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Showing posts from February, 2008

I've been called many names; "Hussein" would be the least of it

Several days ago, Liz at Mom-101 wrote Political Death by Middle Name? for MOMocrats. In that article, she informed us that some conservative right wing talk show guy had decided a good political tactic was to employ the George Bush Manufacture Fact By Proximity and Repetition technique to link Barack Obama to terrorism. How? Because he happens to be named after his father, which means his middle name is Hussein. That's right: Hussein.

It's a name. That's all.

Not everybody named Wayne is a serial killer, and not everybody named Bush is...well, best to not hoist myself on my own petard here.

I read Liz's informative article, made a mental note, was annoyed, but thought, well, that's just too stupid to go anywhere.

I underestimated the mental immaturity and reckless irresponsibility of some right wing talking heads. I overestimated people's sense of honor, mistakenly assuming that all of us have this interior gauge that prevents us from going too low. I overestimate…

Blogger lost grip in jaws of life

Little known blogger Julie Pippert was swamped by a big wave of life yesterday. When she surfaced---thanks to swimming help by her Labrador retriever---she noticed she was missing a veterinary appointment, two return phone calls, more than half the blogs in her feed reader (count now well over 100), a multitude of email and a promised blog post.

"I think it just sank to the bottom of this vast sea," she said sadly and resignedly, beginning to hum, "My Heart Will Go On," the popular Celine Dion song from the movie Titanic.

The wave, which Ms. Pippert refers to as a mini tsunami, began with over-reaching expectations and overcommitment. "I think a lot of people get sucked under the tide of plans and goals," she said, "Some never come back up. I'm just glad I resurfaced. I'm going to seize this second chance and scale back."

Her scaling back process began yesterday afternoon when, instead of reading the accumulated blog posts in her feed reade…

Assertive is my albatross...Hump Day Hmm for 2-27-2008

She herself was not strong-willed...so she quickly recognized the futility of attempting to alter the course of unalterable events. Enduring what couldn't be cured, she supposed, was what people meant by being adult, though it was ironic that so few of them---including her parents---had mastered the skill themselves. By age twelve she'd already learned to cut her losses and derive what comfort she could from doing so. Generally she was happy or, failing that, reasonably content, though she sometimes wondered if she'd conceded the inevitable too quickly. What if the only thing concessions got you was the habit of conceding?
"All and Sundry," from Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo (p.324) (if you aren't reading this book, you should)

Marie A. Sherrett, past president of the Prince George's County, MD, chapter of the Autism Society of America, in her article, "Assertiveness and Effective Parent Advocacy," wrote that parents of special needs kids came …

Brief Alert re. Spam and Comment Setting Change

I've noticed a sudden upsurge of spam the last couple of days. My personal domain is getting slammed despite filters, and some are slipping through here as well. It seems to come and go in waves, but I wanted to tell people I've noticed it. I'd turn on my comment moderation, but I can't moderate comments today and don't want them clogged up and invisible. So I hate to say it, but for today and maybe tomorrow I'll have the word verification feature on. Sorry.

You might also check your settings.

Thanks, Julie

P.S. Real post with topic below: What things make our children successful in the classroom?

What things make our children successful in the classroom?

I want my daughters to be successful---personally, educationally, and professionally.

That sounds like a boring statement of the obvious. It is.

What's not so obvious is how to achieve that. There are many obstacles: personal foibles (mine and theirs), a larger world to work within, and so forth.

The key to achieving goals successfully is to break them down into realistic, smaller parts. We all need to feel a sense of completion and accomplishment. It motivates us, keeps us engaged. So I'm focusing on the here and now: school.

How can my kids be successful in the classroom?

As I researched factors that contribute to success in the classroom, I ran across a lot about assertiveness, primarily assertiveness with humility.

Ah ha, I thought, I'm not surprised.

But I am worried. Why? It's because of the feedback I consistently get about Patience from teachers.

I'd like to think that each and every teacher my daughter encounters is in the classroom out of a love of children and …

Is there gender bias on the playground and political field alike?

Yesterday it was a sunny and hot 85 degrees here.*

We spent a great deal of time outdoors, including a family outing to a popular local restaurant with a shaded patio that surrounds a playground for kids.

Alert-eyed parents scouted for available tables and staked claims to tables clearing out. In most cases, the dads were sent ahead and they did a good job of staking claims rather genially. One dad approached the table next to us and began to move in when another dad popped up and said, "Oh you know, we were going to sit here," the first dad hesitated for a second---should he challenge? He had to weigh: disappoint his approaching wife who told him to get. that. table. now! or follow his instincts to move on---then he said, "Right, sure, sorry," and began to move away. The second dad, his territory respected, said, "Well maybe we can split the two tables, if your family doesn't mind being tight? How many do you have?" The dads proceeded to negotiate the…

Fooled around and...fell in love

Elvin Bishop singing "Fooled Around and Fell In Love," an oldie but goodie and fave of mine through the ages (literally). I'd have preferred to put up the Rod Stewart modern cover of it but Rod says no.

It's true: the mighty has fallen.

After all my kvetching and questioning about social media, all my fooling around with Flickr, Twitter et al. you could call me a player. I dabble with Facebook, but it was clear: I was not really ready to settle down.

But then.

Michael Stelzner introduced me to LinkedIn.

I fooled around.

And fell in love.

That place has purpose, use, functionality and fabulous resources. It's everything I was looking for.

I think we'll live happily ever after.

Even better...you can join us. Like one, big, happy family.

*************************************************************************************

Drawing Winner

In last week's Hump Day Hmm, I asked you to deliver and offered an incentive (art or editing). You followed through wonderfully. Now it…

Dear Hillary Clinton, Love, and politics, does mean having to say "I'm sorry"

Image Source: Hillary Clinton photostream at Flickr.
Last night I live blogged the Democratic debate for MOMocrats, a fantastic group of writers who use their words to share political views and news---a group I am happy to have recently joined.

During the debate, I noticed one of the moderators' favorite things to do was take Hillary Clinton to task for her detracting remarks of Barack Obama. Obama hasn't been a perfect choir boy during this campaign, but Clinton is the one who has taken some fairly low potshots that smack either of self-righteousness or desperation.

Both self-righteousness and desperation smell like weakness and appear as a challenge. Shark like reporters and detractors scent blood.

Indulge me as I backtrack for a minute here...

I always had a pretty good mind of my own. But in eighth grade we moved to an environment that was harshly unaccepting of that in me. I had a choice: bend and go along to get along, or break and be alone. I chose the former. By the time I…

5.3 million teen boys moving to Oklahoma, Texas

Contestant Kady Malloy poses on the tarmac in Santa Monica. (Photo Credit: Timothy White, Fox Photo, American Idol.)
February 21, 2008

By Julie Pippert

HOUSTON -- After last night's American Idol women's competition, 5.3 million teens boys from around the United States decided to move to Oklahoma and Texas.

"Oklahoma and Texas seem to be the epicenters of hotness in girls," said Shane Smith, 17, leader of the group Boys Just Want to Have Fun, "We're young---our average member age is 17---and we like hot girls. We also like music. So the only logical thing to do is move to Oklahoma and Texas, where there seem to be a lot of hot girls who can sing. American Idol opened our eyes to this."

Smith and the Boys Just Want to Have Fun members wrote and signed a manifesto citing Texan Kelly Clarkson and Oklahoman Carrie Underwood as their major inspiration.

"Kelly Clarkson said one time in an interview that she was not the hottest thing growing up, that means the…

Me Talk Big One Day (A Hump Day Hmm for 2-20-2008)

Image source and story of image: National Galleries of Scotland
If you were to ask me, I'd tell you that I tend to say things other people dare not say. I speak my mind. I don't always coat my words with a generous dollop of ass kissing.

Many people consider averted eyes, swallowed words, and sugar coating their due. Skipping this is perceived as disrespectful.

It never quite got me to bite my tongue, though, even at times I perhaps should have. I was bold, arrogant, and defensive about this, as the youth often are about their immaturity.

But as I entered my mid-thirties and beyond, I began noticing a disturbing pattern: a tendency to swallow my words and sugarcoat.

Was this maturity? Wisdom? Or was it a desire to please? Was I tired and worn down?

I sat down and looked backwards---Russo-style, through the opposite end of the telescope---and tried to figure out if I'd ever been as bold out loud as I was in my mind.

Was I? Had I been? Could I be? Should I?

I believe I was.

Perhaps…

Things This Day Will NOT Include (and I'm using my best most serious mom voice here)

That's it.

I've had more than enough of this nonsense. I've been patient (sort of) and aimed for understanding (haven't sent any chakrams flying before asking any questions, which I think ought to count for a lot).

But that's over. My time as your doormat has come to an end, Life. I'm not your whipping boy any more.

So, Life? Your bitchslapping habit stops NOW. I mean it. You will learn to speak kindly to me with KIND WORDS, Life, I am serious here.

So let's set out the rules and expectations:

* No more "my house is falling down around my ears and holy crap where will we get the money to fix THAT?!?!" House, home, appliances, including but not limited to cars, as well, will remain in fine working order.

* I'm all done with flooding and flood damage. It's not even freaking hurricane season yet and I've suffered more damage than in two tropical storms and one hurricane in the last couple of years...this winter.

* The Raynaud's attacks stop …

When and how do you use your words? Next Hump Day Hmm Topic!

Say it with me: I can do this one!

Do it Tuesday and add in your link Wednesday or do it Wednesday.

This is a topic anyone can tackle, and I hope everyone does: how and when do you use your words?

I've got some sample scenarios to throw at you, but I'd be glad for you to add your own in to your post, as well.

Here's how the Hump Day Hmm works: I supply a topic. You write a post. On Wednesday, I put up a post with Mr. Linky section and you add in your link. In your post, link to my post or blog so your readers can see the other participants. I encourage everyone to read all the contributions and hopefully comment. It ends up being a great roundtable every week. Everyone is welcome to participate!

Topic for this week: How and When Do You Use Your Words...Social Scenarios

Feel free to pick and choose any one, combination or all of these scenarios, or create your own. The object is to share complicated situations we often find ourselves in, and to discuss when we feel open or restr…

Almost Famous

Quite a few people have asked me whether I'm going to BlogHer. Folks, I'd love to go to BlogHer. Here's what needs to happen for that to be possible:

* God must drop a bag of gold down from Heaven for me.

BlogHer did happen to choose one of the most expensive cities in America for us to fly to and stay in. As much as I adore San Francisco and have some of my happiest memories there, it is, in fact, extremely pricey, and I voted against it because of that.

I have applied to BlogHer for a scholarship so with the conference fee traded out for manual labor by me, all I have to find is air fare and a place to stay (box? under a bridge? too bad the trolleys don't run all night...). If they want me as a hat check girl or similar, one of three expenses is covered. The only alternative is if I can think up a really HOT topic and apply to be a speaker. What do you think?

Keep in mind that in the last month the following expenses have tragically accumulated for me:

* expensive vet bil…

What's Love

Last night we had storms come through and were under a tornado watch until three a.m. Because two tornadoes did touch down just south of us, and still antsy from the recent tragedies north of us in Tennessee, we decided to sleep with the radio on in case they ran the siren alert through the emergency broadcast system.

Used to silence, so to speak, at night, the unusual noise and changes from one symphony to another would periodically trigger my brain to sit up and sniff like a curious dog. These brief moments of wakefulness would, I knew, lead me to wake with a fatigue restless night's sleep headache, but also gave me uninterrupted time to think---which in my case means storytell.

So I decided to write up the top two stories from the last few days. Today, a tale of romance and friendship...tomorrow a tale of something lost and something found, with humor and a twist.

What's Love

Thursday morning---Valentine's Day---we came downstairs long after my husband had already left for …

All-true Confessions of a Suburban Rickshaw Soccer Mom

I realize I have promised three weighty topics to you, including but not limited to free speech on blogs, more on healthcare, and kids and blogs. However, I have a full agenda of To Dos today and oh, yeah, I'm still sick.

So I decided to take it easy today and figured you'd have no objections.

I thought it was time for a true and real portrait of my life.

This is me on the average day in my momiform and mode of transportation to and from school:

I call it the suburban rickshaw.

I believe people in the neighborhood set their watches by me. I also believe they count on the little chuckle they get when they see me. Here's how it goes: chuckle, glance at watch, chuckle again.

I don't actually just suspect it: they'll tell me.

"I see you every morning just pedaling away trying to beat the tardy bell," says a friend with a smile, "You're like the perfect suburban mom with that bike and trailer and your little momiform on. Gives me a chuckle every day."

S…