Monday, October 25, 2021

A One Year Anniversary

Today, October 25th, marks the one year anniversary of my COVID case. My symptoms had started early, by at least 4 days, but I had the sense not to show up when I started showing a possible case. There were teachers in that district, the one where I previously worked, that showed up sick. There was no way I could do that to people I cared about. I didn't honestly think I had the virus.

But on that day I received a call from the health department, and I remember I was walking around the house. I wasn't quite exhausted yet; tired, headache, sore throat, stomachache, and other symptoms, but not the knockout tired that I experienced for months afterwards. Just as soon as the woman told me I sat down on the bed and breathed. 

I was sick, and I didn't know what would happen.

There's a part of me that wishes I could go back to that person and tell her to take the time she needs. I wish I hadn't returned to work when I was still so sick, wish I hadn't let that school district push me so hard. I wish I'd gone to the doctor a little sooner, though we were in the middle of a spike, and they were quite full. So many wishes.

Here I am a full year later. I still can't taste or smell the same; it feels like I'm eating food and someone is describing to me. I forget things sometimes. I can't balance well, even after months of working out and training with that. My doctor checked my lungs last month and noted a diminished lung capacity. She was concerned, but gave me good recommendations.

Luckily, my entire family is vaccinated, and we're safe. We did not suffer the loss of close family, and for that I'm grateful. I could have been so much worse too, and I'm glad I wasn't hospitalized. 

But still. 

I hope sacrificing my health was worth it. I don't think it was.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

On My Bookshelf: October

With school finally swinging into motion, I’ve found myself really, really tired. Not weary, not burnt out. Tired, as if I’m doing a lot of things in one day. I am doing a lot of stuff; between the new job, working out, and advocacy work, I keep myself going all the time. On the rare occasion when I’m not cleaning or walking the pup, I find time to read.

One thing I’m really grateful for is that my new school really supports independent reading. It is discussed, brought up as a part of every English class. I make time every week so students can read what they’d like, and it is totally awesome. There’s a lot of research that shows kids who like to read become better readers. I think back to myself as a youngster, and it’s totally true.

1. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

By  Erika L. Sánchez

I focused a lot of my reading this month around Hispanic Heritage Month. You’ll notice a lot more YA novels in my reading; they come recommended for my students. I’m enjoying reading now compared to this past summer, possibly because I know students will enjoy reading them soon. Also, bonus for me supporting Latinx authors wherever I can.

This one hit close to home in so many different ways. The author loses her sister in an accident, and is forced to face a new reality where the “favorite” child is now dead. Julia grapples with her own grief while dealing with her parents’ traditional Mexican views. I can practically taste the tears.

While my life doesn’t completely parallel that of the main character, I found similarities. I know what it’s like to break tradition, to not live up to certain expectations. And of course I have a long brown braid right now! I think this is a great coming-of-age story, and I think it will connect with some of my students very well. 

By Aiden Thomas

With Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, this book was an easy selection. First, I’ll buy anything that connects to Día de los Muertos, and this book is clearly doing that. The cemetery, candles, and flower petals on the cover are clues as to the themes in this book. If you were guessing a bit of magic, of brujeria, then you guessed correctly!

The book follows Yadriel, a transgender teen in a family of brujos. He’s struggling to find acceptance from his community, and though he is able to prove his magic to himself, he still feels like he must do so with his family. Then he stumbles upon a great and terrifying secret, one that might tear his community apart. I liked this YA book for the characters, the setting, and most of all the lesson; we are who we are, we are enough.

By Cathy Camper and Raul the Third

It is absolutely necessary that I read at least one graphic novel a month. While this book is more aimed for younger readers (even younger than high school), I still enjoyed the artwork immensely. I talked to my students about this one, and I said; “Sometimes you just need to look at some good art, something nice. We don’t always have opportunities to do that in this world.”

The message is straightforward; we all have talents, and are capable of following our dreams. The main characters enter a contest where each has to utilize their particular talents for them to win. It’s certainly fantastical, with elements of space and human-like creatures. But it’s an easy read and I love to support Mexican creators!


Monday, October 18, 2021

The Van Gogh Experience

SPOILER ALERT: If you are thinking about doing this exhibit and do not want to see any pictures in advance. To be honest I've seen previews already, but nothing quite compares to the actual experience. Dom and I went on a Sunday night, and it was the perfect mix of calm and awe before a busy week.

The first part included close-ups of different paintings with Van Gogh life facts and quotes. I REALLY liked his quotes. There's something absolutely fantastic about seeing and hearing someone through the written word. It's like reading a love note when you see a signature. 

We sat in the same room for an hour, watching the paintings come to life and move of their own accord. It was magical when the flower petals flurried around us; the sea shifted with the wind on the huge walls. The view was also different depending on where you sat; we constantly moved to experience the paintings from various vantage points. People wandered in and out, but it wasn't intrusive. The music matched the notes of color and brushstrokes. It was nothing short of amazing.

The whole experience was romantic in a sad sort of way. I've never been so close to Van Gogh's work, and it felt like we became friends. It's one thing to see a painting; it's completely different to be wholly engulfed, immersed by color and light. I would definitely go back to see this one, and I'd love to see it from different painters too!

With winter slowly looming in the distance, I'm starting to plan blog posts. There are a few projects on my desk right now. Hopefully as the rush of a new job starts to slow, I'll feel more like my creative self once again. In the meantime, stay safe!


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Power of the Press Fest 2021

There's always something interesting going on in the Detroit area, especially if you're crafty like me! I'm constantly looking for an event to check out for a few hours. It's like I'm making up for over a year of no events...luckily there's no shortage of things to do now!

This past weekend I went with my friend Rickie to Power of the Press Fest at Eastern Market. It was fun hanging out around artists, specifically those that work with paper as a medium. There were so many examples of print art, and a ton of techniques and supplies used. We saw a few demonstrations, including paper marbling and bookbinding. Rickie was really awesome and discussed the different things she recognized; since she is an art teacher, she has way more experience with this stuff than I do.

 We were there a LOT longer than we originally planned! After all of that hard work buying art and talking about art, we enjoyed some artistic ice cream. Definitely a really sweet ending to an inspiring visit to Eastern Market. I will be going back next year for sure!


Monday, October 11, 2021

Glow in the Dark Putt Putt...A Most Modern Excursion

There are very few things on this earth that feel more modern than glow-in-the-dark putt golf. From the psychedelic colors to the crazy painting, it did NOT feel historic at all! Regardless, it was fun and I had to share the ridiculousness. By the way, I'm terrible at golf of any sort, and we're just lucky no one was hurt.

*We are both fully vaccinated and wear masks. We just took a quick photo!


On My Bookshelf: December

December has been a really rough month. Between what happened in Oxford (not far from where I live...) and just the general pandemic issues,...