I'm a Mama Bear

It's true. I can't help myself and it is hard because I go to high school with my children.  The funny thing is that I recently found out that my kids absolutely are clued in to this.  One of the kids said to the other, "Well if mom saw that...someone would have been hurt!"

And I don't forget.  My god if some of my brain space were given over to curing cancer or remembering math equations instead of storing memories I might have done something big.  Thank goodness some girl on campus has not broken my boys' hearts.

One of my boys was in the football locker room and bigger, older kids were wrestling with the younger ones. An older boy approached my son and then a bystander spoke up, "Don't you know who his mother is?"  And this lioness/mother bear thing is also about my BigMan too.

At a wedding in the 80's a big situation occurred.  Now picture me, Jackie O dress, ginormous bow in my hair, beautiful black quilted bag with the gold chain and about 117 pounds.  I saw a fight break out and what I thought was someone hitting my husband.  The crowd quieted and I flew over grabbed the puncher by the hair and banged his head on the cement--"Don't. Hurt. My. Husband!"    I only stopped when a waiter stepped in and said, "Let go of his hair honey".  Somewhere within the crowd a voice said, "Wow BigMan she really likes you!"

So the truth of the matter was that BigMan was subduing said puncher and I just stepped in when the poor man was being lowered to the ground.  He was never hitting my husband. It took over  ten years to live that one down.  And when I want someone to know not to piss me off I tell that very story. I am serious.


5 Reasons to Love Being a Boarding School Teacher

Low pay, 24 hour workdays,  Saturday classes and smelly teenagers are definitely some of the downsides of living in a boarding school....but there are some really great parts of it too.

1.  You live in housing provided by the school.  I live in a 3100 square foot apartment.  It's huge.  And the best part?  If something breaks or needs a fixup I just call maintenance.  I also don't mow, rake, shovel or worry about landscaping.

2.  Free food!  The more you eat the more you get paid.  Now it is not always 5-star cuisine but someone else is buying it, cooking it and cleaning up after.  Breakfast is always good.  Plus your kids become quite popular--no one else's kitchen has a drink machine!  Best part--there are always 4 different kinds of ice cream and sundae bars on Sunday!

3.  It's an old-fashioned neighborhood.  Your dog can roam.  Your kids have free rein.  Tennis courts-check. Swimming pool-check. Lots of sports fields-check. Community garden-check.  Fabulous places to play hide and seek and kick the can-check.  AND lots of adults and big kids to keep you safe.  On Saturdays and Wednesdays all the faculty brats watch the big kids.  I know one faculty brat who used to wear his idol's jersey to hockey games.  He now works with said idol, as a colleague.  Too funny.

4.  Culture.  At least once every two weeks I am entertained.  Poetry slams, book talks, dance ensembles, cabaret, theatre productions, art shows, coffee houses, acappella groups. I'm pretty much over cultured.

5. Preppy commune.  I've never worked in a job before where everyone was striving towards the same goal.  Prep school teachers are a wonderfully, idealistic group.  We have fun together.  There are stimulating discussions at the lunch table.  You can talk about the New York Times, new scientific discoveries, books, pretty much anything.  We also talk about each other...can you imagine living with 100 people who are fairly similar to you...it's very interesting.  Something is always going on.



The Faux Ranch

Now that we are all back at school I am terribly homesick for the faux ranch.  The Ranch means many different things to me.  Most importantly it is my reset button.  Every year for 24 years I have been going for at least 3 or 4 weeks in the summertime.

It's actually one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Many, many years ago BigMan's great grandfather bought this land. He, in turn gave it to his three sons.  Each of the three families still own it. BigMan's grandfather was an architect and designed and built all of the buildings. We are up to something like 32 owners for just our ranch alone.

The Faux Ranch has a few different buildings.  The Main house has a kitchen (fairly non-functional but we make it work), with a large fireplace at one end, a huge table with benches and a small "living room".  It also has a piano.  It's rustic with concrete floors, bats often fly through and the mouse battle is grand.

The Moon Viewing (which may or may not fall down in the next earthquake) is a one room cabin perched high with a teepee type roof which is glass and when you lay in bed at night you can see the stars.

There are a few tent platforms, a bunkhouse and the Wooden Tent.  We mainly stay in there and it is just a one room structure.  We also have a Japanese soaking tub, bowling alley, and tennis courts.  It sounds all grand but it's much more like living like a colonial woman.

The best part of the ranch is the gathering of people.  On some occasions we have had 60 people there.  It is a great mix of generations.  Someone is always playing music, cooking and there is always someone to just hang out with.  The Faux ranch teaches my children so many things.  They learn how to work hard.  They need to get along with others and they learn to enjoy beauty and to respect nature.  They honor their relatives and gain respect for people who are not like them.  It's a great thing and I hope that our future generations will love it like we do.


On working....

I don't work over the summer.  It's a choice. It's a choice with no money...none. But it's a lifestyle choice and it is wonderful!!!

Everyday I wake up and it is a mystery as to how the day will turn out.  There are barely any daily schedules, no alarm ringing at 6:30 am and basically no where to be.  Our whole family is together and we actually like it.

When we are at the Faux Ranch we all sleep in a one room cabin.  It's a tad cozy.  There are some nights were we hysterically laugh-usually at me because I am scared of some bit o' nature.  Most mornings we drift out of the tent cabin and talk about what we want to do that day.  The freedom is incredible.

During the year we are on a six day a week work schedule (throw in a few weekend duties for fun), I have children who play sports and one who is still involved in youth sports.  At one point in our lives we were at 4 different schools and had 4 different sports schedules.  And yes, that meant I sometimes had to be in 2 places across the state at the same time.  I travel for work and we have many night time commitments to school. Along with living with 41 extra "kids" it's so very busy.

So when people ask about my "itinerary" in the summer...it's easy.  We don't have one. And the transition from summer to work?  It's brutal.  I miss traveling in my "pack".  I miss BigMan and spending every second with him.

This is the beach at low tide. We spend hours down here looking for interesting things.


An Alternative Lifestyle

You are a dorm mother?    Yes, I have 46 children.   People ask me how many dorm rooms my family gets to live in.  Sillies-we have a whole house just like you...actually probs bigger than you.
I live in a boys dorm.  My apartment is 3200 square feet. It is giant but it comes with 43 adolescent males.  Our study is attached to our apartment and to the hall of the dorm.  It is an alternative lifestyle--it's busy, pretty loud, incredibly public and for the most part really fun.  We are each on duty one night a week, checking students in, making sure there isn't a melee in the hall during study hall and making sure students are in and safe for the night around 10:00pm. It makes for many late nights...I've kind of aged like a President ages (have you seen the before and after pics of Obama--poor thing).  We have been doing this for about 15 years.

Some days there are problems.  Kids get sick.  They do things they aren't supposed to-it saddens you and it makes you have to stay up really late.  That is one surprising thing -when there is trouble you better believe you will be seeing 3 am.  But there is also joy....20 boys in your kitchen dancing to Michael Jackson, stooping with a kid who plays guitar while you are looking over the quad, watching reality TV with teenagers which brings about interesting discussions, a student saying thank you for some little thing you have done for them.

It's the best part of prep school.  They see you and your family as real people not just teachers or administrators.  They pet your dog.  They dance in your kitchen. You learn alot about them just hanging out.  And sometimes just sometimes you make a little bit of difference in their lives and that little bit makes it all worthwhile.