Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day Diary

Oh the glee of the snow day for kids and teachers alike.  Yesterday, I spent the day watching the weather and having a sinking feeling that no snow would show up at our door. I was so wrong and I am so glad I was so wrong.
I got up at 6 am, snuck downstairs and was searching for the remotes for the TV to check the local channel, when my sleepy husband called down to me, “schools cancelled, snow day”.   I thought for a minute he was teasing me but looking out the windows I knew I got my wish, a snow day. I promptly went back to bed. Sleeping in is always wonderful on a snow day. It is always wonderful and it seems to provide the best extra 2 hours of sleep all year. The husband rushed out of the house to avoid waking the family after he started a fire and shoveled the drive. Sweet guy.
A leisurely morning baking cinnamon rolls for the kids, sipping on coffee and snuggling with my youngest. I could not help myself, around 9 am; I had to go into the 15 year old’s bedroom and announce OMG! We must have over slept and are late! He rolled over and lazily said, “What time is it?” I said 9 and you could feel the panic rise. I then told him we had a snow day.  He jumped out of bed and looked out the window exclaimed “how pretty!” hugged me and went right back to bed for another hour.

The Jack man wanted to go out, so I pulled everything out of the hall closet in search of all the accessories that have been buried for 10 months.  Coat, check, Hat, check, snow pants, check, gloves, check, rubber snow boots, NO check. oh heck! So then I pulled all the stuff out of the hall closet, his closet, nope. Pulled the stuff out from his bed,  my bed and the guest bed, nope. Pulled the shoes out of my closet, nope. damn… Searched the garage and basement, nope. (man did I donate them this summer? panic rose as I entered the laundry room.) Safely tucked away behind the mountains of unclean clothes there they were. Jack hurriedly pulled them on and shot out the door to Olivia’s house. He stayed there until about 3:30. ahh one down. The older boy as I shuttled Jack down to the neighbors came down and answered the door; his friend came over to deposit themselves to the cave basement to kill imaginary soldiers. That lasted for about 2 hours until he announced he needed $$. Oh heck who has cash anymore?  and oh yeah where are my gloves? So again the hunt begins. Luckily, I had hunted early in the am for missing boots and collected a variety of gloves, I had that mother sense of pending "have you seen my ...(fill in the blank)?". I had several pairs to offer the eldest and as for the cash, after raiding the piggy bank in the kitchen, my wallet and several jacket pockets; I was able to come up with a measly but satisfying $12.00 for his lunch. 

He also asked for a ride and I looked at him as if he had asked for a kidney. I am not driving the Mom gerbil ball in this unplowed town. So he quickly found “a friend’s” Mom to brave the streets and take them to the “hill”, Campanile hill to be exact. (see photo from Ken Wolf to the left of Campanile Hill) He grabbed his gear and purple plastic sled and off he and his friend went.

Ahh 11:30am and an empty house except for Murphy and a mound of coats, gloves and disheveled closets. So I logged on to the internet, kept the fire going using the wood provided by the man of the house, watched a little TV, cleaned a kitchen, straightened closets and planned the weeks lectures for AP Biology.
So after a quiet day I decided to move a bit and shoveled the drive since another close to 6 inches had fallen. As I finished ½ the driveway Jack came home jacket open, missing hat and gloves. Typical. I finished the driveway just as the hubby drove up with supper and red wine in his arms. He really is a sweet guy. While we cooked supper, Jack decided to reenact the Harry Potter scene with Hedwig (Stuffed toy) his robes and scarf in the back yard. 

Bummer. He got too cold before I could get a snapshot, so this will have to do. 
 The oldest came home after 5 cold and hungry and without the sled. His buddy has it. He took the bus with his girlfriend and ended up at a BBQ joint. His Dad went to get him and I finished making supper. So here I sit typing this, waiting for school to be cancelled one more day and sipping red wine. Snow is expected to fall until midnight and wind chills will be crazy cold here. The joy of a snow day and the shuffle of crazy activities leave me with a sense of calm and nostalgia. So bring it on, one more time. Snow days are remembered forever; school days blend into one long day.

Side note: yes… they cancelled before I finished this! One more morning with the kids. Maybe pancakes, eggs and bacon for tomorrow am. At least now I know where all the snow gear is. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Writer’s betrayal of a fandom:

“I give them what they need not what they want.” infamous words of the Whedon. Sometimes don’t we deserve what we want? I have long been a warrior defender of the broken Byronic characters. I all too often feel set up by writers after they have taken care to develop rich lush storylines for a complex character and in one fell swoop slash at the character and our hearts. Much like the set up for a volleyball setter the writers lift up the ball above the net only for one player to come along and pound the ball back down to earth. The 2 best examples I can recall and still leave a sting in my heart are two much loved, hated and debated characters Spike and Guy of Gisborne. Many similarities exist between Guy and Spike. They both deeply loved a woman they could never have. This amazing woman, the one, was part of their salvation and treated them like men and not the monsters they were. They made these men believe they could with their love be better and redeemed.

The writers in the Mutant Enemy stable tore at my soul for 3 seasons in Buffy with Spike. Likewise the writers for the BBC series Robin Hood 2006 also set up over the course of 2 seasons another great baddie with depth and a redemptive story line, Guy of Gisborne. Redemption stories are ripe with this kind of fan betrayal. Writers hook us then after building hopes and redemption characters into complex organic beings, they with one fell swoop want their viewers to develop amnesia and bring back the cardboard 2-D baddies. Spike my beloved bad boy in leather vampire was developed over more than 3 seasons to be torn to shreds in an episode called "Seeing Red" during season 6. Just typing the name of the episode gives me a sick stomach. They made Spike into a neutered vampire for convenience sake for season 4 after the absence of the comic relief, Cordy. Spike did not fit easily into comic relief but did however pose a mirror for the other characters when the lines between good and evil needed examination. Spike developed an unhealthy attraction for Buffy and was convinced she was his key to redemption and “the one” who would be his soul mate. So many of the fans debated and argued over the net about Angel verse Spike (2 vampires fighting for their souls, redemption and the love of the slayer). Spike became someone who was an ally, a valuable member of Buffy’s team and a lover. The relationship was part and parcel developed over 3 seasons and Buffy came to understand Spike and his uniqueness through key episodes such as “Fool for Love” and "Intervention". Their relationship was an organic one that changed overtime and grew into something real. When the time came for a conflict point in the relationship the writers opted for the monster not the more complicated man side of Spike and with less than 2 minutes undid what took 3 years to build with what we like to term the AR (attempted rape) scene from “Seeing Red”. The writers wanted to remind us that Spike was not a man but a monster even though the whole season they were setting us up with the better man storyline. It was a cold hard betrayal and slap in the face. I am not sure that scar will ever heal in my viewer’s heart. It was as deep as a first love broken heart.  I vowed to never trust another stable of writers again with this kind of storyline and my heart. 

Never say Never I now say because … Along comes Guy of Gisborne and just like some teenage na├»ve girl, I again was drawn into a storyline of redemption and love. I should have known. I should have noticed all the signs again but nooooo. I was suckered into believing that even if the character was originally meant as just a 2-D baddie, he could over 2 seasons develop into more of a complicated antihero. Sure I should have known from the title of the series Robin Hood that Guy of Gisborne was not going to be the shining redemptive hero but the writers took almost 2 years developing a sympathetic troubled rich character. In the Robin Hood series it was just cruelty to the viewers to take the antihero, Guy, and develop him into such a rich lush character for us savior complex women and leave the hero Robin more of the 2 dimensional cardboard hero. Poor Robin, he often seemed as an afterthought in many of the stories. They also tortured us with Marian who they developed into a heroine who believed in Guy’s goodness and potential to be a good man. She stood by his side when Prince John’s soldiers were storming the castle; she sympathized with his plight and offered a road toward redemption. He in return for her faith saved her life when he found out she had betrayed him for more than 2 seasons as the night watchman, by crafting a dangerous shell game with another character that had gone “bad” Allan a Dale. Guy was a damaged soul that was expertly fleshed out by the writers into a complicated multi-layered character only to be torn to bits in one fell blinding swoop of a sword in the final episode of season 2. You could hear and feel the vacuum of air leave the planet as many viewers offered a palatable gasp of horror as Guy’s sword plunged into Marian’s heart. It was beyond betrayal it was an act of pure torture to a most faithful audience by Dominic Minghella. I will never watch anything that man creates ever again. That scene still leaves a pit in my stomach and seems to have been written more out of convenience than actual continuity of storytelling. I am always astonished when an artist/writer pours efforts and time into developing a piece and then slash the canvas, smash the clay or destroy the character. It seems very similar to the actions of a small frustrated child who tears his drawings up after hours of efforts. Then cries at the sight of his torn picture. I sadly have to say the viewers are the ones shedding the tears in this case not the creator. I am always left with astonishment, horror and disappointment when it feels like the writers have taken the easy way out by going against everything they have crafted and shred the storyline by incongruous actions. They often respond to the outrage by going back to the character’s attributes in episode one, “He was the baddie and could not be the hero.” blah blah blah. “I give you what you need not what you want” blah blah blah. Lame! Part of me thinks this behavior is due to lazy writing and hurried film making giving an easy out to a storyline the producers are uncomfortable with for their series. I am sure this type of writing will always happen. I fell a bit for it this year with MI-5 and Lucas North but this time the wound was less painful. I am now more wary of carefully crafted baddies on screen and often spend the series waiting for the other shoe to drop. It is a betrayal to the viewers and it feels like a punch in the stomach. So a word to the writers out there to take care, at some point you will lose the trust and faith of your audience. This is something that you cannot write your way out of and you will lose viewers and their loyalty.  This is something the talking heads in the business offices will notice. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reset button:

No sooner had I posted yesterdays blog when I got a karmic kick in the head. I may not be living my dream life but this man is living his. I need to be more aware and grateful for all I have and not what I am struggling with because after seeing this I gotta say it's not so bad.

From a CNN special about heros and

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bummer Tuesday Ramblings.

Maybe it is the terror of the new semester but I feel like I had settled in for a long winters night all comfy and cozy and … SLAP…. you must return to the reality of life go back teach the kids. I know, I know, I have a god job and decent career and in this economy; I have a job and I need to be thankful for that; so I am trying to write down what I am grateful for and what I am trying to do for the new year. I hate blogs that start with the list if 10 things  blah blah blah… SO I decided to write a bit more like William James and be a bit stream of consciousness.

As I drug my sorry tired old fat booty back home from a long day of teaching, I knew I needed to get more sleep. It would also be easier to be on my game with about 30-40 lbs. So I have checked into a good aqua aerobics class and am considering signing up again for Tuesday/Thursday night, only problem is it is at the high school I teach at and “swim season” is now on going and it is not so great to hear “Hey Mrs F.” from across the pool as I am dragging my flabby butt in the water. Maybe I should look into Pilates. In the mean time I am walking on the treadmill to the “Pillars of the Earth” dvd.  So far I have been good, no high carbs, no alcohol,  no refined sugars and no chocolate. Although the ½ a bottle of red wine began to sing to me as I entered the door today but I put ear plugs in as I ate my hummus and celery and drank my low cal cranberry juice. Not as much fun but I bet I will sleep better.

As far as gratitude and job satisfaction, I need a serious readjustment or that lotto win. I had a whole new group of classes and yes they went great. Kids worked, I think, I taught some new ones some old material again but sometimes I question my decision to teach again. I see so much being left behind, people working long hard hours for little pay and recognition, little back up and poor materials. This lack of support for the staff, I think wears on me more than anything. I had the best computer I have ever worked on at the school, decommissioned for another department. It made me sooo mad. That computer sat in my lab/classroom for almost 3 years. While the male teacher used it was not moved but a female moves in and zap the computer is taken for another male teacher. Coincidence? maybe, maybe not. I love the excitement of their eyes when they get something. The whining I could do without. I love when I feel like I have made a connection and give someone direction. I wish I had more direction. I have considered going into academic counseling and am thinking that is absolutely the path I have considered hardest. I would love to go back to school for genetics counseling but the tuition is far too high. So counseling on the academic level is the wisest choice. and this is what my life boils down to most times… The wisest decision for now. I wish I had a little more seeing eye for the future so I would make the best decision and not the best one for now.    So I guess the end of it all I will drudge along doing the best I can with what I am, what I have and what I am doing maybe that is the best anyone really can ask for in life. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Planet of Jack

The Planet of Jack:

Jack, my 10 year old, has spent winter break at Hogwarts, Mount Olympus and on the imaginary stages of Auditoriums across the nation. When Jack is into something he is totally there mind, body and imagination. I love how his mind works and how it saturates all things. He has been reading, watching and playing Harry Potter for most of the break. He has researched wands on-line and found a wand maker website and then proceeded with gps missile guided accuracy found the only rosewood wand on sale. We have ordered his wand from Alivans and he checks the mail and watches the sky for owls. He and his friends across the street, Meredith’s daughter Olivia and now her step-sister and step-brother Helena and Thomas, have spent more than 3 days running around the neighborhoods in robes, scarves and wands, dueling and battling evil. He has made his own potter puppet pals and written scripts for his performances. He recorded them on the photobooth and flip camera and has performed for us in the front room.  He confided in me last night, as I was putting him to bed, how nervous he was for his 11th birthday and how he was not sure he was ready to go to a boarding school even if he got an invite from Hagrid. I nodded and reassured him if he was going to be asked he would be ready. I marvel at how his mind works and how fully engaged he is in imagination and creativity. I marvel at his wonderment and gleeful play. I hope even as he grows, he never loses his creativity or full engagement of his activities, work and play.  I know someday that Peter Pan Jack and the planet of Jack may dim because life beats a bit of the wonderment and joy out of it but I am hoping for a little time longer I can continue to visit the planet of Jack because it seems like an amazing place and I would be all too sad to see it disappear from my world.