Early Easter Miracles

Our esteemed school board chair did an about-face and apologized to our community¬† in a letter AND in person at the beginning of a school board meeting a couple weeks ago. The new proposed budget for next year includes the reinstatement of full-time art and music instruction at the elementary school level. I’m bitter that my daughter will never reap the benefits of an education that fulfills the whole child (not just testing), but at least my son will get to enjoy two years of it. Next on the agenda for full-time funding: physical education and library science.

Speaking of budgets, Pennsylvania finally will have one after a grueling, nine-month impasse that takes partisan bickering and obstruction to a whole new level. (The governor released emergency funds around the new years to keep struggling schools depending on state funds from closing.) To be clear, no one is happy about it, but at least it’s done.

I finally finished War and Peace. It took me six weeks, and I’m working on the mini-series now. I love the costumes and the set design, and the acting is simply wonderful. It’s a hard time reconciling the post British accents knowing that Tolstoy’s Russian aristocracy spoke French, but Brooding James Norton makes up for it.

 

Early Easter Miracles

Relatable Female Leads in British Procedural Crime Dramas

I just finished watching the second season of Prey on BBC America. Don’t be too impressed; a “season” of Prey is three hour-long shows. Each season is a contained story about someone on the run from the police, and the authorities’ pursuit and investigation of the crime.

I loved this show because of DS Reinhart, portrayed by Rosie Cavaliero. Reinhart is a hot mess. In the first season, she’s pitifully stalking her ex-husband, who’s remarried and is a new father. She lands a huge case and not only has to prove herself to herself, she’s got to investigate one of her own and hold her own among a male-dominated force.

This is DS Reinhart:

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She’s tired. Her meals consist of candy bars from vending machines. Her clothes are frumpy and nondescript; her hair is stringy and flat. She has to beg her supervisors for more manpower, more authority to hunt down leads, more political will to dig into the private lives of those on the force. She interviews witnesses who constantly call her “love.” Her subordinate (in season two) calls her by her first name despite protocol and good manners.

Basically, she looks and acts like a typical detective. She’d be me if I were a detective.

I sincerely hope this is a trend, because I’ve watched two other series with a similar lead: Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire (second season just came out on Netflix; DON’T TELL ME SPOILERS)

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and Broadchurch, with the esteemed Olivia Colman.

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(The image above is what I look like when I look in my son’s room after he says he’s cleaned it up. I know it’s not a crime scene but … it’s … close.)

Obviously, television has more strides to make (and I have to find other shows to watch) because none of the people above are women of color, and I’d wager more than a pretty penny that there are interesting, complicated black, Latino, Asian, Indian detectives out there.

But these actors make television so much better for me, because it’s a heck of a lot more realistic and therefore more compelling. These are people who juggle parenthood and a job, loss and relationships, promotions and demotions, just like the rest of us do.

And they aren’t even models.

Dear Hollywood: More of this please. Hugs and kisses, Online Offal

 

Relatable Female Leads in British Procedural Crime Dramas

The Phillies Are Having a Heckuva Spring Training.*

*Spring training doesn’t mean anything.

Like the bad boyfriends they are, the Phillies are literally going on the offensive and trying their damndest to raise expectations and make a solid impression. We can give you home runs! We can give you victories! We are more than a hodgepodge collection of prospects and has-beens! We are so deserving of your love and we will use it to raise us up in the National League East standings! We will earn a pennant and a ring! Swipe right! Swipe right!

When the regular season (and the regular thumpings) begin, the Phillies will become less than a shadow of their Spring Training selves. The bullpen will fail to hold onto a (rare) lead. The lineup will become unable to deliver late-inning run production. The fans will be forced to endure E-A-G-L-E-S chants (you know, a team who hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2008 and hasn’t won a championship since 1960) in late June. The fans also will have to contend with Mets and Nats fans, who will march into Citizens Bank Park like it’s Citi Field South or Nationals Park North.

Then the Phillies, so full of love and attention in Spring Training, will start to blame the people who pay money and endure ridicule to watch them play. You know we play 163 games and can’t win them all, right? I can’t believe you expect us to score after having runners on second and third with no outs. It’s hard getting people on second and third with no outs to begin with! If you didn’t boo us we’d play better. Can’t you just be happy that we won one game in the past four-game series instead of getting swept like we usually do? It can’t be 2008 every year! You know what? We need a break. We’ll rebuild and get back to you.

The Phillies Are Having a Heckuva Spring Training.*

I Don’t Dress Up My Kids for St. Patrick’s Day

Reason #185630493 I’m failing my children: St. Patrick’s Day.

I opened up Facebook this morning because yesterday afternoon our school board chair wrote a very heartfelt reactionary letter with all the feelz and an actual, for-real, apology–with the words “I’m sorry” in it and everything! I thought I’d be seeing parents respond to the letter, which doesn’t address why the chair was soliciting search firms BEFORE a superintendent’s resignation was ratified in public. For those keeping score at home, this action was in direct violation of Sunshine Laws and of the chair’s explicit promise to be more law-abiding transparent moving forward. (Also, it’s about four weeks too late.)

Instead, I saw everyone’s kids dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day and setting up leprechaun traps (wait what), and I inwardly groaned, because I sent my children on the bus with nary a lick of¬† o’ green between the two of them.

I have nothing to say in my defense. It’s not as though I didn’t know that today was a drinking nationally recognized holiday. A significant part of my family is Irish, despite my longstanding disinclination toward any kind potato dish not slathered in oil and salt. (In college, my grandmother faithfully sent me homemade Irish potatoes–a candy–every year and I gave them away.)¬† Instead, I had merely put a green, glittery shamrock on my door and called it a day. Quelle horreur!

Sometimes I get exhausted from all the dressing up. And besides, earlier this month, I totally HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK with Read Across America week. My kids had to do something different every single day, from wearing a crazy hat to dressing like a book character to finding another friend and coordinating matching outfits. I was on the ball and looked like I completely had everything together, which is pretty much my squad goal at this point in my life.

I think my kids are going to take this one for the team while I figure out what Pinterest idea I can mangle for Easter in two weeks.

 

I Don’t Dress Up My Kids for St. Patrick’s Day

“You’re Not Going to Get What You Want”: Our Current School Board Chair

Usually I like people in office who get shit done. But our school board chair prefers to get shit (costing taxpayer money) done behind closed doors and without the rest of the board members ratifying a contract for said shit.

Our community has been upset with him for awhile. The newspaper has called for his resignation, and a number of parents in the neighborhood who can’t bake something for a fundraiser eagerly signed a petition encouraging him to leave.

The local district attorney is going to investigate our school district upon hearing that it has no money to fund full-time art, music, physical education and library science programs to elementary students, but somehow can afford to pay $70,000 to a law firm to investigate (and eventually exonerate) the previous superintendent; $160,000, or a full year’s salary, as part of the previous superintendent’s settlement; and now, up to $17,000 to hire a search firm to search for a new superintendent. (Search firms have been utilized in finding such great candidates that the district has gone through two superintendents in three years.) In addition, the interim superintendent is charging the district $700/day, plus travel expenses. (His first letter to the community was a defensive justification of his salary. And a good welcome to you, too!)

The chair has sworn in meetings where there are children present, and has told constituents who voted for him that they aren’t going to get what they want; namely, reinstating those elementary school programs and his resignation.

Word on the street is that the chair, who owns a property development company, will have to shell out beaucoup bucks to introduce those programs back into schools, because it will mean a hike in taxes. All of the other school districts around us face the same budget woes from the state and somehow have managed to keep programming intact.

We moved to our neighborhood solely based on the schools, and I voted against the chair when he was up for re-election last November. He and other candidates cross-registered, so if people voted for their ticket, the chair and friends automatically got their vote.

In response to all the publicity–the interim superintendent said his main job was to keep the board off the front page of the newspaper–the vice chair recommended that the board not post meeting times or agenda items, which would violate the school board’s charter.

Now I get to take my kids to the dentist, which is located in the same complex as the chair’s company. I don’t know who this is going to hurt more, me or them.

 

 

“You’re Not Going to Get What You Want”: Our Current School Board Chair

Lockdown

Our local high school went on administrative lockdown today shortly after school started. A bullet, along with a threat, was left in a men’s room. Everyone in the district got a robocall with a basic explanation of what happened, with instructions to go to the district’s website for more information. The website promptly crashed, and the information released in the robocall was also posted on the district’s Facebook page.

High school students were dismissed early and searched before they left the building. All activities were cancelled this evening. The local newspaper reported that authorities arrested a 17-year-old student, who was charged with making terroristic threats. The school is not releasing any more information because it’s part of an official investigation. The authorities aren’t releasing the student’s name because the suspect is a minor.

Administrative lockdown is when kids have to stay in classrooms but teachers can still go ahead with their lessons.

I’m very familiar with the high school, even though my children are in elementary school, because the high school is roughly 50 yards from my house. The district’s middle school is on the same campus, and my kids’ elementary school is 200 yards away from the high school.

I understand why the school and police release as little information as possible, but I was nervous because I didn’t know the nature of the threat. Was it directed against a particular student, or group of students, or a teacher, or the principal? If it’s against one person, then chances are the suspect wasn’t threatening to blow up the entire school–which could possibly impact my children’s school and my home. 

(There was a similar incident with a bullet at the high school two years ago, and the student allegedly had inadvertently brought in leftover ammunition after a weekend hunting trip.)

I really have nothing else to say; lots of parents are exploding all over social media and I don’t have anything constructive to add. Everything goes back to normal tomorrow; I’ll complain more about our school board then.

Lockdown