Suicide Prevention Hotline

Suicide, especially amongst young adults, is rampant in today’s society, all around the world.  My nephew in Texas asked his Facebook friends to post this number, (the words below the number are his) which inspired me to write this post.  Please share this number, it is operational in both the US and Canada.

 Suicide Prevention Hotline (USA and CANADA)
1-800 273 8255
It’s OK not to be OK
22 a day is too high

 

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Beware the Pokemon Go craze

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Have you heard about the new Pokemon Go game app?  My son is consumed by it.  He is not 2 or 3 as he was when he was first obsessed with Pokemon, or even 7 or 8, but almost 19!  He and his friends walk around the neighbourhood “hunting” Pokemon characters and defeating “gym leaders” with their cell phones.

Mix the reality of local landmarks (players use their phone’s GPS to navigate) with the fun and challenge of the game, as well as all the walking and you have Pokemon Go.  It is aimed at the over 10-year-old crowd, but it doesn’t appear to have an age limit.  I guess the exercise is the upside, as you cannot play on the sofa in front of a TV screen.  Another plus; the app is free for android and  Iphones.

Social media has caught the Pokemon Go fever too.  These two jokes regarding this newest craze were recently posted on Facebook…

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So, if you see youngsters wandering around, head down, eyes glued to their phones, don’t be alarmed, they are probably just hunting Pokemon.  My son caught one in my garden last night; go figure, here I was blaming the rabbits for eating my plants.

Today is Bell’s Let’s Talk day for mental health

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Bell’s Let’s Talk Day is a promotion to raise awareness for mental health.  Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives for every:

  • Text message sent (by Bell or Bell Aliant customer)
  • Mobile & long distance call made (by Bell or Bell Aliant customer)
  • Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
  • Share of the Facebook image

 

If you are not a Bell or Bell Aliant Customer, you can participate by tweeting on Twitter using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag or sharing the image circulating on Facebook.

Let’s talk to raise awareness and money for a great cause!

 

 

Ignite the spark, a new idea in education

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Recently I attended a talk entitled “Ignite the Spark”   It was presented by two high school teachers who believe students that exercise before class increase their attention span, improve their grades, improve their fitness level, decrease absenteeism as well as suspensions, and lower depression rates.  They have put this theory to test in several high schools in the Ottawa area by implementing a short exercise period first thing in the morning or at lunch time.  Sessions can be held right in the classroom and do not have to involve any special equipment.

This makes complete sense to me as a mother of three boys.  Boys are notorious for short attentions spans, especially in the early school years.  I remember years ago that my brother failed grade one, along with 6 other six-year-old boys.  I’m positive it was because his middle-aged female teacher could not relate to or handle little boys.  When my sons were in primary school, I helped out in their classrooms.  One day I arrived to a grade two class to find the substitute teacher in tears because one of the students spilled paint on her silk blouse.  The students were sitting at their desks with their heads down on the desk in punishment.  The teacher was very young, perhaps 25, but again, no experience handling small children.

Both of these experiences show that teachers have to find a way to relate to their students.  The best way to get students, especially young children, to perform at their best is to exercise their brains so their strengths are optimized.  Sitting in a classroom all day with no physical activity is the fastest way to slow the children down both mentally and physically, preventing them from reaching their full potential.

Igniting their spark sound likes a healthy alternative to me, promising great results for teachers and students.

Hola from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

My family (except for my eldest son, who unfortunately could not get the time off work to join us) just returned from a week of vacation in Puerto Plata in Dominican Republic.  Similar to the recent challenge post of introducing my home town, I thought I would share our time in DR through pictures. I had planned to post this from there, but vacation got in the way.

Our resort was nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains, with spectacular views of both.  Although the rooms (clean and comfortable), food (lots of it, with a good variety, including many gluten free options for me) and beach (shelly, lots of coral, and short in length) were of average quality, the mountain scenery was the best feature.  This trip was planned around our youngest son’s spring break, and as it is his last year in high school he invited a few friends to join us.  The unlimited food and drink for a reasonable price and great weather was the selling feature.  After all, you do not go to the Dominican Republic for the food; you go for the weather.  The resort was one of three in a row, connected by a winding, palm tree lined walkway, approximately a ten minute walk from end to end.  Vacationers staying at any of the three hotels, all of which are under the Riu banner (Merengue Village, Merengue Garden and Bashara), were welcome to use the amenities offered at each site.

The following pictures represent a typical day, from sunrise to well after sunset…

sunrise over the mountains, right outside our balcony:

830 am breakfast was mandatory; our rule to get the boys up and moving rather than sleeping all day after partying all night:

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While a walk to the far end of the beach was next for my husband and I…

…the boys filled their day with various activities such as swimming (pool and beach), volleyball, soccer, bocce ball, basketball, kayaking, sunbathing (napping), and shopping:

The boys were on their own for lunch, often eating at the “snack bar” just steps from the beach:

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we often went elsewhere:

Dinner was a group event scheduled for 730 pm following an afternoon of more activities (them) and another beach walk topped off with a dip in the ocean (us)  Between the three hotels, there was plenty to do and see each evening as well:

The weather was great; hot and mostly sunny each day, with a few quick downpours, usually in the early evening or through the night.

It sure was painful to arrive back to the winter weather here in Ottawa; where would you rather be?

 

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: partly cloudy and 28 °C (82F)

or

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: mostly sunny and -12 °C (10F) with winds at 26 km/h (16 mph)

Me too!

To Be or Not to Be: Is Shakespeare Necessary in High School English Classes?

Is Shakespeare necessary in high school English classes?  That is MY question…

Why do they still force Shakespeare and ancient literature on high school students who have no future use for it?  I understand that Shakespeare’s tragedies are part of the history of literature, and feel that he should be mentioned in that context, but devoting a large part of English classes to deciphering it is ridiculous.  I do not mean to offend any readers that may enjoy and appreciate Shakespeare, but am speaking here as a mother of three sons, none of whom found the hours spent on Shakespeare useful or interesting.

English is the only mandatory (at least here in Canada) course in grade twelve.   That fact is understandable as we are a predominantly English-speaking country.    Most Canadian universities require a minimum mark of 70% in grade twelve English for admission.  That would not be much of a problem for university bound students if the curriculum consisted of things these students could actually use in their chosen careers.  Useful skills such as writing resumes, memos, and technical reports,  using proper grammar, preparing PowerPoint presentations, debating and public speaking would be much more beneficial and less of a waste of time for students trying to concentrate on their futures.  When they are not interested in, and have no future use for Shakespeare and English literature, forcing it on them only serves to lower their grade average, compromising their acceptance into the university of their choice.

Grade twelve is a stressful year for students trying to decide what they want to do after high school graduation.  Unless headed for a degree in English literature, studying and analyzing Shakespeare is of no use to many of these students.  Perhaps English literature should be an optional course in high school instead of mandatory, so that those students that enjoy it and may have use for it can benefit without punishing those that do not and will not…

“To Be or Not to Be” should be “To Take or Not to Take”

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Get Help with Assignments

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College and university students struggling to get assignments completed and submitted on time can easily find help online these days.   Many times students are required to take courses they do not want to as part of their degree programs.  Many hours are spent trying to understand course material they are not interested in but must submit assignments for.  Math and science courses are the prime example of courses that some schools require even though the knowledge in these subjects is not necessary for many degrees. This seemingly unfair practice can often lead to frustration and stress, sometimes causing students to drop out of school.   Fortunately, in today’s computerized era, there are many experts available online to help students around the world with just about any subject.

Online experts offer high quality paper writing services on most school subjects at any grade level. These experts understand the quantity and quality of work that today’s students require keeping up with and successfully completing their studies.   The assistance provided by the degree holding experts found online is always professional, accurate, punctual, and confidential.  Assignment and homework experts offer online assistance twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Communication with them is typically open through email or live chat lines.   Many homework assistance and research paper writing services can be accessed around the world thanks to modern technology and computers.

Prices for assignment and homework experts are typically very reasonable, competitive and also very affordable.   Many secure payment options are available including the use of PayPal and most credit cards.  Some companies also offer special discounts to their repeat customers. One hundred percent satisfaction is usually guaranteed or any money paid is refunded in full.

Students at college and university are often short on time.  Research papers, assignments, and other forms of homework can take up many of their after class hours.   These stressful situations can be alleviated with online help provided by the use of assignment and homework experts.  Professional assistance from the qualified individuals of any assignment expert seems to be well worth the money spent.

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Are we Enabling our Children to be Irresponsible, Self-centered and Lazy?

When we give our kids everything they want and do everything for them are we enabling them to be irresponsible, materialistic, self-centered, lazy and immature?  As a parent we should provide our children with the necessities such as food, clothing, a place to sleep, and a roof over their heads.  Throw in unconditional love and moral guidance from infancy through to adulthood and they should have everything they need to succeed in life.

Most parents that grew up with parents raised during the depression feel the need to give their children the things they wanted but never had as a child.   That feeling is understandable; there is no doubt that we all want the best for our children. The problem is, these “things” are just that; toys, phones and other electronic devices, designer clothes, even their own cars, showered on our children do not teach them the valuable lessons and work ethic we learned growing up.  These materialistic things are now expected by our children, but often not appreciated.

Most parents currently raising teenagers could not wait to finish school, get a job, move out on their own and become independent from their parents.  If we went to post secondary school, we paid for all or most of it ourselves. We worked at jobs to pay for our social activities, the latest styles in clothing, and our first cars. Very few of us received an allowance from our parents to help defray these extra costs.  If we did not pay for it ourselves, we did not get it.  We appreciated the things we bought because we worked hard for them.  We also respected the things others purchased because we knew they worked hard for them.  We made mistakes along the way, but almost always learned from these mistakes and tried to rectify them without the help of our parents.  Our parents taught us that respect is earned by choosing the ethical and moral path to success and working hard to get there.  They did not love us any less than we love our children, they just taught us better life lessons.

Many teenagers today do not take responsibility for their actions.  They blame their teachers, coaches or others when achieving less than perfect results.  They get their parents to fix their problems, and the sad thing is we do it!  They often do not look after their own (or our) possessions and have no or very little respect for the possessions of others.  For example, before our sons drove cars, every autumn when we cleaned out our garage to prepare for winter, we would find several bicycles that did not belong to us.  We would ask where they came from, but no one knew or cared enough to retrieve them.

We should stop enabling our children unless we want them to become unsuccessful, immature, irresponsible and lazy adults, dependent on us for way too long.   Provide them with the love, respect and guidance they deserve, but encourage them to spread their wings and earn their own way in the world.  They will be better off in the long run.

Something Stinks in Kanata

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Something Stinks in Kanata

Something stinks in Kanata and for once it is not the Carp dump.  Last Thursday (Nov 13th), Earl of March  (EOM) played AY Jackson (AY) in a high school hockey game that would decide which team made the playoffs.  These high school teams are cross town rivals with many of the players playing together on competitive and house league teams within KMHA for many years.  Most have respect for the abilities of the others, and everyone knew it would be an exciting game.  Many of these players had turned down the chance to play competitive hockey at higher levels so they could play high school hockey with and against their friends during their last year of high school.  The fans were out in full force, including a human sized mascot representing each team.  It is most unfortunate that the rival match did not get resolved on the hockey rink as it should have.   Instead, the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association (NCSSAA) chose to protect a referee’s poor decision made because of an overreaction in a heated discussion.

The role of the referee in a hockey game is to supervise the action on the ice, not to control the outcome of a game.  The referee in question made several calls that the EOM coach repeatedly requested clarification of.  The official would not approach the EOM bench, but was quick to go to the AY bench to clarify any questions they had.  When AY scored to tie the game at 1 goal each, the referee finally approached the EOM bench.  This was after the referee had placed the wrong EOM player in the penalty box, but would not allow the assistant captain on the ice at the time to tell him so, had not blown his whistle when a pile up (in a non- contact game) occurred at the EOM net (although he did many times at the opposing net) resulting in the tying goal.  Upon approaching the EOM bench, the referee and coach exchanged words and the ref indicated that he was assigning a gross misconduct to the coach.  From the many written reports from the boys on the bench, their coach did not use foul language or did not threaten the referee in any way.  He certainly did not commit a “travesty of the game” as should be necessary for a gross misconduct call.  The coach explained that he could not leave the game as he was the only coach on the bench.  His understanding at that point was that he worked out the difference of opinion with the referee, promising to keep quiet if the game was to continue.

Continue it did, resulting in a 4-1 victory for EOM.  This score was evident on the scoreboard and on the game sheet that was signed off by both officials as being accurate.  All fans agreed it was a hard fought, well deserved victory for EOM.  The coach apologized to the referee once again at the end of the game, receiving no warning or indication of a forfeit.  As a matter of fact, the gross misconduct was never recorded on the game sheet.  However, after the game, the referee filed an independent report including the gross misconduct for the EOM coach and calling the game a forfeit.

There are many parts of this fiasco that should have been considered in the decision to forfeit the game:

-Why did the game continue if the referee felt so threatened or insulted?  Instead he told the coach they were “good to go” and the game continued.  He continued to report goals and penalties to the score/time keeper for recording on the game sheet. He did not mention the fact that he was planning to recommend a forfeit on a separate form to any of the coaches or players, during or after the game when all of the coaches, officials and players shook hands.

-Why were the coaches and players of both teams as well as the convenor not informed of this decision until much later when a 2-0 score for AY (probably should have read 2-0 for the referee) was questioned and assumed to be a typo on a website that displays results?   Even then, there was no indication of a forfeit!   Was the high and mighty NCSSAA athletic coordinator sitting waiting for the “shit to hit the fan” instead of notifying the coaches and convenor?  When was he planning on telling the teams involved?

-What is the function of the game sheet if not to record details of the game including penalties and score?  It is understandable that a separate report be filed if there is insufficient room on the game sheet for penalties incurred, or if an incident occurs after the game sheet has been signed off and separated for disposition to both teams.  Why bother having a game sheet or scoreboard if their recordings are not to be considered accurate reflections of the game?  A separate report should never overrule the statistics reported on the game sheet.

That is exactly what happened.  The separate report was filed by the referee and the game forfeited by EOM, although no one thought to notify the EOM team.    EOM players did not know they “lost” until the next morning.  I’m sure AY players finding out they won was a much happier scene; they certainly had no reason to believe that they won before that.  Obviously the EOM boys were and continue to be heartbroken. I hope the “powers that be” involved in this mess slept well these past few nights, comfortable in the fact that their cowardly and unjust actions had the potential to rock the world of the innocent EOM players.

Five days later an appeal was finally heard by the NCSSAA board, although I had the sick feeling in my stomach that was telling me it was simply a formality and no justice would be served.    The decision that EOM forfeited the game due to a gross misconduct incurred by their coach was upheld.  I guess I was hoping in my heart that the wrong would be righted, even though I had warned my son that it probably would not happen.

I think the saddest part of this story is the fact that a bigger person, either the referee or the NCSSAA athletic coordinator, could have and should have acknowledged that many mistakes were made, all based on an overreaction to an innocent request for an explanation of a penalty call.

There are those that may argue that referees decisions must be upheld.  I understand the predicament of the officials.  They do get yelled at a lot, but if they want to be a hockey official at this level of the game, they should develop thicker skins.  Again, their role is to supervise the action on the ice, not to control the outcome of the game, especially such an important game.  Perhaps the money saved on printing game sheets and running the score boards could be used on training the officials to handle these situations more effectively.

Another argument raised was that the AY boys would be upset if the ruling was overturned.  At the risk of repeating myself, at no time could the AY boys have felt that they had won the game Thursday.  If fact, I hear many of them do not even want to play in the playoffs due to such a hollow victory over many of their friends.

Then there is the argument of the ugly history involved between AY and EOM fans and players.  Why should the players and coaches this year be tarred with the same brush?  Just because of a brawl years ago, that none of these players or coaches participated in, the referee should feel intimidated and throw a coach out for requesting an explanation?  I think not.

As parents we teach our children to face up to our mistakes so they can be rectified as soon as possible.  In this case, the mistakes could have been easily rectified by reversing the forfeit before the playoffs begin.  There were two chances for this to happen; you failed twice Mr NCSSAA athletic coordinator.

The only travesty committed was one of justice.   Everyone that attended the game knew who won, well maybe except for the referee and the NCSSAA athletic coordinator.