Tag Archives: Tim Raia

Moms, Kids, Blogs and Schools

Now, this, I do not think, is a case of me being lucky.  I have had my share of evil and/or ignorant teachers in my own school experiences.  And, in terms of being a mom or a mom-substitute, (grandma)  I have met a lot of teachers and a lot of school administrators on every single level.  I have met teachers  that would go so far out of the way to advocate for my child that they should be nominated for sainthood.  I have had teachers with whom I have developed social relationships of long-standing because of classroom interaction with respect and knowledge involved that transferred over into friendship. (Yeah,  Obviously not a creative writing teacher, eh?)
On the other hand, in the case of a particular special needs child of mine, I have had an entire high school faculty band together and tell me things about the education of my child that were actual lies.  They played on my naivete and did a disservice to my child — and anyone who ever interacted with her — that has had, and will continue to have,  life long impact. They did this because it was a particular time in history when laws were being changed and their reputation as an excellent, very large, very well-respected school was on the line because they were unprepared to cope with our needs. We were cheated out of services and training and opportunities that should have been given to us, and, after the fact, when I found out about it, there was nothing that could be done to change it.
But that is really a small, not very small, but small part of the story.  There is a big deal going on in the “blogosphere” that is called “mommy blogging”.  Most of the mommy bloggers have sponsors that will pay them to blog about products or pay them to allow ads for products and services on their blog sites.  They have conventions that the sponsors pay for and it seems to be a glorious thing, overall.  For the blogger and for the sponsoring enterprise. 

Long ago, when I was new to the blog world, I actually had ads on my site.  I was amazed that, if I talked about my canary, a bunch of ads about bird breeders and equipment and services would show up on my blog.  This stuff is old school now.  If you have any experience with facebook, you already know that if you send an email, even through yahoo or g-mail, and mention the word “divorce”, six ads from divorce lawyers will show up on your facebook page. I don’t have ads on my blog anymore because I have been banned, (for interesting but inexplicable reasons) so maybe my remarks are tinged with bitterness.  But, I am not really a mommy blogger or a humor blogger, or a book blogger.  I am genre resistant.  This is also a problem with my authorial adventures.  I write stuff that cannot be crammed into a genre, and apparently, if you are not listed under a particular genre, you float around the troposphere, unnoticed and under appreciated.  (Bitterness, again.) 
But. . .  I have noticed a common thread on some of these mommy blogs that seems to be getting stronger and stronger.  Teacher bashing and school system bashing.  And it seems to be a good idea to run with because the blogs that accentuate this subject matter are getting a lot of play.  So I want to tell a really sweet story that I have repeated many times — a story I would like everyone to hear and share, and maybe inspire people to write about some nice stuff that teachers and schools can do.  Nobody seems too interested in that aspect.
I have had my daughter’s twin girls in my care since they were three.  They are now 25, and damnit, it looks like I am stuck with them.  But that is another story for another day. They have had some very rough patches in their lives, and, in the years from age one to age three, there are some gaps that are kind of horrifying for me to even think about.  But they are now gorgeous young ladies and have some amazing successes.  If you knew — well, you just have to take my word for it.  I am proud and amazed at what they have become.  

They had what is called “selective mutism”.  At the time I was living through this I never heard those words.  I wish I had.  But it is probably another case of being on the cusp of change. Anyway. . .They went to Headstart for two or three years.  They never spoke a word.  We kept them in the same classroom.  Not the same actual room, but together in what ever school they were attending.  I did a bit of research and even talked to some older sets of twins about whether it was better to put them in the same room or separate them.  So in kindergarten they went to separate classrooms.  They never spoke.  
In first grade a gym teacher called our house and said she was doing a special project and wanted to ask the kids specific questions about certain aspects of phys. ed and could she talk to them.  They each spoke to her on the phone at some length, and when next I saw her, it apparently blew her mind.  I am sure to this day that there was no special survey, that it was just the talk of the school about whether or not these girls had voices at all. Then in second grade, still separate classrooms, one of the teachers  approached me and said she knew “twin one” could read because she did so well on the tests, but she had to hear her read.  The other twin’s teacher seemed to have no problem, probably appreciated a silent six year old, and never brought up the subject. 
So I talked to twin one and said, “When you read, hold the book up in front of your face like this, and you won’t see the children and you won’t be nervous.”  I don’t remember if I used the word “children” or “nervous” but that was the gist.  When it was next her turn to stand at the front of the room and read aloud, she tried this little ploy and read beautifully.  When I came to pick them up, the teacher was telling me of the success and we were both crying and hugging each other. I think the only other time I felt that way was when one of the other victims of my parenting attempts received her college degree.
By and large, teachers are amazing people.  The personalities and situations they deal with do nothing to promote the actual educating process.  They are just things the teacher has to figure out how to deal with in order to get some educating in there.  With some of the kids.  Some of the time.  It wasn’t that long ago when teachers were given great respect and honor.  Now all anyone pays attention to is if one might be a molester or a free loader or a marriage wrecker.  Okay.  I have run into all of them at one time or another, and I choose to remember the really amazing and wonderful things they can accomplish.
Look for that.  Stop the bashing, Okay?
Image attribution:  http://www.123rf.com


As Thought is a masculine Principle, Huginn sits upon Odin's right shoulder; as the right side of our body is the masculine side of our human form.  Memory is a feminine Principle, therefor Munnin sits upon Odin's left shoulder; as the left side of our body is the feminine side of our human form.   I fear for Huginn, that he not come back, yet more anxious am I for Muninn never to return."  ~ The Poetic Edda   fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net

I love this.  I would not say it is beautiful, but it touches me.

See how wrong my life is? I love this.   Rose and Gold Pillows-  Love that Coffee table!

I also love this.  I think this is beautiful.  I would love this to be my parlor, but the crow picture would not fit in.  Yet the crow picture is totally all about my blog.  And my head.  I think this explains a lot.  But I am the only one who benefits from the explanation. 

The person who lives in this parlor would like this:
Lalique ring       tumblr_l29uehI9h71qbkn6io1_500
This is by Rene’ Lalique and I think it is perfectly exquisite, but I would be very uncomfortable wearing it. 
Well, I am just rambling today and trying to settle some of my thoughts. 
Image Attribution:  all from my Pinterest board “Beauty” where you can find further documentation of these images and see a bunch of neat stuff. 




Let’s Be Reasonable

To me, this is like mourning the passing of the Measles epidemic cuz then you get fewer days off school.

I cannot see ANY connection between the popularity of electronic publishing and the death of libraries, Mr. Patterson.  Please explain that to me.

And let me explain to you that an epub is not a book. It is an electronic file.

There are no more engraved tablets because: books!!  Oh, wait a sec. Cemeteries, corner stones, memorial plaques, etc.

But I did see that story about the monks picketing Gutenberg because they would lose their jobs illuminating manuscripts.

There are no more wagon trains cuz of Amtrak. Well, they aren’t doing so well.  Maybe trucks and airplanes would fit better.  And cargo crates and Wal-mart.

And, seriously, did you finish Blood Meridian?  I kinda can’t see it.  But I did read Along Came a Spider if  you want to talk about literature.

“Witty.”  “Exquisite.”  “Crazy good read.” “Read it straight through.”  “Didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”  “Someone should have been shot.”  “Some of the sex was a little strong.”   “Fast, fun read.”  “Has the makings of a great novel.”  Oh, wait.  That’s my work.


IMAGE SOURCE: James Patterson’s webpage and newspaper ad.  Also google.


The Taking of Andersen 1-2-3

Demure Granny


I promised someone I would tell this story, and I am willing to be as realistic as I can recall while avoiding harming anyone. 

Just as an integral part of my personality disorder, I very much want this story told. I recently parted ways with a long time friend because I decided she was being friends with who she knew or thought she knew and that person was not me. She didn’t even know me. Well, maybe she did and I didn’t like the me she knew, but in reality, I believe she had no clue as to who I was or why. I have never had a problem being me and never wanted to be anyone else. That sometimes leads to TMI. You can check the box at the end.

I was cute in high school. Middle level clique. Friends with the “hoody” kids, and some of the uppity ups. Dated. Not much til jr. year, but a lot sr. year. Mostly “boyfriends” and making out in the alley or the forest preserve or someone’s basement. I was terribly, ‘skip grades’ smart, but I was not very “nice”. I took a guy away from someone just to see if I could and then dumped him cuz I didn’t like him. Both parties sicced their sisters on me for that.

At my ten year reunion a guy said, “I wish I knew you were going to turn out like this”. Ultimate left-handed compliment. I was pretty much coming into full flower.  Just before I turned 30 something terrible happened to my marriage. His sin. The usual. Begged me to stay married, and I did. But I had a score to settle.  I had a job and met this high school foot ball hero rich guy blonde who never noticed me in high school. We had a two year fling with all the worst complications you could imagine. My husband even said at a social gathering, “That guy’s in love with you.” I’d be at my mom’s house in Michigan and he would call me. My mom never asked, but said, “Tell him not to call here.” His wife would call me.  I got sick of him, heard him lying to his wife. Business problems, lied to his superiors. Asked me to lie. I called the person back and told real story. We both left that job.

I said, “Your wife needs you to take care of her. I have someone already. Good bye.” My spouse was a bank VP and we were flush.  High school jock ended in the news for giving municipal contracts for kick backs. He walked into my office one day and I told him to find a new girlfriend. “It will be very exciting.”

He drove by me a few years later in traffic. He kind of was following me. When I turned off the highway I waved. I had my four year old in the car. I know he wonders about that.

High school reunion web site, he has a pasty smushy face and same wife. I left marks.

Five Feet of Heaven in a Pony Tail

I think it is because of the time I grew up in. My grandma used to take me to the Novena at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica. I think we would go on the bus. I would have to research how far it was from our home, but I won’t. She knew I was obnoxious and fidgety, but she didn’t want to go alone, and I was available.

There was Care, Devotion, a Crush, falling in Love, Crazy about someone, being in Love, Loving, being Loved, being Cherished, Adored, Worshipped, making Love,  Nuts about someone, Obsessed, being the Love of someone’s life, at least for a few weeks. All words tossed about, referring to your  brother’s friend, the guy down the block, someone on a movie screen or a television, a teacher, your boyfriend, your husband, your child, a pet, a painting, a singer, a city. How are you supposed to know what love is? We read a book, I think in college, I think in Philosophy, The Art of Love. It certainly didn’t have anything to do with sex, and, frankly, I have no recollection of a single word of it. But the cover was red.

The only thing I know about love is that, for sure, when we were talking about someone wanting to take someone dear from me, and that dear someone climbed on my lap and I gently circled that tiny, dear, cool, little arm with my hand, the thing I felt in my whole being was Love.




I do not remember when I first heard about blogs and blogging.  I never did much organized writing before that if I could possible avoid it.  But if I had to do a paper on something I cared about, or was writing someone a letter, I would go on and on.  There were even times in my life when I “submitted“.  Of course not successfully, as we well know, or I would probably have several Pulitzers under my belt and a few really good movies playing on your local screen. But I received actual professional encouragement.  Have you?   Anyway,  it became what it is.  A place for me.  A place that people visit.

I have only the vaguest idea of what an algorithm is, and I know there is one on Amazon that is good to me.  But I would really like to know the algorithm that brings visitors to my blog cuz there is definitely no rhyme or reason to it.  I know how to pull a few strings if I start to fall below the horizon, but I get these huge numbers when I have done nothing or think I have nothing.  Well, I am not going to analyze it cuz it is all just kind of fun for me.

Sometimes I really need to let loose with a bunch of stuff that bothers me, but usually I just blather.  As you well know.

There is one thing I am going to pay attention to, though.  I actually worked on my work in progress tonight.  I have been having huge problems with it.  I wrote a bunch of junk just to put words down, which is supposed to be rule number one:  Just Write.  So, tonight, looking at it, some of it was salvageable and some actually useful.  Not “good”.  I have written some stuff that I felt was “good” and I get specific reactions to that, so I can kind of judge myself.  But I wrote.  I edited.  I corrected.  I deleted.  And there are two more things I have to put in it.  I know what they are and I am not worried about that part.  What I always have trouble with is having the person “here” where I wanted them to be and where I put them and getting them to “there” where I want them to be and where they have to be.  So I am making progress there and am starting to think I may actually be able to launch this one last book before I head to the happy hunting grounds.

And this time, I am going to notice if this blog has any influence on what happens after I publish. My blog is now a different entity.

So we shall see.

Not too much keeps the old bird up and running these days.  Now that Delaney uses polysyllabic words and wears big girl pants, I feel it is pretty much all over for me. And I am getting sick of Barney’s incessant wonderfulness.  I do have an idea about a different tangent, and a fun thing I might do to put Amazon through its paces.  So maybe there is life in the old girl yet.


Image Attribution:  smugnom.com