Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ode To An Ant

‘Twas a time when in a surly pant
I did see a cursed, vile ant

I would step and crush and grind to soot
The tiny body beneath my foot

But alas how time does change
For which my brother will surely hang

For as a gift my fair son did get
A farm of ants to keep as a pets

From that time on they did be
A member of our family

Where once I would shun and sweep away
These ants were surely meant to stay

Where once I would poison and gleefully kill
Now I must water and feed and still

I cannot say I liked the things
Creepy, crawly, and these ones sting

Until today, oh joy, oh bliss!
I would happily, happily blow them a kiss

As they cross the bridge from this life to death
The ants have thankfully sighed their last breath

I did not kill them, least not that I’ll say
Though I’m sure I did not stand in their way

I did nothing to save them, of that I’m at fault
Still I’ll throw them away and I will not balk

My young child just shrugged, I’m happy to say

There was no love lost on this un-tragic day.

Whose Opinion is this Anyway??

I have a confession to make. I'm not sure I know how to form my own opinion about current political topics. I listen to talk radio, read the paper/online news sources, and yet I feel myself buffetted by each wave of new or differing opinion.

How do I find my OWN, very own, opinion? How do I know what I believe? Is it okay to 100% feel one way today only to do a complete 180 tomorrow?

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. No, I'm not SMART, but I do okay. I can read, grasp information, and in most things I can form my own opinion from the information I've taken in.

But when it comes to political stuff I'm hot and cold and just kind find my middle ground.

Perhaps it's information overload. Maybe in an attempt to get the whole story, I read and listen too much and then the whole thing gets jumbled together.

But I feel the need to listen and read to lots of different sources because I just don't think there is one news source I can trust these days. I think if I put them all together, then maybe I can find my own way. But so far, I'm only finding more confusion and disillusion.

Makes me want to make up my mind, put my hands over my ears and proceed with a litany of "Lalalala I can't hear you!".

Please tell me I'm not the only educated woman out there who has a hard time finding that nugget of truth to hang on to in today's news?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Check Yer Pockets!

Failing to do so could result in tragic consequences:

Gum sticks to clothing and lint screens. Yucky, sticky mess!

Chocolate will require you to wash everything twice over.

Bugs are just plain yucky (makes no difference if they are alive or dead they all come out the same after a good wash and dry!).

But the most tragic of all is the loss of Pokemon Cards.

Heaven forbid you should wash Pokemon Cards. Please, learn from my mistake and check those pockets! Pokemon Cards are not only expensive in terms of the dollars and cents we carefully mete out to our children, but they are extraordinarily valuable in the life of a five year old boy. They are personal friends, loyal friends, whose names and attributes are memorized, cherished and repeated often as a strange little mantra.

Pokemon Cards, despite their hefty life points or defense points, sadly cannot survive the attack of the Washer and Dryer. (must be a manufacturer exploit knowing full well parents WILL wash them!) They come out of the dryer hard and fragile, curled up, balled up, fraying and splitting. There is simply no hope for them but to receive a swift burial, preferably deep in the garbage can under other garbage so as to escape notice.

Yep, today Mom is a murderer and I truly hope to escape justice and pretend like it never happened (except for learning, finally, after all my previous lessons on the subject to CHECK THOSE POCKETS!!!).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Who needs the Birds and the Bees anyway?

I’ve often wondered how that talk about the Birds and the Bees would go. I mean, what do the birds and the bees have to do with procreation anyway? Is it something about the bee and his stinger? (Even though it doesn’t work that way) And the birds? I have no idea.

But Sea Monkeys, now that I can get my head around.

My boy is raising sea monkeys. In his tank there are monkeys of all varieties, including the boy and girl type. A few of them have gotten romantic and have decided to make babies.

When two amorous sea monkeys ‘get together’ the boy attaches himself to the girl, about mid-way down her body, and they stay together that way for days, sometimes even weeks. During that time, he never leaves her; they swim together constantly. Also during that time you can see that gradually the lower portion of her body grows more opaque, and takes on a yellowish tinge.

Eventually, however, they will part, but if they are successful the girl is left with a little package down low on her body in which she carries who new tiny eggs growing in their egg sac. Some day, she’ll drop her eggs and when they hatch is entirely up to them.

So a boy and a girl decide they like each other and want to make babies. The boy has to sacrifice his own independence in order to reach his goal, allowing himself to be taken wherever the girl wants to go and to do whatever she wants to do for the duration of the courtship. While the girl has to sacrifice her privacy and independence and has to work very very hard because she has to carry her partner around with her wherever she goes. Eventually he’ll leave her, but she won’t be as fancy-free as he, as she’ll still have her egg sac to carry around.

Thankfully my boys are really only interested in the fact that they will soon have more sea monkey babies; they haven’t focused on the callous nature of the whole business.

All right, so maybe sea monkeys don’t make for a good analogy for a healthy human relationship either, but I still don’t get the birds and the bees.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Our Education Philosophy

David and I have been coming to the conclusion that we need to have an 'Education Philosophy', or guiding principle to help our kids through school. In other words, we decided to define our education value for our children and which would allow us to determine the goals that will help them get there.

What we have decided is that we want our children to be achievers. We want them to excell. They can be whatever they want to be, but we want them to be their best at that thing. For instance, Xander wants to be an astronaut. That means MIT and a degree (likely) in aeronautics; that's a lot of focus on grades and extracurriculars to ensure entrance into that prestigious school. CJ on the other hand wants to be an 'army guy'. Do we just go "well, it's just a grunt so he doesn't need to go to university" but we've decided that's not the way to go. He should be the best he can be. Perhaps he should go to WestPoint or some other really good ROTC program. The point being, we will ensure rules and discipline are enforced and observed in their childhood allowing them the freedom to be their very best in adulthood.

David and I have struggled against our own mediocrity our whole lives. David, a shy boy, was early on labelled as a dumb kid and he believed it. He hated school and his label helped to define why he hated it. It was only as an adult when he struggled to achieve the things he desired that he learned he was in fact of genius IQ, subsequently became a Mensa member and began to join the ranks of the intellectual elite. However, he got a very late start in life and while there's no longer any doubt that he's brilliant, he lacks much of the work ethic and personal discipline that could truly make him great. As for me, I have no lofty ambitions of discovering I'm a secret savant, but I do think I could have achived much more in life had I learned the value of hard work and follow-through. I am a lazy, lazy girl. I've been a quitter my whole life. My Mom made it easy for me, saying "it's YOUR life!" ... problem is I truly don't think a 12, 14, 16 year old kid is capable of owning their own lives, what did I know of life?

So back to our kids and our new-found education philosophy. Our goal is to have children who are ACHIEVERS, who are SUCCESSFUL as children. The steps we plan to take to help them get there are as follows:
1. Friend time will be limited to the extracurricular activities they participate in and weekend playtime.
2. Tutors or supplemental education will be pursued according to the child's interest and need.
3. Extracurricular activities will be according to interest and talent and will be of value.
4. Homework and practice time will be observed every week day.
5. Emphasis will be on family fun together and the value of education.

Yes, I am aware that I will not be popular and that I will bear the brunt of their dislike and frustration. David will back me up. Our goals are not set in stone, either, we will flex and move according to our children's needs. But we will keep our eye on what is best for them (in our humble opinions) and guide them to it. It's partly why we feel family fun is as important as all the rest because bonding and family traditions are so important to shaping a child, a family, a heart.

The boys will still have a childhood. They just won't be running around and playing every day. And in the end, they will be FREE! Free to pursue whatever may interest them, with every door opened to them because they will be accomplished, educated and value-centered.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bum Glue

Every time I visit the washroom for an (ahem) lengthier stay, I always like to read a little excerpt (or two!) from Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul. I just read a fun little article by Bryce Courteney, an Australian author, who touts BUM GLUE as the single most important factor in creating the Great Novel.

What's bum glue, you ask? The simple act of sticking your caboose to your desk chair (preferably with a computer in front of you) for a minimum of three hours every day. No, you're not supposed to stare out the window. No, high scores in Solitaire don't count either. WRITING ... that is the only thing that matters. At least for three hours every day, that's all that matters.

Apparently I have not been applying a liberal enough amount of bum glue to my rear end because I have been sadly lacking in the writing department lately. Look, the last time I posted here was the first of January!!! Shameful!

I have been working slowly and tediously at editing my first book, The Journey of Endings (I hate the title, but it's only a working title and it's better then calling it by, well, nothing). Editing is the worst writing job there is. At least when you're the author of the first draft, that is. Easy enough to go in there and tear up someone ELSE's writing, but darn near impossible to be critical with your own.

A lot of my problem is that I'm distracted by the other stories roaming around in my head. The ones I haven't been able to give voice to yet because I'm determined to finish The Journey first. And even worse still is the writhing green envy that lurks in my soul over my husband's newest book. Oooooh, I want a book like his!!!

And you want to know the even worst part still??!! I gave him the story. That's right. It's my story, only he's going to write it.

See, David and I have this weird symbiotic relationship thing going on in regard to our writing. With our first books, we each had the basic premise, but all the nifty details, the meat of the stories, came from our respective partner. I gave David all the great details for his first book Curiosity, and he in turn fed me the details for The Journey. And so it was with this newest book of his, only more so:

One Sunday morning David says "I'd sure like to write a book about pirates some day". Which I'm not surprised by because David has always loved pirates and in particular he's always been fascinated by Oak Island, a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia that legend says was used exclusively by pirates to hide their treasure. To which I responded "Hey, you know what would make a great story?" ... and proceeded to GIVE him said great story, and wow, it's a doozey!!! It is so good, I am just beyond myself with jealousy!

Poor David, I'm not being very gracious because a couple times he has said "You can write it, if you want!". But the truth is, I know it isn't my story. Yes, it came out of my mouth, but I swear it had not previously been in my head. I don't know I was channelling David's inner thoughts or if I am simply his Muse and this is how it works or if it was a gift from God. I don't know. All I know is, it's an amazing story that I SAID in about fifteen minutes that while I'm jealous of his opportunity to write it, I know is HIS story to tell. All I can say is, he'd better do a darn good job!!

In the meantime, I've applied some bum glue this morning and hope it is sufficient to keep me here for my allotted time. But I need a muse of my own so I think I'll visit here more often then once every six weeks to feed my own muse. Writing out my frustrations seems to be good for me because my book is calling me (finally!) so I must go. Thanks for the help!