What I really want to do is msg Ouroboros and say, Hey, what's up? I guess that's out of the question.

I'm so far from home right now that I feel an increased sense of being cut loose, not that Matthew is cut loose but that I am. But I am not, of course. I am only far from home.

I don't know what happened. We lost touch years ago, when he moved to Oregon. I only saw him once or twice since then, running into him by chance when he was in town. Memories of a lot of good times flood into my mind, but they were all long ago.

I can't say we were friends. But here suddenly, unlooked-for, a hole has opened up in the fabric of the world.

Rest in peace, Matthew.

Today I do not really feel like writing this. Last night the girls said they were going to make supper, they said they were going to unload the dishwasher, and clean the kitchen up after supper was ready. They didn't do any of these things. I made supper, their older sister emptied the dishwasher, and my husband cleaned the kitchen. I woke up earlier this morning, and I actually had a lot of fun biking in to school with my oldest. My youngest left earlier than we did. My oldest has a softball game and band today. She was crying because she had to carry her backpack, lunch, softball bag, and her clarinet. I asked if she needed help, she asked if I would bring her softball bag to school, and wanted to know if I could transport her clarinet which I was able to do for her.

The parenting class is paying dividends. The girls are suffering the consequences of their actions, and learning that their clarinet and lost soccer cleats are not mom and dad's problem. They are making mistakes at a younger age, and I've really seen a dramatic attitude change in my oldest. Last night she remembered that she had forgotten to have me sign some homework of hers. I didn't say anything about the sheet of paper she left on my desk, this morning I was pleasantly surprised when I asked her about it on the way to school, and she remarked that it was in her backpack in her binder.

Yesterday she reminded me that she had a softball game. I like the communication, but I felt there was perhaps an expectation that I would be responsible for gathering her uniform and equipment so I asked what her plans were for that after I thanked her for letting me know about the game. She said she had thrown her uniform downstairs. My policy is to wash clothes when I have a full load so as not to waste water, energy, or soap. The girls have a nice sea of clothing littering their bedroom floor. They took showers last night so this morning the only towels I could find for the adults in the house were crumpled up on their floor since I had thrown the others down to get washed.

These are small things now, but small lessons can add up to the realization that when it comes time for softball or soccer, they need to be prepared since neither their father, nor I went into their room and strew their shin guards and uniforms around. I would love for the girls to continue playing soccer. The exercise is wonderful, I really like the coaches, and the social aspects are rewarding for us ladies. Another improvement I've seen lately is that my oldest daughter is much better about accepting what her parents say even though she may not like it. There's a YouTube video that illustrates what happens when people have an attitude problem. Ridiculousness is heaped on until the person stops bitching. I love it, and it's nice to see the girls starting to grasp that sometimes, life sucks, and complaining about it only makes it worse.

I had to talk to the students in after school care about lining up again yesterday. I didn't like it, but it was interesting to hear how quickly they were able to come up with the right answers when I took behavior out of a recess situation. If everyone on the highway is speeding, and I am pulled over, the police don't care if I was moving with the flow of traffic. I can read the posted speed limits, and I'm responsible for operating my motor vehicle safely. I also gave the kids a grocery store example. If I lose my job, and I go to the store, the store will not give me food unless I have money to pay for it. We talked about effective teachers, and cooperation. From my examples they could see that I was better off if I cooperated with my boss and they were able to explain that people who are ineffective at their jobs get fired.

I really don't think I'm in danger of getting fired for being ineffective. I don't have a formal teaching degree, and I wouldn't necessarily say that being a parent makes one effective at managing children effectively, but I think I do a good job when I'm there. I don't raise my voice. I interact with the kids. I keep them safe, and I make them accountable. I also like to have fun with the kids, and since I'm not there all the time, and I don't really have to teach them anything as far as a curriculum goes, I'm able to do things their regular teachers may not have time for.

I still haven't heard whether school wants me back next year. They could be assuming I'll be back, not talking to me about it could be their way of letting me go, I'd like to know either way, and I'm going to talk to my boss about it today even though I'm not really looking forward to the conversation. It feels confrontational to me even though as an employee, I have the right to ask questions about my future. Part of my problem, I was talking to a friend of mine about this yesterday, I'm not really sure what I want to do. I really enjoy working with the kids. Yesterday a girl that is almost always the last one to get picked up wrote me a beautiful letter of apology. I wrote her back, and I felt bad that she had to speak to someone else about not lining up when I called because she is usually not disobedient like that.

The After School Care program has a lot of potential. I think I'm able to connect with the kids, I'm not perfect, there are things I could be doing differently, but for the most part, I feel that I'm a top notch employee, and I've gotten a lot of very positive feedback from the students and parents alike. I didn't get very many things crossed off of my list yesterday. I wrote some things, and I'm still having fun playing around with my characters. There are some things I need to do with them, but right now this is a very rough draft, and as a friend of mine reminded me, you don't want to stop the flow of a piece by worrying about what you're putting down. My new plan is to just get it out regardless of how poor the quality may be since there will be time later to go back and clean things up.

I can't remember if I've written about this already, maybe I have, but I have May's bills paid, and a check I can cash tomorrow. I can pay part of June's bills with my paycheck. My step-daughter owes me some rent money. She's been an absolute witch lately, and the talk my husband had with her hasn't helped as far as I'm concerned. If she doesn't like it here, she's free to move out. I went into her room yesterday, found an empty oyster tin with a fork in it, an empty microwave container of soup, a cereal bowl with a spoon, and she left a banana peel on my coffee table that had stuck to the surface.

Urban decay is not usually applied to the inside of people's minds, but that's my term for people who shun fresh air and favor tattoos, printed t-shirts with unwholesome imagery, an attitude problem, and have an endless stream of complaints about anything and everything. Things happen to them, they don't make things happen. I saw a Facebook post after my husband told me about it. There was a comment about applying for customer service jobs and fucking hating people. That earned an unfriending from my father-in-law, she's burning bridges, and I think she's going to regret that later on in life because her grandpa is in a position to help her financially, and I've heard that he's willing to do that, but he's not into handouts, and I can't explain to her that her life would be easier if she put a little more into her work and family life.

My husband has a chance to go to Florida for a conference. We had talked about taking the girls, but none of them have earned that type of a trip. I don't really want to go to Disney World. It would probably be a neat trip for the girls, but that's a lot of money, and they're getting to the point where the things they like are more expensive, and I'm not really interested in taking anyone who can't do the minimum they're expected to do at home. This is my last full week of work. In a way, I'm excited. In another way, the loss of work means less paycheck, and less money to pay my bills along with anything unexpected. I have a lot of thinking to do about what I want to do, and what my options are, there are no real easy answers here.

Take care,


There is a sometimes comforting tendency to reduce something that began as words on a screen and ended as words on a screen to simply those, phosphorescent letters glowing in a dark room until powered down for bedtime, but this is a deceptive trap analogous to reducing the contents of a book to its front and back jacket design or a sandwich to the two slices of bread enclosing its filling. When things head south it feels better to think that you're just composting two moldy loaf heels or recycling a piece of cardboard or replacing one arbitrary screen full of words with another selection of the infinite possibilities, but that's just a mental trick. A life is found between those pages; the world sits between those two buttered slices of bread, on a bed of lettuce. If you ignore them, you lose it all, consigning yourself to a superficial experience of donuts with the jelly filling siphoned out and waxy candy bars lacking their chewy nougat centre.

(These are bad examples for this gourmand case, but we work with what we know.)

We will inescapably have all the time in the world for empty donuts and sandwiches, books and screens devoid of text. But until then, seemingly selfish dismay that their substance has been taken from us, that we weren't done with it yet, is an appropriate response.

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