Monthly Archives: July 2015

Awake at 6:30am on a Friday–work and cigarettes

On weekdays (workdays) I generally find myself waking up every few minutes between 5:30 and when I finally roll out of bed at 7:15. Today being Friday, I should still be in bed waking only to watch the clock.

Then I thought about it. Yesterday, I didn’t punch in at work until 9am when my dad handed me the reigns on the stamps so that he could go home. I left work at 12:30 when it was obvious that the one pressman who had showed up was going to spend his time printing one (albeit huge) order of envelopes. So, at 6:30 this morning, I decided that I was going to stay home. By my calculation, if any pressmen show up, I’ll first be waiting for them to print something, then I’ll be waiting for the ink to dry, and only then will I be able to do my job.

Sure, I’ve got the filing to do. There are also 2 jobs that need to get physically moved into the warehouse (it’s kind of a 2 person job). And that, my friends, is the extent of the real work that I have waiting for me should I go to work today. Oh! And teaching my dad everything I learned whilst reading the manual on our new stamp making machine. I’m pretty sure he can teach himself, but when I call him to let him at 8 to let him know my plan, I’ll make him aware of my knowledge. Considering the most unobvious bit is removing a magnetic plate to make room for the tall cartridges, I think he’ll be fine.

For the past week I’ve been moving a lot of boxes around in the warehouse. I’ll be royally pissed if the certain bank decides to add items which are numbered in the 6100s or 6200s. I know that they will. They love doing stupid stuff like that. But, at least I’ve come up with a new system which will make adding new items easier. Since their new thing is to add items in groups at one time, we might as well put these groups together even though to the naked eye they’ll look out of order. My hope is that instead of a 6162 and a 6163 being on opposite ends of the same row (true story), with my new system in place even though the 6100s are in 3 different places, since they’re more or less broken up into groups, a picker will know at least know that they’re close.

The problem was/is that two items in number order may be vastly different from each other. For example, 6101 is a couple boxes of letterhead for a branch and 6102 is 10 cases of envelopes for that branch. They cannot be on the shelf next to each other because they need 2 vastly different sized shelves! When the warehouse and numbering system was originally designed, letterhead was given first set of 2 digits and envelopes another and they were found on different sections of shelving. Then someone had the bright idea that envelopes and letterhead usually go out together, so to make pulling easier, they should be next to each other, which physically will not work. THEN, to make matters even more fun, they’ve started using numbers that haven’t been used yet even though they fall right into the middle of any already cramped shelf. This is how the 6162 and 6163 got separated–they got tucked in wherever there was space available. And it’s all done by people who have been in our warehouse multiple times a year to do their inventory. That’s as brilliant as the lady who orders 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 boxes of paper towels (usually 4) even though we’ve told her repeatedly that they come from the factory in cases of 30 rolls and that to be nice to us  she should order 3 boxes (1 box is 10 rolls) at a time. At least the ones who on occasion order 10 boxes thinking they’re ordering 10 rolls are quickly educated.

Anyway, being stressed about work and my ever suckier looking paycheck is only half of what’s keeping me awake. I stole BF’s cigarettes again Wednesday evening. Before our trip, I’d been rationing him to 4 per day. During the trip, he was supposed to limit himself to 2 new packs plus whatever he had left over from before. He didn’t last 4 hours on the road after he ran out and he bought himself a new pack when we stopped for a bathroom break in Kansas. For whatever reason, after we got back I didn’t start rationing him again. Oh, that’s right. He’d started taking Chantix again and since he made grand claims about how he’d almost quit the first time with it (a doctor’s appointment had made him quit taking it), I figured he could wean himself down. It didn’t work. So, I’ve take them again and this time, I’ve decided that there will be no rationing. He’s not getting them from me anymore and if I see him with another pack, I’ll take it away too.

I was stressed all day yesterday because I was sure that after I’d gone to bed Wednesday night he’d gone somewhere and bought himself a new pack. But when I got home and asked him about it, he said that he hadn’t, but that he had gotten one cigarette from a friend (I really need to beat up his friends). We didn’t discuss this new situation, but his mood is relatively good so far. I fear that  he’s hiding something. He’s very good at playing with semantics to make sure that he’s always in the right, but he’s also someone extremely horrible at hiding his activities–he used to leave his cigarette butts in front of my car’s tires where they couldn’t possibly have been the afternoon before or I would have run them over when I backed into my spot! This being a double no-no because I’ve told him that my biggest pet peeve is cigarette butt litter.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. It doesn’t help matters when the subject is taboo because talking about it makes him want one.

The Magic Half

I picked this book because I was reasonably sure that it would fulfill the required “book read in one day” spot on my 2015 Reading Challenge. I was only reasonably sure because I can never guarantee exactly how quickly I’ll be able to read a book. I don’t tend to read much during the day when there’s so much more active things to do, but I do enjoy nothing less than laying in bed with a book. Until it hits me on the nose because I’ve fallen asleep with it above me.

Anyway, it was a risk to start this book on a weekday because I leave for work at 7:30 and don’t get home until after 5 usually. But this has been an unusual (and economically sucky) week, so I knew there was a good chance I’d get plenty of time to read at work. I actually read half of this book between 8 and 9 this morning because there simply wasn’t a reason to punch in until I had enough work in front of me for at least 3 hours. I hate the idea of punching in and out all day for 30 minute jobs and I despise the idea of being on the clock while not working. Sure, I did read for about 20 minutes on the clock today, but that was while I was literally waiting for the photo-polymer to imprint into the matrix board (I suppose that’s a way to describe it), the matrix board to harden, and for the rubber to mold into the matrix board. In all 3 cases, me and my dad refer to it as “cooking” because it’s all done in a heat press (though the matrix board doesn’t need pressure to cure). All 3 steps take 7 minutes when you can literally do nothing but wait. The pressmen often play games or watch movies on their phones while the presses do the work, but whereas these distractions can cause them to miss when the ink starts to “dry up”, when you’re cooking photo-polymer, matrix board, and rubber, there’s simply nothing that needs to be watched. If it’s going to mess up, you can’t stop it mid-process. Sure, I could have taken a minute to cut the one piece of wood I needed and got that ready to go, but seriously, I got paid for 3 hours and 15 minutes today–my boss can eat the time I didn’t spend multi-tasking.

In case you couldn’t figure that out, I was making rubber stamps today. Though half of them were technically MaxLight Stamps. My first love is rubber, but the MaxLights are pretty nifty, too. The company we buy from actually sent us a new machine to make MaxLights (FREE!) because they changed the design so that their stamps no longer work with the machine we have. I was pretty happy to spend 10 minutes reading it’s manual from cover to cover to learn that the only real difference is how it clamps and that there’s a piece that must be removed instead of added, depending on things.

But I’m seriously digressing over here! Sorry!

The Magic Half is exactly the kind of book I adored when I was a kid. There’s magic and a charming locale and spunky girls. Adults will like it for it’s depth–how many kid’s books really question the practicalities of time travel? My only complaint is that I wished there was some kind of additional plot-twist at the end that explained why Miri’s family moved into the house in the first place. If you’ve read this book, you’ll understand what I mean. I think that that would have added more than what the current ending gives.

Anyway. If you’re looking for a very quick read that will take you back to your childhood and refresh your imagination, this book is for you. And if you’re looking for something to hand any 8 to 11 year old girl, go with this one as well.

London Candy Kitchen, 1938
London Candy Kitchen, 1938 by Photoblog
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Ralston PA Main Street Postcard
Ralston PA Main Street Postcard by vintageamerican
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The Post-it has been applied!

When I decided to move in with my boyfriend I told him that I wanted his 3rd bedroom for my crap craft storage. This was while his son was still living here and a lot of the stuff in the room was The Kid’s. It’s been a slow work in progress to get everything like I want it and most of the decorations are from before my time, which I don’t mind.

While The Kid was finishing cleaning out the room I saw him reach up to take one picture in particular off the wall and I told him to leave it. It’s a photo of my boyfriend and his first ex-wife (yeah…he has 2)–The Kid’s mom. This is a very nice picture of my boyfriend from when he was about my age. The ex-wife…well, she’s there. Whenever the picture got mentioned I’d joke about the day when I’d put a post-it note over her face, but that I wouldn’t do it while The Kid was still living here, even though he’s been estranged from her for a few years on his own. I’m respectful like that.

Anyway, last night I was printing some stuff out for BF so we were both in my room and he made a comment about the picture and that he does look good in it. He also had to look down his shirt because he thought that the picture has more chest hair than he does (in the picture he’s wearing a button down open to the first real button (I think the “chest hair” is just a shadow)). He mentioned the Post-it and I asked him if he wanted to do the honors. He did.

So now the Post-it note has been applied to her face and maybe I won’t become infertile from her stare, hahaha.

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science– and the World

I picked this book mostly on a gut instinct based on the title and the cover while looking for my next book to blog for. I didn’t think twice about getting this one and ordered it immediately. When I received it in the mail, I was kind of astonished to realize that I’d already put it on my mental to-read list, though it hadn’t actually made it to my physical one on Goodreads. I’d stumbled upon the blurb originally during one of my monthly forays into the physical newspaper at work (I only browse it whilst waiting for my food to reheat in the microwave and usually don’t make it past the front page).

I can only say that I’m thrilled that this book reappeared in my life :-).

loved that the first mini-biography (or rather micro-biographies) was about Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842-1906) who put a lot of effort into writing a well researched paper on exactly why it was utter bullshit that educating women caused their ovaries to shrivel up and die (as was the leading argument by a male who didn’t like the idea of educating women). I though this the perfect place to start this amazing list of women.

However, if you were expecting to find a blurb on Marie Curie in this book, you’ll be sadly disappointed. I don’t really agree with the reasoning behind this omission (it’s discussed in the introduction)–that she’s simply too famous to be included. The methodology for choosing these 52 women (which does include Iréne Joliot-Curie, one of Marie’s daughters) doesn’t say that they must be women who were overlooked during their day. Unwittingly when I was ordering my books from the library for this month(s), I grabbed Almost Famous Women  where I do expect to find a lack of the usual favorites. The women in this book run the gambit of those who were ignored, stolen from, and those who were actually given a lot of praise sooner or later in their career (the category to which Curie belongs).

I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed by the limited scope of these micro-biographies. Generally, except for when a bit of author’s bias creeps in, these are cut and dry descriptions of where these ladies came from, what their passion was, and how they went about making their discoveries. There is just a bare hint that one of the reasons Jacobi was so pissed off by Clarke’s book (Sex in Education; or, A Fair Chance for Girls) was because she was a mother as well as a scientist, so obviously her ovaries hadn’t shriveled up beyond use. While I too find it appalling that the obituary that gave rise to this book listed Yvonne Brill’s “mean stroganoff” well before mentioning that she was a brilliant rocket scientist, I think it harmful to disregard how these women themselves felt about their circumstances.

I consider myself a “practical libertarian communist” with the communist aspect being relevant here: at work, I feel proud when we as a team succeed. I don’t need the personal accolades or recognition to feel like I’ve done a good job. I don’t even mind when someone else takes credit for something that I’ve done a lot of work on, namely because of the smug satisfaction I have knowing that without me they’d fall flat on their face. So long as I make a fair wage for the work that I’ve done, anyone and their brother can step in and claim all the glory. Of course, if they were able to reap the benefits of this glory without me benefiting as well (not foreseeable where I work), then I’d happily step aside and let the glory-takers prove their worth. Currently for me this “glory” is the responsibility of talking to customers and solving the problems that I try my damnest to prevent before they happen even though this is NOT my responsibility, which is why I can’t stop a good half of them.

Anyway, I just dislike when people decide that folks who are seemingly “oppressed” should feel outrage over their situation. Different strokes for different folks, as I say, so while it’s nice to see a generally cut and dry account of these women’s scientific achievements, I think it’s unfair to not list her children if at the end of the day she felt that that was her biggest achievement.

While these micro-biographies are informative, I think they should just be the jumping off point for further research. I know I plan to look into at least a few of these ladies more in depth. I may even finish Madame Curie which I set aside immediately after reading the part about her husband’s death. Otherwise it was a really good book!

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for this honest review.

Awesome Ladies of Science
Awesome Ladies of Science by Tc43Industries
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Ah! The element of surprise!
Ah! The element of surprise! by Squidyes
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Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede

Well, I can honestly say that I have a new (to me) favorite series!

Or rather, I’d stumbled across the series before (according the Goodreads), but hadn’t remembered it.

I read Briar Rose by Janet Yellen a few years ago, which is also part of the “The Fairy Tale Series”, but hadn’t really understood the premise behind it. It’s also an amazing book, by the way–I highly recommend it!

“The Fairy Tale Series” is a simple enough idea–it encouraged established writers to take their favorite fairy tale and expand upon it in a somewhat controlled way (in this case, each chapter starts with a short passage from the original tale to help unite the two tales).

This story is obviously based on the tale of “Snow White and Rose Red”, which I think I’d read once, though to be honest I tend to lose interest quickly with the original works simply because they’re short stories and lack the depth and detail that I crave in my fairy tales. I’ve always preferred reworked fairy tales for this reason.

What I found interesting is that the introduction to this book explained the reasoning for these new stories and why they’d be found in the adult section. Namely, the Disney-fication of the original stories which cut out the sex and violence because they were originally written for adults before it was decided that they should be cleaned up for children. It seems that this story was itself “Disney-fied” when the single death was changed from a direct blow from the bear to the result of a magical overload. Of course, this story was published in 1989 and we all know how much adult books have changed in the past 10 years. Even books written towards teens and tweens  have more explicit sex, drugs, and violence than your average adult book written 25 to 35 years ago, for good or for bad.

I personally think that it’s the parents job to teach about these issues early and often and it’s the kid’s responsibility to pick books to help them escape whatever reality they want to escape from. I think there’s a big problem when kids are learning about the dangers of sex, drugs, and violence from books instead of from their parents because we all know that there’s way too many who are learning it from their also youthful friends rather than books or their parents. Judy Bloom, while wonderful, shouldn’t be the one giving kids their first adult talks.

Anyway, for anyone looking to escape to a simpler time, this book will definitely suit your fancy. Though, beware of the Old English dialogue which can be a jarring contrast to the Newer English descriptions.

Fairy Tales
Fairy Tales by GoldenAurora85
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Ends July 30, 2015 Ends July 30, 2015

Be Nice to Your Tow Truck Driver

My boyfriend drives a tow truck and one of the things I love about him is how he usually tries to give the people he tows a break.

This afternoon he got a police call where the driver decided to go to the hospital to get checked out after an accident and requested that a tow truck be called to take her car to her house. He made the judgement call to say that there wouldn’t be anyone at the house to pay him, so he took her car directly to the impound lot and drove his personal vehicle to her house to make sure that there wasn’t anyone there (he was right). If he had been wrong, he’d planned to drive that person to the lot so that they could retrieve the car, but as it was, he just left a note with the info on where to find the car.

If he hadn’t out-thought the client, he’d have had to charge an additional fee for actually impounding the car (to cover the additional gas used to drive all the way to and from the clients house). Since it’s a Saturday night and the shop is obviously closed, he will charge the woman a fee to release the car after hours, but he’s giving her the weekday rate instead of the weekend rate. He saved the woman about $50 total.

He gave a guy who’d stupidly let a person on a suspended license drive his car the same break last weekend.

Also last weekend he towed a car 10 feet (out of the way and into a parking spot) then waited like 20 minutes for someone to bring him payment so that the owner wouldn’t have to pay the storage/release fees (just the $160 police call fee). He’s driven a lot of folks to their bank so that they can pay him immediately to get their car back. He doesn’t have to do either of these things. Until he gets paid, that car is his collateral with him supposed to take it from where it got into trouble directly to the impound lot for safekeeping where he can then charge any storage/release fees that he deems necessary to cover his costs. Heck, he carries around an invoice from a rival in case folks complain about his prices because they charge a $100 “Admin Fee” on top of every other fee they can think of (in reality the only real admin costs are when the car goes uncollected and the towing company needs to file to get the Title so that they can get rid of the car).

A few months ago he would have given a couple of folks a ride except that they got so demanding and rude (as though it was his duty to drive them to their friend’s house) that he refused (though after he finished towing the vehicle he drove past where he’d left them to see if their attitude had changed, but they were gone).

I can’t guarantee that every tow truck driver is going to be a nice guy, but most that I’ve met and who I’ve heard about are. They know that if you’ve had a tow truck called you’re probably having a really bad day. Just be nice to them and they’ll do what they can to help you out. Unless you’re a DUI, in which case be prepared to not get too much sympathy.

Dennis and Tow Truck

Moving Day; Part 2

One of the stipulations made before I moved in here was that I’d have my own room so I could spread out my crafty bits and general crap. As you may know, we moved BF’s son to NC 2 weeks ago and the kid took the desk that was in my room with him. Let’s just say that my room looks like a tornado went through it, though luckily it looks better than the kid’s room which looks like a hurricane left a layer of detritus after the flood.

BF has been working on getting the kid’s room cleaned out so that we can turn it into a guest/storage room (with hopefully better results than was my room prior to me moving in). This weekend’s goal was to get the desk that the kid left behind in his room cleaned out so that it can go into my room.

Problem number one is that the “new” desk will not fit in the same hole as the old desk in my room, so we have to empty BF’s grandmother’s cedar chest so that we can put that into the kid’s room and put the “new” desk where the cedar chest currently is. Which is an arrangement that I like because it puts my chair in the spot with the greatest amount of “swivel-room”, which should open up the space again. My room functions like a galley-kitchen and I had to put a lot of stuff on the bed and floor when the desk was taken.

Problem number two is that BF just left to go on his 3rd call today. The first was at 4:30am, so I let him sleep until 3:30pm. The second was at 4:30pm and it’s now 8pm. He was pretty wiped out from the 4:30pm call simply because it’s quite humid outside (heat doesn’t play well with his medications). But, he promised me that if I got the chest cleaned out before he gets back he’ll move everything for me so I can start putting my room back to rights tonight and tomorrow. Woohoo!

‘Course…I may try to get everything moved while he’s gone. I’m not sure exactly how heavy that chest is. I should have borrowed some carpet movers from work, but oh well.

***Later***Well, I just got the cedar chest emptied and was able to slide it into the Kid’s room, but I wasn’t able to spin it around in transit and there’s not room to spin it inside his room right now, so it’s currently facing the wrong way so I can’t refill it yet. I was able to move the desk about 2 feet before a trim piece popped off. It’ll “snap” back on without any problem, but I didn’t like the way the desk started wiggling as I dragged it a few inches, so I’ll wait for BF to get back. The good news is that they two pieces of furniture were able to pass each other in the hall which is great because I was certain that one or both of them were going to have to turn a tight corner.

The kid left behind a dresser which he didn’t know was his. I’m not sure who actually is the owner, but I’m kind of hoping that the kid will say that he doesn’t want it because I’ve still got the spot where the original desk was and can always use more storage. But even if the kid says he wants the dresser, I think I’ll move it into my room anyway and put my Cricut on top of it until we can figure out a way to move it down to NC. Currently it’s taking up too much real estate in the laundry room.

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

I picked this book on a whim because I wanted to make sure that I added a book to my 2015 Reading Challenge. This would be the book written by someone with the same initials as me, but it’s also a new author and said authors first (published) book. But I’ll stick with it just being the initials that are important.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though I went into it without any knowledge besides the author’s name (I’d done some kind of Wikipedia search to find a list of authors with the right initials…a hah! I retraced my steps:

“List of authors initials” into Google

Took the Wikipedia link: “List of Literary Initials”

Scrolled to the bottom of the page where there is a link to “Lists of Writers”

Decided to go with the “Lists of Novelists”

Decided to go with the “Lists of Novelists by Genre”

I figured “List of Historical Novelists” seemed just as good as any for a place to start

And picked the first “C.F.” to catch my eye. I didn’t bother much with his biography since the ultimate deciding factor was whether my library had any of his books in their system and I was happy enough that it was the first in the series. If they hadn’t had the first in the series, I might have continued my search because if it turned out that I liked the book, I’d be pissed to have read them out of order.

Anyway, let me actually review the book rather than the hunt for the book.

This book was written in 2007, but is set in 1865. For the most part I thoroughly believed in the setting. I was surprised that there was no mention of the American Civil War even in passing. Charles Lenox (the main character) might have no interest in the financial news so he wouldn’t have been amongst the many British businessmen who were watching the war closely to try to foresee it’s effect on their industries, but he was surrounded by those types so he should have heard that angle. But as a self proclaimed Liberal with serious interest in social progress, he should have thought at some point about the huge social upset that was occurring in the Americas, especially since he made numerous remarks about finally(?) visiting the country! But, I can forgive this slip of a newbie writer.

Supposedly Charles Lenox is “equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Gosford Park and P.G. Wodehouse” none of whom I’ve read myself. He does seem a lot like the Sherlock Holmes I’ve encountered in television, so I assume this characterization is correct.

One problem with this book is that it is written with proper and correct grammar. I kept having to reread bits because words were simply not in the order that I expected them to be and it got somewhat confusing especially if I got interrupted. But it was a problem that I sort of enjoyed. I love shows like Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge and when I was able to find the peace to “listen” what I was reading, I happily fell into the story and wanted nothing more than to move into McConnell’s (the M.E. for lack of a proper term) library.

One thing that I absolutely loved about this book is that the story did not end with the solving of the case. I’m going to start judging other books on how well the story rounds itself out! I didn’t realize that for many of the books I’ve read in the past couple of years, once the climax happens I resort to just skimming the last 2 or 3 pages because they have rather formulaic endings, which is unfortunate.

They mystery was well done. I was half surprised by the ultimate reveal because of the actual way and why the murder was carried out (“who done it” was not very surprising for me). Anyway, this was a very good read that I highly recommend.

Lady in a Garden Poster
Lady in a Garden Poster by VintageSpot
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Teaching Word Problems

“A customer wants 10,000 3-part NCR forms, sized 5.5 x 8.5. They are printed 4-up. How many press sheets are required?”

Whenever I see a complaint about Common Core on-line, the question usually has something to do with math and is most often a word problem that has stumped the parents. This kind of annoys me because I work in a place where there are an endless amount of word problems like the one above and all too often my coworkers prove that they are incapable of finding the correct answer.

One in particular likes to claim that he’s great at doing these calculations: “it’s simple math,” he says. He’s the one who has double and quadruple printed jobs on a number of occasions. He almost did it again a few weeks ago when he calculated based on what the paperwork said (4-up) vs the reality of the plate and paper he was using (8-up). Our other pressman readily admits that he’s incapable of doing his own calculations and lord help us if the production manager does his math wrong!

“Addendum: There are 2000 forms in the attic from the previous order that need to be used as part of this order”.

I think it’s sad that most of the folks who are bashing Common Core’s curriculum are the ones who were part of the generation that said “Math is hard so why should I learn it?” Or maybe I’m making an assumption about their feelings towards math simply because it’s that generation’s children who are being force-fed STEM because we as a country NEED more Engineers.

Up until I graduated high school I loved math and word problems were my favorite. Turns out that my love of math only went as far as doing problems which reflect the visible world (i.e. Algebra II). Stumbling through Calculus my senior year and then essentially failing Statistics in College thus ended all my desires to deal with obscure mathematics as a career. But, the usage of mathematics isn’t obscure in ANY industry. Fewer and fewer strictly secretaries exist anymore–just about all receptionists have a “day job”. Ours sells the rubber stamps. That happens to be the only job I could think of which doesn’t involve even the simplest calculations.

“The customer wants their forms to be packaged in 100s. How many packages of 100 must we end up with? Did the Customer Service Rep (CSR) accurately break down this calculation on the work order?”

Every kid at some point during their mathematics career asks aloud: “Why do I even need to learn this crap?!” and “I’ll never use this stuff again!” The latter can be true for a lot of mathematics, but not the most basic lessons. Not the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division that is taught during the elementary years. And here is where I’ve found the problem lies. While in school I was often the tutor, especially for math homework and more often than not I found the the problem wasn’t the current lesson, but that the foundations just weren’t there. How can a student apply algebraic functions to a word problem when they aren’t able to translate a word problem?

On a similar note, while flipping  through a 3rd grade math workbook my parents had bought for my brother to help him out, I was surprised to see chapters labeled “Algebra”. Looking at what was within these chapters I had an epiphany: Get rid of the damn blank!

You see, in 2nd and 3rd grade, students are taught beginner Algebra via this type of equation: 8 + _ = 14. They’re taught to solve it using Algebraic principles and they come up with 6. Woohoo! BUT it isn’t until 7th grade (in my case) that letters are used instead of a blank and suddenly the kid who could solve 8 + _ = 14 has no idea what to do with 8 + X =14 and are certain that the answer is different when X is changed to Y. I think we could do a lot to improve our mathematics scores is teachers simply introduced the letters a lot earlier and used words like Algebra to describe this from day one rather than treating it as though it’s some mysterious new mathematical idea.

Get rid of the Blank

Anyway, sorry for the digression, but this is one of my largest soapboxes. Where was I? Oh yes, word problems.

I think that parents can do their children a world of good if they simply take them to work with them and show them all the ways that they use math in their everyday lives. I think it is silly to expect all children to become experts in Calculus because some simply don’t have the aptitude for it and will find their dream job in the arts or humanities and that is perfectly wonderful. But starving artists should know how to do the basic bookkeeping to know where their expenses are and to know how to calculate how much paint/paper/glue they’ll need to manage their inventory. So long as word problems remain a foreign concept to students and one that their parents want to fight, American industry will be flooded with people who might be able to run a machine, but are incapable of knowing how much of the product they actually need to produce.

Note: I do not wish to argue about the pros and cons of Common Core here. I’m simply stating my experience with specific questions that have been brought to the media’s attention (usually by a celebrity). I think that all students in the US need to be taught from the same curriculum regardless of the state/city they reside in because I live in a military town with a lot of transfer students. One of my cousins, back in the late 80’s, early 90’s was a military brat who moved from Gettysburg, PA to Charleston, SC. He was in roughly the 4th grade and they were studying the US Civil War in both of his classes. It was taught so differently that he was absolutely certain that they were two different wars.

Getting Old is the Best Revenge

I was so excited after reading Getting Old is Murder, I decided to read the second book in the series next. For the most part, it didn’t disappoint.

I loved the depth of Gladdy’s character. I tend to read what I call fluffy books–ones where the main characters don’t deal with too much real hardship. At the end of the day, these are Cozy Mysteries, so there’s nothing too upsetting, but at least she’s allowed to have some doubts about life. It’s nice to find someone real who isn’t so real that they’re utterly depressing.

I wasn’t as surprised by the murderer’s reveal, though there were still a couple twists that kept me on my toes. I think I’ve pinned down Ms. Lakin’s formula, but I’m hopeful that she’ll be able to keep the series exciting. The girls are predictable in that I know that they’ll do something funny and *SPOILER ALERT*: you can’t go wrong with a mob of 70+ year old women taking down a relatively youthful murderer, hehehe.

This book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, but I just got 5 books from the library and a book from Blogging for Books, so it will be awhile before I return to Ms. Gold’s shenanigans (or the appropriate Yiddish equivalent).

Cartoon Cruise Ship Let's Go Cruisin
Cartoon Cruise Ship Let’s Go Cruisin by PartyHearty
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