Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

What does one write about for the Thanksgiving Thursday Thirteen but 13 Blessings? It may be a cliche but that's what Thanksgiving is, a holiday full of cliches.

1. My family. We may be quirky and our family reunions gather up the most eclectic group of individuals on the planet but we all respect each other's differences and get along.

2. My partner. 12 years and counting and she's as wonderful as she was when we first connected.

3. The Internet - it gave me my partner, my second job and it makes my first job every changing and ever interesting. Can't imagine life without it.

4. My job. In these uncertain times I feel blessed to have a job that is relatively safe. That I thoroughly enjoy it is an added bonus.

5. My two daughters. On their own with college degrees in hand. Supporting themselves at jobs that don't require them to say "and would you like fries with that?".

6. My new son-in-law. The wedding was delightful from start to finish. Every woman should have husband as sweet as Jason. She's in good hands.

7. Our new President. Finally someone I voted for won. The new feeling of hope in our country and the new interest of the young in politics is a refreshing change from the same old same old.

8. My On-Line book sellers group. I've learned so much from them and they have had such a positive impact on my book business (and its bottom line).

9. My fellow teachers. A few drive me round the bend at times but all in all you'd be hard pressed to find a harder working group of folks who do it for the kids.

10. My blogging class - Lordie those kids are fun! They keep me on their toes and the growth in their writing is joy to behold.

11. My kitties. They always greet us at the door with purrs and meows.

12. Electricity - Hurricane Ike reminded the entire city of Houston that Ben Franklin's birthday ought to be a national holiday.

13. My life. Other than an occasional ache and pain it's all good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When Does Parental Choice Become Neglect?

We have several students who NEED to be on medication. Badly. Not just your ordinary run of the mill ADD medication but serious drugs. The kids throw things, run away, defy all authority, refuse to learn and do their very best to ensure their peers can’t learn. They can’t control their behavior – they have severe emotional issues.

The parents can’t or won’t agree to medication. Some pay lip service to the idea and then they don’t fill the prescriptions, they let them lapse or they “forget” to administer them. They send the meds to school but don’t follow through on the weekends. The school nurse goes as far to driving to the pharmacy that accepts Medicaid to personally fill the scripts. Money can’t buy the service she provides.

One parent keeps talking about “that diet I read about on the Internet”. Only problem is, the gluten free, additive free , sugar free, diary free diets that are suggested as possible alternatives require great discipline, organization and vigilance on the part of the parents. The Texas food stamp allotment doesn’t stretch far enough to cover organic produce and hormone free beef and this is a parent who can’t manage to get their child to school on time..

Another parent wants to “home school” because the child never has any problems at home. Of course the child doesn’t – they get to do whatever they want to at home. Technically we can’t stop the parent – the home school laws in Texas are pretty loose. We try to squash the idea since the parent is a high school drop out with poor parenting skills. They are sober now, but a past substance abuse problem took a toll on their cognitive skills.

Yet another doesn’t want their child to carry the “special ed” label. She fears it will mark her for life. Once a school wants to apply it, she ups and moves and enrolls her in a new school without telling anyone about his prior problems. She knows it takes time for the records to arrive and the wheels of school administered testing grind very, very slowly. The child doesn’t have a special ed label yet, but she’s has a number of others - “holy terror”, “spoiled”, “better your class than mine” – none of them flattering.

These kids take up some 90% of their teachers, the nurse, the counselor and the Principals time, leaving the rest of the children to muddle along on their own. They keep their classrooms and the school in an uproar. Everyone walks on eggshells waiting for the next explosion. They aren’t learning and they aren’t happy – they have no friends and the other kids shun them.

So when is it parental choice and when is it neglect?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My next gig?

Who thinks up these things? And why are they so addictive?

Are You More Qualified than Sarah Palin?

You are 92% more qualified than Sarah Palin. You're no short-term political stunt, you're the real deal, the VP the American people deserve. I guess your phone was off the hook when John McCain was calling around looking for a running mate... must've been one of those pesky robo-calls.

Find Your Character @

At least I'm not PigPen!

Which Peanuts Character Are You?

You are Schroeder. You are brilliant, ambitious, and brooding; you tackle tasks with extreme focus. People don't always interest you as much as other pursuits, though, so you can come off as aloof.

Find Your Character @

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama supporters sing national anthem outside White House

Celebrating in the Streets

Part 1- Barack Obama Victory Speech Grant Park Chicago, IL

An Amazing Night

Joan Baez - We shall overcome

Can't get this song out of my head!

It's been a tumultuous couple of days. Days filled with smiles and hope, tears of joy and unabashed sappiness and patriotism. Last Tuesday night is a jumble of images.

Grant Park filled with thousands of people - young, old, black, white brown - a cross section of America cheering their new leader. It's the first time I can remember a President acknowledging his victory, not in a hotel ballroom where only a select few are invited to the party, but in a public park, open to anyone regardless of the thickness of their wallet. A speech that reiterated that in America anything is possible.

For me, though one of the most memorable pictures was that of the jubilant crowd storming The White House and dancing in streets outside the gates. I wonder if His Shrubness had a flashback to Marie Antoinette and mob who marched on Versailles? Nah, history was never his strongpoint. Nor was being President.
So many thoughts, so many songs...the old anthem of the Civil Rights Movement says it all..
We Shall Overcome

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Pigs Might Actually Fly

The Houston Chronicle,, Houston's oh so very conservative, always go with the status quo and support "bizness" newspaper endorsed Obama.

This is huge folks. The Chronicle hasn't endorsed a Democrat since 1964. They really didn't have a choice that year - Lyndon Johnson was a Texan.

The fact that our hometown newspaper has turned its back on The Shrub's successor has me feeling cautiously optimistic about Tuesday's outcome.