Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

May you all have a lovely Christmas and New Year's Day. I will be away from electronics from the 26th to the 1st, so any new posts will have to wait until after the new year. Enjoy your presents, family, food, and gifts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

People behaving badly

Raise your hand if you've ever behaved badly . . . okay, there are too many hands. I can't count them all. As I am finally finished with the heaviest workload of any semester I've ever taught, I am now at a point where I can get some sleep, in theory, and I can do a little self-examination of my recent behavior. I am normally a very low-maintenance woman. I'm quiet. I'm laid-back. I'm stoic, not much ruffles my feathers. It takes a loonnnnggg time to get me to lose my temper, but when I do, look out.

So, yes, I have been working way too hard. Yes, I have been getting too little sleep. Yes, anyone who knows me, knows I turn into a major bitch when I don't get enough sleep. That said, the occasional outburst is to be expected, but a long-slow bitchfest that lasts for days, is not acceptable. I am an adult. I do know better. Recently, however, I have been reverting to the petulant child that has lived in me for over four decades. I recognized her the minute she resurfaced, but I couldn't do anything about her. I couldn't when I was little either. I remember very clearly as a child, getting angry or hurt about something, having an outburst, and then holding onto the anger, long after letting it go would have been appropriate, and would have been good for me. I remember being stuck in the anger. Seeing everyone around me moving past the incident, but I couldn't let it go. I couldn't laugh, smile, get over it, I just stayed stuck, with my arms folded, my lower lip stuck out, and pouting, to make sure the whole world knew, I wasn't over this yet, and neither should anyone else be.

I have found myself recently, thinking and feeling negatively about acquaintances. I have had ill thoughts about people's motivations, which is very bitchy, petty, and not like me. I had a particularly mean rant on my son's voice mail for perceived slights and misbehavior, only half of which he was actually guilty of. I didn't pull an Alec Baldwin, or call him any names, but I did call his character into question. Then I mentally beat myself up for days for being a horrible mother. Next "I showed myself." This is an expression I heard often from my mother, while I was growing up. She'd say, "quit showing yourself." Which meant, quit misbehaving, quit showing the world what a little brat you can be, quit drawing attention to your bad behavior.

I showed myself this weekend. I was tired. I was not happy. I didn't feel like doing what I had promised to do. Yet, the adult part of me knew, you don't back out, you don't let a person down, you keep your promise. So I went through the motions, clearly the petulant child, wanting desperately to rush through the obligation, get it over with, and yet again, not slowing down, just wanting to move on to the next task like I'd been doing for months. It took me a good two hours to get over myself. It took me two hours to quit showing myself. In the process, I know I must have hurt a dear friend, and that was never intended. By the time it was all over, I had gone back to my normal self. I had finally relaxed and was enjoying the evening, but at what cost? It's been years since the brat in me has come out so forcefully. Can I blame the hormones of the change for all this? Can I blame overwork and exhaustion? Or am I just human and sometimes, I'm a pain in the ass for no good reason? I'm sorry.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend in DC

M has a conference in DC this weekend/week, so we've been here since Saturday and we're here in DC through part of today (Monday). Since M was in meetings all day, I took the opportunity to go see sites I had not visited before, the MLK and FDR memorial sites.

It was a gorgeously sunny, brisk winter's day, about 40 degrees. I decided I needed the sunshine and didn't want to stay cooped up in a hotel all day. I hopped on the subway and went to the Mall. I found the MLK and FDR sites on the maps they have set up around the Mall and started walking toward them. They are both set up around the tidal basin across from the Jefferson Memorial. I could have gone directly to them, but by the time I reached the tidal basis, I had warmed up from the walking and it was just so gloriously sunny, I decided to take the long way and walk around the entire tidal basin to end up at the sites.

Unfortunately I didn't have my nice camera with me because both batteries had run down and I lost my recharger. I ordered a new re-charger, but it didn't arrive in the mail before we left for DC. So all these shots were taken with the camera on my cell phone. So, I've been to DC countless times and I live within 3 hours of the place, but I never knew there was a memorial site for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (Official FDR website) I learned about it from a tourist travel book in the hotel. FDR's memorial is set up as outdoor rooms marking each of his 4 terms as President. There are pools, waterfalls, statutes, reliefs, plaques and it has a very peaceful feeling to it. Very calm, contemplative, relaxing.

This is one of the sculptures, depicting men on the soup line during the Great Depression.

Here is one of the many plaques displaying quotes from FDR. I thought this one was particularly important for our current economic situation and thought of the Occupy people in all the big cities around the U.S. I think a number of our politicians need to walk through this memorial and take a lesson from what FDR did in our last great economic time of need.

Next I went to the Martin Luther King memorial. (Official MLK website) This is a grand, impressive work of art. It looks like MLK is coming out of a mountain. It's very impressive and moving both from an artistic standpoint and from an historic standpoint.

Here is one of MLK's quotes (click on it to make it larger) that I thought was appropriate today as Rick Perry's recent poltical ad took a swipe at gays and accused Obama of having a war against religion. It's this kind of ignorance that allows injustice to continue in this world. We've got to stop this mentality of "us" against "them," and realize as long as we're attacking anyone, we will never live in the type of world we want. We have to remember we share this world, it's not something to be possessed by one group or one ideology.

Update: Here's what the captions are on the stone slabs in the pictures above since Blogger isn't allowing them to be enlarged when you click on them.

The first from the FDR memorial reads: The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

The second from the MLK memorial reads: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas is coming

Still bogged down with piles of grading, but I had to share this with you all. Thanks to Marilyn at Maeve's Madness for sending me this.

This young man is from Winnipeg(Story on him.), he played all the music, sang, and recorded this himself. Very talented!

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...