Black History Month…Who Gives a Shit? –

I’ve waxed a bit passionate in response to an acquaintance’s recent reply to a Facebook post sharing Mr. Trump’s “Black History Month” speech (transcript).  His comment was, “Don’t c a white history month??  WTF who gives a shit.”

No, there is no White History Month. What we fail to recognize, as the “superior” race, is that every month is White History Month. We don’t require a small segment of time be dedicated to our achievements – we’ve got it covered every day in every history book in America. A vast majority of the original black population was not here because they wanted to be. Whites came to America, took the land from Natives, then stripped blacks from their home lands – scattering families – and shipped them to the Caribbean, South America, and US. Blacks crossed the Atlantic by the tens of thousands in conditions deplorable even for livestock. If “fortunate” enough to survive the trip, they were forced to work, forced to practice Christianity, forced to learn the English language, and forbidden to be educated (lest they gain an upper hand and put us in our place). Post Emancipation, when blacks were no longer of use to whites, we tried to force them out of America. To where? We invited them to return where they came from – generations passed, families displaced – to a place which was no longer anymore home to them than here. The black population was left with little choice but to lay down roots where they felt largely unwanted. Here, they established homes, raised families, got educated, remained productive members of society (at least as much so as any white man), and FOUGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY. I give a shit. I have black friends and black family who have overcome great obstacles and face many uncertainties. My 11-year-old could have delivered a speech with more heart than Mr. Trump on this topic. My point in sharing the transcript is that if a President cannot deliver a more genuine, fact-based speech on one of the most important aspects of our country, then perhaps it’s best to say nothing at all. He cannot meekly feign support and admiration for that which he has already displayed a blatant disrespect.


“Mom’s Christmas Suit”


Twas two weeks before Christmas, Mom needed a suit
To ole J.C. Penney’s she dashed with some loot
She returned with a secret all wrapped in sack
Couldn’t be pressed to say if twas red or twas was black
My sister and I simply dying to know
“Okay,” she agreed, “I’ll put on a show!”
“Sit down and get comfy while I go get dressed”
“Don’t mind if it’s wrinkly I’ve not time to press.”
My sister and I snuggled in side by side
Our boyfriends were looking like we’d lost our minds
Down the hall sashayed Mother, a vision in red
Our poor dog, Peanut, had so much to dread
Mom was proud, she looked lovely, we could not deny
“A walk’s not enough, I’ll come out on the fly!”
Mother retreated back into her room
She swayed down the hallway like Ms. Heidi Klum
Back straight, head up, eyes looking ahead
(Here comes the part poor Peanut did dread)
Mother tripped on the rug and started to stumble
“Oh these bitchin’ heels,” we heard her grumble
She tripped and she tumbled and stepped on the dog
She laughed, then passed gas, (what’s happened to Mom?!)
But the show wasn’t over, she hadn’t yet landed
She twisted and twirled, she’d performed far too candid
She crashed through 2 stools then hit the bar
“Well shit, damn it all, that’s my worst show by far!”
My sister, the boyfriends, and I sat there staring
In much disbelief while my mother stood glaring
Embarrassment, certainly, at that time ensued
She blushed, and she giggled, and then came unglued
She laughed, as did we, then she laughed even more
The next thing we knew, there was pee on the floor!
“Well son-of-a-bitch, my suit AND my shoes?!”
They were filling with pee, crafting more Christmas blues
Down the hall Mother stormed leaving one soggy trail
As the rest of us out in the parlor did wail
She hung up the suit and allowed it to dry
What she did after that will stay ‘tween her and I
She looked stunning on Christmas, as Moms always do
But she wasn’t wearing a red suit or red shoes 🙂

“Cherish the Damn Rock”


I remember reading somewhere that if a child hands me a rock, I should cherish it. Since I saw it on the Internet, it had to be true. Therefore, when I die, my children are going to find rocks, drawings, buttons, atrocious…ly beautiful hand-made jewelry, barely legible notes, toenails, and the occasional dried scab taped to a small piece of paper with a story. They’ll find these things tucked randomly away; and they’ll look at each other with knowing grins, shrug their shoulders, and wonder, “What the hell was WRONG with Mom?” Many things, kids…many many things – but I tell you this:

I’ve been teaching preschool for nearly a month; and one thing I observe almost daily is three and four-year-old children finding treasures. A rock, a particular colored leaf, a piece of kale with caterpillar bites taken out of it – as if they’ve found the rarest, most precious, never-before-seen item on the planet, they protect these items. It always starts out with an incredulous proclamation of discovery followed by a breathless, “I’ve gotta show this to Mommy/Daddy!”, followed by fierce protection of discovered item. NOTE: fierce protection indicates the child will have the meltdown from hell if that item is touched, misplaced, or in danger of either of the above. In other words, everyone on the playground/nature walk must SEE the item, yet nobody had better TOUCH the item…or breath on it, point at it, or look at it longer than invited to. The child will typically carry the item until it is determined the item is in imminent risk of loss or damage (a.k.a. the child cannot simultaneously swing and hold onto a rock). At this critical time, it is demanded a teacher put the item into her pocket (a.k.a. guarding the item as the Honor Guard do the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). As long as that item is in the teacher’s possession, she should expect to be interrogated every 15 seconds to ensure the item is still as safe as it was 15 seconds prior. Once the item is returned to the child, she will inevitably insist she be allowed to keep the item within site to ensure safety for the remainder of the school day. Time and again the teacher will tell the child that the item must remain in her cubby until Mommy/Daddy arrive. Child will LOSE.HER.SHIT. Item will stay in cubby despite multiple attempts by child to smuggle it out like a Mexican drug lord.

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, caregivers, guardians, PLEASE! When a child hands you a gift (and to her it truly is a gift), know that this item is extremely important to her, that she’s obsessed about it all day, worked hard to protect it, she’s thought of you, she’s reminded her teacher 100 times how much you’re going to love it! Don’t let her down. Act surprised. Be impressed. Get as excited to receive it as she is to give it. Wrap your arms around her, smother her with kisses, thank her, and tuck that little treasure into a very important spot. Keep it forever so that some day when you’re gone, she will find it and realize how very very much you loved her.

“Things One Says Teaching Preschool vs. Basically Any Other Job” Friends,

It’s been way too long since I’ve written; and I’ve missed it! As you can imagine, I’ve been out of my mind (more-so than usual) with a major career change AND a new part time waitressing gig. The preceding 6 months I offer no excuse for. I’m lazy. Any-who…I’m nearly a month into the new job and they haven’t fired me…yet. I’d like to say it’s for lack of incident, but truth be told, in preschool there’s an incident approximately every 30 seconds. On the long beautiful ride home each night, I reflect on the day and think about how I’ve said things over the course of the day that, while contextually normal, would sound insane if used in any one of my former positions.

1. Please take your finger out of your nose & go wash your hands.

Have there been people I’ve wanted to say this to at former jobs? Of course. Have I watched in disgust as I waited for the perpetrator to wipe the booger some place, only to see them eat it…or worse…flick it? Yes there have. Saying this to an adult, however, would be offensive. Kids? They don’t mind. They expect it. They’ll stare at you knowingly, 2 knuckles in, and take zero offense when corrected.

2. We don’t kill spiders.

Anyone I’ve ever worked with in the past, my best friends, my worst enemies, and my children all know this is a bold faced lie! LIE! LIE! LIE! The words came out of my mouth so naturally that even I was shocked. However, teaching children the value of ALL life (unfortunately) includes spiders. I’ve come so far in this realm that I’m even able to shut down my fear (aka black out) long enough to PICK UP A SPIDER and release it outside the classroom. Of course this is followed by a closet “EW EW EW HEEBIE JEEBIE” dance and copious amounts of hand sanitizer.

3. Please take your finger out of your nose & go wash your hands.

There’s more than one student in our class.

4. Yes, you have a penis! That’s great! Now please pull your pants up and wash your hands.

No, no, Donald Trump hasn’t visited the class. There’s a bathroom attached to our classroom, for obvious reasons. While slightly off-putting, it’s not unusual for a little person to appear in the doorway, pants around their ankles, proudly proclaiming self-awareness. I believe at one particular company Christmas party, He Who Shall Remain Nameless had a little too much eggnog, and publicly displayed his nether regions. While I don’t recall it being such cause for celebration, nor do I remember him being asked to wash his hands, I DO seem to still hear the Mrs. demanding he pull his pants back up. And put down the bottle. And get in the car. Immediately.

5. Please take your finger out of your nose & go wash your hands.

Okay, there’s 15 of them.

6. We don’t pee outside…at school!

Thus far, I’ve only had to use this one once. It was today. In 30 degree weather. At pick-up time. With parents and children passing by. I rushed across the play yard as I noticed an airborne stream shooting from a young lad with his back to me. I tried simultaneously to not frighten the boy (and risk getting shot in the eye) and put a stop to the public urination. I’ve gotta give the kid bonus points for not getting any on him – it couldn’t have been easy with that bulky winter coat and knitted toque askew on his head. As I realized one cannot stop a pee once it’s started, I decided to give up on that; and instead, to focus on at least getting his hands washed. “My hands are clean!” he exclaimed proudly while holding up two little mitten-clad hands. Forehead smack.

No worries, folks, your kids are in good, clean, booger and urine free hands.

“With All The Messes I Get Myself Into, I Don’t Need False Advertising”

540586_3432927338103_1688275722_nDear Gentle Leader Company,

For future training videos, would you please use REAL dogs? Real, as in, never seen a Gentle Leader in their lives. This would help give dog owners a better idea what they’re up against.  Allow me to start at the beginning…when I opened the box. I paid $20 for what appeared to be a “some assembly required” g-string. Yeah, I admit I eventually had to read the directions. “Offer a treat to encourage your dog to put his muzzle through the loop.” HA. HA. HA. Freakin’. HA. Apparently Otto isn’t as dumb as I thought he was. He knew from the start something was fishy about this contraption. I’d hold the treat on MY side of the loop, he’d stare at me with his head cocked, then push the loop out if his way with his nose. He was so proud of himself for figuring out THIS trick, I just had to give him the treat. After a 20 minute rodeo in our living room (and a wee bit o cussing) I finally had him hog tied. Truly there’s no other way to accurately describe the experience. He was pissed. He tossed his head to and fro maniacally for another 10 minutes as I chased after the end I needed to attach to the leash. Which is a metal ring. Which hurts like hell when swinging off the chin of an insane psycho dog. Finally, I pry the murderous end out of Otto’s mouth. Clearly he’s figured out if he eats this contraption, it will be rendered useless. Click, snap, thrash…we’re ready to hit the street as a well-mannered dog and owner. HA. HA. HA. Freakin’. HA. For three quarters of a block, my dog looked like a champion bull. Bucking. Snorting. Drooling profusely. Okay, a RABID, champion bull. Now don’t think on the final leg of the block he was a vision of restraint and proper behavior. Oh no. He was a big, drooly, sweaty, exhausted mess (who had nearly dislocated my shoulder 73 times). We’re home. Neither of us looks the best we’ve ever looked; but we’re going to sleep well tonight. Gentle Leader, your name is misleading (no pun intended) and your marketing should be geared more towards insomniacs…or cowboys…or strippers.

Sincerely,  Amy & Otto

“Keep Being That Squeaky Wheel!”


Ahhh, my Max ❤ It would be unfair for me only to share the emails I get from his teacher and my concerns about his focus (or lack thereof). I am absolutely bursting with pride over the email I just got from his hockey coach! If Max were here with me right now I’d squeeze him and kiss him to pieces!


He begged for YEARS to play hockey. At the age of 3, I signed him up for figure skating (largely out of exhaustion from chasing him around the rink while Abbey attended her practices). Every year he asked, “Mommy, if I skate good enough, can I get a hockey stick?” Every year, as a family, we discussed expenses, travel, and scheduling and every year we decided NO. Every year the coach(es) tried to persuade us to let him play, we said no. We said no until we could say no no longer.


During Open House at his school, I was dragged (literally – I had my heels dug in and he nearly pulled my fingers out of their sockets) to the table Mr. Fredette had set up for kids to do hockey sign ups. He begged, he pleaded, he made a scene (or maybe that was me). I grabbed a few signup sheets and promised to think about it. Every day he asked if I’d sent in his papers. Overridden with guilt, I signed what I THOUGHT was a form for him to do a hockey CLINIC. A clinic would have been Saturdays only, no games, just scrimmages – very light. Unbeknownst to me (or did Mr. Fredette pull a fast one?), I’d signed him up for a full season.


Alas, Fall of 2014 marked the start of his hockey career. I thought he’d bounce right out of the atmosphere with excitement. I think I speak for all of us when I say we were secretly hoping he would hate it and only play one year 🙂 However, after seeing his enthusiasm on the ice during his first practice, we all fell in love.


I loved watching hockey, but knew very little about it. I had next to no money and worried about equipment (which his Dad & Jamie stepped in and took care of), gas for the old mini-van to get him to and from games, snacks and meals while we were out. We pinched pennies, we dug change out from under the Loser Cruiser’s seats, and doggone it, we made it through that first season! I was even inspired to trade the Loser Cruiser for a more fuel efficient, super tiny car, with a hatch back just big enough to fit a hockey bag.


The way he focuses when he never before seemed able, the way he drives me crazy practicing his shots IN THE HOUSE, the suffering of all things breakable, the smile on his face no matter how the game is going, his positive attitude and absolute passion for the sport…tell me again why we were resisting?


The following is an excerpt from the email I received from his hockey coaches today highlighting the skills and assets of each player individually – an email that made me cry – tears of happiness, tears of pride. Congratulations, my persistent little man! Never stop being that squeaky wheel – it’s important in life ❤


Excellent season, Cougars! Incredible coaching, Coaches Matt, Norm, Erik, Larry, & Roch. Our kids are so fortunate to have you as the foundation from which they’ll grow as sportsmen.





Max – Word used to describe Max – ENERGETIC.





Areas Max improved on this season:


  • forward/backward skating


  • wrist shot/backhander


  • passing


  • dekes


  • one on one battles.


Max is a spark plug on the team. What the coaches like about Max is that he dives head-first into things and is not afraid to try new things or go out of his comfort zone. The coaches talk a lot about how you can never truly get better unless you work on your weak areas. To do that, sometimes you will fall and mess up, but it’s the only way to learn. Max, in just a short time playing hockey, has accelerated his growth in the game because he is not worried about trying out a new skill and working on it until he gets really good at it. An example and also a highlight of this would be Max’s wrist shot and backhand shot. At the beginning of the year, the coaches felt every player on the team (including Max) needed time to work on and improve their shooting. We watched videos on proper shooting technique, the coaches modeled the right way to shoot, and the coaches gave the players time just about every practice to hone their shot. Max took a lot of shots in practice and always looked so focused when he was taking part in shooting practice. Max also starting shooting a ton at home. This is the key…not only did Max work hard at our practices, but while he was at home, too. The payoff? Max not only scored one top shelf backhand goal this year, but added a second against PYH in our last game. Scoring on a backhander is kind of rare, so to get two in a season is a nice accomplishment. Why is scoring on a backhander rare? Well, because not many players are dedicated enough to practice their backhander. Max’s highlight backhand goals were earned because he decided to put the extra time in…team, remember that…put some extra work in and it will pay off.





Also, we have to add one of the best things we saw all year had to do with Max. After a strange tipped in goal, Pete was down and Max skated on over to tell Pete, “No worries, we’ll get it back.” What Max decided to do there was amazing; the coaches couldn’t have been any prouder of his choice in that situation.


Nor could his Mama ❤