September 11, 2016

Remembering

Like any historical event, this day, fifteen years ago, is seared in my memory.  I was fortunate - no one that I knew was directly harmed by the terror attacks that day.  I was not inconvenienced in any way by the sudden restrictions on travel, my finances weren't harmed by the closing of the markets, I didn't have tickets to an event that got canceled, nor did I need to go to any location that had been closed for security purposes.  I was able to immediately reach everyone that came to mind, from friends in the attack areas, to military members stationed all around the world.  My 'world' was intact - but our world was shattered.

Having my family and friends accounted for was little comfort for the rage, fear, and overwhelming sadness caused by what happened to our country that day.  I like the rage.  Still have it, and am likely to carry it to my grave.  I don't care that it causes me to make mass generalizations about certain cultures.  I don't care that it is probably unhealthy.  It is the rage that keeps me on my toes and ensures that I won't become complacent.  
It is odd how quickly we acclimated to the everyday threat of terror.  And how passive we have become to the hundreds of small attacks that have been committed since 9/11.  I hate that my children are growing up in a world that once seemed so foreign to me.  But, I can't change that reality, so I educate them, make sure they remember, make sure they understand the threat potential, and we adapt to this new reality.
I am still so sad about the lives lost, and lives changed by 9/11.  Maybe it is because I didn't have a personal stake in it - other than being a patriotic American.  I don't have a specific person to remember fondly.  No good times to reminisce about.  I have the images of that day, and the weeks that followed.  I have the anger and the fear that this could happen to my family or friends one day.  
If you Google, looking for a nice photo for a 9/11 post, you can find thousands of images of New York, the Twin Towers, and every manner of flag, cross, angel, and hero emblazoned alongside.  It takes some work to find similar images of the other sites that were attacked that day.  If there are, or were, graphic art to remember those sites, the search results have been buried beneath pages upon pages of amateur internet sleuthing diagrams purporting all manner of conspiracy theories.  While not equal in size, numbers affected, or breadth of television coverage, those lost in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, are who I choose to honor today.


  

September 7, 2016

Homework

Thank you, technology Gods of the Universe.  And, thanks to my two oldest kids, who set aside their beer college homework last night long enough to help their younger sister with her algebra homework.  Through the magic of cellular telephones, Facetime, and scanning and emailing technology, The Princess' algebra homework was completed.

I am a smart woman.  Really, I've been tested!  I make Very Important Decisions at work each day.  I serve my community and am trusted with helping make the decisions that determine how the town I live in grows and develops.  But 8th grade algebra can bring me to my knees. 
I remember the basics.  I have no problem with mathematical functions.  And, it really isn't too hard to write and solve equations - if they weren't so ridiculous about it.  After pulling my hair out for several minutes, we called Bang.  He is a math whiz, but not so much a teacher.  Luckily, Boom was also willing to pull herself away from her homework to help out (if you saw our tuition bill you would understand why I insist on envisioning my children always studying).  
Boom and I got The Princess through it.  But, I could tell by the look on her face that she didn't really get it - a look I know I had through most of junior high math class, and the word problems have gotten worse since then.
Those stories about Communist countries that see some natural talent in sports, and then they take a kid out of school and train them in their sport full time, with little other schooling...I can see the beauty in that.  I don't think that The Princess is going to miss out on her life's calling if she skips algebra.  I would much rather see a high school math track for non-math kids, that offers classes that will actually serve them in life.  Instead of algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, non-math loving kids could take personal finance, budgeting, investing, and basic economics classes.  Learning to read a HUD-1 Settlement Statement before financing a home, learning savings, tax strategies, ways to make your money work for you - all things that would help kids be financially responsible adults.