Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year's Resolution: Become a Better Me

Credit: "Calvin and Hobbes" Bill Watterson
My resolution this year is to become a better version of myself. I'm tired of feeling regret and the nagging and irrational self doubt I suffer. I can become better and I have a plan to do so. The following is a list of twenty changes I want to make in my life over the next year:

1. Go to bed six nights a week by nine at night, and wake at four in the morning. If I can change that one bad habit, of staying up late and oversleeping, I know I can change any aspect of my life.

2. Set high and achievable goals and persevere until they have been accomplished.

3. Write my goals down.

4. Maintain a to do list.

5. Focus on one goal at a time.

6. Eat healthier.

7. Exercise four to five days a week.

8. Listen to audio-books and talks every day, especially while I am crocheting or doing chores around the house.

9. Rediscover my love for reading (I know I love reading, but I need make it a priority).

10. Read 30 minutes a day, non-fiction.

11. Stay curious and pursue learning for the love of it.

12. Watch less tv.

13. Continue to avoid watching reality tv (OK, not technically a change, but a good reminder).

14. Do all I can to help my son, Colin, become a proficient reader and skillful in mathematics.

15. Encourage my children to be helpful and compassionate.

16. Teach my children good habits.

17. Make birthday calls.

18. Make friends with positive, optimistic people.

19. Eliminate negativity and delusions of failure from my life.

20. Believe that the good habits I make will lead to good fortune, health, happiness, and prosperity.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 13, 2013

What do I teach about politics?

I was reading aloud and article about the huge security snafu that allowed a known violent schizophrenic to work as a sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, and stand within four feet of Mr. Obama. It included the phrase, "President Obama" which I read over and didn't really think that much about it; but five year old Colin, with his sharp wit, noticed and asked me, "Mom, who's President Obama?"

It occurred to me that he has never heard me say those two words in that context, seeing as how I don't consider Mr. Obama to be president of anything (my opinion; you don't have to think the way I do).

Not quite sure what to say, I simply told him that Mr. Obama is the elected President of the Unites States, and dropped the subject, because I don't think sharing the details of my political opinions would be appropriate with a child that young.

Oh the challenges of being a homeschool mom! On the one hand, my children need facts (not necessarily my opinions), and a working knowledge of American politics. But on the other hand, too many of the facts surrounding this administration have turned out to be not factual, and I don't think I understand the political workings of our nation anymore.

Where do I turn for reliable information?!
I couldn't find a picture to fit this post, but I thought this would be interesting to look at.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dear Mr. Zielinski...


That's what's written on the MIA bracelet I got from you while you taught a class of rowdy eight graders at Pattengill Middle School about the Vietnam War. Whenever I see it, or put it on, I always give my first thought to Col. Anderson and the circumstances of his disappearance; but invariably, the next thought I have is of the history teacher who gave me the bracelet.

This morning my three year old daughter found it. After I got the bracelet from little Karyn, I promised to teach her what it meant to me when she was old enough to understand. Then, as usual I thought of the colonel, next I thought of you.

To identify myself, at the time my name was Hart; Christine Hart. I'm happily married and have changed my name to Hancock. I was one of those rowdy eight graders you taught in the school year 1995-1996, and to be honest I don't think is was the brightest of them; however I remember you and think about those months in your class frequently.

Mr. Zielinski, you stood out to me from among all the other teachers I had; maybe because you were recently a soldier and you taught from that perspective. I also never ever caught you in a lie. Everything you taught in history class, as far as I can remember, was verifiable by historical document, news report, or witness' testimony. I've had a number of teachers for whom the same could not be said. Another thing that stood out about you was that you taught us that history and wars are not just bland facts confined solely to dusty, poorly written texts; but that our history was real and the wars had not just dull political ramifications, but also human consequences. I think was Mr. Vance you had come give a lecture on what it was like to fight and lose friends in the Vietnam War; then of course was that infamous prank you pulled with the hollowed out grenade (Ahh, the days before zero tolerance policies) That object lesson still makes me smile and laugh, but I also remember the point, that any moment could be my last.

I know you also taught math. While it's not the thing I remember you best for, I am thankful to you for enlightening me as to how to add and subtract with fractions. Your lectures cleared some things up that I had been struggling with for a couple years, and made algebra in high school much less painful than it otherwise would have been.

You influenced at least one underprivileged youth for the better, and it's felt today. Thank you. I hope you are well, and that you obtained your degree, and that you are still teaching.

Best wishes,
Christine S. Hancock

Mr. Zielinski's self portrait. Yeah, the publisher missed him.

I was recovering from a mullet. I've been wearing my hair long ever since.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why I Don't Share Sob Stories... as a rule

As a rule, I do not pass along sob stories that find their way on to my FB wall. To illustrate I've attached an article about a viral poverty story I've seen shared way too much.

Not quite that bad...
I did read that story and it made my blood boil so much that I could not finish it on the first try. While I felt a little sorry for her, more than anything I wanted to throw my android to the floor and smash it to bits because of the incessant whining and self pitying nature of the piece.

After I calmed down a little, I had the feeling I needed to finish reading the blog entry and when I got through it, I thought to myself that this is a talented, articulate, educated, and experienced writer... is the situation really as bad as she made it out to be?

Who am I to judge, after all, Vincent Van Gogh was very poor and highly disadvantaged too; so I said nothing, but couldn't help but think I was reading a work of at least partial fiction designed to garner attention and sympathy... Go figure.