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So, I was at a loss today. I mean, lots of things start with “A” and working with pre-schoolers, this should be too easy, right? Ugh, well today, all of our kids were on an extended Easter candy sugar rush, plus we had a full classroom (Twenty 3-5 y/o) with kids running all over the place. So I kind of put my personal fun on the back burner today and went into “crisis” mode often by breaking up fights, finding pink crayons that MUST be had in order to make the picture “perfect”, stopping children from stealing each other’s food, and helping others work through their time-out sessions. Needless-to-say, I just didn’t get around to the photo nor felt much inspiration to brainstorm something more clever.

Thankfully I can home to dinner already made. Nothing with “A” though. 😦  Then later,  we took a walk to get some emergency staple groceries before the weekend, so as I was walking, I was running words through my head about what would be a cool picture of something with “A”…and given last minute, I got a shot of the alley near our grocery store.

April 3

There isn’t anything fancy about this alley or any alley I suppose, but I guess what’s interesting is that taking a picture of an alley is something that I would normally do, let alone look all the way down an alley. There are some I just won’t look down because I’m afraid of what I’ll see, and other times I just don’t have time to look. They’re also nothing fancy too look at in general. But here is one, in all of it’s…glory?  Here’s to a better idea tomorrow. 🙂

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Today’s challenge was to exhibit something blue.  While today represents autism on a national scale, April also represents domestic violence awareness — especially where children are involved.  These blue ribbons are posted outside a Headstart program where I work, to spread awareness.

And, so it would seem I already forgot to post for April 1st…not really, I work with children, and had lots of pictures of “play” in action. However, I decided last minute that I didn’t want to use any of their pictures – whether I blurred them out or didn’t get their face in the shot or not. Just didn’t want to do it.

Instead, I have a picture of my nephews and I. They are still young enough to think playing with cameras while hanging out with auntie is cool. We were playing with funny faces (an all time favorite of ours). I think we look incredibly silly, and as an adult I hate seeing myself in photos, but kids seem to think it’s the coolest thing — and the sillier the better!

April 1 2013 Second

A Photo A Day

Hey everyone! Again, I’ve been on another hiatus. I wish I had a good excuse, but even though I’m tired and lazy at the end of most days I’ve been finding myself without a lot to say. I’m trying new ways to stay engaged with blogging and remembering to keep up with other important goals as well. I’m starting a new blog and I’ll give a shout out when that one is ready. I don’t think it will replace this one, and instead  I think it will have a more particular focus to it. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, as a way of making sure I post something everyday, I’ve decided to go with a photo challenge. This challenge (pictured below) has been surfacing around Facebook for some time, and because I do love to take pictures, this might just be what keeps me posting. I hope some of you will try it, too!

April Photo A Day

April Photo A Day

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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.  ♡

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.

 

I’m always excited about Brewers baseball…I get the fever, and it won’t go away until I get to see or hear a game from Spring Training (it breaks up the awful wintery feel of Chicago. Ugh.) But this drives me crazy. I wish they’d leave Braun alone. Braun’s “story” really doesn’t need to be out there, and there are other players’ story that should. Braun is a good player. After missing 50 games last year (due to last year’s escapade), he came back and put up the same stats as the previous year in half the season. Can’t we accept that he’s a good player, and not try to dust up some hearsay? At this point, that what it is, and I agree with Roenicke.

The Brewer Nation

The media spent some time with Ron Roenicke at Maryvale Baseball Park today on the first full day of workouts of Spring Training. Among his comments, he addressed the Yahoo Sports report that exposed Ryan Braun’s name as being written among the records of Tony Bosch’s defunct Biogenesis clinic in Miami.

Here is the original full article where this quote is taken from, by Brewers.com beat writer Adam McCalvy: Roenicke: Braun story “shouldn’t be out there”

Says Roenicke:
“It’s a pet peeve, I guess, of mine: Don’t bring up anybody’s name and put it in there if you’re questioning it,” Roenicke said. “If there’s something going on and there’s a

roenicketshirt

definite [transgression], fine, that’s your job to put it out there. But don’t bring up names that you’re not sure of and then retract it later, because it never is retracted from the fans or the people that are out…

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Travel Theme: Gaudy

I saw the recent travel theme and the word “gaudy” came up. I decided to share, but not because I have an adversity to the gaudy, but a secret admiration for it. Particularly with what I am going to share with you. I think it takes a lot of cojones to be “gaudy”.

In Chicago, there are two major events that I believe, specifically, call for the gaudiest costumes of them all. The annual Pride parade celebrates diversity, particularly in the Boystown neighborhood, and for which has become the unofficial gay and lesbian yearly hurrah of Chicago. Pride is also about being proud of who you are or who your friends are. People all over the city, gay, straight, etc. all come to the parade to support themselves or friends or both. Why people dress up so obnoxiously, I’m not entirely sure. I think it is fun, radical,  and like Bonnie Raitt says, “Let’s give ’em something to talk about.” People are going to talk regardless — especially regarding homosexuality. Why not make it worth everyone’s while, right?

The second event is the annual Halloween Parade (hosted in the same neighborhood). It is the same elaborate, “gaudy” garb but 30-40 degree cooler than the July Pride Parade. I have on several occasions heard people start planning for the next year before the event is even over. If you can come up with a creative get-up, not only are you in the running for best costume, but people from all over the world (this being Chicago and all) want to take pictures of you and with you. It is a rush if you can cross that threshold.

To give you an idea of what these parades look like, here are some of my favorite snapshots:

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. 🙂

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:

Cassandra Buchholz

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