Friday, June 09, 2006

Too Many Random Thoughts...

Better grab yourself a beverage and sit down, because I have way too much today, and I suspect it's just going to spill out in a bunch of randomness. If I were to make a post of each one, and save them for future use, boy, I'd have a lot of posts ready, wouldn't I? I could use them one by one when we go on vacation or something. But I have faith in my bloggareah, and that I'll still have other things to tell you all in the future, so I'll just spill it all now. Some of it is thoughtful and important, some is more of the 'light and fluffy' variety. I'll start with a thoughtful thought. ;)

The Kindness of Strangers
I was listening to This American Life on my beloved iPod this morning, and heard an interview with a WWII vet named Lanier Phillips. You really should hear it for yourself, and you can, here. It's the last story in the show titled, Them. In short, he is a black man who served in the Navy in WWII. He was a mess steward (shining shoes and washing underwear, serving food, because that's what black soldiers got to do back then) on the U.S.S. Truxtun, which was in the North Atlantic. The ship went down off the coast of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, Canada, in February of 1942. The coal miners in the town risked their lives, climbing down cliffs, to save as many sailors as they could, and indeed rescued almost 40% of them. What Phillips experienced in St. Lawrence changed his life forever, in a deep and profound way, because he had never experienced it before. What did he experience? Kindness at the hands of white people. He was nursed, brought into homes, fed at the table with everyone else, put to sleep in their beds. When he got back to the U.S., he tried to enter a restaurant (maybe it was a mess hall...I wasn't clear on that) in order to ask where the window was that served 'colored' people, because he knew he wouldn't be allowed to dine with the white people who were inside. This restaurant was near a base, and was full of military, MPs, and German and Italian prisoners. Phillips was in his uniform. As he opened the door, he was grabbed by an officer, who threw him to the ground, held him down by putting his booted foot on his neck, cocked his gun at him, and told Phillips he should shoot him dead for even thinking of going into the restaurant where the white people were. OK, lets dine with the friggin' Nazis, but not our own soldier, who is black. Ugh. UGH. UGH Because of the kindness he was shown in St. Lawrence, Phillips decided he was no longer inferior to white people, and he worked to get promoted into jobs that black soldiers were usually not given, and he worked for civil rights. And he never forgot those people in St. Lawrence. He saved his money, and sent regular checks to the City of St. Lawrence, asking that they use it for whatever they needed. He knew that the mines had been closed there, and that the people of St. Lawrence were having a hard time of it. The City decided to use some of that money to build a playground at a local school. They named it Lanier Phillips playground. He is still alive, and lives in Washington, DC. He was also interviewed for All Things Considered. I'm not sure if it's the same interview or not, but you can hear it here. This story really stuck with me...reminded me just how important it is that we be kind to folks. You never know when you might change someone's life for the better.

Modern Day Governesses
What about this article in the NY Times that says more people are now homeschooling their kids, but not for the usual reasons. The usual reasons are failing schools or religious beliefs (e.g., "I don't want my child to learn about evolution"), but for these kids it's because school doesn't fit into their family life style for whatever reason. Perhaps they travel a lot for work, and want the children with them. Whatever. What's most notable about these families is that they're not teaching their kids themselves, their hiring teachers to do the job full time. Sounds like wealthy kids in English novels, with their governesses, wouldn't you say? I'm not really judging these families, I just thought it was interesting.

I'm In Trouble
I suspect this one will disappoint some folks...we sent "Grey's Anatomy" back to Netflix, unwatched. We had watched a couple of episodes, and while I liked it, I could see that it was a good show and well written, I couldn't really bring myself to care about the characters. I've heard that season 2 is pretty darned good, so maybe we'll try again when that comes out on DVD. Too bad they don't really show reruns on tv during the summer anymore...remember when they showed the season, without huge breaks in the programming, and then they showed it again in the summer? I must admit, I miss those days.

One Lucky Kid
I came across this blog the other day, and boy, this woman makes some COOL lunches. Those of you with kids in school, or to be in school someday, take a look at this site. She's awesome. She's also vegan, but I don't see why anyone couldn't vary these if they wanted to. Lucky kid she has there. I'm thinking I want to get these containers for Maya's lunches in the fall. I wonder if she is too old for this kind of stuff?

Getting Out of Dodge
We have some good friends who will be moving away from the area soon. We will miss them. They're leaving Livermore and going to New Hampshire. I've never been to New Hampshire, but if I had lived in Livermore for the past 5 years, I would be ready to give it a shot. I think we're having dinner with them on Sunday. :)

School Play
Maya has a play on Monday at her school. It's sort of a wrap up of California History, I think. It's a musical, which will be fun. Actually, they get to perform it twice, on Monday for the other students, on Friday for the parents. I'll try to remember my camera. :) Also later today is the science faire at school. I guess I'll go on over and check out some of the experiments. Next week is the last week of school. YAY.

End of an Era?
My term is ending on the school board. I have a meeting next Tuesday when we will vote for the newest members. I will miss it, but it will be nice to have those looong evenings back. It's been pretty interesting, though, and it has given me a sense of really belonging to the school community that I don't think I would have felt so strongly had I not 'done my time'.

What the heck is ITV, and who is Danny Vierra? I'll tell you who, he's a minister who's hocking a product to help you keep your colon clean and healthy on TV. Now I happen to agree that we need to eat more fiber in our diets, generally, and a healthy colon is a good thing. Probably much more important than most people realize. But seeing this guy talk about the Almighty Cleanse kind of creeped me out. Turns out he has a ministry in our backyard (not literally our backyard, but in Lodi, CA, which is next to Stockton), so he's preaching the gospel out in the valley. So, does that mean the Almighty Cleanse is somehow related to God? To quote an oldish movie line, "The world is wild at heart and weird on top."

All of the initiatives I voted for in the election on Tuesday failed. That means NO to money for libraries, preschool for all, and community colleges. Sigh.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does
Stupid Vatican and their stupid proclimations about how dangerous same sex marriage, abortion, contraception, and In Vitro fertilization are to the family. What? How do these things endanger families? Boy, they bug me. Luckily, I'm not Catholic, so I try not to worry too much. But they have a LOT of power, and for them to say stupid things pisses me off, because they really do affect how people think.

My dad and step mom are coming to visit tomorrow and Sunday. :) Should be great, and relaxing. I'm looking forward to seeing them. Guess we should clean house tonight...

Never Mind, I'll Pass
I saw this on Lotus's blog yesterday. A guy living on Monkey Chow for a week. That's so stupid it's great. :) You can check out his blog.

Time For Bacation?*
I'm so ready for a vacation I can taste it. Ted's got it even worse than I do. We're trying to put something together, so I'll let you know. :) Depends a lot on $$$. Last year we went to Hawaii, this year will be more reasonable, like maybe Tahoe or somewhere else we can drive to. Have a great weekend!

*That's not a's a pronunciation we picked up from one of Maya's old preschool teachers, Rekha. She's the one who used to tell us, "She pooped."

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