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.