Thursday, February 26, 2009

Follow the sign

The boys' door, appropriately covered in various items.

Including the "Keep Out or..." sign.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just making sure

"Mama?" asked my 4 year old from her car seat.


"Will you teach me how to drive before I'm a grown-up?"

"Yes. And it will be an honor too."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's Carnival Time

It is Carnival today! Mardi Gras in the great city of New Orleans.

And how am I spending it today? I'm bringing King Cakes, beads and music to both boys' 2nd grade classrooms and reading Mimi's First Mardi Gras. Little lady is coming along in a princess costume and her fancy black dress up shoes. It has been a family tradition since pre-school.

So do something a little different today. Listen to some Mardi Gras music, dance a little on the sidewalk, wear something a bit outlandish. Get a little Mardi Gras in you today.

Laissez-les bon temps rollez!

Monday, February 23, 2009

It WON!!

Slumdog Millionaire won the Oscars for

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Original Score

and Best Original Song.

So a repeat of "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire.

Like I said before, the soundtrack is just terrific. I even have my 4 year old daughter dancing to it.

Like I also noted before this is a fun soundtrack for a movie about, in part, the brutal treatment of poor children. But in the end it is a movie about living with hope. The hope of love and a better life. I believe that is what the Oscars were honoring.

Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

Did you stay up late too for the Oscars? What did you think about it? Like the format? Liked Hugh?

Please join in Music Monday. Just remember if you plan to use little Mr. Linky below, write a post about music and link back to me. Music always makes Monday a bit more fun.

But if you plan on posting an advertisement, I will delete your link as well as your comment. Just don't bother.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Open letter week - my fair city

This week I am posting an open letter a day. Feel free to write your own and let me know about it.

Dear Fair City,

We had one of those moments when the world - at least the art world - was paying attention to us and we blew it. Shepard Fairey, the creator of the iconic Obama "Hope" poster (which is now part of a p*ssing match with the Associated Press since the Obama image uses an AP photograph), is having his first solo exhibit at a major art museum.

I first became aware of Fairey with stickers of Andre the Giant. I have seen them off and on in various places for years. But with the exhibit approaching, they were cropping up in many more places.

I saw on the side of an abandoned night club one of his other posters and planned to take the kids back to show them. But in the 6 days between seeing it and getting the kids back, it was painted over.

Of course, Mr. Fairey had been arrested on his way to the opening night party because of several outstanding warrants for defacement of property.

Now he was frolicking with the Mayor earlier that week. The police couldn't have arrested him then? No, we had to do it right before he entered the museum.

I'm not too worried about Mr. Fairey getting his due process. He can afford the best attorneys. I'm worried for how we will be seen. We were the city that embraced that crazy painting style - Impressionism - in the late 19th century which is why various museums have some of the most important paintings of that time.

What happened to our sense of artistic adventure?


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Open Letter Week - Bravest Kid I know

This week I am posting an open letter a day. Feel free to write your own and let me know about it.

Dear Bravest Kid I Know (BKIK),

In January after the holidays my sons told me about how you got an American Girl doll for Christmas. You were bringing it in every day to play with girls and their dolls.

You were in my math group a few weeks ago when I volunteered in the classroom. You were sporting dark pink chipped nail polish which sparkled in the sun as you pointed out a solution to a math problem.

That afternoon I was driving home my sons and a friend of theirs. I was trying to get a handle on how many kids were in each class. One son matter-of-factly explained he had 10 boys and 8 girls in his class. The other son and his friend started out this way:

"Some days we have 11 boys and 7 girls. Other days we have 10 boys and 8 girls. It all depends on what Jami* is that day."

*not your real name, BKIK

They both said it in the same matter-of-fact tone as my other son talked about his class. They presented it as a statement of fact, not something weird or something to laugh at. I couldn't have been more proud of all three of those boys. But most importantly I couldn't have been more proud of you.

I got a chance to commend your teacher about creating a class in which kids can be kids and not have to "fit" into some prescribed image. She commented that really it was a tribute to your second grade classmates for excepting you as you.

During Friday's Valentine's Day party you were wearing a pretty fashionable pair of Ugg boots with jeans, a t-shirt and your short cropped hair. And you just smiled and laughed with all your classmates. You are you. And I think you are just awesome.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Open Letter Week - Snide Commenters

This week I'm going to post an open letter a day. Feel free to write your own and let me know about it.

Dear Suitcase and Fat Old Man,

I haven't been running early in the morning because it is too cold, the snow would force me on some pretty busy roads and it is still too dark at 5:30am which is the best time for me to get out and run before the kids wake up. This has meant my running has dropped from 5-6 times a week to barely 1-2 times in a gym. Not good for my conditioning or endurance.

But great for my ego because I haven't had to deal with you, Suitcase.

You know who you are. You are the insanely skinny woman who is part of that group of folks who run early in the morning in our neighborhood. Some of us give resounding "hi"'s when we pass by, others nod or wave, others pretend to be so absorbed in our headsets that we don't notice the others.

You look great for a woman who is clearly over 50. Your hair is coiffed for an early morning run. Your running outfits are coordinated and your shoes barely look worn. You have the physic of a woman who plays tennis, doesn't clean her own home and probably didn't raise her children either.

So it probably shouldn't have been a shock when, while happily getting to the end of my run, and just down right pleased with myself to actually finish the damn thing, I heard footsteps clearly picking up the pace. I don't run to beat anyone so I didn't care that someone was passing me. When I saw it was you I was going to give a hearty "good morning" or some such greeting when you sneered

"Can't you go any faster?"

Your nasty tone and harsh words still sting, months later. But I do have something up on you.

You are of the generation that thought it was good to sunbath. A lot. So now you have the skin of a crocodile. A dead crocodile on a suitcase. So you may be 55. You may be 65. You have a body that is clearly in better shape then mine. But your skin, your skin looks gross.

Then you, Fat Old Man, decided to make some comment to me while I was running in Chicago. You told me, with your belly bulging over your shorts, as you moved at a snail's pace along the path, to "pick up my heels". I so wanted to turn around and yell at you. Ask you where you get off making comments.

But I just ignored you. You stupid fat old man.

But at least your skin was in pretty good shape.

In bitterness,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Open Letter Week - Amazing Guy

This week I'm going to post an open letter a day. Feel free to write your own and let me know about it.

Dear Amazing Guy,

For over a month you have been been planning a date. You didn't tell me where we were going or what we were doing. You told me to line up babysitting (something you just won't do I would like to note) so that someone would pick up the kids from their various aftercare locations and stay though until midnight. That ended up involving two shifts but it all came together quite nicely. The kids were with people who cared about them and that made the night even more fun.

Because my early Valentine's Day date was to see The English Beat in concert at a wicked cool venue. There wasn't one bad place to stand. And you included one of my best friends to be part of the evening. That you wanted to share the concert with her made it even more fun.

Then we added some other friends along the way. Even more fun.

We spent an evening with friends, dancing to incredibly fun music and enjoying each other. You gave us a Valentine's Day to remember.

But the most fun of all? Was being with you. Thank you for being my valentine.


Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

Have any great post-Valentine's Day music to share? Please join in Music Monday. Just remember if you plan to use little Mr. Linky below, write a post about music and link back to me.

But if you plan on posting an advertisement, I will delete your link as well as your comment. Just don't bother.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day - Lots of....


Singular Saturday

For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Farewell Blossom

Blossom Dearie died yesterday.

Farewell to a lovely voice.

Monday, February 09, 2009

130 Songs

Over the holidays the kids and I were given not one, not two, not three but seven music mixes from four different folks.

One is from a mom whose son is a classmate of the boys. She often hands me a CD with nothing on it and tells me to listen. This particular CD was full of off-beat holiday tunes including The Waitresses' Merry Christmas. That was the favorite Christmas song of the under 9 set. And is still being played in February.

Another came as a surprise from a dear blogging buddy. I was feeling the spirit.

The kids each got their own CD from that friend who is just about as perfect as a friend can be. One guy got a set of songs based on a long-ago college radio show that this friend and I hosted. Another friend got a set of retro rock songs based on his love of all things Elvis. And little lady got one titled "Living Room Dance Party" which included New Edition's Candy Girl.

The remaining two CDs came as surprises from my beloved Ambassador. Entitled "Allison Darling" and "Allison Darling II" - their mere existence made me weepy.

The song selection made me teary.

Now that this is little lady's all time favorite, and she asks me to lift her up during the song so she can fly, I outright sob.

As Elphaba, the Green Witch, sings in Defying Gravity from Wicked:

As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity

Oh how I hope no one brings my daughter down. Ever. Thank you dear friend for giving my daughter and me this song to share. And that it comes from you makes it all the more special.

And thank you to everyone who ever shares a song with me or my family. Your gift of music makes us richer.

Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

Were you given a song that made you cry? Please join in Music Monday. Just remember if you plan to use little Mr. Linky below, write a post about music and link back to me.

But if you plan on posting an advertisement, I will delete your link as well as your comment. Just don't bother.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

John and Stephen have competition

Pretty much every evening I watch recordings of The Daily Show and Colbert Report. I just love the humor, news and interviews.

However, the boys got some competition now. From some girls.

Some fierce, over-the-top you better be ready for us GIRLS.

I'm talking about a drag race.

That's right, nine drag queens competing to be on a magazine cover, in an advertisement and win cash. And maybe lots of make-up since MAC is everywhere on the show.

Normally I cannot STAND these shows. I don't watch anything to do with idols, celestial dancers or any other competition or reality show. Really. I just cringe seeing clips from those shows. Everyone is so mean-spirited, insincere, talentless or all three. I don't see these shows as bringing out the best in us, bringing us together. I see them as glorified freak shows. Where we can sit and judge others and mock their embarrassment. I just hate that my kids' friends are avid watchers of a certain show looking for someone to idolize.

But when I saw that there was a show - pant-pant - hosted by RuPaul ("You better work!") I just knew I finally found a competition for me. Because these gals get it. They get the stupidity, the vanity and the silliness. It is a part of their performances. Snap-snap-snap.

The first episode? The contestants had to create outfits entirely from thrift-store clothes and dollar store accessories. Oh the drama. Oh the cutting. Oh the unraveling of loofah sponges into a frock dress.

I am in fag hag heaven.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Giving back his medals Part II

Several of you asked what the boys thought the appropriate punishment should be for a certain swimmer caught smoking pot. This was the rest of the conversation in the car Monday evening....

One boy declared with some disgust, "Y'know Barry Bonds isn't in jail for using steroids."

"He wouldn't tell the truth about it" said the other one knowingly (I mean how do these kids know this?).


The knowing one adds, "But no one would let him play on their team. He's not playing any baseball now".

I finally weigh in with "Don't you think that is a pretty big punishment? To not play the sport you love and have people not like you?"

"Ooooooo......" they both murmered.

Seems like that would be a pretty big punishment to some 8-year-olds.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Giving back his medals

"Mom! Mom! MOM!!!!!!!!! " yelled one boy from the back of the van.

"Yes" I said in a much quieter voice.

"Did you know that Michael Phelps, um, drank drugs? So-and-so told me today" he informed me.

"Does that mean he has to give back his gold medals?" asked his brother.

And so began the explanation about performance enhancing drugs and "recreational" drugs (which are still, technically, illegal).

Which led to this response,

"But what will be his consequence for taking drugs? Won't he be punished?"

I just love the black-and-white world of 8-year-olds.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Let's Talk about Sex

The cover story for yesterday's Sunday magazine of the local paper was titled Isn't It Time Sex Ed Grew Up? It started with a high school student describing his experiences in the Our Whole Lives (OWL) class at his Unitarian Universalist Church.

Also yesterday I finished the last 6 hours of my 24 hour training (which started on Friday) to become an OWL teacher for 7th through 9th graders.

I started the day with my team, 3 terrific ladies ranging in ages 22 to 56, doing a mock presentation about masturbation. The other teachers-in-training pretended to be youth and ask questions (and act up) like they possibly would during such a mundane topic. My assigned section was to tally up the points each team earned during a Myths and Fact game.

As I handed the winning team their prize I explained that adults have been uncomfortable with children and adolescent sexuality for a long time. The "kids" unwrapped a box of graham crackers as I told them that Dr. Kellogg, of Kellogg's cereals, actually invented corn flakes and graham crackers to give to young children to thwart sexual fantasies and masturbation. (For instance in the "A Dreadful Sin" section from his 1881 Plain Facts for Young and Old Kellogg wrote "The sin of self-pollution is one of the vilest, the basest, and the most degrading that a human being can commit. It is worse than beastly... He cannot look with assurance into his mother's face.")

What struck me about the group was the diversity of ages and life experiences. The most conservative looking person turned out to have the most progressive attitudes. The younger teachers-in-training quietly taught all of us to think more of our future students and challenged our assumptions. Several members kept pushing us to not frame discussions in hetero-focused terms.

What unified us though was an unyielding commitment to provide the youth of our congregations comprehensive and factual education about sexuality and identity, relationships and the choices that go with them. We learned about them within the context of four core values - self-worth, sexual health, responsibility and justice & inclusivity.

I'm ready to teach.

Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

Any music inspired you lately? Please join in Music Monday. Just remember if you plan to use little Mr. Linky below, write a post about music and link back to me.

But if you plan on posting an advertisement, I will delete your link as well as your comment. Just don't bother.