Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Well, another week is gone.  My DD made it through her first week of First Grade and I start back to teaching tomorrow.  We had 18 people over to our house last night for a work event (regional coaches of Speech and Debate) and my house is already pretty much back to clean (amazing, considering what it looked like when I went to bed last night as the last guests left).  I am not totally where I want to be with my classes, but I have the major things done for them and I’m feeling like I have a good plan for each class.  So, overall, I’m feeling pretty good about Fall 2015.

Stray Thought Sundays

First Grade is now a thing in our lives.  And so far, its good.  My DD’s teacher mailed this to each of her students before school started.  Definitely an anxiety reliever…

Jitter Glitter

Second stray thought:  I have to admit that I’ve been more than a little disappointed in America’s reaction to some of Donald Trump’s (what I would consider to be) hateful comments, I found this to be an appropriate sum up of my feelings on the importance of considering not just WHAT you say, but also HOW you say it:

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 Next, I used to see this commercial for psoriasis medication and think that it was somewhat just a plea to vanity, like the Botox commercials used to be.  But, now that I have been suffering from this guttate psoriasis for almost a month, I get it.  It isn’t vanity.  It is the need to feel normal – like you won’t offend people with your appearance.  Luckily, most of mine is in places that are covered up by everyday clothes and I have no need to don a swimsuit for any reason.  I am sure that most people would think I was contagious.  And it just looks, well, unsightly.  I am going to go back to the dermatologist and I guess we’ll try the light box treatment, since the topical ointment hasn’t worked at all.  And if the light box fails (which it might because my lower legs have been exposed to sunlight quite a bit and it hasn’t gotten rid of the psoriasis there, which is much less than on my thighs, back and stomach area), I will have to take some immune-suppressing medication.  So, Bean and I will be suppressing our immune systems together…  great…

And this week, I will leave you with what may be my favorite article online…ever.  Murder She Wrote’s Primetime Feminism, from which my favorite line is (warning, bad language):  “But the reason the show works is because of what Lansbury brings to it: she plays the widow with equal parts charming comedic airs and take-no-bullshit feminism.”  I am going to be getting the Peter Fischer biography the article talks about posthaste.

What’s straying your thoughts this Sunday?

Hope you have a great week!

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Today’s thoughts are straying toward sadness, so I’m going to try to focus on positive, hopeful and fun things.  Why sad?  Well, there is the world at large where a bitter and evil person chose to take the lives of nine people at a prayer meeting because of some deranged hatred.  There is my smaller world where my husband will be gone for seven weeks and we’ll miss being with him on Father’s Day (and I didn’t plan ahead to have something where he will be) as well as missing my dad who passed away a little over a year ago.  I am also still feeling a bit overwhelmed with my life in general…trying to clean up and declutter seems more like a cycle of clean, pile up, clean, pile up, clean, pile up, take some stuff away.  Repeat.  I don’t feel much progress right now, but I’m sure I will get there.  Bit by bit.  Anyways – on to my stray thoughts this Sunday:

Stray Thought Sundays

First off, I have not been overly invested in the Rachel Dolezal story and I have various opinions about the situation and I’m sure none of us who are outside her personal social circle and personal history have a complete understanding, but I can definitely get behind this perspective shared in the Boston Globe’s “Rachel Dolezal a lesson in how racism works,” :

Finally, it is troubling that so many of us now know the name and story of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who passed as black advocate, rather than the names of countless black women who occupy the front lines in the war against racism. Dolezal is a national phenomenon, but Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, the activists who started the Black Lives Matter campaign, are scarcely recognized. Dolezal’s peculiar and sensational fall from grace have made her more recognizable than Rekia Boyd and Natasha McKenna, two black women among many who were killed by police with little national attention. Uncovering the truth about Dolezal is no substitute for speaking the names and telling the stories of true martyrs and warriors in the battle for social justice.

As a debate coach and appreciator of argument, I am loving the articles focused on argument, like this one: “This is why you will lose your argument.”  Unfortunately, I don’t think most people will go to the trouble to really force the issue of relevance and “point at issue,” and will instead settle for poorly focused discussions that get us no closer to truth or conclusive claims.  Sad, but true.

I am (still) loving Modern Mrs. Darcy  I started reading this blog quite a while ago when in one of my “I’m a reader.” phases where I figure if I follow blogs of people who read a lot perhaps I will be encouraged to read more.  I’ve given up on a lot of those blogs since then, but this is one that survived even once I realized that reading a bunch of book reviews did not actually make me read more myself (maybe I should have spent that time reading actual books).  She is funny, a great and honest critic and writes about so much more than just books.  Plus, I love the name of her blog and all the design work on the blog.  If you are a reader, lover of books or just like to read posts from someone who is a reader and lover of books, this blog is for you.

Those are some of my stray thoughts for this Sunday.  What about you?

Stray Thoughts Sunday, Uncategorized

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

As usual, I have a ton of stray thoughts running through my mind.  I’ll try to capture some of them in this post for you!

First off, I am BUSY.  I feel like the last month has been a whirlwind of activity with both of my schools ending and all of the events and grading that comes with that, then my DD’s school ending and all of the events that come with that.  She has had birthday parties for two classmates as well and a sleepover and a house guest and then my in-laws visited and we went fishing with the boat a couple of times.  We’re pressured to fit in as much as possible as my husband leaves for his seven weeks of working in Michigan in 13 days.  Tomorrow I have jury duty and then we’re trying to go down to my in-laws house for a few days before he leaves and we wanted to do Monterey for a few days (but they may have to wait until he comes back from Michigan at the end of summer) and our anniversary is tomorrow and I need to take care of my mom next weekend and then we go to Reno for his flight out and then drive back that day for another wedding.  Whew…I feel like such a social butterfly right now…I like being busy and having things to do with friends and family, but wow.

Second, I am excited about having a new freezer in our garage and I want to go shopping for stuff to fill it (it is literally sitting empty because we haven’t gone shopping since we got it last week), but I don’t want to buy stuff just because I have a freezer.  Our in-laws got it for us for Christmas and we finally cleared space for it in the garage.  So, its sitting out there, pristine, ready to be filled with tasty morsels to simplify my cooking life!  🙂  If anyone has good freezer meal suggestions, let me know.  I have a ton in my Pinterest and even started a new board specifically for freezer use!

Finally, old friends are like songs or smells from your younger years.  They can immediately take you back to a different time, no matter how long you’ve been apart.  Our friends’ wedding allowed us to spend some quality time with a couple we used to hang out with a lot about 15 years ago and it felt good.  Sometimes you have those friends who, no matter how long you’ve gone without talking or seeing each other, just feel like an old shoe that fits just right.  It may be something that you don’t wear all the time, but when you slip your foot into it, you know it has been shaped by your foot.  That is what these old friends felt like to me.  And I told them I wanted to do at least a weekend together every year and I meant it.  It reminds me of who I was and who I am and who I should be.  So, no matter how long it has been since you spoke to or saw that old friend of yours, I strongly encourage you to call them or see them.  It may be a little strange at first, but soon enough, it will fit.  Just right.

Those are my stray thoughts from this week.  Not as much in the way of links because I’ve been pretty busy.  But, a little more personal.

What about you?  What are you stray thoughts on this Sunday?  Or Monday, if that is when you’re reading this…

Stray Thoughts Sunday, Uncategorized

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

How is it Sunday night already?  Seriously.  I feel like it was just Thursday and although we’ve done a million things since then, I still feel like I’ve lost a day somewhere in there.

Grades are due today.  As usual, I am pushing it to the end of the line, literally.  Grading is the worst part of my job by far and the end-of-term grades are the worst of the worst.  Some students work so hard and have very little to show for it.  Others have hardly worked at all and still come out okay.  And it is hard as an instructor to not want to show that in some way.  But, all we get is a letter grade.  A single letter.  No comments.  No real way of showing what’s been done.  But, it is what it is and I have to enter them and let it be.  I get very few complaints about grades, so I feel like I’m pretty fair (other instructors complain about their students complaining and groveling all the time, but I don’t really get much of that), but it still isn’t pleasant.  And it seems so permanent.  It is a psychological thing.  But, once it is done…it is summer!  🙂

Regina Brett Summer Quote

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

This Sunday came reeeeeeeealllllllly early this morning.  I’m on the East Coast, so I’m three hours ahead already and then the time change came and we lost yet another hour.  So, I had to get up at what would have been 2:45 a.m. my time at home before travel and said time change.  It was not fun.  But, I’ve survived.  Logistically, today is a nightmare too.  I have one student who wanted to stay through the end of competitive rounds (understandably) and with the change in schedule due to the cancellation of the tournament on Thursday, it would have put us missing our flight out today.  So, the other students wanted/needed to go back (one of them has been sick since we left and almost lost her voice, another is done competing at that time and the other is only missing one round – so, makes sense), so today I need to drive them back to the Columbus Airport to catch the scheduled flight, pick up a new rental car because the rental car place could not change my reservation over the phone and I don’t have access to a travel agent on the weekend so I just had to book another reservation reflecting the change, and drive back here to Athens for the banquet this evening.  Then, tomorrow, me and the student who is staying will drive to Dayton (new airport) to catch a flight that will get us in to Sacramento four hours earlier than any flight out of Columbus tomorrow.  The drive to Dayton is about twice as long as the drive to Columbus, but it is so worth it to get back earlier tomorrow.  So, I have a lot of driving ahead of me today and tomorrow (all that above plus the hour and a half back to our hometown from Sacramento).

But, the experience has been totally worth it!  The students had a great time and the place is beautiful.  I would have liked to have been able to do some more sightseeing, but the weather on arrival put an end to those thoughts.  But, playing in the snow and slip sliding around on ice for the first couple of days gave the students a new experience.  So, overall, I give it a B+!

Other than that, I have been able to get some grading done (although I still have much, much more to do), I am having to miss classes for the third time in three classes again tomorrow (sick last Monday, traveling on Wednesday) and I have a boatload of paperwork to do for reconciling this trip.  But, that is typical after a national tournament trip.  The weird thing is that I have Spring Break next week, so I will literally be back for one class (for M/W classes) and then be off for another week.  My T/Th classes only got cancelled on Thursday of last week and I’ll be there for those on Tuesday, so those are in better shape.  But, I have coverage for my evening classes tomorrow and cancelling my one morning class tomorrow should not be too big of an issue as we can easily catch up over the next few class periods.  So, all in all, not awful considering the length of this trip and being sick a week ago.

I have a feeling this week is going to be a bit rough though.  But, we shall see!

So, where are your thoughts straying to this Sunday?

Stray Thoughts Sunday, Uncategorized

Stray Thoughts Sunday – Why I love the library

Brazil Library

That is not our local library (it is a library in Brazil actually, but I loved the decor).  How I wish it was though.  I would definitely be there all. the. time.  I love just about any library though.  It goes way back.  My mom used to take me to the local library once or twice a week when I was little and I remember how immense it felt to me.  I think I loved it then for the same reason I love it now.  It is just so much potential.  There are people and places and things, new skills, ideas, philosophies…I want to read them all.

I remember watching Phenomenon with John Travolta and thinking how many books I could read if I could stay up 24 hours a day.  That was my take away from that movie.

But, I love the library (over places like bookstores, that also offer a load of books) is that it also seems to represent community, non-consumerism and philanthropy.  I don’t know if that is true of every library, but that is what it is to me.  The ideal space representing the best in society.  It is well-organized, focused (books and computers, maybe some kids toys, DVDs and movies and that’s it), provides services for free if you just get a card, is filled with people who love books, has volunteers working there (as well as a couple of people who I’m sure are underpaid, but doing it because they love it) and provides a space for those at all levels of our socioeconomic community – from the homeless to the wealthy.  There aren’t many spaces we can say that about left in our communities.  Prior to our commuter-oriented, suburbanized evolution, there were all kinds of public spaces.  The grocery (or market as my mom used to call it) – there was typically one, maybe two in a community and everyone shopped there.  The schools (practically everyone was in the PTA and schools often had events that included the entire community – sporting events, concerts, etc.).  The parks.  Or maybe that is just a utopian vision we’ve painted of the past?

Anyways, I like that utopian vision and I have tried to pass on my love of the library to my daughter.  She is only five and right now she loves going to the library.  It is a little “field trip” that we do every couple of weeks.  I hope we will share it for many years to come.  I look forward to sharing the limitlessness that reading brings as she progresses as a reader (she is already reading pretty well for a 5 yo).  I want to be able to go new places with her, meet new people and learn about all kinds of new things.  A Google search is amazing and obviously extremely informative, but it isn’t the same as reading a book and having things become clearer as the pages turn.

So, I am committing myself to a couple of things in 2015.  I’ve already committed to “less screen in 2015” and I’ve been reading before bed instead of playing Candy Crush and Pet Rescue.  But, I’m always looking for what I really love and what is really me and I think I’ve uncovered a few things.  First, I love Murder, She Wrote.  But, it isn’t really Murder, She Wrote I love, it is the nature of the show.  I love that she is a nice, smart, friendly and critically thinking older woman who gets answers by paying attention and not giving up instead of bullying or beating people.  I love the mystery and the anticipation, but I want things to be figured out (I know, not very postmodern of me).  When I go to the library, I feel the people there are much the same on average – they are nice, smart (readers are smart), friendly, critical thinkers who pay attention and get answers through words on a page.  So, I’m going to recalibrate by not only reading more, but volunteering at the library.  I have been looking for a place to volunteer and it seems like it is the perfect place for me to volunteer.  It serves the wider community and I have a love for it.  I am also going to visit more often and participate in more of the things they offer because libraries stay open to serve people and if people don’t go there, they won’t stay open.  I am so glad we have a library that is open six days a week and have a Kid’s area and a Young Adult area and a good selection of movies as well as books as well as CDs.  I want to make sure that is maintained.  I also love that they show movies (my DD and I went and watched “The Long Way Home” during the summer) and offer times with tutors available and chess play and Wii play and other fun stuff for kids who might find it hard to find somewhere to go for free that has things to do.

Anyways – this started out as just a thought piece about the library (we visited there yesterday), but it turned into much more than that.  It turned into a piece that helped me learn something about myself.  Or at least uncover something about myself – or recalibrate something…

What about you?  What do you love?

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

I am tired.  I’m thinking about skipping out on church today.  I know it will disappoint my DD, but I just can’t muster up the energy to get dressed, let alone shower, get myself looking decent and go out in public.  Just not feeling it today.  I have days when going out in public seems like a lot of work for me.  I blame it on the fact that my job forces me to interact with close to 100 people each day – and not just in a “hey how are you?” kind of way, but a “let’s teach you something and ask questions and pry out information and deal with problems and overcome barriers” kind of way.  It gets exhausting.  And I don’t have any choice but to interact with my DD and DH on my days off, but sometimes that is enough…or too much.  Today it is just me and my DD because my hubby is off to drive three hours to take his students from last year (he left that job) out to ice cream for the holidays.  Yes.  Three hours to take them out to ice cream, then he will drive back.  Seems ridiculous to me, but I’m not going, so I’m okay with it.  And it means I only have to interact with my daughter, which I have a feeling will be enough today.

Last night I made a really, really tasty dinner!  Can’t recommend it enough.  I found it here and it is, well, simply great!  And so easy.  Crazy easy.  Definitely going to be making it again.  In fact, I bought a box of four Italian dressing mixes at the store last night just for this purpose.

This week on the internets, I found the following interesting/worth sharing:

First, I know that vaccines are a hotbed of controversy, and it is for that reason that I share this type of article.  So disturbing that there are still so many people who do not know that the original study connecting vaccines and autism was faked.

Everything I know/learn about Albert Einstein makes me believe he was an amazing person.  He would definitely be on the top of my “having dinner with a dead person” list.  This information just added to my strong like of him.

If you haven’t got enough of “Let It Go” in your life yet, you are living under a rock.  But here’s another chance, with abundant Christmas lights included!

I had this beauty from Krispy Kreme for lunch one day this week – hey, it had filling.  Like a sandwich!

krispy kreme donut

I want our city to get their own broadband like these others.  It is something I want to seriously look into.

So, there are some of my Stray Thoughts for this week…how about you?  Where has your mind been wondering?