Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Hunter Gatherers Had It Right

I saw a segment of one of Obama's speeches regarding education and how he'd like to expand the length of the school day, open up schools on the weekends and to make children attend school year round. There was some great stuff in his speech, but this segment kind of pissed me off.
Summers are GLORY TIMES for kids. Sweet freedom. Sun burns, junk food and sprinkler frolicking. The reasoning, he explains, is that we need to keep up with other countries that typically attend school a full month more per year than our students. Aren't we one of the top countries for creating technology in the post industrial era? I would think that implies that we're doing something right.
He does mention recruiting and rewarding good teachers and no longer making excuses for bad ones. Yesss! This is exactly what we need. I absolutely believe in education, but I also believe in enjoying ones life and not being crammed indoors for hours upon hours. LIFE is education. EXPERIENCES are education. Kids will be missing out on life and getting programmed for 12 hours in a cube all day. That's not the life I want for kids. It doesn't feel right.

John Adams said, "I am a warrior, that my son may be a merchant – and his son may be a poet." To me this raises the question of why we now need two incomes to survive and I see my co-workers more than I see my family. There are people alive today that had, in the past, the solid understanding that if they work hard every day, at the end of the day they could go home to their families and know that things were alright; there was enough money to provide, they didn't have concerns over their health and they could make it on a single income.
I feel detached from my livelihood; what does sitting in a box for eight hours a day have to do with my survival? I think this is part of the reason so many people have issues with depression and other anxiety disorders. They are detached from their biological makeup.
It feels like no matter how hard someone works today, they're still only getting table scraps, barely keeping their head above water. I would hate to think we're programming our children for the same kind of life.
(Image is George Tooker's Landscape with Figures.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Wanderlust Mom.

Happy birthday to my mom today. She is 46.


I was discussing with someone how fortunate and grateful I am to have my siblings. When I hear someone speaking badly of their own siblings I am truly sad for them. Siblings are sort of their own brand of magic, contributing to your childhood and providing you with a leg up on memories that would have otherwise been forgotten. They get you. They get where you came from and the reasons for your aspirations of where you're going. They are a whole other world that you get to sneak preview in the intimate way that no one else can. They're guaranteed to always be around. You can have a blow out fight with them and make up within the hour. They forgive and really let it go; they hold no grudges. They wish you the best and mean it with all their hearts. When they ask how you've been, they actually want to know the answer and don't shy away when it's a bad one. As the eldest, I watch out for them and lecture them at length when [I feel] they need lecturing. When I need a shoulder, I have four sets to consult. Nothing beats it. I am better because of them; to this day they continue to make me want to set a good example. The mind blow here is that these whole worlds are spinning around because of poor planning and lack of contraception. Life is a miracle or a really funny joke. Neither would be disappointing.
Back to 46. The last time she came back we had a good brawl and bawl and she actually told me that she used to resent that she had the five of us because she felt like we took her life away. Then when we were taken away by dad she thought "What am I supposed to be doing again?" and instead of doing something, she just drifted. I have had a wide range of feelings about her, anything from pity to anger to plain astonishment.
I still find myself in want of that relationship I see between mothers and daughters, but I've had several women in my life that are powerhouses and have provided me with motherly goodness and I'm thankful for that. I don't know if I seek this out, if it comes to me, or if it's just how women are geared-instinctively guarding and guiding one another. I am happy to be a woman; we allow and encourage each other to feel. Men are often taught to suppress emotions in order to retain their manliness and save face. I would feel so trapped by that.
So for my mom's birthday I will say thanks to her for the good stuff, the wild ride that got me where I am today, and for making me four amazing siblings. I can't go without acknowledging the role my dad took on as both parents when we moved in with him and he picked up the pieces; without him I would be in a pretty lowdown spot. I will also express my thanks to the women in my life that have given me guidance, encouragement and the strength to laugh at myself when the shit hits the fan. Sometimes that's all we can do.
(Photo: Me, sister & mom)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Home Remedies 101

Note to self: Using vinegar as a household cleaning agent or perhaps as a compliment to a dish is one thing, but gargling with vinegar...

Me: "Where's the vinegar?"
R: "In the laundry room."
Me: "Is it contaminated? You know, with bleach or some other weird concoction you've come up with?"
R: "Nope, good to go."
[I go and get the vinegar, then proceed to take a hearty swig and gargle with it. As I'm choking and gasping for breath, which-in terror-I realize I cannot catch, I think I hear a faint giggle in the other room.]
R: "Did you just gargle with vinegar?"
Me: [through coughing and wheezing] "Yes! I'm thinking maybe that wasn't a great idea. There is liquid coming out every possible orifice of my face."
R: [outright laughter]

Apparently Richard had just done this a few days ago when he was sick and wanted to wash out his mouth. Once I could breathe, we laughed together.

No Longer Ready For A Hug

As of yesterday, I'm sick. Eff you, nature! As if I didn't have enough trouble with my southern end, you have to go and throw in a whole different region of torcher! I shake my fist at thee!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Spin Cycle

In case you hadn't noticed, I was away for awhile. I flew out to Colorado for my brothers "wedding" last week (they were married in Mexico almost two years ago, but hadn't made it civil...so...we...civilized them?). Took a few days off work, missed my second night of my ENG102 class and didn't even think twice about not going to the gym. We can rarely get that many of us together, so there was much fun to be had along with bickering, teary eyes, heart to hearts and lack of sleep. Oh, and snacking; can't forget the snacking. My UC was mostly merciful despite an argument with my sister that left us on a sour note. Overall a swell time.
Then I got back and for a good solid week it felt like someone threw me in a washing machine on "Extra Large Load-Spin Cycle." I was up to my ass in work, missed homework, regular school work and, YES, despite all odds I decided to punish myself and go to the gym one night. Thank you Labor Day for a much needed three day weekend. Below you will observe an example of a very happy...pre-washing machine me. It looks like I'm ready for a hug.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Intestinal Ills


While browsing at a local book store called The Bent Cover, Richard and I came across this cool old book called "Intestinal Ills." I thought it'd be interesting to read and see how it relates (or doesn't relate) to my woes with Ulcerative Colitis. It was printed in 1918, original copyright 1901. Author Alcinous B. Jamison, M.D.. I have only read the first chapter but I've already seen some truths that I can relate to and some untruths that are a little far out. I suppose it wouldn't be much of a page turner unless you had interests of an intestinal nature. I daresay I do.