Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Organized Tantrums

So … yeah. Apparently, video takes up a lot of space on a hard drive. A lot! I’ll have to purchase another external hard drive, in addition to the two I’ve got, in order to save and edit anymore “Tuesdays With Mooch” episodes. Don’t frown. I’ll still write updates about her and show lots of pics. I should be getting a third hard drive by the end of the year, and she’ll be back up in January or February.


The Moochster is getting happier by the minute, and much more organized. I was really worried for a moment. You know, when your kid gets past age five, you become less interested in the parenting magazines, because you kinda feel like you’ve got it. The problem with that is that you DON’T have it. They are still changing developmentally — just not as rapidly. She was just going through a phase, which may actually return at eight-and-a-half. Joy.

Anyway, her latest interests include building things with screws, nuts, and bolts. I found a cheap set at Tuesday Morning, where you can build a motorcycle, go-cart, and airplane. We built the go-cart together last night. She liked sorting all of the parts to make sure she had everything, using the codes to figure out which pieces went where, and screwing on the “nutmegs” (as she jokingly called them).

I’m pretty certain that she hates ballet. She told me she almost fell asleep at the barre last week. Since SHE’S the one who asked for another year of it, I’m making her stick with it until Ballet 3. Then we can reevaluate. She’s actually very good at it, because of her attention to detail. My hope is that she’ll get over this tedious part and want to continue. Otherwise, it’s two years of tuition down the drain. Speaking of tuition, I found out that her art school offers scholarships, so that helps.

My favorite remnant of Rites of Passage is that Mooch cooks several nights per week. That is such a big help. We’re going to have to revisit hair washing, though. :-/


Fuss is learning the sounds for “r, c and b.” Her focus lately has been on the globe, the sensory items — like shakers, bells, and rattles, and the locks and latches activity. She seems to enjoy figuring out how to open things, which is evidenced in her picking the locks and cracking the codes around the house (i.e. someone’s pad got hacked into). For more about homeschooling, click here.

The antibiotics have worked well on her tooth in my opinion. There is no more puss and she seems to be in way less pain. She still does weird stuff with her top lip (it’s also dry, though), and she still very cautious. Hopefully when she goes back in December, they won’t need to pull it. Although, I’ve researched some options in case they do.

She is much better about letting me do her hair now — depending on the style and the length of time it takes. I’m considering more oil, because she seems to be dry all over — hair, lips, face. She has a LOT of hair. A lot! We’re working on it.

Her interest in music is growing by the minute. She is able to name the artists of many songs just by listening to them. It’s kinda creepy. She also copies what Mooch does in ballet, makes up her own songs, and seems to have a non-stop soundtrack going in her head. The soundtrack is, of course, interlaced with her frequent chanting of “99%,” which she picked up listening to KPFK (Pacifica Radio) during our morning drive to drop Mooch off.

I’m mildly concerned with her tantrums. While they are brief, they are definitely frequent. The whining and tantrums are much more pronounced when Hannibal is around. Can you say, “Wrapped around her finger?” I’m happy that they have bonded well. He is definitely a baby wearer (like, with no carrier, though). She’s always in his arms.

Comments off

Marital Mondays: He Says, She Says. What Say You?

He Says: “The kids should only listen to positive things and watch positive images, because their brains aren’t developed enough to parse out the difference and deal with the desensitizing effect of said images and lyrics.”

She says: “The kids need to hear and see a combination of positive and negative. This creates a balanced, whole person. Sometimes negative images are necessary as instruction tools (i.e. history, science, etc.). If children never see those things and have them explained to them, then they’ll never be able to parse out the difference. Watching a lion eat hyenas is part of nature. It happens. Listening to KPFK has taught the kids so much about the world around them. Knowing the lyrics to popular songs has helped them bond with kids they don’t even know. Sheltering kids is socially damaging.”

What say you?

Comments off

Workin’ Wednesdays: Discrimination Dances Downtown


Myshell Curry

Discrimination Dances Downtown

Award winning tap teacher and heir to the legacy of Alfred Desio driven from the Colburn School by racial discrimination

It’s business as usual for the predominantly caucasian dance department of the Colburn School as the last African-American dance teacher was driven out in May after a coordinated campaign of brow beating and cronyism.

When internationally lauded tap pioneer Alfred Desio fell ill six years ago, he personally asked for Myshell Curry to cover his classes at the Colburn School.  He did so because Curry’s twenty seven years of tap dancing had led her to performing at the White House, The Ford Amphitheater and The Kennedy Center. Her instruction credits include teaching at Pomona College while she attended Chapman University, The Dance Center, Dynamic Dance Factory, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre for nearly fifteen years.  Many considered her a direct inheritor of his legacy.

Desio passed away shortly thereafter and the school honored the wishes of a man whose reputation they traded on by keeping Curry on as part time faculty. Since then it’s been a constant barrage of insults and unfair treatment.  Administrators allowed Curry’s curriculum to be attacked by colleague, Denise Scheerer, in several meetings. The school even went so far as to have the colleague sit in on Curry’s class and critique her.

The number of classes Curry taught dwindled down to two, while Scheerer’s increased to ten.  As if that weren’t enough, Curry got word from an unrelated party that Scheerer was speaking ill of the quality of Colburn’s dance program in general and of Curry’s instructional abilities in specific at Loyola Marymount.  This disturbing rumor turned out to be true and Scheerer admitted as much to both  Curry and her superiors.

Curry wrote an email expressing her displeasure with Scheerer’s behavior, and she received a one line apology email.  She copied her boss on the response, but never heard anything back.  Confident in her position at the Colburn School, when passing Curry in the hallways, Scheerer would say things like, “You’re black, so you’re lucky to be here. You can blow the whistle as many times as you want. It won’t affect me.”

Despite struggling under a number of idiosyncratic restrictions and dictates aimed only at her, such as being the school’s only teacher who is not allowed to use recorded music in Colburn recitals,  Curry passed her 2009 faculty evaluation with flying colors.  Suspiciously, the school also invited Scheerer’s less-experienced daughter, Angel Pennington, to teach on staff at the same level as Curry.  No one in administration sees this as unusual nor as a conflict of interest.

Her boss did, however, see it as a problem when Curry’s daughter performed in the front line of the dance institute’s spring recital just weeks after applauding her performance for the dance intstitute’s donors doing the exact same piece.  They also expressed concerns about Curry missing less than five minutes of an impromptu tech rehearsal that day.  Being called in for a disciplinary meeting regarding this was the last dance for Curry.  “I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Here I hadn’t heard anything back from my boss or human resources regarding the statements Denise made about me last year, but they were calling me in for a meeting about being five minutes late for a tech rehearsal that I was specifically told would not happen.”

With Curry’s ouster, Colburn’s tap program is now 100% free of African-Americans and left with a severe deficit in credibility as well as a critical public relations crisis.  To treat Curry — who has been lauded by community organizations and the public alike many times during her sixteen year career as a dance educator — this way gives some critics of the school ammunition, implying that the increasingly more isolated program is more interested in nepotism than artistic merit.  Where once community children were a common site, the cloistered dormitories are now jam-packed with smartphone-wielding scions of privilege.

“I think it’s sad really,” said Curry, “because I loved the Colburn School so much.  I practically grew up there — spending four to six hours a day there most summers, all the way back when they were on Figueroa.  What’s left to do when home becomes a den of strangers?”


Comments off