Ethnic Potluck

Kelly kicked my butt this morning for not updating on the Ethnic Potluck.  I’ve been crazy busy and not updating as much as I should, and I will work on doing better! 

 The Ethnic Potluck was great!  Prior to the Potluck itself, there were a bunch of activity tables set up for the kids in the halls.  Hannah Rose had a lot of fun.  She made macaroni necklaces for herself, her mom (who was there with us), and for me!  Mine happened to have a lot of green and orange–I told her it was beautiful and that I loved the Irish colours.  I wore it that day, and it now lives on the China Cabinet door. 

What you really want is pictures, isn’t it?  Here they are:

Here’s Hannah Rose at the beginning of her feast!  There really was a lot of food and a lot of choices!

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 She’s showing off her quesadilla in this next shot…you can see her full plate there.  She ate quite a lot, but she didn’t finish her plate–no surprise with all that food on there!

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Here’s Hannah Rose with her friend N.  He used to be in her class last year, but isn’t this year.  She picked this table to sit at so she could sit near him.

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After the meal, the school had brought in a harpist who played a lot of different songs incorporating stuff from all over the world.

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Here’s Hannah Rose dancing to one of the songs:

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Afterwards, the kids could come up with a parent or teacher and were allowed to strum the harp.  Hannah Rose actually got to strum it twice cause she was so quick on the draw I didn’t get any pics the first time!  The harpist was really nice about that!

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All in all, we had a great day.  Hannah Rose liked her Irish Soda bread, and a million other things as well.

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Holocaust Memorial Center

On Saturday, Chris and I were driving around to see what was close by our house–but places Chris hadn’t really explored because it was further west than our house (which is west of the city he grew up in).  As we were driving around, we saw the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.

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I was absolutely clueless this center was even here (and it was the first freestanding Holocaust Memorial Center in the USA)!  It was, of course, closed.  Being Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, that made sense.  So we noted their hours and decided we would go back the next day.  And we did.

Wow.  There really wasn’t anything in the museum that came as a shock or surprise to me, because I’ve read a lot on the Holocaust.  It’s a period of history that fascinates me.  I’ve often asked myself the question:  Why?  Why is this period of time so interesting to me?  I’m not big on all WWII history.  It’s not that I find the horrors and atrocities fun.  I do not.  In answering this question, I look to my first introduction to the Holocaust.  I was in sixth grade.  My teacher had me read The Diary of Anne Frank.  I was mesmerized by her writings.  I was saddened by her death, and the death of so many of her family members.  I was also inspired by the triumph of human spirit living in her very words.  And while I wouldn’t have phrased it that way in the sixth grade, I think that is what has drawn me to study the Holocaust.  I’m drawn to the triumph of the human spirit.  Suffering with bipolar disorder, I relate to suffering of any kind.  So many people died during the Holocaust…but what I’m drawn to are the stories of those who show me how to live during suffering, those who survive, those who triumph eventually. 

So I read, and I read.  I read about Anne Frank, Corrie TenBoom, Viktor Frankl, Elie Wiesel, Oskar Schlinder, and more. 

Since The Diary of Anne Frank, the Holocaust has been very real to me.  Encountering it as I did in this Memorial Center did not make it any more real–it already was.  But it was powerful seeing so much in one place.  I plan to go back again.  There’s a lot of information there, and I know in the 2 hours we were there, I did not absorb it all.  Cameras weren’t allowed inside, so I couldn’t take pictures.  That seemed right, to me.  However, I did get some pictures of the Center off of their website:  Holocaust Memorial Center

This is what you see shortly after entering the Center.  They have this round room in which is a time-line of Jewish history, and parallels major world events.

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Next you can learn a lot about Jewish history:

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After that you encounter information about WWII, the rise of Hitler, and the rise of the Nazi party:

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From there, you explore the “Final Solution” as the Nazi’s called it:

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After that there is an exhibit on the Post-War, the fate of survivors many of which ended up in Displaced Persons camps, and the rise of the State of Israel:

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Finally, they have an Institute of the Righteous room, where they honour all those who saved, or tried to save at least one Jew. 

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What they have done is amazing!  I definitely think this is a must visit!  One day when Hannah Rose is old enough we’d like to take her there.  And if we’re blessed with any other children, when they are old enough we will take them as well. 

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Daily Wrinkle

“Beyond this day, no thinking person could fail to see what would happen.”

~Oskar Schindler, 1908-1974 

Daily Wrinkle

“I wonder what it means about American literary culture and its transmission when I consider the number of American poets who earn their living teaching creative writing in universities. I’ve ended up doing that myself.”

~Marilyn Hacker, 1942-

Baking the Bread

Today I’m baking Irish Soda Bread.  Hannah Rose is having an Ethnic Potluck at school tomorrow.  I’ll be going (and hopefully getting some good pics) and I’m bringing the Irish Soda Bread of course.  Told Chris that if I weren’t making the Irish Soda Bread, I’d be making something Mexican.  True, there’s not a drop of Mexican blood in me–physically, at any rate.  But with my wonderful Aunt Alice having been Mexican, and my closest cousins being Mexican–I wouldn’t feel like I was “cheating” if I were to make something Mexican!  (And I finally replaced my Tamale Pot this weekend–first time since moving to Michigan that I found one!  Yay!!!)

Should be an interesting day, tomorrow.  I will let y’all know how it goes. 

Daily Wrinkle

“Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.”

~Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941

Beauty vs. Brains

I don’t remember how it first came up this weekend–but Hannah Rose got asked which was more important:  being beautiful or being smart.  She was certain, “Beautiful.” 

She’s four years old.  Only four. 

Even so, she’s bought into one of the biggest myths out there.  We’ve talked about it several times with her since, and we tell her being smart is more important than being beautiful.  We’ve told her how being smart actually makes you more beautiful.  Still she insists that beauty is where it’s at.

I wonder how much of this message she’s gotten from the media and Disney.  I target Disney specifically because she’s so into Disney Princesses and Tinkerbell.  Disney heroines are always beautiful and usually it is their beauty, not their brains, that are highlighted.  Granted, in the movie Mulan you do see a heroine that is more than just beautiful. 

To be fair, I also have to ask: how much of this message has she somehow gotten from us?

In talking to her about this, at one point I started to say how her beauty would one day go away–but then I thought that’s not the message I want to send her.  I don’t want her getting worried about getting older because she would be “less” beautiful.  That and I saw faces of numerous beautiful older women pop in head.  (I think in images, not words….so my brain on that one was bypassing the translation process).  Furthermore, I know that no matter how old she is, she will always be beautiful to me.  Why?  She’s Hannah Rose and I love her.  So I told her I said that wrong.  I told her that her beauty would not go away, but that as she grew her beauty would change.  Which is definitely more than spin–it’s more of a truth that beauty changes than it goes away. 

Still, I’m concerned.  I know there are adults who believe beauty to be more important than brains.  I’m not concerned because Hannah Rose believes something different than I do.  I’m concerned because I know how much damage that particular belief can cause.  I don’t want her to grow up and pursue this illusive idea of beauty at the cost of everything–including and especially her health. 

I want her to know that she is beautiful, but also smart, funny, charming, generous, and loving.  I want her to know that being beautiful is something that truly comes from the inside.  I’ve seen the most gorgeous people on the planet turn into the most unattractive in a moment because of their personalities and what lies within.  I’ve seen it work the other way around, as well.

I want these things for her–and I’m unsure of how to give them to her.  We tell her she is pretty and beautiful, because every little girl needs to hear that growing up.  And she is.  We tell her she is smart, and she is.  I think it’s just going to take some time…time telling her about how being smart is more important than being beautiful and time to find examples of this that she can relate to.  Perhaps maybe even finding a book about it.  (And if I can’t find one-writing one!)

MY Family

Hannah Rose tells me often that she is so glad that I’m part of her family now.

However, when I say I love my family–she insists it’s not my family, it’s HER family.  Tried explaining to her that her family and my family are the same.  She refuses.  No.  “It’s MY family,” is her reply! 

~sigh~  Perhaps Xaxu really is her brother as she says…after all, this is something he would say!  (Cause everything belongs to Xaxu, including us–just ask him!)

Stickers for Love

Hannah Rose was passing out stickers last night.  Chris thought he’d be funny and asked if he got his sticker for going potty by himself (Hannah Rose recently had a chart where she got stickers for going potty by herself).  She said no!  Thought he was silly and told us we got stickers for falling in love with each other.

Daily Wrinkle

“Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

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