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from life-my-way :
You're right, of course, but you already know that. Classes like history and sociology and technology are better for mixed abilities while math and english and science should be tracked for everyone's benefit. Having had the misfortune of teaching english to a covers the waterfront crowd I can say without reservation that no one was served and everyone was pained. And there you have it. I'm off to avoid having to plan a meal!
from freshhell :
Blind? Yikes. Glad you're feeling better. And, if you'll send me your address to myfreshell at hotmail dot com, I'll get that bookmark in the mail to you!
from life-my-way :
Whereas I'll be making it, um, now. I've got everything (except the saffron and the 2% Greek yogurt--not sure that's even legal in Alabama). And my chard will be collard greens, so mine will be "lively up your redneck self" lentil soup. Thanks for sharing, I'm feeling livelier already. Encourage your MIL, that LeeAnn Ely Saving Dinner person does not work for me.
from life-my-way :
I'm trying to figure this food thing out too, do you think K's mom would help me???
from freshhell :
I second the congrats! Well done, N!
from life-my-way :
Thanks for sharing that--I am, of course, living vicariously through N's college admission procedure (being the parent of a bright but, um, unique child for whom the local state school will be quite out of the question). I'll add Bates to the list with Swarthmore and Fairhaven and try to keep the faith (and find the funds, good gawd y'all). Again, yahooo!
from life-my-way :
Congrats to N! But I'm so dense, I'm not sure I know which school she's been accepted to. But it's the one she wants and that's...yahooo! Good cookie luck to us both. Darn cookies.
from harri3tspy :
Wow, that's fantastic for N! What wonderful news!
from harri3tspy :
Congratulations to N!! Even if she doesn't want to go, that's a great school to have in the bag, just in case. Good for her!
from freshhell :
Love that second quote! Your name has been submitted in my drawing.
from simplify :
Awww...thank you for the apology. California forgives you, too.
from freshhell :
Yep. I have noticed how my mother will come over ostensibly to visit my kids but what she wants is MY attention. She'd just rather have an adult conversation and talks in a baby voice to my kids. She loves them and likes to spend time with them but if grown ups are around, that's who she ends up talking to. It's weird and hard to explain. Crazy making!!
from freshhell :
Also - I have similar feelings about Virginia. Lived here since birth but I don't often feel OF Virginia. I can't wrap myself around all the baggage of history. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I could do without it. It's where I'm from but not who I am.
from freshhell :
I hear you with the mother issues. Mine seems to require more attention than I can give her too. Actually, she wants my kids more than she wants me....but I just can't always give them to her.
from simplify :
I hate it when you complain about California. I wonder if you could put out a warning so I know to skip those entries. It's so sad to me that you would live in this great state for so long and not love it here.
from harri3tspy :
I found the Wesleyan comment hilarious. My brother went there and when I was in college, I used to run a Model UN conference with Wesleyan. I've spent a fair amount of time there. And I have to say, it's got the reputation as being the closest thing to Berkeley in New England. Except maybe Hampshire College. If they couldn't hack Wesleyan, I'd love to see them try Williams. Or Harvard. Or NYU.
from freshhell :
I love the sound of rain!
from harri3tspy :
Yikes! Good luck holding onto your sanity with all that going on!
from harri3tspy :
Thank you so much for recommending the Time Warp Trio books. We picked our first one up this weekend and AJ is totally into it. We've been looking for something that would replace the Magic Tree House books that he loved so much but are now too easy for him. These are absolutely perfect. He says, "Hey, it's just like the Magic Tree House except more fun!"
from life-my-way :
I'm so glad you're feeling better! I just answered your generous email without a mention of your hard times. It's hard to balance work and family. It's hard to balance time and money (when you no longer have work to balance). It's hard to get kids (from 11 to 21, before and beyond) to pick up the ball and function adequately. Anyway, I'm glad it's feeling better, and good luck with dinner (another thing that is hard).
from life-my-way :
That's great about N, Chris, because my girl, C, is going to graduate from college into a nursing home--and I thought she was the only one. Maybe C and N could share a suite. The timing's right, C will be ready for full time convalescence by Sept. 2008.
from freshhell :
Next time - make someone else deal with all that crap! Then we'll see who's grumpy. I feel your pain.
from harri3tspy :
Hooray! And somehow I typed something incredibly incoherent in my last note. I left out a key word. It was supposed to read "I always ENJOY seeing gardens." Must be Friday.
from life-my-way :
Technically, it's not the most beautiful thing _I've_ ever seen as, sadly, I've never seen it. So, share photos of yon garden gate, won't you?
from harri3tspy :
I'd love to see pictures of your garden and the gate if you get a chance. I'm always seeing gardens.
from harri3tspy :
My grandmother was 42 when I, her oldest grandchild, was born. It was probably weird for her, especially since my mom's half-sisters are so much younger and were still kids when I was a baby -- my younger aunt was, I think, 11 or 12 when I was born. But from the grandchild's standpoint, it was great. We got to do a lot of things with our grandparents that most people don't get to do -- skiing, hiking, camping, and lots of travel. When I was in high school my grandmother and my mother and I traveled in France together (I was in school in France at the time) and I still think I should write a book about it. Now that my grandmother's got Alzheimer's, I've got a lot more and more varied memories of her to draw on than I would if she had been older. That said, I find it as impossible to imagine being a grandmother in two years as I do to imagine that when my mother was my age now, she had a kid who was about to start her sophomore year in college and another kid who was about to be a senior in high school.
from freshhell :
Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes. I accept no substitute.
from life-my-way :
Thanks for the note, and I believe you're right [as librarians so often are] that this will really be really great. It will, at least, really be really better than the alternatives here in Alabama. But such are the sacrifices I make for outrageous heat and humidity, rabid conservatism and abundant self-righteous X-tianity. When I put it that way, I wonder what I'm thinking!
from freshhell :
All the advice sounds perfectly reasonable. Hope it all works out for N w/o too many bumps. I've had a lot of personal experience with LD issues so happy to help. I've found that knowing (testing, etc) is always better than not knowing and just guessing. Once you know what you're dealing with, you can find solutions. And, she knows she's not "retarded." Which is always good info to have! :)
from freshhell :
Glad you got some answers re N. There may be some non-medication ways for her to tackle this ld - were any of them mentioned? Ways to learn using her strengths to overcome the weakness. I used to tape and transcribe my lectures until I figured out a less time consuming method. But - whatever works. Good to catch this now rather than have her fail out of college and learn it the hard way (which is what happened to me).
from life-my-way :
Funny, that. My life stopped utterly from Saturday until this morning [I'm a very slow reader]. So, what'd'ya think? I was satisfied with all but the most picayune points. How about you?
from freshhell :
Well, hope all the testing goes well. Let me know what "they" (the experts) find out.
from freshhell :
My sister and I both have learning disabilties but different ones. She was tested early and learned how to learn before things got really bad. I didn't figure it out until I was failing out of college. There are all kinds of brilliance and learning difficulties have nothing to do with your innate intelligence. but, knowing how you learn best and where your "problems" lie is always a good thing. You can then be taught how you learn: visual, aural, tactile, etc. Hopefully the testing will provide some answers.
from f-i-n :
hihihi
from freshhell :
I got that Bryson book for Xmas but haven't read it yet. I like him but, god, the man can go on and on!
from harri3tspy :
I'll have to check out the Bryson. And also, I'm glad you said Julia Glass is like Maeve Binchy. I read Three Junes for a book group a year or so ago and I was sorely disappointed. But I think I might have liked it if I'd thought of it as Maeve Binchy, becase I can see what you mean. And I like Binchy for her Binchyness.
from freshhell :
Happy Belated Birthday! Mine's today. Born on the cusp so I get to read two horoscopes.
from harri3tspy :
Happy Birthday! I feel like I've done nothing but wish happy birthday to bloggers this morning. What is it with my favorite bloggers all being born around the solstice. Fascinating.
from harri3tspy :
That is funny about Liam and Kevin Burke. By the way, do you know what happened with his journal project? Did he get it back? I've been w wondering where it went and what he thought of it all.
from onepinksock :
thank you for the note.
from freshhell :
Been meaning to say (for some time): don't worry too much about colleges. There are hundreds of good colleges you've never heard of. The magazines that tout "best colleges" - those findings are flawed and do not always rate the right things. Not everybody needs an ivy league education. Really, it's just a matter of finding a good fit. And, if the first one doesn't, she can always transfer. It's really hard to know if you're a "small l.a. college" kind of person or a "big state univ" kind of person. Then there are the specialty majors. Don't let it stress you out. Have her apply to many places - cast the net wide. CA has some great colleges.
from harri3tspy :
In my opinion, the best recipe in Hesser's book is the risotto made with lemon zest and creme fraiche. It is incredible and especially good served with grilled asparagus on top. Yum.
from harri3tspy :
Wow, I hope I feel more prepared for teenagers by the time AJ's that age. I wouldn't want to have to make that decision. I remember it from the kid's perspective, though. I was constantly testing my parents trust. If my parents had forbidden me to go, I would have accepted it. But I would have resented it too. And the next time, I just wouldn't have asked. But at the same time, I wouldn't have done anything dangerous. And if my parents had let me go, the very fact that they did trust me enough would have made me try harder to live up to it, not to squander it.
from harri3tspy :
Culinary school sounds fabulous. My mom spent a month or so in a language school in Salamanca (she teaches ESL and wanted to learn Spanish and my dad was doing some work in Barcelona at the time). She loved the whole experience, although she did feel a little aged for her particular class.
from harri3tspy :
I'm so sorry. That does sound icky. I wish I had something helpful to say, but I can only offer sympathy. Sometimes I try to remember what it was like not to worry about my kid. I'm not sure I can.
from harri3tspy :
Oh, I read that book. Why did I read that book? I think it was a publisher's freebie. And it was dreadful. And I, too, read every last page. I felt so cheap and tawdry.
from sparkspark :
I am living vicariously through your productive weekend. I hope the rose bushes bloom for you! XO Violet
from harri3tspy :
A good part of my book group meeting Tuesday night was spent talking about college admissions and how insane it is. Two of my book group members have kids who are seniors, two have kids who are juniors and several have kids who are freshmen in college (I'm one of the youngest in the group). Both the seniors had applied to 12 schools. Someone else knew a child who'd applied to 28. I hope you guys survive! How were your college visits.
from life-my-way :
You're so cool. You're the person who got the great old house and then got it redid. You are that person. That's such a great thing to do, hard, but great, and you did it. Yay you.
from life-my-way :
I'm sorry, you appear to have MY mother making productive suggestions about your yard. I regret any inconvenience and will be over to fetch her within the next 15-20 years.
from harri3tspy :
Excellent! I'm glad to hear it. Let me know how it goes!
from freshhell :
Yeah, whatever. Working is like that to. I think my five year plan is: don't get fired, keep everyone fed and clothed, remember to breathe and take vitamins, hope for the best and plan for the worst, keep on writing.
from sparkspark :
I DO like your s3cr3t c8d3. XOXO v10\3t
from harri3tspy :
I think there's a problem with your latest entry. It looks like your problem is a wayward quotation mark in your first tag (around my name).
from smedindy :
mmmm...cake!
from smedindy :
Yeah, that's a good one. "That guy from KoRN". Hah! Hey, stick around and read me! I don't bite!
from smedindy :
Hey there! Read your comment at Harri3t's place. My favorite Fountains song is "Red Dragon Tattoo". 'I'm fit to be dyed / And I'm fit to have you.'Classic stuff!
from nycme :
Happy Birthday to M! Good god the years go fast. I'm feeling very nostalgic lately. College stress sucks but it's so lovely when it's all over. Then you get to buy sheets and dorm stuff. Fun fun. Hugs to you for the process!
from sparkspark :
"This is why it's important to nag people and remind them how much you really want just a card." I love it. XO Violet
from freshhell :
Ha, don't you love it how we, the mothers, are the ones to lose sleep over all these issues - big and small - while our husbands just continue to snore?
from harri3tspy :
We have a wild plum tree in our yard too, but ours is white from snow. It won't be blossoming for another couple of months. Sigh.
from nycme :
Well, if Yale is considered one of the fancy schools, it seems to me that Older son has a lot less pressure there than high school, now that they are all there it is not nearly as competitive, and there are plenty of quirky and diverse kids. Far away, yeah, I think it would be stressful to have your kid on another coast, and then re: cost, well, there aren't scholarships at Yale, but they do have guaranteed need-based aid, grants actually, and there are plenty of calculators around to see where you fall in their chart. Mean kids suck. And, I hate cliques! My college experience was that most of the stress came from talking to other parents. I'm trying to avoid that with Younger son. :)
from tattoobelly :
The Shark started puking last night too--from 3:30 to 10:30, the poor kid. Of course he's not at school today, but so far I think he hasn't barfed again. Must be the flu in his case, as he had a 101 temp, and I don't think food poisoning does that.
from simplify :
I really want to go to Portland.
from freshhell :
One of my very best friends moved to Portland OR from Oakland CA last spring. Needless to say, she loves it!
from freshhell :
M's sounds just like me! Of course, when I did my birthday it wasn't anywhere near accurate. Maybe I was born on the wrong day.
from metonym :
Portland is great. Make sure to go to Powell's, the bookstore - and right across the street is the Buffalo Exchange, one of the best vintage clothing stores I've ever been to. Are you checking out Reed? I always wondered what my life would have been like if I went there; it was one of my top choices.
from simplify :
ohhh- Portland. That should be lots of fun.
from sparkspark :
I think hot chocolate would help. And I hope you feel better soon. XO Violet
from freshhell :
I'm happy to send you a copy. Email me your address and consider it done!
from nycme :
Happy New Years! Aww, nuts about the broken wavy glass window. I have a curved glass breakfront that's about 110 years old and I just know that somebody's going to back a chair into it one day. Time marches on and glass gets replaced. *sigh* I agree, it is a bit sad. On a happier note, congrats on getting all the shades in your house!
from freshhell :
Happy New Year! I think you should build your OWN secret fort! That sounds like fun.
from sparkspark :
Yes! You should definitely eat that. And report back. XO Violet
from harri3tspy :
Those aprons sound adorable. What a great idea for a gift. As for the meme, how about B for boxes (and boxes and boxes)?
from life-my-way :
At our home of newness we are living -into- the moving chaos. We are celebrating with and about the artifacts and residue of the recent move. We are inhabiting the untenable floors. We are cooking on the irredeemable countertops. I'm quite excited to proceed at so sub-par a level. The bar is set low, and I will find joy in attempting to slither under it. In other news, would you email me your address, I'd love to send you a tardy (and a little sloppy) holiday greeting card.
from harri3tspy :
Those sound delicious. And easy -- a definite plus with a five year old baker involved in the process. Thanks for sharing!
from simplify :
Yes, I'm going to make those button wreaths and probably the soft trees, too. But there's more button mania than just that!
from freshhell :
Loved the pictures of your wonderful new house!
from freshhell :
Thanks for your comments. Yeah, it's funny. I'll describe Red to people with small children and they'll laugh and say, "So and so's second child is like that, too!" or "Ha - we have one of those." So, at least it's a common phenomenon to have the "good" child and then the "bad" child - though I hate labels like that. But, anyway, thanks.
from simplify :
HA! Swedish House of Torture. V. funny.
from freshhell :
Ha - but see, I'm one of those terrible mothers who does not sew. Costumes are off the rack or cobbled together from things other people made. I prefer Xmas - despite all the anxiety it can produce - to Thanksgiving. I like decorations and lights and the tree. It's more fun these days with kids.
from harri3tspy :
Tomato sandwiches with NO mayonnaise. And cake. Harriet knows the secret to life.
from sparkspark :
Harriet was all about the milk and cake. Not a bad idea. XO Violet
from simplify :
I love the tiles, particularly the gingko leaf border. I love leaves and trees so much!
from sparkspark :
Welcome back! XO Violet
from simplify :
One giant difference for your kids is that their family life is very simple. Their mom and dad are married to each other, there are no step or half siblings. That makes things much, much easier automatically. Also- from your descriptions of your mom I'm going to say without a doubt YOU ARE NOT YOUR MOTHER. You're just her daughter and really that seems like a big enough job.
from freshhell :
As someone who has worked for universities for almost 10 years, I can concur - there are hundreds of great colleges in the US to choose from. It's really a matter of matching the college to the student. Even if the right match is a community college.
from freshhell :
You can just say "no." It's taken me a long time to do that - to put the family I created before the family that created me. Which causes some hard feelings but that's the way it goes sometimes. I wonder why the trip had to be now? Because, I mean you were just in Spain, just moved into a new house. It's almost the holidays. Wouldn't April be a nicer time to be in Italy?
from simplify :
What about having super simple stuff in the house like pasta and sauce, sandwich and salad makings and of course cash for take away, would that work?
from harri3tspy :
Wow, that's fun. I love Jstor
from simplify :
My guess is that you'd find other fun distractions (knitting, reading, lunch to make a few) to keep you from the unpacking of boxes, which isn't usually much fun.
from life-my-way :
Thanks for the note, I appreciate it. Waaaah, K.
from freshhell :
Yes, that's our issue. She can read. Well above her grade level. but, the teacher can't assess it because Madeline won't read to her during their one-on-one reading time. She has given M reading to do on her own and little comprehension tests, etc. She has had discussions about this with the principal and reading specialist so I'm hoping that when we meet they'll have some solutions. Madeline reads to herself all the time. She just won't do it out loud. Which I understand completely. The only person she will read to is her sister. I have never been the kind of person to correct her when she's read out loud to me in the past so I don't think it's a feeling of making a mistake and being called on it. I'm just more interested in the root of the problem and finding another way for the teacher to teach her. she needs to be doing 1st grade work rather than all this babyish stuff.
from freshhell :
I agree with you. I just don't want my "this is a dumb assignment" to make her think she's got an out everytime she doesn't want to do something - esp since she's at the manipulative age where everything is a battle to not do things. I'm stubborn and shy as well. But, she's only reading to one person. If she were being asked (like it was 1872) to read out loud in front of the class then, no, I'd say forget it. We'll see...
from simplify :
There's a Spanish word for drywall, but I don't remember what it is now.
from simplify :
For a lot of years my parents would pack up the car and we would drive from northern California to southern California and then drive all over southern California visiting various relatives during the holidays. It was fun and we enjoyed it, but it was exhausting, too. When I was 16 we started staying home and it was So Nice. I remember my mom being worried about me that maybe it wouldn't seem like Christmas if we weren't around everyone, but I loved the peacefulness of being at home without any pressure to do anything or go anywhere. I'm guessing you guys are going to have a great Christmas.
from metonym :
That was funny to read.
from simplify :
The thing is, there is ALWAYS something shitty going in in the world. Sometimes we're (as a country) involved and sometimes we're not. So, my philosophy lately isn't to ignore these bad things, but to keep them in perspective. I came to this conclusion from reading Julia Child's book, My Life in France. It was after WWII and she wrote a lot about political stuff in the states and divisions between Republicans and Democrats and I realized none of this is new. They thought the country was wildly divided back then. We think the country is wildly divided now. It just clicked with me, we think that whatever we're going through is the worst there has ever been, but all people throughout time have felt that. And so I'm not going to get all worked up about anymore. ALso- I hate that you can't make paragraphs in these notes.
from simplify :
I totally disagree about the world going to hell in a handbasket (although I do love the imagery of a handbasket) I totally AGREE with not paying much attention to the news. I like to glance through the paper, but I've totally given up on TV news 100%
from elgan :
Thank you for adding me to your favourites. I love your template.
from harri3tspy :
Thanks for the tip on the moth. He's currently attached to the lid of his box and from what we've read, he'll be there for about 9 months. I think we'll wait a while and then try to move him into a larger container in the spring so we can see what happens. Also, I love Dillard and I haven't read American Childhood, for some reason. I'll have to check it out.
from metanephros :
I'm glad you liked Kafka on the Shore. I love everything I've read of Murakami's, but I definitely highly recommend The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. It's the first one of his that I read, and it's amazing. I agree that maybe I'll retire to RI, as long as my mother is too feeble by then to make me crazy. I think she'll manage, though. It's her mission.
from life-my-way :
I'm so happy about your house selling news! I truly hope I'll be soon behind you. Good luck with contractor wars--does S stand for shitty?
from metonym :
Hey - thanks - your interest really does mean a lot to me. Anyhow, I don't want to be too much of a pest & I certainly don't want to obligate you to flattery, but, you know, I also don't want to be rude. Where the line is I am not quite sure.
from metonym :
I don't get stainless steel appliances. They stain really easily. Unless you have minions you can set to scrubbing, it's counterproductive. Kitchen trends are funny. Anyhow, if you want my draft just email me the address (email) where I should send it.
from metanephros :
Um... that would be "ON the Shore." Such a huge fan that I got the title wrong. Swift.
from metanephros :
Weird that I just happened by your diary and I just finished Kafka by the Shore. I loved it, by the way - but I'm a huge Murakami fan.
from life-my-way :
Living in the house while you're showing it sounds like Arrested Development when they're living in the spec house. Happy memories. Newer pics of the new house might possibly be in order, when you get a chance. I, for one, can't wait to see it!
from harri3tspy :
Congratulations to M!
from freshhell :
Anne of Green Gables - I've considered those but I don't think I ever read them (I know!) so I need to read one to see whether she's ready for it or not. We tried A Little Princess and the language was a bit much. Eventually, we gave up. I'll try that one again in a year or two.
from freshhell :
Yikes. Scary. I'd love to see pictures of the houses.
from harri3tspy :
My congratulations to N...and my condolences to you!
from life-my-way :
"We used to have a jar of them in the fridge because N thought they were pet fish!" That's the best thing I've ever heard. That's why humans don't eat their young. I love reading about your house, I love that you have two houses. We will, too, in three weeks. You make it seem reasonable and do-able. Oh, and I'd love to see the trim color you went with. Best, K
from harri3tspy :
I have coveted those lunchboxes ever since I got hooked on veganlunchbox.blogspot.com. When somebody here actually eats lunch away from home more than once a week, I'll be shopping there. Too bad they don't make Spiderman boxes. Then I wouldn't have to convince AJ.
from freshhell :
I wonder if the contractors couldn't put in a frosted glass window when they replace the wall. That way, the "office" would retain some privacy but you could take advantage of the light. ??
from metonym :
Yeah, the more I think about college admissions the more arbitrary it seems to me - law school is hilariously arbitrary, but the PhD thing felt the same way - if you get too caught up in notions about merit you are just setting yourself up for unreasonable, undeserved arrogance and or insecurity. I had a college counselor though - apparently she did a good job because I don't think anybody really *expected* me to get into Columbia - it was definitely a reach. People will care if you have read all of Dickens if you can communicate this in your essay/application. I think I sent a resume (ha ha!) with a list of my favorite books. I really believe that for Columbia, writing a good essay made up for my debatable grades (I had a few B's & a C) - it can make a big difference.
from life-my-way :
Stainless steel is only groovy [and, really, trendy is what it is, it'll be the harvest gold/avacado green of the next generation] if you consider fingerprints and smudges groovy. Stainless shows EVERYTHING and doesn't give up the grime easily. The stores I shop usually have stainless steel appliances covered with fingerprints and goo. Yours in nongroovyness, K
from metonym :
I think that if you are in that kind of situation - where for your whole life you've let your family bully you for one reason or another - when you're an adult, it's really hard to change the relationship. One of my best friends has amother who is smart and needy and doesn't have enough going on in her life so whenever she can get her hands on my friend, it's non-stop. I know my friend thinks (and she is probably right) that getting her mother to behave differently would either be impossible or break her heart, maybe permanently ruin their relationship. So instead she moved to the other side of the country. I think I lucked out partly because both of my parents have independently fulfilling lives, but also because I started demanding my own independence really, really early. So there's no need to change this fundamental parent-child relationship.
from freshhell :
Ha ha ha. I feel your pain.
from pattypat :
Hi - I really enjoy your writing and came across your diary via nycme. Thanks for letting me read!
from metonym :
The numero uno Proust biography is the one by Yves Tadiť - it's one of those things that will count his sneezes and not leave a single minute unaccounted for. I don't know if it's got the dirty stuff but it was written in French so it may.
from freshhell :
I have to smile at your mother entries. Mine came by on Sunday to see the girls and brought me an empty shoe box (because the name of the shoes was my daughter's name) and a catalog she didn't want. Like I need more junk mail. I thought of you and just said "thank you." And promptly threw them both in the recycling bin when she left.
from metonym :
that Feb. entry really sums it up. I couldn't agree with you more.
from freshhell :
No, they play NPR during naptime for the classical music - for the kids. But, it's always interrupted by news, as you know. Madeline always knows what the weather's going to be the next day. Most of the kids actually sleep during naptime but not my kid. Also, my mother only likes to buy me things SHE likes - clothes, shoes, etc. Not that I'm complaining but she likes to give me things from her house - things I do not want or need. Things she needs to throw away but cannot part with them so she gives them to my sister and I. She's a residential hoarder - I fear the day when I have to "settle" her estate. I will need two giant dumpsters just for the crap I'll need to get rid of.
from freshhell :
Gee, I have the same kind of mother. Who also wants to come visit on Sunday. Sigh. We shall both get through this, right?
from harri3tspy :
Our book group's read a few duds lately. Our current pick is Orhan Pamuk's Snow, but I haven't started it yet. I'm loving Alice Munro's Runaway, but short stories are not always so easy to discuss. The last set we tried to talk about, Annie Proulx's Bad Dirt, was a total bust. Some of my favorites for both reading and discussability have been Gita Mehta's A River Sutra, Jonathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude, Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes in the Museum (I hear her newest is good too, but I haven't read it yet) and Kathryn Davies' A Girl Who Trod on a Loaf.
from freshhell :
I loved The Known World. I got to hear Edward Jones speak at a writers conference back in the fall. He's a very interesting person. I need to find his other book.
from nycme :
Congrats to Nora on the A!!!!
from pischina :
I am kind of kicking myself for never reading your journal before - I guess from your name I didn't realize it was a real journal... my fault. Anyway I think you are already a favorite now, and I REALLY look forward to reading how you deal with you kids and their homework. Also, Nice to meet you! (Hi, I'm Pischina!)
from harri3tspy :
Please ignore the last sentence of that note. I typed over a message to freshhell but must not have selected the whole thing! I just realized it when I went to write something else. Maybe one of these day's I'll use more than one word document at a time...
from harri3tspy :
I used to have a copy of the Durrell book somewhere, but I can't seem to find it. I read a lot of Durrell when I was in late elementary school. It's true that I'm not really that worried about kindergarten per se, more about what it means for what happens next. Kindergarten is a chance to get our feet wet. Do we skip a grade (not my favorite solution for a number of reasons)? I'm inclined at the moment to try public kindergarten, which at least hasn't been averse to the whole venture, and see how it goes. And, as you note, kindergarten is only a half day, so there's still the possibility of doing other things. I also feel like we should take advantage of our relatively natural surroundings while we're here. I guess that's part of what has intrigued me about Waldorf -- the interaction with nature and learning by doing and also the approach of letting a child learn and supporting him as opposed to teaching him some kind of defined curriculum. Because frankly, AJ does pretty well at devising his own curriculum and I'd like to see that trait working for him, not against him. I'll be interested to hear how/what Dusty does as well. It sounds like they're in pretty similar situations, but with pretty different attitudes.
from harri3tspy :
Interrupting cow is a favorite in this house. I tried the other two on AJ. He liked interrupting starfish, but the other one didn't work -- he' just came up with a joke!
from harri3tspy :
AJ will be jealous of madeleine's goldfish one!
from metonym :
i went to a nice private Catholic high school - about 2,000 kids - and we had at least one person die every year. The oddest was when this guy died in a freak spearfishing accident. He dove down with the spear and just...floated back up.
from nycme :
What fun! Words of the day. I wish I could keep as close track of homework or at least know what was going on with Younger son as you do with your girls. I can't even get him to admit he HAS homework, never mind encourage him or watch him doing it.
from harri3tspy :
Thanks for your words. Perfidy is indeed an excellent. Ferro,ferre, tuli, latus was the bane of my existence in Latin class because the elements were identical to other words (ferre- = iron; latus=side). As a singer, I the vocab I remember best is in the text I sing the most. The "Ave verum corpus" (settings by Byrd and Mozart are two of the choral works I've sung more than any others) includes the line "cujus latus perforatum," which means "which pierced (his)side." so I always forget that latus has another meaning. This is why I could not pass my Latin translation exam!
from pchan33 :
I can help you reach one of your 7 goals...since I have a really unique body (or awkward, some might say) that sweater you knit just might fit little me :)
from simplify :
Congratulations! Now the real fun begins.
from harri3tspy :
Congratulations on the house!!
from life-my-way :
I love the looks of the new house! Congratulations on the big closing.
from freshhell :
Thanks for the update. I wonder if there isn't someone at the school that can help her organize herself. I, too, had to learn to speak up and risk embarassment by saying, "Slow down, say that again." Perhaps if she gets help on organizing her time - which projects to begin first, what homework will take the most time, she'll feel more in control, happier and empowered. Of course, I don't know your daughter and only speak from my own experience. Good luck!!
from life-my-way :
How exciting about the house! I would love to see pictures and hear more about the neighborhood. I got lost in the buying process and am not sure which house you purchased [which is not surprising, I'm not sure where I am most of the time].
from freshhell :
Could N have learning disabilities that have never been tested before? I did horribly in college until tests revealed that I do not process oral instructions (lectures) well - my comprehension is good but soon forgotten. I learned a number of techniques to overcome this and graduated cum laude. Just a thought. Maybe her teachers would notice a pattern if you mentioned this as a possibility?
from freshhell :
Yeah - that responsibility crap drives me nuts. I KNOW we're smarter, and competent and can be in charge of everything. But, I don't always WANT to and wonder: what would happen if I simply stopped making decisions, lifting my finger, let things slide.......
from harri3tspy :
It's hard to see your way clear of those structures. But I agree, that a good potroast is probably more valuable than a boatload of feminist criticism. One of my greatest struggles with this stuff not as an academic but in everyday life is trying to learn how to give the work I do at home some respect, to take pride in the domestic activities that have so long been dismissed as "women's work." I kind of feel let down by feminism every time I cook dinner for my family or clean up pee-soake d sheets not because I feel like I shouldn't be doing these tasks, but because I feel like I'm not supposed to want to. And that's actually pretty sad.
from metonym :
Yeah, there's been a lot of interesting stuff written about how the American Indians manage the environment - at least, in Yosemite, because the whole issue of managing the park is sort of both complicated and solved by the fact that we never actually saw Yosemite in its virgin state...the best example I know of for Yosemite is controlled fires. But that, I suppose, is a little like the difference between trying to manage a national park and trying to develop an industrial zone. And, acutally, if you go back and read about Columbus and the way that he treated the natives - especially on the Islands, I forget which one but Stephen Greenblat wrote an amazing book about it - really, truly, he was NOT the same as other people in the fifteenth century. Compare something like Montaigne's "On Cannibals" - which is really amazing and comes close to being modern in its essential points - with the kind of hideous slaughter that Columbus was responsible for...riding indians like donkeys, stabbing them to death just for fun, it's beyond belief - a lot of the sailors kept diaries.
from metonym :
You should check out the section of Freakonomics about real estate agents if you haven't already. I think it's of interest to anybody who is buying or selling property.
from harri3tspy :
The kid brain is so fascinating. I love watching how they learn things. It seems, as you said, that brains are all wired differently. Watching AJ and his friends has made me think a lot about the way we set up school curricula. Certain types of acquisition methods are certainly privileged.
from harri3tspy :
Re: running with plantar fasciitis, I have two recommendations. First, wear good shoes (I use Superfeet inserts in mine as well) and second, run off road. I try to run on pavement as little as possible and I try to vary my terrain so I don't get the pounding monotony that seems to shred my feet. When I do run on pavement, I have much less endurance, even when compared to hard packed ground. Of course all this is quite easy to do where I live. I'd have a harder time if I were still in the city. And one additional recommendation: I have no idea why this works for me, but on those days when I wake up with my feet aching, the absolute fastest and best treatment is to wear those spa sandals with the massaging fingers on the inside of the sole. Not for running, obviously.
from life-my-way :
I'm so sorry about your loss. My stepfather was by far the best parent I had and I miss him terribly. The memorial service will help. You're right, they are important. I'll be thinking of you and Nora, it sounds like she was really lucky to have known him.
from nycme :
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I'll be thinking of your family. I like memorials, too. At the very least, it's a place to share all the great stories. Maybe Maddy can write some of those stories down... :)
from freshhell :
Re your children's book list message. Yes, we have all the Moomintroll books (they're in the queue). Dusty (Madeline) is 4 1/2 and loves Little Bear and Frog & Toad - we heart them all!
from harri3tspy :
The I'm not Christian and I'm not 76 part fit my book group to a T. One of the things we talked about is how remote the subject seemed to our own experience (also not male, not from small towns, etc.) and yet how easy it was to get inside and how familiar some things felt. I did like the sense that Robinson conveyed of one's personality being shaped by the surrounding events. The history of one man is the history of Gilead. It is, in a way, a study of a person's effect on the world. An interesting idea, particularly when lacking significant drama.
from simplify :
Happy Birthday, Chris! I hope this year is filled with lots of fun adventures, good times and big love.
from readersguide :
Yes -- I'm beginning to like it more, actually. Part of my problem is that it's so foreign. I don't know much about Turkey, really. One thinkg I do like about it is all the foreign houses, the Armenian houses and the Russian houses. It kind of sounds like Berlin used to feel, when you'd walk around near the wall and there were all these old beautiful embassies sort of abandoned, or sitting on half a block. Anyway -- the sense of this odd and complicated history that is kind of over, and then the quiet, and the unreality of all this stuff happening in all that snow -- and Ka walking around in a daze writing poetry. Yes, I guess I am liking it!
from sea-change- :
oh! oh! But Snow is so good! I think that its treatment of fundamentalism vs. secularism in Turkey is fabulous, and it's written so beautifully, and clever, too!
from nycme :
Oops. Meant to add....Hooray on new kitchen stuff. That is very exciting. If I had my druthers I'd have butcher block counters - even though they require some maintenance - I spend so much of my day pulling out and washing and finding new cutting boards, I'd love to just use my knives on everything (except maybe meats where I'd put a plastic board on top) right on my countertops!
from nycme :
Thanks for the note the other day. I think I aspire to be the type of mom who can just let them go off with or without whatever they might or might not have and just not worry about the consequences, hoping for the best and knowing that experience is a fine teacher, but...I think that's a bit out of my reach! I understand logically the truth of "live and learn" but my heart wants them to Learn and THEN live! Hopeless, I know.
from simplify :
have you thought about soapstone? we've been thinking A LOT about soapstone. you know, for a countertop in the kitchen.
from simplify :
i didn't think the lastest star wars was terrible. it's the best out of the newest three, but obviously not as good as the first three. still, we enjoyed it.
from sea-change- :
what about the mongols? I don't get the new yorker. What's the topic?
from readersguide :
So perhaps not exactly the model I'm looking for? Hey -- congrats on getting three papers done!
from sea-change- :
I read Sound & the Fury when I was a teenager & it was amazing. But then I read Absalom Absalom a couple of years ago and it was amazing but a little too intense. In any case, Quentin is a Harvard student who is drowning in family crises and ends up committing suicide.
from readersguide :
Ah, but I've never read any Faulkner. Although somewhere, recently, I read a review of some biographies of him which sounded interesting -- and made him sound interesting, too.
from sea-change- :
Isn't Faulkner's Quentin the quintessential crazy intellectual?
from readersguide :
But I take your point -- we probably can't have it all. Which is in conflict with my wish for my kids to have everything.
from readersguide :
Mmm. I went to an Ivy League university all on my own. My parents were sort of surprised about the whole thing. But things are probably different nowadays. And of course lots of things are relevant, but for the three page paper you have to narrow pretty quickly. But you're right -- it might come in handy somewhere ... apparently the finished product is a zine.
from sea-change- :
The more time I spend at Ivy League universities, the more I really truly believe that people get here because their parents made them feel shitty all the time. I mean, I really think that like...8/10 were willing to flog themselves to succeed because they are full of inadequacy and anguish and their parents were harsh and exacting. Is it worth it? Because probably the answer is no. I think that part of the problem is that, as with so many other of the lovely things we do in life, there's no having it all...unconditional love and support don't often start a fire under somebody's ass. Also, I think that capital punishment in 18th c. England can be very relevant to an understanding of the death penalty today. Think about what Foucault did by comparing capital punishment w/ incarceration - v. v. interesting.
from readersguide :
Oh dear. This is exactly the problem. What exactly should we do? Because it's pretty important to Nora to be doing what she wants to do. I don't want to make her feel incapable of dealing with life by herself, because really, she's capable -- and that's a good thing, although it does make it harder for her. I.E., when she goes to the library by herself to research the death penalty, she has to look at all kinds of stuff that I, a 45 year old librarian, could tell her in a second is not going to be relevant. Like, a book on capital punishment in 18th c. England. So she's making it harder for herself, and maybe has a less impressive paper because she's spent more time on things that are not quite on topic, but isn't that actually, in terms of her learning stuff, better? She's much better at learning stuff than she is at getting good grades. But I think the not getting good grades discourages her, too, and worse - may cause her to think she's not as smart as other people who happen to have the knack for getting good grades.
from sea-change- :
Hmmm. I'm just going to chime and point out that I was exactly the opposite of simplify: the more somebody got on my case, the more determined I was to make it incredibly obvious that I would do what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. I've always had a problem with authority figures and tended to think that defiance was its own reward. But when I was left alone, or just pointed in the right direction, I would go out of my way to please my parents.
from simplify :
it's not that any of the things that nora did are so, so bad, but it's good for her to believe that they're bad. it's good for her to feel the boundaries you set up for her and to know that while you trust her, you don't TRUST her and will be checking up on her. i think that's the best way to keep a kid on track. to give them a short leash. some freedom, but with lots of checking. at least, i know that would've worked for me. i was a good kid who got derailed and having my parents keep better track of me would've been a good thing.
from readersguide :
Hey Erin -- It is really really hard. The worst part of all is just having no clue what to do. Which is even worse because of course I love her beyond all measure and want only the best for her, but what is the best for her, and how do we help her find it? Ugh.
from sea-change- :
you just made parenting sound really, really hard.
from reddirtgirl :
Yeah, apparently you can take any old animal you want anywhere you want just by telling people it's a service animal. I can't wait to start bringing my service boa constrictor and zebra with me everywhere.
from readersguide :
Thanks, K.
from life-my-way :
I'm so sorry about your step-dad! I'll keep my fingers crossed for a long, wonderful, sailboat filled summer for your whole family. Best, K
from readersguide :
Hi Catie -- Yeah -- maybe I don't remember it either because, while I was not a cheerleader, I certainly had lots of friends. Maybe there were people who didn't belong anywhere and had no friends at all? -- BUt yes, I am certainly glad not to be in high school anymore, although my daughter thinks it's a vast improvement over middleschool.
from simplify :
i agree about the high school thing. certainly there were different groups of people, but i don't remember it being like some caste system wherein a stoner could never even look at a preppy without consequences. also, i don't remember popularity being the end all and be all. but maybe that's because i had plenty of friends? i don't know. thank god it's over, eh?
from nycme :
I've often thought that a great website would be a Parent's Exchange where you could post gossip and info about OTHER kids that you found out from your own kids, and other parents could post info about YOUR kids that they found out from theirs. It would totally solve the "my kids don't tell me anything about themselves" problem! I know that I'd have a ton of gossip to contribute. :)
from simplify :
thanks and happy valentine's day to you. i do like rhode island, we didn't go to the beach even though my in-law's place is less than a mile from the beach. it *is* a nice beach, though.
from simplify :
three things. i'm sorry about your step-father's cancer. a CD can still be called an album, just not a record and i hope your day is a good one.
from simplify :
1/3/05 every time i spend time with andy's family i discover something new about what shaped him because of his family dynamic. it's fascinating thing.
from wendyloo :
Wow, our daughters have the same birthday. Yours is just a little older. Mine will be 9 on Thursday.

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