The first snowfall
Kisses from my dog
A stolen afternoon nap
A song to sing out loud
Snuggles with my loved one
Bailey’s by a fire
If you have ever been to New York City, you certainly have passed by homeless people on the street, in doorways, lying on the curb, bundled up or asking for money. It comes along with being in any big city. Well last night my family and I were actually looking for homeless people and could not find them. We were on a trip into the city for my husband’s birthday and brought in blankets to give to the homeless. Two years ago my daughter and I started a tradition of buying blankets for the homeless in the city and handing them out. Last time we did it the weather was obviously not as cold. This year lately it has been close to freezing. We figured that the city officials or charity organizations must have picked up most of the homeless where we were looking to keep them from freezing to death. We searched up and down the streets and had a hard time finding people who would need a blanket. This is a good thing – kudos to NYC for taking care of its people. This was a first, not seeing homeless on the street.
We did eventually find just enough to give our four blankets to. We had to look for people on the move, for the homeless can’t stay in one place long or they will freeze. Each time I asked if the person needed a blanket, their eyes lit up as they said yes, and we both said Merry Christmas. That made my whole Christmas right there. That was all I needed. Next year the Blanket Brigade will go in perhaps before the weather turns freezing, to reach even more people in need.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, simply Happy Holidays to all.
Photo courtesy of City of Toronto Archives CC 2.0 Generic
A cool breeze
The scurry of fallen leaves
Old man Winter is on his way
Frost on the window
Jingle of bells
Sitting by the fire
Photo by BV
So in a previous post I mentioned that I am a teacher. I am lucky to teach in a district that has the money to put behind the fact that they value education. As of this year every student in the building has been issued a chrome book. They are to bring it to their classes every day, and we teachers have been receiving technology training for the last year or so. We are very ready to be using it with our students, some teachers more than others as would be naturally. Some teachers are reticent to change, and of course there are some subjects that the chrome book works better with than others. At the same time, not all the students were thrilled to get them. There were mixed reviews. Kids, like adults, don’t take change very well.
Being one to take new things on, I was delighted at this new form of technology and went whole hog. I started having the kids take their notes on the chrome book….which is not easy in a math class. Some took to it and love it, others not so much. I had them try it for about a solid week, then went back to handing out notes for them to fill in (much easier in Geometry with the diagrams). They were quite relieved. Some will stick with the chrome book as they have come to like using it and all the advantages that come along with the technology. I thanked my kids for hanging in there while we tried it. I know it wasn’t easy for some. It was a bit cumbersome to write neatly, click on the eraser, put into scroll mode, change colors (which they liked to do for the diagrams). I think the writing on it was the toughest part. Writing on it like a tablet was too hard for some to do and keep legible. Plus they were so focused on the mechanics of it all, it became harder to keep up with the lesson. As for me checking their homework, the process was a lot slower while waiting for their screens to load. Each time they would scroll to a new page there was a delay in many cases and we had to wait for the work to pop up. So for me it became a bit of a time waster as well.
During this trial period I have come to see that what we thought would be such a wonderful thing for education may not be so great after all. The kids are chromed out. They use them in so many classes each day, be it correcting homework, taking notes, or taking a quiz. The kids are on these things so much – too much. I thought it would get them prepared for college and the real world where computers are just everywhere and so much a part of everyday life. However, these are just kids. They don’t need to be burdened already with this technology in their face non-stop. They need to just be kids for a while yet. Plus, not everyone can fit into the chrome book mold. So we must adapt. What’s good for one is not always good for all.
Until next time….
Photo courtesy of CC BY 2.0
Mmmm…so I had another acai bowl this afternoon. I am hooked. Have you ever had one? It is all the rage lately. You see signs all over for these things. They are sold in all sorts of healthy food places; Yogurt Fancy, Vitality Bowls, SoBowl, Bango Bowl, Jamba Juice, and at practically every healthy food shop you can think of. The bowl has an acai berry mixture on the bottom in the consistency of pudding, with fruit such as bannanas, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi on top, followed by coconut drizzled with honey, and sometimes granola in there too. You can have other fruits added as well in addition or instead.
My husband and I were in Florida recently and I decided to try one of these since I see them advertised all over, and WOW. So delicious, healthy, fruity, filling, and refreshing. I am so full after eating one but I don’t feel bad because it is all healthy ingredients, and I feel like I am getting my fill of fruit. I think it has a lot of natural sugars due to all the fruits, but I’m ok with that. I’d rather have an açaí bowl than a personal pizza or an ice cream sundae.
I have tried them at all different places, just to see if there was any difference in taste or price. The price varies from place to place, and sometimes the thickness of the base does too as well as the granola. I need gluten-free granola and all the places had that, some better than others. One place charged about $12 a bowl, while I paid only $4.00 (half price) at another when I pre-ordered with the app. Deals can be found if you are in the know! It seems that the price is generally around $8 – $10. If I lived closer to the half price store I would have it more often. I will tell you, however, that my favorite place to get one was Vitality Bowl, which was also the most expensive. They have you though, being the best I will pay more for it, just not all the time. That place will be a once in a while treat.
I hope you at least get to try these amazing bowls. Thanks for stopping by and be on the lookout.
Until next time….
Photo by Brigid Victorson
Random acts of kindness, so easy to do, yet things we don’t often think of doing. Something as simple as opening the door for someone can make that person smile. I teach and was using the copier after school to do a lot of copying. When I was done I loaded the machine with more paper before walking away. Why leave it low for the next person? That is a small act of kindness that can just help someone even a little. If everyone did even just a small act, went out of their way, took the time to do for someone else, the world would be such a better place.
One thing I always wanted to spread around was the silly idea of pushing down the paper lever in public bathrooms so there is paper ready for the next person to dry their hands. Why not set it up for the next person? When you are done washing your hands, use your paper to push the lever down to set the paper towels up for someone else. Otherwise the person who just washed their hands has to touch the handle to push it down to get paper out of the dispenser. Silly right? But helpful, and easy enough to do. Kind of like paying it forward. I love that idea. Plus doing something nice for someone else makes you feel good inside, even if you don’t see their reaction, you just know they will appreciate the gesture.
There are opportunities all around us for doing good for others. I’m going to keep that as one of my life long goals; strive to do something nice for someone each day. Did you do something nice for anyone today? Did anyone do something nice for you today? I hope so!
Until next time…
For the last 19 years our family has sent out a picture “holiday” card to in celebration of both Christmas and Hanukkah. Throughout the year I would take random photos of the kids, or try to get a family shot. Usually I would have plenty of pictures to choose from to make the card. This year is a different story, however. My kids are 19 and 16 and no longer cooperate so well during the year when I try to take pictures. They don’t realize that by not cooperating we won’t have a card when the holidays come around.
So the time has come to sift through the photos we do have, and there really aren’t any ones we could use for a card. My daughter used Photoshop to make one photo of all of us together, but in the photo we were just too far away to be seen. I’m not happy with anything we have, so I can’t see us sending a card this year. How sad that will be. I know my daughter especially will be disappointed, for she really loves tradition. This will be very different for all of us. We only missed one of the last 19 years, and that was when my Dad was dying and I couldn’t bring myself to getting a card together and sent out.
I guess sometimes traditions have to change with the times. The kids are a bit old for a picture card anyway. There will be new traditions coming our way as old ones phase out. It’s good to be flexible. I just wonder what all the people on our send to list will think when no card arrives from us. Do they expect a card since they have been getting one each year? How do I spread the word that there is no card this year? Do I have to explain? All these details. I’m not going to worry. Life is too short.
Now go have a great Holiday season, just don’t expect a card from me! Until next time…
Photo courtesy of CC0 Creative Commons Pixabay
My dear Trixie
She keeps me warm, she loves me hard
She loves to play, inside or in the yard
The light of my days, my comfort at night
With her at my side, I know all will be right
Photo courtesy of BV
Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. Yet it is also the underdog. Squashed between Halloween and Christmas it gets so little time of its own. The day after Halloween I hear Christmas songs start on the radio and see Christmas decorations for sale in the store. Poor Thanksgiving, when does it get its turn to just be? Well I root for the underdog and let it be Thanksgiving, refusing to acknowledge any Christmas fluff until the day after I’ve had my Thankful feast. It’s important for us all to stop and reflect upon all that we have to be grateful for, and to spend that quality time with family without the stress of shopping and gifts. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and let the Christmas festivities now begin!
Photo courtesy of John Harder via GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY 2.5