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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Failing at Parenting

As parents, we try to shelter our little ones from the ugliness of the world by making sure we don't share what's on the news, we don't expose them to the hardships that we might be personally experiencing, and we filter what we say by leaving out the colorful adjectives and adverbs that aid in decorating our vocabulary.

Did I say, "we"?

Yeah.

I've found that I have a seven year old that might be a little more "worldly" than others. 

I teach her about some of the world's problems (past, present, and future) so she can decide for herself how to help the world...like Mother Teresa.  Or dominate it...like Hitler.

I do my best to keep her from knowing what hard times I have going on around me.  I don't tell her when I might only have $20 to my name...except for that one time.  I couldn't help it!  I was super stressed about it.  But usually she doesn't know because I don't want her to scold me about it.  That's really embarrassing.

And then there's the foul language that I seriously don't want her to hear.  I appreciate the networks on TV that have good shows with censored language.  I want her to watch something that might be interesting but I don't need her hearing the bad words that might be said.  However, when the words get "bleeped", she's smart enough to fill in her own choice of words.  That would be MY doing, thank you very much.

This morning's example:

Farrah:  Mom!!  There's a spider on the wall!
Me:  Oh, that Bastard!  I thought he was living under the garbage can.  Ugh!  He escaped.
(She leaves and then comes back)
Farrah:  Hey! Bastard is gone...I can't see him.
Me:  What did you just say?  Did you just say, "Bastard"?
Farrah:  Yeah, that's what you named him, right?

One ticket to hell, please!  Oh, and might as well get me an extra because my daughter wants to follow me wherever I go!



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Famous Last Words...

What is the age that forgetfulness kicks in?  I suppose it's fair to say we would all assume it hits us in the golden years of our life.  That's the time when we've lived out some of the best times and the worst times and built memories on top of memories that, unfortunately, wind up getting shuffled around in our minds until bits and pieces get lost and closed up in a little hiding spot either temporarily or forever. 

So, what's the excuse for a 7 year old?

For the past couple months, I've wondered if I need to take Farrah in to see a specialist about a possible early onset of Alzheimer's.  The reason?  Her answer to everything is, "I forgot."  I believe I hear her say this at least 3 times a day, every day. 

Me:  Did you brush your hair this morning?
Farrah:  I forgot.
Me:  Did you grab your shoes for P.E.?
Farrah:  I forgot.
Me:  Did you eat your breakfast?
Farrah:  I forgot.

Do you see the pattern?  Yeah, pretty predictable at this point. 

Dealing with this on a daily basis is starting to drive me bananas and I've now started to call her "Forgetful Farrah" which she HATES!  However, it's been explained to her that I will changed her name if she changes her ways, until then...the name stays.

There was one thing she forgot that sent me over the edge of reasonability.  Her routine in the morning is pretty basic:  Brush teeth, shower, get dressed, make bed, feed the dog, pull together school work and backpack, put together a lunch (I make the sandwich if she can't). 
So, I asked her all the questions confirming that she had completed all of these tasks and I received a proud, "YES!" from her.
Off to school we went.
When we arrived, I was helping her grab her things and when I grabbed her lunch box (which she almost forgot), the weight of it was significantly lighter than I'd expected.
Me:  Ummmm...why is this so light?  You said you packed a lunch!
Farrah:  I did!

I opened it.

Me:  OH MY GOD!!! WHAT THE HELL AM I LOOKING AT?!!!
Farrah:  Ham.
Me:  Where's the rest of your lunch?!
Farrah:  I wasn't very hungry and I forgot to add anything.  But, mom, there's three slices!!
Me:  Are you kidding me??  Do you know how horrible this is?  Not only are you going to starve, but you will have succeeded in making me look like the worst mother in the world.  Grrrrrreat.

With steam coming out of my ears and fire shooting out of my eyeballs, I sent my forgetful child off to school telling her to inform her teacher that SHE packed her own lunch and I was now heading to the store to pick her up something so she wouldn't die.  Before she got too far away from my car, I'd asked her a question...
Me:  Hey, did you eat the granola bar this morning for breakfast?
Farrah:  No...I forgot.

GAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

And when we got home later that day, and I asked her to empty any trash from her lunch box and asked if she had anything left over she said she did.  Ham.  I had to ask her why after the big fiasco over her weird lunch, she didn't eat her ham...

Farrah:  I forgot.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm the Grossest Person I Know...

That is a very true statement as of last night.  While there are plenty of people that have grossed me out beyond words, I topped them all when I went to bed Wednesday night after dropping my daughter off with my parents for summer vacation.
I had gone through my nightly ritual of getting ready for bed and started pulling together what I felt like watching on TV to put me to sleep.  However, sometimes I have a bad habit of getting hungry right before bed...I know, this is terrible for my metabolism.  Don't worry.  I learned my lesson the hard way.

I went to the kitchen to look through the cupboards and nothing sounded good to me.  I even went upstairs to see if Farrah had accidentally left her zip-locked baggie full of deliciousness in her room (that I always tell her to NOT leave in her room because I don't want ants in the house), but she had either finished it or actually put it away like I told her.  Defeated with no snack, I drug my ass back to my room only to find a bag of Lay's potato chips carefully rolled up and with a chip-clip on it, keeping it sealed.  Jack pot!!  This isn't a normal thing to discover in my room...clothes on the floor, perhaps.  But a delicious just-what-I-wanted bag of chips?  No.  I turned on my lamp, off the main light, got all cozy in my bed in my blankets and eagerly grabbed the bag of chips and unclipped and unrolled it as I began to watch Game of Thrones for the hundredth time.  And, boo...they were stale.  Ugh!  Just my freakin' luck.  This was a new bag of chips that had barely been touched and they were grossly stale.  However, I give everything, even a bag of chips, the benefit of the doubt.  There was a possibility that the first, second, and even third chip were just my bad luck, but perhaps the 4th would be okay.  I had convinced myself if the 4th chip was as bad as the first 3, then in to the trash it would go.  I bit down on my 4th stale chip thinking, "Dammit!!" just as I looked into the bag...
GASP!!!
AGHHHHHHH!!!!! AGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!  PFFFFFTT! I spit out everything I could in my mouth, grabbed a bottled water and swallowed.  SHIT!! DON'T SWALLOW IT!!!  More water, sloshed it around and spit it out into my white sink, praying I wouldn't see anything...and I didn't.
I did not see a hundred ants come out of my mouth and into my sink.  That's right ladies and gentlemen.   I looked into that bag of chips and was holding a fully infested ant paradise.  I screamed so many times, did the heebie-jeebie dance so many more times, and thought about puking only a million times.  The horror I felt was reflected in the mirror when I happened to look at myself...I looked like a chick that just realized she ate 4 chips out of that bag along with many, many ants.  I...ate...ants.

It was a mad dash at that point.

I had to find the source of the ants quickly...and I did.  There was the tiniest of burrowed holes near my bed with so many ants around it...the dry heaves were about to start up.  I sprayed the shit out of that area and pretty much the entire carpet in my room.  I was so overwhelmed with the fact that I'd eaten them and now had also tossed the bag onto my bed, I started to freak out with more heebie-jeebies.  I even thought I could see the carpet move (that's a bit of an exaggeration, but that's what my eyeballs were doing to me).  I ended up spraying EVERYTHING in my room.  By the time I'd cleaned everything, vacuumed everything, threw everything away...my room was actually ant-free.

Holy shit, that was the most disgusting thing I'd ever done in my entire life.  All I could think about were a bunch of ants swimming in my gut, having a feast on my dinner from earlier.  So grossed out.   I also felt like I could feel them on me even though they weren't.  I checked.

Have I ever eaten a bug before last night?  Of course.  I've been on the back of motorcycles enough times to know it's part of the deal if you open your mouth to say something while riding.  It just happens.  But this?!!  No...that's not supposed to happen.  I will probably be scarred for life from that incident.

Ironically, I shared the story with the gals at work and one of them told me about one of the men that works with us that he had ordered breakfast yesterday and was served an omelet....with flies in it.  Another had crickets throughout her house last night, and another had beetles brought into her home.  I'm not sure if our male co-worker actually ate his fly-omelet...but I know I ate 4 chips and I am positive my chips were overly seasoned with ants.  No need to have a protein shake after that.

This is how I felt like I probably looked when I was devouring my tasty, tasty chips.
Yummy Lays Potato Chips.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Won't You Be My Neighbor

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?..."

Oh, Mr. Rogers...I'm not real sure you'd approve of one of my neighbors.  

(This is a rant...sorry)

You see, I live in an area where the people are very kind and friendly.  The neighbors I have are sweet and caring.  Bob, who's the older man next door, brings me vegetables from his garden and wine grapes every summer.  We talk over our fences about random things and he and his wife are great people.  On the other side of me, used to live a family that was generous with their time and lovingly devoted parents to their children.  Angie, the mom, and I would sit on her porch and chat from time to time.  When I moved here, I kept to myself, didn't want to talk to people, didn't want to meet people, just wanted to be left alone.  However, those two families were what little dose of human interaction that I needed during that time.  
When Angie and her family moved, another couple moved in with their three giant awesome dogs.  They've both been super great when my dog, Twig, has decided to be an asshole and dig a hole to China that led to their house and play with the 300+ pounds of dog.  Their dogs just play with Twig (they mostly play follow-the-leader; my dog being the leader) and nothing happens.  It's just rude of my dog and as an extension...rude of me.  But they're always gracious when they bring back my little shit of a dog.  

The house across the street has a large family that just moved in a few months ago and they all seem very sweet.  When Twig decided to go on an "Amazing Journey", Farrah had knocked on their door asking if they'd seen Twig and they were immediately giving us information about where they'd seen her, how nice of a dog she is, they were going to let us know right away if they saw her again...the whole family had come out to help.  Awesome!
The next house down, those neighbors were kind but moved away, too.  The new people that moved in had seemed very kind.  The wife had helped me clear my driveway of snow when it had dumped the night before and I was extremely grateful.  

But...yesterday...I got a clearer understanding of the kind of person this woman is/was.  While I don't want to seem like a complete ass for what I'm about to say because she was so awesome to help me out, I learned some stuff about her that makes me think I'd rather get stuck in my driveway next time we have a snow storm.
Twig ran away yesterday.  She had been gone the longest time ever and we finally found her when we went knocking a third time on the house that has the 3 dogs.  The woman answered the door and we talked about Twig, laughed about how funny she is to want to play with beasts and doesn't die, and what have you.  She was a doll.  In the middle of our conversation, there was a little girl at that other neighbor's house...with Twig!  "TWIG!!!"  She came running to us, got her loves, and we quickly put her leash on her.  The little girl came over...along with her mom.  We thanked them profusely for taking care of our dog and the mother decided to speak, "Yeah, we decided to take her in because she was just wandering around.  You know, we hear her crying all the time every day."
Both Farrah and I looked at each other with wtf-faces, "Um, really?  She never cries.  Like ever.  Unless she thinks I'm going to kill her or something, which is still never."
Her:  "Well, since my kids want a dog so bad, if she hadn't had a tag on I was just going to keep her." (No joking in her tone.)
Me:  "Hmm. Okaaaaaay."
At some point, I looked at my nice neighbor and she gave me an awkward smile.  I started changing the subject and talked to my nice neighbor about her new tattoo and we talked about mine and somehow the subject about "friendly neighbors" came up randomly from the neighbor that wanted to steel my dog.
Her:  "You know, it's funny how we have neighbors around here that are nice, but a lot really aren't." (Huh?)
Her:  "That old man over there?  He's awful.  Just an awful cranky old man who isn't nice to anyone, ever!" (Mind you, she's saying this so extremely loud that I start getting uncomfortable because I know exactly what she's doing...she hopes he hears her.)
Me:  "Are you serious?  Bob?  He's great!  Maybe next time you see him walking around with his baggies of vegetable that he hands out to all of us, you should tell him you'd love to try some because they're beautiful!"
Her:  "No, he's terrible.  I was clearing out your driveway one day and he was out there with his snow blower glaring at me the whole time."
Me:  "I don't know why he'd glare at you except that he helps me every winter.  Maybe he was still planning to."
Then she continued with this beauty...again, so incredibly loud, I don't think she was really talking to us, but the whole damn neighborhood.
Her:  "And you know what sucks?  I'm on my own for 3 months out of the year (boo-fucking-hoo, lady) and I had to shovel my snow by myself after having my son!  Everyone in the neighborhood saw me!  They all saw that I had strangely put on an extra 40 pounds, clearly from having a baby, and was outside shoveling with a baby crying inside while my daughter watched him, and did any of them bother to stop and help me even once?  No.  People here only really care about their own problems!"
Me:  (Nothing...I had nothing to say.)
Her:  "And then Angie, who used to live here who has half the driveway I do, actually complained about how hard it was to shovel her driveway.  Can you believe that?  And out of the blue, she starts talking about being on her own, she's alone, he cheated, all this stuff and I thought, whoa!  I hardly know you, lady, and I don't really care about all of this crap you're telling me."

At this point, my nice neighbor and I are looking at each other with "oh-my-god-this-woman-is-toxic" eyes.  

Here's the thing.  I cannot STAND people like her.  Not one bit.  Even reliving that moment right now is making my blood boil.  Angie clearly needed someone, anyone, to talk to in that moment.  She just happened to choose an asshole, and for that, it breaks my heart for her.  Screw that neighbor for being so god damn inconsiderate and insensitive.  I didn't know that about Angie and here's this lady practically yelling about it for everyone who knew Angie, to hear.  Asshole.  And whatever the circumstances were in Angie's private life, she just wanted to talk.  People shouldn't belittle someone for being human.  And Bob?  He is a great man.  He's good to everyone and flips me shit when he sees how gross my yard gets, but he knows I'm doing the best I can.  I am grateful that he lives next door to me!  

I listened to this woman talk shit about every person in the neighborhood and how awful and selfish they are...and I'm left wondering...why?  Not one nice thing came out of her mouth.  I even asked her about her favorite football team (the 49ers) because I was going to suggest we all get together to watch some football this coming season...but the crap that spewed from her about the 49ers, her friends that she won't invite to her home anymore because they're so awful about her favorite team, and how her daughter got picked on for liking the 49ers...all made me not continue down the invite road.  I just figured a football fan is a football fan and it would be fun to watch some games.  But, no thanks.  

I was able to determine in a matter of 10 minutes, that this woman is someone I could never be friends with.  She's not just a complainer, but she's mean.  I'm a great judge of character and I could tell that she is mean to people, clearly a shit-talker, and downright rude.  The fact that she said how awful "everyone" in the neighborhood was, is pretty ironic.  She's busy pointing the finger at everyone else and their awfulness, while she has three more fingers pointing back at her.  

Hey neighbor, we're not the problem...you are.  This is a neighborhood, a community of really great people and I feel lucky to live here. So, if you are so unhappy in this "terrible" place, go back where you came from and be awful there.



Monday, May 26, 2014

Hiking...On Purpose

This weekend, I had the privilege to be invited to go hiking with a couple of friends to a very popular hiking spot in Wenatchee, WA.  This was something that I had been asked to join in on, on several occasions and we finally had the opportunity.

Here's the thing...I've only gone hiking twice in my life.  Once, when I was 17 and the other time was two days ago.  My first experience was horrific as I had been a teenager with other teenagers, all of us who were terribly equipped for the hike.  We had climbed (not hiked...climbed) incredibly steep hillsides, leaving clothing behind as we climbed because we were so hot, no water on any of us, and poor shoes.  At one point, we all had to scoot our backs up against the side of the mountain with only a very small area for our footing and then a treacherous cliff just beyond our toes.  When you're a teenager, you're invincible.  This was when reality sunk in.  One slip and we'd be dead.  It was incredibly frightening and thus began my fear of heights.  Thanks, friends.  When we reached the top, huffing and puffing, there was snow.  All of us punched our hands into the slightly thawed icy crystals and filled our mouths with as much as we could fit without giving ourselves brain-freezes.  And that's when I saw my ex-boyfriend and his best friend drinking from their water bottles.  Assholes.  To this day, I'm surprised they didn't "accidentally" find themselves at the bottom of that drop-off.  While the rest of us wanted to stay at the top and stay cool, the two that were refreshed from their water, were the only ones who knew the way back, so off we went.  And that meant it was time to go...down.  I believe the potent mixture of both fear and anger got me off the mountain that day.  I remember hearing a lot of, "It's okay, Kathy.  Jump!  We've got you.  We won't let you fall."  Since I'm here writing this, I'm happy to say my friends did indeed keep me alive that day to wait another 20 years to tackle the whole "hiking experience" again.

That brings me to Saturday, May 24th.  Saddlerock.  Past the horse arena and towards a dry rocky terrain, we parked the car, tied our shoes, stretched a bit, and made sure our water bottles were full.  Time to climb this beast!
Many times, I've been told how it's a great hike, great workout, beautiful views, not difficult, bring Farrah - she'll love it, and how much I'll enjoy myself.  Well, it was my opportunity to give hiking a second chance as I'd turned the idea down many times since I was a teen.  We brought a friend's dog along and my friends, Rebecca and Danny, and I began the journey.
In the beginning it wasn't terrible and Rebecca and I enjoyed each other's company talking about random things, drinking our water, walking the lab, and greeting other hikers who were on their way down.  As it progressed, the path became steeper and my breathing became heavier.  More water.  I could feel the workout I was getting and was happy that I had come along.  The sun was hot and I could feel I would get a nice tan in the process as well.  By the time we reached the halfway point, the dog was heading for a shaded tree and Rebecca's boyfriend, Danny, had caught up to us (he was running the whole way!).  And here's where the bad parts began...we weren't at the halfway point.  We weren't anywhere near it, as a matter of fact.  Alrighty!  I psyched myself up and started the trek with them again.  And again, the path got steeper...and steeper...and steeeeeeeeper.  Annnnd that's when I realized my footwear was so very, very wrong.  Pumas?  Really?  Am I retarded?  Apparently.
So, I hiked up higher and higher and every once in a while my foot would slip on some sandy gravel.  I hated it because I would think about how embarrassing it would be to fall on my ass.  That's when I looked down.  Nope.  It was no longer a fear of being embarrassed from falling on my ass, but falling off the cliff and breaking my ass, my face, my back, my arms, and legs.  That sounded like a shitty Saturday afternoon.  My fear of heights hit me hard when I was at a very steep spot and not in any position to head down and run away like the coward I was.  Shit.  So I climbed and whined and whined and climbed.  Rebecca and Danny talked me through to the best of their abilities...Danny's kind words were, "Don't be a pussy.  You can do this."  Rebecca on the other hand was a bit more delicate, "I know you're scared, but you'll be so happy when we reach the top."  When I asked where the top was and she pointed about 5 more miles away straight up, my words were, "MOTHER-FUCKER!"
I climbed and slipped and whined, but mostly I talked about how Rebecca was a big fat lying liar about Saddlerock.  Her 4 year old did this and she thought my 7 year old could?  That's just mean.  Her 4 year old was carried by Danny...so he didn't actually climb it.  I would've been pretty upset if I'd taken Farrah.  We would've lasted about 1/4 of a mile and turned around (and that would've been one hell of an excuse to get out of climbing anymore and we would've run off to Dairy Queen for a blizzard.).  You know what else sucks up there?  Bees.  Lots of bees.  So, while I was scared of slipping and falling to my death, I was also scared of an attack from the wasps surrounding the path.  Sigh.
When we reached a spot where others had stopped to catch their breath and take in the views, I found relief in knowing we were done.  Only we weren't.  "No, Kath, we still have to get to the top!" Danny pointed to the rocks we needed to reach which were straight up.  Kill me.  The path got steeper and narrower and even the dog was ready to throw in the towel.  We reached the very, very top about 10 minutes later and the view truly was incredible.  Except...I couldn't move off the rock I was on.  I could either fall forward or backward.  Either way, death awaited me.  Awesome.
After we took all our photos and realized we were killing the dog, we started to make our way down from a different way.  Had we gone down the way we came, I would've simply sat on my butt and scooted my way to the finish line.  As it was, there were a couple areas where I did, in fact, have to do that.  As we got closer to the end, I found my stride pick up to a perfect speed.  We had talked about what we were going to eat the entire way down...that was my motivation.  Food and a BIG bottle of water.

Needless to say, hiking is not on my list of things I can hardly wait to do again unless the path is paved and flat and slightly downhill...both ways...and I'm being pulled in a wagon.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Public School...FAIL

This may be an unpopular post, but just deal with it.  My mom was a public school teacher, I am a public school graduate, and my daughter is currently attending public school along with 99% of the rest of the country's children.  Here's the thing.  I'm not a fan.  Sorry.  Things were different when we were kids and they were regimented in a way that seemed to make sense.  Nowadays, I don't like it.  They've eliminated cursive writing because it seems to be "unnecessary".  Really?  I'm glad my signature on loan documents will never be able to be forged.  Looks like fingerprints are in the future for everyone!  Way to go, America.  That being said, Farrah had the most beautiful handwriting in her class.  Now?  Now, it doesn't even seem to matter to her teacher.  Her teachers at her private school complimented her on her beautiful handwriting and encouraged her daily to keep up the good work, helping her find pride in not only turning in work that was accurate, but beautiful, too.  What I've seen is a downfall in that wonderful "insignificant" skill of hers to be hurried and sloppy.  That's not my kid.  That's my kid who is bored and just wants to finish whatever she's working on so she can do something else.
I had found out 3 months into the school year, that the days Farrah went to the school library, the first graders were limited to the "first grade section".  Umm...what?  Farrah reads at a 4th grade reading level and she has to read about the puppy who lost it's way?  No.  I got the librarian to make an exception for her, but it really bothered me that it just got overlooked.  How the hell do you overlook something like that?  I'm not using this post to brag about my kid, but to point out something that I was concerned about by the time I'd conceived her.
There are many teachers out there with the love and passion for teaching and I know some of them.  Unfortunately, they're not at my daughter's school.  I knew things were changing when I'd have to help my stepson with his homework and watched the way the system changed on an annual basis.  Eventually, it was going to get to a point that it would hit home with me and my daughter...and it has.  She is a bright kid and very mature.  But one thing I believe she has picked up on and has learned is to just keep quiet, get her work done, play with her friends, and be ready to come home when it's time.  Sounds like me.  She's bored.  I'd warned her teacher and her principle that this could happen and I wanted to be sure she got challenged.  Mind you, her school isn't doing an awful job, it's just sometimes, certain students get left behind to fend for themselves while the ones that need more help, get more attention and more one on one time.  That means kids like Farrah are forced to be independent (which, thank goodness, she knows how to do...but she shouldn't HAVE to completely in class).
The problem I see with public school is how it has become a cookie-cutter program that the teachers have to follow accordingly and without getting an opportunity to think outside of the box.  My daughter used to be encouraged to follow her dreams at her old school.  While math, science, social studies, literature, and geography (yes, all in kindergarten) were important...Farrah loved dinosaurs, fossils, and various information on ALL animals...her teachers would have her spend time studying those things she was so passionate about.  She'd come home and tell me all about it and how much she learned and her excitement was contagious.  Now, it's more strict about following the rules that are set forth in the curriculum and they cannot be tampered with in the slightest.

So, blah, blah, blah...after that long rant, here's why I'm finally bitching about this in the first place.  Yesterday was Mother's Day.  Farrah had worked on a little project she'd put together for me at her school.  I remember last year at Seeds Learning Center, they had a Mother's Day program.  The moms got a little concert with their little ones singing to them and each child came down and gave us our gifts they'd worked so hard on.  Cards, a flower, and a handmade bird feeder made out of cheerios and ribbons.  Are you kidding me with that cuteness?!!  They all dressed in their best and gave all the mommies hugs and kisses.  The teachers were so loving and helped the shy kids with boosting their confidence just enough so they could participate.  It was great.
Yesterday, Farrah said, "Hey, mom! I almost forgot to give this to you!"  She handed me a laminated piece of art with a poem on it.  It was so cute and sweet.  I read the poem...and after the first sentence, I stopped reading.  "Farrah?  Isn't this the same poem that is on the wall in our living room that was my Christmas present that you made at school this year?"
"Yeah."
"Did you notice it was the same?"
"YES!!  A bunch of us did!!  We were trying to tell our teacher but it was like she didn't care."
"Did you say something to her about it?"
"No.  Because I knew someone else was going to say something and I didn't feel like it."
So, there you have it.  I have a picture on my wall of my daughter's hand print with a lovely poem about her hand and how small she is now and how quickly she's growing.  AND NOW I have another piece of artwork with her hand print with a lovely poem about her hand and how small she is now and how quickly she's growing.
Are you kidding me?
Not only is the curriculum "cookie-cutter" but so are the special projects?  While the thought is sweet to do anything at all...I can't imagine how disappointing that was for the class.  Farrah expressed how much it bothered her, but also pointed out she wasn't alone in the discussion with the other 7 year olds that thought they were putting something special and unique together for their moms for Mother's Day. It hurt my feelings for Farrah because she takes those types of things to heart and puts a lot of effort into making something special for her parents...to find out that it really wasn't that important to her teacher to make a little more effort to find a new poem especially when the kids were telling her they'd ALREADY DONE THIS PROJECT.  5 minutes.  That's how long it would've taken a teacher to find a new poem.  One to two days is all it would've taken to allow the kids to come up with something special they wanted to say themselves about how much they love their mommies.
It's more important, apparently, for math, reading, P.E. and your various science studies to get done, than it is to allow a 7 year old child to use their imagination and their own talents to put together something truly from their heart.  I was also given a book that was "M" is for..., "O" is for..., etc.  These were all done FOR the students.  Farrah did "H" herself to say that "My mom pays for my HORSEBACK RIDING CLASSES".  The rest were what the teacher told the students to write.  Again, I have to compare to Seeds Learning Center...that would never happen.  The teacher would have the students list off words that start with those letters to describe their mom's and then THEY'D get to choose what they wrote.  And the reason those would be so special?  Because they were the truth from the hearts of the children that knew their mom's the best.
I don't know...it really bothers me when I know how much potential every child, not my own, has and it gets pushed out of the way to just keep up with what the teachers are told to do.  The government run education system is losing it's grip on what makes people awesome and helps them grow academically. Maybe it's time for me to join the PTA (something I never wanted to do) and be an advocate for education instead of the god damn fund raiser bullshit.  And I'll do whatever it takes to get Farrah back into Seeds Learning Academy.  That's a promise to my kid that deserves to be back where she WANTS to be and she feels important there.  Her words, "Yes, I have the friends I've made at Cascade, but I can make new friends.  THOSE are MY teachers and that's the school I want to go to."  You got it, honey.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kochrian Tradition

Yesterday was Easter.  I know I have written about it before, but there is something about Easter that will forever bring forth wonderful childhood memories.  But most of those memories are about my Grandpa.  Don't get me wrong, Grandma was always there, too, to participate in the festivities in her own right, but it was Grandpa's day...his day to be...awful, yet wonderful.
Grandma had the role of having the Lund kids and Grant kids over to decorate eggs on a Saturday, but Grandpa helped with showing us how to do little tricks with crayons before dipping them.  (He liked to write $1 on a few that he decorated).  Grandma would always bake a pound cake in an antique cast-iron lamb mold (it was later decorated by laying on a tray of "grass" with various candies around it before we cut its head or ass off - it was always a little disturbing to me).
But my Grandpa...this is when I miss him the most.  When all those eggs were decorated and ready to be distributed the next day, he was all set.  After years of the torment that I endured on Easter at the hands of my tricky Grandfather, you'd think I would've learned my lesson by getting some rest, practicing with my brothers to hide shit and make me find it, take some adderal to be better focused...SOMETHING!!!  But no, I never learned.
When it was time for the over 100 eggs to be hidden, my cousins, my brothers and I would walk to the local park and play for about an hour and kill some time.  All the while, we were all mentally preparing ourselves to out-do each other.  Me?  I always knew what I was in store for.  Out of the over hundred eggs, I was lucky to get 10.  Not because I was an idiot, but honestly, I just sucked at it.  However, I refuse to take ALL the blame for it.
I put it back on Grandpa.
He was an expert egg hider.  He went to GREAT lengths to hide the eggs.  He would take an entire wall of firewood that was flush up against a house, pull one log out, place the egg toward the back, and put that log back almost flush.  You'd have to be looking pretty hard to find the log that was just a tad bit off from the rest.  He'd hide them in the back of the toilet.  He'd dig a whole in the dirt, put the egg in, then cover it back up...never to be seen again.  But he loved this.  He loved watching us find them and he loved watching us struggle.  From a distance, you'd see Grandpa with his hands in his pockets and bending over certain areas and looking aloof...we knew to watch him.  We would troll the old man who had the biggest grin on his face who laughed and smiled through the whole "hide & seeking" process.  He'd kick at things, hum a little bit, sometimes was sweet enough to point in a direction, and sometimes...sometimes if one of us was on the verge of tears (usually me) from the pathetic five eggs in the basket, a clue was given.
While Grandpa was notorious for the ways he managed to hide so many eggs so well that it appeared like a normal non-egg-full-garden...the joy it brought him on Easter day, makes me miss him so much, but not in a sad way.  I consider myself incredibly lucky to have such wonderful memories of this awesome man and this story is just one day out of the year that he enjoyed immensely.
The beauty about Easter with Grandpa was while it was one day of the year, it was a day when all his grandchildren were together and he was able to play with each and every one of us and enjoy being a grandfather to so many kids that loved him dearly right back.
Watching Grandpa kneeling down, pointing at an area that "might" have an egg, seeing him laugh and beam when someone actually found an egg (especially the $1 eggs), was something I'll forever remember.  It was such a happy day for him, which made it a happy day for me...even when it was my basket that had the least in it.  I'd like to think I didn't have many eggs because I was so busy watching Grandpa and observing his joy, that I was just too distracted to see any.  However, I know the reality...I honestly suck at finding eggs on Easter.
But, Grandpa, thank you for making it so memorable...even if finding eggs with my daughter yesterday was a flashback of my childhood and still getting the least amount of eggs...at the age of 37.



Monday, March 10, 2014

KFC

It has been brought to my attention that it has been quite some time since I've written something here, and for that, I apologize.  It's not that funny, interesting, or even horrible things haven't happened, it's just that I am super busy.  The moment I want to write about something, another task whispers in my ear that it needs attention and I then forget my poor blog.  Well, I have forced myself to make time for this and I have a little story I can share...

A few weeks ago, one of the gals in the office had ordered some KFC chicken strips for lunch and ended up with far too many for one person.  She invited Rebecca and I to help ourselves to some before we took off for the gym.  We had a couple, said our thanks, grabbed our stuff, and went to the gym for a hard work out.
When we came back to the office, we could still smell the chicken in the air and we were both starving.  After a tough work out, it is not uncommon to be very hungry.  We inhaled the aroma and we were both salivating.  I remember even singing the classic KFC song, "We do chicken right!" as we walked in.  Rebecca and I were expressing to our co-worker how good it smelled and how hungry we were.  We even commented that the entire office smelled so yummy.
However...for some reason, she just looked at us funny.  She even looked...disturbed, until she finally said, "Well it's interesting that you two think it smells so good because about ten minutes ago, a client brought his dog in and he took a huge shit over there." She pointed to an open area at the floor.
While laughing, I had to ask myself, what the hell was wrong with me.  Jeez, what was wrong with BOTH me and Rebecca?  Why did we come in, smell dog shit, and instantly get super hungry and want chicken?  All I could picture when I walked in was a delicious chicken-pot-pie.  Yummmm.  Only, apparently, my chicken-pot-pie would have dog shit in it.  After we'd settled back into our seats, and the office was back to it's very quiet self, I replayed the whole scene in my head:
Opened door, sniffed, drooled, sang a little ditty about chicken, praised our co-worker for bringing in some great food, discovered I was starving for poop.
In the silent office, I belted out the biggest laugh and couldn't stop laughing.  I was hungry for poop.  What??