Monthly Archives: May 2007

Directing Traffic

Dear Readers, I would like to guide your attention to a couple of items of note that I’ve come across recently. I love finding new things through other’s blogs, so I’m returning the favor here.


First up, Falcon has posted a movie quote entry. Go on over and see if you can do better than I did (because, in the words of Peanut, “our guy SUCKS!”).

Ms. Cornelius has a link to a salon(dot)com entry that makes my Firefox crash when I try to turn the page, but it’s VERY worth the effort of rebooting to read the whole thing. Go here, give Ms. C some love, then check out her post for May 29th (I can’t get a direct link to that entry). Read the article about how scary it can be to be a teacher in today’s public schools.

I’ve mentioned this one already, but Jake wrote a piece about how Romney is bad for children that I’m STILL in love with. Go here every once in a while and check out this very eloquent, riotously funny blogger.

California Teacher Guy is going through some tough changes at the moment. He was informed, not too long ago, that the school district where he teaches Special Ed. kids won’t be needing his services after this term. His way of dealing with this is fascinating to read – it most often involves poetry (and, very often, limericks!) – and is well worth your time.

Finally, WeedWoman has added some features to her website that make purchasing much easier. Trust me on this – you want to buy her dip mixes for all your summer parties; they are a zillion times better than the crap we can get at the grocery store.


Filed under admiration, Blogroll, discoveries, Friends, love notes


I bought my beloved a birthday gift, and ever since I made the purchase, I fretted about it.

You need to understand something about Mr. Chili.  He’s a thinker.  He loves little more than he loves research and investigation.  He’s had it in his mind that he wants a bike for about three years now, and has spent a good portion of those three years in a scientific quest to find just the right bike for him

He’s read online reports.  He’s read magazine articles.  He’s gone to different manufacturer’s websites to compare prices, materials, and manufacturing techniques.  He has, no doubt, complied a list of features and qualities for different models, and has compared them to each other and in relation to the respective costs of each different cycle.

In short, he’s done a lot of work behind his bike buying decisions, but he never actually got to the point of making a purchase.

He and I are very different creatures in this respect.  I’m more of a “I like that one, let’s get it!” kind of shopper.

I brought my bicycle in to the local shop the other day to have her tuned up and cleaned, and while there I had a little chat with the bike department’s manager.  I told him that my husband is a rather particular shopper, that he’s been doing extensive research about bicycles for a number of years, and that he’s already bought a kit to turn a pedal bike into an electric-assist bike and now, for his birthday, I wanted to take the final step and trade some cash for actual wheels.

The manager brought me over to a rack of hybrid bikes (to the best of my meagre understanding, these are combination road and mountain bikes) and, since he is about my husband’s height (something I casually determined by standing next to him), he chose out one that would be the right size.  I made certain of two things – that the model didn’t come in red (if it had, I’d have gotten that one – as it is, I chose a dark green specimen) and that the thing was 100%, no questions asked, immediately refundable.  I figured I’d be met with one of two responses when he arrived home: it would either be “WOW!  This is GREAT!” or “Woman?!  What the fuck were you THINKING?!”  I wanted my pretty little ass covered in the event of the latter.

After a lovely day together, O’Mama and I picked the bike up at the shop this afternoon (thanks, Mama!  It would have been hard getting the thing comfortably into the Puck) and brought it home.  I was feeling a little woozie and sick – I really wanted him to like it, but was afraid (as I always am when I make major purchases for him – especially purchases for which he’s done such detailed research) that it would fall just short of the mark.

When Mr. Chili pulled up the driveway this afternoon, the new bike was parked against the closed garage door, festooned with bright yellow “happy, happy!” ribbons.  He stopped the car about halfway up the driveway and I, sitting on the front steps, panicked a little.  He proceeded to pull his car all the way up, parked, got out of the car and asked, “What did you do….?” with a little grin on his face.


The bike?  It’s not going back!


Filed under celebration

Today In History

A bit of a history lesson today, my Lovelies; we’ve something to commemorate!

images8.jpeg~ On May 30th, 1498, Columbus departed with six ships for his third trip to the New World.
~ In 1848, México ratifies treaty giving US New Mexico, California & parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona & Colorado in return for $15 million.
images-42.jpeg~ Memorial Day was first observed in 1868 when two women in Columbus, Mississippi placed flowers on both Confederate & Union graves.
~ On May 30th, 1883, a rumor that the Brooklyn Bridge is going to collapse caused a stampede that killed 12 people.

~ The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on May 30th, 1922.
~ The world’s 1st hovercraft, the SR-N1, was tested at Cowes, England in 1959.images-32.jpeg
~ Two red-headed boys were born on May 30th, 1962 to parents who weren’t expecting twins at all. One of them grew up to be the love of my life, my best friend, and the father of my children.

Happy birthday, You! I love you like crazy.



Filed under Uncategorized

Ten Things Tuesday

The “this I believe” edition.

1. I believe that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Everything that happens to us, “good” and “bad,” happens because we have chosen to experience it. I also believe that we will continue to draw experiences to ourselves until we learn the lesson it has to teach us, so the next time you stop to ask yourself, “why does this ALWAYS happen to me?!” consider that you may be missing a lesson in it.

2. I believe that people who abuse those weaker than they don’t deserve a second chance to do it again.

3. I believe that the “education” we in this country are providing for our children is entirely unethical. I believe it is wrong to hold all students to the same standards, and I believe that tracking isn’t necessarily the evil that it’s been made out to be.

4. I believe that we’ve not discovered our true capacity yet. For example, it doesn’t fit with how I understand the Universe that we can hurt ourselves in a moment, but that it takes much longer – if ever – for us to heal. I believe that, someday, we’ll understand how much control we really do have over our reality.

5. I believe that people allow money, power, and image to influence them to make really poor choices. I believe that we entirely undervalue most people, and that it’s wrong that CEOs and athletes make millions of dollars, but service people – police, trash collectors, waitresses, teachers – often can’t afford to live in the districts they serve.

6. I believe that manners matter and that no expression of kindness, however small and seemingly insignificant, is ever wasted. It’s all light contributed to the Universe.

7. I believe that it’s the people you can call at four in the morning who really matter, and that it’s just as important to have those kinds of friends as it is to be that kind of friend.

8. I believe that when we learn to stop seeing one another as different from ourselves – when we recognize ourselves in each other – war and violence will become obsolete.

9. I believe that, sometimes, abortion, euthanasia/assisted suicide, and capital punishment are right.

10. I believe that we never really die, and that our “death” here is a passage back to where we came from. I believe there will be a celebration marking our return home, and that much of what happened here will all make sense.


Filed under ten things Tuesday

Just Like Riding a Bike

images-82.jpegThis afternoon, my bicycle came up from the basement, where it’s been for at least a decade. Mr. Chili pumped up the tires (which, amazingly, held the air) and dusted the major cobwebs off and Beanie, Punkin’ and I went for a little ride. We headed off down the street and through a couple of cul-de-sacs, all of us getting a feel for our “new” bikes (Punkin’ is the only one with a NEW bike – an early gift for her tenth birthday; Beanie has Punkin’s old bike and, like I said, I’ve not been on my bicycle in so long that it felt like a brand new experience).

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed being out there with my daughters. We had a lovely, leisurely pedal; we didn’t have a particular destination in mind and the point, really, was to spend some time getting accustomed to our respective rides, but the journey was wonderful. The weather is just about perfect today, our route didn’t have any hills to speak of, and we didn’t have any time constraints. In short, it was an entirely lovely time.

Punkin’ goes off to middle school (gasp! MIDDLE school!) in September. The middle school is exactly 1.2 miles from the Chili homestead (I clocked it from the car when I went to parent orientation night), and I’m thinking that her commute to school is a perfect opportunity for us to bike together. We’ll have to get her a Fort Knox lock for her bike, though, because I don’t think that I can manage getting it home after the trip, but that’s certainly manageable. I won’t mind getting up early enough to go with her (and I can get a bit more workout by continuing home the “long” way – which includes two hills) and I think that it’d be a good chance to be casually alone together – just she and I – to allow for conversation and, well, just mother-daughter-ness. As her teenager-hood fast approaches, I think this alone time is going to be more and more precious and important.

I brought my bike to the local shop for a cleaning and a tune up. I’m going to need a new helmet and a more comforable seat, but I’m already looking forward to the time I’ll have pedaling with my family.


Filed under celebration, discoveries, general kid stuff, Home and Family, ruminating

To Be, or Not to Ph.D.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this lately (actually, if I’m going to tell the truth, I’ll have to say that this has been an issue for me for my entire adult life – it just changes a shade here and a bit there, but whatever), and I don’t seem to be getting very far with it on my own, so I’m opening it up to all of you. I love the different perspectives I get from you, and I’m hoping that you’ll have some words to help me open up my thinking about this, too.

I have been struggling with a very odd sort of not-quite-discontent for a while now. It’s certainly nothing that overtakes my life or keeps me from recognizing how truly great I have it; it’s more of a little nagging feeling that hovers in the frequency noise, but that I can make out clearly often enough to notice. It tells me that, while my personal life is about as close to perfect as it can possibly be, I’m still not enough professionally. It says that I am taking the easy way out, that I’m not applying myself, that I am not living up to my potential (sounds an awful lot like a high school English teacher, this little nagging voice, doesn’t it? Hmmm…).

I’ve written before that I consider myself an artist, and every word of that piece is true. I don’t feel that I have to be published, or that fame and fortune should come from this exercise of putting words together. Honestly, blogging has satisfied much of that need to be read by others; I write here every day, not knowing who’s going to read what I write or how what I write is going to affect those who read it. Having the feedback that I get here really does fulfill my writer’s desire to be noticed and recognized and understood.

So what’s my problem?

I have been thinking, for quite some time now (since about a month after I graduated with my Master’s, actually) about continuing my education. It’s that that I’m wondering about.

I can’t really justify the effort. I’m not in a job where I would benefit from another degree (and I’m certainly not in a job that would subsidize my pursuit of one). I don’t want a job that would require I have more education – in fact, another degree could actually diminish my prospects for working elsewhere because I’d be “overqualified” for the kind of work that I’d want to do. I don’t really have the time to devote to more advanced study, and neither do I have the financial wherewithal to pour money into earning a degree that wouldn’t put me in a position to earn that money back in a reasonable amount of time. Lastly, I well remember the unpleasantness of grad school. I remember the work, I remember the time, I remember the frustration of feeling as though the curriculum wasn’t serving my needs as a student.

Yet, with all these very valid reasons against going back to school, I feel as though I’m being driven to do it anyway, and it’s this that I need to investigate.

I’m betting that a lot of it comes from my rotten upbringing; that I’m still suffering from the over-achiever syndrome that I picked up as the kid of emotionally abusive parents. I was never good/smart/pretty/polite/neat/thin/talented (continue inserting adjectives here) enough, and even though these people aren’t a part of my life anymore, I still recognize their influence in the way I do things. I am ever mindful of not being enough, and this often leads me to put forth an extraordinary amount of effort to meet some sort of undefined (and, if we’re being honest here, unattainable) standard. I think it’s here that most of my problems lie.

Kizz will tell you that she’s been having this conversation with me forever (and I am very grateful for her patience and indulgence thus far). I can very clearly recall long and heartfelt IM sessions where I lamented that being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t enough; that I was missing my potential in the work I was doing, that I undervalued how important it was and that I felt I was somehow ducking out on larger responsibilities (as if there could BE a larger responsibility – I can see that now).

I guess I’m feeling that way a little now about the work that I do – or, as the negative voice in the noise says, the work that I’m managing NOT to do – right now. Am I doing enough as a (very) part time teacher in a tiny little, podunk community college? Am I challenging myself to continue to think and grow and express things in meaningful ways? Am I taking the easy way out by allowing my husband to provide this life for me that doesn’t require that I put forth the commitment of time and effort to do something else? In short, am I smart enough? Am I talented enough? Am I enough?

I’m not looking for pats on the head or happy platitudes here. I get that (most of you) like me, or you wouldn’t keep coming back to read (and I’m very, very grateful that you do, believe me). I also want you to know that, as pathetic as I may be coming across here, I’m NOT about to pitch myself off the harbor bridge or leave my family in pursuit of some sort of answer to an early mid-life crisis. I really am fine; all this thinking, like I said, happens in the ether of my life. I’d just like to figure out a way of addressing this voice – hopefully once and for all, but I’d settle for something a bit more decisive than I’ve managed thus far – so that I can be as content with my professional life as I am with my personal.


Filed under crossover, learning, ruminating, Worries and Anxieties


images-72.jpegIt’s Memorial Day weekend.

Here in my little New England state – and, I suspect, in most of the rest of the country – that means several things.  It means cook-outs and beer.  It means yard work and yard sales.  It means a Monday “off”; no mail delivery, no school, no trash collection.  It means parades and community pot-luck dinners and flags and geraniums and the Star Spangled Banner.

What I wonder, though, is what does it mean?

How do we go about honoring the war dead in a way that is good and true and right?  How do we remember and value the service and sacrifice on the one hand, and deplore the mechanisms in the world that make those things necessary on the other?  How do we reconcile a hatred for war with a love and respect for those who are asked to wage it?  Perhaps even harder, how do we admire and remember those who deserve the esteem, who behaved honorably while fulfilling their duties, while not allowing that admiration to fall on those who don’t?

Finally, how do we turn that respect and recognition we’re compelled to give into actions that may make it possible that we may, in the future, have fewer and fewer war dead to commemorate?


Filed under admiration, celebration, memorials, ruminating, social issues