Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Last day of swim class!

What do you think they are plotting?
In the "big pool!"
What swimming skill is this?
Daddy counterattacks!
Silly boys...
Splashdown!
This is my kid that was afraid to put her head underwater at the beginning of the summer!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Post-it Tuesday: To be or not to be?


1.  The Tempest
2. Romeo and Juliet
3. Hamlet

Grace in small things 7: Frisbee dogs, Grandma's house, and old shoes

What is Grace in Small Things?

Grace in Small Things (GIST) as a reminder to take notice of the positive things we tend to overlook. Grace in Small Things exists because we are choosing not to allow the noisiness of life to rob us of the time and energy to be mindful of ourselves and those we love and to recognize the grace that exists in small things.

71. Worn in shoes -- These are my daughter's shoes from day camp this summer. They were new -- yes NEW -- in June. Evidence of a good time at the farm.  BTW -- I've glued the soles TWICE.

72. Corpse yoga pose -- Come on, on you yoga people: This is the one we really are looking forward too! ;)

73. Backyard veggies -- We visited my in-laws over the weekend, and they gave us a whole bag full of veggies from their backyard garden: zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers. Always better than the stuff from the grocery store!

74. Can I PLEASE sleep over Grandma's house??? -- Even though she had no PJs, no extra clothes, no toothbrush, my daughter talked grandma into a sleep-over on Saturday night.

75. Last day of swim class -- Both kids have made leaps and bounds of progress in swimming over the summer. So proud!

76. Getting to the novel's "good part" -- After 200 or more pages, reading that "ah-HA" or "Oh MY!" moment in the novel you've been dedicating hours to reading. I just got to that part in the novel I'm ready, Little Brother.

77. Annie -- My son picked Annie (the newer one, with Kathy Bates) out of our movie cabinet to watch on Sunday night. What a great kid's feel good movie!

78. Daddy back-up -- My daughter and I were having a "battle of the wills" yesterday. While I won, it was a drag on me, and her behavior was unacceptable. I was happy to see daddy give Ms. Thing a talking to this morning after he heard about my day yesterday.

79. Wow! He's smart! Or, just small... -- While at the haircut place for kids, my son was playing with another boy about his same size. His mother approached me and asked,

"How old is he?"
"3 1/2" I replied.
"Oh, he talks so well! My son is 2 1/2."
"Oh, my boy is very small for his age."
I knew why she asked. She was worried because her kid didn't talk that well! It's ok! He just looks 2 1/2! He's really gonna be 4 in January! I swear!

80. Frisbee dogs -- We attended the 2nd annual Paws in the Park -- a fair for dogs and their owners, sponsored by the local humane society. They had some awesome frisbee dogs -- all rescues -- doing some cool tricks!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Don't go straight...

Back in college, I remember some great advice given to me by an older gay male friend of mine. He would often accompany one or more of us girls (and maybe a few boys) home from a "night out on the town," making sure we all got home safe (isn't he sweet). (It helped that we all lived in the same coop!)

As we staggered through the blocks of my college town, he called his mantra:

Don't go straight...
Just go forward!

Really, it's great advice all around don't you think?

This little bit of memory and advice was prompted by ilaxStudio's Friday Question, "How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday fill-ins: Work, Atticus Finch, and walking the dog

1. You do your thing; I do mine and sometimes we might even agree on something to do together.  Wouldn't that be nice?

2. Work, work, work is what's been on my mind on and off all day.

3. "I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house, and that he'd rather I'd shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted, if I could hit 'em, but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don't do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat people's gardens, don't nest in the corncribs. They don't do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us." -- Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird.

4. My son, my daughter and my husband are three of my favorite obsessions :-)  Ok.  You can say it.  Awwwwww.

5. During the last year I started at a new position at my work.  It's going good.

6. Walking my dog puts a smile on my face.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to date night, tomorrow my plans include going to Paws in the Park (a fair for dogs) and Sunday, I want to sleep in!

A difficult deed

I entered my parents house, and looked in the corner. I sighed. They had not done it yet. I had to do it.

My mother and I discussed in low murmurs the deed that needed to be done. She said in the past my father had done it, but he had lost the will or the strength lately.

It was only I who could complete the difficult task.

I prepared myself both mentally and physically. I got my tools -- shampoo and a towel. I rolled down my sleeves. I prepared the space, filling the bath with about 3 inches with water.

Then, I went to task: I grabbed the unsuspecting cat by the scruff.

And bathed it.

Unhappy but clean, a drenched cat walked away in disgust from the bathroom.

My difficult task is complete.

I am the cat bather.


Side note -- How to bath a cat: I have mastered the skill of getting cat into a tub. First, after entering the bathroom, lock yourself in. Then, you must have pushed back the shower curtain back all the way, lest the cat claw onto it. Next, in one continuous motion put the cat into a bath that already has about 2-3 inches of water in it. Do not let the cat even think it has a chance of escape; this means you may have to chance a few scratches -- wear long sleeves! Have enough water to soak the cat, but the cat can still stand. Some will submit once soaked, others will keep up the fight. Always have one hand on the scruff of their neck!  I usually just use a cup for rinsing since many cats do not like the sprayer either.
This post was in response to Mama Kat's writing prompt, "Can it be saved? Think of something that is ruined when it’s totally wet: like a newspaper or a piece of cheese. Write a scene (truth or fiction) that involves you and a soaked item."  ;)

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Snappy

Posted in Stratford, Ontario along the Avon river.

Birth story: 41 hours later...

My second born arrived on Wednesday, January 17, 2007. But it was a long time coming!

After a grueling pregnancy with Hyperemesis gravidarum -- severe morning sickness for 9 months -- I was so ready for my baby to come! I worked until the baby arrived (tough when you don't want to eat, and might puke if someone brings food near your desk). I remember leaving work on Friday, January 12th thinking "I sooo do not want to come back to work pregnant! Please let this baby come over the weekend!"

Nesting

Over the weekend, I suddenly had a surge of energy I had not felt in months. I cleaned and mopped and dusted. Nesting had set in. But, as Monday (a paid day off for MLK day) rolled in -- no contractions. I went to bed on Monday night dreading going back to work on Tuesday. Not one more day with this baby in my belly!

Optimism

At 5 in the morning, I wake to contractions. At first, I think it is just wishful thinking. But after an hour or so, I decide this is the real thing! I wake my husband, and we decide to get my daughter off to preschool before heading to the hospital.

Yahoo! I'm really going to have this baby today!

We arrive at the hospital, and the triage folks "check" me. I am disappointed to hear that I am barely dilated or effaced. The nurse recommends I walk around the hospital a bit. We do that for maybe an hour, and I'm checked again. No luck. The hospital sends us home.

So, I labor at home. All day. On my bed. Hours of labor. No drugs. Just me and my hubby rubbing my back. Our friends pick up our daughter from preschool, so we do not have to worry about her.

Pessimism

By evening, I am tired. Not just tired. Dead tired. I mean really dead. It wasn't the pain at this point -- it's pure exhaustion.

We head back to the hospital at about 8pm at night. 15 hours of labor so far. They check me.

NOPE. Still not dilated enough for admittance. I look at the nurse in pure desperation.

You are kidding, right?

The nurse and doctor tell me that I can be admitted for labor exhaustion, and they can give me some drugs so that I can sleep.

Yes, please.

They give me drugs. I sleep -- off and on. The contractions continue.

Disbelief

In the morning, a different doctor checks me. I'm STILL not far enough along to be admitted for labor and delivery. In fact, he doesn't think I'm really in labor because the contractions' severity have lessened during the night -- maybe these are Braxton Hicks contractions.

As I breathe through the next contraction, I think (since I can't talk) "Braxton Hicks my a**. You are full of sh*t. The contractions slowed down because you gave me narcotics!"

They send me home... again.

As I attempt to walk out of the hospital, the security guard (a woman) saw me and said "You are leaving again? You shouldn't be leaving! You are having a baby!"

Unfortunately, I was unable to talk, so I couldn't even agree with her.

We were home less than an hour before my husband decided that heading home was a bad idea. Back to the hospital.

Relief

This time they were not going to send us home. Braxton Hicks my a**. They give us a labor and delivery room. I requested an epidural ASAP. After 30 (or so) hours of labor, I was done with this sh*t. I finally got my epidural in the afternoon. Yay! But, baby boy was still not ready to arrive.

No more.

The latest doctor to arrive (I think I had seen three different ones at this point) recommended a little Pitocin to "kick it up a notch" and get this baby here. Well, I did that with baby #1, and really did not want to repeat the experience. If the baby is doing OK, we'll just wait until he's ready to get here! No Pitocin for me.

Welcome!

I finally arrived at the third stage of labor around 9:30pm at night. I was so ready for my little boy to arrive that the nurses had to tell me to *stop pushing* between contractions. After 41 hours of labor, I had 30 minutes of pushing.

My little guy arrived happy and healthy. On his own good time.






Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24th round up: Found rotties, zombie brides, and deep fried butter!

Here's some stuff I found in the last week (or so... I'm a little late!) and thought was cool or though-provoking.
Note:  This contains some politically-oriented stuff, and my point of view.  While well thought-out comments of any point of view welcome -- as I am quite open-minded -- trolls will be summarily deleted. 
Happiness and compassion

  • “If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” -Ajahn Chah -- Tinybuddha.com has some great ideas on letting go.
  • Blogger Life with 5 dogs tells the story how she helped track down a lost Rottweiler who was gone for 14 days!  Beautiful story!  And dear to my heart because we have a Rottie mix!
  • 7 lessons you learn when it's too late -- from blogger Balance in me.  Good stuff! My faves are, "It is never too early to start living a healthier lifestyle." and "Don’t take for granted what you have."
Stuff that gets me riled up

  • So who is the middle-aged woman who stopped to stroke the cat.... before cruelly dumping kitty in the litter? -- You'll have to watch the video.  A woman who looks like your average sweet lady walks down a sidewalk, sees a cute cat on the brick wall, pets it, then drops it into a trash bin.  WHAT?  Random acts of cruelty?  I don't get it.
  • Can Same-Sex Marriage Save Straight Marriage from Itself? Last week, blogger Jeremy Adam Smith from Daddy Dialectic published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle about the Proposition 8 ruling. However, he also published the "full-length" version on his blog.  Well worth the read.
  • This is video of a protest at "Ground Zero" against the Islamic Center.  An African American with a skull cap walks through the crowd, and is accosted by some of the protesters.  His response? "All y'all dumb motherf***ers don't even know my opinion on shit."  My thought?  Prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Source: Oxford Dictionary.




Geekery

The sad thing is... I've done this. From Twaggies.com.


Fellow blogger, What would Jen do, is a zombie lover -- as am I.  Guess what her loving husband got her?  It's so awesome, you'll never guess.  Just scroll down.

True love!



Because I can't resist

Simon Tofield's animated cartoons about his cat.  Or maybe MY cat.





Blogger Mommypants shows us that, yes Virginia, deep fried butter does exist. Ewwww...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grace in small things (6): Stratford, day camp, and fairies

What is Grace in Small Things?

Grace in Small Things (GIST) as a reminder to take notice of the positive things we tend to overlook.  Grace in Small Things exists because we are choosing not to allow the noisiness of life to rob us of the time and energy to be mindful of ourselves and those we love and to recognize the grace that exists in small things.

61. Ladies-only weekend -- I got to spend the whole weekend with my mom, sister-in-law and best friend enjoying plays in Stratford, Ontario.

62. School project plants -- In the spring, my daughter came home with a cup with a small plant in it.  After several transplants to larger pots (and a move to my mother's house which has more room), this plant is now four feet tall and bearing some tomatoes that should be ripe soon!

63. Fairies -- One of the plays I saw in Stratford was Peter Pan.  Amazing.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I heard a small girl's voice urgently yell from the audience "I believe in fairies!" to save Tinkerbell -- even before Peter finished his request!

64. Store pets -- While roaming the tourist shops of Stratford, we ran into the welcoming retail pets.  One cute little dog barked at passers by.  The owner explained that the dog assumed everyone who walked by must come in his store!  Just walking by was unacceptable!

65. Ariel in The Tempest -- Christopher Plummer was amazing in The Tempest -- a commanding performance.  But Ariel, played by Julyana Soelistyo, nearly stole the show.  Imagine a woman barely 4' 10" mesmerizing the audience every time she entered the stage. Wow.

66. Tea time -- We stopped in a town called Shakespeare, Ontario and had tea at Harry Ten Shilling.  Awesome tea.  Great atmosphere. 

67. Camp T-shirt signatures -- Remember getting your shirt signed at the end of the camp by everyone? My daughter has been collecting signatures.

68. Dad-and-kids vacation -- While I ventured to Stratford, super-dad took the kids to Great Wolf Lodge for a weekend of swimming and game playing.  What an awesome dad is that?

69. Loonies and Toonies -- I'm referring to the Canadian coins.  Come one... who but Canadians will name their coins after a silly named bird.  Then, instead of just saying you have a coin worth 2 of them, come up with another silly name?  Please, Canada -- toss some more of your humor southward!

70. Tributes to equine friends -- After a horse died at my daughter's day camp, the kids decorated the horse's stale with pictures, flowers, notes and other tributes. Kids are really amazing sometimes.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friday fill-ins: Reality Bites and Stratford

1. “It’s all just . . . a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes . . . so, I take pleasure in the details, you know, a quarter pounder with cheese (those are good), the sky about ten minutes before it rains, the moment when your laughter becomes a cackle . . . and I sit back, and I smoke my Camel Straights, and I ride my own mount . . . ” —Reality Bites. “Troy Dyer” played by Ethan Hawke.

2. "So glad you" are the three words that started off the last email I sent.  Ok.  That was after the "Hello" part...

3. What I'm most looking forward to today is going to Stratford, Ontario.

4. My husband's corny jokes puts a smile on my face.

5. Where in the world No! Not again! You can't make me say Carmen Sandiego!  Ack!  It's already said.  I have failed.

6. A clean car is just what I needed!  Thanks hubby!  The minivan is ready to get us to Stratford!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner and play in Stratford, tomorrow my plans include being cultural in Stratford and Sunday, I want to drive home!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A sad day down on the farm -- UPDATE

My daughter called me over after I got home yesterday, and said she had some news to share with me. She often shares news about her day at day camp "down on the farm," so I was ready for another tale about swimming or crawfish or crafts.  Not this time.

A horse had died at the farm.

She said all the counselors had gathered in the horse stale and made up a straw bed for the horse -- one of the older horses on the farm -- and the vet had come in the morning.  The kids had all gathered around.  Many kids cried.

My daughter said she went and hid out with a friend in a play structure and cried -- for a long time.

She seemed very calm as she explained this all to me, and I asked if she was OK.  She said she was. I gave her a big hug, and told her it was OK to be sad.

Such a big thing to handle.

Update

I spoke to the owner/manager of the farm, and she told me what happened.

Susie, a 32-year-old horse, was having trouble walking in the morning, and the horse staff noticed her belly looked bloated.  They called in the vet, and he diagnosed a distended colon, and said there was nothing that could be done but ease her pain. As the horse continued to weaken, many farm kids, especially the girls who call themselves the "horse girls" (including my daughter), lined up to say goodbye to their beloved Susie.  After the last kid patted her on the head, she collapsed, and the vet euthanized her. 

The kids selected a burial location at the back of the farm. Today, the kids had an informal funeral for Susie, including a bag pipe rendition of Amazing Grace by one of the counselors, and a cement tile inscribed with "Susie" placed on the spot.  It was made by one of the kids last night.  Her stale is now decorated with pictures, flowers, and other tributes.

I'm starting to think that kids can grieve better than some adults.

My daughter's "first haircut"

This is in response to Mama Kat's prompt... "This one time I was sleeping and..."

What did you DO????

This one time I was sleeping and I was awoken to my husband yelling out "What did you DO???"

I thought he was talking to me until I looked down at the end of our bed. There I saw my adorable 20 month old daughter, smiling back at us... with a pair of scissors in hand.

And a pile of hair on our bed.

Gah!

Is that HER hair?

When did she learn to use scissors?

And how did she get them out of a drawer above her head???

Is there blood?

What me worry?

I don't think I've ever awoken so quickly. I leaped from my bed, and grabbed the pair of scissors, but it was already too late. The damage was done. No blood, but a large chunk of hair was now missing from the side of her head.

My husband was angry. I was upset. She gave us this look:

Did I do something wrong?
I tried to I calmed down. We can fix this, right? Just trim it up, and she'll be fine. Right??? I took her to my hairstylist that afternoon. She gave me the bad news: the damage is done. I could do my best to hide the hack job with barrettes and headbands, but no trim would fix it.

I wept in front of my hair stylist. Who knew I was so attached to my daughter's hair?

See all those wispy hairs?  Ya, not natural. That's a hack job.

Mama's Losin' It

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's in a (sur)name?

I heard a short discussion on NPR about women's decisions to take or not take their husband's surname when they got married.  And this got me thinking about my own decision.

I personally do not think there is a right answer here. There are so many factors that go into this decision, that whatever a woman decides if fine. I think that age, career status, and cultural background all play important roles in this decision.

Ethnic alphabet soup

Pho. Yum. If that's what our names look like mixed together, I'll take it!
I like the idea of a unified family with one surname.  My geeky side likes the consistency and uniformity, and it makes it easier for filling out forms and such! But, it was also hard to give up my own last name. After all -- my maiden last name is Finnish (though people think it's Italian), and is extremely rare. Basically, anyone with that last name is in my immediate family, or no more distant than a second cousin.

At the same time, the hyphenation option is not something I was interested in. Finnish + Vietnamese surname hyphenation? No one can pronounce my maiden name. Few can pronounce my husband's name. Why would I concatenate them? Gah!

Keeping my name, but not

What to do, what to do. So... I took my maiden name as my middle name. While this meant I lost my given middle name, I figured that I know my given middle name, so that's fine if the legal world deletes it. Whenever I feel like writing out my full name including my maiden-now-middle name, I can. Otherwise, I can just go with my married name.

Meet the parents

I had figured out most of this plan before meeting my father-in-law to-be in early 1997. I admit, I was a bit nervous. Would he like me? Would he only speak in Vietnamese? Would he gasp and say "No, son!  You may not marry this white girl!"

Fortunately, he was very kind.

However, the first question he asked me was "Are you going to take his name?"

"Yes" I replied.

It was the right answer. It's good to start off on the right foot with your in-laws.
 
Did you take your husband's name?  What lead to your decision?

To-the-TOP Tuesday

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grace in small things: Edition 5

What is Grace in Small Things?

Grace in Small Things as a reminder to take notice of the positive things we tend to overlook.  Grace in Small Things exists because we are choosing not to allow the noisiness of life to rob us of the time and energy to be mindful of ourselves and those we love and to recognize the grace that exists in small things.

51. The Tooth Fairy -- My daughter finally lost one of her front teeth.  She was so excited about the tooth fairy coming (and the cash that follows)!  I think she was counting the cash in her mind as she held that little ivory nugget in her hand. The thought of cold cash seemed to help -- this tooth was a bit more of a bloody affair than the last 3, but she didn't seem to mind!

52. Returning home after a business trip -- I only had a short business trip this week (2 days), but coming home still felt so good!

53. Loaning a book to a friend -- A neighbor who is also in my book club needed our month's book. I dropped off on her porch Friday night. Why does loaning a book feel good?  :)

54. Swimming underwater -- my daughter mastered swimming underwater for the first time this week at swim lessons.  She was so excited!  She had to show us again and again afterwards.  Do you remember the first time you could swim underwater?

55. Vigilant lifeguards -- I was interrupted from my book reading by a whistle and splash of a lifeguard during our kids' swim lessons.  Everyone watched as he "saved"... a CPR doll.  It was either left in the pool by an instructor, or had falling in from the side of the pool.  The lifeguard was a bit embarrassed that he went into full lifesaving mode over a doll, but I was happy to see the the lifeguards were "on the ready" at our town rec pool.

56. Sidewalk sales -- During my business trip, I walked around Holland, Michigan on Thursday evening.  There were sidewalk sales throughout the downtown area.  Nothing beats a sidewalk sale deal!

57. Shopping for school supplies -- I had my daughter review and plan out our shopping trip with the list provided from the school.  She really liked finding all the items on the list!

58. Folded pigeon yoga pose -- When my new yoga instructor explained this, I was thinking "Ya, right!" but, after I got into the pose it really felt GOOD.  The next downward dog pose felt even better than the last!



59. A Granny and Poppa visit -- I invited my mom and dad over for dinner Sunday.  Grandkids + grandparents = happy evening. 

60. 13th Wedding Anniversaries!  Yes, my hubby and I tied the knot 13 years ago as of Monday, August 9th.  Yay, Us!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Fill-ins: Ani Difranco, heading home, and sleep

And...here we go!
1.Some lyrics from Fuel -- a song by Ani Difranco

people used to make records
as in a record of an event
the event of people
playing music in a room
now everything is cross-marketing
it's about sunglasses and shoes
or guns or drugs
you choose



2. Falling back asleep is what I like first thing in the morning. I'm not a morning person. At all!

3. The first thing I said this morning was: iced tea. I'm at a hotel (business trip), and that's what I had with my breakfast.

4. If I'm a betting girl (and I'm not): Take Out; it's what's for dinner tonight. Take out seems to be our Friday night tradition when we are babysitting our friends' kids.

5. It's all been great here on the west side of Michigan. Had a splendid time walking downtown Holland last night (sidewalk sales and street entertainers were out!), but I wanna go home to my hubby and kids.

6. Napping is what I feel like doing right now.  But, then again -- I always feel like napping!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to driving home from Holland (Michigan), tomorrow my plans include Swim lessons with the kids and Sunday, I want to sleep in!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 13th week round up

Here's some stuff I found this week and thought was cool or though-provoking.
Note:  This contains some politically-oriented stuff, and my point of view.  While well thought-out comments of any point of view welcome -- as I am quite open-minded -- trolls will be summarily deleted. 
Happiness and compassion

7 More Reasons People Love dogs from Life with 5 dogs.  My favorites:
  • A dog will make a fool of himself simply for the joy of seeing you laugh.
  • A dog is content to get up on your bed just to warm your feet. And you can put him on the floor when he snores.
  • A dog never criticizes your job, and he doesn’t care if you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, young or old. He behaves as if every word you say is brilliant, and he loves you unconditionally - perpetually.
 The day he kicked me out of the house -- Booyah's Momma gets kicked out of the house.  But -- don't worry.  It's all good.  :)

Stuff that gets me riled up

Ten-year-old from my hometown falls off playground equipment and has to get stitches. Do you think grandma chalks it up to this young boy being rambunctious? Nope. Clearly the playground is unsafe.  Even though she says her grandson wants to grow up to be a stuntman!
Why Working Mothers Fall Behind -- I'll just quote from the article rather than grumble...
"New data shows that, despite feminists' best efforts, women have still failed to reach equality in the job market -- to an extent. While women without children are holding their own against men, those who have children continue to fall behind."
Daddy talks about boobs.  Tee hee.  No, really.  He's got some great things to say about the breastfeeding wars!

Geekery

Cylon Moose! 


Video of a massive storm approaching a beach in Finland

You really have to watch this storm roll in.





Because I can't resist

Metro-sexual Monkey
from fellow blogger Live and Love ... out Loud!



Do you want to see my pussy? 


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mrs. Matsunaga and the art project

This is in response to Mama Kat's prompt "The craziest reason I ever got in trouble as a child."

Godzilla vs. Ms. Know-it-all

I have always been a rule follower. And a nerd. Give me the parameters, and I will give you a product that meets those requirements.

I do not get in trouble. At all. Well... I annoyed my mom from time to time growing up (sorry, mom).

But, in the presence of most adults -- especially teachers -- I was the good girl. The good student. The teacher's pet.

Until my second grade teacher: Mrs. Matsunaga.

Evil incarnated in a five-foot Japanese woman.

She made me very anxious. I was afraid of her.

I remember being afraid to ask to go to the bathroom, and having a few accidents. But I couldn't tell her that I had an accident, either.

She did not like know-it-all little girls who caught her mistakes and wanted to read ahead in the textbook.

She did not like me.

The art project

One day, we had finished some kind of project that had to dry at the back of the classroom. Mrs. Matsunaga then handed the projects back to the students by calling out the name written on the back of the project. She finished, but I did not have my project back. There were still several projects on the back table. She announced, "If you did not get your project back, you did not put your name on it. You will be marked down. Come and claim your project."

Did I not explain that I was a rule follower? My name was on my project. I was just *sure* of it. I went back to the table, quickly found my project, turned it over, and there -- as clear as day -- was my name. "But, Mrs. Matsunaga! My name IS on my project. SEE?"

What followed this initial statement I don't remember clearly, but apparently it involved yelling, crying and me still getting marked down and being in trouble. I was embarrassed in front of my friends. She berated me.



The letter home

At the end of the day, she called me to her desk, and handed me a sealed envelope. "Give this to your parents." Ack! A letter home!!! That is the WORST!

I took the Letter of Shame home. My mother asked what happened, and I told her the whole story. I thought I would be in trouble, but I wasn't. (Have I mentioned my mom is cool?)

I never asked my mom what was in the letter until many years later. When I did, she laughed and said it was something about how I was obstinate and didn't listen well to my elders. (Have I mentioned I'm stubborn?)




The report card

By the way, I still got all A's that marking period, but I did get a "3" (instead of a 1) for "Follows Directions Well" (or something like that) on my report card. Ugh. That hurt.

Mama's Losin' It

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