Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday Slice: Where do you see yourself?

This is Banned Books Week in literary circles, with an emphasis on diversity this year.  Librarians and teachers know the importance of diversity in literature; children need to see themselves in stories, to connect with them, feel a part of a bigger whole.

I think we all look for that representation in the arts, whether by character, setting, plot, or mood.  So where does a fifty-year-old middle class working mom running on too little sleep look for her artistic mirror?

This past week, I found it in Jennifer Nettles' new album, Playing with Fire. Two of the songs have become earworms.  (Warning:  mild profanity in the lyrics.)

"Drunk in Heels"--which has little to do with drinking, and a lot to do with day-to-day exhaustion and societal demands on women:

"Playing with Fire"--a call to live on one's own terms.  My favorite line--"I wanna flirt with my own fears, wanna dance with my desire":

If you're in my demographic, give these a listen; they may just become your earworms, too.  And may we all get some sleep, find our voice, and follow the path that's just right for us, blessing the world with our passions and talents.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday Slice: Halftime

Ten days before:
"Um, Mom, I got this application today that says I've been nominated by my friends for Homecoming Court.  I have to finish it in two days, and I need six pictures to go with it."  

(Lots of questions from Mom follow, with very few answers.  Mom finds eighteen pictures, calls Dad over to ooh and ahh over chubby toddler cheeks, birthdays and first bicycle ride.  Homecoming dance information gets researched and ticket is bought online.)

Seven days before:
"Mom, my parade partner's dad is getting the car, so you don't have to worry about that.  And you and dad will be escorting me on the field at the homecoming game."

(Car?  Oh geez, that's right, he gets to ride in a car for the parade.  And we have to escort him?  What does one wear for that?  More questions from Mom, few answers.)

Two days before:
"Yes, the pep rally is right after the parade.  I'm going to have my horn section escort me on the field."

(Parents attend parade to see their son wearing a Disneyland Mickey Mouse shako while smiling and waving from the back of a convertible, throwing candy (where did he get that?) to children on the street.  Drive to school football field and jockey for seats to get good pictures. Yes, fifteen sweaty band members escort said teenager through the JROTC sabre arch, much to the delight of the marching band.)

Two hours before:
No word from teenager since this morning.  Worries exchanged between parents, hoping he has everything he needs for the game.  Five outfits apiece later, parents are ready for the game.

Ten minutes before halftime:
Parents still worried, haven't seen son.  "Were we supposed to pick him up at school?"  "No, he was coming on the band bus."  Son arrives five minutes before halftime.  Instructions are given by two nervous-looking teachers and a few student helpers:  "Moms on the left, dads on the right.  Moms, here's a rose for you.  You will be guided on the field, don't worry about that.  Just move quickly; if we stay on the field too long, the team gets penalized, so as soon as the king and queen are announced, get off the field!"

In an instant, we are up and moving onto the Astroturf.  Somehow we know to space ourselves on the yard lines, directly in front of the marching band as they play the school song; it's the closest I've ever been to the band while they play.  We move as names are called, rush through the arch, stop and smile for pictures.  Wait for the king and queen to be announced while looking up at the bleachers; the crowd is a blur.  Our son's name is not called; we are hurried off the field.  He is not sad, leaves quickly to change into his band uniform, back to his Friday night routine.

For his parents, high school nerd and loner themselves, this experience has been anything but routine. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tuesday Slice: My mind's gazette

There are so many thoughts going through my head as I think about the past week.  I tried to settle on just one for this slice, but couldn't flesh out any one idea to form a solid piece of writing.

An old-time gazette came to mind, one with a dozen or so news events whittled down to a few sentences apiece.  I'm not tech-savvy enough to split this space into columns for the day, so bullet points will have to do.

Work news:
  • Perusing the stacks in my library last week, I realized just how many students we have this year as shelves emptied.  Will I be able to keep up with the reading lives of 1200 students?
  • We are pushing independence in the library with our kindergarteners, who are using shelf markers, choosing books, and operating the scanner by themselves.  They can do it!  Using a mouse is another thing entirely, though; it's a hard task for this touch-screen generation, so we're waiting to tackle the point-and-click.
  • I am feeling the love from those kindergarteners this year.  I've been told that I am awesome (wow!).  It warmed my heart when the music teacher told me that a kindergartener reminded her that we sing in the library, too.  And don't get me started on how cute they looked as they passed around a baby doll, practicing treating our books like babies.
Personal news:
  • Our son announced last Wednesday that he had been nominated for homecoming court!  This is a new experience for our family, and sent me into a tizzy for a bit, as there doesn't seem to be a parent handbook for this sort of thing.  I have written checks for mums and a dance ticket, cleared my calendar for tomorrow evening to attend the pep rally to see him presented, and now have to face a previously unknown fear of walking on AstroTurf in front of a packed stadium as my husband and I escort him during halftime.  What do I wear?  Where do we check in?  This is so out of my comfort zone!
  • On a sad note--I am mourning the passing of one of my favorite professors, Dr. Mary Ann Bell.  She was a tech-savvy senior citizen, and a model of lifelong learning and championing causes.  Her passion for access to information, LGBT rights, and librarianship will continue to inspire me in her absence.  
  • Our daughter announced that her students placed third and fourth in their English competition this past week!  She is a JET-ALT, living in Japan and supporting English language classes.  She is making friends, keeping busy, and settling into her second month abroad.
I think that clears the thoughts from my head for the moment.  I'll be trying harder this week to find inspiration for a true slice!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tuesday Slice: The changing of the garb

By the end of August, I can't take it anymore.  The bright yellows, corals, pure whites, light greens of my summer wardrobe annoy me.  Like the seasonal turning over of ponds, Labor Day weekend is my signal to switch out my clothes.

I admire those folks who can wear black year round.  For me, it is a heat magnet, something I avoid during the eighty-degrees-and-above spring and summer weather of central Texas.  Menopause hasn't helped, either, so why court disaster in the form of armpit circles and sweat dripping down my back?

Yes, September still sees its share of higher temps in this area.  It also brings me back to the library in all of its air-conditioned glory.  I am allowed to indulge in my fantasy of fall-like weather inside its walls, despite the sizzling pavement in the school parking lot.

My husband nicely brought in two tubs from the garage, filled with clothes I haven't seen since last March.  Shopping from my own stash is so rewarding, especially when I'd forgotten I owned half of what I unpacked!  I was proud of myself as I sent three dresses to the donation pile after trying them on; they just didn't suit me anymore.

My corals and yellows packed away in the tubs, I now delight in the browns, blacks, grays, rusts, olives, and deep jewel tones of fall and winter.  They will last until spring break--and then I'll be yearning for my bright colors once again.

CSIRO [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons