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Archive for the ‘The Daily Post’ Category

What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhino?

Give up?

Yeah me, too. El-if-I-no.

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This is my heart. She pisses me off in more ways than one, but after a long day of feeling under appreciated, her curled up on my lap like this,  makes the world a better place.

I have had heart-breaks with my pets, and losing them is like a death in the family, but they are the “family” that are there just when I need them. Flaca, my cat, doesn’t need to say anything. A gentle purr on my lap while I brace myself for another day is all I need.  ♡

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Today’s Daily Prompt asked me to come up with five songs to describe my week.

It is now Sunday afternoon, and all I can think is what happened to the weekend. It went by too fast and I am in NO hurry, what-so-ever, to return to work tomorrow morning.

I have been working with pre-school children for the past 5 months, and either it isn’t really for me or it this particular school isn’t meant for me. It might be a little of both, and it is driving me crazy. We have two children in particular, in our classroom, that create utter chaos for the rest of the children. All of the teachers are at wits end with their fighting and manipulating ways, and are frankly out of tricks to restore harmony in the classroom. Here’s what comes to mind this week:

1. Offspring Come Out and Play (Keep ’em Separated)

I know that this sounds like quite the song for a group of 3-5 year olds, but honestly when a 3-year old starts to name off artillery jargon, and throw toys are a lead teacher like they are “grenades” I find this song totally appropriate. I’m mildly annoyed on the surface, by children who do this, but I know that it is deeper than that because they run through my mind when I try to sleep at night. I worry about their overall growth and development, and I am concerned about what kind of people they will become in a a few years time. My experience has been primarily with teenagers, and I can see what kind of adolescents they will become if we don’t do something about this now.

2. Alicia Keys Pray For Forgiveness

I can have a tendency to let my situation get me down, and I’ve been finding myself really unhappy these past few months. I take each rejection and unreturned phone call from potential employers to heart. I feel stuck, broke, untapped, and I start thinking about how much different my life should be, could be, and how maybe there’s no way to turn this ship around. So let me sing it, “I’m so broken hearted/No where left to run/No where left to go/So I hope.” I can’t let every little rejection let me down. I just keep hoping that there will be good news tomorrow, and be thankful for today.

3. Beatles Here Comes the Sun

We had one lovely day of sunshine this week and it was not long after a crumby Chicago snowstorm. Everything was starting to melt — a sure sign that Spring is on it’s way and it feels so wonderful. I long for some sun. A warm spring day partnered with this song could possibly bring me to tears…of happiness. 🙂

4. Alicia Keys Superwoman

I know that I’ve already put an Alicia song on here, and you guys already know how much I LOVE her, but stick with me. Friday was International Women’s Day, and I’m lucky to have some pretty great ladies in my life. My job also has a lot of ladies working in the field, and we all do so much. But it’s not just them. Most of the women I know (and I think a lot of women do) give 100% or more in everything they do. This is a shout out to all the women everywhere, who, even “still when [they’re] a mess, [they] till put on a vest, with an “S” on [their] chest…”

5. Bob Marley Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

Things could be a lot worse off, and I’m certainly not as bad as worse could get. As long as I have right here, right now, and maybe a chance at tomorrow, then everything’s gonna be alright.

 

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This week’s poll on the Daily Post was about which we preferred as readers:

1.) Your Kindles, Tablets, or iPads: “ebooks — you can get new books in a flash and bring multiple reads with you everywhere you go.”

OR

2.) Old fashioned books. “Paperback — nothing beats opening up a brand new book or rummaging through a bookstore.”

I have more to mull over before I post for the week, but for now, here’s a guy I really like who doesn’t publish for companies that deal in the electronic book industry. He’s got some larger ideas in general, andI think there’re some gems in here to consider. 🙂 My friends, I give you Mr. Sherman Alexie. Enjoy!

**UPDATE 2/10/13**

So, I promised I would offer my OWN thoughts on this debate. To be fair, I own a Kindle Fire. When I first bough it, I found it replacing my computer for more recreational purposes (i.e. Apps — Facebook, Words With Friends, Pinterest, etc.) I did not use it for reading. I downloaded some free classics thinking that I would find more reasons to read more and delve into the classics because now I didn’t have an excuse. Not so much. In fact, I still prefer to hold a physical book, and wouldn’t have caved except that the Hunger Games trilogy was on a “forever” waiting list at the library, and for some reason, I haven’t figured out how to “rent” via a digital eReader. So I bought all three books, and was done reading all three books in three days. Devoured!

I also bought them because they were “on sale”. Digital words, on sale…that still blows my mind. Who does my money support when I purchase digital words? I suppose I pay into a large corporate conglomerate that dictates where I can purchase said titles from. But what if my Kindle didn’t work with the corporate conglomerate that hosts my “to read” titles? It becomes a bit too selective and elitist for my taste. In a way I am forced (I know, there are hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from, but still…) to choose from a list. But I pay a corporation. What artist am I supporting by purchasing an eBook? These large companies can essentially set the price and list for what they believe is my taste…or are they essentially setting that, too?

Sherman Alexis said something poignant in his “rant” above that resonated with me. More or less, “these companies are going to favor a certain kind of book.” There isn’t going to be a publisher, but a company asking for a certain type of book. I believe that this is true because some many people have access to what is trending. If Hunger Games is so popular, will we see a spike in literature like this trilogy? What inventive will writers have to create new genres and foster their creativity or their own ideas?

I think about Apps like Spotify, for instance. When I am creating a playlist, I tend to favor music that I liked when I was growing up, and less about what’s “new”, because there is an element of original sound that I am looking for and have a hard time having someone, or something (i.e. Spotify, the App) tell me what I might like. It takes away the ingenuity and musicianship of an artist’s work, I think.

But, again, I have  Kindle. I bought it because I felt that I might be able to find digital copies cheaper than the bookstore prices for my classes, or that I might even be able to download them for free from the library (still working on that). When I’m in a fix and want to keep up with pop culture, I appreciate the immediacy of being able to download a book and finish it in a day. 🙂

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I am sad that I missed last week’s photo challenge about love. I LOVE love! ❤ So, as I was reading through some posts on The Daily Post, I started to get some ideas to try and combine last week’s and this week’s unique. I have pictures of me and my boo, for sure, but what about random signs of love?

I thought about public love notes. Prior to my layoff, I worked with a group of teenage girls on a media project. The neighborhood that many lived in and/or attended school where we held the program is not always the safest and has regular occurrences of violence. In many metropolitan areas this is true, but Chicago has become something of an anomaly and a problem that no one seems to know how to solve.

Our program’s focus was also to challenge media. Oftentimes during our conversations, the young women would be irritated that their communities were vilified and pigeon-holed as gang infested communities and didn’t attempt to take an angle that gave them a voice. So as a way to respond to this dominant narrative, my colleague and I decided to host a community walk to gather footage of what the neighborhood was really like  — or at least acknowledge what other assets it had to offer. My colleague had also been inspired by random, public notes (sometimes of love), and thought we might leave notes as well for the community — a positive mark. Nothing much ever came from it. No news team tried to track down the writers or follow up on our aspirations for the community — but our ladies came up with their own notes to post all the same. I wonder, what are your reactions when you become witness to random messages (notes) like these?

Since the project, I’ve become more acutely aware of the random notes left around the city I stomp in. Here are a few of my favorites:

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If all I could ask for was a window,

then please make it a big window

framing an enormous sky

with vignettes of meadows and forrest

in the reflections of lakes.

Let it take me from this place of solitude —

an empty compartment of cold and mundane brick.

© CassBee 2/3/13

…perhaps there is more to come. And I’m almost overwhelmed by the idea of a genie granting me any and all desires to create a prefect space. I don’t know what that looks like, but a big, BIG window must exist.

In fact, the room itself doesn’t need to be big. I really just want to window that I can sit in. Maybe something like this. This is quite the window. Throw in a pillow, some fine tip/felt pens of various colors, a journal with a lock on it, a door that locks, and  maybe a cozy blanket to wrap around me, I will be happier than a bee in summertime. (P.S. how many of you have seen GEICO commercials with the “happier than a….” phrase?” They are hilarious. Here’s happier than a witch in a broom factory.)

I think what I would really like the genie to give me is money to write and maybe an extra hour in the day!

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Per today’s daily prompt, I wondered about how much music plays a role in my life. I’m surely glad that it wasn’t describe my life as a musical, because truth be known, I hate musicals.

This is odd, because music — given the right song — can make me burst into singing in full gusto.

That said, it has to mean something to me. (I’m sure I’m not the only one.) This doesn’t mean that I only like stuff that is nostalgic. I could be introduced to a new song and it will be love at first listen. The lyrics are most important to me, in addition to the rhythm, and dynamic use of innovative creativity. But even that won’t mean anything if, for instance, a folk song is just not what I’m feeling that day.

Most days, as of late, I’ve been in a blues kind of funk. My new job barely pays the bills, and I’m not happy, but in the five months since being laid off, I haven’t had but three interviews — only one of which worked out (and for which I wish I could change careers again.) I want so badly to be out of this funk; I want some change. So, I can appreciate some blues, but it won’t last. I need something uplifting. Something that combines the both of these would probably be ideal — a song that gets to the root of how I feel, but plays up where I want to be when I’m done listening to the music.

I know what I like, but since I’m in the mood for some change, I’d like to challenge my friends here on WordPress to help me create a playlist. I am open to lots of music. Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear what’s out there, open up my horizons a little, and hear what gets to the root of how you all are feeling. Please leave your comments below.

Peace

 

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Today we decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm winter day by going downtown. AFTER the Packers game of course. So, while it was still relatively early, it was starting to get dark by the time we left. I hadn’t really thought about the photo challenge, but of course, it’s not hard to be inspired in downtown Chicago. Millennium Park has a large sculpture called Cloud Gate, but what most people call “The Bean” since it is shaped liked a really large bean. It is a stunning piece, and strategically located on Michigan Avenue where it reflects the skyline that looks down upon it. Below Cloud Gate, there is an ice skating rink that just so happened to pull out the zamboni to clean the ice when we arrived. The clean, smooth ice picked and distorted all kinds of light.  At Macy’s, on State St., windows reflected the shopping experience around us in the famous Marshall Field windows. Finally, we walked over the Chicago River to the Magnificent Mile (just to pretend we were rich — and which ended VERY early), I was able to pick up the reflections of buildings on the river. Enjoy!

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I tried really hard to remember a time when I was really afraid. A time that made my stomach queasy and jumpy…I was either too paralyzed to remember it, or it just didn’t happen…either way, I didn’t conjure up any moments of being scared shitless for my own life. A memory that did come to mind, though, was a time when a neighbor I had never met became the victim of domestic violence.

I don’t know why I paid attention  or why the scream sounded different (I’m accustomed to the tenants of the building next door being particularly rowdy.) Perhaps it was the shrill “NO! MOMMY!!!” that made me throw open my back door and scream that I was calling the police. Pictures began to form in my head as I ran outside to call (getting the address and any other information I could find). What was happening to the people inside?

The cops arrived almost instantly…and to this day I still call 911 if I think there is a remote chance that someone is or will be hurt (it gets your call answered A LOT more quickly). My neighbor ran out of her apartment crying. I told her that I was sorry for any trouble it might cause, but that I called the cops because I heard children screaming and though someone was seriously being hurt. When the cops arrived, my neighbor pushed the them away; she didn’t press any charges. She didn’t look physically hurt, and maybe she didn’t know how to explain her being threatened, or maybe she didnt’ think she had a way to prove it. I also think I brought an element into the situation that she didn’t know how to handle yet by calling the police. So the cops left, but she agreed to call her father.

I had her sit on my stoop, and asked her if she needed anything. She called her father to pick her up, and while she was on the phone, this guy came outside. He still looked pissed, but to me, not ready to throw any punches. He didn’t address me, though. He continued to yell at her in public, in front of me, and threatened to take the phone away from her (which was actually mine!). He said he was going to leave her and her kids. That she didn’t know what she had, blah blah blah. It was surreal…like watching a movie. This couldn’t really be happening. Then he turned to me and says, “I’m sorry, she’s just being…(insert whatever).” And I was dumbfounded, like you’re sorry, really? This is beyond embarrassing for you and extremely humiliating for her. She was crying, and couldn’t bring any words, so the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, “look, well you better get you shit cleared up because it’s already gotten out of your doors and windows.” <– What was that? I really don’t know. I was scared of challenging him any more than that, and my response seemed kind of wimpy, but I didn’t want to take his side, either — so it became more or less a shrugged off “whatever dude”. I guess it worked just enough. Maybe he cooled off enough to realize that I was the one who called the cops, and now had JUST seen him act like an asshole in front of me. So he walked away.

That day, my sister-in-law was also visiting. She stayed in my apartment through the whole situation, and when I came back, she said that she was scared to go outside, but that she waited at the window with one of our frying pans. LOL! I appreciate the thought of valor, because I hadn’t really thought of protecting myself or thought I might be in any danger. I just knew that I had to go for my neighbor. It just wasn’t a question. So  the good news is my neighbor made a decision to leave (at least for then) and I told her that I would get her information about places to go. What I do know is this, the mom and her kids went with her dad, I gave her information on places to stay if she needed to transition, and that the couple — neither the mom or the boyfriend or the kids are living in the apartment building next door. I can’t say whether or not she went back, but I can hope that she didn’t based on what I do know.

If you suspect domestic violence among friends or family members (or maybe a neighbor who might need some exit strategies) The Hotline has some tips for you and a whole site to share with your loved ones if it’s safe for them to get to a computer. I feel a lot more confident as a person knowing how to try and help someone in these kinds of situations, and I hope that I did for this woman’s sake. I think being educated is one way to go about it, but the other is to not be scared. I’m glad I didn’t question whether or not to call that day.

Thanks for reading.

— C.

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Backpost, RE: Take your favorite lyric…

^ This is quite possibly my favorite song off on Alicia Keys’ As I Am album. The title line especially resonates with me because every time I get into a funk, I have to find my way out of it. That journey is always a little hard because I’ve spent a lot of time putting myself down and I have to debunk the funk in order to see the light again. My time to shine is always lingering. And I want to sparkle in everything I do, but in times where I feel especially “un-shiny” I know that it is a good time for me to shine.

Tuesday’s prompt couldn’t have been a better day to pick a topic for a lyric, because for me, it had to be one like Miss Alicia’s here. As I woke up early for my first job assignment in months, and I was trying not to absorb the nervousness I was feeling. I was trying something brand new, in a new place, and with people I had never met before. I would be judged, I would have to think to my feet, and I knew I would feel uncomfortable.  I realized, though, that I was in no position (also know as a rock and a hard place) to back out of this assignment.

I had my clothes prepped, my lunch was made, I had my train fare, figured out how to get to my location, and even left early. I was as ready as I could be, and as I was on the train, I had to think to myself, what can they ask me to do that I can’t at least try. That’s the best I can give them. If I don’t try then I fail myself as well.

That said, I’m hoping that as I continue to contribute to this blog, I will find ways to try harder, to do better, and hope that at the end of the day I’ve given the best of me. There will be days that I fail, but if I don’t get back up again, how can I shine? I hope that also answers November 12th’s prompt. I hope that my blog will show others who might be struggling with something as concrete as unemployment, or more complex as dealing with personal insecurity, will see that they are not the only ones — and that if I’m trying to become a better me, I might inspire someone to find the light in herself and shine on her own path in this world.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cassandra

 

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Cassandra Buchholz

Professional Educator and Youth Specialist

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