••• Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Meeting With the Boss 

Note:This post was initiated on June 18, the day after I attended the concert in subsequent mention. It's old and stale news. However, I have found that if I spend some time writing a post and neglect to publish it, I get all brainstipated and am unable to post at all. So, consider this post a kind of an enema. Since we're on the topic, there's one more backed up post waiting in the queue, plopping your way soon.

That Boss. And he was completely off his rocker. In a good way.

I think I mentioned this a while back, that my husband and I had tickets to see Bruce in concert, on the We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions) tour.

I'm no music critic, but I will say that if you have a chance to see this concert, go. And if you haven't yet bought the album; buy.

I've never been a huge Springsteen fan. I didn't hate him or anything, he just didn't float my boat. My first year at Michigan State (1977), I remember more than a few Bob Seger-Bruce Springsteen wars on my dorm floor, between the Detroiters and East Coast students. At the time, I was a little confused by all the ruckus, since I thought they were the same guy.

After June 17, I'm proud to say that Bruce is my new crush. Actually, considering my husband, we should call it a three-way. ::In the mood for good google.::

The night wasn't just about the music. There was also some great people watching, once I got over how old most of the concertgoers looked. I think I was expecting a younger crowd. You know, more my age. Then I realized that these old people are my age. Then I started drinking heavily, after which, we all looked pretty damn good.

On a positive note, if the fellow concert attendees were mostly my age, it's safe to assume that they couldn't see well enough to notice that my left eyebrow hasn't been tweezed in about a month. My good tweezers were left at the cottage, so I've been using my old ones, which are about 20 years old (the old-fashioned scissor style). For some reason they only work properly on the right side. I will admit that I'm getting pretty good at leading with the right side of my face, a la Nancy Grace.

Our seats were in row PP, which meant I was destined to visit the increasingly-concert-venue-esque-as-the-night-wore-on bathroom every 30 minutes, or so. I'm just glad we didn't sit in row PooPoo. ::There had to be a row PooPoo. That could be the only logical explanation for women working on their Night Moves, in a packed jon, with Bruce Springsteen cranking it just a few hundred feet away. Just sayin'.::

I have finally finished the knitting portion of the Crumpets. I decided to go with the Picot cast-off, as recommended by the designer. Unfortunately, I didn't really like the looks of it ::Note the Poky Uppy Thingies on the right, which bear close resemblance to a pack of jolly sea serpents, on meth.::

I swear, I followed the directions for this cast-off to a stitch. When the results from my first attempt ended up looking nothing like the picture in the book (Epstein's) I checked an online source. Same directions, same results.

It was at that point I determined that I had invented a new stitch and thusly named it Serpicot. But birthing a monster does not mean you have to love it.

Lawd, no.

So I searched further, for the picot cure, and ended up here, where I found directions for said picot cast-off, which ended up looking just like the picture in Epstein's book. ::It's the little nubby on the left, in the above picture. Bloggerhag won't let me upload a better shot at this time.::

Vacating Further
Is it just me, or is there a theme here? Anyway, yes I am on vacation. And yes, I have no vacation updates. My husband has been working, on vacation, and today it was raining, and basically, to date, we've moved our homelife to the cottage. i.e. Same shit, better view.

My next bloggstipation post will be a wrap-up of last week's festivities at Soccer Camp. Where there were lots of mommies. And fear. For my life. And theirs. For the next 13 years.

I'll just wrap with this Soccer Mom's Mother-of-a-Soccer-Camper's Moment of Summer Break Enlightenment: It takes some balls to kick some ASS.

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••• Thursday, June 22, 2006

L is for Lake 

And where I'm fixin' to be tomorrow afternoon, about 5 p.m. for a 10-day vacation. I've been hunt and pecking out a post all week on an entirely different subject ::Heh. Like this is a subject.:: but just now decided fuck it. So this is all you're getting. For now.

In the meantime, have you heard this Gnarls Barkley tune? It sounds so back in the day. Makes me think of getting dumped by a boyfriend(s). And junior size tampons. And T.J. Swann. And how I thought Aramis smelled like the topical antiseptic they use at the vet's office.

I'll see you on the otherside of tomorrow.


••• Friday, June 16, 2006

Her Royal HighnASS, the Queen 

It appears that a certain member of Chez Porcine has picked up a bad case of Adjustment to Summer Syndrome, a.k.a. ASS. For those unfamiliar, ASS is an insidious, seasonal affliction, striking 10's of thousands of children every year. The onset is typically sudden and almost always strikes within the first week of summer vacation.

Unfortunately, the only known cure for ASS, is to beat it.

How to Tell if You have ASS in Your Home:
1) After hours of bikeriding, running and otherwise frolicking in the neighborhood with neighborhood friends, under the loving supervision of her mother, the afflicted will show no appreciation for said mother's inability to do anything else with her life, due to the sitting outside to supervise the frolicking of not only her own child, but also some other children on the block, several of whose parents are unable to practice safe birth control despite their apparent inability to NOT safely supervise the 6-pack of Damions they done spawned.

2) When parent tries to get the afflicted into the house for dinner, the afflicted will become highly resistant, as exhibited through throwing one huge, hairy fucking fit, in front of all the neighborhood ::I think some people even stopped having unprotected sex for a minute, just to see what was going on::.

3) Once in the house, the afflicted will commence with increasingly aggressive and violent acts, which may or may not include kicking flip flops, one flop at a time, into the general direction of her mother's head, closely followed by the snapping of the mother's bare legs with the afflicted's beloved blankie.

4) After the afflicted has been seemingly subdued via a a swift pop on the butt a time-out, and all apologies have been made, the afflicted will immediately resume making demands to rule the Earth, under threat of further hairy fucking fittings, the likes of which escape capture via the written word.

5) After a few hours of contrite behavior and positive attitude, the afflicted requests to go out for ice cream. To immediately reinforce the most recent phase of positive behavior, the afflicted is granted the request.

6) Once home from the ice cream store, the sequence of behaviors outlined in items 2-4 is repeated. In the driveway.

7) At bedtime, apologies are made and a better day is agreed upon for the morrow.

8) The next day, all hell breaks loose before noon, and the afflicted is confined to the house for the remainder of the day, with full understanding of the reason, with the usual bedtime apology.

9) Following day: wash, rinse, repeat.
Truth be, this onset of ASS was quite the puzzle to me. I just didn't get it. She's going to be 5 years old in the fall. She's no longer a toddler. She can anticipate consequences. She feels the pain. She remembers. She wants to do well. And mostly, she wants to go outside and have fun. Yet, for whatever reason, she seemed to truly believe she that can do anything. With impunity.

And then I remembered. The Floam.

Whenever the TV commercial for Floam comes on, The Cakers can be heard yelling: I want that! Mom, I want Floam!

Yeah, Yeah. I'd say.

From what I knew, Floam was something for which you had to send away. A something which I would never do. So the Yeah.Yeah. seemed a safe response. At least until last weekend. That's when my husband and I took The Cakers on an afternoon of errands, which included a stop at Michael's, where they sell, you guessed it, Floam.

"Mom, remember when you said I could get Floam?"
Yeah. Yeah.

So we bought her a little cannister of white. You'da thunk she'd been annointed the Queen of the Freakin' Foamin' Empire, she was so happy.

"Mom! With Floam, you can do ANYTHING!

That's swell, honey. Swell.

Later that day, The Cakers was out back running with the six-pack of Damions, while I sat on the back deck and knit. I wasn't paying much attention to what the kids were doing, but it sounded like they were having fun.

After hearing the sound of arguing, I looked up to see two boys pointing toy guns at The Cakers.

"You're Dead! You're Dead! We shot you!"
"I'm not dead. I Floamed you."
"Nut-huh! Floam can't do nothin'!"
"Uh-huh! Floam can do anything!"

This was a really cute scene, so I quick like a bunny grabbed my camera to get the shot. Unfortunately, the autofocus on the camera automatically focused on the canopy poles and not the kids, so use your imagination.:

Yes, that's my daughter, Queen of The Floamin' Empire, ruling her kingdom with a 6 oz. tub of white. Notice the boys running away, obviously under the new impression that indeed, Floam can do anything.

By the time I got into a better lens position, the boys were gone, so the Queen took aim at her next objet du subjugation. The Momma.

Yep. That's it. The moment of infloamy. Caught in pixel.

You see, I swear to the gods of everything Chia, that from the very moment she took aim at her mother with a cannister of Floam, my daughter has been operating under the belief that she, like the product in question, can do anything.

The good thing about finding the cause for ASS is knowing the cure. What a shame that someone left the lid off the Floam can, overnight. Now it's nothing but a pile of dried balls, with which you can't do anything.

That's what I call beatin' some ASS.

••• Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Walkin' The Blog: Part III 

Dear Former Neighbor and Alleged Perpetrator of Domestic Violence,

You probably don’t remember me. But I remember you. I’m writing this today for a couple of reasons. First, I’d like to thank you for the Best Stalking Story, ever. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not think there is anything funny or cute about emotional terrorism, which is what stalking associated with domestic violence really is. But if you can hang with me a minute I will get to that.

It’s been over a dozen years now, since I divorced my first husband, received my graduate degree and took out my very own 30-year mortgage on a new life.

It was during my second summer in my new life neighborhood, that your lovely wife approached me as I walked past your house. She had heard I was a soshul werker and said she needed some help. Then she told me her tale. I won't go into specifics, because not only would that be a violation of trust, it really isn't necessary. You already know the story. And it’s a bad one.

Anyway, your wife had heard I was a therapist and wondered if I knew where she could get some help with her situation. She told me that before kicking you out, she had sought the counsel of her minister at the Church of the Blessed Waters of Baby Jesus, Flowing Through The Holes in Their Heads, who advised that God forbids divorce and that she needed to stay in the marriage. And submit.

Being the sweet, loving and charitable woman she is, she initially agreed to let you stay, as long as you both attended marriage counseling with the Holey Reverend. And as you know (and as many could have predicted, given the situation, holes in head notwithstanding), the ministerial approach did not go well.

::And just between you and me, I think you’re damn lucky to not be serving a life sentence of equal perpetration to that which you done perpetrated on the woman you once promised to honor and cherish. But I digress.::

The second thing your wife asked me was what she should do about the stalking. Even though she had a Order of Protection, she told me that you continued to harass her.

Me: Have you called the police?
She: Well, yeah. But they can’t do anything about it.
Me: That’s Bullshit.
She: Not really.

Then she pointed to the sky.

We both looked up, and there you were. Flying a little airplane,'round and 'round above our neighborhood. As we squinted into the summer sky, I saw you tip the wing, in a friendly “howdy do?” Your wife waved.

No way. I say.
Every day. She responded.

We quickly grew accustomed to the annoying drone of your little flying penis plane, as I gave her some resources to call for help in designing a safety plan and real therapy. I also empathized and gave lots of encouragement.

What your wife didn't know was that the help I offered was not something I learned in school, from a lecture or textbook. And since this story is not about me, I'll just say that I was one of probably thousands of self-emancipated women who didn't sleep well the days and weeks after Nicole Simpson was murdered.

Anyhoo. Back in the day when you were my neighbor, I recall that you were an avid runner. Obsessive even. I'd see you running every day, rain, shine or 90 degreed humidity. And I must say, you were quite the speciman of health and fitness. Taut, tan and maybe a little too handsome.

Since I started my walking regime this past spring, I've seen you out running about a half-dozen times now. Which takes me to the other reason I'm writing this. Dude, you ain't looking too good.

In fact, at first I hardly recognized you. You look crumpled. Bent. Broken.

Your stride is not what it used to be, either. It makes me think of doggy paddling, for the sidewalk. Desperate.

And I'm no doctor, but you might want to see someone about that emerging hump on your back.

I bet you think I'm going to poke fun of you now. Or say something about justice or karma. But I'm not. I really just want to tell you that I truly feel bad for you. Sorry, even.

You see, I don't know how many women you have brutalized, but I'm guessing it was more than one. To a person, I'm sure each is better off today than you are. Or ever have been.

By the looks of you today, I suspect that you missed the bus of enlightenment, which has no doubt parked at your stop hundreds of times.

By the looks of you today, it appears that you still equate fear with respect and love with obedience and control with happiness. In other words, you're lonely. Still.

I also suspect that you have no awareness as to the real reason you brutalize your body on a daily basis. So you might be surprised to hear that it's not at all about fitness or health or vanity. It's about redemption. It's your higher self seeking pennance for the lower parts; all driven by what remains of the shiny part of your soul ::And yes, I believe everyone has a light to shine.::

Wow. Have I digressed. Again.

You may recall that I started this post thanking you for the best stalking story ever. And again, this is in no way meant to trivialize a very serious and often deadly, social issue.

But what I really want to thank you for is encapsulating forever, for me, the image of a true bully. When I first realized what your wife was indicating when she pointed to the sky, I was very frightened for her. And for myself, a little.

But there is a part of the story that I left out earlier. The part where we laughed.

After the shock passed, and we watched you make a total ass of yourself in front of the entire neighborhood, I said to your wife, "Kind of pathetic,really." And she agreed. And then we laughed.

Because really, a bully is nothing more than a dangerous, insecure clown. But a clown nontheless. So again, thank you for that.

Oh yeah, I ran into your now ex-wife a couple of years ago at the grocery store. She has remarried. Her high school sweetheart. She looked glorious. Loved. Happy. And although you didn't come up in the conversation, I'm sure if asked, she'd wish you the very same.

Sandy Sky

••• Friday, June 09, 2006

K is for... 

...Kayaks, Kakers and Kow

'Knuff said.

...Kickoff to Summer
Today is ::Fuckin' Blogger:: Yesterday was the first day of my summer vacation. For someone who has not worked in the “real world” of year-round employment for 13 years now, the onset of the 10-week summer vacation is still a source of wonder and deep appreciation. Or at least it will be, come Saturday.

Most of my civilian friends assume that my last walk across the parking lot, on that last day of the school year, is marked by a sense of jubilation and excitement. Au contraire. To a year, as I make that final pilgrimage home, I feel drained, stressed and more than a little bit dusty. This feeling lasts for about two days and is attributed to the mutual disrespect between the mandated tasks associated with closing shop for the summer, and falling babies.

I know. No one wants to hear whining about the difficulties of preparing for a paid, 10-week vacation. And yes, it doesn’t suck. But for a couple days or so, it doesn’t not suck either.

In comments, Enjay asked about my job, wondering if I was a soshul werker or kownsler. My official job title is “Skool Soshul Werker.”* (SSW) Here in Michigan, SSW services are required in all public school settings to perform speshul ed. evaluations for Awtism and Emoshunal Imparement. Some counties have one SSW for the entire district to perform evals. My district employs seven. How the schools use SSWs beyond performing evaluations is up to them.

In the role of SSW, I work at a high school and primarily with speshul ed. students who are determined to need SSW services per the IEP. ::Federally mandated paperwork done on each student, which defines student’s needs and services.:: I also do evaluations, of course, and this year I was assigned to the district’s Awtism Specktrim Disorder diagnostic team, which has allowed me to work in other buildings, with different age groups, as well as practice writing really long sentences.

I do have a caseload of students I see weekly or bi-weekly, and often times in between. And I do lots of paperwork. Other responsibilities include being on-call to consult with teachers and administration for behavior management (of students) and special issues that arise. I am also on the district crisis team and am called to individual buildings in the event of a death of a student or teacher.

In my district, SSW’s at the elementary level perform both speshul ed. duties and duties that most people attribute to that of a school kownsler (individual and group kownsling, class instruction on character education, pre-sped referral interventions, etc.) At the elementary level, the SSW doesn’t have a large speshul ed. caseload. We do have gydance kownslers at the high school who provide some kownsling but mostly deal with issues of graduation requirements, college prep, standardized testing etc.

In Michigan, A SSW must have a master degree and above that, special certification to work in the school environment. The pay is really good (I’m on a teacher’s contract, with a 60 hour masters degree) as are the benefits. But the best thing is that I love it and feel like I make a difference. I also feel very lucky to have this job. SSW openings are rare, and one job posting can attract 1,000 applicants.

Okay, you can unglaze your eyes. It's over.

...Karma at a Klip
And now for some totally idiotic stuff that I’ve been thinking about between stress blinks.
1) Over the past couple of years I’ve realized that I send out more paper clips than I receive. This really bothered me for some reason. In my work environment, there appears to be a daily, equitable exchange of paperclips between other personnel. Yet, I always end up short.

For awhile I was taking this clip crap kind of personal. Is there something about me? Am I not deserving? Is it a conspiracy?

This week I did some real deep cleaning of my files. Like,7 years worth. And guess what I found? Yeppers. A cache of clips. Enough to get me through the next school year and possibly beyond, without running out. No doubt. I guess that sometimes we got shit we don't know we got. It just takes a closer look. K?

2) I'm very uncomfortable with all this cheering and celebration over the death of another human being, even if the guy was a moral skank. Someday we're gonna find out that it causes cancer.

3) Math is not my strong suit, but isn't 6-6-2006 about 2000 years off the 666 mark? And wasn't there an actual year 666? And on that note, sort of, I recently learned that Moses had a speech impediment. Think about this a minute. Is it possible that Moses merely met a guy named Bernie Busch up on that mountain?
...Knitting (duh)

The Picot Poo is looking less carnival ride with the addition of the skirt. I'm really liking the look of this one, now, 360 stitches 'round and 'round, notwithstanding.

...Kick-ass Photography
I actually haven't done much knitting this week. I've come up with a new crop of photos for my notecard collection and have been making new gift batches. I'm really enjoying this new hobby, including the giveaway. And I'll say it again, there's nothing like a couple hours of slicing and dicing photos as a stress management tool. It's all about control.

Here's one of my new favorites:

I probably have 100 pictures of that gazebo. It's my little love shack.

That's it for today (or yesterday, thank you very much Blagger.I mean Blogger.)

One more thing. I have come to the conclusion that some people go into sportscasting so they can say stuff like "He needs to get the puck out of there!" on national TV.

*I distort the spelling on these words to impede professional googles landing at my place. This blog is my psychological sanctuary and I don't want to be found.


••• Saturday, June 03, 2006

Picot Poo 

Please fasten your seat belts and secure your folding trays in the upright position. Knitting content ahead.

Over the holiday weekend, I had a thought to finish The Cakers' heart motif sweater. But somehow steaming and seaming seemed unseemly tasks for a four day rest, so I came up with a new project to never finish.

The pattern is Crumpets, which is designed as a dress but I'm making it into a top (a la Wendy). I'm making this adaptation because I think a top will be more practical for summer, for the following reason: In Cakers' size, the skirt section grows to a whopping 360 stitches, which in dress form needs to be 27" long. 360 stitches x 27 inches of in-the-round stockinette = my death = impractical. At least at this writing.

Here's what I have so far:

This was my first time using a picot edging, and I kinda liked it. I woulda kinda liked it better if I didn't have to cast on 180 stitches (final tally, not counting the picoted-off ones). I'm not sure I'm thrilled with the look of it so far. The picot edging looks a bit, uh, celebratory. I fear that it's going to make my daughter look like the center post of a carnival ride. ::Is it just me, or do the picot points in pink look like red rockets for chihuahuas? Click on pict for closer look.**::

The pattern itself is pretty easy but with every fourth row being all cable, all the time (180 stitches), I feel like I'm knitting a slow boat to China.

Final Days
I have three days of work before I'm off for summer break. All three of these days are already packed with important functions I must not only attend but also play a primary role in their being carried off with success.

I haven't been able to share much about my work travails this year because of the nature of my job. I can say that the year has sucked some considerable ass. Aside from huge crises, there was one slow-burn, time sucking issue I was assigned to deorchestrate, which culminated last week into a spiritual punch in the solar plexus. For a hot second, the emotional impact of this event had me thinking about requesting reassignment.

In the 8 years I've been working in this setting (hi skool) I have never doubted my purpose or ability to impact. I knew it was where I belong. That loss of essence, even temporarily, was a powerful hurt. And a surprising one.

I'm better now. Although still not in full trust mode, I'm confident that I'm where I need to be.

On a positive note, this school year I was selected to be a part of two cutting-edge county and district-wide projects. These experiences not only provided me with pleasant changes in scenery, but I also received some highly specialized training, which will be invaluable to me over the next couple of years. The latter will be particularly helpful with the next round of changes in speshul educayshun policies, which are being developed as we weep speak.

See, I can do something besides whine. And now that I have posted the perfunctory knitting content for the month, I will return to posting the usual boring, made up shit.

*For some reason, I could not come up with the word impractical and kept typing impractible. It wasn't until I was ready to publish that I realized the mistake. Blogger's spell check sucks so I never use it. It questions the word blog. Hello?

**I did not know that until last week. About clicking the pictures for closer view. I know. I've been busy, k?::