Valkyrie

I had a really, really good weekend.  I went to a Halloween party dressed as a Valkyrie with my side kick, Odin.  A Valkyrie is kind of like the Norse answer to the Angel of Death, her job is to decide who lives or dies in battle and escort the fallen to Valhalla.  We looked pretty darned cool, c

urtesy of my friend Mary, who let me profit from her hard work making paper mâché helmets.  Go Mary, go!!  This woman is an amazing artist.  She made a piece for me depicting a lion with a rainbow mane that will grace my walls for all eternity.   I am quite sure there isn’t anything she can’t create!

Today, I took my littlest boy to Fright Fest at Great Escape.  We rode all the scary rides… dear gracious lord, there is a special place in Hell for the guy who thought up the Flashback.  Have I ever mentioned that I’m afraid of heights?  My fear extends to all those who are around me, particularly my Tugga-baloo in the seat next to me.  At the end of the day, he said, “Momma, this was my best day ever.”  I’ll take it.  Between deadlines and commitments (what to leave in, what to leave out) I am always stretched for time and there aren’t enough hours in the day.  My Sunday night housework isn’t getting done tonight, and it’s completely with it to have had this day with my baby boy.

What is most warming my cold, dead heart is the response I’m getting to a Facebook request for winter coats for some of my daycare kiddos.  Not only did one family jump right in with several, people are thinking of it and somebody tagged me in a coat give away.  I am blessed enough to pick them all up tomorrow afternoon and my babies won’t be cold anymore.  Miss Shannon has a policy about not hot lining people because they’re poor.  Maslow’s theory, and blah blah blah, this is a Band-Aid.  Next summer, winter, fall, whatever… I’ll be asking my friends and loved ones to donate God knows what because I’m a single mom with five kids of my own and I can’t just go get it, most of the time.  So… thank you for your kindness, your willingness to put clothes on the backs of children who need your help.

Also, I have a new toy that will make veggies cut into noodles.  Life is good today.  On Vote right next to scary, inexplicably pardoned sex offender day next week, I’m going to vote republican.  I will probably go home and throw up, but it has to be done.  Like the last ten generations before me, I am choosing the lesser of the evils.  Deception, Disgrace… Evil as plain as the lines on his face…. Whatever else you believe… people battled long and hard to create civil commitment units to detain scary sex offenders because they have a 100% recidivism rate.  Our governor is pardoning them, releasing them back into society in order to up his numbers in the polls.  Nothing has changed… I am still a “hippy, dippy, free love, be who you are” kind of girl… I am also a woman who looks forward to a day when my car keys don’t double as a weapon.  That day will probably never come, but I can’t vote for someone who actively works against it.  Vote for whoever you want… but vote.  It really, really, matters.

Fluff

Miss Shannon is pretty much wiped out.  Many, many things have happened lately that I’m not going to really go into detail about, but suffice it to say that when push comes to shove, you’re going to find out who your friends are.  In my experience, the people who cause the most damage are those you have trusted, shared your soul with and believed in.   Any good writer will tell you that the first and most important part of fiction is creating the desire to suspend disbelief.  This is true for any good sheister, as well.  It’s the very foundation of betrayal… you have to have a reasonable expectation that someone is on your team in order for them to betray you.

Love Desire Betrayal Eye Vista Couple Photoshop

Dozer and I are fine and dandy.  While we happily drive each other crazy, I want to talk a wee little bit about how to have a grown up relationship with a significant other.  The hard part is finding someone you want to make crazy.  Once you locate that person, it really shouldn’t be hard.  You need to pitch in, stand up and do the right thing.  Like… boys, mow the lawn.  How hard can it be?  Girls, it will actually not kill you to fold his clothes now and then.  Don’t bitch to me about the sexual revolution, would you seriously rather mow the lawn??  Or (eww) change the oil???  Really, what I’m saying is that you have to give as much as you receive… and then some.  I don’t actually care whether the innie or the outie mows the lawn.

Here’s how to make a romantic relationship work:  Tell the truth.  If you can’t be honest, why the hell are you with them??  Don’t fuck other people and don’t try to fuck other people.  Pretty straight forward.  Don’t use meth, crack or heroin.  Do stuff that makes them happy… Like… the thing about me that makes Dozer the absolute craziest is that tv remotes come up missing in my house.  To me, it’s like the sock vortex in the dryer and I don’t actually care, but it bugs him a lot so I try to keep track of the remotes.  I cook for him and go out of my way to make his favorites, like blueberry pie and kitchen sink soups.  This usually involves whatever veggies are thinking about going bad and a big can of diced tomatoes… lentils, that sort of thing.  Nothing says I love you  like a hot meal and clean underwear.

I prefer two way streets, so he does things that are important to me like throwing the ball with my kid and negotiating at garage sales for me.  He grills a damned good steak and does his best to catch me when I fall.  Whatever you negotiate in a relationship is fine my me… Just know these things: You have to be an I before you can be a We.  You have to be able to stand on your own two feet, know you can go it alone and the person in your life is an enhancement, never a need.  Then go forth, find the fluff for your peanut butter and give 110%, all the time.  If you need to keep secrets or have to posture… maybe this isn’t your time.

Take me to church

I am an angry little mama bear tonight.  My little boy…My little boy, who I have been to the mill with on a number of occasions…. This is the kid with juvenile arthritis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a sleep disorder and maybe, possibly a growth disorder.  Anyway, my little zebra(if you hear hooves, look for horses, unless the kid came out of me)  had a rough night last night, didn’t sleep well and seems to be coming down with something.  Added to that, he really wanted to play outside last night, which I could not make happen for love or money.  So, admittedly a parenting fail, I let him bring a soda and some candy to have with his lunch.  Anyway, his teacher had a problem with that and he had a total, crying melt down to the point that I needed to pick him up mid-day.

When I got there, they had staged an intervention, complete with a psychologist who thought it perfectly OK to discuss nitty gritty details in front of my ten year old and the principal.  This is a small town and I’m sure it’s good water cooler gossip that one of my kids suffers from mental illness.  Fuck you, btw, it’s not catching.  Also, more people would receive the help they need if people like you shut your pie holes.  Several years ago, I had a similar fight with a different teacher, who felt she knew better about one of my sons than I… My answer to her was that in  twenty years, if that little boy is sitting in prison, I will be devastated.  My life will revolve around it, and I will question every single choice I ever made.  You will say,  “Aww, he was such a cute little boy.”

Here in the fishbowl, tonight, I say to you… I am this kid’s parent.  You are another brick in the wall.  I’m entirely sure you mean well… but fuck you.  Please stick to your education and training, and let me parent my child.  I am the world’s leading expert on Tugga James.  It was me, and only me, that said bullshit to local doctors and drove him three hours to Shriners to get a correct diagnosis.  It was me who kept up a brave face until the cardiologist said, it’s not the heart condition EDS, at which point I broke down and sobbed…. It’s me who says, no. sweet boy, you can’t play football because a blow to the knee will cripple you.  Like my second son, if this one actually ends up with a mental illness, it will be me who deals with the fallout.  You, teacher, will go home to your husband, 2.5 kids and  housebroken dog.

Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.  Life isn’t as bad with a mental illness as you want to believe.  No, I didn’t cause it, so again, fuck you..  Genetics suck sometimes.  If you came from my loins, you are predisposed to suffer from anxiety and depression.   I am deeply and sincerely sorry to the small humans I created that this is a true story… but never for a second will I apologize that these people exist.  Who the fuck do you possibly think you are that you even consider that I owe you this?  Climb up on your high horse and hold on tight,  it’s a pretty sharp drop between the place you think you are and the rest of humanity.

Common Core…Seriously?? 

As anticipated, Dozer (AKA angry Republican boyfriend) did not especially enjoy my last missive.  I’m sure it was the conservative overlords comment.   He missed all the points about NOT discouraging higher education and cutting funding for enrichment programs that intellectually benefit our wee beasties.  He also jumped right over the idea that just maybe access to information is a good thing.  Additionally, I received feedback about teachers sharing opinions that are unpopular… except I don’t know who gets to decide what that is or who is the official censor.  Also, I don’t really want a censor, because those guys are usually pretty far into their religious beliefs or are very indoctrinated in government propaganda.  Please think of guys like Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong and ask yourself if you really love the idea.  It’s ok, you don’t have to say it out loud.

Anyhoo, his focus was on Common Core curriculum, which he feels strongly is a Democratic party initiative.  First, I hate Common Core math as much as any other person in this country.  I’m sorry to tell you this, but in no way does 8+5=10. Sorry, there is only one correct answer and none of these kids are going to be able to run a cash register.  That said, it’s not a matter of states rights vs. federal overreach.  The idea of a national standard is great.  The standards themselves are actually pretty good.  What is failing dismally is the implementation, resources available and training.  I looked it up and the first person to propose any kind of national standard was Janet Napolitano in 2006, while chairing the National Governor’s Association in her former position as the Governor of Arizona.  Initially, she wanted to improve math and science education… I know, right, she’s the devil.  In the logical course of things, a little light bulb went on that made it occur to her that a national standard would allow all the kids to be learning similar material.  Kind of THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW TO BE A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE.  I don’t know if they included balancing a check book, but they should have.  Yup, she’s a Democrat.

This was partly because the No Child Left Behind Act, which was a really well intentioned, Republican initiative brought to you courtesy of W, encouraged individual states to set the bar low for testing in order to receive federal dollars for education.  (If you look bad, you get less money.  We’ll go ahead and evaluate your performance based on test scores from tests we’re going to let you write.  Up to speed?)  OK, so the NGA and Council for Chief State School Officers thought having one national standard was a good idea… fyi, these are both bipartisan groups.  Wrap your head around this for a second, the kids in say…. Georgia, ought to receive the same high quality education as the kids in Alaska.  Realistically, people complain about the math aspect of common core curriculum, and rightly so, because my kid is struggling because I don’t know how many cupcakes the boogey man eats on the roof at high noon.  Which is how much sense a lot of that makes to me.  The meat and potatoes standards are actually pretty damn good.  Kind of like NCLB… it was great in theory, but those next steps weren’t taken to make it work the way it ought to.

I presented all of this to Dozer, who asked me if I got to vote on Common Core.  Nope.  I also didn’t get to vote on No Child Left Behind, or IDEA (special ed laws) and nobody calls to see what I think when they cut recess time.  What I did get to vote on was my elected officials who make these decisions.  At the end of the day, they have amazing ideas and fairly shitty follow through.  This was as true for NCLB as it is for Common Core.

The devil is in the details, always.  To create phenomenal, cosmic change you have to plan all the things.  Some of the greatest thinkers of our time worked hard to create a set of standards that should create a better environment for kids in America.  But they stopped there… They are now crying that publishers won’t write new text books, nobody is training the teachers, no one will help.  Seriously, boy and girls… you are telling me you can’t write curriculum and provide adequate training?  Miss Shannon can write curriculum and she only has a lowly associate degree.  The folks that created this system fell down on their jobs and didn’t have any implementation process, so it’s failing.  After spending roughly five years, hundreds of thousand dollars… you didn’t have another six months to blow out some curriculum?  They probably ran out of funding and should have had a bake sale.  What it all comes down to is that the machine, our government is not winning any prizes for planning ahead.

 

Knowledge is Everything

Ok, ladies and fellows, my writer’s block is feeling a wee bit better.  I have moral outrage… WOOOHOOO!!!  It’s name is “EDUCATION IS A GOOD THING, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!!!”  I try to gently, kindly share knowledge and understanding whenever possible.  College is a privilege that not everyone is able to access for many, many reasons.  It is better to be a waitress with a college degree than to be a waitress without one.  Thank you, Mr. Rinaldi, that I have that information.  Thank you, Anne Conway,  (Who should go down in history as the single greatest Global Studies teacher to ever live) for telling me I could go to college.  Thank you, Mr. Jacobson for concurring with Ms. Conway.  Thank you for working a shitty job as an educator, where you are not fairly compensated, have inadequate resources and need to worry about bombs in lockers.  And that was a good school.

If I hear one more moron go on and on about the evils of a “liberal” education, my head is going to pop right off my neck like a fucking dandelion.  Here’s my nice, rational voice.  All education is the United States of America is considered “liberal” because it must span across a variety of subjects.  It’s called well rounded and is the reason I needed my architect friend to help me calculate the amount of pressure per square inch on a gorilla’s feet.  Why I would ever need that information, I have no clue.  Kind of like parallelogram season.  To even consider that obtaining higher education is a bad thing, that it somehow hurts you, is so freaking scary… and here we are.  This rant is being brought to you by my beloved, angry Republican boyfriend, who is denigrating the entire field of psychology.  Miss Shannon majored in psych.  If her universe panned out in exactly the way she wanted, she would be specializing in Postpartum depression and helping other women find their way out of the rabbit hole.  People can be helped, you just have to learn how to do it.

Want to understand someone on an almost cellular level???  Follow the fetish, follow the fucked up, weird little idiosyncrasies that make their world go ‘round.  That’s psych.  For the love of all that is good and holy in this world, please stop thinking that knowledge is anything other than positive.  Please know, I truly believe that people often confuse education with intelligence… you can have either one without the other and only rarely both together.  Please, please stop listening to your conservative overlords, who coincidentally all have advanced degrees, while they encourage the dumbing down of this great nation.  Why in the sweet fuck do you think they are cutting resources for public education?  It’s not because they want you to do well, my little sunshine.

 

The average American reads at a third grade level. Shame on us.  The New York Times is the most difficult to read newspaper in our country, because it’s written at a fifth grade level.  Shame on us.  Side note, children learn best in an environment that includes physical activity, art and music, so we are removing and/or reducing those things from school with regularity.  Shame on us.  As human beings, to tell a kid not to bother being educated because it’s a worthless piece of paper… what in the hell is the matter with you?  The small humans that you are actually encouraging to be uneducated are going to eventually run this country.  Things like psychology matter because we are allowing folks like Monsanto to poison our food supply, causing mental health issues, cellular damage and an increase in learning disabilities. But, hey it makes money, who needs any regulatory agencies to maintain standards.  At the end of the day, it is still better to be a waitress with a college degree than to be a waitress without one.