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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Blank Page Writing Workshops

I am so excited to launch my online writing workshops called, The Blank Page Writing Workshops!

Go to to check them out!

It has been a couple months now of dreaming and arranging, and designing and brainstorming and finally the initial blocks are falling into place.

Our first workshop is beginning this weekend, the second is slated to start May 8th. Doing this sort of thing is a dream come true for me. I never would have imagined in college that it would have been possible to be a mom, teach and pursue writing in this way. I love being a part of the writing process so much, whether it is my own or other peoples!

If you enjoy writing or know anyone else who loves writing please pass my link along to them!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Like a Big Rock in a Stream

The other night, I sat in our living room and listened to the families on the other side of the wall coming to fetch their students home for Spring Break. The language I heard the families speaking out in the foyer and on the sidewalk was nearly exclusively Spanish, and I've just come to take this for granted.

I hear Spanish all the time, not just in our hallways between students, but out in town, in the super market, at the library, out at the park. Spanish is a gentle thriving current that pulses through every part of Los Angeles, diving and resurfacing in public places.

When we first moved to LA, I loved hearing different languages spoken at nearly every corner. Just the other day at the park a man barked out a middle eastern dialect to his kids as they chased after a frisbee. Every Monday I sit in the house of my Albanian friend and listen to her croon pet names to her husband and children in the oldest language in the world.

The sound of a different language permeating every crevice of my life here in LA was an exciting reminder that I lived in a vibrant city full of diversity. But over the past seven years, I've just sort of gotten, well -- used to it. My brain stopped registering all the different pronunciations and accents. The languages have become an inconsequential part of my days.

Except for this particular night, when the families were coming and going, the hinges of the large glass doors banging shut. For some reason, I came up out of my book like a diver coming up for oxegyn and stopped and listened again with new ears to the rattle and beat of that familiar language.

"Isn't it amazing?" I asked Dwayne.


"Hearing another language right outside our door?"

He didn't respond. He has grown accustomed to it to.

"I mean, shouldn't I speak this language too?" I said putting my book down. "It's right outside my door!"

Dwayne and I shop at the local markets in Azusa and so often I feel like a great big rock lodged in the middle of the creek. All around me the workers and shoppers are speaking Spanish, but I wont because I'm too embarrassed. I mean sure they accommodate me, but still I get irritated with myself. I don't like making everyone meet me on my terms.

Sure the water will bend and move around the boulder, but don't I have some sort of obligation to listen and understand it's liquid voice?

Today Noelle and I went to the park. We put our stuff down on a picnic bench next to a stroller. I saw an abuela standing on the side of the park watching her nieto. She glanced over at us and I knew we were sharing the bench. After a little while she came over, sat down beside me, and with the comfort and ease of a friend said,

"Cuantos anos tiene su hija?"

I turned toward her and decided it was time to pull up my heavy stoney butt and dive into the current, no matter how much I might splutter and sink."

"Dos anos," I said. Then added, "Dos y medios anos."

She looked up at me. I recognized a hint of gratitude in her smile, and the current between us pattered on.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Getting Changed

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! The Calvary has come. My mom and dad hit LA yesterday and my life has been pure bliss since! There is nothing like two adoring grandparents to relieve a mom who is husband-less for a week.

Today I got to spend some extra time grading. For reasons that are inexplicable to me - truly I don't know why I do these things to myself - I arranged the syllabi for both my classes so that three major assignments came in this weekend. So I am swamped. Or I should say, I WAS swamped, until my mom and dad took Noelle for six hours today and let me tuck myself into one of the study cubicles in the Library across the street.

I hacked my way through half of the grading and am feeling exaltant this evening. Relieved.

To celebrate the arrival of Grandma, all the ladies (Noelle, Mom and I) decided to go shopping before dinner. We scooted into one of my favorite stores and for the second time today I tucked myself away in a little cubicle but this time to try on clothes. What fun.

We let Noelle run around the clean, well-lit, and empty dressing room while I got changed. After watching me try on a few pieces of clothing Noelle ducked her head under the door of my changing stall and said, "I gone change too momma."

"Okay sweetie," I cooed, thinking to myself, How cute! What a doll I have. She wants to pretend to do what I'm doing.

I heard the door of the stall next door shut, then open a minute later.

Noelle's sweet little face appeared under my door again.

"Momma, I all change!"

I looked down and found her naked as the day she was born.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Butterflies In My Stomach!

Well, it's big times in the Taylor household this week. At 3:30 this morning Dwayne snuck out of the room and flipped on the hall light in order to get ready to go to the airport. At 3:47 he came back and gave me a kiss whispering, "I'll call you when I get there."

At 6:30 I got a text saying, "I'm on the plane and ready to go."

In approximately five or six hours he'll land at Chicago's O'Hare airport with ten of his classmates from the CCSD program at APU. They're all off to NASPA, the national Student Development conference where schools from across the country, and SD professionals from equal distances come together to find each other.

These last three weeks have been a whirlwind of exciting news. After casting out 16 resumes Dwayne waited to see which schools would bite, and ask to interview him at NASPA. He left this morning with ten interviews lined up for this week, two initial phone interviews already done. Both successful.

It feels like we've been on the up tic of a roller coaster. The anticipation has been building with each new confirmation that schools from Seattle to Boston are interested in Dwayne's resume.

We spent the weekend bouncing from men's department to men's department trying find the right combinations of ties and shirts, and sweater vests. He'll spend this week courting, and wooing from conference rooms to elevators.

And when it's all said and done, we will wait to see which schools are left, which offers stand, and from there, the on-site interviews begin...