Things you always wanted to say but were afraid

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Shooting at school

I hate to admit it, but everyday for the last year that I worked I would pray not to be involved in a shooting. I did not want anyone to get shot (including me) or anyone to be a shooter.  Just by the grace of God, I managed to retire before I ever had that situation in a school that I was responsible for.  We practiced monthly for just such emergencies, but even so those procedures would not have saved everyone if a gunman was determined.

The sad part of the story is that any teacher, student, or administrator could point to the kids in their schools that are on the edge, but THEY give us nothing to do about it.  It’s not because THEY want bad things to happen; it is because THEY don’t know how to prevent it.  THEY don’t know what to do with those students.  Oh wait,  THEY is WE isn’t it.

I will admit, I have no clue what to do about the students that are so broken, but I could point them out and given you their names at a very early age.  There are some things I always tried to do, but I have no clue if it made a difference.  I always made a point to speak and show an interest in the broken students.  Sometimes they were hard to get to know and often they were the very kids that by their behavior drove people away from them.  They could be very hard to like.  Other students that we keep asking to “befriend” those broken souls get tired of dealing with them and are too young to really know how.  Anyway, why should they spend their young lives being a social worker for others?  Is that their role in society?  I don’t know.  Some students have the ability and the desire to help others, but often they don’t.  Kids are just selfish by nature for a time while they are growing up.  They don’t want to spend time with depressing situations, and do we want them to??  So, what to do with our broken students (and there are many, many more than there used to be) when we know they need something?

In my own humble opinion, they should be isolated from the normal schools and routines.  They are not comfortable within that situation anyway.  It is just exacerbating the situation to force them into the very social situation that they are not comfortable with.

In their own setting, there must be serious, excessive attention to detail.  Give them the attention they need by people who know it takes time and energy to break through the exterior that has been years developing.  We must get all the way back to their infant minds and work all the way back through each developmental stage in the right way.  It is costly, time-consuming, intense work, but look at the alternative.

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Only parents have the pull to get t his done.  If parents would call each school board member to ask for procedures to help these broken kids.  Where will they be housed?  Who will work with them?  Can they live there if necessary?  Lots of questions and lots of money to make it happen, but I have learned that the people who work in the trenches cannot get it done.  It takes persistent parents.  Top level administration does not like for parents to disrupt their school board members, and once won’t work.  It takes everyday and everyone to stay after it until they weaken.  It would be just as easy to allocate funding for a facility like this as it would for the new football stadium.  How many kids could we have saved with the millions spent on athletics, and I love athletics.  It does not, however, need million dollar stadiums, dressing rooms, weight rooms, and media rooms for high school students. How many kids could we have saved without the millions spent on state mandated testing.  We need some, but not as much.

We just don’t have our priority list in the right order.


Quotations bother me

Why, why, oh why do we Americans using American English put the quotation marks outside of the period IN EVERY SITUATION!  It just doesn’t seem right.  For example:

I said, “Quotation marks should be on the outside when I am finished with the thought.”

I said, “Quotation marks should NOT be on the outside when I am trying to emphasize or partially quote something.”

I said in a previous post that a two people were obviously “a couple.”  I want those quotation marks like this “a couple”.

Then, if you really want to get confused do the quotes inside the quote and have the quote inside the quote at the end of the sentence where you then have three little things hanging in the air.  If you’ve never seen that, it looks like this:

I told Kim, “John said, ‘You are pretty'”.  Like that???

Wouldn’t it make more sense like this:  I told Kim, “John said, ‘You are pretty’.”

Below is a pretty good website to deal with punctuation.  Kids today…they need only search the internet.  We had to read through a grammar book to find what we were looking for.


It was just a thought.

The Herbert

Ever noticed how families often have their own language?  For instance, my husband always had our kids say “Bullfrog” instead of “Please.”  He would say, “What’s the magic word,” and they would respond, ” Bullfrog.”  I’m sure there is a story behind it, but I have long since forgotten it, and it must not have been too interesting or I would have remembered.

There is a particular word that I do remember the origin of and before I am too old or senile to remember, I will relay it here.  When Jeff (the first-born) was in Kindergarten.  I saw him run out of the door at the end of the day a little more enthusiastic than normal.  He was always (and still is) very happy and upbeat, but as he jumped into the car, he was bubbling over with something to say.  He was trying to get it out, but he was so breathless I was having trouble understanding him.  Trying to slow him down, I said to him,  “My goodness;  it must have been quite a day today!”  He agreed and told me, “There was a Herbert at school today.  We had a real live Herbert at school!”  “A Herbert,” I asked.  “What’s a Herbert?”  “You know, Mom, a grown-up – a Herbert. One of those big people who are mean.”  I just kept prodding with questions trying to get the necessary clues to interpret the new word.  This is what I got:

1.  It is an adult.

2. It is a mean person.

3. He/She has been on the news.

4.  Kids should never be around Herberts.

5.  Herberts are scary and yucky.

6.  They are just very bad people and should all be in jail.

7.  They do bad things to kids.

Bingo.  I got it.  After much effort, I had it figured out – a pervert.  The remainder of the story was almost of no consequence, but it appeared a stranger had been seen on the playground, the police had been called, and nothing much had come of it, but to this day we will comment on someone, “He’s a Herbert.”

And then this was born many years later from Family Guy.

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Early Childhood Training…if I’d only known

Way too late in life to help my poor children, I was introduced to a problem solving technique for little ones at school.  This technique was a very important part of a four-year old’s learning.  It was how to resolve conflict without hitting or grabbing or pouting or all the normal reactions when they begin to learn that the world does not revolve around only them.

We babysit the grandkids Saturday night.  Five of them at one location while the parents went – what my grandpa would have called – Honky Tonkin.  The two youngest are girls age two (Lacee) and three (Mellie).  Not a very good age for sharing.  They definitely are both the babies of their house and very much accustomed to getting their way.  First rattle out of the box,  Mellie says as she holds a simple, ordinary, small rubber ball, “This is my favorite toy.”

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To which Lacee replies with big pouty lips, “Mellie’s not sharing with me.”  So I put my well used tactic into action.  In four-year old problem solving the steps work like this:

1.  You have three choices.

2.  You can ask and say please. If they want to give it up, they can;  if not, you can try the next one.

3.  You can get another toy and see if they want to trade.  If they do you get the toy;  if not, you can try the next step.

4.  You can wait until they tire of it, then you can have it.  This one always happens eventually.

These steps are to be repeated over and over until all are tried.  It helps little ones learn what works and that sometimes you just don’t get your way, so you have to be patient.  It always works;  one way or the other.

Mel has the ball.  Lacee wants the ball.  I go through the routine.  Lacee goes and gets a doll that talks.  First noise the doll makes Mel wants to trade the ball, but Lacee has decided that if Mel wants the doll it must be good, and she won’t trade.  Mel pouts;  I repeat all instructions.  Mel gets a small musical tambourine.  Lacee is now ready to trade the doll since the tambourine sounds pretty good.  Mel now decides that the tambourine must be worth keeping since Lacee is ready to trade.  This cycle goes on for over 20 minutes with each new toy getting a new look, but they quit pouting and tattling and just keep finding the most interesting toys they can.

That was the only hint of a problem.  In spite of being a little worse for wear from being out until 2 am, it was a pretty easy job.  It just doesn’t pay much!

This is a really great website with the choice cards I mentioned above available for printing.  I discovered it too late for my own children, but it works on all sorts.


Just a thought about a sound bite

Is it just me or did Mr. Santorum say he would speak without notes while waving notes around in the air??  And what is burning “down there?”  He may need a doctor, but I’m sure his health care is better than the rest of the nation.


A Stupid Story (True) from 30 years ago

Image DetailThirty years ago, I decided to move to the country and become a farmer.  I don’t know what I was thinking;  I had been working overseas, so I always blame it on having a little money and less sense.  Anyway, I bought a little place about 60 miles from the closest major metroplex.  I was 3 miles from the little town I now live in on 15 acres with a barn, chicken house, well, no air conditioning, and dirt road.  I had arrived!!

I loved the windmill.  I loved the cool water and the noise it made as the wind blew the flapper things around and around.  I didn’t really understand much about it; like the giant tank that sat up in the air, the little pipe that went up and down in the bigger pipe with the big hole in it.  As you can tell, I certainly didn’t know any technical terms for any piece on that wonderful machine that gave me my water.  And then I had to learn.

All of the sudden, one day I did not have any water.  I had no idea what to do, and the only person that I sort of knew, was my closest neighbor – an older women around 80 who was born and raised in the county.  Her mother had died when she was young, and she had to take care of an entire family at a very young age.  As if that wasn’t enough, she then was widowed early with four small children.  She was left to run a dairy and raise the children all alone.

So who would you ask?  Margaurite told me to go look at that rod that went down in that pipe, and at the very top the pipe should be going up and down in that pipe.  If it was wiggling around and not stable in the big pipe with the hole, it probably needed a set of leathers.  Leathers evidently caused the rod in the pipe to be secure enough to cause suction to bring the water up out of the well.  O.K.  easy enough.  She told me to just go to the feed store in town and ask for a set of leathers.

I was a busy person, like everyone else, and it took me a few hours to get to town to the feed store.  It just so happened lots of the local men were there.  It was obviously the place that men solved the majority of world problems, yet they always stopped that important job to stare when anyone came in.  (I assumed it was anyone, or maybe it was just me.)

I went straight to the counter to get what I needed so I could get out of there.  “I need a set of rubbers,” I said.  “A set of what?” asked the feed store clerk.  “Rubbers,” I replied.  By now everyone was gaping at me, and a snicker began to roll through the feed store. 

By now I realized that something was not quite right, but I didn’t know what.  “Rubbers,” I said, “Rubbers.”  At this point, the poor clerk, red-faced, said pointedly to me, “Maam, what are you going to do with them,” to which I replied, “I need them for my windmill.”

Do you think they got a laugh??? And 30 years later there are some that still remember it.  I do


Thinking about a word

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Since I have successfully maneuvered the waters of menopause, I cannot rationally speak about it.  Well, as rationally as possible for “women”.  Sorry, I digressed to the 1950s again.  It’s my mother’s fault.  She believes the 1950s propaganda is real.  She just can’t figure out why her family didn’t fit the mold.

Anyway,  that word.  M  E  N  O  P  A  U  S  E

Men       O      PauseImage Detail

Men (you should) pause?

Pause – Don’t comment on the sweat dripping off my head.

Pause – Don’t comment on my severe mood swings.

Pause – Don’t comment on the fan that blows directly on me.

Pause – Don’t comment on my belly fat.Image Detail

Pause – Don’t comment if I forget something.

Pause – Don’t comment if my hair looses some of it’s thickness.

If you follow these recommendations, I will not mention that your hair is rapidly diminishing on your head and appearing in other places; your belly is also growing; you forget things too;  your moods are up and down as well;  and guess what, you pee non stop!

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So, we will both pause and love each other with all our changes to the end, because when I really see you, I see you as I want to.  And it is just what I want to see.

Inappropriate, scrutiny, or sheer numbers

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I hear things on the news about inappropriate relationships between high school students and teachers.  Should I personally have that as a memory of high school?  Do I remember it so many years later because it did make me uncomfortable, when I have forgotten so many other things?  Why does my brain allow space for that memory?

When I was 15 and a sophomore in high school, I was taking a biology class.  Our teacher was a beautiful, young married woman.  She and her husband lived near our neighborhood, easily accessible to us.  She was personable and told us things about her husband on several occasions.  She was also a good teacher.

A year older than I, was an extremely good-looking football player.  He had a beautiful girlfriend that he had “gone with” off and on since 8th grade.  Of course with that description, you can surmise that they were one of “the couples.”

My perspective:  One afternoon, the FB player came to HER classroom.  I was in there.  He opened the door, and when she saw him she quickly went to the hall.  We could hear the talking, but not what was said.  It was pretty obvious that FB player was drunk.  Unfortunately for those two, the class was directly across from the office.

Next day the the teacher was gone, the Princiipal was teaching the classroom, and the FB player and his girl were broken up. No newspaper reports, no TV reports, just a little gossip

Within a year the FB player and the teacher were married (his mother had to sign for him as he was underage), raised three kids, and she went on to be an administrator in an acclaimed school district.  He became a preacher.

Would that happen today?  Should it have happened then?  Is there just more media to scrutinize schools?  Are there just so many students and teachers than in the past that there is more to hear about? I should just let it go, but it is like an accident scene – you just can’t help but look.      let go

I didn’t get a very good education in biology that year.

Is it 1950??????????

Proverbs 18:2  English Standard Version (ESV)

 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

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Reading an article from the Associated Press by Steve Peoples, I once again got the opportunity to practice my Christian beliefs by forgiving Rick Santorum for his belief that women are inferior to men.  I thought we had already fought that battle for equality.  Better vote this year women, that may be the next thing on the list to get rid of.  In the article he referred to some women (I’m not sure which ones) as “radical feminists” and accused these “radical feminists” of  undermining traditional family values by “convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness.”  Once again, the implication that women cannot think for themselves and are too weak to resist influences that disagree with their own desires.  If you want to be a “traditional” (and I’m not sure what that is) woman, then do so no matter the influences.  If you want to be a “career” (and I’m not sure what that is either) woman, then do so no matter the influences.  If you want to be a “combination of both” (and I’m pretty sure that accounts for the majority of women now) then do so no matter the influences.  To insinuate that we are unable to make that decision without being led to think what someone else would have us to think is to say women are not very smart.  Once again, the implication is that only men can make intelligent decisions, and I have found that to just not be true in my adult lifetime.  Women and men have their differences to be sure, but don’t all people have differences.  Don’t all of us know smart men and women, funny men and women, athletic men and women, bigoted men and women, mean men and women, stupid men and women, and insensitive men and women.  It’s just people stupid!!!  How can a person in this day and age not know that?  Sometimes I feel that we are going backward. Will the next push be to take away the vote????Image Detail

Image DetailPEACE.  Where are all the babyboomers that fought for equality?  Speak loudly.

Just to change it up a little,  He (Santorum)  told a Christian blog last year that as president he would warn the nation about “the dangers of contraception” and the permissive culture spit encourages.  I’m pretty sure that “spit” is a typo, but at least it’s a funny typo.  Spit probably does encourage a permissive culture.  I’m sure there are a number of jokes there, but I’ll leave them to you.  What I was leading up to was the remark made by his billionaire contributor, Foster Friess. (Is that fries with an s?)  Mr. Friess said in his day that an aspirin was used for birth control by placing it between the girls’ knees.  Of course, if your my age, you got the joke – keep your knees tightly together and no out of control (Notice who can be very easily influenced?) man will get where they shouldn’t be, but the young people today had no idea what he meant.  It became, “Well, how did that help?  Did the aspirin melt and go into the knees or what?  Anyway, ain’t generation gaps a bitch? He could just as easily said, in his day a towel would work.  (the infamous pull out method from which we all know several children)  There are many.  I’ll once again leave them to you.  As for me, my days of worrying personally about such things are over thank God.  So girls, if Santorum gets his way you’ll just have to use the aspirin or other well tried but not so effective methods until you get my age.

Many women believe that jumping up and down after sex will dislodge sperm.

I digress.  I forgive you Rick, but I don’t need you to tell me what to think.

Retirement = Babysitting

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One of the things that my family looked forward to when I decided to retire was our ability (I have a partner) to help with the grandkids on occasion.  Right off the bat, our son-in-law had to have major surgery.  Since my daughter and he have two little girls ages 8 and 2, we willingly offered to help in any way we could.  For several days things went smoothly, but as things will often go awry, things did.  The hospital was short-staffed.  My son-in-law developed complications, and my daughter was afraid to leave him.  I don’t think she was ready to give him up.  (He doesn’t have any life insurance.)

The text message arrived at 10 pm asking if we could pick the girls up from their schools and then, spend the night with them.  Sure, I was confident we could do that.  After all, we had reared three of our own, and they seemed no worse for the experience. (I’m not so sure the same could be said for us!)

The following day, we arrived at the older girl’s school.  I had no idea the pick up procedures, but I did know they had to be complicated.  My previous 22 years in education had trained me for various plans to get a volume of kids to the correct parent.  (You can watch penguins, and they have no trouble at all finding their little ones in a mass of other penguins.  We humans have more trouble for some reason.)  I finally decided the easiest way was just to go straight to the office and ask.  They are usually somewhat kind to grandparents, but this late in the school day I knew I was taking a chance.  It went fine;  a lady outside the office directed me to the proper place and of course when Kenlee saw me she came running anyway.  Next stop Little Bit.

The little one stayed at a church daycare right next door.  Once again, I had no idea how to get her, but this time I had a navigator.  Kenlee knew the drill and in no time, we had Little Bit.  (She also knew how to buckle all the do-dads on the car seats which was another good thing.  By the way, if you don’t know, they have to stay in car seats until their 21 now.)

Finally on the road, we managed the drive thru at a fast food place (I bet you can guess which one.) and off we went to their house.

My partner promptly went to the couch, pulled his cap down and nodded right off with the dog beside him.

I started doing the things I had forgotten about for many years.  Let me list them in order as best as I can remember:

1.  Ten loads of laundry.

2.  Dogs that see you as new blood will try to hump you (or as my grandmother use to say about her dog, “Lucky, stop pumping that pillow.”)

3.  Dora is still on TV

4.  Kids have no temperature gauge.  They always get out of the tub and run around in a towel or naked with no thought of the air temperature.

5.  Dressing two-year old semi dry kids is a wrestling match (and probably the reason I have back trouble today)

6.  Babies not potty trained (but are old enough that they should be) go and hide to poop.

7.  Number 6 always happens immediately after number 5.  Dog must go out at this time.

8.  By the time you get teeth brushed, pjs on, drinks of water, kisses good night, etc. you have this sweet moment when you pull the cover up on them and get that final hug, kiss, and love you moment.

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9. Ten seconds later, “I’m thirsty.” You get them a drink.Image Detail

10.  The end of number 8 again.

11.  Ten seconds later, “I need to go potty.”Image Detail

12.  The end of number 8 again.

13.  Ten seconds later, “I have a sore toe.”Image Detail It of course requires a bandaid.

14.  The end of number 8 again.

15.   Silence.  Back to folding clothes.  Housework after kids are in bed. Image Detail

Don’t forget their lunches.

16.  “I’m scared.”Image Detail

17.  End of number 8 again.

18.  Silence.

19.  Long silence.Image Detail

20.  Too tired to do anymore.  Go to bed.Image Detail

21.  PHONE

22.  Both girls, “Was that mommy?”

23.  End of number 8 again. Image Detail End of number 8 again.

24.  Dog in and to bed.

25.  Five hours sleep.

26.  Alarm.  Image Detail

That was the end of my deja vu parenting.  Their mom came home and got them up and ready for school, and partner got up and off we went home.  I slept most of the day and was very sore and tired, but I got a lot of the end of number 8.  It was nice.

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