Thursday, March 29, 2007

Random Thursday Thoughts

There's no sense in looking at my NCAA picks anymore. I'm in last place, 48th/49, well, except for the 49th person in the pool who didn't actually submit any picks. Thank you, sir, for that. I like this ranking better: 259,609 of 314,209 in all of FoxSports NCAA picks. Not as bad as I thought.

I am last in the NCAA picks and the Mets are in last place in the NL East in spring training. Now, anyone who knows Mets baseball, or any baseball, will tell you that March baseball is meaningless. It's spring and it's training. It's not April and it's certainly not October and, therefore, there's no need to worry. The grass is still brown. Worry when the grass is green. Don't worry now.

Even though we still don't have pitching. Even though we are losing what pitching we do have by the hour. Even though the remaining pitching is, well, old and subject to injury by virtue of their oldness.

Bah, I can't worry about that now. I had my son's middle school orientation tonight. Talk about oldness. Nothing makes you feel old like a middle school orientation. It was just for the parents and now I know why. Because the Principal tried to make us cry and he didn't want the kids to see it.

OK, maybe he didn't really want to make us cry. But some parents almost did. The biggest gasp came when he announced the school start time: 7:32AM. For the record, I am in bed until 7:41AM on school days now and can still wake the troops, feed them, pack lunchboxes and send them out the door for the 8:11AM bus. I am not confident this routine will work an hour earlier. For my son or me.

The second loudest gasp came when the Principal said the first of four lunch periods was at 9:45AM. Lunch at 9:45AM. Now, I like this new Principal. He's affable and down to earth and he talks fast like I do. But perhaps he doesn't understand what "lunch" is or where on the clock the lunch hour usually falls. Maybe he's still on the old daylight savings time, plus or minus an hour. Maybe it's like that "new math" that I don't understand. I won't worry too much that my baby will be starving by 1pm every day!!! My baby!!! Someone feed my poor baby!!! Ahem.

Third group gasp: they'll be home by 2:15. Ooops...I guess I should figure out that afternoon bus arrival thing before September, huh? Also, intramurals and after-school buses don't stop at your usual bus stop. Moms all over the room looked shocked.

The biggest, and perhaps only sigh of relief came when he said that the sixth graders have their own hall and don't oft intermingle with the (evil-mature) 8th graders. He did note that lunch was intermingled. What bad evil-mature events could occur at a 9:45AM lunch, am I right?

An astute parent noted the ridiculousness of one school counselor per 350 students. Perhaps they have a conveyor belt set up for this. "What's your problem? NEXT! What's your problem? NEXT!"

Parents left the cafetorium in a daze. More shocking than the early start time and myriad of middle school logistics, parents realized their babies are growing up.

They'll be no more cupcakes for classroom birthday parties. No more Mother's Day poems. No handmade Father's Day crafts. No special pizza parties before holidays. No Thanksgiving feasts. No paper superhero Valentines to buy and tape lollipops to. No more room moms.

His last Powerpoint slide said, "Parents: Don't disengage!"

Hey, let us bring cupcakes once in awhile and we'll stay engaged all you want.

I told a mom it was like weaning from breast feeding all over again. It aches to let them go.

I arrived home, armed with knowledge of a 6th-grader's life and a bit melancholy about the arrival of September. I arrived and there was my son, God bless him, sitting on the couch, watching cartoons, wearing a lion mask on the top of his head and eating potato chips from a red, plastic Clifford the Big Red Dog bowl. A little boy, still.

I shared with him all the info I gathered and he, too, breathed a sigh of relief when he found out that the evil-big 8th graders wouldn't be in his wing.

And then he hugged me.

Excuse me while I go staple the calendar shut to prevent the pages from turning.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunset Over LaGrange

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Sunset from Bruzgul Road

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Marist Women's Basketball Team in Dayton! Sweet!

Check out the Marist College women's basketball team today on ESPN at noon when they play Tennessee in the NCAA regional semis in Dayton, Ohio.

Lots of blog coverage by local writers including Sean McMann at the Pok. Journal and Ken McMillan at the Times Herald Record.

I'll try to get some blogging going on my sportsblog at FoxSports. (I still cannot believe Fox didn't ask me to go cover Marist in Ohio...their loss!)

I had this great idea for an interactive map for folks driving to Dayton for the game. Alas, the html for it was way over my head. Was able to find some fun stuff to do along the way, though. Read about it here and please, if you go to Esther Price chocolates, grab me a box of coconut chocolates. Thanks.

The Road to Dayton

I had a great idea for an interactive map for those traveling to Dayton for the Marist game on Sunday. Alas, it turns out I really stink at html. So here are the fun things to do on the way...if you get to Esther Price candies, please get me a box any chocolate with coconut in it, thanks.


The Birthplace of Aviation
Ester Price Candies Fine chocolates and confections...must have: chocolate covered potato chips!
Nation Museum of the US Air Force

The shop has a large selection of handmade & decorative papers; collage & bookbinding materials, embellishments and more. Workshops are offered in paper arts, bookbinding, collage, calligraphy, jewelry & altered books.

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium Over 6,000 animals representing over 700 species, this zoo was made world famous by its ambassador, “Jungle” Jack Hanna.

Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum: The Museum is more than just a wide range of motorcycles on display, its goal is to tell the stories and history of motorcycling.

Akron, Ohio: Pro Football Hall of Fame

Cleveland, Ohio: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Punxsutawney, PA: Just 20 miles south of Brookville on Rt. 36, home of the beloved seasonal-prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Dan Leader, South African Whole Grain Bread Project

My new article is up on the Poughkeepsie Journal site about Boiceville baker Dan Leader and the South African Whole Grain Bread Project. He's developed a great program to help HIV/AIDS victims in South Africa.

Baker Doing His Part to Feed the World
Poughkeepsie Journal, Sunday, March 4, 2007
By Carolyn Torella

Ask 10 people what makes a "good loaf of bread" and you'll get 10 different answers. Ask a baker and he'll tell you it depends, of course, on what type of bread you're talking about.
Ask HIV/AIDS advocate Gail Johnson in Johannesburg, South Africa, and she'll likely tell you good bread is any bread made by Dan Leader, of Bread Alone Bakery.

At first glance, Leader's work as a baker might seem simple enough. Get to work early, combine wholesome ingredients, add love and patience, then sell your day's work; simple loaves of bread.

But very soon, Leader's work will take him far from the flour-dusted floors of his Boiceville bakery, to South Africa, on a journey that is anything but simple.

In early April, he will set up a bakery in Johannesburg through the South African Whole Grain Bread Project, or SAWGBP, a project conceived by Leader and his partners, retired physician Neil Ratner and his wife, Leann, of Woodstock. (read more...)