300px-Stacheldraht_93Tears are salty, like the sea, and like the tireless sea, they rust even the finest iron. Only tears aren’t tireless. Oh, no, they are not. Tears weep and sop and wring out and leave one like a sodden rag, taking with them even the energy to make more. If a soul is dry, wrung, dusty, will the rusting stop?  I wonder, when the old iron belt was in full-roar, and the smelters lit the night all along the Great Lakes, what happened to the slag as it was raked from the molten metal? Did the iron care, as the refiner burned off parts of itself? Did it ever cry “Enough!”, only to be lost forever in the warped curls of heat rising from the fires?

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2,996 Project: Remembering James V. DeBlase

This is a repost of a tribute I wrote for Jimmy DeBlase, who was killed eight years ago today.

deblase.jamesHis friends called him Jimmy D, and he was probably the only Dallas Cowboy football fan in all of New Jersey; he was certainly their most fervent!

Jimmy was born in lower Manhattan, and grew up playing football in the streets of Little Italy. He grew up with two brothers, Anthony and Ritchie. His wife, Marion, remembers meeting Jimmy in 1978, when his team, “Carmine’s Animals” had just won a neighborhood championship. Jimmy’s (perplexing to local New Yorkers) love of the Dallas Cowboys is something he passed onto his three sons, Nicholas, Joseph and James, even going to far as taking them to Dallas to see the team play. The neighborhood kids called him Coach Jimmy- he was very involved in his sons lives, coaching them not only in football, but baseball and basketball as well.

In Lower Manhattan, Jimmy attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School, and went on to Bishop DuBois high school, where he excelled at athletics. After high school, Jimmy decided football would not be his career path, and enrolled in Baruch College, known for it’s business courses as opposed to athletics.

After college, Jimmy and Marion made their home in Manalapan, New Jersey, and Jimmy worked on Wall Street for 14 years as a dealer at Oppenheimer. He joined Cantor Fitzgerald in October 1999 as a USA Bond-broker.

Jimmy was at work in the North Tower on the 106th floor on the morning of September 11, 2001. His brother Anthony was in Tower 2, and was fortunate enough to make it out. Anthony spent days after the attack looking for his brother. Jimmy’s body has never been recovered.

His godson, Robet Netzel, has this to say about his godfather:

Uncle Jim, you are a hero to Aunt Marion and the boys. We miss you so much. We are all in this together to help your family from here on in. I will take your boys under my wing as best as possible. You have been a great inspiration for your boys to be the best that they can be in life and as their coach, you helped make them some of the best players out there. Keep a safe watch over all of your family and shine down on them. Jimmy D, your are the best.

Please take a moment and pause to remember the innocent people, such as Jimmy D, who were taken from us eight years ago today.

This tribute has been written about James V DeBlase as part of the 2,996 Project, a grassroots movement among bloggers to commemorate all of the lives lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. For more information on the project, or to take part and be assigned a person to commemorate, please visit The 2,996 Project.

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Random Crap: Labor Day

Well hello, 2:58 a.m. How are you? We haven’t seen each other in a while, and I can’t say as I’ve missed you all that much, my lovely little witching hour. You are neither late night, nor yet early morning. You are neither. And I don’t like you very much. No, not very much at all.

School starts tomorrow!! Yay! Can you hear me hollering for joy through the computer? No? I’ll try again…

Labor Day. You know, celebrating the working person is just not the same ball of fun when you are going on 21 months of unemployment. So, um, you can have your cake and eat it too, I’m going to just hang out by myself in the corner. Don’t mind me- continue with your celebrations. Carry on…

Breaking news! I have a bona-fide wheat allergy. Meh, I’m allergic to everything else under the sun, why not throw in EVERYTHING else good in my life? Like carbs. Because the only pleasure I had left, since I can no longer afford to visit my cheese monger, is BREAD. Go ahead, life, take it all way. Fine. You’ll find me celebrating labor day in the corner with my rice crackers.

When I was a kid, my allergist said the only two animals on earth I was not allergic to were goats and pigs. Yes. Goats. And pigs. My parents got a goat. It ate my hair. I cried. Their Greek friends ate the goat. The end. (Maybe the goat was food all along and I just thought it was like my pet. Hmmm. This is groundbreaking, kind of like my grandma throwing the Monopoly games…)

I do feel better without the wheat. I’m on day 6, I think, and it’s been dreamy not barfing or having asthma attacks. Because honestly? The only thing that could possibly keep me from eating bread is the threat of my lungs clamping shut and not having an epi-pen on hand. Kinda makes the bread not look so interesting. Almost.

Speaking of, there is wheat in freaking EVERYTHING. Soy sauce. Tater tots. Nougat (Yes, nougat!). Sausages. Beer (yeah, that’s not going to a big issue) (But it does mean the Beer Cheese soup is out at The Duke of Edinburgh when I visit my parents. Oh no!) And did you know blue-veined cheese are sometimes molded with wheat mold? Egad! The abomination. What will I do??! My CHEESE, people! And on it goes.

Beanie is on his fifth primary teacher since January. I won’t even go into how much fun that is with an Asperger’s kid. I’ve just given up and take him with me for 2nd hour Sunday School. My kids love him, and we’re all happy. Sort of.

For the first time in my life, I have ten long beautiful strong natural fingernails. Well, except the middle finger on my right hand- I keep that one filed shorter. NO, not for that. For my thimble. Anyone who hand-sews, and I do, needs to have a fine English thimble. My secret? Not for the thimble, for the nails: Nailtique. Mo recommended it, and after a lifetime of thin, weak nails, I have nails of steel. And honestly, it rocks. I had no idea strong nails were so useful!

September is stacking up to be whopper of a busy month. If there was a job buried in there somewhere, that would be just divine. In case anyone is asking.

There is a giant moth trying to commune with Mothra and throwing itself like a sacrificial virgin at my desk lamp lightbulb. Should I turn it off and confuse it’s dogma forever?

My mom phoned from Deadwood today, where she’s touring the Black Hills and communing with Gustav Borglum. She sent Beanie his birthday present early, and now both boys have new bikes. Bean is happy happy happy.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods? Come on, divert me…

Math Is Not Interpretive Dance

math1222954353Our school district has been using an, um, -interesting- math curriculum for the last three years. David and I had puzzled over the work Jeffrey has brought home since kindergarten, but kind of figured the teachers must know what they were doing. Right? Rookie parent mistake. Not that the teachers didn’t know what they were doing- most of them are great, and they didn’t like the math program either. But they had to teach it.

Our math program has been “Interpretive” math. It’s been more about gleaning concepts from doing, about working with blocks and tiles and diagrams to absorb concepts. Which is a fine, nice idea- except that it’s not. Not teaching them anything that is. Math is not like art. Math is not fuzzy around the edges. Math is hard. And I mean a Hard Science, not difficult, though it may be that too.

When Jeffrey, who is generally a bright kid, struggled figuring out how add a column of numbers, alarm bells went off in Mama’s head. We’re talking basics here. His homework never contained basics- it was always things to cut out, to color, or to put into sets. David and I would sit at the table to help him, and be totally perplexed at how this was supposed to be math. A (large) group of parents began to make a lot of noise, and after some messy, loud district meetings, the Interpretive Dance Math Program was dropped.

So today I took Jeffrey to school to meet his new teacher and drop off his supplies (minus ink cartridge- don’t get me started), I was overjoyed to see the brand-spanking new textbooks on the counter. Textbooks! Not workbooks with pretty pictures and games. I picked the heavy book up and began to flip through it- and holy cow, it had actual MATH on page after page! And he will be working on a sheet of lined binder paper, from a textbook! I’m so happy I could flip. His new teacher, (and first man-teacher) was equally excited.

Who ever thought I would care about math? Me, the art major- who took business math in college to avoid any further algebra than my high-school career afforded. I can’t wait to do some long division and quiz his multiplication tables!

I’m OK, even love it, when the humanities are interpretive. But math? No way. Some things are just hard. And they need to stay that way. Funny how your priorities change when you become a mom…

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Houston, Ready or Not

America the BeautifulRoaring along the road to Houston. It’s coming up quick, and miracle of miracles, I think it’s coming together. I’m fighting wanting to share my plans with being afraid of jinxing myself.

Yesterday my vendor packet arrived, and my booth assignment is great- I’m at the end of a walkway, slightly to the right, and only one block in from the escalators. At least from the floor plan (hellloooo- huge!) it looks like a good draw. Now I just have to figure out what to order for drapes and rigging, and if I want electricity in the booth. Leaning towards yes, but I need to find an Ikea to pick up cheap-o spotlights for the quilts.

I’ve found a local printer with good rates, and the price includes some in-house design for the brochure. Of course I could do it myself, and I will give her a mock-up of what I have in mind, but honestly, I’m happy to hand some things off to other people. I’ll die if I try and do everything myself, and I’m finally smart/experienced enough to know that.

Next week, all my quilts are being re-photographed, and the pattern cover is being redesigned. I’ve got some ideas.

My airline tickets are purchased, the hotel is reserved, the rental car is on hold… Now all I need is for people to love me… (isn’t that everyones problem?)

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