Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another New Year

Down here in Texas, it's often hard to know exactly what season it is unless it's summer. There's no confusion about summer in Texas. Up North, the seasons are much more distinct, although lately spring and fall have been ill defined. Since Velvet went away to College this past September, I've been getting used to the idea that I'm no longer in the summer of my life.

Autumn has come on me slowly. You can't help but notice milestones like your fiftieth birthday, but it takes a while to understand the significance. A couple of months ago I realized that I've crossed into new territory where the folks are mellow and welcoming.

We all know that you can't escape assholes at any age. Similarly, the acceptance and good humor you find among friends is not age related either. Being over fifty, though, informs your perspective on life. It's kind of like Geometry class in High School - you struggle and struggle to understand what the hell all this stuff is supposed to mean, and then in an instant, something clicks in your head and things start falling into place.

Things start falling into place when you're over fifty kind of like the leaves falling from the trees. Sometimes brilliantly colored leaves swirl around gracefully in a clear blue sky. Other times a cold blast of wind hurls a bunch of crusty brown shit in your direction. It's just the fall, and when you are prepared for the conditions, you simply deal with whatever comes your way.

Many fall days are so warm and sunny, it's easy to believe summer is lasting forever. Then a few cold, gray days let you know winter is coming soon.

On my trip to Austin I had to face the winter because there's no denying people are going to start to die. A friend's dad died right before Christmas, and one of the dearest friends I'll ever have has diabetes. People can live decades with diabetes, but given that his youthful drug use was indicative of alarming self destructive tendencies, and now he's drinking sugar soda while he gives himself an insulin shot - it sure looks like self-destruction is here to stay. Other friends will surely get sick, especially since a couple of them are still smoking like chimneys. Sooner or later, my own dad will pass, and sooner or later, so will I.

Driving down 290 back to Houston, I was listening to an album called Drag Queens and Limousines by Mary Gauthier. Between the fiddle and the chorus, "A Lifetime ain't no time at all," this song made me cry and cry and cry.
Share Lifetime by Mary Gauthier
I wasn't all together sad, though, because bawling to the stereo is delightfully satisfying, and mostly life is long and full of surprises. The title song from the album got to me too

Mary's life and friends are more colorful than mine, but there's a line in this song which felt particularly pertinent during all this thinking about life paths and people dying:

Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do
and pray that the people you love catch up with you.

I was thinking specifically about that guy who won't talk to me. I haven't seen him in real life since January, but he showed up so much in the statcounter that it came to feel like a kid playing ring and run with my doorbell. No matter what I say or do, however, he won't talk to me which is a drag because he's one of those people I'll always love no matter what. Most likely, he doesn't understand about that stuff at all which is why I decided to leave him, figuratively speaking, out on the road to Ithaca (Marijuana and Mercy, Stonerdate 11.08.09). I'm rolling along own path and can't get bogged down by somebody else's baggage. He can catch up or not.

Looking at my personal development over the last year - Velvet turning 18 and graduating from high school, me turning 50, getting fired from that piece of shit job and landing firmly on my feet, the major changes when Velvet went away to Tree Hugger Academy which resulted in my getting a gold star in parenting from his shrink - and wrapping up my own therapy after 16 years of work to recover from suicidal depression - I feel a lot like the little triangle in a book called The Missing Piece Meets The Big O

The story is about a little piece who feels like she's not whole so she looks for someone to complete. If she can fit into somebody else, then they'll both be whole. The big O shows her how to move until she becomes a whole circle herself and can roll along on her own. They roll happily beside each other for a while, complete in and of themselves.

I'm like that now. It's taken a life time, but like Mary says, a life time ain't no time at all - and the nice thing about being fifty these days is that, if you can believe AARP, fifty is the new thirty. I feel pretty young and pretty healthy, and I feel kind of old and kind of wise. All things considered, that's about as good as it gets.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Gone to Texas

When Davy Crockett lost a congressional election in Tennessee, he is supposed to have said, "You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas."

There's only a couple of folks I'd like to tell to go to Hell today - not counting all the public figures - but I'm going to Texas right this very minute.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cockroach Stew

Health care reform is getting me down. Everything about it makes me fear for our country, from the town halls this summer to the watered down BS they call a bill today and the endless argufying that leads us all straight back to the middle of No Fucking Where.

I was as hopeful as anyone when Obama took office. For months, every time I heard him speak I got teary because it was such a relief to feel like the president wasn't totally full of shit. Now I don't know if Obama is a willing pawn in the corporate game or if he's a good man who is doomed by an entrenched system that will chew him up and spit him out like Jimmy Carter.

Health Care is only part of the reason I'm bumming out about the country. There's the endless war in Afghanistan which may or may not be "justified," but sucks balls no matter how you look at it. And I'm not even starting on Education - but I guarantee that standardized testing has so dominated the curriculum for years that we've raised two generations of complete morons. Not only does most of the American public lack the analytical thinking skill to know bullshit when they hear it, their ability to entertain themselves is so limited that all they do is watch TV or shop for the stuff they see advertised.

Sadly, most of the people who are taking their outrage to the streets are the damn teabaggers and every time one of them opens his/her mouth, it's more proof that Idiocracy rules the day. Maybe Progressives would be encouraged enough to take to the streets, too, if our leaders weren't in such a hurry to cave to Special Interest Whores like Joe Lieberman. As long as the people we personally elected will cheerfully throw us under the bus - what's the fucking point? It's getting harder and harder to believe this country will head in a direction other than the one envisioned by those bastards at C Street.

I am still hopeful enough to sign internet petitions and send money to ActBlue because the folks with the stamina to fight the fight should be supported even when I feel like hiding my head under the covers. You can't have a revolution if nobody gets out of bed.

One of the main reasons I teach preschool is because I really believe that the world can be a better place. My parents used to say, "Each one, teach one," so that little by little, we become a more ethical society. Lately, though, I've been remembering that all those visions of a peaceful, productive society as presented in fiction always come after World War III convinces humanity of our folly.

Somehow I doubt we'll have a world war - the global economy is such that nobody can afford it except maybe the Chinese and miscellaneous criminal elements like the Russian and Israeli Mafias. We'll go under because of genocide and general bullshit.

If film and literature give us a hint of what is lies ahead, hope for the future lies in the hands of dreamers like Zefran Cochrane who flies the first warp ship out into space where the Vulcans notice it and come to our collective rescue in Star Trek: First Contact.

A Sci Fi movie coming in February 2010 continues the trend toward complete bullshit in contemporary Ameican culture. The Book of Eli, a high dollar piece of what may be Holy Roller propaganda, features Denzel Washington as a post-apocalyptic savior who totes a book that looks suspiciously like the Bible around a world that looks a lot like the Old West. Nobody is allowed to touch The Book except him, and he has a bevy of young beauties following him around like disciples or groupies. Believe in The Book = Get Hot Chicks.

The military have used movies as recruiting vehicles for years and years - why shouldn't Holy Rollers get into the act?

I figure that it'll take a few years before the hand basket in which we're riding splashes into the seventh layer of Hell. In the meantime, I'll be focused on protecting Velvet's future. The future may suck balls, but the only thing to keep the future from coming is some kind of catastrophe and I'm pretty sure that even then, there will be tribes of survivors huddled together in the woods somewhere. I'll be the old broad making cockroach stew.

Most likely, though, that's not going to happen. Sometime in the early 80's, I realized that life would go on in spite of Ronald Reagan. Everyone was not going to die in a nuclear war, and somebody was going to have to pay off Master Card. Today is much the same.

When Velvet and I got home from Tree Hugger University on Friday afternoon, Buzz Kill came over to tell me that he's going to declare bankruptcy before December 31 so the loss will be recorded in 2009. I've been hearing about potential bankruptcy ever since I filed for divorce and had my decree written accordingly - and besides it's just corporate bankruptcy so he can get out of some debt. It sucks to be Buzz Kill, for sure, but we've been cooperating well these days.

Buzz Kill and I have had to cooperate since it has become clear that Velvet went off to college under the impression that he was a major character in an MTV movie. I'm not saying anything on the internet that will incriminate my child - so there's nothing left to say on that topic.

It's a good time to be leaving his father in charge and heading off to Texas. I have to abandon the religious cult idea and research weed related alternatives since Velvet's budding college career indicates one thing is certain: the child has an abiding interest in weed. I still say Velvet is Al Gore with Panache, and there is every reason to be optimistic about his ability to overcome the recent academic distaster especially if he applies himself to class with as much dedication as he pursued his social triumph. Nevertheless, it would be prudent to look at getting off the grid.

There is plenty of Bullshit in Texas - but when I'm with my family and my oldest friends, there is love all around. There are also lots of straight men in Texas which will be a pleasant change.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Path Appears

I'm off to Tree Hugger University this afternoon to get Velvet.
We'll come back to the city in the morning through the Catskills.
We may get a Christmas tree up there somewhere and toss it in the back of my 2003Subaru Forester on top of the laundry.

Last night, Velvet and I were on the phone talking about his semester. He actually apologized for letting us (his parents) down with his grades. I told him that was a very nice thing to say, and that while I had expected a better report card, he had done great. Not everyone can be King of the Halloween party.

Velvet sounded so mature and responsible that I was bursting with admiration and pride. He took responsibility for getting behind in class, and he's got a plan to address his academic issues that involves taking fewer classes. Personally, I have supported the idea of a lighter course load all along because it's his first experience with Mainstream education. He has been in a self-contained, private school for kids with Dyslexia, ADHD and other sundry language based disorders since second grade, and while it wasn't perfect - in the land of American Education, Velvet's school was out-fucking-standing. That school is so great, someone should arrange a fireworks display in their honor.

Velvet may have gotten to college and fallen on his academic ass, but he sees that Tree Hugger University was probably trying to teach him a lesson. I'm sure they were. It's been clear for a long time that Velvet would have to fall on his ass before he decided to cultivate a little motivation for school stuff. Until he got to college, he skated through school. He's not the first kid to do that - or to find out in Calculus I that he's no longer the smartest kid in the class.

I doubt that I can make it all 4 - 5 hours in the car without saying "I told you so," but I've been so accepting, understanding, empathetic and all together supportive, loving and proud through this vignette that a little gloating is okay.

Velvet was glad to hear that I have had the benefit of a couple of advisers this semester who have convinced me that an F or two on your first college report card is not the end of the world -- notably, Woody (Walled-In Pond, The Well-Armed Lamb, and others) who was a college professor himself for a while and understands that universities "separate the sheep from the goats," during the first semester. Velvet will be on academic probation, no doubt, but he's not kicked out. That's a victory. Bradley, my first love in Austin, spoke in Velvet's behalf, and The Man from San Antone was particularly helpful during the King of the Halloween Party episode. As Velvet was pointing out that four years in college is simply a guideline - kind of like the Captain John Sparrow says about the Pirate Code - I had to interrupt him to say that I took five years, myself, and The Man from San Antone took six. What's the rush?

Although the Pirate Code applies just as well to college as it does to life on the seven seas, Velvet himself looks more like a scrawny, young Wolverine which is a testimony to how well Max the Genius cuts hair. Velvet's hair is fabulous even when it hasn't been regularly trimmed.

I am positively delighted to getting my baby today. Back over the summer, when I was getting used to the idea that he was growing up, there were distinct similarities between his situation, my changing role as a mother, and the Sondheim/Lapine musical Into the Woods:

In August, both Velvet and I were hovering on the edge of the forest searching for the right path. We are both fully on our paths now, and I have confidence they are the right paths even though no one knows where they are leading yet.

I've had a lot of support during his formative years so I could become the mother I wanted to be. Growing up is never easy for anyone, and we're all still growing up. At least, people should continue to grow and evolve as long as they are living.

One of the things that makes me proud is that Velvet is everything I wish a kid would be - which means that I must have internalized the moral of Sondheim's story: Watch what you say/Children will listen.

Every day, there is a mountain of evidence that the world is a horrible place filled with awful, awful people - that's what makes The Woods so scary (and let's leave the Tiger Woods family out of this even though he's pretty scary making all that money off sweat-shops and obscene consumption at that resort in Dubai with unfair labor practices and illegal sex trade. Who cares if he fucked 15 porn stars and cocktail waitresses? How many kids got fucked because of him?). I'm thinking more about Joe Lieberman and every other whore in congress, those bastards at C-Street who thrive from the patriarchal double standard - and all the pedophiles and murders out there. The World is a scary, scary place.

But it can also be beautiful - in small, private ways. The intimacy between people feeds our souls. I have little moments like that in my classroom every day, but Velvet and I have those moments all the time.

As I'm fixing to go to Texas for the holidays, sans Velvet, I'm walking back into intimacy so warm you can wrap yourself up in it like a cashmere shawl. It's humbling and exciting to be surrounded by so much love -- With my family and my oldest, dearest friends, like Bradley and The Man from San Antone, and all my buddies from High School who are still in Austin. The best thing is that when I come back home to New York, there is intimacy here too - not only with Velvet, but also with dear friends like Gigi, the daughter I never had, and Kyle and DN. When I think about my New York friends, I can see that I've been able to develop and sustain relationships which is one of the main goals of therapy, after all. Many of my most important relationships predate therapy which suggests that I've always had this capacity, but it's not always easy since when we're intimate, we're vulnerable and occasionally devastate each other.

That vulnerability is so alarming to many people that they can't tolerate intimacy. Buzz Kill is like that, and I'm pretty sure that guy who won't talk to me is like that too. That's probably why he won't talk to me. I make this observation with all the acceptance and empathy of anyone who knows that it takes one to know one - and the recognition that despite the intimacy issues in their adult relationships, both men are dedicated, loving fathers.

One thing I've learned on the long path to recovery from suicidal depression is that I can trust the process - which is much the same as Bokonism. Things happen as they are supposed to happen. G*d doesn't have a damn thing to do with it - it's a simply the laws of physics. At least I think it's physics. I quit taking math and science the minute it was no longer required to focus on the Humanities. As it happens, there's every reason to believe that the force of creation created Life, The Universe and Everything which includes science. Science and Theology are not mutually exclusive unless you're Sarah Palin and them.

Those folks are just making money off fear and God anyway - which brings me to the idea of a religious cult built around sexual mysticism. That's an idea I'll be developing in a trailer home in the hills outside Austin. When you've got a trailer in the Texas countryside, you're already half way set up to have a cult. All we need now is a website set up for donations via pay pal.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Serious Business

Things have been kind of serious at HQ for the last several days.
Velvet is certainly flunking Calculus. The rule about school is that I only pay for classes that Velvet passes. I'm not sure how that rule will eventually play out. At the moment, I'm more focused on making sure he knows he is Loved and Wanted even when he fucks up.

He freely admitted that the tutor helped a lot but he started with the tutor too late. I refrained from saying, "I told you so," because he accepted responsibility for the situation. Accepting responsibility is a big deal. Ergo: Velvet is not in trouble for flunking Calculus, and I am looking forward to seeing him on Thursday when I drive up to Treehugger University to bring him home for the holidays.

Buzz Kill is philosophically opposed to my going to get Velvet. He says Velvet needs to grow up and take the bus like everyone else. I pointed out to Buzz Kill that a parent can learn a lot during a few hours in the car with his/her kid. The opportunity to review the semester with Velvet in depth before the gang floods into the living room is well worth the time and gas money. I refrained from mentioning that if he was so concerned about my finances, he could fork over the Twenty Grand he owes me in back alimony.

Buzz Kill didn't make a big deal, but he got huffy in a way that makes me wonder if he's jealous of me and Velvet having the time together or if he's bent out of shape because nobody ever came to get him from college. Maybe he really does think taking the bus is a sign of being a Man, but I suspect that attitude has more to do with the fact that Buzz Kill can't drive. In any case, it's nice to be able to hang up the phone and be done with Buzz Kill's opinions.

It was especially nice to stop his tirade about our terrace being a major liability issue because one of the kids could get drunk and fall off. I can see why he might be concerned about somebody on acid deciding to use the terrace rail as a balance beam, but if that thought occurred to him, Buzz Kill kept it to himself. I explained that when Velvet has friends over and they are out on the terrace, I leave my bed room window open so I can hear what's going on. I did not tell Buzz Kill that I already informed Velvet that he is absolutely not allowed to do hallucinogenics at home. I did point out that when you consider the liability involved with underage drinking, the terrace was the least of our worries. Buzz Kill is not concerned that an 18 year old dumb ass will get shit faced at our place then go out on the street to get hit by a car. He believes that as long as the injuries are not sustained on our property, it's not his problem. Try telling that to a judge.

Buzz Kill is getting nervous because I'm going to Texas for a week which puts him in charge of Velvet and Friends. After he made his point about liability issues, Buzz Kill said he's not babysitting Velvet and started bitching about the empty Olde English 40's he found in Velvet's room when he was helping Velvet pack to go back to school after Thanksgiving.

I don't blame him about the Olde English 40's. In fact, when I was blowing my stack about Moneypenny last month I declared Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters to be a Forty Free Zone. I may believe that it's wrong for a government to say you can't drink a couple of beers even though you're old enough to vote and to get your ass shot at in a war, but that doesn't mean I want those tacky bottles in the recycle room for all the neighbors to see.

Buzz Kill is most likely more anxious than usual on account of the German kid who might land in the living room on the 24th. We don't know the German kid at all. Velvet's buddy Circle Seeker, aka Dime Bag (Velvet Goes to College, Stonerdate 08.28.09) met the fellow at the commune in Hawaii where they are both currently living. Dime Bag spent a semester or two at Hampshire College in Massachusetts then took a leave of absence so he could travel around Africa and Asia. He's not a rich kid at all. Dime Bag's dad is a retired high school teacher. Dime Bag quit selling weed to be an Orkin Man the summer before he went to college. Now he's at an Hawaiian Commune and has directed a German kid toward my sofa.

I told Velvet that since Buzz Kill would be in charge when the German Student planned to be in New York, the matter was between him and Buzz Kill. I would be finishing up my year long 50th Birthday party with my friends in Austin. I also suggested to Velvet that the German Kid might be better off in a hostel and provided Velvet with links to three hostels in the neighborhood which he can forward on to the commune in Hawaii.

Frankly, I don't know exactly what's up with the house guest, but somebody has to figure out what's going on sooner or later. I have, however, started collecting stocking stuffers because if someone is at my house on Christmas morning, he will be getting a stocking from Santa. Everyone does. For now, there's only one of those chocolate oranges but that's because I'm tapped.

I'm seriously lamenting my decision to pay all my bills on time this month. I know it was the responsible thing to do - which is why I did it - but now I don't have any extra money. I'm clearly not as broke as all that since I got my hair cut and colored today by Max The Genius. You don't spend 20% of your paycheck on your hair when you're impoverished - but spending 20% of your paycheck on your hair can have a serious impact on your cash flow.

The color is outstanding, however, and I paid cash so it's not like I went into debt at the beauty shop. As it happens, I pay cash for everything since all my credit cards were confiscated years ago when Buzz Kill and I were trapped in a marital dysfunction.

The good news is that I stayed on budget when I was grocery shopping this weekend and I barely stole anything at all at the self-checker. I will confess that I was a bit ballsy because I had to call the clerk over to fix the receipt printer which had got knocked askew by the soda bottles. He wasn't there long enough to notice that there were six 2 liter bottles of soda on the belt and two on the receipt - and I guarantee that even if he did notice he didn't give a flying fuck. Nevertheless, I feel like it's something of a moral victory that I have curbed my impulse to steal groceries in New Jersey.

Notably, Trader Joe's employs live humans to check out the groceries. Most likely that's because they already knew that "Green Shoppers" are more likely to steal. I read about this trend on Alternet this week: Study Says Eco Shoppers More Likely to Cheat, Steal. The study, in my view, was total bullshit because it was all a computer simulation and didn't involve real stealing, but it makes a good headline.

I figure Trader Joe's knows that anyone with any sense will be swiping a few items when they use the self checker, and in this context I am using the original definition of "swiping," not the modern definition which means scanning the bar code into the computer or sliding your charge card through the machine.

By most moral standards, stealing groceries in New Jersey is Bad Behavior. I have no excuse. It's just that those damn self-check out machines piss me off every single time when they order you to scan another item or hit Done. If the machine tells you to scan or quit, why not pay for everything you've scanned so far and bag up the rest?

Personally, I'm hoping that the German kid is a Freegan. I figure that there is some good stuff in the dumpster behind that new Whole Foods across the street. As a nice lady from Central Park West, I would never dig through the dumpster behind Whole Foods. I would send a bunch of college kids over there to see what they can find.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Smoking Weed, Therapy and Blue Sky

According to this article on AlterNet, which my buddy Woody has posted over at Whisky, Dogs & Weed, women who smoke marijuana have a bigger Amygdala - that's a major part of our brains: The Secret to Legal Marijuana? Women

It's a long, informative article focusing primarily on medicinal marijuana. I have to say that my personal experience supports their conclusions since once I started smoking weed again a few years ago, I was able to stop taking psychopharmaceuticals after over 12 years. Since one of the women the article references was using marijuana for seizures, and since Depakote which is widely prescribed for manic depression was originally developed for Epileptics, I can see there could be a correlation.

Not that my shrink ever told me to smoke dope. Maybe I should suggest it to her. We're in that final phase out period of therapy where I'll be going every other week for a month or two, then that's all she wrote. After 16 years, it's a big fucking deal.

Last week, I told her that I had decided I'm as cured as I'm ever getting. To my surprise, she was fully supportive. Apparently, when you tell your shrink that you care about your financial security in the future, it proves you're more interested in where you're going than in your own personal psychodrama. I have to say, I left the session feeling like she's been wondering just how dang long it was going to take me to get to this point.

Walking through Central Park that day, I was noticing how different the landscape is since over 100 trees came down during that alarming storm we had over the summer.

The clean up efforts were massive at the time, but there are still some roots laying around to remind us of the destruction. It's sad to loose a bunch of old, beautiful trees. However, now there are big, open patches of sky. Sunlight streams into places that have only seen shade for years and years.
It just goes to show, once again, that a person can't step in the same river twice. Even though the park is different, and some favorite trees are missing, it's still a great place to be. And some things about it are better. Either way, the destruction of those trees has cleared the way for new growth, and some fine, smaller trees can finally get some sunlight.
I feel like I'm finally finding my place in the sun.
Does getting high help? Maybe. For me, smoking weed releases emotions that I keep bottled up during the regular work day. Not all the time - but when I've decided that I want to access and experience those feelings so that I can fully process and integrate them. Sometimes I just like to smoke weed and talk shit with Woody.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Circle of Friends Award

Lou from The Quiet Life has graciously bestowed an award on me. When you pop over to her place, you'll find an inviting slice of life in New Zealand complete with photos that often make you want to jump into them and wake up on the other side of the world with her.

Now my task is to share five things that I like before passing the award on to five folks who fall into that Circle of Friends. It's getting to be a pretty big bloggy circle, so I'm going to go with some of the blogs I've been reading the longest. Their outlook on life, which you can see through their posts and their comments, have made me feel like I'm a part of their circle.

First the blogs:
Gail at Know your It's
Kevin at Comrade Kevin's Chrestomathy
Lisa at That's Why
Vancouver Voyeur at Change Happens
Woody at Woody Guthrie's Guitar.

Now, for the five things I like.

(1) My job. Spending the morning with great kids in a great classroom with great colleagues makes working a pleasure.
(2) The sunbeam in my apartment. A perfect place for naps
(3) Yoga Class. Helping me learn to fully experience the present.
(4) Macaroni and Cheese. One reason why I'll never be a thin woman.
(5) Smoking Weed. Did you doubt it?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World Aids Day

It's World Aids Day.
I learned about it from blogs I read.
Here's one from Frank H. Jump:

There's something profoundly disturbing about today being both the day to raise awareness about this disease - which brings to mind other diseases as well as the issues surrounding health care in this country - on the very same day that the president is going to tell the world we're sending more soldiers to Afghanistan which is, to me, pretty much like saying we're going to simultaneously throw bazillions of dollars down the toilet and kill a bunch of people on purpose.

Meanwhile, legions of TV "journalists" are camped out at Tiger Woods' house. Last night, a sports writer named David Zirin made a some pertinent points on Rachel Maddow:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

So we see that Tiger Woods thinks it's okay to use civil rights imagery to sell sneakers and profits from all kinds of obscene excess, illegal sex trade and shameful labor violations in Dubai. Apparently he needed hitting with a golf club.

Here at HQ, I'm still pondering my over-reaction to Velvet's comments about Moneypenny and Smurfette (Moneypenny and the Patriarchy, Stonerdate 11.28.09). I've let the Moneypenny thing slide because (1)it all started because of something some other kid said and (2)he took it back gracefully and sincerely when he saw what I meant about the support staff. The Smurfette thing continues to percolate but not because of anything Velvet said.

Aside from my concerns about the double standard perpetuated by the patriarchy that restricts women's sexuality and my extreme resentment that all those "whores" in Congress who have been bought by corporate interests thereby ruining the good name of prostitutes everywhere - I'm pretty sure that whole episode goes back to my own struggles with sexuality. Specifically, I would hate for Velvet to think I was a Ho, and under the terms of that patriarchal double standard, we must all acknowledge that I would be considered a slut from a family of sluts. Granny the Ho was a Ho, after all. It's just that back in those days, getting married was the most lucrative career choice open to most women so she got married a lot.

Any way you look at it, we come back to the world going to hell in a hand basket. I'd be more worried about it, except for all of recorded history shows the world going to hell in a hand basket and yet we're still here shaking our heads over everything from global warming to The C Street Family who are currently working to have gays in Uganda executed.

The good thing about hanging out with two year olds all morning is that they completely pull you out of your own adult head and into their own world order. It's a small, self-contained little world. Bad things happen, of course, but it nearly all comes from the adults. In the preschooler world, all you do is try to make sense of things as they effect you personally.

I guess that's all any of us are trying to do in the adult world too - it's just that the world extends beyond the corner and includes so many awful, awful people that you never seem to be able to make sense of anything.

No wonder I stayed late today straightening out the books in our classroom library. It's safe in there.