Thursday, March 24, 2011

Foundation 153

I am a member of the local elementary school foundation, which raises money to fund special events in the schools.  Teachers apply and the Foundation153 provides grants.  It’s pretty simple - except we have to raise money to fund the grants we make.
We raise money with three major events each year: 
     *a 5K “Fund Run,” 
     *“Pastapalooza,” a spaghetti dinner followed by a concert from the various choirs in the district, 
     *"Spring for Homewood Schools,” an upscale dinner and silent auction.  
Minor fund raisers include selling popcorn at the local Christmas tree lighting, and selling water and milk at the Homewood ‘"ChocolateFest.”  The smaller events bring in only a couple hundred bucks each, but they help.
We are also the recipient of donations from local organizations, like the Rotary Club.
Last year we granted thousands of dollars to various projects that teachers proposed, and very few projects were denied.
As a member of the Board, I am obligated to do my share of fund raising and to work at events.  This spring I have been asking people for items for the silent auction.  I hate asking for money.  I have a hard time doing it, especially in this economy, but I have been somewhat successful.
One local business explained that business is seasonal and they just cannot make a donation.  I respect that and will continue to patronize that company.  A local liquor store doesn’t donate to groups that deal with children because  the owner believes it sets a bad example for kids.  I absolutely respect that decision.  He is generous in many other ways.
I get really irritated, however, with people who give me a vague answer about donating, and essentially blow me off.  

A local ethnic restaurant, for example, suddenly stopped understanding English when I asked for a donation.  The hostess mumbled something like, “Manager not here.”  I asked her to pass the information along, but they haven’t bothered to reply.  

A local financial company sent the information to “Corporate.”  They never bothered to reply.
But I find that local mom and pop businesses are the most generous.  Here is a list of people who have donated very generously.  I hope you patronize them if you can.
Prairie Tire in Chicago Heights.  The owner and his wife do not live in the elementary school district, and the business is not in the district, but they were very generous.
Sun Center Garden and Gifts in Glenwood.  Again, they have no connection with Homewood Schools, but were very generous.
St. James Health and Wellness Institute, Chicago Heights.  Not connected with Homewood School, but generous.
Leon’s Floor Covering in Glenwood.  Another Mom and Pop business with no ties to Homewood Schools, but generous just the same.
Chiropractic Care Center on 187th in Homewood.  A very generous gift that anyone can use.
Great Clips in Homewood.  A very generous gift.
This is my public thank you to the folks who were generous and who support Homewood Schools.  I hope my readers patronize these businesses, a couple of which are struggling. 

You too can donate or attend the Spring for Homewood Schools April 9, at Ravisloe Country Club.  Click on the event for information!
As always feel free to comment below.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

R.S.V.P., dammit!

I have to admit that I’ve had it.  Too many people fail to respond to invitations.
In the past we’ve used the standard R.S.V.P., French for “respond please.”  That didn’t work, and we received somewhat better results with R.S.V.P. or else.  A few more people let us know that they would or would not be coming with the added or else.
A few years ago, Shannon gave us a birthday party and used “R.S.V.P to [her phone number].”  The purpose, of course, was to get people to respond and then tell them where the party was.  But we got complaints.  People couldn’t come unless they knew where the party was going to be because they couldn’t drive more than three miles for goodness’ sake!
I tried evites, but they weren’t successful either.  People didn’t want to respond publicly or on line for some reason - or were to lazy to bother to respond at all.  A few told us they were coming but when I printed up the evite list the weren’t on it and it resulted in a lot more paper work.  Arrrrrgggggghhhhh.
We hand delivered the last invitation we sent,  so we could be sure the mails wouldn’t screw us up like they did in December.  (Our mail arrives after 6 p.m. usually, and occasionally ends up scattered across the neighborhood. When we get mail addressed to other people locally or as far away as Maryland I always write where and when received and re-mail it.  Complaints to the local postmaster don't seem to help.)

We're having a coffee tonight for the Homewood School Committee, which will make a presentation and answer questions about next month’s referendum for the elementary school district.  We wrote on it, “Please let us know if you’re able to attend or not.”  I think that was pretty clear.  One person told me he’d be there last week.  I corrected the date he had in his head, and he says he’s attending.  

Some people haven’t responded at all, including The One who brought a cake to Ann’s birthday party and then insisted we serve it, screwing up the planned dessert (I’m not even going to include a dear friend's comment on that gift!).  One emailed me and asked if it were at 7:30 in the morning or the evening.  I let her know it is in the evening, but she hasn’t yet told us if she’s coming.  SighBig sigh.  We’re going to have between eighteen and fifty people tonight, depending on who shows up.  
And then there are the people who say they’ll come and never show up.  I just don’t get it.
I might just as well post invitations on telephone poles because the response would be just as accurate.  Perhaps it would be even more accurate because all our utilities are underground in our neighborhood, and there aren't any telephone poles.
I don’t know whether this is just plain rudeness, or  people have the idea they don’t have to respond because we “know” whether they’ll be here or not, or because they don’t entertain and don’t know that responses are considerate and polite.
We could stop having guests, I suppose, but our social life would suffer because most people don’t seem to entertain, despite the economy and the wave of “cocooning” a few years ago.
We could use some solutions, so if you have any ideas, please post them by clicking comments below.  And if you’d just like to comment, feel free.  

I linked the referendum committee, and you can access it by clicking on it in the body of this post or by clicking here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Language and Lent

Each year as Lent rolls around I think about what I’m going to give up.  A sign of penance and all that.  Last year I gave up crude words, and I was pretty good at it - but only for Lent.  But the habit didn't take.  As soon as Easter rolled around, the rude words popped right back into my speech.  I don’t sound like Gordon Ramsey, but I am sometimes a pretty close second.  This year, I’m giving up not writing my blog at least weekly. 
When I was teaching, one of my supercilious colleagues used to stand with me in the hall during passing period. He and I would chat.  He said things like, “Their speech.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.”  He of course was referring to students’ crude words.  

My reply to him was always, “Yes.  They just don’t get case.”  That always flummoxed him, but I believe that we have lost our ability to understand case and use it correctly in the United States.  I hear errors from educated people, people with Ph.D.’s and valedictorians who ought to know better, and on television and radio - NPR which is what I listen to - constantly.  I held and still hold the opinion (and I regularly used to tell my mother, who hated my crudity,) that just because I say, “Shit!” doesn’t mean I have a handful - or a mouthful - of it.  But my colleague still worried about the students’ use of crude words, and his concern was valid too.
Language is always in a state of flux, but in Twenty-First Century America, someone is devising new - and currently incorrect - rules that have to do with plurals and case.  Let me give you some examples.  I hear, “Me and him are going to . . .”  Me is never, Never, NEVER, NEVER! the subject of a sentence.  Nor is Him

Another thing I hear is “Her and I just  . . .”  Her is never, Never, NEVER, NEVER! the subject of a sentence.  In the first person singular, I is always the subject.   In the third person singular (female)  She is always the subject.   The pronouns Me and Her are in objective case while I and She are in nominative case.
Nominative Case means the pronoun is the subject of the sentence.  Examples:  She and I are taking a class (not me and her).  You can figure this out by substituting a singular subject instead of a plural subject.  You would not say Me is taking a class unless you are trying to teach a baby to speak incorrectly.  Nor would you say Her is taking a class for the same reason.  Nominative case pronouns are I, You, He, She, It, We, They.
Objective case means that pronouns are the direct or indirect objects of a clause or the object of the preposition.  Examples:  He gave it to me.  (not, He gave it to I.)  Me, here, is the object of the preposition.  (Anita Loos in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes had Marilyn Monroe say, “A girl like I,” but it was for humorous effect because the audience knew it is WRONG.)  If the object is plural, me is still the object, as in, "He gave it to my sister and me."  
Grammar is confusing if you never studied it or have forgotten it.  But knowing what the terms pronoun, case, nominative, and objective mean is not important.  
The easy peasy way to figure out the correct pronoun is to mentally pretend the object is singular and use whatever word you’d use in the singular.  If the pronoun is correct in the singular, it is also correct in the plural.  "I am going to the bank," not "Me is going to the bank."  Or  "She just combed her hair again," not "Her just combed her hair again."

Your job now is to apply these rules if you don’t already.  It’s Lent.  Go and sin no more.
As always, I welcome your reactions.  Just click comments below.