Monday, February 29, 2016

NRU The Kitchen Sink

The usual suspects
on homelessness and tone deafness:
Los Angeles, like San Francisco now and New York before it, is waging an unneeded and cruel war on the homeless (again).  Here is the latest missive on their tactics.  I can barely stomach to read them, but it is important as citizens to keep an eye on the policies we unleash on the least protected, most vulnerable in our societies.  I was so sad to see that piece after I had opened this one to read and found this other one to read.  In the first short piece, there is not just empathy, and that power of connecting with source energy of others, but hope.  Hope that simple gestures of respect and honor can help people to regain and reclaim their humanity.  What a gift!  And in the second, which I realized after I opened, I had already read and probably shared last month, is another way for people with significant resources and skill to connect with those in need.  Hope, again, all dashed when you see the city taking away the pieces of dignity so lovingly and with empathy bestowed on those without homes.  Ugh.  Utterly heartbreaking.

political corner:
During a contentious political season such as this, it is incumbent on citizens to become knowledgeable about the issues being discussed by candidates. Therefore as the GOP candidates continue to rail against immigrants, particularly those undocumented, these are some facts that need to be investigated and weighed against the policies espoused by these candidates:
"'Undocumented immigrants, like everyone else in the United States, pay sales taxes. And they also pay property taxes—even if they rent. Plus, as ITEP points out, “the best evidence suggests that at least 50 percent of undocumented immigrant households currently file income tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs), and many who do not file income tax returns still have taxes deducted from their paychecks.' In sum, according to ITEP, 'undocumented immigrants living in the United States pay billions of dollars each year in state and local taxes. Further, these tax contributions would increase significantly if all undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States were granted a pathway to citizenship as part of a comprehensive immigration reform.'"

I searched in vain for "good" news or even "silver lining" news -- maybe it is just me and I am feeling gloomy, or maybe it is all bad news, I don't know.  But in lieu of good or not so bad news, instead, I am going to give you travel porn.  You are welcome.  If you clicked and didn't see the bodies you expected on the beach, sorry, you must not have met me.  You are lucky it wasn't the ten best cemeteries to travel to in the world, that is my ultimate travel porn.

Non-Mainstream Media
I am not always sure why we need outlets like Medium of TheMighty.  Aren’t there already myriad ways for people to publish their writings? Then, you read something like this.  And the need for an alternative media source that compiles/publishes “the other side” of stories becomes readily apparent. When I wrote I am not always sure why we need Medium it was not meant to imply that what they offer is not of substance, useful and often compelling.  It is just that I am not always sure why these voices are not present in our mainstream media.  This article itself is demonstrative proof of the need for *alternative* outlets.  I cringe when I write that … our media should always contain a variety of voices, viewpoints and opinions.  These are the days I am glad we have the internet.

This is a letter a mother writes to herself on the day she receives the official diagnosis her son is autistic.  I won’t belabor the point.  This kind of *reporting* is not full of references to clinical studies or long treatises on the history of treatments or government regulations or school level interventions.  This is the kind of real deal information that mothers and fathers who are worried about their children need to know.  Thank you to the internet, again, for providing the means to disseminate this info.  Oh, and, of course, thank you to the parents who are willing to share of themselves.  Your ability to be vulnerable and strong, open and fierce, loving and disciplined is greatly appreciated.

Friday, February 26, 2016

NRU Education, again, I can't help myself!

Every day, I say, I won't read pieces on education.  Sometimes I use my online retail therapy approach for poor people: put items in cart, close browser window before buying (sometimes I go all the way through to the cart for fun).  In this instance, open articles I want to read, leave them open in browser until I can stand to close the tab.

These stayed open to long and I read them, oops..

Stumbled upon this piece on resiliency, so interesting ... and deserving of more research.  My research feelers go crazy for this stuff.  I need to figure out how to get my research on without it feeling like phantom limb pain.

I found someone on fb that seems to specialize in occupational therapy aimed at children/youth/adults with developmental disabilities including autism and adhd [I will not go down the rabbit hole of how I feel about adhd diagnoses or diagnoses in general].  I have been gorging on the articles he posts.  Some I will store here for future reference, some I have already closed.  I am brewing, stewing, considering potential new careers (more on this soon or later, why make promises I can't keep, might not keep), and these articles are providing fodder for lingering thought.

Not sure if this is really education, it is in the sense of the word educacion in Spanish it is.  How do we talk to our kids about race? Is there one way to do it?? Here is one fairly facile version.  The reality is that talking about difference, in general, is more complicated ... and changes with the age(s) of your child.  For sure, it is important to engage as often as necessary and appropriate and to "normalize" these kinds of conversations so your kids will know it is alright to come to you with questions, quandaries and uncertainty.

These are the ones that I really wanted to read, but decided it would be too much heart ache ... so, without any editorial remarks:
Teaching not for Introverts (subtitle: why introvert teachers are burning out)
LAUSD's Miracle ... 
Here's one about a lawsuit regarding special ed in Pasadena, I may just read this someday, but right now it hits a little too close to home.
Apparently the charter school miracle is getting exposed.  Even though I predicted this ... I still can't bring myself to read it just now.

Just haven't gotten to these but I will read them, soon:  Washington Posts' What Parents and teachers don't know but need to understand about ADHD, part 1 and part 2.

[It the links don't die, I guess I can come back and read them if I get over my own burnout.]

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cita de jueves

From the spot where we scattered my sister's ashes...

La memoria del corazon
elimina los malos recuerdos
y magnifica los buenos,
y gracias a ese artificio,
logramos sobrellevar el pasado.
 ~Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
El amor en los tiempos de colera

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Right Now!

Knee deep in resume hell... thirty minutes to cattle call with the local school district... off to finish that resume, print it and figure out how to look presentable.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Don’t run away from grief, O soul.
Look for the remedy inside the pain
Because the rose came from the thorn
And the ruby came from a stone.

I have been weepy lately. 

I struggle to imagine in a few short months it will be three years since we lost my sister (and 3 years and 7 months since we lost my brother).

The pain is still so fresh.

I ran away from grief so much for the past few years.  Maybe that is why it feels like yesterday.

Sometimes it feels like now.

I wake from dreams (nightmares really) in the hospital, unable to do anything to change the situation.

Really the dreamscapes are not in the hospital, but every other conceivable situation where you are watching the accident happen -- sometimes over and over -- unable to do anything to change the outcome. 

I wake exhausted as if I had not slept.  I feel like I have been through a grueling workout -- uphill both ways, shall we say.

And I weep.  The tears pouring out because I know that there is no way to stop them, and, indeed no reason to.

And there are waking dreams, too, where I am lead back to other hurts and losses that haven't been fully processed in order to release them.

I wish I could say weeping makes me feel better, that it was some kind of release or catharsis.

But it is purely an expression of grief.  I grieve all the days I will not have with them.  I grieve the loss of the me that only they knew, that they took with them to their graves.

I grieve for the adult relationship we will never have.

I grieve for the tears in the fabric of our lives that their deaths rented.

I shudder when I remember they will not see their children grow, that they will give no advice, not see their grandchildren born. 

I sometimes feel I will break under the pressure their absence heaves on my shoulders.

I cannot be them; I cannot do their bidding; I cannot substitute or compensate.  In fact, how often have I felt that the thought of me being the one left to my parents or my younger siblings has caused them (and me) more grief?

I can only be me -- and right now I am weepy.

I want so desperately to be on the other side of grief, if there is one.  I am not always convinced that it is possible.

But like the squeegee hunt, with grief, there is only one way -- through it.

As hard as it is, I am grateful to have finally allowed myself to be open enough to feel this grief.  Grateful for friends who encourage me and hold me in their thoughts, willing me the strength to do this.  Grateful to the universe for holding this spot for me until I was ready to jump in it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

NRU more mishmash

This one is old, from 2013, but it just popped up, somehow, on fb and I adored it.  So, I am sharing. It is the story of a couple who collected art on their civil servant pay for 40 or so years.  Maybe longer.  I am not sure what part of the story I love more:  that they were frugal but able to spend on what they loved; or that they became so intimate with the art community in part because of their pure love of art.  This is a love story on many levels.

These articles are burning a hole in my browser, but I cannot actually bear to read them.  I keep imagining I will have such a good day that reading sad, disturbing stories won't bother me.  And what counts as sad and disturbing one day can be just fine another day, so don't worry if the stories above and below seem exactly the same sadness and disturbing ...  without editorial remarks I leave them here, you may read and report.  I may get the courage to read if the links don't die:

Why the Deaths of Latinos at the Hands of the Police Haven't Drawn as much Attention ... and what would a day without Latinos look like (redux and WI addition, who knew?!). 

So many political articles, what with the crazies running for president and the justice from hell dying ... these are not necessarily the two best articles, but they are the ones that were the last open in my browser. 

For some international flare on the political scene, I offer you an article about Bolivia's president and his "love scandal." I guess it's good to know that we are not the only ones talking about what is not important.  It is far more pressing for the Bolivian people to talk about what it would mean to lift restrictions on a fourth term.  I don't know what is right for them, as a people or a country, perhaps pretend democracy is better than real democracy (who has that anyway?!) at this time.  But I am pretty sure that this scandal is not what matters.  And as to whether or not he is handling the "truth" and his affair in a particularly good or bad way, well that has nothing to do with whether or not the people of Bolivia should sanction dictatorship with electoral reforms and elections in general.

Friday, February 19, 2016

stream of consciousness

Sometimes, technology doesn't like me ... even when Mercury is not in retrograde. 

But, right now, Blogger likes me ok, so I am going to keep writing here while I wait for LinkedIn to stop losing its damn mind.

Yesterday, I walked around the lake.
I usually walk the lake once a week -- whenever I am in a mile deficit because it gets me almost 5 miles. 

This week I walked the lake at least twice.

Usually, I walk with someone, so I am noticing what is going on, but also usually having a long, involved (or several) three to four mile lasting talks.

Yesterday, I should have known it was going to be different when I walked by the young woman on the phone. 

I wish I could remember exactly what she was saying, something about I am not saying you are a bitch, but you are wasting my time making me talk to you like you are a bitch.

It was evocative, in its way, and I was trying to memorize the two lines so I could write it down.  But I was late to meet my walking partner.

Little did I know that our first encounter on the lake would be our neighborhood flasher (walking partner does not like me dubbing him that as he might not be moving into our neighborhood). [Hereafter known as NF].

My friend was waving wildly, even though she hadn't seen me when I was waving at her from across the street.

Turns out she had been scrutinizing NF -- she had seen him once before, downtown with his goods hanging out of his pants. 

When she noted NF, he was walking near a woman, talking and walking fast.  The woman, pushing a stroller, was visibly disturbed, and my friend was trying to figure out how to help her. 

As it happened, she helped by getting NF to pay attention to us.  She had me turn around before she explained any of this and we got his attention.  She asked, "Is he following us?" and I said he wasn't, in an attempt to calm her.

But he was.  

And even though he was short, he caught up to us.  I shooed him away by saying no to whatever he said (after good morning, because there is no need to be impolite). 

He backed off, and I shrugged my shoulders and kept walking.  Later my friend repeated what he had said, I honestly hadn't paid attention to the words.  I knew my role was to reject and shut down.  So, I did it.

Apparently he thought by looking over at him we had indicated a desire or a need for his private parts.  So, being the amiable NF, he offered it directly to us. 

Turns out my rejection was apt. 

He was single minded in his quest, and presumably continued looking for the one (or ones) that had such a need.

As I told my friend, and then her husband when he joined us, sometimes you just have to keep asking until someone says, "YES!" It might not be the one you intended .... you just never know.

And because I don't want to start another NRU draft file, here is a little piece on First Fridays (which I love but haven't been to since I moved back to Oakland) and whether or not Oakland is about to lose its artistic soul.  You don't really  have to read the article to know what it is about, but it's here if you do want to read it.  Needless to say, I am feeling Anyka's rent pain as I try to find a place I can afford...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Poetry Thursday

Oh soul, 
you worry too much. 
You have seen 
your own strength. 
You have seen your own beauty. 
You have seen your golden wings. 
Of anything less, 
why do you worry? 
You are in truth the soul, 
of the soul, of the soul.
~ Rumi  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

More Oakland

I keep saying I will make time to finish those blog drafts, or start the pesky life blog posts hidden in my heart.  Alas... I am applying for jobs, that is refining my resume, and helping people organize their lives and trying to get fit...

So, here is another bit of the pictorial of my wanderings last week... enjoy

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

NRU more mishy and mashy

Ok, so this will be some "old" news and some more "current" events because it turns out I had more articles I was hording but not ready to write about for the last mishmash.

If you are in LA or its environs during the heat wave, this sounds like a great way to spend the day -- reading and pedaling on the water: a floating library in the middle of a "lake!"

This is the story of the cab driver who unwittingly picked up three fugitives who had just broken out of jail.  It is really stranger than fiction.

Continuing with the theme of "you wouldn't believe it unless it was in a novel" is a story about the death of two prominent citizens in NJ ...I won't tell you more except the cops think one thing and the family doesn't see how it could be possible.

It is so interesting when "friending" someone that you don't really know on fb can lead to stories you want to read and share.  The writer of this piece on having difficult conversations with loved ones about death is the candidate for whom my friend works.  I would never have seen this if I hadn't "liked" his page for my friend's sake of getting the candidate more likes!

Monday, February 15, 2016


 I had the time to walk a bit in a part of Oakland where I don't spend too much time, and I snapped a couple of pictures...
 This eclectic bit of scenery is a big part of why I love Oakland.

Friday, February 12, 2016

NRU education edition

Really, I keep saying I am not going to do this, and then I can't help myself.

These are the articles that stayed open on my browser until I just had to share them.  Hope you enjoy.

Wow ... if you want to be inspired, read about this teacher.  There are many others out there, but we like to focus on the "bad apples."  I love everything about this teacher ... and I hope others are inspired to bring their magic to classrooms everywhere.

Starting strong down the proactive, positive, inspiring work and staying in that lane.  This NY Times article describes a thoughtful program in Oakland to help Black boys achieve greater heights in education.  I sure wish them well -- and lots of strength and staying power because it takes time to build up when you are starting so far behind 0.  These boys deserve this kind of truly thorough, meticulous and empathetic approach to inspiring excellence.

This is the beginning of an interesting series on how to work the Four Agreements with middle school girls.  I love this book and applaud this woman's efforts.  This piece specifically deals with the first agreement: Be impeccable with your word. This one is for the second agreement: Don't take anything personally.  Stay tuned for the last two ... that is check back with Christina's blog for those other two.

This is a beautiful (and succinct) piece on autism from someone who has autism.  His five things you should know could not be expressed in a more open or striking way.  Everyone should read this -- but parents especially should take his words to heart.  Excellent empowerment...

Ok, so you knew this happy happy could not last on a news round up about education, right?  So, this piece is about how young Latinos don't see themselves in books and why that matters.  Short synopsis -- it matters! 

I'm gonna call it here even though I am sure more stuff will pop up ... this is a lot to digest in one take and I am pleased with the upbeat perspective.  Let's try to have a week filled with this approach to life and challenges.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cita de jueves/Poetry Thursday

Amigos verdaderos 
son los que vienen a 
compartir nuestra felicidad 
cuando se las ruega
 y nuestra desgracia 
sin ser llamados.
~Demetrio de Falerea, filosofo atenienese
True friends 
in prosperous times
 come only when invited, 
but in misfortune 
of their own accord.
~Demetrius of Phalerum, Athenian Orator

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

NRU super mish mash

Since it was Mardi Gras today, I had super nachos for lunch.  I know, not on my diet.  But, hey if you can't eat fatty food on fat Tuesday, when can you??  And no, I will not be giving any food products up for Lent.  The Pope said not to...

I sure hope it is true that folks will start to rethink their war on rats.  I know lots of folks think rats are nasty.  There are some good reasons to hate on them.  Though, to be fair, they are not to blame for most of what we find questionable in their living habits.  They are not making lifestyle choices.  Sure, they played a part, unwittingly, in the black plague.  But, our lifestyle choices are killing and maiming so many animals up the food chain.  Refrain from poison - please - find another way. Plus - family link, Dos Vientos was one of my mom's childhood stomping grounds.

I am sad to not be closer to the ocean for daily walks during these summer like winter days ... but glad to not have to meet up with the underweight sea lions.  It is so very sad ... and our complicity in this tragedy makes me feel angry, outraged, helpless and guilty all at the same time.  If you can look in this little one's eyes and not see the reality of global warming, then your connection to reality is much more tenuous than previously believed.  Sending the padded wagon for you now.

If you have never been to the desert (here's a guide) in the spring time, this might be the year to venture out.  I swear everything in the desert is magnified ... and wildflowers are no exception.  Maybe that is why the hummingbirds were so happy in Albuquerque.

Are you an aspiring writer?  Well, if you said, "YES!" here is one for you. Ursula LeGuin, besides being an inspiring human being and incredible writer, is also an awesome community member.  She is offering a free online writing course.  You're welcome!

If writing is not what you need, but the opportunity to "manifest your succulent wild life," SARK (google her for yourself, I can't do it all for you!) is offering another free e-course.  Again, you are welcome... and enjoy!

Black History Month Corner
28 kick ass women you should know about, if you don't already...
The everyday practice of Black girl accountability
Not leaving out the boys, but ugh: Teaching the ongoing murder of Black boys... 
Wow ... Paul Revere Williams, architect.  If you have ever flown in or out of LAX, you have seen his amazing work.

Ok... so it turns out I have been hording a lot of articles. 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Poetry Thursday

Wherever you stand,
be the Soul
of that place.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

I wish I could show you, 
when you are lonely 
or in the darkness, 
the astonishing light 
of your own being! 
Scenes from life...2013 to now