Monday, July 31, 2017

Delaying Gratification

When I was a new parent, I remember reading a lot about how to teach a child to delay gratification. Mind you, I was in teacher training at the time, and my daughter Gret got to be a guinea pig for many of the classroom skills I was learning to use. Ed used to laugh at me and state that "she will either end up very smart or hopelessly confused!" I think she's done pretty well as she's now working as a University Vice-President and raising two very lovely girls of her own! (brag moment there, sorry!)

Anyways, the gist of the above is that I am presently reflecting on this very vital life/school skill and actually putting some of it into practice in my personal life. As a few of you know, we recently found the "house of our dreams" for retirement in my husband's hometown of St. Joseph, Michigan. We went up this summer with only intent to "start looking" and literally stumbled upon the house that fit ALL our wishlist requirements. So what do you do? Well, you buy it, of course; because when you are ready to retire, you don't want the house that fits you perfectly belonging to someone else! So we did just that. And now, the itch to retire has become a very present and much more obvious reality. One that I will have to learn to control, since at present I am only 62 and not yet eligible for Medicare. However, we will get to use our "house of dreams" in the summers and on holidays for the next few years, and should grace or gainful employment allow us to relocate in advance of our retirement ages, that would be an added blessing. It's really exciting and awesome to think about a place sort of waiting for you. Decisions about the future are never easy, so having the "where" of this figured out makes figuring out the "when" of it a little less stressful.

Now to thinking about school. I am forcing myself to physically work in my classroom this week... since we go back to meetings next week and start classes the week following. I am making myself get up, do my a.m. routine, and everything. Had fun cleaning and puttering in the classroom today and am sitting at my desk there as I write this. How will I teach my students patience and delay of gratification this year. Will they be willing to trust themselves to wait for good results as they work through their writing and thinking with me this term. I have a large bunch of sophomores this year for a change. I love their puppy-like energy and enthusiasm. They are so focused on the "Big thing" (driving) that looms on their horizon in this year of their lives. They make me smile since I can still recall the first time I stepped on an accelerator with my dad beside me in the front seat bravely believing I would not, in fact, kill him! Patience is a virtue... and we can all use more; myself included! Have a great day!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dinosaur ruminations: Can't We Just Exercise Civility?

Manners have apparently become a thing for the dinosaurs. Today and yesterday we were greeted by news stories about the "Mooch", the man who has become the President's new Press Secretary. Over and over again we had to listen to warnings about the vulgarity of his language. He is referred to as having been "unplugged" After wishing someone would put the plug back in, my main thought was, "Where have all the gentlemen gone?" Okay, I know I am dating myself here, but while I may have heard men of my childhood speak an occasional cuss word, I NEVER heard the "f-bomb" come flying out of the mouths of my dad, or any of the men in my immediate family and friends circle. (Of course, back in my day, even high school guys of my age didn't unplug that expletive without facing down a lot of disapproval! The fact that it is now something a man who is supposed to represent the White House to the public can just let fly out of his mouth is appalling to me as a citizen.

So I have to ask, where has simply civility gone? Is it now "okay" (allowable) to say whatever you wish, however you wish, and wherever you wish? Does public disapproval of the "Mooch" mean anything at all? Should we be able to expect the President to hold his staff to a higher standard as they speak to the American people? Wish I had the answers. I know I wish things were different.

Only a Week to Go

This summer flew by! I honestly have no idea where it went. Ended the school year last May on a high note. Ed and I celebrated our 40th and 35th years of teaching. How strange to consider. I recall as a fairly new teacher observing people celebrate such landmark points and thinking, wow! They are so OLD. (Proof that what goes around does truly come around!)

Travels this summer included our trip to Paris, Normandy, and London. Had an awesome time with a smal close-knit group of 7 travelers. Enjoyed every minute of the time there and saw so many amazing things. Felt very safe in spite of all the news to the contrary about terrorism. The resilience of the people in Europe as they cope with the refugee crisis happening globally and do their best to help is inspiring. The wonderful diversity of people in Europe always makes me feel excited to be living in the times I do. We have so many opportunities to learn from others and to experience cultures that my grandparents' generation never did. It's quite amazing when you stop to consider it. This trip we saw some new things, including the British Library, the British Museum, the Churchill War Rooms, the Fountains of Versailles, and the Beaches of Normandy and the American Cemetery there. All of it was unique and wonderful.

Of course late June meant Grandcamp with the five grandkids. This is our 3rd year doing it. All the kids come to town for a week and we go all over exploring and doing things, This summer their ages ranged from 4-15. Ree was finally big enough to tackle the adventures involved with the City Museum, so off we went. I was so impressed with her pluck as she tried everything that someone 4 years old could do. We were blessed with fantastic weather, mild temps and no rain. We also went to the Muny as a gang of 8 and saw The Little Mermaid. It was a great week!

July has been a nice slow month. We splurged on two kayaks and have done some paddling and hiking. I continue to be a bit more active each week as my progress with Weightwatchers has helped me lose 27#s since last April.  In late July we went North for a week spending time in Wisconsin and Michigan.

The biggest news is that we are ending the summer by purchasing a HOUSE! Yes, we already have a house where we have lived for 32 years, but this house is in Michigan where we hope to retire in the next 4-8 years! So, if all goes well, we will own a house there by the end of August! Stay tuned for further developments!