First, illness sucks. It especially sucks when the person who is ill is 7 years old and just spent three weeks recovering from surgery. That’s right. My DD, who had just started feeling better a week ago (after her pacemaker surgery) seems to have picked up a flu bug or something. She woke up last night at 2 a.m. complaining of stomach pains, was awake and asleep and awake and asleep the rest of the night, was determined to go to VBS today so she could have her planned play date with a school friend and then one hour into it showed up where I was volunteering crying about her stomach really hurting and having a headache. So, we came home. She took Tylenol, watched TV for about an hour and then slept for over three hours. She woke up feeling better, ate a small amount of yogurt and raspberries and a cracker, drank some water…and about an hour later threw all that up. 😦 She is now asleep again and I’m thinking no VBS tomorrow and probably a trip to the pedes. Poor thing. She can’t catch a break…I’m hoping it is a 24 hour thing and she will be all better tomorrow, but with her immune system, it could be a while.
Second, flies suck. We always have a problem with flies. We live backed up to a giant field where everyone walks their dogs and lets them poop and cats go to poop and probably kill things and then we have our own pooping dogs in our backyard. So, we have a crap ton of flies all the time in the summer. They seem especially bad right now. I hate them. I wish I felt comfortable just spraying the toxic fly spray all over our yard, but I don’t. So, I have a fly trap in our tree, which has trapped a lot of them already, but there are all those plus more flying around back there and subsequently into our house every time the backdoor is open, which is often with a puppy. Hate, hate, hate them. If anyone has any non-toxic suggestions, I would love to hear them. I tried the pennies in a bag of water last year and it was a fail. So, please, something other than that!
Third, because there has to be something that doesn’t suck on my list, bulldog puppies are hilarious. Our new puppy, Scout, is a character. Bulldog puppies are much less energetic than lab/shepherd mixes, but she is plenty entertaining in her own way. Often in the way she sleeps! And snores. What isn’t funny is her gaseous fumes she releases on us! But, she has been a great addition to our family zoo! For your enjoyment, a lovely picture of her and our Seven snuggled up together:
So, there you go – my Tuesday Truths this week. Back to worrying about my DD and hoping her illness goes away quickly!
I am a policy debate coach, so my interest in current events is personal and professional. I get that the world has become a place where people would like to “check out” and “escape” the annoying conversations on social media, etc. But, the recent “Brexit” and the subsequent stories about the vast number of Google searches in the UK on what exactly the “Brexit” meant to the UK (note the “subsequent” in that last sentence…not done BEFORE the vote, but after) makes me worried about our future. I feel as if we (as a society, a generation, a global community) take knowledge for granted and the simplest messages are what we accept and on which we base our decision-making.
I would have no question about this, had it not been for a recent Freakonomics podcast episode: Why do we really follow the news? But, that has set me wondering what is REALLY wrong with people who do this. There is no end to information out there and sometimes it is difficult to figure out what is important and what is not so important. I subscribed to something called The Skimm a while ago and found it to be both informative and entertaining. I liked it as a “read it every so often” daily email. Then, close to the same day I heard the Freakonomics podcast, I listened to Note to Self episode, “What happens when we skimm the news?” without knowing it was about The Skimm. The episode took a somewhat negative view of The Skimm for at least part of the episode, but overall, I thought it was even more brilliant than when I subscribed. I am outside of their age demographic, but knowing how UNaware and UNeducated and UNinterested my students often are in current events, I think this offers them a smart, entertaining and informative way to know more. So, when I saw they had an “Skimmbassador” program, I decided to sign up. I’m not getting any money, but I might get a totebag out of it…if you (and nine of your friends) decide to sign up!
So, what do you think? Do you think our current information-rich society is actually awareness-poor? Or do you think we are TOO aware and therefore unable to make good decisions based on all that information? Do you think millennials are less politically savvy or aware than prior generations or is it another one of those false accusations about this generation?
This week is focused on a simple resource you probably have in your community, but may not be utilizing. Your public library.
My DD and I then went to our county library yesterday. We used to go the library once or twice a week before she started school, but we’ve not been going as much in the past year and a half or so. I’ve missed it. I love the library. I have talked about it in a previous Sunday post (over a year and a half ago) and nothing has really changed. I realize that some people have not been library goers for their entire lives (my mom started me quite young), so I thought I would share my top five reasons (there are so many) to visit your local library and check it out:
First, it is FREE! No strings attached (other than meeting return deadlines). No free today, but your credit card will be charged in four weeks and for the remainder of your natural life. Every library offers slightly different services, but our library has movies, audio CDs, ebooks, book clubs, activities for kids, etc. It is worth checking out what your library has to offer.
Second, it is quiet. Well, relatively. If you need a place to escape to where you don’t have to purchase a $5 coffee and listen to the person at the next table talk about their upcoming visit from in-laws on their cell phone, this is a good spot. You can’t eat and drink in the library at ours, but they have a great grassy area just to the side of the library that makes for good picnicking and some libraries have rooms where you can eat and drink.
Third, it is constantly changing. Much like the local bookstore, but without the price tags, our library is constantly changing up the books on it’s front tables. It has art work that changes every few months. It offers new selections constantly and often has new activities to try out (we have a knitting group, a book club, a chess club for teens, family movies on Sunday afternoons – with popcorn). I am always curious to see what they have and what they have going on.
Fourth, and this is parent-specific, your kids can look at books, play with toys and use a computer without you having to worry about buying it later! BONUS: Other adults are there too! I have tried to teach my daughter that we don’t need to buy something every time we go to a store. And we often don’t. But, it is always a battle. At the library, when she finds a book she really likes, I can feel good about saying, “let’s get it”. I can also feel good about bringing it back when she has read it and will never look at it again! Our library has blocks, felt boards, puppet theater with puppets, etc. It is air conditioned, so in the hot months, it is a great alternative to the park. They have coloring sheets and crayons and pencils. And usually, you can find a friendly adult to chat with while your kids play. It feels safe. It feels comfortable (I’m not constantly fretting about what she can and can touch). It is enjoyable without costing a penny. I can sit and read a book myself, or look at magazines, or even work on something and she is in a safe, cool space.
Fifth and most important, it helps to keep much-needed public spaces available in our communities. When the big bookstores came to town, a lot of libraries struggled to prove their need in the communities. Funding was cut. Hours were cut. And if people don’t use these services, demonstrating that the community supports and NEEDS these services, the cuts will continue. We are lucky to have a supportive community, so our library is actually expanding hours back in the Fall (they had made significant cuts a while back). Public spaces that offer resources for everyone are important to me. Although I can afford to go to Barnes and Noble or shop online at Amazon to buy my daughter books (we actually buy quite a few at thrift stores, because reuse, recycle, etc.), I want every child, no matter what their financial circumstances to be able to access books and literacy programs and a space that is inviting and encouraging of reading. I also want adults who do not have computers in their homes to have access to those resources. My parents used the public library computers for a dozen years, never choosing to have a computer in their home. Many seniors and homeless individuals use the computers at the library to get access to needed resources.
Public spaces can be scary. After all, they are so, well, public. Homeless people do use the library much more often than Barnes and Noble (although, sometimes they are in the cafe there). And to some people, that is a bad thing. But, to me, this is reality. And facing the individuals in our communities who are not thriving hopefully will help us remain a community rather than being divided by social class. We have prided ourselves on NOT being a society based on class division, but we have created these consumerist walls of division between those of us who can participate in that consumerist lifestyle and those who can’t/don’t. I think that doing more to create community through our public spaces is important. And if homeless people abuse the public space, they should be removed (and hopefully provided with the help they need, although that is another area of funding that has gone to the wayside in recent decades – our mental health services have collapsed, but I will leave that for another post), but just because they may not be dressed as nice as we are or smell as good as we do or have their hair styled does not mean they don’t deserve to be recognized and served as the humans they are. I like that the public library provides a space for all of use to coexist.
Summers are for reflection for me. The rest of the year I tend to be so busy that I don’t have a ton of time to think about “things” or reflect on what I’m doing with my life and whether it is what I should be doing with my life or not. I make all sorts of plans and read all kinds of self-improvement blogs and such and then the school year starts and I’m incapable of remembering my name let alone remembering what I am supposed to be doing to make myself a better person.
I love what I do. I love teaching. I even love coaching Speech and Debate most of the time. But, I also love to write and speak to people outside of my classroom. And I would love to actually make money doing those things (writing and speaking), but it is tough to figure out whether that is just a far-off dream that I am unwilling to commit to enough to be successful or whether it is that “call” that each of us has inside for what we are truly meant to do/be.
So, summer down time is here and my heart is able to wonder…what to be?
Today is Tuesday. And in that, we can find some some truth. I would like to share some truths I’ve realized today:
First, others really can steal your joy, even from far away, if you let them. And I let them. I am currently at a teaching conference and really enjoying it. I am in a nice hotel room in San Diego, right on the Marina, eating really good food and feeling excited about making changes to my classes. But, I received an email about an issue that has nothing to do with what I’m doing here. Something that was somewhat outside of my control, but is still within my realm of responsibility. And more than the issue, was the way the message about the issue was delivered. Backhanded insult. Passive aggressive attack. Something to highlight past mistakes instead of current successes. And immediately, my mood changed. I was no longer enjoying the conference, but instead was caught up in a defensive response and feeling less than adequate. My joy was stolen by that email. I didn’t speak to anyone. I dealt with the issue as best I could. I resolved myself to “fix everything and make it perfect” so that I would not have to ever deal with this passive aggressive attack again. But, really, that isn’t possible. Mistakes happen, especially when you are dealing with a pile of crap on a plate that is way to small. So, I’m not going to be perfect. Instead, I need to figure out how to not let these passive aggressive attacks steal my joy. I have to figure out how to recognize that the insults are short lived and the amount of things I do are long lived. I need to take the delivery and dismiss the insults while dealing with the issue. But, it isn’t easy. It is NOT easy.
Second, San Diego is beautiful. If you’ve ever been to San Diego, you know this truth. There is beauty everywhere one looks down here. The water. The weather. The architecture. The art. The boats. The surrounding environment. It really is gorgeous. I think we’ll be coming back here for a family vacation at the end of summer.
Third, having a home town that I love. I really look forward to going home. I love my home town and it is so nice to love where you live and where I work. Even if you don’t love everything about your job, being happy to be where you ARE in the world is important.
In all honesty, I couldn’t think of something to blog about immediately based on this prompt. I thought of a lot of sayings:
Can’t win for losing.
Don’t lose yourself OR
Lose yourself in what you love.
But, I couldn’t make a connection to my life like I usually do. But, I think I’m starting to realize that sometimes it is good to lose. I mean, losing weight is good when your health is threatened. Losing yourself in a good book is great. But, other times losing is bad. I lose things all the time and it is frustrating. But, it is especially bad to lose people. Over the past couple of years, I’ve lost both of my parents. There are still times when I think “I should call my mom and tell her this.” or that I have a memory from my childhood with my dad. So, I guess we don’t really ever lose people unless we lose the memory of them.
So, losing is one of those things that often gets a negative, but can be good as well. So many things in life are like that. There is no simple way of looking at things, but instead, we have to examine them and be sure that what we are seeing or feeling about that thing is “real”. I have definitely suffered through some losses. But, I have also had good results from losses.
This week’s Wordless Wednesday is going to be focused on our new puppy. Why do we have a new puppy? That is an excellent question. But, we do and she is very cute. We were given her by an incredibly generous former student of mine who had bred her dog and had a large litter. So…introducing Scout: