Sunday, November 4, 2018

What a Waste

This past week was quite hectic with a few nights of getting home later than usual so I did not take the dog out on her regular long walk on Wednesday or Thursday.  When I walk the dog the long route, we pass by the mailbox, and I pick up mail.  Since we didn't go by on those two days and since it's not conveniently located, I didn't pick up Wednesday's or Thursday's mail until we walked by Friday after work.  With the midterm elections quickly (thankfully) approaching, we are inundated with campaign ads both on TV and through the mail.  The junk mail is bad enough when we're not in election season, but when we are it's not a good idea to skip mail pick up.  It doesn't seem so bad when it's picked up and tossed out on a daily bases.  After three days accumulation, it's appalling.
There are 21, mostly full color, campaign mailers in this picture.  The majority of them are the size of a regular sheet of paper or larger and all are double sided or have several pages.  A few are different ads for the same candidate or proposition.  I know that there has to be some kind of positive result for candidates to keep sending these out, along with paying the expense of them, but I feel like they are really a big waste of money and paper. As a fairly knowledgable voter, these do absolutely nothing to sway my vote (and even less so since I already voted last week) and really only further irritate me on the waste of money that is a political campaign.  I don't know if junk mail like this is helpful to the undecided voter in the internet age.  I wish they'd eliminate it as it seems like such a waste.  What's your take on campaign mail?  Does is sway you?

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Odds and Ends

Tomorrow is Halloween!  Personally, I could take it or leave it as a "holiday".  Being that it falls during the week is the part I like least about it.  It's not the 31st that is really the problem but rather the day AFTER halloween when you are a teacher.  While I don't mind an hour or two of "celebrating" on the day of, dealing with sugarcoated tired little kids for 7+ hours the next day is NOT my idea of a good time.  I have a pretty good group this year, so fingers crossed that they don't completely lose their minds (or that I don't lose mine) on Thursday.
For years, I've been saying I want to get a proposition on the California ballot (it only takes 350,000 signatures) to celebrate Halloween on the last Friday of the month rather than on whatever day the 31st happens to fall on - which is the day before a school day 5 out 7 times!  Just this past week, I read an article that there is an online petition on change.org for making that move.  Actually, theirs is moving it to Saturday.  Friday is a much better choice...more days to recover before going back to school or work, but I'll take a Saturday over a Wednesday any day.
Speaking of Halloween articles, I read one this weekend about some towns making it "illegal" for children older than 12 (some 14, some 16) to go Trick-Or-Treating.  I don't know how I feel about this.  When I used to man the door for trick-or-treaters back in the day, I will admit it was a little irritating to have some 6 foot 4 ninja, zombie, or trench coat wearer show up at the door and take the candy you bought for the little ones.   However, if they weren't causing trouble or being mean or nasty to the little kids, who really cares.  Kids 12-15/16 are at that odd age where they are thought of as too old to don a costume and trick-or-treat, but they aren't really old enough to party either.  If the older kids want to celebrate by going door-to-door for candy, I'd prefer that to them TPing or vandalizing the neighborhood.
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tillamook

The trip this summer was mostly about the beauty of the Oregon Coast, but we did make a few educational (and in this case yummy) stops, one of those was the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  The city of Tillamook sits west of Portland on Tillamook Bay.  Located on the bay and also having 5 rivers, the city is known for fertile land and mild temperatures which makes for happy cows.  Not as happy as California cows of course.  The dairies there are part of a dairy cooperative called the Tillamook County Creamery Association, and the Cheese Factory is where they produce their cheese.  They have recently added a modern visitors' center which was a fun way to spend an hour or two.
When driving through town, the factory is hard to miss.
 The factory used to allow visitors onto the factory floor, but in the late 60s that was (thankfully) stopped due to safety regulations.  Now you can view some of the factory from a viewing area up above.
 Here they were checking cheese blocks for correct formation.  Those in the bin behind the checker were not acceptable.  Those were then sent to the cheese shredder for bags of grated cheese.
 This area wrapped the finished cheese in its packaging.
 The best part of the self guided tour was that it ended with cheese samples.  I can't say for sure, but we might have spent A LOT of time in this area.  Duh.
 The new visitor center has a huge food court with all things made from dairy.  A vegan or someone lactose intolerant would have been very sad at this food court.  Since I'm neither, it made me happy.  We had taken our time in Cannon Beach that day, so by the time we arrived at the factory is was dinnertime.  We had planned to share some cheese curds and macaroni and cheese - healthy stuff!  Sadly, the cheese factory was OUT OF cheese curds, so we just had mac and cheese.  It was very good.  But the ice cream was even better.
We still had a little over an hour drive to the next stop in Newport, so we couldn't spend too much time eating dairy products.  Tillamook was a quick but fun stop.

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Big Difference

When I arrived at school yesterday morning at 7:00, it was 58 degrees.  When I left school at 4:00, it was 107.  Almost a 50 degree difference in temperature.  When the hot weather comes, we are not usually so cool in the mornings.  Must mean fall is here!


Sunday, September 16, 2018

A School Chuckle

Spending most of my life at school with little kids means I experience chuckles, giggles, eye rolls, and belly laughs on quite a regular basis.  Some are funny enough to share...
Last year, the state of California passed a new Ed Code law that went into effect this school year requiring Title I (low income) public schools to provide feminine hygiene products in at least 50% of the restrooms on campus.  Research has shown that girls who come from low-income homes are likely to miss school several days each month due to their family's inability to afford these products.  The state will reimburse schools for these products.  While this is not something I have experience with since I teach the little kids, I have several colleagues in the upper grades who purchase these products, along with other hygiene products like deodorant to help out their students who need them.  So while this requirement may seem trivial, there certainly is a need for it, hoping to keep kids in school.
As with most things in public education, passing the law seems like the easy part.  Actually implementing the plan isn't always easy.  Our facilities department was tasked with putting the storage containers with the product into the restrooms.  Facilities is known for showing up to work on a project and leaving before anyone ever sees them, but the project isn't always executed correctly.  We have three multi-stall girls' restrooms on campus.  There is one in the main building, one in the breezeway between the main building and the playground, and one in the new building.  Facilities put those containers in the main building and the breezeway restrooms.  The only problem is the upper grade students don't use the restroom in the main building.  The main building houses kindergarten and first grade classes only, and therefore the restroom in there is for those kids.  The new building houses all the 3rd-6th grade classes, and that building's restroom didn't get any containers.  And since the teachers are always the last to know about anything, the only reason we were aware of the new products was because the first graders found them.  Upon the daily cleaning by the custodian, it would seem the little girls thought of them as good wall decor items as he found them stuck all over the walls.  A work colleague of mine recounted when a couple of his first grade girls came back from a restroom trip with them stuck to their hands and clothes, proudly announcing to the class that there were "stickers in there!".  Their innocence is so cute!  Imagine going through your life thinking they are stickers and then finding out what they are really for.
Anyhow, since then, the product has been removed from the main building's restroom and put into the new building and a quick information meeting between the district nurse and the upper grade girls has been scheduled.  Both good plans, but thankfully they were put in the wrong place to start or we never would have been able to laugh about the 'stickers".  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

No Way!

Yesterday, the results of the 2018 Harris Poll were released.  The Harris Poll is a national poll that identifies the brands which consumers most identify with and consider the "best".  Because it is a national poll, regional or local brands aren't really included.  Some might question the "best" label on these brands when there might be local or regional brands that are better.  But it would make sense that the ones most commercial and most widely known would be chosen.  It would make sense except for one category...BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT.

I would have to STRONGLY disagree with that claim, as would our local TV station.  Having lived my life in Southern California, my experience with Mexican food is based on really good, homemade, authentic (minus the lengua or tripas) Mexican food.  In my travels across country, the norm is that the further away I get from home, the less authentic and the more "Taco Bell" the Mexican food becomes.  In fact, when I lived in New England, Taco Bell WAS where most people got their Mexican food.
While this is not a knock on anyone who likes Taco Bell.  Fast food is fast, convenient, and has its place.  But to claim it's the best Mexican food is insane.  It is barely Mexican food at all, let alone the best.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Coast, Part 2

After leaving Astoria, we spent the next couple of days in Seaside and Cannon Beach.  This was by far my favorite area visited on the trip.
Seaside is a fun boardwalk town known for its sunsets.  We were in between Seaside and Cannon Beach and mostly Seaside in the evening so I have only a couple of pictures from there.  We had one of the best meals at an Italian restaurant in Seaside, but sadly (or not) no pictures.  Sunset was beautiful, even with the clouds that rolled in.
Along the boardwalk, these street lights have sea life decor like this starfish.  They are so pretty.
While Seaside is a lot of fun, Cannon Beach was the town I enjoyed the most.  It is so quaint and pretty and quite different than the other beach towns in Oregon. 
Cannon Beach's beach is well known due to its Haystack rock.  
 The beach is just beautiful!
 One thing I loved about the Oregon Coast was that you'd be in the forest surrounded by trees, and just on the other side the cliffs drop to the ocean.  It is much different than the Southern California Coast which is mostly flat with very few trees.
Cannon Beach was the only town in which I could see myself living.  Who knows, maybe some day.