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PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy! If you are looking for Kaylia's official Website please visit KayliaMetcalfeWriter



New quarter, same issues.

Is there some sort of karmic imp that gives you all the best ideas when you don't have time to actually implement any of them?

Maybe it is that it is January and everyone is obsessed with the new... new diet, new daily planner, new goals, new semester, new projects...

Maybe it is the rain.

Maybe it is my brain's perverse delight in sabotaging my best-laid intentions by feeding my natural inclination to procrastinate "you could start this week's reading for class...... but wouldn't it be more fun to start a queer lady zine?" "Sure, the school newsletter needs to be formatted... but hey, your closet could sure use an overhaul!"

Photo from this article that I totally read. 


Ugh

Time to get out the daily To-Do list and set up attainable goals and properly calibrated motivations (ie bribes and rewards).

Get up: Done
Drink Coffee: Done!
Take the kid to school / get the kid from school: Yessir I have done those things!
Have piano tunned: Yup! (Had a very interesting conversation with the tuner as well)
...
umm
Blog!: Hey look, I am doing that now!
...

...


Newsletter format
Email team
Confirm sitter for Wed
Make weekly menu/grocery list
Fold laundry
Finish dishes
Read assignment
Work on BWQ submission

Crud... that's a lot before dinnertime.

Sigh. Ok. Off I go to be /grumble/ productive.

Storm Before The Storm

Y'all I totally forgot to write about this because... well... (persoanl life bbit here) our family had a scary medical emergancy that sort of took over everything for the first half of December and then there was the holidays....

But!

Before all that (a month ago)... The Maifan-San* and I went on a combo birthday trip to LA where we go to eat yummy food and see Mike Duncan in person!

Who is Mike Duncan? Allow me to educate you.
Mike Duncan is the amazing podcast man behind two of my all time favorite podcasts: The History of Rome and Revolutions.

If you have any interest in history or great stories please check out his podcasts.

History of Rome: it is suuuuuuper long... because it is suuuuper in depth and suuuuuper fascinating. I cannot say enough good things about this very comphrensive look at the Rome. Starting with twins fed by a wolf all the way up to when the Empire split, this is a journey of epic porportions all broken up into easily digestable chunks.

Revolutions: The Bristish Revolution. The American Revolution. The French Revolution. The Hatian Revolution The Central American Revolution... SO MANY revolutions and SO MANY interesting stories! Again, bite sized chunks with enough details to give you the story without weighing you down and making you angry.

I wish Mike Duncan could be in charge of all the history classes... I seriously learn so much through his work.

Ok, so the podcasts are great (seriously great) but wait... there's more! He wrote a book.



And yeah... I preordered it... and yeah I am super excited to read it. (Go here and buy it yourself!) 



BUT WAIT... there is Still MORE!



We got to meet him! 

Yep! He gave a talk... he signed our books... and we go to meet him.

It was very very cool.

And yeah... it is pretty nerdy to go hear a historian podcaster talk about Rome as a birthday trip. But that's the sort of nerds we are.

Happy Birthday my love... and Thank You Mike Duncan for the hours and hours of listening and all the knowledge you have given me over the years.

Best birthday Ever!



*My Stud Muffin of a husabnd to any new readers

Happy Yule!

In our home we celebrate Yule.

It is important for us to acknowledge that the nights are long, cold and dark. The days have been getting shorter... as has our patience in this very festive (over stimulating) time of year.

But there is always hope! The darkness cannot win... and just how the story often gets sad and scary before the heroine beats her foe, our season must get dark and cold before the light can return.

So, on this, the longest night, we take a moment to look deep into the darkness.

Hello darkness. Hello cold
I see you
I see fear
And I see loss.
But I know
Your power is fleeting.

Tomorrow brings sun, and more light than today. And for that, we celebrate!

We give gifts at Yule to thank those who stay with us when life gets dark and scary.

So, thank you friends and family. Thank you coworkers of Matthew who helped get him to the hospital when he had his seizure. Thank you neighbor who broke the traffic laws getting me to his side. Thank you friends who cared for Ella. Thank you friends and family who have shouldered the hassle of driving us about. Thank you everyone for your well wishes and support.

As we face the rest of winter we are full of hope. Things will get better. we will continue to adapt as life continues to change.

At Yule we use one candle to light many and we remember that it takes nothing from our light to share it with others.

May your winter nights be full of light and love.

Blessed Yule to all.


Class update

As many of you know, in an effort to be able to charge (more) for my copy editing skills, I have been taking a course through UC San Diego. This course was part 1 (of 4) to obtaining my Copyeditor Certificate. ( might continue on to do more developmental editing... time will tell.

To that end I have been imersing myself in all things grammar for the past few months.

which... sucks.

But is also fascinating.

I am here to tell you that I got an A in my grammar class. Yay me!

Now it is time to read for fun, enjoy the holiday season, and mentally prepare for next quarter!


37!


Happy Birthday to me!

I don't do New Year Resolutions... but birthday goals are definitely my thing.

This year my goal is to finish my certificate, manage my clients in a hyper-organized way, survive Ella's first year of Kinder, learn more Spanish, drop 15 pounds, read more than 40 books, dye my hair a crazy color, make better food choices, watch less TV, keep my office clean, host more dinners, and generally be the best version of myself possible!

Realistically I will do half of that. But goals are important!

I am also going to start dressing the way I want with less worry about being femm enough.

Because. I can.




Denny's Doughnuts, and Doing Good

I don't really believe in Karma with a Capital K.

But I do think that we can affect our environment by our attitude and that ripples of behavior are both very real and hard to quantify.



In that vein, allow me to share a little story from yesterday.

As some of you know, I am in the process of hopefully becoming a platelet donor. Once that process is over, I will write about the how and the why etc, but for now, it is enough to know that I am a regular visitor at my local blood center.



Yesterday there was a bit of confusion as to which blood center I was supposed to go to... and I ended up at the wrong place. I was assured they could get to me in a bit, but the wait was going to be 45 minutes so I opted to spend that wait at a Denny's sipping coffee and eating an English muffin while reading.

Across the restaurant from me were two ladies having breakfast. One of these ladies was telling her companion, and the rest of the restaurant, all about how crappy her life had been, still was, and would forever be.Apparently, society, her ex-husband, her family,... everyone had conspired together to make her life the pits.

At first, I was annoyed. Her anger was distracting and filled the room.

But then I started to hear something in her anger: sadness. At one point she said, "I have no control over any of this, and when I try to take control something bad always happens."

Now, I have no idea if she really had been dealt a crappy hand at life or if she was a perpetual victim. What I did know, as I sat there sipping my coffee with no worry about being able to afford it, in a brand new coat a dear friend had gifted me, on my way to donate blood which I can do because I am lucky enough to be both unafraid of needles and pretty darn healthy due in part to my excellent health insurance, was that she could probably use a win.

So I told the waiter to put their tab on my check. I figured either Angry Lady was planning on paying and she might benefit from a random act of kindness... or, more likely, her long-suffering companion was going to pay, and boy did she deserve to have her burden slightly alleviated.

(side note: the waiter, as he rang me up said, "What a Christian thing to do." To which I replied, "Not a Christian, just a decent person." )

I will never know what effect, if any, my tiny gesture had on either of them.

Interesting to note that at the same time I was paying their bill and trying to get out of the restaurant before getting noticed, my husband was a few blocks over realizing that he didn't have cash at a cash-only doughnut shop where he had stopped for breakfast.

Guess what? A friendly stranger paid for his doughnuts and coffee!



Now, I am not saying that one thing happened because of the other.
I am not saying that good things happen only to good people.

But I am saying that it feels good to be on both ends of the "pay it forward" game. Also, our five year old listened to both stores at the dinner table last night. She was disappointed that none of the doughnuts had made it home, but I think the lesson of kindness both given and received was appreciated as well.

As we head into Thanksgiving, let us give thanks to those who make our lives a little better... and also let us give thanks that we can sometimes be the positive ripple in someone else's life.

Happy Friday!





Nerd Rant!

I have a rant.

Nerd:

When I was a kid, it was an insult. It was cruel. It was mean... and it was intended to be so. Being called a "nerd" was bad.

What was a nerd? There wasn't a super codified definition... but things like ugly clothes (high waisted pants, suspenders, etc) glasses, liking to read, being into learning and not being into sports / clothes / boys / popular things... that is what could get you called a nerd.

Even today, a google search of "nerd" pulls up mostly conventionally unattractive men in bad glasses and/or with bad teeth.



Again, it was a very intentional insult. the point was to hurt your feelings.

Before going further, I just want to say that I understand kids can be asshats. But if you break it down... some of those nerd things are pretty shity things to get made fun of. Oh, you wear glasses.. let's mock you for your limited vision! Oh you have outdated clothes... your parents have outdated senses of fashion or maybe you are wearing hand me downs! HAHAHAHAHA

(tiny rant about glasses... glasses do NOT make you smart, weak, or bookish. They literally ONLY mean your eyes are not 20/20. This is a fact people STILL don't seem to understand.)

Case in point: google image search for "smart girl"... look at how many have on glasses... Good grief.

Also, apparently, smart girls are predominantly young and have brown hair. 


Ugh

Fast forward a bit. I started hearing people say "Well, Bill Gates is a nerd... and he has money!"
But it was still bad to be a nerd... even as us nerds united and shrugged the taunts off.

Fast farther forward.

Apparently, I am still a nerd. I am a book reading science-loving person who likes to learn. I wear glasses.

Whatever. I have made peace with my nerdy ways. I have nerdy friends. Some of us don't wear glasses! Most of us wear nice stylish clothes! We like to learn, we enjoy reading and learning... egads... we are nerds! But we have taken the term back. We are Proud of our nerdy ways... we celebrate it with geeky tee shirts and socks, we go on nerd cruises and have nerd meet up groups. Our tastes impact the media, TV shows, movies, and pop culture.

Nerds rule.

Ahem

This week at Kiddo's school it is Red Ribbon Week where they learn ("learn is loosely defined in this instance) about the evils of drugs. They are encouraged to dress up every day with some sort of bad pun reference to not doing drugs.

"Lei off drugs! Dress Hawaiian!"
"Team up against drugs! Wear a sports jersey!"
"Sock it to drugs! Wear crazy socks!"
etc

Today it was "Too smart for drugs! Dress like a nerd!"

WTF people.

Nerds are smart... it says so right there in your clever little statement. So.. the kids should dress "smart"? how do you dress "smart"?

Oh, no... you want them to dress like a nerd. Ok.

But... the nerds of today come in ALL iterations. We wear dresses and leggings. We wear business suits. We wear track suits. We wear skirts and blouses. We wear jeans. We wear glasses. We don't wear glasses. We carry backpacks or briefcases or satchels or purses big enough for our books or our kindles or our tablets.. or maybe we just have the kindle app on our iPhone. We are ethnically diverse. We are as varied as the rainbow and plenty of us are IN the rainbow if you know what I mean. MANY of us are damn sexy. There was even a Huff Po article about how Nerds are the New Sexy.

There is no such thing as a "classic 2017" nerd.

Which means that the "dress like a nerd" thing is a call back to the time before.. the time of high waists, bow ties, glasses, and getting beat up by the jocks. In short, you are calling back to a horrible time in a lot of people's lives, and not content to simply mock our pain, you are somehow both erasing it and making it into a game... asking the kids to dress up in all the worst stereotypes imaginable. WHEEEE!!!!!!

It's insensitive.
It's cruel.

Can you think of another insulting word that they would have kids dress up as... that wouldn't get a backlash? I'm drawing a blank partly because my feathers are ruffled and partly because in my world insults are things like "you ignorant piece of crap" "you trashcan fire" "you are a racist slimeball"

Dork? Fartknocker? Douche? Hey kids... Keep your body clean and away from drugs! Dress up like a douche!"

(Full disclosure, I would pay to see a bunch of kids dressed up like douches to combat the idea of drugs.)

Little Sally is the second from the left! 


My daughter asked me what a nerd was. I told her about how the word was used and I told her about how it describes almost every adult she knows and loves. Including her daddy who is a scientist.

I told her she could wear whatever she wanted.

She wore a "Future scientist" tee shirt today complete with pic of a girl doing science.



And some douchey kid in her class told her that it didn't count... that she wasn't dressed up like a nerd because she wasn't wearing fake glasses like the others.

She responded that she is a REAL nerd like her mom.. and this kid told her that she wasn't.

Which... hurt her feelings.

y'all.

My kid was sad because she was told she wasn't a nerd.

This whole thing has me so conflicted and upset.

Also.. pretty sure "Lei off drugs, dress Hawaiian" counts as culturally insensitive. Like in a pretty big way.

Ugh Ugh Ugh.

This nerdy mom needs to go lose herself in a good book.

Oh look what just arrived!


I -heart- you, Mike Duncan! 





Last Night In Fresno

I'm feeling pretty emotional right now, but I am going to try to be succinct.

As you probably know, President of the Fresno Unified School District Board of Trustees Brooke Ashjian made problematic statements to the Fresno Bee regarding teaching students about LGBT history.




Ashjian said the district has to follow the law, “but you have kids who are extremely moldable at this stage and if you start telling them that LGBT is OK and that it’s a way of life, well maybe you just swayed the kid to go that way.” And Ashjian said, “it’s so important for parents to teach these Judeo-Christian philosophies.”

When the LGBT Community responded to these statements, calling him out for using his position in authority to malign an entire community, Ashjian went on the offensive calling the LGBT Community the "thought police" and equating them to the Ottoman empire and their systematic genocide of the Armenian people.

(Quick note: there were several hundred people at this meeting)

When THAT drew ire from the LGBT community as well as several pastors and other faith and community leaders (including Armenian pastors), Ashjian went on talk radio and vowed to never resign, wrote emails from his FUSD email account talking about how Christians need to unite, and agreeing with ideas about conversion therapy proponents.

That brings us to last night.

Fact sheet about what happened at the October meeting: (two months after the initial packed house in August).

 - There were maybe fifty to sixty people there. (Fewer as the night went on)

- During open (non-agenda) comment time, members of the community took to the mic to call the LGBT population perverted, dangerous, violent, and disgusting. Other community members pointed out that it was National Coming Out Day. The board seemed unmoved by the irony.

- A resolution was passed proclaiming October Cyber Security Awareness Month. Interesting note, part of this resolution deals with bullying: "... all students should be safe from bullying including Cyber-bullying..."  ALSO interesting, Mr. Ashjian himself has been deposed for his own cyberbullying attacks on a local LGBT organization. The Irony Of All This Went Unnoticed. 

- Then a resolution proclaiming October LGBT History Month was petitioned, read, and accepted.

Record Scratch. Was Mr. Ashjian there for that proclamations?

No, no he was not.

He left the dais so that he wouldn't have to vote on the LGBT resolution. 

Another interesting note: normally the president of the board would sign such a proclamation.

But of course, he did not.

This, to me, was very telling. This goes beyond a man who has a personal opinion. This is a man in a position of leadership allowing his personal feelings to dictate his actions. His lack of a signature, due to his moral stance on LGBT rights and people, is a slap in the face of any argument one might have about the line between personal free speech and doing your damn job of protecting and representing the district.

I mean really. What the hell?

So, yes, we got a proclamation, but as one community member stated later: it is a totally hollow gesture.

 - Then we had the agenda item calling for his removal. Board members talked about free speech, hid behind lack of precedent, pointed out that they could, in fact, do something if they wanted to, made odd comments about people "owning their children," pointed out systemic racism and the irony of celebrating free speech by Ashjian while getting angry about athletes on football fields doing the same thing, called Mr. Ashjian a "good guy", distanced themselves from his comments, called him "brother, called for a cease-fire.
In Other Words: It was a confusing bag of talking points that did nothing to move the conversation along.

 - During the agenda item public comment time we were treated to a few more diatribes about the evils of the LGBT community, but we were, thankfully, also encouraged by some very articulate LGBT supporters. (This is when I talked, I was not articulate, in fact, I cried and my statement is at the end of this post if you want to read it.)

7 - And then the meeting ended with no action taken by the board.

Let me clear: They have every right and ability to call for his removal.
They didn't
They have every right and ability to censure him.
They didn't
They have every right and ability to issue a formal apology on behalf of the board.
They didn't

Mr. Ashjian has never apologized. Instead of attempting to build a bridge with the LGBT community, he has compared us to perpetrators of genocide. 

The board has done nothing to him for this. Nothing.

Despite public outcry..... nothing

An hour before the August meeting


Yes, in December (two months away) they have the option to not vote him in as president again.

But will they?

Based on the number of empty seats in the room last night, they might not bother. Like so many things, this fight might just fade into the cacophony of crap that we have to deal with in this lovely year of 2017. If our community cannot show up and demand action, if we are being out voiced by those that hate us, the impetus for the board to do anything goes away completely.



A half an hour before last nights.
I'm not calling out any single person. I know we all have lives and commitments. I know spending hours in a room with people who hate you is draining and horrible. But I am honestly really disappointed in my community and our allies. Being a social justice warrior online is easy. Showing up, butts in chairs, feet on the ground, that is hard. I get it, everyone can't do everything. But damn it hurt.

Thank you to those that did show up and speak last night... especially the youth. Speaking truth to power is difficult in the best of times. 





My statement.

Hello, my name is Kaylia Metcalfe. I am a parent here in Fresno. I was angry when I got here, but after listening to all this, I am not angry, I'm sad.
My comments are not to you, Mr. President because I don't think you will ever listen to someone like me. This is to the rest of the board.

You see yourselves as good people.
You give to charity
You give your time
You obey the laws and you probably let people go ahead of you in line, sometimes
You see yourselves as good people
You love your family
You say kind things to each other and to your neighbors
I know you vote your conscious
You aren't racists
You aren't bigots
You aren't mean-spirited
You see yourselves as good people
Now it is time for us to see that too
It's time for you to take a stand and prove it
Words matter
Opinions are your own
but words spoken in public places from positions of authority, from our leaders, about our children
are held to a higher standard
Words matter and Mr. Ashjian's words 
Were hurtful
misguided
and dangerous
Words matter
but actions empower.
So
Be empowered.
Do the right thing
Do a good thing and make a censure.
You are good people, I know you are.
Please act like it.