Gone too long….

A lot has happened since last July when I wrote about walking Luke and being confronted by a woman in her car.  A woman angry because I dared not to pick up the Luke’s stool in the bushes where he had so cleverly deposited it.   I still remember how entitled and angry the woman was that I had run out of bags to clean it up. Now, I think how luck it was that I was the one walking him not my best friend.

Would the police have been called because he isn’t white?  Sounds insane right, but that is the reality of the world we are living in at the moment.  Police are called in for matters that could be solved with civility or just ignored.  So many people are calling the police when no laws have been broken and no one is endangered.

We suspect our neighbors because they have become other.  There is a real danger in labeling people in our communities as other. It allows some of us to come entrenched in the idea that change is not a constant, but a danger.

The last year of my own life has cemented my belief that change is the only constant and that we must embrace change for ourselves and our communities.  If we don’t embrace it, we allow others to make those decisions for us.  We allow them to steer our communities away from the ideals which we belief shape us towards the ones that have led to the darkest moments in our history.

It has been too long since I sat down, was honest and just wrote. The last year has been filled with so much fear and change that I don’t know how to express myself. Fear of being judged or ostracized for my opinions has led me to be silent.  Silence is the real killer.

 

 

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The Work

The work is hard, but I do it. I try to complain less and listen more. I try to do my best.

I try and do my best.

But, lately the work of my life seems to be bring me down. One of my students confided in me today that she just wanted her struggles to be over. I didn’t want to tell her that they were only beginning.

She is about to graduate from high school.  Things are about to get real for her.

My students love me.  I know this to be true. They may not always like me. Once or twice a year, a student will come in to the classroom and announce that we are no longer friends.  That’s ok, I respond. I am good with being their teacher.

The one thing that bugs me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me is that they don’t see their teachers as a success.

All the complaints made by teachers (including myself) and the media about teacher pay have led them to believe that teaching isn’t a good career choice.  The thing is even with a budget I am struggling  to make ends meat.  There are no summers off for me.  I have to find work or go deeper into debt.  Most of the time both things happen.

In the meantime between lesson planning  and general life maintenance, I write. Lately the maintenance has been taking more and more of my time.  The cold, I wrote about over a month ago never really went away.  It is now a sinus infection.

My body pleads for sleep and my mind denies it.

The work has gotten muddled for me in politics. The politics of having male bosses with a mostly female workforce.  Being denied a promotion because the principal likes people he can talk to.  Not even granting me an interview for the position I worked so hard for.

Everything has gotten lost in my  inability to find a way to make all the things work.  Maybe I need to get a roommate again and give up the office that I took so long to create for myself. The office whose door is still undone.

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Maybe it is time to give up writing and worrying about making it a career. I have my book.  It has been moderately successful.

Maybe it is time to retired to an ordinary life.  Not the one I attempt to live.

Maybe, but let’s be honest. I have never taken the easy road. I have been back down from a challenge without a plan to regroup.

This is where I am now.

Here in the muck.

And that is ok.

Writing is hard.  Really hard. But it is always something that fills me with joy when I am not indulging  the fraud police (thank you, Amanda Palmer for that and so much more).  As does teaching.

Ignorance has I tell my students is not cute. You will learn things in this class whether you like to or not.  It is a lot like life.  You are going to learn something whether you intended to do so or not.

Good night all. Good luck in your work what ever it is.

Love,

Lu

P.S. . Check out my book, Blood Child, on Amazon.

Justice: A Work in Progress

800px-Cumberland_School_of_Law_Justice_and_Mercy_2Living in Florida has never been a dream come true.  The Sunshine State and all its sunshine laws are all misnomers. The first year I lived here, there was the election debacle and things have not improved since then.  Americans scream for justice and do little to work for it.  Floridians are much the same, although I have some friends who put us all to shame with social justice work.

If you want justice work for and that means more than just talking about it on Facebook.  Write and call your representatives and let them know what you as a voter wants.  Hey, maybe you can post it to their Facebook page, if they have one.

Support Education… Don’t just tell a teacher how grateful you are that they are around to do a job you won’t want, but read to your kids at night, make sure that they do their homework and know that getting an education is not just about going to school when they feel like it.  When you write your representatives let them know that you think teachers deserve more pay and your kids need their teachers to be awake not exhausted from working three jobs. rachel-jeantel-meme

If you doubt that education played a factor in this trial look at how Rachel Jeantel was ridiculed for her speech and mannerisms.  She reacted the way her life has taught her to react. She is a product of her surroundings, education and experiences and she did the best for her friend. My heart goes out to her as well as the family of Trayvon.

Get an education yourself. Read and learn the difference between facts and opinions.  Propaganda isn’t just something for history.

Justice isn’t given. It has to be demanded and knowledge helps you navigate the tangled system we have.

I cussed and pounded the steering wheel when I heard the news.  Then I made the decision not to carry my outrage to Facebook until I could do something constructive.  So time this week spent on other writing projects will be split writing letters and working for something better for the next young man confronted on the streets.

trayvonIt may not be much, but it is what I know I can do.  It will be easy for some people to call for us to let things be and let the jury’s verdict stand, but it isn’t the verdict we are protesting. It is the host of other issues that this case brought to the surface.  Those issues need to be address and worked on.

As a woman of mixed descent I can tell you that racism is still very much real. There are times when I feel like a spy since racists and bigots feel free to talk in front of me.  They take my pale skin as a sign that I am comfortable with privileges given to me because of it and agree with it. And yes, I do acknowledge that White Privilege exists and I have benefited from it. This isn’t to say that I haven’t worked hard, because I have and will continue to do so, but I cannot ignore that society attaches benefits to those with lighter skin.  There is nothing I can do about it beyond working for justice for everyone.  Less than a month ago, a woman I work with told me that she “hates black people.” Her words stung and I didn’t react other than to stare.   Would she hate me, too? Six years ago, a close friend of mine walked out of my life because he found out about my heritage.

It still exists and really has only become more cunning.  Justice is always pictured blind for a reason, but she is not deaf.  Criminal Defense Lawyers have very smooth tongues and sometimes she is wooed by pretty words.   We also have to remember that the Justice is only as good as the laws which bind her. If the law is injustice than we bind her hands as well as her eyes.

Walking into History

Upon a gilded balcony, history along with a couple of jokes was made.

Jorge became Francis and the world was given another reason to hope.

A good and humble, he thinks more of the poor than himself and now is pope.

He choose to walk a simple path , may God’s grace shine down,

As he leads a people who need guidance and his willingness to listen.

Their world is changing and they need  a new path forged,

Not retreat to the old one.

* A note on this poem, I was raised Catholic but do not attend services anymore. My faith lead me in another direction. The Catholic Church will always be my first spiritual home and I truly hope that today signals something positive for the church, its people and the world. 

Vote America…

If you haven’t and you are registered, please vote. America needs you to do your part as a citizen.  Our country isn’t perfect, but it is home.

Voting is one of the few things that our country asks of us. Our ability to choose our own leaders is what makes democracy work. The leaders of our country need to hear our voices. We have the power; not them.

That’s all.

Now, go vote. And if you have already done so, thank you.

Hugs,

Lu

When you assume you make an…..

Donkey… out of you and me..

Please don’t assume you know what is in my heart. Or in my political mind.

Don’t assume because I am an Unitarian Universalist that I vote a straight Democratic or that because I was raised in a Republican you know who I am going to vote for.

I vote for whomever I believe will do the best for the country.  Period.

Of course, if your political parties followers insult my intelligent enough because they think I am for the other side it doesn’t bode well for your candidate.

I am beginning to dread elections since it means that I have to fled certain relatives houses to avoid fights.  It is actually ironic that the very people whose houses I have to avoid are the people who made me so independent.  They are the ones who taught me to stand and think on my own.

Vote, Pretty Please..

The sixth of November is coming and American needs all of its registered voters.

Not Obama or Romney, America needs them.

America needs for her citizens to get off their collective arses and vote.

This means you….

Vote and  let your voice be heard.  Even if you think that  both candidates suck, vote.  Choose the lesser of two evils if you have, too, but vote!  Your life, my life and the life of everyone in this country depends on it. We have become a nation divided and we can not stand any longer with hate following through our veins.

We have become a society where if we do not get what we want, we lose.  Life is not about winning or loosing, it is about living.  And many of us can not continue to live the way we have been.  I work four jobs to pay my bills.  Four, not out of choice, but out of necessity.

You see I was raised believing in the American Dream.  I believe that if I work hard enough it will be mine. But, somehow my noble profession doesn’t pay enough for me to live on my own, pay my bills and support my family. So I work. And work and continue to work.  I would apply for seasonal work at one of the local retail stores near me, but I fear that I won’t be able to handle another commitment. I am not lazy, I do not believe that society owes me.  I just want to live and do what I love which is teach and write.

I don’t expect the government to take care of me. I do expect it to take care of its responsibilities.

Educating the young is among those responsibility.

Maintaining the separation between church and state is another.

Protecting the rights of the minority is yet another.

We are not a nation of victims and it is about time that we started acting in accordance. We need to stop blaming each other and work together to solve our nation’s problems.

So, vote, pretty, please and thank you,

Lu

The Bird is the Word

Big Bird

Big Bird Speaks Out!!

I stand with Big Bird.. Don’t use my name in your political game.   Seriously, don’t.

As funny as the memes are that poke funny at Romney’s debate graft in which he said that he was going to cut funding to PBS, I think it is wrong for either campaign to use Sesame Street characters in attack ads.(Romney did it as well, folks.)

There is also no need for the campaigns to spend the money on creating ads including these characters when the internet is full of meme generators.  Spend your money elsewhere and don’t politicize a beloved icon of childhood.

I think if Big Bird were to speak out he would tell both sides that they need to work on getting along and telling the truth. The only way to really fix the country is for everyone to work together and find solutions that work for everyone.  Not just a select few.

He would also probably say that there are some things in life that are priceless and help everyone like public parks and educational shows. Yes, they cost money, but they do so much good and are an essential part of who were are as Americans.

I am a child who grew up watching Reading Rainbow, Mister Rogers, Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street.  Three of those shows I watched on my local PBS stations.  They helped instill a love of reading, fairness and curiosity in my young mind.  They taught me values that other children’s program could or would not. No offense G.I. Joe or Thundercats.

Yes, our country is in trouble but we shouldn’t thought Big Bird out with the nest of excess government spending.  Somethings are worth preserving.  PBS and NPR are among them.  Just my humble, Big Bird loving opinion.

Sincerely,

Lu

P.S.  Floridians, today is the last day to register to vote. You still have time to do it online.  Just click this link.

Wool Over Our Eyes!!

The United States of America  is in a crisis, not the financial one facing the economy; it is a crisis of conscious.   A crisis that I believe has been created by the media and the politicians to distract us from their lack of leadership. I also believe that it occurs on both sides of the political spectrum.

It didn’t start with the Muppet’s or with Chick-Fil-A. Both companies are exercising their rights. It has little to do with boycotts or Christianity.  The only thing I will say on issue of Christianity is that Jesus spoke of love not hate and said to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.  He didn’t say anything about hating our neighbors or legislating morality.

However, nothing sells papers or increases ratings like conflict. Attack people’s faith or religious beliefs, even allude to someone else doing it and they will shout to the heavens, not to mention post on Facebook. Words, we forget at times have power; more power than we want to admit. A blogger & author that I admire came out with a post against the boycott inferring that it was anti-Christian. I disagree with her, but I respect her opinion.  Something I was raised to do.  Something I believe in doing.

Somehow America has forgotten that basic ideal that disagreeing does not mean hating the opposition. It isn’t a us verses them. We are no longer in the Cold War. One of my best friends disagrees with me on the new healthcare law, another on conservatives issues and don’t get me started on the difference between me and my Papa’s political philosophies.  Yet, none of these people have un-friended me or told me I am going to hell. They love me and I love them.

We are all Americans. We have the right to choose where and how we spend our money.  I boycotted a locally owned business for the better part of ten years because of the insulting manner that two of my friends were treated at that store. These two people had actively support the company and were humiliated in front of friends and customers.  I made the decision after a sermon at my church on economic power and faith.

I may be one person, but my money has power and where I choose to spend it has meaning.  So I stopped shopping at the store until the owner  changed how she treated her customers.  I didn’t condemn anyone who chose to shop there. When asked I told people how I felt and didn’t worry about whether they agreed with me or not. Nor did I criticize them when they decided to shop there.

In harsh economic times likes these sometimes the only way to protest is to boycott. If you hit them in the wallet, it can sometimes cause them to rethink their decisions. I learned that lesson in history class after the lesson of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

I am not going to allow a politician or media personality to tell me what to believe or what attacks my faith.  We need sound economic policy, an education systems that is supported by funded mandates and continuous improvements on infrastructure.  As a teacher, I see the damage done to students when the system fails them. When people look the other way because it is just too hard to help them or worse they don’t believe they can learn.  Some kids can survive it if they have the support of their families and faith in something more than themselves. Those two things can not be legislated or willed into existence they have to come from the home and the heart.

The wool has been pulled over many American’s eyes and it is time that we all take the blindfolds off and stand-up for what we want and need our government to do for us. Our nation was founded on many principles; the Separation of Church being one of them.  A principle that I learned while attending Catholic school.

Listen to both sides, think, reflect, pray and then act.