Monthly Archives: November 2007

Friday Haiku 11/30/07

It’s Friday, and we all know what that means: Melissa gets her ‘ku on! To commemorate this, the last day of NaBloPoMo, I present to you these haiku. Enjoy!

Joining NaBlo a
Challenge for me. But learning
To blog is fun.

Making new blog friends.
Seeing and learning their ways.
Keeping up next task.

Blogging good hobby.
Many ways to apply this.
Stay tuned, more to come.

Keeping up this pace-
Posting something every day-
Is hard. Must slow down.

I did it! Yippee!
I completed the challenge!
NaBlo did not win.

Adios, NaBlo!
Just like baseball, you have been
very good to me.

That’s all for this week! Need more haiku? Then visit here!

Thursday Thirteen, Four Horseman Edition…

Happy Thursday Everyone!

This is a list of things (thirteen, imagine that!) that I have to work on/do in the next 48 hours. But does it really matter? Read my list and see…

1. Dishwasher repair. Life’s definetly not Good at our place anymore. The thing is DEAD DEAD DEAD. Here’s hoping it’s still under warranty.

2. Do laundry and retreive dry cleaning. Even though the little people aren’t so little, they generate an awful lot of laundry. It’s a little better now that the outdoor soccer season is over, but it’s still quite a bit.

3. Figure out what to do with Thing 1′s old bedframe until we can take it to Houston to give to my in-laws as their new guest bed. It’s seriously in the way.

4. List furniture and other things (old gameboys, gamecube, etc) on Craigslist. Craigslist is sooooo cool.

5. Find my pantry. I know it’s in here somewhere. This would be part of the project I alluded to earlier this week.

6. Bring the Christmas decorations down from the attic and set them up. Advent starts on Sunday!

7. More reading in technical analysis textbook. Must have caffeine for this one.

8. Attend meeting on enhancing science curriculum at school. I am both excited and frightened by this prospect. Excited, because it looks like fun, but frightened that the parents are having to step in and enhance the science curriculum.

9. Practice, practice, practice! First holiday concert of this series is at Ft. Hood on 12/8.

10. Get thee to the gym!

11. Christmas cards, yes or no? With photo or without? With letter or without?

12. Buy mentos and diet coke for Webelo meeting on Sunday. Don’t ask. But, in case you haven’t seen, here’s why:

13. Wonder why I’m even bothering since I saw this undeniable evidence of the Apocolypse in the grocery store yesterday….

Be afraid. Be very afraid!

Other TT’s can be found here and here! Enjoy them all!

Humpday Hmmmm 11-28-07

“Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!” – “Clairee Belcher”, Steel Magnolias

This week’s Hump Day Hmmm is about the viral nature of news and gossip. I couldn’t agree with her choice of adjective more: VIRAL! As in illness inducing.

There are so many ways to attack this topic. I could go at it from a personal angle. Talk about how I have been harmed/harmed others by breaking the Ninth Commandment. Or I could go into detail about gossip and the internet and how fast things spread these days. Or I could get on my soapbox about a topic that has been driving me insane for about two years now….

WHEN DID GOSSIP BECOME NEWS!?!?!

Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Anna Nicole, OJ – I could go on and on and ON! In fact, if you go to CNN.com right now (10:45 Tuesday evening), you will find the Hulk Hogan divorce as a major headline. WTF! And there are two other of the “headlines” that I would scarcely qualify as “news”. I understand that there have always been gossip rags and tabloids, but since when did stuff like this become worthy of a spot on legitimate news outlets?

How can some of these “journalists” report this crap with a straight face? Fortunately, there is at least one who couldn’t stand it anymore. I caught this live, but here is the video of Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC if you haven’t seen it:

Why do the news outlets think we care about this stuff? I no longer watch much news on TV because of this, but apparently I am one of the few who is voting with my feet. Not that print journalism is a saint in this regard, but at least I can read the Wall Street Journal without reading about K-Fed. At least for now; we’ll see what ol’ Rupert does to it.

So why has it come to this? Is the reality TV culture becoming reality? Or is it more sinister?

The Conspiracy Theorist in me thinks it’s a plot to distract us from (fill in the blank). Make the water cooler talk about the latest celebrity rehab stint instead of the heath insurance crisis or the war in Iraq. The more bandwidth we spend on the crap, the less we’ll have available for what actually matters. There is only so much airtime available in a newscast, so what isn’t getting aired when this crap is?

It’s just like in the Roman Empire. Feed a few Christians to the lions, have a few fights to the death, a couple of chariot races, and everyone is happy. Now, we’re voting people off the island, giving out the roses, and dancing the night away, and the people who participate in this entertainment become the major headline of the day. And just like it was then, the infrastructure is collapsing, there are poisons in the water, corruption is running rampant, and the foreign policy is untenable. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain boys and girls….

What do you think? Is the “gossip as news” as damaging as I think? Or do I need to lighten up and enjoy the pabulum that is tonight’s news feast?

For more on this topic, check out Using My Words.

So how do you guys do it?

I mean seriously! How do you guys do this day after day? Coming up with intelligent posts and checking out other people’s blogs and responding to comments could become a full time job if I wasn’t careful!

How do you build a blog and an audience without losing your mind? Do you have a schedule? Some sort of writing rotation? A clone? Inquiring minds want to know! I feel like I’m starting to get a little bit of traction here as a result of NaBlo and I want to keep it up.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Blackhawk Down

You’ve heard the term “Helicopter Parent”, right? Well, the really amped up version of this is the Blackhawk Parent. Spouse seems to think that I may qualify for this moniker. I wish I could disagree.

As I am writing this, I am sitting in the waiting room of my kid’s OT (if you have noticed a propensity for long posts on Mondays, this is why). They have both been diagnosed with dysgraphia. It’s a pretty complicated learning disability, not simply bad handwriting, but the upshot is they have difficulty with written expression. Both kids come to OT once a week to try and help them out with this. Thing 1 uses an Alpha Smart in his classroom as well. But there are days, and today is one of them, where I wonder if it is all really necessary.

My issues with this go back about seven years, to when Thing 1 started preschool. He was always pretty active and assertive, much more so than the others in his playgroup. But it wasn’t until he started preschool that I really noticed a difference between him and the other kids. And when he finally caught his first cold and I have to give him cold medicine with red dye and stuff in it, I really noticed a difference. My little not-quite-three year old threw a kitchen chair across the room. Wow. I started doing some research on diet and behavior and discovered The Feingold Diet. This was a total godsend. We don’t follow as strictly as we used to, but we still eliminate artificial colors, flavors, corn syrup, and preservatives to the best of our ability. It just makes for a healthier family. But what caused me to look into this? The fear that my kid wasn’t like the others.

Then, of course, came school, and the pressure to “perform to their ability” started. After much renting of clothes and gnashing of teeth, we came to the dysgraphia diagnosis. So now Spouse and I do all kinds of things to help them be as successful in school as they can. Again, it was the fear that brought us to that point.

But why? I’m not saying that as parents that we shouldn’t do as much as possible to help our kids get the best possible start, but let’s stop and think about this a moment. Have we fallen prey to the pressure out there? If you have ever been to a playgroup or have ever spoken to another parent you know exactly what I’m talking about. That little twinge of “my kid doesn’t do that” which makes you wonder if they are going to fall behind. So you start doing all kinds of things to help them out and have them “catch up”. It doesn’t stop when the playgroups end, either. Here in Stepford, there is huge pressure to have your kids in either QUEST (the GT program), PACE (accelerated math), or both. I can only imagine it getting worse as their academic careers progress.

Which brings me to the helicopters. These parents are so invested in their child’s success that they do way too much for them. There have been plenty of articles recently about these children going off to college and how they have a hard time adjusting without Mom and Dad along with them. These kids have always had their parents step in and help them out with everything, be it special tutors, hands on help, or, in the worst cases, doing it for them. As I sit here in the waiting room, I wonder where I fit in the spectrum.

When I was trying to get some assistance from out school district, I ran into all kinds of resistance. The counselor even told me that “we don’t put kids on a 504 plan to turn C students into A students”. At the time, that really pissed me off. But now I realize that it is the attitude she has to have with some of these parents in order to make sure that only the truly needy get the services (which we finally did).

So, let’s return to my underlying question: Have we, and now I’m talking about all parents, fallen for the hype? Have we heard so much about the competitive schools, programs, and all that we are willing to do anything and spend anything to make sure that our kids have that all elusive edge? And what is this doing to our kids and families?

Discuss.

This is not a blatant attempt to get comments…

Yesterday, my new buddy Angela was kind enough to send me this:

And I realize that blog etiquette requires me to pass it on. Well, I’ve met so many new folk from NaBlo, that I didn’t want to leave anyone out. Seriously, your support has helped my little infant blog get some direction and momentum and without you all, I’d still be lost in the wilderness. So, if you leave me a comment (on this or today’s real post to come later), you are my friend! Congrats!

First attempt…

Hey there! I promised you guys a sonnet, and here it is. Hold your nose!

Spinning

In my life it does appear
That things are changing fast.
Not much to do for that I fear
‘Twill be such until the last.
The spinning plates are all around
Upon their poles up high.
The work to keep them off the ground
Can make me want to cry.
But this life is not so bad, I say,
Though hectic and extreme.
When reflecting on my busy day,
I’m strangely calm and serene.
From where comes the strength that I speak of?
My friends, and family, and their love.