Monthly Archives: February 2009

Weight loss update

I’m  a little behind this week.  I stayed flat at 260 this week.  Considering what I’m eating here in Vegas I’m sure I’ll gain this week.  My friend Chad is dropping weight fast, so I’ll have to hit the diet hard next week.

I’m having a great time here in Vegas enjoying the 70 degree weather.  My class isn’t all that hard.  Rachael comes tonight so things will pick up. I’m going to try to talk her into seeing the Blue Man group.

NASCAR comes to town this weekend.  We’ll see how that turns out.


Non equal schools

My oldest son is in first grade.  He’s goes to the school about a mile up the street.  This school pulls from a fairly diverse socioeconomic area, but it’s predominately poor (well more than half the students are on the free lunch program).  We bought this house when my wife stayed home so our income was about 60% of it’s current level, and that played a factor.  As did our desire not to max out our income to buy a big house like most people.  Given our incomes now I’d hazard a guess that we’re in the upper range of incomes for this school.  I mention this because I found out tonight that a friend’s child, who is in 1st grade in a predominantly well off neighborhood, is getting a better education.

He comes home from school with homework every night (I don’t agree with this in 1st grade) but just this fact means that he is being presented with more possibilities.  I also know that because they don’t have to spend so much time in the fall re-educating that they are at least 3 weeks ahead of my son’s school.  Over 6 years of elementary school that adds up to another 18 weeks (4.5 months) of extra education.

I guess I’m not surprised by finding this out, really, but it’s still a concern.  The theory behind public education is that everyone is to be educated the same.  I knew it didn’t happen that way, but I didn’ think I’d have to experience it with my own children.  It’s kind of a “well that happens to other people” problem.

We’re lucky in the regard that both of sons are exceptionally smart (in fact, troublingly so for their parents) and they are hungry for knowledge.  So we spend a great deal of our time educating them about a lot of things that aren’t taught in schools and are things that most would consider above their age group.**

But I’m concerned about what they might miss out on that we aren’t teaching them and the teachers aren’t either.  My son’s teacher is very open to assigning him extra tasks (and in fact he is like a little 1st grade teacher helping the other kids with their schoolwork as part of his extra work) but what if next year’s teacher isn’t?  Or the one after that?  What about all the kids who don’t have parents who push them?  Already I’ve noticed a huge difference between his friends and him.  How will that build over the years?

Should I even be that concerned about this?  10 years from now he’ll be 16.  How many kids will still be in school at that point?  Will a traditional education matter at that point?  Will schools even exist then?  Who knows.  I don’t know, I guess sometimes when you are confronted with the ugly reality of that fact that even in something as simple and basic as education, all kids are not created equal, it just sticks in your craw a little.  That’s what’s going on with me.

**My oldest son got in trouble in preschool for telling his classmates about Peak Oil and discussing what happens when they can’t afford to buy oil any longer.  The teacher told him something like that wasn’t true.  I assured him that it was a mathematical fact that it will happen sometime, we just don’t know when.

Community Food Bank updates

One thing I wanted to ask is how everyone is doing with their food bank challenge?  Are you picking up a few things here and there?

Also, while you are planning your gardens, over at Hen and Harvest we are offering up a Garden Challenge to encourage everyone to plant an extra row of vegetables for their food bank.  Check it out.

Weight Loss Update #6

260 this week.  (I know I’m late but I did weigh myself on Sunday)  I lose the two pounds again (does that mean they count as 4????) and an extra one.  That puts me down 18 total so far.

The loss has really slowed down since I started eating more.  But, my energy level is through the roof.  Trade off I guess.  I’ll get worried if I stop losing.  As long as I’m still going down I’m happy.

I’m going to Vegas next week for my once a year business trip.  I hope that doesn’t kill me on the scales.  We’ll see.

I have to start carrying a notepad with me because I had a lot to say but I’ve now forgotten it all.  Sorry.

Local food initiatives

I mentioned back in my New Year’s resolutions that I had some local food initiatives that I was working, and things are starting to fall into place.  A lot of details are being hashed out still, but here is the general outline.

1.) The CSA farmer that I delivered excess produce for last year wants to do it again.  This great, especially because we learned that she doesn’t actually end up getting a tax deduction for this, like we thought.  (What kind of screwed up tax code do we have?)  I just have to find some drivers to rotate around so that one person (me) isn’t doing all the deliveries, but delivering the food even without the tax break is a great thing!

2.) I’m working with another group (Local Foods Connection) who is going to purchase two CSA shares from a local CSA farmer (different than #1 above) and we’re going to distribute those shares to the low income flood ravaged areas of town; either free or at a very low cost to the people.  Additionally this farmer is going to attempt to raise one more share via small donations from her customers to bring to our central location.  While the food is there we are going to let people pick what they need (instead of a whole huge box) and also use that opportunity to do some education about how to prepare that item, talk about eating healthy and hopefully ways they can make their dollars stretch (among other things).  You should check out the Local Foods Connection website to see what they are up to, and make a donation if you wish.

3.) Additionally, the farmer from #1 and I are going to attempt to set up two new farmer’s markets in the city for young farmers and focus the markets on the areas of town where people have difficulty accessing fresh produce, as well as trouble getting to the existing markets because of transportation issues.

I’m also working with another group to devote some resources to setting up small raised beds in the yards of interested parties, as well as education about raising their own produce and, most exciting, infilling the demolished lots from flood damaged homes with community gardens and orchards.  This coming summer is the summer of fresh local foods!

I gotta tell ya, this summer is going to be busy and exciting!

Seed starting among other things

Tonight I led a discussion at Cub Scouts with 6 kids about running a garden, starting seeds, what plants grow well here and what plants go into certain foods (pizza sauce, salsa, etc).  I also talked about how these plants start small and end up pretty big all from the energy of the sun, the soil, the fertilizer in the soil and time.

Overall it went a lot better than I expected, although I didn’t cover as much as I had hoped.  I took a lot of my early seeds there tonight and had them do my work for me (he he).  I’ll still be stuck doing maters, peppers and other late season plants.  The downside is that I ended up with A LOT of trays planted but not really any idea what went in them.  One kid dumped a whole packet of lettuce seeds on his trays.  Another planted way more kale than I could ever wish to have, but, I figured that would happen when I decided to do this.

Man, 6 kids firing rapid fire questions at you while you try to maintain some calm is tough.  Not to mention massive amounts of seed mixture and worm castings are flying around.  The boys got a huge kick out of worm poop as fertilizer in the mixture.  I think maybe more lecture before they got started with the dirt would have been better.  After the dirt came out all bets were off!

The plan is for them to come back in May to see how the seeds turned out.  We’ll also talk about garlic, potatoes and other plants that I didn’t bring at that time.  Not to mention they are very excited to see the chickens.

Weight Loss Update #5

It should be a gain update.  I found 2 of the pounds from last week that I lost.  263

I figured that my weight would be up this week.  I had a hard week food wise and I was eating a little more every day anyway to try to combat the tiredness.  It didn’t help the tiredness much so I’m going to cut the food again.  I do feel stronger this Sunday than most Sunday’s lately, but that might be a combination of easier week in the gym and the extra food I shouldn’t have had.

We’ll see how next week ends up.  I’m hoping later today to re-write the train post, if I can remember what I talked about.