Tuesday, May 29, 2007

School Days

I've been helping out more in Conor's classroom recently, taking advantage of my parent's proximity to press them into babysitting duty. Today was a field trip to the Randall Museum, and the first I knew of my 'volunteering' to help out was when I got the permission slip from Conor to sign and it listed me as a chaperone.

I admit I didn't really read the slip before signing it and handing it back in, but I showed up ready to go. We didn't leave right away, which gave me a chance to go to the grocery store and get lunches for the kids who didn't bring theirs. Luckily Conor wasn't impressed by the school lunch menu for today, so I had already packed his lunch--otherwise I'd have been getting a lunch for him, too. When I got back to the classroom I was just about to ask when we were coming back, but a kid beat me to the punch. He was told that he should know when we were coming back because she had just gone over the schedule with them and wasn't about to do it again and why didn't he put his listening ears on?

So I didn't ask. Which turns out to be for the best, because we were gone ALL DAY. I got back in time to see that the parking people had chalked my tires, but not ticketed me, and sit in the car for 10 minutes before walking back into school and picking Conor up.

Why didn't I just take Conor with me and go home when we got back? Because I NEEDED those ten minutes by myself. Ten minutes of deep breathing. Ten minutes of NO CHILDREN. I am so not cut out to be a teacher.

That night I watched John Stewart interview US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. They talk about No Child Left Behind, and at the end of the interview agree that no parent wants to leave their child behind, and everybody wants the best for their child.

But this isn't the whole story. If you asked people, point-blank, "DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILD LEFT BEHIND?", of course they'll say NO! But if you ask people if, every day, they are doing what needs to be done to get their child the best education, then you'll get a different answer. And it may be because they don't care, or it may be because they're just too overwhelmed with the daily life they've been handed that they can't. In public schools you find a lot who don't/can't/won't do what it takes to help their child get an education.

I had picked up lunch for two kids, but it turns out a third didn't have one, either, but didn't want to say anything. He knew his mom hadn't packed one, but he didn't want to tell anyone because she 'forgets' a lot of things. Like getting him to school every day. This is the kind of parent John Stewart and Margaret Spelling failed to take into account.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Playing the Cancer Card

This is one of the best: State Sen. Carole Migden revealed for the first time Wednesday that she has been battling leukemia for nearly 10 years and said the medication she takes could have been a factor in her erratic freeway driving last week that the California Highway Patrol is investigating.

Talk about a get-out-of-trouble-free card!


Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Little Bit....Country?

My hairdresser called my outfit 'country'. Now I feel you need to dress up for a haircut--you want the hair of the person you'd like to be, not for who you are. So you can't go in sweats with no makeup and dirty hair. You've got to go in with the look you want your haircut to match.

So I put on an embellished skirt, white shirt (surprise, surprise), long jacket and vintage Luchese boots. And he called me country. He said, to be exact, "With the rick-rack on your skirt, and those boots, you look country!"

Maybe that's a compliment from someone from Miami--but I doubt it. "Country", you see, is a blue kitchen with a white duck border and cafe curtains. I'm lucky I didn't end up with big bangs and a mullet.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Miriam Engelberg

Reading books about cancer experiences is like gawking at a car accident--I just can't help myself, but I might end up seeing something I really didn't want to.

I found Miriam Engelberg's book, "Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics" at the library and checked it out. It's great, but I had that survivor's insouciance about halfway through--is that all their is? Is the last half of this book going to be all about how cancer made you a better person who stops to pet puppies and smell flowers and accept the deeper meaning of the cosmos?

Why, no! The last half of the book is about how the cancer came back and killed her! Don't I have egg on my face!

I can see the gaps in the cartoons--how do you kvetch about losing your hair due to radiation to the brain when you'd gladly trade hair for surviving? It's a lot harder to be funny the second time around, especially when your prognosis is grim and none. The book doesn't tell you how it ends, but she died after it was published.


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