Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

There is always something sad about the new year's arrival.  I hate good byes.   Good bye 2011, hello 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When Doing Your Good Deed Keep This in Mind...

"It is not necessary for eagles to be crows."  Sitting Bull

This year our little yearly adopt-a-family project was expanded and taken over by J's work place.  We didn't mind because that meant that instead of a shift putting in together it was the entire place working together which meant we could put food on the table and gifts under the tree for more than one family.  It was great in theory until someone decided to give themselves a public pat on the back.

I don't know who called the media and I don't want to know.  The damage was done when that picture appeared in the paper.  Two of our families disappeared when it was time to deliver the food and gifts.  No one wants their poverty splayed across the front of the paper for all to see.  Now those kids have to go back to school and face their classmates taunts.  

Needless to say I am livid.  When you go about bragging, going on and on to your friends about your charity work, when you want the world to know you are helping out those poor people on the wrong side of the tracks, you are taking away the dignity of those you are helping.  So when doing your good deed keep this in mind: it isn't about you.  

Merry Belated Christmas : )

Friday, December 23, 2011

Festivus: A welcome relief.

Today is Festivus.  We celebrated Festivus for the first time last year.  It was a difficult time because we lost Paw on Dec. 1, and celebrating a holiday that just screamed, "Voice your frustrations!" felt right.  So instead of all that rush, bustle, and joy, we spent the evening at a bar in Algiers with some friends and dropped all thought of Christmas.  It was great.  So this year, I'm going to recommend that y'all give Festivus a shot; stop the Christmas madness and take a day to breathe.  It will do wonders for your spirit.

How to celebrate Festivus?  Go here:

I've got my unadorned aluminum pole out front and center and looking as tacky as possible. : )

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sinterklaas Weirdness

I'm terrible.  I have been looking for a moment to put something up on this blog for the past two weeks but between all the Christmas programs, volunteer work, shopping for my mother, a new baby, (not mine), some lost cats, (not mine), and a graduation, I plead exhaustion.  Okay on to Sinterklaas...

     My nieces are Dutch/American and as a result celebrate a Dutch Christmas on December 6th.  In the Netherlands Santa Claus, aka Sinterklaas, brings gifts on December 6th; December 25th focuses on the religious aspect of the holiday.  For years I've heard of Sinterklaas and the Zwarte Piet from my sister and the kids, but this year was the first time I was present for the event.  So I thought I'd share, but be warned that the Dutch holiday involves some racial controversy. You can read about the holiday in detail here or go with this one if you like sarcastic humor.

     Sinterklaas comes to the Netherlands in a boat from Spain to deliver gifts to children with the help of the Zwarte Piet, elves covered with soot from chimneys.  Instead of reindeer, Sinterklaas has a horse and apparently in my sister's household, he knocks on the door when the gifts are delivered.  There is some inconsistency with the Zwarte Piet soot from chimneys and the knock on the door thing.  I don't know how that is explained, I just go with the explanation because making sense isn't always my sister's thing.

     Anyways the kids left their shoes with an apple for the horse and an empty sack at the front door and waited for a knock.  We had a traditional supper of pannenkoeken,  which are somewhere between a crepe and a pancake.  Sis said in the Netherlands they would have them with chicken and mushroom sauce on top.  After supper the kids sang a song welcoming Sinterklaas, (there is also a goodbye song), and suddenly a knock came when Sis had gone to take out the garbage.  Like magic the sack was full of gifts and poor sis must have just missed seeing Sinterklaas.  I admit she looked really out of breath coming in through the back door.  Chimney is better, less exorcise involved.

 Pannenkoeken with bacon.  There was also apple and plain as well.

You can imagine my discomfort when I saw the sack sitting out by the front door for all to see; I was waiting for a knock at the door alright and not from Sinterklaas.   Creeps me out. 

The niece goes nuts for that Hagel stuff.  Puts it on toast.

On the right is the pancake mix and on the left is,  translated, American fry sauce.  It's mayonnaise although they say it's not.  When I wanted to use ketchup on my fries some of the Dutch were shocked, they thought we used mayonnaise.  That yellow tube to the far left?  That's the mayonnaise.  

Oma's Christmas card with those traditional tiny ginger cookies  pictured at the bottom.  Chocolate Zwarte  Piet figures were included in the package of chocolates.  The Zwarte Piet were freaky, but the chocolate was excellent.

To continue to weird me out, was the wrapping paper.  There was Zwarte Piet on everything kid related.

     Because these kids also celebrate Christmas US style, the Dec. 6th, thing is kept small.  There were gifts of fritessauce, ginger cookies, peppermint, pannenkoeken mix, gold coin chocolates, and some small toys.  I got a wire head massager.  The Dutch food was sent by the kid's Dutch oma.  The older one in particular misses living in the Netherlands so getting the Dutch stuff made her really happy.

     I know that this just looks outright racist, and if I didn't understand the mindset of these people I'd agree.  The Dutch don't think in terms of racism as we in the US do.  The big thing in the Netherlands is something called, nationalism.  They are very proud to be Dutch and base their prejudices upon being Dutch.  For example. you can be black and be Dutch, (no problem), and you can be white and not Dutch, (problem).  If you are not Dutch, you had better be working on being Dutch, (accent, clothing, attitude, in other words total assimilation), or you are going to get a lot of disapproval.  The Dutch did not have Jim Crow laws, the KKK, or Al Jolson, these people honestly see the whole Zwarte Piet thing in terms of being Dutch not as an act of racism.  How do you feel about it?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Louisiana Renaissance Festival 2011

Hip Hip Huzzah we had magical lights, powered by magic of course.
     I admit that I fall somewhere between being a nerd and a geek and so I do nerd/geek related things such as participate in the tomfoolery known as ren faire.  In case you didn't know, I love to be in costume/garb and I love history, so ren faire is a natural fit.

     This weekend we loaded up the tent and headed out for our annual ren faire camping trip.  We didn't have time to do the big Texas Renaissance Festival, (TRF), camping thing, so we tried out the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, (LRF), campground instead.

Great garb.  In ren world it's called garb not costume.  When you camp at ren faire,
you will see women and men working on their garb, sewing boxes sitting at their feet. 

Hand to hand combat is my favorite;
 these guys put a lot of work into learning and perfecting their fencing technique.

Everyone eventually heads for  the jousting; it's a must see at faire.
     I've been to LRF every year since 2002, but this was my first time camping over night because I'm a "weekender" meaning that I live close enough to go home after closing cannon.  TRF doesn't offer electricity so LRF offered up the opportunity to have fairy lights!  Next year we're doing a fairy camp and I will plan accordingly.  Yup, we will be camping at the home faire again.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Dream Closet Bittersweet Milestone

     Oops, it's been a while since I've hit this blog.  In my defense I have been busy.  I took this past week and am just about finished with my, "The Dream Closet."  I could have waited and posted a picture where it is all nice and neat with those clear plastic boxes which are part of the final phase of, "The Dream Closet."  I could have waited until I put in the baseboards, or tidied up the shoes and clothes, or put that one hanger right, or put away the drill, but I couldn't.  Anyways, this is a much more realistic rendition of the average Joe's closet isn't it?  (Just say yes and go along with it to make me happy.)

It looks a mess now, but when I get done...  Oh, who am I kidding? 
     We have a little house and before Katrina the closet was a little 4x2 ft. pain in the neck.  The closet extended two feet beyond the door so I had to reach blindly for my clothes.  We went from a 3 bedroom to a two bedroom just to have, "The Dream Closet."  She's a 6x9 footer and I love her.  She is my reward for living in a FEMA trailer without one single closet for roughly two and a half years, (Oh that's a sordid tale of waiting on flood maps, SBA, and a group of sorry ass contractors, but I'm focusing on the closet goodness here).

     It was not cheap; I've been buying components here and there since 2008.  It was not easy.  I purchased shelf hangers from a different company because they were on clearance sale for less than half the price of these people, $3 versus $8.  Going cheap meant extra work.  I had to cut down 26 shelf hangers and six rods.  All were metal and all were cut by hand with a hacksaw.  I wouldn't be surprised if my right bicep is a couple of inches larger than my left after this week.  This installation is not for those who haven't learned that no corner is truly square, that no floor is level, and that the quickest solution isn't always the best solution, although whacking something with a hammer is still the best solution.  Sometimes.  

     Whew.  That makes this two rooms and one closet, (almost), completely done.  It kind of makes me sad for now I've got something to lose, whereas before I had one partial closet system and an unfinished closet.  I'm just one hurricane away.  Sigh, I'm not going there; this is supposed to be a good thing, right?  Right.  I'm gonna have some pie to celebrate.

One year ago today Paw, (my FIL), passed away.  Perhaps that's why I'm feeling wonky.  I miss Paw.  Once at one of our many doctor visits the nurse said to Paw, "It's nice that you and your daughter are so close."  I was shocked because I didn't think we came across as being, "close."  Paw and I looked at one another and he turned to the nurse and said, "yup."  I miss Paw.  I miss Paw.  I miss Paw.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mirliton Festival


     Saturday, November 5th, we went to the Mirliton Festival in Bywater.  I thought it was something new, but apparently it has been in existence for twenty-two years.  We stumbled across it when we, J and I, were out hitting "garage" sales.  For those who are familiar with Bywater it's a bit funny because the neighborhood is chock full of shotgun houses that are practically sitting on top of one another and there are probably six garages in the entire neighborhood.  It was more like stoop sales.

     We had just purchased the top part of a buffet and were heading back to the house when we discovered this festival celebrating what is basically a bland squash that was going to be the .  Back in the day I remember everyone had a mirliton vine in their back yard.  Anyways, we scored some music, beer and a stuffed mirliton from Jack Dempsy's, which made for a nice side trip for the day.

I kinda regret not getting the cook book. : (

J and his stuffed mirliton and Abita Amber.

NOLA fashionistas.  Love the variety of styles!!

Stuffed Mirliton Recipe  

6 mirlitons                              1/4c parsley                               1/2 - 1 lb of small shrimp
1c onion                                 1 1/2 c Italian bread crumbs       butter or olive oil
1c celery                                2 eggs                                         2tbs of chopped garlic
1/2 c shallots/green onion      salt and pepper to taste               1/4 c Italian bread crumbs & 1/4 c          
                                                                                                 parmesan cheese mixed together

Boil mirlitons for about 15-30 min.  You should be able to easily stick a tooth pic or fork in one.  Cool.  Cut in halves; remove seeds.  Carefully scoop out mirlitons; set aside skins for stuffing later.  Saute chopped shallots, onion and celery in a bit of butter or olive oil on medium high heat for about six minutes then add 1tbs of garlic and parsley and cook for two more minutes and then set aside.  Lightly saute shrimp in butter or olive oil if you are trying to be healthy and 1tbs of garlic, (no longer than 3 min.).  Use a potato masher and mash up mirliton innards in a large bowl and then stir in the onion mixture, shrimp, beaten eggs, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper.  Spoon mixture into the mirliton shells.  Sprinkle top with cheese/breadcrumb mixture.  Place a pat of butter on each mirliton half and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

     A couple of notes on this recipe:  I go heavy on the butter and garlic on this and so I reduced the amounts, but if y'all are feeling all garlicy go for it.  I also suggest olive oil if you are concerned about that butter thing.  In all honesty, I do this one for holidays so I use the butter.  You can also opt out on the shrimp, I understand that shrimp is expensive in other parts, but really, what New Orleans native is going to skip out on the shrimp?  Oh, and to make it all fancy, I garnish with a garlic/butter sauteed jumbo shrimp on top.  You can also just go ahead and do this as a casserole instead of trying to stuff those flimsy mirliton shells, sort of like instead of doing all those artichoke balls you just say, "aw heck I'll just do the casserole."

Additional link:

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Orleans Burials

Wishing a peaceful Veterans Day for our heros!  RIP Dad, I'm thinking of you, my favorite veteran.

     Well I was going to post about our trip to the Mirliton Festival, but Birdie asked about the practice of tomb burial in New Orleans.  And of course I love to talk about my home town, so I am more than happy to blather on about our "Cities of the Dead."  So you want the gory details, lol?  Here goes...
This is the inside of a tomb.  They are also called "ovens."
You can see the bottom casket in this tomb would rest on these wire supports.

     Basically a tomb is constructed so that the casket lies on a shelf or slats, or some sort of support which rests about six inches to a foot above the ground.   The shelf/slats/some sort of support has an area that is open to the ground in the back of the tomb.  Our family tomb has a cement shelf with an opening in the back of the tomb.  The casket of the previous occupant is taken out of the tomb and destroyed.  The remains are from what I understand, crushed and placed in a small container, either a bag or a small cardboard box, and pushed to the back of the tomb where it falls to the ground below.  The new casket with the remains are then placed on the shelf over the older remains.

Wooden caskets please!

     There are two things to note about this kind of burial:  First, you must wait a year and a day before you can remove a casket and use that space again.  You have to let the body decompose before you can remove it from the coffin.  So what do you do if you have to wait for someone to decompose?  The cemetery has temporary holding spots that you can use.  Second, you cannot use a metal coffin.  The coffins are destroyed and I imagine, (gonna be gross here so stop reading if you are squeamish), that the metal doesn't allow for the draining of bodily fluids like the wooden ones do and the wood will eventually break down unlike the metal.  Both of these stipulations are Louisiana law.

Too crowded?

     Do tombs get full?  Well, yes and no.  Because the remains are crushed and are dropped to the back of the tomb they continue to decompose so there is plenty of room down there for a lot of people, so some tombs have been used for centuries.  The main problem is where do you put all those names?  Names are placed on the front of the tomb on a granite or marble door/marker.  Once the "door" is full of names, it is moved to the side of the tomb.  I've seen tombs that are covered with these marker/doors.  I once asked Dad what they did when there was no more room and he shrugged his shoulders and said, "I guess you get a new tomb."

Who owns the tomb?

     Who owns the tomb and decides who is buried in them?  Tombs are like little houses and you own them just like houses.  When you buy a tomb you get a deed and that deed has to be presented when you go to use the tomb.  I can't tell you what other families do, but I can tell you that for our little tomb the deed is handed over to the person who needs to use it at the time.  If there is a family rift, (not that we have one), and the person with the deed doesn't want to hand it over, you do have a back up plan.  Basically, if you are a direct descendant of the person who originally purchased the tomb, you have a right to the deed and can get a copy of the deed issued to you by obtaining a form that says you are a direct descendant from the cemetery/funeral home and having a notary affirm your statement is true.  I learned after we lost the deed in Katrina and I had to go get another copy.

     People do get cremated and are placed in tombs.  We did this just last year with my father-in-law.  Yes people are embalmed so that there can be the viewing of the body, wake, etc., but in the NOLA heat and humidity, bodies don't last long, remember that year and a day thing.  

     Why above ground?   Some will tell you that it's because of the high water table, but in all honesty we have to look at our Mother County, France.  The French buried their loved ones this way, as well as Spain, and we just continued the tradition.

Here is a link that basically explains what I just said if y'all want to check it out:

PS for locals:  I don't know why, but I am fascinated with our 610 Stompers, (it's like a SNL skit in a parade).  It seems that they are heading out to New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving and they are looking for your support tonight, 11-11-11 at the Howlin' Wolf!  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

All Saints Day

     In New Orleans it is tradition to go and care for the family tomb on All Saints Day.  Here you are buried above ground in a tomb.  Tombs are owned by families and are used and reused for as long as you want to use them.  I won't go into the gory details about what is done to accommodate a new coffin, but the rules are simple:  1. Wooden caskets only.  2.  The next guy has to wait a year and a day before he/she can be buried.

Yeah, we put Mardi Gras Beads on the tomb,
and when the Saints won the Superbowl we decorated it with black and gold.

Here we are all cleaned up!  The panel on the right is funky beige because of Katrina,
but the rest of the tomb cleaned up fine; weird.
I know it looks like we put this one kid to work,
but I promise we all did our part.

This tomb is where my Great Grandma, Great Aunt, Great Uncle and Uncle are buried.
This one was built in 1881.  When they run out of room on the front for names,
they move the panel to the side and put a new one on the front as you can see here.  
     Anyways, on All Saints Day you place flowers on the tombs and clean them up a bit.  It's also a bit like playing at Keeping Up With The Jones'; you don't want your tomb to be the one looking sad without flowers or peeling paint.  This year there weren't so many flowers out there, but I attribute that to All Saints Day being on a weekday.  We brought along some extras and placed them on our neighbors, which made us feel good.   (Names have been blurred on purpose.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Costume Frenzy

The Sanderson Sisters and the "Bless You Angel."

     I LOVE costuming.  It's the bestest thing in the whole wide world, so when there is a holiday that requires a costume you know it's going to be my favorite.  I have two favorite holidays: Mardi Gras and Halloween.  So of course I have to whip up something or it will just ruin my day.  Actually, whip up doesn't describe what I do, it's more like a week long frenzy of emotional ups and downs until the thing gets finished.
Mary Sanderson

It's a cornucopia covered with fake hair.

He's just too cute to leave out.
Winnie Sanderson, (me).

Witches and cats go together.


     This year I got to finally live out my dream of being a Sanderson Sister.  This was a small group costume thing and with me being the only one who could work a sewing machine, it was a lot, (Did I mention a lot?), of time at the machine.  The outfits are a combo of modified thrift shop clothing, odds and ends we had on hand, new items, paint, dye and sewn fabric.  Overall we were pleased, but as usual there are things I would like to go back and tweak.  Now I will count the days until Mardi Gras and we do this all over again.

Monday, October 24, 2011

How to Break up a Cat Fight

Mom's hand.
Actually this post is more or less how not to break up a cat fight so that in the future you know how to break one up.  See that hand?  That is an example of what happens when you incorrectly break up a cat fight.  Okay, I have to admit that the hand is that of my mother and she got that petting her darling Abby, Evil Queen of the Underworld, but my hand looks about halfway to this right now.  I took a pic and then couldn't find the thingie  that allows me to load it onto the computer.  I have a fever, (99.6), and whacked my hand on the drawer looking for the camera thingie which sent my stomach into a spiral and left me whimpering. I gave up on hunting up the thingie, as a result, you get Mom's hand and are asked to use your imagination.

I am a natural born drama queen so everyone takes my suffering with a grain of salt in my household.  When I came into the house, whining and drama full on, J took one look and asked, "Why would you stick your hand in the middle of a cat fight?"  Men can be so moronic at these times.  I'm not looking for common sense; I'm looking for the poor baby treatment.  I'm looking for the, "Oh you noble woman who spared Greyfur from an epic butt kicking," treatment.  Of course I didn't get it, then again I never do, but I keep trying.

So here I am on day two, (and three), using peroxide to open the wounds and drain the pus and two fingered typing and now...  Now, that I am all red, green and pouffy, now I am getting sympathy.  Well it's about time.  So all I can say on how to break up a cat fight:  Use a garden hose, or a broom, just not your hand.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today is Election Day!! Hooray!!!

I have been drowning in political fliers.  I have been bombarded with calls.  I have had to interrupt my quiet evenings to answer my door only to find strangers who want to stand there and talk my evening away.  I hate the time that leads up to election day.

I'm not one of those who blows off her civic duty; I vote in every election.  Yes, every election, even the ones where you are just voting for dog catcher.  I make the effort to actually know what and who I'm voting for.  So fliers, phone calls, and interrupting my evening aren't going to help.  I've already done my research.  If I want to talk to you, I'll call you, knock on your door or send you a letter.

So, today will be the end of the constant barrage of harassment, (I hope), and I'm going to celebrate with a nice evening of nothing going on and a beer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ranting and One Pair of New Shoes

I figure I'd get the positive stuff out of the way before I lose y'all on the rant.  They are Nurture shoes, style Cedar in nutty, but I call them my Mexican hippy shoes.  They are awesome with jeans and my maxi dress. 
Now for the Rant:

Everyone hates it when they are sitting on the highway in bumper to bumper traffic while work crews block off three out of four lanes.  Imagine that road crew tearing up your entire neighborhood.  That's how I've been living since June and it's old.  It's real old.

They have jackhammered the entire street on my side, dug down about five feet and left us having to walk half a block down in order to find a spot we can use to cross the street and then walk down another half a block to one of those houses where the neighbors gave up on Katrina recovery and left for greener pastures, or in this case a place with streets.

Yeah I know they said it would take 10 years to put this place near where it was before Katrina.  I understand the streets need to be redone before that grant or whatever runs out, but geez did you people in the Government Building have to wait until the last minute and have to do everything at once?  Didn't you realize that a fire truck isn't going to make it around a one lane corner and a canal?  I guess we could call the neighbors together to carry the fat heart attack prone guy around the corner to the ambulance.  D. down the street said we all need to pray and carry mo-jo bags in order to prevent fire.  I said we all just need to get extra long hoses so that we can reach each others' houses.
Yay they filled in the hole!  See the pickup?  That's my car on the other side.  See the red outhouse?  Thats where I have to walk down to cross the street.  It's the same in the opposite direction,  except that the outhouse is green down there.

Yesterday I drove through the neighborhood where the parish president lives; not one orange cone; not one hole.  SIGH.  I guess it could be worse.  The construction guys have been really nice and friendly.  Lol they helped me unload my pumpkins today.  It was funny to watch a brigade of  3 hardhat construction worker warriors jumping into and out of the trenches armed with my pumpkins.  I'm just under 5' and over 40 so there was no jumping on my part.  Okay, better.  I can face another day of loud machines and walking a block to my car.

Monday, October 10, 2011

RIP Archbishop Philip Hannan

New Orleans is a Catholic city.  It doesn't matter if you are Baptist, Wiccan, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, etc., here you function as a Catholic.  Someone even wrote a book on it, The Joy of Y'at Catholicism.  Now don't go thinking that people here are somehow forced by majority rule to head over to mass or stand in assemblies having to make the sign of the cross or something; it's not like that at all.  It's more like the Jewish guy telling his boss that he has to get off work a little early on Holy Thursday to get to Dooky Chase's for the gumbo z'herbes, or the Wiccan who hits the St. Joseph's alter for that lucky fava bean, or the Atheist who only does seafood on Friday.  You don't do it because you have to, you do it because you want to.

So when it comes to the clergy in the Catholic church we can be a bit odd.  A good priest can be a rock star in this town.  Archbishop Hannan was a good priest.  He championed the poor, opened the archdiocese pools to children of all colors when the city refused to open their pools rather than desegregate, he helped AIDS patients back in the 80s when it wasn't popular, he welcomed the Vietnamese refugees when others didn't make them feel so welcome, he expanded charity services, promoted the opening of the Second Harvest Food Bank, and so many

We went downtown to the procession and then to the wake at the cathedral.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Was Feeling a Little Halloween This Past Weekend...

I had the nieces over to decorate the yard for one of the two favorite holidays of mine and I just had to go whole hog with the day so here's our lunch...

Monster eyes, deviled eggs with olive pupils and carrots used for bloodshot effect.

Kid created plate #1

Mummy dogs,  just hot dogs and crescent roll dough.

Zombie fingers, just sugar cookie dough dyed green and almond fingernails.

Zombie slush, (coke) and dragon's blood, (Hawaiian punch)

Kid created plate #2

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's Wrong With Education

I know I said I'd do a cute shoe post, but after my experiences working with a kid this week, I just had to rant.

     People spend a lot of time blaming teachers and teacher's unions over the poor state of public schools.  I have seen a lot of poor teaching, but I have seen many more parents who don't value a good education.  When I see people ranting over how bad their kid's teacher is, how she corrected a paper wrong, how he blamed their child wrongly for talking in class, or how stupid a school rule is, I want to ask them a few questions?  Have you ever made a mistake?  Does your child not lie?  So you think the rule is stupid, is there not a stupid rule in your work place?  I've met so many well meaning and yet inept parents who instead of working on their own kids blame others.

     I've been working with yet another lazy, insecure, immature kid.  Mom spends lots of time in the classroom playing at being the teacher's helper and has earned the reputation of being involved, and yet I see almost no real value placed on education in the home.  I see work books that are barely touched.  I see Mom handing over answers because the child is so insecure and lazy she won't do the work on her own and Mom doesn't want to be bothered to put up with the fight it's going to take to make this kid work.  I watch as Mom puts this nine year old in her lap and feeds her breakfast with a spoon like an infant.  Mom loves being a mommy and doesn't mind having an immature, dependent nine year old.  That's great for an emotionally needy adult who clings to her children for fulfillment, but doesn't work out so great for a kid who will be functioning on the maturity level of a fifteen year old when she is an adult.

So far the only teachers Mom has been thrilled with are those who tell her what she wants to hear.  Mom was particularly thrilled with the teacher who helped her place the kid in special ed.  Mom is one of those parents who demand special services for their children because of poor grades and homework struggles.  No matter that the child did not test into special ed, or that Mom doesn't exactly put herself out and spend her evenings at the books with her child.  With a few well placed sentences and a pushy parent, yet another kid who has no discernible learning disability is in special ed.

Mom means well and thinks she is doing what is best for her kid, as do most parents.  Mom didn't like the principal and when she was told her child didn't qualify for special ed, Mom was not happy.  Mom knew her rights.  Mom had a teacher backing her up.  Mom was going to kick up a fuss.  Mom got what she wanted.  When Mom showed me the paperwork and I was shocked.  The child did not test in a below average range except in three areas!   Mind you not there were two more levels below, below average.  I asked what the hell did the people on the IEP committee say and Mom had the decency to look embarrassed.  It seems she was advised not to sign those papers, but to try and work with the child a while longer, tutoring programs etc.  Mom, having her head in the sand on her part in this failure, resented those who were telling her what she didn't want to hear and signed.

The thing is that Mom is a typical member of the public complaining about how horrible educators and teacher's unions are, and yet I have yet to see her put any priority on her child's education.  Notes have gone to school with some BS excuse why this or that wasn't done.  Mom knows these excuses are BS, but gets insulted and irate when things aren't excused.  Mom will spend vacations in cities full of museums and historic attractions and instead take the kids to the local amusement park.  If Mom's kid is in trouble for misbehaving in school, it's the teacher's fault for not making learning fun.  If the homework is getting in the way of TV time, there is too much homework.  If the test isn't passed, it's because there isn't enough homework.  Mom and many others think that school days need to be extended, and yet they say the kids have too much work.

Mom's kid has now started telling me, "I think my teachers taught me wrong," when she gets an answer wrong on her homework.  The kid has had five years of working on place value.  If all those teachers are getting it wrong, why hasn't Mom set her straight?  No wonder the education system is a mess.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What I've been up to for the past few weeks...

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

 Snowball season will soon be over so I'm hittiin' the stands while I can.  (This was Al Copeland's donut stand waaaay back in the day.  He was 18 when he owned this building and was actually testing his future Popeye's recipe on customers.  (I know this because J's family, being loyal customers, were offered free chicken as a taste test.)

Second Harvest: Harvest the Music concert Big Sam's Funky Nation
 I hate, hate, to see anyone go hungry.  Be it cat or man, I'm happy to feed them all and if it takes having to sit through Big Sam's Funky Nation and a couple of beers then all the better.  Second Harvest Food Bank

Cajun kitchen.
We took a quick trip to Cajun country to show the niece a bit of her grandmother's culture and visited LARC's Acadian Village.  There was a reenactor in each house and we had such a good time we swore we were going back and taking grandma with us.

Southern Decadence washed out. 
Being a fan of all things costume and recognizing that the local gay community are some of the best costumers in the world, we headed out looking for fabulous and found a washout instead.  : (

Sometimes when you are walking there are places that just cry out, "take my picture!"

Next week... cute shoes, 'cause there is a sale at Dillards.