Rarified Places: Kalmykia

The cars in the industrial grease and creosote smelling stations had names on their sides of strange places.  One such place was “Dagestan”.  My silly mind went to Doggystan. This Russian train is clearly marked to go to Moscow, which was the hub for nearly all this 11-time-zone spanning country. Amidst all the metal, people,…

Stories from Russia: Easter

The place:  One of 20 some ethnic republics inside of Russia, this one with a history going back to the Khans and Turks.  Chuvashia.  Where even Russian isn’t the first language.  A gentle, quiet people with deep hearts.  I am visiting their schools, traveling with a staunch senior lady who is first in my eyes…

Political Correctness (a repost from 2005)

Published in 2005, long before Portlandia… If you have ever listened to Dandy Warhols or listened to Damali Ayo talk about Portland types, it’s clear that I am not alone in noticing Portland types are often a sort of..different. I say this with love, I am a Portlander and I work with Portland “types”.  Recently…

Missing Ecuador

Como la tierra a la lluvia Como el mar espera al rio Así espero tu regreso A la tierra del olvido … Esta cancion fue muy popular cuando estaba en Ecuador, la canto en mi miente, y pienso en regresar a este lugar que me despertaron a mi  tantas cosas

Worlds apart

it is good to hear the tale of someone who has met success by being inspired and following through.  -David Adamshick The fluorescent lights always buzzed. Sometimes, after being there for a long time, I wore them like a heavy coat I couldn’t wait to take off at home. The plastic seat with the writing…

Spot on.

One of the great failings of the American education system, in our view, is that young people can graduate from university without any understanding of poverty at home or abroad.  Study-abroad programs tend to consist of herds of students visiting Oxford or Florence or Paris.  We believe that universities should make it a requirement that…

A new kind of preschool

In round about the end of 2009,  our tidy little finances came smashing all apart. It didn’t take much, adjusting to less income, a minor catastrophe, unexpected large expenses, adjustments and other things that are part of life, still husband and I  looked at our decimated pocketbook. Post car purchase, post minor home mess, we…

Malcolm X book report

“We’re not Americans, we’re Africans who happen to be in America. We were kidnapped and brought here against our will from Africa. We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock — that rock landed on us.” Every now and then I get really curious about something.  Once it was the Amish.  Once it was the Holocaust.  Currently,…

Merit pay for teachers

We have a cool show here in Portland called Think Out Loud. They pick a subject and then have a panel of knowledgeable folks on the radio and let people call in with their thoughts, opinions etc. You can even post if you would like to join the conversation. edit: in my haste I didn’t…

O Happy Day

The last day. I am 23 weeks pregnant and I have seldom been more distracted. All I was able to think about those last several days was: When can I eat again? What will I eat? What do I want to eat? How long will I get to eat? Absentmindedness abounds. Am forgetting everything except…

home sick.

The end of the school year. It changes the dynamic of everything just enough. We went to the beach for Memorial Day, and I came home with quite the cold. So I am home, posting at 3:30 pm. And I am seeing the dust that has collected in this house after 9 months of 2…