Thursday, July 19, 2007

For the Love of...

What do you love? No, not who, but what?

I am addicted to nicotine, caffeine, the tv that plays constantly (or almost.) That I tell time by it is my excuse for having it on all the time. I sleep with it too because it's my comfort thing - makes me feel I'm not alone. I'm also addicted to messing with the computer too - e-mailing, reading blogs, playing pogo games, once in a while I work on my research project too. (Haven't paid much attention to that of late and I really need to get myself regimented to working on that and getting it DONE! Sometime this decade at least!)

I'd love to be able to travel - a lot - and far away too - like all over this country, Canada, Europe. You name it and I sure wouldn't mind being able to travel to most any place if I had the money. But I don't have that so I really LOVE to check out blogs that have pictures (and text) pertaining to either the area where a particular blogger lives or places that person has been or wants to visit, etc. Take a trip vicariously in a virtual trip online maybe is my way of learning, of seeing some of the sights these old eyes will never see first hand.

I used to love to cook but for quite some time now, I've been rather bored with that -it's become a chore. And, I hate CHORES! Sometimes, I can judge a bit about my depression levels simply by my interest in cooking. If I'm digging into the myriad of cookbooks I have or surfing websites - like the Taste of Home's recipe site or Recipe Source, then I've usually got the depression thing pushed down fairly well, at least for a while.

This week, I did some extensive searching on the Taste of Home site and found a recipe that I thought looked good - sounded really easy too (and that's a prerequiste of ANY cooking I do) -so I printed it out and decided that Monday night our supper would be baked fish on a bed of seasoned rice with broccoli. Well, let me tell you right now, that's one meal that will never occupy my cooking time or grace my table ever again! The seasoning it called for in the rice - which was mixed with a can of chicken broth -was "Italian Seasoning" and Garlic powder. I generally use either or both of those seasonings a good bit in my cooking, so I figured ok, why not.

Why not, indeed! The flavor of the rice and broccoli with that seasoning just didn't appeal to either me or the stepgranddaughter! She actually liked the fish though but I didn't care for the combination after it was all cooked up.

Chalk that one up to the "never again" column.

Today, I thought I was in the mood for spicy food - really, really spicy - so I picked up ground beef, ground sausage, refried beans, tortillas and salsa and decided to make my own concoction of a cross between enchiladas, tacos and burritos. My son gave it a name but I don't remember now what he told Katie I should call it. This concoction definitely filled the bill as to the spicy aspect - VERY Spicy. VERY! Unlike really hot and spicy oriental food that will burn a bit when it gets to the back of your throat, this stuff was HOT as soon as it hit the tongue. Not bad, but not really all that good either (in my book), so I probably won't be trying to remember what all I put in it to make THAT dish again either.

I do tend to get a bit more experimental than usual in the kitchen in the weeks building up to our family reunion though - mainly in hopes of finding some new and really yummy dish to make and take to that gathering. I think this year I'll resort back to my old standards - some home baked Swedish Rye bread for one thing, a big casserole of ham and bean potpie (which my kids love) and depending on my energy levels next week, maybe I'll fix some bbq wings along with some kind of dessert.

Now, where was I going when I started this tonight asking about what people love? I really hadn't intended it to be about cooking but -well, you know how it is - I do sidetrack myself sometimes. (Only sometimes? LOL)

Actually, I was thinking along the lines of a blog I read earlier today - a really lengthy one (don't remember the name of the blog, or what I did with the referral to it either) but it was about books and in the author's opinion, the fact we have become such a "I want it NOW" type of society, instant gratification, instant information, etc., we have stopped having a love affair with books.

We pay more attention to the Arts - paintings, television, sometimes to movies - and we often shell out way more in the form of money for some of those things too than we would ever dream of putting out towards a book purchase. This writer felt that often artists -those who paint and are successful with their talents, command big prices for their work, -too often people look at art and make it a status symbol and the value of the artwork itself becomes over-inflated, etc.

The writer even expanded further that the fact all too many today seem to bypass reading it causes many other areas of our lives to be reduced, to malfunction, to create a lack of imagination in kids and adults alike then. And, because so many are loosing the desire to read a good book, it affects our base comprehension of society as a whole too because reading provides many more insights into how others live and function than a tv show or movie can provide.

Reading really gives one the opportunity to not just meet people much, much different than we are, but it affords the chance to get a better understanding of how others function, how they exist, of problems that may otherwise be unfathomable to us otherwise.

And, I may not agree 100% with what this writer's take was about reading but I do agree with the bulk of the points put forth there.

I do LOVE to read!

I always have, from the time I started school, been a huge fan of books.

From the time my children were very small, I was an advocate for reading -anything and everything! It worried me greatly with my older daughter because early on, she had problems with reading and her grades were really poor in that category. Because reading -books especially, but magazines, newspapers too - were all high on both my list as well as my ex-husbands (that and politics were often the only things we did agree about) -we were both very upset and worried about the girl and the reading problems.

So, we told her in second grade when this began to surface, to bring her reading assignments home and one of us would sit with her, work with her on this. Imagine my shock when she said they weren't allowed to bring their readers home. I called the school and spoke to the principal about this and he verified to me that she wasn't fibbing. He said it was because of two things - one, they didn't have enough books to go around and two, because "the children then tend to read ahead."

Yes, you read that sentence right. How ridiculous a response was that? Needless to say, I was furious because after all, this school had implemented what was called an "open classroom" atmosphere in which kids from several age groups were put together in their classes - kind of the same type deal as was in effect when I was in grade school where there were always two grades in every room. Often, if you were in the lower grade then, got your work done in class, you could learn ahead simply by paying a little attention to the coursework the teacher was covering with the higher grade level. Well, at least that was how it worked for me anyway.

I fought that entire year with our school administration about my daughter's problems. They even went so far as to call in a psychologist from Penn State to come and evaluate her for learning disabilities or some such and that guy told me I was her problem in that I was expecting her to read the way I had as a child. Now that made me even more livid! Granted, I would have been happy - and proud too - if she had been as avid a reader as I've always been - but my theory was then, still is, if you can't read properly, then it will eventually affect the way you comprehend all other subjects in school too.

That summer when my daughter was between 2nd and 3rd grade, she attended a "remedial reading" summer program at the school. However, as much as I appreciate the need for kids to see things of a cultural nature and learn from them as well as from books, the trip to the Zoo at Pittsburgh, or to East Broad Top railroad about 70 miles from here and learning other things, such as how to read a thermometer, indoors and outdoors, were all nice, important things too but where was the "remedial reading" she was supposed to be getting? As far as I could see, it was virtually non-existent.

My Dad's youngest sister -a teacher - was still teaching at that time - 2nd grade, no less - and I had grumped -now, correct that - I had BITCHED majorly to her about my dissatisfaction with the learning process at our school. My aunt took the girl aside, sat with her for about 15-20 minutes one day and had her read from a 2nd grade level reader and after which, she told me the whole problem with the girl was that she didn't understand phonics and therefore, couldn't sound a word out. My aunt then offered to tutor her for the rest of the summer and so, three times a week, for roughly and hour to 90 minutes, I would take my daughter to my aunt's home and they would work away on improving the kid's reading.

And, it worked too! When she returned to school that fall, she had developed a new interest in trying to read. At the grocery stores, she was reading the little ad things under products, reading ingredients on boxes and such. At home, she was taking an interest in reading the books she already had on hand too. And this went on for the first several weeks of that school year. And the first grading period, her grade was very much improved. When I went to see the teacher for her conference, she told me they had decided - the administration that is -that my daughter was doing much better that year because they had switched teachers on her so that the one she had for reading the year before, she now had for math and the previous year math teacher was now her reading teacher and she was responding much better to the instructors and the materials because of that. By the end of the second grading period though, the change in teachers must have lost its appeal though as the girl's grades began sliding, she began to lose interest again in reading and the problems returned. It wasn't until she was in the 5th grade and the teacher she had that year was a stickler about reading and enforced very stringent reading requirements that the daughter had someone who pushed PROPER reading to her again. I never did tell the school that the reason my daughter's reading had improved, even if only on a fairly short-lived basis at that time, was due to the fact she had a teacher who really worked with her on it, helped her to improve her skills.

Today, my daughter is still not what one would call a really good reader - she's a slow reader, often has problems comprehending the text and has to re-read things to get the full meaning. But aside from that, she has become a very avid reader over the years. She rarely is without a book that she has found, has an interest in and I do think the fact that she had the problems to begin with she has an approach to her son about reading very much akin to what her father and I had with her - READ, READ, and then - READ some more! Take a trip around the world and never leave the comfort of your chair!

That's always been my theory - also the ex's too - that reading affords so much opportunity. It opens up so many new, interesting, exciting things to us. How can anyone NOT love it, NOT love books? Anyone who has any type of reading problems, my heart aches for that person and the difficulty they may have trying to read. But, please don't give up on it. Learning how to read with various learning disabilities may be difficult, cause one to want to give up, toss in the towel, but don't let that idea win out over you. Keep plugging away because once you learn ways to compensate for the disability factor, the sheer joy of reading will at least try to move in for you.

I probably have a view that is way too simplistic about that but regardless, I still believe it is the very most important tool we can ever acquire and use - because it helps us in every other aspect of our lives and what's more, it's also a whole lot of fun!

'Nuff said for tonight!


Vic Grace said...

I'd have to say messing about on the computer, especially the internet is the main love. Reading comes second and cooking a third.Watching movies with my sons a fourth. The less than loves but strong likes are eating out and strolling in shopping malls since I don't get to do it often. I even like grocery shopping because it means a day out for me.

I did not read until I was 8 years old but once I did I was a voracious reader. Being an only child and spending a lot of time alone books were a favourite friend. I taught my oldest and yougest child to read but the middle one was in school and they taught sight reading. He had a lot of difficult spelling for years. I believe phonetics is the best way to learn.

Linda said...

I love watching episodes of "The Closer" which is one of my very favorite TV shows. I don't have many, not even a handful, but I watch that show every week and am sad it's only a summer replacement series.

I must love my computer as I spend way too much time on it and there just aren't enough hours in the day to read all the blogs I would like to on a regular basis.

I love to sleep in on my days off. I know that sounds pretty lame but it's one of the things I look forward to most of all. To be able to just stay in bed until I want to get up rather than have to get up is pure bliss to me!

I used to love going to see plays on Broadway or local theaters but I haven't done that in way too many years now. Perhaps someday I can start that love affair up again.

I love walking through old cemeteries and reading tombstones or just feeling at peace with those spirits present. It's very relaxing for me.

And I do love to read, too. Put me on a deserted island with something comfortable to sit on and a stack of books and I could be happy for a very, very, very long time. I wish I had more time to read as books are adventures and journeys that I can take without leaving the comfort of my couch. I am a library card-carrier and proud of it!

And now that I'm done rambling on about all that, I just want to say thank you very much for the words of understanding and encouragement you have left on my blog the past few days. They mean a lot to me and I thank you for your friendship. You're a dear.

Shelby said...

Oh I do love to read too.. it's the best thing.

Debo Blue said...

I love reading. I used to read and read and read, then read some more. Nowadays though, I have two months worth of magazines stacked up, just waiting. And I ordered the new Suze Ormam book and have only read the introduction.

I'm like Linda, on my days off, when I don't have my niece and nephew, I want to stay in bed-usually reading.

The PC I'm not as hooked up on since I'm on one at work all day. And I don't watch much TV or look at movies.

I do love trying new recipes though. Cooking, especially when I'm trying something new, is a stress reliever.

Like you, I've tried to instill the love of reading in my nieces and nephews. Alas, I fear I've lost out to the temptations of X-Box, Nintendos, the opposite sex and going to the mall.

lattégirl said...

It makes me sad that my son was never into reading the way I've always been. I have always told him books are as good as movies, if not better. I've watched him plod through a few pages of a couple of books, and he even seemed fairly interested in one novel, but never stuck with it. A shame, really!