Friday, May 30, 2008

The Emperor is Naked

Little wonder that our students are so confused about what they're "supposed" to look like. Teen magazines that used to give us ADVICE about our appearance are now telling kids that unless they look like (insert talentless celebrity here), they're hideous. AND, many kids have no home backup to instill some self-respect and common sense, so they believe this stuff.

Trends come and trends go. Rubenesque women used to be the epitome of feminine beauty. Adult women built like eleven-year-olds (Twiggy) were popular. Breasts are flattened by a board placed strategically under the underwear and tied into place. Breasts are bigger. Breasts are pointy. Breasts are smaller. Hems are high. Hems are low. A waistline is hidden. A waistline is enhanced by a corset so tight a woman can't even put it on by herself; she needs a winch fastened to the bedpost, later spelled wench and transformed into a person. How empowering it must have been, for women to finally get clothing they could put on all by themselves!

Now, supermodels are built like concentration camp prisoners, and the walk down the runway looks a lot like the walk to the Belsen showerhouse. * These women look like a sneeze would blast them backwards like a bullet from a gun.

(You know, Victorian men must not have seen very many naked women; otherwise, why and how could a man have possibly believed women were supposed to look like a wasp?)

There were fancy schools in Victorian England that had a rule that each young woman must have a 17-inch waist, just like Scarlett O'Hara.

It wasn't just in England, either. Laura Ingalls Wilder (one of my many literary idols) writes that her mother reminisced to her daughters about how, when she was married, her husband could span her waist with his hands. This, while advising her daughters to wear their corsets even while sleeping or ". . . what your figure will be, goodness knows."

Mothers nowadays dress their small daughters in clothes that a high-class prostitute wouldn't be caught dead in. I am, more and more, thinking that school uniforms might not be such a bad idea.

At the turn of the century, schoolgirls wore pinafores over their dresses to help keep the dress clean, but also to hide the curves and allow the girls to be children a little longer. Remember Anne Shirley, Diana Barry, Jane Andrews, and Ruby Gillis? (Oh, I hope you do!) Emily Starr? Marigold Lesley? Pat Gardiner? They all wore pinafores to school every day, and after school, too. When the pinafores were removed for parties, etc, these girls looked like young women, but because they were still girls, really, the pinafores were worn all other times. Anne Frank, at 13 or 14, still referred to herself and to Peter VanDaan, who was 16 or 17, as "children."

Big booty used to be all the rage, and emphasized with bustles. Now, a big butt is a sign of sloppiness and obesity, and whether or not her butt looks big is something most women worry about daily. Fear of a butt that's large enough to actually sit on comfortably sends otherwise sane and intelligent women to the liposuction clinic to get all that sucked out, that they might be "beautiful." Balancing precariously on a protruding tailbone doesn't seem either attractive or comfortable, but that's how supermodels have to sit these days because they traded their cheeks for a check.

Tiny feet were a symbol of rank. High-born Chinese women suffered intense pain all their lives, and had to be carried because they could not walk normally on the new-born-size buds that were what had become of their feet. Women used to lie about their shoe size, because small feet were, and still are to some people, a sign of beauty. Now, a woman who wears size eleven or twelve shoes isn't the exception at all.

Hands were to be kept soft at all costs. Soft, smooth hands indicated servants to do all the work, which indicated money, which indicated good marriage fodder.

There are so many silly interpretations of beauty that I could never go into them all in one post. Besides, I don't want to.

Clean, kind, honest, ethical, intelligent, humorous, witty, and brave. What outside feature could possibly outrank that? I suppose really shallow people would disagree, and I have a hard time overlooking my own, shall we say, "shortcomings" in the beauty arena, but truth be told, beauty fades and these other qualities are merely enhanced.

Oh, and while it may be true that the old standards of feminine beauty were set by men, I honestly believe that now, women set the standards for beauty. I also believe that women are not very nice to each other when it comes to what's "beautiful" this week, and what's "passe."

Remember Marilyn Monroe? Remember how beautiful she was? Size 12. Elizabeth Hurley has been quoted as saying, "I'd kill myself if I was that fat. . . she was very big."

I'm not finished yet. I also believe that we women need to start pointing and laughing at 79-pound toothpicks sashaying down the fashion aisle in between bouts of rehab, instead of throwing our money at them and their keepers: the jokers who get rich because somewhere, a woman spends a hundred thousand dollars on a half-yard of fabric, two safety pins, a button, a necklace made of real diamonds that looks like it was strung by an Alzheimer patient on the front porch of a nursing home, assisted by a four-year-old, a hat made of 19 cents worth of purple felt, a feather, and an old rusty key, and shoes consisting of a paper-thin sole, a ten-inch heel, and a single clear plastic strap across the top, in which one cannot walk. As long as there are women who will buy this hideous, overpriced scheisse and wear it, there will be women who pretend to believe that it's beautiful.

What we need is someone to stand up and say, "The Emperor is naked." Because, my friends, he is.

*I am NOT being disrespectful here. I am being descriptive. It's a visual thing.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:35 PM | |

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Prince Caspian: Two Things, and Eddie Izzard

We just got home from seeing "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," and I have this to say about it:

1. It was good, but not as good as the book. No movie ever is. But it was good. The scenery was breathtaking.

2. Prince Caspian is smokin' hot. *

3. Eddie Izzard is Reepicheep, the Chief Mouse. EDDIE
IZZARD!!!!! (Language alert! You've been warned!) (Naughty words are in the video, not the film.)

Is that three? I was never good at math. It's the only thing I ever had in common with Barbie.**

Also: Eddie Izzard is the funniest man in the universe. (Language alert again.) (You might just assume there is always a language alert with Eddie Izzard.) (Letting small children listen would constitute abuse; listening yourself would constitute culture.)

* *Not quite true. I also wore those horrible cats-eye glasses in high school.
**You don't need money to window-shop.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:11 PM | |

Monday, May 26, 2008

R.I.P. - Billy, Dolly, Jeffiy, and P.J.'s Mommy

Thelma Keane has passed away at the age of 82.

I know that people poke fun at the antics of Billy, Dolly, Jeffy, and P.J., but when my children were very, very young, they loved these sweet little vignettes. Maybe they were a little saccharine, but the world is too often a difficult and vicious place, and some sweetness was much appreciated.

My tiny toddler son, especially, loved the Family Circus. He and I would lie on my bed at naptime, and I would turn page after page in our stack of Family Circus paperbacks, and he would get so tickled, especially when it came to the three little boys' antics, his little legs would kick, kick, kick in sheer delight. After about half a book, he would turn over, sigh, and go to sleep.

Thank you, Thel and Bil, for sharing your memories of your children's childhood so that they have become part of my children's childhood memories, and mine.

I wonder how many people know that Thel and Bil's son Glen (Jeffy) has worked for Disney for many years, and helped draw such animated masterpieces as Finding Nemo, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, and many others.

Thank you, Thel, for being such a great Mommy to the masses. In pace requiscat.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:15 PM | |

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Every YouTube Celebrity in a Nutshell

I found this over on the Steve Spangler Science website. I confess to hanging out on YouTube sometimes; I'm no fanatic, but I recognize every one of the people in this new Weezer video.

Um, maybe I am a fanatic. Oh, whatever, most of you will recognize the YouTube Celebrities making cameos in this new video.

I enjoy Weezer. They get a lot of their themes and titles from classical opera. I mean, PINKERTON? I have a 'thing' for concept albums.

I've liked Weezer ever since Buddy Holly. Not one of the classical ones, but it's become a classic.

This new one is called Pork and Beans. Not exactly classical this time, either, unless you're a phartiste. Seriously.

I love this.

It was on the Spangler website because Steve Spangler is the Mentos Geyser guru of the universe. They used some other guys who also do this experiment all over the place, but that's okay. Everybody knows who originally did it.

Why, yes, I'm posting about Steve Spangler again. That's how much I love his website.

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

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mamacita (The Real One) Rants About Wiggly Kids and Recess and Stuff

Most of this was first posted on June 30, 2007, but my opinion hasn't changed since then, and I've added a few more opinionated Mamacita-isms. Are you surprised? I didn't think you would be.

"No two people are alike, and both of them are damn glad of it."

That's a quotation; that's not me saying "damn," although I frequently occasionally do. I am, to my shame, greatly afflicted with "potty mouth," and although I managed to control it somewhat while my children were tiny, thanks to what I think of as my "Shit Epiphany," it's back, in full force. Honestly? I need help.

But I digress. No two people are alike, but both of them are expected to progress at the same rate by our public schools.

Our children are expected to learn to read and write by a certain age lest they be labeled "special education" and given an IEP and pulled from the classroom to be tutored in the Reading Room. Most of them are little boys.

Old hippies like me sometimes have a hard time admitting that there really are gender differences that no amount of "environment" is going to change. One of those differences is this: a lot of little boys need a few more years than a lot of little girls need, to mature enough so that their bodies and brains can sit still, together, long enough to learn how to read and write. Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that while a lot of little girls are reading "Gone with the Wind," the little boys sitting next to them are still struggling to recognize letter combinations. It is also a fact that some of these little boys who still can't do it in the third grade, or the fourth, somehow have their own "epiphany" in the middle grades; something in their brain becomes aware of symbols and their meanings and how to translate them to Harry Potter. It wasn't that these little boys didn't TRY down in the lower grades; it was that their bodies and brains weren't THERE yet.

I saw this miracle happen over and over again. With my own eyes I saw it. Sometimes, when I tried to tell other teachers, especially elementary teachers, about this awakening, they did not believe me. "I had that boy in third grade and I'm telling you, Jane, that he just doesn't have what it takes to be a reader, a good student. He just can't do it."

And I'm telling you, Madeline, that I don't give a rat's ass* what the child did in your class. I am trying to tell you that in my class, the boy can read. One week he couldn't, and the next week, he could. And he's ecstatic.

Heidi learned to read overnight. It does happen. At age eight, Heidi learned to read overnight. And then she went home and taught her friend Peter how to read, and he was in his teens. The "learning how to read when convinced one would never be able to learn because it was just too hard" theme is a big one in this book.

My point? Do I have to have one? I guess I could drag one in by the hind legs if you must have a point. How about this one:

Hold off on the IEP's and the labeling until the kid is in middle school. Tutor, yes. Give special help, yes. Hang a label on his forehead and put it in his permanent record? Not so fast there, Teach. Don't do it Not yet. Not just for reading. Save the labeling for the children who genuinely need the help; don't fill up the room with little boys who just need a few more years to mature.

Same-sex classrooms in the lower grades? Why not? It might work. It would certainly be better for the little girls who, most of them, just naturally catch on to the reading faster; they could move on! It would be better for the little boys, too; they wouldn't feel pressured and might get comfortable enough to relax and blossom, too.

Many of our most highly esteemed scientists, inventors, etc, were late bloomers. Edison wasn't even allowed to continue at his school; he was so slow, he held the others back!

Let's give our little boys a break, what say, people?

And by the way, taking away a child's recess because he couldn't finish his vocabulary words quickly is cruel and unusual punishment. I suppose the boy would then be punished because he was extra wiggly since his 'outlet' was taken from him? Energetic little children NEED to be let loose on the playground several times a day!!! Taking away recesses for punishment or to make more room for standardized test review is the action of a halfwit who knows nothing about either education OR children and probably hasn't been in a classroom since 1972 politician, superintendent, or some other administrator who falls into the 'nimrod' category of typical la la land unawareness of real people and how we live. Probably people who do that don't know how to access their email, either, or use a computer. But then, that's what secretaries are for.

I put up with this for 26 years. No wonder I had a potty mouth.

Back in the olden days, there were plenty of outlets for restless boys to work off their excess energy. We sent our boys out to chop wood, plow, herd cows, walk miles to a neighbor or a store, etc. Our boys fell into bed exhausted from genuine labor every night. Now, few boys have any safe or easily obtainable or legitimate outlets, other than sports, for their physical energy and it gets kind of balled up (sorry) in them and then they explode, sometimes for no conceivable reason other than that the kid simply needs an outlet. I'm a huge proponent of self control, but self control can only do so much. Any teacher can tell you that a middle-of-the-day segment devoted to intense physical activity is of vital importance for our students. Girls need it, too, but I'm focusing on the boys in this post. Afternoon classes full of boys who have had absolutely no physical outlet are a nightmare.

Organized games are not enough. Not every kid will get to play. Let the kids run wild for a half hour or so and let the teachers stand there and try to keep them from getting hurt. Hub's elementary school had a hill to slide down and a piney grove to play in. I taught in that same school for years and by then, the piney grove, the hill, and most of the coolest playground equipment had been removed because a kid fell down. Go figure. Our kids don't even know HOW to fall down these days. When they are on ice or trip and really DO fall down, they get hurt because they've had no falling-down experience. Kids fall down. Live with it. Sheesh.

And by the way, this guv'ment standard of requiring our tiny first and second graders to sit still for NINETY MINUTES and read without interruption is ignorance in action on the part of whoever thought that one up. Tell me, Mr. Standards: Can YOU sit absolutely still for ninety minutes and read without interruption? I thought not.

*Dammit **, there I go again.

** Crap.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:38 PM | |

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Say What?

I'm having more than a little bit of trouble understanding how and why Ted Kennedy is suddenly a kindly, revered, heroic, honorable, heaven-blessed, benevolent white-haired gentleman.

I wish him well and I sincerely hope he recovers, as I wish no one ill and hope everyone recovers from whatever has gone wrong, but to single him out as just a little bit below the angels is beyond my comprehension.

Isn't this the same horny drunk who persuaded a young woman - who was not his wife - to get in the back seat of his car, drove off a bridge, abandoned her in the water, saved his own ass, and went home? And never once apologized for it? And called it an "accident" and still does?

Drunks behind the wheel are no different than drunks with guns in malls. That's no accident, either.

Perhaps I am mistaken, and there is another Ted Kennedy.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:50 PM | |

The Summertime Boredom Blues, in E Flat Minor

Summertime sure has changed since dinosaurs ruled the earth I was a kid.

In the summer, I would leave the house right after breakfast and I wouldn't return until Mom called us to lunch. (Each neighborhood mom had a distinctive lunchtime call. Nobody ever got confused until the people with the parrot moved in across the street. Stupid parrot quickly learned to mimic every mom on the block, and we kids were constantly running into the house asking "What do you want?" and the answer would be "Why are you here? I didn't call you!") No normal kid stayed in the house in the summertime. We stayed outside as long as we could see.

All the moms knew that if any of us chose to behave poorly, anywhere in the neighborhood, the MomPolice would instantly put a stop to it and notify the wrong-doer's mother. Every mom was everybody's mom. The village kept us civilized.

After lunch, at which every kid on the block was served the same thing - "take it or leave it" - we were all off again, riding our bikes all over the neighborhood, climbing trees, playing kickball in Becky's back yard - the biggest back yard on the block. We played there even when Becky wasn't home; all back yards were open source back then.

We came back home again only when it started to get dark; we ate a late supper, took a much-needed bath, watched The Beverly Hillbillies, and went to bed. All the summer tomorrows promised to be just as exciting as the first day! The only difference was the half-hour sitcom. Or an hour, on Bonanza night.

Some summer days we spent every waking hour at the public pool, coming home for lunch only because the pool closed for an hour. On those days, we were ravenous at lunchtime. We were hungry before lunchtime, too, but back then, people ate at designated times, not constantly.

Were we fat? Nope, although there was always one fat kid, usually nicknamed Porky or Chubs or Heifer or some such politically scandalous thing nowadays. Did the kid care? Nope; he/she knew he/she was fat. Were we afraid of strangers? Nope. We were warned about taking rides or candy from strangers, but a stranger would have to be insane to try and kidnap one of us; the screaming and tattling would have begun before his foot hit the accelerator. Remember when Colin grabbed the kid in Kindergarten Cop? Remember what happened to the child molester in the novel "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?" Yeah, I'm all for it. Get him, ladies! Yell, kids! Painful death is far too good for people who are mean to children.

Nowadays, kids are rarely allowed to leave the confines of the house, let alone their own yard. Kids on bikes are watched all the way up the block and all the way back. Go AROUND the block? Heaven forbid. These rules make sense for tiny children, but for 5th graders? Oh please.

Kids in summer, nowadays, watch a lot of television and play a lot of video games and do a lot of computer surfing. The trees are too small to climb even if each one didn't have a little fence around it. Other people's back yards are private property.

Your kid wants to play ball? He's put in a structured program run by adults. Your kid wants to play outside? He'll get DIRTY, and wouldn't you rather watch a DVD, and here, have some cake. Kid wants to go someplace? You drive him. And he watches tv in the minivan instead of looking out the window.

Nowadays, if kids are playing in a barn and one of them yells, "Hey, kids, let's do a SHOW!" the other kids will leave the barn to watch TV. They know of nothing else.

I know there are real dangers out there, dangers that were always there but which seem magnified these days. Our kids need to be taught to protect themselves and each other. But parents, let your kids fly free and occasionally out of sight on their bikes, and let them navigate their own neighborhoods, and let them get filthy and hungry and turn off the damn television set.

Give your kids an empty bottle and tell them to fill it with lightning bugs. Send the kids out in the yard to find four-leaf-clovers. Have them hang clean wet towels on the clothesline. Let them rollerskate and the devil take the bruises. A kid without playtime bruises and cuts and scabs and dirt ingrained in the fingernails is a kid who doesn't know how to play.

I know! Give them some CHORES to do! Oh, the humanity!

Send them to Steve Spangler's website to sign up for the experiment of the week.

Help them do that experiment. Make it a family affair. There's even a link for special summer activities for kids over there right now.

Whatever your kids do this summer, try to have them do it outdoors whenever possible. Item: rain will not harm your children. If you have white carpeting and children, you deserve to take the inevitable fall.

Just a few thoughts from an empty nest mommy who misses her bicycling days almost as much as she misses her kids. I did not have white carpeting, but muddy footprints show up on green pretty darn clearly. Who cares?

Cross-posted, in part, on MommyBloggers. The REAL MommyBloggers.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:46 AM | |

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

I found this transcript in my files tonight. It's one of my favorite encounters.

Kid, upon watching video of himself sneaking into the teacher's lounge, kicking the machine, and stealing candy about thirty minutes prior: That ain't me!

Principal: The person in the video looks exactly like you and is wearing the same clothes you're wearing right now.

Kid: He must have stole them from my locker!

Principal: But you're wearing them now.

Kid: He must have put them back, and I found them again, and put them on.

Teacher *: What were you wearing before you found your clothes again and put them on?

Kid: I forget.

Kid's mother: That's not him!

Kid's mother's this week's boyfriend: It is too, the stupid lying little shit.

Kid's mother: He wouldn't do that! He's not that kind!

Boyfriend: Looks to me like he is.

Kid: It ain't me! I swear it ain't!

Kid's mother: He swears it ain't him. That tells me it positively ain't him. My boy don't lie.

Principal: Let's play the video again, in slow motion.

Kid: No! I think that's a kid disguised as me, with my shirt, and my face, and my hat.

Kid's mother: I think so, too. That ain't my son. That's some dirty little thief with my son's shirt and hat on. You should find that kid and torment him! He's got my son's shirt and hat!

Principal: And his fingerprints and face.

Boyfriend: Haw haw, this is hilarious.

Kid's mother: Whose side are you on, you short-dicked parasite?

Boyfriend: After last year, darlin', I'm on the side of the law.

Principal: Does anybody have anything else to say before we turn the video over to the police?

Kid: Can I eat the candy now?

Kid's mother: Shut up, you little idiot!

This kid was in the 8th grade, by the way.

* Guess who?

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:00 AM | |

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bikini Talk: Itsy, Bitsy, Teeny, Weeny, and Polka-Dotted.

See these? They're trash bags.

Remember me? I'm the crazy lady who gets all excited about trash bags.

But if you had to drive around all week with your trash in the back of your pickup truck, you'd want cute trash bags, too. I live out in the country. We have no trash pickup. We drive to the dump every Saturday, and eat at Snow's Drive-in afterwards. It's an enviable life.

And if you hated roaches and ants and bees and wasps and gnats and creepy crawly icky things that like to get in your house and crawl out onto the carpet when guests are looking and possums who eat your cats' food, you'd get excited about these trash bags, too.

They're Repell-em bags, of course, and they honestly, truly work.

And now, for pictures and information about the bikinis. . . oops, LOOK at the time. Sorry, come back later.

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

Monday, May 19, 2008

We Will All Go Together When We Go

I am quickly swept off my feet by a man who can turn a phrase well. Quirky rhymes of rhythmic perfection? I'm his. Tom Lehrer, be mine?

Of course, he's eighty years old now so he probably wouldn't be interested, but Tom? Are you there, Tom? You were a frickin' genius THEN and you're a frickin' genius NOW and I LOVE YOU.

But now I should calm down lest I say something inappropriate in the primal heat of my love for Tom Lehrer.

Masochism Tango, anyone? Elements? Werner Von Braun? Vatican Rag? Pollution? National Brotherhood Week? So Long, Mom? Who's Next? I Got It From Agnes?

What'll it be?

What's that you say? Why of COURSE! Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, it is.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:05 PM | |

For The World In General and For The Person In That Middle Seat, Especially

Oh my gosh, I LOVE flying! I even like the bumps; they remind me of carnival rides, which I also love.

But I wouldn't be ME without a litany of complaints, now would I?

Don't you think it would be nice if everybody was required to shower thoroughly before being allowed on a crowded airplane? I do. I really do.

Some parenting classes before being permitted to reproduce oneself and take said offspring on a plane (or any public place whatsoever) would also be much appreciated by the universe at large. Children who are required to behave properly wherever they go will behave properly on a plane if they know you mean business. Put the kid in his seat, buckle him in, and say, "Now behave yourself, look out the window, sit still, and enjoy the ride. Any talking must be done in your indoor voice." Hopefully, he has a full understanding of what WILL happen to him should he choose to disobey you. Give the kid some gum, too; his ears are popping. And did you really think your Mini-Cooper-sized stroller would fit in the overhead compartment? Oh, and why wouldn't they give that behemoth stroller a thorough going-over at security? Your superior, entitled attitude might have had something to do with it, and besides, a swanky stroller would be an ideal place to hide stuff. Honestly, it was like putting up with Meg and Hamilton Swan, except their dog would have been more pleasant to sit near on a plane.

Did you happen to notice the lovely little boy who spent the three hours and twenty minutes talking quietly to his mother, coloring, dozing, being grateful and appreciative for the peanuts and juice, smiling at people, dozing some more, and looking out the window with pure joy? You probably didn't, but everyone else on the plane did. That child and his parents made us all smile, and your child and you made us cringe.

Helpful hint for all who plan to fly any time soon or in the future: Pee before you get on the plane. This having to unbuckle and run to the can while the plane is taking off is absolutely ridiculous. Your whining to the attendant about not being allowed, is even more so.

I love flying; I haven't done much of it but hope to change that stat soon. If you are going to sit by me, please take a bath before you come to the airport. And if you're too fat to fit in the one seat you paid for, splurge for a first-class seat next time. I've had my share and more of having to share my seat with someone else's ass. So not fair. Oh, and turn your music down. I can't hear mine.

Tra la la, don't you wish I were YOUR seatmate? I'm so easy to get along with as long as everybody behaves.

I'm not so far gone that I'll yell at your kids to get out of my yard - I love it when your kids play in my yard, in fact - but if your kids don't behave themselves in my yard, you'll know about it.

I wanted to know; I just assume all parents want to know. I also assume all parents will do something about it, on the ground and in the air.

Children who refuse to behave are brats; adults who refuse to behave are. . . why, my goodness, they're brats, too!

And NOBODY likes a brat.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:29 PM | |

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Click, Click, Click, HOME

I'll be home again on Saturday night - TS, may we stay with you that night? - so be thinking of me, please, as I catapault through the air from West to Middle on that day.

So far from home, and yet, on the internet, we are all home. Our computers are Dorothy's red shoes; a few clicks and we are home.

And Dorothy was right: There's no place like home. It's just that you don't have to BE home to be at home.

Ah, internet, my big comfy couch.

Why NO, I've never been normal, but thanks for asking.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:58 PM | |

Monday, May 12, 2008

In A Previous Life

In a previous life, I think I must have been Alice from The Brady Bunch. I love to cook for lots of people!

I also dress funny, have "decided" opinions, and, until last week, I had weird, dowdy hair.

Honestly, though? I am having the best time in my SIL's beautiful kitchen!

I'm tellin' you: Upstairs, Downstairs? No contest. I was born for the scullery. As long as I can get out for the opera and a lot of live theatre (preferably musical) I could do this all the time.

I'd have access to the Mahsta's big library, right?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:08 PM | |

Sunday, May 11, 2008

We Live in a Big Geography Book

It's incredible to me that I could be a thousand miles from home, and yet the internet is exactly the same as it always is. It's Sci Fi, is what it is.

What is NOT the same is the geography. I'm in the mountains for a week, and I am completely minimized by the size of them. Minimized, and maximized. Flying here, I watched the topography change, and change, and change again. Not little minor changes, either: HUGE changes. The plane covered five or six chapters in a geography book and it was awesome.

Yesterday we experienced one of the fiercest hailstorms I'd ever seen, but there was no talk of tornadoes and no siren. When the clouds started moving in, low against the mountain, there was no mention of rain; the kids were sent outside to sniff for fire. There are no possums here, either. What equivalent do they have? I don't know yet. I'm sure they have something, though.

I like it out here. I could live here happily.

My brother and sister-in-law are lovely, friendly, interesting people,and my two nephews are GREAT.

The new haircut and style my Tumorless Sister set me up with is great, too.

The immensity of my frumpiness must have been too much for her to stand. Thank you, T.S. You're wonderful and I love you.

VERY odd flight, ours. Three segments to get here, and the longest segment flown in a tiny commuter plane! Headwinds, too; fortunately, I am not affected by a bumpy ride but several passengers were.

A childhood full of hanging upside-down and spinning at the 4-H Fair prepared me for just such a flight.

Many more violent flights like that, and I would want to buy stock in whatever company that manufactures those tiny vomit bags.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:01 AM | |

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I Am I: Mamacita; My Destiny Calls And I Go

This is my favorite Picasso*, and it hangs in the foyer of my home. I've loved it for many years; a copy hung in the men's side of my college dorm, and it used to fascinate me. No, wait, I mean. . .oh heck. (Um, somebody told me it was there.) (It was the MEN'S dorm! Why would I sneak want to go in there?) (I mean, you had to know how to pick the lock of the side door!)

Ahem. Well, moving right along. . . . I love Don Quixote de la Mancha. I love his unfailing insistence that life IS beautiful, even when it is at its most un-beautiful. I love the way he tilted at windmills. I love the language, the grammar, the turn-of-phrase. I love the use of the word "tilted." I love "The Impossible Dream," although when Jim Nabors sings it, I can't look.

I love how he, like Pippa, changes the lives of almost everyone who encounters him merely by his ontological presence. He passes through, and everyone he touches is better. He doesn't change people on purpose; he merely is what he is, and suddenly - or gradually - others become what they should be instead of what they actually were.

He speaks; he acts; those who listen are improved; the world is better for it.

I think this is what good teachers do.

*It's not the ORIGINAL, for heaven's sake! It's just a framed poster, but I love it.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:59 AM | |

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Speaking of Voting. . . .

It would make me very happy if some of you would go to that "Ed in '08" icon in the sidebar, click on it, and vote for me.

It would make me even happier if ALL of you would do that.


If it would help, I can beg.

I can't go to the conference, because even though it's an education conference, it's scheduled for the middle of the week. It looks as though it will be a really good conference, however. I wonder how many teachers will take those days off so near the end of the year? I'd go in a minute if it was later in the summer, or on a weekend.

Meanwhile, please vote for me. I'd really appreciate it. Thank you.

Please observe: I have not intruded into your home, and my grammar ain't so not badly.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:25 PM | |

Monday, May 05, 2008

Where Does She GET These People?

Just so you know, the person I believe would be the best president for our country doesn't have a chance. I'd love to vote for him, but it would only be taking a vote away from the only thing standing between us and a world leader who cackles and has short-term memory loss. (No, it's not McCain; are you CRAZY?)

For the record, of the two major political candidates running for president, only one of them is harassing me at home. The other candidate has graciously left me alone to make my decision based on his speeches, his opinions about things that are important to me, and his lack of personal involvement in scandals having to do with sex, money, enabling deviant behavior, lies, and bilking the public. He also found the time to come right here to my community, himself, to talk.

I especially appreciate the fact that he has never intruded.

We are being bombarded with phone calls from various Hilary Clinton headquarters, and except for the latest call - less than a minute ago - all of the calls have been either truly dreadful taped tirades against Obama, or dramatic, pleading, undignified requests for my vote that can only be called "begging."

I would suggest to Hilary that she hire phone soliciters who sound less like, um, other kinds of soliciters. Where did she get some of these people? Minsky's? A few people who know how to put together a complete sentence would be nice to throw into the mix, as well. Oh, and I do NOT appreciate being called "dear" by a politician's lap dummy, thankyouverymuch.

As for her lackeys who persisted in arguing with me after I said, "No, thank you," I can only say. . . well, no, I can't say it. I go a bit too far sometimes on my blog, but I'll have to plead the "Auntie Em" for this one. Bonus points if you know what that is.

We are also getting a lot of calls from "Hilary Clinton" that have no message or voices at all; I pick up the receiver and there's nobody there. I can hear activity in the background, but there's nobody on the phone. We don't bother picking up any more for that.

I am not a political blogger, not by anyone's stretch of the imagination, but I am a fairly intelligent citizen, and I treasure my vote and honestly believe somebody is counting it. I believe that Americans who choose not to vote aren't pulling their weight, and that non-voters had better not voice their political opinions after the fact; they forfeited that privilege when they decided not to vote.

I believe that if someone is running for office, and wants my vote, then that someone had better not be calling my home and bothering me when I'm busy, or even when I'm not busy. And if a candidate insists on intruding, then that intruder had better be able to spin a witty, grammatical, brief, and convincing gem of a reason she should have my vote, and her reasons had better not include anything about her opponent. That would pretty much rule out all those oversized post cards about gun control she's been mailing to me, over and over and over, too. Trees? TREES, Hilary! As soon as one candidate starts talking trash about the other candidate, somebody's cause is already lost, as far as I'm concerned. I consider such methods to be nothing more than diversionary tactics, representative of the vicious, mean-spirited nature of someone who has things she definitely wants covered up about herself. No names mentioned.

You're running for office? Tell me what YOU plan to do. Let the other guy tell me what HE plans to do. Be nice to each other. This whole country is going down the pop-culture-obsessive, entitlement, look at meeeee, tubes, and I get enough wahhh wahhh, did not, did so, did not, did tooooooo in the national news now, thanks.

Oh, and when that candidate's people phone me at home, again and again and again, with those dreadful nasal, been-smoking-all-my-life-and-ain't-nobody-gonna-stop-me-now women's voices and the bad, bad, bad grammar and the logic that can best be categorized as "nonexistent," well, "dear," I'll have to tell you that you'll get my vote, sure. When hell freezes over.

Now, will you please tell your minions to leave me alone? I mean JEEPERS!

As for the child who called me just a few minutes ago: I really don't put much credibility in anybody of any age who has Melanie Griffith's voice, either. How about you just lay the hell off me? Hmm? Can you do that for me? Every call I get just reminds me of more reasons why I am not voting for you.

Next time, hire better people. Oh, they were volunteers? Heaven help you, then.

I just got another call from the Hilary Connection. On my CELL PHONE. That cost me two units of time, but it cost you much, much more. I never talk politics with my students, even though they've been begging me to tell them who I'm voting for.

This is the last week of class. If they ask me again, I'm telling them. And if they ask me why, I'm telling them why.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:07 PM | |

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Comic Books USED To Be Awesome; Now, They're Just Overpriced

We just got back from (drum roll!) the movie theater!

And yes, Iron Man was pretty good.

Of course, I'm a big comic book nerd from WAY back, even though my preference was DC. Hub, on the other hand, is a huge Marvel fan. You should just SEE what's in our garage!

Life is full of regrets. If only I'd been tidier as a small child, Mom wouldn't have swept through my room like a piranha, and I'd still have all those ten-cent Superman comics.

I loved my DC comics so much, I subscribed to them! They arrived bent in two, with a crease so sharp even time couldn't straighten it out, but it also meant I got mine before the stores did, which was, for some reason, cool back then.

I only stopped buying them because: A) We were poor, and comic book prices went up and are still up so high it's a joke, and B) Both DC and Marvel got rid of all the good artists and hired bad ones.

And with the bad artists came a parade of bad writers, who changed the characters' origins and looks and costumes and friends and motivations and nemeses and eras and powers until they might as well have just invented their own character and left the original characters' characters alone.

I loved my comic books so much that even though we were too poor to buy milk, I might have sold my blood every month to keep up with The Legion of Super-Heroes.

After the big changeovers, however, I really couldn't have cared less about them, even while I mourned the death of my beloved heroes. Because, you know, the changes were so drastic, the original characters really were dead to me. And I hated their replacements.

Also, Stan Lee is in Iron Man, if you look closely. Just like Hitchcock always appeared in his films, Lee appears in his.

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

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Excuse Me, Mr. Horse. What Are Your Feelings About That Fall?

When every single employee in a medical facility is wearing scrubs, and everybody's name tag just has his/her name and nothing else, how are you supposed to tell the janitors from the doctors? How are you supposed to know who's the receptionist and who's the neurologist?

I suppose it makes a house of horror into something bright and folksy, but when you're in the market for a diagnosis and some radiation, it would be nice to know who's the doctor and who's the Senior Girl Scout volunteer-of-the-day.

(Don't anybody worry; I'm fine!)

But I think only the nurses and doctors should be wearing scrubs.

I agree with Mr. Horse. No sir, I didn't like it.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:49 PM | |

It Was A SHAG!!! A SHAG!!!

This is Nancy and me in the Lodge at Camp Towaki. I loved that place. Camp Towaki: Place Where Friends Meet.

It's been a long time since I've let my hair grow long. It was long all through college, and then for some reason I went out and had it all chopped off. (That was NOT a mullet - it was a SHAG. That's right, SHAG. Make of it what you will.) (It's on my Flickr; judge for yourself.)

It's not a mullet!!!!

And then, right before I got married, it was decided that the shag had grown into something too shaggy to be endured, and the day of my wedding shower, my Tumorless Sister went at me with a curling iron and put a pageboy on me.

I tend to keep a hairstyle until long past its expiration date - you can ask my kids. We were looking through some old photo albums the other night and as my children grew taller, my hair just stayed the same. When I tried to explain that my hairstyle had been in the height of fashion the year I got married, and there were some doubts about it even then back when kings always had a pageboy to bring them wine on a silver tray, they just laughed. We turned the page and there they were, a little older, and there I was, a lot older and with the same hairstyle. We turned the page again. There it was again. Their childhoods had one big consistency: Mommy's hair.

A direct quotation from my son: "Mom, I refuse to believe that hairdo was EVER in style."

Thank you, baby boy. Sigh.

Won't somebody tell my laughing children that a combination bowl cut/pageboy used to be cool? That it used to look good? Anybody? Somebody?

Oh, all RIGHT then.

About ten years ago, I cut my hair really short and it's been short ever since. I figured, why pay somebody to cut it when I could manage this one myself? Isn't that what manicure scissors are for?

Apparently, it was noticeable that knowledgeable hands weren't wielding the scissors.

Around last Christmas, I decided that it was time for something different, so I started letting my hair grow. Right now, it's shoulder-length, but it's SOOOOO straight and fine, and whenever I picked up a curling iron I ended up with that same damn pageboy/bowlcut thing, and then I saw that episode of Scrubs with the really cool old lady, Mrs. Tanner, who decided she was ready to die rather than submit to dialysis, and she was really, really old, albeit cool, and she had my same hair style, the hairstyle I invariably ended up with whenever anybody aimed a curling iron at me. And it looked great on her, in spite of the fact that she was really, really old, and a lot of old people don't actually look all that good in long hair, but I didn't want to have Mrs. Tanner's hair, either.

Well, unless you're Emmylou Harris, which nobody is except her, and while Emmylou can get by with long hair even at her age, not many old people can. That one had to go, too. so I started wearing my hair UP.

I liked it up. I've been wearing my hair up for several months now, and I really like it up. I've got all kinds of pretty hair clips and things, and I'm really having fun with it.

Well, until yesterday, when I got a good luck at the back of my hair in the mirror of the college restroom, which is extra bright so the young girls can primp accurately.

The top few layers of my hair are still kind of golden blonde, but underneath? Underneath, which didn't show unless I wore my hair up? There were WHITE STREAKS under there!

Oh HELLZnah. I got in the car and drove home and I haven't been out of the house since. I'm having lunch tomorrow with my wonderful Cousin C, and my beautiful mother, neither of whom have a gray or white hair on their heads, and I hope it's dim in the restaurant.

Because I think I'd rather show a few white streaks than look like Mrs. Tanner. Or some of the old women I've seen in the mall, with waist-length hair and butterfly clips, who all look strangely pitiful to me.

And I think I'll stop by K-Mart on the way home and check out Miss Clairol.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:24 AM | |


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