It has been over a year since I last posted on this blog.  Just as we were growing our subscribers, reaching really exciting levels of daily readers and becoming a top ten Mommy Blog, I was struck by a car while crossing Columbus Avenue in Manhattan.  The effects of my injuries, including a concussion caused me to stop writing.

 

Since then, I have been going through a difficult recovery,  but I am now writing again, only at a different site. I still have my School Doodles and Clothes Doodles for sale, but I am now writing about my real passion, design.  My new site is Doodle Noodle Design, Flea and Stuff.  It can be found at doodlenoodle.net.  Please go there to read some of my recent posts and please subscribe and begin following me again.  And while you are there, click the button to go to my e-bay store where I am offering great vintage, collectibles and antiques for sale.

 

Thanks,

 

Doodley Noodley Yours,

 

Gail

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN . . . ?

My husband drove me to work that day as usual.  I was an Assistant Principal at an elementary school in The Bronx.    We were not yet aware of the horror at P.S. 67.  There was announcement, “Ms. Paris.  Come to the Office Immediately.”  As I ran down the stairs, staff in passing said the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane.  The day came to a halt as too many lives also came to a halt.  We could not dismiss the children because there was likely nobody at home to care for them.  They might be working or grocery shopping or. . . We had  to keep them calm as the news continued to filter in about the tragedy that was occurring downtown in my city.  There was misinformation circulating, including the belief that one of the children’s father had been killed in the attack.  Staff was also affected.  One of my teachers was in tears because one of her dearest friends worked in Tower 1.

WHAT WE SAW ON SEPTEMBER 10

We organized children by grade and then class in central areas as frantic parents started to arrive to pick their children up.  My colleagues and I were able to make sure that all children were taken home by an authorized person in a fairly short time.  My colleagues included aides and secretaries who checked student records to make sure that those records indicated that a person other than a parent was allowed to escort the child home and made numerous phone calls when an authorized person wasn’t available.  The custodial staff made sure doors were secure and helped teachers calm nervous children.  Only a few educators were on the front line, but school staff also did a remarkable job that horrible day.

Once all the children were gone, we all began to think how we would get home to our own children, husbands and wives. One of my colleagues, who also lived in Manhattan, had a car.  We thought we could just get home, but it wasn’t going to be that easy.  It took a long time, but we were finally able to get to one of the bridges which carry traffic to the borough we all call “The City.”  But when we got there, we were told that no cars were being allowed on any of the Manhattan bound crossings.     We abandoned the car in The Bronx and walked across the bridge, eventually finding a livery car to drop her in Harlem and me on the Upper West Side. We were unable to reach our husbands to let them know we were OK.  When I finally got home, it was as if I had been away forever.

THE MORNING OR SEPTEMBER 11

My husband was home that day waiting for the super to do some repairs in our apartment.  The super had come up excitedly telling my husband to look out the living room window from which we had a view of the Twin Towers.

In the days that followed, we heard all of the stories being told on the news and by friends and acquaintances.  We heard of the two sons of one of our friends who walked out of the Financial District

for several miles covered in toxic dust.  We heard about a friend of my husband’s daughter who was killed in the Twin Towers.  And we heard about an acquaintance of my husband’s boss who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and had gone to his office on his day off to pick up golf clubs.  He too was killed.

AND THE FUTURE

3,000 lives were ended that day by a group of fanatics led by a lunatic.  3,000 people from all walks of life that were just doing what they did, going to work, seeing clients or visiting a New York landmark.  More lives were damaged by heroic efforts to save people or by just breathing the toxic air. How could this have happened?  Why did it happen?

People with far more information than me have been unable to answer.  What I am able to answer is the question, “Where were you on September 11?”  No year is necessary.  And the answer is something I will not forget.  Neither will any New Yorker who was here on that infamous day, or, for that matter, anyone else who was anywhere.

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A CEO AT 4 YEARS OLD

The nation is obsessed with teaching test taking preparation, an easy, if unfair, way to evaluate and  then fire teachers, get more federal and state aid (please explain the logic of giving more aid to successful schools rather than to schools that need to improve) and, let us not forget the hidden demon, improve real estate values.

What the nation should be obsessed with is improving students’ executive functioning.  The “Brains CEO” which, among other things, involves the ability to categorized (see my post on junk drawers), sequence, and understand cause and effect (If I organize clothes before hand, I have time to finish breakfast or finish my book).

If schools aren’t doing this job, then parents must, but they are not.  In fact, everyone has to be the CEO of their own life.  Very few of us will actually get an MBA, and even the few of us who do, shouldn’t have to wait that long to get the needed skills.

Even successful parents seem to be oblivious to this need.  For starters, we just waste too much time.  According to a Boston marketing firm, the average American wastes 55 minutes a day looking for things they own – almost 14 days a year.  Look at any woman’s pocket book or look at a kid’s backpack (hence, the need for a School Doodle).

A real estate broker friend of mine was going to buy Clothes Doodles for clients who recently bought an apartment.  She wanted to show them the product and she referred them to the Doodle Noodle website (www.doodlenoodlestuff.com) .

One woman said she had a nanny.   She didn’t need it.  The other said she didn’t like to decide in advance what her child would wear.

Both parents totally missed out on a chance to develop their child’s executive functioning in a manner appropriate for a pre-school child.  Here’s an opportunity, even if it’s done with the nanny, to discuss weather events, days of the week, colors and have the child make decisions about what they were going to wear.  It was a missed opportunity to have the child be independent, get their clothes themselves and dress themselves as much as they were capable.

If it rained on Tuesday, rather than on Wednesday when it was predicted, the child could exercise further decision making skill by substituting the clothing.  The opportunity for language development is extensive.  We want to raise independent decision makers, not children who have nannies to do everything for them.

As an educator for over 30 years, I can tell you with assurance, I am not making too much of this.  This is where we should begin.

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BE REALLY PRO LIFE! STOP THE BULLETS. STOP THE KILLING.

I grew up in the Catskill Mountains where deer hunting was legal at restricted times.  While real or decorative “heads” are now on the wall of every HGTV design show, I saw the real thing in homes in the ‘60s.  Some people actually ate what they killed.  I spit out my first bite of venison – I was only 10.

I still don’t like it, but if you have been vetted to purchase a hunting rifle and ammunition, and have a hunting license, good hunting.

The National Rifle Association is insisting on maintaining people’s rights to buy guns and ammunition on line, even while the average person is losing their right to safely go themselves or take their family to the movies.

I don’t want to rehash the horrible news about the events that took place in Aurora, Colorado the other day.  But I do want to discuss some of the immediate and long term effects of this event, and what I think we need to do.

Sunday, we were out for a walk in Manhattan, and noticed that there were police officers in front of our local movie theater.  Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly have ordered them to be in front of every theater in New York City that is showing the new Batman film in reaction to the shootings in Aurora.  Is it mere symbolism, or is it a necessary precaution?

It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of Mayor Bloomberg.  However, in a column that appeared in today’s New York Daily News, he made some points about gun control  that I want to share them with you.  A leader in the fight to prevent guns,  purchased legally in other states, from reaching the streets of New York, he wrote that the vast majority of Americans, both Republicans and  Democrats and even a majority of NRA members now share that point of view.

He wants to strengthen the laws that require background checks when guns are sold at retail establishments.   To buy a gun on line, all one has to do is state that they are of legal age and that they are neither a convicted felon nor suffering from some mental instability that would make it unsafe for them to own a weapon.

OK, does that mean I can walk right out of the psych ward at Bellevue and order a gun on the internet?  Yes, it does.  Does that mean I can call an 800 number or e-mail somebody and meet a gun seller in a parking lot somewhere?  Yes, it does.  As Brian Rossen reported in February on NBC (a story which was repeated this week), it means just that.

I understand that the Second Amendment is somewhat vague on the right to bear arms, but what part of “a well regulated militia” includes the right of an individual to own a semi automatic 9mm Glock handgun.  It is time that The NRA realizes that it is no longer 1781 when the Second Amendment was enacted.  The right to bear arms must be tempered to consider the rights of all people to live their lives without the danger of a madman like James Holmes walking into a movie theater and changing our worlds forever.

Less than 2% of the population of the United States belongs to the NRA.  Michelle and Ann, if your husbands won’t stand up to the NRA, maybe you’ll have the guts to.  It could be your children.

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MANNIES?

I haven’t seen them on the streets yet (or maybe I thought they were dads), but according to a segment on The Today Show this morning, men are taking jobs as “Mannies.”  Are single moms seeking male care givers to replace the “father” figure in a child’s life?

I’m an educator, not a psychologist, but I don’t think men have done such a good job – need I mention priests, coaches, abusive bosses and general sexist attitudes that still permeate our society.  Yes, 37 years after Betty Friedan’s book, THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE, we have a 37 year old, pregnant, woman as CEO of a major Fortune 500 company.  But look at the national skeptics comments about whether she can be a mom and a CEO.  Where is the squawk about whether her husband can be an investment banker and a father?

Actually, thinking about it, maybe we should have more Mannies and Mr. Moms.  We need more female elected officials on the state and federal levels and more female Fortune 500 CEOs.  They couldn’t possibly be doing a worse job than the “guys” are doing now.

 

A JOURNEY AROUND MY WEBSITE

Today, I am sending you on a journey around my website for a variety of tips. Have a good trip.

First Stop – The Organized Doodle:

Want to clean out your junk drawer and increase your child’s observation and critical thinking skills? Read the Organized Doodle. We’ll be adding more ideas to this and our previous discussions about cleaning out backpacks.

Second Destination – Kids/Moms:

Your child not ready for camp yet, or you not ready to shell out thousands of dollars for 6 weeks of sun and arts and crafts? Consider backyard camp.

For these and other tips, make sure to take your own tour of my website and visit Doodle Is Reading, The Edu Doodle and Doodle recommends.

LADY EMMA UPGRADES HER BATH

Wow!

It was worth the 1½ hour trip to the “Elephant’s Trunk” flea market in New Milford, Connecticut. The temperature was hot, but so were the bargains around 1

Can You Believe $5.00

P.M., and hour before closing.

My husband came into our 2nd marriage collecting Carnival Glass. So, I started looking for it whenever we were fleaing or antiquing.

Score one for me when I spotted this huge punch bowl in perfect condition with 12 cups for $5.00. No, not a typo. The selling couple said it should have been $50.00, but they didn’t want to take it home. They knew it was Carnival Glass, and they still said $5.00. (Something similar is on e-bay for $120.)

The Lady In Her Bath

Lady Emma Jane Beazley, our 6½ lib Cheagle says it’s exactly the fancy bath tub she was looking for. The kitchen sink doesn’t cut it anymore.