Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Breaking Hiatus

I've been on a blogging hiatus. Too much going on, most of it I can't blog about because it's grindingly mundane or just too damn personal to be spreading all over the internet, especially in light of the sorts of people who have been looking me up in recent weeks.

I may take the time to blog some recipes again, but they'll be without photo support because Kate brought my camera to school with her (with my permission) and someone stole it. The little assholes also stole her iPod, and we have no recourse because the school just says she's not supposed to have those things at school anyway. I guess that's true but since they rearranged the school bus routes she now spends up to half an hour more on the bus than she used to and it now takes her almost an hour to get home (whereas it takes about 10 minutes for me to drive to the school, in traffic even) and it seems unfair to tell her she's not allowed to listen to music to block out the little hoodlums-in-training while they scream and yell out the windows that passersby are "whores" or "gay" and other behaviors that are technically not allowed on the bus (and are grounds for having your bus privileges suspended) but no one does anything about.

In my last post I said I wouldn't mention Orca school fundraising again but I'm going back on that, just briefly. Since I am also of a mind to do less consumeristic giving and more charitable and uplifting giving this season, I'm passing this along for any like-minded readers.

Orca K-8 is partnering with the nonprofit organization Global Goods Partners (GGP) to offer beautiful handmade products- handspun silk scarves, home accessories and gifts for special occasions, - that are produced by women artisans in Africa, Asia, and Latin America according to fair trade principles.

From now through December 15th, 30% of each sale we make goes directly to support our school (20% thereafter). The remaining proceeds are invested in the community based organizations that partner with GGP to support advances in health care, education, and other social and economic programs within these communities. To make a purchase count for our school, please select "ORCA" from the drop down list on the home page under "Shop for a School or Nonprofit". You can then click on "Shop for Change" to continue browsing and shopping, knowing that you are benefiting Orca K-8.

I've already been doing some of my planning for Christmas gifts, shopping through The Hunger Site and Heifer International. The items available from Global Goods Partners may not be to everyone's taste (I'm pretty sure the redneck cowboy side of the family would not be interested in Nelson Mandela dolls) but I know some tweens who would definitely dig some zebra keychains, or orange peel treasure boxes in their Christmas stockings.

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Kate in the Seattle PI

Last April I described how I learned about Kate's activism in her school, petitioning the school district about the school lunches and basically being a ringleader for a nutrition revolt.

Yesterday there was a nutrition committee open meeting during the school day that she attended. We had company last night for dinner and gaming so I didn't have a chance to ask her how it went. Today she came home and informed me that she'd been quoted in the paper! The Seattle P-I covered the kids' efforts to get better food at lunch and one of the students quoted in the piece was Kate:
"You get more servings now, so we're not as hungry, and I think it's just plain better," said sixth-grader Katherine Frein, who said the cafeteria still runs out of some choices by the time she gets to lunch. "I'd like more variety."

She tells me there were photographers there but for the second year in a row the school believes that I've not given my permission for Kate to be photographed (which I'm pretty certain is not true, since I've signed the papers each year when they've come home in the student welcome packets) but there are no photos with the online article anyway. I haven't seen the print paper.

Some of the nutrition concerns were addressed with the move to the new school building, which has a proper cafeteria and can allow for food prep instead of prepackaged meals. Other items (like the organic salad bar that was popular with a small-but-very-vocal minority of parents and students) were deemed not practical to continue. Still, as another student noted, the kids are learning to organize themselves and strive for solutions rather than just grumble amongst themselves about how they're unhappy.

You go, Orca kids!

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Goodbye Orca at Columbia

Orca Mural 26
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
Today was the last day students will be at Orca at Columbia. Our award-winning student gardens will make way for portable classrooms as our students are relocated to a new school and a different school program moves into Orca's building. I tried to capture the gardens, the murals, and the students celebrating the end of their year (and all the years Orca has been here).

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Kung Fu Jackson

Tonight was the performance of Kung Fu Jackson by Orca school's resident playwright and Star Wars-loving teacher Donte Felder. Donte is currently teaching 5th graders (as is my daughter's main classroom teacher, the outstanding Katherine Law) and both he and Katherine will be moving up along with the fifth grade students when Orca adds its sixth grade curriculum next year.

Kung Fu Jackson was an ambitious undertaking for a grade school play. The kids learned mock fighting and real martial arts moves. There were several dance numbers that involved large groups of students. There were ten acts and an intermission. I was not sure what to expect from the kids but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. There were plenty of jokes for the parents (though at times I swear I was the only one laughing, I was laughing genuinely and out loud) and unabashed episodes of bathroom humor for the kids. The performers were hilarious, both during scripted humor and unscripted moments.

This year's Orca performances have thoroughly erased the psychological trauma of the infamous "Cranes over Hiroshima" holiday performance from Kate's Kindergarten year. I'm actually looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the us next year and am very glad Donte will be joining Ms. Katherine to team-teach the new sixth grade program.

I realized the other day that the SIFF has less than 10 days left and I hadn't seen a single movie so this afternoon I snuck out and caught my first, a sparsely attended matinee showing of While Palms, an introspective but enjoyable enough film about a Hungarian gymnast-turned-coach. The Seattle Weekly reviews it here and was absolutely correct about it. If nothing else (and truly, there's much more to the film, no worries) it was worth it just to see real-life athlete Zoltán Miklós Hadju strutting his stuff and flexing his impressive muscles time and again during the many scenes of competition and training. Tomorrow Kate and I are catching Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves at SIFF and then it's off to the Family Fun Center for her make-up birthday party (just in time for her half-birthday). She couldn't be more excited and a lot of very nice kids are joining us. This school year is shaping up to end very nicely. I'm so pleased.

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Orca Plant Sale

Yesterday was the Orca school plant sale. All year students at Orca participate in the Orca garden, helping to plant seeds, nurture seedlings, and contribute in whatever way they can (artistic cement stepping stones, painted bird houses, driftwood mobiles, you name it) to projects that culminate with the annual plant sale. This is a huge fund-raiser for the school, which helps support the programs Orca families value so much. I've been waiting for the plant sale to see what I could get there before starting on my re-beautification project in my yard.

The plant sale seemed to have a great turnout. The weather was good (sunny if just a little cool) and in addition to the plant and garden offerings, there was a band, a stand run by the Nutrition committee selling foods (to benefit Orca's before- and after-school care program), a stand selling Orca t-shirts and someone selling jewelry (presumably for another fund-raising program, though I don't do dangly earrings so I didn't stop to look).

I bought a gorgeous painted wooden planter box filled with colorful flowers, several types of tomatoes, a "pasta bag" which was parsley, basil, some onion seeds, tomatoes in a reusable shopping bag from PCC Market, some cucumbers, some purple basil, a few other random seedlings, a sweet little birdhouse painted by an Orca student, and a large birdhouse mounted on a pole (that I hope will be attractive to the birds who keep trying to nest in my laundry room vent).

For my Mother's Day present to myself (last year it was to replace my microwave) I decided to sign us up for a CSA. This is something I've considered several times over the years but this year I really feel we're in a good position to really make proper use of such a subscription. I have no serious travel scheduled between now and August, so I signed us up for 10 weeks of whatever bounty is abundant. If it works out as I hope it does, I'll extend us through July and take a hiatus during August (when the crazy travel begins again).

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Many Cultures (of Dissent), One World

Last night was MCOW (Many Cultures, One World) night at Kate's school. Kate's classroom was Brazil and the kids made "Carnival" masks, had a Capoeira demonstration and a table full of Brazilian food. One over-achieving family had feijoada brought in from a restaurant. There was, as always with these events, rice everywhere. Every culture has rice, which is always Kate's favorite part. Other classrooms were Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, "the lunar year countries", and several others I never made it to. My favorite this year, though, was the 2nd grade room that was merely the "Culture of Dissent".

I made it to the Culture of Dissent room as it was being hurriedly cleaned up, so I didn't get to see what kinds of foods and "cultural items" were laid out. The teacher wasn't in the room at the time, just the room parents. One project on the bulletin board was an essay about social divisions, labels like "hero" versus "dissenter", the power of the police, and a rant about water as a right versus a commodity and Bolivia's water revolt. I didn't have time to read the whole multi-page essay because at that point the principle came into the room and started talking with the parents about how this teacher had been wanting to do Culture of Dissent every year and he'd been to distracted with the K-8 transition and the physical relocation of the school next year to stop her from doing it this time.

My very favorite part of the Culture of Dissent, perhaps even more than the teacher engaging in activist dissent against the principle to even do it, was the display of the food for "dissent". Loaves of cheap white bread and jugs of water, under a sign talking about how bread and water being food for prisoners. Best MCOW night ever!

I also found out that my daughter is starting a petition to the school district to get better food for school lunches. After kids have allegedly bitten into undercooked hamburgers, found a hair clip in their brownies, and been served reheated leftovers multiple days in a row, the kids have decided they've had enough. They're bringing the situation to the school board (or whoever "They" are who are in charge) and threatening a lunch boycott if better food is not served. If unsatisfied, the kids are threatening to go to the press. Aside from mentioning to me that she really didn't like some of the food served at the school and that the kids found it gross and downright offensive, Kate never brought this up with me. I'm generally pretty happy staying out of the politics at the school and I have very little sympathy for the people who have to have multiple, angry community meetings because their little discipline cases necessitated that the school adopt a detention program for bad conduct. Perfectly happy "missing" all those political dramas, thanks. But it also leads me to find out things like my daughter is the ring leader of a nutritional food revolt.

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Man Gunned Down Outside Seattle Restaurant

She came home and told me about hearing shots, being herded back into the school, seeing the Kiro News helicopter circling the area... I tried to be calm, told her it was probably a misunderstanding, not a dangerous situation, yadda yadda... and I hope I preserved her sense of calm and peace but OH MY FUCKING GOD.


Ok, I'm ok now...

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