Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I Got Those Beta Blogger Blues

I woke up this morning
Blog posts in my head
Signed on for my Blogger
And found Beta here instead...

I am no good at this lyrics malarky, but you get the drift I hope. Please add your own imaginary sour guitar chords and subtle background noises that involve acquiescent, tired people (a few dark 'uhuh's or 'amen's as you wish) and the essential ' this is real blues' sounds of a large, bare room with old wooden flooring; be that scuffs or a slight echo to the vocals.
Or not.

Anyhow perhaps its happened to all of us, but this is now a Beta blog. The little matter of choice was removed. Lovely.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cold Monday Morning

I am apparently the only one around here who knows how to plan ahead. The forecast said it would be cold Sunday and Monday. I bought weather stripping and insulation last week. I installed it Saturday, when the weather was nice. Sunday was cold, and getting colder. I gathered kindling, hauled logs to the porch, got my grocery shopping done before dark, stoked the fire til 2AM, and turned on the electric blanket an hour before getting into bed. I washed the kids’ heavy coats, and gave them an extra few minutes in the dryer just before leaving this morning. I started the car 15 minutes early to warm it up. I found two matching sets of gloves.

Monday was an “out of dress code” day, which is special. I told the kids to bring me all their dirty laundry all weekend. I told them to get their outfits ready the night before. Several times.

This morning, I found Princess in a sleeveless shirt. NO! Its 14 degrees out there! She couldn’t find ANY long sleeved shirt that wasn’t dress code. So I looked. I could think of 6 nice long sleeved shirts, not a one to be found. Turns out one was under the bed, dirty. Two were in the car, dirty. Two were left at Grandma’s house. And the other was on her sister’s back.

Gothgrrl neglected to bathe on Sunday. And Saturday. So I stoked the water heater and nagged her through a quick shower, while packing lunches and preparing breakfast. I dried her hair while she ate.

After putting in what amounted to an entire day’s work getting them ready, we left for school on time. The parking lot was empty! Yes, I had checked the roads, no snow, no ice. But the public schools in the area had called off school today for some reason, so the parochial school delayed class one hour as a precaution. All that hurrying this morning was for naught. Of course, I left them there anyway. They behave better for the nuns than for me.

But now that I’ve vented, I can enjoy some peace and another cup of coffee. Thank you.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

In Your Face

I have a toothbrush holder I bought six years ago. I love this toothbrush holder, it's chrome and white porcelain, done up in a turn of the century design, very compact and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I've kept it next to my sink all these years, fondly recalling the happiness I felt when I first spotted it sitting all by itself on the shelf at Target.

Problem is, the good folks at Colgate and Crest who design toothbrushes have conspired to see to it that no toothbrush in existence will fit into my pretty holders' neatly arranged slots.

My bathroom counter is riddled with evaporated pools of foamy toothpaste residue, white chalky mess from fat-handled toothbrushes commingle with hairballs from recently cleaned hairbrushes and my daughter's array of makeup and glitter sprays.

I threw that bastard toothbrush holder right in the fucking garbage can today. I admit defeat, I'm done trying to find skinny brushes, done picking everything up to wash the counters, finished with longing to see that holder full and functional. All you marketing geniuses...Go fuck yourselves.

Friday, January 26, 2007


This afternoon, I had to take my car to the mechanic. Nothing big, just a lot of little stuff. I discussed it with my daughter in the morning (oh, she of the 4 years and afraid to do show and tell). She decided that she wanted to bring her bicycle and ride it home from the mechanic. They are about 1- 1.5 miles away, simple, easy. Her choices had been bike or tricycle (which is really too small) and she chose the bike. She chose it, dammit.

All morning, she asked to ride her bike. When I picked her up from daycare, she wanted to ride her bike. When we got to the mechanic, she wanted to ride her bike. Begged to.

You can all see this coming, can't you? Well, I couldn't. I am an idiot.

We get the fucking bike out of the car, get her helmet on, and she melts. Won't get on. It's too scary.

I, being far from the mother of the year, yell at her. I make her get on the bike, where she starts to sob. I let her get off and we cross the street, her sobbing and me fuming.

She wants to walk. I tell her that we are not putting the bike back in the car, that she can walk it all the way home. Which I proceed to make her do. I help her at the streets, but that is it. She pushes the bike the whole way, with me fuming by her side. I would not help her and I would definitely not carry her-- which, to her credit, she knew enough not to ask for.

We moved at a snail's pace. She whined that she was tired. I told her that we would get home 4 times faster and with her using about half the energy if she'd get on and ride. She kept saying it was scary. I kept telling her that I would help her stay upright (it has training wheels, it's not likely that she'll fall) and that she is a good rider, that she did it so well at home. I tried to be pleasant and tell her good things about herself, while I seethed about her unwillingness to get on the bike.

She is afraid she will fall. This from the kid who rode around our block about 6 times (it's a double block, too) the first time she went out on the bike. This from the kid who was begging to ride it. Suddenly, it's scary and she's afraid she will fall.

She should be afraid that I will clobber her, because I really wanted to. I didn't, of course, but holy moley I was so annoyed that I wanted to.

I know that age 4 is the age of imaginary fears, and clearly on her part, whininess beyond measure. I know it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I really understand why some mammals eat their young.

Why show-and-tell is no longer optional

I am clearly tired of teaching. I have done it for 9 years now. I usually enjoy it, with the occasional desire to dope slap a student here and there.

That is, until this term, when the "occasional desire" seems to overtake me every minute... or at least every time I have to interact with my students.

I have only one class (2 sections) right now. It's pretty much a simple, easy class for them. All they have to do is:
show up
do their research
present their research
do their final (following instructions, turning it in, all that jazz)

Should they manage to complete these pretty damned simple tasks, they will pass. They are first year medical students and thus in my opinion should not require much babysitting.

I am so so terribly wrong about this, apparently. Somehow, this term, I have the whiniest group of students imaginable.

First, not one single class has passed this term without at least one email from a student explaining that they will not be in class the next day. For whatever reason-- and some are legit, like the woman whose grandmother just died, though they must be a bunch of young'uns to still have grandmothers to die-- this particular group of students has a lot going on, and many of them see it as reason not to attend my class. I find it annoying.

Second, and this is a real doozie, there is one student who I am ready to slap silly. As I said, the class is basically a research class where students collect info and present it to the group. Nothing major, just 15 people around a table, presentations are very informal and take perhaps as much as 5 minutes. The students are responsible for jumping in when the time is right, I try not to direct too much, and the students are responsible for how they present the information. Oh, and they also get to choose what they research and they can work alone or in small groups, so really they aren't on the spot for all that much.

So this one student, she says she can't do it. Research, yes, but she cannot present information to her class when she is "required" to do so. Like she has some panic disorder that only kicks in when something is required of her-- since she insists that she can speak well in one-on-one situations and in groups if she feels "passionate" about what she is speaking about.

What the fuck? You can only speak in a group if you feel passionate about what you are saying and if no one is requiring you to do it? Are you kidding me?

I would love to say to her "do you feel passionate about passing your fucking classes?"

I would love to say to her "stop being such a fucking prima donna, you whiny little bitch"

I would love to say to her "sometimes grown ups have to do things when they are told to, not just when they want to. Time to grow up"

I would love to say to her "I am so sorry that you were raised and apparently educated by people who never taught you that sometimes you have to do what other people tell you and when they tell you. That you have to meet other people's expectations. That you can't always do just what you want when you want.These moments are often called deadlines, and they are a reality of adulthood."

I would love to say to her "stop whining or I will fail you"

And I would love to talk to her parents, to give them an ear full about never having taught her this unpleasant little life lesson.

Which brings me to show and tell. My kid never wants to bring anything for show and tell. Never. I asked her why, and she says that she does not like to talk in front of the class.

Well, not on my watch, baby. You are not going to grow up thinking that this sort of spoiled brat behaviour is acceptable. You are almost 4 and a half, it is time for some cold hard reality, my friend, and I see it as my job to deliver it to you. I may adore you, but I see it as my damned job to make sure you are a functional human being, and it is not too soon to start as far as I am concerned.

Suffice it to say, life has been a bit tougher for my kid this week. Her father and I have told her, in no uncertain terms, that we expect her to toe the line at preschool. Stop refusing to perform, stop telling the teachers that she doesn't want to answer questions. Next week, my kid is doing show and tell, dammit, if I have anything to say about it. Show and tell is no longer optional.

It's never too early to learn that the world is a hard, hard place.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

About Membership

Any current members wanting to suspend membership to upgrade to beta, please let me know.

Of course if I decide to upgrade, then I'll let you all know, as it will involve suspending the whole list.

Anyone who is not a member, particularly opinionated women 'of a certain age' ready to set the world to rights and/or looking for a place to let off steam, well, do leave a comment or email if you'd like to be considered.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My Fine Is.....

This meme and its title have been lifted from the irrepressibly warped fuzzbox. OK he can be witty too, of course, but that would have detracted from my attempt to share the name joke with absolutely everybody.

Still don't get it? See me after class. Bring fruit.

Below is a list of *ahem* activities, each awarded a penalty in dollars. You don't have to confess your answers, just the amount of your fine.

Smoked pot -- $10
Did acid -- $5
Ever had sex at church -- $25
Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you -- $40
Had sex with someone on MySpace -- $25
Had sex for money -- $100
Vandalized something -- $20
Had sex on your parents' bed -- $10
Beat up someone -- $20
Been jumped -- $10
Crossed dressed -- $10
Given money to stripper -- $25
Been in love with a stripper -- $20
Kissed some one who's name you didn't know -- $0.10
Hit on some one of the same sex while at work -- $15
Ever drive drunk -- $20
Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk -- $50
Used toys while having sex -- $30
Got drunk, passed out and don't remember the night before -- $20
Went skinny dipping -- $5
Had sex in a pool -- $20
Kissed someone of the same sex -- $10
Had sex with someone of the same sex -- $20
Cheated on your significant other -- $10
Masturbated -- $10
Cheated on your significant other with their relative or close friend -- $20
Done oral -- $5
Got oral -- $5
Done / got oral in a car while it was moving -- $25
Stole something -- $10
Had sex with someone in jail -- $25
Made a nasty home video -- $15
Had a threesome -- $50
Had sex in the wild -- $20
Been in the same room while someone was having sex -- $25
Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars -- $20
Had sex with someone 10 years older -- $20
Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 -- $25
Been in love with two people or more at the same time -- $50
Said you love someone but didn't mean it -- $25
Went streaking -- $5
Went streaking in broad daylight -- $15
Been arrested -- $5
Spent time in jail -- $15
Peed in the pool -- $0.50
Played spin the bottle -- $5
Done something you regret -- $20
Had sex with your best friend -- $20
Had sex with someone you work with at work -- $25
Had anal sex -- $80
Lied to your mate -- $5
Lied to your mate about the sex being good -- $25

My fine is: $305 and change. Not a total pervert then, but not as boring as I thought.


I tag all of you, of course.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Shopping Online

The writers on one of my other blogs were discussing doing a group podcast, so I mentioned that I didn’t have a USB microphone headset. Since I don’t have a Radio Shack in my town, the webmaster suggested I order one online. OK. This was Friday evening. I went to the Radio Shack site and placed my order, paying extra for two-day delivery. I figured it would be shipped Saturday, which means I would received my headset on Monday.

Ooops. Monday was New year’s Day. No mail service. So I’ll get it on Tuesday. Paying for two-day shipping and getting it in three days is actually normal procedure with most orders.

But then I hear that Tuesday was a federal day of mourning for President Ford. No mail service. So I’ll get my headset on Wednesday. I’ll look for it. Four days for two-day shipping.

Then last night (Tuesday night) about 11PM, I received a notice that my headset had been shipped! What?? So I went to the website and read the fine print on the shipping policy. Radio Shack’s online store is only open 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday! They didn’t even know I’d placed an order til Tuesday! Yeah, they all go home at 5PM, but somehow I didn’t get an email notification til 11PM. Sometimes I think businesses do that just so I can’t call and complain.

So as it stands now, the earliest I will receive my order will be Thursday. Six days for two-day shipping. Somehow, that extra ten bucks seems like a lot of money to pay to get a $15 item. If I had known, I’d have just jumped in the car on Saturday and drove an hour or so to find a Radio Shack thats OPEN on Saturday.

You know what? I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t arrive til Friday. Or Saturday. Not surprised, but not happy, either.

I’m an idiot.