Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why I won't run for office...

I know I have a tenuous grip on current events. I don't listen to the radio. I don't own a television. What I know comes from The Washington Post, the BBC, and People Magazine.

So have you all heard about the fracas in Golden, CO?

Apparently three rival biker gangs have declared a truce in order to protest one collective opponent: The Qatar based newspaper Al-Jazeera.

These things are too complex for me to choose sides. Fine, there is some evidence, or at least suspicion, that Al-Jazeera has terrorist ties. But also the bikers are showing a side of Americans that makes me uneasy - especially when the world is watching so closely. I am not them. I don't even know them. And I suspect that they do not have any interest in knowing me.

But maybe this is a dialogue that needs to happen. We expect that the world will welcome us and our journalists with open arms - even when we are in the process of pillaging their country - but we don't want their journalists here.

Again, I don't want to have to dwell on these things, but if we don't at least take a moment to pause - then we are doing ourselves and the rest of the world a disservice.

Like the last line of the article linked above describes: They only support the First Amendment for people who see things their way." Martinez said something else, but a protester's air horn drowned out the words.

We cannot truly find synthesis, unless we are open to both sides.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Between Gospel and Fathead.

While sitting on my stoop waiting patiently for my beloved, I saw two very different models for modern parenting:

Model 1: Large sedan blasting gospel music. Parents laughing hysterically in front because sweet baby in back is clapping her hands and speaking in tongues. (Oh wait, all babies do that, but you know what I mean... she HAD the holy spirit and she knew what to do with it!)

Model 2: Young woman with a stroller, walking down the street with her adorable baby drinking a Slurpee. You might think that last sentence was a victim of poorly ordered phrasing (Kathryn, c'mon, the woman had the Slurpee, not the baby), well you'd be wrong. Baby = Slurpee. All the young woman had was a tattoo, commonly referred to as a "tramp-stamp" in this approximate location, which read "Fathead."

So if lucky enough to be trusted with a child of my very own someday, I hope to fall somewhere in the middle of these two models. Not so dogmatic that I delight in inflicting decades of guilt on my child, but not so lackadaisical that I ignore their nutritional needs or my own sanity (which is clearly the only reason that anyone would get a "Fathead" tattoo on the small of their back - complete mental breakdown.)

* Note to readers: This post is simply musing about the future. I am not pregnant. Those 15 pounds that are clinging to my midsection are NOT what they appear to be. Hopefully they will be gone soon, along with your speculation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Old Love

I can't sleep. My mind won't let go of things from the week. Plus I have to work early in the morning at Orientation.

Thoughts float in and out. Some stick and sting. Others comfort and rest comfortably, like Old Love.

I've been thinking about my grandfather tonight. My father's father. The one that was born and raised in Michigan. I've been marveling in the thoughts of how hard his life was, and yet how kind he was, with such enormous capacity to love.

Abandoned and orphaned as a child. His stories of his childhood were hard to hear. They scared me. Think of that severe, mid-western existence that is all gravel, hard-work, and near-starvation... that was what it seemed like.

He found my grandmother when she was only 18. I don't know how they met. Undoubtedly they met at church through some wonderful mutual acquaintance. I can only guess how thrilled she must have been to have this tall, handsome mystery man sweep her off her beautiful feet.

He worked so hard. He built things. He built really strong things like houses, decks, rocking horses, and sheds. But he also built soft, loving things like a wonderful marriage, three kind, compassionate children, and beautiful, life-long friendships. He defied stereotypes. He was everything to us. I think he still is everything to my grandmother, even 15 years after his passing.

We found notes he wrote to her. Love notes with dates. 80+ years old and he was leaving love notes about her beauty. Maybe it was to quell that fiery temper, but I suspect that after all that pain he endured, he opened himself to her - relaxed into her, reinventing their love over and over for nearly 60 years.

So I see these movies like Venus and Love Comes Lately. And I read books like Disgrace. And they portray old love as philandering and lecherous. They leave you feeling that age forgets wisdom. That love does not conquer all.

I refuse to believe it. I have never seen what they profess to be true. Old Love is soft and loose. It is warm and accepting. It is knowledgeable and collaborative. And it is generous.

I think that once the choice is made to love, the choice of how to love is one's own. Life, Aging, and ultimately Dying are hard, I get it. But you have the choice to be gentle with your affections, to ease the path for the ones you love. If you're lucky, somewhere along the way, you loosen the pull of ambition, fame, and fortune and you relax into the bounty of those around you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh wait... just one thing.. *Edit*

Why do young, talented Republicans make me so angry?

Read this:

Okay, now read the transcript: HERE

My question is the first one he answered.

No free refills.

Break from blogging for a couple days.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ode to a photographer...

Oh winner of the photo contest, please do keep clicking.
My eye and my emotions you keep tricking.

Someday maybe I will learn this skill.
And give the viewers equal thrill.

The agony, the ecstasy, and even the chase.
Such exotic locals, such color, such space.

Until I do the work to learn and share.
I can only marvel at how much you seem to care.

Link of the Day...

If I ever decide to stop blogging, I'm going to put up a sign that says "Read the Washington Post Today" and you all will hardly be able to tell the difference.

I say hardly, because there is alot of sifting through death tolls and political stuff to get to stories about Harry Potter.

The story relates the snafu where the release date of the Potter movie was pushed way back, but Entertainment Weekly featured it on its cover, unaware of the change. (Even though they are under the same parent company).

That happens at work ALL THE TIME. We plan stuff and there is SOME BIG THING that no one tells us about and everyone has to scamper around to try to change stuff.

I love the word scamper. Why don't I use it more often? It has such fun connotations, like a little kid running down to have pancakes in the morning after a good night's sleep. Okay, that's it, I'm gonna use it all the time now.

Okay, so while I scamper off to get some paperwork done, why don't you saunter over to the Washington Post... while you're there, mosey on over to the Weekend Section and read this article attempting to satirize OBAMA.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Get your laws off my little Aryan swimmers...

I am kind of appalled. Shocked. Confused. Saddened.

It is still so important to rich, white, Americans to have little blond babies that the Washington Post is reporting on this.

The article is about the new restrictions about importing sperm from overseas and the outcry it has caused. Parents wanting Danish, French, and British sperm are no longer able to get it at American sperm banks. One woman has even been flying to Denmark to try to conceive a "full-sibling" using the same sperm donor as her first daughter.

Not only are the wonderful, adorable children that are available here in the US for adoption not good enough for these people, but now even the sperm available here in the US is not good enough. Clearly White in the US is not white enough.

This is the very height of privilege. And its nasty undercurrent is racism. Forget all your arguments of wanting to "preserve your heritage" that's just another way of saying that you want your racial purity and you want it now.

...but I guess you don't want to hear from this mad cow either.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bad Week/Good Week

While being a challenging week for me personally, in terms of meaningful discussions, it has been wonderful.

Check out Deepak Chopra's interesting essay on poverty. My comment is there... you'll recognize it, I'm sure.

What PLANET Are These Women From!!?!!

Walking through the park this morning with my friend:

Man (talking loudly, almost yelling): What PLANET are these women from?

Man: (continuing...) They're gorgeous!

Me: (laughing...) That's not what I was expecting, how 'bout you?

Her: (laughing...) No! What a nice change of pace.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

N.E.R.D., moi?

I had a fantastic time reading this article this morning over at the Root.

Then I submitted a question early in the day to this chat.

I came back from lunch and read this response:

My question: Philadelphia, Pa.: What is it like to teach your students about hip-hop in the late 80's? Do they view it as history and how engaged are they in the dialogue about it? Just curious.

Also, do you feel like the fact that 1988 was an election year (and the end of the Reagan era - finally!) had to do with a serious upsurge in the political nature of the hip-hop scene.

And finally, congratulations on a wonderful article and on all your success. I am so proud that Philadelphia is producing so many wonderful hip-hop and urban scholars.

Nicholas James: Great question! There is an interesting rub when it comes to teaching about Hip Hop culture. Teaching from the late '80s perspective is difficult, but I find that locating the similarities, musically and culturally, gathers engagement. Of course '88 is a fun year to discuss, not only because the music became so broad, but also because of all the social factors that influenced the music - much like social factors are influencing the music of 2008 (think Barack Obama).

I get so excited by this stuff. Like the teacher thinks I'm smart.

Moment of Silence

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Uncle Louie...

My sweet uncle Louie passed away yesterday in his garden.

I won't be able to go to the funeral Wednesday, so instead I going to take some time today to walk in a garden, to have a piece of fresh cobbler somewhere, and to write this tribute to him:

For all of my talk of not feeling that American, my father's family are sweet, wonderful, American folks. Louis was a smiley man with piercing blue eyes. In my mind he was a farmer above all else. Perhaps he had another job in his life, but by the time I came along, he and his sweet wife Del were more interested in their grandchildren and their garden.

Del was tall and thin, Louis was much shorter and more muscular. My favorite part about him, in addition to his unending interest in those around him, was that he kept bees. He would take me out back and light the smoker and explain the way a hive worked. Then we would go inside and have some wonderfully dessert that his wife had made with the spoils.

I used to spend a week or two every summer with my grandparents, and a trip to Louis and Del's was always a big part of the trip. Louis was my grandmother's youngest brother, and she adored him. His ease and friendliness made him a favorite of my grandfather as well - and they all shared interests in gardens, in traveling, and in building something substantial from their lives.

Louis and Del owned an Airstream trailer, and several years ago my grandmother and I visited them at their park in Florida. It was an interesting introduction to that culture. Retirees that want to experience this great country of ours without compromising their hard-saved retirement funds. There were seemingly endless rows of big silver bullets with collapsible patio furniture and clothes lines.

What I will remember most was his ease. His laugh that would crinkle the corners of his eyes, the love he had for his family, and the time he would spend to create comfort where there was little comfort before.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Relax. Don't work so hard.

It's Friday. The weekend stretches out before you. The work week is nearly done.

Time for you to relax.

Yesterday in my yoga class, we were supposed to identify when we felt tension, take a deep breath, then let it go... the breath, the tension, and anything else we are holding onto.

My yoga teacher says that illness is caused by stagnant energy. That if we pay attention to our bodies - in their entirety, then we can live stronger and healthier lives. She had us do a meditation on our internal organs. In the meditation she had us think about our gallbladder, imagine it. What does it look like, what does it do, what does it need to be doing.

I had trouble with this, partially because at the time we were in Supta Virasana

Really all I wanted to do was get back up, straighten my legs and work my way into corpse pose. I eventually relaxed enough that I could try to do what she was saying, but I didn't do a very good job of picturing my gallbladder. In my mind it looked kind of like a limp and shriveled phallus - knowing that its mostly vestigial at this point in evolutionary history, I had a different image of it...

So maybe tomorrow when I'm on my yoga mat I'll try again... imagining a nice healthy zucchini, instead of a withered member of little or no use.

I know, you all are like "Woah, Kathryn, you started off all normal and now you're all yoga-weirdo on us... Don't you have another blog for that nonsense?"

Why yes, yes I do. But I'm going to start using that as a way to track my progress in Operation Wonder Woman (stronger, lighter, faster, richer). It's gonna be boring, but if you have no life or are obsessed with mine, then mosey on over and take a look at what I had for breakfast. If that's what floats your boat!