Monday, March 27, 2017

πŸŒΌπŸ‘ New Look πŸ‘πŸŒΌ

This is a short post to say that I'm sorry that despite all of the feelings I have, all the things I want to say, I haven't said as much as I could here. Sometimes I go on Twitter rants about it, but I haven't had that sense of urgency to blog about whatever might be on my mind. My mind has been elsewhere, I suppose. I miss you all, though.

I'm hoping with this new theme I'll feel more compelled to come back.

And I hope you enjoy the new look, too. Happy Spring. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Education

I've been wanting to talk about this for a bit. Betsy Devos makes me mad.

By her own words, she has singlehandedly tried to discredit the public educational system, in stating that she would prefer that private schools be the single thread in the educational system of this country. This sentiment completely dehumanizes the work that public educators - for the already underwhelmingly low pay - try to do on a regular basis. She's telling parents and educators in the country who are looking to her for guidance that their students can only benefit from some privatized schooling that may be out of their pay bracket, local district or students' specified educational needs. Much like most of the misguided rhetoric that's being politically spewed daily, this is just damaging.

Private education isn't the enemy, but private education depends on its exclusivity. We live in a time in which having a Bachelor's degree is becoming the standard, but even still, the accessibility of that degree isn't always there for those who could use it. This is why certain areas - urban, rural and in-between, the regional demographic doesn't always match the expectation - will become impoverished, lack development or fall behind the times and lose jobs and training needed to progress in a new age.

I was always a "smart student," but the two things I had above all were accessibility and encouragement. I was put in an advanced special education class when she was in first grade, after testing out in kindergarten. Which is ridiculous. If you want my full opinion, I think while this can be uplifting for a student, as it was for me, I'm only 6 years old at this point. I'm no Matilda, though I wanted to be. The fact that they set me up for this path at such a young age, and didn't give others that same opportunity hurts to realize now that I'm older.

Having said that, some of the best years of my life, and my fondest educational moments, were due to those courses. But seriously. All I had were parents with the time to spend with me teaching me essential skills and tools before I entered my schooling, and they were there to encourage me to do well and complete my assignments during. And this happened both while we were a very poor family and while we were not. I do not believe that my abilities extend beyond that of any of my peers. What I learned I learned because I listened and practiced. But so many students are discouraged by their environments and neglected - either at home or by the system.

We need to work with the systems that have been resources to our educational growth for so long: libraries and public schools. Funding for programs, outreach, and holding up shelves, can help us bring people into the libraries and make it an environment where students (and students of life) want to learn more on their own. Libraries themselves are even far from antiquated, when provided the adequate treatment. Keeping library doors open with programs and safe spaces for learning and conviviality, while offering digital and physical resources, keeps them with the times and relevant for those who need them. Many libraries are doing that or trying to do that, they just need the help. Public schooling is no different. The environment should be for learning and accessible resources, not exclusivity and privatization that serves the few instead of the many.

How on earth can anyone politically or not expect us to excel in the marketplace and socially if we're not afforded equal opportunities for education?

Devos and many others live with blinders; they believe that everything is a choice because they have the luxury of picking for their palate. Many of us have to work hard to reach farther, and don't live with such luxe. Once everything came crashing down at the end of the year, and I started thinking more about of what I can do in lieu of this, I'm realizing more and more that what I need to be doing is getting involved in these programs. Summer programs, library programs, school programs. If I want there to be an impact for these kids who might be tossed into a system that just as quickly would neglect them, then I need to be there to help.

I'm currently in talks now to start working on some of these programs in my own town. I encourage you all to do the same.

It's funny... I always said I wouldn't teach. I'm not so sure that I will now, but I'm certainly not going to let this just happen without my involvement. I was given so much encouragement; I was bolstered so much. As a kid, I felt invincible, intellectually. Other kids deserve that, too.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Catch Up

January was a month of me actively posting about the things I deeply cared about. This month has been me trying to stay active, but not having time for blogging. This month really flew by.

So here are some snapshots to tide you over about my last month or so:

Our beautiful snow day...



This nerd and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on February 21, by being completely ridiculous.



And recently it's looked like spring even if it's still been too cold to be spring.



One day I will find time to breathe and come back to this, because I have a lot to say, y'all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monthly Reads 2017: January & February



HAHAHAH remember when these posts were a thing for a whole two posts before I totally slacked on reading consistently or posting about it? I'm back. I set my Goodreads reading challenge goal very low for 2017 because I have a bad habit of not meeting what I can meet. Last year, I could have hit my goal, but I didn't. So I'm aiming a little lower: 20.

I have a stack of books I want to finish within the next few weeks. So here's what I'm reading right now:

  1. Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham 
  2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain 
  3. Marvel's Venom collection, namely credited to Rick Remender 
  4. The Walking Dead: Compendium One by Robert Kirkman 
What are you reading? 


I try to remember to update my Goodreads. You can check out my somewhat inaccurate shelf here:



Jennifer's currently-reading book montage

Bright Dead Things
The Black Poets
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Stephen Hawking's Universe
The Walking Dead, Compendium 1
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking


Jennifer's favorite books »

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Taylor Swift, We Need You To Give a Fuck

I had different plans for this post. I wanted it to be part of my Brunch Colloquy series. This one is going to be a doozy. I just needed to get these thoughts out.

Unpopular opinion upfront: I am not a fan of Taylor Swift. 

When I was younger, this was simply because I couldn't get behind her music. I found it annoying and whiny at best. But I understood her appeal to people my/her age. When we were - what? - 14-17 years old, she sang about the same superficiality that we were dealing with in high school. When I was this age, I was highly pretentious. I think we all can be, but as strengthening as it can be to ensure a child understands her own competence and intelligence, that heightened awareness can make said child unbearable at times. And boy was I unbearable. I had a rant for everything. When it came to Taylor Swift, the rants ranged from her "mediocre voice" to her "surface level lyrics." (I'm putting these things in air quotes because they don't matter much to the point I'm about to make. And while in some ways I may believe that about fetus-Taylor, and sometimes now-Taylor, who really cares what my opinion is on her music? She's having fun, right? Let her.) ...