Thursday, November 29, 2007

Some Thoughts About Christmas

I love Christmas, and it's only partly because I Believe.

I love Christmas because it brings out the best in most people. When people think about Christmas, they forget about themselves for a little while and concentrate on other people. When people think about Christmas, they forget about making themselves happy and concentrate on making other people happy.

For just that little bit of time, one month out of twelve, one night out of 365, we are all the persons we were meant to be.

There are many aspects to Christmas, and I believe each of us has a role to play.

The Star gives people a destination, a place to call home, a key to the map we all have in our hearts but seldom use. Stars point the way that others might find Christmas, too.

The Magi know exactly who they adore, and they go to a lot of trouble to make sure their Adored knows this. They travel a long way, relying on that Star to show them their destination, and they're not afraid to stop and ask for directions, unfortunately. They bring Gifts of Great Joy, but what many people don't realize is that their seemingly frivolous gifts of gold, frankencense and myrrh are also gifts of great monetary value. Remember, this little family is going to be doing a lot of traveling soon, all the way to Egypt, and they don't have any money or relatives along the way; in fact, it's a hush-hush quickie of a trip. It will be a life-saver to have something valuable to use along the way for food, housing, new sandals-when-theirs-are-worn-out-from-walking, etc. It would also be nice, and make this family with its new immigrant status, feel at home to be able to use the familiar oils and spices for worship. The medicinal value of myrrh would be of great help, too.

The Shepherds are those who heard the word and came running. Once they got there, it's not made altogether clear exactly what function or use they were; they're usually portrayed as just standing around staring. But the world has always been, and still is, in great need of people who believe when there really isn't any evidence that would make belief logical; if not for them, there would be nothing new under the sun. The Shepherds are examples of faith in action.

The Angels are the ones who found out the news from the very One with whom the buck stops. Once trusted with the message, they wasted no time but went immediately out to spread the word. Angels are not ladies or gentlemen with long golden hair, long white robes and majestic Angel-like wings, who sing a lot and bear good tidings of great joy all day long. Sometimes, Angels are called upon to deliver bad news, or wrestle with someone who's being stubborn, or plant themselves firmly in place to prevent people from going any further. When the need is strong, Angels fight. Angels also have rank, and distribution of power. When God says fly, Angels fly. They don't form committees and ask a lot of questions and seek union intervention when they've already sung and protected people all day and now they're being asked to deliver a message to some knocked-up unmarried kid. They just do it. They do it because it's the right thing to do. Angels are glad to be of service and honored to be trusted with delicate matters.

Sheep are supposed to be absolutely the stupidest of all mammals; they're so dumb, they dig their paths into long trenches too high to get out of, because they stick to a thing until they pretty much wreck it. And yet, they were smart enough to stick around that stable when the Shepherd brings them there, even though Sheep don't do well in new surroundings and often run away. Some of us are Sheep: not the stupid kind, but the kind of Sheep who, even though afraid and on new turf, look around and decide to give it a try because there's a good feeling about this place.

There are a lot of jokes made about Donkeys, but back in those Bible-days, in those Bible-lands, if you didn't have a Donkey, you weren't going to be able to go any place very far away. Donkeys are humble and very necessary; they give mobility to others. They carry heavy loads so we don't have to.

And, of course, a Donkey who refuses to do his/her part in the universe is simply an Ass. We all know people who are like THAT. Sadly, they have always existed and always will.

Little Drummer Boys are generally thrust into a situation for which they are not prepared, and really know nothing about how to help in a practical manner. They do, however, wish to be of service, so they do what they can, even if it's something that doesn't really contribute monetarily or physically in any way. Their existence gives the rest of us reason and cause to pause for a moment and remember that Music and Grace and Generosity exist; they are real, true things, and just as real and true as fear, and hunger, and the disorientation of being unwanted and hunted. The contribution of a Child can mean much, and the Little Drummer Boy reminds us that we are all children inside, and must not be afraid to offer what we are capable of offering.

The Innkeeper was probably not a bad person. He was simply a businessman, and no doubt really didn't have any more rooms. If one's inn is full to bursting, what else could he have done but turn the last people to ask, away? And he didn't have to offer these dusty travelers his stable, either; his doing that shows that he had a good heart. The Innkeeper is usually lamblasted by Christmas lovers as a selfish, money-loving jerk who knowingly turned away the Holy Family, but if we stop to really think about it, the Innkeeper meant well, and even though his inn was full, he allowed these strangers to camp out in his barn. Many of us are Innkeepers, preferring the paying customers to the charity cases. Then again, if the sign outside the Holiday Inn says "No Vacancies," what is the desk clerk supposed to do? And what modern Innkeeper would let these tired, dirty strangers stay in his garage, for free? History is too hard on the Innkeeper. And yet, we are all supposed to assume that any stranger just might be an Angel or other celestial being, testing our hospitality. Such tests have been ongoing for thousands of years. Most of us would fail a hospitality test these days. But I believe we were all meant to be Innkeepers: people who would, if every room in our homes were full, offer a stranger the barn.

In the words of Charles Dickens, from the lips of Bob Cratchit, comes this, one of the best philosophies of Christmas ever written: "But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!'"

And so do I.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:58 PM | |

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No-Shows Get What They Deserve

Tonight in class we finished off the last two chapters of our textbook, took two quizzes, and discussed how it's easy to tell if you need to double the last letter of a word: just see if the last three letters are consonant/vowel/consonant (cvc) and check out which syllable is stressed. If you've got a cvc and a stressed second syllable, double the last letter of the root word. (admit - admitted) But, if you don't have cvc, you don't double and it doesn't matter which syllable is stressed. And, if you've got cvc but the FIRST syllable is stressed, you don't double.

This sounds complicated but once you 'figure it out,' it makes one more thing a lot easier. Spelling tips? I've got a million of 'em.

Also, since only five students showed up tonight, out of the seventeen still enrolled, and being that with only those few students our chapters and lessons didn't take very long, I got out their final exam and told them every. single. topic. that's covered, in order.

And then I told them not to share a word of it with the slackers. We laughed at the slackers for a while longer, and then I sent everybody home, 45 minutes early, with a lot of homework that I'm going to grade and count as several quizzes, and which can not be made up.

The students who skipped out tonight will whine about 'unfairness,' but I really don't think they have a legitimate gripe. Life is full of choices, and their choice to skip class tonight was bad timing, really bad timing, but it was still their choice.

Also, a very minor announcement was made about a small change in the syllabus. The final exam was originally scheduled for TWO weeks from tonight, but it's been changed to next week.

Just a teensy minor change.

It's been posted on Blackboard for two weeks, and everyone was told tonight. Everyone who was there, that is. Everyone who was there tonight was very happy about the change. Of course, they'll be ready next week for their final.

My non-slacker students can't WAIT to see the reaction of the slackers when they come to class next week and find out for the first time - they don't ever check their Blackboard accounts either - that this is final exam night.

Oh, okay, I broke down and emailed everybody.

Not that the slackers ever check their email, either.

I guess I'm evil for thinking this is more just desserts than anything else, huh.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:16 PM | |

The Best Municipal Coarse in Indiana

There is a tiny golden kitten living in the flowerpot on the front porch. It runs away when I open the door, but its little face is pointy-chinned and innocent, and its expression tells me that it desperately wants to purr on someone's lap. It looks like a ball of yellow fluff, with four short wobbly legs, huge blue eyes, small wiggly ears, and really big feet. I think it was born next door, but since all those cats are now hanging out on my deck, I'm wondering if maybe the people next door have stopped feeding their cats.

That's not something people can do. Animals are not something to be discarded when it becomes inconvenient. I hope I'm wrong about the reason all the next-door cats are now at my house, because I hate to think the neighbors would be that shabby.

I can't keep any more cats. Does anyone need a kitten?

Silly question. EVERYONE needs a kitten!

When we get home from work, after a long, long day, and we sit down and sigh that long sigh of relaxation we've been holding in for hours and hours, there's just nothing like a soft purry little cat curling up in your lap to really make you understand what contentment is.

I've shifted pronoun 'persons' in this post, but I'm past caring. Finals are next week and the final research paper is due the week after that, and then I'm off duty for a couple of weeks, grammatically speaking.

Except that I'm never off duty, grammatically speaking, because bad grammar and poor spelling hurt me, they really do. And when I find them right down the road, in letters six inches high, they hurt me even more. This sign has since been corrected, but the memory lingers on.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:10 AM | |

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bulbous Bouffant. Macadamia. Gazebo. Blubber. Galoshes. MUKLUKS!

Between classes tonight, I met Hub at McDonald's and we ate INSIDE. This means, it was a real date.

Across from us, crammed into one smallish booth even though there were empty seats nearby, was a group of people who had obviously NOT been raised by my mother. They were loud and obnoxious, and it was impossible not to hear almost everything they said. Or, rather, everything the old man said, because his voice rose above the others.

You know, there are some topics of conversation that really have no place being discussed loudly in public, and this old man may have hit on every one of them.

First of all, and I know that this statement will offend a few people, the appearance of these people was offensive to me. The old man, the younger man, and the boy were all dressed normally, in nice khakis and attractive shirts, but the old woman, the younger woman, and the two girls were all wearing Disney t-shirts, long dowdy denim skirts, anklets, and huge tennis shoes. The older women had the bulbous bouffant hair, and the two girls had long stringy hair with highly teased top hair and huge bushy bangs. Everyone has the right to dress as he/she pleases, but my point is, the men looked fine and the women looked like cartoon characters. Why is it that some churches allow their males to look nice but require their women to look dowdy and ridiculous?

The old man expounded loudly on his contention that he could tell, at a glance, the approximate income of everyone in his church, and that there were people, and he named names, who were not tithing as much as they should. He was also really angry because he'd asked a man to pray last Sunday and since the prayer lasted less than five full minutes, he knew that God had not heard it.

He was also telling everyone at his booth, and all the other booths, the names of the people in the church who had drug/alcohol problems, and how if they would only pray sincerely, God would heal them. The fact that these people still had the problems was proof that they weren't praying properly and God was ignoring them until they learned to pray correctly.

It's little wonder that so many people are turning away from organized religion. I know these people are not typical, but they were OUT THERE where people could see them, which made them into an example, the worst possible kind of example. The old man's loud prayers, in a McDonald's, didn't help his cause, either.

To paraphrase Emily of New Moon, "Giving God advice, and abusing the devil, is NOT prayer."

My eyes still ache from those Disney shirts on a 250-pound elderly woman. Ouch. Also, their basic table manners were terrible: they talked with their mouths full and waved french fries in the air to emphasize their indignation.

The mother and her two very well-behaved sons in the booth just behind these people, on the other hand, impressed me very much with their silent grace, indoor voices, and excellent public table manners. If I knew where they went to church, I might give it a try again. Also, she was wearing jeans and a sweater.

This should not mean anything to me, but it does. I consider the dowdy outfits a kind of pretension, a "Look at me, I'm better than you" kind of condescension, and I resent the hell out of it. Especially when coupled with the decently-dressed men. Bah.

All of those dreadful people crammed into one booth. . . can't you just see them driving up to the gates of Heaven and laying on the horn?


Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:26 PM | |

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Card Scenario

I now live in a house with a Christmas tree in the window. This makes me part of a Christmas card scenario, and it fills me with holiday delight.

I have collected Hallmark ornaments since before most of you were born or thought of 1973, and this is the first year since that year that I haven't been able to get any of this year's.

There just isn't any money for it.

It's all right, though, really it is, because in the closet just to the left of where I'm sitting as I type, there are over twenty Xerox paper boxes, each containing over a hundred ornaments. Between 1973 and last year, there was a lot of time to collect ornaments.

Ordinarily, we have two large trees, one in the living room and one in the dining room, each covered with ornaments, literally COVERED. Hub has a tree down in the family room that he never takes down, but I don't consider that a real Christmas tree. It's only a holiday tree if it appears during the holiday and no other time.

This year I put up only one tree. I opened only a couple of boxes of ornaments. I didn't put up the lighted garlands, and I didn't set angels and candles all over the house.

I did arrange the two Nativity scenes, because what is Christmas without the creche?

Last night, Hub and I sat in the living room looking at the one tree, and we agreed that it was beautiful, and that it was enough.

It was beautiful, and it was enough. What else is there, really?

Times are hard right now, but in our house, there is beauty and there is enough.

Please cross your fingers that it will remain so, for us, and for you, and for all of mankind.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:52 PM | |

"Allo, May I Schpick Wif Marmeesheeta pis?"

Isn't there some kind of law that says that a creditor can't call your house during certain hours? Wouldn't that mean, say, don't call before 8 a.m.? Or after 10 p.m.?

Because those people from J.C. Penney's and Visa are not only up at the crack of dawn, they're also burning the midnight oil. Please don't call me in the morning, Penney's. And while I am never in bed at ten thirty, many people are. Don't call then, either.

In fact, don't call at all. Do you have my records there with you? Do you not see that I always pay, that I have never not paid?

And do they really think I would give my bank codes to a total stranger who can't even speak English very well, and who mispronounces my name? Right. Ordinarily, I wouldn't even answer the phone with that "Caller Unknown" on the I.D. screen, but I have a lot of out-of-state friends with cell phones, and they always come up "Caller Unknown," too.

I hate it when it's you and not them, though. Bah.

You'll all get your money, I promise.

Hey, at least I didn't say, "The check is in the mail." Because, it isn't. Not yet. Sigh.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:43 AM | |

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hot Stuff: Steamy and Cheap and South-of-the-Border Delicious

Everybody has gone home and I sent most of the food home with them. Nobody got sick, nobody cried, nobody broke anything, everybody seemed to get along, and everybody still appeared happy by the end of the day. I did give out a few Tylenols, but that's only to be expected.

Well, I always expect it, anyway.

I suppose they might have been smiling because they were so pie-bound their faces were frozen, but I like to think they were all smiling because they'd had a good time in my home.

My only regret is that my Tumorless Sister didn't get a chance to wear her turkey costume because all the homemade bread had been delivered the day before. Darn. Next year, TS.

And now, it's officially time to think about Christmas. It's my favorite time of the year, this "before" time, the building up, the anticipation, the planning, the traditions, the decorations, the list-making, the preparations. . . I love all of these things.

I read all of these articles about "holiday stress," or "How to get through the holidays without killing yourself or someone else," or "That Holiday Stress/Mess/Disaster/Difficult Time" or "Holiday work, work, work, groan, strain, nightmare of a time," etc, and I'm genuinely amazed, because there has never been a Christmas in all of my life that has caused me anything like that. Oh, sure, we've had hard times, no money, illness, sibling misunderstandings, etc, but the Christmas preliminaries are a time of great joy to me. I love making lists of names, and planning what to make or get for them, and finding these things in creative ways (ways that do not involve me getting up at the asscrack of dawn and going to a mall or any other such labyrinth of horror and bucking crowds of insane people and punch-drunk toddlers who were torn from their cozy cribs that their parent might save twelve bucks on Legos) ; I have other ways and they work for me!) (No, I am not a cat burglar.) I utilize the internet.

I mean, do people not understand that almost all of the Black Friday ads have been running online since Halloween? Hah, as if I would leave my bed before noon when I didn't have to, for ANYTHING!

I mean, for a chance at a Nintendo Wii for $79.00 on Amazon, oh hellzYAH I'll tune in and keep checking!

Stand in line at 4 a.m., three hours before the Best Buy doors even OPEN? I find even the suggestion amusing in its totally non-amusing manner. There is nothing I could ever want badly enough to make me do that.

In fact, today was the first Black Friday in my adult life wherein I left my house at all, and I didn't leave it to go shopping. I left it because I had a hot date with a blog-friend. That's right.

Mamacita and RightWingNation had themselves some steamy Mexican lunch today. Interpret this as you will.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:01 PM | |

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Order Your Genie Habitat Here!

My daughter Belle makes beautiful Genie Bottles, and if you have a whimsical friend you haven't bought a present for yet, why not give the gift of a genuine Genie Habitat?

The bottles are all sizes, colors, and materials; just tell her what you want and she'll make it for you. Tall bottles, short bottles. . . anything goes.

Prices start at only ten bucks for the little ones, plus shipping.

Contact Belle at: sagoodwi@gmail.com

She'll get right back to you.

Also, I really need to dust my piano.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:00 PM | |

Archaeologists Will Know Me By My Traces

Apple pie, sugarless: check.
Apple pie, regular: check.
Blueberry pie: check.
Pecan pie: check.
Cherry pie, sugarless: check.
Huge pan of fudge: check.
Three pans of persimmon pudding: check.
160 yeast rolls: check (I gave most of them away, but we've got three dozen for tomorrow!)

And now the oven will be free for the turkey in a few hours.

While that 19-pound bird is roasting, there will be considerable action on TOP of the stove. Green beans, noodles & cheese, mashed potatoes, gravy, and whatever my sisters and mother bring that might need some fire applied to it.

Let the annual Lard-n-Starch Reunion begin!

I'd like to tell you that all the spilled and burned blueberry juice from earlier this afternoon has been all cleaned up, but I can't do that because it's still there: charred but still fragrant. I'd like to tell you that I'll get it cleaned up before tomorrow night, but I can't do that, either.

Um, the spilled and burned blueberry juice from LAST year is still noticeable on the oven floor. Add to it all the spilled and burned pecan pie filling and a little bit of scorched cherry juice, and nobody would ever believe I haven't used my oven all summer.

Well, it was HOT.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:59 AM | |

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Phew, Kind Of. And Thanks.

Ah, the smell of spilled and burning blueberry juice all over the oven floor. . . . must be the day before Thanksgiving.

But much more important that that, the new Carnival of Education is up, over at NYC Educator, and for the first time in two weeks, I've been invited to dinner! Thank you. I was beginning to feel as though the cool kids at the popular table didn't want me to sit with them at lunch any more. Not that they ever did when I was a kid, either. . . .

But do such things really matter, now that I'm old grown up? Surprisingly, yes, they still do. When does it stop? Enquiring minds want to know. And quickly, before all of the real news mags go belly up.

Although, when I stop and think that the vast majority of the "cool kids" got knocked up in their teens, arrested, dropped out, are fair regular customers at the liquor store, are featured semi-weekly in the newspaper under 'domestic violence,' and were still just as creepy and cliquy and full of themselves as they ever were at the first class reunion I attended, which was also the last class reunion I attended, maybe those kids weren't really the 'cool kids' after all. Maybe it was those other tables that were the cool tables, all the time.


And now, back to the kitchen. The oven should have cooled down enough, by now, that I can get down on my hands and knees and start scraping the burned blueberry juice off the bottom of the oven.

I apologize for the image I may have tatooed on your sensibilities.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:22 PM | |

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pies R Round: All 3.14 Of Them

Those of you who have met me know that I look as though I devour an entire pie on a daily basis, but the truth is, I don't care for pies or most sweet desserts at all. However, I absolutely LOVE to make them, and tomorrow is my big annual Dessert-Making Day!

On the agenda: Apple Pie. Cherry Pie. Pecan Pie. Pumpkin Pie. Sweet Potato Pie. Persimmon Pudding. Fudge.

I also make the yeast rolls the day before the DAY, since on the DAY, the entire oven is pre-empted by the turkey. I like to make a lot, so I can deliver them around town to various friends.

The house, which is all shiny and clean (we won't talk about the downstairs) because of the appraisal today, will smell like a bakery starting around noon, because if you think I'm getting up early, you're wrong, wrong, wrong.

I never get up early unless I have no choice. I don't even like the feel of the air in the early morning. I love the late afternoon, yesssssss, and the darkness, and the howling of the wolves, those children of the night. . . .

Then on Thursday, my mother and my sisters and their families are coming down for Thanksgiving Dinner, and it's a time I look forward to all year long. I wish my brother and his family could come but that would be difficult because they don't really love me and not coming for the holidays proves it they live so far away. But my Tumorless Sister and my Other Sister will be there, with their spouses and kids, and our beautiful mother. It will be wonderful.

I hope they like pie.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:48 PM | |

Try To Buy The Blue Cup

I'm not sure who this is or what they're selling, but I want it.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:43 AM | |

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Loathe A Bad Rendition of a Good Song

When I listen to a song I love, I don't want to hear ten thousand extra notes as the singer hits ten surrounding notes for each one perfect note.

I don't want to hear jazz renditions that make me mine for the melody. As in, try to tunnel through the mess of excess notes and dig out the real tune. Unless, of course, it was meant to be jazzy all along. Even then, stick to the notes the writer intended. It's not yours to mess with.

I hate it when a singer/arranger changes a song like that. If someone decides to sing "Silent Night," then sing "Silent Night," not "Most of the Lyrics and a Little Bit of the Original Melody of the Old Silent Night but IMPROVED VASTLY by MY OWN PERSONAL SLANT and the Fact That I Can't Hit A Note Straight-On but Must Slide All Around The Barn Until I Finally Hit It, At Which Point I Pause Before I Start Gliding Around The Scales Again For The Next Note." I hate those people. They're not musicians, they're murderers. The first line of "Silent Night" has 8 syllables, not 18, not 28, and especially not 68. No additional syllables necessary. Sing the song as it was intended to be sung, or write your own. And stop making fourteen additional lines out of the middle vowels of every word. (Yes, I know they're not actually 'syllables' but I'm trying to make this easy.)

If I want to hear bad improv, I'll go to YouTube. If I hear it on the radio or on a cd or in public, I want the melody. The real melody, not somebody's opinion of what the melody should have been. These people should go out and write their own songs, and keep their hands off pretty songs with pretty melodies.

I tried to listen to some woman sing "Oh Holy Night" a few minutes ago and honest to God, she was halfway through before I realized what she was trying to sing. The melody was lost in her personal interpretation, and her personal interpretation, by the way, sucked some big ones. I will have to admit, though, that I don't think there was a single note on any standard keyboard that she missed; she included almost every one with every breath. According to her, "holy" has approximately 8 syllables, and sometimes twelve. And "night," which should have been a no-brainer one or PERHAPS two, became a nightmare of a six, too. And each syllable wandered up and down the scales. In other words, all the grace and beauty of this song was gone, replaced by ostentatious vocal acrobats.

And if I'm confronted with acrobatics, I demand a good show. Cirque du Soleil quality.

To misquote Jack Handy, if someone is singing a lovely gentle song and you can see it in their genitals, it's too much. Not that I would be looking.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:37 PM | |

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Betcher Bottom Dollar

Last July, we drove over two hundred miles to bring the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book to my three beautiful occasionally-borrowed children; Ft. Wayne was the sort-of-half-way point between my home and their home in Michigan, and I am the official supplier of all things Harry Potter in the family. It was a long way to go to sit at Bob Evans for an hour, but it was worth it because, you know, their FACES.
So it should not come as all that much of a surprise that, as we were willing to drive that far to deliver a book, we would be willing to drive even farther to see one of the beautiful occasionally-borrowed children in her school play.

She was the star. And as the star, she sparkled and shone and projected so beautifully, I'm sure people in the audience were making wishes on her. No Annie before her has ever knocked over a large potted tree on stage made "Tomorrow" seem so bright. She was fantastic.

It was eight hours up on Saturday and nine hours back the next day, but it was worth it. There really isn't much I WOULDN'T do for her. I mean, short of shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die. . . .

It took longer to get back home because we stopped at a discount outlet. My sweet MIL tried to use the Bonworth gift certificate we gave her last Christmas and was told it had expired. This verdict was not acceptable to me and I let the manager know my opinion in no uncertain terms, whilst remaining ladylike to the nth degree. Eventually, MIL was allowed to use her gift card.

Sheesh, not even a year old and already EXPIRED? I don't THINK so, Bonworth. I know that's how a lot of stores make their money but it's not going to happen with MY other mother.

So this Christmas we will not be patronizing this store; I don't think any of you should, either.

All my life it has perplexed me that when these things happen to me personally, I accept it as my lot in life and slink out, head low, murmuring about how life might be for me ". . . if I only had da noive" and wishing I had balls, but when someone else is being bullied, I am able to belly right up to the bar and give the perpetrator what-for because by GOLLY, no one is going to push someone I love around like that.

Also, I now have new socks. Some of them are not black or white. That is because I am a fashion plate - a regular color wheel of innovation and style.

And, I've been sick since last Tuesday, have lost my voice completely, feel as though my energy is being sucked out by gigantic mutated leeches, am expecting 15 people for dinner on Thursday, and am sitting in a messy house knowing I can't go to work on Monday and Tuesday AND clean it up for the appraiser who will be walking through it day after tomorrow making copious notes about dust bunnies and wondering what the woodwork looks like behind the piles of old magazines.

I should have cleaned over the weekend but I weighed my options and picked "Annie." And I'd do it again.

Don't worry, Tumorless; everything will be ready for Thanksgiving Dinner. Bring it on.

So, how was YOUR weekend?

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:50 PM | |

Thursday, November 15, 2007

We Lost Our Starry Notions On The Way. . . .

When I was in high school, the Beatles were big time. (Just like now, only they were all alive, and together, with no Yoko Ono, and it was all still happenin')

When the Beatles left Capitol Records and started their own recording label, Apple, it was big news. When they signed their only female performer, Mary Hopkin, it was even bigger news.

Mary was everything most of us kids wanted to be: beautiful, blonde, talented, and with connections to the Beatles. Her songs were beautiful, too.

This one is especially significant to me. Senior year, when the song was already just a little bit passe, my friends and I nominated it for "Class Song." We thought it was perfect.

Unfortunately, the class president nominated "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye," and it won. Go figure.

Mary Hopkin's "Those Were The Days" struck a chord with me back then, for how could it ever happen that any of us would be older and wiser than we were right now, sophomore year? Was there really anything out there that we didn't already know? We were never going to change; it would always be just as it was today. Time would march on, but we would never change.

Even then, though, something about the song made me sad. But not as sad as it makes me now. . . .

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:46 PM | |

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


One of my students, an older gentle man, is taking my picture with his cell phone all during the class. It's been going on all semester. I don't think he knows that I know what he's doing, but what else could it be with that camera-hole aimed my direction every time I look at him. At first, he quickly snapped his phone shut and looked away, but now, since he doesn't think I know what he's doing, he leaves it open and aimed my direction. He also mutters, under his breath but loud enough for everyone to hear, things like "Damn unreasonable professor" and "I should be making straight A's in this class" and "These people only see my dark side, haHA." I'm not scared of him, but he gives me the jeebies. Also, why would he want my pictures? He could download pics of Shelley Winters or Thelma Ritter off the internet.

The newest Carnival of Education is up, and even though I've been left out once again I think everyone owes it to the nation to read up on what our teachers and parents are saying about the state of education.

I also had a man who has eleven zeroes come to class tonight for the first time in a month, and ask if I thought he could pull a B. I had to tell him " Out of your ass, maybe that it would be best if he visited the registrar tomorrow and withdrew. There's always the spring semester.

I would have had more sympathy, but his wife is also in the class and she's been telling me for weeks that her husband can't come to class because he's trying to repair their car. And then we all saw the two of them canoodling out in the parking lot during the break, last week. In a car.

Besides, ELEVEN ZEROES? There's just no diggin' out from THAT hole.

Actually, there was no way I could have conjured up sympathy for a student with eleven zeroes. That really takes a lot of non-effort.

This is the longest I've ever gone without blogging except when I'm out of town. I can feel the withdrawal spiking through my veins.

But I'm having a few health issues and frankly, I'm too pissy to concentrate. Besides, soon I'll be famous, like Shelley and Thelma.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:29 PM | |

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Everybody on the basketball team is trying really, really hard. Some of them are displaying amazing skills, while others aren't quite up to the same level of competence. Some of them can hit almost every basket; others on the team will hit maybe one basket out of ten or more attempts. Some haven't made a basket yet. One player's specialty seems to be fumbles and fouls. A couple of players can't stop double-dribbling. Even though most of the players know what they're doing and are really putting a lot of effort into the game, they are constantly thwarted by those few players who either can't do it, or who could obviously do better but don't care about the outcome. All of the players, however high or low their skills may be, are necessary because, according to the rules, the team MUST have a certain number of players in order to be a team at all. The winner will be the team as a whole, not the individual players according to their personal skills and attitudes. Those players who can play well will always be handicapped by the players who can't/won't, and those players who can't/won't will always be necessary to make up the numbers. And sometimes there is a miracle, and a player who hasn't done anything all season will score the winning point with an amazing mid-court throw. Good coaches never stop trying.

The score is determined by the number of points made, and the points are made by throwing the ball THROUGH the basket. Whichever team can throw the ball through the basket the most, within a certain time frame, wins.

I don't know all that much about sports, but I do know this: the rules are set and only a fool would ask for exceptions. It just isn't done. In sports, the score is what it is, and the score is determined by how many points a team makes, and the team's points are made by individuals. Each individual either makes a point, or he doesn't. There is, as Yoda says, no 'try.' The team's score is calculated by adding up each individual player's contribution.

In the middle of a game, someone suddenly stands up and runs down the bleachers, screaming. This person marches up to the scorekeeper and DEMANDS that a certain player receive a point even though his ball did not go through the basket.

"It's not his fault that his skills are not as well developed as the players who made most of the points! All players should be given credit for SOME points, even if they didn't actually earn them! It's bad for their self-esteem to have a zero in the stats; don't give them full credit, of course, but they should be given half, at least. It's not their fault that they can't perform as well as the kids who actually got the ball through the basket. Every member of the team deserves to get a point for each attempted basket, whether the ball went through or not. The scorekeeper has the power to give points; why shouldn't the scorekeeper be the one who actually receives the credit or the blame for a team's total points? It would be so easy to award ALL the individuals who make up the team; how could the scorekeeper be so cruel as to deny any player a point when the player tried! He TRIED! Isn't that worth at least one point? Shame on the scorekeeper! Shame! It's not fair that only the players with better skills get all the points! Maybe it WAS the kids who listened and tried and practiced above and beyond the coach's directives who really won the game for the team, but it's not fair for them to get all the awards when the kids who didn't practice, didn't obey the coach, and just plain didn't have the ability were, um, THERE, too! The players who TRY should get a point for each attempt."

Now, imagine that this is your mom making this scene. Could anything ever even approach the humiliation of that moment? What would she be THINKING? Doesn't she understand that you only get points when the ball goes THROUGH the hoop? Didn't she see that none of your throws went through the hoop? Why would she even imagine that you should get points when you didn't make any? Why, in the sports stats, a kid who didn't make a single basket might still be credited for ten or more points per game! A player who got the ball through the hoop several times wouldn't have as many stat points as the kid who got none! How ridiculous would that be?

Can any of you imagine yourselves making this scene?

Of course not. We all know better than to demand exceptions, and points-not-earned, when it comes to athletics. How absurd.

So, then, why are some of us so ready to march to school and demand at least a FEW points for our child, when the child didn't do anything to earn any points?

Some schools have a rule that even a child who earns a zero will still get sixty points, because to give a child a zero would be bad for the kid's self esteem. In some districts, 60% is a D-, and with a D- a student will be promoted, legitimately, to the next grade.

In other words, a kid who doesn't lift a finger all year, and who, if the stats were kept accurately, would have a string of zeros after his name because he didn't earn any points, ends up with more points recorded than a hardworking kid who just isn't very smart who EARNED, maybe a 55% or less, and who won't be promoted because he hasn't earned enough points.

Well, in today's society, both students would probably be promoted no matter how few points they earned over the course of the school year. Don't get me started on that one.

My point is, to get points, one must earn points, and to earn points, one must actually demonstrate competence in something, whether it be getting a ball through a hoop, or spelling "ball" and "hoop" correctly, or counting how many tries it took to get the ball through the hoop, and if there is no competence demonstrated, then there are going to be a lot of zeros after this kid's name, unless the Self Esteem Police have dictated that a kid who earned nothing has in fact earned a lot more than a kid who earned something.

And a parent who comes to school demanding that his/her child receive points for NOT doing the work is no different from the parent who comes to the gym demanding that his/her child receive points for NOT getting the ball through the hoop.

Yoda rocks.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:06 PM | |

Friday, November 09, 2007

Chocolate Cake, Evil Aliens, and Peace on Earth

Chocolate cake in the oven.

Little cat sitting on my mouse-hand.

Husband making the universe safe for all peaceful life forms by violently gunning down evil aliens.

Leftover Grecco's pizza in refrigerator.

Scraps of fabric all over the dining room table and floor: it's craft season again.

Repeat after me: "I want a wireless digital picture frame for Christmas." Now, say it again.

Because, that's what I want.

That, and Peace on Earth.

As for that, I truly believe that if we can make peace in the family, then there would BE peace on earth. Sometimes, that just takes a little less "me" and a little more "others."

How sad that, for so many people, there are no others.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:01 PM | |

Why You Shouldn't Just GIVE Your Children Ammo, Part 1

When it comes to your children, be careful what you post about them on your blog. It's not that you'll necessarily traumatize them with anything; it's more to the effect that the children will use the information you give them to make your life even harder than it already is.

In other words, don't hand them the ammo. Make them work for it like we had to.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:08 AM | |

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Santa and Cupid and Pilgrims and Skeletons Should Not Touch Each Other

I really want to put my Christmas music in the cd player but it's way too early. I heard carols in the supermarket tonight and my whole being cried out, "Too soon! Too soon!" even while I was singing along.

The thing is, when we do things too soon, by the time it's really TIME, we're tired of them.

I think we need to separate our holidays again. No more Halloween merchandise rubbing shoulders with Thanksgiving merchandise rubbing shoulders with Christmas merchandise rubbing shoulders with Valentines.

I don't like to walk down a store aisle and see skulls and sinister ravens touching Pilgrims and cornucopias. I don't like to see Santa and Cupid touching each other. Tinsel and sparkling ornaments should not be sharing shelf space with fake gourds and orange silk leaf garlands.

Honestly? I think we would all enjoy and appreciate the individual holidays a lot more if the individual holidays were individual. As it is, a lot of the personality of each holiday is gone. Some things should never be mixed together.

And the fact that a real holiday lasts only a little while makes it even more special. The anticipation is most of it, but if we're pummelled with the prelims for too long, we get tired of it before the actuality even gets here.

Already, I've seen lighted trees and decorated houses. Too soon, people. Too soon. The sight of your lights won't mean anything if we see these things before their time.

Fleeting. That's what holidays are really meant to be. The warmth and glow stay with us a lot longer if we don't have to look at the fake glow for too long.

I think we have lost the art of anticipation.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:47 AM | |

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

5, 4, 3, 2, 1. . .

I love this.

I went to the dentist this afternoon and just for the record, she is the BEST DENTIST in the world! Not only is she virtually painless, she's hilarious, and so very, very nice. Thank you, Dr. Alter. You rock. And so does everybody else in your office.

When I asked you if you had any ether, I meant it was just kidding.

We had to replace our old landline phones a few months ago. Our old phones displayed a red blinking light whenever we had voice mail, and I assumed the new phones did, too.

Never 'assume.'

Sunday night, I mentioned to Hub that we hadn't had any messages for an awfully long time. Monday afternoon, someone asked me if I'd received the message she'd left. I hadn't.

When I got home, I looked at the phones. Nothing was blinking, but I dialed the voice mail number anyway and holy SCHEISSE.

Um, if any of you left me a message since the middle of last June these past few weeks, I do apologize for not returning your call.

And now I know that I need to check my voice mail every night.

What if one of those messages had been from Ed McMahon?

Also, if any of my Tuesday morning students are reading this blog, I want to emphasize again that while it is true that I did indeed say "Let's all go there and GET SOME!" it is also very true that I was referring to the junior shake sale at Steak and Shake. The grins and snickers were understandable, though. No offense taken.

It was one last fling before the dental appointment.

P.S. Upon close examination, these new phones don't even HAVE any lights on them. My bad.

P.P. S. I hate it when somebody says "My bad." It's such a stupid expression.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:21 PM | |

Sunday, November 04, 2007


It's been cold here. I'm wearing socks. (Along with everything else. Sheesh, you guys.)

The tractor has a flat tire.

The riding mower has a broken belt.

The push mower allows itself to be pushed for about ten yards and then it stops again.

My hands hurt because I've been mowing with them I've been pulling weeds.

There is a large, beautiful, blue-eyed Siamese cat hanging around on my deck. We've never seen it around here before so probably some heartless brainless lazy moron who couldn't be arsed to love it any more drove it out to the boondocks and dumped it out of a moving vehicle and figured it could take care of itself unthinking person just didn't want it any more and figured somebody somewhere would. People can be so unbelievably stupid when it comes to animals. Anyway, we've been feeding it and petting it (it's really loving and sweet) and if it's still on the deck tomorrow, we're taking it to my MIL who has been wanting a Siamese cat for a long time.

We went to Grecco's - best pizza ever - tonight and across from us was a booth full of very loud, very giggly, VERY silly young teens. They looked to be around thirteen or fourteen holy cow, their boobs were HUGE and they talked like dockworkers and when they left we noticed that one of them had the word "JUICY" written across her ass the back of her pants.

Hub wondered if the little girl realized the message she was sending out; he was sure she didn't.

As for me, I think she knew exactly what kind of invitation she was sending. And even if she didn't, her mother certainly did. Her mother probably bought the pants.

Which explains a lot about the state of the nation.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:37 PM | |

Friday, November 02, 2007

Beethoven's Last Night

Oh, how I do love this and everything else the Trans-Siberian Orchestra does. . . .

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:04 PM | |

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Three Sheets in the Wind

It's November 1st, and time to put the flannel sheets on the bed. I like to begin the season with the tan sheets with the tiny multi-colored autumn leaves on them. Soft, so very soft, and warm, so very warm. . . .

I really prefer crisp cotton sheets, around 250 count (I hate satiny sheets; I feel as if I need a railing to keep from sliding onto the floor, and I hate really low-count sheets because they're scratchy.) But crisp smooth sheets? I'm almost in dreamland from merely the thought.

But when the weather gets that autumn chill, I like the thought of flannel sheets, even if the actuality of the sheets isn't my favorite.

We spend so much time with sheets; it's little wonder that people have favorites.

Not as much time as we'd like, but enough time that we ought to have sheets we can get along with.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:26 PM | |


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

My Classical Blogroll

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

Credits Powered by Blogger

Designed by Swank Web Style
< <


Honors Blogrolling.com Hot 500


Lijit Search/a> < BlogHer.org Logo


Listed Subscribe with Bloglines

View My Public Stats on MyBlogLog.com

Personal Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Listed on BlogShares


DIARIST.NET Registered!

Technorati Tags:

Technorati search

Free Hit Counter