Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Riley update: we haven't even had our new puppy for a month yet, and already he's a staple in our family. Jenna seems to really like him, though Hope still avoids him for the most part. He's well-trained and learns quickly. He likes the vents in the floor that blow cool air, and will often lie down beside them. Whenever he's in the car, he insists on being in the front seat so he can feel the cool air from the vents. Unlike Jenna, the windows aren't good enough for him. He discovered the cat door, but is very much afraid of it. He also discovered the air conditioning unit in our backyard, and barked at it for awhile, until he decided it wasn't posing a threat to anyone. A housefly got in tonight, and Riley watched it for awhile, unsure of what it was. He chews through most of the toys we buy him, including a plastic ice cream cone, a plastic shoe, a stuffed green doll, and one other squeaky toy. He can be rambunctious at times, but for the most part, I have no complaints.

In other news, school starts in two days. Wow. I've got logistical club stuff coming out of my ears. AHHHH. And I babysat for Mr. Grunden's two-year-old daughter the other night. It was a wonderful and pleasant experience. That's all that's been happening lately. I promise to write a very intriguing post next time...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I realized recently that I haven't posted any sort of explanation of flex committee on my blog. Actually, the true flex committee hasn't done much this summer (we've only had one meeting). But I'm also part of the interdisciplinary subcommittee and we've met a handful of times this summer. Two other kids, Mr. Grunden, Ms. Huddleston, Ms. Chalifoux, Dr. Marschall, Dr. Brown, Ms. Warren and I make up this subcommittee.
We are creating a new flex day that will start in the 2006-2007 school year and run as long as there is still available time and interest in its continuation. It is designed so that, while it is a "themed flex day," it is also unique to each grade level, so freshmen entering RCHS in the fall of 2006 will experience four different activities (one each year) that are all linked.
Each grade level's activities are based on the idea of "paradigm shifts" through history and in our personal growth and development. A paradigm shift is defined as "a significant change from one fundamental view to another, usually including a discontinuity of the original fundamental view or practice." Each grade level focuses both on one moment in history and on one major "milestone" in personal development. We have identified four major steps for change: pressure, resistance, change, relfection.
Freshman year: Freshman year, students will be focusing on 500 B.C., which was a major time in the development of communication and also religion. Written language developed, as did the belief in an unseen higher power, which was a switch from the common practice of worshiping statues and other tangible items. For personal development, students will focus on how their lives changed (their social patterns, their view of the world, their confidence level, and their ideas and beliefs about community/family/groups) when they started kindergarden.
Sophomore year: Sophomore year, students will focus on the Enlightment as a major change in the way people viewed authority, community, religion and science. They will explore the roles of the social classes and how change is brought about. For personal experiences, students will examine how their lives, views, ideas, morals, likes/dislikes, social patterns, and attitudes toward authority changed when they started middle school.
Junior year: Junior year, students will focus on the ways in which society underwent a change in the beginning of the 20th century (give or take a few decades). Many areas of life were changed during this time: music (rise of atonalists), art (decline of the impressionists), dance (rise of modern dance, fall of classical ballet), politics (with the influence of people like Marx), philosophy (Kant vs. existentialism, Nietzche), science (Darwin and evolution), psychology (Freud), etc etc etc. Students will also look at how their perspectives, social patterns, lifestyles, and attitudes toward authority changed when they entered (and continued through) high school.
Senior year: Senior year, students will focus on the future, and discuss/debate questions like: are we in the middle of a paradigm shift right now? If so, what is it? If not, when do you perceive the next one to be coming? Why? How do we or how will we know when we are? What will it look like? Will there be resistance to a shift in thought or way of life? Do we prepare ourselves for a shift? How? Why? In 100 years, what shift will they say was taking place right now? Students will also examine their own lives. Who do they want to become? How can they make that happen? Why do they want to become that person? Who are they afraid of becoming?

On these flex days, students will not simply sit around and be asked these questions. The questions and ideas posed will be intertwined with an engaging activity in which the students examine the paradigm shifts in a new way, and really think them through. I'll blog about the actual activities later.

If students (or adults I suppose) read this, I'd love to hear comments. The adults on the committee really want us three students to get a feel for whether or not students would like this kind of thing, so please leave your feedback (good and bad) by clicking on "comments." Thanks.

Friday, August 12, 2005

About my last post--- I changed my mind. As exciting as it would be to go where so few have gone and to explore an entirely different world outside of this one, I can think of a lot better things to do with 100 million dollars like feeding the starving populatoins of the world, or funding further research into cures for AIDS and cancer. Okay, I'd still like 100 million dollars so I could put it to good use. And I'll still dream of seeing outer space, other than through a telescope, and I'd still love to go to the moon. But somehow, I can't help feeling that spending that amount of money is a waste when there are people who don't have a place to live, or even enough food each day.

School countdown: 13 days

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Now this would be a super-awesome summer vacation! Just imagine what you would write for one of those back-to-school narratives where the prompt is "How I spent my summer vacation"! Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures Ltd, says that his company is "planning a new mission: rocketing rich people around the dark side of the moon." There are actually two different vacation itineraries for these trips that could be taken, the company says, as early as 2008. Wow. Check out the link!

Now all I have to do is find 100 million dollars...ideas? How about a fund: Lindsay's-trip-to-the-moon-fund. Haha. Actually, it says a round-trip ticket is 100 million dollars...maybe I could just stay on the moon!?

Oh well. I kinda like it here on earth anyway.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I stole this from my wonderful friend Katie, but I'm sure she won't mind! Thanks, Katie! :)

Ten years ago, I...
1. was seven
2. was going to be in second grade
3. was going through my parents' divorce
4. had only moved twice
5. was afraid of thunder storms

Five years ago, I...
1. was twelve
2. was in middle school
3. was on the school newspaper staff
4. had moved eight times
5. got Jenna, my golden retriever

One year ago, I...
1. was working at Carmike Cinemas
2. had just gotten back from my first out-of-country trip
3. was going into 11th grade
4. lost a good friend in a car crash
5. had just won a national dance competition, which would be my last time participating in dance

In one year, I ...
1. will be going off to college
2. will be able to vote
3. will find out just what true independence feels like
4. will be an official RCHS alumni
5. have a new beginning, and the rest of my life ahead of me

Yesterday, I...
1. started filling out my online application for American University
2. went to the gym
3. got to see one of the sweetest 7-year-olds in the world
4. played with my new puppy
5. bought and organized school supplies (one of my most favorite activities)

Today, I...
1. went shopping
2. sang out loud in public just because it's fun
3. found out one of the kids I babysit for has an infection and is in the hospital (and has been for five days...she's fine, but she'll have to stay there for about another week)
4. played with my puppy some more (and with Jenna too)
5. won two auctions on Ebay

Tommorrow, I will...
1. babysit
2. go to the gym
3. dogsit
4. finish my summer reading
5. play with my puppy and with Jenna even more

Someday, I will...
1. travel the world
2. make a difference
3. (hopefully) run for president
4. publish a novel
5. be a mommy

Friday, August 05, 2005

Riley update: He's doing wonderfully. He barked at the vacuum today when I was cleaning, and he wasn't thrilled when I left him inside while I mowed the lawn. And we have this singing frog stuffed animal that I showed him tonight. He was definitely perplexed by it (to say the least). He follows me around all the time now...even if I just go to the next room, he's right there behind me. We're working right now on new tricks: roll over and speak. He and Jenna have adjusted well to being around each other. Despite the age difference (Jenna is 6), they rough-house all the time, fighting over toys, playing tug-of-war, chasing each other, and fake-biting. The only one who hasn't adjusted is Hope, our cat. But that's to be expected. We have to keep them separated because Hope views Riley as aggressive when he barks, and he barks louder and stronger when she hisses at him. He's officially mastered the "puppy face" and I'm a complete sucker for it (and he knows it too!). He doesn't really get into much trouble, but when he does, I can't stay mad at him long because he just gives me THE FACE and I melt. Oh well. He's still unsure about the whole backyard thing and insists that someone be out there while he does his business. Once he's finished relieving himself, he races back inside. Unlike Jenna, he doesn't seem to enjoy just hanging out in the yard, playing, digging or whatever.
He's got some sores from wherever he was staying before he came here and they're concerning us...we can't figure out why they're there. They are not located in areas where he could have scratched or bit himself and caused these sores. It's odd and disconcerting. I'm sure we'll talk to the vet about them in two weeks, when he goes in for his heartworm pill.

It's official. I have my first over-night babysitting job Labor Day weekend. I'll be with two kids for two (very long) days. They are ages 2 and 4, and it should be okay. I really do adore these kids and I've known them since...forever. I mean, I've stayed overnight before by myself, even in other people's houses when I was house sitting...but never while being responsible for two kids. The mom told me (when she asked if I was free that weekend) that she wouldn't trust anyone else to do No pressure or anything. I'm sure it'll be fine.

That's about it for now...I'm starting to get pre-school year jitters, and the college thing is actually starting to sink in as far as applying and actually going somewhere. Wow.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Riley Update: Riley is doing wonderfully, and is learning the ways of our household (and plenty of new tricks, as well) very quickly. He still loves socks and cries only occassionally when put back in his crate when we leave the house. The crating will stop after we're positive that he's completely housebroken. For the most part, he is. It's just that if he gets get the idea. He's still fascinated by the swiveling office chairs and uses them as his own personal amusement. He hasn't quite figured out how doors work yet, though. The fact that they can enclose him in or lock him out of an area is very perplexing to him, as is their ability to swing back and forth. He spent most of today finding his voice: he barked at the neighbor's kids who were running between our yard and theirs. He barked at Hope, our cat (who, by the way, still hates Riley and hisses at him ALL the time). He barked at the fireplace too, even though it wasn't on. All in all, though, he's really easy-going and sweet. I don't understand why someone gave him up in the first place--- he doesn't get into stuff, and he's obedient and smart. (Yes, I am very, very proud of my little puppy).

I've been thinking about college a lot lately, and I've decided that the idea of "the rest of my life" totally freaks me out and I am more worried about it than I thought. I'm not worried about getting into a school. I'm not worried about the workload. I'm not afraid of being long distances from my family, or of having true independence. I think I'm afraid because I don't have a "plan" for the rest of my life. Up until now, my life's been pretty much decided for me--- I had to go to school until I was 16, and my mom made sure I stuck with it even after that (not that I would drop out...I actually love school). The county decided where I went to school, and for HS my mom decided that one, really. Everything's been pretty much dictated by the adults around me. College is my choice. I have to choose one. Choose a major. (a minor). I can go to grad school or not. I get to choose where to apply to work. etc etc etc. I'm afraid of choices, I think. I'm afraid I'll choose wrong. Or that I'll choose right and screw up. I'm almost positive I want to major in history (BA in History) and get an MA in secondary education and teach. But I don't want to teach forever. Just for a few years. But then what do I do with a history degree? I've thought about med school after a stint in teaching, but I don't know if I want to go to school forever...I want a chance to settle down and have kids. This is all very overwhelming to me...not that any of you who read this care...but that's what's been on my mind.

I came up with this idea that I really want to pursue. There's this little park over by RCHS, kind of bordering the Mordecai neighborhood. Hope Elementary uses it sometimes for recess, but it's too small for all of those kids and it's kind of run-down. I want to get permission (from whoever-- the city or Hope Elem-- owns it) to take it down and rebuild a bigger, newer playground for the kids, as well as some benches and flowers to spruce the place up. Now all I have to do is get permission and then convince other people to help me in this endeavor--- and of course hopefully get company donations (we'll give them a plaque built into the wall at the park) to help cover costs...too bad it'll never actually happen. My dreams are always better and nicer than real life. Bleh.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It occurred to me after my last post that anyone who read that Riley is a black lab-golden retriever mix might envision some sort of golden, blackish...i don't know. He's not. He looks like a black lab, but the people at the adoption center said he was a mix. He's my baby boy. Being a doggie-mommy the third time around is much easier than the first two times. With Jenna, when I was in sixth grade, she was only 8 weeks old when we got her. She cried all night for a few weeks. Riley sleeps through the night, knows lots of tricks (sit, lie down, shake, spin, fetch, and he knows to go in his crate when we tell him... and he even pees on command. Now that, my friends, is a talented dog). Mysti, who I got when I was in 8th grade, is a Yorkie, so she was really tiny when I got her. We had to regulate her food intake like crazy becuase she was so small, and she was diabetic, and the day before we picked her up, she went into a diabetic coma at the house where she was born. So both of my first two experiences with raising puppies were stressful and difficult, but I love Jenna and Mysti sooo much. (Of course, I had already been taking care of my two other dogs when Jenna arrived: Finney and Max). Riley loves his toys and likes to snuggle. He just discovered the the office chair beside the computer desk spins. He got halfway on it, and started spinning around. And seeing him on the hardwood floors makes me laugh because he slides across them farther than he walks.

Now...about D.C. We went up to D.C. last Thursday, and we visited American University that afternoon. Everyone says that when I walk onto the "right" college campus, I will have an AHA! moment, and know once and for all that I was meant to go to that college. I haven't had that moment yet (I've only been to see four...) but I had what I guess is a quazi-AHA moment at American. (And of course, I would love living in D.C.) One of my favorite things about American is their history department and course offerings-- my favorite class that I've seen so far is one that is held during the summer. It is a study of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the students actually travel to Japan to hear victims' testimony and visit the sites. How cool. Another great aspect of being at one of the D.C. colleges (AU, GWU, and Georgetown) is that if you are enrolled in one of the colleges, you can take classes at any of them.

Anyway, while in D.C. we went to the History Museum, Ford's Theater, the Spy Museum, ChinaTown, and toured the monuments. We also visited the house where Lincoln died and toured Georgetown. The funniest moment on the trip was when we passed this pair of elderly couples on the sidewalk (two men, two women who were probably in their eighties). One of the women, apparently the one in charge, was yelling at the men and pointing at them one at a time, saying "You didn't follow instructions. And you (turning to the other) didn't follow instructions..." that was all I heard...but it was quite the sight.