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A Woman On The Verge

thoughts and musings of my mind

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Childhood

Winter Flashback

It was garbage day today and we are experiencing a torrential rain.  There is water everywhere, my backyard always begins to resemble a small swamp when it rains, right except for a bit of lawn close to the house everything else is under water. I also have a small creek running down the middle of my driveway.  When I got home tonight I dreaded going back out to get the trash and recycling bins, but I knew if I didn’t it would only be worse tomorrow morning, or probably tomorrow night.  So I donned my gloves, wrapped up to keep the damp off and ran out to move my bins back to the house.  It was so wet my boots got soaked and my gloves needed a bit of wringing out.  I decided to hang them on a heater vent, which reminded of grade school when our teachers would let us put our shoes on the radiators so they could dry out.

At my elementary school very few children rode the bus, most of us walked.  I loved walking to school when it rained because you could jump the puddles, play in the storm water ditches and splash each other for nearly a 1/4 of a mile before you got to school.  Clearly we were out of our minds as children to behave this way, but we were young and the world was far more innocent. As a result of this close proximity and that there was a lot of water many children were soaked to the bone.  Honestly I do not know how our teachers coped with us, the interesting side note is I don’t think any of us were ever that sick, we were a hardy little group. So while we sat eagerly in our desks learning, our shoes and perhaps gloves and hats all adorned the radiators drying through the day until lunch when we went down to the cafeteria to eat. We didn’t get to have recess outside in the rain so there was no chance of us getting our clothes or shoes wet once we were in the building for the day.  We had our recess time in our classroom, and I looked forward to those days of spending time in the warm and slightly steamy classroom.  For some reason it is memories like this which make me happy.

glovesWhile my heating vent isn’t quite as fancy as the school radiator it does the job.

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Girl Scout Cookie Sales, my memories

Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies
Image via Wikipedia

It is Girl Scout Cookie time.  I love this time of the year.  I am always reminded of my mom dragging me out to sell cookies.  This was back in the day when you actually went door to door to sell. I was only Girl Scouts for three years, when my mom decided I had had enough.  Really she didn’t want me to be in a group where she wasn’t the leader.  It didn’t matter I was the world’s worst cookie sales person, I was extremely naïve about selling and I was painfully shy.  The only year I did really well was Second grade when I had chicken pox.  My parents and I think my uncle sold all my cookies for me that year.  It was enough to send me to camp for a week.  I still remember all the drama when Grandma’s Cookies got the contract to bake the Girl Scout Cookies, I am not entirely sure who had the contract before that, but it was a huge deal when they changed bakeries.  I do wonder if maybe the reporter actually thought the Girl Scouts baked them – can you imagine all the scouts in the kitchen slaving away making billions of cookies?

Sales techniques have changed since I was in the Scouts, now folks pre-order them and there is very little door to door sales.  I remember before I left WA State sitting in the bank line waiting to deposit my paycheck and under the cover, just before you got to the tubes were little girl scouts selling their cookies, I loved that such a creative place because they were under cover, it was raining that day, and they essentially had a captive audience.  I mean who is going to say no to a little girl standing there staring at you until your car moved up.  So these are my memories of cookie sales.  Now when that time of year rolls around I wax nostalgic about the cookie sales and how it was ‘back in the day’.  I might run in to avoid the girls at the grocery store – it seems here in NC that only Wal-Mart allows them to sell outside their stores I never see them at the other grocery stores around.  But I do look forward to seeing what new confections they have created and even trying them if I can.  My favorites will always be Thin Mints and The Shortbreads (they changed the name ages ago and I can’t remember their name now, I liked the old name). So Bring on the cookies.

Long Division: Torture or Higher Level thinking lessons?

Pinback, circa 1960

I was watching Leave It To Beaver today while I ate dinner, this was the episode where Beaver is struggling with math.  His dad is helping him with his homework and Beaver says in essence “Boy this Division is really hard and when am I going to use it real life?”  His dad replies back, “Well it isn’t really about the math, but the fact that it is teaching you to think.”  I laughed because I abhorred long division in grade school.  Growing up in the 70’s ages before computers ever entered our classroom everything hand to be done by hand, and while I think some of those skills are important, I still believe that anything beyond say 999 divided by 98 is just torturing a child.  I remember spending a week working a really complicated long division problem, it was something like 286,987 divided by 258 (okay really probably not that drastic, but you get my point).  I am not sure if I agree with Mr. Ward that it taught me critical thinking, what it really taught me was to hate, hate, hate math. I didn’t even like teaching math when I was a teacher because I wanted to spare my students the torture I went through.  So now maybe I need to reconsider the possibility that math can teach you thinking skills.

Back In the day – Playing at Sea Tac Airport

On Facebook they have these groups for folks who grew up in towns.  I belong to one for the town where I went to high school in Washington State.  One day we were talking about how we all used to go to the airport as kids and ride the tram.  I was kind of surprised because I never realized that my family wasn’t the only one that did this.  This was the best and cheapest entertainment going when we were kids, plus where else can you take a bunch of kids when it is raining and cold?  We used to ride out to the satellite terminals and then ride up and down the escalators, look out at the planes loading and, of course, watch them take off.  I also remember checking every single phone and news paper box for change. We usually picked up about a dollar.  We knew that airport like the back of our hands and yet few of us had flown out of there when we were 8 and 9 years old. I still know my way around most of that airport and as a result I usually explore every airport I land at, if I have time, so that I am familiar enough with it for future visits.  Then I thought about the last time I was in that airport which was my last trip home in 2005 and how secure the place was.  No more late night visits to play on the tram, or watch airplanes take off.  I tried to remember the last time you could actually get further than the ticket desks and it must have been in the late 80’s, now the airport is strictly business and only for those few who can travel by plane.  I think about the generations to come who wont grow up knowing the airport like the back of their hand unless they fly a lot, it is kind of sad in a way.  I wonder if parents would even consider doing something like this in today’s world anyway, I mean if the airports were opened up like they used to be.  I am sure some parent would find the activity to be unsavory and unsafe for families for some reason.  Gosh for all I know there were people who thought taking your kid to the airport was unsafe back when my mom was taking us there, but when you are poor and can’t afford to take your kids anywhere else riding the escalators up to the international gates is pretty darn exciting.

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