Not a word with him but a jest.
And every jest but a word.

Monday, May 16, 2011

How I Got Schooled Through My Sleep Study (Part 1)

Ever since I can remember, I have had the same answer to the question "what is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?". The one thing that made me look forward to Saturdays and kept me going through the week was one word: sleep. Happily I will throw aside a morning walk, an early meeting with a friend, or even breakfast with my family if it means an extra 30 minutes or an hour of sleep. When making plans for a day off my husband will ask, "what do you want to do on your day off?" and my reply is always, "I don't care as long as I get to sleep in." I hardly saw this as a bad thing - it has always been a part of being me.

Becoming a parent has only exacerbated this desire for sleep. Catching a nap is near impossible nowadays, unless, of course, it is pretend nap with a fun ending involving my son or daughter yelling "WAKE UP!" in my face after approximately three seconds of peace and quiet. Realizing my life is hectic - many days the alarm goes off at 4:45 a.m. - I had come to the conclusion that wandering through my week in a state teetering between exhaustion and deleriousness was my new normal. Nodding off while reading my daughter a short book became common and my mental lethargy was somewhat alleviated with increasing cups of coffee every afternoon. Admittedly, it was a struggle at times to stay awake while driving to and fro between preschool pick ups and grocery store errands. "It is what it is" became my mantra, accepting the struggles but feeling them wear on my patience, my moods, and my coping skills. By Friday I was quick to snap at my children and barely able to stay awake to put the kids to bed. Small decisions overwhelmed me. Large group gatherings gave me anxiety attacks, the kind where you wish you were in a cartoon and could pull a paper out of your back pocket, unfold it into a black dot on the floor, and then jump into disappear. I carried on, all the while knowing that this was no way to live.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


corn bread
bread crumbs
"I might have put too much salt in this"
"good grief, here we go again"
"yes, I'm pretty sure you say that every year"
"maybe you should make a list. You can look back on it every year and fondly remember how you've oversalted the stuffing"
bog log
mashed potatoes
"we found lists my grandfather made of groceries he bought for his shop"
"yes, he'd list the item and the price"
"grandpa recorded every trip he ever took"
sweet potatoes - .97 lb.
green beans - 2/$1.00
ham - $9.49
"one time I think I made a list of things that I needed to make lists for"
pumpkin pie
apple pie
Black Friday ads
"I really need to start my Christmas shopping list..."

*not quite happy with this but here it is....the natives are restless so I must stop here

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Perfect School

My Perfect School currently consists of but a few simple rules:

1) the administrators must teach at least one class period. Not subbing, but teaching - lesson planning, grading, calling parents, holding parent/teacher conferences, buying their own stapler...the works.
2) the teachers must be there because they like to teach students, not because they need a paycheck until they retire.
3) the students must sign a contract that indicates they want to be there and if they don't meet criteria in attendance and effort, they can be unenrolled.

I may add more as I implement My Perfect School in the future. Honestly, if we just had item #1, we'd see lots of changes, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pruning - part 1

I realize that I may never finish a piece on this blog so I'll post as I go, update when I can, and most likely leave some of these undone. I get interrupted a lot - young children just don't appreciate the creative process. I don't have a lot of experience writing short stories - reading them and teaching them is more of my expertise. I wanted a place to force myself to give some writing a go.

Here's the beginning of the first one...

Pruning by Tara Lee

The pruned twig fell to the floor. It didn't float. It most certainly didn't flutter. It fell. If it were heavier it may have made a noise like a thud or a clunk. Instead, it fell, landed with a firm purpose and lay immovable among the other prunings. Much like the determined snip of the pruners that sent it to the floor in the first place, the twig fulfilled its destiny on the floor - cast off, cut away and soon to be discarded permanently.

More important, however, was what preceded the pruning of the twig. Meg turned to pruning in those moments of stress that require a diversion in thinking. A fight with a coworker. An unexpected $518 car repair. A glob of ketchup on the beige carpet. Today she turned to her pruning after an altercation with her cat, Flip. Many things are given names that somehow providentially fit their personality - Eunice the cranky agorophobic lady next door, for example. Flip was named after the family observed his athletic ability to jump in the air and flip to catch a fly or, more to the family's amusement, a flashlight shone on the wall. Later in his life, however, Flip's name came more to be synonomous with his ability to switch personalities - one moment laying a sweet paw on your hand, the next biting into that same hand like a cobra strike. Flip, it seemed, had a mood disorder.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It is a strange thing to watch It's the Great Pumpkin as a parent. I'm no movie critic and only offer some insights as a parent who has been subjected to mulitple viewings of this movie the past few days. If you think that the television doesn't affect your child's learning, take note of the following:
A. your child will automatically begin using the word "blockhead"....a lot
B. your child will hum the Peanuts song...a lot
C. your child will notice the seemingly unimportant detail of Linus eating a single bit of apple and throwing the rest in the garbage
If you think that It's the Great Pumpkin is just good, old fashioned, family fun, consider the following:

A. there are no adults. In fact, a shivering and pathetic Linus is rescued from the pumpkin patch by his sister.

B. Lucy carves her own pumpkin (adeptly, I might add) with a hefty knife and then plops the innards half on/half off the newspaper

C. insults are flung far and wide, most aimed at Linus who is a blockhead (and...well, let's face it, rightly so) for believing in the Great Pumpkin. The second is the common victim - Charlie Brown, who at least gets the credit for the phrase "I got a rock" and can't even manage to have a normal costume.
D. There is a sort of violent history lesson about World War I that gets the "I don't remember that being in there" from many adults.
E. Linus presents the funny but sad commentary to Sally that, "I thought girls believed everything they were told"

However, as I watch this flick for the bazillionth time, I consider that if I were to choose any Peanuts character to be, I'd like to think I would migrate toward Linus or Charlie Brown, those who suffer through and make the attempt to live out big dreams despite the harshness of real life. However, I know that in reality I'd pick the character who was never harassed, never had trouble, and in fact, was super awesome all alone. I'd be Schroeder.