Saturday, May 11, 2013

Getting Educated on Public Education

Lately, I've been trying to navigate the public school system. Trying to get a clear idea of how funding works at the state level, the local district level and ultimately at the school level. I'm on a committee (of course I am) to look into this in order to recommend how our school can best partner with the district on who works in our school, how our fundraising dollars can get spent, and how to make sure we stay out of hot water.

Not so easy. First of all, trying to find a clear answer online is near impossible. Everything is slanted politically or is in legalise. I think I'm sort of smart but its over my head. At meetings I've gone to, there seems to be an us vs. them mentality. Who deserves funding more? My kids or yours? Why do we have to choose?

We are not alone, there are other parents in other local schools, other districts across the state, and across the country who are facing the same issues. Here are a few resources I have found so far for California. I'm getting excited about the possibilities:

Starting here, just to understand the current CA Educational funding plan and Jerry Brown's proposal.

 This is a great interview with Educate Our State.

In the same clip, there is also an interview with Michelle Rhee of the controversial StudentsFirst.....and of course, there are many other clips to watch.

I'll admit, I am getting pulled into the weeds on this but I really want to fully understand the education funding issues in Oakland and California. It matters to my kids, as well as everyone else's.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Music Night

Thursday night, I had a ticket to go see Senator Barbara Boxer speak. She was being presented with Emerge CA's 2013 Woman of The Year award. I paid $100 for the ticket.

Instead I went to music night at Thornhill Elementary School to see my second-grader perform with his class. I sat in a packed room with no air flow with lots of other parents, all there to watch their K-2 student sing a song or make music in some way. I was lucky and got a seat, it was 900 degrees in the multipurpose room and what seemed like hours, apparently was only 45 minutes. Even being stuck having to listen to all the kindergarteners, then the 1st graders and finally the second was worth it. Really. Yes, at one point I went into a bit of giggly hysteria brought on by overheating, but overall, I was well behaved and enjoyed watching the little tykes waving to their parents from the big stage.

I could have been rubbing elbows with the who's who of Bay Area politics, I could have made a few contacts to get things done here in Oakland. I may have even gotten my picture taken with Senator Boxer herself. That would have been really cool. Instead, I chose to stay in the heat of Oakland, and be with my kids.

Speaking of music, check out this amazing This American Life episode: Music Lessons

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Eve of Christmas Eve

I was supposed to run this morning so I got all dressed in my wet weather running gear. And then looked out the window and decided I'd be more comfortable not running.

So I sit at my computer instead. It seems Facebook has gotten in the way of my blogging. In fact, replaced it. Which is disappointing given that Facebook is so in the moment vs. the blog which is slightly more reflective.

A few things I don't post about on Facebook...

1. A friend is ill, it scares the shit out of me. Life is so fragile. I have little control.

2. I lost my job but was excited about it. Perhaps that's stupid but I saw it as a way out, a test of sorts, a chance to prove myself that I really could re-invent myself.

3. Got re-hired but for a brand-new  position--jury is out on this except it makes me a bit sad, if not relieved. So much for re-invention. For now.

4. Wondering about my place on this planet, in my relationship, with my family. What does fulfilling look like? Really, that is the question. I am so unclear on what it is I am looking for, striving for and wishing for.

5. Fear of aging. Yes I run, I've got "energy" and all that...but I see the signs of age on my face and body. I notice fears that I didn't have before, I now hate night driving and my eyesight is going. Did I mention that my memory is kind of crap? I can joke about it but I also fear it...and hate it. Must come to terms with my age before 50 so I am not pathetic and start wearing lots of spandex.

6. I really miss my parents. Really. None of us are getting any younger and given my own fear of aging, I fear their aging as well. Its all part of the "cycle of life" but as I mentioned before, I still resist accepting it. I hate how busy they are and how busy I am...a terrible excuse to not see each other.

7. Saving the world...needs some focus. Where are my passions and skills (and time) best spent? I can't quite figure out how to connect my volunteer work with my income...maybe I don't?

New Year's Resolution(s)....find peace. Stay healthy. Be in the moment (this is not the easiest for me). Spend more time with my family. Make time for connection. Take a Facebook break at least once a week (is it possible?).  Re-kindle my outside voice. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Well its been almost a year since my last post and I really don't want to wait until September 12th to make it official.

 We just returned from a 2 week vacation in France and it really gives me a bit of perspective. I learned that I really love lounging in a pool each day. I also learned that I love to wander around small medieval villages.

 My kids love weapons and love to play fight...and oddly, watching it doesn't get old. Didn't think I'd feel that way but I much prefer watching Max practice with his mini-cross bow than sit in front of his damned computer playing whatever the latest online game is.

Some days we discovered castles, other days we made jam with Mirabelle plums. And of course, many days were filled with sitting in cafes and eating yummy food....

 Now that we're home, and we catch up with our friends, we are dunked immediately back into the chaos, sadness, joy and uncontrollable nature of our day to day world.

 Looking forward, post vacation....I need to remember to slow down, keep some of that restful feel before leaping into the next thing, before making the next decision. I need to eat yummier food, I need to run outside more often, I need to connect with my family on a more regular basis.

 I don't know if I necessarily need to "set goals," but, I do think it would be a good idea to think about how I want to live, and to revisit what is most important.

 Vive La France!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Its Monday, September 12, 2011 and I'm flying to Detroit. I still feel depressed post 9/11 anniversary.

I'm not sure why it hit me so hard this year. Perhaps it's all the mean spirited politics we are experiencing, maybe it's the memories of that actual time ten years ago...

In late August, 2001, BZ and I got engaged in front of a large platter of paella. It was our last night in Barcelona, we were on our way home from one of the most romantic and happy trips I'd ever had.

After September 11th, I had such mixed emotions as we planned our wedding for the following spring. The world was in mourning, I was part of that mourning but I was also wanting to celebrate the fact that I found someone to spend my life with...finally.

We visited Ground Zero in the late fall of 2002. I was pregnant with Max, this was BZ's first trip to NY. It was bitterly cold. When we arrived on the platform and looked down at the pit of devastation, I completely fell apart. There were still the notes from families, handkerchiefs, flags, all sorts of mementos left. Lists of the missing...I felt such grief for my former hometown, for all that was lost. It was cold so we left pretty quickly and made our way to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Too cold for the ferry, so we opted for a cafe instead.

Last night I lit four small candles for each of the planes that went down. I told the kids that I wished for peace and love instead of all this fighting. Aiden said, "Love is bigger than anything." He also said "Chicken!" but then, that's Aiden. And I am grateful.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Where did the summer go?

Wow. End of the summer. The beginning of school. Its been over a month since my last entry.

Here's a quick recap:

1. Berkeley Playhouse, Seussical camp. Max's group rehearsed for 3 weeks and performed on the final day. Max had a fantastic time, loves musicals, is still singing the songs.Aiden's group rehearsed for 2 weeks, and then put on a sort. Very entertaining. Unbelievably cute. Aiden decided that he's not so into the theater. Can you tell?
2. Camping.We camped near Calistoga with a bunch of families we met at the preschool over 4 years ago. Luckily, they REALLY knew how to camp and served cocktails each night. So fun.3. Great America with more friends. Such a great time. We went on a Monday and avoided most lines. We got to go on rides over and over and over. I love a good theme park.
4. The Giant Race 1/2 Marathon. Ran it yesterday. Feel great. Made a PR at 2:13:50. For me, that's fast. And I know that I can get faster. Met Kim afterwards. We got some prime seats for watching the Under 6's run around the field. Very cute indeed. Nice recovery time and great catching up...
Those are just the highlights. But tomorrow is a school day and I have to get my rest. Gotta pack the lunches and do the morning routine once again. Sad to see summer go but excited about the beginning of Fall.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I just returned from vacation with BZ's family. Aside from the waterlogged iPhone debacle on the final day, I had a great time. The kids got to play with their cousins, we all got to hike and swim. And although sometimes the in-law thing can be difficult, this trip really was relaxed (other than the one stressful game night that led to three bawling kids).

Breckenridge, CO is 10,000 feet above sea level, it makes me struggle for air just thinking about it. On my third day of vacation, I signed up for a 4K trail run with North Face and the local Rec Center.

It was difficult to breathe and REALLY muddy but unbelievably beautiful. I kept hearing about Oxygen Bars but never found them.

Getting away, escaping work and the everyday tasks and chores of life is necessary. Getting back in the swing of things this Monday has been really hard. Probably the reason I returned to my blog.:-)

Looking forward to the next escape at the end of August....