Tuesday, February 26, 2008
  Non- Parochial Script

When I was growing up there were two school systems where I lived. The Public School system and the Parochial School system. On the street you were either a "public" or a "catholic" As a public. living in the shadow of a heavily populated Catholic church and school, I learned to adjust. If you asked me where I lived I was likely to tell you in "St. Martin's Parish" even though I had never set foot inside the sanctuary. It was easier, and everyone knew where I meant. I also gave up somethng for lent every year, because all my friends did. I was practically an adult before I found out that was a "catholic thing" and I had ben sacrificing for naught.

There were a few marked differences between Catholics and Publics. The Catholic kids wore uniforms to school. We wore regular clothes. In the 60's that meant dresses for girls and dreess pants and sweater vests for boys. Practically a uniform itself, and not the jeansT-shirts and navel jewelry sported by today's public school attendees.

There were holidays. We, the publics had about five national holidays not including Christmas and Easter break. The Catholic kids got off for "saints days" of which there seemed to be one a week. Since the 60's the Catholic church demoted a lot of those saints, and rolled the days off up into one, much like we Publics did with President's Day.

And, there was the handwriting. Public school kids had to print in block leters until we were in about third grade. The Catholic kids, well, they learned cursive right away. And we Publics heard all the horror stories. Stories of nuns with rulers cracking knuckles of those who couldn't fill a page with perfect A's and B's. Of hours spent laboring over upper and lower cases. But oh, the handwriting. A thing of beauty. I did not know one Catholic pupil, male or female, who did not learn how to produce the written word as a thing of beauty. As an adult I worked with a man who had attended Catholic school. His handwriting was a sight to behold. Always perfect. Part of his job was to enter numbers in small boxes on a large spreadsheet. In the days before computers, it was done by hand. It required a copy, and everyone else used carbon paper. Not Bob. He made two seperate original copies every week. There was never an erasure or a smudge on either one. There was no difference between the "original" and the "copy."

In contrast. my public school taught penmanship is deplorable. Mine was even sub -par by Public standards. It was often the grade that kept me from straight A's on my report card, although occaisionally a teacher felt my pain and gave me a pity "A". My handwriting, to this day, dependant upon writing implement and writing surface can vary anywhere from barely legible to chicken scratch. Had I been a male it would probably not mattter in the least but being female I was expected to have some degree of control over the written alphabet.

Knowing all of this you might think I would take care when putting pen to paper. Were that the case I would not have been wandering grocery aisles while on the phone with Sarcas-sis, trying to figure out the last item on a grocery list that I had written. It looked like "Wash slaw". I gave up and went home without the item, only to realize when I was making my favorite chili recipe the next day that I had no Worcestershire Sauce.

I seem to operate under the mis-conception that if I write it I will of course know what it says, Even when I use short hand. This is why when I was in a car with Sarcasmo Jr. this weekend as we shopped for things she needed for her new apartment I was saying' Okay, we got he mattress, the tea kettle and the fire extinguisher, but what is this last item?" Sarcasmo Jr., took a look . Well there's an "S". and is that a "P" or an R" ? she asked. I had to admit that even though I had jotted our shopping agenda on the back of a business card only an hour earlier, I had no idea what "Swd Pipn" was. Hours later, I realized we had forgotten to pick up a Sunday paper.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

We were gathered in the living room the other night, when Sarcas-sis said "did I tell you the guitar story?" She hadn't. She nodded twards the CP who was quite comfortably situated next to me on the sofa." Not in front of him, he'll get embarassed." Seizing on a request for chocolate milk she banished the boy and his grandfather to the kitchen which gave her the opportunity to relate the tale.

Before I retell it, I remind you that Sarcas-dad and I raised three girls, no boys. My siblings were much older so I grew up as an "only" child. When the CP arrived I ferverently hoped I would know what to do with a boy. I knew Barbie, not Tonka.

So far, so good. Little boys, or a least this little boy, are awesome. I may be new to this cars and trucks and bat and ball thing, but so is he, and we are learning all about it together. When he graduated from diapers to Speed Mcqueen underwear I knew it would be a little different than my past experiences. For instance, the girls never did elephant imitations when they were done going potty. It makes me laugh, although I am pretty sure I am not suppossed to be encouraging him.

The other day, a teacher at the daycare told Sarcas-sis that the CP was taking longer than usual to go potty. She asked if he was okay and he replied in the affirmative. He still didn't come out so the teacher peaked over the door of the tot-sized stall. There as the CP, seated, and playing air guitar, Only he had a prop. If you know what I mean.

It was a prety funny story, at least as Sarcas-sis told it while the boys mixed chocolate milk in the ktchen. We had to wipe tears from our eyes as we laughed. And then she said " you can blog this if you want to". I can ? We couldn't talk about it in front of him lest we embarass him, but we can put it out on the internet? We aren't the Sacas-family for nothing. So I said "you have a blog; it's your story." But she claims to be too busy. Hmmmm. Am I being set up here?

CP, if somewhere in the near or distant future, you should find out that your beloved Mom-Mom posted the embarassing story about you sitting on the potty at daycare and playing "guitar", I want you to know.-Your Mother told me to do it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
  Gone in an Instant

Kodak has announced they are closing down the last plants that make Polaroid film. The end of another era. Or, another piece of my past that will be little more than a Hallmark Christmas ornament to the CP's generation.

Probably, if you are at least thirty-something, you have a memory that was captured on an oversized, cardboard like print that came shooting out of the front of the Polaroid Land Camera. If the photo was pre-1963, it is black and white. That's right kids. Black and white film was not artistic choice back in the day. It was the only choice.

It was "instant" photography technology. Instant has of course become a relative term. Much faster than dropping your photos off at the drugstore and picking them up a week later. Not anywhere near as quick as capturing the digital image, previewing it, uploading it, and sharing it with the world. Call me crazy but I think kids would still get a kick out of watching the image they just clicked on , appear little by little on the exposed film. Do you remember holding it by the corner and flapping it in the air so it would dry faster?

The whole time I am writing this, the Paul Simon song ,"Kodachrome", is playing in my head. Of course, Kodachrome film has nothing to do with Polaroid instant film. But it would still be a nice song for Hallmark to use if they decide to make the Polaroid Camera ornament a musical one.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008
  Year of the Mouse

Yes, yes, I know. It's the Year of the Rat this Chinese New Year. But mice are cuter. And anyway, I was referring to the rodent representation in the Super Bowl ads. Did you see? There was the Doritos Commercial and the Bridgestone Tires ad. There may have been others, but I went to bed after Tom Petty. After a holiday season where the little critters were woefully under represented, it is good to see they still have marketability. Maybe they got a new PR firm.

In Malaysia, red panties with a mouse motif are considered a lucky charm for the new year. If I can't find mouse themed cards for Christmas 2008, maybe I can pick these up cheap at an after Chinese New Year clearance sale.

Watch your mailbox.

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