Sunday, August 29, 2010

About 25% of 5-year-olds in the U.S. are Hispanic

According to this article, this year's class of kindergarteners are, as a group, about 53% white, down from 59% five years ago, while Hispanic students are up from 19% in 2000 to 25% this year, outnumbering black students of the same age by almost 2 to 1.

This belongs on my blog for two reasons:

1) The increase in the population of Latinos in the United States is a huge factor in some of the work Notre Dame is doing right now, and especially in what we're doing with the ACE Academies.  Combine the present national high school graduation rate for Latino students (less than 50%, depending on exactly who you ask) with the number of Latino students in the nation, and it doesn't take much specialized knowledge to guess what unfortunate fruits that coupling will eventually bear.

2) The article made me laugh out loud.  I'm quite sure it was unintentional and that the writer bears no malice toward Latinos.  Nonetheless, some of the phrasing made it sound like we're somewhat similar to a hoard of locusts, or we're carefully coordinating a slow invasion.  My favorite example (emphasis mine):
In addition, more Hispanic children are likely because the number of Hispanic girls entering childbearing years is up more than 30% this decade, Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute says. "It's only the beginning."
Hide your children!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

**EDIT:  Dear AT&T text messaging: Thanks for making my hilarious story via text message into truncated nonsense.  You're great.

Dear Readers: I've edited the story.  It should make sense now.**

Fish: I think I'll buy this shirt.
Me: It's cute, but it looks big.
F: Yeah, but all the smalls have things like I love my grandma and teddy bears and stuff.
Me: Well, don't you love your grandma?
F (emphatically): Sure, but that's not what Vegas is all about!  Unless you're talking about gambling grannies carrying teddy bears.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Funny and Kinda True

Fr. Joe and I met about a year and a half ago when I went to him for confession at an ACE retreat, saw he was wearing a Salesian pin, and spent twenty minutes talking about how much we love the sisters before we even got to my confession.  He was taught by them as a child and has stayed part of the family ever since (once a Salesian, always a Salesian!), so he knows most of the sisters I know.  Now that we work together, he and I will not uncommonly have sessions consisting mostly of gushing about the Salesians.  He recently returned from a trip to Mexico and then to the first profession of vows for the new Salesian sisters.

Fr. Joe:
 Wouldn't it be great to take a bunch of ACE people down to Mexico City?  Just to learn about Mexico and the people and how it all affects what we do here.
Me: Yeah!  I mean, we've got this whole campaign that kinda centers on that.  Let me help you with that if it happens.
Fr. Joe: I'm going to think about that.  It's not very expensive, either.
Me: And I bet you could get a benefactor to help fund it, or even cover the whole thing.
Fr. Joe: It's very possible.

(He leaves, then pops his head back in my door as he returns to his office, wearing a mischievous grin.)

Fr. Joe: You know, I can tell you're loosing your Salesian roots.  The sisters would have said, "Maybe we can have a bake sale to help raise the money".  You say, "Just get a benefactor!"  That's Notre Dame talking.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I  got a package in the mail today.

It was from my mom.  This is the only vanilla I have ever, in the history of my recollection, seen in our cupboard at home.  There is no other kind.  My Mama is no slouch at cooking, so generally, if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me.  She's also already sent me a set of brand new pots and pans, also the kind she uses and swears by.

And I mean that literally.  If you wanted to make sure you were getting my mom's good word on something, pull our her red enamel skillet.

Like I said, she's no culinary novice, which is what made the other item in this package worth more than the shiny new pots.  Pirate's Pantry was probably the source of more of my meals growing up than any other single volume. 

These are south Louisiana family recipes, which is synonymous with "delectable".


It was a gift to my dad when they were courting.

And now it's mine.

This is my kind of cookbook.  This is 90% of everything good I've ever eaten.  The book itself is a memory.  The contents could be a family history.

Mama says you can tell which pages have the best recipes because they're covered in food stains.

This one has taken the place of a birthday cake for me for at least the last five years.

Today was a good mail day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hear Me Roar

Last Saturday, my apartment looked like this.  Later that day, through the generosity of my (now former) roommate and the donated labor of his summer roommates, I added a couch to the middle of my then expansive living space.

I carried almost everything else in solo.  Every box from my car and each piece of furniture, basically every scrap of material possession in this place, was carried in by my scrawny little arms.  Before that, I packed the entire contents of my bedroom and classroom in Brownsville in my Corolla with my own two hands and my own Target-sandaled feet.

Not only that, but I built three of the furniture pieces with my black and yellow tools.  I sweat and I slaved and I tasted the fruits of industry - and they were sweet, my friends.

Less than a week after moving in, I had unpacked every last box and placed every last item.  I'm out-pacing Rome by a long shot, and I even gave the Lord a run for his money.  And now, a week and a day later, my apartment looks like this:

And I did all of these things by myself.  And what is more, I did somewhere between 60-75% of these things in a skirt. I defy any man to make the same claim.

And so, I claim the voice of the speaker in this ballad as my own, and I stand on my duck-crap covered patio, stand tall and dehydrated, and proclaim in an unwavering voice, "I am woman!  See me build a table."