Saturday, January 31, 2009

three serious questions

I think I'm ready to answer.
This is what I have so far, but I might do some editing. If you have any suggestions, PLEASE don't hesitate to leave a comment! :-)

1) What are your past and present academic history and other experiences which you feel have prepared you for an internship?

In high school, I pursued academic excellence by seriously involving myself in my education. I served as the vice president of my school's French Honor Society and competed on the Academic Team for two years. When my coursework didn't challenge me enough, I took up writing, photography, and reading ethnographic works.
For the past few years, my life has been a bright montage of mothering my two children, pursuing a college degree, and sharing my passions with others. There have been struggles along the way, but my perseverance has brought me to this moment.

In several of the jobs I’ve held, my main purpose was to connect with children and to inspire them to ask questions and investigate the world around them. As an anthropology instructor at Girls Inc, I drafted my own syllabus and presented hands-on educational activities to my class. My most current employment, at my college, has given me practical experience in office management and assisting a busy Program Director.

As a mother, I have begun to master creative problem solving, multi-tasking, and communication.

Feeling ready to synthesize these experiences is what has led me to apply for an internship in the National Museum of Natural History’s Anthropology Department.

2) What do you hope to accomplish through an internship and how it would relate to your academic and career goals?

I feel that this internship will help me to further my understanding of anthropological research, of educating the general public, and show me the internal workings of a NFP organization. As a Latin American, I am fascinated with the origins of the people of the Americas. My intended focus, as an anthropologist, is to conduct research in the field of Paleo-Indian migrations. I currently envision using several different methods to do this, including ethnographic work, linguistic analysis, and archaeology.

I have considered that this may be too broad a scope, so I am open to the idea that experience and insight gained through this internship might help me to more narrowly define my future work somewhat, even if I am not employed in anything relating to those specific future goals at the Smithsonian.

3) What about the Smithsonian, in particular, interests you and leads you to pursue this internship?

The NMNH, in our nation’s capital, is the embodiment of scientific outreach, displaying it’s remarkable collections for any who wishes to see them. The millions of people who pass through it’s doors each year are entering into a world that speaks to their very humanity, as the awe that nature inspires in us is universal.

I believe that the Smithsonian Institute is everything it’s founder hoped it would be. It is an institution that has made significant advancements in the fields of research and cultural preservations, and is renowned for diligent public service. If there was ever a symbol of American curiosity and exploration, it would be the Smithsonian Institute, and I would be honored to be a part of this institution.

Friday, January 30, 2009

can we start a happy-meter for when I get somewhere on time?

I got to bio-lab in St. Pete very early today. So early I had time for breakfast in the gross little school cafe that was crawling with high schoolers, apparently.

I didn't get the full happy-meter bar, because I didn't have to get kids ready today, and I only got there so early because I didn't make coffee at home before I left.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

un momento perfectissimo

After several days of oppressive heat, now the the air is somehow the perfect temperature. The stars were out in their finest shimmer tonight, and the night sky so honestly navy that it hurts just to see how true it is.

And earlier this evening, in conjunction with the Starry Night, I cleaned the house, so everything smells nice and tidy. We had a couple of friends over for the link up, and to drum. One of them even brought a mandolin :-)

And, to top a perfect evening off- I'm sitting here listening to La Boheme in the nearly exhausted candlelight, drinking Sleepy Time Tea, which is supposed to help me fall asleep (important, since I have to get up for school in a little while).

Anyways, the whole moment is just overwhelmingly beautiful, I had to share.

Oh, and that's not all... I did some NSF research tonight and found out just how much money has been put into Anthropology research in the past 4 years, and it's unbelievable. Millions just from the NSF. So, of course that put me in a good mood. And I'm a little bit ecstatic because I got two (glowing) letters of recommendation today (from Bill Hemme & Hilary Flower) for my packet to the Smithsonian. (!!!!!!) (Does your heart nearly beat out of your chest at that? Mine does.)

This is going to require a trip to FedEx, which I have been steadily avoiding since late last August, but I'm going to have to do it. I will keep you updated.

Monday, January 26, 2009

parenting, a trial by fire

So, during today's morning drop off I was thinking about parenting stuff. Namely, about WHO is the expert on what is best for a child? (the PARENTS, right??)

I was really tempted to call Brian to talk about this, since he and I always used to have nice parenting chats and we have very similar parenting styles. Actually, that's something I miss about him, and I don't expect to find in common with everyone I go out with from here on out. But anyways... I didn't call him. Of course not. I just kept my thoughts to myself, and drove to work in a sort of mundane way.

So, we have this issue. None of you who know me personally will be surprised...

Core gets to school a little late a lot of the time. The reasons are varied and plenty: I didn't feel it was worth fighting about, homework needed finishing, we couldn't find somebody's shoes/coat/backpack, they were really hungry and wanted 2nds on breakfast, they were really tired and I let them sleep in a bit, we all overslept accidentally, etc etc etc.

Basically, it's poor planning on my part, but I swear, even on the days when I get up a half hour before I have to get them up, even when I made breakfast the night before (I believe in a good breakfast), even when we lay clothes out the night before... something comes up, or we make it out the door at exactly the time she is supposed to BE THERE. We only live 10 minutes from her school, so it's not awful, but it's not looking so good to the office staff.

I'm trying to stay calm and just keep on reminding her that moving faster is better regarding getting ready for school, but she really takes after me; I like to do things when I'm ready to.

And I know the moms working at the school think it is just berserk that I don't naturally wake up at 6 am (my babies were always sleepers, therefore I never had to get "used" to getting up at dawn), that I don't have an efficient method devised for doing this all, and that some days I don't have to hurry off to SPC and I want to spend that extra time with them.

Harry, on the other hand, manages to get them to school on time, from the way he tells it, because he's usually at work before then anyways. And he reprimands me by saying that all of these tardies are "going to bring DCF and the Clearwater Police Dept down on us" (by which he means me).

Now, I'm not saying that tardies are GOOD; no, of course not. My mom never taught me to manage my time and as soon as I could be told it was my own responsibility to get ready and leave on time, I realized I had no clue. Something had gone terribly wrong in the raising of me.

I want my kids to learn to find their shoes, I want them to know how to read a clock (Cora's awesome with digital ones, at least), and to know why we put things away when we are done with them. Just because I don't possess a certain skill (yet) doesn't mean that they don't have a chance at developing it.

But the pinnacle of my rant comes to this: the school is providing a service. Harry and I have paid in (as have many of you who don't have kids- sorry!), and decided that we WOULD accept the service they provide, for the time being. I'm still the boss of my kids, and it totally irks me to no end when the school officials try and put me in my place.

So, why is it abuse if I (frequently) bring my well-cared for, well-mannered, empathic, agreeable, lovely 6 year old to school late?

That's what I'd like to know.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


So, we are in the midst of planning a snow-day. I thought at first that I'd drive the kids to, oh, say a mountain in West Virginia. That's 14 hours behind the wheel for me, and then we'd go crazy in the snow, sleep the drive off in our motel room, and then take pictures in the snow the following morning, and drive back home.

Essentially, it takes the whole weekend.

The appeal to this plan was CHEAPNESS. Then Harry suggested I not put my car through that abuse, and, since my transmission is starting to go, I realized the flaw in the plan. I looked at car rentals. I looked at train fares. I re-considered the itinerary to include NYC or D.C. or Albuquerque. It would still be a really short trip. We can leave on a Thursday afternoon (I'd have to do my bio lab on a different day, and just skip trig), and I need to have the kids in bed by 8 pm on Sunday.

I haven't hashed it all out yet, but the next few weeks will tell.

**** Also, breaking news. My cell phone is now broken. I CAN text but can't place or answer calls. So I also need to budget THAT in. Argh.

*****MORE breaking news. Cora just asked me to make her a "Laura dress".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

video clip

I can't even tell you how this feels. Watching this brief and wordless event makes me feel like I've been granted with a second coming-of-age. My roommate and I are still marveling at it all.

You see, we were 17 when George W. was elected the first time, and it was awful to feel so powerless.

And then, 9/11, and the subsequent "reign of terror", erupted on us when we were 18.
I lost all hope for the future for a little while. The Patriot Act was too reminiscent of Orwell's 1984. And I was so guilty of thought-crime. We were careful on telephones. We were terrified, because of the insanity we were living with.

I made sure to get out and vote, though, in both the local and national elections. And I cried when he was re-elected. As the 2008 election neared, we feared W's insanity would result in a cancellation of the election (in the interest of 'national security', of course).

However, Helen pointed out this week that as the years went on it became more and more apparent that he wasn't that crafty or maniacal, just dumb.

I feel so thankful for this new chapter that has begun, even though things are scarier now than they were 8 years ago.

Oh, WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME Obama family! And bon voyage, Dubya.

and come gather 'round the stripper pole?

On Sunday, since I was sans enfants, I rode my bike up to Borders (in the bitter cold) and hunkered down with a few books and a cup of coffee. I actually zipped right through two of them, cover to cover.

The first one was Candy Girl, by Diablo Cody (that chick who wrote the screenplay for Juno). It's the true story [blah blah blah] of how she worked as a stripper, etc. Interestingly, when she first began working in strip clubs she had a decent day job and a happy home life with her boyfriend & his little girl.

Ok, granted- that's a pretty juicy story, but what I liked best about the book is her use of language. She gets the texture of words. She employs literary technique, skillful narrative, and subtle humor even though she would have still sold plenty of copies 'taking the easy way out'.

Since I've been writing a lot, when I read and my mind goes to the behind-the-scenes stuff... How was the piece constructed, and in what order? Which parts gave her the most satisfaction, or the most trouble? How much of a real life person do you write into your book, and where do you draw the line?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dear everyone,

I'm sorry if you think I have been ignoring you today, but I had the wonderful surprise of waking up to no cell service! How embarrassing that I would just forget, but I took great pains to pay my bill before doing anything else, and I hope to hear from you again soon.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

banksy, the most ill

"We can't do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves." -Banksy

"Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world I can't even finish my second apple pie." -Banksy

(this is the wall separating Palestine and Israel)

(so wrong, I know)

"Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place." -Banksy

do you know my ex? OR why good fathers do single mothers a disservice

I was riding home from Borders tonight (completed 9 miles today), in the frigid cold, and I was thinking about stuff. I come up with a lot of things to write when I'm bike riding and alone. The train of thought goes to interesting places sometimes.

Tonight, I was thinking about school stuff, about those internships, and about field school. And about WHERE I am going to get the majority of my anthro coursework done. I really DO still want to go to UWF in Pensacola, but I tell myself constantly that it's just not possible. I can't uproot my kids and move them to north FL, can I?? Besides, how could I be a full time student in a town where I have no relatives to help with childcare AND manage my kids, day in and day out, with no respite?

Last week was a sort of rough week here. Work was busy and school started again, so I guess it's not unusual that I was tired. But, since the kids go to their dad's house a few nights each week (remember, we do 50/50 custody), I have frequent breaks. I have no excuse for wanting to be alone when they are here. NO EXCUSE.

But I found myself half wishing that I could just have a moment of peace. And my kids really get that. I say, "FOR GOODNESS SAKES. Can you go upstairs if you're going to play so loudly?!" and "Why don't you both go play outside and get some fresh air?" and I have them eat in the kitchen, and I'll sit elsewhere, just so I can eat as I have become accustomed to in their absence; with no drama about tomatoes or fights to break up. I just don't want to deal with it anymore.

So, that's just it. I've become soft, apparently. I'm no longer the heavy duty mom-machine I once was, hardened by day in and day out consistency and sleepless nights (no, no, my sleepless nights are for my own benefit NOW, haha).

I certainly always love them, and I work my ass off keeping them happy, clean, fed, etc, worrying about their futures, bringing glasses of water at bedtime, examining the color of their mucous... But when push comes to shove and I'm threatening to "stop this car right now, because both of you are getting a spanking" I can fall back on the fact that they are going to daddy's house and I won't have to deal with this crap until tomorrow.

And, Harry's such a damn good parent. I've felt jealous of him in this regard before. For example, when Core was teeny. She was just a little thing, a newborn, and I was all nerves. I didn't know how to do anything with a baby, and had to learn everything 'on the job', so to speak. But nothing phased him. Never once did he come to me in a panic saying, "I don't know, does she look... funny to you? Is she breathing normally?" [Seriously, I did that. One night, he was at work and I swore she was dying. I tried to count her breaths and take her pulse, but it was really hard because she was 4 weeks old.]

But, really, he handled it all so well. Conner was born right into Harry's hands. Harry even changed a few diapers and fed a few bottles, although baby-care was generally my arena (since I stayed at home with the kids). Tantrums in the grocery store at 18 months, potty training, nothing phases him. And now that they're older, he's even better at parenting.

You must think I am counting my lucky stars about this (and I frequently do), but right now, I'm sort of wondering WHY he couldn't have been one of those lousy dads. If he was, if I knew it was just me and my babies in the cold hard world it would be a lot easier to be a better mom. There would simply be no other choice.

But knowing that I am not the stronger parent gives me room to slack off a bit. I'm still doing car circle drop offs and pick ups, I still have tiny little socks in my laundry, and I still put juice boxes and cheese sticks ahead of white wine on the grocery shopping list, but all the while, I'm walking in a world of daydreams, like I am one 6 year old's temper tantrum away from running off to study human remains, and to eat my breakfast in peace and quiet.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

it's (not yet) Thursday

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar..., by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, is, hands down, the best book I've read all year ;-)

No, seriously, it's funny. The comedic jewels are strewn hither and yon. Although it's a book of jokes, they tie everything up in a pretty way.

Take for example, this joke illustrating Western Empiricism:

"Three women are in a locker room dressing to play racquetball when a man runs through wearing nothing but a bag over his head. The first woman looks at his wiener and says, "Well, it's not my husband." The second woman says, "No, it isn't." The third says, "He's not even a member of this club."

Or this, the introduction to the section discussing logic and fallacies:

"The 'Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc' Fallacy

First, a word about the social usage of this term: In some circles, when uttered with a straight face, this phrase can help you get lucky at a party. Interestingly, it has the exact opposite effect when uttered in English."

Hee-larious, unlike the other two books I'm reading right now (Waterlily and The Origin of Financial Crises) and the one that I'm supposed to borrowing from Carvajal, asap. Right, John?

I'm using Google Chrome now

And I like it.

I really never bothered to look beyond the browser I had before (although I was aware of other browsers), but this is nice.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

in the gibbous moonlight

I can swallow the decades,

into my tenderest places,

past my youth-glow,

to all the uncertainties.

In the gibbous, gibbous moonlight,

we'll find it amusing,

that young adulthood leaves,

nothing to be desired.

Oh, and one more work picture...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I don't know if this is funny or wierd...

but I have the absolute silliest crush on Ben Gibbard (of The Postal Service, and Death Cab for Cutie) right now.

I like the way he rocks back and forth while he plays guitar, even though it's sort of ridiculous, and the fact that, in college he majored in chemistry.

Oh, and here's an all important formula for you to remember, as we head back to school today:

glasses + hot guy = even hotter guy

Friday, January 9, 2009

NM, and my roommate sunbathing

The least nice stairwell in the new building. Seriously.

My new office. Notice all the junk I still have to unpack, lol.

Anyways, the new building is named NM. Um, New Mexico? Natural Math? Huh??

And, here's the pic I took of Helen, making a sand angel, at the beach on Christmas Day.

I don't know how to explain this

Something is going on with me.

I've had The Golden Touch in the kitchen for the past two weeks- nothing ruined, burnt, dropped, or chipped. Pretty amazing considering how clumsy I can be sometimes.

My house is clean. Well, the downstairs is, anyways.

I've COMPLETED two knitting projects in three weeks.

My intuition feels really strong right now. And my sense of smell is out of this world.

I've written more pages in my novel (apparently I'm writing a novel) this week than I have all year.

Oh, and I'm making a modern art mobile, just because I HAVE to. Helen asked me about my inspiration, and I literally had no answer, it was just something I needed to do.

Plus, it's been nearly a week since I did my nails and I haven't chipped any of the polish.

If this is what happens when someone you love f--k's you over big time, then bring it on. My perspective on this isn't just seeing the silver lining in the situation... I really know things are better this way! Woo!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

oh! the mystery

I found these growing in/on an old piece of raw potato skin (must have been a scrap of one that had a wierd spot, because we definately eat the skins here!). I think they are peppers, did I already tell you that? I can't wait for them to show their, er, colors.

The one to the left is mine, and the one to the right is an image of bell pepper seedlings I found online, trying to ID these.

Oh, and we have chives now too! Also, salvaged from the ole compost pile. Why doesn't everyone have one of these? It's amazing. We thow our refuse in and actually GET something back.

Watermelon seedlings were started today, in a little container, not in the compost, lol.

Monday, January 5, 2009

two things that make me wonder if the poles really are moving

Ok, so today was pretty interesting.

First day back to work since the holiday break started and I was in the new building. But no phones or computers have been hooked up yet, so no actual work can go on in there. Which is silly because ALL of the necessary paperwork and every last piece of the dept's office supplies are... IN THE NEW BUILDING.

So I unpacked boxes and moved things around somewhat.

As pretty as some parts of it are (skylights, floor to ceiling windows and stonework, great color scheme, fantastic tile work), the new building is like a comedy of errors, a glimmering, two story monstre sacre.

There are piles of construction debris throughout, electrical outlets that have no juice, doors that need repairs, and various little bits of unfinished business everywhere. How can classes start in 6 days? Really, I implore you.

Anyways, that's not even the stuff that registered on my radar as unusual:

1) Daniel (the really smart guy) stopped by and said hi while I was at work. I say this is unusual because it has never happened to me before, and was the last thing I expected to happen today. He has a nice smile, too.


2) I was solidly rear-ended tonight in Pinellas Park (as I brake for cyclists-even those who choose to rewrite traffic rules), but there is not a scratch on anybody.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I tend to carry as many projects/ideas/plans/etc as anyone, mulling them over, letting them grow.

Kind of like tossing a bunch of seeds in the compost pile, and then picking out the seedlings as they show themselves, I'm scooping out the useable ideas now, and keeping them here for now.

My diaper co. I totally let this go in July when I left for South America. I really just ran away from it all. Maybe because it reminded me of the baby Tom and I didn't have. I still have all the materials, supplies, and equipment. Because I'm in the mood for knitting, I'm making a wool cover with a really neat texture as a gift for Avery. Maybe I'll pick up the ball on my diaper charity project again soon?
As far as keeping food on the table, I have started thinking about planning and marketing diaper-making classes; I'm not bad at it, and I could set my own schedule.

Remember The Incident? Afterwards, I was talking about finding a way to supply those in need with bike lights and batteries. Brian came up with a great bike co op idea for this part of the county, and even made a contact in the Clearwater City Council. Not much else was disscussed with this, because we were doing other stuff for the past 2 months (namely, drinking too much when we spent time together, studying for final exams, freaking out, disagreeing, and recouperating). I have two big ideas on this... Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, I think B and I should keep the focus on working (instead of on socializing) by not trying to discuss this stuff in person. A dozen good emails into the future and we might have something to show for our travails. Secondly, I have a few ideas to throw at him, re: getting sponsers and public support, as well as bringing people and live music together.

Ooh, and our compost project here had also sparked some talk about urban community gardens... I had sent some people in the know emails with questions, and I have some interesting information... Clearwater is now a "Green City", which means that there is a compact somewhere that our mayor signed. And that city food gardens might not be AS hard to start as I originally wagered. I'm going to go door to door in my neighborhood to see if anyone else is interested in attending a city meeting with me.

And, according to it's time to start. They reccomend the following: Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Cucumbers, Endive, Escarole, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Mustard, Onion Sets, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkins, Rhubarb, Romaine, Rutabagas, Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips Watermelons, and almost any other vegetable or fruit you desire.

Anise, Basil, Borage, Chives, Chervil, Coriander, Fennel, Garlic, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Sesame, Sweet Marjoram, Thyme and most other herbs.

There's also the weird music-writing thing that's going on with me, but I don't really know what to say about that, if anything. It's nothing special. Perhaps that's just what happens when you live in a house with a piano and who knows how many other instruments? I really don't intend to DO anything with the songs (yes, now there are two: they're multiplying!), but if I ever get Helen to help me record them, I'll surely post them here.