Sunday, November 30, 2008

Do you like her?

Isabella: Cole, do you wike Natawie?

Cole: Who's Natalie?

Isabella: In my cwass at pweschool. I don't wike Natawie, she messed up my hair.

Cole: NataLEE?

Isabella: Yeah. Natawie.

Cole: You mean like this? She messed your hair up like this? Then I don't like her either.

Isabella: Mom, do you like Natawie?

Me: I don't know her very well, so I can't say.

Cole: Well you shouldn't like her. She messed up Isabella's hair.

(Isabella nods seriously, content that Cole's got her back. All is right with her world.)

Jadyn: What about me... should I like her?

And on and on it goes. This poor 3 year-old classmate, with the brisk swipe of a hand, has the whole clan out to get her. Such is the pack mentality... :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quick! What are you thankful for?

Cole: My family.

Jadyn: (silently points to me) Mommy.

Isabella: Underwear.

Phoenix: Milk. Always Mommy's milk. Day & night.

Rick: Kids, beautiful children, beautiful family.

Bethany: Well now, you didn't think I could say it in one or two words did you? :)

Oh, where will I start...

Moms. I am thankful for Moms. Don't they come in all varieties, every one of them necessary.

I am thankful for 2 grandmothers that raised me on good food, that I still think of each holiday.

I am thankful for a capable Mom that loves projects as much as I do. And reading. And tea parties.

I am thankful to be in the midst of holiday memory-making for my brood.

I am simply thankful today that we are all healthy and well, with the wide open world in front of us.

And now I leave you with a song. Courtesy of a well-spent preschool education. Take it away, Isabella!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

I know. I'm running early. That's just the way I roll. Either early or forgotten. :)

But I was feeling so thankful for a coupla things, I just had to start the love.

1. Jon Stewart. No explanation needed. I just get him. Anyone who plays "Devil Went Down to Georgia" in reference to the current Senate race just rocks. Full stop.

2. NPR. It's like a mantra of calm in my car - the antithesis of the house!

3. Cheese. My favorite part of the holiday season is hors d'oeuvres. Cheese-based ones. Cheese-based dips. Cheese Krispies. Cheese logs and cheese balls and gimme more cheese.

4. Ornery, rambuctious 7 year old boys who write notes about me in their journals, when they are sent to their rooms for being (and I quote myself) "disobedient, ill-mannered and disrespectful!" (I have copied these exactly as written.)

I hate Mom! Mom is stupied! Dum MOOOM!

and then:

I Cole Lear pleag (pledge) that I will hate my parintse forever! (Characterized by a drawing of a boy with his tongue sticking out.)

Ooh, the angst of adolescence... and the atrocious spelling of a mad boy! I am saving these journal entries, for sure. :)

Tune in tomorrow for more thankfulness. I'm chockful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tasteful, thoughtful and... Titillating??

My husband brings me treats. Not all the time, but often enough to assure me that he is indeed thinking of me while he's traveling. And every week he brings me the USA Today from his hotel room. My connection to the outside world.

Over the years the treats have ranged from a tiny box of mints to a gorgeous handmade glass flower and vase. And in each gift I can see his thoughtfulness, his taste that echoes my own, and the time he took to choose something he thought I would truly enjoy. I appreciate every treat and have composed a couple of exhibits to demonstrate some recent gifts.

In "Exhibit A" you will see a lovely hand-painted pendant, trimmed in genuine gold. I really like necklaces, since my neck is always out there bare, having no hair to cover it. This particular beauty came from Columbia, SC and was an anniversary gift.

"Exhibit B" hails from Gatlinburg, TN and is a tree of life pendant. I like trees, I like necklaces, can't go wrong with this choice. It even has a lovely card describing the tree of life and it's meaning. Even better.

But get ready!

Next up is today's gift, an unexpected twist to say the least. I have entitled it "Exhibit WTH??!?" As you will see, this gift differs greatly from the previous two. Like divergent paths in a forest, the difference in gift-sentiment is clear. This shirt clearly lacks in both thought & taste and leans heavily towards "free."

Yes, it does indeed say "Race Angel by Day," "Race Devil by Night" with accompanying characterizations of said Angels. Oh. My. Freak.
Step in for a closer look of this bad boy.

And guess what! It's a SLEEP SHIRT! Woo-HOOOO!
Super-Hot, superstar, hot-mama; I cannot come up with names appropriate for this treat. :) It arrived from my home state of NC.

Actually, the funniest part of this is that one of Rick's clients gave this to him, for me, in all straight-faced honesty. Yeah. Racin' is big business up in 'em parts, ya oughta know. And Rick had to receive it in all straight-faced honesty, because really, you don't want to lose some big Nascar tee-shirt bidness account. That there is some primo race-fan-sleepwear, yeah boy. The other funny part is that Rick asked me not to blog it, because his customer might see... so "Sssh..." and if you have to rush right out & get one, well, don't tell him you saw it here first! :)

Me? I only know that racing started during prohibition as a way to run liquor. And anytime mama needs a drink, ya'll better get it here fast.

So think of me in my sleepshirt this weekend... And for the sake of holding strong at 4 kids, let's hope I stick with being a Race Angel.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

B. v. Board of Education

Since you asked, here ya go! The letter-writing campaign has begun! Here is #1, submitted this morning:

School Board
Planning Commission

Re: redistricting plans for elementary schools

Dear Sir/ Madam,

In reviewing your recent map proposals, a glaring inconsistency has come to my attention. I have looked closely at the boundaries and neighborhoods included in the MO Elementary (MO) zone, trying to determine which plan would be most equitable. Yet the inconsistency I see in each plan is this: while the MO zone has many, many multi-family homes included – there are comparatively few single family home neighborhoods in this district.

That raises red flags in my mind as to what the future will hold for the student body of MO. First of all, having lived in and around this immediate area for over 5 years, I have been in many of the neighborhoods around Alpharetta. There is great diversity in this area. And according to the recent map proposals, the majority of said “diversity” would attend MO. The other schools (A, CW, SH) will be effectively homogeneous across the board – coming from similar upper-middle-class neighborhoods.

Each elementary school should get a proportionate amount of multi-tenant housing, single-family homes, and upper-middle income neighborhoods. Only by dividing the areas fairly can each school support the needs of those attending, and maintain a high standard of education.

I feel strongly that this new map will adversely affect MO. So many of the neighborhoods contain blue-collar families, with both moms and dads working, and therefore less available volunteers for PTA, classroom needs, media center requests and other voluntary parent involvement. Also, all the multi-tenant housing skews the student body towards those that are more transient. Class field trips at MO are already affected negatively, because the amount of voluntary field trip donations is dropping.

MO needs the demographic that it stands to lose in these redistricting proposals – single family homes. MO already bears a heavier weight of ESOL students than any other school in this area. That number would only rise with the proposed redistricting. Also, of the closest area schools (A, CW and SH), MO has the lowest number of students in the TAG program.

Finally, MO bears the highest percentage, by far, of students in the free/reduced lunch program – 24%. The previously mentioned other schools nearby have free-lunch enrollment percentages at 12%, 2% and 3% respectively. All of these statistics point to a potential downturn in the school’s quality.

Please continue to consider the input of local parents, as we all work together to come up with a map that would be the most equitable for our children.



Our school currently has a great mix of students from all walks of life, and we have been pleased with every teacher. However, it is already on the statistical low end of all the scales the schools are rated on. It is a simple matter of fair distribution of all the types of homes that make up an area.

Simple, right?

If the board moves forward with any of the current proposed maps, the housing values in our immediate area will most likely fall. Because with the stroke of a pen, our school will be determined as less desirable than others very close by. Ah, politics you whimsical mistress. With one hand you achieve the finest national measure of equality in my lifetime, while with the other local hand you proclaim there are biases based on socioeconomic standing.

I'm up for the challenge!

And if you have any strategic suggestions, send 'em over.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Writing for a cause

Well friends, today I turn my penchant for wordy words and rambling sentences toward a good cause.

I will be MIA as I write letters to the school board concerning the redistricting of our elementary schools. I will try to bring my current passion for politics into the letters, and channel my activist tendencies. I will also try to channel calm competence and not screeching outrage!

Yes, I will be sitting criss-cross and chanting "ohmmmmm" while writing said letters. No I will not be burning patchouli incense. Yes I may use the phrase "in the all-encompassing spirit of our recent presidential election" when addressing the board and its seeming bias in drawing districts. :) Yes I may also use the phrase "boots on the ground" when referring to actual real life knowledge of considered neighborhoods. No I will not chant "Build here! Build now!"

I am really aggravated at the board and their collection of what passes for school grouping criteria.

Before I get side-tracked and write a long tedious post about the situation, I am logging off! :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday: In which I return to my bread 'n' butter

I have been told that my kid stories are my bread and butter.

However, these comments come from a variety of people that (*ahem*) choose not to (*cough*) "join a blog" as though I have in some way attempted to recruit them into the proverbial communist party.

Or, to make it politically relevant, socialist party; pick your poison. (Poison? Matter of opinion, again. Ever been to a socialist country, ye who proclaim it cometh nigh? I have. Good ole Americer don't resemble one in the least, nor will it in 4 short years. Promise.)

So, for the record, creating a username so that you may comment & express your particular delight over a post does not constitute a change in party affiliation. Promise. And while today I return to ye old bread & butter, tomorrow you may not be so lucky. :) (I mean, really. I couldn't even avoid political diversion and analogy for one flippin' post. Take heed.)

Back to B'n'B...

Today's flashback is made up of a few photos, one of which was taken 30 years ago (eek) and one of which was taken yesterday.

Me, age 2-ish, Atlantic Beach, NC near Uncle Chip's beach motel, I think. Correct or corroborate me, Mom.

Whether this was a set-up or not, my parents aren't saying. Regardless, it has become a catch-phrase for my family, though I swear I don't make this face anymore. Much.

But my youngest girlie does. Frequently. And always in conjunction with a banned activity, such as touching my computer, as seen below. She timidly wiggled the mouse, caught my eye, grinned a la "keep off the grass" and while she held my eye, wiggled the mouse again.

Daredevil. Remorseless heathen.

This is the face of the child that silently climbs on the counter, tears open a box of cookies as though a rabid squirrel got into the kitchen, eats her fill, replaces the box, and denies it ever happened.

Jady-jade-jade. The girl who named her new stuffed puppy not Blackie, Snowball, Fluffy or Puppy as most 3 year olds would, but who immediately smirked "Donk-a-doo-doo" at us when asked what she would call it. "Donkey-doo-doo?" we replied, hesitantly smiling, and silently hoping she would not take this puppy out in public and call for it. "DONK-a-doo-doo!" she crowed, unapologetically noting our raised brows.

So Flashback Friday is dedicated to the child I once was, and may still be, but certainly bequeathed directly down the line. Betcha I know where it came from in the first place.

And if you want to bet to, guess you'll just have to daringly join the party & leave a comment. Heh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Something happened on November 4, 2008 at 11 pm EST.

It could be called the convergence of a political event with a shift of consciousness.

A sea change in the communal consciousness.

A raising of the vibrational frequency.

The lifting of a burden.

Something happened that caused beings both real and corporeal to stand up and shout “Yes!”

Because what happens when millions decide the status quo is not working? That the old vision has failed, the old rhetoric is stale, and hearts are crying out for solutions?
We all want solutions to the plague of problems in our nation, in our foreign policy dealings, in our sense of purpose. And solutions to the general feeling of dissatisfaction, apathy, and unrest – so that we may be at peace within and without.

Enter the communal consciousness. It always connects us, but in moments like this, it is palpable. Like a fine net of electricity connecting us all. Uniting us to make a move, though we may be uncertain of the future; there is the glimmer of potential. Hope and potential.

In this climate the stage is set for change. And millions of people in unison strive towards a common goal. All because a man thought he could make a difference, could unite a majority with the burning flame of idealism, could inspire hope and courage in place of apathy.

What happened was bigger than politics. It was the voice of millions saying that Barack Obama did not represent one thing, one policy, or one idea. He represented America. And that little piece inside each of us called hope. Hope that we can sail forward with our best sides showing. Hope that our beautiful nation with its quilt of peoples can lay down bigotry and champion courage. Hope that with just the right leader, at just the right time, true solutions to a plague of problems both domestic and global can be found.

It was a statement that a new day has dawned. The era of vision is begun, with a leader who bears a vision of our nation’s course and of our place in the world.

And with our vote of confidence, the human frequency rose. We began to vibrate with the very energy of possibility, to cast off centuries of historical burden, to rise to our true potential of world leader. See, we knew we did not live up to our ideals. We knew there had to be a better way. It just took someone to rise above the muck, to stand on the wall as the watchman and say “Lo! The morning comes!” And we will greet it with all confidence and cheer. We will rise to the challenge of change.

Yes we will.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sentimental Sunday

Yes, the reality of this stage being over is difficult for me to grasp.
I cringe at the thought of taking down my campaign materials, as though that puts Barack further from me.
When will my Inaugural Ball tickets arrive? What will I wear? :)
I cannot seem to talk about anything without filtering it through election statistics. I sit outside, waving at the neighbors driving by, and giving them the thumbs-up. They have no idea why. I smile and go on about what a great week it is. They have no idea why. They have moved on. I scowl when the newscasters dare speak of any other news.
Ah, the lucky ones, that can vote and keep their hearts intact.
And so it is Sentimental Sunday.
I have a good post brewing for Mood-altering Monday, in which I dig deep into the American psyche - post-election, of course. Deep. Be open. Be very, very open. ;-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Freaky Friday

OK, here's the thing. I am not one to tout my absolute perfection for one thing or another, but come on. Admit that I make a totally perfect vampire! Put me in the darn movie already!

I have seen my future, and it is as a part of the Cullen family. Only without the hair-tucked-behind-the-ear look. That wig was h-e-a-v-y! Look at the ear-bendy action!

And, ok, to be perfectly true to the books, without the freaky teeth. If you have to ask "what books" then we need to talk. :) I hope the movie (in 2 weeks!) is enjoyable.

And now here we are, the happy family heading out - me, sans freak-teeth. Cole said I was embarrassing, Isabella kept saying "Pretty Mommy!" about the hair. Isabella & I, with our fine almost non-existent hair, have hair-envy of long locks.

Have a freaky Friday! Or not, depending on your preference and tolerance for freakiness. :) (See, Susan - your theme days are contagious!!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's all about hope

The President-Elect. Wow.

What a night. What a day. I tried to sleep last night after the results, but my brain seemed to think it was my civic duty to review the victory speech. I was electric with excitement & wonder! And then when I had reviewed that speech to my mind's content, I moved on to a rebuttal email directed to people who have barraged me with derogatory emails for the past year.

That turned into a struggle between the desire to be as gracious in victory as Obama has been, and the absolute burn to say I told you so in a snarky way!

I finally decided I would wait until Obama took NC, and then send an email - but hasn't that taken all day! Give it up already! All the precincts are reporting, and yet there it sits, still gray on the political map. The Solid South seems to be having a difficult time giving up the ghost. But that's okay. I have faith that this too shall change, and right about now would be good (said while refreshing CNN map to hopefully show a blue NC).

Here is my prepared email, since my lovely readers are, ahem, the proverbial choir, and will not be on the receiving end of this:

Over the past year you have sent unsolicited political emails to me, calling Barack Obama a variety of names. Some of the more colorful names given to him in the emails were these: Anti-American, Muslim, terrorist, socialist, Fidel Castro, racist, liar.

There remains only one name for you to call him now.

Mr. President.

Swoosh! :-) Turnabout is fair play.

But truly, I squelched the snarky me for the euphoric me. And fed my buzz on the continual sound bites of the victory speech, by switching networks so as to maximize face time with Barack. The man brings me to tears. I am so proud of yesterday's accomplishment, and so proud of our nation.

What a day. A very great day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lemme hear your party talk...

Political, political, I wanna get political - let's get pol-i-tic-al! Lemme hear your party talk, your party talk... :)

This was a good day. I could say Best Day Ever - but I am confident tomorrow will bear up to that over-the-top title!

The mail came at 1:00pm - and what might you suppose was in the box? Why, my last-minute absentee ballot! Cheers, ya'll, I don't have to wait in that long line! As you can imagine, Rick & I played air guitar and high-fived. Really. :)

Don't you know we tossed those young'uns in the car, and wheeled down the road, while I bubbled in Rick's ballot (if that is illegal, then I did NOT bubble in his ballot. Pinky swear.), and on local candidates we disagreed on, we simply chose opposing sides, secure in the fact that we would cancel each other out. The joys of marriage.

The county gov't. center is 15 minutes away, and I ran in first to present my ballot. And ironically, in this historical election, with all the hype & hoopla over voting machines & technology, the ballot box looked like something from the girl's preschool class - it was just a big wooden box, with a laminated "Official Ballot Box" sign on the side. The office worker verified I be who I say I be, and in the box I dropped it. Luckily, I had consulted Rick on the desired application of a lipstick-kiss to Barack's name... and Rick advised that it might render my ballot void. So, consider it "on account," Barack.

And then, it was done. Months of preparation, excitement & discussion culminated in a simple moment in an old government annex, in an almost-empty office with a big wooden box. I said good luck to my ballot and let it drop.

I waited while Rick delivered his ballot, and we were home in a flash. I was jazzed. Psyched. Giddy. Feeling the vibe of the outcome, and so excited to have it all finished and to have Cast My Ballot. I felt like I had actually done something to tip the outcome of this race, and it was a heady feeling.

Here's to a very good day, when for just one moment I was the one voice, the one vote, the one hand that made the difference.