Saturday, February 14, 2015

Like Finding a Dollar in Your Coat Pocket

Surprise! I am still here. The thing is life has just been chugging along , doing it's thing, and I have been jogging along side it trying to keep up. All is well here in these parts. We are having a winter with more rain than snow ( a source of frustration for this snow lover). Both girls are doing quite well. Both earned Honor Roll (a first for Bean).

Caroline is still driven and hard working. The realities of grown up life have become apparent to her. She is mulling over the cost of college and a car and a future career. She wants to choose a path with a good financial future. While I admire her practicality, I would rather she choose the path that makes her happy. She really wants to do something that will help people ( social work or psychology), but is worried that there is no money in it. We toured George Mason today (one of her top choices). She seemed so overwhelmed with choosing a major. I told her that she didn't have to decide right now. It will all become clear once she starts taking classes and exploring her interests (high school here does not allow that, everything is geared towards specialty programs, no wonder my child feels like she needs to have her path set). Of course, when you are standing on the edge of a perceived abyss, trying to decide your entire life, you don't want to hear platitudes (regardless of their truth) from your mother. So, I stopped talking. This is a new skill that I am polishing. I am mastering the art of just letting things go. Generally, my words are heard, stored away, and brought up later.

Lily is doing much better. I might not agree with her teacher's methods, but she clearly loves Lily. She is the first teacher to see the same intelligence and creativity that we have always seen. She is in robotics club and the Lego club. As of this moment, she wants to be an architect or engineer. Of course, she is Lily and in two years this will all change. She still has her "shiny happy fits of rage," but they are short lived and she easily moves on. She still has trouble sleeping and for the life of me, I don't know what to do about this. I have no choice but to wait it out.

As for me? There is a good reason why I have been so absent on this blog. I have been really busy. I LOVE my class. They are the sweetest and most amazing little class. I have a student with a pretty severe seizure disorder and I have been spending a lot of time researching and creating modifications for her. I am also pretty entrenched in local politics in relation to education. There are big changes going on here with budgets and education. I am a polite advocate who has been trying to rally the troops to come up with some solution that will not hurt students and teachers. It is my opinion that the further away educators move from working with actual children, the less their decisions reflect what is best for children. As a country our education system is in crisis. We need less business and political input and more educator input. See, I have big opinions. My motto should be "Speak softly and carry big ideas." As my girls start to head off on their own paths, I need to find one for myself. Education has always been the path I return to time and time again. I am a career teacher with no aspirations for administration positions. I intend to stay where I am needed until I retire.

No I'm Not a Prude

I have always been a bit of a literary snob. Books were not always readily available where I grew up, so I read what I could find. Which is why I developed an early taste for classics. Young adult novels were a relatively new category and there were not the caliber of YA writers that there are now (there were exceptions of course). In fifth grade, I held the kids who read "Choose Your Own Adventure" or novelizations of movies in disdain (remember I was reading Little Women). Well, Lily has changed my views on that. We had a heated discussion about the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series. I declared they were "real" books. Why? Were the words invisible? Were the books made from air? Guess what snob? Your child is reading, so get over yourself! Reading is not the passion for her that it is for Caroline and I. Truth be told, Caroline and I have very different tastes. I tried to get her to read the classics, but she found the language and pacing tedious. Caroline enjoys thick action novels. Lily enjoys graphic novels. Reading is reading.

I do have one exception on my new rule. I refuse to read anything demeaning to women and will uphold this for the girls. As a young girl, I loved fairy tales. I had a serious case of princess syndrome. I really thought that one day I would be rescued by a handsome prince. Once I was older, I was able to read the original and international versions and see the stories for the twisted dark tales they are.

I never understood the obsession with the Twilight books. Neither Caroline or I read them. They just seemed like cheesy junk. I haven't read any of the Fifty Shades books either. I have read enough quotes to be concerned. If you are an adult who knows your mind and understands this is not based in reality and is for fun, well enjoy! But, having worked with women (and their children) who have been in abusive and controlling relationships. The books seems to give the idea that a sweet submissive girl-woman can cure/save an asshole. There is a piece on Upworthy that is worth looking at. Being a woman is hard enough. There is no need to perpetuate the idea that a rough man can be saved by a good woman or that poor girls can be rescued by "princes" and live happily ever after.

Lucy, You Got Some 'Splaining to Do!

Despite my efforts to be an community minded intellectual who has her crap together, I still do the stupidest things. I am Lucille Ball.

I have had an on and off perpetual cold all winter (occupational hazard). Last week, it amped up and kicked my butt. According to Rob, I am not getting much air at night ( I know, get my tonsils out, but it will have to wait until I can take time off). Consequently, I have been very tired. Tuesday night all I wanted was an avocado. I was holding it, pitting it (recklessly according to my oldest), when the knife slipped and stuck in my palm. It wasn't very deep, but it was still a shock to look at my hand and see a knife (well, the tip of one) in it. I called "Rob, I stabbed my hand with a knife." He wasn't even surprised. He looked at my hand and decided it wasn't deep enough for stitches. Instead of my normal cursing, I started crying "All I wanted was a stupid avocado!" Caroline handed me a bandage (with averted eyes), and Rob simply told me to go to bed and get some sleep.

After sleep, we were able to make jokes "Were you trying to perform your own carpal tunnel surgery?" "I thought I'd try blood letting as a way to get rid of this cold."

It hurt like crazy for a few days (it was in my left hand, which is the one I haven't had surgery on yet) and I kept it wrapped so neither the kids or I would bump it. I was worried that I had really messed up my hand, but like most of my other screw ups, it was more of a minor annoyance.

PS I am buying a special mouth guard so I can sleep. I also had another avocado on Thursday night. I used kitchen tongs to pit it. It was delicious!