Life, Love, Long Hair, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, and other mysteries

All this and more, from a semi-Serbian, slightly sane, former editor for physicians and surgeons, who is the mother of seven kids.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Sliding Into an Old Friend

The following is the record of a fun moment for me, in a Facebook group for people who grew up in East Vancouver. I lived my first nine years there. Some good memories occurred.

Because it is from a public Facebook group, and very few people read my blog anyway, I haven't altered the names.

Brenda-Lee Anne I sure do !!! I got hosed down on rainy days.... lol Had Mrs. Miller for kindergarden

Gino Pellizzari So did I. Early 70s

Brenda-Lee Anne I had her in 72/73

Christine Lewis Miss Miller was my kindergarten teacher, too. Woulda been about 1972. My mom then became a teacher's aide for her.

Christine Lewis Brenda-Lee Anne I don't remember a Brenda-Lee... Maybe we were in opposite classes, with the morning and afternoon shifts.

Brenda-Lee Anne Christine Lewis thats my birth name .changed to that 4 yrs ago.. I was Susan Jensen back then

Christine Lewis Susan!!!!!!!!!!!

Christine Lewis You were my friend! You lived on East 1st!!! I was Christine Spasic.

Brenda-Lee Anne Christine Lewis yup.. thats me.. !!!omg !!! hahaha

Christine Lewis Your mom drove you to my house in a red station wagon to play one time.

Brenda-Lee Anne Christine Lewis Omg !!!! you remeber that ????

Christine Lewis Yep! I remember so much, but some things are faded.

Brenda-Lee Anne Christine Lewis i just sent you a friend

Christine Lewis I will see if I can find my kindergarten class photo. If I remember correctly, you were wearing a navy blue jumpsuit.

Brenda-Lee Anne holy crap woman!!! you have one hell of a memory... hahaha

Christine Lewis Will go accept! I actually tried to find you on FB before, but with no idea you had a different name.

Brenda-Lee Anne this is like tje show ... ""This is your life"" hahaha

Christine Lewis LOL!!! Yeah, really. I expect Guy Smiley to come running out... well, after he untangles himself from the curtains, of course. 🤣

Brenda-Lee Anne Christine Lewis 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Christine Lewis Wow, what a trip! So cool to have run into you, Brenda-Lee/Susan! I gotta get going, but look forward to catching up with you!

Brenda-Lee Anne Christine Lewis me too !!! buzz me when you got time !!!

Kostas Nikolaou Christine Lewis you have an amazing memory . Its like you were the facebook of the 70's for our area

Christine Lewis I think it helped keep memories alive by talking with my mom and my sister about them.

(Original location of the discussion, if you want to see it)

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Intentionally Incomplete

"Take you a glass of water

Make it against the law.

See how good the water tastes
When you can't have any at all"

-Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Bootleg"

. . . . .

How universal is it to desire that which you do not possess?

Is it in every human heart to admire beauty, overtly or covertly, regardless of how much one already has?

Is it an empty space of longing that was allowed with a purpose, ready to be fulfilled in a dimension where jealousy, pain, and offense of all kinds are nonexistent, and peace, joy, and love are rampant?

Is desire a prerequisite to fulfillment that will only come when we are in perfected bodies, not decaying, not breaking, able to handle the weight of holding everything we could want, sinless, selfless, and furthermore having the capacity to enjoy it to the fullest?

Meanwhile, we live in a state of not fully living, and we continue to die.


Too much gravity to fly, yet not enough gravity to be held down.

Swimming in the lusts of our flesh.

 Sometimes caving in and regretting, sometimes walking away and regretting, and sometimes feeling temporarily satisfied.

We admire, desire, and crave.

Those eyes, that hair, those arms, that mind, that car, that truck, those shoes, the sun, the heat, houses, land, gadgets, tools, travel, companionship, intimacy...

We steal, we kill, we destroy.

It's not just me.

I don't want it to be!

So universal.

We thirst.

And we continue to thirst.

Then, sometimes, when we get what we want, we find that it wasn't as perfect as it seemed.

Temporary ecstasy amidst temporary pain, not willing to endure the strain.

Almost living, always slowly dying.


-  intentionally, really -


Monday, 24 September 2018

Small Dogs

I had a bit of an attitude about small dogs. I'd only ever had larger dogs, like black Lab size.
I figured small dogs were annoying, yappy things.

And they were uncool.

Especially when people put clothing on them or took them into stores.

Then a 2-1/2-year-old Pomchi named Bear needed a home. A friend suggested him to me. I met him and thought, "Well, he's kinda cute. Maybe I'll give him a try."

After his first night here, I woke up angry from hearing his sharp barking. I wanted to give him back to his foster family and say it isn't going to work.

But my kids really wanted him. I decided to try one more night. I put him in a cat kennel we had, and he slept silently by my bed all night.

From then on, 16 months now, we have been inseparable.

Large dogs have lost their appeal. I now adore small dogs - especially Bear.

"Where have you been all my life?" I say to him, and he seems to say it back.

I love my Pomchi more than words can say.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

My Pomchi Was Attacked

I was standing in front of our shop while W backed the four-wheeler up to a trailer. Eleven-year-old J came out with our little Pomchi, Bear.

I looked down the pathway to the greenbelt behind our property and saw nine-year-old C walking by with her friend, T, from the neighbourhood. They waved and said something, but they were a bit too far away for me to hear it, so I just waved back.

A minute later, Bear went running through the gap in the gate, barking madly. There is no point calling him back as he does not listen. I heard him bark and bark and bark as he ran behind our yard and out to where the girls were, behind a stand of aspen trees to the right behind our shop.

Then I heard the girls start screaming.

I wasn't sure if they were just goofing around, but when the screaming got louder and more frantic, I ran toward where they were and yelled, “WHAT IS GOING ON? WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING?”

They just kept screaming and didn't answer.

I ran back toward the gate where Bear had squeezed through. W heard me screaming and he ran to the fence, leaped over it, and ran down the path to the greenbelt.

I was slower climbing over the fence in my Uggs slipper boots. I called back at J, “Shut the four-wheeler off!”

As soon as my feet hit the ground, W came back into the pathway with C close behind him. There was so much noise and panic going on, I couldn't tell what he said. I heard him yell “DYING!”

I screamed, “WHO'S DYING? WHAT???”

C was sobbing loudly and screaming, “BEAR! BEAR! OH, MY POOR BEAR!”

“WHAT? WHAT? WHAT HAPPENED TO BEAR?” I screamed, scared half to death.

Then I saw Bear lying limp on his side in the path in front of W.

I didn't get an answer but I shrieked “NOOOOOO!” when I saw him.

I ran to pick up my little dog, refusing to accept he could be dead.

Bear sprang to his feet and limped off rapidly in front of me. He ran through the gap between the old broken gate and the fence post, on up toward the house.

“He's going off to find a place to die,” I thought.

I got over the fence and ran after him, finding him under the lilac tree by the front of the house.

I spoke softly as I crouched down, reaching in to attempt to pick him up. “Bear... Bear... come here, sweetie. It's okay...”

He gave me a sharp growl and backed away. I thought, “I need to get into the house and phone the vet right away.”

I left Bear under the tree and ran through the basement door, with my other dog, Nova, leaping around beside me, chasing me like it was play time.

“Take the dog! Take the dog!” I ordered J and C, who were close afoot. I couldn't have a hyper puppy potentially upsetting Bear if she were to try to play with him. I didn't know what was wrong with Bear at this point, having not seen any blood or heard the story from C.

J took Nova up to her kennel.

C ran back outside to check on Bear. Soon she yelled, “Mom! Bear's over here!”

Bear was on our back deck. I felt relief knowing he was able to climb stairs.

Behind me, I saw T's dad go running across our yard. I still didn't know what happened at this point, if there was a bear outside, attacking T, and somehow my dog managed to get away, or what.

“What happened? Why is Bear injured? Where is his injury?” I asked C.

C was crying as she pointed to his side and said, “That's where T's dog bit him. He picked Bear up like he was a chew toy and shook him. Bear landed on the ground and just lay there. I thought he was dead!”

I approached Bear on the deck as he sat motionless by the sliding glass door, staring at me with his big dark chocolate-chip eyes, waiting to go into the kitchen.

I tried to pick him up, but he backed away, not wanting to be touched. I saw his wound. There was no blood, but a patch of fur had been torn clean off, right above his right hip, leaving pale pink skin exposed and bulging. His paws and under-belly fur were a bit wet and sprizzly from having been in tall grass.

C opened the sliding glass door and Bear went straight in and lay down under the kitchen table. I went to my cell phone and called the vet's emergency number. I stepped out to the deck and spoke with the answering service staff member, who told me the on-call vet would get back to me within five or ten minutes.

I ran upstairs to get Bear's kennel and brought it back to the kitchen. Then I crawled under the table to try to get him. He allowed me to pick him up. I placed him in front of his kennel's open door and said “kennel”. He walked in and lay down in a cinnamon bun shape, staring out at me with his big black eyes.

He wasn't doing his usual excited quivering. He was very still. That worried me.

T's mom, L, came running through the kitchen door, nearly crying as she said, “Oh my gosh, I am so upset! Is Bear okay? My daughter KNOWS not to let the dog off the leash. She is in so much trouble!”

As we talked about the incident, looking at Bear as he lay quietly in his kennel, my phone rang. It was the vet. She asked me some questions about his condition. I described it as best I could. She ensured that he was able to turn his head, open his eyes, wasn't breathing differently, etc. She instructed me on what to do to check how his blood was circulating, as an indicator for or against internal injuries. I pressed up above his top front teeth for a few seconds, then released my finger. The white spot left behind by the pressure quickly turned back to the usual pinkish black of his mouth. That was a good sign.

While I talked to the vet, Bear got up and walked to the stairs leading up to the bedrooms. L, C, and I followed him. He went to his favourite corner on top of a pile of clothes I save up till there are enough to bring to the thrift store. It is dark and out of the way. He knew he needed that little private spot.

In the end, the vet told me to clean the wound and then apply either chlorhexadine (which we didn't have), Betadine (which we also didn't have), or chamomile tea or black tea (of which we have heaps).

“You mean like Earl Grey?” I asked.

“Yes, that will work,” she said.

L had some saline wound cleaning spray at her house, so she ran home to get it.

The vet told me basically to watch and wait. If any changes of concern happened, such as Bear becoming lethargic, I should get him in to the vet at once, but for now, he was good to lie quietly and rest.

When L came back, I sprayed some cleaner on his wound. I was worried the feeling of moisture landing on his wound would make him cry out, but I was relieved when he didn't even flinch at it.

Over the next few hours, various family members and I checked on him frequently. We brought his kennel back upstairs and led him to it.

For the first couple hours, Bear was very still. Maybe he was in shock. He didn't want any water. He didn't even want to lick my hand or my arm, which normally he does eagerly. We brought him his favourite food – cheese – but he had zero interest in it. He didn't even want to sniff it. He just lay there looking at us, right past the cheese.

After a few hours, when C and I were checking on him, C said, “We should do a cheese test on him!”

“Ah, yes. Good idea. Let's do the Havarti test,” I said.

I went down to the kitchen and opened the cheese drawer in the fridge. Bear usually comes running when he hears that drawer open. I cut off a hunk of Havarti and headed back, running into C with Bear on a leash halfway down the stairs. I'm not sure if Bear ventured out because he heard the cheese drawer or if he didn't want me to be away from him. When I offered him some Havarti, he still wasn't interested.

We led him back to his kennel and left the cheese in front of him. We offered him some water in his little dish, but he didn't want any. He did, however, lick my fingertips after I'd dipped them in his water bowl. That, too, encouraged me.

That is where it stands right now. He is still lying on his side in his kennel, looking out at me when I look at him. No tail wagging yet. No excited quivering. I keep praying for my beloved little dog to heal up. Having him hurt hurts me more than I can describe.

Bear sat motionless in his kennel

The wound is above his right hip

More of a close-up of the wound

Bear went upstairs to the bedroom
UPDATE: Next day, Monday, September 24, 2018

I woke at 3-something in the morning, worried about Bear. A few hours later, I got a message from a friend I've known since we were ten years old. She told me she had put $250 on Bear's account at my vet's office.

If I hadn't been so tired, I would have cried.

My 9-year-old, CHL, and I headed up to the vet, an hour's drive north on the highway. We stopped to meet my oldest daughter, N, at work on the highway expansion project. She, as well as one of my other daughters who is also away from home, is worried sick about the dog that captured our hearts.

The vet told us she needed about an hour to shave Bear's fur around the wound so she could do a better assessment, and she recommended an x-ray. She warned us of the possibility of exploratory surgery if indicated.

CHL and I went out to do errands for an hour, then returned to relatively good news: There was no need at this juncture for surgery. Oral antibiotics and painkillers were provided, and wound care instructions were given, along with chlorhexidine wash and ointment.

The bill total was $267. And it turned out my friend added another $250 to Bear's account later, just in case, and so it was more than covered.

I am speechless with gratitude, tired beyond words, and silently praying that this dog that brought me necessary healing will himself be healed.

Bear rests in his kennel literally at my feet

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Consider Keeping Your Child From School

I saw this on the internet, written in 1999 by someone I don't know. It is a compilation of quotes that I believe are worth weighing when one is considering whether or not to allow their child to be involved in compulsory schooling or to keep them at home in the care of parents or guardians who love them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The reasons WHY many of us are working to deschool society is summed up nicely by the following collection of quotes are from "The Freethinker's Guide to the Educational Universe -- A Selection of Quotations on Education" Compiled by Roland Meighan, and published in 1994 by Educational Heretics Press, 113 Arundel Drive, Bramcote Hills. Nottingham NG9 3FQ:

My grandmother wanted me to have an education so she kept me out of school. -- Margaret Mead
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -- W. B. Yeats

When you take the free will out of education, that turns it into schooling. -- John Taylor Gatto

What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. -- George Bernard Shaw

Education is a weapon, whose effects depend on who holds it in his hand and at whom it is aimed. -- Joseph Stalin

The boy must be transformed into the man; in this school he must not only learn to obey, but must thereby acquire a basis for commanding later. He must learn to be silent not only when he is justly blamed, but must also learn, when necessary, to bear injustice in silence. -- Adolf Hitler

The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority. -- Stanley Milgram

The best learning happens in real life with real problems and real people and not in classrooms. -- Charles Handy

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things. -- Plato

Much of our expenditure on teachers and plant is wasted by attempting to teach people what they do not want to learn in a situation that they would rather not be involved in. -- Cohn Ward

It is the great triumph of compulsory government monopoly mass schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers, and among even the best of my students¹ parents, only a small number can imagine a different way to do things. -- John Taylor Gatto

Nobody grew taller by being measured. -- Philip Gammage

When I was teaching in school, a man came to a parents¹ meeting and complained about the extraordinary mount of testing we were doing. His words went right to the heart of the matter: ³You¹re like a gardener who constantly pulls his plants up by the roots to see if they¹re growing.² -- John Holt

No teacher ever said: Ã…’Don¹t value uncertainty and tentativeness, don¹t question questions, above all don¹t think!¹ The message is communicated quietly, insidiously, relentlessly and efficiently through the structure of the classroom: through the role of the teacher, the role of the student, ... the doings¹ that are praised or censured. -- Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought. -- Bertrand Russell

Schools could become as obsolete as steam trains or paddle steamers. -- C. Everett

School is the Army for kids. Adults make them go there, and when they get there, adults tell them what to do, bribe and threaten them into doing it, and punish them when they don¹t. -- John Holt

My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself. -- George Bernard Shaw

Home-schoolers as a rule have no quarrel with teachers. My own parents are both teachers; I¹ve seen a lot of work that teachers do, on their own time and out of their own pockets. Our reservations are about the system of schooling -- not the people who are doing their best within it. -- British Columbia Home-schooler

Do not confine your children to your own learning for they were born in another time. -- Old Hebrew Proverb

From my earliest memories of school (going back some 60 years) right up to the present, I am struck by how recurrent are the standard complaints and how little things change. Students are still locked into classrooms, still chained to desks, still herded through lessons that are far from reality and cruelly indifferent to individual differences in brains, background, talent and feelings. -- Gene Lehman

Obedient children go willingly to the trenches. -- Arthur Acton

Whatever their claims, schools are training most young people to be habitually subservient. -- Chris Shute

Education is indoctrination, if you are white - subjugation if you are black. -- James Baldwin

Of my two handicaps¹, being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black. -- Shirley Chisholm

We can no more ordain learning by order, coercion, and commandment than we can produce love by rape or threat. -- Peter Jones

American kids like watching violence on TV and in the movies because violence is being done to them, both at school and at home. It builds up a tremendous amount of anger... The problem is not violence on TV. That¹s a symptom... The real problem is the violence of anti-life, unaffectionate, and punitive homes, and disempowering, deadening compulsory schooling, all presented with an uncomprehending smile. -- Jerry Mintz

The prevention of free inquiry is unavoidable so long as the purpose of education is to produce belief rather than thought, to compel the young to hold positive opinions on doubtful matters rather than let them see the doubtfulness and be encouraged to independence of mind. Education ought to foster the wish for the truth, not the conviction that some particular creed is the truth. -- Bertrand Russell

Thousands of caring, humane people work in schools, as teachers, and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic; it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell. -- John Taylor Gatto

Children are people; they grow into tomorrow only as they live today. -- John Dewey

School is established, not in order that it should be convenient for the children to study, but that teachers should be able to teach in comfort. The children¹s conversations, motion, merriment are not convenient for the teacher, and so in the schools, which are built on the plan of prisons, ... are prohibited. -- Tolstoy

There is nothing on earth intended for innocent people so horrible as a school. To begin with, it is a prison. But in some respects more cruel than a prison. In a prison, for instance, you are not forced to read books written by the prison warders and the governor. -- George Bernard Shaw

We no longer have to force-feed education to children: they live in a world in which they are surrounded by educative resources. There are around 500 hours each of the schools¹ television and radio every year in this country. There are several million books in public libraries. There are museums in every town. There is a constant flow of cheap or free information from a dozen media. There are home computers which are easily connected to phones and thus other computers...There are thousands of workplaces... There are... the old, the disabled, the very young all in need of children in their lives, all in need of the kind of help caring and careful youngsters can give, and all of them enriched sources of information about the world, and freely available to any child who isn¹t locked away in school. -- Richard North

The justification for school in its present form no longer exists. -- Philip Toogood

Deep in my bones I remain convinced that ultimately it will be the deschoolers who are proved right, and that far in the future our descendants will view the whole concept of the school with mirth and disbelief. -- Gerald Haigh

We may get our way but we don¹t get their learning. They may have to comply but they won¹t change. We have pushed out their goals with ours and stolen their purposes. It is a pernicious form of theft which kills off the will to learn. -- Charles Handy

It used to worry me that, as a teacher, I was engaged in what was essentially microscopic fascism. -- Chris Shute

Many parents I know put more hours into their golf games, or their wardrobes, or into accumulating enough capital for the purchase of unnecessary luxuries, than into their child¹s education. Because they are still children themselves, it simply does not occur to them to take an active role in their children¹s learning. -- David Guterson

There must be in the world many parents who, like the present author, have young children whom they are anxious to educate as well as possible, but reluctant to expose to the evils of existing educational institutions. -- Bertrand Russell

Getting it wrong is part of getting it right. -- Charles Handy

Truth springs from argument amongst friends. -- David Hume

The current education system has been hijacked by reactionaries and the emphasis on academic subjects has produced education that is mediocre, generally exhausting and virtually worthless. -- Mikell Billoki

The schools this country needs today must be institutions which abandon any and all attempts to limit the free pursuit of knowledge that every child, and every adult, engages in naturally, without any outside goading. -- Daniel Greenberg

The spontaneous wish to learn, which every normal child possesses, as shown in its efforts to walk and talk, should be the driving force in education. -- Bertrand Russell

Using school as a sorting mechanism, we appear to be on the way to creating a caste system, complete with untouchables who wander through subway trains begging and who steep upon the streets. -- John Taylor Gatto

To learn to know oneself, and to find a life worth living and work worth doing, is problem and challenge enough, without having to waste time on the fake and unworthy challenges of school - pleasing the teacher, staying out of trouble, fitting in with the gang, being popular, doing what everyone else does. -- John Holt

Most criticism of the old education, and the old concepts it conserves and transmits, from Paul Goodman to John Gardner, makes the point that the students who endure it come out as passive, acquiescent, dogmatic, intolerant, authoritarian, inflexible, conservative personalities who desperately need to resist change in an effort to keep their illusion of certainty intact. -- Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

The skilled teacher, when a pupil is entrusted to his care, will first of all seek to discover his ability and natural disposition and will next observe how the mind of his pupil is to be handled ... for in this respect there is an unbelievable variety, and types of mind are no less numerous than types of body. -- Quintillian on Roman Education

Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it be called. -- John Stuart Mill

I believe that the computer presence will enable us to so modify the earning environment outside the classroom that much, if not all, the knowledge schools presently try to each with such pain and expense and much limited success will be learned, the child learns to walk, painlessly, successfully, and without organised instruction. This obviously implies that schools, as we know them today, will have no place in the future. But it is an open question whether they will adapt by transforming themselves into something new or whither away and be replaced. -- Seymour Papert

The new education has as its purpose the development of a new kind of person, one who - as a result of internalising a different set of concepts - is an active, inquiring, flexible, creative, innovative, tolerant, liberal personality, who can face uncertainty and ambiguity without disorientation, who can formulate viable new meanings to meet changes in the environment which threaten individual and mutual survival. The new education, in sum, is new because it consists of having students use the concepts most appropriate to the world in which we all must live. All of these concepts constitute the dynamics of the question-questioning, meaning-making process that can be called learning how to learn. -- Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

If personal quality is to be preserved, definite teaching must be reduced to minimum, and criticism must never carried to such lengths as to produce timidity in self-expression. But these maxims are not likely to lead to work that will be pleasing to an inspector. -- Bertrand Russell

The only real object of education is to leave a man in the condition of continually asking questions. -- Tolstoy

Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist. -- John Taylor Gatto

Education is a Good Thing because man has an insatiable appetite to learn and understand and because prominent amongst the joys that console him on his earthly journey is the joy of communicating to others, and especially to the young, what he has learnt and understood, and even more, how he managed to come by the learning and understanding. -- Enoch Powell

The antithesis between a technical and a liberal education is fallacious. There can be no adequate technical education which is not liberal and no liberal education which is not technical. -- Alfred North Whitehead

There is, I believe, actually nothing more powerful to say about education than this: that all people, however young or old, have an enormous drive and capacity to learn; that many aspects of typical schooling get in the way of this, partly by assuming that the reverse is true; that learners really start to explore and exercise their potential only as they take charge of their lives; that the most effective teachers trust learners, enhance their self-esteem, have no need to control them, provide an unconditional support which doesn¹t go too far, and value all types of intelligence in all areas of learning. -- Paul Ginnis

People must be educated once more to know their place. -- UK Department of Education official responsible for National Curriculum planning

A school, like a fascist state, is about the business of compelling people to conform to a pattern of behaviour and a way of thinking decided by the few who hold power over them. -- Chris Shute

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. -- Derek Bok

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

The adults of today spent twenty-five hours of their young lives learning quadratic equations, with varying degrees of success. Was it time well spent? -- Philip Gammage

School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know. -- John Taylor Gatto

School is necessary to produce the habits and expectations of the managed consumer society. -- Ivan lllich

When we put together in one scheme such elements as a prescribed curriculum, similar assignments for all students, lecturing as almost the only mode of instruction, standard texts by which all students are externally evaluated, and instructor chosen grades as the measure of learning, then we can almost guarantee that meaningful learning will be at an absolute minimum. -- Carl Rogers

Assessment, more than religion, has become the opiate of the people. -- Patricia Broadfoot

A child born in the U.K. stands a ten times greater chance of being admitted to a mental hospital than to a university ... we are driving our children mad more effectively than we are genuinely educating them. -- R. D. Laing

The aim of education is to induce the largest amount of neurosis that an individual can bear without cracking up. -- W. H. Auden

Do we create conflict by conditioning our children to pledge their allegiance, obey and defend their country without question? ... Or is he or she, by the very face of his or her commitment to and identification with the fragmented nationalistic view, paradoxically the enemy of peace? -- Terrence Webster-Doyle

All sorts of intellectual systems -Christianity, Socialism, Patriotism etc., - are ready, like orphan asylums~ to give safety in return for servitude. A free mental life cannot be as warm and comfortable and sociable as a lift enveloped in a creed. -- Bertrand Russell

School has become the replacement for church in our secular society, and like church it requires that it teachings must be taken on faith. -- John Taylor Gatto

Show me a man who has enjoyed his schooldays and I¹ll show you a bully and a bore. -- Robert Morley

The starting point is wonder, curiosity and the joy of discovery, which external compulsion is more likely to extinguish than ignite. -- Philip Coggin

The most beautiful thing in the world is, precisely, the conjunction of learning and inspiration. Oh, the passion for research and the joy of discovery! -- Wanda Landowska

I have never allowed schooling to interfere with my education. -- Mark Twain

Here is another curiosity to think about. The home-schooling movement (USA) has quietly grown to a size where one and a half million young people are being educated entirely by their own parents; ... the education press reported the amazing news that children schooled at home seem to be five or even ten years ahead of their formally trained peers in their ability to think. -- John Taylor Gatto

What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. -- John Dewey

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in its students. -- John Ciardi

Education with inert ideas is not only useless; it is above all things harmful. -- Alfred North Whitehead

A child educated only at school is an uneducated child. -- George Santayana

Education is an admirable thing but it as well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. -- Oscar Wilde

The authority of those who teach is very often a hindrance to those who wish to learn. -- Cicero

It follows logically from the banking notion of consciousness that the educator¹s role is to regulate the way the world Ã…’enters into¹ the students. His task is to organise a process which already happens spontaneously, to Ã…’fill¹ the students by making deposits of information which he considers constitute true knowledge. And since men Ã…’ receive¹ the world as passive entities, education should make them more passive still, and adapt them to the world. The educated man is the adapted man, because he is more Ã…’fit¹ for the world. Translated into practice, this concept is well suited to the purpose of the oppressors, whose tranquillity rests on how well men fit the world the oppressors have created, and how little they question it. -- Paulo Friere

The hard task of education is to liberate and strengthen a youth¹s initiative and at the same time to see to it that he knows what is necessary to cope with the ongoing activities and culture of society, so that his initiative can be relevant. It is absurd to think that this task can be accomplished by so much sitting in a box facing front, manipulating symbols at the direction of distant administrators. This is rather a way to regiment and brainwash. -- Paul Goodman

It is an iron law of education that rigid systems produce rigid people, and flexible systems produce flexible people. -- Roland Meighan

It is absurd and anti-life to move from cell to cell at the sound of a gong for every day of your natural youth in an institution that allows you no privacy and even follows you into the sanctuary of your home demanding that you do its Ã…’homework¹. -- John Taylor Gatto

The 145 year-old system we are still trying to use after 145 years of failure must be scrapped and replaced. Small improvements, even if attainable, will not stave off collapse. -- Leslie A. Hart

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it. -- Jacob Brownowski

Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college. -- Lilian Smith

This intelligence-testing business reminds me of the way they used to weigh hogs in Texas. They would get a long plank, put it over a crossbar, and somehow tie the hog on one end of the plank. They¹d search all around till they found a stone that would balance the weight of the hog, and they¹d put it on the other end of the plank. Then they¹d guess the weight of the stone. -- John Dewey

The lesson of report cards, grades and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents but should rely instead on the evaluation of certified officials. -- John Taylor Gatto

People who can¹t think are ripe for dictatorships. -- Carl Rogers

What good fortune for those in power that people do not think. -- Adolf Hitler

Good teaching is that which leads the student to want to learn something more. -- Paul Goodman'

I deeply believe that traditional teaching is an almost completely futile, wasteful, overrated function in today¹s changing world. It is successful mostly in giving children who can¹t grasp the material, a sense of failure. -- Carl Rogers

It¹s not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It¹s a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life. -- John Holt

The wish to preserve the past rather than the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young. -- Bertrand Russell

But, good gracious you¹ve got to educate him first. You can¹t expect a boy to be vicious till he¹s been to a good school. -- Ã…’Saki¹ (Hector Hugh Munro)

The immediate case against compulsory school for adolescents is quite simply their barbarity: it is a triangle of hatred, humiliation and contempt. -- Frank Musgrove

True education does not quiet things down, it stirs them up. It awakens consciousness. It destroys myth. It empowers people. -- John Holt

Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading. -- George Macauley Trevelyan

My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellects. -- Robert Maynard Hutchins

Happiness in childhood is absolutely necessary to the production of the best type of human being. -- Bertrand Russell

That children do not come to school by choice is another terrible indictment of our whole educational. system. -- John Kirkbride

There is no point ... in learning the Ã…’answers¹ for very soon there will be different answers. -- Paul Goodman

The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things. -- G. K. Chesterton

The greatest challenges facing both the arts and education are how to navigate the perilous course between adventure and discipline; how to respond to tradition without either becoming its slave or rejecting it. -- Robert Corrigan

All my own work as a teacher and learner has led me to believe that teaching is a very strong medicine, which like all strong medicines can quickly and easily turn into a poison. At the right time (i.e. when the student has asked for it) and in very small doses, it can indeed help learning. But at the wrong times, or in too large doses, it will slow down learning or prevent it altogether. -- John Holt

A boy will toil uphill with a toboggan for the sake of a few brief moments of bliss during the descent; no one has to urge him to be industrious, and however he may puff and pant he is still happy. -- Bertrand Russell

Schools have not necessarily much to do with education ... they are mainly institutions of control where certain basic habits must be instilled in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school. -- Winston Churchill

The education of today is nothing more than drill ... children must become accustomed to obey, to believe, to think according to the social dogmas which govern us. -- Francisco Ferrer

Ã… much of so-called Ã…’discipline¹ is founded on unusual and extraordinary behaviour patterns which prepare children for nothing much. The result is either a rejection of all adult authority as meaningless, or a blind acceptance that it is adults or others who tell you what to do, and you need not work it out for yourself. -- Lynn Davies

I owe more to my ability to fantasise than to any knowledge I¹ve ever acquired. -- Albert Einstein

To be caught up into the world of thought - that is being educated. -- Edith Hamilton

We don¹t need no thought control. -- Pink Floyd

The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. -- Gloria Steinem

The ultimate victory of tomorrow is democracy, and through democracy with education, for no people in all the world can be kept eternally ignorant or eternally enslaved. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

All to often, in debates about education, the basic questions are ignored in favour of mere technical issues. We should always begin by asking, Ã…’What are we educating for?¹ Ã…’What sort of people are we expecting to produce?¹ Ã…’What kind of society do we envisage?¹ -- Clive Harber

Children who are lectured to, learn how to lecture; if they are admonished, they learn how to admonish; if scolded, they learn how to scold; if ridiculed, they learn how to ridicule; if humiliated, they learn how to humiliate; if their psyche is killed, they will learn how to kill - the only question is who will be killed: oneself, others or both. -- Alice Miller

The only form of society which facilitates the continued evolution of the human species is a democratic form of society, and furthermore, the development of such a democratic society is dependent to a large degree on the democratisation of schools and schooling. -- John Dewey

Democracy is not genetic. It is learned behaviour and it can equally be unlearned if education does not operate with democratic values, principles and methods. -- Clive Harber

Not only do students in school spend very little time working together, but in many cases they are actually working against each other in competition for grades. -- Susannah Sheffer

What the world now needs is not competition but organisation and cooperation; all belief in the utility of competition has become an anachronism. ... the emotions connected with it are the emotions of hostility and ruthlessness. The conception of society as an organic whole is very difficult for those whose minds have been steeped in competitive ideas. Ethically, therefore, no less than economically, it is undesirable to teach the young to be competitive. -- Bertrand Russell

Why not make schools into places in which children would be allowed, encouraged, and (if and when they asked) helped to explore and make sense of the world around them ... in ways that most interested them? -- John Holt

What we can learn best from good teachers is how to teach ourselves better. -- John HoIt

Among all the leading figures of the Third Reich, I have not been able to find a single one who did not have a strict and rigid upbringing. Shouldn¹t that give us a great deal of food for thought? -- Alice Miller

It gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them. -- Adolf Hitler

Schools learned long ago that the way to keep children from thinking is to keep them busy. -- Everett Reimer

It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. -- Albert Einstein

Instead of a National Curriculum for education what is really needed is an individual curriculum for every child, within common guidelines maybe, but given expression in a formal contract between the home and the school. -- Charles Handy

The only form of society which facilitates the continued evolution of the human species is a democratic form of society and furthermore that the development of such a society is dependent to a large degree on the democratisation of schools and schooling. -- John Dewey most schools should be resource centers for parents as they school their children... libraries, tutors, social centers, gymnasiums, meeting places.
But the idea of a teacher standing in front of a classroom "talking" to students is just absurd.
What a useless way to spend ages 6 to 18!

Monday, 3 September 2018

Sometimes Songs Let You Cry

"Sometimes people say a song made them cry when they mean a song let them cry."

I saw that quote on Twitter and couldn't get it out of my head all day.

I immediately thought of the song "My Immortal" by Evanescence.

I first heard My Immortal in 2004. I looked it up because it was on a list of songs my second child, CJ, then aged 10, had asked her younger sister, SF, to download for her when she came to my house.

CJ, formerly sharing a close and loving relationship with me since her birth, was deeply entrenched in a campaign of hatred against me, fed by her father (and his supporters) after I escaped from him. For over two years, she refused to visit me or even speak to me without hateful words. I soon found out there is a name for what was happening there: "Parental Alienation Syndrome". Though PAS is not an actual health condition, it is nonetheless a broken state of being that is not healthy for a child's development.

It is not healthy for the alienated parent, either.

Something inside of me got broken.

That was a long time ago, and the situation is better now. My daughter grew older and wiser, and she realized that the things being said about me were untrue. She learned to make her own choices, and has returned to me.

But for years, every time I heard "My Immortal", I'd take a deep breath and subconsciously ask myself, "So, are you going to make it through the song without crying this time?"

I'd nod my head and inwardly say, "Yes, I can do this."

I'd get through the nocturne piano intro played in the key of melancholy minor.

"I'm so tired of being here..." the female voice would sing.

"Suppressed by all my childish fears..."

And I'd daze out a bit, until it built into:

"These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase..."
That was as far as I could get before the fight began to be lost.

"When you cried, I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream, I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me."

I'd think of so many times that I held my crying little girl, wiping tears from her face... and then I'd be wiping my own.

A sign of humanity.

Somewhere along the line, enough tears bled from my wounds to allow some kind of scar to form. Today I purposely tested it. In a somewhat noisy house, as the song filled my ears, I didn't cry, but I still felt the tracks of those tears, like tire ruts wanting to pull me in.

However, as I listened again later, while writing this blog post, when all was quiet and I was alone,  tears filled my eyes.

Still human.

I had to turn the song off because I don't want to cry right now.

Actually, I never want to, even though I understand some of the science and spirit behind its necessity.

Other devastations have happened over the years. My Immortal has been replaced by different songs that want to all but drown me. The songs start to play and I quickly switch them off, sometimes accompanied by a whispered "No. It hurts too much."

But maybe I need to listen and weep.

I've written a lot about tears in posts on another blog I have over at Wordpress. Here is a link for some: Posts that deal with tears .

And here is something (this link) written by a gentleman whose books helped me greatly in recovering from some traumas, Lundy Bancroft, on the topic of tears. You'll see that I commented at the end of the article, me being "Steenybopper".

In the back of my mind is the reminder that God keeps our tears in a bottle (Psalms 56:8). What exactly is meant by that, I only know darkly as through a glass, but I plan to know fully someday.

And then there's this: "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)

And the normality of tears is pointed out in Ecclesiastes 3:4: "...A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..."

And my favorite is from Revelation 21:4, from whence I take hope in knowing that someday God Himself will wipe away my tears. Peace, precious peace, at last.

There IS hope, but meanwhile there is the shedding of tears. <3

Thanking you for reading, 

Related posts:

They Who Feel Too Much

Feeling No Reason To Live

Friday, 31 August 2018

Three Dog Night Synchonicity

This blog entry starts with the end of a brief conversation in Facebook Messenger between a semi-new friend named Mike, whom I met through a longtime friend named Crews but hadn’t talked with much, which led to an even newer friendship with someone named Peggy, and a guest appearance by a mutual friend of Crews’s and mine named Laurianne.

The timestamps are important to the story’s coincidentiality (new word), so I include the significant ones.

MIKE (JUL 30, 2018 - 2:54 AM):
Heading towards the Pacific Northwest but not sure I'll be going into Canada this time around.

ME (taking a break from yard work, catching up on Messenger on my phone in my shed)
(JUL 30, 4:07 PM): Well, safe, uneventful travels to ya!

MIKE: (5:36 PM): Safe yea, but I want at least some events. We'll get a beer maybe next year as I travel up to Alaska.

ME (5:38 PM): Good events, hopefully. No flat tires, empty fuel tanks, or psycho drivers nearby. Alaska? Whereabouts? I lived there most of the 90s

My community is on the highway to Alaska. Various friends traveling from there to the lower 48 or back have stopped in

MIKE (5:38 PM): I dunno... Anywhere I guess. Anchorage seems like a destination for starters. It's what's between the cities though that make the trip.

I lived in Toronto in the 90's

ME (5:40 PM): True. The journey is a huge part of the destination.

Well, I've never been to Anchorage... (but I kinda like the music). :)

Toronto either. 

(Here I insert a link for the Three Dog Night song “Never Been To Spain”)

MIKE: (5:40 PM): Well, I've never been to Spain. They say the ladies are insane there.


ME (5:44 PM): Lol! Love that song


MIKE (5:46 PM): I just commented on his post about this song less than 5 minutes before you said it. So I assumed you saw that.

ME (5:48 PM): No, I had no idea. Will go look

I went to look on Crews’s wall, and the conversation continued over there as follows:

July 30, 2018 - 4:37 PM - Crews wrote:
This song came to mind out of nowhere. *Never Been to Spain* — Three Dog Night

It is one of those, “How the heck did we get here?” songs.

I mean, it starts a certain way, in this case, a single, pensive voice and a guitar; but by the end, that voice is yelling, drums are banging, a full band is jamming, a choir is singing, and the pensive mood has turned into downright rowdy.

I have been to parties like that. Neat when it happens in a song.

I wonder what songwriters are thinking. I think of it as “Filling in the silent spaces.”

Do they perceive music as an entire spectrum on a x-y diagram, and look at it and go, “I can add a choir over here, percussion down here, oh, and now I can add some crazy bass-line in this corner?”

I suppose the first time I noticed it was as a child hearing the *Orange Blossom Special* played on a fiddle. First, the distant train whistle by the lone and slow fiddle, then, joined by a snare, guitars, banjos, percussion, and more by the time that train rumbles by.

Same thing in these songs I heard today:

*Six Days on the Road* — Sawyer Brown

*I’d Love to Change the World* — Ten Years After (passing through Boogie-woogie on the way to *La Marseillaise!* Good grief!)

Except for the *Never Been to Spain,* the other examples make use of the building sound just as a story builds to a climax. But the lyrics of *Spain* do not tell such a story.

Strange song.

(Here he posted a link to the song.)

Comments on Crews's post:
Mike (Jul 30, 5:35 PM): What does it matter?

Crews (Jul 30, 5:51 PM): Exactly

Me (Taking a break while cooking dinner, looking at Facebook)
(Jul 30, 5:51 PM): Wow, Crews, this is weird. I was having a conversation with Mike a few moments ago and this song worked its way into the words. Timing. 

Crews: “Must be real it. Feels so good.” 

Mike (asking me): Did you tell Crews at some point you liked the the tune or is it a real coincidence? I haven't even heard the song for decades and all the sudden two people bring it up at the same time. 

Me: I have posted the song on my wall, several months ago, and we were interacting a bit about it, but not recently.

Crews: Real coincidence. Haven’t mentioned it to anyone, nor had it mentioned to me.

I saw the word, “Spain” in some political post from an unrelated friend yesterday, and the song came to mind then.

Today, I thought about it again and searched my library for it. Didn’t have it.

Pulled it up on YouTube to make sure the 3DN version was my favorite. It was, and downloaded from iTunes.

Only then did I think about how it was one of those songs that just kept adding *voices* as it went along until there was no room for more music, and how difficult I imagine writing such music must be.

And then, I wrote and posted.

Mike: Well that was pretty cool then. What are the odds?

Crews: Mike, what are the odds with Christine involved? About 50/50. I think we are connected even though we never actually met. 

Me: I'm fully expecting Laurianne to next be strangely involved in these shenanigans. 

Mike: Crews, yea but the odds of mentioning and elaborating on this long forgotten song are slim. 

Me: I feel this whole thing needs to become a blog post.

I go look up info on Three Dog Night having a concert anywhere nearby and I find a link for them planning a show at the upcoming Alaska State Fair, which I posted here:

My comment with the above link: That's not far away. Realistically, I don't think I could go, but with this craziness, anything's possible. 

Crews: Mike, yep. Can’t refuse it. 

Me: You guys are making me literally lol here! 

Crews: Christine, I was just thinking the same thing [about Laurianne].

She’ll probably post as soon as she gets back from the Waylon Jennings concert she is at.

(Then Crews included a link for Waylon’s version of Never Been To Spain.)

Me: I can tell my brother by the flowers in his eyes
On the road to Shambala...
Ah, hoooo... yeah yeah yeah ...

Oops, wrong 3DN song!

Me: I wish I could have seen Waylon before he died.
I have his version of that song on my phone, too. 

Me: I've never been to Shambala, but...

What does it matter?

Peggy (a friend of Crews and of Mike, who sent me a friend request during this conversation): Got tickets to see them at Alaska State Fair. I’ll think of you when they play it

Me: Well, things keep getting weirder. Mike and I started talking about that song while on the topic of Alaska. 

Me: Crews, Mike, and I should all go to the show in Alaska. 

Mike: I know right... A coincidence inside a coincidence. 

Peggy: See ya there? 

Crews: And this is how the story began in which Peggy, Mike, Christine, and Crews all ended up meeting!

Can’t wait to see how it ends!

Peggy: I would love that! 

Crews: Peggy, me too.

Me: Great post, by the way. Another one for the Collection of Crews's Muses you should compile. 

Me: Or wait... is that the wrong word? "Musings", really, but Crews's Muses rhymes.

Mike: Crews muses... Lol

Laurianne (aka “Munchkin”) Jul 31, 3:31 AM: "I was headed to Las Vegas...and I drove through fycking Needles.....

...I done drove through Oklahoma, but I really don't remember....

I was born in South Dee-troi-oit, but had to leave due to the riots....could have stayed but I'd have died there, cannot be white and survive there.

Been a driver of the highways....been across a thousand byways....garnered mem'ries that still a-ma-aze, earned the right to live life my way...."

Yup. With that addition, it is the story of my life 

Me (Jul 31, 8:26 AM): Munch, I laughed out loud at your first line! Love your additions to the song. :D


A few weeks later, after talking about other things here and there, but not the Three Dog Night stuff, Mike posts something on his wall and it starts up again. But look what else happens with Peggy in the italicized section!

Mike’s timeline post (Aug 28, 7:23 PM): Not much Wi-Fi or phone signal in the places I've been lately, but I got signal now.

So how 'bout the latest with all the politics, religion, and local sports team stuff... huh?

Comments on Mike's post:

Peggy (Aug 28, 6:38 PM): Kinda nuts out there isn’t it? 

Mike: Kinda whacky 

Me (Aug 28, 7:10 PM): I don't follow the latest anything, but I do still want to make a blog post out of that hilarious Three Dog Night fiasco that went on between you, Crews, and me. And I think Peggy, too. See, I'm already forgetting details. Been too busy.

(Here, I got a notification, at 7:12 PM, that Peggy, who lives in Alaska, had tagged me in a link she’d just uploaded for some footage she recorded a few days earlier at the Alaska State Fair, where she got to attend the Three Dog Night concert.)

Peggy said in that post: “Crews, Mike, and Christine [tagged us all]. Weren’t we just talking about this? LOL!”

I replied to her post: “I just brought it up again on Mike's wall a few minutes ago.

When is the Alaska State Fair that they are due to play at?”

Peggy replied: This is from their Sunday concert at the fair.

Mike commented: What the?....

Peggy answered Mike with: “I know right?” (and an emoji laughing hard with tears)

Crews came along a few hours later and added: “Can’t refuse it!”

And now back to Mike’s wall, for the rest of the comments.

Peggy (to me, at 7:14 PM): Did you see the video I just tagged you in ?

Me (7:16 PM): Yes, just now. Did you tag me in it AFTER you saw my comment here?? 

Peggy: No. I think we posted at the same time. Lol! Pretty interesting 

Peggy: Two minutes apart and it took about two minutes to upload 

Peggy: I couldn’t believe you hadn’t seen the video before you said that. 😳 

Me: Well, that'll need to be included in the blog post, too. How weird! 

Me: It's been at least a few weeks since I've talked about this with any of you guys, and then all of a sudden you and I bring it up at the same time.

Craziness. :D

Mike: What's with that 3 dog night tune having some kinda magic mojo or something? 

Peggy: Lol! Maybe. Weren’t you in that conversation we had about a month ago? It’s when I met Christine. 

Mike: Yea, Crews started it and it went round & round. Some kinda cosmic sh*t for a song I haven't even heard for decades. 

Peggy: Love that stuff.


Remember Mike asked whether Crews and I had talked about this song he'd not heard in decades? Well, I post the following conversation to answer that.

Timeline post by me, Mar 27, 2018 - 10:16 PM:
And now it is a Three Dog Night kind of night. This song has been stuck in my head for the past few days. Earworm much? Not a bad one to have, mind you:

Me: I wonder if this song was the inspiration behind the lyrics in "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything".

Crews: Wonderful song, but ends too soon. They seem to be getting all “jammy” at the end, but we don’t get hear where it went. 

Me: I'll have to listen to find out if it is a different version than what I have on my phone. Did it cut off? 

Crews: No. that is how I remember it ending— with a fade as the musicians begin to jam. 

Crews: There is answer to “What does it matter?”

You see, Oklahoma borders Texas on the north, but Arizona is separated from Heaven by a whole state— New Mexico. 

Me: I'll have to visit this place called Texas someday. You've painted it out to be so great.


And for whatever it's worth, in case you didn't know what the band's name "Three Dog Night" meant, it is an old-fashioned expression, before the days of in-house heating, to indicate how cold a night is by how many dogs you bring to bed. If you have to snuggle up with three dogs in order to keep warm, it's pretty darn cold.

Now go listen to some more Three Dog Night songs. There are a lot of other good ones besides this one, which might get stuck in your head now that I've brought it up.