Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Winds of Change

Recently, I was asked what is it in my life that gives me pleasure? Then it was, what do I want to do when I retire? If someone had asked me these questions three years ago, my answers would have differed, greatly. I had an incomplete self image, so answering that question would have been difficult for me. I guess I never realized this, but I never did have a complete self image. I was perfectly happy allowing it to be codependent. I didn’t know any better.

What gives me pleasure? It’s when the people I love are happy. I get great pleasure out of helping people, teaching people, and listening to people. I like stories. I like it when people tell me stories about themselves, because I learn so much from others. I also get satisfaction out of sharing stories with others. I like to see the reaction on their faces. I love when someone asks me a question about what I’ve shared, because there’s always a discovery of deeper meaning. I’m a social person. I love to talk with people, and learn what makes them tick. I enjoy people watching, and developing characters from the perceptions I’ve interpreted. I really enjoy what I do. I love gathering new information and processing it. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s what I’m for. I want to discover, filter, and share what I’m exposed to in life. I enjoy viewing the world through the many lenses I have refined over the years as a reader/writer. I imagine this isn’t news for those that already know me, but I’m eager to utilize this gift that I have. This brings me to my next question, which was the one that stumped me much more.

What do I want to do when I retire? Well damn, I’m not even close to retiring or wanting to retire so I can’t honestly say how I want to retire. I will very likely work right on into my retirement, not just out of necessity but because I love what I do. However, there are many life experiences I want to explore all the while. When I think of retirement, it’s nothing like what I used to wan,t because I’m not that woman anymore. Three years ago, my answer would have been , “I want to do whatever he wants to do” because that was my life and I was perfectly satisfied with it. Now, my life has been turned upside down, and many aspects are different. I never have considered the latter part of my years the way I do now. I want to travel. I want to have an old, fixer-upper with a great big porch that my grand kids can run amok on. I want a nice garden I can tend to, and a wonderful working kitchen to cook and create in. I love feeding my family and friends. I’m a natural nurturer. I want to ride my bike throughout my community, and drop goodies from my garden with my friends. I want to be busy working around my house or “tinkering” as my late husband called it, protecting my aging skin with a big, floppy hat that my kids can make fun of. I want to make mud-pies with my grandson and put lopsided pigtails in my future granddaughter’s hair. I’m not much for doing girl hair. It’s actually impressive that I can do my own.

Initially, I would’ve felt ashamed of myself listing so many self-indulging “wants” but my life has taught me that it’s okay to make yourself happy. I have learned that my happiness is just as important as the happiness of those I love. It took me a good while, and lots of falling on my face to learn this. I had to make a lot of mistakes, and be burned by them in order to fully understand that I’ve earned being happy. For a long time, I felt like I was supposed to die too. I felt like I couldn’t be loyal to him if I allowed myself to be happy. I’ve learned that this wasn’t my thinking, it was grief thinking for me. Taking care of my family, loving them, watching them grow into the adults we worked so hard to nurture…this is what makes me truly happy. I will probably never retire, because what I do isn’t “work” to me. The winds of change have opened up a new world for me, and I’m finally not afraid to accept it. I’m finally seeing where I fit in my life, my new life. Change is never easy, but nothing worth having ever is. I don’t mind hard work, it reminds me that I’m alive.

Recently, I was asked what is it in my life that gives me pleasure? Then it was, what do I want to do when I retire? If someone had asked me these questions three years ago, my answers would have differed, greatly. I had an incomplete self image, so answering that question would have been difficult for me. I guess I never realized this, but I never did have a complete self image. I was perfectly happy allowing it to be codependent. I didn’t know any better.

What gives me pleasure? It’s when the people I love are happy. I get great pleasure out of helping people, teaching people, and listening to people. I like stories. I like it when people tell me stories about themselves, because I learn so much from others. I also get satisfaction out of sharing stories with others. I like to see the reaction on their faces. I love when someone asks me a question about what I’ve shared, because there’s always a discovery of deeper meaning. I’m a social person. I love to talk with people, and learn what makes them tick. I enjoy people watching, and developing characters from the perceptions I’ve interpreted. I really enjoy what I do. I love gathering new information and processing it. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s what I’m for. I want to discover, filter, and share what I’m exposed to in life. I enjoy viewing the world through the many lenses I have refined over the years as a reader/writer. I imagine this isn’t news for those that already know me, but I’m eager to utilize this gift that I have. This brings me to my next question, which was the one that stumped me much more.

What do I want to do when I retire? Well damn, I’m not even close to retiring or wanting to retire so I can’t honestly say how I want to retire. I will very likely work right on into my retirement, not just out of necessity but because I love what I do. However, there are many life experiences I want to explore all the while. When I think of retirement, it’s nothing like what I used to wan,t because I’m not that woman anymore. Three years ago, my answer would have been , “I want to do whatever he wants to do” because that was my life and I was perfectly satisfied with it. Now, my life has been turned upside down, and many aspects are different. I never have considered the latter part of my years the way I do now. I want to travel. I want to have an old, fixer-upper with a great big porch that my grand kids can run amok on. I want a nice garden I can tend to, and a wonderful working kitchen to cook and create in. I love feeding my family and friends. I’m a natural nurturer. I want to ride my bike throughout my community, and drop goodies from my garden with my friends. I want to be busy working around my house or “tinkering” as my late husband called it, protecting my aging skin with a big, floppy hat that my kids can make fun of. I want to make mud-pies with my grandson and put lopsided pigtails in my future granddaughter’s hair. I’m not much for doing girl hair. It’s actually impressive that I can do my own.

Initially, I would’ve felt ashamed of myself listing so many self-indulging “wants” but my life has taught me that it’s okay to make yourself happy. I have learned that my happiness is just as important as the happiness of those I love. It took me a good while, and lots of falling on my face to learn this. I had to make a lot of mistakes, and be burned by them in order to fully understand that I’ve earned being happy. For a long time, I felt like I was supposed to die too. I felt like I couldn’t be loyal to him if I allowed myself to be happy. I’ve learned that this wasn’t my thinking, it was grief thinking for me. Taking care of my family, loving them, watching them grow into the adults we worked so hard to nurture…this is what makes me truly happy. I will probably never retire, because what I do isn’t “work” to me. The winds of change have opened up a new world for me, and I’m finally not afraid to accept it. I’m finally seeing where I fit in my life, my new life. Change is never easy, but nothing worth having ever is. I don’t mind hard work, it reminds me that I’m alive.

Recently, I was asked what is it in my life that gives me pleasure? Then it was, what do I want to do when I retire? If someone had asked me these questions three years ago, my answers would have differed, greatly. I had an incomplete self image, so answering that question would have been difficult for me. I guess I never realized this, but I never did have a complete self image. I was perfectly happy allowing it to be codependent. I didn’t know any better.

What gives me pleasure? It’s when the people I love are happy. I get great pleasure out of helping people, teaching people, and listening to people. I like stories. I like it when people tell me stories about themselves, because I learn so much from others. I also get satisfaction out of sharing stories with others. I like to see the reaction on their faces. I love when someone asks me a question about what I’ve shared, because there’s always a discovery of deeper meaning. I’m a social person. I love to talk with people, and learn what makes them tick. I enjoy people watching, and developing characters from the perceptions I’ve interpreted. I really enjoy what I do. I love gathering new information and processing it. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s what I’m for. I want to discover, filter, and share what I’m exposed to in life. I enjoy viewing the world through the many lenses I have refined over the years as a reader/writer. I imagine this isn’t news for those that already know me, but I’m eager to utilize this gift that I have. This brings me to my next question, which was the one that stumped me much more.

What do I want to do when I retire? Well damn, I’m not even close to retiring or wanting to retire so I can’t honestly say how I want to retire. I will very likely work right on into my retirement, not just out of necessity but because I love what I do. However, there are many life experiences I want to explore all the while. When I think of retirement, it’s nothing like what I used to want because I’m not that woman anymore. Three years ago, my answer would have been , “I want to do whatever he wants to do” because that was my life and I was perfectly satisfied with it. Now, my life has been turned upside down, and many aspects are different. I never have considered the latter part of my years the way I do now. I want to travel. I want to have an old, fixer-upper with a great big porch that my grand kids can run amok on. I want a nice garden I can tend to, and a wonderful working kitchen to cook and create in. I love feeding my family and friends. I’m a natural nurturer. I want to ride my bike throughout my community, and drop goodies from my garden with my friends. I want to be busy working around my house or “tinkering” as my late husband called it, protecting my aging skin with a big, floppy hat that my kids can make fun of. I want to make mud-pies with my grandson and put lopsided pigtails in my future granddaughter’s hair. I’m not much for doing girl hair. It’s actually impressive that I can do my own.

Initially, I would’ve felt ashamed of myself listing so many self-indulging “wants” but my life has taught me that it’s okay to make yourself happy. I have learned that my happiness is just as important as the happiness of those I love. It took me a good while, and lots of falling on my face to learn this. I had to make a lot of mistakes, and be burned by them in order to fully understand that I’ve earned being happy. For a long time, I felt like I was supposed to die too. I felt like I couldn’t be loyal to him if I allowed myself to be happy. I’ve learned that this wasn’t my thinking, it was grief thinking for me. Taking care of my family, loving them, watching them grow into the adults we worked so hard to nurture…this is what makes me truly happy. I will probably never retire, because what I do isn’t “work” to me. The winds of change have opened up a new world for me, and I’m finally not afraid to accept it. I’m finally seeing where I fit in my life, my new life. Change is never easy, but nothing worth having ever is. I don’t mind hard work, it reminds me that I’m alive.

Simple Civics

August 5, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve bothered with my blog. I’ve had a hard time finding something to focus on, other than grief. Unfortunately, grief does tend to produce a lot of passion, so I ran with it the best I could when the tide was high. I’m really tired of that passion, but I have no control over it, it’s its own animal, I’m just here for the ride. I do however have something new to share.

So, I worked the Michigan state primary elections today for the first time. Actually, it was the first time I’ve ever worked the polls for any candidate. I’ve always thought about it in the past, but no one was ever really worth my time, but that changed when I found out my friend and classmate Rashida was running for state senate. I brought lots of water, coffee, and an apple, but Rashida delivered snacks, lunch, and pizza later on. I had my folding chair I use for baseball. I needed my raincoat, and an umbrella, and I brought a sweater to wear if I needed to go into the building. If in the voting area, campaign material is not allowed, and I had a T shirt on. It wasn’t a difficult job. I could either pass out literature, or maybe plug Rashida’s name to the community in some way. I did a little of both, but mostly, I simply stood in front of Shelters Elementary school in Southgate with a Rashida sign in hand, and I smiled really big and waved. Yes, you read that right, I made like the Little Caesars Pizza pusher, and owned the sidewalk.

In the beginning it seemed like such a simple task: it hardly required any physical work, I had little to no direct contact with people, and all I had to carry was a sign. I almost felt guilty for being so seemingly insignificant. I watched for oncoming cars from both direction, paid close attention to bikers, and motorcyclists, and I especially watched for walkers. They were easy engagers, because they are walking directly past me. Basically all day today, I smiled, waved, and chatted with people. I did this over the course of several hours. I walked to the end of Shelter’s sidewalk, waved, walk back the other direction, and waved again, and smiled. It was actually a happy smile. I was really enjoying what I was doing. Perhaps it was a sincere smile? Maybe this time, I didn’t have to find one. I didn’t have to pull it out of me, it came out. I smiled and waved and chatted with everyone I saw. It was mind boggling to see how many people I reached simply being kind. Actually, I was behaving kind, because I said so little to people, they were responding to the way I looked. I starting noting peoples reactions, and most of them had the same reaction, they looked at me, and smiled back. Many people waved and smiled, and I’m referring to drivers, bikers, and walkers.

Generally, most of the community was enthusiastic and happy to greet me. Sometimes, people would yell out of their car window, “Good luck Rashida!” I think they thought I was her. I really enjoyed the responses I received from kids, they immediately waved quickly, and flashed some braces back at me, or they looked at me like I was nuts for waving a sign. I became familiar with some cars, and remembered where they came from. I recognized a number of faces from my community: teachers, coaches, parents from sports programs, and I even saw some of my boys buddies driving their cars or riding their bikes past me. My community associated me with Rashida, and I wanted to help plug her into it, and that is all I had to do, because she does the rest. She is one fiercely wise beyond her years woman, and I’d work twelve hours for her all over again. Her work ethic is almost immeasurable

I cannot begin to describe the feeling I had when I received warm responses from people. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of something infinitely bigger than anything I could want, and much bigger than myself. I want my fellow man to have peace of mind, because that’s all I want. It’s not a material object, but my goodness it’s expensive. I feel like it’s worth working for, and I’m willing to work when I see someone else working at providing other people with it, relentlessly. This is what Rashida’s does. Every time I felt even the slightest bit tired, I thought about how many hours that woman put into door knocking, or maybe I should say how many pounds. She shed a few herself from all the consistent activity. When my dogs started barking, I took my flip flops off and walked, waved, and smiled on the Shelter’s lawn where it was cool and soft. I have to say, I’m feeling grateful that this is August and not November, although someone suggested I work then as well. The weather wasn’t terrible. It rained twice, once in the morning, and once right before we wrapped it up. I met some great volunteers, and worked with some of my longtime community friends. Looking back, I’d say today was a fairly successful attempt at assisting a close friend. I can’t even call it work.

First Kiss

I believe we walked home from school, it was September, because the sun was still warm on my face. You were always very careful about where I walked, not close to the curb. I eventually learned that you kept me from looking like a streetwalker, which I was grateful for even though I wasn’t a streetwalker. It was a good walk from Wilson to your house, and then almost past Waterman, actually usually past Waterman. I figured that large span of street between Livernois and Dragoon was more than I felt you needed to travel. It was a decent separation point, if there is one.

I remember walking along side of you, holding your hand and feeling silly nervous. I remember kissing you on your lips at school, the look on your face was priceless. You had no idea it was coming, but it was just a peck. I knew yours was coming. I knew for a while, you were trying to find the right moment, but it didn’t present itself right away. I guess you had to wait, bummer. We were walking down Beard, we approached the corner of Whitaker, I looked at you to ask you if you remembered when I lived a few houses from Sherry, and you got me. You planted this amazingly sweet kiss on me, you cradled my face in your hands so delicately, my gut dropped but I felt like I was walking on air. It seemed to last a while, but I was lost in you, so I don’t remember how long, I just remember getting my socks knocked right off. I opened my eyes and yours were so damn green. All I could manage was a few blinks. You said, “Let’s keep walking” but I tried to argue, because we agreed on halfway home and you were going further, and you kissed me again. After that, we walked a while.

I couldn’t do anything but think of you. You made me want to be around you all the time, I felt obsessed at one point. I think my parents were happy when they found out I got a job, it meant more time away from your place. They knew I was safe at your parents but I guess they never knew, and basically I never knew just how smooth and calculating you are. I quickly discovered that, and just followed you right along like a little puppy..haha…man I was dumb for you. The funny thing is it always felt right, even when we were sneaks, nothing ever felt wrong when I was with you. It’s just that good, the memory is so vivid to me. Remembering makes me feel alive. You make me feel alive. 

 

 

 

Grammar Nazis….Ugh!

 

I posted a MEME to my Facebook page today and a friend ask me about the punctuation accuracy of the message in the MEME. I’m almost certain I answered his question correctly, but I started considering something else that hasn’t occurred to me before. I told my friend that I used to be a grammar Nazi, but since I have become a writing student, majoring in the teaching if writing I have relaxed my anxieties with regard to punctuation. Now, I’m not implying that I’m fly by the seat of my pants regarding my punctuation, but I feel that editing for grammar is the very last drafting step in my writing process, something I do when all of my ideas are sound and cohesive.

So, what is so special about this tidbit? Well, I never realized this when I was an undergrad working to get my BA in English. Why? Why did it take me until now, when I’m studying to teach writing to first year writing students to learn that grammar is only a fraction of the writing process? When I was an English major, I worked under the idea that proper English was compiled in a certain way, a no-room-for-error way. Now I see that this perspective is the reason why so many students place the burden of overcoming imperfection on their shoulders, as though mistakes are bad. Mistakes are not bad for writers, they are bountiful morsels of real-life hiccups that we will sooner or later be faced with, and why not teach students to face these morsels head on, instead of approaching the field with falsehoods that will only come back later to haunt them? I refuse to feed my students inadequate ideals about what writing is, because I’ll be preparing them for an ideal world that doesn’t exist and that would be treacherous of me. I want them to revel in their ideas, first. I want students to allow those ideas to simmer and baste until the ideas themselves are perfected, not just the conjunctions that link those ideas. Mechanics are a part of writing and make no mistake about it, we remind students of this daily and painstakingly. However, if we frame writing instruction in such a way that privileges starts and stops, as opposed to expanding and nurturing what has started and stopped, we miss the value of teaching students to write, because we are only teaching them to take responsibility for a part of their work. I want to maintain a heuristic attitude towards my instruction, I want to teach writing as a whole, not as parts of some unreachable world, implying some belong and some do not. Success in writing isn’t tightly bound in the works of Shakespeare or Wollstonecraft or Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” Being successful at writing means that you have something you desire to share with the world and you are not afraid to share it, using whatever means available to do so. The success of that MEME’s message had nothing to do with whether or not folks knew where to start and stop, the success was in the powerful message it conveyed, one word at a time.

Below the MEME is the thread of the conversation I had with my friend, I’m still not certain if I was correct in my response, but something tells me I’ll get over it 🙂

Image

FRIEND: Dawn I’m asking the smart girl this cause she would know. Is there supposed to be a comma or period after couple. I read that straight and read it as 2 lies. Or more than one lie. Hmmmmm. Maybe not. Maybe I need to go back to school. It just doesn’t seem right.

Dawn Sanchez Trueblood: Well, first I’m not the ‘smart girl’ just because I’m a college student, I make all the dumb mistakes everyone else does. I’ve let go of my grammar Nazism long ago because it makes no sense to correct vernacular (slang). Language is language as long as the message is being conveyed and interpreted. However, technically, this passage is fine, because of two reasons: one, the word couple is not followed by a conjunction and two, the first sentence cannot be broken up to stand alone as two sentences. In other words, the conjunction “and” isn’t separating two thoughts, it’s all one phrase. You may have felt the need to insert a comma because as you read the sentence, your brain wanted to pause. ALWAYS say the sentence aloud to yourself to hear inconsistencies, this tip alone has been my holy grail editing tip. Share it with the girls and pick them up a tiny little book called “The Elements of Style” By Strunk and White. Although I don’t like killing thoughts with grammar bullets, our kids are going to be tested on this stuff for college entry so GET THAT BOOK! Very cheap and helpful 🙂

FRIEND: Lmao. See I knew I asked the right person. You are the s***

I would also like to add that I am not, nor have I ever been the “s***” 🙂

 

Discourses of Writing-Ivanic ENGL 515

I really like the way Ivanic stresses through out this piece that her theory is meant as a process at work: a framework to work from and not necessarily a model. I like this idea, because once we attribute paradigm characteristics to a theory, it seems to suggest that the theory is sound enough to utilize for research methods and so on. Of course the knowledge that we accumulate about literacy and writing in general is obtained in this fashion, but I believe that some ideas are meant to be nurtured and revisited, so that the theory can be trialed among classrooms, students, and teachers first, making the theory recursive. It’s preemptive to test something on the basis of effectiveness when it’s in its pedagogical infancy. If we use certain strategical examples of literacy in a way that allows the model to expand and grow, then testing it first wastes resources, especially when some theorists are too quick to label something a failed model of literacy, instead of understanding that certain strategies can be utilized so that a theory, like Ivanic’s identification of the six discourses, can grow and expand our knowledge about writing and the teaching of writing, and eventually develop into a framework that can represent a model of teaching writing. She claims, “However, in the conclusion, I discuss how the framework can be applied to the study of a range of data concerning the learning and teaching of writing, and the discourses at work in these practices, and suggest how it can be extended to apply to the study of pedagogy where the teaching of writing is not separated from other aspects of literacy” (221).

The aspect that I want to articulate most and bring to the fore are italicized here, because writing, for so many years, has been separated, as though it is a skill that is something obtained in passing as the student makes their way through their education. In some way, we have approached teaching writing in a way that makes it a secondary skill to reading. We emphasize reading as the main aspect of ones education, and it makes sense why we would do this, because obviously one needs to be able to read in order to comprehend what their work is asking of them. However, I believe that reading and writing must be taught as a pair. In a perfect world (which I’m aware that this in not a perfect world) I would like to think that my students are devouring their reading assignments. I would like to assume they are doing so with passion and motivation. As I stated, I know this is not a perfect world, so to assume they are doing this is a mistake on my part. Thus, with that in mind, how can we assume that students are going to develop a voice in their writing, when the voices that they’re reading, are not speaking to them. The reason I say these voices are silent is because the students are not accustomed to attributing primacy to writing, so how can they have the skill of hearing voice, when they have not found their own?

Ivanic says, “’Academic literacy is a conceptualisation of literacy based on the beliefs that literacies are heterogeneous, are shaped by interests, epistemologies and power relations, have consequences for identity, and are open to contestation and change” Most certainly! This is what I meant by absence of voice in writing, mentioned above. The academic identity associated with writing is held on the back burner while students attempt to piece through text, and because they have not yet developed their own voice, or even been exposed to understanding what voice is, they read right over it as they are exposed to literature, and this may be where we lose them. They are reading with half an identity, and this is like playing baseball with one arm. One may be able to attempt it, but they very likely will not experience it , comprehensively. The power inherently associated with reading is in need of being transferred to writing, so that one is not privileged over the other. Then, and only then is it to our advantage to create and label pedagogical theories as a “model”.

Interesting Take on Pedagogical Empathy

Copy and paste the link to your browser:

http://mediatedcultures.net/smatterings/why-good-classes-fail/

 

The Despicable Dentist

My husband has a 9:00am appointment with the dentist this morning, and when I told him about it a few days ago, you would have thought I told him that the Golf network was no more. He was not a happy camper when he found out that he had to wake up on a Saturday morning to go to the dentist. Apparently, he has an issue with gagging. He claims just the thought of the dentist makes him do this. I, myself, thought I had achieved greatness when I was able to schedule a check up for all five of us in one month.

Perhaps I understand the issue some folks have with fear, the thought of some overbearing medic gawking into the depths of nowhere mans land. However, I have had a few dental issues myself and trust me when I say, I’d much rather have a team of dental specialists working on my mouth, than ever deal with an abscess. Maybe bearing children has properly prepared me for a limitless pain threshold, but for whatever reason I welcome my appointments. I revel in the fact that I have the insurance coverage that provides it and the fact that I can get the care I need.

In my line of work, I imagine it could be problematic to stand in front of the class, convincing my students that reading and writing is where it’s at, with three teeth in my head. When I had my own previous experience with dental issues, I did some research on what poor dental hygiene can do to ones teeth, and the results were disturbing. How was one supposed to know that cavities can contribute to heart disease, chronic infection, and/or auto-immune deficiencies? I was astounded! However, I am happy to state that so far the old ticker works well, and I will continue to make certain everyone in this household has the same benefit.