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.