Pieces of My Mind

I empty my mind for the world to see.

Heading Back to School

Written By: Maria - Aug• 21•14

I was contemplating for the millionth time in who knows how long whether I should go back to school or not. I have long wanted to earn a PhD, but life was not aligning for that to happen. Then everything changed. Well, not really. My life was still full of chaos, but I knew I would do it. Someday. As soon as “someday” came out of my mouth, a friend said “In ten years, you can wish you had done it or be glad you did.” Such wisdom and words I was not ready to hear.

A year later, the chaos continues.  But I am grateful to have started, to be a year in to this madness with a new group of people in my life encouraging success for one another.  The fall semester started Monday. My course load is a challenge with my workload and family. But I know it will be worth it.

Four more years to go.

At the same time, TB starts second grade next week. My baby is a little boy– one with intense emotions, a strong will, and a joy I cannot capture in words. He is turning in to quite the little man– fiercely loyal and protective of his friends, willing to stand up to bullies, and with a compass towards good when it comes to the things that matter.

It is that time of the year again…time to head back to school. Here’s to hoping it is a good one for all.

White Privilege

Written By: Maria - Aug• 19•14

In the past day or so, I have read a few good pieces on white privilege I thought I would share. First, “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person” distinguishes between privilege and intersectionality in order to explain bring out the nuanced definition and understanding of privilege that is often missed by using the term without explanation.

If you read through the rest of the list, you can see how white people and people of color experience the world in two very different ways. BUT LISTEN: This is not said to make white people feel guilty about their privilege. It’s not your fault you were born with white skin and experience these privileges. BUT, whether you realize it or not, you DO benefit from it, and it IS your fault if you don’t maintain awareness of that fact.

Another is “A Mother’s White Privilege” where the author points out the need to raise awareness of white privilege. I won’t post the conclusion here, but please do read to the end. It’s worth it.

To admit white privilege is to admit a stake, however small, in ongoing injustice. It’s to see a world different than your previous perception. Acknowledging that your own group enjoys social and economic benefits of systemic racism is frightening and uncomfortable. It leads to hard questions of conscience may of us aren’t prepared to face. There is substantial anger: at oneself, at the systems of oppression, and mostly at the bearer of bad news, a convenient target of displacement. But think on this.

2013 Is Over? How’d That Happen?

Written By: Maria - Jan• 10•14

While spending 30 minutes on the treadmill Wednesday, I started thinking through the year. So much happened, yet it seemed to me as though the end of 2013 brings the hope of an amazing 2014.  2013 was a year of change, whereas 2014 looks like a year of a new normal. Here is a summary of what happened in 2013 with the next post to be an expectation for 2014. I know. Half of January passed in the blink of an eye.

2013 brought a separation and pending divorce from Kevin. While the most significant, I do not really write about marriage or my marriage, and this is about all I will write about it outside of how TB and I are doing. What I will say is that gentle parenting and developing a relationship that includes empathy has helped immensely.  We both have struggles in dealing with one another, as any mother-son do, but I believe the foundation built through the years has eased this transition for TB. Also, applying the technique of looking at behavior as a symptom has helped to keep me (mostly) focused underlying issues.

2013 brought a return to school. Back in late January or so, in the midst of a conversation with a friend, I mentioned that I would like to earn a PhD…someday.  My friend looked at me and said, “In ten years you can look back and be glad you did it or wish you had.” After I picked up my jaw, as it was NOT the response I expected, I went to the bookstore with TB and bought a GRE book, took the GRE March 8th, was accepted in to the Fire and Emergency Management Administration PhD program at Oklahoma State on April 4th as a distance student. I still remember the director calling me (he was my chair when I earned my Masters in Environmental Science) like it was yesterday. Then in an act of pure ridiculousness, I asked to accelerate my admissions so I could take one course in the summer.  Going back to school has been one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have done. Ones brain forgets how do do some of these things without practice, but I am doing well. :)

2013 brought the departure of my cousin. My cousin lived with me for about a year before returning home. That was a new experience for me, and I hope good for her.

2013 brought a new (to me) house!  I bought a townhouse in November. Not the brightest to do this in the middle of the semester in a year full of change, but now I am glad I did. I stumbled in to an open house and next thing I knew, I was getting it done!

2013 brought adventure! How else can I describe spending Thanksgiving weekend camping in a tree house? LOL!

2013 brought travel changes. I put my foot down and started limiting work travel to 25% (1 week a month), and fortunately work agreed!  TB and I traveled around for races and fun, camped, and flew. It was great.

It’s Been A Long Time

Written By: Maria - Dec• 18•13

It’s been a while A REALLY LONG TIME since I last posted on this blog, and I have to be honest in saying I have missed writing here and have not all at the same time. Why I am starting again is somewhat of a mystery to me, but in a class this past semester (more on that to come), one of my classmates encouraged me to get back to writing. Coupled my classmate’s encouragement with a book that recommends the habit of writing as key to academic and professional success, I had the encouragement I needed to try again.

In the coming weeks, I will be reworking the site and posting more. Once the semester starts, posts undoubtedly will be more sporadic than during breaks.

A clear divide exists between my old writing and where I am now in my life, so I have placed all of my old categories under the parent “pre-2013.” I suspect some of the content will not be of interest to those who read my writing in the past, and that is ok. I am not convinced my random musings will be of interest to anyone but myself. That is ok too.

If you come by, in any case, leave me a comment or send me a message. That, I know, will bring a smile to my face.

Godspeed.

Maria

A gathering of thoughts on Time

Written By: Maria - May• 31•12

Oh, Time Magazine. I have so many thoughts about their cover and articles, but I am limited on time, so I am gathering a few of my favorite posts, articles and interviews on them to share with friends. I thought maybe I should just gather some of them here.  One thing that stands out to me is that the women who were photographed are incredibly gracious and articulate, especially about supporting other mothers.

The woman on the cover, Jamie Lynne Grumet, was interviewed and I love her take in this interview:

There seems to be a war going on between conventional parenting and attachment parenting, and that’s what I want to avoid. I want everyone to be encouraging. We’re not on opposing teams. We all need to be encouraging to each other, and I don’t think we’re doing a very good job at that.

Extended Breastfeeding Doesn’t Mean Extreme by Dionna Ford who blogs at Codenamemama.com and was also photographed for the story and has this to say:

This is what works for us. You may do things differently. Neither of us is more extreme or better than the other.