Education reform is ruining my small talk for demos aged 7-9.
"What grade are you in?"
"Ooh. That’s the cursive year, right?"
"They don’t teach it anymore."
Erasable pens, what? How is a girl supposed to make conversation at a kid’s birthday party without that kind of lower-grade hallmark?
It’s a thing, I guess, inspiring blue-and-red lined pages of “Save the Cursive” screeds bemoaning the ding on the Ancient Greek pedagogy.
"Save the one R of the three Rs that isn’t an R!"
This isn’t that. Sure, it’s a bummer — especially if there are still kids out there like me. I was DYING to learn cursive. I come from a long line of distinctive penmans, and I just wanted my writing to look like my Uncle Michael’s everyday calligraphy, or my Mom’s example-ready writing. When I missed 3rd grade in the states and learned “joined-up” writing in England, I came back hampered. HAMPERED, I tell you. I didn’t know ANY of the capital letters, and I had no idea how to connect an “r” from the top shelf.
So, I practiced at home. (I also used summers to change my handwriting for the next school year based on pictures in ads and books, but that might mean I’m even crazier than originally written.)
I get it. I get the reflex to rally for the continuation of curriculum as you knew it. I was in the first class to be taught “Keyboarding” instead of “Typing,” a distinction I’m sure inspired as many PERL clutches — and which I maintain is the only vocational skill I was ever taught.
Here’s the beauty — you can actually teach your kids any skill you’d like.
Schools aren’t hermetically sealed laboratories with clean-suits you have to shuck at the door. Teaching can come outside! If your kid wants to learn cursive because they see you do it (Ahh, cursive champions? Will they?) or because you really want them to know it, by all means.
Have at it.
You might have a kid like me who was SO MAD she didn’t have a single capital L in her name.
I mean, I’d rather you had a normalish one, but eh. Everyone needs a signature.
USO Europe Home for the Holidays
I’m busy collecting stories like this one — and struck over and over, how the gratitude and generosity, both — make being a part of this program incredibly special.
I have taken Spinning in about half a dozen different places. And while I realize it’s an activity where you are absolutely in control of your own intensity, I have never felt like a class was going to make me die like it does here.
DAS IS ÜBER HARD, YOU GUYS. And yet, yesterday I wiped the butter off of my phone, and went anyway.
I wanted so badly to sneak a picture of the instructors legs this weekend, just because something so preposterous should be documented. It’s like he’s walking around on mature oak trees. Or eight-year-old children. I can tell he has the resistance on his bike cranked up because you can’t fake the appearance of gravity, but yet he retains the wherewithal to sling instructions like a fully-winded big band leader. It’s spooky.
That could be part of it too. Take your average command — now imagine that in German. It’s at least a hundred times more compelling. Add to that a cast of characters in full Tour de France bike gear, most of whom stay for both classes, back-to-back, and you start to make a case for some pretty heady Alpine peer pressure. Like the guy who is always on the front left bike, who looks like a Teutonic George W. with an earring — he makes every class a race that he wins. I can’t stop staring at him.
Oh right, and add the “German death metal as soundtrack.” That will get you through a few standing climbs. Putting the “pedal to the death metal,” and all that.
But what doesn’t kill you must be pretty good for the whole “base building” portion of getting ready for next summer’s race. Though it occurs to me it might be a good idea to start paying attention to heart rates and stuff. I’m nearly certain the third sport in a triathlon is not, “collapse while waiting for your turn at the paper towels and cleaning spray station.”
I mean, I could be wrong though.
Men run Hollywood, and men have a fantasy of themselves as a male superhero saving the world. Driving the car faster, killing more people. I think it’s a little bit boring, to be honest. I’m a little bit sick of watching millions of superheroes. Is it going to be, those are the only movies they make now? I hope at some point that audiences go, ‘Could you please tell us a new story?’
Heather Graham isn’t afraid of the Hollywood Patriarchy OR superheroes (or revealing her very favorite, most-used emoji.)
My conversation with her is on newsstands and available now.
Plus, a video from her Power Issue cover shoot.
Halls, decked — including lights on the front of the house that our neighbor spotted while he was out walking his dog, and approved of.
Historically, Christmas decorations have felt like clutter, and sort of like you’re just making a dreaded project for yourself come December 27th. But in this darkened land, where evening falls at 4 p.m. and even the days are dimmed by mist and cloud I WANT ME SOME TWINKLE LIGHTS. So, we decked.
Decked and Black Fridayed, of which our complete haul included:
- A discount box of bubble mailers.
- An Angel Tree contribution and a Toys for Tots gift.
We gave Frankie the toy to put in the bin, a Play-Doh Cupcake Factory. She looked at it. And at us. And at the bin. Patted it. And put it in, and toddled away.
I’d say that’s a pretty good start to the season.
What I forgot to mention, was that the recipe is also toddler vetted and approved.
Aaand that I had the cake for breakfast.
(But boy, my effort is nothing compared to the rest of the amazing submissions they got. GOBBLE.)
From the DELIGHTFUL Zoe:
It’s mostly semi-homemade, standard bird-free fare, with one very notable exception. The roasted carrots with sweet tahini dressing — OMC[arrots.]
I had seconds (thirds) of them INSTEAD of the pumpkin cran-cherry layer cake I made for dessert.
I guess someone else is cooking on account of the, “I would, but there’s a cat on my lap,” house rule.
Because when you’re busy being thankful, it’s important to have a reference point for your gratitude.
And because whatever your political or ethical opinions about government assistance, kids don’t get to choose their lot in life. Kids don’t have any actual agency to change their situation. And feeding hungry kids is probably a business the government should be in.
But there are other organizations helping too. You can help fight rural hunger and supplement the gap left by the free lunch program by supporting Blessings in a Backpack.
I’m very sorry, Thanksgiving. You are totally my favorite, I promise. It’s just that you’re taking SO LONG to get here this year, that even decorating for you seems sort of defiant.
A point staked with decorative gourds.
I really was shopping for stuffing and stuff today, but then there were tiny trees outside, and baubley wreaths, and compote from home and then it started to SNOW, so…
Sorry. The tree is up. Just think of it like a vertical horn of plenty! With twinkle lights.