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.

September 27, 2009

Boy 0, Crabs 2

This summer, John started up "cheap vacations with the bird family!"

He's taken up camping with the boys. As I camped enough as a nestling, I pass on the privilege.

This weekend, they went down to Maryland and went crabbing with Poppy. This is their second foray crabbing.

On the first adventure, our Fresh Air Fund kid came along, and they caught 4 female underweight crabs. The moth proudly decreed each catch, then reversed his pride with the news of the throw-back. Poppy said that Tim should apply for Town Crier when he gets older, as he has the inherent skill and ability.

This time, apparently, they caught 0 crabs. If you read this earlier, well, it was apparently a boy conspiracy to hide the truth. But the town crier spilled the beans. Another failed crabbing mission. Alas, they bought crabs and et them anyhow.


Stinky should not be left out of any update. In keeping with his "grass is always greener" attitude, Sean has now declared that he hates school and wishes it was summer again. Two weeks into summer with me, he had decreed the opposite. He's such a whiner - just like his mom!

One thing he doesn't whine or complain about - ever - is listening to epic stories on CD or tape. The kid has an unending appetite for them. He's picked up Harry Potter at the library - and we're talking like 10CD's for some of the middle books - he hasn't gotten to 5 yet - and he follows them the whole way!

It has been our savior for driving on these camping trips and other trips. Last weekend, we went up to my mom's and listened to the beginning of a new series - the Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians). He was captivated within 30 seconds, and we didn't hear a peep from him the rest of the trip - even when Mothy pestered him!


In our last update from the aviary, our local water department is cleaning out the mains. So we are all hooked up through hoses.

Our water smells FOUL - old army boot foul. I Brita it b4 use, but it is still awful. It must be used in coffee or such. As a result, I am drinking bottled water. Why is it that when your water is not potable, you're way thirstier than usual?

In addition to smelling foul, we have extreme fluctuations in pressure, and sometimes it just starts to effervesce and smell even weirder - I think it's a chlorine push. Whack!

Yesterday, one of the temporary hydrants blew. It was a great big fountain in the middle of the street. Some saw water - I saw my water bill going up.

In the end, though, I wonder: how do people without good water in their houses do it? Shudder. At least I know My situation is temporary!!



Even After Doing Research...

One of the big stories in the Philly region this week was the closing of Colosimo's Gun Shop in Philly.

I read the Inquirer - it's mostly skewed WAAAAAYYYY left, but it's still the news. From the ink's coverage, it seemed as though this shop sold 99% of the guns used in gun crime in Philly. At first, I was thinking - "GREAT! a dirty little haven for bad guys is gone!!"

Then I remembered, this is the Inquirer, where no story can be written without spin and agenda. And to see a column by Monica Yant Kinney cheering the closing and targeting another gun shop immediately? Well, my crusade detector has gone off.

So I did a little background reading to see if this place was really a den of iniquity. I'm not as familiar with Philadelphia Weekly, but this story seems more fair. So, the Brady Bill targeted Colosimo's as a source of straw purchases. But it does so much business, and is the only gun outlet in the area, so that's not surprising... It did seem that he followed the rules with purchases, checking the ages and validity of the purchasers. What a purchaser does with a gun after buying it cannot be blamed on the shop owner!

What it comes down to, it seems to me, is that they tired the owner out. So he left. My guess is that gun crime will not go down, but honest citizens who want to have a gun (I am not one of them, but I will defend those who are) will now have to go outside the city to buy a gun. For people who are in the worst neighborhoods of the city, this is not an easy proposition.

It seems to me that John's experience in Africa sums it up. The bad guys get the guns. The good guys end up dead, because the bad guys like it that way. The gun is the great equalizer. In the hands of a 4'10" old lady, she has the same power as a 6'7" young buck. But now, not only does she not have that option in North Philly - I doubt that he will lose that option. If they can't buy them in Philly, they'll go elsewhere. Criminals aren't bothered by inconvenience.

So, good on you, crusaders. I dearly hope this doesn't come back to... shoot you (or me) in the foot.



September 20, 2009

Welcome Back, Kotter!

Well, it's back to school time at the Aviary. Hence the less than no posting schedule. But things ah-re the way things ah-re, to paraphrase a favorite movie.

School is much the same - room, classes, even some of the same kids. This year, there is a new development - a few of us are at war with the cleaning crew. They are stealing our doorstops.

I ask you, what is the world coming to, when someone would steal your doorstop? So, on the surprise trip up to my mom's this weekend (where I found out about my SISTER - my PURRFECT big SISTER - getting REPRIMANDED by a campground supervisor for making too much noise late at night! Ha ha ha ha!! Never knew mom was such a tattletale, did ya?), my brother came to the rescue and made me like 8 new doorstops. I have already decorated my first in hopes that this time, they won't scribble out my name and pretend theirs was there first:

(the other edge says "don't steal this")
What're the odds I'll still have this at the end of the week?


In other news, my family's descent into irredeemable redneckdom has continued. It started with us encouraging our kids to play outside, unsupervised, and they came up with a war game. Americans versus Indians. They lured other boys in... boys whose mothers don't "believe in war or its violence." WHATever.

Our shame spiral continued when Timmy kicked the hornets' nest, and John showed up to save him clad only in shorts (he had just spilled spaghetti sauce on his shirt, but hell, it looked like he likes to walk around shirtless. I told him to look on the bright side, at least he wasn't wearing a wife beater!)

But the last straw for our neighbors has come. My husband has indulged his secret childhood wish and bought himself a beebee gun. Yes, John has been firing the gun in the backyard, which is, of course, a magnet for every daggone boy in the 'hood. They all come - and after checking with dads and making them don safety glasses, he lets them shoot off the gun - under complete supervision.

This is a bb gun. Not a real gun. Just to make sure you're not confused.

So, anyhow, he's out in the backyard, shooting off guns, drinking Pabst which is surrounded by his new beer-cozy (thanks a lot, uncle tom), and spouting off a random "yee haw" or "get-r-dunn".

I would hang my head in shame, except I think that I am the more red-necky of the two of us. And I actually enjoy horrifying our "guns are EEEVil" neighbors. What? I never claimed to be a nice hag. Just a flightless one.


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September 10, 2009

I Must Be Bipolar...

So, two days into the school year, and I was dejected.

My class sizes are from 33 to 40.

My room seats 30 comfortably.

The class periods have been shortened to 45 minutes.

I was challenged covering the material in 57.

I couldn't get through ANYTHING yesterday. Build safety rules, do catalyst and math minute. That's it! two problems and safety rules. No demo. Nothing!! I was supposed to do a lab today, but no dice. Not in this century.

And I don't even know, when I had the time, if I even impacted anyone at all. Our general testing scores ranged from awful to pathetically disturbing. Frustration and chaos were having their effects on me.

To top it off, my new pants - which I bought a size bigger than normal - were TIGHT. And I could have sworn I lost 5 pounds in the last few weeks!

Just before my first class, I got an email from another teacher. This teacher coaches a sport, and wanted to let me know that a bunch of the students were talking about me. They were really positive, not just about me as a person/teacher, but about how being in my class was actually a positive experience.

And when I got to the bathroom later, I found the pants had been mistagged - two sizes too big! I was actually comfortably wearing a size SMALLER than usual.

Like that, out of the doldrums and onto cloud nine.

I think it must be exhaustion!!


John is off to his next class tonight. Still pushing for the advanced degree in boringology. But the thing is, as much as he didn't want to do it, I think he loves it.

Tomorrow night, he's going to take classes to learn to cook like a Viking. How many ways can you make gruel? Mulled wine in four easy steps? Sour milk and its infinite uses? I guess he's mastered so many other cooking niches that Viking cooking classes were his last challenge.

What's that you say? Viking is a kind of cooking product? He's not going to go a-viking?

Darn. I was looking forward to the elderberry mead.


The boys are back in school, as opposed to town. Totally ready to be back, excited about their teachers, and ecstatic to see their friends. Glad I teach high school, for sure!

And now, I've finished my homework, finished the dishes, got the kids ready... CRAP load of laundry in the dryer. A hag's work is never done.


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September 08, 2009

Words A Mother Never Wants To Hear

Heard from the bathroom by Mom (in the kitchen washing dishes)

(dad to mothy or stinky, not sure which)


Ahh, kids.