My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Books, PTA, and Steam Cleaners--oh my!

Don't laugh, but I just made this wonderful discovery. I can adjust the size of things on my screen. Not just the fonts, of course, I knew that. But I can make the whole darn thing bigger, giant even. It's wonderful! I'm sure people walk by when I'm working and think I have cataracts or something, but it really helps my back and neck to see it all nice and big.

Another wonderful discovery. I just bought one of those steam mops, the Shark, I think it's called. I live in a very old house with crooked 100 year old floors, and this steam cleaner is amazing. It does a beautiful job with these ancient floors and gives me a good workout, or at least my right arm.

My house is so clean. I've never really had it so clean (although there's definitely birthday clutter right now) for so many days on end. It's so strange how the kids leave and things can stay clean ALL DAY. I'm still getting used to it. And truthfully, I'm feeling kind of guilty. I mean, it's NICE to have the house totally clean, but what's the point? It just seems like I could be better serving in another capacity.

My thoughts and prayers go out to victims of Ike. I know my family in the Beaumont area has a mess, as do millions of others. The emotion is so overwhelming after a natural disaster like that. I pray for each and every one of you.

Our Sally Foster fundraiser began today. With the state of the economy, local and national, gas prices, and general hysteria, I hope we'll be able to make the money we need for field trips this year. Field trips are a critical part of the learning experience for children. IT's essential that kids get on a bus, under the tutelage of their teachers, and get the whole educational schtick all the way there, all the way home, and then, of course, the destination. We'll need more money this year than ever before due to gas prices. I wonder how other school ptas are handling it. Of course, I'm thankfully not president anymore, but I am helping head up Sally Foster. I know the pta has been pitching in a LOT for school supplies, as well. When did that stop being the jurisdiction of the school system and start falling on pta? And I know these teachers spend a ton of money out of pocket.

Good new book to recommend. JASON AND MARCELINE by Jerry Spinelli. A friend of mine loaned it to me, and I was surprised there was a Jerry Spinelli out there I hadn't read. It's completely different than his other books, but a surprisingly poignant look at first boyfriend-girlfriend relationships. I would definitely recommend it for older kids. He does an especially good job showing the power of physical attraction and how things like making out all the time can become the focus of the relationship. The characters are lovable and different, and yet again, the darling female protagonist reminds me of his wife, Eileen, with true stargirl qualities. Check it out. I'd recommend it for older middle school.

Also several of you have been asking about good chapter book read alouds for younger elementary school kids. Once you've read TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING, perhaps the greatest read aloud for all ages of all time, consider checking out the Time Warp Trio books written by the brilliant and creative Jon Scieszka and illustrated by the amazing Lane Smith. How could these books be anything but fabulous? They're very short chapter books with very short chapters. Great for reading preschoolers or k-1 kids. I love a chapter book that I can read a first chapter, then the kids pick it up and read from there. This one is easy, peasy, but clever. It's like a younger kid version of the Magic Tree House books, but imho, funnier and definitely enjoyable for adults to read, as well. As they travel in time, a member of their family appears, as ancestors, in many situations, and the ones with his mother are hilarious to me. Even though he's a good reader, my second grader still loves for me to read these aloud. Try My Mother is a Neanderthal.

Have a great week.

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