Nostalgic Dining

I have to admit I picked up Eat a Little Better not necessarily for the recipes, but because I was nostalgic for the Obama White House and all that they accomplished — of which healthier for choices was only one aspect.

However, I have to say that I'm impressed with the book as a cookbook in itself, and the ways it encourages us to make small, but meaningful changes in how we eat. This year is all about better systems for me, and if I can set up and stick to better ways to shop, keep things on hand, and maybe even cook a few things so that Patrick does not have to, then we're all a little better off.

(book received from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion)

This is The Sound of One Voice

A national school protest for gun safety is a tricky thing when your child is in elementary school. They are not really old enough to walk out by themselves. At Randolph Heights, and I imagine in other schools, there are many parents who had not told their children about the Parkland shooting, especially the parents of young kids.

I remember that feeling of wanting to protect them as long as possible. I don't remember telling Beatrix about Sandy Hook, but somehow she found out anyway, and I think her fear was exacerbated by me not telling her. So since then, we've talked about mass shootings, especially in schools. Sadly, right now, this means we do a LOT of talking about guns.

Beatrix really wanted to participate in the protest, especially since we are not going to be in town for the one on March 24. I had emailed out to a bunch of other parents, but not really heard anything back. But she was adamant, even when I told her she would likely be the only one. So last night, we …

"You're Not Black"

The other day I asked Beatrix to tell me a story. She started out "Once upon a time there was a girl named Beatrix. She had a very wonderful friend named Aubrie. The reason that Aubrie was so wonderful is that she believed Beatrix when Beatrix said she was black, and didn't say that that could not possibly be true."

I kind of stopped short.

It's one thing to remind your daughter that she is black even though she doesn't look it, and to point out in her DNA test the parts of Africa her ancestors come from, or to tell her stories about her family and how they fought for civil rights (while at the same time she takes Norwegian dance and we talk about where the rest of her family is from, which is a real mixed bag.)

But because I just don't normally think about it (definition of privilege there, right?), it honestly had not sunk in to me how much it weighs on Beatrix to have her race challenged. And I don't know the right solution for that.

Maybe this video f…

Basement Steps

For a long time, the wall leading down to our basement was a hot mess. There was a chalkboard, hung too high, that no one used. It needed painting from previous plaster patching. It was a mess.

A week ago, I tried to fix it. I speckled and painted the wall. Then I spent a couple of hours repairing and fixing up an old bulletin board to hang. And then, the hook loosened and it fell down the stairs into a million pieces:

Chaos: 1, Bethany: 0.

So I regrouped, and pulled the cork off the back of the bulletin board, and last night I made a new bulletin board by covering it with cloth and setting it in an old picture frame (I re-glued the trim falling off the couch at the same time). I framed a couple of prints I had gotten from my talented friend Ara, and hung a decal I had recently purchased at 75% off from an occasional store that was going out of business — it reminded me of our family trip to New York.

I'm pretty happy with the end result:

Mad vs. Madness

(I've thought about this post too long. It's not well organized, so bear with me).

According to the DSM diagnostic manual, there's not a single mental illness diagnosis that indicates excessive anger as a recognized mental disorder. Depression, anxiety, compulsion, yes. But not anger. In fact, as I have learned after almost  decade of working with Mental Health Minnesota, those with mental health issues are several times more likely to be the victim of  violent (particularly gun-related) crime than to commit one.

But it seems like this kind of anger is more and more common. I heard on the radio the other day an interview about someone who said "I would have to wash the dishes EVERY DAY, and that very thought made me SO ANGRY." (dishes? really??) Someone we know, recently arrested for terroristic threats toward students at Howard University stated:

Photo Zen

I picked up zen camera because I've been having a lot of success with setting habits this year, and I liked the idea of "creative awakening with a daily practice in photography." Plus, I thought my minimalist, zen husband would love it, maybe it would be something we could do together.

The book is heavy, the pages smooth, and it feels great in your hands, but it's missing something. The photos are fine but not amazing, and it's incredibly wordy. I think I would like a book that washes over me more, or maybe I need something simpler, online?

But as I said, it's been a year of creating habits. Maybe I just need to go back to this one and try it another time. Zen, after all, is often about repetition.

(book received from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest option)

Destination IMAGINATION!

Beatrix has wanted to do Destination Imagination (basically, problem solving a STEM issue through a student-created performance) for years; this year, Randolph Heights added a 4th/5th grade team, coached by her friend Tillie's dad, Dane, and she was SO excited to do it!

It's an all-girls team, and they have worked really hard to prepare. As well as meeting for 90 minutes weekly, they've had a lot of extra practices recently, which has been hard since not everyone attended. And they lost one member of their team the day before the competition due to emergency surgery!

We had to be at Harding High School early yesterday for the competition, and Beatrix was super nervous:

There were A LOT of kids there!

They had one of the first performances, in the freezing field house. A DI organizer helped them get everything in place, but they were responsible for set up. They then ran their piece, which they had come up with together. They also designed and built the set (which had to be…