Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recent Reads

My russian fascination continues - this time with a thrilling story about a thief, a deserter and some eggs. It's a gripping tale that will make you laugh, cry and see the true nature of war. I loved it from start to finish.

This one was a book club selection. I was hesitant at first, and though it isn't heavy lifting, it was definitely enjoyable and well worth the read. It's quick, probably only took me a day or two. I loved the interaction among the family members and the relationships in the book provided colorful fodder for discussion.

Another book club selection. I had never read Agatha Christie before, which seems strange even to me. This one was a real treat for Halloween, even if it was a little predictable toward the end. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anne Rice is still the master storyteller. I read this one years ago during my vampire fascination and it was - by far- my favorite Anne Rice book. I loved it so much that I choose to revisit it for Halloween. I have always wanted to visit Egypt and have forever been fascinated with the Pharoahs so this one is just pure fun from start to finish.

For all my Sci-fi/fantasy fans out there - if you haven't read Sara Douglass you need to. She is a rarity in the genre - a truly original voice. Check her out, she is very prolific and all the books are good.

You can see that I have been reading for fun lately. You will also see more YA books going on my Have read list because I am now doing a discussion group with my daughters fifth grade class - (it's Amazing!!) Up next? Elsewhere, Tell Me Where It Hurts, The Murder of King Tut and more.....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sometimes You Just Have to Show Up

I don't know if I mentioned this here yet, but I am the class mom for my 5th graders class again this year. I know, just call me "sucker". Still, I love being invovled with the school and most importantly the children. Even as they grow into preteens, they still like knowing that someone cares enough to show up.

So last week, I sent home a flyer asking for donations to make our Halloween party for the children special. I'm not asking for goodie bags or huge donations - simply some juice pouches, cookies, cupcakes, the usual for a class party. Obviously the party is next Friday and while the flyers have been out for over a week now, and the deadline for turning them in is rapidly approaching, I still only have three that have been returned. Three parents out of twenty have stepped forward to volunteer just a little of themselves to make their child's day a little better. Sort of sad, isn't it? I mean, I am certainly grateful for those three, but where the hell are the seventeen other parents? Does it really take such a huge time committment out of your day that you can't fill and return a form? Are people really so apathetic that they are simply satisfied to sit by and let others do all the heavy lifting? What message does this send to our children?

I feel so blessed that every Friday I get to spend an hour of my day with these amazing children. I know that not everyone has the same opportunities that I do. I know that people have to work and often can't be there even though they would like to be. But really, 20 napkins is too much to ask?

I wish these parents could see the faces of their children when I walk into that room every Friday. I wish they could see the way their faces light up, or the ways the girls will just come by and give me a hug. It's magic. All these children want is someone to show up, and let them know they care and that can happen in so many ways - volunteering, spending time with them doing their homework, donating items to the classroom and simply making time for them. They do still need that in their lives and the depth of their response to those that they know really care about them - breathtaking. I know I'm lucky, I just wish that a few more people would take just a few minutes to show up.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Surely Not My Daughter

It reminds me of that 60's song..."She looks like an angel, walks like an angel, talks like an angel.... but I got wise.... She's the devil in disguise." Ok, so maybe not the devil per se but my little angel came home with some very unexpected news from First Grade.

As she sits herself down to the kitchen table for her afternoon snack today, she nonchalantly tells me that she needs to buy Mrs. Jeffrey some new crayons. Come again?? "Any why, pray tell, would you need to do that?" I calmly asked. "Oh, because I snapped some crayons in half today." HUH??? My sweet little angel that likes to wear twirly dresses and dance went on some sort of bender and snapped a bunch of crayons in half? What the heck is going on??

I asked, "Did you break the crayons by accident, pressing too hard while coloring".."Not exactly...." "Well, how exactly did you break them, or better yet, why??" "Ethan M. told me to." I don't think that anything could have made my blood boil more than the preceeding statement. After all, my daughter is desended from a long line of Irish bare-knuckled fist fighters. Snapping the crayons because someone had the audacity to tell her that her coloring sucked is something that I could at least understand if not condone, but this... Oh this was totally unacceptable.

"What if Ethan M. told you to cut off your hair with scissors, would you do that?"
"Mom, don't be silly...." Well how is one thing silly and the other isn't, I ask you???
So, the end result is that my little princess will have to give up three weeks worth of ice cream money to pay for the new crayons, in addition to a hand written apology that she will deliver tomorrow while also giving a heartfelt in person apology. I told her that this was unacceptable, and I explained why. After all, my husband and I work hard to teach our children right from wrong and the Ethan M's of the world aren't going to stand in our way!

On a serious note, Ethan M. can hardly be held responsible because, while he may have planted the seed, it was my tiny little dancer that did the crayon snapping.