Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Ever have one of those mornings?

One lane's moving faster than yours, so you switch, and it comes to a dead stop, and then after the car you HAD been behind passes you in the lane you had been in, you can't stand it anymore so you switch back to the lane you'd been in to begin with, which then immediately halts all forward progress? And then you repeat that at least four more times?

WELL, it's been like that this morning! Rain makes people do bad things to each other when they're driving, you know.

Add to this the fatigue of having to ONCE AGAIN sit at someone's elbow as she was doing homework--no, not Reba (and she made a 100 on her test last night)--Oldest, who was having a screaming ranting fit about her algebra, right in the middle of me trying to fix supper. "After supper."

So, after supper, she plopped her books down on the kitchen table and professed her undying hatred of math and life in general. First things first--math homework. After getting her to swallow her bile toward her teacher, we began on what she was supposed to be doing.

Which was completely incomprehensible to me. Well, almost. I was an incredibly poor student in math, except for geometry. Algebra stumped me until college, when I HAD to figure it out so I could go on to calculus, which likewise stumped me until I HAD to figure it out to be able to continue going to college. In any event, it's been years since I did this stuff, and although I had vague recollections about combining terms and reducing and gathering and multiplying by minus one and junk, I was really pretty lost.

She didn't know that, though, so I played Socrates and just kept asking her questions about what she was supposed to be doing until she was able to work from the simpler ones to the more complex ones, including the one that had prompted her fit-pitch to begin with. It was amazing to see her work--she really does have an incredible grasp of math, and this was honors algebra, the stuff I had such a problem with in college. She was intensely multiplying and dividing and factoring and junk, and I finally had to confess to her that she knew more math than I ever did. I don't think she believed me, but I know for a fact that when she took the ACT in middle school, she scored six points higher than I did as a high school junior.

Through it all, what was most pleasant was that after she dropped the hysterical act, she was actually nice to be around. She was focused and intent and not a snotty little know-it-all and not being mean to her siblings or fawning over some illiterate television personality. She was actually the nice person that she really is inside, and it sure was nice to know there's still one in there. Gives you hope, you know? And it made the three hours I had to sit there beside her seem like only two.

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