Testing…testing…does this thing work?

No, I’m not talking about this neglected website. I’m talking about the grueling season that is right now bearing down on many of California’s kids. It’s testing season, folks, the time of year when No. 2 pencils and prison-like lock downs on school campuses reign. It’s the season that helps make Pearson one of the wealthiest companies in the world (read that thing with tissues in hand because you will weep); the season that causes Michelle Rhee, Ben Austin, Rahm Emmanuel, and other like-minded education “reformers” to gleefully piddle in their pants at the idea of closing more “failing” …

What happens when you eliminate government “waste”

It is not an over-exaggeration to say that I almost passed out when I received my most recent water bill from the City of San Diego Water & Wastewater Services. Our bi-monthly bill has been increasing in breathtaking amounts across the last three billing cycles, despite our conservation efforts and comparatively small square footage. According to our bill, we’ve used 41.76% more water than last year at this time, and a combined 75% more if we add together our last three bills. Granted, fees have gone up. But friends of ours with more than two acres and avocado trees …

The Scarlett Letter on my shirt will be an “O”

I am neck deep in a very serious decision making process about whether I am going to opt my child out of the many, many standardized tests that are headed in her direction. And I don’t mean just for this year; I mean opt out for the foreseeable future. She is set to take her first test next week—a district mandated benchmark exam complete with multiple choice bubbles!—and as of now, since I’m still in information gathering mode, she will be sitting for it. But lo, this rabbit hole is fraught with switchbacks and multi-forked roads and what I’ve …

Teaching to the test

My first grader is in a French immersion school where she is learning nothing but French all day, everyday, and therefore cannot read English. She will not have any English instruction until third grade. Keeping this in mind, here is tonight’s fill-in-the-bubble math problem from her math workbook (the same workbook that instructed her to measure lengths using cubes that we do not have at home): The red pillow takes the least space. The yellow pillow takes more space than the blue pillow. Which of the following is not true (again, imagine bubbles instead of numerals, and the backward …

Who’s up for a little competition?

One of the blogs I follow in my Google Reader is Life in Style, the ModCloth blog. If you don’t know ModCloth, I’d recommend checking it out. They have tons of affordable darling clothes, shoes and accessories—many from independent designers—in a broad spectrum of styles. I would even say it’s the one place to shop online that has something for everyone. And I like the blog because it features interviews with interesting entrepreneurial women, outfit combinations that inspire remixing of my boring old clothes, recipes that inspire remixing of my boring old meal routine, and do-it-yourself projects. Not that …

The definition of counterproductive, otherwise known as, I need a new career

When dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s and entering endless streams of data (in duplicate and triplicate) at my day job, my mind tends to wander down Income Disparity Road. It generally happens when I’m determining compliance, which is a fancy way of describing the menial task of counting each and every pill that research participants have returned. Actually, it happens a lot when I’m counting, and it’s completely involuntary. I’ll be counting away and suddenly notice that I’m all, “one-hundred-and-five, one-hundred-and-ten,…I wonder how much Jennifer Lopez makes in one hour…, one-hundred-and-fifteen, one-hundred-and-twenty, …Jennifer Aniston is probably sitting …

The confession

I didn’t mean for it to happen. I really didn’t. But there is only so much patience a woman can muster when combing and braiding this fabulously fabulous hair: And usually, I got this. Twists, zulu knots, braids…I’m good. But Ruby requested small braids, which is another story. Doing Ruby’s hair is not a rinse-and-brush-and-run-out-the-door kind of event. It’s more of a pick-your-three-favorite-movies-and-grab-a-pillow-for-your-tushy kind of event. The girl has got a lot of hair. And no front teeth. And one egg. She’s such a goofball. Anyway, if you take all of the hair in the universe and put it …

Going the long way, sort of

Until about six weeks ago, we had planned on hopping in the car tonight to begin an epic family trek up the coast. We need to be in Lake Tahoe by Sunday at 2:00 PM because we are attending our first family camp with Pact. More about that later. The idea was to meander up the coast, stopping when we wanted, wherever we wanted, playing it all by ear. We were going to pack snacks. We were going to play car bingo. We were going to sing songs and have bonding family time, creating memories that Ruby would cherish …

Kiss me I’m irish

I’m half Irish,maybe. I align myself with being from Ireland even though I don’t know how many generations my family goes back. I do know my dad’s family is Murphy. His dad was 100% Irish and he had the liver to prove it. I understand having the last name of Murphy in Ireland is like being Smith here. Murphy means “sea-warrior” or sea-battler.” Hell, yeah. My mom’s maiden name is Kerley, another Irish name. So I figure, because I want to, I’m 50% Irish. Who wants to be a mutt? I grew up with my dad speaking in a …

LOOKING IN THE MIRROR

Today I was in a meeting when I got the text from David. Were not going jack is an ahole i don’t know what the hell is wrong with him. My stomach clutched. Poor Jack. Last night Jack had insisted on taking a shower, unheard of for my six-year-old boy. When he got out of the shower, he asked me to cut his hair so he could “look sharp.” “Jack, I’m not going to cut your hair,” I said. “How about if I put some gel in it and comb it down?” He nodded. “Mom, can you trim my …