flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

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Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

October 04, 2015

How do you take your salvation?

So, our priest is stepping down. He's youngish, he's a good priest, but he wants to be more involved in teaching than preaching. He gave a sermon in explanation today, and he said that his salvation had come to him through the mind. He'd been a high school dropout (as he's a PhD, I never would have guessed), and he found his way back to church through college courses.

Strange, but completely understandable from that POV.

Strange to me that the same sort of epiphany came to me during church today. The second reading had a quote from a psalm (8, if it matters to you) in it:

"You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet"

I spent a good portion of the prayers and readings trying to figure out where this was in my own memory. I knew it wasn't the reading, and then I started hearing a melody, and a harmony.

Before the end of the service, it had all come back, including the magnitude of feelings this piece bring in me. 

So, if I am at all spiritual, it is musical. Only music can make me feel so small and so miraculous at the same time. 

And if you like choral music, you may want to really listen to this one. It's profound


April 09, 2015

A better way to say goodbye?

Warning: this is not going to be a pretty, funny, or possibly even sane post.

I think I'm losing it. Or maybe it's menopause.

A terrible, terrible thing happened in my community recently. A young man... a boy took his own life.

It started (for me) on facebook. I was asked to re-post a link to a site where folks were looking for this kid. It was right after the only really big snowfall of the season. And I remember thinking, oh gosh, either he's dead in the snow or he's been taken by a pedophile. And I don't know which is worse.

A day or so later, the search page became a "celebration" page, celebrating his life. A life he had ended, apparently, because of an email he got. From a teacher.

He was 13.

I don't know why this has so absolutely devastated me. I remember opening the paper on the way to work that day and seeing that they had found his body. I remembered thinking oh no oh no oh no.

And then I made the mistake of listening to his dad's speech at his memorial service. The boy had not been bullied and had, to all accounts, a blessed life. There were no signs. There was no warning. Just one afternoon he went out for a walk and he never came back again.

I see my own boys - they're his age, and had he not gone to private school might have been in the same class. Could they do something like that?

How does his mother live with this?
How does his father, who spoke with such love and respect, live with this?

I see a boy walking down a path to the woods and I think of that kid, walking alone, plotting his own demise.

I think of him lying in that snow. All alone. For days.

And I don't know why, but this has brought me to tears just so many times. I didn't even know that kid. But the thought of it just slays me. I want to go find him that afternoon. I want to save him.

I think it's because I'm getting old. Or maybe it's because I see my boys and know it could so easily be one of them. Or maybe it's because of some similar stuff that's happened with some of my students this year. All I know is, just yesterday, this song came on my ipod, and I've been in a funk ever since. Hopefully writing this out will cleanse it.

Patty Griffin: Goodbye
Occured to me the other day
You've been gone now a couple years
well, I guess it takes while
For someone to really disappear
And I remember where I was
When the word came about you
It was a day much like today
the sky was bright, and wide, and blue
And I wonder where you are
And if the pain ends when you die
And I wonder if there was
Some better way to say goodbye
Today my heart is big and sore
it's tryin' to push right through my skin
I won't see you anymore
I guess that's finally sinkin' in
'Cause you can't make somebody see
With the simple words you say
All their beauty from within
Sometimes they just look away
But I wonder where you are
And if the pain ends when you die
And I wonder if there was
Some better way to say goodbye

March 03, 2015

What's More Scary?

I work in this crazy-old building. It's got "character." It's got so much old/crazy about it that it was used as a haunted school in a rather big movie. (I'm still a little leary of walking past the gym for fear of seeing dead people.)

One of the charms is its plumbing (or lack thereof). We have a bathroom for teachers on my floor. It's this long room (doubles as a server room, HA!) and has a little closed-off water closet. This is co-ed.

So, on my lunch break today, I had to make a call on nature. The light was on, which is our signal for "in use."

I hate that.

So, what's more scary? Going in after a dude has come out, the toilet seat is down and quite warm? Or going in after a chick (who's been in there for a rather large amount of time) and finding the seat up?

Both have happened to me in the last week or so.

Next time you complain about the temperature in your office, think of me, with my room either 90 or 50 because our antiquated boilers can only imitate rings of Dante's inferno. Think of me sharing that crappy (pun intended) bathroom with all and sundry because the only other teacher bathroom in the top 3 floors of the building has sewage backups.

And know that I'm still having more fun at my job every day than most people have in a month!

not that I won't take another 2 hour delay, if that's what this ice brings us.

Over and out!


January 31, 2015

Kids are the Most Fun Ever.

So, I don't know if you know, but we had Snowmageddon this week. Well, not really.

We were possibly maybe sortof gonna get hit by the Storm That Buried Boston. But it went east, so it missed us. Of course, it went east AFTER it stirred up a major brouhaha (and didn't I have to google THAT spelling!) amongst our local weather agents.

Monday afternoon, my school district sent us all home at noon - in flurries. By evening, every school in the region had closed, based upon the certain impending snowpocalypse. But we'd received no official word from our schools here in the dusty aviary.

So, the phone rings. Of course, it's the auto-dialer from the school announcing closure. But I answer it, interjecting a "no" or "not really" here and there. Stinks wasn't fooled until I said, "Look, please take me off your call list," well after the auto-message was over.

Then John moved in with part two of the prank. He sent me an email, subject: "Not So Fast," saying he "found" this on the local news website:

From Philly.com:

   (BlahBlah Township, PA) Most Philadelphia suburban schools will close Tuesday in preparation for a massive snowstorm that threatens to cause commuting headaches from Philadelphia to Boston.
    But one area principal is taking a stand, declaring that schools are too quick to close in inclement weather, angering and inconveniencing parents .
    Dan BlahBlah, principal of BlahBlah Middle School in BlahBlah PA, has declared that his school will be open Tuesday, even if snow accumulations reach over a foot.
    "Basically, we have faith in our township clean-up teams can keep the roads clear and make sure that our students won't miss a day of school"BlahBlah  said.
    BlahBlah's stand is not popular with the students

 (of course, I he had the real principal's name and the real school and area name)

Now, you can tell by reading this that my spouse is a journalist at heart. He's also a bigger tease than ANY Harvey. He's just quieter about it. 

We eventually, after much guffawing, did give up that we were faking it and school had called out. Stinks insisted that he saw right through Dad's email, but that I had him with the telemarketer scheme.

Next morning, when a grand total of 1.5 inches had fallen (thank the Lord), John got the kids up and said that they'd changed the closure to a 2 hour delay, because the storm missed us.

They hadn't, of course.

Whatever will we do to entertain ourselves when the grow up? Of course, if they're like us, they'll never grow up.


December 27, 2014

Mary Christmoose

The semi-chronicles of the Rogers clan - 2014.

No pictures in this edition. Sorry. Also, not much of a year wrap-up, as we've done nothing of any note this year. Like every other year. So, dig up one of the old letters and read that if you want.

Stinks has entered the high-profile-exec-who-was-caught-doing-wrong phase: "No pictures. No Comments." He's in the 8th grade and is convinced that everyone is watching him, but no one gives a crap about him. Ah, the delusions of adolescence. Much to Dad's chagrin, Stinky has 0 hobbies except boy scouts, camping, and video games. We did send him to computer programming camp this summer, which he liked and continues to fiddle with. Maybe he'll be a little nerd like his mom? Doubtful. But he is now as tall as his dad and loves to point that out.

He's still mowing lawns and shoveling sidewalks, now to save toward a crazy-big camping excursion: Philmont scout camp. He wants to go in 2016. Mom is a little scared about sending him way out there. He might get lost, and then there'd be paperwork to fill out.

Unlike Tim, who really did get lost this year. (see october 12 blog). Fortunately, we found him before we called the fuzz.

Moth is in middle school. He likes to push the envelope. Hell, he likes to push the entire mailbox full of envelopes. If I say, "be home at 5," he's all ready to negotiate, "how about 5:30?"

To which I reply, "how about 5?"

Rinse, lather, repeat, and then he concedes, grudgingly. And he gets home at 5:00:01.

The boys both like to take trips to the library. This pleases their father greatly, as he believes they are reading many books of an academic bent. In this he could not be more wrong. They go to the library only to play video games, as we have never allowed them in the house. And when I say we, I mean John. I'm a bad parent at best who likes to keep the kids quiet by whatever means necessary. Video games are a relatively quiet way of keeping them out of my hair while I read fanfic. John thinks we can do better. Right.

John purchased them both notebooks (computers that only allow internet access) and blocks every website except google, wikipedia and an educational (math and grammar) program. He assigns work on Monday for every night of the coming week. Every week of the year.

Except Christmas. He did give them Christmas off. See, here are Moth's assignments for the week.

The boys did not find this humorous. They have taken to singing "you're a mean one Mr. Grinch" whenever he's in the room, as he's given them HOURS of school work over the break.

Speaking of Grinch, we had no idea what to give the lads for Christmas. Two years ago, I broke the video game ban by purchasing DS's (think gameboy if you're my age, and if you're older? meh, google it). (Dad's okay with them as he can confiscate them, and does, until the extra work for the week is done.) Last year, we got them sunscreen, beach balls, travel kits, and to round it off, tickets to Curacao. It was the big family trip of the century. Seriously. We will be eating beans and weenies for approximately 2 more years, then we'll be done paying the loan shark off.

But we didn't just present these presents. No siree. Two years ago, they opened socks and underwear first, and some other ridiculous gifts, then the DS's. Stunned joy.

Last year, it was all of the silly presents. They really started to get suspicious when Aunt Mary sent them swimsuits and towels. The final present was a diving map of the place and pictures of the plane tickets. Stunned joy.

This year, we had NO idea what to get. So I got a bunch of silly stuff, and, after JOHN suggested it, an XBOX. But how do you present this?

I wrote up a letter which entitled each of the boys to a new, extra-long twin bed and one set of sheets. They've been complaining that their twin beds are too short, see. Really, it's an entree to "we need bigger beds in our own rooms!" Which will happen 2 minutes after never. I have 1 vermin-infested room. I will not have 2. But I figured they'd see the bed coupon and be like, "great."

They opened everything, including the flying monkey slingshots. Seeing all the presents were silly (except the socks, which were useful), they were looking for "the Gift." Last, with building excitement (cause they're on to me) they got to the letter. They opened it, read it. They were like, "cool!!" All smiles and joy.

They were actually excited about the fake present. Had I outfoxed myself?

Hours later, well after lunch, and after Tim had crashed 3 of his Styrofoam gliders and Sean had terrified Loki by chasing him around with the car Aunt Mary and Uncle Kim got him, I "found" a present for Dad. He opened it to find three distinctive green cases containing Madden whatever, some driving game, and some call of duty-type killer game. He was very excited.

The boys were very confused.

"Why does dad get them?"

And out came the Xbox.

Sean still doesn't believe we got it. "Mom, how did you get Dad to agree?"

"It was his idea." And it was. See, our only TV is plugged into something called a VoltBolt. They will still not be able to play games, unless the emperor puts the thumbs up (and the key in). As soon as the boys keyed in to that (ha), they lost some of the video-game induced high. But they haven't started whistling Mr. Grinch, yet.

I give it til Monday.

That's my Christmas story, and I'm sticking to it.

Wishing you a wonderful Holy-day season and a whacky new year, from bird land to your land (this land is, after all, your land. this land is my land... did I get it stuck in your head? Did I?).


December 04, 2014

My Experience At The DMV...

Well, that title should be enough to reel in a few readers.

Sorry, it's been crazy busy this year. School is always busy, but this year, I feel like I live in Office Space. "Yeah, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to ....."fill in the blank with some ridiculous, time-consuming task. Several times.

So, as per usual, I do as much as I can, and do it as well as I can, which is, specifically:  not much, with overwhelming mediocrity. What can I say? Overachiever? Not it!

But I am at school, most days, for about 10-11 hours. And attempting to go to the gym 3-4 times a week in the morning. And still raising (or trying to) two sprogs.

So, something's gonna give. I'm simply too lazy to be this efficient.

I forgot to renew my driver's license.

I was all set to go last Friday, after Turkey day. I totally forgot. As I had done for WEEKS of Saturdays before this. My license expires tomorrow. So, I had to get it done this week.

I left school with the kids on Monday (there's a shocker). Rushed home. Got to the DMV at 4:30. They closed at 4:15. What the heck kind of hours are 10:00-4:15, I ask you???

We had parent-teacher conferences for report cards this week. I took the opportunity to leave 20 minutes early. (One irate parent called me while I was running to catch a train.) So, I get to the DMV.

4:05. One person getting her picture done. Her attendant looks and sounds like Lurch. I was like, oh, man. He was SUPER slow, and I was afraid it would take until 4:15 for him to take her picture. (it did, btw).

But another clerk comes out at 4:10. He looked normal. But my clue should have been his opening line.

"Man, that potty break sure felt Gooooood!" with a big guffaw.

I smiled, trying to keep my face calm. Those pictures are always so great to begin with. I don't need an "oh my gosh you're strange" look on my face.

So, I answer the questions and fill in the organ donor thing and then he asks me to sign the signature box.

He then proceeds to critique my signature.  This doesn't look anything like your old signature. And it wasn't a second or two. He studied it, turned it sideways, upside down. Looks at me a few times like I'm trying to pretend to be me or something.

I laugh nervously/frustratedly and say that I always have a hard time with the computer sign pads, and now that I sign papers all day, my writing's gotten worse.

I do the signature again.

Same thing.

I'm getting super frustrated at this point. I go through the signature dance with him 4 - four - F-O-U-R times, and he still wasn't happy with it. Puts a demerit or some other horse hockey on my record. Then he takes my picture.

I looked a bit like a homicidal maniac. Sadly, my glasses had too much glare, so he wanted to do the picture again.

Reaching down for that one, tiny atom of Zen left in my system, I took off my glasses and attempted to "clear my mind" as Snape might say.

Needless to say, my signature is just slightly more ridiculous than my picture which, sadly, is a good semblance of my everyday visual insanity.

As the card is printing out, he comments on the fact that I'm a teacher. He states that he always hated school except math. And he only does math in his head. He doesn't like calculators. I asked if he could do trig in his head, because I was in one bitch of a mood at this point. He said that he wasn't allowed to take trig. He says he thinks the school discriminated against him. He couldn't be in sports either because they were afraid he would hurt himself. But he's had 24 fractures and none of them hurt. He doesn't even use Novocaine at the dentist. He doesn't feel pain.

He's got a rather maniacal look in his eye as he says this.

At this time, it's a bit after 4:15, and Lurch comes over and joins the conversation about pain. And they're holding my new license hostage, comparing their wound histories.

I know I should have compassion, but THAT WAS THE MOST FRUSTRATING 10 MINUTES OF MY RECENT LIFE. And I teach in the inner city.

And now, here I sit, laughing because that was such a surreal experience, how can you not? So, Lurch and NoPainMan?  Thanks for the birthday laugh. It'll be a story for me to remember, and a reason to find a different DMV in 4 years.


October 22, 2014

Wednesday Absurdities

So, it's hump day. Now that it's done, the week is more than half done. Right? In celebration, I wore a shirt that has camels on it.

One person noticed all day. :P

To be fair, I was guiding my students through a documentary on anthropogenic climate change. It was made back in 2008 and is sufficiently scary. Not in the way you think. Taking the viewer through a history of the treaties and protocols, the PBS mocumentary blames the senate for not signing the Kyoto protocol (Clinton was pres) and the president for sticking to that decision four years later (that's Bush). There are also lots of clips about how the US attitude and deportment toward CO2 control is changing now that the house and (at that point - soon) the white house are all dem controlled.

Yeah, I've noticed a lot of hopey changey stuff since 2008. How about you?  Ummm, I think we got some new windmills. Yeah. That's about it. Still burning coal. Digging for gas now.

What's really sad is that all these people who are railing about climate change want to blame Americans. They want to blame us because we use too much stuff. Great. I'll admit it. I use too much stuff. Now, who's up for pulling an "Into The Wild" life, where you just dump everything and live off the "land" Little House style? I can bet none of the ppl behind this mocumentary are. It's good enough for you and me, but they're IMPORTANT people. In fact, the show went so far as to say that the only good change in attitude about global climate change has been caused by the morons in Hollywood. Hell, if those people, who have footprints 1000times mine, tell me to change my life? I'm going to ask them to LIVE my life, then tell me how to change.

Hypocrites drive me bananas.

And yet, I'm spewing this to my students.

The fact is, I do believe in anthropogenic climate change. I do believe that we need to seriously think about how we spend our resources and I do believe that I need to get that idea across to the next generation. It's important. It's a big thought that will haunt future generations.

I just wish I didn't feel slimy when I use these pre-produced republican and american bash fests. Sad thing is, straight up science will not convince anyone. People care more about Kim Kardashian and that rap dude she married than about climate change. So we need to sexy it up, make a villain of the piece. The unwary will look at this video and say "It's all the Republican's faults!" not realizing that who is really being blamed is the viewer, the slobbish, selfish, greedy American viewer.

Enough. I'm gonna go eat a pizza, throw out half, play the TV, radio, keep on the lights, heat the house but open the windows, and leave the car running in the driveway for a few hours. I need the guilt for the penance I'm paying.