Thursday, November 30, 2006

Then And Now: My Working Life

I teach in a community college, as most of you know, and I just want to say. . . . it's the most fantastic place I've ever taught.

It's clean and well-designed and all of the windows are intact and the restrooms always have toilet paper and hot water. Seen from the highway, it's a beautiful jewel of a structure. Seen close up, it's even better.

I have never yet met an employee who isn't happy with his or her job here.

There is support from 'above.' SUPPORT! My immediate boss is intelligent, funny, and fair. She understands how it is. Even though she is an administrator, she still teaches a full load of classes. Maybe if all administrators still had one foot in the classroom. . . . but I digress. If there is a deadline I'm supposed to meet, or a report I'm supposed to file, she tells me when these things are expected and then she leaves me alone because she trusts me to perform. And I do. She's the best 'boss' I've ever had. The BEST.

When I am at school, I feel trusted and fully supported. I know that if I need assistance in any way, all I have to do is ask and it will be done.

My classroom this semester has an overhead dvd/vcr/computer projector!!!! All the rooms have them!!! No more crowding a lot of people around a little tv set!!!

The philosophies and rules of this institution are infinitely fair and intelligent. The faculty and staff are frequently asked about our ideas for the school's improvement. When we reply, people listen. THEY LISTEN TO US!!!

The majority of the students are here to learn and improve themselves and increase their chances of getting a good job. Sure, there are a few slackers, and admittedly, those slackers make for some good blog posts. But most of the students? Good, hardworking, intelligent people, and I admire them tremendously.

Free parking!

Before I was hired here, I knew nothing about a community college. I knew nobody who'd been to one. Hub had been teaching here, in the evening after his full day at the local high school, for several years, but I was always too busy with my middle school job to attempt anything else. I seldom even asked him about it. I knew nothing but the public school, and its "happenings" were the only life I knew.

Now, I wonder how I ever thought that public school was a good place. When a person has only been exposed to one kind of ANYTHING, how can any person have a valid opinion about it?
Realizing that fact gives me a better perspective on students. It also convinces me further that a good education encompasses more than textbooks and tests. A good education will expose a student to as many different points of view and experiences as possible.

A good occupation will do the same.

I love my life now. I thought I loved it before but honestly? I was just used to it. I didn't know anything else. Now I do. Now, I can make some comparisons. And speaking comparatively, the old life isn't smelling like a rose.

I did take a $40,000 pay cut but even so. I'd rather be poor than be a part of the public school's NCLB idiocy, and put up with administrators who are all sucking out of one common brain cell, and that one ain't very smart.

But this new life? Mmmmmm, wonderful!
Ads by AdGenta.com
Powered By Qumana
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:01 PM | |

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Click. Learn. Dance. Ho Ho Ho. Fire!

I have so many Christmas ornaments, I have to put up my tree in stages. By 'stages,' I mean, every once in a while I go in there and hang a few ornaments. I think I finished the main living room tree tonight, though. Next stop: dining room tree. I want the house to be pretty when my friends come over Saturday night for a few rounds of killer euchre.

The new Carnival of Education is up; click on over and catch up on what's happening in the world of education. You owe it to your children, and all the other children in the world. CLICK.

Then, you need to go over to Patriside's blog and sign up for the new MixMania!

THEN, I want you all to click over to Genuine's blog and assure him that it's perfectly normal for a small child to sleep in the linen closet. Heck, my son used to love to sleep in large cardboard boxes in the living room or front porch. If he ever drops out of school, I figure he's had practice living in a prototype of his future home. If he drops out of school. I'm not kidding, either.

I teach a college 'orientation' course. One of the requirements is four hours of community service. This requirement works a hardship on my older students who have families and full-time jobs, and who are having a hard enough time working in some credit hours around already-overloaded schedules. That being said and duly noted, I think everyone should put in some time with service projects, but those projects need to be adapted to the dynamics of the particular class.

While most of the professors are having their students volunteer at the Humane Society, Red Cross, Salvation Army, various shelters around the city, or perhaps tutoring kids in after-school programs, my students chose something a little different. I submitted it for approval, and it was approved.

My students are sponsoring a cabin of boys, in a facility for troubled children, for Christmas.

This service project fulfills all the requirements the college set down, plus. My students put in far more than four hours of time on it, but it was time that was a part of their regular shopping and class time. We spent three hours just this afternoon, tagging and wrapping hundreds of packages for our boys. My students went far above and beyond the call of simple duty with this project, and I am very proud of them. There will be a cabin of very happy boys on Christmas morning.

I am not discounting the typical service project of monitoring the desk at the humane society or answering phones for the Red Cross, but I really believe my students got a lot more out of our project. I never was conventional, and back in the public school I was used to my students sponsoring a family for Christmas each year. It feels good to be back in the service project saddle, as it were. Thank you, dear Jim, for allowing us to be part of your beloved boys' holiday season.

It's a little after six and I've got my huge hideous red nightgown on already. If you come over and ring the doorbell and I answer and you see this humongous red thing coming at you, please don't yell 'fire.' It's just me, as is.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:48 PM | |

Monday, November 27, 2006

You Don't Feel Like Learning Today? Then You Just Stay Home And Play Video Games, Honey.

Dear Student,

I know that you're not used to staying seated, and I know you're not used to asking permission before you, oh, say, get up and walk around and look at other people's work, offer suggestions to them and point out errors, turn on a computer to surf for something that popped into your mind, ask to see your quiz again because you've suddenly remembered an answer, walk out the door to get food, and just plain pack up and leave when you've 'finished learning.'

I understand that family is the most important thing in the world, and that the needs of the family come first. Key word there: needs. Not whims, not 'last-minute,' but NEEDS.

Now, here are some things YOU need to understand.

At the college level, assignments are due when they're due. They are not due when you feel ready to do them, and they are not due AFTER you get back from a family gathering if the syllabus tells you they're due BEFORE that family gathering, and if your mother tells you otherwise, she's wrong.

At the college level, you are certainly free to not attend class if you do not feel like it some days, and would rather stay home and sleep in, and if you are not in the mood to write an essay, you have the freedom of choice to not do it. If you just don't feel like learning some days, you may certainly stay home. There will be consequences, however, and it doesn't matter WHAT your mom says you 'may' do.

Please tell your mom, if you wouldn't mind, that she is not the person who sets the essay topics. At this level, you will write about the given topic. If the topic is 'your choice,' you'll be told beforehand. Don't ever, ever, assume that you can change the topic to one you like better, and please tell your mom she's not in charge of the college curriculum. If you don't "like" the topic, that's too bad. Write about it anyway.

Understand this, missy: At the college level, your mother isn't the boss, and neither are you.

At this level, your assignments are due when they're due, and if that's not convenient for your family, that's too bad.

If your project, which is 3/4 of your grade, is due on a certain date, and you've known about it since the first day of class because the details are spelled out on the syllabus in language that a fifth-grader could understand, and on the night before it's due you email me and apologize because you won't be turning it in on the due date because your family decided at the last minute to pack everyone up and go to Grandma's in Toledo for the holiday weekend and you won't be back until the week AFTER the due date. . . well, again, that's a choice you are certainly allowed to make.

You're going to get an F on it, but sure, go ahead and turn it in when you get back. I want to see the reaction of the other students in your class, who turned theirs in on time and will have them back, graded, when you try to turn yours in.

Tell your mom not to bother calling me, either. At the college level, the law forbids me to share any information about you with her.

Tell your mom that in the real world, there are such things as deadlines. There are also such things as respect, reliability, organization, maturity, and consequences.

Tell your mom to take all those a Beka workbooks and stuff them up her ass that those are a few lessons she must have left out.

Congratulations on your email, though. You only misspelled four words this time. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Too bad you don't get any credit for an email.

Item: you're failing anyway. The lessons you chose to do, you did very well. On some of them, you got A's. Average those A's in with all those zeros, though, and mathematically speaking, you're not doing so well. At the college level, students do not have the luxury of choosing what they wish to learn, and when. You sign up for a course and you read the syllabus and you do it. Or you fail. Pick one.

Maybe, now that you're in college, you should look around and see what all the other students your age are doing. I know that's something new, and that your family has never put any importance to what other kinds of students do, but try it anyway.

Because, toots, you have absolutely NO IDEA how a person is supposed to conduct herself in college.

Tell your mom I said so.

Love and Kisses,
Mrs. MeanTeacher

P.S. Two other students in your class had last-minute family obligations, too. The difference between them and you is that they turned theirs in early, before they left, and you chose to not turn yours in until you get back. One of them drove to the college at nine-thirty at night, to make sure the project would be on time, because her family was leaving early the next morning. The other student turned his in three days early. That's why they got good grades and you failed. Tell your mom about that one, too.

Another difference between them and you is that they are respectful, organized, mature, and understand about natural consequences. You have never been required to learn any of those things.

So you'd better start, and you'd better start now.

P.P.S. You have to pay back all your financial aid for classes you flunk. That will put a damper on your Disney World plans with your family. And yes, the final is on December 14th. If you ask me, you can take it early. But you won't ask me; you'll just assume I'll accommodate your Disney World dreams after the fact. Guess what: I won't.

There was a waiting list for this class. You should be ashamed that you got in, and some other student who might have known how to behave at this level didn't.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:34 PM | |

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Three boxes down, eight to go

I'm going to start grading essays as soon as I finish up all these leftovers and put all the ornaments on the tree. 
They're due at 8:00 tomorrow morning but I figure with a little caffeine, or a lot, and if I just don't go to bed at all tonight, I'll have them done.
It's annoying to have all this real life interfering with my blog-surfing. 
Powered By Qumana
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:55 PM | |

Trip Trap, Trip Trap, Look Out For The Troll Under The Bridge

I guess I've picked up a troll. Chris, IP:, don't you think your time could be better spent lifting people UP rather than pulling them down?

I am not perfect, but neither are you. And while it is true that I do not teach computer tech skills, I do teach spelling, and you could do with a refresher course.

On the other hand, trolls sometimes point out things that really could do with some improvement. I guess I have been pretty whiny lately. I'll try to remedy that.

So, thank you, Chris the Troll, for making me think a little about the tone of my posts lately. And while I do that, maybe you could get yourself a real email address and a real homepage, rather than filling in the blanks with fake stuff to make yourself look legit. Be sure you spell your name correctly.

Oh, and get a life.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:00 PM | |

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fuse Thing, You Make My Blood Pressure Sing

When I put away the Christmas lights last year, I was careful to do it in such a way that when I got them back out, it would be easy to unwind each individual strand and place them easily on the tree, this year.

I hadn't counted on the fact that almost every strand has blown a fuse somewhere, and that some of them are only lighting up half the string, some are lit at each end but not in the middle, and some are blinking even though they contain no special magic blinker-bulb.

If anyone can figure out how to pry open the fuse thing on these lights, for heaven's sake have mercy on me and get over here and do it for me. I'm trying, but I think the fuse thing is a fused thing. I know I'm on the right end because it says right on there, "Fuse Thing." There are also some numbers on there but I never pay any attention to those.

There is no trap door for fuse-changing on either end of these lights.

Oh well. I'm stringing the lighted lights on the tree and dropping the duds down the middle. It will look odd in the daytime, but at night when the tree lights are glowing in the darkish room, nobody will see the dregs of lights. It will be perfect, as are all glowing Christmas trees at night.

People tell me that I should get a pre-lit tree, but those, lovely and handy as they are, do not have enough lights for me. Besides, my tree is twenty years old and has been promoted to the status of "heirloom" now. There are many people who think it's a real tree.

It's beautiful from the road, too.

Maybe this will be the year I clean out the guest room closet so people can hang their clothes in there. The closet in Zappa's old room is full of dead computers and electronics, but those can be carried down to the garage. I wonder if I'll really do it. The Christmas boxes have been living in there but since I've got them all out, it would be easy to put them back in the other closet. If I got the dead computers out of the other closet.

Boring, boring, boring.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:19 PM | |

Oh Good Grief

I've had my HP printer for about six years and it's been good to me. I really liked it. Hub gave it to me for Mother's Day and I am the kind of woman who digs gifts like that.

But this one time, at band camp as quizzes were being printed, the HP made a horrible sound, not unlike a human being retching and then vomiting, and the paper spewed out with a big rip down the center. So did the next paper. The third didn't come out at all; it was so badly torn up that it stuck. Careful examination revealed. . . . heck, I don't know nothing 'bout birthing no babies torn-up papers out of a sprung printer. I just figured the thing was legally dead.

Hub brought home a new one for me. I was ecstatic. I NEED my printer. Without it, I have to email my quizzes and tests and worksheets to my college account and print them off in the workroom, and it's a pain because some loser joker keeps setting the printers to a machine way down the hall in a lab that's full of students who know that quizzes and tests sometimes print out in that room so they're watchful and tend to help themselves to things before the professor can run like a crazed and pursued animal and retrieve the papers.

I could save them to a cd, but not all the workroom computers accommodate a cd. I could save them to a disc, but the newer computers in there don't have a disc drive. And when you go in there, you have to take pot luck with the computers.

My new printer is a Lexmark, and it's a purty thing.

It was also packed by a troll who lives under a bridge. We Hub started to put it all together for me, and hook it up, etc, and as he was reading the instruction sheet he started to laugh. Here's why. Can you believe this?

What the heck is up with that? How can they toy with me like that? Is Lexmark reducing my printer purchase to a riverboat gamble? It said on the outside of the box that everything necessary for installation was included. How can they NOT include the USB cable with a new printer?

Well, they didn't.

Hub went to Radio Shack to buy one, and the store wanted $26.00 for it. He decided to check out Big Lots, and the same cable there was $5.00. The VERY. SAME. CABLE.

He brought it home and opened the package, as I have a hard time opening packages that have been sealed with transparent Black Box plastic capable of surviving the most horrible crashes and fires but which are necessary to protect valuable contents such as Matchbox cars and AA batteries and USB cables from shoplifters without invariably slicing pieces of myself off in my frantic attempts to open them. Then he had to leave to work a basketball game at the high school so here I am looking at my unhooked-up printer and thinking, "Somebody at Lexmark was on crack cocaine when they packed this box." But I bet the printer works fine once we attach that Big Lots cable to it.

Lexmark might want to rethink that technical writer they hired, though.

The ink cartridges are half what the HP cartridges cost. I hope that means I got a bargain, and not that I'm going to get what I paid for.

I figure Lexmark owes me for a USB cable anyway. If anybody asks, those cables are $26 at Radio Shack. Plus tax, and plus gas for the comparison shopping.

P.S. Thanks for that suggestion, srp, but we tried using the HP's cable and the little plug things were not compatible.

Chris, I don't mind people disagreeing with me, even when I don't appreciate the name-calling, but when you type in caps AND mock me, it's as though you were yelling at me and I don't appreciate that. That's why you're gone. Learn some manners and you can come back.

The cable not being there wasn't really my issue. It was the way it was phrased. "A USB cable may or may not be included." May or may not be included? Did some of the packages contain a cable? The luck of the draw gave me one that didn't? And this after the outside of the box promised that everything necessary to connect and use the printer was included.

Oh, and Josh? Please come over any time, and bring anyone you want. You were one of my favorite students and now you've become one of my favorite friends. You rocked when you were a kid, and you rock even more now that you're all grown up. (Grown up. Hahahahaha)

Sorry. We sweet old ladies tend to slap our thighs (think "jello in an earthquake") and snort Geritol out of our noses when these pert young things refer to themselves as 'grown up.'

But I love you, Josh. I did then and I do now.

Pizza time.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:08 AM | |

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tickle Me Amadeus

I put all my Christmas cd's in the stereo. I'm ready to begin.

I love this time of year above all others. The anticipation, the lists, the planning, the opening of boxes to see decorations and ornaments I've seen at this time of year and no other, for nearly thirty years. Last night after all the Thanksgiving dishes were done, I got out my Christmas dishes and glassware, and put the autumn dishes in their place, in that hard-to-reach cabinet above the stove where the Christmas dishes live all year.

Did you know that the seasons are not capitalized? This bothers me a lot. "Monday," yes. "November," yes. But "autumn, winter, spring, or summer?" No. Unless they are the first word in the sentence, of course, but I'm tired of grammar lessons during vacation so I'll stop now.

Oh, oh, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra!!! I must run into the dining room and crank the volume up to eleven!!!!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you are all anticipating the next holiday, MY FAVORITE ONE, as much as I am. And if you're not, well, have a wonderful time enduring other people's enjoyment of it, anyway. If you want to celebrate Unholy Yearly Curmudgeon Solstice Wintertime Blues, go right ahead and you'll hear nary a complaint from me. I expect the same from you about my holidays. I promise not to laugh when you tell me about your family celebratory dinner of roast venison, shot down out-of-season and therefore EXTRA yummy, and your tradition of finding bb's in the meat and flicking them across the tablecloth at each other while singing songs about how other people's religions and beliefs are evil while your own is the ONE. I won't even giggle when you describe your annual Sacrificial Snowman ritual, and how it represents the fragility of mankind.

Yes, I will. Sorry. Frosty-killers.

Hub wanted to check out WalMart today and I laughed in his face. I am not a bargain-stalker. I don't even shop in stores, except for groceries, these days, well, not much. I do almost everything online. No lines, no fuss, and a LOT of great deals.

I can't offhand think of a single thing that would make me want to stand in a line that spirals around the store three times and requires guards to keep the nasty people from trying to cut. Nope, not a single thing.

But whenever I read about people who've been standing in line for a long time who gang up on a 'linecutter' and beat the shit* out of them, I smile.

*I meant to say "tar."**

**No, I didn't.

People who cut the line are scum. They were scum in sixth grade when they cut the lunch line and those selfsame people are still scum now that they're in their early thirties and cut the WalMart Day-After Sale line because Bubby and Misti Dawn HAD to have that toy/electronic device/video game deck/limited-quantity Bert doll (he's the one who looks like a dildo with a face) or else their Christmas would be RUINED and don't we all UNDERSTAND THAT KIND OF PRESSURE that a mother feels when she thinks of her spoiled rotten whiny ankle-biters precious little children on Christmas morning with SOMETHING ELSE under the tree which of course means no happy smiles for the video camera and the internet? We MUST HAVE the current Playstation and an Elmo who reproduces asexually (it's for small children, you know) whilst giggling and linedancing. What is Christmas all about, anyway???

I don't think those kind of parents even know.

I do apologize for perhaps stepping out of the character you thought you knew, but sometimes it all gets to me.

My wholesome image is shot now, isn't it.*** Crap.

*** It was a matter of time.

I blame those footprints on the moon.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:56 PM | |

Thursday, November 23, 2006

We've got soup to nuts, and we've also got soup for nuts.

Our Thanksgiving Day meal has always leaned towards the traditional: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, etc.

It still does, with one exception.

Every since Zappa grew up and moved out, he has been cultivating a somewhat creative, out-of-the-southern-Indiana-box attitude towards cooking. I think this is fantastic. He has always liked to cook, and he has always liked to experiment in the kitchen.

I don't think there is any kind of edible 'thing' that he will not try. And if he likes it, he will learn to cook it himself.

Remember, this is the boy who describes a cow as "A steak surrounded by shoes."

I'm not saying his contribution to this year's dinner is strange, but I bet Mom thinks so when he tells her what it is AFTER she's tasted it.

He made soup, and it looks really good. Homemade broth, full of vegetables and funky spices and meat.

What kind of meat, you might ask? And well you may, too.

It does look like chicken. I haven't tasted it yet. I'll keep you posted.

My baby boy. Seven feet tall, flaming red hair, Dean's List twice this year, finder of truly awful interesting videos on the internet, and one of several computer 'guys' on the college campus. Call the desk for help, and you'll be speaking to my baby. He'll be right up there to fix your problem. Be nice, or I'll come after you myself.

(I was going to say something about how he's over 21 and single, but I decided it would be tacky.)

The kitchen floor is surely dry by now. The sponge on the mop is so old, it kind of left pieces of itself all over the floor. I'll just sweep those up before the PEOPLE get here.

How much do I love these people? Hey, I mopped my floor for them. That's true love.

The rest of the year, I generally clean it by scraping the really noticeable spills up with the toe of my shoe. When I'm wearing shoes.

Don't you just love the way a baking turkey makes the whole house smell good? Don't you just love a house that's full of people, all trying really hard to behave themselves in front of Mom?

Me, too.

Come on over. There's plenty of food. We have soup, too.

Update: The alligator soup was delicious. There's a little bit left over, in a Tupperware* container in the refrigerator. Come on out and have a taste.

*The same thing, five for a dollar at the Dollar Tree. Who can afford real Tupperware any more?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:16 AM | |

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Why, yes, I'll have a little corn, thank you.

<---Corny, isn't it.

And like most corny things, it's true.

What am I thankful for? You.

Yes, you. You're as dear to me as are the friends I can really see.

I am thankful for you, my precious internet friends.

If it were up to me, you'd all be sitting around my table, chowing down on pecan pie and persimmon pudding tomorrow. And no, I'm not QUITE as old as the lady serving the turkey in this very famous picture.

But I bet that lady likes to listen to Radiohead and Offspring and Cake when nobody's looking, too.

Speaking of cake, I need to go back to the kitchen and put some frosting on mine. Well, on half of it. My kids don't like frosting.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope all your dreams come true. *

except that really weird one where you've been pulled over by the policeman and he's asking you to step out of your car and you don't want to because you're naked. . . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:22 PM | |

Holiday Magic and Green Persimmons

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and once again I am looking forward, with great anticipation, to the gathering of my family, together, in my home.

We will dine on our traditional holiday meal of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, dumplings, green beans, devilled eggs, broccoli/cheese salad, cranberry sauce, corn, and any manner of random offerings my sisters, mother, or genetic offspring decide to bring.

Did I mention chocolate cake and assorted pies? And, of course, persimmon pudding?

Some of you might not be familiar with persimmon pudding. I think it's a tradition that is common mostly in southern Indiana and the immediate areas, although persimmons are also found in the Far East.

Here is my recipe for persimmon pudding. Try it if you dare!

Mamacita's Persimmon Pudding

2 C. persimmon pulp
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C. sugar (I use Splenda)
1 C brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 C. flour
2 1/2 C. evaporated milk
1/2 stick margarine, melted

Dump it all in a large bowl and beat it 'till it's smooth. Pour the batter into a large buttered baking pan and bake at 325 for approximately 60 minutes. Start checking it after 45 minutes; each batch is different. It's done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Sometimes I put cream cheese frosting on it, sometimes I serve it plain with a dollop of whipped cream or Cool Whip.

In this community, most people pick the persimmons off the ground and run them through a special grinder to make the pulp. We can also buy frozen pulp at any grocery store here, but it's best to use pulp you made, yourself, or that someone else just made. It keeps in the freezer for several years.

A good trick to play on a pesky younger sibling or neighborhood kid is to tell him/her to touch his/her tongue to a green persimmon. Heh heh heh. Their reaction is well worth the punishment you get for 'being mean to your little brother, etc, etc, blah blah blah." Oh, the joys and perils of childhood are many and diverse. . . . .

Now I'm off to get dressed (I slept in, so what, I'm THANKFUL for it!) and start cooking. And while the yeast rises, I'll dust and polish the staircase. And when I get to the bottom of the stairs, I'll throw some clothes into the washing machine. And by then, the stairs will be dry and I can go back upstairs and cook some more.

I LOVE this time of year! All the holiday magic is ahead of us.

Are we ever too old to savor the anticipation of holiday magic?

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:19 AM | |

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Diversity and Perversity and Child Brides, Oh My

In this part of southern Indiana, there really isn't a lot of diversity, unfortunately.  I was in high school before I ever saw a person of another race.  When I was a senior,  there was one lone black girl in my entire class.  When it came Prom time, the principal made an exception, for her, about the rule that stated "only members of the Junior and Senior class may attend Prom."  You see, the only black male in the entire school was a freshman, and the principal was afraid that if these two students didn't go to Prom with each other, the girl might go with. . . . a white boy.  Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard?  It's hard to comprehend, nowadays, that there was ever such a time in the history of decent sentient people.
Of course, my opinion of school administrators hasn't changed, except for the worse, between then and now.  Honestly, where do those people come from?  "Those who can, do.  Those who can't, teach.  Those who can't teach, become principals.  Those who can't control one building, become assistant superintendents.  Those who don't even know where their computer's 'on' button is, become superintendents."  ***
Nope, not much diversity here.  Thirty miles in any direction, and things are more 'mixed up,' but here?  Even today, there isn't much diversity.  More than before, but still not much.
Back in the public school, I once had a precious little Muslim student.  Her family was pretty well assimilated into the American way of life, which is good since they lived here and all (Shut up; if I moved there, I'd try to assimilate, too!) and she looked and dressed like any other middle school student.  She was extremely bright, and creative, and had a lovely, sunny disposition.  Her parents always reminded me of Mary and Joseph, and she had an older sister who was quite possibly the most exquisitely beautiful woman I'd ever seen in all my life.
The family had kept some of the traditional Muslim ways, but I didn't realize it until the day I was grading the sixth grade's "Things I Plan To Do Before My 18th Birthday" essays.  Hers was all about how she thought life might be with the very-much-older-man to whom she had been betrothed since she was a small child.  Holy scheisse.
What a waste. 
*** with the exception of The Super and Dr. Stock.  What a shame that all superintendents aren't like these two fantastic people.  Imagine, a superintendent with a blog!!!  Their systems and communities must be very proud; certainly they are very lucky to have superintendents who care enough about their students to post information in a public place.  Heck, I'm amazed that a superintendent would even know how!
The superintendents in this community would much rather just cater to the rich and influential, go to ball games, and crush, kill, and destroy people, than do anything that might be construed as helpful, compassionate, intelligent, or even passably nice.
I'm really not all that fond of this area. 
Ads by AdGenta.comAds by AdGenta.comAds by AdGenta.com
Powered By Qumana
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:48 PM | |

Sunday, November 19, 2006

"This is the one where Santa teaches all the dollies to say Ma-Ma!"


Someone took me up on my plea for company!

Look at this beautiful child; isn't he precious? I got to play with Ezra all weekend, so now you know where I've been, in case anyone missed me, which probably nobody did, but in case you did, I was busy playing. Playing, and watching "A Walt Disney Christmas." Possibly eleven or twelve times. ("This is the one where Donald Duck is mean to the little ducks. . . .") This child is so smart, and so loving, and so caring. He had the movie memorized after about three showings and after that we recited along with it, together. Lovely manners, this kid has.

Oh, and that drum he's playing? I watched the artist create it. He sat Indian style, on the sidewalk, in the very heart of Hippiedom on Kirkwood Avenue, in the midst of dozens of seventies' designers and crafters of jewelry, macrame, incense burners, recorders (the flute kind), gauze shirts, roach pipes novelties, leather shoes and clothing, and everything in the world that could be scented with patchouli or sandelwood.

It was 1972. It was $35.00. Pay attention to your pronouns' antecedents. (The apostrophe goes after the 's' because 'pronouns' already ended in 's.')

In all, I think all the musical instruments were sampled and/or played with familial expertise. (That's 'familial' and not 'familiar.') We put fresh batteries in all the keyboards and everything.

Because, you see, this family, we traditionally GET DOWWWWN.

If you hit the drum juuust right, you can play the theme song from 'Tailspin.'


As for the moose, Ezra decided that his name was George, and George went home with Ezra. When you visit, I'll give your child a moose, too. I've still got about a dozen of them; they were mascots for my homeroom back in the public school classroom. They sit in a long row in the guest room. Your child may have his/her choice; there are no two alike and they're all cute.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing this weekend. It's been wonderful. WONDERFUL. Ezra and his parents (I love you, Matt and Liz. . . .) brought great joy to my life. Thank you for your visit.

The cat loves it when we have company, for two main reasons. Reason One, there are more people to pet and scritch him and cater to his every whim except the one where he thinks he's going to stay in the house all night, and Reason Two, the house smells like bacon all day and the cat is bonkers with ecstasy.

Unexpected company: one of my favorite things. I'm still smiling.

So then. When are YOU coming over?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:31 PM | |

Friday, November 17, 2006

(Don't) Come and knock at our door. We HAVE been waiting for you, though.

<-- No. Don't do it. I can't hear you when you knock. Please ring the doorbell. It's right there by the door. If you come over at night, it's the little round thing that's all lit up. This is a big house, and if you knock, I can't hear you unless I'm standing in the landing in hopes of someone coming over and not understanding what the little button is for, and knocking instead. We put that doorbell there so people could get our attention when they're at the door and want us for something. Knocking ain't gonna do it. I spend most of my time back here in my son's old room the computer room, and with the ceiling fan whirring and two big computers humming and the music making the walls breathe in and out, I can't hear you if you knock.

Therefore, when you come over, and I hope it's soon, and I hope you stay for a long time, please don't just knock when you get here. You might be standing there on the porch for a while.

The times, the times, I've looked out the window and seen delivery trucks and cars (and a few motorcycles) and even some pedestrians, going down my long, long driveway AWAY from my house. I hadn't even known they were here. They didn't ring the bell. I CAN'T HEAR YOU KNOCKING FROM WAY BACK HERE IN THIS ROOM!!!

Use the doorbell. Really, please, use it. We put it there for you.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:44 PM | |

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Potpourri for a Thousand, Please, Alex.

Anne's new baby is beautiful beyond words. Please click on over to her blog and congratulate her!

I don't have much to say tonight. Well, actually, that's not quite true. I have a lot I'd like to say tonight, but I don't know how. I'm feeling very down.

A student had a breakdown in one of my classes this morning and I'm feeling so bad for him I can't stand it. My heart hurts for him.

I talk too much anyway.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:33 PM | |

Monday, November 13, 2006

Melpomene, Please Go Away

Yesterday's post was about me crying over MASH. The post before that was me crying over a baby, ripped from his father's arms by a tornado.

Today finds me crying over two things.

Thing One: I discovered today that the baby's father is in one of my classes.

Thing Two: I had dinner with my friend Frau tonight and she told me of a conversation she overheard between two of her female students. It went something like this:

Girl One: I promised my Mom that I'd tell her, the first time I have sex.
Girl Two: But you've already had sex!
Girl One: Well, when I mean it, I'll tell her.

Both girls are fourteen years old.

To quote every little old lady in the world: "What are we coming to?"

Try not to think about the fact that I'm neither little nor a lady. (heh)

But honestly. . . . what are we coming to?

I'm sad tonight. What are we coming to?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:39 PM | |

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I Am Trilby

I had plans to do a lot of work around the house this weekend, but I didn't do any of it. I had a lot of essays and quizzes to grade, but I only did the ones for tomorrow's classes. If I hadn't made a large pan of lasagna Friday night, my poor husband and visiting son wouldn't have had anything to eat. I did remember to feed the cat, but only after the poor thing came crying to the patio door.

It wasn't my fault. I was helpless. I couldn't do anything else. It was beyond my control. It was as though I were. . . hypnotized.

You see, my dvd of Season Eleven of MASH came in the mail Saturday. It took up most of my time.

I'm not apologizing; I'm just explaining why the house is still a mess even after I've been home for a few days. Still dusty, still cluttery, and with dirty dishes still in the sink.

What else could I do, though? I mean, really? Season Eleven came in the mail, for crying out loud.

And since it was the last season, that's just what I did a lot of. Crying out loud.

I'm not a rabid fan of the show or the people in it, of course. Rabid fans have nothing on me.

I'm obsessed.

I sat mesmerized at my kitchen table, grading a few papers and living at the 4077th with all of them. And then, saying goodbye.

The high points of my weekend were the phone calls from my wonderful new friend out west. Call me ANY TIME, sweetheart. Just make sure it's all right with Daddy, first.

But mostly, what I did this weekend was bug out with my virtual obsessions.

How could I ever give my loyalty to another show? It would be like having an affair.

"You shall see nothing, hear nothing, think of nothing but Svengali, Svengali, Svengali M*A*S*H!"
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:38 PM | |

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Blogging For Books

The Blogging for Books topic this time is "Weather." Here is my submission.

Ready or Not, Here It Comes

Weather, eh. Whether weather is good or bad, we always have weather, whether or not.

Here in southern Indiana, the weather is usually pretty good. However, when our weather isn’t being pretty good, downright fantastic, even, our weather is being bad to the point of scary. Think “death and destruction,” whether you want to or not. Weather here is schizophrenic during certain seasons of the year. Whether spring or fall, winter or summer, we’ve got weatherly contradictions, whether we admit it or not. We might as well admit it.

Take spring, for example. Spring in southern Indiana is a season of delight. We have wildflowers that can enlighten the senses and make a person feel as though he or she will live forever. The breezes blow, the sun shines, the temperatures vary from perfectly cool to perfectly warm. Southern Indiana is the American location of the Secret Garden. Our weather, whether rain or shine, is Edenish.

Unless, of course, in the midst of the lilacs and tulips and crocuses and forsythia and dogwood and apple and peach and persimmon blossoms and warmth and sunshine, one hears. . . . the siren.

Not on Saturday morning; that’s when the siren is tested. If one DOESN’T hear the siren on Saturday morning, people worry.

But on any other day, at any other time, the Siren makes people stop whatever they’re doing and run.

They run to their cellars and basements and closets and bathrooms and they shut the doors and they cower until they hear the OTHER siren, the one that tells them it’s safe to come back out and resume living.

In schools, there have always been tornado drills. As with the fire drills, intruder drills, atomic attack drills (put your history book in front of your face and get under your desk and you’ll be all right), tornado drills have become a joke with many students. Whenever the alarm for any kind of drill sounded, the teacher had to grab his/her gradebook and march the students to wherever they were supposed to go, depending on what kind of drill it was, that day. Sometimes the firemen grabbed a student and hid him, to see if the teacher was really keeping track of who was there and who wasn’t.

Tornado drills sent our students out into the halls, to get down on their elbows and knees, heads against the lockers, hands clasped on the backs of their heads, asses raised high. The teachers’ job was to keep the giggling down and to keep the students from raising their heads and getting a good look at this admittedly giggle-inducing sight. Oh, and to stand between the huge plate-glass window and the students.

As a teacher, I must confess that I never took tornado drills very seriously. My mindset was as juvenile as any 8th grader’s mindset: tornadoes occurred far away, and affected strangers. We read about them in the paper the next day, felt sorry for the people, and the Beta club sent shoeboxes of stuff to the Red Cross in that area. Far away. Strangers. Asses in the air. A long, long row of multi-sized asses raised high in the air and wiggling. It was hilarious.

One day, in 1991, my entire attitude changed.

All that day at school, the weather outside had been strange. It alternated between pouring rain, blinding sunshine, a little hail, and some more rain. Springtime hail is a bad, bad sign, by the way. The sky was streaked with black and white and red, and the very air seemed orange. We had a tornado drill, just to remind us all that it was spring in southern Indiana, and the weather outside was frightful, and to be inside was so delightful. . . . .

I was upset that night because I was taping the miniseries “The Phantom of the Opera” to show one of my classes that next week, as we had been reading the teleplay in our Scholastic magazine. The weather’s interference made my tape less than perfect, and distracted me from pausing and starting up again in time when the commercials were concerned. I still have that tape, by the way, with its weather warnings running across the bottom and destroying the sense of class that the movie might have had.

The next day, Saturday, the weather was still weird. The siren didn’t go off.

This put the entire community on edge, because on Saturday morning the siren was supposed to go off. Was it not working? We needed a working siren, especially when the weather was already weird. And the weather was weird.

That evening, the siren went off.

Around that same time, the radio went on emergency broadcast. Then the power went off and we got out the little battery-powered portable. Thankfully, it still worked in spite of being older than dirt and having the words “Hullaballoo” printed on it.

We were instructed to go into shelter, immediately. I took the children and went down into the family room, with the closet-under-the-stairs open and ready to dash into at a moment’s notice. I didn’t realize then that a tornado will not always give you a moment’s notice.

My husband went outside to watch the sky.

“Hey, come out here and look!” he shouted to me. “The sky is full of little cloud circles. It looks like some giant has been blowing smoke rings out here!”

“Are you nuts?” I replied. “Get in here with us before you’re blown to Oz!”

He finally came inside. He waited till we heard the train coming, but he did come inside then.

I’d always heard that tornadoes sounded like trains. They do.

We were fortunate, that night. The tornado cut a wide swath just behind our woods. We lost a few shingles and a lot of tree limbs, because of the high winds, but we were very lucky.

Many of our neighbors were not so lucky.

Only a couple of miles from our house, that tornado wiped out over a hundred homes and injured a lot of people.

Large trees flew through the air, and when the funnel crossed the White River, it was like Moses dividing the Red Sea. People could see the bottom of the river.

When the funnel reached the trailer court (why is there always a trailer court involved whenever one reads about a tornado?) the people had had a minute or so of warning, and most of them were running across the cornfield across the road from the court. As the funnel hit the metal, a woman was picked up by the winds and carried several hundred yards and smashed into a tree. As the funnel began to cross the cornfield, a new baby was ripped from his father’s arms. Their last sight of their son, alive, was of him flying and screaming across the sky and disappearing into the woods.

The next day, the weather was beautiful. The sun shone and the breezes blew, and my neighbors were picking through the remains of their homes and trying to make sense of the whole thing.

The community held a funeral for the baby. For several years afterwards, his father travelled from school to school, talking about tornado safety and what can happen if one doesn’t take precautions. That is, he did until our schools did away with guest speakers. It interferes with test prep, you know.

The woman was condemned to live out the rest of her life in a wheel chair, paralyzed form the waist down.

The next year, I had the son of this woman in my class. He was a very quiet, very nice little boy.

The first time we had a tornado drill, he turned as white as a ghost. For just one moment, he seemed paralyzed, too, but when he did move he moved FAST.

The other kids were laughing and joking as they lined up against the lockers out in the hallway, on their elbows and knees, asses raised high in the air, but nobody did it as quickly as this little boy did.

To the other kids, tornadoes meant some fright and inconvenience and some media attention and a cool night of sleeping in the closet.

To this boy, tornadoes meant seeing your mother smashed to pieces and hoping against hope that she wouldn’t die like the baby who had lived next door and who flew through the air like a Frisbee. Not even the intensity and immensity of his father’s love was strong enough to keep the baby safe. Not even the intensity and immensity of her children’s need for her was strong enough to keep the mother safe. This boy knew that.

The other students were laughing and jostling and giggling. Asses high in the air.

This little boy, though. . . he knew what tornadoes really were.

His mother died a few years ago. Residual effects of the original injuries.

Her son is an adult now, but he's an orphan just the same. His children will never have a grandmother. The tornado destroyed his children’s chances of having a grandmother. Mother's Day? Holidays at Grandmother's house? Gone. Lucille Ball was right when she said "You're never really old until your mother dies." He's young, but he's old.

So when I hear the sirens on Saturday mornings, I’m glad to know they work.

And when I hear the sirens any other time? I run like hell to the closet under the stairs, and I call my children who now live in another town, and I worry like the dickens because they both live on the top floor of apartment buildings, and in my mind’s eye I can see those buildings swaying. . . .and I pray.

Weather? It’s something we always have, whether or not we’re ready for it.

And weather is the boss of us, too. Weather doesn’t care whether it sucks a newborn baby out of its father’s arms, or a tree branch from a tree, or a bale of hay from a barn. It’s all the same to the weather. A tree limb, a bale of hay, a baby. . . .

When the weather is benign, appreciate it. Dig it. Groove on it. When the weather shows its teeth and claws, respect it. Hide from it.

But never forget that if the weather really wants to find you, it will.

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

Feng Shui and Me

Who says I don't have any sense of elegance in my home decorating? Well, most people, but I really don't care.

Why, what's on the shelf above YOUR computer? Tiffany glass and Hummels? Crystal picture frames with studio poses and Easter outfits?

Not me. For one thing, they'd be covered with dust and chipped, and for another, I'd rather have poorly-trimmed pictures of my kids in clothes that I actually recognize, and the Abominable Snowman, covered with dust but unscathed.

I especially like the "formal" and "natural" contrast in their poses.

And if you want dust, friends, I can give you DUST.

The thing is, you see, that this shelf is way taller than I am, and I really can't see the dust unless I stand on a chair and look the gargoyle smack in the eye, and even then, I am so mesmerized by his cuteness that I don't really notice the dust.

Except, of course, when I decide to post a picture of him and realize the horrendous disgracefulness of my housekeeping skills.

Oh, well, when you come to visit, you won't be able to see the dust, either, unless you're seven feet tall, in which case, grab a dustcloth and give me a hand, wouldja please? And while you're reaching up there, would you mind picking up all those comic books that fell over, and relining them against the back wall of the shelf? I'd really appreciate it.

The things I can reach are usually pretty clean. It's the things that I can't reach that tend to collect dust by the inches. I am the shortest person in this house, remember, and the tall people here don't see dust because they don't want to see dust and don't care about dust when they do see it. I care, but I can't see it if it's a foot above my reach.

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Speaking of sticking to it, I really need to do something about the kitchen floor some time today if I remember when I'm in there and if I'm barefooted to feel the stickiness and if I can remember where I put the Swiffer when the company was coming and I hid everything so they'd think I was tidy. . . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:58 PM | |

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veteran's Day

Really, there is nothing I could say that could add to that. I post this every Veteran's Day.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:10 PM | |

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Scarlet Letter

I finally got a picture of the slutty MomCat that keeps having litters of kittens in my shrubberies.

She's a beautiful little cat, really she is. However, she is the most unfriendly, nasty-tempered cat I've ever encountered. She's really worse than feral, for she hangs out on my deck, drops litters in my holly, steals the CheapoChunks from poor Charley Gordon's bowl, and if anyone tries to approach her and she can't run away, she snarls and hisses and arches her back for all the world like a Halloween cat on a fencepost.

She's not above slashing your hands and arms to ribbons with those long sharp claws, either. Look at her face; she's obviously nuts. She's not a good mother, either. She doesn't take good care of her kittens, she doesn't keep them clean, she doesn't teach them to clean themselves or poop in a certain place, and she doesn't lie down to nurse them. I wish I had a picture of her, standing straight up, with hungry baby kittens hanging off her chest. That's got to hurt.

Maybe if she'd quit arching her back every time something alive approaches her, one of her problems might be solved. . . . .

Belle and her friends have named her "Hester."

And just when I thought this younger generation didn't appreciate classical literature. . . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:00 PM | |

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

If You Voted, You May Speak. If Not, Shut Up.

Go check out the latest Carnival of Education.  (Please.)  Now that you've voted, you need to know what you now have the right to complain about, as well as some things to be thankful for.  (A few weeks early, but when is it ever too soon to be thankful for something?)  I know I'm thankful to NYC Educator for putting together a really good carnival.  I read him daily, as a matter of fact.
There is nothing in this house for supper.  This is good, really, because I'm dieting and all, but jeepers, there is NOTHING in this house for supper!
Corn flakes, anyone?  I guess I'm thankful to have them.
Because, you know, some people don't even have corn flakes tonight.
Ads by AdGenta.com
Powered By Qumana
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:02 PM | |

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oh, Petey, If Only I Had Enough Money To Bail You Out Of The Pound

Anne is having a baby tomorrow. (Wednesday) Please go to her blog and wish her well. Then add her to your blogroll, if you haven't already, because she is wonderful.

I voted during my lunch hour today. I'm still not used to HAVING a lunch hour; I never had one in the public school. Ever since I've been at the college, however, I've had at least a full hour, and often longer. It's made a world of difference.

By the way, if you didn't vote, don't let us hear any complaints out of you. No vote, no whine. Only those who vote have a right to whine. Those who chose not to vote? Shut up. You've forfeited your whining rights. And don't try to make excuses, either, because there aren't any.

Would the person who dumped the two humongous German Shepherd dogs in my yard yesterday please come and get them? They're scaring me to death. They are huge, and they're keeping the deer away. They're also terrorizing my poor ancient cat. They are also incredibly stupid when it comes to things like, oh, napping in the road. If they are still here when I get home from school tomorrow, I'm calling the Dog Catcher.

(Please don't tell Alfalfa and Spanky.) (Petey in the pound: my gosh, that episode made me cry when I was a little kid. Remember the nice rich lady who kicked the mean stepmother in the butt and knocked her clean over? I loved that.)

Petey. Wow. Shades of the past.

If it ever stops raining, I would like to cut the grass one more time. If it ever stops raining.

I'm thinking about you, Anne. Speedy delivery!

There's a chocolate cake and half a cherry pie in the kitchen and I have not touched either of them.

And I'm sad because the Post Office doesn't have any more Comic Book Superhero stamps in stock. Those were the coolest stamps EVER.

Gary Moore, where have you been all my life? I love your music!

Well, some of it.

Okay, I love "Picture of the Moon."

Divide a 1/2 into 30 and add 10. What is the answer? (My students have gotten this one wrong for years, now.)

I feel very. . . I don't know. Has anyone ever really burst right out of her own skin? I am so bored, I'm about to scream. I am so antsy, I could explode.

Come on over; join the fun. I'm a real riot tonight.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:20 PM | |

Monday, November 06, 2006

Well, Hey, I had stuff to do.

It's been a long day.

It was pitch dark and raining when I left the house this morning. The highway is still under construction so it took me an hour to drive thirty miles. When I got to the college, the vending snack truck was parked in my parking space.

My morning classes meet in a computer lab. This is usually a very good thing; this is a writing class and we, uh, write with them.

That is, we write with them when the teacher says it's time to write with them.

My 8:00 a.m. class, at 8:15:

Me: Susan, exit out of your computer and join the class, please.

Susan: I can hear you from here.

Me: Exit out of your computer and join the rest of the class, please.

Susan: How do you expect me to get this paper done?

Me: It's too late to turn today's paper in. You've had a full week.

Susan: Well, hey, I had stuff to do. Do you want it or not?

Me: Not any more. Exit out of your computer and join the rest of the class, please.

Susan: You say you want our papers on time but you won't let us do them!

Me: Exit out of your computer and join the rest of the class, please.

Susan: Hey, I had stuff to DO. I'm almost done. Do you got a stapler? Do I need a title page? Should this be double or single-spaced? Does the title gots to be capitalized? We din'nit need no footnotes, right? I'm almost done. Everybody just hold on.

Me: No. Exit out of your computer and join the rest of the class, NOW. Okay, class, now that we've reviewed a little, let's have the quiz.

Susan: What quiz? Are we having a quiz? You never said nothing about a quiz. That's not fair, them practicing and me not getting to. I'm almost done. Hold on. No fair! Blah blah blah blah blah poor pitiful me blah blah no fair blah blah here's my paper.

Me: I think I hear a mosquito buzzing. Where's a rolled-up newspaper when you really need one? Oh, I'll just use this piece of scrap paper here on my desk.

Class: WAY TO GO!!!!!! (applause)

Susan: No fair!

Class: Oh, grow up, freak.

Susan bursts into tears and runs out of the room. Everybody is happy to see her go. I give all the students who showed up for class today and turned in their papers on time ten bonus points. I let them use the book during the quiz.

There were eight students absent in my first class, plus Susan who was worse than absent. In my second class, there were five absent students. There is NO make-up work the second half of the semester. All of those students will be shocked when their average is low, and they will all ask for extra credit or make-up work. They will get neither.

A couple of them will have their mothers call me at home. Under federal law, I am unable to give their mothers any information whatsoever. Heh, smirk, losers.

Because, you know, they're supposed to turn their papers in on time but I never let them work on them.

My afternoon class, bless their hearts, were their usual friendly, hardworking, cooperative selves, and every single one of them was in class. I might bring them doughnuts next week if I have any money.

I did smooth out Susan's paper, and I did read it. She gets a zero, but I did read it. It sucked.

The topic was "Education," and she wrote about a movie she saw on Lifetime last night.

Sometimes I feel very ineffectual.

I also lied about the mosquito. I wish there had really been one, though, because a squashed bug in the middle of a bloody splotch would have been the only interesting thing about that paper.

It might even have covered up some of the misspelled words.

I think I need to go to bed. I'm foul, and I'm getting fouler by the minute.

Mostly, though, I think I feel very, very ineffectual. I don't like it.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:55 PM | |

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Aftermath. Not as much fun as the Beforemath or the Duringmath, but I've used that theme before.

Everybody's gone now and I'm lonely. It's way too quiet and I don't do well with silence. I like life best when it's full of music and people. (Unless I'm in a mood that requires solitude.) (It all boils down to the fact that I want what I want when I want it.) (You can't do that till your kids grow up and move out.) (I want YOUR life, wahhhhhh.)

I like my house better when it's full of people. What good are sofas and big tables if they aren't covered with people? This is the aftermath of last night. The duringmath was the best part.

There was a lot of laughter in this house last night, and it lasted up past the wee sma's. I loved every minute of it. Such nice people on that sofa and around that table!!!

Now, all the dishes are clean and back in the cupboard and there are a few leftovers in the refrigerator, but there are new pictures on Flickr and some memories of a really great night in my head. To look around the house, it's hard to tell that only a few hours ago, this place was jumping.

Eventually, I'll clean all the cooking stains off the stove and out of the oven, but honestly? I like seeing them there and thinking about the fun of preparing and planning and then actually HAVING people over. I am also very lazy and cleaning a stove if one of my least favorite activities.

It's not unlike preparing and planning and then actually HAVING a baby, except that after you have a party, it's over, and after you have a baby, you still have it, and the party's over.

And another one begins, and it has a LOT of acts.

Or something like that.

Speaking of babies, mine are coming home later today to use our computers, which means we can't, which means that maybe my essays and quizzes will actually be graded this afternoon.

Or maybe it means I'll start with Season One of MASH again, and have myself some leftovers while I'm watching.

Or maybe I'll do both. I'm a woman; we're versatile that way.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:49 PM | |

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm not a cannibal, but I'm having some people for dinner tomorrow night.

I'm having people over for dinner tomorrow night, and I want everything to be just right.

That is why I'm on a cleaning binge. By this, I mean that I have run the sweeper and will probably do it again in the morning. It also means that I have gathered up all the textbooks and staplers and stacks of essays and quizzes that normally live on the east side of the dining room table, and moved them into the master bedroom where I will add them to the stacks of clutter I moved in there the last time we had company.

I will then clear the past year's worth of junk mail off the big bar and throw it all away without so much as a backward glance at it. I will hide the large can of vegetable shortening under the sink, as it will not fit into any of the pantry shelves where actual food is kept.

Since all the potatoes in the house are now cooking atop my stove as I type, I will move the boxes of crackers from the top of the pantry cabinet where they block the little tin Victorian boxes that look like stores, into the bin where the potatoes usually live, when we have potatoes. Which we don't, as of tonight. Uncooked, that is. The little Tin Victorian boxes came free with a proof-of-purchase of Nestle Chocolate Chips, back when you didn't have to send postage along with it. Those were the days.

Then I will fit already-used-several-times tall pre-dripped candles into three Oliver Winery bottles and make a centerpiece out of it.

I will also clean the toilet in the big bathroom, and pick up all the "Stone Soup" books that are all over the floor in there. Oh, and I'll put out some two-ply toilet paper bathroom tissue.

When the potatoes are done, I will drain them and add white sauce wherein I have melted all the tag ends of cheese in the house. My "old rotten potatoes" never taste the same way twice, but they are usually pretty good. Then I'll clear out all those expired yogurt cartons from the refrigerator and put the casserole in there 'till tomorrow.

In the morning, I'll slice the pork tenderloin into little round coins and put them in the crockpot with some onions and a bottle of BBQ sauce.

Around four, I'll start the green beans. This is southern Indiana, and we like them borderline mushy and rank with bacon.

Once those are on, I'll mix up the bread dough. An hour later, I'll make it into rolls. At 5:45, I'll put them in the oven. By the time the first payload of guests get here, round one of our dinner will be ready.

Since not everyone can be here at the same time, I'll put another batch of rolls in the oven around 8:00.

The two pies are in the oven right now.

Oh, and I need to root around in the linen closet and find my pretty cloth napkins.

I do so love to have company for dinner. I love the preparation and the fun and all of it.

By the way, I use cloth napkins for company because when we don't have company, I use paper towels from Big Lots, but a company dinner requires too many paper towels, and too many paper towels makes for more bagged trash. We live out in the country, and we have to take our bagged trash to the landfill ourselves. It's easier just to use cloth, and throw them in the laundry later I am elegant by nature.

Everyone who is coming over tomorrow night is a blogger, so if you're anywhere in the neighborhood, please come on over for dinner. There will be plenty, and I'd love to see you.

I'm serious. Email me and I'll give you directions to the house.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:22 PM | |

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cinders, Glass, and Blood on the Horse

I love the story of Cinderella. I loved it when I was a child, and I still love it.

I know that many feminists decry it, but if 'feminist' is defined as 'a woman who does pretty much as she pleases no matter what anyone else might say about it,' then I've been a feminist all my life, and I do love a good romantic story wherein the bad guys get theirs, and the good guys live happily ever after. I've got a right to like them, correct? Correct.

Who says that every story has to be realistic? Who says that? Not me. I get plenty of realism every day, and when I read, I like to be transported to a kingdom where things eventually work out.

When I am not at school, I wear jeans and old concert t-shirts, but that doesn't mean that a story about beautiful gowns and sparkly shoes and fancy hairstyles isn't going to interest me, especially if there are good illustrations.

And I am helpless and hooked when it comes to magic.

I love stories about overworked mistreated girls who win out over adversity, even if it takes magic to get them out of the kitchen fireplace and into something that is, at least, clean.

Does this mean that I am selling out? That I am substituting fairy tales for Good Literature? That I advocate plotlines that feature helpless women? Feh.

Well, I suppose that if I read fairy tales INSTEAD of Good Literature, I would be, but I read fairy tales AS WELL AS Good Literature.

Sometimes, I love the fairy tales best, and sometimes, I must have good literature in order to satisfy something in me.

The fairy tales satisfy something in my heart, and the good literature satisfies something in my head.

The best literature satisfies something in both places.

"They say. What do they say? Let them say."

Oh, Cinderella, Aschenputtel, whatever you're called, I love you and your story.

But, but, what IS the story?

There are many versions. If the only one you know is the Disney version, please go to the library at once (I don't care if it IS the middle of the night!) and check out a book that contains one of the better real versions. I like Grimm, myself.

(I love the Disney animated fairy tales, but the stories are corrupted.)

Fairy godmother? There wasn't one.

Her father was alive; he was just p-whipped.

Her dead mother talked to her from the grave, and gave her pretty ball gowns.

The stepsisters cut off parts of their feet, that they might fit into the slipper.

The Prince was so stupid, he didn't realize he'd been fooled (twice!) until the little birds told him to look at the blood dripping down the side of his white horse.

Some historians claim that the slipper wasn't really glass, but fur; the words for 'glass' and 'fur' are very similar, in French. I don't know that I like that theory, though. The story is French, but the French placed a high value on pretty glass. I think I prefer to believe that the slippers were glass, however uncomfortable they would be for dancing 'till midnight.

And there is something so totally satisfying about an obviously guilty, evil person who is punished by being stripped naked, put into a barrel studded with red-hot spikes, and rolled down a hill.

Would that we could deal with all evil in that fashion. I've posted before about how some people think small children are frightened by such things, but I think they are wrong. Such punishments mean that we are all a little safer, that this one evil, at least, can no longer hurt us. Even a little child knows that a dead person can't harm anyone any more. Punish evil thoroughly, and we are all a little safer for it.

Ooh, how politically incorrect. I'm soooooo sorry. Not.

Oh, Cinderella, I hope the King and Queen didn't mind that you weren't a Princess. I always wondered about that, even as a child. That she might not be accepted worried me more than any talk of evil, blood, ghosts, or abuse. The fact that the Prince wasn't very smart always bothered me, too. What if Cinderella got tired of having a stupid husband? Then again, she wasn't exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier, herself. Oh well.

For many years, I thought the word 'splendid' meant 'golden,' because our story of Cinderella began with, "Cinderella lived in a splendid house. . . ." and in the illustration, the house was golden-brown. Heh.

And by the way, it's "happily ever after,' not 'happy.' They lived HAPPILY ever after.

Adjectives and adverbs are not interchangeable.

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

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scary MixMania Playlist

I've been a few days without updating; I'm sorry 'bout that. I've been brooding over my student, and it just took all the wind out of me.

Patriside, the MixMeister, says that it's time to post our Scary Mixmania playlists! So, here's mine. I sent my match two cd's, but I've forgotten where one ends and the other begins. Again, sorry.

Scary Mixmania

1. The Wind That Shakes The Barley – Dead Can Dance (Does anyone else think that a lot of Celtic songs are a little scary? I love them, but SCARY.)

2. Let Me Fall – Josh Groban (The suicide song from Cirque du Soleil; I love it.)

3. O Death – Ralph Stanley (What could be scarier than a redneck bigot?)

4. Misery – TransSiberian Orchestra (from Beethoven’s Last Night) (I tend to find a TransSiberian Orchestra selection to fit almost any theme.)

5. Forgive Me Love – Alanis Morisette (Don't mess with me. I've done this.) (Scared?)

6. When Doves Cry – Quinton Tarver (Let's all be just like our parents. )

7. On My Own – Bernadette Peters (I cry out loud whenever I hear this song. I know what's going to happen to her. And in a year or so, I'm going to be hearing it on stage again, I understand.)

8. La Dance Macabre (No Scary Mix is complete without it.)

9. It’s Too Late – Carole King (This expression is one of the scariest of all, by my way of thinking.)

10. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – Clock Tower (I just think it's frightening.)

11. Someone Else’s Story – from Chess (This song scares the scheiss out of me.)

12. The Raven – Christopher Walken (Christopher Walken? Edgar Allen Poe? 'Nuff said.)

13. Gangster’s Paradise – Coolio (All gang stuff is scary.)

14. Creep - Damien Rice (I love this song, but it's scary, and Damien Rice's cover makes it even scarier.

15. Quentin’s Theme – Boston Pops (Remember "Dark Shadows?" Well, I was a little kid, and I thought it was darn scary.) (This is not, however, a very good version of the theme. )

16. The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most – Dashboard Confessionals (I dunno; I just find it scary.)

17. If You Go Away – Emiliana Torrini (No, please, don't let it happen. I'm so scared, every time. . . .)

18. Thank You/Stan – Eminem & Dido (Too realistic. Too scary.)

19. Haunted – Evanescence (Ooooohh, dark. . . .)

20. Not Enuff Love – Faithless (There is, but we just don't know how to utilize it. This scares me.)

21. Fingal’s Cave (Eek.)

22. Walk Like A Man – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Okay, this one might raise some eyebrows, but it scares me to think of someone with that voice telling other men how to walk like a man.)

23. Exorcist Theme (I've never seen the movie, but I read the book by firelight, in the woods, by the edge of a lake, alone.)

24. God Help The Outcasts – from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (All of Disney ain't appropriate for little kids.)

25. She’s Lost Control – Joy Division (I am very, very frightened of losing control.)

26. Stole (Good Kid) – Kelly Rowlands (I am very, very frightened of things like this happening again and again and again.)

27. If It Be Your Will – Leonard Cohen (I am very, very frightened of people who do things simply because someone tells them to.)

28. If I Had A Hammer – William Shatner & Leonard Nimoy (I am very, very frightened of any kind of musical collaberation between two men who belong in semi-spandex, on a spaceship. They both had the kiss of death when it came to shipboard romance, and they bring that same light touch to the recording studio.) (I think it's supposed to be funny, but it isn't.)

29. Close Your Eyes Forever – Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne (Death.)

30. When The Children Cry – Mark Oh (Please don't let the children cry any more.)

31. Night on Bald Mountain (That scene from Fantasia still scares me today.) (The REAL Fantasia, not that insipid sequel.)

32. Phantom’s Theme (Beauty and the Beast) – from Phantom of the Paradise (This harkens back to my fear of losing control.) (I don't mean of 'situations,' I mean of 'me.')

33. Cartman’s Scary Story – from South Park (. . . because every playlist should have a little whimsy in it.)

34. Ultraviolence Theme – from A Clockwork Orange (I saw this movie four times in one week. It scared me worse each time.) (I had dates. What can I say? It was free.)

35. Words That We Couldn’t Say – Steve Conte (Mmmm, Steve Conte. I don't really know why this song scares me. It just does.)

36. Tooty Ta – Dr. Jean Feldman (Don't listen to this song if you're all alone; you might kill yourself just to make it stop. This is the most horrible song I've ever experienced. Please think twice before exposing your innocent child, who might have grown up to love and appreciate real music, to this travesty. Please, make it stopppppppp. . . .) (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH)

As usual, my mixes are odd. This is because she who mixed them is odd.

Thank you, dear Patriside, for putting yet another great MixMania together. I look forward to your next theme.

Now, do you want to be REALLY scared? Check out my life.

I'm all alone in the house, and I put a meatloaf in the oven.

In about an hour, I'll be sitting at the kitchen table, alone, eating ketchup-drenched bland horrible meatloaf that nobody and nothing in the universe, even wild owls, will touch with a ten-foot pole. And which I like. A lot.

My brother liked it, too, but he moved away.

Don't worry, though. When YOU come for dinner, we'll have something else.

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


I am Mamacita. Accept no substitutes! Hitting the fan like no one else can. . .
I'm Speaking at BlogHer 08 Archives Links

My Classical Blogroll

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Mamacita3855. Make your own badge here.

Credits Powered by Blogger

Designed by Swank Web Style
< <


Honors Blogrolling.com Hot 500


Lijit Search/a> < BlogHer.org Logo


Listed Subscribe with Bloglines

View My Public Stats on MyBlogLog.com

Personal Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Listed on BlogShares


DIARIST.NET Registered!

Technorati Tags:

Technorati search

Free Hit Counter