Sunday, September 20, 2009

Through open doors

My horoscope for today says that I don't have to express my feelings right now, and I think that's good advice. Let me just say that I was voted off the board & a group of dedicated, level-headed people were replaced with a group that has no experience & seems to think that the board is like the PTA. I am afraid it will be a Pyrrhic victory for them, but I won't make that happen. I will pray for the school, because excellent public education for all children is what this is all about.

Right now, I am going back to doing the work I am paid to do. I'm not sure what I'll do with the thousands of hours and dollars I had been putting into the school. Maybe it's time to write. I need some alone time.

I am looking into another educational option for my son, although I'll leave him with his fine teacher until and unless there is fallout from the hateful. I always put the good of the school first when I was on the board. That doesn't mean I'll sacrifice my son.

And with this almost behind me, I am seeing lots and lots of open doors... I hope I choose well.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

On we go

OK, I didn't kill anyone last Tuesday. I was civil, & if I do say so myself, I did a fine job of explaining that being on a charter school board is not like being in the PTO. I explained that the job of the school board is not to paint imaginary school buses or help the teachers to teach or to manage the school. I also pointed out that if a parent is on the school board, they may have to put the good of the school over the good of their individual child.

Unfortunately, no one was listening. Candidate after candidate in the cabal which has decided to take over the school because of personal issues stood up and talked about how much they've volunteered in their children's classrooms, how the board should plan gatherings at the school, how their teaching experience will help them change the curriculum (which, technically, would be a violation of the charter), and how well they manage their businesses.

This same cabal which earlier accused of us being demons (don't I wish), now is accusing us of dishonesty. One spouse of a candidate went to the office and announced to the director that they aren't going to let us steal this election. I don't steal, which is a good thing. If I did steal, I'd be really good at it, and these creatures would never be the wiser.

Mind you, these are people who have never attended a board meeting, board training, or charter school conference. Until now, they haven't bothered to read minutes or check agendas. They are the masters of the irrelevant, with an unfortunate combination of ignorance and meanness.

These are people who think that they were with the school from 'the inception,' when what they mean is they walked their child to the school door on the first day of school. They were not here when the charter was written, proof-read, and re-written. They were not here when the school board made us start the whole process over because we changed our name. They were not here when we used our own money to produce and send out flyers to invite them to attend our school. They did not write the application for non-profit status or go through that extremely exact and tedious process. They were not here when we negotiated with the landlord, the school district, and individuals to get the building ready, to feed the kids, & to provide the services parents at regular public schools take for granted.
Although they were here during the first year when a well-intentioned experiment in managing by committee went down in flames, very nearly taking the school with it, they didn't learn anything from that other than that the current director is willing to take chances & stand by her decisions, even when they are unpopular. And they didn't like that.

And of course, there are excellent board members who weren't at the original meetings. Some weren't here during the first tumultuous year. That's not the point. The current board has the experience and the intelligence to know they needed to learn. It would be hoped that their replacements would be the same. And it would be hoped that there would not be an arrogantly ignorant cabal that will most likely install a board without a single carry-over member. They don't need experience. They are too smart for that.

As an INTP & a writing spider, I am constantly bewildered by human behavior. No matter how often I see it, I can't believe that a person would take a strong dislike to me when I haven't harmed them or their people. I cannot believe that people will act against their own best interest just to spite someone of whom they are irrationally jealous. I can't believe people can be irrational. I am happily surprised when people are kind when it is hard or thoughtful when it is harder. I just expect people to act in a logical way: in their best interest. Then, at least, I can figure it out.

This reminds me of another story. A frog sitting at the side of a river was approached by a scorpion.
"Please take me across the river," said the scorpion.
"Are you nuts?" said the frog. "You'll sting me and kill me."
"Don't be silly, if I do that, I'll drown too," said the scorpion reasonably.
"OK," said the INTP frog. "Hop on."
Half way across the river, the scorpion stung the frog and he was paralyzed.
"Why did you do that? Now we'll both die," croaked the frog.
The scorpion shrugged as they sank.
"It's in my nature."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Little lessons

This is my lesson for the week: not everyone is going to like you. (And by you, I mean "me.") If you stand up for what you believe in and say what you think is important to say, there will be people who don't like you for it. This is especially true of those of us who are INTP (Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving) who forget to couch things in a nice way most of the time, and when they do say things in a nice way, it sounds sort of sarcastic. Even if they (and by that I mean "I") do not mean to be sarcastic.

So now I find that something far more important than I am is dependent on my ability to: 1) not take things personally even if I'm told I'm a witch and/or I'm going to hell, 2) speak in a non-sarcastic kind way and still make my point, and 3) not threaten to have anyone knee-capped.

I am pretty sure I am at the end of my rope. I am going to have to write my murder novel soon, or else ... I don't know... maybe paint my kitchen.

Send good thoughts my way, please. And if anyone can help me turn someone into a newt...

Friday, September 11, 2009


was my second grandson's first birthday. Brendon, or "BeeBee" as his brother Gabe calls him, was not really impressed when his GrandBob and Grammy snatched him from his bed to sing "Happy Birthday" before they went to work. I understand he was more excited about the mini-cup cake he ate after his dinner.

This is Brendon with his beautiful parents one year ago today.

This is Brendon in June. Now he is walking all over the place, getting into lots of trouble with the help of his big brother, 2-yr old Gabe.

I can see the future: Gabe and Brendon, the Irish twins, fighting each other and anyone who comes between them for the next hundred or so years.

Happy Birthday BeeBee!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

It's been over a week since I've written. I haven't read the blogs I've followed nearly as much as I usually do, or as much as I'd like to.

What's up? you ask, if you haven't completely given up on me.

The first thing is Facebook Farming. I have TWO Farm Town farms and two Farmville farms. I don't spend as much time with the Farmville farms, but I've recently added rivers to both of my Farm Town farms, and the redecorating took some time. In order to afford all the crap amenities on my farms, I've been "working" for other farmers. I go to the market, tell them I give a great plow job and get hired. Who knew? It's interesting that my avatar that looks a little sultry (in an anime kind of way) gets more work from male avatars, while the motherly one gets work from older women looking avatars. Sad, pathetic, and amusing.

In real life, my son, daughter-in-love, and two grandchildren are still living with us. Life is better, though because they are really pitching in to clean & have moved from the living room to Mark's bedroom. Mark sleeps on the living room couch, but he isn't there all day.

Mark is attending and loving the multi-age inquiry-based public charter school I helped start and of which I am chairman of the board. School is great, school business is stressful. I am involved (as board chair) in a grievance hearing. I can't talk about that, which is part of the reason I haven't written. Almost anything I might write could be construed to be related.

We joined St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal church, where I have been working as a bookkeeper. Bob hooked up with both the traditional choir and the Praise choir (guitar) and it was all she wrote. Since St. Michael's is a small church, people notice if you join the church and especially the choir. It is very gratifying.

I appreciated their support (as well as the support of all my other family and friends) last week when I didn't have a heart attack. I did have chest pains that weren't horrible but didn't go away with my favorite standby Alka-seltzer. The pain radiated into my left jaw and arm. I'm embarrassed to admit that I spent the better part of the day reading WebMD & other articles about women's symptoms of heart attacks before going to the hospital. Well, not that embarrassed, since I didn't have a heart attack.

I had several EKGs and blood tests over night, then an echo cardiogram & nuclear stress test. My lung X-ray showed it wasn't pneumonia and all the other tests showed it wasn't a heart event. A cardiologist mentioned sleep apnea and I told him I was pretty sure I had that, since my husband says I snore like a drunk in a midnight choir and that sometimes I quit breathing. (Don't ask why I haven't had THAT checked out. I probably can't get past the part where I snore indelicately.) Anyway, he said the couldn't test me for that while I was in the hospital, I'd have to do it as an outpatient. Since sleep apnea isn't an emergency, the insurance company won't pay for the test even if you are already in the hospital. I sort of thought, then can we skip the nuclear stress test and let me go home? I will wish I'd said it when the bills come in. Even with fine insurance, we'll end up paying at least $1000. Granted the whole bill will probably be 5 or 10 grand.

I still have chest pains, headaches, and extreme stress. It's a little better since my kids have decided they don't want me to drop dead and have started picking up after themselves. This is comforting.

I am reading four books right now.

The Seven Outs by Brian Carpenter. It is a very practical guide to strategic planning designed for public charter schools and their particular needs. It's going to be very helpful unless it's moot & I get voted off the board next week. Oh well. Since I believe that the school is greater than the sum of its parts, I believe it will survive.

I read this book in the cardiac unit of the emergency room, so you can see it's an easy read, but still packed full of important information.

The Spectrum by Dean Ornish. Dean says he's been misunderstood and you can eat good tasting food that is good for you. And he says that not everyone needs an extreme diet, any movement toward healthy on the spectrum of eating well, exercising, and meditating helps.

I got this book after a discussion with my counselor about the food in the cardiac unit. I said, "I have always said that it is impossible to ruin green beans, but they did it." The beans were fresh (I think since there were still stems in them), and neither overcooked nor undercooked. They were just cooked. In water. No spice, not a drop of oil or butter or butter-like-substance. They tasted like the smell of newly mown grass. A nice smell, a crappy taste.

My counselor told me that Dean Ornish had come to that hospital and taught everyone how to cook with spices and herbs and still keep it healthy, even for the extreme diet needed to repair an unhealthy heart. I looked him up on the Internet and found the Spectrum website, then checked out the book from the library. I recommend the book, but my advice is that if you already know anything about health & nutrition, you may want to skim the first few chapters. But don't skip them, because there were some surprises, for me at least.

Teaching Godly Play by Jerome W. Berryman. I am helping out with the new Sunday school classes, which are Episcopalian Montessori. I'm looking forward to this. I think I'm a door keeper, which appears to mean I welcome the kids, send the parents off without hurting their feelings, and point the kids in the right direction. I won't be alone & the kids are 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.... a perfect age in my opinion. Old enough to talk and think for themselves but too young to feel they have to suggest improvements in my dress or character.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. What can I say?

Today being Labor Day, I plan to labor. I have accounting to do for two of my part-time jobs. I'd also like to get the pile of junk on my carport sorted: trash, keep, give-awy, sell. I actually pulled something out of the pile and put it to good use in the house. Maybe that was a good start.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.