Monday, March 17, 2014

A Word about Accountability {Just My 2 Cents}

If I let myself I could get totally nutty.  Every time we turn around there is another instance of refusal to accept accountability when things go wrong.  Individuals, businesses, city and state governments, our federal government (Lord, help us), and even our school systems.  Is it so hard to step up and do the right thing? Why are we always looking for the easy way out?

About a month ago, we watched a Cobb County Schools bus driver get cuffed and taken away after he failed a field sobriety test.  At 8:30 a.m. On a weekday.  The young students on his bus had already been loaded on to a second bus and transported safely to school.  And his bus was towed out of the preschool parking lot where he'd been pulled over.  I looked at my assistant and said: those parents are going to be up in arms.  I certainly would be.

And they would have been.  Had they been informed.

Last week it came to our attention that one of the children on that bus was the child of one of our teachers who happened to be off that day and didn't witness the arrest of her child's driver.  We never knew her child was on that particular bus.  And the obligatory letter that went home from the school? Described the incident as "minor" with no details.  She accepted the letter at its word, along with the testimony of her young child (who didn't see the arrest).  Until she started putting a few pieces together after some enlightening conversations.

Her child's bus driver was charged with DUI, following too closely and ONE single count of child endangerment.  He was also driving with a suspended license.

So she took it to the school and to the county.  The school was uninformed about the details of the incident - only that there had been a fender bender and the bus driver was subsequent fired.  They were, in her words, "floored" to learn of the circumstances and charges against him.  The county?  Well, they refuse to comment on matters of personnel they say.

REALLY?

Do they not think parents have a right to know something of this nature?  Even if its to say "we're handling this" - "he's been dismissed and is being charged" - "we're examining how we did not know his license was suspended" - something? Anything????

Instead of open communication, they're closing the doors, refusing to even acknowledge what transpired.  Acknowledge that the 40 some odd kids on that bus were endangered.  By one of their employees.

She is taking them to task and rightfully so.  We're supporting her and I'm tempted to tip off the local media to the county's handling (mishandling) of this.

And then this headline in Fridays paper....


We're in the midst of hunting for a new superintendent and it appears that meetings that should be held in public are being held behind closed doors.  I am not surprised.  The county has no leadership of the upstanding sort.  Why would they keep us - their constituents - in the loop? 

It's all pretty disgusting and quite frankly troubling.

Like I said... I could get nutty.

On a lighter note, how about some pics from the week?


Leprechaun antics in the classroom. :)



Some sunshine at long last...

And a gorgeous full moon...


Miss Erin was home all week for her spring break and it was awesome having her here, as always! She heads back today and the rain and cold have returned.  Ugh... Glad ill be escaping soon. :)

I know I said we'd talk books-- that's coming soon.  Ciao!




Saturday, March 8, 2014

March?

Not sure how the past few weeks got away.  Oh never mind -- I do.  A girls' weekend at the beach that went awry when I came down with a stomach bug....



We did get to visit, but I missed out on one gorgeous beach day and dining out.  I want a do over!

It took the better part of the following week to recover.

School is busy as we prep for Donuts for Dad and other spring festivities.  And we've had a few nice days that have enabled me to get out in the yard at last.

I'm ready for spring now, but we've got more cold and rainy days coming our way... All in good time I suppose.  


I got to spend last Saturday with Shannon, watching C play in a volleyball tournament - such fun! Both the catching up and watching my god daughter do her thing!



Lent is in full swing now.  Remember when I resolved to list 1000 Gifts from Him during Lent? Four years ago?  Do you know I've now listed over 8500 Gifts? It's a delicious discipline that stuck with me... And has changed my outlook immeasurably.
This year, I'm journaling my way through Lent with this wonderful Lenten journal by Naptime Diaries.



So far I'm loving this exercise... It's lengthened my time with Him in the mornings, and that's not a bad thing.  I've also given up wine on school nights.   I was almost there anyway, due to illness and the ever increasing need to be clear-headed.  But I still think this is a nice challenge for me right noe.  And it should help in my quest to eat better and lose 10 pounds before I go to NYC for my birthday. :)

El Prez and I continue attending Nar Anon meetings.  We're growing closer as a result and feeling stronger in dealing with the addiction.  And we're reminded every week that we really have it pretty easy compared to some families that are dealing with it every minute of every day.  It's heartbreaking - some of the stories.  It's made us thankful that we are where we are and thankful for the strength of our marriage.

Soccer season has started and I'm dying for it to warm up so I can watch Jack's games comfortably and not in this scenario...



His team is pretty good but they're not winning like they did last season.  Hopefully they'll continue to improve! He's enjoying it though and holding his own in school, so I'm proud of him.

Alec continues working on his plans for next year - woo hoo!

And we had the added good news of the conviction of the drunk driver that killed Kaely.  At long last - justice.  I've heard he plans to appeal (why???)  but I'm praying the family won't be put through another trial.  It was brutal to relive that day.

That's about it-- now you're up to speed!

Lets talk books next time... Hugs!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Let It Snow Part Deux

I don't mean to complain... I'm the first to love and embrace "vacation mode". Trouble is, this bonus time off due to weather doesn't feel like vacay. And it's left me just a tad out of sorts and out of my routine. I'm working on changing that this weekend, now that we can get out and about. I've got some crafty things calling my name and some bigger projects and a little shopping on tap.

It was lovely though...


Like a winter wonderland for a time.  And oh the teenagers I fed...


Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I treated myself to grocery store tulips ...


And then had to "paint" it in Waterlogue...


What do you think? Frame worthy?

El Prez and I had a nice night out... Went shopping for my early birthday present -- cowboy boots! Yee haw! And then met up with friends for a nice Italian dinner. I do love him so, and we're still speaking after days spent cooped up together -- good stuff indeed.

And in the department of mixed blessings, a trial date has finally been set for the drunk driver that killed our Kaely.  Within two weeks, we'll be reliving the loss but praying that justice will --at last -- be served.

 


Off to enjoy some sunshine and watercoloring...
Ciao!




Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mad About... Waterlogue

Check the parent conferences off my list! With the one exception of the No Show Mom, I think they all went very well and parents were receptive to our suggestions.  I continue to struggle with the Challenging One... He's regressing behaviorally as our curriculum ramps up and we're now in the mode of managing his disruptions. Makes for some very long days.

Anyhoo, we've got another break coming in the form of furlough days at the end of next week.  I'd rather have snow days because I get paid for those. Boo for furlough days. And to add to the disarray that is Cobb County schools, our superintendent has resigned. Forgive me if I don't have faith in our school board (on-going calendar roller coaster?!) to hire a good replacement. So thankful my clock is ticking on having a student in Cobb County schools.

Now- on to my latest discovery: an app called Waterlogue! It turns your photos into "watercolors" and I adore watercolor paintings.  

So I uploaded this snap shot of a snap shot to Waterlogue and got this...




How cool is that? Love a new toy... Especially of the creative variety. :)  You're welcome!





Saturday, February 1, 2014

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow...

What an interesting week!  Tuesday morning, after the Littles had already glimpsed the first flurries of snow out the window, we got the word that the schools were releasing early due to the winter storm approaching.  We wisely followed suit, releasing an hour early... and the adventure began.

By the time I left at 12:30 pm, some hilly winding roads were already impassable so I stuck to the main thoroughfares on my journey home.  And what normally takes me 10-ish minutes was almost an hour of white-knuckle driving and loads of traffic on the streets.  Alec left his office shortly after I'd notified him of the state of roads and walked in the door 6 1/2 hours later with war stories to tell.

We here at 3299 got lucky.  I'm sure you saw the debacle all over the national news.  The media, both local and national, have had a field day with the ineptitude of our city, county, and state leaders.  I can't disagree.  And while all the Northerners on Facebook were making fun of our driving skills, they could never understand our plight.  Overcrowded interstates and roads on a normal day and a pervasive unwillingness to embrace mass transit as a way to navigate our city and the surrounding areas are a big part of the problem.  The rest of the issue lies in preparedness.  Having lived in Washington D.C. for a time and having been evacuated from my Pennsylvania Avenue work place due to bomb threats during the first Gulf War, tropical storms, and -- yes -- ice and snow storms, I've seen how it can be done effectively.

It's being hashed out in the local papers and on the talk shows.  How embarrassing.

Anyhoo, we've been reveling in 3 full "snow" days while we waited for the thawing.  As of last night (3 1/2 days post-storm), there were still hilly roads around here that were impassable at most and treacherous at least.  Good decision, school officials.

So Jack got his share of "sledding" in down the neighborhood hills, on any type of garbage can lid or cardboard box that would suffice.  I've fed legions of teenagers and managed to tackle some painting, reading, and writing projects.  While lounging in the most comfortable attire I could scrounge up.

And now for your snow eye candy...

Can you spot the blue bird on the fence?





You're welcome.

Next week?  Catch up in the classroom.  Good thing they're predicting rain. :)
Cheerio!

 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yowza...

How is that a short week can seem soooo long? And cold. Like-- single digits, y'all. We Southerners just aren't used to that. :)


Yeah.

Yahoo, I survived the first week of conferences, despite one No Show ("oh sorry, I thought I emailed last night that I wouldn't be there? No, I can't do next Wednesday because I have a hair appointment.").  Hmmm. Lovely.

Sorta struggling with a lack of respect from the parents right now.  From the above instance to ones that bring their child in 2 hours after the start of school when they've missed the lesson, art, etc. Why bother?  I realize it's just preschool and for most parents there's not a lot of importance assigned to preschool. But I also know those are the same parents that will be/are surprised when their child isn't ready for kindergarten.  Just sayin...

Also got a taste of "directorship" when Glynda was out and school tours for prospective students and parents were delegated to me. I hated abandoning Brandie during our day, but it all seemed to work out fine. 

More conferences to go this week, and I confess to a pit in my stomach over a couple of them.  Difficult, over-protective, constantly questioning parents are about to get some not so great recommendations for their child.  I'll be looking Him and praying for His perfect peace this week.

On a lighter note, I attended my first book club in AGES on Thursday night.  It was a great discussion of an awesome book -- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  I loved this book - it totally sucked me in, full of intrigue, plot twists, and some of the most beautiful writing I've experienced in quite a while.  Vividly drawn characters and descriptions that evoked - at times- a physical response. Yes, you want to read this.  It kept me up a night or two.
Here's a recap from Amazon, with which I whole-heartedly agree...

 It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.


So I'm regrouping this weekend - digging into some creative things....


And getting ready for the schedule to ramp up a bit.  Jack made the HS soccer team, so my days and evenings of being a soccer mom are upon me again.  Onward! Have a great week y'all.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

First Full Week Back...

Yowza.  I was D.O.N.E. by 2pm on Thursday. 

The Littles were in full blown howl-at-the-moon mode last week.  Another over-protective parent issue cropped up -- right before we begin conferences.  Yay.  Bright side?  I got all the evaluations AND report cards done so I don't have to worry with that over the weekend.  The looooong weekend.

Another bright side?  Sunshine!!  For the first weekend since THANKSGIVING.  That's almost 2 months people.  Of cold, rainy weekends.  Yep, I'll be piddling in the yard, taking a few long power walks, and tackling a few spray paint projects!  Woo hoo!

My Girl is popping home for the weekend, too, so maybe we'll squeeze in a movie.  Good times!

In addition to the busyness at school, I popped in twice at Mohawk Homescapes blog where I shared my Small Space Project.  I'm super excited about this approach to getting some organization to our house of nooks and crannies.  Some nooks and crannies that haven't been organized in about 10 years.  Kidding NOT.   And I popped in at Fancy Little Things and walked through the "why's" and "how's" of setting Home Goals for the year. Whew!  What a blessing, though, to be able to write about and share my passion?  Good stuff, y'all.

Jack is ramping up for soccer try-outs next week, and Alec is cruising around in a new (to him) car.  He researched, met with the seller, drove the car, paid for the car, procured his own insurance (another yay!)... all on his own, with minimal input from me.  So proud of him.

And so this is regroup weekend for me.  Hoping I can get ahead of my sinus issues once and for all, along with crossing a few things off my list.


Thought you'd enjoy this visual -- sunrise off the back deck about ten days ago.  Awesomeness.  Have a good one, peeps!