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4 kittens

Wait, what does 'rare' mean.

Posted on 2015.07.19 at 20:49
I found this letter from my grandmother. She wrote it in 2008, at age 86. The letter is addressed to Anthony S, executive director under the new ownership of the retirement home.

Dear Anthony,

This letter is a follow-up to our conversation on October 2 in which I expressed dismay concerning two statements that appear in the website of [New Retirement Home]. After noting that "New Retirement Home (formerly Old Retirement Home) is now part of the nationally acclaimed Pacific Retirement Services Family," the website highlights four new features, only two of which are correct (brand new name, brand new apartments). The remaining two are flagrantly wrong, namely: "We have a brand new program!" and "More importantly, we have a whole new way of thinking about retirement living!"

I realize that the aim of the management team was to promote [New Home], but it should not have insulted [Old Home], its predecessor, by implicitly discrediting [Old Home's] programs and concept about retirement living. I also am sure that the insult was not intentional, but was an inadvertent consequence of being insensitive to the time-honored heritage of our retirement community. Instead, the website could have expressed pride in being in a position to build upon [Old Home]'s decades-old outstanding legacy.

[Another paragraph about all the different people who are being insulted.]

Even though an apology on the part of the management team would be appropriate, I don't expect that. But I do expect that the current websites be modified in the spirit of this letter as soon as possible.

A bit of history to explain how I became aware of the website in question: In 2005, my life at what was then [Old Home], was filmed, during which I referred to this community with its programs and mission as being "the gold standard." Recently, the editors of the film, learning of the name change, requested access to the [New Home] website. I took the opportunity to visit the website, and that's where the story behind this letter really begins. Now I have the task of contacting the editors to apprise them of my concerns.

Anthony, when you suggested I write this letter, I was reassured that I would be personally contacted, at least by telephone. I trust that my concern will not come to naught.

I close with best wishes and high regard to you.


Grandma had mailed me a copy just to keep me informed of important matters. I found the letter this week, cleaning out the mezzanine. The mezzanine is to be a reading nook escape for the kids.

There are three boxes of childhood fragile schwag that I've not known what to do with.

I've already sorted childhood detritus into piles: toys to toss into our kid's toys, stuff I want to display or feel sentimental about, and Pile 3. Stuff that maybe the kids will want? Stuff I don't care about unless they like it and feel sentimental about it? in which case I want them to have it? But what the hell do you do with it in the meantime? Things like little china tea sets and very tiny clay teddy bears, too fragile to throw into the general melee.

I bought this from IKEA:

My plan is to fill those tiny drawers with all these fragile little knick-knacks and leave it, temptingly, in the corner of the reading nook, in the mezzanine. Let the kids have their own private Secret Garden moments and I'll find out in twenty years what happened.


Hokey Pokey had a particularly in-depth incident report. This does not happen with Ms. Jennifer, his Pokey-whisperer, but unfortunately there are other adults in the world. Kicking, biting, screaming, etc.  The adults wanted him to sit down and be quiet, he wanted to tell his side of the story, shit erupted.

That night we had a big conversation about being submissive. How it feels completely unfair, but it's what (some) adults are demanding when they're mad. Complete, obedient submissiveness, at the exact moment when it feels most unfair. Later, when the adult is not angry anymore, then you can ask to tell your side of the story. We called it "being a puppy dog". Certain adults, when they're mad, require that the kids be a puppy dog. At the exact moment when it feels most unfair.

Pokey was not thrilled about this idea, but he at least grasped the concept clearly.

"And furthermore," I said, "This kind of thing will happen even more in elementary school. Right, Hawaii?"
Hawaii said, "At my school, it's super rare."
"Really?" I exclaimed, "That's great!"
Hawaii said, "Wait, what does 'rare' mean?"
"Almost never," I said.
"Oh," she said, "I meant the opposite. It happens constantly."

That makes way more sense. I laughed.

In Florida, the older girls made up a song and dance routine, riffing on "I'm Sexy and I Know It."  The next morning, Hawaii quietly pulled me aside and asked what "sexy" meant. I said, "You know how people can be good-looking and attractive, or sometimes not very good-looking? You can be good-looking in a kid way or in an adult way. Being sexy is being good-looking in an adult way."  Who knows, I think that was okay.

So burdened by blossoms. Too heavy. Must lay head down.


Hawaii discovered Jessie, the Disney tween show, about a nanny from Texas who is the nanny of a bunch of diverse kids adopted by movie stars. By 'diverse' I mean 'a wide range of stereotypes'.

I actually don't hate it. It's terrible in the exact same way that family sitcoms have always been terrible. There's even a laugh-track. I thought we were done with those, but I suspect kids like being cued.

Ace loves Jessie and is choosing it lately on her night to choose. When the two year old chooses the awful, stereotyped tween show, it seems a little tragic and deprived. But the theme song is really catchy.

When you change Ace's diaper, she has a little naked dance. It goes, "I have a booty-booty, I shake it all about," complete with shaking it all about.

"Let's go, Mommy!" she said, tugging me towards the living room, "Let's play in the Large Motor Room." That cracked me up. (That being a daycare phrase, of course.)

The kids are usually in bed by 8:00. Hawaii and Pokey generally fall promptly asleep. Sometimes we hear Ace, babbling to herself until 9:30 or 10 pm.

Last night we started sleep-training Rascal. It was awful. Pokey and Hawaii trained easily. Ace was a little harder. I think Jammies and I are becoming softies. Rascal took one full hour to settle down. Tonight he took twenty minutes. Then, later, the big kids woke him up, and he took another twenty minutes. Steadfast, Heebie. Don't bail now.

I eat coral snakes like you for breakfast.


I actually had a passing interest in going to this concert:

Some latent teenage desire stirred. I had an honest-to-god carpe diem moment. Nobody was free to go with me, and I never called around for a babysitter (since Jammies had hockey) and so the concert and I passed each other like two ships, each docked about 30 miles apart for a few hours on a Friday night. I rationalized, "They'd be gray, wrinkly shells of their former glory and the whole night would be a wobbly-voiced disaster."  Diem not carpe'd.


My laptop died on Thursday. The specialists told me that 2009 macs are considered vintage. Jerks.


rebeccastob at 2015-07-24 02:46 (UTC) (Link)
I really need to go to a concert sometime soon - This summer has been all heads down, work, kids, etc. BTW - my court date this past Monday went extremely well. I got full custody with the restrictions on E. that I was asking for. He gets visitation every other weekend. Its not final but pretty major. But now I am getting used to the idea of being a single parent full time.
heebie_geebie at 2015-07-27 01:06 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad the custody arrangements worked out like you wanted! But being a single parent is definitely intense. Do you have family and/or a good support network nearby?
(Anonymous) at 2015-07-29 14:04 (UTC) (Link)
I feel like I can't forbid Jessie because where else are they going to see a little transracially adopted black girl with natural hair on tv? And yet she's supposed to be African (Ugandan, maybe?) and yet acts sterotypically black American despite there not really being other black characters on the show? Big old whatever! They watch and I don't bother complaining much.

heebie_geebie at 2015-07-29 14:56 (UTC) (Link)
I had no idea she was supposed to be African. With the Indian kid, they cannot let him shake the stereotype long enough to put down the yoga pose, but perhaps they're not well-versed in African tropes. That said, I think the show is far less terrible than the Suite Life of Zack and Cody or whatever that show was, at least.
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