Sunday, December 23, 2012

... And Another!

I am making ornaments with the kids this afternoon and evening.  Earlier, we were painting walnuts as part of a particular ornament.

CAM asked me, "Mommy, do you know there's sumping in here?"
I said, "Yes, honey, it's a walnut. The outside is just the shell."
CAM:  "What kind of nut did you say, Mommy?"
WHM:  "A dunkin donut, CAM!  A Dunkin Do-NUT!"

And the two of them proceeded to giggle themselves into a frenzy.

I love it when they crack (hahah, pun intended!) their own jokes -- but I love it even more when the jokes make sense!


Bath Time with WHM

Conversation after WHM had been in the tub for about ten minutes of playtime after "scrub-a-dubbing":

Me:  Okay, W, are you about ready?

WHM: No, I'm still paying.  [playing]


WHM:  It takes my time.


Friday, December 14, 2012


There are no words that can possibly express what I’m feeling tonight as I write this, and what I am sure almost everyone is feeling.  One of my friends put it best: words are hollow.  There is nothing to say. So let’s not.  For just a little while, let’s not.

But I can’t not say anything, because writing is cathartic for me.  I know I am not the best writer, so if you don’t care to read any more on this horrific subject, I understand. 

Today around lunchtime, I heard about “a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.” The headline was vague and I was teaching all day (today’s my busy day) and so I didn’t get to read anything.  I “chalked it up,” as awful as that sounds, hoping it was a lovers’ quarrel or something.  Something with adults.  Something that happened to take place at an elementary school, but which really had nothing to do with an elementary school.

Then, after school, I had a flurry of kids in my room and I still didn’t know.

More accurately, I had No. Idea.

And then, when I was down to only one kid in my room, I got to see the headline that said there were 18 dead.  And then I clicked again, and I saw it was mostly kids in a kindergarten classroom.

And I had to stop myself from throwing up on my desk.

I started to sob, and I could barely get the words out.

I closed my laptop, locked it up, and walked out of my room.  Trembling, I put on my jacket and scarf and grabbed my purse.  I walked next door to Victoria’s room and she looked at me and I started to sob again as I got out the words. 

“That shooting?  (sob, sob) The one we saw at lunch?  (SOB SOB) 18 kindergarteners were killed.”

And I sobbed and sobbed and she came and hugged me and I hugged her back and told her I had to go.

I left early; I couldn’t get to CAM fast enough.

And, as with almost everything in this world, I thought too much about too much.

I haven’t stopped thinking, actually, and I have cried a whole lot tonight.  I don’t cry about the news, really, ever.  I get sad or angry or feel terribly bad for people, but I don’t cry; and tonight I can’t stop crying.

There is a photo I’ve now seen countless times on our news, of a mother with long brown hair with a cell phone to her ear.  She looks to be in in absolute despair.  The look on her face as she is getting the worst news of her life will haunt me forever.  I have seen that photo so many times and I can not begin to imagine the feeling of that woman.  My heart aches for her more than I have ever ached for anything else.

My Facebook newsfeed, of course, is a flurry of anti-gun sentiment and even, among my overseas friends, anti-American sentiments.

I find it to be a tasteless, all-too-American response to a tragedy.  Within a millisecond, place the blame.  We. Must. Blame. Someone.

One of my friends posted a graphic that said that everyone’s coming up with “solutions,” but sometimes we just can not fix evil.  I reposted it. 

Maybe I am crazy, but I don’t think that it’s appropriate to play this political anti-gun-blame-someone game within hours of such a tragedy.  Regardless of one’s stand on guns, gun availability, gun control – now is not the time.  Perhaps I just have the wrong friends.  But what I saw on Facebook broke my heart.  It was ignorant; it was arrogant; it was almost, even, smug.  “This is awful and here’s why it happened and here’s how we fix it, and I can’t believe we’ve even having this conversation, it’s so obvious and you must be so stupid to need it spelled out.”


Because people have just lost their lives.  Precious kindergarteners, among the most innocent of all innocents, died today at the hands of a psychopath.

I’d like to honor their lives, mourn their deaths, and pray for their families.

So, those of you that are busily blaming guns and people and laws and everything else, we’re not friends anymore.  Forgive my own crassness in saying this, but this decision has nothing to do with your politics, and everything to do with your lack of class.

Another friend of mine sat in the car pick-up line this afternoon to get her daughter from school, and remarked about how there are 20 parents who sent their kids off to school today and will never get to see them again.

I pray for them.   With all my heart and all I can do, I pray for them.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

High School Wisdom #12386973563586356

There was an awesome conversation in my room first thing this morning, when one kid was fussing at another kid whose pants were ... well, lower than they ought to have been.

For the sake of simplicity, I'll call the kids D and A.   I am stripping the conversation of slang, but you might want to kick it with a cool accent, yo.

D:  A, man, pull up your pants!
A:  No, man, they're good.
D:  You look stupid.  Pull up your pants.
A:  Man, leave me alone.  I'm fine.
D:  You're not fine!  You know what they say!
A:  Wha?
D:  People see your booty, they think you're fruity!  Pull up your dang pants!


And let the record show that both of these kids are super, super kids, and the entire class laughed in the way you laugh when you're having a good time with friends.  I love those kids. 

But I now will forever know the booty-fruity rule.  And so will you.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making a List ...

... sadly, not to check twice, but merely of things I need to blog about, and stat!

I'm still (s-t-i-l-l) working on the photos issue.  So I've used that as an excuse and been quiet lately and in the meantime I'm accumulating a list as tall as I am.

Let's start here and I promise to spend this week (a) fixing the photo thing and (b) checking things off this list:

1.  CAM's Christmas pageant
2.  our tree!
3.  WHM's Christmas concert
4.  Snow day!
5.  Parent conferences and suspended students and discipline issues, and assorted other cool and not-so-cool school things, oh my
6. Why I love Crazy 8
7.  More PW recipes that I've been totally slacking about.  And by totally slacking, I mean really.  completely. totally. slacking.
8.  Christmas cards!

Miss me?  I miss you, I really do!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spotted on Facebook

Whoever decided to put the "b" in "subtle" was brilliant.


Monday, December 3, 2012


As you know, we're pretty big Alabama fans in our house.

We also like Dominick the Donkey.

While Alabama is, by comparison, relatively new in my life, Dominick the Donkey is a song we grew up with in my house.

So where am I going with these unrelated nuggets of amazing information?

I'm getting there, I'm getting there!

See, this weekend we took a quick overnight trip to NH.  And on the way back after a very full day (which itself was after a very sleepless night), we stopped at a rest stop, and WHM went from being sound asleep to very much awake and very much unhappy.

And I broke out my cell phone and YouTube in much the same way I did two years ago when we drove late Christmas night from my parents' house in NY to my in-laws' in Maine, racing just a few hours ahead of a blizzard that threatened to make our trip North impossible.  That is to say, I took out my phone, clicked on the YouTube app, and found a Dominick the Donkey video that soothed my two amazing children.

And I did it again this weekend -- only this time, we'd just heard Kid Rock's song that samples Sweet Home Alabama, and so we watched the Million Dollar Band, and the various football team intros to Bryant Denny.  We watched the Crimsonettes, the Roll Tide ESPN commerical, and a "Mexican" version of Yea Alabama, and we listened to about 99,999 versions of Yea Alabama and Rammer Jammer -- and of course, we listened to Coach Bryant.

And it was nothing short of awesome.  And I was amazed not just at how much fun it was (or how it soothed two grumpy and exhausted children, but also how it made Mick and me just smile the whole drive home), but also that -- hey -- we were even doing it.  That we were in the middle of rural Maine, with a device only slightly bigger than a deck of cards (and a whole lot thinner) watching videos in better picture quality than our living room tv had, essentially on a lark.  We thought of it and within seconds, we were watching it.  That such a scenario was even possible just really gave me pause.

Anyway.  Fast forward to tonight, we we went to dinner and to run some errands in Portland, a solid 30-40 minutes south of us.  And on the drive home, we watched Dominick the Donkey and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (CAM's new favorite song!) and we were all laughing and singing and it occurred to me that THIS -- THIS is what life is about.  We've had a rocky year and for a few months it's seemed like we couldn't do anything without something coming up to take the wind out of our sails. And then tonight, by the grace of some satellites and a slick little phone, we had a family drive that was right out Leave it to Beaver.

And it was awesome.

I still remember vividly the Christmas Eve when I was probably six and we drove home from my Aunt Patty's house and listened to the Santa radar on the radio.  For a moment, I sat there tonight hoping my kids remember this night forever in just that same way -- full of magic, not a care in the world.  Mommy singing, Daddy dancing as he drove, and all of us laughing in the middle of Nowhere, Maine. 

Life is good.


Stupid Bleeps!

I was just standing in my bedroom and heard WHM say, "stupid jackasses," apparently to nobody.

I went to his room and saw him standing at his wall, near a haphazard placement of stickers he'd put up yesterday.  I calmly asked, "What did you just say?"

WHM: Sorry, Mommy.

Me: Okay, but what did you say?

WHM: Stupid jackasses.

Me: That's not a nice thing to say, buddy. Don't say that again. Why did you say that?

WHM: Because these stupid stickers won't stick to my wall!!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

You Know You're Old When ...

... you hear a kid in class say, "one time..." and you finish it with, " band camp?" and the kid looks at you and asks, "Is that from a movie?"

And then you realize to your horror that the movie came out the year they were born and they genuinely have no earthly idea what you're talking about.




I Don't Understand Football*

* more precisely, college football and the BCS.

There.  I've said it.

Just like in my last post I said I was awesome, here, I'm saying I don't understand football.

"Why?" you ask.

"How on earth?" you ask.

Well, let me explain.

While everyone on earth seems to be saying what an amazing, epic game the SEC championship was this weekend, while Sport Illustrated is busy gushing about Alabama and the NY Times is, too, I am perplexed.

See, I watched that game on Saturday.

And yes, I saw some good football.  I also saw some interceptions (it's okay, it happens), some broken plays, and -- in those last crucial two minutes -- Alabama practically roll over and play dead.  I was on the phone with Mick, giving him play-by-play, and could not believe how Georgia marched down the field.  If they'd spiked the ball or had a time-out left, Georgia would have won.


Or am I just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous?

(Okay, I know, probably both.)

Yes, it was a great and exciting game.  (A little too exciting, if you ask me -- after all, I'm an Alabama fan!)

But Alabama made some mistakes and put itself in a bad position a few times, so to hear everyone talking about what a great and dominant team my beloved Tide is, well, I am resigned to the fact that I must be either

(a) spoiled by the incredible talent level of the SEC to the point where I take games like this for granted, or

(b) not quite football-smart enough.

I don't know.  I'm guessing it must be "B."  It was an excellent nail-biter of a game and goodness knows the stakes were as high as they could possibly be.  (And I feel bad, truly, for Georgia, because that was an awful way to lose, and with the stupid BCS system, they now are punished in a way that I think is grossly unfair.  Mick and I are watching the bowl selection show right now and we can't stop talking about the system and how it is awful, and not just to SEC teams; ESPN just showed what the playoff would have looked like if there was one this year, and it was beyond ridiculous in terms of hurting the SEC.  But that's for another day. The whole thing makes my head spin in confusion, frustration, and anger.  It's a bad system.  I can rant later.)  Back to the SEC Championship, though: I feel like I am missing something when I watch the press talk about the game last night as one to prove Alabama's dominance.  One for the ages, sure.  Alabama dominance?  Not so sure. 

Did any of you watch that game?  What did you think? 


HUGE Score!

You know me, so you know I really love a sale. 

But if you really know me (or if you've been reading along these past 11 months), you know that I really, really love a huge score of a deal.

I think Mick and I got the best deal of our lives together this weekend.

Background:  Are you familiar with LL Bean Signature?  Think Banana Republic and J.Crew meet LL Bean.  I love it.  

(I also love Banana and J.Crew ... even though I've not needed "grown-up clothes" for about five years!)

So ... we were poking around the LL Bean outlet the other day, and right there on the end of a rack was this skirt.  (This is perhaps the worst picture ever.  The skirt is GORGEOUS in person and the colors are much softer.  And while I'm at it, don't mind the awful tights the model is wearing.  Shoot, maybe I shouldn't have posted this link.)

I'd post a picture of my own, but ... well, I've not resolved that issue yet.  Sorry 'bout that.

ANYway.  Back to my story.

Original price, $129.

Outlet price, $69.99

Clearance price, $12.99

And then ... HALF OFF!

And because we were in NH, no sales tax.

That's 95% off, my dears.  I paid $6.49 for a (gorgeous, I might add, and totally in-season -- it's wool) skirt that was originally $129.

Who's awesome?!

That's me.  Just this once, I'm going to say it:  I'm awesome. 

Oh, okay, fine.  The deal was awesome.  But I'm claiming the credit!!!