Thursday, November 30, 2006


Yesterday, Professing Mama wrote the following about one of her students:
I have received another student's email that has made me cry. This one is quite different from the first one; it came from a student in my intro course, a student who is in some ways quite typical of the MSU student body--a returning student, first-generation, "underprepared."As teachers, we say we don't play favorites, and it's true that I work very hard to treat all of my students fairly. I would be lying to say that I don't have favorites, however, and this student is my favorite student in this class. He is not a great student; he works hard for Cs. But that is what I love about him: he works hard. He frequently participates in class, he really tries to improve, and he wants to learn.That is the type of student I enjoy the most...

Another thing I love about him is that he has missed several classes the past few weeks, but he has never made any excuses... he told me that he knew he had "failed in his responsibilities" and that he knew he deserved whatever grade he received. I have never had a student own up like that.

I just received word that he is dropping the course; one of his parents died of cancer on Thanksgiving Day. Apparently the reason why he was missing so much class was because he was helping with caretaking in his parent's last few weeks. He told me he'll start over again next semester, and he thanked me "for always being so kind to me."So I'm crying again tonight. I feel so sorry not only for his loss, but also for mine.
And it made me think back to the last test date in our class, when the kids were hastily dropping their bluebooks into the correct boxes, and my fellow TA and I were sitting on the stage answering their questions or simply saying hi. She leaned over and asked me, "Don't you just love these students?"

And I realized, for all my hard talk and skepticism, I do. So many of my students are like the one Professing Mama described and my heart just goes out to them. How they add college to their list of responsibilities, I'll never know. I was a traditional student--started at 17, on full scholarship, finished in four years. Don't get me wrong, best friend Texas, who was my friend from freshman year on, and my roommate our junior and senior years, and I were perpetually broke and hungry, but we didn't have the experiences these students have. We had jobs, but they were on campus, part time. And no one ever doubted, for one moment, that we'd finish. My students now have children and car notes and electricity bills and 40 hours+ per week jobs. Some of them don't have the luxury of meeting us after class or for review sessions--they have to work or go to the daycare or do myriad other things.

And I find that I respect, admire, love them fiercely for what they're doing. I want to see them do well, see them finish. Somehow, over the course of this semester, I've invested my heart right along with my mind in these young people.

Before I started teaching, even on the elementary level, I always assumed that the "A" students would be my favorites--I'd identify with them and be so excited to challenge them. And that was true to a point. But you know who pulled my heartstrings? The ones who hug me and tell me they love me now when I go home (my first class of fifth graders are seniors this year!)? My "bad asses." Those who came in with looks on their faces that let me know off the bat we might have a long day. Those who got frustrated with the work and wanted to sulk and pout and got mad when I wouldn't let them. Those for whom and with whom I had to do the most work. Those who made me lay my head down on my desk and sigh sometimes before I tried something else.

They appreciate me, it seems, for my efforts. And I appreciate them for taking my preconceived notions and blowing them out of the water.

And I've found it much the same in my college classrooms. Some of them try so hard, work so hard, but their grades don't always reflect that. These are the ones for whom we have special reviews, extend our office hours, have long e-mail chats. It's not about feeling sorry for them; it's about respecting them as people beyond their student status.

So yes, I love my students. Do you?

Updates on the World Beyond My Narrow Confines

One thing that has bedeviled my growth as a feminist and my research as a historian is an irrational belief that I have to read every single thing, know every single detail about a subject before I can write about it. I am frightened of my own lack of expertise and it immobilizes me.

Which is one of the reasons I post haphazardly about people of color in an international context. I need to learn more, read more, know more, I think.

Such teh bullshit. Nothing but excuses delivered in my typical, wide-eyed, shoulder shrugging fashion.

There are people who are helping me learn, though. Please read Quaker Dave's two recent posts on Darfur here and here. One of his commenters noted, "Believe me, when you post things about Darfur, people listen." She wanted to know what private citizens could do and Dave pointed her to this post. Quaker Dave also blogs extensively about the war we're waging on Iraq. The poignant combination of his words and chosen images have made the abstract so very real to me.

For the situation in Oaxaca, Mexico, visit BfP's site and click on her Oaxaca link. Her work on this, and so many other topics, is amazing. She probably has her eyebrow raised at my passing the buck to her with little of my own analysis, but I rely heavily on her posts for updates.

These examples of PoC struggles and oppresson are hardly all-inclusive, but I decided a while ago that I had to stop waiting until I knew it all and start somewhere.

Ok, Let's Start One

Seems I have been scathingly labelled as a cause of "teh black child's" problems based on my So That's It post:
The gist of it is that the author has a son who so far, isn't good at anything. The mother is desperately trying to force/find something for her child to be good at. She laughs about it, then goes on to add the above little ditty at the end. Which irritates me because it spreads far beyond just this child. She hasn't written much, and I think she makes some valid points about other issues, but her attitude toward raising her son is part of why we have so many under performing black children now. This isn't really to single this woman out, which is why I haven't included a link, but seriously... black mothers are dropping the ball all over the place.

There is an overwhelming propensity for people in the black community to blame the poor performance of our children on everything but our parenting skills. Now I realize its hard for any parent to fess up and say "wow, I really screwed my kid up," but in the black community there are too many of us not taking responsibility for our kids and EVEN MORE of us who are facilitating this mentality. I read the comments and not one person said what I am going to say right now:

How the F does your child miss 21 assignments and you as a parent do not know about it? If you have a child who you think needs special attention, why aren't you as a parent making sure he gets it?

I don't have any children, so I can understand that my comments might not be as moving as those who do. But if and when I do decide to have children... especially children who are still ripe for being molded into decent members of society, I will know how my child is doing in class WELL before Thanksgiving break. How will I know? Because before classes even start I will make sure my children's teachers know I do not play when it comes to grades... I will not have any fools running around claiming I am their mother. Not while they live under my roof anyway...

how effed up is it to almost totally give up on your child before he even hits high school? Because he hasn't fit into any of the standard molds you picked for him?
I should've been secure enough not to respond, right? Yeah, right:
good grief, i should be at a point where i don't feel the need to defend myself to way wrong strangers, but, apparently that's another of my failings.

the problem is not that he missed 21 assignments--a number of them were done at home and sent to school--but that he doesn't turn them in at school or that he gets them back for corrections and doesn't return them. his teacher is at a point where she refuses to individually ask him for assignments anymore. as a former teacher, i respect that--he needs to take responsibility and turn in his work at the assigned time. he knows the drill after almost a full semester. we have played the makeup work game since the end of august now.

and to refute your erroneous belief that somehow my eyes were not opened to my son's progress until Thanksgiving break (or that these assignments have accrued over the whole semester), let me point out that this was a report for the month of november. she gives me a weekly update about his missing assignments--assignments that can, for now, only be made up at school. i reinforce to him how important it is to do the work. she makes more copies and gives it to him to complete in study hall. some of it he completes. some of it he does not, thus allowing it to build up. i have a child who simply refuses to hand in his work and none of us can figure out why, though we are trying.

since you've determined that i've dropped the ball, i suppose it won't do much good to point out that my child is not a traditional special needs child--he tests on or slightly above grade level. or that i've had four conferences with his teacher, the last of which included the principal. or that we swap e-mails several times a week. or that i've had him start seeing a psychologist because all of us believe this is a behavioral problem--he's never had problems like this before, so something has definitely triggered this. or that, if you read some of my archives, you'll find that i've been a room parent and an active PTO member--I'm always at his school for one thing or another. or that i believe there is more to life than school, which is why i've tried to find extra-curricular niches for him.i've never once implied that i've given up on my child. and i'm sorry that i'm not so perfect that i don't get frustrated.

what is it exactly, that you have identified as "my attitude about raising my son?" on the advice of his psychologist and the principal, i've given up micromanaging his life--trying to make sure he does every assignment perfectly--because they say that this is part of the reason he won't take responsibility for his work.

ah, and then there's the "when i have a child, i'll..." mm-hmm. i said all those things about what a perfect mother with a perfect child i was going to be. and then reality happened. and playing about grades? do you really think that i, an academic, don't take grades seriously? honestly? but i'm interested to hear your suggestions--i've tried various forms of incentives and punishments. the psychologist and i are wrangling with school officials about having him moved into another class. short of sitting with him several hours a day at school, keeping him on task, and handing in the work myself, i'm at a loss for ideas.

you don't have to agree with my parenting style--that's cool. but dear lord, please acknowledge that their is more to the story--that is why regular commenters, who included my best friend, responded so supportively. because they know some of the struggles we've had.

but perhaps as troubling as your comments about my parenting are your snide remarks about black women in general. why the condescension towards us frat-party attending women and/or ball-dropping mamas and/or the black women commenters you feel coddled me on my blog? how effed up is it to dismiss all blogging sisters with your nose firmly in the air?
Yes, I was an overachiever. Yes, that undoubtedly shapes my perspective. Yes, I want my son to develop skills, to be a strong student, and myriad other things. Yes, I want him to learn to take responsibilty for his actions or lack thereof. No, I am not the one implying that my child might miss his opportunity to be a decent citizen or that he's a "fool running around" or that hey, he's a hopeless underperformer because his mom dropped the ball!

What I am saying, is that it worries me that my son has failed at so many things because I don't want his self-esteem destroyed. It frustrates me (and hell yeah, pisses me off--no apologies) when it takes us 3 hours to do homework and he won't turn it in. And yes, sometimes I have to laugh so I don't cry. But I never quit trying. I have never, ever claimed to be some goddess mother--y'all know that from all my various scenarios. But I love, love, love this little boy and I want him to have a good future. In my life, that has been tied to education or some prized skill set. I can't help wanting him to have those things.

And I can't help resenting the half-informed opinions of some condescending woman who's never been in shoes quite like mine.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh Wow

Yesterday was my one year blogiversary. I can't believe it!

The Good Life

Apparently, my materialism and the Bold Look of Kohler are getting to my son.

He had the best dream last night, he says. In it, I had a mansion with a "buncha" rooms. And I had a bed that was just royal (his word, not mine. I'm thinking he must mean a canopy bed or sleigh bed or something). And the best thing?

Every single room had a pretty faucet... with water.

He said it with that emphasis, eyes all big and amazed as if he's still relishing the supreme excellence of that vision.

On that note, I'm going to bed.

There may be something good in store for me in dreamland.

White Supremacy

See, I can say that, acknowledge the ways it works, decry its existence all day long on this blog.

But for some reason, that was the hardest phrase for me to write into my dissertation. I wrote about intraethnic conflicts being characterized as if they occur solely between non-white racial/ethnic groups. What is often obscured, I said, is that they occur in a framework of white supremacy.

I debated and debated about using it. Would advisor think I had gone too far (and that is TOTALLY my projection. She has never given any indication that she underestimates the impact of white supremacy, especially on labor)? Am I sophisticated enough to make an argument to back that? Was there some other phrase I could use that wasn't so...


Eventually, cautiously, I used it. But for the life of me, I still can't explain my hesitance.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not-So-Easy Listening

This morning, while taking the kids to school, I listened to a local hip-hop station. I abandoned the other such station a couple of months ago, after the woman who hosted the morning show told guys that, "Just because she says no one time, doesn't mean she won't eventually like it," in a discussion about keeping the sex life spicy or something.

I e-mailed the show, curious as to how they'd missed the whole point of "no means no," if the host had any idea of the power of sexual coercion, and if she really believed that women were such fickle beings. One of her male colleagues e-mailed me back in a huff--the host does not condone rape, she didn't mean sex in general, but specific acts (because it's okay to try to force women into things they don't want to do once they've consented to have sex, apparently), and--my real comeuppance--out of the hundred or so responses they'd received, mine was the only one that expressed such sentiments. So there.

I e-mailed him back to apologize for my forwardness and promised to only write them if I had glowing praise for the show. Someone e-mailed me back and I promptly deleted it. I haven't listened to their morning show since.

But then, this morning, the other station was having a discussion of why guys don't like for their "girls" to have slept with a lot of men.

You can probably guess where this went.

I tuned in when the male co-host was trying to explain to his female co-host that the problem was not with women's choices to sleep with a number of guys, but with guys' reaction (always the truly important measure). No boyfriend, he maintained, wanted a girlfriend about whom another guy could opine, "I slept with her; she ain't nothing special." Since specialness is apparently all bound up in how close one is to virginity and all. And no guy could assert that such an assumption is foolish. But I digress.

The co-host was pretty aggravated, bugged by the double standard and the idea that a woman was somehow worth less because she had an active sex life. The host gave up on her and appealed to the DJ to make her see reason. So, the DJ came to the mike and the first thing he said was,

"It's about ownership."

Uh-huh, yes he did. Women, or perhaps their vaginas, are owned by men, and no man wants too many trespassers on his property. To continue, the DJ then said,

"It's like... discovery. Guys don't want to plant their flags where a lot of other flags are planted."

Ah. So now women, reduced to their vaginas, have become like a conquerable continent or planet or something. Which is pseudo-amusing to me that the DJ has to "discover" vaginas as I've always thought the location was rather established and familiar. Then the host chimed in with,

"I know. The reason man wanted to go to the moon is because no one else had been there!" And dissolved into laughter.

The co-host who managed not to succumb to all this brilliant male reason, asked "What about women... I mean I don't want a flag that's been planted a lot of places, either. What about that?"

To which the DJ responded, "The double standard is there and you should just get used to it." More laughter. Thankfully, I'd arrived back home and got out of the car on that note.

I still can't believe that happened. I want to hope that maybe people called in after I got out of the car and blasted their asses, but I know that's not likely. What is likely is that they succeeded in making it seem as if the co-host was overreacting and that the so-called status quo was somehow pre-ordained and ever existant--it could not possibly have been constructed!

All I could think of was those, "you poke it, you own it," beer commercials. And no, I have not responded to the station, though I suppose I will now, just to get the angry refutation of my reaction.

Monday, November 27, 2006

So That's It!

Have you ever seen that Mastercard commercial in which some dad is desperately searching for whatever it is his kid is good at? That's the story of my life with my kid.

He's, um, not quite the student I hoped for.

His piano teacher gently suggested he may have been too young when he started lessons at six.

The band director at his school sent me a scathing note once asking, "Does he really practice at home?" She eventually suggested he move to chorus.

His karate instructor was way put off by his lack of attention. Dropped that.

He has my "knock-knees," so my sister's plan to put the kids in a track program hasn't worked all that well.

He was a bed-wetter and also had an episode of encopresis in the summer of 2005 that had me ready to pull out my hair before I realized it wasn't purposeful.

He has yet to learn his times tables after a year.

Did I mention his last progress report?

And on and on and on.

So anyway, he just came in here and said, "Mama, look what I'm really good at?" "What?" I say, all falsely bright, but hopeful. He whipped out a paddle ball thing and showed me how he can hit the ball for an extended period without it dropping off the side of the paddle.

So, see, all my worrying was for nothing! We now know his talent!

While I'm being all ha-ha now, let me tell y'all, I have cried many nights (and days) because everything with this child has been a struggle. I worry about his future because he has repeatedly learned the lessons of failure and has very little motivation now to try anything. He's been getting failing grades because he's doing this covert act-out thing in which he does his schoolwork and refuses to turn it in. As of the Friday before Thanksgiving, he had 21 zeros--work he simply did not return to the teacher--so you can imagine his grades. The teacher sent me a note today--she found 14 of those assignments, completed, balled up in his desk. We completed a couple more tonight.


To my favorite newly minted PhD...

She kicked ass at her defense, btw.

Rest In Peace

Bebe Moore Campbell.

Seems like I'm saying that way too often lately.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


ah, spoons. take a deck of cards, a certain number of players. place spoons in the middle of the table-the number of spoons is one less than the number of players. one of the players acts as dealer (changes each hand). she looks at each card, decides if she wants to keep it, if not passes it on. the cards go around the table, face down--each player chooses one to keep. the dealer keeps passing them til someone gets four of a kind. as soon as said player has four of a kind, she grabs a spoon. other players, acting on her cue, grab for the rest. the one pour soul left out has to take a shot. once everyone has had a shot or so, it gets hard to keep your eyes both on the cards--which, ideally, are coming quickly--and the spoons in the middle of the table.

i did okay--four shots of tequila. my poor sister--we lost count--but at least 7, that she chased with either smirnoff ice or this fruity mixed drink called jungle juice, because she hates the taste of tequila. she was fine while we were at the table, but then she moved to the living room and she was through. then our asses got scared because we let her drink that much.

but, oh, was the singing, which included:
  1. two heartfelt rounds of Irreplaceable that my cousin T sang and acted out while her sister danced with a patio chair and the rest of us acted as emotional back up singers
  2. the Jim Jones song (is it Ballin?) in which his calling out the word "ballin'" during the chorus prompted us to move our hands in a simulation of taking basketball shots (you know, ballin') which amused one of cousins hugely as she was the only one of us who played basketball in high school and thought our form was hideous
  3. the Louisiana rapper Li'l Boosie's "Zoom" which is unbelievably popular here--I hadn't heard it in the Lone Star State and now it's in my head

and dancing and laughing and women scrambling their asses all over the table and occasionally on the floor was too much fun.

BTW, My sister recovered sufcciciently enough to make the after Thanksgiving sales of course. We didn't leave the houste till 6 AM, but we found some good stuff here and in the little open strips here and by lollygagging around here. The combination of stores in Pecanland makes it my favorite of all time--yes, moreso than the Galleria--because I haven't found that mix anywhere else.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving...

My family is thinking of all the reasons we have to be grateful. Number one on the list: twenty-six, er, thirty-two years of basking in my wonderful presence.*

Today, my actual birthday, is somewhat anticlimactic, though, as we celebrated by reserving tables at a lovely hole-in-the-wall club Sunday (nothing like them) and by going to Shreveport to a casino last night. Tonight, my cousin says we're going to play something called spoons and take shots, something I've never done.

All excellent ways for a good, Christian girl to celebrate her birthday.

*You know, that lying about the age thing sort of just rolls off the tongue.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Janitors' Strike Resolved... Somewhat

A couple of days ago, actually... sorry for the delayed post.
HOUSTON — Houston janitors ended a monthlong strike Monday against the city's five major cleaning companies after reaching a tentative agreement that will guarantee higher wages, more work hours and medical benefits.
The settlement was hailed as a major victory for the 5,300 janitors who last year organized under the Service Employees International Union. It is the first citywide union contract since janitors formed a union last November.
"We're very happy, and our members are ecstatic," SEIU spokeswoman Lynda Tran said. "It's an incredible, incredible day and this is a major victory."
Under Monday's agreement, the SEIU janitors will get a 50.5 percent pay raise over the two-year contract. On Jan. 1, pay will increase to $6.25 an hour, a 21 percent increase over the current wage of $5.15 an hour. That will go up to $7.25 an hour on Jan. 1, 2008, and $7.75 on Jan. 1, 2009.
More here and here and here.

And the Houston Indy Media is hosting "an evening of films related to their struggle for better wages, health care and dignity, and other contemporary struggles of workers" on November 29.

$6.25 an hour, honestly, doesnn't seem like much, especially given the fact that these people are allowed to work only a 20-hour week. But it is progress, a sign that successful protest is possible. As symbolic victories go, this one seems huge.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rural Credentials

Apparently, the parental units are afraid I'm losing mine. My faux pas so far:

My mom fried fish Saturday night. Bone-in fish that my dad had caught. I hate picking out the small bones; I always get one stuck in my teeth--or for a pain like no other--in my throat. So I didn't eat it. My mom rolled her eyes and said, "Mmm." And I said, "Ma, you know I don't eat caught fish." And she said, "Girl, all fish is caught." But, in my mind there is a distinction. I explained I only eat "bought" fish (as in bought and fileted from the local grocery store!). Which brought the ultra-insulting comment, "You used to eat it."

My dad is also a hunter and has killed two deer this season so far. Their deep freezer is filled to the brim with processed venison. While I know that this may be a delicacy somewhere, in my mind, deer are the beings that dash across rural roadways and ruin your car if you don't swerve in time. So I just can't eat it. I tried, last winter, whe he made venison chili. To tell you the truth, it tasted okay, but just because I knew what it was, I could only take one bite. My cousin T and I were discussing the issue, and her mother intervened, with much attitude, to tell us, "I wish y'all would quit talking about what you don't eat. When y'all were little, you ate plenty of deer and rabbits and racoons and even squirrel! So shut up because [horrible insult] you used to eat it!"

Finally, my dad has a styrofoam bucket full of minnows in the utility room. Last night, my son's little brother spent the night with us. He loved the "little fish" as he called them and we had to keep calling him out of there. Then I heard the sounds of son and nephew (who are 8 and 6, and watched the 3 year old do this) screaming, "Oooh!" I go out there and the 3 year old has dumped some of the minnows on the floor. I start yelling because I am afraid of live fish and they are flipping and flopping everywhere. "Pick 'em up, because I don't want to touch 'em," I scream. And because I am screaming and acting a fool, my son and nephew are frozen, and the toddler is yelling, "No, I'm not touching them fish!" In the midst of all this, my mom comes in, shakes her head, and picks up the minnows. "How are you from the country?" she asks me, all disappointed.

Which kind of strikes a nerve for the same reason that someone saying, "You used to eat it!" does. See, despite all my sarcasm, I really am proud of where I come from. I have all sorts of friends and classmates, who are so ashamed, who move away and pride themselves on never coming back or ask me, "Why do you go there?" or who move to the city and develop British accents. My home town is problematic in all the ways that small southern towns with evangelical populations, strictly drawn color lines, and one dominant industry are, but it is still my home. Saying, "how are you from the country" or "you used to eat it" implies, in my mind, that someone believes that I believe that I have become "too good" ( a serious insult indeed) for country life. Different in a way that implies better.

But, I don't feel like overanalyzing anymore. And, for the doubters in my family, I think it may be more convincing to point out the ways rurality is in my blood.

Like the fact that my accent is still way intact.

And that a fine layer of red dust has already settled on the car, and I'm not even concerned.

And that a friend cooked collard greens and hot water cornbread yesterday and Sis and I made pigs of ourselves.

And that I thanked the guy at the store for "sacking" my groceries.

And that the kids are outside and I don't have to check on them that often, as long as I hear their voices, because I know the neighbors are watching them, too.

That is how I'm from the country.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Brief update:

Grading hell is over (except for 4 make up exams--but who knows when they'll get theirs :-)--I am free to return to writing purgatory.

Today I attended a rally for striking janitors and, at the suggestion of one of the organizers, did a brief interview with one of the janitors who works, through a subcontractor, for Chevron. I'm going to write it up and post, after said organizer sends me pics and/or video.

I am preparing to pack and wrap up some loose ends (i.e. throw all the perishables out) before we leave tomorrow. Blogging will, of course, be light as I have no computer of my own in Louisiana, I need to finish latest chapter, and I may spend a fair amount of time celebrating my birthday. :-)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lord, Please Let It Be Bloating

So, it's finally getting cold here. I just pulled out a pair of jeans from last winter. Now, while my tops might get a bit snug if I gain weight (it goes straight to the boobs!), I usually don't have to worry about bottoms.

So, I pulled out these jeans...

When I tell y'all that I am in a Tight. Ass. Mess.

Please believe.

I mean, the kind of Tight. Ass. Mess. in which I look down and see one stomach sitting on top of the other, in which my thighs are alternately begging for mercy and whispering as they pass each other.

And thanksgiving, which happens to be my birthday this year, is coming up?

It's going to be a long winter.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I'm almost 3/4 of the way through. Professor may give us til Monday. Doesn't benefit me at all as I am leaving Saturday, so my exams still need to be done by Friday.

I don't know if I can look at another one.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

When Academics Venture into the World of Advice Columns

Seeking Academia: A new take on Dear Abby:
"I like sitemeter for only one reason. well besides making sure no one near me looks at my blog, the keyword analysis. The google hits. I got the following hit from someone on Google: 'sleeping with cousin boyfriend does not like that' These poor googlers land here and get no help at all. In my attempts to 'make a difference' and 'change the world' here is my response, for that past and future googlers:"
Read justme's sage advice over there. I think she got all the bases covered on proper sleeping-with-your-cousin etiquette.

And Another Thing!

I tried to tailor NaNoWriMo to my particular needs and transform it into NaDiWriMo.

For future reference, that didn't work.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Because By This Time of the Night... grading gets really generous and I seem to be able to fly right through essays which took me much longer earlier in the day.

Ahem. So, I'm taking a break to share this story. And I want your real opinions.

Friday, we gave a test. One student came up to us 2 minutes before we handed it out and said she was just too ill to take it. Fellow TA, whom I've trained to be as suspicious as me, looked at me, looked back at the young woman and said, "Well, you're here. You can't make it another hour or so?"

Oh, no, she was deathly ill and just couldn't. So, fine. Our professor is pretty good about letting them make up the exams with a doctor's excuse and assorted other excuses. Fellow TA told her to come back Monday with an excuse.

Something's not clicking with me. I am, I will admit after years of TAing and after having taught my own class a few times, a tad skeptical. For example, we had a student who came to take an exam, answered the first few questions, and then proclaimed she was too sick to finish. Fellow TA, still early in her first semester as a TA and not having received the benefit of my full tutelage in skepticism, told her okay. I reminded her that we didn't make new exams for makeups and as the student had already seen and answered most of the exam, this could be an issue. So we re-drafted the exam and fellow TA learned a valuable lesson.

And, I am a stickler for attendance. Oh, I know some students have to miss, but once you have more than 5 or 6 absences, my eyebrow is raised.

So back to sick student. She comes in today with an excuse written on a prescription slip on which the "doctor" has written "__________ had the flu and couldn't attend class 11/6 through 11/10. Call me if you have more questions." I'm thinking, 1) This sounds nothing like any other excuse I've gotten 2) On a prescription slip? Don't most doctors have excuse forms? 3) The doctor gave her a retroactive excuse that extended back four days? 4) Hey, I recognize this student's name!

Why do I recognize this student's name? Because she missed the eight classes immediately before the test! So, I'm thinking "the flu" may be code for "I haven't read a damn thing." I couldn't help it, y'all.

I called to verify the excuse.

She's not even a patient there.

Now here's my dilemma. I've only called to verify 3 other excuses this semester. I was prejudiced against this girl because she missed so much class. If she'd had 3 or fewer absences, I would've never checked. Of course, I'm going to run all this by the professor and he gets final say but...

What's your opinion? Am I wrong for thinking she shouldn't get a makeup? Should I let the attendance fixation go? Am I unfairly biased towards kids who come to class?

I Interrupt Regularly Scheduled Posting...

...To let you all know how much I hate grading exams.

That is all.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Janitors' Strike

From VeganKid, who was clever enough to realize, "Hmm... maybe people don't just want updates. Maybe they want to do something!"
You can get more information about the campaign and watch several more videos at the Houston Justice for Janitors website. You can head over to LabourStart and send an email to Chevron CEO David J. O’Reilly. November 15th is Chevron Day of Action, but feel free to call them any time and ask them to support the striking workers.
So, there. Get busy.

100 Facts about elle in 100ish days However Long It Takes (16)

Fact #16

The best way (meaning superior to the myriad other ways) to get me off track?

Cookbooks and Recipe Cards. And not internet recipes. I need ones I can hold in my hands without printing them out first. I love them in bookstores. I love the cards that come in the mail sometimes. I love the magazines in the check out line. I love getting out the ones my mom had from the 70s and 80s. I love the ones school or church organizations put out.

And I never have time to cook anymore.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

100 Facts about elle in 100ish Days However Long It Takes (15)

Fact #15
Well, my city-slicker friends just call me "country"...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The South

That's a Southern accent you've got there. You may love it, you may hate it, you may swear you don't have it, but whatever the case, we can hear it.

The Midland
The Northeast
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

My Favorite Veteran

In the top drawer of my parents' dresser, my dad keeps souvenirs of his time in VietNam. When we were kids, we loved the money from Taiwan and the yellowed letters. We weren't so interested in the little medal in the black box. He'd tell us, time and again, to stay out of his stuff. But Daddy was a big pushover and we couldn't resist the allure of that treasure.

When I got older, I realized the medal was a Purple Heart. He'd been a Radio Telephone Operator and had gotten shot in his neck and shoulder. We used to trace the scars--not finely or precisely done, they resemble railroad tracks. They are firm lines that rise up from his skin, the result of an infection and keloids.

I moved the Purple Heart from the drawer and into my mom's china cabinet, a display that matches nothing else in there. "Why'd you do that?" he asked. "Because I don't think you should keep it buried," was my snappy answer. "Mm-hmm. Except you don't tell me what to do. I'm your father; you're not my mother," he said. But he left it alone.

My dad doesn't talk about VietNam. He used to, he says, when he was young. But then people would ask him things like, "Did you kill anybody? What is that like?" And he'd get so angry, so offended, that he thought it was better just to make the subject taboo.

So there are only three occasions on which I've been able to get a little bit of his story. I interviewed him once for a Vietnam and Watergate class I took while working on my Master's. Basically, I just let him talk. My professor, himself a VietNam vet, found the transcript riveting. My dad has a way with words that can keep you enthralled. I remember that my professor smiled and repeated my dad's words about arriving "in country." "I haven't heard that in a while," he said.

The second time was for a colleague here whose dissertation was about the war. He wanted to know more of my dad's story. Again, my dad opened up a little. "An RTO?" my colleague said, "He had a dangerous job." All I could say was, "Really?" "You have to keep his story, elle. Whenever, however he wants to tell it."

Finally, I went to DC a couple of years ago. My dad has never been to the VietNam memorial. I asked him if there were names he'd like me to shade. He thought for a while and then gave me three. One of them included an old guy that they'd looked up to. By old, my dad meant 27. So I got there, with my friend John, without paper or pencil (didn't think to bring it). In my purse, I had an envelope, that I tore open, and a golf pencil. We looked in that book, found the sections of the wall, got down on our knees and shaded the names. When I went to Louisiana a few weeks later, I presented it to my dad sheepishly. "I didn't have paper," I said. "It's okay," he said rubbing his thumbs over the shadings. "It's okay." Still, I felt badly.

When my parents moved last winter, my sister and I helped pack an old dresser while my dad supervised. There, in the top, was the money and the letters. And inside a Ziploc bag, was the envelope. "Daddy!" I said, surprised. It was his turn to look sheepish. "Aw, Ugly," he said, "I told you it was okay."

Happy Veteran's Day.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gerald Levert

RIP (1966-2006)
I love this sexy, soulful, talented man.

Because It's Okay to Use Nazi Propaganda If It Gets Us Motivated

From Quaker Dave:
"Part of a Nazi leader's speech was played over the public address system before a high school soccer game, prompting an apology by the home team's principal. Forestview [North Carolina] High School principal Robert Carpenter said neither he nor his team's coach knew about the speech before the 90-second excerpt was played during warmups Saturday, according to a letter he sent Monday to visiting Charlotte Catholic High School. The speech, by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, was in German. Carpenter said in the letter the team had adopted the slogan 'On to victory,' and a German exchange student who plays on the team had taught other students how to say the phrase in German. 'Some of our more zealous students sought to capture this slogan in German and to play it on the PA,' Carpenter wrote."
Umm. Analysis, elle, analysis.

I am deferring to Gwyneth, who noted this of the Ohio children's football game:
Either we are raising a bunch of stupid idiots that really can't grasp when they are being incredibly racist, or we are raising a bunch of brilliant sociopaths who know to hide behind "but I didn't mean to."
and this of the UT "Ghetto Party":
The sad thing is stuff like this is happening all over the country. We are regressing as a society and I wouldn't be surprised if things got worse before they got better. From students putting on black face, to making inappropriate jokes on student run-television shows and newspapers, these little "Bush Babies" have lost their minds.
I'm going to have to go with the A and B selection.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In Janitors' Own Words: Ercilia Sandoval

If you don't watch another one of these, please watch this one.

Democrats, that promise about decent health care for all? Move that up the agenda.

And, the janitors are not backing down, it seems.

Striking janitors pushed rolling trash bins, mop buckets and brooms during a rally through downtown during the evening rush hour Monday to protest what they believe are unfair terminations and harassment by the city's five largest cleaning companies.

The 450 janitors broke up into small groups and carried plastic bags containing copies of the 35 unfair labor practice charges that the Service Employees International Union has filed with the National Labor Relations Board this fall.

Wednesday: Hundreds of members of "Justice for Janitors" allied in front of Houston police headquarters tonight.
They gathered to protest the arrest of a striking janitor earlier in the day.

Two union protesters posing as luncheon guests disrupted a speech by Shell Oil Co.'s president on Wednesday.

The protesters, both with the Service Employees International Union, jumped up during John Hofmeister's speech and lectured him on the low wages janitors are paid to clean Shell's office buildings.

Solidarity: Tonight, Houston picket lines will be set up outside a dozen major office buildings in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Chicago. In all, hundreds of SEIU janitors in those cities are expected to honor the picket lines of their striking Houston co-workers who work for the same national cleaning companies. Details are available from SEIU local unions in those cities.
**Next week, dozens of SEIU janitors and union leaders from around the country will travel to Houston to call on national commercial landlords there to put an end to the poverty conditions and poor treatment of Houston workers. The delegations are planning to engage in non-violent acts of civil disobedience next week in Houston and could face arrest for their actions. Details about the actions will be announced next week.
**Next Wednesday, November 15 is a nationwide Chevron Day of Action. Workers and community supporters will hold actions outside Chevron or Texaco gas stations in 20 cities -- one for every dollar that Houston janitors who clean Chevron buildings are paid each day for scrubbing floors and cleaning toilets. Despite $14 billion in profits last year, Chevron is refusing to use its power to settle the strike and direct the cleaning firms in its office buildings to provide janitors with fair wages and health insurance. More info at "The support we are getting from workers outside of Houston is giving us so much strength," said Flora Aguilar, a striking Houston janitor who is setting up picket lines in New York this week. For cleaning 60 offices in four hours every weekday night, Aguilar is paid just $5.25/hour with no health insurance or other benefits. "We are committed to struggling as long as it is necessary for us to secure a better future for our families."

Ed Bradley

RIP 1941-2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

One last gloat...

Can't you imagine the American people saying this to Republicans?

Or, in the more important news, Brittney saying this to Kevin?(no sound til 22 seconds in)

I know, I know, I'm usually hard on B, but I've been looking for a way to sneak this on the blog without having to admit I backtracked. I really like this song!

Ok, I'm off to catch up on everything abandoned sice Monday.


...I guess Bush's loyalty is a thing of the (recent) past?

Who Knew?

Apparently, some of my friends/family back home aren't as apathetic as I thought. I've gotten four e-mails since 11:30 last night with this in the subject line: "WE HAVE A BLACK MAYOR!"

Why the excitement? My hometown is approximately 60% black and this is a first.

But this mayor is facing an issue that small town mayors all over the South are beginning to grapple with: the poultry processing industry in the area has attracted a number of new settlers and there is an undercurrent of tension and conflict over very limited resources. He has to also deal with old issues like poor schools, never enough money, making it with only a volunteer fire department, a mostly white police force hated by a mostly black poopulation.

I'll keep you posted.

Election Update

Yay, for Ms. Pelosi!

Aww, damn, Mr. Ford!

We get the point, Mr. Allen. You're waiting for the recount!

C'mon, Ms. McCaskill, hold on!

Can they count FASTER in Montana?

But--Who knew the Republicans would be such sore losers? One quote: "This is not a vote for a liberal, Democrat agenda. This is a vote against other issues."

But when y'all win, it's a mandate backed by Jesus, "real" Americans, and all "democracy loving people in the world."

Save that shit.

Really, I'm going to bed now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dare I Hope?

No reassuring reports from the Republican hell in which I live--pretty much what I expected.

But has an update that reads "NBC projects Democrats take control of House."

I want to go to bed now, because I'm still sick. But, 6 years ago, I went to bed on election night with Al Gore president and woke up to a disappointment like none I'd known.

So I'ma try to stick around another hour or so.

Did I mention that the only productive thing I did today was vote?

Doing Everything I Can Do...

I have voted.

Crossed my fingers.

Thrown salt over my shoulder.

Ate a teaspoon of black-eyed peas from a barbecue restaurant.

Sent all my less-politically-inclined friends (in three states) a text message that said, "I know y'all always tired when you get off work, but please stop to vote!"

Rattled off one of those, "God, if you just let..." prayers that my mom and pastor would kill me for. I should admit, those haven't worked too well in the past--I don't think I have much to bargain with when it comes to God.

And now, feeling better, but still a bit tired, I'm going to wrap my hair back up and unapologetically get back in bed.

To wait.

Update: Moksha describes the hellish wait between now and tonight.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In Janitors' Own Words: Veronica Taboada

Clergy members did step in to support the janitors' cause. They attempted to talk with Gerald Hines, who manages 7% of Houston's commercial space. Hotel staff at the Hilton-Americas where Hines was speaking turned them away.

But no worries for Hines and the professionals with whom he was meeting!! According to the Houston Chronicle, "Despite the protest, the mood at the downtown event was upbeat."

100 Facts about elle in 100ish days However Long It Takes (14)

Fact #14

I would much rather have a runny nose than a stuffy one.

I hate congestion with the intensity of a thousand suns.

**from the land of the Miserable-with-Head-Cold people**

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Children of the World, Unite!

The children 'round these parts are on strike. They have decried the necessity of school and poutily proclaimed that they wish they were "ZERO YEARS OLD SO I DON'T HAFTA GO TO SCHOOL!"

Of course, this proclamation is not rooted in any real injustice, but in their desire to stay up late tonight, the last day of the weekend, the last time they can watch the Disney Channel til Friday.

So, they have blown up an air mattress in the living room. They are currently watching The Emperor's New School. They just bid me good night (sister is already knocked out, having laughed herself to sleep thinking about how they're going to be wailing in the morning). I am saying nothing.

But in the interests of being good capitalist management, thoroughly unsympathetic to their plight and intent on punishing them for daring to protest, I'm going to wake them up ten minutes earlier than usual in the morning. And I'm going to do it by singing the "Wake Up, Mr. Sleepyhead" song. And I'm going to be chipper and talk loud and say "Hurry, hurry, hurry!!"

I figure there's no time like the present to teach them the nature of class hierarchy and conflict.

But... but... What about Our Culture of Life?!

Okay, is this really how we want to be known? As people so selfish, so single-minded, and so hypocritical that our nation does stuff like this? From the NYT:
Under a new federal policy, children born in the United States to illegal immigrants with low incomes will no longer be automatically entitled to health insurance through Medicaid, Bush administration officials said Thursday.
(Y'all want me to say something about the fact that this sentence manages to turn "U.S. citizens" into "children born in the United States," don't you?) Highlights:
Under the new policy, an application must be filed for the child, and the parents must provide documents to prove the child’s citizenship.

The documentation requirements took effect in July, but some states have been slow to enforce them, and many doctors are only now becoming aware of the effects on newborns.

Obtaining a birth certificate can take weeks in some states, doctors said. Moreover, they said, illegal immigrant parents may be reluctant to go to a state welfare office to file applications because they fear contact with government agencies that could report their presence to immigration authorities.
Now, let me look at this little piece of legislation through the lens of my knowledge of medicaid. From what I remember, while in the hospital, a newborn used to be covered under Mom's medicaid (for undocumented moms, this would be emergency medicaid. Don't get me started on how we say "Fuck prenatal care! All we can begrudgingly offer you help with is labor."). Then, baby got her/his own coverage for the first year of life. You could apply to have coverage continued after that.

So now there will be no automatic extension of coverage until the child's citizenship is proved? And this only applies to certain parents? Words like "discrimination" and "desperation" are running through my head, but first, I have to ask one question.

Why do you have to prove citizenship of a child that is born in the U.S.? Can someone explain that to me? Did I miss the repeal of the 14th Amendment? Sarcasm aside, I really don't understand this.

Let me look at something else--acceptable proof comes in the form of the child's birth certificate. My child was born in early July. I got his birth certificate in late November/early December. Five months. Let's imagine a newborn going without care for five months. How do parents pay for:

The 2 weeks check-up where the PKU will be repeated?
The 4 weeks check-up?
The 2 months check-up at which the child needs DTP, Hib, OPV, HBV vaccinations? (Vaccinations at a doctor's office can be pricey!)
The 4 months check-up at which the child needs DTP, HIB, OPV vaccinations?

Oh, and perhaps you just get the birth certificate in your hands at five months. You still have to go file for coverage (assuming you are comfortable enough to go into a government office*, which, we all know, they're hoping you're not). In the interim, your child may also need her/his 6 months check up and vaccinations.

And what about:

If baby has jaundice?
If baby gets sick?
If baby doesn't adjust to formula or isn't receiving enough breast milk?
If baby develops thrush?
If baby cries a lot and you don't know why?

And all those other reasons we take our babies to the doctor in those early days.

Sometimes I wonder, when things like this come up, does anyone sit down and say, "You know, it's really not worth the health and well-being of our children to take this opportunity to bash immigrants once again."

And the irony of it is, once these parents, who can't get routine, preventative care, start taking their children to emergency rooms for overpriced care, this administration and its xenophobic base can start saying "Ah-hah! We told you they were a drain on local resources!"

I'm tired of the hypocrisy of conservatives. I want them to let me write their slogans. I'd come up with something snazzy like, "We love all life... right up until birth. And then we care about life if it belongs to an American. And typically, a white American. And truthfully, a wealthy, white American. And, specifically, a wealthy, white American born to married, heterosexual parents..."

But all those qualifiers get tiresome.

H/T to Feministe. Phantom Scribbler has more. (Y'all know my trackback skills leave much to be desired... somehow, I'm thinking that link is not supposed to show up like that!)

*My son's paternal grandmother, who is a social service analyst in Louisiana, says that undocumented immigrants can apply for services for their children and that the analysts may not report their status to other agencies. However, she says that parents have to be constantly reassured of this and many of them simply decide they don't want the potentially damning paper trail.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What the Hell?

Okay, I'm a little irked.

Last week, BfP noted she'd been having problems posting on this blog. "Hmm," I thought, but it slipped my mind.

Last night, I tried three times to post at Rick's place and got an error message.

Then today, I posted a reply to Moksha on the globalization post and to nubian on the blacks and suicide post. They were there and now they're gone. I remember seeing them. I know I double checked the word verification. And I'm way too lazy to type them up again at this moment.

But I'm pissed. Damn!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Janitors seek help from church leaders today

Read here.

I'd like to believe the reasons I'm watching this strike so closely are related to my interest in U.S. labor, economic justice, and my belief that people deserve better.

But that's all my "head" stuff. My heart knows that it's because they remind me so much of "my" workers. And in the case of my workers, churches have provided immeasurable assistance in the push for justice.

I hope they step up again.

In Janitors' Own Words: Austraberta Rodriguez

They average $5.30 per hour. They have no health benefits. They're keeping their promise: Invisible no more.

Update: Something was going wrong so I reposted this. There is a series of these on youtube.


Y'all know all I ever have with me is the terrible camera phone, but here are a couple of pictures from the Cruces program on yesterday, All Soul's Day:

The altar for the women killed and disappeared in Ciudad Juarez.

Not one more dead or disappeared woman.
It was a beautiful memorial. 450 names read, broken only by the recitation of poems (including one I believe is called Justice that I want to get and post). As they were reading the names of the women, I kept thinking "Who was she? Who loved her?"
And the unidentified women... hearing those numbers in place of names was sad, but it was also chilling. Nameless in death, those women meant something to someone at some time. What must those left behind be thinking?
There was a professor there who kept emphasizing, kept pressing home the point that these women were killed for being women. That they were hated, mistreated, tortured for being women. "No one cares about the women of Juarez," she said, "But we care." She also reminded us, that it is our responsibility as women (as the audience largely was) to care, to tell, to make sure they didn't die in vain.
You can find more information here.

If You Can't Tell...

...I have a million things on my mind right now.

A million things I want to post about, a couple of memes I want to do, another dissertation related question I want to ask, a story about my mother's life in which I have to look at her outside the context of being my mom (which is written but I want to re-read).

But first, gotta fine tune my intro for the new chapter.


Study could dispel myth about blacks and suicide

from the AP: "More U.S. blacks attempt suicide than previously thought, according to a landmark study that could help explode the myth that black suicides are rare because of a mind-set that took hold during slavery."

...there is a common misconception that suicide is rare in the black community because of cultural and religious beliefs dating back to slavery times...

The study is the first to look at suicidal behavior among the two leading ethnic groups within the U.S. black community _ African-Americans and Caribbean Americans.
The lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts was much higher among Caribbean-American black men, at 7.5 percent, suggesting that about 53,000 try at least once to kill themselves.
The reasons for that relatively high rate are uncertain. Although the study lacked data on how long Caribbean-American blacks and their ancestors had been in this country, it is likely many were more recent arrivals than African Americans and thus more vulnerable to frustrations with discrimination and other societal pressures...

Historically, suicide was taboo in the black community going back to slavery times, at least partly because "it was really frowned on by the black church," said Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a Harvard University psychiatry professor and race relations specialist. "It was a stigma and it brought shame to your family."
Blacks "thought life was supposed to be hard for them," and that may have helped protect them from suicide, Poussaint said.
Interestingly, suicide attempts in the study were least common among blacks in the South, where that mind-set may linger from slavery times, he said.
OK, I have mixed feeling about why people think this study is such a shock. Of course I'm proud to be part of a people who've proven to have an amazing resiliency and incredible faith. I say faith, because, as Tavis Smiley pointed out, it's not/it wasn't hope. There was very little to give us hope.

But I worry that such resiliency is misinterpreted as an excuse to mistreat, to disdain, to exclude. Sort of a "They're black. They can take it."

What this study may show is that, resilience aside, the things we face in this country--the opposition, the racism, the poor health care, the inadequate educational system, the justice (hah) system, the stigma, stigma, stigma--takes its toll on us, as a people and as individuals. Yes, we can survive, but we want so much more than survival.

And I think it's especially telling that rates among young black men are rising.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Am I Mean?

Excerpt from e-mail received from a student:
hi, i am ___________, who is in dr ________'s class on mwf, and was wondering if you could tell me which class i am in, because i hear they split them up. thank you.
My response:
Let me be honest. It is ironic that you contacted me, the TA who takes attendance, to ask this as I know that you have not been to class in weeks (and we just entered November). I should point out that the other class split off some time ago, which reveals how long it has been since you've graced us with your presence. So, three observations,

1) Excessive Absences can lead to your being dropped from this class.

2) I have a sneaking suspicion (hint, hint) that you've missed more than the classes splitting.

3) If you are curious as to where you need to be, stop relying on other's information and COME TO CLASS YOURSELF!

Short answer: No, I won't tell you.

See you Friday,
Student's response:
lol. okay. thank you. see you soon.
The other TA's got a big kick out of this, along the "Wow, you are a hard ass," lines. And when I re-read it, it is a touch snarky. I don't mean to seem like this, it's just that this student missed most of September, all of October (every single day including two tests), and the first day of November. It'd be different if this was "my" class though. The professor is more laid back and forgiving, and I don't want to violate his policy.

What's an elle to do?

(somebody's baby) blogging

Quaker Dave has a gift for telling stories through pictures. Check out the post with the title: "Wednesday (somebody's baby) blogging" and pictures like this:

Because that fact gets dismissed.

Placing Myself... a global context. How do I do that? Especially when, as a U.S. citizen, I am afforded this sense of isolationism and autonomy. I am painfully aware that I am largely un-conscious when it comes to a world outside the US. My concern with globalism has been in a historical context, topics like triangular trade, transnationalism and transatlantic, immigration patterns, corporation outsourcing or, as is the case with poultry processing, bringing people "here" rather than taking industries "there." "We live in an era of globalization," I can say smugly, and back it up with these examples.

But I never thought consciously about the fact that the "We" includes women.

So, I've been thinking.

I've been thinking about BfP's post on "Why feminists must stand against government oppression in Mexico."

And I've been thinking about Darfur, which I admit in complete shame, that I knew little about before this past summer.

And I'm thinking about the women I approached on campus today, from an organization called Cruces, who had set up a display and an altar in memoriam of 450 women killed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (More on that later. I'm going down at noon when they read off the names of the dead and missing).

And I'm thinking, if I, wholly preoccupied with my own life and school and what I want, know of these three, how many more must there be?

And then I'm thinking, why the hell did BfP have to explain why feminists need to make their fight global?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Is This New?

Never, in all my years of living in the Bible Belt, have I seen something like this, directed specifically at children. Check out this treat my kid got in his bag last night:

I mean, I'm all for sharing the good news, but to specifically "market" to kids (Jesus is the real (emphasis in the original) Superman)? And look, they ask the kids to fill in their addresses and send this thing in with a box checked "Yes, I now trust in Jesus!" Is a little bitty thing like this enough to convince someone who really needs convincing? And should you be asking people's children to mail in stuff? Who's comfortable with their kid receiving mail from unknown entities?
Whenever you see me asking a bunch of questions like this, trust, I'm a little agitated. I can't explain it exactly--it's obvious that I don't mind my kid hearing and knowing about Jesus. And it's not that I think everything has to be filtered through me--that is contradictory to my denomination's belief in the value of a personal relationship with God.
But this really got to me. This paper has a number for kids to call. The only time it suggests consulting your parents is if you go to their website. My kid had his already filled out!
It's been a long day. I'm 73% sure I'm overreacting. But good grief!
Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...