Thursday, 28 July 2011

Brilliant



Off tomorrow to the MFAH to view the Titian exhibit. I'm taking my stepdaughter, and her friend Gabe. The three of us went together to see the Impressionists exhibit when it was in town; and it was so much fun. They are both very knowledgeable about art, and take such joy in the pieces. It is a pleasure to be able to view the works with them.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

I have no idea WHY,

but someone has created a fake Facebook account in my name, with much of my personal data. I was notified yesterday by a friend who is a geek and has a kick-ass supply of computer/software toys. She has deactivated the account but was unable to delete it. I have only the ONE Facebook page. My list of "friends" is relatively small, so I am not going to erase my authentic Facebook page. That said, should anyone see a page similar to mine but with some rather risque photographs, and comments I would never make - please let me know.

Do let me tell you to tighten your security/privacy settings. This person routed the data through several IP addresses - INCLUDING MY OWN. A bit like having someone look up your skirt - but not in a good way!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Huzzah!




That's Waldo hiding under my skirt, and keeping my seat warm while I make some tea!

And back to Texas and the adorable husband!

Where once I am unpacked, and have satisfied the adorable husband (clear your minds!) by going to see the doctor about the rather near-death respiratory infection that has been going on now for just three days.. all will be well. My lungs feel like a docking station for all new arrivals of pulmonary destruction devices (it's national security, ha!)

I shall recount for you my many adventures over the past weeks. Until then - go out and some you wan

I

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Huzzah!


Go to my Facebook page and see the gorgeous photographs of the children's Switzerland trip. Brilliant!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

and now...

Massachusetts! but first Newark... really? apparently you just can't get there from here, so ...Newark.

Ciao

Thursday, 14 July 2011

How much do I love THIS?!!!

Helen Mirren shows woaca, and any age - how it's done! Love it!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Hard choices..

Yesterday I had to make the choice between the Prayers and Ritual Dance at the Verizon Center, or the lunch for sponsors with the promised appearance of HIs Holiness. Argh... At the lunch I was regretting my choice, and then - the Universe does that thing it does and an old/new friend appeared. A lovely woman to whom I felt an immediate bond. I love it when that happens! She is from Philadelphia - where my children went to school (at Penn), A is now attending medical school there, and they have their house there because they love the city....Her husband attended Penn for medical school! She has four gorgeous children, and a grandchild, but looks like she's just getting started! She is one of those 'glow-y people', those who simply glow with good will and beauty. I'm looking forward to getting to know her much better over the next few days. What a grand gift.

From WEDDING


Later that day.... Our Katie is in town, doing her save the world through politics thing, and was sweet enough to make time to see me. I did a little bit wicked thing..... I played matchmaker between our Katie and my new best buddy Zach (the wonderful young man who works downstairs at the only good restaurant in this very mediocre hotel that has a very accommodating and kindly staff). We had a brilliant time. I'd been up since 0530 hrs, hit the gym, did the studying, and then the l o n g luncheon, so I was dragging a bit, until I was infected by their youthful and passionate energies. Zach led us from one great restaurant to another (they were all booked up, so REALLY good restaurants!); until he finally (bless his heart) found us a place that was just right - excellent food and wonderful service in a totally lovely atmosphere, SEI. It was a very lively dinner with Katie and I regaling Zach with stories of Morocco, and him telling us some of his stories.

From our time in Fez


Once we made it back to my hotel, and I sent them down to the Metro, I came upstairs washed my face and collapsed!!! I fear my nightly telephone call with the adorable husband was barely coherent. But a great day! What a lucky girl am I, aye?

And now I am 'up and moving', had my tea, and must get dressed and off to Prayers at the Verizon Center. Today is the first day of the Empowerment so it's really an exciting time.

Ciao.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Dalai Lama audio and video | The Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama audio and video | The Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama

I'm a little late with this, but I've been studying so much...

This is an article regarding Texas education (which if you did not know affects the entire usa! When they approve the contents of textbooks, they go out all over the country...) There are quotes from my brilliant cousin-in-law Casey McCreary!

July 9, 2011
School Counselors Fear They Will Bear Burden of Budget Cuts and New Exams
By MORGAN SMITH

In the fall, the anticipated consequences of a $4 billion reduction in state financing to school districts will begin to become apparent to Texas students and their parents: fewer teachers, bigger classes and sparse extracurricular programs.

For some, though, the most drastic change will come in the spring, when the state’s approximately 350,000 new ninth graders will be the first to take the end-of-course exams that are part of the new standardized testing system known as Staar, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.

The new assessment program, which is so complex that the superintendent of the Perrin-Whitt school district nicknamed it the Franken-Staar, was established during the 2009 legislative session. Some educators welcome the program, a significant overhaul of the current system, but others view it with trepidation.

Outside the classroom, the burden of rolling out the new exams will fall primarily on counselors, who help students meet graduation requirements, and on curriculum specialists, who make sure what students are being taught matches with what they are being tested on. Some districts also employ testing coordinators, who handle scheduling and the actual administration of the exams.

But predicting reduced state aid, many districts have already eliminated many nonclassroom positions for the coming school year. That means remaining employees will have far more responsibilities, a particular concern for school counselors, who have long worked to define their role as separate from that of testing coordinators.

“With finances like they are, there’s not going to be extra people to help,” said Sherry Sunderman, the coordinator of guidance and counseling at Conroe Independent School District in Montgomery County, north of Houston.

Many counselors worry they will be given more duties on the testing side and that instead of advising students, their jobs will become “more clerical,” said Sylvia Lopez, the director of Dallas I.S.D.’s counseling services. Resources traditionally devoted to counseling students on career and college plans may now be used to explain and administer the new testing system, which includes complicated new graduation requirements.

Counselors “are going to have to be really monitoring students’ graduation programs to make sure they are taking the right courses and passing the right exams,” said Casey McCreary, an assistant executive director at the Texas Association of School Administrators who advises districts on accountability issues.

Students adjusting to the new exams face a “triple jeopardy,” Ms. McCreary said. With Staar, high school students will have to perform better on harder tests and take more of them. Under the current system, standardized tests do not count toward final grades, and students must pass four exit-level exams to graduate. Now, for the first time, students will have to achieve a cumulative score across 12 end-of-course exams to graduate. And their scores on the exams will count toward 15 percent of their final grade, with the option to retake the exam three times if they do not pass.

That could have students playing a game of risk with their scores — opting not to retake one test with the hope of scoring higher on a future one. Setting up a process to guide students through these decisions, one that involves parents and a “team effort” between curriculum specialists and counselors, is crucial in preparing for the new tests, said Sara McAndrew, the executive director of curriculum and instruction at Northside I.S.D., the state’s fourth-largest district, in San Antonio.

As the new school year draws closer, Ms. McAndrew said, schools are still missing details about how the rollout will work. Though the Texas Education Agency will unveil sample questions in August, it will not publicly release full-length primary test forms until 2014. “We are still a little in the dark about exactly what these tests are going to look like,” she said.

Ms. Lopez said she also has questions about the new system, like “who is going to keep track of the kids and where they are and how many exams they’ve taken.”

But she said that she expected growing pains. “Anytime there is a change like this, there is going to be a struggle,” Ms. Lopez said. “There is always a transitional period. Staar is going to be a lot more rigorous, but hopefully this will help our kids.”

msmith@texastribune.org

Monday, 11 July 2011

sigh

After making the long trip from Texas to be here just for the weekend, to lend his support and see His Holiness - the adorable husband has returned home to Houston. I requested housekeeping NOT change my bed linens so I can sleep on 'his' side of the bed that still smells like him. Yes, I am silly in love with my husband! How cool is that?

Another inspiring Teaching yesterday. The crowds are growing. The adorable husband, as he always does, found me a GREAT restaurant, steps from the Verizon Centre - Clyde's. They have FANTASTIC crab cakes, and a brilliant staff - lovely and very friendly. I crawled there through the oppressive heat after the Teaching, desperately hopeful that they were open on Sunday. They were! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Two of the waitresses are particularly lovely (photos coming). I shall be 'appearing' there all week! :-)

Afterwards. the crowds had thinned out, a bit, at the Tibetan street market, and I found some great shirts for the children; as well as such a cute bag for my Sarah. Q and A have their happiness - those two are climbing in Switzerland this week!

Breakfast has arrived. Time to get to it - the gym, prayers, Teaching; and there is what should be a interesting talk tonight I want to attend. On the first night's teaching (various teachers from around the country, and the world, on various topics of interest) they had 900 seats, and 3000 PEOPLE showed up. How brilliant is that?!!!!! So, they are now holding all teachings at the Verizon Center in order to accommodate everyone. I love it. You would not believe the energy in that place.

I don't know if I am becoming any 'wiser', but I feel an amazing happiness, peace, and such compassion for everyone (yes, everyone...)

Ciao.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

First Day of Teaching of the Kalachakra

We had the first Teaching yesterday. I think the adorable husband (who came all the way up from Texas just for the weekend, to see what it was all about, and support me) was suitably impressed, and then we had a lovely evening together. I am going to do my prayers this morning as he sleeps, so I can stay here and have breakfast with him. Then he will leave for the airport, and I shall go to the afternoon teaching. They have begun the Mandala - oooooooooooooooooh so beyond beautiful. I am surprised they have shown it on the screen, as technically those taking the vows are not to supposed to see it until the Day of the Empowerment - technology I suppose. I told the adorable husband about all the years of study and preparation the chaps who create it must undergo - they are practically sacred themselves.

His Holiness's address on World Peace went well, though it did not receive the attention the Casey Anthony trial did!! He looks good, still a little stiff after sitting for long teaching, but moving about well. Yesterday as He was leaving, someone shouted out from up in the stands, "We love you Your Holiness!", and he threw us some kisses. The bloody house came down! It was grand.
video

I apologize for my crappy photographs and films, but my great little digital camera takes NOW to die - well, I do suppose it was not by choice aye? I have my iTouch, and will do my best with that, and post things from the Kalachakra website.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Kalachakra 2011 - July 9 Peace Event


Kalachakra 2011 - July 9 Peace Event

GO JETER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hoo-rah!

JULY 8, 2011, 8:00 PM
Some 3,000 Hit Quirks

By JORGE CASTILLO
As much as the Derek Jeter’s pursuit toward 3,000 hits has been chronicled around the clock, the moment he finally does reach the milestone — in the age of high definition and smartphones — will be even more inescapable.

The question of when has been discussed thoroughly. Just three hits away, it will likely come this weekend at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. But how it will finally happen is anyone’s guess.

Jeter will become the 28th player in history to accomplish the feat. The first 27 have done so in various ways and circumstances.

Craig Biggio, the last to reach the sacred number in 2007, was thrown out trying to stretch number 3,000 into a double. Wade Boggs’s 3,000th hit was a home run — unconventional for a player who had only 118 homers and two double-digit home-run seasons in an 18-year career.

Pete Rose did what Pete Rose seemed to always do: singled for his 3,000th against the Montreal Expos in 1978. Rose finished his career with the most hits in history, 4,256 — 3,215 of which were singles, also the most in history.

Paul Molitor went a more strenuous route to reach the plateau in 1995: he tripled. Molitor remains the only member to leg out a three-bagger for number 3,000.

In his final season, Rod Carew reached the milestone against the Twins the same day Tom Seaver won his 300th game against the Yankees on Aug. 4, 1985.

Seven years later, George Brett entered his day four shy of the mark and managed to double and single three times in his first four at-bats to reach the mark against the Angels — with Carew in the opposing dugout as the Angels’ batting coach.

Not all went as planned, however: Brett was picked off of first while talking to Angels first baseman Gary Gaetti, who Brett reportedly said had asked if his family was in attendance to witness the landmark hit.

Then there’s Roberto Clemente. He doubled for his 3,000th hit in his final regular-season at-bat of 1972, a night after a controversial error ruling took away what would have been number 3,000. The hit would turn out to be the regular season at-bat of his career; he would die in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve of that year.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

hope...

Our neighborhood, and my little house


The challenge for the 'new Morocco'
By Elise Labott, CNN

Moroccans on Friday approved a referendum on constitutional reforms by more than 98%, the country's interior minister said. Morocco's King Mohammed VI has promised that these reforms will usher in an era of greater freedoms.
I just returned from Morocco, where there is some reason to be hopeful that amid the uncertain course of the Arab Spring, there may be some blossoms of progress.
While I was in Morocco, King Mohammed VI unveiled the new constitution, developed in coordination with a variety of political parties and civil society groups.
The new, elected government that will result from this constitution will be accountable to parliament, have an independent judiciary and provide equal rights for women and minorities.
Now some might call that move a model for how to modernize and hold onto power.
While Syria's Bashar al-Assad and Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh have responded to calls for regime change with military force, King Mohammed has stayed in place by offering to surrender some of his powers - answering his country's reform movement with promises that he will shift from an almost absolute to a constitutional monarchy. He has certainly gone further than King Abdullah of Jordan in offering political reform.
Morocco's King Mohammed VI has fashioned himself a reformer and modern monarch since taking office in 1999, promoting women's rights, easing up on human rights abuses and even investigating abuses during the reign of his father, King Hassan.
But genuine reform has been slow. The country is rife with corruption; there are still political prisoners and freedom of the press does not include criticism of the monarchy.
Inspired by their brothers and sisters in Egypt and Tunisia, young activists organized on Facebook to give the monarchy the push it needed to speed the pace of reform. Tens of thousands Moroccans with the February 20 movement, named after the first big day of protests, have taken to the streets.
They are happy for the king to reign, but not to rule.
They want a system like Britain or Sweden, where the monarchy plays an important symbolic role, but does not meddle in the affairs of state. These hopeful young Moroccans want jobs and an end to corruption its members say stems from a network of royal cronies.
In March, the King answered their calls in a speech promising substantial reform, which resulted in the constitution being put to a vote. February 20's answer to the King: Cosmetic touches won't cut it.
Indeed King Mohammed retains key powers. He remains the head of the military and Morocco's highest religious authority. He also presides over various committees and councils which suggest that he will still play a large role in ruling the country.
Most of Morocco's political parties say this is okay – for now. It's important, many politicians told me, for Morocco to remain stable as it moves on a more democratic path.
Many believe that the new constitution is a good first step and, while not perfect, supporting its passage will give the king the confidence to continue with greater reforms.
And a large number of Moroccans believe the challenge for Morocco is not how good or bad the constitution is, but rather now it is implemented. It will fall upon Moroccans to consolidate these new responsibilities and deliver on the demands for change.
The stakes could not be higher.
A moderate Islamic country, Morocco has had its fair share of terrorist attacks, most recently a bomb at a Marrakech café which killed 17 at the hands of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
While mainstream Islamic parties like the Justice and Development party hope to move the country toward a Turkish model, which marries Islam and democracy, the country's banned Justice and Charity Islamist movement favor a more extremist brand of Islam and are moving into poor Moroccan neighborhoods to spread their vision.
With an intense campaign for the referendum's passage by the government, political parties and on radio and television, almost to the exclusion of room for serious debate about its merits, it is a near forgone conclusion it will be adopted.
Whether the new constitution can satisfy the demands of the people and at the same time maintain the popularity of the king is an open question. If not, February 20 says it's ready. Its mantra is "Mamfankich." Translation: "We will never give up."