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Tuesday, October 17, 2017


I read Al Franken’s book. Senator Franken. I have a lot of respect for Minnesota, including electing Franken. It’s wrapped up for Ann for Christmas. I read “Behind her Eyes”, for book club next week. Mark Twain said, I think in “Letters from Earth”, and I’m loosely attributing here, if you have a character and can’t figure out what to do with him, take him out back and push him down the well.” That will be my only remark on this book. Sadly, not only will no one get it, about twenty four of twenty five will be offended.

I haven’t pulled the zipper on Hillary’s packaging yet. I have Henry James “Portrait of a Lady” on my MP3 player, but cannot bring myself to go in and start sewing charity quilts again, and listening. I think I’ll buy a boxed set of Joyce Oates. Maybe I will buy a bookcase, though I swore off book collecting.

When you’re flying somewhere for Christmas, it makes more sense to ship the presents. Our carton isn’t full yet.

Laura asked me if I liked peach cobbler. Of course. Well, she thought she would make some. Do we have peaches? Oh, yes, she bought them at the market. Everything she cooks comes from Google. I simply have no kitchen cred, and was stunned when she asked if there was a good way to peel peaches, besides “peeling” them. Sadly, she bought no fuzz peaches, and had to peel. I told her about boiling water/cold water and skin slipping. That will be next time. So will brown sugar and sweet biscuit dough. But they were almighty good, irrespective. I went out in search of vanilla ice cream while the cook labored.

It’s Monday. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, so I drove to the post office to mail what could be mailed from home. I forwarded an insurance company letter to the Red Bus attorney. Not touching that with a stick. And, I mailed my on sale genetic test kit. Since I will never know why my grandfather married my grandmother, I’ll see how Irish I really am. The testing company divides Ireland into roughly four tiers, and I know I’m the top tier (Donegal) and the bottom (Cork). Or, am I?

I picked up my accountant, walking up the road, as she always does, and gave her a ride to the post office. I thought how I used to love driving around the township, taking pictures and posting them on the township website. No one seems to do that anymore. The only person who ever thanked me for the pictures was the husband of my troublesome trustee. Another unmissed bit of my job, though not by me.

I passed this Mennonite couple walking up the road. So unusual. See how they are in step. Beautiful. The husband had a pole, and I cannot imagine where they fished the bag of fish the wife carried. Or where they lived. I offered a ride, but was turned down.  I asked if I could take a picture. Only of their backs, and thank you for asking.

The only other picture worthy subject was on my favorite abandoned road, Wetmore. So, I came home and talked to my BFF, Carol, for an hour. “Carol, you spent your career in pharma. When will this end?” “I don’t know, Jo, I don’t know.”

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Leader of the pack (they won’t miss you when I’m gone)

Laura emerged from the band bus, bummed last Friday. That’s “despondent” in old people language. 

I’ve learned it’s better to pry into these attitudes than let them pass, and eventually got the full earful.

“Trumpets!” she snarled. Translation: guys who play trumpets.

“Jerks!” she responded to another pick. Translation: guys who play trumpets, behaving badly.

“Loud and stupid!” Wouldn’t shut up.” Getting somewhere now.

“About gays!” Aha; she went to a GSA meeting after school. GayStraightAlliance. I thought they just tie-died shirts at the meeting. Guys all around her on the bus, being loud and stupid about gays. They probably do know she’s a member, and think a good target. In which case they picked the wrong person.

But, something’s not right here. I went to the principal and the band director the beginning of last year, when Laura had been assaulted and, frankly, was terrified of starting ninth grade a year ago. As a result of my  meeting with the principal, the boy who assaulted her and the boys who bullied her literally are not to be seen. No shared classes. No shared lunch periods. They don’t even cross in hall ways. The principal promised me that would happen. But, band?

“I thought boys and girls were on opposite sides of the bus.”  A snort in response.

“Chaperones?” Front of the bus and uninvolved. They are supposed to be interspersed with the students.

“What was said?” “They were screaming at me, ‘How do you have sex with a trans? Where do you stick it?’ Stuff like that!”

When the jerk trumpets refused to shut up, she shut up and waited out the bus ride back to school.

Today we talked solutions. I sent an email to the teacher who sponsors GSA, explaining she needed to open a discussion and show the youngsters ways to deal with jerk trumpets. 

Then I sent one to the band director, telling her she broke the rules I knew were in place at the beginning of 2016, a year ago. Boys on one side of the bus; girls on the other; chaperones evenly distributed. I have witnesses (more than one, I hope.)

“And don’t mention I’m the only S in the whole group. Let them worry about breaking a bunch more rules. They won’t miss you when I’m gone.”

Summer's almost gone; winter's coming on.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Not again!

This is another of those ‘I wish I were what I was’. I’m on this continuum of living, but I’m missing the landmarks. I’m grateful to everyone who steps up and puts me on the right turn. I’m less disappointed in those who don’t.

It’s a new quarter at school for Laura, come Monday. I realize I must not have been involved when all the registration for this year occurred. It would have been at the end of last year, this April or May. Or the beginning of this year, June, July. Whenever, I was not in the room when she was assigned a gym class that could have been this summer and a study hall, in lieu of a computer class.

What’s done is done. I just finished tracking down her counselor. The same I went toe to toe with over Emily’s scheduling. You may remember this as the counselor who gave her no help in finding and applying for scholarships, and Emily and I did all the spadework. Dear god, why must I relearn all this, instead of having a practiced format.

Another day with nothing to do and all day to get it done. Actually, this is the fourth weekday of this week. The big day was Wednesday, an appointment with my PC for a four month follow up, then Laura’s counselor. That was a good outcome, though. Then band practice, and done.

At my doctor appointment, Dr. J said, “You know you’ve lost four pounds since I saw you last. Do you know why?” “Probably walking more,” I threw in. Life is better, for a month of Belbuca; I can walk a block and back. The truth is, I don’t eat enough, and was disguising it with ice cream. Hershey’s, two big scoops in a waffle cone, every Friday on the way home from taking Laura to marching band inspection.

She’s not coming home tonight; she has a GSA meeting, then inspection and another damn football game. We’ll be home late and up early for her to volunteer at an aid station, passing out water to folks who run marathons for fun, on the towpath. Laura’s Gay Straight Alliance makes more sense than running on dirt trails, for fun. No school tomorrow, so Friday night football is Thursday, this week. No Los Angeles Radio Theater to listen to.

I had texts to pick up prescriptions. I delivered my opinion of the quality of her work to the counselor who signed off Laura’s schedule, instead of me. I decided I needed a donut, and started a mental search for a shop with cream filled donuts, within easy reach. I needed gas, too, and stopped at Marathon. I glanced over at the store I never enter, and read the sign: Dunkin’ Donuts.

I thought I bought enough for lunch and supper. I didn’t.