The Global Financial Services Firm.

So, A is home for the winter holiday.

He's been jammin' on his guitar (don't I love to be serenaded? I do, after a long absence from hearing the guitar!), reading Sir Thomas Mallory, going to the movies with me to see "Atonement" (just for you older teens, okay?) and "I'm Not There" (ditto), and looking up words on Google such as "IDF" and "Haganah" and "Shin Bet" and "Mossad" (Oh, dear, I knew the day would come).

He has completed a Fall term and part Winter term nearly unscathed in his new "institutional student" status from his new prep school in New England.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it can be done.

But done does not mean done without challenges.

We have such a one in A's email inbox. "You have been selected on the recommendation of Teacher XYZ to intern this summer at Big Time Global Financial Services Firm. Please attend the Global Financial Services Firm orientation in New York City, to take place on the Twelfth Night. The golden door with the candle will mark your entry to the Tower of Orientation. Please wear your cloaks, under which you must have on business attire. Satan will await with a deep green pen as you sign your souls away to corporate life under Big Time Global Financial Services Firm. Of course, we will pay for acquisition of your soul. Ten dollars an hour, for six weeks. "

Or something like that.

I wonder if Big Time Boarding School A (BTBSA) forgot that they gave Alex a scholarship to do science research this summer?

I read the "invitation" the first time and my heart sank. My son is a scientist/artist. Not a businessman. No No NO!

Then I remembered Mick Jagger studied business and went to the London School of Economics. Oh yes! Redemption!

But then, lest I forget, there is also the Summer Term in China and the summer term in Calculus...both in which A wanted to embark. This is where we curse the laws of Physics that govern time and space (A can only choose one course for the same 6 weeks on the calendar), and also curse the calendar for offering such a short summer.


In other news, A is studying for the AP French exam. BTBSA refused to place him in fourth-year French, so he is going to take the exam, anyway. He studies every weekend and seems to be making very good progress.

I've noticed that BTBSA doesn't like when students do "their own thing." I keep reminding myself, "It's an institution. They can't help it. They don't know better."

And really, they don't.


crouching dysfunctional kids, hidden parent

I would like to begin and end this post by saying that the living skeleton in my family is a Cuban called Fidel Castro. Unfortunately, dear bloggy reader, my life could not be that simple.

The living skeleton is actually a single parent who is raising two kids in sunny Miami, ignores what the kids learn in school, loathes the act of cooking for them and feeds them breakfast cereal for dinner.

She is my cousin. My Cousin in Miami (CIM).

Perhaps I am overreacting in giving her living skeleton status. But last night, after a two-hour phone conversation with another cousin in South Carolina, I learned that CIM's breakfast cereal-turned-dinner is occasionally replaced by a Dunkin Donuts "meal" (Tony Bourdain, I am right there with you on your recent criticism of Rachael Ray. Her latest endorsement is just Evil. Could someone finally please teach Ms. Ray about Integrity in Food?).

I am guessing that CIM is not the only one who relinquishes her childrens' brains to the random schoolteacher, and allows the system to work its magic on their grey matter. But my South Carolina cousin (SCC) informed me, "No, you don't understand...she doesn't even know her kids' teachers by name." Worse, SCC became concerned enough to ask CIM's kids to show HER their report cards. SCC flipped. "You're failing in Math? Does your mother know?" The child shook her head.

Neglect is a touchy subject in my family. I was a child of regular doses of neglect (a.k.a., The Spectacular Free-Spirited Seventies!). And I suspect some of us homeschooler parents may overcompensate in our kids' educations because of our own perceived parental uninvolvement -- but I'll leave that one to you kiddos to psychoanalyze for yourselves.

Anyhoo, SCC decided to intervene in the food matter and let CIM's kids eat a real sit-down restaurant. No instant gratification facilitated by quick meals, no plastic utensils. So SCC and CIM's kids go to at Gloria Estefan's restaurant on Ocean Drive. Yes, that one. It was during this noble venture in (greasy) food education, that one of CIM's kids blurted out, "BUT I'D RATHER EAT BURGER KING!" Note: The kids are age 12 and 14 years old.

SCC and I agreed that CIM's kids need help. I want to call a family intervention on CIM, I really do. The issues we'd address would include her kids' malnutrition, CIM's partying ways (sorry, won't get into that here, but let's just say there is an issue of a certain quantity of men), and the need for her to pay attention to her kids' education.

Unfortunately, because neglect is not a new issue in that side of my family, the fractured relationships prevent a family-size "intervention" from happening.

A question to ponder from LaMai: In addition to your involvement with your kids' education, what do YOU do to reinforce healthy family relations?


and then there was the sympathetic ear

A couple of days after my last frustrating post, I spoke to a school counselor at A's school.

"I think your school is driving me and my son nuts," I cried. "This is why."

The counselor listened. She was oh-so-patient. She spoke to A directly --- and discreetly --- and lent her ear to his feedback. She was as shocked as I was about A's experiences, and made some recommendations, and armed me with information. Seems she was proactive, too, because things started happening.

I received emails. A was given a treat party at his dorm. The form dean who I initially loathed for his lack of cooperation was finally responsive.

And A's academic grades, which were already good, went up a bit...he became comfortable with BTBSA at some point. He very very nearly made the Dean's List, as well, by a half a point.

Still, I encountered resistance from the form advisor on some things. Boarding schools, even if progressive, are still conservative by progressive school standards. Does that make sense?

Example: A wanted to take Photography in the spring. His form dean said "No." "No room" in his schedule to take Photography. I called the Photography instructor. He couldn't help, he was starting sabbatical, and he recommend that A start approaching faculty with his issues on his own. It seems that that is the BTBSA way. I begun to understand why.

(Note: This is something I like *very much* about b-schools...students are expected to handle their matters themselves without parental intervention, as part of encouraging their personal growth process. These kids' parents will NOT be the ones who call Human Resources at their child's first place of employment to complain about their precious babies' probationary work evaluations!).

Anyway, I told A to talk to the Arts director, and he did. Then A marched back to the form dean, photography portfolio in hand, and said, "Look. Photography is my passion. Please accommodate my schedule. Your arts program is one of the main reasons why I came here at all." The form dean looked at the portfolio, and said, "Um, I am not a photography critic. I am just a layman." Then, miraculously, A's spring schedule included Photography. Oh yes, the form dean had to CHANGE EVERYTHING in the schedule to include Photography, but darn it, the course is now there.

Another problem that came up this winter term is that the form dean stupidly scheduled A's classes straight through the day, past the time that the dining hall closes after serving lunch. Another email from me: "Excuse me? My son does not order in. He eats lunch on campus in the dining hall, sitting down, and for longer than 5 minutes in-between classes. Please fix. Thank you." The schedule was rectified by 10 AM the morning following my email.

Are there social class issues? Yes and no. In the above scenario, a wealthy student would probably order in food from a local restaurant four days a week and blow off the scheduling snafu. Or perhaps the wealthier parents wouldn't be calling to complain about a missing photography course. They could just purchase a photography travel course to the Sahara desert or Papeete and sonny boy would have a nice little exotic exhibit in the school arts center.

I relish the ways I can still participate in my son's life (and be useful as a guerilla educator!).

There is a joy to the process of getting what you want where it is possible to be had.

Tonight, A's uber-Republican roommate, IAAR!, wanted to know why A was playing Somali oud music. "Look, I don't mind you playing that Arab music. But it's weird."


"Yes, hon?"

"IAAR is ridiculous. He thinks Somalis are Arabic because they're muslim. Says it's all the same. I wish he'd be more open-minded."

I really had to laugh.

And how did A learn about Somali oud music at all? Because he DJs at BTBSA on Tuesdays. And researches music. And learned that Hamza el Din, who was Egyptian, attracted the attention of the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan. Much like Ravi Shankar got a fanbase in that group known as the Beatles. If not for the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan, A would not be learning about global oud music.

In other news, I've learned that in my ripe 30s, I am starting menopause. No joke. LaMai's FSH levels are off the charts. Turns out my mother started at 38.

Sympathy comments are welcome.


ok maybe...

I am not so crazy about A's new school.

Maybe A got locked out of his room one evening --- At 12:41 AM (an event which I will call "the incident") and no adults responded. At all.

Maybe on the same night, at 12:42 AM, A noticed that he had his cellphone on hand and called his dorm advisor on duty -- but the dorm advisor did not respond. Then LaMai called and also got no response. Then LaMai called the other dorm advisor. No response. Then the dorm adult down the hall. No response. Then LaMai left emails. No response until two days later. Then A called campus security for help getting back into his room now that it was 1:15 AM (an event which I will call "the incident equivalent to calling the police").

Perhaps also the Form Advisor actually questioned LaMai about LaMai's Honesty and if LaMai Had Actually Reached Out To The Registrar About Correct French Class Placement Before A Started School This Fall (an event which I will call "the alleged non-incident.") Maybe LaMai, as a result, thinks the Form Advisor is a supreme jerk as a result of his belief that "the alleged non-incident" is actually true.

Maybe IAAR! is truly intolerable. Because the ammonia smells from IAAR!'s dirty laundry invading A's airspace are now just A Little Too Much.

And then, there's the Fight Club thing. Oh yes. It happened. An actual Fight Club was formed. At my kid's dorm.

And then, there's the Fight Club Decree That Fight Club Shall No Longer Exist enacted by my kid's dorm advisor.

Perhaps tonight there was also The History Assignment. For which A stated he was sure to get an "F."

After which LaMai said, "Oh, good G-d, just come the hell home."

LaMai cannot sleep.


home for the long weekend

A is home for the long weekend. It is also his b-day weekend.

Yesterday, A's school (BTBSA) held parent-teacher conferences and I took the day off work to travel there and participate.

I also got to sit in on A's classes. I was honestly surprised with the quality of the teaching. The teachers seemed great, amazingly well qualified and engaging. After classes was an abnormally long (compared to A's normal schedule) lunch totaling two hours, then the parent-teacher conferencing.

The conferencing was done in the athletic center, conducted like a cross between a job fair and speed dating session on academic steroids. All the teachers were lined up in rows, divided and labeled with placards in the special school font, by subject, and every eight minutes, a bell would go off (that was the parents' cue to get the hell out and on to the next teacher).

Furious handshakes. Look down at the schedule for the next teacher and time. Switch.

I made it to the coffee/apple cider/cookies station several times.

I observed parents behaving badly.

One parent could not erase a frown off her face. She was Asian, impeccably dressed in Textiles and Designs You Clearly Cannot Get In The U.S. Her face was very long, and very intricately painted (red being the marquee color), so the frown effect made her look like a dragon lady who had smelled something seriously foul. She sat next to me during Chinese class. I was scared. Apparently, she did not approve of A's Mandarin teacher. Maybe the teacher was too "yo, homegirl!" too "country bumpkin" and messy-haired for this sophisticated Hong Kong mother. I don't know. I love A's Mandarin teacher. I love that as soon as she walked in to her classroom and immediately began asking her students questions in Mandarin, they answered in their new language without hesitation. She could have the Chinese equivalent of a Roadside At The Hicksville Trailer Truck Stop Cafe accent, but I love that she is energetic, and can talk to me in English and smile at the same time. Some things just don't need translation.

Another mother, a waify blond-haired thing in A Very Serious Shade of Purple, without saying anything or introducing herself to me, leaned over and looked at my name card and deliberately began flipping pages in her copy of the school facebook. She was clearly searching for a name that matched mine.

I was finally able to meet A's favorite teacher -- his "G-d" of English Literature, the Leader and Middle Ground, the "agon" in the struggle (neither "prot" nor "ant"), the self-efffacing, the mu yet the all-knowing, the O Captain My Captain who will lead the young ones to The Truth. His name is Mr. Magnificent. "Your son is veddy tall," he told me with a smile. "And I am veddy short."

I swear that was the juice of my meeting with Mr. Magnificent.

The surprise of the day was finding a homeschool student from A's homeschool group in New York, now at BTBSA. The homeschooler is named M. She is one of the anti-Darwins, but I guess A might take comfort knowing that someone, a vestigial relation from his small educational universe, evolved sufficiently to land in his new school.

I have cake to buy. Have a good weekend, everyone.


dum dum dum...


*The science wing at A's new school. So much nicer than my undergraduate science building. I want my Stafford Loan money back.

So A got his first midterm report. He is doing well in his classes at his new school and well in Chemistry, which he took over the summer at a NY university. I am happy that despite his rowing, DJing, and wanting to be admitted to the Arts Concentration Program...he is doing okay, academically.

The downside is he frequently tells me he cannot talk to me on the phone because he's busy studying.

His essays need work. I think this is a common homeschoolers' issue. Fluidity, coherence, being on point, sharp-shooting your argument. His current school -- which is not Taft (ha!), and not in Massachusetts (ha ha!) -- grades really tough on the essays. It's annoying and it hurts. But it'll make him a stronger writer, I say.

Today A took the PSAT, which was mandatory, then he helped another school crew team prepare for the Head of the Charles regatta (for those not in the know, it's the American equivalent of the Royal Henley Regatta in England). He volunteered to row starboard for another school in need -- because they were missing two rowers today.

His roommate (who I will call "I am a Republican!" because that is what he calls himself, "IAAR!" for short), turns out, is a legacy kid. Great-granchild of RockeMelloCarnegsomebody. I still don't get why IAAR! needs to borrow money from my A. And tells other students that A has no friends (I guess Asian friends don't count?).

IAAR! chimed up in class last week to report that global warming is a fiction. I am wondering if he has been to Greenland lately. A tells me that IAAR!'s dirty clothes are now inching precariously close to his side of the room. One of IAAR's sweat-soaked shirts may have touched A's desk chair.

A is so tolerant of IAAR!. I would be less Ghandhi-like if he were my roommate.

Then, there's the school radio station. Ah, yes. Here's A's playlist his first night DJing for the school radio station:

The Man Who Sold the World - Nirvana (unplugged)
Life On Mars? - Seu Jorge
If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day - Robert Johnson
Hear My Train A Comin' (Acoustic Version)- Jimi Hendrix
Mannish Boy - Muddy Waters
Happy Jack - The Who
Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones
Jynweythek Ylow - Aphex Twin
Street Fighting Man - The Rolling Stones
Hong Kong Garden (With Strings Intro) - Siouxsie and The Banshees
Renegades of Funk - Rage Against The Machine
Izabella (Live at Woodstock Remastered in 1999) - Jimi Hendrix
Woodstock Improvisation (Live at Woodstock Remastered in 1999) - Jimi Hendrix
Villanova Junction (Live at Woodstock Remastered in 1999) - Jimi Hendrix
War Within a Breath - Rage Against The Machine
Lover Man (Live at Woodstock Remastered in 1999) - Jimi Hendrix
Life On Mars? - David Bowie
Money (That's What I Want) - Buddy Guy
I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground and Nico
Rollin 'n' Tumblin' - Canned Heat
Crossroads - Cream
Straight Ahead - Jimi Hendrix
Queen Bitch - David Bowie

Can you tell he likes Jimi Hendrix? After his first night DJing and reading the playlist, I explained about not overdosing his audience with one band or musician...break them in lightly, so that they want more. And I never listened to many of the bands/musicians listed. I was surprised with his ability to convey the nuance of music identity -- the two first songs are David Bowie songs, covered by other musicians, one a Brazilian acoustic guitar guy.

And it's all stuff he discovered on his own. I promise, we're not hippies.

And speaking of not being hippies, I was at Hilly's memorial service two nights ago. A Ramone spoke, a Talking Head spoke, a Dead Boy spoke, a Shirt spoke, a Living Color singer spoke, a Television guy spoke, a Richard Hell spoke, a music producer from England spoke, and then everybody drank.

Just like the old man would have wanted.

I miss the old man.


So, LaMai, how are you doing?

Q: How are you coping with A's absence?

Well...these first few weeks I will admit, I have behaved like a jealous girlfriend.

Me: Hi, A. It's me.
A: Hi Mom. I can't talk now...I have to go to dinner.
Me: What? You don't miss me?
A: Erm...no, it's not that. It's just that I can't talk right now...dinner started a half hour ago and I just have a few minutes left to...
Me: But you don't call me 329 times a day like you did last week.
A: Mom? Do you want me to eat?
Me: Don't you miss me? Fine. I get it. You CAN'T TALK.

Okay, that's not an actual conversation, but you get the idea. I visited A one weekend to check up on him, see how he was doing.

A is making friends. Almost all his friends are Asian. I am not sure why this is, but I am hoping this will secure a decent study ethic.

His roommate is a slob.

And creates bad smells in the dorm.

And asks A for money.

I have addressed the above issues with A.

A signed up to DJ at the school radio station one day a week.

Joined a club or two.

Is learning piano in addition to guitar.

Is rowing and will compete at a regatta this week with his team.

Hates his Chem teacher.

Loves his English teacher.

Fell off his bunk bed last week.

Thinks the food is below average. It is "bland."

Learned to play pool.

And ping pong. With his Asian homies.

Takes a shuttle bus to Wal-Mart on Saturdays. This, despite our talks about the Wal-Mart ethos.

Is perpetually busy or exhausted.

So LaMai has come to realize, that her A really *doesn't* have too much free time to chat. His school keeps him plenty occupied.

And me? If I am actually suffering the syndrome that is "empty nest" syndrome. I think I am. But goodness, there is so much to do. Who has time to live vicariously through one's child? It's certainly not what I homeschooled him for.

And tomorrow, I have a flight academy to go to. I have decided that I will learn to fly.



Our beloved greyhound, a former racing athlete who was too skittish at the starting gate to actually make a career of the sport, and wound up being adopted by me and A, died at my mother's home this afternoon in Florida.

Born: "Okie Destry" in Oklahoma.
Lived: as "Destiny" after LaMai thought "Destry" sounded too much like "destroy" and the vet made the mistake of calling him Destiny on his medical papers.

He was only nine years old.


Our decision

...did not come without tears, confusion, emails to school officials, a last-minute mutiny of our school decision (72 hours ago), with reversal, and general "OH MY G-D I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM RELINQUISHING MY ROLE AS GODDESS AND UBER-OVERSEER OF ACADEMICS" malaise.

It was hard.

As I was about to leave A at his new school this week, observing his cute Converse shoes against his blue slacks, jacket and tie, he smiled and told me, "Mom, I feel as though I am living a once-in-a-lifetime miracle."

We chose to accept -- and matriculate at --- BTBSA.

We chose the school for many reasons. But primarily, BTBSA kept in constant communication with me and A from the time he was accepted. Most impressive were the phone calls from non-staff. "Hi. I am the parent of so-and-so. Do you have any questions about the school? We can help." and "Hi. I am so-and-so? Is A available? I'd love to talk to him about my school" and "Hi. I'm A's roommate. I can't wait to meet him. He's going to have a great time. Please call me with any questions or just to chat. I'm here."

There were a few things that were not snag-free. Namely, the course placement process took a really long time and I felt as though I were dealing with Mao Tse Tung's henchmen. "We'll take care of A's courses" then it was, "We have no records for your son" then things became ambiguous, mysterious. I was told things like, "The teachers know where to place him" and I was kept out of the loop altogether with course placement. Which prompted me to become more interrogative. It was as if BTBSA forgot that A was a homeschooler. HOME schooler. I am head of the HOME. I have knowledge. I have evaluative skills. Please keep me in the loop, people, or I will bite your head off if you don't do this right.

Our issues with this were not resolved until the day before school began. But BTBSA worked around the clock to make good with us.

Anyway, A registered for his first day this week. When we arrived, we were assigned a Move-In Buddy. He walked us to A's dorm. Walked us to A's mailbox. Helped walk packages to A's dorm. Took us to the bookstore and waited while our books were picked up and paid for. Answered our questions. Walked us to the Student Center for A's photo-taking. Walked us the computer configuration building.

We kept getting approached by older students. "You new to BTBSA? Welcome, man," and the handshakes between A and the BTBSA student would begin. I couldn't believe that we were treated so well (things did not happen that way at my b-school!).

Then, inevitably I noticed The Parents. Of the Other New Students. Remember them? The ones from Botoxlandia, Stress-istan, and The Corporate-Mogul States of America? Yes. They were plenty. I actually had to overhear this:

A heavy-set looking dad to his son: "So. What is going to be your plan for organizing your socks and underwear, son? Do you have that under control?" Yes, LaMai is so sure that the young man's socks and underwear were bound to escape and create havoc on the young man's academics if they were not properly reined-in and organized.

From a mother with a very stretched and eye-opened face: "What is my child expected to ask of her Grade Advisor? What are the students allowed to ask you? What things should they not ask you?" Grade Advisor: Erm...anything can be asked. There are no rules with questions.

From a very ambitious Asian father: "I want my son to learn about cross-cultural relations. What does the dorm do to encourage, stress, and maintain cross-cultural relations?" Very Cool (and Observant) Sandals-Wearing Dorm Advisor And Dad To Four Kids: Erm, we watch movies and occasionally have organized events. But the school has a good offering of cultural clubs. I just advise against telling your son he must join a particular club that YOU want him to join or else. It should happen organically.

In other words, PARENTS PLEASE CHILL OUT! Your kids have brains. Let them live and learn and make a few mistakes.

At the dorm across from A's, I noticed some seniors playing guitar barefoot, one pounding away on a tabla drum.

As A got ready for his first "special dress" dinner and met with his dorm mates who were also attired in special dress, I observed the flourish of blue sports jackets and khaki pants topping the brown oxfords. Then I looked at my A. Blue corduroy jacket, tie, blue pants, Converse sneakers.

"You look great. Like a rock star." He smiled.

We don't do Ticky Tacky Boxes. His new school accepted him knowing that.


Educational Update! For real!

September 19th is upon us.

There is really, honestly, nothing more educational than what you ought to be doing on this day.

It is why kids feel compelled to be in "school" in September.

It is why the wind changes.

It is why alcoholic drinks made from cane juice taste better for you parents.

It is why every year, up until this year, Harry Potter book sales would plummet.

Just do it.

Your kids will thank you.



I haven't posted anything educational in a long while -- I guess I am just wrapping things up for A.

Princess: I saw "Pirates" -- Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, and Billy Nighy (finally getting to see his face) are the only reasons I saw this flick. And oh yeah, Mr. Richards.

Amanda/Calletta: I'll be lurking (around your blog).

Becky: Ditto. Because you know your blog intimidates me.

L at MySchola: See you Down Under if you don't come back here.

Everyone else: Thanks for coming by. I really do enjoy your emails and letters and thingys I get sent. They are really sweet.

Here at work, I was the recipient of many fan emails and nuts (fans of a certain show who wanted their show back on the air after it was cancelled -- I guess you can check the CNN archives about that one). That these fans actually got their show back gives me hope in grass-roots activism again, and the power of the people.

If you were around during my Campaign For The Club, you will understand my happiness for them. We *can* make things happen. We *can* change things.

Which reminds me -- please consider Ron Paul (R) and Barack Obama (D) when you drop your ballot in 2008.

I'll be starting another blog in the fall - I guess that'll be my next life. Which is what we have to look forward to when our kids get so big that they really do have lives of their own. *We* get our second wind. Our second life. Our Next Big Gig.

See you later.

And please: don't relinquish your kid's brain to somebody else unless you're comfortable with what's going in it.


The other night...

sweaty and feverish, and very much asleep, A swatted my hand away from his forehead.






from the New York Times

Current Thinking
Published: June 3, 2007

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced his vision of development in New York City over the next 25 years, he highlighted a plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent. To anyone who has studied the history of power consumption in the United States, his proposal sounded a curious echo. New York, after all, was home to one of the country’s first central power stations, built by Thomas Edison in 1882. No individual deserves more credit, or blame, for America’s voracious electricity consumption than Edison, who conceived not only that generating station but also the notoriously inefficient incandescent bulb and a slew of volt-thirsty devices.

Yet Edison, godfather of electricity-intensive living, was also an unlikely green pioneer whose ideas about renewable power still resonate today. At the turn of the 20th century, when Edison was at the height of his career, the notion that buildings, which now account for more than a third of all energy consumed in the United States, would someday require large amounts of power was only just coming into focus. Where that power would come from — central generating stations or in-home plants; fossil fuels or renewable resources — was still very much up for debate.

A 1901 article about Edison in The Atlanta Constitution described how his unorthodox ideas about batteries could bring wattage to the countryside: “With a windmill coupled to a small electric generator,” a rural inhabitant “could bottle up enough current to give him light at night.” The earliest wind-powered house was fired up in Cleveland in 1888 by the inventor Charles Brush, but Edison aspired to take the technology to the masses. He made drawings of a windmill to power a cluster of four to six homes, and in 1911 he pitched manufacturers on building a prototype.

Edison’s batteries also fueled some cars and trucks, and he joined forces with Henry Ford to develop an electric automobile that would be as affordable and practical as the Model T. The Constitution article discussed plans to let people recharge their batteries at plug-in sites along trolley lines; the batteries could also be refreshed courtesy of the home windmill.

Talented not only at devising new technologies, Edison was an entrepreneur keenly skilled at selling them. If residents in areas without central power gained access to electrical current, he surely knew that more consumers might buy his batteries, bulbs and phonographs. Finding ways to get voltage to people without it made good business sense.

Edison also, like other scientists of his day, was beginning to understand even then that fossil fuels wouldn’t last forever. In 1913 Scientific American published an issue on energy problems, observing: “The question of the possible exhaustion of the world’s oil supply deserves the gravest consideration. There is every indication that we are face to face with this possibility.” Articles delved into technologies to capture the power of the sun, the wind, the tide and even the earth’s rotation. Inventors like Edison were modernizers who couldn’t bear the inefficiency of letting an abundant energy source like wind go untapped.

In 1912 Edison unveiled an energy-self-sufficient home in West Orange, N.J. Billed as an experimental “Twentieth Century Suburban Residence” and designed to showcase his batteries, it bulged with luxuries like air heating and cooling units, a clothes-washing machine, an electric cooking range and, of course, plenty of light bulbs. Completely off the grid, the house received its juice from a generator that charged a bank of 27 cells in the basement. For this first attempt, Edison used a gas-run motor, but evidence suggests that he hoped to hook up to a wind turbine. The system would allow the prospective homeowner to be, according to The New York Times, “utterly and for all time independent of the nearness or farness of the big electric companies.”

The conglomerates struggling to control the nascent energy sector regarded that as precisely the problem. For them, a world of independence, in which householders created their own power using renewable resources, was a nightmare. The companies’ profits depended on electricity from power plants run on cheap fossil fuels.

In the end, Edison’s proudly free-standing Suburban Residence was hooked up to the grid, and neither his in-home wind-generated electricity plant nor his battery-powered vehicles ever reached the mass market. In 1931, not long before he died, the inventor told his friends Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone: “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Heather Rogers is a filmmaker and the author of “Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage.”


Free performances

Get there by 7:30 AM, and you'll get a good spot to see the performers listed below. Performances by 9:00 AM and maybe another set before 10:00 AM.

ABC is broadcasting from Bryant Park --- show up before 7:30 AM and enter by the Sixth Avenue side.

ABC's "Good Morning America"

June 8: Robin Thicke
June 15: Brad Paisley
June 22: Hannah Montana (a k a Billy Cyrus' daughter, Miley)
June 29: Patti LaBelle
July 6: Norah Jones
July 13: Fantasia
July 20: John Mayer and special guest
July 27: Sugarland
Aug. 3: John Legend
Aug. 10: Mika
Aug. 17: To be announced
Aug. 24: To be announced

NBC's "Today" (Rockefeller Center)

June 8: Rihanna
June 13: "Legally Blonde" musical cast
June 15: Enrique Iglesias
June 19: Bon Jovi
June 22: Chicago and America
June 29: Hilary Duff
July 6: Fall Out Boy
July 13: KT Tunstall
July 20: "Hairspray" musical cast
July 27: Marc Anthony
Aug. 3: Vince Gill and Amy Grant
Aug. 10: Natasha Bedingfield
Aug. 17: To be announced
Aug. 24: Martina McBridge
Aug. 31: Chris Brown


What it means to be a mother.

ring, ring...

This morning me and A talked about the yummy vegetarian place in Chinatown from this past weekend. The swan-shaped dumplings were soooo good. "Can I go today for lunch?" A asked me. Sure, I tell him.

Then I received a frantic phone call from A this morning around 11:30 AM.

"Mom, I don't know how to get to Buddha Bodai."

I had a stack of press releases in front of me, and one publicist needed a press guide NOW.

"Erm...Buddha Bodai? Hon, just go up Canal and make a right on Mott."

A: But where is Mott?
Me: What do you mean, where is Mott? Head east on Canal toward the Manhattan Bridge, and you can't miss Mott.
A: I don't see it on this Mapquest map.

I get pinged a Mapquest map on MSN instant messenger. He was right. Mott wasn't on it.

Me: Stop reading Mapquest maps! They're horrid!
A: Mom, how do I get to Buddha Bodai?
Me: Erm...

[the publicist sends me yet another email wanting her press guide NOW]

A: OH Wait...I see Mott. It's so far away from the star. It crosses Canal. You're right. Okay, thanks, mom, byeeeeee....


a tale of two schools

One won't even let us attend its Open House or Orientation ("We're so sorry, it's too complicated right now").

The other paid for our hotel to attend its school revisit. A sat in on three classes.

One insists on having A take a Math test now, despite my affirmations that A will be taking the next (advanced) level Math course this summer at CUNY.

The other school says it will wait to re-test A once he is done with his class at CUNY.

One school has barely any sports teams.

The other invests a lot of money into its sports teams.

One is so far away from the subway, and you have to walk through dubious characters in the projects to get there.

One is a bedroll away from your classroom.


Oh, the guilt is falling away...

Co-worker: Do you know how much the administrative assistant makes?
Me: Dare I ask?
Co-worker: Guess.
Me: $25,000 annually more than me.
Co-worker: Nope.
Me: More?
Co-worker: She makes the most of anybody here. Including the publicists.
Me: How much more?
Co-worker: [insert number that is $40,000 more than I make]
Me: You're kidding.
Co-worker. Nope.
Me: She told you this?
Co-worker: Yep. And I had to swear I wouldn't tell.

[note to everyone reading: don't divulge your salary to anyone!]

Okay. The resumes will rip this weekend.


You're Doing a Great Job!

So said my boss this past Friday.

I know I am doing a great job. I could do my job in my sleep already. I wake up early and put on my smile and have convinced myself that I really *should* be grateful for my job. So I do my job as if I am going on vacation for a long, long time.

I leave no stone unturned.

I asked my boss about my merit raise that was supposed to happen in April. It wasn't even the normal merit raise. It was 1/4 of 4% which would have turned out to be just a couple of thousand dollars.

"Well, we didn't really know how things would play out. You weren't here that long -- so we decided to wait until next April."
I see.
"You ARE doing a great job, LaMai."

Today, while I waited for A to finish his Playwriting class, I stepped into a Barnes & Noble. I read one of those Vault books that tells you how much you *should* be making.

And what I *should* be making is $30,000 more than I am.

Let the resumes rip.


I wonder when Memorial Day became The Day to Put Meats on the Grill and Beat Out All the Other Shoppers at the Annual Store Sale or Go To The Hamptons Day.

We did none of the above. Instead, we spent the day doing mundane things like reading and napping -- mostly "quiet" time. Maybe it was a little somber. I felt the heaviness of what today actually means. Despite that I've lived through a few world conflicts, I think maybe I felt this heaviness for the first time.

I know that I am lucky to have A here with me, to enjoy his smiles and occasional silly humor on any given day.



Sunday, and Manhattan is empty and yet is teeming with people.

Empty on sidewalks normally full -- teeming with people in stores. Uniqlo. Bloomingdale's. Banana Republic. Dean & Deluca.

A and I had lunch in Chinatown at a Buddhist vegetarian place on the advice of our former Japanese neighbor (the origami tie guy). His wife couldn't meet us, as she was sick at home. We ate dim sum hand-shaped like swans. And the taro curd cake with bean sauce was dreamy. Exceedingly good. We visited our Japanese friend's artist studio. We left at the appropriate time (after about the third yawn and when his left eyelid began to close involuntarily).

Mom, what is that called again?
Food coma, hon.

Shall we see Pirates? Yes? No?

We stopped for bubble tea. It had been a very long time since I had had bubble tea. I forgot how incredibly *wide* bubble tea straws can be.

A voice came up behind me.
Do you want handbag? Gucci, Coach?
Handbag? You want handbag? Gucci, Coach.

A looks at me.

Oh. Yeah sure. Handbag. I'll take a look.

The old Chinese man leads us around the block. He looks behind him, directly at us, but not directly at us -- behind us? Maybe 30 times.

We are still walking behind this Chinese man. Another younger Chinese man in a blue shirt is standing at a street corner. They do a subtle eye signal to each other. They think I don't notice.

The old Chinese man finally slows his pace. He dials up someone on his cell phone. He says five words that I do not understand. He turns to the ground and looks below. There is a stairwell in the ground, to G-d knows where, and we are to descend it.
Don't worry, I tell A. It'll be fine. Think: James Bond.
We descend. It is dark. It is a bare, nondescript room. The younger Chinese man in the blue shirt that I had seen giving the eye signal earlier suddenly appears. He takes over, and closes the door behind us.

There is a door in front of us. It has a very big bolt on the door. Blue shirt opens it and leads us in. He tells the older man to stand by the outside door.
Before us are Gucci, Coach and Prada bags. All counterfeit.
After perusing the wares, I thank him, but tell him, no, sorry, not today. We are allowed the freedom of leaving the secret basement store and seeing the sun shine again.

We walked towards Broadway.

Pearl River beckoned. If you haven't been to Manhattan, don't miss shopping on Broadway in SoHo. It's impossible to miss Pearl River. It's a yuppified Chinese-Japanese Pottery Barn/Kate's Paperie/Williams-Sonoma/JAS Mart/Eileen Fisher/novelty-style shop rolled into one.
Mom can I buy this?
Sure with your money.
Erm...I'll think about it.
Okay, let's go out now.
Wait I need time.
I want to go out.
No I need more time, mom.
We can come back another time --- no good to impulse shop. Trust me on this one.

The Scholastic store seduced us and A bought a Garth Nix book. There were lots of little kids in the store. A was embarasssed to be the only teen there.

We used the Scholastic store's loo.

Shall we see Pirates? Yes? No?

It's so hot. I wonder how Napoleon is doing.

Oooh -- the Leica store!

Let's go home.

Today was a good day, mom.

My mother called and informed me she would like to live in Spain.

We are now watching Kill Bill on Telemundo.



I would like a pretzel.

A is studying Zen Buddhism today.

I am listening to the Pistols' "EMI" on satellite radio here at work. Steven's voice on the airwaves sounds the same as in person.

I hope everyone has great plans for Memorial Day Weekend.


a night at playwriting

Young Hip African-American Girl at the Desk: Hi. Are you one of our actors?
Me: Erm...no?
Me: No. I'm a parent?
YHAAGD: Of one of our students?
Me: Yes. I'm A's mum.
YHAAGD: Erm...okay.

I show myself to a chair and wait.

An older woman is checking herself out. She has a very VERY theatrical voice.

Me: Excuse me...are you one of the professional Broadway actors reading for the students tonight?
Older Woman with Theatrical Voice smiles and says: Yes. Are you here to read from their material?
Me: Erm...no. I'm one of the parents.
OWTV: Oh. Which one is yours?
Me: My son's name is A. He wrote a play about two playwrights...there's lots of writer's block and a duel...
OWTV: Oh. [she's nodding a lot now] His material was very good.
Me: Really?

[insert enormous inner smile here]


Tuesday means it will take eternity...

I remember reading in "Under the Tuscan Sun" (the original story which has nothing to do with Diane Lane or being divorced or trying to get a younger Italian boyfriend) that one should not begin big jobs on a Tuesday. It is an omen for uncompleted work.

Today I looked at my very long list of To Dos, and felt that the Tuscan superstition may have a truth that applied to me in Manhattan.


Regarding the incident of a few posts down, in the homeschooling realm, we -- the members of the homeschooling group to which I loosely belong -- are debating how to approach the NYPD and our Homeschooling Coordinator so that everyone is, ahem, educated, and understands that the BoE issues homeschooling kids use Metrocards but not IDs. The NYPD is free to arrest anyone unlawfully using a student Metrocard. If a student does not have ID proving that he or she is a student, as was the case for our Shakespeare-loving homeschooler who was arrested on his way to A Midsummer's Night Dream rehearsal last week, you land in the slammer.

It's a touchy subject. Homeschoolers -- I will elaborate and qualify that -- unschoolers -- do not want to be investigated too much. It is bad enough that unschoolers have to turn in IHIPs to anyone to "prove" that their kids are meeting "standards." To get Metrocards, you must submit IHIPs. Now we -- as homeschoolers in general (if you are late coming into this show, A and I are not unschoolers)-- are worried that our kids will get arrested because the NYPD only seem to believe that students are students if they carry BoE-issued IDs. So we will allow the BoE to issue our homeschooling kids IDs.

Wrap your heads around this. The irony of this should not get lost. We are allowing policing of our kids so that our kids don't get roughed up by the police.


Today, A worked for four hours at his Tuesday day job, then went to Playwriting class. It was a nervewracking day for A, because a group of professional Broadway actors were supposed to read A's 20-page play this evening in front of his class. I would have been nervous, too. But I liked his play when he allowed me to read it. I told him it would be fine, and to enjoy the adrenaline rush while it happened.

Tonight, when I arrived at the playwriting class, the students were on break, and A was surrounded by other students, chatting away. I suspect he did well.


Conversations with my mother.

Mother: I am on the waitlist for "The Secret." I am number 147.
Me: You do not need to be on the waitlist for "The Secret." I have a copy.
Mother: But you need your copy.
Me: No, it's okay. I don't need it. I prefer the film. The book is a supplement to the film.
Mother: What film?
Me: The film that the book is based on. The book IS JUST A SUPPLEMENT to the conversations in the film.
Mother: I don't want the film. I want the book.
Me: Erm...okay. But I can get you the film on DVD.
Mother: I don't WANT IT. I WANT THE BOOK.

Mother's Day. Among other things, my mother gets a copy of the book "The Secret."

Mother: This book doesn't read like a book.
Me: I know.
Mother: This book looks like it is based on a film.
Me: Yep.
Mother: I want the film.
Me: I explained that to you. I explained that the book is a supplement to the film. You didn't believe me.
Mother: You've seen the film?
Me: Yes, mother, I have. Do you want it?
Mother: Okay.


Okay, maybe...

...I am grateful that I have a job at all to complain about. A job that comps my car trips, and magazines of my choosing at the shop downstairs. And occasionally rolls out the red carpet and allows LaMai to walk on it and have a drink or two at the Tavern on the Green. Okay, that was actually fun.

...Even though my colleagues from L.A. had to come here. Dude, they're sooooo different. (please hand her a water)

...I am grateful that the security guard in my lobby at work says "Good Morning" to me and says my name. It really feels good. I always say "Good Morning" back. Yes, people can be nice in New York City.

...I am equally grateful that the same security guard comments that my son - A - "is such a gentleman" whenever A visits.

...I am grateful to meet the people who I get to meet. A few days ago I saw a familiar name on one of the press releases I issued. It was the executive producer for the most-nominated musical. He helped the Campaign for The Rock Club. So I sent an email. "Hey, congrats on your 11 nominations." It felt good to do that.

...I am grateful that even though A got sick last week and I worried myself to bits about his health, it put the whole BTBSA/hs-early college thing in perspective for me.

...I am grateful that Napoleon sleep "runs" and barks in his sleep. And does it while sleeping next to me in bed. Because it reminds me that I am not the only freak who has nightmares like that.

...I am grateful that people think that I lie when I give them my real age.

...I am grateful to be able to sing the Pistols' "God Save the Queen" with A. Because he taught himself all the tabs on his electric Fender Stratocaster.

...I am grateful to have had the homeschooling experience with A.

...and to have shared it with you. Because some of you peeps be the coolest and loyal-est bloggy readers. I am sad that this homeschooling saga will end soon.

as luck would have it...

A has been taking the subway nearly every day to get to his homeschool co-op classes and activities for a while now. Years.

Then I opened this email from my inbox this morning, written yesterday. It was from another homeschooling mum:

"One of the guys in [insert name of homeschool group] Thespians was arrested today because the cops thought he was too old to have a student metrocard and since he didn't have student ID, things got complicated. He's 18, and could easily pass for a college student, so I understand the initial mistake. But I immediately thought of your tall A. If you have anything from the Homeschooling Coordinator that says he's a homeschooler or maybe the letter that came with the metrocard, he should carry it with him at all times. At the very least, I'd suggest keeping the Homeschooling Coordinator's phone number on his cell. They actually handcuffed this kid, took him to the precinct and put him in a cell with three other people. Needless to say, he missed rehearsal."


I haven't blogged in a bit.

I am contemplating leaving my job.

You knew this was coming, right?

It dawned on me months ago that Big Broadcast Network hired me cheap. The amount of work I do is insane, and I do it on a secretarial salary (by NYC standards). I oversee people. I oversee a website. I oversee publicists' grammatical errors. I got into a public office catfight once -- on the receiving end of the claws. I had to do the damage control on a certain radio personality when he got fired. My boss' boss publicly insulted me and used the F--- word on me. And have I mentioned that a security team checks my mail every day by opening it? All my mail gets searched. For bombs, people.

And oh yeah, I got grandfathered OUT of the company pension.

I have been searching the monster boards, CondeNet, Job Recommendations.com, mediabistro, and other sites to see what else I can get, for better pay. And maybe no dubious bomb-bearing mail.

A, on the other hand, my darling teenage boy, has had flu for over a week. He has been pushing himself to get to class and his job while sick -- when I have insisted that he shouldn't. I wish I had his wherewithal.

Regarding A's outer monologues on his school decision, this weekend was, "I am going to school here in NYC. Because I need to study with [insert name of Buddhist monk who defected from China] here."

My mother called today to confirm, "He's going to BTBSA, right?"

Lord help me.

And I have been slow to turn in my Third Quarterly to the Homeschooling Coordinator. What on earth is the rush? Summer isn't here, yet.

I hope all the readers have been well. I have developed a liking for YouTube videos of Rachel Brice (the tribal dancer) and the exclusive Internet community called aSmallWorld. Harvey Weinstein and Paris Hilton are members. So is a friend of mine in France. She doesn't have the rights to invite me yet. Dommage.

Ah, yes, you knew I'd be full of contradictions.



playwriting stories.

A finished his playwriting assignment this morning. It was a rough draft.

"That means it doesn't need to be finished, mom."


About two weeks ago, the playwriting students saw a Stephen Sondheim play. Stephen Sondheim founded the teen playwriting group. So it was no big deal that each student had his address and wrote him "thank you" letters for comping tickets to the play.

Tonight, one student received a reply from Mr. Sondheim.

"Because she asked him to reply," said my A.
"Erm...did you ask him to reply?" I asked.
"No. Why would I do that?"
"No reason. Just wondering. What did the Sondheim letter look like?"
"It was in courier font. Like it was written in a typewriter, in neat little blocks. He answered a question about the new Sweeney Todd."
"Yeah. And then all my classmates said they were now going to revise their letters and ask him a question, too."


So...did you turn in your rough draft?
Yep. And you know what?
There was this student who didn't turn in his. So our professor asked where it was. The student said, "it's printing."
Oh yeah? (me, suspicious of this student's real motives)
Yeah. Then midway through the class, our professor asked for it again. And the dude said, "It's printing."
Then finally, when our pizza arrived and everybody was ready to leave, he said it wasn't ready yet. It was "still printing."
Guess what?
When the printer finally finished printing, his play was about a foot thick. [A demonstrates the width with his hands] Our professor freaked and asked him to have mercy on the poor trees that gave up their lives to be his rough draft.

He got accepted. And then I cried. (but not for the reasons you think...)

I had a conversation with a homeschooling mom 5 minutes ago. Her son, a high school-aged kid, applied to and was accepted to a competitive public high school.

To motivate him to take exams and do school interviews, she'd tell her son, "Okay, let's get up and out of bed and prepare for another exercise in futility." And that's how they approached it. No big deal. An exercise "in futility."

And then, he got accepted to a really great Big City school.

"I saw the acceptance letter. He got accepted. The hard work paid off. And then I cried."

Tears of happiness? Joy? Maybe. But for a homeschooling mother, acceptance to an institutional school marks the beginning of an end. We relinquish our power over our child to others. And that feels so...weird. Sad. Tear-inducing sad.

But, happily, that student is doing great as a regular Big City institutional school student. I know that that homeschooling mom gave him a great foundation.


why I posted the entire article below...

Because providing a link would lead you to a page asking if you already subscribe to the online edition.

I recall one mother at PPSI who told me her son "is a fencer." I asked what weapon he used. She didn't know. When I was finally introduced to her son, he told me, "OH, I haven't fenced in over a year!"

I have a feeling, however, that "fencer" just may make it on his college application.


Everything is not necessarily everything.

While we were at BTBSA, I eavesdropped on conversations among parents and students. Many parents and students were also going to revisit -- or had already revisited -- BTBSB and Big Time Boarding School in New Hampshire that Feeds to Harvard (BTBSRed) and Sounds Like "Frirrips Tess Dexter", as well as Totally Left Field Boarding School (which apparently has us "on hold") and other Big Time schools. These schools are among the "Top 10" residential schools in the United States.

One studious-looking girl with spectacles balanced on her nose, said, "Yeah, I'm also doing revisits at BTBSB, BTBSRed, and Totally Left Field BS. This school is nice, I guess. But I will have to go with my *gut* won't I?"

OK, people. LaMai has said this before. This chickadee was not about her "gut" or where she really wanted to go. She wanted the Top 10. And she got the Top 10.

The things that attracted us to BTBSA were its sports teams, the fact that student bands (jazz, rock, blues, etc.) are common on campus, its affinity for the arts, and its dedication to the sciences -- the things that A is passionate about. It's the only residential secondary school that includes a concentration in the arts. There is absolutely no way we would have applied to BTBSB, which does not have an arts concentration program, nor a photography program, nor a sport in which A was already involved.

In other words, we have been looking at schools in which A's already-existing talents (or things that give A his "sense of self") could be nurtured.

So far, A's acceptances have come from the schools which fit his "type" best, and that includes Public High School/Early College, which is a smaller school than Stuy.

BTBSRed is in New Hampshire. Sorry, but my selfishness would warrant A coming home on weekends as often as possible.

There are lots of great schools out there. I just can't stand when kids -- and parents -- apply to EVERYTHING and are clueless about what might be a good fit. Unless they're just after labels.

But then -- that's what distinguishes a homeschooled student from everybody else.


LaMai and A's Excellent Adventure (in New England)

So we were picked up by a navy blue Volvo at the destination train station. Our driver was a totally sweet jock-type who likes Dave Matthews, and is on the admissions committee and doubles-up duty as an ice hockey coach.

The blue Volvo and sweet jock-type dropped us off at our hotel. In the morning, the hotel had a nasty alarm go off before 6:00 AM that lasted 10 minutes. It was ear-deafening. The hotel staff compensated with free breakfast.

The same morning, we were picked up and taken to The BTBSA Lodge. The Lodge is actually quite beautiful. Smiles everywhere. Was our stay in the hotel satisfactory? Yes, thank you, except for the alarm. "Oh, we heard about that. You did manage to wake up on time though, eh?" Smile. Breakfast and coffee and juice were offered. Faculty came up and spoke to A like clockwork. "Oh, I hear you row." "Oh, I hear you studied at PPSI in Boston." "Oh, you do photography, right?" "You would be coming in as a 10th grader, correct? You'll have no problem." These people sure do their homework. I was impressed.

We walked to the Dining Hall for some a capella and more coffee. I guess the two go hand-in-hand. There was a School Fair with school clubs prominently featured. We spoke to the students with Model UN, then the school athletic paper, as well as a couple of other clubs.

Next was the school auditorium, which was about 100 acres away. Just kidding. It was a 10-minute walk.

I spoke to families from Spain, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and New Jersey. A single parent, I was definitely a minority. But I felt no less welcome.

In the auditorium, there were student performances (an African-American step dance - I LOVE step dancing), video, and school fight song. Students went off to classes. Parents walked to the science building.

Coffee was offered again, with nibblies. Parents stayed to attend more informationals -- panels titled "Arts and Athletics" and "Academic Planning and College Counseling" and "Math and Sciences." There was one more. I forgot what that was. The science building was nicer than my undergraduate college's.


I was tired. It was only 1:30 PM.

Long-short, there was a lot of coffee, a lot of food, more student performances, a lot of Botox, fake suntannng, Tod's shoes, and a BTBSA t-shirt giveaway. But somehow I didn't feel displaced. I was asked if I was faculty -- more than once.

"You're not a parent...are YOU?"
"Yes I am."
"Get out."
"It's true. I am XX years old."

Just kidding. Nobody said "Get out" this time, but I did mention that to the admissions staff, and laughed about how I thought that was going to be a bad admissions sign.

More importantly: A loved his re-visit to BTBSA.

Finally, after our Very Last Punch Bowl and cookies and Question and Answer session, we were shuttled to the train station in the BTBSA vehicle (which I will mention, is not very green) and we fell asleep on the train ride home.



Yes, we're off. To represent homeschooled students everywhere to an elite boarding school in New England.

That's right. We're representin', yo.

[Has anyone here seen Mean Girls? Is there a prep school equivalent? I hope not]



Notables of the week:

A slipped off the boathouse dock and fell into the Harlem River.

But was rescued by his crewmates, who loaned him clothing and shoes in which to go home.

A's Physics tutor forgot about A's lesson. Leaving A with three hours to kill in Chelsea before heading out to Crew.

During those three hours, A discovered that the New York Public Library with the lions in front is a library unlike any other. Because you cannot check out books from there.

A received a big envelope from the folks at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. It was an award for his photography.

I received a J R-M poster at my office from my counterparts at that cable network who produce the show about Henry-the-something.

BTBSA called me at my office to confirm our spring visit next week. I told BTBSA, "Yes, we're leaving at 5:00 AM to the train to hopefully make it to your school by 7:43AM" upon which they took pity on us and booked a room at a Courtyard Marriott for the night before. BTBSA is picking up the bill.

Napoleon found a new neighbor across our courtyard window. It is feline.

He hasn't stopped barking since his discovery, which was at 8:34 AM this morning. Apparently, this has also unleashed other canine frustrations, as he has since proceeded to hump my bedpillow.

Life is good.


Another reason not to trust Wikipedia...

For the "Campus and Facilities" section under BTBSB's entry, one unhappy BTBSB student seems to have replaced the actual endowment number with this:

"Campus and facilities

The school is located in a rural setting in 810 acres (3.3 km²) of woodland near two lakes. BTBSB also has an endowment of over 12 cents. For the school is too poor to heat students rooms and they often freeze to death."

I don't know how long that entry will be there, but if you would like to see it for yourself, the real name of BTBSB sounds like "Roth Miss." To be fair, BTBSB's endowment is actually over $300 million, and puts school endowments like Dalton's to shame.

Very interesting....

There is a page on BTBSA's website that I COMPLETELY overlooked. How could I? It is dedicated to the homeschooled applicant, and says this:

"BTBSA welcomes applicants from a variety of educational backgrounds, including those who have been schooled at home. Home-schooled students who come to BTBSA have excelled in their academic work, have captained our athletic teams, have performed on stage and in the recording studio with our vocal and instrumental ensembles, and have been elected to leadership positions in student government and student clubs and organizations. Previously home-schooled students have graduated from BTBSA with the highest academic standing and have gained admittance to some of the most selective colleges and universities.

When considering the application of a home-schooled student, BTBSA's admission officers are likely to focus on a number of questions about the applicant’s background, including:

When did the home-schooling begin?
What were the reasons for home-schooling (e.g., personal/religious beliefs, issues of school fit, etc.)?
Are siblings also being home-schooled with the applicant?
Was there a particular program or teaching/learning style utilized?
How many subjects were covered, particularly with regard to such basics as math, English, science, history, and language?
What texts were used?
What other resources were used?
How was progress evaluated? How often? By whom? What grades were given?
Are syllabuses, grade, and evaluation reports or summaries available?
While we do not require home-schooled applicants to provide more information than those with a more traditional educational background, it is helpful for these students to keep the above questions in mind as they go through the application process."

I have to laugh. Did BTBSA actually say "syllabuses"?!!! Okay, I'll let it go. If I accidentally left the real name of the school in there, kindly let me know. I won't worry too much, though. BTBSA has awesome campus security -- if A chooses to go there.



To public high school/early college.

Another great school, in another great neighborhood. You can find our favorite brunch place there.


LaMai recommends

This playwriting group has sent A to see:


Dying City

The Color Purple

Gutenberg! The Musical!

Prelude to a Kiss


The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

A Spanish Play

...and we're still in March! The semester isn't done yet! If you want your kid to bring home more Playbills than your adult friends have got littered around, and have an actual self-written play to show for, click on the link.

Thank you. This has been a public (yet not so public) homeschooling announcement.

March 22nd

Is the day that we're *supposed* to find out if A got in to Public High School/Early College. He also applied to another competitive public high school that should answer tomorrow.

In the meantime, everyone and his brother has told A that he should go to BTBSA. I'm not sure if it's really because they want the t-shirt, or if they secretly dream of being emancipated from their parents and wish to head off to boarding school, too.

And oh yeah. There is that homeschooling parent with whom I spoke last night and said, "Well, it makes sense that A go to BTBSA. I mean, you were basically giving him a prep school education. Just not in a prep school. Per se."

Over the past two days, I have received several phone calls on my voicemail from BTBSA people:

In a lilting Caribbean accent...

"Hello. This is Amelia. I am a BTBSA parent, welcoming you to our community. If you have any questions about BTBSA, please do not hesitate to call me."

Then -- in another lilting Caribbean accent...

"Hello. This is Colin. I am Amelia's husband, trying to reach you. I guess we have your work number. Let me know if there is anything I can tell you about BTBSA. OK. Talk to you soon."

Then --

"Hello, this message is for A. This is Mr. Mitchell, the Financial Aid Dude at BTBSA. Just wanted to congratulate you on your Math and Science scholarship. If you have any questions about the scholarship, give me a ring, and we can start to discuss your research and when the scholarship takes effect. Look forward to meeting you during our Spring Visits."

I called the house number for Colin and Amelia. I got Colin.

Me: Hi. You live in New York?
Colin: Yes. We live in Brooklyn.
Me: Oh, that's great. and judging from your accents you are both from--
Colin: Barbados.
Me: [Yay] Oh that's lovely. I'm so glad. We're actually from a sunny place, too. We're from Miami, originally. We miss our tropical culture!
Colin: Well, you have a lot of kids from a lot of interesting places at BTBSA. My son had a roommate from Hong Kong, and he just got back from a semester in Spain. Do you know that your son can study abroad during term if he wants to?

I like the BTBSA people already.


...and how I resolved the science application dilemma.

I called up Stuyvesant High School, that specialized high school for math and science brainiacs.

Me: "Hi do you happen to have an ILCC application?"
Stuyvesant lady: Sure. But we're down to our last 20. When can you come over?


Dear Homeschooling Coordinator:

Ivy League Campus in the City is offering a science course for high school students. There is a caveat: ILCC will not forward their applications directly to homeschoolers. ILCC will only forward applications to schools.

Can you obtain the application from the Central High School Paperwork Center so that I may pick it up?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide...


Dear LaMai,

I have no idea. Can you help me find out if I can get it from the Central High School Paperwork Center? I don't know what to ask.

Dear Homeschooling Coordinator,

Sure. I'll get back to you when I get an answer.


Say what?



A is grounded.

I don't wish to discuss the "why" here - it is humiliating enough for him just that he is. It was onerous for me to become the mean parent -- unfortunately, I had to, and in front of other people, while I confronted A with the issue.

Parenting is not always easy. But we try to do what is best for our kids.

A is in his teen years. We'll see how we fare.


It's cool. But then it gets weird.

A showed me this. John Lennon. Eric Clapton. Keith Richards. Mitch Mitchell. Together. On one stage.

Then Yoko Ono shows up.


Musicians who did their time at boarding schools, elite schools, and other true myths...

Mick Jagger went to the Dartford Grammar School in Kent, England. Then Mick went to the London School of Economics. The Dartford school has since opened "The Mick Jagger Centre" which hosts "Jazz Folk Roots Guitar Rock" performances. The Damned are playing there this Friday.

Joe Strummer was a boarding student at the City of London Freeman's School in Surrey. This was several years after his birth in Ankara, Turkey to his British diplomat dad, who was born in India.

Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes) went to Le Rosey, in Switzerland. It is rumored he met at least one other bandmate at LeRosey, but he probably didn't get the gigs until he became a student at The Dwight School (a.k.a. The Paris Hilton School) in New York City.

Dido, born Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong, went to the Westminster School.

James Taylor was a student at the Milton Academy.

Brian May, guitarist of the band Queen, went to the Hampton School.

Art Garfunkel has a BA and Master's from Columbia University.

Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary went to Cornell.

Ditto Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis and the News.

Ditto Harry Chapin.

Rufus Wainwright went to McGill.

Kris Kristofferson was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.

Bonnie Raitt attended Harvard.

Joan Baez went to BU, but her dad was a Physics professor at MIT.

Where am I going with this?


sometimes, people just suck.

There is a publicist (who I will call "Fireball") at Big Broadcast Network who, I have had the feeling for some time now, does not like me. You know the type? I say "Hi." She looks down at the floor, says nothing. I say "Hi" the next day, she looks at the floor, says nothing.

Today I gave a task to one of our interns, who I will call Sabrina. It was a gamble on my part: it was a bigger task than the normal send-the-intern-to-the-copying-machine-type job. Sabrina could not do the task today and got frustrated easily. And BIG ALSO is that Sabrina and I have been fraternizing. It turns out that Sabrina is a single mother, going through the same type of divorce situation that I did, and we have gone out for drinks at least once to shoot the proverbial potty.

Tonight, Sabrina spoke to Fireball about me and the work I gave to Sabrina-- apparently negatively enough, that Fireball took it upon herself to talk to me -- in Alto Voce -- from my doorway. Fireball was so loud that the secretary around the corner heard.


Me: Huh? Yelling? I don't yell at anyone.


Me: Maybe I capped something on instant messenger to her -- that was necessary. I had to highlight a protocol to her. And I told her why I capped the text.

[And why do I feel compelled to tell this a 25-year-old publicist who can't step into my office?]

The work I gave Sabrina involved filling in data into five boxes on an Excel sheet. The problem is, we didn't have all the data today. I was swamped and could not help Sabrina to the best of my ability. My co-worker was out, I had to cover for her, as well as my own duties, and I short-changed Sabrina with my time. BUT at the end of her workday, she left on good terms with me and I told her to give her baby a kiss for me.

Unfortunately, and this is where it gets very, very bad -- I confided my feelings about a certain co-worker on the West Coast ("Totally Tactless Co-Worker who Cc's EVERYBODY and Their Boss in Her Emails" ) with Sabrina. In her frustration with me, Sabrina spoke to Totally Tactless directly -- and told Totally Tactless how I feel about her.

Tonight was very messy. I had to clean up with Totally Tactless, as well as talk to Fireball's boss about the way Fireball handled her communication with me.

Your thoughts? I am feeling rather sucky tonight.

Erm...is this right?

A opened the big package sent to him from BTBSA.

I didn't tell them that there were skinny envelopes in our mailbox. At this point, it didn't matter.

The big BTBSA package had enclosed a document with the school emblem prominently displayed in blue and gold, wrapped in a gold flat ribbon-thingy, also with the school emblem on the gold thingy. There were a lot of documents in the package.

BTBSA awarded A full tuition, inclusive of boarding fees, plus a named scholarship for his achievements in Math and Sciences.

I nearly fainted.

I felt like the family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I am the poor mum, with barely a shelter to offer my kid (if you saw our place lately, you'd understand). The dog tore up A's duvet, and there have been feathers everywhere for ages in our apartment. I haven't bought "stuff" for A -- and we're lucky if we have enough money to buy shoes from Zappos.

But I've given A all the intangibles possible. And now this.

"Mom? No school has ever recognized my work like this before. I think we need to consider this school seriously now."


But what floored me the most, is that BTBSA's tuition is more than what I paid as an undergraduate at my alma mater, a private Florida university.



The Admissions Tally.

Rejection: Big Time Boarding School B. [the boilerplate letter school]

Rejection: Big Time Boarding School C. [I received the skinny envelope in the mail today after the initial post here]

Acceptance: Big Time Boarding School A.

I had a feeling BTBSA would accept. They kept in good communication with me, requested my financial aid documents until they actually received them, and an admissions officer called me last week for clarification on one of A's classes. He also said: "I hope A will come back and take a look at our darkroom" but I didn't want to get our hopes up.

So -- it's POSSIBLE for a homeschooled student to be accepted to an elite boarding school.

Ask not what your homeschool can do for you. Ask what you can do for your homeschool.*

*Yes, that's the BTBSA school motto- delete "home." And guess who graduated from BTBSA and eventually borrowed the motto for a national speech.


FYI - Where There Be Dragons is coming to NYC! (program for teens)

• …sitting quietly amidst hundreds of Buddhist monks clad in crimson robes as they chant their mantras to a rhythmic melody that soothes and centers you. You are reminded of the hospitality that this monastery has shown you as you pick up your bowl of yak-butter tea, and watch intently as incense is placed at the feet of the massive golden Buddha seated on the altar before you…

• …entering a colorful market in a remote corner of Bolivia after a morning spent swimming in a high-altitude volcanic crater. As men and women in traditional dress swarm around stalls brimming with fresh mango, bushels of platano and arroz con leche, you barter for your meal in Spanish. After lunch you meet with a local shamen to discuss traditional healing and return to your home village for a pick-up game of soccer…

• ...moving to the beat of traditional drums in a small Senegalese village as you dance under a massive Baobab tree. Goats wander freely amidst surrounding thatched-roof huts, and you gaze past them to witness a massive African sun dipping below the horizon…

Does this sound like a dynamic and interesting way to spend your summer or semester?

A Dragons representative will be giving two group slide shows in the NYC area on Sunday, March 18th. If you are interested in more information, call or email Megan:
1-800-982-9203 x12

2:00PM Sunday, March 18th
224 Centre Street, 5th Floor, NYC 10013
Weisz + Yoes Studio

7:30PM Sunday, March 18th
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10013
In the home of a past Dragons student. Call/email for exact location.

Since 1993, we have proudly offered programs that feature creative itineraries, inspiring instructors and incredible intimacy. Our summer and gap-year programs in Asia, Latin America, and Africa are now filling with intrigued, enthusiastic and motivated young adults such as yourself…
Won’t you join us?

Tonight in New York City

My subway train approached the platform at 49th Street and 7th Avenue, and I hurried to find my preferred car for exit at my stop. I noticed that as soon as I started walking toward the train, a man's voice called, "Miss! Oh Miss!" but I didn't turn around. As I boarded the train, a big black guy with a weathered face and big overcoat ran up to me and said, "Miss, you dropped this." It was my subway Metrocard. I had purchased a weekly card only hours earlier, and now, I dropped it. I gave the man a thousand "Thank you"s.

As I disembarked my train at my stop, I noticed a white man approach a lone black woman who was waiting for all the passengers to exit the platform. She had a stroller, and a sleeping baby inside. She was looking at the stairwell, filled with bodies, shoulder to shoulder, exiting all at the same time. "Are you going to need help with that?" the man asked. The woman nodded yes. As I approached the stairwell, I saw him wait beside her in the cold.


LaMai says: Spread it around. It's good stuff. Really.


say what?

75% of homeschooled children are Evangelical Christians? Okay. We're not in that statistic.

People who aren't Christian just have something wrong with them?

Global warming is a just a political hot topic and is really of no concern?

And with whom does George W. Bush talk every Monday?

A says: "Mom, can we stop watching this film? It's disturbing."

LaMai recommends: Jesus Camp directed by Heidi Ewing.


...and more conversations...

But Mom, I don't want to go to boarding school. I have a life here. I am staying here.

I have fencing. My tutors. My photography.

I have a job.

I am not leaving.



...with A's rowing coach. We talk about school options, how far A can get college-wise as a rower in NYC. Turns out a few rowing mates of A's have been accepted to Dartmouth, Brown, M.I.T. and Princeton on the strength of their crew experience. I tell Coach about A's applications to boarding schools that have rowing teams. I tell him my fears and hopes.

Coach: "Well, you know, your son is a New York kid. I see him with his camera. He's artsy. He should stay here."
Me: [in total surprise that Coach has said "New York kid" -- when did us Florida folk become "New York" folk?] : Yes, I'd like him to stay here in the City, honestly. What about the racing team?
Coach: "If you need me to make a call to one of the boarding schools, let me know. I know all the coaches there."
Me: Thanks. Thanks, so much. Hey, what about the racing team? For this year? Do you think A can make the cut?
Coach: "Oh, I don't even have to think about that one. He's automatically on the racing team. He'll be a junior racer this year."



Today, BTBSA called me. It was a frantic phone call.

Me: Erm, okay. I filled out the PFS stuff, and...
Me: Erm, okay.
BTBSA lady: "AND SEND ME A .PDF OF YOUR 1040 AND W2s!!!!!!"
ME: Erm, okay.

I sent a .pdf of only my 1040. Because I don' normally have my W2s lying around on my desk at work. That would be weird.


I ring up Left Field Boarding School.

Me: Erm, hi. My name is LaMai. My son's name is A. Do you have our documents?
LFBS Dude: Who are you?
Me: LaMai.
LFBS Dude: Oh. OH, RIGHT. One of our Board members called me about your son...


I am a mad woman.


Our Applications -- A review.

10th Grade Entry --

Public Schools:

No offer from the specialized high schools.

No offer from the "Fame" school.

Awaiting offers from two public high schools which required testing and interview, phs/ec and secondary artsy school.

Private Schools:

WL with the Downtown Progressive School. A firm acceptance will be given if they can award tuition remission.

Rejection from Bucolic Campus School.

Rejection from Wild Card School.

No answer from Dalton. No answer from Collegiate. These schools seem to be "full" and are using the "wait and see" approach in case there is an attrition of their numbers.


Boarding Schools:

Decisions out on March 10.

BTBSA just sent us an "applicaiton complete" card. Their correspondence with us has been pretty regular.

BTBSB sent us a boilerplate letter stating our application was complete. No correspondence until I got "street" with the Email Robot that prompted the Headmaster to personally respond to me.

BTBSC has requested a phone interview with Alex. This after I tried postponing the interview to April during my awful bout this week with flu.

Totally Out of Left Field Boarding School has our application and we hope to hear from them. TOLFB would be my first choice boarding school after reading about it, and learning that it is a mere 55 miles from New York City.

If you ask me...

...hype counts for a lot in New York City. You could have the absolute worst restaurant in the world do exceedingly well in New York City if you create a buzz about it.

What? Don't New Yorkers have common sense to know better between hype and good food?

In a word -- no.

Yesterday, I was minding my own business at the Union Square Farmer's Market when I noticed the pretzel line at Martins Pretzels was longer than usual. I noticed the Zagat review posted right on the stand. A colleague at work swore these were the best pretzels "anywhere." So I decided to buy a bag.

I got half a bag of burnt pretzels, with a smattering of salt somewhere in the bag, and pretzels so devoid of flavor, even Napoleon was hesitant to go near one.

Yeah, it's great that the Mennonite women who make them sing hymns while rolling the dough...erm, I guess I have holy pretzels (okay: this is true. the pretzels have aire holes in them.) I am now severely suspicious of the Mennonite tastebud. There must be a gene lacking somewhere.

I should have known better than to be sucked in by hype. I will stick to food that actually has flavor.

PS - LaMai LOVES the Mud truck. Its hype began organically, but it has not beat that of the big green monster's. Check out the shameless Mudpromotion on the image.



"LaMai, may I leave now?"

My report is feeling as sick as I am. But I am Captain. So I stay.

"Yes, you may leave."

Another report.

"LaMai, may I go home early? I'm sick."

"Yes, you may leave."

I am Captain. There is nobody left on my team except for the gaggle of chickens who are the publicists.


Discussion with Bucolic Campus School.

Admissions Director: "We had only four spots in our 10th Grade class, and when we have so few spots, we consider composition of the class [gender, and maybe race?], your child's academic record, essays, and overall package."

OK -- Academic record? If you're a homeschooling parent, you know what my next question was --

Erm, but my son's grades are mostly all As. And he's already taking an AP course in 9th Grade.

"But his ISEE score wasn't as strong."

She is right. It wasn't. One crappy day of standardized testing determined his admission to Bucolic Campus.

"...And when entering 10th Grade, we really, REALLY want strong students. I hope you understand."

I understand that my son should go to early college and not your stupid elitist school.

sick day

Awaiting emails from Bucolic Campus School regarding A's rejection.

Awaiting possible interview with Totally Out of Left Field Boarding School.

Need to rest.


You, Me and Dubai.

So a colleague at work e-mailed me a link to a career site. "They need people with American media experience." Oh yeah? I said. "Yes. And my friend just got hired and is paid $300,000 annually. She also gets an apartment and a maid."


"And it's like Las Vegas. Not Saudi Arabia. People are pretty free in Dubai."

Sure, except for the lack of porn and alcohol -- right? But I did have that friend in boarding school who was pretty wild. She lived in Dubai.

"Well, just think about it."



Make it stop.

I got this in my email inbox this morning from the Private Ecole Consultant:

Dear PEC,

As you already know, we're so thrilled to learn our precious Sarabella was accepted by one of the best K-12 schools in the country -- Bucolic Campus School! As you said, the lunar Year of The Pig might really be the year of good fortune ! On the other hand, we can't thank you enough for your advice and help along the way, without which we could not have even imagined a day like this would come. I think you have done a fantastic job and we'd recommend your service without any hesitation to other parents out there who would sell their arms or legs to get their children into a top private school in the area.

PEC, you made our dream a reality !

Best regards,

Happy Parents
(and precious Sarabella)


BTBSB Headmaster personally e-mails LaMai.

Some backstory (if this a repeat for you, please press "FF" on your remote):

We received an "application received" letter from Big Time Boarding School B two weeks ago. It was a boilerplate letter. No school prospectus, no request for interview, nothing. The letter basically said, "Standby, yo. We'll make our decision without you. And we're not telling you what we're basing it on. Please don't visit. Don't call US. We'll call YOU..."

This school is very prestigious, has beaucoup dollars, and is well staffed, so I was surprised we would receive such a flimsy acknowledgement. This school rhymes with "RothMiss."

Then BTBSB sends an e-mail to A: "Your decision is coming soon! Here's your login username and password! Make sure you don't check the decision by yourself! You should really have your family with you!"

LaMai, now being an expert in the art of rejection, decided to write a pre-emptive e-mail. My e-mail said (more or less): "Yo, brother, don't bother. We didn't get jack from you people. You think we're stupid? Don't set up my kid for disappointment, kay, player?" Maybe I grabbed my crotch, too. (Okay, this post has been osmotically influenced by DMX. A is writing a report about explicit lyrics in music. I've heard "Up in Here" this morning more times than I care to count).

The Headmaster replied. This morning. It was a very long e-mail. The e-mail was full of "please understand"s and "I look forward to reviewing your son's application."

My answer?

"Thank you for personally responding to my concerns."


Homeschooling Mom Finds Peace In Spite of Terrible Admissions Week!

A went to fencing this morning, and I hit Barnes & Noble Booksellers. I could not help but look at the Dale Carnegie book. No, I am not losing my mind, I told myself. Other people live through terrible news. So will I. And anyway, our status quo is still our status quo. We've lost nothing.

So, in the effort to make myself happy and kick away the worry, I bought tickets to a film today (click on image to find out which one). I highly recommend it for the adults. As one critic wrote, I simply did not want this film to end. It was that good. I also noticed what may have been the director's staging of an inside joke.*

Back at the fencing club, I avoided PEC like the plague. She was just waiting for me to beg for her advice on getting A through the second admissions cycle. I wanted to tell her to stick the private school system, and her exorbitant "consulting" fees, up her arse. What sort of world is it where it is so competitive that you have to hire a, ahem, professional, who charges thousands of dollars to get you through the bulls&*t? And I can't help but wonder how the private schools benefit from these "consultants"?

No. LaMai is done flirting with ManhattanPrivateSchoolandia.

One fencing instructor did chat with me and recommended his placing a call to a school in New Jersey on our behalf. "Very good school," he assured me, "that is a feeder to Princeton. And they have a very strong fencing team." I thanked him and sent him the obligatory "thank you" e-mail afterwards. Let's see if he actually makes the call.

Tonight me and A watched "An Inconvenient Truth." I highly recommend it to everyone, young and old. I also recommend I go live somewhere green. Like New Zealand.

*Anne-Marie Duff appears at the end, on a bench. She played Queen Elizabeth recently for a BBC series (and did amazingly well in that role). There are two other "Elizabeths" in the film - the older one having played QEI in "Shakespeare in Love" and the younger having played QEI in 1998 and now recently in "The Golden Age." Another QE1 who could have appeared is Helen Mirren -- but her film was likely in production at the same time as this one.

LaMai buys chocolate.

After calling the Private Ecole Consultant.

LaMai is convinced that PEC is certifiably crazy.

PEC: Ugh! You're the 52nd parent who has called me today. Nobody got in anywhere! [she asks a bunch of questions about A, then -- ] So where does your son want to go to college?
A: He seems to like Yale so far. And Princeton.
PEC: So why didn't you apply to Horace Mann?
A: Erm...because not all the students at Horace Mann go to Yale?
PEC: But you will get into Yale if you go to Horace Mann!!!
A: Hmmm....there are many paths to Yale. Horace Mann's is not the one we wanted to take. And anyway, he seems to like phs/ec. And it seems he is ranked well there.
A: Erm, my son grew up on a university campus. He misses talking to professors. He'd love phs/ec.
A: Hmmm....No, I think he'll be okay at that school. But I *am* curious as to why Bucolic didn't accept him.
PEC: Call Bucolic on Wednesday. They are very VERY open about their decision making on their admissions committee.
A: Okay.

I hit La Maison du Chocolat and asked for macaroons -- has anyone here had French macaroons? They're not those icky coconut things like you get from Walgreens. They're like little fluffy wafer sandwiches with a creme center.

A loved the macaroons. He asserted that he did not want to go to Bucolic or Wild Card. It's true -- since we visited BTBSA, he has said that he's not interested in local schools anymore.

I cried, privately.