Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA Rant - Guest Writer Jillian Schaffner Age 15

Today I opened up my Facebook® page to see a post on one of my friends’ statuses. “Maybe SOPA is just to get young adults interested in politics?” Maybe they’re right, but I don’t think that they are. You see cigarette and tobacco companies are sneakier than the government in one way; they target a younger crowd. If a tobacco company can get a teenager hooked then they have most likely just promised themselves another life long customer. The government could use this to their advantage with even better results, because voting will never be anyone’s cause of death.
Why would any Politician support a bill that will set an ENTIRE generation against them? Like everyone else my age, I have never lived without instant communication. It is all that we know. I can be in contact with every friend I have no matter where they live and all at once. The entire Wikipedia® website had a blackout for a full day to show that they are against SOPA. GOOGLE® blacked out its logo. Maybe there are people whom this will directly harm, but there are more people that are enraged by just the idea of SOPA and PIPA. I don’t know everything about the law, but to think that it can allow one country to make laws that affect billions of people all over the globe is unbelievable to me.
My best friend’s littlest sister is four years old and she has Down’s Syndrome. This little girl is currently in playschool, but reads at a grade two level. Her parents would never have been able to help her as much as they have without the help they found on the Internet. Neither would they have been able to help so many others through blogs and facebook and email. This family has two iPads in their household, as well as three iPods, an iPhone, and multiple computers. Do you know what we put on these devices?
Applications created by people for people. This little girl has countless apps on her family’s devices that help her to read, write, count, and learn. How can anyone want to make a law to stop her from learning this way?
If SOPA is passed she will no longer have access to apps from the USA, and if Bill C-11 in Canada is passed, anywhere else. Anyone can make an app, because that is the world that we live in. In this world we can have a thousand channels and get magazines online. We can make anything we want, because we can find the facts online. Just because the media wants to make money and they are scared that just about anyone can publish themselves is NO reason to pass a bill. How many of these politicians use GOOGLE®, Wikipedia®, YAHoo®, or any others. On Twitter® you can even follow politicians that you are interested in. Why would they want this to end?
When I was at camp last summer and at the end of the week, everyone shares their contact information. When one of the girls asked if anybody had Facebook®, the entire group laughed and rolled their eyes. Of course we do.
My Social Studies textbook states that North American countries pride themselves on having free trade and good relations.
How can we have free trade of goods but not information?
Jillian with her brother Max before a gig in December.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recommendations and Reviews

When my mama discovered that she was dying sooner than later, it was her choice to die at home. Between the Palliative Care Nurses and my dad as her caregivers, we were able to honour this. From the time that we took her out of the hospital and settled her into her bed at home, she had only a couple of weeks left. Not long after my mom had died and her funeral had taken place and I had my dad relatively established with his new life, I returned home to my family. A friend’s mother, out of the goodness of her heart, suggested that I watch the movie The Notebook, with James Garner. I am a voracious reader but could not bring myself to doing so. I could, however, sit and watch the occasional movie. I cannot tell you how upsetting that movie was. I will never read the book nor watch the movie again. Not because it was/is terrible, but because of the timing with my emotional state that was off. Since then, I have been very careful about recommending movies or books to anyone.
I do, however, still like to read recommendations and reviews, because it helps me to see my common interest, at certain times, with other people. My very good friend Elaine has recommended some of the best books that I have ever read. She reads way more than I do and even though we are miles apart, I still manage to read a few of her suggestions. The first book that Elaine ever recommended I read was, The Children of Men by PD James. I was not a mystery reader and had never read any of James’ work. This book, she assured me was not a mystery. The year was 1991 and I was a single carefree twenty-nine year old while Elaine was a mother of two and about ten years older than I. What could we possibly have in common with regard to reading? Isn’t that the wonderful thing about literature though? Books cross all ages and time, even cultures. I found The Children of Men captivating and from then on, accepted many of the books that Elaine suggested.
Later, I was raising my own two babies and Elaine had teens when she queried why I had never read a John Irving and told me that I might like A Widow For One Year. Even though I threw the book across my living room when I was finished it, I loved the book. I was just so mad at the mother in the story. When I told Elaine what I had done, she just laughed and laughed.
One time while having a face to face visit with Elaine, at her home, her husband Craig expressed the notion that he thought movie reviews were a waste of time and what one person likes and another doesn’t just didn’t compute with him. Elaine and I laughed and I couldn’t come up with a good argument as to why I liked them. What I do think, is that he is absolutely correct, but what a book or movie review does do, is give me a little snippet of information into the content as well as a connection to someone else who feels the way I do about a certain work. If you and I both like eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert, we know a little bit about each other.
On this cold wintery day, and from my rural home that seems in the middle of nowhere at times, I am reading a nonfiction and another very scholarly work and yearn to lose myself, or maybe find myself, in yet another read and so I turn to a conversation that I had with Elaine on Twitter® a couple of days ago, and head to the online library to download yet another captivating read. Will it be The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes or The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenedies? Probably both.
As always, thanks @PRLDelaineap.

Monday, January 16, 2012

There are so many colors in a rainbow...

“Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen.” 

I was thirteen years old when I was lying on my mom’s bed talking to her while she folded laundry, when she said that she wanted me to listen to a certain song.  I sat up and was totally captivated.  She told me that she knew that all of our relatives and friends wanted me to do something very exciting in this world because I was so vibrant and dynamic, but that she had always seen the teacher in me and wondered if maybe I might head in that direction.  I rarely thought about that incident until I actually began teaching and now with twenty-one years of teaching experience and as a parent of two teens, I think of it often, and, I think of teaching and parenting as being vibrant and dynamic.  Those words of the great Harry Chapin, have played a huge role in my life as a teacher, as a parent and as a human being and I am thankful that my mom was my first mentor.  

There were several times throughout my teaching career when I knew that if I perished the next day, I would have accomplished something great, only to carry on and think that I hope I do not perish the next day, as I have much more to accomplish. And I did...

Every area of my life is filled with reflective thought and my teaching practises were no different, neither is my parenting life.  As an educator, I chose to file my plan books every year and only look to them for reflective purposes.  I always liked to think about what worked and what did not.  Every couple of years I would toss the plan books entirely so as not to look back.  I feel that this practice helped me to internalize much of what I did, as well as what I know, as a teacher, but as a parent? I am in continual reflection, for I believe that …

“There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one”


Harry Chapin. (1978). Flowers are Red. Living Room Suite [CD]. New York, NY: Elektra Records.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mmm… I love Running

I have been running for about eight years now. At least I think it has been eight years. I would actually have to sit down and calculate it because it is such a part of who I am, that I just know, I am runner.
I have only ever run faster and further than I should have, once, with a friend, and I think that is why I have never been injured. However, the other phenomenon is that I have never been bored or tired of it. When I first began running, I entered in a few races but quickly discovered that I have no desire to compete, better my time nor change my distance. I am happy to run in order to raise awareness or money for a cause, but mostly, I just love running.
Along with my two Golden Retrievers, I run out of my door on this country road that I live on, no more than 4-5 km at a time. I run everyday that I am at home and able to. Sometimes that means seven days a week and sometimes that means three.
Every once in a while, I lose myself completely in my run. Losing myself… Odd idea but for a lack of better words this is what I call it. Quite possibly, meditation is a better word for what happens. Today was one such time. It is January 5th the country road is dry with only traces of snow in the fields and pastures and the temperature was +5 Celsius when I ran. This is so unusual and for as much as I love winter, today, clad in one layer of running clothes, it felt like spring – rebirth and an awakening time.  
Home from a run - Fall 2010
I am grateful to have found the exercise that resonates within and without my entire being and invite you to tell me if you have found such a practise, and if so, what?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Nutrition and the Start of 2012...

Inspired by Abbie who is a Farmer’sDaughter, I too am focusing on cleaning out our kitchen cupboards and refrigerator of faux foods and reevaluating the wholesome simplicity of the foods we put into our bodies.
The first thing we as a family need to do is take it one day at a time. Therefore, today and because of PatriciaMoreno’s encouragment, we are choosing to stay away from anything with refined sugar in it. Through the Christmas season, we indulged in chocolates and cookies and fruit cake and now our body is asking for this. It takes time for a body to quit asking and we will take it one day at a time.
From eggs and sprouted grain bread with creamery butter, to porridge with strawberries and cinnamon to help satisfy our tastes this morning, we will now enjoy a dinner of baked halibut with lemon, tomatoes, garlic and basil accompanied with risotto, butternut squash with a squeeze of orange, steamed broccoli and cawliflower and a mix of fresh greens. Planning simple savory meals is something I love to do and hopefully this will help all of us to continue on with our intentions for 2012.
Here are a few links that I will build on in order to remind me of what I truly believe. I hope they will also assist you in eating simply:


Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Three Words for 2012

Inspired by Chris Brogan, my three words for 2012 are:
1. Honour - I will honour my writing as a full time job.
2. Smile - I intend to smile more.
3. Detach - what someone else thinks of me, good or bad, is not my business.
And you?
Do you want to create three words for 2012 or maybe just one?
Happy New Year