Saturday, February 25, 2006

There ought to be a law!

The kids are on their way to Grandma's house and I'm exalting in the stillness of the house. Lucky me.

A week or so ago, Judith Warner wrote a column complaining about what a drag it is doing laundry how some things haven't changed since Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique.

The gender caste system is still alive and well in most of our households. After all, no one really wants to do the scrubbing and folding and chauffeuring and mopping and shopping and dry-cleaner runs. [I would say most people don't want to do those things; I actually know some who do. -ed.] (I'm leaving child-minding out of this; in a happily balanced life, it doesn't feel like a chore.)

Once the money for outsourcing runs dry, it's the lower-status member of the household who does these things. It is the lower-status member of the household who is called a "nag" when she repeatedly tries to get other members of the household to share in doing them.

This is just one indication that the feminist "revolution" that was supposed to profoundly reshape women's lives remains incomplete. Another is the fact that there are no meaningful national policies to make satisfying work and satisfying family life anything but mutually exclusive for most men and women.*

(Emphasis added.) Most men and women she knows, no doubt. And anyway, why are some people wasting their time at the Danish embassy showing support of free speech when they could be holding up signs in support of lowest-status members of the house! Sure -- we're the richest country in the world, but lowest status members of the house aren't the richest people in the richest country in the world! Oooooh, it makes my blood boil!

Cathy Seipp weighs in on the laundry debate by citing Cheryl Mendelson's new book, Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens.

She has a dry wit when it comes to common assumptions about housekeeping, noting how she knows from experience that the people most familiar with boring, repetitive tasks are lawyers. Her frequent deadpan irony, however, has a core of complete seriousness. “The old rules no longer seem to work,” she writes in Laundry about the current devolution of sorting habits, “and the standard consequence of a breakdown in rules and values has ensued: the youth have become skeptical and nihilistic. They do not believe it is possible to figure it all out. They do not sort their clothes for laundering, and they sneer that sorting makes no difference. But they are wrong.”

The youth of America sneer at sorting? People in my house are sneering as well! The laundry bin has two sides: one marked darks and one marked lights. It's so simple, and yet, there they are -- a pair of dark blue jeans mixed in with the whites. Sigh. When will people start reading my memos?

I have the feeling I'm missing out on a lot of sorting, though, so I'm going to rush out to Barnes & Noble today to buy Mendelson's book and perhaps her 1999 bestseller, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House. They each sound deliciously judgmental. And, as I love being judged, why should I only let the voices in my head have all the fun?

* Judy, let's keep marital politics out of national politics, at least when it comes to laundry. On the other hand, as I noted in the comments section of Cathy's blog, instead of passing broad policies ensuring work and family life are mutually satisfying for both husband and wife, we could pass a law making it illegal to leave clothes on the floor for more than three days in a row.

You are married to a law-abiding citizen, aren't you?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

U.A.E port thing

I don't think this is a good issue for the Democrats to grab a hold of because liberals like to identify themselves as being color blind. To my knowledge thus far, nobody has given any reason why the U.A.E. shouldn't be trusted to manage American ports, other than they're Arab, and the MSM isn't helping their cause by repeating over and over again that two 9/11 terrorists came from the U.A.E.

Well, two Oklahoma City bombers came from the U.S.A. Also, I have some recollection of the U.A.E. being a solid partner in the War on Terror. Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan will have something to say about that later.

Update: Lileks:
It’s possible that the Administration did some quiet polling, and asked the question “How much Arab control over American ports are you comfortable with,” and misinterpreted stunned silence as assent. It’s possible the Administration believed that this would be seen as outreach, an act of faith to solidify a Key Ally, and didn’t think there’d be much hubbub – but if that’s the case, it’s the best example of the Bubble Theory I’ve heard, and I’ve not heard much convincing evidence. Until now. The average American’s reaction to handing port control over to the UAE is instinctively negative, and for good reason. There are two basic reactions: We can’t do this ourselves? and We should trust them, why?
This makes me above or below average so far. Now, Lileks - he my man. Still, I'm unpersuaded. Why not outsource this port stuff to other countries? We outsourced it to the British afterall. I'm looking forward to learning more about this.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Flyfisher?

A blog for Amy. (Via Instapundit.)
That's a no-no

Dana Milbank was scolded by WaPo's ombudsman yesterday for going on CNN in hunting orange sportswear right after the Cheney-shooting incident was published: "I think his appearance on MSNBC last week was a mistake in judgment."

Is it a coincidence that I'd linked to his picture disapprovingly only to have that post mysteriously disappear, and now then he gets a slap on the wrist?

It's clear I know too much. (Via Just One Minute.)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Electronic babysitter

On this day of sub-freezing temperatures, the kids' dad is at the Pick 'n Pull, the little one naps, and I lazily surf the web. Emma has been watching TV all day, but that's okay because:
From the 1966 Coleman Report, the landmark study of educational opportunity commissioned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Gentzkow and Shapiro got 1965 test-score data for almost 300,000 kids. They looked for evidence that greater exposure to television lowered test scores. They found none. After controlling for socioeconomic status, there were no significant test-score differences between kids who lived in cities that got TV earlier as opposed to later, or between kids of pre- and post-TV-age cohorts. Nor did the kids differ significantly in the amount of homework they did, dropout rates, or the wages they eventually made. If anything, the data revealed a small positive uptick in test scores for kids who got to watch more television when they were young.
I can only hope.
Introverts unite!

That might actually be a dull party. Remember that Jonathan Rauch essay on being an introvert? (Via Althouse.) Apparently, it struck a chord with so many people that The Atlantic interviewed him about it, during which Rauch asks his interviewer,

I was wondering whether you were an introvert. When did you realize that about yourself?

I'm not sure. I guess it probably hit me in seventh grade when somebody told my older brother, "You know, Sage could be popular if she talked more." Of course, he reported this to me, and I started to brood over it.

That is so unjust. Isn't it?

Yeah—chattiness suddenly seemed like the key to social success and happiness.

That story so sums up the kind of extrovert hegemony that can make life miserable. I think it's particularly hard for girls and women. "You'd be so much more popular if you'd talk more." It seems to me that the world would be a much better place, and that people would be much more rightly popular, if they talked less. Because so little of what most people say is actually worth hearing.

Yeah, I think I realized I was an introvert when I retired from flight attendance in my mid-twenties. My whole life I'd noticed partiers, notably an older sister that seemed to always have a great story about last weekend, but also plenty of folks I worked with, and I always wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn't work up a good story about what I did over the weekend. Oh - had dinner, went for a walk ...you know, the usual...

When I became a flight attendant I was immersed in a group of extroverts that mistook me for one of their own. It was the most exhausting period of my life. When it was over, my quest for telling great stories about last Saturday night was over too.

So what am I doing this weekend? Eh - hit the gym, maybe a Sam's Club run for diapers and toilet paper. You know, the usual.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What the- (take 2)

Hey! My post Seipp v. O'Donnell from yesterday is gone!

It's clear I know too much, and one of my 12 readers has figured that out. I've connected too many dots. All the pieces have come together on this page, and somone is silencing the debate! Thus, my post mysteriously disappears. I shall now go into hiding with Vice President Cheney. You'll never find me!

Also, there was a good link in the missing post from Intapundit with a discussion on religion in politics and the religiosity of politics, which I think is illuminating.

Update: Here's what's happening: I see an editing error on page that I want to correct. I click on the edit button and it takes me to a page saying, post not found. I say to my self, huh? I the process and the post then disappears, just like this one. But since it was cached I copied and pasted into the above. Aren't you relieved?

Update 2: I can't find the original missing post, Seipp v. O'Donnell, though you can see more about the subject here, and I'm not going to re-create it. But the mysteriously disappearing post thing happened again with this post. Luckily I had it cached and was able to repost it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

$29.99

I bought the Walmart strand. The only drawback in purchasing my first pearl necklace at Walmart that I can tell so far, was the process of buying them. I did not feel like an important customer. The clerk kept popping her gum at me, and as a wise woman sitting on the jumpseat next to me once said, B-girls chew gum. She also never looked me in the eye, which meant that one of the most exciting purchases of my life was one of the most boring of hers.

So much for her. I'm trying to wear my new strand everywhere, but got fouled up over a mock turtleneck today. Luckily, my son, traumatized over his first solo trip out of the crib, bloodied up my shirt enough for me to change into a wing-collar, black, cotton, three-quarter-length sleeve blouse. I would have enjoyed the blouse/necklace combo more without the realization that my son is ready to have one side of his crib removed. That was fast, wasn't it?

At least the pearls won't change. I hope.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Look out, Scooter!

Goldberg on the Veep's unfortunate incident:
On a less serious note, I think that Scooter Libby probably got the message and there will be no more talk about how he was "authorized by superiors" to do anything at all.
Valentine's Day battle party (RETREAT RETREAT RETREAT!)

It was not actually as bad as that, but it did get confusing. I somehow ended up with the actual Valentines of two students that were to be given away. Valentine delivering was happening during the party, so it didn't turn out to be a problem - I brought them with me. Also this morning treats not on the list got dropped off for the goody buckets. The bucket's only 4 1/4 inches across and 4 inches deep. How would I fit them all in?

But fit them in, I do and all is a go-go for the party. Drop off the baby, arrive 20 minutes early, lurk in the hallways until I reach a respectable earliness and then poke my head into the classroom. There are boxes of sweethearts and more packaged cakes to add to my goody bucket. Won't fit. Hmmmm ...let's put them in their lunchboxes to take home.

The party begins.

Step 1: The decorate-a-mug craft worked well. It kept most of the children busy for ten to 20 minutes, with the boys leaning heavily on the color black and the girls choosing lots of pink, red and orange. (Observation: most of the girls' coloring was better than most of the boys' coloring.)

Step 2: Handing out Valentines was just as laborious a process as the teacher had warned. The children were a little nervous of Lanie and me, and it took some of them lots of time to put the envelope (or folded card) in the cut-out slot, plus we had to navigate around spectating parents. Each box was decorated to look like a puppy and the names were written on each puppy, but they were so small and sitting at the children's table, which so was low, that it was not possible to read them and finish the deliveries expeditiously. So if the child brought fifteen Valentines to hand out, and we got to the last box without a Valentine to put in it, he'd obviously given himself a Valentine.

Teacher said it didn't matter. Happens every year. Also, many of the kids had brought bundles of candy or a card with a sucker attached. These items didn't fit well through the slot and slowed us down. One child brought a heart-shaped box of candy for each classmate. That would be the child of the mother who put on the Christmas party. More about her in a minute.

Step 3: Clocks ticking up to 1:45, with a 2:00 exit. We have fifteen minutes to feed them cupcakes and juice. And the teacher has brought brownies too. But wait - a blessing first, and then sixteen pairs of hands need to be washed.

Despite those unexpected events and with some prodding from me, we get the kids to eat. For most of the party, ten parents, one grandparent, one toddler and two babies were in attendance enjoying the show. By now, everyone's mom or dad has arrived, and it's crowded.

I go out to check on the goody buckets and ask Lanie should we put them with the lunch boxes sitting out in the hallway? A fine idea. Where is the chalk I bought for the kids, asks Andrew's mom?

Uhh ...I dunno. What chalk? Oh, yeah! That sounds familiar. Ummmmm ...I got so many unexpected items that I must have forgotten them, I tell her. I'll bring them to take home in their school bags Friday. That's fine, she says.

Darn it, I think! I can no longer live with the illusion of my superiority in party planning. Ah, well.

Children exit with their parents. I take Emma home. She dislikes most of her candy. Ah, well, indeed.

Step 4: Is it the cocktail hour yet? No? Well then, let's hit the gym instead. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Thank you, Western Union:
Bowing to e-mail and other technologies, the company dispatched its last telegram two weeks ago.
(snip)

Telegrams also corrected mistakes. When Mark Twain heard that his obituary had been published, he cabled from London in 1897.

THE REPORTS OF MY DEATH ARE GREATLY EXAGGERATED.

My grandmother worked at Western Union in Chicago when she was a teen! I would have sent a telegram for kicks had I known they were shutting down. (Via Althouse.)
The world's a big blue marble when you see it from out there

Swann has my vote:
Though he has revealed little about his political philosophy, he has said the Democratic Party has "taken the African American vote for granted.
Ya think? In the same piece is this nugget:
The Republican State Committee also endorsed Jim Matthews, the brother of the host of MSNBC's "Hardball With Chris Matthews," for lieutenant governor.
I wonder what Thanksgivings are like at their mom's house.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Question

Am I getting a little too Pat Reynolds with this Valentine's Day pre-school party shtick?
Multiculturalism

The Danish cartoons, bringing people together:
It's even more interesting that Kinsley is the [Washington Post]'s most reliable liberal columnist, and Krauthammer is the fiercest neocon. Yet here they are today in perfect harmony.
Hey, that's nice.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Valentine party update (Mutiny!)

Madeleine's mom* informed me that she would bring the juice boxes on Monday, the actual party day. "That way," she said, "I can bring them in cold."

First of all one does not inform one's manager that she is changing plans - one asks. Second, when she brings them, where will she put them - in the kitchen or in the classroom? I have a managerially compulsive need to know. Third, I will now worry (though not too much) all weekend that she will not show up with the promised goods. Finally, I do not think I'll back her up by bringing my own juice boxes because that seems excessive. Still, lack of overly sugared beverages at a manufactured holiday party will reflect poorly on the manager should that situation arise.

Back to the lab to formulate a plan on how to get the people of Flower Mound to bow down before me.

*None of us have names - we only have our children's names to go by.
My inner Donna Reed

I'm going to be 40 (someday), I have two children, a husband and the role of housewife to play, and I have yet to own my first strand of pearls. I can wait no longer! So, I've been nosing around a few shops and have found prices for about an 18 inch strand from $299 at the mall to $29 at Walmart. Huh? What's the difference?

I'm not sure, but I found a good site, which details the differences and history of pearls in a very clear way. This page on different styles is particularly illuminating. It had this to say about graduated strands, the type of necklace my mom has:
All the rage in the Fifties, the graduated necklace is now less popular with pearl jewelers. It is generally composed of a strand of graduated pearls, 43-48 cm long. It looks good with high or round necklines and is still linked to a very classical, slightly rétro image.
I have not seen graduated strands in any of my shopping, admittedly though, I haven't gone to any chic stores, as I assume they're out of my price range. I've lived a long time without a real strand, I think because I always thought pearls were supposed to be received as a gift, but hey - I can give myself the gift! I'll probably go with a collier:
One-strand, uniform pearl necklace, 35.5-40.5 cm long. It's the traditional coming-of-age gift to a daughter, in some countries and regions coming from the mother-in-law. It is anyway one of a woman's "must haves" and not only for those who prefer the classic look. It suits every age, every kind of outfit and every type of neckline. It can be worn just as easily by the girl in jeans as the manager in a power suit or the elderly lady in her everyday clothes. In all cases it adds a touch of style.
And I hope, though I won't become attached to the idea, that my daughter will want a strand when she "comes of age" and that she will receive it in the spirit it is given.

PS I'll probably also pick up a pair of Akoya studs. Why not? I'm feeling generous!
Party update

The pre-school Valentine's Day party is not until Monday, but today I pick up donated items. I brought the promised box this morning to leave outside the classroom door for parents to drop off their sweets and treats. The flaw in my plan was revealed this morning: people don't read, and when they do, they don't pay close attention.

Apparently, many parents have been dropping off their items all week long with the teacher instead of waiting for my box this morning, which was expressly written about in the sign-up sheet.

We have drama, but the tension is mild. The head teacher is home with a sick child today and the assistant teacher doesn't know where she put the plates that are to be used for the cupcakes. Solution: I'll bring some cheapo paper plates I keep around the house in the event that said holiday plates are not found by Monday and send a note home with that parent's child about following instructions! Signed, the manager.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about buying a big tub of popcorn, getting out a collapsible lawn chair and parking myself in the greeting cards section or florist department of my local Tom Thumb this Tuesday around 5:30. Watching a crowd of frantic husbands search for the perfect card and grab a bouquet of wilting carnations in their rush to get home sounds like a delightful way to spend this manufactured holiday.

Oh, aren't I so above the fray? Of course if my husband is in that crowd, his Valentine may be delivered with an airborne tub of popcorn from across the store, at at least 20 miles per hour. I've been working out, you know.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Do not start with me!

You are so lucky your column is behind Times Select, Miss Warner, if you really wrote this:
The gender caste system is still alive and well in most of our households. After all, no one really wants to do the scrubbing and folding and chauffeuring and mopping and shopping and dry-cleaner runs....Once the money for outsourcing runs dry, it's the lower-status member of the household who does these things. It is the lower-status member of the household who is called a "nag" when she repeatedly tries to get other members of the household to share in doing them.
Fair warning people - I could go either way on this!
Put yourself out there

If it's Wednesday, that means I'm up to here with child-rearing duties. I'm even taking a pass on our weekly ice cream outing for a few moments of blissful peace. Ah, to be alone it one's abode. It was a great feeling as a kid and it still is.

My hits doubled a few weeks ago, after I'd left some comments on some high-profile blogs, so I thought I'd put myself out there again.

A psychologist asked people if they had ever or would ever walk away from their job to try for a dream job; I wrote, along with others, that I'd like to write professionally. A few posts down Anoymous posts something like, "all you wannabe writers, grow up--jeezus!"

On another comments section re politics, I'm being pretty much being ignored. It's just like being the new kid in class. People seem wary, or bored, or unimpressed. Ah, well.

The important thing is I'm meeting new people!
The Jewish Street Explodes
In response to a series of offensive cartoons published in an Iranian newspaper and subsequently printed in every newspaper around the globe, including many which had refused to publish the now-forgotten "anti-Muslim" cartoons last winter, the "Jewish street" erupted. At Brandeis University, a course on Lesbian motifs in Yiddish literature was briefly interrupted as students asked their professor what he thought about the controversy. In Washington D.C. a flurry of letters to the editor and press releases poured out of Jewish organizations. In New York, Commentary magazine -- a leading organ of the "neoconservative" Jewish Right -- announced it would run three articles on Iran in its next issue as well as an extensive letters section.
Heh.

Monday, February 06, 2006

You've taken the summer out of me! (or Dad's revenge)

There are certain advantages growing up in a family with six kids. Chief among them is not being noticed at the dinner table when an accounting of lima beans and radishes is being taken by your parents.

My daughter does not have this advantage with one brother only. Tonight for dinner, I served leftover beef and wild mushroom stew, which even her toddler brother didn't like as a re-run. In a probable attempt to distract Dad from his eating habits this evening, he "accidentally" spilled a full glass of milk. Well, we can only assume since he's not yet two.

She, however, jaw thrust forward, eyebrows furrowed, was not so lucky, and was force-fed five unwanted bites of what I thought was a pretty tastey stew. Unfortunately for her, she made the tactical error of drinking her milk and eating her piece of bread first, thereby having nothing to wash down or buffer the taste of the dreaded beef.

After her second forkful, she blurted out, "You've taken the summer out of me!" Now, where did she hear that, I wondered? She claims to have made it up herself. If that's true, I have a lifetime ahead of me of very literary descriptions on how my cooking is a torture to her. Yippee.

And, oh yeah, Dad - I can tell if there are lima beans in my bite of green beans. Fortunately, since not even my husband likes them, I won't have to run that taste test on my kids, though there will be other tests, I'm sure.
Forget Alec Baldwin! (or Aaaaaand ...ACTION!)

Participant Productions, makers of Syriana, North Country, and Good Night, and Good Luck, movies about terrorism (the CIA version, I'm told), sexual harrassment (the male version obviously) and journalism (the Edward R. Murrow smacking down Eugene McCarthy version) make their movies to entertain, but" also [to] create awareness of the real issues that shape our lives." Below each synopsis of the movie is a link that invites you to "take action." They even have contests for students who write articles on their action taken.

Why won't people just use the traditional methods of political process? Seems fairer. Other genres manipulate with music, writing, camera work. I prefer the straight-up method of political discourse.

CUT!

PS I haven't seen any of the above movies.

PPS George Clooney stars in Syriana and directs Good Night, and Good Luck.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Oh, yeah! Watch this shot, buster!

The next time someone says movies are just movies and they don't try to influence public policy debate, remind me to mention Alec Baldwin's role in Fun with Dick and Jane, starring Jim Carey and Tea Leoni. It's the story of a guy who works for Globodyne (Enron, really), gets laid off, and loses all his savings while the CEO, played by Baldwin, gets away with millions.

One of the beginning scenes is the couple talking in their bedroom while President Bush is on their TV set talking about how well the economy is performing. Dick gets promoted to VP of communications and his first duty is to go on television to announce the quarterly earnings. He's unprepared to hear from the anchorman that the CEO of Globodyne has been unloading all of his stock for the last couple of weeks. There's a funny graph on the screen, which shows the value of Globodyne's stock plummeting during the interview.

Anyway, Baldwin's character is interviewed a couple of times later in the movie, once saying that he's hurting too--I have to sell my home in Jacson Ho--no, Martha's Vineyard, he says. He said that or something like it on a hunting trip when he then paused, aimed at a bird and said, "Now watch this shot."

You remember President Bush saying the same thing during a round of golf? He was asked a serious question--I believe it was about casualties in the Iraq War--and gave a serious answer. He then went back to his golf game, saying, "Now watch this shot."

That clip got sent around the internet as evidence of Bush's lack of sensitivity. I thought it was unfair and out of context.

Baldwin's an entertaining actor--in fact, I like him more now that I know his younger brother is a Republican, and he's fun to watch on Saturday Night Live, but sometimes I wish he'd made good on his promise to move to Canada when President Bush got elected. But then he wouldn't have been able to not influence political debate through movies because that never happens. Movies are just movies, you know.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sorry, folks

You were no doubt up late last night checking and re-checking this page to find out what happened with my pre-school party sign-up sheet. Well.

I arrived a little later than I'd hoped, so only about half the parents in the A.M. got to see the sheet.

But by afternoon, all the spaces were filled, including the one apologetically written: cupcakes (two or more can sign up here to split costs). One mom signed and noted she didn't require help--that she would bake them all herself.

See? I knew some people need these parties as creative outlets, not moi, mind you, but others. It appears I need these parties for managerial outlets. I will rule the world one pre-school party at a time!

Also, Lanie has written

Nancy, Just wanted to let you know that you are officially the best party-planning mom I know! Wow, are you organized girl!

So, you see, nine days before it is to begin, the party has already been a success for me.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Just askin'

How does a guy convicted of fraud become "comptroller and funding officer for Iraq’s Coalition Provisional Authority in south-central Iraq"?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Who's bringing the cupcakes?

Those of you who have children already know what it's like to volunteer for a pre-school party. It's new to me.

What I've learned thus far is there is little to no instruction from the teacher. "I don't know," she said when I asked her what was going to happen at the party. "I haven't spoken to the coordinator yet."

I'm that coordinator. At orientation over the summer, there was a sign-up sheet to volunteer for various events throughout the school year. There were two spaces under the Valentine's Day party, so I said to Lanie, who I knew from the previous year, "Hey, do you want to sign up with me?"

Lanie cringed and I knew I'd blown it. The realization came upon me quickly--she'd been through this twice before with her older kids. I was on my first child and I had Dr. Phil breathing down my neck. Her cringe turned to a smile and she put her name down under mine.

And last week she emailed me asking if I had any ideas for a craft the kids could work on for the party. Sigh. I wrote that the only crafty skills I have are roping unsuspecting friends into volunteering for pre-school party committee work.

The last party for the kids was Christmas. The mom who threw it put up a sign-up sheet asking people to bring snacks, etc., but she left a lot of questions unanswered. Should I bring napkins, plates, etc.? She did not answer my email. And she did not return some phone calls, according to another mom.

The time of the party also changed by fifteen minutes and was not expressly announced, leading some parents to arrive early. This was especially annoying to the go-to-work parents who had taken some time off, only to wait outside the doorway until the festivities began.

During the pre-party preparations and the party itself, the mom-in-charge left us standing to watch her mixing colored frosting and then dote over the little tykes. The rest of us were spectators, which was fine by me, but not another mom who wanted to be involved. The only thing that bothered me was not knowing what was happening next and what I was supposed to do, which, though it was difficult to believe watching mom-in-charge scurry about, was nothing.

The teacher seems to absolve herself of all responsibility when parents are in the classroom--she doesn't stop the boys from wrestling or try to control the volume of the kids-- and it's hard to blame her. Who's in charge when there are more chiefs than Indians?

So, I'm hoping to bring a little order to this year's Valentine's Day party. I need to talk a little bit more to the teacher to pin down an exact time. I shall then send out a memo to all parents about what time the party will occur, the order of events, what the events will be and when to exit. All parents will have an opportunity to contribute to the goody bag, though we really only need about four or five items. Still, they can all bring items or sweets if they have an emotional need to contribute.

I've picked out an easy craft--coloring a Valentine's Day picture that slips into a plastic mug to take home--very easy for young hands to accomplish and only 77 cents a mug. I have purchased the goody bags in the form of a little pink and red bucket at $1 each; the cupcakes and filler will hopefully come from other parents.

The order of events will move thusly: design mugs at table, get up from table to distribute Valentines to everyone's boxes, look at Valentines, go back to table for cupcakes and punch or juice.

There should be no questions.

Well, I'm interested to see if the parents will respond positively to my plans.

I hope they will. And, oh yeah--I hope the kids have a good time too.