Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Things I Forgot To Remember (it happens quite a bit)

Item #1 of Things I Forgot to Remember: I am so slow at getting around to mentioning blog awards that I must apologize and say "thanks" at the same time. Thank you, Suey and Teddy Rose for the taggings. Both Suey and Teddy Rose tagged me for the Brilliante Weblog Award and Suey also tagged me for the E for Excellent Blog Award.

Of course, since it took me forever to get around to posting, everyone else seems to have gotten one or the other, if not both. If I'm wrong and you're reading this, you've just been tagged. Because, you know, I love my all blog buddies.

I've been blogging for so long that my sidebar appeared offensively heavy in awards by the end of 2007, so don't be flummoxed if you don't see these little dudes permanently displayed.

#2: Janefan asked a belated Geeking #12 question about At Home in Mitford:

Would a nonreligous person enjoy At Home in Mitford? I really love the real-life town that the series is based on, and am intrigued by it, but not sure if Christianity is such a big part of it that I'd be put off.

Janefan, the protagonist in the Mitford series is a priest (I think "priest" is the right word) at the local Episcopal church, so you're talking about life in a small village from the perspective of a guy called "Father Tim". Christianity does play a pretty major role because he ministers to people -- there's discussion of Biblical scripture in plenty of his interaction with villagers. Personally, I expected to dislike the series, even though I'm a Christian; but, there were 7 Mitford books on my mother's shelf. I wasn't about to let my sister just sweep them out the door without giving the first a try. The characters, their relationships, the descriptions of the village and the happenings within that little village made the book enjoyable, for me. If dialogue and musings about the Bible bug you, maybe you're best off skipping. I'd advise flipping through a copy or seeing if one of the web-based bookstores has a "see inside" feature if you're really curious, though.

#3: I've just figured out the reason I am personally going to hate year-round schooling. When do we get a break from guiding our kids through the whole homework mess? That's what I want to know. Near as I can tell, it will also be very, very difficult to plan vacation as each child's grades at the end of the 9-week session dictate whether or not an individual gets an "intercession" break. At least, that's what it looks like but (cover your eyes if you hate swearing) I'm damned if I can figure out how the schedule works. And, so far, I'm not seeing or hearing any decent translations in the school handbook, at the website, in the newspaper or from teachers. Not that I'm hovering at their door on Day 2 to ask, but I'd really like to know what to expect. If anyone knows how year-round schooling works, please feel free to share.

#4: Just for fun (because who can stand a whiny Bookfool?) . . . Can anyone identify the unusual object in this photograph?

I'll post a second photograph that makes the answer obvious, in a few days.

Next up: A review of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

Happy Tuesday!


  1. My kids did/are doing year-round for elementary school. Honestly, you will like it. I promise! If your schedule is like ours, you get a sweet break in the fall, when it's still warm enough to go to the beach, but it isn't crowded and it's a lot less expensive.

    They can't keep your kids in school for more than 180 days, and they can't force them to miss the intercession. Unless, of course, the kid is totally failing, and even then, I think it applies only for summer school. Ask a lot of questions just to make certain. Your child's principal will tell you what you need to know.

    You get a homework break every nine weeks, probably for about three weeks. It's nice. You get a long break at Christmas and Spring break, but your summer break likely will be brief in comparison to the traditional schedule.

    The initial adjustment will be rough, but I think you'll like it.

  2. Good luck with the year round schooling. My cousin was in such a school district in Colorado and he liked it.

    and you WON! Have you read any Tracy Kidder? congrats! and congrats on all the terrific awards here, too.

  3. I'm usually leery of "Christian" books, but I loved the Mitford series. My aunt loaned me hers, and it was so important to her that I like them, that I worried that the experience would be a duty to be performed.

    What a delight to discover that the characters were human and funny and the situations of mundane life were viewed with a mixture of amusement, cynicism, and tolerance.

  4. Thanks Bookfool. I'll probably keep an eye out for a used copy or borrow it from te library. I did read an excerpt online but couldn't really make my mind up about it. I'm not completely against books with religious themes - I did read a few of the "Left Behind" books which I'm certain were much more preachy than the Mitford series!

  5. Those wouldn't be my son's swimming trunks, would they?

    Congratulations on your well deserved awards!

    You won the Farwold book, so send me your address and I'll contact the publishers so they can send it to you. Happy Day!

  6. Um, my email is


    Talk about not remembering things!

  7. What is that picture! I can't figure that out... Ok, I'm intrigued :)

  8. My son used to go to a school that had year round schooling. Usually they opt for year round due to over attendence, so to cut class size they swap school tracks. So it would depend on what track you are on. I did not particulalry care for it, as my son was out of school when no one else was. There were no day camps available to him or anything like that, and when he was on break there was nothing for him to do, and I was still working. Every year though they keep students on the same track, so you will know ahead when your breaks are for planning purposes. And the comment above is correct- they cannot keep a child in school for more than 180 days; which is usually the schedule- 180 on, and then 90 off, and then 180 on again, and so forth.

    Good luck,

  9. Hi Nancy
    We are home from the beach. Here is a link to a picture of me with Little Baby(he) my reading buddy.


    Happy to be home. :)

  10. Cupcake,

    I'm skeptical, since we live for summer break (because in the summer, you go north . . . and when you're not up north, you go to the pool) and my son's lifeguard job is up in the air. Even the pool manager has no idea how the school schedule will impact opening hours, next year. Thanks for the encouraging words, though!

    I've got the calendar right here. Our first 9 weeks ends October 3 and the 2nd 9 weeks begins October 13. That's not a nice, long break. It's only 10 days! Intercession is October 6-10. I thought it would be longer than that. Kiddo says it's a "transition year", not a real year-round schedule, so I assume that explains the short breaks.

    We only have two years left, which is a major part of the trouble. It would be nice to stick with what we know for those two years. Kiddo will probably really appreciate college. They actually did away with summer school, here, because it "wasn't working". Not sure quite what that meant! :)


    I think I might feel better about the year-round thing if it was taking place throughout the entire state, but we're apparently unique in its adoption. And our district tends to leap on the latest trend, then change things back within two to three years. Sigh. I'm just not good with change. :)

    Thanks! I've written to you!! Nope, haven't read any Tracy Kidder, yet, but you've got me bouncing on my toes at the prospect, now. I'll have to look him up in the library.


    I think that may be one reason I avoided reading the books while my mother was living -- I didn't want to face the possibility of admitting to her that I wasn't as fond of Mitford as she was. But, as it turned out, I felt exactly the same as you did. You put it beautifully. I can't beat your description. :)

  11. Janefan,

    I think that's a plan -- check out or find a used copy, then if you dislike the series you won't feel like you've thrown your money to the wind. Note Jenclair's response, above. She did a much better job describing the joy of Mitford.

    Really? You've read the Left Behind series? I think you'll be fine, then! :)


    LOL! Great guess -- looks like it could be flying swim trunks but . . . nope.

    Thank you and ohmygoodness! I just won that book from another blog. I'll write to you, in case you don't see this, so you can draw another name and I won't end up getting called "greedy guts" (although, actually, that probably is pretty accurate; I am a book glutton).


    I'll post another photo that makes the answer obvious, in a couple of days. Can you stand the wait? It's really interesting what's in that photo. When I first loaded the set of pics that included it, I looked at that photo and couldn't figure out what on earth that little UFO was.

  12. Well, phooey. Your year-round situation certainly seems to have no positives to it whatsoever. I'd be whining and complaining a whole lot more than you are, sister. I feel for your son and you to be thrown into this kerfuffle with only two years left. I loved the long fall break, and you only get 10 days. That's certainly not a great way to get things started, is it.

  13. Jessica,

    I wrote a nice long reply and then lost it. Sigh. It's rough being an airhead.

    Okay, where was I? Our school district doesn't have a problem with overattendance. The explanation for adoption of year-round schooling in our district is to avoid lengthy breaks that result in a loss of information, so that teachers don't have to "waste time reviewing" at the beginning of the school year. We actually have a huge attendance problem and a high drop-out rate. Our graduation rate is 66%. 1/3 of the kids who attend school in our district never graduate from high school. Summer school, they claim, was "not working". I'm not sure what exactly that means.

    My youngest is a junior in HS (I have two -- eldest is 7 years older and just graduated from college in December). The big issues, for us, are the lack of pool and job time for my swimmer/lifeguard son and the problem of when Mom is going to be able to return to school (I've been waiting 23 years to go back for my masters degree). With my son's schedule so different from that of the colleges, I'm probably going to end up waiting another two years. And, I already feel really, really old. LOL

    Thanks, though, the 180-days thing is very helpful. I'm getting a grip on the intercession concept. It sounds like as long as he's not flunking, we can plan a vacation. That's good!


    Welcome back! That is one BIG baby. He's gorgeous!!! I hope you had a terrific time at the beach. :)

  14. Cupcake,

    I know. It sucks. The really weird thing is that I've heard the teachers are quietly complaining and not making any headway, but I haven't heard anything about parents being unhappy. Maybe I need to get out more. But, there's never a whole lot of ganging up on the administration, here. I think the reason we go from one disastrous experiment to another is that parents don't care. They're into school as babysitting service.

    It's undoubtedly a lot more annoying for kids like my son, who have just a couple of years left and are now trying to decide whether it's a school they're in or a tossed salad. And, the breaks are the little croutons that are so great but you have to search for them because there aren't many and you know they're there, but it's hard to find them.

  15. You could homeschool. He'd probably love that. :)

    Umm.....a swooping hawk?

  16. Carrie,

    He actually wanted me to homeschool him during his elementary years. Not anymore.

    Nope, not a hawk. But, that's a pretty good guess!

  17. It's been many, many years (and my memory isn't what it used to be), but Amy was in a year-round school when we lived in California. I think she went for 3 months and was off for a month, then back for 3 and off for 1, but I could be wrong about the length she was "in" school. I think they did this to alleviate overcrowding. She was on one "track" and another group of children was on another track (going when she was off, but obviously overlapping somewhere!) and there might have even been a third track of kids. Very confusing, but we did get used to it. She was in 2nd grade at the time, so summer jobs obviously weren't an issue. Hope it all settles down and you get in the swing of things. I do understand your frustration, though.

    I loved the Mitford series and I am not one to read Christian books. Somehow, Fr. Tim just seemed like a good soul. Someone I'd love to know and be able to turn to in a time of need. But I never felt the books were preachy or overly religious, even with the quoted Scriptures. I really felt a sense of peace when I read the books. Must give them a re-read one of these days. I sure loved Dooley and Barnabee. I remember laughing out loud many times as I read!

    I have absolutely no clue what that picture is! I keep thinking it's some sort of parachute or bird or a kite. Can't wait for the next picture!

  18. Les,

    That's exactly what Jessica said! We have no tracks and no problem with overattendance -- in fact, this school district has the opposite problem. Frankly, I think they're about to make it worse, but that's just me. :)

    You and Jenclair have done a much better job of describing the Mitford series than I. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you completely, especially on the "sense of peace". And, Dooley is definitely a hoot!

    I'll try to post the follow-up photo, tomorrow. Much to do, this week. I just slept off a headache and darn it -- I've only got a half-hour till I have to pick up the kids (we've got Alexandra riding to the pool, again). Free time is wrecked during the school year -- that's another reason I don't like the concept of spreading it out!!! :)


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