We don't have a lot of snow; but, it's enough for me to have ice cream! With Hunky Husband's bummed-up wrist and my bummed-up shoulder, we are letting a couple of industrious teen-agers do the snow shoveling for us. They are out there working on it and, when they finish, will have earned themselves $25 to split. (Well, actually, I have the split already at hand.)
About three years ago, it dawned on me that a city that boasted an ice hockey team, must have an ice skating rink; so, I started polling the people at the gym and all of my friends to find someone to go skating with me. Please don't think of Sonia Hennie when I mention that I used to ice skate: I probably spent a couple of dozen Saturdays in 1949-1952 figuring out how to stand up on skates and motate myself around the rink. My parents and those of the slightly younger girl who lived across the street dug up enough money to treat us to those skating sessions. While the parents dug up enough money for us to take baton twirling lessons (the neighbor and her cousin took lessons for a year while I persevered for three years), there was never any thought of our taking skating lessons. I think I even skated with high school friends on a frozen lake in Swope Park during the early 1950s.
When we were in Seattle (1965-1966), I recall taking Bogie and Dudette ice skating. Again, there were no lessons involved, but we had a good time!
In 1978-1981, I went so far as to buy a pair of ice skates so that I could skate on the frozen ponds and west-side athletic field parking lot in Wichita. The city flooded the parking lot to provide recreational skating when temperatures were low enough, and I remember skating there with one or the other daughter and a friend from work. When I moved to Florida in 1981, it signaled the end to ice skating but I did go roller skating with the daughters of a couple of men with whom I worked. Then there was a long "dry" spell. From1982 until recently I was never on skates of any description.
When the bright idea occurred to me that Wichita had, at some point in time, built an ice rink, I cast about for co-conspirators with whom to get back into skating. Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to die of old age before I found anyone. I launched off on my own.
Long story too-late shortened: About 10 days ago, I went skating for the first time since 1981 - using rental skates, since I had given away my ice skates many years ago. Having learned that, at my age I must approach physical "feats" slowly, I only attempted one circuit of the ice on my first time out - hand firmly resting on the side ledge the whole circuit, wobbling along and encouraged by a 20s or 30s-something woman who took me under her wing (Sabra). Second time out, I let go of the side ledge for the third circuit, stopping after six. Third time out, I kept to the ledge for the first circuit or two, but "skated" (that means concentrating on staying upright) for a total of nearly 30 minutes. Today I was aiming for 40 minutes. I didn't quite make it, taking a small fall during the first circuit and never quite feeling as stable on the skates as I had on the previous outing.
At about the 23-minute mark, I got distracted by a tiny little girl (maybe 3 years old) whom I was passing and the next thing I know I'm on my back!!! Everyone at the rink gathered around the ridiculous old woman, quite anxious to get her back on her feet. For my part, I told them to let me lie there for a moment gathering my wits. They were bound and determined to get me upright, but I was having none of that because I could feel that I would black out if I came upright too quickly. When I would let them, they helped me into the penalty box where I put my head between my knees as I sat on the bench. (One of the expert skaters kept insisting that I lean back against the wall. He may be a physician, for all I know; but, I know how to handle it when I am in danger of blacking out.)
Within 10 minutes I was over the danger of blacking out, I was being questioned by the skating rink manager, and four Emergency Medical Technicians had arrived from the Wichita Fire Department. After establishing that I was lucid, that I had taken the brunt of the fall on my left shoulder, that I bumped my head lightly, that I had fallen (not passed out), that my blood pressure was normal, that I would sign a form saying that I declined transport to a hospital, and that I wished to continue skating, the EMTs and crowd dispersed. However, for the few circuits that I skated after the fall, everyone was very solicitous.
I am at home, it has been a few hours, I know that I am more injured than I had realized (of course!), and knowing that I won't be able to move in the morning (I had told my new friends at the rink that it would probably be a week before my aches would let me return), I have decided that I really mustn't make a habit of taking such falls. I really need to learn to stay on my feet/skates. Anyone have a sky crane that I may borrow?
Sabra has sent me three emails, one of which included this (below) photo of two of the young girls who went to get me a cup of water, offered to remove my skates for me, and were quite solicitous of my well-being. Sabra wrote that she and the young girls all hoped that I would be back on the ice soon. Awwww...aren't they sweet?
When I return to the rink, I plan to sit down with the manager to educate him on dealing with us elders. Good grief! If he is going to call 9-1-1 every time I fall, we have a problem here. He needs to understand that young people jump up from a big fall like a Jack-in-the-box, that adults take 1/2 second longer, and that we elders take 10 minutes. Let's not make a federal case of it unless there are broken bones or unless the ice is becoming red with blood! He probably has a rule by which he is bound; but, I'm hoping that I can leave a document with him that absolves the rink and its management from blame when I fall. (He offered to have the skates I was using sharpened to get better grip on the ice. I assured him that the fall wasn't caused by the ice or the skates but by my inattentiveness.)
If you are in a nice, warm spot this morning, you may wish to go to Bogie's place at Bogieblogto see how New Englanders live in the winter. (I must point out that Bogie, in southern New Hampshire, didn't bear the brunt of the past few snowstorms - for which, I would think, she would be thankful!)
If you still have the February 2, 2015, issue of The New Yorker taking up space, I would direct your attention to Page 22 – Profiles: The Pursuit of Beauty: Yitang Zhang solves a pure-math mystery, by Alec Wilkinson.
From Page 27 – a statement of Prof Zhang’s achievement: “Zhang established that there is a distance [on the number line] within which, on an infinite number of occasions, there will always be two primes.”
From Page 22 – a reproof to an old husband’s tale: “”In 2010 [at which time he started working on ‘the problem’], he [Zhang] was 55. ‘No mathematician should ever allow himself to forget that mathematics, more than any other art or science, is a young man’s [sic] game,’ Hardy [G. H. Hardy, British mathematician circa 1940] wrote. He also wrote, ‘I do not know of an instance of a major mathematical advance initiated by a man [sic!] past fifty.’”
From Page 28 – a thought that each of us should keep in mind when we are tempted to think that we are too old to do whatever: “I [the author] asked about Hardy’s observations regarding age – Hardy also wrote, ‘A mathematician may still be competent enough at sixty, but it is useless to expect him to have original ideas.’
‘This may not apply to me,’ Zhang said. He put his tea on the desk and looked out the window. ‘Still I think I have intuition,’ he said. ‘Still I am confident of myself. Still I have some other visions.’”
Undoubtedly, like the rest of us, elementary school teachers are not perfect and, undoubtedly, those teachers do exhibit (as studies have shown) a bias toward boys. However, they get blamed no matter what they do.
Posted by timothyon Monday February 09, 2015 @08:07AM from the would-blame-middle-school-teachers-myself dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Citing a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (free to Federal employees), the NY Times reports on how elementary school teachers' pro-boy biases can discourage girls from math and science. "The pipeline for women to enter math and science occupations narrows at many points between kindergarten and a career choice," writes Claire Cain Miller, "but elementary school seems to be a critical juncture. Reversing bias among teachers could increase the number of women who enter fields like computer science and engineering, which are some of the fastest growing and highest paying. 'It goes a long way to showing it's not the students or the home, but the classroom teacher's behavior that explains part of the differences over time between boys and girls,' said Victor Lavy, an economist at University of Warwick in England and a co-author of the paper." Although the study took place in Israel, Lavy said that similar research had been conducted in several European countries and that he expected the results were applicable in the United States."
IMO, educators have a difficult time of it. In general, teachers at the elementary school level are drawn from the populace of a locale and, in general, reflect the values of its residents. It isn't the teachers who force parents to dress their kids in sex-appropriate colors (Girls aspire) and teachers dare not teach things that parents don't support. (Here in Kansas, our legislators make every effort to assure that science is taught from a religious book, the Christian Bible, rather than from science books.) The educators pretty much follow the will of the residents.
I can "prove" this (well, demonstrate it with a single data point). My one conversation with the superintendent of schools, caused the local school system to change the policy that kept girls out of "shop" classes and boys out of "home economics" classes. A friend shook his head as he told me of attending the open-house night at the local junior high school at which he saw the work of my daughter in a shop class and of my closest friend's son in a sewing class.
Historical tale: Back when the earth was cooling and I was in 7th grade, they forced girls to take home economics and boys to take shop. However, toward the end of the year, they switched off and had the boys take several classes in home economics while the girls took several classes in shop. I was disappointed when they cancelled that arrangement for my 7th grade class. School closed early that year - probably to avoid the heat of summer at a time when polio was making the rounds.