Archive for the ‘political science’ Category

Threads of Resistance Entry Finished

I spent a lot of time just coming up with an idea I felt would work, and then some of the time spent rehabbing my knee by walking the halls helped it come more into focus. Then once I started, ideas kept coming – what was a month’s project stretched out into two months, with a lot of time writing what would become the messages on the piece. Women’s Work s Never Done – the topic lef me in so many directions, starting with Susan B. Anthony and the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848 as a result of the women’s congress. The complete document can be found in the right-hand pocket of the jeans. Using a Sharpie, I started to painstakingly write in the GRIEVANCES woman had against men at that time…and as I was writing, I realized not a lot had changed. The best part of this piece was traveling back in time to read in full this document and realize how far we still have to march.

Here are the jeans about two-thirds complete with the writing – each letter gone over two-three times to ensure legibility.

I worried about fading and having to re-do the writing – but isn’t that what we women have had to do through the ages? Prove ourselves again and again? Rewrite or own accomplishments so they aren’t forgotten? If the piece fades – any part of it – that’s the story of us as women.

Next came a woman’s required piece of clothing – the apron. I made it reversible – the front is traditional quilt design and somewhat traditional fabrics, and in each of the squares are messages to women – either from my own family or from society. I put a ruffled border on, and written on it is the litany of what women were expected to do: cooking, cleaning, babysitting, housework, laundry, cooking, etc. sex, birthday parties, planning dinners, sex, cooking…..you get the idea.

Click on the next picture – for some reason it isn’t clear….

Then came the apron strings. Not completely happy with how they worked out…but I love the message (original copy is in the left pocket of the jeans: a manifesto by Joyce Stevens from International Women’s Day in 1975.

 

Now the reverse of the apron is more a modern design, with fabrics of the same hue but considerably brighter. On that is written positive messages I have given myself as a daughter of Women’s Liberation.

Next step was the background – actually background and backing – same fabric. I initially thought I would only quilt what would actually show before I began my writing on the front, but I realized why not continue on the back with more “hidden” women from history. So I ended up quilting the whole background. Then came the burying threads – which I don’t normally do, but since the back suddenly became important, I went and did it…..there were a lot…….

I spent a lot of time online looking for missing/unknown/hidden women and I found amazing stories – most I didn’t know – even as a history major. I started out writing every other line, from the middle to top and bottom so everything would remain even.

Then I filled in everything and started on the back.

  I am very pleased that it came together as I had envisioned – learned a lot (I usually do…), but very pleased.

Comments? I’m taking names to continue the back of the quilt with other “hidden” women – send  ’em along!

Lessons Learned…Goals Identified

Unexpected colors – from my coloring book experiments

A load of lessons this year – big, small, in-between – physical, emotional, business, art, political. It’s always interesting to me to reflect on what I’ve learned in times of turmoil.

  1. I will stand up against hate.
  2. Knee surgery is a pain, literally, but necessary. Physical therapy is necessary. I am blessed with a great doctor, fabulous physical therapist, and a hospital that helps with financial assistance.
  3. Losing weight over 60 (…over 40…) is tough, but thanks to The Gabriel Method I might just be able to do it this year. No chocolate in over two weeks, n0 hunger pangs, no snacking – all because of visualization.
  4. Vermont pushes too many pills – finally found an integrative health doctor, rather than getting a prescription for anything that ails me without even looking at symptoms.
  5. Survived major surgery with hubby on his aneurysm repair last winter. Great doctor, learned a huge amount – he’s good to go.
  6. Walking still is my best form of exercise. So glad I can do more walking, much more comfortably, with the new knee.
  7. I like myself a lot more. Been years in the making, learning to deal with what I can’t change in the past.
  8. Still madly in love with hubby of 40 years. We always find something new to talk about.
  9. My mother was a full-blown narcissist, and I lived in fear of her most of my life. I have forgiven her and have moved on. She appears every now and then in dreams, and I find I can tell her off when she shows up – something I couldn’t do in real life. I’m moving on.
  10. I need to plan for art business this year. We had a great year last year, and my goal for this year is to sell a lot more art and make some good money.
  11. Newsletter each month for the marbling, more teaching opportunities, retirement sale of older works.
  12. Continue taking online classes for the pure enjoyment/learning something new. Work on color sense.
  13. I wrote a teaching manual – all 35,000 words – essentially in five months. It’s a template for teacher manuals, as it works with standards and ways of integrating new curriculum ideas for teachers. Thinking about a mathematics manual for algebra.
  14. I WILL publish my political novel this year. I am planning a Kickstarter campaign – or something similar. I have to do it in the light of current politics, and I need to get back to book 2.
  15. Made a lot of art last year. I want to make even more art this year, including a couple of large pieces. I’m keeping track of the process of taking my Pele piece apart and modernizing it with my new skills in free motion quilting.
  16. Three years ago I realized I only had 200 more b;og posts to do to hit 1000. Then I seemed to take long breaks from blogging. I’m still trying to hit 1000 – 920 and counting…I should be able to get 80 posts done this year……(PS – 921…)
  17. Politically it’s been a very difficult year for me. As a history/political science major I see trends before they are trends. I’ve been worried the last two years. It is time this year to write, speak out, demonstrate, listen, reach out.
  18. Be kind and listen, regardless of your own opinion. All of us need kindness and understanding.
  19. I will be out in nature more, travel more, worry less about finances.
  20. I will stand up against hate.

Treason in the United States

Okay, folks, I’ve studied enough Constitutional law to understand when I hear treason, and  it’s coming loud and clear from citizens in this country who are in violent disagreement with the Supreme Court ruling on health care, which is just the latest in unpopular political decisions. It sounds like the childhood game of “it’s my football, so you have to play my way,” except now we’re talking guns and violence. So….I’m taking my own form of action, and I invite you to do the same. The Federal Bureau of Investigation handles treason investigations, and I’m hereby publicly writing to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, asking them to investigate, and I will continue to do so, regardless of your political affiliation. Civil disobedience is one thing; treason is in a whole ‘nuther sphere.

Here’s the situation:

Tea Party Leader Calls For Violent Overthrow Of Government Over Health Care Ruling (VIDEO)

June 30, 2012

By

Treason. It’s a word that conservatives don’t seem to understand. In their minds, treason is when the duly and legally elected government passes a law that they don’t agree with. In other words, if Democrats do it, it’s treason, but when conservatives do it, it’s patriotic. And, of course, after the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is constitutional, conservatives whined about the decision and some took the ultimate step of calling for violently taking over the government.

In what looks to be a repeat of history, some conservatives are calling for open civil war against the United States government for passing laws they don’t agree with. On Thursday, Mississippi Tea Party Leader Roy Nicholson took the Supreme Court’s health care ruling as a sign that it’s time for an armed rebellion against the government that we the people chose for ourselves. On the state Tea Party website , Nicholson referred to the government as a gang of criminals who must be violently subdued in the name of the Constitution.

“When a gang of criminals subvert legitimate government offices and seize all power to themselves without the real consent of the governed their every act and edict is of itself illegal and is outside the bounds of the Rule of Law. In such cases submission is treason. Treason against the Constitution and the valid legitimate government of the nation to which we have pledged our allegiance for years. To resist by all means that are right in the eyes of God is not rebellion or insurrection, it is patriotic resistance to invasion. …May all of us fall on our faces before the Heavenly Judge, repent of our sins, and humbly cry out to Him for mercy on our country. And, may godly courageous leaders rise up in His wisdom and power to lead us in displacing the criminal invaders from their seats and restore our constitutional republic.”

Here’s the video:

 

This is NOT freedom of speech.

Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution:

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. (I’m thinking that going public through YouTube constitutes having at least two witnesses.)

From May 22, 2012: (actual link here)

Here is my open letter to the FBI. Please feel free to copy and share this post.

I want to file a complaint on a person inciting acts of terrorism and violence. The following links describe the crime and incitement. This happened the week of June 25. Enough is enough. I have included a video showing Roy Nicholson of the MS Tea Party inciting violence and acts of terrorism, which are clearly against federal laws.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/06/30/tea-party-leader-calls-for-violent-overthrow-of-government-over-health-care-ruling-video/

This has to stop. Violence is not acceptable, regardless of your political affiliation. We have survived unpopular presidents, misguided wars, laws, and Supreme Court decisions in the past.

Here is a link to finding your local FBI office. I welcome reasoned and civil discussion. I will delete comments of hate and dissension.

And now….back to art, which does have the power to make change for all of us.

Thursday Thoughts – “Truth”

I’ve been bookmarking lots of articles lately, except not the ones having anything to do with the science of tutoring, which is what I should be looking for….but these have been articles that are causing me to think. A lot of these fall into the category of WTF….but I will say I am trying to be more circumspect in evaluating my information. My liberal bent won’t go away, but I do want to be more cognizant of “truth” and how it’s presented to us these days.

This first is from the Huff Post, and it is about obscenity – in a most unusual place. It seems there was a hearing in Washington on the House Committee on Natural Resources. The woman presenting is a coal field activist and concerned about the availability of clean water to families in the area. She had a photo to share of a naked child playing in filthy water, full of pollutants and poisons.

“…well water is the only source of water most coalfield residents have, people who live far from any municipal water supply. In most of these communities, city water just isn’t an option, and buying containers of drinking water is expensive. As a result, for so many people, this is the water they drink, the water they bathe in, the water they use to live. Human beings require a lot of water, and while you can distill and filter it, this is still the water you’re stuck with, the water that comes out of the ground. When that water gets poisoned, that’s the water you put in your body.” (From the Huff Post).

The picture shown was of a child (with the parents’ permission to show the photo) bathing in this polluted water. At which point the Capitol police took the woman aside to question her about child pornography.

Okay. This whole issue is not about pictures of naked children. It’s about a picture of the living conditions in an area severely polluted. At no point was this even debated. Now the liberal part of me is outraged. I immediately want to blame coal money  having a hold on what gets brought up for discussion in the House. And the liberal part of me should stay outraged that we have these kinds of living conditions for families in the 21st century in this country. That’s the outrage that should be heard, not changing the tenor of the committee hearing to idenitfying whether something is pornographic.

So what is the “truth” here? That’s where I am trying to wrap my head around some of the articles that we are seeing. Yes, the Capitol police released the woman, saying there were no grounds for pornography. So what happened to the debate in the committee? Who were the Senators? How much money have they (regardless of party) received from coal mining interests? What was the overarching purpose for this committee hearing? These are questions that should all be answered. We can’t determine “truth” without far more information.

This next article is from Trouthout, “Don’t Thank Me for My Service.” Wow, very different. A veteran talks about his guilt at serving in the military, and being thanked for the killing skills he learned. Here’s an excerpt:

“So, when you thank me for my service, it disturbs me … a lot. First off, it brings to mind my wasted youth and lost innocence, and the horrible and unnecessary deaths of good friends and comrades. Second, it reminds me of my responsibility and culpability for the pain and suffering I caused innocent people, again something I would rather forget, but cannot. Third, it reinforces my belief that you have absolutely no idea about the nature and reality of the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, because if you did, you would understand that thanks are inappropriate. Fourth, it reminds me that many of those who feel the need to offer thanks were apathetic about – or even supportive of – the war, while they refuse to participate themselves or did little or nothing to end it. And lastly, I have to admit that I doubt the sincerity of these expressions of supposed gratitude, as “Thank you for your service” is just something to say not because you care about what I did or sacrificed, but only to demonstrate your supposed good character, or patriotism and/or “support” for members of the military and veterans.”

Powerful stuff. Those of you who follow me know I fervently believe in peace, and I feel all avenues need to be explored – honestly, rightly, with whatever it takes to listen, before war  or “military action” is declared. Being one who didn’t want us in Iraq or Afghanistan, I worry about all the injured vets coming home, men and women alike, who face a lifetime of flashbacks and rehabilitation. Cutbacks in veteran services make me mad, because these people gave the full measure of their lives and will never be the same because of it. War is fought by young people, sent to war by older folks. Nothing has ever changed.

I find this an interesting “truth.” We are here today because of those who fought in past wars, especially our “Greatest Generation.” But they brought their demons home with them, just like today’s vets. Hitler and Tojo – not much choice for us there. But what about now? There’s nothing on the news to remind us of what’s happening to our men and women. No pictures. I don’t particularly want the living room war of Vietnam, but in the midst of all the crap out of Hollywood and the wealthy, we forget there is an ongoing war. I listened to a military mom in the doctor’s office saying she would vote Republican because Obama didn’t support the troops. How much truth is there in what she believes? One 10-second sound bite doesn’t give us the facts we need to determine why our troops are where they are, how they are being supported, and how they are being led.

What we are sorely lacking in this country now is ANY form of civil discourse, where we can have facts, partisan as they may be, and the chance to investigate and discuss all the issues. This whole issue of “whose truth” is keeping me awake at night. What has happened to the voices of reason and the journalists who do whatever it takes to get the news to us, as unbiased as possible? And what is happening to the teaching of the discipline of history, so that we have the tools to analyze the information we do get? Where are the voices of reason?

Top Ten Tuesday

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it. We were around lots of friends and had a wonderful time. It was so nice to know I didn’t have to face a 5:30 AM alarm on Monday! Been catching up – here’s a few cool things this week from the web.

From the Philbrook Museum of Art….LOVE. THIS.

Now I will admit, I am not a car enthusiast, but I can understand…when we gave up our Rav4 I gave it one last hug, and I still miss it. That said, on Cool Hunting comes some really wild cars. By far my favorite….

A new blog by Vivian Swift has a great water color tutorial on doing leaves – on my list for this coming year is a water color class.

From The Best Article Every Day comes this little bonus clip…..The article is also quite funny – Ten Things 90s Kids Will Have to Explain to Their Children.

From NASA comes a look at the new Mars rover, curtesy of The Best Article Every Day. Pretty amazing the steps it’ll take to land on Mars.


From Joan Wolfrom comes a look at a color challenge, with four really interesting quilts. Each is based on one specific color, and the techniques in them can’t help but spark creativity.

It’s always a joy to discover new math videos…thanks to Kathy Nida for this one…..Pythagorasaurus……

If you’re not following The Free Motion Quilting Project, you really should. I just bought two embooks on quilting designs, and I am SO looking forward to expanding my repertoire. Here’s a snap of Leah’s latest – OMG, amazing……

From Kate Harper’s blog was a link to Joan Beiriger’s blog on Advantages in Using Google Reverse Image Search. Who knew? I tried using it – pretty simple, and it should be interesting to see if any of our images are showing up on the web – beyond my blog and website.

From Artsy Shark comes an article on some creative marketing – love the use of the iPad!

And some political sites that might be worthwhile to explore. This article on Facebook privacy comes from The Blog of Rights. You may agree or not, but I’m a strong proponent of civil discourse. At least we can be aware of issues as they arise.

Enjoy your week!

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday….never know what you’re going to find! Plus I love reading about what people are doing. And blogs about history – but I’m staying away from current politics – makes me too angry and depressed, and I just don’t need that! So here’s just the cool stuff….

Speaking of politics (and this will be the last time, I promise), when I do look at headlines, I scan Al Jazeera in English. If you depended on just the US media, you wouldn’t know nearly 75% of what is actually going on around the world. Forget your previous conceptions of Al Jazeera – this is good all-round news.

From Cool Hunting – a really interesting take on working with crystal – including rings and weapons….

From Cool Hunting this week also comes where to play on Bora Bora. I REALLY want to go on vacation now!!

From the JPG Blog,  a new contest – photos are FABULOUS!!

Antelope Canyon, Abstract #1 by Linda Clifford

Also from Cool Hunting, a short video of an art show in Mexico:

Cool Hunting Capsule Video: Liquid Sculptures from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

From MAD Magazine, a look at the class of 2015 (hey, it’s the teacher in me…..).

Seven Steps that May Dramatically Boost Your Happiness from Dumb Little Man – some good ideas here. One step? Follow your bliss.

If you have not discovered fractals yet (and forget about all the math involved – just go for the beauty), you need to look at Fractal World. Here’s their fractal of the week:

Shopping more at Farmer’s Markets more? If you follow Summer Tomato, you will be able to tour farmers’ markets around the world. Here’s Shanghai….

Mix zentangles, ATC’s and color, and you get Enthusiastic Artist‘s  gorgeous work!

Have a great week – send me cool stuff you find online!

Thursday Thoughts

As I have written over the last month or so, the shootings in Tucson really affected me, especially the fact that we had almost headed over to the Congress on Your Corner but we had a doctor’s appointment instead and decided to do the next one. I wrote here about what it was like for that following week at school, helping kids process the shootings and the hate from the Westboro Baptist Church directed toward our school.

I studied history and political science in college, at the height of the Vietnam War. I was a drug-free hippie who believed in freedom of expression and the peace movement. I loved seeing trends and themes in history, and then when I taught Advanced Placement US History, I kept discovering things I hadn’t known about our country. I followed that up with reading Howard Zinn’s A History of the American People. That is a pretty amazing book. You can follow The Zinn Education Project on Facebook.

Throughout January, into February, and particularly March and April I sank into a real morass of despair, looking at everything going on in this country and the lack of civility in understanding. I “unfriended” some folks who’s attitudes I felt were very destructive. I would listen to the news and start yelling at the television, reminding the screen about all that came before. Needless to say, I accomplished very little….

I have since gotten myself on track with enjoying life through a couple of – what turned out to be major – changes. No more news. I read the headlines each morning from the local paper on line, and I read the headlines from Al Jazeera English, each time amazed at what is going on in the world that we have no idea about in this country.

Stay away from movies that will P*** me off, like Sicko. There is nothing I can do. I understand the situation, and I cope as I can, but there’s no point getting upset.

Stay positive. I am working with the Co-creating Our Reality site, and I am amazed at just how happy and relaxed I am becoming, Of course, retiring from teaching didn’t hurt…..

Create art. I am finally getting back into the creative spirit, and I think as I create more, not only will I feel better, but I will begin to get some of my frustrations out into art work.

Enjoy people. Given my background and being very shy, I tend to stay away from a lot of socializing. That is changing. I am meeting more people, going out with friends more, having people over, and the like. I’m enjoying sitting on the couch in the afternoon with hubby (35 years this Saturday), streaming something from Netflix that we can enjoy together, and not hve to worry about marking papers or doing lesson plans!

Ooooh yeah, I’m gonna love retirement!

50 Years Ago….

Fifty years ago today I became political. I didn’t know it at the time, but I remember in very clear detail that day. I was twelve and only out of the hospital from eye surgery for three weeks. I still had tape on my glasses to leave only pinholes to see from, and I could only watch television for 90 minutes each day. there was definitely no reading.

On January 20 I watched the inauguration of John Kennedy as the first president I could remember really understanding and seeing. It was cold that day. I sat with my grandmother, an immigrant from Lithuania when she was only 3. I remember Robert Frost reading a poem. Even then I loved Frost’s poetry.

And I listened to Kennedy’s speech. I mean really listened. I realized I understood everything he was saying. He wasn’t a “boring politician,” which was how most people my age categorized people in office. I was transfixed.

And then he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

Wow. Talk about impact. I was idealistic enough to think he was actually giving me a clarion call. But there was no Peace Corps because I couldn’t be vaccinated, so no overseas travel at the time. There was no military because my vision was so bad. There were no offices to hold, because women didn’t do that then. The only thing that seemed to be available for service was teaching. I stood when the flag was raised. I stood every time I heard the national anthem, even when no one else did. I loved everything about this country.

As a sophomore in high school, in biology class, I even wrote a scathing paper against Rachel Carson and Silent Spring. How could she say our government would do that? By the time I was a senior in high school, I was debating the role of “Red China”  and its admittance into the United Nations. Quite controversial at the time. William Lederer’s A Nation of Sheep was my bible.

Were I not in fear of family reaction, I probably would have become a true hippie. But I ran for office in college, ran the Student Court, and walked for Bobby Kennedy.

Life got in the way, but I think I have found a new way to advocate. Peace has got to be the answer.

January 20, 1960. A really good day.

Revisiting China – Part 1

One of my projects as a result of our recent move is to sort and organize slides and pictures: one because of the need for the extra space, two to eliminate anything that still has smoke from our fire 20-plus years ago, and three to find a way to enjoy all these memories. Now that I have a home for “recycling” slide mounts and boxes, I am ready for this project. Slides are sorted into a slide box we had been given years ago and never used; there’s one drawer of China slides and a second drawer of personal slides. I’m starting on the China slides.

How to organize? One of the most impressive memories from this trip in 1978 (before normalization of relations with the US) was the visits to the schools, so that’s where I am starting. Some background: I was teaching middle school science at the time in Phoenix, Arizona, when I became involved with the US-China People’s Friendship Association, a group working to bring about normalization (the recognition of “Red China”) as a legitimate country. This has been a passion of mine for years, since early high school, and especially influenced by a book by William Lederer (senior moment – lost the name) about the “truth” about Chiang Kai-Shek. I won a number of debates in high school based on the strenghts of my pro arguments, which didn’t make me any more popular. Oh well, I WAS right.

In 1978 I was selected as one of 20 people from the western part of the United States to travel for 3 weeks in China. I had never been anywhere, and China was at the top of my travel list. I was in heaven! I was gone for nearly a month, have a full notebook of interviews and impressions, and probably well over a thousand slides (all of which are being weeded down to the best. Each place we visited (fron Guangchou – the “old” Canton” to Beijing) we were able to meet and ask questions. I was in charge of all the school stops, since I was the only teacher in the group. It was the most amazing adventure.Our first visit was an elementary school, and the playground looked suspiciously like the typical US school ground. Teachers were wandering around, organizing activities, like tug of war. Notice the blues and grays for colors, especially on the adults. We were there at the end of the Cultural Revolution; the Gang of Four had just been imprisoned. Bright colors were a “western” problem, and we had been asked in doing our packing to look at basic browns, blues, and grays for colors, pants, no dresses, to respect the Chinese. We only saw bright colors on the children, until we hit Tokyo on our way back – our senses were literally assaulted with color.

If you notice make-up on the children, it’s because many of them were going to be performing for us during our visit. We were treated to amazing displays of arts and athletics, and at the time China was not a player in sports on the world stage. We all know that has changed.

I was particularly taken by the blackboard at the end of the playground, with all the announcements. It was pristine; no damage, vandalism, or the like. One of the questions I asked at our first meeting with the teachers and administrators of the school was how they dealt with vandalism. I ws asked to rephrase the question, and then asked to define vandalism. The teachers looked at each other, not understanding the word…or the concept. The reply was “why would anyone want to destroy what they need?” Why indeed….

We saw all types of entertainment, from the little singers, singing songs of leading the good life according to Chairman Mao….

…to guymnastic displays of all ages. Look carefully at their equipment. Floors covered with skinny rugs, bare walls – nothing like we would expect for building athletes.

Some performances were more formal. This was a group of young ladies performing basic magic tricks for us, and they were very good. Stage presence was something I remarked upon at the time, and I still think it’s pretty amazing how poised they all were. I know how difficult it is to develop that in young children during theater.

This dance/song number talked about importance of water and work to develop a good cotton crop.

This is the classroom that sticks with me so many years later. Sixty students in the classroom, no textbooks in sight. If you look closely, you will see double-digit multiplication problems on the board. No paper visible among these second graders. Students would raise their hand with a solution they had worked out in their heads, be called upon, come to the front of the room, and respond. We don’t even begin teaching basic multiplication facts until third grade….

We had certificates made up of our trip before we left the United States. We brought along a Polaroid camera to take pictures of our hosts and the group, which would then be affixed to the certificate. This is still one of my prized possessions. (I’m second row on the left….)

The children crowded around us to watch the picture develop – absolute magic!

Shanghai, as well as most other cities, had what were called Children’s Palaces, a place for students to go after school for more activities. A good many of them were focused on the arts, but many others were practical. Here’s one of our group members playing – of all things – Chinese jump rope.

Lots of musical instruction, as well as impromptu concerts for us.

The needlearts are very strong in China at that time, especially needlepoint.

Lots of martial arts demonstrations….

…and every where we went we were sent off to applause. For so many people we were the first Westerners they had ever seen.

Ballet had been banned during the Cultural Revolution, so it was encouraging to see this, and then one evening a classical ballet performance.

This is going to be wonderful, retracing this amazing trip. I will be culling the best of the slides to put together in a photo book so that I can look at these images more often. I’ll post more as I proceed with this project…and a glimpse of a China just beginning to modernize and embrace capitalism.

The Joys of Math – and a Big What-if….

I know, you’re thinking, there she goes again with her oxymorons. How can math be joyful? I used to agree with you, until I started teaching algebra, and especially now that I am preparing for a rather important – and long – math test. The more I study, the more I am amazed at how I can teach myself all this new stuff. I will work on something new, and low and behold I can trace parts of it back to beginning algebra, and then build from there.

The joy is two-fold: I can actually teach myself this math, and I am ENJOYING it! This is fun – I can lose myself for hours in trying to make sense of how the math works. I still want to know why it works, and I also find myself in the position of the kids with the question “When are we ever going to use this?”

Were I to continue with more advanced math, I’m sure I’d see when we use it. For now, I’m having a very different kind of fun and creative work. The big what-if came over the weekend, as I said to hubby that I still amazed myself at being able to do this. My next comment was, “How would life have been different had I been able to ‘do math’?”

That’s a pretty big question. I kind of stunned myself. What would have been available to me? I am always talking to the kids about having options for their futures. At my time, it was nursing, secretarial, or teaching. I didn’t want any of them. Women in mathematics would have been quite a stretch for the early 70s, and I didn’t have the support. I remember how hard it was for me when I was the only female in a political science trip off campus to a county system to look at the day-to-day workings of government. I knew that all the males with me were trying to behave because of a “lady” present, and consequently I felt all the more uneasy.

Maybe all really does work out for the best. I love what I am doing, and with teaching algebra I know I am providing valuable options for children’s futures. Go and be whatever you want – revel in that ability.

That said, I want the test over so I can get back to making some art!

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