30 November 2009

Mission accomplished, one month later

I never thought I could do it, but I made it through National Blog Posting Month.  I wrote all 30 days.  It wasn’t my best work by any means, but I stuck with it. 

There were some days when I had no idea what to write and pulled something out of my bum cheeks, other days when I had a lot going on in my head, but no time to really get it down in a more cohesive way so just wrote something more simple.

All in all, it was fun and a bit challenging.

Although I will not write every day until the next challenge, I will try and write more often from now on; it is good for the soul and good for the mind to have an outlet.  Also good to try and get something down regularly even if there is a sense of writer’s block.  That is what so many good bloggers say, but sometimes life just gets hold of me and I don't write for numerous reasons and non-reasons.

29 November 2009

Trying to figure out education and my life

I like teaching.

I like imparting knowledge on young people.  I love being the one to teach them history that they never knew about; teaching them about places in the world they never knew existed (or never knew existed in the way they actually do and not the way they have seen in stereotypical images); teaching them how to write in non-text language; teaching them that there are more websites to view than youtube and Facebook; helping them to welcome new friendships and seeing people in new lights rather than the hate they may have been taught. 

I love coaching them to reach beyond what they thought was physically possible; helping them understand the benefits of stretching and eating appropriately.

But maybe it is time to reevaluate what I am doing. 

Maybe I would be better in some other capacity.  Or maybe some other capacity would be better for me.  There is only so much grading and planning and meetings with no follow through that a person can take.  There is only so much of kids making out in the hallways, kids not really caring about their future possibilities, teachers and administrators not understanding the connections between social justice issues and the number of minorities in ISS/OSS and not in the classrooms where they are supposed be learning so they are not left behind. 

Perhaps this is some sort of early life crisis.  Perhaps it is me trying to figure out a way to get the education system to change so that more young people are served in a more equitable way. 

Perhaps it is me trying to get into another profession.

I’m not sure.

Hopefully I find the answers to what it is I need to do – to what it is I want to do.

28 November 2009

Counting, driving, and the po-po

A lot of times I go through the motions in life; not really aware of what I am doing, and just kind of going with the flow.  Sometimes when I am walking I start counting my steps without even realizing it until I have gotten into the 20s -- weird, I know.  I can even be talking with someone and counting my steps.  Not sure why I do it.  Maybe it is some sort of meditation device to keep me calm in various scenarios.  Not sure.

When I am driving, I sometimes zone out and get half way to a destination before questioning myself as to how I got there safely if I was not completely conscious during the drive.  I know it is a problem.  When it happens I try to make sure to stay focused on the road.

I think that people in the US tend to allow driving to be a distraction rather than an act.  I know in Germany, it is a big deal that they are going to start putting drink containers in the VW because they believe you should only focus on driving and not on drinking, eating, or texting while you drive.  I agree.  I just cannot seem to stop the thinking part of the driving distractions.  I am a good driver, though.  Comes with years of driving, years of video games, and years of watching Formula One racing.

I used to be able to say that I had never had a moving violation ticket from the police.

Until yesterday.

I was driving through a neighborhood to a friend's house on the way to the post office.  I was looking at the sign underneath the stop sign that says, "You roll it, we'll write it." I was also looking at the man raking his leaves in the yard on the corner.  In these distractions, I somehow rolled the stop sign.

I did not see the cop sitting just beyond the man raking the leaves, but he saw me.  I almost want to blame the guy raking the leaves.  I'm sure the cop was not really paying attention, but he said that the guy raking pointed out that I had rolled the sign.

Ok.  I deserved it.

I guess I am due.

As he came toward me, and I was thinking of how much money I was going to have to come out of, I was counting how many steps it took him to get to my car.  Eight coming to the car, 6 going back to his computer to make sure I was not a felon.

27 November 2009

Addiction to a time waster

When I first played Lara Croft and one of the versions of the Sims, I was unable to really get a lot of school work done since I was more interested in getting further in the games.  Along comes this new distraction. 

But this one is worse since it is much harder to get past levels and there are no cheats available on the web.

I can't remember which blog I found this on, but thanks a lot!  I am addicted to this stupidly game, Drench.  And I cannot seem to be able to get past the 22nd level -- it counts down from 30.

It is so simple, yet so difficult once you start to have less moves.

26 November 2009

Prince can help you give thanks

I know some people don't like Prince, but he is an amazing musical artist.  Even with the religious changes that make him not want to gyrate on stage anymore, when I saw him in concert a few years ago, he was still amazing to watch live.

A lot of his lyrics have some real bite to them.  One of the songs I was listening to the other day is "If I Was Your Girlfriend".  I think a lot of people sat on what the song was really saying since they were thinking that he must be sending some androgynous/homosexual/transsexual message or something.

The line that really gets me is "If I was your one and only friend, would you run to me if somebody hurt you even if that somebody was me?"


That is just the epitome of what a great relationship should entail.

Significant other, friend, parents, siblings, extended family -- that is how the relationships should be if they are ideal.

*** Do not stay with someone who physically hurts you -- get out/away from those relationships ASAFP. ***

People you love can sometimes get on your nerves -- I know I am not the only one.

There should definitely be give and take and there should hopefully be openness to discuss the discrepancies that come up and have the potential to escalate into arguments.

Happy Holidays to you and yours whatever you are doing.

Hopefully, you can find and stay close with those special someones in your life.

25 November 2009

Why do The Randoms care what I do?

Why is it ok for random people I don't usually talk to to ask me about my holiday plans?

It seems as though the weekend is a personal one that is intimately shared with loved ones - same with the holidays in December.

Perhaps I am being a Grinch or something, but I don't think it is really any of The Randoms' business.

I often wonder if they are asking just to make conversation, or if they are asking so that they can compare and see if my plans are cooler than theirs, or if they are trying to find out if I get along with my people since they tend to like to argue with their family members.

Don't really know the reason, don't really care.  But just like when people ask me how I am doing, I tend to not reciprocate.  Not because I am being rude, but because what you do with your family is your business and not mine.

And I really don't care to hear about how much food you are going to scarf down in one day.

I have never really understood the purpose of eating until it hurts. I have done it, and it does not feel good.  So, no, I will not eat until I need to unbuckle my pants/feel like throwing up/need to take a break/can't eat anymore/fall asleep.  I will eat like I do most days and follow the saying Hara hachi bunme -- the Japanese concept of eating until you are about 80% full.  Yeah, there will be yummy food on the table, but I have always been good on holidays at just eating a little bit of what looks really tasty.

Though there is always room for The Middlest's homemade cheesecake.  How my sister got so good at making it, I don't know, but it is mighty tasty -- and if she does not make it this weekend, I will disown her until she returns to town and makes some like she knows she is supposed to do.

24 November 2009

One year later it is finally hitting me

I really don't try to watch a lot of news.  I have even strayed away from Amy Goodman and Democracy Now (that is partly because they don't play it on the radio and some times not on the public access channel).  I sometimes go to some websites to see what is going on, but for the most part I am oblivious.

I know this event was long ago and far away to some, but it is still something that I am amazed at and still ponder.  The attacks in Mumbai that took place the 26th to the 29th of Novembr 2008.

One of Kit's recent posts was on the normality of all things strange.  Even with terror attacks there is a sense that it is not really real, that it is not really happening.  When I first heard of the attacks in Mumbai, I was shocked that such a large thing could occur in India.  I know through studying history that there is a lot of conflict between the Pakistani and the Indian people, but it had never escalated to something so large.  Previously the attacks had not attacked the more wealthy people in the larger cities; previously the attacks had not been on international people in the area.

This was different.

This weekend I happened to see the HBO film, Terror in Mumbai.  If you have HBO, you need to watch this.  It was a great documentary.  It had the actual phone calls the terrorists were making as the events unfolded.  It has images of the actual dead bodies that were splayed in the station.  It shows the media as they were attacked by the terrorists as they drove through Mumbai.

One of the really crazy things was the police that were involved in the whole catastrophe.  From the start, it was clear that they were not ready for such an attack.  In the station, they basically stood back and waited for the shooting to end rather than stepping up to retaliate.  Later, they are shown with a sever lack of weaponry to go against the well-equipped terrorists.  They made calls for reinforcements and backup, but even when they had video coverage of what the terrorists were doing inside the beautiful Taj Mahal Hotel, they could not do anything since the people who had the real weapons and the training had not arrived.

The things about the police is that they are prepared for what they have experienced and what people close to them have experienced.

So, I guess the Indians have never really had anything that led them to have to have strong weapons, to wear bullet-proof vests, to have to be ready for terrorists.

They lived in a fairly peaceful society.

In the United States, we are so accustomed to violence that our police are always ready, we have intruder drills in the schools in case there is someone in the vicinity of the school who is not supposed to be there, even airports have drills to make sure they are ready.

I'm sure that the Indians now are more prepared now for such a horrific event possibly happening.

I wish we lived in a society where there was not a need to be ready for such things.  A world where there such events were not becoming a regular occurrence; where people are not numbed to the feelings of others; where people care about what is going on with the people near them and the people not so near them.

A world where the killing with weapons ends, where the killing with discriminatory laws stops.  A world where we can all sound corny like Rodney King, but really mean it when we ask, "Can't we all just get along?"

23 November 2009

I still feel free and don't want to look back

I am a really laid back person.  I don’t get really upset about much (except traffic and bad drivers).

But today while I was stuck in some traffic while taking a different route home from my parents house, I experienced feelings I hoped I would never have again.

I was driving on the street by my old workplace and was stopped at the light by the street that leads to the school.  I was already frustrated that people were not driving at decent speeds so we could all make it through the short light, when I saw a sight that upset me.

I glanced to the left to see who was pulling out of the perpendicular street so I could know if I needed to leave space for them to turn in front of me (yes, even when angry with traffic, I can still be nice to drivers).  I did a double take and saw her.

The superintendent of the school. 

I just started remembering all these feelings of the past:
  • Lack of acknowledgement
  • Losing my first blog when a student told her about it and she read of my feelings toward her after she basically got rid of my friend, colleague and a good teacher
  • My lack of patience for the lack of care for teachers’ outside lives
  • Her saying that women should not have children if they want to be good teachers
  • Her taking teachers out of the classroom so much they don’t feel like they are ever with their students
  • The incredible headaches I started to experience the last 2 years of teaching there
  • The days I would feel like Cinque in the movie Amistad and would actually scream in my head "Give us, us free!"
  • The principal that always had me wondering why he still had a job
  • The amount I care about a lot of the teachers still there and how much I hope they all get out of there or that things change significantly to make their jobs easier
It all flashed in my mind pretty quickly.  I felt rage toward her and was glad that she was not turning to go in my direction.  If she was, I would have really wanted that rubber car I hope to create one day so that I could ram her a few times.

Fortunately, it all passed once I got through that light.

Then, I was at peace knowing that I am not there, and that my job is easier, and that I have more time outside of school, and I no longer suffer from debilitating headaches.

I am out of that cult-like atmosphere.

22 November 2009

Live like a hamster - in France

I have sometimes seen people and wondered what it would be like to live a day in their life.  Even when things are going bad in my life, I still am ok with it.  There is always hope for it to be better – I just have to put in work.

But I have never wanted what it was like to live as an animal. 

But if you have, you can stay in this nice villa in Western France and for 145 USD stay in a suite that will allow you to live like a hamster. 

If you are not feeling like you are running around crazy in your regular life, you can run around the giant hamster wheel.  You can drink water out of one of those big hamster water jugs with the metal straw-like thing.  You can sleep on hay.  You can even wear some hamster ears.

If you want to live like a hamster, find out more here.

I really need to get in on some of these wacko inventions/resort ideas.  There are always people wanting to do these things.

There is money to be made.

21 November 2009

Getting rid of words

I really can't stand when people use the N-word do describe brown people.

Check out this young mind, Jonathan McCoy sharing reasons why it should not be used.

20 November 2009

Chimps, time-wasters, and comedy

If you are like me, you like to occasional have a good laugh at someone else's expense. You also like to send people funny emails. You also like to sometimes take up precious time with things that are not so precious or that you should be putting off until later -- but why put off what you can do now? If you are like me, you also like primates.

All of these things lead me to the website Monk-e-Mail.

I think either a sister or old friend of mine sent me one of these years ago and a few times a year, I remember the site and send out fun messages to people.

With Monk-e-mail, you can create messages to send to friends (or enemies) where a primate dressed in what ever you like can verbally talk to your friend saying whatever you type in, or you can call in and have the chimp talking in your voice.


I'm off to send a few now.

19 November 2009

Not really enjoying the commute

On the way to / from school I like to complete various activities.
  • I can focus on what I am about to teach or what I taught and how it went.
  • I can try to unwind after a hard day of dealing with class after class of freshmen.
  • I can listen to some really interesting stories on NPR during Morning Edition, or The World, or Talk of the Nation. Usually informative, entertaining, or thought provoking.
  • I can listen to the Ricky Smiley Morning Show and Gary's Tea in the morning to catch up on some celebrity gossip.
  • I can listen to the hilarious prank phone calls sometimes played on the Steve Harvey Morning Show.
  • I can try and find music in the morning on radio channels that seem to think that people want to hear talk. Who started that? I am pretty sure it would be more motivating to listen to some good music on the way to a movie rather than some people who think they are funny.
  • I can try and see how many people almost hit me because they are talking or texting on their cellular phones.
  • I can debate why I get mad at people for driving under the speed limit. I know they should be able to go slower since the number is the maximum speed they should be going, but it is really annoying when people drive below the speed limit.
  • I can try different routes to see if they are faster than taking the Parkway home.
  • I can daydream of the day when the highway will be opened.
That last one is really on my most days.

Once the highway is finished it will potentially cut off up to 15 minutes from my commute to and from school. I guess, then, I won't be able to do all the enjoyable activities, but I'm sure I will enjoy being able to sleep in a little longer, or being able to get home faster and do whatever it is I choose to do with my personal time.

December 7th cannot come sooner.

18 November 2009

Reality tv causes me pain each Tuesday

When I was younger and the Real World was still good and not as predictable and full of young bucks just trying to fornicate and drink until they die, I used to want to be on that show. I thought it would be cool to be on tv and see how I would interact with some people I had never met.

There are a bunch of reasons why I am glad I did not send in the videos to audition for a cast position. First, I would have been THAT black chick -- I'm sure that one of the roomies would have pushed my buttons so far that I would have had to keep it real and then might have gotten the boot. Second, I might have indulged in so much drinking that I would have done something on camera that I would not want to be replayed in marathons of the show for my family, friends and students to see. Third, many of the people on that show (as well as Road Rules) seem to not have lives after the show - they make it through life by being on the challenge shows and doing the reunions and college tours. Seriously guys, life does go on after the Real World -- Kevin Powell is proof of that.

Now that I am older, I would love to go on one of the reality shows where I could win money for doing stuff that I know how to do, or for traveling around the world.

Each Tuesday when the Biggest Loser comes on, I am always eating a huge meal and I always end up eating way more than my stomach can handle.

Last night it was chicken wings, carrots, celery, and french fries.

I ate so much that it really hurt.

I don't know how people can eat this much. Every week I have that thought -- how could I have eaten so much? Why did I just eat so much that my stomach is so tight that it pains me to laugh?

My only answer is that I am subconsciously trying to be on the show. I know that it would take a lot for me to be on that show, but what else could be the reason for me binging so much each Tuesday? I love that the people on the show are getting healthy and learning to eat better and recognize their problems that led them to get to the size that they are. I also hate that people who are healthy do not have a chance to win thousands of dollars for being healthy already.

For my health, I will have to find another show to try and work toward being on.

And hopefully next Tuesday I will not be pigging out in front of the tv.

17 November 2009

I like looking good, but not the pain associated with it

Back when I was an athlete I would often work out really hard, but not feel the soreness until two or more days later. It was kind of nice -- hard workout, not feel it until you are ready for another hard day of lifting or workout out in other ways.

I am clearly no longer an athlete. I am completely lazy and am more of a couch potato than any type of competitor.

For a few weeks now, I have been putting off raking the leaves in the front and back of the house. Especially since the trees in the church yard next door is not done shedding their leaves. And part of me thought that I would have them come over and rake the leaves since the trees are theirs. But I guess that wouldn't work out too well.

But, I was tired of having to step through a pond of leaves to get to the car, and since no other homes on the street have trees of any substance, my home was looking like it belonged on some show like Hoarders or Clean House. I really was starting to feel embarrassed to park in front and walk inside the lone house with the messed up yard.

So, Sunday I rushed to rake the leaves before it started to rain.

And of course, when I did the raking, I tried to do see just how fast I could do it -- which led me to the way I am feeling today.

Super sore. I feel like I did a bunch of dead lifts -- my left hamstring is ridiculously tight and paining me. My back and shoulders are sore as well.

Part of me enjoys the feeling of being sore; I finally did something to work out my body. But another part of me really wants to not feel this way again. I know that I should be doing something today to counter this tightness and the soreness, but, like I said, I am lazy. Perhaps after I get off and go home I will be more apt to do something. At least stretching. For awhile I was getting good at doing about 45 minutes of stretching most days of the week due to my back issues, but I have gotten off of that plan and need to get back on it today so that I can ease this pain and hopefully keep the pain from coming in the future as well.

16 November 2009

Dear Dairy Products

Dear Dairy Products,

I know that when I was younger I did not fully appreciate you. I know that I mainly used you for eating my multiple bowls of cereal. I know that when I ate elementary lunch, I would sometimes take the excess cheese off the pizza, I would not eat grilled cheese sandwiches, I would not take nachos and cheese, that I never drank you out of the cardboard milk cartons in any flavor, and would look at the students peeling away pieces of string cheese with their dirty hands to place in their mouths with a bit of disgust. I know that I should have tried yogurt more when I was younger and not been revolted by the chunks of fruit sitting at the bottom of the tins.

Dairy, I know that you are good for strong bones and teeth and what not.

Maybe it was because deep down I knew that you were not the food that was meant for me to love eternally. Maybe deep down I knew the pain that you would cause me in the future. I consider myself a really tolerant person, but for some reason, my body does not want to tolerate you.

Now I am older and have come to like you a bit more. I have avoided you for so long that often times it is hard for us to be together without you getting mad at me for the long lapses apart. I understand that. But please, even though we meet together so rarely, can you try not to punish me. Friends should not want to hurt friends as you have been hurting me. I don't know if I will keep coming back to you if you keep attacking my gut so much, if you keep causing me to change my plans, or if you keep making me leave the bathroom only to turn around and have to go right back again, and again, and again.

Perhaps you are mad at me for turning to the soy for my cereal. Or for not regularly cooking with you. Or for turning to non-dairy ice cream -- that was only temporary. I am trying to get back to the regular ice cream, but if I eat portions that are satisfying, you tend to really upset me.

I know that I never really understood why we should be drinking a product from another animal since no other being intentionally does that. But I have come to accept that you are here to stay, that you are in so many foods that it will be hard to avoid you. It is possible to avoid you completely, but then I would not fully enjoy food. And, Dairy, all I want is to be able to enjoy food -- to be able to enjoy some of the products you have to offer that I am interested in consuming -- with out the pain, with out you coming right back out ten minutes later. I don't like to beg, but if it will help the situation, I am not above it.

Dairy Products, please consider us being friends.


15 November 2009

I can read but she can't sing

The CIA World Factbook says that the United States literacy rate is 99% (Other sources say it is at around 86%). After teaching for years, I beg to differ. I have come across so many struggling readers (and I teach high school) that I believe the functional literacy rate is actually lower. But I still believe that there are many people in this country who are literate enough to read basic material.

Which is why, I cannot understand why people at churches seem to be interested in leading the songs in a manner as though they believe their parishioners are illiterate.

I have seen this many times, most recently today at my parents' church. Everyone in the congregation has the handout with the song lyrics. Everyone (or at least the majority) know how to read.

The lyrics are written in the order we will sing them. The chorus is even retyped at the end of each verse.

Yet, after each verse, the lady leading the singing says the first lines of the next verse right before the people in the audience are to sing them.


Her saying the first 5 words of the next verse does not suddenly help us know where we are on the paper -- we are already there.

We can read.

We all have the paper in front of us.

It is so annoying. Almost as annoying as the tone-deaf woman who sat in front of me who also seems to be volume-deaf as she sings so loud that the horrible sound of her voice is actually quite distracting and is not a joyful noise being lifted to any god.

14 November 2009

13 November 2009

Eating food in order to save money

I have been working about a month now to really eat everything in my house. There are so many times in the past when I would say there is nothing to eat and there was really something there that could be eaten. I have now cleared out even my stash of Ramen noodles. I have finished every Chinese take-out red pepper container. I have eaten every last thing of string cheese. I have even finished off all of my vitamins.

Now I will start fresh on food.

I am going to work on buying things that I really need and that I will really actually eat. I don't want my house to be a food pantry, and I don't want to waste money on food that I am not going to eat before the expiration date.

We'll see how this works out.

12 November 2009

Don't questions deserve (at least) a chance for an answer?

When did “What’s up?’ and “How are you?” become greetings rather than a questions?

When I see people in the hallways or as I pass on the street I no longer ask them how they doing. I stopped doing that a few years ago because when people asked me the same question, they would not stop to hear my answer, and when I asked them, sometimes their response was just to repeat the question back to me.

I am not trying to be impolite when I don’t ask how you are doing, I just like for that kind of interaction to be an actual interaction with a person. I like when someone cares enough to actually listen to my response rather than just keep walking by me when they ask me a question.

With the people that I am real cool with, or people who look like they need to get something off of their chests, I will take the time to ask them how they are doing. And if I am walking in the hall, I stop walking, turn and wait for them to tell me what’s up. I actually stop doing what I was doing, I actually look at them when they reply, I actually listen, I actually act like I care that I just asked a question that warrants a response.

11 November 2009

Let those who are lost stay lost

As I watch reruns of Lost and prepare myself for the insane addiction that is that show and all it doesn't explain to its viewers, I came across this advertisement someone posted.

Cracks me up.Can't wait to be even more confused when the new season starts.

And I hope the person who put this out posts whatever s/he finds out about the show to help all the others who are equally as confused.

10 November 2009

The soundtrack in my head is struggling to survive this

Somehow the time of the year for the Key Club to raise money came earlier this year than last year. But again, they are doing the annoying song before school, between classes, and after school each day until they raise $800. Unlike last year when they played some Hanson Brothers' song, this year it is Myle Cyrus or Hannah Montanah or whichever name the teen goes by.

Hoedown Throwdown.

The song is super annoying. Some kind of mixture between country music, rap, and a combo of all those electric slide/chacha slide/cupid shuffle types of songs.

So far not too many people are disturbed by it, but I am beginning to lose my ability to smile between classes. Rather than my usual greeting at the door of the students entering my room and hellos to the students passing by on their way to class, I have almost a grimace pasted to my face.

I probably look like I am in pain because it is really difficult for me to focus on another song in my mind that is more pleasant as that one is blasting through every speaker in the school building.

I don't know which is worse, the song, kids walking by singing along, or the students who stop in the hallway and start to do the Hoedown Throwdown dance.

Actually, I do know. The worst thing is that even as I type this, the song is emanating through my brain to the point where after I write each sentence and take a break for any moment of time, little lyrics are being rehashed.

Fortunately I only know the chorus so I can't sing the whole song.

Unfortunately, I only know the chorus so I can only keep repeating "do the hoe-down throw-down, do the hoe-down, throw-down," something about popping and locking it and polka-dotting it, and that being how we roll over and over and over and over each time there is a moment of not much thought in my brain.

I must keep thinking.

And I must make sure that the soundtrack in my head defeats the speakers in the school.

09 November 2009

Hairdressing is my next calling

Ever since I was small, when I went to the stylist and asked for a trim the person would inevitably cut at least two inches from my hair.

Perhaps I was incorrect in assuming that a trim would not be the same as a cut. I know that my ends were not bad most of the time, I got regular cuts so they were never split. Most times I wanted a trim just to even it out since hairs grow at different paces.

With my mini-fro, I have the same issue with hairs being different lengths. The braid lady trimming the sides of the braid didn't help the hairs much at all.

So... last night I decided to go over the hair with the 8 guard again to make it even.

Little did I know that I have hair dresser skills and can trim excessive amounts of hair despite the desire of the client -- in this case, me.

The initial trim leads to some hairs not looking even, which leads to me cutting just a bit more, which leads to me seeing things in my hair/head that I don't like, which leads to me cutting more, which leads to it not being even, which leads to me cutting even more.

I am now no longer 2" or more.

I am now a little over a centimeter in length.

Which is fine. I will still keep growing it.

Though I am now almost tempted to go lower -- it just looks so good short, and it is super easy now. I don't even need a comb anymore. I am back to ab brush and to not needing extra time to untangle the coils.

08 November 2009

Loving my mini-fro

I am still loving my hair. I took the braids out (rather found a lady who took them out in 20 minutes for $30 - much better than the over half a day it took last time I had microbraids). Dealt with all the questions from students and teachers about why I took them down after only a month and a half.

Now I'm back to the mini-afro. Stretched out, the hair is about 2 inches, in the natural fro it looks about an inch long. Now dealing with getting used to having to comb it regularly, especially after sitting against something to pick it back to its beautiful roundness.

I bought some scarves and am playing around with rocking them. All in all, I am enjoying this length. Never imagined that I would since it is so in-between and since I really liked the ease of being bald.

I may put some braids in again one day, but for now, I am enjoying being able to really get in and feel my scalp all the time - washing, playing with the coils, etc.

The only issue I am dealing with now is that I have some hairs that are super-tightly coiled, some that are wavy, some that are completely straight. Not sure what that is all about, and not sure how to deal with it other than to use the clippers and trim my fro. I am using an 8 guard on the clippers and that is the longest I have for my clippers.

For the next trim I may have to go in and see some one. Which in itself is a bit frightening.

Last time I went somewhere to get my hair done it was to get a weave put in before the big chop. (I looked so crazy that even though the process took 6 hours, I took the 'do down about an hour after getting home.) Before that, the last time I had someone do my hair was when I was in college and went and saw the white dude in Brady to put some layers in my hair -- turned out to be one of the best hair cuts I ever had -- loved it. Before Brady-man, the last hair stylist in my hair was probably for my senior prom where the stylist gave me some slightly crispy, too-much-gel-in-it hair.

I may try to put some braids or twists in the front and let the mini-fro go in the back, or see if I can get someone to do some little two strands that I can take out and have a twist-out.

For such short hair, there are so many options.

Goal is to go until May without cutting it -- that will be a year. I would love to be able to rock a long poof in the back of my head, or a nice afro-twist-out. Or even to twist some bantu knots back like I used to before the natural hair; I'm sure they will hold better and look cool with my kinkier hair.

If it doesn't work out after that, I may go back to the bald look.

At least I know I look good with no hair. And it was super easy.

07 November 2009

Squirrels, trees, churches, and finally, sleep

Since spring, I have suffered through my Saturday and Sunday mornings listening to squirrels climb the tree in the front of the house and then scramble across the roof toward the back yard where they jump onto the electrical wire and go about their business.

So much for sleeping in.

The tree is not actually in my yard, so I have been calling the church next door bi-monthly to ask them to cut it down or at least trim it so that the branches are not scraping against the house when the wind blows and so that creatures can't crawl up to the roof.

This morning as I tried to sleep in, I was awakened by a little bit more pleasant sound than the nail scrapes of dirty, nasty squirrels.

Today I heard the sound of a power saw. I rushed to the window and saw that a man was finally cutting down some of the branches.

I haven't been outside to fully see the results, but know (based on the noise) that at least a few of the branches that were leaning on the roof are now trimmed shorter.

May I now rest in peace.

06 November 2009

Bad moods can make me a genius???

Clearly science is on my side.

Researchers down under have found that, "bad moods can actually be good for you, with an Australian study finding that being sad make people less gullible, improves their ability to judge others and also boosts memory."

People who may be more sad are better and sifting through bullshit and with dealing with demanding situations.

More power to me when life gets me down.
People in a bad mood were also less likely to make snap decisions based on racial or religious prejudices, and they were less likely to make mistakes when asked to recall an event that they witnessed.
The study also found that sad people were better at stating their case through written arguments, which Forgas said showed that a "mildly negative mood may actually promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style."
"Positive mood is not universally desirable: people in negative mood are less prone to judgmental errors, are more resistant to eyewitness distortions and are better at producing high-quality, effective persuasive messages," Forgas wrote.
I don't really suffer from menstrual moods, but if any of you women do, rest assured that those could be the smartest times of your month.

05 November 2009

Coming from where I'm from

After writing my post from yesterday, I have decided to change the way that I identify where I am from.

I am no longer from St. Louis, Missouri, Midwest, USA.

From now on I am simply from North America.

04 November 2009

53 countries in Africa... why can't you specify which you refer to

I found an article yesterday titled "Giant Crack in Africa Will Create a New Ocean".

I don't believe I have ever read about any event/activity in any parts of Europe where they generalize the whole continent. Or Asia. Or even South America. Even when people go to Antarctica they use the different coordinates to designate which part of that ice island they are occupying.

There are 53 countries in Africa.

Is it that hard to say that the crack is in Ethiopia?

The mainland US could fit inside the continent about four times. The continent is about 30.2 million square km (11.7 millioin square miles). The entire United States is 9.83 million square kilometers (3.79 million square miles) so including Alaska and Hawaii could fit in the continent three times.

Even the countries that look small on the distorted maps that people typically use are larger than several states that are here in the US.

I have had people in my parents' church go to numerous places in the world to proselytize and each time before they go, they stand in front of the church and tell the specific cities and the countries where they will be going.

Except when they go to the Motherland.

Then they are just going to Africa.

No nations specified.

Just Africa.

This is why I introduced an African Studies class at my last school and why I am in the process of trying to get one started at my current school.

There is more than just the opportunity for a safari. There are people there who do not have AIDS. There are places where food is plentiful. There are places where the people are dark in skin tone and places where people are Mediterranean looking. There are places where people live in homes larger than anything I have encountered here in the States. There are people who are very well educated. There are not lions everywhere, nor are there monkeys on every corner balancing on elephants. There are people with fancier cell phones than I have seen here.

I almost understand Europeans old-school ignorance when they thought it was a "dark continent" because they had not explored it, but times have changed. People have seen the vast wonders of the land. We are no longer in the age of Livingstone.

Africa is a continent. Not a country.

03 November 2009

Can diversity occur in school functions run by African Americans?

Yesterday I mentioned the Girls’ Night Out event at my school. It was a good turnout and the kids got out of it some new perspectives and some of them some new friends. The only thing disturbing about the event was the make up of the students.

There were about 70+ girls there, but only about 10 of them were non-African American.

I can only speculate the reasons for that.

The main woman who thought up the idea and the woman who students were to see to turn in their permission slips is an African American woman. The students who were really excited about attending were African American. About 5 of the 12 sponsors were African American.

But that should not deter white and other ethnic students from attending.

Last year the turn out was predominantly African American as well, so we specifically got some non-white girls to help with the planning and to try to spread the word to the other students that it was open for everyone.

I know that people talk about a post-racial society. That sounds great – let’s just all be a part of the human race. But honestly, the social construct of race is something that is not going to go away. Especially when we have people still doing blackface (and not understanding why it is wrong), still talking about the need to stop “race mixing” (saying they are looking out for the children), still not providing enough economic support to schools that are predominantly made up of minority students (don't really understand the reason for this other than to keep these people perpetually in a state of inequality).

Can’t we all just get along?

I hope that as the message of how fun and meaningful the GNO spreads to more girls that we will have more of a complete mix of students as we have our follow up activities throughout the rest of the school year.

I hope that these students and their lack of desire to fully integrate is not going to be representative of what the future of our nation holds.

02 November 2009

Things aren't as bad as they may seem

Friday I spent 14 hours at the school I where I teach. On purpose. There was the regular school day and then the crisis counselor at school organized a Girl’s Night Out. This is the second year we have had the event.

Last year we went from 5 until midnight with about 60 girls on a Friday and – I am not going to lie – I basically wanted to either kill myself or find a bed to go to sleep in by about 10:45 that time around.

The whole purpose of the event is to help the ladies understand that they can get along with other females and that they all should treat each other with respect. We focused on the term ‘sisterhood’ and what that meant to them and their small groups they were divided into.

The first year, my small group, met together for about the last hour of the night. People were starting to get tired, people were irritated and people were going off on how the others in the group don’t respect them during school hours and how they don’t feel comfortable letting stuff go – they would rather come to physical blows over the issues. All this while I am tired, irritable, and really did not want to be around catty teenage girls any more.

Hopefully that information helps you to understand why I was not super looking forward to this year’s night with about 100 girls.

But, surprisingly, the night went well.

The girls were almost all there on time. We started with an activity where the students shouted out thoughts that might run through their minds as they walk down the halls and see other females. (Everything was negative.) Then for each word called out, one of the adults tore a small piece off of what had been a beautiful drawing of a female silhouette containing all sorts of positive affirmations about women. The girls got the picture of how words really do hurt and even with tape, after they are said, it is not possible to fully put a girl back together.

We then broke into small groups (mine rocked this time around) and answered some questions about being female. One of the girls had a question about what she would say to her mother to help her become a stronger woman and she said that she would tell her that she is not dependent on men and that if a man is not appreciating the mother, the mother should leave. Awesome. She said she has repeatedly had this sort of conversation with her mother to no avail. At least she knows it and she says that she judges guys she dates on how Unlike her mother’s boyfriends they are.

Then the girls rotated to different stations and did an activity and debriefed how the activity ties to their lives and things they go through. My activity was the card game Spoons. The girls loved it and really understood its connection to gossip.

There was a reenergizing half hour of dancing to all my least favorite songs (ChaCha Slide, Cupid Shuffle, and the Electric Slide). The girls loved it all, though and everyone got on the dance floor and danced.

We ended the night with each girl getting a candle and writing something about themselves that they would like to shine on in the future.

Then we stood in the darkened cafeteria and each lit the candle as the girl said her name and “I want my ____ to shine.”

Pretty cool.

This morning it was pretty cool meeting before school to take a group picture with the girls. And throughout each passing time it is great to see all the girls in their Girls Night Out shirts.

I also like the quote chosen for the back of the shirt:
Sisterhood: Drama’s worst enemy.

01 November 2009

Hair Pains

I am going to try my hand at posting each day in November.

Today I went to the mall (which in itself is a big deal for me since I can’t stand the crowds during most hours of the day there). Hung with my good friend Cassandra from KC.

She has always complained about the amount of pain that came with the threading method of brow arching. I have known that she is a punk when it comes to pain, so I brushed it off and told her that I would try it out. I usually pluck mine, which does not hurt, so how much more could it actually hurt than that, right?


That mess really had my eyes about to water.

And I still don’t understand how they are getting at the hairs with some ordinary sewing thread. She was getting it though.

Even when she finished, there was still some stinging going on. She asked if I wanted to put alcohol or lotion on afterward. “Which will hurt less?” “Different people choose different ones.” I chose both and was still feeling the sting for at least five minutes after the process was finished.

Crappy thing is that she didn’t even get all the hairs.

When I got home and could take a closer look, I still had to pluck some stray hairs.

Now, Kid Sis #3 and the mother want me to try waxing.

Perhaps one day.