Saturday, September 20, 2008

PSA for Jonathan Kozol.

"But for the children of the poorest people we're stripping the curriculum, removing the arts and music, and drilling the children into useful labor. We're not valuing a child for the time in which she actually is a child."

Jonathan Kozol.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Staring at a Wall

I was never much of a trouble maker. I did an activity at work today where I had students create a life map. A piece of art with words and images that explained their journeys thus far. I made one too. I presented mine. I realized life has been nice, privileged really. I realized that my map was quite different from the maps of my students and in a neatly wrapped 40 minute period of time, I learned a great deal about humanity.
I started remembering though...I came to a place that held the memory of the fifth grade. I received detention for talking during the pledge to the flag. How dare I interrupt our salutation to America, our gratuity to John Adams and the lot, our momentary pause for solemn reflection. It was simply un-American. Detention followed. At St. Stephen's, they did not have you sit mindlessly in a room doing nothing. I was told to sit for two hours staring at a concrete wall while talking...without stopping. It was very an eye for an eye. I remember the pale yellow paint of the somewhat bomb shelter-like wall texture. I remember a hanging cardboard decorative squirrel (strange but absolutely true). I talked, and when I paused, I was reminded to begin again. It was my first time in trouble, and it was my last time at detention. You see, silence at Catholic school was often the utmost sign of respect. I have come to think of respect as much more than silence, and I guess as I get older, I keep getting myself in trouble again and again for opening my mouth maybe too much.
This election has me talking, and I apologize to my family that has endured endless commentary on the state of the country and how crucial this decision is. I am sorry that I get heated---my husband noting that I have taken to commenting on the 6am Morning Joe show with a strange amount of indignation for such an early hour. I just can't be silent right now. It feels so big. I just feel that silence now would be disrespectful. Our country is too great, our potential just so exciting, but our direction seems so vulnerable. I promise to watch my words at times and listen a little more or a lot more, but I just can't press pause. Not now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Like a Bicycle

I'm Back.
It is sort of strange to go on hiatus and then return to a job. The strange thing about working in public education is that many things change dramatically over the years, but there are some things that never, ever, ever change. I take comfort in the 1950's styled teacher break room and the broken copy machines. I also love this box of chalk I found in my cabinet that looks like it is from the early 60's. Vintage chalk from the past, I wonder what teacher tucked them away in the cabinet for some future lesson or maybe just to plan some sort of punitive activity. It feels good to teach again, to create, to look at the world again through the eyes of someone looking for ideas and connections for a new class or specific lesson. On the other hand, I can't shake the feeling that it just seems unnatural to be away from S. I miss her, and I wonder if she misses me. I hope she doesn't realize I'm not there, but she is more and more aware of her world with each day. Everyone keeps telling me that I am so lucky I was able to stay with her for seven months. I am lucky for that, but it isn't like she is about to start driving. Why does society seem to make people grow up so fast? I still talk to my mom every day, and I am almost 29. I guess I just have to keep thinking about this situation and see how it goes.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The First Day of School.

Dear S.
I have been formulating this letter in my head for a few months now, and I am not sure I will get this right. I looked at your little neck the other day, and I was reminded of you as a newborn. Your neck used to resemble a little robin, but it is now stronger and holds your head up proud. I don't really know where to begin, but I wanted to tell you that I never thought I was the mom type. I never really babysat children, I wasn't one of those women that ooh and ahhed at new babies, and I could not imagine not working. (well, I guess I could imagine that:) And then you came along, and I fell victim to every cliche in the book.
I love, love, love you.
It is surreal to look at your child for the first time. When we met, you looked right into my eyes and stared for awhile. You still do this now, and I admire the curiosity you have while viewing the world. I loved you before we met, and I have to admit somewhere in the back of my mind and heart, I knew I would have a little Sophia at some point. And here you are, napping in your room. The last seven months have been a constant flux of change, growth, and new identity. I think we have both grown over these months, and I am not the same any longer. I think you have made me a more loving person, and you reminded me of parts of myself that I needed to be reminded of. You also allowed me to reflect on what matters in life, and I think my priorities are more sound because of you.
I am going back to the classroom tomorrow, and I will be home quickly. You probably won't even notice I am gone. I know you will enjoy reading, singing, traveling, and talking with your family members and when I get back, I will tell you all about my day and I want to hear about yours too. Thank you for being exactly who you are, this joyous person that laughs and smiles at her parents. Make sure Maggie behaves herself, we know she can be a difficult puppy.
You make me very happy, little Sophia.
You have my heart.
Love Always,

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Election.

The Republicans are getting to me.

More later.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I woke up this morning and...

my love for New Order is back with a vengeance. If this doesn't make you dance....nothing will.
(the picture is from Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette)

Age of Consent- New Order

and for your viewing pleasure...Radiohead covering New Order's Ceremony. I really could watch this all day.
Radiohead-Ceremony Cover

and to just bring it together historically....Joy Division's greatest song ever...Love will tear us apart.
Joy Division

Hope the links work now...
(New Order has aged quite well.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Most Beautiful Mullet I Know.

I have just realized that one day I may be one of those people that Oprah uses in her television show when addressing people that hoard, collect, and refuse to throw out their personal items. My closet has a couple skirts I wore in high school, my mail is piled in the office, and I have boxes from wedding presents stored in the basement just in case. In the trunk of my car, I have books from my early teaching days, mix tapes from high school, running shoes from college, and a plethora of coffee mugs from various points of my life--some with coffee still embedded. It seems, however, that the fates have aligned and are forcing me to edit myself somehow. It all began when my good friend came to visit.
While happily playing with little Soph, she noticed some hair that was longer in the back of her head. Upon further inspection, she noticed it looked like a mullet, ahh the business in the front party in the back variety, or even a little rat tail, which actually reminds me of hellish middle school years in the 90's. Anyways, it is longer than the rest of her hair and is beginning to stand out in a strange way. To be honest, I have noticed it too. I look at it lovingly as I give her a bath, and the hair spills down lower with the water. I see it when she wakes up from a nap, and the extra hair in the back sticks out from its contact with the sheet. I brush it some times and think about how dark it used to be when she was just born. But she is older now, and my very stylish friend is truly advocating for little S. Do I want to be the kind of mother that lets her daughter have a mullet? The answer is no, but there is something that still is holding me back. I can't cut it yet. I look at her clap her hands with new pride or wiggle around on the ground with her back side held high, and I can't believe how fast she has come into her own, finding her way through the world, trying to figure things out with her thoughtful eyes and inquisitive nature. And I love her little long baby hairs that wave at me from the back, dangling down her little neck, recounting the days when we first met.
Tonight I gave her a bath, sang some songs, and brushed her hair, tucking the little long hairs back with the comb. She fell asleep on her own, didn't need rocking, hair underneath but still there, tucked in safe and sound.