I found this blogging carnival called Friday Night Leftovers, which is hosted by a woman named Danifred at a blog called Sippy Cups Are Not For Starbucks. In this carnival, you are supposed to post a bunch of random thoughts. And since half my posts are of the "random thoughts" variety anyway, I thought I'd join in the carnival!
Speaking of Starbucks, I'm headed there this morning to get a gift card as an end-of-the-year gift for the teacher who heads up Nathan's little preschool program at the high school. I want to get something for the teenagers in the program, too, but there are 27 of them and I can't afford to get them all Starbucks cards. So we're just going to Costco to get an industrial-sized box of candy bars that they can split up. When I was in high school, I liked candy bars.
Oh, and let this serve as your Public Service Announcement to PLEASE do something to acknowledge your child(ren)'s teachers at the end of the school year! Teachers work beyond hard for little pay, and half that pay (give or take) gets put toward buying classroom supplies that the school does not pay for. So, my point is, acknowledge them in some way. Even if you can't afford a gift, a nice thank-you note goes a long way.
I'm giving the two teachers at Nathan's regular preschool Target gift cards, but only because I gave them Starbucks cards for Christmas. Anyway, I mention the Target gift cards because I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to attach gift card to some larger item like a plate of baked goods or a vase of flowers, and I'd like to discuss what I should attach the Target cards to. (BTW I admit that I don't include the larger item to look like some sort of do-gooder, but rather because I think the card will be less likely to get lost that way. Having been a teacher, I know it's always very chaotic at the end of the year, and in the mad shuffle to get out the door with your box of gifts, sometimes things slip away.) Anyway, I'm considering baking pies for the two teachers, and I think I'd like to try strawberry, except I've never made strawberry pie before. And also? Baking pies? Too ambitious? For me, I mean?
Speaking of my former life (as a teacher, I mean), let me give you some background about myself. I grew up in a family of teachers, as in my mom and dad were both teachers, and my grandparents before that, and then my step-parents after my original parents got divorced/remarried. My point is, the "September to June" schedule was fully ingrained in me from birth. The first day of the year was not January 1, it was the day after Labor Day. I lived my life according to the academic calendar through my years of high school and college, and then for the three years I taught school. Then I got a job in the corporate world, and my first day was the day after Memorial Day, which meant I got a crash-course in OMG the rest of the world doesn't get summers off. And after three years in the corporate world, and then two years at home raising a small, not-ready-for-school child, I had sort of gotten out of the world where late May was a mad rush of end-of-year-activities. And now that we're finishing Nathan's first year of preschool, the mad rush of May is back. There's the gift-buying and the card-making and the end-of-year parties. Today's activity is a little show that Nathan is performing in at his high school program. Oh, and in the show he and the other kids are singing a song about fish, which is because their big end-of-the-year science experiment was about goldfish, and at the end we get to take his goldfish home. So we're getting a new pet, for a little while at least. (Generally speaking, the life expectancy of goldfish isn't very long, although a Facebook friend announced today that her family just lost a goldfish they'd had for ten years.)
I think I'm failing at this whole "randomness" thing (for once), because the preceding paragraphs were all sort of centered around the topic of end-of-the-school-year. I must shift gears now.
So, following Nathan's little goldfish program, I have to go to a meeting with Generations for Peace, which is a small grassroots group in the community that promotes (obviously) peace around the world. I am actually not a member of this group (although of course I'm not opposed to peace), but my friend Kate is a member, and she asked me to be an emcee for the coffee house program they're hosting tomorrow. First of all, I think it's funny that people have started associating me with public speaking, because I'm not sure that is one of my gifts. (For people who are new here, I did an emcee gig at a community theater event in January, and I'm doing another one this summer.) Also, although I'm sure my former-hippie-but-kind-of-not-but-she-was-in-college-in-the-60s mom is proud of me for taking part in the event, I am not sure I make a very good activist. I just don't get worked up enough, at least not since I started taking Prozac.
Another thing I'm not is a legitimate journalist, but I did write this article about education for Technorati. The article was in response to a recent New York Times piece about the rise in popularity of traditional rote learning tutoring centers like Kumon for the preschool set. My opinion, and the opinion of the educational researchers quoted in the NYT article, is that formalized instruction is not appropriate for young children, who should be learning through play. I spent a few hours on Tuesday and almost all day Wednesday doing research on the early childhood education programs of other countries (countries who, generally speaking, are kicking our ass educationally) to show that worksheets for three-year-olds are not the key to success academic success in these countries. Anyway, I did legitimate research for this article, people. I was proud of it.
Speaking of Technorati, my Technorati authority is 395, so close to 400. Not that 400 is some kind of milestone or something, just some minor goal that I've established because it's obviously the value you get when you round to the nearest hundred. I'm not entirely clear what authority is based on, something about stats and people who link to you, but I'm excited about my authority nonetheless. (I do know that 1,000 is the best.)
Also excited about: the pool opening next week, riding my bike by the lake with Katie in the near future, someday going to the beach (you know, when the weather report doesn't show clouds with thunderbolts for the next 5 days), and getting some new sandals (I welcome suggestions from Zappos).
Well, I gotta run to meet Trainer Jill at the gym. Thanks for joining me for leftovers, which, BTW, we are actually having for dinner.
Have a great weekend, everyone!