Good Readers

How many parents bring their children to the library to choose a book that will excite them into reading for life? How many teachers give reading assignments and discuss books? Our society is demanding that reading is essential. Good readers come from families, schools and libraries who promote reading. It is sad that so many young adults play video games instead of reading. Read for entertainment, for information or read more, to become a good reader who can successfully move through life’s oportunities. Many vocational schools and colleges find students who read very little and when tested, some students are on elementary school levels. If you are having trouble understanding or with oral reading, try to get an evaluation from a learning disability specialist who does individualized testing. You may need special attention and will learn strategies to become a better reader.

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Rafting Safety

After a summer kayaking our local river, the Lehigh, in Northeast Pennsylvania, we are devastated by the many deaths and accidents this summer from rafters falling out of rafts and hitting their heads on river rocks, going unconscious and drowning. We river kayakers, and all people who raft want the legislature to mandate helmets on the river. Other whitewater rivers around the country save many lives by using helmets and it is about time our rafting outfitters give their customers the protection they need as they traverse white water with many submerged rocks that are dangerous when struck. We really want helmets on our rafters so we kayakers feel more relaxed on the river when rafts are stuck on rocks and the rafters are struggling, bouncing and jumping in the raft to release it back into the river. We don’t understand why helmets are required for other sports, but not rafting. It’s about time our visitors from cities get the protection they deserve. We want helmets for rafters!

Real Estate Portfolio 2012

As a past real-estate salesperson, I escorted hundreds of people through a candy store of homes in this buyer’s market. So many could have bought a home for investment since they could have rented out the property, but they were afraid to take a chance. Now is the time to invest in property if you have good credit and income.

My agency specialized in vacation rentals and the buyers didn’t even have to live in state.  Have someone else manage your investment.

Do you have money sitting in an account that has low interest? Pull some out and call a good real-estate broker in your area and discuss the possibility of investing. You might be able to purchase your retirement home now and rent it out until you are ready. Many homes are in amenity filled communities and would be easy to rent for vacation or long-term rentals.

Don’t be afraid to step out and take a chance. Many fortunes were made by starting with  just one investment property.There are many options and ways to use existing capital to make your future more financially secure.

Do you have the skills to renovate? You could buy a foreclosure, renovate and rent it until the market picks up and you can sell.

We have investment properties that are rented, and renovated a foreclosure. This will give us income for our future. You can do it too!

Memory Chips

If computers have memory through chips, then why not adapt a chip to implant inside our brains so we have instant knowledge?  The future could hold that as a possibility. What an exciting, but dangerous situation. Who would get the chip and who wouldn’t? Would it be law that everyone get a chip? Some people would probably have chips to help them in their particular jobs. Who would decide what jobs? Possibly after a few years, a child would begin to show talents and a chip would be fashioned to enhance ability. Chips could be inserted in people to serve others in menial jobs. Scary.

We must strive to stay unique and cherish the diversity of culture and of individual strengths and weaknesses. Laws to protect our individuality must never be changed.

As we become more bio engineered, let us not forget our humanity.

A Woman’s Job- Is it Abuse?

A woman’s job can be an abuse to herself. There are many kinds of abuse that women have endured since humans lived together as families, and clans. Woman were always considered “the weaker sex”, not as valuable as a man, property, not able to earn equal pay, not able to play sports with men, not allowed in “Men’s Clubs”, the parent responsible for a bad child, suffer every day with side effects from changing hormones, is blamed for a messy, unorganized home.The list can go on and on.

We have taken on many new roles since we have been “liberated”.
Now we are suffering even more. Heart disease, anxiety, and depression are on the rise for American women. Work and home responsibilities often are abusive to her body and psychological mind. Were we meant to do it all?

Many men have decided, that since women are now free to participate in all area of their previous sacrosanct lives, their women must produce and provide financially for the family. Yes, it is a relief for a man. He can come home, do what he chooses, eat dinner and then retire to the couch for the evening while all the action goes on behind the game or movie.

He can have a better standard of living because there are now two salaries or maybe she is providing the entire income for the family. There are men who really don’t want to work, so he finds a girl with a great degree and job capabilities, and then marries her. After a while, he quits and tells his tired wife to go out to work, bring and pick up the children from day care, prepare meals, care for the children, clean the house, do laundry, get lunches for the next day, make sure homework is complete, sign all forms needed for school the next day, answer all home phone messages, give baths, read stories, tuck in children, get out clothes for the morning, take a shower, climb into bed and try to get a good nights sleep, barring any children waking up with nightmares, or are in need of a burp.
The next day is a repeat of the last, and it goes on and on and on. It’s a woman’s job to handle it all! It doesn’t have to be this way.

Yes, woman love the freedom, but don’t blame us if things go wrong. Society is making men the weaker sex and making buffoons out of them. Look at the commercials? Why not show men and women and blended families sharing the work of providing and raising the children. Positive family objectives should be taught to newlyweds, and comments sent to the producers of the shows that denigrate either gender.

Praise the good, solid partners by their woman’s side, sharing domestic work. These fine people are saving lives. Women are taking more leadership roles and are moving up the ladder in many corporations. Many women are entrepreneurs of the work at home job market. Reversing roles can work if there is communication, and no resentment. We have come a long way, but listen to yourself and your partner.

If you are feeling overburdened with responsibility, tell him or her that men and women are equals. It is imperative to share the daily doldrums. Divide the chores and give yourself a ten-minute “time out” each day to regroup your mind and spirit. Don’t suffer, like it was expected of women, in past ages.
A woman’s job can be an abuse to herself if she does not get help with her day.

October, 2011

Do any of you actually think that any catastrophic thing will happen in October? I would love to know how many of you think that the world will end. What happened to December 21, 2012? The Mayans just got tired of counting. The world will go on, with or without us!

Keep On Giving

Keep On Giving!

She had no friends since she was smelly, dirty and didn’t share. Her mother disappeared when she was a toddler. Alone at her desk, she often sat with her head down and I would ask her softly to sit up straight. Everyone avoided sitting near her since she never bathed, and often wore the same stained dress. Her unwashed oily blond hair had strands stuck together and her large blue eyes would flash with excitement when I asked her to come up to my desk and work. Her homework was usually missing and she was often absent.

Our school psychologist and I talked about strategies to help Ellen. Our nurse had clothing donated from the local community, and she often chose slacks, underwear, and tops for her. Daily she’d bring Ellen to the nurse’s bathroom and let her wash and change.

Eventually, her apartment was investigated. It was not too dirty, and there was food in the refrigerator. Strewn on the kitchen table were car parts, bolts, screws, hoses and rusty old engine pieces. There were no signs of physical or emotional abuse. Ellen continued to come to school and sit alone with her eyes facing the floor.

One of eleven children, I met Alex in a second grade classroom. He was ten. Long, cropped, curly black hair was often disheveled when he’d lay his head on his hands while trying to write. His family moved frequently. He lived with his mother and eleven siblings in a converted alley garage.

The nurse had given him a donated warm coat when it was too bitter for him to come to school. He watched his three younger siblings until his mother came back from a meager job. They had food, and the garage had clean beds, light and warmth. Alex visited his brother and nephews in another city and enjoyed getting out of town and getting special attention from them.

It was Christmas. I talked to my own children about how blessed we were.
My youngest son had a toy called a “Transformer” that changed from a car to a robot. He thought that he’d like to come into school and give it to Alex.

Unable to visit my school, I put the toy in a bag and I told his teacher that Alex would be bringing this bag back from my room.
I placed the bag next to his reading material.
“What’s this bag?”
“Open the bag! My son wanted you to have what’ s inside.”
Alex timidly peeked inside. His eyes widened.
“Wow, I wanted one of these! Thank your son for me.”
He didn’t get much reading done, but he did write a note to my son, thanking him. He read it after we checked his writing, grammar and spelling. It was a rewarding lesson.

I was very pleased that my son wanted to make someone else happy. It was time for me to consider retiring and the thought of leaving my “children” at school was almost unbearable. My biological children were in college and my youngest children were in high school. I really loved the children in my reading classes.

The Board of Education offered sixty-two teachers an early retirement. Should I take the chance now? What would happen to Ellen and Alex?
I guess the decision was made for me. Alex moved away to his brother’s home. His brother’s wife was having a baby. Ellen and her sister moved to Florida with her Dad .

Don’t stop giving. There are many like Ellen and Alex out there who need us!

Thinking About Freedom in a Relationship?

When you get together, respect for your partner is paramount to a good relationship. Is your husband, wife, friend, or partner belittling you after you tell a story? Do they cut your story short so they can finish the story? That is so annoying, because they are not valuing you as an individual. Look closely for signs that “He’s just not into you”. Do you know what I mean? Does he or she give you a chance to pick the movie or to pick the activity for the day. Will he or she fight you on it , if he or she does not really want to do what you want? After a while it gets tired. Are you all physical, and not a spiritual relationship? If you are too physical in the beginning, your partner may not trust you and also may go on to other pursuits! If they only want a physical relationship, then start thinking about your freedom. That is a danger sign that they really don’t give a hoot about the real you. People have motives in their relationships and those motives can be altruistic or very selfish. If you can find out the motives, and you like them, then stop thinking about freedom.

Teaching Art Was Great!

I was reticent to go into teaching at first, but in my Junior year, after a practicum and Senior student teaching in art education, I realized that my personality was perfect for the job. If you don’t like kids, then it’s not for you! They will tease, cajole and test every fiber of your patience. Especially if you were a “special subject teacher” like I was. The “regular” teachers will too. I was involved in teaching 1200 children art once a week. I was a traveling art teacher for a few of my sixteen years in art. When you go into another teacher’s classroom, it is their domain!
There are special rules that a visiting teacher must follow. Never step on the authority of the classroom teacher. It is very humbling to be a “special”. Some of the children would ask me if art teachers, music teacher, and Physical Ed teachers had gone to college. They’d often ask me if I was a real teacher. After an art/social study lesson on ancient Egypt, my students would tell me that I should be a real teacher and teach social studies. Flattered and yet humbled, I didn’t really know how to take it. Was that a compliment?
After the birth of my fourth child, I received a Masters in Art. It took me twelve years to finish. I was like that bunny that ran across your TV set who just keeps going, and going and going. That’s what it was like.
“Stick to it”. I’d tell my students. “You can do it if you try. Some of us have to try harder, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know if you can do it, or even if you like it.” What if Van Cliburn’s mother never bought a piano? What if Michio Kaku never looked at the stars as a child? You know what I mean?
My art education life was filled with challenges. The art teacher, besides planning and delivering an art program for kindergarten to grade eight, must also be a diplomat throughout the school. There is scenery to be built, decorating the gym for dances and shows, signs for Parent Teacher Organizations, signs for the Principal’s needs for order in the building, helping teachers with bulletin boards, decorating the entire school ‘s windows for changing seasons, judging science fairs, be a guest at child study team meetings to show a particular student’s art, give teacher art workshops, meet with parents, draw circles on the floor for the kindergarten to sit on, pick up classes from assemblies if it is during a teacher’s art class (prep) time, attend assemblies during teacher’s “prep” time, distribute the school’s art supply order, Substitute teach when many teachers were absent. Should I continue? Now do you want to be an art teacher? I had amazing energy, but did get worn out enough to catch the flu a few times during my art career.
When I was pregnant with my fifth and last child, by the way, the Principal called us into his office and told us that they were cutting back on the special subjects and we better have another certification. Well, with five children living on a teacher’s salary, I needed that job! My home-economics friend and I bought the National Teachers’ Exam prep book and studied like fiends. We passed! And I was an art teacher! Amazing! All she did was teach boys and girls to cook and make clothes! Amazing!
She got a job teaching 5th grade and they placed me in the Basic Skills Program since they were conserving money. The Government paid half of my salary. With my masters, I was nearing the top of the pay scale. It saved money for our town. Also, it was easy to place me there since I was starting in November. My son was born on September 15th after I attended the first week of school with a very large belly! I returned to work after a C section and only six weeks maternity leave. Greeting me was my precious new baby boy, four other beautiful children and my stack of material for the four grade levels I’d be teaching. Sleep? What’s that? Don’t expect to sleep when you have a large family and a full time job. All I had to carry now was a handful of books and I taught a few students at a time. I could also wear, “teacher clothes”! Gone were the slacks, smocks and abstract expressionist blouses that had to be tossed at the end of the day! I shared my space with another teacher who kept asking me, “How can you do this after teaching art. Isn’t this hard?” “Well, I have sat daily, checking homework with my own children who are now in high school, and I know the subject matter quite well. Plus, our teaching editions do have the answers, uh, I think I can. I did pass the National Teacher’s Exam after teaching art for sixteen years.” She never said another word about it. I was more than qualified. My new certification was from nursery school to grade eight, so I was covered.
Little did I know how much I was going to love this new job. The best thing was that my job day ended with my childrens’ day. So, in their minds, I could have been home all day. I was there to pick them up at the end of their day. Sweet. Homework with milk and cookies, then some outdoor activity for the children, while I prepared dinner, more homework, nursing, bottles, diapers, diaper bag and stroller, little league, lunches, finally my reading, and then collapsing at 11:30 to do it all again starting at 6am. You can and will get through it because children go through stages. They grow up!!! I think back and cherish every worn out moment!

Earth’s Future

Assuming we become stewards of the Earth, even with natural disasters, we will survive as a species. There will be geothermal underground homes with solar panels. Above ground surviving towns will become touring and educational places where ancient artifacts from the 19th and 20th century could be displayed. There will be peace because humans will have learned to co-operate with each other after the natural disasters, and will become tolerant and appreciative of cultural diversity. Earth will have a human family that will work together. Eventually, scientific advancement will allow humans to replace their old body parts with new ones made from their own cells. Unfortunately, the new world government will begin to see science as a way to again build an army.