Burning or Milking

I love clichés. Adore them. I’d go as far as admitting that I’m addicted to them.

I have finally come to the conclusion that it’s the fault of the National Football League. Of all of the sports I watch, football gets most of my attention.

I know the basics of the game. Ten yards to make a first down. Seven points for a touch down, three for field goal. I know what an illegal block in the back. I imagine I know what it feels like to get ejected from a game after an illegal hit to the head; that seems to happen at least once a game this bowl  season, and all of the calls are really close.

This just demonstrates that I often get side tracked from the game itself to look at the players and what the players are “made of.” The Seminoles, for example, is relying on a first year starting senior, and they talk about the metal in his stomach, all that he’s been through while waiting his turn. Is it possible to write about the players without clichés?

“Light in the boundary.” I know the definition of each of those four words, but putting them all together and I have no clue what the football commentator is talking about. Does it dilute my enjoyment? Not at all. “Changing the Culture. Buying into the program.” Now, those are phrases that ring clear. Culture is bad when it comes to mold and strep. I’m going to put Blue Cheese in that category. You’ll forgive me, won’t you? Just shows you where I stand in terms of being cultured.

Since I’ve already stepped on some toes, but that’s what happens when wearing open-toed shoes, I might as well continue stumbling about while wearing my army boots. I’m hoping that by the end of the weekend, I’ll have the pairs cleaned up and bagged up and out the door and out of my life.

The first time I studied Sports and Society, introduced to the over-worked phrase, Socio-economic Status. Statistics support the cliché and stereotype that tennis is a rich person’s game. Yes, I had access to a tennis court, tennis equipment, but mostly I played against the backboard. Tennis lessons were never in the budget.

Okay, so now I have to contradict myself. Now that I have painted a picture of poor pitiful me, all by herself on the Brodrick Tennis Court. Tennis wasn’t in the budget because of hockey. Hockey can’t be an upper crust sport. It’s so violent. Equipment. Ice time. Expensive. Pond time down the street is free, but organized teams rent the facility by the hour. For all of the years I played, I’m at a standstill and can’t remember if practice was for an hour or two.

Time. A segue to my title. (Will I ever be able to use that word without having to look it up? Segway lines up with my phonetic philosophy.) I suppose  basketball uses milking the clock as they try to possess the ball for the entire shot-clock. Basketball gets my attention sometimes in March. I’ve not seen a entire Celtics games in a few years. Just a short while ago, Boston Bruins lined up the Hall of Famers, and I have to admit that when Terry O’Reilly came out, my heart skipped a beat. I’m assuming Bobby Orr was introduced, but I missed all of the single digit guys. It’s hard to think of Phil Esposito as being 73. (You know you have made it in this life when Word Programs recognize your name. I was trying to get away with Espisito, since that’s how I pronounce it.

The finger of blame is pointed at Boston’s dialect. I’m a suburb kid, so the accent isn’t strong. I can sort of do the Boston “Park your car in Harvard Yard”, but without any of the r’s. R’s are reserved for words that don’t have them, like idea. Quarter is probably my most favorite word to demonstrate accent.

Students will disagree.When I was at Churchill High School, the kids told me that it sounded like I was talking about Meth in the Math class. Meth is not in my vocabulary. It didn’t really take much to get these guys of task, and since tangents and stories are my strong suit, I had to be vigilant to stay on course.

I’m feeling embarrassed. I explained the milking the clock, keep the ball out of the enemies hands for as long as possible. But Burning the clock or time is not an even rhythm of bells, but the bell is bouncing around my brain in a random and irritating manner. Burning the midnight oil insinuates time, but that’s got nothing to do with football. Burning the candles at both ends. Who uses candles anymore? Maybe some carry on the tradition in having centerpieces for the dining room table during Christmas and New Year’s. We had a row of pine cones that I did my best to dust, but there are a lot of grooves when it comes to cones. (My brain is trying to self-correct in that I am probably supposed to refer to the cone as a Fir Cone and not a Pine Cone. Muscle memory is really good for sports, but not so good for remembering facts.)

Once again I am going to end my blog abruptly.

Drowning in paperwork

I am a compulsive paper hoarder. Even school reports and grades found my soft spot.

After I graduated from Weston High School in 1978, I  was handed my entire academic history from Nursery School through high school. From time to time I’ll peek into the past and see what Mrs. Collins had to say about me when I was in fourth grade.

She was probably wishing that I would save more paper or at least look at the spelling words before the test. I wasn’t a particularly good or bad student. Not having a very long-term memory made things difficult.

It was probably in this class that I created a dissertation on Gerbils, AKA, the Kangaroo Rat. I don’t remember if I were allowed to bring one in, if not I probably gave my cause a fight.

I may have earned my first nickname; something like the Gerbil Whisperer. Did you know that  walnut shells make the best Gerbil car racing helmet? Attach a number to the side, and my Gerbils had style. Is this what you would call swag?

Of course, the only thing the Gerbil wanted to do with the half a shell was to chew it up. Chewing things up was their forté.

Now, it’s too bad I don’t have Gerbils now; this would be an ideal solution to my over paper population problem. Oregon Medical Group statements could be come bedding. As long as they had enough cedar shavings and Kleenex, they would have warm and cozy bungaloos, allowing the Gerbils to do the next best thing in their repertoire.

I guess you could say that Gerbils was the first thing I learned to hoard.

Paper. Why do I need to hold onto medical records. There’s got to be an easier way to keep track of how many times I have seen Lisa Albanese, my physiatrist, to stick me with acupuncture needles. It’s possible to actually use this information in my journal. Doesn’t take much time or thought to make a note that on August sixth, 2013 I had acupuncture for fifteen minutes. Wouldn’t take that much to note that a quarter of an hour costs just about a hundred dollars. And poof, just like that, this piece of paper wouldn’t be necessary and can  be added to the recycling pile. I suppose if I were to really be invested in record keeping, I’d say insurance was willing to pay  seventy-seven dollars. All of the lines about contractual adjustments from Pacificsource. Insurance companies are so good at creating puzzles with the dollars depending if they are coming or going. Separating out the seeds, the kernels of truth.

Perhaps I can convince myself to just recycle. I know it is possible to have the Powers That Be to print up every single visit I have had with Lisa, and perhaps tell me how many thousands and thousands of dollars I’ve thrown onto the bonfire, the pyre of my back pain.

Just another reason for me to begin to sift and sort and recycle. It can only do me good down the road. I tell myself this over and over. Every year I make similar New Year’s resolutions. I will exercise more and eat less. I will journal and blog on a regular basis. I pretty much have this down. I was pleased to see that my blogging numbers are up; I’ve written at least twice as many blogs this December as I did last year.

I know it is possible to be better organized, and I know that clutter gets in the way. It’s hard to sit back and listen to Preludes for Piano if I am thinking about Vacuuming. The Quick study folk are already thinking of ways to multi task and do both at the same time. I tend to use music more as a reward, especially if the listening comes with some sitting still and contemplating as long as I’m not dwelling on some task that I’ve not paid any attention to….

It is time to do some doing.

No sense of geography

I stole someone’s quote the other day when I said, “You want me to understand this concept? It took almost my entire life to comprehend the difference between Right and Left.” For the past twenty-seven years, she’s been trying to teach me the spinning egg trick. If it doesn’t spin, the egg isn’t cooked, and Visa Versa. Does this mean that gravity doesn’t like sloppy eggs. Density and force have to play factors.

Science isn’t what keeps me from spinning eggs. I just don’t want to. I’ve seen other people’s eggs to see them dated, though that was all about the birth of the egg not the death.

Knowing my right from my left has come in handy when I am following instructions, but left to my own devices, I am almost guaranteed to get lost. Eventually a landmark would introduce itself to me. Or I’ll plug in GPS, a beacon to home. I wanted to keep the word beacon since that was my original misspelled word. Trying to over ride muscle memory takes discipline.

Grammar and Geography have been my bugga boos. My insistence in keeping the word Bugga Boo lays down more proof against me. I live my life as if I were on trial, though I don’t know the charges.

Whatever happened to Ignorance Is Bliss? As soon as I was cognitive in that I get a choice, a say in my state of being. The jury is still out whether my say is final. I’m thinking not.

I do believe in the influence of energy that contributes to my motivation. Having a dreaming Ying Cat, all six pounds, holds me down better than rope or duct tape. Taking over my Core. Giving my Core away.

If this blog is too sappy, I can blame Ying. If you don’t own a cat, chances are slim that you are even reading this, and if you do have a cat, explanations aren’t necessary.

Another big Life Philosophy I picked up early in my years is that lost is a state that doesn’t exist. Just because I didn’t know where I am, it doesn’t mean I am not supposed to be there. I’m not saying anything new; I’m regurgitating what I’ve picked up along the years. Bits of this and that have stuck to the walls in my brain. My problem in that arena is the retrieval system. I’m much more like a beagle than a retriever. I’ll be more than willing to get the ball or the frisbee or the stick, but I’m certainly not giving it up unless the reward is better than another throw.

My yellow Labrador Lovely Lucy reminds me that a hundred pound beagle isn’t as cute.

If my seatbelt, my writing muse has left, this must mean the meandering has hit another dead-end. The story of my life.

 

Duck, Duck

Goose. I’m very predictable. It’s kind of sad; imagine being my brain with almost every thought predictable. I hold my trump cards closely. Donald sure is ruining a reasonably good word. The art to my sort of humor is that it has to be occasional and unsuspecting.

When I first sat down to blog, I hadn’t thought about my twisted and demented sarcastic self out. She doesn’t get to go out and play that often. It takes her a while to come out from beneath and behind what ever barricade she sees.

I had been thinking about a gigantic Osprey nest that some Canada Geese occupied. They dwarfed the nest. Of course, I wonder what the gosling thinks as they get booted from the nest. Just a little sidestep and oops. I can’t imagine that they all make it. Maybe some are more like lemmings and have a different impact with that life.

My brain, a million miles ahead of my body, comes running back as if it were a young Labrador, though I learned that they act this way up to the day they are ready to let go of that life, though if I had been truly paying attention, I would have noticed the front. We see what we want to see.

My grandmother Anita was rightly tormented about being a hypochondriac. That’s probably the first scientific word I ever learned. Cancer a close second. Yes, it’s going to be one of those blogs; if you want something else, there’s plenty out there. One of these days I’ll get bored of this rabbit hole.

I wouldn’t say that gram was a religious person. I’ve managed to block the St. Peter Episcopalian Church memories. The score is even in that matter. I ran into the Rev.Van or Von Something at a party a few years ago. He had married three of my sisters, buried my mom, married my dad at least once, and he had no clue who I was. Van Duesen. Church was just never my thing.

We did the obligatory baptism. Barbara Clifton, my godmother and automatic angel in my life. I’ve got no clue what happened to Milton Munroe. My imagination goes off in many directions as to why my Godfather had to move away almost in the dark of the night.

That’s the way my brain works. There could have been months and months of saying goodbye to my best friend Patty. I think her brother’s name was Peter. Is Peter. He’s not much younger than myself. Percentage of Survivability possibility increase. I tend to steer clear of setting down a percentage. I am walking a fine line.

I have recollections that my grandmother was giving things away right before she died. This is where I wonder how long did she know that she was about to die? She had been trying to convince us for years, or at least that’s what my ear’s picked up.

And again, in the way my brain picks up traces of stories and changes these things around.

It wasn’t unusual for my dad to tell us that he was on the way to the hospital to make burial arrangements with Gram. After all, the doctors were convinced that a touch of diverticulitis shouldn’t slow her down, and after crying wolf for so long, who were we to believe.

You might be wondering how old I was at the time. Old enough to drive. But what was I driving? I hadn’t been to visit her, but guilt became a great motivator. Too bad it didn’t motivate me to put gas in the tank. Maybe it’s true and maybe not, but it’s the only time that I have ever run out of gas.

My dad and Judy had been vigilant in being with her, but Gram had her own plans. Only at the time that they left to take a short break is when she took her cue to exit. Once a performer, always a performer.

I’d like to think that I have the in. Knowing stuff that other people don’t know is my passion in life. I must have been a spy in a previous life. I’d like to think that I have a little voice that reminds me that midnight could be that time. It’s not uncommon for midlife  women who aren’t so great in taking their statin, to pop off.

Yet, I am five years, almost six years older than my mom when she popped off, and I never really met my grandmother, my mom’s mom, so her young age just sort of adds into the equation. Gram, I remind myself, lived to be 86. Even my dad got to 76. Just knowing these numbers boggles my brain. Sometimes I refer to my brain as being like a colander, but Teflon is a lot easier to spell. It was just a few years ago that I figured out that I was thirty-eight when my dad died. My dad was thirty-eight when I was born. Of course, I attribute all of this to my being born on Pi-Day. Albert and I. And that’s when the similarities disappear.

The last time I substitute taught at an elementary school where I was the lead Physical Education teacher, we played Duck, duck, Goose. It’s a classic game that will never die. And now my brain wants to know who invented it and when, so time for a different rabbit hole…

Not Decking

the halls. I feel guilty for not spending any time celebrating Christmas or even the slightest bit of advertising. No lights. No tree.

Sylvia strung a rope and attached Christmas cards that folded in the appropriate way to droop over the rope around the kitchen garden window. All of the houseplants didn’t mind sharing the lime light.

Over the years, our traditions have morphed. For a few years we decked the halls. My rather large collection of Christmas and Winter scenery candles occupied every inch of balcony and window sill spots. Counters hosted Santas and deer and trees. Newspaper boxes of individually wrapped candles. A holiday candle was a sure-fire successful gift. I often bought them for myself. If I were able to find four of the same, I’d send them to my sisters. I don’t know if they still collect them or if they ever did.

Our favorite Christmases involved people coming over for stockings. We loved filling people’s stockings full of practical as well as impractical gifts. Some had to be off the wall. Typically everyone got a game. I was always amazed at what we would find at dollar stores. Perfect when the crowds got bigger.

Moving into the dome inspired the party idea; invite those who’s family isn’t in the picture for all sorts of reasons.

I got tired of the work.We got tired of the work. I wish I could develop a case of clean freakiness; it’s not happened in the first fifty-five years, I seriously doubt I will catch it.

Soon the tradition moved to having Christmas on the Coast. Rent something that allows dogs. A few nights  away from home. A chance to walk along the beach and let the dogs swim. I think Ricky’s only been to the coast once since he’s become a member of the tribe.

Going Coastal cuts down the number of choices of things to do. There was always football to watch; that’s a given regardless of where I am or what kind of event I’m hosting or not. A jigsaw puzzle was brought out, especially when we went to the coast; the puzzle had to be small enough that it didn’t require an all-nighter to finish, though that’s happened, but it had to be large enough to be challenge. Number of pieces in the puzzle.

The puzzle we started today has a lot of blue. Small pieces and a thousand of them. After a certain point, my eyes tend to go cross-eye working on jigsaw puzzles, but I love them. I get to the point where I don’t want to do anything else. I’ll bribe myself that I just have to put five pieces together and then I could go do something important like feed the dogs or myself. Football comes and goes on the television in the background, but I get so mesmerized in puzzling that I forget to unmute the game after the annoying commercials.

I do feel guilty for progressing to the point where I don’t make a big deal out of Christmas. I barely acknowledge it. It’s not that I don’t like the Christmas story and the spirit. I find the spirit renewing and uplifting.

I feel guilty for not be willing to run around like a chicken with my head cut off. Or Turkey. What people are willing to do. And wanting to do. To me the holidays are encrusted with too much work.Setting up. Taking down. The pressure of buying that perfect gift and sometimes to people that I didn’t really know very well.

Somewhere along the way, the gifts that I got sometimes represented how well the gift buyer really knows me and visa versa.  How much of that person not knowing me is of my own doing? I’d wager a high percentage. That only causes me to ask why, giving myself some journaling ideas.

This time of the year is prime season and reason for journaling. There’s always something to review and analyze in my life. Now that I have shifted gears and do absolutely no Christmas Merry Making, I wonder if this is advancing the cause, the cause being my life, or doing some unforeseen damage to my personality and future development. I am an eternal optimist.

I don’t really mind a do nothing Christmas, but it’s the guilt that I feel I could do without. The guilt for not buying any gifts. For not writing any Christmas cards. Not a one. I thought about them, but that’s as far as that enterprise went.

I’m writing about the intended Christmas; the Christmas plans that went head over heels. Murphy’s Law took a spill. Not quite a face-plant, but sort of.

Plans of doing nothing, not going to the coast, not buying any gifts were discussed. I had figured the trip to Europe had taken up the budgets for future Christmas gift buying for unforeseen years. Neither of us like to shop, so this wasn’t a hard conclusion.

When the invite to attend a feast at someone else’s house, agreement came quickly. Bring a pie and some brownies and we’d be good to go. This is when Murphy stepped in. Imagine getting a couple a dozen tennis balls served at you simultaneously while getting drenched with cold ice water. Plans that took my breath away.

Maybe this Christmas was a chance to close a cycle. Hosting people to come over to the dome was an easy thing to say yes to. Cooking lasagna was natural. I don’t know how many times I thought of my grandmother, though she rarely let people in the kitchen while she cooked. Next time I will make my own sauce.

Motivation to share my home, a place that I have a hard time parting from, was able to slam dunk away motivation to be lazy and not do anything.I still found time to curl up around a book or watch a movie, but the adrenalin of short notice got things done. It’s nice to have a clean house, and I’m definitely ahead of my New Year’s resolution surge.

I feel as though I have rambled on a bit about random things, but it will have to suffice for now.

Debussy

Usually Beethoven catches my attention, but this blog has Claude Debussy to thank, though Moonlight Sonata momentarily stopped me in my tracks.

I’ve never played the piano. That was one battle my mom refused to take on. I don’t think my sisters particularly liked having to take piano lessons, I probably made fun of my sister’s abilities, though it was my job to point out the inabilities, and if there weren’t any, it was my job as the little brat in the household to make stuff up.

I don’t know if my mom played the piano. It wouldn’t have surprised me if she did. Maybe she was self-conscious or maybe she was the life of the party.

Of course, to me, my mom was the party. No matter what was going on. Sewing in her porch, working a crossword puzzle in bed. I imagine that if my mom did play the piano, she’d play something like Debussy. Clair De Lune For Piano. Suite Bergamasque No. 3 to be exact, but I’m just copying off the name of a piece.

I doubt it was my mom’s idea of piano lessons. My siblings will have to get back to me on if they all had to take lessons. There was a piano in the basement, wasn’t there?

I used to think that the reason for piano lessons was to somehow allow our family to climb some social ladder. It’s really hard to tell how much of this I just make up out of thin air. Maybe the idea was my mom and my dad and they imagined piano lessons created good discipline and diligence.  And what’s a good party without a piano? Discipline and Diligence have not been my bread and butter. Of course, if fun was involved, I’m all over that Double-D determination.

Even though I didn’t play the piano during this lifetime, or haven’t yet, I did have a celestial experience with a piano book. I was told that while I was a young one, perhaps pre Monster days, I woke people with my yelling about some sort of piano book and that I had to find it. I was reassured that they would help me the next day. Previous life perhaps?

Thirty years ago

December 2, 1985

Sometimes I don’t like  re-reading my journals; there’s always the possibility of taking the lid of of Pandora’s box. The few times that I’ve done this in my life, I’ve regretted it, though only in the short-term. Sometimes it’s good to get it over with; this  way, I can clean out some of the fears and worries that I no longer have and can throw them away, making room for other worries.

In 1985, I was just a quarter of a century old. What did I know? I certainly didn’t think that I would have survived cancer. I was far from being committed to even staying on this earth yet alone being committed to another person for more than quarter of a century.

Uncle InkIn a blink of an eye, more than a half a century has gone. I think of all the people that have come and gone in my life. Rena Casey  was one of those angels on this planet that helped me when I got lost through those horrendous teen years. We used to play checkers. She always had licorice, the long kind that I could tie up in knots while I tried to tease out of the knots in my life.

Thirty years ago, what would have I done without Cagney and Lacey? My life revolved around that  television show. The particular episode had Cagney’s dad in rough shape with pneumonia and wanted to opt out while his dignity was still alive. He just wanted his gun. I think about Alice Sacks. Was it gutsy for her to go out this way. Who wants to be a burden, and when breathing only happens with oxygen; that’s like tying up a dog to the house with a chain that’s much to heavy.

I have felt that chain, though no one put it on me. Self-impossed.

Betty Vail used to call it a swamp. Maybe it was the holiday season, the family-less holiday. I’m the one who ran away, though that didn’t make any difference. Mostly I surprised myself in even missing my family. I didn’t think that would happen, but there is truth in the saying that distance can cause fondness, sometimes the fondness is brief; it just doesn’t always stick around.

It’s rather appropriate that as I write this I am listening to Stevie Nicks singing Landslide. Changes are hard to make.

One of these days I ought to round up all the letters that I have collected from various people. I’ve got a six-page letter from Barbara during his Bitsy phase of life. Thirty-years has come and gone for her as well.

I could easily put together a book of just letters that people have written, though I was much more prolific than almost everyone I knew. I had a hard time keeping up with Peter Buttner’s email. Aileen Harvey and I had a great once or twice a month pace. One of the last times I visited with Mrs. H,, she gave me an envelope stuffed fill of the letters that I had written to her over the years.

I moved to Oregon over thirty years ago to some how manage to get my act together. I don’t ever remember ever thinking that I’d never  go back to Boston; it just never happened.

When I look at my journal from 1985, and my hands are having a difficult time not typing 2000whatever year instead, there are things that would upset my world. Eventually I figured out that I could live like a bat or I could turn my world back to the proper view; I have to admit that sometimes I chose to keep things upside down. I learned to empty my pockets. I’ve never been very good at not seeing things in a different light than most.

There is a sudden realization that at least my brain doesn’t ever have to make such a dramatic change when it comes to time. Y2K comes to mind. The world will end as we know it or at least the computer no longer will be able to record the proper date. Even if I live another thirty or  fifty years, the miles on the odometer won’t hit another milestone.

I don’t know what is going to happen in the next thirty years. I hope that I have the sense to keep writing about just in case I no longer can remember who I was or who I became.

Catapuncture

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The eyes of a healer. We are on the second phase of treatment. The infusion of calming thoughts. This is my favorite of the triad of treatment levels. It would be so much better if I were on a heated table like the one my human acupuncturist, Lisa Albanese, uses.
The first phase can be good or it can be bad but bad in a good way.  No pain, no game was the philosophy I grew up on. Run till it hurts kind of thing.
Once I became a legitimate athlete, I was constantly doing that dance between being in shape and the painful way back. Pain was never a reason to stop.
Ying and Yang, my two Catapuncturists, know what kind of treatment I need. They are amazing to nail those pressure points. I am sure neither of them relish in having create pain when they find thin clothing or better yet bare flesh. No chance of going catatonic during the kneeding. I am still struggling with the spelling of a needing cat. Neading? What is the word to knead bread? I have not done that in a long time.

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Yang, more so than Ying, has a soft side. Claws in. Soft pats to my face.
By the way I know Ying’s name is technically not spelled correctly, but I had a female Gerbil that I named Charlie. I have been thinking outside the box before that was the thing to do. What didn’t I rebell against?
After I am thoroughly poked and needled, I shift into the contemplative phase. After focusing just on the physical, pushing other thoughts down under the water,  the third and final level of treatment is like a giant beach ball that fights so hard to get to the surface, it shoots into the air like a dolphin soaring out of the water,  though giant multicolored beach balls are seldom graceful.
In the third phase, I generate ideas as to what to write about.  I may not publish anything more than a blog,  but I am constantly writing.
I used to have the problem of wanting to write every day but incorporating that want into reality took many years of trial and error. Once it seemed to not be a big deal, it solidified into a routine. Another writing goal was to have ten pages in my journal every day. I would push myself to at least have more pages in the current month than in prior years. Some days, ten pages is done in a blink of an eye,  allowing me to have a day where I hardly write a word.
I had to scroll to the top of this page to find out what I was supposed to write about.
If only I could figure out how to get Ying and Yang willing to treat orher people, I could open a very unique and much needed Catapuncture Treatments.

My Ideal School

I’ve seen some innovative classrooms recently. Monday I saw a high school math classroom that held no chairs. Students stood up. There were these riser blocks of various heights for the students to work.

Did you know that Virginia Woolf did some of her writing standing up? I commended the math teacher on changing things up and he said that it keeps the kids awake. More oxygen flowing is my guess.

Earlier in the year I saw an elementary classroom with balls instead of chairs. Helps the kids to develop strong cores. When I was a kid, I as so active that it didn’t matter that I retained a little baby fat in the gut. Between wrestling my dog, my stuffed animals, my cousins and running everywhere I went, I didn’t have to worry about my core.

Changing the classroom up. When I get a chance to step back from the crazy eduction system we have, I think about my idea school. I like the ratio of 6:1 student to teacher, though four would be ideal.

It’s stressed that kids thrive when choice is given, but usually this in regards of choice of what they are reading. It doesn’t spill over into what children learn. I know that when I have a choice of which rabbit hole I get to go down and explore, I do much better. And how I learn changes depending on the subject. Don’t lecture me about math. Just give me some examples and a person I can go to when I can’t figure it out on my own.

There is nothing worse than being bored in a class. This is so opposite of my philosophy.

One of the best, perhaps only good experience I had at the Willamette Leadership Academy was that I was forced to teach subjects out of my discipline. I learned so much about US history after having to teach it. Why don’t we let kids teach kids? That’s what I would do. At the military school, I did test the waters out when I had to teach a foreign language class. We figured out that if we did an intro to foreign languages we could get around a loophole that required a highly qualified teacher. This was before I realized the school was doctoring transcripts in other aspects of highly qualified teachers, but that’s a different subject.

Foreign languages are my weak spot. To do well in Spanish, I had to work really hard. French in junior high and high school left me in the dust. I hated to disappoint Ms. Parquet, my seventh or eighth-grade French teacher. So sweet and patient and funny. She was not a very tall woman, but when she kneeled on a table and put her shoes under her knees, she was like a munchkin from Wizard of Oz. She made us laugh, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t keep the words in my head.

My sister Barbara can testify to this. I remember when she and her husband Mark moved back home, probably to take care of me as I was starting to unravel, she would work with me on my French. I would have a strong grasp on the material, but come morning, my brain was like an etch-a-sketch. Maybe my REM cycle involves a re-boot of the brain.

There was a year of French where I could care less about the teacher and didn’t try as if it would somehow be a black mark on the teacher’s record. Little did I know that when applying for teaching positions I would have to submit my college transcripts. I ought to be proud of myself as I should have won a most improved.

By the time I started classes at the University of Oregon, I had acquired study skills and writing skills to help me succeed.Switching from  Physical Education major to English required the realization that in order for things to stick in my brain, I have to do a lot more work, a lot more repetition. Flashcards became my best strategy. I learned that short spurts of time was the best use of my time. When I am subbing at a high school with long  class periods, my heart sinks. I don’t have an attention span that can handle an hour and a half of  subject.

In my ideal school, kids would get to choose what they were learning and for how long. As long as they can show mastery in problem solving and self-expression to demonstrate what they have learned.

I think about my idea classroom. If I were teaching a language arts class, I’d have it set up with a living room-style area. I love to read lying down. Or is that laying? (I usually write around that verb…) Yes, I sometimes take a nap while reading this way, but I also think that naps can be refreshing and worth while. There would be a variety of writing stations. Lots of options. Tablets. Laptops, desktops. I imagine teaching a calligraphy class to help students slow down and see the art of a letter. Writing slowly helped me as a writer.

Basically I’d have my own Summerhill School. I think I was in high school when I fell in love with this English school where kids chose what they wanted to learn when they wanted to learn it. If a kid didn’t want to learn to read, they didn’t. Eventually the kid would get bored and want to learn how to read. I don’t know if that would work in today’s age of video games; the school has to have an environment that learning looks and is a lot of fun and that there’s really not much else to do. Boredom has to be a factor. My biggest fear in life is being bored. When I get bored, it’s painful. Physically and Psychologically.

I don’t think I am alone when it comes to this feeling. Maybe it’s video games, the constant stimulation, that makes school, traditional school that more boring and that more painful.

Now I just have to figure out how to develop and fund my dream school.

Dodged the

Bullet. I Dodged that Bullet. I was just about to send this blog to a friend in the guise of an email. This is heading into something more important. I didn’t realize until this moment that I had modes of writing in a ranking of importance and that these blogs are more important than e-mails. Toss-up whether my journals are as important as emails or visa-versa, though those two forms of writing are the same. Since all of my emails, coming and going are in my journal. Emails are like the great stuff in the middle of the sandwich. The roast beef and cheese. I enjoy writing to someone that’s going to read my writing, especially when I think of the positive influence I might be. Might not be. Might be. Worth a try.
Sometimes I copy and paste my blogs to my journal. So, it’s not really the notion of who is or is not reading what I write. Or maybe it is.Maybe I don’t know.
I know that I feel a sense of accomplishment when there are ten pages a day in my journal for the month. But when I get a blog written I feel as if a brick has been taken off of the wall. In some lives I build walls. Others I take them down. Sometimes I get the opportunity to build and take down the wall. Sometimes it’s just sheetrock, but if you have never taken a sledge hammer to sheetrock, you gotta give it a try. Talk about Anger Management.
I’m watching football. I loved this comment during a Monday Night Football game, “So and so isn’t on the field because he’s on the side line.” Some sportscasters should appreciate contemplative silence.
When it comes to watching football, I only mute the television when I get lost. Haven’t done that in a long time. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I know the GPS is wrong, and I really want to throttle the Ap when I realize a fifteen minute drive is going to take a half an hour and I’m usually already late. When are they going to invent an internal GPS.Would it be cool if you could search your brain for a memory or that recipe of the little triangle “horsey derves.” O’Eur de Something. I’d be able to spell that item of food you eat when it’s not a meal. I’ll remember it during tomorrow’s acupuncture treatment. Lisa will probably know and would write it down for me. If I remember, I’ll edit this post.
Don’t you just love those Murphy visits. I better not jinx myself by thinking that I haven’t had a visit from Murphy’s Law today. Does anybody know where Murphy’s Law came from. Who coined the phrase? How long has it been going on.
I thought I had more to say on the subject, but since I’m not really sure what that is, I better step aside and let more complete sentences pass by. Is having a slow speed limit good?
Sometimes words that I write are like vehicles and my mind is the speed gun. Instead of speed, I register ideas, but if the objects are flying in front of me too fast, I can’t grasp gist or words. Words matter.
Well, since the gist of of this good intentioned blog has dissipated, I will bid you a good night or morning.
I remind you that I would absolutely love it if you could respond to this blog. Were there parts you liked? Didn’t like? Anything funny? I like funny, but sometimes my humor is just a tad bit obscure that you won’t catch it unless you are looking sidewise. It’s that monocular vision I told you about. Maybe not in this blog, but a recent one.

I don’t like

fingersnapping. I don’t like fingersnapping. Maybe I can blame the Three Stoogies when they did that two-handed fist-pumping greeting. What did Curly say, “Whoop? Woo?” I’ve never been very good when it comes to spelling nonsensical sounds. I’m not good with accents either. I might get away with writing quartah, but my auto speller wants to change that to quartan. What’s a quartan.

I don’t mind fingersnapping for percussive emphasis and there’s some fun to it. I don’t remember Larry, Mo, or Curly has being anywhere near close to being happy when that hand thing happened, especially when it had that twitchy finger to nose. I would’t want that to me taunting me in the face, and I certainly wouldn’t tolerate the boof on the head or a twist of the nose. Doesn’t sound like fun at all.

I don’t like fingersnapping when it comes to someone trying to get my attention. No, I’m not the garçon and won’t wait on you.

Tonight was a good demonstration that I filter the sound out. I must have been at least two sentences into my story about who knows when I noticed  a flalling arm. The other arm was holding the phone. The mouth must have been holding the phone since no words could come out. I noticed the slash through the air. Any baseball player would notice a safe sign anytime.

I don’t mind when GMC compares itself to a well put together person, but the hairs on the back of my neck go up when the reference applies to men. I know, men are supposed to signify both genders and it’s easier to say men and not men and women.

I have been hearing this my entire life. Don’t be so sensitive. It’s just a word. This is during the time when Feminism had grown into an out-of-control monster. Hysteria, you do realize, is a woman’s issue.

All of the issues I had been battling my entire life were validated when I took my first  women’s studies class at Lane Community College. Thanks Kate Barry, you showed me that I wasn’t crazy and fighting useless battles.

Has GMC been convinced that women won’t be buying their cars and should not cater to that category while advertising. Maybe the Greater Men’s Car statisticians are right. I know that I have test driven almost every  car manufacturer and have never even thought about testing a GMC. Come to think of it, I don’t think that I have ever met someone with a GMC. (Friends, please don’t be offended if I fail to remember you driving one of these things, but maybe that’s okay and you’re happier that I didn’t remember. Oh, my dad drove a Buick, is that close to the General Motor Corp. How can a business be the same thing as a dead thing?

What I don’t get is that women buy cars. There are a lot of us. My choir alone probably has 120 cars. (I don’t think I’m the only singer with two vehicles. One’s a dog car, so give me a break. They are not riding in the Mini.) Maybe they think that women don’t watch television. Maybe women don’t watch commercials? Maybe women don’t watch football, and that lame commercial was during the Miami Dolphin and New York Giants. Though, in this case, maybe the women saw that the Dolphins were playing and are going to stink up the place and they made a smarter move to do anything else. Going to the dentist would be a better choice than watch this football match. Can’t compare to the show New England put on against … I lost it. The team they played were so amazingly forgettable. JJ. JJ Watt and the Texans. I’ve got nothing against that team. I like the quarterback. Can’t remember his name, but he’s a good guy and a pretty good player. I only remember JJ because of that stupid commercial of him chopping wood in the forest. You know an ad is bad when you remember what happened in the ad, but you don’t remember why he was chopping wood. Oh, I remember. They compared his chopping ability to a better signal. If JJ stops chopping wood, does this mean the signal goes down? We know he plays football and can’t be out in the woods all day long. Or night? Does this service expect that nobody will be using their phone while Mr. Watts sleeps or does other things? And where does all the wood go.

Does anyone know the full rendition to Wood Chucks Chucking in the Woods?

It shouldn’t bug me that car commercials hardly ever have women behind the wheel. There is one where cars are driven on a ski course. The woman is going backwards and fast. She’s got a big grin on her face. I’m scared to drive backwards even when there’s nothing and no one for miles and miles away. I avoid backing up in parking lots. I can only do half parts of parallel parking. My depth perception is so bonky that I’m usually two feet from the curb. I can get away with that in my Mini since it takes up only half the space. And I don’t really have problems going backwards while driving my Mini. The biggest problem in the Subaru is that when I look in the rearview mirror, all I see is Abby’s reflection; if I turn around to look, then I get a face full of Ricky and Abby dog kisses; three Labradors have a way of putting up a good wall as well.

A while back I wrote how bummed I was when they compared Mia Hamm to a well-put together vehicle. I don’t think it was a GMC. Dodge does a good job rattling my cage, so it might have been them this time. Again, I don’t mind that comparison. I applaud the fact that they recognized her dedication to women’s soccer and keep her name in the spotlight, but she’s not even driving the car; some guy is. Problem her husband. That guy who took an hour  at the plate after each pitch. Great short stop and great guy, but Mr. Garciaparo, and I know I butchered that name, was the reason why the time clock was invented. Red Sox games were always twice as long as any other game, what with the picture needing to count to a hundred before every delivery. One one thousand. Two two thousand. Who  invented that way of counting to one hundred as if one, two, three takes too long? Maybe not long enough? Maybe too hard to remember?

 

I bought my Subaru because they have dogs in their commercials. It helps that they are very safe and have AWD, which I need in the hills. We are going to have snow soon. I can feel it. Yup, every joint is telling me. And my forester can hold lots and lots of bowling balls. I don’t  travel with 36 bowling balls to tournaments. I learned how to cut my selections down to just a dozen bowling balls. Hell, if you can’t figure out how to have just twelve balls to handle whatever strange oil pattern the bowling houses throw your way, you ought to not be in the sport.

Yesterday, while at Firs Bowl on River Road, I did a thing that if I didn’t get my average with handicap, I’d give the ball away, donate it to the junior league. I gave one away because one insert didn’t match the other and the Aftershock hadn’t been used in ten or sixteen years ago. I gave away the 3-D Hammer. I’ve got monocular vision, so I don’t know why I got it in the first place. It did put up some good numbers in it’s day, but my bowling balls, haven’t seen that day in a very long time.

There were people who wanted me to give them my Emerald Green Visionary Gargoyle. Bet you didn’t know that bowling balls come in really cool colors and names. After digging a thousand pieces of tape out of my Silence, I was able to bowl above my average; that Track ball has been one of the sweetest.

At least bowling ball manufacturers advertise to both genders. Perhaps not equally. Actually I’ve not seen bowling on television in so long i don’t even know if the advertising is still true.

My Mini Cooper probably could contain more than the two that I take to league every Friday night. Go Strike City on Highway 99. But the MC is my favorite. I love my Mini Cooper. I love everyone’s Mini Cooper. I’ve even grown accustomed to the Clubman with the four doors. I still don’t like the rounded roof. That’s the only thing that I want straight in my life. Much better looking.

Mini Coopers don’t need to advertise.

Sleep

Has always been my number one enemy. My nemesis. The Arch villain.

Being the littlest in the family, I worried that I was missing all the fun. My room wasn’t that far from the living room where company were entertained.

I don’t know if I experienced insomnia as a kid, other than the night before Christmas. I have this nagging recollection that I had a form of childhood asthma that required my sister to listen for my breathing. I know my memory is missing large chunks of data. How would my sister be able to tell if I stopped breathing in the night? I just remember that if I did stop breathing, they would have to put me in a shower to wake me up. That’s why I had bunk beds. Okay, so maybe I made the entire story up. It’s feasible, isn’t it?

I don’t remember if I did the typical sleep forever teen thing. Probably not too much since my growth spurt was rather quick. I know that growing kids need a lot more sleep. I wonder if now that I’m shrinking, the opposite is true. Maybe that’s why I am so tired. What can I call the opposite of growth-spurt?

I didn’t have trouble with insomnia while in college, but as soon as I found the wonders of little pills with nick names of Christmas Tree or Black Beauty and the Cornell Students on the other Hill in Ithaca were more than willing to make and distribute to students like me who knew better but did it for the cause.

By the time I got to college, I was over my head, though that cliche doesn’t really work. I was juggling the student me, the working me, and the athlete me. Imagine that I was using my study skills as the stick to juggle three china plates representing those three me’s. And imagine that my social skills were like millions of little marbles under my feet while juggling those plates.

Within a year, my world collapsed.

I wonder whether my reader would want the Short story long or Long Story short. It is one thirty in the morning for goodness sake and my alarm will be sounding in six hours. Sometimes I bowl better when I don’t get much sleep…

Sleep. In college, I tried all of the traditional methods of staying awake at night. I was convinced that if I just had more time, I could juggle everything. I could be the student, though my being the only freshman in a Sophomore Anatomy class, probably wasn’t the best decision that Coach Kostrinsky and I made.

If I only had more time I could play hockey and lacrosse, do my work-study secretary gig to help pay the high price tag of a private school, and also make friends.

I had friends from all sectors. Aside from the athletes, I had branched out. I had sorority friends. Physical Education sorority that is. One upper classman in Delta Kappa gave me my first nickname. Pup. It stuck, too. My new friends didn’t even know my real name.

I had my student run cafe friends. Even though I worked in an office during the day, I figured out how to help my friends and earn some extra money on the side. I started working nights in the student’s rec. hall. I learned how to cook all sorts of things. I simply would punch someone else’s time card in, work the shift, and then my friend would pay me.

The bonus of this gig was that I could eat as much as I wanted, and I was in my hollow leg phase. No matter how much I ate, i could never get past 120. Now, I just look at it and I gain weight.

Sleep became my enemy, but I also had created friends with connections. When my method of drinking several cups of extremely strong tea only made me throw up, I was given what seemed like a magic elixir. I could stay up and not throw up or see stars when I moved. The stars, come to think of it, were probably little messages telling me that something wasn’t quite right, but as I said in an earlier blog, I’m not always great in hearing or seeing signs and warnings.

Sometimes I think that my mom died so young in order to protect me from myself. Human Beings are so limited in that regard. My mom’s first assignment after she died was to save me after I rode my bike right in front of a car. I was told that I did a lot of bouncing around on the car like a trampoline before I landed on the cement sidewalk. That probably wasn’t even my first concussion come to think of it. I was always running into things. My sister Pam probably still hasn’t forgiven her for making her come and ride in the ambulance with me.

Sleep. There’s a reason why they don’t allow sleep deprivation as a means of torture. Lack of REM can do bizarre things to a brain. But I came from the No Pain No Gain generation. Do it for the Gipper and all of that. So, for the good of the team, I stopped sleeping. I saw so many wonderful Upstate New York sunsets and sunrises. Consecutive. On the average, I slept about eight hours a week.

Little did I know that I was merely priming the well to take on a security guard job that often gave me eighty hour weeks. Sixteen hours of work was the max with an eight hour off. I did notice that the more hours I worked, it seemed the more taxes I gave to Massachusetts, but that didn’t stop me, and I had the miracle pills to help me out. Again, all for the good of the order.

By the time I was twenty-five or twenty six, I checked myself into a drug rehab clinic. White Bird. Great place. Maybe some day I’ll write about how I came to that decision, but that’s a long story that deserves it’s own spotlight.

Talk about disrupting one’s sleep cycle. As a result, I have had to resort to a litany of natural sleep remedies. Skull cap tinctures. Melatonin. Various other calming herbs and later on sleeping pills.

It’s not like I learned my lesson. At least when it came to sleep. In 2007 I landed my first teaching position. I was so excited. I didn’t care that I was getting peanuts and there weren’t any benefits. Being an older new teacher wasn’t getting me anywhere and the military school was willing to give me a chance.

There was so much work to do that I did whatever it took to get the job done. I was back to my eighty-hour work-week, but this time I was salaried. There were no time and a half or double-time when there was a holiday. I had learned to like drinking coffee after attending NA and AA meetings for a few years.

Sleep has never forgiven me. It has been a constant fight now to get to sleep. Instead of taking drugs to stay awake, I’m taking prescriptions to fall asleep. It’s past two in the morning now and obviously I’m avoiding the Ambien. I’m also realizing that without a few hours of sleep and perhaps some REM, I will be worthless to my team in six hours from now. Goodnight.

 

Awful jobs in my life

I have had some horrible jobs in my life.  And some I was flat-out horrible at.
I think his name was Bill or William. Oldest guy in Weston, at least to me.  He took volunteer kids who weren’t aftaid of some sweat and labor. North side kids.
In my town growing up,  railroad tracks didn’t divide us. Have way too much on the South Side and have enough on the North Side. This kind of reminds me of the Civil War.
Anyway, Bill took me in and taught me about farming. I must not been any good at it as he reassigned me to this old lady’s place, though this time I was getting a buck an hour, twice as much as I got babysitting, and that was by family flat-rate not by kid.
Little did I know that I would end my career babysitting, but I would never consider these jobs as the worst jobs in my life.
Looks like I am going to have to work hard keeping myself in the lines. Sometimes I just like to scribble, but those are the times I only use one color. Preferably red.
The old lady. I don’t know if Bill or William knew I wasn’t so great with the older folk. Gram, God Rest Her Soul, was always trying my patience.
The second I earned my Driver’s License, I was sentenced to taking her shopping. I swear she looked at every single item in the grocery store.
I never went inside. This was the only time I could practice smoking. Not only wasn’t I very good at it, but I had to build up stamina.
My body tried so hard to keep me from continuing. It was as if I were sea sick when I would have just one more than I should.
I think it was a Honthumb tradition to start at twelve, though I was much younger when I had my first drag. Immediately sicker than a dog.
You would have thought that I would have taken that hint, but all bets were off by the time I was twelve.
The old lady showed me around her property, showing me the beds that needed weeding and those that needed to be cut back.
I worked slowly. I asked a lot of questions. There was so much to remember.
As I gained confidence, my pace picked up. And then the old woman started to yell at me. It was as if she were speaking a different language. In a way she chased me off the property. I just remember getting onto my one speeder and barrelling down a hill. I was crying and after I got stung in the face, I really had something to cry about.
William tried to console me and said that the old bat got upset when I pulled some prize bulbs or something.
That was probably my first worst jobs, and even though that job had brought me tears, the tears were nothing to compare to.
During my Worst of Worse jobs hands and paws down go to the months I spent at an animal experimental place.
The New England Regional Primate Research Center. Actually I don’t know if that’s the name.  It feels like the name of the hospital I worked at, another awful job, New England Medical Center. I can’t believe I had two different jobs with New England in it. I will just call it the Primate Research Center.
If they were looking for the most niave of workers, they hired the right gal, but for those of you who know me, imagine what I thought when I lost my first of many dogs as well as baboons.
I had applied to be a Nanny. Inbetween colleges, I needed something to keep me aflout. The interview went well.  I hit it off with the kids, and did even better with the Golden Retriever.
She said she would call me in a day or two. He called me the next day.
Instead of working with his family, he wanted to know if I would like to work for him doing heart research at the blah blah Regional Primate Research Center. Monkeys? I  would be working with animals,  mostly dogs, but some large primates as well.
Talk about a dream come true. The pay was so much higher than a buck a day.  More like ten bucks an hour. No,  I don’t really remember if It eas ten an hour or just felt like that but I do know that it was way above the 1981 minimum wage. And I got benefits and a badge. Ever since fourth-grade crossing duty, I always was a sucker for a badge.
Not all of the job was horrible. The first open-heart surgery fascinated me. I was the kid that dissected worms, frogs, and anything that I couldn’t save from drowning in the pool.
Getting to meet the monkeys and bigger  primates was amazing. I came close to get sliced by a Rhesus Monkey, the same kind of monkey I was forced to dissect in college. The research facility was giving these beings plenty to be mad about.
In order to give monkeys medication, you had to vise them so they couldn’t move their arms. A wall in the cage was closed in on them. I heard plenty of horror stories of people not being too careful. I quickly saw it as Primate Revenge.
Most of my experience was with dogs and Baboons. Both were given pace makers. Both were given tests to see what would happen if the heart pace went too quickly. Others if the heart was slowed down.
My first dog was a Black Labrador named Once. There was one fellow who named his subjects after basketball players. Dr. J. comes to mind.
Granted this happened around 1981 or 82, and I wasn’t employed for very long, but I remember Once so clearly.
The heart surgery was fascinating, but also past my ability. Between the arthritis in my back and a knee without an ACL or MCL, the long standing during  surgery just about killed me. Little did I know that future
psychological pain would easily ecclipse that physical pain.
After surviving the torture, the rest of my duties were a walk in the park. Literally. My job was to exercise the dogs, the ones that could still get up. I wasn’t supposed to, but I used to let all the dogs out to play while I mucked their kennels. That part didn’t even bother me.
What I thought was the biggest perk of my job was I got paid to sleep on the job.  Sleep is my middle name.  Can’t get enough of it.
Yes, I got paid the big bucks to sleep with dogs. The objective was for me to calm the dog down so the fellows could see what drugs made the dog’s heart speed up or slow down. An excited dog messed up the measurements.
Maybe it was the soft whispering caused a dog to relax and sleep and maybe the sound of the dog’s beating heart that played on the stereo caused me to sleep, but typically I would be gently nudged awake after a few hours or less. Groggily I would take Once back to the kennels.
Back and forth we went. After a few days,  I noticed that Once struggled to get up. She was reluctant to eat or drink.
I don’t remember what day number it was.  Maybe six. When I came to get her, she couldn’t get up. I was told she was done and didn’t need to return to the lab.
The time I would have spent sleeping, I spent nursing Once. I had to force feed her water and food in a syringe.
What no one bothered to tell me was Once was soon to really be once. I  remember the last time I saw her, she couldn’t pick her head up, but she could still wag her tail.
I might have been able to squeeze another day or two of life out of her with my constant syringes, but the fellow needed the heart equipment back to tally up the scores of who knows, compare his scores to the countless other exact same research to tell the world he or she was qualified to do their own research, their own twisted, demented methodical torture on innocent beings.
It turned out that the bigger primates didn’t take too kindly to being poked, prodded, and put in a vice grip. They tended to give up quickly and die. It was as if they had the ability to will their life away.
Dogs on the other hand had a stronger will to live. No matter how badly Once was being treated, her wagging tail told me she was forgiving us.

Dolly Parton

I’ve never been a Dolly Parton fan; I’ll listen and sing along with her music, but I don’t own any of her music, never have. She’s not on any of my lists, and I have a rather varied and eclectic taste.

I got sucked into watching a movie about her. I had heard some people talking about it, but the final straw was the sneak preview. It looked good.

Not knowing anything about her except that being Dolly is being perfect. Oh, that’s Polly. Never mind.

There’s a kid who just stuck up for Dolly who was getting bullying. I wasn’t tall, but the girl has my pig tails. Most of the time my hair looked more like a few rats had taken up residence over night. I wouldn’t have minded, though I don’t think my Gerbils would have liked the competition.

I’m sure if my dad had noticed that my collection of those cute little Kangaroo rats had grown so large, he probably would have put his foot down; he knew I had them as there were more times than not that one would be under the fridge, and my tantrums put my parents to the floor to attempt to coax the little bugger out. They always came. Eventually.

It’s amazing how a movie can trigger thoughts. I haven’t thought about those long snarly bad hair days in a very long time. Last year a middler boy asked me why my hair was so short. I asked him why his hair was short and he said that he just got a hair cut. I then said, “Me, too.”

I wasn’t allowed to get my hair cut. After a certain age. I did have the little pixie cuts when I was a little one, but I went into my adolescence with the have-to. There were a lot of have to’s. Have to wear a dress. Have to dance. Have to Act Like a Girl, which of course was defined as doing stuff I didn’t want to do or not doing want I wanted.

As I recall, there was one organized sport in my town when I was young. Little League Baseball. At least, that’s the only one I ever heard of. Girls weren’t allowed to play until the year after the age limit.

This movie might be a little bit too close to home. Dolly’s daddy just told Dolly that she her mama was the heart of the family and that she had to be careful to not break her mama’s fragile heart.

What a great family, so balanced with the Holy Roller and her no nonsense  daddy.

My mom put a great fight. Actually it was more like she let me do the fighting, but she was always in my corner. When I beat my boy cousin brothers at the same time and  their dad was shamed, my mom just signed with the realization that I had gone through another set of tights. Even when allowed to wear pants, I was always going through the knees. Her favorite fashion statement would be the take the pocket off of the rear and transplant to my knees.

It wasn’t long before I traded trousers to shorts and sweats, but since I continued to land on my knees, I just went through skin instead.

It’s too bad that my mom never got a chance to see me play soccer, hockey or lacrosse. Not in person.

As I said, my mom has been in my corner my entire life. Made me culottes, those shorts, but looked like a skirt. She should have been in politics. When my dad and I argued about whether girls should play drums, my mom bought me a pair of drum sticks. Never did find what her plan was, but I still have those sticks. Soon they will be museum-age status.

Sometimes I forget that my mom is still in my corner.