Monday, April 27, 2009

School bullies, uproar, angry Tea & resolution and life goes on

Two weeks ago, Basil came home from school kind of worried.He told me that some friends of his who aren't really his friends were harassing Guy on the playground and calling him "gay" (not a reference to his name which is very different from what I call him here) and "retardo." Basil went to them to tell them to knock it off which resulted in all the boys except for Guy getting called to the office.

When he told me, I insanely told him to not worry, were it an issue, they'd have called me. It was around the anniversary of Columbine and then that 11 year old, Jaheen Herrera killed himself. Still no word from the school. I called Guy's teacher and we talked and I told her that maybe a general discussion with all the kids in that class was in order, you know, "It's the end of the year, discipline is down, let's remember the rules."

Pressure mounted, I was assured that all was fine in spite of what Basil was saying and then last Friday at 4:07, he came home crying because he was in trouble and had to go through an anti-bullying session this week and he thought he had to write papers on it about not bullying AND standing up for his brother, something that Guy's teacher was mentioning.

I called the principal. He said that he'd talked to the kids and that as far as he knew, they just talked to him because I'd told Guy's teacher that a talking to was fine since I knew the kids.

Basil maintained that he was really in trouble and that this had gone to the school psychologist so I sent his teacher a chirpy letter, "Hey! Basil's telling me something silly and there has to be a misunderstanding since I wasn't notified. . . "

She justified it and said they didn't want another Columbine in a few years. EXCUSE ME? Not calling me, the parent of one of the accused and the victim, in spite of my contact with the school, was somehow preventing a Columbine incident? Any time a problem is bad enough that my kid gets sent to the principal and the school psychologist is brought in on the matter, I had BETTER be notified!

Basil didn't want to go to school until the problem was resolved which I backed.

The principal went off to deal with it and says that Basil is cleared, but I am beyond words furious!

I looked at Basil's parent report and all it said was, "Playground incident." There was no explanation, and had Basil not wanted to tell me, he could have just laughed it off, "Oh-- kickball, I hurt a kid, he thought I meant to, I didn't" and I have probably wouldn't have asked further.

Guy was feeling terrible because he didn't want to get anyone into trouble, just to make them stop. He is NOT a potential vengeful person with weapons.

It is very irritating that they didn't call me in any of this and that my son was so upset that he was afraid to go to school. Had my husband and I not intervened, this allegedly bullying incident would have gone by and been on his record. They had well over a week to let us know what was happening while I spoke to them a few times.

Next year I am getting them into a charter school so I will be around all the time and hopefully I'll hear things before they get to such a level, but with all the policies, they couldn't tell me when exactly I would have been notified, which is rather disturbing. Where are parents in the equation? If they are worried about something to tragic, and since I have been called about Basil talking to his pals in class, wouldn't this have been something to have called me over?

Mail Art III

I am learning to do pastels-- this is not easy but I love them. Painting rocks goes from "meditative" to "repetitious and boring" so this wasn't a wise choice. I still had fun.

Mail Art II

In the earlier post, I showed two pieces of work. The giraffes are a prevalent theme because well, giraffes are just cool. The lady is me in Arizona and behind me is a Joshua tree.

Here are two others-- they are one of the same.I took the picture of the giraffe, but something was missing and Cloud said that it was the lips, so I made them bigger.

Mail Art

I am an artist. If asked what kind, I have to say that I am a selective mail artist. I cannot make random decorated envelopes for people that I don't know, or causes that I don't care about. My first mail art was for my ex husband when we were married. He was in Officer Training Camp and I did not drive and was stuck at home with two tiny daughters. It was during that time that it was realized that I had become agoraphobic-- afraid to leave the house. (Becoming agoraphobic was an adaptive measure; if I was not wanting to leave our apartment, it did not bother me that I was stuck there. The good pastor figured out too fast that my anxiety with my husband being gone was rooted in other things!) Before a minister/counselor firmly (but lovingly) pulled my head out of the sand, I learned to make art for my then husband.

When I was a single mother, I stayed with mail art because parchment envelopes and other heavy paper envelopes could be a justifiable expense. When I went into a utility company and saw my work up in a couple of people's cubes, I wanted to hide even though they did not know that I'd done it.

My letters were funny-- I decorated them to look like ransom notes or I drew on them, pictures of Scooby Doo or Bert and Ernie, once I was working with water colors and learned to paint the envelope to look liek a paper bag. One of the guys had a baby while in and I sent the guy something with a stork and a congratulations. Another guy got hurt and I sent him something that looked like a doctor prescription with Pee-Wee Herman characters.

When I was going through a custody battle, I wasn't going to do mail art until my ex's wife had a conniption over me using a red pen to make every "5" red and the other letters blue. Since it wasn't hard to set her off and my daughters loved my art work, I did more.

Right now I do art work mostly for my mom and a few friends. My husband wouldn't let me decorate the tax return envelope even though they owed us money. He just didn't want to make them wonder anything. He wanted me to make it look normal and I had to give it to him to do.

The thing with mail art is that the envelope has to be decorated. What I loved and still love is that there is an unseen element in it, that I do the art, smack a stamp on it, and the postal service does their cancellation on it so I don't know what it will look like. For reasons I cannot comprehend, this excites me to no end. I have a huge problem with putting a stamp on the upper right hand side. If there is a square for a stamp, I WILL NOT put the stamp over it because in my eyes, that is a part of the art even though it was made by machine.

To me, stamps are like stickers. I buy them so they are mine and I usually put more on than I need to make my artwork look how I want it to.

I'm sad that we can't lick stamps any more.

When I do my art, I pray for the person for whom I am making it. There is one work that I did that has not made it into my camera where I was painting a man with his son. I cannot paint men well as men are not curvy and my brushes flow in curves. This man is one of the sweetest, loving men in the world and in a very rough situation, and as my brush worked, I kept thinking, "Strength-strength-strength" for what I wanted to portray for both him and his little boy who was on a bike. At the end I was pleased and realized that the whole time I was praying for them.

I have been mad at people and done art. I have been forgiven less that I have been unforgiven. I have not been evil, but people don't like caricatures of themselves on horses' backsides or on pig faces, no matter how amusing they are. (But I found out that they keep the envelopes!)

Friday, April 24, 2009

I am so proud of my baby!

One of the sweetest things to have happen is happening. Today Tiger (eldest child, 20 years old) invited me to come see her first department at the store where she works so this afternoon I went in to say hi and the store manager walked me through his store and showed me around while she worked. He knows that she is on her own, but he was pretty happy to show off his store and brag about it, so he told me things about the jobs he's worked there, his own life and things he has done-- it was like he wanted to let her mom know that it was a good place. When she came to us in her department, she told him how I made her take a certain class at another school that she didn't want to take, and how she had been a snarly little monster about going and how I'd pick her up every day and she was just mad. (Tiger is a physical person and this class was for her.)

She has been at this place for barely 3 months and that she is quite young surprised me that she was hired. He said it could be said that "that class" and her "inborn class" that got her the promotion. That made me feel fantastic. Another person came over and asked if I was the mom with so many kids and I was like, "Here we go again. . ." and Tiger said that she had used on her resume about handling people that she was the eldest of 10 kids. They didn't violate any personal stuff-- it was just so cool to have someone so proud of his store and then happy with my child. . .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm worn out and it's not even summer yet!

Around tax time, we bought stuff to redo our bathroom. Our garage is already crowded with stuff, lots and lots of stuff, but instead of cleaning it, my husband set things side for what we needed for the bathroom. Since summer is coming, a lot can be taken out like the porch swing and the kids' wading pool for the back yard.

We were in the middle of Lent and there was no way we could find the time for fixing up the bathroom. Before we start that, I need to fix up his and my bathroom (the master bath) and I have no place to put his tools and what we have in there.

Clutter goes into my bedroom. I cannot stand it. I feel very, very trapped in my own house. It's not terrible-terrible, but I cannot wait for my husband's next trip where I can go on a cleaning spree and get rid of STUFF that he won't miss. I will toss my own stuff, too-- or take it to Bishop's Attic. It's hard to get rid of things with your other half is saying, "Hey! You should sell that on Ebay!"

Two of the kids have been having problems at school. It turns out that Basil's friends have been harassing Guy. Basil is not sure how to handle it because he finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. He tried saying, "He's my brother-- leave him alone." but one of them shoulder butted him and he told me that continuing to use his words was pointless because it was going to get physical. Guy told the teacher and she called me. She thought that Basil should have stood more by his brother, but he was really not able to do much other than ask them to stop. This has been why Basil has not wanted Guy to speak to him at school.

The school is taking care of it-- the principal is taking care of the kids and just talking to them and Guy was laughing when I told him that the kids will have to do a character class.

Today I spent an afternoon feeling like a complete failure for not doing anything that I had dreamed of in the last 20 years except driving kids places. I was feeling like a spent female salmon, then I got a call from Tiger. She just got a promotion to "manager" in a certain place and doubled her salary and has benefits! I'll talk more on this later, but she's only been at this place for a couple of months and they love her and are promoting her in spite of her age and short time there! She is moving in with her boyfriend to an apartment and really has it together. It's so nice to see my eagle doing well-- I just hope that I will start happening soon, too! Her boyfriend also got a promotion in a different field. She has become an official firefighter. I am so happy with her! And yes, I am proud of myself for raising her. My daughter got a promotion and thought to call me first and thank me for certain things that I specifically did to help her! What a great kid I have! (I'm rich with things I cannot lose!)

May the others be so well adjusted-- and may Tiger continue her success!

At Pascha last weekend I realized that if Christ has been here, that I will miss the Second Coming because I will be taking my children to the bathroom. The above picture is of my bulletin from church on Pascha. In the bigger picture that I have, you can see shoe prints in the petals. It's really kind of cool.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I am for right now putting my energy into my new blog where I am writing about families. I am now the Anchorage Family Examiner! Please come over and comment with me!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Clean up, clean up, everybody does their share. . .

I have started spring cleaning. How is it that over thew course of three years, so much went into my master bathroom drawer? I'd not cleaned it since a few days before Starshine arrived 3.5 years ago. I reduced it to two prescription medications (birth control and vitamins,) nail care items and hair care. Amazing. The rest was mostly thrown away except for the faux pearls which I seem to be collecting and wear constantly.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


We just had an earthquake. . .

Monday, April 06, 2009

I'm almost the mother of a fire fighter!

Today my eldest passed the physical aspect of her fire fighting test. I am so happy! The rest this week is studying and testing and she said that they really, really want you to pass, so with her background in forestry and her college classes, she isn't too worried. She'll probably stay up here in Alaska once she passes.

On the exact opposite, a "frilly" aspect of my day, my corset from Romantasy came in. It was several months in the making and is a true work of art. I had it made at 25"-- I am really 26 inches but I started out at 30" (maybe a tiny bit bigger, cough, cough, OK, I lied to my maker, I was 32") with my "old" corset. I only wear the thing once or twice a week so that I am down where I am is pretty decent. I am going to start doing the exercises now and doing this seriously since I have a place to go once I am 25" out of the corset. My very buff, not an once of fat on her firefighter daughter is like, "Why do you have to be this way?"

My daughter and I are very different, but it's OK. I am so proud of her doing as she does.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Things I shouldn't do when my man is away. . .

I took the kids to church tonight and my husband is on a business trip. I am having a glass of pinot noir right now. Wine is not on the fast-- but I need a glass. The kids were being scamps! My 11 year old son was trying to melt and bend candles UP IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, my littlest ones were swatting at each other and being silly, using me as a barrier to hide behind. We would bow and cross ourselves and my 6 year old, who is TALL, up to my mid upper arm (I am 5'7") was bowing as was I and she stood up before I did and I got a bloody nose. Starshine was doing standing bow (yoga move) and then trying to country western dance as I'd grab her hand and she'd do a little turn under it. Mudd kept doing a Michael Jackson grab and saying that he had to use the bathroom but didn't need to actually urinate-- he was stringing toilet paper in there. Basil (10) kept going outside to look around as he obsesses over the volcano. Dmitri (9) was bopping around to some internal music (he does not have special needs.) The service was long and we left early.

The bright spot was the priests' daughter who came to me and held my waist. She is 5 and a little angel. I could have stood all night with her.