Monthly Archives: August 2012

I Hate You – The Opera!

This is an original, self-authored, extemporaneous opera by my children.  Actually, the entire performance lasted for about 30 minutes, but I only managed to record a bit.  I trimmed it down to the highlights and transcribed it for your entertainment. I couldn’t suss out a couple words, but you’ll get the gist.  The hilarious, hilarious gist.

I Hate You – The Opera!

When you’re at school
I miss you
I love you
I miss you
I love you
I miss you
I love you

Well sorry – I have to go to school
It’s not an option
Sorry, I can’t expel myself

I’m so sorry but I won’t hear it from you
I don’t really like you
I don’t
I was lying
I’m sorry
I don’t
I _______ you
And I don’t like you singing
And I hate you
I know
I’m sorry, but I’m not
I’m not sorry- eeee

What are you doing walking like that?
That’s the creepiest walk I’ve ever seen
The only people that do it are maniacs.
So why are you doing it?

I don’t like you anymore
‘Cause you’re the stupidest girl in the whole wide world

I am actually advanced in school
You take that!
And I’m smarter than you

I am not s-
You are not smarter than me
I’m smarter than you
I don’t like your stuff
I like my own stu-uuuuf!

Well that doesn’t mean that I’m not smart

You’re not smart

In fact, I’m really advanced

I don’t like your smart
I don’t like your _____
I don’t like anything that you love!

My defection from the Catholic Church

photo by robertelyov via Flickr

Pope mosaic made of condoms

I know lots of great people who are Catholic.  But the Church itself – I cannot call it good by any means.  So in addition to the silliness of me being counted among their adherents when I share none of their beliefs, I don’t like the idea that I’m counted in their numbers.  If everyone who disagreed with the Catholic Church in some significant way (like the 66-68% of American Catholics who regularly use birth control) took their name off the rolls, the Church’s political clout might be reined in quite a bit, and maybe that would force the Powers That Be to move their policies and procedures into more transparent, reasonable, and humane territory.

For what it’s worth, I’m sending this off today.  Weirdly I felt a little bad writing it, like I’m going to hurt the Bishop’s feelings or something.  I guess guilt is one of the things that is most easily indoctrinated and hardest to get rid of! (I’ve redacted personal information so Bill Donohue can’t track me down to yell at me.)

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge
c/o The Diocese of Raleigh
715 Nazareth St.
Raleigh, NC 27606

Dear Bishop Burbidge:

I am writing to inform you of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church.

Since the age of 16, I have rejected most of the teachings of the Church. I have not attended mass for over 20 years. I do not believe in any deity, and I do not believe that there is such a thing as sin. I have been living with my husband for 18 years without being married in a Catholic Church, and I have made a positive decision not to have my daughters baptized.

Therefore, I consciously and freely state that I am defecting from the Roman Catholic Church and wish that my name be removed from church records.

I was born on _____ and baptized on ______, as Christine _____, at:


The last sacrament of record in which I participated was Confirmation, which would have been around 19__, at:


I would appreciate it if you could send me written notification when my name has been removed from the records. I am fully aware of the consequences of my separation from the Church and accept them. I do not wish to participate in any Catholic sacraments.

Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

I will keep you all updated on any response.  Half of me wants them to simply comply, and the other half hopes some priest sends me a letter trying to convince me to stay (as some defectors have had happen) so I have something interesting to share!

(photo by robertelyov via Flickr)

I’m getting awfully tired of this

Them:  Doing X is wrong!  I have scientific evidence that X causes all these bad things!  Everyone should listen to me because SCIENCE!

Me: That citation is an opinion piece published on a personal web page, not science published in a peer-reviewed journal.  Also, it doesn’t support your contention.

Them: Who cares about evidence?  I know I’m right!


A pox on reading logs!

Not my daughter’s, but worse! This one also requires math, including clock math, everyone’s favorite pastime!

I’m sitting here looking at my daughter’s fourth grade reading log.  Starting on day 1 of school, the teacher decreed that students must read for at least 20 minutes each day, keep track of the reading in their reading log, and turn it in with student and parent signatures affixed.  The log requires Chloe to fill in the title of her reading material, along with a code designating what type of reading material it is.  Then she needs to record how many minutes she read, as well as the pages she read, and both of us need to fill in comments about the reading at least once a week.

Looking at this reading log literally makes me feel like crying.  What better way could a teacher concoct to make children hate reading?  I have loved to read since I learned how.  Right now I’ve got two books on the “front burner” and three on the “back burner,” meaning there are two books lying around which I tend to pick up and read at least a few times a week, and a few others I started but got distracted from for the moment.  I had to start using the library instead of my Kindle because I was spending way too much money on books without realizing it.  I’m a reader!  And my voracious reading has delivered concrete benefits like high test scores and a massive vocabulary, so no one can argue that the way I read or what I’ve chosen to read isn’t academically useful.

And I don’t read log-style.  I read what delights me at the moment.  Sometimes the delight comes from satisfying curiosity or tackling a challenge, and sometimes it’s just getting on board for an easy ride with some fabulous characters.  If I had to fill out that log each day to document my forays into Botswana with Mma Ramotswe or my visits to the eldritch New England of H.P. Lovecraft, I would probably start avoiding books.  I would procrastinate reading, because it would have mutated into a chore.  One with tiresome bookkeeping responsibilities.  Would the stories enchant me and make me lose track of time and place when I had to quantify how long I read? My heart feels heavy when I try to imagine this scenario.

So how much heavier are the hearts of kids who still stumble over new words and are just starting to taste that fluid reading skill which delivers one into a new world, rather than merely presenting words on a page?  My child already gets frustrated sometimes when she misreads and has to go back to figure out a sentence, or when she comes upon a new and idiosyncratic proper noun.  She doesn’t need a taskmaster standing over her shoulder reminding her what a chore reading is on top of it all!

For now, I will be filling out Chloe’s reading log.  I will write down whatever number the teacher has said is the minimum for that day.  I will not refer to the clock when I do so.  I will discuss with Chloe what we read, and jot down one of her comments on the log, along with one of my own.  I want her to interact with this poisonous document as little as possible.  Later, when the teacher has learned to know and love Chloe, I might discuss with her my concerns about the reading log.  I don’t want to be a parent who launches the first week of school by shoving an Alfie Kohn essay into the teacher’s face.  So we’ll be on the down-low for now.

The one good thing about this reading log is it did make me think about how much we read, and realize I would like to expand reading time.  But I won’t be setting a timer – well, maybe I will, for the TV.  Limiting TV, keeping good books around, and sitting down to read with my kids will be my approach, rather than treating books like overcooked Brussels sprouts that must be choked down.

(By the way, if you want to test your vocabulary size, check out this cool site.)