Wednesday, September 29, 2004

  • About a bill to allow you to direct your tax money away from the military: Peace Tax Fund.
  • A newspaper we got at the museum opening last week: Native Voice
  • The Washington Post's Travel Toolbox pulls together travel sites the paper's travel writers recommend.

    At R Middle School
    The vice-principal who does morning announcements told the students that they are not infants and do not need pacifiers: if pacifiers come to school, they go "straight in the trash." At lunch, one teacher linked the behavior to drug addiction and a sucking "reflex." I wasn't clear if she meant the kids want to emulate addicts or that she thinks they are addicts.
  • Tuesday, September 28, 2004

    Banned Books Week
    Carrie, now a high school librarian, called yesterday and left a message about how excited she was to have just installed a Banned Books Week display. Way to go!

    I Used the Internet. So What?
    I've been volunteering at a local library, trying to get the Experience two potential employers suggested I lack. Twice today, as someone else was about to send patrons away empty-handed, I slipped over and said, I think we can find something online. Yahoo, for instance, has a nice directory of printable tax forms; and what's wrong with helping a 60-something man use Map Quest, if we're not busy?

    Also cool:
    Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam

    Capital City weather: rain

    Monday, September 27, 2004

    In Contrast
    . . . to the last camp training, this past weekend I found myself asking Why the hell am I here again? I didn't volunteer the first couple of times they asked for trainers because I just don't like that other camp. It's inconvenient for Girl Scout camping, and we haven't modified it in the 8 or so years we have owned it. For me, it is full of unhappy, stress-filled memories. I don't see faces smiling in the sun; I don't hear the chat of teens maturing over the summer weeks; it's not especially pretty. In short, when I quit That Job, I swore I would never set foot in it again. In the end, of course, those few extra-nice students in the basic outdoor training class made it a fine experience.

    Why Ask Why(from grade 8 civics, at RMS)
  • Why is girl 1 holding her tiny purse under her arm for the whole block?
  • Why is girl 2 holding her (pink, to match her sneakers) backpack on her lap for the whole block?
  • Why is that boy allowed to wear Confederate flag-decorated shirts to school?(This is the second time I have seen him thus attired.)
  • Why does girl 3 have a pacifier in her mouth for the second day in a row?

    In halls at RMS: "[Student] to Room 40 [teacher] to write 50 times 'I will not throw objects at others.' [signed]"

    Capital City weather: warm and rainy
  • Friday, September 24, 2004


    So, how embarrassed was I to do all that moaning, then get a call from the sub office: "Um, you're supposed to be at R"? Very. But they were cool to me, and the day passed with Civics, "Academic Wheel," and helping in the library.

    Bonus question: Which document served as a model for the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the U.S.?*

    Academic wheel is study hall with some goals, usually practice with reading comprehension. Today's kids had some reading about setting up one's own business and business in general. They had a set of questions on setting up their own business. Businesses they came up with included BritClear Water, a line of clothing called Brittney Factor, and a restaurant.

    I sniffled a lot, but it was a good day.

    *A: Virginia Declaration of Rights
    Ugh. I have a cold. I have been pretending I don't, but I do. I taught yesterday under the influence of generic cold medicine. I had good kids at R Middle School and a planning period free to go discover an acquaintance from RPL newly positioned in the library. She and her assistant (co-librarian?) are cool, energetic, young -- I think they will do really well with the students. I did some shelving for them and listened to their ideas of how they'd like to shift the collection. I admired "their" c1974 framed illustrations of scenes from Tolkien. The pictures break up the shelving: big sections are shelf-less to sort of shadow-box them. One such shadow box facilitated, in the previous librarian's mind, the breaking up of the 900s with biographies. That's the sort of thing they want to change.

    Back home, I found that a broken answering machine was preventing me from getting calls. I called in repeatedly to subfinder, turned down special ed at an elementary school, and find myself out of work for the day. Unless someone calls in sick late. Staying home is probably best for my cold, but bad for my budget.

    CB writes, "There were a number of Native Americans [or "Indians", or whatever term works best for you] who fought for the CSA. I believe the conventional wisdom is that they believed they had a better chance of retaining their identity/sovereignty/etc. by allying themselves with the States'-rights-obsessed Confederacy than by staying neutral or aiding the US. The MoC has at least one regimental flag, the "Cherokee Rifles" I believe."

    Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    First Americans Festival
    T and M invited me to go to DC yesterday for the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. M is a fan of its director, Richard West, who spoke of the newest museum -- number 18 -- of the Smithsonian Institution as "a spiritual marker for the ages." His Excellency Alejandro Toledo, President of Peru and a Quechua spoke (in English) of the museum as a "permanent, live interpretation of history." "Permanent" really resonated with me: in the fact of the NMAI as part of the most recognizable museum system in the US; in the physical placement on the Mall, near the Capitol; and in the obligation, the commitment of not giving up on it (and, by extension, on American Indians).

    The Honorable Senators Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Co.) and Daniel Inouye (Hi.), who presented the legislation authorizing the museum some 15 years ago, also attended and spoke of their pride that this day had finally arrived. (Greetings from President Bush were read by some functionary, and I did not realize that's what they were until he got to the end, saying something like "Laura and I send our congratulations.)

    We had arrived in time to see just a little of the procession of tribes, and then friends and affiliated groups, enter the Mall, so after the speech-making was our time to mingle, people-watch, see various exhibits and displays on the Mall, and circle the building (tickets to go in were sold out -- though I gather from the Post the museum extended hours until late at night).

    Things I saw: young women in buckskin dresses with cellphones on their waists; a man in a bright ribbon shirt with a black messenger bag slung across his back; a Peruvian woman in a colorful dress carrying a basket of fruit on her head; a group of men, whose tribe I never identified, with stunning headdresses with four-foot long feathers. On our way to the car, we paused at one of the circular grandstands to watch some dancers, then listen to a Tlingit story-teller. In front of us was the round, brown Hirshhorn Museum; rising over it a half moon. The sky turned pinky-golden (it had been a clear, hot day) as the man spread his arms wide and told of Raven and Hawk and spirit. Click on the webcast button on the NMAI homepage above to see events for yourself.

    Themes for the day (and week of events, I bet): honor, legacy, vitality, diversity.

    The museum building itself, from the outside, strikes me as a Postmodern conversation between kivas, pueblos, and Frank Lloyd Wright. It does not suggest the way people (Piscataway, Kittamaqund's tribe) lived in that area; it looks like the US West.

    Philip Kennicott, in Sunday's Post (link)called it "a monument to Postmodernism" for reasons more complicated than mine. He also wrote that the museum's completion is "evidence that American Indians have emerged as perhaps the only minority group in this country to win a skirmish in the culture wars." Also in the special section on the museum in the paper was a lot I did not realize about the Smithsonian's losing battles to present Postmodern or revisionist or even complicated ideas and questions about history and culture. And all this time I thought the SI was an intellectual leader.

    Using "US" that way of course makes me pause. Well, it's a convenient way of saying something that I think you will understand -- a shorthand. I could not imagine, on the other hand, what the apparently white man was thinking when he put on one of those Patriotism Revival t-shirts yesterday, with a small US flag and the caption "est. 1776." Okay, sure, name coined and first attempt at national government established then, but you understand this event celebrates thousands of years of cultures that came before that on this continent, right?

    Also out of place were a foursome in "Confederate" gear who strolled through the aisle while we listened to the opening. If I were bolder, I would have approached them with either faux innocence -- "Oh, did Indians fight in the American Civil War?" -- or aggression -- "Get your sorry, bigoted asses out of here!" I did neither, and frankly, it looked like most of the Western tribes and Peruvians near us did not even give them a second look. After all, a lot of women from the west wore calico dresses that had a 19th century feel. Minus the hoops, the "Confederate" gal was essentially the same.

    Speaking of racism, Style's cover story is on Plecker, the early 20th century bureacrat who contributed in our lifetimes to the impression that there aren't Virginia Indians. Chief Adams is quoted, and the matter of Indian schools comes up, briefly. (I researched that subject a year or so ago; see the end of this post.)

    T is one of those friends who meets people she knows wherever she goes -- in Richmond. Not that it's a contest ; ), but I was happy to see two
    Upper Mattaponi friends.

    Monday, September 20, 2004

    Today's troublmakers at the school that I swore I would never go to again: Dale, Greg, Reggie, and Charice. It was a half day assignment, so I took it. Better still, the teacher had third block as planning, so it was only two hours of hell. I went to hang out in the library and met a former classmate! He looks forward to finishing library school this year. While I waited for him to have a minute to chat, I perused The Journal of Biddy Owens, a fictional journal about the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948 (a pennant-winning season, as I recall). Dave, who has been director of Rickwood Field since CDF died, seems to have contributed quite a bit. That makes me feel good.

    The reading assignment for fourth block included difficult words like glyph, artifact, amiable, cynical, and deity. It was about a girl who goes with her archaelogist parents to a Maya ruin.

    Thanks to The Sibling for helping me this weekend. We schleped a broken A/C unit to the alley for bulk trash pick up this week. Needless to say, it's been pinched, already.

    Capital City weather: cool and clear with bright blue skies
    Found: mushroom growing on the brick wall by the basement door
    On The Simpsons: Lisa and Marge go to Baby Seal Bay to clean up an oil spill, and Bart discovers the Maison Derriere.

    Sunday, September 19, 2004

    An interesting item in today's Post on the improved quality of life for most American Indians. While the generalizations about how people live may well apply to Virginia Indians, the causes for change must be different as Virginia Indians are not recognized by the federal government and don't receive all of the same benefits as federally recognized tribes. (Six Virginia tribes are seeking federal recognition.)

    In other news, after a fun antiquing shopping trip with S (not that we found dining room chairs for her), I went over for dinner, and was charmed that Baby W is learning to say my name.

    Thursday, September 16, 2004

    Happy Letter

    "Congratulations! You have passed the comprehensive examination. . . . Although commencement will not be held until Saturday, May 14, 2005. . . ."
    The RBraves have to play for the Governor's Cup in Buffalo according to the Press Release. We're too busy shoring up our roads, bailing our basements, and planning for this week's rain to have a ball game or two. The play-offs stand at one game a piece.

    Capital City weather: rain.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    From 7th grade class on Monday: lax, establish, magnate, capital, unruly

    From a conversation with a friend: twee

    Sunday, September 12, 2004

    For the Found in (and on) Books Collection: FW reports, "I came across a post-it note stuck to the front of a book [on the shelf]. It reads:

    was lost
    now is found"

    Friday, September 10, 2004

    Thanks to "Silver Fox" for drawing the city's current bulk trash pick up schedule to my attention. It's a good thing to know if, say, you lost many things stored in your basement. One of the cool things at her house unharmed by late unpleasantness: a bulletin board in the guest bathroom for posting odd newspaper clippings (the wedding for which the bride wore fairy wings, e.g.) and similar treasures.

    Speaking of bathrooms, did I mention that the bathroom mirror fell down? It didn't break; it didn't break the sink or faucet. I turns out that it is an old dresser mirror (about 12 pounds) painted silver. Pleasants Hardware had a really cool anchor. You slide the metal bar into the hole with a long plastic stem, then adjust it so it lays flat against the back of the wall. I know it will be fine -- and yet, I do tend to fret. Also shopping at Pleasants this morning: VCU facilities staff; an old couple; the usual crowd of middle-aged men, some contractors, some do-it-yourselfers.

    Thursday, September 09, 2004

    What I Threw Away, Part 2

    Since the folks plan to sell the "ancestral" home, I went by yesterday to wrap my doll house for removal to a friend's house, for her daughter. It occurred to me that one tiny item conspicuously absent was a glass jar that held the tiny paper twists of peppermint that Mom and I found floating about the house.

    When I got back to my house, I had the brainstorm that the jar might be in the faux printers' box I have had since c. 1978, and that I actually hung up in homes of my own. I pulled out the box where I knew I had stashed it -- an immediately wished I hadn't. Bugs had gotten in, munched what they found tasty, and either molted or died, leaving finger nail clipping-sized shells everywhere. Ick. (The last items, below, were other keepsakes in that storage box) I threw away:

    • A mini teddy bear that lived in my doll house
    • Three of those tiny clip-on stuffed animals popular in the late 70s
    • A seal made by Alaskan Natives with real fur
    • The nylon dress worn my a much older china-headed doll
    • An apple head doll I made in Girl Scouts, c. 1976
    • A Richmond News Leader article (3/16/78) announcing the departure of Star Wars from the Ridge and Chesterfield Mall "cinema complexes." The 38 week run at the Ridge was the second-longest stay of a movie in Capital City, with The Sound of Music having chalked up 87 weeks (!) at Willow Lawn.
    • A Richmond News Leader (10/30/82) article headlined "M*A*S*H is bowing out with class"; "'...we've exhausted the story lines" writer-producer-director Burt Metcalfe said -- "jumped the shark" having yet to be coined.
    • A Richmond News Leader photo (3/25/78) of the truck moving Hoppy Hobson's house back from the edge of Robious Rd. so they could build those two colonial revival houses, just after the road to Robious Elementary and Middle Schools (now known as "Polo Parkway")
    • One pair of blue Chris Craft sneakers (c. 1983, but worn last time I went sailing with SS!)

    So today I am going to Target, KMart, etc., in search of plastic storage boxes. I hope that they aren't sold out across the region, like dehumidifiers and generators.

    On the way to Midlothian yesterday, I drove across the Huguenot Bridge, but couldn't see why the north-bound lane has been closed. On Cary Street Rd., that overhang just after the country club had suffered another landslide.

    Frances brought ("probable") tornadoes and more flooding to central Virginia. My basement seems to have taken in a tiny stream of water, trickling to the drain. I think there are more damp spots on the upstairs ceilings. The roof man is due back today.

    Monday, September 06, 2004

    More Reading

    In the Washington Post: as part of the music distributors price-fixing settlement, libraries got tons of random CDs dumped on them. The librians quoted (including BH's "buddy" at Maryland's music library) don't quite spell out the fact that deciding what to keep, cataloging them, and bar coding etc., takes time -- and time = money.

    Via boingboing: one of the (I can only assume there's more than one!) companies that sells disguised cell phone towers here -- including the one at Mount Vernon.

    Thursday, September 02, 2004


    I just got around to the issue of Style dated 8/18 and this very good cover story on the striking down of Virginia's anti-miscegenation law. Despite segregated schools and churches, two young people of different races grew up in rural Virginia socializing together; they got married in D.C. in 1958; the sheriff came after them, weeks later. The piece was excerpted from Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers... by Phyl Newbeck (complete bibliographical information here).