Just One Person From Around the World: Redwood City, California

This Photo Challenge is courtesy of ThatTravelLadyInHerShoes:

I have stopped watching the news….I have dropped all social media, except for my blog, which I try to keep to positive vibes…. there are a lot of folks in the world, who are everyday folks, just trying to provide food and shelter and love……….they are trying to make a living…….keep their kids educated and basically just take care of their families, without an agenda.  Me too. I think there is more of us…. Just trying to live our lives….. So, I would like to take the time to focus on one person a week to bring us together, to celebrate ordinary folks.

Feel free to join Just One Person From Around the World  by creating your own post and then share your link in the comments! Also, add the tag JUST ONE PERSON FROM AROUND THE WORLD to your post so it is easier for me to find! Thank You!

The Border

Whenever there is talk about “the border”, it is always the southern border, never the one we share with Canada.

The Economist’s take:

  • In the short term, Mr. Biden cannot change the dire circumstances that are propelling Central Americans, Mexicans and others from trying to set foot on American soil, but he can easily alter the signals he sends. His administration has at times sounded like a shy host who is too polite to kick out hungry gate-crashers. “We are not saying ‘Don’t come.’ We are saying ‘Don’t come now,’ was the excessively mild recent message to potential migrants from the secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas. On March 16th, Mr. Biden sought to dispel any ambiguity: “I can say quite clearly: don’t come over,” he told ABC News. He needs to do more to impose clarity and control. — 20 March 2021

After Parkland

WILL WE EVER LEARN?

March for Our Lives, March 2108: Courthouse Square, Redwood City, California:

This generation of kids has been through the wringer. How many of them, self wonders, had to start college on zoom?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Personal Bookshelf: Eman Lacaba

He was from my school.

A poet.

Took to the mountains, joined the rebels.

Was shot — “salvaged” is what they called it back then.

The military says they did it in self-defense.

I still remember the whispers: “Did you hear? Eman Lacaba was shot!”

His funeral mass was held in my school.

Legend.

After the Oil Spill: Kingu

Kingu was forced to swim through an oil slick to get to his mother, a few chapters back.

Kingu has never been the same since the oil incident in the spring. His urine has a funny smell. He is always hungry, but he tires quickly, even though he is in fair physical condition.

Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Fragile Arctic, by James Raffan, Chapter 8 (“Independence”)

SPOILER ALERT

A few pages later, the family of three encounters a pod of orcas. The mother and son “dive deeper to swim away from the whales.” But the female, Singu, whose body mass isn’t as great, is buffeted and the whales attack again and again, having observed that Singu is the weakest of the three. Somehow, she is separated from her mother and brother, and a smack from a whale fin knocks her unconscious. Nanu dives again and again, trying to nudge her unconscious cub to the surface. But Singu is unresponsive and sinks like a stone.

Mother and son swim on.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Oil Spill: ICE WALKER, pp. 79 – 80

Author James Raffan has named Nanu’s cubs: the male is Kingu, the female is Sivu. After feasting on a seal on an ice floe, the family heads back for shore. After three hours of swimming:

Kingu is tiring and heading for his mother. His face is still white but his back is now streaked black, and he is leaving threads of oil in the water as he makes his way toward them. He, too, is cold and getting colder. The sight, the smell, the sound of her approaching cub is unlike anything Nanu has ever seen. By the time she is able to sniff land, she has two sodden cubs taking turns clinging to her back for even a moment of warmth.

After eleven hours of swimming, Nanu’s feet touch the tidal mud in several feet of water. The last obstacle is not the walk to shore, however — it is a wall of landfast ice that has remained on shore while the rest of the ice was blown out to sea. The cubs have survived more than twenty-five miles of open sea, but they lack the energy to clamber up to safety.

Nanu grabs them one at a time and struggles to set them up on the ice barrier. Kingu is now covered with oil and shivering. Sivu is shivering, too. Nanu does her best to bring them close so that they can benefit from her warmth and nurse, but neither has energy to eat. They fall asleep in their mother’s embrace on the ice. Nanu frantically licks at Kingu to try to clean the oil from his fur.

Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Fragile Arctic, by James Raffan, Chapter 6 (“Learning”)

About Nanu’s unceasing effort: The only way she knows to get the oil off her cub’s fur is by licking. Which means that she herself ingests petroleum.

p. 88: “Kingu shivers unusually, particularly at night, because the oil has destroyed the loft in his fur.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Remembering Parkland and March For Our Lives

14 students and three teachers probably woke up that Valentine’s Day thinking of chocolates and Valentine cards. Not a single one knowing they’d never get out of that day.

And now we have a person in Congress who’s saying it never happened. And nothing happens to her, the Truth Denier. She even stalks one of the teen-age survivors. Stalks him as he’s leaving class, yells at him as he’s walking along.

An adult is yelling at a teen-ager who survived a school massacre. And gets herself ELECTED TO CONGRESS. What is wrong with this picture?

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Welcome, Year of the Ox!

So what if Donald Trump got acquitted AGAIN, and Mitch gave the most self-serving speech in the history of self-serving speeches (It’s all Donald’s fault, see? Don’t blame ANY of this on me or the Republican Party!) It’s the beginning of a new Lunar Calendar!

People born in the Year of the Ox are “honest and sincere and don’t want to be the centre of attention nor look for praise. Their recognition comes from their diligent, hard work. They are logical thinkers, too, and so make great world leaders, just what the world needs right now!” (Thank you, Atlantis Bookshop in London for this description!)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Editor’s Note, ms. aligned 3

There’s still almost an hour before the game begins, so self can squeeze in a few more things. Self’s quote of the day is from Rebecca Thomas, Editor of ms. aligned 3: women writing about men. (Published by El Leon Literary Arts of Berkeley and Manoa Books)

For the past nine years, I have been teaching composition at West Virginia University. I primarily teach freshmen, and one of their first papers is a narrative. In so many of the narratives, students — of all genders — explore issues connected to masculinity, in particular the effects of toxic masculinity. I receive papers about abusive relationships in high school, peer pressure to act a certain way, loneliness in emotionally connecting with peers, and the very real risk and fallout from coming out. My students are young, so it’s natural that they write about their childhood, the childhood moments where they begin to construct their identity. In our class discussions and in their reflections, I see so many grappling with the concept of masculinity. How did it shape their life? How will it shape their life as they journey into adulthood?

In this Me Too era, it’s hard not to think about masculinity and how it can be toxic. Working on a college campus, I know that many of my students have been assaulted. I know that many of them are trying to find the space to talk about it, and I know that many of them are starting to test the waters of self-acceptance, to see if it’s safe to be who they are. Since I am the mother of two young boys, toxic masculinity is something that I have to consider constantly: how do we raise our children in this environment? What conversations do I need to have with my kids?

Contributors to ms. aligned 3, and series editor Pat Matsueda, will be on-hand at an online event hosted by Redwood City Library. Register here.

More Melancholia: High as the Waters Rise, p. 256 (Not a Spoiler)

He sat like that for a long time and felt the air getting cooler, and it made him think of Cantarell, of the gigantic fields, which stopped yielding, little by little. Statfjour, even Brent dwindled, in the North Sea. That someone had taken the trouble to name them all, and that they were now withering, petals and stamens collapsing to leave huge hollow spaces. At some point all that came up was sand and water. And that there was only water over them. That they’d take away the rigs. No trace, like none of it had ever existed.

The North Sea, Petrow had said, is nothing compared to what they’re planning now.

This is an environmental novel, make no mistake. Self is so glad she read it.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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