Feb 19, 2011

Shake Me Up

Last year about this time I stopped at McDonald's and asked for a Shamrock Shake, the voice on the other end of the speaker said "You want a what?" I said "A Shamrock shake... you know, the green ones...?" I was met with silence. "What kind of shakes do you have?" I demanded "Um, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate." Now I was silent while taking in the possibility that McDonald's didn't have a Shamrock Shake in Texas. I started again "I'm from the Chicago area and every year for St. Patrick's Day McDonald's makes a minty green shake called a Shamrock Shake and I guess you don't have them here." The voice on the other end said "Oh what a great idea, when is St. Patrick's Day?"

Asking a Illionian when St. Patrick's Day is, is like asking a Texan when Cinco De Mayo is.

Love's Aftermath

First grade class valentines; all have a prize (candy, tattoo, pencil or sticker) attached to them, are often poured over with the assumption that Kaitlyn really means it when she says best friends are fur-ever with a kitten on the front, must be hand addressed to each kid, bewilder me in how long we're supposed to keep them, enable bits of sweet tart wrappers to be stuffed into the couch.

Feb 15, 2011

Things Kid's Believe

I hocked roller derby t-shirts for the league at the Governor's cup this weekend. A league-mate's daughters got bored at their booth across the aisle and came to play with Jack. He had great fun playing with the elder girl's necklace. To her little sister's horror, she took it off and swung it back and forth in front of him. The little sister exclaimed "No! Don't hypnotize him!"

Feb 10, 2011


I started my day with coffee, Bach's Toccata en Fugue in D Minor on Organ and a falcon in my front yard eating a dead crow next to the gnarls of frozen dead bushes. I was going to work on my plan of world domination but decided I'd better nap when the baby naps and instead went back to bed. Upon waking the second time the sun was out and so was Mozart. World domination sounded like a great deal of responsibility I didn't need on top of the artwork and housework I need to finish today.

Feb 4, 2011

Put that Kool Aid Down

She came home excited about selling magazine for the school and was distressed when I told her we wouldn't be selling anything. She pleaded "What about the GIFT CARD! We could get a gift card if we sell enough?!" I stood my ground explaining if the school needs something I am more than happy to provide a donation for the thing they need, but I wasn't sure where the money was going or what the school was raising the funds for and the whole things seemed too convoluted to be useful. She pleaded while kicking her feet that she needed that prize. I asked what it was she wanted to buy with the gift card, was there something she needed or wanted that she didn't have? The answer was no, and so I stood my ground, "We do not sell tchotchkes to make money for the school to buy more tchotchkes for a classroom just dying to win the tchotchkes."

We are a country of consumers surrounded by stuff with the driving need to consume more stuff. When the kid's teacher sends home a note asking for parents to send dry erase markers or books or paper towels, I am all for sending these things, and I would even donate directly to a fund sending the teachers to conferences and classes that will extend their educations, but ask me to sell something so that part of the proceeds can go towards who knows and I'll be giving you a firm "no." It really pisses me off that the school takes away learning time to let a high pressure inspirational speaker try to transform our kids into little peddlers of crap*.

First and foremost any time someone is trying to raise money it helps to say why. I can get behind a campaign for more library books or better food in the cafeteria but I'm afraid sometimes the goal is unknown because just like my child, they're sure they want something they just don't know what it is yet. Consume, consume, consume! Once the school figures out what they need I propose some better fund raising ideas.

Here are some that are far more sincere and I think would be way more fun:

-Let the kids do a victory garden and sell the produce in the fall at a farmers market. Advertise that it's premium, gourmet, student grown produce - charge a premium.

-Art auction/sale. Invite parents and grandparents, put lots of art in. After all, who leaves their child's art un-bought. (I still invite my mom to any art auction my work is in - thanks mom.)

-Just write a letter and ask for money for the several things needed. Give people the opportunity to buy a floor buffer, flower pots, chalk board... Maybe you don't even know that one of the parents owns a floor buffer company and will just donate the thing.

- A giant fancy dress up dinner prepared by the lunch ladies. I'm talking about really just regular cafeteria food, but you ask parents to pay $10.00 to come in dressed up nice and eat it with their kids in the cafeteria. A family date nite, maybe even dancing at the end?

-Suggest a small donation at every evening school program. Some may not donate, but you'd be surprised how many people might drop a $20 in there knowing they wont have to buy a roll of $15.00 Christmas wrapping paper later.

*Girl scout cookies are the only exception. Those cookies rule!

Feb 1, 2011

Grace Laughed at Me

I went to the court house yesterday to renew my car license registration. The line went out the door. There were cobwebs hanging off the people. I hoped that the office with no line was the one I needed to visit, but the lady behind the desk with no line told me to get in the line. I asked her if she thought it would move fast enough for me to get out of there in time to pick the kid up from school in three hours. She laughed at me and said I should come back today early in the morning. I left. I didn't think it was nice of her to laugh. I didn't go back today. I tried to do it online. Since we moved I have to go in person. I'm hoping tomorrow, day three of the five day overdue grace period, will be less crowded and the morning won't feel so early or funny.

These Boots Were Made For