Monthly Archives: April 2014

Gender Inequality at Universities

I’m 39. I can’t pull all nighters like I did when I was 20.

In my office we talk a lot about equality and inequality and feminism. This morning at 3:15 when I notified my professor that my part of the project was complete ( a nearly six-hour straight design and implementation) I realized that he had hoped that I would just take it and not complain.

We’re on day 3 of week 6 in our 10 week Spring Quarter. One of the two classes I’m taking this quarter requires us to do everything in teams. The theory behind it is so that we get some real world experience working with others. What SCAD has once again failed to realize is that most of their e-learners are working professionals who have experience working with teams – we do it every single day.

In the beginning I told my professor that this quarter I had several after work programs that would need me to work from 8 a.m. in the morning to around 9 p.m. at night. I gave him the date and the name of each event so he would know. I told him that I did not want to be a Team Leader because of my crazy schedule. We even had a long instant messaging chat about it where I explained again that I work full-time, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and could not do homework during my working hours; and gave him my special dates list again.

A day later I found out that I was the Team Leader for my team of three. Are you kidding me? This should have sent a red flag because I looked at other teams, teams of 5 members, one team made up of nothing but working professionals like me who I asked to work with because I knew we’d have similar schedules and realized that my team was not at all what my professor and I discussed the night before.

By week 3, my teammate J (another woman, a young woman with a chronic illness) and I had enough of our other teammate, Big Ego Boy (BEB). She and I pow wowed and decided that we would invoke the ability to fire one of our teammates. The curriculum for this course is threaded with “you better do well or your team will fire you!” rhetoric. I told the professor about our issues with BEB; and being the nice sweet woman I said he was a good designer and could our professor help him so we could continue working together. Professor said he’d reach out to BEB and let me know.

The following week BEB still hadn’t completed his tasks causing J and I to go into stress overload. J encouraged me to truly fire BEB. So I went to our professor again. I laid out all the instances of BEB’s problems and why we didn’t want to work with him. Our professor took 12 hours to respond. He wanted me to see if we couldn’t work it out with BEB. I said no. He suggested that we finish the project together and then he’d let BEB work on the next project by himself. I said no, we wanted him gone now.

Then the professor came back with, well, didn’t BEB do the logo design by himself and didn’t BEB do the moodboard by himself? WHOOSH up went that red flag. I told him that if each team member had contributed individual moodboards, that we each submitted sketches and drafts of the logo and as a team we decided that BEB’s logo best defined our team philosophy and work aesthetic; but in no way did BEB do all these things on his own.

This resulted in more hemming and hawing from our professor and hopefully we could all work together.

This morning at 3:30 a.m. when I was finishing part of the project that BEB dropped the ball on (and to be honest, I am not faultless here) I told our professor that I would not work with BEB again at all. That BEB had disrupted my life too much and that I should not be expected to put up with that childish attitude.

That’s when it dawned on me: Our professor doesn’t want to deal with BEB, another guy. But we as women should be the better people and just suck it up and make peace and learn to deal with it.

All the conversations I’ve had at work (which I’m missing today as I’ve had less than 2 hours of sleep since 6 a.m. Tuesday morning and 6 a.m. this morning) about feminism, inequality, double standards for women was something that I had dealt with ALL QUARTER LONG! Had BEB gone to our professor and said Wendi wasn’t doing her job, you know that our professor would have come to me and said the team has decided to fire you. But BEB is a guy. He’s kind of “expected” to be rough around the edges and it’s okay that he has an overblown sense of ego. He said as much to me during one of our conversations.

I look back at some other exchanges I’ve had with male professors; this isn’t the first time I’ve been patted on the head and told to run along. Another professor that I repeatedly asked for help told me several times if I would just read the assignment I would get it. On my last exchange with him I told him that I had read the assignment several times and that apparently something wasn’t clicking and that he should want to work with me and teach me instead of telling me to run along and reread the assignment. Then I emailed the department chairman and a couple of other people. All that did was get me a time slot to call the professor and be completely ignored the rest of the quarter.

So not only do I have to deal with the professors at SCAD not understanding the non-traditional student who does all our work online, but now I get to deal with gender inequality too! FABulous! Just what I wanted. So progressive SCAD, good job.

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Sick Kitty and a Missed Funeral

breaking my heart

breaking my heart

Last night I dilly dallied about as if I were trying to put as much time between me and leaving for Enterprise to attend Rodney’s funeral. As if that would heal my heart. Ignore it, and the pain goes away. Poof!

So I was just drifting off when at 1:30 a.m. my beautiful, bossy Fluffy Jane started retching in the living room. I don’t know if it’s a Kitty Mama Sixth Sense or what, but every time one of my fur-kids gets sick I know it. So I popped out of bed, grabbed a flashlight and found her leaning over a small pool of bile and blood.

We knew she hadn’t been feeling well. About a month ago we bought the wrong cat food. Ridiculous that we can barely remember what cat food to buy; and even more ridiculous is that we don’t even write down the name. So no excuses. Jane is a very picky cat. She turned her nose up to the food and wouldn’t partake. She would get a bit hungry, have a bite or two, but for the most part, her bowl remained full until Jack or Lizzie finished it off for her. A couple of weeks ago we realized that she was loosing weight. She’s a big cat; part Maine Coon, part God-Knows-What-All. She used to be a hefty 16lbs. We figured it was the food. We were about to run out and when we brought the new stuff home she’d eat and get back to herself.

Until this morning.

You can only lie to yourself, to each other, for so long before you have to face the music. I cleaned up the vomit, washed my hands and climbed back into bed where we discussed what we would do the next morning – Cat to the Vet or Hop in the Car Bound for Enterprise. We decided that I could sleep in the car on the drive up; therefore allowing me to take Jane to the vet in the morning.

At 7:30 we opened the doors to the clinic. At 8:15 the vet took a look at her (the tech, Mary, had already been in to take some blood, temperature, etc.) and get caught up.

By 8:30 we all determined that Jane was very, very sick indeed. By 9 some of her blood panels came back and confirmed the depth of her crisis.

Isn’t that a strange thing? My cat is in crisis. Her health is in crisis. By 9:30 all panels were back and the news was not good. Jane has pancreatitis, among other things stemming from the pancreatitis. The goal was to hydrate her, get her on a tiny morphine drip to take care of the pain she was in, and see if in a couple of hours she would eat a bit of wet food and water.

At 10 a.m. the vet comes back in and says he was pretty certain she just might also have Addison’s Disease. It’s extremely rare in cats. It’s more often seen in dogs and humans. So they were going to do another test before the antibiotics and to see if that was the case.

At 10:30 I rolled out the door, reassured that I would be called with updates on her condition.

At 10:45 I parked in Holy Faith Catholic Church parking lot and meditated, prayed, lit a candle, prayed some more, meditated some more. Because not everyone understands that my cats and my dog are my children. That I would have gone to Rodney’s funeral if Jane wasn’t sick or needed to be hospitalized. That saying good-bye to Rodney with his sister and his friends was something I truly wanted to do. But…

It just wasn’t going to happen. Not today. My cat, my baby girl, my Fluffy Jane is sick. She is hospitalized. She’s connected to IVs and being force-fed and drugged up; and if tomorrow her panels are not improving we have to say good-bye to not prolong her pain. Or ours. I believe that is something that Rodney would have understood. He was cool that way.

One of my prayers today was asking God to show me how I could honor Rodney. My ears, my heart, my mind is open. Friendship was so very important to Rodney. Dedication, loyalty, unconditional love. I don’t know if I can excel at these things like he did but I’ll take it a minute at a time if I have to if it is meant to be. Maybe just finishing my degree – something else Rodney would have liked to have done – will do it. Overcoming my insecurities about my talent. Losing weight and getting healthy. Just going for a good walk every morning. Who knows? But I want to try. For him, for our friendship, and the grace of forgiveness.

Chance Meetings Heal Hearts

I tend to randomly meet people. Seriously, just chance meetings of people who I really dig. For instance, meeting people at retreats for work who work in my division but not in my office (and my division is HUGE) and it feels like I’ve known them forever (Stephanie L. I’m looking at you).

Last year, (last year? year and a half?) I started reading a blog called Tamara Out Loud. I started reading her blog about being a Christian woman because then, as I am still struggling to do, was trying to figure out what my beliefs were, what my faith was because I was really, really lost. Her blog was so real. Turned out she lives in my town and invited me to her church Bible study. I went a few times and enjoyed it a lot but let my own insecurities (I’m not good enough, I don’t have kids, I can’t cook, etc etc) get in the way and I stopped going. I felt like I was intruding on this great group. I’m sure I wasn’t but that’s what insecurity does – it lies. So to further hide my embarrassment I stopped reading her blog, too. Yeah, my insecurity knows no bounds!

I recently popped in to see what was up. She announced the book she edited was published. The book’s idea genesis began from a blog post at A Deeper Story called “What’s a Girl Worth?” (you can read more about the book’s creations and beginnings here as she celebrates its introduction into the world; it also has links to where you can buy a copy). (Interesting side note: today’s top blog post is “The Five Stages of (Faith) Loss“; gonna have to read that.)

Every day in April she is posting a free graphic with a quote from each contributor of the book. The quotes are beautiful. The image is beautiful. But the quotes hit deep and hard.

After all that’s been happening the last few days I knew I could use a pick me up. When I saw the graphics and quotes I knew I wanted to share them, but also share Tamara’s blog and A Deeper Story’s blog. You don’t have to agree with everything they say but they will definitely make you think. I’m all for thinking. I am also all for grace.

Pilar

Day by Day

photo 1(1)
Today was a bit easier. I had a lot that took my mind away from my troubles. It was a lot of fun celebrating our Student Assistants; to thank them for being amazing, hard-working, drama free fabulous workaholics. Is it okay that they’re workaholics?

 

 

 

 

 
photo 2We gave them all mustaches along with other little gifts that remind us of their contributions: an etch-a-sketch, a pack of crayons, glitter glue sticks, a chevron covered notebook, a can coozie with “I’m not in charge, I just know what you need should be doing” emblazoned on it. You know, the usual stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo 3(1)They’ll be with us for another week but then we have to let them go for the summer. Remember how I hate saying good-bye? Yeah, even for my Student Assistants, who will be back in Fall, I still feel a pang of sadness.

Or maybe it’s because I know I have to do a search, interview, hire and train new students for just the summer. Ugh. At least I have the process books in place. So I can refer to those when I’m training.

I’m going to miss this merry bunch.

 

 

For Rodney, Just One More “The Promise” by Tracy Chapman

 

If you wait for me
Then I’ll come for you
Although I’ve travelled far
I always hold a place for you in my heart

If you think of me
If you miss me
Once in a while
Then I’ll return to you
I’ll return and fill that space in your heart

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
If you be waiting

If you dream of me
Like I dream of you
In a place that’s warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
If you be waiting

Oh I’ve longed for you
And I have desire
To see your face, your smile
To be with you wherever you are

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
Please say you’ll be waiting

Together again
It would feel so good to be
In your arms
Where all my journeys end

If you can make a promise
If its one that you can keep
I vow to come for you
If you wait for me

And Say you hold
A place for me
In your heart
A place for me in your heart
A place for me in your heart
A place for me in your heart

Incommunicado: My Love for Joseph (Rodney) Evans

In 1992 I had the distinct honor of meeting and becoming friends with Joseph Rodney Evans. I’m not sure how we met, I know we met through mutual friends but what I didn’t realize was how much of a friend he would become to me.

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Evans. JoRod Evans.

Before I go on, I want to apologize to my dear Rodney, to Editor Man as I called him my senior year of high school: I apologize for the copious amounts of typos, incorrect grammar usage, and incorrect placement of punctuation. I never did learn how to do that right, sorry, Bud. To the rest of you, I apologize for the random quirk that will no doubt pop up in this post. Rodney would understand even if you don’t.

As we entered our Senior year at good old Enterprise High School, I went in with such a lack of confidence hidden under an easy laugh and stupid jokes. So much had changed for me between the end of my junior year and the beginning of my senior year; a lot of emotions and things that I was unable to process at the time. I’m not sure now, at 39, I’m any more equipped.

Rodney, as I knew him, became my best friend, my confidant, my Dear Abby, my big brother, my little brother, the guy who would go to extreme lengths to make me laugh. Being a ridiculously silly 17-/18-year-old girl I loved him “like a brother” (yes, go ahead and say that in a high-pitched Valley Girl voice). I didn’t fully realize just what an amazing person he was and how much he loved me, as he loved all his friends, until I was much, much older.

And so our senior year he listened patiently to all my boy angst, all my body angst, ALL my angst and ALWAYS had a really stupid joke at the ready to help me laugh; and beautiful words to remind me of my self-worth. I know I’m not the only one who benefited from his pure friendship. The people he called “friend” probably didn’t realize the extent of what that meant to him. We were not only his friends, but his second family.

What I know now that I wish I could make my 18-year-old self understand is just how precious that friendship was. What I didn’t know then, and probably something I continue to try to learn to this day, is the meaning of friendship. He knew what friendship was; true, pure friendship. He was totally unafraid to express his love for his friends. It was us – we were afraid of accepting his unconditional love. How stupid could we have been? Here was a REAL friend saying, “Hey guys, I LOVE you! You guys are amazing people! You guys are awesome!” and we were like, “Dude, ssshhh!” Stupid!

But I can hear Rodney now. He would say I should stop beating myself up; that yes, I was being stupid but did I learn from it? Okay then let’s keep going. Don’t forget I love you!

When I left for college he gave me a journal, “The Soul Sister’s Guide to Life After High School Or Rodney’s Reminders Or Towanda’s Fact Book Or Friends Always: Words from Editor Man”. The book is filled with his wisdom, his love, his really awful jokes, a book of him to take with me to school so I wouldn’t be afraid or lonely. This journal was the most beautiful gift I had been given. I might have thrown away all the letters and notes from those days but that journal is still with me.

Today I found out that my friend, my “Soul Brother” died. I knew I had to find that book. I walked in the door and said, “God, I need that book.” And there it was sitting on top of a box. I knew I had to find it because the messages in it, while written to me, was written about all of us, everyone he called a friend. There’s a tiny section that I’m not going to share because it’s, well, just between Rodney and I (I can hear him giggling). However, the rest of the book is not just about me. It’s written to all of us and I want to share that with you. I’ll post scans of the book, but for now I’ll leave you with this prayer he wrote:

Lord, You said that whoever asks for something in your name or where two or more shall agree, it will be done. Each night I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, that you guide and protect my friends throughout their lives. Lord, keep them company, and allow them to know the joy of love. And this I ask in your name, Amen.

Rodney, thank you. You were very greatly loved, even if I couldn’t show you. You will always make the Friendship part of my heart glow. Thank you for giving me the gift of being your friend. Forgive me for not being a better friend to you. But most of all, thank you for teaching me the meaning of friendship. I hope that I can do you justice, Sensei. I will be your Grasshopper until the end of time.