Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
|A painting my grandmother made of my mom as a kid. It moved from her dining room to my living room. Note the Christmas tree in the background.|
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I said goodbye to this guy, who'll be out of town for the next year.
|I invited the rest of my fantasy league over to watch the Packers stomp the Redskins.|
|My kid sister obviously cheered with me.|
|Although some of my friends didn't take the loss too hard.|
|And I went to the Maryland State Wine Festival with a bunch of my sorority sisters.|
|There's never been enough of us all together at once to take a black Phi Alph photo - so exciting!|
|The Fall 2003 pledge class Guthrie and I oversaw.|
So good things are happening. Very good things. Just not my dissertation.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Here are the current contenders:
Not Great Bob
Password Is Taco
I'm thinking that my team name will probably be Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood, or maybe I'll go with last year's epically rude Yankee Doodle Handy.*
Anyway, help me come up with a league name, so I can invite people already. I'm spending way too much time on this part. I've got a team to put together!
*Dear strangers reading this blog, in my personal life, an unusually large proportion of the words that come out of my mouth are filthy. I'm like Joe Biden with better boobs. And so, for both that image of vice-presidential man-boobs and my keeping it clean here, you're welcome.
Friday, August 23, 2013
|Before. Super intense, right? When the neighbors saw I was doing yardwork, they all started rushing out offering to loan me their lawnmowers. It was actually kinda sweet, even though they've clearly been judging the crap out of my yard.|
|After. Glorious, glorious after. And the vines on the railing belong there: that's spaghetti squash.|
|And here's a close-up of my mulched out garden bed and new tree, before the lawn was mowed.|
|That's right. It's effing asbestos tile. Because apparently this IS your grandma's house.|
|But are you sure it's really asbest- Oh. Yeah, that's asbestos.|
So our next unexpected project is to seal off the vinyl asbestos tile (wasn't the previous owner supposed to disclose this? raggedy heifer), put down quarter-inch Hardiebacker and then slap down some smooth-ass wood look ceramic tile. Seriously, have you seen this stuff? It's dope.
*Chris Morrison of Out of Control Lawns (rude!) is seriously one of the nicest guys ever. He did our front and back yard, plus detailing some of our edges, and only charged us $35. You should call him and get your lawn did - (301) 908-3569.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
"Don't worry, girl. You're not interrupting anything but a conference call with Ice Cube."
I love my co-workers.
Monday, July 29, 2013
This morning on the Metro, I pulled last week's Local Living section out of my purse – I don’t know why, but I've been carrying it around in my purse like it's my towel* or something - and looked at the crime report. The report is broken down first by ward, and then by crime: assaults, burglaries, homicides, motor vehicle thefts, robberies, thefts. Now, scary, scary Ward 8's incidents are roughly equal in number to the crimes reported in totally safe Wards 2, 5 and 6 (is your sarcasm detector working yet?). This doesn’t surprise me one bit.
But when I narrow it down to just where I live in Shipley, there were only three crimes reported during the week in question (July 11-17). Also not a surprise to me, since the only thing really going on over here is fireworks popping at ungodly hours (when does school start again?), but since you’re curious now, here are our three horrendous, terrifying, drive-through-at-your-own-peril crimes:
Stanton Rd. SE, 3300 block, 9:45 a.m. July 11 (with knife)
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFTS
Southern Ave. SE, 2500 block, 2:07 a.m. July 14
19th St. SE, 3500 block, 5:20 p.m. July 12 (with gun)
You might be thinking, “Wow. Two violent crimes and an auto theft in one week? That does sound dangerous!”Or maybe you're asking “So what?” right around this point. Don’t worry – I’m getting to my point… now. Why is it that the same folks who are so scared and reluctant to come to my house in an automobile are happier than pigs in shit to drunk-stumble around Columbia Heights? I really don’t get it.** Because they’ve got crime like whoa, y’all:
14th St. NW, 2700 block, 7:37 a.m. July 11
Belmont St. NW, 1400 block, 4:10 p.m. July 16
Sherman Ave. NW, 2900 block, 12 a.m. July 13 (with gun)
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFTS
Spring Rd. NW, 1400 block, 3:20 p.m. July 15
16th St. NW, 3500 block, 1:10 a.m. July 14
Spring Rd. NW, 1400 block, 3 a.m. July 14 (with gun)
15th St. NW, 2300 block, 5:10 a.m. July 14 (with gun)
14th St. NW, 3100 block, 1:32 a.m. July 15
Irving St. NW, 1000 block, 7:14 a.m. July 16
16th St. NW, 2600 block, 7:26 a.m. July 11 (from vehicle)
Euclid St. NW, 1300 block, 4:42 p.m. July 11
11th St. NW, 2700 block, 6:48 p.m. July 11
14th St. NW, 2100 block, 3:25 p.m. July 12
Clifton St. NW, 1300 block, 4 p.m. July 12
16th St. NW, 2400 block, 8:53 a.m. July 13 (from vehicle)
14th St. NW, 3000 block, 2:44 p.m. July 13
16th St. NW, 2400 block, 11:31 a.m. July 14
16th St. NW, 2400 block, 12:22 p.m. July 14 (twice in the same block in the same hour!)
14th St. NW, 3500 block, 2:35 p.m. July 14
14th St. NW, 3100 block, 7:01 p.m. July 14
Kenyon St. NW, 1300 block, 7:26 p.m. July 14
14th St. NW, 3000 block, 3:28 p.m. July 15 (from vehicle)
13th St. NW, 3500 block, 3:17 p.m. July 15
Columbia Rd. NW, 1100 block, 8:48 a.m. July 16
Belmont St. NW, 1400 block, 12:50 p.m. July 16 (from vehicle)
14 St. NW, 3100 block, 7:20 p.m. July 17
Otis Pl. NW, 1000 block, 9:06 p.m. July 17 (from vehicle)
Have I made my point yet? Let me just drive it all the way home: this data clearly shows that despite the public perception of its incredible safety, Columbia Heights is far more dangerous than Shipley, the neighborhood where I live East of the River. This naturally leads one to wonder how it is possible that my neighborhood could be considered more dangerous and terrifying than one that had two burglaries, five robberies, eighteen thefts, and a murder. In the same week when mine clocked in at three. No murder.
You know where this is going. Let’s not even try to pretend that the answer is much other than a simple “black people live there.” Sure, we could throw in a little bit of media sensationalism, a(n un)healthy dose of relative poverty, a dash of ignorance (because really, how do you know it’s dangerous if you’ve never even been here?), and a hearty helping of the PR nightmare that exists in Councilman Barry. But what do all of those other reasons boil back down to? Ah! Black people are going to rob and kill me!
What do we do to combat this? Because the piss-poor level of services that exist in my neighborhood, and in the ward at large, is real-life proof that this fear and public misperception is preventing us from attracting the development we desperately need to economically thrive.
I’ll be over here brainstorming solutions, because I love this place more than my never-gonna-happen first-born child. You’re even free to help me if you like. But whether you do or not, stop calling my neighborhood scary and dangerous- or I’ll put you in a cab to Columbia Heights.
*That's right, that was a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy joke. Get some.
**This is disingenuous. I totally get it. Black people. We’re terrifying. Boo.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I spent the morning at a forum hosted by ETS. They hosted a discussion and panel on their recent report about poverty and education. It didn't feel like anything I didn't already know, but it was certainly a good synthesis of a lot of these pertinent issues, and offered recommendations for how to address them. Plus they had green salad for lunch, so I got to toss the bread from a tuna sandwich and concoct myself a gluten-free meal. Hooray! But for folks who didn't get to attend, here's a link to the report. You'll have to make your own tuna sandwich.
At the forum, the moderator referenced a recent study of social mobility that was featured on NPR last night. I have yet to look at the map that both the moderator and Raj Chetty (the economist who conducted the study) mentioned, but here's a link to that as well. It sounded fascinating, and frankly, I'm rushing through this post so I can hurry up and check it out already.
I ate dinner with Nick at a place I discovered yesterday called Rice Bar. It's a build your own bibimbap place (think Korean Chipotle), and it is, simply put, fantastic. I like mine with bulgogi and an egg on top. They also have a sushi happy hour. Next time I go, I'll get a rock shrimp and cilantro roll. Word to the wide: getting bibimbap and a sushi roll is too much. Even if you split the roll. Don't do it, fatty.
I finished my first draft of my very first brief today. It outlines a forum my NPO co-sponsored with Complete College America on postsecondary remediation reform (AKA holy crap, everyone who takes remedial classes drops out, what do we do?). Here's the gist on what CCA does. There's actually a whole reform movement and community surrounding this issue. Who knew? Now, you.
Oh, and tonight, after leaving an organizing workshop (more about that later), I dropped an acquaintance off at her apartment in Northeast. She lives in a new development called Rhode Island Row, and wowzers, is it nice! I just kept thinking about how amazing it would be if the Skyland re-development actually pulls through over here, because it's supposed to look a lot like this.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
This morning, I got a text message from a friend of mien I met through Daughters of the American Revolution. She works for CBS and asked, "Would you be willing to do an interview for us tonight about the WalMart in your neighborhood? We're having a tough time finding someone who supports it willing to be interviewed for TV." Um, of course I would! If there's anything I love talking about more than East of the River, you should tell me, because I surely can't think of it. I started fact-checking that statistics I usually include when I talk about the need for economic development over here, and started getting super pumped up. And then...
The interview was canceled. They got held up filming in Southeast and didn't have time to interview me in Dupont Circle (where I'm interning this summer) before they submitted the video package at 3:30. Needless to say, this was a massive bummer. I was really looking forward to representing Ward 8* in my argyle cardigan and pearls. It takes all kinds, you know. It takes all kinds.
|We're just one mayoral veto away from having this...|
|...instead of this.|
Skyland Town Center Will Have WalMart, Apartments by 2016
D.C.'s Retailer Bill Will Do More Harm Than Good
Tommy Wells Will Propose Alternate Living Wage Bill
Six More Major Retailers Tell Gray They'll Reconsider D.C. Growth if Living Wage Becomes Law
*I know that the proposed Skyland WalMart is in Ward 7. But it sits right at the Good Hope-Alabama-Naylor crossroads, and Naylor Road is the eastern boundary between Wards 7 and 8. The Skyland development is less than one mile from my house.
**This is hyperbolic. But really, Ward 8 has one grocery store, three sit-down restaurants (and one is an IHOP), and negligible retail. Compared to communities west of the river, that is nothing. We already have the lowest average per capita and household incomes in the city. Creating minimum wage jobs in an area where there are currently none is an improvement.
Monday, July 22, 2013
- A. the longer format, since I've become a pro at the short soundbites and re-posts of Facebook;
- B. what I suspect is likely an extended bout with depression; and
- C. how to blog authentically about my life without talking at great length about being bone-crushingly glum, since the Internet lasts forever and I'd prefer not to be defined as some kind of unstable sadpants.
Fortunately, stopping the steady stream of trivial updates that is the Book of Faces has forced me to actually reach out to people. Remember how telephones used to be for calling people, and not just texting, Tweeting and liking at them? I've been doing that, and it turns out that ish is dope. And the people who respond - who call back, and email, and send photos - have to actively seek me out, not just stumble across something I've said on their news feed. My original goal was to go for one month without logging on, but now I can see it being a long-term lifestyle change. Plus, our air conditioning is broken, and who wants to sit around in the heat on a laptop when you can be over at someone else's house with AC?
But anyway. I'm going to try to ratchet it up. But tomorrow, though. I've gotta hit the hay. Big day of being a thirty year old intern in front of me tomorrow.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
I know it's a few months away, but I already know exactly what I'm going to do.
That's right. A moon bounce. We're renting one all day, buying a keg of something I can drink and cooking out in the backyard the whole Sunday before. Because that's how real grown-ups roll.
And then on my actual birthday, dinner somewhere nice like respectable adults. Maybe Komi. Because why not?
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Or maybe I can just take Nick's advice and get a bartending job; according to my husband, "degenerates" like him always hang out and make you feel like it's Cheers.
Monday, May 6, 2013
When I Google "gluten free burger restaurant DC" or any equivalent search phrase, nothing worthwhile comes up. So I'm going to start a new blog label here, called simply "gluten free sandwich." Every time I encounter a restaurant that offers gluten free bread or buns as an option for their sandwiches, it will get that tag.
Red Robin: this is a national chain, but they are delicious and offer gluten free buns for their burgers. That plus bottomless steak fries equals fat gluten free kid heaven.
Jimmy John's: again, a chain. But the JJ Unwiches are pretty much the stuff dreams are made of. Leave the cheese off, and they're even paleo. The Italian Night Club unwich made me feel bad for people who eat bread - they have to chew through all of that dough nonsense before they get to the good stuff inside.
The Wicked Waffle: a sandwich shop that puts all of its sandwiches on halves of Belgian waffles would totally creep me out, if they didn't offer gluten free waffles. The parking is atrocious, inside the place looks like a Bourbon Street daiquiri shop and the music is strictly Euro-crap, but if I can eat a gluten-free version of every single sandwich on the menu, I can put up with a whole lot.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Then I remember that I teach children for a living, and at the end of the school day, want nothing more than to be away from children and around adults. Then I feel OK again. He doesn't really want to be a dad anyway. Too much work.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I'm not ever a huge fan of taking citizens' rights away, but I'm especially uneasy when these actions are motivated by ill-conceived, reactionary impulses. Laws are supposed to ensure rights, not strip them.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
The alphabetical designations of the streets running east-west begin on each side of East Capitol Street and The National Mall. The first street on each is A, the next is N, the third is C; on through Y, with no J, X or Z Streets and the I shown by Eye. Once the letters of the alphabet are exhausted, the streets have two-syllable names, then three-syllable names, and then names of trees and flowers. Sometimes this system is referred to as the second, third and fourth alphabets.
The numerical designations of the streets running north-south begin on each side of North and South Capitol Streets. The first street on each side is First Street, the next is Second Street, and so on.
North, South and East Capitol Streets and The National Mall divide Washington, D.C., into four sections: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast. The streets are identified by the section of the city in which they are located. For example: C Street NW; C Street NE; C Street SW and C Street SE.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
These are the moments I wish I was an atheist.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Me: Potato chips?
Nick: You can have some.
Me: No. You walked up to the store and bought potato chips? And beer?
Nick: I bought other things. Cigarettes and candy.
Me: (blank stare) Who are you?
Nick: Don't write about this. Are you writing about this? I know what you're doing.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Friday, February 15, 2013
This is the view from the rooftop bar of a swanky joint called Brixton. Never mind the racial implications of the name (for now), or that census records show my great great grandmother lived on the next block over. Being able to see HUH while I drink makes me feel strange inside.
My grandfather was an alcoholic. The kind of alcoholic who keeps drinking past when his wife, children amd pancreas have abandoned him. As a child, when my father was speaking to him, I remember visiting my grandfather in this hospital. Every time he was there, it was his fault - something related to his affinity for Kool-Aid over health. I never knew him very well. My father's strained relationship with him limited our interactions to Kool-Aid and Nintendo games.
And this hospital. He wasn't fortunate enough to die there. Instead, he died in a diabetic coma less than a mile from the school where I currently teach, where my father worked in the early 1980s.
And so, despite the fact that I am neither an alcoholic nor a diabetic, I suppose I feel immense amounts of guilt for partying here.
I suppose, as well, that I'll have to get over it. That's what Jollys do.
Friday, February 8, 2013
I come home from work at 4 and sleep until 8. Then I stay up to plan for school, watch TV and goof off on the computer until 2 or 3 in the morning. I get in one more round of sleep until 7:45, throw on some vaguely professional looking clothes, and head off to school.
My favorite part? I get to see my husband when he gets home from working nights.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
"Of the many inhuman outrages of this present year, the only case where the proposed lynching did not occur, was where the men armed themselves … and prevented it. The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense.I've kept pretty quiet about it until now, because I hate the idea of being lumped in with those fear-mongering racists over at the NRA, but consider this my official coming-out: I firmly believe that the right to bear arms is a fundamental political right, and that to limit or eliminate that right is unconstitutional.
The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give."
Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases
Like Ida B. Wells, I think that gun ownership is especially important for African-Americans. As individuals and as communities, we tend to be on the receiving end of institutional violence more often than other groups. It is too easy for us to find examples of our vulnerability during every moment in our nation's history. This fantastic, albeit long, blog post also does a better job than I ever have of tracing the modern gun control movement from white fears of black armed self-defense (a la the Black Panthers following police to prevent police brutality).
But even more important than self-defense, the writer makes the point - correctly, I think, or I wouldn't be writing this - that the constitutional right to bear arms is rooted in preventing the government (police and the military) from having a monopoly on the use of force. This is the same problem I have with capital punishment. The government should not have a monopoly on the power to decide if a person should live; based on the other inherent flaws in the way the death penalty is meted out (see above paragraph), I think it's best to eliminate that power entirely.
Back to the right to own a gun. Two passages from the essay stand out; the first is quite long, but quite powerful:
"I heard someone ridiculing a gun-rights supporter on TV the other day, along these lines: Do you realize how ridiculous you sound when you talk about tyranny or resistance to tyranny, in the United States? Really? Let’s roll the videotape back a few years, and try that out again: Do you realize how ridiculous you sound when you talk about American presidents, Republican and Democrat, torturing, kidnapping for torture, nullifying habeas corpus, spying without warrants on everybody, setting up a separate justice system for Muslims, rewarding billions in bonuses to bankers who crashed the economy, offering Social Security and Medicare as sacrifices to those bankers, aggressively prosecuting whistleblowers and journalists while granting complete immunity and government favor to torturers and banksters, personally overseeing the assassination of anyone they want anywhere in the world, including American citizens, starting seven or eight secret wars? Do you realize how ridiculous you sound when you talk about the great European social-democratic states, Socialist governments included, overseeing forced austerity on behalf of banksters, selling off the land and assets of their countries, reneging on the pensions of their citizens, ushering in 25-30% unemployment, facing riots and pitched battles with police in the streets?Yup.
Understanding that things can and will change, radically at times, is an historical attitude. Asserting that the society and moment we live in today is omnipotent and unchangeable –proclaiming, essentially, that history is over – is what I understand as pure ideology. 'Tyranny' – or whatever you prefer to call it – has, not so long ago, already been here and been successfully resisted, with non-violent and not non-violent tactics – unless you think Jim Crow doesn’t qualify. And whatever-you-want-to-call-it is back – unless you think a regime that practices assassination, unilateral war-making, unlimited surveillance, austerity imposition, and issues from a completely corrupt electoral process, etc., doesn’t qualify. And it may well be resisted again. I don’t know how the street protests and occupations of state capitols and such by workers and pensioners and student debt-slaves and people thrown out of their homes and out of their jobs may unfold in America in the near future, but they very well may take lessons from more than the edited history of such struggles in our country and around the world. Nothing ridiculous there, as far as I’m concerned. History is not over."
"The ultimate power does not rest with who starts out with the most guns, or even with who shoots them the most (or at all), but with who ends up determining which way they are pointed. The most successful insurrectionary moment is one in which no bullet has to be fired; everyone just has to know at whom they will be headed if they are.
That is still a struggle over the use and control of arms. Pointing a gun is using it."And more yup. All day, yes.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
I keep finding all these resources about transplants and HLH, but don't want to post them on Facebook. I post enough crap on Facebook as it is, and I really don't want people interpreting it as some kind of pathetic attention grab because I did this good thing (I used to be friends with that girl, and she sucks).
So on the off-chance you're interested in information about bone marrow transplants or hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH, duh), I'm going to stick all of the really interesting stuff I find right here in this post.
Also, I have a clone. I repeat, I have a tiny person out there with my DNA who is my motherflipping clone. Whiskeytangofoxtrot.
HLH: A Simple Description - This whole Web site is an account of a little girl named Zoe's (winning!) battle against HLH (and we all know how much I love a Zoe).
The Histiocytosis Research Trust - "The prognosis for children with HLH has improved dramatically over the last 20 years and there is now a cure rate of more than 50%."
Thoughts One Year After Donating Bone Marrow Stem Cells - I had to have my bone marrow extracted directly from my pelvic bone, but other donors (like Ruth) are able to donate the stem cells that create bone marrow.
What Is It Like to Give? - From an awesome, now-defunct Web site called Sepia Mutiny. The site highlighted a few campaigns encouraging South Asians to register for the marrow registry; with only 1% of registry members of South Asian ancestry, South Asians have just a 1 in 20,000 chance of finding a match.
That's right. I ate two Filet-o-Fish sandwiches in one sitting. Yeah, I'm gluten intolerant.
But I figure if these painkillers are going to make me sleepy, itchy and cranky anyway, I might as well be those things and full of Filet-o-Fish.
So suck on that, body. I do what I want.
Friday, February 1, 2013
The procedure wasn't painful - minus the sore throat left over from the anesthesiologist's breathing tube, and the pretty intense constipation - I was asleep for the whole thing, which took less than an hour. I am drowsy from the painkillers, and sore. I feel like I fell down a flight of icy stairs and bruised my butt and lower back.
|I despise IVs more than anything else I've ever encountered.|
|One of my kids gave me a card and made me promise not to open it until after the procedure :)|
|Awake, but still heavily anesthetized, on morphine, and very confused by "KGC." This is also the most unattractive photo ever taken of me, so of course I had to include it here.|
And I would absolutely do it again.
I can't run for two weeks while I recover. The doctor says that any kind of over-exertion too soon will cause the puncture holes in my pelvic bone to "connect the dots" and cause a fracture. So I'm counting down the days until I can put my Asics back on, and focusing my energy on fundraising while I wait.
I'm also praying. I'm not huge on prayer, because I'm not convinced God cares about what happens to us. But just in case It does, I want to give my patient, my Little Man, the best chance he can possibly have to survive and thrive. So it'd be nice if you'd pray for him, too.
“There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from James' Baldwin's The Fire Next Time. I'd post it to my Facebook wall, but you know how people on Facebook stay tripping because they're lazy readers and thinkers.
Happy Black History Month!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
I look up, and it totally is. So... like he said, I guess. Yeah.
Back to plotting on how to make twelve year old boys think my class is all about violence and war. Boom! Crash!
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Nothing makes you feel quite so much like a big, fat failure at life as when you're busting your ass, working a job that makes you miserable - a job that pays you more than you've ever made in your life - budgeting and cutting corners, but you still can't make ends meet because the world just keeps knocking you down. And I know, I know - I'm grateful to just be broke and not poor, but man. I need a break. I need a few breaks. Then today I got one, and it feels terrible.
I know how unbelievably lucky I am to have a family who is able to help, who is willing and happy to help us out. But then the part that's worse than having your dad offer you exactly what you need to get back on your feet, without your even asking? Refusing it (I should be able to do this myself), and being forced to take it anyway, then feeling like the lowest piece of shit ever for seeming like an ingrate.
It's a bitter pill to swallow, being the helpee instead of the helper. I hate it.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
I'm training for a half-marathon. The Rock and Roll Half on March 16, to be precise. I'm doing this with my mom to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Mom's best friend is four years leukemia free, and considering she's been like an aunt to me - she's my baby sister's godmother, too - raising money for an organization that's done so much for her is a no-brainer to me.
So we go out in the cold Tuesdays and Thursdays after work to run. We have long runs on Saturday morning; I'll assume these were scheduled by Satan, since they start at 8am. Short recovery runs are Sundays. For our long run today, we went eight miles. Pretty exciting stuff for someone who never made it through a high school cross country race - a poor choice I endured for one single season my sophomore year - without stopping.
|The best part? I live in DC so all of our runs are BEAUTIFUL!|
If you read this blog, we're probably friends on Facebook, so you've probably already seen my posts asking for donations, if you can spare them. But just in case you've popped in from somewhere else, consider giving a few dollars to help LLS continue its research and support programs for patients with blood cancers. My page (with running updates) can be found over here.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
I just saw a banking commercial where a man said that he's a tenth-generation dumpling maker, and that his work is his life's passion. Of course, this was followed by the bank's exhortation to avoid doing the things that you don't want to do, so that your job remains your passion and never becomes work. Or something like that. Basically, make dumplings and let us handle your money since everyone knows that Asian people are terrible at math.
Disclaimer: Not all Asian people are good at math. That doesn't mean that they're bad at math, or just average at math. It means that math skills have nothing to do with race. I made a joke about racial stereotypes in advertising, not about Asian people. Just to be clear, since inevitably someone will miss that subtle distinction (Some place, somewhere, Rachel's soul is screaming, "It's not funny if you have to explain it, Tierra, GAWD!" You shut up, Rachel's soul. I hate your stupid mouth).
But anyway. Moving along.
Because I am currently in a position where I find my work to be important, but surprisingly unfulfilling in a way that crushes my soul every hour on the hour, this commercial hit me like a ton of Hallmark cards. What tasks and conditions would I give up at work if I could? What would I delegate to someone else? What would I keep?
My immediate thought was that I want to keep writing and talking about history, but to dump the classroom environment. Let someone else have the phone calls home, the "Ms. Jolly, you wear whore-colored lipstick," the bureaucracy inherent in any public school system, and the feeling of being an academic waitress, constantly on my feet taking the orders - and dropping off the ketchup, and haggling over the checks, and calling in the manager to deal with the issues - of twenty different diners every shift.
I want to keep writing lesson plans, conducting research, presenting it to people, and contributing to the educational development of children in under-served communities. I don't want to be in a classroom every day, no matter how old the students are (here's lookin' at you, college). I do want most of my professional time to be spent with other adults. I also desperately need a workplace environment where I can come in at 10 and stay until 6 on a Thursday because I had a doctor's appointment and it's totally cool that I sometimes get sick because I am a human being.
So what are the possible solutions? Public history looks like the best answer. I would love to write educational materials for museums and historic sites. Develop activities and exhibits. Represent the program/institution at conferences and networking events. Occasionally work with children. Have constantly changing research topics so that I'm always learning something new. I could be a museum educator, a curator, a director of education, an institutional historian, a curriculum writer for a school district, some kind of research analyst for some kind of non-profit, or one of those freelance historians who helps banks prove their new acquisition didn't own slaves in the 1700s. I could transition back into dramaturgy. I could even start my own part-time side gig as a genealogist.
All of these things sound like my dumplings. But how do I find these opportunities, and how do I get them onto my plate? Ideas and advice will be greatly appreciated.