I miss my Live Space…

… but maybe I’ll get use to this.

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Mother’s Day

A reposting of Zach’s Mother’s Day Sonnet and the Garrison Keillor essay (originally published in Salon.com) that inspired it…

A Mother’s Day Sonnet by Zach

You must have known well what you were in for,

when you had the both of us, lee and zach.

nothing but a constant ache, pain, and sore,

yet you still trudge on, and never look back.

its in your nature both kathy and mom,

to put up with two lousy no good sons.

to have both our lives resting in your palms,

the weight of your tolerance must weigh tons.

it sure must be hard being so selfless,

though sometimes not obvious, we do care.

and through the bad times you must feel helpless

but though we grow apart, the loves still there.

so enjoy this mothers day, have your fun.

you sure deserve it with me as a son.

not being a poet and all, im not sure about the rules,

but I hope you enjoyed it nevertheless.

Happy Mothers Day! – zachary

Mom’s the word

The woman shelved her movie-star dreams to change your putrid diapers. This Mother’s Day, send her a sonnet.

By Garrison Keillor

April 26, 2006 | I’d like a word with you about your mother, and I want you to read this column all the way to the end, otherwise I will slap you so hard your head will spin.

I realize that Mother’s Day is a fake holiday perpetuated by the greeting card industry and the florists, but it’s here to stay, so make the best of it. The president is a fake, too, but we still pay our taxes. And it’s time you did something nice for your mother.

I bring this up well in advance of Mother’s Day so you can plan a little bit and not roll out of the sack on SUNDAY, MAY 14, and fritter away the morning and then dash over to Mom’s and on the way pick up a cheap box of chocolate-covered cherries at the gas station, or a gallon of windshield cleaner, or whatever you were planning to give her.

Cheap chocolates are not appropriate for your mother, nor is a bouquet of daisies marked down 50 percent at the convenience store. What you owe your mother is a sonnet. A 14-line poem, in iambic pentameter, rhymed, just like Shakespeare’s "When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state." Look it up. You can do it, if you try.

Your mother loves you, she has loved you from Day 1, she loves you on your good days and your bad. She was on her way to Broadway and Hollywood was taking a look at her when your father got her in a family way and she put glamour and fame behind her and had you instead. Think about it. All that pain, and then out you came, not the high point of her day, believe me.

She changed your poopy diaper when the stench was such as to make strong men dizzy. And when you hopped up and ran off, leaving a brown trail behind you, she mopped that up, too. At a certain age, you put everything into your mouth — dirt, coins, small toys, cufflinks — and when she stuck a finger down your throat, you refused to vomit. Nothing would come up. All she could do was pour Listerine in you and hope for the best. But if she tried to coax you to eat green leafy material, then you would throw up quarts of stuff. And she’d clean it up and take you in her arms and comfort you although your breath was rancid.

You were not a bright child. I realize that you think you were in the accelerated group, and that was your mother’s doing. Her great accomplishment was to protect you from the knowledge of your own ordinariness. The rest of us knew. You didn’t. Nor did you realize the extent of your bed-wetting. Three a.m., you sat in a stupor, while Mom changed your urine-soaked sheets, tucked you in and sang you to sleep with "If Ever I Would Leave You" from "Camelot."

She loved you through the dark valley of your adolescence, when you were as charming as barbed wire. You surrounded yourself with sullen friends who struck your mother as incipient criminals. Her beloved child, her darling, her shining star, running with teenage jihadists, but she bit her tongue and served them pizza and sloppy Joes, ignoring the explosives taped to their chests.

When you were 17, when other adults found you unbearable and even your own aunts and uncles looked at you and saw the decline of American civilization and the coming of a dark age of arrogant narcissism unprecedented in world history, your mother still loved you with all her heart. She loves you still today, despite all the wrong choices you’ve made. Don’t get me started. Go write your mother a sonnet.

It costs you nothing except some time and effort. Do not buy her chocolate. She doesn’t care for it. She only pretended to, for your sake. Do not take her out to dinner. She has eaten plenty of dinners with you and one more isn’t going to be that thrilling. She might prefer to snuggle up in a chair all by herself and watch "Singin’ in the Rain" and have a stiff drink. (You do know your mother drinks, don’t you? Ever wonder why?)

Get out a sheet of paper and a pencil. Here’s an idea for a first line: "When I was disgraceful and a complete outcast." You take it from there.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

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It’s April again… and almost May

It’s April.  Last year at this time, I had just met my man and was having the "time of my life" in Hoewell, a small community outside of Huntsville (near Bedias).  The story of our meeting is charming and our time together has been mostly charmed.  During this year, my son Zachar has been "doing" his senior year with some carelessness and an odd abuse of his newfound freedoms.  Still, I have no fears that all will be well with him… he’s like that: focused and committed, but a hopeless procrastinator like me.  Also, my son Lee had some very bad episodes and one tragedy.  In another blog, I wrote about all the kids who have died – hoping that these tragedies would end for a while… not so for my little family.  In the fall, Lee was crossing a street with his friend Becky when she was hit and killed by a truck.  Zach was there.  Their dad, Louie, Mona (Louie’s mom), and I arrived shortly after.  I thought this would surely be the end of my troubled boy.  After Mike’s suicide, it almost was.  But, he’s come through stronger in many ways.  Still, there are concerns, but they are mostly his and I’ve pulled back considerably. 


On January 7, I was placed on "administrative leave" while the district conducted an investigation into an allegation by a student that I hit him.  I did not return to work until March 18. By this time, I had not been in my classroom to teach for almost 13 weeks.  Paid leave sounds not so bad, right?  Well, it was awful.  There were secret meetings taking place that could have cost me my teaching certificate.  Though I did not do this to any student, I could have been arrested.  CPS could have gotten involved.  There was no relief from my fears until my lawyer and I met with the school district and demanded a new investigation.  Though this investigation cleared me of that allegation, several areas of concern were raised (though trumped up) and I was ultimately reassigned to an alternative school campus where there is little control of students and little education going on. The daily struggle to get past student threats, etc… is tough.


Meanwhile, I had to go to the high school yesterday because Zach’s mouth had gotten him into a little trouble.  A little trouble became more trouble and he ended up with a much deserved citation for "failure to attend".  In a separate issue, the teacher who started this ball rolling seemed to have a vendetta against him.  The irony of me having to call parents every day because their children are calling me a mother fucking bitch and this woman failing to call me at any time this year was overwhelming me.  Walking into a principal’s office with my youngest for the first time since Zach was in intermediate school and having that principal bring a police officer was troubling.  The teacher spoke to me as if I had not been teaching myself for 21 years.  I completely understood Zach’s frustration thoughtout this year though I do not understand how he could get himself into trouble over attendance. 


Today, though, on April 26 of 2008, I find myself grateful for all I have and all we’ve come through. 


This will be a good year.


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Karie Reminded Me of Something Funny

On the phone with Karie today, I told her about Louie getting me a ring and while we were discussing what to call it since it’s not an engagement ring and we have a bad connotation thinking of it as "commitment" ring.  I told her about Zach saying "promise ring" and then saying, "that just doesn’t sound right".  Anyway, that led to me telling her how wonderful Louie has been through my most recent life crisis ordeal.  I had been on administrative leave from my job for quite a while.  I was distressed, sad, depressed, miserable, and angry.  I was telling her that through it all, Louie had been wonderful.  Really taking care of me and making it better.  That’s when she reminded me of something I told her when it all started.  I was in such bad emotional shape that I told Louie (only half-joking) that if he had been having any thoughts of breaking up with me, he would just have to wait until the ordeal was over because I would not be able to take it.  He replied, "If I was gonna break up with you, it wouldn’t be over this – this is serious.  If I break up with you, it’s gonna be over something stupid."
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What Would You Say…

What People Might Say if I Died Today
She sent us poems all the time.
I admit I didn’t read too many of them.
I wish I would have.
She was domestically challenged,
but a really good cook.
She loved her job, but hated
doing the yearbook.
She tended toward depression.
She was psychotic in relationships,
but was really great in bed.
She loved her shoes.
She had a way with kids.
Her bedroom was a terrible mess.
She had a great sense of humor,
but I think there was tangible sadness behind it.
She loved her daddy.
Her sisters were her best friends.
She adored her extended family.
She was cranky when she woke up from naps.
She did everything for her kids.
I think she had secrets.
She was the first one in the family who
admitted taking Prozac.
She was in therapy for years.
She was abrasive and sarcastic.
When she was sad, she got way too thin.
She worked hard, but was actually lazy by nature.
She had her toenails painted outrageous colors.
She loved old people.
She was a friend to people with problems.
She had messy hair.
She was funny.
She wasn’t good with money.
She spoiled her children.
She was good to her mother when it mattered most.
She was spiritual.
She believed in God.
She called herself a Buddhist Methodist.
She wasn’t exactly sweet,
but she was definitely kind.
She had a bad temper,
but learned to control it most of the time.
She read a lot.
She worshipped pop culture.
She loved all music.
She drank wine, but not too much.
She liked beer a lot.
She believed in keeping her "enemies" close.
She was good to her friends.
She could be self-centered.
She passionately wanted to help kids learn.
She was a member of the A.C.L.U.
She drove a mini-van
but would have looked better in a Mustang.
She loved her poodle.
She could sleep anywhere.
She was not someone you messed with in the morning;
or, anytime for that matter.
She liked to watch television.
She loved Elvis.

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The past two months…

Oh my… it’s been two months since I’ve written anything for this blog. It’s been a different two months.  Several times a day I think of the Vonnegut quote, "peculiar travel suggestions are dance lessons from God" from the incomparable Cat’s Cradle.  I re-read that book recently, actually – before my favorite author died even.  I tried to get some friends, fellow Vonnegut fans, to re-read it with me, but there were no takers.  In fact, my friend Tim’s inability to make it to a bookstore (why isn’t that book on his shelves, anyway?) created a path to writing a poem I’m proud of so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on my busy, busy friends. 
So, the past couple of months… hmmm.  Well, the week of my birthday, I was feeling melancholy and a bit out of sorts.  I wrote to various friends expressing these feelings, complaining that men I’ve made a part of my life seem attracted to my generally free-spritied nature then want to crush it.  I had been through a couple of very bad episodes with Lee and I was angry, frustrated, and at the end of my dubious bright idea list.  Possibly because of this mishmash of emotion, I did something, almost without thinking, that is almost unheard of in my long dating history.  I aggressively sought out to meet a man who I had only ACCIDENTALLY seen a piture of in an unsolicited email from True.com.  The picture is hard to focus (especially without glasses) and all I knew based on the picture and tagline was that he’s from Bedias and his tagline said something about getting coffee and getting to know each other.  A message he was apparently sending to many, many women. 
It took a while to get back on the site.  My commitment was strong enough to include giving a credit card number for a free trial that required me to call within three days to cancel.  When I finally got there, and it took some effort, I had an email from him in the inbox.  I responded.  He responded with a phone number.  I responded with mine because I wasn’t sure how to make that call.  On the Frieday before my birthday, I got a voice mail from him suggesting I meet him in Crabbs Prairie the following morning at 7:30.  That would be my birthday.  The message further suggested that I go with him to his mom’s where he was checking on a horse.  He said he had asked her to "put a pot of coffee on".  As I listened to the message, I thought, "this is the kookiest thing I’ve ever heard" which of course, is an exaggeration since I do hear a lot of crazy things in the course of a day. BUT… I did NOT delet the message.  Later that evening, I was online and got to thinking about it.  Something got into my head and I decided to just go.  Why not?  Well, my sons both told me why not and adamantly.  I countered their concerns for my safety with the fairly safe assumption that this man and his mom probably did not lure unsuspecting teachers to Crabbs Prairie to axe murder them.  I returned his call, with no answer and left a message.  He called back (calling me Dawn for some reason) and we talked for a little while.  I was at ease during the conversation.  I told him I wanted to take him up on his offer since it was the oddest first date suggestion anyone had ever made.  So, I went.  I dressed normally, arrived on time, and just went with it for several hours. His mom is charming to be around.  Her boyfriend is also interesting.  There were a couple of other people around.  We had coffee and then breakfast and visited.  I was at ease and laughing a lot.  Louie, my date, appealed to me physically and had a real, honest, fun manner about him that also appealed to me.  He tells me now that he was listening to me talk (with what he calls $20 words) and thinking, "I don’t know about this" but did ask me to come out to his house which strangely, I agreed to.  We had one of those days that doesn’t come along to often.  I didn’t leave until the next morning (much to the dismay and anger of my two sons who were on the verge of coming to find me since I had only checked in once with them). 

(More of this story in subsequent entries…)

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 This is what I saw in the email that I normally would have deleted without opening, but it was the first one on the new message list and opened automatically.
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Great Poem…

Hope this doesn’t offend anyone, but I do LOVE this poem! 

Poem: "Heaven on Earth" by Kristin Berkey-Abbott , Whistling Past the Graveyard.
Heaven on Earth

I saw Jesus at the bowling alley,
slinging nothing but gutter balls.
He said, "You’ve gotta love a hobby
that allows ugly shoes."
He lit a cigarette and bought me a beer.
So I invited him to dinner.

I knew the Lord couldn’t see my house
in its current condition, so I gave it an out
of season spring cleaning. What to serve
for dinner? Fish—the logical
choice, but after 2000 years, he must grow weary
of everyone’s favorite seafood dishes.
I thought of my Granny’s ham with Coca Cola
glaze, but you can’t serve that to a Jewish
boy. Likewise pizza—all my favorite
toppings involve pork.

In the end, I made us an all-dessert buffet.
We played Scrabble and Uno and Yahtzee
and listened to Bill Monroe.
Jesus has a healthy appetite for sweets,
I’m happy to report. He told strange
stories which I’ve puzzled over for days now.

We’ve got an appointment for golf on Wednesday.
Ordinarily I don’t play, and certainly not in this humidity.
But the Lord says he knows a grand miniature
golf course with fiberglass mermaids and working windmills
and the best homemade ice cream you ever tasted.
Sounds like Heaven to me.

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