but that particular teacher was absent for the next three days.

He had it coming to him.

Isn't Ex-Lax versatile?

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:39 PM | |

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Lazy Boy

When I first came to teach at the middle school where I spent most of my career, I was told that unless there was a dire emergency, the principal was not to be disturbed between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.  I assumed he was busy with important meetings and administrative duties.  We assume many things when we're young and just starting out on a career.  One of those assumptions is that everybody is just as enthusiastic and eager as we are.
It wasn't until several months later than I learned the truth:  Every day, after lunch, the principal went down to the janitor's workroom, next to the furnace, and took a two-hour nap in a lazy-boy recliner that he kept down there for just that purpose.  The older teachers were used to his schedule, and planned accordingly.  I was flabbergasted at first, but I soon learned that the school actually functioned much better when he was asleep.
And Wes, you know who that principal was.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:08 PM | |

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Stain. A private joke.

I had lunch today with my Tumorless Sister. I brought her a little present; she brought me a little present; she paid for lunch. We sat in Mark Pi's for two hours, and if the ears of any of our other siblings were burning it certainly wasn't our fault; we have no control over either the laws of physics or old wives' tales. In this family, if you don't want your ears to burn, you'd better show up at the reunion. Speaking of which, we decided to have a pitch-in/reunion on Easter Sunday, at Mom's house. I suppose the next step is to inform Mom.

After we were finished eating, discussing the difference between a 'fortune' and a "motto,' and verbally marrying and burying and inquiring as to all the relatives, we drove out to Goody's and looked through all the clearance racks for seasonal leftovers that might fit. There weren't any. Everybody who wore my size and her size had already been there. However, if you know anyone who wears size 0 or 26, I know where there are some bargains to be had.

I still haven't tackled the huge ever-growing pile of essays that need to be graded, but I'll get around to it eventually.

Whoops, there goes THAT excuse.

And now, back to the dining room where I am listening to Mixmania cd's and doing some middle-aged headbanging to the great mixes sent to me by Sterfish and Patriside.

Thank you to all who participated in Patriside's Mixmania. His new theme is posted over on his blog; get over there and sign up for it.

Please, people, if you sign up for Mixmania, follow through. It's just not fair for someone to receive a cool mix and not send his/her match anything. In fact, it's worse than 'not fair.' It's disgusting and selfish on the part of the slacker. Sometimes things happen and we are late, but to not send your mix at all? Inexcusable. Absolutely inexcusable.

Word to my Tumorless Sister: "Stain." Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. . . . . . .

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:57 PM | |

Friday, April 07, 2006

Here You Come Again. Not by Dolly.

And so it begins again.  The sun is still shining brightly in the back of the house, but in the front of the house the sky is black and it looks like night.  The forecast, once again, is for heavy thunderstorms, and there is another tornado watch for this area.  It's raining in the front, and still sunny and dry in the back.  The cat is going berserk on the deck, and my lawn furniture has already blown off.  I hope the neighbors like the sound of wind chimes; I can hear mine AND some chimes miles down the road.  I like the sound, myself.  I may be a curmudgeon in some ways, but loud noises are not one of those ways. 
I'm not sure which is the least reliable:  Indiana weather, or banks.  Mentioning no names, of course.  Besides, I did that yesterday, and whether or not you follow a link is up to you.  The disclosure is completely out of my hands.
My students filled out their SUMMAS (instructor evaluation forms) last week.  This always makes me nervous.  It also makes me wish I'd brought them doughnuts and cider on SUMMA day.
To brag a little, the only negative comment I've ever received on a SUMMA was "she seems like she works too hard," which really isn't a negative comment when you think about it.  I do pretty well over on ratemyprofessor.com, too.  So does Hub, over on ratemyteacher.com.  I'm not altogether sure what I think of those two sites, but most of me thinks they're pretty cool.  As a parent, I would have appreciated reading other people's opinions about my children's teachers.  There is opportunity for abuse, of course, as there is in almost anything, but most people are being honest there.  And, of course, there is that little part of me that is freaked out and even horrified that such websites exist.  As long as nobody seems to hate me on there, I'm fine with it.  I want people to like me.  I won't kowtow for it, but I do want it.
I love my students, and I love teaching, and I take everything far too personally, and even realizing that, a negative comment has the power to devastate me down to the dust. I have a feeling that what with all the plagiarism issues this semester, the comments might not be as good, but such is life, and we do what we have to do.  Sigh.
I really should get my briefcase out of the car and start grading essays and quizzes.  I even had today off, and all I did was sleep, read, cook, and blog.  Yeah, I know, I thought it was a perfect day, too.
I'll grade that stuff tomorrow.  After I'm home from Mark Pi's and my luncheon date with my Tumorless Sister.  'Lookin' forward to that, Baby Sister.  I'm bringing you a present.
Whoa, listen to that thunder!  And there's lightning on the sunny side of the yard!   
I really hope that loud roaring sound is an airplane down the road at the airport, or a train, back behind the woods. . . . .
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:00 PM | |

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Not the actor.

Okay, Chevy Chase Bank, things are not looking good with you.  Nancy was rude, Donna was scary, and even though Lesley was courteous, it was obvious that she believed Chevy Chase could do no wrong and that I needed to be intimidated a little bit so I would go away and stop bothering her.  Plus, all three of these "ladies" told me things that were not true.  Some people would call that being a liar.  I am one of those people.
I also do not wish to pay, out of my escrow, the late fee that was tacked on to my last local tax payment, because Chevy Chase didn't get the check to the courthouse in time.  That's just not fair.  Janice the Menopausal Loan Officer and I went to the courthouse this morning to see what was going on with the tax payment, and that's how we found THAT out.  I really don't care if you're late or not, as long as you pay, but since YOU'RE paying, and not me, I think any late fees should be absorbed by YOU, and not by me.  It would also be nice if the correct amount of money was being paid, tax-wise, instead of the DOUBLE assessment you are calling my regular payment, which really helped jack up my bill. 
All in all, Chevy Chase Bank, I've totally changed my opinion about you.  In November of 2004, I thought you were great.  In April of 2006, I think you are totally devoid of moral character and simple numeric ability.  I don't like you any more, no, not a bit.  And I will tell everyone I know what I think.  You won't care, because you are a huge corporation with no heart, no soul, and scheisse for brains, but if I can save even one person from your chameleonistic death grip, I will be happy.  And believe me, "happy" is NOT how I am feeling about you tonight.
Oh, and please:  hire better quality customer service people.  The ones you've got right now don't know from dreck.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:41 PM | |

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Banks, phooey

In November of 2004, we refinanced, and got an awesome interest rate and a lovely low monthly payment. From January of 2005 up until November 2005, that bill would arrive and I would pay it. We were really pleased with this particular bank, and planned to be loyal customers forever.

A strange thing happened in December 2005. The bill arrived and it was almost three hundred dollars higher than it was supposed to be. I am the stupidest person in the universe when it comes to anything having to do with numbers, so I assumed that I'd screwed up somewhere earlier and that this bill was my punishment. The next one would be back to normal, I was sure.

The January 2006 bill was also almost three hundred dollars higher than it was supposed to be. So was the February bill, and the March, and the April. I started wondering if maybe it wasn't me, this time. So I contacted my mortgage arranger, who is also my best friend. (Remember Janice, the Menopausal Loan Officer? She's awesome, and if any of you are in the market for a mortgage, please call her. She's absolutely wonderful, and she will work for you as nobody else ever has or will in all your lives. You can reach her at: 812-275-1995, ext. 115. ) She was horrified, both at the bank and at me for letting it go on for so long. She went through all the paperwork and contracts and weird stuff having to do with banks and interest and loans and variable rates and fixed rates and other foreign words and idioms, and concluded that it was, indeed, the bank. It wasn't me, this time. Whoa. We've got contracts and documentation and all kinds of creepy-looking legal-size paperwork. With signatures.

The problem is, convincing the bank that this is their fault. We began calling, and entered Voicemail Hell.

After many tries, Janice finally reached a human voice at this bank. Unfortunately, the human voice had a really strong and strange accent, almost as though she was in another country many thousands of miles away, and was very difficult to understand. Even with me sitting right by her side, Miss Accent let us know in no uncertain terms that any bidness concerning my loan had to be arranged in writing beforehand. Fortunately, Janice had, among other things, a fax machine in her back seat. She hooked that baby up, and we began composing the permission slip request.

Folks, Janice doesn't even work for that same mortgage company any more, and she is still doing all this work for me. I'm telling you, she's the best loan officer EVER. Call her.

I'm hoping that tomorrow, Miss Accent will have received my signed form and will then allow us to ask some questions. And that I will get some answers, and they'd better be good answers.

Because if I don't get some really good answers, and some serious freebies, out of this fiasco, I'm going to post the name of the bank and all details thereof, on this blog for the world to see, so nobody else will give them any bidness, ever, ever again. And then I'll go over to Planet Feedback and do the same. I've got names, and dates, and details, and I'll make them all public.

Businesses, do not mess with bloggers. Even if you win, you'll lose.

You can't buy the kind of positive publicity a blogger can give you. And you can't even begin to estimate the amount of business you will lose, if a blogger posts about a negative experience concerning your business.

This ain't no mommy post tonight, and I'm really pissed.

I mean, I still love them and all, but right now, it's all about the benjamins, baby.

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

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The difference between men and women, part 1

How men watch TV.

How women watch TV.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:37 PM | |

Car 54, Where Are You?

The local Community Learning Center, where I teach for the college two days a week, is nestled among some medical offices, a Pizza Hut, a Subway, and several banks.  Last Tuesday at 10:00, one of those banks was robbed.  Today, at 10:00, another of those banks was robbed.  This week's bank was next in line, down the road, from last week's bank.  There are several other banks along this same line.  Does anybody else detect a pattern here?
Today's robber is still at large, as is last week's robber  Whether or not they are the same robber, nobody seems to know.
But if I were a police officer, I think I know where I'd be next Tuesday at 10:00.  Hopefully, both the cops and the robber will be at the same place at the same time.
Who says there's no excitement in this town?  Well, I do.  But I don't guess the bankers would agree. 
Bank tellers, please be careful out there.  This ain't Mayberry, and a bank robber ain't Otis.  We do have Barney, but I won't go there.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:27 PM | |

Monday, April 03, 2006


Dear Mitch,

I hate Daylight Savings Time. You have caved in to a handful of businesspeople who think that because their county lies close to a large city across the state line, sharing a time zone with that city will automatically make other businesspeople associate the two and believe that the little one is as cool as the big one. You are living in a dream world, because nobody really cares except CEO's who don't pay any attention to the 'little people.' And honestly, I think that adult businesspeople can better consolidate their watches and keep track of the time, than can a bunch of schoolkids. Yes, schoolkids. I can speak only about one school system, but that one school system has many feeder counties for its special education and vo-tech programs. Some of those counties are now on a different time than other counties, but they all feed into the same high school, which had to change over to DST. What a mess.

The fact is, Mitch, I don't know anybody who likes DST. It's not a matter of being hillbillies, or old dogs who don't want to learn any new tricks. It's a matter of ease and practicality. This is not Indiana's first venture into DST. I can remember, back in the day, when DST ruined the social life of teenagers in this county, because daylight lasted so long, the drive-in movie theaters couldn't start the main feature till nearly ten p.m., and most of us had to leave before the movie even ended if we were to make it back home in time to make out on the porch for a while beat our curfew. I saw the beginnings and middles of many movies, but seldom the ends. I'm old now, but DST still doesn't seem very important to me. In fact, I try to personally boycott any business if I've heard rumors that it advocated DST. Why? Because I'm just stubborn that way, and I despise stupid people.

Besides the business aspect, why bother to change? What's the big deal about daylight savings time? What are we saving the daylight for? By saving a couple of hours of daylight every night, are we actually changing the way the sun's light passes over the planet? By setting our clocks an hour ahead, are we driving the chariot of the sun across the sky? Let's not forget what happened to that hubris-filled boy, ok?

It just seems like a waste of energy. It's inconvenient. We still have two drive-ins here and I know they hate it. And, even though I seldom watch TV, it was cool having everything on twice; I could watch it first and THEN decide if it was worth taping. I saved a lot of tape and effort because of that time lapse.

However, Mitch, you might be able to sell your special-interest-based enterprise, stupid and selfish as it is, if you hired Tim Curry to promote it. Dr. Frank N. Furter, Magenta, Columbia, RiffRaff, Brad, Janet, Rocky, and Eddie, all doing the Time Warp for you: yes, even diehards such as I would then embrace it.

But until that day comes, Mitch, you are NOT 'my man.' You never were, to be perfectly honest, and with this fiasco, you never will be.

Yet another disgruntled VOTER who hates you.

P.S. Were your fingers crossed behind your back when you made all those campaign promises?

P.P.S. Now see what you've made me do? This is another political post! I HATE that.

P.P.P.S. Even with all the extra daylight, Mitch, you're still in the dark.

P.P.P.P.S. Yes, I'm fully aware that my reasons for hating DST are shallow. What's your point?

P.P.P.P.S. I'm also aware that there's no such thing as all these postscripts I'm putting here. But if that's true, then how come you can see them?

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:50 PM | |

Springtime in Indiana

Ah, springtime in Indiana.  Flowers, budding trees, morel mushrooms, nesting birds, dogwood, forsythia, rapidly fluctuating temperatures, ferociously high winds, torrential rains, tornadoes. . . .
This weekend was something out of a sci fi novel, unless you live in Indiana where, of course, such diversity in weather is to be expected. 
The temperature was freezing.  Then it was in the seventies.  Then it went down to the forties, rose to the sixties, dropped to the thirties again, rose to the fifties, and dropped back down to the thirties.  This morning, it was in the sixties.  By noon, it was in the forties.  Tonight, it's supposed to be in the twenties.  Even the animals seem disoriented.  Is this why the cat is having some kind of seizure on the deck?  Should I start putting out better quality garbage?  Is there a live-and-ticked-off mouse caught in his throat?  Or is he just nuts. . . .
The wind damage in this general area was significant.  Some of the touchdowns caused a lot of destruction, especially to the north and south of us.  I am going to relax my usually hard-nosed test make-up policy this week; several schools were closed and my students had to stay home with their children; several homes were damaged and my students had to stay home and wait for insurance adjusters and carpenters, etc.  I refuse to penalize these students for Mother Nature's temper tantrum.  They will be able to make up this work for full credit when they are able to return.
Those who did manage to come to class today got doughnuts. 
It was difficult to get to school today.  Trees are down, everywhere.  Debris of all kinds is blocking the roads.  Along one stretch of highway, there was enough drywall to cover a house, which at one time I'm sure it did.  Many people have not had any electricity since Saturday night.  I feel really bad for those people whose homes were demolished or damaged.  In Indiana, in the springtime, this is a fact of life.  It's the luck of the draw.  Mother Nature plays no favorites, and next time it could be YOU.
The crocuses in the front yard are gone now, pummelled into the ground by the hail.  (Did I mention the hail?  The size of gumballs, it was, and made me feel as though I were living in a huge hollow drum, Saturday night.)  After the hail comes the dead silence, and after the dead silence comes the sound of a roaring train, except it isn't really a train, it's a tornado.  Fortunately for us, THIS time we didn't hear that train a'coming.  Other times, we have. 
This county is riddled with train tracks, so any time there's a storm, and a real train coming through, people tend to panic.  If you are a train afficionado, you'll go nuts with joy here.  This town looks like an FAO Schwartz Lionel display.  We've got train tracks going through our downtown, even.  I almost had a baby in the car because of that one.
Anyway, all over the county there are shingles, siding, lawn furniture, trees and their various parts, splintery wood, hollow plastic toys, kiddie pools, etc.  And the wind is still blowing hard.
Watch your step.  And watch your head.  Stuff comes flying at you pretty fast and pretty hard, these days.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:54 PM | |

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sometimes the Pearls ARE Swine.

I beg of you all, do not buy any books by these people. (link removed on advice from much smarter person than me.) Do not patronize any store, off or on-line, that sells anything by these people, or allows these people to advertise on their premises. I have seen other blogposts and articles that expose these people for what they really are, but I think this is the first time I've posted my opinion here.

There are a few "reputable" websites that allow these people to advertise. I hate to hurt these good people in any way, but as long as they allow these advertisements, I can only assume that perhaps they are not all that good and possibly not that reputable in the first place. Do not give them your money until they stop allowing child abusers to advertise.

Michael and Debi Pearl. They are the Child Abuse Gurus of the uneducated and ignorant masses.

Follow their advice and THIS is what can happen. Beware of stupid people with masters and weapons.

Show your deep and abiding love for your innocent little infant by hitting him with a stick and drawing blood. Be sure you lower the blinds first, because you know how those nosy neighbors like to call CPS on you. Choose your weapon carefully; you don't want nosy daycare workers to see any welts. PVC plumbing pipes are good for hitting. Pull his hair out. Pinch him till it bleeds. Bite him. THAT'LL teach him to go to sleep when you tell him to; he's four months old already and it's time he's aware of who's in charge. It's all about control, and showing your kids who's the boss. And when your kids are too young to understand words, you can be sure they'll understand pain. Train them like the dogs they are.

Dear Lord. Do not let these people get any more followers. They are evil, and they prey upon the ignorant. Their book is nothing more than a handbook for sadists and child abusers, with lines of scripture thrown in here and there to fool those who are easily fooled by such tactics. It's the same tactic used by the KKK in their brochures. They are banking on you not being smart enough to understand what they are really saying.

I am not saying that we should let our children be the bosses. No way. I think by now you all know my opinion of brats. But I am saying that an adult who can be the boss only by inflicting pain on a child, or an INFANT, is a mighty poor excuse for a human being. And a supposed authority figure who not only encourages it, but TEACHES PEOPLE HOW, is evil personified.

Please, all you supposedly good and reputable websites who are allowing these people to advertise on your site: No more. Their presence on your website is bringing you down and reducing your credibility to the lower depths. Surely their money doesn't mean THAT much to you? Although, if the ads remain, I guess it does, huh. Should I post the url's and let people see for themselves who you are, and what you are advocating by allowing these ads?

I know that there are people who claim they can take 'some' of these people's advice and ignore the rest. No, you can't. The mere presence of this book in your home is creepy. Heck, we can find good advice here and there in anything. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Let's love our children, and teach them by example. Let's discipline them gently. Let's not draw blood and raise welts and end each day with a handful of soft child's hair in our hands, and a little toddler's blood in our teeth.

Just thinking of these people makes me cry. And thinking of these people also makes me furious, at them, and at anyone who follows their violent and sadistic methods.

I would never give my money to any place that sold or allowed advertising by these people. Please, let's none of us give them any of our business.

And then, let's go home and hug our children. That's "hug" them, not beat them.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:23 PM | |

Aptitude Test For Anybody, Part One, which means, of course, that there is more to come. . . . .

I have given this series of "aptitude tests' for over twenty-five years now.  Don't panic; it's not a real test, and yet, it IS a real test.  It always told me who read carefully, who thought outside the box, who could read between the lines, and who could not be distracted and fooled.  And, of course, it also told me who DIDN'T read careflly, who WAS trapped inside the box, who COULDN'T or DIDN't read between the lines, and who WAS easily distracted and fooled.  I've given these tests in grades 6 through 8, in grades 9 through 12, and last week I gave this one (Part One) to my college students.
Item:  My lovely Costa Rican student, who is taking my course in order to improve her English, blew everybody else out of the water.
Aptitude Test For Anybody, Part One
1.  If you went to bed at 8:00 at night, and set your Big Ben alarm clock to wake you at 9:00 in the morning, how many hours of sleep would you get?
2.  Do they have a 4th of July in England?
3.  How many birthdays does the average man have?
4.  Why can't a man living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, be buried west of the Mississippi?
5.  If you had only one match, and entered a room where there was an oil heater, an oil lamp, and a gas heater, which one would you light first?
6.  How many grooves are on the average 33rpm record album?
7.  Some months have thirty days, and some months have thirty-one days.  How many months have twenty-eight days?
8.  If a doctor gave you three pills, and told you to take one every 1/2 hour, how long would the pills last?
9.  A man builds a square house.  Each side has a southern exposure.  He looks outside and sees a bear.  What color is the bear?
10.  How far can a dog run into the woods?
11.  There are four words on every United States coin.  The words are not "In God We Trust."  What are the words?
12.  How many players are on a baseball team?
13.  How many outs are in an inning?
14.  There are two coins minted in the United States that total 55 cents.  One is not a nickel.  What are the two coins?
15.  Divide a 1/2 into 30 and add 10.  What is the answer?
16.  Take two apples from three apples and what do you have?
17.  How many animals of each species did Moses take on the ark?
18.  Is it legal in Indiana for a man to marry his widow's sister?
19.  What was the President's name twenty years ago?
20.  A farmer had 17 sheep and all but 9 died.  How many were left?
16-20 correct ----- GENIUS      12-15 correct --------SMART       8-11 correct --------NORMAL    5-7 correct ------------SUBNORMAL   less than 5 correct -------IDIOT
Be honest, now.  No cheating.  We all want to know how you did.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:09 PM | |

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Let's all lend a hand here.

Please go over to my friend Genuine's blog, and make a comment.  He and his family have suffered a terrible loss, with the death of their neighbors' little son.  Ben was their children's best friend, and like another son to the Genuines.  Jim will contribute a dollar for each comment made to help the Steadmans purchase a memorial placque for Ben.  Come on, friends.  It will only take a minute, and you will have helped a loving neighbor to help a lovely family.  In the blogosphere, we are all neighbors.  Let's help.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:13 PM | |

MixMania Playlist

It's April 1st and time for all of Patriside's MixMania participants to post their playlists. Jim will post all of the participants' url's on his blog some time today (he's a bit busy this weekend) and you can all go there and begin searching for the Match who sent your cd's to you, so you can go there and thank them. I hope everyone had as much fun with this MixMania as I did; the cd's I got were incredibly good.

Here is my playlist, and as usual, it got all messed up, so the songs might not be in quite the correct order. Sigh. My apologies. And I bet I'm not the only participant who uses music from previously received mixmania cd's in my new ones!

Desert Island and Guilty Pleasures

Chopin’s Nocturne, Opus 72, No. 1, Andante in E minor
Overture from “Beethoven’s Last Night” arranged and performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Beethoven’s Fifth – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Songbird – Eva Cassidy
Unchained Melody (Senza Catene) - Il Divo
Angels – Robbie Williams
Amazing Grace – Nana Mouskouri
What’ll I Do – Rufus, Louden, and Martha Wainwright, and Kate McGarrigle
Time To Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
And So It Goes – Moxy Fruvous
King of Spain – Moxy Fruvous
Ave Maria – Chris Cornell and Eleven
Let’s Do It – Alanis Morrisette
Let Me Fall – Josh Groban
Going Home – Annie Haslam
Istanbul – Moxy Fruvous
Bugeilo’r Gwenith Gwyn (Watching the White Wheat) – The King’s Singers
Love Changes Everything – Michael Ball
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – Josh Groban
Still Life – Annie Haslam
Smile Though Your Heart Is Breaking – Harry Connick Jr.
Green Eggs and Ham – Moxy Fruvous
By the Rivers of Babylon – Boney M.
Take a Chance on Me – Abba
One Night in Bangkok (from ‘Chess’) – Murray Head
Take On Me – Aha
The Dance – Garth Brooks
The Drinking Song – Moxy Fruvous
I Was Made To Love Magic – Nick Drake
Go To the Mirror/Listening To You – Cast of “Tommy”
When You Love Someone – Bryan Addams
Guitar – Cake
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
Hands – Jewel
Once Upon A Time – Jay McShann
I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise – Rufus Wainwright
Gulf War Song – Moxy Fruvous
The Sweetest Kiss – Annie Haslam
Teddy Bear’s Picnic – Trout Fishing in America

Here's hoping the next MixMania will be as much fun as this one was, and that many more of you will sign up!

Your Master of MixMania is, of course, Patriside; I am merely a flunky who obeys his every command.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:02 PM | |


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