Cider Press Hill


Thursday, 6:18 pm

By Kate




I am of two minds concerning a newspaper story the lad is currently writing. It will be his second published article and it is about a controversial subject. I am proud of him for writing it, but nervous about the repercussions.

Shortly after the school shootings at the Reservation in Minnesota, our school system decided it would be a good idea to talk to students about the incident. As part of the program, an ‘expert’ discussed the likely profile of a potential school shooter. The person would likely be a loner, likely to wear black, and possibly have extreme political or social name a few. That’s a broad brush.

One of the students in the lad’s class would appear to fit portions of that description. He wears black, doesn’t have a lot of close friends, and campaigned tirelessly against Bush in the last election. He’s a very bright, artistic, and likable kid and his classmates teased him about being the next statistic. He drawled, “Yep, guess I’ll have to go get me a gun and shoot the place up.” Everyone laughed at the goofiness of the thought and forgot about it.

Everyone except one student. S/he went to the principal’s office and reported that this student threatened to get a gun and shoot the place up.

Suddenly, the student in question found himself escorted out of school by local authorities. He was interrogated at length and submitted for in-depth psychiatric evaluation over a period of days. When no one could find anything wrong with him, he was allowed back into school with the warning, “We’ll be watching your every move.” They also advised that he adopt a different color of clothing.

Now, no one in the immediate vicinity of the conversation was interviewed by the school authorities. No one asked about the context of the conversation or made an effort to learn that the kid’s response was an example of irony...the idea that a peacenik fitting some of the profile of a ‘likely’ shooter was what prompted the exchange in the first place. The irony screamed out for a humorous exchange.

But, in this day and age, one group’s humor is another person’s terror.

As of this date, there have been no interviews with the students close to the exchange. No apologies issued to the student or his family. And the kid is distraught now that his school record has a huge permanent blot on it. Besides being traumatized by the whole interrogation/psychiatric eval process. Nevertheless, the story has been buried.

The lad believes that he has the platform to inform the public. He has interviewed the student at length (I’ve listened to the interviews and they are heart rending—also a frightening look into the power of authority) and he plans to expose the whole thing. The editor, naturally, thinks this is absolutely fantastic.

Me? When it comes to my child, I admit to being a complete coward. I’m proud of his determination and desire to expose a wrong, but as a not-quite-yet adult, he is vulnerable to the authority structure. It makes me plenty nervous. No, make that scared.


There Be Changes

Wednesday, 11:51 pm

By Kate




Every now and then a good housecleaning is in order. I have removed the blog skins for the time being. If you have trouble seeing a formatted page, you may need to delete your cookies to this site first.

Now then…

The trouble with skinning a site is that it locks me into a certain way of coding. Which is fine if you’re of the calibre seen at CSS ZenGarden. But for me, I’m still learning how to do stuff and, inevitably, what seemed like really good coding 8 skins ago may not be quite as versatile as first imagined. Things were getting complicated.

Besides, I wanted to experiment.

The navigation is a little different now. The sidebars are gone. The front page is ideal for a quick and dirty reading, but more in depth features are on the inside pages. Each of those pages has a small menu.

At the bottom of each comments page is a listing of the last 7 blog posts. That should help anyone wondering if you’ve missed anything that flew past the front page when you weren’t looking. ;)

I’m not sure yet how this set-up will work. That’s for time to tell, I guess.

Nevertheless, when I saw that photograph, I Had To Have It! Of course, I have a thing for trees to begin with, but this one almost looks 3D and it’ll probably take a long time before I get tired of looking at it.

So there you have it. Welome back to my slightly simplified digs.


Just sayin'

Wednesday, 12:53 pm

By Kate




So far, this has been one of those ‘gotta be in five different places at once’ days. It should intermittently follow the same course until this evening.

And then I’m going to dig into this site and tear it apart.

More on that when the time comes, but if you happen by and things look a little different, you shouldn’t be surprised. I’ll probably take the site offline for a while this evening, too. I blame it on spring. smile


Dreary, most dreary

Monday, 8:43 pm

By Kate




Pouring down rain here with lots of street flooding. Flash flood warnings, too. This would make a good spring rain if it had someplace to soak into, but the ground is still frozen under the snow. At least the snow’s melting pretty fast now. Which, of course, contributes to the flooding.

Maybe, just maybe it will get warm, stop precipitating for a day or two, and pretend to be spring.

I realized last night—in the middle of it, who knows why—that there are only 2 months and 3 weeks until the summer solstice when the days start growing shorter again. That was a dreary thought. It makes the year seem awfully short.

I’m just growing moldy around the edges, with a full-tilt case of cabin fever.


Gift Horse

Monday, 6:48 am

By Kate




This is a gift horse I’m not looking in the mouth...but it sure did amuse me.

So I picked the lad up at the airport last night. It was an unexpected flying trip in to Boston and I did it without complaint. The guys were exhausted and it seemed a fair deal rather than having the Dad haul the lad all the way up here and then turn around for the long drive back to his house. At least this way, we’d all get home about the same time.

On the way here, the lad said, “Oh, I have a present for you from Dad in appreciation for coming down to pick me up, but you’ll have to wait until we get home to see what it is.”

Boy, call me surprised.

Once we arrived back at the house, he pulled a box out of his duffle bag and handed it to me. A very attractive presentation box, I might add. The lid said it was a Vigneto Wine Opener from Williams-Sonoma. Inside the box was one of these. (be sure to click around to get the full flavor...).

I looked at the lad and said, “I guess Grandma didn’t like her Christmas present, huh?”

“That’s about it,” he said.

And that cracked me up.

Grandma, in her practical way, told the Dad to take it back home and get some use out of it. She likes her $10 corkscrew and wouldn’t ever use this thing.

The Dad, caught between a rock and hard place, would rather do almost anything than take it back home. Two different ethics at play here. One woman sees it as a practical matter, the other believes one discreetly disposes of a gift that one doesn’t like. But one never returns a gift to the sender. What to do...?

Why...give it to the ex-wife as an appreciation gift for hauling on down to Boston on the spur of the moment. (extremis malis extrema remedia)

Well, the incongruity of the gift sends me into peals of laughter every time I look at the box.

But what the heck. It’s a really cool gizmo, I like it, and it’ll assuredly make each bottle of wine taste just a little bit better from now on.


Did Not Get Lost

Sunday, 10:29 pm

By Kate




For once. I thought it should be noted that I drove to Logan and back tonight—including numerous trips around the airport while waiting to pick up the lad—without making one wrong turn. This is one for the books.


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