Category Archives: Kid Stories

Radiator Springs Is The Best Thing Maybe Ever

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My daughter and I went to California over spring break.  It was just the two of us and we had a great time.  The first part of the week we stayed in Venice Beach, then we moved out to Anaheim and went to Disneyland and California Adventure.  It was our first time at C. A. so we were very excited.  It was great, it was fine, it’s not as good as Disneyland, but it’s fun. It became amazing at dusk when we found ourselves in Radiator Springs.

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Lydia insisted that we get over there by dusk because she said they did “a thing.” She knew what was about to happen and she wanted to surprise me.  By this time, I was hot and tired and had blisters the size of grapes in three different spots on my feet, so honestly, I was done; and then it happened.

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Remember at the beginning of one of the Cars movies when dusk hit Radiator Springs and the lights came on?  They started at the head of the main drag, and one by one, the kitschy neon lights came on until the entire street was lit up?  Well, the “thing” they did, was play Sh-boom over the sound system, and re-enact the light up of the businesses on the main street.  I almost died.  Like seriously, almost keeled over and died. It was the single most 1950’s thing I have ever witnessed in a life that missed the 1950’s by quite a few years.

After this happened, I got a serious second wind, was able to ignore the excruciating pain in my feet, and carry on with the rest of the night.

When my son was five years old, he contracted a very serious case of double pneumonia with pleurisy. He missed a solid month of kindergarten, had to take four different, very seriously strong antibiotics and after it was over, his doctor told me I was lucky he got sick in this day and age, or he might not have made it.  While he lay on the couch day after day, week after week, he watched Cars over and over and over. It was the only thing that made him happy. My goal in life is now to go back to California Adventure with him just so he can see Radiator Springs. It will mean the world to him.

If you have a kid who loves Cars, I highly recommend a trip to Radiator Springs.  It’s done with typical Disney Magic and attention to detail. Plus? Their end of the day water show spectacular thingy is genuinely spectacular.

Have a great weekend.  Remember, Memorial Day is not about grilling out and the beach. It’s a time to remember all the brave men and women who’ve sacrificed their lives for our freedom and so our kids can sleep safely in their beds each night.

Be kind to someone, our world needs it now more than ever. 🙂

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I Forgive You

If you’ve visited this blog lately, live in my community, or if you follow me on Facebook, you are well aware that we are facing a bit of a difficulty related to our band director.   People in the community have created a website to support him, they’ve written letters, attended meetings and written blog posts; all to no avail. Our elected officials only response is let it go. I made my feelings about our director, school district and kids painfully clear in my last post, but I feel like I need to say a few more things.

 

We live in a world in which people are destroyed instead of reprimanded, a world in which you will lose every single material possession you own if you insult (and the bar for insults has been lowered significantly) the wrong person or hurt the feelings of the wrong person, or disagree with the wrong person. We live in a country where we are taught from birth that if you are wrongly accused of something, you shouldn’t worry, because you can’t be punished if you are in the right. We live in a society where we are told all those beautiful things and more, but basically, they are not true. If the wrong person gets upset with you for any reason, they can and will ever so slightly twist something you’ve done, or take something you’ve said completely out of context and hang you out to dry and there seems to be nothing you can do about it, it’s bullying. We elect politicians from Presidents to school board members who make certain promises about what they will do and how they will behave and then, after they get ensconced in their positions of power, they forget who works for who and they disappoint us; over and over and over.

 

Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been disappointed yet again by people who work for us but have forgotten that. Personal personnel papers were released to the public, but then when the public wants to discuss it, they are told that the matter is confidential and cannot be discussed and should be dropped. People who are responsible for miscarriages of justice are by all reports wringing hands and feeling nervous, but they seem to enjoy the sensation, because they won’t do anything to right the wrong. People who are elected and paid by the people, will not respond to the people they work for. They won’t capitulate because they don’t want the parents to think they can tell them what to do.   That is patently absurd, because they absolutely SHOULD be doing what the parents want them to do. We really ARE the boss of them, but they’ve forgotten that. We don’t work for them.   They work for us. Can you imagine going in to a meeting with YOUR boss and telling him to let his concerns go, that you won’t do what he wants because then he’ll think he can boss you around? Really?

 

I have been in hopes that our school board members would respond positively to input by the parents they work for, but I have been disappointed again. As we are struggling with this issue in our community, reports show a father in another part of the country being hauled out of a school board meeting by a policeman because he went over his two minute limit to speak about a book with a pornographic scene in it that he wanted his 14 year old daughter to have the opportunity to opt out of reading; he wasn’t just hauled out, he was arrested. The police officer is shown in the photographs to be looking at the floor and reportedly said that he didn’t want to do it, but he had to follow orders.   Really? orders from the school board?   Hmmm… where have we heard of that kind of behavior before. Why do we wonder that people are afraid to speak out?

 

I was genuinely in hopes that by then end of this week, I’d be writing a post about how our elected officials listened to us, took a second look at some of the legal issues brought up by supporters of the director, listened to their constituents and did something to right a grievous wrong; alas, they have disappointed me yet again.

 

These are people I voted for, people I trusted to run our huge school district in a fair, competent, HONORABLE manner. I have been disappointed. These are people I depend on to protect the kids and keep their best interests at heart.   I have been disappointed. Our school board should be protecting the people who take on the liability to be in classrooms with hundreds of kids every day.   That is one of the reasons I have stopped subbing, it dawned on me that the personal liability I was taking on each and every day that I went into a classroom alone with thirty plus kids was not worth what I was being paid, and subs don’t have a union to protect them.   It seems that regular classroom teachers don’t get much help from the union either despite the hefty dues they pay.   Disappointment. I truly thought that with a bit of time for reflection, these people that we are supposed to be able to trust with the well being of what is most precious to us, our kids, are more interested in protecting their political selves than they are in doing what is RIGHT for our kids and our teachers.   This incident should send a shiver down the spine of every classroom teacher in the district, and maybe the country. If you anger a parent, if you don’t fill out every single piece of paper you have to fill out, you won’t be merely reprimanded and given the chance to fix it, you will be censured; hard, and in a publicly humiliating fashion, and when that happens, the parents CAN’T help you, and the union apparently WON’T help you. Sooo disappointing.

 

With all of that said, I am going to do for our administrators and board what our school board won’t do for our director. I am going to forgive you. You’ve had the chance to listen to the people who put you where you are, and you’ve chosen to ignore and hide. You’ve had the chance to show our children that if they have legitimate objections to an issue, they can fight for what’s right and win, and you’ve chosen to ignore and hide. You’ve had the chance to admit your mistakes, apologize, make the wrong right, show your strength, take the high road, be the people that we thought you were, but you’ve chosen to ignore and hide and hope and pray that by the time you run for office again, or want more of our money again, we will have forgotten your behavior. You have gone from being our friends and neighbors to being politicians. I forgive you. You’ve taken a wonderful opportunity to remind voters that not all politicians get their jobs and turn into the very thing they vowed to fight. I forgive you. You are afraid. I forgive you. You are bullies. I forgive you. I pray that God will forgive each and every one of you for ruining the reputation of a band program that the kids love, the reputation and legacy of the director that they love, and for attracting such negative attention and energy to our lovely district and community. I wonder how the network people will announce our kids in the Rose Parade in January? Since this “confidential personnel matter” was made public by the person responsible for it, you know that the press will know; I have to wonder if they’ll mention it as our kids march on to the screen. Disappointing.

 

I think that the can of worms you’ve cranked open is much larger and full of worms than you thought.   This isn’t going away. People are not going to forget. At last check, my previous post was viewed by almost 1,700 people. If only half of them agree, and from what I can tell, it’s way more than that, in this community, there are enough disappointed people to change elections, including levy votes.   I know you thought it would die down and go away, but honestly I think people are getting sick of lying down and going away. These are our kids. This is the future of our community and our country. I’m disappointed and sad, but I forgive you.

 

Pretty sure I won’t forget, but I forgive you.

BUT IT’S FOR THE CHIIIILDREN!!!!

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My daughter is in band. She’s been in band since sixth grade and she has loved band all the way through. It has given her a place to exist in the shark tank of high school. Most of her friends are in band, the boys she has dated are in band, the band room has been her home away from home, and the director is her favorite teacher.

A couple of weeks ago, the director was suspended and forced into early retirement next February because of “ethics” charges filed by one parent. I put “ethics” in parenthesis because this is the most UNethical series of events I have ever been witness to, and I watch the news.

I have been wanting to write about this since it happened, but I had to let it percolate for a while because the situation made and continues to make me so angry that if I didn’t take some time, it would’ve come out sounding crazy and disjointed and that is not one of my hallmarks in this world. I realized that it was time a couple of days ago when I woke up one morning to discover that I had been organizing my thoughts in my head while I was asleep. Weird I know, but it’s how I roll. Anyway, these are my true, and honest thoughts, and I plan to disseminate this as far and wide as I can, including sending it to school bureaucrats, so here goes.

ChristopherLydia-065-lbO

Dear School Board, Principal, and other involved persons,

I am writing you today with regard to the recent suspension of our high school band director. I know, I know, you’ve heard all you want to hear; it’s a “personnel issue” and we aren’t supposed to talk about it anymore; blah, blah, blah… Sadly, I don’t really care whether or not you want to hear it, you need to listen, because I have some things to say that I’m pretty sure no one else has said to you because most people are afraid of their own shadows and wouldn’t say sh*t if they had a mouthful. I am not one of those people. This ceased to be a “personnel issue” when what should’ve been private papers between an employee and their employer were made grotesquely public; as a band parent and a taxpayer, when that happened, it became MY issue.

I could go on and on about what a great teacher our director is, but I know you’ve heard it all already. I could tell you how much the majority of kids like/love the director, but you’ve heard that all before. I could point out that the charges are ridiculous, that situations have been ever so slightly twisted to make them into something when they are really nothing, but again, that would be redundant. I could make a case that every teacher, regardless of what they teach or the grade level they teach, tutor students on their own time and get paid for it and if you are going to censure one teacher, you need to get busy and censure everyone else. I could add commentary about band clinics vs. sports clinics, about how the board has a say in everyone who is hired to work with our kids, so there should’ve been no way that they didn’t know who was hired to work with the trombone section during band camp. I could say a lot about ALL of those things, but I don’t think I will, because I’m a fan of original, critical thought and I don’t want to repeat what has already been said. Instead, I’m going off on a completely different path. Money.

I have lived in my home for twelve years as of May 1st. In those twelve years, my property taxes have doubled. Much of that doubling is due to school tax levies. Yeah, yeah, we went a few election cycles without getting one passed, but in the end, they get passed and they are usually whoppers. Not long after we first moved in here, I had to pull my daughter from dance lessons because our taxes went up so much that I could no longer afford lessons for MY kid, due to having to increase funding to the schools. I didn’t like that. Haven’t forgotten it. But in my suburban mom fog, I voted for the damn thing, because well, THE CHILDREN!!

In the twelve years I have lived in my home, I’ve had school busing taken from my kids. The high school decided that learning German, the language of the most powerful country in Europe, was no longer an option, because I suppose, we have a huge population of future priests and doctors in my community who need to learn Latin, but very few aspiring business people for whom the German language might come in handy some day. The art department is in the process of being gutted because well, art. Ewww… Who needs that? Oh right, only the kids who’s entire talent base lies in that direction. Future art school applicants and graduates apparently do not have the right to an education that includes the things they are good at. News flash!! There actually ARE kids who want to go into some form of art for a career. A mom friend of mine actually had to email the principal about an unpaid bill for metals supplies so that MORE supplies could be purchased so the kids could do the projects they needed to do at the end of the year. I’ve seen the giant stadium lights burning during a gushing rainstorm, over CHRISTMAS BREAK, adding to the electric bill, yet we are on the precipice of bankruptcy as a district. When I first started substitute teaching, I filled in for a kindergarten teacher who was leaving for a teaching symposium in Italy. The country. In Europe. I guess they don’t have those things right up the road in say, Columbus. Gotta go to Italy. Our district has built a beautiful new administration building since I moved into my home. I guess that was for the children. Of course it was. I could go on, but I’m certain you get my drift. Take more money, cut out things people need and want because well, the children.

Our band program and our band director have meant everything to my daughter. He has taught her far more important things than how to play a French Horn and roll step. He has taught her to be on time, “early is on time, on time is late…”; he has taught her to try her best, “good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better best.”; he has taught her that when she is hot and thirsty and sunburnt at band camp and feels like she’s going to die, that if she goes and gets a big drink of water she can do it one more time. He’s taught her that things are more fun if you’re good at them and that practicing and trying and working your butt off pays off. He’s had really high expectations of her, and he has demanded that she meet them. He’s called her out in front of everyone else, and praised her when she’s done well. He’s taught my daughter to be respectful of others, and he’s taught her to strive and have self-respect and joy in a job well done. She has more poise, confidence, discipline, self-respect, drive and maturity than she would have ever had without band. These are all qualities that my husband and I instill at home and having them re-iterated by a respected teacher is priceless. He doesn’t even know he’s helping us. He’s just doing his job. Isn’t that what an educator is supposed to do?

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She’s a senior. She has three weeks of school left. He is not coming back until the last week she’s there. He’s been suspended because someone apparently had an axe to grind. I don’t know why, I can only speculate and I won’t do that here. I WILL say that I saw in writing the person responsible say the kids come first. I agree.

Suspending our director doesn’t just hurt him. In fact, if I were him, I’d be on a plane to Florida to spend my two weeks in the proverbial principal’s office on the beach, but I doubt that’s what he’ll do. He’ll start working on next season’s marching band show, or think of ways to improve the bands for their concerts, or ways to help kids learn to try their best. The REAL people being punished over this pointless mess are the children. The ones all the government bureaucrats (and lets be honest, public schools are an extension of the government) purport to always put first. Instead of spending the last three weeks of her senior year enjoying herself, my daughter got in the car today and said she’s done. She told me that band was the only thing that she truly loved about school, and now that he’s gone, it’s no longer the band she loves. Shame on you “put the children first” adults. Shame. On. You.

So what do I want? I want you to rescind the suspension. Let him come back to school immediately to spend these last few weeks with kids who have looked up to him and learned from him and spent so much time with him these last three years. You’ve already pushed him out three months early next year, that’s enough. Quality educators need to be in the classroom. Why should you all care what I want? Next paragraph.

I’ve had it with this school district cutting everything that my kids enjoy. I’m sick of the band having to practice in a dark parking lot because the doc gets on the nerves of the soccer coach who is practicing on the next field. I’m sick of politics and political people. I’m sick of paying over 4000$ a year in property taxes and it’s never enough. I’m sick of the football team getting a giant inflatable football helmet (where’d the money for that come from, hmmm?) and our kids barely get a mention when they win every competition they go to and when they leave for nationally acclaimed parades like Macy’s. I’m sick of all the attention going to jocks who play on a local stage, while our musicians who play on national stages and attract loads of positive attention to our school district get ignored. I’m sick of keeping my mouth shut. The squeaky wheel gets the grease so they say, and I feel mighty rusty. I’ve lived in this community for twelve years. I’ve subbed in the schools and volunteered in the schools, and with scouts, and church. I know a LOT of people. I’ve always voted for the schools, even though it’s bankrupting me. I’ve always supported, for the children. But it has gotten me nowhere. If my daughter has to finish out her senior year without this teacher who has meant the world to her, I will never vote for another school levy in this district ever again. In fact, I will contact the No Lakota people and volunteer for them. I will actively campaign against every levy that comes down the pike. In fact, I may call for an investigation of every school board we’ve had for the last twenty years who let everything that is supposedly so horrible happen. Where have you administrators been for twenty years? If everything our director has done has been wrong, who is not doing their due diligence? It seems to me that would be the administrators.

ChristopherLydia-063-lbO

Please don’t force me into politics. I hate it, but if I HAVE to get involved to right wrongs, and reverse injustices, I will. Free Snyder. Give my daughter back the happiness that band has always given her. Let her graduate on an up note. Do what you say you do, and think of the kids. I’m not alone. I spent an hour and a half trying to get out of Kroger on Saturday afternoon because I kept running into band parents who agree with me. There were two hundred and seventy five kids in band last year. Multiply that over 28 years of service this man has had in our district. Multiply THAT by at least two parents per kid, many have three or four, and remember; band kids grow up and turn into adults who go to the polls. That is a mighty big voting block. Remember, it’s for the children.

No justice, no more of MY MONEY.

Have a day.

Being A Mom

This article may be controversial to some, but I find that I don’t care. Fair warning.

I don’t generally get “offended” by things. I think people who spend their lives being “offended” are self-aggrandizing babies who have nothing better to do than whine; but I just read an article on line that was so mean to a large percentage of the population without whom none of us would exist that I feel the need to address it.

I also generally do not publicize people I think are wrong, or cruel, or misguided because I don’t wish to spread their spew, but here is the link to the article I read that pissed me off. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/sorry-but-being-a-mother-is-not-the-most-important-job-in-the-world#start-of-comments
Read it or don’t, but nutshell, mothers are not that important and people who work in brick ovens in India have it worse and women would be happier with actual jobs and what about fathers, and gay men. Here is my response.

Lady, I don’t know the first thing about you. What I DO know about you is that you were grown inside a woman’s uterus. She carried your heavy little butt and all the accompanying fluids, and physical pain around inside her body for nine months. That is a long time to carry around something that is draining you of every resource you have. She then pushed your grapefruit sized head and linebacker shoulders through a space that is usually about the size of a walnut. She then, at what is no doubt the physically weakest point of a woman’s life, took care of you. She had to feed you, maybe directly from her body, maybe not. She cleaned you, held you, worried over you, watched you sleep and listened to you breathe. She made sure the house was locked up tight at night so some sicko wouldn’t come in and steal you or hurt you. She got up every two hours all night long for months or years in some cases to care for you. She loved you. She made you her priority. She defended you. She shut down bullies and mean teachers. She researched your illnesses just in case there was something everyone missed. She sacrificed her own interests for yours. She wore old clothes, made coffee at home and drove her car until it would no longer run so YOU could have the things you needed and some of the things you wanted. She loved you.

Being a mother, or to be inclusive, a parent, IS the most important job in the world. It IS the hardest job in the world. It is the only job in the world that actively goes 24 hours a day for years, and then continues in a less physically demanding fashion for the rest of your life. When I was working full time all those years ago, I didn’t really care about what I was doing. I’d leave at 5 and go about my business. My REAL business. My LIFE. I don’t leave my job now. My children are getting older, and I still love them. I still guide them. I still protect them. I think about them all the time, even if it’s in the back of my mind instead of the immediate thinking involving every aspect of their physical care. I love them. I never loved a job. I liked a job. A job was a way to make a living, but I never loved a job. I love my kids, more than myself, more than the “prestige” that would come with an “important career”, more than the opportunity to run a country, or a company, or a classroom. I love my kids with a ferocity that startles me at times. I would throw myself in front of a bullet, a car, a speeding train, a fully armed military to protect my children or at least give them a chance to run. I love them.

Working is important. We all need money to buy food, medicine, a place to live, but if the shit hits the fan tomorrow and your job is no longer so “important” it will still be important to be a mother, to hold those lives that we mothers and fathers have created, in our hands and try our best to keep them alive and thriving and help them carry on so all is not lost. We love them.

Without parents, there would be no “important” jobs because there would be no people to fill them. Without parents, people wouldn’t be able to write articles that insult the very person who brought them here and cared for them and guided them in being a successful human so they could write those insulting articles. NONE of the things this woman thinks are important, people running countries, doctors saving lives, women working out in the world would be possible without parents, mothers. She has a problem with high paid men not having to participate in the drudgery of parenthood, but she obviously doesn’t understand fathers either. They come home from work and care for their children, and coach sports teams and get up in the middle of the night, and sit vigil at hospital beds praying that their little ones recover. My GOD woman, did you not have parents? Were they bad parents? Did your mother spend all her time doing her own thing and ignore you? Is that why you have such disdain for them? If those things are true, I am sorry for you. Genuinely sorry.

The next time you go on a ripper about the economics of working vs non-working mothers, keep a couple things in mind. The reason the government wants women to work is to add to the taxpayer rolls. The reason industry wants women to work is so they can charge more for everything because both adult members of a household are working and therefore they have more money available to spend.

There are women who MUST work outside the home. There are single mothers who MUST work to care for themselves and their children and there are women who LIKE working outside the home and I say good for them, whatever you have or want to do is fine by me. But don’t denigrate me if my choices are different. Don’t denigrate mothers because you think what they do has little or no value because it doesn’t create revenue. I creates human beings. It creates love. It creates security and a soft place to land in a harsh world, and if you didn’t get those things, I’m sorry, but don’t put down the people who are lucky enough to have it. Parenting IS the most important, hardest, heartbreaking, bittersweet, sweet, rewarding job in the world. We love.

Have a nice day.

Well THIS Day Didn’t Turn Out Like I Planned…

It started out innocent enough, normal enough, as I was planning enough. After getting everyone to school and breakfasting with my husband before he went to work, I puttered around the house a little and decided it was time to go to the gym and run my errands, and that was the first part of things going awry.

We joined a gym a month and a half or so ago, and about a week into it, I lost my ID. May I say I didn’t just lose it, it completely vanished from a secure place, my purse. When I leave the gym, I get my card out of the locker thing and immediately put it in my wallet. Well I did that, and it went away. The same place that extra socks and pens run away to, so I ordered another card. It took three weeks for it to come. I did the same routine with it that I did with the vaporized one and it seems it has happened again. I got to the gym parking lot, got in my wallet to get my ID and low and behold, it was not there. Tore the entire purse apart, gone. In my disgust, I decided to skip the gym and just run my errands.

That went fine. Gas, JoAnn’s for fabric to recover some outdoor cushions, Meijer to return some outdoor cushions that didn’t fit my furniture. You know, regular mom stuff. Oh yeah, I ate lunch at McDonald’s because my family doesn’t like McD’s so I have to go there alone. I don’t mind. But I digress, I got the errands done and was heading home for an hour or so of putting stuff away, picking up junk around the house and maybe reading a little before it was time to pick up the kids when my phone buzzed in my pocket.

I had messages from both kids both sent at 12:25. Older kid – I am 95% sure I have strep throat. Message two – 97%. Younger kid – Mom, I am so sick to my stomach! My internal response? CRAAAAAPPPPP…

I was a half mile from the high school so I just went straight over. When I got there, I texted Older kid and said I’m here to pick you up. Took a few minutes, then left to go up the hill to get Younger kid. Once I had Thing One and Thing Two in the car, we went straight to Urgent Care. I let them know that Older kid’s boyfriend had strep last week, and after waiting almost an hour to go back to a room, discovered what I already knew, both are streppy. The good thing was, we came away with more valuable than gold prescriptions for Z-packs, which they offered to sell me for fifteen bucks each. We went to Walmart got the meds for 95 cents each prescription and came home to eat noodles.

I feel sort of back on track, but now all I want to do is sit on my butt and read, but the stupid dog is whining to go out again after just coming in from going out and the laundry is calling my name. Oh well, I’ll think about that laundry tomorrow, because after all, tomorrow IS another day. One that will stay on track. I hope.

Have a great day 🙂

Harry Potter, You Are Creating Another Reader

I guess I should say J.K. Rowling, you are creating another reader, but in truth, it’s Harry.
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My twelve year old son likes to read one day, and hates it the next. Typical boy I guess, so on a recent trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, I bought him a copy of /Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone/. He’s seen the movies but only paid half attention to them. He liked Harry, but he was not the HP fan that my daughter is despite my best efforts, because he had not read the books to himself. By buying him his own copy in Hogsmeade, I figured he’d read it because it was a souvenir, and because he is the perfect age. Boy was I right.
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He is now on the second book and is fretting about what he’ll do when he has finished all the books. “What am I going to read after Harry Potter MOOOOM???” I hear this on almost a daily basis. I tell him we’ll find him something else when the time comes. In about a year. Because that is likely how long it will take him to read all those books. I am so happy that he is interested in reading now, and I thank Harry for helping me out. After all, he is what turned my daughter into the reader she is, he also meant more to her than most of the real people in her life. You can read about our farewell to Harry here, https://messagedisciplineisrequired.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/see-ya-later-harry-potter/?preview=true&preview_id=52&preview_nonce=c84fcf7526&post_format=standard.

So once again, I thank you Harry for having a positive impact on our lives, we will always love you.

What I’d LIKE To Say To The Athletic Director At Our School But Probably Won’t

My daughter is in marching band.  She plays mellophone in MB and french horn in orchestra band.  She can also play flute and piccolo.  Every summer, the high school marching band kids go through a little thing called Band Camp.  For the first week, they rehearse from 7am til noon.  Second week, they are working from 7am til 10pm with occasional social things thrown in.  Third week, they are back to 7am to noon.  Then they have a couple more multi-hour practices and then school starts.  Once school starts, they rehearse every Tuesday and Thursday night from 6-9pm on the football field and every Wednesday afternoon from 3-5pm on the black top in the parking lot.  There are 240-ish kids in our marching band.  We have what is, in my opinion, the best band director in the state and maybe the country.  Our band wins awards and marches in big famous parades and tours Europe and stuff like that.

Last week while our kids were busting their butts in 90 degree heat for roughly 13 hours per day, the soccer coach at our high school complained to the athletic director that on Tuesday and Thursday nights, our MB rehearsals bother him because the big loud metronome they use when they are learning is irritating to him.  Awwww, booo hoooo….   So our athletic director told our band director that we could not use the football field on Tues and Thurs because we irritate the soccer coach who is playing on an adjacent field.  They ended up working it out and we still get screwed, but not as thoroughly as we originally thought we would.  This is the scenario, the following is what I would like to say to the soccer coach AND the athletic director.

Dear Whiners,

Our marching band kids are athletes.  They stretch, march forward, backward and sideways, all the while playing difficult music that they must memorize.  Most of them lose significant amounts of weight during their training season and sustain athletic injuries like torn achilles tendons, muscle pulls and cuts and bruises.  One of our color guard girls had a sabre cracked into the underside of her chin last week that required stitches on one part of the injury and glue on the other part.  She sat holding ice on the wound and watched what was happening so she would not be behind and she was there bright and early the next morning to continue working.  If our kids do MB for two years in a row they are excused from a year of gym classes, same as soccer players, football players, baseball players and cheerleaders et.al.

Marching band kids have parents who pay taxes on their homes.  Thousands of dollars a year of taxes on their homes, with the overwhelming majority of said money going to the school district to pay for educating our kids and providing facilities for them to use for their various activities.  There are waaay more MB parents paying those taxes than soccer parents.  Our kids have every right to use the facilities that we pay for.

Our marching band is award-winning.  BIG awards.  Grand Champions at all but one of the competitions we attended last year.  Our marching band wins so many trophies in fact during the course of a season, that there is not room for them at the school and kids who win various marching band awards get to choose from the mountain of trophies and take one home at the end of the season.  Can the soccer team say that?  Nope.

Our marching band has performed in the Rose Bowl parade, toured Europe and is going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 2013.  Hundreds of high school bands applied to be a part of that parade and ours was one of only 12 I think, that were accepted.  Has the soccer team done anything like that?  Nope.

Our marching band has given our school district countless opportunities to demonstrate to the world the excellence of our schools and our students.  When our band marches into a stadium for a competition, you can hear everyone in the stands groan, because they know that in all likelihood, they don’t stand a chance against us.  Can the soccer team say the same?  My educated guess is, Nope.

So, athletic whiners, if you don’t like Dr. Beat, go to Wal-mart and buy some earplugs.  We have work to do and unfortunately for you apparently, we compete on football fields and in order to maintain our excellence, we need to practice on the football field.  If the earplugs are not enough, put your balls in a bag and go to the freshman building to play or practice or whatever you are doing.  In order for US to go to the other field, we have to use two large panel trucks to transport our equipment.  It costs a fortune to move our stuff and since we are self-funded and get ZERO dollars from the district, we can’t afford to do that twice a week.  Your balls will fit in a trunk and your kid’s parents can drop them off at the other field.

Band geeks of the world unite!  No more second fiddle to sports!  We ARE a sport and we are an EXCELLENT team that deserves to use the facilities that we pay for just as much as people who play with balls.

Thank you,

Rabid Band Mom

Have a lovely evening and be good to one another 🙂

Cat Races

So apparently, my ten-year old son turned into a bookie this morning.  He decided to launch the first annual Mother’s Day Cat Races at our house.  We have three cats, he assigned himself, my daughter and my husband a cat to “train,” collected bets, which he wrote down on some kind of weird paper, and gave me the job of standing in the kitchen and shaking the cat food to get them to run.  For some strange reason, we all cooperated, and it was hilarious.

Bella

Bella, is a small, delicate little tortoise-shell kitty.  She is kind of hyper and loves my husband with a strange, obsessive intensity.  So Hubs was her trainer.

Blue

Blue is a huge, fat Garfield of a cat.  He is a gray and white tuxedo mutt who flops down at random intervals when hauling all that chub around gets to be too much.  The Girl was assigned this bundle of endless energy.

Tigger, the sink dweller

 Tigger is the latest rescuee who we found in a glass case at Petsmart.  He is orange and supposedly a Maine Coon, which based on his size (big, but not fat like SOME people) and luxurious hair seems to be accurate.  He is a momma’s boy, and is marginally afraid of my son who made himself Tigger’s trainer.

Since Tigger will run down the main hall of our house, but then makes a sharp right and hides behind the couch when he hits the family room, the edge of the family room was the finish line.  Monkey Boy downloaded a megaphone app on his iPad and made a big long announcement on it and a ready, set, go 3-2-1 thing and they were off.  As soon as I heard him say go, I started pouring food into their bowls.  Tigger, who wanted nothing more than to get away from my son, took off at warp speed, Blue who is always interested in food was hot on his heels and Bella, who is in love with Hubs, ran because she was initially startled and then turned back to look for her Daddy.  In the end, it was Tigger by a length and a duck behind the couch due to the horror of being held for a while by Monkey Boy and Blue of course, was the first one to the kitchen and the promise of delicious kitty kibble.

I came to several conclusions during this fantastic, new, annual Mother’s Day event.  First, my son is even more clever than I thought he was.  First, he chose the cat that is afraid of him and will do whatever is necessary to get away, figuring out that said cat would also be the fastest due to fear.  Second, my son also has a brilliant future as a business man or maybe a politician or organized crime boss due to his ability to scheme, take bets and generally get people to participate in things they don’t really feel like doing, but in the end they enjoy on some level.  Third, fear, or food, gets things done faster than love because the one in love with her trainer had no desire to leave him, only turn and gaze at him with adoration.

Now that the first annual races are done, I think we should expand and invite in other cats and trainers next year.  We could charge an entry fee and take a percentage of the bets for the house.  Awwww SNAP!!  Maybe Monkey Boy doesn’t have to be a crime boss all by himself!!  Is there such thing as The Godmother?  I can put my fingertips together and mutter “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” just as well as Don Vito Corleone did.  Yessss, I can see it now, a Cat Race empire…

Happy Mother’s Day friends, be kind to one another 🙂

Is “Pretty” The Newest Bad Word???

I’m pretty sure I’ve established that I am politically incorrect.  If you’ve read earlier posts, you’ll know that I let my kids ride bikes helmet-less, they play with knives and soap bars and I let them play in the mud.  The newest offense that I engage in is telling them they are good-looking.

I really need to stop reading news and scientific studies.  The latest thing I read is how it is probably not good to tell your small daughters  that they are pretty  BLAH, BLAH, BLAHHHHHH…..

I tell my daughter that she is pretty.  She is.  I tell my son that he is handsome.  He is.  I also tell them that they are smart, that they have amazing reasoning skills and that they are kind.  I tell them when I’m proud and I tell them that they are capable of doing or being anything they WANT to do or be.  If I don’t tell them those things who will??  The kid in the next desk at school?  I don’t think so.  That kid is more likely to look at them and say, take your pick, “you’re weird, you’re stupid, you’re to0 fat/skinny/tall/short, you’re annoying, you’re boring, your butt is flat/fat/wide/narrow, you can’t play sports.  To that kid, I say, look in the mirror kid, what bounces off me sticks to you, or whatever that phrase is.

I was watching that twenty-five year-long afternoon pass-time, Oprah, a couple of years ago and saw Maria Shriver talking about her parents.  She said that when she was growing up, her parents lavished her with praise.  They told her she was beautiful and smart and they told her when they were proud and basically, they instilled self-confidence in her.  They didn’t rely on school, or other kids, or other people to make their daughter feel good about herself.  THEY gave her the confidence that she needed to succeed in the world, and from what I can tell, they did a good job.  She is successful, she seems to be a good mother and she has the strength to dump her cheating, baby daddy asshole of a husband.

I’m not saying that I don’t discipline my kids or that everything they do or say is cute or good.  They can be real stinkers at times and I let them know about it, but I also tell them how wonderful they are, because 99% of the time, they ARE wonderful.  If their father and I don’t tell them how awesome they are who will?  If they don’t think that their parents think they can be great, how will they know to try?

So, when my daughter makes videos to post on You Tube, or my son makes his 4,359th soap dragon with that sharp, sharp knife, you can bet your boots I’ll tell them how talented they are and that they should keep going.  And oh yeah, they look pretty doing it too 🙂

Letting Kids Be Kids

I just read an article on some parenting blog about letting kids be kids.  For some reason I find it sad that modern parents need to be instructed in that.  It gave helpful tips like, let your kid play in the summer.  Send them outside.  Let them catch lightning bugs.  Limit extracurricular activities to no more than one or two per season.  Really?  People don’t already know that?

When I was a kid, my job was school.  I took dancing lessons, but my job was school.  My mom gave me plenty of time to just be.  I read a lot, and did art projects a lot.  My older brother dragged countless large refrigerator boxes home for me behind his bike, that he would promptly carve windows and doors into for me and presto-chango, I had my own house.  My grandma played cards with me and it’s a good thing that the money she provided for betting was pennies, otherwise she would’ve gone broke, because I was pretty good.

Summers were even better.  I ate breakfast, got on my bike and left.  Granted it was the 1970’s and the chances of someone stealing me from my small town were less than the chances of your kid being stolen by a pervert today, but when I say I left, I mean I left.  My mom told me to be back when the church bells rang 5:00 and that is when I went home.  I would eat dinner and go back out til about 11.  At night.  In the dark.  With friends.  It was AWESOME!!  I was skinny and tan and healthy.  My hair would be so blonde at the end of summer that I was accused of dyeing it from about the age of nine or ten.  We rode bikes, went to the pool, hung out in the cemetery (hey, it was pretty and shady and quiet, don’t judge me).  We played in the woods, looked for glass bottles to turn in at Green Valley to finance our snack jones and generally had a blast.

By the time school started I was excited to go back because I was bored.  I had participated in zero extracurricular activities, and had not seen a great number of my friends.  The friends that I did see lived in town, not in the country.  Going back to school was being reintroduced to everyone and everything.  I remember how excited I always was to bring my stack of books home to cover and show my mom.  We also didn’t start school til after Labor Day, so hot school days in the fall were limited, because well, it was almost fall, not the middle of summer.

The world today is full of wonderful opportunities.  We are all much more connected to each other and to the rest of humanity than we ever have been before.  There are more ways to make a living, more tv channels, more electronic gadgets and more ways to learn to dance or play soccer or volleyball or football.  On the flip side, kids are fatter, bullying is now impossible to escape because it is on the internet, we have no privacy because everyone carries a camera with them in their phones everywhere they go, we can’t get away from the world because we are always connected via those phones and we are constantly bombarded by news.  The twenty-four hour news cycle has driven everyone crazy.

Here’s my idea.  In the summer, no extracurriculars.  No special lessons for elementary kids, and limited stuff for older kids.  Face it mom and dad, your kid, in all likelihood is not Micheal Jordan, or insert famous person name here.  Let them enjoy being kids.  Let them get bored.  Give them time to read for pleasure (and it’s ok if it’s a comic book).  Let them play cowboys and indians, or war, or house, or pioneers or Harry Potter.  Read them old stories and take them places that will stimulate their imaginations.  Give them a big plastic box full of paint, markers, paper, glue and stuff to create with and let them go to town.  Give them cap guns and Barbies.  Cap guns won’t make them murderers and Barbie won’t give them bulemia.  Give them their dad’s old army backpack, a jar of water and a sleeve of saltines (with salt on them) and let them go crawl through the mud on their bellies to win WW II or kill terrorists.  Let them play.  Let them imagine the world and the future.  Play is how kids learn to be.  It’s how they gain independence.  Structured, adult led lessons, do not give kids the chance to expand their minds and learn how to think.  It makes them think and be what the adults want them to be and think.  Adult life is hard, let them be carefree for as long as they can.  School is hard.  Let them decompress over the summer.  They are not going to end up in the projects if you don’t make them do homework all summer.   If you burn them out when they’re little, when it really counts, they won’t be able to function.

I have to stop writing now, because I have to put together a bug out kit for my son.  There are rumors that there are coyotes roaming the ten feet of woods in my back yard and he needs to go vanquish the varmints.  One last thing.  Get your kid a big dog or two and let them bond.  Dogs seem to enjoy playing interesting games too.  It’s summer, relax and catch the lightning bugs and remember the first bit of water out of the hose is not fit for drinking because it is hot.  Let it run for a minute or so, the environment will survive and so will you AND your kids.