Headlines: Here’s the Thing

Maggie O'C:

I think this is a good one, over at my new blog.

Originally posted on Dear Judy...Letters to Tanzania:

Dear Judy,

I know that being way over there in Africa must be tough, knowing that you are missing out on all the big news over here in the U.S. Seeing as how we are besties, I am taking it upon myself to bring you today’s news. I have a few daily internet stops for the news: USA Today, NY Times, HuffPost, OregonLive and sometimes the Wall Street Journal. Please note that even though I lean to the right, I don’t regularly read any real right sites. Drudge’s home page overwhelms me. National Review has gone much further right than Buckley ever intended and Kathy Jean Lopez makes me want to commit violence with a rusty butter knife. I like to read what the other side is up to and argue with them in the comments. Yep, that’s how bored I get at work.

Here are the lead stories for…

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Remember when the school supply list was just a Pee Chee?

Maggie O'C:

Great reporting from another Oregonian blogger

Originally posted on Ned's Blog:

[Still looking for that pair of No. 2 red-handled safety scissors required for Mrs. Flunkum's eighth-grade algebraic lit. class? You're not alone. As government spending on education has gotten smaller, school supply lists have grown to the size of a Nasa space mission checklist. Never mind that Nasa doesn't actually go into space anymore. The point is, this week's Wednesday Rewind doesn't require a protractor...]

Education Secretary Arnie Duncan promises no child's will get left behind when it comes to getting a Pee Chee folder.

Education Secretary Arnie Duncan promises no child will get left behind when it comes to getting a Pee Chee folder.

When I was a kid, our school supply list consisted of a Star Wars notebook and a Pee Chee folder. The notebook helped us organize our assignments; the Pee-Chee folder was used for entertaining ourselves during class by drawing thought balloons for the athletes on the cover.

Football Guy: (Getting tackled) “Oh sure — run the old L-42 play, THAT always works…”
Tennis Girl: “If…

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A video for you

Maggie O'C:

Dear Judy,
I am reblogging your video to my blog so that even more people can see the people you are working with.

xox
mag

Originally posted on We Are All Carpenter's Kids:

Here is a video for you courtesy of the wonderful folks here at Carpenter’s Kids, Dodoma.

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Meanwhile, just outside of ferguson…

Maggie O'C:

From the inimitable Don of All Trades. Thanks Don, you give us hope.

Originally posted on don of all trades:

I followed a trail of blood up the concrete steps as Deja vu overtook my thoughts.

I’d been here before, just a few short months ago, doing the same exact thing, following a trail of blood to an open front door.

As was the case then, on this night there had been another call for shots fired heard coming from the street.

A trail of blood, an open door and no body to be found.

Just like last time, the person was taken to the hospital by a friend, so we wait to hear from the hospital when they make their mandatory call about somebody coming into the emergency room with bullets in their body.

As I was checking the house for another injured or dead person, I couldn’t help but notice that the house was exactly as it had been before.

There was no furniture in the living room…

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I Am Outta Here!

I have bored myself to tears in this blog, so you all must be cried out.

boring

So after 336 posts, racking up more than 3,000 followers (24 of whom are actual people),  and being Freshly Pressed deux fois; I’m leaving Misc. Maggie behind except for my reading list which I will update because I love lists and it was my New Year’s Resolution to track how many books I read in 2014 and people always need book reading ideas.

I have decided to start a new blog. A blog more boring than this one! A blog where I pledge to write every damn day for a year! A blog that will include the most idiotic minutiae of my life! What sort of weird face did I make in the elevator today? How often do I fart at my desk? Am I still eating and drinking too much? You bet I am and I’m going to tell you all about it!

My new blog is called “Dear Judy, Letters to Tanzania”. One of my besties is going to Tanzania for a year to make it a better place (my words, not hers…she is far too humble about this undertaking, in my opinion). The new blog will be my daily writings to Judy so that she has something from home everyday. I will also post a link to her blog on my home page so you can read about what she is doing in Dodomo, Tanzania.

Dodomo.

Duh Doh Moh

DUH doh MOH

So head on over to Dear Judy and follow me so you don’t miss anything. The first post will be tomorrow but you might want to go now to avoid the line.

And if I haven’t said it before, I’m saying it now. Thank you, all of you who have become my friends through fat and fatter. I had a wonderful time and learned so much. I will see you on the other  side blog.

xoxo

maggie

 

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There’s Something About My Parenting Post

I have been a shitty blogger for months now but somehow people still keep following and reading my blog and that makes me happy and then I feel guilty for not writing. Then I think of ideas and don’t write them. I have a system.

courtesy comedyireland.ie

courtesy comedyireland.ie

I have been Freshly Pressed a couple of times and written a couple of controversial posts. Those blogs got a ton of comments. I also wrote a post on menopause which occasionally brings in new comments. It’s kind of cool that it shows up when someone runs the Google on Murder and Menopause.

All that being said, I have a post that was brief and gave a bit of background on my parenting strategeries. Not a particularly popular post but it is still being read and I can tell from the comments that I finally wrote something with some staying power, some gravitas and wisdom. If a monkey sits at a keyboard long enough….

I wrote the blog I am referring to back in April. It got a couple of comments but I didn’t think it was my best work. Go ahead and read it, you might agree. It wasn’t a month later that I realized I could have been wrong. I woke on May 9 to read this little gem from “Tests de Logique MathA@matiques & de Calcul Savoir-Faire Astuces Tage-Mage Tage 2 Score Iae Message.pdf”

Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your weblog. You have some really great posts and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested. Cheers!

They weren’t just saying that. They meant it. They would let me take some load off. And they weren’t the only ones who were still reading that post. Two weeks later, who do I hear from but “strawberry Smoothie”.

You have no idea what strawberry Smoothie had to say. Sit down for this one.

graham cracker crust.

Graham. Cracker. Crust.

I bet no one ever wrote “graham cracker crust” in your comments section! Did they? No, I didn’t think so.

Not to be outdone just a couple of days later, stereomood.com gave me, “hoodia men“. I feel a little awkward about that comment and don’t want to delve too deeply. I don’t think hoodia men is a parenting method. Nevermind. I looked it up, it’s a weight loss pill. So that obviously piggy backs on the whole graham cracker crust discussion.

Things settled down for awhile and then June hit and we were off again. support.ardyss.net brought up the salient point of, “calories in grey goose vodka”. Not salient to me as I only drink white wine and I don’t think it has calories but salient to those who follow the grey goose vodka parenting program. Not for everyone but I think it is gluten-free.

Here (Here is the commenter’s name, I guess it’s like Cher or Madonna) went a bit more in depth:

Are there any campers which use alternative causes of energy for fuel (solar panel technology, chargeable battery, etc. With no Agitator, it is possible to wash bulkier items like sleeping bag, pillows etc. However, you can find specially made machines which have low flow rates and reasonably high output pressure. They find greater used in motors, bearings, and seals that suffer axial play over anything else.

There’s not much I can add to that. Here nailed it.

Last week, Transe-formations ; Programmation Neuro-Lingistique et techniques d’hypnose ericksonienne.pdf wrote what we all have been thinking:

It’s remarkable to go to see this web page and reading the views of all mates on the topic of this article, while I am also eager of getting know-how.

Remarkable. Yep, I couldn’t have said it better myself. It is remarkable to go to see this web page.

I had another comment this morning. These comments all come in the middle of the night like Santa Claus. It’s Blog Christmas everyday here at Misc. Maggie.

Melisa let me know this morning:

I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This piece of writing posted at this web page is truly fastidious.

Now, now Melisa — few people who actually know me would call me fastidious but if you insist! Truly, thank you.  And thank you everyone who still hangs out at this blog. I will try to be better.

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Experiencing “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward

I finished Salvage the Bones this morning because I couldn’t stay up for the last 60 pages last night. I am keeping a list of every book I read in 2014 and this is #11. I seldom read out of my comfort zone and this book is most definitely NOT in my typical reading wheelhouse. It’s also the 2011 National Book Award Winner and I tend to not care for National Book Award Winners. However, Salvage the Bones showed up on enough “you really should read this” lists that I gave in and read it.

Quick synopsis:

The narrator, Esch, is a 15-year-old girl whose mother died in childbirth when Esch was 8. She has two older brothers: one who has a fighting pit bull and the other hoping to make a name for himself in basketball. The youngest brother is only 7 and has some developmental disabilities. Their father, who clearly loved their mother very much, has checked into a bottle since she died. The Batiste kids are  pretty much on their own at the Pit, which is what they call their homestead in the fictional Gulf Coast town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. The book covers 12 days in their lives in 2005. Esch realizes she is pregnant. The fighting pit bull has had a litter. Basketball scouts are coming. Their Daddy is worried about a hurricane out in the Gulf. The hurricane is named Katrina.

One doesn’t read this book as much as feel it. This book’s sense of foreboding is heart racing. The stricken reader knows what’s coming and knows it’s not good. Surprisingly, Salvage isn’t depressing. It is full to the point that it seems robust and stuffed like a pillow. The story is swollen so that the characters become pieces of each other, of the land and of the past. Salvage the Bones is crowded with fear, love, violence, poverty, profound sadness, and excitement.

I recommend it highly.

All that being said, I am also ashamed of myself.

This is what I imagined the Batiste family's house looked like.

This is what I imagined the Batiste family’s house looked like.

I remember Katrina. Of course I do, it will only be nine years this summer. I remember watching the news in disbelief, thinking “I’m never going to see what New Orleans was really like”. I donated money to the Red Cross and the Humane Society. I was annoyed with those foolish people who didn’t evacuate. Duh, get the hell out of there!

Why didn't the just leave?

Why didn’t they just leave?

And there is my shame. I have never been to the deep south. I don’t know what the communities are like there…rich or poor. Mostly though, I have no experience with extreme poverty. Why didn’t they just leave? Why were they so stupidly stubborn? It is my shame to realize they had no where to go. They had no food, no gas, no cable, no 24-hour news telling them what to do, no luggage — they had nothing to start with and less than that when the storm ended. How ignorant of me.

katrina2

This book taught me about hurricanes: what the sky looks like and the heaviness of the air, the suffocating heat, and the terrifying water. It taught me about a population segment of the U.S. that I don’t see because I don’t have to. And now this book has me thinking some very uncomfortable thoughts about myself and the socioeconomic structure of this country. I’m not going to write a political post here and if people want to discuss the politics of then and now, I can; but that is not what I’m thinking about right now.

I am 49 years old. I read a short book (just 258 pages) and I have  been deeply moved and educated. I can keep on reading. Therein lies  the magic of books. Anything a reader wants can be found.

Katrina.French cooking.Space travel.Aliens.Dragons.Libraries.Murders.Jewel heists.Fantasy.Reality.Humor.Memoirs.Fairy tales.The Revolutionary War (U.S., French, Spanish, you choose).The presidency (of 4th grade, Russia, some imaginary university, you choose)

Read! Learn! Even if I think I won’t like a book or that a topic might upset me, I will keep reading just to see. And the book is always better than the movie; except for The Bridges of Madison County….the movie was way better.

 

 

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My Return to Rip City

I’m a Portland native and I remember when the Trailblazers won their one and only NBA Championship in 1977. Portland is a small city and the Blazers are our only big time professional sports team. It isn’t easy being a Blazer fan and I don’t mean to portray myself as one but I am married to one. The Blazers have had good seasons, horrible seasons, made the play-offs, blew it in the playoffs, for awhile we had the JailBlazers because at least one of them seemed to be in trouble with the law all the time. That’s when I checked out on even bothering to notice the Blazers existed. The last game I went to was in the skybox for the company I worked for before I had kids and it was against the Phoenix Suns so probably in the 1995/96 era.

That is until last night!

For those of you, like me, who do not follow professional basketball…the Portland Trailblazers are fighting to stay in the second round of the NBA playoffs after defeating the Houston Rockets with this little piece of magic by Portland’s little Frenchie, Damian Lillard.

That is one of the damndest things I have ever seen in sports. Happily I was actually watching the game and saw it happen!

Go Damian.

Stupidly, I liked Damian’s Facebook page the following day which resulted in this Twit from my hilarious daughter, Annie.

twitter

The Blazers have been getting absolutely trounced by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round and went into last night’s game down three games to zero games. Sigh. Portlanders get used to this. Close but no cigar. That is one reason, Damian Lillard’s shot with .9 seconds left in the game was so mind-blowing to us….things like that don’t happen to Portland.

Blazers are down three games, must win situation Monday night in Portland. My sister, Molly, has tickets that she can’t use because my nephew had the barfs. Happily they were at the amazing game so Matt will always have that memory! My brother, John, doesn’t want his ticket because the Blazers looked so horrible in Saturday’s game. Voila, two tickets for me and Derwood and we are heading back to Rip City!

Here is the sort of courtyard/park thing they have outside the Moda Center, which was called the Rose Garden (which was stupid because Portland the Rose City has an actual Rose Garden but even duplicating that sounds better than Moda Center).

Here are all the people:

Every radio station that can blare music was there. There was an 80s coverband. Sign making stations and a wheel to spin to win a car. I remember a long time ago, it was just a basketball game.

Every radio station that can blare music was there. There was an 80s coverband. Sign making stations and a wheel to spin to win a car. I remember a long time ago, it was just a basketball game.

And here are Derwood and I when we get to our incredibly awesome section 117 seats! Row D!!!

atripcity

At the game, everyone got a T shirt. We got signs that said “The Spirit of 1977″. We got plastic sticks that glowed red when the arena lights came down. Please see below.

Lots of glowing plastic red things.

Lots of glowing plastic red things.

At halftime, a guy from the audience was picked to shoot free throws and if he made 3 in 45 seconds, everyone there got a card for a free Jamba Juice. And he did! And the Blazers scored over 100 points so everyone  got McDonald’s gift cards. There was a big blowup car that was an indoor blimp and it would fly around the arena and drop gift cards for movies that no one will want to watch or gift cards to Buffalo Wild Wings.

It was a carnival and it was really fun and I only saw a couple of drunks removed from the game by security and I wasn’t one of them!

Red Hot and Rollin'!

Red Hot and Rollin’!

The tiniest 13-year-old girl I have ever seen was seated behind us. She may have been solely responsible for the Blazer victory. She cheered and chanted every second that the game was in play. Never lost her enthusiasm. Brought her sign with her, just adorable. I was going to have Derwood take her picture but thought that might come across as creepy so you will just have to take my word for it.

And in the end the Blazers won!

blazerwin1

Now back to San Antonio for game 5! Think good thoughts! Portland could use another win!

And if they win, the series comes back to Portland and my brother would probably want to buy me more tickets because I was there when they won, so it’s probably on me to keep them winning.

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The 2014 Reading List Page and James Patterson Badness

As a 2014 new year’s revolution, I have a page listing every book I read this year.

I don’t know if many of you have checked out THE LIST. It includes the book’s title and author and a rating with a bit of detail but no big book review. I make up the rating scales according to the book. There is a scale reserved for really bad books and that is the “James Patterson Badness” scale.

reading

Many years ago, I was in a book club. Every month one club member selected the book for the group to read. There were many rules to the selection: had to be a paperback, had to be a novel, couldn’t have been read by other members already or if they had read it and didn’t mind reading it again that was okay but not if they didn’t like it. We read a couple of good books. My first book that the group read was, Clear Springs: A Memoir (link is to the New York Times review) by Bobbie Ann Mason. I liked that book but was chided for selecting a memoir instead of a novel.

The next time it was my turn to pick the book, I picked The Lovely Bones but it wasn’t in paperback yet. So, no.  Then I picked An Obvious Enchantment by Tucker Malarkey, a woman I had met through a mutual friend. Nope, someone had read it and thought it was boring.  On and on this goes and I have got to pick a book. I send out an email to my college pals for book recommendations and Kitty comes up with Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson. That’s gets clearance Clarence and we all read it.

Oh.

Mah.

Gaw.

Within a couple of pages, I realize that the book is one of the worst collections of words ever published. The physical stereotypes of the characters are ridiculous. They are jaw-droppingly beautiful and Mensa-brained. I believe the young lovers meet at John Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s wedding. A wedding attended by probably 40 people on Cumberland Island, Georgia. Really?! No they did not, Mr. Patterson. That’s just stoopid. The pop culture references are nauseating. And quite frankly some of the intimate details that Suzanne writes in the diary to her son, are really inappropriate. Children don’t want to read about their parents’ sex life.

The group met that month at the Rock Bottom Brewery downtown. We squeezed into a booth and they erupted in laughter at me. Jill, who I had known since junior high, opened the meeting between giggles with, “WHY would you choose this book?” And it went downhill from there. Dumb ol’ book club with all the dumb rules.

Here is a passage that clearly moved many readers because it is an image on Pinterest. Thank you Mr. Patterson, your insight has touched my soul. Trees are asking for their oxygen back because you are not putting it to good use.

patterson quote

I have never forgiven James Patterson and that is why the truly stoopid books I read will receive the James Patterson Badness rating.

Happy Reading unless you are reading Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. If you are, go set it on fire.

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Dear Katie,

For my readers who don’t know Katie’s story, please refer back here and here. Katie has been home for a few months and returns to school today. She is still working so hard and has come so far and her reward is a touch of normalcy, she gets to go to school half time for the rest of the year! Go Katie, Go Katie!!!

 

Dear Katie,

What a huge day for you after so many months of struggling and fighting! Congratulations on your return to ol’ LOHS!

I think about you and your family everyday and I am not the only one. Can you believe there are 2083 followers of your Facebook page? And I know the number of people who know and care about your story is much larger. I have friends around the country who know about you and ask me how you are doing and pray for you. There are THOUSANDS of people around the country and around the world who think about you and pray for you and are cheering for you. Isn’t that something? Why do you suppose that is?

Well, yeah there’s the whole interwebs thing, but bigger than that. Why are there literally thousands of people, many of them strangers (unless you know waaaayyy more people than anyone else I know) who know your story?

I have some ideas.

1. You’re a good kid. By all accounts, from my daughter, Annie’s, first encounter with you freshman year — to all the stories I have read in the past six months. You are regarded to be as nice, as kind, and as enthusiastic as your reputation would have us believe. The real deal! When nice people get hurt, other nice people and even not-so-nice people, wish them well and pray to whatever god they believe in for healing. You are young. People want young people to have long, happy lives. I haven’t met you but I can see there is a vibrancy to you that the world needs.

From left: Katie, sister Annie, and mom Trina (although I am just guessing that's Trina because she doesn't look much older than her girls.)

From left: Katie, sister Annie, and mom Trina (although I am just guessing that’s Trina because she doesn’t look much older than her girls.)

2. Moms. I know there are dads following your progress and praying for you but I am a mom and I will speak to the Mom part of this equation.

Katie's dad, Dave, the day in December when though in a coma, Katie signed "I love you".  Dad's rock.

Katie’s dad, Dave, the day in December when though in a coma, Katie signed “I love you”. Dad’s rock.

From the moment a mother knows her baby is on the way, she is protecting it. Taking folic acid and eating right and exercising (unless you’re me and then you eat tater tots and ice cream and grow to the size of an NFL lineman). We read to our babies inside us. We plan rooms and buy the right cribs, buy darling little outfits and blankets and little hats to keep the little baby head warm. We make sure the car seat is installed correctly and the baby faces backwards for a year. Katie, moms make sure the house is baby-proofed, that our little people wear bike helmets, and walk on the sidewalk, we practice letters and numbers with our tiny scholars, and make lunches and beds, and apply sunscreen.

Mothers do every single thing we can think of to keep our children safe from bruised knees, broken arms, broken hearts. Unfortunately we can’t control everything and we aren’t meant to. The goal of all this tending to our children is so that they will eventually grow up and take care of themselves. Slowly, children gain more and more independence, from putting their shoes on by themselves, to making their own toast, to walking to school, reading alone, the list goes on and on. We have to let you go out into the world and roll the dice.

And sometimes when you go out into the world horrible things happen.

Katie, this is why there are so many people praying for you and thinking about you daily. Because you are all of our children. There isn’t a mother worth her weight in varicose veins, who doesn’t realize it could have been our child in the accident. You have become a daughter to all of us. Especially to us moms who have teenage daughters, you are the beautiful girl that owns our hearts, who we have to set free.

And your mom is all of us.  We have all cried for your mother, not knowing anything else to do. We know the fear that goes with injury to one of our cubs. Moms can make all the casseroles in the world but that can’t fix an injured child or replace the ferocious love we have for our children. We all feel for your mother and we all thank God everyday that we don’t have to be as strong as she is. And we all know the strength it takes to keep all the balls in the air, the hospital, the house, the doctors, on and on. And there is your sister and your dad, and the mom has to take care of everyone she loves. It’s a big job and we are all so proud of Trina.

lenin mom

3. Renewal. Life is rough. There is so much bad news every damn day. Plane crashes and tornadoes, politics and business, it can all be so overwhelming.  In the midst of the 24-hour news cycle madness, life can still get through to us. At the most unexpected times, in the most unexpected ways, life brings renewal and hope and awareness of a much larger picture. The spiritual journey that we have traveled with you through a Facebook page has been uplifting and uniting. I’m Catholic and have a deep faith but as a Catholic, I’m not much of a bible reader. If I need to know it, it’s probably in the missal :) I have read some beautiful passages from the Bible on your Facebook page, most I have never read before. Those passages have lifted my spirit, as I hope they have lifted yours.

Your life these past almost six months has inspired thousands to remember what is really important during our time in this world, that can all too often be much too short. You, Miss Katie, are a miracle. Not just for being on this planet today and walking (!) into school today but because you have shown thousands of people what true character and might look like. You have reminded us to love our children and our parents.

I hope to meet you and your family soon. You have all had a great impact on me, on my parenting and on my faith.

In advance, please excuse me if I completely fall apart when I finally lay eyes on you. I’m like that.

Happy Friday Miss Katie!

xoxox

Maggie

 

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