Monday, January 31, 2005

I like to cultivate my children's friends, as they are often handy around the house.

Belle's friend T came over Friday night and most of Saturday to work on my computer. I think he actually fixed it! It hasn't gone black and given me that annoying error message since then, and before he touched it, it was turning itself off seven or eight times a day.

I never used to have computer problems, till the big hijacking. Ever since, my computer has been nuts, plain and simple. Even after being wiped several times since, it was still not quite right, and I was still finding the occasional weird 'not-mine' file.

T was looking at it a few months ago, in fact, and it was seized with a takeover right under his fingertips! Things were opening and closing, appearing and disappearing. . . . it was wild. I think it scared him to death. When it finally calmed down, T tried to reason with it, but to no avail; that last 'possession' and 'exorcism' had disintegrated every single thing that was stored on it. It was completely wiped.

I took it to PowerSource (I think I'll soon have my own shelf and monogrammed tarp there) and was told that there was not a trace of ANYTHING on that computer. Jack said it had been a long time since they'd had a computer that was genuinely empty of any kind of file whatsoever.

They re-installed XP and I took it home to coddle, but it wasn't long before it was haunted again.

This time, however, I think maybe it's met its match. T loaded it up with firewalls and spyware-finders and virus protection. And it already had so many of those, it was hard to sign on! Now, though, it's faster and clearer, and it hasn't winked off yet!

Yay, T! Belle can bring you down for a visit any time. Do you do windows?

I need to rent one of those power-washers. The siding on my house is filthy; I noticed it today more than ever. Maybe because the sun is shining today, and things 'showed.'

Charley Gordon has been having a friend over for Moist Treats; the little neighbor cat likes to hang out on our patio. And eat CG's cat food. And run around and sniff all the raccoon and possum d'cologne that has saturated the porch floor and probably all the cushions on the outdoor furniture.

Come on over, won't you? We can eat out on the patio.

Power washer. Definitely.

Seriously now. My friend Frau and I bought these little bottles of Kitty Moist Treats at Big Lots last week, and the cats were instantly hooked and will soon be hiring something with opposable thumbs to open the kitchen door and take possession of the bottle. I need to check out the ingredients; I have a feeling it may have considerable street value.

It's so nice to work in a place that always has spotlessly clean restrooms and plenty of toilet paper. My last school never did. Heck, a lot of the time the bathrooms in this house don't.

Hub just got home; I heard the refrigerator door open. I must hasten to warm up some beef stew and make some cornbread for him.

Yeah, I'm the little housewife. Right.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:01 PM | |

Sunday, January 30, 2005

That's my little boy, all 6'8" of him.

Ever since Zappa moved into his own place, his eating habits have changed considerably.

It's not just that he's usually too broke to eat at all, although that is often the case and I can't think about it very hard or I get all in a wad.

It's that when he IS able to purchase groceries, he buys healthful foods.

He buys fresh vegetables, mostly. He, who subsisted mostly on cereal and junk food in his childhood, now sings the praises of fresh vegetables. milk, fruit, and bloody-rare meat.

Maybe it's true that they really ARE listening, even when you don't think they are.

When he was growing up, ALL meat was bloody rare. But only in the British-swearing sort of way.

Now when we take him out and he orders a steak, it looks like it could get up and run away if it didn't have a fork stuck in it.

Belle is a vegetarian, with the occasional chicken backslide.

But Zappa is a certified carnivore, every chance he gets.

This is the boy who, as I posted earlier, looks at a cow as a 'steak wrapped in shoes.'

Belle still sees 'piggies' and 'lambies.'

Zappa sees dinner.

We're getting ready to take him back up to the city; he's absolutely FULL of homemade beef stew but whatta you bet he'll be ready to eat again when we get up there? After all, that will be about forty-five minutes from now and with his metabolism, he'll be starving again by then.

I could do with a little something myself.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:02 PM | |

I've decided that my house must be haunted.

My house is home to mysteries. Things happen, or don't happen, in this house, and there are no logical explanations.

I have a few questions, and if anyone out there knows the answers, I'd sure appreciate it.

1. Why is there always a pile of dirty laundry BESIDE the hamper, instead of inside it?

2. Why can't my husband, who is a mathematician and electrician and therefore quite handy in many ways, some of them interesting and none of your business, remove the empty toilet paper tube and replace it with a new roll? He always just balances the new roll on top of the empty one, still in the dispenser!

3. Why am I the only person who knows how to fold the dry, clean clothes? Once they've been removed from the dryer and thrown into a basket, they're wrinkled and I have to wash them again. (Well, you didn't think I was going to IRON them, did you?)

4. Why is a grown man still so fascinated with flushing a toilet? Why would he flush it both before AND after?

5. Why does any person require three or four clean towels for every shower?

6. How is it that a person who has lived in this house for fifteen years still doesn't know which kitchen drawer the sharp knives are in?

7. I buy about a dozen pairs of scissors every year. Where are they?

8. Why do we keep all those pens with no ink and pencils with no lead by the telephone? Why don't we throw them away? And who keeps removing the box of little paper squares I put there for messages? (Although, since the pens and pencils don't write, that's maybe a moot point.)

9. The spare light bulbs have been in the exact same place ever since we've lived in this house. Why am I the only person who knows where that exact same place is?

10. How can a man with hardly any hair, use an entire bottle of shampoo a week?

I'll stop with ten, because if I keep on, I'll be here all night.

I'm not actually complaining; don't get me wrong; I'm just puzzled about these unanswered questions.

Also, my husband is a sweet gentle man, and if he leaves his toenail clippings on the bathroom carpet, I'm sure there are worse habits he could have.

Ah, but would any of those worse habits rip the skin from the bottoms of my feet when I shuffle across the bathroom floor in the middle of the night? I think not.

(Don't worry; I always vaccuum them up before company comes. So you're safe to walk across my bathroom floor barefooted. And, please come over and do just that.)

And stay as long as you like.

As long as we have company, he'll throw his clippings in the wastebasket.

Oh, and just in case you might need one, the sharp knives are in the drawer to the left of the dishwasher. The light bulbs are in the bottom cabinet of the hutch.

The liquor is on top of the refrigerator, so be careful not to slam the door shut, or you'll get a bottle of wine on top of your head.

Bring ice. We never have any because the same person who does all the other mysterious stuff never refills the trays.

Our ice maker broke two years ago and we've never fixed it.

Oh, and if you can't see the wine up there, move the cereal boxes aside. I hide it behind the Rice Krispies so our mothers won't see it.

Our mothers know it's up there; my mother thinks it's all Hub's, and his mother thinks it's all mine.

At our age, who cares. And at their age, they should be sitting down and joining us in a glass or two.

Old people are so weird. And the closer I get to it, the weirder they seem.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:26 AM | |

Friday, January 28, 2005

Good mothers are all crazy.

When I was a kid, and read stories, articles, etc, about a mother who put herself in dire peril to save her child, I figured that the mother was crazy. Who in their right mind would push a child out of the way of an oncoming train when she KNEW the train would then kill her? Who in their right mind would dash out into heavy traffic to push a child out of the way of a careening bus when she KNEW that bus was going to hit her instead? Who in their right mind would leap atop a vicious snarling rabid animal and kick a child aside so the animal would devour the mother instead of the child? Who in their right mind would give a child the only remaining life jacket/parachute and choose to go down with the ship/plane and let the child live? Who in their right mind would give a child the only food in the house? Who in their right mind would use the last of the money to buy a child a warm coat? Who in their right mind would cut up her own clothes so a child would have school clothes? Who in their right mind would stay up long past biological clock's survival abilities to help a child with homework, or listen to his/her problems, or read aloud to/with him/her? And what's with all these little nightly rituals that MUST be followed? Who in their right mind cares where a teenager is at midnight, or with whom? All these things steal away a mother's individuality, her right to a life of her own. They are bothersome. Annoying. Who in their right mind would willingly do all these things, and more?

I think we know the answer to those questions, don't we. All of you would, and so would I.

Have you ever known a mother who was in her right mind?

Neither have I.

I don't think completely sane people make good mothers. I think you have to be a little bit nuts. Or a lot. And if you weren't nuts before, you soon will be. If you do it right, that is.

And if you don't have a well-devloped sense of humor, please go have yourself neutered. If you can't laugh at things that make most people cry, you shouldn't have children.

Mothers do their crying later. Lots of it.

Not everyone is cut out to be a mother. Sometimes, we don't know till it's too late.

My mother is a perfect mother. She was always there, and she's still always there. Not in any intrusive way, she's just, always there.

I think she put her own 'self' aside a little too much, but it was the context of the times. She's making up for it now, red hat and all. I'm glad she's having such a good time now.

When she had four little kids at home, she didn't have time for her own good times. Oh, there were 'occasions,' but they were usually seasonal and they were very, very rare.

Modern mothers know that the individual good times must be more frequent, lest we all go completely mad. But even so, the children and their needs come first. Nothing is as important as our children. Nothing.

And this is exactly as it should be.

That's my opinion, and I'm standing by it.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:28 PM | |

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Things I have learned.

I have learned many things this past year.

I learned that no matter how hard you try to help certain people, things can still go badly wrong.

I learned that a person can be destroyed on circumstantial evidence.

I learned that if I'm knocked down, I will get back up.

I learned that it is often very difficult to get back up.

I learned that there will always be hateful people who assume the worst.

I learned that I do not want to be one of them.

I learned who my friends were. And who they weren't.

I learned about trust. And how we should do it even when we probably shouldn't.

I learned about love, in ways I didn't realize I didn't know.

I learned that a friend who doesn't believe you, isn't really a friend, and never was.

I learned that my children are not only extremely good-looking and smart, but that they are also lovely compassionate people who trust me, believe in me, love me, and like me.

I learned that my children are grown up. And that I need to stop raising them, because they are raised.

I learned that I did a very good job raising them.

I learned that I am very good at my job, and can do it no matter what the circumstances.

I learned that there are many different kinds of death.

I learned that there are worse things than death.

I learned that I assume the best about people even when they have no best to offer.

I learned that I would rather be a truster than a doubter.

I learned that being a truster can destroy the world as you know it.

I learned that I can re-construct the world.

I learned that people who are hateful to anyone, can be hateful to you.

I learned that an evidential evaluation of someone can be incorrect.

I learned that some people are just plain awful, and nothing can change them.

I learned that I try to change them anyway.

I learned that no one is safe from a person who likes to be cruel.

I learned that a person who likes to taunt, also likes to hurt.

I learned that Don Quixote was right: Facts are the enemy of truth.

I learned that even though there are people who thrive on hating and hurting, most people are lovely and kind and good, and that those are the people we need by our sides.

I've learned that suspicion and doubt can turn people into monsters.

I learned that people who are proud of their words always sign their names.

I learned that anonymous can also mean cowardly, shameful, and wrong.

I've learned that the world is full of fabulous awesome people, and that many of them are on my blogroll.

I've learned to love people I've never actually met.

I've learned that one bad experience should not limit you in any way when it comes to trying again.

I've learned about friendship. The real kind, not what passes for it with some people.

I've learned to smile again. Maybe eventually I'll learn to laugh again.

I've learned that falling for a scam doesn't make a person stupid. It makes them smarter.

I learned that someone I thought was a conniving deceitful person, was actually a desperately ill person who was grasping at straws. And I'm sorry I misjudged her.

I learned that a person in authority is not always a person who can be respected.

I learned that I can take it on the chin, and keep going.

I learned that suspicion can cripple a person.

I learned about regret. And trauma. I learned about being fair. And being unfair.

I learned that a person who always considered herself a weed's seedling, is actually a Tall Poppy after all.

The view is grand. I can see the horizon from up here.

And, what is beyond the horizon? I don't know. But I shall grow taller, and find out.

Dear Blogger Friends, you mean so much to me that there are no words. I can only sit here and smile at the screen as I think of each of you. Thank you. Thank you all for being yourselves, and for sharing it.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:13 PM | |

. . . I would call him George, and I would hug him and kiss him and. . . . .

A little clarification about yesterday's post:

I wasn't upset because of my student's language. I admired her honesty.

It was her tone of voice and her sneer that sealed her fate. Added to the fact that she's used the same excuse twice now.

When a student sneers at me, she can flush any leniency down the proverbial terlet.

Plus, she calls me 'hon.' Unacceptable. She's been told so and still does it.

I wish she'd quit that. She's not my type at all. No, not at all.

George Clooney. That's my type.

I'd let George Clooney oversleep any time he wanted. He can call me 'hon,' too. In fact, I wish he would.

Besides, if he overslept, I would just poke him till he woke up.

Segments of the above post were brought to you by my daydreams and imagination, both of which are occasionally beyond my control.

I love those days.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:31 PM | |

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

It's not my fault, as I have been cursed by the Gypsies.

It is absolutely FREEZING in this house, but the thermostat is down the hall and tonight I'm too lazy to walk twenty steps, preferring to shiver and complain about doing so. There are no clean towels because the laundress-in-residence (who looks a lot like me) prefers to sit on her oversized derrierre and blog rather than get up, walk down a flight and a half of stairs and throw a load of clothes in the washing machine. The cat is insane and keeps reaching up and actually wrapping a paw around my wrist and dragging my hand away from the keyboard; if he had opposable thumbs, I'd be on the floor with claw marks on my neck by now. He thinks I will get up and walk to the kitchen and get down that bottle of kitty treats and throw one on the floor for him to inhale. I think those kitty treats are made of catnip and crack cocaine. Poor stupid Charley Gordon is helpless before the onslaught of moist kitty treats.

I do intend to do that in a few minutes. I'll just make a trail, a la Hansel and Gretel, across the floor, up to and leading out of the patio door. The cat is mentally challenged; he falls for that old trick every time.

If I owned a smart cat, he'd be driving my car, bouncing checks, and wearing my shoes by now. I'm easily outsmarted, as Belle and Zappa can both attest.

Today has been a pleasant, challenging day. Nothing bad has happened all day. Of course, as soon as you say that, or write it down, you've put an irreversible gypsy curse on yourself. Let's hope the gypsies aren't paying attention to me at this moment in time. I've suffered enough from gypsy curses this past year; I don't need another one.

Do you know why the gypsies are dying out? It's because all the men have crystal balls.

I do apologize. It was in me and had to come out.

And at my age, too. Inexcusable.

Oh, shut up. You laughed.

Actually, at my age, I bet I know more truly terrible 'jokes' than any two of you combined.

I'm listening to The Bond Girls. Awesome.

One of my students missed Monday's class. When she came in today, I asked her why she'd been absent. Her reply? "I overslept, and when I finally did wake up, I looked at the clock and thought, fuck it."

What a rank amateur. Doesn't she know enough to make up a big lie for the instructor, so she'd get sympathy and a list of make-up work? Dunderhead.

Now she's got three zeroes and a cleared space around her in the classroom.

A teensy little part of me admires her guts. The rest of me thinks she's a big dummy.

I can't believe I said "balls" and "fuck" on my blog.

Perhaps it's the gypsy curse, taking latent effect.

I do apologize. Again.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:15 PM | |

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The end of the world is nigh.

My computer has blacked out on me six times today. I take this as an omen that the apocalypse is upon us, because if I have to take it into Powersource again, they're going to claim squatter's rights, and I don't think I can bear to be without it. If the world ends it might take my mind off it.

Please don't chastize me for frivolous use of words like "apocalypse" and "end of the world." My computer is ill, and I'm all in a wad, and I don't know what I'm saying.

Yes I do. Apocalypse.

But, to semi-quote Buffy, "Apocalypse? I've been there."

It seems like it, anyway.

It's been a long, wobbly, off-balance day.

Stupid computer. Stupid error message.

If I re-install Windows XP, will I lose everything? It's all backed up, but you never know about putting things back on. Well, you might know, but I don't.

Context is a funny thing. We WANT our computer stuff to be backed up, but use that same expression about a toilet and we're all running around crazy.

I'm not doing all that well tonight. I think I'll turn in.

"Turn in to what?" you might ask.

Why, I'll turn into Sleeping Beauty. You silly.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:52 PM | |

Monday, January 24, 2005

IT: The pronoun of desire.

I wonder sometimes if one of the reasons some people age horribly and die, is because they have stopped hanging out with friends.

Of course, if they are REALLY old, they may have stopped hanging out with friends because there's not that much to do in the cemetery.

But for people (naming no names) who are perhaps just beginning to be on the old side, whose friends are still (mostly) alive, it's just as much fun to hang out with friends as it was years ago, when we all skipped last hour Chemistry to pile into someone's blue Corvair and head out to the State Park to meet guys.

When my children were little, and it was purt nigh impossible to get away and hang out with friends (partly because it was purt nigh impossible to get away, and partly because they had small children also; living a hundred or a thousand miles away contributed to the level of difficulty. . . .) those few and far-between episodes of getting together quite possibly saved what little sanity I do have.

When we meet now, and yes, Virginia, we still meet at least once a month, the only thing that's really changed, besides our faces, hair, bodies, and big purses, is the fact that we no longer have little children at home. Some of us have GRANDCHILDREN. Not me, though.

Ahem. Are my children reading this journal?

But the giggles, the nonsense, the silliness, the goofiness, the sheer love and devotion, are all still there in full force; possibly in fuller force than when we were younger.

Yes, definitely. Fuller force.

Maybe because, THEN, we knew what we had but didn't fully understand that it could vanish in the wink of an eye. We were young, we were attractive, we knew it. And it would last forever. How could it not? And NOW, we know what we had and we know what we still have and we understand completely that yes, it could very well vanish in the wink of an eye, and that yes, some of it already has. We have mirrors. And even though we no longer have some of 'it,' we also know that, whatever 'it' was, we still have SOME of 'it.' And we aren't afraid to use it, either.

No, not THAT kind of 'it.' Although, now that you mention 'it'. . . . . . . . . . .

Those of you with small children: be sure you make time for your friends. "Hanging out" isn't just for teenagers. You need it more than they do. Hire one of them, and go meet your friends for a few hours. Keep doing it until you are dead.

Your older children and possibly a husband who won't be requiring any sex for a while, might make a comment about how "hanging out" means something entirely different on an older woman with, um, body image deficiency. Remind them all that they know where the food is kept, and that the sofa sleeps one person very comfortably indeed. And then leave.

Get out there and use 'it.'

Readers may interpret "it" as they please. All answers are probably correct.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:18 PM | |

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I TOLD you I was sturdy.

Since people are reminiscing about the day one or more of their children was born, here I am with my tales of labor in the Midwest.

September seems to have been our busiest month, as both of my children were born in June.

I was also on the pill, and faithfully, too, both times; I conclude therefore that my children were meant to be. Actually, I believe all children were meant to be, but that is probably another entire post.

I was in labor five hours with Belle. Apparently this is not very long as labors average out, but at the time I didn't know that, and it seemed like a long time to me. Hub sat by my side and did his calculus homework; the click, click, click of his calculator drove me crazy. The phone by my bed rang constantly with people wanting to know 'how I was doing.' The truth was, I would have been 'doing' a lot better if I hadn't been forced into being a gracious hostess while wearing a backless cotton gown, lying in a strange bed in a room with an open door with strange kids peeping in and running in the halls, while trying to have a baby. I finally pulled the telephone cord out of the wall and asked Hub to kick the door shut. It was a tremendous relief.

The nurse was there in a flash, and said the door had to be kept open so they could monitor me. Since I was hooked up to enough monitors to pilot the Enterprise, I wondered about that one, but at that young age I wasn't brave enough to question anything or anyone.

Hub kept asking me if there was anything he could do to help me. I wanted to say sure, would you mind changing places with me and doing some serious panting, but frankly, he was making me crazy with all his clicking and solicitiousness. I didn't feel free to let 'er rip with moans, and to turn the air blue with some mighty and majestic and creative profanity. (He's a gentle guy and didn't cuss till he married me. I guess he had reason to, then.)

What I really wanted was to go to the bathroom, but they wouldn't let me. I was almost in tears over that little issue, but I had to laugh when they brought in a bedpan.

No way.

I said, "Do you really think I'm so stupid that I wouldn't know if I was having the baby in the toilet?"

Nurse Ratchett replied, "It's happened before."

So I had that little added misery. I was afraid to bear down because I didn't want to pee in the bed. Nobody else would remember it, but I knew I would.

Every once in a while a nurse would come in, check things out, and say "DON'T PUSH. DO YOU HEAR ME? DON'T PUSH." Oh, like I had any control over that. . . . What little control I did have, I was using to try not to pee.

Near the end of that fifth hour, I suddenly knew I had no time to wait. Or waste. I rang the bell and nobody came. After five hours of being annoyed and hovered-over, nobody was there now that I wanted somebody.

When they finally showed up, they barely had time to wheel me into the delivery room. Nurse Ratchetet kept yelling at me not to push. I told her to bring me a big cork then, because nothing else was going to keep this baby from coming out. She got mad and wasn't very gentle with me after that. I hope she's not a nurse any more. I think she would have made a better longshoreman, or maybe a dominatrix.

I took one look at my beautiful Belle and I've been in love ever since. Even when she set the hallway on fire.

When I got pregnant with Zappa, the first thing I told my doctor was, that he must put in my file that I was to be allowed to get up and go to the bathroom while in labor. He agreed.

I didn't need it, though. I didn't have time to go to the bathroom or anything else.

I had an easy time with Zappa. In fact, I barely remember it. I woke up in labor. We got Belle up from her crib and got into the car and started for town. As we approached the railroad crossing, we heard a train whistle. It was VERY near. I knew that if we had to wait for a train, I'd have this baby in the back seat of the car, so Hub shot across the tracks in a very illegal and 'trainspotting' manner. We pulled up in front of my parents' house, where my mother was waiting on the sidewalk. We threw Belle out the window and shot towards the hospital. Hub let me out at the emergency entrance and went to park the car.

When he came back inside the hospital, the doctor and I were standing in the hall admiring my new son through the window.

I had Zappa in just under twenty minutes, from house to hospital. I had him while my husband was parking the car.

I couldn't have him with me right away, as he was yellow as the summer sun, and being checked out for a possible hip click.

They wheeled me to my room, and put me on my bed. I got up, pulled on a skanky hospital robe, and went out into the hall to look at my baby. His bright red hair made him stand out among all the other babies. Especially as it contrasted with that yellow skin. All that afternoon, and the next day, too, I could hear visitors commenting on the baby with that incredible red hair. He still has that incredible red hair.

I was ready to bring him home that afternoon but they kept us both an extra day. I'd had him so fast, I was still having pains. The pains I should have had for hours during a typical labor. That was no fun, but otherwise I felt great and was smugly self-righteous about my sissy roommate and her constant crying and whining. I was young, and hadn't developed my compassionate streak much, yet. But even now, I look back and think what a big baby she was.

Hub couldn't get off work to take us home from the hospital, so Mom came by and got us. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and I ran in for some things. As I was paying, the cashier noticed the hospital bracelet still on my arm, and asked me how I was feeling. I said, "Oh, I had a baby day before yesterday and we're on our way home from the hospital." She was amazed.

I didn't think, and still don't think, it was any big deal. In the old days, I would probably have been one of those women who worked in the fields, and just crouched behind a bush to give birth, hung the baby in a carrier on my back, and gone back into the fields.

I know I am lucky that way. I even considered being a surrogate, years ago, because it's so easy for me.

My doctor told me that if I ever had any more babies, he would have to admit me a few days before my due date, because there was NO WAY I could ever make it to the hospital once the baby decided to make its debut.

I give all the credit for my speedy deliveries to my hideous orange plaid maternity blouse that Hub's grandmother gave me.

It was quite possibly the ugliest blouse in the known universe, but its magic was proven. It worked twice for me, and it also worked similar miracles for every friend who ever borrowed it.

The last person who wore it never returned it.

It's just as well, I guess. It was starting to look pretty thin and raggedy.

But for a twenty-minute labor and delivery, who would care about that?

When you're nine and a half months pregnant, you slam the door on the fashion police. And if they knocked again, you just might set fire to their car.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:59 PM | |

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Wash your hands instead of eating.

I finally figured out why I've been wanting cookies so much these past few weeks.

It's this "Vanilla Sugar Cookie" hand soap I bought at Bath and Body Works.

Every time someone in this house washes his/her hands, the scent of baking sugar cookies wafts through the hall.

When the kids were little, I used to burn a lot of candles that made them hungry, but back then I was thin and in good shape and I was never tempted. I could make cookies for the masses and never touch them myself. Besides, there were never any left after the masses tore through them.

Then, it was candles. Now, it's soap.

Have I de-evolved, or what?

I LOVE candles. When did I stop burning them? This must begin again, immediately.

And it has.

Is it just me, or does anybody else out there not feel completely clean when their hands smell like food?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:44 PM | |

I didn't think she was chubby at all.

Uncle Sam wants YOU. Mars needs women. Some whiny kid wants his Maypo. And Genuine wants pictures.

I don't know. Should I send him a picture of me THEN, when I looked great and strangers stopped me in the street to tell me so? Or should I send him a picture of NOW, and possibly scare away a person I like to think of as an awesome online friend?

What if he looked at my NOW picture and screamed out loud? What if his sweet wife Mrs. G fainted dead away at the sight of me? What if one of their precious children caught a glimpse and had nightmares? Or worse, what if they all laugh and tell me that a joke's a joke but they wanted a picture of the real me, and not a snapshot of a Macy's Parade balloon?

This requires some thought. Fortunately, it's the weekend, and my thought center is on vacation, so I'll probably break down and send a picture. Whether it will be THEN or NOW, I'll leave it to them to judge. No pressure, though.

One teensy problem might be that all the photo albums are in my cedar chest, and the cedar chest is in Belle's old room with a big heavy bookcase on top of it. It's not exactly designer-chic, but there just wasn't room in the room for both pieces of furniture as they were meant to be displayed. To move the bookcase, I will have to remove all the books. The books are in there three-deep, so it will take a while. And once removed, the books will take up all the floor space, so there will be no vacant spot on which to put the empty bookcase after I remove it from atop the cedar chest.

Of course, the biggest problem of all will be that once I have easy access to our photo albums, I will sit on the floor and look through every single one of them. That means no laundry will be done today, no bills will be paid today, no dusting or vacuuming or cooking will be done today, and nobody will unload the dishwasher and fill it up again.

Hahahaha, gotcha. As if I ever did those things on a regular basis anyway. . . .

If you must know the truth (and you know what, people do tell the truth on their blogs!) I haven't looked through those albums for a long time even though I adore doing it, because almost every night after I've looked at thousands of precious pictures of my children as babies, toddlers, children, teens, etc, I dream that they are dead.

I don't know for sure why that happens, but it happens. Maybe because the babies, toddlers, children, etc, that they once were, are gone. I just don't know. All the dozens of framed pictures of them at all ages that adorn the walls of my house don't affect me like that. It's just all those random, informal, unposed, pieces of frozen time, take me back to smiling days and then bring me abruptly forward again to now, where the smiles are fewer and much farther between. . . .

Maybe I just fear that if you saw me as I really am today, it would make you say "Whoa, she's BIG!"

I'd have to email it to him. I still don't know how to post a picture.

Maybe I'll just say 'Oh, piss it.'

Hey. Hugh Grant liked it when Martine McCutcheon said it.

Hugh, what do you think? In that movie, you liked the chubby girl. (Although if she was chubby, then I must be a Blue Whale.)

Come on, Hugh. Answer me. I know you're shy and unsure of yourself around women, but you can talk to me. Stop stuttering. Look me in the eye. Now. You sweet bashful clueless thing, you.

He really is, isn't he? I mean, he's the same in every movie. It HAS to be his real self.

What to do, what to do, what to do. . . .

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:53 PM | |

Friday, January 21, 2005

Whose peers you talkin' about, Willis?

Over at my daughter's blog, she rants about jury duty. I've been called for jury duty three times, and was selected once.

The two times I was not selected, I suspect it was because I was the only person in the courtroom who had bathed that day. Oh, and possibly my statement that "people who drive drunk are no different than people who bring a loaded gun into a crowded McDonald's and wave it around." Added to the fact that I had a high school diploma and knew better than to say 'I seen him' . . . . .

The attorneys were more offended than the suspects. I know why, too.

The third time, I was selected. I think they were desperate to get a full jury before the Second Coming. They were almost ready to go out into the streets and waylay passers-by, but then they realized that the last prospective jurer had not shown up, so they telephoned him at his job down at the Pizza Hut and made him come down to the courthouse, asked him if he, personally, drank a lot, and when he said 'yes,' they had their man.

The trial had to do with a drunken road-murder. I call it 'murder' because that was what it was.

Two guys were so stinkin' drunk, they were driving their truck down the wrong lane of a narrow two-lane highway. They met a van head-on, and murdered the driver, the father of a family.

The trial was not to determine that a terrible wrong had been committed; it was to determine which of the two drunks was the driver. You see, their truck was pretty much held together by duct tape and bondo and a lot of rusty lace. The impact disintegrated it, and both drunks were thrown across the road. Neither could remember who was driving at the time.

The drunks' lawyer had made all kinds of diagrams of the accident scene. Diagrams of the interior of the truck. Diagrams of where the two drunks landed after the crash. Lots of arrows and signs and information about logistics of a thrown object going X miles per hour. . . . I looked at the diagrams but none of them really proved anything to me. I was more interested in the pictures of the two drunks as they were being loaded into the ambulance.

I voted for the guy with the steering-wheel-shaped bruise on his stomach.

The other drunk just had massive head wounds from going through the empty window-frame and filleting himself on the hood ornament.

Please don't assume that I am against drinking. I'm not. But when someone drinks and then gets behind the wheel, I consider them a potential killer, and a danger to society, and a blithering idiot.

I'm not going anywhere else tonight. I wish we had some vodka. Oh, and I made enough cookies last night for ALL of you. Come on over. Bring vodka.

Belle loves shoes. She loves to buy shoes for herself, and lately she's been buying them for me. She's a goooood daughter. I've told her that all her life, and I hope she believes it. She's an awesome daughter. She really is. Plus, she's hilarious. And very, very intelligent. Even when she forgets to wear a coat on a day like today, and phones me from the Union where she's arguing with an ATM machine and shivering, and telling me all about how she had to scrape the ice off her windshield with an empty plastic pop bottle because she had no window scraper. That's my girl.

She did say it was easier after she took the cap off the bottle.

The bookstore had a huge table full of bargain books; but as I looked through them it soon became obvious why these books were not sold at full-price earlier.

How awful, when even the bargain table and a red sticker can't get someone to read your book. My heart hurts for these authors, who worked so hard and had such high hopes, and now their book is stacked ceiling-high on the $1.99 table at Barnes and Noble, and the stack gets no shorter with the passing days.

Why do I read such intense meaning into everything? I even cry at movies I've seen two dozen times already. I mean, I KNOW it's going to be all right; why do I still cry?

We got behind a bubble-head old-chick-dye-job-bad perm- driver in a goldish-brown geezer-Cad on the way home tonight. She was going, oh, maybe 25 in a 60 zone. I called her names from behind the anonymity of closed doors and windows. Creative, interesting, descriptive names. I was an English major.

Isn't that mean? I think it's fueled by fear. I want you all to promise me that if I EVER fit that description, you will poison my Margarita and bury me in the back yard.

Sometimes, I want to run away and never look back. Fortunately, most times I know just how lucky I am, and I want to nestle in and never go out. The average helps make me interesting.

Jury duty. I used to think that "a jury of one's peers" was an awesome thing indeed. Now, it just scares me. "Peers?" The peers of a drunk? The peers of a murderer? Illiterate "peers?" Peers on the same social scale would think driving drunk a natural and cool thing! I'm confused. I need some vodka to go with these cookies.

Also, the cat's breath is really grossing me out tonight. He must have brought down and devoured a squirrel or something while we were gone. I'm putting him out. It's worse than a baked-bean fart.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:49 PM | |

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Decadence at its best. I hope you are sturdy enough to take it.

The cd jukebox is set on 'random' and some of the musical combinations are making me laugh, so all is not lost.

When the kids were in junior high and high school, we had a tape player in our van. I used to make mix tapes for long trips. Some of my mixes were, um, let us be merciful and call them "unique."

Often a song was followed by another song that made them both funny. I was NOT good at making mix tapes. Ask Belle. She's still talking about that one in particular. . . . .

I learned many valuable lessons from the group laughter.

However, I'm excellent with the mix cd's. Want one? Tell me what you want and you can have it.

Time was, that statement had a very different meaning. . . . . .

I have decided that, fat as I am, I'm going to the kitchen and make something decadent and I'm going to eat it all before I go to bed so nobody will ever know I did it.

None of YOU will tell, will you? I knew I could count on you. I'd share if you were here.

You know those funny/sort-of-sick stories about pregnant women who eat enormous amounts of food and hide it from their husbands? I know one.

26 years ago, this certain person made a chocolate pie for dessert. She and her husband ate half of it. The next day, she kept looking at that half-a-pie and finally broke down and ate it all. To keep her husband from finding out, she made another pie and ate half.

Hint: it's somebody we know.

I don't think I'll make pie, though. Maybe some cookies. They're harder to keep track of.

We have no vodka. What else can I do?

A sugar high is better than nothing.

I can feel my nerves start to calm, even as my blood sugar rises. Yes. I'm going to be all right.

However, if you want to come over and bring vodka, please do. I'll leave the door unlocked for you. Heck, living way out here, I seldom lock it anyway.

How far out am I? My address is nailed to a huge tree stump up by the road.

The deer come right up to the door. In herds.

Oh, you mean, how far out am I? As in, ME?

I'm way far out, honey. I am FAR OUT. I am COOL. I GROOVE. I am WITH IT.

Excuse me for a second while I take this Woodstock cd out of the player.

Now I'm going into the kitchen to begin my culinary debauchery before I start saying "groovy" in the natural course of conversation.

Of course, it might be much worse. I've seen 'Love Actually" about a million times now, and my language could be MUCH worse.

Prime Minister: It's fine, it's fine. You could've said "fuck", and then we'd have been in real trouble.
Natalie: Thank you, sir. I did have an awful premonition that I was going to fuck up the first day. Oh piss-it!

Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to commit diabetic suicide and probably watch this movie again. I might have missed something Hugh Grant said or did, the first few thousand times I watched it.

A person just can't miss anything Hugh Grant might say or do. Lordy, lordy, that hooker must have thought she'd died and gone to heaven.

(He was well rid of Elizabeth Hurley. She wasn't good enough for him. Wispy little thing. He needs a sturdy woman. Someone like. . . . . oh, you know.)

Hey. Enough of that. "Sturdy" can also mean "stamina," and he would NEED it with a sturdy woman. . . . mentioning no names.

I'm really leaving now. I'll be back later tonight, but I'm leaving right now.

See me leaving?

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:57 PM | |

Things happen anyway.

I just don't have any 'funny' in me tonight. Oh, well, yes, I look funny, and I probably smell funny and I've been acting funny my whole life long, but you know. It's been a long day and my nerves are shot, and my heart hurts for people I will never know, and I think I'm going to cry.

I keep picturing in my mind the scenario we all know so well. We put our children in the back seat and make sure they are securely belted down in their car seats. We wouldn't dream of letting our child NOT be strapped in. In our minds, they are safe now. Nothing can harm them because we made sure they were safely strapped in. We get in the mini-van to do some errands, and on the way to the grocery store we stop at Burger King, go through the drive-through and get some fun meals, and a #2 with a diet cola for ourselves. It's our routine grocery-shopping-day lunch treat. We do this twice a week. The kids are munching happily away, and they are excited over their new toy; another one to add to the collection, whee! Go Mom. Burger King. Thank you, Mom. We pull up to the intersection, the intersection we've pulled up to a zillion times before, and we stop, turn-signals blinking, because the light is red, and when the light is red, everybody stops. When the light turns green, we go, because when the light is green it is our TURN to move. We start to move when the green light gives us permission, and we pull forward and turn into the grocery store parking lot. We do this regularly. We know exactly how to do it and what will happen every time we do it. As long as everybody waits their turn and follows the rules, life will go on and it will be good.

Except, this time it didn't happen quite that way. Because, this time somebody didn't obey the rules. This time, somebody didn't obey the traffic lights. This time, somebody moved forward when it wasn't their turn. This time, somebody who wasn't paying attention dropped an H-bomb on our van and disintegrated everybody and everything in it, and we didn't even have time to see it coming. We were laughing and singing along to the Veggie Tales cd and talking to the kids about 'tomorrow' and planning beef stroganoff for dinner tonight and wondering if the store still had those crackers the kids loved, on sale, and while all of this comfortable and loving and usual stuff was happening, in the midst of our carefully planned safety nets and precautions and love, it all ended. In the wink of an eye, we were gone.

Please don't make me dream about it tonight.

Please help me not to dwell on it too much.

Please help me not to hate the truck driver. He's probably hating himself enough to satisfy us all right now.

Please don't EVER let him behind the wheel of anything ever again.

Life is strong. Life is powerful. LIFE. We love life. We live life. We cherish life. We give life.

And sometimes, we take life.

It's so strong, and yet it can be snuffed out as easily as we blow out a candle. Shakespeare was right. He often is, I've noticed.

When that toy hit the ground in front of the window today, I could feel a scream starting down at my toes and working its way up to my head. It never came out, but it was there. I think it's still there, biding its time.

Whoever was in that van, was precious to somebody. There are people in a house somewhere tonight whose lives are forever changed because today, for a split second, somebody else disobeyed a simple rule. In somebody's house tonight, there are are people who have lost part of their hearts.

Statistics. I read somewhere that statistics are people with the tears wiped off.

I don't think I ever really understood that until today.

There is no witty commentary tonight. Probably this accident wasn't even unusual, because we all know that this kind of thing happens a thousand or more times a day, somewhere. I just happened to see this one.

I think I will read the newspaper differently from now on.

I think I need to re-read "Our Town."

What I need is a stiff drink. Does anybody have any vodka?

I'd never smelled anything like that before.

I want my mommy.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:47 PM | |

Russian roulette.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from school today. As I was checking out, one of the cashiers called, "Here comes the snow!" And like little kids, we all ran to the big windows and looked outside.

It was beautiful. Huge, perfect white flakes, coming down in slow motion, like in a romantic movie. The store's muzak system was even playing soft, sentimental music. The bag-boy put his arm around the old lady who kept the books. We were all entranced.

For a few moments, a big group of total strangers were united, as we all stood there and silently watched that slow-motion, too-beautiful-to-be-real snow. The same goofy child-like smile was on everybody's face. It was one of those stopped-time moments. The whole world was peaceful and kind. I'll remember it always.

And then, as we watched, a big heavily-loaded truck ran the red light and blind-sided a minivan that had the green light. It had started forward and was beginning to turn into the store's parking lot. The truck hit the van so hard that it exploded and burst into flames. Black oily smoke filled the air, and suddenly there were no more large white beautiful snowflakes. There were, instead, large black horrible ash-flakes. Still coming down in slow motion.

A Burger King fun meal toy landed right in front of the grocery store window.

It happened so fast. Nobody saw it coming. Nobody could comprehend that it had even happened.

And it wasn't even loud. We didn't even hear the impact because of the instant explosion, and it wasn't loud either. It was almost like watching an old silent film of an atomic bomb experiment in the desert. It wasn't there, and then suddenly it was, blooming up from the sand like an ethereal mushroom.

For the first time, I can sort of, almost, barely, comprehend the element of total surprise that survivors of terrible catastrophes talk about. "We had no warning. It happened too fast."

I can see that now.

I think it is the fun meal toy and what it no doubt means, that affects me the most.

Wrecks are seldom written up, in this city's papers. I hope they don't do this one, either. I don't want my mind to be able to put any names to what I saw. I don't want to know the name of the truck driver who ran the red light. And I especially don't want to know the name of the child who was eating chicken fingers with one hand and holding a fun meal toy in the other.

Sometimes, I think life is a kind of Russian roulette.

If it wasn't for the occasional flashes of beauty, I wonder if any of us could stand it.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:21 PM | |

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Who's on first?

I met my friend for dinner tonight, at the Chinese restaurant where Shoney's used to be. Shoney's Chinese, we call it. Not to be confused with the K-Mart Chinese, the WalMart Chinese, or the Rax Roast Beef Mexican place.

The nearest town is not a lucky location for restaurants.

Plus, if you buy an existing restaurant there, it will do you no good to change the name to one of your liking. Buy a new sign, give out business cards, advertise in the paper, nothing will ever do any good. Sponsor T-Ball leagues, give out prizes at school carnivals, give out coupons for freebies: it doesn't matter.

You opened your Chinese restaurant in the old Shoney's building, and that is what people call it.

I don't even remember the actual name of this restaurant. It's Shoney's Chinese, that's all I know.

Shoney's has great Chinese food.

My sweet friend is also Belle's former German teacher at high school. Yes, Belle, I had dinner with Frau tonight. I thanked her again for teaching you so well that you passed out of three semesters of German at the university. But that is not why we are friends. We'd be friends even if you had been stupid and she'd been forced to fail you.

We have mutual likes, mutual loves, and mutual hatreds. And just enough differences to make it all interesting. Stir it all up in a big iron pot, and you've got fun and laughter and sympathy and devilment.

She came over to the house after we ate, and I showed her how to set up her school website. I showed her some other things, as well. And talked about them.

I showed her that picture of you with your violin. The one where you were showing some serious leg.

We discussed why you absolutely refused to go to Prom with that boy she tried to set you up with, your junior year.

We talked about how beautiful you looked at Bess's wedding.

She told me some interesting things about you, too. I shall save them to use against you at a later date.

It's one thing when a parent loves a child unconditionally; that is to be expected. It's another thing, a really good thing, when your child's friends' parents love your child unconditionally. But when your child's teacher loves your child, it's a very special thing indeed.

No one ever outgrows the need for good, true friends. Spouses, children, and family are wonderful things, but don't ever lose track of your friends. You need them, and they need you.

We are truly ourselves with a friend, in ways that we can never be with family. With friends, we are what we were, before we became the head of a family.

Family comes first. But friends come first, too.

It just depends on what "game" you're playing.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:30 PM | |

I R D Prez.

I'm grading quizzes and essays, and I'm a little discouraged.

I occasionally have days when I wonder if maybe a person shouldn't be admitted to college unless he/she can demonstrate a good knowledge of how the language works, ie have a fairly large vocabulary and be able to construct a decent and understandable sentence.

But I guess if a person can be President without those skills, then I shouldn't be surprised that my students don't have them either.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:26 PM | |

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I wore my new pants to work today.

You know those transparent tags glued to the front of new pants? The huge LOOOONG transparent tag with the SIZE written on it in letters large enough to be seen from the back of the room? That long invisible tag with the SIZE on it? Did any of you ever somehow miss that tag when you were removing the stapled cardboard tags from your new pants? You got all the white cardboard off your new pants, but just didn't see that long transparent tag because everything but the SIZE was invisible? Did any of you put on those pants, tag and all, and wear them to work, where the incredibly large number that is the SIZE was hitting everyone in the face all morning? And you could see amazement on everyone's face but you assumed they were all just really into those sentence fragments and never dreamed they were struck dumb by the huge number that was your SIZE? Did any of you ever wear that tag out in public, in front of dozens and dozens of people, who now know that you get new pants so infrequently that you don't even know where all the tags are, and that you wear a size that sometimes has to be special-ordered? Did anybody out there ever do that?

Um, me neither.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:59 PM | |

Monday, January 17, 2005

Chewbacca is waiting for you to finish your cereal.

I wish I knew why so many little details about routine household duties are so meaningful for me. I mean, surely nobody else turns these mundane everyday things into rituals. Why do I do it? It's hard on me.

Today I took the two big leaves out of the dining room table, and put them away in the closet. The table, which was huge and could seat a lot of people, is now a small square in the middle of a large roomy room. The extra chairs are sitting against the wall where one of the big Christmas trees had been.

Well, at least all the stereo speakers aren't on the floor any more. They're sitting in the chairs.

But when I look at the small table, I get all choked up, and not with happiness either.

I love my house best when it is full of people.

I got all teary-eyed when I put away the Christmas dishes and got out the winter ones.

(Another sign of my innate ritualistic weirdness is the fact that I have a different set of dishes for each season. Go ahead and say it. I know you're thinking it.)

I have an entire cabinet full of the children's old unbreakable baby and toddler dishes: the extra-small plates, bowls, and glasses with Strawberry Shortcake on them, and the Disney Princesses, and Masters of the Universe, and Star Wars. Also in there are some of the souvenir dishes the kids wanted and used. And other silly sentimental things that mean nothing to anybody but me. Like, the hideous yellow Smokey the Bear ashtray that was my father-in-law's. I only knew him for two years but he was a really nice man. Those of you with children might remember the Gerber spoons that you got for free with baby food labels? They'd engrave your child's name for free? I have DOZENS of those for each child. Well, they were free. I can't pass up 'free.' Plus, who had time to wash dishes regularly with babies or tiny children? I should clean out that cabinet and pack all that stuff in a box; I really need the space. But I haven't, because I like that stuff right there. Where I could reach up and grab it if I ever need it. Uh huh.

Would some of you with little kids please call me and schedule a visit? I'd love to see a child use these things in front of me. They were just so . . . . cute. We even have some "Mr. Happy" glasses, for orange juice. (The Mr. Happy from the children's stories, not the one you're thinking about. Sheesh.)

The souvenir dishes I mentioned above are from Disney World. It was the first real family vacation we ever took. The kids were going into fourth and sixth grade. We just didn't have the money to do anything like that before. As far as I know, it's the only time they've ever been down there.

A word of advice/warning to you parents of tiny children out there: Just because a small child's dish is unbreakable doesn't necessarily mean it is unmeltable. Be careful when you put them into the microwave. Some of ours have funny edges now. But the pictures on the bottom, and on the sides, are as bright as the day they were bought.

"Eat it up, so we can talk to Chewbacca!!"

Those were the days.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:34 PM | |

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Inside my head, I walk around the campus of my youth. . . .

MP3's on random, here's what came up tonight:

Into My Arms - Nick Cave
I've Got A Theory - Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Make You Feel My Love - Bob Dylan
Rainbow Connection - Sarah McLachlan
Apparitions - Matthew Good Band
The Simpson's Theme - TV theme song
A Kiss To Build A Dream On - Louis Armstrong
On My Own - Lea Salonga
Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day
Jagged - Old 97's

My sweet MIL is home from the hospital. She felt well enough to go with us when we took Zappa back up to his apartment this evening. He has no internet right now and needed it to complete an assignment so he came home last night to use ours.

And to eat mashed grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs. And to gather up his Christmas loot that he wasn't able to take with him after Christmas because of the snow; there just wasn't room in that pickup truck for it all and him, too.

Several people have asked me what a "Hairbanger's Ball" is. Belle loves to go to those with her friends. It's a Tribute to the Eighties concert!! Remember that big hair back then? REO Speedwagon hair? Foot-high cheerleader bangs? Hence the name. She and her friends love it. (If you need to add any details, Belle, by all means do.)

I wonder if there could possibly be a campus as beautiful as the Indiana University campus in Bloomington? I love to walk around and look at it. (It's especially nice now that I don't have to run like mad to make that ten-thirty class and hope the professor isn't collecting homework. . . .) The architecture: each building completely different. The artistic use of brick, and limestone, and cobblestsones, and tiles. . . . . Little unexpected gazebos and fountains and statues cropping up here and there where you least expect them. . . .That huge gorgeous fountain in front of the big main auditorium. The dinosaur footprint. The awesome majesty of all the big old trees, and the footpaths through the many wooded areas, and the Jordan River flowing haphazardly all over the campus, and all the pretty little wooded bridges over it. . . . The wellhouse. The observatories. All those fabulous Thomas Hart Benton murals in so many of the old buildings. The huge art museum. The Lilly Library. The huge famous Indiana University Library, where, on the fifth floor, you can still smell burned paper from the big fire of the late sixties. Yes, the library that is slowly sinking into the ground because the architects and construction people forgot to take into account the weight of all the books. A museum in almost every building. Belle works right in the middle of campus. I haven't gone snooping into her office yet. Um, I mean, stopping by to visit her. She did escort me to Morrison Hall, which houses the fabulous Kinsey Institute, for an interview last summer, though; the two buildings share a courtyard. Her building, Ballantine, is famous for several things, one of which is the fact that even though almost every undergraduate course is on the third floor, the elevator does not stop there. The students have to take it up to the fourth floor and walk down a flight. And, it is from the roof of Ballantine that many a despondent student has taken the plunge. Literally. They were doing it back in my day and they are still doing it. The last one was just a few months ago. This is of course NOT an amusing fact; nevertheless, it is a fact. Belle didn't see the last plunge, but saw the aftermath. That last student miscalculated, you see, and instead of splatting himself on the concrete, he bounced off a canvas window guard and the roof of the parking garage, and survived.

The center of campus is the most beautiful of it all, and the oldest. People come from all over the world to photograph it. It's indescribably beautiful.

The Student Union sprawls all over the top of a rise like a medieval monastery. Beck Chapel, tiny and old and an architechtural gem, sits placidly beside a miniature cemetery in which are buried the elite of IU alumni moneybags, in the middle of campus, not at all impressed by the fact that there is a waiting list a mile long of people wanting to be married there. The weddings are scheduled so tightly that each one is limited to twenty minutes, and people from the next wedding start to enter and be seated before the previous wedding is over. I've been to several there, and it's a hoot.

I've proudly shown friends around the campus many times. I spent many happy years on this campus, and when I compare it with any other campus I've ever seen, for real or in pictures, well, there just IS no comparison. IU is absolutely beautiful.

Don't get me started on its athletics, though. Because frankly I don't give two hoots in hell about that.

The strangest things can be found meandering through my mind sometimes. I mean, did anybody else ever wonder what Louis Armstrong sounded like when he had a bad cold and was hoarse? Would it have been any different?

What do you suppose dinner-time was like in the Tiny Tim household? Did they listen to ukelele music as they ate?

If Ozzy Osbourne is really as clueless and pathetic and burned-out as he seems in that reality show, how does he memorize the lyrics of his songs?

Does anyone else think that the Pat Boone household is really messed up?

Good thing we're all perfect, huh.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:26 PM | |

Gentlemen, behold!!!!!

Hub and I are really, really wild. So wild, you just won't BELIEVE what we did on our anniversary several hours back.

We drove to the City, met Belle for dinner, played Mensa Trivia while we waited for our food, picked up Zappa after work, brought him down here, watched an entire season of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," and ate cookies.

You'll probably read about it in the newspaper tomorrow. It was WILD.

Looking back, I can't remember a single anniversary (except the first one) that we spent just by ourselves. There was at least one family member present at all times at every single one.

I think it is because we are so popular, and the entire family adores us so.

Or else it's because we have great movies and cookies in our house.

Belle left as soon as dinner was over; she went to another Hairbanger's Ball. Why does everybody go to cool things and we just go home?

I had seen her at her second job in the mall before we met for dinner, and she paid me the compliment* of telling me that my jeans fell on my feet exactly right for the hippie clogs her store was selling; ie my pants were just a little bit short for good fashion taste, and the embroidery on the top of the shoes showed when I tried them on. She and all the other employees had been looking at those clogs and wondering what the hell kind of person would buy them, and who could possibly look good in them. Well, tonight she found out. It was me.

The nerve. Telling me I looked good in imitation Birkenstock clogs. Heck yeah I bought them. I had some when I was her age and I loved them. Hadn't even thought about them for years. Besides, she gets a discount.

*I am assuming it was a compliment.

I should have kept all my clothes from my college days. The kids are wearing them again.

Of course, in college I wore a size 5. I could MAYBE pull those jeans over my right arm now. Whether I could zip them up over my fat-yet-knobby elbow is another thing altogether.

So. Another year with Hub has come and gone. There are beautiful yellow roses on the table in front of my picture window. Zappa is downstairs, and he is no longer starving because I fixed his favorite mashed-flat grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs for him as soon as he walked through the front door. Belle is hair-banging with friends, to every eighties song ever written, Hub has gone to bed, and I am here doing my thang with the blogging.

The magic of the anniversary hour is past, and things are back to normal. Whatever THAT might be.

My family has never been ordinary. But then, whose family is? And who on earth would even want to be?

Yeah, well, Dracula called and he's coming over tonight for you and I said okay.

********Wherever you are, and whatever is going on, I do remember that today is your
birthday. Do not contact me as I am still working through the anger and I have
not resolved it yet. I do not wish you ill but I really hope you are sorry for what
you did to me and to other people who loved you. If there is a good reason for it
an explanation would be greatly appreciated. ***********************************

(Please do not ask about the above unless you have some kind of answer for me.)


Many thanks to all of you who wished Hub and me well. The community of bloggers I have found is very precious to me, and I love you all. I mean that. I honestly and truly mean that.

You people are awesome.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:35 AM | |

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Roses when you least expect them.

Hub just walked in with a dozen beautiful yellow roses. I looked at him with appreciative but puzzled eyes.

"Happy Anniversary," he said.

"Oops," I replied.

In the cartoons, isn't it usually the other way around?

Twenty-eight years. I've been married longer than most of you have been alive.

That was depressing. I need another Diet Coke.

Mmmm. Just LOOK at those beautiful flowers. It's been a long and ghastly year, but I'm still really, really lucky.

And I'm going to keep water in their pretty crystal vase and change it regularly, too. They're like babies in that respect. It you don't change them often, they really stink.

And when you keep them fresh, they smell wonderful.

Happy Anniversary to Us.

We're skippin' this joint and going out tonight.

See you later.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:43 PM | |

Put down the banana before it kills you.

If your doctor tells you that your potassium levels are dangerously high, please follow his directions.

And just because you eat your breakfast early in the morning does NOT mean you can disregard your doctor's instructions and warnings while doing so. This is NOT the same as a weight-loss diet.

With a weight-loss diet, everybody KNOWS you can eat anything you want as long as it's before noon. After that, it all goes straight to your butt. Before that, it disappears before it can put out roots. For some reason I'm still fat. I don't understand it.

But with potassium levels, no matter what time of day you eat that banana, it could kill you.

Please, dear sweet MIL, when you come home from the hospital tomorrow, NO MORE BANANAS FOR YOU. And if I have to go over there and search your house for your hidden stash, I will.

It's only a BANANA. It's not like it was a Reese's Cup or strawberry ice cream. You can deal with banana-less cereal.

Yes, we understand that it was only one banana.

It only takes one bullet, too.

Please. Put down the banana and step away from the table.

And come home tomorrow and do without them. Pretend they're phallic. That's right. NOW you'll get away from them, I know you.

Actually, you don't really have to pretend, do you. . . . . .

I don't mean you personally.

I don't mean me, either. HEAVENS to Betsy, what were you all thinking?

Yeah. Me too.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:57 PM | |

Friday, January 14, 2005

Warning: I am in a really bad mood. Please don't judge me by this rant. Usually I'm better than this. Not always but usually.

You know those annoying phone calls that start with "Hello!!!!!!!!! Please hold for an IMPORTANT CALL!!!!!!!!!" that you get real early in the morning sometimes?

I don't hold.

How DARE a business call me at home before nine a.m. and expect ME to hold for THEM while horrible elderly elevator music plays in the background and I wait for someone to hurry up and finish the doughnut so I can hear that awful 'HELLO,' coupled with the kind of "GOOD MORNING" used only by soliciters or creditors so you'll think they're friendly when they know and you know and I know that they're nothing but mercenaries out to steal the only morning of sleep that I now get. . . . .

And when I say unreasonable things like "If you will check your records, you will see that you received my payment on December 12, 2004. I have the cancelled check in my hand if you need any numbers from the back of it," they will say, in that same gooey voice, "I'm sorry but I don't have that file. I can help you make that payment right now with an instant withdrawal from your checking account. What are your numbers please?"

They are calling me about a certain file. Why don't they ever have the file before them when they call?

Do they really think I will give out my account number to a stranger with a gooey voice who calls me at that hour of the morning and doesn't have the proper file in front of her/him before the number is dialed? I'd rather help the King of Nigeria emigrate to this country, than give such a 'business' any personal information.

And no, I will NOT get in my car and drive downtown to the post office and make a copy of my cancelled check and mail it to them in a certified letter. If they want it that badly, they can come and get it. I'll nail it to the front door.

But they'd better not ring the bell and wake me up. I already hate them, and if they bothered me again I might have to kill them. To prevent this, I just hang up now, and I try to do it before that awful codger music starts.

Businesses, please take note of the above rant. I'm not kidding. Clean up your act and hire people who stayed in school.

And NEVER call me before the sun has fully risen. I mean it.

One more call and I'm posting your name and phone number on this blog. AND I'll tell-all on Planet Feedback.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:09 PM | |

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Magicians walk among us. Treat them well.

I bought a Registry Sweeper and ran it, and now my CD burner is working again. Go figure. The screen still blanks out at unpredictable intervals, but I can make music for people again. SOMETHING got fixed, anyway.

All electronics are magic, as far as I'm concerned. Flicking a switch is like waving a wand.

Special-order mixes will be in the mail tomorrow afternoon.

It's still raining. My house is on a small rise, and the driveway goes down and then up again to the road. Where the driveway goes down, is an ever-widening river. From the window it doesn't look like the water is going that fast, but I just saw a bird try to drink from it and the water sucked it in and sent it spinning. Plus, it's getting cold now and I fear ice.

Not ice CUBES. I savor those.

I fear ice on the roads. I have no skidding confidence. When I feel that horrible sensation that tells me I've lost control and my car is now in the hands of the Evil Ice Fairy, something in my brain begins to prepare for death.

If only King Stefan had thought to invite ALL the fairies to the christening, there would be no need to fear the ice.

We had our first quiz in class today. Oh, I know, only a really mean instructor would give a quiz on the second class meeting, but, well, I think the words "really mean instructor" might be a dead giveaway as to my true personality.

I graded the quiz during the class break, and when the lovely elderly gentleman about whom I was the most worried made an A, I stood up and let out a very unprofessional and joyous whoop.
A few startled eyes met mine, and I covered by saying that I was having a delayed reaction to some potent medication made specifically for old chicks who had opted not to go to Geriatric Fat Camp.

They believed me. Well, why shouldn't they? I'm a college professor, for crying out loud.

We are an old, jaded bunch of ivory tower prigs. We're not imaginative enough to lie about such things.

Besides, if they'd asked, I might have given them graphic mental images of Geriatric Fat Camp which would have scarred them for life. And they knew it.

They've only met with me twice, and yet somehow they know. College kids are sure smart these days.

Back in my day (Oh no, here she goes again; old chicks sure ramble a lot. . . .) I thought all teachers were some kind of non-human species. I still remember the shock when I saw my second-grade teacher in the grocery store. It was just WRONG. The context was wrong. What was she doing outside of the school? She lived there, didn't she? Besides, what did she need with food? Teachers didn't eat. And the toilet paper in her cart must have been for someone else, because I KNEW that teachers didn't, um, go potty. Although I've known plenty of them who were full of shit.

I once saw one of my college professors and his wife, dining in a Chinese restaurant, and I was astounded to see him doing something so normal. And when he spoke to me, I actually stuttered. (I was 29 YEARS OLD at the time.)

Times have changed. Times always change. One person's good ol' days are another person's end times, and someone else's beginning. It's always been so, and always will be. And aren't we all glad?

The caterpillar is beautiful. The butterfly, more so. So it is with change. (I forget the author of that quotation.)

Change. Beautiful change. I keep mine loose on the bottom of my purse. I'm too lazy to put it in a wallet or anything. And when it gets to be ridiculous down there, I dump it out and put it in a big empty popcorn tin that I keep by the side of my desk. Nobody but me knows about the treasure in that tin. Why, there must be nearly twelve dollars in change by now. A veritible fortune.

Hey. Sometimes it is. Times change, yes, but times are also hard right now. Twelve dollars buys a lot of diet coke.

I do wish the vending machines didn't make such a loud noise when they're fed a zillion nickels, though. It tends to draw a crowd.

But who cares, really. Not me. I control their social lives with my red pen. I'm almost as magic as an electrician.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:33 PM | |

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Don't count your boobies until they are hatched. With apologies to James Thurber.

Grrrrr. . . .

I'm trying to burn a cd for a friend and every time I get three or four songs done my computer goes all black and gives me this message:

Missing or Corrupt: SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\NEfs.sys

. . . and tells me to re -install Windows XP.

But wouldn't that delete everything on my hard drive?

My computer has been giving me fits for a couple of years, and it's worse now. I think it was so badly damaged during the big hijacking that it will never be the same again. For a while, it was spending more time being examined by the PowerSource guys than it was sitting on my desk right here being beloved by me. Each time it's supposedly fixed but, as Gilda would say, "it's always something."

At least the cd drawer isn't constantly going in and out all by itself any more, and no new files have magically appeared lately. I really thought my computer was possessed. Poltergeists. Something.

It was Something, all right.

I think there's a Boggart still in there. And it's so stubborn that even waving my red pen and saying "Riddikulus" doesn't help.

Why else would a brand-spankin'-new hard drive constantly go bad? It's not like it sneaks out of the house every night to hang out with gangsta computers who are a poor influence. I think my hard drive was just BORN bad. Bad to the bone. It doesn't intend to be reformed. It LIKES going bad all the time. I have a BAD HARD DRIVE. It probably had corrupt parental units. It needs to be spanked and sat in the corner.

If I thought that would work, I'd probably do it.

Hub: Why is your computer sitting on the floor in the corner there?
Me: I'm teaching it a lesson.
Hub: Let me know if it works. (stealthily phones the Men in White Coats)
Me: It has to learn who's the boss in this relationship.
Hub: There's a unicorn in the garden. Eating roses.

(I wonder how many of you will 'get' that reference. . . .)

Don't worry, dear friend. I'll burn that cd. Somehow I will persuade my Bad Hard Drive that a life of crime is not the way to go. I'll reform it. Just wait and see. This time it will be different. That Bad Hard Drive will reform this time. Not like all the other times. It loves me, really it does, and it will reform. For me.

Hub: The unicorn has a golden horn in the middle of his forehead.

I signed up for Blog Clicker. Are you surprised? Are you convinced yet that I DESERVE to win in my BoB category? Please go here and vote for me. Please?

Me: He told me it ate a lily.

Actually, I hear that the Booby Hatch isn't as bad as they say. The food is no worse than your own, and they rub your back twice a day.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:13 PM | |

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Let's do the Time Warp with Frank and Willy Wonka.

One thing I miss, now that I'm teaching in a college, is having my own classroom. A room of my own, where I could hang up my Frank N. Furter poster inside the closet where the kids couldn't see it, and where I could keep diet cokes stashed in a desk drawer. A room where I could display student work in spite of the political incorrectness of 'honor.' A room where I could take off my shoes and work in my socks. Um, not that I did any of those things before. Oh all right, I did them all. And other things, too, that I'm not telling you about because you might laugh at me. What's that you say? Too late? Wahhhhhhh. . . . Because of that I'm for SURE not telling you about the rubber chicken, the lava lamp, or the disembodied hand with the posable fingers.

On Mondays and Wednesdays I'm in the room directly opposite the vending room. This is both good and bad. It's good because I'm really close to the candy bars and diet cokes. It's bad because I'm really close to the candy bars and diet cokes. It's also really loud, but that doesn't bother me. I thrive in chaos. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I got the room of my dreams, the room I requested, the room that I really really love because it's just a lovable room. I was ecstatic when I saw the schedule and realized I'd gotten my room. This morning, a full ten minutes before my class was over, more students started coming in. I asked them to please wait out in the hall as my class still had time and we were busy. Five minutes late an absolutely GINORMOUS woman came running (yes, running) into the room. "Your clock is WRONG!" she yelled, and then she told us all to leave immediately as it was time for HER class to have the room.

How unprofessional. I almost peed my pants from shock.

We all ran out of there like some kind of pursued animals. Yes, "we," because I ran with the rest of them. Ran like a cartoon cat with a broom to my butt.

Even at my age, I still quiver inside when I encounter angry authority figures. Even though I myself am an authority figure there, I am (and was) easily cowed. We all stood out in the hall, a safe distance from the door, and I said, as casually as I could manage, "see you on Thursday, folks."

So far tonight I've had eight emails from students asking what in the hell happened in there. My reply? I have no idea what happened. But next time, I'll bring my egg timer and when it dings, we'll all grab our things and run. And hope we don't knock anybody waiting out the hallway down. It would take all sixteen of us to move that huge woman.

What a voice. I hope she didn't wake any of you from your naps when she yelled at me.

It's still pouring down rain here. Dark and gloomy and getting colder.

I don't like really cold weather, but when it's January, sixty degrees is just wrong.

My poor apple tree is so confused it put out buds.

We're having a grammar quiz tomorrow. One of the sentences is: "Burping loudly in a church setting is considered uncouth by many people, and is widely considered to be the main reason Brad broke up with Jennifer."

I love writing tests.

Grading them: not so fun.

Hub is teaching at the college tonight. I've got the house to myself for another two hours. I'm bored. Come on over and talk to me, would you please?

Does anybody else think that a city bus service that takes students out to the campus should really stay open one more hour so they can bring the students BACK from campus? Too bad all the people who know how to run the universe are busy blogging. . . . .

Know something? I really like all you people. I mean, I really, really like all* you people. Where I invited you to visit me in that paragraph up there? I meant it.

*except you mean ones.

Be sure you go over the Greg's site and comment. He's a wonderful person and he's raising funds for a good cause.

Most* bloggers, with all our diversities and quirks and opinions and differences and similarities, are really great people. In spite of, and because of, all of the above.

*except you mean ones.

I think many of us have found a niche, and honest friendships, by blogging.

Sentiment over.

How about those people who rush like bulldozers into the elevator before the people inside can get out? There are people in my building who don't even wait for the doors to fully open; one person-sized crack and the mad rush begins. The people already inside are mashed against the back wall and can't get out. Sheesh, it's not like any of us is racing for gold. Stand back, let the door open, wait for the people inside to walk out, and THEN go inside the elevator. It's not rocket science, you know. Unless you are lucky enough to be inside Willy Wonka's elevator, in which case I think rocket science DID have something to do with it.

Good thing Willy Wonka was on our side.

I wish he'd run for President. I'd vote for him.

Willy Wonka, looking like Johnny Depp or Gene Wilder, in the Oval Office running the country.

I think I could draw a deep breath of contentment at that picture.

President Wonka: The United States has discovered how to make World Peace!
Evil Dictator (picking his nose): Your nation has a bad habit of continual interference! It's a BAD HABIT!
President Wonka: I know a worse one.

Yes, I think it would work.

President Wonka. I like it.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:44 PM | |

Monday, January 10, 2005


Please vote for me. I haven't got a chance but it would be nice to get a few more votes. I'd really appreciate it. Thank you.

The flooding around here is terrible. We are fortunate enough to live on a rise, but most of this county isn't that lucky. We went for a drive yesterday afternoon to check out the damage, and I lost count of the homes that are submerged in water up to the porch light. Some of these houses had the room lights turned on. Wouldn't that be dangerous? I guess the people are living in the upstairs and fishing out the windows for dinner. Hub took us to the nearest dam, but the dam itself was not to be seen. It looked like a HUGE wide river, flowing fast but smooth. Not even a lump to show where the dam was. Gawkers (like us) were all over the dam fences, taking pictures and looking like tourists on a holiday of horror. For some reason, I felt like I was picnicking on the Auschwitz courtyard. It just wasn't right, that people were laughing and taking pictures and pointing at something that had leveled so many people and their homes and livelihoods. I stayed in the car, which I'm sure made up for the fact that we were indeed gawking as gawkily as any gawker there. Sigh. On a global scale, this flooding is as nothing, but on a local scale, it has wiped people and their homes off the map as surely as did the tsunami on the other side of the world. Please don't fault me for the comparison; anyone who has lost his home and/or loved ones is to be pitied and helped, whether the disaster was a large or small scale one.

A lot of schools are under water. Isn't that too bad, kids?

Today I went back to work after a too-long vacation. It looks to be a good semester.

I want to thank Target for sending me that special flyer about their new line of linens. I feel so honored, to think that the PR people of Target consider me a potential customer for them. I must admit, they were beautiful. Far more elegant than anything I have in my home at present. While I am admitting things, though, I must also admit that anyone who would pay $149.95 for a plain beige tablecloth has more money than sense. In fact, I would have to say that such a person has no sense at all. In fact, such a person is an idiot, plain and simple. Also, in regard to your advertising these linens as "shabby-chic," I need to tell you to cease and desist at once; no more flyers. I don't need them. I'm already halfway there. I need not tell you which half.

People with $149.95 to blow on a tablecloth don't buy it at Target. I hate to tell ya.

My new students today were very surprised that I knew all about Tenacious D. What's the big deal, boys? I'm old, but I'm not dead. Jack and Kyle rock. Although I must admit that I have to be in the right mood to think so. But when I am, I think so.

Right this minute, though, I'm listening to Louis Armstrong's "La Vie En Rose." Belle loaned it to me. Along with Green Day's "American Idiot."

Did I mention that I have somewhat eclectic tastes?

While in the City today, I picked up Zappa and took him out for seafood. Our waiter was having a very bad day. First, he dropped an enormous platter of china back in the kitchen. Then, as he was scurrying to the back with my credit card, another waiter clipped him across the mouth with a full heavy tray and ripped his top lip open, necessitating a trip to the emergency room and several stitches. For a while I wasn't sure I would get my card back. Whenever there's a delay I panic, due to previous delays caused by the insuffient funds thing. And when I learned about the blood and the stitches, I felt bad for being impatient. So I left him a big tip. I usually do, anyway; it's a carryover from when I waited tables to send Belle on a big band trip back in high school.

That's my day, so far. It's not over yet, and you never know what's around the corner. Look sharp. It might be a tall waiter with a heavy tray, and it might clip you across the mouth and make you bleed into somebody's crab bisque.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:21 PM | |

Sunday, January 09, 2005

What's for dinner?

Please vote for me. I'd really appreciate it. Thank you.

I never had BBQ ribs 'till I started going out with Hub. My Mother was a good* cook, but she just never got around to the ribs.


But once Hub and I started going out, he often ordered ribs. It didn't take me long to figure out that BBQ ribs were his favorite thing. One of them, anyway.

After we got married, and drove home through the mile-high snow (see this post) I decided that the first meal I fixed for him, that next day, would be his favorite BBQ ribs.

So I did. And they were good, too. Really, really good.

They were so good, and got such a happy reaction, that I thought I'd fix them the next night, too. And the next.

Around the middle of that second week, he finally said something. I don't remember his exact words, but it had something to do with the fact that his tongue was burned raw and did I know how to cook anything else for a change? To which I replied, like the Jerry Lewis clone that I apparently am, "What, you don't like ribs any more?"

I didn't make them again for three years.

However, we had them tonight. And they were good. There are some leftovers, too. He'll have those tomorrow night. As for the night after that, well, lesson learned. We'll have something else, like maybe French toast made with rye bread. Oh wait, that was the breakfast lesson I learned all those years ago. (Don't try that at home; it's AWFUL!) But he loved rye bread, and he loved French toast, and I just thought. . . . . .

You live and learn. I've lived a long time, and I've learned a lot. And more to come.

Once you stop learning, they might as well bury you.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:17 PM | |

There are all kinds of bargains.

Two of my favorite people in the blogging world are going that extra mile to help the tsunami victims. My lovely friends Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred, and my lovely friend Michele. Each equally lovely in very different ways, I might add for their relief and your enlightenment. Please go to Michele's blog and post a comment. And then go to Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred, and tell them what great guys they are. The more comments, the bigger the donation will be. Go on, do it NOW. It's easy. Thank you for helping this very worthy cause.

And now back to our regular programming. . . . .

I do love soft flannel sheets in the winter-time. Mine are dark green.

I am very particular about sheets. Oh, I'm not into the '1,000 count' sets that cost more than a used car. My sheets are so old, most of them feel like that anyway. I'm just. . . . particular. Quirkily so. I once gave away a set of lovely flowered sheets just because I didn't personally like them. (They annoyed me. There's no logic to it.) I can't stand sheets so cheap they scratch, but neither do I like sheets that are slick, like satin or silk.

I'm also particular about towels. I hate really thick, slick towels. Or towels with scratchy embroidery, or annoying ruffles. I'm partial to the really soft thinnish towels that discriminating people can pick up at K-Mart in the section NEXT to the Martha Stewart Collection.

I'm just not the luxury type. I realize this comes as somewhat of a shock to all of you, but I am more the bargain type.

That label has several meanings, however. Once you stop laughing you might realize this. A person labelled 'bargain' isn't necessarily on the loss-leader rack at Costco. Neither is he/she in the 'last chance to buy before we put it in the dumpster' bin at WalMart. A person who is a bargain is a person you lucked into, buster. Savvy people LOVE bargains. Bargain people are low-maintenance, and fun, and whenever you look at him/her, you think, 'What a DEAL!" Bargains make people smile, and feel lucky. How fortunate is the person who found a bargain. People brag about bargains, and compare bargains, and take bargains home and are happy, happy, happy to do so. People cherish bargains. People look for bargains all their lives. Once a bargain is found, it's taken right to the heart and cherished.

Sure, toilet paper can be a bargain, too. But would you really want to be without any? You NEED it. And you buy it, even when circumstances force you to buy it at BigFoot, where nothing is a bargain because they've gotcha and they know it. But when you get a BARGAIN on it, even though it's TOILET PAPER, you tell people about your luck.

If you are lucky enough to have a bargain spouse, cherish them. If you are unsure which kind of spouse you have, just observe them for a day. Does your spouse serve herself/himself last? Does your spouse make oatmeal cookies for you at 2 a.m, even though he/she hates them? Is your spouse happy to share the Happy Meal toy with you even though it's really cute and she/he wants it for herself/himself? Does your spouse laugh a lot, and make YOU laugh a lot? Does your spouse buy shoes for you, even though his/her own shoes have a big hole on the sole? Does your spouse give you shoulder massages, and scratch your back, and play with your hair while on long drives? Does your spouse stop for ice cream at the place he/she knows you like best, even though he/she likes another place best? Would your spouse sit through a movie much against his/her will, because he/she knows you wanted to see it? Does your spouse have your babies, and groove in glee because they look like you or your family?

If you are lucky enough to say 'yes' to the above, then you got a bargain, my friend. Count your blessings. You found a real bargain.

A skinny gorgeous luxury babe would surely bring you down.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:46 PM | |

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Whereupon I vent on certain types of parents, none of which are any of us.

No Child Left Behind. Doesn't that sound like a wonderful idea? Shouldn't anything with that kind of title and mission statement be just what our country, and our schools, need?

Bollocks. It's nothing but a wishy-washy statement of political correctness that is pushing more and more of our children to drop-out status, and worse. It has cleansed our schools of any semblance of creativity, actual achievement, honor, and fun. I know, I know, school isn't supposed to be fun, but once upon a time, there were things in school that WERE fun. Those things were cherished, too. And who says you can't learn important things while still having some fun? NCLB, that's who.

I'm so old I can remember when we went to school to LEARN THINGS!! Not like now, where we send our children to school to take standardized tests.

Drill. Drill. Drill. Heaven help you if you were smart, because you are in hell for a month before the Big TEST. Heaven also help you if you were not very smart, because all the drill in the world isn't going to help you unless you get it one-on-one, or in a really small group. Most of those test questions are so easy, that to ask for help in a drill session in a large group really opens a kid up to mockery.

I'm old. I can remember when school, tedious as it often was, was also a place that honored achievement, and creativity. Kids who accomplished things were given spots on bulletin boards, and behind glass display cases, so all us kids could see what any of us might hope to accomplish if we worked hard like that kid did.

Nowadays, high-achieving kids are shunted to the back of the room and told to shut the hell up, lest a low-achieving kid find out what others his age are doing and feel bad about it.

Unless, of course, you are talking about sports, in which case you don't even want to get me started. . . . .

Just go to the Walkway of Honor to see the sports stuff. Sigh. From floor to ceiling, and hanging from the rafters. Sports.

But academics? HEAVENS no.

Teachers aren't allowed to put papers on the wall anymore, for fear that a kid with a low score might feel bad. Some schools have done away with honor rolls for fear that a kid who didn't make it might feel bad. Some schools have done away with grades altogether, for fear that a kid who didn't do well might feel bad. These same schools would look at you in horror if you suggested that maybe they shouldn't keep score on the football field, or post stats in the paper, you can bet your life on that.

Do these parents and teachers really think they are fooling the kids, even the low achievers? I wonder if these kinds of thinkers have ever heard huge groups of kids laughing at the efforts of politically correct parents to conceal anything that might possibly make somebody somewhere feel bad?

Don't get me wrong. I love kids, and I wouldn't hurt one for anything. But what's wrong with celebrating a child's success? You all know by now that I celebrate celebrations. I celebrate children. Why can't we celebrate a child's actual honest genuine success? Adults get raises and bonuses, and the ones who didn't earn them don't file complaints, do they? Well, possibly some of them do. Probably the parents of the kids who don't get them in schools.

And nobody and nothing is perfect, and mistakes are made. This is a fact that must be lived with in this very imperfect world.

In my former school, horrible dangerous kids who made it three days in a row without drawing another child's blood were rewarded with fantastic things: limo rides, and Pizza Hut, etc. Pathetic kids who managed to bring a pencil twice in a week's time were given restaurant coupons, and even cd's and movies. What did the average-or-above kid with the sweet disposition and excellent citizenship DAILY ever get? Nothing, that's what. And when they asked why, they were told to be grateful for their brains and upbringing, and to shut up about it.

Why don't nice kids ever get awards for doing what is right, day after day?

I do not mean that decent everyday behavior should be continually rewarded. People of any age and in any circumstance should behave properly and be nice all the time, because it's the right thing to do. I just mean, if the administration and these militant parent groups insist on rewarding a kid for not picking his nose for five minutes on Thursday, then why can't we give a nice kid who never makes trouble and always does his homework, something, too? Like maybe, an education without continuous disruption all around him? Fairy tale, I know.

I've always hated things like Awards Day, because yes, some kids (and especially their parents) do leave with hurt feelings. But do they leave football games, etc, with that same feeling? No, they leave saying things like, "I should have tried harder," or "If only we could have made those free throws, ' etc. They KNOW why they lost, and didn't get a trophy. And in the academic classroom, they know why they didn't get a trophy too. It's an honest, however grudging, acceptance of facts. The kids know. It's their parents who are making the trouble.

I'm a parent. There were times when I made trouble, too. It's our job. I mean, those parents who have horrible kids and who still expect perks for them make trouble, and I think the parents of nice kids who are continually ignored should start making some trouble, too. Not the kind "those" parents make. You all know who I mean when I say that, don't you. . . . I think parents of good kids should start petitioning to have the dangerous kids removed. Where would they go? I don't know. In this mood, I don't care, either. But when my son came home from third grade with a black eye, because a seventh grader with 'anger management problems' found him alone in the restroom one afternoon and 'took it out on him,' I lost any political correctness issues I may formerly have had.

Three-foot-high trophies that say "Way to show up" are a joke, and the lowest of low kids knows it. I think parents want those because their kids sure don't.

No Child Left Behind is a travesty, and it has done away with all the creativity, and whimsy, and actual help for life-skills, in our classrooms. The smart kids make fun of it, and the low kids are being hurt by it. Nobody wins. Nobody learns anything, except how to bubble in their names, and how to guess. There's not a kid anywhere that doesn't choose "B" when in doubt, because it's usually right.

Why can't we celebrate ANYTHING any more? Someone objects to holidays. Someone objects to anything that might put the spotlight on someone else. Shouldn't we all be intent on celebrating good things that others have done? Isn't it possible that there are people out there who honestly do achieve more or higher than others, and shouldn't we be encouraging that, rather than discouraging and even shaming them for possibly hurting someone else who didn't do it?

I've read back over this rant and some of it rambles so badly it doesn't even make any sense. But for some reason, I feel better anyway. I'd change some of it but frankly I can't be arsed right now.

Months ago at a boring teacher's meeting I made up my own version of NCLB. Here it is once again. Get your hackles ready, for it will make some of you humorless types mad. Link.

Let the indignation begin.

(Please vote for me even though I am in a bad mood tonight. Thank you VERY much.)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:35 PM | |


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