Looking back and thinking forward

Month: January, 2010

Quote of the day

From Meet the Press today:

MR. GREGORY:  And Alito's response? 

MR. AXELROD:  Well, I–look, we–in this weird political season, we've become accustomed to unusual outbursts in the chamber during these speeches, so.

"Unusual outbursts." Now that's a reframe if ever I heard one! 

How's about inappropriate and disrespectful behavior? 

If you are too wise and humble to say so, Mr. Axelrod (which I appreciate and admire), 

… allow me say it for you! 

And Alito's response? 
Inappropriate and disrespectful! (Tamarika)

Sunday morning humor

I received this joke in an email this morning from my mother-in-law, JJ. I share it with you … here: 

A group of 40 years old buddies discussed where they should meet for dinner. 

Finally it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the waitress's there had low cut blouses and were very young.

10 years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine selection was good also.

10 years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.

10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair accessible and they even had an elevator.

10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before

I raise my coffee cup to us all! Happy days ahead! Thanks, JJ!

Simply put

Critics abound telling Obama to speak simply so that "the people" will understand. I am reminded at how publishers in my field these days have been telling me that most people read at the sixth or eighth grade level. 

How will we aspire to intelligence and intellectual integrity if we pull ourselves down to the lowest common denominator? 

Don't be ashamed if you don't understand your President, America! Be proud that a person of intelligence represents us at home and abroad. Perhaps we could learn from his civility, curiosity, and intellectual aspirations. Perhaps we could pull ourselves up and out of the ignorant bog we find ourselves in – preferring to listen to rumors and gossip, without checking the facts, or believing fantastical lies that feed into our fears. Don't be afraid, America, to give that up! 

Don't let power hungry, selfish, boobs feed you more and more shame, fear and ignorance. Don't eat it! Just say no! You have a choice. 

Personally, I would rather Obama did not speak simply. I would rather learn more. I choose intellectual integrity. I don't want to be afraid. I don't want to become bitter and hardened, cynical and hopeless. 

I choose hope, idealism, and curiosity!

What a state – the union (Update)

Quote of the day:

Love is not a doctrine. Peace is not an international agreement. Love and Peace are beings who live as possibilities in us. [Mary Caroline Richards, Centering: In Pottery, Poetry, and Person – from CCIE this morning]

A friend emailed me this morning and asked me what I think off Barack Obama's State of the Union address. She was concerned that some people are thinking his Presidency is over already. 

I replied: "He is so different from what everyone is used to that it freaks people out. I think he is wonderful. I love the way he speaks to us as if we are all intelligent human beings. I love that he doesn't allow himself to stoop to the level everyone else goes down to. I am still an avid supporter. But I am aware that this country is populated by very deep ignorance … I can only hope that perhaps those evolved enough can help him stay in for a second term." We only get what we deserve, and we surely had that for 8 years. 

I sit quietly and I watch and I listen. So much rubbish all around – ignorance, bigotry and hatred. 

And then I breathe deeply and think, "But we have him now – right now." And I become calm again.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Hear the crowd roaring


I smiled when I got to work today, and read my Obama quote of the day, that I have on my desk calendar: "A Year With Obama."

If he would read my blog I would remind him what he said in a University Commencement Address in Southern New Hampshire on May 19, 2007:

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.

The first time

Quote of the day:
“Once I taste something for the first time, it can never be like the first time again. It just becomes ordinary.” (Me, this morning, to life partner comparing a Krispy Kremes experience to a subsequent Krispy Kremes experience)

Quote of the day

Whenever two people meet there are really six people present. There is
each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and
each man as he really is. William James (according to CCIE this morning)

[Now then, how did they know I was thinking about this … just yesterday … ?]

The anonymous me

Ever since I came to America twenty two years ago, I complain endlessly that I am anonymous. That no one knows the me of Africa, the me of Israel, the me of Buffalo … on and on and on … 

… when really I am complaining to myself because I am anonymous to ME!

It's not that I feel anonymous. It is that I don't know who I am or what I want. For so long I have tried so hard not to displease others, that I have become numb to my own desires or needs. 

I once was told that I was everybody's shadow. For a long while I felt hurt by that statement. But they were right on target. 

Indeed, my anonymity lies in my not knowing who I am, what I am capable of, and what, if any, my needs and desires are. 

This is the crux. The core of my self alteration work. 

And now, finally, at age sixty, I think I might have the courage to find out …

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Being in a storm of wonderfulness

One foot in front of the other


 A few years ago I hiked across England with my sister. There were some tough moments along the trail, what with general fatigue, and my aching blisters. However, whenever I would reach my tolerance limit or thought I might collapse or give up the effort, I would look down at my sister's feet as she walked ahead of me. I would lock my gaze onto her boots, and focus on that steady, constant motion of her solidly and surely placing one foot in front of the other, over and over again. It was like a meditation mantra, and would soothe and comfort me as somehow and from somewhere inside of me I would gather up strength to continue.

This morning, as I did my four mile walk/jog routine around Chestnut Hill, for a brief moment I was reminded of my sister's footsteps, and how I would walk in them, literally and figuratively, to get through the hike. I wondered, almost out loud: have I always walked in my siblings' footsteps? Planting one foot in front of the other, solidly, steadily, constantly, and with assurance, that even when life's journey was tough, somehow, and from somewhere inside of us, we would always find the strength to continue.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Allowing dreams to soar


Writing in the dark

I do not always know what I am going to write about. Even when I am given a specific topic. It is much like a therapy session. I start talking and before I know it, I am thinking, feeling and sharing all sorts of things that I had not expected at the outset. Sometimes I am surprised about the things that come up. At times dismayed, even. Old wounds and heartaches rise up to greet me unexpectedly even though I thought I had dealt with them and moved on. It appears that they are still lingering deep in my emotional memory. I adore the sensation of suddenly discovering a feeling, and making connections between my present emotions and something that happened in my childhood. Or making any kind of connection to something else unexpected. It is always amazing, surprising, and wonderful to me. I become excited about how brilliant the brain is, or how complex people are in general, including me of course. It is never boring, and always tantalizes my intellect. The complexity of human emotion and development always intrigues me, even through the pain of memories and ancient wounds.

For me, writing is a lot like writing in the dark. For example, this morning I felt a need to write. Anything at all. Just to sit down at the computer and allow my fingers to tap away right out of my brain. I knew something was in there, stirring. And there it was … therapy! Of course, it would be. I have had about eleven sessions now and things are heating up, stuff is moving about, and jiggling and wiggling in my brain. All kinds of numbness is reawakening. My dreams last night were full of actions, scenes, and people from different periods in my past. They all came together in one huge cacophony of images and emotions. 

But, even if I have a specific topic to write about I always start out writing in the dark. I mean, of course I have an idea about a subject when I set out to write about it. I have usually read up or explored various aspects. The actual writing, however, flows out and often thoughts, feelings, and ideas emerge when I least expect them. 

I have a new idea for a book. I even have the title in mind: A Handbook of Guilt for Parents! How to Regain Confidence and Develop Healthy Relationships with Your Children. It has been on my mind for some time. It could be intriguing to write, because I surely have my fair share of guilt. Writing in the dark about it might help me shed some of it, or, perhaps, find out something unexpected about it. As I write about the writing of it, I realize I will need to find a publisher for such a book. I mean, who on earth would like the title? A Handbook of Guilt! Would people be sophisticated enough to understand the irony in that phrase? 

Oh well. 
Writing this morning started out in the dark,
but now quite a lot of light has been shed 
on my thoughts and emotions, 
I must say. 
Therapy, guilt, parenting … 
… quite a start to my day!

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Engendering gender

Thinking back and looking forward

Quote of the day:

Out of the heart the mouth speaks. [Josh Thompson and Stephen Garretson in Encouraging Men in Their Conversations with Children from Perspectives on Gender in Early ChildhoodEditor: me]

Five years ago I started blogging. Yes indeed, this is my fifth anniversary of this writing project. I must admit I had forgotten all about that until I was reminded while reading Danny Miller's blog yesterday. In 2001, Danny wandered into a presentation of mine at the NAEYC conference in Anaheim. It was called "The Anti-Bias Curriculum: Looking Back and Thinking Forward." There must have been about one hundred people in the room that day, so I did not notice anyone in particular. It was only a week later that I met Danny – through an email to me. As an acquisitions editor, he was looking for early childhood authors and stumbled upon me that day, one week earlier. In his email, he asked if I would like to write a book on the topic of my presentation. I stared at the computer screen in disbelief. It felt as if I had won some kind of lottery. I felt discovered! Finally! After all those years! It is impossible to describe all my intensely mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety as I replied eagerly agreeing to write up a proposal of a book I had been thinking of for many years. A couple of weeks later I flew into Washington DC to meet him. The rest is history. Four years later he encouraged and inspired me to start my first blog, and has been a constant supporter of how, and what I write for the past seven years. Danny has given me the perfect support and encouragement I needed for writing right from my heart, and from the depths of the emotional memories in my brain. In short, Danny, gave me the opportunity to find my author's voice. I will be forever grateful to him. 

This morning, as I look back at the very beginning of blogging, I feel as if it has been more than just five years. The Internet became a great friend to me. I have learned so much through writing these two blogs, and have connected with amazing people all over the world. Writing in the blogs has given me the expression I desperately needed during some very difficult and lonely days when we first moved to Philadelphia from Buffalo. But more than all that, I discovered that I really and truly like to write. I adore having a public forum to write to. I do not know who reads me, and, although my audience is not as great as many other bloggers I know, it is important for me that others read what I write. At times, it feels as if I have something important to say, and that it is worth sharing with others. Indeed, I want to be heard. I do not want to be invisible with what I say or think …

… And, speaking of thinking … and as I look forward, I wonder what will develop and evolve from my future blogging. For example, I was able to incorporate some important posts into my second book, and even in the introductory chapter of my third. So, it appears that blogging the hours away has not been wasteful

As I celebrate my fifth bloggaversary this morning, I would like to thank Danny Miller, the Internet, my trusty computer, and especially all those who take the time to stop by and read, or make the effort to comment, or just to read and not comment. 

All are welcome, for I am always grateful to realize that you might have passed by my humble blogging abode! 

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: No more declarations