Sunday, September 25, 2016

Folding the Stupid Socks

It all started innocently enough.  I was tired of socks that slip down.  I wear Birkenstock sandals almost constantly, because I have had arch and many other foot problems and the podiatrist told me I should wear them all of the time.  But I prefer wearing them with socks.  Socks that don't slip down. Socks that don't have the toe flapping out in front of the sandal.

So, feeling a bit righteous, I ordered a pair of black organic socks.  I followed the sizing guidelines, and this pair fit OK, but it was just a tad too small.  But, YAY, it didn't slip down.  So, I decided to order some more pairs of the same brand of socks.  It was easy to tell the smaller socks from the larger ones, so folding them after doing the laundry wasn't too bad.  Until some of them seemed to shrink a bit more than the others in the washer and dryer.

But, of course, now that I had decided that these socks worked, I was even more annoyed at the other socks that I had that kept slipping down.  But you can't really throw out socks that are still usable, just because they are annoying.  So, I kept wearing them.  Until the great garage sale and subsequent clothing donations.  Aha!  A valid way to get rid of usable socks - donate them to people who need them.  People who wear sneakers shouldn't have the slipping down problem. Most people seem to wear closed-in shoes and should appreciate usable socks.

Then, because I don't do laundry that often, I needed more black socks.  So I bought another batch of black organic socks, just like the larger ones I had gotten before.  Exactly like them.  Well, not so much.  If you wear a lot of black clothing items, you know that black isn't always the same color.  One black may be a bit grayer than the other black.

So now folding socks after doing the laundry has become much more complicated.  I could just ignore the various sizings and shadings of the very similar black socks.  But, I have to fold socks near outdoor light, so that I can pick out the pair of navy socks that I sometimes also wear.  Wearing one navy sock and one black sock is definitely noticeable, once you are out in sunlight.  But, in natural light the difference between blacks also becomes apparent.

So now, since I am a bit OCD about socks, I spend way too much time trying to match black socks.  Way too much time.  I spend way too much time folding the stupid socks.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Too Sensitive? Not Angry Enough?

Too Sensitive?

It was just a short remark.  Hardly noticed in the stream of flotsam that comes across on the News Feed.  But you made me feel stupid.  Was it necessary to add that clever put down?  It has soured my day.

I wonder if I do that some times.  Probably.  I will have to be more careful.  I don't need to defend my cleverness as much as I need to re-inforce my kindness.

Not Angry Enough?

In your personal message to me, you asked me something totally inappropriate.  I ignored it and went on chatting as if you had said nothing.  But your remark made me feel unclean.  Should I have called you out on it?  Should I have cut you off immediately?  I didn't.  Does that make me complicit?

Maybe I need to do something else today.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dealing with Dragons, The Musical

This is the second song in my musical, based on Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.

Here are the lyrics:

Though I should stay, I long for adventure.
I am not ready to wed or to reign.
I long to go, to do things I’ve not done.
Head for the sunrise, my own goals to gain.

The way may be long, but still I can be strong.
Learn something new on the way.
I am not proper, but then proper’s a bore
There must be more that’s in store. 

Just starting out, away from the castle.
I am determined to find a new way.
Follow the path the frog said to start on.
Head for the hovel, knock three times [knock, knock, knock, snap fingers] 

Oh! Kay!

And here is the song:

Cimorene's Song

Sunday, August 02, 2015

A New Direction

I turned 65 at my last birthday and I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will never have a successful career.  I have done a lot of different things successfully, don't get me wrong, but my career, as such, has been a haphazard shambles.

The biggest successes have been helping to found Countryside School, in order to meet the educational needs of my children - and numerous others.  The school is still doing well and I am happy about my contribution to its start.  I also am proud of the gifted program I ran for 5 years at Gifford School in Illinois.  Gifted education is no longer supported in Illinois and the gifted teacher/coordinator position was eliminated.  I chose to resign, rather than continue with a mishmash of part-time jobs, as teaching K-8 computer classes, 8th grade algebra, and 6th and 7th grade social studies was too much.  Other teachers may understand this: I had 31 different class preps per week, with NO repetition.  Plus I was responsible for all of the computer systems in the school (hardware and software) and the school's computer network.

I have found substitute teaching more interesting than I expected.  Even though it is discouraging to not be able to see much of a personal impact and it is even more discouraging to be paid so abysmally, I did enjoy visiting different schools and seeing different classrooms.  It is fascinating to me to compare schools (both physical layouts and staff), teachers, curricula, management styles, rules and expectations, and so forth.  There is a lot to think about as a sub.  Intellectually, the job is actually quite satisfying.

But, it is also very taxing.  One of my problems is my physical body.  I am arthritic and overweight and subbing is physically difficult - standing most of the day, bending over to help the younger ones, limited access to restrooms, cleaning up the classroom after the day is over.  Then, there is the emotional challenge.  Very few people seem to care that you are there.  Oh, they are glad that someone is there, they just don't care that it is ME (or grammatically, that that someone is I).  I feel more like a placeholder (Who are you today?) than a person.  At one school, I showed up for a job, but there was another person already there who had spoken with the teacher about it.  I could legally have insisted that the job was mine according to the rules of the district, but it was obvious that I was just an anonymous person and the other woman was REAL to them.  Unless you go regularly to one building only, that's what you are - an anonymous placeholder.

So, I am beginning to think of myself as retired.  I may still substitute teach, but I am more focused now on some other directions.  If you have been reading these occasional posts because you were interested in giftedness and/or education, this new direction may not be your cup of tea.  That is fine with me.

My current interest is in writing music.  It is another difficult field, but I am enjoying my beginning efforts.  So TTFN, as Tigger would say.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Money in Elections

The American election process has been bought.  By anyone who has money.  If you don't have money, your voice is worthless.  Your vote will still count, but unless you pony up money, the actual vote doesn't matter.  The jockeying for electoral position, the policy stances, the position statements are all decided well before the actual election.  Who gets to decide?  People with money.  Some candidates are beholden to a small number of people with a lot of money.  Other candidates rely on a larger number of people with more modest sums.  But no candidate caters to someone with only a vote and no money to back up that vote.

I care deeply about a number of issues.  I would love to contribute to causes that desperately need my money.  But I don't earn very much money as a substitute teacher - much less than it takes to live where I do.  My life style depends on my husband as the family earner.  Our history as a couple means that I don't feel bad about relying on him for basic support - food, shelter, clothing, and all those other necessities.  But it does mean that don't have my own money to contribute to causes I believe in.

Every time I sign a petition or write my representatives on behalf of causes I believe in, EVERY TIME, I am asked for money, money, and more money.  And the causes are always desperate.  Because, well, yes, this is actually a rather desperate time for some of the causes I believe in.  They aren't lying.  It is needed.  But I just can't contribute.  I don't have my own money.

So I feel shut out of the election process.  Without money, my voice doesn't mean much.  Why be interested in the outcomes, when even your side doesn't care - unless you have some spare cash to contribute?

I understand why some people just shut it out.  If you don't have money, you don't matter.  Why not just watch another celebrity's marriage fall apart or, here's an uplifting kitten video.  Have fun.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Explaining to a Skinny Person Just How Dieting Feels

Have you ever been REALLY, REALLY hungry?

Have you ever been REALLY, REALLY hungry for a whole day?

Now, imagine that you feel like that for a whole week.

Then, imagine how you would feel if you were told that you would have to feel that way for the rest of your life.

Then, imagine how you would feel if someone told you there was this great diet you could go on.  It works every time and you would NEVER feel hungry, again.  On this marvelous diet you can eat all of the cockroaches and eggplant you want.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Down Memory Lane 4 - Respecting Differences

A few years ago, I was flying from Dallas Fort-Worth to Denver.  On many such flights, people sitting inches from each other remain silent and just endure the crowded discomfort.  But, sometimes, you strike up a conversation with the person next to you - and it makes a lasting impression.  This was one such case.

I am not sure how the conversation got started.  Perhaps I was reading a children's book - something I do quite often.  At any rate, the younger woman sitting next to me and I got to talking.  She was a teacher; I had been a teacher and was currently a substitute teacher.  So we were discussing teaching and schools and school systems.  She was a devout Christian and taught in a private religious school; I am non-religious and have taught in private, public, and charter schools.  She was conservative politically; I am liberal-progressive.  In such situations, many topics are usually taboo.  We are, after all, in a situation where we will be together only briefly; why risk anger and accusations.  But we did anyway.  She was curious as to how people like me could support things like abortion.  She was interested in my reasons and actually respectful of them, even while disagreeing.  It turns out that she had gotten pregnant before marriage and had kept the baby (who had significant handicaps).  She couldn't imagine her life without him and couldn't imagine why anyone would get an abortion.  She believed in personhood beginning at conception.

My take on it is somewhat different from many liberal-progressives.  Yes, I believe that a woman should have control over her own body and her own health, which can be significantly impaired by pregnancy and childbirth.  But I also come at my views from an ecological perspective.  I believe that the current human population of the earth is well past the carrying capacity of our ecosystems.  We have altered the sustainability of many of those systems drastically, some beyond their capacity to recover.  [See articles about the Sixth Extinction, which some scientists believe is imminent.]  I think it is vital to our survival on earth that we do anything and everything we can to limit the population of humans on earth.

In addition, I believe that everyone should have the chance to live a life free from the devastating effects of hunger, lack of housing, lack of education, and lack of safety.  To live a life in such a manner requires a significant use of natural resources.  In other words, I would like to see it possible for anyone who works at it to live a life that was at least comfortably lower middle class, according to an American-style perspective.  With the world's current population, that level of consumption would exacerbate the current ecological problems.

One thing that I thought of later, that I have now added to my reasoning is that yes, she can't imagine life without her son.  But what about life without all of the other babies that she and her husband didn't have?  Most likely, since she and her husband had two children after they got married, they could have had more.  Do they miss the ones that they didn't have, due to birth control?  Do they miss the ones that she might have miscarried without even knowing it?  These potential children might have changed her life.  Does she miss them?  The answer is probably no.  Most women don't regret each and every menstrual cycle as a missed baby.

At any rate, it was a very respectful and interesting conversation.  I doubt if either of us changed our views much.  But it was encouraging to me to be able to have such a conversation.  I sometimes fear I am too opinionated to hear others out, but I think, in this case, both of us felt that we had been heard. So, I say, thank you to that anonymous woman.  Thank you for embodying the ability to disagree respectfully.