Thursday, September 26, 2013

Honoring Dad with New Camera



I'm all packed for my trip to Ecuador. My suitcases and carry on bag are stuffed to capacity. As I mentioned before, there are a couple of items I chose to leave off my packing list. One is my laptop and the other is my smartphone. The decision to leave the smartphone behind was a tough one, mostly because it takes higher quality pictures than any of our antiquated digital cameras. I inherited the gene that makes it impossible for me to go anywhere or do anything without chronicling it with photos from my father. I'm pretty sure everyone on my dad's side of the family has the same gene. It takes several refills on popcorn and a case of soda to get through the DVD compilation of everyone's photos and videos from our last family reunion.

Once I made the decision to leave the smartphone behind, I had to buy a new camera. It had to be at least as capable as my phone. Last week, my new camera arrived. To break it in and get the feel of it before my trip, I decided to wander around our yard and snap some photos. My dad took thousands of pictures of flowers and trees in his lifetime. He loved nature. So, in memory and honor of the man who gave me the gene that made it impossible for me to head to Ecuador without a brand new digital camera, here are some pictures taken just outside of our home.

Wine colored mums on the porch | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Wine-colored mums on our porch.

Baby Japanese Maple | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
New growth on our baby Japanese maple. 

Pretty Blue Fall Buds | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Pretty purple flowers that bloom in autumn.

Pink mums for the fire table | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Pink mums dressing up our fire table. 

Volunteers outside the flower box | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Volunteers growing outside the flower box.

Hubby's Out-of-Control Cactus | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Hubby's Out-of-Control Cactus.
Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ready to Travel Lightly



Traveling with a journal & camera | Navigating Hectivity | Micki Bare
My new travel journal and camera are
all ready for the trip. I will miss my
phone and laptop...and Hubby and
the boys and Ma, too, of course.
In less than a week, my girlfriend and I will be in Quito, Ecuador. We have plans to visit her family and friends, speak at a school, and play tourist in my friend's hometown. I'm looking forward to learning about another country and culture. I'm hoping to strengthen my ability to communicate in Spanish. But the thing I am looking forward to the most is being detached from mainstream technology for over a week.

My cellphone and laptop are staying at home. No email. No texts. No phone calls. No instant messages. Nothing but a journal, pen, and digital camera.

I plan to take lots of pictures and lots of notes. This will be my third journey out of the USA if you count the two trips I took to Canada. It will be my first adventure in another hemisphere. The wanderlust gene in me is doing cartwheels. The creative writer gene in me is looking forward to filling its coffers with tons of column and blog fodder. The photographer gene in me is still trying to figure out all the bells and whistles on the new camera.

Thankfully, those three genes are distracting the mommy gene that will obsess over whether of not everyone is okay back home. The new people, foods, and sights will keep the mommy gene at bay most of the time. But when we go shopping, that's the gene that will compulsively purchase a gift for each of my children, Hubby, and Ma. The mommy gene never lets me return home empty handed.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Banning Books in America



Banned Books Freedom of Speech USA
We don't ban books from our personal
home library. Rather, we tend to hoard books.
When it comes to my weekly syndicated column, I do my best not to talk politics, religion, or sports. My column is a feel-good, humorous, fun piece that is not meant to stir up controversy. However, there are times I feel it necessary to rant about something controversial. There are times I need to step up onto that proverbial soap box. That's when it's time to blog.

Yes, it still happens today in public schools. A parent doesn't like the content of a book. Rather than select the other books on the summer reading list or request a suitable accommodation, the parent works to get the book banned from the public high school the child attends. School committees get involved and make recommendations to the school board. The committees defend the book and make the recommendation to keep it. The school board votes to ban the book. As a result, the rest of the children in the entire school district are denied the right to use the book as part of their public education.

Parents absolutely need to be involved in their children's educations. They need to be familiar with curriculum materials. They need to be knowledgeable about content. When a parent decides something in the public school curriculum is not in alignment with their own belief systems, they have the right to request a reasonable accommodation, i.e. substitute, for the conflicting material. The public school system is obliged to make that accommodation. 

When a middle school teacher in our district incorporated a rated-R movie into his history class, I exercised my right to refuse to allow my children to watch the movie. While their classmates watched the material I felt was a graphic, fictionalized story based on historic events that was inappropriate for students in their early teens, my children were in the library reading non-fiction accounts of the same subject. However, the school system approved the material. The parents of my children's classmates gave permission for their children to watch the movie. In this scenario, everyone's rights were protected. 

Unfortunately, the parent in Randleman, NC, and the school board chose to deny other children and parents the right to include a specific piece of literature in their education. They did this based on one family's belief system. In the United States of America, I believe this to be unconstitutional. 

It is unacceptable for personal belief systems and ideologies to be forced upon others in public venues. That's what makes us a FREE country. We are free to believe what we want to believe without persecution from the government. We have the right to a free and equitable public education. We have the right to freedom of speech. What we don't have is the right to take away the rights of others. If we don't maintain these basic founding freedoms, then what do we stand for as Americans? How are we different from other countries?

Links to some of the other stories about the Randolph County School's decision to ban Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison:
Huffington Post
NPR
LA Times
The Courier-Tribune

On September 25, 2013, at a special called meeting, the Randolph County School Board voted 6-1 to rescind the ban and allow Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man to be part of the high school curriculum and library collection. To Read more: The Courier-Tribune

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pizza Printer, Bat Guest, Empty Nest Syndrome


NCSU & NASA pizza technology Navigating Hectivity
Print me an extra cheese &
pepperoni, please!
In addition to blogging and verbally noting critical details about people and things in an annoying manner, I write a weekly column. Most recently, I wrote about future family pizza movie nights, which could very well be conveniently enhanced by pizza printers. The technology for printing out an edible NY-style pie is actually being researched. This is why I adore my alma mater, NC State, and will forever be indebted to NASA.

Nocturnal Batty Visitor Navigating Hectivity
Just hanging around.
Another recent column introduced our nocturnal guest. He decided to hang around at night once or twice, but we haven't heard from him in a while. It would be great if he could drop by toward the end of October. A well-timed visit would save us time and energy decorating for the holiday.

Empty Nest Syndrome & New Dishes Navigating Hectivity
Surfing for the last set
of dishes we will buy
as hubby & wife.
I'm also dealing with the transition of children moving out into their own apartments. My middle child signed a 12-month lease, his first, and took with him our piecemeal dish set. Now the oldest is filling out apartment applications. As I type these words, a close family friend, an adopted son of sorts, is packing his truck and moving into his own place. Hubby and I still have no dishes and are now divvying out furniture. We're waiting for the youngest, who hardly spends time around the house anymore, to notice the bare spots.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare