Sanctions, Cupcakes, and a nine year old.

Robert was nine years old when our paths crossed. I was his special ed teacher and he was one of eighteen kids that I was attempting to teach and referee. Robert arrived with quite a colorful history…letting the air out of the tires on the principals car, tearing down the newly installed paneling in the family game room….letting the water out of his neighbors above ground pool…even a regular habit of opening the doors to the other classrooms and yelling the F word then running away. At way less than five feet tall, and weighing not more than about 75 lbs, this little blond terror was one of my more “challenging” charges way back when.
While his parents were both concerned and slightly terrified of their one and only child and the principal often looked tempted to toss him into the air or have him “placed” elsewhere, I took a totally different approach. Keeping him inside while the kids went out to the playground only gave him an opportunity to trash the boys bathroom or upset the trash can….and giving all the others a treat and excluding him just encouraged him to steal a cupcake from someone else.
When he was banned for life from the school bus (the lady who drove his route said she’d quit the job if she had to keep transporting him)…the principal asked if I would consider driving Robert home for ” a while “. These were obviously different times! Those rides home gave the two of us a chance to actually have some meaningful discussions about Robert’s motives…and a chance for me to make a few suggestions. I was not above out and out bribery in those days…so the few bucks I spent on a Mounds Bar or a Ho Ho helped the conversations develop as well.
Threatening this little ( I was going to say monster…but I never thought of him that way )…or withholding treats or privileges from him just made him wilder and more creative. Since one of the best teacher’s aides at the time just happened to be one classroom away where she ran the in-house “prison”…and since she’d already become one of my best friends, I could also count on her to use her own non threatening skills to try to talk to Robert about his outrageous behavior. Dianne Carter could muster up a stern and awesome attitude with kids like Robert that also projected a deep feeling of understanding, warmth and love. They knew she really cared about every one of them, and that she’d never ever hurt them. As a team, we managed to tame many a savage young beast.
Alas…finally my point. In my humble opinion (of course), The sanctions against North Korea with their own gigantic and terrifying version of Robert, don’t do anything but make him worse. Walking down the aisle and giving all the kids a popsicle except Robert would simply result in yet another nine year old terroristic attack, while sending him over to see Miss Dianne when I was about to throw him over my knee and whallop him worked so much better.
The stakes in my classroom were sometimes pretty high with a kid like Robert…but the stakes with North Korea right now are a matter of life and death. I needed every skill I could muster to actually turn a troubled and dangerous little nine year old into one of my favorite kids, but that took every diplomatic skills that dear Dianne and I could muster up. There are people out there…maybe not any part of Washington DC who might be able to accomplish what might look impossible…but taking away Kim Jong-un’s cupcake seems unlikely to do anything but make a bad situation worse.

Random thoughts on a Thursday

…..If I never hear Ann Coulter’s name again I will have an even happier life.
…..Brought in a stem of Night Blooming Jasmine last night and the scent filled the whole first floor.
……Elliott gave me my very first Jasmine plant….about a hundred years ago.
……Waiting for birthday cards in the mail is just as exciting as it was when I was a kid.
……Woof is mad at me for making her watch Old Yeller…and not warning her about the ending.
…….When I even think of the old Elvis song ” Old Shep ” I want to cry.
…….Choosing paint colors is only second to choosing wallpaper on my list of things I hate to do.
……..Being able to choose the dinner vegetables right out of the garden is a delightful experience.
……..Chris and I will not be winning any awards for our first attempts at making grape jelly.
……..The best he could up with is to use it to flavor a martini.
………Seeing such gorgeous parts of the world absolutely devastated is heartbreaking.
………How about the Bishop in the Midwest who wants to deny married same sex couples both the sacraments and even a Christian burial.
………His “amended” statement was expanded to include straight unmarried couples living in “sinful relationships”.
………How could a nursing home staff with over one hundred patients not have even one person notice that people were dying from the heat?
………Stay tuned for news about the 2017 Nun Run on the school bus on October 28….there is already a group of people lining up in front of Andrew’s house to be the first to sign up.
………I’ve never heard Russia mentioned so often in the news since I was in grade school.
………I loved the young man’s shirt at the gay pride parade ” I’m not gay..but my boyfriend is”.
………When Sister Alberta was in charge of the May Crowning and poor Jane Gibbons showed up in a poodle skirt…Sister Alberta turned a pale shade of green and absolutely bellowed over the church microphone ” POODLES for the Blessed Mother ????”
………Jane was never the same….even tried to make amends by volunteering that her mother would make taffy apples for Sister Alberta’s choir boys.
………When the mother punked out the REAL torture began and lasted forever.
………Had a quiet birthday for one of the first times in my life…just my family at the cottage. My choice….and their first visit to Ripley.
………Haven’t ordered any spring bulbs yet…somehow that feels too much like summer is over.
………My Mom would have turned 100 years old on Sept 25. I don’t know of anyone who ever thought of her as “old” …even at 98.
………I miss her every day….and Woof still likes to nap in her bedroom.
………Get a kick out of hearing The Donald talk about Chuck and Nancy.
………Reading about the reunion of two brothers…one of who was thrown out of the family for being gay…and the parents lying to the other one and saying that his brother had gone missing….makes me sick to my stomach. It STILL happens under the guise of being ” Christian “. YUK
……….Dave and Lou had a perfect wedding. Not just a really NICE wedding…they had a PERFECT wedding.
………Sometimes I spend a lot of time thinking about forgiveness…I guess I’d never forgive someone who hurts an animal…like Michael Vick…or someone who hurts other people intentionally.
……….Wishing my dear friend Kip a speedy recovery.
……….Kip is an example of a true gentle man.
……….Note to self…..do not have dinner at the Antheneum Luau for as long as you live.
……….Funny how most of us would not spend 40 bucks on a bottle of wine in a liquor store…but it seems like a “bargain” in a nice restaurant.
……….Fresh peaches up near the cottage are delicious.
……….Poinsettias in my little greenhouse are growing like maniacs.
……….I sure hope Tuitt isn’t out for the season!
……….Ray told me to say that just to throw people for a loop.
……….REALLY want to see Bette Midler in Hello Dolly.
……….Got a kick out of myself wheeling a shopping cart of produce IN to the local supermarket for all of my friends who work there.
……….I think I’m going to have a Halloween costume sale….most of the guys I know refuse to wear the same gown twice.
……….The older I get the more I treasure those unexpected moments of real intimacy with total strangers…when something just “connects”…and the authenticity and transparency just magnificently warm two hearts.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON A THURSDAY

…..Pittsburgh made national news last night with a focus group of Trump supporters.
……Their one word description of their guy didn’t sound all too supportive however.
…….There are some very fine people in Houston….with very little concern about the color of their fellow citizens skin.
……..How can it possibly be August 31 already……January was endless.
……..Harvey is not on the guest list for Saturday’s wedding in Girard PA.
……..Fun Fun Fun at the Beach Boys concert last weekend.
…….Yuk Yuk Yuk for the food at the luau in the old hotel.
……..I must be one of the only people in the world who takes food IN to the supermarket….last week I took in a shopping cart of produce for my buddies who work there.
……..I won the Powerball last week….4.00.
……..I don’t care about Melania’s footwear.
……..Maybe they should have evacuated Houston.
……..The Autumn Clematis is in it’s glory.
……..My favorite note from a substitute when I returned to the classroom..” Mr.
Marshall your lesson plans were wonderful, but I can honestly say that today was the worst day of my life.”
………Off to pay my respects for another friend who died way too soon.
………Lousy year for sweet peas around here.
………My worst job was being a shoe salesman.
………Bonnie Westbrook makes great lasagna.
………I need a good gutter cleaner…..who isn’t afraid of heights.
………Michael Culligan is a wonderful new friend.
………I don’t think the eggplants on our counter are going to make themselves into parmesean on their own.
………The secret garden here is looking great…thanks to Ray and Jasmine.
……….Memorial service on an island off the coast of Maine this weekend…releasing an old friend’s spirit into his favorite spot in the world. Farewell Ray McLaughlin.
……….The tulip bulbs are in some of the stores…takes a real optimist to plant bulbs that won’t bloom until next Spring.
………..It’s hard for me to picture the current president embracing a flood victim.
………..Either that comes naturally to people or it doesn’t.
………..I never liked Joel Olsteen. His personal lifestyle offends me.
………..I haven’t read the hateful Nashville proclamation yet. Jesus would hate people like that.
………..My favorite gift ever came from my brother about 30 years ago….a pair of REAL AUTHENTIC nun shoes.
…………Zing Zang makes the best bloody mary mix.
…………I think some seeds have sprouted in my Suburu,
…………The photo above is people waiting to volunteer in Houston…TRULY what I call “FINE PEOPLE.”

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON A THURSDAY

…..Anita Bryant was the face of homophobia when I was coming out in the 70′s…part of history now. I don’t think I’d like to see a statue of her…history or not.
…..Seems like a lot of the confederate statues might belong in confederate cemeteries.
……A luau on Saturday night and a Beach Boys concert….it’s still summer.
……Waves on the lake were so big on Wednesday that the ground shook.
……Had a nice long chat with my old friend Loretta last night…just hearing her name has always made me smile.
……We used to dig out plants from abandoned houses.
…….I love my little brother.
…….Woof and I had a leisurely walk through the neighborhood tonight…she still wonders where her friend the Donut Lady is.
…….Dinner outside last night at our local Italian restaurant…good buddies.
…….I thought Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Now either it’s you and me or the government shuts down.
…….Shouts of “lock her up” at the Trump rally the other night…people sounded like a bunch of idiots.
…….Chris and Dan got seasick last week fishing on the lake.
…….Sister Alberta shared a set of choir books with Sister Evarista. Sister Alberta’s classroom was directly above Sister Evarista’s classroom. Once when Sister Evarista declined to have Ronald Whitfield deliver the books upstairs to her…Sister Alberta walked to the middle of the classroom and banged her foot up and down on the floor several times.
………The night blooming Jasmines are going crazy the last few weeks.
………I still have apocalyptic supplies of peppers and zucchini.
………Looking forward to some creative fun with wedding flowers on Sept 1.
………Woof and I are making peach chutney tomorrow.
………The president should have sent a get well message to John McCain when he was in Arizona…instead he chose to taunt him.
……….Just finished reading “The woman in cabin 10″..nice beach read..but not great literature.
……….Chris is reading “Last train to Paradise”…about the railroad to Key West.
……….Storm clouds brewing.
……….I don’t much care about people kneeling or standing during the national anthem. Seems the country has bigger fish to fry.
……….Jack and David had fun picking peaches in North East last week.
……….Ever since the fabulous photo of my fabulous cousin Eleanor holding a very full glass of wine was published…we’ve been referring to a glass like that as an ” Eleanor”.
………..I’m almost afraid to make any more derogatory comments about Donald Trump….because it’s begun to feel like picking on someone who is mentally ill.
………..I really know a lot of really really good people…and very very few of them go to church.
……….My brother is insisting that I empty out my car and let him have it detailed.
……….He feels that the combination of mulch…vegetables…dog bed…and old french fries isn’t healthy for me.
……….My friend from Vermont says that she and her ex husband got over their divorce sooner than some of her friends did.
……….I wish my swimming instructor when I was 14 could see my spot on impersonation of Esther Williams.
………Maybe certain monuments belong more in historical surroundings than in public places of honor.
………I still say that no “fine people” will march with nazis…or KKK members.
………Sarah Huckabee has such a nice way about her.
……….YUK
………I love the post office….and stamps…and mailboxes where it’s like magic to drop something in one…and have someone hand deliver it in a day or two.
………My husband makes me laugh…on a regular basis.
………Learning when to “let go” was a lifelong process for me.
………Remind me to plant garlic in October.
………Banning transgendered Americans from serving in the military makes me sick.
………And sends a horrible message to an “at risk” population of young people.
………Anita Bryant deserved the pie in the face.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON A THURSDAY

……Politics is probably not good for one’s blood pressure.
……There are certainly many diversions from the Russia investigation.
……I can only imagine what a black person feels like when they see a statue every day of someone who fought for the right to keep slaves.
…….Or what someone like my friend Max who lost his entire family at the hands of the nazis feels when he sees a nazi emblem.
…….Or what one of my Muslim friends feels when they hear about banning them from entering this country.
…….Or what my old friend from Mexico feels when he’s called a rapist and a murderer while he works every day at a hospice in Mexico city.
…….AND…my night blooming jasmine is intoxicating.
…….I love being married.
…….If God really likes me better than anyone else on earth I’ve asked him to send me an unmistakable sign asap….like darkening the sun or something.
…….Tina Fay on Weekend Update….made me laugh out loud.
…….I hate to see people who are destined to end up on the wrong side of history.
……..I once sailed to England on the QE ll…with great old friends.
……..My poinsettias are growing like crazy in my little greenhouse….it’s too early to look at them so I cover my eyes while I water.
……..Mike Pence believes in Conversion Therapy….illegal in many states…and unbelievably damaging to it’s victims.
……..I agree with the Trump folks who say that racism really reared it’s ugly head when Obama was elected. ” There’s just something about him that I don’t like.” was one of my favorites.
……..I’ve now made over 6700 recipes that use zucchini.
……..I still worry about the fish in our pond too much.
……..Doing flowers for a BIG wedding up North next month….my garden might look a bit different after my harvesting.
……..Who the hell would open a crypt,,,take the body out…and cut off the head and arms? Was I dreaming or was that really on the news.
…….Those manufacturing counsels didn’t work out too well in DC…I love the one that never even had a meeting.
…….The stock market is certainly making the rich a whole lot richer.
……..Me….and my friends…not so much.
…….Woof was glad that no Boxers showed up at the hate rally in Virginia.
…….My crepe myrtles are glorious this year…pink, white and red.
…….Thank God for white wine on these afternoons when it’s too early to drink.
…….Had a blast with my old buddy George last weekend. Great laughs at the same old stories.
……..If George doesn’t have a nick name for you….he doesn’t like you very much.
…….August 15th was the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. I was born on Her birthday.
…….and conceived on Immaculate Conception.
…….Good friend who begged me to give Trump a chance….gave him one…and has now had sufficient.
……..I’m glad the president didn’t go to the memorial service in Virginia…he probably would have talked about the election….and how he won New Hampshire (he didn’t)
…….Social Justice is very important to me…right up there with music and flowers and Woof. (in reverse order of course)
…….Sailing down the Seine in Paris with Chris while a French woman sang the Ave Maria as we passed Notre Dame will always be a treasured highlight for me.
…….We need a healer in the Whitehouse…not someone who makes a crisis worse.
…….” Home is where the piano is.”

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON A THURSDAY

…..Rooms at Motel 6 in Nashville are around 800.00 a night…because of the upcoming eclipse.
…..Our pumpkins are looking good in the garden.
…..Seems to me that almost all Mexican restaurants are pretty good.
…..Woof is mad at me because I was telling her how wonderful she is and she was wagging her tail. When I switched into the Lord’s prayer she kept wagging and I called her on not really listening.
……Sister Alberta frequently added an extra prayer for the class to recite…”for the boy who is mocking God.”
……Yep.
……Chris says it feels like Fall. I say it feels like August 10th.
……Wonderful evening with my former North East neighbors the other night. A tour of my garden turned into a wine fest and dinner in the moonlight.
……Mike and Andrew seem to be on a trip of a lifetime.
……The dolphins off the coast of Australia are exhibiting increased homosexual behavior due to the warming waters….when the GOP hears this maybe they’ll finally do something about climate change.
…….If I lived in Guam I would be packing up to leave.
…….Low poll numbers seem to lead directly towards another war.
…….I admired Glen Campbell for how he tackled his disease…and of course for his musical legacy.
…….Seems kinda serious to have the FBI raid your home before dawn.
…….Dan and Chris had better be providing a fresh fish dinner in the next few days.
…….Our zucchinis are often too little to pick on Sundays…but by the next Friday they’re the size of a torpedo.
…….I have so many old photographs to go through that I’m sure I’ll never live long enough to do that.
…….Helen and I never get tired of our stories about growing up.
…….My secret garden is looking more like a well kept secret thanks to Ray and his pruning shears.
…….Japanese Beetles are not my friends.
…….The peach crop is finally arriving around Lake Erie.
……..The president’s words about fire and fury gave me a chill similar to my response to “shock and awe”…..when the US attacked Iraq.
……..Gathering with good friends at the lake this weekend for the meteor shower.
……..I hope the members of the armed forces who can ward off a nuclear missile aren’t transgendered.

Random thoughts on a Thursday

…..Mr. Trump….in order to receive a standing ovation…the audience has to rise up from a sitting position.
…..The Boy Scouts appeared to have been already on their feet (due to not having chairs available) when you spoke to them.
……and…maybe the president of Mexico just forgot that he called you…
……Once while my eighth grade class was standing to pray The Angelus, Sister Alberta wove her way down the aisle and noticed my hands not in the proper praying position…and softly whispered in my ear….”You Demon”.
…….Woof has a crush on a big white German Shepherd named Vinnie.
……..We’re hoping Vinnie is a cougar.
……..Note to self:……there are a lot of zucchini recipes.
……..We have a lot of zucchini.
……..Send me an email if you want some….if I’m not here I’ll leave it on the porch.
……..I always stop what I’m doing and say a prayer when the church bells toll for a funeral.
……..Woof and I are making bread and butter pickles today.
……..Chris turns into a ten year old every time he jumps into the lake.
……..That’s really enchanting to watch.
……..My first girlfriend only grew Cosmos in her garden.
……..She’s kinda still my girlfriend too.
……..Lost a member of my Big Chill group last week. RIP Ray McLaughlin.
……..Ray was the perfect host at his summer home off the coast of Maine.
……..My Mom would have been 100 years old next month. We knew she was getting old….but it didn’t seem that she was approaching that number even when she turned 98.
………My cousin Eleanor Schano is teaching us all how to never get old.
………Singing Irish songs around the piano at the lake house was a hoot.
………I think the remaining Trump supporters might want to at least see where the lifeboats are kept at this point.
………I love the Beach Boy concerts.
………Why do January and February seem endless…while May June and July seem to fly by?
………A pool…good friends…and Blue Moon helped me survive during the roughest summer of my life in 2015.
………I’m anxious to see Al Gore’s new film.
………There seems to be a glaring lack of courage in the current GOP.
………A few sweet peas here and a few there….too much rain I guess.
………I talked my senior classmates at South Hills Catholic into performing in drag….and singing ” There is nothing like a Guy ”
………That’s true.
……….When I was the organist at St Joe’s in Carnegie I once asked Father Kress what we should do about half of the congregation still singing Tantum Ergo in Latin while the other half was singing it in English. He replied ” I don’t care if they sing it in Polish ” and slammed the door on me.
………Sometimes I wondered if Father Kress maybe didn’t like me.
………My first job was selling cotton candy, popcorn, and ice balls in Kiddieland at West View Park.
……….Does anyone who knows Chris think he’d be afraid to ride any thrill ride in the world?
……….And me?
……….Ray and I spent some time yesterday trying to figure out how to open the hood on his car. He’s only had it for seven years….
……….I just learned how to record movies….I’m set for the next 12 years.
……….Bev said I should read “The woman in cabin ten” if I want a good summer page turner.
……….Bev knows me.
……….I have a hard time paring down guest lists.
……….What do we say our young men and women who are killed in Afghanistan died for?
……….The stock market is doing great ! I’m sure that most of my readers are also seeing fabulous paychecks!
……….” A friend is someone whose foot gets cold when you have a hole in your shoe.”