Going confidently

go confidently72
Texture by Kim Klassen: Confidence
one layer soft light 100% and one layer overlay 100%

Go confidently in the directions of your dreams. ~Thoreau

Well, it’s finally here. Time for Peanut’s Daddy to become College Man! Earlier this year, life took a right turn and offered former Army Guy the opportunity to leave the military and pursue a college degree using his GI Bill. He’s chosen an aviation degree and his dreams took a step towards becoming a reality last Saturday when we loaded up the truck and trailer at 9am and moved him to the college town and into his own house.


As a non-traditional student, he’s (thankfully) not really college dorm material. So after assessing what the GI Bill would cover, they settled on a little one-bedroom bungalow just off campus. Peanut and her mama (The Investigator) will stay with us where she has a job (with benefits) and Peanut is going to preschool. But they will all see each other on the weekends, in one town or the other.


And this fits nicely with this week’s Quotography prompt of School.

The Investigator has outfitted him with all the necessary school supplies: pens, notebooks, folders, ramen noodles……Let’s just say, College Man is well-stocked to begin this new direction.

It’s been a while since I’ve been a part of the college move-in experience. But we made short work of the move-in and he was pretty much settled by 3pm.

A couple “before” shots:



And now, the big makeover reveal:

In case you caught it, the stove insert does not work, so it’s now an awesome tabletop delivery mechanism for more family photographs.


The bedroom assembly is a loft bed.IMG_2299

With not a lot of headroom!

But has a study desk underneath.

Add the finishing touches and it’s home!

The quote at the beginning of this post is actually a wall decal The Investigator put above his front door…a daily reminder to step confidently out of the house and go in the direction of his dreams.


Linking up with Quotography



The Death of Common Sense-RIP

Today, I’m deviating from my usual nature/quote selection to climb on my soapbox and rant about the death of common sense and general stupidity among some people and organizations. Oh wait, I do have a left-over “universe” quote from yesterday….

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the the universe.
~Albert Einstein

A Florida high school senior is denied his asthma inhaler while having an asthma attack. Yes, it’s true. It seems that mom didn’t fill out the proper paperwork at the nurse’s office that would allow the school nurse to give the boy his inhaler because of zero-tolerance in bending the rules when it comes to prescription meds. An inhaler that’s in the nurse’s office and labeled with his name. Furthermore, the nurse refused to call 911 at mom’s request as she was racing to the school. Can you believe the felony stupidity of this? If my child’s life depended on an inhaler you can bet I’d have those permission forms in triplicate. But above all, I fault the nurse for total lack of common sense when a child is passing out from an asthma attack and she smiles and says sorry, but her hands are tied. And refusing to call 911 when the mom told her to do so? Seriously? Fire her ass.

A New York elementary public school requires students to learn Arabic. Learning this language ...”will help the school obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate standing. …Arabic has been identified as a critical-need language,” Principal Nicky Kram Rosen said, citing students’ future “career trajectories. WTH? I would agree there’s a critical need for the military to know Arabic. People doing business in the Mideast should know it. It would be beneficial for foreign diplomats to know the language. But teaching it twice a week to elementary school children? Probably not a good use of the state’s taxpayer dollars. This is a case of school administration wanting to tout their prestigious standing. If they really wanted to help prepare children for future careers, teach them Chinese. After all, China owns most of our country anyway. And a significant number of people speak Spanish in the world, so how about requiring that language? How about picking one that’s used in international business, financial and technology fields since that’s where our future lies…and that’s not Arabic. I have no problem offering it as an extra-curricular class for those interested in learning it. But mandatory in a public school? That’s ludicrous. How about concentrating on teaching students to read and write English…proficiently? What a novel concept.

Twelve-year-old girl sues Minnewaska School District over Facebook. There’s stuff in this story that’s wrong on so many levels I just don’t know where to begin. In this day and age, social media is used for a lot of things. Venting one’s thoughts is one of them. “RS” was called on the carpet for comments she made on FB about a hall monitor. The principal forced her to give up Facebook and email passwords so they could review her accounts. The hoopla surrounds the child’s first and fourth amendment rights, and that the school violated those rights by demanding the passwords and disciplining her for those FB comments.

RS “hates” the hall monitor. So what? That’s normal behavior for a tween. I’m sure there’s lots of people she hates. The hall monitor was “mean.” Again, normal thoughts for a 12-year-old. Get over it. She could have just as easily written her thoughts down in a diary. But is venting on Facebook the same as writing in a diary? I think not. I’m sorry, but there’s no expectation of privacy on the Internet anymore. Nothing is completely private…and nothing is every deleted. The sooner we learn that, the better. Did she have the right to express her opinion? Yes. Did what she said cause irreparable emotional damage to the hall monitor? Probably not. Did the schools have a right to review all her “private” thoughts. No. With social media, we have the right to be mean and angry…and let the whole world know about it. But just because it’s perceived as a right, doesn’t make it the right thing to do. And therein lies the next question. Did the parents know what their daughter was writing on her FB page? If so, some discussion about what’s proper for a 12-year-old to say and not say might have been helpful. Expletives are seldom viewed as positive communication coming from children, regardless of the first amendment. Parental involvement in a child’s social media life at this age is necessary for everyone’s safety.

Just a few of the many examples of proof that common sense is dead. I believe ol’ Albert was spot on correct.

We're raising civic illiterates

I’m on my soapbox today, so if you don’t want to hear me rant, it’s time to move on.

For more than a decade, we have been inundated with the philosophy of globalization by the intellectual and educational elite. Being good citizens of the world is replacing being a good citizen of a particular nation. We are berated encouraged to place the humanity of the world above everything else and focus on lofty, universal ideals of human rights and justice…not that there is anything wrong with wanting basic human rights for everyone. However, patriotism, or devotion to one’s own country, is increasingly downplayed because we are now taught that no nation should think of themselves any better than another. This mindset seems to be prevalent in our education system as well as our political circles. Social studies and history courses are increasingly teaching global civics instead of local civics.

As a result, we are raising a generation of illiterates when it comes to knowing anything about our own country. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only one in four high school seniors is “proficient” in knowledge of U.S. citizenship. Civics and history proudly took the bottom of the barrel as American students’ worst subjects.

Quoting from American Amnesia by William Damon:

An American Enterprise Institute study earlier this year found that most social studies teachers doubted that their students grasped core U.S. citizenship concepts such as the Bill of Rights or the separation of powers. A recent Department of Education study found that only nine percent of U.S. high school students are able to cite reasons why it is important for citizens to participate in a democracy, and only six percent are able to identify reasons why having a constitution benefits a country.

For 10 years, Mr. Damon’s research team at Stanford conducted interviews with a diverse number of American youth about what U.S. citizenship means to them. Here are some of their responses.

We just had (American citizenship) the other day in history. I forget what it was.

…being American is not really special. I don’t find being an American citizen very important.

I don’t want to belong to any country. It just feels like you are obligated to this country. I don’t like the whole thing of citizen…I don’t like that whole thing. It’s like, citizen, no citizen; it doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like to be a good citizen—I don’t know, I don’t want to be a citizen…it’s stupid to me.

Are you paying attention? These are the future leaders of America.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment of Education, only 23% of college seniors from our nation’s elite universities knew that the phrase, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people,” was from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

The U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment of Education reports 83% of high school seniors could not list the freedoms in the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and to petition the government). Three quarters of them did not know property rights are protected under the Fifth Amendment. And two thirds of these seniors didn’t know the purpose of the Bill of Rights.

The same report shows that half of our nation’s fourth graders do not know the role of the President in making our country’s laws; and only one quarter of them knew the names of the three branches of the government.

Here’s a shocker…the National Constitution Center reports that more than 20% of respondents didn’t know we declared our independence from England.

And, related to that question, the U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment of Education reports only 32% of 4th and 8th grade students could name ONE of the 13 colonies that fought in the American Revolution.

Seriously? Is anyone else outraged by this? Or are we all just content to be citizens of the world and don’t care anymore? Last time I checked, the world didn’t have a president, military or government supported with taxes. We don’t abide by world laws and aren’t summoned to a world court as part of a jury of peers. If I’m unhappy with something as a citizen of the world, who should I write to to voice my opinion? Although the United Nations would like to fill that role, we do not have a one-world government…yet.

We are so conscious to celebrate cultural diversity in our schools. Our kids are encouraged to share their cultural and ethnic experiences and backgrounds. And I’m not questioning the benefit of learning about other cultures. But I do question it when it seems to be at the expense of the country they live in today. When our students know more about the Chinese New Year than they know about the Constitution and American Revolution, something is very, very wrong.

Teach students the value of being a United States citizen. Inspire them to want to learn about the heritage and reasons behind the ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Show them how to become good citizens and love their own country…and they will become good citizens of the world.

Or we will soon be the land of the free and home of the unprepared. And then, soon, we may not even be free.


Pie Day! (a.k.a. Pi Day)

Celebrate Pi Day! Source: http://bit.ly/eI19Hm

It probably should be a national holiday. After all, Pi is a pretty important…if you’re a mathematician.

The Greek letter Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th by math enthusiasts geeks all over the globe. Pi = 3.1415926535…the number continues infinitely without repeating any sequence, and computers have calculated Pi to more than 1 trillion digits past the decimal. Since it goes on for.ev.er, there’s the possibility that every number you know is hidden somewhere in it; phone numbers, birthday dates…even bank account numbers. Freakin’ amazing.

The mathematical ratio has been around for 4,000 years plus, but the Greek symbol we know as Pi turned 200 years old in 2006. Ancient Babylonians calculated Pi by measuring 3 times the square of a circle’s radius. A Babylonian tablet circa 1900–1680 BC shows a value of 3.125. Not to be outdone, Rhind Papyrus, an Egyptian in circa 1650 BC, calculated the area of a circle and indicated the approximate value of pi at 3.1605.

Pi in the Sky can be used to calculate a planet’s circular orbit compared to the diameter of the orbit. I’m sure astronomers are all over this.

A little closer to home…literally…closer than you think…pi is present in parts of the double helix of the DNA code.

And pi will come in very handy in the future when computers become smarter than us and take over. Just ask Spock. He triumphs over an evil computer by commanding it to compute pi to last digit in the Star Trek episode Wolf in the Fold. Just throwin’ that out there.

AND, did you know the first 144 digits of pi add up to 666? Some believe this is the biblical “mark of the Beast,” so I’m pretty sure math is going to be connected to the Antichrist.

Oddly, Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day (3.14 in 1879) in Ulm Wurttemberg, Germany. That’s freaky.

My father, who coincidentally was an architectural and structural engineer, was born on Pi Day as well. That’s just plain freaky as well.

The official celebration begins at 1:59 p.m., appropriately occurring at 3.14159.

For those of us who lean a little more to the right side of our brains, it’s an excellent reason to have some pie. In support of our left-brain brothers and sisters, of course.

A is for Adjunct

Welcome to Round 8 of ABC Wednesday. The meme was started by Mrs. Denise Nes­bitt, and people from all over the world come together to play and share their entries. Each week word(s) begin­ning with the des­ig­nated letter are selected and woven into a post.

For the past two rounds, I’ve taken unusual words and paired them with a photo of my world. Since I’ve used all the unusual words I have photos for, I’m switching things up this time. I’ll be taking each letter and pairing it with a personal experience or life lesson; hopefully with a photo, but I’m not promising anything.


In 2006 I filled in for an instructor at the local journalism school. The class was the capstone project for senior advertising students. Since I already have a full time 40-hour -a-week job, this is an adjunct position; meaning I do it on my own time (a.k.a. I don’t have to go to faculty meetings, put up with academic bureaucracy or worry about gaining tenure. I’m free to pass on the knowledge I know with no strings attached.)

This is my 6th year, semester begins on Thursday and I. Can’t. Wait.

Fifteen seniors will plant themselves in my classroom with fresh ideas and a contagious energy. They will work with three real, live clients with real, live advertising projects. Their challenge is to create a viable strategic advertising plan based on research, complete with dog and pony show for the client at the end of the semester.

MindMarket 2008; photo credit to Steve Veile

Throughout the next 15 weeks I’m an instructor to be sure, but also a guidance counselor, cheerleader, devil’s advocate, therapist, mom and will provide the occasional “kick in the pants.” My goal is to create the closest thing to an agency expe­ri­ence as pos­sible, but with the safety nets needed to catch them when they fall. And, even though they are nine foot tall, bullet proof seniors, they do fall. Sadly, no such safety nets exist after they leave the halls of academia.

In the end, I’ll become very attached to all of them. Many will go on to become suc­cessful in their chosen fields. Others will not have skin thick enough to handle the pres­sure of the industry. Some will friend me on Facebook. A few will become actual friends and we’ll meet occasionally and share more about our lives.

So let the games begin.

To find more ABC Wednesday fun from around the globe, click the logo in my sidebar. Hope to see you next week!

A rantipole* person I'm not!

Welcome to Round 7 of ABC Wednesday. The meme was started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt, and people from all over the world come together to play and share their entries. Each week word(s) beginning with the designated letter are selected and illustrate through a photo, poem or prose. My twist on the meme is selecting unusual words and pairing them with photos of familiar things in my world. I’ll be pulling words from sources here, here and, of course, here.

Let’s get unusual.

ruricolous: living in the country.
We live in the county about a mile outside the city limits. That may not sound too far out into the country, but it affords us views like these…unobstructed by roof lines.

ramage: boughs of a tree
ramate: branched
rameal: of, like or pertaining to branches
ramellose: having small branches
ramiferous: bearing branches
ramiform: branching; shaped like branches
Who knew there were so many words about a “tree”? Here are a few Autumn photos to celebrate The Tree and all its beautiful branches.

rantipole: wild; disorderly

For more ABC Wednesday from around the world, click the logo in my sidebar. Hope you play next week!

Friday Funny: Semper Fi! 11.12.10

Since yesterday was Veteran’s Day, I thought this would be appropriate.

Having served his time with the Marine Corps, the former Marine became a school teacher. However, before school started he injured his back.

He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn’t even noticeable.

On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window wide and sat down at his desk.

When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took a stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.

He had no trouble with discipline that year.