My children are brilliant

I have suspected this for a long time.  When Megan was 3 and being tested for Head Start, they asked her to draw a picture of a person.  She drew it upside down.  When the woman asked her why, she said, “So you can see it the right way.”  The woman was sitting across the table from her.

Tonight, Ryan and Jesse are doing some BrainQuest cards for kindergarten.  She apparently just answered a question about something Jesse thought she didn’t know.  He said, “How do you know these things?”  Her response?  “I just KNOW!”

I’ve been thinking lately about Ryan starting kindergarten next year.  When Megan started school, it was a big deal in the traditional sense, but she’s a good student.  She works hard, behaves well, is a pretty model kid.  She likes to please people and she doesn’t question.  Ryan is different.  She has such a spirit about her – which I realize sounds completely ridiculously hippie-ish and cliched – but if you know her, you know what I mean.  And I’m afraid school is going to take that away from her.  I don’t WANT her to become a sit in your seat and be quiet and swallow information student.  But I don’t want her to be the “oh, GOD!  I have that kid this year!” kid either.   Jesse says she’s likeable enough that teachers won’t want to drill this out of her, and he’s probably right.  Between us and our 17 years of teaching experience, I can name about 10 kids like Ryan and I loved them all.  Sometimes wanted to strangle them, but loved them. 

Hey…that’s sort of how I feel about her.


God bless my husband

Who has gone to the store to get the gear for Ryan’s Halloween costume. 

Neither one of us is a fan of this “holiday.”  I use the term loosely, since for me, Halloween ranks right up there with Valentine’s Day in the it’s-a-holiday-which-has-become-so-commercialized-that-I-can-hardly-stand-it category.  I mean, really, how many people even KNOW where trick or treating comes from?  Or dressing in costumes?  (besides you, lily)  Yes, I’m *that* guy.  You know…the one who hands out a crap ton of candy to every kid so we run out early and can turn off our lights.  I’m also the guy who only lets my kid eat like two pieces of candy a day and eats all the rest on the sly. 

Since he’s taking on this task, I suppose I could bite the bullet and take Ryan out on Friday night.  Ugh. 

Maybe she’ll get lots of Snickers and Twix.  I can always hope.

Wow…it’s only Tuesday?

These past few days have been crazy whirlwind busy!  We started on Saturday with the state cross country meet, which made my back hurt and my guilt at not running enough spike.  Sunday we stood in line at CSU for three hours, but we got this, so I’m okay with it:

Talk about energizing my desire to vote!  I was nearly in tears because the gravity of the moment we are in took my breath away.  However this election ends, it will be an historic moment, and I am amazed and blessed to be a part of it.  I love that this election season has created such an interest in politics and government, and even though there are waaaaaaay too many people who don’t do their research before spouting ridiculous Fox-news-driven-Elizabeth-Hasselbeck-spewing rhetoric, at least people are starting to *care*.  There might be hope for this nation, after all.

The past two days I’ve been in Aurora at Grandview High School for the state Student Council Fall Conference.  Almost 800 student leaders, 75 advisors, and one giant Monopoly board.  If that’s not a recipe for fun, I don’t know what is!  Last night we went to Ted’s Montana Grill and after almost unbuttoning my pants to relieve the pressure (instead I went to the restroom and um…deflated…), this is what my lovelies looked like:

Aren’t they cute?  Notice the girl on the left…what she and I learned at Fall Retreat is that everyone thinks she’s my long lost given-up-for-adoption-15-years-ago daughter.  Never mind the implications of that statement…it’s actually POSSIBLE that I could be the mother of a 15 year old.  Gah.  Good thing I hang out with these kids – they keep me young, other than the inevitable gray hair of course. 

Student council events are an interesting mix.  Silly songs, family groups, advisor bonding, song fest, magic notes – all things that in principle sound pretty effing lame.  Turns out these have been some of the best parts of my professional career…BUBBLE GUM!  Bazooka, bazooka, bazooka…. 🙂

Something to think about

I just found this clip on and it stopped me. It really did. I think this is just one way we can start to be a little nicer to each other. Peace and love, y’all. 🙂

edit: well… wordpress doesn’t support that video, so here’s the link. I think it’s important, so check it out, please?

click me

Fucking day from hell

Sorry for the rant, everyone.  I need to.

1) Today is the 26th anniversary of my mom’s death from cervical cancer.  I’m fairly good with words, but there aren’t any to describe the unfairness of this event and the ripple effects of this.  I want to be drunk.

2) Turns out my teaching license expires next month.  Great.  More paperwork.  And money.

3) I got in a huge fight with my husband about a MOBILE COMPUTER LAB.  That’s right.  A fucking cart of laptops at school.  I feel bad about it, but I’m not apologizing – because that’s the way I feel.  So far, we haven’t talked to each other other than comments about….

4) This debate.  I really want to know who the people ARE who believe the drivel that comes out of John McCain’s mouth.  Sarah Palin is not a role model.  McCain does not repudiate people who attack Obama’s character.  Obama’s career was not launched by William Ayers.  It makes me SICK that in today’s information age that so many people are completely ignorant and happy to stay that way.

5) Ryan made me miss ice cream.  We were going to Baskin Robbins after dinner.  Turns out the little punk didn’t finish her dinner in AN HOUR, so we didn’t go.  I hate following through with threats when they directly affect me. I suppose that’s what being a good parent is all about.

So there’s today.  I really could have used that ice cream.

Please accept this letter on behalf of

Letters of recommendation.  From the beginning of time they’ve been used to judge character.  How many young men and women traveled across the ocean in the 19th century, anchored in their belief that a simple letter would ensure their success?  And much like those brave souls, my little pumpkins will be heading off to post-secondary life in only 10 short months, anchored by the recommendations of their teachers like me. 

These letters are a big deal.  They can truly make or break a college application.  And it seems as though any school worth looking at wants one from the senior year English teacher.  What a great idea!  Oh, wait.  I teach 111 seniors.  Shit.

I finished writing letter #22 yesterday afternoon.  Twenty-two handcrafted, well-written tomes singing the praises and extolling the virtues of these horny little bastards.  My letters are GOOD.  I’ve gotten letters back from admission panels telling me that my letter made the difference for a student.  I know what I’m doing here. 

What I don’t know (or maybe I just don’t understand?) is why these students, who are basically placing part of their college education in my fingertips, never bother to say thank you?  Out of the 22 children who have asked me to write that letter, NONE have said thank you.  Not a note, not a card, not a small token of appreciation the form of a gift card or a piece of candy…not even the words “thank you.” 

Good lord, I write thank you notes for people giving a phone reference.  Often I send one just for letting me put someone’s name on my resume.  I know this is not an unusual skill.  Here, kids, let me write it for you: “Mrs. O, Thanks so much for taking the time to write a letter that I know you don’t have to write.  I’d especially like to thank you for making me sound more amazing than I will ever actually be.  When I’m done with college and have earned some bullshit degree that will allow me to make three times what you do, I’ll make sure to NOT think of you at all anymore while I’m bemoaning the current state of American education.  You rock!”

*sigh* The things I do.

So. Here is what sucks.

Being the parent of a “shared” kid is fucking hard.  I hate it.  Almost as much as I would hate being married to that man.  So while I understand that yes, I sort of made this bed, I am still allowed to complain.

I haven’t seen Megan since September 21st.  I was getting very excited to see her again tomorrow after school for the weekend.  Well.  She just called to ask if she could trade weekends because her cheer team is having a fundraiser.  A pretty sweet fundraiser – “waitressing and cooking” at a popular establishment in the town where she lives – I think I need to look into this for my little student council children…I digress.

Well, of course, how can I say no?  I can’t.  And now I can’t seem to swallow this lump in my throat.  The one that is just about to push me over the edge of this emotional breakdown I’ve been teetering on the past week or so.  This child is my soul.  She is the reason I lived through some of the darkest places I’ve seen.  I hurt.