Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mr. Popular

My schedule worked out to my advantage today as I was in my office for an extended time when the ACL tickets went on sale and I was able to get in the “virtual line” in plenty of time to actually purchase tickets for the 2011 festival, some eleven months away. While waiting in the virtual line (because it was still a line) I had a 1-on-1 conference with one of the teachers in the program I direct, composed an email for everyone in a different program I also direct, and contacted two outside agencies regarding data another district program needed for part of its annual report.
Yet in the middle of all that, I managed to notice when the screen changed and I pounced on my opportunity for “discounted” tickets.
I had no idea how popular that would make me.
Within the hour of tweeting (aka sideways Facebook posting) my purchase, I had received a call with an offer to buy some of my tickets and other Facebook notifications with offers.
If I had known purchasing tickets would make me Mr. Popular, I would buy tickets much more often!
For the time being, I’m hanging on to the tickets. Heck, they are just electronic imaginings with dollar signs attached to my American Express card until I claim them next September.
That’s when the competition really begins to see who is(are) my best friend(s)!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why I Am Wearing Purple

Today many people are wearing purple to call attention to the issue of bullying faced by so many of the LGBT youth across the country. Over 19 years as an educator, I have seen bullying swell to epidemic proportions in the lives of young people. Certainly, bullies are nothing new. There have always been the Nelson Muntzs of the lunchroom and playground. There has always been the mean-girls club. This bullying is easy to see, and while not easy to stop, everyone knows it when it happens.
The bullying epidemic of the last decade, and the one claiming so many lives of young people today, occurs much more subtly - most often out of sight and sound. Today’s bullying rarely produces visible bruises. Instead it destroys the soul of the individual as it invades their most safe places with a message far more damaging than, “I’m tougher than you.” Today’s bullying thrives on the message, “you do not belong in the world.”
Particularly making news in recent months were the tragic suicides of young people taunted for being gay or for being perceived as being gay. As LGBT persons have gained recognition and much more acceptance in society, more and more young people have accepted their identities at a younger age, but at an age when their peers are developing their identities conflicting identities prove threatening.
Unfortunately, our political discourse encourages taunting and demonizing of anyone different. As our leaders have become less civil, our youth have taken that lesson to heart. The public, demonstrated lack of respect is the most bi-partisan activity our leaders have accomplished in the last four years. It is no wonder there is such distrust and disgust over all legislation passed; someone instantly discounts it.
When such messages dominate the media, why do we wonder that our youth would employ the same strategies in their lives?
I am wearing purple today, not just for LGBT youth who  have been bullied, but for all facing the torment of bullying through whispered denigrations, emailed threats, texted taunts, as well as the shoves, hits, and vandalism. I wear purple today to call attention to this plague across the country affecting our young people and society as a whole because if one thinks bullying ends at graduation, one has likely not paid attention at work.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Worry for Mom

Mostly on a whim, I purchased a scooter this past week. My friends needed to sell, the price was right, and I came away with a barely used scooter. The first couple of nights, I made some brief drives around the neighborhood to get comfortable with the handling and by Saturday I was up to giving friends rides and getting out to the main road for a quick trip to the gas station to refill.
The ride went so well, that I decided to take the scooter to church this morning. The weather was perfect for a morning drive on the scooter. With relative ease, I was at church in the same amount of time it takes in my truck and I was feeling pretty exhilarated.
As soon as church was over, I called a friend who lives quite a distance from me to see if I could swing by to see him as he had been traveling for a couple weeks and we had only barely talked on the phone. To get to his house involved several other busy streets in the city for more traffic practice.
Again with relative ease, I made it to his house. We had a nice visit and I was able to see most of the over 500 pictures he had taken on his trip to Israel. The weather was equally perfect on leaving his house for the drive home and I was able to check out a few more streets around town to determine their scooter friendliness.
The trip home from my friends actually happened faster than it normally does in my truck, so I felt especially good about making that trip even though it took me through rough streets under construction. 
I’m excited that now I can run most of my errands in the scooter instead of my truck and even feel less guilty about just fun trips.
Of course, it just means one more thing my mother will worry about.