Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait!

House of Blues Chicago
Mike Ditka's Chicago

It has been a long winter thus far. My sweetie and I had about hit the end of our rope. It started in December with way too much snow and cold. Many trips across hill and stream to fulfill family traditions, only to end up with the much dreaded flu. (I did not have it then, mine staggered itself by two weeks only to take what could have been a simple two weeks of illness in our home to an entire month of malaise!) More snow, 24 inches of it! More cold, sub-zero temperatures. More travels (all good mind you) only to leave us the day after Valentine's day with no ambition or drive to do much about it!

By Friday of this past week SRC and ME were just about to pack it in. How much more could we take of poor living conditions, excessively horrible environmental realities (unless you were born and raised in Michigan City, don't attemtpt to live there, especially through a winter!)

Well, Friday morning, I had it. SRC and ME were looking like we were the results of a "Shining" part 2, gone bad! I took the bulls by the horn and said, "I am going to Priceline, I am requesting a room on the Magnificent Mile putting in what I can afford, $55 and if it accepts, then that is where I am going with or without SRC!" It accepted it, it took my price! The Courtyard Marriott, on Ontario and St. Claire! Fantastic! Oh course, I had to tell SRC and hope that he would be willing to go with me (and of course cover the tab) When I contacted him, he was so excited, funny though, he was trying to get us into a beautiful Gold Coast B&B (next time, I will let his fingers do all the walking!) It was my Valentine's gift! I seriously thougth he wasn't interested in being romantic, but he took the Oscar!

We had a great time, staying within walking distance of all of our favorite places, shopping at Water Tower, strolling the magnificent mile. Visiting a quaint book seller (Afterwords) and actually being able to talk about Bulgokov and having the seller interested in Russian literature. Picking up Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" and realizing that the current state of the USA is lacking what T. Paine warned about, revived my intellectual side. Listening to music at the House of Blues while being treated like royalty by a fantastic server named Annie, (she actually carded me! She also remembered me from past visits, how special) Enjoying amazing steak and specialty pork chops one meal at Ditka's and being lured back there for lunch for their to die for pot roast nachos for lunch! Shopping, eating, music, it is all within a Very affordable reach. Oh and did I mention how amazing everyone was? We were treated like our being there mattered.

As for SRC and ME? We are refreshed and looking forward to going back to Chicago soon! Good things come to those who wait. Believe me, it has all been worth the wait!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now!

Thanks to my new lime green reading glasses, Lenscrafter and Vogue. Okay, so it set me back almost $300! I finally broke down and did it. I went for my eye exam and decided that the little $1 readers from the Dollar Tree were no longer going to carry the reading load I have before me. I have just begun the daunting task of undoing the cart before the horse, and am rearranging the steed and putting it in front of the cart, which is what I should have done many a year ago. You see, I am enrolled in the Reading Endorsement program at UWStout, that is the University of Wisconsin Stout, a distant learning program.

The Cart before the horse scenario is simply this; I have been teaching literacy, that is reading and writing for many years now. I did not set out to, actually I am highly qualified in History, but there is a shortage of teachers, or a glut in the history, actually social studies teacher market. So in 2001 I was assigned the task of teaching literacy through the America's Choice program funded and developed by the NCEE, National Council on Economic Education. Why would they care about literacy? Well, they are concerned as there is an even greater shortage of people who can manifest a document worth producing to an executive team. So, if you want literate executives, you better educate the next generation, right?

After a four years of training and the attaining of a MAE in curriculum and instruction, I went on to work in the area of literacy integration for a non-traditional education program at a museum in Chicago. Now, I am again teaching literacy remediation and without an "endorsement." The lovely and limiting No Child Left Behind, has left many a veteran, trained educator behind. So now I am back in school paying yet another University a large sum of money to obtain an endorsement in an area that I have presented, and authored in and taught! Go figure, only in America!

Oh, the green glasses...I have many books to read and unfortunately, I have discovered that my eyesight is failing at a much greater rate than our reading scores! Eeeewww, not good, hey, maybe my glasses will help me read, and my "endorsement" will raise a few scores.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Dawn of a New President

This picture was taken on the 20th of January at 7:10 in the morning, by SRC. The glow of the sunrise signals a new day, the morning after, the cold is present,but yet on the horizon is a warm glow and a promise of a power far greater than any of us. Beyond the wires, the brick, the cement, the mortar, off in the distant is what graces the roof tops of every community in the United States,... a church steeple. Good Morning America, and God Bless!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

If Stories Come to You, ...

“If stories come to you, care for them and learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” Barry Lopez, in Crow and Weasel
Our stories are not supposed to be horded and kept in the recesses of our brains, but rather, they should be thrown to the four corners of the world. Just like love, we cannot worry ourselves with the constant concern that it is returned. We know that when we give we receive if not immediately, then ultimately.
Sharing our stories are gentle caresses to the listener’s ears. They are colorful masterpieces to the reader’s eyes. We may truly never fully, completely understand the impact that our experiences have on others. I will share this story, as that is what I do:
I had a student some years back. Q.O.D., is what I use every day to encourage my students to think, share, write, ponder. Most of my stories have some degree of moral, ethical lesson embedded within it. Daily I share my own experiences. Most of the time, I choose a quote that represents something that has happened to me over the 24 hours prior to my coming into class. You see, I never choose the quote until the beginning of my school day. It is in the spontaneity of the moment that guarantees the experience to be real, and “in the moment.” Typically, my students realize this within the first 2 weeks of teaching them.
One student in particular was a bit of an outcast. She gained from my sharing of personal experiences that she can be somebody. She shared in an essay that now she believes that she can go on to college, and she can achieve because if Ms. LaLuna can with all that has happened to her, than she can too.
I never would have imagined as I looked out over my class of students that 1) I was even being heard, and 2) that it would have been her to have “gotten it.”
So my dear friends, if you have taken the time to read this little Q.O.D, then I pray you will see the value in sharing your story. It is the one thing that you have that no one else has, and it is only when you decide to give it away can you give it, and keep it all at the same time. It is in giving away your story that it becomes real.

Friday, January 16, 2009


"The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost than by the stories it loves and believes in." - H. Goddard

I cannot help but connect this to the profound "change" that is about to happen, or, has already happened. B.H. Obama has been elected. That is the "change" his breaking through the glass ceiling. I think it would be unfair to say that he broke through it alone. My assumption is that he would be the first to say that he was merely the man of the hour and it was actually all of the stories that preceded him that enabled the "change" to occur.
M.L. King stated that "we are not makers of history, but rather we are made by history"
Barack Obama, was made by history, the history of his father and mother. A mother willing to break through her own glass ceiling.
Yes, there were many battles lost. But the stories, the dreams, the hopes, passed on and shared, over and over again, triggered a love in the many that held onto the dream.
Stories told over and over again of a promised land. The Lord told Moses, write it down, this is what I want you to tell generations to come.
I have seen the promise land, and it is rich with milk and honey, and yes, glass ceilings are meant to be broken, so the story goes...

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Becoming a writer is no easy task. It requires the willingness to realize that you might not be able to write at all. So with that said, or written as it were, I am attempting to become a writer. Yes, me, I am moving away from blogdom, not to be confused with boredom, although they are both of the "doms" and in keeping with that stream of jargdom, I welcome you to the kingdom of ME, by way of The Box!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sex, Politics and a Gender War!

Writer’s note…I was originally going to link the ABC video display of the “Crush on Obama” video, but decided that I did not want to do anything to promote it. I refuse. I have intentionally not linked the sexy politics link because I do not want to use this statement to make it easy for clicking there either.

First of all, I want to extend my apologies to Barack Obama. Clearly the “crush on Obama” video is a degrading piece of garbage that further identifies America as not being worthy to call itself a civilized society. We already have enough “sex” associated with politics, but to use it to promote and to link the idea that only R& B, bootie shaking starlet, wanna be’s is the way to get elected is over the top. I do not know the totality of the whole video, nor do I know too much about the liberal movement behind, but I can assure you, I do not want to read it, I do not want to know too much about the approach to use sex as a lure. Being informed is not sexy, people, it is smart. What is pleasing to another person aesthetically is not always, “sexy”, actually for some the constant reference to sex is offensive!

I am ready to go away from the concept that “sex” sell. It also kills, and distorts and destroys when it is not used appropriately. I am embarrassed to consider myself as a Democrat, an open minded thinker when it comes to education, healthcare, economics, the government’s role, etc. At this point I am praying that if Hillary Clinton does not get in as the Presidential candidate that a republican wins strictly because I do not know if we can handle a strong liberal front right now. (Liberal thought is not always immoral pandering!)

Furthermore, this escapade, using a video to minimize, to attract, to defile, (what was the purpose, was it suppose to be funny, is it funny to see an overweight older gentleman hanging on a robust young woman?) the political process has made me more determined to see a woman in the White house. It is time to stop using T&A to sell.

I found it absolutely hilarious that the actually promotes a book on Feminism, is that a joke or what? At what point did feminism align itself with reducing women to nothing more that T&A? Or is the newest form of feminism equated to the “sex in the city” thong wearing version?

Isn’t it plausible for Obama to be elected because of experience, intellect, demeanor, conviction, character, do we have to align him so deeply with pop-culture, as in “Obamania?” Isn’t it enough that he is worldly, a Harvard Graduate? Do we need to display to the rest of the world Is that really and truly the only version of America that there is?

Can anyone else see this charade, found in using Hooter-style models to promote politics in the United States is demeaning, and potentially damaging to what we should be doing to encourage, promote and make equal women in this country?

I say one way to bring a positive focus on women is to elect a woman as presidential candidate. Every father that has a daughter should be thinking about the future of their daughter. Every mother that has a daughter should be promoting with a firm conviction and end to the use of women as mere sex objects?