Friday, December 30, 2005

The Sketch

We're pretending it's New Year's Eve tonight. Heading out to dinner with chums, then back here for games. Uno Attack, Pictionary, Buzzword. We've got it covered. We could call it penultimate night or something like that. We spent the afternoon buying books and magazines. Katha Pollitt has a list of good news from 2005. The piece perked me up considerably. And I bought Prep too. And I bought a book called "Opening Sentences of Famous Novels." I'll leave you with one.
'Sons of bitches,' Lituma felt the vomit rising in his throat.
Mario Vargas Llosa

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Score

I bowled a 167 last night, over 2 games. Today I'm surprisingly sore. I've clearly not been using the bowling muscles enough. Luckily, today was a day of languor. I'm crazy about languor, as it turns out.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Axilotl

I went into the compound today and graded papers for 3 hours. I guestimate I still have about 10 hours of grading ahead of me, but a dent was made. During a break to eat and email, I ventured into the supply room to grab one of my yogurts from the teacher fridge. I'm very sad to report that inside the fridge was a footlong axilotl in a 13 inch plastic box. He began wiggling away in there probably in response to the sudden light. I felt a wave of disgust and panic and it's been bugging me all day. Please, don't leave an axilotl in a refrigerator. It's not right, I don't care what anyone says.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Geisha

Before seeing the beautiful Geisha movie today I cruised out to corporate book store's coffee shop and finished up that pesky editor chapter that I've been working on for about 6 months. I'm excited to be done with it. Now it's on to methodology and much of that's written already because I wrote about methodology for my qualifying exams. I have the next 3 chapters after that outlined in my head. Kind of. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Right now, I'm sighing with relief. Progress was made. It can be done.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Card

All the stockings are hung by the chimney, etc. Gifts were bought, trees were decorated. The only thing that didn't happen? The holiday cards. I decided to give myself some slack on that one. So here's my card. The run down on the family? We're all good. Husbandman's making a goat cheese souffle today. Teen Daughter will start driving school in 2 weeks. #1 son started sleeping later this year. Never thought that would happen. And I worked for 2 hours yesterday on the diss, and may be finishing chapter one this week. Hoorah. We all enjoyed King Kong yesterday. Right now, the coffee's brewing and we have some gifts to open. Peace to all in 2006. Love 2 U.... l, p, q, r.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Bed

I've been blowing my nose this week, but today the whole body blew a gasket and it hit me that the only place for me was bed. So in bed I've been, watching Topher Grace in one movie, Diane Keaton in another. It's probably my fate to spend the first vacation days in bed. A cellular shutdown may be the only way to slow the pace. And fate's been intervening weirdly in other moments so I know it's lurking nearabout. Examples: I told someone I wanted to make cranberry bread and then someone else gave me a cranberry bread in a jar deal for christmas. And I bought two gift certificates today for friends and then I regretted buying one of them and then the shop called tonight and said that they only ran my credit card once so I was able to tear up one of the gift certificates. Something else happened fatefully, but I can't remember right now. I'll tell you later. Back to the bed I go.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Visit

Yesterday I rushed home from the final day at the compound to get ready for an afternoon party at my house. As soon as I began the pre-party rituals, my mood elevated and I smiled with anticipation. You can't really beat a party. The chums are all at their most wonderful: relaxed, funny, full of good cheer. We got to show off our Seattle kin to our hometown crowd and the mingling of kin and comrade was a rare treat. Our visit with the Western dears is over and we miss them already. The vacation has begun, the house is eerily quiet. What to do? What to do? I love asking that question. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Santas

In keeping with the fantasy that I am on vacation, we designed project runway Santas tonight. My santa is ready for an afterwork soiree. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Pride

I'm pretending I'm done with school even though I have a few days left. I went to a movie tonight and now I'm watching kinfolk make gingerbread houses. Pride and Prejudice? Yes I say.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Songs

The sixers are having a holiday party on Wednesday afternoon and the teachers must monitor the music they play. I am lucky because I only work in the mornings and I do not make decisions about the parties. I do not attend the parties. I go home. I have been asked to research song lyrics, however. I ask Teen Daughter to do it for me. A quick search of a dozen songs on the sixers' list brings up "Crawling in to bed with me" and "jesus of suburbia is a lie." She asks if these words will bother anyone. I'm not sure, so I pass the lyrics on to the other teachers who will decide. I can not believe I am censoring song lyrics. This is not the identity I desire.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Banshee

The day started off well. Me. The coffee. Next to the window. Then the sixers started pouring in. Droves of them. It's really hard to get much done during the pre-holiday bedlam. The sixers were crazed today and the constant distractions caused me considerable consternation. I tried doing my calm breathing as I waited for attention, lowering my voice to a whisper whenever I spoke, glaring at a few kids with the evil death ray glare, and reviewing the rationale behind our procedures and systems for the 50,000th time. I'm sad to say that I finally blew during second period. One pesky sixer just drove me over the edge. After I decided to take a breath and stop the banshee imitation, we all calmed down. With 20 minutes left of the period, the sixer decided to have mercy on me and he started to write. The other sixers joined in. I sat with a few sixers and actually conferred with them about their stories. We had the radio on and I could hear sixers singing quietly along as they erased and revised. When it was time to go, I wished them well and told them to proceed on their merry way. A sixer packing up her stuff told me, "Hey thanks, this was fun. We should do it more often." I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled, "My pleasure, I enjoyed it too." I felt proud of myself for not ranting, "We should do this more often???? We should be doing it every single day!" I cut my losses and cleaned the desk, preparing the cabin for departure.
foto credit: Menosky. Did you know you could order customized m and m's? You can.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Cranes

I was walking across a parking lot last week when I heard this odd owly kind of hooting sound. A woman near me started jumping around in all directions searching for the sound yelling, They're here! They're here! I got in on the act and began demanding, "What are they? What's here?" I like to know what's going on. The Sand Hill Cranes she told me as we spotted the flock directly overhead. We listened and watched them swirl around while she filled me in on the sand hills and where they like to hang out this wintry time of year.
Today the sixers were off at their special classes and the snow was coming down and I sat at my desk and looked out the window and drank coffee and let the winter air in by opening the window a crack. I grew up in Miami so this season thrills me. They all do. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Bounty

You know that game where you unwrap books and then you steal them from one another? We play that at my TAWL group party every year and I usually do not come home with a good book. That's just how it is. Teen daughter wished me well tonight as I left the house, but reminded me to have low expectations. My strategy tonight was to be ruthless. I stole book after book and in the end I left with an autographed copy of David Bergen's The Time In Between. It just won the Manitoba Book of the Year award. So obviously it's good. The back says it's erotic and hypnotic. Needless to say, more evidence of its goodness. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Strike

We've been reading about Langston Hughes with the sixers. They're very interested in his dallying with communism. I gave them some rudimentary background. About as rudimentary as it gets. One kid said, "I think people who make more money just work harder than other people so they deserve what they have. Poorer people don't work as hard." So today I read a picture book called Si Se Puede to the sixers. They sketched and jotted notes as I read and shared stories that came to mind. The book's based on the janitor's strike in L.A. I haven't been reading too many disruptive books to these sixers because of time concerns. I realized last week that my whole gig is off kilter because of this weird departmentalization set up. I find it very confusing and a wee bit confining. I have more admiration for middle and high school teachers now. I should just go sit in someone's classroom for a week and figure out how to do this. That aside, the book was well received and I'm looking forward to more chatting tomorrow about it. If you know a kid or adult who doesn't know that hard work doesn't correlate with salary, you may want to get this book for them. Mike Rose has a book I want too, called The Mind At Work. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Tree

A few friends have seemed startled when I’ve shown up at social events recently. I’ve even gotten comments of surprise that I’ve left the blog long enough to socialize. (Ho, ho, I’ve chuckled. My friends are so charming in their hilarity.) Though I’ve played along, I have felt anxiety about my marginal mothering of late. Husbandman shows up to more kid activities than I do, there’s no denying it. This week, my guilt meter has soared, as I’ve moaned on and on about grading without really rolling up my sleeves and getting the job done. The December days tick by and the house has no holiday d├ęcor. There are no gifts yet either. Feeling guilty about my malaise, I initially and scornfully rejected Husbandman’s offer to get the tree. In my deluded state of mind, the tree buying expedition is a not to be missed standard of functional family interactions; like the families in the Currier and Ives ads, we should venture out together to the tree lot, trading funny little quips and chatter as we search. I don’t know how I fell prey to this, there's really no rational explanation. I eventually saw the light and the error of my ways and accepted Husbandman’s kind offer. The fam sallied forth while I headed over to the compound to record grades. When I returned, an awesome tree stood in the stand, looking extra fine in front of the bay window. I’m almost done with my midterm grading and now I’m ready to take control of tree decorating. Stand back one and all. This is one of my fortes, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Frey

I woke up early, resolved to finish the Frey book so I could go on with my life. That book about addiction is damned addictive. Teen daughter corrected my earlier statement that I was reading the new Frey. I wasn't. I was reading the old Frey. I wish you all would hurry up and read it too so I could venture forth a few queries. Til then, I'll simply muse. And live free of literacy as I get caught up on midterm mania.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Bill

I got a whole snow day today so thanks to all you who were doing the criss cross applesauce last night. As predicted, an unpredicted day off has restored my vim and verve. I didn't grade much, but I just have a weird sense that I'm more on top of things. I'm finally getting on the stick and posting about H.R.550, a bill that would "mandate a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election." Please sign this petition to support the passage of this bill. Tell others to do so as well, if you would be so kind.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Avoidance

The new Frey book is a good one. A million little pieces. I may make some tea and read on the couch. Snow's falling and it's very beautiful outside. The sixers hoped for early dismissal today but I am crossing my fingers for a 2 hour delay tomorrow. There's not too much better in this world than a 2 hour delay. I have papers to grade and midterms to muster and a dissertation that's down in the dumps. But a 2 hour delay could set everything right. A sixer showed me how to cross 2 sets of fingers on both hands while also crossing arms and legs. So please make sure you do this before bed tonight and say delay 3 times. I don't ask for much. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Torture

I’ve heard news reports about torture lately, detailing government level debates and meetings about whether or not we should torture. These news stories have seemed ridiculous to me because, in my mind, everyone must realize that torture is bad. But not everyone realizes that, I realized today, upon reading the disheartening headline: “Most Americans Say Torture Is OK.” I wish those most Americans could get some psychological help. I also wish they could get some information about the unreliability of evidence procured through torture. Torture’s bad and it’s dumb. Don’t do it. Tell everyone you know.
p.s. something's not letting me post a picture.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Nap

I napped this afternoon. A thing I should never do. If I nap, I'm neither fit for man nor beast when I wake up. I'm surly. I write mean emails to people who've been bugging me. I insult the dinner that's being placed before me. I roll my eyes and use inappropriate language when responding to others. I curse the day I was born.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Essentials

NRC was most excellent. I attended sessions on new literacies, blogging and identity, discourse analysis, intertextuality, action research and critical literacy. When not skewering my brain with information, I wandered through Fairchild Gardens photographing the Chihuly installation or I scuttled through Art Basel. Other times, I simply sat with pals eating memorable meals and gazing out at the water. Holiday gift giving may be slim this year because of expenses incurred on this trip. Understandable? I hope so.

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...