Friday, August 17, 2018
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I recently watched the movie, “No One’s Perfect” and decided I had to get the book it was based on, the autobiography of a man born with no arms or legs. Calhan, Colorado high school physical education equipment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The movie showed the author during one year of teaching, how he related to his students, how he managed his considerable challenges, which were less about his physical needs than the reaction of students and teachers alike to him. As movies often do, it turned out the movie had little to do with the book. Instead of focusing on a single year of teaching,... (Read More ...)

The Whole Earth Catalog, first published in July, 1968, then published regularly until 1972 and irregularly until 1998, is a catalog of tools, with information about how to order them directly from the manufacturers. Fall 1969 cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Its founder, Stewart Brand, believed that information about the best tools would help people achieve independence in their lives. I have a yellowed copy of The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools, published in November, 1971. It won the first U.S. National Book Award for Contemporary Affairs, the first time a catalog had won such an award. I... (Read More ...)

How did you get your Grandma name? William Merritt Going to see Grandma (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Many new or about-to-be grandmas tell me they are not going to pick their Grandma name. They are going to wait for the first grandchild to pick a name for them. They do this in hopes they will have a story to tell about how they got their name. One Grandma I talked to recently said that her children were trying to get the new baby to call her Grandma, though she was waiting for her grandson to come up with something on his own. He started with Bink, since he couldn’t pronounce Grandma, but his parents... (Read More ...)

What Is Title IX? Tiger Stadium (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Title IX (pronounced Title Nine), part of the Education Amendments of 1972, became law on June 23, 1972. Why? When I was in elementary school, there were sports programs for both boys and girls. But, by high school, it was the boys’ sports programs, primarily football and basketball, that got all the support of the school, and, apparently, the money. Girls, except for physical education class, largely dropped out of sports after sixth grade. Title IX said, “Not so fast, schools. Where are your competitive sports teams for girls? And,... (Read More ...)

Magic Squares: Odd The magic square, according to Chinese legend, was first constructed on the back of a turtle and is called the Lo Shu magic square, the only order of numbers in a 3×3 grid in which they all add up to 15. The unique normal magic square of order 3, also known as the Lo Shu Square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) By contrast, when there are 4 rows and columns, there are 880 different ways to lay out the numbers in a magic square. Constructing a magic square is different if there are an odd number of rows and columns than an even number. Let’s get started making your own! Materials: Paper Pen... (Read More ...)

A friend told me recently that she had received a book for Mother’s Day from her daughter that gives her a place to write down stories about her childhood and her children. Children with a book (Photo credit: Wikipedia) She planned to sit down and fill out every page. Called “Mom, Tell Me Your Story: A Guided Journal,” the book is a series of questions with lined pages leaving room to write down the answers in the book. The questions are organized in four categories: Family framework Milestones Lessons Learned Personal. The family framework questions invite the reader to enter their parents’... (Read More ...)

What a birthday gift – a book about you and to you from a Grandma who is a writer. Cheryl Therrien, an author and blogger ( and who loves technology, decided to write a series of letters to her upcoming grandchild. Letters from Grandma She published her book, Letters from Grandma: Before You Were Born, just weeks before the May 4, 2013 arrival of her new grandson. She nicknamed her grandchild Sweetling. She has already started a conspiracy with Sweetling to spoil him or her rotten, and to reveal his or her daddy’s tricks, showing her delight at the thought... (Read More ...)

How many of these things do you recognize? Lightsaber. List of Star Wars air, aquatic, and ground vehicles (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Jedi. The Force. Darth Vader. Obi-wan Kenobi. R2-D2. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. Princess Leia. C-3PO. Luke Skywalker. Yoda. Death Star. Jabba the Hut. Chewbacca. Han Solo. All of them, right? Because Star Wars, released May 25, 1977, is in our culture. If you’re a real fan, you’ll know which order the films were released in, relative to the time they portrayed. Star Wars actually represents episode IV: A New Hope (1977) The Empire Strikes... (Read More ...)

Did your Mom ever break her own house rules? Cedar Rapids metropolitan area. From left Benton County, Linn County, and Jones County. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I was in second grade, seven years old.We almost never had dessert in our house. Years later I learned, though she never talked about it, my Mom was always on a diet. I never quite figured out why. She served healthy food. Nothing was fried. We never had gravy. We had a home-cooked meal every night, with a glass of water. Dad, and only Dad, had one slice of Wonder bread with dinner. We only had bread in our lunch-bag sandwiches for school. Food... (Read More ...)

A Leave-Taking   Algernon Charles Swinburne. A true poet from Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)   Let us go hence, my songs; she will not hear. Let us go hence together without fear; Keep silence now, for singing-time is over, And over all old things and all things dear. She loves not you nor me as all we love her. Yea, though we sang as angels in her ear, She would not hear. Let us rise up and part; she will not know. Let us go seaward as the great winds go, Full of blown sand and foam; what help is here? There is no help, for... (Read More ...)