A Nation Asking, Why?

I have seen a lot of bad shit in my lifetime; Charles Manson Murders, Jim Jones Massacre, David Koresh, 9/11, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora Theater, Oregon Mall and countless others.  Living in Baltimore someone is murdered everyday either intentionally or in the crossfire.  Yeah I have seen a lot of bad shit but nothing like the events that occurred yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

We made this, anyone who wants it, please take it. ~~Will & Family <3

 

27 people, 7 adults and 20 children ages 6-7 lost their lives this day.  Families that should be celebrating the holidays will now be planning funerals.  Gifts will remain unopened under the tree.  Stockings will remain unfilled.  Holiday treats will go uneaten.  There will be an empty chair at the family dinner table.  There will be an empty desk in the classroom.  Most of all there will be a hole in the hearts of the families that have lost a loved one, a hole in the hearts of the community and a hole in the hearts of the nation.

Everyone has their own opinion (being expressed very strongly on social media outlets) on how to solve this crisis that has become an all too common occurrence:

Stricter Gun Control

Increased School Security

Mental Health Care and Awareness

Reduction in the Unemployment Rate

Reduction in Media Sensationalism

Allowing God in the Classroom

Hell I don’t know what the answer is but I do know the question that is on the minds of everyone in the nation this day.  The question simply is – Why?

Latest Crochet Projects

I would love to be able to quit my job and crochet full-time.  Unfortunately that is an unrealistic goal beings that I like to eat and have a roof over my head.  I do however make time during the day to pursue my hobby.

I am going to my great-niece’s birthday party this weekend.  I can’t believe she will be a year old.  Her mother asked me if I could make her a sock monkey hat but of course it just had to be pink.  I was actually partial to the sock monkey color so I made her one of each.  One with a pom-pom and one with a flower.  Aren’t they the cutest?  I hope she likes them.

My co-worker asked me to make a pink sparkle puppy for her daughter for Christmas.  (What is up with all this pink crap?) She picked out the pattern.   He is more like a floppy rag dog.  His cuteness is starting to grow on me I guess.

I have always wanted a granny square sweater and now I have one!  I had a ton of scraps and below is the result.  Yes it is colorful and maybe a bit seventies-ish (is that a word?) but I love it!  Only problem is I may not wear it often as it is very warm.  I may make another one using only black and white granny squares.

And this is the project I am currently working on.  Just a black and white afghan, unfinished, in a heap on my sofa.  The pattern somehow reminds me of Greek architecture.

The Office Birthday Party

Aren’t office birthday parties fun?

As you approach your cubicle you can’t help but notice the twisted pink and blue nightmare that is cascading from the ceiling and flowing directly down into your cubicle.  Sighing you think to yourself, “which moron stayed late last night to put this up?”.  You are then expected to work throughout the day draped under a canopy of cheap dollar store crinkle paper knowing that you will later be honored with the daunting task of ripping it all down.  Hopefully by the end of the day half of it would have fallen down anyway.  Good, less for you to clean up later.

Ah, the proverbial birthday cake.  The one purchased from the corner grocer the day before, during someone’s lunch hour.   A yellow sponge like substance covered with white frothy icing and a rainbow of sugary roses adorning each side.  A sweet treat guaranteed to produce sugar crash in the most productive of workers. “Happy Birthday” is scribbled across the middle as if it were written by the hand of a child.  Lucky for you the fire codes prevent the use of open flame so there won’t be any candles (not that they would all fit on the cake anyway).   “I’ll just have a tiny sliver, thank you very much.”

Suddenly the office erupts into song as the Corporate Tabernacle Choir recites the lyrics to “Happy Birthday To You” (albeit in the key of b flat).  Was that a dog howling in the background?

Then there is the group birthday card.  The one that reads “Happy Birthday, from the whole gang!” and is littered throughout with cute little animals where each person signs their name to the creature that they think resembles them the most.  The card that is given to the boss for his signature last so that he has no other option but to sign his name to the jackass.  You would think that he would get the hint by now.  Looks identical to the card you received last year, doesn’t it?

As the day drags on you will be visited by various coworkers (some of which you have never even seen before) all asking the same ridiculous question, “Oh, is it your birthday?” Gee what could have possibly given it away?  Could it be the hideous streamers purchased off the clearance rack?  The half-eaten birthday cake sitting on the edge of the desk?  Or maybe it is the big bright metallic “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” banner plastered across the overhead bins?  Yeah, that is definitely the culprit.  You choke back the desire to respond with a sarcastic “No I just felt like decorating today” and instead you smile and nod as you offer them a piece of birthday cake (becoming stale by the minute, mind you) because there is no way that you want to take home any of the leftovers.

5 o’clock already?  Brushing away the last few crumbs of birthday cake from your desk you scour your surroundings making sure you have left no scotch tape behind on the prefabricated office furniture.  Securing the lid on the last few pieces of birthday cake you rush off to find the first associate with children so you can pawn off the leftovers.  The single mother of three thanks you now but will curse your name later when Junior decides to paint his little sister’s face with red and purple roses.   As you are leaving the office you glance back to your now naked cubicle smiling softly as you reflect on the day’s events.  Maybe next year it will be a chocolate cake.

The pomp and ceremony of the office birthday party may be a silly little tradition but still it is a kind gesture from coworkers and it is nice to be remembered on your special day.

The Copier That Ate My Lunch

I used to work in an office where the copy room was so bad that it actually inspired me to write the poem below.  I taped this poem above said copier.  Unfortunately I did not see an improvement people’s behavior but the poem did manage to produce a chuckle from the copy room from time to time.

I went to use the copier and what to my surprise,

The “Add Paper” light was blinking right before my very eyes!

The paper cabinet was empty except for three hole punch,

I raced downstairs to get more paper and grabbed a whole bunch.

 

I filled the copier with paper, closed the door with a slam,

The message on the copier read “Clear the Paper Jam”!

I finally resolved the problem after searching all about

I pushed the copy button and the toner was all out!

 

The paper gone, the copier jammed, and out of toner too?

The person who used the copier before me left me a lot to do.

 

Back downstairs for toner.  This was certainly no fun!

With all of these problems I will never get my work done.

 

By now my lunch hour was over and I was in a bad mood.

To leave the copier in such disorder is undeniably rude.

 

If you find you run out of paper and don’t have time to fill it,

Please remember that you are not the only one that has to use it.

Also please clear your paper jams and fill the toner too.

Imagine how you would feel if someone left it empty for you.

 

If you are unsure about a jam or which way the paper goes,

Or how to put the toner in, ask someone who knows.

We all must lend a helping hand to each and everyone.

We all must work together to complete a job well done.

 Thanks for your cooperation

The Xerox 914 was the first one-piece plain pa...

Sticks and Stones – How to Handle a Bully

English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...The definition of bullying can take on a variety of meanings.  The term bullying refers to many destructive behaviors ranging from taunting to more serious behavior such as abuse or assault.  A bully can be one single individual or it may be a group of people that is doing the bullying.  We are all familiar with the phrase “sticks and stones may break our bones but names will never hurt us”.  Taunting, teasing and threats are the most common form of bullying and although they are not physically harmful they can be much more dangerous in terms of the effects on the bullied child.

It is estimated that 50% of school-age children have been bullied in school.  Most often the bullied child is physically small for their age, highly sensitive, quiet, and well liked by adults.  The “target child” typically does not have a lot of friends and most often others are not likely to come to their rescue.  Bullies tend to target children that are physically less strong than they are.  This allows the bully to exhibit control over the target child by using threats of physical abuse.  Contributing to this problem is that most parents often deny that their child is a bully.  Because the bully is not held accountable for his or her actions their behavior tends to become more dangerous over time.

For the victim bullying can leave deep emotional scars that last throughout adulthood.  Adults who were bullied as children are seven times more likely to attempt suicide.  Twenty percent of adults bullied as children admitted to trying to kill themselves at some point in their lives.  For children bullying can be so traumatic that they want to die in order to escape the ridicule and abuse that has become part of their daily lives.  The term for one that takes their own life to escape the devastating torment of bullying is known as bullycide.

Steven Shepherd’s Story

Steven Shepherd was an intelligent, scrawny, 11-year-old boy with glasses and a slight limp.  Coming from a broken home, Steven lived with his grandmother in a poverty-stricken part of town.  Steven was an easy target for the bullies in his school; the type of child that jokes were made from.  Upon hearing the school bell one day Steven rushes in from the playing field to find that his classmates had urinated in his walking shoes.  Draping his pee-soaked shoes around his neck he proceeds to walk home alone.  Hearing the taunts and teasing from behind he begins to pick up his pace.  His tiny heart racing in fear, he does not move fast enough and he is quickly surrounded.

Panic stricken, he feels his glasses being violently snatched from his face.  Falling to the ground below he wails in pain as the kicks and punches continue to bruise his tiny body.  Lying helpless the torment finally ceases and as he reaches for his glasses he discovers that he is unable to move his arm, as it is broken.  Lifting himself from the ground the events of the day are quickly forgotten as they merge with the other daily bully attacks that for him have become a way of life.

Of all the days he can recall the only happy day he ever experienced was the day he helped pick strawberries in a field.  It was a day where he did not have to worry about being abused by his tormentors.  The one and only day in his life that he could recall when he was not scared.  He returned to this happy place on a cold evening in January 1967.  Tossing up his hands he shouts, “Why do I have to live like this?  If I do I must kill myself.”  Laying his little body face down in a drainage ditch his nightmares finally ceased and he was happy once again knowing that the torment had come to an end.  Fifty-one days later his body was found.

 The story of Steven Shepherd is Britain’s first recorded account of bullycide.

Who is responsible?  We all are.  As adults, parents, and educators we all have a responsibility to do something to prevent this type of behavior.  We also have a responsibility to protect children from being bullied.  The important thing to remember is that it is not necessarily the actions of the bully but how these actions can affect the bullied child.

What Can Children Do?

  • Let bully know they are not intimidated and are determined to make them stop
  • Discuss subject in class
  • Tell teachers, counselors, and parents what is going on
  • Do not use violence
  • Refuse to respond to bully’s taunting
  • Understand their right not to be bullied or abused
  • Realize that bully’s criticisms have no validity
  • Call local helpline

 What Can Parents Do?

  • Work with teachers to make schools safe
  • Support child and help them cope with bullying
  • Research – Knowledge is Power
  • Talk to child about bullying and agree on course of action
  • Recognize signs that child is being bullied
  • Take legal action if necessary

What Can Schools Do?

  • Update and enforce anti-bullying policy
  • Be proactive instead of reactive when dealing with bullying
  • Conduct surveys to understand how much bullying is in school
  • Campaign against bullying and regard it as unacceptable behavior
  • Create supportive environment where children can discuss the issue
  • Teach students assertiveness

English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...