Friday, January 17, 2020

UnFunny Friday

Friday is usually the day when there's a Friday Funnies posted on this blog.

But, not today as what I read recently in the news was not funny. It was, in fact, very troubling to me and perhaps others as well.

As stated before, other than blogging, I don't participate on other social media sharing networks — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, Yelp, TripAdvisor, WeChat, Tumblr, WhatsApp  just a few of many more. My non-participation is a personal choice.

Many folks, including those in our family, are eager FB participants and post much about their activities. Unfortunately, none of which I see (again, that's OK). Sadly, like others, they rely on social media and refrain using emails or texts to share family news/photos. Writing an email or posting a card/letter is fast becoming old-fashioned, albeit a lost tradition. (But, I won't go down that path here as it would be another rant.)

So, here's the backstory on what's got me fired up about social media. For those who may not have heard, seen on the news, or read about it, here's a version without names. There's always room for interpretation or inaccuracies as various news outlets that provided the details are themselves a form of social media.

As reported first in a local KY daily and then exploded in the media, a private Louisville, KY, Christian school expelled a 15-year old female student after learning that she had celebrated her birthday with family at a local restaurant in late December

In a photo, the girl's mother posted to her own FB page, her daughter was shown wearing a multi-color sweater and smiling in front of a rainbow-themed cake with candles.

rainbow often is seen as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer pride (LGBTQ) rights. According to the mom, the cake was a fun treat. She provided a bakery receipt listing the cake design as "assorted colors" adding, "Just because I'm wearing a rainbow doesn't mean I'm gay. I ordered the cake, and it didn't mean anything else.

The expulsion followed when the photo was shared with school officials by someone else.

What did a top school official do? 
Nothing as personal as a phone call. The head of school sent an email in early January indicating the girl's enrollment was terminated, effective immediately, because of a social media post. The expulsion email read in part: “The WA Administration has been made aware of a recent picture, posted on social media, which demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of (the school's) beliefs. Any further promotion, celebration or any other action and attitudes counter to (the school's) philosophy will not be tolerated.”

The school reportedly stated: “Our code of conduct is on par with other private Christian schools in our area . . . It is unfortunate that one of the student’s parents chose to post internal family matters on social media."

Rejecting the mother's explanation, the school cited “inaccurate media reports” which suggested that the girl was expelled solely because of the FB post. “She has unfortunately violated our student code of conduct numerous times over the past two years.” 

The girl's family said it was stunned by the school’s expulsion rationale. Her mother confirmed her daughter was placed on earlier probation, but had since been improving. The family was told that the expulsion could be re-classified as "voluntary withdrawal" on her transcript if she applied to other schools. She now attends a public school. 

No details on alleged transgressions preceded expulsion, the school cited KY law and its guidelines, “All parents who enroll their children in our private school know upfront that we ask the students to adhere to a lifestyle informed by our Christian beliefs.”

The school is affiliated with a local Baptist church and can refuse admission/discontinue the enrollment of a current student who may go against its religious beliefs. The Louisville Fairness Ordinance, passed in 1999, contains exemptions for religious organizations and schools.

This incident received national news attention, The school has been inundated with negative feedback online, most likely on various forms of social media.

WHY this post?
First, the school and its administration are apparently within their legal rights. While I may not agree with the position, the point here wasn't to chastise or judge. Instead, what concerns me (and others) is how much people share on social media not realizing any repercussions or unforeseen reactions. And, yes this could apply to a blog post too.

What about you — Do you have strong thoughts (or not) on the impacts of social media.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

It's Beginning to Look

No, not like early Christmas, but every other holiday that follows.
Within a few days after Christmas, most local retailers here were stocked up for the next round of holidays, Valentine's Day coming first and being the most heavily promoted through so many displays.
It followed soon afterwards by St. Patrick's Day (March 17), then Easter (April 12) There's debate over which holiday sells the most candy — Valentine's Day, Easter, or Halloween.
There were lots of left-over bargains to be found for those included to stock up for 2020 Christmas. Sales at some retailers featured mark-downs of 75%.

Until this week, we had the holiday cards still on display and they have since been taken down, but saved for some of next year's decoration projects. The New England winter village and the manger setting still remain and will be packed away by the end of this month. (We had to wait until the Jan 6 feast of the Epiphany and the arrival of the Three Wise Men after Christmas.)
"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me."                                                           Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Christmas Road Trip

Christmas holidays went by quickly for Grenville and myself as they were taken up largely by visits to family and friends in several states. This longish post is a photo summery of all the folks we visited during our 1,000 mile+ trip.

First stop was RI where we spent Christmas Day with grandson Bobby, 13, and granddaughter Ellie, 8, and their mom, Shannon.
As the grandkids have gotten older, their holiday gifts no longer consist of toys. Bobby enjoyed a new metronome and Ellie received a new iPad.
Bobby recently had a December birthday and one of his birthday/Christmas gifts from Grandpa Grenville was an electric keyboard. He showed Ellie how to play it for an impromptu performance.

Next stop on the Christmas family visits was a stop in CT to spend time with Grenville's aunt and uncle.

We've been taking Christmas photos with long-time friends Sara and David whenever we've gotten together during the holidays. They live in our native NJ and this was first time in several years that we were able to continue this "tradition." (Sara and Dorothy are former high school classmates and remain close friends.) 

We even managed to get a "selfie" with all four of us thanks to Grenville's long reach.

One of the most wonderful visits during our NJ stop was having breakfast with these ladies: Virginia (L) and Margaret (R). These 90+ year old women were both friends of my late mother's and met after her passing 5 years ago. They live within 5 miles of one another and talk on the phone nightly. I also talk with them weekly. They are amazing and graceful ladies and we never miss a chance to spend time with them when in NJ.

In NJ, we spent time with family, including newest family members, great nieces, Autumn Rose (L) and Savannah Marie (R). These two cousins were born in Oct 2019, 2 weeks apart. We met Autumn at Thanksgiving, but this was our first time meeting Savannah who's relocating to FL with her parents later this year.

In a baby switch, our two nieces are each holding their niece. Julie is holding her niece, Savannah while her sister, Jamie is holding niece, Autumn.
Happy grandparents shown above are my brother Tony and his wife, Anita, who became first-time grandparents twice within 2 weeks in 2019. Looks like they have their hands full.

It looked like Autumn and Ernie were quite taken with one another. We learned that she enjoys Sesame Street and figured this would be a great gift. Her mom, Julie, has since told us that Ernie travels everywhere with her.

After the NJ family and friends visit, we continued to PA for a visit with granddaughter Lilliana, 3, shown above with mom, Coleen. Lilliana happily showed her art skills.

As per our usual habit, we took selfies in places stayed overnight during our 2019 Christmas to New Year's Eve road trip with stops in RI, CT, NJ, PA and NY covering over 1,000 miles. It was great to see everyone (and we did) during the holiday, but in Christmas 2020 we're planning a quiet NH holiday at home. (It will be our gift to ourselves.)

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Comments Restricted?

Question: has anyone ever received this message when trying to post a comment on a blog? 

⚠️ Comments on this blog are restricted to team members.

Not sure what this means as it hasn't happened before. This happened yesterday, after I left a comment on blogger Valerie's latest post on A Mixed Bag. Subsequently, I visited other blogs and was able to leave comments. If you are reading this post, Valerie, it was so good to find you back in blog-land . Hopefully the radiator, rug and back issues will be sorted out soon. 

Valerie is in the United Kingdom. I hope it's not some sort of backlash for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepping down from royal duties. (Written with tongue in cheek.) If you are reading this post, Valerie, just wanted you to know it was so good to find you back

This is only the latest blogger issue. I still have unresolved and recurring issues in that Blogger loses header info when using the Safari browser. These are the ones at the top left of the home blog page at the top right and needed to sign in and comment on blogs: 
email address  New Post  Design  Sign Out

As a workaround, I've been using the Firefox browser to read blogs and to start a new post, is then be completed in Safari. Despite not being able to sign in with Safari, edits are possible even when a post has been set up in Firefox. The reason for not completing the posts using Firefox is that they (always) loose formatting when viewed in Safari.

Just wondering — Have any other fellow bloggers had similar issues?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday Funny

Here's the first 2020 Friday Funny, even though it was taken months before this new year began. This photo was captured at a flea market last summer. Possible captions that came to mind are Chilling Out or Bearly Hanging Out. Your thoughts?

Weather forecast here in Nashua, NH is for warm and rainy weather with temperatures expected for range between 47 and 63 degrees. So much for New England winter weather.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Resolver or Not?

This post could have been titled "Resolved or Not?" but, it refers to the one doing the resolutions, so it is aptly named.

After posing the question on my 1st post of 2020, many bloggers replied that they no longer make New Year's resolutions. Like most who commented last week, neither do I. That's not to say, I don't have some non-resolutions. Many were started this week, which is why blog posting and reading has lagged a bit.

Here's a few of my intentions, not resolutions. 
Since posting and reading comments from some fellow bloggers, I've added a few more.

Continue to halt unsolicited junk/donation requests. Easier said than done, many of you are thinking, but it can be done, only if you're willing to invest some time, here's HOW I do it. Whenever we receive a mailing or catalog from a place we haven't donated to/bought from, I call the customer service number (or any other number in the mailing) and politely and directly request (no yelling/threatening) that my/our names and address not only be removed from their mail lists but never to be provided to any other organization, no matter HOW worthwhile its cause; we prefer to select our own organization to donate to and prefer local ones. 

Does this work? Yes, it does, and it may take persistence with repeated follow-ups that come with a standard reply of: it will "take a few weeks until your name is removed. My just-as-polite response is: That's fine, unwanted materials will be recycled until they stop. And, trust me most of ours have stopped. We do not receive much junk mail, aside from ones addressed to Occupant/Residential Customer. (If anyone knows how to stop those, please share.)

Delete unused apps and podcasts from my phone/tablet. It may have seemed like a good idea when these were downloaded, but if I'm using/listening to certain ones now, delete works very well and gives me more time to focus on the ones that remain.

Read a magazine or paper within 2 days after it is brought into our home, then recycle it. No more letting them pile up until the next month's issue.

Call or write long-distance friends more often, and not wait until a month or so has gone by. It doesn't matter who was in contact the last time.

Keep photo albums current. Today, many rely on social media and don't order photo prints, or put them in photo albums. I still do both as online sharing isn't the same will never do for me. 

Backup photo and document files regularly, at a minimum of once a month. This week, all files on my desktop and laptop PCs were backed up to external drives. All photo files were then backed up to separate external drives. 

Discard old statements, once a current one is received as file space is limited and we need to organize paperwork for 2019 tax filing.

Check out/download only 1 book at a time and read it instead of checking out several books at one time. If the single checkout isn't to my liking, I can return it and check out another. The local library is within walking distance and has a LOT of (free) choices.

Clean the oven on a monthly process. Yes, it's a self-cleaning model, which makes it so much easier than years ago. No self-cleaning ovens then and I used those foul-smelling chemical sprays.

Deodorize the dishwasher every couple of weeks. This appliance isn't used daily as we often hand wash and air dry dishes and utensils. Consequently, it can have a foul odor when opened. Vinegar and baking soda are easy "fixes" and no scrubbing is required, just run 2 separate cycles with an empty dishwasher.

Statistics have shown that many who make popular resolutions (loss weight, exercise, save money, spend less, etc.) have an expected failure rate of up to 80 percent within 6 weeks.

As for me, I'm not planning on becoming a statistic, since I don't have any resolutions. 
And you?

Thanks for your comments on the view in the first 2020 post. We never tire of looking at the Nashua River from our apartment windows. 

Here's a different view taken on a walk around the mill apts this week. The series of reflections intrigued me on a day filled with cloudy skies and snow flurries.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Welcome 2020

We wish everyone a 2020 New Year full of all that brings you happiness with our thanks for your blogger friendship. 

This was the view from our apt window today. Mother Nature didn't provide a 2019 White Christmas, but we had a snowy 2020 start. (No, this view never gets old to us.)

How did you spend the 1st day of this New Year — any resolutions ?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Wishes 2019

Beatrice and Grenville (Dorothy & Patrick) extend our Best Wishes to everyone for a peaceful, joyous and loving Christmas — all the best for everyone in the coming New Year.
We're taking a year-end holiday blog break to spend visiting with family and friends.
Merry 🎄Christmas to All. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Holiday Wreath Winners

Two earlier blog posts (Corked! and DIY Holiday Decos 2019) described how I made my first-ever holiday wreath. It served a dual purpose — to decorate our apt door and to use as an entry for the annual holiday wreath competition at the mill apts.

There was a total of 7 wreath entries; mine is no. 3. Here's a posted collage of all wreath entries, which is really a low number. (There's more than 325 apt residences here.)
Residents voted online and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners received Visa gift cards from $100 to $25. The winners were posted online earlier today, see belowMy wreath came in 2nd place. 
Thanks for your votes of support, which (unfortunately) didn't count in the voting results. (Alas, only residents were allowed to vote. No tallies were provided with the voting results.)

This was a fun first craft experience. I'm already working on ideas for next holiday season.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Autumn Rose Meets Santa

Both our new-this-year great nieces are doing well and living in our native NJ. We'll be seeing the older-by-2 weeks great niece, Autumn Rose, again and meeting her younger cousin, Savannah Marie during post-Christmas family visits.

Autumn Rose is just over 2 months old; her parents are my brother's oldest daughter, Julie, and husband, Michael.
Not only is this Autumn's first Christmas, but also her first two visits with Santa.
Whoops, make that four visits with Santas and clearly, she isn't one of those children who cries at this holiday photo opp. Her mom also choose different outfits for each event.

This is her first cousin, Savannah Marie, who was 2 months old this past weekend. Her mom, Jamie, is my brother's younger daughter. We'll see them over the holidays.
I'm not sure if Savannah has seen the "man with the beard" as of this post. These photos with mom and dad, Mike, were taken at Thanksgiving and sent via a text message.

We're looking forward to seeing these two great nieces together during our holiday visit. And, of course, new photos will be taken of both babies.
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