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. 

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...