Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thoughts from the Weekend

A few random thoughts from over the weekend.

1) The kids asked to wash the car. We don't have a pool and it was hot. This was their way to get to play with the hose. Since the car hasn't been washed in ages and probably still had road salt on it along with all that pollen, I certainly didn't argue.

After awhile I went out to check on them and they'd been joined by two neighborhood girls. They were all having a blast washing my car. When one of the girls left she thanked me for letting her wash my car. Anytime, sweetie, anytime.

2) Once again we went to watch the Memorial Parade that goes past my parent's house. Since my parents have bought a new house and this one is for sale, this will most likely be the last parade we watch there. All good things must come to an end.

Waiting for the parade:

Waiting for the parade people to throw candy (it's all about the candy):

Funny note about the candy. When the little league kids went by - they were of course tossing candy. All except for one kid who was running around picking it all up and stuffing it in his pockets. I guess he figured there was no reason to miss out on the loot just because he happened to be in the parade.

3) And finally a picture of gratuitous cuteness. My nephew with that look of "Who me?"

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Poetry Friday over at Simply Put

I'm finally participating in Poetry Friday again, largely because my 14-year-old gave me some new poems she wrote. But I'm participating from my other blog. So head on over to Simply Put and check out "Pippi's" latest poem.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Strike

I belong to a couple of groups on Facebook that are for alumni of the elementary school and middle school I went to. Recently people have been reminiscing and the subject of "The Teacher's Strike" came up and it got me thinking.

Before I go any further let me say that there were two teacher's strikes while I was a student in this district. One was when I was in fourth grade, the other was when I was in sixth grade. At least one of them lasted a couple of weeks. The one in fourth grade included the first day of school: my first day of school in a new school and a new town. These things may color my perceptions some.

I also want to make it clear that I have no idea what the contractual dispute was about. I do not know if the teacher's were being reasonable or not.

But here is what I do know. During one of the strikes a teacher spit at a child (kindergarten I believe) who was crossing the picket line by going to school. During one of the strikes as remembered by someone on the Facebook group, the teachers would hit the side of the bus (filled with their students) as it crossed the picket line. After the second strike my sixth grade homeroom teacher had to spend several days in jail for being one of the leaders and defying a court order to return to work.

I didn't know what the strikes were about and I didn't care. I knew that the teachers, the people we were supposed to respect, were breaking the law and were being mean. How are you really supposed to command respect of the students in your class if they first see you being abusive toward them?

Remember, students who crossed the picket line were not doing it because they wanted to. It was because their parents still sent them to school. (We had half days, with substitutes and probably learned absolutely nothing.) Most students, if given a choice, would gladly have stayed home and enjoyed an extended vacation.

So maybe the teachers were really directing their abuse at the parents? Not really any better from the young student's point of view.

I respect worker's rights to dispute contracts. I respect that often a strike is the most effective way to make changes.

But I did not respect teachers that behaved that way toward elementary school students.

Was their cause right or wrong? Honestly, I have no idea. But their behavior was wrong and that's the lasting impression that was made on me.

There's a life lesson there. Even if your cause is just and worthy, you can still undermine it by spitting at the kindergarten student.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Forced to Read?

Today for my post over at YA Authors You've Never Heard Of, I wrote about people bemoaning the lack of the "classics" in high school English classes. But does being forced to read a 100-year-old book, just because others have read it before you, really have a benefit?

From the comments it also seems that simply not being forced to read something specific is what encourages readers.

Head on over and join the conversation!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Procrastination Skills

Every now and then I see someone online say that they are giving up Facebook, or don't believe in Facebook (which makes me laugh, because it's a communications tool, not a belief system.) Often the reason given is because the found that Facebook was a big time-suck and they are better off without it.

Seriously? Without Facebook they won't procrastinate anymore? More power to them. Because, I tell you, I can procrastinate without Facebook as much as I can with it.

I don't need Facebook to procrastinate. Or Twitter. Or blogs to read. Or solitaire to play. Sure, I do utilize all of those tools when procrastinating, but without them I could still procrastinate.

I am a skilled procrastinator.

And I don't think I'm the only one.

But let me go back to Facebook for a minute. There are people who seem to think that it is a tool for evil, and not that Facebook needs me to defend it, but I've found way more good in it than bad.

I've reconnected with friends from middle school - a couple of whom are writers, too. How cool is that?

I'm able to keep up with friends from college way more than an annual Christmas card picture let us do.

I'm able to stay in touch with relatives I don't see that often and feel like more of an active part of their lives.

And when my brother was in Haiti during the earthquake, Facebook was one way we were able to let family and friends know he was safe.

Sure, it's easy to get sucked into watching videos someone links to or reading an article on something you might not have. But a lot of times I'm glad I did - and wouldn't have come across the information another way.

I'll admit that maybe I play a little too much time playing Scrabble on Facebook. But that's not Facebook's fault. (It's my Mom's fault. Okay, not really.)

And as for time-sucks. Without them we'd all just be way to productive and what fun would that be?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Five on a Friday

A few very random thoughts to end the week.

1. I'm really glad that this rain we're having is not snow. I've seen enough snow this winter.

2. I think my six-year-old niece has the makings of the next big pop star. Don't you?
3. I've been busy crocheting for the prayer shawl ministry at my church. Here is one of the shawls I made.

4. My son turned 11 this week. Is that really possible?

5. The roses I got for Valentine's Day still look beautiful!

6. A bonus thought: Charlie Sheen's rant this week makes pretty much everyone else in the world look sane by comparison.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Super Bowl. Family Rivalry.

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time a little girl (that would be me) had three younger brothers. One day their mother bought three football helmets at a garage sale. One brother grabbed the pretty green one, one the black one and the baby got the plain red one. The baby didn't much care.

The two brothers with the green and black helmets decided to find out what teams their helmets were for. It didn't take long for them to discover that the green helmet had the team insignia of the Green Bay Packers from Wisconsin on it. The black helmet was for a team called the Steelers from Pittsburgh, PA.

These two brothers now had favorite teams. For the one with the Steelers helmet the timing was quite good, that team was about to go on a Championship streak. The brother with the Packers helmet had to console himself that the Packers had been great once (after all they had won the first and second super bowls and that was only ten years earlier) and would be great again.

These boys grew up. They not only had favorite football teams, but every team from their chosen city was now their favorite. Vacations and special trips were planned to Green Bay or Pittsburgh. They take their kids to the games. Last year these brothers (and sons) even got together to watch the Packers and the Steelers play in Pittsburgh in early January, with the Green Bay fan flying up from the Caribbean nation he was living and working in. (That nation was Haiti and my brother has harrowing stories to tell about the earthquake and the nightmare that followed, not long after that football game.)

And now the unprecedented has happened. Green Bay and Pittsburgh will meet each other at the Super Bowl. I don't think our family will ever be the same again.

As for the brother with the red helmet. I don't know that he ever adopted a team with the same fierce loyalty of the other two. I do know his wife is a Steelers fan, so I'm pretty sure who he'll be rooting for in the Super Bowl.

And do I have a favorite team? When I was twelve my brothers made me chose one. I picked the L.A. Rams because I liked the color of their uniform. I don't think they are from L.A. anymore. I was never exactly a stalwart fan like my brothers were.

Who am I rooting for in the Super Bowl? I'm rooting for an exciting game with lots of back and forth on the score.

Go Packers! Go Steelers! It's the game my brothers have waited many many years for. I'm just glad it came when we weren't all teenagers and living in the same house!