Friday, June 5, 2009

Onwords and Upwords


Ittybit graduated from The Marilla Cuthbert Academy of Unspeakably Charming Children today. I was a little choked up. And though I tend to write in a sappy way about watching her grow, I'm not a touchy-feely sort of person on the exterior. I am a cold as ice ... well ... yeah. You know.

Let's just say sarcasm and I go way back.

It was a little unusual for me, when I walked into work late today, nearly shedding saline out of the corners of my eyes, to announce that the tiny ceremony I had just attended was more fun that I could put into words. Me. Rendered speechless by a tiny, Bristol board cap with a curled-ribbon tassle.

So ... in lieu of words here are pictures.


Words will never hurt us. ...

There are lots of folks who disagree with the idea that only words used as decorative objects, forged in metal or cast in plaster, that fall from atop some monumental shelf onto our thumb twiddling noggins can do us bodily harm.

And truth be told, I’m one of those folks who believes that while it behooves us to use our words wisely as well as compassionately -- that what we say and how we say it can shape our understanding and our actions, as well as our relationships with other humans -– we have to choose our battles and perhaps do a lot of forgiving.

For instance:

I don’t believe retarded should be stricken from the lexicon. I just think we need to tweak its meaning. As a start to that end, I would suggest its dictionary entry be illustrated by a photograph of Rush Limbaugh.

Furthermore, and this is where Rush might actually agree with me, I don’t think prejudging something is always a bad thing. We are human. We come to all situations with an assumption. The prejudice isn’t really the problem as much as the insistence that the assumption is correct without further exploration. We need to do more leg work on our thoughts.

And curse words … well … the only reason I oppose curse words in any way whatsoever is the simple cause and effect that the more you use them the less punch your paragraph packs. They may be harmless, they may even be fun to spit out in mixed company, they just aren’t effective if you want people to pay attention to what you have to say.

But there is one word, if I possessed such a power, that I would erase completely from the pages of Webster: boredom.

“I’m sooo bored,” to me, has always seemed a whiney complaint, that is such a waste of angst.

“I’m sooo board,” to me, has always seemed a whiney complaint, that is such a waste of angst.

When I hear it uttered the hairs on my neck stand on end.

How is boredom possible if you can read? If you can draw? If you can think or plan? How is it possible with the hundreds of must-have toys, the internets, the telephone, the myriad of amusements you can invent with your mind?

Rhetorical questions, perhaps, as I have friends who disagree with me.

They don’t see boredom the same way I do. They see it as a good thing; a way to teach their kids that they don’t always have to be amused. That doing nothing is OK, too.

But I don’t define doing nothing as really doing nothing. Roget wouldn’t have paired it with boredom in his thesaurus. We are always doing something if we can think, or curl up with a book, or take a nap.

Allowing boredom to be an acceptable activity, if you ask me, just steals the thunder of quiet thrills.

So … get the word out … Boredom is only your inability to be creative with the options you have available.

Excise boredom with some passive excitement: reading. The Kinderhook Memorial Library and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church are holding a back to back (or spine to spine) book sale this weekend at their adjacent locations, on Hudson and Sylvester streets. On Saturday, The Kinderhook Library's general book and bake sale will run from 9 a.m. until noon with half-price books from noon to 2 p.m. There will be a "Buck a Bag" opportunity on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
St. Paul's book sale will be held on Saturday, June 6 at the McNary Center on Sylvester Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A "Buck a Bag" opportunity will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.
Of course, you don’t have to buy books to recharge your supply … visit your local library and see what’s new.

Show the kids the value of volunteering. The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook is a non-profit organization that focuses on children’s nutrition, farm education and wellness. It’s hosting a volunteer day Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and needs help getting into top shape for the summer season. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and enjoy a day spent beautifying a farm. Activities will include: planting seeds at the Sylvia Center flower and vegetable garden, a ½ acre children’s garden; clearing trails; building birdhouses; constructing trellises for bean planting; and planting sunflowers.
Visit for more information.

The Robert C. Parker School in North Greenbush will have one- and two-week camps for children ages 4 to 14. You can choose from an array of options from adventure, arts, science and athletics. Campers will have access to 77 acres of meadow, woods and creeks. Internships available. Call 286-3449 of visit for more information.

Time & Space Limited in Hudson is offering three interesting summer workshops, including “Soup 2 Nuts,” a theater workshop for kids ages 7 to 13; Hip-Hopera, a workshop for teens; and a circus arts workshop with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus for kids ages 8 to 18. Call 822-8100 for more information.

Woodland Hills Montessori School also has an exciting lineup for its week and two-week camps for kids ages 3 to 12. The camp lets kids explore science, nature and global awareness through Montessori methods. Visit for more information.

Celebrate River Day on Friday, June 12 at Schodack Island State Park. Heritage Vessels is docking at the Castleton Boat Club at 4 p.m. and ship tours will start upon its arrival. There will be music and food, and a fireworks display at the Port of Coeymans that will be visible from the park. Free.

On June 13, Schodack Island State Park continues its event with Schodack Community Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day-long event will feature exhibits food and music. Heritage Vessels departs Castleton Boat Club at 11 a.m. and will lead a parade of boat club flagships north. Visit for a complete list of activities.


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