Sunday, September 30, 2012

The 'F' Word

One of my roommates and I were discussing something and disagreed about the issue; I then tweeted "Woke up in a feminist state of mind."  A different roommate asked me about the tweet and asked if I was angry; I shared, briefly, and expressed how I wasn't angry, just a feminist.

If you haven't figured it out by now, the 'F' word is FEMINISM.

Ever since I first heard that word, feminism, I've avoided it.  I never wanted to be associated with that word.  It has all sorts of negative connotations attached to it.  I didn't want to be associated with the feminists who, apparently, burn their bras (which, from my understanding, only happened once and people never shut-up about it)...I don't mind wearing bras, so why would I ruin one?  I didn't want to be thought of as someone who just walks around angry, with a chip on their shoulder.  I shave my legs and armpits and I'm not ugly; so I must not be a feminist.  I grew up hearing all these stereotypes about what a feminist is and I didn't want a part of that, I didn't want to be labeled as 'one of those feminists'.

But, hang on!  Feminism is the advocacy for women's rights to be equal to that of men.  Why wouldn't I be all about that?  I believe that every person, no matter gender/religion/race/nationality/age/intelligence/socio-economic status/etc, deserves equal treatment BECAUSE WE'RE ALL PEOPLE.

Feminism isn't bad; but, just like the religious bigots who deface their (and others') religion, people can deface and twist the meaning and mission of feminism.  People are always ruining great things, like it's their job.  How annoying.

(This is 2012, our society and world have come a long way.  Huge daily strides are being made in places like South Africa (where the abolition of apartheid is under 20 years old) to ensure equality for all people.  When I was there, I was always hearing about what the government was doing to improve the standard of living for all people, not just the white minority.  But even though we're better off now (in some respects) than we were before, there is still social injustice.  In a time where I can communicate with my best friend in Chile with the press of button or introduce my students to 'pen pals' in Malawi to exchange music and become little ethnomusicologists, the world can seem kinda small.  It's easy for us to become so wrapped up in our worlds, that we forget to breathe and look up at all that's going on.  I don't just mean watching the news to see what's happening around the world.  I mean doing something about it.)

There are a lot of different groups to focus on, in terms of equity; women happens to be one of them.  So, yes, I am a feminist;  but, really, I'm more than that.  I'm a 'humanist' in the sense I am concerned with the interests and welfare of human beings.  I love people and I want everyone to live a life saturated with love and fulfillment.  We're all people.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

So, basically, my life should be a reality show.

I live in a house with four other women.  I know what you're thinking, that sounds hazardous and ridiculous...well, it's not.  The women I live with are sensational and unique, and I am amongst them.  I am so blessed to be a part of each of their lives, they make my life better and I hope I do the same for them.

Alright, enough of the mushy stuff.  We have AMAZING times together; like, really funny times, or really productive times, or really serious times...you get it, we have lots of times.  Sometimes we joke about how we should have a reality show because we're so excellent; so here's the case for our reality show:

1) Looks.  We're all exceedingly attractive.  People like looking at aesthetically pleasing people, that we all are.  We all look very different so variety is a plus.

2) Magazines>>> Conversations.  We have a lot of them.  They provide endless hilarious conversations.  Conversations about: men, fashion, copy machines (that actually wasn't a magazine inspired conversation, but it was still riveting), sex, media, politics, ourselves, life plans, anything and everything.  We're all intelligent so the conversations are actually substantial.

3) Occupations.  Grad school, Marketing Director, Music Teacher, Translator/Interpreter, and Toddler Teacher.  I'd say that's a pretty diverse array of occupations.  Since we're all doing different things, viewers would see different parts of society.  It's not just that we have different perspectives on life because of being different people, we have different perspectives on life because we each have different occupations.  I see things, often, as a teacher, that effects my world view.  It encourages diversity.

4) Role Models.  We're not perfect, but we do all strive to be great.  We take responsibility for ourselves, each other, and others we love and care about.  None of us are into the party scene, harming ourselves with drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol, or sleeping around.  We're pretty good people, by people's standards, who always try to do the right thing.  I think our show would demonstrate how to be a person, a woman, of high esteem.  We all want different things from life and that's okay.

5) Our House.  We live in a pretty spectacular house.  It has LOTS of rooms (we each have our own room), but we always end up together in our living room downstairs.  We take pride in this building and keep it clean and decorate it (mostly just one of us decorates it, but we're all in agreement that we're alright with that).  Our house warrants a lot of opportunities for hosting different types of get togethers.  We love get togethers.

6) Community.  A couple guys were at our house Monday watching a football game with one of my roommates who LOVES the Green Bay Packers.  At some point we were talking about a little about music and I asked if that singer was the same as the one who sings that *ugh* song.  My roommate responds with a 'no' and the two guys were confused.  We have our own language, our own code, and many times it only takes one word to offset this whole codified language.  It's splendid.

Well, producers, I think I've made case for our show.  Come at me.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The 9 Things Children Should Know Upon Entering Kindergarten

It's been about four weeks since the beginning of the school year.  I teach grades Kindergarten through Fifth Grade and see a lot of different functioning children (high functioning to low functioning) throughout each grade level.  The single most frustrating grade to teach is Kindergarten, they don't know anything.  It's normal for them to not know anything; for the most part, many of them have never been in a school setting.  I guess Pre-Kindergarten and More-At-Four and Head Start aren't required?  They should be.  Anyway, at school we come across a lot of kindergartners who are helpless; not only is that inconvenient  to us who teach them, it's dangerous for the students as well.  Here's a list of things I (and others) believe Kindergartners should come to their first day of school knowing.  Please and Thank you.

1) Their Full Name.  I know what you're thinking, of course they know their name.  WRONG!  Many kids only know what their parent's call them (Princess, Sweetie, LoLo), which may or may not be their 'legal' names.  So on their first day, when we're trying to figure out who they are and where they belong, it's almost impossible.  "What is your name?" "..." "Que es su nombre?" "...". What are we supposed to do with that?  Kids should come knowing their First Middle Last Names, and should be able to say them separately.  If I ask for their last name, they should be able to say JUST their last name(s).  BONUS: If they can write at least their first (or middle) name.

2) Their Parents'/Legal Guradians' Names.  In the event that we need to know their caregiver's name, they need to be able to say more than 'Mom' or 'Dad' or 'Auntie'.  What happen's if they get lost in Wal-Mart and the security guard is trying to page their parents?  What is the security guard supposed to say over the intercom? "Mom, Dad please come to the front of Wal-Mart!"

3) How to make a line.  Yes, a line.  You probably don't remember learning how to form a line with others, but you did and you're a better person for it.  Walking Kindergartners, in a line, from one place to another is like herding cats.  You'll lose some, have to stop every few feet to regroup and be extra grateful for your ending destination because it was so trying getting there.

4) How to dress themselves.  Again, you might be thinking that surely they know how to dress themselves.  While most do pretty well, there are the few that don't; I have onE student who's shirt is ALWAYS backwards.  That's not a big deal, but the kid who wets himself and doesn't know how to change his own clothes is a big deal.  Kindergarten classes are around 20 students big, having kids who can't put their jacket on, or who don't know how to tie their shoes (which is a big problem not just in kindergarten) slows the process for everything down.

5) Potty Trained.  Yep, you guessed it.  There are some kids who are still learning how to work their urinary tract.  There's a kindergartner (thankfully in a class I don't teach) who pees on himself everyday.  And...what for it...doesn't know how to change his clothes by himself; so he walks out everyday naked hold his wet clothes asking for help.  Lawsuit.  I'm not talking about bed wetting, that's not a problem since napping has been taken out of the Kindergarten curriculum and has been swapped for testing and college preparation.  Kindergartners are notorious for being surprised when they have to pee; they haven't yet realized their body sends signals far before it is an 'emergency' and they have to go at that instant.

6) Their Alphabet & Numbers.  Notice I didn't say the ABC song.  There's a difference between singing a song and actually being able to identify each letter of the alphabet visually and maybe a little aurally.  The latter is what is desirable.  As far as numbers go, being able to visually and aurally identify them and counting is pretty much a good idea.  BONUS: If they can actually read, spell, and do math.

7) Contact Information.  They need to know their parents' numbers and their address.  There's no reason to not know it.  It's a matter of safety.

8) How to Sit.  I know they're young so their attention span is like that of a goldfish, but they still have to sit.  Some kids are always sitting on top of each other, some kids I have to continually move their legs for them because they don't know how to sit criss-cross-applesauce ('indian style' for my politically incorrect generation).  They must not sit at home, because they look at you like you're a crazy person when you ask them to sit still.

9) Their Left and Right.  In the US, most everything is right oriented: we drive on the right side of the road, we write from right to left, most people are right handed, and we WALK ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HALLWAY.  It's difficult to tell kids to walk on the right side of the hallway when they don't know what 'right' means.  It doesn't take much time to incorporate it into everyday jargon, so, parents, please do it.

Well, look!  Only nine things for them to learn, not even ten.  If/when you have kids, please teach them this stuff.  It'll make their educational experience better and will make us teachers happier.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

TiMER

A couple months ago I watched a movie called TiMER.  It's a science-fiction romantic-comedy in which there's a little device people can get attached to their wrist that counts down to when they'll meet their soul mate.  When they get it installed, the timer will show X-years:X-months:X-days until they are to meet their match.  On the day you're to meet your soul mate, it notifies you and then when you meet them it alerts you.  Interesting, huh?


As I was watching this movie, I kept thinking what a grand, dangerous, wonderful, powerful, useful tool this timer is.  Wouldn't it be great?  No longer would we have to have to date around and waste our time on petty relationships.  We could skip heartbreaks and break-ups.  The waiting we do for Mr./Mrs. Right wouldn't be seemingly in vain because we'd know that in just 1.5 years or a few more months we'd meet the one.  It'd save us a lot of time.

But would I get that timer?  Some days I say 'yes', others I say 'no'.  Some days I just want certainty as to whether I am getting married, because now the verdict is still out on that one (not because I'm 24 and unmarried but because I don't believe there's a guarantee of anyone getting married/having a partner).  If I were to get a timer, I would at least know 'ya' or 'nay' to me ever getting married and wouldn't have to live with that question.

But for the days I say 'no' to the (pretend) option of getting a timer, I'm probably stronger.  On those days, I would be living life!  I wouldn't be waiting around watching my wrist, counting down to when Mr. Right comes into my life.  I wouldn't become a lady in waiting: just sitting pretty waiting for him to come before I start living.  What kind of existence is that?!  This is 2012, women can exist and live fully without men overseeing.  On days when I say 'no' to the timer, I'm realizing how blessed I am to have such fantastic people surrounding me, and how blessed I am to have nothing, no husband, no kids, no mortgage, to keep me here.  I could up and move to another country without worry about if my husband can find a job.  This kind of freedom is priceless and I want to bask in it as much as possible.

While the idea of a countdown timer is understandably grand, I think it takes all our faith away.  It answers too many questions for us, it takes away our freewill; our freewill to live life with adventure and wonder.  Wonder that comes when we've grown and improved on our own accord instead of the extrinsic pressure of preparing for one's mate.  Not having a timer gives us the opportunity to live as if each of our lives is important, with or without a companion.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

9 Websites I Frequent

I'm not an avid computer and internet user, in fact, I'm not very good at most technology.  I'm cool with that.  I do, however, know how to type, also I know how to explore certain sites.  Here's a list of the sites I frequent most, in no particular order.

1) Facebook.  Duh

2) Twitter. At first I was weirded out by Twitter, I didn't get the appeal of people knowing what's happening with you every moment of everyday.  But decided to try it and now I really like it.  It's helped me stay informed on somethings; plus, I have lots of thoughts and feelings that Twitter just needs to know...lol.

3) HelloGiggles. I really dig this site because it has a variety of fun, interesting, upbeat things.  It's also founded by one of my favorite celebrities, Zooey Deschanel.  It has info on fashion, pictures of cute animals, blog entries from just normal people, talks about pop culture, and other stuff.

4) YouTube.  I mean, it's YouTube.

5) My Friends Are Married.  I just learned of this yesterday and it's already on my start screen on my phone.  It reminds me I'm not alone in this world, this world full of young marrieds who pretend like they don't know what it's like to be single because they've been married for less than a year and they're so much more mature than and different than they were before.

6) Groupon. One of my roommates was getting all this awesome stuff and wanted some awesome stuff so I signed up for Groupon.  I've bought some really awesome things on there for severely discounted prices: a couple online courses (Spanish and TEFL), make-up, concert tickets, dentist appointment, and a Fathers' Day gift.  There are some really good deals on there and you can customize the notifications you get.  Check it out!

7)Hey Girl Teacher.  Teaching is hard and it's nice to have some stud to encourage me.  That's what this website does.  It's likely that if you're not a teacher, you won't get a lot (most) of the jokes, but, trust me, they are funny and encouraging.

8) Blogspot.  I blog so I'm on this site fairly often.

9) Plenty of Fish.  I'm on a dating website and so I check to so who's on and who's been checking me out.

I didn't include the obvious ones like my email accounts, Gmail and  Microsoft Exchange.  But, there you have it, now you know.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Can we discuss men?

I've liked boys since the first day of kindergarten.  Seriously, on the first day I go to after-school and this girl (who soon became my best friend) points to this boy and says 'isn't he cute'...that was the day I started liking boys.  Growing up, there were some times when I didn't really care for boys...nah, just kidding.  Now, I am a woman and I like men; now, I no longer have a this naive fascination with guys, I flat out enjoy looking at them.

It's humorous to me this attraction I have to men.  I enjoy great beards and hair. I enjoy their masculinity, their strengths and weaknesses.  Men are great.


That's all.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

8 Things I Really Want to Do/Be Good at

I just really love to learn, like, seriously.  There are so many things I'd like to be good at by taking classes/courses.  I think constantly of all the things I would love to do.  Here are some of them:

1)Yoga.  In University, I went to a lot of yoga classes at our student recreation center and loved it.  It's so relaxing and obviously very good for you.  I'd love to be able to experiment with different types of yoga, bikram yoga (hot yoga) is something I've been wanting to try for a couple years now.  I used to love stretching in the sauna and I imagine bikram is similar to that (but more intense).

2)Contemporary Dance.  Every week I faithfully watch So You Think You Can Dance, my ABSOLUTE favorite show ever. I've always loved dancing and have wanted to have more training.  I would be thrilled at the opportunity to take a contemporary or ballet dance class.  I'm actually looking for classes in the area, so let me know if you know anything.

3)Spanish.  Ever since I first heard Spanish being spoken I have been in love with Latin American culture and the language.  So much beauty.  I've been studying Spanish independently and in school for about 12-13 years, you think I'd be fluent by now.  I want to live and work in a Latin American country, that's a dream of mine.  It can't hurt to learn another language, huh?

4)Working Out.  I get into these awesome routines where I'm gettin' it at the gym fairly often.  Working out is fun for me, it's the getting myself to the actual gym that's the problem.  Then I get into these slumps where I always intend to go to the gym, but I just can't seem to get myself there, so frustrating.  I would love to be one of those people who consistently goes to the gym and has the body that reflects that.

5)My Hair.  I really like my hair, I don't like doing it, but I like to think I've got a great head of hair.  Lots of potential.  I always see these really cool hair styles that I'd like to try, but I just can't figure out how to do them.  What products to use? How long will the style hold?  I just don't quite know what to do, but I do know that I'd like to try new things.

6) Accessories. I'm not a detail person, accessories are details.  I see beautiful rings & necklaces & earrings & hair stuff & bags and I know I would buy it, wear it once, and then forget to wear it ever again.  I'd love to be more trendy with that stuff, but it's just a lot to think of when getting dressed.

7)Fancy Food.  Food is great, am I right?  I can cook, but the food I cook is pretty simple: beans and rice, pasta, biscuits, veggies, breakfast food, simple stuff.  I'd like to be able to just whip up a quiche without a recipe or a scratch made pound cake.  I'd like to make fancy food.


8)Guitar.  I can play a lot of different instruments, but guitar is one that I struggle with.  Aside from my fingers suffering a little, I have a difficult time with chords.  I can pick melodies just fine, it's just the chords that frustrate me.  Memorization isn't my strong point, so trying to remember where my fingers go for all those chords seems nearly impossible.

I think it's always appropriate and important to be in the pursuit of self-improvement, otherwise we'd be stuck in complacency.

3 Reasons Scary Movies are a Bad Idea

Next month is October, which is scary movie month.  I hate scary movies, this is why.

1) Being scared is NOT fun.  Why would I voluntarily be scared?  Why is that fun?  Some of that stuff from movies (psychopath killers, gross bug/animal infestations, angels & demons) are real, why are we making that stuff into entertainment?!

2) It gives people ideas.  There are like 11 Saw movies, how does the writer keep thinking of ways to kill people?  What's wrong with him/her and are they getting counseling?  Why are they putting ideas of how to torture and kill people into view others' head?  Is that the best idea? NO.

3) I'm a big chicken.  I don't like scary things.  I've been very fearful of anything that's supposed to be scary/creepy/disturbing my whole life.  I just don't get the thrill that others get from temporarily getting immersed in a world where their terror at every corner.

I know that scary movies will likely never cease to exist, but could the commercials on TVs and the previews at the theater please stop?  Not everyone likes scary things.


3 Reasons Why Showering is Overrated

I didn't grow up close to a lot of girls, I didn't have sisters, so I don't know what's the norm for girls, but I do know that all my brothers and male cousins went through a phase when they didn't want to shower.  One cousin would literally cut the shower on and stand in the corner of the tub to avoid getting wet until he thought he had been in there for a sufficient amount of time.  I didn't go through that phase, but I'm going through it now.  Before you scoff in disgust, I shower multiple times a week, so stop judging.

I think it all begins when puberty hits.  The body is oozing with hormones to the point that they literally can't sit up straight.  As a result of all the hormones the body reeks of B.O. (body odor) to the point where you could marinate it in frankincense and myrrh and cover it in baby powder and it still stink.  THAT is when the habit of constant showering begins.

But, now, we no longer stink just from existing, so why do we still shower soo much?  I think people shower too much, here's why it's overrated.

1) Time Consuming.  It just takes so much time.  You have to turn the water on, adjust the temperature, rinse off, lather up, more rinsing, shave, and it just goes on and on and on.  Then afterwards you have to dry off, put lotion on, etc.  I feel like there are better things to do than shower e.v.e.r.y single day.  Just think what else you could do with an extra hour or so a week: read a book, exercise, sleep, learn how to knit, other stuff.

2) Your Skin.  Your skin has natural oils and bacteria that are actually quite good.  Every time we shower, we strip our skin of these good oils and bacteria.  Of course it's important to clean your skin, it is the largest organ on your body, after all; but a give your skin some rest and let it do what it was meant to do.

3) Money.  It's no secret that water and body hygiene products cost some money.  Imagine how much money you'd save by cutting down on the amount of water and soap and shampoo and conditioner you buy!

Yes, hygiene and smelling good are great and necessary, but I don't think daily showering and hair washing are the way to go (unless, of course, you just finished sweating it up).  So do yourself a favor and shower less.

Bellow are a few links I checked out for this blog
>http://excelle.monster.com/news/articles/5240-5-reasons-you-should-shower-less
>http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/fashion/31Unwashed.html?pagewanted=all
>http://www.self.com/health/blogs/healthyself/2010/11/is-it-unhealthy-to-shower-ever.html