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Conversation at bedtime last night:

Me: Casper, could you [something or other, like put on your pajamas].
Casper: Yes, ma'am. [beat] I have to stop saying that.
Me: Yeah, nobody says 'Yes, ma'am" in Ohio.
Casper: And they don't say y'all! I had just gotten used to the y'all!

(Note, of course, she was born in North Carolina, but in a sliver of it that wasn't very Southern.)

sad now

Sep. 25th, 2011 12:25 pm
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Aside from the things that are a lot of work, like packing and getting the house tidied up and dealing with the children and I found a FLEA on Older Cat yesterday but we only have one dose of Frontline, I'm really sad. I don't want to move. I don't care much for me, although I'm worried about finding a job and excited to have better weather, but I am sad about moving the kids constantly. Like, every day dropping them off at school nearly in tears, every time they play outside with our neighbors nearly in tears sad. They have such a great life here, and we're taking them away from it. They will ultimately be fine - mr. flea told me there was a posse of kids playing on our new street this morning - but it's going to be hard getting there.
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I think this is my first post out of friendslock, but we're planning a big move to Ohio in 6 weeks. mr. flea was offered an excellent job rather suddenly, and we'll be moving to Cincinnati. This has many excellent aspects - we will be closer to family, especially the children's cousins (only an hour away!) and grandparents; mr. flea gets a nice raise, a steady job with excellent benefits and a fair amount of tenure doing work he really likes with excellent people; we have many friends still in Cincinnati from when we lived there in the late 1990s. On the down side, there is a lot of work. On the serious down side, we will be leaving the wonderful neighbors and elementary school community we have had in Athens.

I wrote to the kids' teachers today to tell them about the move. And now I'm crying at my desk because Casper's art teacher wrote such a sweet note. "[Casper] has a real gift in art and I truly hope that she continues to pursue it. She is really special." "I would love to see some pictures of Casper’s art as she grows up."

(Like we could possibly stop Casper from continuing to make art. But we're taking her away from lovely Miss D.!)
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Today at about 1:30 there was a shooting in my city that resulted in a police officer killed and another injured, apparently seriously.  This took place about 3 miles from where I live.  One suspect fled in a car; the make and model and license number are known.  This is a tragedy, clearly, and there is a dangerous armed man somewhere on the loose.

But, was it really necessary to put all schools in the city on "soft lockdown" for the rest of the day, and cancel evening PTO meetings, and for 4  parents to contact me wanting to know if the Girl Scout meeting was cancelled, and for the leader who planned the meeting to call me and say we had to cancel? Do we really think this armed guy is going to be driving down a busy center-of-town street some 5-6 hours after the crime, some 3 miles away, looking for little girls to shoot?

Signed, being more rational than other people is sometimes so annoying.

From Twitter:
Dumb question, but how far is Athens from Atlanta? Like, should I be worried the alleged cop killer is going to drive by at any moment?

Snow Day 5

Jan. 14th, 2011 12:14 pm
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Kids are home again.  So they will have had 2.5 weeks of Christmas break, 3 days of school, and then another week plus Monday (MLK Day) off.  Three days in school over the 30-day period from Dec. 17-Jan. 17.  It's lucky we're not reverting to a state of nature around here.

I am in the Resigned phase, which coincides with the Watch a Zillion TV Shows phase.  Today I get to go to work after lunch!  And I work Sunday afternoon.  I may never know what day it is again.
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For the kids; the teachers are going in at 11am.  And my work is opening at 11am tomorrow - which is the day I work until 10pm.  mr. flea tried to go to work today and found nobody there, so he came home and has worked from home some.

So I guess I will stay home with the kids all day and go in at dinnertime, and stay until 10pm.  It's not too bad to walk - I'd say 60% of the sidewalks are fully clear.

We had trouble finding things to do with the children today though - tomorrow, ugh.  Maybe we will go out to lunch; restaurants are mostly open.


Jan. 11th, 2011 04:59 pm
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First, I don't think I know anyone in Austin here, do I?  I'll be there for a wedding Feb. 26.  Anybody been to Austin lately and can suggest fun things to do or places to eat?

So, it snowed Sunday night - supposedly 8.8 inches, but we got more like 4-6 - with maybe a scanty 1/4 inch of ice on top.  Unlike most Georgia snowstorms, it may not melt for a loong time - it was above freezing today, but not by much, and it was cloudy, and it's forecast to be at or below freezing for days to come.  I've heard two separate reports of a snowplow sighting in our city, but if we own more than the one I'll be shocked, and the main thoroughfare two blocks from our house did not seem to me as if it had seen a plow, and was also not sanded or salted, as of 11am today.  With tens of thousands of healthy young students in the city, you'd think we could organize and clear the roads pretty well by hand, but because the snow mostly does melt quickly there's a sense of fatalism about it.  My neighbors, lovely people, were kind of boggled that I cleared the ice from my sidewalk with a pointed garden shovel this morning.  Clearly it did not occur to them that they might do the same - why bother?  As a Facebook friend put it, "I'll just wait for the sun." 

School and work for me are cancelled tomorrow for the third day.  It's getting pretty boring.  So far in the past 3 days we have made waffles twice, brownies, blueberry muffins, lentil soup, spaghetti and meatballs, and potato and leek soup.  The kids have finished their thank-you notes. At least the power didn't go out.
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There were two murders in my city last week.  Both murder victims had children who attend school with my kids; one of the children is in Casper's class.  I should note that while the city had a high poverty rate and a lot of public housing, it has a relatively low crime rate and not much in the way of gang or drug activity - and neither of these killings seem to be connected to those sorts of issues.

A single mother aged 25, with a 3rd grader, was stabbed to death at her job at a convenience store, alone and late at night.  The store was not robbed.  The daughter will probably be moving in with her grandmother; she lived alone with her mother in public housing.

A single father aged 30, with 3 children (but not residing with them; he lived with his mother) was shot to death while sitting in his driveway listening to the car radio, in a stable working-class neighborhood.  He worked for the city.  His daughter DaNaya is in Casper's class and he also had a daughter in PreK, but in the other classroom so I do not know her.

The school administration and the PTO are aware of this and doing what they can to be supportive of the families; the counselor will be coming to talk to the affected classes before the children come back to school.  It seems like a heavy burden for an elementary school class to bear.  And those poor little girls.
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I feel like I've been working pretty continuously - at some times quite hard - since school started in early August to get a Girl Scout Troop going at Casper's school. And I've "succeeded" - we have 4 leaders, so we can run both a Daisy (K-1) and a Brownie (2-3) troop, we had a parent meeting on Monday and have about 12 girls all signed up, and I expect to add several more who are definitely committed and couldn't come to the meeting.

But I feel like I've failed. 85% of the girls are white and upper middle class. The demographic mix of the school is only about 25% white, varying a little by grade. The paraprofessionals who ran the troop last year at after school (all of whom left the school, and after school is not an option any more because of a new district policy - we are meeting on Tuesdays at 6pm at a friendly church, kill me now I did not want to meet on a weeknight but the people present voted for it) managed to run a Junior troop (4-5) as well, and pull a lot of black and Latina students, with 60 girls total.

I don't know how they did it, except maybe having existing relationships with the girls and parents, since they worked at the school. I have tried really hard to send print messages home as well as emails for people without internet access, and to send all messages in Spanish as well as English. I always emphasized that there are financial scholarships for girls who can't afford the $12 registration fee (sadly, there are a lot of families in this situation - including one of our troop leaders. 39% of the children in the city live below the poverty line (which, remember, is only about $21,000 for a family of 4), according to the new American Community Survey data.) And the turnout was all people like me. I guess we keep trying to recruit. I have some names that we can try phone-calling, but I am terribly phone-phobic; maybe my co-leaders are braver.

I'm just so worn out by it all, and we haven't even started actually meeting.
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I went to the Historic Preservation Commission hearing tonight, and I had yto go first which was hard and scary, and our metal roof got denied as expected. But I stayed for much of the rest of the meeting, which was FASCINATING (our democracy in action!) and as is usual I found much to agree with on all sides (except the weepy sorority board member who was worried that externally applied window muntins would cause sorority girls to Die In A Fire.) And our builder and his wife came by at 8pm and we had a good long talk and they were rabidly on our side, more on our side than I was, and it is nice to be supported even if you don't fully agree. So we'll look at energy-star rated architectural shingles and creative ways to vent the roof, and see what we can do.

And in good news, it turns out we qualify for a (I think federal) program to allow mortgage refinances without PMI for people in just our situation - the value of the house dropping considerably since we purchased, but not in any danger of defaulting or anything. So we can refinance after all, for free (well, the bank paying), just as we'd been planning.

And use the money saved in the first year to pay for dental work on the Dillo. With that plus the fact that architectural shingles are cheaper than metal, we may have saved enough money today alone to pay for the dental work.


May. 19th, 2010 12:18 pm
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My next-door neighbor, who works from home and is a long-time dog owner and all-around sensible person, is reporting on Facebook that she and her (college-age and tenant) niece just saw a coyote in her back yard.

We live in the CITY, people. Two blocks off a busy 5-lane road. Whoa.
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Like, Garden and Gun magazine. Yep. http://gardenandgun.com/index.php As far as I can tell, they are 100% for serious.
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Casper went to a birthday sleepover last night, 3 houses down, with 5 other girls, all of whom are in her class at school. It sounds like it went okay, except when they were going to bed, she was being noisy and the other girls yelled at her, so she went and slept in another room all by herself and pretty much played by herself in the morning. I haven't talked to her about it (mr. flea did), but it makes me so sad, the social issues thing. I know kids are just kids and learning to deal with stuff, and I think she found a good solution. But at the same time it brings up some of the negative social dynamics in the class that I thought had faded. The dueling bossy girls were both at the party.

Meanwhile back at the homestead, Dillo planned a "sleepover" for himself in the living room. He fell asleep in his sleeping back watching Olympics, but woke up coughing at 10 and we had a long night after that. He's developed a phlegmy chest cold, and kept freaking out at coughing up mucus, and waking himself up. So, while last night we had a queen, a double, and 3 single beds set up in our house (the extras from overnight guests on Weds.), Dillo slept on my chest on the couch most of the night.

I hauled myself out to sell Girl Scout cookie at Target (sans Casper) at 9am, and had a good time getting to know some new people. One of whom turns out to be Vic Chesnutt's sister. Athens being Athens.

Despite serious trying, we couldn't get either kid to nap today, so we're feeding them and hoping they fall asleep sooon! Although it was gronky, it was a beautiful day, and I did some yard work and hope to do more tomorrow.
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Dillo: I want to blast into space and see the big planets like Saturn.
me: Well, when you are a grownup you can be an astronaut and go into space.
Dillo: I want to go now! With you guys!
me: Well, unfortunately we are not astronauts.
Dillo: But we could dress up as them!

And apparently sneak into a spaceship.

In unrelated news, we received an Xmas card addressed to "Famous Chef with My Last Name + Woman We Bought House From." Who are not a couple. From our congressman.
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Nope, not members of REM. A friend of ours was out for a run yesterday and passed, going in the opposite direction, Alberto Salazar. He actually stopped and said, "Alberto Salazar, what are you doing in Athens?" And Salazar turned around and jogged with him for a while. Apparently his daughter is a first year student and on the championship equestrian team. Our friend said, "if you see a skinny guy, my height but with legs up to HERE running around, that's him."


Sep. 4th, 2009 10:48 am
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Yesterday: newspaper article on my wacky insano representative in Congress: headline: "Broun warns of dictaorship" http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/090309/new_489061975.shtml

Today: Editorial on the proposed Obama speech to schoolchildren from my local newspaper (note the writer is not a newspaper employee; he seems to have a column about once a month): http://onlineathens.com/stories/090409/opi_489397974.shtml

Plus this over the PTO listserv:
Dr. Lanoue [brand new superintendent] is about to bring before the board - tonight - a move that will limit students viewing of the President's address. Elementary students
cannot watch it during school at all in CCSD [our school district] and students can only watch it in social studies classes. A letter will go home with a letter about the
address, an FAQ sheet from the White House, and an "opt-out" form."
He says this is coming from the state; the state (Cathy Cox's chief of staff
who I just emailed) says they left it up to local board's discretion.

Good grief, people. I, for one, would not be opposed to letting my first grader hear a speech from George W. Bush about the importance of staying in school, just to get that out there. (I do think Obama's speech will probably be better than any Bush speech could be, but that level of message is probably within Bush's rhetorical competence.) I am so sick of this mass hysteria.
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The last part of my spring project for library school.

Read more )


Jul. 4th, 2009 07:03 pm
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Hot. (Supposedly only 90, as of this posting.)

Fleas. (I think next we move on to diatomaceous earth, although Wikipedia is surprisingly positive on the topic of daily vaccuuming

Didn't rain; garden half dead. (Cucumbers lost, beans and tomatoes doing okay, cantaloupes and watermelons thriving, the unnatural creatures.)

Why, again, do I live in Georgia?


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