Friday, June 30, 2006

A Perfect Post, June 2006

I've nominated Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred's wonderful post "Of Eyes and Hearts." It made me cry, and it made me smile, and it made me appreciate life and love in general and loved ones in particular. The Three Good Doctors have been a favorite read of mine for quite a while now; they always manage to hit the nail right on the head. They are highly intelligent, well-read, snarky, masters of sarcastic wit, and have a sweet sentimental streak that shows up occasionally. I've never seen a picture, but I know they're extraordinarily good-looking, as well. Oh, and SC&A have WONDERFUL taste in women.

Blogrolls that have Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred on them, are vastly superior to those who don't.

Thank you, dear MommaK, for letting me participate. This is my first attempt, and I hope I did it right.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:14 PM | |

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Shroud of Turin-mobile

Yesterday, my awesome Cousin C and I hung out all day, did nothing in particular except shop and walk around and eat and talk, and we had a great time and I can't wait to do it again.

But look what was parked right next to us at the Steak and Shake!!!

We looked at all the people eating inside the restaurant and tried to stereotype the one who would drive a Shroud of Turin Exhibit truck around the country, but we couldn't figure it out. Everybody looked fairly normal, as normal as a Steak and Shake crowd will ever look, in a college town.

Hah. Those people who claim nothing exciting ever happens around here are. . . . pretty much correct. I mean, how exciting is a Shroud of Turin Exhibit truck, and how pathetic is it that it was the most exciting thing that's happened around here lately, and I've blogged about both the truck and the ennui.

What's next? The Shards of Ark Exhibit? The Traveling Manger?

I belong to the "Christians with a Brain and a Sense of Humor Society", so such things do not offend me. They make me giggle, and they make me wonder about some people's credulity level, but I do not worry about it. God Himself has a marvelous sense of humor. If you don't believe that, take a good long look at some of his creations, including you. And me.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:27 PM | |

There's a reason why I was always the last one chosen to be on a team at recess.

Before I get started on tonight's rant, I want to tell you that THE NEW CARNIVAL OF EDUCATION is up, and you must click over to read it all immediately. Go now. I'll wait.

La la la la la

Oh, you're back? Sweet.

See this cartoon?

I was forced to do stuff like this for over twenty years and I hated every second of it.

Do you hear me? Every. second. of. it.

I stood outside in the pouring rain and the falling snow and the freezing toe-numbing cold and the blistering heat, taking tickets and selling popcorn and saying things like "Go!" and "Jump!" and " Oh shit golly whillikers, was I supposed to start the clock before they started doing that?" I was given a score sheet with no instructions. I was given chalk with no instructions. I was given measuring tapes but I wasn't told what to measure. I was given large sheets of paper and big magic markers with no instructions. I was given a stopwatch; what was it for? I was given remote controls that had something to do with big electric neon things with numbers that made the crowd yell at me, with no instructions. I was put in charge of outdoor things involving stupid costumes uniforms and weird shoes and rules that I didn't know. I was put in CHARGE of these things.

I wasn't asked to help out. I was ordered to be there. I had no choice.

Nobody told me how these little games were played. Nobody told me where to stand, or what to write down, or who's on first. I only knew about "I don't know." And I wasn't sure where third base was.

Something I do know is that a lot of teachers quit the profession because of this kind of thing.

Funny, isn't it, that we were all required to 'do our part' in areas such as this, but if a teacher asked for some help at a concert or play or dance, that teacher got a lot of blank stares and no office backup whatsoever. Sometimes, people laughed.

During those last few years at the public school, teachers were no longer required to do all the athletic gruntwork; what a reeee-leeef.

Did I mention that I hated every microsecond of it? Did I mention that I'm still bitter? Did I mention that the very thought of some of those 'coaches' and parents makes me want to scream and yell and throw things?

I will admit that I was forced to run the clock at a basketball game only once. I was so terrible at it, after fifteen minutes NOBODY knew what the score was. We narrowly avoided a riot, in fact.

It would have helped if I'd known the rules, and what all those strange noises and gestures meant. I mean, what did they expect? I avoided gymnasiums like the plague, normally. I don't even like the way they smell.

So yeah, I messed that game up, royally.

If I'd only known that was how to get out of it, I wouldn't have tried so hard at all the other sports things they forced me to help out at.

I didn't go to university for a million years just to stand outside in the cold and sell M&M's, or to measure how far a kid jumped in sand that had been pooped in by every cat in the county.

Let their parents do that. They're the ones who cared about it, anyway. I didn't. Let them yell at each other, instead of me.

All of my heart and soul and attention and life was directed at those same kids; it was just aimed elsewhere.

But you know, I wouldn't have minded as much if the joy had been equitable. As in, "You help me with this concert, and I'll help you with your little outdoor game."

Since it wasn't set up that way, I agree with the cats: poop on it all.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:49 AM | |

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Post Where I Tell You How I've Turned Into Violet Beauregarde. With Spots.

We picked blueberries yesterday afternoon and they are absolutely delicious. I fully intend to bake/make/preserve/freeze something eventually but right now. . . . they are absolutely delicious.

We spent sixteen dollars, and at $1.65/lb, that's a lot of blueberries. There are still some left, for baking/making/preserving/freezing. I'm going to do that, really I am. Maybe later tonight, after class, around eleven, when it's cooler. Yes.

Until that time, they are absolutely delicious.

They're good for you, too, unless you're diabetic in which case a sensible person would back off a little and save some for baking/making/preserving/freezing.

Last night's blood sugar level: 368.

Oh, all right, maybe I SHOULD save some for baking/making/preserving/freezing.

The following paragraph contains far too much information. Proceed carefully.

My prediction that I would come home from the blueberry fields covered with chiggers? Unfortunately, quite correct. I look like the children in "Nanny McFee" after they covered themselves with fake measles. Huge red horribly itchy spots, in places you really don't want to know about. Thank goodness for Rhuli-Gel, or whatever it's called now that Bactine bought it. That stuff bites hard, but it works. And I know you're not supposed to use it where the sun don't shine, but it works there, too. Just to let you know, and my apologies for making you barf on the tops of those nice summer sandals.

Belle and her friends came down last night to save the last remaining kitten from the coyotes, or Beelzebub, or whoever it was that is responsible for the disappearance of the other four. They lured it into the carrier with a piece of ham, and Belle's friend Monte (the cat whisperer) who can move like the Flash, dashed out onto the deck and closed the door. The original plan was to take it to the Pound, but after spending the night in Belle's bathroom, the kitten is re-thinking the whole 'feral lifestyle' thing and is contemplating behaving himself forevermore because the perks in Belle's apartment for a well-behaved cat are incredible.

It's one of the little yellow ones, and it really is adorable.

Eh, well, I fed my daughter and her friends, and honestly tried not to scratch in front of them. I also made persuaded Belle to go out and clean all the poop off the swing, since "her" kitten was responsible. She did it, too.

Yeah, you raise 'em right and they mind you even when they're adults. And kitten poop is going to be her worst life-problem. Uh huh.

Last night it was, though.

And now I'm going out to the kitchen to do something about those blueberries. While they last.

Seriously, they are sooooo good.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:11 PM | |

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mystery Icon

An Intel(R) Extreme Graphics icon has mysteriously appeared in my lower right toolbar.  What is this?  What's it for?  How did it get on my computer?  Is this something I need?  Should I leave it there or try to delete it?
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:40 PM | |

Knowledge and Blueberries

Don't forget to check out the latest Carnival of Education.  Remember, if you don't keep up, you can't complain.
And now we're off to do some serious blueberry-picking.  There will be cobbler in this kitchen tonight. Well, maybe.  If there's enough left after I've eaten them like popcorn in a bowl.
My husband is picking me up in just a few minutes; he has a class this session early in the morning.  (snicker)
I'll be the one covered with chigger bites and Ivy-Dry.
And THEN, I"ve got essays and quizzes to grade.  Summer session.
And THEN, I've got a birthday party to attend.  You should, too.
Whoops, he's here.  Seeya.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:41 PM | |

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wayback Machine, Number One

On these hot summer days, all I have to do is go outside and hear one mourning dove and suddenly I'm nine years old racing around the neighborhood on my bike and eating snowcones and wearing a swimsuit all day and truly believing that life will be like this forever.
I'm not sure I would recognize a mourning dove if I saw one, but that sound sums up summer and childhood in four soft notes. Throw in some lightning bugs and the scent of honeysuckle, and I might even forget the chiggers.
I'd remember them when I got back inside, though.
Back then, the public library was the only air-conditioned building in town. Do you suppose that had something to do with the fact that most of the kids in that generation hung out there a lot and became readers in the summertime?
The library also required silence and decorum, and we kids rose to that occasion, too. Nowadays, even the adults don't know how to behave in a library.
Those were the days. I practically lived on my bicycle, and almost every day that bicycle was parked outside the library for an hour or so, while I cooled down from my frantic exploring of my little world, and explored the worlds of other people. I was lost in an aura of wonder and respect for the many worlds that library contained.
I have never lost that aura of wonder and respect. But I seldom go to the library now, for it is no longer that cool haven of quiet peace. Now, the library seems to be a big day-care/recreation center, full of loud disrespectful adults and children who are not required to behave properly in a public place.
Back in the day, the librarians kicked people out if they chose to behave like barbarians. Nowadays, I guess that would be politically incorrect. Too bad.
When did it happen, that books had to sing and dance like TV for a person to give them a second look?
Many books for kids have a lot of buttons to push and little interactive conversations to listen to. Novelties abound. Heh.
But LITERATURE? Oh, it's still there. It might be a little dusty, but it's there. Hurry down to your library and check some out before it's all put in the 'Monthly Book Sale' to make room for more cheap huge-print limited-vocabulary condescending thirty-page talking jingling squeaky-clean politically correct "novels" for children.
Nancy Drew isn't even safe. She's been modernized and revised so many times, the original Nancy wouldn't even pass the time of day with this new Nancy.
Political correctness? A little of that goes a looooong way in the world of books. How about we all try to use our brains instead, hmmmmm?
I still have that cool, quiet library full of actual books and people who knew how to behave themselves in my dreams. They can't take that away from me. (cue Gershwin)
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:09 PM | |

Happy Birthday To My Awesome Son.

Blogger is being persnickety about posting pictures again tonight. Darn.

June is a busy month here, as both of my beautiful children have June birthdays. Last week was my daughter's birthday, and today is my son's birthday.

I remember so well the night he was born. Well, every parent remembers details, but his are unique. He was almost born in the car, because of the railroad track that goes right smack through the center of downtown. As we pulled up to the track, we heard the train. But let me start at the beginning.

I've posted this before, but it's especially poignant today.

I woke up already in labor. When I tell you that I am a comatose sleeper, I am not exaggerating. It's bizarre, really: alarms and radios and doorbells and conversation and labor? I'm unconscious. But let a child turn over in his/her bed, barely making a sound, and I'm wide awake and alert. Go figure.

We packed up the newly two-year-old Belle and ran for the car. Thankfully, it started.

Remember, we live way out in the country and the hospital is on the opposite side of the county. We had a ways to drive.

And when we got to town, we heard the train. Hub stopped, of course, and looked carefully at the approaching bright light.

"What do you think?" he asked.

"Gun it." I replied.

So we did.

We pulled up in front of my parents' house, where Mom was waiting on the sidewalk. We literally tossed Belle out the window and raced towards the Medical Center.

Hub dropped me off at the emergency entrance and went to park the car.

When he came back a few minutes later, the doctor and I were standing out in the hallway admiring the baby.

Truthfully, I've had, um, "constipational disorders" that were worse than my son's birth. He weighed a little over eight pounds and the whole evening had an aura of unreality to it, because it was so easy. The worst part of it was my whiny crybaby roommate.

Yes, my son's birth was a cinch. The whole thing (after I woke up) lasted about twenty minutes. No problems, no sweat. He later made up for lost time but I digress.

His bright red hair shone like the red planet among stars in the hospital nursery. Visitors would comment about it.

"Hey, lookit the one with the red hair, did you ever see anything like that before?"

And of course, nobody ever had. And he was MINE.

My little son, who has brought joy and laughter to my life. My precious and beautiful boy-child, whose glowing red hair is now shoulder-length (he cut it last year because it was just TOO long). My freckle-faced smiley boy whose arms and legs and heaven knows what else are covered with tattoos.

My tiny loving little boy, who cried over sad stories and poems, who knows how to play Pan pipes and bagpipes and bassoons, and who would win a philosophical debate with anyone on the planet.

My nearly-seven-feet-tall son, almost ready to graduate from college, living in a bachelor pad on the top floor of an old apartment complex, who hates to drive and takes the bus or walks wherever he goes. Well, sometimes young women drive him around, you know how it is. Young women with excellent taste, I might add.

His birth was easy. His journey to adulthood contained some serious trials, but he is now a cool and intelligent young man, and if you send me your resume and pass my rather lengthy interview process, I will consider introducing you.

And, of course, if you do marry my son, you will have ME as your mother in law. Talk about PERFECTION, right?


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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:38 AM | |

Friday, June 23, 2006

Monsters. Monsters in the Woodpile. Pumas. Pumas in the Crevices.

You know those absolutely huge shiny black clicky pinching bugs that live in the woodpile?  We don't have ANY of those nasty things in our back yard. 
They were all frightened away by my scream when I uncovered them.
At least, they weren't still there when we went back and checked. 
You know how nobody ever believes you when you try to describe a 'clickety' sound in your car engine or a huge nest of  Mother Nature's Chernobyl Offspring?  Sigh.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:01 PM | |

Welcome to my nightmare.

Did this ever happen to you? It didn't?

Me neither.

Of course, if you substitute "Jack, older boy of my dreams" for "Andy," "Jane" for "Holly," and "somewhat memorable clumsy ungraceful bellyflop" for "gorgeous dive," it may have happened to me.

If it did, I've totally forgotten all about it. I never think about it. I never relive it in a dream and wake up in a cold sweat of horror and humiliation and realization that Jack, older boy of my dreams, would now never look at me through the eyes of love and lust.

That's harsh reality for an eighth-grade girl, you know, realizing that a cute boy wasn't interested even after viewing my chest, which, at that age, was not unlike the chest of a nine-year-old boy. Nobody even applauded. Heck, they probably thought I WAS a nine-year-old boy.

Stupid two-piece swimsuit. Stupid law of physics that forced the top half up my Twiggy-like body over my head and into the wild blue yonder when I hit the water.

On second thought, it's probably just as well that I hit the water feet first and lost my top. If I'd actually DIVED, arms outspread and head first, I might have lost. . . . oh holy scheisse.

No, I never think about that any more. Haven't for years. Not thinking about it now, either.

People's problems differ, don't they. They actually make swimsuits in my size, even though they shouldn't, but my problem with it now would be getting it ON, not worrying about losing it later. No law of physics or force of gravity would be able to remove it now. Colin Firth could, but he wouldn't want to.

I read somewhere once, probably Erma Bombeck or the like, that trying to put a swimsuit on a fat woman was not unlike trying to put sheets on a waterbed. And that a fat chick in a two-piece was not unlike two rubber bands on an egg.

It's been many years since I read both those descriptions and I still haven't been able to get those horrible images out of my head. And now, neither will you.

Welcome to my world. Bwahahahahahahahaha. . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:54 PM | |

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Uh huh.

No doubt.

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Silent Summer Solstice

It was quiet in the house.  A little peace and quiet goes a long way with me.  I much prefer the chaos of a full house (either kind) and the bustle of many people all doing their thang.  I LIKE feeding lots of people.  I LIKE planning things for them.
It was quiet in the house.  I couldn't stand it another minute.  That's why, at eleven o'clock at night, my music is cranked up high.  It's all right; we live out in the country.  You know, where the outdoor acoustics are so good, a cow can fart nine miles down the road and it sounds like it's in the living room.  Somebody back in the 'addition' several miles behind us will have a party, and we feel as though we're there.  The coyotes will start howling, and it sounds like they're in the shrubs.  Oh wait, I think sometimes they are.
I think maybe they might even know where four of the five kittens are.  Yikes.
I love my music.  And yes, Grover is naked.  Many Muppets are.  It's a lifestyle thing.  (Okay, what am I listening to?)
And why, you may ask, was my house so quiet?  Well, I'll tell you.
Those PARENTS came back and took their kids!  The nerve.
I miss them already.
And why is it still light at eleven p.m.?  I bet you all know.
"I have a college pal who says we can pay one price for two. . . ."
Crank it up, boys.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:01 PM | |

Click, please.

Please click over to Pastor Jeff's blog and wish him and his lovely wife a happy anniversary. They're off somewhere south of here at a Bed and Breakfast, I've had their three fabulous kids since Sunday night, and I just know that Jeff and Tammi have spent all that time tryng to figure out what to do with all that rare free private uninterrupted time together. I guess they'll think of something. Oh, well, they've got a bagful of DVD's, so they won't be TOO bored.

After you've read his blog and wished him a happy anniversary, bookmark or blogroll him and read him every day. He's awesome.

Oh, and tell him to take his time coming back for the kids. I've decided to keep them forever.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:02 PM | |

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Finally.  My computer has been at PowerSource for the past few days, being scrutinized and scoured.  That particular Trojan was a tenacious one; it hung on for dear life and didn't want to let go.  But Jack and Linda tell me they managed to delete it, finally.  FINALLY. 
What timing.  I'm teaching a hybrid course this summer and no sooner had I given my students the "you will be responsible for the internet assignments, etc, no matter WHAT" lecture, my own computer nearly died of nefarious infection.  I've got tomorrow afternoon to open up the college Blackboard site and see what's been turned in, before my class which begins at six.
Why don't I do that in the morning, you ask?  Heh.  If you really have to ask that, you don't know me very well.  The very essence of vacation is getting to sleep in.  If I get up early, I may as well go to work; the entire day is spoiled anyway.  :)
"Morning" is not my friend.  "Morning" is when I like to sleep.  Sunrises are very beautiful, yes.  I love to watch the sun rise.  And then I love to go to bed.  During the regular school year, I generally have a "normal" schedule, ie I get up early and go to school.  But in the summer, it takes me, oh, maybe five minutes to revert to my actual nocturnal state. 
And speaking of badly timed Trojans,   I have guests this week who had also counted on using my computer.  My three beautiful borrowed kids are here, and we don't consider their visit complete until their suitcases are stuffed full of burned cd's.  We'll do that tomorrow, after I check out my Blackboard stuff.
Yes, my borrowed children are here, and with my computer in the shop I wasn't able to brag and boast about their visit until tonight!  I love these kids so much, and they just get sweeter and cooler and better every year.
They're not really even 'children' any more.  Middle school and high school kids are not children.  Do not make the mistake of treating them like children. 
Their parents are coming for them on Wednesday, but if they get delayed, that's okay.  There's no hurry.  I'll keep them as long as I'm allowed. 
All three of them are so much fun.  Such nice, well-behaved young people.  The kind of kids a person can take anywhere, and know they'll behave properly.  These three have known how to behave properly in public since they were tiny.   They've been well taught by their lovely wise parents.  Their father is a blogger, by the way.
We took the kids to see "Cars" tonight.  I recommend the movie highly; it was cleverly written and chock full of delights.  Don't leave until you've sat through ALL of the credits.  Kids of all ages will enjoy this flick.  That's you, friends, as well as your children.
My computer is still very slow.  I'm hoping it's just convalescence. 
I missed it very much while it was in the shop.  If the kids hadn't been here I might have bitten a hole in the wall out of sheer frustration.  Not in the bedroom; there's already a hole in the wall in there.  (I fixed it by putting a bookshelf in front of it.)  I'd like to give you a sensible intelligent reason for that hole but the truth is, Hub heard a mouse behind the drywall and shot it through the wall.  He got the mouse, too.  Or else he scared it so badly it had a heart attack or ran away; we've never had livestock behind the drywall since.
Tomorrow, channeling 'Backdraft' with blank cd's and a Trojan-free computer, "we burn it all."  
"For those about to rock, we salute you."  Burn, baby, burn.
It's great to be back online. 
If anybody tells you that I let my three borrowed kids watch "School of Rock" on the kitchen tv late last night,  it's absolutely absurd.  I'd NEVER let kids watch that movie here.  They might, um, pick up IDEAS or something.  It's strictly Disney in MY kitchen.  No "Hitchhiker's Guide" tomorrow, either.  Not a chance.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:00 AM | |

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Trojan. No, not THAT kind.

I have picked up a Trojan from somewhere, somehow.  It's this one:  mciwfrg.dll, detected as Downloader-AWX.  It's in my C drive, and I can see it there, but I can't delete it.
My Symantec VirusScan has detected it, but can't clean, delete, or move it.
My computer has slowed down to a crawl and there are things I can not access.  I've tried everything I know how to do but this thing won't go.
Does anybody know how to remove it?
I've tried Adaware, Registry Mechanic, Spyware Doctor, Trend Micro Anti-Spyware, and Symantec-Norton.  Nothing has worked.
I can't access my email either.  If you know my phone number, please call me and tell me what to do? 
Thank you.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:39 AM | |

Friday, June 16, 2006

One of the biggest.

What do the words "school system" make me think of?


Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:55 AM | |

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Carnivals and Birthdays

Click on over to the latest Carnival of Education. Remember, if you don't keep up, you won't know, and if you don't know, you can't whine. Don't let this stuff take you by surprise, when it's too late to do anything about it. Keep current.

And while you're clicking, today is my daughter's birthday. Those of you who know which blog is hers, go wish her a Happy Birthday, would you please?

Five hours of labor and a hemorrhoid that still hasn't quit, and what have I got to show for it?

A beautiful, talented, creative, funky, out-of-the-box daughter who likes to dye her golden hair red. A kind and compassionate and hard-working daughter who writes fanfiction and fantasy novels and goes to Renaissance Fairs in full costume. A brilliant and dependable and fun daughter who has a car with a back seat that looks like a dumpster. A fantastic, hilarious, "who cares what other people think" daughter who once went on an archaeological dig in Italy. A talented, musical, singing daughter who can give you a perfect Christine, a perfect a cappella soprano, a perfect Eponine, a perfect "any character in any musical," a perfect Comedian Harmonist, a perfect "any anime character in any song or any show," a perfect "any Animaniacs song ever written," and perfect pitch.

Am I somewhat biased here? Not at all. Everybody thinks so. You would, too.

Except when she's pissy, of course.

Happy Birthday, my little daughter. You grew up awfully fast, and you did a good job of it, too.

You'll get a cake when I get around to it, okay?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:34 AM | |

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's Flag Day.


My country, 'tis of Thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain side
Let Freedom ring.

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills,
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet Freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of Liberty,
To thee we sing,
Long may our land be bright
With Freedom's holy light,
Protect us by thy might
Great God, our King.

Our glorious Land to-day,
'Neath Education's sway,
Soars upward still.
Its hills of learning fair,
Whose bounties all may share,
Behold them everywhere
On vale and hill!

Thy safeguard, Liberty,
The school shall ever be,
Our Nation's pride!
No tyrant hand shall smite,
While with encircling might
All here are taught the Right
With Truth allied.

Beneath Heaven's gracious will
The stars of progress still
Our course do sway;
In unity sublime
To broader heights we climb,
Triumphant over Time,
God speeds our way!

Grand birthright of our sires,
Our altars and our fires
Keep we still pure!
Our starry flag unfurled,
The hope of all the world,
In peace and light impearled,
God hold secure!

--by Samuel F. Smith
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:32 PM | |

My Kind Of Flick

You know, I'm in the mood to watch a great movie from my childhood.  I think it'll be "The Parent Trap."  The GOOD version with Hayley Mills, not that insipid piece of malarky with Lindsay Lohan (back when she was cute and healthy, you know, before she chose, of her own free will, to be emaciated and sleazy. . . .)
I was a little kid when the REAL 'Parent Trap' came out, and that scene where the campers cut away the back of Hayley's dress and she walked into the dance with her underpants showing, cracked me up.  Still does.  Even as a kid I could tell when it was really Hayley and when it was a body double, but who cares? 
I could also see through something else when I was a kid:  I could see right through "Vicki."  I think every female of any age could, and did.  I always wondered why Brian Keith's character  couldn't.  I still wonder.  Are some men really that densely stupid?  The men I know are too smart to fall for that routine.  (They seem to be, anyway.)
And Maureen O'Hara is just simply one of the most stunningly beautiful women EVER.
Okay, I'm off to the kitchen to read my book and watch "The Parent Trap."  The REAL one.  I wouldn't have the other one in my house.
I bet lots of women my age (old) are huge Hayley Mills fans.  She was my movie idol from grade school on up.  I loved all her Disney flicks, and I loved all her non-Disney flicks.  Remember 'The Truth About Spring," where she co-starred with her father?  MMM, love it.
No blood, no guts, no bombs or grenades or conspiracy theories, no monsters. . . . nothing but good clean fun.
I'm showing my age again, aren't I.  Well, suck it up.
(Hayley did do a few 'art' films and I've seen them all, but they're not among my favorites.) (By 'art' I don't necessarily mean 'nude,' just 'art.') (Why, what were YOU thinking?)
P.S.  Yes, I almost always read a book while watching a movie.  Don't you?
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:49 PM | |


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

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ALL KINDS of Graph Paper

Does anybody need some graph paper?
I can remember many a midnight trip to town to find some when my kids were in school.  This would have been helpful.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:31 PM | |

Not For The Faint-Stomached

Want to know what happens when a very old cat finds the bag of kitten chow?
No, you really don't.  Honest.  Take my word for it.
I'll give you a hint, though.
They don't stay down long enough to be digested, and they're too big for the vacuum cleaner to suck up.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:23 AM | |

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Confusing Mish-Mash of Rants, Vents, and Opinions

Not everybody is ready for formal schooling at the same time. 
I've often wondered why our society is so set on grouping everyone according to their age.  Any one classroom at any given time will contain a group of students who are approximately the same age.  This has nothing whatsoever to do with readiness or ability.
There are four-year-olds who are reading Harry Potter, and fourteen-year-olds who still can't manage it.  Yet.  This doesn't mean they never will, necessarily; it just means, not yet.  Not yet is not a crime, nor is it a disability.  It just means, not yet.  Am I good at programming a vcr?  Not yet.
A kindergarten classroom with twenty-three students contains twenty-three diverse and individual little people.  Some of them can read and write cursive, and do long division, and draw pictures of people complete with nose and ears and a hairstyle and jewelry.  Some of them don't know one color from another and don't recognize any of the letters of the alphabet and can't count to three and if they can figure out how to hold the crayon, their 'person' will probably not have any features other than a stick body and a mouth.  Not only can they not spell their last name, some of them don't even know their last name.  Or their address.  Or their phone number.  Some five-year-olds get off the bus carrying a briefcase and a cell phone, and some don't even own socks.  We stick them in a room together because they are all five years old and we expect them to function at the same level.
We continue this absurd mindset throughout the school years.
Back in the day, pioneer children were AT FIRST grouped according to their age, and then were allowed to advance (or retreat) as they learned.  It wasn't all that unusual for a seventeen-year-old to be in the third grade (except for harvest season) nor was it a freakish thing for an eight-year-old to be reciting with the fifteen-year-olds.  Teachers were allowed to place students where they belonged according to their skills and learning, and their age was inconsequential.  Twelve-year-olds went to Harvard. 
And I say, if a student is ready, why shouldn't he/she go to Harvard at age twelve, if he/she WANTS to go to Harvard at age twelve.
I also say, if a student is NOT READY, why should that student advance forward with those students who ARE ready?  Wouldn't those who still don't 'get it' hold those who do, back?  They sure do.
Now, some parents go berserk over the very idea that their innocent little nine-year-old Punkin might be sitting next to a fourteen-year-old boy in fourth grade.  But if ALL students were held to a consistent pattern of behavior, why would that be a problem?  Of course, if the students and "those" parents were running the school, it would be hellacious, but why do we allow that, either?
If any student of any age, in any classroom under any circumstances, chooses to misbehave and put another student in jeopardy or even merely disrupt and annoy, that student should be set to rights immediately, and no excuses should be accepted, and no exceptions should be made. 
Everybody behaves properly, everyone advances at his/her own pace, everyone is allowed to move forward or step back, no stigmas, no big deal, because school is all about learning, right?
In a dream world.
And why this big deal about age grouping?
In the community college setting, I have a student population of anywhere from age 18 - 80.  The mixes work beautifully.  We have experience, and naivete, maturity and youth, all in the same room discussing and learning the same things, and each age has gifts to give each other.  It's good for a teen to hear the voice of experience from someone other than a parent or a teacher, and it's good for an older person to hear the voice of youth and idealism from someone other than his/her own child or co-worker.  When there's a REALLY old person in there, it's even better.  Yes, older than me, even.  There are a few still alive, you know.
I personally believe that the community college is one of the best ideas ever hatched by educators.  A large university is an awesome and wonderful place, but it isn't for everybody.  In a community college, students of any age can find success.  Our classes are small, and diverse beyond your imagination.  My university professors never knew my name or recognized me on the street, but I know every one of my community college students by name, and they know me.  No TA teaches my students; I teach my students.  I grade their essays and tests and quizzes myself, and I know how each of them is doing at any given time in the semester.  My students are not numbers, seated in numbered rows for attendance purposes; my students have names, and can sit anywhere in the room they darn well please, except in MY chair.  After a couple of weeks, I can sweep the room with a glance and know who's there and who isn't.
Those who aren't there are in deep doo-doo as you all well know, but I digress.
I believe that if we re-organized our schools according to the pattern established by a community college, our students would be better served.  I believe a lot of the behavior problems would disappear (and those that didn't, would be expelled and never allowed on the premises again) and I think the younger students would benefit from having older students to look up to and listen to, and I think the older students would benefit from knowing they are setting examples for the younger students.
When did it happen, that our society has segregated each other according to age?  There is very little intermingling of ages now; everybody hangs out with their own age group, more or less. 
This is not a new idea; it's old.  OLD.  An OLD IDEA.  And I think it's a shame we ever got away from it.
You don't want fourteen-year-old Billy sitting next to tiny Punkin?  Make sure your child's school has a well-established, consistant, and strict behavior policy.  Keep abreast and know if it's being followed or not.  And above all, make sure you understand and agree that this well-established, consistant, and STRICT behavior policy applies to Punkin as well as to Billy.  No exception, no elitism, no entitlements. 
If Billy bothers Punkin, he will greatly regret ever even THINKING about bothering her.  And if Punkin bothers Billy, ditto.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:34 PM | |

Sunday, June 11, 2006

There are GERMS on the soles of feet; let's not share them, ok?

I really don't think a child who is old enough to walk around should be taken into a store, barefooted.  You know, like the little boy in Sam's Club tonight?  His small feet were filthy, and in a store he might have stepped on something sharp, or picked up germs from all the thousands of strangers' shoes, or had his little toes run over by a heavy cart, or just stubbed those bare toes on something.  I'm sure his mother would have had plenty to say if the child had injured himself because his feet were bare.
Of course, if his mother had required him to stay strapped into the kiddie seat in the cart, I might not even have noticed the bare feet.
But running around loose and out of control like that. . . . people noticed.
I also think it's stealing if you open a package of food and start eating it before you pay for it.  Until it's paid for, it's not yours.  And this goes double for grapes, berries, etc. Triple for cookies or doughnuts that are sold by the dozen.  Don't even THINK about opening that sack of counted items until it's legally yours. 
Please.  Put shoes on your child before you take him out and let him touch those feet to the floor in a public place or someone else's home, and pay for your merchandise before you dive into it.
I'm just sayin'.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:15 PM | |

Saturday, June 10, 2006

. . .you're always running here and there; you feel you're not wanted anywhere. . . .

It was overcast today so I took advantage of the shady coolness to do some outdoor work.  Hub had stacked the winter's firewood on the basketball court, and I wanted it off of there because we're having company this summer (YOU, I hope, sometime soon) (the first batch arrives a week from tomorrow night!!) and some of them like to play basketball.  The wood was two seasons old, and NO WAY was any of it coming into the house next winter.  I mean, there was FUNGUS hanging off it.  Gross.  Not in MY house.
(We have an Amish woodstove down in the family room that is fantastic.  When we fire that baby up, we barely even HAVE a heating bill in the winter.)  (It heats up this entire house, and it's not a small house.)  (And, it's the kind of woodstove that insurance companies don't seem to mind.)
So anyway.  We already had a big pile of limbs and brush so I loaded the firewood into my ancient Mother's Day wheelbarrow and started making trips across the back yard, gradually adding to the pile.  When I got down to the last layer of logs, I saw them.
In a yard that houses seven cats (one that lives here, six that are trespassing) there was a colony of mice living in the woodpile. 
And you know how when you play 'pick up sticks,' sometimes you barely move one stick and the whole thing comes crashing down?  I moved one log and they could have filmed another remake of "Willard" in my back yard.
Did the cats have a heyday, and chase and feast amongst the throng?
No.  All seven cats just sat there looking for all the world like bobbleheads in the back window of an 80-year-old redneck's '59 Chevy pickup.  One with a bumper sticker that says "You're never really alone on a farm." 
Fortunately, the thundering herd headed AWAY from the house, towards the woods.  None of them touched my shoes, or I might still be standing out there horror-stricken and refusing to move until the entire five acres was burned down to the dirt.
That was several hours ago and we haven't seen any mice in the yard or in the house.  I think they're in the next county by now.  Sorry, west-side-neighbors.
And what are we going to do with this humongous pile of wood in the back yard?
We're going to have a bonfire, maybe when YOU come this summer! 
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:44 PM | |

Friday, June 09, 2006

It Might Just Be Me.

I'm reading this book, and it's really good. All of Phyllis Whitney's mysteries are good. She's one of my favorite mystery writers, in fact. I recommend her to all of you, highly. Her surprise endings are like no other; I can never see it coming and I'm shocked every time. She's wonderful. WONDERFUL.

This is one of her older books. It's fantastic.

However, this post is not about the story.

It's about the picture on the front cover.

Is it just me, or does that woman look exactly like Richard Chamberlain?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:22 PM | |

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yet Another Post Wherein I Piss And Moan About Stuff.

In a delightful (as always) email conversation with the wonderful Bonnie, something occurred to me. I think it was always in my mind but I'd never put it in words before until inspired to do so by this lovely friend.

On my Flickr page, there is a picture of my Tumorless Sister, holding a dulcimer. Bonnie commented about the dulcimer, and the conversation and the idea took off.

Back in the day, all middle school/junior high students had to take shop and home ec. They entered high school, and life, knowing how to use a hammer and nails, how to put together a simple meal, how to sew a straight seam, how to take a few simple tools and create something new or improved with them. These are life skills, not frills.

There are all kinds of creation, and an essay or mathematical equation or scientific proof are only some of them, and not necessarily the most important ones, either.

Back in the day, all elementary students were taught about basic musical and artistic base-line skills. Students were taught to read music, and to mix colors together to make new colors. Students were taught the lyrics to hundreds of songs, and how to sing harmony, and they were also taught how to recognize different artists by their personal styles and quirky signatures.

Schools used to require the students to memorize poems, and stories, and to write original ones, too.

Students entered high school knowing the rules for games, and about sportsmanship.

Cheaters were the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth.

They still are, but public opinion has changed quite a lot, and sometimes cheaters are exalted. This must cease. (insert smirk here, for who is going to stop it? Those with the power to do so are the same ones who often exalt it. Those with the power are sometimes the cheaters.) (Principal who insisted that plagiarists retain valedictory position, for example.)

Cheaters are the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth. They may have achieved a victory now, but the wheel of life keeps turning, and the fly on the top will be the fly on the bottom eventually. And vice versa.


Doing away with woodshop and home ec and music and art, to make room for more and more practice sessions of ISTEP and review sessions for those subject areas that are covered in the mandated standardized tests, has done nothing but remove a few areas wherein some students found success, and replaced them with more areas wherein these students will certainly fail.

Not everybody is a rocket scientist or a writer or a mathematician. Some people are musicians and artists and craftsmen and carpenters and chefs.

And what is a rocket scientist's or a writer's or a mathematician's life without music and art and furniture and food?

I firmly believe that every student should be exposed to as much and as many diverse areas of curriculum as is humanly possible according to the limiting laws of physics. Every person should know how to cook, and sew, and use simple tools, and recognize good music from bad, and look at a piece of art and see beyond the lines and borders.

Why are our schools casting the artistic and hands-on students aside in full favor of the academic students? Yes, schools ARE academic, but schools are also the institution that is supposed to prepare our students for the future, and the future depends on people who can read, write, do the math, understand basic scientific functions. . . . and feed themselves and others, and create beautiful objects for practical and impractical use, and nourish the soul and heart as well as the brain.

Only the finite can be 'tested;' therefore, only the finite is stressed and even allowed in our schools, these sad, sad days.

Maybe this is why so many of our young people drop out; the schools are offering nothing for them, only for those whose talents lie within the very limited boundaries of the ISTEP test.

Maybe this is why so many of our young people vandalize; they were taught nothing about what real art is, or even respect for it.

Maybe this is why so many of our young people listen to music that isn't really music; they've never heard real music. It's a fact that when the schools dropped music as a required subject, the recording industry took up the slack, and which of these has our kids' loyalty now, hmmm?

Maybe this is why so many of our young people associate a song with a video; they've never experienced the joy and wonder of learning a song within a group and having it branded on the memory like a wonderful dream, and associating it with an experience rather than a television program..

Maybe this is why so many of our young people disrespect those who make their living with their hands; the school wherein they sat for years and years never emphasized it or showed them the importance of it. On Honor Day, the prizes for those who did well in 'those' kinds of classes were smaller and less shiny than the big trophies for "Most Improved Math Student," or the many "Way To Show Up, Kid" self-esteem awards.

Maybe this is why so many of our young people are anorexic and bulemic and obese and existing on lard and salt and cholesterol; they were never taught the essentials of human nutrition and how to create it themselves.

Maybe I'm being too judgemental; it wouldn't be the first time. Maybe I'm being too simplistic; well, of course I am. But even in a judgemental and overly simplistic mindset, I still think maybe I'm on to something here.

This dulcimer (Blogger won't let me post a picture, again) was created for me by a student named Rusty, who was pretty much nothing but a big illiterate hood, by academic and behavioral standards. He failed everything but woodshop, but in the woodshop he shone like a star. Put a pencil in his hand and he could do nothing but break it in two and throw the pieces at someone. Put a piece of paper in front of him and he would probably wad it up and spit it across the room. Ask him to spell a word and he would stare helplessly. But put him in a room full of hammers and nails and glue and pliers and saws and complicated directions, and he became a genius, a maestro wielding a screwdriver, and making beauty out of a piece of raw wood.

Our shop kids used to make dulcimers; it was their big project. Beautiful musical instruments, fashioned by the hoody crud of the student body. The kids were then taught to play them, and taken around to nursing homes and business clubs to perform.

No more, of course. The woodshop has been closed and locked for many years now. There just isn't time for it any more, what with computer tech and ISTEP prep. Besides, all field trips have been done away with. (Except for athletics, of course. You really don't want to get me started on THAT one. . . .)

Students like Rusty, who shone at nothing but hands-on, now shine at nothing. This isn't right.

In our schools, we have fantastic musicians and artists. Back in the day, we cherished and nurtured these incredible talents. Now, we brush them aside and pull these kids from the studios and make them study only academics, because the arts aren't tested. And if a subject isn't on the test, it won't be offered; at the very least, it won't be taken seriously.

There are six or seven periods in the school day. Three or four subjects are 'tested.' The State has mandated "Advisor/Advisee" time, daily; that means our kids will get some serious counseling by some seriously untrained non-counselors. Some students will have as many as three study halls every day. This is inexcusable.

Of course, to do it all up properly would require the hiring of a few more teachers. We can't DO that; those athletic buses and the athletic director's five full-time assistants and the superintendent's company car and $100,000+ salary take a lot of money.

And in many schools, the 'special' teachers (art, music, etc) are shared by several buildings. Ask my Tumorless Sister about her schedule this year, why don'tcha. It's a moral disgrace. As parents, and as citizens, we should make our outrage at this misuse of talent known, with our voices and our votes.

Our children are more than a piece of paper with a few numbers on it.

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

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

That Old Lady Commands, and This Old Lady Obeys.

Naomi, the Old Lady of the Hills, has challenged me to make a list of ten things, pertinent to my life, that begin with the letter “M.” Naomi is one of the many bosses of me, so here is my list.

1. Music. Without it, life would have no color. Music is so much a part of me, talentless as I am, that I can not even imagine a silent life. It would be very horrifyingly quiet and dull without something wonderful to sing along with in the car, in the kitchen, wherever one might be. I played music when my students took tests or had quiet study time. I figured, if cows produced more milk when the barn was full of music, then students might produce more and better work. They did, too. Better quality work, and faster, too. Music makes us more civilized, and less afraid to be uncivilized at times. It brings out the best in us, and the worst. We show our true personalities to the world when we allow others to listen to our music. That’s one of many cool things about Patriside’s Mixmania.

2. M*A*S*H. I confess, I am addicted. This is the last television program I ever watched faithfully, and it is the only television program I watch on DVD up in my kitchen. (I do go into ecstacies over certain Adult Swim DVD’s that my son brings home to watch with me, but I don’t count those among my absolute visual obsessions.) There has never been another program like M*A*S*H. The casting was perfection itself, and it never, ever jumped the shark.

3. Moon. The symbol of the night. I’ve been fascinated by the moon since I was a child, and used to lie on top of the family car and look at the night sky with my pink plastic toy binoculars. The moon is the subject of so many legends, and stories; the moon features heavily in art and music. The many words for ‘moon’ have infiltrated our daily language, as all of us lunatics well know. It remains a beautiful silvery glowing mysterious icon of the night. And night is what I’m all about. (Blogger wouldn't let me put the moon picture on here. It really was a picture of the moon, not of anyone mooning. But since I couldn't put any kind of picture here, you'll have to take my word for it, won't you.)

4. Mom. My mother is a person I’ve tried to imitate and NOT imitate all my adult life. I do many things now in peculiar ways, just because Mom did it that way, or did NOT do it that way. I know; it makes no sense. I have spent much of my adult life trying not to be like her, and just as much trying to do certain things just the way she always did them. Holidays, mostly. It all comes down to the fact that Mom is fantastic, and I love her with a fierce protective love that is unequaled in anything or anyone else I love. It doesn’t keep me from laughing at the Momisms, though.

And we must not forget that there are many aspects of Mom.

5. Men. Need I say more?

6. Moxy Fruvous. These four guys have been my favorite band since the mid-nineties. A sensible ordinary person would have gotten over it by now and moved on but I have never been sensible or ordinary, and I just like them better as the years go by. I do love me some expert a cappella singing. Of course, like every band, restaurant, store, etc, I have ever loved in all my life, they are now defunct. Oh, they SAY they’re on hiatus, but I know better. I love them; therefore, they’re gone. I have all their solo cd’s, and they’re great, but it’s just not the same. Guys, PLEASE come back. In twelve years, nobody has ever taken your place.

7. Musicals. Dear heaven, I LOVE a good live musical. The first one I ever saw, live, was ‘Oklahoma,’ and it’s only gotten better since. I’m glad we took the kids and all their friends and all my students to so many in years past, since we certainly can’t go to any now or probably ever again (sob) but we saw our fair share and more back when we could. Whenever I look at our old white van, I see it packed full of teenagers, dressed to the hilt, and excited about going to Indianapolis or Louisville or even just Bloomington to see Phantom, or Les Miz, or Sweeney Todd, or Into the Woods, or Evita, or Godspell. . . . . . and dozens more. And of course a good original soundtrack in the car, with the volume up to eleven (snicker) makes a road trip that much greater.

8. (Les) Miserables. I’m probably cheating, calling this an ‘m,’ but I love it so much I couldn’t combine it with the other musicals, and it was impossible to leave it out. When I taught sixth grade, we were fortunate enough to have Beverly Cleary’s “The Platoon System” in our anthology. This was a chapter from her delightful autobiography “A Girl From Yamhill County,” and this chapter told of an innovative teacher who, one day, put the boring textbook away, folded her hands on top of her desk, and proceeded to tell her students the story of Jean Valjean. At the end of the semester, she hadn’t finished, and her students were frantic. But the teacher promised that when school started up again, so would the story, and she kept her word. Of course, a few of the “less intelligent” parents protested that such an adult story was being presented to children, but the principal did not cave, at least, not much. He asked the teacher to tell the story only once a week, in the auditorium, instead of daily, and to teach her required health lessons on the other days. That these students, who were the same age as my sixth graders, could love and OBSESS about a story this much fascinated my own students, and one day I folded my hands on top of my desk and began to tell them this same story. It worked in real life, too. Later that year, I was able to take a vanload of students to see the student version of this show, and it was a rousing success.

When Hub and I took our own kids and a few of their friends to see this show, we got a wonderful surprise. Our seats were in the nosebleed section, far stage right, but when we climbed up there that night, our seats were full of speakers and sound equipment. We were escorted back downstairs and given seats in row five, center. It was absolutely fantastic.

Les Miserables teaches us that no matter how hard our lives may be, however cruel some people may be, or however impossible some goals may seem, there is always hope, and it is always worthwhile to keep on trying.

It has become one of my life’s themes.

9. More Cowbell. Everyone needs more cowbell in his/her life, in every aspect and in every way. There’s just never enough cowbell.

10. Memories. The older I get, the more precious these become. I try, every day, to put the bad ones behind me and to focus on the good ones, and the making of more good ones. I have not yet succeeded but I am still trying.

11. Mamacita. This blog has changed and improved and given such wonderment and happiness to my life. . . . it may have even saved my life. I would never be able to thank you all enough for making Mamacita part of your lives, too. It's getting more and more difficult to even remember life before I was Mamacita. Things happen, and my first thoughts now are "Can I blog that?"

I chose the name 'Mamacita' hurriedly, and on a whim. A friend (Hi, Wes) had encouraged me to start a Blogger journal, and I needed to call it something. My husband and my daughter both speak German, so I knew what 'scheiss' was (heh), and this journal started life as a repository for anecdotes that happened at school, and schools, as we all know, are full of scheiss. I tried to register "Scheiss Daily" but somebody already had it, so I went with 'weekly.' As for my identity, I wanted something 'parentish' but the word 'Mommy' in all its possible incarnations was already being used by several people. At that time, I didn't know of anyone else blogging as "Mamacita" so I grabbed it. I've since learned that there are many others, and I have recently put my favorite other Mamacita on my blogroll. She actually had the name first, but I didn't know that when I chose it. We arm-wrestled for the name and tied, so we're both using it. Check out the other Mamacita some time; she's awesome.

Is that more than ten? Whoops. I was never very good at math.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:43 PM | |

We Build A Planter Around A Catalpa Stump.


Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:31 PM | |

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

667: Neighbor of the Beast

It's 6/6/06, and time to post our Evil Mix for Patriside's Mixmania. Mine is, as usual, odd. Some of the songs on my mix are obviously evil, but others? They are only 'evil' to me, because they remind me of someone or something or some time that, to me, was, well, evil. Maybe it was playing in the background when someone broke up with me when I was in high school. Maybe it was the first song I heard after I read a frightening story, or newspaper article. Maybe it was a song that played as I danced with a friend and spotted someone else dancing across the room, with someone else. Maybe it was playing on the radio as I drove to a funeral. Maybe it was the last song I heard before a parent-teacher conference with a truly dreadful parent. Or maybe it played as I steeled myself for a conference wherein I was sitting on the parent's side of the table. Maybe it's a song that just simply makes me think evil thoughts. It might be from a show, a song that made me sit in the audience and try not to cry. Some songs just send shivers of fear down my back for no logical reason. Or maybe it's a song that sums up my own thoughts so well that only some kind of 'entity' could possibly have known what I was thinking.

Most of my songs are either old, quirky, or 'different.' There's a reason for that.

I'm old, quirky, and 'different.'

Evil Mix: The Dark Recesses of my Mind

Mix One:

1. Mephistopheles – Beethoven’s Last Night - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

2. Mephistopheles’ Return – Beethoven’s Last Night - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

3. Midnight – Beethoven’s Last Night - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

4. What Good This Deafness – Beethoven’s Last Night - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

5. Something Wicked This Way Comes – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

6. In The End – Linkin Park

7. Psycho Killer – Moxy Fruvous

8. Phantom’s Theme (Beauty and the Beast) (from The Phantom of the Paradise) – Paul Williams

9. Three Little Pigs – Green Jelly

10. Ultraviolence (A Clockwork Orange) – Walter Carlos

11. Evil Angel – Rufus Wainwright

12. Early One Morning – The King’s Singers (I can barely even think about this song without falling apart. Long story.)

13. Someone Else’s Story – from Chess

14. The Closest Thing To Crazy – Katie Melua

15. Crossroads – Bone Thugs In Harmony

16. A Prayer – Madeleine Peyroux

17. Mad World – from Donnie Darko

18. Golliwog’s Cakewalk – Tomita

19. I’m A Monster – Ours

20. Hurt – Johnny Cash

21. Creep (acoustic) – Radiohead

22. Endlessly – Muse

23. Fractured Fairy Tales – Theme

Mix Two:

1. Suicide Is Painless – from MASH

2. Can Can – Bad Manners

3. Unsettled Scores – Michael Ball (me too, Michael.) (p.s: you're cute.)

4. Letting Go – Sozzi

5. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart – Bee Gees

6. Drowned – Ours

7. Against All Odds – Phil Collins

8. Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf

9. Voices Carry – Til Tuesday

10. Walk in the Rain – Steve Conte

11. Love Minus Zero – Rod Stewart ( I know he sounds exactly like Winnie the Pooh, but I love this song, even though it makes me remember something. . . .)

12. Don’t Cry Out Loud – Diana DeGarmo (try not to picture that scene in "Drop Dead Gorgeous")

13. Stay – Shakespeare’s Sister

14. Porcelain – Red Hot Chili Peppers

15. Misery – The Moffatts

16. Caoineadh Cu Chulainn – from Riverdance (I loved that electric violin, but there is something about this scene that scares me to death.)

17. Everybody Hurts – REM

18. You Stole The Sun From My Heart – Manic Street Preachers (the more my son makes fun of this song, the creepier it gets. I have no explanation.)

19. Love Hurts – Nazareth

20. Butterfly - Weezer

I hope the person who got my mix enjoyed it.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:01 AM | |

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Nice people ask permission first.

These last few days of my vacation, which are also my husband's first few days of vacation, have been spent doing yardwork.  We put in a railroad flat of tomatoes.  We built a stone planter around the stump of a catalpa tree.  ( before and after picture later. . . .)  We planted blueberries and blackberries and all kinds of raspberries and a hardy kiwi vine.  We sprayed poison ivy with SuperKillerStuff.  We started to fill the large sinkholes in the front yard with topsoil.
Today, we filled the planter with dirt, and shoveled the rest of the truckbed load into the sinkholes.  We still need about four truckbeds of topsoil to level off the ground.
In southern Indiana, everybody's yard has the potential for sinkholes, because we are on the top crust of a honeycomb of limestone caves.  This town is, after all, the Limestone Capital of the World.  The Chamber of Commerce likes to brag that we've supplied the stone for every major project except the Pyramids, and there's a funny story about pyramids in this county which I'll relate later, unless Wes beats me to it on his blog. There are large quarries, in use and abandoned, all over this part of the state.  There's a big abandoned quarry less than a mile from my house, in fact.  Hub and I used to set up targets and do some shooting in there, until the FOP took it over for their target practices. 
When you visit me this summer, do not worry about the guns.  They are locked up tight in a room that is also kept locked up tight.  There are NO guns anywhere else in the house.  This is a rule we abide by even though our own kids are grown and gone. 
If you come in the fall, you might want to bring your own gun, (if you fly out, you can use one of ours) because you can sit on the deck and pick off a deer.  You don't even have to stand up.  We've never hunted on our property, ourselves  (BAMBI and his MOTHER!!!!!!!!) but we have allowed friends to do so if they ask permission first, which any decent person would of course do anyway.  Rumor has it that the deer will be so numerous this fall, even the city people will be shooing them off the front porches.  One year, a deer jumped the fence at the city park and leaped right into the pool.  And deer are all over the golf course down the road.  Sometimes, a herd will congregate in the middle of the road, backing up traffic from both directions. One morning, I opened my front door and surprised a deer that was eating my flowers right on the front porch.  The deer are so bold here, they don't even run when we open and shut the car doors, or walk across the yard, any more.  Often, the deer will lie down on our basketball court in the back yard.  I will look out the kitchen doors and see five or six there.  The cool concrete must feel good on their stomachs.  Sometimes, the cat will be lying with them.  They do not run away even when we go out on the deck to watch them.
If you try to hunt here without asking us first, however, rest assured that we will call the cops; they are, after all, just down the road shooting things.  Poachers are scum.
Oh, and if you build a tree stand in my yard without asking me first, don't act all shocked when I tear it down and set it on fire.  Poachers are scum.
Ring my doorbell and ask me nicely without a gun on your shoulder if I can spare any quail, and I will probably tell you go go ahead and have fun.  Try to carry some off without prior notice and I'll call those same cops.  See above two paragraphs concerning 'scum.'
It's not just the game animals, either, that turn people into freaks of nature.  We used to have a giant strawberry patch, and on Sundays there would be the occasional CHURCH VAN full of old people, that would park up on the road and all the oldsters would trot down to my strawberries and help themselves.
"Oh, honey, we've picked here at this patch for YEARS!"
But, but, we live here now.
"We won't be long."
However, the men who drive their tackle-laden trucks down to my door and ask if they can gather up some catalpa worms:  be my guest.  Take all you want. (best bait ever, in case you were wondering.)
The strawberry patch is gone now.  We built this house on it.
We still have a few catalpas left.  Come and get all the long green worms you want.  Have a fish fry.
The deer are everywhere.  Come on over during the season and pick one off.
You can help yourselves to the hickory nuts and black walnuts, too. 
Item:  I have never eaten venison or any other game meat. 
Item #2:  When are you coming over?
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:08 PM | |

Love Means Never Having To Take Your Right Foot And Whop You On That Side Of Your Face.

My freshman year in college, a bunch of us went to see "Love Story."  I had never seen a movie that had people close to my age cussing and having sex.  Oh, I'd seen all the James Bond movies, but he was old so it didn't count.
(I thought Sean Connery was old then.  Hahahahaha, he's really old now, and still pretty hot.  At least, his voice is.  When I can separate it from Darryl Hammond's parody, that is.)  (Which is, by the way, one of the best parodies, ever.)  (Celebrity Jeopardy rocks.)
I loved "Love Story," but even then I didn't think Ali McGraw was a good actress.  And maybe it was just me, but did Jenny and Oliver really go together?  I was rooting for them throughout the whole thing, but in the back of my mind, what did they see in each other?  It had nothing to do with the social position thing, either. 
I found "Love Story" in a three-buck bargain bin at the grocery store the other day, and splurged.
In some ways, it's better than I remembered, and in other ways, it's even worse.
I love the hair, and the clothes.  That's how I remember the campus, if you add a lot of hippies and tie-dye.  But then, this was Harvard and Radcliffe, so I don't suppose there were many hippie-types.
I loved the banter, at least, some of it.  I think it might have been better with a little less banter and a little more actual conversation.
I'm not even going to touch the absurdity of that "Love means never having to say you're sorry" line.  It was ridiculous even at the time.  That line made a poignant movie moment into something that parodied itself.
Both fathers were good.  It was Ray Milland's first gig without his hairpiece.  John Marley was great as Jenny's father; two years later he was in "The Godfather," which features heavily into another important college memory but that's for another time.) (Hobby-horses kind of creep me out now.)
And of course Tommy Lee Jones was nobody back then. 
Watching that movie now conjured up all kinds of emotions in me.  For the first time, I focused in on how incredibly hard those two kids had to work to make ends meet.  All those odd jobs, and hassles about salary, and being treated like a dog by the pompous dean of the law school. . . . They spent themselves completely day after day just to survive, when Oliver's father had the power in his hands to help them.  I'm a firm believer in people working hard; they're the only ones who deserve things, after all.  But I'm also a firm believer in lending a helping hand if I can, and he could and didn't so I hate him.  Oliver, however, treated his father badly; most of that relationship business was NOT his father's fault.  The refusal to help when you KNOW he knew how badly they needed it, however, WAS his father's fault.
The adult (or, rather, the oldest adult) should be the one to back down in cases like that, eat some crow, and help.
Mostly, though, I saw, for the first time, that even though neither of these then-kids was a very good actor, the rawness was just what the film needed. 
Everybody was kind of a cariacature of something, and it worked.  And of course I cried.  Not just at the end, either.
"I want you to be merry. You'll be merry, okay?"  
A year later we all went to see "Billy Jack."  We left wondering if we were on Candid Camera or something, because it was the stupidest movie I'd ever seen.
However, we still quote it.
"You know what I think I'm gonna do then? Just for the hell of it?  I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face....and you wanna know something? There's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it."

"Her brain has been damaged by the heathen devil weed, marijuana!"
"Now you drop that gun or I'll shoot her!  I'm not gonna ask you again."
"You won't have to." 
"I said shoot her". 
"You'd kill her? Just like that?" 
"No. You'll kill her. And then I'll kill you. Just like that."
. . . and my own personal favorite:
Bernard: Howdy! My name is Bernard Posner.
Cindy: Oh, really?
Bernard: Really.
Cindy: Is that supposed to mean something?
Bernard: Around these parts, you hear the name Posner quite a bit.
Cindy: That's very interesting. You know, you hear my name quite a bit, and not just around here either.
Bernard: No foolin'? What's your name?
Cindy: Up.
Bernard: Up? Huh-huh, that's an odd name. What's your last name?
Cindy: Yours. Up yours!
I was really, really young, and a girl who said "up yours" to a boy was something quite new and out of my experience. 
What a stupid movie.
I saw it four times but I had dates.  It was stupid all four times, but by the third time I could quote the good stuff.  :)

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:39 AM | |

Friday, June 02, 2006

Nothing else need be said.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:39 PM | |

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Babe on a Plane

My daughter is in California. She flew all the way out there, all by herself. She's done this a lot; it's nothing new.

My daughter is grown up. She's older than some of YOU. She's a competent traveler. She loves to travel, in fact.

She's called several times. She got there without a hitch. She's having a great time. She'll be home tomorrow. She's been gone nine days.

I knew all along it would be fine; it always is. I'm not worried, no, not a bit. I often write in short, choppy sentences; it has nothing to do with concern.

My daughter is an adult.

So how come I am picturing these faces, on a plane, alone?

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:49 PM | |

One Life Live. Search Tomorrow. Days Our Lives. As World Turns. All Children.

Dear Man Talking On Cell Phone In Crowded Waiting Room This Afternoon:
I think I can safely speak for everyone in the waiting room today when I say that we are all very sorry you are having marital problems.  We would have to agree with you that the fact that your wife has moved herself and all of your stereo equipment out of your apartment and into a house with another man is a definite clue that all is not well.  We are all very sorry that you have been, as you so succinctly phrased it over and over, "bitch-fucked in the heart," but maybe next time you could lower your voice when you describe yourself, because some of those old people in the waiting room jumped a full foot into the air, sitting down, when you started in with the epithets.
I really don't blame you for becoming even more upset when your wife told you that you were going to Hell for not understanding that she needed something more than you could give her.  Her suggestion that she live part-time with you and part-time with Mervayll'q, keeping score and eventually choosing the better of the two, was also unreasonable and I don't blame you for yelling; maybe next time you have that conversation (and I'm betting you'll have it again) you could walk outside and scream in the parking lot..
The Bible verses you kept quoting to her weren't working.  Ditch that for next time, ok?  Your tone of voice and volume made them sound perverted, and you left out so many words, the verses didn't even make sense.. 
I would also remind you that it's the sperm that determines the sex of a child, not the egg.  I'm hoping you were kidding when you bawled her out about that one, but I have a bad feeling that you were serious.  In which case, you're stupid as well as mannerless.
When you hung up and sat there for a moment with tears in your eyes, my heart softened.  But then you had to go and call up another woman and tell her you think you might be free for weekend after next and my heart hardened right up again.  And when you told this other woman to bring her stereo over to your place I had to hold my magazine over my face lest you see my expression which by that time was getting hard to control.  
Talking like Tarzan isn't going to get you far, either.  Unless you're talking to a woman who actually likes men who don't know how to use helping verbs or prepositions.  If you're actively looking, you'll find scores of them at WalMart.
"You bad, woman.  You bad, woman.  You sorry, you see.  You hellbound, woman.  You don't give me none dat, woman.  You bitch, woman, bitch-fuck my heart, woman, why you do dat, woman., why you do dis to me, you BAD, woman, you tell me I go hell I say you go first, woman . . ."
Then again, technically, the 'do' part of  "don't give" is a helping verb. (The n't is an adverb, in case anyone wondered.)
Then you phoned your wife again, and said, simply, 'Why you do dis ting me?'  And the whole thing started up again.
It was a diversion, though.  The magazines were all older than dirt , about golf, and boring,  and there was no tv in the waiting room. 
And nobody else was saying a single word for fear of missing some of your conversation. 
So, thanks for the show. 
The people in our waiting room, and the people in the waiting room two miles down the road, all appreciated your sharing your life with them.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:03 PM | |


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