fodder for discussion

My mother used to have a refrigerator magnet that said, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” I always loved that sentiment. If you read this review, thank you for your time.  If you can’t read this review, Bob Bowdon might ask whether you went to public school in New Jersey.

The Cartel seeks to expose the public education system in the United States through the example set by the New Jersey public school system.  Asked to comment on the low level of education of today’s high school graduates, one educator calls it a “national disaster for the future of the United States Workforce”. Money and greed are prime culprits in this documentary, as tends to be the case (not unlike another of my favourite documentaries, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”); but what might surprise you is that Bowdon disagrees with New Jersey Governor Corzine’s decision to increase educational funding in the state budget.  Intrigued? Go see the documentary for yourself — it opens tonight at select theatres in New Jersey, and the success of this run will dictate whether or not there is a national release. If you aren’t in the New Jersey area, you can find more information at

Check out the trailer:


Ah, friends, where to begin?

I hope you enjoyed the Banana Bread.  I also hope you’ve got me on RSS feed, because, well, I’m sure you’ve all given up checking daily for new material.  (If not, well, aren’t YOU the cock-eyed optimist! And today’s your lucky day.)

I simply have Too Much going on in my life to write it all down right this second, but I would like to start blogging again.  (We’ll see how long this birthday resolution lasts, eh?)  So, if you’re reading, take a look at the list of potential topics below and hit me up with a comment letting me know which you think is most interesting.

1) My latest culinary adventures, including super-simple grilled asparagus;

2) Stories from my childhood — perhaps that time I got my head stuck in a ceiling fan?

3) Random design ideas that I currently enjoy — and no, I’m not really into Eames, though it’s popular;

4) Kyleen’s Tip of the Day! How to do/make/re-purpose something useful, culled from my own brain, my family’s tips & tricks, or perhaps somewhere out there on the innernetz.

And yes, I’m in a new relationship, and no, I still don’t want to blog about it.  Well, not regularly anyway.  🙂

So far, 27 is off to a GREAT start!

I took a sick day today, because my sinus mucosa was operating on hyperdrive, which apparently migrated into my chest cavity, inspiring the kind of sneezing & coughing that, if harnessed as raw energy could probably heat this house for a week. To add to that, any attempt at speaking simply sounded like a sad sound effect for my froggy pajamas, whose wrinkles evidenced the toss-&-turn attempts I’d made at sleep the night before.


So I made soup, ordered “plenty of fluids” from the deli, and watched two movies, which still left me enough time for copious amounts of introspection. And a surprise get-well-soon guest. And now, after a hot shower, clean sheets & pjams, and more good soup in front of Law & Order . . . I can’t seem to fall asleep. Today was everything a sick day is supposed to be, and I’m legitimately sick. So why do I feel guilty?

Here I am again.

It seems like lately each time I come home to Texas, it feels harder to leave. I start daydreaming, picturing what it would be like to live in the Lone Star State again. I don’t know what it is exactly; homesickness? That can’t be it; I don’t really relish the idea of moving back to The Greater Longview Area. Is New York finally starting to wear me down after eight years? Maybe; I think a girl like me can only go at break-neck speed for so long before exhaustion sets in (which, when you get down to it, is part of what happened when I crashed in ’02). Do I just need a change in my life? Perhaps. Although I love my boss, and am so very thankful to have a job in this economy, I don’t really see myself staying in this line of work as a career for the rest of my life.

Maybe I’m just scared. Scared of being stuck in this job and getting to the point where I can’t leave; but scared, too, of leaving a great employer and a job that has provided well for me over the past three and a half years. Scared of leaving the church I love, where I’m plugged in and needed and have had a great community since 2001; but scared, too, of all the changes that keep happening there. Scared that I’m missing so much in my friends’ and family’s lives, being so far away from most of them; but scared, too, of leaving behind family and friends in New York who have become so very dear to me.

And so I begin to feel a sense of inertia, of not knowing where I’m going, of not knowing what it is God wants me to do or where He wants me to be. So what do you do when you feel stuck, trapped between the home state where you were born and raised, that you couldn’t wait to leave as soon as you turned 18; and the dazzling city that lured you and burned you, where you grew into the woman you are today, and fought to stay and maintain your independence, that now seems so far away from so much that you love? When your blogs start to be full of unanswerable questions and run-on sentences and even fragments?

Quite possibly the best thing I ever learned in my high school Spanish classes:

Todo el mundo sonrie en el mismo idioma.

The whole world smiles in the same language.

Computer access is still spotty, but in the interest of keeping readers, here’s a little something.  I found this in my poetry notebook, dated 9/22/98.  

Of a Storm

The rain hits the pavement
like nickels
dropping and
bouncing and
rolling on a hard
cafeteria floor
echoing over the
noise of the thunder
that creates a dull roar
like the sounds of
voices in a large room
the lightning occasionally flashes
an unexpected camera shot
taking candid pictures
and no one is sure what they saw
or did
when the camera flashed
until after the storm has stopped
and the picture becomes
the trees sway slowly
at first
like autistic children
with secrets they can’t tell
then the limbs start to
whip, thrash, beat
faster, faster
in a dance
entrancing and rhythmic.
The wind whistles,
the flute music to which
the trees dance,
dancers twirl faster,
music frenzies higher
higher higher
creating a cacophony
of music and
voices and
nickels and
flashing and
dancing and
then slowly the dancers
tire of their flailing
the flutes cannot play
as high as before
and fewer nickels are dropping
and then only rolling
and the pictures are beginning
to develop.
The flutes now only play
a lullaby
and the voices are memories
of half-forgotten conversations
and bands
of water color
streak the sky
foretelling of calmer tomorrows.

I’ve always liked thunderstorms.  Re-reading this, I can picture the kind of storm I was describing.  I can also almost hear the way I would want it read.  Maybe this would be good for a poetry reading sometime.  Hmm.  Thoughts?

Friends, this week has beaten me down.  But I am trying to stay positive, and last night was a bright spot:  my new voice student is “paying” me by helping me out with various and sundry projects I have going on, so she came over last night for dinner and music organizing.  Another friend needed my notarial services and happened to show up just as we were making dinner, so he had eggs and skillet potatoes and corned beef with us.  Simple, but decently tasty (and really filling).  We actually made a dent in the music and then called it a night.

I also went to a fun birthday party late Tuesday night. I got to catch up with a few friends from college and make some new fun people, but I stayed too late trying to ignore the swirl of thoughts in my head; and then got into a cab with a driver who first nearly had a wreck that slammed me into the partition and into a heap on the floorboards (in his defense, some other cab ran a yellow light), and then got all turned around because he apparently doesn’t know Astoria.  Late, late night.

But work has been, well, a small hell, and it has brought me to a few realizations.  I have two very good guy friends in my life right now (ok, I actually am blessed with more than two), and in these difficult times in my life lately, both of them have been sweet and supportive, but they have also both very firmly pointed me toward Jesus, reminding me that HE is really the man I need right now.  And boy, are they right.  I was lamenting the other day that I wanted someone to wrap his arms around me while I bury my face into his neck and collapse from sheer exhaustion.  I started thinking about it, and although that physical scenario is something I definitely want, I realized [at risk of sounding cliché] that what I DO have right now is the Everlasting Arms.  The One who never fails, who is always there.  I think He misses talking to me, because it’s been a while — and as one of the guys gently reminded me, he usually doesn’t like being sent to voicemail. 

So on that note, I’m going to stop ignoring his calls.  Time to turn off the blog and go spend some time in prayer and worship.


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