Thursday, March 31, 2011


Velvet called yesterday afternoon.  He's been on the Green River in Utah.  Now he's in Green River, UT for a couple of days for Resupply.  Then they're off to Grand Gulch to do Canyons.

Velvet liked canoeing in white water, but he says his back hurts from sleeping on the ground.  I expect he'll be glad to be in his own bed again when he gets home in May, but he wants to go straight up to Hookah House to be at graduation.  Then he wants to come back to New York to get his EMT certificate over the summer.  He'd also like to hike the Long Trail with his buddy CT but isn't quite sure how he'll have time for all this.  He figures he can get his EMT and "ride the truck" for Big Beautiful Private University, where he wants to study "Education Or Something."  Sadly, Tree Hugger doesn't offer Education or Something.  Only Science and Shit.

I'm proud because, you know, I studied "Education or Something," too.  Actually, Tree Hugger does have a program that leads to teaching High School Sciences - but we have to see if that will work.  I'm not stuck on Tree Hugger - it's just that Tree Hugger is a state school and costs substantially less than BBP.  That's why Velvet is figuring on Riding the Truck - which means being an EMT on BBP's ambulances.  He thinks it'll be like Work Study and will help pay for school.  Looks to me like the young man is developing a sense of responsibility and self-reliance.  Now that I think about it, SUNY has a medical school down the block from Tree Hugger, so maybe he can get the EMT certificate up there in the fall instead of in the city this summer.

We'll work it out.  The main thing is that Velvet sounds wonderful and he's imagining a future for himself that involves a Job.  I'm sure my own parents were proud when I finally started imaging a future for myself that involved a job, too.  I think I was 35 and going back to grad school for the second time to get the MSEd in Early Childhood - which I love.  Early Childhood, for me, is much better than Education or Something - which is how I viewed the MAT I got that made me qualified to teach middle school and high school English (or Integrated Language Arts, as I preferred to call it).

Actually, it's imagining a job for myself that has me worried about moving back to Texas.  Somehow I get the feeling I'm too much of a mouthy New Yorker these days to be able to teach in Texas without being in a fight with somebody all the time.  Maybe not in Austin at the right preschool, but the field itself isn't as well established here as it is up in NYC which makes finding the right preschool tricky.  There's no association of private schools or a Parents League or any of those groups that provide information on schools - largely because up until very recently there hasn't really been a need.  The Austin area has a population of 790,000 these days, but that's still kind of small and like most places, those folks are spread out all over the county without a good public transportation system - although Austin has put in a cute little light rail which just proves they have better sense there than in the rest of this gas guzzling state.  Anyway, finding fancy preschools that pay their teachers well is going to take some leg work.

Which brings me to the idea of starting my own school.  A chain of schools, even.  I get jazzed when I think about it, so I must like the idea.  But I also like the idea of finding a peaceful day job and writing my racy memoirs as well as The Menopausal Stoners Guide to Parenting.  Writing that sentence just now - I sighed with the realization that writing the Guide to Parenting is where my focus should be for the next year.

I'm okay with moving out of my apartment - and if everything goes according to Plan A, I'll be moving at the end of June.  I just don't know where I'm moving, although it seems like I'm about ready to come out and declare that I'm staying in New York for a couple more years.  It's not just about Velvet, either.  I'm pretty sure that anyone who says a place with nearly a million people is "kind of small" has an urban outlook.

I'm going home Saturday.  Start Spreading the News


Vancouver Voyeur said...

The Texas State School Board for curriculum is notoriously conservative and wacko. Hopefully they don't have their tentacles into private schools. I was in the deep South for 15 years and raised in NY for 15 years. The NYer in me always won out. I was constantly butting heads with religious people down there, conservative people down there, and I'm really not a confrontational person in real life. I was happy to live my life and let them live theirs, they were never satisfied with letting me live my life my way, they had to keep bugging me. I can never live down there again. I had enough.

Lisa said...

Velvet sounds like he's doing great! With all the change and potential transitions going on, I hope that feels good.

As much as I picture you a Texan, I don't see you there. Not with the way things are in the south now. Hell, I don't see myself here. Much longer.

PENolan said...

Lisa, Velvet's success feels great.
V.V. He is at
National Outdoor Leadership School.
They take Federal Financial Aid, and it's not much more expensive than a semester at a SUNY school for 16 credits in Environmental Science and Leadership. I'm not sure if he would have to be enrolled in college somewhere to manage the financial aid, though.

and you're both right about the South right now. From where I sit, the trouble is these "in your face" Conservative Christians who have very cleverly taken over local politics. When you consider that they've been working on it for some decades and they were often John Birchers - you really have to hand it to the Koch Brothers. Those bastard have got us by the short and curlies . . .

tnlib said...

I hope you take your posts about Velvet and put them, including the comments, in a book. What a treasure.

mac said...

I understand how you might not "fit in" in the South any longer. However, if every decent semi-intelegent person leaves, the fundie conservatives will take over for sure.

There has to be a voice of reason down here.

Velvet seems to be learning valuable lessons out there. Some of those can't be taught in a classroom.

I think I would very much like reading your Racy Memoirs ;-)


plus they are closing schools left and right in texas...we are so stupid..well, not me, but the religious right are just insane..
starting your own school would be terrific..but they'll want you to teach that the world is 5 thousand years old and we walked with dinosaurs in Arkansas.

PENolan said...

Granny - I was thinking about your comment this morning and had a flash of inspiration.

I've already been working on getting myself more responsibility at work so I can get a raise and a new title: Educational Director. That's step 1. Step 2: My parents move to Austin. Step 3: I find a job for 2012 in Austin as a preschool director there.
There's more that involves training and certification for day care workers and home day care providers - but one step at a time.

I've got my angel energy focusing on it as we speak. Now you get the Goddess working on it and before you know it, I'll get EVERYONE a round of skunk eggs. Dang, those things are good. I may even fly Woody Konopelli in for the occasion. Watch out, West.

tnlib - what a lovely idea, and as it happens, you are not the first to mention that the Velvet posts are practically a book already. As it also happens, I think they are among Lisa's favorites which just shows it's a great idea.

mac - as you can see, I may be back in Texas with a vengeance in 2012. Who knows? Maybe that's the great shift in the world everyone's been talking about ;)

Lisa said...

Yes! They are some of my favorites and I agree, you should fashion the into a book. Do it.

Susan Tiner said...

The velvet posts are my favorites too. It's so good to know he's doing well.

Count me in for an advance order of your book.

I was a little worried about the moving to Texas plan...

Makropoulos said...

Where's this school going to be? If that's the agenda (as you describe it), wow, I'd be happy to join the faculty!

Sounds to me like you're doing a good job as a parent, too. Keep on keeping on! And thanks for the canyon picture! The NYC picture, too!

okjimm said...

well, better a boy in the canyon than a canyon in the boy. or maybe I am just gulching.

dissed said...

Velvet'll get back to Hookah House and find that everything's different. He'll move along. That's a good thing.

Education's different in the South, now. We NEED you. We need change. Most of us (in education) want change, but not the legislatures. They don't want to fund education any more, and we're still not willing to work without pay. Shame on us.

PENolan said...

Makropoulos - right now, it's all in my head but I feel like it may be one of my purposes in life to spread the news about constructivist, experiential curriculum especially in a play based early childhood environment.

Okjimm, I'm sure you're gulching ;)

dissed, it's a great thing re: Velvet. And as for me in the South - I always seem to have one foot inside the Austin City Limits. My goal this year is to develop a network there so that I can find a job as a preschool director. Meanwhile, I need to get current administrative experience up here. Today New York; Tomorrow the World!

PENolan said...

@Lisa and Susan
The outline is writing itself in my head this very minute. This week, I'm going to start typing - I swear it. I'm pretty sure that many of my PhD and other Career related plans, although they have merit in their way, are some kind of fear holding me back from writing.

I have a feeling my buddy Mary Kathryn aka VeryMissMary will put together a WhupAss committee very soon . . .

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