Indoor Showers with a chance of Muchiness

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain falling. Not the sound of it raining outside, but more like the sound of it raining outside your tent when you’re camping.

I got up to investigate. Little Z was naked in the upstairs bathroom, smiling and bouncing up and down. The bathroom was flooded and a pile of wet washcloths sat next to her on the sink. The water was not visibly on.

A check downstairs revealed that it was raining in the kitchen. Water seeped through the ceiling and flooded the kitchen. It was dripping from a dozen places, all around the dark beams which give extra support. I went down to the basement the get a mop and a fan, and discovered to my horror that it was raining in the basement, too.

Little Z successfully flooded three stories.

I told her that this was really, really bad, and she should never use the sink alone again, because this is our house, this is where we live, and now it’s completely flooded.

She said,

“We get a different house!”

Oh, man. Innocence is a little much sometimes.

Mopping up, it was still raining. Raining like it does outside when it’s winter in California.

I don’t know how long the showers lasted. I set out all our dishes in the kitchen to catch it up, I set up a fan (from the barn so it instantly got everything in the kitchen dirty), I mopped all I could, and then Little Z and I went off to visit our friends Baxter the Dog and Marsha the Person. Little Z said,

“The doggie will be so happy to see me!” He was.

BAH stayed home with a temperature of 102. I think that, seeing it all through a sickly haze, he didn’t freak out because he was too sick.

Now it’s ten hours later. The rain has stopped. The fever has dropped. The bubble popped? Can’t think of another rhyme that makes sense.

Anyway, there was much muchiness to this day.

This Year's Bests

Best Explanation of How She Knew Someone:

My Mother, Frances:
"Well, I knew this French lady because I was sort of the lover of her ex-husband."

Best Unintentional Fashion Statement:

The panties as hat, by Glory Von Hather.

Best Pictures of Buildings:

Professor Batty, in general.

Best Swedish blog:

You don't have to understand the language to understand what's going on here: This girl is cooking from 1970's cookbooks and posting the results. It's disgusting and wondrous. Play abba while you check it out.

And Another Thing...

Jesus: Loves you unconditionally.

Santa: Not so much.

The true reason for the season: the solstice! People forever have had a festival of lights, feasting, joyous celebrations on the darkest day of the year!

Now you are all completely confused about my religious beliefs. I'm just sayin'.

In the Spirit

This is me and my friend Jen, gearing up for the holidays.


Teaching these kids is really dragging me down. Part of it is the stress of working at two schools. I have to be so organized, know exactly what to pack in the bag for each kid, be prepared for anything- but I'm just not like that. I'm not an insanely organized person. Each school has a different culture, too, and I find myself still very lost sometimes about when to wear red, when to dress in a goofy costume, or when is a shortened day, or when my class is at a different time at one school. Some books are okay to read at one school and not at the other. I wish I had a million dollar gift card to a wonderful independent book store, and then I could just buy all the books I need. As it is, I borrow them from a million different sources, because I'm a reading teacher with no classroom full of books. Of course, when they asked in the interview why they should hire me, I said, "Because I'm incredibly flexible." I don't know if that was a lie or if being flexible is something different from being two different people. It makes my mind disorganized and confused. It's stressful.

We have two days of school this week and then Christmas vacation. Some of my coworkers have taken off for the two days, and they're just taking this whole week off. One of them even emailed everyone to have a happy holiday. This email was sort of like a,"See ya, Suckers!" Half of me admires such brazenness.

The other half of me wishes I were her.

Mandatory Empathy Time

I have to have some empathy for someone over the holidays, and then write a paper about it. Really. No joke. It's for my mentor class, which is a class I have to take for my job.


I guess I have to be nice to one of you.


Cry on my shoulder! It's free! I'm here!

And you know I'm genuine, of course. I shall mentor you!

Losing My Religion

There are times when you are teaching school when the whole lesson plan goes straight out the window. (I use this "window" idea metaphorically, of course, because the classroom in question has no windows.) This was one of those days.

I teach reading, which sometimes means teaching science texts. For some reason I don't understand, the sweet children hate this. They think that reading class should be all about novels. So when I got out the "Life Cycle of a Star" text, they were a bit put out. The main one talking, Student 1, I had never heard say a word until Tuesday, when this happened. I mean, really. I just learned his name for certain last week, because he was always simply an observer. But something happened to him on Tuesday, when I got out the Life Cycle of Stars. It started out with the description of a Nebula, which is a cloud of dust and gas that later pulls itself together and becomes a star.

Student 1 (angrily): "My science teacher says that I'm made of stardust. I don't believe him. How could that be true? I don't believe him."

Me: "He said you were made of stardust? What a beautiful thought."

Student 2: "What is stardust, anyway?"

Student 1: "I don't believe him. I don't think so."

Me: "If you're not made of stardust, what are you made of?"

Student 1: "I don't know. God? I think I'm made of God. Maybe."

Student 3: "I think stars are made of God."

Student 4: "Maybe God is stardust? Then we're made of stardust."

Student 5: "What is God?"

Students 3, 5, 6, 7: "Yeah, what is God?" [This all seems so innocent when I write it hear, but they were confrontational.]

Me: "Oh, I... darn. I don't think we can talk about what God is. This is a public school."

Everyone: "What? Why not?"

Me: "It's a religious issue. We don't talk about religious issues in public school."

Student 5: "Our social studies teacher talks about what God is."

Me: "She's better at that stuff than I am. She's a social studies teacher."

Student 1 (angrily, again): "So we can't talk about it because someone might be atheist."

Later in the class, we ended up going around what literature is, what different kinds of reading are, what their purposes are. Then, Student 1 came up with this comment, something about, "You do this and that and then you end up in the retard class." Then someone joked to him,
"Don't say the "r" word!" and giggled. I ignored the whole thing.

But later, I thought I should have said,

"This is not the retard class. You have to be pretty darn smart to question whether or not God is made of stardust." Or something like that. Sometimes, if I'm in the zone, I can be convincing. But the other thing is, sometimes I'm not in the zone, and I just screw everything up. And I never really know when I'm in the zone.

As it was, though, I ended up quoting Glory von Hathor (uncredited- sorry) about how people are all meaning making machines, and the novels are about us making meaning of our lives, as are the movies and tv shows and all that, and the science text is doing the same thing but also telling us all the things those who came before us discovered, over hundreds and thousands of years... I went off on a serious tangent, in other words. They were just hounding me with questions about everything.

At the end of class, I was exhausted. We had covered virtually none of the text. I said as much, and Student 1 said,

"But we had a good discussion."

Initially, I disagreed, but later thought better.

I mean, is God made of stardust or what? Are you made of stardust?

Even the drunk lady came!

Today began with waking up to the snow plow going by, very slowly. And then again on its way back down the road, slowly.

I got up and threw on some sweats and went to let the chickens out. They were cautious about the snow. A Brahmas hen jumped outside without looking first, and then flapped around over top of the snow, yelling. Then the Gentle Giant (big rooster) came out and just stood there, staring. No one else came out. They just peaked around the Gentle Giant.

On the way back from letting the chickens out, I ran into the Deputy Sheriff, who was slowly driving by our house repeatedly. Back and forth. He stopped to talk with me. The snow plow guy didn't like where our truck was parked. He was afraid he might hit it.

"He said he would've told you himself, but he doesn't know you," said the Deputy Sheriff. Apparently, we have a shy snow plow driver.
"I'll just move it."

I went back inside and Little Z was up, saying, "You have coffee yet?" because BAH had told her she could go outside and play in the snow once we had coffee. Little Z had her snow pants and boots on before you could say, "snow pants and boots."

So then, before you knew it, we were outside sledding, having a jolly good time. Until she wanted to try sledding down the hill alone, and she crashed, and cried, and that's when I remembered that Santa Claus himself had planned a highly publicized appearance at the public library today.

"Hey," I said. "You wanna take a break and go see Santa Claus?"
Instantly she stopped crying,

Off we went to the Troll Capital of the World.

When we reached the general vicinity of the library, it became clear that this was going to be a really big deal. We had to park a quarter of a mile away. That didn't matter- Little Z still had her snow suit on! When we reached the inside of the library, we were greeted by a slew of elves. One of them gave us a number to see Santa, 57.

When you live in a small town, our even outside of one, and you have a three year old, you pretty much know everyone else who has a three year old. Everyone in the area with a three year old was there, at the library to see Santa. There were hundreds of us. We ended up waiting one hour and forty minutes to talk with Santa for thirty-five seconds. No matter. There was lots to do there, and you didn't have to wait in a line, because we all had a number. They had crafts and cookies and story time. It was great! Well, okay. It was as fun as it could be.

Everyone there was all dressed up to get their picture taken with Santa. We were quite conspicuously not dressed up. In fact, Little Z was wearing her long underwear pants, and I was wearing those sweats I put on to feed the chickens. I hadn't washed my hair in three days or brushed it at all, and I hadn't brushed Little Z's hair, either. And there was everyone we knew in town to see us, if not dressed to the nines, at least looking very presentable. Even our dental hygentist was there. You see how this happened, though: the chickens, the sheriff, the excitement over the snow, the sled accident- I just forgot to get us dressed properly for Santa.

It wasn't so bad. It's a laid back kind of place, the Troll Capital of the World. But for some reason, people took lots of pictures of us there. I wonder what they were for? I mentioned the picture taking to BAH after we got home,

"Maybe I'll be in the newspaper?" I said.
"The article will say, 'Even the drunk lady came!'"
"I'm not drunk!"
"No, you just look it."

Ah, well.

Santa was nice. Little Z wants a Buzz Lightyear doll for Christmas.

Small Miracles

Happy Hanukkah! As you probably know, Hanukkah is a yearly celebration of the miracle of the oil that lasted a really long time.

Perhaps not surprisingly to readers of this blog, we've had our own small miracle here at Hammerdown Manor:

This bottle of St. Ives Intensive Healing Lotion has lasted like three years, even though BAH uses it every single day. It's not even a family sized bottle; it's just the regular size.

Yep. Our own private miracle. Any suggestions on how we shall celebrate this wonderment?