I've been blaming the changes in my personal life for my lack of writing lately, but I think lack of inspiration factors in, as well. And a large part of inspiration for this blog is the political insanity in Trenton. For the moment, politics in Trenton have kinda calmed down. There's always something newsworthy, or, more usually, completely bonkers happening here, but right now, it's just not to the scale it has been. No one's been murdered on my street for a couple of months, and we're all waiting for Irv to screw up, but in the meantime, things have actually been kinda peaceful in these parts. Awhile back, I was talking with a fellow Trenton blogger, and we wondered what on earth we'd do with our time — more importantly, our blogging time — if things started to improve here in Trenton. I figured I'd write more about my hobbies, or projects, or cooking, or better yet, spend more time actually doing those things. So, it's been the case for me, at least in a small way; Matthew does compete for my time, too.
So, we've been living our lives a bit here in Trenton, without as much analysis; though, news about the school district is far more interesting to me now than ever before, now that I have a kid who will need to get educated soon. I read today that the state Supreme Court rejected Governor Jon Corzine's attempt to decrease funding to poor districts, including Trenton's. I have mixed feelings about this, and I realize my thoughts, and my wishy-washiness on the matter might be very unpopular, but whatever. The Trenton school district has a really bad performance record, even though officials always point to the few children who make it through the system, and then go off to an Ivy League university, as some sort of "evidence" that the district doesn't actually suck. Perpetuating a lie doesn't make it true. We should certainly be proud of these kids, but that they made it out alive has nothing to do with our school system, and everything to do with their own resources and gumption and determination. Every other school district in the country sees kids off to bigger and better places, and in far greater numbers than what we see here in Trenton. Trenton kids deserve the same opportunities as kids in other districts, but throwing money into the Trenton School System hasn't been making that happen. I'd be curious to see what happens to graduation and off-to-college rates if the hand-out money was cut off. My bet: things would stay roughly the same. Can it get any worse? Really?
So, discussions about the school system have been happening, and Glen and I have been exploring all of our options, because I have a hard time believing that any parent who loves his/her kid could actually send that kid to a Trenton school with, say, a "persistently violent" reputation, like the school closest to me. We've even considered moving, but the thought — even though Trenton runs only slightly better than Mogadishu does — depresses us, so that probably won't happen. We've made friends, and love our home, even though it seems right now, the house may never be completely livable. But we're going to continue to make things work for us in Trenton. Whether things are going well here, or not, we feel a sense of pride about Trenton. This is where we live.
There is always so much for us to do to improve life in Trenton, and certainly that applies to me, as an individual. And while politics are quiet, it gives me some time to work on some stuff around the house. And my house needs it, as it looks kinda like a baby-clothing bomb dropped on it. I am happy that another family friend has a baby due in January, so I'll be able to pack up about a ton of Matthew's newborn clothing, which will clear some space. Also, I've been working on a number of crafty/renovation projects. I have had time for some jobs around the house in recent weeks, with the absence of the usual political inspiration that helps to fuel my blog. I had hoped to finish one particular project (I'll probably reveal it in the new year) with existing supplies, but unfortunately, I ran out of a few things over the weekend, and needed to trek into suburbia for more.
After hitting the home improvement store, I needed to get a couple of artsy things, and I found myself at the check-out counter of one of those big retail craft store chains, where they always ask for my ZIP code. I hate that practice, because it's none of their business where I live, and I hate the idea of these big stores making more junk mail to dump on certain zip codes. Until recently, I answered "68505," which is the ZIP code of the neighborhood in Lincoln, Nebraska where my aunt, uncle, and cousin once lived. I gave that zip code because I don't need any more flyers and junk mail to recycle here, because I resent recycling shit I didn't choose to bring into my home; and I hoped the stores wouldn't really target Lincoln, NE, in their advertising efforts. But now that our national landscape lacks any variation in a consumer sense, and West Windsor looks just like Hamilton, and both look could be mistaken for Lincoln, NE (save for "The Penis of the Plains"), who knows, maybe the megacorporations will dump advertising flyers on Lincoln for my lies? If so, my apologies.
On Sunday, while I was out, I put my goods on the counter, and predictably, the clerk asked for my ZIP. Mild irritation went through me, but without hesitation, I said plainly, "oh-eight-six-two-nine." I didn't say it with any boasting or conflict, or unnecessary volume. I didn't say it to entice the clerk to fight, or to make the suburban gals in line with their scrapbooking supplies* whisper behind my back, because none of them probably know that 08629 is Villa Park's post office, anyway. I wondered why 68505, which is always on the tip of my tongue, slipped away? Without any kind of warning, it has become more important to me to speak directly and unapologetically about where I live, than it is to be worried about the potential circulars that will get dumped on us. I'm making improvements to my home (at least I'm trying to!), and that home is in Trenton, yo.
*I'm not dissing scrapbookers. Okay?