Saturday, April 30, 2011

Local Movie Project

I heard about this movie project through a friend who went to school with the singer, Beau Jennings, who is creating a song and movie project to honor Will Rogers. The movie people are looking for some funding; donations start at $10. Check it out!

The Verdigris: In Search of Will Rogers

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Hour From 31

Well, my big year of being 30 is nearly over! As I lie (I really want to say "sprawl" to avoid they lie/lay and now the new "lye" debate) on my bed, I want to write a retrospective. I want to write some goals for the next year. I feel like getting personal, even though there's no need and there probably is a need to not get personal!

In this past year I've done some heavy-duty examination of myself and my life. I've had to work harder than I have before. I've had to face a lot of crap that I've never had to face before. And I've come out so much better for all of it; I can't believe that I'm at the age where I'm knowing myself. I can't believe that some things haven't been easy for me.

And all of this while falling love with a great man. Here's to the men I've dated this year--cheers, good men! And here's to the men I haven't dated this year--hooray! And here's to the cutest man alive on this planet, my dear Bill.

While we're cheering, here's to my family and friends (a distinction that is so slippery because both get mad at me, happy with me, and save my ass from everything . . . while also, at times, driving me crazy!). And here's to, like, a trillion baby births of said family/friends this past year!

Tomorrow night I am having a birthday party; I think everyone should come. It should be some good times. Bill is going to take allergy medication and probably try to bail early (that's just a prediction); he doesn't care for dancing, apparently, which is going to be goal one of this party.

I will not get stoned, since I predict a drug test is in my future because, family/friends, I have accepted a new job! I will shifting from the private Islamic school where I teach 6th and 7th grade Language Arts--a position I could not have dreamed up a year ago--to [EDIT: I had to take out mention of where I work].

In other news, I pretty much want to reaffirm my position from a year ago that higher education is still full of shit. I do not want to go to there.

Also, I'm not sure that I'm meant to be a writer, but I plan on writing anyway. I've been working on a novel this year. A real novel. And it went really well for about a month. But now I've moved the character from her opening position at the kitchen table on down to the basement and I'm fucking stuck.

What do we do when we get stuck? We move to the next project! Ask the pink dress that just needs a hem! Ask the green dress that may be assembled completely wrong! They might be able to hear your asking through the piles of material yet to be cut for their own project!

My hording habit has found an safe, economical haven in the library. Thank goodness for that place. I've never felt so curious, cool, eclectic, and interesting as I have this year, burnin' up my awesome library card. (Not a literal burning.)

In all of these changes, I haven't changed my apartment! I've lived in yet another place for over a year! And I've lived in the same city now for nearly five years. This is the longest I've been anywhere since living at home. The other day, when I was making my big decision to accept the new job, I was walking outside. It felt muggy and bug and birds were singing; it felt like summer and I thought, I'm ready for summer, when it gets here! I feel like it's been nothing but shitty summers for a really long time, and I had been so afraid of another one. But here I am, moving forward, knowing more, feeling more, and having the security of a job to carry me through these summer months (and beyond, Insh'allah, a phrase I am a fan of using). I am also a fan of Alhamdulilah, but not so much of as-salam alaikum. That's just my personal preference.

I have so much to say about school and about education; I want to write about my experience this past year. I feel like there's so much to explain that I haven't been able to say because I have been trying hard to figure things out. I feel really lucky to have had this job. I also feel very angry about the state of education.

In random news, I am unsure of my enneagram type. Am I a one? A four? As I embark upon this new career path, I wonder about going back to school to study law. (I could take community college classes in the paralegal field.) If my type is a four, then that may be a bad idea. But if I'm a one, then it may be a good idea. I mention this because I am scared of change and I like to consider all the things I can do to move forward (God forbid I stop for a bit) and I mention this because I am still really sad at Fran's passing away. I feel inspired, again, for political action, like I used to work on in college. I feel ready to be smarter about it now and find a way where I can bring my actual talents in to play.

As I face this next year as a thirty-one year-old, I want to be creative, smart, funny, attractive (oh, yes, to jog that 5K--my two weeks of overeating be damned!), organized, happy, open, adventurous, and to further work to find the areas in this world that I can make a difference. If this past year called me to make changes, this year I want to learn more about what those changes are. I want to be less stubborn, I want to forget some crappy things, I want to get a haircut. I want to make sure I'm giving back and I want to find a way for my energy to grow instead of investing so much in protection.

I want to make sure everyone knows how much I love and care for them. I want to be in a place where I can feed Queenie and LZ Science Diet again; I think it would be better for them. Additionally, all of these wants are the mere wants of one person. I know that I can go to sleep, wake up, and be filled with a trillion other wants. I want, then, to keep things basic this year. In all that I do, I want to be careful. Most of all, I want my gratitude to be felt by everything around me.


I picked up a neat book at the library the other day that documents Plastiki, the boat made from 12,500 plastic bottles that sailed across the Pacific. The book is called Plastiki: Across the pacific on Plastic: An Adventure to Save Our Oceans, by David De Rothschild, as told to Jim Gorman. One fact from the book: "Every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic garbage" (17). It's clear De Rothschild and his crew are inventive, passionate activists--how inspiring!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Things Kids Say

Two cute goof-ups from "The People of the Seventh Grade":

*We've been discussing, again, the appeals being used in argumentation: logos, pathos, and ethos. I asked which appeals were being used in a particular newspaper image and one kid got his thoughts/words confused and replied, "hobos," pronounced in a way that rhymes with the other appeals. (Hobos, an appeal made through money, perhaps?)

*Today one kid was presenting the weather report--not an article--and saying that there was a 50% chance of "participation." Yes, it might rain and we might have some participation, too. "Might" being the key word.

Movie Review: Network

Since director Sidney Lumet recently passed away, Bill has made it his mission to introduce me to Lumet's movies. We started last night by watching Network. I loved the movie. Bill and I were chatting about it and how these older movies know how to set a character. I like watching a movie and feeling like I'm reading a book and getting a sense of the characters. The very beginning of the movie establishes the characters and creates a sense of you knowing the characters while also watching them. It's like you are being let in while still being on the outside of what is going on. I think most movies just want to suck you in; they tend to not want you to be both in and out at the same time. (All of that could be obvious--it's just a new articulation/thought for me.)

I think I disagree with the premise that you "must get mad first," but I love the opening of his speech. How often do we want to at least be left alone with our things in our place . . . and how often do we do this when we know better?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today in "Where Did that Casserole Dish Go?"

It was in the fridge, covered in foil, collecting mold.

(Extend Easter edition: And it will rise again.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Some Notes Regarding My Job

Sometimes things open up just a little bit and some clarity comes in! As we know, just by knowing me, I have been stressed out about teaching. I have hated it and I have loved it. Lately I'm seeing some attitude shifting in the 7th grade, and I think they are realizing that they are the ones who are consistently not living up to their potential . . . not me (I never have that problem. Ever.). They are starting to feel more manageable--at least for this week--and that is a great blessing.

I've been lucky to talk to my good teacher friend and build off her enthusiasm for the classroom. It inspiring to hang around true teachers, ones who are passionate about their jobs. I've been living off overwhelm this week and catching someone else's persistence is a helpful way to pull through. It still blows my mind the things teachers have to deal with; it really is astounding how many things there are to think about and deal with and manage . . . and to do it all in an inspirational manner?! It's a lot. It really is.

I have learned more about my school today, which helped confirm how I've been feeling there. As a small, private, Islamic school, there has been a culture of family. Teachers have had students at the school, everyone has been friends, everyone is related, some are huge donors, they all worship together . . . and so on (sorry for the awkward list). In short: it's an insular community. And this community (as with most any family, in all of its glorious disfunction) has not pushed each other to value learning for learning's sake. Instead, discipline problems have prevailed (for how to tell your peer/family member that s/he is not doing a good enough job raising the kids) and--like in any school--and there has been a heavy reliance on grades (but how to give a bad grade to your niece or nephew?).

All of this and, mixed in, this is a minority culture right in Oklahoma--so how can this community support each other while still challenging each other?

I believe in the school's administration and they have not had it easy; things cannot turn around overnight. The principal was once in the position of teaching and was a much-admired teacher. Now, as the principal, he has some enemies. It's very difficult to be a good-hearted person and face the ire/stupidity/hatred of small-minded people. And not only face it, but to stand up through it and against it. It is very hard! And it is hard for everyone.

One strategy that I think doesn't work well is to put on a positive face and power through, even though I think we need to put on a positive face and power through. I also don't think it works well to treat every teacher as if they were the same. Different teachers have different strengths and weaknesses. And in the case of this school, I can teach my butt off (which I have been doing) and it can be undone by any number of people who, in this case, may be another teacher/aunt/parent/etc. One thing the principal mentioned to me was from other reading he's done and that is on being clear about the sphere of influence he has; things that are within his sphere, he works on. Anything else has to go. I don't think I'm clear on what my sphere of influence is, and that's probably why I've been running so hard all my life.

Earlier today I was thinking that I don't want to be at the school next year, but that didn't mean that I didn't want to be there right now. I am learning so much right now; it's invaluable the amount of self-knowledge I've gained. And to fall for these handful of kids--who despite their rampant plagiarism, lack of self-motivation, and incessant whining to go outside (not to mention their entitlement, poor grammar and handwriting, and zero critical thinking skills), I like anyway--feels pretty lucky, too. I realize that we all have to do shitty things and be people we never thought we'd have to be. I realized that this is why dreams are important; so we realize that in doing such things that we become better people, ones more able to realize a brighter future. In facing our challenges, we see what we're really made of. (And then, later, we will be challenged again and then we'll see what we're really really made of.)

I just want to affirm that I am not giving up on my dream of becoming who I am! There are competing images of myself--I am simply out of focus--that I want to merge into one: who I want to be, who I am now, and who I actually am. For these to come together, I need to put in some work. And, I know this, too, I also need to put in extreme amounts of rest and care. Running frazzled does not help anyone or anything.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Osho on Fearlessness

I'm enjoying reading Osho's Courage: The Joy of LIving Dangerously. It's very simple, and I'm realizing that I needed to get down to basics. Here are a smattering of quotes that have meant something to me.

*"But we have become habituated. We will feel very lonely if we stop being miserable, we will lose our closest companion. It has become our shadow--it follows us everywhere. When nobody is there at least your misery is with you--one is married to it. And it is a long, long marriage; you have remained married to misery for many lives. Now the time has come to divorce it. That I call the great courage--to divorce misery, to lose the oldest habit of the human mind, the longest companion." (62)

*"The world will drop wars only when love enters the world again. Politicians don't want you to love, the society does not want you to love, the family doesn't allow you to love. They all want to control your love energy because that is the only energy there is. That's why there is fear" (70).

*"Be selfish. Love is selfish. Love people--you will be fulfilled through it, you will be getting more and more blessedness through it. And when love goes deeper, fear disappears; love is the light, fear is darkness" (70-71).

*"Meditate, dance, sing, and go deeper and deeper into yourself" (77).

*"And years of suppression . . . it will take some time for the real to express itself. The gap between the two has been called by the mystics 'the dark night of the soul'--a very appropriate expression. You are no more the false, and you are not yet the real. You are in a limbo, you don't know who you are" (99).

*"Habits die hard. So many years of living in a false personality imposed by people whom you loved, whom you respected . . . and they were not intentionally doing anything bad to you. Their intentions were good, just their awareness was nil. They were not conscious people--you parents, your teachers, your priests, your politicians--they were not conscious people, they were unconscious. And even a good intention in the hands of an unconscious person turns out to be poisonous." (100)

This last quote stands out to me because I feel it with my own actions. Even acting out of the best of my intentions has proven to be unharmful. But only because I was unconscious!

*"'A boy was constantly scratching his head. His father looked at him one day and said, "Son, why are you always scratching your head?" "Well," the boy responded, "I guess because I am the only one who knows it itches"'" (105).

*"You depend on people's opinions. You have depended on people's opinions so much that you have lost all track of inner sense. This inner sense has to be rediscovered, because all that is beautiful and all that is good and all that is divine can be felt only by the inner sense. Stop being influenced by people's opinions. Rather, start looking in . . . allow your inner sense to say things to you. Trust it." (106)

Reason One Trillion to Love the Library

It brings you Edward James Olmos! I'm not sure if I made public my undying love for Battlestar Galactica, but I love it and I love Edward James Olmos. So I'm totally excited for this film series and for his award ceremony. And it's thanks to the library.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Anne Lamott on Easter

I really enjoyed reading this NPR article on Anne Lamott's Easter reflections, "Beyond Bunnies: The Real Meaning of Easter Season." I haven't read her essays on religion, but they're on my to-read list.

And I think Easter has been about the resonance of that simple statement; and that when I stop, when I go into contemplation and meditation, when I breathe again and do the sacred action of plopping and hanging my head and being done with my own agenda, I hear that, 'You don't have that kind of time,' you have time only to cultivate presence and authenticity and service, praying against all odds to get your sense of humor back.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Memory as the Unholy Past

What I keep with me expands.

I am caught in a struggle and it's fascinating me. It concerns job stuff and the big life question of my employment happiness and security. I'm very overwhelmed with looking for a new job, and part of my overwhelm comes from wondering whether I am "meant" to be a teacher . . . 'cuz if so, then it might be very prudent to stop looking for another job and really dig into the one I have now.

As soon as I think I know something, something else comes along and changes my mind. I crave certainty!

I actually think what's happening is that I'm looking for a way to pursue my passions and desires without feeling guilty. And I'm going to feel guilty moving on from my job (whenever that may happen); I feel guilty looking for another job now. It feels like a relationship ending and that's always both invigorating and sad.

There is some path I get on where I want to save things; perhaps I take on an unequal burden of responsibility. I want to be the one to change and to learn as much as possible.

Thanks to my dating life, I see how I can change and learn without taking on responsibilities that aren't mine. When it comes to teaching, though, I think we are all responsible. What role do I play, then, as an educator? What is my role in this?

I think our role is happiness. And I have to trust the markers that I have that want to lead me toward happiness.

This is very difficult because this is not for the realm of the brain. But the brain--the ego--so much wants to be included! It wants to control. It builds up fears and deadlines. It builds up guilt by remembering the past. It doesn't know what to do with happiness.

I've been trying to be careful with my wishes and desires because, it is true, the grass is always greener. It's hard to just exist, though; it's hard to have patience and just be. It's easy to be open to the promise of the future, and it's easy to get sucked into the bad and mediocre feelings of the past. It's easy to crave novelty.

I've been feeling guilty lately over being in a relationship with someone I love and in a relationship I love. I feel guilty because I feel like I'm leaving others behind. By others--I'll just be honest--I mean my ex-husband and any of my exes, really. I don't like the feeling of leaving others behind because I start to feel that their accusations of me being selfish are ringing true. I don't like the feeling of leaving others behind because it starts to feel like I don't accept them for who they are. If I accepted them, then wouldn't I change? Wouldn't I stay? Wouldn't I just be content, happy, not greedy for once--just once? Sometimes my role in my family, as one who moves away, starts to play in this, too. What is wrong with me that I run? What on earth do I possibly think I can find? What more do I expect that others aren't giving me now? Aren't I being given a lot as is? Why can't I be grateful?

This is the track that keeps me down. This gets a lot of airtime and I spend a lot of time cleaning up after it trying to prove how grateful I am and how humble I can be and how I don't ask for a lot; I'm not an extravagant person, I say, during such clean-up.

But my memory has never been perfect and I can only imagine the parts of people that I choose to remember; what about them am I forgetting? Since this memory is imperfect, it is unreliable. And because it is unreliable, it is not the truth. I've been reading Osho's Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously, and here's some of what I read last night:
One has to start in a state of not knowing, and one has to move innocently like a child, thrilled with the possibilities--and infinite are the possibilities.

You cannot do anything to create the new, because whatsoever you do will be of the old, will be from the past. But that does not mean that you have to cease to act. It is to act without will or direction or impulse from your past--and that is to act meditatively. Act spontaneously. Let the moment be decisive.

You don't impose your decision, because the decision will be from the past and it will destroy the new. You just act in the moment like a child. Utterly abandon yourself to the moment--and you will find every day new openings, new light, new insight. And those new insights will go on changing you. One day, suddenly you will see you are each moment new. The old no more lingers, the old no more hangs around you like a cloud. You are like a dewdrop, fresh and young.

That is the real meaning of resurrection. If you understand this you will be free from memory--psychological memory, that is. memory is a dead thing. Memory is not truth and cannot ever be, because truth is always alive, truth is life; memory is persistence of that which is no more. It is living in a ghost world, but it contains us, it is our prison. In fact, it is us. Memory creates the knot, the complex called "I," the ego. And naturally this false entity called "I" is continuously afraid of death. That's why you are afraid of the new. (56-57)

In writing this down, I'm realizing that I'm breaking up with my past employment. It's been an ongoing process (oh, how I have rejoiced and sobbed over not being in grad school any longer!), and it's still going. I am breaking up with many aspects of who I have been and what I've been doing; I need to change because whatever is going on just isn't good for me! That's all. There's nothing left to that.

The past isn't what I think it was and I don't know what the new is going to be.

Last Summer

Bill and I have been watching Last Summer (1969), with Barbara Hershey, for a couple of months now. We finished it the other night, and, overall, I liked the movie. It has a very dark tone and is experimental--especially in regards to depictions of teenage sexuality. It was different than any movie I've seen in a really long time, and for that I was glad to have watched it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What My Mom Learns

It's Mom's birthday week! Yesterday I phoned and we were chatting about stuff. She was lamenting not doing something and I said, "That's alright, as long as you learned something."

"Yeah," she said, "I learned I should have known this already."

Oh, how I love these impossible loops in which we get ourselves stuck! We beat ourselves up when we learn something, but we can't learn something we already know . . .

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Cats Make Me Happy!

We're just having an afternoon processing the world. I'm in a minor funk, although it's escalating to a major funk, over job worries, current event worries, and homesickness. Out of the things I can think to feel better, two things stand out: Queenie, who is lounging on a chair, and LZ, who is stretched in front of the window. We're just watching the birds!

Suheir Hammad, "talisman"

Here is Suheir Hammad's poem, "talisman"

it is written
the act of writing is
holy words are
sacred and your breath
brings out the
god in them
i write these words
quickly repeat them
softly to myself
this talisman for you
fold this prayer
around your neck fortify
your back with these
may you walk ever
loved and in love
know the sun
for warmth the moon
for direction
may these words always
remind you your breath
is sacred words
bring out the god
in you

Since the sixth grade loved watching her TED talk, I made them listen to "talisman" today. They claim they don't know what she's talking about, but they ended up getting there, and pretty quickly, too. I was proud of their analytical skills.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poetry, Education

I'm showing this TED talk, featuring Suheir Hammad and her poetry, in class today.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Failed Birthday Invitation Line

I'm turning 31; it's like 21 only without going to the bar with your teetotalling fiance.

I couldn't use this; it sounds too bitter!

Dualistic Thinking

(Illustration by Sara.)

The other night I had the privilege of hanging around some girlfriends. I deejayed the event; at one point we were listening to The Raconteurs and a song came on that I didn't like. This surprised me, even though I hadn't listened to their album "Consolers of the Lonely" straight through in a long time, because I love Jack White. And, I guess, when I love someone, I want their work to be the best all the time. I said to my friends, "I just don't want my love to be wrong!"

Sara replied, "That's your motto!" And she drew the above image, which is pretty funny!

I was thinking about this today because I know I'm trapped in dualistic thinking of right/wrong. And I know, now, that just because I have an emotion, doesn't mean it will last or that I need to act on it. I, in fact, have drastic mood swings and things can change very quickly for me. Just this morning I woke up with Bill and felt wonderful. I got to sleep in (because the kiddos are testing this week). As I was writing and getting ready for work, though, I started getting anxious and angry. Nothing much in my situation had changed; I just felt very different.

So at work, I was thinking that it's fine to feel whatever it is that I'm feeling. It doesn't mean anything. That's the thing that gets me--my emotions just don't mean anything! They point the way to something, and I have to follow that. But I can't see ahead to where they point; I don't know what's going to happen.

It doesn't matter if an emotion (like my love) is right or wrong--in fact, it just doesn't make sense to label them as such. I guess I think if I'm right about something, then I'm in control. I'm learning just how little we have control over. Bill is a big fan of saying that if you're doing you're best, then that's the best you can do. I agree. And it's still hard because I always want more from myself. Always. There's nothing I've done that I've been proud of and satisfied with as is with no alterations, unconditional.

Except for today tides are changing. I see some space between my emotions and thoughts. I want to be open to any possibility, while also wanting the best for myself. This is probably why I am often filled with uncertainty--and why Sara's illustrated heart is (wonderfully) evilly misleading--I have an inner critic who constantly berates me. I haven't realized that I have my best interests at heart! I haven't realized that I'm not going to lead myself--knowingly--into shitty situations; I haven't realized that I'm an ok person to trust. In fact, I'm all I have! How I choose to perceive anything is all up to me! I feel very fortunate that all these lessons keep knocking into me. I swear, learning is getting a little easier! And, knock on wood, it hasn't taken a catastrophe to do such learnin'!

Personal Goal for Day: Accomplished

I jogged a consecutive 27.5 minutes this afternoon (I think I went about 2.5 miles). It helps so much that it's in the low 70s!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brain Soup

I'm feeling a little chatty this afternoon, so I'm going to make this a more personal entry than I've had in a while. Who knows, maybe this entry will be fun? (It's going to be a list, so that's a good start!)

1. First, apparently we are no longer supposed to put two periods after a sentence. I read this Slate article against it, and just now I looked up MLA's official stance; MLA says using two periods ain't bad. As I was reading the Slate article, I was thinking that I really don't need this level of stress in my life.

2. I was listening to Sherry Turkel on "To the Best of Our Knowledge," and she has said that humans no longer multi-task, but rather have multi-lives: an in presence life and virtual lives. I don't like it. I think most people are anywhere besides where they actually are.

3. Which leads me to be careful as I pursue my career. I've been applying for jobs like gangbusters. (I don't really know where that phrase came from.) I've had some lovely interviews at the library, but no position yet. And I've been talking with the principal about next year. What if I'm meant to teach math? Or older students? What if? I want the best for me and I'm afraid of everything that might possibly happen to me! I don't feel better or angry (whoa! No anger today!), just very afraid that whatever my agenda is may be closing me off to other possibilities.

4. I really need a lot of help from other people. I think others can sometimes just see us for the best we are. I imagine a committee on my behalf finding a place for me. I imagine being lifted and placed in a job that works for me. It's not that I'm not trying, I just feel like I have so many wheels spinning that I don't know what's actually best for me!

5. I know my path is one of creativity, though. Until I can make money from my own work, I need a job to pay the bills. I like thinking of myself as a creative person; this has helped a lot and has given me focus. I know that I have enough energy to devote to a job and to my own passions . . . I know someday the two can merge!

6. I can jog 25 consecutive minutes. Tomorrow I aim for 27.5 minutes. And by Memorial Day I want to jog in an official 5K. There. That dream is now public.

7. I read this article from 1997 on the importance of language during a baby's first year. I haven't read more current research, though. I'm not sure what I think about this article because there are many implications; I just think it's interesting that the first year is so important. And I'm guilt-ridden enough about school to believe that my inability to reach the students is because I'm meeting them about ten years too late. Here's a quote:
The researchers studied 42 children born to professional, working class or welfare parents. During the first two and half years of the children's lives, the scientists spent an hour a month recording every spoken word and every parent-child interaction in every home. For all the families, the data include 1,300 hours of everyday interactions, Dr. Hart said, involving millions of ordinary utterances.

At age 3, the children were given standard tests. The children of professional parents scored highest. Spoken language was the key variable, Dr. Hart said.

A child with professional parents heard, on average, 2,100 words an hour. Children of working-class parents heard 1,200 words and those with parents on welfare heard only 600 words an hour. Professional parents talked three times as much to their infants, Dr. Hart said. Moreover, children with professional parents got positive feedback 30 times an hour -- twice as often as working-class parents and five times as often as welfare parents.

The tone of voice made a difference, Dr. Hart said. Affirmative feedback is very important. A child who hears, ''What did we do yesterday? What did we see?'' will listen more to a parent than will a child who always hears ''Stop that,'' or ''Come here!''

By age 2, all parents started talking more to their children, Dr. Hart said. But by age two, the differences among children were so great that those left behind could never catch up. The differences in academic achievement remained in each group through primary school.

Every child learned to use language and could say complex sentences but the deprived children did not deal with words in a conceptual manner, she said.

8. I was looking this baby stuff up because I suggested to Bill that he might learn ASL for his own benefit since he is deaf in one ear and has a fear of losing hearing in his other ear. I told him, though, that he could learn it and then, if we had a child, we could use it to make our baby smarter. He hadn't heard of this and asked me where I had heard about sign language and babies; I told him it was just kind of a known thing. I didn't tell Bill that his odds of losing hearing in his ear are the same as mine; the consequences for such a loss, though, would be much more severe for him than for me.

9. I've been reading Mary Roach's Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void and for the first time in my life, I do not want to be an astronaut! The lack of gravity does a number on the body.

10. I have more to say, but mostly it revolves around what I want to wear for my birthday party (invitations pending). I looked at my guest list and 1/3 of the women I know are mothers. I'm pretty baby crazy! (That's a funny sentence. What do I have against ugly babies?!)

11. I'm also pick-up-and-leave crazy! Ohmygod do I ever want to get out of here! It's not that I'm against Tulsa, I just want to go somewhere new! It's this fever that is serving as a caution for me in my job. I want to settle down and focus; I just want to focus on the right thing! I could use a sabbatical year, I think. If my expenses could be paid for a year while I got my stuff together, I think I could accomplish a lot! Probably everyone could. Why don't we have this? Probably because no one was talked to enough during their first year of life so now we're all stupid.

12. Well this post did not help me get any projects accomplished! I wanted to get some sewing going, but I guess that will wait until tomorrow! Now it's time to gussy-up and visit the boyfriend, whom I haven't seen since forever (Thursday). We both had visits with our own friends this weekend, which is so nice. I have a sinking feeling, though, that his friend is going to want to continue seeing him because his friend is going through a break-up. I fully support this (the break-up and their friendship), while also acting irrationally possessive. That's my prerogative.

13. Bill just called to postpone our meeting time. So there is time to sew!

14. Right now this song is playing. I'm going to practice the moves in this video.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Funny Etsy Artist!

My friend and colleague found this website the other day: Beanforest on Etsy. We laughed over these collections of buttons and sayings!

Movie Reviews: It's Complicated and Zelig

An impromptu trip to the library allowed me to indulge in a couple of movies over the past two days: It's Complicated and Zelig.

I thought It's Complicated was a fine movie. It had some funny moments, and I don't think Meryl Streep can do any wrong (although I wasn't able to finish Mama Mia! a while ago). Even though the movie is written and directed by a woman, Nancy Meyers, I thought the movie was focused more on the men (the characters and the actors) in the movie. And the idea that a woman has to have a man in her life--even though she is an expert in her field, a business owner, and has an amazing house (and extra-white family!)--is still annoying. Having a relationship felt more like a had-to than a get-to, and I don't find that empowering. I think I'm bummed because more could have happened with that movie and those actors.

I found Zelig, on the other hand, completely delightful! Woody Allen is so funny and Mia Farrow enchants me. Before we watched it, Bill was telling me about the technical achievements of the film, so I was able to notice how well the film was put together. There are many scenes that involve putting pictures of Allen and/or Farrow into old pictures/film. It looks really good. The movie has a funny premise that works on a surface level and as allegory; it was just fun and I highly recommend it to anyone!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Outdoors

I'm very excited this morning because I saw turtles today! They were at the pond area that I like to walk/jog around, and I have never seen them there before. It was a nice morning watching the turtles, ducks, geese, and one boy who was skipping rocks. I had brought a notebook with me so I could write, and it was a really nice--in fact, ideal--way to begin the day.

I found this turtle image on a blog called Fox Haven Journal; it looks like a really great site!

Recently I bought a bird book to try to learn more about the birds that I see. On the Creek Turnpike Trail, I keep seeing blue birds, and I thought I had correctly identified them as buntings. However, I discover that they are Eastern Bluebirds. I haven't seen these birds before! Also on the Trail one can see cardinals; so, it's a very colorful place to be.

This image is from the website Oklahoma Birds and Butterflies:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Advice for Bad Moods

I found this article, "10 Ways to Let Go and Overcome a Bad Mood," by Lori Deschene and I thought it was nice and helpful. Here's an excerpt:

Contrary to popular belief, even positive people get in bad moods. . . .

Whatever the case may be, you feel something you don’t want to, and you’re not sure how to change it. You just know you need to do something before acting on that feeling. . . .

It may seem like the answer is to stop responding to life emotionally, but that’s just not realistic. Paul Ekman, one of the foremost researchers on emotion, suggests it’s near impossible to bypass an emotional response because of the way our brains are set up.

I have been on an adventure with myself in wanting to be fully where I am and with who I am. This has been, frankly, uncomfortable lately! I have many tricks up my sleeve--like using my sense of humor and being able to reframe old storylines--and they are immensely helpful. It's just difficult to face the truth that I don't always feel happy and that, indeed, I have some anger that needs to be attended to. I think it just means that I am a human being having a human experience. So strange!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Unemployment Practices

I knew this was happening, but I didn't realize the blatant discrimination. This NPR article, "Unemployed Need Not Apply: State Bans Want-Ad Ploy," states that a few companies are explicitly telling unemployed applicants that should not apply for positions.

States, like New Jersey, are passing legislation to make this illegal partly because it is affecting minority (racial and aged) populations the most. I think regardless of the discrimination, this is a bad practice simply because there is not a direct link between employment and ability/capability.