tools of procrastination part 2

Sunday, May 18, 2008

love it

i am currently obsessed with this girl

her music tastes like summer.

Monday, April 28, 2008

the definition of...

cultural disconnect.

last week in class, one of my boys asked if he could go to the nurse to get some vaseline.

"to put on my tattoo. it itches." (yes, he is 13 and yes he has a new tattoo on his wrist. and yes it says "nina" and yes i asked why he had "little girl" written on his wrist. my spanish speakers all laughed.)

after i explained that a new tattoo was not a reason to go to the nurse, one of my girls told him not to worry because she had some oil in her bag. she promptly pulled out a bottle of olive oil. with a look of utter disbelief and confusion, i inquired as to why she would have olive oil in her bag and whether or not she was planning to use it to cook a meal.

with the exact same look of disbelief and confusion, my students responded that it was for her hair. and what on earth would i cook with olive oil. fried chicken? they use crisco.

i'm not kidding, that's exactly how the conversation went. in education we'd say that our schema didn't match up.

and people want to argue there's no cultural bias on standardized tests.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

documentaries are my favorite

a bit late, but i meant to plug a film that i saw at SXSW. it's called "they killed sister dorothy" and it is a-ma-zing. with extra zing.

it's about a catholic nun who was killed while living in brazil. she was an advocate for the poor and the environment and was brutally murdered because of it. the director was at the screening i went to and said that his hope is that it will show in major cities across the US. if nothing else, you should most definitely netflix it when it comes out.

the website is

go learn!

Monday, March 17, 2008

75% of people don't know what they're talking about

i saw this today on CNN:

it states that according to a new poll, 75% of americans think the country is in a recession. that would be a riveting and meaningful article if recessions were a matter of opinion. sadly, economists in their extensive trickery came up with this amazing little thing called a "formula" to determine what qualifies as a recession. two or more consecutive quarters of decline in GDP. not "gas is really expensive" or "i can't afford an iphone" or even "i felt poor lately." just two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP. would it be difficult for CNN to include that in the article?

i strongly dislike CNN. it's like one step above star magazine.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

mi familia

my brotha, d, had surgery on his leg yesterday. a while back we discovered that he had a fracture in his tibia. that tough little baby played football and started to run track with the injury. when the doctors said that surgically inserting a metal rod into d's leg was the best option, my parents immediately tried contacted his family to get permission. to this day, his mother refuses to return calls. she's mad at d because he wouldn't give her his social security number so she could file for SSI or put him on her tax return or some other crappy financial reason. she didn't even call d on his birthday.

my parents had to get a judge to order that the surgery be done. d was extremely nervous about the whole procedure and at first refused to have it done. my parents and his coaches explained it all to him and finally convinced him that everything would turn out fine. d called his uncle and sisters, who all live in the same town as my family, and asked them to come to his surgery. yesterday when he went into the hospital, the only people there were my parents and one of his coaches. i just talked to d a few minutes ago and he's in a lot of pain, but doing well.

all of this just makes me love/respect that baby even more. i cannot comprehend what it must be like to have a family like his. it breaks my heart for him. a lot of kids in his situation end up making horrible choices and developing even worse attitudes. d, on the other hand, has chosen to be hard-working, kind, sweet person. i'm so proud to have him as a part of my family.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

one week of freedom

i'm on spring break right now and it has been fabulous. i've been partaking in all the lovely things austin and the surrounding area have to offer. i think that giving up tv for lent really helped in getting me active. the ladies and i kicked off saturday by sneaking our way into one of those sxsw parties where you pay nothing to listen to bands and drink beer. hipsters abounded, however, and i did make a relatively early exit from that one. sunday i went to my church and then to "hippie church" at maria's. it was entertaining to say the least. there's something about that older generation of hippies that just doesn't quite translate down through the decades. tess had a good little theory that maybe if we'd never seen videos on mtv then we'd dance like them too. if that's the case, i'm thankful for mtv for the first time in over a decade.

tuesday morning, tess and i loaded up my car and headed for pedernales falls state park (pronounced perdinalis by everyone in a 200 mile radius of here.) the other ladies had bailed on us because of "soccer games" and "jobs" so we were ready to brave the wilderness on our own. both of us were a bit concerned about keeping ourselves entertained considering the fact that we'd been together almost non-stop since saturday. thankfully, as usual, we found random crap to laugh at. for example, tess trying to build a fire. she thought you just had to make a pile of logs and light a match, like in our fireplace. we were good though, because i have the kind of father that was kind enough to challenge my sister and me to timed fire-building competitions in our pre-adolescence. turns out it was a useful skill to learn. anyway, the park was beautiful and the falls were impressive, even running low. one of these days i've got to figure out how to work my camera properly so my pictures don't come out looking overexposed. however, all i have to offer for your viewing pleasure is this for now:

last night i went to a communal reconciliation service and it was extremely cathartic. in it i found the impetus to change some of the nasty little habits i've been developing. namely, the fact that belief without action is meaningless. it's nice to feel that immigrants are mistreated, that the poor are neglected and that the homeless are overlooked, but unless i start to try and do my part to change that, well my words and thoughts don't do anyone much good. i hope to create a drastic shift in that area of my life from this point on.

this morning i was completely alone at the greenbelt for my run. that's never happened before. it was fabulous, but a bit unnerving a the same time. due to a brilliant suggestion by a wise, lovely man, i have decided to make sure my visits to the greenbelt become much more regular. he told me, "martha, you live in the best part of austin and you should take advantage of it. you should take so much advantage that you feel guilty and want to give something back." fits perfectly into my new plans (see above paragraph).

finally, i decided to actually take some steps toward my goal of learning spanish. until this point all i've done is listen to spanish music, watch foreign films and monitor my students' conversations for cuss words. hence, i have not learned anything of real value. so this morning, i purchased "spanish for educators" at half price books and started making flash cards. yes, it might be ridiculous that a 25 year old has color-coded vocabulary words on rings, but it's part of how i learn. tess and i are also planning to sign up for a conversational spanish class this summer.

all of the things i've done this week are things that bring my true joy, but for some reason i tend to have trouble getting them done. suddenly though, i feel like i've had this shift in my spirit and it looks like i'm finally getting down to really living this life. it makes me smile.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

i love this town

i had the kind of austin day today that i absolutely love. actually forecasted "abundant sunshine." went to mass, cooked, played a pick up soccer game at zilker and graded papers on the deck at mozart's. i think i even got a bit of a tan.

let me tell ya a little thing about pick up games at zilker. if an african dude asks you to play, be prepared for some good competition. not so easy when you haven't played in a year and are still a little phlegmy from sickness earlier in the week. still fun though.