The Kids Aren’t Alright

It’s definitely “Eclectic Reading Saturday.” I just skim read a library copy of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy, and liked it enough to order it from Amazon, so I could write in it. Then I finished off the latest in a long romance series, which was disappointing, but I’m so committed to the series, I’m sure I’ll buy the next one as well.

And then I finally read the cover story in The Atlantic about how the kids aren’t having sex anymore.  There are a lot of theories why – online porn, stress, #metoo movement, social awkwardness. I don’t think that that the author ultimately settled on one reason for the drop off in sexual activity, but it was still a good article. I highly suggest reading the article online, because it’s necessary to google terms from time to time.

I’ve been interviewing 20-somethings for a larger project that I’m working on. It has nothing to do with sex, but it touches on some of the themes in this article. I won’t go into it now, but I do sometimes think that I want to scoop up my children and relocate to Vermont or Ottawa and learn how to live off the land.

So, is this drop off in sexuality a good thing or a bad thing? Declining teen birth rate and abortion rates are good, but the causes of the decline in sexuality are all deeply unhealthy – online porn use, social awkwardness, job stress. And the people that the author interviews are seriously unhappy and isolated. We’re ready for a major correction.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

IMG_6705.JPGSteve is drinking posca, a Roman beverage (water, vinegar, coriander seeds, and honey), which was given to Roman soldiers before battle. It is supposed to give you energy and prevent cramps. He used to prepare it for Jonah when he ran cross country. His former teammates still talk about the vile “Jonah Juice.” Steve’s drinking it now preparing for the Glen Rock 5K Turkey Trot.

I wasn’t planning on running, because we’re in the midst of a record cold snap here in the North East. It’s below freezing with cold winds. I was going to huddle in the car for the race, but then I got there and couldn’t be a coward. I think I got my best time. Woot!

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Meanwhile, Steve cooked up a batch of cranberry sauce using his great grandmother’s(“Maymo”) recipe. I roasted the pumpkins, and Steve turned them into a pie with a Martha Stewart Recipe. I’m going to make some romaine-free salads shortly. And then we’re going to my brothers’ for a warm and crowded Thanksgiving meal.

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Jonah came home last night. Yay. Miss that boy so, so, so much. He surprised us all with a college growth spurt. He’s now two inches taller than Steve.

Hope y’all are finding time to read trashy novels on the sofa and appreciating family.

 

 

Inspired by Ocasio

I was prepared to be underwhelmed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I’m so jaded by all the young, beautiful people on the news that I thought she was one more wrinkle-free person with a teleprompter. But now that we’ve gotten past the election, she’s going strong without makeup and without a typed script.

I like her.

I’m following her on Instagram. Her latest “live story” about how WOC of color have to fight imposter syndrome and not feel like they have to be perfect all the time hit home for me, even though I am not a WOC.

I am not a WOC, but I am a Woman With a Disabled Kid (WWDK) who works from home in a basement office and sometimes makes only about $300 per article. (Sometimes $1,200 per article.) I have to constantly work to keep the school district from locking my kid up in a windowless basement classroom along with the other disabled kids. The other PTA moms sometimes get up in their meetings and announce “how do we keep the special ed families from moving to our town and using up all the school’s money.” (Honestly. No joking.) So sometimes, I’m not feeling my most confident, professional self, and I need to go get a manicure and watch videos like Ocasio’s where she talks policy, while cooking dinner. Because that’s me. I have to make dinner every night.

It is so damn refreshing to see someone combine professionalism with real life. I’ve got a load of whites in the dryer right now. I just changed the sheets on our beds. In a minute, Ian and I will go upstairs, and I’ll make burgers and sweet potatoes and help him with his English homework. I need to finish it all by 7:30, so I can run off to the school board meeting because I want to see a presentation on social emotional learning. Work and life are one big messy mix for me.

If we now are allowed to own housework and homework and work-work, I’m very happy.

Majors and Money

This is a break down of the majors at a sample college and the starting salaries for their graduates. What jumps out at you?

For me, the number of business majors is interesting. Also, I would have predicted a greater variation in average starting salaries between the majors, but they are all in that $40K range. History majors make about as much as bio majors. Am I missing something?

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Alternative Paths

Last night, I went to a presentation at school for parents about post high school plans that aren’t necessarily four-year colleges. It was a packed room. The speakers hadn’t expected so many people and had to run out to make more hand-outs for the parents.

Like most middle class parents, I know how to get my kid on the right road to middle class, if not upper middle class, life. I know what colleges are the best. I know how to help a kid construct an amusing, thoughtful college essay. I know how many times a kid should take the SATs to get the best score. I know which majors are best to choose at these schools that funnel kids into careers that will provide them with the means to afford a comfortable lifestyle.

I have no idea what kids, who can’t handle college, should do. What’s the difference between a vocational school and a community college? What careers are possible? Do any of these careers lead to a real job with benefits? How successful are vocational college in preparing kids for jobs that still exist today?

I’m embarrassed to say that I know very few people who did not attend a four-year college. I have no role models. There seems to be very few books on the topic.

While Ian is very gifted at music and computers, a liberal arts college would make him miserable. He would hate campus life. He would hate classwork that was outside his strengths. He would hate the lack of structure. He just wants to sit in front of a computer or a keyboard for fifteen hours a day and just do his stuff.

So, I’m figuring it out and relying, as always, on MY strengths, which are research and networking. I’m actually having a lot of fun, because it’s terra incognita. Exploration is exciting.

That packed room of parents was fascinating. I wonder if there is growing acceptance in parents like myself to look beyond college for options for their kids. I wonder if they are hearing stories about kids who are forced to go to college, because everybody does it, but then end up back in the parents’ house after a year of F’s. Lots of food for thought.

Nah to Kavanaugh

I didn’t write a blog post late last week, because the universe did not need one more hot take on Brett Kavanaugh. But I also knew that nobody wanted to hear about anything else. I handed in an article last Thursday and really, really should be moving on the next one, but it’s not about the Supreme Court or party behavior from the 1980s, so there seems no point in writing it. I actually don’t want to publish anything until the circus is over one way or another, because nobody is going to read it.

Sigh. So, let’s talk about it.

I’m pretty surprised that we didn’t wake up to a letter from Kavanaugh withdrawing his nomination. It was a tough night for him, but a fun night to be on Twitter.

The latest was a New Yorker article that sort of found another woman with a bad story about Kavanaugh. And some tweets by the Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who said he some info on gang rapes.

Parties in the 1980s were booze filled — I suppose they still are. There was lots of bad behavior there. Ford’s allegations were extreme, and I would have been horrified if that happened back then. But behavior that was a couple of steps less violent happened frequently. I’m not sure that adults should be judged by teenage lapses in judgment.

The picture that we’re getting of Kavanaugh is that he was a sports-bro. A rich private school kid. James Spader in Pretty in Pink. A entitled golden boy who got the cheerleaders and school awards. I knew that type well. I was alternatively attracted to that type, mostly because they weren’t into me, and repulsed by them for the same reason.

The same age as Kavanaugh, I’m getting IMs from the committee for my 35 year high school reunion right now. They want me to come, but I’m on the fence. It’s not close enough to bop in for an hour and then escape. It will involve an overnight stay in a hotel, if I get a few glasses of wine. I’m not sure that I want to invest that amount of time. There are several people who are going who fit the mold of Kavanaugh, others are reformed and have become sweet and kind.

If Kavanaugh reformed, became modest, self-effacing, and apologetic, would you forgive him?