Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, M'Lady!

     You should always make it easy for the gift-givers in your life to determine what to get you for a given holiday.  If you TRULY want to be surprised that's one thing, but if you have a particular something in mind, don't be coy, tell them what you'd like.  For example, I hung a picture of a certain something on the computer screen one evening, before Mother's Day, and just for good measure, I showed the picture to both of the kids first. 

     So when a little package arrived in the mail the other day, I admit, I was not surprised, but oh, the joy, when I opened it up!

     Ohhhh yummy!  It looks even better in person!  I like this because it makes a statement.  Something like, "I'll look to like, if looking liking move."  Or "O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken."  Or maybe something simpler like, "M'lady, will you do me the honor of allowing me to dedicate my performance in the joust to you?" Or maybe I'm still a few centuries too modern.  All I know is, it doesn't say, "Let's order some take-out and watch T.V. tonight."

     I also liked the little romance card that came in the box with it.  Check it out:

     Like he made it just for me!  I"m not sure I like the quote, though.  "...like a night without stars..." ?

     But... the stars are the best part!  Hey, what does he know?

     His jewelry is great, as for the poetry, I'll stick to Shakespeare.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Mom, please try to behave yourself..."

     Tonight I took my dear son to an orientation meeting at the junior high, the school he will be attending in September.  As we were getting ready to eat dinner, he looked at me and said, "Mom, please try to behave yourself tonight..." with something of a smirk on his face.  He was kidding, but only half kidding.  "Why do you say that?  What do you think I'm going to do?"  "I don't know, I just don't want you to embarrass me."

     Ah, I've been on the other side of this fence, and I remember the view well.  Sometimes just the way your mother breathes in and out can be embarrassing.  I had thought this was more the territory of girls, though.  My mother, for example, tends to sing in public.  Unabashedly.  She sings long arias that go on and on for verse after verse.  Why not just a line or two?  I guess she has a pretty nice voice (I am her daughter, you see, so I can't be sure) but she sings the wrong lyrics... and a lot of the time, the wrong notes as well.  She also tends to tell people too much, or talk for too long, or act too friendly, or smile too much.  As a teenager, when I was out with her, people would ask if we were sisters.  After a while I thought, ok, so maybe she looks young, OR MAYBE I JUST LOOK REALLY OLD!  Then there were those times when she tried to be too much of a tough guy (cute as she was and still can be, tough guy is a role she played easily).  She would GLARE and POINT at me, and one year, when I was fooling around and talking too much with my friend in Italian class, she made arrangements to SIT IN ON MY CLASS.  She stalked into the class, sat down stiffly in the back of the classroom and fixed her GLARE on me until I could feel it boring a hole in the back of my head.  Oh, all of this took place in the same school building where my son and I were going to the meeting. Good times, good times!

     My son and I drove in silence, he worrying (I'm sure) and me, wondering. I broke the silence.  "I'll tell you what,"  I said.  "I promise not to break into spontaneous song, and I promise not to do ANY dance steps at any point, how's that?"

     Was that a sigh of relief, or was I imagining it?

     "Yeah, that's good."  He said, "That's what I was mostly worrying about."  

     Oh my.  I haven't turned into my own mother exactly (although, there might still be time for that), but apparently I'm just as horrifying in an altogether new and different way.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A simple vote...

     Ok, now that Mother's Day is over, let's put this to a simple vote.  Which one should I choose?


or this?

Thank you very much for your input. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Harsh Reality

     Some of you may remember that I asked a student at school, “Rose,” if she wanted to help me make some of the scenery for the school play.   She is a student I’ve been worrying about all year.  She seemed to like arts and crafts, and I thought if she participated in something like the play, she might begin to see that she can make different choices for herself.   
     Well, she did help out, and she seemed to enjoy herself.  She came a few times, and once after helping, the next day she told me, “When I got home and told my aunt that I was at school helping out with the scenery on the play she said, ‘YOU?’ and I said, ‘yeah, I know.’”     
     Once the play was over, I began to worry again about her grades – would she be able to pass her classes this year?  She was holding her tongue and temper, and therefore, not getting suspended (a miracle in itself, when compared to last year), but would she pass?  Whenever she stopped into the office, I offered to help her with her schoolwork if she needed help, but she always refused the help, even though she knows I can actually help her.  Then last week when she came into the office, I was finally able to see the big picture.
     She plopped into a chair just inside the door, looking tired, and a little angry.
     “Hey, haven’t seen you in a while, how are you doing, what’s up?”  I said.
     “Mr. ____ sent me in here.”
     “Oh, are you in trouble?” 
      She shook her head no. 
     “Did you just need some space?” 
      She nodded.  This teacher really gets her.  He can tell when she’s about to freak out, and he gives her the space she needs to cool off so she doesn’t get herself in trouble.
     The infamous temper started bubbling up… “He gave me work to do and I wasn’t doing it cause I just didn’t feel like doing it, and he said, ‘so you’re just going to take a zero for the day?’ and I was like, ‘yeah, I guess so.’  I felt like telling him, ‘you know what, I don’t give a sh__ about your work; I just don’t feel like doing it, you fat f___!’”
     “Well, I’m really glad you didn’t tell him THAT,” I said.  “Well, you can sit in here for a while and chill out then, that’s fine with me.”  After a few minutes I asked her, “How is it going in your other classes?”
     She shrugged her shoulders with a fatalistic attitude. “I’m gonna fail” she said.  “I’m gonna go to summer school.  It is what it is.” Still in my old mode of thinking, I wished for her that this wasn’t the case.
     “How is it going at home?” I asked.
     She shook her head negatively.
     “Why?  What’s going on?”   
     “My father was shot.”  I was momentarily at a complete loss. 
     “Is he gonna be ok?”
     “They don’t know.” Then she shrugged and said nothing more.
     “How do you feel about that?”  I tried to pry gently.  She had told me on a previous occasion that she hates her father, he is not a father to her since he was in jail for most of her life. “…cause I know you have mixed feelings about him.”
      She considered.  “On one hand, I don’t care, cause I hate my father, but on the other hand, he IS my father, and he’s the only family I’ve got right now.” That’s because shortly after her father got out of jail, her mother went to jail.
      We talked some more.  He had been shot seven times.  Yes, another relative was staying at the house with her and her sisters.  She was bored at home.  She did nothing but eat and sleep.  She missed her mom.  She left my office, and worried about her, I made sure the social worker knew about her situation, but Rose was already down there talking to her.  Thank God.  And then it dawned on me.  For her, summer school is not bad, but good.  She probably still doesn’t realize this herself, but it is.  Summer school is not the problem – vacation is.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lady's Slipper, my univited but very welcome guest...

     I first saw a Lady's Slipper orchid about a mile down the road from my current house.  My parents' house is very near my own, and when I was about 10, a group of neighborhood girls and I were hiking through the woods (ok, we were a little bit lost) and we came across a Lady's Slipper flower.

     "Whoaaaa....  Look, It's a Lady's Slipper!"  We all stopped and checked out the delicate flower and its single pink bloom on the hillside in the dappled shade of those woods.  "It's so pretty." There was a moment of silence.

     "Ok, let's go - which way to the road?" and that was it. I tried to find the Lady's Slipper again in subsequent years, but to no avail.  I'd seen pictures of them after that, but never again in real life until my husband and I bought our house.  

     "Whoaaaa, a Lady's Slipper!"  I said to myself, "and in my own backyard!"  It was growing just about 10 feet from the compost pile.  I was already discovering how much the deer liked the salad bar that was my property, so I put a small fence around the Lady's Slipper - just in case.  I didn't want to take any chances. 

     It seems to bloom every other year, although I haven't read anywhere that that's what these plants do.  Even so, if I'm remembering correctly, this would be a blooming year.  In case you're wondering, it's located on a gentle slope under a few oak trees mixed with pines (white pines, and scrub pines).  The soil is sandy, but also kind of spongey from years and years of accumulated leaf mulch. 

     I thought you all might enjoy watching my little friend bloom again.  I was hoping that eventually I'd get MORE Lady's Slippers, but so far, she likes her solitary state.  If you want to find out more about them, or if you live in the Northeast and you want to try finding one of these treasures, check out the bare facts on Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypripedium_acaule