Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chronicles of A Left Turn at Albuquerque, continued

Ah, the beauty of west Texas. Actual elevation! Something to look at besides swamp! (Not that the swamps aren't lovely, by the way, but I get to see them all of the time.) An 80 MPH speed limit during the day! (That "during the day" part is important to remember.)

I drank in the views as a thirsty person takes in water as we traded off driving and spoke "of shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings." And of what brought us together, which, as I have said, was housekeeping, or the lack thereof.

Grace told me a bit more about her own battles to make her home the haven that it is. She discussed her parents, how her mom is still on her own, how her grandmother is doing. Her in laws, my outlaw (meaning my brother-in-law, "The Mouth"). I talked about my parents, "Miss Prissy" and "Mr. Born Organized Clean".

We talked about our children, her son, whom I had met briefly, and her daughter, who was at her high school's football game that night I came in, and was at school when I arrived back at their home later, so I never got to see her. I get the feeling she is a typical teen, however, by the fact that we got a call that first morning from Grace's husband saying the daughter could not find her ID and was it in the car. We did find it in the car, on the way home actually, and it gave me a quick glimpse of a lovely young woman, just as I would have expected.

My kids, and my Sweetie, were averaging one call every hour and a half as I have said, so Grace got to know them rather well, also.

Our discussions over the course of driving to Albuquerque and back ran the gamut from why each of us chose vegetarianism to childraising to work and religion and music and back again.

Grace works part time in the school testing industry. This is the slow season, but come spring "the joint will be jumping" as the saying goes.

She discussed how the states set the standards, the company she works for just follows the guidelines, designs tests, grades tests. The company does hear a great deal, though, from people not satisfied with the tests -- on all sides. As she pointed out, they have to design the tests to cover what the state tells them to cover. It never pleases everybody.

She talked about how difficult it can be to teach some former teachers to grade essay portions of standardized tests. Also the difficulties of grading when it is recordings of young children's answers, kids who take oral tests because they are still to young to write. If the child is shy, or mumbles, and especially if the teacher administering the test has the microphone pointed at him/herself not the kid, it can be a challenge.

Sometimes when she is the senior person who has been sent out of town, or even the only person, she is the closest those she is training have to tech support, and she is not a tech support person in the usual sense. She talked about how that can keep her working from the moment
she arrives until she walks out the door to try to catch a plane home.

We talked about unspoken policies in work places. One of the unspoken "rules" at her company once kept her, the person raised in the Midwest with real winters, and the only person in the vehicle who knew how to drive in icy conditions, from being allowed to drive on one of their out of town forays. She spoke of being amazed at being allowed to live through that one.

She speaks knowledgeably about costuming and staging of period piece movies. She is well read and tells Ole and Lena jokes, quite well.

She is on the hospitality committee at her church. We discussed beliefs, and while she is more liberal on some things than I am, we found we could talk about differences without being rancorous, which is how such things should be discussed.

As for me, what did I have to talk about? I am a mom, with a struggling part time janitorial business. I teach Sunday School and I scrub toilets. I teach my kids and I wipe noses. I bottle feed orphaned kittens and get messed on for taking the trouble to do so. Get up, do the laundry, teach, scrub, feed humans and animals, dole out meds to whomever or whatever has been prescribed something, sleep about 5-6 hours, wake up tired, lather, rinse, repeat. Boredom personified.

Today is:

Balloons Around The World

Deed of Cession Day, Fuji

Festival of Food

Lepanto Day, Greece

National Frappe Day

St. Justina of Padua's Day

Victoria, Lady of Victories' Day a/k/a Pallas Athena (old Roman goddess of triumph)

World Smile Day

Birthday Today:

Simon cowell, 1959
Michael W. Smith, 1957
Yo-Yo Ma, 1955
Vladimir Putin, 1952
John Cougar Mellencamp, 1951
Bishop Desmond Tutu, 1931
R. D. Laing, 1927
June Allyson, 1917
Vaughn Monroe, 1911
Andy Devine, 1905
Niels Bohr, 1885

Today in History:

The epoch of the modern Hebrew calendar (Proleptic Julian calendar), BC3761
The first public burning of books in Louvain, Netherlands, 1520
Ralph Wedgewood patents carbon paper in London, 1806
The first chartered railway in the US, the Granite Railway, begins operations, 1826
Spain abolishes slavery in Cuba, 1886
Henry Ford institutes the moving assembly line, 1913
Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland college in the infamous 222-0 football game, 1916
160 consecutive days of 100*F temperatures begin at Marble Bar, Australia, 1924

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