Thursday, November 27, 2008

greens and . . . spaghetti?

i just woke up from my first food coma of the day. i'm almost certain it wasn't pretty -- when i woke up my mouth was dry which means it was hanging open while i slept.

thought i'd share a funny text conversation with you.

context: mandy has moved from chicago back to kansas and loves collard greens, spinach, etc. ashley does not.

ashley: we have greens, do you? :) i'll send you my share.
mandy: now you're making me cry! i'm having a white thanksgiving! no greens. no mac n cheese. no cornbread. ha and no spaghetti.
ashley: that made me crack up! i read your text to vonder. i explained to her that my people don't consider spaghetti a "side".

we don't have spaghetti today at thanksgiving. but, chances are, when more people get here . . . we might.

do you have anything non-traditional on your holiday table?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

knitters will appreciate this.

i taught myself to knit recently from the idiot's guide to knitting & crocheting and i learned the american basic stitch (sometimes called the english stitch).

on the way home from a business meeting with a co-worker today, we were stuck in traffic on the highway and i was knitting, she (who was driving) pointed out that there was a much faster way to do the basic stitch . . . a little something called the continental.

she showed me how and it was like a chorus of angels came down through the clouds and shone heavenly light upon us.

i'd say the continental stitch shaves roughly 2/3 time off of the american/english stitch.


Monday, November 10, 2008

There's a guy onthe internet named John McCollum who I stumbled across one day (my guess he also exists in real life) -- below are 3 blog posts of his that touch on how he views America.

In the last few years my thoughts on patriotism, faith and how the 2 intersect have bounced around all over the place. I wasn't even sure if I was going to vote anymore because I have such a problem with our political process (the funding, the parties, the EC, the lobbies, etc), and problems with people of faith getting more fired up about politics than they do their God. (I did end up voting, if you're wondering).

Anyway -- I read these blog entries quite a while ago but they were on my mind today so I thought I'd link to them so you can have a look. I identify with a lot of what he talks about.

Part 1: To Love One's Country

Part 2: The Country I Love

Part 3: Continuing the Conversation

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Race and Comfort

this entry is really a comment i left on someone else's blog . . . they were writing about class distinctions and the often un-noticed privileges that come with being upper-class in the US.

have you seen the show 30 days? it's the show by morgan spurlock, the guy who did the movie SUPER SIZE ME. every episode takes a person who feels strongly about some issue and plunks them down to live in the opposite side of the issue, for a month.

the most moving one i've seen is where they had a guy who is hardcore about illegal immigrants. he works for the border patrol -- i think maybe as a volunteer? (or all they all volunteers?). so he was sent to live with an illegal family in LA for a month. i know he was very changed at the end although i can't remember whether or not he changed his viewpoint. i know for sure that he went away w/more compassion.

anyway -- i thought of that when you said why would people want to keep coming here if their lot here would be to beg in a mall? that made me think of that episode -- because that family, they didn't beg, but part of the show was the border patrol guy going to mexico to where the family had come from. they couldn't go or they wouldn't get back in the US. what he saw was so unimaginable to him, the conditions the family had lived in before.

so, i guess -- when coming from a situation like that, a person is willing to throw their pride under the bus if it means their kids won't have to live *literally* with no roof over their head.

you are so right about the class stuff as well. i have thought a lot about that in terms of race, having been in so many situations in my life where i'm the only (or one of the only) white people around. and of course when i married vincent that grew & then when we moved to chicago that just got magnified. at family functions, church, the kid's school (before we moved to the suburbs), the store, the train, the bus -- literally every aspect of my life that was not WORK -- i was the only white person. because you can exist on the south side without running into white people unless they are cops or teachers or social workers or something. they simply do not live there except in certain areas that are closer to downtown.

i think both because of just who i am (my default setting) and my life experiences, i have pretty much grown into feeling totally comfortable even if there are no other whites around. it got to the point where if someone would point out i was white, i was like, oh, yeah -- you're right. kind of like i don't remember i'm short until i'm standing in front of a mirror w/someone taller than me. face-to-face i look people in the eye, not straight ahead at their chest or whatever, so my shortness isn't part of my mindset.

but i think part of me being comfortable even if i'm only the white person around, is the subconscious (and sometimes conscious) knowledge that -- i live in a culture where whites are in charge. and especially in race-conscious chicago, if some black dude on the south side hurt me -- he would be in for a world of hurt. a black woman wouldn't necessarily be safe walking alone at night in certain neighborhoods -- but i probably would be. i'm somewhat untouchable because i'm white. i don't think this is fair or right -- but i do benefit from it.

and -- even deeper than that -- the same way you talked about having grown up with certain expectations due to your class -- i also grew up with those expectations due to being white. i am USED to being ok in every situation i am in because that is how my culture allows it to be. so when i go outside of my culture -- the truth is i take that ease along with me.

however, i know that many people don't feel that way . . . and i wonder if that is simply because we have different default settings? is my default setting "feels a-ok with brown people" and others have some other setting? does it have to do with how we interact with people not like us? what is it that allows me to sit back and relax and take part in the ease my background has created for me . . . while others can't?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Too Casual Friday

i brought rian to the office today so a student could do an assessment on him for a class assignment. the way it works is that because she isn't licensed/certified yet, she can't give me any results. which is fine 'cause he's ok. i just like using my baby for science. :)

fridays are casual days unless something big is going on and today i dressed even a bit more casually than i normally do since i knew i'd be wrangling a toddler much of the day.

that means sneakers and ratty-bottomed jeans . . . which isn't a big deal until you're in the elevator with your boss's boss, who looks pretty fancy but that's not unusual even for friday because she's just a fancy lady. "put together" is an understatement for her.

oops! maybe she didn't notice?
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