Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Couch potatoes


Monday, January 23, 2012

Huzzah! Reason has prevailed in my school district!


So, my school district has made national news... again. A recent candidate for school board -- Mike Dame -- and his wife decided to cause a hullabaloo. I think he was just upset because he LOST the election, but I don't have any proof of that.

Ahem.

Anyway, they are up-in-arms because of two books being taught in their daughter's English class. They believe the content of these books is obscene and inappropriate for our schoolchildren, and should be not be taught.

So, when Mrs. Dame came to this conclusion, do you think she went and spoke to her daughter's teacher? Or even her daughter's school principal?

Nope -- she went straight to the Superintendent, Dr. Jeremy Hughes, a fellow who just started his new job in September. She read him out-of-context excerpts from the books in question, and then asked him to respond.

And what did HE do? Maybe...um... following school policy for reviewing curriculum? NOPE. He called the teacher and told him to stop teaching the books.

Oh... did I mention the class? Advanced Placement English Literature. Yes. A class for college-bound high school Juniors and Seniors. They are supposed to be reading college-level fiction.

Oh... and did I mention the books? Both are award-winning novels: Beloved by Toni Morrison and Waterland by Graham Swift.
 

I haven't read this, but it's now on my "to read" list!
I read this back in the early '90s, and LOVED it.

 Geez. What decade is this? Banning books? Really. REALLY????

Well... these two parents sure did cause a ruckus. An emergency meeting was called. Over 100 parents and students showed up... standing room only.

And guess what? Almost everyone who spoke defended keeping the books. Defended our students' rights to READ and THINK.

Hallelujah.

The committee assigned to review the objection recently decided that Beloved is acceptable for the class curriculum, and is still reviewing Waterland (I'm guessing they required the entire committee to READ the books before passing judgement... imagine that!).

As for this fellow and his wife who started this witch hunt? Well, I think he showed his true colors at the hearing. If we didn't already question Mr. Dame's motives, he announced, "if any of this was offensive to Allah or the Hindus it would never be in our school district." By the way... my school district has a large number of Indian (as in from India) and Muslim students. His comments sound a little prejudice to you? Ya, me too.

But I'll leave you on a positive note. Here's what high school Senior said after taking the class where he read the "controversial" books, as quoted from the Patch.com:

Matthew Bugajski, a senior at Plymouth High School who read Waterland in AP English during his junior year, said he never had issues with other classmates or teachers imposing something he and his peers felt was uncomfortable.
He said students who take AP English treat the class as a college course.
"If we're treated like children, how do we expect to be treated in class?"
He said Waterland was "one of the most inspiring" books he's ever read that prompted intelligent discussions.
"This is not vulgar," he said. "This is not pornographic. This is literature and art and it should be treated as such."
Amen.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reading takes you places... like Monster Jam!

Last October, my son's preschool had a book fair (just like everyone else's school, I'm sure).  Just like all the other guilt-ridden good moms, I let my son pick out a few books.  I was surprised when he pulled out a "Monster Trucks" book, as it's never been something he's shown any interest. However, after seeing all the glossy pictures of big, pretty trucks, I could see what attracted my 4-year-old to this book.

 At bedtime, we read this book... many times.  He *LOVED* it.  It gave technical details on how the trucks were build, such as the size of the tires, the horsepower of the engines and the types of wheel axles.  It described the different trucks like they are characters with personality.  It provided real life biographies of drivers pursuing their dreams of building and driving monster trucks, including several women.  Who knew?

I mentioned my son's new love to my brother, his uncle, his eyes lit up.

"There's a Monster Jam coming to Detroit in January!"

(My brother is a fan of the big trucks, too.)  So, it was a date.  Uncle, daddy, and my big boy went to Monster Jam 2012.

The Red Ninja Turtle truck shows it's stuff in the stunt portion.

Big boy with his gun ear muffs. Monster trucks are LOUD!

The line up of trucks ready to show off.
A happy son and daddy.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review of 2011 meme

Ok. It took me a couple of weeks, but I finished this meme.  Hey... there were a lot of questions!

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

We cancelled cable last year. It's been fabulous.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't make new year's resolutions. Just one more thing for me to do! However, I have a new theory. What if I make a resolution to FAIL? I bet I could definitely achieve that in the next year! And I may sound all pessimistic, but really I'm not. It's not the end of the world to fail, right? We should allow ourselves to fail every once in a while. We learn from our mistakes, and can move on. So, here's to failure!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My cousin just had a baby, but she waited until the new year. Does that count?
4. Did anyone close to you die?

My dear puppy, Annabelle, passed away in June. She was our first dog. Also, two of my close friends lost parents this year.  Sad face.
5. What countries did you visit?

Canada! I don't think that really counts if you are from Michigan, but it did require a passport. Which is just weird.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

More time. Hey... it's leap year, so I WIN!
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Few dates are ever etched into my memory.  I doubt any from 2011 will make it into long term memory either.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I hate these "-ests."  Then, when I pick something, it's got to be the better than everything else.  So much pressure!  However, I did get a nice job promotion, so I'll go with that.  You can just call me "the man" now.  I guess that's really "the WOman."
9. What was your biggest failure?

Again with the "-ests!"  Ok.  So our big project to restore my dad's (now my) 1967 Microbus has become a giant money pit.  I thought we would already have a working bus, but it's still in pieces, though it looks beautiful.  I'm hoping we'll get there sometime in 2012.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major, but I did have a recurrence of my back injury last August, and that has put a major damper on my yoga plans. It has also increased my visits to the Chiropractor;  he's a godsend, but I'd rather just be pain free.  My doctor has now scheduled an MRI, but I'm not expecting much to come of that but more tests.
I also realized in the spring of 2011 that I have some minor hearing loss because of a hole in my left eardrum.  I have had "Eustachian tube dysfunction" for a number of years; about five years ago I had ear tubes put in, but those have since fallen out.  My left ear decided to "resolve" the problem on its own -- with a more permanent hole in my eardrum.  This has caused some hearing loss, but not enough to warrant a hearing aid.  However, it is enough that I ask "Say again?" a lot in loud restaurants, and tell my kids to "Talk to my face!" when they are speaking.  That drives me nuts now!
11. What was the best thing you bought?

We bought our trip to DisneyWorld, which is still upcoming in February.  The kids are so excited!
12. Where did most of your money go?

I keep meaning to ask the bank goblins that...  I'll put that on my list for 2012. 

Bank goblins... not pleasant.  Sheesh.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Telling the kids
"We are going the DisneyWorld!"
14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Anything by LMFAO. 
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

Still cold, but buried in less snow.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Yoga.  Stupid back.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Taking my dog, Annabelle, to the emergency vet.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
Hanging out with friends and family.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
It's a toss up between "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad."  I think Walter should kill some zombies.  That would ROCK.
I *heart* Daryl.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

The Hunger Games has to top the list.  Can't wait for the movie this year!



21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Pitbull is always fun, and I love Eminem's new stuff. (Gotta represent the "D.")


22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I really liked Hanna and The Muppet Movie.  Strange extremes, huh?
If you haven't seen Hanna (and you are into violent films), you DEFINITELY should. 
I can't believe it's been passed over for awards.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We probably went out to eat (see -- I don't remember anything!), and I turned thirty-something.  That's all you need to know.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

"Immeasurably" is a strong word. But, I would have liked another vacation with my family.  That would have been nice.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Simple and comfortable professional.  Most of my outfits usually involve something black and/or something purple.
26. What kept you sane?

Yoga, date nights, dinner at the table with hubby and kids, visiting with family and friends.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

My back was not meant to bend THAT way.  Ouch. Just because the skinny girl next to me in yoga class is doing it doesn't mean I need to try.  I don't need to prove anything to her.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Angry Kids

Yes, we have an obsession with Angry Birds around here.

Here's what Garrett thinks of the Angry Bird.

My boy is 5!

Hard to believe, but my "big boy" is 5 years old.  His Montessori preschool has a wonderful tradition of "walking around the sun" for each year on a child's birthday.  He gets to be the Earth (that's why he's holding the globe), and a friend is chosen to be the sun. Here's a couple pictures of his walk.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

We're going to DisneyWorld!

Yep.  We are!  In about a month.  We told the kids on Christmas.  Enjoy this video of them finding out.

video


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Funny or wrong?

You decide.  This was our new dog Garrett's Halloween costume last October.

And he thought he was done racing...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Click on this link!!!!

Be Positive Mom gave us a great reminder to be good cyber secure users.  That's a great reminder.  Thanks!

As an IT worker, we often make jokes about how easy it is to access to other people's networks. We even make fun of what you named your network.

'Cuz we know... and we're nerdy like that.

A couple of my favorites? "Mompickthis" and "Imnotwearingpants."


True.


By the way -- it's really *not that hard* to be secure. Usually it's just turning the security software ON that is already given to you with your wireless network, or remembering to set passwords. So... do it!

Oh -- and if you get hacked? Don't worry too much. It happens to even the best of us! Just reset your passwords and move on.

And please, PLEASE, DON'T click on that NEW!!!!! You Won't Believe This! We have a Million Dollars for you!!!! or This one girl did something crazy!!!! link.

... just don't do it! I know it's sooo tempting. Just don't. Really. Don't.  It's always a mistake.
 
 
 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Garret the Greyhound

Earlier last year, our beloved puppy, Annabelle, passed away.  She was our first and only dog until...

Introducing... Garrett the Greyhound!

Garrett entered our lives last October.  He is a rescue from a Greyhound rescue group, and until June of 2011, he was a racing dog in Florida.  He is now retired from that life, and gets pampered with lots of doggy beds, toys and love at our house.

Can't resist the eyes, can ya?
After our Annabelle passed away, I knew we would get another dog, but we needed some grieving time.  So we waited a few months.  During that time, we saw a few rescue greyhounds at some festivals and events we visited during the summer.  After a few chats with the volunteers, and meeting a few greyhounds, I was in love. 

I knew I wanted another medium to large sized dog, but our last dog was a bit (OK, quite a bit)  hyper.  Considering everyone in my family tends towards the "anxious" side of the scale, and we are a two parent working household, we needed a calmer canine presence.  Little did I know that most greyhounds are among the laziest, calmest dogs around!  They sleep most of the day, and think a 5-minute sprint around the backyard is a *big* workout!


Garrett shows us a quick workout. He flopped down soon after this picture. Catching that toy is a lot of work!
So, we contacted a nearby greyhound group, and they introduced us to Garrett.  He's four years old, and the whole family already adores him. 


A rare moment with his ears up.  Greyhounds usually keep them back, but it's not a sign they are upset like other dogs.
Since Garrett is new to living in house, there's been a learning curve.  He has already put a head-sized hole in our screen door (sorry mom! I didn't know that was a door!).  He also had to figure out how to walk up the stairs (he can now bound up them in four leaps!). 

My daughter snuggles with Garrett.  He just loves attention.

Daddy is still figure out how you wrestle with a greyhound.  Garrett doesn't quite get it either.

If you are curious about the racing, we actually get access to his track history.  He raced in 40 races, and won two; his racing name is Sweet Garrett.  Most greyhounds are retired between ages two and five either because they are not winning enough or because of injury.  Prior to all the rescue groups forming in the last 20 or so years, the tracks just killed the dogs that were passed track age.  However, the winners are kept past racing age for breeding. The dogs are considered livestock, not pets, at the track (just like horses).
Here's one of Garrett's races (most were not recorded).  He's in gate 6, and came in 3rd.

video

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A boy with a plan

We just don't know what his plan is...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hi Blog! Did you miss me?

KT: Hi Blog! Did you miss me?

Blog: DUDE! Where have you been? It's like you fell off the planet!

KT: Sorry... I've been busy and ... stuff. You know how it goes. Being a working mom... I got a little overwhelmed, and something had to give...

Blog: Ya, ya... nice excuse. So, I guess I'm not really all that important in your life. So, what have you been up to in the past THREE FREAKING MONTHS?

KT: Wow. Has it been that long? Geez. Make me feel all guilt and stuff. That's why I didn't want to come back. I KNEW you'd make me feel like I abandoned you, but I just had to prioritize...

Blog: You DID abandon me.

KT. Ouch.

Blog: Feel the guilt.

KT: Thanks. Ok. Are you done? You are worse than my ... NOPE. I'm not going to fill in the blank. Anyway. My current tally of the past three-ish months:
  • One job promotion
  • One wedding
  • Two funerals
  • Six birthday parties
  • 12 Chiropractic visits
  • One new dog
  • 18 soccer games
  • 47 living room wrestling matches
  • Five events hosted
  • Two Christmas trees
  • $1700 worth of minivan repairs
  • 86 other things I've forgotten or missed.

I believe that totals up to one tired working mom. I'll try to be back tomorrow (or the day after) ...but no promises.  

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