Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Pockets

Tomorrow's "Keep a Poem In Your Pocket Day." If you need an extra, here are some you may like. Don't leave home without one.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Opossum

After a vigorous slog on Saturday I turned, with pride, into my driveway. Staring steadily at my shadow stretching out ahead of me, I screeched to a halt when I found myself staring into the menacing face of a massive opossum baring its pointy little teeth in a way that can only be described as menacing. I took the back way into the homestead and satisfied my curiosity about this incident by googling, “What would a huge menacing possum be doing in broad daylight in my driveway?” Come to find out, sick opossums do cruise about in the day. Mom possums may saunter about midday as well. Mom opossums give birth to teeny babies who then climb back inside the moms’ bodies and grow in there until they’re a goodly size. One web page suggested that all dead opossums should be checked for signs of babies bungling about inside who may need help getting free of the parental carcass. While I like to think of myself as a helpful kind of person, I truly hope the day never comes that I’m called upon to provide this service.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Nobels

Nobelity, the movie I saw with Mitzker tonight, features some fine interviews with Nobel Prize winners. The interviews focus on the state of the world and possibilities for our future. These scientists and activists offer some somber words, some hopeful thoughts, some reasonable ideas and ideals. We especially liked the interview with Wangari Muta Maathai, Peace Prize winner in 2004. She planted trees and connected environmentalism with peace and prosperity.
It was a good end to a grindy day of grading.
Lewison took this photo of some goslings in her yard just this morning. In our own backyard, Teen Daughter spied a cat cruising through with one of our wild bunny pals, dead, clenched in its jaws.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Uniforms

Today was the first practice game of the baseball season. I watched #1 son and his good pal D play a rousing game. Two sixers showed up and sat with me awhile. They looked awesome in their bright purple hats, purple tees, and white baseball pants. Watching them in their baseball glory, I thought about how nice it would be if each classroom were assigned a baseball uniform for school. The kids would look great and it might promote unity. I think we could do without the sponsors. I'm not sure if they're really necessary. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Lifeskills

Every third Thursday a police officer comes to my classroom and talks about lifeskills with the sixers. I listen to his one hour talk three times, as I putter around in the back of the room, grading papers or checking the blog. This man gives the same talk verbatim 3 times in a row at top speed. I decided to forego his fascinating topic of the day---how to talk to kids of the opposite gender once you get to seventh grade---and chose to grade and blog at home. My choice was wise, as this has been the best day of my life so far. I got in a slog, worked a half hour on the long lost diss, had lunch with husbandman, enjoyed a mani/pedi in the afternoon (sahara sapphire) and even got my first friend on myspace. The grading’s not done, but it never is. I’m okay with that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Maturity

Since I’ve been hanging on the offspring’s my spaces, I’ve learned that many of our nation’s youth use this convenient abbreviated form of “what’s up?” Pleased to learn a new word, I’ve been saying it to the sixers whenever I can squeeze it in. Most do not respond with enthusiasm, and I heard one sixer moan to a fellow sixer, “This is going to be worse than the constant singing of the ridiculous songs.” If only they knew that their moans spur on my odd quirks. Immature, I know, but I suppose I'm in the right place.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Pilgrim

I found a quite good hagaddah for our seder meal this week. I’m always moved by the social justice connections and comments that are integral to the Seder. The four cups of wine make for a fun evening as well. Husbandman hid the affikomen expertly, taping it to the ceiling.
The bunny was a lame hider of baskets this morning, but he did bring books, boxers, and bubbles to the offspring. My Daily Dharma email suggests that I should try to be a different person by the end of each day’s pilgrimage. An appropriate Easter message from the Buddhists. Let’s see how I do.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Randoms

1. Full moon tonight. Magnolias doing their thing. Forsythia showing off as usual.
2. A line from a kid's poem amused me,
"I am from young confusion
and disbelief."
3. #1 son started up a My Space space and I am curious about that world. Am I too old for My Space???
4. Today a kid asked me, "Can I have your orange?"When I tossed it to him, another kid said, "That's so random."

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Cobblestone

At Saturday's literacy conference, good friend Menosky gave a great talk about all the newest coolest books. She always pairs her book talks with amazing invitations for students to respond to the books in creative and critical ways. Out of her book box, D hauled an old cobblestone that had been removed from a street where a slave auction site was located in Virginia. Her students read the stone along with poems about slavery. I brought the stone in to class today and the sixers read it as a text. Tomorrow, they'll do some writing about the stone, putting themselves into its story. Pumped up for quarter 4. Yay.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Sirens

The adults were seriously outnumbered by the sixers on the deck this Friday. About a dozen of #1's friends popped in after school. After they scarfed some snacks, they went out to play football in the back yard while I stood on the deck and yelled at them about roughness and fair play. The sky turned dark quite suddenly and the tornado sirens sounded, breaking up their mud accumulation. With our own family, I confess to being lax about the sirens. We check out the tv and the weather channel and talk at length about whether or not a trip down to the basement is really merited. But since I had a dozen kids here, I thought I should send them down that way. Their parents would probably get fairly ticked off if we were wiped out due to ignorance and neglect. The adults stayed deckside wondering about the meanings of the sirens. How long should the kids be in the basement? Should we bring them food and drink? We searched the skies for sign of any tornadoes coming our way. One member of the party reassured us that they only go about 30 mph, so we'd have some time to find cover if we did sight one. We talked about the sound in the distance that did slightly resemble a train. But then we discussed whether the train sound tornado victims describe is a steady chugging along the track, or a sudden whoosh of the train roaring past? In the meantime, the kiddos had left the basement and were watching Zoolander. Soon it was time for #1 son and his pals to head across the street to the school carnival. Adults stayed behind to eat cake. When the sirens sounded again, we were relieved to know that the kids were safely at school, with other adults looking after their welfare. It takes a village, as anyone can tell you.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Weirdos

Whenever sixers are doing something obnoxious or annoying or just plain weird (which is pretty often), I’ve gotten into the habit of saying something along the lines of, “Hey weirdo, knock it off,” or “Listen you weirdo I need attention n-o-w.” To me, weirdo is a fun, affectionate term, but not all sixers see it that way. One sixer told me yesterday, “Please stop calling me weirdo. Because it offends me.” Listening to my peeps, I tried hard to stop using the term today, but at this point it really rolls off the tongue almost of its own volition. I mentioned my problem to bosslady today and she suggested I figure out a new appellation for the sixers as soon as possible. This is going to be hard but I’m going to work on it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Purple

I turned to #1 son this weekend with my worldy worries.
"I just don't feel like working on my dissertation," I whined pathetically.
"Why would anyone WANT to work on a dissertation?" he reasoned, eyes focused on the television.
"Well, it needs to get done, so what would you do if you were in my sitatuation?"
"Get some motivation," suggested he, increasing the volume with the remote.
Motivation's really eluding me these days. Report cards go home Friday, but I feel not a bit like working on them. I have an index card filled with to do's, but no cross outs. My major accomplishment of late has been figuring out how to change the blog background from black to purple. I've quizzed family members about the change repeatedly and they confirm that the choice of color is a good one. I guess I'll rest on my laurels for awhile.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Nick

Miraculously, the predicted rain held off until the last moments of our Friday on the Deck Happy Time. Arrivers sighed with relief acknowledging that winter had been made through. The general concensus of the group seemed to be that spring showed up just in the nick of time. The tween boys ate up much of the food in the first ten minutes and I dropped a wine glass when I forced a departer to hug me goodbye, but other than that, no worries. Just a lot of funny stories and sunshine. I hope next Friday gets here fast.

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...