Friday, December 31, 2010

Walking Commercials

Both Computer Geek and Weston made comments the other day that led me to believe they may watch too much TV.

Computer Geek has been suffering from a nasty cold this past week and before he went to bed that night he said, "Nyquil is so good, it can make me forget about politics."

Earlier that night we had gone to the grocery store. Weston had his eye on the bag of Lay's BBQ chips and asked me if he could open them. I told him no, but to plead his case he said, "But I can't wait until tomorrow to open these. They're like goodness in a bag."

Maybe CG has a future as a copywriter for TV ads?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Contrary to popular belief, and supported by the fact that I have not posted on this blog for over a month, I am alive!  Many, many thanks to those of you who were concerned--you truly warm my heart.

Like all of you I have had a busy December, which was in my case preceded by a very hectic and chaotic November. More details will follow in upcoming posts.

For now, I would just like to wish all of you--family, friends, and lurkers--a very happy Christmas season. Over the past year I have been trying to live the Christmas spirit daily. My new motto became "Give people what they need, when they need it."  In other words, if I see a friend or neighbor struggling, I will no longer think to myself, "Christmas is in a few weeks, I'll surprise her with a gift then."  Better to surprise her when she thinks no one is in her corner, than to wait for the accepted holiday.

Christ truly met the needs of a person when he or she needed it. When He came upon a blind man, he spit in the dirt, made some mud and healed him. He didn't say, "Oh wow--that's going to make a cool birthday present in three months."  The best Christmas gift I can give Him is to live as He did, and to honor Him every day.


Computer Geek at his Christmas party where we had a fantastic dinner and he won the movie Inception.

 Daughter Em and hubby at the Christmas party where she won a laptop.

Granddaughter Hoolie and daughter Gnome at Hoolie's Christmas concert.

Granddaughter Pinque's 7th birthday. December girls rock!

Pinque's pink cake

Weston and Computer Geek out to eat for my birthday. Thanks Gnome!
P.S. For every serious picture I get of Weston, I have to take four goofy ones.

 Student graffiti

Kisses hanging by the door. Each guest gets to snip one off as they go.

Weston's man cave--created after five days of snow instead of the predicted five days of rain

He asked for a dog. The $300 variety. That is so not happening.

Christmas Eve

Traditional Christmas Eve candlelit dinner at home

Chunkster's new jammies

The Great Cookie Decorating Extravaganza

Weston's creations

Avatar's cookies. Grandma had to tell him that gingerbread men did not have to be anatomically correct. He removed the jelly bean.

Pinque's new baby sister, Pixie

We exchanged socks this year. I got purple fuzzies from River

Scotland!  It's the reel fling!
[Thank you, dear Janice!]

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Need Help Controlling Your Chaos?

I do.

That's why I go and visit Controlling my Chaos whenever I see there is a new post. Not only is the site full of organizing tips that are cute to boot, but the Head Mistress of Controlled Chaos, Jill, is hilarious. I am positive she is some sort of magical creature because I don't know how she gets it all done and still sleeps. Oh, and did I mention she is a t-e-a-c-h-e-r?  Scores some major points in my book.

Oh, and did I also mention that I don't have to come up with a Thanksgiving Day decoration because Jill made mine for me?  Well, ok, she didn't create it with me in mind, but I still WON HER GIVEAWAY!

She gave me permission to steal these photos from her site:

Yeah. She made this. In her spare time.

Now I'm just hoping that she'll soon get sick of those gorgeous red dishes in her hutch and have another giveaway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Beat Goes On

Day 17 and I am at 28,708 words, creeping toward my 50,000 word goal.

Last Friday night we had our first write-in, when those students who wanted to work on their novels came to school and wrote for an hour or two.  There was some writing done, but more talking and snacking. There were even some subliminal messages to the teacher as I passed computer screens.

Today, one of my seventh graders was the first to complete her novel of 5,000 words. The classroom was full of excitement as we watched one of our own succeed. Others have passed the half way mark and are excited to report to me when they reach a new milestone.Student goals range anywhere from 2,000-50,000 words, depending on desire and capability. Most goals are within the 10,000-17,000 range.

Doing the NaNoWriMo project has been rewarding beyond my expectations. Parents come up to me and tell me that their child spends all their free time working on their novel. They are so proud to see their children invested in something huge. Other days the pride is all mine as I see every spare computer chair occupied, even by those kids who don't have my class during that time.They take spare class periods or their lunch hours to sneak into the computer room [my classroom] to work. Sometimes I can scarcely walk through the classroom as students are perched at odd places, trying to get some novel-writing in before their next class.

 The NaNoWriMo people sent us a package of buttons this week. They're proudly displayed on jackets, backpacks and binders.

One month ago, students grumbled when I gave them a one-hundred word in-class descriptive writing assignment. Those days are gone as they realize that I could now give them a 1000 word assignment and they would still be saying, "piece of cake."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's NaNoWriMo Time!

We're not doing it---we just love saying it! Na No Wri Mo. How fun is that?

OK, I lied. We really are doing it. What is it, you might ask?  It stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an online literary event where adults pledge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. If you submit your novel to their site and the word count is 50,000+ at the end of November, you win.

It started in 1999 when Chris Baty invented the project and has escalated from there. I have wanted to do it for several years now, but November always seemed to sneak up on me. This year I was more (scarcely) prepared.

Since I teach composition to twenty-seven students, I told Computer Geek that I was going to have all my students do it too. He tried to bring me back to earth by telling me there is no way a twelve-year old could write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Reluctantly, I agreed, then promptly found their teen site for young writers. It had more realistic goals, outlined by grade, plus had a free printable workbook to help students through the month.

I must say that this is one of the most exciting projects I have ever done as a teacher. Kids that formerly would prefer to get an F before they would actually submit a paper, are on fire about writing a book. I teach literature and composition in a tiny room that doubles as a library and computer lab. There are ten computers, but my classes have between six and seven students. In each class period I have had students ask me if they could use the spare computers to work on their stories. They call me frequently when they get stuck for an idea or if they are not sure what to do next. Each day, they post their current word counts in our virtual classroom.  Later in the month we are going to have a NaNoWriMo writing marathon.

People have asked me, "You're doing it too?"  How could I plead busy-ness and expect my students to write a novel in thirty days? I'm "write" along there with them. Only 37,903 words to go!

For those of you who might be up for the challenge, only seven days have passed. At 1667 words a day, you only need 11,669 to catch up before November 30.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Serenity

I am having a serene Sunday indeed thanks to the lovely Miss M.J. below, 
pictured with the ever-rambunctious Chunk.

M.J., you may remember, recently forced challenged me to display a snake picture on my cell phone for a week.

That week ended last night at midnight.

My serenity therefore is due to no longer having to cringe when I use my cell phone, or worry about whether my cheek might accidentally touch the picture .

P.S. She looks really innocent in this picture, doesn't she? I think she's hoping I'll forget about this little incident by the time second-quarter grades come out.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thoughts of a Twitterless Thinker 10-29-2010 edition

I thought it was about time I got rid of that ghastly snake picture so I’m pushing it down the page via this new post.  Since I’m not a Tweeter, but I am a thinker, here goes the latest installment of Thoughts of a Twitterless Thinker.

I’ve had a lot of “whys” running through my brain lately. If you know the answer to any of these nagging questions, please feel free to jump in.

*Why is starting a forest fire as easy as dropping a match, but starting a fire in your wood-burning stove takes scientific precision? Then try to keep it going for at least thirty minutes. It’s almost as if you have to play matchmaker (ha, I’m funny!) with the flame and the wood.

*The word camouflage is generally shortened to the word “camo.”  Why then, is the word ammunition shortened to “ammo?”  Shouldn’t it be “ammu?”

*The average lifespan of a housefly is thirty days. So why are fall flies much more vicious than summer flies?  Summer flies hover around your watermelon and your lemonade and your macaroni salad. Fall flies go for the head. It’s as if they sense that their thirty days will soon be over---“I want my last meal and dang it, it’s going to be someone’s face!”

*Why don’t dishwashers ever really work? I have had six dishwashers over the past ten years and all of them require intensive scrubbing before placing the dishes inside or else I will end up with a fine coating of foreign quang all over my dishes, glasses and silverware. I’ve tried different detergents, different rinses, and vinegar to no avail. It’s basically more a dish sterilizer than a dish washer.

*Why is a lion called King of the Jungle when he doesn’t live in a jungle?

*Does anyone know why Nacho Doritos contain pork products? My daughter called to tell me that gem this week and I had to look it up to see for myself.

Fun coincidence of the week: Computer Geek and I were watching a documentary on warthogs last night. (Yeah, we’re fun.) Although the adults are rather odd looking the babies were quite fetching.  I said, “Even warthogs are cute at this age.”  The very next sentence spoken by the narrator was, “Even warthogs are adorable at three weeks.”

Confession time: I am a Halloween wimp. My email box is flooded with food recipes for faux body parts such as fingers, eyeballs, brains, intestines, other internal organs, and skulls. Let’s not forget decorating all these with fake blood.  Is it just me, or does eating this kind of “food” seem a tad bit…oh…cannibalistic?

While I’m on a mini-rant, what is so cool about skulls? When did our society decide that it was all right to start decorating with the body parts of dead people? I see skulls on kids’ clothing, shoes, skateboards, bikes, not to mention all over in their artwork.  I’ve even seen skull wallpaper! And did you hear that the man who started Body World now wants to make jewelry out of body parts? It is all just a little too creepy for my taste. I guess I’ll crawl back into my wimpy cave.

Computer Geek’s father passed away a couple of days ago. He was eighty-six years old, and was not in the best of health even before they found cancer a few weeks ago. CG was able to sneak away last week and go visit his father one more time. I am so happy he was able to go.

We were disturbed though by something one of his nurses said. When CG’s dad lost his appetite, we were told that the nursing home would no longer feed him. Apparently “they become euphoric when they lose their appetite and no longer notice that they aren’t being fed.”   Seriously?  Let’s try that rationale the next time a farmer gets arrested for starving his animals to death. “But officer, when my cows are near death they become euphoric, so they didn’t notice a thing.”  Luckily CG’s sister snuck in some peanut butter sandwiches.

On the brighter side, I was feeling crafty this week and made this sign for my kitchen. 

If you like it, you can make one too at one of my favorite sites, Tatertots and Jello. You can download the picture there. It is a spin-off of the re-discovered British sign from WWII.

When you hand out a box of paperclips to a group of ninth graders and tell them to attach a header sheet to their assignment, you never  know in what shape that box of clips will make its way back to you.

Computer Geek had a birthday this week. He turned fifty-two. Hoolie, Pinque and Avatar stopped by to wish their Grandpa Geek a happy day.

I guess I’m done with all the thinking for now, so I’ll head off to bed—as soon as I get rid of this fly that’s trying to use my face as a landing strip.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Warning: This post is about snakes and has a snake picture! Read at your own risk.

The things I do for my students.

Last year, the short story “Old Ben” by Jesse Stuart was part of our eighth grade curriculum. In the story a family was emotionally touched by a bull snake that seemed to want to be part of the family. His presence around the farmyard was endearing to the family and they grieved when he later disappeared.

I told my students that I was incredulous that a family could find a snake endearing. “I can’t even touch a picture of a snake, much less a real snake.”

A painting of Old Ben in the corn crib graced the top of the textbook page, so immediately my students began clamoring for me to touch the picture of Old Ben.  I could not bring myself to do it. I found the concept abhorrent. The hubbub went on for a few minutes until I became stern and said that I was not touching the picture of the snake—end of discussion.

About two weeks later, I walked into the classroom and a couple of the students said they had a surprise for me and to close my eyes. Since the students in this particular class are normally very sweet about doing nice things for me, I assumed they had something kind up their collective sleeves. They asked me to hold my hand out. I did so.

I felt a piece of paper being brushed across my fingertips and wondered what they were up to. After a few seconds of feeling the paper, they finally said, “Open your eyes.”

I screamed. They were forcing me to touch the picture of Old Ben.

They laughed while I tried to shudder the feeling away. Mean children. Awful children.

[I am the same teacher who the year before screamed and hid my body behind a ten-year old girl, sacrificing her life for mine, when a boy walked into my classroom carrying a four foot blow snake.]

I thought all my snake adventures were behind me until yesterday. One of my students—Mary Jane, one of the ones who made me touch Old Ben’s painting last year—sent me a photo message on my cell phone.

Let me tell you a bit about Mary Jane. She is a kindly uber-blond girl who is about as sweet and innocent as a baby bunny or Cindy Brady. She is the same ago as Weston, but is three years ahead of him in high school. She’s every parent’s dream child.

But little M.J. has an evil streak. Look at the picture she sent directly to my cell phone, and read our resulting 
text chat.

Mary Jane: Here is a pic of the snake at the aquarium. I took it for you. 
Me:  I touched it.
Mary Jane: You touched the picture?! Way to go!
Me: NOT!
Mary Jane: Wait nevermind I knew it was too good to be true.
Me: I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight now. ;-)
Mary Jane: Don’t delete it. Set it as your background [cell phone] for a week. I dare you.
Me: You’re kidding. What if I accidentally touch it? THEN WHO WOULD BE YOUR TEACHER, HUH?
Mary Jane: Then I would have a very daring brave changed teacher. It would be awesome. Be awesome, be awesome! [We had a lesson earlier this year about being awesome instead of being average. See how they use my words against me?]
Me: Wow, even the thought of it creeps me out. But I do so want to be awesome. Hmmm…
Mary Jane: You should try it. If you can do it I’ll be astonished. You can put on FB [Facebook] that you kept the picture as a background for a whole week. I know you want to
Mary Jane: …touch him.
Me: OK, I will make a deal. Starting tomorrow I will set it as my background for a week.
You will have the right to check my background at any time. But…
Mary Jane: Sounds good so far. But? Do I owe you something after? Sound fair?
Me: But in return I get to tell the story staring with Old Ben and ending with our texts, on my blog. Deal?
Mary Jane: Deal! So I owe you something after?
Me: Nope. You just have to agree to let me use your snake picture and our texts as a story on my blog.
Mary Jane: OK, I agree! You up to this?
Me: I don’t know if I am up to it which is why I will start tomorrow morning. I need a night to get used to the thought.
Mary Jane: OK, dream about it tonight! I can’t believe you’re doing this! [Me neither]
This is going to be interesting! If you fail and change your background you lose and have to say you lost on your blog.
Me: Agreed…sure hope I don’t delete that picture.
Mary Jane: You better not!
Mary Jane: OK, I’ll wish you luck this week! Good night, see ya later and you better have your phone with you for proof!

So there you have it. The background of my phone is currently a [gag] snake and I am on my way to becoming awesome instead of just average.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Free day Results!

This post is dedicated to those of you who neglected watching your favorite TV show so that you could hang by the computer and wait to see what I did with my free day.

Did I do as I normally do and try to cram as much into one day as I could? Or did I call forth my inner lazy child and sleep the day away?

Actually, I used my keen sense of rationalization (it's primo) to tell myself that I should sleep until I felt rested.

You see, I don't sleep well at night. I make it to bed between 12:00 A.M. and 1:00 A.M.  I get back up between 6:00-6:30 A.M.  That wouldn't be so bad if I slept straight through, but [top secret ahead] I wake up every one to one and a half hours to visit the ladies room. On average I get up four times a night. When that alarm sounds at 6:00 A.M. I generally am found whispering, Please God, just give me one day where I can sleep as long as I want to.

And he does! He has given me plenty of days to sleep, if I would do so. But every free day finds me trying to  cram, cram, cram until I fall asleep at my desk at midnight while correcting papers, or preparing lessons, or shhh...playing Farmville.

After I hit "Publish Post" yesterday, I wrapped that gray robe tightly around me, put on some purple fuzzy socks, and cozied up inside my comforter. I woke back up at 1:00 P.M. yelling "Hurray for sloth!"

No, I didn't finish everything on my list. I got the laundry, dishes, jalapenos and parent/teacher reports done, along with a long hot shower.

Now, a word of inspiration to my fellow organizational freaks, overachievers, and plain old busy moms---I slept instead of doing what I should have done, and lived, without guilt!  It took me until I was a half century old though, so please don't wait that long. In fact, I challenge those of you who are overworked and underslept to take a nice nap on Sunday.

 Why don't I feel guilty?

Because it's 9:00 P.M. on a Saturday night and all the males in my house are crashed in front of the fireplace while I am busy doing laundry. (Oh, all right. I'll give them credit for moving one ton of coal today.)

(Aren't they cute? I couldn't get Blogger to put their photos side by side although they were small enough..after two years of blogging maybe some day I will catch on... )

Friday, October 22, 2010

Free Day!

It's 9:00 A.M. and I am still in my gray flannel bathrobe.

The high school students have a field trip today and teachers were not required to go. My son is on the trip and my husband is at work. It is exactly the type of day that every mother dreams of having--a day where she can work uninterrupted on projects galore!  Here's what I have in mind for today:

Catch up on laundry
Do the dishes
Sweep and mop the floor
Decide if I want to dry jalapenos in my dehydrator or by stringing them in the kitchen
Reorganize my school shelf in the office
Move coal from the driveway to the garage
Make more posters for the classroom
Organize my gift wrap, tissue paper, bows and gift bags
Wrap presents for the three birthdays of my son's friends this weekend
Clip corn husks off the dead plants in the garden to make a corn husk wreath
Rip up the dead plants in the garden
Get my grade book ready for next quarter
Type up progress reports for tonight's parent/teacher conferences

I have a full day ahead of me, right?

Unfortunately, it is also that other kind of day that mothers dream of having---the day where you wake up and the autumn chill is in the air, the sky is gray in all directions, wet yellow leaves are plastering the cement driveway, the colors of the trees and bushes are more vivid because it rained during the night, and it looks like it could rain again at any moment.

In other words, a day that shouts, "Go back to bed!"

Hmm...what will she do? Will she choose this rare moment of solitude to catch up on missed sleep? Or will guilt overtake her as duty calls her to the domestic front? 

What do you think? Which option will the Queen of Quang choose? What would you do 
with a free day?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Regarding Anonymous Comments

Hello Quangsters,

I have a favor to ask. If you get to a comment section before I do, and see a comment from "Anonymous" please do not click on any link that is attached.

I don't want my readers to come down with a bad virus from visiting my site.Also, I don't appreciate people who come to my blog and use it as a forum for their wares. 

Usually I get about ten "Anonymous" comments a day. Luckily Blogger catches most of them first and sends them off to the garbage can.  On the few comments they don't catch, I have to go in and manually delete them so my readers don't have to be bothered by them. 

I would never have a salesperson sitting in my living room waiting for you when you come to visit and I don't like spammers leaving anonymous comments for Quangsters.

I am hesitant to enable the comment verification code for leaving a comment. That would get rid of the anonymous spammers, but it would also require my readers to have to type in a nonsense word before leaving a comment. I'd rather spend a little bit of time each day in deleting the anonymous comments on my own. I guess if the problem escalates, I may have to reconsider, but for now please ignore the anonymous spammers and don't click on their links no matter how tempting (cough!) they may appear.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Confessions of a Logical Mind

My name is Randi, and I am an obsessive compulsive.

One of my worst fears is to be caught committing a spelling or grammatical error. I generally edit my blog posts three or four times after I have posted them, because something either isn’t right or doesn’t seem right.

I make lists--lists of songs I want to download, lists of movies I want to see, lists of craft projects I want to try, and lists of things I am going to purchase when I get enough money. I even make a list of things “to do” every day, sometimes adding something to the list after I have done it, so I have a record that it was done.

I enjoy organizing. Making labels for folders, boxes, and three ring binders gives me joy. Bosses love me because they can walk into the office and say, “Remember back in 2003 when that crazy customer wanted to sue us because her call dropped in the middle of a call to her husband and it was their anniversary? Do we still have that letter?” and I will say, “Oh, yes sir, it’s filed under ‘L’ for ‘Lawsuit Threats.’ Here you go.” 

My worst compulsion by far though, is my demand for things to make sense. I come unglued if something isn’t as logical as I need it to be.  You see me peeling apart at the seams most often when I am required to be “politically correct.”

The very phrase itself reeks. When I think of being “politically correct” I think of a politician shaking my hand and telling me exactly what I want to hear, or what he thinks I want to hear, whether or not it has any basis in truth.  It connotes being false, just to appease someone.  It tells me that someone is playing a game. My sense of logic repels that game.

I have three areas in my life where I have been upset recently by the sham of political correctness—or the denial of truth for the sake of appeasement. The first is my toilet, the second is my ninth grade literature text book, and the third is an email newsletter that I get daily.

Let’s get the toilet out of the way first. It’s a functional toilet and serves its purpose very well. Yet my sense of logic gets thrown out of whack every time I must use said contraption. Why? Because in the 1990’s someone, someone very illogical I might add, decided that in order to be “energy efficient,” my toilet could  use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Yay for that person!  They probably got a prize for conserving millions of gallons of water yearly.  Yippee! We’re politically correct! We’re green! We’re saving the planet! 

Well, that’s what Mr. Slimy Politician wants you to think as he’s shaking your hand.  The reality is that it takes four to five flushes for my toilet to do its job properly.  So how am I green? How am I conserving water?  I’m not. I’m using as much water as before the silly regulation went into effect, but now I falsely get credit, as does the manufacturer, for being efficient.  Let’s all ignore the truth and keep on shamefacedly saying, “Oops, sorry, I flushed only once,” when someone has to use the bathroom after we do.
On to the literature text book.

My students are smart kids. They know that the word “love” can mean an emotion in one context, but can mean a tennis score in another. They understand that the word “paper” can be a noun when describing the college-ruled document they are writing, but it can be a verb if you are plastering fliers all over a grocery store wall.  They know that a jack can be a playing card or a tool used in changing tires.

So why do textbook publishers think that my students can’t tell the difference between “gay” and “gay?”   

I teach classical literature to seventh through tenth graders. When I teach a new class and we come upon the word “gay,” I explain that in the author’s time, gay meant happy and carefree. I tell them that for the purpose of classical literature we will use that definition. No problem. When we come upon the word “gay” life goes on. No one snickers or makes rude comments. We sense the mood of happiness that the author is trying to portray.

Last year, my ninth graders read the short story, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant.
We encountered this sentence without a hitch:

“But sometimes, when her husband was at the office, she sat down near the window, and she thought of that gay evening of long ago, of that ball where she had been so beautiful and so feted.”

This year something new happened. My students said, “Um, our book says ‘happy.’”

What? They censored Guy de Maupassant?  Who are they trying to protect?  My students? They are smart enough to not be offended by the word “gay.”  Are they protecting gay people?  Like most people, I have gay [happy and not] acquaintances who wouldn’t dream of being offended because “gay” has more than one meaning. They would be equally as annoyed as I am about the word being removed from classic literature. So what was the point? Oh yes, political correctness.  The publishers feigned sensitivity, not on behalf of students who get it, not on behalf of gay people who also get it, but on behalf of their pocketbooks.

My logic meter just went “boing.”

Enter the newsletter.

I love our planet. It’s gorgeous. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t marvel at its wonders.
I also care about animals and am converting to a vegetarian diet.

By chance I happened upon a newsletter that purported to care about the same things, so I subscribed to their daily newsletter. Yet the discrepancies and hypocrisy I witness almost daily, cause my head to explode.  Here are a few of the contradicting viewpoints they have expressed:

*They promote abolishing creationism in the classroom and promote evolution or Darwinism instead. Survival of the fittest, right?  Yet, if an animal is becoming extinct or is threatened by “global warming” we must sacrifice our very lives to protect it from extinction. It’s a worthy concern, yes, but are you now telling me you are reversing your position on survival of the fittest?  Logic…hmmm…

*They tell me that abortion is a woman’s option and that politicians have no right to interfere with a woman’s reproductive rights, yet almost in the same breath they tell me that Michelle Duggar and Nadya Suleman (Octomom) need to be forced by the government to stop reproducing or risk destroying the planet. Reproductive rights apparently are  in effect only when you don’t want children. Logic?

*They published an article saying that people who are against abortion are unethical and are using emotion to sway people when they show graphic photographs and therefore they should be stopped. Yet they send me pictures of seals bludgeoned to death saying that they must show these pictures for people to get a clue.  I’m looking for some logic here...hmmm…can’t find it anywhere.

*They routinely resort to name-calling, saying people are racist, sexist, idiots, and corporate greed monsters, yet they ask us, “When will this bullying stop?”   Um, with you?

*In one breath they tell me that I must support illegal aliens by buying produce so that they can have a fair shot at life, and in the next breath they tell me to grow my own garden to help sustain the fragile balance of the earth’s ecosystem.  Which one is more politically correct so I know what to do? Oops, I think I already know the answer. People who grow their own gardens are anti-government Tea Partiers. That was a close one.

*They were upset when a girl said a prayer in school and then asked in regard to a piece on bullying, “Where has the kindness gone?”  But they are  upset  when only certain religions pray because in another article they were in support of schools providing prayer rooms for those students whose religion requires that they pray several times a day.  How is a logical person supposed to keep up?

My husband would say they are  consistent only in their inconsistencies. I guess when you play both sides of the field, you’re bound to win somehow, right?

As you can see, I need my world to have order. But until that day happens, I will refuse to be politically correct because usually it has nothing to do with being correct, or with truth, else why clarify “correct” with the word “politically?” Rather, it has everything to do with image management.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Get Your Motor Runnin'...

I have never been a wealthy woman, as far as money goes.  Great wealth involves great sacrifice, and usually that sacrifice comes at the expense of children. When I could help it, I would choose more time with my children over more money.

Nevertheless, my needs have always been met. We have never gone hungry. At times when I have needed it most, money would appear, either anonymously, by a fifty slipped into my palm, or by a check handed to me with a smile. My true wealth has come in the form of my friends.

Lee Iacocca reports, “My father always used to say that when you die, if you've got five real friends, then you've had a great life.”  To my great fortune I can count friends by the scores who have made my life better--friends who have appeared when I needed them the most and have refused to go away.  A book of their stories swims inside my brain, but for now I will spare you the checklist of kindnesses done for me, and will focus on just one.

Computer Geek and I were in a situation in late 2008 where we needed to move with very short notice.  Luckily for us, we had some friends who managed a duplex and they had one opening. They allowed us to move in, with no deposit required. 

We lived there for a little over a year and then moved again. When moving day came, lots of friends showed up to assist. By evening, we had only one item left to move—Computer Geek’s motorcycle.

A word now about CG’s motorcycle-- it was a piece. I feared for his life whenever he chose to take it out for a ride. It was old, very old, and was not in the best of shape when he inherited it many years ago. The seat was gray fur, the color of wet mop strings, and there were parts that looked like they would fall apart from the vibration of the motor. It was a fine piece of machinery in his eyes, a piece that refused to start when it was time to move.

Our friend/landlord, who is mechanically inclined, offered to roll it down to his house on the other end of the block to take a look at it.  He kept it over the next few months saying that he would change the oil and see if there was anything else wrong with it.

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from school when I saw friend/landlord driving a motorcycle down the street that goes past our new house. He stopped me and asked when would be a good time to bring the bike back to Computer Geek. During the course of our brief conversation, I realized that the motorcycle he was sitting on was the old, ugly, beat-up bike that belonged to CG. Only it wasn’t beat up or ugly any more. It was n-i-c-e.
A little party was planned complete with ice cream and scrumptious seven-layer bars provided by our friend’s family.  When CG got home from work and walked into the back yard filled with friends who were anxious to see the look on his face, he stopped and looked at his cell phone calendar, sure he was a month early for his birthday.  He was stunned to see the transformation wrought by the skilled hands of our friend. Another friend painted the gas tank and yet another had donated money for parts.

Once again, another chapter was added to my mental book of kind things done for us by our friends. And I no longer cringe when CG wants to take a grandchild for a ride.

"The making of friends, who are real friends, is the best token we have of a man's success in life."
Edward Everett Hale

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Do They Call it Fall Because of the Leaves or the Rain?

It’s officially autumn here in the land of red rocks and I wonder why I dread the end of summer each year.  There’s so much to love about fall—the changing colors, the hint of coolness in the air, the loudspeaker blaring the Friday night football game across town, and of course candy corn!  Light rain has been toying with us all day, so between classes I curled up in the recliner, threw my fuzzy white blanket across my lap and fell asleep to the sound of light drizzle. Nirvana for the old.

Oh, yeah. Now I remember why I dread fall. School. Not as in teaching school because I love that. Getting my son up for school in the morning and hearing him whine about how badly he detests school is what I hate. Then listening to him complain all afternoon as he does his homework, complain in the evening as he gets his bags ready for the morning and complain again in the morning as he tries to think of every possible reason why he must stay home. 

A couple of nights ago, I was helping him with homework and was getting frustrated because he literally spends more time complaining about his homework than in actually doing it. (Yes, I know what literally means and I am not exaggerating, nor do I mean figuratively.)  He could sense my mounting irritation because he stopped sniveling long enough to say, “What—am I like a disease to you?”

Of course I couldn’t stop laughing at that. A disease?  I toned it down a bit and had a little more patience after that because I don’t want my son to feel like he is the chicken pox, nor even the hangnail, of my life.  Nope. He's the big bowl of Brach's candy corn mixed with Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rockclimbing Mecca

Rock climbers from all over the world come to a forested area near us to test their skills. Maple Canyon is known not only for being a gathering place for climbers but also for its beautiful fall colors.

Yesterday various members of our extended family took a day trip to the canyon for picnicking, sightseeing and mild hiking and rock climbing. Enjoy the many beautiful sights of Maple Canyon!

Can you see a very tiny Weston waving near the top?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...