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 27, 2011

Not Looking Forward to Needing More Help Looking Forward…

So, I’m in my 40’s now. I hear this is when you need to get reading glasses. Problem? I already have coke-bottles because I can’t see crap far away.

I am NOT looking forward to bifocals.

But now there’s this new app coming for my pretty iPhone. It’s called GlassesOff, and according to New Scientist, it actually works. Psyched!

Then again, that same edition of NS told me that globalwarming really can lead to more earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis.   Their reasoning is sound- if the ice caps melt, mountains under them will have less weight on them, and seas will have more weight. This change in mass distribution will put more stress on the faults, causing more stress = more quakes etc. Though I’ve no concept of the scale. It’s like trying to imagine the number of atoms in a pound of chocolate.

Mmm. Chocolate.

Anyway, because NS makes endless fun of anthropomorphic climate change skeptics, I tend to discount their GW articles. If your only defense against your opponent is to call him a moron, your arguments are not sound.


Halloween is just around the corner. Stinky and the moth are pushing for gorier costumes every year, and longer routes for candying.

Stinky has chosen to be a gladiator. I’ve been trying to get him to do the whole Russel Crowe thing,  but he’s more into the 300 version of things  (no, he’s not seen either flick. But who on earth has missed the This Is Sparta thing?) Of course, I’ve pointed out his costume is Roman, but he’s in the Percy Jackson phase – only Greek will do.

The Moth, on the other wing, has picked a Grim Reaper costume  . But instead of resembling Mr. Grim (here about the reaping),   it more likens to Orco, from He Man.

When I pointed this out, Mr. Mothy was not amused.

I should be grading papers right now, but my septa driver made me totally sick today. I’ve got the windows in my room open (it’s 58 degrees out), I’m sipping diet pepsi, (at 7:30am), and every time I try to read, my eyes cross.

Or maybe it’s the papers. Jeezum Crowe. How hard is it to calculate ionic charge? Simple Math Folks. Sheesh. They overthink everything here. Such a nice change!!!

Well, back to trying to grade. Sheesh.


October 15, 2011

Family Fun!

 It’s been a while since I updated on tales of Stinky and the Moth… so here goes!

Stinky has decided that girls are different… and possibly interesting. Fifth grade is, apparently, the year this happens. So, when we were picking up stuff at the local Target (pronounced tar-jhay’), he asked if he could have body spray and hair gel.

Stinky is, quite literally, stinky these days, as he plays with his Axe (now, come on, that is not a euphemism). Of course, his interest in females has not changed his base personality, and if he had to choose between hanging with his crush and going to a horror-fest, well, the gore would win.

(Blood-gore -Not alGore - Gore… I’m waiting probably 2 or 3 years for his faux-environmental attitude to kick back in. It’s taken a back burner these last few years, ever since I told him that being environmental meant not using electricity, so instead of TV or music, we could WALK to the library and check out some books to READ (not listen to). )

Mothy, on the other hand, has always thought girls were interesting. He’s now in the third grade, and every day he has encounters with a rare beast: the male elementary school teacher. Mr. Sullivan is Mothman’s new hero. Every night it’s tales of what Mr. Sullivan said or did – often embarrassing to the kids in class. But the boys love it. It’s a different kind of nurture and Moth is thriving. The boys in the class seem to give this guy props because he speaks their language – lots of boy humor seems to abound – and he makes them laugh.

Unfortunately, all this joviality is giving the Tim monster a reason to practice a new laugh, kind of like those monkeys in the wild who have their own unique shriek as a “calling card”. His laugh of the week is loud, forced, fake, and determined to garner as much attention as possible. (What, gentle, quiet Tim wants to be the center of attention? Not my wallflower! Oh My! Snert.) I first heard this laugh in the middle of Bertucci’s the other night. As did every other customer in the place.

Just keep telling yourself, it’s only a phase, and all the other boys in Mr. Sullivan’s class are doing the same.  Really. It’s not just your kid.


The other resident of the house, one Chief Dirty Bird, has taken to cooking a new kind of cuisine. In his efforts to be a good ambassador for Captain Planet (who else remembers that bad cartoon?), he’s been feeding us a more LOCOVORE diet. What is this you ask? It’s the diet I grew up with, basically. Eat what you grow, or what grows locally and doesn’t need to be shipped. We do the latter.  The boys now grumble “but we don’t WANNA be locovores” as they choke down zucchini surprise. But this is not zucchini that I grew. No, siree. This is pucchini that we PAID for. I pause to let you wonder at this travesty: people paying for zucchini. Yes, living in the suburbs makes you crazy enough to pay for crappy food.

Why aren’t I growing this nasty stuff, instead of buying it? (after all, we have a huge plot of land for subarbanites). It seems that, in addition to my being lazy, I have a completely black thumb. We’ve grown herbs for years, successfully. This year, we tried a few other things. My tomato plants flourished! They had lots of flowers! They never had a tomato.

Heck, we can’t even grow freaking pumpkins! Everyone knows gourds are a weed in PA, but our huge vines, which produce dozens of flowers, only produced one, tiny pumpkin. John actually BOUGHT a pumpkin from a local and put it in our pumpkin vine to make it LOOK like we grew a big one. Yes, he really did. (John, don’t bother trying to deny it. I can take pictures as proof.)

I blame the lazy-ass bees not pollinating the plants. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

And if you’re still reading, and want to read more (Yes, Please!), I’ve a non-family update below. Saturday mornings are so nice!


October Subway Tales

Well, who would have believed that riding the subway would give me so much fodder for thought and blathering?

Of course, I have always done much blathering, so that is not the issue. I just don’t remember the sub being such an interesting place. I remember it being a dirty, smelly place. But not an interesting place.

It is not nearly as dirty or smelly as it was in the late 80s. Believe it or not, the concourse betwixt the Blue line and the Orange line (you Phillyites will know whereof I speak) actually smells… CLEAN. Like they clean it… a lot! It’s still dingy LOOKING, but it doesn’t smell like cleaner over filth. It just smells clean.

It still confounds me.

Yesterday, as I went to take the sub home, I ran into one of my students. This is not a rarity – I ride home with my students every day. However, this was a seventh period student… who had not been in my seventh period class.

Well, now. How evil can I be?

The conversation ended with him trying to bargain with me. (This, after trying to convince me he had been in class and my old head just didn’t remember. I have had 2 children skip my class this year, son. I remember.)  If I could just call his parents. They would punish him. Please don’t put a mark on his record.

I told him, “Kid, you know, I don’t mind that you skipped my class. People make choices to follow or ignore rules every day. And we need both kinds of choices in the world. The deal is, you have to be able to handle the consequences WHEN you get caught. You’re losing my respect not because you cut my class, but because you’re afraid to handle the results of your decision. Man up.”

(And I really did use almost those exact words. Having to talk in front of people 5 hours a day has done wonders for my eloquence.)

He looked at me with a mixture of resolve and chagrin. I wasn’t budging, but he could deal. And I think he got the message… I hope he did.


I also ran into, or rather, sat next to a caricature on the sub. Really! The young gentleman seemed to be in his twenties. He was wearing all black, including Doc Martens and a black beret. He was hairy, and just slightly unwashed. He carried a black messenger bag, with a button on it in red that read “No downsizing! No Layoffs! No Conformity!” His beret bore a button that said: “The People are the Power” or some such nonsense. His bookmark was some advertisement for a rally about universal healthcare, and he was reading a book called “The best of Lenin.” Not Lennon, which I could dig, but Lenin, the author of modern genocide.

Power to the people, indeed.

He was also quite hefty, meaning he has most likely never missed a meal in Mommy and Daddy’s house.

I found him quite humorous, going home to the suburbs after protesting in Philly all day. We’re a day late and a dollar short, but we now have our own “occupy “ protests, like all the real, big cities. There are, quite literally, dozens of people around city hall, daily. 

Those people seem to protest nothing so much as the bad decisions of college students everywhere: going to overpriced institutions and majoring in studies that are unsustainable in a working culture.

Dollars to donuts, ProtestBoy majored in philosophy and is pissed that he’s not a professor at Harvard right now. Not that I think philosophy is bad, or unnecessary, but if you choose to study that, be prepared to be unemployed or serving coffee.

I like my barista to have a Masters of Art. Makes me feel all sorts of culcha-ed, when I sip my latte.

Birdbrain, out.

October 07, 2011

It must be fate...

I've come more and more to believe in fate, or Deus ex Machina, or whatever you want to call it, as I grow older. Things, good and bad, happen for a reason.

Now, you might think I've gone all philosophical here, but hear me out. Take this morning, for example. I came back from my run cold, so I made the coffee, drank a cup, and jumped into a hot shower. I was still cold, so I took a cup with me, thinking to drink on the train. But, being the moron that I am, I left it in the car. And being the uber moron that I am, I didn't even realize it.

As soon as I got to the train platform, I decided to get out my quizzes and grade, since I crashed last night and didn't grade. These quizzes were very short, only 1/4 of a piece of paper (and, yes, there is a difference between magnesium and manganese), so I could hold them in my hand and grade. So convenient! Especially as I had two hands free... still wasn't missing the java.

So I graded, and graded, and graded... 100+ papers later, I'm done. Why haven't I reached my stop yet? Oh, there's a broken down train in front of me. Hey, where's my coffee? Crap I forgot it. But that's ok. I don't really need it.

I go up the steps of the train to my school and realize I've arrived in that no-man's land time. If you get here before 7, the side door is open for teachers. If you get here after 7:15, the front door is open for students. I got here at 7:05.

There's a Dunkin Donuts 4 blocks away.

I'm telling you, this all screams of a master plan to me! My papers are graded, I have superior caffeine, and my headphones are rocking Disturbed this morning (I really like their latest album). If my own plan had been followed, I would have drunk my coffee on the train, been late to school, and not gotten the quizzes graded.

Somehow, I doubt it can be carried to macro-scale. I'm not sure what the master plan is for my wonderful student who is dying of brain cancer.  Or for the people in my hometown who lost their homes and/or livelihoods to flood a few weeks ago. But you know, I've always been a tree person. I don't see the forest. And if there's some kind of master plan to make me feel better today, I'll bet there's something good that comes out of those other things. I'm just not bright enough to see it.

Speaking of this new-found philosophical depth, any ladies who are older than I am who happen to read this... is there some sort of return to puberty that comes in your 40s? I'm finding myself sad or happy for no apparent reason... thinking philosophically...  I am not used to this emotion stuff. And I'm getting pimples again. This is not cool. It does end again, right?


October 05, 2011

Oh, Really??

 So, last night at supper, Stinky dropped a term that totally had Dad and I in stitches.

After swallowing his bite of roast beast, he turns to me and says (with no preamble): “I know what we’ll do! We’ll tea-bag it!”

At which point I spurt diet coke out my nose. Daddy looked at me in accusation: what was I teaching the heir??

See, a number of years ago, I had a co-worker who introduced me to all the latest slang. Much of it was not fit for polite company. One day, he came in complaining about his kid’s chemistry teacher… or maybe it was English. Anyhow, this b-word would not accept Junior’s assignment because of some completely ludicrous reasoning. My co-worker said, and I quote, “I told V he should just tea-bag the bitch.”

I, of course, had to ask what this term meant, and it’s left a rather graphic yet somehow humorous image in my mind.

It seems that Sean’s making a “colonial journal”. He has to make it look authentic.

Even though Monday and Tuesday are dad homework nights (I take wed and thu), Sean approached me about this project he has for school. Apparently, although I haven’t a creative bone in my body and John’s an artist, I help more with these projects. So, I’m the go to parent.

He wanted to print up his journal entry (which I had him type before dinner, but had tuned out what he needed the typing for), crumple it a bit, STAIN THE PAPER WITH A TEA BAG, and burn the edges, which is something we had done for a project for him a few years ago.

I really don’t need the image of my baby Sean knowing what teabagging is. Really.

So I guess I’m not the worst mom in the world. Today’s candidate for that award is the woman who, in 1995, named her kid John Holmes. That is just cruelty beyond belief. Talk about unreasonable expectations!