Susan's Blog

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Funny Valentine

The sky is raining
But it’s shining in my heart
–Stevie Ray Vaughn, and me, The Sky is Crying

We have a two-hour delay (except Nat) from the frozen rain that is falling on top of the snow we had last night. Ben is so happy, he actually said, “Yay!” Little B!

Last night was a big public meeting in Town Hall, and the school parents turned out in droves. The meeting was about whether or not we should break up the tax increase proposal into two or three sections (naturally, the second and third sections are for school initiatives, and so suddenly everyone in town is an expert about what the schools should be offering, and how they are spending too much money as it is). Having been on the School Committee, I know that the cuts have been severe from the state level (thanks to a spineless Legislature) and at the federal level (even with President Bush’s ironically-named “No Child Left Behind” which has actually brought about the exact opposite of what it proposes). I know that heating and healthcare have skyrocketed in the last six years. And the cost of Collective Bargaining issues. Okay, okay. Still, it was a terrific meeting, with a lot of impassioned, articulate speeches from both sides. I saw so many people I know and love from both sides of this particular fence, from my days on the School Board and from Town Meeting and also school parents, and all I could feel was, “Jeez, I love this crazy town.” And I know it’s going to be alright. Even the most “conservative” speaker (who is a really good man) was saying, “I’m in favor of a reasonable Override…” Well, I am, too. And all of it seems reasonable to me (first part is to pay for the structural deficit; second part is to lengthen the school day to be in compliance with the state’s mandates; and the third part is to bring back the elementary World Language Program; currently we only offer it starting in 7th grade, but we used to offer it starting in Kindergarten. And it was Mandarin Chinese. I’d say that a town that tries to bill itself as one of The Best school systems in The Country ought to continue to stand behind that claim and keep up with the demands of the times.

Well-satisfied with that meeting, I walked home with my next-door neighbor, the tiny cold snowflakes kissing our hair, the sky that delicate pinkish-gray it gets from snow. My lungs were full and cool, and the air on my overheated face just tingled.

Yesterday I also got further into my new book idea, which is really the old book idea, but twisted into a topic and angle that I can handle. (I hope my editor agrees.) I had idea after idea as I did the Stairmaster to Bob Dylan. I guess I overdid it at the gym because a few hours later I ate a ton of chocolate ice cream. I absolutely needed to eated. But that felt really, really good.

Then it was onto the Baby Bellies, with my very full belly. Now I was so ready for those Beast-ettes. I ripped 7 discs of Misirlou for them and typed the choreography up and printed them out, only to realize that some of them are so little they may not be able to read yet! (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my favorite people on this planet don’t or can’t read.) But I figured I would just go over the choreography with them, and just show them it all.

One of them got really anxious that she didn’t know it. Another just pouted the whole time! (But then, when her mom came in she told me how much S loved the class and wanted to buy her hip scarf and veil, which I sold her for $35 ) So I did all my reassuring and demonstrating, giving descriptive names to all our moves or making jokes (“This is the flower-in-the-circle.” Or “Watch the sock on the wall when you turn or you’ll get dizzy!”). Sometimes I pretended I was the sock on the wall so that they would pay attention and laugh. I would lean on the wall in a slouch and hang my head, limp, with my tongue out, channeling the sock that we pin up there for spotting. Needless to say, they like me as the sock better than the sock as the sock.

They squabble and bicker about who is in what group (I divided them into two groups for the grand entrance), and who should go in first! They come into the circle in a clump that is as far from the Platonic ideal of a circle as you can ever get. But they are all working so hard to do their moves, the darlings.

The three-point turns were a disaster. They collide into one another, and they get so dizzy. I have to figure out what to do but I probably will just keep it like it is, because that’s my vision. And that’s the part they love the best. I’ve been teaching them to listen for when the music changes, so that they know when the next part is coming. (“Listen for the rattling. That is telling you to shimmy.” Or “Here comes the flute, now it’s time to pedal turn.”)

At one point I looked down and one of them was looking up at me, her arms wide, a big smile on her face. It took me a long moment to realize that she was asking me for a hug. An early and very delicious Valentine’s Day for me.


they’ll stone when you’re walking in the gym
they’ll stone you when you’re prospects are dim
they’ll stone you when you’re eating low carb
they’ll stone you pig out at the breakfast bar

yes but i would not feel so all alone
everybody must get toned.

— added by Someone Said on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 9:31 am

Guy Rude –
That is a (stair)Master-piece!!!

— added by Susan Senator on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 9:37 am

There was this awesome local ad campaign in New Orleans, jazz music plays while people enjoy parades, bloody marys, football, cigars, more bloody marys, king cake, brandy milk punch, and then the voiceover declared “Touro hospital – good care for the good life”

You’re on the treadmill, you’re teaching your belly babies, walking through the snow to school meetings (and mind you, the cost of crappy or declining educational standards is much more costly than any override), ice cream is just another one of life’s pleasures to celebrate. It’s not good, it’s GREAT!!!

Rock on, little S. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 10:06 am

I read your blog often… I saw this on a writer’s list I am on and thought I’d pass it on.

SEEKING TRUE stories of autism and caregiving. Autism: a mysterious disorder that affects over a half million Americans under the age of 21, and the number is growing steadily. LaChance Publishing is seeking inspiring, true stories of how autism has impacted your life, or the life of someone you know, for our acclaimed “Voices of” series. “Voices of” features true stories of literary merit and real emotional impact, stories that courageously confront the reality of disease and affirm the enduring strength of the human spirit. Important note: We are also seeking stories about caregiving. If you or someone you know have a story to inspire and inform,
visit for submission guidelines. We pay for accepted submissions. Net profits from “Voices of” will be donated to The Healing Project (, a nonprofit organization. An excellent opportunity for exposure, as well as the chance to make a positive impact on the community.

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 11:54 am

You sound like a wonderful teacher. I’d love to see you in action.

— added by Drama Mama on Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 11:13 am

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