The good stuff

I started this tumblr when Tumblr was new, and didn't do much with it. After the deaths of both my parents in pretty rapid succession, I want to use this site to share a little bit about them and about my childhood. My brothers and sisters may show up as well.

My avatar photo was provided on Flickr by Norm Walsh. I chose it because my mom and I had an ongoing argument for YEARS about whether dandelions are a flower or a weed.
Sat Apr 9
My mom carried her keys on this giant key ring for the entire time I knew her. It’s a pewter replica of an Eisenhower dollar; it’s smooth and heavy and cool, but not cold. In the picture, you can see where my mother’s fingers and thumb rubbed some of the surface off of Eisenhower’s head.  That part of the coin is warmer, somehow, and rougher to the touch.  (That’s a U.S. dime next to it for scale.)  
The story I heard was that my mom once lost her keys in the produce section of the grocery store. She never did find them, but she carried the replacements on this thing and (to my knowledge) never lost them again.
There was a characteristic sound to my mom’s keys - and it was the ring, it wasn’t the 30+ keys attached to it.  You could hear the keys through the door, and all of us kids appreciated a few seconds’ advance warning before my mom came in the house. As an adult, I remember waiting and waiting for my parents to arrive at a cousin’s wedding reception; they’d gotten lost and were over an hour late, but I knew the second my mom walked into the room.  The sound of the keys tipped me off.
It’s just a thing.  My mom kept a whole lot of things, to the extent that a lot of them aren’t that meaningful to me.  But this one thing was with her pretty much all the time, and it’s one of a very few objects about which there may be some sibling strife in terms of who ends up with it.  It has more of my mom in it than almost anything else.

My mom carried her keys on this giant key ring for the entire time I knew her. It’s a pewter replica of an Eisenhower dollar; it’s smooth and heavy and cool, but not cold. In the picture, you can see where my mother’s fingers and thumb rubbed some of the surface off of Eisenhower’s head.  That part of the coin is warmer, somehow, and rougher to the touch.  (That’s a U.S. dime next to it for scale.)  

The story I heard was that my mom once lost her keys in the produce section of the grocery store. She never did find them, but she carried the replacements on this thing and (to my knowledge) never lost them again.

There was a characteristic sound to my mom’s keys - and it was the ring, it wasn’t the 30+ keys attached to it.  You could hear the keys through the door, and all of us kids appreciated a few seconds’ advance warning before my mom came in the house. As an adult, I remember waiting and waiting for my parents to arrive at a cousin’s wedding reception; they’d gotten lost and were over an hour late, but I knew the second my mom walked into the room.  The sound of the keys tipped me off.

It’s just a thing.  My mom kept a whole lot of things, to the extent that a lot of them aren’t that meaningful to me.  But this one thing was with her pretty much all the time, and it’s one of a very few objects about which there may be some sibling strife in terms of who ends up with it.  It has more of my mom in it than almost anything else.

Tue Jan 20

dumbing down second-grade math

I taught second grade today.  There was a math lesson dealing with mental math (seems like I *always* get mental math to teach, and I don’t remember ever *learning* mental math as a kid — I kinda think that once you can Do Math reasonably well, it gets increasingly automatic and thus can sometimes be done without pencil and paper… but I digress), and the introductory text (the “math story”) (!) had this kid in it whose thought process was outlined as follows:

I have 50 cents, which is 5 dimes.

This thing costs 30 cents, which is 3 dimes.

5 dimes take away 3 dimes is 2 dimes, so the change is 20 cents.

"Take away."  Seriously.  Can we please use some correct terminology in American education?  Please?  (I read the story aloud, and I substituted "minus."  I am, in fact, fairly likely to judge people based on how articulate they are.  Even if they’re seven.)

Mon Oct 13

Earth Science Week, Oct. 13-17, 2008

I got the following email this morning from an educational group that I’m part of.  Looks like a good resource and a good way to punch up science education and research.

13-17 Oct: NASA Scientists Address 5 Big Questions in Earth Science

Teachers and Students,

Log in during Earth Science Week 2008 as scientists from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center answer 5 big Earth Science questions.  Each day, a 2-minute video clip of scientists addressing these questions will be featured at <http://www.nasa.gov/goddard> along with the links to additional Earth science educational resources.

Following is the schedule:
1. Introduction. How is the global Earth system changing? 10/13/08

2. What are the primary forces of the Earth system? 10/14/08

3. How does the Earth system respond to natural and human-induced changes? 10/15/08

4. What are the consequences of change in the Earth system for human civilization? 10/16/08

5. How will the Earth system change in the future? 10/17/08

NASA is a sponsor of Earth Science Week 2008. For more information visit <http://www.earthsciweek.org>.

The GLOBE Program
http://www.globe.gov/

Tue Sep 2
Thu Jul 3

five-year-old hilarity

  1. 4:30 yesterday afternoon, Adam dismantles a pink marker (one of about eight in my house that are NOT WASHABLE) and squeezes the little ink tube till it bleeds.  I learn of this when he decides that he shouldn’t touch the bathroom faucet with such very pink hands, and he comes to ask me for help.
  2. 9:15 yesterday evening, I notice that neither my bobby pins nor the bathroom drain stopper are where they should be.  As a mother who knows her child, I don’t even bother to ask questions before taking the drain apart.  I am surprised when a Very Large Clump of bobby pins falls out (I was expecting only the two that I could see in the drain, silly me), and I say something like, “That’s kind of a <em>lot</em> of bobby pins.”  From his room, where he is supposed to be asleep, Adam says, “Oh, I did that.”  Yeah, of course you did.
  3. 2:45 this afternoon, Adam calls me into his room during his putative nap.  He beckons me close and says, “I made a new plan for myself that anyone who comes into my room loses all of their dollars and I’m keepin’ ‘em.”