Graduation Day

I’m taking today as a vacation day because of a very special thing happening this evening: my daughter is graduating from Van Nuys High School. I’ve seen this little girl grow and blossom into a delightful young woman. She’s still a little girl in some ways (and she’ll always be my little girl), and she’s still a typical teenager, but more and more she’s showing maturity and drive that will do her well.

Today is the culmination of 13 years of hard work within the public school system of LA Unified. Starting from kindergarten days at Lassen Elementary, through Vintage MST Magnet, Nobel Middle School, and now Van Nuys High School, she’s achieved. Some years were harder than others (3rd grade was particularly bad), and some courses were harder than others. There have been ups and downs, but she had demonstrated that she enjoys hard work, much as she complains about it. She has also demonstrated a strong loyalty and love for her friends.

I thank the teachers that have been positive influences over the years. As much as LA Unified gets maligned, there are some wonderful teachers and staff members out there. I thank the friends that have been here for her–both her friends and our friends. I especially thank the two women who are not here to see her graduate but influenced her life immensely: Lauren Uroff and Karen Denise Pratt Holmes. We know you are watching this evening, just as we know her grandfathers are watching and smiling.

When I graduated from high school back in 1977, my father wrote in my yearbook the following quote from his mother: “Not failure, but low aim is crime.” Erin has always aimed high and worked hard. Not everything worked out the way she wanted, but the universe has ways of compensating and moving her to the right places. We saw this as her focus shifted from technical lighting to a love of history and the effort that was Academic Decathalon. We’re seeing it as she goes off to college: for all her plans to go to a private college (notably Reed or Wash U St. Louis), she’s ending up at UC Berkeley… which is possibly the best choice for her in terms of the student diversity (which she loves), academic diversity (which she eats up), and the complete unique funkiness that is the city of Berkeley.

This summer we’ll pack her up and she’ll move to Northern California, where I’m sure she’ll be welcomed by our friends in the area, and more importantly, will make tons and tons of new friends in what I’m sure will be another life-changing experience. I have confidence that she’ll exceed beyond our wildest dreams.

Music: Rooms: A Rock Romance (2009 Original Off-Broadway Cast): My Choice


Planning the Future

Lastly, when I started posting today, I promised posts on the past, present, and future. We’ve covered the past and present, now to the future. It is college acceptance season, and given that I’m the father of a high school senior, this means the acceptance letters are starting to come in. Not all are in yet–we’re waiting on Reed, Georgetown, Tulane, and UC Berkeley–but the bulk are in hand or in email. No rejections yet. One wait-list at Washington University St. Louis. The rest are all accepts, with various degrees of merit scholarship money: UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, American University, Occidental University, Bard, and George Washington.

Which one will she accept? We don’t know yet, because the final decision depends on ultimate affordability (in other words, what offers of financial support they give). She has her favorites, but it will boil down to what we can afford to pay, ideally with the minimum of school loans. How things have changed on the college affordability front compared to when I went to school at $271 a quarter!


Proud Papa Mode

I just received a phone call from a very excited nsshere (my daughter). She just got her AP scores. As a 10th Grader, she got a 5 in AP World History (and 770 on the SAT Subject Exam in World History), and a 4 in AP Stats (and, IIRC, this is significantly better than the others in her class). I’ll also note her report card this June was straight A-E-Es.

For all the news you hear about the problems in LA Unified, or at Van Nuys, a bright and motivated student can still shine.


Words of Wisdom: “Small minded = small bodied”

My daughter is so mature and intelligent (an extremely rare trait in a teen). I just had to share something she wrote on Facebook (with her permission, of course):

Small minded = small bodied
Large minded = large bodied

Sad thing is… it seems to be that way.

I’ve come to realize I am too fat for high school. I know, I know. This is where you all chime in, “Erin, you’re not fat.”

You’re right. I’m not fat. But I’m not skinny either.

And there’s been an increasing gap between the people who aren’t fat and the people who are skinny.

It’s ridiculous. Girls are striving to be sickly thin, going to extremes of not eating because of their low self image society has placed upon them. Perfectly beautiful and healthy girls. Just to be approved of. Just so boys will like them. Just to feel good about themselves.

Well fuck that shit. I want to EAT. And what’s so wrong with a healthy womanly figure? It’s not like I can’t move because I’m fat, I can move just fine. It’s not like I can’t find clothes anywhere because I’m fat, I shop in the same stores you do. And it’s not like I don’t see the same movies in the theatre, or go to different malls than you because I’m fat. I just like to eat. Because food is fucking good. And those skinny bitches (not to offend you. it just flows so nicely, don’t you think?) who walk around bitching about their thighs and how they haven’t eaten in a week need to sit down with me and eat a nice plate of ribs, because the goal is to eat ribs covered in barbeque sauce, not have your own ribs protruding from your chest.

But so many girls want that. So many girls think, “You aren’t thin until you can see bones.” No. You aren’t sickly until you can see bones. Healthy women have a nice percentage of body fat on them, it makes them more fertile and suprisingly prolongs their lives. So while you skinny bitches starve yourselves to fit into that size 0 jeans and die at 6, I’ll be eating ribs slathered in barbeque sauce till I’m 85.

But while I’ll be living to 85, I guess I’ll be living to 85 alone. Because it seems boys are in that same old malnourished bandwagon… BUT THEY GET TO BE FAT. Boys get to eat whatever the hell they want because they’re boys. Boys get to date whoever the hell they want because they’re boys. Meanwhile, us ladies either choose a life of loneliness accompanied by our plate of barbeque ribs, or we get to starve ourselves to death in order to find companionship.

Bull fucking shit.

Boys need to grow the fuck up.

Because, shockingly enough, fat bitches are nice too. And we’re probably better lovers than those skinny little bitches who are too tired from not eating to do anything. And some of us are intelligent bitches who can hold a conversation on something other than the fact that you burn calories by eating celery. And you know what? We can cook too.

Later, she added:

Or… what I really meant to say the first time less harshly. Love yourself. Because you’re beautiful and you don’t need to change yourself. Big, small, black, tall. We’re all beautiful.