Tuesday, November 25, 2014

6.25 Courage - Nationwide Discussion on Hard Issues

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-fifth day of each month is "Courage."
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Here's the deal. I don't actually care much about the facts of the case. A teenager died, a police officer shot twelve shots, and I don't know that much else needs to be said. This young man was beloved by his parents, had all the future in the world available to him, complete with college plans and direction, and this was his fate.
 
What I do care is that some people are still denying that this is a story about race. Who cares if the dead man was black and that the man who fired twelve shots was white, they say.
 
It matters if the folks who took to the street, protesting violently or peaceably, say it matters. If there is perceived discrimination of the criminal justice system, then this case doesn't matter, really (although of course it matters greatly to the family of the young man who won't get to move into his college dorm), but the fact that it is catalyzing so many people to talk about race does matter.  

I do see the police officer's point of view. He felt threatened. He saw a young black man coming at him, reaching under his shirt, and he assumed the worst.  But it's bullshit that he was so scared that a member of the "urban youth" had a gun. If there's systematic bias in charging and prosecuting black men for crimes in the criminal justice system, there's a systematic stupidity in this country that allows every crazy person to carry a gun. 

But I digress.  

Race matters. It matters because that officer assumed that the unarmed man was armed because he was black. It matters because there aren't proportionally as many black people on police forces because it's impossible to recruit black people to police departments because qualified black men and women have more prestigious work to do and there's a history of animosity between police and many minority populations. It matters because until the police force can look like the people it's supposed to serve and protect, the symbolism of a white officer shooting an unarmed black citizen will continue to galvanize certain members of certain communities into violence.  Race matters because when black people took to the streets to protest, the police handled it in a way that makes the National Guard at Kent State look level-headed. Race matters.
Justice for all kitties!!
I can't imagine how hard it is to be a young black man in the United States today. I can't imagine how hard it is to be a police officer in an area where you feel threatened by young black men all day. I can't imagine how this police officer will live the rest of his life knowing he overkilled a bright young man. I can't imagine the pain of the family members of either party in this case.

But I can imagine, and hope, that we talk about these things and come to an understanding that fixing the injustices and inequities will not be easy.  But it's absolutely worth it if we can stop just one horrific death.
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 To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Monday, November 24, 2014

6.24 Pain - First Snowstorm

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-fourth day of each month is "Pain."
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This is what it looked like when I was walking to class today.  It doesn't actually capture the full wind blowing craziness.  Or the layer of ice right under the snow.  Or the piles of snow randomly in the walking path, put there by Bobcats clearing snow in the parking lot. 
My five minute commute to school took fifteen minutes today. My Yaktrax came out of the closet.  Attendance at class hovered around 50%.  Snow combined with the week of a holiday means campus is a ghost town and those who are left are in full complain mode.

In recent years, I've grown to resent the Thanksgiving holiday and all the stress that it brings with it and today. Well, today did not help me love it any more. 
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

6.23 Writing - I Love You

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-third day of each month is "Writing."
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When I was in Michigan this past July, I took this picture and knew, just knew, that I would need it when the weather got like this. This entire weekend has been gray and rainy with freezing temperatures at night that lead to icy sidewalks in the morning and I look at this picture and I know that someday I will be at a place again where beaches sound like lovely places to go.

It hasn’t been bad, though, this weekend. It really hasn’t. We’ve cuddled on the couch, I’ve done more reading than I should probably admit, and we’ve gotten ourselves mentally prepared for this coming week because you know this week is going to drain us of our will to live. For the first three days of the week, we will attempt to teach our classes when enrollment is half of what it should be with everyone heading home to start the holiday early. Then we will frantically arrive to my in-laws’ house on Thanksgiving to noise and overstimulation.  By the time the boy picks at his food, pretending to think it’s going to be safe to eat, and we get out of there and come home, we’ll be desperately preparing for the next full week of classes.

But it’s nothing, right?  Because there is someone out there who took the time to write this message to me and it’s more meaningful to me right now than that person would ever know. 
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

6.22 Seven Deadly Sins - Greed (All the Marshmallows)

Bestest Friend and I are embarking on a new blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-second day of each month is "Seven Deadly Sins."
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There's a local business here that sells these delicious homemade marshmallows. Now, I'm not the kind of person who has marshmallows in my house - until I tried some of these marshmallows at the Farmers' Market, I thought you only purchased Stay Puft for smores and an occasional mug of hot chocolate - but these things are like crack.  I totally love the salted caramel, although I've also had cherry vanilla and cinnamon and those flavors were quite good, too.  Usually I just have a marshmallow or two after dinner and it makes my life complete, but after Halloween we had four or five mini-Hershey bars left and I would melt a marshmallow and chocolate bar for like five seconds in the microwave and just foodgasmed.
Anyway, the thing is that these are gluten free and Dr. BB could eat them, but HE NEVER GETS TO. They are mine and if he so much as touches them, I give him The Look.  It's rare that I deny him an opportunity to eat something that he can actually have, but these salted caramel marshmallows are only available on limited basis and I DON'T SHARE.  

That is all.  
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit To Quit.    

Friday, November 21, 2014

6.21 Laughter - You Will Get An A

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-first day of each month is "Laughter."
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It's a small state university in a state with an unemployment problem. Our conservative governor claims that we should only teach classes that have a direct corollary to success in the workplace (note to said governor: teaching critical thinking and clear communication skills will help in any job).  Anyway, the end product is that it is, on occasion, difficult to get people to register for some classes.  If a student doesn't feel like a class will have a practical application, they might not take it.

(Imagine that here I discuss how the import of a good liberal arts education and make a suggestion that folks go to a trade or technical school if they wish to learn how to something practical.  Off my soapbox now.)

So we advertise for people to take our courses - we jazz them up, make them sexy, and attempt to convince students to walk on the wild social science side for a semester.

I walked by this flier (I just looked up flier/flyer and now I'm more confused than ever about which is correct) about a dozen times and each time I would get all huffy and puffy and start muttering to myself about grade inflation and low standards and work myself up into a typical NGS lather.  And then I stopped to read it.  Cue convulsive laughter.  (Also - great advertising. I think I'll use this technique the next time I need to get enrollments in my sections.)

Full text:
If you take this class, you will get an excellent understanding of Russian history since 1815!
How have Russian and the USSR shaped European and world history in the last two hundred years?
Why was Russia the site of the first real experiment in communism and why did it end so disastrously?
Was Rasputin indeed "Russia's greatest love machine?" 
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit To Quit

Thursday, November 20, 2014

6.20 Lessons - Lunch

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twentieth day of each month is "Lessons."
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Lunch has historically posed problems in our household. It used to be a never ending source of angst for me until I explained to the boy how much stress it was causing me and HE TOOK OVER HIS OWN LUNCH.  It's not like we have chores split down the gender norms, but somehow I had taken on lunch as part of my duties, along with things like taking care of Zelda's food and litter, vacuuming, and putting gas in the car and with his food intolerances and allergies and needing two times as many calories as I need, I just couldn't hack figuring out what to do with his lunch* anymore.
And, I swear I am in my mid-30s and it just recently occurred to me, but I can prepare most of my lunch the night before.  This is life altering. I don't need to take five minutes in the morning to chop vegetables and put some pretzels in my lunch cooler - I can do it the night before and sleep for another five minutes.

Now I've got lunch handled.  (Yes. This is common sense to all of you people who have common sense.)

*Dr. BB's normal lunch: A sandwich with Udi's Gluten Free Millet Chia Bread, Oscar Meyer Selects lunch meat, mayo, and lettuce; a carefully portioned out serving of Ruffles Original potato chips; a handful of almonds; a cheese stick; a beverage of some sort with many, many calories, like a Coke or a Pepsi

*My normal lunch: A giant container of vegetables; one carefully measured tablespoon of ranch dressing; a 100-calorie pack of Wholly Guacamole; one serving of pretzels; occasionally I treat myself to fruit like a pear or a serving of apple cider
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

6.19 My Best Friend - Chickens

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the nineteenth day of each month is "My Best Friend."
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Pilgrim fowl are a breed of chicken that sometimes go by a moniker that is my actual name.  At some point, Bestest Friend learned this fact and has taken to sending me chicken-themed things - a calendar with new breeds of chickens every month, greeting cards with chickens on them, you know, chicken things - and so when I recently opened a package of socks she sent me (I LOVE SOCKS!), I was only a little bit surprised when this guy also came out of the package.
I wish you could all see this thing in person. It wobbles on those giant feet, the comb and tail are this clear plastic, and the ceramic is so shiny you could put on your makeup while looking at it.  It goes without saying that I fell in love with it immediately and brought it to my office so that I could look at it while I'm working to cheer me up, right?

Don't you now wish there was a breed of chicken that shared your name?
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.
 
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