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.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Basics

Have you ever had a Thai Massage?  It's weird, but basically wonderful.  Today BodyMiracleWorkerGal was basically doing a handstand on my back.  Not sure why that feels good, but it basically does.  I ended the day with a celebratory visit and dinner with Good Pal Menosky.  (Yay, she basically approves of my new camera)!!!  I'm on fall break, so I'm feeling cheerful and buoyant.  Even before fall break though, I've been staying fairly upbeat of late.  It has to do with the goal I've been working on lately.  Basically, I'm staying calm til Christmas.  Basically, I'm calling this initiative the Calm Til Christmas Initiative.  Massages and dinners with good pals are basic subgoals that can help with the implementation of the Calm Til Christmas Initiative. Everyone who comes in daily contact with me basically has the opportunity to help out with this important initiative, which if you recall is basically all about staying Calm til Christmas.
No it's not going to be easy, but let's all do our part to keep me Calm til Christmas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Choices

Well, I did in fact turn 51 yesterday.  My workday at artful school was filled with meetings up til 630pm, but then we ventured out to a marvy tasting menu dinner at terrific Tallent.  What a dream that was.  Today is the day Husbandman turns 52, which is happening right now.  I'm actually considering cooking something for him.  It's been years since I boiled water, so this will be an exciting new adventure.

Yesterday I was making some books with some kinders and to be cool and hip I let them choose markers, colored pencils or crayons.  They all love markers so that's the route they took.  The problem with markers is the kinders love to draw on their bodies with them. LittleRedhead, whenever he would hear me correct another kinder for bodydrawing, would put both arms under the table, obviously drawing on his arms, all the while staring straight into my eyes.
        "I know what you're doing, Little RedHead! Please stop." This went on and on for some time.  . When CuteArtistGirl used the blue for lipstick right in front of me, I told her to wash off her face. Sure enough, when I looked over to check out LittleRedHead, he was doing his under the table markering shtick.
     "Listen LittleRedHead, you're back to CRAYONLAND!" I told him, but not unkindly.
      He instantly burst into tears which is one of his amazing talents and whimpered, "I don't want to be in CRAYONLAND!"  Really hard to reason with LittleRedHead so I calmed him down and we finished up our books.  I decided to ignore his arm markering after that.
       When it was time to leave the cool kinders, they gathered round for a birthday picture and LitleRedHead hopped into my lap.
      "HappyBirthday Doctor H!"  He screamed smiling into my face.
       "Thanks LittleRedHead, I'm 51."
        "I'm 52!" he shouted back.
        "You're very old, sir."
LittleRedHead is someone to watch. You'll probably read about him again here some time in future.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Lennon

I read John's Secret Dream to the sixers today.  It's a picture book about John Lennon.  The text is interspersed with song lyrics, most of which I sang aloud in my best effort singing voice.  I ended up telling the sixers many stories about my love of The Beatles and my Beatlemania book collection and my trips to Beatle conventions and my grief on the night John was murdered and my trek to the vigil for John on the Marina in San Francisco.  How we held candles and sang songs together for hours in the cool night.  When I asked the sixers, "What reasonable statements do you think can be made about this man, John Lennon?" one of my old faves from 3rd grade said, "He wanted peace."  John did want peace and his songs and bed ins and bag ins and bill boards showed us some funky fun ways toward ending war, if we wanted to.  This is a powerful book and next time I read it, I think I'll make a tape of songs to play as I read.  I thanked the sixers for listening so kindly to my dream filled reading about John.  I'm not sure they were that into John, but they seemed to be giving me space to feel my strong feelings and I thought they were ultrahip for doing that.  (Ultrahip is a word I looked up with a sixer today and it's pretty good here).
Another powerful book I read to k - 2 kids is We Are All In the Dumps With Jack and Guy by Sendak. I told the littles about street children and how they live without families.  Sendak wrote Jack and Guy after learning more about street kids in Brazil.  It was hard to come up with a response that could be considered critical with the littles.  Some made signs about helping kids.  Some make picture books about helping people and animals.  Some just made pictures of the moon in the sky.  They all took it seriously and seemed to like Sendak's work.  This is another book we should all read if we want to.  The artwork is phenomenal.  Thanks to Maurice Sendak.  Well done, Maurice.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Cataracts

Today we went to Cataract Falls.  Largest falls in Indiana, which really isn't saying much.  There's a covered bridge there too.  We headed over to Cresent Doughnuts where they're celebrating their 50th anniversary.  The guy behind the counter was talking to 2 doughnut buyers.  He was pretty surly, saying stuff like, I'm not the boss here and I don't care about 50 years.  If I was the owner I'd make some changes around here in no time flat.  I'd fire 4 people today!"  I hope he can calm down and get into the spirit of the 50th year birthday accomplishment. There are probably very few 50 year old doughnut shops in the whole world, if you think about it.  50 Years of Doughnut Making is a feat that's hard to beat.  Happy Birthday to Cresent!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Promotion

Yesterday I attended an academic vocabulary workshop.  It wasn't that fascinating, honestly.  But the presenter did share some good web pages.  Then she told us to go around the room sharing one of our fave webpages.  She said it didn't have to be about vocab, so I shared info about alittleleeway with many in our school district.  Everyone assured me they would visit, but I've seen no increase in the stats and nary an extra commenter has appeared.  So I guess what we've learned is that we have a bunch of liars teaching our kids.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Bee

No big fanfare today, but this is the tenth anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan.  I brought an article about it up to the sixers, who are studying "conflict" and "resolution."  We weren't too impressed to read that in 2014, "most" of our soldiers in Afghanistan will be heading home.  Ten years is literally a lifetime to the sixers who really didn't even know we were at war.  Most of them wrote on their response sheet, "Why is this going on for so long?"  We'll talk more about it next week.  I'm enjoying the sixers.  They're mean and hateful one minute and in the next they're talking about books and articles with enthusiasm and verve.

After I left, I headed down to help out in the cafeteria.  En route, I noticed someone had ripped a cardboard bee picture off a bulletin board. I picked up that bee right away, and quickly put it to work as I cruised around the noisy tables.  Holding the bee aloft, I would ask kids at various tables, "Are you BEEhaving?" Or I would say something like, "I sure wish you would BEE seated."  Kids would stare back at me and then I would say, "Get it????  BEE?????"  The littles would give a little chuckle.  The bigs would smirk, but I could tell they thought I was hilarious.  I was amusing the heck out of myself, to tell you the truth.

Sad talks, funny talks.  All in a day's work at artful school.  It's been a long week, but a pretty good one.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Squirrel

One of my colleagues at work is a hunterman.  Today I asked him if he ever ate squirrel.  Come to find out, he's eaten squirrel a ton of times.  He fries it up.  He says it's really good.  Last night he shot 19 doves, and then he breasted them, wrapped bacon around the meat and made kabobs out of them.  I've eaten neither squirrel nor dove.  I don't eat animals, but I have a certain admiration for Hunterman's get up and go.  When he saw me heating up my lean cuisine in the microwave, he looked concerned.  "That stuff'll kill ya, Doc."  True, I thought, but at least I don't have to kill it.  It's conveniently waiting on the other side of that 5 minute nuking.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Papers

Blogging the Sunday Papers

In the Herald Times: Our town has been called the 3rd poorest city of its size in the US.  If I didn’t work at poor school, I probably wouldn’t believe it, but there are a heck of a lot of v. poor people over where I work, so I do believe it.

100 people marched to remember a mom who was brutally murdered a year ago.  Her daughter goes to my school.  A teacher marched with our principal.  I’m grateful they participated.  I didn't.  I went to the zoo.  Saw the baby elephant, Kalina.  V. sweet.

Moved on to the NYT Front section.  Nurses who get PhD's want to be called Dr. So and So, but this seems to be confusing people and annoying medical doctors.  Pshaw I say.  People in Portland Maine don't like a work of public art.  It's coming down. A plane crashed into a ferris wheel in Australia.  No injuries.  Coupon sites are not doing well.  I'm finally learning about these, but it would seem they'll be on their way out soon.  Sunday puzzle.  Aced in record time.  33 minutes.  In partnership with Husbandman.

Lives piece at the back of the mag.  Some of our soldiers stole someone’s cow in Afghanistan and ate it for dinner.  They refused to pay for the cow later.  Why couldn’t they pay for the cow?  How do they think that’s okay?  Disappointing.

Picture spreads in the mag about fams eating dinner together.  Not crazy about the family dinner scenario, so I feel guilty as I look over the close knit families around their tables, enjoying each other.  Interview with Anita Hill.  She’s still fighting the good fight, ignoring nonsense. 

Arts and Leisure, nothing too fascinating.  Except someone just released an Oscar Peterson album.  Used his old tapes and with new technology, the recording has been highly praised. Footloose has been remade too.  Not sure why I want to see it, but I do. 

On to Sunday Review.  Articles about fat politicians.  Let’s just leave them alone. Letters about the death penalty.  Opposing views.  No chance of middle ground.  Learned about Vivekananda, the Indian monk who brought yoga to the west.  His birthday's coming up.  I should do yoga. Read over signs and hand gestures restauranteurs use to communicate in code to one another during service.  Read a bit about compassion fatigue.  Overall sense that we are not becoming less compassionate makes me feel somewhat better. Small piece by Tina Rosenberg on Rapid Results, trying to make social change in 100 days.  Maybe the people at school would like to read that?  Maybe I should do a 100 day Rapid Result social or personal change program.  Might be a possible blog challenge????

Book Review.  Several reviews I want to read, (Mahler, T.S. Eliot) but it’s getting to be shower and then head over to the artful school time.  Quick check of bestsellers.  Keep wondering if I should read Cutting for Stone.  I have read 6 of the paperback 20, so that makes me feel pretty darned good about myself.  Family Fang should be on there.  What gives?

Gotta wrap this up.  Farewell, print journalism artifacts. Thanks for your contribution to my pleasant Sunday morning.

The Crawfish

A few crawfish are coming to live in Room 200.  Not sure what to do about that.  They've donated their lives for science education.  I...