disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Historian

I'm the family historian, able to have tracked a few threads of our lineage back to the 1300s. But I kind of suck at knowing anything about anyone recently, these mysteries just fuel my passion for my dorky awesome genealogy hobby.

I have many mysteries that plague me. My parental grandpa, who passed in 1996, remains a mystery. He lived an hour's drive away, but I know little to nothing about him. I remember his Scots-Irish meets Exxes-Cockney drunken accent, and that's it. I have no clue what he looked like, no memory, and no one has a single photo or memory of his appearance.

I have a half-brother, who the entire family minus myself and my parents, haven't a clue about. Imagine, not knowing you had another cousin or grandson! And yet he grew up IN THE SAME TOWN as the vast majority of his half-family!

Then there my great grandma on my maternal side. A lot is known of her adult life; she was an eccentric (and certifiably insane) woman of high standing, lest you forget it. Her origins are clouded; there is another family we're somehow related to (let's call them the B family), and a photo of someone looking an awful lot like great-grandma, cradling her child, but the photo lists an entirely foreign name, with the surname B. From what I can surmise, she was born this long forgotten B name, to a batty mother and more normal father. Both parents re-married and she and her brother were separated. She was then raised by her grandma who married many times and changed her grand-daughters entire name.

No one alive today knows of great-grandma's young life or family history, she kept mum on that. But her one and only son had a photo album which he held in secret, and gave to my mom as he was on his death bed. The album looks circa 1910(?) in Sacramento and lacks any names or information; it's a gorgeous album full of questions and no answers; but it looks to be (and syncs up time-wise) to be of great-grandma as a small child, and her family.

I want to share it because I love old photos- I could look at old photos of my town or family all day and still be fascinated. I hope to capture your fascination too. I think just looking at photos that could be over a century old is an honor, to hold them in my hand feels special. And all I can do is wonder...I wish these photos could talk as they speak volumes, in a language too quiet for even a whisper. I think they show a fascinating life.  (apologies for any shoddy images; they are a century old and I did my best not to touch them as your hand;s oils are damaging....even the air is!)

I've contacted Sacramento Police to see if they want copies of these images or can identify these men in their force. No reply, even though there is a website chock full of Sacto Police History. I've tried to i.d. these men based on their photos but cannot.

Women in pants? In 1910-ish? Blasphemy! This makes them cool women in my book...want to know the story behind these photos.

Can't find a Harriet or Anna in any lineage, even adopted, married-into, etc.

More cool police photos...look at that old car!

This makes me laugh, at the avant-garde mooning they were giving. Again..I want to know the story!
Of course, no clue who these folks are but it is just a set of photos that seems to say a lot, I just can't hear it.
Who is the African-American boy? Why have a photo of him from back then....with such racism, why would you take a photo of him and keep it? Is the dog significant?

I just like this from an artistic point of view.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Thomas Incident

My husband and I have wanderlust- hence my blog name. We cannot stay home for more than a day without going stir crazy, so we are always driving "down the hill" into civilization to wander around.

So today we went down for breakfast and then over to Bass Pro Shops so my son could see "ish", their tank full of fish.

nooo! My train is swimming
with the fishes
See the blue dot? It's Thomas, being stalked by
a catfish
Oh boy did we get a fish experience. Next to the tank is a little stream stocked with catfish and....a train. Yes, a train, my son's eagerly reluctant addition. See, he likes to throw things into the bath tub at bath time, so the stream enticed him and plonk! In went Thomas. Out of reach. A monumental level tantrum ensued.

Hubby had to go to the fishing department and ask if be could get a net and fish out a train. I stood by the creek, glaring at the catfish in case they were dumb enough to eat Thomas. A kind employee came over with a huge net and diligently worked on Thomas. He almost didn't make it out, as fishing nets are designed for fish and not toy trains. Out came a stinky slimy train , which I doused in purell multiple times. Hubby was ingenious and wiped up the puddle left from the extrication using a super absorbent diaper.

My son was reunited with Thomas and all was better with the world. I got multiple kisses of
fishing out Thomas
appreciation and he kept giving this look to Thomas that said, "oh Thomas, I will never leave you again".

And such is motherhood...urban train fishing.  

Does it make me a bad mom, in that I was laughing and taking photos the whole time?

come join us at

Monday, April 8, 2013

Uncharted Territory, A Rebel with a Cause

I am a struggling educator, and I’m not talking financially but sort of…spiritually and philosophically. Like many great people before me- John Taylor Gatto and his “I Quit,  I Think” letter (http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/prologue2.htm)  and recently,  Gerald Conti (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/06/teachers-resignation-letter-my-profession-no-longer-exists/) quit.  I think.

 I have a long two months ahead of me, waking before dawn to go to a job I hate.  As the work week rolls around, I honest-to-God go through a day of true depression and utter dread at what I must face. Teach, manage, and control children in ways I hate. See their joy diminish, their hatred for learning bloom, see their future crumble, and their creativity and imagination- well, I don’t even see that anymore. See that I can do little to nothing to help them, inspire them. I try, but I cannot make the difference I want. I hate it.

Standardized testing is coming up, so we are in full test-prep crazy mode, and have a plethora of staff meetings and memos regarding all the policies- cover your clocks, they could cheat off that, cover your walls, separate desks, no bathroom breaks, all social media will be patrolled by newly hired goons (my term) scouring the net for cheating or even mention of the test. Forget to remove a poster, let a child talk, mumble “whew what a test” to a co-worker, or not catch a child Facebooking “that test blew” and like an episode of 24, ninjas with lasers will triangulate your location and the school and YOU the teacher will be in deep you know what. Don’t let that happen, staff.

I’m tired of “managing human capital” as the Common Core Standards propose. I’m tired of A,B,C,D answers and no critical thinking. I’m saddened that great literature is being tossed aside by big wig idiots with power and title, dictating what I MUST do in my classroom when they have never even met a single one of my students. They don’t know these children’s needs or desires, their burdens and passions. All everyone sees is a top down, prescriptive formula and some dollar signs at the sake of our children, our future.

And I’m done. I can barely wait for school to let out, and yet I’m terrified, as I don’t know what else to do with my life. I simply know  I cannot tell another child “no”, “because you’re tested on it” “because I have to”.  I don’t know what to do, but what I’m forced to do isn’t working.

I can no longer be part of the problem and I don't know how to be part of the solution so I will just quietly exit when no one else is looking. And, trust me, it is not the easy way out.
Wish me luck as I leave everything  I love and hate behind, as I embark in uncharted territory, a grown woman restarting her life and reclaiming her philosophy. Too bad the journey alone won't pay the bills but it will set me free.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Little Less Conversation

(Disclaimer, yes I have blogged about this topic before...)

My son has a speech delay. This week, he is going to Early Steps or Start or something....an Early intervention program for his speech intake assessment, and to do the initial paperwork for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan); a legally binding document listing interventions and goals for special needs children.

Whoa. Put on the brakes! It is scary for a mother to hear "IEP" and "speech delay" even though I know they are needed. I have known he needs intervention for about a year now; it takes that long to get assistance, sadly. Therefore, I am proactive, but still, just to hear those terms is, frankly, kind of frightening. Everyone wants to hear their child is 100% perfect. 100% normal...whatever that means...but we all have our own challenges and battles. I just have to come to accept his challenge.

I think, thank God I am finally getting him some help! And I think, oh the adventure, the emotions, the frustrations have barely begun.

I have attended two of the group speech classes and spoke to the age 3-5 SLP (Speech and Language Pathologist) since the one my son will see- the under 3 SLP had left early. The SLP asked if my son can say the p sound (nope) and heard him say "Daisy" (our dog) and commented how it sounds more like "say-see". She tried to get him to say certain sounds and he went super silent (of course he got super babbly, although in gibberish, after we left). She sad to practice sounds with him and I realized as I got home....how the **** do I have him practice sounds he can't make? She said to also have him speak to get things- so if he is hungry he must say "eat" or "hungry" to get food. This results in an immediate meltdown where he cries so much he hyperventilates, so I give him his snack before he starves or can't breathe or whatever.

I fear so many "he can't" "How can we...." "what if....." moments and struggles. It seems he is "stuck" at 12 months, able to say a handful of words, barely intelligible, and that is it.

It gets frustrating to have a child with a speech delay. There. I said it and now I feel wracked with guilt. I love my son more than even I can comprehend, but let me explain a case n point from yesterday.

We are in the car and he starts crying. He mumbles eh-see, whatever eh-see is. Hubby and I go through the alphabet, a-eh-see, beh-see, ceh-see, deh-see and even switch some vowels and consonants, Oh-see, ah-zee, all to no avail. Now he is thrashing and screaming, frustrated beyond belief. I hand him some cheerios and he tosses them in his cup. I hand him a fresh drink. I hand him a coloring book and a teddy bear. I rewind his in-car entertainment to his favorite part. We pull over and check his (dry) diaper. I pet his leg and tell him I love him. Still, he screams. Hubby asks him what he wants, what is wrong, but no words come out. I am stuck like I was when he was a crying newborn, guessing what is wrong.

I just want a little MORE conversation. I have friends with children born the same month as my little guy and they recount entire conversations on Facebook with their child. I feel kind of jealous. I really could not wait, from birth, to have conversations with my adorable son, to see how his mind works, to go through the "why" stage which I actually love. There are days where I just want him to tell me "I am hungry" or "give me a kiss, mommy" or even "why, mommy" and so far....nothing.

I know in speech class, he will progress. It might be exponential, hyper speed speech accumulation, or it could be a few years of baby steps. I don't know, and I know there will be frustrating moments for us both, as there already are. But with love and perseverance, one day, I hope to say "please son, you've said enough already, let's play the silent game, okay?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Country in the country

I have been listening to country music lately. Shocking, I know, but in all reality, it isn't too strange.

I have been listening to George Strait, Randy Travis and other similar artists and I am suddenly transported like a time machine back to the late 1980s, sitting in the front seat of our dirty salvaged black pickup, the dogs hanging their heads out the camper window and the crackly radio sending out twang. The sweet pine and dust breeze whipping my hair on a hot day (my father didn't believe in air conditioning); towering trees and expansive vistas peeking through the dog-slobbered windows.

Simple memories, non specific, blurring into the category of "childhood" yet important nevertheless. Country music, the truck, and nature all intertwine as a common thread in my childhood. These are not the type of memory you could take a photo of and hang on your wall. Rather, these memories are like a common thread in a tapestry; when you look at the woven image you see a specific vivid memory but it is these background memories that are the threads that bind the beautiful memory together. Without them, the image falls apart.