November 26, 2010
November 23, 2010
November 16, 2010
Other things on that list recently...
We're staying at an African/safari themed hotel in Disney World and many of the staff members are from Africa. Ash has been hugely annoyed when he asks where they're from and all they say is "Africa". He quickly follows that up with "But WHERE in Africa?". They quickly get over their surprised reaction and go in to detail about which country, what it's like, etc etc once they realize we are actually interested. Sort of sad that this comes as a surprise to them, that tourists in this area would actually be interested in an answer beyond just Africa.
Another thing he's been keen on making sure of has been his swimming abilities, namely the ability to jump in to the water as far and fast as he can for the sole purpose of soaking mommy. And I'm sure there are quite a few other items I could add to this list but unfortunately our hotel does not have wifi. Yes, you read that right. No wifi. In Disney World. We have to plug in using a 2 foot cord that remands me to the far corner of the room when accessing all things Internet. As I type this I still find it hard to believe, I mean way back in 2003 when we rode camels into the Sahara while visiting Morocco and slept in small tents in the sand with nomads even they could tell us which sand dune to climb in order to get the best signal to check the scores on that day's futbol game. But no, Disney World 2010 and still no wifi.
November 12, 2010
November 9, 2010
November 5, 2010
One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
I am a member of the 2001 TFA Corps. I taught for two years in my first placement school then went on to help an incredible team of educators (mostly TFA alums themselves) start a small public middle school in the South Bronx of NYC. I spent two years building and leading the math and photography programs at that school before moving on to where I am now, working as a project manager in the field of education technology.
And, if you're a fan of Jane Aronson and her Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) you may be familiar with this phrase:
To transform the lives of orphaned children by taking them out of anonymity and helping them to become healthy, independent, productive members of their communities and around the world.
Because every child deserves a loving, healthy family. To state the obvious my husband and I value the mission of WWO and became acutely aware just a short time after meeting that our future lives together would include adoption. Not because we wanted to save a child, but because we knew that if there came a time at some point in the future when a mother would make the painstaking decision to entrust us to parent her brilliant, beautiful child, that we wanted nothing more than to fulfill that privilege.
So now, more than 9 years later, nearly10 years since our wedding day and 10 years since my first days in the classroom and 3 years since our life changing trip to Ethiopia and 1 year since "completing" our family with little Leni, I'm being called out. Called out by TFA and the global education reform movement in general. Called out by the adoption community and worldwide organizations tasked to challenge the orphan crisis and improve the quality of life for children everywhere. Called out, and big time.
What am I doing today?
Since my days with TFA and IA (international adoption), which for all intensive purposes have not nor will ever end, I seem to have allowed myself to become less and less angry. Less angry about the injustices in education where the playing field is still so not leveled you'd be lucky not to be catapulted off one end if you walk the plank too far, and injustices in the worlds children where the immediate needs of orphanages requesting simple supplies simply aren't being met. I've somehow allowed myself to slip in to a routine that is just, well, just less angry.
It's good to be angry sometimes. It's amazing what you can get done when you're angry. I remember hating hating certain moments of teaching because I knew that despite any amount of effort put forth from my students they would always be at a significant (and I mean SIGNIFICANT) disadvantage when it came to graduating and going on for any sort of college experience. I hated hated walking through orphanages ripe with ringworm and other afflictions easily treatable by over the counter medications you often find being given away for free in American doctors offices. Things made me angry and I moved because of it. And then life, things, became easy. Sure, not without your run of the mill daily challenges but easy nonetheless.
After my experiences teaching and having done a decent amount of travel to the worlds countries it's pretty damn difficult to call my life anything other than easy.
I need to be angry again. To veer from the easy and move to the, movement. Not one day, but today, so that One Day...
10 years ago this kind of feeling landed me starting the best 10 years of my life, teaching, traveling, becoming a parent, twice. It's time to launch the next 10 year plan.
Reading Comprehension 101: Text, Subtext, and the Politics of Misinterpretation
"That said, and while I know we live in a culture where reading comprehension (and writing itself) is devalued — what with our emphasis on short, sweet text messages, or tweet-talk, in which we are expected to make a point in 140 characters — I am yet amazed at how difficult some find it to decipher the words I have caused to appear on the page, and to really interpret what they mean, as opposed to that which they do not.
To wit, after my latest piece on the election results went viral, there have been more than a few folks who have written to say how appalled they were by my “attack on white people,” or my “attack on America,” or my “hateful diatribe” in which I “gleefully anticipate the death of the elderly” and the “initiation of violent payback of whites writ large by people of color” once whites become a less prominent portion of the national population, a few decades hence. In other words, putting aside the inherent absurdity of this interpretation — I am white after all, as are my kids, as is my wife, as is my momma, all my immediate family and my best friend too — some who read the piece believe against all logic and in the face of plain English (however aggressive the piece may be), that I have announced, excitedly, the coming of a glorious race war and the end of white people.
(Sigh).So perhaps we should start with the obvious, for those a bit too slow to begin the reading of the essay with, ya know, the title."
- Tim Wise
November 4, 2010
An Open Letter to the White Right, On the Occasion of Your Recent, Successful Temper Tantrum
"And in the pantheon of American history, old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms.
Fine, keep it up. It doesn’t matter.
Because you’re on the endangered list.
And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are not worth saving.
In forty years or so, maybe fewer, there won’t be any more white people around who actually remember that Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Opie-Taylor-Down-at-the-Fishing Hole cornpone bullshit that you hold so near and dear to your heart.
There won’t be any more white folks around who think the 1950s were the good old days, because there won’t be any more white folks around who actually remember them, and so therefore, we’ll be able to teach about them accurately and honestly, without hurting your precious feelings, or those of the so-called “greatest generation” — a bunch whose white members were by and large a gaggle of miscreants who helped save the world from fascism only to return home and oppose the ending of it here, by doing nothing to lift a finger on behalf of the civil rights struggle.
So to hell with you and all who revere you.
By then, half the country will be black or brown. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Nothing, Senõr Tancredo.
Nothing, Senõra Angle, or Senõra Brewer, or Senõr Beck.
Loy tiene muy mal, hijo de Puta."
- Tim Wise
November 2, 2010
It's similar to when one of us is traveling for work and the other is left to tend to the kiddies solo. After a day or so I get into a grind and things run pretty smoothly, but then we're both around for the morning/evening routine for a while and get used to having 2 sets of hands and then WHAM one of us leaves and the other scurries to the back corner of the upstairs closet as fast as humanly possible. I suppose it's no revelation that when things are made easier for a while it makes the return to slightly more difficult a WHOLE LOT MORE DIFFICULT. Almost makes me want to just stay put in slightly-more-difficult land so as never to get comfortable on easy street.
Wait, nope. Easy street is welcome in our parts any time. In fact I'm going to put out a welcome sign with gigantic blinking arrows pointing towards our house right now just to make sure it doesn't get lost on it's next run through town.
On a completely unrelated note Leni had her 4 month check up and is now 13 pounds (25%) and 24.5 inches (50%). Her 6 month check up in December will be a combo check up/travel vaccines for her and travel vaccines for Ash.
Mom + 6 month old + 3 1/2 year old + lots of needles = Daddy had better have one outstanding bottle of wine waiting with dinner that night.
November 1, 2010
This time, though, one of the events waiting for us when we landed was my sisters wedding. And by "we" I mean me and the kids. Daddy was of playing in Barbados (ok ok, he was "working" there) so met us in MN instead of flying with us. Just me, the 4 month old, and the 3 1/2 year old. And if I do say so myself, we were a pretty darn cute bundle of commuters for 2 days. Yes, you read that right. It took us 2 days to complete the 3 hour flight from NY to MN. Let me explain...
Day of flight: Received an email 7 hours before takeoff informing me that our direct flight had been canceled. Spent 30 minutes on the phone figuring out new flights (direct flight no longer an option) only to discover that I had to leave the house (and fetch Leni from the babysitter and pickup Ash from school) in less than 5 minutes to catch a connecting flight through Chicago. Arrived at the airport, strapped both kids to the security buckets that get sent through the scanner at airport security and sent them through. OK, OK, no I didn't. But I wanted to. Boarded the plane. 2nd in line for takeoff, but wait, it's windy in Chicago so we're going to hang out on the tarmac for 2 hours. Got on the phone with the airline to sort out a new connecting flight since I'd now certainly miss the first one I was re-booked on only to find out that it had been canceled anyway. Guess we're spending the night in Chicago. But wait, a passenger got sick so we had to return to the terminal giving us the opportunity to get off the plane, spend the night in Brooklyn, and board a new (DIRECT!!! DIRECT!!!) flight to MN the next morning.
24 hours later we arrived only to find out that daddy's flight from Barbados to MN had been canceled. One day and 3 martinis later (I kid, I kid) the 4 of us were together in MN clinging to whatever strands of sanity managed to withstand the events of this most epic trip to family. And it goes without saying that it was so entirely and most definitely worth it. We'd do it again in a heartbeat, just might pack a grandma or two for the commute next time.
Which brings my most long winded of a story full circle to the real point of this post. Life may have landed us a few thousand miles from most of our family (SHOUT OUT TO OUR FAM IN PA WHO ARE ONLY 90 MINUTES AWAY - YOU ROCK!!) but that hasn't stopped us from being a part of it all. It just takes a few extra hours, a re-prioritization of finances in favor of the airline industry, and about 10,000 tons of patience in reserve for when life decides to make things interesting.
Welcome to the family Brad. And just for the record, it's your turn to come to NY.