Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mind just blown.

Ok, so...listening to NPR is one of my favorite pastimes.... I know what you're thinking... However, they reveal the most interesting FACTS ever.  Just this past week, they were talking about the new slavery exhibit on display at the American History Museum (haven't been yet.. but thinking about getting to it sometime soon).  The exhibit was originally on display at the Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Charlottesville, VA. (haven't been there since the 7th grade even though I go to c-ville regularly). The Monticello had been notorious for not exhibiting anything about slavery until the last 15 or 20 years, even though it was definitely part of it's history, and the Jefferson family history.

The exhibit brought up a huge discussion about good ol' enlightened TJ.  We all know his history.  Although educated and "enlightened", father of constitution, and the poster child for inalienable rights (apparently only white men at the time),  he actually DID own slaves, he didn't free most of them, and fathered 6 children by having a continuous (seemingly consensual) relationship with a slave named Sally Hemings.  He never took responsibility for that part of the family, and his kids actually were servants to him.

So this is where the interesting fact comes in.

Thomas Jefferson was married to a woman named Martha.  Martha's dad was an attorney, slave trader and an exporter in Virginia.  Her mother's was a daughter of a planter (tobacco maybe) and her dowry consisted of  her personal slaves, which included a woman named Betty Hemings.   As part of the marriage contract the slaves were to remain property of her mom's side of the family.

After Martha's mother died, her father took Betty Hemings as a concubine and fathered 6 children.  They were born into slavery, and they were actually 1/2 siblings of Martha!  And 3/4 European!  One of those children was Sally Hemings...

When Martha's father died, Martha was married to Jefferson, and since men controlled "property", those slaves came to the Monicello.  Martha died after being married to Jefferson for 11 years, and soon after Jefferson began a relationship with Sally Hemings, Martha's half sister.

Isn't that crazy?  I had never even thought that!  I had never even assumed that Sally was an actual family member to Martha.  It just blows my mind how it's so interconnected.

According to what I've heard and read, all the Hemings family members had privileged positions at Monticello, and they were trained as domestic servants, artisans, and chefs.   Jefferson freed all of Sally Hemings' children, and a few of them entered white society as free adults (I don't know if Sally was freed).
  A while back the descendants of Jefferson (Sally's too) appeared on the Oprah show, and I'm still looking for footage.  Apparently it didn't go well.  The NPR report also talked about how the Jefferson estate has never officially accepted all of this, even though teh DNA is there. 

Anywho- it actually makes me want to go back to Monticello and see it again through adult eyes.  In fact, I feel that way about a lot of things.  I need to go back and investigate, instead of just being an observer. History is such an important subject for all of us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Well, it's mid February, it's about time for a little bitterness.  Don't you think?  I mean it's supposed to be cold, grey, cloudy, snowy, and icy.  But the bitterness isn't in the weather this year.  It's burning inside me at this very moment.  I keep trying to let go, but it's still harboring inside me.  It's sunny and cold outside, but I need that sun to melt the bitterness in my own heart. Not very yogic.....

Here's what happened.  For almost a year now I've been working on the Creative Connection Art/Yoga Program.  I've found some success this year (and I must not forget those successes).  I gained permission to provide this program to my students after school, I gained a trained yoga volunteer for the program, I started yoga teacher training myself, I even gained a Donor's Choose Grant to get yoga mats and other supplies.

The next step came to get a grant.  A bigger grant.  A $5000 grant to help fund the program, gain other supplies, gain another volunteer, and maybe even get a little stipend for myself for all the money,training, and time I've put forth.  The grant was to come from the district! WOW!!! What a thought?!  The school disrict actually providing opportunity for the MOST disadvantaged students with an amazing, innovative program.  So--- I applied. 

Didn't get it.  No mention of why, no mention of what I could do better, no parital funding.. NOTHING! My principal wasn't even notified.  I had to tell him.

That's why I'm bitter.  To lose that bitter taste and to gain something positive from this experience I decided to write "Dream Fund" committee a letter.  I am asking them to tell me why I didn't get it.  Could it have been a stupid mistake?  A clerical error?  OR what? Or why not give me half the money, a quarter? Something?? Is it because I'm not really "in" the district and I need to "know" someone on the committee?  WHAT?

Argh, what is even worse is that it pretty much ruined my weekend.  I am sad to say it got to me.  It pretty much sat within me the whole weekend and I just couldn't let it go.  I felt so defeated.  It has been something that I've pretty much poured my whole life into.  To get a rejection that I thought was cold and formal really just hurt.  I took it personally.

It's time to pick up where I've left off.  Move on from this, and learn from it.  Stay committed to what my goal is... Providing an innovative program to bring self awareness and creativity to my students, and others!

I am going to keep trying. I'm going to keep doing. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Strange weather

The last few days have been super warm for the season.  It's been driving me a little crazy, but at the same time I'm trying to remind myself to enjoy it.  This rare weather hiccup is nice! It really is.  Not wearing a jacket, walking the dog on long walks.  Seeing the SUN!!! It's great.  I'm sure we'll get hit with some major weather later.  I'm hoping for at least one snow day, but we'll see.