Saturday, May 31, 2008

Before 9:30

In the pre-Spence days, I would not even have left my bed before 9:30 a.m. on a lazy Saturday morning. These days are quite different. So far this morn, I have...
  • proclaimed, "I am too tired I cannot even form words."
  • pretended that the boy was still asleep and not kicking my rib.
  • consumed large quantities of iced toddy coffee. (Have you not all made the switch?)
  • made pancakes, ate, and kind of cleaned up.
  • fed the boy.
  • made the boy a strawberry shake which he promptly threw on the floor.
  • mopped the kitchen floor.
  • danced with the boy.
  • bathed the boy.
  • listened to the boy say "fish."
  • changed two poopie diapers.
  • vacuumed.
  • mowed the lawn (after 8 a.m., of course).
  • got pooped on by a bird.
  • mopped the bathroom floor.
  • had two relatively lengthy phone conversations.
  • put the boy down for a nap.
  • showered.
  • got dressed.
  • checked my email.
This is more than I accomplished in most weekends before the boy. Kids really kick you into gear. What have you done before 9:30?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Calla lilies are not weeds.

After an afternoon discovering and picking cala lilies in our backyard, much like Columbus discovered America, I was sat down and told that the cala lilies were not weeds. They don't just happen unexpectedly. But, they were planned, planted and nurtured by my mother's care.

She was a gardener. I was just 10.

On this the day of her birth, I decided to go out and whip our decidedly not-cala lily weeds into shape. Spence was otherwise occupied kicking our stolen red kickball. So I grabbed the tiny gardening implements and hit the "flower" boxes.

A full three minutes into the adventure, a decidedly prickly plant pierced my skin. Yes, I should have been wearing gloves, but I hate feeling confined. It was a bit tingly, but I actively practiced denial and surrendered to the gloves.

Now five minutes into the "gardening," I brushed my forearm against the prickly weed. Another minute passed and the tingly became an annoying burning. Spence dodged out of view and I quickly helicoptered over to him. By the time I returned to the task at hand, my forearms had erupted into puss-filled pillows. I grabbed the boy and went inside.

He kicked and screamed at the thought of leaving the outdoors. I glanced down and actually watched the pillows inflating. I searched for something to take. No luck. A flooding sensation of sedation started to overtake my body. I flopped on the couch and called Dave. No answer.

"Allergic to plant. Swelling," I texted him. He called within moments.

I burst into tears and started slurring my words. He threatened to call 911. He was home within minutes, loaded me into the car and spilled me into the Northeast Clinic despite my active protests peppered with more tears.

An antihistamine under my doctor's watchful eye and I started to feel even more drowsy, but less drugged.

I guess I am less of a gardener.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Coffee Jar.

With all this drama about BPA, I humbly propose The Coffee Jar. Now, it is not my idea...I gleaned it from some other source which has now flown out of my brain. But, it really is perfect for you iced coffee drinkers, which with the weather warming up, you all should be.

I do have the pricey SIGG water bottle for the boy and a lovely Thermos contraption that I stole from my father-in-law. And my dear Resident Teachers just gifted me a fancy dancy coffee mug so that I would no longer have to lug a jar around. But for this moment in time, I cannot get enough of The Coffee Jar.

Oh Coffee Jar, how I love thee! Let me list the ways...

1) If you lose it, it was just a jar. No feelings of expensive coffee carriers lost. You can just smile and imagine someone recycled it.

2) It seals completely. It easily tucks into your bag.

3) No BPA.

4) Very large. With this boy in my life, I consume a lot more coffee. With The Coffee Jar, you can pick your size. I choose 24 ounces.

5) It's a conversation starter. You know people will ask you about The Coffee Jar on the bus.

Go ahead, try The Coffee Jar then share your favorite reason for using it.

Time Warp.

I never did go to the Rocky Horror Picture show dressed in lingerie. But, I did do my fair share of pelvic thrusts while singing the "Time Warp" in high school.

"It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!"

To be honest, I am not exactly sure what the song is about and less sure what the movie was really about. But, there are objects that I run across that seem to interrupt time and force me into a new timespace.

Like, the green-starred cylinder at the Central Library. Today, I started off here...

and Time Warped back here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

7 hours.

The clock is ticking. The boy is sleeping. What is holding me back?

In little more than 7 hours, I will need to not only hand over a finished paper, but also present it. Take questions. Act as if this was a labor of love. As if writing was pleasurable. As if my ideas will really contribute to the betterment of the world.

A performance of a lifetime. On 2.5 hours of sleep.

Monday, May 12, 2008


The news just came in over the net...

My abstract was accepted! Spain is in the horizon!

Now I have to figure out how to pay for it...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers' Day.

Today, traditionally, has not been a very good day for me. It's been 21 years since I got to celebrate with my mom. 20 years of terrible, no good, very bad Mothers' Days. With the babylove, Mothers' Day has started to look up.

This one started off rough. Modern Love tortured me a bit. I usually shed a few tears when I read it, but today I was a sprinkler system by paragraph 2.

Red eyed and sniffly, I helped my malformed husband get into the car, while carrying our son and all appropriate baggage. Dave sat down on the kitchen floor yesterday to play with Spence and stood up crooked. Literally. He can no longer walk (really) and sort of shuffles along on his tip toes. There was no "Honey, you sleep in. It's Mothers' Day." Not even a routine day, as Dave is vital to the whole operation. Today was a taste of single motherhood with a hunched husband in tow.

We had a lovely brunch with my mother in law before we set out for Urgent Care. It should have been Fathers' Day. Dave loves the special attention of Urgent Care and it could have been a treat. But, it was decidedly not his day. And this was no treat for me. Spence and I got to spend a few hours destroying Barnes and Noble and pooping a lot (Spence, not me) while Dave waited to be seen.

We picked up his narcotics, drove by the house we're coveting, and headed home. My mother in law made another appearance to spend a little QT with the boy while I took a power nap, grocery shopped and make sloppy joes and kale for dinner.

Every day with Spence is unusually great. Even this one.

It doesn't mean that the hole in me that yearns for my mom is filled. It's as big as ever.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

From the Borderlands: Navigating Communities in the Induction Phase of Teaching

Not done with the paper. Not even with the outline. But, here's the abstract I just submitted for a conference in Spain. Ole!

Teachers in their induction phase often find themselves navigating from the borders of many different cultures in order to find success in teaching, yet lack a literacy for navigating these communities. Lave and Wenger’s (1991) theory of legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) does not capture the complexity of communities converging on educators in their first year of teaching, as they imagine a singular notion of community. Pushing on LPP with Anzaldua’s borderland consciousnesses, this case study of two teachers in a structured induction program explores how they attempted to build teachers’ literacy in negotiating multiple communities in a bounded school site. The paper analyzes situations where the new teachers used literacy practices to read competing and conflicting communities at the school site: classroom, school, teaching, district and racial communities. These teachers negotiated entry not from a legitimate peripheral position of participation, but from the deeply vulnerable position of Anzaldua’s borderlands. Implications are drawn for constructing opportunities for new teachers to be mentored in gaining fluency in negotiating multiple communities at a school site.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I had been struggling and chewing on a paper I have due soon. I couldn't even articulate what I wanted to say. Researching, reading and then researching some more. But last night as I was headed to bed, I had a little light fall into my life. I figured out what I could say and who could help me say it. Gloria Anzaldua.

I rode lightrail with a purpose this morning. Re-reading sections. Dog-earing others. Starting to figure out how this paper might actually get written. Energized, I sneaked out of work a bit early. I made it to the coffee shop and pulled out my computer to work.

I made it. Gloria didn't. She is somewhere riding a lightrail train to the Mall of America. Hopefully, someone will be able to get inspired by her wisdom. It just won't be me.

Monday, May 5, 2008

No More Drama

After dreaming endlessly about Star Tribune headlines "Kristy Snyder Single-Handedly Denies School of Funding," I woke up early and scurried for the bus. As my lightrail train approached the school, I took note that there was only one car in the parking lot. And it wasn't a Jaguar.

The school was empty, save for the hard working custodial staff. My crafty plan to meet up with the principal at 7:45 to figure out this debacle really didn't pan out. I was there. He was not.

In the end, he was right. No drama. Just a calm phone call that made an exception for our school. Tests will be picked up tomorrow.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dropping the Ball.

There are many reified truths about you that you could tick off without thinking: for instance, I believe in a Sunday morning ritual that involves the New York Times and the same brunch spot....I take strange comfort wandering through the aisles of the local Target. And, if given the choice between calling someone and figuring something out on the internet, I always choose the road of least social contact.

So when it came time to contact the agency that picks up THE STATE TEST and I was confronted with a web address and a phone number, I quickly logged on, entered our information, attempted to change the contact information from the test coordinator out on paternity leave to me, and logged off feeling satisfied. I am not the test coordinator, nor have I been to any informational meetings on how to "do" this test administration, nor am I even an employee of the school district, but nevertheless I found myself responsible for counting, bubbling, organizing and boxing up the test materials for my school.

My stomach has been at odds with this responsibility for the past few weeks. Gurgles of acid whispered worries that I bubbled things in wrong or stacked the piles incorrectly while putting them in the boxes or even that the testing pick-up scheduled for the last day possible for tests to be collected would go awry.

I mustered up my mild social anxiety and called K2Logistics. The words "no record of the school" and "we sent an email to the testing coordinator" and "too late to schedule pick up now" spilled into my ear.

All thoughts of social anxiety evaporated and new fears of Star Tribune exposes about the woman who single-handedly destroyed a school took up new residence in my head. I started calling any and everyone in the district's testing office, the principal, teachers, the secretaries...anyone. But, it was 4 p.m. on a dismal Friday afternoon. No one was answering.

Our fearless principal finally did call me back and attempted to ease me out of my frenzied state with promises that we'd work it out on Monday. "There has to be a way."

I just don't think he gets it.