Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Well it is hard to believe that I have not posted since the beginning of November! As it is with everyone at this time of year things have been busy, busy busy!!! I'll give a brief update here and then I plan to make a new commitment to post at least once a week.

So first of all Grammy's Chatham home sale finally went through at the beginning of November. It was a long process dealing with the real estate agent who was quite picky and also dealing with family members from J's side of the family who had only recently become more active in Grammy and J's lives. It is interesting that since the sale I haven't heard from this part of the family, but I guess that was to be expected. I am relieved that they are safe in assisted living with funds to sustain that life style for some time.

School has been very busy. I don't talk much about this here simply because of privacy issues. Suffice it to say that both of the sessions I teach have unique needs and challenges. I am very tired when I finally come home each night! I think it is the sign of the times. I don't understand why things are seemingly so difficult for some families and children but I am honored that they bring their children to my school and entrust them into our care. On a similar not I just finished an outstanding parenting book that has resonated with me on so many levels!

Negotiation Generation: Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment
by Lynne Reeves Griffin

All the teachers at school are reading this book and have found the information very helpful. If you struggle at all with parenting issues please read this book. It is an easy read with many great examples and practical ideas on how to move toward proactive parenting. I honestly can't say enough about this book. It's available on amazon or from Lynne's website.

On another note Dad's primary care doctor reconfirmed that Dad does have dementia. It is probably from his alcohol abuse. Luckily he is no longer drinking so hopefully the dementia will not progress but he does need significant help with daily living skills. His doctor told me had it not been for the support he receives from his family; Dad would have been institutionalized long ago! It is so difficult to switch roles with a parent. I struggle with this process on a daily basis. If anyone out there has any suggestions please leave a comment.

Good news to share...Stand for Children is now an official chapter in my town! We have 32 active members and will be hosting a Team Founding meeting in January. I truly feel that every adult who cares for or about children should join this advocacy group. The only way we will fix our broken educational system(and it is broken!) is by working together to influence the decision makers and provide a voice for all children. Children's issues should be of the utmost priority as they are our future! (I'll step down from my soap box now) If anyone has questions about Stand please ask!

Well it is getting late and I must get the kids ready for school. I'll post again soon.

PEACE!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Respect

Well the last couple of weeks have been very busy. And honestly I have not felt like taking the time to sit and write a post when so much has been on my mind. As we speak I am in the middle of conferences for my students not to mention going to conferences for my own children. I'm happy to say that my oldest is having a wonderful year in school. I had a wonderful conversation with his teacher. She is so open and respectful. She is truly the type of teacher I wish were in every classroom. One thing she said in the conference that struck me was that children need to feel safe in order to be able to learn. You would think that safety would be a given in a public school classroom. Unfortunately it is not a given. There are some classrooms out there where children are regularly demeaned by teachers and generally treated with disrespect. It amazes me how adults expect children to immediately show them respect yet they do not acknowledge that children need to be respected as well. It is so frustrating. Well at least for this year I know that both of my children are in good classes with teachers who like, enjoy and respect children. They are safe and happy and that is the most important thing that I consider. With these things in place they will learn. My youngest's conference is in the morning. I'm looking forward to hearing what her teacher has to say. I'm sure it will be all good news.

Peace

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Open House

Well last night was my Open House to share information regarding Stand For Children. www.stand.org Unfortunately of the 5 people who said they would come only two actually came. It was certainly disappointing. I think that people are afraid that joining Stand for Children will require a large time commitment when in actuality it does not. We already have a core group of members who are ready to do the work. We just need more individual members so that we can be considered an official chapter. I am happy to say that the people who came last night will join. I think it is so important for parents to stand up and advocate for children. I stand for children because I believe all children deserve the best public education possible and that as a parent it is my responsibility to advocate for my children and to give them a voice in the democratic process so that issues that effect their education are not put on the back burner. I want to untie the hands of our teachers who so desperately want to teach our children and not constantly test our children. I want to set an example for my own children so that they know the importance of taking positive action in order to make a difference.

There are so many issues facing our school system. So many parents complain and worry yet it seems like no one knows what to do to change things for our children. If people took the plunge and became dues paying members of Stand for Children they could help set the agenda for our state wide and local plan. As a member driven organization we the members decide what issues are important. Unfortunately the only way to tackle local issues is to have an official chapter. By joining the only commitment a person makes is to his or her child. All we ask is for members help in setting the agenda and also to take action when necessary. All that means is maybe writing a letter to an elected official or calling a representative or getting out to vote in local elections. We could make the schools better. I wish I understood why folks are so hesitant even to just come to an informational night.

Does anyone out there have experience with gathering members for a community action group? I'd love to hear what you think works or doesn't work. It is so frustrating when I know that this group has done great things in other communities and could do great things for us.

I'll get down from my soap box now!

Peace

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mystic

Over at One Wild and Precious Live I followed this link http://www.upperroom.org/methodx/thelife/mystic/ and took the spirituality test. I love taking these online tests. I'm not sure why but I do enjoy them. Anyway I guess I am a mystic.

You are a Mystic, known for your imaginative, intuitive spirituality. You value peace, harmony, and inner silence. Mystics are nurtured by walking alone in the woods or sitting quietly with a trusted friend. You may also enjoy poetry, meditation, wordless prayer, candles, art, books, and anything else that helps you connect with God.
Mystics experience God best through rich images and symbols. You are contemplative, introspective, intuitive, and focused on an inner world as real to you as the exterior one. Hearing from God is more important to you than speaking to God. Others may attribute human characteristics to God, but you see God as ineffable, unnamable, and more vast than any known category. You are intrigued by God's mystery.
Mystics want to inspire and persuade others, and need to live lives of significance. At times you push the envelope of spirituality, helping the rest of us imagine who we might become if we followed your lead.
Sometimes you may feel a bit guilty about your need for solitude and silence. If so, you probably have bought into the American myth that says being alone and doing nothing is lazy, antisocial, and unproductive. Stop it -- now. Give yourself permission to retreat and be alone. It's essential for your well-being.
On the other hand, don't get so carried away retreating that you become a recluse. That only deprives the world of your gifts and deprives you of the lessons that come from being with others. Some Mystics may have a true vocation for solitary prayer, but the rest of you need to alternate retreat time with involvement and interaction.

Interesting stuff, don't you think?

Peace

Friday, October 12, 2007

Another Week

Well it has been a busy week. We started our week with a visit to Chatham on Monday to check on Grammy and J's house. It looked really good. Everything was clean and empty with the exception of the basement and a few random things that were being moved out to California to J's granddaughter. It was so strange to be in the empty house. I have to say I miss having them on the cape. It is very difficult to carve out time to go up to New Hampshire to see them.

Going back to school on Tuesday was hard for all of us. I think we just wanted one more day. n had an especially difficult morning. Wednesday was better. Everyone was happy to get up an go to school. It always helps when the kids feel settled about going to school. Dad had a doctors appointment with his surgeon Wednesday evening so I ran right from school to his house to get him to his appointment. His wound seems a bit smaller but the healing is a very slow process. His surgeon does not seem worried by the amount of time it has taken to see progress in his healing and Dad isn't bothered by the wound so we are just going to wait and see how things go. He'll go back in another three months. Good news for me as I am the driver and note taker. I was happy to see Thursday come and go as I have Friday's off and the mornings are a bit less hectic.

This morning I met with Katie from Stand for Children. I am very excited to be a part of this organization and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm with friends on October 23 at an informational meeting at my home. I hope that everyone who comes will decide to become a member and take and active role in effecting positive change for children in our community.

For more information check out Stand for Children's web site. http://www.stand.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=226&srcid=183

Friday, October 5, 2007

Stand Up for CHILDREN

Well, the past few weeks have passed by quickly. The first two weeks of school for my children were difficult. We had tears and tummy aches. We also had repeated requests to 'just stay home'. It seems now that we have passed this phase of the transition into the new school year. Both children are able to make it through the morning without ailments and requests to stay home. It has been a process.

Before the school year started I recieved a letter from the parent of one of n's former classmates. The letter was regarding a new group that is trying to create a chapter in our hometown. The group is called STAND for Children. When I first recieved the letter I thought it sounded interesting but questioned if I had the time to go to the meeting never mind join the organization. Then we started school and n had her meltdown and I made the decision to take action! I wrote my letter to n's teacher, called to get more information regarding STAND and went to the meeting. I have to say I was blown away. So much information was shared. I spoke with a local real estate agent who told me families actually cross our community off their list because of the schools. I was shocked. Our school system isn't terrible but it could be so much better. I decided to join the group and have been asked to become a team coordinator. The position requires only about 1 hour of work per week with 1 evening meeting per month. I think it is important to take a stand to improve the lives of my children as well as the lives of the very young children that I work with on a daily basis who will attend local school. I'm looking forward to setting an example for my children and hopefully effecting a change in the local educational policy. Check out the web site. It is pretty interesting.
http://www.stand.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=226&srcid=183

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The First Week and Standardized Testing!!!!!!!!

Well we managed to get through the first week of school together. Both of my children are now in school full time and I continue to work three full days a week teaching a pre-k and three year old class at a wonderful preschool and community center.

The beginning of the week was shaky. Both of my children were hesitant about going to school. N even had stomach aches each morning. I chalked it up to new school year nerves. N did talk about some tests he had been taking and I thought that they might have been doing pretests for math and reading from the various reading and math programs used in our school system. Well I found out what was really going on on Tuesday afternoon. I was in class(the first day for these children) when the school secretary came to call me out of class for a phone call. It was the school nurse from the children's school. Immediately I thought oh no N is really sick. It wasn't my big guy it was 'n' who is in first grade. I got on the phone and could hear her crying in the background. Sobbing is a better word. I spoke with the nurse and she said 'n' was in the office not feeling well, she hadn't felt up to eating and she said her tummy hurt. I asked the nurse if she new if something had happened during the day or if there was a stomach bug going around. She said no and then told me that 'n's teacher had said that the children had to take a test over the past two days and perhaps this could have been the problem. I spoke with 'n' and was able to do some deep breathing with her over the phone and get her to calm down. She couldn't tell me what was wrong. All she could say was that she didn't feel well. I spoke to the nurse again and we left it that I would try to get coverage for work and call them back. After talking to my colleagues and decided that if 'n' weren't physically sick that she really needed to push through the day so that she would know that she could manage and get through the day and that I would pick her up at parent pickup with her brother so that they didn't have to take the bus home. Well I called the nurse back and was able to talk with 'n' again. I told her that I knew she could do it and that her teacher would help her and that I would pick her up at parent pickup. I also was able to speak with her teacher who told me that the test the children had to take was terrible it was over their heads and that she never wanted to give it to 1st graders again. She also said she wished the parents would do something about the situation. I was completely floored that they were doing standardized testing with children who were just starting their school experience. It was the fourth day of school when they started the test! As an educator I know how developmentally inappropriate this practice is and boy was I upset. I picked up my kids that afternoon and as soon as 'n' saw me she dissolved into tears. She cried for about 30 minutes off and on and then it took her another 30 minutes to feel ok. Well I couldn't stand it! I wrote the following letter to 'n's teacher.


September 12, 2007

Dear Mrs. L,
Thank you for helping 'n' get through the rest of the day yesterday. We truly appreciate your kindness and caring. I think that 'n' was feeling tired, worried and overwhelmed by the day. The testing may have been what pushed her past her breaking point. She was relieved to see me at parent pick up and again broke down in tears. It was difficult for her to articulate much more than the fact that she just didn't feel well. It did take her about an hour at home resting and relaxing with me before she was feeling better. I know that adjusting to the first grade is a process that will take some time. We will get through it together.
I am shocked that the first grade children are being put through testing at this point in the year. These children are managing so much at the beginning of the year; longer days, new teachers, different expectations, relationships with new friends. I fail to understand the reasoning behind adding testing to all that the children are trying to manage at this time. Could you give me more information regarding this testing? I'd like to know the name of the test, if it is state or district mandated, how it is administered-timed or un-timed, are modifications made for emergent readers, and how the results are reported and then used to effect classroom instruction. I'd also like to know why parents are not informed about the testing so that we can prepare our children and ease any fears that might surface. Testing children at this age and at this early point in the year is developmentally inappropriate. I have serious concerns regarding the decision to test first graders and would like to know to whom I would address my concerns. Thanks for any information you can share with me.
I hope that 'n' will have a better day today. I have reminded her that if she is worried or upset that she can just talk to you about the problem and that you know how to help children. Thanks again for all of your help.

Sincerely,

Barbara


Well my letter was forwarded to the principal of the school and the reading specialist in the hopes that I would hear back directly from them regarding my concerns. Mrs. L sent me a note thanking me for the pointed questions and letting me know that her team really appreciated my letter. A couple of other teachers who have seen the letter also commented to me on the letter and even said they hope that I take it as far as I can. I'd like to take it all the way to the school committee however I don't want to jeopardize placement in future years for my children. I have mentioned the testing to a couple of parents and they have seemed virtually unfazed by what I see as a huge problem. There are so many other ways to assess children and establish a baseline for instructional purposes other than standardized testing instruments.

I am writing about this in my blog in the hopes that the few of you who read regularly might have some insight on this situation. I really would like to effect a change in the policy of testing first graders during the first weeks of school. What do you think? Please comment I need as much input as I can get.

Peace

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We Remember

September 11, 2007

We remember.

All of us lost something that day; innocence, peace and safety. For those who lost that and so much more you are in my prayers today. For those who continue to battle illness born out of this tragedy you too are in my prayers. For those who fight for our freedom I thank you and pray for your safe return home.

Peace to us all today and everyday.



Monday, September 10, 2007

Remembering 9-11

Last night as I was trying to go to sleep I was channel surfing. I came upon a documentary remembering the horific events of 9-11. It is hard to believe those events took place six years ago. I remember sitting on my sofa as my children then 1 and 3 played. I was watching the Today show and like so many other Americans witnessed the horror unfold on live television. I remember feeling numb and terified. The program I watched last night shared the stories of two air trafic controlers and two individuals on the flights who called and spoke to their families before the crash.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back to School Part 1

Well I have butterflies in my stomach. This is a sure sign that it is time to go back to school! I have only a minute to create this entry so here goes.

I have my teacher orientation this morning and luckily N and n can come and play while I'm in the meeting. It really is just a formality. The meeting is very brief and then we finish up getting the rooms ready for parent orientation tonight. GULP. This is the part that is quite nerve wracking as you never know what questions might pop up during the evening's meeting. The worst part for me: finding something to wear! I hate that part. I'm much more comfortable in my preschool teaching clothes, you know simple pants, tops and birkis. Oh well, It will all be fine.

Part 2 tomorrow-my N and n have their first day and my students come to visiting day.

Peace!

Monday, September 3, 2007

And now, a game of tag from the Scrapper over at www.nosocalledlife.blogspot.com Tag : "3 things about me".

Three things that scare me

1.

2.

3.

Three people who make me laugh

1

2

3

Three things I love

1

2

3

Three things I hate

1

2

3

Three things I don't understand

1

2

3

Three things on my desk

1.

2

3

Three things I am doing right now

1

2

3

Thee things I want to do before I die

1

2

3

Three things I can do

1.

2

3

Three things I can’t do

1.

2

3

Three things I think you should listen to

1.T

2

3

Three things you should never listen to

1.

2.

3.

Three shows I watched as a kid

1.

2

3

Three People I tag

1. You're

2. All

3. Tagged No blog? Leave answers in the comment section.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bzzzz

About a month ago I joined a really cool consumer website that is harnessing word of mouth marketing. I was invited by my sister-in-law but you can also just sign up at the site . First step is to join a campaign and a product is sent out to your home. All you have to do is try it out and then talk about the product with your family and friends and then report back on the site. It is very cool.

The first product that I received was Listerine Whitening Teeth Strips. They sent me a large box with enough product to use myself and share samples with friends. The product is good. It is easy to use although I found it to be very sharp and spicy in flavor. It was interesting to try out a new product. The next campaign, I joined a few days ago is for the Fly Fusion pen by leapfrog. Now this is a product. For anyone who has 5th to 10th graders and beyond this is for you! It is literally a pen top computer. There are games and programs to use but my favorite part is that you can write on a special notebook and then upload all your notes to the computer and it opens in a MS Word format. It is amazing. I plan on using it when I work on conferences and anecdotal notes for school this year.

I just thought I would share this new hobby with all of you. If you want to check it out go to the web site. http://www.bzzagent.com/index.jsp

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Overdue Birthday Update

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to update on n's birthday celebration. Honestly I just haven't felt like writing. Very lame, I know, but I am here now so here goes!

We invited family, close friends and some of n's friends from school to join us at a local pottery/ceramic studio
http://www.fun2beedone.com/ . Unfortunately several of n's friends were unable to attend and a couple we didn't here from (had regrets only on the invite) didn't show up. I was sad for n, but she had fun and that is all that mattered. Took a couple of pictures of the cake and R took a couple group shots.




We have also been busy this summer learning to ride two wheelers without training wheels,


roller blading and ice skating. I even found out that I can still do all three! Yeah for me! I could hardly believe I still had it in me! Anyway I thought I would share a couple of photos I took at the kids local school as they practiced.
















They are both so proud of themselves! N has had a huge boost of confidence. For the longest time he had no interest in even trying to learn to ride a bike. I think his legs just weren't strong enough and the balance thing made him very nervous. So needless to say I am a very proud Mom!

I have a few beach stories to share but they will have to wait until tomorrow as on the the children is calling from upstairs.

Peace!


Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Force Was With Us!!!











N had the BEST party yesterday! It was a lot of preparation as parties always are but it was so worth everything. We had a few of N's buddies over as well as his cousins. We started off with and opening ceremony where all the kids were given an new light saber and told what was expected of the 'Jedi's in training' . We had lots of Jedi reflex training games including water balloon toss and dodge ball. The kids and adults all had a blast. I have a few pictures to post.

It turned out to be beautiful weather for the party. I was worried in the morning as it was cloudy and muggy but by early afternoon the clouds had lifted and the air had changed. The air was cooler and dryer. It was a perfect afternoon to play outside. After some group shots the boys enjoyed playing their own version of Star Wars tag and hide and seek. Here they are hamming it up for pictures.


After playing outside everyone made their own pizza's on homemade dough. Some of the kids had never done this before much to my surprise! They all seemed to enjoy the experience. Then they were off to play outside again. After eating pizza and opening gifts everyone enjoyed cake and ice cream. N was happy that we were able to find a Star Wars cake at our local grocery.

It was pretty cool.















Finally everyone settled down to watch Star Wars Episode 3 Attack of the Clones. It was interesting to watch them watch the movie. They were more interested in talking about and commenting on the movie than watching what was happening. They were funny. It was by far one of the best kids birthday party ever. I was so pleased at how all the kids were able to get along. We had no problems and N was a great host. He had a great time! Nine years ago he was just a small baby. Time just goes by so fast.
Well that's all for tonight.
Peace!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Birthday Celebrations All Around

For the past nine years the end of summer has meant the celebration of the births of my two beautiful children. We also celebrate R's birthday as well as my Dad's birthday during the month of August. At the end of August we remember the anniversary of R's mom Anita's (Ma)death. This year as n turns 7 and N turns 9 we will be remembering the 7th anniversary of 'Ma's' death. To say that this time is busy and emotional for us is an understatement.

Right now we are in the middle of planning N's Star Wars celebration. He is very excited. We will be re purposing some fun summer birthday games into 'Jedi' training exercises to improve the reflexes of all the 'Jedis" in training. There will be the water balloon toss, dodge ball and balloon volleyball using light sabers to keep the balloons in play. We will have an asteroid search and make homemade pizza and cake and ice cream. Finally we will watch N's favorite Star Wars movie and eat popcorn and candy. It should be a fun night.

Well that is all for tonight. I am tired and off to bed.

Peace!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Family Fun!

Well I've been so busy doing nothing that I haven't found time to write in my blog. I've started many times only to be interrupted by a child, husband or random thought! I'm here now and that's what matters, right?

So R has this week off from work. We're planning day trips although the weather may not cooperate. We spent the day yesterday travelling up to Georges Mills in New Hampshire. Grammy and J have been living at the assisted living there since the end of June and this was the first opportunity that we had to go visit. I have to say that I have missed our Chatham trips. Last summer the children and I went down to visit once a week. Now we will probably make the trip once every six weeks. With R's band schedule and the children's various social engagements not to mention keeping an eye on my Dad time is limited. Back to our visit. The assisted living facility was nice. It wasn't quite what I had expected, but they are happy and have a nice little apartment. They are hoping to move into a two bedroom in the fall and that will give them a little more living space and give each of them there own room. I think Grammy is much more active now than she was in Chatham so that is a good thing although she did look tired. I guess that is what happens when you are in your 90's! She was happy to have company and I was certainly happy to finally see the new place! I wonder how the trip will be in the winter with snow? Yesterday also happened to be n's actual birthday. She felt a little jipped spending the majority of the day in the car so today was the official celebration-all day. We went to the local mall and she picked out her build-a-bear. Then we continued on to Target and Toys-r-us for a couple other items. On our way home we stopped at our little local bakery and she picked out a special treat-a vanilla cake with pink frosting. We'll be enjoyed cake and ice cream tonight and then again in a couple of weeks when we have her actual party. Plans for the rest of the week look like the movies, the New England Aquarium and the Boston Children's Museum. I think that will be all we can fit in for this vacation. It should be loads of fun.

Hope you are all well out there in blog land. I wonder what you will do or have done with your families for vacation?

Peace!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

Things are busy as usual as these wonderful days of summer pass by. I have been spending most of my time with N and n. We've been spending time playing outside and visiting with friends that we loose touch with over the school year. It has been nice to reconnect with old friends. This has been the summer of 'play dates'. I think at least once a day one of the children have asked to have a friend over. Sometimes I can say yes, but not every day. We've enjoyed spending time on the beach down the street. It is a fantastic kids beach. Lots of rocks to climb and tidal pools to explore. It really is one of my most favorite places to spend time. I am very blessed to be within walking distance to the ocean. Things haven't been all fun in the sun however. Grammy and J have settled in to their new living arrangements in N.H at their assisted living apartment. I have had to spend time in Chatham cleaning and organizing. It is a very challenging job as they had lived in that home for 26 years and only took to NH a fraction of their homes content with them. I am now vowing to sort and eliminate items from my home. We'll see how successful I am with this endeavor. On another note tomorrow I will be bringing Dad to the hospital for surgery. It is day surgery and he should recover and be better for it, but the entire ordeal is stressful. I'll be happy when he is back home resting comfortably. So this is my update. Hopefully I'll get to the beach this weekend and take some pictures for everyone.

Peace!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

7-7-07

Well it has been a busy few weeks and I have not been very conscientious about keeping up my journal. I have a lot to share. First of all I finally completed the class I had been working on like a mad woman throughout the months of May and June. It was a class on teaching reading that I found online through the Annenberg Media Site http://www.learner.org/index.html. A colleague and I collaborated on all aspects of the class. I don't know why I waited so long to get started but once I began working on the assignments and research it seemed to take over my life. We sent all of our work in at the end of June. The package that we had to ship to Cambridge weighed 28 pounds. We had to ship it in a copy paper box. I think the guys at the post office thought we were crazy as we had a mini celebration right there in the post office. We were both so relieved to be done and have our lives back.

My second big piece of news is that Grammy and J have moved to an assisted living in New Hampshire. They are now close to Grammy's only living son, D. They have been there for over a month. The first month being a 'vacation'. They love the lifestyle. Grammy is so relaxed and happy not to have to cook and clean and worry about her meds! Unfortunately they have only seen D once since they've been up there but I think she probably knew that would be the case. Unfortunately J's family isn't so supportive of this move as we will have to sell the house in Chatham. I have mixed feelings about selling the house myself however I know that this is not about me it is about Grammy and J's happiness. It will be more challenging to visit them as they are about 2.5 hours away from us now but we will make the effort and try to venture north at least once a month. We'll see how that works out.

We've been working around the house these last few days. Painting windows-trying to save them so that we don't have to sink money into new windows. We found one window on the east side of the house to be damaged by water. I guess the lack of paint and the fact that that side of the house faces the ocean led to the damage. We have three other window in similar condition. We are hoping to replace them with vinyl on the outside and wood on the inside windows. The windows we saw at Lowe's last week ranged in price from 350 to 500. I'm hoping we can find something a little less pricey with the same features. I'll keep you posted.

I'm hoping that over the next few weeks I'll be able to fit in some time to play with my art supplies. My room still isn't finished and honestly with the nice weather I don't want to be in the basement. Maybe I'll do some work outside.

Peace!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Movies, Movies, Movies

Over at Ann's blog http://onewildandpreciouslife.typepad.com/one_wild_and_precious_lif/ she found the list of the top 100 movies from AFE and highlighted all the movies that she has had the opportunity to see over the years. I thought it would be interesting to do the same. How many of these movies have you seen?

AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies -- 10th Anniversary Edition:
1 Citizen Kane (1941)
2 The Godfather (1972)
3 Casablanca (1942)
4 Raging Bull (1980)
5 Singin' in the Rain (1952)
6 Gone With the Wind (1939)
7 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
8 Schindler's List (1993)
9 Vertigo (1958)
10 The Wizard of Oz (1939)
11 City Lights (1931)
12 The Searchers (1956)
13 Star Wars (1977)
14 Psycho (1960)
15 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
16 Sunset Blvd. (1950)
17 The Graduate (1967)
18 The General (1927)
19 On the Waterfront (1954)
20 It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
21 Chinatown (1974)
22 Some Like It Hot (1959)
23 The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
24 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
25 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
26 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
27 High Noon (1952)
28 All About Eve (1950)
29 Double Indemnity (1944)
30 Apocalypse Now (1979)
31 The Maltese Falcon (1941)
32 The Godfather Part II (1974)
33 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
34 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
35 Annie Hall (1977)
36 The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
37 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
38 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
39 Dr. Strangelove (1964)
40 The Sound of Music (1965)
41 King Kong (1933)
42 Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
43 Midnight Cowboy (1969)
44 The Philadelphia Story (1940)
45 Shane (1953)
46 It Happened One Night (1934)
47 A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
48 Rear Window (1954)
49 Intolerance (1916)
50 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
51 West Side Story (1961)
52 Taxi Driver (1976)
53 The Deer Hunter (1978)
54 M*A*S*H (1970)
55 North by Northwest (1959)
56 Jaws (1975)
57 Rocky (1976)
58 The Gold Rush(1925)
59 Nashville (1975)
60 Duck Soup (1933)
61 Sullivan's Travels (1941)
62 American Graffiti (1973)
63 Cabaret (1972)
64 Network (1976)
65 The African Queen (1951)
66 The Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
67 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
68 Unforgiven (1992)
69 Tootsie (1982)
70 A Clockwork Orange (1971)
71 Saving Private Ryan (1998)
72 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
73 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
74 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
75 In the Heat of the Night (1967)
76 Forrest Gump (1994)
77 All the President's Men (1976)
78 Modern Times (1936)
79 The Wild Bunch (1969)
80 The Apartment (1960)
81 Spartacus (1970)
82 Sunrise (1927)
83 Titanic (1997)
84 Easy Rider (1969)
85 A Night at the Opera (1935)
86 Platoon (1986)
87 12 Angry Men (1957)
88 Bringing Up Baby (1938)
89 The Sixth Sense (1999) 9
0 Swing Time (1936)
91 Sophie's Choice (1982)
92 Goodfellas (1990)
93 The French Connection (1971)
94 Pulp Fiction (1994)
95 The Last Picture Show (1971)
96 Do the Right Thing (1989)
97 Blade Runner (1982)
98 Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
99 Toy Story (1995)
100 Ben-Hur (1959

32 out of 100 I guess I better add some movies to Netflix!

Peace!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy to be back!!

Well I've been absent from my blog for a few weeks. It hasn't been that I haven't wanted to add posts it's just that I've been very busy. I am back and will be posting daily again. Reporting on all that goes on during our summer. Should be interesting. I have lots to share and update, but my battery is about to die so I'll post this for now.

Peace!

(and thanks for checking in and reading)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

My Power Bird!




Your Power Bird is a Cardinal



You believe that each day is precious, and you spend your times as best as you can.

You see the wonder in small things, and you are often content with what you have.

You life an interesting, colorful life - and you bring color to those around you.

Confident and expressive, you believe you know how to live a good life. You're living it!



This is so cool! The cardinal is my absolute favorite bird! In the warm weather when my windows are open I can pick out the cardinals call every time. I feel as if they are calling to me personally. It's kind of strange. The cardinal has a strong connection for me to my Mom who passed away 6 1/2 years ago when my daughter was a baby. Whenever I see a cardinal it reminds me of Mom.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Final Week

Well so much for healthy and well. On Thursday morning N woke up complaining that he didn't feel well. At first I didn't take him seriously because lately he's been wanting to stay home from school. He is totally ready for his school year to be over even though he still has 2 weeks left. I told him that I thought if he had something to eat maybe he would feel better. Don't you know that when I kissed him on his forehead he was HOT!!! Now this wouldn't be such a big deal normally but it was my LAST day teaching this year! I couldn't be out. So I had to call around looking for help. My friend 'M' whom is almost always available had a doctors appointment so that wasn't the answer. Well R ended up coming home to take care of N. During the day his fever evolved into a stomach thing. He was sick through the night and had to stay home on Friday too. By noon on Friday he felt well enough to go stay with Dad for a few hours so that I could go to n's graduation from kindergarten. Nothing like a little stress to end the school year, but it all ended up fine thank goodness.

Back to Thursday...n delivered her teacher gifts to school with my help. They were beautiful and her teachers and Mrs. A loved their gifts. n helped in every step of the process. She even picked out and helped to arrange the flowers. She made very thoughtful cards too. I think she was proud of the work she did for her teachers.


So on Friday I was able to attend n's graduation ceremony. At her school this ceremony if very special and usually just attended by the children and the teachers. I was honored to be a guest. The children sit on chairs in rows with the teachers at the front facing the class. Each child is called by his or her full name to come to the front of the . At this time the teachers ask each child to share the most important thing he or she learned in Kindergarten that will help them in the future. The answers were beautiful and I was on the verge of tears at several points during the ceremony. When the children answer the question they are awarded the 'Silver Acorn'. The sterling acorn is given to the children in a beautiful pouch with a lovely poem about strength and wisdom. When n was asked what she thought was most important she said "helping others". I couldn't be more proud of her. After the ceremony we had a special snack...ice cream cones. After snack the children went outside to play. It was a wonderful and emotional day for everyone. I will treasure the memories of this day and I hope n will too.


PEACE!


Monday, May 21, 2007

Healthy Again and All is Well

Well over the past month I've done my share of tending to ill relatives. Most recently little 'n' had another bout with a fever virus. At one point her fever was up to 103! Fevers make me nervous especially when they start to get over 101. Poor little thing was lethargic, tired and just down right miserable. She even had the chills throughout the night. It is such a helpless feeling when your children are sick and there isn't much to do except comfort and stay close by. The virus she had lasted for three days. By Saturday afternoon she was starting to feel more like herself. The fact that she was yelling at her older brother was a tell tale sign. I'm also happy to report that I did not have to bring Dad to the doctors today. Last week the nurse practitioner was so happy with his progress that she extended his appointment out for two weeks and I had to extend it out for an additional week do to scheduling conflicts with school. So he doesn't go back until June 4th. It is nice to have a break from his doctors office. Unfortunately I didn't get away scott free as I had to bring both children for a long overdue dental appointment. They go to a pediatric dentist who is wonderful. She has a great staff and a beautiful office. She is thorough and kind. A couple of cavities later and two dental appliances in process in the hopes of keeping the children out of the orthodontist office and we were back on our way home. The next week will be very hectic as it is 'n' last week for Kindergarten and my last week teaching the 3-day for this year. We have gifts to assemble, cards to construct and thank you's to write. I will take pictures of the teacher gifts and post next Monday if not sooner. I'm off now to attend to our bedtime routine. Always something to do.

Oh and I almost forgot...the folks who were trying to micro manage Grammy and J have been stopped by Elder Services. Grammy is so grateful and relieved to have the power returned to it's rightful place. I'm thrilled that the drama will end for a little bit anyway.

PEACE!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Give Peace a Chance

Over at http://judyinthedyes.blogspot.com/index.html I found the newest button you see on the left hand side of my blog. I feel strongly that our troops should be brought home from the war in Iraq. I support all the men and women who risk their lives every day so that we can have and enjoy the freedoms we have in our country. I think that there good will and courage is being taken advantage of by our President. They need to come home. Maybe we bloggers can spread the word and make a difference in own way to stop the insanity of this war. I hope you will check out the One Million Blogs for Peace website.

PEACE!

A Lovely Day


I had a wonderful Mother's Day. I hope you all did as well. My children 'made' me breakfast in the morning and we spent most of the day together. The day was leisurely and restful and I was able to spend time digging in the earth and working on some artistic projects with 'n'. This is a picture of the vase that I worked on for a special person at 'n's school.

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I used the modge podge glue to adhere various pieces of soy silk papers as well as coffee filters that 'n' and I had painted in green hues in preparation for this project. I am thrilled with the outcome. The plan was to give it simply with beautiful flowers from us in thanks for all that has been done for our family over the past years. I think I will also include a small candle because the vase lit from inside is even more beautiful. It almost looks ethereal.
 


'n' spent a good amount of time creating the purple hued vase for one of her teachers. At first I didn't think I would like it as much as the green but I have changed my mind. I think it too is beautiful.


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I don't think the pictures do these pieces justice. The papers on the glass are translucent and when held up to the light the fibers of the soy silkfusion can be seen. The camera only captured a fraction of the beauty. Perhaps I'll try to take some more creative pictures. Actually I can't take credit at all for the pictures as R and n took them. It was wonderful to flex that creative muscle again. It seems that lately all I have done is talk about elder care. I do have stories on that front too, for a later date. Well it is time to think about dinner.

Peace!
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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mothers Day!

I'd like to wish all of you fellow Mom's out there an early Happy Mother's Day!! I hope you all have a restful day full of what you love. I am looking forward to sleeping late and spending the day with my little family. Hopefully we will be able to visit and do some planting at both my Mom's headstone and R's Mom's headstone. We will not be venturing down to Chatham to visit Grammy this weekend. Being a little selfish I decided I wanted the day all for myself at home or close to home with N, n and R. We will be visiting Chatham next weekend to sort out some difficulties that have been going on with J's family. I'll post more on that another time. It is too much to go into tonight.

Back to crafting and art work is another goal I have for my day tomorrow. I am planning on cutting up some of my soy silk fusion and adhering to glass vases. n and I worked on one vase and used a variety of materials including painted paper towel. I don't like the texture of the paper towel on the glass. It just seems too scratchy to me when I hold the vase. So we are going back to silk fusion and painted coffee filters. I'll post some pictures one of these days when things settle down.

Peace

Monday, May 7, 2007

Busy Days

It is hard to believe that almost a week has gone by since the last time I posted. This past week was like a blur. The end of the year is upon us at school so we have been very busy. I spent the week preparing for end of the year conferences. I have 9 all together this time around and I am proud to say they are all typed and ready to be printed. When I sit and think about all that children learn in a school year I find it amazing. My own children will be moving on to the 1st and 3rd grades. 'n' will be venturing forth into the larger school community for the first time. She has been with me at the school in which I teach since she was in her car seat! At that time 'N' was in the preschool program there and I was a full time Mom. Since that time I have transitioned into a teaching position that I love and 'n' has gone through the 2-day, 3-day, 4-day and Kindergarten programs. She is ready to move on and I am certain that she will do well and be able to manage the situations that arise each day, BUT for me this is the end of an era. It is the transformation from having very young children to having school age children. Things will be different and I am very bad at change. Just thinking about her leaving the safe cocoon where she is close to me every day makes me teary. She had developed such strong relationships with all the women at our school. I don't think she will ever replicate these strong ties. She will always be able to come back, but it will be different. I know that every mother goes through this yet it doesn't make the process any easier. I love both of my children so much that just having them out in the world vulnerable makes me crazy. I fight the urge to keep them home and home school them, knowing that they need to be able to manage in the bigger world. I can't make it safe for them but I can give them the tools to keep themselves safe. I am fortunate to work with a group of women who have gone through this before and will be sympathetic and supportive as I try to manage my own emotions as we go through this transition.

Well this post went in a different direction than I intended, but I feel a bit better having put my feelings to paper so to speak.

Peace!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Caring for Dad

Yesterday was spent visiting and caring for Dad. The day started off dropping N off at school and then n and I went to CVS to pick up Dad's medicine. We stopped for some breakfast treats at the local bakery and then off to Dad's we went. n enjoys visiting with Dad's cat Fluffy. Dad enjoys seeing both of my children and often asks for them when they stay home. So we made sure Dad had his meds, took a shower and was ready for his doctors appointment later in the afternoon. n and I went home to prepare to drop her off to school. We had to make arrangements so that she could have a ride home with a friend rather than having R pick her up early from school so that they could get home to get N off the bus. All this rearranging is so that I can take Dad to his appointment at 3:20. Juggling young children and elderly parents and grandparents is quite and undertaking.

So after working in N's classroom for the afternoon I went to pick up Dad and we were off to the Doctors. Both of us hoping it would be a quick visit. Well, we were wrong. Evidently it was a busy day at the office yesterday and they were running a bit behind. After all was said and done Dad is now on another antibiotic and set up for an addition appointment next Monday. The fistula that was there last week has improved a bit but it now seems that there are two others as well. We are going for the least invasive approach possible as Dad would have difficulty keeping up with the requirements of a surgical intervention. Hopefully the next round of antibiotics and faithfully soaking the wound in a sitzbath will clear up the situation. It is challenging because he doesn't always remember or want to take the actions necessary.

On a different note I spent a good deal of time being productive this weekend getting things done for school. I have nine end of the year conferences coming up in the next two weeks. Usually I would wait until the night before to write and type them well hold onto your hats.....I wrote all nine conferences and have three typed and ready to go. I couldn't be more proud of myself. Even R was impressed! Now I just have to get a handle on the coarse work I've started. I'm about half done with the first session's assignments. Not bad for a lifelong procrastinator.

Anyway I hope everyone has a great day. It is going to be a beautiful day!

Peace!

Caring for Dad

Yesterday was spent visiting and caring for Dad. The day started off dropping N off at school and then n and I went to CVS to pick up Dad's medicine. We stopped for some breakfast treats at the local bakery and then off to Dad's we went. n enjoys visiting with Dad's cat Fluffy. Dad enjoys seeing both of my children and often asks for them when they stay home. So we made sure Dad had his meds, took a shower and was ready for his doctors appointment later in the afternoon. n and I went home to prepare to drop her off to school. We had to make arrangements so that she could have a ride home with a friend rather than having R pick her up early from school so that they could get home to get N off the bus. All this rearranging is so that I can take Dad to his appointment at 3:20. Juggling young children and elderly parents and grandparents is quite and undertaking.

So after working in N's classroom for the afternoon I went to pick up Dad and we were off to the Doctors. Both of us hoping it would be a quick visit. Well, we were wrong. Evidently it was a busy day at the office yesterday and they were running a bit behind. After all was said and done Dad is now on another antibiotic and set up for an addition appointment next Monday. The fistula that was there last week has improved a bit but it now seems that there are two others as well. We are going for the least invasive approach possible as Dad would have difficulty keeping up with the requirements of a surgical intervention. Hopefully the next round of antibiotics and faithfully soaking the wound in a sitzbath will clear up the situation. It is challenging because he doesn't always remember or want to take the actions necessary.

On a different note I spent a good deal of time being productive this weekend getting things done for school. I have nine end of the year conferences coming up in the next two weeks. Usually I would wait until the night before to write and type them well hold onto your hats.....I wrote all nine conferences and have three typed and ready to go. I couldn't be more proud of myself. Even R was impressed! Now I just have to get a handle on the coarse work I've started. I'm about half done with the first session's assignments. Not bad for a lifelong procrastinator.

Anyway I hope everyone has a great day. It is going to be a beautiful day!

Peace!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Visit

Well we went to Chatham for our visit. Unfortunately Aunt J's 90 something year old mother who lives with her isn't feeling well and wanted Aunt J to stay home. It was OK Aunt J. needs to take care of her Mom first. I had trepidations about going down and R and the children did not want to go at all but we all new how important our visits are to both Grammy and J. So off we went. It was a nice day for a ride and they are only about an hour away. The sun was shining and the air was cool and crisp. The children were able to play outside. This always helps.

As soon as we went through the door it was clear something was going on. Drama again. J was upset and agitated. He said they were having family problems but that Grammy knew more about it and she could tell us what was happening. Grammy looked as if she had been crying. Evidently the members of J's family had called and confronted Grammy on the phone. According to Grammy they called her names and said they would be coming over today to lay down the law. None of us are quite sure what this means. She asked them not to come over because she was having company. Evidently Grammy asked them why they were questioning her about her finances and how they have set up their bills. At this point they told her they didn't want anything more to do with Grammy and J. They wouldn't be taking the trash or fixing the toilets or helping in any way. We reassured Grammy that things would be fine and not to worry. We will hire someone to take the trash and we can certainly do any repairs that are needed. R put in the screens and we worked on cleaning up the garden a bit. I tried to keep the visit on an even keel but the entire time I was nervous about the possible arrival of the other side of the family. I just don't understand why things have to be so adversarial. It was my understanding that they wanted what is best for Grammy and J or at least for J. Agitating him once again is not what is best for anyone. We were able to spend a good part of the day with them and enjoy a meal together. Grammy and J always enjoy watching the children play and visiting with them. At the end of our visit a rabbit decided to visit and taste some of the foliage I had uncovered after clearing away the debris from the winter. Richie and the children had fun chasing the rabbit through the yard. We went along in the hopes that they were not going to have to manage any unwanted guests this evening.

I will continue to plan and pray, as Ann suggested. Thank you Ann!

Peace

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Challenges presented by aging

I have struggled to post this week. I've been continuing to manage the ongoing drama that has been taking place in Grammy's life. My heart is heavy and I have had knots in my stomach thinking of all that she is going through. She has been married to J for 26 years. It is a second love for both of them. They are both in their 90's and up until about 6 years ago they travelled extensively and enjoyed a very active life. Over the past six years they have slowed down, understandably. It had not been until this last year that they have really lost their independence. J was diagnosed with dementia and Grammy has significant difficulty with mobility. Neither drive and they recently gave up their car. This is a blessing because having the car there was a constant source of worry for my family. I have read so many stories involving elderly drivers forgetting which pedal was the gas and the break. Though my worries in that area are eased they miss their independence terribly. Grammy just wants to go away on vacation for a few days just she and J. I don't know how to facilitate this and still stay present in my own life. On top of all this their lives are now being micromanaged by a member of J's family. This person has always said that all they desire is the best for both of J and Grammy but it has been noted by the head of the home health care agency that this well intentioned person clearly does not like Grammy and seemingly has some sort of agenda. The golden years should be a time of joy. Grammy and J do not want for anything they have money to do what they want yet they are constantly aggravated and agitated by this family member. They are even considering selling their beautiful home to get away from the micromanaging. I am at a loss as to what to do. I am the 'go to' person where it comes to their care, or Grammy's care. I am also the one who has to be the contact person for J's family. I am finding it increasingly difficult to talk with this person when I know about the sneaky and mean things that have been happening. R can't even stand to discuss the situation as he has never liked the micro manager. We are going down to visit Grammy and J tomorrow and Aunt J had planned to come up from her home to visit as well and now that might not materialize. Once again it will be just us. Grammy will be disappointed, the children will be bored and there will be a good chance that we will run into the micro manager as she always seems to show up when we visit. With all of this going on it really makes me think about my own journey through life and how I should plan for my aging and that of my husband. Aging shouldn't be so hard. Elders should be respected and cared for without worry of losing all they have. We must do better.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Challenges of Elder Care

Well the last several days have been consumed with elder care. I began this post yesterday and thought I would go into some of the issues I have been facing with Grammy and my Dad. After sleeping on it I have decided not to go into what is going on in any great depth here. Suffice it to say that Grammy is having difficulties with some of J's family that now seem to think they should be in control of their lives. It is a complex situation that has been ongoing and now has become exacerbated by someone obtaining J's power of attorney. It has been consuming our lives and leaving lots of negativity behind. As for my Dad he has more medical issues. He had an appointment on Monday and is now on more medications and will now have to return to the doctor again next Monday. Evidently his most recent problem has been festering but he didn't know to tell us about what was going on so we could help him sooner. When this happens I feel incompetent and neglectful. I find that for some reason I suffer from guilty feelings even though I do as much as I can for both Grammy and my Dad. I don't know what the answer is but I do know that I need more balance in my life. I guess that is why I have been so interested in artistic endeavors lately. Unfortunately as usual life gets in the way and I find I have little if any time to tap into my creative outlet. Does anyone else have to manage these kinds of obligations? How do you keep the guilt away and stay balanced.? I will continue to take one day at a time and keep moving forward.

Peace!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tarot Cards

I've always been interested in tarot cards and I saw this on another blog and thought it might be interesting to try. What do you think?







You are The Star


Hope, expectation, Bright promises.


The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised


The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wash Out :(

Well this week has been a total wash out of a vacation! I was hoping we would get to spend some time outside in the yard preparing for spring planting. The calendar says almost the end of April but the temperature and weather are more like late February. At least we have had some down time. Dad's doctors appointment went fine and the kids were able to go and spend the morning with a friend rather than at the doctors office. I postponed his second appointment for next Monday. I couldn't see him managing another trip out this week especially in the raw, rainy weather. He wasn't disappointed in the least. His primary care physician is a very good clinician but he has absolutely no personality or bedside manner. He can actually walk the line of being disrespectful at times. Needless to say, Dad doesn't care for these appointments. Oh well. It is what it is.

Yesterday N, n and I went to the movies before N's checkup regarding his asthma. We went to see Meet the Robinsons. It was actually a pretty good movie. It started off slow but once it got rolling it was really good. A couple parts even brought tears to my eyes. Of coarse what Disney movie doesn't. After the movie we went out and bought birthday presents. Both N and n had upcoming parties so we took care of that and then went back to the food court for McD's. N then had a good check up with his doctor. She has taken him of the am and pm inhaler treatment for his exercise induced asthma. He is still on the singular and the inhaler before activity. He has been much better since starting this regiment two weeks ago. Less coughing and more ability to play without getting out of breath and tired. It is interesting because he had said in the past that he thought he had asthma and I always said 'Oh no...." I guess I should have listened to him.

Today n went to her birthday party at a bead store. While she was at the party N and I went to Walmart and picked up some art supplies for end of the school year projects, $80 dollars later we left and then went off to Best Buy to pick up the original first three Star Wars movies. N was so excited. He's been wanting to add them to our library for a long time. Finally we went back to the bead store to get n. Do you think I could leave the store without anything? No of coarse not! I picked out some very pretty strings of beads that I will use when I make the charm bracelets. I also picked up the sterling silver chain I want to use for the bracelet. I'll be using the tutorial on Sue B's journal. Check it out here
http://suebleiweiss.typepad.com/padfolio/2007/02/fabric_charm_tu.html

So tomorrow we have no plans so I am planning on organizing some of the supplies I picked up and hopefully starting my charm bracelets. I'll post some pictures as soon as I have anything to share.

Peace

Monday, April 16, 2007

What Kind of World Do You Want?

Today I recieved an email that had an inspirational link. Five for fighting has created this website to raise money for various causes including the Komen breast cancer fund and Autism speaks. Here is some info from the site with links to get you there!

Whatkindof WORLDdoyouwant.com is the first video community that gives back!
We are all connected to one another through our actions. Each person has the ability to make a difference. This is one of the messages of the Five For Fighting video "World".
Tell the world what kind of world you want and raise money for charity by making and uploading a video of yourself, your friends or your family answering the question, "What Kind Of World Do You Want".

Or, you can raise money for charities that John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting has personally selected. Watch the clips posted by others, support the sponsor and up to 49 cents will go to charity**.

**Revver is a viral video network that pays. The Revver system makes it possible to donate up to 68% of this site's advertising proceeds to the selected charities. So, just watch, click and earn money for a good cause.

Fisher House - Watch the video intro
Breast Cancer 3-Day: Komen for the Cure - Watch the video intro
Save the Children - Watch the video intro
Autism Speaks - Watch the video intro
VH1 Save the Music Foundation - Watch the video intro
NY Police and Fire Widows & Children - Watch the video intro

I hope you will all check out this site. It is really quite something.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Progress

Today even more progress has been made in my small art space. I'm so excited it is actually starting to look like something. 'R' was very busy removing drywall from part of the room and working on adding electrical outlets. During the time I spent visiting my Dad this afternoon the outlets were installed, the drywall replaced and the shelf hung back in it's original spot. He also moved my rolling table back into the space and set up my sewing machine that usually resides in its tattered cardboard box. It is going to be awesome to be able to go downstairs and use my sewing machine at the drop of a hat. In the past it has always been a big project to hall it upstairs, clear off the kitchen table and set it up only to take it back down again as soon as possible as it drives 'R' crazy for me to have my stuff all over the table. Think he has an ulterior motive in fixing up the space downstairs?? Now that he sees how nice my little space is he is thinking of fixing up the opposite side of that part of the basement! As he has half of the finished section of our basement as a studio/jam space, I said NO. I want a space of my own. Is that selfish? I don't know. Anyway next week will bring a dropped ceiling with some sort of better lighting. I'm not sure what type of lighting I want or need. Any suggestions from all of you artist out there? I'd be happy to hear from you if you have any experience in renovating a small space to serve as an art studio.

On another note I found a very interesting link over at Judy in the Dyes. It seems that Caron has a wonderful idea for a quilt project. It's purpose seems to be to shed light on the losses that have been caused by the war in Iraq. I am not an accomplished quilter, but I feel strongly about the subject of the war. I'm going to try to help with this project to shed light on the situation. I pray for our military who are over there and hope that they are reunited with their families as soon as possible. Anyway I didn't intend to get on a soap box. I hope you will all check out this link. http://andstillcounting.blogspot.com/2007/04/beginnings.html

Peace.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Renovations!

Exciting progress today as we move forward with the renovation of my little art space formerly known the laundry/storage room. Unfortunately the space will still have to perform the duties of a laundry room but there will be a space about 12'x12' that will be dedicated to me and storage will be moved to the other side of the room or the outside shed. I can't wait to have my own space. Today's progress included a fresh coat of cement paint on the old gray walls. Unfortunately the paint sprayer that 'R' purchased from ebay didn't work so he went back to the roller. I think it looks better already!
After getting the walls painted 'R' decided to go ahead and get a coat of paint on the floor. We swept and moved everything out of the way and then realized we didn't have an extension handle for the roller. Then I had a great idea why not use the broom? Well that is what we did we swept the paint onto the floor with an old o'cedar broom. It left great texture on the floor. The process was just what I needed today after working on my Dad's finances and trying to finagle my schedule to get him to his doctors appointments next week. Over the last few months I have really turned to art for relaxation and comfort. Anyway after two coats 'R' had the coverage he wanted and I had the texture I like. A match made in heaven. Stay tuned for more updates on the renovation. Next week I think we will work on a dropped ceiling.

Reflections

2. What was your favorite pastime as a child? Did you prefer doing it alone or with someone else?

Growing up by the ocean gave me the opportunity to spend a lot of time down at the beach. This was my favorite pastime as a child, teenager and young adult. I loved walking on the rocks and swimming in the icy cold water. Exploring the tidal pools would keep me busy for hours. I was happy to be at the beach alone or with family and friends. In the summer I would be on the beach with friends every day. Swimming, sunning and enjoying the long lazy days of summer. During the other seasons I would walk the beach alone or just sit and watch and listen to the surf. It was always restorative for me to sit and listen and just be by the ocean. On foggy days I would always have the beach to myself. How I loved to walk through the fog as it rolled off the ocean. There was something almost mystical about walking through a thick fog. I loved how it felt on my skin and in my lungs. The beach and ocean has always been my favorite place.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Vacation! Yipee!!

Today is the official start of spring vacation! I am so excited to have some time off from school. It will give me a chance to regroup and gear up for the last few weeks of school. I am also excited to have time at home with my own children. Not only that but we will also be able to spend a little time visiting with my Dad and bringing him to his appointments that were scheduled for this week. I guess vacation won't be all fun and games but that is OK.

This afternoon was interesting. Moms out there will most likely relate to what I'm about to share Both of my children 'N' who is 8 and 'n' who is 6 went to a playdate together at a home of a family that I am just beginning to get to know. This is the first time that 'n' has been dropped off with someone who isn't a family member or family friend. In the past she has had difficulty separating from me, but today was a different story. She didn't even blink when I left. I was the one who didn't want to leave. When I got home the house felt so empty. I guess this is just signs of things to come. We had the opportunity to host this playdate but when given the choice 'N' decided to go to his friends house. This left me with bittersweet feelings. I'm happy that he is secure enough that he will venture out and spend time at a new friends home, but I was hoping that he would want everyone to come to our home. We will have his friends over on vacation and he is looking forward to having them over but for some reason today left me feeling unsettled. It's interesting because I often look forward to having some time alone but when given the opportunity I couldn't relax and enjoy myself. I guess it is something that I will have
think about.

I'm happy to say that my little art studio space will be getting it's first renovation over the weekend. 'R' is planning to use his new paint sprayer to paint the gray cement walls and floor a bright white. I think this will give the space a fresh feeling. We will be purchasing shelving and hopefully hiring a plumber to put in the plumbing for a large sink. In my mind I am picturing a large deep white sink. Last weekend we cleaned the space so the progress will continue.

Hopefully during vacation I will be able to carve out some time to work on some silk fusion. I still have quite a bit of the soy silk roving and I would like to order some more natural soy silk from http://www.joggles.com/. 'n' and I enjoyed using the liquid watercolors to die the soy silk fibers. I'd like to use the final material to make some fabric charms to hopefully use to make some beautiful teacher gifts for the end of the year.

Well I'm off to spend a few moments with my children before bedtime.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Challenges

This week is flying! It has been an exhausting few days. The week before spring vacation is usually a challenge however this week things have changed for me at my school. I have been moved into a class in the afternoons that has been experiences a lot of turmoil. It is a small group, however several of the children have significant needs requiring one to one supervision. So now we have three teachers in the class and each of us will be helping/shadowing a different child each day. The reactions and behaviors these children exhibit are quite intense and leave all the teachers exhausted by the end of the day. The level of need in this classroom is different than in a typical classroom. We suspect that the children we are helping may very well be on the spectrum. I have been trying to find out more information about Autism and how early childhood educators can help children and families managing life with Autism Spectrum issues. Our goal is to get through the week and then come up with a strategy to get through the last few weeks of school after vacation. The morning group has been very busy as well. This is the first time in a long time that I feel truly drained by work at the end of the day. I will be happy to be off for a week, at least off from school. I have several appointments scheduled for the children and my Dad over vacation. It will be a busy time, but busy in a different way. I just need to get through tomorrow and then VACATION. Wish me luck!
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