Saturday, April 29, 2006
As public school funding continues to be a huge issue, and as more and more children never learn the basics of another language until (maybe) high school - is it any wonder with the recent furor of people singing the National Anthem in Spanish? I don't remember this kind of furor when Amazing Grace has been sung in other languages - and supposedly that is the most sacred song to most Americans. Is one of the strengths of our country not diversity? Why on earth would it be a bad thing for people to know more than one language?
And coming from one of the three states most populated by Latinos - I only see the blessing of this immigrant population. The richness it has added to our culture and the hard work I witness all around me are things to be celebrated. I am thrilled my children are learning Spanish and they can sing any song they want to sing in Spanish. Sonny Boy's latest folk Mexican song is "Chocolate." (I kinda like it too!)
Working with college students, I see this same kind of mentality all the time on campus. There are always new students who come to campus and view their faith as a fortress that must be protected from the evil, secular campus. Instead of reaching out and exploring all sorts of new opportunities, they close themselves off to others - only associate with like-minded people - and miss out on grand opportunities. They forget that God is everywhere. EBB once wrote, Earth's crammed with heaven and every common bush is afire with God. Only he who sees takes of his shoes. The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
This is still the land of opportunity. We have a great opportunity to expand and grow as a nation - in ways we cannot imagine. Let's not let fear keep us from doing that.
May 1 - stand in solidarity with Mexican immigrants - attend a local rally and boycott making any purchase. Some people only understand the financial bottom line - so let's make an impact. The kind of impact that can continue to make our country great.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I couldn't listen too intently because the stretch of highway upon which I was driving is 4 lanes - 4 very frantic, fastpaced lanes. The funny thing is that when I bought my car in 13 years ago, I didn't feel anywhere near as small as I did last night. Back then, my car was average size. Now - I feel like I'm in some mini-buggy. Huge Suburbans, Expeditions and Navigators were completely blowing me off the road. The speed limit was 65, but knowing that anytime one goes over 60 the mpg drops off dramatically - I kept my speed to around 60. Gas prices are pretty high, so why waste it for just a few more mph faster.? Of course, I was being blown away at speeds far higher than the limit.
Ironic - the biggest news story of the day is about how much gas costs, and I'm being blown away by mega-huge SUVS doing about 80.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I heard on NPR this morning a piece about a woman named AJ. She has a memory that scientists say is very unique - no one else is known to be like AJ. She is about my age, and everyday for the past 25 years is like a recording of them. One can ask her a specific date (like April 2, 1984) and she will tell you everything exactly as it was. Time has not muddied any of her memories. Each and every day, every date, every aspect of those previous days is as clear as her present day. Amazing.
The reporter asked her about what it was like. Was it a gift or not? I immediately thought I wouldn't like it - anytime my heart had been crushed (or when I crushed another's heart) would be as clear and present to me as this moment. How could time heal all wounds, if I didn't have time to dull the pain? Yet, AJ said it was a gift to be able to remember her childhood so clearly. I thought that perhaps it would be a gift to remember my Papa more clearly - that's all getting pretty fuzzy - and to remember more of the things that Granny can't remember anymore. Appreciating the good can certainly balance the not so good.
Here's to appreciating pleasant memories...
Monday, April 17, 2006
Friday morning and we are off to Old Navy. "Mom, I want some of those shorts that are like shirts. You know, like those shirts that button down." I said I had no earthly what he was talking about. I was also a little stunned that he was moving away from athletic shorts. Sonny Boy started wandering around ON and finally found a cotton, plaid, button down shirt - "Like this, Mom!" "Honey, I'm not sure Old Navy has shorts like that in your size." We looked, and sure enough we finally found some cotton, madras plaid shorts (which thankfully came down to his knees). I was having mega-flashback to my favorite book from high school, The Official Preppy Handbook. I stood in the middle of ON, gazing off in the distance and fondly remembering all my favorite pairs of old walking shorts, worn with an Izod polo shirt and either my canvas Tretorns or tassle loafers (no socks, of course). Oh - those were the days.
Really hard to believe Sonny Boy wanted to wear the same kind of shorts I once did.
Sonny Boy then announced, "Mom, I need a couple new shirts." "No you don't - you only wear tshirts and you have so many you can't even shut the dresser drawer." "But Mom, but they all have sleeves and I need a shirt like this." (as he held up a bright orange muscle shirt) I had another flashback to all the rednecks at my mountain high school - wearing awful muscle shirts trying to impress the girls with any amount of biceps they might have. I shook my head hard to erase the image as I tried not to gag. (with a spoon...)
"No - you don't need new shirts and I'm not buying any." "But Moooommmmm - I really want a shirt without sleeves!" I decided what the heck - he could go home and cut the sleeves off two of his old tshirts.
We had not been home long that day when he was wearing his new plaid shorts, accompanied by a gray tshirt filled with colorful surfboards - and no sleeves. I'm pretty proud of myself for not laughing in front of him.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I was at a training session last week where a black, gay man spoke about what it is like being both black and gay. He was an intelligent, articulate man who included some great humor in his talk as well. As he was relating the strides that blacks have made in our society, he said, "We started off as slaves, and now we have Oprah!" Funny, but upon more reflection - quite a statement.
Oprah has more influence than I think any of us can imagine - and certainly she has used it for good. The issues she highlights become important issues. She gives more money and time to charity than we probably know. And when she recommends a book, people actually turn off the tv, buy the book and read it. Wow.
And now - we have the new music genre of Oprah Rock. Yes, my never-failing Entertainment Weekly pointed this out. I had noticed a certain type of music coming out on the radio of recent - begun by the feel-good mush of Coldplay. (Gwyneth - I love you and think your kids' names are just fine - but your Hubby's talent has been a little overrated in my opinion.) In the mode of Coldplay, more British artists are singing feel-good ballads meant to calm us and give us hope. Who today has not heard "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt? (and if I hear one more time that he used to be a guard for the Queen of England, I will truly be sick) Blunt's tune is so stuck in my head, I don't believe it will ever be totally erased. And even Sonny Boy, upon hearing the song on the radio, yelps, "I LOVE this song!! Don't change the station!"
And now in the tradition of Oprah Rock, David Browne ("Bad Day") has appeared on the show and his song is everywhere. Not a bad song - just not a really good one - and one that I fear will never leave my head.
Think I'll tune to the UNCG station for a while and take my chances there. Does the influence of Oprah know no bounds?
Friday, April 07, 2006
It's not been easy trying to get this body back in shape. I am better than a few weeks ago, but still have a long road to go. And as much as I appreciate the rec center, it's not easy sweating up a storm surrounding by young girls half my age and seemingly half my size. But I am a confident woman - so I can handle that. Yet, yesterday - it just became a little much. I was on my favorite elliptical machine (really like those things), surrounded by the usual tiny co-eds wearing their ipods. Now, I don't have an ipod - so to make the time of cardio go faster, I always watch whatever is on the tv screen in front of me. My lucky day - "Walker, Texas Ranger." And even worse luck - sound of course was off and no closed captioning going. I kept wishing that it was on ESPN (which I really do like) - but that channel was in front of other machines. I thought it couldn't be that bad - anyone else as grossed out by Chuck Norris as I am? It was set in the old West - and I kept thinking the show was modern day. Well, that was just a flashback that parallelled the current day story. So I got to see the awful same scenario twice - just in different costumes. The kicker was this his saving the world from the bad guys was the day his wife was coming home from the hospital with their newborn. Some dad that guy would be - if Hubby had gone off to try to get himself killed by bad guys the day we brought home Sonny Boy, I would think he might as well just stay with the bad guys. (talk about a savior complex)
After that excruciating 30 minutes, I thought that it probably was a good thing I couldn't hear or see the dialogue. At least the horror of it all took my mind off the tiny ones on the other ellipticals.