Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Fries

For the entire year of 2011,  I have not eaten french fries.  I ate a ton of other bad foods, probably more so than usual because of my moratorium on fries, ttytt.  I actually ate a ton of onion rings, which really can't be good for me any way you slice them.  Streibie and I boycotted fries together, so I'm hoping we'll eat some fries together very soon.  Possibly tomorrow.  But now Streibie wants to boycott potato chips for a year.  I'm telling you, this would be harder than the fries.  Chips are my fave food, ttytt.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Awareness

It's weird to admit this, but until recently, I had it in my mind that after this 4 year college gig, 20 something would come home and live here again.  It's weird to think that I was thinking that. Just one day it hit me that I was on the wrong track with my thinking.  Most people know that after college, people find their own places to live. I brought this topic up with 20 something this afternoon, as we walked around cool, quiet Ogle Lake.  She concurred that my new realization was closer to reality.  So that's good.

It's not that I have nostalgia for times past.  I've got my head on my shoulders there.  For a fleeting second, I thought about grabbing a pal's kids to go see the Matt Damon Movie about the zoo.  But then I remembered how little kids are pretty bad at watching movies and always want to leave at the good parts to go to the bathroom, or start asking when the movie's going to be over when you're only 20 minutes into it.

So there you have it.  New reality-based awareness.  Looking forward.  Keeping calm.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Arts

You know that book called The Marriage Plot?  Well this day was the day I read that book for 8 hours straight.  So good!  And you know that movie Breaking Dawn?  Well this evening was the evening that I went to see the movie.  So bad that it's actually quite good!  I'm glad I devoted myself to the arts today. At first I was kind of nervous (Okay, I was totally freaking out) about not getting stuff done as I kept reading hour after hour, but then I decided to just go for it and chuck my plans out the window.  Getting the chance to read all day is an opportunity that must be seized and cherished.  Check out this book and this film if you feel like it.  Probably Marriage Plot will please you more than Breaking Dawn, to tell you the honest truth, but still, you really can't go wrong either way.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Team

The team is back from a trip full of cheerful cheeriness.  In short, we love our kin.

We got to see the new Mission Impossible film, starring Tom Cruiser.  This is one of those movies that you should really see if you feel like it.  It's full of gadgets and get up and go. You never know when a ghost protocol may be put into play and all you'll have is the team standing between the world and total annihilation. Something to think about.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Talons

Okay, here's what happened yesterday.  I watched a Cooper's Hawk scoop down on Ballantine, scrubble through some ivy vines and kill a small bird with its talons!

Enough said.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Books

Psssssst.  I shouldn't be blogging right now because I am mapping out this hour to do a little work.  So, let's keep this on the downlow.  Finished Henrietta Lacks.  Didn't read the long ass afterward about cell tissue cultivation and ethics, but I did love the story.  I think that Rebecca Skloot is a darned good writer. Here's the bad part.  When I was reading the book, I marveled at how clearly she explained some tough scientific ideas.  But after reading, when trying to explain these ideas to Husbandman, I couldn't really remember the important details.  I see this as a failure of the author, not the reader.    Now I'm reading a book called Buddha Standard Time.  It's helping me let go of my anxiety about time and to do's.  Temporarily at least.  These books are good.  You should read them if you want to.
Now I'm slipping back into my work mode.  Fare thee well, mah fronds.  For now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Meeting

Annual downer meeting with the investment counselor happened to me today.  I did my usual shtick of nodding and smiling as he yakked about why our meager savings never seem to increase, but are sure to do so in future some time.  When Accountant asked if I was following everything, I said, "Well, no, but I'm getting the gist of it."  He started talking to me like I was a total moron, pointing to charts and gesturing flamboyantly.  Whatever buddy.  As 20 something daughter said when I talked to her later, "That situation has gender performance written all over it."  I think she's right and somehow I'm vowing never to display a lack of confidence to an accountant ever again.  This is my solemn vow.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Sandwich

Piers interviewed Kathy Griffin tonight.  He asked her if she could relive any 5 minutes in her life, what would it be?  She said that she's had some really great sandwiches that she'd like to re-eat.  This resonates with me as I myself had a really great sandwich for lunch today.  It was from Jimmy John's.  #6, light on the mayo.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Cork

2 things of not much consequence have happened to me in the last 24 hours.  First off, last night I was at a friend's soiree.  I asked the young man tending bar for a scotch on the rocks.  Such a festive drink. I talked to Nance and didn't notice that the young man tending bar had filled the glass with about 4.5 inches of scotch.  "Whoa, honey, that's a lot of scotch," I told him, trying not to sound discouraging.
"Just carry it around and drink it like a sprite," the young man tending bar said to me, with an unexpected tone of nonchalance.  Geezlouise.  It looked like I was drinking a glass of iced tea.  I didn't drink it all.  No one could have. No one on this entire planet.

Then here's the other thing that happened.  I was making some ramen and didn't notice that a wine cork had rolled onto the burner until it had caught on fire.  That burning cork has left a horrid smell in our entire house.  Sorry, housemates.  Sorry that I was such a dork with the cork.

Watching IU now.  We're winning, but just barely.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Groundhog

Saw a groundhog walking along a front yard across the street from Artful School.  Just today.  What in the world is a groundhog doing downtown?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Fandango

I told firstie teacher today that we might try having LOUDKID sit in a laundry basket during read to self time.  I saw pictures of kiddos sitting in laundry baskets on the Daily 5 web site.  Come to find out cool firstie teacher had an extra laundry basket.  LOUD popped in like he was born there.  Read his books for many minutes.  LOUD usually drives me crazy, but today I got to see his sweet side.

Spent the evening with GoodPal Menosky.  I always love a good chat and fun dinner with Good Pal.  Lots of holiday cheer.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Monday

Let's see.  What happened to me today? I wore a beautiful beaded necklace from Ghana.  I went to a most excellent violin concert put on by our very own students.  Go tell Aunt Rhody.    I read These Hands to some fun little fifthsters and we talked about racism at the Wonder Bread factory.  Had lunch with some teachers and helped them grade papers.  Co-Taught some reading to some little firsties.  Got to hold little Hank Heffernan as he sucked happily on the Ghanian beads.  His hands are starting to work and he can sit up straight and be part of everything.  I love him so and I love his hilarious older brother as well.  Then this afternoon, something extraordinary happened.  Mitz and I met.  We drank coffee and started outlining our next research project.  It's going to feel so good to get back in the game, and any other sports metaphors we can throw in here.    And be forewarned Ms. KCW, we're going to start doing a little bit of writing as well.  Pretty big day for a Monday.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Fun

When we lived in San Francisco, we ate Chow Fun fairly regularly.  But Indiana either has bad chow fun or no chow fun at all.  BUT GOOD NEWS! Come to find out, a new restaurant in town has quite tasty chow fun.  Answer to my prayers.  We ate it for dinner this v. evening.

The Shot

Winter's coming on and I can feel it in my sleepiness on the weekends.  Yesterday I was fully dressed, hair washed, ready for an outing, when all of a sudden the couch called me over for a morning nap.  It felt good to get more sleep (rose), but then my hair looked weird for the rest of the day (thorn).  But I still went out to the movies in the afternoon to see the new Clooney.  So good, so sad (thorny rose). But then we got home in time for the IU game and my energy level soared through both halves.  I was almost having a heart attack.  When Watford put in that three at the buzzer to win it, I was screaming like a person on fire (bouquet of roses).  Even if you don't live in Indiana, you should get a video of that game and watch it because you will be so happy after you do.  Here's a fun video of everyone at Nick's watching the game.  This video screams EXCITEMENT AND FUN!  Check it out.

IU Upsets KY - Celebration at Nick's English Hut from Tarun Gangwani on Vimeo.

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Coaches

Come to find out, I was required to drive up to Indianapolis to attend a meeting for coaches who work at really high poverty super low performing schools.  I was not really looking forward to this, ttytt.  A chiding by the state?  No thanks, I'll pass, Ricky.  This is the kind of thought I was pondering as I drove into the sunrise, drinking coffee and listening to an audio CD about living a more enlightened life.  The morning session was not great, but lo and behold the afternoon was awesome.  I heard 2 coaches speak and they were smart, lively, hard working and innovative. I learned a thing or two from these coaches.  Kind of wished the state had required I drive up to hear these peeps 2 years ago when I started coaching, but I'm trying to live my life with fewer regrets, so I'm simply looking forward to trying a few new approaches to coaching next semester.  Why not?

On the way home, I heard Nat King Cole singing his Christmas song.  I was surprised to learn it was written by Mel Torme.  Mel must have made a bundle on that little # because it's supposedly the #1 Christmas song of all time.  The song's about 65 years old this year.  Hats off to Nat King Cole and Mel Torme.  Job well done, sirs!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Garden

Today I WORKED with TEACHERS on CURRICULUM!  We talked about works of art and inquiry centers and original creations. Miro, Jansen, Chihuly, Calder, Bernstein, Tinguely.  This is stuff I dream about.  I LOVE  (note use of capitals for emphasis) doing this kind of work.  Talking with teachers, planning stuff, revising the plan, then revising it again.  The artful units people are writing are going to be spectacular learning experiences for all of us.  I loved that a big part of my day involved staring at this painting, pictured here, above. I loved that teachers included me in their planning conversations.  This was a fab day.  A buzz, it was.

ps. fyi. I've been pronouncing Joan's name incorrectly for about 30 years.  It's like this:  Jwan Miro.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Writers

Lots of work with young writers today.  Some of them were excited to be writing.  Gleeful even. I want to support the peeps who are still trying to crack the code, but it's so hard not to be jazzed when you can actually read the writing of the kids who are starting to figure it all out.

Little Red Head took awhile to get writing. I told him to get busy, and he drew a huge X in the air, basically right in my face.  I whispered to him, "I'm going to tell your teacher you just did that."
"Okay, sorry!" he said, as he picked up his marker and got back to work.

One other, unrelated event:  I was asked to help out in the cafeteria today, so I grabbed my water bottle and headed into the fray.  Set my water bottle down and walked about, supplying napkins, ketchup, and some words of friendship to the littles.  When it was my time to leave --- no water bottle.  Come to find out, hunterman threw my waterbottle away.  He said he didn't know who owned it so he threw it away.  And the trash had been removed already.  I forgive Hunterman, but that waterbottle was one of my best waterbottles.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Haircut

Eventful day, peeps.  What can I tell ya?  An eventful day.

First, Little Redhead was standing about 20 feet away from me, right down the main hallway, as I talked to a colleague.  He stood perfectly still, staring at my face, rubbing his hair with both his hands.  It was clear that he wanted me to notice his new haircut.  When the colleague was done talking, I directed my attention toward Little Redhead, asking, "Did you get a new haircut, Little Redhead?"
"Yes, I went to Walmart first, but they messed it up, so then I went to the other place called the barber."
"Well it really looks nice, buddy," I told him.
"I know," he said as he sauntered casually down the hallway, back to kindergarten. This kid kills me.

So that's one of the things that happened today.  The other thing that happened is that I worked hard to reflect on ways I'm helpful to others at school, and to celebrate my helpfulness.  I got this idea out of a cheesy leadership book I'm reading.  Though the advice in the book is cheesy, it did help me to feel more positive and to stay calm til christmas.  I helped some 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade readers and a few teachers too.  It feels good to be helpful.  And I celebrated this by acknowledging it, and by having some wine with Mitzi, at the Uptown.

And here's the other thing.  I gave a reading inventory to a bunch of 3rd graders and they had to read a passage about HANGNAILS.  No one knew what a hangnail was. Not even me, it turns out.  Some thought it was a nail you hammer into the wall to hang stuff on.  Others thought it was a hanger, for clothing.  Come to find out, upon reading the passage, we all found out that a hangnail is just a piece of dry skin hanging off your cuticle.  It can get red and sore because of rubbing against fingers and various other objects. Now, I've always thought a hangnail was your actual fingernail cracking in a weird painful way, and just hanging off from where it normally should be.  But I have learned otherwise.  Just a piece of dry skin.  Near the cuticle.  Do not bite it off!  Use nail clippers, but don't do anything if you are a very young person who could hurt yourself with clippers. Just try to ignore it.
PS.  Husbandman rejects this definition, and the linked photos, of hangnails.  He does not believe that these are hangnails.  Weigh in on the controversy if you find yourself with some extra time on your hangnails.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Spree

I'm addicted to this Tom Perrotta novel called The Leftovers.  Can not stop reading it. But good news!  I forced myself to stop reading for a few hours and did some serious shopping.  Seriously put a dent in the long distance list. Feeling pretty darned good about this.  I was going to head to work tomorrow for long overdue DATA ENTRY, but now I'm thinking, let's just get into the holiday thing and go and get the tree tomorrow. COME ON!   Just get the TREE! It's a startling new concept that can only be described as cutting edge.

On another note, Tonight we had a great dinner celebrating One Woman's 50th birthday at a lovely local restaurant.  Everyone there asked me how I was doing with the Calm Til Christmas Initiative.  And here's the thing.  Haven't been doing well with this of late, but I'm back on track. This week actually sucked big time, BUT I'm back in the game dolls!  CALM til CHRISTMAS! Or, more appropriately pronounced in a level 1 whisper voice...... calm til christmas.  it can (and will) be done. Oh yes, it can (and will) be done.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Movie

Whole day literacy cohort meeting today.  I showed a little movie I made about some awesome teachers at Artful School.  It was a pretty good movie, with some exciting ending music. Now I'm watching one of my fave movies of all time, The Fugitive.  I should be going to sleep, but there's no way I can stop watching this movie once I catch a glimpse of it on the television set. And now I'm watching a movie preview ad for a movie that looks pretty dumb called War Horse.  3 movies, past, present future.  That's what today's been all about. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Glove

Poor kiddo lost her glove today.  I wanted to get her gloves out of the social worker's office, but I couldn't find any.  Lots of underpanties and socks, but no gloves.  What the hey? This firstie-girl feared her mom may have mixed feelings about the missing glove. We searched, but in the end, there was nothing to do, but send her out in the cold with her little hand stuck into her coat pocket. Later a little kinder had spilled spaghetti sauce all over his nice white polo.  His teacher asked me to help him get a new shirt at the social worker's office and that I ask someone to launder the polo.  I didn't even know we had laundry services.  The dryer's broken today come to find out, so the kid was stuck with a black tshirt, that he desired to wear with his polo collar smartly displayed outside of the tshirt collar.  Do you get the look I'm going for with this description?  Anyway, I wish I had the magic power of replacing lost or soiled garments, in a small amount of time.  That would be pretty neat.  And even useful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Snow

Let's see.  What happened today?  Well, for one thing, today we had a fabulous snow, but it didn't stick to the ground.  While I waited for Husbandman to pick me up at artful school, I stood out in the falling snow for a bit.  The night felt cool and lovely.  Super dark with shiny flakes floating about.  Then we zipped over to Cafe Django for some snowy jazz and nutty noodles.  #1 sounded great.  Snow.  Jazz.  A good day.  And we still have a few hours left.  I kind of don't want anything to happen though.  That was enough.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Work

Artful People came to our school today to help us with our upcoming units.  Some people get a little annoyed with the Artfuls because they really push us to think about our units in new ways.  I know I'm not a teacher writing a unit, but I love these conversations.  I love the point where the tension builds to a pretty intense point and then dissolves when we all find ourselves coming around to a new idea through consensus.  It's tough stuff, and great work.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Exits

Let's see.  What happened today?  Nothing too much, except that my first born child got on an airplane and exited the state.  She'll be back in 17 days, so I guess I should just stop whining.  Still, this exiting the state thing really sticks in my craw.  And #1 Son has applied for some out of state colleges, verily, this very day. Even though I begged him not to do so.  I don't believe in pressuring the children, EXCEPT when it comes to exiting the state.  That kind of behavior really goes too far.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Gratitude

Dia de Accion de Gracias.  One for the record books.  Food, family, fun. Festivity.  Gratitude galore. 
Tomorrow, I will blog about the big hand turkeys we made.  They are amazing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Youth

Twenty Something Daughter arrived today.  And so did WonderNeph.  It's nice having the youth around.  We took a walk on campus and visited the IU Art Museum.  Saw an exhibit of posters that were made in Iran during and after the 1979 revolution.  The poster makers were not huge fans of the U.S., let me tell you.  Cool posters though, nevertheless.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Hallway

A medium was sitting down outside of his classroom door this afternoon, which usually means someone's taking a little time out from classroom life.  "I suck at behavior," he told me as I walked by.
"We all have things we're working on, Bud," I assured him.  He really does suck at behavior, but he is charming in lots of ways.  I have to admire his critical consciousness.  And the amazing patience of his teacher.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Stuff

Stuff was happening all over the place today.

Probably best thing that happened was getting a new book in the mail from Good Pal Menosky.  She read on my twitter about my new pin that shows the title of the new book ONE LOVE, (remember it's adapted from the Bob Marley song) and SHE SENT ME THE ACTUAL BOOK.  I sang it with my home visitors this very evening.  I am so jazzed to think of GPM, far away in Michigan, reading my tweets in the first place.  Then to get a book out of the whole thing was an awesome bonus.  I want to work on #bookaday over the winter break, so I'm stacking up the picture boks a mile high.  Thanks, GPM.  SO MUCH!  The book's beautiful.

Another good thing that happened was that we got some home visitors. Sister In Law and Brother in Law to be exact.  And we went to an IU basketball game.  It was a great game.  Big lead for IU.  One problem was that I didn't know the name of the team we were playing.  So all through the game, the announcer kept saying, "Foul for Gardner Webb" and "3 pointer for Gardner Webb."  So about halfway through the second half, I said to Sister IL, "This Gardner Webb does it all.  You can't stop this kid. But it seems like he would be fouled out by now."  That's when she told me that Gardner Webb was the name of the team, not an actual person on the team. So that was a little embarrassing.

Another thing that happened is I got another horrid visual migraine from 2:25 to 3:05.  Really messed up my work.

And now back to the great things that happened. I got to spend time giving a reading inventory to a little girl who kept stopping the inventory to teach me songs and tell me stories.  At one point we were reading about sisters and she said, "My little sister is really nasty.  She eats grease off the comb!"
No one's ever said that to me before, and right away I recognized it as something I probably would never forget in my entire life.

So that was a day for the record books.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Rubbing

Got back from 4 glorious days with JUDITH in Chicago at NCTE to find that some deer who's in rutting season has RUBBED and SCRAPED my tulip tree that I planted from a sapling.  Okay, I didn't plant it from a sapling.  Someone came and planted it for me when it was pretty large already, BUT, this tree is our up and coming tall tree for when our other dying tree next to it actually dies.  SO ANNOYING!  I give everything to those deer.  And this is how I'm repaid?  Couldn't rub and scrape the  dying tree.  If that tulip tree dies, there will be hell to pay.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Lunch

Yes, had lunch with miscellaneous missives today.  Is that wild or WHAT?  Two bloggers, who have never before met, come together for lunch at a Greek restaurant, in a city far away from their residences. MIND BLOWING!  It's called the power of the internets, mah fronds, the power of the internets.  And now I've learned, from using my literacy skills, that MM had her birthday yesterday.  Geez, I wish I had known that pre-lunch.

Also went to a lot of great sessions.  And ate some deep dish pizza, aka Chicago staple.

I've spent 45$ over the last 3 days to use the internets.  I take the challenge seriously, and I'm ready to put my money where my blog is.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Profession

I went to a hell of a lot of great sessions today, but probably my favorite was called something like, "Where would we be without Paulo Freire?"  Most everyone reading this knows about Freire, but if you don't, skim this and realize his awesomeness.  There were 5 people on this panel, educators doing absolutely phenomenal work in schools.  All the speakers talked about the power of a teacher to make a difference in people's lives.  I started crying because sometimes I feel I've downplayed the power of a teacher in my own mind.  I've even told my own two amazing children NOT to go into education.  I've let my frustrations with the educational system chip away at my own sense of self worth as an educator.  NO MORE, MAH FRONDS!  Today I listened to the words of amazing critical educators and I felt inspired by them, and proud of my own attempts to make some small difference in the ways schooling works for kiddos.  20 something daughter, and #1 Son, If you want to be teachers, you really should.  It's a tough gig, but an amazing one.  And of course I will proudly support you no matter what you choose to do!
So, what happened to me today?  I rededicated myself (ONCE AGAIN) to this beautiful job we call teaching.  NCTE does this to me every time!  Now, off we go to Bin 36!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Hotel

Come to find out, there's a new blogging challenge.  I read about it at Indiana Rock, but the initiator is Pronto Pup.  (Thanks, Pronto.  This is going to be awesome!)  It's all about writing things that happen to us each day.  Nothing's happened to me so far.  I've been quietly and with great consideration for others checking email in the dark because my ncte roomie, judith, just keeps sleeping. I've been up for hours.  It got to be 8:30 and she was still silent as a cadaver.   Finally I whispered to her, "Judith, you've got to wake up.  I want coffee and I don't want to go without you.  I'll be too lonely."
     Now the good news, Judith is in the shower and soon, rollamos.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Packing

Problem with packing.  How many times have we gone through this?  I'm going to get it done and then I'll be on the trip.

Today I wrote with some suave seconders. They were a boisterous crew, but I loved being back in action with writer's workshop.   One kiddo didn't want to write.  He asked to go to the restroom, but I told him to write a few sentences first.  He went over to a corner and cried for about 20 minutes.  Then he came back to his table and wrote a sentence.  I compromised and sent him off to the restroom.  When he came back he was carrying a huge piece of wet paper towel, which he was laying over his face while still simpering.  "I need to go to the nurse now," he whinged.  "I'm not feeling well."
"Not going to happen pal," I told him.  So the crying began anew.  Luckily, recess time came and he cheerfully went off to play, with nary a care in the world.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Advice

2 bits of advice I'm trying to integrate into my Calm til Christmas Initiative.  This one guy said that it's important to manage your energy as opposed to managing your time.  So when I feel my energy being ZAPPED by some energy zapping event, I try to move on and do something nice for myself for a few moments, recharging, so to speak.  And this other guy said that we should all have To DON'T lists that we treat with reverence.  Today my To Don't List I wrote, "WORRY!"  And when I felt myself pulling back into a worrisome mood, I would take some breaths and try to remember that for today I am not going to worry. It works temporarily.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Trip

I'm obsessed with a Chicago song right now.  "Hold me now.  It's hard for me to say I'm sorry.  I just want you to stay!"  I was never a huge Chicago fan, but somehow, in hindsight, the songs sound kind of good and weird.
It very well might be because I'm going to Chicago on WEDNESDAY !!!!  V. excited about NCTE.  I've spoken at NCTE for the last 10 years in a row.  This year I'm not presenting and I thought I would feel anxiety about that, but I really do not.  Not speaking at NCTE has really helped me with my goal to stay calm to Christmas. That initiative is going v. well by the way.  I'm having fun and getting it done.  And Chicago is 4 days away.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Braggadoccio

#1 Son and I (and Husbandman) were in the paper today.  #1 Son was selected as one of the Arts STARS! from our local high schools. I was listed as his mom (and husbandman was named as his father).  I feel v. proud.  Along with a list of great musical accomplishments, #1 made a nice comment about how important music is to him.  I've noticed that.  The kid's either playing music or listening to it pretty much all the time.  Tonight he played a gig at the Convention Center.  And right now he's in bed reading about a musician, Miles Davis. Congratulations, Arts Star! BASSically, we think you're FAB!!!!  Get it??? BASSically???  BASS????

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Centers

Teachers worked on Artful Learning units today.  I worked with 3 different grade levels.  I'm excited about their inquiry centers. With the 3rd grade team, I am helping plan an inquiry center on "food systems."  I want to compare fast food and slow food systems.   With the second grade team, I'm going to try to put together an inquiry center about Bloomington's first settlers.  I spent hours thinking about these centers today and really haven't started putting anything together.  I'll figure it out.  I like doing this kind of work.  But it takes time and a lot of brain work.  So much easier to just teach someone something than to set them up for learning it on their own.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Prayers

Friends,  Our Good Pal Dorothy Menosky has put in a request for prayers.  Her wonderful sister in law Georgine has recently been diagnosed with cancer.  Dorothy can probably tell us more in comments.  But for now, send some prayers, vibes, heart sensations, loving thoughts, out to the world for Georgine today.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Adult

20 something daughter turns 21 today.  She's a grown up person now. And for some reason this birthday of hers has brought me a deep sense of accomplishment throughout the day.  Happy Birthday, 20 something.  Now you are really 20 something, and not 20 nothing.  You are so loved. And so loving.  We  are feeling v. lucky around here, just knowing you and knowing you'll be home in less than 3 weeks.

But here's the bad part.  We've got a chipmunk running around in the house.  We see it every few days, darting here and there.  It ate a package of ramen in the laundry room/pantry area.  And it's freaking me out.  Turns out we have a live trap, but come on.  I'm supposed to pick up a cage with a live chipmunk in it, gnashing its teeth and growling at me and throwing its body against the cage walls?????

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Blog

I've been driving up to Indianapolis for a conference every day this week.  It's not the greatest conference, but it's not the worst conference either.  At one session we got to "backchannel" which is basically just twittering with the other peeps in the room during the lecture.  It was fun, but I wish the speakers had interacted with our comments a bit.  Seemed like parallel play.  I checked my emails/blog/twitter/facebook during the talk and found out that WordSavvy met a blog reader who is neither friend nor kin.  An actual, detached reader, out in the world.  Reading about this reader made me want to pimp my blog during the backchannel so badly.  I kept thinking about how I could work it into our chat about educational shifts toward 21st century skills. In the end, I showed restraint and did not pimp this blog.  That was tough stuff, but I decided to stay focused on the talk, the backchannel, and my twitter feed and just enjoy the moment.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Holiday

Kids don't come to our home (have never come even one time) for trick or treating because we live on a busy street with no sidewalk.
We don't even buy candy anymore because we would just eat it all ourselves year after year after year, back when we were hoping for trick or treaters to knock on our door.  So Halloween is kind of a ho hum hum drum kind of night around here.  When an artful learning kid asked me what I was going to be tonight, I told him, "I'm going to dress up as a woman wearing pajamas, laying on her couch, watching TV."  It surprised and amused me when a teacherpal of dutch origin with 2 small children (train engineer and friendly witch) heard my plan and said, "Now that's living the dream."

It's all a trade off.  When you're with the littles, you get to party down and dress up, several days in a row. Sure there's crying and freaking out and dental decay.  But when you're with the bigs, you get to spend an evening doing absolutely nothing, thinking about all the antics that are surrounding your neighborhood, so near and yet, so far.

Husbandman says this entry is a bit melancholy. I was aiming for bittersweet.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Leaves

Good news!  I rearranged my office space.  Now everything looks roomier and more organized.  I'm thinking of having an office warming tomorrow.  Bagels?  Orange Juice?  I want to do it right.  Make the space a place of warmth and hospitality and just some old time fun.  A place where colleagues can plop down, munch on some healthy food items and remember that we all work together for the good of the little squirrel nutkins that attend our artful school, and for the good of one another.  Lofty goals, but doable ones.  I invite you all. Please bring some type of office warming gift with you, so that I'll always remember you.

The Triptych

Part 1.  Greatest Movie Ever Made, Probably.
Watched Jane Eyre this past night.  Fab movie.  You should see it if you want to.  You can get it for free on your iPad too, in book form.  Well done, Charlotte Bronte.  Your legacy lives on.

Part the Second.  Identity Crisis
I've been missing 20 something daughter and #1 son lately.  20 something's far away, doing her best and forgetting the rest.  She will return soon and we are all counting down the days.  #1 lives right in this very house, but leaves for stretches at a time, our only communication being occasional texts and tweets.  This is a hard time in the land of parenting, but it's all part of the deal, so I'm trying to focus on mature acceptance.

Part 3, Denouement of Sorts.  Search for Certainty
This week we got a brand new preschool at Artful School.  I'm in there a lot because we have some staffing issues.  On Friday one of those littles curled up in my lap as we listened to their teacher reading a book.  About halfway through, the Little looked up at me and asked, "Where are we in this place?"
    "We are in a school called Artful School," I whispered.
    "Artful School?  That's where we are right now? That's the name of it?"
     "Yes, Bud. We are all in a place called Artful School right now."  He snuggled back into place and I hoped I brought him some peace of mind.  It's hard to not know where you are, I'm sure.  And the conversation made me a little sad.  What a way to live.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Anticipation

I'm watching the news and the anchor just said, "Up next.  Two whales and a kayaker in a photo so spectacular we thought it might be fake."  Obviously I'm going to stay tuned for that.  I love whales.  I'm going to wait through all these stupid commercials.
Now they're back and they're not showing the spectacular photograph yet.  And I have to learn that BP is allowed to start drilling in the gulf again, in deeper water than the original well.  Hard to stay calm hearing that.  Next, puppy on the top of a freight train.   Here it comes!  Yes, it was fab.  Well worth the wait.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Sandwich

Today I ventured into the art room, as I heard a bit of a ruckus in there.  Come to find out, the firsties were  drawing pictures of "witch sandwiches."  A witch sandwich might have eyeballs, worms, or blood in it.  Drawing these pictures got the firsties pretty hyped up.  They wanted me to see the bones, toenails and pink hair in their sandwiches.  "Disgusting!" I repeated to each firstie, emoting with dramatic flair.  My flamboyant gestures and horrified facial expressions got them screaming even louder.  One firstie screeched at me repeatedly to look at his sandwich.  When I made my way to his table, he pointed to each part, proclaiming, "Cheese.  Cheese.  Cheese.  It's all cheese." I didn't know how to react because a cheese sandwich is one of my fave lunches, so I just murmured something ridic like, "That's one cheesy witch sandwich, Mister!"  I wanted to ask him why he made a cheese sandwich for the witch, but I was late for my next class and I wasn't thinking too fast on my feet. That cheese kid threw me for a loop. Who does that?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Work

I'm trying something new this Sunday.  It's called Working at Home.  I'll let you know how it work's out. So far, Working At Home involves a lot of Bravo viewing.  Working At Home has potential, but it needs to live up to its potential.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Lodge

Family Fang.  Finished reading it about an hour ago.  It's about a family of performance artists. The novel moves between performance art events in the past and the two grown children's lives in the present.   I liked the children better than the parents, so I was more interested in the present day parts of the story.  Lots of thoughts about art and its seductive and destructive aspects.  The ending was v. strong.  Overall, I have to say I liked it quite a lot.  If you want to read it, you should.

The New Blue

Our home is being painted .  I love this new blue.  It used to all be the red brickish color of the deck as shown above.  For various reas...