Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sports for Special Kids

Kids with special needs often get left out of activities, but a friend just told me about this Little League program:

They're starting a group in Albany and Berkeley, CA that's free for the kids - except for buying the uniforms and gear. I don't know if that's true of the program in other areas or not, but it's worth checking into.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How Stay At Home Moms Began

A lot of people think women couldn't get good jobs in the past simply because of prejudice, but that's not how it started.

Thousands of years ago when it wasn't safe to hunt while pregnant, nursing, and/or caring for little kids. Women could take their toddlers and infants along while gathering fruits and edible plants, but even then if they took their eyes off a little one for a few minutes it might wander off and be eaten by a wild animal.

Even when humans started doing farming and herding it would have been difficult to care for babies and little kids while out in the sun all day, and to keep them from damaging the crops or bothering the animals. Physical jobs like felling trees, mining, and making things from metal were not safe to do around little kids. And, of course, it would have been impossible for women to take children along while serving as soldiers or sailors.

Since people back then didn't live nearly as long as they do now, grandmothers weren't likely to be available to provide childcare. It was simply more practical for women to stay close to home and do things like cook and make clothing while the men went out and got the provisions.

And humans tend to be creatures of habit. By the time women had stayed at home for centuries everyone assumed that was the way things ought to be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kids' Book About Autism

I never expected this book to have anything to do with autism, and that word isn't used in it even once. But one of the important characters in The Bell Bandit is clearly on the Autism Spectrum and portrayed realistically.

The book isn't actually about autism. It also involves a beloved grandmother who is getting dementia and the relationship between siblings who are growing apart as they get older.

Does all that sound depressing? It's certainly not! First of all, the book is an exciting mystery about a missing antique bell. The realistic characters and relationships only add to the well-developed plot.

Unlike some of the traditional mystery series for kids where parents allowed children to go alone into potentially dangerous situations, everything Jessie and the other kids in the book do is believable. But the problems they encounter and must figure out are certainly scary enough to keep the reader turning pages.

This book is part of The Lemonade War series by Jacqueline Davies. I hadn't read the previous books, but liked this one, which is fine by itself, so much I'll certainly have to read the others.

The Bell Bandit is a great book!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

About Fat

I used to be extremely underweight as a kid and was teased about it a lot. Even when I became an adult, people who would never be rude enough to tell somebody they were fat would feel free to tell me I was skinny. Now I weigh what the charts say I should.

Today lots of people, including children, are overweight because of junk food and lack of exercise and that has become a major health problem in the United States. Of course obesity isn't good, but lots of people, especially women, seem to think they should be extremely thin to be attractive.

The movie star, Marilyn Monroe, who used to be considered one of the most beautiful women in America was famous for having bust, waist, and hip measurements of 38, 28, and 38 inches. Today lots of people would consider her fat.

If we look back at the famous paintings of beautiful women from the Middle Ages and of the Greek and Roman deities most of them would be considered overweight by today's standards.

I understand in the Bible the Hebrew word for 'glory'' was derived from the word for 'fat' because glory is what shows something is worthy of praise and only rich people could have enough food to become fat.

We all know it's important to get plenty of exercise, but some people aren't able to do that for various reasons such as health conditions and overwhelming time constraints. And using food for comfort isn't wise.

But women don't have to fit a certain mold in order to be beautiful.

And, yes, being extremely over - or under - weight can cause all sorts of health problems, but people should be valued for their character, not their physical appearance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Old Friends

Do any of you remember the song we used to sing in Girl Scouts, "Make new friends, but keep the old...?"

I've been thinking of it a lot lately because I'm realizing more and more how much my old friends mean to me. While I have some good friends I've only gotten to know in recent years, there's something special about sharing memories with others.

Of course, "old" is a relative term. I've known some of my old friends since we were kids together, and was able to reconnect with some of those at class reunions. Others I've known for over forty years and some for only 20 or 10 years, but we still share a lot of memories.

Then there are the ones, like neighbors from my childhood,  that I've lost track of and wish I could find again.

But friends I make today may be among my old friends in the future, assuming we live long enough for that to happen.

Of course making new friends is wonderful, but there is definitely a difference between the new, "silver" friendships and the "golden ones. I'm happy to have some of each and hope you do, too.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Because of my involvement with Deaf people I've been interested in Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone. He did that partly as a result of trying to create a device to help his deaf wife communicate.

By the early 1900s there were telephones all over the United States, at least in urban areas. Usually they would be on a wall in a hallway or other central part of a house.

We had a dial phone in the city where I lived as a little kid, but in the 1940s we moved to a family summer cabin in a small town. There we had to speak to the operator and tell her the number we wished to call.

Later, in another town, we again had a dial phone, but it was on a party line. We shared it with the family of my best friend and sometimes we'd agree to pick up our phones at the same time and speak to each other loudly over the dial tone. We felt so smart!

When I was in high school people could have more than one telephone in a house and some girls actually got their own princess phones so they could talk privately from their bedrooms.

Then came telephones with buttons to push instead of dials and, eventually, mobile phones that could be removed from the base and carried around in the house. I still have that kind.

Of course I also have a cell phone. Doesn't everyone? And today phones can do things Alexander Graham Bell couldn't have imagined. And they're a great help to Deaf people who can text, send messages, and even see each other using Sign Language by video.

Maybe in the future we'll be using our phones to brush our teeth and comb out hair. Anything is possible.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Headlight Language

Late one night I noticed a police car following me. As I pulled into my driveway the officer parked, came over, and told me he just wanted to let me know one of my headlights was out. I was grateful and got it replaced the next day.

Now that the Winter weather is here and daylight savings time is over people need to use their headlights a lot, and I often see vehicles with one of them out. That can be a safety hazard, especially if the other one also burns out, but most of the drivers probably aren't aware of the problem.

I wish there were some way to let people know one of their lights is out.

Blinking one's own lights doesn't do much but get other people's attention for a few seconds. They wouldn't know why someone was doing that and it might irritate them.

In American Sign Language spreading the fingers and thumb on one hand wide apart and then pulling them together at the tips would signify that a light is out, but most people don't know ASL. Even if they did, they probably wouldn't be looking in the window of another car while driving in dark, possibly stormy conditions.

The best solution would be for everyone to check their lights regularly. Maybe if enough of us spread the word on the internet more drivers will do that. Please feel free to share this post or write your own on the subject. You'll never know how many lives you may save by doing that.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunshine Award!

Susan Hornbach of was kind enough to give this blog the Sunshine Blog Award.
Thank you, Susan! I greatly appreciate this award and will pass it on to some others.

This prize is given to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” As an award winner, here are some suggestions to follow for this Award.

Thank the person who gave this award in the beginning part of a post about it.
Answer the questions below about your favorite things.
Pass on the award to fabulous bloggers who bring sunshine into your life, link their blogs, and let them know you have awarded them.

In your post  share:

These are some of my favorite things:
Favorite Color - Blue
Favorite Animal - That's a hard one because I love so many of them. Guess I'll pick the gorilla.
Favorite Number - Don't have one
Favorite Drink - milk
Facebook or Twitter - Facebook
Your Passions - Special needs, kids, books, words, writing
Giving or getting presents - both
Favorite Day - Christmas
Favorite Flowers - Iris and California poppies

Now, here are the two other blogs I'm choosing for this award because they positively and creatively inspire others:

Please check them out.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interesting Dates

I understand in the Middle Ages people thought the world would end when the year 1000 began. Some people thought that about the year 2000 and Y2K scared lots of folks for practical reasons. Then Mr. Camping predicted the Second Coming of Christ, and lots of people actually believed the world would end at the end of the Mayan Calendar.

Besides dates and numbers  to worry about there have been many others people thought were lucky, or at least interesting. Babies were born on 12/12/12 to great acclaim and lots of people scheduled weddings on that day because they thought it would bring them good luck. 

But the dates with interesting patterns aren't over. Today is 1/2/12, next year there will be a 1/3/13, then 1/4/14 and so on for the rest of the decade - assuming, of course, that the world doesn't end in the meantime. ;-)

But there's one more interesting date this year that won't be repeated for a long time. In the Fall 11/12/13 will be the last date with that pattern in the twenty-first century.