Abercrombie & Fitch

The boycott idea isn’t new. Found this article from 99. No wonder A&F ditch the media blitz. It’s been no big deal to them.

Even the racial slurs tee-shirts didn’t get them into much trouble.

Andr when Mothers Against Drunk Driving objected because the catalog had alcoholic drink recipes and rules for drinking games, A & F said, “We’re for those over 18.” Well, buddy, they can’t drink legally in most states! (18-22 target market)

However, I have to say that I do think their Christmas catalog contained soft porn. And you know what, I have no objection to soft porn. As long as you’re a grown up paying for it and looking at it. But I don’t want soft porn on the counter of the store in which my kids buy clothes. If you are over 18, you can go here to see some of the photos in the catalog. Actually, you don’t have to be over 18, but you ought to be.

Boycott Abercrombie & Fitch. If they’re going to sell porn, it ought to be labeled as such. And if you don’t go there to buy clothes, next years’ catalog won’t push the envelope even more.

Woman from the 70s

I went to Fox News where a picture appeared. I glanced at it. It looks like a woman from the 70s. Maybe someone I knew in grade school who was my mother’s friend. I looked at the text to the left. It was Michael Jackson.

I agree with my English 3 students that he wins the award for “Most Plastic Person.”

Homeschooling answers

I realized that I posted abouthomeschooling mom’s questions and didn’t post my answers.

Concern: My child WON’T write (cries if I ask him/her to write only a few sentences–and I’ve even told them what to write about; or, s/he won’t make the deadlines I set; or, says s/he HATES writing, etc.)

Response: Children won’t learn to write if they don’t have to write. There are several ways to address this problem.

1. Let them pick the topic.

2. Many people have a fear of the blank page and this gets them over that.

Freewriting: Get them a notebook only for writing. (I’d recommend a composition notebook.) Tell them they have to write for a certain amount of time each day. If they haven’t ever written much, use two minutes. If they have written some go up as high as ten minutes at a time. I wouldn’t go more than that with this.

Tell them they can write about anything they want. You will not be grading spelling, handwriting, content, or grammar. All you want is for them to write. Tell them they can write “I don’t know what to write” over and over the whole time, but that they have to keep writing. (Kids will get bored writing that and start on something else if you insist on them writing.) You can also supply a list of possible topics: pets, brothers, best friend, church, Legos…

3. Go to a teacher supply store and pick up a couple of thin writing books appropriate to your child’s age and level. Make sure the graphics are well done. Let them work in the book. Remind them that when they are finished they will have a whole book of their own. An incentive for this is to let them design the cover for the book when they are halfway through. Put it on heavy duty paper, glue it over the front and back, and put contact paper over it to complete the cover.

4. Sometimes having them write in other subjects, maybe something they like more, will help. Instead of having them write a paragraph for English, have them write a paragraph about the science experiment or the Revolutionary War.

5. I had this problem and I will tell you that letting them not write will get you nowhere but farther behind.

–Another mother said that she tells her child it is bedtime, but that she can stay up an additional 30 minutes if she is writing. She said all the sudden her daughter wants to keep writing.

Concern: My child’s writing is TERRIBLE. (e.g., A parent isn’t able to see beyond errors in conventions to find anything noteworthy about the idea the student had, or what s/he was trying to convey; but sometimes the content isn’t really there either & parent doesn’t feel equipped to draw the information out of the student.)

Response: People tend to write like they talk. If your child rambles in discussions, they will ramble in writing. It is probably easier to direct them to succinctness in oral ways before you go for that in writing. Also, sometimes the child will write but doesn’t have a clear idea of where they are going with this writing.

1. If it’s rambling, start working on their conversations first.

2. If it never gets anywhere, work on brainstorming with them before they start writing. This can look like several different things. Clustering, timeline, lists.

3. Ask them questions about their writing. Who is the main character? What was the most important thing you wanted to say? How did you show this (in response to either of the previous two answers)? Where did you put in the information which identifies the importance of the character or facts you were writing about? Why are these facts most important? What examples or details can you tell me about this character or these facts to make them more interesting to read about?

4. If your child is not writing much or is very young, then you can let a lot of conventions go right now in order to emphasize the importance of the process of writing. You can also let them write their paper and then go with them to the computer where you wordprocess their paper. Then spell check and grammar check it. The red and green lines in Word are helpful because then the computer is telling them what they need to fix and you are not telling them what they did wrong. (Need to fix is better than what did wrong.)

Concern: How do I evaluate writing? Many parents feel they are only qualified to correct mechanical conventions, and are completely lost when it comes to evaluating content. (Some know they must correct grammatical and spelling errors, but find when they do the end result is often a student who feels “I’m not any good at writing.”)


To avoid the problem of the “I’m not good at writing” look at your child’s writing and pick the three or four problem areas that are most important to you as the teacher. I figure you can always use a dictionary or spell check for spelling, so that doesn’t bother me as much. I can’t stand subject-verb agreement problems, though. Look for things that your child consistently or mostly has trouble with. Tell them that for the next x number of writing assignments, you will only be checking for those things in mechanics. Stick to that. When your child has mastered those, move on to the next few problems. They don’t really have to get everything right in every paper to be improving.

Give them writing projects which you don’t look at their mechanics. Perhaps buy them a beautiful journal and have them write in it for a certain length of time each day.

You can also have them count the number of words in each entry in the journal when they finish.. As they write more often, their writing will get longer. This is a simple and fun way to encourage their writing. However, if they already can write a lot, don’t have them count the words.

Across the curriculum writing programs have found that content is more important in subject sensitive areas. A paper for biology will be graded more heavily on content than on mechanics, for example. A paper for English will be graded more heavily on mechanics, since often the content is simply a vehicle for assuring that the student does in fact know the how-to’s of writing. That can help you determine evaluation.

When I grade my college students’ papers, I give two grades. One is for mechanical conventions (spelling, punctuation, grammar, paragraphing) and the other is for structure and content (type of essay, development, accuracy).

Since I have been grading college papers for over ten years, I have collapsed more elaborate grading schemes into something easier for me to handle. I do have a few samples of evaluation methods which are more specific.

Concern: A few times each year, I talk with a parent who has a child that writes enthusiastically, and she wants to know how to support her child’s interest. (I’ve noticed in a few cases the child does write A LOT, but the writing doesn’t really go anywhere. The parent is afraid that in correcting the student, s/he will become discouraged and stop writing altogether. They begin to wonder, “Can a parent really teach writing at home?)


A great poetry book, for teaching poetry, is Rose, Where Did You Get that Red? by Kenneth Koch. Another is A Celebration of Bees by Barbara Juster Esbensen. (This one is out of print, but I got my copy from the used dealers on Amazon and paid less than a new copy would have cost.) You do not need to know how to write poetry to use these. A child can use them alone, if they are a bit older.

One way to support your child’s writing is to provide them with special books in which they can keep their writing. Maybe a nicely bound lined journal would work.

Another thing to do for children who love to write is to think of ways to incorporate writing into your curriculum. Instead of having them answer the seven questions at the end of their science chapter, ask them to write a summary of the chapter instead. If they like to write stories, have them write the science experiment as if it were a story of the first time anyone ever conducted that experiment perhaps.

If they write well and enjoy it, then you can tell them that you will make copies of their favorite pieces and send them to grandparents with birthday or Christmas cards.

Another thing to do, to encourage re-writing, is to tell them that if they will re-write a piece fixing the grammatical errors, you will print it out to make a book out of the corrected writing. You can even have them bound at Kinko’s in varying degrees of nice covers.

An older child (high school) who is interested in fiction writing can read Orson Scott Card’s Character and Viewpoint and Browne and King’s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Explain that all authors read and most can use pointers. These two books are well worth the cost and can be the start of your child’s library on fiction writing.

Update: A really good post on this topic is at Jeannie’s Journal.

Three comments on homeschooling.

Homeschooling: Pros and Cons was just me letting off steam. However, I am still getting responses to it. Some well thought out and fascinating. Here are the most recent.

Children will socialize somehow. It is in our nature as human beings. The homeschool associations provide plenty of opportunity for socialization. The things I saw missing there were drugs, alcohol, and smokes, and cursing every other word. I saw children being children instead of pseudo adults: and no, I am not a home schooler or a religious fanatic or any of the other things some people seem to think are associated with homeschoolers. I am a granparent who was totally unhinged by the idea of my grandchildren being homeschooled. What I have seen and experienced with my grandchildren has changed my mind. They are learning what they need to learn and if they were any more socialized their mother would have to curtail it.

Louise [l_tippets@hotmail.com]


These comments and suggestions have been very eye opening for me. I would like to share my thoughts as well.

I went to public school for kindergarten and to a private school for first grade before my parents pulled me out to homeschool me. One of the reasons being that they did not agree with all of the material that was being taught in the schools. I will readily admit that homeschooling is not a piece of cake for the kids or their parents. It’s hard to get a well rounded education sometimes if the parent has not mastered the subject and so the students may fall short in some areas…be it math, chemistry, or even literature depending on the parent’s strengths. I will also concede that my first year at college was a bit traumatic….new teachers, lectures, taking notes, “speaking up” in class, dorm life, etc. However, I do not regret the way I was schooled, or the challenges I faced because of it. I feel that it was more important for me to be grounded in my morals, to retain my self esteem, and to be shielded from the negativity and peer pressure that inevitably occurs in school. My parents didn’t shelter me, they gave me the right perspective so I could make my own decisions. They gave me a foundation so I would not crumble when I went out into the “real world”. Yeah, it was unnerving at first when I started college, but I don’t know any other freshman who didn’t feel the same…public or homeschooled. What I’m trying to say is that the college experience is an adjustment no matter what. Maybe what I had to adjust to was different than the kids who went to regular school, but we all had to adjust. I’m a sophmore now and people are shocked to hear that I was homeschooled. I guess we’re finally breaking the stereotype. And for the record, I love college and have no problem with social skills. I’m a bit offended at the visitor who felt the need to make such blanket statements. Apparently they haven’t met too many homeschoolers. I know the homeschooler stereotype and crazy enough, I’ve met people who fit the stereotype to a T, but had never been homeschooled.

Because I had the grounding I did when I was younger, I feel that I had more discipline in my studies and didn’t flip out or drop out when I started school. I have fun with my friends, but I also have a gpa. I didn’t have to struggle with underage drinking, drugs, or sex because I was already convicted in these areas. My parents allowed me to grow strong in my morals and convictions as a child so I could face the world and not be swayed by the next cool person’s opinion. I will also say that I didn’t have the best math eduction or science for that matter. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t do it now or 10 years from now. I have been given study skills that taught me to “learn on my own” and I feel they’re invaluable. There are also so many more options and helps for homeschoolers now than when I was in school. Parents don’t need to “count their losses” if they can’t teach chemistry. Some states are jumping on the homeschool bandwagon and offering something like a charter school program. Teachers are available to help over the phone and a lot of the subjects are online or interactive. Some schools even offer a child to take one or two classes in the school..like chem. or algebra. Another option is community college. I have a lot of friends who went to community college after 8th grade. They were able to kinda “get their feet wet” with classes, etc. and a lot of their credits counted for their four year college. The socialization aspect has also changed as well. Statistically, homeschooling is on a major rise and is much more popular and accepted now than ten years ago. My siblings and I belonged to a homeschool group and took some tutorial classes as well. I don’t feel like I was ever stuck at home because I didn’t have any friends or I was unable to talk to kids my age.

I feel that being around people of such diverse ages (parents and siblings) actually gave me an edge. I feel like I can communicate better with people of all ages…yes, even my peers because I wasn’t limited to spending 5 hours a day with my own age group. Yes, spending all day with your family can get a bit tedious, but I also know that I learned in this area as well. Yeah, I fought with my brothers….but in time we learned to get along and now they’re some of my best friends. I believe that homeschooling has become so widespread that many concerns people have are obsolete. If a parent is willing to homeschool their child, I commend them. It takes much patience and perserverance, but I’ll tell you right now, it’s worth it.

Anna Marie________________________________________________

I am considering homeschooling my eldest child. What you have to say has been interesting. One question I have is have your children developed friendships with others their own age ?



France and Freedom of Religion

According to an international report there was no increase in France’s restriction on religion in 2002.

That’s good. In 2000 they went to town. According to this report the assembly passed a bill that legally dismantles unpopular religious groups and imprisons members who attempt to rebuild them.

The Council of Europe had this to say.

“The French Act of 12 June 2001 to reinforce the prevention and suppression of sects which infringe human rights and fundamental freedoms should be reconsidered and the act’s definitions of the terms “offence” and “offender” should be clarified, the committee believes – even though an expert report requested by the committee concluded that the law was not incompatible with the Council of Europe’s values. Ultimately, should the case arise, it will be for the European Court of Human Rights, and it alone, to say whether or not the law is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Kuro5hin has an interesting article on the “equality” enjoyed by those wishing to wear religious symbols while attending public school. These religious symbols include things which their religion requires be worn. I think that’s getting into restriction of religion, whatever anyone might try to say it is.

Diabetes alert

According to Reuter’s Health diabetes’ risk can be id’d easily.

“Identifying who is at risk of diabetes and a number of other health concerns may be as simple as measuring waist size, according to a new report.

U.S. researchers found that people who had relatively large waists and an excess of fats in their blood were more likely to also have diabetes or appear to be at risk of diabetes or other conditions, such as high cholesterol.

Consequently, a simple tape measure may be all the tools a doctor needs to identify people who need extra medical attention to ward off future health problems, study author Dr. Henry S. Kahn of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta told Reuters Health.”

Holiday 5

1. Do you enjoy the cold weather and snow for the holidays?

I do enjoy the cold weather. I love snow. But I live in the Houston area and there’s just not much snow here.

2. What is your ideal holiday celebration? How, where, with whom would you celebrate to make things perfect?

My ideal holiday celebration would be to have all my family on both sides come visit for about three days, eat at my house, hang out, talk. Then they would go away and my friends would come, four or five of them, and we’d have a girls’ weekend. Then they would go away and I would spend a week hanging out with my kids and my husband, preferably somewhere beautiful like the mountains in TN or NY. That’s not going to happen anytime soon.

3. Do you do have any holiday traditions?

Tons. My birth family has Mexican steak for the main meal. I love it. My husband doesn’t. Both sides open presents on Christmas eve. I’ve added stocking stuffers which don’t get opened until Christmas morning, just so there’s not a let down feeling when you get to the actual day… When the boys were little we would sit by the tree and read one Christmas book by the lights on the tree each Advent night.

4. Do you do anything to help the needy?

I always save toys and gifts and take them somewhere. This year our toys, new dollar type things, are going to Venezuela to an orphanage our church has there. Last year I took about twenty brand new stuffed animals to a center where kids who didn’t have presents could get some.

5. What one gift would you like for yourself?

To be out of debt.

Miserable failure

I think if I were voting for Miserable Failure, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Rodham-Clinton. I mean, she did sit there and talk through the 9/11 address the president gave. We got to watch that on national television. Really, being totally disrespectful to the president of your country and the dead is not exactly enough to get you “miserable failure.”

One of my students said, in a comment on marriage, that if you have made a mistake you should walk out. I don’t agree with that. I think if you were stupid, you should live with your stupidity. (As long as abuse and immorality are not in the picture.) So Clinton isn’t a miserable failure there either.

She did get elected to Congress from one of the most populous states in the nation. That certainly doesn’t make her a miserable failure.

But I hope that she does start inching towards the top in google lists of miserable failures.

See Gennie at Dizzy Girl for a complete discussion of this.

Good news for diabetics

Reuters Health reports that a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon will help diabetics. A study showed that taking just that much for forty days dropped glucose, fats, and cholesterol up to 30 points. That’s great news for diabetics.

It’s also good news for those who are potentially at risk for developing diabetes. Both my grandmothers had type 2 diabetes and so, supposedly, does my mother. I’m 41, a bit overweight, and I don’t want to go there. I’m sitting here trying to think what I can put cinnamon in or if I need to go by some sticks to boil for tea.

Ambivalence and a return to old successes

I feel as if there is a drain on me somewhere. Energy is flowing out and not coming back in. I haven’t done much, but I feel worn out.

I’ve done less than I normally do and I just don’t have any energy. Today I was driving home from my parents and had to fight to stay awake. It’s 8:15 pm and I am tired enough I think I would go to sleep if I tried.

There are several possible explanations. 1) On Sunday and Monday I was feeling sick-ish and the boys actually threw up for hours. So I might have been/be fighting off an illness. 2) I think I have a minor yeast infection. I’ve been eating yogurt with live acidophilus like crazy. (Or once a day, but for me that’s a lot.) 3) I weigh too much and it’s straining my body.

It could be all of those. I am doing the best I can about all of them. I am taking vitamins, eating right, eating yogurt, and doing BFL.

I started Body for Life back up last week.

As far as eating right, I’ve been on it ten days, with one lapse when the boys were sick and I was trying not to get sick. I was totally exhausted and drank sodas with caffeine to stay awake.

I have not been perfect with my workouts, but I have done six in the last ten days. I need to be more diligent than that.

I have lost one pound. That’s all. But I usually only lose a pound a week on BFL, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I could make it sound like more by counting the day I had soda, when my weight jumped up two pounds, and say I’ve lost two pounds, but really it’s just one. I do hope that I will have lost two pounds by next week, when my two weeks is up.

If I lose a pound a week, then I should weigh what I did this year on my birthday by the time my bday rolls around in March. It’s a goal. I don’t want to lose everything I’d gained. Thankfully, I was able to stop and go in the right direction before I was that bad off. I had thought I would do it if I gained five pounds, but I actually gained 15 pounds before I decided I had had enough.

I guess that’s better than some people. I know plenty of people who just keep going in the wrong direction.

Time lapse

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have written. It seems like I have not got much to say and that I am too exhausted to say what I might anyway.

In the last week I’ve given finals. Graded one set. Gotten my hair done- that took 5 hours, not including the two hour commute to the salon. And my boys were sick one day. Aside from that, though, I haven’t done anything really different. I am not sure why I have been so busy.


We are having a costume party. I want to go as someone elegant and sexy. Apparently that’s hard to do in a size 12 body. (Yes, I’ve slipped from my size 10, but I am doing Body for Life again.)

We went to a 20,000 sq ft warehouse and mostly what I discovered was that I would rather buy the clothes than rent them. They just seem dirty. Well, actually some of them were dirty. But they seemed rather old and tired. Something you would wear on stage that might look nice, but not when you are going to be hugging and kissing your guests.

I tried on six outfits. Two were too small. Four fit. Of the four that fit, I only liked two and one of those was torn up and needed to be repaired. I would love to wear it, but… I was so disgusted at the end that I just wanted to leave.

I think for $100 I could find a regular dress. But maybe not. We’ll see.

Christmas decorations

I spent $3000 and three weeks buying Christmas decorations last year. But they weren’t for me. They were for my folks’ house. My mother had an operation in late summer/early fall and had offered her home for the Christmas Tour. So it had to be decorated. It was absolutely fantastic, if I do say so myself.

I have some Christmas decorations, but they aren’t all the same kind and that is giving me fits. I’m not too picky usually, though I am getting pickier about the decor, but we are having a New Years party and if the decorations are still going to be up, I would like it to look nice.

First, I have a small collection of nativity scenes. Not many, but some.

Then I have a collection of about forty pewter ornaments which I love.

Then I have four nice wreaths.

Then I have a bunch of tins. But they don’t go with the stuff I have.

It’s kind of like I explained to my mother last year. When you have a small apartment, the decorations you use are a lot different than when you have a 4800 square foot house. (Two years ago they were in an apt. Last year in the big house.) As we have upgraded, house (3 years ago) and furniture (last 2 years, hand me downs from rich relatives) and art (gifts and several bargain purchases), the quaint homey Christmas decorations that worked great in our 1400 sq ft house don’t fill up or look as nice in our 2600 sq ft house.

I put lights on our tree and hung blue ornaments. It looks very elegant. And I love it. But it means there is nowhere to hang my favorite pewter ornaments. I have thought about buying a 4 foot tree and putting it in the dining room with apricot roses and ribbon and my pewter ornaments. (I can hear my husband scream now as he reads this.)

Of course, you don’t have to put out all your ornaments every year. It’s not necessary. My pewters will be there next year.

I am trying to teach my youngest son that all his stuff doesn’t need to be out. I don’t think he is getting that. I don’t know if my boys have too much stuff they don’t use or too much stuff they do use. Anyway, their rooms are full, closets and all. I need to figure out what to do about that, too. The reason it relates is that they each have a small tree and decorations. But you don’t even notice M’s because of all the other stuff in his room.

I am thinking maybe he needs a display shelf, but then how would he reach it to play with it. Maybe I just need to get him a big trunk, for a toy trunk.


I can’t believe it has been over a week since I wrote. Then again, it feels like forever since I wrote.

Wednesday afternoon, you know, the one before Thanksgiving, my mother called at 4 pm and asked if I could host the dinner. I said, yes, if I went to the grocery store immediately. She said goodbye and hung up.

So, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my own family of four, my parents, and my two siblings who were in from NC. Neither of their spouses ever come to family get togethers and my other sister went to see her in-laws. (There’s a rant on the site about that.)

I made turkey, for my hubby, and Mexican steak for the rest of my family. I made potatoes for my son and I and rice for the rest of my family. I made sweet potatoes for my husband. Also cranberry sauce for my mom. There was a salad that I don’t think anyone ate. There was garlic bread and regular rolls. For a family of eight we managed to eat 8 sticks of butter at that one meal. That’s pretty amazing. Scary, too.

I received sixty research papers from my students the week of Thanksgiving. I still haven’t finished grading those and I got another ten in this week, plus ten essays. I had another fifteen essays come in, but I graded those already because they needed to be handed back today.

My tree is up and it looks pretty. I think I’ll talk about decorations in another post.