Our 22nd homeschool year is drawing to a close. We are down to making sure the last assignments are complete for online classes, getting the last few math lessons done, and finishing up the books we're reading. On Saturday, Bethany and Shelley will take their SAT's and since we're not doing other standardized testing this year, that's just about it. Summer calendar is already filling up with vacation, basketball camp, home remodeling/redecorating projects, and other activities. Makes me tired thinking about it, but then I keep reminding myself that "rest" doesn't always mean inactivity...many times it's restful just to change the kinds of activity and we'll certainly be doing that!
CJ will have several tests and appointments this week...a few more steps in the road to finding the answers to her nearly-two-year ordeal. Your prayers are appreciated.
Family Dinner Night (Tues.) this week will be "Dip Night." We love doing this! No, it's not going to win us any nutrition awards but then we don't do it often. We get loads of chips, crackers, etc. and dive into pots of Rotel/Cheese Dip, 1-2-3 Dip (I'll post it sometime), Spinach Artichoke Dip, Guacamole, etc. and we make a meal of just that. Fun, fun! And since my week is going to be full, full, it'll be perfect! FDN's still make us a little sad with the Slaughters gone. Having just 16-18 people here doesn't feel the same ;-(
I found out this week that I'll have surgery on my left leg on the 25th of May. The operation will be an attempt to stabilize the interaction/friction between my femur and the stem of the hip implant. I'm a little nervous about this, but that is mostly because I don't want to face the possibility that it won't help or that it could even aggravate things. The operation itself is much less invasive than what I've been through before and doesn't require nearly the same recovery and rehab time. My goal is to be fully functional again by our July trip to Red River!
This morning there was a feature on Fox News with Jeff Zaslow, the author of the article I highlighted in my post on the phenomenon of praise overdose in the workplace earlier this month. He's been a busy guy since the article appeared, and it seems there's been a backlash against his observations. All over the internet and other media, I've seen Gen Y'ers whining that they're not really whining, they're just misunderstood. Whatever.
Also this week I ran across an article exploring the left's lack of intellectual honesty in explaining the SCOTUS ruling on partial birth abortion. Seems it's all the "fault" of the Catholics on the court! Well, compared to the stands of the Protestants in the black robes, the Catholics look pretty darned principled to me...thank God for 'em. Hey, some of my best friends are Catholics :-)
Well, I have a serious backlog in returning emails, so I'm off to catch up on that. Have a great Sunday evening!
TALLAHASSEE - A woman seeking an abortion in Florida would have to wait 24 hours before going through with it under a bill passed Friday by the state House. The measure could also make it more likely that she would see an ultrasound image of the fetus before undergoing the procedure.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trey Traviesa, R-Orlando, would require abortion providers perform ultrasounds before almost all abortions, instead of just those in the second or third trimesters as required by current law.
Viewing the images would be optional, but women would have to sign waivers stating they declined the doctors' offers to do so.
Is it just me, or does the world seem upside down? "You are welcome to go ahead and kill your baby, but would you just wait 24 hours? Also, we want the abortionist to do an ultrasound, and we'd like you to look at it, and if you don't want to that's okay, but just sign a statement that the doctor offered you the chance."
Last month we refinanced our house. We closed on a Thursday but the new loan did not disburse until Monday, because in Texas the consumer has a 3-day right of rescission (defined as "the act of rescinding; the cancellation of a contract and the return of the parties to the positions they would have had if the contract had not been made; rescission may be brought about by decree or by mutual consent"). So even though all the papers were signed and in order, they sat on ice over a long weekend while we made sure we really did want a lower interest rate and several thousand dollars of equity for home improvements.
However, even though in Florida you have three days to back out of an encyclopedia purchase, you can wake up in the morning, decide to kill your baby and get it done before lunch. Your baby has no right of rescission. And you, if you acted in a moment of panic or threat or despair, have no ability to rescind either your decision or the act.
Unfortunately, there's not much chance that even these meager measures will be adopted:
The House may be as far as that idea goes this year, however, with the waiting period and the effort to require more pre-abortion ultrasounds unlikely to be accepted by the Senate.
The Senate hasn't considered either the waiting period or the ultrasound idea, and even backers of the proposal have acknowledged the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, which is a generally more moderate body.
Apparently, a contract with a living human being isn't as binding as one with a shady encyclopedia salesman...
House OKs bill requiring waiting time, ultrasound before abortions
Today, our friends Jeremiah and Lora packed up Ellie along with her few belongings and took her with them to their "ranch" a few hours from here. This has been in the works for a long time but details didn't come together for the transfer until this week. In her new home she will have lots of room, three kids to love her, and three other dogs to keep her company.
It was hard saying goodbye, not just because she's a good dog but because she's the last living part of the Slaughters that was still with us. But we thank our dear friends for taking Ellie to what will amount to dog heaven and helping us to close this chapter with a smile...
UPDATE on our online classes this year, for those of you who are considering this option for next school year.
Overall, we've had a good experience this year, and we'll probably repeat next year with a few more classes. Now that we know what works and what doesn't, hopefully our decisions will be made more intelligently and be the best use of our time and dollars.
As I've mentioned before, we worked with two different virtual schools this year, and they were about as different as they could possibly be. Each had strengths and weaknesses and we're glad for both experiences. In general, here are the pros and cons.
- If you need help with teaching, this is a way to get it without a trip in the van.
- The dress code is pretty lenient :-)
- Scheduling is easy with the larger schools. For all but the most obscure classes there are usually multiple "sections" each week, so you can pick the one that fits best with your other commitments. (But you have to stick with the same one each week.)
- Your kids will learn the meaning of deadlines, firmer ones than you may have in your homeschool.
- The standards are pretty exacting, but they're well delineated and give the kids a taste of what college requirements will be like.
- The instructors are very responsive by email.
- The students get to have some interaction by chat feature, but it's monitored so it doesn't get out of hand. There are also student forums for discussion of specific topics.
- It's a great option for middle and high school subjects in large families where the little ones are still requiring a lot of hands-on time from the parents.
- Your student will become aware quickly that you aren't the most "unreasonable" teacher on the planet :-)
- There's a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the course.
- Grades from outside entities, even a few, look good on a transcript.
- The variety of courses, especially from The Potter's School, is INCREDIBLE.
- The deadlines can be brutal. There is usually a 10% markdown for a late assignment, and this means even one minute past the deadline. Another 10% for the next day. While it's helpful to teaching kids about high standards, it can be hard on family life when there are crises or conflicts. PLAN AHEAD.
- The conferencing software is still VERY "buggy" and persnickety in which hardware it refuses to work with. At times I've pulled my hair out.
- I don't think there's enough audio work to make a foreign language class optimal. Doesn't mean it hasn't had some value, but this is one better taken in person, IMO. Latin would be the exception.
- If you miss a section, you can't sit in on another one the same week.
- It's expensive. Not much more than one of the co-ops we'd been involved in, but still a huge chunk of money for each class.
- There's a huge learning curve the first semester in how each instructor wants things submitted, formatted, etc. and requires a huge amount of parental input until the student is up to speed.
- Don't try an online class for a child younger than 12 (this was really a stretch, albeit a good one, for our 7th grader). And don't even consider it if your child isn't already a moderately proficient typist. Concentrate in 6th grade on keyboarding skills if it hasn't come naturally already.
- Make sure, well before the first class day, that everything, including audio, is working as it should be.
- Review what you know about your year. If you know you'll be on an extended vacation during the academic year or that your child will be spending several weeks with Grandma, don't try it this year. Missing two or three classes is deadly when they only meet once a week.
- Keep a copy of the syllabus for yourself and refer to it often. I made myself "tickler" reminders by email when major assignments and papers were going to be due. I forwarded these to the kids' email accounts so they'd be aware that *I* was aware it was coming up. (If you need help with something like this, contact me :-) )
- Get on good terms with the instructor early in the year (or before the year begins.) It pays off.
- I wouldn't try online classes, especially for more than one child, in a home with only one computer if there are other family members who need the computer for other uses.
(I do not know who wrote this originally. If you want to come forward and claim it, I will be glad to credit you!)
Only the girlfriends will understand this..... But this is what takes us so long in the bathroom.
When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied.
Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall.
You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants! The dispenser for the modern "seat covers" (invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there was one, but there isn't - so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume "The Stance."
In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance."
To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, "Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!" Your thighs shake more.
You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your purse. (Oh yeah, the purse around your neck, that now, you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail .
Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet. "Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT.
It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late.
Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper--not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try. You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, "You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get."
By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl that sprays a fine mist of water that covers your butt and runs down your legs and into your shoes. The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.
At this point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.
You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting.
You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you NEEDED it??) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman's hand and tell her warmly, "Here, you just might need this."
As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used, and left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?"
This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with a public restrooms (rest??? you've GOT to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked questions about why women go to the restroom in pairs. It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door!
hat tip: Debby
(And don't miss the photo of my youngest granddaughter at the very bottom...)
...to indict the proverbial ham sandwich.
I woke up this morning and was certain I was in Through the Looking Glass country. This story, which is being parodied in lots of places, needs no parody. It is a caricature of what our country is becoming, but sadly the caricature is reality.
'Hate incident' in city
, Thursday, April 19, 2007 LEWISTON - One student has been suspended and more disciplinary action could follow a possible hate crime at Lewiston Middle School, Superintendent Leon Levesque said Wednesday.
On April 11, a white student placed a ham steak in a bag on a lunch table where Somali students were eating. Muslims consider pork unclean and offensive.
The act reminded students of a man who threw a pig's head into a Lewiston mosque last summer.
The school incident is being treated seriously as "a hate incident," Levesque said. Lewiston police are investigating, and the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence is working with the school to create a response plan.
"We've got some work to do to turn this around and bring the school community back together again," Levesque said.
Okay, rewind this please? A middle school prank, immature by definition, is now a HATE CRIME?
Hold on just a minute. Maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't an act have to be a crime FIRST, before it can be a hate crime? And putting a brown bagged ham sandwich "near" someone, even if done maliciously, is a crime? Please, tell me it ain't so. Because if it is, there's a whole bunch of us who are felons many times over from our childhood on.
(I will admit here that my mind is boggled by the whole concept of "hate crimes" anyway. I think here one of the unintended consequences is that a crime committed by a homosexual on another homosexual, or black-on-black crime, for instance, doesn't get punished as harshly as "inter-group" crime. I mean, if we want to reserve the stiffest sentences for the really bad sensitivity-breachers, then we have to tone down the punishment for the exact same crimes when they're committed inside one's own group. Crime is crime, and we should have standards for punishment of the severity of a crime, not the motivation.)
Okay, so true to my habit of seeing where this goes, let me ask this question: How CLOSE to the Somali students would the ham sandwich have to be in order for this to qualify as a hate crime? Two feet? Six feet? How about fifteen feet away and they could smell it and THAT was offensive? How about if the students aren't Muslim, but they're vegetarians and they're offended by meat of any kind and some mean middle schooler pushes his burger toward them? Do vegetarians qualify for victi-crat status?
Oh dear. Well how about if your middle schooler tauntingly waves a piece of candy at a classmate who is diabetic?
But unfortunately none of these professional do-gooders tend to think of the unintended consequences (to say nothing of the absurdity of the intended ones) before embarking on a crusade to get people to be more "sensitive." Now we're resorting to calling old-fashioned meanness and even just immaturity a hate crime. I can nearly guarantee you that if there's anything you dislike intensely, okay, even mildly, you can find someone to charge with a hate crime for subjecting you to it. Actually, if anyone makes you feel you don't "fit in," it's bound to be actionable:
"We didn't know what was in this bag," the boy said. "One of my friends reached inside it. It was a big ham steak. There were five of us at the table, all Somali. It was intended for us."
The boy said he looked up at students he thought were his friends. "I felt angered, offended."
He suddenly felt like he was alone. "At the school the next day, I didn't feel safe. I felt like everybody was against me. Before I felt like I fit in, and everything was normal."
He began to think white students didn't like him, and the act was their way of letting him know.
Well I say, then go get a lawyer! You have a right not to be angered or feel like you don't fit in! It's your right to feel that "everything is normal." And it's certainly your right not to think other people don't like you. I mean, what are we, barbarians?
As a matter of fact....just as soon as I get through sauteing this pork, I'm going to find me a lawyer myself. I am personally offended and outraged by the purveyors of polical correctness. I'm angered and it makes me feel "not normal." Let's see...Persons Offended by Enforced Politeness in Society. Think that'll fly? Get within six feet of me spewing your PC drivel and I'll sue!
Mary Kay Raisinberry lipstick.
eBay. Today I finally won TWO of my favorite Tupperware 32-cup "Thatsa Bowl" bowls...in Chili Red--maybe they'll match my new wall??? This is the BEST bowl EVER for bread-making, but some teenager who lives under my roof took my bowl to some teenage thing where teenagers ate chips out of it and I never got it back. Well now I have TWO, and people are going to have to sign them out IN BLOOD.
Cheez-its and iced tea. Cheez-its and hot tea. Cheez-its and Diet Coke. Shoot, Cheez-its. Get your own box.
Tapestry of Grace. Even though as our year winds down we've only utilized about a third of what's there, what a great third! Next year we'll do a little more, I hope, but even what we've used has been fabulous. If you're waist-deep in curriculum decisions for the fall, please take a good look at TOG and talk to some folks who've used it. And any of you in NW San Antonio who are interested in doing a kind of informal co-op for Year One, email me. We might be able to work something out :-)
When the IRS turns out to be wrong.
Peggy Noonan. But then you knew that.
Knowing that we're getting new air conditioning. I will SO not miss doing without it for a week in the summer when the old system decides to act up. We moved into this brand new house in '01, and we got through only ONE summer with no repairs. It was a cheap, totally inadequate system and now requires replacements that will cost us almost what our first house cost in 1976. But I'm not complaining. Not in this part of the country.
My painting contractor :-)
The new pans I bought at Sam's. I love restaurant quality stainless steel bakeware, and I found a twin pack of 19 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 2 1/2 baking/lasagna pans that are going to be perfect for cooking for the crowd at Red River and also for church dinners.
Paypal. It just makes me feel so efficient.
When migraines go away. Any minute now, right?
Shelley, back row far right
After you've read Steyn, DON'T MISS THIS STORY! Not only is it a great story, it thoroughly makes Steyn's point!
Finally, speaking of insight...my favorite essayist, Peggy Noonan, is at her all-time best in the wake of national tragedies. Sadly, her comments on the responses to the Va. Tech shooting make too much sense to be embraced by our politically correct society. She is just the best.
So...the verdict is in and the turkey was wonderful! Almost felt like a holiday! For me, a dark meat lover, it was not as great as it would have been with a nice plump roaster chicken, so next time I'll take a little more care to find the perfect one for the slow cooker. The cream sauce made a perfect gravy and will make a delicious base for the soup I'll make later in the week. And I squeezed two garlic cloves onto my sourdough bread and I have no description for how heavenly THAT was!
(The kids thought it was a holiday not because of the turkey but because I cooked fresh green beans!)
A Century of Broadway was a rousing success, all three nights! I got to be there for two of the three and would have been back last night if the week's schedule hadn't finally caught up with my body. Until I saw it all together, I hadn't even realized what an ambitious undertaking it was, even though I worked on a lot of the music with the kids. Of course, OUR kids were the very best ones...an assertion that I'm quite sure is being made in about fifty families today :-) The bad thing is that the company did not have rights to video the production other than one copy for archival purposes, and there was no flash photography permitted. My non-flash pictures were all pretty blurry, so we'll be relying on shots taken pre- and post-production. I'll post a few in the coming week as they trickle in.
(I'm happy to report that the kids, who didn't get in from their cast party until nearly 2am, were all up and at church this morning LOL)
So now it's time to get back to the real school year. Wait...what was that again? Well, whatever it is, we're returning to it for a few weeks before we finish for the summer...
It's also time for me to get a handle on the finances again. I've been so lazy the past couple of years, and I've really let it become a mess. To regain some discipline, not necessarily in spending but in keeping TRACK of what we're spending and making some better decisions as far as savings, investments, etc., I'm going back to Mvelopes. If you don't know about this service, I'd recommend that you go and read about it on their site and view the demo. They offer a 30-day free trial, which is plenty to get a feel for whether it could be useful for your family. I'll be devoting some time to getting back on track while The Papa is in Australia next week...
Everyone give a nice shoutout to my newest sidebar link, the Longenblog! And check out Tiffany's pregnancy ticker--she is almost there!
We would all appreciate prayers for Annie. She is now 7 weeks pregnant (with baby #2) and she has taken a real dive into pregnancy nausea. Last time she lost nearly 20% of her body weight in the first trimester, and we are so hoping and praying that this doesn't happen again. But...she had a wonderfully healthy daughter, so God protected that little one in those delicate months even though we were afraid Annie wasn't taking in enough nourishment to sustain a flea. Please pray for an easing of the nausea and for the emotional strength to get through this time.
It's been a very cool spring here, for which I'm quite thankful...we've probably saved $500 in air conditioning costs over a normal spring. But now I'm finally getting the bug to go buy porch plants and some other things to dress up the front porch for the summer. I'm not a big-time gardener, but once a year or so I enjoy getting my hands into potting soil and putting together some pots of geraniums and impatiens to liven things up. 'Course here in San Antonio they've usually bitten the dust by late June, but oh well. I've just learned not to spend too much on them!
Well, now for a nice Sunday afternoon nap...Kristen, HOW many more months until football????
CROCKPOT 40 CLOVE GARLIC CHICKEN
-1 large broiler/fryer whole chicken (as big as your crock will fit)-thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley-salt-fresh ground pepper-40 cloves UNPEELED garlic-2 stalks celery, washed and cut into 3 inch pieces-baguette or french bread slices, toasted
Place the celery slices on the bottom of the crock. Season the chicken in and out with salt, pepper, and generously with the herbs. Place on top of the celery. Place the cloves all around and on top of the chicken. Cover and cook on low 8 hours.
Remove chicken and celery to serving platter. Remove garlic to small bowl.
-1/4 cup cream-2 - 3 tablespoons cornstarch-salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Skim the fat off the liquid in the crockpot. Turn to high. Add the cream. Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water until smooth and add to liquid. Stir, cover and heat until thickened. You can pour some on the chicken and put the rest in a gravy boat.
But...one chicken doesn't go very far around Granny's House, even a big one. So I bought the largest (small) turkey that will fit in my 6 1/2 quart slow cooker. I'm going to set my alarm for 3am to start it cooking. When I put it on the night before, chicken usually turns to flannel and I'm assuming the turkey would do the same. But waiting until I get up in the morning just doesn't give it long enough to cook for a midday dinner. Hence the middle of the night start time.
Being a garlic lover, the idea of 40 cloves of garlic does not freak me out as it obviously did some of the commenters on Susanne's blog! But we'll see if the fam agrees. Update tomorrow on the Snippets :-)
Okay, we're making headway.
The green is chosen.
The beiges/khakis for the family room chosen. Almost.
The reds for the focal wall in the kitchen narrowed down considerably.
Trim color chosen.
Our painting contractor is nervous about changing colors where there are no corners.
Since he's my son-in-law, he has to get over it.
I started to put this all in one paragraph, but it makes me feel better to spread it out, as if the accomplishment is greater than it probably really is :-)
I'm going to revisit a topic that we've touched on before, this time in a slightly different context. The past quarter century has seen major changes in the way parents, educators, day-care workers, health care providers, and sports leaders have related to the children in their charge. One of the most visible of these is the emphasis on praise. We had lots of good comments when we discussed this before, including a seasoned mother and grandmother encouraging us to think about balance in how we approach decisions about praising our children.
Now let's look at the entrance of this "most-praised generation" into the workplace and how the corporate world has been forced to adjust to younger workers' "needs" (and demands) for constant feedback and affirmation. From Jeffrey Zaslow in today's Wall Street Journal:
LOVE unconditionally. PRAISE specifically.
I encourage you to read the whole article. It's full of fascinating examples (and not all negative, I might add) of how the business world is adapting to the changes in how Gen-X'ers and Gen-Y'ers feel about themselves and demand that others constantly reinforce those feelings. Some of these adjustments are ones that all of us would enjoy and benefit from, such as thank you notes from a boss after a particularly grueling week or a well-executed presentation or set of meetings. But the extent to which many businesses are having to celebrate normal activities in the office or store or factory would be amusing if it weren't so disturbing.
You, You, You -- you really are special, you are! You've got everything going for you. You're attractive, witty, brilliant. "Gifted" is the word that comes to mind.Childhood in recent decades has been defined by such stroking -- by parents who see their job as building self-esteem, by soccer coaches who give every player a trophy, by schools that used to name one "student of the month" and these days name 40.
Now, as this greatest generation grows up, the culture of praise is reaching deeply into the adult world. Bosses, professors and mates are feeling the need to lavish praise on young adults, particularly twentysomethings, or else see them wither under an unfamiliar compliment deficit.
The 1,000-employee Scooter Store Inc., a power-wheelchair and scooter firm in New Braunfels, Texas, has a staff "celebrations assistant" whose job it is to throw confetti -- 25 pounds a week -- at employees. She also passes out 100 to 500 celebratory helium balloons a week. The Container Store Inc. estimates that one of its 4,000 employees receives praise every 20 seconds, through such efforts as its "Celebration Voice Mailboxes."
And what's a forward-thinking company to do? Opting out of the praise machine may not be an option:
In fact, throughout history, younger generations have wanted praise from their elders. As Napoleon said: "A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon." But when it comes to praise today, "Gen Xers and Gen Yers don't just say they want it. They are also saying they require it," says Chip Toth, an executive coach based in Denver. How do young workers say they're not getting enough? "They leave," says Mr. Toth.
All of this, however, does create a dilemma for professors and business leaders who are averse to handing out praise for praise's sake:
So...to bring this back to the world of the children and grandchildren we're currently raising and loving. Doesn't my child need to know that he is loved, appreciated, admired?
At the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, marketing consultant Steve Smolinsky teaches students in their late 20s who've left the corporate world to get M.B.A. degrees. He and his colleagues feel handcuffed by the language of self-esteem, he says. "You have to tell students, 'It's not as good as you can do. You're really smart, and can do better.'"
Mr. Smolinsky enjoys giving praise when it's warranted, he says, "but there needs to be a flip side. When people are lousy, they need to be told that." He notices that his students often disregard his harsher comments. "They'll say, 'Yeah, well...' I don't believe they really hear it."
In the end, ego-stroking may feel good, but it doesn't lead to happiness, says Prof. Twenge, the narcissism researcher, who has written a book titled "Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled -- and More Miserable than Ever Before." She would like to declare a moratorium on "meaningless, baseless praise," which often starts in nursery school. She is unimpressed with self-esteem preschool ditties, such as the one set to the tune of "Frère Jacques": "I am special/ I am special/ Look at me..."
My answer is that we need to think about this in two categories. I want to LOVE my child UNconditionally. "You, my little one, are wonderful because God made you and He gave you to me and I couldn't possibly love you any more than I already do. No matter what you do, where you go, whether you delight me or disappoint me, I will always love you." No strings, no conditions, expressed or implied.
Praise is somewhat different. Praise needs to (most of the time) be accomplishment- or growth-based. "I'm so proud of the improvements you've made in how you respond to disappointment. Remember last year when you pouted all day long because you had to miss the picnic? I know that missing this campout hurts, but what a difference in your reaction this time!" Or, "Wow! That is the most realistic drawing of an animal I've ever seen you do! Good job! Such progress you're making!"
I don't want to imply that we should never give general praise or tell our children that they're intelligent or have a great sense of humor or that they're good writers, etc. There are times when I believe they need to get a sense of how we view them as a whole. But if we can't back that up with specific examples, we're not only wasting our breath, we're inflating their perceptions of themselves and we may also be setting them up to eventually distrust the compliments that other people pay them.
In general, then, I encourage you (and me--I'm still doing this!) to LOVE unconditionally and PRAISE specifically. Hopefully we can raise a generation of citizens and workers who appreciate being appreciated but who don't require a gallon of confetti for showing up on time :-)
Hat tip: Steph K.
Am I the only one stunned and disturbed at the news that Mary Winkler, convicted this morning of voluntary manslaughter in the death of her minister husband, could manage to escape serving even one day in prison? There are lots of things that disturb me about this case and about the defense strategy, but now this woman, who at the very least has a self-control problem that killed the father of her children, may immediately return home to the 9-year old daughter who testified against her in court. Does that worry anyone?
The next three days are the culmination of the kids' year with Crystal Sea Drama Company, this year remembering "A Century of Broadway" with close to 50 songs, beautifully costumed, choreographed, and directed. The bits that I've seen, including the show-stopping number from A Chorus Line, prove that we have a fabulous performance in store!
I'm sure the kids will want to sleep for a week when all this is over, and our vehicles will want a rest, too, from all the driving back and forth. But it's been a good year, one to remember forever. I'm sure there will be plenty of pics on Shelley's blog and I might even get one on here after the weekend.
So, to the cast I say, "Good..." OOOPS, I nearly did it!
NEVER SAY GOOD LUCK ON OPENING NIGHT!!!
Break a leg, kids!
There is, of course, no appeal for this decision and so it will cause howls of protest and anguish from those who see it not as a protection of human rights but as a "chipping away" at Roe v. Wade. We can only hope.
May this be just the beginning of a turn in the nation's conscience and a recognition of the rights of a child on either side of the birth canal.
UPDATE: Now you REALLY need to go over there and read all the comments and see some real creativity in action. I disavow any responsibility for the
I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?
Unlike some people who have experienced the loss of an animal, I did not believe, even for a moment, that I would never get another. I did know full well that there were just too many animals out there in need of homes for me to take what I have always regarded as the self-indulgent road of saying the heartbreak of the loss of an animal was too much ever to want to go through with it again.
To me, such an admission brought up the far more powerful admission that all the wonderful times you had with your animal were not worth the unhappiness at the end.
Britain is facing an abortion crisis because an unprecedented number of doctors are refusing to be involved in carrying out the procedure. The exodus of doctors prepared to perform the task is a nationwide phenomenon that threatens to plunge the abortion service into chaos, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has warned.Who'd have thought that abortion mills would become scarce, in England or anywhere else, because of pressure from other OB/GYNs? But peer pressure can be a powerful tool...
More than 190,000 abortions are carried out each year in England and Wales and the NHS is already struggling to cope. Four out of five abortions are paid for by the NHS but almost half of those are carried out in the private sector, paid for by the NHS.
The reluctance of NHS staff, both doctors and nurses, to be involved has led to a doubling of abortions paid for by the NHS, which are carried out in the private or charitable sector, from 20 per cent of the total in 1997 to almost 40 per cent.
Distaste at performing terminations combined with ethical and religious convictions has led to a big increase in "conscientious objectors" who request exemption from the task, the RCOG says. A key factor is what specialists call "the dinner party test". Gynaecologists who specialise in fertility treatment creating babies for childless couples are almost universally revered - but no one boasts of being an abortionist.
As a result, after decades of campaigning, anti-abortion organisations may be on the point of achieving their objective by default. Repeated efforts to tighten the law have failed and public opinion remains firmly in support, but the growing number of doctors refusing to do the work means there may soon not be enough prepared to carry out terminations to meet demand.
Richard Warren, honorary secretary of the RCOG and a consultant obstetrician in Norfolk, said: "In the past, abortion was an accepted part of the workload. People did not like it but they accepted that it was in the best interests of the woman concerned. Now people are given the option of opting out of the bits of the job they don't like doing and if two or three say 'No thanks', it makes it easier for others to follow."
Yeah, well we can always hope.
Labels: Social Observation
Oh God, pour out Your grace...
Recently, Laura and Lora have emailed asking about science curricula. I've got my favorites, but I'd like to hear from you--what are you using, what have you used, what bombed? What do you like for 1st-3rd grades, 4th-8th grades, and high school?
Come on, give it up for the science-seekers among us!
Please, RUN! Maybe a Republican could actually win!
DENVER - Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) reopened the door to a possible 2008 presidential campaign during a book signing in Denver and then again, in an interview with 9NEWS.The 2004 Democratic nominee told a crowd of more than 250 at the Tattered Cover bookstore in lower downtown Denver that he had no desire to endorse any candidate for the office right now, choosing to wait to see how they addressed the issue of global warming.
Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, are finishing up a nationwide tour to promote their book, "This Moment on Earth," which highlights successful efforts at the local level to better the environment.
Afterwards, while answering a question from a viewer on the program YOUR SHOW about why he chose not to run, Kerry said he had decided it wasn't the right time.
"Could that change?" Kerry said. "It might. It may change over years. It may change over months. I can't tell you, but I've said very clearly I don't consider myself out of it forever."
The Papa is preaching a series of sermons on prayer, this morning focusing on David's prayer of humility and praise following his disappointment at not being able to build a temple for God. Oh, may I always have his heart posture in the face of disappointment...
Okay, so I browsed through thousands of paint chips this afternoon. And looked at carpet samples. Did you know that after exactly 33 minutes of looking at pieces of carpet, they supernaturally morph into the same piece? Yep, same color, too. Well, except for the hot pink ones. Those made me look in the mirror to check and see if it was still the 60's.
I came home for a short rest before getting out again to La Madeleine (just saying the words in a French accent lowers my blood pressure about fifteen points...) to have a Sunday supper with Aubrey, CJ, Candace, Tiffany, and Tami. To add some "color" to the conversation, I pulled out my paint chip samples, whereupon Aubrey immediately grabs them and decides which of them she is confiscating. She looked at some of them with expressions that *I* reserve for mentions of Beef Tongue Fricasee (yes, Tiff, I'm lookin' at you, honey) and declared that I would not even be allowed to conSIDer a few of those choices. What? I mean, how objectionable can "Garnet" be, huh? She wanted a red wall, I picked a dozen reds, and I'm immediately censured for Garnet. Stay tuned.
Gram and Pop, aka The Parents of The Papa, arrive this week to join us for the Thursday evening production of "A Century of Broadway." It's always a treat to have them around and the kids are thrilled to death that they care enough to make the drive for this special occasion.
Daily rehearsals for the production resumed today after a two day rest. Eight hours a day can wear kids, not to mention their leaders and parents, OUT. Sleeping late helps, as does forbearance for the irritants that become bigger than life when you're adrenalin-pumped and sleep-deprived. I keep telling myself, just a few more days and it will all be memories...
We're having another unseasonably cool weekend, trying to soak it in before the coming sauna. It's been a nice, though not spectacular, year for the bluebonnets and the rain has brought out all the accompanying gorgeous green. It's the best time of the year to have all the blinds open.
I hereby repent of having started listening to the audio version of Water for Elephants. I will not be finishing it. Nope.
Some of you know it's been an extremely painful 72 hours for our family. But in times like this we feel the value of our relationships and the refuge of our home. God is faithful.
Unfortunately, color decisions paralyze me.
Maybe it's my personality...maybe it's all my years of living in base housing and rental homes where color was not an option; even when we owned our own home we had to think about selling when we PCS'd and so it was easier just to live with neutrals.
On the other hand, I am the kind of person who looks at someone else's creative color choices and thinks, "I LOVE that!" Then it comes time to make some decision about a wall or a room or a whole floor in my own house and I become catatonic. What if I choose the wrong shade? What if it clashes with something else that I love? What if I end up hating it? What if we had to put the house on the market and the realtor says it would bring the value of our home down by $20K? AAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!
I am determined, this time, to shed my history of fear and remember that there is no wall that can't be painted over! A few bucks, a couple of hours, and I can return it to its former shade or try a new one. Right?
THEN HOW COME CHOOSING COLORS IS SO HARD FOR ME?!
Oh, I love the paint chip aisle. I love the PROCESS of choosing colors and going home laden with folders, cards, and brochures. I love taping chips on the walls and looking at them in different lights and shadows. I love painting a piece of board and propping it up to see what it will look like with the furniture.
What I hate is making that final decision, as in, "YES! THAT ONE!"
I am not a good visualizer. I will never again build a house, because I have to see it to know if I like it. I can't look at house plans and know whether I'll love it or hate it when it's done. And I'm that way with color, too. Only when it's up will I know if I made the right decision.
And speaking of house plans. Granny's House is nice in lots of ways...some interesting architectural features, opportunities for dramatic interplay between light and shadow, etc. But it was NOT built to be more than one color. It is full of rounded corners, archways, and strange transitions. A wall becomes a ceiling; one room flows into another; the line of sight blends rooms that I don't necessarily want to blend. There's no such thing in this house as painting the dining room one color, the kitchen another, the family room yet another. Every time I think I've made a decision about where to stop one color and start another, someone says, "Mom, you can't stop the green right there, look up!" And I look up and realize that the green would have to go all the way up the wall to the second floor, and I want that room a different color.
Thankfully, I have a daughter who loves color and who ISN'T afraid of some big changes. So today, she and I "walked" through every wall and corner and ceiling, discussing strategies for making the colors harmonize and flow.
And I've discovered some great tools on the paint sites, features that let you pick a photo of a room similar to yours, and then drag paint colors to different walls to see the effect. For a non-visualizer like me, this is an incredible help!
Still, my son-in-law, who is also going to be our painter, is going to have to be very patient with me, because some of these decisions are going to have to be made on the fly, as he rounds a corner with one color to hear me shout, "STOP! PUT THE BRUSH DOWN AND NO ONE GETS HURT!"
Just thinking about it today has made me as tired as if I were doing the painting myself.
And then there's the business of choosing new carpet once the painting is done.
Oh let's don't even go there.
Sorry. TTI. (Temporary Tabloid Insanity.)
Labels: Theater of the Absurd
I expected it would be a wild one...but it's turned out to be much more of a struggle than I had anticipated. A series of crises, large and small, physical and emotional, have left me worn to a place of hollowness.
Perhaps it's my age, but at times like these I recall my grandmother's words, "Heaven is going to be so sweet..."
You have enclosed me behind and before...
But in these days, God has whispered welcome comforts, painting the future with hope: the promise of a new life in the family...the gentle touch of my husband...the soothing, sheltering words of my friend...the pleasure of an upcoming trip to see my daughters and grandchildren.And I remember, too, that He has just given sweet days of rest and strength-gathering, a fortification against coming storms.
And then I remember the Psalmist's words
You have enclosed me behind and before
And laid Your hand upon me.Psalm 139:5
Is there a greater comfort than this--that the Rock of Ages is cleft...for ME? That He encloses me on every side with impregnable defenses? That His hand is laid on me, a promise that He will never leave me? There is no storm, no fire, no challenging week that can overcome that kind of protection!
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand!
This is the mommy of our next grandchild! Annie and Caleb announced today that they are expecting their second baby sometime right before Christmas! We are rejoicing that God will once again increase their family and ours and give us new little arms to hug our necks, and that Erin will get to be a big sister :-)
Congratulations to all three of you!
The Road to Regret is Paved with Good Intentions
Pursuant to House Bill 5032, effective October 25, 2006, the General Assembly will give money to public schools that enroll homeschoolers as part-time students. This gives them a powerful cash incentive to “reach out” to homeschoolers.
Nelson County is even more ambitious and aims to turn homeschools into public schools. Homeschoolers are being invited to join the “Nelson Academy of Virtual Learning” (NAVL). Public school at home programs like this cost far less than building-based education, but Nelson county public schools receive full per-pupil funding for every homeschoool student who joins the program.
Lest you think that the only issue is money, read on:
Their target is you—the free, independent homeschool families of Virginia. Their bait? Free books, and other incentives. And if they act like public school at home programs in other states, they will eventually try to entice you with free computers, Internet access, and musical instruments! If you take the bait, your children will automatically become public school students, and your right to control their education will vanish.
Even the state Department of Education is seeking to enroll homeschoolers via their “Virtual Advanced Placement School.” Advanced Placement (AP) courses can be excellent preparation for college. However, when a government agency controls the content of a particular AP course, the wishes of parents are disregarded.
Parents in Palmdale, California, recently learned a bitter lesson about losing control of their children’s education by placing them in public school. They filed suit against the public school system after their children were given a shocking “survey” containing questions of a sexual nature (e.g., asking children if they thought they were “touching their private parts too much”). In rebuffing the parents, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said, “....parents have no ... right ... to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students.” 427 F.3d 1197 (9th Cir. 2005).
Don't be fooled: there's no free (school) lunch. Take it from those who spent years in the trenches fighting for your right to teach your children as God leads you. When you're offered free books and supplies and laptop in exchange for your acquiescence to the government party line, weigh carefully why you began homeschooling and resolve to render to God what is God's.
A 24-year-old West Monroe woman is facing a charge of second-degree self abortion, a misdemeanor, and is accused of trying to kill her unborn baby, Oswego County Sheriff's deputies said.
The woman was arrested Monday. Deputies say that on April 4 the woman ingested several over-the-counter and prescription medications. Deputies say the woman was in her 13th week of the pregnancy at the time.
Imagine your confusion if you're this woman, having been brought up to believe that it's just a piece of tissue that you can flush away at any moment, and now you're accused of "killing an unborn baby"? Are we schizophrenic, or what?
Labels: Social Observation
If you are opening your refrigerator door today and seeing an 8 to 1 ratio of "decorated" Easter eggs to live people, here's a link that may give you some ideas for using them up.
I was delighted to see a recipe for Scalloped Eggs, a long-forgotten favorite from my childhood!
(And just in case, if you've got live people in your fridge, get 'em out :-) )
Wonder if the greenies will publicize this? Doesn't fit neatly in the package, I know...but I also believe they're honorable people, don't you?
Well thank you, thank you to the mystery person(s) who nominated Granny's House in two categories for the 2006 Homeschool Blog Awards! Go over there and look at all the great blogs that were nominated and cast your votes!
Who doesn't like to be a hero? Granny LOVES to be a hero, especially when she cooks! Well, yesterday we had a rather unconventional Easter dinner, one that reflects our regional tastes more than it does anything traditionally Easter. And in truth, even though the dish I made is akin to what around here is called "carnitas" (Spanish for "little meats"), it's pretty non-traditional even for that!
Anyway, the important thing is that this is one dish we have for Family Dinner Nights that makes EVERYONE happy. No one pouts, no one leaves much on their plates, and no one, even to the littlest grandson, leaves hungry. Only for Isaac, our grandson with pork allergy, do we have to fix a work-around, usually a quesadilla.So, in the interest of possibly making you a hero, too, I am posting my recipe for Carnitas Burritos and hope you'll find a time to serve it to a hungry, grateful crowd. I make TWO crockpots full, doubling the recipe, so that there are some leftovers even after the eighteen who partook yesterday!
A meal that just might make you a hero.
Granny's Carnitas Burritos
1 lb. dried pinto beans
1 3 1/2 lb pork loin roast, bone-in
2 4 oz cans chopped green chilies
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 teaspoon cumin
1 box (32oz) chicken broth
1 can (10 oz) Rotel tomatoes w/cilantro and lime
12-16 burrito-size flour tortillas
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
monterey jack cheese, shredded
Rinse and sort beans according to package directions.
Place pinto beans in a 6 qt. slow cooker; add roast and next 6 ingredients. Pour chicken broth evenly over top of roast.
Cover and cook on High 1 hour; reduce to Low and cook 9 hours. Or, cover and cook on High 6 hours. Remove bones and fat from roast; pull roast into large pieces with two forks. Stir in Rotel tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, on High 1 more hour or until liquid is slightly thickened..
Heat tortillas in oven or in tortilla warmer. Spoon about 1 cup mixture onto each tortilla using a slotted spoon. Add desired toppings. Fold one end over filling and then roll up to make a burrito-shaped packet.
This filling can also be used to make hearty nachos, tacos, or added to huevos rancheros. Just be sure to make enough for leftovers :-)
Our extended family and church family have been hit with a nasty virus, one that hangs on and hangs on and deceives us by thinking we're better and then slams with a relapse. So all of our Easter activities and preparations have been affected in some unpleasant ways...hopefully it's about run its course and we will all experience new life!
And life here gets crazy tomorrow. We're within two weeks of the kids' drama extravaganza, "A Century of Broadway." Tomorrow starts daily rehearsals, 2-10 pm (yes, you read that right) and the accompanying exhilarating and exhausting frenzy that includes sleeplessness, hyperactivity, and downright panic. I've learned over the last three years to allow for this in several ways. First, we adjust morning routines to allow for some sleeping in. Second we don't plan ANY other activities (one year I scheduled the older kids' SAT and were we ever sorry!); third, I plan the school year so that very little academic work needs to be accomplished; and fourth, I try to have lots of calorie dense foods around since they need extra energy and there's little prep time. So....here goes!
Granddaughter Abby was fascinated a few days ago when her mom showed her my post about her loving to take showers at my house. The next day, seeing mom back on the blog that she recognized, she wanted to know if Granny said anything about the sister she's waiting for. Since her mommy and daddy don't seem to know anything useful, she thought Granny surely would!
And big brother Josh--Granny just has to publicly brag on him. Have you ever known a seven-year-old who can drop and do 75 grown-up push-ups? (Could be more by today...he increases it every few days!) The kid is nothing short of amazing. He has a will of iron and muscles to match!
CJ goes to the neurologist tomorrow to review the results of last week's EEG's and discuss next steps with the new doctor. She's had a rough time ever since the tests but she's kept up quite a work schedule and made it to church this morning. Please pray that the long-sought answers will begin to be revealed.
One of my tasks for the next couple of days is to buckle down and familiarize myself with MS Office 2007, specifically the new version of Word. I can't believe all the new features and capabilities, but there's a big learning curve with this one and I've been very frustrated because I haven't taken the time to get smart on it. So I'll be lugging my laptop around so that in the down time (whatever that is) I can grab some minutes here and there to self-tutor.
The Papa is back from another Hawaii trip (okay, having just returned from a heavenly vacation myself, this time I won't complain) and brought back his usual array of treats: long-sleeve island T-shirts, macadamia nut popcorn and candy, hair accessories for the girls, and the special cheese he brings me each time. He'll be going back again in June, and I MIGHT just slip away with him for a few days...
Reading time, and even audiobook listening time, has been very short lately. The same ol' books are on my nightstand, looking up longingly for some company. I'm hoping to make them happy this week, too.
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ engulf your heart with the beauty and the hope of this Resurrection Day!
Sometimes you just have to do a double-take to make sure you're seeing things right. When I first saw this story I had two almost simultaneous impulses: it was either April Fools' Day, or I had accidentally pulled up The Onion or Scrappleface. But no, friends, this one is true. Much as I looked for it, no parody here:
Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.
Huh? Oh wait, let me turn down my iPod, the one that my husband paid GOOD money for. Maybe if he'd waited, the state would have bought all my kids one and I could have borrowed theirs for free!
Even the editorial page at the Detroit News, never a bastion of fiscal restraint, is aghast:
I think this year I'll wait before making the kids' Christmas lists. You never know. Texas has been pretty "progressive" lately.
The Democrats, led by their increasingly erratic speaker Andy Dillon of Redford Township, also pledge $100 million to make better downtowns.
Their plan goes beyond cluelessness. Democrats are either entirely indifferent to the idea that extreme hard times demand extreme belt tightening, or they are bone stupid. We lean toward the latter.
We say that because the House plan also keeps alive, again without specifics, the promise of tax hikes.
The range of options, according to Rep. Steve Tobocman, D-Detroit, includes raising the income tax, levying a 6 percent tax on some services, and taxing junk food and soda.
We wonder how financially strained Michigan residents will feel about paying higher taxes to buy someone else's kid an iPod.
And...if it goes through, my next order of business will be lobbying for a commensurate tax expenditure on the grownups:
Whaddaya think? Anyone want to walk the halls of Austin with me??