Sunday, March 30, 2014

Brasil: A Bit of History

Brazil feels like a second home to me, even though I haven't been back since 1981. Here's an article dealing with the 1964 coup, the enduring power of the military, and the forces of democracy.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Poem: Keeper of Words, by Ciara Sanker

My friend Ciara, is a foodie. I guess she's a wordie too. I'd like to collect my favorite poems, and make a book out of them. This is a good one to start the series with, I think.

Keeper of Words
by Ciara Sanker

My words are getting
hopped up on caffeine
and strung out on nostalgia,
and I am sitting here
sober enough to record
their antics. Their particularity
is ridiculous and beautiful.
They are holding themselves
hostage until I figure out
how to seduce them
onto the page. Reaching out
to grab them by the skinny
wrist, I come away with
ink all over my hands,
and still they are laughing.
Elusive and daring, skipping
themselves like flat stones,
they spark precocious
and brilliant as lilies,
fresh-faced and wearing
a thousand tiny bells.
When I grow quiet,
curiosity overtakes them
and they creep closer
to peer over my shoulder,
suddenly shy and pleased
to find themselves there,
perching comfortable
as dark impish constellations
whispering to each other
then finally composing themselves.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


From Occupy, a post about a group that buys debt to cancel it, and creates information on debt resistance...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Link: Handwriting

I've been posting all the intriguing non-math links I find at my facebok page. But the problem with that is it's really hard to search on facebook. I'm going to try to come back here.

North Carolina and South Carolina have pending bills in the legislature to require that cursive handwriting be taught. Diane Ravitch posted on her blog a letter from a handwriting expert, Kate Gladstone, explaining why this is wrong, and how a legislator gave false testimony.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

R's Learning: Organizing

My son is unschooling. That's a term mostly used by homeschoolers, but we don't homeschool. (I'm a single parent, working full-time. It's not possible for us.) He goes to a 'school' in my friend Melanie's home, with about 7 kids, where the philosophy is definitely unschooling. He does what he wants with his day.

From Kindergarten to 2nd grade, he attended a free school with about 20 kids. (It closed in 2010.) Then for a year and a half, he attended 'school' with about 6 kids, in a number of locations, with a few different people 'teaching', run by a friend of mine. (It closed mid-school-year, at the end of 2011.) That situation involved classes he had to take. He hated that he couldn't opt out, and became (more) resistant to any structured classes during that time.

During that time, I had to force him to check out a trampoline class at Head Over Heels. He loved it, and he's still doing it.

Recently, I've noticed him opening up to new things. (Thanks, Melanie!) I had a hunch a few days ago, and said, "If you ever want to do some math, just let me know." He said he would. And that night we did some oral math problems while lying in bed. (For years he has said he hates math. I just now asked if he still does. He said no, and added that he never did. Ok...)

Today I suggested we take the bus to Head Over Heels, so he can practice for when he'll need to go on his own. This is part of what will eventually get him a phone, so he has lots of reason to be interested. But he would not have been eager in the past. Today, he's eager.

He asks me how to spell lots of words, because of things he's searching for online. And (the reason for this post), just now he needed the spellings so he could make folders for all the apps on his tablet! He has his stuff organized into travel, media and junk, games, and general. I told him people used to organize things alphabetically, but now, everyone organizes things their own way.

I want to keep track of things like this. Maybe I'll post more this year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Poem: Her Name

I posted this on Facebook, and a friend asked to share it. I wanted to add the Creative Commons 'copyright' explanation, and for that, it's better to have it on a blog. Maybe I'll post more of my poetry here...

Her Name
by Sue VanHattum  (Fall, 1988)

I never believed in God in his heaven.
My God-Who-Might-Be always tried to be a She/He.
Heaven was a pleasant thought,
But as I grew, heavens of any sort seemed less important
Than this world of ours, needy of our loving attention.

I never believed.
But when I started hugging trees
I began to wonder.

Here is my church, in the green splendor of trees and leaves,
A temple filled with life.

Sitting among onions in the dirt
I meditate, pulling weeds.
This earth is a generous mother, feeding us well.

A hot spring,
Its rocky pool surrounded by big white moon flowers
Is sanctuary.
I can worship sun, water,
And the earth’s bony desert presence,
Or just be still, at peace.

The earth is my source
Life and the forces of life
Sacred and powerful
Calling me home.

I never believed
But now I can name my joy and wonder
As the goddess in me connects
With the goodness in sun, water, earth, and tree.

Creative Commons License
Her Name by Sue VanHattum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Parenting: Sleep Time

I was feeling bad last week about being a crappy parent, because I was guilt tripping my son, trying to get him to do more housework. It's hard to figure that one out. I don't want to do it all, and it's not easy getting him to do what seems like a reasonable share.

But I'm not a crappy parent, and I think it might help to focus on what I offer my son that's pretty special. So much of what I do well as a parent, I take for granted. ("Of course I _____, how could I not?") Time to meditate some on my values as a parent - the values I really do practice in my life as a mom.

People are often surprised when I mention that my son sleeps 11 hours a night when he's not woken (either by necessity or excitement). But I think lots of kids would sleep that long if we made space for it. Knowing that sleep is vital for brain development, this is a high priority for me.

I take this for granted because it feels so basic, but I know most folks can't imagine how they'd give their kids this amount of sleep time. And I haven't been able to myself this past year. Ever since I started teaching 8am classes in January, I've been trying to get us to bed earlier. But it's hard for me to sleep when I'm not done with my prep for the next day, and it's hard for my son to sleep when I'm still up.  I'm very excited to have a schedule next semester with only two early starts. So my son will get shorted on his sleep 2 nights a week instead of 4. Last night he slept 12 hours, making up for what he missed all week.

Does your child get enough sleep time?