Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Let It Be

Once, as an American History teacher, I shared a current event about how the US government had decided to offer reparations to the surviving families of Japanese Americans who had been interned in camps across the Western United States during World War II.  As an apology, the survivors, which in the most part were grandchildren and great grandchildren, were given $20,000 - $40,000 to compensate for the loss of income and livelihood during that volatile time.

After sharing this current event, one student in particular, a student who I disliked very much, but was also very good friends with the only African American student I had in class, a student whom I loved dearly, asked me a question.  He wanted to know why the government didn't pay reparations to the ancestors of slaves - why their families didn't get $20-40,000 to make up for the loss of livelihood for generations.  At first, I tried to logically explain American history and the questions involved with such a process.  How do you begin to pay back possibly a million or more families?  How do you trace the records of people who were never accounted for?  Where would you even start?

These questions and my attempt at an answer weren't enough for this student, who was quickly becoming my enemy.  He was Hispanic, and had felt prejudice and racism in his short life, and he saw it in the story of the government and history I was trying to paint.  He started to yell at me, raising his voice in anger and frustration at the injustice he felt I was justifying.  In turn, as I sat in my desk at the front of the room, papers in hand, I yelled back.  I raised my voice, but probably surprised him with my response.

I don't remember everything I said that day, but I remember I maybe had never been so adamant and vocal and emotional in my whole life as a teacher.  I do remember that I shouted back.  I shouted quotes from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King about injustice and inequality.  I argued that slaves never stood a chance because of the system that existed and finally, though the details are hazy, I shouted, "Isaac, it's because they were black!" and as I calmed myself down I said, "The government would never do such a thing because it would be impossible and because slaves were black!"

That pivotal moment in my classroom was a life changer.  I remember looking at Tim, my black student, and having him smile his beautiful smile at me.  Maybe he was mocking me because once again I had let Isaac rile me up.  Or maybe he was proud that I'd vocalized and figured out something that he'd known for all of his 16 years.

Either way, this story came to mind today as I was pouring over postings on Instagram about the decision by the Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri yesterday.  As the details continue to evolve and unfold,  I don't know what to think.  I don't know what side to be on.  I feel horribly for all the mothers who have ever had to witness something tragic happen to their children, and then feel like no justice was served.  I am sickened that something like this happened because of race, if that's the real motive.  I am nervous that police officers are so quick to fire their weapons and "shoot to kill".  I am disturbed to no end that robbing and looting and committing additional acts of crime feels like a just response, that it feels like the only response.  Why is it when, whether our "team" wins or looses in any capacity of life, as a culture we feel it's okay to take from the innocent and uninvolved.

I've read statistics on crime rates.  I've seen the numbers of how many black men have been murdered in the last few months.  I've once again, read those same Malcolm X and Martin Luther King quotes that I've read so many times before.  But, I've added some Maya Angelou, some Toni Morrison, and some Cornell West into the bunch as well.

It's so sad to me that all of this still exists in the world.  That we don't see people for people and crime for crime.  That it feels like we're going backwards as a nation.  Baton Rouge re-segregates schools, injustice because of race is okay, and there are people of every creed, color, and race oppressed in the nation that is supposed to be the answer to "the dream".

My boys and I, every once in a while, have talks about skin color and how some people look different than others.  We talk about how it doesn't matter, that you are friends with everyone and stick up for everyone.  Every day, as we wait in line to be dropped of for school I tell the boys, "Be good.  Be smart.  Be kind to everyone."

I surely hope they are hearing me.

Also in our house - though it may seem a little unrelated, we talk about the fact that in this life, you are either a Beatle or a Rolling Stone.  I am a Beatle through and through.  And, as I've been thinking about all of this today, a song game to mind, sung and performed in a movie that is so reflective of what is happening today, but identifying with a time decades ago.

These are pivotal times in a volatile world.  It's a little scary.  But I will do my best to stand up for what's right, and make sure my kids do the same.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Oh Honestly Handmade

About a month ago,  I launched a small business.  I've been making tote bags and zippered pouches as an obsessive hobby for a few months now, and finally got around to trying to sell some.  With two weekend boutiques under my belt, I've learned a lot and have a few ideas, I hope are good ideas, to move forward with.

I'm selling my bags on Instagram, and slowly filtering through ideas as to whether or not I should open my own website shop, or to open a shop on ETSY.  I think I'm leaning towards the latter, but just don't have the brain space to figure it all out right now.  Tis the season to not start a new business

But, I'll keep sewing, because it takes me to my happy place, and continue to sell a few bags here and there and then get ready for a real launch and a real plan at the beginning of the year.  You know, when no one has any money left over to spend on handmade items.

In the meantime however, here are a few pictures of some of the bags I've made.  If you are interested in purchasing a bag, or just coming to look at all of them, please don't hesitate to contact me and come over to take a look.

These colors are so nice..... @ohhonestlyhandmade   #handmade #crafter #bag #totebag




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Family Picture Time...

It's that time of year.  Time for family pictures.  I realize that it's probably not necessary to do a picture of some kind every year, but in addition to needing something for a Christmas card, while my boys are young, I really like seeing how much the boys change every year.  And, we haven't had an official family picture since February 2013, so we were due.

I scheduled an early morning appointment at FotoFly in Draper.  We've been there several times now and it's just fast and efficient and we get our pictures an hour later in an online album.  That cannot be beat.  Besides the fact that there weren't a lot of bookings left, I thought early morning would be best for the little sloth.  You see, he doesn't cooperate much these days, but he's always pretty happy in the morning.

I was wrong.  Unless Ross was holding him, he was crying.  He wouldn't smile.  He did not cooperate on any level.  In fact, the very last picture taken of our session was me and Ross together, and Quinn is hidden behind our legs gagging and crying and spreading his boogery cheer all over my pant legs.

But, as you look at the pictures the photographer got, she was awesome.  Not once would you realized that Quinn was as uncooperative as he was - he wasn't smiling of course, but what else is new.

I'm really pleased and have already ordered my Christmas cards.









Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Belated Birthday Wishes!

All "tiered" up for my dad's birthday.  This may be the tastiest sugar bomb I've made all year.
On Saturday, twas my dad's birthday.  He, like my mom, entered his 6th decade.  I called him on Saturday to wish him a happy birthday and when I asked if he felt older, senior citizen-like, he said that he felt the same as the day before.

Yesterday, being the first day of a gargantuan 4 week period of off-trackedness, was a rough day.  The boys fought all day, Quinn didn't have a legit nap, Wyatt tried to drown a kid at swimming lessons, Quinn for the first time in his life pooped in a store and Elliott was a generally whiny and crying disagreeable mess.  And so on.  And our dad was out of town.  It was decided that we run some errands in the evening, which was a bad idea in and of itself because it gets dark so early now and the boy who cannot stay awake in the car (wyatt) coupled with the lack of lighting just kept falling asleep.

But, I digress.

In near tears I called my parents home at 5:45 from a parking lot.  My dad answered.  He was home alone, my mom was working late and doing a dinner thing with some friends from work.  I told him that I was having a compete mental collapse and wondered if he'd had dinner.  He hadn't.  He offered to come and meet me, to drive out to my house to help me, but instead we drove to him.  We arrived, the boys unwound, we debated over where to eat dinner and the five of us went out.

For chicken fingers.

I really, really love my dad.  He is a good man, Charlie Brown.  While I was waiting for our food, he had a talk with the monsters.  They were really good today.

Thanks dad.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

His first MAJOR Award

Elliott's decision to participate in the elementary schools reflection's contest wasn't really his decision.  It was mine.  At his school, they do a thing called "Paws for Success" (mascot: Wildcat) and at each grade level, to earn the award at the end of the year, you have to accomplish a certain number of goals and the reflection's contest was one of those things.  I decided that he was going to do it.

It was Elliott's decision however, how to complete his entry.  The theme was, "The World Would Be a Better Place If...." and he finished the statement with, "(if) animals weren't endangered."  And he decided that he wanted to enter in the category of photography so on a Friday afternoon, immediately after we picked him up from school the kids and I drove to the zoo to take pictures of the endangered animals.  Elliott took all the photos, and I gave him a little creative direction.  We swapped out lenses a couple of times on the digital SLR to make sure that he got the best close-ups, and after an hour at the zoo, we raced back home.

Elliott did all of the editing and he selected the pictures to be in his collage.  I thought that for a second grader, the project turned out pretty great.  He helped me fill out the entry forms and after a little help from me mounting his collage on a piece of card stock, he turned it in.

Now, never would I have guessed that his little project was award worthy, but apparently I need to put a little more faith in my kid.

Yesterday at school was the assembly to recognize the kids who participated in reflections.  Wyatt told me when I picked him up from kindergarten that Elliott got a certificate.  I figured that all kids got a certificate.  But not until the end of the day, when he came flying to the car, grinning ear to ear, did I realize that Elliott got more than a certificate.  He took FIRST PLACE for the entire school in the photography category.  He got three ribbons, a certificate and a trophy.  Oh, and not to mention a free frozen yogurt at menchies.  It was so exciting!  He was so proud of himself.  I was so proud of him.

We called Grandma Judy.
We called Dad.

We did a happy dance when we got home and of course, took a picture to commemorate.

Such a great day for this oldest child of mine.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Morning After...

We definitely aren't winning any awards for Halloween creativity.  But maybe we could for desperation...to get out of the house and solicit for candy...most of which will contain peanuts and we will just have to throw it away. #allergies

Anyone who has read this blog long enough knows that I (and my husband for the most part) am a general holiday scrooge.  There are parts of holidays that I enjoy, but for the most part, I really don't get it all.  And, probably at the top of my list is Halloween.  It just feels like such a waste of time and money and energy and I just don't understand why I have to give candy to people I don't know, who don't live in my neighborhood, just because they show up on my front porch.

But then again, we don't give out candy.  We give out plastic crap and stickers from Oriental Trading.  And generally speaking it really ticks people off.  Especially the 10 and older crowd.  Especially times two, the 20 years olds who come to our door at 9:00 pm, not even in costumes with pillow cases wanting candy and all we have left are ghost finger puppets and pumpkin stickers.  Ha ha!  And, that one girl, who didn't have a bag, who was with said 20 year olds who just stuck out her hand and stood on my front porch staring at my 7 year old and he just stared back because she didn't have a bag and even he was smart enough to know that we weren't giving handouts - not in that sense anyway.  That was when we turned off the lights and called it a night.

Or, the little kid who, when Elliott gave him one of the few pieces of candy we did have, inspected it and then handed it back declaring that he didn't like it and marched into our house, to our bowl and demanded something different, while his mom just stood on the porch weakly telling him to back off.  He and Elliott had a short stand off, and finally Elliott took the candy away from him and gave him a cheap plastic jumping spider.  See kid, you beg and you lose.  That kid was not from my neighborhood.  And I didn't like him either.

We gave out about 600 "treats" last night.  Our neighborhood is known as one that goes all out for the holiday with enough "big ticket houses" that it has a reputation that brings out not only all the surrounding neighborhoods, but people from all over.  People we've never seen.  People we know don't live around here.  It bugs me.  Is it really worth it for a snack size pack of M&M's?

But, Wyatt had so much fun being in big kid school and in the parade ("But Mom, it wasn't a parade, we just walked around the school," he said) and having a party with FOUR treats.  And Elliott thought he was pretty cool because he was one of only a small handful of baseball players, not like all the ELSA's we say - holy unoriginal batman.  We joked in the car that it should have been called Elsaween, instead of Halloween.

And, we carved pumpkins and it grossed Quinn out which was pretty funny.  And, before bed time that little sloth was so hopped up on sugar that he not only broke open a glow stick and sprayed glow goo all over the entire house (bad!) but he was moving at the speed of roadrunner, not sloth and he was singing and dancing and passing out candy and was down right hilarious and crazy and I wish you could have seen him because most people don't think he has a personality but once he gets going, he's a total nutter (phew!  long sentence.).

"Your not old enough to wield a sharp knife" says the wise father to the young sons.


I haven't been feeling well the last couple of weeks.  This could be why.

You want to know what was the best part of yesterday?  It was payday and I was able to order a whole bunch of Christmas presents online while the boys were doing their thing all afternoon and evening.  And that made the day just about worth it.

Until next year Halloween....

Until next year....


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