Digital Cowboy

Digital Cowboy
Poker is life. Life is poker.

Archive for December, 2005

Why I chose home education (#115)

Friday, December 30th, 2005

My cousin has a masters degree in elementary education. I’ve known her since her birth and she’s intelligent, compassionate and loves children. So if she can piss me off, there’s a problem with the system.

Yet she has nearly every time I’ve encountered her since having children. She’s great with my kids on a social level and they love her – she knows how to play with them real, real good. She sees them once a year, if that, and is always astounded at how much they know and how “smart” they are. It’s become much more relevant since my wife shipped my oldest off to the government babysitter for a few months. My oldest daughter was in first grade. (Thank God she’s home!) Since my cousin is a first grade teacher they have much to talk about.

Sing-songy, talking to a little kid voice: “Can you count to twenty-five?”
My thought: “She’s seven! She could do that when she was three! Do you have a challenge?”
Sing-songy, talking to a little kid voice: “Wow! That’s great. You must have a really good teacher!”
My thought: “Yeah. Sittin’ right here with no college education, fool.”
Sing-songy, talking to a little kid voice: “Can you count to a hundred?”

At this point, I spoke up and said, “Emily can. She can count to two hundred by ones or tens. Take your pick.” (Emily is my youngest that *gasp* hasn’t been to SCHOOL!)

Sing-songy, talking to a little kid voice: “You can?!?! Really?!?! You can’t count to two hundred!”
Sing-songy, talking to a little kid voice: “Wow! That’s great! You’re both smarter than anybody in my class!
Sing-songy, talking to a little kid voice thins: “I’ll have to get your address so I can send your Daddy some really good stuff to do with numbers to help you learn even more!”

My thought: “Don’t bother. I did all that and more without the stupidity you were taught in college.”

She also asked Emily, “So when will YOU get to go to school? Next year?” Emily very non-chalantly said, “Prolly.” and I thought, “When Daddy’s dead. I have to protect them from people like you.”

This is also a woman that informed me a few years ago that it’s “completely wrong” to teach a child to read with phonics and now is amazed at how well my seven year old reads. Oops! Can’t argue with results. Reading with my daughter she says, “Look at the picture. Look at the picture. What are they doing there?” My daughter responds, “I don’t look at the pictures to read ’cause a lot of books don’t have them. I just look at the letters and sound out the words.”

Oops.

Based on what she said, my five year old reads better than any of her students. You have to understand both that I was separated from my kids for most of two years before I got custody and also that she (teacher, masters degree girl) works in “the highest paying school district” here. This ain’t the inner-city we’re comparing my kids to folks.

This is also someone that said she asked “her” children what was the true meaning of Christmas and had to say, “No” when a student answered, “It’s the birth of Jesus.” When pressed by her father, she said, “I can’t acknowledge that in the classroom! The true meaning of Christmas is giving!”

Read my lips:

SCHOOLS WORK PERFECTLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ABOUT SCHOOLING. NO ONE GETS AN EDUCATION THERE EXCEPT THE TEACHERS SMART ENOUGH TO LEAVE.

It’s no place for a kid. Especially one you love.

You’re doing fine, Heidi.

That ain’t no way to go, indeed

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

Lipstick letter
‘cross the mirror this morning
Said, ‘Goodbye, Baby.’
She left with no warning.

Like a thief in the night
She ran away with my heart.

Can’t believe my eyes
Must be a bad dream
She always said
We had a good thing
Never once let on
We were fallin’ apart.

That ain’t no way to go.
Girl, it just ain’t right.
Don’t you think I deserve
To hear you say, ‘Goodbye?’
That ain’t no way to go.
Was it all a lie?
After all this time
That ain’t no way to go.

Gettin’ nowhere
I’m tired of thinking.
Guess I’ll do a little
Wishful drinkin’.

Train whistle blowin’
Down the track.

Lonesome sound says
She ain’t comin’ back.
Such a cold blow
From outta the dark.

That song describes my experience exactly. The funny thing is that, in my case, she didn’t just run away with my heart. She also ran away with a lot of stuff that didn’t belong to her, including that CD. It was one of my favorite CDs for years before I even met her and she never much cared for it. When I went looking for that song, I discovered the CD was gone. Then I went looking for Trace Adkins’ Dreamin’ Out Loud so I could listen to “Every Light in the House” and “A Bad Way of Saying Goodbye.” Take a guess. Also gone. Then I went looking for… Well, you get the picture. About a dozen in all.

Despite the fact that she had spent hours ripping and burning CDs to prepare for this trip, she took the originals of every CD I had with a bad goodbye song on it. Most of them were favorites of mine for other reasons.

With children involved, you don’t exactly fight for custody of compact discs.

Interestingly, she also took my portable CD player because the car I bought her only had a cassette stereo. (I knew about the player – I gave her that to take. The missing CDs I didn’t discover until much, much later because she took the discs and the liner notes and replaced the cases in my meticulously ordered rack of hundreds.) She returned the CD player without me ever even mentioning it. When it came back, unrequested, it had a CD in it. One of mine? No.

It was Reba McEntire’s Read My Mind which contains the song “I Wish That I Could Tell You”. If you care at all about this story, click for the lyrics and see if you agree that it wasn’t an accident. It was clearly a priority message and I refused delivery. (If you don’t care, why are you still reading?)

But I got an iPod and a gift card for the iTunes music store for Christmas. So, I’ve at least got my Brooks & Dunn album back now.

For those prone to worry, don’t. As I type this my iPod is also getting loaded with hours of preaching and praise & worship music. I’m a very versatile guy.

Alive and Kickin’

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Black top blazin’, hometown fadin’
Out of sight in the rear view mirror
Stevie Ray blasting on the radio
As I slam it into higher gear

It’s not exactly a Christmas tune, but it’s certainly what came to mind when I started thinking about doing this post.

For those that care…

The kids and I are at Mom’s in OH, finishing up the second day here. We didn’t hit the door until 6:20 Christmas morning, but I’ve now celebrated all 36 of my Christmases on this planet in this very house. Though some of the other players have come and gone over the years, I’m also 36 for 36 celebrating Christmas with my mother, my sister and my grandmother. My kids have been here for the celebration every single year of their young lives, too.

Just try stopping me.

I proved this year it can’t be done. The story is far too long to tell, but after the wrangling, wrestling, screeching and biting were over:

I covered nearly 2200 miles, 8 states and 2 time zones in 31 straight hours on the road to make sure my daughters and I were here for Christmas. I stopped only 7 times and no stop was more than 15 minutes. By the time we arrived here, I had been 36 hours without sleep and spent 31 of them driving.

My family assumed I would want to postpone the Christmas festivities and get some sleep when I got here. I said, “No way! I need a shower and a shave and I’m ready to go. I didn’t do this to myself to sleep through Christmas. I’ll sleep when Christmas is over.” I finally went to bed at 3:30 am Christmas night after 57 hours without sleep.

We had a great Christmas, though and my girls are asleep downstairs. There’s no price too high to pay for that.

I hope your Christmas was as joyous as ours and didn’t cost as much.

“Beware the fat one that sweats a lot”

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

I think Robert Osborne loves old movies almost as much as I do.

Introducing the one we’ve been talking about, he referred to it as a ‘triumph of editing.” He wasn’t kidding.

It was Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.

The list of stars in that movie…

Despite the old cliche, parody is the sincerest form of flattery. As Carl and Steve showed there, it can be done with genius. The movie’s rated PG… make it part of your festivus celebration.

Just a thought

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

I can count on one hand the promises I’ve ever made to people I love and then broken.

I’ve lost track of how many promises I’ve made to myself and then broken.