This was my response to a simple question: "How are party plans coming? B**’s thing is this weekend, right??"
Me: It is this weekend. They're coming. (those plans) I've got lots to do tomorrow and Saturday. I'm not planning on anything really fancy schmancy. At least that's what I keep telling myself... Sigh. Doesn't help that I'm broker than broke (car repairs last week $650) but tomorrow is payday so I'll have a little bit. I wanted to do books for everyone as favors - like the dollar books from Penguin but right now that seems expensive. Especially not knowing how many people are going to show up. Maybe I can go to Goodwill and buy up some cheesy Halequin romance novels or something. That would be funny, right? And... I'm getting cramps. For sure. Blech. But, the other girls should be fine chipping in $20 or so for it all. But I have Open Door meeting tonight and *** requested guac and I'm thinking "Lady, I have no $ to spend on frivolous guacamole" but *** went shopping and got the supplies for me. =) Sweet girl.
And we fired the clueless girl yesterday. Yippee. but that means that I'm trying to dig through what she had been working on. assuming the worst because it seems like that's the best to assume. so... happy thursday. oh, and i was going to take tomorrow off but think i should come in for a little bit b/c of the firing and all. plus trying to make sure that the L*** kids are all straight for the weekend. they have a movie night and then monday is the big rally downtown and some of them are going. and just now faculty are talking about it and i'm glad the kids have their stuff together and they're so fantastic.
oh my god - i'm so hormonal. i keep wanting to cry!* aaaahhhh! if only i could get my shit together.
Yep Folks. It ain't too pretty.
*I wanted to cry thinking about how great the college kids that I advise are, not because I'm stressed out.
My church, where I'm rather involved at times, is trying to do some building. We bought the house next door to the church building for a rather hellacious price. But the price of real estate where I live is generally hellacious. The plan is to tear down the expensive house and put up a building for classrooms for the kids and youth and a little coffee area, because while the sanctuary has some room left during the services, the kids are jam packed into the basement during the second service. It's more crowd control than helping them learn anything. Also, the youth pastor? His office is a closet in the basement - really.
There's this hitch though. Our neighbors aren't too excited about the idea. I think they're worried about the parking. And really I can't blame them. We try really hard to make sure that driveways aren't blocked. We try to not be loud when we leave the church building late at night.* But they are pretty set on their opposition to the plan.**
Saturdays a team of folks heads out to the surrounding community to do some sort of small thing with great love - our motto is the quote from Mother Theresa "Small things done with great love will change the world". The practice is actually called Servant Evangelism. As a Christian, I am called to share love with those around me. I am called to let those who don't know, that God loves them. And God loves them, not when they get their lives cleaned up and their finances in order, but God loves them today, this very moment, where ever they might be in their lives. I'm not very good at it. But serving people, making their day a bit better with a small gift or offering to rake their yard, I can do. I can do it with love.
This past Saturday we visited local parks with bags of candy and little bottles of bubbles for the kids and some gardening gloves for the ladies (we had already given out all the men's gloves). The first park we hit is situated about half a block from the church building. One of the very first people that we shared some love with was one of our neighbors, who happens to be the lawyer heading up the opposition to our building plans. I didn't know who he was because I haven't been involved in that process at all. And I love that we didn't do it because of who he was or in spite of who he was - but because it was what we were doing and are called to do - love people.
But here I am, little me. I hold a grudge better than most folks I know. I am unwilling to let go of my feelings of being slighted, ignored, put down, and treated poorly. I want to hold on to those angry feelings, nurse them, remember them. I know it's not what I am supposed to be. It's not how I am supposed to be. And yet, it's hard to move outside of the world of Me. Because to understand the love of God more fully is to understand that it's not about me. Oh to truly understand the call of Christ to love people, wherever they might be.
*We're not a Sunday morning only group of folks. The building is in use a lot.
**Also, just for the record, I'm so NOT equating the folks opposing the expansion of our church to the Gestapo.
Why can you not make an effort to remember how to spell my name? I've worked with you for almost FIVE years. WTF?? My name has not, in that time, changed at all.
You do not like going by the shortened version of your name. I comply and Use your full name for correspondence and official documents that come out of the office. I don't even call you that in conversation. I make the effort for you. But no, you can't bother learning how to spell my name.
pissed off latina
Yes, it bothers me folks. And here's why, it's a clear sign of lack of respect. If you cared, you would learn how to spell or say my name. And here's the other thing: he does it with lots of Latino folks - he's not Latino, needless to say. Learn that two l's sounds like a y. It's not that hard. Clearly you're pronouncing the name incorrectly. Make the effort.
OK. So I'm trying to put a bit of order to what I post, rather than what just pops into my head or whatever I feel like whining about that day. So, henceforth and forevermore, Fridays - five things somehow all tied together.
Today: Five things that I adore.
I probably use the word adore a bit loosely and many things fit into this category in my world but here goes:
1. My mechanic. He rocks. My muffler died on my this week and my car had not passed the emissions test a while ago. He fixed it all. And I have turn signals now! Very exciting. But, here's the ultra-fabulous part of him. He took my car to get the emissions test himself yesterday! Normally he'll charge $45 for that service. But he's kind and knows that I have very little money and the bill that he was going to give me already was going to stretch my budget. Also, I have a feeling that he's much more affordable than lots of other mechanics in the city, certainly cheaper than other mechanics in the suburbs. And, on those days when I have far less money than it would cost to have my car fixed, he will let me pay half now and half after I get paid. That is a rare, rare mechanic, no?
2. The little cardinal that walks me to my car every morning. So maybe he flies as I walk. And I don't know if he's really intentional about it - like he could care less if I said hi probably. But I see him every day and he's lovely and helps start my day on a positive note.
3. Couscous. My new meal discovery. Although I had another couscous explosion at the house this morning, it's still one of the quickest fixes for me. Boil the water with the seasoning, dump the pasta in, turn off the burner and let it sit for five minutes or so. Voila! Couscous!
4. Nina Simone. She is one of the most soulful singers I've ever heard. I was in my glory when they were celebrating her birthday a month or so back on NPR. I wish I had more of her music. Alas, the only cd that I own of her singing was stolen by my father.
5. Constantine Brancusi. For some reason or another his birds and muse series really strike me as beautiful. There is such simplicity in their shape but such beauty as well.
So there you go. Five things I adore. How about you? Please share some things that you adore.
Happy Friday Folks!
Monday was faculty and staff development day at the school where I work. I understand that it is the day after Easter and folks think it's OK to take that day off in addition to Good Friday, which we also have off. But, it's faculty staff development day. No classes to teach. Free coffee and danish and free lunch. I understand if your wife is having a baby and you feel like you need to be there. Or some other such emergency. But the numbers were dismal and it upset me. Let me tell you why.
Anyone out there ever heard of a Sankofa Journey? It's a journey, usually to the deep south, concerning issues of racial reconciliation between white folks and black folks. Sankofa is a concept that encompasses looking back to move forward. Sort of the facing the past in order to embrace the future idea. I've been on Sankofa. I had to fight to not be labeled as white - because I'm not. I struggled with the idea of Sankofa, not because I'm against it, but because it takes a very narrow view of racial reconciliation. Not once were people other than Black and White civil rights leaders mentioned. All the museums dealt with black and white people. All of the material we read focused on black and white racial reconciliation.
Last year, FSDD was a local Sankofa journey around the city of Chicago. It was well attended. Well planned.
This year the FSDD committee decided that a Latino Immersion Day was the next step. So that was this year. Let me just start by saying that the committee does not include anyone of Latino descent. So they had to rely on folks outside of the committee to make most of the arrangements. The first speaker was awful. I'd heard him before and shouldn't have gone to hear him again. He's old school and his message is largely pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Let's just say that his bootstraps were stronger than most having come from Cuba fleeing the Castro regime. Cubans that came to the states in the 50s and 60s actually received a great deal of assistance from the US government. Also, they were the intelligentsia of Cuba, not the already poor. We heard from a woman who had worked in the public schools for many years. She spoke about the difficulties that many students face in school and the lack of proper materials and facilities many schools face. For the record, no one from admissions was in attendance. And, while her material was excellent, she spoke for far too long, allowing little time for the panel discussion, of which I was supposed to be a part.
I made an effort to be articulate with my 2 minutes, but it was hard. I had a lot that I wanted to say. I had a lot that I needed to say. I said about an eighth of it.
Then a trip to the Mexican Fine Arts Center and Museum. Folks, this is a great place. You should go, even if you've been there before, you should go back. They have fantastic programs and excellent exhibits come through this beautiful facility set in the middle of the Mexican neighborhood. The exhibit that we saw was on Africans in Mexico and the history thereof. Which, while an important topic (I studied Latin American history in college), it does not give much insight to the Latino experience in the US.
We had reflection time at the end. By the end of the day, the numbers had dwindled down to less than twenty people, the choir - those who knew and were sensitive to issues of injustice and racism.
The next day I was checking my messages at work and my advisor had left me a work and school related message that needed a reply. My advisor heads up the multicultural development at my school. He's African and he was not there on Monday. His second in charge was not there either, a person with whom I have considered myself very close in the past. This person is African-American. I have gathered the impression, and sometimes been told to my face, that people consider the Black experience in America much more important, much worse, more unjust, MORE than that of other ethnic groups. This attitude is pervasive where I work and where I go to school. It was something I had not encountered previously and took me a while to comprehend. It hurts me deep, deep down in my brown soul. I am used to groups of folk working together, not fighting over the one seat or the one piece of pie but all demanding that all have seats at the table and are fed equally.
I think I have to leave. I cannot spend such a huge amount of my time in a place where different perspectives are ignored and undervalued. It is not just a Black and White world.
As one of my friends, who has already left, said on Monday, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
After the Art Institute, we visited millennium Park.
Say what you will about the millions and millions of dollars spent on the park, but I think it was well worth it.
We visited the spitting fountain. I know it has another name-but who is going to remember it when the main factor is giant faces that spit? Sadly, no spitting yet. Too early in the spring. But the water was on so the boys and I ran around a bit.
We visited The Bean - the official nickname of Cloudgate.
And the boys ran and ran.
And ran some more.
But here R is, sittin.
All in all, a great afternoon. They were pretty well behaved. With the small meltdown that happened in the White Hen. Gum for the train ride back. Two boys agree on the flavor. One does not. When the dissenter was informed of the decision to go with the majority there was a child on the floor. An employee says "Hey, there's a kid on the floor" Us? "He's fine. Just a small fit." After all the drama, really, he was quite happy with the gum selection.
So, Mom, the trip turned out OK.
More pictures of the weekend at my Flickr site.
Y'all, I am way tired from the weekend.
Let me share...
Friday I was off of work.(YIPPEEEE!) So, I decided that the way to relax was, naturally, to, with a friend, take three boys, ages 6, 7 & 10, to the Art Institute in downtown Chicago. No, I'm not clinically insane. I called my mom to check and see if this was a good idea because I'm thinking of that recent news story where some kid stuck his gum on a priceless piece of art when their class visited an art museum. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Mom, did you ever try to take us to art museums when we were kids?
Mom: I tried.
Me: How did that go?
Mom: You just didn't care.
Me: But we weren't awful or anything?
Mom: No. Let me know how it turns out...
Friends, I give you the train ride:
I assure you that no children were harmed on the EL.
And we made a quick dash through the Art Institute. I, wisely I believe, chose brevity over variety. Each boy picked an area they wanted to visit and we kept it to a minimum. They also have this cool area down in the basement with big floor puzzles of some of the art work to put together by folks like Picasso and Mondrian.
Of course, they wanted to see the weapons of war. Who doesn't love to see armor and axes and swords? And we found some Picassos. The 7-year old had learned about him in class and was all excited everytime we saw one. How cool is that?
OK. I can't add anymore pictures so I'm going to have to do another post with the rest of the afternoon. Sorry!
Yes, spring has finally decided to visit Chicago-land. And it is glorious. Trees are sprouting little green leaves. The daffodils have returned with a vengeance. The ornamental grass has been trimmed to let the new stalks have a fighting chance. It's just really beautiful.
Now that I walk 2.5 blocks to my car every morning and evening I have become friends with the flora and fauna on my route. Well, in the case of the raccoons that stare me down every night, perhaps a cautious acquaintance. There's this gorgeous willow that has, if possible, become more beautiful as spring makes its entrance. The trees that are blooming have a sweet aroma. The forsythia adds that extra pop of color to the stark palette of winter.
So Spring, welcome back!
|Your Hair Should Be Blue|
Wild, brilliant, and out of control.
You're a risk taker with an eye to the future.
|You Are Olive Green|
You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.
For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.
You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.
People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.
My family (Mom, Dad, Brother) are all in odd places now in life. Uncertainty seems to loom around every corner. Dad is wanting to get another job. He'll get something, somewhere. The man is a hot commodity. Mom keeps threatening to throw out my stuff left at their house so that they can downsize when they move. It's mostly books. At least my stuff is. The brother has boxes of vintage Star Wars stuff. She starts every conversation with me with "What things do you want to keep that are here?" Clearly they are things I can live without, although I do find myself longing for those books sometimes. If I could find them when I went to see the parental units, I might be able to cart some of them back with me to Chicago. Sigh.
I just don't have space right now for a 12-place setting of dishes that belonged to Grandma. But when I have a house, I will. And I want them desperately. And she talks about getting rid of all the artwork that she and Dad have accumulated and had framed over the years. Giving it to the cousins. Hello? Daughter. Right here.
But Dad turns 60 this year. In less than two months' time. How the hell can my father be 60? I don't get it. But I'll turn 30 this year. So I guess we're all getting older. Initially, there was to be a large fiesta for the father. But now, with the job uncertainty, there won't be.
Instead we'll all go east to visit Brother. Maybe help him move (happy birthday Dad) since he broke up with his significant other. They were able to get out of their lease a few months early. But still, two more in the place where they had been living. Poor Brother. He's sad. Me too. I was certain she was the one. I like her a lot. I don't like them all (I might be a little protective of my brother). But will someone please tell her to stop emailing me? It just makes it suck even more. You broke my brother's heart. You do not have permission to keep being my friend right now.
Also, my co-worker came in today with a sad story and a long weekend. Her son's house had a fire over the weekend. The fire was contained to one room but he had several dogs and cats, most were rescue animals. They all died of smoke inhalation. And she had to put her father in the hospital because he has some intestinal something of other that is very catchy. She might have it too.
The church family had some bumps in it too this weekend.
But, if there's much better in the world than having a baby fall asleep in your arms, I haven't found it yet. Yeah for yummy scones with real whipped cream and sweet babies and good kids and lovely friends and lightning shows in the night sky.
I have to think that if I have all those wonderful things in my life in such a small period of time, I must have a pretty good life.