Tuesday, February 28, 2006


The word from the medical staff at the hospital is "be ready." Yes, it is possible that dad will somehow pull out of this. I want that to happen so badly, and if anyone could do it, my dad could. But the reality is that it is an uphill battle, and becoming more of one with each passing day. His infection is "generalized" in his chest and bowels and antibiotics are not stopping the infection from growing. His white blood cells are not fighting back against the infection. The blockage that caused the infection is still there. His body is giving under the strain in a variety of areas.

My brother called me at work today and gave me this grim assessment. The hospital staff brought up the question of what to do if his heart fails. Do they resuscitate? As it stands now, the answer is yes. My dad has made it clear on several occasions that he does not want resuscitation if things go bad. He fears lingering on breathing machines and my mother being placed in a difficult position. He said a few days ago, "I'd rather die than be attached to one of those machines for the rest of my life." Dad is on morphine now, and according to the hospital is not allowed to make these kind of decisions anymore. It falls to my mom.

My brothers had already had this discussion with my mother and they were in agreement that we should honor my father's wishes. We also agreed that we should try and make sure (and doubly sure) that this was indeed his wish. I was leaving to go to the hospital anyway, and we agreed that I would discuss this with my dad. Tears formed in my eyes standing in the school office as I contemplated all this. One of the secretaries heard enough of my side of the conversation to know what was going on. As I started to walk away, one of the teachers asked me if I had time for a short meeting. The secretary said, "no he doesn't. You go ahead hon."

I struggled in the car, trying to think of how to talk about this. As it turned out, I didn't have to start the conversation. There was a room full of visitors, including my dad's favorite niece. His eyes lit up when she came in. Ever the charmer, he said, " I don't know if my heart monitor can take this!" As people began to filter out, he said, "I want Brian to stay behind after everyone leaves."

He needed help with some personal care. I helped him and got him situated comfortably in his bed. When the nurse came in he said, "my son has been helping me. I think he saved you some work." After she left we began to talk. I leaned in close so I could hear what he said. He said, "you know they hooked up this heart monitor", and pointed to the leads on his chest. I nodded and he said, "if they go off I don't want them to do anything." Just inches away from his face I said, "Dad, you don't want them to try and revive you if something goes wrong?" He shook his head, looked me right in the eyes, and said, "no."

I know he has said this to others but I think I needed to hear it for myself. My mom will sign a D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate) letter and give it to the hospital. I will also sign it along with any of my brothers who want to. We are unanimous in this. Dad deserves to have his wishes carried out. This doesn't make it any easier.

I am not ready to live in a world that doesn't have my dad in it. I feel like a little boy and am fighting the urge to find a quiet corner just to cry in. I don't want to lose my dad. I also know that he doesn't want to suffer or be stuck on machines. I can't blame him. I wouldn't either. He hurts so much now that it kills me to see him like this. I wish I could take some of the pain away and have it myself. I wish I could take all of it.

I don't talk about it much, but I do sometimes pray. I pray tonight for my dad and hope that is pain is eased. I pray for a recovery and that all of us are able to enjoy him for awhile longer. I pray for myself and my family, that we can find strength to deal with this.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Old Grudges 

Most families seem to have one of them. Family grudges or feuds. Bad blood. Things that can't be let go of for one reason or another.

My dad has a younger brother, one with which he has had little contact with for some time now. I won't go into the details of what happened, but it revolves around inheritances and land. My dad was very hurt by what his younger brother, using his proximity to the situation, feeling like he was entitled, did regarding land and property. Isn't it sad how a death can breed such problems instead of bringing people together? It wasn't the money. My dad could care less about money. He felt hurt that his own brother did things behind his back. Dad told his brother how he felt and hasn't heard from him since. This is his only sibling. I know he loves his brother in spite of it all, and I think he would like to be able to see him.

My father's situation is very serious, if not dire. There are a lot of things wrong with his body now and we don't know what the future holds. After consulting with my mom, I made a call tonight to my great-aunt, the matriarch of my dad's side of the family. She is an extremely sharp woman, her mind belying her 90 years of age. I told her of dad's situation and she expressed her grief and sorrow. Then she said, "you want me to call his brother don't you?" I told her I would very much appreciate it if she would and gave her all the contact information and the name of the hospital. She promised that she would pass all of it on to my uncle expressed hope that he would go visit dad in the hospital. I hope so too. I think dad would be very gratified by his presence.

There comes a time to put away the things that keep us apart. I think this is such a time. My dad and his brother grew up together during the Depression, picked cotton together in the fields, rode horses together through the fields, baled hay, and milked cows. Both left the farm to become men of accomplishment, my dad a world-renowned geophyicist and my uncle a college president. They are two of the smartest men you will ever meet. A cousin of theirs also spent much of his childhood on that farm and grew up to be a college math professor. A lot of brainpower came out of that rural farm.

I resent my uncle for some of the things he has done, but I know that he is one of only two remaining links to my dad's family and his childhood. I know that if I was possibly facing the end I would want to see my brothers. No one else really understands you like someone who grew up in the same house and shared so many of those same formative experiences.

The bond between siblings can be easily strained but not so easily broken. I hope this one can be repaired before it is too late.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Privileged Life 

My dad is still in the hospital undergoing various tests. One thing we know now is that he has multiple stress fractures in his vertebrae. This is the source of the tremendous pain he has been suffering the last few weeks. A choice will be made soon. Use painkillers to manage the pain and hopefully the fractures will heal or undergo surgery to repair the fractures. Surgery in his present condition carries significant risks. But he can't sit at home with this level of pain short of being totally zoned out on painkillers. Ultimately it will be his choice and my family will support his decision 100%.

Now that is on the back burner. Dad was coughing up blood last night. The doctors believe that there is some kind of mass in his intestine causing the problem. A sample has been taken for testing. The doctor is very concerned and this is obviously not a good sign. His feet are still swollen badly and they have no answers yet for that question. Every time an answer is arrived at, more questions pop up.

I was chatting with my brother on the phone the other day. My brother was there when the doctor visited dad and ordered the first round of tests. She looked at his chart, noted the dramatic weight loss and high level of pain and the "C word" came to her mind. She informed my dad of this possibility. He replied, "I've lived a privileged life. " When she came back later to inform him that the tests were negative for cancer he said, "I would've been ok with it either way."

A privileged life. Since my brother told me that, the phrase has been running through my head constantly. It reminded me of a conversation I had with dad ten years ago when his life was still hanging in the balance from a massive infection. He told me that he had lived a life that he could have never dreamed of growing up on the farm, reading science books and novels by candlelight, dreaming of the big world he read about in those books. He talked about sneaking off into the woods to read books and gazing at the stars in the skies. He expressed pride in his family, the children he'd raised, and a career that took him all over the globe. He was at peace with himself and his life.

Dad doesn't want to die any more than the rest of us do. But he is at peace in a way that I marvel at and don't completely comprehend. He is content with his choices, the life that he has lived, and that, along with his faith, makes him not fear death. He wants to be here, spending time with his wife of 45 years, enjoying time with his sons, and watching his grandchildren grow. But if death is his fate he is ready to meet it head-on and accept it. Even now, he continues to teach us about life.....and about death.

A privileged life. I want to be able to say that as well. I can say it now with some qualifications. I don't have the level of contentment that my dad has about the life I've lived and the choices I've made. So this is one of my charges, to be able to say the same thing to my kids. My dad faced hard times and difficult choices too, but he was able to live his life in a way that brought him peace. Precious peace. Once again, my dad is the gold standard, the mark I use to evaluate myself. That is what he has always been.

I went into his hospital room and saw this small, frail man talking with his roommate about horses. I looked at him and thought that the nurses, the rooommate, the doctors, and other visitors see this little gray haired man, hooked up to oxygen and IVs, fighting the pain. But when I look at that same little man I see something entirely different. I see the dad that held me in his lap and read stories to me, teaching me a love of the written word that has endured. I see the man that taught me to play basketball, patiently teaching me how to shoot in our driveway. I see the dad that didn't miss our sporting events, no matter what his demanding travel schedule said. I see one of the few people in this world I can totally trust, someone I know always has my best interests at heart. I see the vigorous man who used to put two chairs back to back, stand in front of one, and jump over both of them as a party trick. I see the brilliant scientist who helped revolutionize the way we explore for new sources of oil and gas. I see a man who is as comfortable in a locker room as he was in a board room. I see a coach who has mentored and helped thousands of kids. I see a scholar, who to this day still has a thirst for knowledge and understanding. I see the school board member who used his position to fight for kids and always did what he thought was right. I see a man who didn't look at social class, who had friends from every walk of life you could imagine. I see the husband who never wavered in his love for my mom. I see a man that others admire and look up to. I see a man who has touched so many lives.

In all that I see something else. It comes into focus and I see it clearly. A privileged life. I am grateful for every moment of it and I'm far from alone.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Weekend Roundup 2/24-2/25 

I am sooooo glad to see the weekend. Its been a very long week! I enjoyed my spin around the blogworld, and I think you’ll enjoy it too!

Lime shares a recipe. Margaret shares her love of Portland.

Carol is high on life. Breazy is busy doing science projects.

Irina is charting her own path and isn’t apologizing for it. Walker is listening for the sound of life.

Colleen has a fear of failure…and success. Funky Cowboy has mall walks….and text messages.

Sally asks for prayers for her son-in-law. I offer my prayers to him and to Jerry’s dad.

Thomai celebrates her birthday! Susan was celebrating a perfect day!

Karen needs to study for a “Human Body” final exam. Amerloc’s friend needed to show ID to buy glue!

Sarah and her cat are psychically linked. I feel linked to Denise’s story. I’m hooked already!

Lisa shares some spam. Caren shares her desire to be Canadian.

Vickie is a rocker chick. Heather is well…Heather!

Inky had some things to look forward to. Teresa had a great time in Vegas.

Monica thinks members of the opposite sex can be friends…sometimes. Jules thinks her kids turned out pretty well!

Jack was having computer problems. Keb was having a lot of frustration with a teenager.

Deni has been under a lot of stress. MamaKBear has been ill. Ugh!

Cootera had her mind in the gutters. Babs had her mind on her book.

Buffi shares something she never said when she lived in Texas. Janine shares a cartoon that expresses her sentiments.

Cheryl relates tales of sibling rivalry. Ellen relates an enjoyment of honoring her Dutch heritage.

Poet lost a friend. Simply Satisfied isn’t losing a daughter, but her girl does want to go live with her dad.

Joan shares a tale of marital bliss. Penny shares the tale of an impulsive student.

Jennifer was in the mood to clean. New Wave Gurly was just ready for things to be normal.

John tells what he thinks about lies and liars.

Sass can’t stop thinking about him. Son Son can’t help thinking that she is a fence straddler.

Lisa is gearing up for the science fair! Lil Bit is back…hopefully!

Chicky Babe had her 40,000th hit! Stephanie had a caulky conversation with her husband.

Some people have been questioning Wanda’s decisions. Shirazi questions the difference between men and women when it comes to sex.

Boo is having a rough time with her daughter. Redneck Diva has an email exchange with her mom.

Lena doesn’t always like being an adult. Dawn doesn’t like all those doctor’s visits and waiting.

Bsoholic is a dork. Stationery Queen isn’t a fan of Oprah’s book list.

Aka Monty is an award winner. Bored Housewife is going on a date with her husband.

Show’em some love and have a great weekend. Love y’all!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Midweek Meanderings 

Thanks to all who commented or sent well-wishes about my dad. He is resting comfortably in the hospital tonight, tests are being run, and hopefully we'll know more soon.

It looks like a move is in my near future. Not much of a move, mind you. We're planning to move to another house, perhaps eight blocks from where I live right now. The house is bigger and nicer, and is in close proximity to my grandmother. I think it'll be good for us.

I saw a kid pitch a fit today and destroy his eyeglasses before I could stop him. Considering what I just paid for Aubree's glasses (with vision insurance), all I could think was that his parents are going to be mighty unhappy people.

Monday was going to be one of those rare days. I was going to be off work and the kids were going to be at school. I had visions of a quiet relaxing day dancing in my head. Twas not to be. It snowed and the kids were out of school right along with me! It turned it ok though. We had a fun time!

No word on the possible new job. Isn't waiting grand?

My washing machine appears to have bit the big one. I found myself in a laundromat for the first time in quite awhile this past weekend. I've always been amazed by the amount of laundry the three of us can generate. I kept plucking what seemed like an endless amount of quarters into the machines while chatting with the laundromat owner. I told him, "this would be a lot better if you served drinks and offered a movie." He said, "hell, a lot of my customers can't operate these machines sober. I can't imagine them doing it with a few drinks under their belt."

Said to me by a woman recently..."I don't know how you guys stand to wear those button up shirts and ties. It would drive me crazy to have something tight around my neck like that." We chatted about something else for a minute, and as I started to walk away she called out, "of course, you guys don't have to wear a bra. I guess God evens things out." Uh huh!

So how is YOUR week going?


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The E.R. 

We took my dad to the hospital emergency room tonight. He's been in considerable pain and discomfort for the last few days. He already has breathing problems, recently suffered a stress fracture on one of his ribs, and now his feet are bloated and swollen. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and transferred by ambulance to a different hospital. (The local one had no empty beds)

Dad was unable to walk to the car to go to the hospital. I carried my father to the car, scooped up in my arms like a child. I thought back to the days when dad carried me around in his arms, when I sat on his lap as he read stories to me. Life does have a way of coming full circle, doesn't it?

He was his usual self at the hospital, wisecracking and joking with the nurses in spite of his very obvious pain. One nurse walked in and said, "are you Mr. S?" Dad chuckled and said, "yeah, whats left of him!" I ran home and got some books for him to read. It wouldn't do for my dad to be in the hospital with nothing to read.

I'm tired and its been a very long day. Hopefully dad will feel better soon.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Maybe Its Just Me..... 

But wasn’t the story about sheriff’s deputies performing sexual acts with prostitutes in order to catch them a little strange? I’ve heard of fringe benefits, but this is ridiculous! I noted that sheriff decided to end the practice after a public outcry. He probably had to do something about the huge stack of resumes that were piling up on his desk.

But while we’re on the subject, why do I have the sneaking suspicion that serious crimes like murder, burglary, assault, and robbery go unsolved while deputies are getting laid on the taxpayer dime? It seems like prostitution should be way down the list of priorities.

But isn’t it cool that Mardi Gras parades are going on this week. If you’ve never been to one of those parades, it is really quite the sight. No place parties like New Orleans, and I’m hoping this is one small step on their road back. Laissez les bontemps roulet!

But don’t you hate it when you have a zillion channels to watch on TV and can’t find a single thing worth watching?

But isn’t having “relationship management software” taking this high tech thing a little too far?

But somehow Sharon Stone looks even sexier in the previews of Basic Instinct 2 than she did in the first movie? (Definitely like the long hair better) Yes, I still remember the ice pick…but still.

But isn’t it disgusting that American mega-companies are helping the Chinese government suppress free speech on the internet and are cooperating with Chinese government in identifying dissidents from their blog and message board postings? Anything for a buck….right guys?

But 5’9” Nate Robinson winning the NBA’s slam dunk contest is just wild. I read a story that said he was dunking in middle school when he was 5’4”. That’s insane!

But why was Bono wearing a cowboy hat to the Grammy Awards? Bono is a lot of things, but he ain’t country.

But doesn’t having your washing machine go kaput when its cold and snowy outside and you have the time and willingness to do laundry just suck?

But don’t kids use up an insane amount of laundry when it snows? Go play in snow. Get wet and cold. Come inside. Change into warm dry clothes. Repeat.

But wasn’t this year’s Winter Olympics the least promoted Olympic games in memory?

But I was quite surprised to go to Amazon.com and find out that I had a “plog”. A plog? What the hell is that? Find out here. Now that you mention it I also have a clog, but lets not bring my bathroom sink into this.

But shouldn't snowball fights be outside the house? I thought so. The kids disagreed.

But maybe its just me.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Weekend Roundup 2/17-2/18 

The temperature is forty degrees colder than it was yesterday. Sleet and freezing rain are falling outside as I type these words. What better time to have something could to drink and stroll around the blogworld. Here is my path for tonight.

Ginger tells what the number one song was the day she was born.  Margaret tells about the cold weather where she is.

Lena had her 20th anniversary.  Dorothy had some jelly beans for Valentine’s Day.

Irina reports on a seminar on the Supreme Court. Colleen reports on her Valentine’s Day.

Rachel discusses couples and chemistry. Deni discusses her feelings about her new life.

Breazy is having a “family day”. Dawn is wearing a brand new diamond necklace.

Joe is starting a new blog.  Karen is starting to work in a new cubicle.

Lime talks about a couple married for 72 years. Sally talks about “payola.”

Sleeping Mommy reviews a children’s video. Wanda reviews her idea of a perfect man.

Helen wishes her daughter a happy birthday! A lot of us wish we were in Vegas this weekend. Teresa really is!

Lisa likes big balls and she cannot lie. Sarah likes very large strawberries and she cannot lie either!

Thomai is feeling the attraction of others. Carol is feeling the wonderful effects of being drug free.

Simply Satisfied had a hard time sleeping. Julie had a hard drive crash.

Jack shares the things that bring him joy. Funky Cowboy shares a very funny joke.

Janine has some very pretty Valentine’s Day flowers. Chosha has had some bad experiences but they make her stronger.

Stacey loves bluegrass music. I don’t think Inky loves communal toilets.

Ellen shares a conversation with her mom. Mary Lou shares her thoughts about Michelle Kwan.

Cootera shares some negative thoughts on Valentine’s Day. New Wave Gurly doesn’t think much of the holiday either.

Joan didn’t like being asked if she was a senior citizen. Greek Shadow didn’t like his daughter dropping out. I’m glad she decided to stick it out.

Erin doesn’t want a fancy wedding.  Trusty Getto does want you to be his Valentine.

Keb shares her experience at parent-teacher conferences. Pearl shares her thoughts on cities.

Denise has turned into a dog person. Cheryl’s son has turned into a chapter book reader.

Terry shares some thoughts about why is no longer a Christian fundamentalist. Stephanie shares her celebrity posse.

Boo’s mom had a birthday. MamaKBear had a wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day.

Susan writes about karaoke and a break up. Ms Vickie writes about mornings.

Penny had one of those days. Annabel Lee had some sushi.

Roselle has a peaceful place she can visit. Jessie had some feelings of rejection.

Betsy was hoping for a Valentine’s divorce. Babs was hoping that school offices would know what was going on in their classrooms.

Charles did some training. Monica did some aiming but couldn’t find a target.

Jerry was the victim of debit card fraud. Phoenix was offering Valentine’s Day tips for guys.

T. Marie offers some advice for girls about relationships.  Mercy offers some thoughts about water under bridges.

Give these bloggers some love if you can. While you’re at it, have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Blog and My Job 

Terry asked me in a recent post if my employer knew of my blog and expressed any concerns about it. The answer to that question would be no, to the best of my knowledge. That could change tomorrow of course, which is why I take certain precautions and avoid certain subjects. I don't believe that having a job such as mine and a blog such as this are incompatible, as long as common sense is used.

I am well aware of the fact that a co-worker, supervisor, parent, or even a student may some day stumble across my tiny dark corner of cyberspace. It even possible that they already have. I am not concerned about that because I follow a few simple rules, designed to protect my livelihood and keep food in my children's mouths.

1) I do not use this blog as a forum to criticize my employer. I don't believe that this is the place for that with my picture festooning the sidebar to the right. Does my employer do things I disagree with? Sure. Am I going to bash them for it here? Nope. I've been treated very well, and I owe it to my employer to not use my personal forum as a place to talk about professional disagreements.
2) Any time I talk about a student I use a pseudonym or a totally made-up name. Sometimes I even alter minor details such as the grade the student is in. Federal privacy laws are pretty strict, and I have no intention of running afoul of them here. What I do here is no different than the anecdotes you read in "school books" everywhere.
3) I don't criticize or even talk much about my co-workers. Once again, I am bound to respect their privacy and I won't use this forum as a place to discuss their professional or personal lives.
4) Even with fake names/pseudonmyms, there are still some things that happen with kids at school that I won't discuss here. Once such incident happened today. It would just feel wrong to write about it in this public forum.
5) I don't blog on school time.

This seems to work for me. I've developed these philosophies over time and you may find a few earlier posts that violate these self-imposed rules. I think that this would stand up to scrutiny if my employer ever stumbles across this little place. At least I hope so!


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Midweek Meanderings 

It is Wednesday and all is well.

Aubree received a handwritten Valentine's Day card from a boy yesterday. He wrote, "roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, just like you!". She showed it to to me and said, "Dad, I don't know WHAT to think about this!

Aubree is also upset about current lunchroom practices at school. Apparently the kids have been leaving lots of messes in the cafeteria. The solution is that they are all assigned to particular seats at particular tables, and the entire table is held accountable for messes that are left. What she doesn't like is that she is seated between two boys. In her words, "they fart, they burp, and they pick their noses at the table. I hate it!"

I was visiting another school last week and sitting in the assistant principal's office, watching her shuffle through her discipline referrals. One young man walked in her office, in trouble for hitting another student in the hallway. She asked him for his side of the story, and he informed her that the other boy had hit him first and he was just retaliating. She told him, "you know, it may not be fair, but the second person who hits is always the one that gets caught. It may not be right but thats how it is." He nodded in agreement and said, "that always happens to me." She somberly said, "so what lesson could you draw out of this?" He thought for awhile, his head snapped up, and he said brightly, "always hit the other guy first?" I had to cover my mouth to keep from giggling. Too funny.

Valentine's Day is a lot of work for school people. Candy everywhere and kids in trouble for eating it in class. Flowers delivered to the office swamp all the available counter space. Conflict between boys and girls over real or perceived slights. Its not our favorite school day of the year.

One boy in my office proudly informed me that he had two girlfriends in our school and that both of them had given him money for Valentine's Day. How much? Fifteen bucks from one and twenty from the other. I turned to the asst. principal and said, "want to take a bet on how long it is before those girls are in here for fighting each other?" The boy assured is that it wouldn't happen. "I know how to keep everything smooth. I tell both of them that they are my girlfriend and that the other one is just a friend." I said, "what happens if they both come up together and ask you at the same time?" He said, "I'd run!"

Today was an absolutely beautiful day here. Temperatures in the high 60's, blue skies, and sunny. I did lunch duty outside with the kids and just soaked it all in. Life felt good.

So how is YOUR week going?


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Interview 

My interview was this afternoon and I feel relieved. You always feel relieved when its over, don't you?

Set the scene. Large conference room. Huge table. Me at the head of the table. Lots of people down the sides of the table (12-13). Me in black suit, white shirt, red power tie, freshly shined shoes. I've had to wait thirty minutes after my scheduled interview time. Plenty of time to banter with the secretary and let my nerves creep in a bit. My hands were slightly sweaty, but the washcloth in my pocket takes care of that problem.

Only three of the people at the table (those closest to me) asked any questions at all. The rest busily scribbled notes as I talked. Some of the questions were nice fat softballs. I could feel myself relax as I was answering them. *Whack* Out of the park. Familiar territory is always nice. Others were fastballs. I had to concentrate and focus on the answers. The curveballs came in the follow-up questions. "Give me another example of that please." (do have I have to?) "Expand on that answer" (Yikes, I think I've already said all I know on the subject).

How did I do overall? You never really know in a situation like this. Some of my answers were stronger than others. There were times when I felt strong and confident and times when I found myself wishing I knew more. I think I did reasonably well, but I have no idea how others did. I'll know the answer in a week or two.

One thing is for sure about job interviews. The brilliant, articulate answers always come to you as you're driving away. "Why didn't I say THAT??" "I should've added THIS to that answer." I wish it was like the Senate where you could revise and extend your remarks at a later time. Know what I mean?

Here's a kicker about this job that I didn't know before the interview. They ask that you commit to enrolling in a doctoral program at a local university. Ok, I was considering starting work on a doctorate degree this fall. The big kicker? The district will pay for the entire degree if you are given one of these available jobs. Nice deal eh?

I've done the best I can. If this doesn't work out I'll still be fine, happy in a job I love, with other prospects over the horizon.

P.S. In other news, Aubree's Valentine's Day project won second prize in her school. Yay!


Happy Valentine's Day, Brian! 

I love you, Sweetie, and I'll be thinking about you all day. As for your interview, I've read so many of your posts and so many comments over the past year where I see your friends/fellow bloggers get the passion you have for your job. I think the people who interview you will see it, too. You'll have the positive vibes of your friends and loved ones when you go into that room today at 2:00.


Monday, February 13, 2006


I have no time for a real post tonight. I just got home from working middle school basketball games and have some reading to do in preparation for my interview tomorrow.

So I thought I'd share Aubree's "Valentine's Box" project that she took to school today. She spent over eight hours this weekend making it "just right".

Image hosting by Photobucket

Dr. Love is in the house. Note the happy couple in the swing, the kid in the swing, and the basketball hoop. I didn't touch it. She wouldn't let me. She did it all herself and is very proud.

Happy Valentine's Day all you lovers!


Sunday, February 12, 2006


On Tuesday I am scheduled to interview for a promotion in my school district. I chatted with the secretary who called and set up the date and time. I asked her, "who will be interviewing me?" She rattled off a list of about eight names, six of them with PhD in their title. Everyone who is a big shot in my district will be in that room. Nervous? For sure. The stakes are pretty high. If I have a future in this district beyond my current assignment, it will be decided that afternoon.

I've always thought that I was a strong interviewee. Most of the jobs I've interviewed for have been offered to me. In a one on one situation I can usually develop something of a rapport with the interviewer, relax, and talk frankly without feeling nervous. I focus on making good eye contact, speaking clearly, and not giving cliched answers. I use humor and try to ask good questions as well. The last few interviews I've done felt like a breeze. I was articulate and relaxed, talking about school issues with someone with the same interests.

But group interviews are another story. I've done several of them and I've always walked out thinking I didn't do as well as I could have. I can't build the rapport as easily when there is a room full of people. I feel all those eyes boring into me, analyzing my answers, and observing my mannerisms. It feels like I lose my focus and feel less in control of the situation.

I'm spending some time this weekend prepping myself, reading and re-reading literature that I know the district thinks is important. I'll spend this evening reading about the latest in brain research, leadership, and data analysis. But you can't read it all or know it all. I'm fairly sure that someone will throw out one of those questions that stop you in your tracks. In a split second you make a decision.....try to bluff your way through it or simply admit that you don't know. When I have interviewed people for jobs I always threw out one or two "wild card" questions, just to see how they would react. You can't prepare for those.

Interviews are a funny thing. One of my first interviews out of college was with a small school superintendent. He asked me a lot of questions about my family, my hobbies, and things I enjoyed doing. We spent fifteen minutes talking about fishing. After I left I realized that he had asked almost no "educational questions". I was surprised when he called me the next day and offered me my first teaching job. I was chatting with him later that year and I brought up the interview. I said, "can I ask why we spent so much time in my interview talking about fishing?". He chuckled and said, "Brian, you can tell a lot about a man by how he talks about things he is passionate about. I knew you would be a good teacher, and you would learn all the things you needed to know once you started teaching. I wanted to get to know the man. You can learn the job, but you can't change who you are." Wise man, that Mr. Butler.

I have a feeling that fishing won't be one of the topics discussed at this interview. Hopefully I won't be TOO nervous. When I'm really nervous my hands sweat. They sweat a lot. I have this horrible image of shaking everyone's hand and them pulling their hand away covered in my sweat. Ugh! I also talk too much when I'm nervous, my answers can become rambling.

I think what I have to come to grips with is that even if it doesn't go well its not the end of the world. I have a good job, working with good people, doing something I enjoy. I wouldn't be devastated if I remained in that position. There will also be opportunities outside the district if this doesn't work out. Those are easy things to think sitting here in my home in my sweatpants but quite another when I walk into that room.

Wish me luck!


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Weekend Roundup 2-10/2-11 

Better late than never, right? I present this week's edition of the weekend roundup. Sit back, click, and enjoy!

Irina wonders about her sense of humor. Angie wonders how an author got inside her head.

Want to know what Lime has to offer a partner? Read all about it here. Want to know what Pearl would post if she could? Let her tell you.

Ginger keeps it all in when she is angry. Joe keeps his envy in check when he works in a mansion.

Lewis celebrates his blogiversary. Susan celebrates a gorgeous day.

Deni doesn’t feel well. Greek Shadow doesn’t feel like dealing with misbehaving students, but he has to anyway.

Ellen has good news about her drug trial. Erin has been a busy girl.

Aka Monty’s daughter had a playlist in mind for a birthday gift. Jack had some McGvyeresque talents that he used in repairing his bathtub.

Monica shares her thoughts on secret blogs. Wanda shares her thoughts on the saddest thing in the world.

Kim finds patterns in pancakes. Tisha finds someone who collects dentures.

Breazy was enjoying the snow. Roselle wasn’t enjoying trying to resolve a dispute with a friend.

Thomai shares a guide to visualization. Inky shares tales from the basketball court.

Apple describes how to prevent traffic accidents. Colleen describes the relationship between friendship and self esteem.

Trusty Getto wonders why the government protects big companies instead of people. Sarah wonders why its over between her and her pharmacist.

Babs shares any idea on how you can show Valentine’s Day love to someone. SonSon shares what she loves about her husband.

Keb’s sister keeps stealing her identity and it is causing her a lot of trouble. Cheryl keeps hearing songs and is reminded of her ex husband.

The cat is away and Marnie is playing. We should all play good bloggers and congratulate Satisfied Spouse on her blogiversary.

Kristy sent a letter to her boss. Funky Cowboy sent a lot of email messages to a girl he met online.

Dawn is shivering in the cold. Meg is wondering about a mysterious possible date.

Hillbilly Mom shares some of her favorite songs.

Teresa wonders why it is cold in the sunshine state. Buffi wonders why her “batshit crazy sister” spent so much time in her blog.

Restless Angel is doing ok. Jerry is working at a company that forbids camera phones.

Carol feels spring in the air. The Real Me feels the memories.

Karen is still celebrating. Andie is house hunting.

Joan remembers her parent’s anniversary. Mary Lou remembers some of her dreams.

Cootera is wondering about some things. Phoenix is showing signs of not having enough sex.

Stationery Queen is minding her “P’s” but not her “Q’s”. Margaret isn’t minding her time at the beach at all.

Julie has a dirty mind. Dorothy has a classification system for her books.

Sally shares the story of an amazing young man. Thomas shares an upcoming wine-tasting event.

Michael shares information about “The Towering Inferno”. John shares some information about a locally brewed beer.

Stephanie was born on a Super Bowl day. Lisa was a naughty girl.

Lisa tells about the end of a relationship. Steph tells her feelings about the winter Olympics.

Walker is back home. Janine is talking about “cans” and “shoulds”.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Time Delayed 

My evening got away from me. The weekend roundup will be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned!


Thursday, February 09, 2006


My 11 year old daughter plopped herself down in the car this afternoon and asked, "Dad, what is that word for waiting until you're married to have sex?" "Abstinence?, I responded. "Yeah, thats it. I've decided that I want to be abstinent...whatever that word is." "When did you talk about this and make that decision?" "Today in school a high school girl came to our class and talked about abstinence." "Oh yeah? What did she say?" "She talked about making the right choices in life." "Thats good. We can all work on making the right choices." "Well, I've decided not to have sex until after I graduate from college. Then I'll find the right guy. Then I'll make him take an HIV test. Then maybe we'll have babies." "Sounds like a good plan to me. I'll remind you of it."

I guess she really isn't too young to be having these kinds of talks with. She further informed me as we went to the grocery store, "Did you know that once I start having a period I can get pregnant?" "Yeah, I do know that. Thats like me driving my car 100 mph down Main Street. I can do it, but its not a very good idea." We continued to discuss this topic sporadically all evening.

I hope it doesn't make me a huge hypocrite, but I do hope my daughter waits until she is married before she has sex. A huge number of kids don't. I didn't and I don't know all that many people who did. But I hope she sticks with her 5th grade promise and saves herself for the right man. Not only do I not want her to get pregnant or contract a disease, I want her sexuality saved like a treasure for the right person. I know this makes me no different from 99% of the parents out there. We all want them to wait.

Being a guy, this message was never delivered to me in a way that took. Having sex meant you were a man, and oh boy did I want to be a man. It all seemed really simple. Find a willing girl and do what comes naturally. Hours were spent discussing tactics with my buddies about how to get to the promised land. We bought those condoms from gas station bathrooms and carried them around like trophies. Hey, if you had a condom that means either you are already having sex or getting close to it! We whipped them out of our wallets and showed them to each other like a secret pass code. We bragged about how far we were getting. Ok, we lied a lot about how far we were getting.

Maybe that is where my bad girl thing started. Every girl was viewed through a simple prism. Was she hot? Would she give it up? If so, what would it take to get there? Teenage boys can be rather simple minded in their pursuits. That is what scares me about having an adolescent girl. I know those boys. I was one of them. I know how they think. While I'm helping her with her science fair project or encouraging her to run for student council, there are hormonally charged boys thinking about how to get around the bases. I'll do my best to help her live up to today's vows. I know its important to keep open lines of communication with her so we can talk about the issues that will inevitably come up. I think that is really the key.

Ready or not, this issue lies over the horizon.


baby on lap...and figments of imagination 

Urban legends? Some American Indians prefer not to have their picture taken. They believe in doing so takes a piece of their soul. Ghost hunters would be quick to point out a shadowy figure in a picture that wasn’t in the original setting. Small children might insist a plate set at the dinner table for their friend they can only see. Drop Dead Fred just wants to play, too bad it takes a pill to make his ass disappear. PR usually twists a celebrities Oops a different direction.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe person in the passengers seat in the picture attached is Bob. Very person needs a name right? Bob really is a figment of the imagination. Bob doesn’t exist, noooo he only showed up in photo development. Bob is the imaginary friend the ghost the spiritual advisor, with a cell phone. He doesn’t exist because, the news and internet articles haven’t mentioned the passenger beyond the mother and child in the drivers seat. What is the point in having a male companion real or imaginary if that male can not bring a sense of safety. Excuses, she feared for herself and child is not justified for the actions of potential endangering the child’s safety. Bob, should have taken control of the situation, baby in car seat, and mother in backseat. Bob, could not drive nooooo, he isn’t real. She mentions the last time she encountered the paparazzi it was a bad experience. The news reminds viewers of course it was a bad experience she was in a car that broke down and the paparazzi assisted in moving the vehicle. Stressful, anytime a car has some trouble. Maybe, she should take the magic pill and say drop dead Bob, forever kicking his ass to the curb for not being a true friend and insuring the safety of all passengers in the vehicle. Who is the bigger jerk, the mother in the picture or the male passenger?


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Midweek Meanderings 

It really is Wednesday, isn't it? This has been a very busy and productive week.

Aubree got her nails done on Monday. I'd told her she could do it when basketball season was over. So she went with her friend and they both got a new set of pretty nails. She was so hyped about it. I teased her about being one of those girls who freak out when they break a nail. She said, "I won't freak out. I'll just have you take me down to get it fixed!"

She also got a brand new set of eyeglasses today and they look quite stylish. A fun birthday weekend, new nails, and new eyewear. She's rolling now!

I made the important executive decision to allow our students to go outside at lunchtime yesterday. This means the teachers have to come outside to get them and take them back to class. The temperature was in the 40's and the sun was out, a cool day but certainly manageable if you were wearing a jacket. I didn't have a single kid complain. As the first group of teachers came out, one of them said to the group of us, "who the hell made the decision to have an outside day today." I cleared my throat and said, "I did". Everyone laughed, she blushed, and said, "what I meant to say was what a great idea it was to allow the children to come outside and play." Hehe.

I snagged this idea from Keb, who in turn got it from Phoenix. My own little word cloud, put together by scanning my blog.
Image hosting by Photobucket
You can get your own at Snap Shirts.

The student who was in trouble for being disrespectful to his teacher shook his head and said to me, "I think I'm just stressed out. I have four girls that like me and its driving me crazy." I deadpanned, "I understand. I know just how you feel. It happens to me all the time." He looked at me incredulously and then burst into laughter. He didn't bat an eyelash when I assigned him all that detention. He saw me later in the day and started laughing again. Glad I could be of service!

I had a boy and girl in my office today. They'd been "play hitting" each other at lunch and then the girl got mad when he hit her too hard. This is SUCH a common story. She's crying and red-faced and he is looking sheepish. I ask them, "is this a problem we can solve between the three of us or do I need to do something different?" The boy looks at me and says, "Mr. S, I can take care of this." He dropped down to his knees on the floor, took the girl's hand, hung his head, and said, "I'm so ashamed. Will you please forgive me? I promise to never do it again." She burst into laughter and so did I. I told him, "the last time I did that it got me in trouble." They both thought that was hilarious! I took them both back to class, put my arm around the boy and said softly, "you charmed your way out of this one, but you can't always count on that. You know better than to act like this." He said, "Yes sir, I know. But it did work this time, didn't it?"

I spent the morning visiting prospective new students, 5th graders at local elementary schools. Of all the things I told them about our school, the thing that excited them most was two little words.....french fries! We have a snack bar that serves french fries daily.

So how is YOUR week going?


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

So Profane 

She didn't mean to do it. She really didn't. She told me so. The teenage girl sneezed in class and then said out loud, "OH SHIT". The rest of the class was quite amused. The teacher wasn't. She said to me, "everyone in my house cusses a lot and I guess I'm just used to doing it. Don't you ever cuss?" Ahem. I told here that I dropped a heavy bowl on my foot in the kitchen a few weeks ago and let out a stream of profanity that would've put hers to shame. She was quite amused by that. Then I pointed out to her that MY stream of profanity was in the privacy of my own home and not in front of thirty kids who were in class to learn, not hear someone talk about fecal matter.

Its time to come clean. I do use profanity, probably more than I should. I've worked in golf course construction in another life long ago. The language we used out there would've made a sailor blush. But now I'm a father, a respectable and responsible man, and all of that. I can't use profanity at work. That is highly frowned upon in my profession and rightfully so. How can I send that poor girl to a day of detention if I'm doing it myself? So no cursing there. I can't do it at my parent's house. My mom is quite offended by profanity even though I learned a lot of those words from her during some of her angry moments in my childhood. She only THOUGHT I wasn't paying attention! I can't do it much around my kids because I should model proper language and behavior for them. Right? They probably hear it from my lips now and then, but I do try to exercise self control. I remember my dad and his own personal profanities. He would get irritated and bellow "hellfire and damnation." Is that really even profanity?

We were watching "Braveheart" for probably the 20th time in my house a couple of weeks ago. Patrick was intently watching the movie, decided he didn't like the king in that story, and out of nowhere he burst out with, "you rotten bastard!" I admonished him for his language and he said, "Dad, I'm sorry but he really is a bastard!" Thats not even one of my words. He couldn't have learned it from me. I do have to admit it though. The king in that movie really was a bastard.

In spite of all those restrictions, I still find ways to use profanity in a colorful way. The "f word" is such a good all-purpose word when use sparingly and in the right context. At least I think it is. I can pepper my speech with it for emphasis when engaged in an argument with someone. What other word can be used so effectively as a verb, an adverb, an adjective, and a noun? But motherf***er? Why bring the moms into it? "Damnit" is a perfectly good phrase but I'm always reminded of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Why is no one named Janet ever around when I want to use it? "Shit?" "I don't give a shit" is a perfectly good profane line, but my problem is that I usually do give a shit. Whats a guy to do? I do try not to use g**-damn, but sometimes I slip. That is bad. One of the lessons that has stuck with me from my youth is not to use the Lord's name in vain. I always feel a little guilty when I do and sometimes glance involuntarily upward, expecting lightning to strike me down. "Asshole?" A great word to use when someone cuts you off in traffic. Oh those "wirty dords". So many to use, so many ways to use them, and so little time.

I was always taught that the use of profanity indicates an underdeveloped vocabulary. I prefer to think of it as enhancement. How's that for a good rationalization? I've actually gotten much better over the years, my profanity index being at its lowest point since elementary school.

I'm getting better. Damnit, I really am!


Monday, February 06, 2006


Our school and district are currently considering implementing school uniforms for all the city’s middle schools next year. We are in the public comment phase of this proposal, and I think it is fairly likely that all of the middle schoolers will be adorned in school uniforms next fall.

I’ve never worked in a school where students wear uniforms, even though my kids attended one for several years. School uniforms began gathering momentum early in my career and the idea is still strong today. The usual reaction? Parents love it. Kids hate it. The parent surveys that have come back to my school are overwhelmingly in favor of the uniform proposal. I suspect if the kids voted you’d get just the opposite result.

So why do people favor uniforms for school kids?

So why do some object?

I generally favor school uniforms even though I don’t believe that they are a magic bullet or miracle solution to the challenges we face in schools today. The security argument has a strong appeal to me, working in a large urban district. I regularly find teenagers trolling around campus, many of them dropouts or students suspended from a nearby high school. They are looking for a buddy or trying to lure one of the girls to leave with them. I’d certainly like to be able to spot them quicker. I’m also sympathetic to the idea of relieving pressure on kids to dress in the latest styles. Middle school kids are perhaps the cruelest human beings on this planet, and much of that cruelty is often centered around clothing. Do you know how devastating it is to be 13 years old and have a group of kids belittle you for wearing the wrong kind of jeans, knowing that your parents are unlikely to be able to do anything to help?

I don’t think uniforms will have much of an impact on learning. Uniforms have been around for a long time and there is little research to support that idea. Some of the claims made in support of the uniforms are outlandish and over the top. You have to be realistic. Changing what a kid wears won’t change his home life, won’t boost his I.Q., and won’t make him any more likely to pay attention in class.

Freedom of expression? I’m not buying that one. What you wear doesn’t define who you are. If people want to let their girls dress like hoochies or their boys like gang-bangers, they can do all of that self expression in the evenings or on weekends. School is not a social club.

I’m just wondering something though. Will boys try to sag those khakis like they do jeans? This inquiring mind wants to know.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Dreams 

The Super Bowl will start shortly. For many of us, this is one of the prime sports events of the year. We are glued to the TV for hours, watch the game, enjoy the funny commercials, and rock to the halftime entertainment. Others bet big money on the outcome of the game. Some advertisers devote much of their yearly budget to advertising on this game.

I've been watching Super Bowls since Joe Namath was guaranteeing that his team would win. I don't think I've missed a single one in over 35 years. After all, this is the Super Bowl. I know that there are many of you who are not all that into sports, and this is just another Sunday evening for you. Others aren't much into football.

But for some of us this represents a pinnacle of sports, a time when the best plays the best and history is made. Especially for men, it takes us back to our youth when many of us dreamed about playing in games like this. We watched the games on television and then ran outdoors at halftime to play in the backyard. I grew up idolizing the men who played in these games, not because they were better than other men, but because they were doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to play a game in front of a packed crowd, viewed around the world, and be a hero.

Many boys dream of moments like this. Around this country tonight there are young men watching the game who think to themselves, "that could be me out there some day." For most of them, as it was for me, it is just a dream. The number of high school football players who even play in college is a tiny percentage. The number of those who go on to play in the N.F.L. is even smaller. Many players play a full career in the N.F.L. without ever playing in a Super Bowl. I talk to kids about their dreams all the time. You don't want to quash the dream, but you do want them to realize that realizing that dream takes a combination of God-given ability, attitude, intelligence, persistence, and just plain luck. Most of them will realize, as I did, that this particular dream isn't meant to be, and thats ok. There are other dreams that are just as rewarding, and you realize that as you get older. Boys will never grow up dreaming about being an insurance salesman, an accountant, or a retail manager. But for a moment tonight that dream will be alive for millions.

Those guys on the field? They were once those same little boys, playing in Pop Warner leagues, telling their teachers that they were going to be stars some day. Once such man is Josh Brown, the kicker for the Seattle Seahawks. He grew up in Foyil, Oklahoma, less than an hour drive from here. His town is so small that they play eight man football, not enough boys for a full team. It is mostly a farming community, and there is little for boys to do other than work on the farm or play sports. A colleague of mine coached Josh in high school and he is on cloud nine that one of his former players will be playing in this game tonight. He has taught and coached for twenty years, and this is the only one of his players to play in the N.F.L. His take on Josh? "A great kid, small town values, and the kind of young man you get into this profession to work with." The little town of Foyil will be alive tonight. One of their own is living the dream.

As I watch the game tonight I'll be thinking about Josh and his dream. I'll also be thinking about my own. It never really quite dies you know. It just succumbs to the reality of life and is pushed aside for new dreams.

An hour to kickoff. Time to get the snacks ready.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Weekend Roundup 2/3-2/4 

TGIF! Please join me in this edition of the weekend roundup. I’ve had some technical problems tonight. For some reason, I have been unable to access some of my favorite blogs. I keep getting those “You are forbidden to access this server” messages. I’ve never had that problem before. Argh! So don’t feel left out…I couldn’t get everyone in here that I wanted to this week.

Keb has a difficult time with the teenager in her home. Margaret has a sweet sixteen birthday going on in hers.

Jerry writes a concert review. Thomai writes about being at peace with yourself.

Carol has a new man in her life.  Lime has special memories surrounding a song and a guitar.

Julie says that the inmates have taken over the asylum. Joan says that blogger ate her best post ever.

Deni and her husband have a big decision to make. Sleeping Mommy and her husband went out to eat.

Caren is just plain bored.  Perhaps she should try Buffi’s exercise in culinary seduction.

Collen hates the number “19”.  Breazy hates having computer problems.

Irina wonders what her purpose is. Teresa wonders why someone would steal a manhole cover.

Sally writes about a property that was owned by a special man. Phoenix writes about being tapped out.

Stationery Queen wants to go to the Groundhog Day celebration next year.

Hillbilly Mom has some strange happenings going on in her house.  Funky Cowboy has an automotive anniversary.

Wouldn’t you like to know some Restless Angel trivia? Wouldn’t you like to know who Kyra broke up with?

Dawn had to provide child care to get house cleaning. Ellen had to show us her dolls, and I’m glad she did!

Janine felt like she had hit the wall.  Vickie feels like knowing what you think of her.

Colleen discusses her mother’s eyesight.  MamaKBear discusses what makes a perfect partner.

Kristy wants a job change.  Mary Lou wants to get out of her rut.

Dorothy finally got to see what her father looks like. Lisa got to see how her seven year old writes.

Saffiyah writes about those Danish cartoons. Lis writes about her boy’s 18th birthday.

Pat is thinking about taking up tap dancing. Greek Shadow is rooting for the Seahawks.

Monica writes a tribute to her cousin. Chosha writes about Aussie Oscar nominations.

Rachel gives an update on her resolutions.  Terry gives his thoughts on the “house church” phenomena.

Lewis wonders what this gymnastics is training his daughter for.  Cootera wonders about the spam email she gets.

Lil Bit shares her zodiac chart. New Wave Gurly shares her belief that actions speak louder than words.

Susan has been doing some shuffling at her house.  Inky has been receiving email from a much older man.

Aka Monty lists how bloggers do it. Chicky Babe lists the words on her “bloggers t-shirt”.

Molly  gives her thoughts on boys in kilts. Meg gives her thoughts on making choices.

Its my daughter’s birthday. We’re going to party like its 1999. Have a great weekend everyone!


mother to daughter 

Please, think and feel prior to passing judgments or making any assumptions to the following. This is the second hardest post I have ever had to make. It has taken three days of deep thought in how I am going to cover the subject. I forgot how I need to hit the save draft every few minutes, and an hour of typing gone. This alias, is for my privacy and freedom to write, Brian nor myself will reveal my other alias, that I may be better known in the blogging world. I stand before the closet that holds monsters by night. A chance I will take the awkwardness of sitting on top of toys is far better then anything else. I can see the light of the room and the Sunday best hanging down, there is no door but even being with monsters would be better. Sanctuary in my mind as I am later pulled out and things done to me, God forgive my sister she didn’t know any better. When are the parents coming home? A year or two later preferring to share my ice-cream cone with the family dog, then to participate in the lawn fun with a friend of the family. When called on the anti-social I only to respond the dogs mouth is cleaner. I was let be. I wanted no part of the person who couldn’t keep his hands to himself and had the balls to put them in the wrong places only feet away from the parents. A year or two later another situation arose, this time with a female, great a sleep over of the worse kind. Those memories, faded and when my mind was ready I was reminded. I can only say, I was mature for my age all along. I did know nothing was my fault and it all was wrong. One thing that was always with me the sentiment I would go to jail in vengeance over my own children and I would do everything in my power not to happen to mine. No my turmoil didn’t end, more situations by so called trusted friends even court, date rapped as a teen and late teen in another country no less. I always had a thing, in remembering the crap, it wasn’t me, it was someone else. I had the confidence and awareness I did nothing to encourage the behavior. I have survived repeated domestic abuse from a boyfriend, by using my head. For years and years I would think to myself how I would go after someone who wronged my child. Age and experience and just having more children my thoughts on it has only slightly changed. Yes, year after year with every child comes the talk, the talk of appropriate touching. Very careful who call a friend who allow around the children. All the scares have healed long ago, I know its not justified to go after someone. It pains me. I thought I was doing everything right. I can not take away my daughters pains. For a couple of years she has been making comments very concerning. She started telling more and more people and being comfortable of more stories but never going into great detail. Her self esteem and confidence low but not knowing if it was a game or for real. Spending half the time with dad and half the time with me she is now cut off from her father. Of course in her mind I am the bad guy who tells her she can never see her father until she is of age. He wants nothing to do with her . She gets depressed she will never see him again. She thinks its all her fault, what happened and she to mention things. I have the hardest time to convince her not her fault. I have the hardest time that he was wrong. All she can really understand her father rejects her. She can’t see right now it’s a freaking blessing. I can only point out that her confidence and self esteem is better then ever. I do not share the things that happened to me as a child, or growing up. She is like other teenagers and its about them. So I make it about her. I am her mother and will always be. I believe her, I stand beside her, and I love her and will help her through it all. I try to remind her that she has a better self esteem and confidence now that her father is out of the picture. She is doing a hell of a lot better in so many different ways. I try to tell her that a rejection from a parent hurts no matter the age. The pain never goes away it just gets a little easier to deal with every year. I could start an investigation, but it will be very hard on her. I can press it, I can get my revenge we all know what happens to child molesters in jail. Really, I have removed her from the situation weather she likes or understands it. She has gained so much in personal growth. It kills me I can’t take away her pain or undo what has happened to her. No matter how much I didn’t want my children to go through what I did and how much I tried to prevent it….shit still happens. Again let me point out, things that happened was not under my roof. Now, I have to tell my other children it includes relatives as well as so called friends and strangers. Tough! Although I would like to act out, my main concern is my daughter, I have too help her get through everything. One day she will remember just how supportive I was, maybe not thank me but just remember.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

I'm Gonna Get Me A Lawyer 

These are words we in school administration hear often. At the mere mention of it we are supposed to cower, give in, become accomodating, and give the person whatever it is that they want. After all, that is what we do in this society when someone disagrees with us, isn't it? We sue them! Lets go to court!

I've heard it plenty just this year. Don't like your kid's schedule? Threaten to sue. Upset about a grade? Lets take it to the judge. Your child didn't make the basketball team? That coach should explain his decision to a guy in black robes. You think those twenty zeroes your kid has in math are all caused by the teacher just throwing her homework in the trash? Time to lawyer up.

First, sometimes people really do sue. A salesmen once visited the school. A couple of days later he called and said that he just found a scratch on his Cadillac. He was sure one of our students did it while he was inside. He filed suit for $5000. What a bozo. I was irritated when the school's insurance settled with him for $1000. Why settle? It would cost much more than that to defend the case in court. We were also sued once by a parent for an accident that happened on school grounds over the weekend. Her son was riding his bike in the school's circle drive. A chain was placed across the drive to keep people from driving in there when school isn't in session. He drove his bike into the chain, broke his leg, and she promptly sued us. This time the district actually mounted a defense and her case got tossed.

But in my 20 years of experience, this is a rarity. Most people won't really sue. They just like to use the threat as a form of intimidation. I'm kinda wise to this game. You don't like your child's math teacher because she failed the class last semester? You want to hire a lawyer and take it to court? Be my guest. You might be able to find a lawyer who will try to coerce the district into settling. But it is highly doubtful you'll ever get to trial. If you do, your 7th grader will probably be in high school by then.

If you actually do hire a lawyer and they contact the school? That is the end as far as we are concerned. We won't talk to the lawyer. We'll let our lawyer talk to your lawyer. We won't discuss it with you anymore either. I won't return your calls because now it is a legal matter. Frankly, when you start threatening a lawsuit over a school issue, I'll be chuckling to myself when I hang up and sticking you in my "crackpot" file. I'll look at your child every day and feel sorry for him/her for having such a bozo for a parent. I'm not saying that there is never a good reason to sue a school, but I haven't seen many that stand out as reasonable. Most of the ones that are successful have to do with free speech or due process. Grades? Who your kid's teachers are? Didn't make the cheerleading squad? Forget it.

Earlier this year a high school football player was ejected from a game for punching another player. His punishment automatically included being banned from the next game, which happened to be the state championship game. His parents went to court and got a judge to grant an injunction against the game being played while they pursued their appeal. The game was delayed for a couple of weeks until the state supreme court unanimously tossed the case out. A high school football game!!! As far as I'm concerned, that kind of case is an abuse of the legal system.

I once worked in a school where parents threatened a suit because we kept the 7th and 8th grade kids separated from each other at lunch time. We were violating their child's right to socialize with his friends. Seriously, you should've heard them. I was so hoping they would sue and ante up some money to a lawyer. That one would've been fun.

When are we going to realize that the courts are for settling serious disputes and not the recourse of every clown with a gripe?


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Midweek Meanderings 

It has been such a busy week. Is tomorrow really Thursday?

Aubree had an appointment with the optometrist today and will receive a new pair of glasses next week. She is 20/40 in both eyes, and is far-sighted. She's fairly excited about getting her new glasses. Now I just have to get her to wear them.

Pssst! Don't tell Aubree, but I'm planning on getting her an IPOD shuffle for her birthday. We're about to become a two IPOD family!

My employer is asking me to take a test designed by Gallup for aspiring principals. This is supposed to put a scientific measurement of ability in the process. I'll be interested to see what this test is like.

Sometimes my job can be fun. A boy is caught text messaging with his cell phone in class. I peruse his incoming and outgoing messages and see that he was messaging his girlfriend...in the same class! I get her phone and look at her messages. She is messaging yet another kid. They're all busted, hoisted on the same technology petard that they use to send those little messages. The looks on their faces as I went through all their phone logs? Priceless. I told the girl with a straight face, "dont' worry, if you have any more text messages I'll read them and let you know."

It was a late night tonight, supervising basketball games. Our teams did well, and its enjoyable to see some of the kids who have been in trouble in my office out there playing and doing well.

I finished my taxes. One of the silver linings about my lessened financial situation is that I actually don't owe the IRS this year. Yay!

Only seven weeks till Spring Break! How's that for a dose of optimism?

The security guard at the game tonight told me, "you look just like one of those big casino security guards, except you look like you've been to college." Thanks..I think.

So how is YOUR week going?


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?