Monday, February 28, 2011

Well, shiver me timbers


Apparently leaving the State House to avoid/stop impending votes is nothing new. Wisconsin Democrats recently fled the state to stop Gov. Walker from ending the collective bargaining rights of unions and public employees.

And in 1840, none other than Abe Lincoln himself, jumped from a two-story window in the Illinois State House! He wanted to prevent the quorum (or minimum number of Congressmen) needed to pass legislation that would shut down the Bank of Illinois. So he jumped.

Desperate times.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the Sabbath


Over the years Sunday has become a day of restoration in the Jeffries household. As in restoring our clothes back to our closets, our homework into our folders, and restoring our new-found Scrabble tradition back onto the kitchen table.

Whatever your Sabbath brings...

I hope you are renewed, before experiencing Monday's travails.

Happy Sabbath!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I should be sleeping...

but instead, I'm learning how to Dougie....LBVS (laughing but very serious) ;o)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This baby stuff has got to stop!

All these celebrities, with their cute little baby bumps.

And my little sister, with her cute little baby.

Argh!!!!

I definitely need to get a dog quick, fast, and in a hurry cause my hormones are playing tricks on me (trying to slap myself out of it).

Damn you, Celebrities!

(My ridiculously cute niece)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ain't that some Cheesehead-ed 'ish!

*Back story*
WI has a strong Labor history and culture. Scott Walker, Republican governor of WI has a state deficit. He wants to cut at the deficit by eliminating the wage-bargaining rights of public employees. (teachers, security guards, state employees, everyone except Policemen and Fire fighters....hmmmmm).

And since the Democrats are currently the minority party in WI, they have fled the state in an attempt to make the Gov. negotiate the terms of this bill. In turn, the Gov. has sent State police to find the Democrats, and is publicly stating that he will not bargain, budge, or converse with the Dems about changing the nature of his bill.
*End of back story*

What really concerns/bothers me about Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker is that he is not interested in listening. At all.

So, say what you will about unions, they are not perfect, however, neutering their ability to advocate on the behalf of their members seems wrong (and unAmerican, doggone it!).

After all, the WI unions have conceded on important points (wage freezes, increases in health-care and insurance deductibles for their members). Which says to me, these unions are at the table, Scott Walker just refuses to meet them there.

Being obstinate is not leadership. It is not democratic either. To disregard protesting constituents, and take to cable-news programs to talk up your resolve to ignore the opposition, is down-right disrespectful.

And as an individual chosen to govern a diverse populous, one would think the best approach to difficult/contentious problems is active engagement, not grand-standing.

Putting aside my hatred of the Packers/Wackers, I wouldn't wish Gov. Scott Walker's leadership on any American.

Solidarity, my Cheese-headed Americans. Solidarity.

Looks like some New Yorkers feel the same way:

the Vexation of Quesh

Alright, so two things....

1. I always thought precocious meant cute, until today when I looked it up (trying to blow off steam). And precocious actually means for a child to acquire a skill or talent early (or ahead of its peers). Which leads to the "cute" or "quirky" word association.

2. After looking up precocious, and still feeling exasperated, I wanted to find a synonym for FRUSTRATED and came across VEX. The word that most accurately described how I was feeling! Vexed.

So, ok, three things...

3. I am steadily learning not to take the tantrums or opposition I experience in the classroom personally. This behavior is not about me. It is about the child trying to express the goings-on in his head. There is a reason this is a Special Ed. class. And I am here to lead these children toward a more productive way of handling stress. (Like looking up our feelings; in the dictionary, instead of shutting down and banging heads...which is easier said than done, especially on days like today)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Conservation/Ecological contest for Chicagoland kids!

For those with children that attend Chicago-area schools; consider having them submit a 7-word poem about the earth/nature.

Send their poems here with you child's name, age, grade level, and school included.

The boys entries were pretty swell/cute, so I hope they have a shot at nabbing that Zoo pass! (Fingers-crossed)

And here's what I submitted for GP (I couldn't resist):

Logs by: LaQueshia

Wise refuge
Crest of ecosystems
Elevating life

(Back Story) Soon after learning of this contest, I was chatting it up with my baby sis and she mentioned seeing an AWESOME Magic School Bus episode about the majesty and usefulness of logs. And I was inspired, thus the poem.

But, I can only hope that we adults, began to pass on a respect and awe for nature onto our children.

To my many minions....(heehee)

Seriously, thanks for following me, peeps!!! I appreciate the support.
.....and if you're so inclined, recommend me to a friend! ;O)

I'm in love with a Singer

A few singers as a matter of fact.

They are known on the street as Kidz Bop.

OhMyGosh, they're like my guilty pleasure. I have them on my iPod en masse. My boys and I sing along to them on the way to school in the morning; (with me dancing a little too enthusiastically at the steering wheel). I know I can't really be the only parent digging them, right??

I may actually love the Kidz Bop mixes more than my Glee albums (the horror)!

Now, occasionally, I will be thrown off by the Kidz singing something that was very much written for an adult audience (Burn by Usher, anyone?). Moments like that are weird, kinda like turning around to find your toddler singing the lyrics to Jupiter Love, when you thought he was obliviously playing his DS (shaking my head with shame).

But by and large, I love Kidz Bop. I drive to them, workout with them, and bond with my boys through their lyrics.

So on that note....My name is Queshia, and I'm a Kidz-Bop-aholic



Sorry, Justin Bieber, you never had a chance hun ;O)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thinking about the Nile....

I was doing my daily blog-roll on Sunday morning (scanning Salon, Huffington Post, etc) when I came across a post by a Rabbi reprimanding Obama and the Administration for being "tone-deaf" to the grass-roots movement in Egypt.

In all fairness, I'm not sure anyone really saw this big of a change coming. Not even the grass-roots organizers. Especially after the momentous Green movement of Iran losing steam just a year ago.

I'm also not sure it's our business what the POTUS could have done concerning the protesters anyway. This was their time, their movement. And they didn't need America in order to make this great awakening that place in their country.

However, I am curious to see what will happen with the tremendous amount of aid we send to Egypt each year...

It feels good


We all know that giving is the 'right' thing to do. In fact, that's what I've been told just about every time I've stepped foot inside a church.

It's called tithing, or giving at least 10% of your earnings (or increase) away. Generally, it goes to the place where you worship.

To be honest, I've seen enough giving by less than wealthy parishioners, to more than 'fortunate' pastors, to make me sick to my stomach. (But that's another post altogether)

So my lack of 'worship' put me in a bind because I still believe giving is essential to one's growth and success as a human being. But I had been left without a place to give since I began wondering in the 'wilderness' some years ago.

Then, ironically, a Donald Trump book helped me out. In, "The Negotiation (I believe that's the title) the Donald said he gives away at least 10% of his fortune every year, because he believes giving is not exclusive to religion, but has everything to do with being successful.

Thus, it was confirmed, and I resolved within myself that whether I attended church or not, I would give. To the homeless, to rape victims, to my grandparents, to a local classroom. It didn't matter, I just had to give to someone in need.

And I have. And I'm glad I do. ;O)

Here are some I patronize:

1. Doctors without Borders (Provides medical relief to disaster areas worldwide)
2. Donors Choose (lets donors choose a classroom to gift items to)
3. Care (Advocates rights and assistance to women worldwide)

Come on, Try it! You'll like it.

Also, Please leave any worthy organizations in the comments section!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This ain't no joke

Teaching is hard. I mean, it is truly quite difficult. I don't care how creative or innovative, or inspirational you are....along will come a kid that will test your resolve to teach.

And I'm not even a certified teacher yet. But dealing with Special needs children (or general ed. kids for that matter) takes dedication and a willingness to re-think approaches.

I guess this is what my big sis calls "trial by fire".

2011 seems to be the year of total immersion for me. As if the universe is saying, "Don't talk about it, be about it!"

Well, I'm trying to be about it Universe, for what it's worth...

And I'm learning daily...to slow down, and try again, and back off, and demand respect.

Work today makes me think about Mrs. Holbrook, the best English teacher of ALL TIME. ;o) I've loved my Irish mum since Sophomore English, but now that I'm in the 'field' I have even more respect for the way she got us to write, write, write, read, and then write some more. She was tiny, but demanding.

One of my favorite memories is when our class read '1984', and we created a totalitarian regime to rule us. Homie was everyone's surname while at school, and the thought police made offenders eat Hot Balls candy. A classmate even started a language (that never caught on). And I stood for the revolution, that of course wasn't televised.

She loved us, and we loved her. And she taught us well.

I need some of Homie Holbrook's grace right now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cradle of Civilization...reborn


With Mubarak resigning as the President of Egypt, their Turkish neighbors have issued a statement that reflects great friendship and hope:

"The Vice President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr. Omar Suleiman, announced tonight that President Mubarak has resigned from the Presidency and handed over power to the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

"Turkey has supported the legitimate demands for democracy and freedom of the brotherly people of Egypt from the very outset of the mass demonstrations in Egypt, and expressed its hope for a peaceful transition to a participatory and pluralistic order in full respect of human rights.

"We sincerely hope that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, acting with common sense and restraint, will transfer power to a new administration to be established through free and fair elections as soon as possible and will provide for the transition of the country into a constitutional democracy shaped by the will of the Egyptian people.

"We wholeheartedly believe that, given its deep rooted state tradition, Egypt will emerge from these developments stronger than before. The international community should mobilize its full efforts to prevent Egypt from confronting economic hardships or any other negative consequences during this process.

"As always, Turkey will continue to stand by the friendly country of Egypt and its brotherly people."

(found on Talking Points Memo)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shocked silent

I know that forgiveness is a powerful thing. But I don't think I understood how big apologizing can be.

Someone called me up and said sorry for something I didn't think they had realized they'd done.

I was so stunned I could barely say, "Apology accepted"

As a matter of fact, I kinda felt guilty for thinking them incapable of realizing the harm done.

Saying "I'm sorry" or admitting a wrong is the fastest way to diffuse or deflate a situation.

Many times those words are all the bruised party needs to hear in order to move on and renew the relationship.

So why is it so hard to say sorry? I don't know.....but I'm glad she did, cause it made a world of difference to me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My fav SuperBowl Commericals (from the SuperBowl I boycotted since the Packers kick rocks!!!)

This one is my fav since I am pretty hard of hearing and my friends and family constantly have to run interference for me....love you guys



And this one...had me and the kids cracking up



and last but not least....not only hilarious, but the lead guy looks like someone I went to high school with....we're talking about you Mr. Hughes (I'm just saying)



You can see all 53 ads here

Sunday, February 6, 2011

1%-er

I saw Oprah the other day and learned that approx. 1% of the American population is serving in the Armed Forces (which is currently engaged in two of the longest wars in the HISTORY of our country)!!!

1% out of 100%

Not that I want more people to join (not by a long shot), but GEESH, 1% of Americans are experiencing ALL the trauma, stress, and chronic separation these wars have brought.

And on top of that, some families within that 1% have more than one service member down-range (overseas).

In my family alone there were four people deployed THIS YEAR/LAST YEAR. And that's in my immediate family. As in family I regularly talk to, email, Facebook, or randomly crash on their couch with my kids during an (unannounced ;0) road-trip.

Gotta love family!

1. my spouse (thank God he's home)
2. my Aunt (from who I was able to receive pearls of wisdom before she deployed)
3. my bro-in-law (not to be confused with the bro who just took a beating in Scrabble)
4. my cousin (who is still a kid to me, but a soldier all the same)

Whew.....1%

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Scrabble-licious

FINALLY

I beat my husband and brother (two extreme sh*t-talkers) in Scrabble! This day shall live forever as a testament to my ultimate Scrabble-liciousness!!!!

These are the hands of defeat, trying to wipe away the evidence of my victory before my snapshot. Read it and WEEP boys....(insert evil laugh here) ;o)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Get me out of here!!!

Two days of sleeping in and writing Early American history papers is kewl/cool. Until its the evening of the second day and your alley is still not towed and your kids are eating all the snacks, and your hair still needs washing and blow drying and straightening....

And dammit you'd rather play Scrabble with your sh*t-talking bro-in-law and spouse; but.......


you're blogging instead...sigh

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Punx comes through!!

The groundhog saw NO SHADOW!!!! Whohoo! Spring may come early....

 

Let's hear it for national superstitions!!!
:0)

My school in the LA Times

Western Governors University (WGU), my beloved school, has been receiving tons of positive press lately.

Just saw this article in the Los Angeles Times lauding WGU for affordability and usefulness.

Kewl Beans!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This is the cow of the house


This is the wonderful piece of cow I will be cooking all day as I do homework during the SNOWDAY tomorrow. I believe one of the WGN News suggestions for names was SnowMG (like OMG) ;0)

Hell yeah, I'd steal, cheat, and lie....

You may have heard about Kelley Williams-Bolar. A black mother who used her father's address in order to send her two daughters to a well-funded suburban school, as opposed to the failing inner city school within her neighborhood.

She was found out, sentenced to jail, and fined. Oh yeah, she also was approximately a semester away from finishing her teaching degree. A degree she can not use with a felony on her record.

Now this strikes home to me because I am employed at a great suburban school. A school that makes Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as defined the state of Illinois. While the home district and school my children attend, I honestly couldn't tell you the last time the District was not on the failing list.

As a matter of fact, the only school making AYP is the sixth grade center. An inspiring school with an intense focus on one grade and specific standards. But whatever water they have over there sure isn't where my children are or throughout the rest of the district for that matter..

So as a mom servicing children in a succeeding school, and sending her children to a failing school....kinda make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmm??????

I walk down the halls daily and see what the Art Classes have on display, knowing my children do not have art. Knowing that the math I teach is more advanced than the math my child is taught. Knowing that it would be a FELONY for me to put my kids in the great school where I work in.

Now this is not at all a hit against my home school's staff. I actually have a good relationship with my kids' teachers and the rest of the staff at this particular school. The principal is committed. The volunteers (that ironically come from communities with great schools) are amazing and resourceful. In fact, many teachers are stellar. But the school is still failing.

Am I tempted daily with the idea of trying to fraudulently put my kids in a better school/district? (Do I even need to answer that?)

These are my babies! And I want the best for them. Hell, I'm just about ready to lease out our home in order to rent in a city with a successful school. A school that would provide more opportunities for growth. But nothing is that easy.

Grandparents still need help, and local responsibilities don't dissolve just because the educational system sucks.


I read a post by a blogger
on BlackVoices who felt this was a simple case of a woman breaking the law. And that Ms. Williams-Bolar should be held accountable.

I certainly understand this view, because we live in a society with laws and boundaries. But it's also true that everyone can't just pick up and move to a better preforming school district. Some of us are stuck while waiting for the real estate market to rebound and local districts to improve. Some of us have grandparents to care for where we are, as well as other local responsibilities. And most of us don't have private school funds dish out. So, what are we to do in the meanwhile? Us property-tax-paying-engaged-parents.

It's so easy to sit on a perch and say "Follow the rules; go through the correct channels", but what happens when legislation takes years to pass? My children won't stop growing while we vote and then wait for change.


Educational inequality in America is an atrocity. Not only to these children/my kids, but also to our country, which will reap the consequences of a generation of mis/under-educated workers.

You tell me which is worse....Kelly
Williams-Bolar, or this fucked up situation?