Monthly Archives: February 2011

Krampus Spanks Liars – Day 12 and Still At It…….

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Still At It….

Marching for the rights of all

Mr. Sillypants here, erstwhile author of the somewhat irregular blog post.  Today is a day when I somehow realize that I’ve been touched by something of great significance, a set of experiences which already seem to be gathering power deep inside.

Ms. Plum, my beloved, is a dedicated high school educator, a person who has taken on the substantial yoke of teaching young minds, enduring the frustrations of the public school system with the hope that she can, somehow, instill global awareness, cultural sensitivity and a small measure of personal responsibility and humility into the lives of her students.

One of the things I often smile about is the fact that Ms. Plum is often quite dismissive about her qualities as a teacher.  Pressed to describe her teaching style, she will say she is “a passable teacher.”  Yet, when we meet one of her students on the street, they will often voice their exuberant praise for her blunt, honest, challenging style – – – recently, one told her that she was “the best thing that happened to her in high school.”

Right now, Wisconsin is a living political battlefield.  If you don’t believe me, tune in to MSNBC for a few minutes in primetime.  15,000 rallied at the Capitol yesterday; today, it was 30,000; tomorrow, the number will be even greater.  The issue – – – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has introduced legislation which effectively eliminates the ability of public workers to negotiate.  This has started a firestorm which grows by the minute; the more time passes, the stronger the protests become.

Today, Ms. Plum did some advocacy of her own.  “Let’s go down to the Capitol,” she said, “it’s important.”  I knew this was important, yet I was somewhat surprised by the fire in her belly.  So, Blueberry, Ms. Plum and I boarded a public bus and traveled down to the Wisconsin State Capitol, to join with 30,000 others to speak out against this terribly misguided bill.

Truthfully, the experience was much more powerful than anything I could have imagined.

Perhaps it was the mass of people, peacefully protesting in a unified voice.  Perhaps it was a group of firefighters who are actually unaffected by this bill, yet showed up to march through the Capitol building, led by blaring bagpipes playing a particularly powerful rendition of “America, the Beautiful,” as the rest of us applauded.  Perhaps it was the continual roar of the crowd in the Capitol rotunda, calling for the defeat of Governor Walker’s bill and the return of our proud democratic process.

This photo barely catches the power of the moment.  We could barely get close enough to the throng to get an adequate view of the crowd; what no photo could possibly represent was the way our hair stood on end as the repeated roars went up from the crowd, calling for equity, for responsibility, for preservation of the rights which many have given their lives to obtain.

Even Blueberry joined the effort:

I cannot remember how many times students of Ms. Plum were sighted at the Capitol, protesting this bill, participating in the process, flexing their global awareness, their cultural sensitivity, their personal responsibility.  Each of them would see Ms. Plum and would smile broadly, happy to join with their teacher in this effort.

Waffles, in his own way, put a stamp on today’s events.  After marching with hundreds of fellow high school students, he had the opportunity to stand up for his fellow students, for Ms. Plum and her fellow educators and (most importantly) for himself and his conscience.  He was able to stand in session, before a microphone and spoke, quite eloquently, in opposition of this bill.  In a particularly powerful moment, Waffles pointed out that, as a high school senior, he would likely be unaffected by this bill; after all, college is on the horizon.  However, he called for lawmakers to consider all those who would be hurt by this legislation.  In short, he spoke out for the needs of others.

Ms. Plum and I, listening to a live internet feed, felt a lump in our throats and tears gathering in our eyes.  This is the ultimate legacy, the hope that those who we love will take up the gauntlet, speaking out for the rights of others in their own voice, with their own convictions and their own hearts.

We cannot take credit for those who join the fight for equality.  It is the individual choice of each person who becomes part of this effort.  Yet, when students of Ms. Plum decide to show up and protest, when Waffles answers the bell, speaking on his own in a powerful and passionate way for the rights of others, well, it is a moment when we realize we are very lucky to be in this place at this time.

Thank you for the people of Wisconsin and the people everywhere who speak out for the rights of others.  You remind us what is right and good in the world.

Waffles Brings it to a Vote

He turned 18 in the fall. This is a big week for my big boy. (I get to call him my ‘big boy’ – -I’m his mom).  Today was a pretty cool day. We ended up at our local voting location at the same time and I got to witness this – – –

He voted. FIRST.TIME. The thing that really impressed me was that he located a candidate newspaper/position paper in the library (our polling station) and read over ALL of the candidate positions BEFORE he voted. His vote was his vote….not mine.

He also spent a good part of his day organizing high school students for some political action on an important a state issue – he’s helping to bring it into the streets at our state capitol tomorrow.  Waffles is helping organize kids from his high school to stage a walk out, city bus themselves across the neighborhood to another city high school, and join those students in a MARCH to the state capitol. The insight of the kids is impressive and their understanding of the power of collective action is mature. I can say on behalf of my own kid that he knows the issues; he spoke to me about his understanding of the ‘budget fix bill’ last night. He’s tuned in. Amazeballs young man.

To say that I’m proud of my young man is an understatement. And, you know what? Little bitty bro and his dalmation voting puppet are not too far behind.

Joyful Hurt

There are inspirations for why I do what I do. There are reasons for why I do what I do. There are reminders for why I must do more, must care more, must BE more.

Just Busy and Minus 10.

Nothing else but busy going on around here.  Sometimes the ‘switchboard’ is over the top, and it has been that sort of season for me. As the ‘switchboard operator’ in the family, I haven’t really had time to do more than manage those things – some gracefully, some not so much. There are huge chunks of ‘chatter’ that aren’t right for blog talk. And, other pieces that are …. well, not suitable for blog talk.  No mysterious goings on here – I don’t mean to imply that anything is amiss or awaiting some bigger public unveil. Nope. Sorry.

My own badblogger bullet points include:

  • Blueberry is completely potty trained. He rocked the process.
  • Waffles has 2 college admission “Yes” responses so far: UMN and Marquette. He’s waiting to hear from the others. It’s nice for him to have 2 in his back pocket. His list toppers haven’t responded yet (UC-Boulder and Lehigh). His mood is super positive – so nice to witness. LOTS depends on financial packages/scholarship offers.
  • Injera cooking is coming along, as is the cookbook I have had a HUGE hand in helping to develop. We expect a release in about 3-4 weeks.  I’ll be announcing it here and on FB and anywhere else I can! My Ethiopian friend and I hosted a cooking class yesterday for making injera. It was a great little fundraiser and a fun event. Blueberry is CRAZY about injera. I brought home a little snack for him – which he demolished pronto.
  • Did you know Songbird graduates from college this year?
  • My plans for going to Ecuador this summer to hang out with Songbird are in place. August. Mountains. Me. Her.
  • I’ll be attending WPC 12 in MN. PUMPED! I expect to grow TONS.
  • Blueberry LOVES cooking. You’ll find us daily at the butcher block counter. I have not had this experience with any of my kids at such a young age. It’s fun. It’s messy. It’s creative.  It’s exhausting. Oh, that’s a perfect description of my life 🙂  Blue’s favorite cooking includes making muffins, making Little Bear’s “Birthday Soup”, scrambling eggs,  making and flipping french toast, and peeling vegetables. I enjoy the process and our dog Herbie enjoys the scraps that fall like a downpour on the floor.
  • Mr. SillyPants is busy. More than I’d like. I hope this changes soon. I miss him. I’m trying to stay in my own holding pattern while he is so busy, but I’m afraid I’m not being very successful. Partnership is hard sometimes.
  • Our Gov has assaulted the livelihood of all teachers and state employees in WI. I’m angry about this and PISSED off that I have to fight for my right to engage in collective bargaining. I expect I’ll be busy this week advocating for my rights (I’ll begin today by joining in political action by taking a phone call shift at a local teacher’s union office). I’m not going to continue teaching if my work as a teacher continues to be diminished.
  • Twinkeltoes is an Organic Chemistry nerd. Really. She’s a ROCK.STAR.
  • Finally,  I have lost 10 pounds. I joined WW 3 weeks ago and have been determined to succeed. I have a lot to do in my life. I am no longer interested in carrying around more of me than is comfortable or healthy. This has taken a HUGE focus (and is, in part, responsible for lack of posts – sometimes self care requires “logging off”).

10 lbs of sugar –  GONE!

Snowboyz Swimz