Category Archives: School

Goofy Monday: Dirty ears and dirty mouth

If you’d like to see my contribution to the latest WordPress weekly photo challenge on “fleeting”, check out my nature photography website post, which ranges from animals (including a very cute baby koala) to plants, to skies.

You’ll notice this week’s edition of Goofy Monday has a theme. A pretty dirty one. Life is like that sometimes. :-)

Dirty ears
Son #2: “Mama, do you know they have disgusting sex at Michael’s?”
Me: “They have what???”
Son #2: “Disgusting sets. Like gross science experiment sets.”
Me: “Ah, OK.”
Phew! I guess it’s time I cleaned my dirty ears…

Dirty mouth
Son #1: “Mama, what’s under there?”
Me: “Under where?”
Son #1: ” Haha, you said underwear!”
Don’t you love kid humor? Especially when it goes wrong, like what happened right after that:
Son #2: ” Mama, what’s under where?”
Me: “Haha, you said underwear!”
Son #2: “Grrr, not fair!”
Fortunately for him, he’s gotten better at this joke since then.

Prince Charming kisses the princess

Prince Charming kisses the princess

Down and dirty
Son #1’s class writes stories every day. The theme of the day was “If I had a castle”. XYZ is the girl who sits right next to Son #1 in class. Apparently she was writing about a princess and her prince charming.
Son #1: “Mama, XYZ wrote something very inappropriate in her story today.”
Me: “Oh, really? What did she write?”
Son #1: “I can’t tell you. It was VERY inappropriate.”
Me: “Like what? Kissing?”
Son #1: “No, WORSE than that!”
Me (starting to worry): “I don’t know then. Just tell me.”
Son #1: “She wrote about… MARRIAGE!!!”
Well, he’s right, marriage IS a lot worse than kissing!

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The opposite of a helicopter parent

First of all, if you’d like to see some amazing topiary art, hop over to my photography blog. I’m displaying the great topiary I recently spotted at the San Diego Botanic Garden for the WordPress weekly photo challenge’s unique theme. I bet you’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Now, if you think being a helicopter parent is a bad thing, wait till you see what the opposite parent looks like…

My eldest is in first grade and one of his main tasks is to develop and expand his reading skills. I can’t go argue with this exercise. After all, if he can’t read well, it makes it very difficult for him to learn almost anything in school. Fortunately I don’t have to worry about it because he reads well above grade level and loves reading (like mother, like son).

As you can guess, we borrow a lot of books from the library so we never run out of reading materials. His teacher also encourages reading by providing thick storybooks the kids are supposed to read out loud to their parents every night. This activity seems rather voluntary because my son is starting his third textbook while most of the other kids are still on their first one. I personally enjoy these stories because the textbooks are very old and a lot of the pictures are obviously dated. It doesn’t seem to bother my son though.

He got his latest textbook yesterday. It’s called Shining Bridges and it’s a second semester / second-grade level storybook. The book was published in 1965. Yes, almost 50 years ago. Yikes!

Shining Bridges storybook

Shining Bridges storybook

The very first story is about Eddie, a boy who wants a printing press a store is giving away for free (seriously?). When he’s ready to pick it up, another kid beat him to it. He happens to know the girl and offers her to trade the printing press for another toy. Eddie suggests a doll and she accepts his offer. The problem is, he doesn’t have a doll. So he goes to a resale store and finds one that’s pretty beat up but can be fixed. The store doesn’t have a bag for him to put the doll in and he’s embarassed to be seen holding it (sexist boy!). When a group of boys comes close to him, he puts the doll down and pretends to look at a store window. In the meantime, a dog takes the doll away. Eventually Eddie finds the doll again and this is what happens next.

Make sure you read all the words and look at the pictures. Then you tell me what’s wrong with this story.

Eddie, the doll and the baby carriage

The opposite of a helicopter mom

The opposite of a helicopter mom

Did you notice what’s wrong with this story?

Did you notice there was a baby carriage with a baby in it, outside a store, with absolutely nobody else to watch over it? Did you notice the mom was inside the store the whole time this scene happened?

I guess it’s a miracle our parents didn’t all get kidnapped. From helicopter parents to simply absent parents, from one extreme side of parenting to the other, I’m guessing there has to be a happy middle. What do you think?

Tears in heaven

I spent most of yesterday holding back the tears, but they kept coming back. I hugged and kissed my boys more than usual and they didn’t know why. I decided not to tell them.

Not to tell them about the horrible massacre that took place in Newton, CT. Not to tell about the children close to their age who lost their lives to nonsense violence. Not to show them any videos of the media coverage (I’m so glad we don’t have TV). Not to listen to any radio news reports that kept creeping up on us, no matter the radio station we picked.

I don’t want them to know what an awful world it can be out there. I want them to enjoy a few more years of innocence. I didn’t have the heart to break it to them that the bad guys can be really, really bad. A lot worse than in any book they’ve read, or any movie they’ve seen so far. We live in a community that has suffered a large school shooting, so we know first hand how painful this type of event is. The wounds never heal and something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School yesterday opens them instantly.

I still sit in disbelief and cry for all the little souls that are now gone, way before their time. I can’t imagine the pain a parent can go through, especially so close to Christmas. My heart goes out to them.

Eric Clapton lost his son in a tragic accident and has put the pain into words and music perfectly in Tears in Heaven. I couldn’t think of any other song to offer as comfort to the parents.

And Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s beautiful version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is for all the kids of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Purple

How did the WordPress people know my favorite color is purple? OK, technically it’s not purple but lilac, or lavender. And pink. And blue. Many shades of blue.

But I’ve found out over the years that most Americans are not very discriminative when it comes to colors. Growing up in the land of Renoir and Monet, I learned early on the colors of my paint tubes in the school’s art class: ochre, vermillion, fuchsia, azure, café au lait… And “bordeaux” for maroon, because “marron” means chestnut in French, since chestnuts are indeed brown. And that was just one hour of art class every week. But let me get back on track before I start ranting about the disappearance of art from our school system, or our kids’ preference for video games over art history.

I love purple and its various shades. It’s a bold, proud color that screams, look at me! And I love taking pictures of purple things because they stand out so much from their background.

Take a look at the photos below and tell me what you think. I’d also love to hear what your favorite color is and why.

Here’s a photo of my favorite tree in San Diego, called the jaracanda. It only blooms for a couple of months a year (May and June) and it’s a delight to see the purple bursts throughout the landscape. I still have to find a tree with a nice setting around it to take a great picture, but I wanted to share this sight because it’s quite a treat.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Purple - Jacaranda tree in San Diego

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Purple – Jacaranda tree in San Diego

Here’s a photo of a local lilac tree called the Ramona lilac. Unfortunately it doesn’t smell anything like the common lilac but it still features beautiful blooms in the spring.

Purple lilac - Ramona lilac photo in San Diego

Purple lilac – Ramona lilac photo in San Diego

During our vacation in Idyllwild, I spotted a few wildflowers and these really stood out. I have no idea what they are called (if you know, please share), but I love their shape and color.

California purple wildflowers photo

California purple wildflowers photo

Finally, I know I used this photo of a lupine in a previous WordPress weekly photo challenge, but it’s very purple and fits right into this post too.

Photo of purple lupine in San Diego

Photo of purple lupine in San Diego