Friday, December 10, 2010

Complaint: Homework Truly Blows.

I hate homework.

I hate supervising it, I mean.

I don't mind homework if it's mine. But watching over someone doing it? Murder.

I do not see the point of busywork after a seven and a half hour day (yes, you read that right) full of schoolwork.

Especially not in second grade.

Overseeing it is excruciating. My son wants to PLAY. He is a child. He wants to play with his sister, who is in Kindergarten, and, thank goodness, does not have homework. (When we lived in Northern California, my son had homework IN KINDERGARTEN, in keeping with the super hyper over-achieving Silicon Valley mentality. Ask me if I miss it.)

I remember working hard at homework from some point in mid-elementary school onwards, and I don't remember needing my mother or father to supervise me. So what's changed? I don't think I'm helicoptering, because I'm not helping him get the answers. I'm helping him stay focused. He would so much prefer to be playing. I would so much prefer he be playing.

Is this a product of our short-attention-span-theatre techno-crazy lifestyle?

I don't know.

Right now, I just want us to get through with this homework so my son can PLAY.

Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Comment: Girls, Girls, Girls

I've noticed that my daughter and I are having little issues over things that glitter.

Sounds ridiculous, right? What I mean is, for example, we have four different napkin rings. I selected them in terms of symbols that I thought best represented the family members. I got my husband a simple wooden one (because he likes real things and hates plastic crap); I got my son one with a maple leaf on it because he likes them (and he's Canadian); I got a fancy one with shells for my daughter because she has what in this family we call "ocean eyes"; for myself, I picked what I liked: a glittery, orange cluster of faux gems. I like me some fake bling.

Then my daughter saw it. And guess what? She wanted it. Screw the dangling pretty seashells and attendant symbolic impact. She. Wanted. It.

This was some time ago, and we'd forgotten all about it until she pulled them out again today. So who knows whose will shall prevail on this one?

But it isn't just napkin holders. When I see anything pink, or glittery, I want it just as much as my daughter does. I still like Hello Kitty. I don't care that I'm over 12. I like shiny things. They don't have to be real, or expensive, just shiny.

I think this goes back to my childhood; what doesn't, really? I had a short, bowlish hair cut and was mistaken for a boy until I was well into my teens. There are only so many times being called "son" is funny. (Answer: Zero.)

Then I went through my adolescence as an androgynous, angry punk.

So it seems fititng that now that I'm at least technically a full-fledged grown-up, it seems to have come to glitter and jewels, spangles and finery. (Hi Hayn!)

I'm finally embracing my inner girly girl. I may have short hair, but it's dyed blonde and full of "product". I may wear army boots, but they have flowers on them. I may act like a bad-ass, but I totally like tulle. And lip gloss.

This is just how it is.

I think because I was so boyish throughout my childhood (without the accompanying athletic prowesse, natch), I'm still trying to make up for it.

So in spite of the fact that gender roles have happily changed, and males can wear pink and marry each other (at least in the cool states), and women can work and wear suits and grab their crotches publicly, I still embrace my stereotypically girly exterior.

But I draw the line at matching mother-daughter outfits. We only go as far as both wearing leg warmers on the same day. Come on, I'm not nuts.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Comment: Musing on TFF

So I just got the Tears for Fears greatest hits CD, and it tells a story. My story. They started out, as some eager readers know, back in the 80s, filled with angst, angular haircuts, and sad, sad stories of loss, broken hearts, and accompanying stark videos on MTV, back when videos were shown on MTV. (When did they ban them again?)

Their name really said it all. We were all young then, and life sucked. Especially in England. I remember seeing the album with their bleak photo on the cover. A friend of my sister's who had an uncanny ability to spot the next big trend in music had "discovered" them and told us that they were going to be really popular. She was really right.

When you listen to the songs on the CD in sequence, you hear their evolution from depressed teenagers to relatively groovy and well-adjusted middle-agers. It's nice to know some bands age well.

Their sound remains more or the same throughout: heavy on the electronica, with soaring vocals and decent harmonies.

The content is what's different. Life used to really suck (Mad World, Pale Shelter, Suffer the Children) , became anthemic and a little pissed off (Shout) then started to improve (Mother's Talk), became briefly blissfully perfect (Sowing the Seeds of Love), and then, well, you just deal with it as it comes (Break it Down Again*).

Hey, they just described my college years and the ensuing staggeringly slow emergence from an arrested adolescence!

How did they know?

Sure, they're still scowling on the cover, even in their most recent picture, but I know that underneath all that angst, there just might be someone, kinda, normal.

And that's kinda nice.

*If you haven't heard this one, give it a listen. It is by far the most cheerful, dare I say, joyful, of all their songs. And has a great huge enormous multi-octave vocal leap for Kurt, or is it Roland? I never remember. But it's impressive.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Complaint: Winter.

It really blows.


No, really. It sucks, it blows, it bites, it does everything I hate.

I went for a run today and felt like I was going to pass out from the cold. Is that even possible? I say, it is. I felt SICK it was so cold. Just nauseated.

Seriously, I can't find a single redeeming feature for winter. Except this: Christmas eve, newly fallen snow, mild enough temperature that you don't feel like someone is slapping your face, pretty twinkling lights.

So okay, snow is acceptable for one night a year only.

Other than that, you can have it.

It's cold, it's about to become treacherous, it makes you sweaty and irritable and over-dressed and under-dressed and just downright fussy.

I miss the California weather. A lot.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Comment: Halleluia.

The near-impossible has happened. I finally got my teaching credential.

It arrived in the mail last week without fanfare, and might not have arrived at all had I not sent an email to my examiner/evaluator/paper pusher to inquire as to its status. She then replied that she had approved it, but had forgotten to file it.

She forgot to file it. My question is, where did she put it if she didn't file it?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is bureaucracy at work.

How long would it have taken for someone to figure out that my file wasn't sent to the right place? Would anyone have noticed? Would I have grown gray and decrepit, waiting at my mail box for the day when I would receive said papers, only to find that all teachers have been replaced by robots who teach solely by tweeting and texting? Oy.

The irony, of course, is that now that I have the damn credential, there's nary a job to be found, unless you are in special education. Those jobs are plentiful. But they aren't getting filled because generally speaking, if you go into special education, you want to work with children, not fill out forms all day. And sadly, nowadays, at least in the public schools, if you are in special ed as a teacher, you spend more time with papers, not people.

But actually, I'm not really that bummed out about the lack of jobs. I have several gigs right now that are fun, challenging, and right up my alley. So mostly at this point, that piece of paper is insurance.

It reminds me yet again that completing a goal is satisfying, but having one is even more important. That's what all of that happiness literature I read last year told me, and it's true.

So there you have it. No trumpets or party horns were blown, but I finished something I started.

That's always a nice feeling.