Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Soggy Tumbleweeds and The F Word

Yes, it's another day of rambling thoughts.  And if I don't tell you now, I'll forget.  It's stuff I want to talk about.  I have a few hours of down time from the job, and I know you're just dying to read what thoughts are tumbling around in my brain.


Mushrooms:  Odd little statues of fungi!  I've been joking for several days about 
the crop of mushrooms sprouting in my armpits.  The rain and dark skies just keep ON hanging around.  The ground is saturated, many basements have flooded, including at My Parents' House and the Bernius House, and yet the rains keep coming.  The Oconee County Sheriff's Office Facebook page posted this yesterday:  "BOLO (be on the lookout for) a large wooden ark said to be occupied by two animals of every kind. Ark is piloted by a man named Noah who may be releasing doves. The ark was last seen heading in the direction of Mount Ararat. Any contact, either hop aboard or follow to high ground."  

I'm beginning to think it is a personal lawn mower conspiracy against me - my 30-day return guarantee will expire before I get a chance to try it out, if this keeps up!!  The yard is a mud-jungle of soggy dandelion shoots, that would probably burst forth in tiny yellow blooms, if the sun would only shine long enough!!   A little bit ago I walked over to talk to my neighbor for a few minutes.  As we were chatting, I happened to notice this mushroom standing tall and proud underneath the pine trees between our houses.  I've seem them everywhere lately, even invading my flower beds, but mostly the ones I have seen are a whitish-tan color.  I do believe this is the first black mushroom I've ever seen growing around here.  It is quite large.  The dome is probably a tiny bit bigger than the palm of my hand.  I'm wondering if we've discovered a Shiitake farm?  I don't think I'll be adding it to my salad, or cooking it on the grill, though it's about the size of a Whopper patty.  There are a few smaller ones growing nearby, but I think I'll just let them grow in peace. Well, as peaceful as it can be here in The Hood - with kids and grandkids and golf carts and puppies and kitties... and all such manner of things that make up Home Sweet Home here in The Hood.  The only thing missing is a fat, green toad sitting nearby.  But we all know how I feel about toads, so....  


Penmanship:   Before The Great Mushroom Discovery, I walked swam down to the end of the driveway to put some outgoing mail in the box. One of my clients sends me a written contract each year that I have to sign and return.  The old fashioned way.  With pen and ink, on a real piece of paper.  I can still sign my name fairly well, but as I started to address the (paper) envelope, the pen felt somehow odd in my hands.  I have arthritis in my hands/fingers, and the damp weather has made even the simplest tasks a little bit uncomfortable, but I think it was more than that.  I had to stop and try to remember the last time I had even held a pen in my hand and did anything other than jot down a phone number, or a patient name, or something really quick.  I was shocked to realize that I do not remember the last time I wrote anything of significance by hand. I'll admit it.  I'm totally electronic-dependent.  I make my grocery lists and Notes To Self on my cell phone.  I "write" correspondence via e-mail.  All my work is done on the computer. Today I have learned that I'm in trouble without my keyboard, and my handwriting is chicken-scratch.  Though my penmanship has never been what you'd call "pretty", it has always been pretty much legible and uniform.   Being able to type fast is my bread and butter, and as such, I can type up a three page report way faster than I can hand-write one paragraph.  I think I need to get back to the basics, and stop being so dependent on all these electronic gadgets.  How sad that holding a pen and writing was almost painful, and that the writing looked so hideous.  Maybe Corey and Leyland will let me use their writing pads for practice.  


Pizza:  Have you ever wondered whether it makes a difference if you remove the cardboard thingy before putting the pizza on the pan to cook?  Nah, me neither.  But in case you ever did wonder, let me just go on ahead and tell you.  Yes.  Yes, it does.  Right now I'm having lunch, and I'm munching on my very own personal Freschetta Naturally Rising Pizza. I even added more veggies and mozzarella cheese on top to upgrade things a little bit.  The top looked nice and brown, the cheese was all bubbly, and the crust had done its "self rising" thing.  Took it out of the oven to find that I had forgotten to remove the cardboard.  In my defense, the cardboard was much smaller than the pizza itself, and the pizza so thick that I just didn't even look. It still tastes pretty good, but the center crust didn't get quite as done as it should have.  So, yes.  It matters.  Let me type write myself a note to remember to check next time.  


All or None:  This issue may have been resolved and a decision may already be in the books, but I have a gripe with the Barrow County School System.  Mary will be attending the new middle school here in Statham this fall, and there has been talk about school uniforms.  I personally think it would be a simpler and less expensive (in the long-run) alternative to wear uniforms.  But - there's that rebellious part of me that says "why should the government tell us how to dress our kids."  I know there are lots of good arguments FOR uniforms.  No problem at all if you send your children to private school.  That's pretty much standard practice.  But I'm still not comfortable with the thoughts of the government taking away yet another "choice", or "freedom".  What's even more heinous than that, is there is talk that wearing uniforms to the new middle school might be "optional".  OPTIONAL?  SERIOUSLY? Aside from the initial expense, what parent wouldn't opt for uniforms?  No more arguing over what to wear to school.  No more missed buses because Jane can't find her designer jeans, or Harry can't find his Falcons football jersey.  Laundry would be greatly simplified - dump a week's worth of school clothes in the washer/dryer and be done with it!  Less pressure on the not-so-fortunate kids to measure up wardrobe-wise.  But, optional?  Who wants to be the kid wearing school uniforms (because their parents made them), while other kids continue to enjoy self expression in their fashion choices?  Honestly.  I hope the issue has been resolved by now. If not, then we need to refer the People In Charge back to that all wise and wonderful Dr. Seuss concept we learned about in The Sneetches.  That should set them straight.  Do it, or don't do it.  But do it the same for everyone.  Mandate it (which I still disagree with), or Forget it.  


All or None Part 2:  And while I'm being grumpy about the schools, I also have a bone to pick with the State.  Pre-K.  I'm not saying Pre-K is a bad thing.   (But we do realize that our children are being raised 14 years of their lives by the government, right?  They are taught what is right and true and real... based on what our government wants them to learn.  Kinda scary!!)  But I digress.  Here again - Pre-K should be an all-or-none deal.  My grandchildren were fortunate enough to get selected, by some kind of random lottery system that I can't explain, to attend "free" Pre-K in the public school.  This program is funded by the Georgia Lottery folks, the same ones who fund the HOPE scholarship for college tuition.  Okay, that's a cool thing.  But let's be fair about it. We have a friend whose child (along with many others) didn't get selected in that random lottery thing, and these kids didn't get to go to the same Pre-K program that all the other kids did.  Their parents had two choices:  Pay to put them in a private program, or don't go at  all. That is absurd.  How unfair to the children, to the parents, and to the Pre-K teachers! Either make it a law to go to Pre-K and have all children go, or take it out of the school system altogether.  


HOPE:  I have long said that being able to go to college is a wonderful thing, but it is not required by law.  Children are required by law to attend school.  One study quoted by the AJC is that out of ten students who enter college with HOPE, only three will hold onto it the entire four years.  I understand that HOPE is the only way some kids could ever *hope* to attend college.  But... I wonder if that money wouldn't be wiser spent on better educating kids in grades K-12.  Even if it meant dropping Pre-K. College and Pre-K are not mandatory.  Again, I understand the wonderful opportunity that HOPE gives to a lot of kids, but many of these kids can't keep HOPE simply because they are in culture shock when they go from hometown high school to college.  Just because a kid has a 3.0 GPA in high school, does not mean they are ready for college.  And it seems an awful lot of money is *wasted* (for lack of a better word) on a few semesters of college, when that money could have been spent to better educate the student during K-12. However- Hear me clearly on this:  I am NOT laying any of the fault of crappy education on the backs of teachers.  Teachers are my heroes.  There are so many amazing teachers in Barrow County. My grandchildren have been blessed with the most amazing teachers on the planet, and we love them and truly appreciate them!! Unfortunately, they are restricted by what they can and can't do, or say, or teach.  Political Correctness trumps truth and common sense nowadays, and teachers are caught in the middle.  I say they do a fabulous job within the restrictions of the government, but WOW how different would it be, with technology today, if teachers were free to teach like back when I was a kid!!


The F Word:  We all know the word of which I speak.  The one that stand-up comedians love to use, and that Hollywood loves to weave into movie scripts.  The F-Bombs that get bleeped on awards shows and late-night talk shows.  Well, imagine my shock and horror when one day my mom called me up and informed me that "Corey said the F word today."  Whaaaaaaaaaat???   But hold on a minute... GiGi's idea of the F word is a little different from everyone else's.  She has always hated the word *fart* and just cringes and almost goes into seizures whenever one of us says the word. (So, of course, we do it just to get her riled up....) I do believe she hates it almost as much as the "real" F word.  Nowadays the word is considered part of everyday language, and ... well, it just is what it is... and isn't even considered a funny word any more.  But yeah, it is kinda funny when Corey says it because of they way he pronounces his "r" sound.  So when he says "faht", it rhymes with "hot".  And my mom just goes off the deep end.  It is so hilarious.  So yesterday, I get an e-mail from Amazon.Com about a free Kindle download.  I have Kindle reader on all  my devices, so I went to Amazon to check out the free book.  Because I'm all about some Free Stuff.  I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the title of the book:  The Boy Who Farted and Flew to the Moon.  I kid you not.  So of course I simply HAD to download the book.  It is hilarious, and uses the word so matter-of-factly in the story that, unless you had been raised all your life thinking it was a *bad word*, you just wouldn't think anything about it.  I couldn't wait to call my mom and read it to her.  She almost choked on her sweet tea. Then I called my Aunt Peggy, who absolutely adores the word, and we got my mom on a three-way call. Right there on the phone, I read them the story about of Tommy, a unfortunate kid with a serious flatulence problem, and how he turned it into an outer-space adventure.  It seems like silly stuff, although a subject that some (like Dear Old Mom) would find highly objectionable in the children's section of the library, and of little value literature-wise.  However, I say if it will get kids to read, and since it's not a foreign concept to ANYONE (we all do it, whether we talk about it or not...) then let 'em have at it.  There are some subjects, of course, that are inappropriate reading for children, but I think you'll hook more kids with a fart book than you will The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.  (No offense, Ms. Buck - but I detested every nanosecond I was forced to read from that book!!!)  If a kid learns to love reading, it is their ticket to the universe, and they need never ever be bored in life.  So, Fart On, Tommy!!!!

For your own free Kindle version, visit Amazon.Com and type the title into the search box.  I think it will be available for free download until midnight tonight.  

And with that final shout-out to literacy, I shall wrap up this version of Tumbleweeds.  

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