Blogging hiatus

No comments + my busy schedule = blogging hiatus.

Tah tah.



A is back from sunny Florida. The return flight wasn't exactly smooth: flight delays had me waiting until 2 a.m. instead of the originally-scheduled 9 p.m. arrival.

I missed him so much. But this morning I sent him straightaway to the darkroom. With all the rolls of film he's now got to develop, he's got work to do.

Then, my turn: this weekend, I am on departmental duty. I have to search through nine periodicals to check on the "financial health" of the company I work for, and anything in the gossip pages. This morning I found a couple of things, forwarded them to my boss, who then forwarded two to the Chief. That's one degree of separation between me and the Chief.

I am listening to Moby.

Planning dinner.

Sent off our quarterly report to our Homeschooling Coordinator this past week, with recent testing results. If my son takes tests, I want the Coordinator to see the results. I go through trouble for this nonsense, and so does my son. Not every homeschooling parent feels comfortable doing this, but I know homeschooling works. I have nothing to hide.

Sent off "official transcripts" with curricula and teacher-created reference letters (which I copied) for this and last year to four of the eight private schools to which we are applying. Little Pinko Schoolhouse needed the Student Essay two days ago. Check, with transcripts. JFK Jr. School needed their app by yesterday. Check, with transcripts. Dalton: Check (sent karmic correspondence along with the transcript). Wild Card: Check.

Next: Bucolic Campus School, Friends, Connecticut School, Horsey School out in the Wild Wild West.

Desperately want to sleep.


Jack and Jimi: How did they do that?

I know this is a ridiculous question, but how on earth does Jack White play "Blue Orchid" on his guitar, and sing vocals that are so, um, totally different from the melody on the guitar?

A says, "Mom, Jack White practices. Hello."
I say, "Yes, but what his vocals are doing is SO DIFFERENT from what the GUITAR IS DOING."
A says, "Mom, all the great musicians do that. Look at Jimi Hendrix."

Sigh. Another reason to cite Jimi Hendrix.

I think my tombstone will read, "Herein lies the mother who so graciously bestowed upon her son his first Jimi Hendrix experience [heh], instructing him to watch Daniel Day-Lewis's magnificent performance in 'In the Name of the Father' but wherein lay Voodoo Child (Slight Return) as Day-Lewis's opening music."

Or something.

back at the new job...

I received this email from a colleague on the West Coast:

"So, how about meeting us here on the west coast? The company should fly you out to L.A. meet our group in January. Ask [insert name of boss here]."

So, I asked my boss via the wonderful function that is the e-mail Forward.

The email reply?



Plus, I just submitted two [I can't spell] pieces to the network magazine. And I asked the Editor: Could I please get paid? "Sure. We have a budget for the writers of our magazine."




My mother called me from Miami.

My son, apparently, is quite the "caballero." He fixes Cuban coffee for his grandmother, gets the glass of water for his great-grandmother before she asks for it, visits my uncle in the nursing home and pushes his wheelchair.

He treated my mother to Chinese, as well.

But he is bored. So he is reading his AP Biology book --the same version I studied in [Cough, cough] college, Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha, Ernest Heminway books, and just plain 'ol playing the acoustic guitar on the family porch.

Today A was in Little Havana on the express mission to take photos of old Cuban men playing dominos.

"Ese es un caballero," says my grandmother. Of course he is. Between good parenting and home education (and now almost full-time home tutoring, because I just don't "get" or "do" that level of Pre-Calc, Physics or Biology anymore, sorry), the domino effect produced just what I expected.

Un caballero.

The New York Magazine article (in case you didn't copy & paste it) from a few posts ago.

[In my best Jan Brady voice:]

Dalton, DALTON, Dalton...


Unschooling article in the NY Times

You know what to do with the image. [Click on it.]


Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

For me, it's discovering the "How to Sleep in Class" class. Just kidding. Those PPSI students study way too much.


Shout Out

To Unschoolers blog, which has linked my blog to theirs (and I have reciprocated!).


Today is my first day at the New Job. I am excited, nervous, and ready to leave skidmarks as I walk out of my front apartment door to the subway. Wish me good thoughts. Yes, that means you, bloggy reader!

A is in Miami for the week. Most, if not all, of his classes were cancelled, and my 95-year-old grandmother kept calling me to say she misses him, so we thought, "Why not?" We surprised her. He has been eating Cuban food since his arrival.

He has several school-related things to do while there: rehearse his guitar audition piece, and read his Biology book. And I forgot -- take photos!

PPSI recently had classes for its annual SPLASH! event. Copy and paste the link below to take a look at the "How to Sleep in Class" class. You will need to choose Powerpoint or Keynote or PDF. Copyright belongs to the PPSI students who created the class. It made me laugh A LOT this morning.



Congratulations, LaMai. Have some Bolly.

I finally landed a gig from which I can retire. Unfortunately, it is not at CN, because they took too long to process my stuff. Fortunately, though, my new job IS at a network television corporation which everyone knows and loves, and I am a notch higher on the executive ladder there than I would have been at CN.

Ironically, on Friday, the last day before my first day at work at the new gig, my freelance agency called and asked if I could work for that magazine that sounds like "Brogue" which is all about fashion, and is at the CN building in Times Square. And this is what my day was like:

10 a.m. Arrive at my desk. Get coffee from the break room. There are martini glasses in the break room.

11:15 a.m. There is a Closet here. Which is an office, with brand new shoes that reach up to the ceiling. They are all color-coordinated. I am looking at the red ones right now. I love Jimmy Choo.

12:20 p.m. Oh. My. G-d. Anna W.'s office is around the corner from my desk. Oh. My. G-d.

1:30 p.m. I have been offered a cupcake. I eat it, because none of my skinny counterparts will.

2:47 p.m. What's with all the stuff in the Laura Mercier bags?

2:58 p.m. Gay men in tight jeans move a clothes rack past my office. I want the clothes on the rack.

3:22 p.m. Fake British accent walks past my office and says "daaaaaahling."

3:24 p.m. An employee tells me she is going on Thanksgiving holiday to Marrakesh. I say, "Oh, cool. You've picked a cosmopolitan part of Morocco." She says, "Er...cosmopolitan? No. I don't think so!" She has never been to Morocco and I look up the adjective "cosmopolitan" on Merriam-Webster online, while she is in my office. I leave the screen on for a while. Definition #3 is in full view. She notices.

4:40 p.m. Morocco girl has difficulty with the clock on her computer. She complains it is a few seconds too fast.

5:00 p.m. My "Brogue" supervisor has given me a glowing review of my work, which is summed up by my having noticed that Calvin Klein's name is not spelled "Calvink Klein" and that em dashes should not be replaced with double hyphens.

5:00 p.m. Fiddle around with the Macs. There is no security for the G4 or G5 laptops, but there is a security guard standing over the Jimmy Choos.

5:55 p.m. Visit Anna W.'s corner again.

6:00 p.m. Go home. Look forward to working at a new job on Monday, that has nothing to do with waif skinny co-workers, Jimmy Choo shoes, or Anna W.


Photo Slideshow from A to you.

What kids will do when they're bored. Or inspired. Or something.

The two "heads" are Jim anti-Hollywood Jar-schmothing and Luc the historian excavating the now-gutted rock club. All photos were shot, developed and printed by A in NYC.

Photos are --

1. Rower painting oars.
2. Friends.
3. The papparazzi at "Marie Antoinette."
4. View from a fire escape with rain.
5. Subway platform.
6. NoLiTa church.
7. Lower East Side cafe.
8. Lower East Side shop.
9. NoLiTa cafe.
10. Olympic rowers on the t.v. at the boathouse.
11. Oarsman.
12. Jim and Luc looking at the rubble at See-Bee-Gee-Bee.
13. Buskers, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
14. Fencing Club.
15. Fencing Club.
16. Union Square girl.
17. Subway platform and train.


I Don't Feel Like Dancing

It's my new favorite song. For those of you who, like me, grew up on ABBA, Elton John, and the Bee Gees, this song, by the Scissor Sisters, is for you. And yes, that's Elton on the piano. And yes, they're from New York, but getting No. 1 airplay in Europe before we in the States get to know how fabulous they are. And yes, the lyrics are ironic.

Too many interviews and applications to take care of (both A's and mine) to blog today.

I Don't Feel Like Dancing!


Learn If You Want To.

"Well, just keep this in mind," said my filmmaker friend when I discussed Wild Card School with him, "there was this dinner with the Wild Card Head of School. And the parents sang a song in parody to the tune of Old MacDonald, totally in jest to the Head of School, but the lyrics were, 'Learn If You Want To.'"

"I see," I said. My heart sank.

"Do you understand what I'm saying?" he asked.

"I do. For the parents to have collectively gotten away with that, there was an agreement that Wild Card School is not so...er...academically rigorous," I said.

"Okay, so you get it," he said.

His wife went to the Wild Card Lower School. "But I still like the school," I said. "More importantly, A likes it. I'm not going to buy into that nonsense. Anyway, it's probably a rumor started by Dalton parents. Please tell me you wouldn't prefer to send your kids to Dalton?" I asked.

"Of course not. The system at Dalton sucks," he said. "The parents at Dalton suck. And the school expects you to donate about $15,000 annually after tuition." Filmmaker friend lives in a multi-million dollar apartment on the Upper West Side. He can afford Dalton, although he insists he cannot.

"Well, you know Dalton treated me like [insert expletive for cow-poo here] during their Open House," I said.

"Of course they did. You're the charity case," he said. "Why not try Collegiate? Your A would do superbly there."

I forgot about Collegiate. JFK Jr. went to Collegiate. Is there still time to apply, I wonder? How would a homeschooler tackle the oldest private school institution in New York City, let alone the New World?

This article is in the current issue of New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/news/features/23783/index1.html
(I am still learning how to add linky thingys when using a Mac).


Interview and tour at the Wild Card School.

"Mom, this school is great."

It was unseasonably warm today, and we had a very smooth start at the Wild Card School. It has had an Upper School division for 15 years. It otherwise has no history, no celebrity alumni roster. Apart from its impressive list of college schools which accept Wild Card students, I think that I should call it The Clean Slate School.

The security guard was as friendly as a doorman (maybe he IS a doorman?), he directed us to get our nametags and to the coat rack, and we were quickly met by the Admissions Associate. She offered us an executive breakfast (coffee, juice, water, muffin) before we commenced our interview. The walls of the interview waiting/meeting/breakfast room were covered in photography art by the school students. OH MY G-D, I thought. We FORGOT the photography portfolio at home! A gave me a weird look. "Chill out, Mom," said A's look. Of course. I grabbed a cup of coffee. Then A left with his very young, very handsome History teacher young interviewer.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with New York City private school admissions, the "interview" is when your child is ushered away to his/her interview, and then you, the parent(s), are ushered to a separate room. Because you, lucky thing, are interviewed, as well. My interviewer seemed very hip, despite the Oxford button-down and tie. He collects cartoon/anime figures. They were strategically placed around his office.

"We will need writing samples, grades, transcripts, that sort of information, to better assess your son's qualifications," he said. I understood, and told him that grades were not a problem. All of A's teachers and tutors have been instructed to give grades to A's work, for school admissions purposes. "I'll send you our curricula, transcript, and grades and written evaluations right away," I told the interviewer. He seemed pleased. We agreed that A needed work with Chemistry. "All our students integrate Biology, Chemistry and Physics each year," the interviewer explained. And then there were some tricky questions, which included. "Why did you decide to homeschool? Why are you applying now, which is not a normal entry point?" [In New York City, Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th Grade entry are normal entry points]. I think I fielded the questions okay.

Meanwhile, A was given an essay to write. He was given a choice of three famous quotes on which to base his essay. A chose a quote by Gandhi. And he noticed his interviewer had a book by Noam Chomsky on his desk.
"You go to PPSI on weekends?" he asked.
"Yes," answered A.
"You know that Noam Chomsky is at PPSI?"
"Yes, of course," answered A.

A liked his interviewer.

We were reunited in the meeting/breakfast room, and the School Tour commenced. There was a Sikh grading student papers. There were African-American students and other students of color, and diverse faculty. There were hipster kids, nerdy kids, a kid with fire-engine red hair and jeans so tight that Sienna Miller would be jealous. One student looked like our friend Godlis, the photographer. There were smiles. In fact, most of the kids seemed to exude the "happiness factor" in some way or another. I was truly amazed. I saw A's interviewer, in the common room, with the Noam Chomsky book on his desk. I looked at A. "I love this school," is what his facial expression seemed to tell me. Diversity was not just a word in this school's brochure.

Then our school tour guide (a school senior) whisked A off into their darkroom. I talked to the Photography teacher for a few minutes. We talked about ICP for a bit. He mentioned their lack of diversity.

We toured the cafeteria. More student photos were exhibited on the walls. It was apparent that Wild Card takes their Photography program very, very seriously.

All in all, A was happy. And maybe I have "Diversity" stamped on my forehead. I don't know. But the Wild Card School made us feel very, very welcome.

We handed our nametags back to the front desk, got our coats that we would not put on, and as we exited, we enjoyed the view. It was Central Park, and the fall leaves, directly across the street.


Friends with Money (and maybe some celebrity) referred me to your school.

Bucolic Campus School:
Q: Who referred you to our school?
A: Jim anti-Hollywood Jarm-Uh-schmothing. And maybe Sofia Coppola. Like, the wine. Not the person. Because I am drinking some Sofia now that I am filling out your application. I need it.

Little Pinko Schoolhouse:
Q: How did you learn of our school?
A: Susan Sarandon. [Erm, maybe someone told me that Susan's kid goes to your school.] And come to think of it, Adam Horovitz. Because I am listening to some Beastie Boys right now. I need to fight for my son's right for entry in 2007-08.

Q: How did you learn of our school?
A: Sean Lennon. [this is actually true, but you guys dissed me in person during your Open House]

Q: How did you learn about Trevor?
A: I dunno. You guys are a wild card.

Q: Who referrred you to us?
A: Um. Becky in Alberta. She's a blogger. And alumna of yours. Be proud. She represents, yo.

Q: How did you learn about Friends?
A: I thought Susan Sarandon's kid STILL went here. But no. He switched to Little Pinko Schoolhouse.

Concerto in G.

ISEE, SHSAT, Bard test, LaGuardia audition, SSAT this Sunday, possibly re-take the ISEE, school interviews and tours start tomorrow morning at 8:45 a.m. ["And your son goes to school where?" "He's a homeschooler. Privately tutored," I say, to up the "elitist" factor, depending on the school], but the Physics tutor needed to reschedule today to tomorrow, talking on the phone with Eva Rado at Dalton and pretending their teachers behaved perfectly fine with me on Open House day ["Where does your son currently go to school?"], and I am calling boarding schools on the west coast that let you keep a horse while you are there.

I am not frazzled. No.

But I want my mommy.

If I could provide the mp3 link to Concerto in G by Roger Neill, I'd offer it to you. It coincides perfectly with my madness. You can download it on iTunes.


E-mail from CN

Dear LaMai,

I thought you were very impressive and want to hire you. If you're still interested I'll talk to [Guy at HR] again. Thanks for coming in. Let's try to make it happen.


Anthony at CN


In other news, Lance Armstrong ran over our bridge during the ING New York City Marathon today! Okay, we don't own the bridge, but it's a short walk from our home, and I've walked that bridge more times than I can count.

Viva la Lance!



The new Almodovar film is a total treat, and a very, very good story. Penelope Cruz is amazingly good (I am one of many American moviegoers who had no idea how good of an actress she is; thank goodness she left the shadow of Mr. Cruise). My only pet peeve about the film is that they dub Cruz's voice for a singing solo -- I have no idea if she can sing like a gitana, but I nearly giggled in the theater when an audience member clapped at the end of her song.

Dude, she was dubbed!

A had a school interview today. The interview required that he wear a tie. Silly me, I went to H & M last night to buy one, NOT the clip-on kind, because I figured he could figure it out with the help of one of many HOW TO TIE YOUR CRAVATE websites. After 45 minutes of HOW TO TIE YOUR CRAVATE, he gave up, and so did I.

We phoned a neighbor.

A: "Erm, hello, Atsushi? Sorry to bother you, but I have an interview and I need your help."

Atsushi is our downstairs Japanese hipster neighbor. He came up to our apartment. With methodical precision, lasting 30 minutes or so, he demonstrated the art of tying the tie. I felt like we were sitting through an origami class. The point was to help A remember, and not ask for his help again. I was worried we were going to be late to the interview.

So, when we arrived at 1:20 p.m. and not 1:00 p.m. to A's school interview, our excuse was, "We had to learn to tie a tie, which was a requirement for this interview. We had a Japanese origami-errr-tie artist show us how."

I am hoping that that earns me single mom points. Or something.


NaNoWriMo: A Blessing in Reprise

I don't need to tell you what NaNoWriMo is.

I am going to adopt the corporate slogan and say: Just Do It.


Y & Y & T


A edits a narrative for Writing Class.
Attends Math Class. Math Class instructor forgets recommendation form for A's school entry application.

Did I mention what work it is to chase down teacher after teacher for these darn recommendations? Hello!!! Mr. "Always-Reminding-My-Kid-About-Looming-Deadlines"-Teacher? Our rec is due NOW!!! What? You say you do not mind personally delivering the thing to the Recommendations Acceptance Office? Oh, you're too kind! Thank you.

DNA class.


Free day (which means Rehearse Audition Piece All Day), until evening.

Halloween Parade in the Village.

Random Conversation at Halloween Parade, while me and A and every human being within 10 feet of us gets crushed like the garbage disposal scene in Star Wars Episode IV on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Ave:

Modelesque Woman: "Um, excuse me. Do I know you? Have I done your makeup before?"
Me: "Um. Oh My G-d. Yes you did."

Crunch. Push. Shove.

It is the woman who did my Angelina Jolie makeover to save my stuff from being auctioned from storage (Long story, it's around May or June in the archives).

Modelesque Woman: "I'm at Bergdorf's now." [Crunch.]
Me: "Oh, really? " [Push.]
A: "Bergdorf's." [Shove.]
Me: "May I have your card?" [Someone knocks me in my rib.]
Modelesque Woman: "Of course." [Hands me her card. It reads BERGDORF GOODMAN. MEREDY P.....S. COSMETICS CONSULTANT.] [Push. Shove. Somebody screams, "Help ME!" and I witness Meredy stepping over the undidentified body of a 70-year-old woman, crushed by the masses.]
A: [Points to neck.] "Bergdorf's."


Miranda, our Fabulosa tutor, arrives to teach A Physics.
Lunch break.
French at the Alliance Francaise.
DNA class.

In the meantime, I drop off a Personal Recommendation by A's rowing coach. Only, the rowing coach didn't write it. I did. This is why.

[Ring, ring]
Me: "Hello?'
Coach T: "Um, Hello? LaMai? It's Coach T. Um, I haven't finished A's recommendation. Do you mind writing it for me?"
Me: "Erm...sure?"
Coach T: "OK, great. Sorry, it's college applications time, and I've got about 20 of these puppies on my desk, all due yesterday. Your kid is great. He's a tough kid, picks up the broom and sweeps the dock without anyone asking him to, totally gets along with the team. He's a team player" YADDA YADDA YADDA. I transcribe everything, and sign off with Coach T's blessing.

A grabs 4 pizzas at an undisclosed UWS pizzeria.
Guitar class.
Ride home on train with guitar teacher.

Evening: Discuss "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley.


Boston & Today

So I found a public computer with Internet access in Cambridge. It cost me $12,345.67 to blog there for 37 minutes. I guess cybercafes are far and few between in Boston.

A is enjoying his Biology class at PPSI, but thinks the course is "overrated." The young PPSI students review the chapter material, give homework, and do "labs"...on paper! Here are A's observations on that:

"A science institution that can afford to pay 80 scientists to work on the Human Genome Project, and fund an entire architectural structure by Frank Gehry, should be able to afford to have us high school students use one of their lab rooms so that we can do our Biology labs for the course. Even if, and especially if, it is for a high-school course."

So there. Hear that, PPSI?

I have no idea how I did in my interview with CN. I was not "on" due to my battling this cold (emotional improvement did not help the physical end of things, and I wound up not asking a single question). Then the co-interviewer had not even looked at samples of my work, and blurted out, "DO YOU HAVE ANY SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK?" I was a little floored by that question, as they were sitting right on the head interviewer's desk. Maybe I am a little paranoid, but the situation reminded me of I.D.

Ah, well. There's always NaNoWriMo, right?


Princess Ennui, this is for you.

There is another reason why I was a bit vulnerable, emotionally, yesterday.

My Dream Job called me back for more interviews, and perhaps my elation began to show at work.

And Thursday evening, I did some exercises in Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck (I don't normally "do" self-help books but this one was recommended by a very successful friend of mine). The exercise on page 122 asked the following: List three things you plan to do tomorrow. I was supposed to be open to my somatic reaction to whatever I listed. These exercises are meant to be private, but I listed these --

1. Fill out Alex's applications for school entry.

2. Take the day off from work tomorrow?

3. Go to work tomorrow.

After No. 1, I was fine. The second option produced the most "light" feeling. No I.D. to face the next day, I was totally relaxed. The last one had my back go into terrible spasms; something I was beginning to notice was actually an everyday thing. Then I spasmed some more. Then I got a fever. And chills. And I felt like I wanted to puke.

I can't go to work tomorrow like this, can I? My innermost fear was, I was going to lose my job if I did not show up. I was so certain Insanely Disloyal would can me if I didn't.

Friday morning, I gauged how I felt. I was too sick to copy edit, too sick to copy write, too sick to go to work and sit in that chair and work for Insanely Disloyal. So, for the first time in four months, I called in sick. And I received a call back. Don't bother returning.

I knew it!

A few hours later, I received another call. "So are you coming?" My documentary film friends who were interviewing that guy asked why on Earth would I miss the interview that I helped set up? They were right. As sick as I was, I myself didn't have to do a thing but watch. So after three hours of daytime napping, I got myself over to the Bowery. I felt much better.

And while I.D. didn't allow me to return to my desk and get my stuff off my PC desktop, there does remain something to remind her of me. It is a note which a manager scribbled to me a couple of weeks ago. It reads: "YOU RULE!!!"

Tomorrow, I interview with Dream Job.


One Love.

So, if I happen to post about a certain club getting gutted (CB-somethingG-something), or that I am helping my friend the filmmaker (daughter of Seymour Stein somethingg) book an interview with a certain historian (Luc Saintly in French-something) and filmmaker (Jim-Anti-Hollywood Jarmu-schomething) to talk about said guttted club, hopefully you will know what, and who, I am talking about. I will only name names if I feel it is something worth getting picked up by Google Alerts, getting announced to the world, and have me suffer the consequences of receiving phone calls about any particular thing I've blogged about.

On the other hand, I would LOOOOVE to talk about Dalton. Yes, that private school on the Upper East Side of New York City that is ALL ABOUT CONNECTIONS. THE DALTON SCHOOL. Did you pick that up, Google Alerts? You see, today was Dalton's Open House for high-school aged students. This is how my visit to the Open House went:

[Me sitting in school theater]

At the microphone--

Eva Rado: "Oh, our school is so unique, and our students are so unique, because blah blah blah, woof, woof, woof."
[I look around, and notice that indeed, everyone looks uniquely exactly like the next person in the theater. Except me. I am wearing jeans, and lack Botox injected into my forehead, and I also lack Marc Jacobs rain boots.]

At the microphone--

Graduate of Dalton and Head of School Exhibiting Extreme Repression-Induced Palsy: "I love this school." [shakes nervously]

We break after a Math head, Foreign Languages Cute Girl, and Exceedingly Boring Science Woman, have taken the microphone and spoken. I am snoring. Thank goodness I am that relaxed, because it doesn't bother me that the parent next to me has knocked my coffee all over the beautiful Dalton carpet.

I head to the 4th Floor, the Science Floor. I notice that I am not greeted by the Science Woman, the only adult in the room who is wearing a nametag. I nevertheless begin speaking to the Dalton student with nametag. He seems to love science. He is the school uber-geek. I like him, but have a feeling that his parents come from the same cookie-cutter mold in Botoxlandia and MarcJacobsistan.

I head to the 5th Floor. The Music Room.

Again, I am ignored by the Music Woman/teacher/head/only adult in the room. It is starting to dawn on me that I am conspicuously the non-traditional parent. That's okay. I have no problem speaking up.

Me: "Um, I am sorry, what did you say about applicants auditioning? Do you recommend that?" I am actually excited at this prospect, as A is preparing for The Fame School audition. I notice a sign-in sheet. The students' names read current schools such as "Buckley" and "Brearley" and other Muffy/Biffy-type schools.

Music Woman: "Erm, yes. Sure. I'll answer your question. But not now. I have to attend to these people..."

And she promptly begins speaking to a 3-person family which has just walked in behind me. "And what do YOU like to play?" she asks their child. She then speaks to another 3-unit family that has just walked in behind the family behind me. "And what do YOU like to play?" she asks the next child.

I wait in the Music room for 10 minutes. And then I realize that I am being ignored. A is not with me, because he is sitting the SHSAT exams. I notice Music Woman's student assistant is equally giving primary attention to the young students.

Me, not loud enough to be thrown out, but loud enough to be heard: "So, neither of you is interested in what music my son likes, huh? Because I am here as his ambassador. He's taking an exam. And he wanted to know what your school's music program is like."

Music Woman still ignores me. I head downstairs in tears.

I hand the brochures, Daltonian newspaper, and other propaganda back to the school greeter in the lobby. I tell her how difficult it is to be a single parent, how hard it is to show up without my son who was testing that moment, to sacrifice my morning to help make an educated decision about their school, to ask the questions that my son wanted me to ask.

And how humiliating it is to be ignored.

"I'll talk to Eva Rado," said the lobby greeter, sadly shaking her head.

I'm sure she will. She didn't even ask what my name was.

Two hours later, I drank a Red Stripe.


Fie on Google Alerts!

I have realized that my current job, while somewhat glamorous, is causing me nightmares. My boss is a nightmare. I have found out that she is insanely disloyal ("I.D."). If a different department director thinks I have committed an editorial snafu, I.D. will side with that director instead of first talking to me about it. Just two days ago, I.D. yelled out, "YOU DIDN'T CATCH THAT URL! THE URL WAS WRONG!!! JOHN TOLD ME YOU MISSED PAUL'S MARK UPS!" Most of the time, but not all, the director in question has just not been very good or clear with marking up his own work, which was the case with the URL scenario.

I.D. is also disloyal on e-mail, and will "REPLY TO ALL" if she has a question about my work. I.D. just needs to involve everyone. Can't simply hit the "Reply" button and highlight her doubts about my work to me directly. No. I am learning that group-assisted trauma is just not my particular brand of vodka.

But the biggest problem occurred this morning, when I nearly did not get on the train to work. You've had those days, right? You just can't make it to the train platform (or can't get the keys into the ignition to start the car) to show up for work.

The copyeditor who worked in my place previously lasted two years, and there were many tears and much drama, between that copyeditor and I.D., I have been told. I don't want drama. At least, not this drama.


Free for NYC High School Students

Go here for the MoMA link.

High School Programs

Friday Night at the Movies

Fridays, 4:00–8:00 p.m.

The Celeste Bartos Theater in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, 4 West 54 Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues

Join The Museum of Modern Art for free screenings of classic and current movies. Talk with film curators, filmmakers, educators, and your peers. This free drop-in program is for high school students only. No need to sign up. Just show up! Free pizza and soda. Pizza is served from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Program starts at 4:45 p.m. For more information, please call (212) 708-9828. Admission is first come, first served.

What's So Funny?

What makes you laugh? Why is it funny when someone slips on a banana peel or when people get into sticky situations? Is a pie in the face, an unlikely case of mistaken identity, or bathroom humor always funny, or does our idea of what’s funny change over time? In this series we will watch classic and contemporary comedies and you can judge for yourself.

October 20

Classic comedy shorts, including films featuring Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, Tom and Jerry, and Lucille Ball

October 27

Mean Girls. 2004. Directed by Mark Waters

November 3

Some Like It Hot. 1959. Directed by Billy Wilder

November 10

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 1975. Directed by Terry Gilliam

November 17

Trading Places. 1983. Directed by John Landis

December 1

House Party. 1990. Directed by Reginald Hudlin

February 2

Best in Show. 2000. Directed by Christopher Guest

February 9

The Princess Bride. 1987. Directed by Rob Reiner

Students must bring a valid high school ID.

If you are interested in bringing a class to this program, you must call to make a reservation.

For more information, please call School Programs at (212) 708-9828 or e-mail highschoolprograms@moma.org.


A and Bela Lugosi

...share the same birthday. Which was yesterday.*

We have a personal joke, after having watched "Capote" (with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote). In a scene where Truman Capote stands before the small-town cop and says, "Bergdorf's" -- the small-town cop looks at him, totally perplexed, and Capote explains, pointing to the cashmere around his neck, "Bergdorf's. The scarf is from Bergdorf's." A does a wonderful imitation of PSH as Capote in that scene, and springs it on me when I least expect it, as a reference to innocent obliviousness of what is actually the matter at hand.

Me: A, you it's your turn to do the dishes today.
A: [Points to his neck] "Bergdorf's."

Me: Please take the dog outside.
A: [Points to his neck] "Bergdorf's."

So, I got A a tecchie gift that I knew he'd like, and then I headed over to Bergdorf Goodman.

Me to Bergdorf Goodman salesman: "Hi. Um, did you see 'Capote'?"
BGS: "No, I can't say I have seen that film, no."
Me: "I see. Well, um, I think I need a brown scarf. And under $300, if you have one."
BGS: "Hmmm. We have some nice ones over here..."

[I look at the scarves, and they are indeed nice. But they are not THAT much under $300. I nearly faint at the thought of a scarf supporting an entire African village for a year.]

Me: "How about something without the cashmere, but nice?"

We find one, it has a Bergdorf's label, and BGS wraps very nicely in a box, and places the tecchie gift inside, as well, under the scarf in the gift-wrapped box.

A and I headed to TriBeCa for dinner and watched a movie afterwards.

And I think we could still fund an African village with the scarf I picked out for A. Thank goodness ProductRED is in full force at stores everywhere.

*A had his baaah-m late in the year.


What sorta school can a homeschooler apply to and actually get in?

Want to follow our progress? [disclaimer: for those who are visiting here for the first time, I work full-time, A is a lone child and homeschooler, and he is ready to break into the world of the 7- to 20-student classroom].

Where are we applying?

- Stuyvesant.
- Bronx Science.
- LaGuardia HS (the "Fame" school).
- Fieldston.
- Dalton.
- Trevor (don't ask).

...among others, and we have cast a wide net here. We are requesting financial aid at all private schools.

Movies we've seen, movies we'd like to see:

- "The Departed" (not for young kids; besides the guns, violence, blood, and curse words, it was brilliant).
- "Marie Antoinette" - I saw it, liked it. Do NOT expect a history lesson. It is a character portrayal; Sofia Coppola wants you to experience courtly life and parties along with Marie Antoinette, and feel the same sort of surprise the Queen did once we find out that a Revolution was in the works at all.

- "Nightmare Before Christmas" in 3-D. Tim Burton, what can I say? - haven't seen it.
- "Flags of Our Fathers" - haven't seen it.
- "Volver" by Almodovar, with Penelope Cruz. I hear it's very good. And Ms. Cruz is a better actress in her native language.


Dear Heidi,

I received your envelope in my mailbox, but just a few days before the date I was supposed to send it back to you. I really hope you had a fabulosa birthday! You totally deserve it.

I hope it's okay if we send you the cards back in the next few days. Our lives have been hectic.


A had Physics (1 1/2 hr lesson at home, with tutor), French (at the Alliance Francaise 1 1/2 hr lesson), and a DNA class for 2 hours in which he swabbed his cheek to view his cheek cells under a microscope. "MOM I SAW A CHEEK CELL LYSE IN WATER! IT WAS AWESOME!"

We discussed his French class with his new teacher. Apparently, she looks like Isabelle Adjani. She did a lot of "memory jogging" exercises to bring out the French citizen who certainly lives in A's soul. Who was Serge Gainsbourg? What is muscadet? Bouillabaisse? Le Monde? Do you know who Jacques Chirac is? ("A stupid question," remarked A. "What was I supposed to say? Secretary of the French Treasury? Of course I know who Jacques Chirac is." Okay, smarty pants, let's get on with the memory jogging...) Do you know who was Général de Gaulle? Astérix?

Fortunately, A was sufficiently brainwashed to know the importance of Astérix and Obélix in our culture.

A studied for his Bio exam tonight which he missed last Sunday due to his sitting the BARD entrance exam that day, as well as Chapters 11 & 12 (Mitosis and Meiosis).

After dinner we discussed his upcoming LaGuardia High School (the "Fame" school) audition, the SSAT exam for private school and the SHSAT exams for Stuyvesant and Bronx Science (yes, we just LOVE that one of the exams could be pronounced "SHAT", yes sirreeee). A has sat the ISEE and BARD High School exams thus far. We are, believe me, examed out, and we're not even halfway there.


Me: Fill out school applications, send transcripts, DoE letters with transcripts. Send recommendation forms to Writing Teacher. Send A's letter for more science classes. Thank NYC Homeschooling Coordinator once again for being so fabulous with everything (for providing me information about the SHAT tickets, sending us last year's compliance letter when we never got one last year from my Region's counselor who loved to threaten us with T-R-U-A-N-C-Y), providing to us our homeschooling DoE Acceptance Letter this year, recommending LaGuardia High School as a possibility at all, etc., etc.), pick up photography leather? metal? portfolio from B&H Photo, write a bunch of checks to people and somehow fit lunch into my busy workday.

A: SSAT exam prep, Crew, Bio studies.


Yes, my life is that weird.

So, history tells us that on October 16, 1793 Marie Antoinette faced a terrible blow under a public guillotine in Paris. Yesterday also being October 16, it was a perfect day for me to cross paths with Steve Buscemi (*see "Steve Buscemi is bad luck" below).

I had received an invitation to attend "Artists Against Hunger" at a location in Brooklyn. Poetry would be read, music would be played. A being the budding art aficionado that he is, agreed to join me.

The venue was very very small. Jim Jarmusch read a poem translated from Spanish. Steve Buscemi read from The Grapes of Wrath. And when he was done, he took a spot next to me and A.

Me: "How did you like the movie on Friday?"
SB: "What movie?" [Steve Buscemi is, mind you, speaking in that Steve Buscemi voice]
Me: "Weren't you at Marie Antoinette?"
SB: "No, sorry, it wasn't me."
Me: "Oh."
SB: "So how was the movie?"

Jim Jarmusch's wife talked to A for a while and asked if we would consider moving upstate "to the country." We have a dog, I know, there's no excuse.

Matt Dillon didn't arrive, or at least, I didn't recognize him, and we soon left.

Y & T


Photography class, 2 pm - 9 pm (inclusive of A's after-class darkroom hours).


A took a specialized NYC school entry exam.
We then headed to the Clinton Street Bakery where I ordered hot buttered cider. They did not mention the quantity of rum that would take up my bowl of cider, but I did not complain. It was amazingly good.


A attended Writing and Math class in the UWS, "What is DNA?" class also in the UWS.
A went to a poetry reading with well-known artists.


Free day.


A totally random evening

To make up for my lack of Y & T this week (and last), I will divulge what me and A were up to last to last night.

We met at Bleecker Street to take some last photos of the exterior of CBGB's. The line was long. Which was great, for the sake of the photos. We stopped at Astoria Wine because I needed to find a Bordeaux, and we laughed at the sight of a bottle of "Sofia Coppola" sparkling wine wrapped in a pink wrapper. Then we headed to the subway.

Earlier in the day, I had read this review of "Marie Antoinette": http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=315883

(don't know why the linky thing isn't working). The weird thing was, it linked to a "showtime" of the film last night at 9 p.m., a full 7 days before the official nationwide opening. Weird. Should I try to get tickets? Of course I should.

So we headed to the West Side. As soon as we turned the corner to the movie theater, A and I promptly found ourselves on a red carpet, with papparazzi yelling, "JASON! JASON! JASON! KIRSTEN! KIRSTEN! KIRSTEN! LOOK HERE! HERE! TURN! OH PLEASE, JASON!" Oh, dear. Jason, a.k.a., Louis XVI, was standing right next to A. Was Sofia Coppola here, as well? Someone stepped off the red carpet line and said to me, "Do you want my tickets? We can't attend." I did not have the asking price in cash on me, although I tried to convince him to stay while I ran around to the ATM. An older lady ahead of me with wads of cash snatched the gentleman's tickets. We were not able to get cancellation tickets, either.

Want to hang out and see who leaves the theater when the film is over, A?

We headed to the Barnes and Noble across the street. We grabbed coffee, Jones Soda, and cheesecake, and found some books to read for the duration of "Marie Antoinette." I looked up and saw a familiar woman in the Current Events section of the magazines.

Me: Is that the woman who was on Bill Maher? The Trouble with Islam woman? Oh wow.
A: Um, yeah, I think it's her.
Me: She's in the Current Events section. Hmmm...should I go look for her book downstairs? Maybe she'll sign one.
A: Yeah, do it. Do it! Carpe Noctum!

Downstairs at the information desk:
Me: "Hi. Do you have a book by a Pakistani lesbian feminist writer of Islam? I think it's called The Trouble with Islam. Today. Or something. And she's here, so I am sort of hoping to find it quickly..."
Bookseller/Information dude: "Oh yeah, she comes here often. Hey, Jenny, can you take care of her?"
Jenny: "Hi. What's the book title again?"
Me: "The Trouble With Islam. Today. I think."
Jenny: "Trouble. With Islam. Irshad Manji is the author's name. Huh. Hmmm. Erm. It should be here. Somewhere."

We walk over to a political book pile. It's not there.

Jenny: "Um, it should be here somewhere. I gotta get back to the desk. Just check around this floor."

A calls me on the cellphone:

A: Did you find her?
Me: Yeah. She's on another floor but they can't find her book here.
A: Just ask her. It'll be cool.
Me: You're right.

Realizing I might lose the opportunity to finally get this woman's book, and get it signed, I walked right up to Irshad Manji. She is wearing spectacles, looks just as cool as she did on the Bill Maher show, and is now perusing another political book pile, on the floor below the magazine section. She is looking at a book about Bush. Interesting.

Me: "Um, excuse me. Sorry to disturb you? I know in New York we're not supposed to just impose. But, I'd love if you'd sign your book for me, and the bookseller downstairs has no idea where to find it!"
Irshad Manji: "Oh really? Of course I'll sign one for you. And I know exactly where it is, too. Not that I go looking for the exact section that my book might be sitting in in every bookstore, but I happen to know where it is here. Follow me."
Me: "Thank you sooooo much."
Irshad Manji: [extending her hand] "What is your name?"
Me: "LaMai."
Irshad Manji: "Huh. That's an unusual name."

We chatted two escalaters down to the first floor, where she led me to her book. And signed it. It read, "You go, girl."
She extended her hand again. I didn't know if that was a genuine, "Pleased to have met you" or "Now you can leave" but she smiled, she sold a book, and I was happy. I was honestly so jittery, that I realized that on the escalator ride to the first floor, I managed to talk about CBGB's closing, Paris Hilton (by accident), PBS (Ms. Manji is working on a documentary with them), and Ingemar Bergman, in the span of a minute. Goofy. It's a miracle I didn't tell her what shampoo I used that day.

Back at the movie theater, me and A waited. Fifteen minutes later, the audience checks out. Steve Buscemi walks out and looks straight at me. Ew. Steve Buscemi is bad luck. Last time I saw Steve Buscemi, he was walking out of the Sopranos studio parking lot, and I was heading to my bank. And when I got there, my bank account was in the negative.
S&*t. Steve Buscemi? Okay, it's Friday the 13th. Of course, I'd have to see Steve Buscemi. Okay. Bad luck over.

And then, directly across the red carpet area, totally unrelated to the moviegoing public mob exiting the theaters, walks a familiar-looking Japanese man past us, and straight down the block. He is wearing black, his hair is frosted white, and he is in a real hurry. "Um....A? That's James Iha. James Iha. THAT'S JAMES IHA."

Now realizing there was a Smashing Pumpkin walking right in front of him, A runs immediately after, turns the block, and I lose sight of my kid.

Sofia Coppola? We totally forgot to wait for a sighting of her.

I returned to the theater to buy a ticket for Marie Antoinette today. And I liked it.



Like clockwork...

Reporters and journalists have started contacting me. Indeed, Patti Smith is the last show, on Sunday.

How do I feel?

This is my answer.



But not too near the area of 72nd and York.

A bunch of instant messages on MSN messenger ensued on my computer as soon as the red headline hit CNN.com. The flurry of messages to me went like this:

I just checked CNN. It says "plane" and "building."
where r u? midtown?
Yeah. U?
I'm on 57th & Park. I hear sirens.
Oh. I don't. We have sound insulation.

What's going on? I hear sirens. News says something about a plane.
Yeah, I see smoke.
No, we're okay. Small plane. Not commercial.

My mother didn't check in. I am not surprised, but disappointed.



Would you like some Breakfast with your Biology?

On this morning's menu:

- Hair of Napoleon.
- Wing of Honeybee.
- Angiosperm of a Juniper berry.

All fixed on slides for viewing under our 1200x microscope. Not on the menu, but requested:

- Sleepy drosophila.

What I served for breakfast to the young man on the microscope at our kitchen table:

- Omelette with Portobello mushrooms, Gruyère and herbed goat cheese, doused in white pepper and sea salt. Served with Emmi Swiss yogurt (with müesli :).


Y & T and Sympathy


- Writing class. A finished expository essay on Jo'burg. I later that evening had a cow when I found out there was no conclusion in the essay. Turns out, it didn't need to have one.

- Math class. Was going to cancel A's involvement in this one altogether, changed my mind when another parent set some "issues" right with it.

- Crew cancelled.

- Read chapter 8 in Biology.

Economics film: Life and Debt.


Free day.

- A read The Lost World by Michael Crichton and played guitar.


From CNN:

An article on colleges that court home-schoolers.

And the Big News of the day (until the other ones are given out): This.

Y & T for last week.

For Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday:


- Finish reading Biology chapter 5. Start chapter 6.
- Prep for Math and ISEE test prep.
- Crew.

(the Biology reading took A about three hours -- I think it took about the same for me, when I was in high school?).


- Math prep with tutor, at home.
- Lunch.
- ISEE prep with tutor, at home.

No CREW because A needs to catch up with Biology reading (Chapter 6).

Film viewing: On a Clear Day, with Peter Mullan, Billy Boyd, and Jodhi May (remember her as Alice in Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis?).


- Science class.
- Biology Chapter 6.

Film viewing: Woodstock: 3 days of Peace and Music by Michael Wadleigh.


- Head of the Harlem Regatta. But A makes a surprising decision: He does not want to row. He wants to fence. So, he fences.

- Fencing.

A fences epee against a boy who has been in training for 5 years (the kid's last name is on the back of his fencing jacket, and it reads "USA" underneath. Apparently, the kid does the big tournaments). A loses, but loses 5-4. Not bad, not bad...


- Biology class in Boston. A finishes Chapter 7 on the bus. A participates, raises his hand to answer the T/A's questions. He is starting to raise his hand a lot more. Don't know when/how this happened. A seems to like doing it. The shyness is falling away.

- A reads Michael Crichton's The Lost World on the bus ride back home.


Why is it...

...that I am so obsessed with this film?

The buzz surrounding the film led me to this article.

Which I found via this blog.

more thoughtlessness...

This class of A's originally met on Friday mornings, 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. They have been meeting for about three weeks now. Then this email arrived in my inbox:

"Science students,

I wanted to suggest something about each of our next two meetings.

This Friday I think we can try to do both experiment X.1 and X.2, so you might want to read them -- at least quickly -- before you come.

Then next week, by our now slightly advanced syllabus schedule, we should be bringing the third module to a close with a review on Thursday and the exam on Friday. I suggest that we start the fourth module on Thursday, then get together for a review on Friday afternoon at 3:30 or Saturday afternoon sometime, take the exam for that module on Monday, continuing with the fourth module on Tuesday. (XXX and I won't be here in the morning on that Friday, but we will be in the afternoon.) Is this clear as mud?!?"

So, the class meeting times are totally re-arranged, and again, we are faced with a parent/teacher who assumes my child's schedule is so flexible that Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday are somehow available for my child to participate in this class!!!!

Seriously, it makes me wonder what DO other homeschoolers do with the rest of their week?


musings (plus Y & T)

So glad that I have that built-in guilt reflex whenever I drink a glass of wine. Where does that come from? Culturally, ethnically -- I should not have such a gene. For example, last night. I opened a bottle of Chateau Michel Someseeng or Ozerrr, when on glass number two I started thinking about poaching some Bosc pears I purchased last week in the remaining wine. No, I should not enjoy this wine so much. Must be resourceful. So I poached pears last night for tonight's dessert. No more wine. But I was sufficiently mellow to feel guilty enough about feeling so mellow, so I began organizing my financials and Alexander's school applications. For hours.

Until 1 a.m.


The other night, we watched Camille Claudel, a film by Bruno Nuytten, starring Isabelle Adjani and Gérard Depardieu (The Highest-Paid Actor in France™). A watched it from beginning to end -- a feat, since it is a period film, in French. Victor Hugo, a character we do not even see anywhere on the celluloid, dies. Everyone wears black. Camille finds a piece of Greek marble. "She'll break it. She won't know how to sculpt from it," say the men. Camille produces The Most Beautiful Foot Ever out of it. A was riveted to the movie. Camille and Rodin are fighting, yelling at each other. Then A turns to me. Who was Dreyfus?


I am reading Zadie Smith's On Beauty.

A is reading the backs of boxes of Zatarain's. Just kidding. That would make us unschoolers, wouldn't it?

Just kidding again! Hah hah! Oh, mes pauvres amis du monde d'unschooling, suffering under the humor of LaMai...

I love unschoolers.

Y & T:


- Finish Writing Class essay.
- Writing class.
- Math class.
- Crew.

Evening film: Finish watching Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.


Tuesday is Sunday (Free Day).

- Study Biology Ch. 5.
- Study handouts from M.I.T.

Tonight: Discuss Biology chapters together.

Evening film - Noam Chomsky: Rebel Without a Pause. (we are not necessarily Chomsky fans, we're just learning about him for later discussion; I promise we'll watch a film about Fidel Castro. So taboo in my family)



In 1949, a black woman named Violet Barker won a [fencing] competition and with it the right to attend the Fencers Club, then a bastion of white privilege. A senior executive tore up her letter of admission as he told her, "We don't let niggers fence here."

A little over three years ago, when we first arrived in New York City, A began lessons in the Very Old, Very Monied, and Very Elite Fencing Club of New York, which bears some resemblance to the club mentioned in the above quote (erm, how much exactly, I'll never tell). I myself did not have much money, but I paid for A's lessons, once a week. When I asked about the originally-minority fencing underdog group (OMFUG) that used the Club space on weekends, one parent informed me, "Oh, well, there is only ONE TYPE OF KID that attends that group." In other words, only poor, black kids. But it was the manner in which that parent talked about the originally-minority fencing underdog group that was odd. Don't the medalists attend that group, I thought? In the meantime, I didn't want to disassociate myself from the "right people" at the Club.

And then, fencing lessons eventually got out of my financial reach.

The OMFUG produces medals. Its primary coach is half-African-American, half-Japanese, and he was the last American to win a medal in fencing for the U.S., in 1984. Two outstanding fencers -- both Olympians, both minorities, and one was recently ranked #1 in the World-- oversee the OMFUG. At the urging of my very petite Togolese Buddhist friend, whose kids already compete in the Fencing Nationals, I took A to the OMFUG. I observed a bunch of Asian kids alongside the black kids, while their very serious-looking Asian parents carefully observing their every lunge and parry (my personal note: Asian parents seem to sniff out the really good sports/educational programs from miles and miles away). Some white kids. Some mixed kids. A handful of Russian kids. Before the fencing commenced, there was a lot of rules-giving, a lot of pep-talk, a lot of motivational speaking. All the kids were really digging it.

"I love this group, mom," reported A. "I don't really mind if I don't use the Club during the week. There are Olympians in this group."

Right. And did I mention the OMFUG charges $25 for the year?

Lesson learned: If you really want it, don't be a snob, research the possibilities that are out there, and jump in. Your kid might get a better education out of it.


Are you s&*%%ing me?

A signed up for a theater group run by a homeschooling parent. This weekend being the religious holiday, I have not checked e-mails since Friday evening. So I was surprised when I read this e-mail today for the theater group which begins on Tuesday:

"In addition to any scenes and/or monologues you would like to suggest we do for Homeschool Theater Players, please get copies of the following scenes (all are available through the NY Public Library) and bring them with you on Tuesday. Get familiar with them and be prepared to read them at the rehearsal. You DO NOT have to memorize them.

For the men: The Foreigner, by Larry Shue, Dramatists Play Service, Inc. - Act I, scene II ( p. 37) right after Betty enters w/ second tray, starting with where she introduces Charlie to Ellard "Oh! You wudn't up last night, was ye?..." until Catherine's entrance.

Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand (I have the Signet Classic translation by Lowell Bair, but I don't know what is available in the library system) - Act II, scene IX, complete

For the women: Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare - Act III, scene I, from Hero "Good Margaret, run thee to the parlour..." to Bianca's "What fire is in mine ears?"

The Children's Hour, by Lillian Hellman - Act II, scene II Mary and Rosalie, from Rosalie's entrance - Mary's "Don't forget that." right after Mrs. Tilford's entrance.

For everyone: The Actor's Nightmare, by Christopher Durang, Dramatists Play Service, Inc. - until Voice "Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention please?"


Homeschool Theater Players Coordinator.

Okay, someone must lead a life of leisure to assume we actually have time to accomplish 1) acquiring the plays, and 2) having the performers become familiar with the scenes by Tuesday.

I think my e-mail reply read, "Erm, this is offensive to me." I don't think I've ever written one of those.

"Yesterday and Today" for last week and this weekend.


- Sick day continued. A read from his Biology book, Chapter 2.
- No crew.


- Math tutor, Algebra. Remember to make copies for the tutor.
- Read: Biology Chapters 2 & 3.
- Work on ISEE prep.
- Crew.

- Evening: Cellular Reproduction Quiz.


- ISEE tutor, morning. A did not do root words. Test is 2 weeks away.
- No Anatomy class due to ISEE tutor scheduled at the same time. (N. offered to sell us one of her high school-grade microscopes; remind her that we'd like one).
- Read: Biology Chapter 3.
- Guitar instruction, 1/2 hour. (electric guitar bridge was fixed, $50)

- Evening: We watched "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed." Totally and utterly and unintentionally hilarious horror film with Peter Cushing (remember him from Stars Wars IV?).


- Fencing. Coach tells A he should switch from foil to epee; A is overjoyed. He gets to attack all points on his opponent with epee, A reports to me.
- Film: "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" with Kennegh Branagh, Al Pacino, Helena Bonham-Carter.

A received two acceptances in the mail today: Photography class on Saturday afternoons (no conflict with fencing) and DNA class which takes place 2x/week, midweek.

Rest of the afternoon: A sick again and has fever. Bedrest and usual remedies. "I think it was that buffet place we went to after Boston," reports A. So, it is my duty to tell you: beware the buffet stop after Boston! We will eat dinner in Boston next time.


- No Boston trip, A is too sick to go; e-mail sent out to the instructors; awaiting handouts via e-mail.
- Listened to Zakir Hussain raga on CD that came with boxed Indian food (India Kitchen's Pav Bhaji, if you must know).
- Writing Class essay. ??? It's due tomorrow.



Yale is offering courses to you and to me.

Question and Answer with LaMai

Another bout of schizophrenia. I (Alter Ego) am interviewing myself.

AE: So, for the first-time visitor here, tell us: Is your child an unschooler?
LaMai: No. We are not unschoolers, per se. We love structure. But we love interest-led learning, as well. I don't believe in hall passes or degradation of the student, such as we see in our public schools. What I envisioned as the ideal when we began homeschooling is what you would have seen with Alexander the Great, under the tutelage of Aristotle. So I've set up what I believe is the ideal classical private school, at home.

I do believe in accountability in giving our children a skill set in learning. A foundation, if you will, upon which they can build whatever they want. I do not believe that that eliminates a tremendous amount of freedom for a student to follow his passions.

Check out the link I've provided in the sidebar to the inspiration we use, The Well Trained Mind.

AE: So you work full-time, and you're a single parent who homeschools her kid?
LaMai: Yes, yes, and yes.

AE: How is that possible?
LaMai: You make it possible, if you want it. For us, it's tutors (I've lost count how many, sorry), classes with other homeschoolers, and a weekly bus ride to a four-hour science class in another state, that's how. But that should not be viewed as the norm!

AE: Why not just enroll your kid in a Manhattan private school?
LaMai: Because despite my current educational expenses, private school here is still out of my range. And yes, we've applied -- once. Currently, the weekly classes and tutors cost us around $350/week. So we're paying about half what Manhattan private school tuition would cost us. And Alexander still doesn't need to ask for a hall pass!

AE: Do you think your child is gifted?
LaMai: I hate that word. I think parents love it more than the students who are defined by it. Now that we've watched GATTACA, it reeks of some sort of weird genetic identification that the superior-human-being cop can check with a government wand.

AE: Your "Yesterday and Today" entries. What's the point?
LaMai: Honestly, I don't think the bloggy reader cares what we're doing, but if I blog it, it winds up on my Google calendar, which eventually gets transcribed to my Quarterly Report that goes to the NYC Homeschooling Coordinator. Accountability, accountability, accountability. Or, in other lingo, CYA.

AE: Is it true you speak Latin in your home?
LaMai: Um, yes. Sure. All the time. Yeah, that's the ticket. We speak Latin all the time.

AE: OK, and um, what is up with your status as a single parent? A divorced parent, I believe?
LaMai: Oh, honey, that is so old. Rewind and check out the archives or something. It's all in there.

AE: Uh-huh. Isn't France on the horizon or something? You blogged about it earlier.
LaMai: My lips are sealed. For now.

AE: And about you being an Office Hottie...
LaMai: Oh, please. One bloggy reader seemed miffed that I even wrote that. But this is my diary, folks. The hottie thing surprised me, too. I was always the kid at school who stood next to the girls who were cute, and some boy would say, "Oh, she's pretty, and she's pretty, too," but when he'd get to me, he'd be like, "Um. No. Too thin. Too gangly. Too, um, no." So that blog entry was my anthropologically-based observation in human morph-dom, after a night at that schi-schi boutique bar. Capisce?

AE: Capisce. And what is Tatooine doing on your dinner table?
LaMai: Oh, that's A's word for ratatouille. Tatooine. Say it. Don't you hear the similarity?


Sick Day No. 2.

Has us watching movies.

We watched GATTACA last night. I had not seen it, it's good, and yes, the letters stand for codons in a DNA sequence. There are also other subtle references to the double helix throughout the film.

Today will also be a non-crew day. A simply needs his rest (which means lots of studying, heh heh). Yesterday the dog nanny picked up Napoleon for his walk. She doesn't charge me much, but some things she does do concern me. Like, the time she took Napoleon to her place--a practice which I allow--and falling asleep for several hours--a practice which I do not allow.

This morning we prepped dinner, hachis parmentier again, with our la rattes. I almost was adventurous enough to try our purple Peruvians instead, but not this time. I also tend to repeat certain foods so that A learns to make them on his own. A prepped the la rattes this morning by boiling them, mashing them while adding heavy cream, butter, herbes de Provence, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. While I tend to use Gruyère to top the dish, today we're using Swiss cheese. We've used it before, and it has turned out fine.

I am wondering if I should enroll in their course. The first availability is in March 2007. Hmmm...


Get Fresh.

Yes, this is my homage to you, Becky

Support your local farmers, I say.

One of the things that impresses me about gorgeous European women, like this lady here,

and gorgeous European women who remain gorgeous after having kids, is that they do not just give up and eat at McDonald's three times a day, or have unhealthy lifestyles because "they just don't have the time" to get ingredients to fix a meal themselves or get themselves to places where food is freshly made. They they eat seasonally by getting their seasonal fruits and veggies and meats several times a week, drink their water regularly, and allow small pleasures to the process of bringing food to the table. And they eat out where the food is made thoughtfully. Think, artisanally-made food.

I've been hitting up my favorites spots for fresh food, particularly vegetables at The Union Square Farmers Market. Some of my favorites--

- For chilis, Eckerton Hill Farm, Virginville, PA
- For bread (okay, at $5 a loaf, it's expensive, but it's organic, and tastes like real bread, the kind you imagine could be a stand-alone food and would have been served to you in the Middle Ages), Rock Hill Bakehouse, Gansvoort, NY
- For organic produce (look at the mesclun line goooooo!) including zucchini florets, Windfall Farms, Montgomery, NY [I spotted a very well-dressed woman stealing from this stand last week, I couldn't believe it]
- For jumbo antibiotic-free, free-range hen eggs and free-range poultry, Knoll Krest Farm, Clinton Corners, NY

Non-specifically, since we first arrived in New York, we get apple cider from the apple cider and apple pie folks who sell the apple chutney/salsa and hot cider for $1, maple syrup tainted with ginger or organic peaches from the Vermont Maple company, sheep's cheese from the only sheep's cheese stand there (there are a few goat ones, there, though), and buffalo jerky for Napoleon (not organic) from the Buffalo meat guy closest to the New York Film Academy side of the Square.

Eating fresh supports your local farmers, who, like the Union Square farmers, may not have contracts with Whole Foods directly across the street. You help bring accountability to your table (I'm talking to you, spinach industry) by getting to know the farmers, their products, and their craft.

Finally, farmers markets can be educational. A is studying Incan culture. "Mom, did you know that Peruvian potatoes are the size of a baby's fist?" We picked up purple Peruvian potatoes along with my supply of la Rattes. Farmers don't mind talking about their craft, and the bee man at Union Square might show you one of his secret Manhattan rooftop hives.

*Photo credit: The Sartorialist. Click on image to find out what Giovanna does for a living. Jealous, me.

Yesterday and Today


- Writing Class with other homeschoolers.
- Math Class with other homeschoolers.
- Crew.


- Free day. Study whatever you want, but make sure the chapters due for PPSI are read.

Turns out A is too sick today to study anything.


Boston, the 4-hour Bus Ride, and the Infinite Corridor.

So, we went to Boston this weekend. We took that un-named Asian bus company that takes you to Boston and back cheaply. Yeah, the company whose bus flipped over in Connecticut recently.

I had no clue what I'd do there besides drop off A at his class at Prestigiously Prestigious Science Institution (PPSI). While there, I tried to find a visitor's computer to check my e-mail. It's PPSI, right? They ought to have an abundance of computers everywhere. Yes. Everywhere. Spilling over with computers. PCs, Macs, you name it. Of course, they'll have a visitor's one for me. I'll just surf until A's class is over. Four hours from now. I approach a sweet-faced PPSI student.

"Um, no, you'll need a password to use the computers here at PPSI. And you won't have a password unless you're a PPSI student."
"Oh. Oh, well. My son and I came up from New York City, just to take this class, and um, I left my laptop in New York, as well."
"Okay. I'll log in for you. It's just e-mail, right?"
[Me thinking, great, I can BLOG from here!] "Um, yes."

PPSI student who logged me on with her password actually stood next to me while I checked my e-mail. Meh. "How do I log you out?" I asked, two minutes after I logged on.

Four hours. I checked the bulletin board along the Infinite Corridor. Noam Chomsky is giving a talk on Thursday. Noam Chomsky. Wow.

That other Big-Name School Down The Road shouldn't be too far to walk, right? It's only two stops on the Red Line. Okay, I nearly died walking to BNSDTR. It was sunny this weekend. Next time, I'll just sit and have brunch. Need to find a good brunch place. Maybe meet some single Bostonian guys. Or visit Calletta. Or something.

But will A really continue his class in Boston on the weekends? I got a call on my cell phone from A, a full hour-and-a-half earlier than I anticipated.

"Done so soon?"
"Yeah. We're done. Mom, I LOVE Boston. Can we live here? I don't mind the bus ride."

Sigh. I guess I'll get all my knitting projects done.

Slate's take on the Pope's talk

Can be found here.

I am thinking out loud here: why do religious figureheads even go there? I mean, not there, there, specifically referencing Islam, but why talk about a religion other than your own (i.e., why roam outside the realm in which you are expert and an authority)? If the Dalai Lama gave a "talk" on Judaism, I'd think it inappropriate.

That, and one must tread carefully when one talks about swords and faith--particularly when one's own faith began something called the "The Crusades." That is not to excuse the ironic (and self-fulfilling, prophetic) violent behavior which has ensued since the Pope's talk.

International Day of Peace information here.

Yes, I am excited by this news.

Manhattan finally gets one. Alas, it goes only to fourth grade. We'll catch up with you Bostonians, I swear.


Guess what, LaMai, Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey are in the building...

And they're on our floor.

"Oh, that's nice, but I'm too busy to see them."

Did I say that?

Yesterday, day before that, and today


- Saxon Math Test (No, I'm not telling which test number. A is sensitive about which lesson he's on. He wants to be finished already).
- AP Biology: Molecular Genetics, pp 75-86. Review Cellular Reproduction. Quiz Friday.
- Second draft Frankenstein essay.
- Leisure reading: (actually, it's the next read in our science readings) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. A finished this book on Wednesday.
- Crew.

Dinner. We eat camembert rôti au miel and ratatouille, and talk about crew and Burgundy grapes. Because I was drinking a Bordeaux.

Evening film:

Akeelah and the Bee. A Starbucks Entertainment film. Ratatouille happens to be a spelling bee word in the film.


- AP Biology: Finish Molecular Genetics pp 75-86. During dinner, we talk about introns and exons.
- Math: Saxon Math exercises.
- Pleasure math fun: White Belt Sudoku.
- Pleasure read: Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix.
- Crew.

Dinner. Gorgonzola tortellini from Italy and a sauce I lifted from Gourmet Magazine. Last night's Bordeaux is tonight's Sangria. We talk about crew, boarding school, day schools, and Kangol hats. And getting some new Converse sneakers for A.

Evening film:

A Room With a View, Ismael Merchant and James Ivory. A doesn't like it as much as I did when I saw it and fell in love with Daniel Day-Lewis and Helena Bonham-Carter and hyphenations of surnames.


- Anatomy class. A will be observing.
- Homeschooling group picnic in the park cancelled because of our damp weather.
- Guitar lesson.
- ISEE tutor for 1 hour.
- Math and Physics tutor arrives for 1 hour.
- AP Biology: Cellular Reproduction Quiz.

Must clean apartment for the Math tutor. It's her first time.

This weekend: Boston.


Vincerò! Vincerò! Vincerò!

I decided to visit our Homeschooling Coordinator (HC) in person. I had been forewarned by other parents about a mysterious "loss of paperwork" by the DoE and HC, so I diligently reprinted our Letter of Intent (LOI) and Instruction Homeschool Instruction (thingy) Paperwacky (IHIP) at work, and put them into an envelope. I then proceeded to put on my raincoat and leave the LOI and IHIP behind on my desk at the satellite radio company in midtown as I proceeded to the Homeschooling Coordinator's office downtown in Chelsea. On my lunch break.

I'd been told it takes "hours and hours" before you get your Metrocard.

Ten minutes later, on the 12th floor of the DoE, sitting in a regulation DoE blue chair, I turned to one very serious-and-sedate-looking homeschooling mom with her child. I asked her about the wait. "Between one to three hours," she said, matter-of-factly. Okay, forgive me, but anyone who WAITS for three hours for a card has either a) arrived promptly in the middle of the Homeschooling Coordinator's lunch break (which, mind, she is entitled to take), or b) is seriously taking from the tokey bin if you do not let the desk clerk know that you have other things to do. Besides. Wait. Three. Hours. For. A. Subway. Card.

Serious-and-sedate-looking homeschooling mom (SASLHM) also informed me that yes, they have been losing all our paperwork, and there was no way she'd trust the coordinator to receive paperwork on e-mail. I had told her that I sent our LOI and IHIP via fax, certified U.S. Postal Mail, and e-mail. Last week the HC had confirmed to me that she received all three. I asked SASLHM about her daughter. "How old?" I asked, politely. "Oh, she's an old soul," she replied, and turned her back to me. I looked at her daughter. I gathered about nine years old, old. I decided not to talk to SASLHM anymore.

I waited 25 minutes. And then I announced to the desk clerk that I work for radio, and am on my lunch break, I am a working taxpayer, this is ridiculous, please take my number back, thank you very much, I'll come back tomorrow at the cock's crow.

It was on the elevator that I realized my umbrella was still on the 12th floor. I was rapidly approaching the first floor. Presto-chango. Back on the 12th floor, soggy umbrella in hand, I heard my name called.
"Ms. LaMai? and Ms. Thing. and Mrs. Thing, please come inside," was the instruction.
"Oh , no," said a desk clerk, "She gave her number back."
"Erm, no, I'm here. I'll go in," and I did.

The HC had all my paperwork before her, brought from her office (I had forgotten mine back at my office, remember) organized nicely into a pile, and one document was clearly printed off of e-mail. It was DoE paper.

"Is there anything that we, the homeschoolers, can do for you? Maybe to help you get an assistant?" I asked. She was embarrassed at the offer. And despite the chaos, was incredibly calm. She is in charge of over 3,000 families -- not students, families. She gave me absolutely no grief. I held her, hugged her, and she reached to kiss me on the cheek.

We have our Metrocard.

Dilegua, o notte!
Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle!
All'alba vincerò!
Vincerò! Vincerò!*

- Calaf in Nessun dorma, Giacomo Puccini.


We Want Our Metrocard - The Musical

So, the NYC homeschooling group to which we belong came up with a form letter to request the Metrocards from our Homeschooling Coordinator ("HC"). I promptly e-mailed ours to the HC this morning, before Pete Yorn, and attached our LOI and IHIP to the e-mail, just to refresh her mind that we're following the rules.

If you are a first-timer to this site, if you click on any given photo/image in an entry, there might be a link to something. Like, maybe the way I really feel about whatever/whoever it is I have written about. For instance, the "Caution" sign of two entries ago. Yes, that one. Oh. No. She. Didn't.

Anyhoo, I am too busy doing our schedule to talk about anything substantive, educationally. If you want substantive, go to Becky in Alberta's site. She's super-intelligent, and is a Trinity alumna. Or if you're feeling the wanderlust (like, um, a certain neighbor of mine who homeschools), check out RoadSchola.

I plan to re-join my knitting group. I so miss them. I have started cooking with passion again. Last night I made Les Hachis Parmentier (a Frenchi-fied version of Shepherd's Pie). Two nights ago, it was stuffed eggplant with five-mushroom (cremini, porcini, shitake, oyster, and baby portabella) sauce fettuccine. This morning, we had hot oatmeal in whole organic milk (I hate fat free anything), with organic raspberries, creamed honey, and ginger maple syrup from our local farmer's market. I also bought garlic flowers from our farmer's market, and they really made our zucchini/organic red and yellow heirloom tomato/white pepper and regular salt/French goat cheese omelet taste great. Is it a wonder that I work out every day? I am eating like King Henry VIII.

And, oh yes, I am going to France for a few days. Hornblower, please hold my hand on this one.

E-mail in my MS Outlook inbox

Pete Yorn will be performing with his band in the studio in the lobby this morning. You are invited to come watch his performance in the lobby.


Satellite Radio People


What can I say? O.K.

LaMai would like to report that Pete Yorn is incredibly cute in person. Too bad I missed Pete Townsend yesterday (Hello!).


Re: Our New Homeschooling Coordinator

Apparently, scores of homeschoolers are being misinformed, right and left, by the very friendly Homeschooling Coordinator for All Five Boroughs of New York City.

This is unsubstantiated rumor, but what I have been hearing is, "Don't let the kids go out during school hours!" and suggestions to use a packaged curriculum (crikey, really? No can do in LaMai's household). The worst rumor which I have heard is that she is interviewing families and advising them whether they can or cannot homeschool.

I have no idea which way this will go. But us NYC homeschooling families, you know, we're New Yorkers. Like, New Yawk-ers. So watch out. We have our attorneys at the ready.

Yesterday and Today


- Biology: Read AP Biology text pp37-47. Do Quiz.
- Science readings: SparkNotes Frankenstein pp 9-11.
- Math: Daily Saxon Math sections (2).
- French: Read Bernard Werber's Les Thanatonautes sections 1-4 in the first chapter.
- Crew.


- Read AP Biology pp 89-100 -- Cell Reproduction. Do not take quiz!
- Science readings: Essay.

In Frankenstein, does the monster's eloquence and persuasiveness make it easier for the reader to sympathize with him? Why do you think film versions of the story present the monster as mute or inarticulate?

[Note to self: make sure we have Mary Shelley's Frankenstein next up in our Netflix queue, with a "Hollywood" version of the same.]

- Math: Daily Saxon Math sections (2).
- French: Bernard Werber's Les Thanatonautes sections 5-6 in the first chapter.

There will be more. It's too early in our school week to overwhelm the student.

Why did I choose Frankenstein as part of our science readings? While a pre-med in college, I took a Writing for Science Majors course. We read Shelley's book, among other writings. I learned that ethics and philosophical dilemmas are tied to science, whether we like it or not; if we are to be scientists, we ought to be thoughtful ones. To that end, I am thinking to add Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go to our reading list.

Yesterday was also the five-year anniversary of 9/11. Everyone seemed somewhat nervous on my train going to work. It did not help that the conductor said the train was being stalled (for 20 minutes) because "of an incident on the tracks ahead." It is also Fashion Week in NYC. Here is the Sartorialist's take on Remembering 9/11.


Well, Kiss My Brass.

A: "Hello Mom?"
Me: "Yes, hon?"
A: "Um, Bette Midler is here."
Me: "Huh?"
A: "Yes. Bette Midler is here. At the boathouse."
Me: "You mean The Divine Miss M. Bette Midler?"
A: "Yeah. My coach just introduced me to her. She sponsors the boathouse, apparently."
Me: "Oh. Wow. How nice of her to drop by."
A: "Yeah. There are all these schi schi-dressed ladies here with her."
Me: "Ah. Okay. I would imagine any lady accompanying Bette Midler would be dressed schi-schi, yes?"
A: "Yeah, I guess. She's got blond hair. Another kid was introduced to her. And he said, Oh, hi, and walked off like he didn't know who she was."

IHIP sent! Score, me!

I feel so great.

Henrietta Becoat, I love you.


To my mother and any other puritan: Don't read this. Thank you.

For those visiting for the first time, I am a single parent who would very much like to meet a guy for a long-term (read: LONG TERM) relationship.

And, apparently, I've been afforded a label by my co-workers at the satellite radio company in midtown where I work. I found this out while having drinks after work at a boutique hotel (read: chi-chi furniture and $40 drinks in the garden space) with office pals. I knew trouble would begin when we decided to play the game of "What do you think of me?" and everyone was invited to participate. One guy and one girl played the "game." We had all had at least one drink.

My turn. I was nervous.

Me: Um, what do you and the office, in general, think of me?
Guy Co-worker: Hottie.
Me: Wha?
GCW: Hottie.
Me: [turning to other guy from office] Is this true?
Other Guy from Office: Yeah. You're the office hottie.
Me: Um, how many guys at work deem this to be true?
GCW: Um, I don't know. I've talked to too many guys. They all say the same thing.
Me: What about BS? Does he think that, too?
GCW: OMG, yes.
Me: Okay. Wait a minute. I am an office hottie, and BS, who I actually like, hasn't asked me out? WILL ANYONE ASK ME OUT ON A DATE?
GCW: You're the office hottie. We wouldn't dare do that.
Me to GCW: Would you want to date me?
GCW: OF course.
Me to OGFO: And you?
OGFO: Are you kidding? Just ask me to.

This is a totally weird revelation to me. Maybe all my jogging in the mornings is finally paying off. And then there was that beyond-normal-for New York City-weirdness that happened on my way to the hotel. An NYPD cop actually said "Hi" to me as I walked past on the street. Just like that. "Hi." Like that "Hi, baby" sort of "Hi." Maybe Hans Christian Andersen was right. Ugly ducklings get their day. But no dates?

Me to girl office worker: Um, what do you think of me?
GOW: You're my homegirl. You're fun to hang out with.
Me: Thanks. You're fun to hang out with, too. And, you're hot! HAH HAH HAH!!!

Which is why LaMai believes in the truth in the Pussycat Dolls song Buttons:

I'm telling you to loosen up my buttons babe (uh huh)
But you keep frontin' (uh)
Sayin' what you gon' do to me (uh huh)
But I ain't seen nothin' (ah)
I'm telling you to loosen up my buttons babe (uh huh)
But you keep frontin' (uh)
Sayin' what you gon' do to me (uh huh)
But I ain't seen nothin' (ah)

Typical and hardly
The type I fall for
I like it when the physical
Don't leave me askin' for more
I'm a sexy mama (mama)
Who knows just how to get what I wanna (wanna)
What I wanna do is bring this on ya (on ya)
Backup all the things that I told ya (told ya, told ya, told ya)
You've been sayin'
All the right things all night long
But I can't seem to get you over here
To help take this off

Sigh. So true.

Back to writing my IHIP. Gotta love homeschooling.


fyi to NYC Homeschoolers not in the know...


The New York City Department of Education

Joel I. Klein, Chancellor

Office of Youth Development

Office of Attendance Room 218

52 Chambers Street - NY, NY 10007

August 31, 2006

Dear Parent,

Welcome to the beginning of a new school year. Our records indicate that during the 2005-2006 school year you home schooled your child. We are contacting you in order to provide information about the home schooling program.

This school year, home schooling will be administered centrally in order to facilitate a more streamlined process for parents and students.

If you have already submitted a letter of intent to your regional office and if you have received your Home Schooling Packet for this year please send the completed packet with the IHIP to the Home Schooling Office at the following address:

Department of Education

Home Schooling Coordinator

333 Seventh Avenue, 12th floor

New York, NY 10001

If you have submitted a letter of intent but have not yet received a Home Schooling Packet, please contact our office at (917) 339-1700 or email: HBeacot@schools.nyc.gov .

If you have not yet submitted a letter of intent and would like to home school your child for the 2006-2007 school year please send your letter of intent to the Home Schooling Office at the address indicated above. For your convenience a sample letter of intent has been enclosed.

If you have any further questions please contact the Home Schooling Office at (917) 339-1200 or email HBeacot@schools.nyc.gov .

Lilian Garelick

Director of Mandated Responsibilities

New York City Department of Education

Office of Youth Development


Yes, kids, that is ONE Homeschooling Coordinator for ALL five New York City boroughs! When our kids get their Metrocards is anybody's guess!


and finally...

I received a message from L at Road Schola , who happens to be living right near where Steve Irwin's boat is docked. She reports:

"Don't know how big the news is over there, but here they compared it
to the deaths of JFK and Princess Diana.

These were taken down at Marina Mirage in Port Douglas. The second
photo shows a few flowers left by the palm tree."

I messaged her back. Steve Irwin is the one bloke who I would have loved to share a pint with at the local pub, and I would have told all my friends about it ad nauseum.

The cartoon appeared in the New York Post.


Crikey...what can I say?

Incredibly sad, we are, in the LaMai household.

He will be missed.