Friday, December 31, 2010
I wish all this for all of us, the world over. And more.
Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Then, I saw this post about raising daughters (I think it applies to daughters of every kind) and realized how much more work I have to do as she grows up. She needs a skill set that helps her to avoid being caught without a response to the crap of life. It really is important work.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
But I've had a few moments that interrupt the pity parties:
The Babydoll wanted to bring her lunch to school, so I packed one up for her (it was a Lunchable, but it counts!) I added an orange, but she called me at work the next morning to say that she had changed her mind about the orange because she wouldn't be able to peel it at school. BUT, she has an awesome mother, so her orange was already sliced and peeled and in a cute little container in the lunch box. She was thrilled!
I received promising news on a publication project that I've wanted to materialize for about 1000 years. I'm really hoping that it goes somewhere, but either way, this is the most interest anyone has shown in the project in all this time.
My students were completing evaluations sheets and asked if they really had to write down their answers because they didn't have a single critical thing to say. More than one said that this class changed their perspectives about writing and about themselves as writers. In addition, for the first time--ever, I think--most of the students followed documentation guidelines and didn't give me crazy, made-up crap that drives me nuts.
I made two desserts for two holiday parties and received raves on both!
Things are looking up!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I see Christmas lights on the house of someone who clearly isn't kidding around about decorating and who has the entire house and yard shining bright even as we are driving home from Thanksgiving dinner. And there is Christmas music on the radio, forcing its warm fuzziness all over me. And the games and conversation and food bring the family together and we are a whole, unbroken (rather large and loud) circle again. And the timeless story of divine love for humanity envelopes my children and me, too.
Just when I think I've outgrown the mystery and moved past the miracle . . . I am overwhelmed by the love, the hope, the God who literally goes to the ends of the Earth to find us and save us from ourselves. Just when I'm thinking of enumerating my list of complaints--
The only word that floods my mind is Thankful. Thankful. Thankful. Thankful. Thankful.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
- I'm watching "16 and Pregnant" and really, really having a problem sticking to our "We're done having babies" resolution.
- Between crochet and computer use, it feels like I'm rubbing my fingerprints right off.
- If one more person asks me if I've seen "For Colored Girls" I might launch into some rant about how I'm not excited about seeing it and how I really just wish everyone would see a stage production and the many issues many people have with this film--oh wait! I did that in class the other day with students. Oh well.
- I wonder if people on reality shows feel bad about themselves when they see that their "English" needs subtitles.
- I really don't like Christmas shopping.
- The baby is crying on "16 and Pregnant". Now I remember why we're finished having babies.
Monday, November 8, 2010
- Is anyone wondering why these people have so many children? I understand the blended family dynamics, but weathering this financial storm would be less of a catastrophe with fewer children. Isn't this the question asked of many other families living at poverty level?
- Why do they look so good? (Okay, this was another of The Hubby's questions) The haircuts looked fresh and fly. The clothes were not tattered. One of the children was gifted a new (to her) car; how would she pay for gas and other car expenses? Isn't this a question asked of other families living at poverty level?
- After a frustrating trip to the grocery store wherein one of the daughters had to put back almost all of the food because there wasn't enough money on the food stamps card, the mother reminds her that their state of being was temporary. It was a moment, I think, meant to elicit compassion from the audience. And it did. The girl was embarrassed that people she knew saw her using welfare. But aren't there many people for whom this will be a constant state of being? Do we feel more sorry for this family? Shouldn't they just be grateful to have anything to eat at all? Shouldn't the daughter just suck it up and get over herself? Isn't this a question asked of other families living at poverty level?
- The father states more than once that they got themselves into this and they'll get themselves out. That seems to sit nicely into the American ideology of work ethic and merit. But should the state (i.e. "us") be helping "them" dig their way out of a mess of their own making? Isn't this a question asked of other families living at poverty level?
My point is not to bash this family. I can understand how life can turn you upside down and shake the stuffing right out of you. I bet everyone can understand that these days. Do we understand it, though, when most of the country is living high on the hog, as this family was one short year ago? Do we understand how one (or two or three) miscalculation or poor decision can totally derail a family? Especially when that misstep is paired with some other glitches that are not of one's own doing? Do we understand how people make decisions about the sacrifices they need to make based on their own definitions of quality of life? that those decisions may or may not reflect what other people think are appropriate? that they may or may not be directly related to morality or character?
I'm just wondering about the narrative that frames this show. I think, to take a note from Christine O'Donnell, that this family is supposed to be "us." That we should ask how we see ourselves in them. But is this the question we ask about other families living at poverty level? Just wondering.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
The Diva: If you need a wife, I guess I need a nanny. The Babydoll just wrote a note to me that read, "To Mommy. I don't like you. From The Babydoll." I told her that it hurt my feelings, so she sighed, then returned with a note that read, "I like you." I'm thinking this is going to show up in her Freshman Composition literacy narrative assignment.
Abusive parents and other jackholes: What the yuck is wrong with you???!! I watched Tyler Perry on Oprah and seriously wanted to cut off some folks' hands . . . and other parts. Human beings were not created for this kind of evil. Someone should have protected the little boy that Perry was. His stories are so raw (which makes me wonder why his writing isn't better). I keep wondering if there's some child who I see regularly who's wishing that I would be the one to protect him.
Students who either didn't read or just didn't come to class today: I realize that there is a big game tomorrow. Yes--Tomorrow. Today is class. And we covered Douglass today. Douglass! You should be ashamed.
DVR: I hear you calling me. I'm coming soon. I miss you, too. Smooches!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
A post over at CocoMamas today makes it palpably and poignantly clear why we HAVE to get it right. I hope you'll take a look.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I wonder if other 50 or 60 year olds could teach a class like Danza is doing, especially since too many of them probably need money these days. Teaching ONE class can be kind of fun, unlike having a full load and all the annoying surrounding stuff. Maybe. Anyway, he was so incredibly nervous. And he made lots of mistakes. I'm sure I must have looked just like him--talking way too much and sweating and making lame jokes--in my first class. Bless his heart.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Not to be outdone The Baby Boy raised his arms, too and moaned, "I'm a daddy!"
Insert your own punchline here.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I want a world where my children are not wrong.*
“The world I want for my children” is an effort to support The Joyful Heart Foundation, which was founded by Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay to help victims of sexual assault mend their minds, bodies and spirits and reclaim their lives. Today, the foundation is at the forefront of an effort to end a disheartening backlog of tens of thousands of rape kits in labs across the country, a backlog that contributes to a rapist’s 80 percent chance of getting away with his crime. The backlog and its detrimental effects will be the topic of an SVU episode on September 29th.
*See June Jordan's "Poem About My Rights"
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I do NOT have time to be sick. Seriously. I have conference papers to write (which, by the way haven't really been researched yet. And only sort of have a thesis. And are due in, like, 5 minutes). And essays to grade. Billions of them. And more coming next week. And classes to teach. And a workshop to prepare for and present.
So, despite that student who I commanded to sit on the other side of the room and all the coughing and snotting I saw going on, I just can't get sick.
Okay? Please? Can we just ignore this icky feeling in my tummy and the weighted down sensation in the rest of my body? Let's say it's a sign that I should get some sleep and call it a truce. Okay?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
- In the spirit of lament, I just realized that I'm losing another dream. When I turned 30, I made a list of things I wanted to do in my life. One of them was appear on Oprah. Now that her last season is starting to air (and I assume that they have all been taped already) I seem to have missed the boat. This, despite the fact that I lived in Chicago for a year. I really suck for letting this pass me by.
- I changed my narrative assignment for my classes, partly because I've found it difficult to receive heart-wrenching story after sad, difficult story. I made the assignment much more broad and a little less personal. Still, students want to write about their pain. Maybe the next batch will be a bunch of happy tales about how Pollyanna their lives have been. I won't count on that, though.
- Had a productive day alone, researching and revising. I'm really trying to make publication a priority this year. Let's hope something pans out. Pretty please.
- Autumn is finally rearing its head in the south. The oppressive heat of the summer is being overtaken by the crisp, cool air of the fall. Now we can actually go outside in our new yard. And I can stop sweating out my newly unrelaxed hair. :)
Monday, August 30, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I had planned to post a picture of the cupcakes I made, but I think it probably looks disgusting. I have been harassed for weeks about making these flippin' cupcakes that Nickjr. keeps shoving down The Babydoll's throat, and she, in turn, shoving down mine. It took so much effort to try to make those crazy things that the lady in the clip said was so simple. Didn't seem that way to me, so I ended up just making it out of fondant using the template. But I couldn't make one for The Babydoll and not one for The Baby Boy. Of course, there was no template for Super Why, which is what he wanted. So I had to totally pull that one out of my non-drawing, unartistic neck. I was pretty pleased, but he had already eaten the face off before I could get a picture. I think Dora kind of looked like a drag queen with a wig and bright red lipstick. The more I looked at them, the more odd and disturbing they looked. Oh well. The Babydoll yelled, "Mommy, you saw them on TV?!" And, as I mentioned, The Baby Boy couldn't wait to ram it into his mouth. Guess they thought I did a good enough job.
I'm sooooo tired. Parties at the jumping place seems like a genius idea. So does not having a party and taking a trip to the zoo instead with exactly one friend. I will remember this next year.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I tried a new introduction activity this time. In addition to their names, hometowns, and standard info, I asked them to say who would play them in the movie of their lives. This is something everyone's thought about, right? But some of them couldn't answer. They had no idea. So I gave them the option to name, instead, their theme songs. For a couple of them, this was too difficult, too. One student asked, "Who thinks about this kind of stuff?" Well, obviously I do! I thought that was odd. I've been trying to come up with a theme song since that episode of "Ally McBeal". And I've known for years who should play me . . . probably in a Lifetime movie. Plus, I told them, I have a friend who has a theme song, an actress in mind, and a personal emblem. (Isn't that right, The Diva?!)
Nevertheless, the day was good. I'm satisfied and feel like I'm back in the swing of things. On that notes, I'll go prepare for the next class.
Monday, August 23, 2010
On a road trip last weekend, The Baby Boy announced that he had to "use it!" while we were between distant exits on the interstate. What else could we do?
The Hubby pulled the car over, took the boy out of his car seat, and commenced that time-honored ritual of peeing in the grass. He loved it. "Mommy! I made a rainbow!" he bragged, as he squirted a perfect arc across the rays of the warm sunshine.
Awesome. I'm shaking my head. But mostly, I'm was so freaking glad that I didn't have to wash a wet pair of underwear or throw my money into the trash along with a soaking Pull-Up.
His feet stink, he doesn't want to comb his hair, and now he's peeing in the grass. He's officially a boy. Oy.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Then she told me that The Baby Boy refused to sing. When she asked why, he said that I told him not to sing that. He was right. Both of my children came home from their previous school last year singing that horrible song. They loved it. They clapped their hands when they sang the "shoot" part. I told them this song was about hurting other children, and we didn't want to do that. And what's more, we don't like shooting (although I have to admit that I loved the archery unit in middle school gym!). They were not convinced on either count, but they agreed not to sing it anymore.
I told the teacher this story and she said that she could understand why I wouldn't want them to sing it. In fact, she said, it really wasn't a great song for children to sing. I told her that if they were singing it in class I would just go along with it and he could sing it. But, the teacher said, he was not going to sing it because he following my instructions, so it didn't matter if she told him it was okay. Besides, she said, he knows his numbers so he didn't need to practice.
Now, I also am not in love with the "10 Little Indians" part, either. This is especially true when I consider the version that replaces "Indians" with the N-word. Not cool. But here's the thing: I never know how big of a deal I should make of this kind of thing. A similar issue comes up at Thanksgiving when teachers have children dress like Pilgrims and Indians. I have a classmate who is a sociologist. Her son was in The Babydoll's class last year, and she's much more bold than I am. So she told the teacher that she didn't like the Thanksgiving dressing up because it was culturally insensitive and inaccurate. The teacher looked at her. I wonder how much people outside of academia (and other sitting around thinking about stuff professions) think that objections to this kind of thing is overreaching. Part of me feels like someone (obviously not me) should speak up and start shoving this stuff out of society, even if we've been doing it for years. But part of me also feels like the people who get angry because clerks aren't allowed to say Merry Christmas. I usually just punk out, but I'm trying to figure out where the line is for me.
On a totally unrelated note, on the way into the gym this morning, a guy told me that I was beautiful. He also asked if I was married, how long, and then said that I had been married longer than he. THEN he asked me for my number because he wanted to take me to lunch. As "friends"--okay. On the way out of the gym another guy told me that I had the "most prettiest feet" he's ever seen. Both were very odd compliments, but compliments nevertheless. I'll take it.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
When this is finally done, I can't imagine that I would be any more proud at his graduation.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
All the might be related to and may be a contributing factor. It's all so overwhelming. Can someone do a study that isn't frivolous or totally alarming? And can you actually come to actual conclusions before you scare everyone? The world is, it seems, unavoidably toxic. Cheese and crackers . . . .
Friday, August 6, 2010
The Babydoll: Daddy, why do you and Mommy yell all the time?
The Hubby: We don't yell all the time.
The Babydoll: Yes you do. You always yell at us.
The Hubby: Well, sometimes you aren't listening and we raise our voices. Parents have to make sure their children are doing the right things.
The Babydoll: But if you love people, you shouldn't yell at them. Yelling hurts people's feelings. You shouldn't yell. We love you and Mommy so much!
The Hubby: Umm. We love you guys, too.
So, here's the tally for the summer: Scholarship--zero publications--fail; Gardening--only one tomato--mostly fail; Parenting--doesn't look good.
Let's keep this to ourselves, huh?
And now I'm eating chocolate cake until my guts hurt.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Ummm. Really? Is that true? $400? a month? I thought that show was set in the 1980s, not the 1880s. Interesting.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
AND TODAY: another rejection for publication. sigh.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
This, plus all of the school prep is crouching over me, too. Even if I wanted to ignore it, every store from here to tarnation is shouting it from the rooftops and demanding that you buy it today. I have two weeks people! Leave me alone!
Summer is seriously coming to an end, and it's all about to break loose, isn't it?
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I'm wondering if there are suggestions for a vacation spot that would work nicely for us next year. Without spending billions of dollars. In, or near, the southeast.
I'm asking anyone and everyone to share locations where you've had a good experience (or heard of one) that speaks to my family's scenario. What would you suggest for us?
Monday, July 19, 2010
So, here's the thing: The whole Eat, Pray, Love scenario just reminds me that taking a year off from my life may never happen. I remember thinking, around age 22, that I wanted to have a cool, silver convertible sports car. Instead of that, I thought, I'm scrounging for crumbs in graduate school--for what seems like forever. And it kind of was forever. I spent my entire twenties buried under books and living on pennies and then getting married. I didn't have enough money to do anything exciting. When I turned 30, I finally graduated and I was pregnant and adding a whole other layer of responsibility. Being carefree and careless, making totally random choices, eating, praying, loving. When can I do that? Can I ever do that?
I have to acknowledge that this view is the perspective from here. I'm in my thirties. My career feels stalled. My children are at very needy ages. We have lots of bills. I'm tired--a lot. I'm not saying that the trade-off isn't worth it. I'm happy with my choices, but every now and then my world seems very, very small.
I'm starting to wonder if there is ever really going to be a time in my life when I can do something crazy.
Friday, July 16, 2010
The other day we were cutting up tomatoes and cucumbers for a salad. Both children were very excited. They had named the cucumber Larry and the tomato Bob, for the characters on VeggieTales. It was cute until I started to get nervous that they would be traumatized by the idea of slicing and dicing their friends. Instead, they were happy to chew them all up, still calling them by name all the while. Glad I didn't have to fully address the issue of murdering vegetables.
Tonight The Babydoll came in to tell us that she was scared. That happens frequently. We usually tell her 1) that her brother is with her and that God is with her, so she should think of that when she feels afraid; and 2) that she can sing the VeggieTales song "God is Bigger Than the Boogie Man." This time, though, she responds, "But I don't know what God looks like. I've never seen God before. Does God have a mustache?" I let The Hubby handle it since he lead her down this road. He told her that God looks like whatever we want Him to (I decided to just let that gender thing go). That answer seemed to work.
There have also been a number of questions about Jesus' infancy. What did His nose look like? Could He walk?
I often wonder just what's going on in her head that makes these questions materialize. What's she thinking as lies in bed, waiting on sleep? It's fascinating to me. And I wish I had better answers.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
This is probably part of the reason why I had to stop researching candidates for the primary elections today . . . .
Monday, July 12, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Hot in Cleveland is so freaking funny! I thought it was going to be lame and watered down, since it's on TV Land. But since I like all the actresses so much, I thought I'd give it a try. Hilarious!
We finally had one--exactly one--ripe tomato pop up on our tomato plant. We ate it yesterday. It was sweet and tasty with a little salt. I'm glad that we completed an entire summer project. But it would have been nice to have more than one tomato grow--goodness gracious!
I know that elections are important. But seriously, the political ads are getting on my nerves. Do you really need to say that you aren't even trying to pretend that you care about my vote? Why don't you just call me an idiot because I don't agree with you? Of course, how do you know that I don't agree with anything you propose? Since you say, "Screw you!" to me and my vote, I say, "Screw you!" to you!
Finally finished Wuthering Heights. I hardly had time to read and it took forever. I liked it. Liked Jane Eyre much more. I have to say that I don't get why anyone is love with Heathcliff and Catherine. I found him to be creepy and sad. It was a weird, crazy, needy connection, not a great romance. But maybe it's just me.
What kind of crack-ish sugar cravings am I having? I couldn't stop making s'mores every day, and now I'm pulling out recipes left and right. I want a lemon meringue pie like you can't believe!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
*We've been going back and forth about this school thing for at least a year. Hubby thinks it's probably fine for The Baby Boy to stay on the manufactured "start late because I have a late birthday" track and for The Babydoll to get a little manufactured push ahead. He says that she's much more mature and ready for school and that he would benefit from being the oldest in his class. Maybe she should wait--that's what the state says anyway. Maybe we should let him be the youngest--if he ever potty-trains and the school moves him up to his "rightful" class. Is anyone confused yet? I just don't know what's best.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
But I had an epiphany a while ago that this tree must be a mother. She freely gives every part of herself away. She puts the boy ahead of herself at every turn. They go through their lives together, playing and learning. The boy comes to her when he's young and moves away from her as he gets older. In fact, he moves away from her and to another woman!!!! (Remember how he carves "T & Me" on the tree and then he starts carving some chic's initials?) The tree is happy when the boy is happy.
Then, I was reading the book at naptime the other day and I had another epiphany: I hope my daughter (and my son, for that matter) don't see this story as an example of how women should behave in relationships. This tree is very giving, but maybe she's just pathetic. Don't give all of yourself away! If all a guy ever does is take from you, run! This boy just wants to use you up, fulfilling his dreams. Then, you are left with nothing but a stump. But when he's needy and old, he shows up again--like you had nothing better to do than wait around on him!
I'll keep reading the book to them because they love it and so do I. But we might have to have a talk in a few years.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I was loving on The Babydoll, holding her face in my hands, when I commented that her face looked different. "They've been eating like crazy people," my family told me, "Her face is probably a little more plumped up." But her lopsided smile still looked a little "off" to me. Then I felt the large lump on her jaw. We decided to head on over to the urgent care, just in case. I suppose it doesn't really matter, since mumps is a virus and there's no medication. But I'm glad that I at least know what's going on with her.
There's always something, huh?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Other realizations during the gigantic grading marathon:
- There are many, many, many ways to express the EXACT same idea.
- Premium ice cream heals all wounds.
- I need time away from my family sometimes, but it only takes a second for me to really miss them.
- Wuthering Heights is not the go-to text after you've just read about 4 million very questionably written student essays.
- Sitting around with your girlfriend, doing basically nothing, is lots of fun when you are (practically) middle-aged.
- You might want to mentally devise an escape plan for when your cab driver takes some unknown residential route and you think he may be taking you to his own house where he will abduct and disembowel you. Just in case. It helps to crazy paranoid and have a friend join in.
- People who teach English and English-related fields come in two camps: neat, buttoned-up, bookish types or bohemian, artsy, colorful rebel types. It's generally immediately clear which camp someone belongs in. Except for The Diva and me--we're a little of both. :)
Monday, June 7, 2010
- Picked up an animated version of the Henry "Box" Brown story. I thought it would be an interesting, exciting adventurous story for the children. I really should have considered the fact that I would have to answer, "What's a slave?" I was totally unprepared, but I hope that my wide-eyed answer sufficed.
- The Babydoll is enthralled with the whole idea of mail; I wonder if I should be worried about her trying to mail herself in a box.
- I've been a crocheting fool. My fingers ache. But I can't seem to stop!
- We've had a couple of pretty good potty days with The Baby Boy. Yay!
- The more I watch "Intervention" the more it seems that alcohol--not marijuana--is the gateway drug. Hmmmm.
- I've decided to read at least one classic text this summer. I chose *Wuthering Heights* I'm enjoying it, but it's been a while since I've journeyed through British Literature. I want to fall in love with it the way I hear other people talk about it. We'll see how that goes.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
RULE #1 Don't be a booty call
If he don't respect you girl he gon forget you girl
Saturday, May 29, 2010
In general, the review are good. I had an overwhelming number of "Strongly Agree" responses for most areas. They reflect the vibe I got while the classes were going on and afterward, when goo-gobs of students returned for rec letters. It also reflects the number of students in the spring who enrolled in my courses as a result of recommendations from friends. But there are some stupefying moments:
- More than one person indicated that they did not use the library--not even electronically! What?! We had a research paper! How does that work, without using the library????
- Someone was unsatisfied with "revisions." But I have no idea what that means. Did the student not like the fact revisions were allowed? Or was he/she upset that she/he was not allowed to do revisions (in which case he/she did not read the syllabus, which clearly spelled out the revision policy and the "dissatisfaction" is really unfair.) One word answers are not useful!
- More than one student indicated that they really liked a text from the very beginning of the term. I didn't think they liked it or that it was entirely related, so I omitted it from the list for the next term. Guess I need to think about adding it again.
- I was glad that there were fewer personal comments than I sometimes get. Those are often not attacking, but I never really know what to do when students critique my personhood.
In general, I'm pleased with the feedback, and I'm so happy that students are saying that they learn in my classes! Mostly, I'm glad that many students are enjoying this almost as much as I am. Yay!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Yes, I just said that my 2 year old son nearly electrocuted himself.
This, after Hubby and I somehow accidentally left him alone, sleeping in a stroller at a state park while we both took off to separate restrooms and miscommunicated.
After he ran directly towards a moving car in a parking lot.
After he took off rabbit-fast, repeatedly into a crowd, forcing me to leave The Babydoll to chase him.
After he's eaten all manner of nonedible things.
After he had a concussion before he was a year old while learning to walk.
Seriously, this is just too much for me. I've been filled with angst since I discovered that the baby I was carrying was a boy. Raising African American boys, after all, is angst-inducing. Even more so if you pay any attention to the dismal stats about them. I've put my hands on his beautiful little head, asking God to take care of and protect him. And while I'm getting nervous about potential run-ins with the police when he learns to drive, or violent school yard fights, or poor test scores in school, he's finding 1000 ways to put the fear of God in me right now.
This incident tonight just rattled me terribly. I cried uncontrollably and tried every way I could think of to impress upon his little brain the seriousness of touching outlets. I told him he made me cry and worry. That touching outlets would burn his hands. That he broke the rules. Time out guidelines went out the window; I'm forcing him to sit on his bed for the rest of the night since he can't be trusted not to maim himself. Then I held his little body while I looked at every inch of him, tearfully imagining what it would look like to find a black electrical burn on his smooth brown skin (is that even what I should be looking for?). I thought of the other mothers I knew who had sons who made dumb and dangerous decisions or who fell victim to the dumb behavior of some other testosterone-makes-you-stupid boy. Honestly, I just can't take this. This kind of anxiety for the next 16 years (as if it will end at 18!) is just too much. I need a good boarding school.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
For an African American woman, this is a pretty major move. As Star Jones used to say on "The View" "Women don't obsess about their bodies; white women obsess about their bodies; black women obsess about their hair!" And we do. It's a primary source of pain and pleasure, a focus of beauty standards, and marker of race. The other thing is that we have so many choices about it. When I think of the black women I know, the hair ranges from weaves to wigs to Afros to braids to twists hot presses to letting-it-do-whatever. In fact, I discussed my hair care decision with some female students this semester, and many of them were in the process of an alternate hair decision themselves. One was in the middle of going natural and underwent "the big cut" (cut off the chemically relaxed hair down to the 3 or 4 inches of natural new growth). One had been natural all of her life and usually wore spirally curls or blew it out straight. One had stopped relaxing it but had it hot pressed regularly. One wore twists. One wore a weave (I think). It was a perfect setting to solidify my decision. They were excited and vowed to hold me to my promise to myself to change my hair style. Of course, I told them that I was not going to come to campus every day while this process unfolded. Who knows what my hair is going to look like with half relaxed hair and half new growth? No, I told them, I'll start this process in the summer when I don't have to stand up in front of people every day.
So I've just skipped my first touch-up. Normally, this is when I start to run to the salon for some chemicals. And when people start to ask when I have a hair appointment. My roots are thick and it's harder to comb my hair. The curls from my roller set won't hold very well anymore. But I'm trying to stick to the plan. After each of my babies, my hair fell out in scary amounts. I know that it was normal, especially since my hair was so thick and full and shiny while I was pregnant. It had to end, right? But after the shedding I expected, it just kept right on falling out. Until I was practically wearing a comb over. All around my hair line I was completely bald. With my daughter, I went crying to my hair stylist, afraid that the hair loss that older women in my family had experienced had been jump started by my pregnancy. "You need to go to the doctor, now," my grandmother told me. So I did; I made an appointment with the dermatologist forthwith. It helped, and the hair did eventually grow back, but it took about a year, and by then I was about to be pregnant again. I was really afraid that I was going to be bald. Now, with my hair all unpretty as it is now, I'm feeling a little panicked again.
This weekend, another interesting hair situation came up. The Babydoll graduated from preschool--so exciting by the way, there was a cap and gown and everything--and I noticed how much trouble the moms had gone through with the four-year-olds' hair. Many of them had straightened it or had curly braids put in. I wondered if I should feel guilty because I had not gone to such lengths. We had been cautioned not to put ponytails on the top or sides of the girls' head because the caps wouldn't fit if we did. So I put two thick braids in The Babydoll's hair and left the ends loose, thinking that it would look festive and cute and sort of grown-up. She likes that style, so she had so complaints. But I still wondered if I should have taken her to the salon for curls and hot combs and let her wear it hanging loose like a grown up. I think maybe I just wasn't ready to let go of her little girl-ness, even in her hair. I'm guessing that most of these girls will be getting their virgin relaxers in a year or two. And they'll probably keep doing it for the rest of their lives. That was basically my experience. There's nothing wrong with that, but I'm going to try a different way. If I can learn to handle my own hair, I can teach The Babydoll to do hers, too (although her hair is thicker and more compliant than mine).
So, here's my new hair journey. It feels rather risky and I'm not a risk-taker. At all. Maybe I'll go completely crazy and put some pictures up. Maybe.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
- She had a career in which she remained in and out of the public eye for decades, never disappearing or becoming irrelevant. She was recognizable and beloved by generations. Grandmothers who sang "Stormy Weather" every time they saw Horne on TV had grandsons who tilted their heads in mannish admiration of her enduring beauty. Her episode of "A Different World" in the 90s is remembered fondly by most of my peers.
- She spoke her mind. As an actress, a woman, and a black woman, telling folks where to get off was not supposed to be in the cards. Yet, there are many stories about her outspoken opinions about race in Hollywood.
- She didn't run from being black, even though she could have. She probably could have "passed" (maybe?) but was very clear about the way she identified herself. She didn't need to come up with contrived categories or separate herself from other actresses who were also confronting the difficulties of discrimination and inequity.
- She was a sassy singer and a wonderful actress. Many of those today who try to do both clearly need to stick to only one genre. Halle Berry was right to include Horne in her Academy Award acknowledgements.
- She was the good witch in "The Wiz." That performance is mesmerizing every time I see it. I remember seeing it as a little girl and thinking that she looked like an angel, too beautiful to be real. When she sang, "Believe in yourself as I believe in you!" I cried.
- She was sexy. The road to recognition for black women has been filled with pressures from within and without that often forced them to strip themselves of sexuality altogether; or they were relegated to a simplistic portrait of hypersexuality that was one dimensional and dangerous. (This happened in literature as well, hence the need to prove black respectability.) Horne, with her impossibly small waist and sultry smirk, dared to present herself as a woman who was desirable. And she knew it!
- Dang it--she looked fabulous at 92!
Thank you, Lena Horne!
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Hubby will be back with the babies soon. Life is good.
Happy Mother's Day to me.
And to all of you. :)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
That meant the world to me.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I find myself frustrated, though, with their short-sightedness and lack of logic. They fail to make connections between, for instance, the benefits of attending a small liberal arts institution and the disadvantage of limited campus dining options. Or between demanding they be treated like adults and resenting a community service requirement that means they often have to go off campus. Professors want too much work! Not enough scholarship money! The speakers who come here are boring! I hate my new friends!
Even if the speakers are positively world-renowned, most 18 year olds wouldn't know who they are or if they are important. Time has made it very clear to me that who we are at the beginning of our adulthood may not who we are in the middle of it--thank goodness! But they are so unforgiving of other people!
I can only chalk it up to the folly of youth. They don't even know what they don't know. "You are sooooo young!" I think every time I hear a new complaint. I wish I could be more forgiving, too. But I want them to see how much they are growing, appreciate all the newness of college life, and DO something with all of the information and experiences offered them. Maybe it just takes my own patience to watch them in the coming years. They'll get there. Right?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
- How can I take some project and pimp it out for the next couple of decades like Candace Bushnell?
- How can I tell if non-traditional students are serious when they claim that they are "Just really confused" about citation methods and "don't understand" the problem with taking 90% of an article, plopping it in your essay without quotations marks, and inserting totally different names in the parentheticals?
- How can I explain to publishers that my book project is actually much better than Lil' Wayne's ex-wife's book (oh, wait--she's so much more than his ex-wife; now she's an authoress)?
- How can I get all of my besties to move to my city since now one good friend is applying for a position at my institution?
- How can I get a CT scan of Henry Louis Gates' head to see what's wrong with him for suggesting that American slavery (and Jim Crow too, I guess) is everybody's fault and nobody's fault?
- How can I keep from killing the lovely herbs that I've just discovered in my new backyard?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Who's idea was it to put bacon in between two pieces of chicken and call it a sandwich? I was already upset that KFC was sticking a hunk of meat in a cup and acting like it was a snack. Now they have two hunks of meat acting as bread? What the . . . !
I now return to my regular semester-end program, already in progress.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
At the end the group goes to a hoity-toity audition where they are denied entrance. They won't waste their time on "street dancers" the judges say. Then Ozone announces they his group will be dancing next. They rip off the sleeves of their coats and walk aggressively onto the stage, staring the judges in the eyes. "What are you people doing? You can't just come out here! We told you to leave!" the judges exclaim. But then they start to dance (don't know where the music came from) and suddenly the judges can't help themselves. They are so good that they can't be denied.
It dawns on me that maybe this is where the people who audition for "American Idol" get the idea that they should ignore the judges when they tell them to take a hike. It's such a feel-good moment in the movie. I'm sure this isn't the only cinematic example of this, but that's my big epiphany for today. So there you go.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
- I talked with another parent at my children's school and confirmed that my discomfort at the unquestioned promotion of the pilgrim-Indian version of Thanksgiving (i.e. feathered hats, etc.) I didn't say anything to the teacher because I figured she'd just think I was a crazy liberal. This parent, a sociologist, was more bold that I and actually told the teacher that she thought it was historically inaccurate, insensitive, and so forth. The teacher just looked at her. I guess I was right about the reaction to expect. I think the parent's story was pretty funny.
- Witnessed a wonderfully beautiful ceremony on campus this week with women who attended and younger female relatives who also attended. It was set to "In My Daughter's Eyes" and so moving I almost cried into my academic regalia. The whole thing really underscored what it means to educate a woman--you educate the world.
- Another neighbor stopped by today to introduce herself and offer brownies for a welcome gift. Yay!
- Speaking of my new neighbors: This neighborhood seems to have the best grapevine I've ever heard of! Nearly every person who introduces him or herself notes that they've "heard we have a new neighbors" or that they wondered who moved into the house for sale. In some ways it's cool that there is such intimacy in this community, but it's also a tiny bit creepy that we are the subject of community chatter.
- Another round of research papers and another two handfuls of topics related to sex education. I still don't quite know what they think they are missing, but I keep getting students who are just begging for more information. Are schools just naming the body parts and moving on?
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I nodded. "How do you feel about that?" I asked.
"I think I'm happy," he said. "Are you serious?"
"Well, you know I've been dead tired for weeks."
"Yeah. And you look a little heavier." He points to my stomach.
I look at him, blank.
"April fool. Thanks a lot." This was not nearly as funny as I planned.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
And now it's back to work. Um, yay . . . ?
Friday, March 19, 2010
This, AND, a neighbor in my new neighborhood is bringing us cheesecake this weekend! Yippee!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I asked my class to do a check-in exercise that I like to do at mid-term. I asked them to write down what they thought was working in the class and what they thought was not meeting their needs. That lead us down a series of paths and they started to talk about graduating. They were so moved and spoke with such angst about leaving that one of them had to leave the room. This institution, they said, has nurtured them and helped them grow, taught them and pushed them. Their friendships and their professors were important in ways that they would never again experience in quite the same way. They didn't want to leave. (Incidentally, my daughter asked last night why babies had to leave come out of their mommies's tummies. Can't they just stay in if they want? she asked. I thought my students seemed to be asked a similar question.) It was gut-wrenching. And yet, I felt so proud to be playing any small role in the experience that was shaping these students. And to top it off, more than one of them said that they really liked my class and were learning a lot.
So, thank you, thank you, thank you to my students today! I needed that!
Friday, March 12, 2010
- Part of the moving chaos of this week is trying to cram in all of the required paperwork telling everyone who demands to know where I now live. That includes the DMV folk, for starters. As always, it was an adventure. As soon as I walked in, an . . . "older gentleman" sauntered in behind me and immediately started talking to me. He asks me questions about which line to go to. How to do this. How to do that. Then he tells me--totally unsolicited--that he had a DUI and now that he's paid the "bread" (his word) he wants to get his license back. Now, it's 11am and he's chugging a Coke like it's got the antidote, and belching every 30 seconds. He stops his rambling long enough to very obviously check out a young woman walking by. This man has got me by at least 20 years--and I've got him by at least 5 teeth--and the passerby was younger than me. So I'm thinking, "Dirty old man!" Not to mention that he's clearly giving me his best efforts in what he must think is flirting. It's not pretty. After he checks out the girl, he turns back to me and explains that I shouldn't be offended because he was still talking to me. Indeed, he was flapping his jaws to me the entire he time he was spinning his head around to ogle this woman. I told him to take all the time he likes looking at other women. Fine by me. You could even follow them and go talk to them instead.
Please, please, lady at the counter, tell this joker that the only way to get his license back is with a note from his sponsor.
- Here's the other thing: Hubby was parking the car while I was fending off the dirty old man. I step in line and the worker in the first line gives me a ticket . Hubby comes to rescue me and gets the next ticket. It's one number after mine. We wait for half our lives and they finally call my number. Right after I go up and get the address change completed, we think Hubby must be next. Right? Wrong!? Why are there about 900 hundred people called next? Does that make any numerical sense?
- Perhaps the worst part is that they made me take another picture. I had the cutest ID picture ever! At the closing for the house I had to use my lisence and my agent commented that it was a really good pic. I was always happy to whip it out. The new one turned out pretty decent, but I'm grieving the loss of that one great ID photo. Oh well.