Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

School Days, School Daze...

One of the things that I miss this time of year is shopping for school supplies. Now I know that most of you American Moms are groaning at this and would happily allow me the "pleasure" of shopping for your kids, but you must understand, I have never gotten to do this!! My kids were both born in the Netherlands and most of their supplies were available at the school. The most I ever got to do was to supply a new backpack or upgrade a lunch box!

I remember very clearly the great anticipation the week or two prior to the beginning of the school year. My Mom would try to arrange to take me shopping separately from my brothers to get the dresses, shoes, etc. (We didn't get to wear jeans until I was in high school. Heck, girls did not get to wear pants until I was in junior high! And yes, I know, I am dating myself here!) Then the big shopping trip to the supermarket where the lists were posted for each grade. Traipsing up and down the aisles to buy our packets of construction paper, Elmer's glue, No. 2 pencils, etc.

The big treat we had was to be able to pick out a new ring binder in the color we wanted. In those days, you did not have a picture or motif on the cover, but for an extra cost you could get one with a plastic cover that had an opening at the top. Ostensibly, this was to put your school schedule or calender or something useful in. But of course we all put the favorite pictures of pop stars (David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman were some of the favorites in my day!) or if you had a hobby then pictures of horses, rabbits, cats, ballerinas, etc. would decorate your front cover. As I got older, it was hand-drawn, colored "Peter Max" declarations of "your name + boyfriend's name", accompanied by daisies, stars, hearts, etc. I loved getting a new ring binder!!

When I was in grade school, the other excitement was a new box of Crayola crayons. There was nothing like the smell of a new box of crayons, and then the first time you got to color with them was magical! I was always very careful with mine as I did not want to break them, unlike many of the boys in my class who seemed to break all their crayons the first week of school.

I also remember being asked by one of my classmates in 3rd grade if she could borrow my crayons as her mother had not yet purchased all her supplies. Wanting to make friends, I happily loaned my new box. When it came back, I was horrified to find that she had broken my blue crayon. My favorite, new, bright blue crayon (not dark blue which was only used for drawings of night and storm clouds, etc.) No, the crayon that I used for the sky, for flowers, for the sea, for rivers, for bluebirds, you get the picture. And after only a few days in school, I was going to be forced for the rest of the year to used a broken crayon for almost all the pictures I would be drawing. Needless to say, our friendship was short-lived!

But I digress. What I want to convey is that I miss the excitement that comes with preparing for the first week of school. My kids do not seem to share it. They are dreading the start of school. They don't want to talk about it. They don't want to sort through clothes and determine what "school clothes" they need. They don't need pencils or crayons or scissors, glue, etc. We have never bought a pack of construction paper. Their crayons are dumped unceremoniously in a plastic box and it does not matter that they are broken and not sharpened. Many don't even have the paper wrapper on them that says the name of the color! And the brand "Crayola" has no meaning to them.

I have a confession. Last year, we happened to be visiting in Texas when they had the "Tax-Free" weekend that is used to encourage "back-to-school" shopping. My kids did not need any school clothes or shoes (and besides our luggage was already getting close to the overweight limit). But I could not resist strolling down the "school supplies aisle" at the local supermarket. And I just had to buy a couple of boxes of Crayola crayons. Of course, my kids did not need them last school year, so they remained in my supply cupboard. But this year, when they have started back to school... (Wheeee!!!)

11 comments:

Jen said...

You use the crayons, FA! There's nothing more freeing than drawing with a new box of crayons.

I can totally, completely relate to this post.

On every level, lol.

Rebecca said...

I agree with Jen - you should use the crayons yourself. Clearly you're the only one who is really going to appreciate them properly.

I used to love all my new school stationary too...

DangerDoll said...

I loved this post! What a trip down memory lane. I also loved my new, fresh school supplies. My clothes were usually hand-me-down but my school supplies were top notch! I always made textbook covers, too...construction paper folded just so, and then I could doodle all over the books.

We're spoiled now. I bought the supplies from the list exactly once. After hunting through store after store for that very specific brand/size/color of glue stick, I said NEVER AGAIN, and now I buy them from the PTA, prepackaged. Costs a little more, but worth my sanity. :-)

soccer mom in denial said...

David Cassidy! Peter Max! Oh my god I love you! I have a Peter Max watch (I included it in my watch post this spring) and had a HUGE crush on David.

I'm about to do the big school supply purchase for the boys so I'll throw in an extra erasure in your honor.

anno said...

Shopping for new school supplies is just the best! I love the promise of those new notebooks, and a box of new Crayolas used to make me feel like I could make anything!

Jennie said...

I love school supply shopping! It must be all those back to school displays... kind of cool that you don't have to buy supplies, though.

Leslie said...

I love back to school. I loved it when I was in school and even now, I wish I had some shopping to do! Julia will be there soon enough, though.

I agree - you use the crayons!

Mom not Mum said...

Great post. I almost bought my kids all new crayola markers - they don't need them but nothing as nice as new supplies.

jennifer said...

I just cruised the school supply aisles to the tune of $200! Two. Hundred. Dollars. Of course I was starting from scratch here, but it was pretty darn painful!
I must admit that I also got a little thrill. though. (probably because my kids, who I love dearly but am just a tad bit sick of 24 hours a day, will go back to school on Monday!)

Jenn in Holland said...

My three ring binder started with horse pictures as well, I don't know that I ever had a picture of David Cassidy, but oh, man, I wanted one!

Sky blue crayon? My favorite.

And did SMID just say ERASURE? hehe.

Real Life Drama Queen said...

Use the crayons yourself dear. I still have my own box of 64. My kids have theirs of course. But I love bringing mine out to color with the kids.

I say nothing wrong with adding a little color to your life. Never can have too much of it.