Watching CNN yesterday, I felt simultaneously utterly insignificant AND an integral part of something bigger and more important than I can possibly comprehend. The last time I felt that way was right after 9/11, and needless to say, the last time it didn’t feel particularly GOOD. Yesterday felt good.
So all of this other stuff, this minutiae going on in my life… I realize that it’s just filler. I don’t have any illusions about it. Still, it’s My Stuff, and if I don’t talk about it, WHO WILL? (No one, that’s who. I mean, I hope. That would be kind of weird, otherwise.)
All of which is a looooong way of saying that my life is still completely insignificant, but not everyone can go to the Inaugural Ball or be sworn into the highest office in the land. Some of us have to do everything ELSE. Like stay at home and eat Sun Chips and pretend that they’re healthier than potato chips because, dude, they totally have fiber and, um, STUFF!
And I’m pleased to report that I feel I’m handling the whole Sun Chips things like a real pro. No need to thank me! Just doing my civic duty.
Nevertheless, little things are niggling at me, as they sometimes do. And so I will share, because maybe you need to know while you eat YOUR Sun Chips.
Otto and I went out to dinner over the weekend, and we did so with the excellent planning we always use, which means that we were out and about running errands and then realized it was late and we were starving, which is a GREAT WAY to embark upon a Saturday night dinner out, because NO ONE is out eating, then! So we tried one restaurant and the wait was insane, so we went to another and waited half an hour for a table.
By the time the waitress brought us some bread, I may have bitten her hand off at the wrist in my hurry to get some food into my stomach. I then ordered a pomegranate martini, which I tried VERY HARD to only have a few sips of before the food came, on account of Empty Stomach + Low Alcohol Tolerance = Extreme Silliness, if I’m not careful. Despite the superior deliciousness (nice and tart! not too sweet!) of my drink, I’d really only had maybe half an inch of it when our food arrived. This did not stop me from declaring “THIS IS THE BEST THING I’VE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH!” at top volume—waving my steak knife around, for emphasis—after biting into my ribeye.
I want to believe this was because it’s been months since I had any beef, rather than because I was tipsy. Then again, I also want to believe that Otto then darted under the table because he dropped his napkin, not because he was hiding.
Speaking of Meat
So the whole kid-gone-vegetarian thing has wrought some interesting changes in our cooking; most notably that we’re all eating a lot less meat. I’m happy about the change, because I think we’re eating healthier, and I think we (that’s the royal “we,” like, all Americans) eat too much meat in general, anyway. And it wasn’t until we went out to dinner the other night that I realized I’d pretty much stopped buying beef, and so we’ve had some chicken and some pork chops sprinkled amongst the veggie options, but NO BEEF. Hence the hankering for—and extreme enjoyment of—the steak. Mmmmm… tasty cow.
I am also VERY excited about the fact that after nearly two years of whining about how I just want to find a local place to buy a side of beef, or whatever, so that at least the meat we eat has a smaller carbon footprint and might not be full of industrial chemicals and whatnot, a friend of mine came up with a connection to a local farm where we can go in together and each get a quarter of a cow. Yay! Local meat!
Then she gave me some more details and I realized that even just a quarter of a cow is, well, A WHOLE LOTTA MEAT, and given the way we’ve been ’round here, it would still be WELL above our requirements for even a year’s supply. I then sent out an email to some OTHER friends, informing them that I was going to go ahead and commit to buying a quarter, but that really the most we want/need is an eighth, and if anyone else wanted to buy some of our portion, to let me know. Now I have two friends who are willing to take half of my quarter and split it between them, so when all is said and done I think I’ll have an eighth of a cow in my freezer and they’ll each have a sixteenth, although how we’ll actually manage the logistics of this isn’t entirely clear at the moment (I’ll set up Mir’s Butcher Shop in my garage one Saturday, I’m guessing, while Chickadee pickets outside with a sign that says MEAT IS MURDER).
… and, suddenly, I wonder if maybe Chickadee doesn’t have the right idea. But then I remember the ribeye and start to drool. So.
There’s a whole story I could tell you about how YET ANOTHER drama going on here in our school district is this endless discussion over whether or not the public schools should institute a uniform, but it makes my eye twitch so I’ll refrain. I will state, however, for the record, that NOTHING WOULD MAKE ME HAPPIER than the kids wearing uniforms to school. It seems like it would be a lot easier. But for various reasons—including the issues inherent in requiring certain clothing when you have a large segment of the student body living below the poverty line—I doubt it’s going to happen.
I swear, that was background to this: Chickadee is going to be in the school spelling bee. She’s very jazzed about the whole thing. I am, too, owing to the fact that I never really got over that early elimination in 8th grade when I misspelled “hollyhock.” (I knew how to spell it, too, I just somehow left out an L, and then hated myself for making such a stupid mistake when I knew the right answer.) Ahem. ANYWAY. Suddenly a letter has come home to the parents of kids who are participating, from the school’s vice principal, reminding us of the day and time and asking parents to come support their kids.
And also listing what the children are supposed to wear.
Girls should wear a white blouse or turtleneck with blue pants (NOT JEANS) or a blue skirt. Boys should wear a button-down white shirt with blue pants (NOT JEANS). “If possible.”
Chickadee says the VP told them that this dress code is MANDATORY and that it only says “if possible” on the instructions “so that the parents don’t feel like I’m bossing them around.” Hey! Guess what! If you send home a notice less than a week before an event telling me that my kid has to wear a specific outfit, I’m going to feel bossed around! And while it’s annoying for me—Chickadee doesn’t own blue non-jean pants or a blue skirt, nor does she have a white blouse—I could afford to go buy her new clothes, I guess, though the idea of doing so irritates me. For many of the parents receiving that letter, the kids aren’t going to have the “right” outfit, AND there will be no money to outfit them. What then?
“Oh, well, we’re supposed to tell you to borrow from someone or maybe go look at Goodwill,” Chickadee told us. Oh. Fabulous! Let me get RIGHT ON THAT. Given how much free time I have, I’m certain that ALL THE OTHER PARENTS (especially the ones who are really struggling to make ends meet) will also not find this presumptuous and exasperating AT ALL.
I am considering sending Chickie on Bee Day in something that COMPLETELY violates the rules. But I realize that would be wrong. So instead, I told her she can wear the closest thing she has. And now—surprise!—she’s angry at me because I won’t go buy her the prescribed outfit. Thanks, Vice Principal!
On second thought, maybe I will show up in MY white blouse and blue skirt. With a steak in one hand and a pomegranate martini in the other. I’m pretty sure I’d have a whole new appreciate for spelling bees (and dress codes, and the universe in general…) if I got to do it that way.
Ah the joys of school administration schizophrenia (sp?).
I say share the martinis and dress the kids in tie-dye. But, I’m a rebel.
You got the letter a week before the event? That is ridiculous. I was told that it was so easy to find school uniforms at thrift stores, but to be honest, I haven’t had a lot of luck.
Stick to your guns. If you want, Chickie can borrow my AC/DC t-shirt. It’s got Angus in devil horns, tongue lolling and hands in the “rock on” position. It goes perfectly with blue pants. ;)
Comment in points (but not bullets as I don’t know if your comment thing chews up code and spits it out and then points and laughs and frankly I can’t take the rejection)
* Dude, from the moment he used ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ I was on my feet. Brilliant speech. Brilliant delivery. And it’s entirely possible that as I walked away down the hall I said, ‘you know, I’m willing to bet that our new president doesn’t say “liberry.”
* Pomegranate – I know it’s last year’s totally in thing and thus now way out doubtless, but Costco was carrying this stuff (which my kids would call ‘likker’ even though I point out there’s a DIFFERENCE guys and it’s something to do with syllabic emphasis and more money and stuff) and it was in such a gorgeous bottle I bought it even though I generally don’t buy lickHER since it’s too sweet – but hey, turns out that pomegranate is very, very tasty. Which isn’t really a point at all now that I think of it…
* Uniform – middle school for us for a couple of years was all uniformed up. It was excellent for mornings (no thinking) and the school set up a swapsies thing so that exiting students could pass along their gently used khakis and polo shirts. They also chose to go with clothes that could easily be found in HellMart or Target or wherever rather than Official Uniforms or anything which was very wise. The city is basically flooded with white, black,light and navy blue polo shirts and you can find them for five dollars sometimes even at the big stores so, yes, it’s a total pain getting new (or slightly used) clothes at first but in the end? It’s really very nice in many ways. Point: Each child was initially given three pairs of khakis and seven shirts. They changed as soon as they came home (would have anyway thanks to sports) and school clothes were only for school. Whenever I saw super, massively discounted ‘uniform’ items I would snatch them up – if they were under five dollars I’d pick up an extra one or two to donate to the school clothing distribution place.
Yours was “hollyhock,” mine was “candidate.” Somehow I spelled it “candiTADE,” in all likelihood because I was 11 and it was not the school bee, it was the TOWN bee because I’d already won the school one; I was all hopped up on adrenaline and adrenaline causes dyslexia. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.
Anyway, that Vice Principal is not your pal. He or she needs a dressing down. In blue pants and a white shirt.
Maybe the Vice Principal would be willing to provide white shirts and blue pants for all those that don’t already have them? That’s ridiculous.
If you still need to get rid of some cow, let me know. I wouldn’t mind some Reserve Cow in the freezer.
I just re-read the inaguration speech and got all pleasantly weepy again.
For me it was ukulele and I’m still uncertain of its spelling, though since it’s not underlined here I’m going to assume it’s correct.
You know, with all that’s going on in the schools there, it almost makes me glad to be living out in the boonies. Almost.
Second grade, and word was cliff. I’d been rocking it up to that point and I was SO SURE there was only one f that I unsuccessfully argued my point. And I may have cried a bit.
Step away from the Sun Chipsand try some sliced jicama. No joke. Tasty, crunchy, healthy, refreshing.
Ah, another reason I am glad to be homeschooling. The kids can do their worksheets naked if they wanted. They don’t, of course, but the freedom is there. Whatever will get the math done.
I was always taught (by my non-spelling mom), that if you can’t spell a word at least two ways, you’re just not being creative. (Which came in real handy when I used to do presentations with flip charts ‘n stuff.
Wouldja mind if I added a ) ? Thanks. Apparently I have the same problem with grammar.
Wow, you people have vivid memories of words spelled wrong! I don’t remember the exact word which spelled (get it? Hah!) my demise from the bee, but I will never forget the hot feel of blood rushing to my cheeks as I sat down.
G-O-O-D L-U-C-K, Chickadee!
It was sixth grade, and my word was ever-loving CHOCOLATE. I added an extra H in there somewhere. For kicks, I guess. Still hating myself for that.
I think you could set up a grill outside selling steaks to help pay for the mandatory outfit. If anyone complains just tell them you’re trying to make ends meat.
In fifth grade I went to the All City Band Concert in a pink floral skirt and pink sweater, despite the fact that we were instructed to wear black bottoms and white tops. Like Chickadee I didn’t own a black skirt or white blouse. I’m sure my mother was annoyed at the short notice and protesting by sending me in the pink outfit. I went to low-income school as well (although we were middle class). And do you know, I was the only kid there who did not wear black and white. As an adult I understand my Mom’s reasoning, but as a kid, I was completely embarassed. All my friends showed up dressed correctly.
I think the last time I commented here was on a clothing issue as well…apparently I have been scarred for life!
Good job on finding local beef…we raise cows that we sell a few to neighbors/friends/family and got a fourth for ourselves this year.
Hey, why not send Chickie in YOUR blouse and skirt? This is for an in-school bee? Why dress them all alike for that? How silly.
I thought I never got over losing in my state bee, but now I can’t even remember the word I spelled wrong. Guess I am over it after all.
If Chickadee is upset about the clothing thing, maybe she can make it her responsibility to ask around her friends if they have something she can borrow. It would be a good experience in social networking for her! :)
I dont know if these will ship in time, but in case you change your mind this site has that stuff pretty cheap. Looks like you can get a blouse and a skirt for about $15 total, maybe a little less. I didnt shop around too much.
Target also sells uniform clothing, so that might be an optio.
I, too, was scarred by having to go to a school concert without having the right outfit once.
Anyway, here is the site I found. I totally understand your stance though. I get like that too. But my inner traumatized soul had to speak up. LOL
When my son was 3 and taking Suzuki violin lessons he had to show up a recital wearing a white shirt and dark pants (both of which we had) but also black shoes (not sneakers) which we didn’t have. On thinking it over, we decided we weren’t buying shoes for a three year old that he’d wear once and then immediately outgrow so he wore black sneakers. No-one said boo. So I’m with you if you’re not buying anything on principle, but what’s the closest thing she has? Is it pretty close? If you do waver, a white turtleneck is a good wardrobe staple to have. (For boys or girls. I thought it was weird they specified turtlenecks for girls only.)
I hear you on the inauguration stuff, for sure. Since you’ve got the Secretary of Sun-Chips position filled, I’ll have to settle for Ambassadorship to My-laptop-avia.
And let me offer you this piece of advice for the future: Waitresses’ hands are extremely muscular– way too gamey.
And yet why can I not stop trying them over and over? Just like Brussels sprouts. Do I expect them to change? I tell ya…
Uniforms for school is like a gift from God when you have a tween age girl. Life is so much easier in the mornings when they just know what they have to put on, they do it, and you are done. (We actually pick clothes out the night before, it makes that part even easier!)
And, I agree with Megan who discussed the purchasing of uniforms. By the end of the first year, there are lots of things available for swap, and stores start stocking them at pretty fair prices. Our school started with just Fridays, to get people into it, then the next year switched to every day. Our swap area is now so full that at times you don’t even have to swap anything, there’s a sign that says, “if you can use it, take it.”
Oh dear. Does it make you feel better to learn that I first read the section header as “Unicorn”? Hmm? No, I’m not drinking a martini at work, why do you ask?
Oh dear, Katie–I’m sure wearing unicorn would be considered very non-PC.
I prayed that my school would change to uniforms – I was completely lost when it came to fashion (and I guess I still am – oh well!)
As for spelling – to give you an idea of how bad I was, my fourth grade teacher wrote in my yearbook, “Remember, Lori, cat is spelled K-A-T”
The word was quaff. It means to drink quickly. I spelled it qua. I did not hear the “f” sound on the end. I would have instinctively used 2 “f”s I am sure. I have NEVER had the need to use that word in conversation except to reveal my psychological scarring from the spelling bee. Another year, in a younger grade it was cauliflower. I spelled it flour becasue it was a food, not flower because it is a product of a plant:).
Kids are in uniforms all of the time. I see more pros than cons. HOWEVER, for their required musical concerts, they have to do the black and white thing. And, I bitch about it, every. single. time.
I wore a uniform for 12 years in school. It was soooo nice not to worry about what to wear. And if you think it makes all the kids little look-alike robots, THINK AGAIN!!! Oh my, the variety you could find by changing your socks, shoes, purse, hair, etc. And not to mention the rolling-up-of-the-waistband ritual performed each morning in the bathroom (usually accompanied for the other girls by the rebellious cigarette dangling out the corner of their mouth.) Then there was the variety to be had by choosing to launder and/or press said uniform…. It was endless. By senior year we got tired of the rich kids dressing like models on Free Dress day and a lot of us began to “forget” about it. Now, I’ll never voluntarily wear another pleated wool skirt in my lifetime, but the uniforms were a Very Good Thing.
That fact that the VP told the kids that he/she didn’t really mean what they said it was just manipulation irratates the H.E.L.L (is that how you spell hell?) out of me.
I’m still haunted by the misspelling of “utensil” (Jan: U-N – crap) in 7th grade class spelling bee. A mistake born of the sheer terror only a junior high classroom can provoke. (Or maybe that’s just me — is that just me? I’m still having junior high flashbacks.)
I coulda been a contender, y’all. I really coulda.
Holyhock is totally an alternate speling.
Fourth grade. First one up, first one out. My word was ‘engine’. *hangs head*
Good luck to Chickadee. What a ninny that AP was to send that letter so close to the bee, and to make the kids the bearers of the news so that makes it even harder for the parents to (rightfully) complain.
4th grade – patriot – I was so confident that I said “ET” instead of “TEE” for the last letter. Then I just felt like an Idi-et.
7th grade state bee – embryonic – I replaced the y with an i. Why are these things that we will never forget?
1st grade, wasn’t supposed to be in the spelling bee because I didn’t want too lol, someone didn’t show up and they dragged me on stage. Great. Word was Candy, I spelled it with an ie…but I was runner up, so that should have been good. But I refused to ever go to any event again where they might drag me on stage. Sigh.
Our school sent a note home with Bubby his Kindergarten year the DAY BEFORE THE HOLIDAY SHOW and said he had to be in a white shirt with black pants?!?!?! Ummm, after I stopped crying because I thought I would scar my kid by not having him in the clothes, I quickly ran to Target and got him clothes that didn’t fit but at least where the right color. Again Sigh…. Not sure what schools are thinking. Wait, maybe that is it, they don’t think.
I walked around with a dictionary for a week before the bee. Hi nerd! My friend intentionally mis-spelled a word after me so that I wouldn’t be eliminated. And still, I flubbed the very next word – one of those ar/er things. Ugh, spelling bees…
For me it was Rwanda…I had heard the country’s name on the news, but I hadn’t seen it in print. Still haunts me.
Meeaaatt – coooowwww…mmmmmm…
As for uniforms, I’m kinda against them. I understand that administration wants to make everyone feel as though they fit in, but the truth of the matter is that kids are going to compare with whatever they have – be it the shoes, or the hair accessories, or the earrings, or the cool new hairdo.
Ahhh- I messed up the word “tornado”!!! ::shudders:: Middle school is so cruel… ;)
My word was “patience”. It was …46 years ago!
What does it mean that so many of us remember THE WORD that did us in?
Long time since my last comment!
In my daughter’s school uniform is mandatory, so she’s been wearing it for 7 years now and while I don’t think that the uniform is particulary pretty I do believe it is a blessing in more than one way (not in the economy side though, they are special uniforms and they are expensive, but that’s a whole ‘nother story).
Good luck to Chickie on the spelling bee =)
My word was buisness in 3rd grade. :-D I’ll never spell business wrong again! I had always placed in the bee each six weeks except for that one time! haha
I tend not to eat beef either, but I still eat a lot of meat – just mostly chicken and turkey. I actually think it tastes better in most instances. I even prefer turkey bacon. *shrug*
My son’s teacher sent home a note on the day of the Christmas concert that the next day was tie your shoes by yourself day & they needed shoes with laces. My kid doesn’t have shoes with laces. If God wanted him to, he would not have invented velcro & slip on shoes. I found an old pair of his dress shoes that didn’t fit. I told him to carry them to school. He insisted on wearing the too small shoes.
My favorite tshirt ever:
“Meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder.”
Please, please, go out and buy Chickadee a white shirt and blue pants for the spelling bee. I’ve been reading for a while, and she has missed some significant activities lately for bad behavior. Sending her in an outfit that makes her self-confidence tank will set her up for a tantrum before the spelling bee and she will probably end up having it taken away. Please show her that you are willing to go out of your way to support her when she makes a significant, unexpected achievement (not unexpected in that you didn’t think she was a great speller, but unexpected in that you had short notice of what was required of her to participate in this priviledge).
I give this advice based on past history with my own children. You and I are very similar parents–very similar beliefs, values, and hopes and expectations for our children. We can stick to our guns when necessary, knowing that raising outstanding individuals (like your kids) is a more long-term endeavor than just pleasing them in the present. However, sometimes it takes another person’s eye on the situation to suggest you might be getting close to the line where you are making your children suffer to prove a point you believe in. She will have no self-confidence or pride in spelling (the point of the bee) if you turn it into a lesson about how the school administration should have more respect for you.
You’re an amazing mom–my suggestion you might rethink your decision is not to say you aren’t. Just to give another perspective. Lord knows I’ve appreciated when friends (virtual or otherwise) have given me a different view. Not that I always listen :)
My word was chief in the 1st grade – the whole i before e thing.
We love uniforms… my kids have them in elementary school, but won’t in middle school – next year for my oldest. I so wish they would put them in place there, too. Instead it’s a dress code, which is not consistently adhered to. Blah.
I agree with those who say just buy the right clothes for the event, but send a note or email complaining.
Good luck, Chickadee!!
You’re so right! There was one “spirit” week in school where the kids had to wear a certain color or something every day of the week. Monday was red, Tuesday was blue & white, Wednesday was a sweatshirt, Thursday was red, white, and blue, and Friday was dress-like-a-friend day. My goodness!
8th grade…word was victuals. But, as it is pronounced “vittles” I can be okay with it…sort of…maybe…
Buy her the outfit. It is not worth using her to make an example. In the end, the one who suffers most is her, and somehow, that just isn’t fair. This isn’t her battle. It’s tough enough to spell on the spot without having to do it feeling self conscious.
Those parents who are struggling will make it work. Mine always did…single mom six kids on not much more than minimum wage in southern California (which is never cheap.)
Oh, the money I could have saved if Paige wore uniforms. I could outfit an entire army in Abercrombie and Fitch at this point. (But it would have to be a petite army).
If only schools realized what a lasting trauma results from spelling bees! Mine was “indict” in 4th grade. It would have helped if I’d ever heard the word spoken aloud, I was waiting for something pronounced “in-dikt”, not “in-dite”.
That school VP must come from the same type of people who, in office-cubicle world, expect low-salaried clerical people to afford three complete wardrobes: home, “business casual”, and fancy-schmancy name brand suit stuff. Grr.
i always voted in favour of uniforms. it seemed like such an easy fix to an ongoing problem of what to wear, how to keep up with the joneses and i really did car that people thought it would inhibit the children’s individuality. so what. it was about me, not them.
I loooove the uniforms we wear! My kids wear khaki or navy bottoms and white, navy blue,red,hunter green polos. They also can wear a plaid from *ONLY* lands end(so much for being inexpensive!) if they would like. Our school has the upper end(million dollar homes)and the lower end with section 8 apts, so uniforms were the only way to even it out i guess.
there is no more arguing with a very opinionated 2nd grader over what she can wear….now if she would only not argue about how her hair is fixed lol!
School uniforms – a control issue between, uhm, kids, parents and school officials.
Walking in the other person’s uniform shoes – you have NO idea what the school officials deal with regarding school dress. Think gang signs via clothing. Think safety of your own child.
Let.this.one.go. For both Chickadee and you.
As for those poor kids who cannot ‘afford’ uniforms – here there are plenty of supports provided for those families. No one does not attend school because they cannot afford uniforms. (Local community reference here.)
I have this great resource for understanding poverty….will dig it up for you.
I have one better, there have been two occasions that we have received the letter for an event after the actual event! Lovely!
7th or 8th grade, county spelling bee, “occult” I had seen it written lots (don’t ask about my reading habits!), never heard it said. Started with a “u” and went downhill from there.
Why *do* we remember these things???
c-o-r-r-a-l. Got me in 5th grade.
On uniforms: all the schools in our town went to uniforms this year and I LOVE them. I teach 3rd grade, and haven’t had any flip-flop blowouts, heelys, or problems with spaghetti straps or muscle shirts. Yay!
Mine was giraffe and i spelled it girafe. Why do we remeber this? I never entered another spelling bee after that either.
Mine was business, I spelled it buisness in 6th grade. I knew it needed an i, I just rushed and said it wrong. Oh well.
My grandson in Maryland had to wear uniforms to school. they were light blue knit shirts with a collar and blue pants. They weren’t expensive at all. In fact, they were cheaper than buying jeans, even Wal-Mart Jeans. But then he got kicked out of school and now he is home schooled. And my daughter in law makes him wear his school uniform when he is doing his school work at home.
My word was “lyre,” in fifth grade I didn’t know that there was any other type of “liar.”
As far as specific clothes for the spelling bee, they either should have given a lot more notice, or left it up to the parents to decide what constitutes appropriate wear.
1) I have blocked out which word it was, except that it was a homonym. I remember the teacher’s expression: she felt really sorry for me—-or maybe she was just thinking, “Oh damn it, now she is going to cry AGAIN.”
2) My mom used to teach at a school uniforms school, and what happened there was after awhile there was a “trade-in” system: parents could bring in their kids’ outgrown uniforms and make a trade for used uniforms in a larger size.
3) I would totally buy her the blue pants or skirt, and I would use it as an excuse to buy something fun I might not otherwise have bought, like the time my daughter barfed at the mall (car sickness, not virus) and I used it as an excuse to buy her a new outfit. I would be an interesting combination of (1) really, really pissed about the late notice and the requirement, and (2) happy to have a fun excuse to shop, and maybe even buy something not on clearance for a change.