Yesterday afternoon I went to the graduation of the kids that I taught Algebra I my first year of teaching. I taught a few more of them Geometry, and tutored several others the other three years. It was amazing to me how much some of these kids had changed in 5 years, and I’m very glad I went.

One of the kids I tutored a few times (to catch him up when he missed a few days, and to prepare him for the SAT) ended up as valedictorian. Another tutoring student was outgoing SGA president, and she gave a speech. Another tutoring student was the class president, and she gave the opening speech welcoming us all to the graduation and talking about lots of class memories. One I’ve known since she was born got the President’s Award from the school, for being an example of what a student should be. Another I’ve known forever got the Improvement Award, for showing the most academic improvement during his four years of high school. I let out an involuntary squeal when his name was called; he said he heard me. 🙂

As I was sitting there, I realized I graduated from this same school 14 years ago. And if I go back to teaching there, Helen will graduate 15 years from now. Hard to imagine what she’ll look like when she crosses that stage, but I know that all the parents there yesterday watched their kids take tentative first steps, say first words, draw stick figures, stack blocks, and make up their own versions of bedtime stories with the same awestruck pride that I have when I watch my own kids. Time marches on.

At the reception afterwards, I introduced myself to my former students as “Elaine.” Several said, “Oh, COOL!” and several said, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to call you that, Mrs. P.” I hope that they can.

I’m proud of them all, and it’s neat to think that I had some small part in getting them across that stage yesterday.


When Broadcast News came out, I was a young teenager and impressionable. I remember my dad renting it, and leaving the room at critical moments so he wouldn’t be embarrassed to watch certain scenes while I was there. It was an understood arrangement we had — if things got a little sensitive, I’d leave until the topic changed and it was safe for me to be in the room again.

I don’t remember the plot of the movie at all. I do remember that Holly Hunter was in it, and I remember one scene in particular, when she’s in a formal gown, clutching the walls or countertops or a desk or something, hyperventilating. And saying, “Over a GUY.” The context was that she knew she shouldn’t be making such a big deal about a MAN.

Every time after that when I’d find myself getting too worked up over a man, I’d think of that scene. And now, when I see friends and acquaintances getting too worked up over men, I think about it. And in several instances, it gave me the strength to leave situations that were bad for me. NO man is worth the stress that some women put themselves through — especially in the courting stage. If a man treats you like shit when you’re just dating, God forbid you should ever marry the jackass. Men are on their best behavior (as are women) when a relationship is young.

I’m not saying this because of anything going on in my own life, mind you. Jerry and I are doing very well, laughing a lot, talking a lot, and enjoying each other’s company.

But I have some friends that are backbiting and doing and saying horrible things to and about each other over a man. And he’s not stopping this, which makes me realize that this guy must truly be a piece of work — he’s enjoying the ego-stroking, obviously. And even without knowing the guy, I think I can say that with probably close to 100% accuracy. Men like — and are (in general) aroused by — catfights. Especially when the MAN is what the catfight is about. Who *wouldn’t* like to be fought over?

I doubt they’ll read this, and if they do, they probably won’t see themselves anyway. But NO man is worth destroying friendships (even very tenuous friendships) with women. Women are the ones you fall back on when your life starts to fall apart; women are the ones who will love you even when you make bad decisions; women are the ones who will go cry with you over a margarita.

Over a GUY?! Ladies, ladies, ladies. SO not worth it. Find men who will be nice to you. They’re out there; I swear it. It’s not worth the emotional abuse to hang on to someone who drives you to be so mean to other people. Is it this GUY that you like? or is just that you want to WIN?


Alice HATES getting her diaper changed. HATES it. Even in the hospital, at one day old, she’d fight it and scream her guts out. If Helen is asleep, I go to the other end of the house to change Alice’s diaper; it’s that loud.

Well, since Alice has become mobile, she’ll thrash around, swing her leg over, and try to crawl away. This isn’t a big problem if she’s just wet, but… well, you get the picture.

Jerry and I have been expressing frustration with Alice’s refusal to cooperate during diaper changes lately. Typically, I’ll hold up one leg with one hand and clean her up with the other hand. This leaves one leg free for her to swing and thrash around with. My hands are not big enough to hold both of her ankles, so I don’t do that. I think Jerry just holds one ankle, too.

Well, I tried a new trick this morning. Rather than hold her left ankle with my right hand (leaving her right leg free), I reached across her and held her RIGHT ankle with my right hand. HA! She tried to swing her left leg across and hit my arm! BWAAAAHAHAHAHA! Poor Alice was trapped in a situation where she couldn’t escape a diaper change until I was FINISHED.

I’m so smug; I’ve outsmarted a 10-month-old.

Enforced Cleanup

Lately I’ve been frittering my free time. Not ALL of it, but more than I should be. There are piles of crap in my new room upstairs that I’m not quite sure what to do with, so I just haven’t been doing anything. As a result, the piles aren’t getting smaller or dealt with or put away. Which means that my new space is no better than my old space — I STILL have a path to the usual places, and I still have piles of junk all over the room.

This morning my friend Claire called, wanting to use my die-cutting machine to cut out letters for a scrapbook she’s doing. There wasn’t a path TO the die-cutter, and she said she’d come by after lunchtime.

Well. Alice and I worked in there this morning, sorting through a few of the piles and making them smaller, and throwing out a lot of stuff. I’m about to go attack another pile, trashcan at the ready.

I’m thinking I need to invite a bunch of people over for a party IN THIS ROOM so that I’ll actually clean it and finish moving in.