Sunday, February 28, 2010

Educate 2.

Photo By Daniel Galan

Why is this so hard for us to grasp. Educate kids.

A piece in the NYTimes has caused quite a stir on my Facebook page. This piece is about a set of Charter Schools showing success in Harlem. The CEO has her eyes on the big prize- educate. Good teachers, smart ever growing teachers- educate. This is a great message.

Charter schools though have caused a storm of conversations. It is a shame that we didn't get a glimpse of some great PS as well making wonderful leaps ahead as well.

My friend C didn't like the article. I understand her view too. I do think school reform and making an amazing learning can't be reduced to as simple as an answer of good teachers. Of course class size matters and so does length of your school day. Charter schools are not the only schools that are working hard to build intellectual communities, with many more challenges than the Charter Schools have. There are wonderful public schools also making the tough journey to educate and bring smart teachers aboard and to help give kids all that they need.

Apparently other news sources- like the Daily News- have revealed just how much these CEOs are making. Some close to 400,00 dollars. Makes me go, mmmmmmmm?

There is a lot to think about in this article- Charter Schools, programs matter, the effect of class size and school hours, and the ever thirsty curiosity of a teaching staff. Are schools a business or an intellectual community. We shouldn't be little the success of these schools without counting these things as factors.

As we look to Charter Schools that are working well, I hope we also look to Public Schools in the community that are as well making huge change and gains!

Another friend uploaded this article about a man in Colombia, who travels the countryside on Burro, to bring books to kids who have little access. It is a wonderful story. Again, I think it exemplifies the idea, educate.

Good conversations to have and talk about and read!
Keep reading about education.

Celebrate Our Community

Marian Wright Edelman

Find people, quotes, and wisdom to reflect and live by.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Getting Green

My friend Miriam has a blog called the green spotlight. I am reading it to get a little greener! It is one of my goals in life! Luckily living in NYC automatically makes me greener than most. The more I read the more I can see things to do! It is a great blog to inspire you to be the best/greenest prson youcan be. I also read about The Lambi Fund here.

Miriam also heard Michael Pollan talk about his new book, Food Rules. She said that he was super engaging and interesting!

Good reading to make the Earth a better place.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom.

It's my mom's birthday.
I asked her to write a post for the blog- as a guest blogger. I asked her to describe her reading life!

Now she is a big KINDLE fan. Her digital literacy skills are more advanced than my own.
She declined to write for the blog though. So instead, I will recommend to you her favorite mystery-thriller writer!

Enjoy the read! Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Migrant Workers in the United States

My friend Janice sent me these articles about the plight and struggles that families who are migrant workers, who mostly work in the fields, face in our country. She asked me what I thought about the boycott of FED EX. Shamefully I had not heard- so she forwarded me an article and a couple more to read up on what is happening.

FED EX- worked with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain 4 Guatemalan Workers. A second article.

Migrant Worker's Dream of College

Saturday, February 20, 2010

All Things GaGa: I Have to Catch Up


So, I fell in love with Lady Gaga at the Grammys. Is that wrong? My friends think so. They have been huge fans for awhile. As I watched her perform 'solo' and with Elton- her talent was really unbelievable. I mean her "outfits" as well are pretty incredible and her sense of entertainment. She did remind me of some of the early 'shocking days' of Madonna. I posted on FB my new found love of Gaga and found that I got the most comments ever about my posting. Everyone loves Gaga. So I needed to know more. I had to read more.

My friend Angie told me that Gaga also tries to represent for the 'little guy', the oddball, the monsters. That she was a bit of an outcast and thinks that everyone should be celebrated! She is talented, ambitious and only 23! Crazy!

There definitely are strong feelings about Gaga. Some haters out there call her "bullish" because she oozes confidence. Oprah had her on and gave her some Oprah love!

Love it! Love Gaga!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Heee Heeee


I love that Dave Eggers put together the blog, the magazines, and short films...all to promote others- possibly less known writers. Love it!

Power to the people.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Costa Rican Living

When I lived, for 8 months, in Costa Rica, in the 90s, I was happy! I actually didn't want to leave.

The New Economics Federation calculated how happy countries are based on studying how they use their natural resources and help their citizens live longer and healthier lives. Costa Rica was named as number 1. The US - not surprisingly was ranked 117. I read about the Happiness Index in Yes! Magazine on my way home from Seattle. Lessons we need to learn? Be a country that promotes peace, put your dollars in health and education and take care of your environment! Recently they just elected their first woman president- in a landslide! Good lessons for us all, no?

Here is an article from UK- just another perspective. Enjoy the read! Cheer up! Be happy! Help make the world greener and healthier. We will all be happier.

PS As I was reading and surfing for other articles about the Happiness Index- I found this aboutFacebook tracking the "happiness" of status updates. Totally unrelated, but funny!


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Survival of the Kindest

Follow your instinct- be compassionate. It's our nature! Survival of the kindest, I love it!
What a great article and inspiration for the day!

Happy New Year!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Today, Lucille Clifton passed away.
Remember the poet.
Remember the storyteller.

What's Coming Up?

This weekend I am so tired. Before I start working (yes I have to work on this Saturday and Sunday) I am going to read! I'm on to my new book, Girl Trouble. I know... deep for VALENTINE'S DAY. But I gotta get a new book rolling!

Barb passed it to me and she is moving on to Zadie's essays. After we finish, then we'll both read, Beneath the Lions Gaze.
I can't wait to read Zadie as well. Probably in March (since that is when I will see my sister next and grab it from her shelves!) Guess who else recently (10/2009) published some more essays? My favorite- Arundati Roy.

The book shelves in my virtual room are stacking up close to the imaginary ceiling. Oh how the list is ever growing! So much to read! As my friend Audra says, not enough hours in the day!

The line up is getting long!

The love is strong.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Art is Art

Lori, once again, posted this really great article about how women are a LARGE population of fiction readers, yet women writers hardly are ever recognized in "best of" lists and awards. My friend Amanda pondered this, as well on her blog, last year, after Publishers Weekly announced their "Top 10 List of 2009".

The article also talks about women being included in anthologies for women versus ones for world literature. Elizabeth Bishop refused to be published in anthologies for women, insisting she was a poet, plain and simple.

She wrote that “art is art and to separate writings, paintings, musical compositions, etc. into two sexes is to emphasize values that are not art.”

The article mentions some great writers- who I have read, am presently reading, and hopefully soon will be reading!

Maybe you too! Enjoy the read! Be inspired! Talk about your thoughts with friends or here! Feel free to post a comment after you read the article!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


There have been many articles recently in the news about the
national education policies emerging.
We will have to watch carefully as these bills and policies
begin to unfold.
'No Child' should what? "Be left behind" or "tested to death"?
What happened to just educating
children and putting that first?

the author argues that real rigorous curriculum that is based on
learning rather than passing a test helps to build stronger skills.

An overhaul is definitely in order, but which things will be overhauled and into which direction? Here are some different perspectives about lessons learned from No Child. My friend Maggie posted an interview Campbell Brown did with Arnie Duncan. The major idea you come away with is "test". I did like how Brown didn't just let him off the hook. But 'better tests" kept coming up as the answer.

Read, watch, and listen carefully. Think critically. We need the best curriculum for kids- hopefully one that encourages kids to think and problem solve- rather than just memorize.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The ABC Reads About China

I was in Union Square, needing to waste some time. I walked into Barnes and Noble and began browsing at their tables in the front entrance. I came upon a book by Rachel DeWoskin, repeat after me. Her name sounded so familiar. I picked up the book, looking at the jacket for a bio a picture, something. I did some quick research. It turns out that Rachel is from my hometown in Michigan and graduated high school the same year as me. I asked my friend Sasha if she knew her. She told me they were friends and have recently connected on Facebook!

So I decided to read the book. It’s about a young English Language teacher in NYC- living right by Columbia. The teacher falls in love with a Chinese student. I really enjoyed the book. It has love, mystery, and history all rolled into one.

I decided to get her first book (sometimes I work backwards): Foreign

Babes in Bejing. This is her account of living in Bejing right after college. She was casted into a popular soap opera called, Foreign Babes in Bejing. It is a close in look at her interesting life as an ex pat in China, while still giving you a sense of life and culture in Bejing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I passed this on to the ABC. It is making the rounds. I also sent both of them to China as a gift to a friend living in Guangzhou!

Enjoy the read!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I Love Sade! Check out her new album, music, lyrics and thinking behind it all! YOu can see her process as a writer and as an artist.

Enjoy. Peace.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reading Radio

This American Life is one of my favorite radio programs I listen to. Love Ira Glass and his other authors he gets to share their stories, interviews and perspectives. I am a regular subscriber.

Episode called Bridging the Gap between NRA and the NEA

What an episode- Sarah Vowell and Geoffery Canada and more...

Enjoy the 'listen', enjoy the read.

Beneath the Lion's Gaze

Barb and I went to Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene Brooklyn. We went to a wonderful book reading by Maaza Mengiste, who just finished a three year project in writing: Beneath the Lion's Gaze. This is an historical fiction novel set in the 70s in Ethiopia. The section she read, about the murder of the emperor, was both chilling and captivating. Many people at the reading had read the book and gave her many accolades. She also spoke about what it has meant for her family, to reopen many of the wounds and memories of this dark and disturbing time. Probably on its way to becoming an ABC favorite! Barb and I both got it (signed as well).

Read more rave reviews here.

Support your local bookstore too. Go to a reading. Buy the book! What a beautiful evening we spent!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Henry Louis Gates Jr and I Are Fascinated By The Same Things

Apparently there is a new series coming out, Faces of America, is coming out. It will be about the idea of tracing your genes. This blog post talks about a prescreening of one of the episodes, Know Thyself. This whole concept of being connected to everyone- I love! I have been fascinated with this concept for awhile now. I've wanted to find out my genetic and geographic heritage. I guess Henry is too! Great article. Cool show. I'll have to have some DVR it for me!

Looking forward to the series, wish I had been at the party!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Keeping it Real

I just read this on McSweenys Blog.
I thought it was funny and so true!
Enjoy the read.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Good Enough to Cook

My friend Lori sent me smitten kitchen- a blog about cooking, in a tiny NYC apartment. How delicious do these brownies look and sound? Almost makes me want to cook.

I love cooking blogs. I especially enjoy the ones that take beautiful photographs of their process. The food looks so good that it makes you want to run out and buy something from Le Creuset or by KitchenAid.

These blogs make cooking look like fun. Too bad I don't have a proper counter top.

Happy cooking, reading, and dreaming to you.

Updates on Haiti

PIH Applauds Legislation to Eliminate Haiti’s Debt and Improve Infrastructure

Such good news. Partners In Health is doing amazing work for Haiti. They also keep you very well updated on the news and needs on the ground. It's a step forward!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lend Your Voice In California!

Put the Arts To Work

The arts in Los Angeles are in crisis and they need your voice.

The City of Los Angeles Budget and Finance Committee has put forward a motion to eliminate the Department of Cultural Affairs dedicated source of revenue.

Edwidge Danticat

My friend, Kirsten, first posted Edwidge's story (published in the New Yorker) about her family in Haiti and how she lost her cousin. The story is beautiful. I just read it. I am crying.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Unnamed: Preparing for a Reading

On February 10th, Joshua Ferris will be giving a reading. The ABC is going to attend. I asked my friend if she had read The Unnamed yet. She said that she would have it read by the evening of the reading. I told her that the reading was in a week in a half. She thought again (she is in the middle of Girl Trouble).

So, instead, we have been reading articles about his new book and about Joshua Ferris to prepare ourselves for the reading. It looks like I will have two more books that will join my virtual stack of books on my nightstand.

Here are a few articles, that I have read, to begin to prepare myself for a lovely literary evening.

Article 4 about books in other posts. Including Girl Trouble.

If you read his book, post here your thoughts. If you have anything that will help for our preparation, let us know! Post the links for all.

What I am Currently Reading: I Shudder

Paul's book so far, charming, laugh out loud funny, and easily relate-able. Paul is the genius behind the hit movies: In and Out and The Adam Family Values. Do you like to read Sedaris, Burroughs, Vowell? If yes, you'll enjoy I Shudder. Read it!