Showing posts with label 100 Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 100 Books. Show all posts

Second Wednesday of November

 Today is the day for pleasure.

Teach the juicy parts of WW2, plan games, give gifts to veterans. 

Plant rows of cinnamon, harvest bouquets of sunflowers,  plow through troubles.

Today’s exercise: curiosity

Today’s TV binge: Never Have I Ever

COVID Student Journal: I said Kobe was just the beginning

(Student submission Spring 2020)

The date is May 3rd, 2080 its been 60 years since the Global Pandemic Covid-19.

I am sitting on my front porch with my virtual cup of coffee watching the virtual sunset with my virtual granddaughter Lilly who just turned 12 she is spending the weekend with her favorite nana. She is in the 7th grade and must write her first big girl paper the topic is “The hardest obstacle you’ve ever faced” her being 12 hasn’t faced many so she asks what mine was. 

I stare off blankly and my mind flashes back to March 2020. I see flashbacks of my grandparents, my school, my job, my mom crying, me crying it's all dark.

I bring back my attention to Lilly and say you might want to get comfortable she laughs but I don’t crack a smile it was the hardest time I had experienced in my young life. Apparently 2020 is in her history books she asked “Isn't that the year that one basketball player died, and the world went crazy over”. 

I said Kobe was just the beginning. I flash back to Tallahassee Florida I'm 21 and I'm happy. I work at chick fila as a shift lead the job was hard, but I loved the people I work with out of my 81 years they are still some of the kindest people I ever come across. I am living on my own supporting myself barley but loving every minute of the freedom. I am with my high school sweetheart Grandpa T. We had been dating for four years he was deployed on his first deployment in the Navy his first port call was Vietnam.... but we will get into that later. 2020 was supposed to be my year it was supposed to be the year I got my AA degree from Tallahassee Community College where I had been living on my own for two years life was good I had a great circle of friends my family was all still alive we were the happiest we could have been but then March comes around. 

Being 21 I was thrilled for march it was spring break and I was finally 21 I was going to enjoy it but oh was that a sick joke. I got sick the week before a normal curable Strep Throat case nothing crazy I got antibiotics for it and headed home to my mom for an early week and a half vacation. 

Being 21 with no care in the world I didn’t keep up with the news or what was going on in the world. I came home and kept hearing about a funny joke that was going around on Instagram it was called the Corona Virus and people were “Preparing” for the virus with a case of my favorite beer. I played along and brought a case of beer home and joked no virus was going to get me. But this virus wasn’t a joke. 

This virus killed so many people. It tore apart my family, my friends, myself. Within the next couple of days, it all changed my spring break week was all canceled all beaches, bars, hangs outs, restaurants, shops it all closed. 

All my friends were laid off great grandma Ni she lost her job. 

And just like that It all closed Disney closed their doors first during the busiest time for them they closed. The economy which was finally so good and thriving took the ultimate crash life as we knew it was done and gone. You only had a job if you worked in the medical field, for the government, or fast food which I was fortunate enough to have. I went from working 15-20 hours a week to 45-50 hours a week we lost half of our staff they were either too scared to come back to work or saw no point being the main reason for them being in Tallahassee was only for school which had turn all online. 

We were put on mandatory lockdowns between 11-5am we were only allowed out of the house for essential reasons. I was trying to support myself and I also had to help great grandma Ni with her bills I was so tired I had no time to breath if I wasn’t at work I was working on school work, packing up my entire apartment by myself or helping consult m friends and family members all terrified to walk outside.

 I had limited contact with Grandpa T he was on deployment and he was on the other side of the world our times never really matched up unless he would get up at 3am and I would stay up late to talk to him. He was happy and experiencing the world he was making history too. He had pulled into Vietnam a place we had went to war with and recently been welcomed back with and he was the second American ship to dock in Vietnam sense the war he was swore to be on his best behavior and pay the people of Vietnam with the ultimate respect. The country was beautiful he went on tour went snorkeling and ate the cuisine. He was aware of the corona virus, but the people of Vietnam had not reported any cases and they were excited to see the American people and get their money. 

    During grandpa's adventure and emergency call is placed and all 5,000 sailors were ordered to immediately return to the ship. Cases of the corona virus had been reported the sailors were forced to sleep on the concrete docks and sleep sitting up in the night before being able to board back onto the ship once on the ship they were health screened and if anyone had any symptoms the were quarantined that didn’t help any. A week after pulling out of Vietnam the ship was quickly overcome with sickness. People were testing positive left and right and even Grandpa T was positive for it. He said it was horrible he couldn’t taste, smell, breath he couldn’t stop coughing and had horrible night sweats and wished death over the pain he was in. The ship pulled into Guam 3 weeks after pulling into Vietnam after having confirmed over 200 cases aboard. The captain of the ship was so concerned for his sailors that he was trying and trying to get medical help and to properly quarantine the sailors after being denied and told to “suck it up” that his plea for help was leaked and it wasn’t until then that once the world caught end of the conditions and hardship they were all facing that they started moving off the ship and were put into self-isolations. This came 5 weeks after pulling out of Vietnam at this point over half the ship has been infect and positive for the virus. There were hundreds off sailor on pull out cots on gym floors stuck there for weeks some posted in base housing other isolated in hotel rooms some infested with cockroaches and no AC. It was tough the captain was “relieved of his position” and was all over the news for his actions. Although everyone knew he saved those sailors lives and was a true hero risking his own job for the safety of his men. One of the sailors even died after being found unresponsive. The virus turned everything around Grampa’s 5-month deployment turned into 10 months. His boat was the first of many to get infected. Life as I knew it was gone the world was headed into a different direction and I was scared and uncertain of if it was a good or bad direction. I was supporting myself and my mom and my boyfriend from a far I was scared and didn’t know what to do next or how to prepare for a deadly virus.

It was a scary time, but we all made it through it. Things began to slowly open and people slowly began to come around and be social again. It was a scary time of uncertainty. Times were tough after that people who were barely making ends meets fell further behind some lost their homes, others lost their lives to the virus it was a dark world for a while. 2020 will forever be a memory of darkness and the textbooks don’t do it justice the world was a mess no one knew what to do the end of the world felt like it was coming any day. Lilly looked up to me and hugged me she knew it was hard to talk about she said, “You were right Kobe really was the beginning.”


Who moved my mashed potatoes?

My normal morning routine was to arrive on campus around 7am and go straight to my classroom from my car, loaded down with bananas, granola bars and water bottles for my students. I would download and get my lecture set up, put out all the food (take a picture for Instagram) and make sure there are no problems before any students arrive.    

After that I would upstairs to my office and eat breakfast and talk to colleagues until 5 minutes before class. 

Some mornings I would have a banana for breakfast. Some mornings I’d have triscuits and a piece of round cheese, but on the best mornings I’d have something hot like oatmeal or leftovers from dinner.

On the last Thursday of normal time, the last Thursday of “the before,” I brought my breakfast down the hall to my colleague’s office.  We chat about students and attendance and grades and she asks me what I’m eating.

Instant mashed potatoes, fat free, 4 Weight Watchers points. 

She shook her head (as most sensible people would) at the notion of mashed potatoes for breakfast, but I have to be understood.

“If this is truly the end times, I’m eating mashed potatoes!!”

We laughed and she shooed me out of her office.

That weekend I ran a fever and stayed in bed with aches and exhaustion that lasted the entire next week.   While I was curled in a ball on the sofa decisions were made at very high levels about all college classes meeting online after Spring Break.  

First we were only going to meet online for two weeks and then return to normal. 

As the reality set in about the level of isolation needed to slow the spread COVID-19, all events were cancelled and faculty/staff/students would be working remotely. 

So here I am, in the new normal, having coffee for breakfast and retooling my lectures so I can keep classes rolling. 

I miss my students, I miss their faces, their questions, their excitement and chatter.   I miss what we had, I miss where I thought I was taking them and how I planned to get there.

I don’t want to let them down, but just going on like “alright, we were in WW2 and on the topic of the home front and the last thing we covered was window stars….” and acting like nothing has changed seems crazy. 

I need to revisit and revise my lectures as they suddenly seem strange to me now, like they were written as a roadmap for people travelling to a different ending. 

While I work on that, here is your assigned reading – it’s about cheese and change.

Hurricane History Movies Etc #1: Sergeant York

This 1941 movie captures a piece of pre WW1 rural America,  and -- because it was made in 1940/1 - is steeped in the tensions in the US on the edge of joining WW2. 

Complete History of the United States (1941) Part 2: Lead the present with friendly hand toward the future.

I read the last 5 pages and you should, too.  The author believes the US will and should relinquish Pacific concerns in exchange for hegemony in the Americas.

 The last sentences  -- page 564 - of the book are as follows:

It takes almost mysticism to see that out of this bleeding chaos a dancing star will be born.  Americans are strengthened in this mysticism by returning to the words of one of their major prophets, Walt Whitman:

O days of the future I believe in you -I isolate myself for your sake, 
O America, because you build for mankind I build for you,
O well-beloved stone-cutter,  I lead them who plan with decision and science,
Lead the present with friendly hand toward the future.
I like it.

A Complete History of the United States (1941) : Stupendous World Power

I have in my possession a book  written by Clement Wood in 1936 and republished in 1941 -- before Pearl Harbor --- which purports to tell the complete history of the United States.

This is awesome.

 I can't wait to see how it starts and how it ends, because every history book is a narrative that tells a story about the narrator and their audience.

Here we go.

(note: I broke a long paragraph into prettier pose) 

History is the recorded pilgrimage of the soul of man, as expressed by his words and deeds.  Its material is limitless. 

When dealing with such a stupendous world power as the United States of America, the history can draw from every word and every deed of every and and woman and child who every lived upon or even passed through any portion of this wide land.

 From these, history selects on the most outstanding and significant achievements, as worthy of memory forever. 

The trifles are passed over, to give more room for the inspired courage in the face of danger and privation displayed by Washington in the glacial winter at Valley Forge, as well for the black ingratitude of soul that led Benedict Arnold to write his name down as a traitor, for all succeeding ages to turn from with averted head.

The history of the United states became on July 2, 1776,  

 I would rename this section: "Survival of the Fittest and most Stupendous Stories," but really I have better things to do. I have to find out how The Complete History of the United States ends.


M: The most valuable thing that a person can give is compassion to others

(AMH 2020 student) 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. (Maya Angelou) 

So many people in this world want to be recognized for changing the world, but little do they know they could change the world of an Individual. Community service and offering a helping hand is not about being recognized for your good doings, but it is about knowing what it feels like to be the reason for someone’s smile that may be going through a hard time. Like Maya Angelou so brilliantly states, what you did might not always be remembered, but how you make someone feel is the sole purpose for helping someone in need.

            For my service project, I mailed a box to Afghanistan because it was something that I had never had the opportunity to do before and something that people often forget about when they think of charitable contributions. When I think about participating in service projects, I often think about providing for the homeless or needy individuals who are down on their luck; or helping to build houses for those who lost their homes or need shelter. Sending care packages to the men and women fighting for our country often slips my mind. The people overseas are certainly people that we should keep in mind year-round, but especially over the holidays.

 Many of them are not able to come home during this time and it is important to let them know that there are people thinking about them. There are no words to express the gratitude that I have for what these individuals do every single day and the least I can do is send a care package to thank them for their service and for fighting for our freedom as Americans. I would like to participate in other projects, in the future, that help the people that are fighting for our country.

Most years I mainly just take part in outreach programs such as Manna Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, and Habitat for Humanity. Manna Food Bank and Meals on Wheels are both nonprofit organizations that provide food for people in need. Habitat for Humanity is an organization that builds homes for people and there is a Habitat for Humanity Restore which sells furniture, appliances, home accessories etc. at a discounted price. Last year I worked in the Habitat Restore and just seeing the smiles from mothers and fathers that would come and go, knowing that they could afford something for their kids in the store, made every minute that I spent there worthwhile. Customers could not believe that they could afford so many different items in the store and they always left with a smile on their face. Participating in these organizations has been a very fulfilling privilege, but I thought that it would be a good opportunity to part take in something different and mail a box to Afghanistan for my service project in American History.

One of the main core values that I hold close to heart is compassion. Sometimes it is hard for people to get away from their busy lives in order to lend a hand to those who need it, but I think it adds an important aspect to life to be able to give something. There are many things that people can give; money, furniture, clothing…but the most valuable thing that a person can give is compassion to others. 
Most people would be surprised how much they could turn someone’s day around just by showing them that you care enough to lend them a small portion of your time. It is more important than ever to spread love and positive vibes with all of the turmoil happening in the world and I think the best thing that we can do is just show one another love. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the good in the world, but when disasters happen somehow we always manage to pull each other out of the hard times and that is exactly what we need right now.      
My current major is declared in business but I am not sure that that is what I want to do. I really just want to help people in any way that I can. Whenever I am going through a hard time, to help myself get through it, I always think about how much worse that my situation could be. I am healthy, have a roof over my head, I am getting an education and, most importantly, I am alive. Then I think about all of the people in this world that are not healthy, have no shelter, and couldn’t ever dream of getting an education. There are so many people that need help. I know that I cannot change the world, but if I could even change one person’s world that would mean everything to me. I think that I am leaning towards a major in Social Work, maybe even overseas. I know this is a very mentally challenging career, but I also know that it would be extremely fulfilling. Each day I would know that I could be helping someone and potentially changing their life for the better.
Like Maya Angelou asserted: it’s not always about what you say or what you do, it’s about how you make someone feel. That feeling is the same feeling that I get when I know that I made a difference in someone’s day. Mailing a box to Afghanistan and picturing how happy that person will be when he opens all of his packages is what it’s all about. I know that the soldier will not be home for the holidays and it was important to me to send my love and let him know that there are people sending prayers and thinking about him. It is not difficult to take 2 minutes out of your day to do an act of kindness for someone, and in the end, that’s what is going to make all the difference. 

Duck and Cover and Always Kiss Your Brother*

(Originally published in 2012)

Zoe slips happily into my car minutes after the bell rings on Friday.

She seems in a good mood, so I exhale a little bit. She turns off the radio (she always does this to me), tells me she's hungry (again, the usual) and then says, "Ask me about my day. Ask me."

I'm trying to merge with three lanes of parents also escaping school parking lot madness; a girl holding a balloon walks in front of me just as I was about to quickly pull out. Yikes.

This afterschool dash of kids and cars is craziness and trying to navigate my way in is taking up a solid part of my brain making me unable to really wholeheartedly listen to my daughter, but I'm concentrating too hard to explain myself.

I miss my cue, then, to ask about her day, but do find my timing to pull out.

She repeats herself. "Ask me about my day."

I do.

She launches into it.

I won't even try to capture her exact words but it went like this.

At school they had a Code Red Drill, meaning there was an armed intruder.

The teacher locked the classroom door, turned off the lights and told the kids to get under their desks.

Two taller boys hid in corners; I think Zoe ended up under her teacher's desk.

Then they heard a bang and jiggle at the door like someone was trying to break in.

A girl in the class screamed and cried.

Zoe finished her story and admitted she'd been freaked out and maybe sobbed a little. Her teacher was a hero and overall they learned what to do.

I sit there dumbstruck.

 Zoe thinks I'm concentrating on traffic but I'm not.

I'm processing this horrific scenario of my daughter scared crying worrying about being shot by a faceless angry intruder instead of acing her test.

I don't know what to say. I don't. I wish I'd been warned, I wish I could have prepared her, but I let that go.

I tell her all about Burt the Turtle, and how children in the 1950s were terrorized by impending violence that never arrived.

After we pick up Zack from his school and he is settled into the backseat, Zoe launches on him.

Ask me what happened at school, ask me. 

He blinks his eyes, he looks sweaty and happy and he seems to remember something and starts digging in his backpack.

" Zack! Ask me about my DAY!" she commands and then he does so she repeats herself and then tells him the entire story she told me.
She finishes her story with how the teacher hugged her and everything was OK and then "Zack! Why are you crying?!"

I hear a sniff and another sniff from the backseat. Zoe turns all the way around to hold his hand. "What's wrong?"

"WAHHHHH. I didn't kiss you goodbye this morning!" he wails.

Zoe laughs.

"Aw that's nice. Write about that mom," she commands and then Zack stops crying and sniffs and says "Yes Mom, write about this so everyone else remembers."

Where is Israel? "Depends on who you ask"

I asked my World Civ students to tell me where they think Israel is.

Here are all their answers, sorted alphabetically:

  • Borders the Dead Sea. 
  • Next to/on top of Palestine, North of Egypt.
  • Depends on who you ask.
  • Europe.
  • In Africa on the top right corner by Egypt.
  • In the Middle East by Iran and Palestine.
  • In the Middle East somewhere
  • In the Middle East surrounded by countries that hate them.
  • In the Middle East, next to Pakistan.
  • In the Northern Middleast
  • In/part of Palestine
  • Israel is a Middle East country.
  • Israel is a Middle Eastern country.
  • Israel is close to Jerusalem
  • Israel is in Jerusalem.
  • Israel is in Asia, where the desert is.
  • Israel is in Rome
  • Israel is in the Middle east, by China.
  • Israel is in the Middle East.
  • Israel is located in North America
  • Israel is near Iraq and Iran.
  • Israel is next to another country. Surrounded.
  • It is in Persia in the Egyptian area.
  • It is in the Middle East along the strip. It is the Holy Land.
  • Middle East is where Israel is.
  • Middle East.
  • Next to Islam in the Middle East area.
  • Northeast of Egypt, west of Syria
  • Off the border of Gaza. Next to Gaza.
  • Smack on top of Palistine.
  • Somewhere between Europe and the Middle East. Home of Jesus.
  • Somewhere by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, on top of Pakistan.
  • Took Palestine land in the Middle East.
  • Who knows?