Archive | February, 2008

I’m Back

28 Feb

Finally. So much for my 365 posts! Ha ha ha. I’m not even going to try to make this one up. My best friend just had back surgery – she’s doing great – and my husband started to take over the laptop. But I’ve finally got it back.

During this hiatus I’ve come to realize that this blog has become more of an emotional outlet instead of the educational resource that I want it to be. So, I’m starting another blog, One Crazy Kat to be used as more for my thoughts and ideas. This way I can start to redirect P&E back where I want it to be.

This also gives me a chance to try out wordpress, which I have been wanting to do for some time now. If I like it, I will probably be switching this one over.

Tax Returns!

15 Feb

We got our tax returns today. Hooray! We are in desperate need of new tires. So we trekked down to the local big box store. (Yes, we still shop there. Unfortunately for us there are not a lot of options in our area). We normally go to an independent tire dealer. Honey’s been going to him forever. But he died a couple of years ago and the son sold the business. Well, we had some household shopping to do today, so we thought “why not throw some rocks at birds” and get it all done in one trip. We signed up for an oil change and four new tires. We even upgraded to the premium oil change so we could get Penzoil instead of store-brand oil. Well, they wouldn’t change our tires. They broke off one of the lug nuts and tried to say it was like that (it wasn’t) and then their policy is they can’t remove a broken lug nut. Okay, fine, we’ll go somewhere else. Just give us our car back. But they had already changed the oil. And you know what-it was the economy service instead of the premium service. So instead of the $500 we were planning on spending they only got $25. Man, we were trying so hard to give them our money – they just didn’t want it.

50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School by Charles J. Sykes

14 Feb

Just finished this book. What a whopper. It was a very quick read and very witty with a lot of insight. It can come across as harsh if you are a touchy-feely kind of person. But if you are like me, and very aware that reality indeed bites, this book is a welcome reminder that it is okay that life sucks sometimes. Get over it and get on with your life because that is what really matters. This book doesn’t slap you in the face; instead it just points out the realities of life in very plain language. I plan on having Pork Chop read it. He’s going to officially become a teenager this year. We are already getting some of that back talk and sullenness. Nothing wrong with trying to nip that bad habit in the bud.

Buy this book at Amazon.com

Dating Services in Middle School

13 Feb

The middle school in our district is hosting a “data match” service. I was a little confused at first because my son came home and told me that the school had a dating service going on this week. “You know mom, like those eHarmony commercials.” So I went to the school to find out more. They laughed at me when I mentioned “dating service”, but see for yourself. Sounds like a dating service to me. Here is a copy of the letter they sent home to parents.

Dear Parents:

Team 7B is conducting a fun, spirit-building activity that will help us raise funds for school. Data-Match is a program that allows students to fill out a questionnaire about themselves with questions such as:

  • If I were a crayon, I would be…
  • My favorite subject is…
  • If I had a superpower it would be…


After students have answered the questionnaires (filled in the “Data”), the forms are shipped to the Data-Match company who will then compile the results and formulate a personal list of students (regardless of gender) for each student who participated. This means boys and girls will appear on anyone’s list as compatible buddies. It will display 15 students at CMS who answered their questionnaires similarly. Students then have the option of purchasing their list for only $2.00.

As middle school students are entering a new phase of life, this is great way to learn that many different types of people can make good friends. It’s an interesting way for students to learn that friendships and commonalities can cross differences that may exist among us. Students are not required to purchase their list, but if they choose to fill out the questionnaire, they are encouraged to.

Please note that no personal information is sold or published in any way through the use of this fundraiser. If, however, you prefer that your child not participate in this fundraiser, please instruct him or her not to complete a questionnaire.

We look forward to a rewarding experience where everyone can learn a little bit about themselves and others, and raise money for our students in the meantime!

Keep in mind that this is also taking place this week – Valentine’s Day week. Pork Chop tells me that a lot of girls are hanging around the “spot”. It doesn’t really matter if they give a list of both boy and girl names. The concept and format is still that of a dating service – and the kids know it. What really concerns me is that the faculty and staff don’t seem to realize this.

There are a lot of things about this “fundraiser” that I don’t understand. How does it raise spirit? How does this teach kids how to make friends? This sounds like a bunch of BS to me.

Moms

12 Feb

I have been missing my mom. She’s not dead; we’re just not talking any more. See, my dad is a sexual pervert. He molested me when I was a child (and I just found out, my aunt-his sister), made attempts on my oldest son, and is just creepy around my oldest daughter. For the sake of my mother and my kids I tried to maintain a relationship with them. But a couple of years ago, something came to light and I just had to draw the line. I love my mom, but I won’t knowingly put my kids in danger. So I told her that dad was no longer allowed to be around the kids. But please mom, come here and visit them. She has not. Instead we no longer even talk on the phone, and if we do she just babbles about her quilting group, and what she and dad have done. She never asks about the kids any more. We saw them briefly at Christmas when they dropped off gifts, and she called me about going to Grandma’s birthday party in January. That’s it. It’s been very hard for me and I am so disappointed in my mom. I don’t have many girl friends because I’m not much of a girly-girl and I don’t like to gossip or shop. My best girl friend works a lot (she has no family so has immersed herself in work) so can be hard to reach at times. I have a great husband. But sometimes I need to talk to someone else (especially when I want to complain about my husband!)

Sometimes I think about mom and her family. She married my dad and left Japan, never to look back. She never saw her mother again and only went back for the funeral. She told me later that she married dad to get away. She never saw her family again and it’s looking like I’m never going to see mine. How does something like this happen? I don’t want this trend to continue with my kids. I want to have a relationship with my kids until I die or the world comes to an end. I work very hard at establishing a lasting relationship. I do worry sometimes that I might be working too hard at it. I don’t want to be a freaky control mom either. Sigh.

Okay. Enough whining. On with life…

Arts Versus Crafts

11 Feb

Summer from Mom Is Teaching posted an interesting discussion about crafts. As a former public school art teacher with a BFA degree, this really struck a cord with me. Through all my art training, and even my art education training, crafts were poo-pooed as beneath any sensible and serious artist’s dignity. Crafts are a “lower” art form, and should not even be considered art at all. Okay, we’re talking about children here, and this is just too much snobbery for me (and I’ve got an art degree and collections in universities). Really. Who cares if someone wants to do crafts. I think we should support each other’s need (and attempts) for creativity. (I guess that’s why I never made it big in the “art world”).

The problem with “fine” art is that it has become so far removed from everybody’s everyday understanding. Isn’t that what made the Impressionists so important? They touched on things that “normal” people could understand-light and life. Art is important, and it makes me angry to see the segregation. Everybody should be able to enjoy art, but most of the art world shows such scathing disdain for the rest of the world; they hold themselves apart and think themselves superior. It’s totally maddening.

Now, with that said, I do hold to some important concepts. The most important thing to understand is that making crafts does not necessarily mean that you are learning or teaching about ART. If you are using paints and other art materials to illustrate something you have learned about the Civil War, you are learning about the Civil War and not art-you are just using art materials. If, while creating that illustration you learn about the concept of perspective and color theory, then you have a lesson on art.

It’s a fine line, but an important distinction. If you want to make crafts – craft away. But it’s not an art lesson unless you are learning about specific art concepts.

Listening for God

10 Feb

How do you know if the voice in your head is your own mindless chatter, your conscience, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, God, or are you just plain crazy? It is a common mandate to listen to God’s calling, but my question has always been, how do you know? Then comes the whole “finding your purpose”. Ack! I’m still looking! Why is this so hard? Greg brought up Psalm 45:9 as a reference to the smell of Jesus. This is an interesting thought. Your sense of smell is powerful and important. I’m going to try smelling while I’m listening. Sounds kind of weird, but if I pay more attention to all my senses, maybe I’ll make more sense of my world.