Blogs, Domains and Links Oh My!

I have had a rough week!  On the suggestion of my SNCC coach Ann Evanston, I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade from a free WordPress blog to a hosted blog…right now you’re eyes move up to the address bar and then think ..”But this is still the free one…right”  well yes is it is…things did not go as planned. It has been an extremely frustrating week and nothing drives me crazier than when things don’t go the way they should so rather than (as one colleague on the course said she often felt like doing)  “throw the computer out of the nearest window” I decided to redirect my anger and frustrations by blogging about my experience and perhaps some of you can relate.

So I bought the blog, paid my money, watched the “How To Set It Up” video, making notes along the way and did everything I was told to do in the tutorial. I chose the design, named my blog and went into my domain name and changed the name servers to the ones I was given in the welcome email. I did everything I was supposed to do and then sat back and waited with baited breath for my new blog to become active (they told me it could take from 30 minutes to 48 hours.) This was on Thursday morning

So Friday Morning it still wasn’t up and I was a little concerned that now when I clicked on my domain name I was told Firefox could not find it but I thought perhaps that’s what happens when you change blogs. What do I know? But just in case I filled out a support ticket at customer service to make sure all was well and that it was normal for the link to be broken until the blog became active. I received an update saying they had “put someone on my case’ as it were. Friday night and still no blog and still my link was broken. I sent another ticket to support

I was out of town and came back Monday morning all excited to see my new blog. I was so excited and I clicked on the “go to” to check it out…. When I clicked on my domain name It went to Go Daddy where it was now parked so I had to go in and change the name servers again and knew this would start the whole process over again. Meanwhile no one had responded to my ticket in I sent another ticket asking why no one was responding

Tuesday morning Finally it was there. It was now “ACTIVE!” (Yeah!!!) So with baited breath I clicked on the tab to go to my new blog….Did I see my new and improved feature filled all singing all dancing new and shiny blog?? No! I saw “Oops Firefox cannot find”  I was about ready to scream (or cry) but then I remembered my brand Fierce Over 50…….. so I screamed.

So finally this morning (Thursday)  I get an email that says “We are happy to say we have updated your ticket and I thought “Yeah..perhaps they have fixed it. I was very excited …I clicked on the link to see what the ticket said and read……………………………………..

Request not found You do not have access to request #2358. It may have been solved or deleted…. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH …Stay tuned to find out what happens next!

What do you do when things don’t do right in the ‘techie” world? How to you deal with those feeling that you have no control over things and you have to constantly wait for someone else to “fix your problems’?


The Children Verses Derek Jeter

OK so I never intended to spend my life working with children. Yes I did the childcare degree in the UK but that was because I wanted to travel.  I thought if I got that degree I could become a nanny which was a great way to travel the world for cheap, and I was right…it was.  And then when I came to the USA and my children were born, I wanted them with me so working as a preschool teacher was a win win…But I NEVER expected it would become my career…But it did…And the funny thing is, I was really good at it. I moved up from being Assistant, to Teacher, to Lead Teacher, to Assistant Director, to Director,  and I really enjoyed it.

But do you know what I did not enjoy, do you know what really really  p##*@ed me off the most?  It was the fact that what I did was seen by society as not  very valuable, I mean I can only draw that conclusion as we here in the USA value things with a dollar amount, and as the dollar amount placed on me was $7 to $9 an hour,  what other conclusion can I draw?

Part of my job as Lead Teacher was to teach children to read. Now I may be a bit naive but I think that this is THE most important job on the planet,  I mean think about it…. If children cannot read, there will be no doctors, no lawyers, no scientist, no teachers or professors, no….., well, you get the picture.

I really don’t understand it,  as a licensed family daycare provider, I saw parents wince when I told them my cost for taking care of their child for a week from 7am to 6pm was $150.00 (this worked out at $3.75 an hour)  And yet these same parents don’t think anything of paying much much more for other services..Here are some examples…..

Piano tuner. $70 an hour

Dog grooming $70 to $90 an hour

Computer hard drive install $199.00

Plumber $150 an hour

So why is anything related to children valued so low?  This speaks to our Public School Teachers also but that is another post. These days many qualifications are required to be a preschool teacher and yet the pay remains low .

But you know what, that is really not what bothers me the most, even though I truly think we should be paying these people much much more.  No,  what bothers me the most is when I open my MSN news and the first thing I see is that Derek Jeter just signed a new contract with the Yankees for…wait for it….$51 million !!!! Yes you read it correct $51 million for 3 years

So based on this, I can only draw the conclusion that this is what we consider valuable…..

Teaching a child to read…………………………………………………………………….. $51 thousand over 3 years

Throwing a ball, catching a ball, hitting a ball, running in a circle………………. $51 million  over 3 years

Seriously, I have to ask..what is wrong with this picture?  Why is it that we place so little value in the care and education of what is obviously our most important “resource” for the future and yet so much on our ‘entertainment”

What needs to be done for this to change? What can WE as individuals do to let society know that this is unacceptable and that we HAVE to invest more money in both early childhood and our Public education system and NOT be making the damaging cuts that are happening right now all over the country.  But more important, how can we, as a society start placing less emphasis on movie stars, rock stars, people in sports and stop idolizing them.

And not being outraged when someone gets paid $5 million per episode for starring in a show about nothing!

Your Baby Can Read

So I was watching TV last week and I saw a commercial that showed a man with a baby and the baby was reading! Yes, reading from flashcards, big words too,…a little baby…reading!  As the baby continued to read the words on the flashcards, I watched with wonderment and awe and thought to myself…………..


When are we going to stop pushing our children to stop being children? Failing children in kindergarten was bad enough but now we have to teach our children to read at 6 months?  Do they really think that a child that can read at 6 months is going to be any further ahead than the child who learns to read in Kindergarten? The bottom line is…by the end of  2nd grade, kids who did learn early and kids who did not are usually at the same level.

Both my children learned to read between the ages of 4 and 5 and they both have an extremely high lexile reading levels. They both love to read and and they both have an extensive vocabulary. Perhaps I am nuts but when my kids were babies, they rolled on the floor and laughed and gurgled

More and more we now expect children to “have it all together” before they are even out of diapers. Get them potty trained ASAP, heck there is even a way to train them in one day! Get them on solid food ASAP.  If they are not talking by a certain age, get them to a speech therapist ASAP.

Go online and Google daycare centers, try to find one called something like  The “let’s just let our children play and have fun ” daycare. You won’t find one.  They are all called names that end with “academy” or “college” or they have the term “learning” or “Einstein” in their names.  What is that? Are we turning out better scholars by teaching our children at a very early age? or even starting them in infancy? according to  a recent Time magazine article, studies show, no we are not. In the latest study on the effects of popular videos such as the “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby” series, researchers find that these products may be doing more harm than good. And they may actually delay language development in toddlers

We are pushing and pushing and pushing because we think that the kids will do better in school. I think we are just robbing them of the most important time in their lives. Leave them alone and allow them to learn the natural way, through sights, sounds, touch, play and human interactions. Sure they have to learn to read and do algebra at some time,  but can’t we allow them to be babies and children for as long as possible

Please, let’s just allow an infant to be an infant, to marvel and the sights and sounds, to enjoy this most precious and innocent of times.  NOT be teaching them to read Tolstoy’s War and Peace!

What is YOUR opinion on this?  Do you believe it is a babies best interest to try to teach them to read before they are even one year old? Do you think that in the long term it makes a difference to that child’s education or learning capabilities?

Teachers Deserve Our Respect!

When I was a kid I was really scared of all my teachers.  I would never in a million years have disrespected them or talked back. I would never have cursed at them, shouted at them, laughed at them (unless they were telling a joke) ignored them, rolled my eyes at them, tutted at them, snickered at them, or any of the other disrespectful things that kids today seem to have no problem doing to their teachers.  But one important thing to note is that while I was indeed scared of my teachers, this was not the reason I did not do any of those things. The reason was that I RESPECTED them! What has happened to that respect? Is it just that kids of today are “different”? Is it that the teachers are “different”? What has changed? Why can a parent now go to a principal and say’ Take my child out of Mr XXXXXs class..there is a clash of personality. WHAT IS THAT? A clash of personality?  Are you kidding me? This is your child’s teacher! not his buddy. How can a teacher be blamed for a child who..never brings a pencil to class, never does his homework, is sleeping in class, is not listening,  refuses to participate and then asks to be moved to another class because of a clash in personality?

Yes I understand that sometimes teachers and students don’t get along but do you think that is a new thing? Did all my teacher love me? I don’t think so. But this was my teacher and like him or not. I was there to learn from him. and even though I might not have “liked ” him,  I DID respect him, so I was not disrespectful, I listened and I learned

Is it because children today just have less respect for adults generally? If so, who or what is to blame for that? Sometimes when I overhear the TV when my daughter is watching, I cringe at the way adults  are portrayed and “stupid” while the cool kid mocks and insults him. I always try to use this as an opportunity to talk to my daughter about it and thankfully she is very respectful to her teacher (most of the time) Is it the the music they listen to? Alice Cooper sang about blowing up schools and Pink Floyd told us “We don’t need no education” but it did not make me not want to go to school or to be disrespectful . So what has changed?  Why do today’s kids have so little respect for their teachers.? Well here’s a thought…  Our Government puts more and more emphasis on test scores and less and less on teacher experience and what they actually bring to the classroom. Teachers are poorly paid and many have not had a pay raise in years, and more and more, teachers are expected to be the only disciplinarian in some of these kids lives,  Every day on the TV we see stories of more teacher being fired because their kids did not make gains on the tests… So my question is this….what is all of that teaching our children? How on earth can we expect our children to show their teachers respect when we as a society do not?

We need to get behind our teachers and not allow these children to have so much power. We need to let our Government know that while there are “bad” teachers out there who need to be weaned out and replaced, making teachers solely responsible for the childrens test results and basing their continued employment on these results is just unacceptable. Teachers need to be able to teach and not just “teach to the test” Until we allow our teachers to do this and to show them the respect they deserve, how can we expect anything different from our children? What is your opinion on this subject? if you believe teachers are getting a raw deal these days, then call your local representative and let them know you want teachers to be respected and allowed to teach. . Vote against any bill that makes teacher pay and job security solely based on test results.  It is time to give America’s teachers the respect they truly deserve for all their dedication and hard work.

Stop Cutting Arts From Our Schools!

So the “powers that be” have decided that the only REAL important thing that happens in a school today is how well the kids do on the FCAT (for you non Floridians that is the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) I am sure there is a PCAT and a CCAT or similar in Pennsylvania and California

So in order for our kids to be ready for the all important FCAT, it seems everything else had to go. So now the local schools have dropped, art, music, languages, theater, band, and many other all important aspects of the overall education of our children.

So while the schools get money based on their FCAT scores, the kids no longer learn about art, music, and theater. I would like to say at least they are learning about writing, reading and mathematics, but that is not even true. The only thing these kid are learning these days is “How to pass the test! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase “teach to the test”

It is beyond my comprehension how a school that offers no music, no art, no theater, no chorus, and no languages can still be rated an “A” school. And as for the way they are treating the teachers in all of this nonsense…well that is a whole other topic

Studies show that involvement in the arts triggers the right side of the brain used in problem solving, visual-spatial abilities, self-criticism, developing social skills and how to learn from mistakes. And for many children, art classes allow them to express themselves & feel unique and appreciated which they may not get from regular math and science classes.

Art and music classes offer much more than the ability to paint a landscape or recognize a Mozart symphony. Learning experts insist that education in the arts ensures an enriched cultural appetite stronger analytical skills, higher achievement in other subjects and – down the road – greater success in the workplace.

And yes while reading and writing is very important and we need to continue to instill that in our kids, To quote Richard Dreyfuss from the movie Mr Holland’s Opus, “Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Sooner or later, these kids aren’t going to have anything to read or write about”