Monday, February 18, 2013
I did my homework in my bedroom. Always. Never in the pubic areas of the house. Except, of course, reading, which I did everywhere, except at the dinner table. I worked hard, starting in elementary school, to have NO homework to take home, but that effort largely failed by eighth grade. We had papers to research and write (on typewriters). We had pages and pages of math to complete. We had many chapters to read and answer questions in history, science, and whatever.
Back to my homework space. I had, in elementary and junior high, an interesting set-up. It was a corner set, with the desk in the corner, with a huge work surface, the clothing drawers to the right of the desk, along the wall, and some storage drawers on the left of the desk, along the wall. The desk and drawers were made of some lightweight colored wood, and those drawers held nearly all of my belongings, except for the hanging clothes and my piano, and my bed. Really cool. Anyway, I faced the corner as I worked. That was not terribly comfortable for me. It brought back visions of being stuck in the corner for transgressions. However, I had my small fish tank on the desk, with my guppies and neon tetras. I had a drawer under the desk for my pencils, sharpener, hole punch, stapler, etc.
Later, in high school, my parents bought me an antique desk. It did not have a huge surface, but it was very pretty, solid, and I used it until I gave it to my eldest daughter four years ago. It had a drawer that was larger than the one on my original desk. I think the real difference is that my “new” one for high school was antique, made of cherry, solid, and had some history to it. The first desk was “new”, had no real solidity to it, although I know that I made good use of it. The high school desk felt like a writer’s desk. I had a hard time opening my textbooks on it, so I positioned the desk next to my bed. The bed provided a huge surface for laying books and papers on. I still have the habit of using my bed as a huge workspace. I never did store my papers/books on the bed. It was a strictly temporary surface.
I loved doing my homework at that second desk. I was not forced to face the corner, for one. Second, I did not get distracted by my lovely fish. After the other desk left the house, I had a small table with two drawers (I still have that table) for my fish tank. Today, that table is between a reclining rocker and the fireplace in our family room. It has a table lamp on it and the TV remotes stored in the drawers. It is made of walnut, and its pieces are joined by square nails.
I used that second desk for college (last three years), and for general writing purposes and storage of office supply purposes until I purchased my cherry desk that has seven drawers. I purchased that desk at an office supply place in Pasadena, California, for $200. It was an antique and the prior owner had been an architect, or so I think, because of the writings embedded in the finish on the desk! That desk is in our library, and serves us by keeping extra office supplies, old membership cards and photos, and our collection of pens and pencils.
I have been blessed with good writing surfaces for nearly my entire life. I now have a beautiful large oak desk that more than minimally serves my needs for study, reading, writing, and general enjoyment of life. That desk overlooks the family room sofa and allows me to do work/planning while watching football games!
I am now on the hunt for a tall desk, a breakfront, or something like it, to store our gift wrapping materials. I want to see the beautiful grosgrain ribbons, instead of storing them in a cardboard box. I know this is somewhat exotic – to use a desk that used to house books on its shelves, to store ribbons. But I have priced “new” gift wrapping storage/use systems , and WOW!!! SO expensive! Shoot, I can get a great upright desk system, antique, for somewhere between $180 and $800, depending on the quality, and where I go to look for one. Walnut, cherry, oak. I do not care, well, I probably will not chose maple. It would be a lovely addition to our furniture, and serve a cool purpose: visual peek at our pretty gift wrapping ribbons. So, I am on the hunt for said piece of furniture. One more useful container!
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Aw, yes. Seventh Grade. A crushing, embarrassing, difficult year for most folks.
Even though I was fairly protected from the usual female/female nonsense of that year, I still did care what people thought. At that time, skinny girls were wearing their skirts about seven inches above their knees, whether or not they could “get away with it.” Either my mom, or I, sewed my clothes. I loved my clothes. I felt so good in them (Thanks, Mom!).
But the skirts met the middle of my knee cap! Geeze! That would not do. I was unpopular because I was sort of smart, and ran around with guys on the track team. I also, along with most of the kids that I knew, took my schoolbooks home at night to complete homework, or read for the next day’s class.
So, I got a great idea: if I could only make my clothes more “hip”, then maybe, just maybe, I would not be corned in the halls and be labeled a “narc”. So, one week, I got to school, rolled up my skirt waistband once, twice, or even three times. Each roll lifed the hem of my skirt about ¾ inch or more.
That helped a lot. That is, until the fourth day of this behavior. The vice-principle of the school beckoned me to him during a break. I went over to him, and he chastised me for my short skirt. WHAT?? Everybody else (well, some others, really), were wearing nothing but high hems. Some of those girls could not sit down unless they had some guy’s sweater to lay over their knees. Maybe that was the purpose. Hmmmm.
I was told that (1) the vice principle knew that my mother would not allow me out of the house with a skirt that short, and(2) it did not matter what other girls did, I was an EXAMPLE for everyone else, and (3) had the superior responsibility to live up to the standards of my family and community. I was given a choice: either unroll my waistband or go home and get a longer skirt on. Oh, and explain THAT to mom. NOT.
So, I unrolled my waistband and muttered (internally) about the injustice.
From these things, I learned that a little rebellion is a good thing. But for me, personally, that rebellion should be quiet, not visible to the ordinary soul, and serve a better purpose than mere popularity.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
In seventh grade, at a brand new school was built just for us,Our school was built as pods, round pods, roughly 12-sided (nearly round). Each pod had a central, round, room that was used for a variety of purposes. I never had a class in the center of any of the pods. Each pod had six or eight classrooms. Funny, I am not sure about that. Anyway, it was pretty cool. Definitely not ordinary. I liked that.
So, in math class, which was our homeroom, and with the classmates that I had been with since either first or third grade, as well as some kids from the other elementary schools, we had an important announcement. Our teacher gave up the routine permission slips for the standardized tests that were scheduled for a couple of weeks away. I took that permission slip home. At dinner, we discussed, as always, what our days had been like, and I shared the news that I had that permission slip for a parental signature. Now, my dad was a red-headed, freckle-faced guy, and a born trouble maker. He said “What would happen if we did not give the school permission to give that test to you?” My mom was shocked. Well, maybe a little bit. She had a little bit of trouble maker blood, too. Anyway, after some discussion, and my internal examination of whether or not I was willing to take that question to school, it was left up to me. My parents did non intend to have me bypass that test. That was not the point. The point was what would happen IF they did not give consent.
Anyway, the next day, with some fear in my heart, I did not hand in my permission slip. It was in my PeeChee folder for math. When our teacher asked if everyone had handed in their slips, I raised my hand and said, "No.". That, in an of itself, was unusual, as I rarely volunteered for anything at that point in my life. Our teacher gave me the floor. I asked the question, something like: “My parents are wondering what would happen if they refused to give me permission to take the standardized test.”
One would have thought that I stripped naked in the room. The room was SILENT! Our teacher paused for a long period of time, and said “I do not know.” Well, that was news! He was one of our best teachers, and he didn’t know the answer to a simple procedural question. Well, he said he would get the answer. Good man! We continued with our class, and after the lessons, we went on to the next class.
Later in the day, I noticed that my mom was on campus. I saw her walking from the square (!) office to the building that our teacher had his office. Mom was dressed in her seersucker dress. IT was blue plaid. She had sandals on, and she carried her blue leather purse. I was not anxious to know what was happening. I never was called into the office until after mom left the campus. The office called me, and I spoke with both the principle and our teacher. They said that I would take the test as scheduled, thanked me for my question, and assured me that all would be OK.
When I got home that afternoon, mom said she would tell me what happened when dad got home. She was not happy with me – only because I had actually asked the question! I was sent to my room for the remainder of the afternoon. When dad got home, I was called out to the living room. Dad smiled from ear to ear. He told me that he was proud of me, but that I should not ever do that again. Mom did NOT want to be called to the school to answer questions posed by educational authorities. Perhaps that is why I rarely asked questions, answered questions, or questioned authority while still in school. Who knows?
I took the test. I did well. All was well, of course.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
This morning I got up and made some steel cut oats. It was SO GOOD that I had seconds. I am still under my breakfast calorie allotment. What a nice way to get a "stick to the ribs" breakfast without a ton of calories.
I am going out to get some walking in. It is 29 degrees (F) here, so I will go over to the antique mall to get some walking in. Then, if that is not enough, I will go over to the big box hardware store to get the remaining steps in.
I have not met my walking goal over the last two days. I need to make up for that!
Friday, February 15, 2013
I have the luxury of working from home today. I did my billing (I have to bill for my work for the two agencies so that the county can be reimbursed from the Federal Government). I fixed a nice lunch (Grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup).
I am working on the permanent custody hearing. I am up against four other attorneys. The fifth attorney, who represents the best interests of the kids, will support my side. The kids (3) have been in the custody of children services for two years. No visits from parents in the last 12 months. No child support paid. No success with the reunification plan.
I have 25 exhibits, only four of which will need to be entered as evidence. One exhibit is 247 pages long (will not go into evidence). The trial is next Friday, and is set for all day.
Today I am pouring through the 247 pages. They are the printout of all the agency contacts with the parents, foster parents, social service agencies, drug counselors, etc. I have the caseworker's testimony all done (done three weeks ago), but I need to make sure there are no surprises in the printout.
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