Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DNC

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Olympics Mullings and Musings

Oh no! I have to wait four years before the next Summer Olympics?!

These Olympics have really got me thinking about the inequalities of our education system. Especially compared to the Chinese. Not that I think we should take kids away at 3 years old and place them in gymnastics programs...I don't.

But it got me thinking. What skills are going untapped? Who could have been a great athlete, musician, or scientist had they had the right opportunities?

Like Michael Phelps, my brother was proclaimed by school teachers to have a focus issue. But Michael Phelps had access to a pool program. There was nothing like that where we grew up.

My husband, growing up in California, had all kinds of programs we didn't. In public school, not only did his school have a regular band and a concert choir, he also got to participate in jazz band and a chamber music choir. Additionally, his school had a women's choir and a theater department! In public school! We had none of that in Louisiana. Today he is a composer and can play just about anything. I also think he had more exposure to science and math education than my siblings and I did.

When I was growing up, physical education was not fun. Not fun at all. P.E. was about meeting some standard, instead of starting where you are and working up. As an adult, I finally came to love exercise after battling my weight. I discovered that working out is fun and enjoyable, and have often wondered why they made it so combative and a chore in school. I regret all the years I wasted being sedentary. In middle age, I did a marathon and a half-marathon, and became a power yoga instructor. How might my life have been different if exercise had been made fun?

I remember in high school, the history teacher was a sports coach. His class was beyond dull. ZZZzzzzz. Then we got a temporary history teacher, someone doing their student teaching for their degree. He was really into history, and he made it come alive with stories. I looked forward to history class then, and never forgot that how material is presented makes a huge difference in education.

During the Olympics, I saw a news show about the difference between the education in math and science that the Chinese are getting, compared to our kids. I wish I could remember the stats to share with you. Suffice it to say, it was mind boggling. The MAJORITY of Chinese kids take physics, chemistry and calculus in regular school, as opposed to a very small minority of American kids. It's disheartening.

Michael Phelps is lucky there was a swim program where he lived, and that his mom enrolled him in it. Who knows where he would have wound up with out it.



Sunday, August 24, 2008

WIPs Wrestling "Medal"



Before the Olympic flame went out, I also finished this Work In Progress (WIP), a Baby Kimono, for my friend Trecia's grandson who has yet to be born. He's still incubating, but we already know his name is Joel David, and we've already seen pictures of him too!

This pattern is in the Mason Dixon Knitting book. One of my favorite knitting books.

My Favorite Olympics Moments

If I need to identify these photos for you, you really missed a thrilling, historic and dramatic Olympics.

I blame my new sports interest on my mom. Once you've gone through a few Tour de France races with your mom calling you on the cell yelling, "Merde! Peloton!", you become a sports convert. Except not football. I'm not a football fan. Or golf (sorry, Don).

I will never forget the day my mom and I put my hubby in the car, and drove an hour and a half to an Athens sports bar so we could watch Lance's last Tour de France since the tv at our mountain house only got 3 stations, and no cable. There we were, two women yelling at the television while my husband looked on.

Of course, completing a marathon and half marathon and getting my own medals has increased my interest in sports. Especially individual sports.

Just last week, it was ME who was asking the bartender in a restaurant to please turn on the Olympics. Once it was on, a horde of fratties stood rapt in their khakies and flip flops, watching.

Here are my most memorable moments of the Games (although there were more):

Oksana Chusovitina, THIRTY THREE year old Bronze medalist in gymnastics (vault).



Dana Torres, FORTY ONE year old Silver medalist in swimming; she missed Gold by one one-thousandth of second. I thought she was going to cry right on the medal stand. She is one fierce competitor. These first two really redefine fitness and all the excuses people have.



Dalhausser, the Thin Beast. He's 6'9".


The Professor (Todd Rogers) and The Thin Beast win Gold.


Usain Bolt wins Gold.


May and Walsh repeat for Gold.


Men's Relay wins Gold, Answers French swimmer's trash talk.

I DID IT!



Finished my Ravelympics 2008 shawl. It's mohair. Developed a callus on top of my right index finger from doing this.

Started: 08/08/08 during the exact time the Opening Ceremonies were happening in Beijing.
Finished: 08/22/08.

15 Days to get it off the needles and blocking, which was my goal. Then took the better part of another day to get the fringe on. I'll wear it during the Closing Ceremonies tonight!



Here's a picture of it being wet blocked on stainless steel wires (before fringe). You wet the garment, stretch it into shape, and either use wires to hold the shape right, or pins. This shawl is wider across the top than a bed is long.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What A Thrill Ride It Was

If you didn't see it, I feel sorry for you. What a week it has been. Absolutely unbelievable.







Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm So Proud of My Husband

Mitch has furnished his office! And I'm very impressed with how he did it. He found an Atlanta dealer who gets used office furniture from businesses that are closing down. Most of this stuff came from a Countrywide insurance branch. The items look practically brand new, and are solid wood, not the particle board junk like at the office stores.

Mitch furnished his entire office, including the administrative assistant's office, his office, student intern's office and a conference room for an amount that I've seen people pay for a dining table and chairs. Unbelievable! And the furniture looks GREAT. Everything, even the chairs are from this one vendor.

Below: conference room table and chairs, plus a bookcase.


below: additional seating and table in conference room. Alcove to the right will hold a mini-fridge and microwave later.


below: conference room bookcase and a second end table.


below: student (or associate) office...desk, chair and credenza. Guest chair.


below: student's office bookcase and the guest chair.


below: two really good filing cabinets in the front room.


below: Front room (for admin)...the filing cabinets again and the admin's desk, work chair, and two large storage credenzas.


Another view of admin's space.


Mitch's office...desk, credenza and work chair. Guest chair barely visible.


below: Mitch's office, guest chair, bookcase, corner of desk.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ravelympics Shawl Day Nine

Progress on my mohair shawl after 9 days. I only have 27 rows left (out of 122) so I think I will finish before the Olympics Closing Ceremonies. It's going to be 7 ft. long across the top...very cozy and big enough to wrap up into. It should be 33 inches from top to the bottom point.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Goats on the Roof

Here's a place I've been wanting to stop and photograph for awhile now...Goats on the Roof, a shop near Clayton, Georgia. It sells produce, jams and ice cream.

It's claim to fame is...goats on the roof! Seriously!

Some of us have been wondering when a car crash is going to happen in front of it, since it is situated on the edge of a four lane highway. People speed by, craning looks at the goats.

Here's what it looks like from the road. It has several buildings with ramps connecting them, and goat houses on top of the roof. Roofs? Rooves?



Ramps and suspension bridges...


Goats on the roof...






The goats are very interested in the people below, because there are crank apparatus whereby you can (for a fee) raise up metal cups of goat chow.









Here's some head butting going on...saw quite a few instances of head butting.





Check out these goat houses on top of one of the roofs.






Goats fighting over chow that has been cranked up by a human.


Goat staring at a human, trying to get more chow.


I love the ears on this one.


This goat is gnawing on a metal bolt. Goats will gnaw on anything. When I was young, we had a goat and it would eat the paper off tin cans if it could get one. It would also girdle trees, killing them. (That's when a goat eats a strip of bark off all around the tree. Then the tree cannot bring up nutrients.)

That chain thing you see is the mechanism for sending up the chow in a metal cup.



This little goat, on the ground, is the one that finally got me to cough up some change for some chow. It ate it right out of my hands. Until the big goats came charging down and took over.



Soooooo CUTE!