The Lydster: more empathetic

There was a Washington Post article in April 2017, The simple idea to make kids more empathetic? Get them reading the news. It’s about a specific program sythesizing the news.

One of the things I tried to protect the Daughter from was the news. I thought I was watching it when she was busy doing other things. But at some point, when she was eight or nine, I noticed she was picking up on stories. Moreover, she was aware of them at a level that I knew that her classmates were not. And that is still true.

I must admit this is a curse she has inherited from from her father, who was reading op/ed columns in the local paper at 9 or 10. William F. Buckley and Jack Anderson and the like was on my reading diet.

Following the news, she became more aware of the candidates for President – she hated Chris Christie, loved Bernie Sanders – and more of them than 90% of American adults.

I tried very hard not to inculcate her with my pain about race in America. Yet the evidence in the news, with only some minor clarification from me, really informed how she saw unarmed black men getting shot. I really didn’t want her to have to know about this, but it’s out there.

She has participated in walks to fight hunger. She has contributed money to help shelter animals. She really does have a good heart, which would probably embarrass her, but so be it.

I think that she will be a good citizen. She’ll follow the issues and she’ll always vote. At this point, I can’t see her ever running for office – at some level, she is very shy – but i can imagine her working behind the scenes for a candidate she supports. And perhaps she’ll surprise me.

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The Lydster, Part 129: I Don’t Like Reggae

dreadlockholidayThis will surely shock some of you, but one day, I was singing a tune while sitting at the computer that just popped into my head. I couldn’t even really remember it, except for a chorus: “I don’t like reggae (oh, no), I love it (ooo yeah.)” Don’t own the recording, couldn’t even remember who performed it, and I may have misremembered the lyrics.

As it turns out, the song was called Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 128: Weird Al

weirdalThe Daughter was introduced to Weird Al Yankovic on the release of his July 2014 album, Mandatory Fun, which opened at #1 on the Billboard charts, the first comedy album since 1963 to top the charts. She went away for about a week to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in mid-August, spending time with her 13 y.o. twin cousins, and she comes home a Weird Al maven.

This is not a bad thing, mind you. I’ve been following the musician’s career for about three and a half decades, back when it was primarily him playing the accordion on songs such as My Bologna (parody of the Knack’s My Sharona) and Another One Rides the Bus (take on Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust) Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 127: Watching the news

NEWSFor her first nine years, I sheltered the Daughter from watching the evening news, viewing it after she went to bed, or before she got up in the morning. Sometimes, I’d watch it while she was in the other room.

Turns out that she is preternaturally interested in these things. Moreover, she develops opinions about them that did not necessarily come from us. Ferguson, MO made her aware that it’s a little scarier being a black child in America than she previously thought. The death of Palestinian children during the conflict with Israel made her angry. And she has great antipathy for Russia’s Putin.

Sometimes, she shows off her knowledge. Continue reading

The yard sale

yardsaleLet me state that I generally hate yard sales, garage sales, and the like. Specifically:
*I don’t like going to other people’s sales, especially when they put out things that are, to quote Oscar the Grouch, everything “ragged and rotten and rusty.”
*I don’t like having our own sale, because it involved going through lots of our own stuff. It’s time-consuming and enervating.
And most of all:
*I HATE bringing back into the house the stuff we decided to sell, but it didn’t.

Yet we (OK, the Wife and the Daughter) agreed (and I accepted the decision) to have a yard sale on September 6. The logic of that date was that it would be after school began, but before the fall got going in earnest. Continue reading

The 9/11 Memorial

Memorial-PoolAfter 9/11/2001, I had only been in Manhattan once that wasn’t in passing (train station to Charlotte, e.g.) and that was seeing a musical in 2003. I had never been particularly close geographically to Ground Zero, despite living less than 160 miles away.

When Rebecca (niece #1), her husband Rico, and a couple of their friends came out from California to NYC around Thanksgiving 2013, one of them items on the Californians’ agenda was to see the 9/11 memorial.

The museum exterior was at the site, but not yet open. Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 125: The homework tradeoff

LydiaGREENThis is what I think about The Daughter’s homework:
1) It’s often too much, in terms of time
2) It’s too often taught to these bizarre Common Core standards so that she might know the answers to the questions, but doesn’t know how to show it the way THEY want her to

Yet:
3) I found it odd that she could earn a homework pass, for one subject, if she brought it ten returnable bottles and/or cans.

Generally speaking, she has three areas of homework Continue reading

Going batty

bigbrownA friend of mine recently saw a bat on his screened-in back porch. He ducked out onto the “porch where said bat was pinwheeling in the air madly,” opened the door, and the creature departed.

From having bats in our house EVERY YEAR from 2002-2007, I find that my racquetball racket was good at stunning bats without hurting them, putting a cardboard box over the creature, some sort of plastic or metal tray underneath, take ’em outside, then kick the box away.

My friend expressed concern that with brown bats near extinction Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 124: the acrostics

acrosticThis past year, for spelling, there was this predictable pattern for the homework of approximately 20 words.

Monday: put the words in alphabetical order. Sometimes tricky when you have six words starting with st
Tuesday and Wednesday: write ten sentences each night, using the spelling word. The sentences, more often than not, involved the cats; “Perhaps Stormy and Midnight will be friends.
Thursday: take one word and make an acrostic out of it. This is something I never had to do, but she got into it.

With her permission, nay, insistence, some of The Daughter’s acrostics, in no particular order. All (c) 2014 Lydia Green.

Curved,
Is
Round,
Cylinder,no
Lines,
Ends where it begins
Continue reading