Sunday, April 30, 2006

My bro...isn't he cute?

Page and Josh sang a nice duet (here they are waiting to begin - goofing off of course).

Scary close-up!

Grandpas are good for piggy-back rides.

Here's Page's quartet. They got first place!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Bummer Week.

This week started off with an emergency school board meeting to discuss the huge budget problems in the Montello School District. The board is looking at a deficit of $400,000 this year and another $3-400,000 next year. They have cut back four of the school's best and most loyal teachers (including Mrs. Ellebecker, my beloved art teacher) to 75% time. Of course, being cut back is better than losing their jobs altogether. But they will have to pay for the 25% of insurance (on top of their regular contributions) and they will lose a chunk of salary, which could be devastating. What this means for the students is less choices for their favorite non-core classes - Art, FFA, Business and Family Consumer Science.

Mr. Guttenberg, the superintendent, made a very compassionate and reasonable presentation about why the decision was made. They had no choice. Declining enrollment is forcing them to cut corners. Sadly, the problem can only get worse - fewer options means fewer students will want to come to Montello.

An article in the local paper ends with the statement, "We may be looking at consolidation with another school district in the not to distant future."

So that was depressing.

[Soapbox alert: What is wrong with this country that we can't properly fund education??? Isn't it common sense that if we want to grow and succeed as a nation, we need to invest in our future "human capital"? I just don't get it!!!]

Then, on Tuesday, I developed my traditional spring flu - sore throat and sinus infection. Lovely. I want to cut my own head off to get rid of the pressure.

And, to close out the week with a bang, I went to a conference on the Methamphetamine problem in Wisconsin. It focused heavily on "drug endangered children" and the presenters showed some horrific pictures of child abuse by meth addict parents. If this drug makes it to Marquette will be devastating. Meth is addicting for 90% of first time users, and once addicted, there is a very small chance of recovery. It's bad stuff.

I need some good news!

Today I'm going to Oshkosh to hear my sister sing at the state Solo and Ensemble competition. Hopefully that will lift my spirits.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

In the garage, I feel safe.

It's a great Weezer song. I love that song! "No one hears me sing this song..."

But today I faced the abyss that is my garage, and I felt overwhelmed, not safe. The week after we bought our house last October, I went through and put piles of crap in garbage bags. Mr. Zellmer left EVERYTHING here, and in order to clean the place and move our own stuff in, I just shoved everything into boxes and bags and threw it in the garage (which already had years of detritus piled up). Then my dad got here with our overstuffed U-Haul. Our materialism came back to haunt me, and we piles more stuff into the garage. All winter it lurked in the back of my mind, the monster that I would have to face one day in the spring.

That day was today. My goal was to move stuff around enough to create room for the crap that I put on my porch throughout the winter. It was a huge task, involving a large bonfire in the back yard.

I'm happy to report that the porch is half empty. The garage is another story.

I had planned to empty out the other half tomorrow, but I decided to spend time wtih my grandma instead. Grandma is much more fun than cleaning.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Update your blog!

I'm busy, okay??
Here's a list.

1) Walmart has made a "marketing decision" to stop selling guns in a third of its stores. I particularily love the last line of the article that I linked to in that last sentence...

But the National Rifle Association said it was concerned people in rural areas, where Wal-Mart may be the only vendor, may no longer have access to guns.

Yeah. People have no access to HEALTH CARE, but we better make sure they have guns. I like to buy a gun every Tuesday, dammit, and I wouldn't want to have to drive all the way to the big city to do it.

2) I love Easter for the candy, but I hate jelly beans. Except "Brachs Tropical Flavored Jelly Bird Eggs". Mmmm, the purple ones are sooooo good.

3) Isaac and I are reading a great book called "The Tale of Despereaux" every night. I highly recommend it for kids of all ages.

4) After I read 3-4 chapters out of "Despereaux", I read (out-loud) a few chapters from a book called "Naked Economics". It puts Isaac to sleep in about 2 minutes (he does listen though!) and I'm learning a lot about the financial world. Economics rocks.

5) I've been having economically-related dreams lately where I'm teaching a class on economics and I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about.

6) Ice Age 2 is great. There are two swear words..."Ass" and "Damn". What if Isaac says those words in Kindergarten? The horror.

7) Some guy with an Indian (Pakistani?) accent just called me saying he was from Verizon, and offered me a package deal to get 12 Indian channels for $55 a month. I could see Indian Idol! But then I would have to stop buying my lunch and that would suck.

8) Apparently Isaac had a picture day a few weeks ago at school and I completely forgot about it. He brought home the proofs in his backpack today, and his hair is completely uncombed, he is wearing a stained sweatshirt, and I think there is a smudge of jelly on his chin. Mother of the year, here I come!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Eye-mote

Those of you who have known me for some time are probably aware of my eye-poking phobia. I think I've even discussed it once or twice on this blog. For those of you who don't know, I am terrified that I'm going to be poked in the eye with something sharp. I can't stand it if something sharp (like a pencil or the corner of a book) is pointed towards my eye - I have to either move my head or put my hand up to shield my eyes.

Yeah, I'm nuts.

But lately I've been obsessed with Sylvia Plath. I started reading "The Bell Jar" for the library book club and loved it. Then I found a book of her poetry on the half-priced pile at the bookstore and fell in love. I have never really gotten into poetry, except for Emily Dickinson, but this woman was amazing. I knew I loved her, but then I came upon the poem entitled "The Eye-Mote"

Oh, she's a goddess.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Movie Recommendation

Does this seem racist to you?

Mr Bush said on Thursday that the message should be: "If you are doing a job that Americans won't do, you're welcome here for a period of time to do that job."

(From the BBC)

I guess folks are only welcome here if they want to do a shit job that nobody else will do.

If you're a doctor or a lawyer, well, you're out of luck. The American Dream is all yours, as long as you're willing to work long hours for low pay. But, hey, you're probably used to it!

More information here.

For some interesting insight into the important role that immigrants play in our economy/society, please see the movie "A Day Without A Mexican". It's a very entertaining presentation of what would happen to California if all the Mexicans disappeared. Go rent it. Now.