Sunday, November 30, 2008

Random End-of-November Thoughts

I'm feeling too scatterbrained right now for any sort of regular post, so here's a bit of what's swirling in my brain. Note: what's swirling in my brain is of very little consequence to mankind. :-)

***December is going to be a CRAZY busy month, between holiday stuff, prenatal classes, and baby showers.

***Folding and putting away tiny little onesies yesterday made this whole baby thing suddenly very real! Equal parts nervousness and excitement.

***The fear of the unknown, especially when it comes to finances and job stability, is one of my major weaknesses. God knows this and is giving me lots of chances to learn to trust Him in those circumstances. I'm trying to be grateful for that! :-)

***With all President-elect Obama's preparations for taking office and his Cabinet picks, I'm very curious to see what his first couple months in office will look like.

***I really enjoy spending time with my parents. I'm sad that I live far away from them now, but it's fun when they (or Brad and I) visit and we can spend some concentrated time together.

***The politics of education, and district policies, really make me want to get out of this profession sometimes.

***Cranberry sauce and olives at Thanksgiving are still the best part of the meal!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween 2008

Just a quick post, as there are lesson plans to be done and dishes to be washed.... We had a great time on Friday night hanging out with our friends at the Mendoza's Halloween party. And I was very pleased with my costume- it was easy to make and it was a pun, both of which made me happy. :-) (I don't have any pictures at the moment, because we couldn't find our camera, but I will see if I can track some down from someone else) But here's my costume... I wore all black, and made a 'pause' sign (like on a remote) out of felt. I pinned it to my stomach, which made me...

A pregnant pause!

Hee, hee. :-) I wish I could say I thought of that myself, but I found the idea online. It made a lot of people laugh though! :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Soapbox

So, it's almost the time of year to start my unit on government with my 8th graders. This always poses a challenge for me because I used to teach 12th grade government- an entire semester's worth of material- and now have to cram it into about 6 weeks. Give 14-year-olds a reasonable understanding of our government's structure and foibles in only 6 weeks? Yeah, not the easiest task on the planet.

But each year, as I ponder the United States government, its original intentions, and the behemoth it has become today, I come back to the realization that the Founding Fathers did do a pretty great job of creating a (fairly) stable system. For all its drawbacks, it still does a better job than almost any other system of keeping power in check, spreading benefits to many varied interest groups, and protecting system-sustaining rights such as free speech.

Except for its fatal flaw....

Which, I've decided, is its emphasis on the short term. Our politicians and leaders in official positions, with the exception of judges, hold short terms of office. 2 years, 4 years, 6 years... those limits were designed to keep officials accountable to their constituents and avoid entrenched career-makers. However, this is just what's led us into the current problems that our country is facing- politicians, to keep their jobs, must focus on the short term. But many of the pressing issues today- the solvency of Social Security, the national debt, health care- call for long-term solutions that require some sacrifices both now and in future years. No politician is willing to stand up and give hard truths to the American people- we must raise taxes, cut government programs, pay back the debt, plan on higher prices for health care, etc. And it's not necessarily because politicians are deliberately trying to deceive (although some are), but that the voters of the United States will fire them for speaking such truths!

This is not the fault of the founders at the Constitutional Convention- their fear of an aristocratic, dictatorial government was (reasonably) greater than a concern for long-term thinking. They did, however, put great faith in the American people to have some sense of their own, which I fear is the main ingredient lacking these days. It's the citizens of the country that ultimately will have to admit that things can't continually be getting better and better, and that some sacrifices have to be made. If not, our politicians will continue to be paralyzed by the stricture of short-term elections and our country will keep pushing these problems into the future until they cause even greater havoc than we're seeing now. Please, America, be willing to listen to someone who will have the courage to say, "Here are the sacrifices we need to make..."!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lazy Sunday

So, yes, it's been FOREVER since I've posted. And after all my good intentions last May to post more often too! The longer I went without posting, the more things there were to update on, so the more I procrastinated on doing so. So I'm jumping back into the mix with only one major update (which everyone who reads this already knows!)

We're having a kid in February! :-)

My posting negligence over the summer was mostly due to the fact that I felt like the bottom of a garbage dumpster for 2 months... fortunately that let up just as I was heading back to school for another year of teaching. But pretty much all of June and July I spent on the couch or in bed, reading or watching TV and trying to find things to eat that didn't make me feel worse. Blech. So much for all my good intentions for projects to do over the summer!

But 2nd trimester came, and I DID feel better, just as many of the books promised... I'm glad I wasn't one of the sick-for-9-months types! Now 10 weeks of school have gone by and Madeleine's due date (Feb 1st) draws ever closer. Brad and I alternate between being excited and freaking out at how much there is to get ready before then!

In the meantime, though, I'm enjoying today as a nice lazy Sunday. I get tomorrow off work (thanks, Chris Columbus!) and thus can put off much of my work until then. :-) Yay for free time to read, even if all my magazines these days are filled with election-overload junk. Only 3 more weeks and they can stop analyzing the election and start analyzing the potential performance of whoever is going to be our next president. :-P

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Trying too hard to copy?

Ha! So my new resolution didn't last long, but I'm going to try to catch up. I'm about to start the school day, so this won't be long, but I wanted to point out this article that I read yesterday. It discusses how 'Christian' culture does weak copies of most 'mainstream' stuff, rather than having much that's distinctive or original about it. From romance novels, to t-shirts, to a TV show that is a Christian version of Punk'd (!), Christian culture tries to take something from mainstream culture and 'clean it up'; however, it mostly comes off as a weak imitation of the real thing. I don't know what truly original Christian culture would look like, although I know a lot of churches right now are working to try and figure that out, but it's an excellent point to consider. I'd like to think on this and post more later. Thoughts, anyone?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Post a Day in the Month of May

Look, it's a post! Since my frequency of posting lately has been at about the rate of the retun of Haley's Comet, I'm going to try to do better this month. The school year is almost done, so the dark and endless tunnel now has a light at the end of it- huzzah!- and I'm blinking my eyes and starting to think about the wide world again. Since my plan to produce deep, thought-provoking posts on a regular basis has, er, failed, I'm going to try to just spit out some randomness each day this month. If something strikes your fancy, please drop a comment! :-)

Thought of the day: It's amazing how much difference the amount of sleep I get corresponds to how well the succeeding days go. Especially with my students, if I'm well-rested, I have more patience and creativity in dealing with stuff. If I'm sleep-deprived... not so much. And it's quite remarkable that, knowing this full well, it's still really hard for me to get to bed early. 9 pm, and I think to myself, I'm not doing so bad... I'm good to go for another couple hours... then 5:30 am comes around and I remember anew how wrong I was. Sigh. :-)

Monday, January 07, 2008

I like January

I love Christmas and the holiday season, but January is really nice too. Fresh new year, time to clean things, organize, curl up in flannel sheets with a good book.... It's a month that deserves appreciation, not scorn.

After 2 weeks of break, I had lots more patience to use for the 8th graders. It may be all gone by the end of this week, but at least for today I was happy to see them again. They're fun people. It was raining today, so about 20 came into my room before school and at lunch. Sample conversation:
Kid 1 (female), to Kid 2 (male): Hey, I saw you at the mall over break.
Kid 2: No you didn't!
Kid 1: Yes I DID.
Kid 2: I didn't even go to the mall over break!
Me, to Kid 1: You must have seen someone who looked like him.
Kid 1: Poor ugly person.
Kid 2: Shut up!
:-) Groan. But it was funny! Maybe you had to be there...

Christmas break = wonderful. HH and I spent a week with my family in California, and then had a week of doing basically as little as possible. I read a book I really enjoyed: Gone, Baby, Gone, by Dennis Lehane. It was mostly a dark police detective novel, bloody but entertaining, but the ending brought up a very interesting moral quandary. (Spoiler alert, if you were planning to read it or see the recent movie) The plot centers around a kidnapped child, 4 years old, and at the very end you find out that some cops have occasionally kidnapped kids away from abusive parents, to be the children of cops and their wives who want kids but are probably too old to be allowed to adopt. This particular kid's mom is not directly abusive, but is neglectful and a drug addict, and the kid was burned, etc, in her care. So the protagonist tracks down the kid but sees her having a wonderful time with her new 'parents', getting attention and love at last. He has to decide whether or not to report the cop, sending the kid back to the uncaring mother, or let the kid stay with caring but law-breaking parents. It's very clear what the law-abiding thing is to do, but the author brings up the emotional issues in such a way as to make it a very hard decision. Anyway, I thought it was well-done and thought-provoking. It was also a necessary reminder of all the child abuse that there is in this world, both outright abuse and neglect. It wouldn't be correct to say that I enjoy being reminded of the painful realities of life, but that I appreciate the reminders. It puts my worries in perspective and reminds me to see how I can be proactive in helping those who are hurting. For a novel, I think that's time well-spent.

Till next time!