Thursday, September 29, 2005

I love middle schools!

The MiddleWeb site has lots of great resources for middle school teachers. One I espcially like is this one about the Socratic Seminar, and this page of strategies.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Amy Grant's Three Wishes : Manna From Hollywood: Charity Begins on TV - New York Times (random musing)

I basically agree with this NY Times article. I like the *idea* of the show, just not the way they produce it. They let people cry in a really exploitive way. And they also send this message that only through charity and celebrities can people get what they need.

For example, the little girl who's parents couldn't afford her surgery. The government should be COVERING this kind of health care! If she lived in a better country, they would. And the father who wanted to adopt his stepson? Hello. He could have done so without the help of Amy Grant rushing around town with a camera and FLAGGING down the town's judge on a airplane runway.

But I thought the storyline of the boy's gratitude to his stepfather was sweet. I just dont' think they should portray people as totally pathetic, it isn't respectful. And I especially don't like them portraying physical malody as tradgedy. The fact that the girl had to wear a protective helmet, ok. But the fact that her face didn't "Look right"....that is shameless lookism. And next week's show I hear dips into ableism, portraying a person who can't walk as experiencing one of the worst tradgedies possible.

I hope they might continue to do these good things....but without the high drama and the ableism and lookism.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Theresa Perry

When I was at Wheelock College, one of the most dynamic, intelligent, and compassionate women who was a real role model was Theresa Perry . For my fellow alumni, check out this link to see what Theresa is up to now - and another alma mater of mine - Simmons College!

Asian Art! (Entertainment/home decor)

I just ran across Hinky Imports. They have soooo many beautiful things! Lanterns, singing bowls, and many other lovely decorations to give your home (or mine - hint, hint ;-), some color and multicultural flair! :-)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The World of Freddie Red - My friend Lauren! (Personal - friends & family)

This is my Wheelock friend Lauren's website. She'd probably want you to know its pretty old. ;-) She and her hubby Adam and I had lunch today at Applebee's and I had so much fun! Lauren and I both were feeling a bit under the weather, but it was still an absolutely wonderful visit! They are both totally fun and really sweet.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Judy Collins - a class act

I was surfing, and I ran across this CMT article about Judy Collins. She spoke to the horrible reaction many country music fans and radio stations had to the Dixie Chicks criticizing George W. Bush. (Something more people should do more often if you ask me). I was reminded of a quote by someone...I can't find it right now...but it basically says that what is UNpatriotic is to NOT speak up when something is very WRONG in your country. I couldn't agree more.

Dukes of Hazzard | DukesFest (Entertainment/retro)

I doubt I'll ever see the new Dukes of Hazzard movie. I mean really, Jessica Simpson as Daisy? Puleez! But this website, Dukes of Hazzard | Cooter's Place | DukesFest | General Store | Cooter's Museum, made me smile.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Random Musing: music, poetry, other art....

So I was listening to my local country radio station on the way home, and on came Tim McGraw. I don't like *all* of his stuff, in fact I really don't like "Indian Outlaw". But I love love love some of his songs. "Live like you were dying" is especially touching to me. When I'm ranting (to someone else or just to myself alone in my car ;-), about something STUPID, and that song comes on, it just nails me every time.

Today it was "Do You Want Fries With That?". Yes, it is a funny song. And the guy in the song is totally bitter and thinking mean thoughts. And that is exactly WHY I love it. For one, you can tell by the tone with which McGraw sings this song, that it is totally tongue-in-cheek. But more to the point...don't we all know SOMEONE who lost their wife to another guy, and is now paying his wife alimony? Or someone in a similiar *kind* of situation? And the "character" in this song, his reaciton is totally funny.

I also like "Drugs or Jesus" about how for many, hard times result in either "good" choices, or "bad" choices. We all look for comfort from our pain. Some of us choose drugs, food, tv., sex, or something else that when used to an excess just make our problems worse. Some of us are able to choose faith, or some other outlet that sooths our pain but also leads us somewhere healthier. I think it is our job as people to help each other make good choices. And not to put it TOO dramatically...I think something as simple as a song can sometimes be that influence that helps us. Gary Chapman has been such an influence on me.

This post has no real point, except to extol the virtues of the songs, poems, paintings, sculptures, movies, books or stories - you name it - that have given us inspiration or comfort, and helped us on our Journey.

This was my first Random Musing. I'd love to hear what you think if you've read it. :-)


Monday, September 05, 2005

Raise a Reader!

My wonderful sister Jennifer (well, actually my sister-in-law, but that's just a word anyway) ;-), is a children's librarian and she just got a NEW JOB! These links are in honor of her great work, and to celebrate with her! :-)

Reach Out & Read
Get Ready to Read
The U.S. Dept. of Education
MA Family Literacy Consortium
MA Dept. of Education; Office of Reading
MA DOE Early Learning Services

The Case FOR Bilingual Education - what everyone NEEDS to know

This article from the Detroit Free Press called Language Barrier, is about the question as to whether bilingual education is more effective than "English immersion".

I have always believed that English immersion was not only unfair, but completely disrespectful of a child's culture and past. And now the US Dept. of Education has completed a study that presumably has some data as to which is more sound educationally. But instead of releasing an official report, the info. is in some book. The article says it is giving the impression that the results go against the administrations support of English immersion and that is why they haven't released the results individually. Impression? It might be EXACTLY why they haven't done it. But we won't know until we can read it.

NPR : Hurricane Katrina Web Log

Many news organizations have been covering more than just the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. For example, NPR : Hurricane Katrina Web Log is a log of "various strands" of the story of Katrina. NPR has also run commentaries like this one from John Gregory Brown, a prize winning novelist and native to New Orleans. Mr. Brown grew up there, and mourns the devastation.

You can also read about this wedding that took place at the Mississippi Coliseum. They were to marry in New Orleans until the wedding was interrupted by Katrina. And NPR is running stories celebrating the *amazing* culture of the region, such Irvin Mayfield's Ode to New Orleans. Mayfield is a jazz trumpeter from New Orleans.

Prayers for the victims of Katrina

I've been reading articles like this one from the BBC, about Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. I know this blog doesn't get much traffic, and folks can find places to help all over the 'net.

But when you feel helpless to help, and you've made your donation, all you can really do is pray, and perhaps spread the word in whatever small ways you know how. So here's a small collection of links I've seen in the last few days:

The Red Cross
Direct Relief International

I got these from NPR:

FEMA: Hurricane Relief Donations
Network for Good: Hurricane Katrina Relief
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters

If you're reading this and have had a loved one harmed by this disaster, may God bring you healing and comfort in the days to come.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I've missed church!

Today I visited Park Avenue Congregational Church.

If you've read my blog for a while, you may remember my earlier posting about how please I was with the UCC for their July 4th declaration that any discrimination denying people the right to get married was wrong, whether those people were black, white, able-bodied, disabled, straight or gay. (Well, this was particularly about denying gay couples the right to get married, but you get the point: discrimination is discrimination).

This Sunday's sermon was on Building. It was the planned topic before the hurricane, but the horror in LA made the theme all the more timely. And the sermon spoke of how we need to build things that will make God happy. And *think* when we do things...what am I building? As someone hoping to be a parent someday, this was touching to me as I thought about the kind of home we will build for our children, and the kind of family we will build upon the family we already are.

I've missed church. I like to think that God and what (S)He would want of me is on my mind and my heart most of the day, every day. But its good for the soul to have a place to go where the MAIN focus of your time and attention is God; be it praying in gratitude for your blessings, praying either for yourself or a loved one...praying for forgiveness or for the strength to forgive someone else...or sharing with and supporting others. And reminding ourselves that God has called us; to love each other as ourselves, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to share our faith.

As I thought about all the people hurting in Louisiana, I thought of how blessed I am. My family is well. My aunt just came home from a stay in a hospital and a rehab. facility where they took really good care of her. We have a beautiful new niece and loving godchildren. I have a new job that I just can TELL I'm going to love. So naturally, I started to cry. I hope nobody thought I was in some kind of crisis. LOL! ;-)

Katrina: my own commentary

You've heard it from several news sources, so I won't go on and on. But while I'm glad our President is *finally* doing a good job at helping the victims of Katrina, he and our entire Congress were woefully slow to respond and have probably cost countless lives because of it. Kevin and I were listening to the weather channel for DAYS and DAYS before Katrina hit. If private citizens like us could be aware that this was going to be a major disaster, why in the *world* wasn't the President of the United States and the Congress of the US quicker to respond with an action plan?

I don't know the answer. But it saddens me to contemplate, because I think if this had been a WHITE area of the country with more REPUBLICAN constituents (i.e. folks who would vote in Bush's party come next election), the entire government might have moved as quickly as they did when they wanted to try to save Terry Schiavo.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

USATODAY - appearance can affect your paycheck (RANT!)

I hate lookism. I especially hate bias against people who are overweight, but I also hate when people make judgements about other people based on what they wear, or how they chose to color their hair to express themselves.

And I really hate people who FEED INTO this bias, by "working the system" and pandering to this stupid idea that you're only smart if you "dress smart", and only responsible if you "look" responsible, etc. I'm glad some folks are suing over this kind of bias.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Wage Peace

Here is the Wage Peace Campaign page of the American Friends Service Committee, which it touted as "Quaker values in action".

Some other "wage peace" links I've found include: out of Alberta, Wage Peace, Inc. and the organization Wage Peace Now.

There are more peace links on my old site. And check out my Poetry Blog for some links to poems about peace.


Speed's Hotdogs! ;-) (Entertainment/food)

News & Features Built for speed

Friday, Sept. 2 - We went back again today, and I had another lovely conversation with Speed! He's thinking of opening a restaurant somewhere between Boston and Worcester! We would travel any distance for his food - hotdogs or not! (Actually, if we had his food anymore often than we probably shouldn't be these arteries ya know. ;-)

July 14, 2005 - Tee hee! Kevin and I had lunch (and dinner and probably tomm.'s lunch ;-) at the *world* famous "Speed's Hotdog Stand"! Kevin has known about it for a while. And when I read this article I thought it sounded "good", but re-reading it, it is ALL true. Speed's dogs are incredibly delicious...much more a gourmet experience than "just a hotdog".

And Speed himself was gracious and friendly. His assistant was at the grill today, and Speed seemed he was mostly greeting folks when we arrived. It was so much fun. If you live in Boston, or are just planning a visit, you *must* go visit Speed and have one of his dogs - with everything on it (at least the first time ;-)

I forget in which cultures cooks actually feel at least a BIT insulted if you don't belch....because it is a way of showing you're enjoying the meal......{{{BURP!}}} LOL!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Big E (Entertainment)

The Big E is a multi-state state fair, held in Massachusetts. The closest thing I've been to fair is the Calgary Stampede. I'm excited for my first fair....and to see Los Lonely Boys! The fair goes on for a month, and LLBs are on October 2.

CBC News - Viewpoint: Georgie Binks (article about women priests) (Spiritual/Political)

Canadian Sisters are Doin' It for Themselves! I just had to bump this up to my current page, even though I originally posted this back in July. :-)

I am not Catholic, but I have family on both my side and my husband's who are. And I just about bounced up for joy when I heard this story of Canadian women fighting the oppression they experience in the church at not being allowed to be ordained and serve the church they so love as priests. I am often hesitant to say anything bad about a church I am not part of. But since I have loved my churches, and I know my friends and family in other churches love their churches, I feel speaking out about any church is just what you do in the name of all churches being the loving, and just places all churches should be.

See WOW (Women's Ordination Worldwide) and the site of its organizers Women's Ordination Conferencefor more details on the global conference that just ended, and all of the efforts to end this kind of sexism in churches across the world!

Love Your Body Day! (Political - Spiritual)

The National Organization for Women Foundation N.O.W., is sponsoring Love Your Body Day, on October 19, 2005 - my mom's birthday!