Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Homeschooling and More on "Showbiz Moms..."

I'm back. Today was the most boring time I have had as a homeschooling parent. This morning we began end of grade testing using the California achievement Test (CaT5), level 14 (fourth grade). The entire test is composed of 10 subsets: which basically break down to vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling, language usage, language mechanics, general mathematics, mathematics applications, study skills, science, and social science. We did the first 4 parts today--all the English stuff. Basically, all I had to do was read off the directions, set the timer, and let her go to it. Chrissie finished each test before the time limit and even though I made her go back and check over her work (she hates to look back at anything once she has finished it so this was a real irritation to her--Lord help her when she has to do two or three revisions on research papers).

I think she did well on the tests. I looked at them, not question by question, but enough to see she was on the right track with everything. I have to admit it is so tempting to want to give her hints, etc. Especially on the spelling part. She's not a good speller and I have not been able to find a way to impart it to her--rules don't work, extra reading so she'll learn by sight has not worked well, list after list is memorized and forgotten by her. Next year, she will be writing more and I am going to make her fix all her misspelled words. I think that will help. She will get tired of looking the same words up all the time and finally learn to spell them right. I also want to begin teaching her latin since English and so many other languages are based on it, I believe it will help her out with spelling and reading.

She's a good student though. Very bright. She loves science, she's a real natural at learning it. She's good at all the other subjects too, but she would much rather be playing or watching t.v. or messing around on the computer than doing anything academic. She's a party girl, already, and a social butterfly. Chrissie is too friendly. It scares me. She loves to talk to anybody and everybody so I'm always worried somebody will try to snatch her. The news stories on Danielle Van Dam and Polly Klass scare me the most. Those girls were taken from their own bedrooms! Now, I am the most over protective mom you are ever going to find but how can you protect your kid from something like that? It gives me chills. Enough of this subject, it's too frightening.

Yesterday, I said I would have more to say on the reality show "Showbiz Moms..." It has been a wild show. It's over now though. I saw the aftermath thing and as I expected, the family members by and large are disbelieving about how they were portrayed. They try to prove in the last show that they do have real lives outside of pursuing stardom and, in my opinion, they all fail miserably. We know too much about them already to buy it and they do let it things slip even as they protest that the business is a small part of their lives: like when the Klingensmith (sorry for the screwed up spelling--change your last name Shane since you are destined to be a teen idol. We want those eleven year old girls to be able to spell your name!) Mom saying while she is going on vacation with her husband she expects all the big calls to come in. You know that cell phone is going to be hot on that ear the whole time. Hope she won't be out of range.

Of all the families, I found the Nutter clan the least interesting. The father is a NUTTER through and through. He cannot be a shortsighted as he pretends. I love him saying now that his family does not have to pursue acting (though he will keep his own dreams for himself). Dude, you are too old to have it for yourself and you know after everything we have seen that nobody is going to believe you are going to let up on those kids. Until they move away from you (as the oldest two most likely will in the near future--that is if you haven't gotten them so screwed up over the years that they will not be able to get a decent job and function as a complete adult) you are going to hound them and try to use them to further your own dreams of being "in the business".

The little pageant beauty and her family are the easiest to beat up on. It does such that the mom is receiving physical threats via email. Just shows some folks are even more screwed up than she is. Emily is a very pretty child, but she does not seem any more talented than any other kindergarten-er around. Her personality does not stand out. The whole pageant circuit stuff seems very contrived. What do they basis the judging on? I don't get it. It is a good thing I never put my little girl in pageants (though she does do dance recitals and competitions) because I know I would have some of the same stupid attitudes as this nutty mom-- though not quite as bad. I would definitely be pissed off if the judges did not recognize her as the most beautiful, talented, congenial little girl they ever saw. LOL, maybe I would be as bad as her. No threatening emails please!!!

I do worry about Emily's grandmother. She puts sooooo much money into those pageants. Hopefully, her nest egg can take it. And her daughter is such an ungrateful bitch. Did anyone see the scene where she is unloading the car and she tells her mother just to get out of the way that she is screwing up everything. Geez.

The older Jordan is fun to watch too. At first, I did not think she had anything special and I am still not sure how much talent she has, but I think she may have something. Her voice is good as one of the agents or auditioners or whatever pointed out. And her looks are fine. I think it sucks that some of the people she saw seemed to think she needed to be pretty in the stereotypical wholesome next door way as say Hilary Duff (not that I don't like Hilary, hell she's great for little girls to emulate--especially since she has a body and is not some twig preteen and teens are going to starve themselves to look like). Jordan is not unattractive, she does not have a unique look that grows on you (or at least it did on me). She does have an attitude problem but I suspect after seeing the aftermath that she is pulling that together but quick. The girl has some brains. I won't be surprised if she makes it as an actress though I can't say the same for Shane or any of those Nutters. And who knows what Emily may do. She's just too young to know what she wants and Mom won't always be able to manipulate her as much as she does now. Emily already bucks her on several issues but eventually relents to her mother's power and size. I think that will change when Emily gets to, say, Jordan's age.

As for the other Jordan, the little African American girl, if there is a shoe in for success in showbiz from this show, it's obviously her. She has personality. She has talent. She is adorable. And, contrary to what I know a lot of people will think, I believe her ethnicity will aid her. The "Showbiz" show itself should help her for in all the episodes except the final one (that is the one right before the aftermath) she and her mom are presented as a stable talented duo who have so much love and respect for each other and their lives that they can almost do no wrong. Notice I said "almost".

That last episode started showing some cracks with this wonderful family. Namely, it showed how over scheduled Jordan and her Mom are--at least on this one day but probably many more just like it. Jordan is exhausted after a day at work with her mom only to have to come home to finish homework. Her mother says something like: "Yes, Jordan is tired, but she knows she could have got this work done while I was at work and she had a whole hour..." blah, blah, blah. Okay, so Jordan had that hour. But how many hours that day did she have to herself: to play, to relax, to interact with other kids?? How much time did Jordan's mom have to interact alone with Jordan in an environment less stressful than her office and the set in which Lil Romeo was performing. Her mother says its tough being a single mom. She's right, I know from personal experience, so that has to be taken into consideration. Still, I hope they have less days like that in the future--its too much pressure on both of them.

Well, another day, another blog. Hope someone's out there listening. If so drop me a line. I would love to hear from you.

Monday, May 24, 2004

My Very First Blog

Yeah! Finally, I am posting to my very own blog. Now, what the heck do I write. Hmmmmm. I knew this would happen. Okay, okay, I have to fill up this space, it is just blankly staring back at me--ha, ha. Lousy joke, sorry.

Well, let's see. I'll tell just a little about me and then I'll try to hit a topic which might be of interest to somebody.

My name is Lisa (or Leaseah as I have had to use for my name everywhere on the web) as the way I really spell it is way too common and everybody was always using Lisa backed up with a bunch of numbers and I did not want to be Lisa12346579887654321. Truthfully, I always wanted to come up with some cool web i.d. but I never have been able to think of one. If you have any suggestions, email me, and I'll consider it.

Anyway, I am a 30-something single mother living in Charlotte, North Carolina, who is desperately trying to make it as a freelance writer. About eighteen months ago, I left a stable but (to me) horrendous job working as a communications specialist for Pinkerton specialty Services to start writing full time.

I got lucky, almost right away. I sent out tons of my resumes via the web to publishing companies in hopes of getting some copywriting work. One wonderful guy--Neil, I love you buddy--at Western Standard Publishing out of Utah read my email, my resume, and my offer to write one page of custom material for free and decided to give me a chance. I wrote a page promoting Western Standard's wonderful website: OriginalSources.com. (I'll figure out how to put link there--its a great resource for students, teachers, homeschoolers, avid readers, and anyone interested in history and the great voices of the past and present).

Neil liked the copy, passed it on to another head guy--Mark, I love you too!--and they decided to publish it and being the awesome people they are, they paid me for it as well even though I told them it was theirs free of charge. From there, Western Standard decided to test my editing skills and I began to work with them on a daily basis, by serving as copyeditor for their one and only columnist. I found the work interesting and challenging and I believe I did some wonderful work in getting turning the original writers work which was sometimes quite incoherent into some decent readable columns.

Well, the writer did not agree. She did not feel as though she needed an editor. Believe me she needed more than editor! Anyway, she bitched cried complained and threatened but eventually I prevailed. She quit after a few months citing my editing as the reason, accusing me of ruining her work.

This left the company sans a writer. So, guess who stepped in! I honestly did not set out to steal her job but I was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Although I feel a little guilty because of how it might look to her, I took on my new role and began working on "Today's Topic" which went from the former writer's focus on current political events to more of a "this day in history" and the occasional inspirational piece using as many quotes from great men and women as I could work in. This was, after all, Original Sources, which is dedicated to the actual words of history, literature, and science's great writers and thinkers.

My column was generally well received. I developed a little fan following and the work was steady as well as the pay. I was in heaven! I was living the dreaming of working from home. Alas, Western Standard began experiencing severe financial difficulties. They could no longer afford me and I have had to move on. The site, OS, is still up but they are still struggling to stay afloat. It takes a lot of money to keep a vast electronic library like theirs up and running and I wish them the best. They no longer run a column but I hope one day they will be able to reinstate it, and I hope they will look to me again.

Now, I am constantly on the lookout for freelance projects. I have written a few works lately that have made a little money but not enough to live on. I have not given up though. I can't. I have had some severe health problems the past six months and the only type of work I can do at present is on my computer. A job outside of the home is out of the question because noone is going to hire someone who once or twice a week can't get out of bed, and who at certain unpredictable times cannot function well enough to drive or board a bus.

But I can write. And I have never submitted a writing assignment in past the client's prescribed due date. I'm always able to get it done on time and, it's always good work (please excuse my lack of modesty). When I have a freelance project, I can work from home where even if I have to lie down for a couple of hours, I can do so knowing I can get up later and work even if the only feeling good part of the day for me happens between the hours of 2am and 5am. At home, I can take my meds without having to worry about driving, or how many times I have to go to the bathroom. I don't have to dress up (heck, I can work in the nude if I want) so I'm much more comfortable and less stressed so that I have better days in general instead of having to worry about whether I am going to be able to get to a regular job on time and whether I will be able to function while I am there for the prescribed eight consecutive hours.

Oh well, enough of the depressing stuff. We all have stuff to deal with it. Just please wish me luck and if you need a professional writer for anything I'm your girl. As I say on my personal web page, I'll write anything for a buck just take a look at my website

Okay, let's get to a topic before I lose the two of you :)

How about reality t.v. shows? They are all the rage after all. I'll admit I have gotten addicted to quite a few of them. I am not a "Survivor" fan though or any of that type of show where a game is featured like "Big Brother" or "The Mole"--though I do watch the "love" ones. I almost gave them up though after that Barbie girl Charla decided against splitting the cash pot with that awesome dude (man boobs and all, who cares, loved the brain, the sweet expressions, and the personality---except when he was drunk) Dave on "Paradise Island". How could she do that??!!! The show has been over for months, but I still can't get over the fact that she kept that money while the man who got her AND the other couple, Keith and Tara, to the very end by using his wits.

It was all so much fun up until that point. That show had so many "love to hate" folks--psycho Zach, idiot Zach-loving Amy, monster Toni, and the really slutty girl who messed with Beau's mind and then had the audacity to tease her ex-boyfriend into thinking he actually had a chance in getting her to leave the resort with him. I can't remember her name.

My latest "fix" of reality has been the "SHOWBIZ MOMS & dads" series. Oh, this is good. I'm sure there is quite of bit of awesome editing going on here which I'll bet is how all the families (with the exception of cute little Jordan and her Mom who were presented very positively) will explain how they came off so badly on television. The editors probably purposefully omitted all the times when these folks acted like what we want to think normal decent people behave in favor of the "your sandwiches suck" and "act like a dancer not an idiot" moments that so feed our natural desire to observe the nasty things that go on during human interaction.

I have much more to say regarding the "Showbiz" series but those thoughts will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm going to bed. See ya.