Posts filed under ‘musings’

I’m a Katie

Last month, a post on a Chicago blog went viral-a first grader was bullied for her love of Star Wars-more specifically, bringing a Star Wars water bottle to school. She was told that girls can’t like Star Wars.  It was only for boys.

As I read on and on and on in the article, I saw myself in Katie.

Star Wars lover, glasses (with an eye patch for a while there..) and adopted. Different in every way possible from all of my classmates.

I was tormented.

For my hair, for my Star Wars, for looking nothing like my family.

It was not my most favorite time in my life. For many, many reasons.

But, unlike Katie, I didn’t have a network of cool women who were also geeks, Star Wars lovers to tell me that it’s just fine to be a geek.  To embrace my frizzy bucket of hair, my dark coloring and my insane knowledge of Star Wars and Star Trek.

I’m still a Katie.

I covered my office door in Star Wars Snowflakes. My students were a combination of amazed, amused and enthralled that I had Boba Fett and Clone troopers all over my door (as well as Chewbacca, and TIE fighters…) .

I have a gangrene plush microbe on my desk.

I’ve got a zombie wearing a traffic cone on its head on top of my computer.

I wear my glasses proudly.

I”m a geek girl. I love it.

BUT,

for all of the Katies out there that want to fit in so desperately, I hear you. We all hear you.

Embrace the geek. Wear your Jedi proudly.

I think Isaac said it best last year as we were shopping for favors for his birthday party.

He had selected Star Wars kites for his friends. I told him that the girls may not want Star Wars. He said the following:

“Mommy, girls love Star Wars. Ahsoka’s a girl. She’s a Jedi. She carries a light saber. She’s friends with Anakin and Obi Wan. Girls love Star Wars. You love Star Wars.”

 

We should all be the kind of Padewan Learner that he is.

Wait. He’s a Youngling.

There we go. Me embracing my geek.

 

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December 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment

1 year

This time last year, I was in my awesome CDE’s office attaching my purple pump to my body and beginning the journey of a pumping diabetic. After fighting tooth and nail with the insurance company, I was excited to go live and kicking with insulin and not saline. I remember that Thanksgiving dinner was really interesting, with people telling me that it seemed too much trouble to even think about, but I knew that it would be good.

I remember wondering if I would ever get used to the thing in my pocket or attached to my waistband (or bra in some cases) and wondering if this sucker was actually dispensing. I worried that I would break the mucho expensive item that was attached to me 24/7 now.

But, now…

I feel naked without it.
I’ve learned that female pj pants need pockets, and I wear until they die the ones that do.
I’ve learned that you can only pull a plunger so far before the entire resivoir explodes and you are totally covered in old band aid smelling novolog.
I don’t feel like I’m walking through glue in the morning.
I can detangle pump tubing from pretty much anything-even in the dark, using the screen backlight.

I know this pump has kept me out of the hospital a few times when I ended up on prednisone.

and

I know that without it, I’d be lost.

So, here’s to another year.

Thank the good Lord for Medtronic.

November 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm Leave a comment

Denial

This weekend is always my annual denial weekend. I always go into denial about a LOT of things-

here’s what I’m in denial about today…

1. That I have a first grader. It didn’t sink in until we went and visited the classroom on Thursday to drop off Isaac’s backpack full of stuff. I saw his desk and the “Sailing into First Grade” bulletin board, where Mrs. J had taken all of their pictures holding the name tags they made and put them in these cute boats with their names on them. There was my goofy boy…in his favorite color boat-Red.

2. That I have to go back to work. This is the first summer I’ve really taken off in years. I’ve either done classes or worked or both. This summer I got to sleep in (mostly) and do things with Isaac and truly enjoy what a lot of people call one of the perks of being a teacher-summers off.

3. That I don’t have an official classroom this year. I actually enjoy decorating and making my classroom a liveable place. I’ve got an office. It’s not the same. On the upswing-I do have a very, very comfy chair. I doubt I’ll be spending a lot of time in my office, though. I am decorating my door however…

4. That there will be some kind of PT/OT drama. There’s not much drama with Speech. Ever. Don’t know why-but there’s always PT/OT drama. I’m trying to delude myself that there will be NO drama this year in either of those realms. Yeah, right. I”ll just keep that delusion for now so I can have some shred of sanity as I start a school year.

5. That hockey season for the shrimper is a month off. I really need to get gear purchased and ready to go. He’s ready to start-I’m not. I registered him for USA hockey (we have to have that because it provides additional insurance on each of the players) and realized my last point of denial…

6. My little guy is growing up. Evidenced by the first grade thing and the fact that next year we’re going to have to pay for registration for USA Hockey, because he’ll be almost out of mites and into Squirts (yes, these are real levels).

Ok. I’m going back to denial land. I think I’ll be there for the next few days.

September 5, 2010 at 9:19 am 1 comment

Identity Crisis

Recently, I joined a new blog group-see the new button on the right hand side-Blogs By Latinas. It’s an all Latina blogger group. Go visit. You’ll find some awesome things over there.

There’s a contest type thing going on called More than a Latina. They’re taking submissions of photos, art, poetry and short stories. They want to show that being a Latina in 2010 is just more than a mom, gram, or other stereotypical roles.

I want to enter, but here is where I get tripped up.

For as long as I can remember, the question of racial identity has been a hot topic. Certain people didn’t get it, others didn’t believe it and I got mislabled on lots of racial forms that the teachers were supposed to fill out and not ask the student what they were. I know for a fact I got marked as “white” on a lot of those forms.

I was often told “white girls don’t…” and I had to counter with “but I’m not white…”

Although my parents tried to enrich me in the Latin culture, it still was hard-here I was, living on Italian food, being called white at every turn and even having teachers correct my bubbled in “hispanic” on test forms.

Even now, when I think I’m secure in my racial identity, someone wanders in and questions it. From coworkers to census takers to even people who are supposedly family (Read: Outlaws), people feel the need to know.

I’m one of those chicas who straddle the line between cultures. On one hand, I look like I blend in with the Latinas. On the other hand, I don’t because I wasn’t raised with them all around.

Living in SoCal was interesting. People would walk right up to me and speak Spanish. Thank the good lord for 4 years of HS Spanish that I took to. I can get along pretty darn well, thankyouverymuch. I got comfortable. I blended. No one asked me what I was-unless it was “so, you Mexican or what?”

It was a different set of identity questions. Ones of pride and sameness. Ones I never really minded. Ones that caused more laughs than confusion. Doug brought a photo of me to work with him to show the ladies he worked with and one snagged me right off the bat and told him “Ooh! You’ve got a Puerto Rican there! Watch that temper on her!!” We both laughed at that one…because Doug found out about my temper early on. I got asked by my students why I didn’t find a nice Mexican man to marry. It was all about Latin pride rather than who I was or wasn’t.

Moving back here, I was in culture shock. This time, shocked in the 9 years I’d been gone, that nothing had really changed. People still wanted to question who I was racially and ethnically and I was back to almost a point of defending myself.

So, the big question remains-how can I decide what a Latina is in 2010 if I’m not even sure where I stand? How can I impart my end of the cultural background into my child when I spend so much time defending outward appearances for the two of us?

It puts things in a whirlwind.

And all of the answers aren’t easy.

August 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm 1 comment

Hockey and the US…keep them playing for longer-make them lifers!

I’ve spent the last two weeks watching more hockey than I’ve watched in a LONG time. Doug commented that he felt like it was when we had the Center Ice package back in California-hockey…all day, every day!

Isaac watched with us, and I could tell the wheels in his head were turning. He keeps remarking (to this day!) that Ryan Miller is the coolest thing ever. I can’t disagree, but I keep trying to change his thinking, because I really don’t want a goalie in my family.

I digress about the not having a goalie in the family…

So, I dig into my email this evening and find a mail from the hockey association Isaac plays for. They’re having a meeting regarding the American Developmental Model (ADM) for youth. They’re going to be discussing the hallmarks and how it fits in with the SYHA organization. I spent a lot of time combing through this model when Isaac demanded to play hockey, so this wasn’t news to me What was news to me was the shocking statistics of retention of players.

What really scares me is that if we don’t get it right NOW, we may not have a future generation of US born hockey players to challenge the world like this year’s team did. We may not see the next Ryan Miller, Zach Parise or Brian Rafalski. The scary statistic is that 60% of kids who start hockey drop out before pee wee. They learn to skate, play and play maybe a season of mites and squirts. They never make it to pee wee and past. This is an issue. Hardcore. If we only have 40% making it through now, what’s to say that number won’t drop?

The ADM emphasizes diversifying in sports-not just playing hockey. For some, that’s a bold statement. For us here, it’s actually welcome.

why?

Isaac thrives on motion. He loves the rink, but I want him to see the wide world outside the rink. If he goes and plays fall or spring soccer, goes and swims, he’s developing key skills that will assist him in the rink. Can we keep him skating? Sure! BUT, he doesn’t need to be in the throws of hockey year round.

It also forces my child with special needs to interact with other kids. He has found his like minded group at hockey, but he needs to diversify (see? there’s that word again) and meet new people, who he may find just as like minded…but he never would have met if he didn’t play soccer or swim or go run around at the park. Then, when he goes back to the rink after a month or two off, he finds his friends, like N and T who love him for the nutty hockey player he is. They’ll all be back where they left off, encouraging each other, playing together and maybe bringing new blood into the fold with their friends they met in other sports!

Does that mean that I’m definately opposed to sending Isaac to hockey camp this summer? Nope. I’m not. that’s one week in the grand scheme of things. If he goes for ONE WEEK in the summer, he’s got the rest of the time off before he comes back to the rink in November.

I think this is the right way to go. Keep more than just 40% playing hockey. Of course, there are always the detractors, but come on. You have to start somewhere.

Play, Love, Excel.
That’s the ADM motto. I think it’s a good one.

You learn to play, learn to love the game and then excel to the best that you can be.

More sports should adopt that.

Play. Love. Excel.

March 1, 2010 at 11:07 pm Leave a comment

Thanksgiving ponderings

Every year at this time, the blogosphere is littered with “what I’m thankful for” posts. Facebook is the same way. For me, It’s a simple thing-what am I thankful for THIS year…because there are things that I”m thankful for every day of the year-Family, friends…the fact that I have this space that people actually read…

But this year…I’m thankful for…

My Turkey Catcher. Isaac told me at his Thanksgiving feast that he was a “Turkey Catcher.” I figure that’s Isaac for Pilgrim. I’m also thankful for his friends in Kindergarten that love him, no matter how quirky he gets. It’s fun to see him grow, learn new things and come out with more Isaac-isms than I ever thought possible.
The Kindergarten at Isaac's school-there's 1 class!

Isaac’s school. As much as some days I complain, kvetch and threaten to pull him to a different placement, I’m glad he’s where he is. They’re finally getting a handle on his personality and things are (albeit slowly) getting better. His consultant teacher works super hard with him and his resource teacher is top notch. Plus, they put up with me. That’s a huge thing to be thankful for.

My jobs. I do like them. Trust me. Where would I get my fix of hilarious answers and insane people than at both of these places? I love my students, even though they drive me to drink most times, and the people I work with at Game Geeks are great.

Sports! I’m so glad that Isaac has finally found a sport that suits him. Despite the fact he looks like a bobblehead in all of that gear…he loves it. He’s excited to go to hockey, and loved the time where he got to stand behind the bench for a Women’s college game.
Watching the refs and women take the ice
Don’t get me wrong-I still have a bone to pick with the one goalie on our local minor league team who put the idea of being a goalie in his head…but I’m thankful he did in a lot of ways…or I wouldn’t be a hockey mom…and loving it.

The small things in life…
Yep. Those. The people who laugh at me, roll their eyes at me and marvel at my insane thoughts, that sometimes work out to be GENIUS! Maybe not very often..but it does happen. The friends who commiserate with my insurance struggles and fights, the one who said some days that she wishes she had half of my moxy when I call these places and fight them and the ones who reassure me that I’m NOT going insane on a daily basis. The cats-the one that isn’t very smart, but loves to drape herself over you for hours on end…the diva who still plays fetch. The frogs-that everyone but the people who live in this house are creeped out over…
The laughs, giggles and smiles that make it all worth it…

So, Happy Thanksgiving. Like Isaac’s class did yesterday-indulge in a Charlie Brown Feast-Popcorn, pretzels, toast and jellybeans-and remember what you’re thankful for!

November 26, 2009 at 9:21 am Leave a comment

Coast to coast burritos

There are few things that really get me going food-wise to blog about. Frankly, there are enough food bloggers out there that I really don’t feel like I need to do that to my tiny readership. But sometimes, just sometimes, I have to. This is one of those times…

When I was in undergrad, student teaching at Ghetto Middle School (it’s closing…I’m not shocked. When people hear I student taught there, they have a whole new level of respect for me. It’s that bad.), we often ordered from this place that you could get to and back in a lunch hour-Bombers Burrito Bar. The choices were a mix of traditional and oddball, and there were vegetarian options for those of us who were veggies. That wasn’t me. I fell head over heels for a pulled pork burrito…yum!

Then, I moved out west. the burritos were different, but just as good. I became a fan, through school again, of El Pollo Loco. Their burritos were just good…but not my beloved Bombers. On top of that, the west coast also introduced me to the breakfast burrito-which I have yet to find an equivalent of around here. Perfect food for on the go mornings where there was just too much to do to really eat something.

When my parents visited me on the west coast, I introduced them to El Pollo Loco and to the beloved breakfast burritos of mine. They didn’t quite get the breakfast burrito thing, but I guess you have to live it to really get it. I also introduced them to a few other traditional burrito options that I had in SoCal. Yum…but not quite my pulled pork burrito from Bombers…and that was one thing I missed from the east coast.

So, when we moved back, I tried every excuse I could to find a way to get back to Bombers for a pulled pork burrito. But, it was not in the cards for me, until they opened a location totally near my house! Doug was so sick of hearing about my burrito cravings that the other day, he kicked me out of the house, saying “would you just GO and get a stinkin’ burrito from Bombers? I’m so tired of hearing about that place! ”

So, I did what any self respecting person would do in this situtaion-I went to Bombers, and got my pulled pork burrito.

That lead me to the inevitable fighting off of the small boy that happens when a new piece of food shows up in the house. I got the “you need to share” lecture from him…and how sharing was good, and how Mami needed to share her food, because it’s a nice thing to do.

Seriously? did I just get a “sharing is caring” lecture from a 5 year old?

I told him this-share your blankie and I’ll share my burrito. He wandered away for a few minutes to ponder this…as the blankie is the most prized posession in his arsenal. He came back, sans blankie and tried to scam burrito.

I wonder-is this a side effect of being in a day care center with Mexican Abuelas for the first year of his life?

Small boy food scammer aside, it’s an interesting experience eating burritos on both coasts. I think my Mexican friends would be just appaled that I’m eating bbq pulled pork burrito, and my east coasties would be just as flabbergasted that on the west side, I’d be eating something like a carnitas burrito.

heck, in my universe, I know there’s room for all of them-but here in E. Nowhere, I can’t find a decent non-east coast burrito, so I’ll stick with the ones that would make my SoCal buddies die of “that’s not a burrito!” anguish. Isaac, well…as long as he can scam some..and not give up the blankie, he’s fine.

August 5, 2009 at 3:49 am Leave a comment

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