family

A Car For Chris

My son Chris was jumped and had his bike stolen on December 23rd.

He was riding his bike that he had added a motor to. He had this bike less than two weeks. We installed the engine on it on the 12th. Click pictures to embiggen.

The assailants were waiting and jumped him when he went by. This was by an empty parking lot that has two entrances, one on the main road my son was riding on, and one on the street to the north. The assailants beat him and took the bike to a dark van in the lot and they escaped out the northern entrance to the lot. He was on Grand, between Jackson and Pine. The Bike Path isn’t lit, so it’s not a good place to ride at night. You can see the tree lined lot between Grand and Porter near the center of the embedded map.

He put the motor on a bike to get places faster than pedaling alone. It’s what he could afford. What he really needs is a car. He’d be a lot safer.

We can’t buy him a car. I’ve set up a GoFundMe so we can try to get some help to get him a car and insurance.

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Happy Fathers’ Day!

Me and my dad,  my first birthday, and Fathers’ Day the day before. I was born on Fathers’ Day. Dad‘s been gone since 2002. I miss him dearly. That’s a mixer beater in my hand, covered in frosting (so is my face). Mom was making a birthday cake.

Happy Fathers’ Day to all the fathers I know, husband, brothers-in-law, cousins, uncles, friends. Have a great day!

dad and baby me

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Happy Mothers’ Day!

To all the Mothers in my life, those who have gone to Heaven, and those who are still here, Happy Mothers’ Day!

Mom as a young girl

Mom as a young girl

Mom on Mothers' Day 1962.

Mom on Mothers’ Day 1962.

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RIP Bitsy Cat

Back in November of 1997 I had two cats and two kids. I went to a company party and somehow my queen, Mally, got out. I called the county animal shelter and told them my cat had gotten out, and I was looking to see if she had been turned in there. I told them she was small and black with three white spots, one on her throat, one on her chest, and one on her belly. They said, oh yes, she’s here. So I went to get her. It wasn’t her. It was a tiny, little kitten who climbed up on the cat gym and ran up to my shoulder and sat there and purred in my ear. She chose me. She’s much larger in the photo below than she was when she first sat on my shoulder. She wasn’t any taller than my head sitting there the first time.

Bitsy on my shoulder

Bitsy on my shoulder

I went to the adoption center the next day to get her. I had to pick her up at the vet, they said she was being spayed. Now this was a tiny cat. She looked like she was six weeks old. The vet said she was six months old. Two days later I found Mally hiding under the neighbor’s house and I was able to get her to come out, and she never wanted to go outside again.

The tiny kitten liked to sleep on my chest, or my shoulder. At night she slept on my neck – it was a good thing she was so tiny. She stayed tiny even as she grew. She never got over six pounds.

We were going to call her “Just Cat”, but she was so small. I kept calling her an “Itsy Bitsy Kitsy” and Bitsy is what stuck. We sometimes called her Queen Elizabeth as well, since Bitsy could be a diminutive of Elizabeth and she certainly was a diminutive cat.

She was a cuddly cat, but only on her terms. She cuddled with the toms we had (Dodger – the one she first met when she arrived and then Duncan who came to us after Dodger took the Rainbow Bridge.) After a few years she cuddled with Mally a lot. It was funny, because they were both small, black cats.

Put the two together and you had a normal to large cat. The two together looked like a two-headed cat sometimes.

After Mally took the Rainbow Bridge we adopted an adult gray pastel tortie that we named Liath (Gaelic for gray – pronounced Leah.) Liath was okay with Bitsy to start, but for the past several years Liath has hissed and growled every time she saw Bitsy. I’d have our little dog and Bitsy on my lap, and if Liath saw Bitsy there she wouldn’t come up. If Liath was on my lap and Bitsy came up Liath would immediately leave. I don’t know what her issue was, but she doesn’t have to worry about it any more.

It’s tough. She was a big part of our lives for a long time. Liath’s now the oldest cat. She’s 13 or 14, and she’s one of our “fat” cats. Duncan is our other “fat” cat. He came to us in 2005 so he’s 8 already. Time does fly.

Our animal companions do not live as long as we would like them to. All we can do is love them and cherish them while we are blessed with their presence.

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Education

I went to a meeting last week with the School Board and parents. The school board is talking about some restructuring they need to do because the district isn’t meeting the NCLB standards.

At the meeting there was a parent of a couple of children in the district. She also is a day care provider. She said that she gets two-, three-, and four-year-olds who don’t know their colors, shapes, numbers, or letters. These are things parents should be teaching their children. But they’re waiting for the government to do it for them.

The district just started to accommodate our gifted children with accelerated classes. Last year they started with fifth grade mid-year because enrollment required another classroom and they put together a class from all the five elementary schools at one of the schools. This year they added fourth grade to the fifth grade class and provided accelerated math and language arts classes at one of the middle schools.

Common Core is requiring changes. TheIllinois State Board of Education is raising the scores required to meet standards on the  Illinois State Assessment Test (ISAT). As parents we were told that our childrens scores might “fall” in relation to meeting standards based on last year’s scores due to the range increase. Personally I’m glad they’re increasing the score needed rather than dropping it to give the impression that more children are meeting the standards than actually are. Finally, they are raising standards. Children will rise to meet them.

There are about one hundred schools on the chopping block in Chicago alone because they are failing the children. Teachers and parents are up in arms over the closings.

One union hack said something like, “they want to close the schools only so they can reopen them as charters!”

Unions don’t want the charters in Chicago to expand. Charter schools are consistently doing better even with the same students (no changes from previous student body – no “getting the best students into the charters” crap…)

Charter school teachers aren’t in the union. They work longer hours. They have more flexibility to do what works for their students rather than being hogtied by the union to certain work rules.

Parents don’t want to lose their free daycare.

 

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Miss You Daddy

Daddy’s been gone ten years today. It’s been too long. I really miss him.

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