Deep Thoughts by Lisa Kramer

No, my deep thoughts will be nothing like Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. There’s an entire website dedicated to his deep (dark, disturbing, and sometimes downright hilarious) thoughts which originated on Saturday Night Live.

Do you remember those?

No, my deep thoughts are the thoughts of a brain that has been working overtime during the past week, but can’t seem to work its way out of the mire of thinking.

To put it simply, I think too much. I cannot move forward into some other kinds of writing or into planning if I can’t empty my brain off all the thoughts competing for attention. If I had a pensieve like Dumbledore in Harry Potter I would be pulling strand out of strand of thoughts out of my head just to give my mind a rest. But I don’t have one, so I must resort to a more mundane way of doing things (or is that a more muggley way of doing things?). I don’t have a magic wand . . . I just have the magic of words.

I want to use that magic except that I’m afraid, because the truth is that some of my thoughts could piss people off. Does that mean I shouldn’t write them? Or is it finally time to get all of this off my chest?

What exactly am I afraid of?

I guess my fear is not being liked. I still struggle with  wanting to belong somewhere, and here on the blog I’ve found a group of friends even if they are only virtual ones. I’m also aware that anyone who has dreams of writing and selling a book, needs to build a fan base. But what if my deep thoughts are too radical? Too opinionated? Or simply too difficult  to follow?

Yup, my thoughts are that deep.

Then I look at one of my writing idols, Andra Watkins aka The Accidental Cootchie Mama, who does not run away from the dark words and thoughts that sometimes haunt her. She lets her characters have a voice through her words, even when those characters and thoughts come from a scary place. Her fiction never fails to chill, thrill, and make you think a little about the meaning of  life. Perhaps I need to allow my deep thoughts to come  out  in the form of fiction, or at least I need to give voice to them somehow.

Even if they make me afraid.

Does anyone want to hear the deep thoughts of Lisa Kramer or should my voice remain silent?

Sometimes deep thoughts come while sitting on a swing and staring at the sky.

Sometimes deep thoughts come while sitting on a swing and staring at the sky.

 

Occupy Thanksgiving?? Challenges to Thankfulness

It’s hard to be thankful with dog poop on your shoe.
It’s hard to be thankful with so much stuff yet to do.

It’s hard to be thankful when you just learned today
that a dear friend from your past had a partner go away.

It’s hard to be thankful when another friend you know
Was mugged, pushed and frightened, with her face taking a blow.

It’s hard to be thankful when every other sound
reveals Democracy is failing and the world has turned around.

It’s hard to be thankful, and yet I know I must
find joy in the people I know and I trust.

The world might end tomorrow, but we still have today
Let’s fill it with laughter, joy, happiness and play.

Today I will be thankful for every choice I’ve made
for friends, for travel, and for a life for which I have no shame.

Today I will be thankful, although its hard to do
So Happy Thanksgiving my friends, I hope you are thankful too.

What do you do when you find it hard to be thankful?

I’m Not Old Enough

This is my response to the fabulous Tori Nelson’s post called “old enough.

I’m Not Old Enough . . .

. . . to give up my dreams in the face of other people’s sense of
what is appropriate;

. . . to sit in a corner gathering dust
while younger generations act like my time has passed;

 . . . to fade quietly into an existence defined by other’s

and yet society wants to make that so.

I’m not old enough . . . 

. . . to live without the joys of childhood
like ice cream on a sunny day
or conversations with stuffed animals.

. . . to live without singing and dancing
for the pure joy of song and movement

. . . to be afraid of getting dirty
with paint stains or clay pieces
as I create an imperfect piece of art

and yet the world resists the joy,
insisting that money and success are all that matter.

I’m not old enough . . . 

. . . to stop fighting for what I believe in
or hoping for the world to change

. . . to stop learning from others
and helping others along the way.

I’m not old enough  . . . 

And I NEVER will be!!!

Photo by Mehmet Akin

Airport Observations: Practices Not People

Airport pan

Image by AMagill via Flickr

I reflected on people when I ventured to Seattle a few days ago, but nos on my return trip I’d like to discuss something different. While I love the stories of the people I see at airports, I wanted to reflect on some observations I’ve made about practices, which make me questions some of the values of our society.

When I first checked in on my way to Seattle I noticed a few things.

  • The not surprising lack of human faces as check in occurred through technology. Today, this was even worse because one man worked the entire American Airline counter, and of course he was stationed at first class.
  • The $45 upgrade offer that made me wonder how much a first class ticket would have cost in the first place. I’m always tempted to take those offers, but I didn’t this time.
  • The ridiculous fact that both times I’ve gotten boarding group three with an offer to upgrade to an earlier boarding group for $9.00. Of course, as I observed last time. Nobody is in boarding group 1, so it is all a scam to make more money. Don’t do it, because group 2 is really 1 and so on.

Then we move onto security:

  • Empty lanes open only for first class or premiere passengers, which means workers sitting around doing little while the regular folk wait in long lines.
  • The repetitive video trying to convince everyone that the full body scan is non-invasive and somehow protects our privacy. Yeah, I buy that. I mean, just because my face may be obscured, nobody is going to recognize the voluptuous curves of a 5 ft. tall women with breasts that compete with Dolly Parton. 😉
  • The woman in front of me getting her coffee confiscated. Seriously, you know the coffee is going to be drunk before she gets on the plane. But, that would of course mar the business of the Starbucks prominently located just after you get through security.
  • A woman after me having her unopened and forgotten water bottle pulled out of her carry-on bags.  It made me wonder what they do with the confiscated bottles–add to the waste by throwing them away, scan them, or simply drink them with a subtle laugh for the free water that they get from these naive travelers.

Call me cynical, but so many of these security measures express a disturbing facet of our society–the fact that the world functions on greed and distrust, and subtle manipulation in the name of control.

Does this make anyone else sad?

On a positive note, at least Seattle Airport has free internet access. Dallas and Tulsa don’t.

G is for (G)not Posting Garbage

Since I am trying to be kinder to myself in this blogging world, and work on developing quality instead of quantity, I thought I would again link you to some past posts that I am proud of rather than glopping together something that smells like garbage for today’s post. Oddly enough, many of my G-posts seem to reflect on society and are more serious. Read them if you wish, but I understand if you don’t.  Note: I have reactivated comments on past posts for a short while. I got rid of them because it cuts down on spam, but I realized that I should reopen it if I’m going to refer you to past posts.

  • As a passionate advocate for the importance of arts and humanities in the schools, this discussion is close to my heart, The Great Debate: Humanities Vs. Science.
  • I become more and more aware of the continued inequalities surrounding gender, and watch my daughter fall into the traps of what it means to be a girl. One day I asked why in Marketing Gender.
  • Bullying is something we should all be concerned about. I personally want to do something about it, using drama in the schools (somehow). I also am a Gleek. So, this post combines those two interests!

Thanks for bearing with me as I struggle with a little writer’s block, but am still trying to live up to the A to Z Challenge.

Have a GREAT Day!

The Arts vs. Sports, SMACKDOWN 2011!

Wrestling photo

Image via Wikipedia

In this corner, SPORTS!!!
Usually well-funded.
Beginners welcome, but to actually play you must make the team.

Teaches teamwork,  discipline, commitment. problem solving and precision body work

Student athletes are expected to attend classes regularly. . .

. . . except when they have a game,
or are travelling for a game,
or have to meet with a scout,
or receive a text from the coach in the middle of class
or they are sick.

Student athletes are supposed to maintain a C average . . .
except when they are star athletes
in this instance teachers must bend over backwards to ensure passing grades.

In this corner Arts Programming!!!!
Generally underfunded.

Beginners welcome, and we usually will find something for you to do.

Teaches teamwork,  discipline, commitment, problem solving, creative thinking, communication skills, presentational skills, fundraising, time management, business skills, management skills, and often includes elements of physical/body training

Students of the arts are expected to attend classes regularly including classes in other disciplines. The rare exception is when there is a showing or conference that benefits their education
or they are sick.
(Sick students are still expected to perform in live performances unless they are in the hospital.)

Student artists are expected to maintain a C average
while attending rehearsals every evening
and memorizing lines or rehearsing music during their free time (which is often consumed by work to help support them through their arts programming)

ATHLETES ON SCHOLARSHIP MUST PLAY IN ALL GAMES!

ARTISTS ON SCHOLARSHIP CAN PICK AND CHOOSE PARTICIPATION
(however once they commit, they should stay committed and not quit for random reasons)

ATHLETES ON SCHOLARSHIP MUST ATTEND ALL PRACTICES!

PERFORMERS MUST ATTEND ALL SCHEDULED REHEARSALS
(however we will make every effort to adjust the schedule around your athletic practices, games, and work needs.)

ATHLETES MUST PLAY IN ALL GAMES, EVEN THOSE ADDED MIDWAY THROUGH!

PERFORMERS MUST ATTEND ALL TECHNICAL/DRESS REHEARSALS AND EVERY SCHEDULED PERFORMANCE!
(Flexibility in scheduling ends for one week only, when the show must take priority. Show dates are dictated by the agreement made when paying royalties, therefore we cannot change the dates of performance to accommodate your game schedule)

SMACKDOWN!!!!

.

.

.

And the WINNER is . . .

Marketing Gender

Mary Frith ("Moll Cutpurse") scandal...

Image via Wikipedia

The only time I give into the gluttonous lure of fast food is when I am on a long car trip. I don’t know why, but I cannot resist the greasy goodness calibrating my stomach as the miles roll under the cars wheels.

Yesterday, as I licked the last bit of tartar sauce off of my fingers, I realized that I would probably regret my choice of lunch later in the day as the longest car trip of my life stretched into the double digits. I decided to distract myself by reading the box of my daughter’s Happy Meal. This, however, added to my problem by the simple mechanism of gendered and stereotypical marketing that added food for thought if not for digestion.

One side was blue and clearly geared at the boys, picturing an anime character with an aggressive look.  The game on the side recommended that boys add power to their names so they too can become kick-ass fighters (okay, I’m paraphrasing here) by simply adding -oid or -tron to the end of their names.

The pink side showed pictures of the fuzzy little stuffed toys for the girls. In the corner, a pink heart that could be punched out of the box and divided in half. Give half to your friend, it says. Keep half for yourself. When you are separate, you will have half a heart, but when you are together your heart will be whole. Gag!

I guess that the girls don’t need to worry that they can only be whole through the support of someone else, or that only having half a heart might make them weak, because Paul-tron or Stephen-oid can always come and protect her collection of fuzzy animals.

I wish that my daughter would rather be Sarah-tron, but of course she spent time talking baby talk to her new tiny unicorn.

A few days ago, one of my Facebook friends who is a super intelligent person, posted for input on how to refer to a male with an effeminate term that would not be offensive to gay men.  I didn’t respond because I was disturbed by the question. Why does there have to be a word for it? Why can’t a sensitive, non-macho man simply be a nice guy?

Even as gender roles have changed in some ways in our society, I realize that we have NOT “come a long way, baby.”  We can pretend all we want that women have more opportunities in this world (if still unequal pay). We can be shown images of men being house-moms or crying and being sensitive but still winning the girl.  But underneath that, the expectations remain the same. Girls are supposed to love pink and play with dolls. Boys are supposed to get dirty and roughhouse. Women are supposed to have a mothering instinct and men protect their family. In the family, women are still expected to take time off for sick children while the men bring home the bacon.

We talk as if the above isn’t true, but the little pink and blue box proves otherwise.

I think it is time for everyone to choose his/her own color and for gender to be self-selected. How do we make that happen when every detail of our lives is marketed to us with gender identity attached?

Any thoughts on this?

Satisfaction with Mediocrity

Math Cards Icon

Image by Sagolla via Flickr

I just turned in my grades for the past semester.

As usual, my emotions are a mixed bag: relief that I finished (early this semester); frustration at myself for what I didn’t accomplish; elation because of the few students that I actually reached and saw shine; anger at the students who were willing to scrape by in mediocrity.

This last feeling is the most frustrating for me. I have seen it in numerous situations lately; not just in the classroom but in people’s general attitude toward life . There seems to be a willingness to accept the mediocre. Why work for an A when a C will do? And, if you don’t get the A, then of course it is the fault of the instructor, never oneself. If you are getting less than a C, particularly an F, you can always beg for withdrawal as long as you can come up with a heart-wrenching explanation for why you never bothered to attend class or turn anything in. I am giving lots of “F”s this year.

I gave an assignment for students to create a portfolio of their work. “Lay it out nicely,” I said. “This will be useful for you in the future. Create something that you would turn in if you were applying for a job. Create a cover, label your images . . . etc.” I get a collection of images labeled with a blue pen. The cover is notebook paper, blue handwriting scribbled across.

I give the students the opportunity to create a final that is interesting to them, where they can latch onto whatever intrigued them throughout the semester and pursue that topic. I set guidelines, but I allowed. I get, an odd mixture of well thought out work merged with half-accomplished efforts.

This is not just a refection of the school I am at, but a general attitude of students today.  They want knowledge handed to them in the simplest way possible, and then they want some kind of guarantee that all of this work will lead to a lucrative job. I cannot give those guarantees, because I would never hire them. If I owned my own company, I would only want to hire people who are willing to put something more than mediocrity into everything they do. I want to work with people who can find inspiration in anything, so that they do it all with joy. I want to work with people who are not satisfied with a C.

I wonder if this is a reflection of American culture. Have we become so complacent that we are somehow “the best” that we no longer strive to become better. I hate to think that the best we can do is middle of the road.

What do you think?

The Line Between Safety and Fear

This morning a girl from neighborhood, who I don’t know, knocked on our door. My husband answered and the girl said, “I missed the bus, could you drive me to school?” My husband hesitated before agreeing to give her a ride.

I know that I am new to small town life (or at least this small) but I was really disturbed by this incident. Maybe it is the fact that last year we had a big meeting at my daughter’s elementary school about Stranger Danger after a registered  sex offender (and high risk) was released on parole and moved into the neighborhood near the school, and after a couple of incidents in our neighborhood and at the school involving strangers and cars and children. We were scared. At the public notice meeting over the parolee, the police provided lot of information about the numbers of registered offenders in that area. There were a lot, both men and women.

Back to this morning’s incident. I like that this child has been taught to trust her neighbors, but at the same time my mind was screaming “You just asked a strange man for a ride!”

So what do I teach my daughter? I don’t want her growing up in fear of every strange person. I want her to be confident about asking for help when she needs it. But, at the same time, I want her safe. I was just saying yesterday, as we were with a group trick-or-treating  that I am cautious about arranging play dates for Sarah until I meet the parents. Is that being a good parent or instilling fear into my daughter and reinforcing loneliness?

It is all so confusing.  I would love to live in a world where this was not an issue, where I could feel safe everywhere and trust that everyone around me is as kind as I am. I would love to live in a world where I feel comfortable leaving my doors unlocked at all times. Maybe I’m just still not comfortable in my new town. I left my door unlocked in my old neighborhood. And, even though I didn’t know my neighbors well, I would not have minded if Sarah went to them for help.

I would have minded her knocking on a stranger’s door however.

Where is the line between safety and fear?

******

Some more thoughts . . .

A friend just commented that she was more afraid for Nathan because of  “In this day in age the shit that could rain down on him for having a stranger’s 4th grade girl in his care and in his vehicle (as in if there was an accident) is huge.” She’s right. In our time, being a good Samaritan or a kind neighbor has its own risks. That, in itself, is a sad statement. I would love to be able to trust people fully, but trust doesn’t last long in our society. Where did we go wrong?

Wearing Purple

 

Purple color

Image via Wikipedia

 

My family is wearing purple today. I haven’t noticed if anyone else is wearing purple, but I won’t be surprised if they don’t.

I have a dream of seeing the streets of someplace like New York filled with purple. Streets filled with Spirit! Streets filled with the idea that people have the right to love who they like, believe what they like, worship as they please without being bullied, abused, or tortured. Streets filled with people who recognize that every life is valuable, and would never push someone to end his/her life.

Is that a realistic dream?

I dressed in purple today because I want to believe in the possibility that human nature is not as wicked and petty as it sometimes seems. I want to believe that we can be filled with joy, love, and support for one another.

I asked my daughter to wear purple because I want her to know that it is okay to love whoever she wants to love. I also want her to learn to stand up against bullies when she sees them. She’s only seven. She doesn’t quite understand, but she heard what I said and embraced the purple.

My partner chose to wear purple for his own reasons, but I am sure they are similar to mine.

My family wore purple today because we believe in the power of spirit and the value of life.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: