On A Rainy Saturday

So we’re getting hit today with the deadly storm that passed through Arkansas, leaving at least 16 people dead and countless others unaccounted for. And while I feel awful for their loss, I am greatful that the storm has lost some of it’s strength and fury as it passes over us! One good thing to come out of this though is that we are stuck in the house, no yard work, no building the deck. And while I’d love to get the deck finished, I came down from my shower to find this scene in front of me:

 Father and daughter rediscovering their good friend, the Wii. 

And even though she had been singing “Rain, rain go away! Come again another day!” not an hour before, this smile tells me she’s just fine with the rain, because she’s found something better to do snuggled up in her daddy’s lap!

Have a blessed weekend, be it rain or shine where you are!

This Is It

Last night mom and I went out for a girls’ night and saw “Michael Jackson’s This Is It”. If you like documentaries and have even the slightest interest in Michael Jackson you should see this! As I’ve said before I love Michael Jackson, and I have since I was a young child. I was so sad the day that he died! I felt like we had lost something so magnificent from the music world. After seeing this movie I feel so much more profoundly what we lost that day!
If there was ever a doubt the sheer genius that was Michael Jackson, there are no doubts after watching this. He was involved in every aspect of his show from the dancing to the music arrangements to the lighting and costumes. The man knew what his fans wanted from a Michael Jackson concert and he worked so hard to give it to them. As they showed the behind the scenes of what it took to put together a 50 show experience like no other I mourned for all of the people that would never see it. Just from watching this you could tell it was going to be the show to end all shows! You could tell he was holding back to an extent, trying not to wear out his voice or exhaust himself with the grueling dancing. As I watched I could not believe that he was a man of 50! He was so energetic, so full of life! He looked strong, and his voice was strong! At points I had tears in my eyes because this just didn’t look like a man who, only days after some of the footage was shot, would be dying of cardiac arrest! All the reports of what a frail, fragile man he had become, well, they are eating their words after seeing this!
I felt so bad for his dancers, back up singers and musicians. It was clear that these people loved Michael Jackson, and it was clear that he loved them just as much. This was very much a family and I can’t imagine how incredibly lost they felt when they heard that he was gone! But I am glad that the world gets to see how hard he was working and how ready he was for this come back! He was going to take the world by storm once again, and I’m so sad that he didn’t get to do that! But I’m greatful that this footage exists (over 200 hours that were filmed for Jackson’s private library) for his fans, but more importantly for his children. Afterall, they were the reason he was doing this come back, so that they could see him perform at least once in their lives. I know it’s not the same, but I’m glad they have something like this to be able to look at and see why the world loved their father the way we did!
With a very limited running time (only 2 weeks) you don’t have much time to see it! So run, don’t walk, to the theatre to check it out. You won’t be disappointed! I know we didn’t want to leave when it was over!

Coupons for Troops program

Some of you know that I have been bitten by the coupon bug! I have discovered the joy of going to the store and paying cents for something others pay dollars for! For example, Friday to Monday of this past week the Bigg’s stores here ran a triple/double coupon special. Coupons up to 50 cents were tripled, and coupons 55 cents to $1 were doubled (so a $1 coupon became $2!!!) Well, I walked out of there saving $120 on my bill! I was ecstatic, and was able to get quite a few things that were put into our food storage, things for 72 hour kits, simple lunches Steven could keep in his desk at work, and just other stuff we needed. I was thrilled!

The one thing about couponing that makes me crazy is a coupon expiring before I use it! I feel like I’m throwing away money! But today I found out about a wonderful program called Coupons for Troops. Toni at The Happy Housewife conducts a program called Coupons for Troops. At military commissaries families pay more money than we do at a store here. However, they can use coupons that are up to 6 months expired. They can only use grocery coupons (so no store specific coupons like Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc.) but they can use all manufacturers coupons, as well as internet printable coupons. She is looking for more military families who could use coupons, but she’s also taking requests from couponers who would like to adopt a family to send their expired coupons to. If you coupon, and hate throwing away those expired coupons as much as I do, go here to find out how you can support our troops and their families in this super simple way!

Keep on saving! ;p

Shorter breaks…longer school days (I’m a LITTLE ticked!!!!)

So President Obama has laid out his idea for education reform in this country. Longer school days, shorter breaks. As an educator I felt the need to sound off about this one! Let’s tackle the first thing…shorter breaks.

I agree that shorter breaks in this country would be an absolutely WONDERFUL idea! Do our kids really need to be off for 3 months in the summer? Probably not! They spend the majority of the summer rotting their brains in front of the TV, computer games, etc and little, if no, time doing anything educational. As a result, teachers spend the first month or so of school trying to beat into their brains again the stuff that they learned the year before that turned to mush over the summer! I am a big proponant of the 6 weeks on, 1 week off idea. 6 weeks in class, followed by a one week break. It allows for the kids to get time off so that they don’t burn out completely. Other school systems that go year round do 12 weeks, with 2 weeks off. That works too, just as long as the kids do get some break, because they do need it! (And so do the teachers!!!!)

Now, about the longer school days! I think this is a HORRIBLE idea! I have my reasons and they are as follows:

1) Children right now (at least in our area) spend about 6 1/2 hours every day in school. Some of them will also spend 1 1/2 hours EACH way on the school bus going to and from school, adding another 3 hours to their day. So if we extend the school day from 7:30 am to 7 pm as I saw in one suggestion that would mean that our children would have to be up at 5 am, to be on the bus by 6 am, to be at school by 7:30 am. They would be in school for almost 12 hours, to then get back on the bus and be home by 8:30 pm. I’m hoping that homework would be outlawed, but let’s say it’s not and they still have homework to do before bed. Let’s say 2 hours worth. That means they wouldn’t be finished until 10:30, immediately to baths and bed. Here’s my problem: WHERE DOES FAMILY TIME FIT INTO THIS EQUATION!?!??!?! Are you kidding me????Most of us don’t even WORK that long in one day! Why would we ask our CHILDREN to!?!?!?!?!? We want stronger families in this country…so naturally here’s the solution…not allow families to be together AT ALL!!!!! Yeah…that’ll work!!!! It’s absurd…not to mention kind of sounds like child labor to me!!!!!

2) Is congress going to pass some sort of resolution mandating that teacher’s get paid more?!?!? Because we all know that teacher’s get paid CRAP! And we will be expecting them to work more hours each day, and every other Saturday (as one article I read suggested), and take away the breaks that they also enjoy, but still pay them the same amount of money. Not going to happen! You’ll have pissed off teachers, who are overworked, underpaid (oh, wait! They’re already overworked and underpaid!!!!) So they’ll be MORE overworked, and MORE underpaid and then what happens!??! They will HATE their jobs, their attitude will translate into substandard teaching and our kids will learn NOTHING!
3) It doesn’t matter how long the school year, or the school day, is…if you have inadequate teachers, you are going to have substandard resullts. Period.

So here’s the deal, Mr. President…you try to enforce this in our country, and see how many parents will pull their kids out of the school systems and homeschool them instead! Somewhere along the way we decided that childhood was defined by school. Where is the time for our children to just be children? To run, and play, and use their imaginations, and dream about the day that they will go grow up to the President, or an astronaut, or a doctor, or a teacher! We’re so worried about competing with the rest of the world, that we are willing to SACRIFICE childhood in order to be the best! Well, guess what? I won’t play the game! I will homeschool my children, and focus on the things that are really important, like family, and our beliefs, and not wether or not my kids would win a math contest against some kid from Korea! So thanks for playing the “Let’s Reform Education in This Country” game, President Obama! Try again!

I’ve Had the Time of My Life

And the celebrity deaths just keep on coming! Now it’s Patrick Swayze, whom I fell in love with while watching Dirty Dancing. My Nana loved the movie Dirty Dancing and I remember watching it for the first time…afraid I would get in trouble because it was rated R. LOL! But I loved everything about it and I loved Patrick Swayze! Of course, I’ll always be partial to Ghost as well, and can never hear the song “Unchained Melody” without seeing the pottery scene (you know what I’m talking about!)

My favorite scene from Dirty Dancing comes at the end of the movie with the famous line “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” and then they dance the night away! Such a fun scene, and that’s what I’ll always remember- the fun that I had watching his movies. Rest in peace, Patrick!It was a well fought fight and you’ll be majorly missed!

Eight Years Later

Today is the eight year anniversary of the horrific attacks on our country by terrorists In NYC, DC and Shanksville, PA. I am sitting here watching the replay of the coverage from the Today show that morning, and it still makes me cry every year. Watching that second plane hit the WTC live, watching those towers fall, remembering the terror, that as a then 19 year old I had never felt before, brings it all back. I know I’ll be a bad mommy today, sending the kids to play in other rooms, because I do become obsessed and want to watch whatever is on regarding this subject. I think it helps make sure that I NEVER forget what happened that day, all the lives that were lost out of hatred. I fear that too many Americans are becoming complacent. They complain about the cost of the war that has been raging, they complain that our last Administration did nothing to protect us, but it’s because they have forgotten the absolute terror of that day. I never want to be that person, I never want to forget!
Many of you may remember the song “Heaven” that Bryan Adams recorded several years ago. One year after 9/11 DJ Sammy remixed the song with a letter written by a little girl to her daddy. Well, lots of people on Youtube have set that song to pictures from 9/11. Last summer I took a political science class dedicated to 9/11. The professor played this song to open the class (after he passed around a box of tissues) and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. To this day it makes me sob. I will warn you though that there are some graphic images, including people jumping from the WTC towers.

May we never forget the events of that day, never forgot those who were lost, and may God bless our country and protect our troops who are still fighting a war that started this day!

Michael Jackson- dead at 50

Okay, so some people may find this posting a little cliche, but I don’t really care! Today I am very sad over the passing of the great Michael Jackson. I have been a fan of Michael Jackson since I was a young child, literally. My earliest memories of Michael Jackson aren’t even my own but those of my mom. She remembers when the Thriller music video was being debuted on MTV. Her manager at Hardee’s was having a video party and her and my dad went, and took me with them. I was little…maybe 18 months old (maybe younger even than that.) Not many people had cable in those days, let alone MTV since you had to pay extra for it (kind of like HBO nowadays.) So anyway they took me to the party with them and mom says I stood pulled up in front of the TV bopping my head to the music. Everyone couldn’t believe that it didn’t scare me, just the opposite…I was intrigued!

My uncle Morty had a video tape (remember those?!?!!) that had the music video of Thriller along with a documentary on the making of Thriller, and several other videos from the Thriller album (Billie Jean and Beat It I think). I was around 3 or so and had to watch that video every time we went over to their house. I could do the Thriller dance, every move (can’t now but probably could if I watched it enough!) Anyway, my grandpa begged my parents to let me take the video home just so that he could have some peace! I thought about calling my uncle to see if he wants it back…but now it’s gonna cost him because that thing could be worth some money! I’d never give it up but I have a feeling it will become a collector’s item.

I don’t think there is a Michael Jackson song that I can’t sing word for word. And I have so many memories of dancing to them with friends and at dances. One memory I will never forget is the surprise appearance that he made at the MTV music video awards in 2001 with ‘NSync. The guys from ‘NSync had always talked about his influence on them as artists and he came out on stage during their performance of “Pop” and people went nuts! I will never forget that! Oh, and the first time he did the moon walk. Again, I was very young but I remember.

No matter what you might think of him in his personal life (which I must admit was very odd and very unhealthy) you have to admit that as an artist the man was a genius! Everything he touched was golden and he always surrounded himself with the best people from producers (Quincy Jones!), to writing collaborators (Lionel Riche, R Kelly, Paul McCartney, among many others) to choreographers. The man was a musical genius…and it’s evident the way he transcended generations. His career spand a 40 year period. How many artists can we say that our parents grew up with that we grew up with too? Not too many! I will miss seeing if he could have made the come back he was working towards because I think it would have been great…especially for his children to see!

Rest in peace Michael, away from the paparazzi, the critics, the pressure and the demons that you spent most of your adult life running from. You will always be the King of Pop…no one will ever take that title…it is yours forever! And your fans will miss you, but you’ll live on through your music, that much you can be sure of!