Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve Extravaganza

We're all set here at the I-Always-Wanted-A-Nickname household for a great big NYE blow-out. Yessiree. Here's the checklist:

1 package brie cheese
1 loaf French bread
1 package tomatoes
1 pint Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream
Knife for cutting bread and tomatoes and spreading brie on same
Spoon for eating ice cream straight out of container
DVD's received for Christmas (original Star Wars trilogy, Brokeback Mountain, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3, Magnum PI Season 2, trio of Vin Diesel movies that are mindless but fun)
DVD Player
Cozy Blanket

Yup. Looks like the makings of the perfect New Year's Eve. Hope everyone out there has as much fun as I will!

PS - Lest you think I'm being snarky and/or feeling sorry for myself, I turned down invitations to three parties and one sit-down-in-a-fancy-restaurant dinner for this. I've been traveling for a week, I'm exhausted and my couch looks so good right now I may never rise from it again!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Let It Never Be Me

Some parents are their kids' worst enemies. And they don't even know it.

The fall semester is over today. (FINALLY. Ahem.) One girl in the SAT class I teach is receiving a 17% on her report card. No, I did not reverse those numbers. This particular girl (let's call her, oh, Matilda) has some issues such as ADHD. Matilda's biggest issue, though, is the fact that her mother has apparently taught Matilda that she (the mother) will fight every battle, make excuses, give her extensions, write excuse notes whenever she has a small tummy ache and generally let her get away with anything she wants.

The salient points:
- Matilda has missed 22 complete days of school and 7 partial days. Every single time, she had a note from mommy saying that she didn't feel well.
- We had three projects in class. The first two, she turned in late. Once because her cell phone had been stolen and she was "upset", and once because, well, I never was clear on the reason for that. Her mother emailed me both times, demanding that Matilda be allowed to turn in her project late AND be given full credit.
- After the second week of school, Matilda stopped turning in her weekly assignment. This was NOT a major undertaking. Most students turned theirs in every week. Some students missed a couple of weeks here or there, but I was very flexible with my due dates since this was an elective class. By November 14, when Matilda's parents had a meeting with her teachers, she was 12 weeks behind. I was promised that the missing assignments would be in that week. They weren't. Nor were they in the next week or the next or... The only thing I've gotten from this child was two out of an eventual 15 missed assignments - both of which contained essays that had blatantly been plagiarized from a web site and for which, of course, she received no credit.
- Yesterday (the last day that I had Matilda in class) I received a note from her mother asking that Matilda be allowed to turn in all her weekly assignments the NEXT DAY. I sent an email saying HELL NO. Oh, well, maybe I didn't use those words, but that was the gist of it.
- The last project (due, also, yesterday) was one in which students had to find 10 scholarships for which they could apply. They didn't have to apply for all 10, mind you - they simply had to briefly (one paragraph) summarize the scholarship and what they could do to qualify for it. I gave suggestions for where to look. EVERY student in the class turned this in, and most turned it in early. Matilda sent me an email last night telling me that it was "too hard" and asking that she be allowed to turn this in on JANUARY 5 - the day the teachers return and start planning for NEXT SEMESTER. My response upon reading the email was "Are you fucking kidding me?" I didn't email this response, you understand. I just ignored her.

Today, I saw Matilda in the hall. She asked if she could turn in her work "later". (As this was the last day of school, and she was on her way out of the building, I'm not sure what "later" means in her world.) I said no. She said, "So I fail???", with tears welling up in her eyes, and I said "it's over, Matilda," and kept walking. I know, I'm an unfeeling bitch.

Sure enough, within an hour or two, her mother was calling the school demanding that she be given another chance. To their credit, the school administration is (so far) backing me on this one.


May I NEVER have such a blind spot when it comes to my children that I end up hurting them when I mean to help them.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Meme me

Thanks to Shawn for assigning me the letter "K" (and for skipping the letter "Z"...)

10 Things I Love That Begin With the Letter "K"

1. Kids. Well, some kids. All kids under the age of, oh, 2. And some of my students. And most of my friends' kids...

2. Knives. Necessary for my favorite past time - cooking. I'd love to get a really good set of knives someday, but they're sooooo expensive. Isn't everything good?

3. Kimberly. And all the rest of my friends. Shawnee, Stacy, Chad, Jean, Andy, Mitch, Paul, Dan. I couldn't get through the day without emailing or talking to at least one of them!

4. Kodak. Well, not really, but I refuse to spell camera with a "K", because that's cheating. But I DO love my digital camera. I love taking pictures and being able to see them right away (I'm big on instant gratification...) and manipulate it on my computer.

5. Kevin Smith. The last time I laughed out loud at a movie was at Clerks II. He doesn't hit a bullseye with every movie, but when he gets it right, it's freaking hilarious.

6. Kenobi, as in Ben. And all those other denizens of the Star Wars universe. Yes, I am a walking stereotype. I majored in math AND I love Star Wars and Kevin Smith. So sue me. I'll win, because I'm smarter than you. So there.

7. Kebab. Yum. Meat on a stick is always good. Now go make your own dirty joke.

8. Kitty. I do love my cat, even if she drives me insane. She's currently in "cute" mode, curling up inside my open suitcase as if to say "take me on vacation with you." Makes me feel guilty to be leaving her alone for a week. What? Someone is coming in a few times to feed her. What? Don't look at me like that. I feel guilty enough.

9. Kanga. And Roo and Pooh and Piglet and Eeyore and Owl and of course Christopher Robin. Not the Disney crappy incarnation, but the original stories that enchanted me as a child. I used to make up songs to go with the poems in _Now We Are Six_ and _When We Were Very Young_. Too much information?

10. Katsu California Roll. And almost any other form of sushi that exists. I currently have a standing date with friends to eat sushi every. single. Monday. And sometimes I go more often than that. I'll never get sick of sushi.

There you have it. Join the fun!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm a fake

Well, perhaps *I'm* not. But, for the first time in my life, there is a fake *tree* in my house.

I never believed I would allow fake greenery into my house. I grew up with a mother who hated fake Christmas trees. I don't share a ton of views with my mother, but that's definitely one I hold dear. I love the smell of a real tree, I love lugging it home, I even love the damn pine needles that get everywhere. It's kind of like the pain of getting it is a rite of passage of Christmas. I've even forgone having any tree at all in previous years when it wasn't practical or possible to get a real tree. I always seemed to get more depressed those years, though...

In any case, I was determined that I wasn't getting a tree this year. No one besides me would see it, since I don't have that many visitors at my house right now. Besides, Asha is in that climbing kitten phase, and while I can live with the shredded screen in my bathroom, I would be forced to kill her if she pulled over an entire Christmas tree after I put it up. Besides - too many ornaments are irreplaceable and I couldn't bear the thought of her using them as toys. But then I went to the Atlanta Festival of Trees. It's put on by the local children's hospital that my friend works at, so we get in for free. And there was the cutest table-top tree put together by a girlscout troup, for the same amount (or less) that I would pay for a real tree. And it was already decorated with lights and sparkles and a big I had to buy it. After all, it was for charity.

So now it's set up in the one room that I can shut off during the day so that Asha has less of a chance of pulling it over on herself. Asha is actually enjoying sitting on the shelf of the table that it's on, under the tree skirt. It must be like a little cave for her.

Sigh. This doesn't mean I'll have a fake Christmas, does it??