Sunday, November 30, 2008


I'm sort of nervous to go to bed tonight.

I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be a very important day, but I'm not sure why.

It could be good or it could be bad, but something is in the air.

I had better get to bed so I can face whatever it is without bags under my eyes.

*Written to dissuade any self-fulfilling prophesies. Unless they're good.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

A Thanksgiving Joke:

Why did the turkey cross the road?

Because it was the chicken's day off.

My son, who wants to be a movie star when he grows up, tried this joke out in the kitchen today while we were cooking. When he didn't get a big laugh, he decided to try the joke out on Grandpa, but with rewritten lines.

Why did the turkey cross the road?

Because it didn't want to be meat-i-fied.

Maybe he will be a movie star. Directors will hate him anyway.

Let me take a moment to be a little corny today and reflect on the many things I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my husband, who stands by me no matter what. I am thankful for my kids and their good hearts. I am thankful for all those people who love me just for being me. I am thankful for the resources to live a good life while still doing exactly what I want to do on a daily basis.

And I am thankful for this little spot on the web where I get to be just who I want to be, and I am thankful for all of you who care enough to check in from time to time.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Man

My parents are visiting again. They arrived last night.

My husband is a trooper.

He's also meeting with a lawyer today to discuss this issue.

Can't help loving that man of mine.

Friday, November 21, 2008

If It's Not One Thing...

1) It is freaking snowing here! And to all those folks who naysayed my kids when they were so happy about moving "up North" and having snow, I say...fuck you. It's November.

2) I decided to try really hard to write about non-mom stuff on the blog for a bit. I need a little break from my mom self. It hasn't worked out so well. Without my mom self, I've pretty much got nothing.

3) The boy was Student of the Week for his class this week. That meant he got to bring a show-and-tell everyday. On Tuesday he brought his violin and played for his class. His teacher was so impressed she made him play for his music teacher and a bunch of other classrooms. "I made him play about twenty songs!" she told me.

He was very proud. Last night he told me he overheard someone in the bathroom say that he played better than the fifth graders in orchestra. I'm sure he does.

This morning I told him he had to pick something very special to bring for show-and-tell. He asked, "Can I bring my sister?" How sweet is that?

4) The husband was in San Antonio all week. I seriously cannot wait for him to get home tonight. I've been up to 2 or 3 a.m. every night this week (not by choice). I don't know if I can stay awake until midnight to greet him.

5) My college roommate found me on Facebook. She's still married to the guy she dated through college and they have four daughters. Every one of them looks more like their mom than the last. That is so surreal. I've seen that girl puking up a 2 liter bottle of Purple Passion.

6) I'm trying to plan a trip to New York for a certain blogger's birthday but things keep getting in the way. Including a fourth grade recorder concert. She just played violin at a Bach Festival at the Chrysler Museum of Art but now I have to go watch her squeak through a recorder concert. Eh, I suppose I love the kid. As much as she drives me insane.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why I'm Up at 2 a.m.

I stayed up late baking for Teacher Appreciation at school tomorrow.

If I never see anther chocolate chip cookie in my entire life, that will be okay with me.

Okay, that's total bullshit. But I'm done baking for a while. By 2 a.m. those platters started looking like a giant pair of boobs to me.

I'll be sleeping in tomorrow (today, actually). Hold my calls, please.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Awakening the Beast

If you've been paying any attention at all in the last few weeks, you've noticed the new energy in the air. Activism seems to be alive and well. I'm loving it!

It's like somebody poked the big gay beast. And they poked him at the perfect time, a time when people are finally starting to feel some hope. The fire is lit and it isn't going out anytime soon.

I've never felt like I could make a difference in any large way. I could only take solace that a lifetime of small but deliberate acts would add up.

I can teach my kids about respect, empathy and equality. I can write the occasional letter to an editor. I can put forth my name and face as a person who loves gay people and strongly believes in their right to be recognized as fully human and fully American.

Now in my small corner of the world, my fire has been fanned. My own inner beast has been poked.

I'm pissed.

We're part of an association that owns and manages the little beach at the end of our street on Cape Cod. The executive committee has put forth an amendment to the group's bylaws for our consideration. It contains a bunch of rules about the renting of our homes. Homes that we own.

I was perturbed enough about the fact that this association was trying to tell me what we could and could not do with a home that we own and that is not a part of a restrictive home owners association. But one of the last proposed rules sent me over the edge.

"Families only."

They might as well have just written, "No gays or single people allowed."

Fuck that shit. If I want to rent my home to my best gay bud for a summer, I will do it. If I want to rent my home to our school-teaching lesbian neighbors for a summer away, I will do it.

Who are these people to define family anyway?

It might be plausible to think that the association is only trying to keep hordes of frat boys off of their beach, but I know better. I've had gay friends spend the summer. I've had gay friends visit. And it pissed these people off.

We are expected to write back to the executive committee to tell them how we feel. Man, are they going to get an earful from me. I'm also going to investigate the legality of such a clause and any legal recourse we might have.

I'm glad to say that my husband is on board with me. But he might not be as willing as I to take drastic measures.

I'll sell that house below value to any gay couple/person willing to buy it just out of spite. The area has become popular with lesbians.

Worse yet, I am willing to sell out. Our extended family owns the property on one entire side of that little neighborhood. There are only two houses there now. But with the property all combined, there could be a whole new development. One of my husband's relatives has been trying to trick us into rezoning our land for years. He'd be more than happy to put in a trailer park.

I love my house on the Cape. But I don't love spending my summer among bigots. I will be there in July at the next board meeting. My husband's beloved grandmother was the heart and soul of that community before she died. She must be rolling in her grave to know what they are trying to do now.

How can I be so sure? She raised her grandson, my husband to be the most honorable of men.

They might not have pissed off a bitchy queen, but they did the next best thing. They pissed of a bitchy queen's best friend. They will regret it.

Are you gay, lesbian, childless or single? Than you're invited to my place next summer. Let's paint the barn like a giant rainbow flag. We'll see what rules they come up with then.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Penalty Box (Three Hours for Roughing)

Tonight the kids and I went to see my husband referee a kids' hockey game.

It was kind of hot.

He's a good ref. But he should be. He has plenty of practice just from being a dad.

Just a couple of days ago he mentioned how the kids were bugging him because they were bickering. We have a zero tolerance policy on bickering, pouting and whining in our house (at least for the kids) so we are especially sensitive to them getting on each other's nerves.

So I told him my strategy for dealing with bickering siblings. I tell them they're not allowed to play together.

This morning I was awoken by sobbing kids and an incredulous husband. My daughter was playing a handheld game (which she's not supposed to because she is grounded) and she wouldn't share with her brother.

So he squeezed her arm.

So she bit his head.

She bit his head! What the hell?

My husband sent them to separate rooms. Then he told them they were not allowed to be near each other.

So they could do anything they wanted anywhere in the house or yard, they just couldn't do it together.

And so we got to endure three hours of crying children. They sobbed. They wailed. They each sat in a bathroom and cried their eyes out. All because they couldn't play together.

Apparently each other. And they are so sorry they hurt each other. And they miss each other so much.

It was freaking hilarious. But effective.

And the girl is in even more trouble than she was when she cut her hair or ate her Easy Bake Oven mixes. I wish I knew of such an easy way to deal with all of her other issues too. I guess I just have to find something to take away from her that she loves as much as her brother.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Long One Off My Chest

Since dear Marc hit the nail on the head in comments on my last post, I thought I'd go ahead and talk some more about this parenting crap.

Marc commented:

Umm...just a thought...but gifted children who aren't challenged enough (read: the school is "easy") are more likely to get into trouble because they are bored and are racing ahead to the next thing. I have a feeling your kids might be in that category and maybe it isn't hard enough for them. Easy is not a good thing for smart children. Maybe this isn't it...but it could be. This may sound like a dumb question, but have they been tested?

Well, Marc, it isn't a dumb question at all.

My son has been tested both academically and psychologically. He actually scored perfectly on the academic part and the summary of his individual testing included the words "extremely intelligent". He is gifted, although not a true genius.

At his old school he was in an accelerated math program where he had math class with a specialist and two other students.

My daughter hasn't performed so extraordinarily in school that we felt the need to have her tested, but she has always scored in the 97 to 99th percentile in language arts on standardized tests. She has been summarized as "very bright" and a "gifted writer". Her third grade teacher told me to make sure she got in an accelerated writing and language arts program when we moved.

Here's the thing, and don't hate me for saying this, but having smart kids does not equal having easier kids. In fact, I think it can be quite the opposite.

So here's the deal. My son is having trouble staying focused in school. They don't have a math specialist so the extent of his math enrichment is to have extra work every day. But while he's suppose to be doing his extra work, the lower level reading groups are meeting feet away.

Apparently, he keeps answering their questions for them.

I really do think that he is bored. The class is still working on math facts to 10. He's doing carrying and borrowing and money related word problems. He's ready to start multiplication, but here's the kicker. He's not learning any of this stuff at school. The teacher gives him math sheets she finds online and I teach him the problem solving process at home.

Basically, I'm home schooling him in the three waking hours he has at home.

Oh, and I have to mention that the homework for first grade is to correct all of the mistakes from that day's work at home. He doesn't have any mistakes.

But my daughter is another story. She got demerits for forgetting homework at home or completing the wrong homework. Her problem is that she is incredibly messy and therefor unorganized. But that is fixable. (and punishable)

The real problem is that she isn't her happy self. She told us she is "nervous all the time". That is a huge red flag for an anxiety disorder.

Except we've known she's an anxious, sensitive kid since she was a newborn. There is a fine line between having a nervous personality and having an anxiety disorder. So her doctor, teachers and I have been watching it carefully. And she never has tripped over that line. She's matured every year.

We could chalk her anxiety up to the fact that she moved to a new school, but I sensed it was more than that.

So I met with her teacher yesterday. In our long talk she revealed a few things to me that I think sum up our problems. She is a veteran teacher but she told me that she has never had such a discipline problem in a class before. She said the kids are out of control. And I told her, "My daughter said that she feels like you're really frustrated and anxious."

An anxious kid can not have an anxious teacher. She needs her teacher to be a rock. A touchstone of sanity. It bothers my daughter a lot when other kids misbehave. When other kids are mean to each other, she can barely handle it.

Her teacher also told me that she has a major gap in the class. This is supposed to be the enrichment level course but she has only a few kids (my daughter included) who can really keep up. So she hasn't been doing the creative, engaging things she usually does.

Her answer is to get the literacy specialist to pull the smart kids out for some more enrichment.

But most of all, my daughter does not feel known. Her teacher asked me to tell her about some of the things my daughter really enjoyed at her old school. When I told her that she loved drama and music and had been the lead in the grade-level plays she was astounded. When I mentioned something about violin, she said that she didn't know my daughter played.

(Never mind how she told me they used to do grade-level plays and they used to do a multicultural celebration--which made me want to say, "and some day we'll used to have gone to your school." We're paying $16,000 a year for used to!)

So, back to my point, we're sending my daughter to talk to a school councilor. I'm just hoping she'll benefit from the adult connection.

Her teacher did say one very interesting thing, though. She said that my daughter is "so mature and just on another level completely". Which is probably why adult connections are so important to her. What we always considered immaturity--not being interested in the High School Musical-type crap, not caring about clothes or hair, not making clique connections---although good immaturity (i.e. innocence) was really a level of maturity that so transcends her peers that she doesn't fit in.


So I have hated this school since the beginning. Not because it is a bad school but because it doesn't fit with our family. And because the level of education doesn't even come close to what we're paying for. But I kept wanting to give it a chance. Just because I'm unhappy doesn't mean the kids are.

But I still knew we'd apply to the other two similar school (where we were wait-listed) for next year. We even looked into public schools which are excellent here.

Then I was leaving our violin practice last week and took a different turn through the teacher's neighborhood than I usually do. And I drove by a school we only paid cursory attention to when we were moving because it was so small.

Then we went to a violin workshop and I found out that one of the families goes to that school. I decided to call.

It turned out they were having an open house the next night.

And I have found a ray of hope.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who are these children?

No one ever told me that parenting would be easy. But, damn. This kind of sucks.

The kids are both struggling in school.

If they were struggling because this school is harder than their last one, that would be one thing. But, no. In fact they both think that this school is "easy". And, I think, therein lies the problem.

The boy has trouble focusing. The girl got three demerits this semester (two in the last two days).

Who are these children?

Coincidentally, we are going to visit a new school tonight. I don't blame the school we chose for our problems. I place all of the blame squarely at my own feet. (Well, mine and the kids themselves.) But I don't feel like I have any support or understanding at the "easy" school and that is making everything harder.

If it wasn't for the few moments of overwhelming joy, I don't think anyone would want to be parents at all.

At times like this, I feel like a sad kid at summer camp. All I can think is, I want to go home! I truly had no idea just what an excellent education they were getting on the bayou.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Rose by Any Other Name

I'm so embarrassed.

A couple of months ago, Mark sent me a friend request on Facebook. My first thought was I have a Facebook account?
Then I remembered.
Probably about a year ago, a friend told me that I had to check out someone's Facebook profile. I strongly believe that I'm too damn old and out of touch to waste my time on Facebook, but this friend insisted.

So I used my tunagirl e-mail address to sign up.

I saw whatever profile pic I was supposed to see, hit the little X at the top of the window, and never thought about Facebook or how desperately unhip I am again.

Until I started getting friend requests. It turns out a bunch of my blog friends are on Facebook, so I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and dive in. I sent out a bunch of friend requests last night.

But I still didn't even really know what to do on Facebook.

It's weird. It's mostly all...

Bill just got home.

Rose added a picture.

John wants to eat sushi.

Rose edited her profile.

Rose is diddling herself.

It seemed like Rose was awfully damn busy, and I have no idea who Rose is. And it's funny that she went to the same schools as me. But whatever.

And then I realized what I had done.

When I signed up last year, Facebook wouldn't accept Tuna Girl as a real name. Op Sec and anonymity are deeply ingrained in my psyche, so I randomly chose a pseudonym. And completely forgot about it.

I'm Rose. Like I needed another pseudonym. Like I'm not weird enough.

And thus, I have proved, without a doubt that I am too unhip to be a part of Facebook. And my friends aren't going to let me live it down.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Those Damn Cows Made It

I mention here at least once a year how much I appreciate Nicky, Mark, and MAK. Those were the first three blogs I ever read and the first three readers and commenters I had here. Every time I have a blog-o-versary I am a little amazed that the three of them are still blogging.

A couple of months ago Nicky came close to closing his LiveJournal blog. Mark just moved his blog to a new place. And now MAK has finished his journey and closed his blog.

I am lucky enough to consider these three guys friends and I will especially miss following along with MAK's life on his blog. When I see MAK I always have the best time and feel instantly comfortable.

But I think MAK left his blog with the perfect parting words.

I suck at parting words. I look back at how I closed My Other Blog when I was let go and I wish I could write it again. I've even been thinking about how I'll end this blog since I first started writing it! I want to go out on a positive note, just like MAK did.

I write all of this mostly to say goodbye and thank you to my blog inspiration but also to reflect.

I found my yearbooks when I was unpacking the other day. My quote in my college yearbook, my parting words to the place I had loved and lived in for four years were these:

"Off we go into the wild, blue yonder..."


Were you as brilliant as me in your yearbook? Are you any more adept at parting words than I am?

I have the feeling that I'm going to need some help. No blog can go on forever. Every story must have its end.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Military Discounts

Lowe's and Home Depot are currently offering 10% off to military folks. Details are here.

Maybe it's time to get some more work done in the new house. I just wish they sold sofas.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Downward Grind

I didn't write anything at all yesterday because I was afraid of what I might record for all prosperity.

I have always thought that writing was the best way to deal with any powerful emotions. But sometimes what I see on the page when I've finished spewing words makes me feel even worse. I don't like what I see there.

I knew yesterday would be like that. I am so angry. With my family and the people I love. And, I suppose, myself.

My daughter is grounded for a week for being irresponsible. Yet she has managed to be even more irresponsible than ever during her grounding.

My husband is driving me nuts. I won't go more into that.

My son was doing okay until he acted like a sassy, little brat at his violin lesson. I hate it when he's silly. He knows violin class is not the time to be silly.

And scores of other people are driving me nuts.

Why do these things always happen all at once? It makes me think that it must really be me. It must be my reactions and disappointments that drive people to disappoint me.

Once I start yelling at my kids I start feeling guilty. I never used to yell.

Ironically, when I don't yell at some adults who need to be yelled at, I feel guilty too. For avoiding confrontation.

In the midst of a time of great optimism and potential for change in this country I don't feel energized. I feel angry and sad because of the daily grind of being human.

How do you rise above that daily grind?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

As Political as I Get

Little Tuna Girl is on Team Obama at school. Today she will be debating Barack Obama's stance on immigration. She has done her research and she is ready.

She drew a blue slip out of a hat to be placed on Team Obama, but this was a great opportunity to teach her about researching candidates and not relying on advertising or the opinions of others to form her own ideas.

So I asked her, "If you could vote, who would you vote for."

"I'd vote for Obama," she told me. "I don't want Daddy to have to go back to Iraq."

That made me tear up a bit.

I honestly don't think it is so simple. I don't want her thinking that if one president is elected over another her military father won't have to go to war again in her lifetime, because that obviously isn't the case. But still, from her nine-year-old point of view, she did the research and came up with her own opinion. And that is the whole point of parenting.

My son has his own opinion too.

He was standing in the living room getting his soccer cleats on when he suddenly yelled to his sister. "Barack Obama is kind to animals! You have to vote for Barack Obama because he is kind to animals and you love animals! The other one is mean to animals!"

I have no idea where he got that from and can only imagine that his friends might have been bad mouthing Palin's hunting.

But listening to him say "Barack Obama" (and he always uses both names) with his deliberately pronounced "r" is the cutest damn thing ever.

Happy voting.

Monday, November 03, 2008

No Such Thing as Too Big

On Friday night, I opened my door for about the 20th time to a group of trick-or-treaters. But one little boy didn't hold out his candy bag.

He looked up. He looked at me. He shook his head.

"Your house is a mansion," he said in an accusatory tone.

I laughed a bit. My house is far from a mansion.

"It is too big," he added.

Well, thank you for the reality check little ninja boy. I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder. Now take your Whoppers and skadootch.