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Pretty Girls and Jolly Ranchers

March 5, 2016

It’s 9pm on a Saturday night.  I should be winding down for the night, which I sort of am.  But, I was cleaning up the kitchen when I was suddenly possessed with the urge to work on a blog post right now.  That probably has more to do with wanting to avoid kitchen work more than desiring to write.

I got everything done on my list today, which was a minor miracle.  Well, everything except making a salad for tomorrow’s lunch.  We have some applesauce – that will do.  Most of the day was spent in the kitchen.  I had to make tomorrow’s lunch as well as do a lot of cooking for the SNAG tomorrow night after church.  That’s the monthly fellowship for the teens and college agers.  Every year about this time, my friend, Danielle and I host it.  We must have a reputation.  David said last week some of the guys in the youth group were excitedly mentioning that it was the Heywood/Hodges night to host.  This is our third year of doing a “bar.”  We’ve done a hamburger bar, a baked potato bar, and now this year, a taco bar.  I’m not sure there’s anything else to turn into bar for next year.  We may have tapped ourselves out after three years.

My new class starts next week.  It’s what they call a “BVU Seminar” – required of all BVU students within their first 12 credit hours at the university.  It’s completely on-line, which means I won’t be meeting for class in front of my computer like I did with my last class.  I think the purpose of it is two-fold – 1) teaching students how to use the on-line library and 2) indoctrination.  I’m serious.  I went through the syllabus tonight and outlined my work schedule for the next 8 weeks.  We’re covering and researching topics like global warming, overpopulation of the world, alternative energy sources…all the topics that have liberals rubbing their hands together with glee and forming PACs to obtain more government money to fight non-existent problems.  At the end of the class I have to turn in a 12-15 page paper on one of these topics as well as do a 5 minute oral presentation via webcam with my computer.  I’m starting to get the idea that getting my degree is going to be a continuous tightrope experience of giving the teachers what they want to hear from me while not betraying my beliefs.

I got back two more of grades from my Lit. Theory class.  I scored a 100% on my quiz on Kate Chopin’s, “The Awakening.”  I wasn’t worried about that.  I read the book and the questions were not difficult if you did that.  Earlier this week I turned in my power point presentation on, “Redeeming Love,” which is the same book I did my final paper on.  Will helped me put it together because I had never done a power point presentation before.  It turned out nicely, although I didn’t use as many pictures as some of my classmates did on theirs.  We turned them in Monday and then we had to look at our classmates’ and comment on at least two of them.  It was really interesting to me to see what they had done.  Quite a few people did theirs on different Edgar Allen Poe poems.  One did a young adult fantasy novel I’d never heard of.  One did a Shakespeare play.  Another did a current pop song.  And I did a 500 page Christian novel!  Some were really excellent and others…well, I had to scratch my head wondering if maybe these were fresh-out-of-high school students or did they not read the syllabus requirements or where is their grasp of spelling and grammar?  I mean, when you do a power point if you misspell something you get a red squiggly line under it.  Wouldn’t you correct that before posting it?  I don’t know.  But I was excited yesterday to see mine was graded. 

I got 25 points out of a possible 25.  This is what my professor said,

Great PowerPoint, Sarah. I have not read this book before, but, sadly, the topic of any kind of sex slavery is so prevalent today. You did a good job of presenting theory application to the story. AND, you picked a work that you connected with -- which is so vital to gain any understanding or pleasure from this assignment! I'm so pleased by your progress this term. Think about how much you have gained in these short 8 weeks. Congratulations!

Yay!  I am reminded of the email I sent this professor about 9 weeks ago when I was so frustrated by trying to learn the on-line computer system and completely overwhelmed by the syllabus for the class.  I nearly had myself talked out of trying.  We were supposed to introduce ourselves to our professor and I ended up writing her a letter telling her I didn’t think I could do this.  She wrote me back the nicest note encouraging me to try anyway and told me she was already impressed with my writing just from reading my email.  I thanked her for that this week when I submitted my final paper and she wrote back and said this is why she went into teaching.
This week went by fast.  I guess they all do, really!  Lizzie came home one day with an art project from class in which the kids were supposed to make themselves.  But Lizzie’s character was pink with black curly hair.  I asked her if her teacher had offered to let her use brown paper for her project and she said no.  I asked Lizzie if it bothered her – because, if it didn’t, then I’m not going to worry about it.  Maybe she would prefer to just use the pink rather than be the one kid in class making her face out of brown paper.  But she said it made her feel “funny” because, “That’s not what I look like, Mom.”  Sigh…

However, just that day in my adoption/hair/skin group someone had brought this very subject up.  Now, I’m not totally on-board with absolutely everything presented within the group.  Originally, the group was just a place to learn how to do black hair and care for their skin.  But now it’s kind of morphed into “all things black” group.  I actually sent Ellie to preschool this week in monkey pajamas for pajama day on Wednesday, which is a HUGE no-no in the group.  No monkeys, no raccoons, no crocodiles, and no camo.  I still don’t understand why crocodiles are bad yet, but I really don’t care, either.  Her monkey pj’s are really cute and really warm.  I’m going to save my ire for where it counts.

Like pink faces to represent my black child.  So, anyway someone had just mentioned that  they sell “ethnic” construction paper packs meant to be used to represent differing skin colors.  So, I ordered a pack today off Amazon and I’m going to give it to Lizzie’s teacher.  Nicely.  I don’t want to make her feel bad or make her think I feel she was being micro-aggressive or even ethnocentric.  I’m sure it just didn’t occur to her like it never really occurred to me until recently.  I hate to even say anything to her, but Lizzie’s feelings are the main ones at stake here.  And she deserves representation.

I took Ellie to Barnes and Noble this week to pick out her first prize for her bribery chart.  I told her she could have whatever book she wanted so she spent a long,long time wandering around in the picture  books.  Finally, she asked, “Where are the black girl books?”  That was a very good question.  So, I began to look for her and while I did find a couple with black characters, I didn’t find a single one that had a black girl as the main character.  Hmmm…I know some of that  has to do with percentages.  There are more white people in the world than any other race (except for maybe Asians – but they’re a minority in the U.S., still)  so there’s going to be more white representation than anything else in literature.  But you’d think there would be something for children of different races.  I can find black girl books on-line for the girls and I have ordered quite a few for them.  But a lot of them have to do with embracing their hair – which is great, but really, there IS more to life than hair, even for a black female!  In the end, Ellie went with a Frozen books (every character is white, but  since it was Frozen, she didn’t care!).  And today I ordered a book off Amazon for the girls about a clumsy little black girl who wants to be a ballerina more than anything.  Nothing about hair.

I took Ellie shopping with me yesterday for groceries and the like.  Of course, she always gets lots of attention when we are out and about.  In exasperation, Ellie exclaimed to me at one point, “Why does everyone keep saying I’m so beautiful?!”  Before I could form a response, she said, “I know, I know…a beautiful heart is more important than a beautiful face…”  Apparently, she does listen to me from time to time!

I was keeping a pretty sharp eye on her, though.  I’ve been reading too many stories of attempted kidnappings of young children in stores lately – people seem to think it’s tied up in the sex slave industry.  The kidnappers take advantage of distracted moms and even go so far to lift children out of their carts and run with them.  But the common thread seems to be that they engage the child or mother in conversation first.  When I am out with Ellie that happens almost every single place we go (not attempted kidnappings, but people commenting to her and to me about her appearance)  I don’t know how prevalent these stories are that I read.  Maybe they’re written with the intent to scare people in an “urban legend” type manner.  But I do know that the sex trade is very active and that young, pretty children are very much in demand.  I’m just extra alert these days because of it.

Today Ben exclaimed loudly, “I just can’t believe how Lizzie and Ellie keep breaking Commandment Number Nine!”  Huh, what?  Of course, I have no idea which commandment that is.  He quickly informed me it was the, “Thou shalt not lie” one.  Yeah, I know.  We’re working on it.

I sent Sam down to vacuum his bedroom one day this week because he changed the hamster litter in there without the benefit of a towel.  He dragged the vacuum all the way down the stairs again and then all the way back up and complained, ” This vacuum won’t work!”  Sarcastically, David asked, “Well, did you plug it in?”  Sam got  a sheepish look on his face and admitted that he had forgotten to do that part…there are some moments when, as a mom, I don’t say a word because they would just be superfluous…

But other times I cackle like an old wet hen.  Such was the case the other night when Sam came out of the bathroom and asked anxiously, “Do eyebrows grow back?”  Now, you just know nothing good can follow that kind of question!  I asked him why he needed to know such information and he explained that he had gotten a jolly rancher candy stuck to his eyebrow and when he removed it, a good chunk of his eyebrow had come with it!  That one is still making me laugh, days later!  And no, I never did ask him just how it was he managed to get his candy that far away from his mouth…

Well, that’s all I know, I think.  Time to shower and bring this day to a close.  Another busy, busy week awaits.


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