Friday, February 15, 2002

school vacation week is coming.... Harry Potter.

Geoff is better. Thanks for all those emails checking in. I kept him home yesterday, hence the lack of an entry. It is very hard to sit here and type with him climbing up the back of the chair to sit on the counter next to me to test whether or not I know what things start with.

Start with what letter that is...

"What do Snorlax start with?" he queries.

And then I have to answer "S" and he tells me I'm right.

"What do Snorlax END with, mommy?"

"Um, X."

"Yes. Very good. Now. What Do Zaboomafoo start with?"

And this goes on for hours. I am very very glad he has begun to show an interest in letters and words, but sometimes I need to just not be asked what pokemon or PBS character starts with and ends with what letter. I'd like for him to read them on his own. He's starting to do that... but not quite on his own. And he enjoys the game.

He had a wonderful day yesterday. He had thrown up like crazy on Wednesday night, so we decided to keep him home just in case. He was very happy to be with me, and it is making me feel as if I should go ahead and withdraw him from school for at least one day a week. Doug told me to keep him in, just in case I get a call and an interview and a job. It's easier to keep him in a routine he's used to rather than pull him out, get him used to something else, and then shove him back into it.

He's doing really well in school this past week, except he and the other 10 boys in his age group like to compare penises in the bathroom and talk about their butts. They all think that's pretty damn funny.

Well. Butts ARE funny. 'Tis sad but true. But one of the boys might go home and say someone touched him inappropriately and then a parent might get upset... the way things are these days. The innocence I remember about learning about bodies when little isn't so innocent in some eyes. So his teacher is working on stoping that behavior without making them feel like they are doing something dirty or wrong. Hard balance.

We painted yesterday. We cleaned. We watched PBS and Kids WB. We played the phonics CD that Doug got for Geoff for his birthday. Reader Rabbit -- fun stuff. He can play for hours.

So when I told him he was going to school today he flipped. Yeah. Staying home with me is a ton of fun. Sorry honey. Except today I have mopping, dishes, and laundry to do. I blew all that off yesterday to pamper you. Go to school, play, learn, make things... and have a good time. It's better than helping me sort underwear.

Doug got home from work yesterday, and it being Valentines Day brought nothing chocolate or floral, and received nothing chocolate or floral. Instead, he had received from his school office four passes to the local Amesbury Cinema Pub, and told me that they were showing Harry Potter at 7pm. Would I like to go with the kids and him to enjoy a Valentine's Night out? Heck yeah. So we packed up and went over.

It's been about 9 years since we've been there. The last time we went we saw "The Rock," With Ed Harris, Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage, and I was pregnant with Jessica. They allowed smoking in the theatre, which kind of surprised me, and the place was a thick heavy haze of smoke and I felt sick. Being pregnant and tolerant at the same time didn't bode well.

They've changed the smoking policy without ostracizing smokers (in my mind, smokers might think differently, but...) they have a cool little lounge at the very back of the cinema with a large glass window so you can still see the movie if you need to have a smoke during the show... Very smart. And one can barely smell the smoke. I am sensitive to the smell, so I knew people were in there, show second run movies and independent films, and the seating is pub setting with tables and they use old airplane seats and old diner corner benches with round tables. It's pretty nice. They serve beer and appetizers, and sandwiches, and pizza. All told, our night out was under 30 bucks for us all. And we got in for free with the passes. He's going to score them more often.

Harry Potter was a good movie. I'm still kind of not sure about the whole magic sense of the film. I loved the books and love sci-fi and fantasy, but... the best part was that in the end the kids had to use their wits rather than their magic to foil the traps set for them. They had to THINK hard and figure stuff out. Very smart. I think that the overall message is that magic doesn't solve all your problems, you can't just wave a wand and get your wish. Thinking, deciding, working hard... those things all matter more. I'm not the type of Christian that just wrote off these books or freaked out about them. I think that there were great moral lessons learned, real good and evil battling head to head. For instance -- Draco Malfoy... what a bad seed. And Alan Rickman's portrayal of Professor Snape (perfectly cast...) seemed to be a bad guy (more so in the book than the movie) but turns out he isn't. Very good stuff. What seems, what is... what are expectations. I enjoyed the story greatly. But I can see how some people who can't draw conclusions immediatley write this off as some sort of evil tool. It isn't. No more so than Narnia or LotR.

Geoff fell asleep towards the end of the movie. Curled up in my arms and passed out. It made all the other attendees of the film laugh.

And speaking of Alan Rickman, Doug asked who he was... I told him that he was in Dogma, and Galaxy Quest and ... Die Hard. Doug cracked up and said, "I'm not a common thief, I'm an exceptional thief!"* Aaah yes. Great line. So he knew who he was. Doug is very bad with actors and drawing the connections and knowing what people were in. He'd fail at Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon. So I try and always remember who was in what when I go to a movie because invariably he'll ask. I reminded him that he most recently saw Maggie Smith in Gosford Park, and Robbie Coltrane was in Nuns on the Run with Eric Idle, one of Doug's favorite movies. If someone was in one movie he remembers, it clicks for him. For instance, he hated Dogma, so Alan Rickman's portrayal of Metatron meant nothing to him. I loved him in that role. He was a riot.

(* I looked it up and the exact quote is: "I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite." He says that after Die Hard's wife calls him a common thief.)

I'm good at this.

Another great line from Die Hard is the one where he touts his classical education: "When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer." The benefits of a classical education."

What else is new. Oh. As of close of school today my husband, son and daughter are on school vacation week. For many this is an opportunity to go away to fun and exotic places. For us -- it will most likely not. We are facing a lack of money in the coming months with my lay off, unemployment, substitute teaching etc... I had hoped that we'd go somewhere for one overnight at a hotel or something. Then the kids can swim and have a blast.

One of the things that actually bothers me about the public education system in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is vacations. Seems like the kids always are on vacation. A week off between Christmas and New Years... which they deserve. A week in February. A week in April...

I think that the February vacation isn't necessary, considering the kids stay in school until June 20th these days. What the hell!!!! Take back that fucking week and let my kid out on the 10th or something.

No one should be in school until the end of June.

I hate that!

The February week seems unnecessary. The April week, well, that's just completely essential. Spring. Life. Something fun to do. February -- travel is a pain in the ass. There's nothing to do in this area outdoors unless you ski, and don't get me started on skiing. So I'd much rather not have this week off. But, we get it. So to do something is essential. We shall see what finally ends up as the thing we do.

Well I'm on the phone with my mother in law right now and listening to her tales of woe... meningitis, spinal taps, everyone in Beaver Valley is dying of all sorts of illness so we shouldn't come.


Alright I'm going to go. I have some resumes to send. More later.

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