So, kids are mostly raised & I've just gone back to work…

Archive for the ‘parenting’

Home-made Valentines: what a treat!

February 13, 2010 By: almostgotit Category: affirmation, children, creativity, decorating, friendship, gift ideas, gifts, holiday, holidays, parenting, valentines 4 Comments →

Last year I totally forgot to send out Christmas cards, so I made valentines for my loved ones instead.  This year, I had the pleasure of attending a “Make Victorian Valentines” fundraiser — what fun!

Making Valentines

Making Valentines

In addition to a refreshment table with coffee, hot chocolate, and lots of cookies, organizers set out lots of fun stuff to use in our valentines, much of it purchased from thrift-stores or at deep discount the year before. 

Our choices ranged from vintageladies’ handkerchiefs to doilies; from beads and sequins to bits of lace. I loved what everyone made, but secretly loved the children’s valentines the best– big, lopsided construction paper confections with childish hand writing, “I lovE you mommY”. 

Making Valentines

Victorian Valentines

I thought it was a WONDERFUL idea, and how many of us get valentines anymore, much less home-made ones, glue and real handwriting and all?

Hand-made valentines

Hand-made valentines

There’s still time.  Go get your scissors and paper and make someone you love an old-fashioned valentine, too!


Be mine

Haitian kids: people or puppies?

February 01, 2010 By: almostgotit Category: parenting 12 Comments →

Haitian children wait in a police car after a group of Americans was stopped trying to take them out of the country. Photograph: Reuters (

Haitian children wait in a police car after a group of Americans was stopped tryingto take them out of the country. Photograph: Reuters (

They’re so cute in the pictures.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sweep into their native environment,  assuring our donors that we intended to spend as little time there as possible  (because Haiti is so Ewww), and SAVE THE PUPPIES, er, the children in Haiti

And, since Haiti is just a comic book world where real laws don’t exist and where people aren’t  as complicated as they are back here in the real world, we don’t need to bother with any paperwork either.

The nice thing about working with cute little foreign children who simply need better homes  is that we can just fix that for them. 

There are a lot of children in America (particularly Idaho, I’m thinking!) who need better homes, too, but *American* children aren’t puppies, and we generally realize that it’s not our right to relocate and reassign them at will.

See, the whole “Haiti Earthquake” thing?  It’s all just a little test that God set up for us real people, so that we can earn our “Good Christian” certificate and move up to the next level.

I’m a little scared, though.  What if some nice Martian Methodists come to America next  and decide to remove all the kids here who need better healthcare, healthier food, and better parenting? 

The Almostgotits fed their kids M&M’s for lunch yesterday: we’re screwed. 

What am I missing?  And what do you think should happen now to the group of Americans now being detained for kidnapping in Haiti?

Cross-posted on

How to find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing

January 29, 2010 By: almostgotit Category: career change, employment, humor, parenting, writers, writing 5 Comments →

Dr Seuss cover



Right now: 

read it again!









Crashing into dishwashers & other odd amusements

January 28, 2010 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, humor, parenting 4 Comments →

dishwasher ride

They’re a heck of a lot of work, kids.

But how I do love peeking into their funny little brains, and fortunately mine both still let me do that via their Facebook pages. Here’s the latest:

Almostgotit’s son: has suddenly, really rather abruptly, become a huge fan of “Ticket To Ride.” Awesome song.

Almostgotit’s daughter: I try to learn something new every day. Today I learned that spinning around in circles greatly improves one’s chances of crashing headfirst into the dishwasher.

Our dog Jerry also retains certain violent feelings about dishwashers, so we clearly have some things to work out at my house.

Almost-miraculous: enough snow for a snowman in Knoxville, TN!

December 06, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: kids, parenthood, parenting 4 Comments →

Snow man

Snowman & photo by Almostgotit’s daughter

Almost the worst blogger ever

November 11, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: TITSNOB, Uncategorized, parenthood, parenting, parenting teens, volunteer, volunteering 4 Comments →

Almostgotit is going to get booted off BlogHer if she doesn’t shape up.  She understands this.

Thing is, how many posts can a person write about her kid getting hit by a car while getting off a school bus?  And how reporters and kid safety organizations suddenly want to make the Almostgotits their poster family for bus safety, and how can the Almostgotits say no when people HAVE to listen to them? 

Because, you know, OUR KID got HIT.  By a CAR.  While GETTING OFF A SCHOOL BUS.

Oh, blogging.  It’s always about obsessing over something, or promoting a book you wrote, or telling your whole boring life story which inevitably involves other people who may not want to get mentioned in your blog even if they deserve it, like the creepy Jason Mosier from Knoxville who stays up all night posting comments about children being hit by cars as they get off school busses and how natural selection should be allowed to take its course…

Not that I would ever mention that.

Anyway, my apologies to all my friends in blogdom who haven’t heard from me in a while… not so much on this blog, but on your own.  Cause I know how much it matters, Being Heard. 

Meanwhile, we’ve started woodstove season.  Pulled out the crockpot for warm, autumnal meals.  Become fascinated with stacking rock walls around new garden beds, and making hypertufa planters for next spring’s garden.  Been trying out a new volunteer gig, so long as the unemployment rate is 10.2% and still rising.  And on that subject, been clearing the air with some new ears about some old business

Had a birthday, too: 29 AGAIN!

My 13-yr-old daughter assures me that there’s a strong association between an increasing number of birthdays and longevity, though, so at least there’s that!

“U were hit by a car?! Did u die?”

October 22, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, family, feminism, feminist, inner critic, kids, motherhood, mothers, parenthood, parenting, parenting teens 12 Comments →

For me, it was mostly a blur.  For the 13 year old, it was mostly about Facebook.

What do you do when reporting to the scene of your own child’s accident?  I did it.  I barely registered these peripherals:  A firetruck.  A police car.  An ambulance. A school bus FULL of alert, chattering faces, all looking out at us.  More firemen than could possibly have fit in the truck.  A red car  which was clearly the culprit.  The dear bus driver.  The neighbors who had knocked on my door.  The sudden and miraculous appearance of a friend from across town, offering me a ride to the hospital following the ambulance. 

My daughter wanted to use my phone at the hospital to Facebook her friends about the accident, and I didn’t let her, as we needed to be  attentive and helpful  to the people who were still attending to her.  

But perhaps even more, I felt that Facebooking from the hospital  was unseemly in a way I couldn’t quite explain to myself.  Was it Inappropriate attention-seeking, when she hadn’t really been “harmed?”  (but of course she’d been harmed.  Someone HIT HER BODY.  With a CAR.) 

We came home and she immediately headed for the computer, and I heard myself telling her not to “over-communicate.”  Then I realized I was censoring her, and for no good reason. 

“Why not?” asked the wiser woman inside of me. 

Why not let her reach out to her friends, immersing herself in a reassuring buzz of  “Plz tell me what happnd!” and “I am so GLAD ur okay!”   Why not let her tell her story over and over, processing it by sharing it?  Why not allow her to redeem her own story by taking the lead in telling it?

So I changed my mind.  “Communicate AWAY!” I said.  “ALL you want to!” 

And she did.  She tapped away for a couple hours on Facebook, where the news was already spreading through Middle School Land.  Several new “friend requests”  appeared from breathless thrill seekers who wanted to be closer to the action.  Chat messages bipped like popcorn from friends and people she hardly knew. 
Was it unseemly?  I decided not.  My daughter was motoring along on her own power, getting what she needed, and learning she could at the same time.  Why did she deserve it any less just because she hadn’t actually broken any bones? 

And, as I reminded myself, there WAS hurt here.  My little girl’s trust had been violated, her PERSON had been violated in a way she didn’t expect or deserve, by someone who had physically struck her with a lethal ton of steel. She had been exposed to a bus full of her adolescent peers who had eagerly watched her for 30 minutes in the immediate aftermath of the accident, some even snapping pictures of her with their cell phones.  So why shouldn’t she re-fashion herself as a bit of a heroine?  Why shouldn’t she even have, YES, a bit of a bask in her 15 minutes of fame? (She confessed, a couple of times, to wishing she had at least a splint…)
School the day after was much more of the same for her.  Everyone was talking about the kid who had been run over… by a car? a bus?  The nurse called her out of class.  The principal called her out of class. It could have been awful, but my daughter chose not to let it be.  And how proud my daughter’s friends were to know her, getting their OWN share of attention by bearing the much-coveted details. 

On the bus home the day after, there was silence as my daughter walked down the aisle to her seat.  The bus driver stood and gave a lecture to the kids about safety, calling my daughter  ”one lucky chick” and describing how he’d almost had a heart attack watching her get hit the day before, and almost hadn’t come to work this day. 
And when her bus stop came, there was silence again as my daughter got off the bus.  She carefully crossed the street, turned, and waved.  And the entire bus burst into cheers! 

Cue the theme from “The Natural,” and Hurray for The Kid who Lived to Ride the Bus Another Day!

Child hit by car while exiting school bus. My child.

October 21, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, cell phone etiquette, cell phones, children, family, mothers, parenthood, parenting, parenting teens 12 Comments →

I am on my soapbox today, and today I am entitled.  

My daughter was hit by a car yesterday just as she was getting off the school bus.  May you never get a phone call like that at your house.

She is fine, thank God, but  I hope you will hear three things that this Mom has to say today:

(1) Drivers must yield (which means STOP!) when a school bus is also stopped.

(2) Children need to be very careful when they exit a school bus, even if the bus has employed its stop signs and flashing lights.  It’s important to keep re-enforcing these 1st grade rules, because even an 8th grader will be distracted by a bus driver’s frantically honking his horn at an oncoming driver.

(3) The degree of impairment caused by talking on a cell phone while driving, (even when using headsets) has been proven in several major studies to be the same as driving drunk.  Driving with cell phones is not yet illegal in our city as it is in more and more others, but we don’t need to wait for a law. It is VERY IMPORTANT to limit this very popular distraction. 

Thank you very much for listening. 

- Almostgotit

Almostgotit confesses, belatedly, to a murder

September 09, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, bad teachers, education, humor, parenting, poetry, schools 9 Comments →


My 8th grade daughter has a bad teacher in one of her favorite subjects.  He’s a swaggery guy, newly imported from the west coast. He uses curse words, makes stuff up about English grammar, assigns no discernable work whatsoever, and belittles both the natives and the other teachers.Some of the other parents want to do something about it. I’m disgusted by the guy but don’t want to hurt my daughter. 

I also don’t want to commit another murder. 


Long, long ago, I wrote a very dramatic and terrible letter to my own 8th grade teacher on the last day of school, and I think it made him quit.

Here’s why I think so: I saw Mr. M afterwards, walking across the campus. He looked stunned, my letter dangling from his hand as if it were a telegram telling him his entire family had just been murdered. And then he didn’t come back to teach again the next year.

Mr. M was a mousy little man who wore only brown and gray, didn’t wash much, and peered at us through John Lennon glasses balanced on the end of his long nose. But Mr. M had us studying all night and writing 40 page papers, goading us mercilessly with his dramatic favoritisms and sudden irritations. I was deeply in love some of my classmates, while vying desperately with several others for Mr. M’s arbitrary attentions.

Though it was a language arts & social studies class, Mr. M was our theatrical director, and we didn’t just read Shakespeare in that class, we lived it.  For two hours every day, he played us very skillfully.  We switched identities, fought with swords, died tragic deaths, and did lots and lots of swooning.


(I was particularly proud of that one.)

We were probably Mr. M’s entire life, but were too full of our own selves to notice. What I did notice was that he was impossible to please, and seemed only to have eyes for the same attractive people that I did.

So I killed him.

I had no idea, really, that this mop-headed, bespeckled teacher was also a real person, who could stop being a teacher and become unemployed instead. Nor was he, really, the source of my adolescent angst.


Anyhoo, what to do about my daughter’s teacher?

There’s a happy ending for Mr. M, at least. I have no idea what happened during the intervening years, but someone sent me a newspaper clipping about him many years later. It was a feature story, headed by a large color photo of my former teacher, now posing in a flamboyant Bill Cosby sweater.

Introducing the new and improved Mr. M!  He had resurfaced, and was known district-wide for his wildly polychromatic wardrobe, heavily featuring the color purple.  The clothes were meant to  go along with his penchant for dramatically unconventional teaching — get it?


Moral: Don’t mess with Almostgotit’s head, and don’t ignore her poetry. Cause if you do?

First she will kill you and then she will turn you into a gay purple circus performer.

Knox County teachers, consider yourselves warned.


Obama on schools: explain the controversy, please

September 08, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Obama, Obama on schools, education, parenting, school speech controversy 9 Comments →

Since when did “Do your best at school” become a coercive, politically-biased message?

Barack Obama, the man we legally and democratically elected to be our president, wants to support education by speaking in our schools today, as both Bill Clinton and GW Bush did before him.

“Special interest groups” are protesting Obama’s speech. For real? I’m struggling to believe it, and even wonder if the media might be making up a controversy that doesn’t exist. What’s even remotely controversial about “do your best at school?”

The president is not going to talk about health care or anything else of a political nature. He even made the text of his speech available ahead of time, so parents and educators could be assured of that.

Mr. Obama is a black man who was raised by a single mother, who nevertheless managed to be an educational success: he knows what he is talking about. Moreover, he has already proven to be an inspiration to an entire socio-economic class that desperately needs role models.

I have no patience with people who only love democracy and freedom of speech when it serves their own interests.

And I have no patience with people who are apparently so afraid of the man himself that they can’t let their children hear ANYTHING he has to say… and yet remain willing to raise those children among the dangerous electorate who chose this man as their leader.

Perhaps it’s not Barack Obama we’re afraid of at all, but rather the specter that he might actually help someone — or even a whole class of someones — succeed, when we’d rather they didn’t.