Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

January, February, March Books

  • Homebody, by Orson Scott Card
  • One Hundred Wisdom Stories, by Margaret Silf
  • The Mystery of Grace, by Charles de Lint
  • The Suburban Micro-Farm, by Amy Stross
  • Daring to Drive, by Manal Al-Sharif
  • The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim
  • The Wind in His Heart, by Charles de Lint
  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, by Stacy McAnulty
  • Invisible Monsters, by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Arnim
  • The Girl I Used to Know, by Faith Hogan

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Surviving adolescence (theirs)




14/15 is an .... interesting age for my boys.

Bit-Boy despised us for a while, in a pretty low-key way, especially after I had a talk with him about not challenging the silver-back.  At 20 he's back to thinking maybe his folks are ok.

Lego Kid, man, 15 was a killer for me.  He felt that I personally had ruined his life in every possible way, starting from birth until that very moment.  He also seems to have gotten over it (mostly),

And now, now it's Hot Dog's turn.  He's at the stage where he needs to be exactly opposite of whatever it is I am.  The other week he informed me that he is not a Unitarian Universalist.  I think I disappointed him, when as a good UU parent, I remained nonchalant.  His religion (or lack there of) is his business.  UU's think God is big enough to take it. Then a couple of nights ago he informed me that he will register as a Republican when it's time.  He looked defiant and hopeful.  When I agreed with the rational he shared, I disappointed him again.   I think he expected me to swoon, or swear, or something. (Imagining me making the sign of the cross and backing away from him fearfully perhaps?)

Then this afternoon on the way home from track practice...

I love that look of disgust on your teen's face when they realize that not only is Mom not shocked with your choice of music, but it is her jam.
And she can thrash, and will, while driving, you, in public.


Honey, I LIVED through the 80's.  Nothing you do is likely to shock or embarrass me.


You've got to
fight
for the right
to
par-tay!


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Inherent Bias

I want to talk about implicit and systemic bias. My own.

I'm a small brown woman, a feminist, and a liberal.  I've appreciated the things I've read about Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.  I've loved reading her speeches and writing.

Yet, when I saw this video.....




When I actually *listened* to her speaking, I thought "She sounds so young, like a little girl"

The very pitch of her voice seemed to reduce her gravitas.
How she sounded distracted me from what she was actually saying.

If this is how *I* respond to someone I already appreciate, someone who I agree with on many points, can you imagine how an old white man would respond?

That is implicit, inherit, bias.  That's one thing that can lead to systemic bias.  If the very sound or sight of a person triggers you, how can you be thinking clearly about what they're actually saying or doing?

This is a reason that so many black and brown men are shot by police.  Why the justice system has a higher percentage of  black and brown bodies than their percentage in the general population.  If just seeing someone makes you feel afraid, aggressive, threatened, of course you're going to be more defensive around them.

It's not that most police are intentionally racist.  It's not that they want to treat people unequally. 
It's that they can't help their own reactions, anymore than I can help my reaction to AOC's voice.

We may never be able to not have these reactions.  It could be it's part of being human.

But here's something we can do.

We can notice it.  Notice how you react to people, especially when they're different from you and what you're used to.  Notice when they're in positions that seem unusual to you, a confident woman in power, a quiet man caring for a child, a black man in a white space.  We can be aware of this inherit bias. 

We can choose to openly acknowledge it.

We can choose not to act on it.

We can choose, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., to judge not based on color of skin (or pitch of voice), but on character.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The power of story

I've started a new gig - storytelling in elementary schools.  Not reading books aloud, but oral story telling, introducing the kids to this enduring tradition.


I did a training with Spellbinders back in August, and by October was telling in my assigned school.  I tell to 60 first graders and their teachers once a month.

It's a little intimidating (especially to someone with cognitive challenges leftover from chemo) but it's also really fun.  I get to pick the stories and songs, which lets me be a little subversive, slipping in values I treasure.  I just need to keep it age appropriate and make sure I take exactly 25 min.  I start at 12pm, and lunch is at 12:25.  You don't want to mess with lunch.

I love this age, old enough to begin to understand, young enough to not be cynical.  They are funny and engaging.  I told a story that had a grandma giving kisses, lots of "Ewww!"(more for this kisses than for the animals she kissed), but they still loved the story.  I told a Baba Yaga story and watched their eyes go wide, one hid behind her hands.  I was worried about keeping so many kids of this squirrelly age engaged, but it hasn't been a problem.

As I was leaving last time I had this conversation

Boy 1: "What did you do to us?"
Me:  "I told you stories"
Boy 2:  "Did you hypnotize us?"
Me:  "No, I woke up your imagination"

I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of it.





Friday, January 11, 2019

December Books



A light reading month I guess.  

Mr. Dickens and His Carol was for a December book group, perfect timing.  

What Child is This was a BookBub find, a light enjoyable read. 

Nancy Wake (another BookBub find) is by an Australian writer I was unfamiliar with, but I'll read more of his stuff now.  It also made me want to read her autobiography.  I love a story w/a strong woman and lots of adventure, that it's true makes it even better.