Monday, October 30, 2006
This younger generation
I hear it often: the world is going you-know-where in a handbasket. The youth of this country are apathetic, uninvolved. Well folks, some are. But I had a chance to spend the day with several fairly young people who care about making a difference.
I train peer mediators in an elementary school. The school counselor and I work together to select, train, and supervise these fifth and sixth graders. The youngest may be 10, the oldest have only just turned 12, but these kids already have their heads on straight.
The applications for mediators this year were excellent quality. The kids met the deadline, filled out the papers correctly, and wrote very heart-felt pieces on why they wanted to become peer mediators. We had a great pool of boys and girls from which to choose.
Our returning mediators from last year helped us run the training. They led several activities, put on a skit, and demonstrated procedures for the newcomers. Some of these kids are very quiet in class; they surprised and impressed me with their ability to stand up and lead the group.
They paid attention, took very few breaks, and asked a lot of thoughtful questions. They deciphered a new set of vocabulary (how many 11-year-olds know the meaning of "de-escalate", after all?) and developed an understanding of peer mediation and their role in the process. When it was all over, they helped us clean up the room we'd borrowed and headed back to school -- to pick up their homework. Yes, after all was said and done, they had to make up the work they missed in class today.
We'll meet with them tomorrow morning to tie up loose ends, practice a few mock mediations, and get them set up with their new partners. I'm excited about this group of kids. They are sincere in their wishes to solve conflicts. They really, really want to make a difference. They are quiet leaders: role models in their everyday actions, the type of student that the other kids like and respect and enjoy.
If these are the leaders of tomorrow, our world will be in good hands.
Labels: teachers live at schoolStumble It!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Da Code Cabe Back
Drink liquids. (coffee in my "So many books...so little time" mug)
Eat a grapefruit.
Drink more liquids (warm apple cider with a cinnamon stick in my "ducks in a row" mug).
Eat chicken soup for lunch.
Drink more liquids (orange spice tea: choose a mug, any mug).
Watch football game.
Drink more liquids (yet to be planned).
Have chicken soup for supper.
Go to bed early.
I'm sure there's some over-the-counter medicine that will help ease the symptoms. I'll take some, but mainly, I'm working on flooding my immune system with fluids and vitamin C and other anti-virus protections. In the meantime, I think I'll go slice a grapefruit. Do peanut butter cookies count as anti-cold food? I can only hope. The November posts will be much more interesting if I'm feeling better.
Update: I am feeling a bit better. The Packers' win over Arizona helped. Amigo helped by cheering loudly when I couldn't for fear of coughing my guts up. Apple cider, cinnamon tea, and a variety of mugs have all contributed to my improvement. I still plan to go to bed early and sleep deeply until morning.
Labels: family lifeStumble It!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
windy with a chance of classic literature
Amigo is reading Animal Farm in school. I remember reading this book back in the days (yes, waaaay back) when this novel was considered a clear symbol of the evil Soviet Union, the big bad Russian empire. Amigo and his contemporaries were born well after the Iron Curtain fell; their perspective is limited, if not completely different from ours. His generation (and La Petite's, for that matter) doesn't remember the Cold War, the boycotts of the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, or the incredible hockey game in 1980. Yes, both saw the movie Miracle, but I felt obligated to give them background on internation relations of the time. It was a good movie on its own merits, but I truly believe that those of us who lived through that time better understood the value of an amateur hockey team beating those raised to the game through the Soviet system.
So Animal Farm is still standard curriculum for high school freshman. The novel has value as a story, as satire, as a good piece of literature. But without an understanding of the world as it was in Orwell's time, can any young teen really understand it? The analogies, the metaphors, the totalitarianism illustrated in the story line, require background knowledge before any reader can fully understand.
Labels: teachers live at schoolStumble It!
Friday, October 27, 2006
National Blog Post Month, created and inspired by Fussy.org, is coming up in November.
Starting on November 1st, many bloggers will work to follow Yoda's advice and Post Every Day. When I mentioned to my family that I had signed up, they responded, "So what's new? You post every day anyway!" Well, almost. There are limits. when I had long nights of parent-teacher conferences I didn't post. I didn't post when I was sick -- okay, maybe I did.
Blogging is fun for me. I blog not for ad revenue (but I might be convinced to sign up if it's worthwhile), not for the publicity (13-20 readers most days, come on!), but for the pure enjoyment. I just found out that Fussy and friends will be offering a few prizes, but the odds of winning are low (>100 participants!), though, so I'm not counting on it.
Last night Husband, wrapped loosely in a queen sized sheet as he tried to spread it on the bed, complained that he could handle 100 feet of heavy cable better than he could one clean sheet. When I sat down with the pillowcases and laughed, he realized the sad truth: it was a bloggable moment. In his defense, he is fairly accomplished at housework and does it periodically. Making beds is just one of his least favorites on the chore list. He'd rather snowblow the driveway in a blizzard than change sheets, and hence the notable quotable.
One of the best and brightest bulbs in the Blogosphere's chandelier is that of comraderie and virtual friendship. I read several blogs regularly, if not daily. My list of favorites keeps changing as I find others that think the way I do or entertain me. No one knocks spelling or grammar when a blogger dangles a participle or splits an infinitive. If a mommyblogger is having a rough day, no one tells her she's a bad mom. We all commiserate and let her know that we've had days like that, too. I've found like minds who blog from several states away, even in different countries. We develop cyber-friendships by commenting on each other's blogs and emailing occasionally.
I expect NaBloPoMo will be more of the same. You lucky readers will get to hear all about Thanksgiving at my house, the first snows of our Wisconsin winter, and more. I'll do my best to make it interesting and enjoyable. And as Yoda might say, "Read Compost Happens you will!"Stumble It!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood
It was a balmy 51 degrees after lunch when I decided to abandon my to-do list and play, I mean work, outside in the yard. I threw on a thick sweatshirt (my Game Day Green Bay sweatshirt, for those in the know) over my long sleeved tee and my windpants, grabbed an old pair of shoes and headed out. I put Tiny Bunny in what's left of the garden. He bounced around a bit, enjoying the scraps of parsley that had been too small to harvest, and then settled in "his" box for a nap. Meanwhile, I cleaned his litter box, emptied the flowerpots on the deck, and rinsed them all with the hose. There was just enough breeze to air-dry the whole batch. I tossed the dead tomato plants on the brush pile, stacked and stored the tomato cages, and then stirred the compost to mix in a bit of old, dry potting soil. It will sit and decompose all winter and then become part of the garden soil next spring.
My to-do list, made last night, was full of housebound items. Help Amigo with Math. Wash & Change Sheets. Order Prescription Refills. Well, I did help Amigo with his math, and I started the sheets, but the rest of the list will have to wait. The late fall weather was just too nice to pass on the chance to get outside.
It's not exactly a pretty day. The peak fall colors have long gone. Our lawn is still fairly green, and it is covered by a blanket of leaves from the silver maple in the yard behind ours. I'm resisting raking because half the leaves are still on the tree. The garden is just a big hunk of brown dirt with a light blanket of the same leaves and a few birch leaves blown in from next door to hide the die-hard chives that won't give up. The wild raspberries have quit, too, but the green onions underneath are still competing with the chives for my attention.
I wasn't the only one in this state of mind. I heard lawnmowers, leafblowers, and the scritch-scratch of a rake in a nearby yard. One neighbor was covering his fishing boat, and yet another laid in a supply of cut wood for his woodstove while his kids played on their jungle gym.
To top off this lovely fall day, I picked chives and green onions to add to my superburgers and fired up the charcoal grill. Mmmm.
The trolley doesn't come our way anymore, but it's still a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Mr. Rogers would have been very comfortable here today. Stumble It!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Second hand rose...
I know, that didn't rhyme. I do buy second hand clothes, but that's not what I was doing tonight. After supper (chicken in the crockpot, mmm) and after I had settled the tired husband and teen and separated the tussling bunnies, I went out to pick up contact lense solution and a big bag of paperbacks. I bought a couple mysteries, a few novels, and one young adult sci-fi book for my classroom collection. Okay, maybe I bought more than a few novels. I spent (gulp) $24 at the bookstore, after she deducted my discount for the books I brought back to resell. Well, I rationalize this in several ways.
1. I got a lot more for my money than I would have if I'd bought new books.
2. This should hold me for at least a month, if not more.
3. I can contribute a few to our fiction basket in the staff lounge.
4. It's one of my few guilty pleasures.
This is all about balance. I read newspapers and Time magazine regularly. I read professional books and journals to keep up to date in my field. These are the books that I will read for me alone -- books that let me lose myself in a plot, in a setting, in characters that are like me or totally unlike me. These are the books that I will read to relax at night. They're books that will settle my mind, not get it spinning, right before bed.
Long ago, when we were newlyweds and we lived in a small resort town, I considered opening a shop like the one I visited tonight. Now I consider it as a possible retirement option. I could combine it with a coffeehouse and serve locally baked treats. I could call it Creative Juices or Expressivo and have a theme decor of classical music and/or local art. La Petite's photography could be displayed and sold. Amigo could work there; he is so friendly and likable, I know he'd be great as greeter or server. He doesn't drink coffee, but he sure likes people. He could probably suggest good local musicians to play there, too. If I chose a train theme, Husband's HO scale models could line the walls. I can't think of a shop name to go with trains: Train of Thought or The Coffee Engine? There must be a better idea somewhere.
Or not. I'm only in my mid-forties, so retirement isn't in the picture for a long, long time. But I can dream.
Labels: the coffeepot's onStumble It!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The sun'll come out tomorrow...
Okay, enough. Tomorrow may be a busy day -- or not. I need to take Husband to the endodontists for a root canal or two. He will be on some massive painkillers, so I need to drive him. Fortunately, the timing is such that Amigo has school and I don't, so I can do this without wasting a sick day or needing child care. I'll pack up a stack of Time magazines and pick up a cappucino on the way and catch up on news and caffeine in the lobby while he suffers. Er...gets his teeth fixed.
We are waiting to hear from Husband's mom, too. His dad went into the hospital with chest pains last night. From MIL's description, it sounds to me like a narrowly averted heart attack. Practical woman that she is, MIL called 911 as soon as she knew he was having chest pains. She overruled his grumbling and called the professionals. I say to her: You go, girl! It's better to overreact than underreact when a heart attack is threatening to rear its ugly head.
So as we wait for word on the Husband's parental unit, we'll make sure Amigo has his homework done and we have all of our ducks in a row for the endodontist tomorrow morning. I'll make soft foods (jello, etc.) in case Husband is both in pain and hungry tomorrow. I did that last December when La Petite had her wisdom teeth out. But that's another post entirely, and it hasn't been written yet. Maybe in November during NaBloWriMo, if I'm really hard up for a post, I'll tell you stories of dealing with La Petite and her wisdom. Teeth, that is.
Update: FIL is home and doing fine. Hospital determined it was severe acid reflux. He is grumpy, by happy to be out of the hospital.
Husband's teeth have been rooted -- or de-rooted, as the case may be. He's tired (so am I), so he's napping. I napped already. :)
Labels: family lifeStumble It!
Monday, October 23, 2006
excuse me while I bang my head on the keyboard
Sunday night we got another automated phone call. What?! we collectively responded.
It turned out that the automated phone calling system misfired and overreacted, and the associate principal, among others, got a call saying her child had missed class on Friday. Of course, then she was the one who had to call about 600 parents and say that yes, this was a mistake, their children had been in classes all along.
These automated phone calls are really a bother. I don't find them useful. I don't find them informative. And when they're wrong, they're wrong, and there's no one to question or clarify! If it's a political candidate, I can hang up. But when it's the school, it's not so easy. I usually stay the course until the call is completely over to make sure I haven't missed anything. Friday night, however, it was the system, not me, that missed a step.
Geez. It makes me long for the days of a paper and pencil attendance form that a child carries down to the office. Hey -- wait a minute. My elementary school still does that! Maybe the high school could learn from the little ones for a change.
Labels: family lifeStumble It!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
random thoughts on a long drive on back roads
Is there a Melody Lane nearby?
Triple Kay Road
Is this someone's example of creative spelling or did three women named Kay really live here?
I wonder how many of those are in our fair state? It's very descriptive of our history.
Twinkle Star Road
What, no "little"?
Small towns are a lot prettier than the Big Giant Box Stores and their companion strip malls.
Variety is the spice of life, and the variety of homes and farms and other buildings provides a lot more aesthetic enjoyment than "clone" subdivisions.
Fewer speeders, manic passers, and Road Ragers drive the back highways. Drivers seem more patient.
A sign that says "48 Waterfront Acres for sale" might not be posted on the actual waterfront. At least, I hope the tiny marshy stream wasn't the "waterfront" they were selling.
Trails that parallel the highway were largely unused today, probably because it's that season in between: too cold for summer passtimes, not cold enough for snow activities.
There are many, many shades of brown in the world. Whoever decided that brown was boring never lived in Wisconsin. Pale dried cornstalks against deep brown soil, lighter brown bales of hay, weathered unpainted outbuildings, and more exist on this route. And even this late in autumn, there are many shades of green around as well.
I enjoy the drive to take La Petite back to school after a weekend home. The view from the driver's seat is, well, priceless. Stumble It!
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Dressed for success
On Saturdays, I take great pride in wearing my pajamas as long as possible.
That doesn't mean I am lazy or a slacker on weekends. On the contrary, here is a list of my many accomplishments thus far today, all done in my jammies.
While still in my pajamas, I:
- fed the rabbits
- made coffee
- brought in the newspaper
- read the newspaper
- had breakfast (bagel & coffee)
- washed three loads of laundry
- dried three loads of laundry
- folded and put away three loads of laundry
- took a small can of kitchen scraps to the compost bin
- emptied wastebaskets
- took out the garbage
- convinced Amigo to get dressed so he could go outside and pet Shelby
- cooked lunch
- cleaned up lunch
- ran the dishwasher
- hand-washed the pots and pans that didn't fit in the dishwasher
- contributed to the grocery list (Husband and Amigo do the shopping)
- planned supper
- tried unsuccessfully to convince Husband to start the fiber regimen his doctor recommended
"Here, dear, I found a jar of Metamucil for you."
"I'm not ready."
"I like my Saturn. I don't want to drive a Buick yet."
"I took it 15 years ago when I was pregnant with Amigo."
"And look what you drive now!"
My minivan -- he's dissing my minivan! The minivan that took us on more than a few vacations, moved La Petite to and from college, brings big batches of yard waste to the brush dump every summer, took my carpool to graduate classes for two years, and more!
Oh, well, the honeymoon is over. I guess I'd better get dressed. Stumble It!
Friday, October 20, 2006
I stayed at work late and got an enormous amount of prep work completed. I didn't leave until 5:00. I put together a simple supper, watched the news, and watched Jeopardy. Now I'll blog a little, and then I'll make fire in the fireplace and read a book. That is, a simple, lighthearted, fiction novel that will let me relax and totally lose myself in its fantasy world. I enjoy quality books that challenge me and I read a lot of professional journals and research, but once in a while I read something with no purpose other than to entertain. Entertainment, after all, is a valid purpose and an often bestselling genre.
So off I go -- I'll find a snuggly mug, make some herbal tea, and then start the fire. If I feel adventurous, I'll make popcorn. Maybe I'll even put my pajamas on early. Ooh, now that's a tempting thought.
TGIF. Time to Get Into Firebuilding.
Labels: the coffeepot's onStumble It!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I'm a little late in the day, but it's still Thursday.
These are NOT from a giant big box store. The mug on the right belongs to Amigo; the smile is so big that even he can see it if he gets close enough. The cup on the left is one of a pair; La Petite has the other in her dorm room. It is a relic from the seventies, when the smiley face and the "Have a happy day" phrase were all the rage. It's amazing that I still have it -- and can track down its twin, too.
So smile, readers, and have a happy day!Stumble It!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Observations on an autumn day
Things I can do now until the cold weather strikes:
*Clean the bunny litter boxes outside with the hose
*Take small amounts of easily digestible compost out to the bin
*Shake rugs out on the deck in my stocking feet
*Take out garbage and recycling without a coat or jacket
*Rake leaves (a simple pleasure)
*Harvest from the garden, the last frost did it in
*Sit out on the backyard swing, it’s just a bit too cold to enjoy
*Leave the windows open, because the heat is on
But I can enjoy:
*Coffee or tea or hot spiced apple cider in a favorite mug
*A wood fire blazing in the fireplace
*Watching NFL or college football on television
*Watching the leaves fall outside as I read a book in the cozy, warm den
Monday, October 16, 2006
My challenge will be to blog every single day in November. If this turns out to be too tough, I'll try it again in February. (teehee) If I run out of topics, I'll dig into my coffee mug collection for a freshly brewed story or two. I'll see what the bunnies are up to. November won't have much garden or compost talk; up here in the North Woods, the gardens are dead already. I could take the camera outside and show what a snow day looks like. And that's not even mentioning the children... ....
Well, if I could ramble on about nothing and even provide links to six other posts, I think November will go just fine. Now, gentle lurkers, your challenge is to post a comment on a blog (not necessarily mine) every day of November. Try it! You might like it! See you at NaBloWriMo! Stumble It!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I haven't read the paper yet because I've been too busy correcting and recording grades in preparation for parent-teacher conferences.
I haven't finished preparing for parent-teacher conferences because I'm waiting for the laundry to finish drying itself.
I haven't folded the already-dry laundry because I was helping Amigo with his homework.
Amigo is taking a break because he is feeling overworked from difficult homework. He'll -- well, we'll -- finish after supper.
I actually started Christmas shopping already.
Yes, that has some relevance, sort of. Our family loads up on birthdays in November, December, and January, so shopping ahead is the only way to handle these three months without totally breaking the bank. I shopped the back-to-school sales for clothing (no specifics, I know some of you read the blog!) and picked up a couple of random things from a book sale. I have a few leads as to online order possibilities, and I may get to those later tonight or later this week. I have a hidden storage space in the attic (snicker, I said hidden!) for gifts I've already bought.
So...Hence... Well, anyway, even though I haven't finished the newspaper, the laundry, or prepping for conferences, I can pat myself on the back for getting a head start on holiday shopping.
Labels: teachers live at schoolStumble It!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
One: teaching requires a large amount of confidentiality. Too much revealed would mean a child’s life revealed.
Two: my co-workers might read about themselves.
Three: most readers wouldn’t believe it anyway.
Truth is stranger than fiction. If I wrote a book, no one would believe it.
The past week could be described in the alphabet soup jargon of my profession. I worked closely with the EBD and PSL after an OSS for an AOP, prompting a need to use my NVCI training. Afterwards, the GC, along with the aforementioned EBD & PSL, took the matter to BCT with the SP and SSW to be sure we followed the IEP. S&L and PT/OT were informed, as was SPE. Or was that APE? Just be sure to include an SASE. No PhDs intervened, just an MS or two, and fortunately, we had no need for an MD. The EA gave RCFA instead. Applying our knowledge of ASD, we used TLC to make everything A-OK.
And that was just TGIF.
PBR me ASAP!
Labels: teachers live at schoolStumble It!
Friday, October 13, 2006
I missed Love Thursday on the BlogHer network because my computer was in the process of being repaired. I say "my", but it's not really mine alone. You know the drill: the family computer needs repair and everyone suffers from withdrawal. Well, it's fixed now. The Braille embosser (printer) works, too. The only small nonfunctional item is one USB port, and we can live with that. There are enough functional ports to meet our needs.
Love is: two little bunnies learning to like each other. All together now, everybody sing, "Getting to Know You!"
Labels: bunnies bunnies everywhereStumble It!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
the first real, true, killer frost
I fed the bean vines to the rabbits after they stopped yielding actual beans. I've picked all the broccoli and fed most of that to the rabbits, too. They were ecstatic. Bunnies will eat all of the stalks and leaves, so nothing goes to waste.
I guess the tomatoes will just be a memory now. Here are a couple of shots from late August as they were coming ripe. The big ones turned out to be a pale orange type instead of the ordinary Early Girls we thought we'd planted. I think they were mislabeled in the store. Mmmm, were they good!
The Romas were delicious, too. I liked packing them in my lunch. One of my students noticed these and exclaimed, "Did you grow those? Wow!" City kids, I tell you. Snicker.
To give credit where credit is due: La Petite took the tomato pictures. She is very, very talented with a camera. Fortunately, she is willing to share with me. Thanks, sweetie! I guess I owe you a care package one of these days.
Now I'm off to drink cinnamon tea by the fireplace. Really.
Labels: gardenStumble It!
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Bring it on! (or not)
I had a few misgivings. My family may need me. Even if all schools and major workplaces are closed (the scenario put forth), the media will still be operating, so Husband will still be working. I have a handicapped teenager, and our major support network consists of Grandma, who may be highly at risk of any kind of widespread illness. La Petite is away at college. She may or may not end up at home if an emergency of this scope occurs. It is possible that when the powers that be call, I might have to say no.
But I hope not. I have skills that could be useful.
I teach; speaking to groups, training others, educating the public are all second nature to me.
I'm not shy in front of a television camera or radio microphone, either. I've made many appearances as a spokesperson for fundraisers and worthy causes, mainly disability related. Writing press releases or instructions for patients? Piece of cake.
My CPR (including AED) and first aid training are current. Blood doesn't bother me. If I hadn't been a teacher, I could have gone to nursing school.
Honestly, though, it's just nice to know that my little area of the globe has people in charge that are thinking ahead. I'd like to be one of them.
Labels: pandemic aheadStumble It!
Monday, October 09, 2006
Did I can enough tomatoes?
The wellness newsletter mentioned earlier was aimed at school personnel. Teachers, aides, and other school staff come in contact with just about every germ and virus imaginable. The “experts” were warning us to take all the precautions we can and to stock the pantries in case the worst happens.
Now I’m worried. I handle student papers. I pick up pencils from the floor. I sit face to face and talk with them. When a student doesn’t feel well, he’ll come directly to me and ask to go to the school office. By the way, that happened twice today alone.
I wash my hands often, and I have a sweet-scented hand sanitizer on my desk, but the fact remains: I spend six hours a day in a closed room with twenty-seven children who love to perform their symphony of sneeze, cough, and sniffle.
Now here’s the kicker: whenever there’s a nationwide shortage of flu shots, teachers aren’t even on the priority list.
I guess I’d better stock the pantry after all. Stumble It!
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Homecoming Week at Amigo’s high school just ended. A chronological recounting wouldn’t do; the impression of the week is more of a scattered collection of events.
The bonfire had a perfect night -- that is, the rain date.
As for Spirit days:
On “Dress Like a Pirate Day”, Amigo wore a bandanna on his head and someone gave him an eye patch to go with it. Substitute his white cane for a peg leg, and there's one cool pirate.
Decades day? He chose the 80s and wore a shirt featuring the Packer quarterback who preceded Brett Favre. Okay, trivia buffs, can you name the quarterback?
At the football game, Amigo sat with us, but he was never alone. Kids kept walking past and saying hi and calling him by name. The homecoming king himself, the most popular boy in the entire school, sat and watched the game and talked with Amigo for a while. Husband joined us after work, bought supper from the concession stand and bought a sweatshirt from the booster club as the sun went down and the temperature dropped.
But the most glaring sign of growing up was the dance. I picked him up at midnight, tired, hoarse, thirsty, grinning from ear to ear. We came home and found La Petite had caught a ride home from college with her boyfriend to spend a night here with us and with her bunnies.
And that’s where it ended: my two teenagers, one 19, one 14, sharing homecoming stories on the couch after midnight. The high school freshman and the college sophomore chatted and laughed and compared notes. I don’t know how long they stayed up talking about pep rallies, football games, dances, and spirit weeks. I’m sure they didn’t even notice my absence when I went up to bed.
I guess the great thing about kids is that they grow up.
Labels: family lifeStumble It!
Friday, October 06, 2006
Anniversary of sorts
I started the blog as self-expression and self-therapy, if there is such a word. I love to read and make time for books, but I don't make time to write. When I do make time to write, it feels SO good! In that way, the blog has definitely met my expectations.
My immediate family reads it, if not regularly, at least now and then. A few local friends and extended family read as well. But as for other readers, I'm not sure. I put a stat counter on just last week out of curiousity, and I found more lurkers than I expected. I'm not on the level of the Famous Mommybloggers or the BlogHer crew, but I do get a respectable number of readers each day. Even though I blog for myself, the idea of an audience pleases me.
I started A Mother's Garden of Verses when I put up this post because I kept thinking, "I have a poem that expresses this so well. But it doesn't really fit the format of the blog." I knew that would happen again, so I set up the other blog as well. I don't update it nearly as often as this one, but every now and then I put up a new poem or an old one that I like. They're all mine -- don't blame anyone else if they're poor work -- but give me credit if you like them. :)
I've enjoyed reading others' blogs, too. I plan to update my links or set up a blogroll when I get time (uh-huh, yeah, right) to send people who read me to those from whom I gain inspiration.
Thanks, blogosphere. I'm here to stay. I hope all yous (that's Wisconsinese for y'all) enjoy the ride as much as I do. Stumble It!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
One of my students became ill and went home yesterday with a sore throat and headache. After I got her settled in the office and told her to rest, The Worry Monster kicked in. Should I sanitize her desk? Her locker? Wash my hands when I handle her papers? Rearrange the desks so she doesn't breathe on anyone when she comes back? What about the other students that were in a noon meeting with her? Watch them (and myself and the other teacher involved) for symptoms? Get tested for strep? Beg on bended knee for the school nurse to advise me? All of the above? None of the above?
Surf the internet for remedies? Stock up on disposable antibiotic wipes? Buy more tissue boxes?
I keep guzzling home remedies like Airborne and eating fruits and veggies that are high in vitamin C. I use my own hand sanitizer probably too much.
So -- has my paranoia gone too far? Only time will tell. If I stay healthy, I'm probably doing all of the right things. But just in case, I'll stock up on the herbal teas and vitamin Cs and prepare a substitute folder for my desk at school.
Labels: pandemic aheadStumble It!
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I know what you're thinking: he's a typical teen who doesn't want to sit with his mom. Well, I'm thrilled. He'll have so much more fun hanging out with his friends than he would sitting with his mother. Socially, hanging with mom would be a real downer. For my disabled child, it's a great thing to go somewhere without parents. For me, the mom of a special kid, it's great to know that he will enjoy himself and there will adults (teachers) nearby to supervise. I will be there, but I'll take a seat in the far back.
When Amigo was in seventh grade and I dropped him off at his first school dance, he told me, "Mom, you worry too much!" He's right. I'm finally learning to let go and let him soar. But just because I'm mom...I'll keep my cell phone on and in my pocket.
Post Bonfire Update: This was a perfect evening for me. Amigo. Us. I parked the car, arrnaged a meeting place (the light pole near the fire marshall's truck), and walked with him over to the fire area. He hung out there with me until a few friends spotted him. He joined them, and then I left. I hung out in the van, made a few phone calls, and generally relaxed, as the enthusiastic high school kids burned a huge stack of wooden pallets with an effigy of their opponent's mascot at the top. Afterwards, the kids just hung around and talked and laughed and cheered for about an hour. Amigo borrowed a cell phone to call me, I located him and his friends, and then we were off.
Next time I'll bring a book to read. He really didn't need me, except for the ride. And when you think about it, isn't that the way it's supposed to be?
Labels: family lifeStumble It!
Monday, October 02, 2006
I don't like this new world.
shooter + school
death + senseless
children + hostage
copycat + crime
There are too many eerie similarities between the latest Pennsylvania shooting and the hostage-taking in Colorado. With the gunman dead, the police may never know what stimulated him to pick up his weapons and take over an Amish one-room schoolhouse. The families may never know if he had intended them or their community as victims (for whatever reason) or if they were simply in a tragically convenient location. No one will know if last week's shooting in Colorado inspired him, or if another event in his own life tipped him over some imaginary edge.
It's senseless. And that's one reason, one reason of many, that it's so heinous a crime.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the officers who stormed the school, some holding children as they died. May it never, ever happen again. Stumble It!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
a whole new world part 2
In a school district near us, all of these came together to prevent a potential tragedy. As two students and a recent graduate plotted and planned, one of their friends realized that this was not a joke. He intervened. He was aware of the plot. The school climate was one where he was able to share his knowledge and feel safe about it. He spoke up. Part of his rationale included the idea that if this plot were real, he had a responsibility to save lives. Another part of his rationale was the need to get help for his friends. If they were talking about an attack of this magnitude, real or not, they needed counseling.
In the most recent shooting, some of these links were broken. Apparently, the young shooter had vented to his friends and other adults in the community about his anger. He had made veiled remarks that the principal wouldn't make it past Homecoming. He had been suspended for aggression towards a teacher (throwing a stapler) and his reaction was limited to regret that the stapler hadn't hit its target.
Here, people assumed. "No, we didn't think he was serious. He wouldn't do anything."
They didn't speak until it was too late. His ominous statements about the upcoming date? Ignored. Brushed off. This knowledge became power for the shooter, not the victims, because no one spoke up. Their awareness was compromised by their assumptions that "it doesn't happen here. He's not serious."
It sounded like the school climate was excellent. The principal was an active part of the community, well-liked and well-respected, and an effective leader in this small district.
Intervention was limited to what happened at the moment. The school security plans worked; no students or other staff were injured or killed. A staff member (engineer or custodian) recognized the danger immediately and took action, wrestling a rifle or shotgun from the shooter. He was scared -- no, terrified -- when he realized the shooter had a second weapon.
There are times in many teachers' lounges when the staff talks about events like this. "Could it happen here?" we wonder. And of course, it could. Our responsibility is to be aware, intervene, speak, use our knowledge, and never assume. Like the young man in Green Bay, we need to speak up. If the threat is credible, we may prevent it. If not, we can at least get help for the disturbed young people who plan such desperate acts.
Labels: teachers live at schoolStumble It!