Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A lesson from my daughter to me.

The 5th grade has been a rough year.  The teaching staff is lackluster.  (That's putting it kindly.)  The grading has been inconsistent.  K's teacher has "student graders."  With such and even with his grading, it has left M and I to re-grade K's papers whenever that blessed day arrives maybe once or twice a month.

It is at this point that I should note that one of the 5th grade teachers sent home a construction paper "file" so that we could keep the papers and if there were grading issues, then we could check them.  I understand needing to keep an eye and it is probably admirable that the teacher is recognizing that she has grading deficits.  It, however, is not my job to have to re-grade every single paper that comes home because they are so poor at handling their organization of it all.  I shouldn't have to check each paper point by point to be certain that it was logged into the system properly.  It frustrates both M and I to no end.

We have found many grading errors.  One was a 25 point difference in the letter grade on the paper.  A little bit here and a little bit there with math has made a difference of a point here and a point there. Mr. H has told K, "It didn't make a difference in your grade."  But it has.  A point here and a point there in regard to letter grade for a report card made a final difference between one grade to the next.

K called and left a message on my voice mail yesterday. "Mom, the grade I got on my reading test wasn't what you told me."  I talked to her later and said we'd figure it out when I got home.  She checked it and sadly, she's right.  He graded out a test and logged it as 33 points higher than she scored.

"Mom, I have to take this back," she said without hesitation.  "I didn't earn this grade and I cannot take this.  It isn't fair to the kids who earned that grade."

:twinge of guilt:

There was a little part of me that wanted to keep it.  The faltering reading grades for all of our 5th graders is just insane.  When you have 73 out of 76 kids pass the first reading test and you KEEP IT, there is something horribly wrong.

I told K how proud I was of her.  I did tell her the percentage ramifications of such a choice.  "Mom, that just means that I need to work harder."

Bless her heart.

She doesn't want a grade not due her, just as we don't want her not to get the grade that she deserves.  She said that she'd speak to him about it and get it straightened around today.

My heart smiles because she's doing the right thing.  She's doing the right thing by choice.  I didn't have to talk her into it or to defend it.  That is the best of all.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My husband kind of hates my Christmas list.

We do Christmas lists in my house.  Actually, M and I do them but K often skips.  She tells me that whatever Santa brings she's good with.  Raised right, that kiddo.  Well, at least in that respect.

So M handed me his list.  It will be a very Ice T Christmas.  It was a simple list to work from and his suggestion was that I work from Amazon and Half.com.  I only had one order refunded due to lack of inventory and I was able to go through AmazonSmile to benefit the Vitalogy Foundation, so it's a win-win!  I was able to order the refunded CD from someone else, I ordered something NOT on his list (shutter at the thought) and his shopping was done from the convenience of home and this here silly silver box in about an hour.

Now then, M said that he had to resort to hopping off the "list" for me because, well, I put some things on there that don't actually exist.  I told him that I was looking towards the future!

Amy’s wish list – Many pinned on Pinterest board “Music that takes me where I need to go.”  (Just for your reference.) Used is great and somewhat preferred on all.

Pearl Jam
·      Water on the Road- Eddie Vedder DVD of his 2008 solo tour.
·      Knowlden- I can pretty much tell you that you won’t find it.  It was released by PJ as a limited run back in the spring, maybe.  I’m not even certain if it is vinyl only.  Obviously, we don’t spin the black circle.
·      Into the Wild soundtrack and movie.  I’ve seen the movie for $5 at the Exchange. I’ve never bothered to look for the CD.
·      Imports.  Singles are all a fuzzy area. You know the rules.
·      PJ Christmas singles.  They will be vinyl, but they are limited so that is my only reason for asking.  You can buy some new online for $10.  Only buy if you can get a really good deal.
·      รจ Please do not buy any UNAUTHORIZED books or videos.  There are some crappy people who wrote books about them (Kim Neeley being one) and I don’t want to own any of that. They put out enough for us to buy on the resale market or directly from them.
·      No Code and Yield re-issue box set.  No, it doesn’t exist yet, but since they did both albums live & in full this fall, we know that it is just a matter of time.

Soundgarden
·      Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path (Coming out 11/24)  A B-sides recording.  Hold and find it used.
·      Superunknown was released as a box set back in June.  Hold on for a while.  USED! 
·      Chris Cornell- Songbook (CD)

Mother Love Bone
·      Apple
·      Shine (EP)
·      Mother Love Bone (A compliation)
·      Mother Love Bone:  A Love Bone Earth Affair – now this one is tricky and probably fairly unattainable. It was released in 1993 and not officially released onto DVD.  VHS only. 
·      There is supposed to be a release coming.  I know that it is a previously unreleased single. 

Misfits- Glen Danzig ONLY.  No other recordings, please.  Just these.  J
·      Static Age
·      Walk Among Us

Pixies
·      Doolittle
·      Wave of Mutilation

The Talking Heads
·      Talking Heads: 77
·      More Songs About Buildings and Food
·      I don’t own any of them at all and would like them, so it is a free-for-all. 
Gee, I just don't see what he's talking about!  ;)  In all seriousness, he knows that I just don't require a list.  He's the picky one.  Other than the Kindle that he bought me that wasn't quite the right one (he bought the Paper White when what I wanted was the new Kindle Fire.  Oops.  He didn't take the obvious hints that well.)

So, do you exchange with your spouse/significant other?  Is it a list required thing?  When we got married, M specified that we were to give impractical items only for Christmas.  That is why you won't see clothes, socks or underwear on any of our lists.  Those things are illegal for gifting here at the House of Bailey's Leaf-- by royal decree of Hubs.  And yes, we do have a double digit limit for each person that includes items for the stocking and for under the tree.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

I had to pull the Mom Censorship Card while waiting for my pizza at Little Caesars.

From Monday - Wednesday, I worked 12-13 hour days getting ready for our holiday open house this weekend. Thursday, I worked our Scholastic Book Fair from 7:30 AM - 6:30 PM.  Today, I worked the Book Fair from 7:50 AM - 4:30 PM.  Exhaustion set in.  K and I went to LC's for our dinner.

We bought the pretzel crust cheese pizza.  Yes, we also bought the crazy bread.  We were wild and crazy girls.  We had evening plans that involved pizza, crazy bread and some TV.

Since we ordered the cheese pretzel crust pizza without pepperoni, we had to wait.  I'm used to it.  "Hot and Ready" has never been "Hot and Ready" cheese. Since we had to wait 6 minutes, we opted to just sit in their tiny waiting area.  There were three chairs.  There were 2 chairs to the left of the door and one near the cooler, to the right.  K took the right.  There was a construction guy off to the left.  She left me to sit near him.  It's all good.  He was tired and quiet.  So were we.

They were busy humming along and making pizza.  They were chatting it up.  I was texting a few friends and so tired that thinking and typing were difficult to be done together.  The talking got louder.  Several words seemed repeated.  My ears perked up.

Are they really talking about that?

Nah.

They can't be.

I can't be hearing right.

Oh, I am.

The girl at the drive thru window was discussing periods, pregnancy tests and doctors appointments.  These things were not being discussed in hushed tones.  She kept mentioning "period."  She kept mentioning pregnancy tests.  Finally I heard enough and like sudden onset Tourette's, I couldn't take it anymore.

I leaned up a bit, the cashier had looked over at me and I said, "We don't need to know about her peeing on sticks."

"Well, she's not talking about herself," she said with a snarky, sarcastic tone.  Obviously she couldn't see a problem with it.

I looked over at the construction worker.  He looked as if he wanted to crawl under the chair.  The ongoing banter behind the counter was embarrassing him.

"This is stuff we don't need to hear and besides that, I have a 10 year old in here."

"Oh."  She was nonplussed by my Mama Bear Censorship Card being pulled.

The guy looked at me and said, "That is so inappropriate anyway, let alone wanting to look to see who the crowd is and to have a 10 year old sitting there."  "Good, then it wasn't just me."  "Um, no."

When we got back into the car, I talked with K about  it.  We've had discussion about menstruation and whatnot, but nothing like what they were talking about.  "Mom, did you hear that they were talking about killing or dead babies?"

"No!  Were they really?"

"Yes.  I heard everything, Mom."

"K, I'm sorry.  It was something that should have never been discussed out in public."  We talk about things with K.  If she asks something, we're honest.

So, have you ever had to pull the Parental Censorship Card?  I hated to do it, but I felt like it was necessary.  I can only imagine what the drive thru window patrons must have heard.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Why do people vote against safety levies?

We had a safety levy on the ballot.  It would have increased our sales tax by .25%.  It failed.
Our sheriff was quoted as saying, "This was a true need. This was not a want. ... "
A local resident had this to say:
"I’m against any more taxes.  They’re taking every damn dime out of our pockets.” 
My guess is that when that resident experiences an emergency such as a fire, rowdy neighbors, a car accident or a heart attack, they'll be calling Ghost Busters?  Uh, no.  They'll call 911.  They'll expect service.

There are many safety service levies in this area that passed.  There are many that didn't.  People vote against the levies, then complain that service is slow when they call for them in their time of need.  STEP UP, PEOPLE!  Things cost money.  Cost of living has increased for you.  Don't you think that there is a cost of operations increase for others?

UGH!

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Life Changing"

I just read a Pinterest pin about crock-pot mashed potatoes.  She said that they were "literally life changing."  :tipping the head:  Am I misunderstanding something?  I mean, I love a good mashed potato.  I've just never found them or the variety of other foodstuffs on Pinterest to be life changing or "a life changer."

What would life changing be for me?  Allow me to give a list of my personal life changing things:

1.  Meeting and later marrying my husband.
2.  Bailey.
3.  Meeting and later adopting our daughter, K.
4.  Being adopted by my then stepfather (now father) at the age of 15 and having a legal name change.
5.  The deaths of many people in my life.
6.  The births of many people in my life.
7.  The purchase of our home.
8.  To learn just this past week that the health hiccup that my mom had was just a hiccup and that she was fine.  Life changing?  Yup.  Mama is okay and I asked that she never smoke again.  She promised she wouldn't.  My life is changing because my mama decided to change hers in a positive way.

There are a lot of other "life changing" moments in my life.  Some squished up root veggies aren't life changing for me.  They are tasty though.

What is "life changing" to you?  Feel free to belt out a list in the comments or if you choose to do your own list of "life changers," leave the link in the comments so that we can come visit!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Tale of Two Kitties

Smudge was our first cat.  She was our Maine Coone trial child.  She was 14 1/2 when she died.

She was a chewer.  She chewed through brand new head phones (not even a day old.)  She chewed through an answering machine cord (only about a week old.)  She chewed on the "twinkies" on Hubs' weight equipment.  She ate a diamond earring.  (No, we were never able to recover that one.)

She was not snuggly.  Every now and then, she'd lay on the couch with me and hip scoot just so that her kittyness would be touching my humanness.  Never one to climb into your lap though.

She was a biter.

She could be nasty.

She was a peeper.  (As in the sound.)

She was afraid of people.  She would hide around things and attack Mike when he came to take care of her when we were on vacation.

She hated K.

She was a park dump and adopted by Hubs when volunteers reported that they saw her scooped up by a hawk and dropped back down.

Leia is our second cat.  We learned a lot from our first cat.

She is a climber.

She will squirrel away in tiny places.

Curiosity will, in fact, get the best of her. We blame her polydactalness. ;)  Those THUMBS!  She uses them for good and for bad.  (Not evil, of course.)

She knows no, but will not always put it into practice.  (She's only 1 1/2 after all.)

She is snuggly.

She loves scratches.

She's a lover.

She's a talker.

She thinks that K is better than sliced bread and would follow her off the edge of a cliff.

She will hide from people.  Mike never saw her once when he was taking care of her when we were gone camping.  We found her hiding in the joists of the basement ceiling.

So a chewer or a climber?  We loved Smudge because she was ours, but we often said that if other people owned her, they probably would have put her to sleep.  Yes, she could be that nasty.

Leia is a different kitty altogether.  A rescue up for adoption, she was labeled as "wild/feral" at the pet store. No wonder why she was kitty-in-a-box for 4 1/2 months before we came along.  The food that they were giving her gave her a bellyache and awful digestive result.  A quick switch of food and months and months of trust building allowed us to have a kitty who is happy to live with her humans.

She is a vacuum cleaner, though.  We swear that she is a dog in a cat body.  Boy, after dinner she is under the table hoovering anything she can find.  (Hubs and K can sometimes lose control of their crumbs and whatnot.)  Sadly, Leia has moved to wanting to hoover the counter and after kitty drunkenness over the mama's cereal milk, I've been put my foot down.  She never was counter kitty until now.  I will not have a cat on my counters.  I will not have a cat on my table.  She hasn't tried the fridge yet, but I'll tell you that I won't have that, either.  She will have to abide by those rules.  A few kitty rules, but those are not flexible ones.

So, kitty owners, have you had cats so completely different?  If you've had counter kitties and chosen to resolve that issue, how did you do it?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Silly kitties can't be having the milk.

The other day, I placed my cereal bowl on the counter and walked away to do something for a quick minute.  K brought Leia in and said, "I found this kitty on the counter, drinking up your cereal milk."

Rule #1-  No kitties on the counter or table.  That's gross.

Rule #2-  Kitties can't be drinking the milk.  Kitties are lactose intolerant.

I had K immediately take her downstairs.  I knew what would come from a kitty who got milky drunk on mama's sugary cereal milk.  (For the record, I eat frosted mini wheats and I don't drink milk.)

We'll just say that kitty-kitty had a belly ache.  Kitty-kitty was confined to the basement so that she could deal with that.  By the evening, bounce had returned to her step and she was running and playing once again.

I have started calling her "Milky" tough.