Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kids Can

I am teaching To Kill A Mockingbird right now and I want to tell you a funny story. At the beginning of the book, Mr. Radley is dying and Harper Lee writes how the sidewalks were covered with straw, the street was blocked off with sawhorses, and even the doctor parked around the corner. I think that is interesting so I was talking to the class about how great that is to let someone die in peace and quiet. One boy kept on saying how he didn’t understand that and how he would go over yelling and was just being purposefully belligerent and frankly ridiculous. He is quite loud and we couldn’t really move on with our discussion, until a kid in the back yells out, “It’s respect for the dead, you asshole!” Just the way he said it. It was so perfect, I had to tuck my head down and lift my book up to hide my face, because I just couldn’t help smiling. I was laughing inside. As a teacher, I had to say that was unacceptable language, and plow ahead with the discussion. But it was so funny. My kids rule.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Better Plastic

I am looking at U.S. News and World Report and there is an advertisement for BASF Chemical Co. Apparently, they have created a grocery bag that looks like plastic but is made out of "ecoflex" and is biodegradable. It lasts for a year and then biodegrades in a compost bin in weeks. That is wonderful, because with the reusable shopping bags, I am finding myself in a pinch for little bags to line the wastebaskets. You may remember my wastebaskets now are cardboard boxes in the right shapes instead of even more plastic that will last forever. Much of my greenness is rooted in cheapness, the two go hand in hand really. I was reading on line about making a compost bin in on e of those plastic totes. A wooden box would probably be better, but harder to afford.

Back to this BASF Company, after rummaging around on their website it seems that this plastic technology would be purchased by other companies to create whatever it is that they create out of plastic in the biodegradable form. I hope it is affordable for other companies and would require few changes in their processes, which would keep the costs down later for consumers. It seems a great idea, as with anything it needs it’s time.

On Oprah the other day Sandra Bullock (love her) was showing plastic utensils for her restaurant that are made out of potatoes and styrofoam to go boxes that were made out of sugar cane. She stated that they only cost a few cents more per piece, which could add up for a restaurant, but seemed so great. After that show, I found the silverware online for $3.95 a package. I wouldn’t pay the shipping but I would buy it in the store for sure. So I think there are some great ideas out there that are coming to fruition, and if consumers are given better choices, we will consume those right up too.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Earth Day

We hope everyone had a Happy Earth Day! We didn’t do much this year, except did not drive the car. Last year I decided to do all of the laundry in the tub and hang it out back. I did not go to that extreme this year, because it took all day. We are however using the cold water setting at the laundrymat. It is not the same but definitely took less human energy and a lot less water. I am thinking about making a compost bin soon. We also bought cool T-shirts made out of recycled plastic bottles made by Coca-Cola. They are 48% plastic bottles and 52% cotton. It says in my shirt that it contains approximately 3 - 20 ounce plastic bottles. The shirts are cute and comfy, we bought matching shirts (I’m a huge geek) pink that say Recycling is Hot. We love our new shirts.
I don’t love that the extra large shirt is tight around my middle. I am grateful to be alive, but I wish this weight gain would stop. I have gained 30 pounds since surgery and can’t wait to start the reverse process. At least I am not going over the 30. I had my thyroid levels checked today, so I will let you know when the labs come back. Once I am regulated, the weight should hopefully start to come off. I am hungry, grumpy, and emotional... Grrr. But alive... Yayyy. But grumpy... Grrr. But alive... Yayyy.
The mosquito net money is off! She was able to purchase two nets. If people bring her more, we’ll send that in too. She went to our Temple and proudly gave the money from her can to the lovely secretary. There is huge magnetic board that people are sticking squares of screen onto for each donation. The board is almost filled up. My sixth graders that I teach on Sundays donated three nets two Sundays ago, with their tzedakah money too. What was really nice is that she has two letters she can fill in and send out to someone that her donation was made in their name. I’m sure Grammy and Grandpa will be getting a letter soon...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Almighty Humor

For the second night of Passover, I had a man over. That’s right a man in the house. A Jewish man! A Jewish man with a Master’s from Harvard. A Jewish man with a Master’s from Harvard who is a teacher, good with kids, kind and sweet (the only one in the state, I’m sure, I’ve looked). Excited for me aren’t you. Well, if you thought the giraffe showed G-d’s sense of humor well, here he goes again, Ha Ha. The man is 25, fourteen years younger, completely undateable. Funny... I know.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Our friends put on a beautiful seder last night. It was a wonderful. My child found the afikomen (a hidden piece of matzo) and received $1 for her prize. At first, she wanted a ride to the dollar store to spend it immediately. I told her to think about what she wanted to do with it. As she is saving for an electric guitar and had mentioned earlier in the day that she wanted to do something for tzedakah (charity). On this new day her inner self prevailed and she has spent half of the morning going to all of the neighbors with a coffee can and a sign asking for donations to buy mosquito nets to send to families in Africa so they don’t get malaria. She started asking for $10, I had to explain to her, to let people give what they can, and we’ll keep going until we get the $10. The nets are ten dollars; she has raised $18.78 including her dollar and a couple of people said they would come see her later. Whatever she gets, I’ll round it up to the nearest ten, so I hope she will be able to buy three nets today. Good day! I am so proud to be her mother. What are you going to do with your dollar? (Check links on the right for nets or other ideas!

Happy Passover

Today we begin our celebration of our escape from slavery in Egypt. We have a seder dinner with family or friends, and tell the story of our exodus from Egypt. We clean our kitchens and put away all of our regular food and eat food that is kosher for Passover for a week, which includes no leavening because when we escaped there was no time to bake bread we put it on our backs and it baked in the sun. That is why we eat matzo, which is delicious.

We only eat matzo for one week each year and that makes it special. I also personally only eat whipped butter a few other little treaties during Passover week too. It seems to me there is an important key for enjoying life here. To make things special perhaps it is not that we have them at all or not that we have them all of the time, but that we are able to keep things special by not having or doing them all the time. Matzo is special because it is once a year; holidays are special because they are once a year. If we didn’t take some things for granted everyday and saved particular items for special moments we’d be better off.

If we had beautiful paintings by our favorite artists on every wall, we may not appreciate one well placed, amazing piece. If people are like art, perhaps there are people we should remember to least once a year and call to say, “I remember you because you are special.” Happy Holiday. Happy Spring.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Learn about the Genocide in Darfur

National Geographic Channel:
April 18, 2008 10 PM EST
April 20, 2008 12 PM EST
This show will outline the Genocide in Darfur. I do not have the National Geographic channel so if you do, please watch and let us know! Thank you.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Have you praised/thanked your coworkers lately?

I was at a conference of teachers today and realized in the middle of it what amazing people teachers are, and that even if you don't know each other once you know you are both teachers a bond is automatically made and so many different conversations can happen. Then I was thinking that I work with some great teachers, who have been helpful and supportive to me during my first year. And that people like to be appreciated. In that spirit I sent this email out to the teachers I deal with at my school:

To My Esteemed Colleagues,
I wanted to forward something that made me laugh and thought that I would take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and help during my first year of teaching. It seems that I could not have been surrounded by such consummate professionals anywhere else. You are each incredible in your own unique ways. I am proud to be teaching with such amazing teachers.
Thank you. You all ROCK!

P.S. (a forward from the net)What happens when teachers die?

A teacher dies and goes to Heaven. When she gets there, she meets Peter at the pearly white gates.
Peter says to her, "Welcome to Heaven. Let me give you an orientation first." So, Peter takes her to some beautiful mansions.
The teacher asks, "Who lives here in these beautiful houses?" "These are for doctors. They did a lot of good on Earth so they get a nice mansion," replied Peter.
Peter takes the teacher to some more mansions. These were more magnificent than the first. "Wow, who lives here?"
"These mansions are for social workers. They did a lot of good on Earth but didn't make a lot of money so they get a better house."
Peter took the teacher to some more mansions. These were the most gorgeous homes she had ever seen. They had huge columns, well-manicured lawns, beautiful stained glass windows; the works!
"These are the most beautiful homes I have ever seen," exclaimed the teacher, "Who lives here?"
"Teachers live here." said Peter, "They did much good on Earth and received very little money so they get the best houses in all of Heaven."
"But where are all of the teachers?" inquired the teacher.
Peter answered, "Oh, they'll be back soon.
They're all in Hell at an in-service."

(Now that's funny! If teachers were paid by the meeting we would all be making a fortune!)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

PC Little House

We are reading Little House on the Prairie now. We read a chapter a night, taking turns. It is great fun; I used to love Little House. My girl would like one aspect of the story changed, however. On her turns at reading, she never says Indian; she always changes it to Native American. I explain that a long, long time ago in 1935, they used the word Indian and it was okay, and that is why the author wrote it that way. She thought about that for a minute and responded that maybe they didn’t know the word Indian might hurt people, but she does. I always read the words as written, but I think she is right I do know better, so I will change my reading to Native American too. PC and history can be tricky!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Big Give

Captain Hogwash was talking about Oprah on his blog. Which reminded me to tell you all of the adorable thing my daughter did today. She walked down to pick up the mail and told me I received a letter in the mail. (I, of course, conveniently ignored the fact that it is Sunday.) She handed me an envelope that said The Big Give on it. It is funny because she is in bed when the show is on, but she had heard me talking about it and seen the commercials. Inside were a bunch of little notes, little pieces of paper with stickers on them, and a fluorescent green index card. On the index card was written $300,000. It was so adorable; she was beaming and told me that she knew you would be excited if we got help, so I’m helping you. I said great, that is more than enough for us to buy a little house and a car. She got me dreaming, it would be so nice if both of those little things were taken care of - maybe I could relax and work on my book more than I am able to now. I wonder how it is going to feel when all of our dreams come true; I try to picture it in my mind. It will be even more intense than graduating college at 39. We can’t wait. Oh that reminds me I have to go and enter for the HGTV dream house ;-)

Okay, weirdo internet stuff. I was cruising around on the internet as I often do, grown up fun I guess. I was checking out forensic DNA stuff, because I’m nosey and someone had an add on their site, so I clicked it. (I love ads. I don’t even know what I am interested in until I see it advertised!) There are actually DNA testing places where you can send in your loved one’s underpants to see if they are cheating on you. Is your boyfriend or girlfriend cheating on you? Find out. They can separate the loved ones DNA from their own DNA and let you know if there is excess DNA in the panties or boxers. Doesn’t that just take the cake? How jealous do you have to be to send your lover’s underwear to a lab to be tested? Not being a jealous person this makes me laugh. Who does this? Better question, don’t people shower? I bet people do this though. Perhaps this is the lab that tested Monica’s dress, and they figured they’d see if anyone else needed the same service. It is my thought that if you are in a relationship within which you feel the need to send your man’s or woman’s undies to the lab, that relationship is pretty much over anyway and it is time to move on. I might not be in a relationship but I do know the ones I see that work have some sort of a foundation in trust. Never mind fidelity just trust – Dearly beloved, I trust you will not send my skivvies to the lab. LOL

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ppppph Pppph Chhhh Pp Pp Pp Chh

My six year old daughter was rappin’ tonight. I just had to share this funny rap she pppph pppph ccchhh’d.

My momma is babyish sometimes when she cries.
It looks like she needs diapers on her eyes.

(Funny, funny stuff)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Remember fun!

I was just thinking about life, it's the end of the week, it's been a long week, and we all may be a bit tired. So what to do about it. I want to have fun. Not go to a club and drink fun, but silly fun. I want to laugh or more precisely giggle. Is what I do as an adult fun, or do I just think it's fun? What do I really think is fun now? What did I do as kid for fun? I think I'm going to make an ice-cream sundae and paint my nails while I think about it...

(Ok, for some online helpful fun go to You can play a game driving around on a scooter and giving people nets. I put a link in links I love. Sign up and they will donate a net in your name. Pay $10 to send additional nets.)