Do I Have a Volunteer?

For many years–prior to 2004–Don volunteered every weekend at our local animal shelter.  His job was to take flattering photos of the cats–whether they were hissing or not–and the dogs, who were, let’s just say, rather exuberant when they were sprung from their pens and got outside for their closeups.  These photos were then published in our local paper and on the shelter’s website to promote and encourage adoption. 

Then something happened in 2004 . . . what was it?  Hmmmm . . . Oh, yes, Oscar was born.  Fortunately, around the same time, another volunteer–with a digital camera–emerged and was able to fill in.  We always knew we’d get back there–with our children–and today was that day.

The shelter has undergone a vast transformation–a “green” facility that is a comfortable and calming place for its animal residents, caretakers, and the public.  Oscar and Edgar volunteered today in one of the cat rooms (there are no cages).  Oscar played with a friendly, feisty cat who responded to him as if she had been waiting for him all day, and who was dubbed by Oscar as “very, very funny.” 

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Edgar and a long-haired black cat who wanted nothing more than hugs, hugs, and more hugs got along about as well as any human and feline ever did. 

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The kind woman who unlocked the cats’ door asked me prior to our entering if I thought the boys would be gentle with the cats.  It’s funny . . . I forget that sometimes kids aren’t.  I don’t know to what to attribute it–perhaps it’s their nature, perhaps having grown up with pets–but Oscar and Edgar couldn’t be kinder or more gentle with animals. 

Oscar asked if we could voluteer there every day.  I countered with, “How about once a week–every Saturday?”  He agreed, and both he and Edgar can’t wait to go back!  Volunteerism is something that has always been part of our adult lives, and we are as thrilled about this beginning as Oscar and Edgar clearly are.

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A Letter to the Editor

This appeared in tonight’s local paper as a Letter to the Editor.  It is my first on this issue, but it surely will not be my last.  The Ad Hoc School Building and School Committees have formulated a sound plan for the construction of a Pre-K through fourth grade school–something that is sorely, sorely needed in our community.   However, the City Council on Wednesday  night voted against holding a special election regarding the bond it would take to finance this project.  Sadly, we live in a city that at the moment does not seem to put a premium on education; and for this reason I am committed and resolved to working to try to effect change for the young students of Newport–who deserve infinitely better than this.

City Council proves it is not committed to education

As I sat at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, I watched the proceedings with eager anticipation. As a Newport resident for 34 years, a product of Newport Public Schools, a homeowner and taxpayer since 1997, and the mother of two young children, I hoped to see the Council honor the hard work of those who endeavored, on behalf of Newport’s children, to bring forward a financially reasonable and educationally sound plan. I wanted to see a Council that showed unanimous faith in our School Committee, unanimous gratitude to the Ad Hoc School Building Committee, unanimous belief in our children, and unanimous trust in the citizens of Newport.

Their charge Wednesday night was to decide whether to allow Newport residents the opportunity to vote in November 2009 regarding the bond. They did not have to support the bond. They simply had move to allow the citizenry to make its voice heard—as it did when it elected these individuals to office. And though three of the seven members did vote in favor of this special election, as a collective body they denied the motion.

I understand the many considerations: These economic times are harrowing; special elections do not always yield a substantial turnout; another opportunity may present itself if we give this issue even more time. But in the meantime our city’s elementary schools are in violation of current fire codes and are not meeting accessibility requirements—issues that will need to be addressed, expenses that will need to be incurred.

However, what matters most is what is best for our children. It is what should be at the forefront of every discussion regarding schools, and it is what many people volunteered to discern. Tonight’s vote was disappointing because the appearance, at least to this one citizen, taxpayer, and parent, is that the Council does not hold my children’s education as a priority. Admittedly, members of Newport’s City Council, like every one of us, have many responsibilities; but ultimately what is most worth investing in are our children.

I have watched my neighbors move from their home in Newport, rent it, and move to another community just to give their children what they felt was the best education possible. When residents abandon the homes they own in Newport so they can rent in communities they feel put a priority on education something is vastly wrong. But one can understand why: If your city does not value education to the extent that you do, you must act. My recommendation is that the City Council act—and act in the best interest of Newport’s youngest students—if it hopes to recover its reputation as a community that is committed to our children’s education.

A Roadie for Oscar

Having been a musician’s other half for more than two decades now, it struck me today as I carried out Oscar’s Vox amplifier and mini Stratocaster from his preschool that I never actually did this for Don; and while I always admired and have been, quite frankly, in awe of Don’s musical ability, I have never been his groupie much less his roadie. 

But now that my 42-pound, four-year-old son is a musician–as he will plainly tell you–he is going to need someone to carry his equipment in and out of school every Friday since said equipment weighs nearly as much as he does.

But something tells me I’ll do it–at least until he outweighs his gear–because, well, look how cool he looks on stage, plugged in and all the rest. 

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Many thanks to Oscar’s wonderful teachers who not only encouraged him to bring his guitar and amp but darned near insisted!  You’re the best!

Preschool Pub

img_9716You know your child’s preschool is cool when they have their own designated Irish pub–which opens up just for them on St. Patrick’s Day! 

Actually, it’s not nearly as controversial as it sounds . . . one of the student’s mothers manages the pub and generously and graciously opens its doors to just the children at various points throughout the year, including Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.

Don was able to steal a couple hours away from work to join Oscar for this very green luncheon! 

Oh, and no need to call the authorities–it was juice boxes and macaroni and cheese all around!

Lollipop, Lollipop

Every once in a while, when life is quiet and largely uneventful, I find myself saying to myself, “Hmmm . . . I wonder what the next post will be about.”   I always know in the back of my head that there will be a next post; but there are those rare times when things are incredibly quiet, subdued, and there doesn’t seem to be much to report.

And then it happens.

Inspiration.

This afternoon on the way home Edgar asked for a lollipop as a snack.  When we got home, I gave him a banana instead, complimenting myself on distracting him from his initial request and putting a healthful alternative in its place.   Two minutes later I see Edgar licking his new WALL-E robot.   Visions of lead paint horror stories swirl through my brain.

ME:  “Edgar, why are you licking WALL-E?” 

EDGAR:  “I’m not.”

ME:  “You are.  Why are you licking WALL-E?”

EDGAR:  “He tastes like a banana.”

ME:  “What do you mean ‘he tastes like a banana’?”

At this point, I get up close and personal with WALL-E only to find that the banana–that delicious, healthful banana– had been squished into every nook and cranny of this toy.  Every.  Last.   Nook.  And.  Cranny.

ME:  “Edgar, why did you squish banana all over WALL-E?”

EDGAR:  “To make a homemade lollipop.” 

Score one for Edgar!

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Snip, Snip

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Dear Oscar,

Several months ago, after a particularly challenging haircut at the salon, you asked me to cut your hair.  And though I haven’t the faintest idea how to cut hair and now know unequivocally that all the reading in the world cannot create technique, I agreed, hoping that eventually you would make the decision yourself to go back to a professional. 

The picture above is testimony to the fact that I am an amateur at best.  Fortunately, your beautiful face should be a distraction from my bumbling efforts–but, please, go back to Angie’s–and soon! 

All my love,

Mommy

LATE-BREAKING NEWS:  On Sunday, while I was chaperoning at an all-day event, Oscar consented to visit “Snip-Its,” a kids-only salon.  According to Don, there were a few tears along the way, but Oscar hung on and had the necessary repairs!  Yippee!

Art Show or Track Meet? You Decide!

Here are the artists–looking very “artsy,” I might add.  However, if you saw them at the Kids’ Gallery Art Show, where their exquisite “O” and “E”–made under the guidance of their inimitable Uncle Len–were on exhibit, you might think you were at an indoor track meet.  The hallway perpindicular to the gallery made an impressive and far too tempting run for this group of preschoolers . . . excuse me, artists.  And we had to let them run because, well, they’re artists–and who can explain or suppress the creative temperament?  Certainly not their parents whose dreams of a good night’s sleep were just as profound as their wishes for their children’s future artistic endeavors.

Please take a peek at the photos by clicking on this link:

http://picasaweb.google.com/samanthadonoscaredgar/ArtShow#

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