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silly love songs
Oct 24th, 2014 by wrekehavoc

some people want to fill the world with silly love songs.

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in this week’s new yorker, rebecca mead is wringing her hands over what she calls the percy jackson problem. for those of you who don’t have kids in the house,  here’s some 411:  percy jackson is the wacky protagonist of a series of books by (beloved-in-my-house) rick riordan. percy is a kid who has ADHD and behavioral problems in school — you know, that PITA kid whom every teacher wants to dropkick out the nearest window? percy, we also find out early in the series, is a greek demigod (which is part of the reason he struggles so.) through his adventures, kids (and the adults who read to them) often get their appetite whetted for the magical world of mythology.

so what’s so bad about percy? to paraphrase mead’s argument, between the use of slangy-current pop language and milieus and the less-than-deep storylines, folks in this camp are terrified that books like those in the percy jackson series are a gateway drug to a lifelong obsession with literary dross.  they believe that consuming these sorts of works results in less critical readers. in other words, popular fiction is dumbing down the world for kids.

(for those of you keeping score, this is #25,689 in the ways in which you are screwing up as a parent.)

when i was growing up, my mother took me to the library two and three times a week. no exaggeration here. the librarians knew us at both the ocean county library and the now-defunct bishop memorial library. if there were a 12-step program for bookaholics, my mother would be the queen and reigning champ. any time she has had a spare minute, her nose is in a book. if i woke up at ungodly o’clock a.m. as a kid, i’d usually find my mom,  black coffee and a romance or a mystery in hand. she has always been, and always will be, a book pusher. (ask my kids.) mom always had one rule at the library: take out whatever you want, but you need to actually read it.

now i still recall the day that dennis, the long-haired librarian at the ocean county library, stopped my nine-year-old self trying to take out romeo and julietgod bless you mr. rosewater, and war and peace. he looked at me squirrelly, then asked my mom whether she had actually seen what i was taking out of the library. (please don’t ask me why i had made those selections. it seemed like a good idea at the time.)

are you sure you want wreke taking out these books? he asked my mom.

she looked at me with the seriousness of an executioner. are you going to read them, wreke? she asked. i nodded that i would, in fact, tackle all three within the three allotted weeks i would be granted. she then looked at dennis. let’s take them out, then.

(the only one of the three i finished was romeo and juliet. in high school. kicking and screaming by then.)

yep, mom always let me read anything i wanted to read. there was the phase when i exclusively read partridge family and archie comic books. there was my sue barton, student nurse phase. there was every single book about the beatles phase. (that one is still in progress.) and of course, there was the time in seventh grade where i chose soul on ice for a book report. (i still wonder if my english teacher ever recovered from that one.)

in short, there have been plenty of generations of people reading all sorts of things — and somehow, we still continue to get great literature, great music, and great works of art. we all develop in weird and wonderful ways; and part of that is because we each receive such weird and wonderful input from all directions — from our families, from our friends, from our worlds — and of course, from our books. i know there are plenty of baby boomers who grew up reading all kinds of crap under the covers, and yet here we are. so please, get the hell off the backs of the younger generations. with all the other temptations out there, electronic and otherwise, it is difficult enough to get them to read. there will be plenty of time to refine things once they have caught the bug.

in the meantime (and with sincerest apologies to malcolm x), we need to get kids reading by any means necessary. i am not above enticing my kids’ interest in books however i can do it. i have read any number of silly things to them when they were little — i wanted them to just hear the words and love the sounds. over time, i would read chapter books that i thought sounded fun until they were old enough to make their own choices. i admit, though, that when they are a captive audience in the car with me driving four hours to see family, i break out books on CD that i get from my local library.  and they listen.

meanwhile, back in percy land… while waiting for percy jackson’s book five to come out, jools was jonesing for some riordan to read. we made a trek to central library, where we discovered that riordan has also written books… for GROWNUPS.  the boy borrowed mission road, a novel about a private eye trying to solve a murder. sure, it wasn’t his usual fare. but for a boy who loathes reading, he actually read it. granted, he was especially thrilled because there were CURSE WORDS! and INAPPROPRIATE THINGS! in the book. but you know what? he was reading.

what’s wrong with that? i’d like to know.

hateful songs: “g-d bless the usa” (lee greenwood)
Jul 3rd, 2013 by wrekehavoc

oh, the wackadoodles are going to find me now.

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happy july 4th! i love july 4th. it is truly the most american of holidays, as we gather to celebrate our independence. yes, we replace our phillies flag with old glory; and i put on red, white, and blue clothing, which i fortunately have. sometimes, i even get the kids in some patriotic clothing. i love the fireworks and the parades and the people joining together for one brief second as one people. i would even bake one of those yummy-looking strawberry-blueberry cake thingies, though i know jools hates fruit and won’t go near one.

so i’ll just enjoy it for the moment here.

/sugarreverie.

okay. about this lee greenwood song. now, i know a lot of people love it and feel their hearts all warmed by it. and that’s great; and it’s a free country and all that. this is not about you. this is about me.

and i loathe this song.

in fact, there are very few songs that physically make me cringe. this is one of them.

(so is this.)

i’ve tried to think about what it is about the song that i dislike so much. yes, it’s sappy — but so are other songs i actually find charming.

it’s not necessarily that g-d is in the title. i mean, i love to stand up and sing g-d bless america. (admittedly, i often break out in the version i learned as a child, g-d bless my underwear. but still.)

part of what bothers me is how it was written. greenwood has said in interviews that he and his producer sort of calculated the city shout-outs:

I’m from California, and I don’t know anybody from Virginia or New York, so when I wrote it – and my producer and I had talked about it – [we] talked about the four cities I wanted to mention, the four corners of the United States. It could have been Seattle or Miami but we chose New York and L.A., and he suggested Detroit and Houston because they both were economically part of the basis of our economy – Motown and the oil industry, so I just poetically wrote that in the bridge.

first of all: economically part of the basis of our economy? what the WHAT? and so, let’s pander to the (at-the-time) money-making locations in the USA. you’ll get more radio airplay in those markets, which can only boost sales. now, certainly, lots of songs name-check places, but i don’t think they often do it in order to target the economic centers of the country. that’s just weird and disingenuous to me.

so there’s this calculated cheesefest that strikes at your heart.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

son, have you heard of the patriot act?

generally, the people i have met who are into this song often (not always, but often) are the sorts who are all about freedoms. their freedoms. everyone else’s? they can go to hell.  maybe their ancestors had the good luck to come to this country at a time when people melted in. mine weren’t so welcome (hence why my grandmother’s family came in through galveston, texas, even though their entire family was in tenements in NYC. there were too many jews, you see, immigrating (nevermind we were escaping being used as kindling in pogroms in russia poland), so there was an effort to bring immigrant jews in via alternate US ports. we were persona non grata, you know. still the age of no jews, no dogs signs.

now, of course, substitute mexicans for jews.

so yeah. maybe you are here for a generation or two. (or ten.) does that make you more american than people who are striving to be american? i know we can’t support the world; we can barely support ourselves. but the attitude i hear from so many people borders more on the bigoted and less on the factual. (which, i would add, a lot of people don’t truly get. here are some recent ones, for those who want to get info.) policy must be based on facts and not on your scapegoat-oriented ideas.

that would be unamerican.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA

i think i’ve got it. there’s an implication that criticism of the US = you don’t love this land. criticism of the US = you don’t appreciate your freedoms. in fact, those of us who criticize this nation love it just as much as those of you who jingoistically knee-jerk into america is perfect mode.  i’m quite sure, in fact, that there will be readers of this who will call me everything from communist (nope, sorry, not one) to a nation hater (nothing could be further from the truth.) in fact, they will also curse me as… wait for it… a liberal. like that would be a bad thing to be. (it’s not. neither is being conservative. it’s just different points of view.) but this song codifies the polarization of our nation in a few stanzas, a polarization which has led to legislative standstills and all sorts of negativity in the political arena, more than any i, a student of the political process, have witnessed in most of my life. to me, this song is rather insulting.

for if you don’t love g-d bless the usa, then surely it follows that you don’t love the usa, either.

in my view, there are many other, better patriotic songs for this day. i encourage you to seek them out. some are rah-rah-usa works. some are critical. but all encapsulate a vision of this nation as a place that welcomes and celebrates all of its citizens.

some of my humble suggestions from wreke’s jukebox:

this land is your land (woody guthrie)

millworker (james taylor)

american tune (paul simon)

4th of july, asbury park (bruce springsteen) (note: had to put that in for my BS and for one of my beloved SILs)

the house i live in (what is america to me) (frank sinatra)

the house i live in (what is america to me) (patti labelle. i love this song, and while i love the chairman of the board’s version, ms. labelle knocks it out of the park.)

america the beautiful (ray charles)

goodnight, saigon (billy joel)

the stars and stripes forever (john phillip sousa, played by the awesome us marine band)

the star spangled banner (f.s. key, performed by whitney houston)

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

you are welcome to take issue with my selections in the comments. (some people are still taking issue with what i wrote over 5 years ago about the song wildfire… on my old blog. and wow, who knew those fans would be so nasty!) also, if you have nominees for songs you loathe (and which i’ve not written about already), feel free to share.

i take requests.

 

watch closely now
Apr 26th, 2013 by wrekehavoc

is anyone watching them now?

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since anyone can remember, the big kids at the elementary school get important volunteer jobs. some are bus patrols. some help inside the school, like BC, who at the time asked to be a music helper because there’s no way on earth i am doing a job where you have to stand outside in the rain and the snow somedays. and of course, there are the kids who work the kiss and ride.

the kiss and ride is a critical part of the morning for a lot of us. sleep-hazed parents and children start to pull up at the designated strip of land around 8:30 or so, where, if they’ve shown up by then, one of six 5th graders opens the door, announces good morning! in a voice suitable for a mickey mouse club audition, waits for various numbers of children to tumble out onto the sidewalk, declares that you should have a nice day! in the next breath, and slams the door (hopefully not on the backside of the last child out. ) they also direct traffic, waving drivers to move up as far along the path as they can be, to accommodate as many cars as possible in a short period of time. it’s actually not an easy job, especially for 10 and 11 year olds.

now, in theory, these kids are supervised, much in the same way the bus patrols are supervised, in theory, by the bus drivers (who have nothing better to do than navigated miles and miles of suburban and urban tangles amidst drivers who really ought to consider valium prior to getting in their respective vehicles.) but as of late, i have scratched my head and wondered why kids are directing traffic without an adult nearby.

maybe it’s because i come on the early shift — usually between 8:30 and 8:40. perhaps the grownups come out afterwards in the height of traffic — the 8:40-8:50 timeframe when, i suspect, all you-know-what breaks loose. (or can. i wouldn’t put it past a lot of these adults, all of whom are so.very.important.people.in.dc.don’t-you-know-who-i-AM?) but i don’t usually see any grownups there supervising the kids. i should note i have been doing this run for six years now. i have a lot of years of kiss-and-ride patrol experience here. and while last year’s crew was head-and-shoulders the worst bunch of patrols ever, this year’s is giving them a run for their money. i have been driving up when one child is walking backwards, as if on a balance beam, on the very edge of the sidewalk, while cars nearly miss him. i have had kids nearly taking out my kid’s leg as they absentmindedly close the door behind him (too bad for my son, he’s not a speed demon every morning.)

and this morning took the proverbial cake. i pulled up behind a car where one of the patrols was holding the door open. unfortunately, there was no child getting out — in fact, the child was already down the sidewalk, turning the corner towards the school building. but the patrol, deep in conversation with the five other patrols, who were all sitting on the fence like little birdies, chirping amongst themselves, didn’t notice. i saw the mother behind the wheel yell something to the patrol. the spell broken, he turned and, realizing his error, closed the door so that she could proceed.

meanwhile, jools, who had by this time undone his seat belt and who had leaned forward to give me a goodbye kiss, had realized that no one was coming to open his door. those little birdies were still yapping away on the fence to the one standing, who somehow didn’t realize that another car had been waiting behind the first. taking the initiative, jools started to open his door and proceed out. the birdies were suddenly awakened — they leapt off the fence and started yelling at me to move my car up. hello — you didn’t get up off your butts to let my kid out, so you can wait until he safely gets himself out of the car. they continued to yell at me while jools made his way. i don’t tend to get into arguments with kids, mine or other peoples’ – but i did announce to them — maybe if you paid attention to your job and stopped yakking, this could have been different.

they were not amused.

but, my goal was not to get into it with a bunch of 5th graders (i do consider myself smarter than a 5th grader, at least most days anyhow) but rather to get my son safely off to school. and i did, though i didn’t get to tell him i love you like i do on most mornings — i just saw him slink sadly down the street toward school.

now, i realize that these are 10 and 11 year old kids. but that is exactly my point. i see the adult crossing guard who really has a time of it up the street from the school, trying to get people to stop so that pedestrians on their way to school don’t end up as road pizza. and she is an adult. and when kids are supervised at the kiss-and-ride, they are on the ball and pay attention to this job which they probably should hand off to grownups in the first place. but. left to their own devices and without supervision, kids will be kids. they will zone off. they will space out. they will chatter. and they won’t necessarily be paying as close attention to a job in which safety is paramount — for themselves as well as for the people whom they serve.

next year, jools has a shot of being some sort of school helper. i sincerely hope he opts to help out the music teacher, like his sister did. i don’t know how much she was supervised when she was a music helper, but my spidey sense tells me that the worst thing that might happen there would be he might drop a cymbal on his foot. i can live with that sort of mistake.

and so can he.

my sweet lord
Apr 16th, 2013 by wrekehavoc

i heard george harrison in the car today and i had an epiphany. go figure.

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tragedy has struck again in boston. strangely, there were people attending the marathon who had experienced a recent tragedy in newtown, connecticut. tragedy strikes at an alarming rate these days; i’m not entirely certain whether there are more tragedies actually occurring or whether the 24-hour news cycle is just better at bringing them into our lives, up close and personal.

and while some may become impervious over time to nonstop horror, i fear i may never achieve that. it tears me up inside thinking that there are people so disturbed in the world who would take others’ lives, who might even take their own lives, maybe for a cause — or maybe for madness alone. services to help the disaffected, the mentally ill, are not easily obtained. the weapons to create mass destruction are readily available.  it was patriot’s day in massachusetts, the boston marathon, and even tax day in america. was some sick individual or group trying to make a statement? time will tell, and while we armchair crime scene specialists ponder the few shreds of clues we have, we can’t jump to conclusions.  we must wait for the professionals to do their important work.

so back to george harrison. at times like these, when i know i can’t jump to conclusions, i want to know how to find peace somehow in all of this. i struggle to make some sense out of the senseless. and this, of course, brings me to thinking about G-d.

see, G-d and me, we have a strange relationship. i wish with all my heart i could believe in G-d, unfailingly, the way my son believes in the tooth fairy or even in me. but whereas my son sees a coin under his pillow or clean clothes unfailingly piled on his chair every few days, i don’t see anything tangible that cannot be explained. my heart has always wanted to believe, but the analyst in me has struggled. after all, there is a lot of scientific evidence which, for me, makes it pretty clear.  personally, i don’t believe in the bible as the word of G-d; i believe it is a wonderful recounting of how the world happened, according to the people who wrote it, full of their attempts to make sense of what was happening, complete with deus ex machina moments galore. (i have loved reading it, as literature, since i was a child. when i think about it, english major that i am, it isn’t very different from the way the greeks and romans wrote their mythologies.) and yet, i find myself praying to G-d at services, talking to G-d when things make no sense. and then, i am left wondering: with Whom am i actually talking? am i talking to myself?

and these awful things that happen. if there really was a Being who loved us, why would He/She let this stuff go down? who lives and who dies — it is all so capricious. maybe i’m still bitter. see, in high school, my mom ended up with cancer. at the same time, my friend’s mom did, too. my mom survived two bouts. his mom didn’t. grateful as i have always been that my mom is still a pain in my ass to this very day, i never, ever forgot what a heart-wrenching, horrific shock it was for my friend and his family, all good people who didn’t deserve such pain. so, in short, i have read what theologians have had to say about this — why bad things happen to good people, yada yada —  and yet, for me, it doesn’t compute. it doesn’t work. it simply doesn’t add up.

but today, as i was singing along with george in the car, i realized: maybe it will never make sense. and maybe by not understanding why horrible things happen grinds home the idea that yes, i am just human.  i need to accept that. but maybe, just maybe,  i need to appeal to something bigger than me. maybe i am talking to a spirit of goodness. (no, i’m not a hippie here. just a mom.) yeah, other people can call that spirit G-d or whatever, but to me, i want to believe that there is some spark in the universe, a flash of goodness that can be inside all of us if we let it. no, it probably didn’t create the universe or hear my prayers to save my cat (he died though i prayed and prayed he wouldn’t) or outline one specific way that all people must live their lives. but that spark is the infinite possibility that there can be and there always must be something good in all of us — and that all of us can use that good for the world. clearly, on dark days like this, i realize that not everyone is possessed by that positive, and it saddens me.  and in prayer, or in my conversations, maybe i am reaching out to the universe, hopeful for a better day, for strength, and for peace.

all of which i might find within myself, if i just look carefully.

you don’t have to be jewish or christian or muslim or buddhist or a subscriber to any particular organized religion to feel this way, i think. (and if your religion gives you the comfort that i was lacking, more power to you. just use that power to bring about peace.) george sings about really wanting to know his lord, really being a part of his lord. and on days like this one, i don’t know about knowing G-d. but i do know that i want to believe — and i have to believe — that good does start out inside each and every one of us. some of us ignore it; some of us are ill and can’t find it. but it is there.

and believing that buoys me.

rosh hash, or how i need to watch my honey
Sep 17th, 2012 by wrekehavoc

so here we are, day one.

i’ve been writing down my food like a champ. we of course ran out of milk, so i broke out the almond milk and mixed it up with my protein powder,  the new stuff (designer whey) which i don’t like so much. (i like this, but it ain’t cheap.) i ended up walking some paperwork into school’s front office, and from there, i hit the store to get some groceries.  so much for dropping him off and working out, right?

ah well. after getting the brisket into the crockpot and getting carrots chopped for tzimmes (both inherently diet-friendly foods — not!), i finally went for a walk/run in the hood which was 30 minutes long or so, 30 minutes that was sheer ow on my knees. (this is what i get for not going go shul on yom tov. G-d is not amused.) it’s not a marathon, but it’s a start. and i did get out there.

and good thing i did, too; for at the stroke of 12:30ish, i saw those familiar digits show up on caller ID: the school nurses’ office. the boy is sick. nothing earth-shattering, of course — basically, his allergies were so bad that he had already been through an entire box of tissues and was threatening to use a forest-full by day’s end. after actually arguing with him in the clinic, i could tell that he felt pretty lousy. so now, he is home, on antihistimines, and knows the drill: no TV, no video games, no nothing fun until the school day is over. (i’m mean like that.)

so he’s having a giggle with his 30-minute reading assignment. and hell, since he has time to kill, he is working on another 30 minute reading assignment for later this week. little does he know that i would kill to get 60 whole minutes just to read for pleasure. (well, i do get that once every four weeks: it’s called getting hooked up to an IV.) i told him if he did that reading PLUS the reading log work, then i would give him 30 minutes off for good behavior. and lo and behold, it is done.

of course, in the midst of this, i am trying to work and cook. mom, jools yells, you know, i could teach you how to play pokemon right now. it’s really fun.

little boy, do you think i sit around and eat bonbons when you aren’t here?

so now, i’m stressed. and i’m trying not to eat for fun and profit.

and also when i get stressed out, i bake. it being rosh hash, i am baking honey cake — well, a honey cake that is supposed to be honey cupcakes.  see, the recipe looks a bit lighter than the usual, heavy as a brick honey cake. i just don’t feel like something heavy — not that i should be eating it, anyway. but between the honey in the tzimmes, the honey in the cake, and, well, pretty much everything has honey in it (note to the non-jews in the crowd: it’s SYMBOLISM. you know, starting a year sweetly!), it isn’t going to be easy making my calories conform.

i guess i will stick with apples dipped in honey and call it a day.

it’s not a perfect food/fitness day, but i guess i am at least conscious of things.

happy new year to all who celebrate.

she’s waiting
Nov 30th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

…because her mama trained her properly, that’s why.

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no, she’s not waiting in that way. or at least, not what you folks might think. this is a pet peeve of mine, and on this last day of NaBloPoMo, i thought i would end on a cranky note. (cos that is what folks expect of me.)

i am a carpool queen. i shuttle kids here, i shuttle them there, mama wreke shuttles kids everywhere. as a stay-at-home mom, i tend to take on rides in the early afternoon, when a lot of my kids’ friends’ parents are still working or quite possibly sitting in traffic somewhere, cooling their heels.

i don’t mind it, really. i get some of my best material listening to the kids talk.  i’ve learned more about which boys are awful, which girls are snooty, which kids are kind, and which people should just be avoided at all costs. i’ve listened to silly-ass knock-knock jokes, i’ve listened to retellings of some pretty nasty pop music lyrics. sure, i make the kids listen to whatever is on my mp3 player, though anything with NSFW lyrics gets the fast-forward treatment. i don’t care whether my kids hear these things, but i suspect the rest of the world would be upset if johnny or janie listened to some of the finer verbage from panic at the disco. like, say, this:

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anyway, my kids are trained from the get-go: when someone is picking you up, you wait at the appointed time by the window and watch for your ride. when they come, you shout out and let me know, and then you proceed directly to the car. people are kind enough to give you a ride, and you need to be kind and not make everyone else late by dallying.

apparently, though, this concept is not common knowledge. i can’t tell you how many times my kids and i have to come to people’s doors and knock and collect them. worse than that, though, are the times when the person isn’t ready, and when i mean not ready, i don’t mean that someone had to suddenly hit the loo before leaving. i get that, and i’m actually okay with that. but i have had situations where the person had to finish homework, finish texting someone, or finish talking to someone on the phone. and, in all of these cases, the people weren’t immediately trying to wrap things up, either; they were taking all the time in the world.

GRRRRRR!

i get that stuff happens, and so when it does, i don’t get annoyed or upset. but i have noticed as of late that there are recurrences of these sorts of events with the same folks. it really burns me up. am i supposed to be teaching the kids that they need to stop what they’re doing and get in the car if they have any intention of getting to point B? then, of course, i will get the rep as the mean-ass mom who scares all her kids’ friends.

then again, maybe that’s not such a bad thing…

steam
Nov 29th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

just give me some steam.

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wow. i have been struggling to write something every day for a whole month, courtesy of NaBloPoMo. i have actually done this bloggy endeavour now for several years, but this year, it has been tough going. this year, i decided to not to use a theme, probably to the dismay of everyone out there who reads this. in previous years, i have spent the month happily skewering 70’s or ’80s music, pet peeves, and all sorts of other things. somehow, it takes less effort to criticize things than it does to create something.

not that i c a n ‘t create something.

but it’s not as easy now for so many reasons. when i started this blog, almost 10 years ago (yes, it’s true), i mostly threw a combination of funny memes up  as well as tales of my one, then two, children. now, memes end up on my FB page when they end up anywhere; and it gets increasingly tough to write about the kids because both they and their friends are old enough to read and surf teh internetz. once they put two and two together, they’ll realize that them there’s some good fodder in here, if you’re willing to dig. (note to all current mommy bloggers — one day, your children will hate you for writing about their toilet training/bed wetting/nose picking/etc. i’m glad i never went down that path.)

so, with my favorite topics somewhat off-limits, i have to either tilt at windmills, review concerts and music, or simply blather about the weather. well, maybe i don’t do the latter, but i suspect some of my navel-gazing may seem that way to some people… in which case, let me share my two most hated (by others) works with you.

here, for your reading displeasure are:

1) my somewhat ignorant  but historic (in that it is the only bit i ever wrote where i had to cut off comments because people were insulting MY MOTHER, A WOMAN THEY HAD NEVER MET) diatribe on homeschooling; and

2) my feelings about the song wildfire, which, i must tell you, i still firmly believe, even if loads of people disagree with me and send me hate mail over (which continues to come on my old site, so if you’d like to see a total stranger call me an anus,  click here.)

anyway, one more day of the bataan death blog march. hoping i have enough steam to cross the finish line.

junk
Nov 27th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

planning ahead can be cute.

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i’ve written before about jools and his BFF M, who decided to marry when they were in kindergarten and then decided to be BFFs instead last year.  she is so very sweet to him and seems to understand him in a way that no one else seems to do.

today, M and jools had a playdate. jools thought about changing his shirt before he went; he wanted to look (his) best, he said, though he wouldn’t elaborate. when we were getting into the car, he ran suddenly back into the car. he ran back out about a minute later. when i asked him what he did, he told me that he had taken a piece of candy from his halloween bag for M and one for him.  if he had done that for anyone else, i think i would have wondered about ulterior motives; but when it comes to M, i know he just simply adores her.

anyway, after i picked him up from the playdate, i asked him what they did. we just spun around and around, he said, and we had a snack.

oh, he added, we decided that when we have kids, we are gonna let them eat all the junk food they want as long as they don’t get sick.

ah, yes.  nothing telling in that statement.

laughing
Nov 26th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

lighted in a room, lanky room

lighted lighting laughing in tune

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today, we hit the comedy place in ballston where there was to be a special improv show for kids.  BS got some half-price ticket special, which made it even better. (top that off with a buy-one, get-one-free coupon from cold stone creamery and it was even better.) maybe because it was thanksgiving day weekend, but there were literally two other families there (and they were related to each other), so it wasn’t exactly a packed house. this is a shame, really, as the two people running the show did a great job rassling people and humor and keeping it at a disney-level of appropriateness…

which wasn’t easy considering our family. when they asked for something you talk about at the dinner table, the other family yelled out: turkey! we yelled out: politics! when they asked what’s something in your garage, i yelled out: jimmy hoffa! jools, not to be outdone, yelled out: a crime scene!

it’s moments like these where i am super-glad that no one from the division of youth and family services attends these things.

the other family was overly-hammy, which did get annoying to me after awhile. they apparently have been to these things many, MANY times before, sort of comedy groupies. (we’d been to grown-up comedy nights here before we had kids.) but again, if they hadn’t been there, it would have been all us, all the time. and their spirit was fun, so i shouldn’t gripe much.

as an aside, the boy neglected to eat lunch. and now, as it was 3pm and he was separated from video games, he realized he was hungry. he wanted to hit the concessions stand, but sadly, no one was staffing it. he wanted to check back, and he asked us whether he could go to confessions. that teachable moment alone was worth the price of admission.

anyway, we all ended up on stage at different times. i was an utter failure, playing some sort of charades-type game with julian and two other little boys. we were trying to convince the actor who was not in-the-know that we were running a debate, impersonating people from the big bang theory, with podiums that were actually guillotines. all without uttering a single word. (no, i am not making this up. and i am not on any meds that you might think i would be off at this particular juncture.) jools knew BBT, but the other two? not sure.

speaking of jools, i think he has a future in stand-up. both he and the girl were able to make up jokes on the fly during one exercise, and they both did a great job. but the boy’s delivery?

had me laughing. i’m laughing still.

money
Nov 25th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

it’s not just something you use to get yourself stuff… it’s hours of fun, too!

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today’s theme is money and how it can provide hours of activities for the whole family! (it is, after all, black friday.) BC started me down this thrilling path by deciding that it would be fun to experience black friday! don’t you want to hit tyson’s corner center at ungodly o’clock? sure. i know i did.

i told her that despite the mall opening at midnight, i would not be triapsing there at that time. we settled on waking up at 5:30am and hitting the mall then. and hit it hard we did. girlfriend, you see, needs new clothes. and there were some specials that would be too hard to pass up. two pairs of jeans, one skirt, two camis, three shirts, and one pair of sweats later, we did quite well. (i also did well on two cashmere sweaters at macy’s which i had been stalking for two months. a crazy sale price plus a coupon made it something i could finally do. (yeah, i use coupons. so what?)) also two pairs of dockers for BS, and the only person who got bupkes on this trip was jools. (not for lack of trying: we hit the gamestop, but it didn’t have a lot of there there for him. at least, notthat was on sale, anyway.)

the ladies at vera bradley were a little cuckoo, i would say. they were pretty clueless and the sale items we wanted weren’t there. ladies, step away from the paisley.

so what’s even more fun with money? looking into a piggy bank that i’ve had since i was in high school and seeing which quarters are now collectibles in jools’ book. and that’s what we did. wow, the boy exclaimed, a quarter from 1968! that’s really old, isn’t it??

uhm.

anyway, we found a bicentennial quarter, a coin from greece (also 1968!), a shekel, and all sorts of stuff… including some pretty gnarly-looking pennies. which leads us to fun with money part three: let’s learn about oxidation! i found a little piece called chemistry fun with pennies and mixed up a little vinegar-salt mixture. the boy threw in a bunch of pennies, a quarter, and a dime for good measure. we’re still waiting to see what happens, though the pennies seem to be improving…marginally.

in other news, my fingers have this awful vinegar/old metal smell. i guess i officially smell like money.


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