Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Call for Help

I'm beginning to think I have a big flashing "sucker" sign on my forehead. I was asked several months ago to teach a class for the Relief Society in Stake Leadership Meeting. It was postponed because of Prop 8 and I almost forgot about it. Then, I got the call that it was rescheduled for this Thursday. Not a problem, except I started back to school on Monday and I've been up to my elbows in alligators. I love teaching, so I'm not dreading the class, I'm just a little braindead right now.

So, I thought I would ask for help. The topic is teaching. Simple enough. I'm going to focus on teaching by the Spirit and specific methods for improving participation and learning. It's not a hard topic and I actually have more information that I can possibly cover. What I need is personal experiences. So, if you have felt the Spirit in a lesson, would you please tell me about it? And, if you've seen effective teaching methods, would you please share them? I promise to give you credit. I will gladly repay the favor upon request.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fastasy Island

What's the deal with January? Nothing to look forward to. No vacations or school breaks. Crummy weather. Maybe it was meant to be a time to recoup after Christmas. Maybe it exists just to make us REALLY appreciate Spring. I'm not sure.

All I can think about in January is WHERE AM I GOING ON MY NEXT VACATION??? I need a vacation. I really do. This is how I know I need a vacation:

1. Everyday I get up, I swear my house shrunk overnight.

2. I cry when I get cruise brochures in the mail.

3. I look forward to traveling on a plane (that's just sick).

4. I leave my bed unmade expecting the maid to take care of it.

5. I look for a mint on my pillow every night.

6. I find myself only buying travel-size toiletries.

7. I can't remember what day it is.

8. I wear Hawaiian shirts and leis to school.

9. I'm thinking that I've never been to Montana. Maybe I should go.

10. I'm thinking that food storage isn't all that important....maybe the
money could be better used on a classy resort somewhere in Jamaica.

These are serious signs. The remedy can only be a vacation. Now, where should I go? There's always that trip to Paradise (Hawaii). It never fails to please. I could go back to my old high school stomping grounds at Myrtle Beach. Maybe a trip up the coast of California - Monterey and Santa Barbara are beautiful. Or perhaps a place I've never been. I don't believe in aiming low. I go for the fantasy. I know it won't happen if I never give it a shot. If I have to settle for something a little less appealing....there's always the next dream.

I'd like to know what your ultimate vacation would be. Where would you go? Who would
you go with? What would you do? Remember it's a fantasy, so go big!

Let's hear it for dreams!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Walking to School

Children fascinate me. They always have and probably always will. I never tire of watching them. Their innate curiosity and drive to make sense of their world is proof of how well equipped they are when they come to us. Fortunate for us, we do not have to instill in them a desire to move, communicate, problem solve, and adapt. Parenthood would take on a whole new dimension if that responsiblity fell in our laps!

At no other time in life do we approach new experiences and opportunites for learning with such gusto and determination. The infant brain is almost complete at birth. As a matter of fact, many brain cells are pruned in the first years because they are not used or needed. Infants are learning not only the skills needed for survival and function; they are learning about relationships. Each hug, kiss or act of affection or love shapes the brain and "builds" the hardware with which the infant interprets life. Babies who are deprived or neglected approach the world with fear and hyperviligence. Babies who are loved and exposed to many opportunities for exploration see the world as a safe place where good things will happen.

The bottom line is this - the most important achievement in the first years is attachment to a caring adult who loves you, meets your needs, and keeps you safe. Without that learning is difficult, if not impossible. It's really quite simple. The good news is that poor parents can parent as well as rich. Things are not that important, but relationships are. If you want the brightest kid on the block, make him or her the most loved kid on the block. I love this truth.

So, what else do babies learn in the first years? Maybe I can illustrate by showing what Bailey learned in her 15 minute walk today.

Flowers are pretty and smell good.

Going fast is fun!

Cars make lots of noise!

Rocks are heavy and don't taste too good.

Bark isn't very interesting.

Walking is a fast way of getting around!

Riding in my new wagon is fun.

Hi Grandma! I know you.

People love me.

I can climb a step.

A step can pose a problem!

So, my message is - forget the flash cards and the classes. Go for a walk. Remember that children have a fresh, unfilterd view of the world. Everything is new and everything is game. In one hour of play they pretty much cover their math, science, language, physics, and kinesthetic courses for the day. And, they do it with a pure joy of learning. Wouldn't it be nice if we could do the same?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Shady Lady

It was 82 degrees in San Diego today, so Bailey decided to sport her new shades.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods??

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Retail Tale

My sweet Lindsay is beautiful, talented, kind, and a great aunt to Bailey. However, she has a problem. She works at Nordstrom. Before Nordstrom, she was perfectly happy buying clothes/shoes at American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, or Sun Diego. She didn't know YSL (Yves Saint Laurent) from Christian Louboutin. (I still don't, by the way.) Then, the contamination began. It started with a Marc Jacobs bag, then proceeded to Tory Burch shoes, and on to a Philip Lim dress. It hit like a tidal wave and shows no signs of receding.

The shoes and clothes she absolutely can't afford she "visits" on her breaks. And like a snake chasing a rat, she attacks the minute they go on sale. She has strategically placed "watchers" in certain departments who feed her addiction like a drug lord. They hold items that she "absolutely has to have", then flatter her until she can't resist. It's cruel.

Of course, Lindsay believes each purchase was "meant to be". "But, Mom, there was only one of these dresses in my size in all the stores....so it was fate when I found it in MY store!" She honestly believes that not purchasing one of these "cosmic gifts" is a form of neglect.

I can understand obsessions. I have a few of my own. But, what I'm really worried about is she has started sucking in the other family members. Mark was one of the first to go. ("Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly"...)He feels sorry for Lindz when her sales are down, so what does he do? He helps her out by buying a watch. Lindsay, the spider, is quite masterful at manipulating her dad. He just hasn't figured out that he'd be smarter just to loan her the money.

Others have fallen, too. Kelly calls Lindz before getting dressed just to make sure she doesn't commit some critical, life altering, fashion faux pas. I have hidden my Eddie Bauer jeans...I just can't take the insults. Even Jon has become a "Lucky" groupie. Once, Oakley refused to let us put his Petco shirt on him. He was holding out for Tommy Hilfiger.

It is what it is and I will have to adjust to this very shallow, materialistic side of Lindsay. However, what I saw today scared me witless. Our sweet Bailey was sitting on Lindsay's lap, in all her innocence, staring at a pair of designer shoes on the computer. Then, she reached out to caress them. Wasting not a minute, Lindsay handed her a credit card. I think I saw a sparkle in that sweet baby's eye.

I fear we have lost her...at the ripe ole age of 10 months!! PLEASE HELP!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I've Always Wondered

Here's a mind expander for you. In a fight to the death who would win....



Just curious.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Parenting 101

I just read Amy's blog and felt quite comforted by the fact that parenting doesn't look much different than it did 30 years ago. As you all know, I've taught Child Development for many years. I've also taught more parenting classes than I can remember. Since I'm old and you're not, I thought you might benefit from some of my wisdom and experience. So, here are twenty things I think every parent should know about children and parenting:

1. Kids are and always will be smarter than you. Even if they're not, you're
usually too tired to challenge them.

2. God made kids cute so we wouldn't drown them.

3. You'll like your kids more if you dress them cute.

4. Forget putting your kids in time-out. Put YOURSELF in time-out - preferably
on a beach or cruise ship.

5. Your spouse's genes are responsible for all the psychotic and neurotic behaviors
in your kids.

6. Never leave your kids alone - not even if they're 30. They have "trouble finding"

7. Kids have radar. They know when you're in the bathroom, even if you're quiet
and the room is dark. They have sensors on their fingertips, so when you see
those fingers under the door BEWARE!!!

8. Kids have an impairment which prevents them from hearing you the first
88 times.

9. Never have more than one kid. Sibling rilvary and fighting don't exist when
there's only one.

10. Boys are great, but their "handle" has been known to destroy bathroom walls
and floors. It seems there's no way to control it. (Same when they're grown.)

11. Girls are great, but they turn on you like a rhino when they reach 13.

12. Tell all of your children they are the favorite. Write them each letters
to verify it. You never know which one will be rich enough to take care of
you in your old age.

13. Make sure, if you do have girls, they are ugly as a dog's backside, so boys
won't come sniffing around.

14. Don't ever let your sons drive. Their brains are disconnected from the foot
that presses on the gas pedal.

15. Hide everything you own. Kids don't understand the notion of personal ownership.
They think if it's in your house, in your room, in your drawer, and you paid for
it, it most certainly is theirs.

16. Never enter a teenager's room without proper equipment. Your backpack should
include Lysol, a medium strength acid, a shovel, a mask, gloves, and several
garbage sacks. Also, NEVER enter alone. Parents have been known to disappear.

17. Don't get too caught up with safety and child protection laws. YOU know what
works best for your kid. See below for suggestion. If you get caught, claim
that you've never seen the kid before in your life.

18. Lower your expectations. If you expect them to act like they were "raised in a
barn"...and they do....you're not disappointed.

19. Don't sweat the small stuff. They don't really need to eat or go to school.
If they steal candy from the store, they were probably just hungry. Let them
yell at you and hit you. It's important that we teach kids to be assertive.

20. Finally, be sure that you always show your kids that you love them. They will
use this love to bribe and torment you, but at least you can say that you did
your part.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pause for a Cause

I met Barbara Chernofsky over 18 years ago when she was hired as a full-time faculty in our Child Development Department at Grossmont College. She was a tough old bird and I liked her almost immediately. My family grew to love her. Since she had no children of her own, she focused enthusiastically on others. I often found chocolate or a cold Diet Coke in my classroom waiting for me on those days I taught long 3 hour classes. My kids loved when Barb and Paul (her husband) would stop by - mainly because they knew they would be the center of attention for the duration of the visit. She loved her convertible, cats, and gambling (she almost always won!).

Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer several years after I met her. She endured chemo, radiation, and numerous medications, but never missed a day of class. She showed up bald. She showed up with wigs. She showed up sick and she showed up exhausted. But, she always showed up. After several years in remission the cancer returned and she died at home with her dear husband by her side. Her last days were spent at home surrounded by those who loved her. I was proud to be among them. I miss her terribly.

My step-sister, Tina, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31. Her cancer was invasive and fast growing. She, too, endured months of painful, exhausting treatments. Today she is 34 and is cancer-free. She has just adopted a beautiful little girl named Katie and her future is bright.

My cousin, Judy, is a breast cancer survivor. My aunt, Clara, was a victim of breast cancer and died in her 30's. My neighbor, Ann-Louise, is a breast cancer survivor.

Just yesterday I learned that another dear friend has breast cancer. She is a fighter and a woman of great faith. Her life has had challenges and with each she has grown stronger. This will be no exception. She will not battle alone. There are many of love her and will be by her side. I will be one of them.

My point is.....we all know someone who has had or has breast cancer. This is evidence of its prevalence. My OBGYN told me once that he had never lost a patient to cancer who routinely had mammograms and exams. That was good enough for me, so I'm religious about getting in every year. I am shocked when I hear women say they haven't had a mammogram in years. Breast cancer is highly curable when caught early. It's a no-brainer.

Sorry about being a "mother", but I plan on all of you being around for a very long time. If you haven't seen your doctor for awhile....CALL TODAY!

Submitted with love.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Wait is Over

I caught on to "24" much later than most. When I finally did, I became an addict. I rented or bought every season I had missed and forfeited sleep, family, and school until I finished them all. It was my drug of choice for a long time. Last season was very disappointing, but hope springs eternal, so I'm counting on this season to knock my socks off again.

The premier is tonight at 8:00 and continues for 2 hours tomorrow night. So, I probably won't be blogging much. It's a matter of priority. Go, Jack, go!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My 100

According to Brooke, you can't be a real blogger without posting your 100. I'm extremely intimidated by the task....I try not to think THAT much about myself. But, maybe I'll gain some insights that will finally help me achieve the adolescent task of identity formation.

So, here's a sneak peak inside my slightly irregular brain.

1. Halloween is my favorite holiday.
2. I love the smell of Pirates of the Caribbean.
3. I don't mind wearing glasses.....I think they make my nose look shorter.
4. No one can make me laugh like my brother, Rick.
5. I'm still surprized at how much I love my kids.
6. I hate the soft center of bread.

7. I love my shower.
8. I dream every night and can remember every dream.
9. In college I had a 20 inch waist. Now I have a 20 inch forearm.
10. My mother was the most honest person I've ever known.
11. I fantasize about having a condo of my own.
12. I love being alone and could take a cruise by myself and love it.
13. I am addicted to reading.
14. My dream home would have ceiling to floor windows with no curtains or blinds
to obscure my view of the woods.

15. The two most beautiful places I've ever seen are the mountains of North Carolina
and the Swiss Alps.
16. I think I may have been a druid in another life.
17. I detest arrogance.
18. One of my most favorite childhood memories is swinging on the front porch with my
Maw Maw Herman. The smell of fresh peaches from the tree in front of the porch
and the sound of the squeaky swing will forever suggest peace and safety to me.
19. My father was both an honorary member of the KKK and a Renaissance man. He loved
classical music and literature, but was intolerant of anyone whose views differed
from his.
20. I wear black, white, red and blue. Pastels make me look like a faded
Impressionist painting.
21. I collect art depicting children and books.
22. My hair is short because when it grows out I look like Cousin It.
23. I started liking pigs when my friend in high school, Shelley Martin, started
illustrating her notes to me with cute little pigs. She married a guy whose
last name was Swineheart. No kidding.
24. My favorite singers are James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkle. I've seen
both in concert.
25. I can't sleep if doors or drawers are open.
26. Roses are cliche and boring. I'd rather have no flowers than roses.

27. I love Bailey's new expressions.
28. I'd rather spend time with my kids than anyone.
29. I married a man who is my opposite in almost every way.

30. I love horror movies, but not the slasher ones.
31. I was Relief Society President for over 3 years and loved it.
32. My only fear is having something terrible happen to my kids or grandkid(s).
33. I once was so moved by a Van Gogh exhibit that I cried.
34. I've never won a trophy...not one.

35. I've never seen a more beauitful color than the blue in a Caribbean ocean.
36. The funniest movie I've ever seen is Young Frankenstein. My brothers and I have
watched it dozens of times....and we still laugh like fools every time.
37. I love the sound of crunchy snow.
38. I feel conflicted about whether I'd rather have a second home in the mountains
or at the beach. Yes, I can dream.
39. Seeing the movie Eight Below nearly put me in an institution.
40. I love raw potatoes.
41. When I was a young child - probably 4 or 5 - I was spending the night with my
cousin and had to get up in the night to use the bathroom. When I walked past
my uncle's bed I saw his shoes dancing. Honest to gosh.
42. When I was a little girl I use to design graves and decorate them with the
flowers from the neighbor's gardens. No comment.
43. We owned the very first microwave in Hickory, North Carolina. When my dad brought
it home and told us what it would do, I thought he'd lost his mind.
44. My greatest gift is my ability to teach.
45. I tried to learn to play the piano as an adult, but couldn't keep my left hand
from following my right. So, I gave it up and went shopping.
45. I've had nearly every calling in the church except Scouts, Enrichment, Activities
Committee, and Seminary teacher.
46. When I first started teaching we had very little money. One day I heard some of
my students taking bets on what I would be wearing. I was so embarrassed that I
told Mark I had to get new clothes. About a week later I was wearing one of my
beautiful new dresses (navy blue striped). After class a student approachd me
and told me never to wear the dress again because it gave her a migraine.
47. I once had a boyfriend who came to visit me in North Carolina. I took him out
to our house at the lake and left him for a week. I've since tried to locate him
to apologize. To this day, I feel horrible.
48. I'm obsessive about squeegying (is that a word??) my shower.
49. I hate to be hot.
50. My favorite color to wear is red, my favorite color to live around is green.
51. I love old people.
52. I love word games and play online Boggle every single day. My kids tease me
about my "opponents". "Who ya playing today, Ma....Sally from Mars....or Omar
from Wisconsin???"
53. The first time I went to Europe I took 7 suitcases. The last time I took 1.
54. The only other member of the Church in my family is an aunt. Regardless of their
religious beliefs, however, my extended family includes some of the kindest, most
generous, loving, devoted, Christ-like people on the planet.
55. I genuinely love all my nieces and nephews and their spouses.
56. On my side of the family, I have only one niece and no nephews.
57. Almost every Thursday Bailey and I take a trip to Target. She likes to look at
the stuff....and I like to look at her.
58. Even though I've never had a strong Southern drawl, I love to listen to them.
59. I love being alone in my own house.
60. My family knows to NEVER enter my "getting ready" space in the morning until
I'm dressed.
61. Listening to Miles Davis and John Coltrane makes me wish I lived in a different
62. During stress I mentally go to one of my "safe" places. I can end up floating
on a raft in the Caribbean or sitting on a pier in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Both work
very well.

63. I have many friends but my soulmate is my cousin, Linda. We are very different
but are connected at the heart.

64. I never thought I'd own a dog. Then we got Oakley. I'll never be without one.
65. More than anything I want a bigger house to accomodate my growing family.
66. For years (way before Twilight) I've been entrigued with vampires. I think it
started with Dark Shadows back in the 70's.
67. My childhood crushes were Paul McCartney and Davey Jones.
68. I'm a Weather Channel groupie.
69. My friend, Shelley, and I love ghost stories. We took a trip to Charleston,
South Carolina once and went on two ghost tours. One of the tours was of an
old prison. As we were leaving a crew was setting up cameras to film a special
on paranormal activity. By the time we returned to our room, we were certain
a ghost had followed us home. We scared ourselves half to death!
70. I loved school as a child and still remember much of what I was taught. I
remember all of my teachers and still feel very fortunate to have been taught so
71. I was the only girl in elementary school invited to play baseball with the boys.
72. I loved living in Salt Lake City and still consider our neighbors there the best
in the world.
73. I cooked for an apartment of boys in college. One of them was an NCAA decathlon
champion. I took all the credit.
74. My first car was a Toyota Corona. When I put on the breaks the back seat fell
75. When I started attending church at about age 8 we met in a Woman's Club. We
would have to clean up every Sunday morning before church began. Often the
prayer, talks, and lessons were given by the same people. Attendance was
usually 15 or so. I learned the Articles of Faith in that building.
76. A man who is meticulously dressed turns me on. I prefer an average man who
is well dressed to a gorgous man who isn't. (dressed well, that is...)
77. I have two types of pants. One is black dress and the other is denim. My
favorite jeans are David Kahns.
78. When I dream about myself, I have long hair.
79. My husband would do anything in the world for me. Sometimes that scares me.
80. I wouldn't go back to any earlier age. I'm more comfortable with myself now
than I've ever been and I truly think my best years are yet to come.
81. I can't stand Uma Thurman.
82. I love anything that Will Smith does - even his rap.
83. Every Sunday my heart races as I wait for my kids to show up. Things aren't
right until they're all here.
84. I've lied about my height for years. I think I'm only 5'1", not 5'2".
85. My mother was so beautiful that I always felt ugly by comparison.
86. I could live forever without sweets, but could eat my weight in chips and salsa.
87. I love mashed potatoes and any kind of bean.
88. I love the smell of fresh-cut grass.

89. I'm horrified of spiders, but decorate my house with hundreds of them at
Halloween. Aversion therapy?????

90. I want to smack tall, thin women.
91. I love setting a beautiful table, but hate cooking.
92. The faster and crazier the ride, the more I like it.
93. I cry when I hear children sing.
94. Every February or so, I walk outside, throw my arms in the air and say, "This is
why I live in San Diego!"
95. I love to sleep in a cold room with lots of covers.
96. My favorite flavor is GRAPE. I think I could love wine.
97. I have a wonderful stepsister named Tina. She is a breast cancer survivor and
she just adopted a beautiful baby girl named Katie. Welcome to the family, Katie!
98. I am 14 years older than my youngest brother. I raised him until I left for
college and still think of him as my child at times.
99. I knew the church was true the first time I heard it...at age 8.
100.In spite of all the crazy people and happenings in the world, I still think
there is more good than bad. Mostly, I believe you find what you're looking for.


Movies Worth Watching

I love movies. Almost as much as I love books. Going to the movie theater is an EXPERIENCE for me. I love the dark, the popcorn, the "20", the reclining seats, and especially the Diet Coke. I rarely remember who's with me. For that 2 hours or so I literally live another life. It's a mini-vacation at its best.

My friend, Shelley, and I have a standing "date" every Tuesday (it's $1 popcorn day) for lunch and a movie. Recently we haven't done so well because of the holidays, etc. But, we're anxious to get back on track. We consider our movie time to be a critical part of our survival. All our friends know this and treat it as something sacred - which it is.

I hesitate to recommend movies. Tastes are so different and I don't want to feel like an idiot for ranting on about a movie that someone detests. However, I'm going to go out on a limb today and mention two movies I've seen this week. The first is Doubt, which Shelly and I saw on Tuesday. The second is Benjamin Button, which I saw today, alone. I probably forgot to mention that I love going to the movies alone.

I think the recent events involving sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic church may tend to sway how one might approach the movie Doubt. The subject is a difficult one and usually makes us want to place blame - on someone. I expected a clear line and what I got was quite different. One sign of genius with writers and producers is the ability to entice the audience to look at a subject from a new angle. In Doubt, you leave the movie not knowing whether the good guy or the bad guy won. As a matter of fact, you're not even sure who is the good guy or bad guy. The story reminds me of the story lines from one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult. Reading one of her books is usually an eye-opening and frustrating experience. If you haven't read her, I recommend My Sisters Keeper. Okay, back to the movie. It's slow, but the performances by Amy Adams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep are brilliant. The theme of the film was perfectly supported by the setting and characters. I actually shivered in some of the cold, rainy scenes. Many questions remained when I left the theatre....but one was answered very clearly....I'm glad I didn't go to Catholic school! Let me know what you think.

Benjamin Button takes place in the South (New Orleans) and has lots of old folks. In my book, you can't lose with those two components. I had heard lots about the movie, and have to admit, it was much what I expected. The best thing about it is the story itself. It's loosely based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don't know how loosely since I haven't read it. Like all great stories, it includes romance, relationships, adventure, and believable characters. The special effects are impressive. I can't figure out how they put Brad Pitt's face on that little old body. There are several story lines including Benjamin's curious aging process, his introduction to his father, his relationship with Daisy (played beautifully by Cate Blanchett), and his philosophy that life should be lived everyday to its fullest. All in all I loved this movie. I cried and laughed and wished it wouldn't end. That's a pretty good recommendation. Cate Blanchett was perfectly cast and Brad Pitt was beautiful. I'm glad it lived up to the hoopla. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to School

In a couple of weeks I will begin my 23rd at Grossmont College. In that time I've missed only 2 semesters (one when I had Lindsay and one when I took a break). I've also taught at several other colleges in San Diego. This semester I will be teaching 3 classes at Grossmont and 1 at Palomar. I've taught many subjects including Developmental Psychology, Math and Science (for young children), Language and Literature, Infant and Toddler Development, Infant and Toddler Curriculum, and others. I've also presented workshops for various community agencies and have done training for the California Department of Education, Child Development Division. The point is that I have been busy in my discipline for many years. I have loved it. I'm in the unique position of doing something I love AND helping to improve the quality of care for young children.

Every semester is an adventure. I never know what I'm getting myself into and I guess the students would say the same thing. I've taught 16 year-olds and 80 year-olds. Some are right out of high school (or still in it) and others are PhDs starting new careers. I've had great semesters and some I'd rather forget. I've had students who stalked me, students who cursed at me, students who have bribed me (it works....I usually recommend chocolate or Padre tickets), students who I consider friends, and students who scare me.

In commemoration of those 23 years, I'd like to provide a list of 23 things I've learned or experienced in my teaching career. Here goes....

1. The smartest students are not always the best students.
2. Classes have personalities and ONE student can set the tone for the whole class.
3. It's difficult to take into consideration all the cultural variations. One
student became very upset with me when I refused to let her barter for her grade.
4. I take chocolate to all my classes. I can bribe students with it.
5. I allow my students to demonstrate their talents in class. Last semester I had
a stand-up comic perform and another, who had auditioned for American Idol, sang.
I've also had dancers, artists, cooks, etc.
6. My night classes are usually adjacent to the cooking class. Smelling the food is
pure torture. I made friends with the chef and he has invited us to "come
taste". In December he invited my class to a wonderful buffet the students
had prepared as part of their final project. All we had to do is provide drinks.
What a deal!!
7. Usually, the best students sit in the front.
8. I've heard every excuse under the sun. My favorite is, "I couldn't come to class
because my horse was in labor." In San Diego??????
9. Very few guys take Child Development classes. When they do it's usually to meet
10. One of my students told me he was afraid that smoking pot everyday would effect
his sperm production. I assured him that it would.
11. Students will tell you anything. Especially what you don't want to hear.
12. I've seen a critical shift in the past 20 years. Students use to be embarrassed
when they were caught cheating. Now they brag about it.
13. Every semester I have a panel of adolescents come to class. They range in age
from 13 to about 22. A few semesters ago everyone on the panel aged 15 and up (about 6 students) admitted to using drugs routinely - 3 said they got the drugs from their parents.
14. I don't accept late work - EVER.
15. I don't have to deal with parents. One of the great perks of teaching college!
16. I can always keep the attention of my students if I talk about sex and/or teenagers.
18. A scary number of students can't tell me how a girl gets pregnant.
19. I've taught thousands of students and I remember very few of them.
20. Technology has become my good friend.
22. I work with an amazing group of women (mostly) who are selfless and genuinely
committed to improving the lives of children.
23. Teaching Child Development and applying the principles are two different things.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Doctors Make Me Sick

Today was not a pleasant day for Kelly. Bailey, who has had a cold since Christmas, got progressively worse and ended up in urgent care on Sunday Night. After a "thorough" exam, it was determined that her desperate cries, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and 103.5 temperature were caused by a virus. I didn't buy it. And, more importantly, the diagnosis didn't help Bailey feel any better.

Last night Bailey was up crying all night....and probably so was Kelly. Thankfully, her well-baby check-up was today and we were all looking forward to what Bailey's "real" doctor would say. Just as I expected, she had an ear infection. As relieved as we were to get a diagnosis, it was frustrating to know that a correct diagnosis on Sunday would have prevented a lot of pain for little Bai. When I last saw Bailey tonight she was asleep, but it was her first sleep since yesterday. It breaks my heart. So, you can imagine what it did to Kelly.

I have little faith in doctors, clinics, hospitals, or any other health care facilities or programs. It's unlike me to be so negative, but when I consider some of the experiences I've had in the past ten years, I think my negativity may be justified. Here are a few:

* My mother had a brain aneurysm when she was 56. She lived in North Carolina at
the time. After researching the best places for her rehab, we decided to bring
her to Sharp's Hospital in San Diego. Our contacts here assured us that timing
was important, so we pulled some strings and had her flown here within days of
her release from the hospital. She was in the hospital here for two weeks before
she was involved in any kind of therapy. But, they did manage to lose her. I
went to see her one day and was told that they couldn't find her. After quite a
search, she was found at another hospital about a mile down the road. She had
simply walked out of the hospital....and no one had noticed.

* About ten years later, Mom had a mild heart attack and was admitted to a local
hospital. It was determined, after a day or so, that she needed an angioplasty,
but would have to be moved to another facility for the procedure. She was moved
by ambulance. She was in intensive care for a couple days, then moved to another
room. The room had no pillow, no water....and no nurses. When I asked for a cup
of water I was told that I shouldn't bother the nurses...I should just ring the
call button. I was in her room for over two hours before anyone bothered to check
on her. Several days later, she had her angioplasty. The doctor performing the
procedure slipped and tore a vessel in her heart. She was scheduled to come home
the next day, but instead, I got a call at 1:00am. She was dead.

* A few summers ago Lindsay fell on her longboard (skateboard) and injured both
arms. We took her to the emergency room at our local hospital. She was in
excrutiating pain, but that didn't stop the x-ray technician from twisting her
arms to position them for the scan. Kelly and I could hear her screaming down
the hall. A doctor looked at the film and said she was fine - had probably just
bruised them. After a week, the pain continued, so we took her to our orthopedist.
He took one look at the film and said, "This bone is broken". Then, he picked up
another film and said, "Ooops, I must have picked up the same film." He checked
again and claimed he had never seen such a thing....but both arms were broken in
the same place.

* Several months ago Kelly got some funky little bump that we all thought was from
a spider. It grew from a small spot into a large one with red rings radiating
from it....and it was incredibly painful. It got so bad that she went to...you
guessed it....urgent care. She was told it was an infection and was given an
antibiotic. It eventually went away. We didn't think much about it, until
another one appeared several weeks later. This time she went to her dermatologist.
He immediately diagnosed it as Mersa, a very serious antibiotic-resistant
bacterial infection. She was put on two hard core antitiotics and was under the
constant care of her doctor. We didn't find out until later that the urgent care
doctor knew it was Mersa, but didn't tell her. By the way, Mersa can be life

* Lindsay was very sick on Christmas Day this year with an extremely sore throat.
Her neck and throat were swollen and she was miserable. It didn't get better the
next day, so we took her to URGENT CARE. They were packed and we were told the
wait would be at least 2 hours. We were asked if we'd like them to make an
appointment for us with a doctor in the clinic. He could see her later in the
afternoon. We returned and Lindsay was told she had a virus. In all his wisdom
he told Lindsay that, "Common viruses are common and uncommon viruses are
uncommon". Not a joke. She should just go home and gargle with salt water. Two
days later he called back to tell her she had strep.

Anyway....I could go on. Note that the reason we always ended up in urgent care is because when we tried to get appointments with our doctors we were told that there were no appointments available. Then, it was suggested that we go to urgent care.
I don't get it. Whatever happened to Marcus Welby? Please tell me that my experiences are unique and that there really is good health care out there. I need to have my faith restored.

Monday, January 5, 2009

To All You Experienced Bloggers

So, I managed to change the appearance of my blog - took about 90 minutes - and now I need information. So, here goes.....

1. How do you add photos in the middle of text? Mine always end up on the top.

2. What gadgets should I add?

3. What's a gadget?

4. How do I add followers?

5. How do I add music? Not that I would. Just good info to have.

6. How do I find time to keep this up once my classes begin?

I would appreciate any help you can provide. I'm way beyond being prideful.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

About Sons

We all appreciate the money that Mark makes, but in all honesty, it's the perks that really make us smile. For example, thanks to Mark's "hook-ups" he got to sit in a stadium with Jon and 70,000 other people as the Chargers miraculously beat the Colts tonight in a playoff game. I love watching football (and baseball)so I imagine you're wondering why I handed my precious ticket over to Jon. I have to admit that my first notion was to sell it - I think they were going for over $1,500.00. Then, I decided that the thrill that Jon would experience would be worth far more than the money. That's what I love about having a son. Sons are simple. Give them a few tickets to sporting events, a good meal once in awhile, and fridge full of Gatorade and they're happy. For Jon, however, it takes one more thing to get that look of pure bliss. That would be Snickerdoodles. He feels about Snickerdoodles the way Ashley and Brooke feel about Oreos. Except, he can probably challenge their intake by about 2 dozen.

Every Sunday all the kids come over for dinner and there's always some goodie baked after dinner. A couple of Sundays ago, Jon begged for Snickerdoodles, as he does every Sunday, but I was too beat to make them. So, he decided to give it a shot. The results were, shall we say, less than edible, so Jon was sorely disappointed. Being the guilt-ridden Mom that I am, I felt awful. So, today I baked him his Snickerdoodles, put them in a Christmas bag, and sent them to the game with him. Why did I do this?? Because it was simple and it made him happy. Doesn't that about sum up the whole motherhood thing? Seeing our kids happy is our payment for all the hours, days, and years we spend caring for them. It's not a bad payment and I have to admit that as long as I see those happy faces, I'll continue to cater to their funky little vices. It's what mothers do. And we do it forever. And, that's okay.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Some Things to Know About Me

Kelly has already nagged me about posting everyday. She's a blogger groupie, but doesn't have a blog, so I'm not sure she's qualified to make suggestions.

So, here's my subject for today - ME. I'm taking lessons from Brooke.

10 Things You Should Know About Me

1. I'm from North Carolina and Southern blood runs thick in my veins.
2. I'm never happier than when all my "ducks are on the pond".
3. I've been a college teacher for 23 years and still love it.
4. I read, on average, 1-3 novels a week. Only fiction. I live non-fiction.
5. My ultimate vacation is a cruise. No phones, meals 24 hours a day, cabin boys who make my bed and leave me mints, and unending Diet Pepsi delivered to me at poolside. How could it get better???
6. I honestly believe that LAUGHTER is the best medicine.
7. My kids call me Pollyanna. I'm sometimes dangerously optimistic.
8. I credit my religion for almost everything that has brought joy to my life.
9. I have wonderful female friends who have saved me thousands in therapy bills.
10. I have a secret crush on Hugh Jackman.

Ten Things I REALLY Don't Like

1. Looking for stuff
2. Drivers who speed up at yellow lights and leave me sitting at the red
3. Students who give me lame excuses for absenses, late papers, etc. and really
think, after 23 years, that I haven't heard them before.
4. Dishes left in the sink
5. Whining
6. Parents who don't discipline their children
7. A slow computer
8. Emptying the dishwasher
9. Size 12s that are too tight
10. People who don't take responsibility for their own actions

Ten Things Few People Know About Me

1. I have to fight the urge to jump the counter to work the registers at stores
2. One M&M can satisfy my sweet tooth
3. I was a basketball star at Kenworth Elementary in Hickory, NC.
4. I was in Jr. High when the first Black was integrated into my school.
5. I have a secret desire to flash back to the 40's and go dancing in one of those smokey piano bars.
6. I once read an 800 page novel from cover to cover without taking a break.
7. I'm a Southerner who doesn't eat grits, greens, black-eyed-peas, or livermush.
8. I'm in love with a guy named Mitch Rapp. Thank heavens he's a fictional character!
9. I have a serious need for speed. I went motorcycle riding with an ex-Bishop friend (no kidding). When we hit 120 mph I thought I had reached nirvana!
10. While I was in high school, my car got locked in the parking lot of the public library. Seening no other option, I drove it right through the shrubs. I figured facing the police would be much preferred over going home without my car.

Ten Things I Hope to Do Before I Die (Bucket List)

1. Go to Italy
2. Go to Ireland
3. Write a book
4. See my brothers become active in the church
5. See Jon and Lindsay married
6. Fit into size 6 again
7. Get a family photo taken (without the complaining)
8. See Bailey dance on stage
9. Get all the female Warners together for a vacation
10. Get a new hairstyle