Renewing

This is what I love about entering into a new year. Even at 70, or maybe because I am 70, I feel that turning the proverbial page and seeing that there is another year to enjoy makes me feel renewed. I am past the point of making resolutions, and I have promised myself never to use the word “diet” again, but it does occur to me that the coming twelve months will be like opening a new box of crayons. So I am going to “re-establish” a few things in my life, if I can find the courage, keep the ideas straight in my mind, and persist.

fireworks-5thnov2011-banbury

 

 

Number one is reconnecting with people I love. I have allowed myself to isolate a little too much in the past years, and I want to change that and resurrect myself, as it were.

I also want to practice being passionate. I am fortunate to have several gifts and talents that I love to use, but this year I want to savor and take delight in the possibilities. I want my crocheting, writing, building, gardening, and jewelry-making to take on a new glow, a fresh aspect, as if I were learning to do these things for the first time.

And, above all else, I am not going to be fearful. I’m talking about that free-floating anxiety that has no basis in reality, but which feels as true as being bitten by a snake. I’m throwing that emotion away, erasing it from my persona, kicking it into the an imaginary junk yard somewhere in another galaxy. That emotion has not served me well and will no longer be my “go-to” state.

I also want to give more. Not in a sanctimonious way, but because it makes me feel so dang good myself. It seems to me, if I could do one good thing every day for someone who needs that one good thing, my days would be enormously happier than if I did not do that one small, seemingly trivial thing.

To those who blog, those who read our blogs, and to everyone who reads this page:

Here’s to a Happy and Prosperous 2017!

 

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Pillage

I took a long holiday break, and some of you know that “breaks” can sometimes be the same as “stops” for writers. So, I’m patting myself on the back for walking back onstage.

I chose this prompt because my house  has been “pillaged” by the armies of people who have come and gone and by the wrapping and unwrapping of gifts. It also seems that taking down decorations and getting rid of Christmas trees gives the place a look much like the barricades scene in the musical Les Miserables.

To get back to my regular routine is going to take monumental patience, strength, stamina, and a clear head. I do, however, have a plan. It is to take regular “hot chocolate with marshmallows and peppermint sticks” time-outs. I’m thinking every two hours is a good formula and will keep me in a better mood as I make order out of chaos.

By the way, here is a link to the best hot chocolate recipe on the internet. It’s made by Stacy over at http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/homemade-hot-cocoa-mix-worlds-best/. You know it’s the best because she uses the world’s best cocoa powder and she has a picture of a Kitchenaid mixer at the top of her site. ‘Nuff said!

Image result for vintage kitchenaid mixers

Think of me, please, as I plow myself out of this mammoth pile of all things holiday. The light is bright at the end of the tunnel.

A Tribute to my Grandchildren’s School

My granddaughter and grandson who live in Memphis (I have another in Albuquerque, his school will be discussed later), go to what is, in my opinion, one of the best public schools in the country. Since I was a teacher and an administrator myself, I think it’s OK for me to voice my point of view. I also wrote about education across the US for the past several years, so I also know a bit about what’s going on in American schools.

With all that in mind, II still stand by my statement that Memphis State Campus School is one of the finest I have seen. For one thing, when I have had the pleasure of walking through the hallways, there is a pleasant mixture of calm, but enthusiastic, vibration in the air. The kids are well-behaved but I feel no sense of pressure or anxiety. The rules are in place and everyone seems to understand what they are.

The classrooms are alive with activity and feel like happy places. The school’s mission is based on these goals:

  1. Provide best practices in elementary education instruction
  2. Model innovative educational designs
  3. Serve as a laboratory for educational redesign and research
  4. Offer clinical teaching experiences and mentoring for pre-service teachers

For me, that makes this educational setting the “best of both worlds.” Think about it, my grandchildren are not only learning on the cutting edge, but teachers are also being taught how to teach at the same time. Makes me proud.

The association with the university also adds to the school loyalty and close community. At assemblies, the children sing many songs authentically but none more than their song concerning the Tigers, Memphis State’s mascot.

The school’s vision can be remembered as an acronym – CREED.

COLLABORATION,
RESEARCH,
EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING,
ENTHUSIASM FOR LEARNING,
DIVERSITY

I know there are great schools in the US, and I know we have many, many struggling districts in the nation, as well. I’m just so thankful that my kids, by the luck of the draw and because of living in the same neighborhood as the Memphis State campus, are attending a school that is making a difference.

Go, Tigers, Go!

Ikea

I am a pushover when it comes to Ikea. I live in Jackson, Mississippi, which is very close to Memphis, Tennessee. Speaking of Tennessee, my heart is broken for those in east Tennessee who have been ravaged by wildfires. My prayers go out to all those affected by the horrible fires.

What I want to share today is that there is a brand new Ikea in Memphis, TN where my son and his family live. Soon I will be going to visit, and I will finally be able to eat Swedish Meatballs and get as many  RÅSKOG Rolling Carts as I can afford.

RÅSKOG Utility cart IKEA

RÅSKOG UTILITY CART $29.99 – IKEA

Yes, it will have to be assembled, and yes, I will have to make my way through hordes of people and the somewhat complex process of getting to the product before I can actually walk out of the store with my utility carts but I cannot wait to get there.

To be clear, it’s not just the cart or the Swedish Meatballs that make me happy about the relatively close location of an Ikea. And it’s not just because I will be able to get my hands on many inexpensive, hackable items that I have been wanting for a long time, but was unable to purchase because of the shipping costs.

No, my real reason for being such an Ikea freak is that in my mind Ikea has shown the world that a huge retail merchandiser can run a people-centered business. Allow me to share a short list of the things I feel are really good about this company:

  • Since 2000, Ikea has lowered its prices by an average of 2 to 3% every year because it has increased its efficiency during this time period.
  • Since 1994, the company has embraced LGBT equality.
  • It has door handles on its bathroom doors that allow you to open and close the doors without having to touch the handle with your hands.
  • This year all lights in all the Ikea stores have been converted to LED only.
  • For a small fee, Ikea will take your old mattress, furniture, and appliances and recycle them for you. In some places, the store will recycle plastic furniture and other Ikea items.

I love the Ikea shopping bags, its Family Discount, and this:

SAGOSKATT Soft toy IKEA Designed by a kid, for kids. This soft toy was drawn by Léonard, 6.

The Sagoskatt $3.99

Thanks, I’m glad I got this off my chest. Now my only problem will be scheduling a time to get to Memphis before Christmas!