Sunday, May 23, 2010

So, Did You Wipe Your Ass With it Too?

As far as T-P-ing acts go, this one was pretty pathetic. I didn’t even see it when I opened the front door this morning to fetch the Sunday paper. All I had on my mind at that early, pre-latte minute was when I was going to find time today to complete the NY Times crossword puzzle.

I greeted the mama dove, on her nest for the third round, and then opened the courtyard door. No paper. WTF? And then I saw a white mass in the driveway that looked like either a plastic grocery bag or a pile of paper towels. I walked toward it, and reminisced about the last time I approached a perplexing object near that point of our drive only to find my neighbor’s dead dog.

Thank God it wasn’t another murdered-by-coyote canine. It was only a mass of toilet paper clinging to an empty roll. Then I looked around and saw the stuff strewn from the mesquites and wrapped around the century plants and prickly pears.

I hope the pricks who did it got themselves a few thorns and pokes.

Meanwhile, we were only mildly amused. My girls, whom I sure were the targets of this age-old prank, thought it was “stupid.” They immediately sprung into action—without being asked—and cleaned it up before getting ready for church. And I located my Sunday paper at the end of the drive at the gate. Apparently our delivery person found the streamers too forbidding to venture through our circular drive.

Although I admit I took part in too many T-P-ing adventures to count, I’m not sure I get the point anymore. When I was in high school, we had a tradition of midnight toilet paper festivities each homecoming eve before the big game. We targeted the senior football players. I’m pretty sure the boys (and their families) considered it a badge of honor to be targeted.

But now it’s just a random act of juvenile and anonymous vandalism . . . and one more mess to clean up.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Arizona: Please Vote for Education

The state of Arizona has captured the attention of the country due to the passage of SB1070, a new law meant to curb illegal immigration. What the rest of the country may not know--particularly because they've got problems of their own--is public education in the state of Arizona has hit rock bottom.

According to the Arizona Education Association, in 2008 Arizona ranked 49/50 states in the amount spent per student. "Arizona would have to increase per pupil spending by 44 percent (or $2.7 billion) to move to an amount equal to the national average." Depending on where you get your statistics, Arizona ranks 50th or even 51st--below Guam.

Other Statistics
Forty-three percent of the state's total annual budget is allocated toward education. Unfortunately, Arizona is dealing with a budget deficit of $3.5 billion for the 2010-11 fiscal year. Money is being moved around, assets are being sold, rest stops are being closed and terms like "rollover" are being thrown out there as methods to combat this shortfall. And because education has seemingly NEVER been a priority in this state, public schools are currently in crisis.

On the ballot tomorrow is Prop. 100. It proposes a temporary one percent sales tax increase (or one cent on the dollar) for the next three years. If Arizona voters pass this proposition, it will decrease the budget shortfall by $1 billion, and two-thirds of the sales tax revenue is slated to go toward K-12 public education. The remaining one-third will go toward health and human services and public safety.

Last week I stood on a street corner in Tucson along with a group of mothers, teachers and students and carried my sign in support of Prop. 100. Two weeks ago I sent in my early ballot and voted YES.

Districts are doing what they can to cut back where they can, eliminating administrative positions and slashing budgets for sports, arts, and extra-curricular activities. Pre-Prop 100 cuts are already in place. And even if it passes, cuts will still be made. Just to cite one example, in the Tucson Unified School District, all sports must now pay for themselves--including coaching, transportation, uniforms, security, etc.

I have kids in Arizona public schools and I have to do everything I can to help support their educational experience. But I have to wonder, why doesn't everyone else want that for all our children . . . and grandchildren?

Please VOTE YES on PROP. 100. Our kids need your vote.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Irish Twins?

Our doves have done it again. I'm not sure whether or not it was a case of "been-there-done-that" but this time around, the whole process seemed to go a lot faster.

Today we're happy to report, both baby birdies survived. This morning was the first time we caught sight of them while the parent dove kept close watch perched atop our courtyard wall.