Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Not much going on here...

Just recovering from some truly hellacious blisters incurred while tramping around Hershey Park on Friday with a bunch of Band & Chorus students. While I teach neither Band nor Chorus, I love chaperoning this trip, if only to ride the roller coasters.

My heels are killing me, though, and walking is uncomfortable. So, I'm sitting here, ready to blog, with absolutely no inspiration.

Inspire me.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Bend, Stretch, and Lean to the Left

Your Political Profile

Overall: 20% Conservative, 80% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

How Liberal / Conservative Are You?
So this shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who knows me. It's interesting how much my friend Dave and I differ, and how close friends we are.
That said, I didn't like the questions - there was no moderate stance, which is what I take on some issues, so I chose the more likely option.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I got your opinion right here...

I come from a long line of opinionated women. Women who are not afraid to tell you how to do just about anything - be it arc-welding or baking a perfect Victoria Sponge. Not that there are any professional welders or bakers hiding in the branches of my family tree - no, we'd never do anything like have the weight of knowledge behind our words. Heaven forbid!

In my own small way, I've tried to break with the family line by only expound on that of which I have knowledge. You know, things like baking (skilled amateur only), eating (intensely skilled amateur, seriously thinking of going pro), teaching (skilled professional), and reading (retired professional, now maintaining skilled amateur status). I'd never tell you anything about construction, carpentry, or candle-wicking, although I know some women who could.

I say "my own small way" because, while I can choose to advise on certain subjects, the Buttinsky gene is just too strong to cease expounding altogether. So, I offer my expertise where I see fit. I didn't know just how strong the gene was until this morning, when I was schooled by a rugrat on the proper technique of cheeseball degustation.

"See, after we eat cheeseballs, we have to put our fingers in our mouths. Look - all clean!"

And another leaf on the tree unfurls.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Another quiz for you!

Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
created with

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hypertension alert!

Oooooooohh! Do you want to know how to get my blood boiling in 2.5 seconds? Brace yourselves.

Apparently, it has to do with an article my friend Dave found in the New York Times about some Long Island teachers who are making over $100,000 a year. I thought, "Wow! That's great! Good for them!" and I started reading the article. All was well until I came across this bit: (emphasis mine)

Still, critics of the [$100,000] salaries as well as those who consider them necessary
agree that the image of teaching as an altruistic, low-paid occupation is no longer the case in the suburbs. A family with two public school teachers can
earn enough to put it in the top 4 percent of families on Long Island.

So, I'm not altruistic if I make over a certain amount? Where's the change in the State salary scale that changes me from an altruistic educator to a materialistic, shallow gold-digger? Apparently there's a cap on the price of my pearls of wisdom. Is there a similar cap on the other "altruistic" professions, like, say Doctors? 'Fraid not.

There are those that will argue that Doctors have more education, spend long hours at the hospital, and have the power to diagnose and cure diseases. So, for this, they get to keep the "altruist" label and be paid a boatload of cash. Let me see, I've got 2 degrees (BA, MA), six years of education, 13 years of teaching experience (ranging from kindergarten to university - certainly equivalent to an internship and residency), and can diagnose ADD/ADHD with startling accuracy. Can that Doctor create and deliver a lesson taking into consideration the IEPs and 504s of different students, differentiate his/her instruction, and implement varied teaching strategies to reach all learners, while keeping it engaging and interesting and all in a foreign language? I didn't think so. So, can I make the same amount of money as that doctor and still be altruistic?

Probably not, in the eyes of society. The problem, in my opinion, lies with the "perception" of teachers and teaching, as it always has. What got my blood to boil was this bit (emphasis mine):

"We're trying to convince people that our teachers and teachers' union and
administrators do not have the children's interest at heart," said Richard
Graham, a member of the anti-tax group. "The people who couldn't do the
engineering, and anything else that required some brain
became teachers, and they now have $100,000 salaries."

Those that can't do, teach, eh? I'd just laugh it off, but this is sooo bloody typical of what I hear whenever I'm asked what I do for a living. It only gets worse when I tell them I teach French. People are amazed that a French Teacher can speak fluent French, as if I study up the night before to stay just ahead of the kids. So, I and the rest of my colleagues are short on brain power, Mr. Graham? Here's a bit of brain power for you, from this French teacher: vas te faire foutre, sale espece de cretin chiant!

[insert typical teacher muttering here, e.g., I'd love for him to spend a day/week/month/hour in my classroom and see what salary he thinks I deserve. More than what I make now, that's for sure...] I suppose that teachers will never enjoy a salary commensurate with other professions that have the same degree of education and experience.

Now I don't mean to disparage Doctors, here. I would be no better than Mr. Graham. Plus, I love Doctors - they keep me healthy. I should also say that there are other "low paid altruistic" professions - Social Workers, Paramedics, and Clergy, to name a few - that would deserve a hefty raise in salary. It couldn't hurt. These people serve the masses for relatively little monetary gain. And the money isn't really the issue. It's the respect. My problem is that Mr. Graham implied that it's ok to pay teachers peanuts because it's what our job is worth. I think Mr. Graham should homeschool.

You know, I don't need $100,000 to enjoy what I do. I sure wouldn't turn it down, though.

On my mark, engage! Make it so.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard- You are the thinking
person's captain. You contemplate everything
before putting it into action. While you are
indecisive at times, you do so to insure an
equatable solution no matter what the cost.

Which Star Trek Captain are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, May 13, 2005

What's your flavor?

I was reading posts on one of my favorite message boards, and one topic was "What flavor ice cream are you?"

Hmmm. Intriguing, I thought. What's my flavor? I mulled, pondered, and ruminated on this deep philosophical question.

Well, I look vanilla, but I have a deep chocolate personality - decadent and sensual, right? My heart is a gooey marshmallow - I'm a sucker for sentiment. My sense of humor is a bit off-beat. Some would call me nuts.

I figured, hey, Rocky Road!

Seeking validation, I asked the Mister what flavor of ice cream I'd be. After about 30 seconds, I got this:

Him: "What's that flavor that has all the shit in it?"

Me (hopefully): "Rocky Road?"

Him: "Yeah, that's the one."

Me (irritated and justifiably sarcastic): "'Cause I'm so full of shit, I take it?"

Him: "Hey, you said it."

Nice, huh? Remind me why I keep him around?

So what's your flavor?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Why I have to censor my husband...

The World’s Cheapest Man is prone to the glib comment, liberally laced with profanity. He has always been such, and it is one of the many reasons that I love him so. For 37 years, the profanely glib comment has worked for him. Then came Peanut.

Since her appearance on the scene, I have always rushed to censor his speech – I don’t want to be the mother of the playground truck-driver, the child who introduces her friends to the “F” word. I have standards, see?

It just happens that I didn’t get the chance to intervene yesterday, and almost burst a blood vessel laughing at the results...

Yesterday, being Mother’s day, the World’s Cheapest Man decided to spring for dessert at Dairy Queen as my gift. He waited in the torturous line, purchased the ice cream treats, and schlepped it back to the car where Peanut and I were waiting. Peanut had a vanilla cone with sprinkles. Do you know how messy a vanilla cone with sprinkles can be? See, when the ice cream melts, the sprinkles begin dripping off the sides and, well, sprinkling the surrounding area. The WCM had finished his treat and had begun driving home when the inevitable whining from the backseat began:

Peanut: (whine) “Mommy, Daddy’s moving the car and making my ice cream drip!”

Me: (placating) “He can’t help it baby, we’re driving home”

Peanut: (more strident whine) “But I got sprinkles all over me! I need a napkin!”

WCM: (briskly) “Here you go, Peanut. (WCM hands her back a napkin)”

Peanut: (petulantly) “But it’s dry! I need a wet one!”

WCM: (frustrated growl) “Look, it’s all we have. Unless I piss on it, it’s gonna stay dry.”

Peanut: (hysterical) “Piss on it! Piss on it!”

(Much shocked and uncontrollable side-splitting, blood-vessel-bursting laughter ensuing from the front seat)

Peanut: (volubly hysterical)PISS ON IT! PISS ON IT!”

(Snorting, crying, groaning, and wailing from the front seats).

Me: (sputtering attempt to deflect word choice) “Peanut, (snorf, sputter, hic) I think you mean (gnarf)Spit on it.”

WCM recovers enough to ask if Peanut knows what “piss” means. Of course not. That’s what made it so funny.

Friday, May 06, 2005

To be, or not to be. Pregnant, that is.

There seems to be a lot of talk going on in the blogosphere about babies recently – whether to start one, or another, or if one would be a fit parent at all. I’ve got to say that, for me, having a baby was possibly the best thing I’ve ever done. Not the most fun, or the least painful, but the best. I knew I was ready, though. And if you’re not ready mentally to accept that responsibility and the change that the wee sprog will wreak on your previously well-ordered life, then it could possibly be the worst part of your life.

I’ve wanted to be a mommy practically since I began ovulating. I’ve always been all about the babies – their soft skin, tiny fingers, and round kissable bellies. Changing diapers never fazed me, although I draw the line at buying cloth ones. I really don’t want to scrape, soak, and wash diapers every day. Because with the amazing amount of excrement that one of those tiny creatures produces, one would be washing diapers every day. Bathtime for Peanut was always fun – everything was fascinating for her. She loved it when I’d hold the washcloth up above her head and squeeze out the water in drops. After bath, there was always sweet-smelling lotion and silky powder to apply to a wriggly baby body. Then there was bedtime, nursing my baby to sleep in a glide rocker while sleepytime music played, her limp and quiescent body heavy in my arms. One of my favorite parts of the bedtime ritual was cuddling her fuzzy little head in the curve of my neck afterwards while I coaxed a burp from her.

Now that she’s an independent preschooler, our rituals have changed. She’s weaned, potty-trained, and no longer fascinated by washcloths or rubber duckies. We have a story, pats on the back, and hugs & kisses. I know that that will change again as she gets older, and I look forward to that. Now, instead of worrying if she’s ready for solid food, I have to read up on how to get preschoolers to eat more vegetables. I have more strategies than a five-star general, with much less success. I have to monitor the TV programs that Peanut views, the nutritional content of her lunches, and her father’s penchant for foul language.

Peanut is a huge responsibility. Her needs come before everyone else’s. When she’s sick, the world may as well stop turning, as we all take time out to tend to her sniffles. If she’s awake far into the night, so am I. I am the packer of lunches, the maker of meals, and the dispenser of snacks (healthy and unhealthy). I provide clean clothes, agonize over choosing safe toys, and sanction all videos entering my daughter’s domain. Can you imagine if I didn’t want this responsibility?

I have always believed that having a child should be a choice, as the responsibility is awesome, vast, and ginormous. I can only imagine how bitter and resentful I’d be had I not been prepared to accept this burden of parenthood. But, as I said, I was ready. I’d do it again, too, were the Mister willing. The good parts of being a parent far outweigh the bad. Bear in mind, though, that my Peanut is only 3 years old. I’m not a seasoned veteran, nor have I made it through the teen years. But from my perspective, as I said before, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

Next time, though, I’ll get the epidural earlier. Like conception.

el seis de mayo

So it's not Cinco de Mayo. That was yesterday. Today is el Seis de Mayo, or el cumpleaños de mi esposo. The World's Cheapest Man is 41 years old today! That's 6, count 'em, 6 years older than me.

By the way, he doesn't know about my blog. I'd prefer to keep it that way - saves on the sarcasm.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I watch way too much TV

So I was watching American Idol just a few short minutes ago, and I saw Scott get voted off. Woo Hoo!!! Anthony is safe to sing another ballad! I really think it's going to come down to Carrie or Bo, though.

Now I'm watching a new episode of The Kumars at Number 42 on BBC America. Jennifer Saunders is on this week - star of AbFab, French & Saunders, and the voice of the Fairy Godmother in Shrek 2. Good stuff! Shame Dawn French isn't on there either. I'm like a blue-eyed American Dawn French, for those of you interested in what I look like (all 2 of you...).

Who I really miss, though, is Graham Norton. I can't wait for a new series - please, Graham, get off your arse and start filming!!

Tomorrow is Survivor night. Don't call my house from 8 to 9 pm on Thursdays unless you're dying to talk to my machine.