Thursday, April 30, 2009

Songbird wins with a photo from Ethiopia

Songbird submitted 3 photos to a nature photography competition at the college she attends. Over 60 photos were submitted. About 25 were selected to be displayed and all 3 of hers were selected for display. In addition, one winner was chosen. Songbird's shot from Gondar Ethiopia: King Fasilades Bath won. Songbird received a plate of home baked cookies and her photo was framed. Isn't that marvelous? Below you will find all 3 photos and her title for each. I'm smitten by her sweetness.
Nature persists: Trees overgrow the remains of an Ethiopian courtyard
Look around: Take a Minute
Taken with the wind: this little red bug perches on a pod ofmilkweed

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Birds for Blueberry

Today was just perfect. Blueberry and I headed to our neighborhood thruway for warbler migration. I'm a novice and enthusiastic birder, and this is my favorite time of year. The trees haven't leafed yet, the sun is warm, and the warblers are moving through to their new destinations. They won't stay, so now's the time to get out and get happy.
I was prepared for a stroll with my little one; koala crackers in their own little box for enticing grasper activity, cup of water, banana, sturdy Bob stroller, binoculars, camera, and bird book. We spent 2 hours strolling the preserve both on foot and in the stroller. It was an exquisite time with Blueberry and the birds. We took our time (he took his time) and I discovered that I'm going to be able to visit the preserve and have a great time with Blueberry - he loves to walk/ride/listen/dig crackers out of the dirt. And, I only found one tick on him when we were all done.

Here are a few of our favorites today (images from Cornell Lab of Ornithology) -
green heron (top of the post), white crowned sparrow, brown thrasher,
and the lovely prothonotary warbler. These warblers are stunningly beautiful.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Today, on my way home from my happy place (play group!) I stopped at my high school with Blueberry in tow, gingersnap cookie crumbs smeared all over my shirt, and turned in my contract for work next year. I will be ending my one year leave of absence and reentering the work force with a 2/5 contract (40%). In a year of cuts and some tough economic times for my district I thought I'd have no choice but to return to a full time position. But, a variety of department needs and changes emerged with the outcome of a great opportunity to resume this year as a part time high school teacher. I am so happy about this agreement; for myself, for Blueberry, for my family. It's great for all of us. I will be teaching 2 classes and I will be working for about a total of 4-5 hours every other day, commute included. And, I am teaching ONLY 9th graders and ONLY the cultural anthropology curriculum. I love love love teaching cultural anthropology to students in their first year of high school. It is an awesome curriculum with OH SO MUCH potential to really reach kids on so many levels.
Oh yes, I happened upon school during the first lunch period and Blueberry and I received some major lovin' from my students. It was fun to hear the squeels of delight from the kids over the darling curly haired boy in my arms and to hear, "please please come back soon!" Isn't it funny when kids miss the very people they complained about just 9 short months ago? hehehehehehe....high isn't for everyone.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

About Whiteness

This is a great blog and today was a perfect post for me:
Take the time to read it, and don't overlook the comments. Privilege is written all over and in this refelction. Once again I find kernels of deeper understanding for myself both as an individual white woman AND as a member of a group (the normative white). I need these reads that are honest, alert, and courageous. Honest inquiry requires particular attention to POC and their experience and perspectives. This blog rocks.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Waffles Drives Alone

This big kid can now drive more than Blueberry's Rody. Waffles now has his driver's license. 3 out of 4...and counting.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Country's Hallways

Somewhere in the country a high school staff e-mail arrived with the following alert: "Please be aware there are some racial tensions between students today. Be visible in the hallways during passing time and let us know immediately of any student conflicts."

What would you do with this information as a staff person, a parent, a community member?

Tomorrow I am attending an all day training titled, "How to Create Inclusive Organizations." I have a responsibility to my family and to my work place to improve the places we learn, the places we live, and the places we play. I'm going to start building some expertise so that I can be an effective leader. I want to make a difference - I need a good tool belt for this job. I'm excited about formally starting this journey - building a resume as an anti-racist parent and anti-racist teacher is important to me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Feet Have A Choice

My feet couldn't take 'no shoes' all day long. And, my feet had a choice today - they could choose shoes or not. Sometimes they chose the New Balance shoes with Superfeet inserts, sometimes the teal Crocs, and sometimes they chose to be naked.

My naked feet appreciated the task of being shoeless for a cause. Sadly, my shoeless day wasn't a very public day. It was an "at home day" and our out and about was in the backyard park where bare feet didn't really make a public impact. Still, my personal attention to this effort was focused and mindful.

I thought a lot about my young friends in Ethiopia during "shoe focused" day. I remembered when the boys in Lalibela asked Waffles to play in their regular morning soccer game my 3 kids were sad to discover the kids all played in plastic sandals - the sandals were their only shoes. And, our friends shone shoes for a very very meager living. Actually, you can't call what they earned "a living" in any way. I had my Keen's shone every day by the boys. Richard asked me directly to buy him some shoes and have a helpful traveler bring them to Addis for him. AlemTsehaye was walking many kilometers every day to visit her father who was sick in the hospital. Walking, Playing, Working - feet carry us to our destinations.

I don't feel lucky. I feel undeserving. These are my happy feet hanging off our boat. Undeserving.


It's a good day in WI to go barefoot, and it's a good day in the world to think about the luxury of shoes. Go barefoot today, folks. Here is why: TOMS Shoes is asking you to give up shoes for a day in an effort to experience what it is like for the many children who must go without shoes each day. The company, which donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every adult pair purchased, is hoping to raise awareness about the impact a pair of shoes has on a child by asking people to "go barefoot on the way to the water cooler, walking to the mailbox, in an afternoon meeting or on your lunch break." For more information, visit Read the "our movement" section and think about how one person's mission can change lives. It's a one to one program and it's a good one. While you're there, buy a pair of Tom's.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Celebrity Sightings

We ate lunch with this guy on Easter morning at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. Well, we picniced (is that a word?) right next to him and his family and we exchanged the typical family greetings and smiles while enjoying breakfast burritos cooked to order. Yum. He has cute kids. He also looks just like his "PC guy" character. Mr. Silly Pants commented, however, the technology he was using to text (probably twitter since I saw he has a twitter page) was NOT a Mac product. Hmmmmmm.
and I shopped at Whole Foods with her; we made good eye contact and she smiled at Blueberry

I followed my sister's strict instructions to refrain from gawking, snapping photos, or asking either of them to sign my hat. Hehehehehe. Still, it was LA style and kinda cool. I channelled my mom during these celebrity sightings - mom would have been proud of me since she ALWAYS loved Hollywood gawking and made a big deal about anything LA. Love you and miss you mom - every day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beach Volleyball....for Real

In April
In California
Some Wind
Backyard Pool
Good food - and some not so good for you (like the WF pastries this morning)
In and Out Burgers
Backyard Hot Tub
A Fun Loving Finn
A Happy Blueberry Baby
Santa Monica Cool
Fish Tacos
Travis Tonight at the Wiltern- for the teens
Clippers Tomorrow Night
Surf Lesson in there somewhere
Julie and her dogs - lots of LeLe licks
Venice Boardwalk
Little Ethiopia
Elias Sime
Pictures to come......

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"Beach Volleyball" in April

Blueberry discovered the volleyball court in our backyard (uh, actually, the city owns it, but it is in our "backyard" since we live on a park). The dusk hour was gorgeous last night so I bundled the babe up in his cool $1 Tony Hawk sweatshirt and happily joined Mr. Silly Pants while he threw frisbees to Herbie (the dog). Blueberry practiced his toddling and was alerted by his toes when he stepped from the grass to the sand. Sitting and shoveling the sand into his mouth promptly commenced.
We're moving onto bigger and better things next week since Blueberry will be shoveling the Santa Monica beach into his gullet.
I love this moment of ...."huh?"