Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No foolin', the joke is up

What to do with myself during the multiple snow days at home with the kids listening to Air Bud in the other room?

How about this?  Researched my master list of national teacher seminars and set up a summer 2014 spreadsheet of applications.

At the last minute I changed some options including trading out the 9/11 for one on the history of Financial Crisis and instead of the Chicago architecture tour, one on Duke Ellington and the Jazz age at NYU.

So what do these two things have in common?

That's right people, I got into my first choice for both Gilder Lehrman and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  I talked to Bill once he was home from Atlanta about the odds of going to both and he agreed that if I worked out all the details for full time child care that I had a green light to plan flights and accept both spots.

First be flying to Spokane, WA where I will be spending a week on the western states Atomic Program that was first part of the Manhattan Project and later helped build up the US nuclear arsenal at the height of the Cold War. We will be spending part of the week at the Hanford Nuclear Power site of plutonium processing for the Nagasaki bomb.

So WHY would anyone want to study a now defunct and National historical site with a focus on the environmental fallout of our military industrial complex on nearby Columbia river?  I'm not expecting some Silkwood type nuclear accident, but I do think I'll be drinking bottled water while we are on property.

For the the second trip I will fly on from a weekend sorority reunion in Vegas to Los Angeles to spend a week studying the Age of Reagan. Again, WHAAAT? Are you asking for some slap down from those that believe that Ronnie is akin to God?  Nope.  I love, love, love teaching the Election of 1980.  It has everything this political junkie dreams of:   Domestic vs Foreign issues, prospective vs retrospective voting, slapdown for the incumbency argument, the rise the modern Conservative movement, and gridlock a plenty. I'll stop before I bore you even more!  I was screaming and jumping up and down on a Friday afternoon of recent hearing I had won the dorkery jackpot. So much for that whole, "I'm giving up cursing for Lent."

I've tried to get into the Reagan conference for the last two years as with most Gilder Lehrman conferences they run for 3-5 years and then are retired.  This is the same amazing conference host I attend in 2009 at Harvard on the Evolution of the Women's Rights Movement.  Happily, I won't have to fly carrying $3,000 of injectable drugs for my IVF cycle.  Instead, I'll be eatin' jellybeans and engaging in what I hope will be a week of incredible resources and personal interest.

I'm super excited to be picked for both national conferences.  I'm a little sad that I didn't even get to applying for a special Library of Congress session for teachers on the 1964 Voting Rights Act or a week on Ellis Island at the Smithsonian.  But, come on... I'm going to be talking Mutual Assured Destruction and why the Morning in America Reagan 1984 re-election campaign ads even bring a tear to this liberal eye.


LauraC said...

I can't believe you are going to both! So awesome!!

Gillian said...

Very cool Heather! I am assuming you guys will be using/visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library while you are there. You won't be all that far from the Nixon Library either if you need to check that off your list!