Friday, August 29, 2014

NRU -- NPR masculinity edition

I am not near a radio enough during the "drive home" since I am usually not driving home from somewhere during All Things Considered.  But... I heard this piece that was part of a series on masculinity.  Actually, I caught two more since then.

I thought I would go in and there would be a link to all the pieces from the series ... but I didn't find it. [OK...after looking for a few more, I did find a link to the series... why is it not included on all of the pieces?!]

So, I decided to share the links here.  You can listen as you have time, or you can just read the transcripts.  They are all pretty interesting.

I think Fridays might be a good day to link the audio and transcript from show pieces that kept me in the car and sent me looking for more online.

This is the first one I stumbled into ...  The title itself, The 3 Scariest Words a Boy Can Hear, is catchy and it puts out the premise for the series.  I am not sure when I heard it the first time that I really caught on to the series part.  I don't think I heard the whole thing but then the grief angle sucked me in.

I really enjoyed this piece on the shades of masculinity in the gay community.  I think it breaks open the ideas we have about men and women and gender in surprising ways. It is refreshing to hear men muse about gender, we don't often get to hear that perspective.

This is the latest piece I heard about being Black men in America. I wonder if they just figured it out after Ferguson blew up, or if they decided to hold it back because of it. 

Here are a few more that caught my eye, I vaguely remember hearing pieces of these.  I listened online and read the transcripts as I was deciding which to post ... there are many more!

Vegans and masculinity - it offers another refreshing perspective on a topic we have probably heard to much about -- angry rants from both sides, but mostly women.

The *new* American Father - this one covers a lot of ground but could have gone deeper on a few parts.  At first blush, as in reading the title, you might think it was about immigrants, but it is only tangentially about the different kinds of fathers in America.

Men and the military - from the perspective of father and son and their experiences with the military.  I wish they had thrown in one more family member that chose not to serve, just for fun.

This one caught my eye because I am still so intrigued by the school where they taped this edition.  It is an all male school run on a cattle farm in California in the middle of nowhere, not like in some glamorous part of California. This one is less interview and more essay, but super interesting, at least, to me.

An interesting aside is that it seems that it was always women doing the interviewing ... maybe by design for contrast or because they thought men would be more open with women as interviewers?  Not sure...

There is a lot of good stuff, so dig deep into the well and see which caught your ear (eye).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quote Thursday

Mom's garden, super dramatic cactus flower

Our lives are like a vapor, 
here for a while, 
and then gone.  
Every moment is important.  
Today I will spend no time 
on self-pity, self-criticism, frustration, or anger.  
I will live for the simple beauty 
of the present moment. 
~ Anonymous

My wish every day ... seldom accomplished, but always anticipated.  I am thinking I just need to put a little more work in that wishing...  uh, that sounded like a little self-criticism... just an idea!

Even weeds are beautiful ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

pre-Thursday poetry?

There is a life-force
within your soul,
seek that life.
There is a gem in
the mountain of your body,
seek that mine. 
O traveler,
if you are in search of That
Don't look outside,
look inside yourself
and seek That.

Tuesday afternoons are hard.  Challenging.  Complicated?

I try to spend time with the mijo on Tuesdays – usually it is his time for the grief group and mine for therapy.

I love the mijo – sometimes more than I think is prudent … love is just such a thorny emotion.

Every time I look in his eyes, I remember that his mom can't anymore.  And it breaks my heart. 

So that joy that I have always derived from spending time with him is now always mixed with these bittersweet acknowledgements about what he has lost; what I have lost; what we have all lost.

I hold in my pain because I am not sure how to talk to him about the grief that either of us experiences in these moments.

Then I go to the grief therapy session and my lovely therapist encourages me to open up … to dig deeper, to look underneath my frustration, my pain, my overwhelm.

It seems we keep coming back to my self-inflicted pain getting heaped on top of all the rest.

We agreed, again, this time that I don't have to add the insult to injury.

As I suggested to a friend last week, at that moment, I could pivot.  

I could move my critical eye for a moment away from my own imperfection.  I could remember in that moment to apply some compassion, to give myself that coveted BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT that I so wish others would also give me.

These are big and momentous agreements, acknowledgements, understandings. 

And they are tiny, small, infinitesimal movements, not large, graceful arabesques.

So, I am digging out my metta mantras and trying again.

When the demons (or gremlins) start to denigrate my being, call out all of my imperfections and human failings, I am going to try to remember to stop, breathe and say these to myself.

May I acknowledge abundance.
May I allow love to flow to and from me.
May I embrace my gifts and talents.
May I feel beautiful and strong.

And these revised mantras:
May I see myself with love and compassion.
May I love myself in failure and triumph.
May I express my tender, whimsical self.
May I open to all the love around me.

And I will work on developing others if these do not provide the balm or succor needed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Talk?

I guess parents of small children must experience crazy déjà vu or something when they hear crazy shit coming out of their children's mouths, only to realize these are remarks parroted directly from the source.  I find, also, with my niece, that I do not realize that I even say such things as "no, no" in that dismissive short click way.   

She has a way of cocking her head to the side when she is about to use one of my lines, or her mother's lines or her babysitter, Paula's, lines.  Her mom calls them Paula-isms… but we agreed there are plenty of other –isms in there.  A current favorite, however, is "Do you want to pee your pants?" delivered completely out of context as a joke.  It might as well be one of her knock knock or chicken cross the road jokes... that must be another post.

I am fascinated by the fact that little E. knows she is throwing one out there and how she waits for the reaction.  Little girls are crazy verbal.  Crazy. Verbal. And this one is also a budding comedian with pretty perfect timing.  Ouch, three going on thirteen or thirty sometimes...
It throws me right back to my first days teaching feeling ultra scrutinized when the students started throwing Ms.-C-isms back at me.  I modified my language because I love to curse … but I kept the curse place marker which, of course, my littlest ones LOVED.  All I could hear from them was, "Sheesh-kabob" and I would roll my eyes.   Please, stop mimicking me … you are going to get me in trouble. 

I guess turnabout is fair play since we have been having too good of a time saying E-isms for the past two years … "no, please" is no more, but we have her pronunciations to mimic with abandon at the moment:  "nuffin" and "woo-re" (for lure) and "yuv" (for love) and especially "sweep" (for sleep).  E. often proclaims at the height of her enjoyment of life, "I'm never going to be sweepy again!" That really should have been in full caps to capture her glee and enthusiasm.  I know that quickly we will have just regular sounding words… thankfully, she is full of other crazy things to keep us amused

Monday, August 25, 2014

NRU California Sights

Here is a piece on a little visited national park in California.  With the drought and all the wildfires, it is sometimes difficult to remember that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world... yup, I said it. I am sure that all people feel that way about their corner of paradise.  But, I think it is something in our DNA we breathe in our surroundings and it becomes for us the embodiment of beauty.  That is not to say that we can't also find beautiful other places.  It is also not to say that we don't take it all for granted when we live it day in and day out...

It may seem like an odd piece to include in a California sights post, but Gloria Molina has been a huge part of my California experience ... I am happy she is going to get some down time ... though if this article is accurate, she is probably not very good at slowing down.  Hopefully retirement will bring her to activities she enjoys.  If I lived in LA I would certainly join this group!

It is a shame that the journalist who wrote this story didn't post more photos to go along with it.  It would be great to see what the murals looked like when first finished, how some survived and others didn't and how the restoration is going on the surviving murals.

This is an unlikely California sight post about a decaying resort area in northern California being overtaken by marijuana cultivators.  However, in this scenic but economically depressed area of California, it is, indeed, a part of the cultural and physical landscape for both the regular inhabitants and would be tourists.  I guess this is a bit of a counterbalance also to the lush posts about little known national/state parks that I have posted before.  You decide.

I am starting to feel like I only meant this "California sights" tag as ironic … but I swear I did not… I just keep reading articles that scream California Sight in an ironic tone.  Is it me or them?  I don't know.  But I did enjoy this article about the history of California in street signs.  Is it a sign of something?? But, again, did it cost extra to put more than one photo?  Or maybe I just don't understand how to access the photos??  It is bratty of me to be demanding … but newspapers have not figured out what I want out of online newspapers.  Just in case anyone is listening/reading/paying attention.  I want content – written – with visuals that are not too difficult to load in public spaces.  So, I don't want videos, and I HATE slideshows… no, no, no to the slideshows.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chocolate, wine and spa day ...

...needed for single moms!

I have a renewed and perhaps more accurate appreciation for women who spend all of their days with children as the parent.   

I have spent countless days with many children, sometimes numbering in over 30 at a time.  I know what it is to have your every move scrutinized and memorized by 60 very observant eyes.  I know what it is to have thoughts interrupted and having to redirect and answer questions and anticipate emotions.

I am working on a longer piece called the non-parent about my changed relationship with my nieces and nephews.   For now, I thought I should record some of my impressions on being with them for longer periods in a different context.  

Last week, I had my nephew full-time for five days while caring for my parents and hosting two dinner parties where I was the chief architect and cook.  This is nothing in comparison with a single mom who is also holding down a full time job ... for context and perspective.

I gave up teaching while I was going through the divorce, because this kind of life was too much for me.   I couldn't juggle all the emotions with being a good teacher.

I would like to say I was never the kind of teacher who sat at her desk and zoned out while students did busy work – but I remember with dread that first year of teaching before I had any training … and the mornings after nights out when I just didn't have it in me to stand on my head in front of the students.

I learned, though, over that year, that the more structured and patterned I was, the better control and the more learning I promoted.  I learned to be "on" constantly.  And then there were the last three years when I had no desk or classroom of my own, so sitting it out was not even a possibility. 

So, I had some context for having all those little eyes and minds churning in my midst, looking for me to provide direction, amusement, discipline, etc. etc. etc.

But being with kids in a daily routine, especially one that is not your own, is a different matter – not in that it is so different, but in that I had never truly experienced it.

Over the five days I had the Mijo full time, I finally realized that those routines and patterns I developed for my students were also necessary for children in daily family life… and though it is not my house or my kid or my life, apparently, I tried…

But, I sure did need that wine by the end of the fifth day … a whole bottle of it (or two).  And I realized what it would be to be a single mom … even of one child… 

Wow, single mom's you are the bomb… we all say that, I know, and even try to mean it. 

But WOW… single mom's I bow to you in deep admiration and compassion. 

And I would buy you all a bottle of wine if I had the cash … when I win the lottery, this is going to the top of my list.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Poetry Thursday, Neruda

Oda a la luz encantada

La luz bajo los árboles,
la luz del alto cielo.
La luz
que fulgura
en la hoja
y cae como fresca
arena blanca.

Una cigarra eleva
su son de aserradero
sobre la transparencia.

Es una copa llena
de agua
el mundo.

~Pablo Neruda

In English, here

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Today... head is too full of reading and writing and thinking and mulling to write much here.

I am low on drafts.

Am I just slowly depleting my stores of words?

I am not sure, but there is no real post for today... maybe Friday, maybe next week...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NRU grief and healing

Heartbreaking and beautiful piece on a family saying goodbye to their 19-year-old son in a coma.  It brings me right back to those horrible days in the hospital, hope dangling in front of us like an illusory carrot, but what did we have to do in order to merit a miracle?  Why did the hospital not level with all of us from the beginning and why have they still not told us the whole truth?  If I carry the anger, sometimes masking the grief, it is in no small part because of the way they did not allow us to wrap our heads around our tragedy. May this family long feel the love of these four days so lovingly memorialized here.

I almost put this piece in the California Sights NRU, but I think the healing aspect is more important to highlight.  I love the way the folks in this article are thinking about how to teach/inculcate restorative justice.  It is a concept that is hard on all sides ... change doesn't happen without learning new habits.  Habits are hard to "teach" but allowing folks to think and feel through all the emotions is a great way to get the point across.  I wonder what a workshop for the survivors would be.

I cannot bear to write about the Brown Family or the many other right now ... it is too hard.  But, I relished this piece on how the police in San Antonio have figured out a protocol (and services) to deal with the mentally ill.  After all the many pieces I have heard on the militarization of the police (and the many thoughts I have harbored as well on the issue), it was wonderful to hear how this works.  Just to hear the police officer, skeptical at first, extolls the benefits of the safety net system they have created brings me hope.  I have always felt that police officers should get more training on the psychological aspects of their job than new weaponry.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

time off

I am terrible at taking time off ... and yet I need it.

After five days of constantly being on, instead of taking the last three days to finish my paper, I took the time off.

But not really... I didn't write, but I didn't go out either.

I rarely left the house.

I relished the quiet moments, when I could get them.

I ate whatever I felt like.

I did not exercise.

I cried some.

I slept a lot.

I played on the computer a little too much.

I probably could have used the time differently -- and others might not see this as time off... but besides having all day in the pjs, this is the best quiet time for me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

After grief?

Activity for the Day
Can you envision life after grief? What will it look like? Where will you live? Who will be your friends? How will you fill your time? Take your journal, and write about your future. See it for what you want it to be.

I have given this prompt a lot of thought over the past month and a half since I had ideally hoped to post this on July 1st. 

Over that time, I think I would have answered the question in different ways.  There have been more hopeful days, and more desperate days and a lot of super overwhelmed days in between.

On some level, the only answer I can really count on is NO… I cannot envision life after grief.  I cannot imagine not having certain thoughts, sights, feelings bringing me right back to the pit of despair.

And yet, even that answer demonstrates the way that things have changed.

About a month ago, when I was visiting with friends, and feeling totally supported and protected, I said I felt like I had finally got past the sucker punch part of grief.

It was not that I was "over" it – just like I didn't feel like a captive to it anymore.  I didn't wake fearing the day.  But I can still not reach sleep very easily.

I have not fully parsed the anger.  There is so much anger at so many windmills because all of that anger gets me nowhere.

There is deep sadness, and I still often feel bereft.

Sometimes, I catch myself feeling lighter … not exactly happy, and that twinge of guilt reappears out of nowhere.  Obviously it is lingering … waiting for the day when I actually deal with it.

I still regret all the days my sister and brother won't get – as if I were somehow to blame for that.

Is that life after grief?

I think about all of the manifestations of grief that I have already been through – and I imagine there are others that I have not yet passed through. 

I am not sure that I can get to the future just yet, dealing with the present moment is about all I can manage – on a good day.

So, this is an incomplete journal challenge – the other questions are for another day.

A final note, I read this piece on a grief counselor's own journey through loss.  It was remarkable.  And it is part of a unique feature in the LA Times that allows for a moderated (read: no trolls) sharing of feelings about those who were victims of homicide in Los Angeles.  It is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.  Grief is such an individual process, it can be so lonely.  But all of us who have lost people precious to us, especially unexpected loss, have so much in common.  I think our shared experience can be a balm, but so many turn away from grief. This doesn't fit into my regular news round up, but is something I wanted to remember to share.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Poetry Thursday, more quote than poem...


We are what we think.   
All that we are arises with our thoughts.   
With our thoughts we make the world.  
 Speak or act with a pure mind and 
happiness will follow you 
as your shadow, unshakeable.   

The Dhammapada

I think I find my thoughts most easily in the clouds... here are some from my travels.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Embracing the Void

I wish I were writing anything other than a RIP post for Robin Williams.

It feels like being plunged into the abyss of grief, again, and I didn't even know this man.

I saw him once ... he came out of his house to cheer on the runners in San Francisco when we were running the first NIKE Women's half marathon many years ago.

Apparently he was just like that ... it had been a bleak run in terms of fans.  We had stared down many unhappy drivers.  We were thankful for the many police officers holding those drivers, gunning their engines, while we ran through intersection after intersection.  In the park, the only people there cheering runners on were Team-In-Training folks -- and the pointedly only cheered on those in purple. [Turned me off of TIT forever - for ever].

Then we ran through that fancy house neighborhood, and who should emerge but one of its famous residents ... just to cheer us on.
I already loved me some Robin Williams -- we go way back. I think Mork and Mindy was my favorite contemporary show.  I forget how many movies he was in  ... and how many of them I loved.  The LA Times collected some here

I would like to understand why this death is hitting (me and others) so hard ... but I have heard and read so many posts about how could someone who could bring so much joy to others be living in such a dark place.

I will let you read all the links for the appraisal of his comedic and other acting genius.

I find the tear in the fabric of our world with the loss of this man ... for deeper, more personal reasons.

In the interstices of the stories on Robin Williams is the story of his inner life -- they call it depression.  The contours of the emotions they describe, however, reveal much more.  There is definitely loneliness, hidden beneath mania.  There is sadness, in the sense, that on the outside, it all seemed fine, better than fine.  On the inside, there was pain unshared.

When you are in introvert in an extrovert's world you have choices.  Many choose "shy" which if you know me, you know that I don't believe in it.  Others choose to be "on" in public and try to find time to decompress.

But, the hardest part for those of us who choose "on" instead of "shy" is that people do not see us.  They see the "on" persona.  They assume that we are okay instead of asking ... they don't understand when we take things hard or seemingly are too sensitive because we have always seemed so "happy" or "on top of it" or "strong."

All of these labels mask the softer, more vulnerable side, often to our own detriment.  And we tend to be able to feel all the hurts of those around us -- more tuned in because we know what that pain feels like and looks like even when it isn't being expressed.

I imagine that is what made Mr. Williams so compassionate to others, and so willing to make someone else's day rather than to ask for help.

Robin Williams, in his own words, on his acting:
"The other tendency is for me to be too vulnerable, where the director has to say, 'OK, that's a little bit too much,' and find something that allows the audience to experience it but without gasping for air."
Please remember to hear more than what others say, and see more than what others show... give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and really care when you ask, "how are you?"  The many sensitive souls in this world need to know you really want to hear the answer to that question.

And consider that this moment of pain is just one moment, and others will follow, some not filled with pain.

May Robin Williams rest in peace -- no longer do you need to entertain ... find peace, find rest.  May his family join together in love as they remember this man who brought so much to so many.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Can We Do?/NRU

I have been uncharacteristically silent on the tragedy in Isla Vista a few months ago.  It is not because I do not have strong feelings about what happened.  I have a policy to not name those who hurt and mangle others, and I will stick to that.  But there are important issues to address that this tragedy brings into painful relief. 

In part, my silence was provoked by the tremendous amount of attention this young man garnered.  I won't lie, I didn't turn away from the coverage from that Saturday morning when it hit my radio.  I watched his video and checked out his google+ page.  I was horrified to read people sympathizing with the gunman's sentiments and blaming blond young women for the rampage. 

I am not going to say that there aren't frustrating people in the world who are self-centered and stuck up.  However, it was clear to me that this was not the issue that kept the young man from connecting with anyone. In fact, I was convinced after viewing the now infamous video that he had never approached any of those women, therefore, he was never actually rejected.  I stand by that assessment after everything I have read and heard about him.

This young man lived in a paranoid, reclusive state where every problem he had was blamed on something or someone outside himself.  And, yes, his parents noted the problem, early, and tried to get him help. 

Here is the problem in a nutshell.  When everyone is trying to get someone help, and there is no appropriate help forthcoming, what do we do? 

I support the efforts to get legislation that will get the cops to pay attention to parents and other family members say that their loved one is a potential danger to him/herself or to others.

I support finding more ways to integrate compassion training into our society – to replace the rampant teaching of bullying that exists.  I have written about it before – but we glorify tv shows and political opponents who openly use bullying as the path to success.  Every time you have watched and participated in making fun of someone, you have been part of the problem. 

If you can make the effort to understand where someone is coming from when he/she annoys, irritates or even amuses you, then we might be on a better path to getting where we need to be.

The fact is that there are many people in the world that are atypical neurologically or chemically – that they are doing what they can to make it in a world that doesn't accept them, or even make sense to them most of the time. 

This does not excuse violent behavior from anyone.  And this young man's acts are not only inexcusable, they are unspeakable.  As unspeakable as the acts perpetrated by another young man who needed help that was not available. 

I think what is called for given these sets of circumstance is to completely review and change the way that we make mental health care available to people – all people.  It means looking at how we provide mental health as well.  If we knew that everyone needs to be mentally healthy for our society's well being, then maybe we could figure out how to not make it stigmatized. 

There are no easy answers, but the fathers in this most current tragedy are talking some truth through the fog of grief.  May they continue to bring light to this situation.  May they find some peace in this work.

In the end, maybe all we can do is learn from this family about compassion, forgiveness and acceptance.   All of these three sure would go a long way to helping us live together more peacefully without the need to resort to violence with a gun or otherwise.  

Here is a quote from one of the father's that struck a chord:
"Grief can come in messy stages — in bursts of tears in public places, in anger over things that never made you mad before, in learning that some questions won't give you answers."

P.S.  As I was still contemplating this post, we lost one of the first people to stand up against guns in this country – it should be noted that he did it because he was injured, technically now murdered, by someone with mental illness and a gun.  May we continue the work Mr. Brady started and may he rest in peace.

Monday, August 11, 2014

More DailyOm Inspiration...

The therapist asked me to look up the word martyr after I reacted strongly to her asking me to consider whether or not I was behaving like a martyr.  She assured me that she did not mean to be judgmental but I could only hear that I was a bad person for complaining ... 

Here is what the dictionary told me:  
1.  a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.
2.  a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.
3.  a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: a martyr to severe headaches.
4.  a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.
verb (used with object)
5.  to make a martyr of, especially by putting to death.
6.  to torment or torture.
 So, as far as I can see, she was referring to meaning number 2, and I could only conceptualize meaning number 4.  We were both justified in holding different views of this simply little six letter word.  As with many communication issues, we cannot leave to much to interpretation.  It is too easy for competing definitions to talk past each other.

When I found this DailyOm, I recognized myself immediately ... it's a good step, not really the first time I have thought about this.  But looking it in the face, following up with that processing of patterns, just might lead me to some different behaviors ... or at least some awareness.  It might be that only awareness can lead to dealing with it more skillfully...
June 11, 2014
Acknowledging Our Pain
Rescuing the Rescuer

by Madisyn Taylor

Sometimes the motivation to help others may be 

an extension of a deep desire to heal 

a wounded part of our self.

Some people seem called to help others, often from very early on in their childhoods, responding to the needs of family members, strangers, or animals with a selflessness that is impressive. Often, these people appear to have very few needs of their own, and the focus of their lives is on rescuing, helping, and healing others. While there are a few people who are truly able to sustain this completely giving lifestyle, the vast majority has needs that lie beneath the surface, unmet and often unseen. In these cases, their motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of themselves that is starving for the kind of love and attention they dole out to those around them on a daily basis. For any number of reasons, they are unable to give themselves the love they need and so they give it to others. This does not mean that they are not meant to be helping others, but it does mean that they would do well to turn some of that helping energy within.

One problem with the rescuer model is that the individual can get stuck in the role, always living in crisis mode at the expense of inner peace and personal growth. Until the person resolves their own inner dramas, they play them out in their relationships with others, drawn to those who need them and often unable to acknowledge their own needs or get them met. In the worst-case scenario, they enable the other person’s dilemma by not knowing when to stop playing the rescuer and allow the person to figure it out on their own. However, if the rescuer finds the strength to turn within and face the needy aspects of their own psyche, he or she can become a model of empowerment and a true source of healing in the world.

Some signs that you or someone you love may need to rescue the rescuer within are inner burnout from over-giving; underlying resentment; an inability to admit to having needs of one’s own; and an unwillingness to be vulnerable. Help comes when we allow ourselves to admit we need it, acknowledging our humanity and our wholeness by acknowledging our pain. The understanding we gain in the process will naturally inform and inspire our ability to help those in need to do the same.
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Friday, August 08, 2014

NRU education

A local school district has implemented an ethnic studies requirement ... and the CA legislature is trying to pass a law that would require it of all school districts.  Hmmm.... is this another middle finger to Arizona or real policy to help students?  I would like to believe in this "requirement" but I wonder that the schools couldn't just on their own figure out how to best reach their students with a variety of classes that both hit the standards and use relevant material.  Perhaps I am dreaming to believe that is possible.

These two stories combine to tell the tale of *public* higher education in California: lowering state funding requires the school to find funds from students *outside* of California and to lower the number of spaces available in general to students.  The Cal State System, that coincidentally is scheduled to spend millions to update the faculty, will limit enrollment growth AGAIN this year. Nearly a third of the most impacted [read hardest for California students' to get accepted] universities will be from outside the state.  Although the numbers in this piece are quite confusing ... a trend seems to put the most exclusive schools at much higher percentages of out of state students.  At what point will these two state schools effectively become private schools catering to those out of state and foreign students who can afford to pay the bulk of the tuition?  This is exactly what comes from underfunding higher education -- and allowing the price to get so high.  How long before the community colleges are also looking outside the state to fund its programs?  I do wish there were stats from Texas' system as it is the most closely related, size-wise, to the UC system.  Comparisons to Michigan and Virginia do not provide useful comparisons.

Um... apparently replacing state funding to universities can get much worse than just losing the local students.... state legislatures, is this really what you want?

Have you noticed that NRU education posts make me long-winded? Yeah, me, too...

This is one that I need to share with friends widely. I am not sure if it is properly placed in an NRU Education Edition because it falls out of the traditional education system.  It also gives me ideas about the kinds of work I could do ... when I am thinking about how to ditch my own educational program.  It is true that there is a definite need ... beyond just teaching, though, there is a need for places where children in dual language programs can continue to use their skills outside of the classroom before they go to college or work.

It may seem ironic, but this little piece on anger, and how to teach your child to deal with it, brings some sunshine to this news round up. I wholeheartedly agree with the author's notion that we need to be real with kids ... whether they are our birth children or those entrusted to us during the day.  Anger scares us in this culture so much ... and I think the epidemic of exaggerated responses (school shootings and other rampages) are a symptom of not talking it out -- or processing it after the shouting match.  One thing is for sure, tamping it down is never going to be productive.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Quote Thursday

And in the end, 
it's not the years 
in your life that count. 
It's the life in your years. 
- Abraham Lincoln

Mom's garden

I really hope this quote is from A. Lincoln.  Regardless of who said it, I like it... I think it will be my new birthday card wish.  That is if I can find out if it is attributed correctly.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Patterns ...

My grief therapist has asked me to think about the patterns in my life -- to look at them with critical yet compassionate eyes... I am more than a little afraid to open those boxes, but I guess I don't really have a choice.

As I gear up for that intense work, and try to get through my papers (or hide from them, as the case may be...), I found these DailyOm missives to help me along.

Thought I would share with anyone that is not subscribed to DailyOm (I highly recommend it, by the way).  More to come in the next few days ... gotta keep the blog updated, it's part of my 1000 word challenge.

July 29, 2014
Repeating Patterns of Meaning

by Madisyn Taylor

Seeing number patterns repeating in your life is a signal to take pause and pay attention to it's meaning.

Glancing at the clock may cause us to look again sometimes, especially when we notice that we’ve caught it at the same time over and over again. Maybe we see the same number pattern echoed everywhere we look—whether on license plates or appliances—over a period of hours or even days. When we accept that there are no coincidences, we know there is a message in the numbers for us, and we know to pay attention to the repeating patterns and search for their true meaning.

Numerology has its basis in the ancient world and tells us that each number carries its own vibration and symbolic significance. It can mark the stages of our soul’s evolution as we move from one frequency to the next. Repeating number patterns in our lives may call us to focus on certain aspects of our lives and rise to approach them from the best within us. Once we’ve recognized that there is something we must look more deeply into, we also must trust that we will be guided to the people and places that hold the right answers for us.

Numbers, as symbols, can carry personal meanings as well. We may have our own lucky number that has served us well throughout our lives and another that reminds us of certain events of significance. If these are the numbers that are appearing, it may be the right time to delve into the past for clues about how to handle a present situation. Many people are seeing 11:11 right now, which can be interpreted as an energetic gateway that has opened for you and is ready to manifest your thoughts into reality. Whatever explanations you receive about the numbers that are appearing everywhere you look, the important thing is to trust your own guidance as to what they are telling you. Each culture attaches different meaning to the numbers, so a Chinese interpretation may be different than an interpretation from Kabalah. It is up to us to use our intuition to see which is the best fit for us. If someone has an explanation that doesn’t feel right, then this is not the answer for you but may be just a clue to keep you moving on the path. By paying attention to the numbers around us, we use them as tools to improve our connection to the universe and our awareness of our choices in life.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

NRU, California Sights...

This is a lovely piece on the Channel Islands, which I will always consider off the coast of Oxnard.  Everyone says Ventura County as if it is so well-known to Oxnard's relative unknown.  We all actually know that it is all about who thinks what is sexy.  Not sexy sexy, but you know what I mean.

I love downtown Los Angeles, and this LA Times contributor used Raymond Chandler's birthday as an awesome excuse to explore downtown's nooks and crannies.  My nephew and I are planning adventures we can take from the Metro, so this piece hit the spot.

This is not the typical CA Sights entry ... instead of a tour of sights, it is a tour for the stomach: food crawl.  Not the best article, but an interesting idea about how to learn about the restaurants in our area.  Looks like these tours exist in other cities as well.  I like the idea of mixing food love with networking.

Another atypical CA sight:  a homeless man participating in and finishing a marathon.  This might be one of those only in San Francisco things.  This might belong in the silver lining NRU, but I thought it was so California, I would put it here.  I have both run in and volunteered at the SF Marathon, so I was tickled.  As usual, SF Gate offers lukewarm writing, but the story here is good enough to carry it.  I do wonder, though, if SF Gate would have known about it at all is ESPN hadn't done a story about it... oh, the state of our local newspapers is so depressing.

This is another crossover silver linings/CA sight: the church of helping others.  In this case, it is the specific action called Laundry Love where folks descend on a laundromat to offer free love and clean clothes to any who need it.  I was interested to hear that this practice has origins in Ventura, particularly given the kerfuffle of late over offering homeless folks services within a neighborhood.  I am not even going to link to that article again as it makes my heart hurt every time.

This is a review of a book about a California sight that is no more, but of interest in any case, particularly because it demonstrates, at the author of the review points out, both our thirst for new and modern and how quickly we tire of the "new." Holy run-on sentence! This follow-up piece talks about more nostalgia for Southern California amusement park sights.  I visited the Santa Monica Pier recently and discovered why I had never ventured there before.  I like these sights in the historical documents a little more than I enjoy them in the present.

After our camping adventure, my nephew told me he wanted to start exploring Los Angeles… all the places you can get to on public transportation. To be clear, he was only thinking about the metro, but I added in the idea of buses … and our feet.  We have yet to get started on these adventures, but this article made meitch for a free day to do this! I guess afterwards we will have to make our own app... how does one do that? Got to go to Causathon??
I want this pastrami sandwich now.  In a previous life, and perhaps just as a teenager, I came to love pastrami.  I am not a pastrami snob, though, I have been known to enjoy turkey pastrami as well as the kind that is discussed here.  It was my love of the pastrami that led me to believe that I could have been misplaced from the East Coast.  Alas, I think I was always just a West Coast pastrami fan.  I am adding this deli to my LA adventurelist.  I will let you know.

The stretch of highway that links Oxnard to the Los Angeles County part of Malibu has always been a part of my life.  I have often said that I know every turn, as I imagine my parents do.  It is where my mom grew up.  I know her family's connection to the place.  It turns out this road is part of me from both sides.  I learned recently from a maternal uncle that one of my paternal grandfather's jobs in California was to manage access to what is now called the Pacific Coast Highway.  Apparently, the road used to be private, owned by the family that owned a large ranch near the coast.  I am not sure when and how this article if its into that timeline except to say that I believe my grandpa arrived in California sometime in the 1920s … maybe mid, maybe early.  In any case, this is an interesting little piece of California history – and a part of our family history, too.