28 February 2011
25 February 2011
I come from a hard-working, lower-middle-class family. My dad worked long hours at his job as a mechanic and, while my brother and I were still young, my mom concentrated on being a mom. She stayed at home which, to many people means that she "didn't work".
Nothing could be further from the truth. She cooked and cleaned. On top of that, she had Home and School meetings, PTA, Church Elder meetings, choir practice, our Youth Groups, and Mom's Taxi service. She and Dad were both fixtures as chaperones at school dances and dinners. She managed to balance a budget that always seemed to have too little money and too many expenses. We didn't often have extra, but we never went without what my mom considered to be necessities. That means we had piano lessons, hockey and figure skating. There was always enough for our friends, young or old, to join us for a meal or a weekend. There was always change for the collection plate at church and there was always baking going out of the house for school and church fundraising. I still don't know how she did it all.
My brother and I never got an "allowance". We had to earn our spending money. I remember the summer my brother had the wonderful idea of mowing all the neighbours lawns for pay. I also remember his dismay when Dad came after him for gas money when he used the entire tank, plus the contents of the gas can that Dad kept in the garage. Then there was the time I decided to run a lemonade stand at the end of our driveway, which was located on an isolated rural highway. I was five and my only clients were the neighbours across the street and my grandparents, who drove 10 miles just to support me. My brother and I both finally settled on newspaper routes as the means to support our extra-curricular needs. His route went west from our house and mine went east. We each biked about 4 miles each day for the reward of about $9 a week. In winter, I remember Mom or Dad driving us some days, so we didn't get lost in a snowstorm. It wasn't easy, but it was good discipline and I'm a firm believer in the system, much to my son's dismay. LOL
Every day was a working day at our house. Monday to Friday, it was the work-week/school-week. Saturdays were for chores, baking, shopping and heavy cleaning. But Sundays ... growing up in a Bible-waving community had its benefits. On Sunday, we rested. Not to say we didn't have responsibilities: church was expected unless you were contagious and even then, eyebrows were raised. Sunday School was mostly social for me. All my closest friends were in the same class. Looking back, I feel for the teachers of that group. It couldn't have been easy for them.
After church, we visited the grandparents. We alternated Sundays between my Dad's parents and my Mom's.
Gram and Gramps H. lived an hour away and their house was always crowded because Dad was one of 13 kids and everybody else had kids, and some of the aunts and uncles even had grandkids at that point. Good thing it was a big house, is all I'm saying ... It was always busy and fun there but I always felt a bit lost in the crowd.
Grammy and Grampy M. had only Mom and Uncle Robin, who lived in Manitoba, or Saudi Arabia, or Ireland (he was a mining engineer). They lived 10 minutes away. I loved my Grammy best of all the adults in my life. She taught me important stuff and she was always available, no matter how busy she was. She was also WAY cool - she watched "The Sonny and Cher Show" and "Laugh-In" with us, and took us to movies like "Jaws" and "Rollercoaster". She loved Alex Keaton from "Family Ties". She would've been proud of how he's handled the adversity of Parkinson's. She also had a crush on Vinny Barbarino from "Welcome Back Kotter". She always said what a great actor he was. She'd be glad to know how successful he turned out.
Of all the days in the week, I don't remember any of them being horrible. But Sundays were golden. Wouldn't it be wonderful to recapture that feeling?
24 February 2011
23 February 2011
1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:
I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
Mrs. Nat King Cole.
3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins.
"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.
I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
22 February 2011
I'm a teacher. The kids I see each day are between the ages of 11 and 18. Here are some heart-stopping statistics for the school where I teach. Please note: these number are current and real. Statistics on bullying are gathered annually by means of a Provincial survey completed by all students from grades 2-12. My school was rated about middle of the pack, which means that there are several schools that received more disturbing statistics than the ones I'm sharing here.
67% of students in my school have been bullied in the past 12 months.
Between grade 5 and grade 7, the frequency of bullying incidents increases by almost 40%.
6% of the students here are bullied on a daily basis. 10% have been enduring it for more than a year. 27% of our kids here are afraid to come to school because of bullying. 3% have missed school more than once because of it.
Of the types of bullying that occur, verbal and social bullying are more than twice as common as physical intimidation. Incidences of cyber bullying have more than tripled in the past year.
Despite all this, 82% of bullying victims have not told an adult that the bullying was taking place. Many didn't think anything could or would be done about it, but an alarming number simply didn't want to be labelled "snitch" or "squealer".
86% of students have witnessed someone being bullied this year. Only 13% reported the incident to an adult. 80% didn't want to get involved.
What can we do to change things? Two boys from a small high school in Nova Scotia did their part and it's become a national movement. Here's how it happened:
Tomorrow, Wednesday 23 February, my son and I will wear pink shirts to school. Bullying hurts everyone. It has to stop. We can make a difference, one person at a time.
21 February 2011
17 February 2011
So here's what you do. You post his banner for Five Degrees of Music Progression. Then you randomly pick a song and free-associate until you've got some connection to a second song, and so on until you have five. Post the songs using Playlist.com or something else (I dunno - videos, maybe?) and then sign the Linky on Trav's blog on Thursday. That's about it.
Here's my first attempt at this. Hope you can follow where my mind leads ...
1. American Classical composer George Crumb "Male-Speaking Choir" forms my first selection. I picked this for no better reason than my advanced music class was discussing modern composition and his name came up. Surprised the bejeebers outta me when I actually found Crumb listed on Playlist!
2. The men shouting in the first song sounded like Nazis to me. That, paired with the martial sound of the snare, led me to make the logical leap to the theme music from "Hogan's Heroes".
3. One of the main characters on "Hogan's Heroes" was Cpl. Newkirk, a role played by Richard Dawson, who had also been a regular on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In". It was from THAT comedy variety that I knew Richard Dawson had once attempted a singing career. The (awful) psychedelic "Apples and Oranges" seemed to follow the natural course in my mind.
4. It was mid-afternoon when I did the playlist, so the talk of all that delicious fruit brought me to the next song, by Duran Duran "Hungry Like The Wolf".
5. It was inevitable, I guess. The mention of the wolf did it. It made me think of my dog, Daisy, who is a malamute husky. She likes when I sing this last song to her. I realize she probably hears "Daisy Daisy, blah blah blah blah blah blah" but she still seems to like it.
Were you able to follow the logic? Does it matter? As long as it made sense to me ...
16 February 2011
14 February 2011
"Crazy For You Bear" (Vermont Teddy Bear Company 2005)
11 February 2011
But it's so much more. Please take the time to check out their websites. http://playingforchange.com/ (the information)
http://playingforchange.org/ (the foundation)
Instead of my usual Playlist, I've embedded videos. The reasons for this are simple enough - you need to see the faces of the performers. You need to see where they come from and how passionately committed they are to this idea. Most of them are not studio musicians. Many of them are living in regions of great poverty and want. ALL of them believe in the power of music. This is a powerful movement, one that has the potential to really shake things up. We all need to believe in something good. This is my positive vibe for the day. It's great music - enjoy!
09 February 2011
03 February 2011
Hi Momys frends.I am going to tell you som jokes that I like.I lernd them at school from my frends.haha Momy said noooooooooo not them ones!Any ways.When I was little I liked nok nok jokes the best but now I am big I like funy jokes beter.Like what do you get when you put a rat cacher in a cow paster?A cow pide piper.haha See thats funy!OK heres another one.What do porkypines say when they kiss?Ow!Momy teached me that one.Its not very funy thogh.I like this one beter.Why did the skwirl cross the road?To show his frend hes got guts.hahahaha get it?Momy dont think thats funy but I do.Do you now why fish live in salt water?Because peper makes them sneze.That joke is funy to but not as funy as this one.Why was the nose sad?Because nobody picked him.Steve teached me that one and Momy said he is a bad infloens.I think Steve is cool thogh.
Ok now I get to pick 5 songs that I like.Momy and Steve said I am a metel head.I like to lisen to all kinds of music thogh.This will be the funest part because I'm tirred of tiping now.By for now.