Thursday, November 26, 2009

Teachers deserve an A for good work! (published on July 1, 2006)

At the end of another school year, as a parent with a graduate, I worry about what she has learned! Has she been taught to be kind, to work hard, to do what's right, to respect others and most of all has she been taught to say thank you!

My youngest son, Mitchell was protesting another family recital he had to attend and said, " All I do is sit.......and clap, sit.......and clap, sit......and clap!" (He included the actions!) It made us all laugh but I realized what a profound truth he was learning. Sitting still means to be quiet, to listen intently, to stay to the end (even if our child is done performing) and to be respectfully attentive.........clapping is about showing our appreciation, our praise and our gratitude for a job well done. In every performance, activity or situation in life we get to choose whether we will be good listeners and good clappers!

At this time I would like to really clap for the teachers my children have had this last year. How thankful I am as a parent for their hard work and dedication, for being there every day with my children! I am especially grateful to all the teachers and staff at Brocklehurst Secondary, in particular......Mr. Dinsdale, Mr. Aziz, Ms. Bewza, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Dodd, Mrs. Finley and Mr. Sjokvist who have spent countless hours teaching classes, preparing my daughter for government exams, writing letters of recommendation and helping to make her grad year a wonderful, memorable one! How blessed I feel to know that Melodie is the person she is today because of the influence of these wonderful people in her life. I would also like to extend a big thank you to the staff and teachers at Parkcrest Elementary, especially Mr. Mitchell, Mrs. Armstrong, Mrs. Albinson, Mrs. Ellingsen, Mr. Naylor, Mr. Donison and Mrs. Cowden. They too have spent many hours with my two younger ones, (Rebecca and Mitchell), teaching, reading, disciplining, playing, guiding and taking them on field trips. All of these teachers and staff have been an example of kindness, selflessness and dedication to me. I hope we are not just sitting, but clapping for the real effort our teachers make to help our children be happier, better and brighter people. I believe strongly that if we teach our children to be grateful, to say thank you, then they will enjoy people in their life so much more and that people in their life will enjoy them. Happy clapping!!

Do not give up control over teenage driver! (published on Feb 10, 2006)

Are you the parent of a soon-to-be teenage driver? May I offer you my heartfelt sympathies and a few words of advice? As the mother of two teenage drivers for two years I have been noticing certain tendencies! Be sure to lay down some important ground rules and stick to them even amongst all the whining and complaining.

First, never let them throw you out of the car! Just because you are gently commenting on their driving skills for the gazillionth time and they pull over and tell you to get out and walk, don’t! Firmly remind them that you are the parent and that it is your vehicle they are driving! You have sat in that vehicle for many fearful months and you are not getting out now.

Second, don’t let them make up any new rules. After all this is a destructive, one ton machine they have in their hands, not a monopoly game. I have had daughters happily skip Stop signs, and when asked why, they look at me in disbelief and say “because nobody was coming”!! Explain that it says STOP for a reason, not Pause or Yield or Hesitate ! Again, do not get out of the car when asked to do so!!

Third, be firm from the beginning about no speeding or passing anyone anytime….. When they complain about older drivers that are driving 20km under the speed limit, explain that you have been following them for twenty years and they can do so for at least two, or until they are no longer driving your vehicle. They will also try to renegotiate the speed limit signs which is a good time to smoothly point out any crosses you see on the side of the road! So no passing or speeding!

Fourth, be prepared to constantly reiterate, driving costs money! Driving to school and back every day uses gas and money, no matter what they say…. They will have to be continually reminded that their hard earned “clothes” money, now has to become gas money if they expect to keep using your vehicle. When they look at you in amazement, don’t budge, after all when they leave home, you don’t want them dressed to the nines, hitch hiking because they ran out of gas!!

Lastly, make sure you have rigid rules on highway driving and how far they can go! Rayleigh is okay, Salmon Arm is out! As soon as they have that N in their hot little hands, they will be planning out of town parties, and do you know that some of our highways have signs that actually read…“killer highway!” Unfortunately, they may also have siblings with them and so now you are worried about two of them. As you pace the floor watching the clock, you realize that these are not just your kids any more, but your best friends and that life would be unbearable without them!

Parents, be prepared to use your best bargaining, negotiating and staying calm at all times, skills! This is not just about having a new driver in your house, this is a total change of the world as you know it! Good luck in your frequent but futile attempts to remain in the drivers seat!

Easy Ways to find Candidate You Like (published on Thursday, Jan 19, 2006)

It’s that time of year again! Voting time! Are you in a quandary on who to vote for again? Here are a few suggestions on how to select a candidate that will help you feel that you have done your civic duty, responsibly and thoughtfully:

First check out your neighbour’s lawn, do they have a candidates sign out? If they do and you like your neighbour, then vote for that candidate, after all your neighbour must have done some research and know what he is talking about, so feel free to take advantage of the work he’s done! If you don’t like your neighbour, then don’t vote for that candidate! There, you’ve narrowed your choices already!

Second, you can always tell a lot about a person by the car they drive! You don’t want to vote for the candidate driving a big, shiny, new Ford truck, they obviously like to spend money and don’t care about the environment. At the same time, you don’t want to vote for the candidate driving an old, rattling ’86 Audi either, they must not like to spend money or haven’t had any to spend, and thus we will end up with an enormous budget surplus and no social programs. So vote for the candidate driving a mid-size, somewhat new, economical vehicle!

A third method is to check out the flyers they send you in the mail usually the week before election day. You don’t want to be voting for the candidate that has a picture that was taken 20 years ago. You know darn well they don’t have that much hair now and they certainly have more wrinkles, besides anyone spending money on glamour shots is a little too vain for my liking… And what about the mustache, that has to be making the spouse miserable…. and if they have no trouble making the spouse miserable, think they will stop with us the constituents? I don’t think so!

Fourth, if you’re down to the wire, there’s always the horoscope plan! On election day, check out what your astrologer says, if it says you will be impressed by a tall, dark, handsome stranger then you know who to vote for, but if it says to look out for a vivacious blond then you know that’s your answer! You will have the self satisfaction of knowing your vote was foretold in the stars.

Lastly, if none of these ideas appeal to you, you can always read about the candidates in the Daily News or attend the Wednesday night, 7:00 pm forum at TRU and actually listen to what the candidates have to say, but really, who has that kind of time! The good thing to know is that when you finally come up with a foolproof voting method, you can use it again next year when we have to vote again!
Happy voting Kamloops!

Purse your lips, the old bag stays! (published on Jan 5, 2006 and not my title!)

You know you are getting old when your teenage daughters buy you a purse for Christmas and it’s a “table-topper” not a “grounder”! Let me explain: a “table topper” is a cute little purse that you can put on the table when you are dining out, whereas, a “grounder” is the type of gargantuan purse that needs to rest on the floor because if it was resting on the table it would inhibit everyone’s view! What are the advantages of a table topper: well, it makes a fashion statement, you’ll never lose it in a Dairy Queen because it’s under the table, and your daughter will appear in public with you… unfortunately, it has disadvantages! Let me tell you what the table topper can’t carry compared to the grounder: your sewing kit (that you used to sew up your daughter’s skirt in church when it split open), a bottle of lotion (that everyone in your family uses because it’s so stinking dry outside), the everything tool (that dear husband needed to cut something or other), the feminine products (that my daughters would be totally grossed out to be carrying), the coupons (for that great sale on sportswear and the free french fries that keeps the little ones happy while you shop for that impossible to find swimsuit for daughter), all your receipts (in case you need to return the sewed up skirt), the two chocolate bars (that keep you happy when you’re shopping for i.t.f. swimsuit!), hardened licorice (that you brought into the movie theatre because you were too cheap to buy popcorn, after all you just paid 50 bucks for a movie that you could buy in two months for $16.99) all the cards, including banks (to use whatever account still has money in it), and credit (useless because they’re full), and lastly all the loose pennies, old candies, pencil stubs, earrings, elastics and eyelash curler floating at the bottom! Next time your daughter complains and asks why you’re not using the cute little “table topper” purse she bought you, and still using your “grounder”, reply with a dignified smile, “This isn’t my purse, it’s an emergency survival kit!”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mayor Lake Gift Ideas

This letter was a response to a column our mayor wrote encouraging us to give him gift ideas if we wanted to stop him and discuss really made me laugh and this is the letter I thought of.......

Had to chuckle at Mayor Lake's gift dilemma! Since I am not likely to be seeing him at the liquor store or Home Depot I thought I would share a few ideas with him in a letter.
First, if you're looking for a good gift for your wife, what about a complete homeowners tool kit, complete with lock and one key! That way when you are out working with cat owners, travelling to China or sitting in meetings and Lisa has to fix something around the house once again she won't have to go hunting in your toolbox (if she can locate it) to find a hammer, screwdriver or just one stinkin' pair of needle nose pliers......they now will be in her very own toolbox under lock and key. Believe me, the worst frustration a woman has, is having to look for her own stuff that is never where it's supposed to be!
Second, another better gift would be two tickets to a 3-4 day convention of her favourite hobby, like quilting, scrapbooking or even a woman's retreat. Now you may think that a romantic getaway for two would be the same thing but it wouldn't be, because it still means she will be on the phone for hours working out lessons, driving and organizing the whole house before she goes. Giving her a ticket to go with a friend means you are willing to hold down the whole fort while she is gone and all she has to do is pack her bag and wave goodbye to you at the door. So even better gift, two tickets to hobby heaven!
Last and my favourite, is a "Do You Know Why I Love You Letter" with at least 50 reasons on it! Ten is chintzy, 20 good but 50 means you have spent time, effort and creativity on it. If you print it on pretty paper, include a picture of the two of you when you were first dating, put it in a beautiful frame and then box it up, (even Mel Rothenberger strict standards of it being shakeable, pokeable and having wild guesses made about it should stand up to this!) then I think this would be a fabulous gift from the heart! (Better make my own sweetie read this!!!) Not only will it bring joy on Christmas morning but this is a gift that will keep on giving. Have Lisa put it on her nightstand and the next time you are in the doghouse, sleeping on the couch, guess what she will be seeing when she climbs into the nice warm bed.....that stupendous letter written by her once handsome Prince Charming and all the reasons he still loves can she stay mad then!! So absolutely best gift, a personal gift of words!
So Mayor Lake, sure hope you keep us posted on the gift search.......and if any of these suit your fancy I would be happy to send you my property tax number!!
Happy Shopping.......

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trick or Treating (published on Wednesday, October 31, 2007)

Dear Editor:

So Halloween is around the corner and we will be inundated with little ghosts and witches again. Have to admit I enjoy the little ones who bravely knock, say trick or treat and then want to eat their candy right there on your step, as opposed to the huge teenagers who seem to race from door to door with their full pillowcases.
In fact until last year, I rather resented having to hand out candy to these barely costumed trick-or-treaters who were certainly past their prime, and so I would give them one piece since I knew they would be out for hours, whereas the wee ones would get a handful because I knew they would last about 5 houses!
It was my daughter who put it into perspective for the age of 15, I felt she was way past trick or treating age (we usually stop our kids at about 12) but when I told her that, she quickly responded: "Actually Mom, I can be trick or treating with friends or be out at a party getting totally drunk like others I know! Which would you rather have me do?"
Leave it to my kids to teach me a valuable lesson once again.......
I was completely happy to have her grab her pillowcase and go chocolate bar hunting. So if you are discouraging the larger trick or treaters, will you change your mind and be grateful they are safe and sound on your doorstep and not out drinking and driving.
I certainly am.
Happy Halloween Kamloops.

Cleavage Control (published on Thursday, August 30, 2007)

Dear Editor.......
Unlike Sandra O'Reilly, (Where's the Investigative Reporting? Aug. 22) I quite enjoy the Daily News and its coverage. If there is a column I don't enjoy I simply skip over it.......sorry but the sports pages pretty much gets the heave ho and so do the classifieds most of the time.

I do enjoy Susan Duncan's column and have read every one, don't always agree but love reading her comments. One of her columns (Whether 50 is the new 30 depends on the perspective, Aug. 10) made me laugh but also made me think about what I have been experiencing quite a bit lately........and that is, the amount of cleavage that seems to be showing up more and more in the work force. Frankly, I'm dismayed at how often women seem to have thrown out the professional standard of dress when they are working with the public! Whether in my doctor's office, at school, or even shopping I have been seeing many women's shirts slipping lower and lower.

People seem to be confusing beach attire with work attire. What's permissible at the beach or pool is really not tasteful in the office. I'm assuming that most work environments have a dress code where its employees are asked to dress neat, clean and appropriate. Are we redefining appropriate? Cleavage and/or underwear should not be on display when you are dealing with patients, customers or clients. It makes me uncomfortable and frustrated when I am waited on by someone who is dressed inappropriately. I usually avert my eyes and try to focus on their face.....and if at all possible, I do not frequent that business again! Employers are not off the hook here, they need to address the issue and make sure the employees in their office are dressing professionally, because otherwise it brings down the tone of the office.

I have been trying to ignore this situation for awhile now, but it came to my attention again last week when I was with my children shopping at a major department store. When we went to make an appointment for family pictures, the girl at the counter was not only showing cleavage but her bra was completely visible and coming out. I dislike confrontation but this was beyond what I could bear, so I quietly and discreetly told her the problem. She quickly said sorry and pulled up her shirt. I have also been in a fabric store where I was attended by a woman wearing a black mesh top with a completely visible bra underneath, and I have walked into a doctor's office where the receptionist, because she was sitting down, had her whole chest visible. I have seen countless white blouses that are completely see through and wondered if people actually look in the mirror before they walk out the door! On the other hand, I have also seen some women dress beautifully and it is a pleasure to visit with them because the image they portray is of confidence and self-assurance.

I realize that this subject may be controversial to some, but if it makes people stop and think about how they dress in a professional capacity then hopefully it will make a difference. Anyone who thinks that men are enjoying this, need to be reminded that at least in my house, I do 99% of the shopping, appointments and household business and as a woman I am not particularly interested in seeing anyone else's cleavage! So if you're working, please pull it up, cover it up or layer it up.....let's make tasteful triumph over tacky! Your customers will appreciate it!