Saturday, June 29, 2013

Learning 9: Levi Coffin

Spring Grove Cemetery is a beautiful place with graves and big trees (pin oaks) and ponds. We found out that Levi Coffin was in there somewhere.  Even though it was raining and thundering and even though there are over 700 stunning acres of life and death, we kept trying to find the grave of this Quaker abolitionist and his wife Catherine.  With help from a flikr photo on my smart phone, we did find it and we were over the top happy. I felt like I was in that Alice Walker short story where she searches for Zora Neale Hurston's unmarked grave. Quaker graves are usually unmarked, I learned. At first Levi's grave was an unmarked grave but then African American people of Cincinnati got a marker for his grave, as a tribute. They placed it in Spring Grove in 1902. Levi and his wife helped 1000s of people escape on the Underground Railroad. His home was called the Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad.

I wish I had brought some flowers for the graves. And I also wish I could learn more about Catherine White Coffin.  Not much out there about her.   I did learn from wikipedia that Coffin was part of organizations that were trying to only use products made with paid labor.  Quote from wiki-know-it-all-ia here:

The problem caused Coffin to begin to travel into the south to seek out plantations that did not use slave labor, but he met with only limited success. He located a cotton plantation inMississippi where the owner had freed all his slaves and operated by paying them as free laborers.[21] The plantation was struggling financially because they had no equipment to automate the cotton production. Coffin helped the owner purchase a cotton gin that greatly increased their productivity and provided a steady supply of cotton for his association. The cotton was shipped to Cincinnati where it was spun into cloth and sold.[21] Other trips to Tennessee and Virginia were less successful, although he did succeed in spreading the word about the movement.

The Coffins started out in Indiana, but then moved to Ohio. If you are ever in Cincinnati, I think you would like to drive through Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum.  Really lovely.

Learning 8: Procter and Gamble

  We're in Cincinnati.  Husbandman leaves today from this very city.  He's going to Europe for a week---Vienna and Paris.  We had the most wonderful dinner last night at Nicola's.  You should go there.   Yesterday, before our feast, I learned about Greensburg Indiana and their historic tower tree.  Then I read 2 historic plaques while walking to the restaurant.  Procter and Gamble has been based here for a long time, since 1837!  One made soap, the other made candles.  They got together and there you go.  Also read a plaque about the courthouse riots.  Didn't learn why the people were rioting, but it was a tough time and about 200 people died. Today we're going to see a Patti Smith exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum.  We are nervous about our upcoming trip to Israel.  So much to do, so I'm not sure it was a great idea for Husbandman to travel to Europe right now, but I'm not bringing that up with him, out of courtesy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Learning 7: The Cross Case Analysis

Sat down with the Feb. 2013 RTE (Research in the Teaching of English) and read an article called Portraits of Practice:  A Cross-Case Analysis of Two first Grade Teachers and their Grouping Practices, written by Maloch, Worthy, Hampton, Jordon, Hungerford-Kresser & Semingson.  Kudos to these awesome researchers!

Great article.  Here are some things I learned.  Teachers implement initiatives differently, based on many factors.  One thing that influences teachers is their zone of enactment.  When teachers are implementing something with a group of peeps, they tend to stay more true to the initiative than when they are implementing it individually. The teacher who had more success with leveling was implementing it with a group of teachers. Makes sense of course, but still, a cool finding.  The article describes 2 teachers who implemented guided reading groups.  There was a lot of emphasis on leveling the kids for the groups.  The higher kids got more interesting work to do in their groups than the lower kids.  Kids progressed in both classes, but the low level readers didn't make the expected gains.  The researchers suggest that teachers should mix it up for these guys, let them read stuff in their interest areas, maybe?  In both classes, the lowest groups spent less time reading and more time on skills.  New emphasis on leveling kids is v. similar to the tracking of kids seen in earlier times that's been shown in trillions of study to not help students who are placed in lower tracks.  We've learned this before, now we're going to have to learn it again.  Tracking's making a big comeback now, all over the country, according to a NYT article Husbandman gave me to read. The authors in the article I read point out that leveling experts Fountas and Pinnell insist that groups should be flexible, but the teachers in this article (and probably or maybe zillions of others) found it very hard to make their groups flexible.  Very little group movement happened throughout the year.

Anyway, I liked this article and I am glad I've had enough summer that I'm ready to do some professional reading again.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Learning 6: Pate Hollow

My attempt at a cartoon.  2 pals did come to book club and we had fun, so this cartoon is not accurate.
    Huddle up Btowners.  There's a trail I learned about yesterday that you will like.  It's called Pate Hollow Trail. It has a 7.7 mile hike and a 3.3 mile hike.  I took the 3.3. mile hike with my pal MCR.  I've lived here for 72 years and never have I heard of Pate Hollow. I tried to get some bonus learning in by finding out who Pate Hollow Trail is named for, but alas, I could not glean this extra info. Still, this is useful learning for me and for all of us who like to trek around under the big trees.  I think I may venture on the 8 miler before we leave for Israel.  We saw a pileated, and several deer.  And MCR has a stray cat that's hanging around that's extremely friendly and playful.  Do you want this cat?

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Review: Something In the Air

Husbandman and I are interrupting the learning blogging to present to you this independent film review.  We saw a french film this week, called Something In the Air.  
Lway:  Husbandman, care to recap?
Hm:  Sure.  
(Husbandman then continued reading about Wimbledon on the computer and did not come back to our review until further prompting.  I remain courteous because we are all upset about Nadal's loss today).
Lway:  So, you wanna recap now?
Hm:  Okay, yeah.  Characters in their late teens get involved in revolutionary movements in Paris in 1970, each taking slightly different paths.
Lway:  They had conviction and passion, but did you think their movements were depicted in ways that made them look silly? Sometimes I thought that.
Hm: No I think they seemed sincere, maybe a little naive, but passionate.
Lway:  You're probably not quite right with that opinion. The movements were depicted as silly in many instances.  Did you have a favorite part?
Hm: I really thought the wild scene in the drug house towards the end was vivid and realistic.
Lway:  I liked that too.  I also liked when the Italian film makers were discussing their film about the Laotian workers.  I like to think about these small groups of people trying to highlight or bring attention to stories we don't know about. What about the old fist of 5?
Hm:  Going to give it a solid 4.  That's actually kind of high.  I'll go with 3.5
Lway.  I agree on the 3.5.  It was a little draggy in parts.  Still, a good film and if people want to see it, they probably should. 
Hm:  I'll add here that my score for The Internship would be a 0.  If anyone wants to see that movie, they should put a gun in their mouth first. 
Lway:  Well said, but we still love Owen and Vince.
Hm:  But just a little less than we used to.

Learning 5: The Bass

I want to learn the name of this cool lizard. THANKS, JANET!!!!! 
#1 Son taught me how to play that bass line of Louie Louie on his 6 string electric bass.  Feeling pretty good about that.  I have low standards for myself in the music department, so I ignored a few of # 1's tips about holding down strings so they wouldn't vibrate between notes. I want to learn the bass line for Come Together.  # 1 says it might be hard for me.  

Janet took these pictures in HAWAII!!!!  My dream is to go to this beautiful place.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Learning #4: The Wilson

Once I'm interested in a celeb, I'm tried and true.  Last week I watched Bottle Rocket again.  It's a phenomefilm, an Owen Wilson classic.  Yesterday we saw The Internship.  See it if you want, but man alive, we were sorely disappointed.  It's sad when a celeb idol disappoints, but I refuse to turn my back on Owen Wilson.  Today I spent a bit of time learning more about what he's up to these days.  I wanted to know if he's currently in a committed relationship. I could not learn this info, but I did find out that Owen has a sweet son named Ford. Owen appears to enjoy being a dad.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Learning 3: The Lemurs

ER and her fam left today, for eastern adventures.  Hard stuff saying good by to that great friend.  She's keeping a blog with a really nifty name, so I'll be following her and you probably should as well.  I'm going to visit her when I get back from Israel.  Today I learned more about her new home.  They have a lemur center there.  I already knew that lemurs were from Madagascar, but I learned that they are ONLY from Madagascar, which means they are endemic to that place. Most everything in Madagascar is endemic to Madagascar.  Some people buy lemurs for pets, but I'm against that.  If they can't be in Madagascar, they should be in the lemur center. But it's best if they stay in Madagascar. Leave the lemurs be.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Learning 2: Portrait Skulls

Ventured out on a little field trip to the Mathers Museum today.  Here's what I learned.  The Iatmul people of Papua New Guinea used to have a little thing they did called portrait skulls.  Not sure if they still do it or not.  After someone dies, they take their skull, add some clay and maybe some resin and make a little portrait out of your skull.  Then they display the skull portrait in a ceremonial hut.  Then men you know from each side of your family --- your mom's and your dad's ---- come and tell stories about you in the hut.  The women you know listen to the stories.  After awhile, they bury your portrait skull with your body.  I like this tradition a lot. I got to see a portrait skull.  It didn't look like it would be that hard to make one, ttytt.

Some other tidbits I learned today:
The universe came in to being 13.7 billion years ago.  (Great exhibit on the history of the universe at Mathers btw).
Godwits are birds that fly from Alaska to New Zealand without stopping in spring time.  Over 7,000 miles, people!  Let's hear it for the godwits!

I feel I've more than made up for my lame reality tv show learning of yore.  I'm doing my best, forgetting the rest.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Learning 1: Real Estate

Last night was book club night.  I was the host.  We discussed Round House by Louise Erdrich.  I love the book club because these gals really talk about the book for a long long time, which is awesome AND because everyone drinks quite a lot of wine while we discuss said book.  Books, wine, friends.  Winning combo.  But here's the prob.  Today I was in no shape to really do what anyone would consider great learning.  In short, I was sluggish.  In the afternoon, I planted myself on the couch and watched many Million Dollar Listing shows in a row.  Here's what I learned.

If you buy an apt. for 2.5 million dollars and you only live in it for 6 months because then you decide to move to Singapore, you probably can't list it for more money than you spent on it even if you improved the place with $100,000 on closets and blinds.  Buyers aren't going to go for it because no one believes your place has increased in value in a mere six months.

Picking up some real estate info this afternoon perked me up.  After dinner we watched #1 Son play bass in the musical, SWING.  Well done, #1!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Learning: Blog Challenge?

Husbandman and I are spending about ten minutes a day learning Hebrew.  We don't know much yet, but we're getting there.  We're using a book, and a video series, and flash cards that we're making ourselves.  We know about 8 letters and a few phrases.  Our fabulous niece is already in Israel.  She's spending the year there because she's in the first year of rabbinical school.  I can't wait to see her and start showing off my Hebrew to her.  She won't be living in Haifa, but not too far away.  If we can get a car, we'll be able to visit her.  Right now the car situation is problematic.  I'll keep you posted on that.

In the spirit of learning new stuff, I thought a blog challenge might be in order.  30 to 35 entries about new learnings by July 31?  What say you?  Here's a link to a site about learning stuff. Let me know if you're in.  And you all better be in.  No excuses to not contributing to making this the premier blog challenge in the United States.

Right now I'm still cleaning out rooms. In the spirit of learning new things, I learned about a new useful object while cleaning out #1's closet. Way in the back we found something called a beer sling yesterday.  It had 4 beers in it.  #1 Son thought it was hilarious. He laughed quite a bit. I guess it's been back there for about 3 years and he had forgotten about it. I was glad to see the enjoyment he got out of finding the beer sling. I was also glad to learn about a new object, something I now like to call: the beer sling.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Narwhals

Judith is heading north to Alaska. Whenever anyone goes to Alaska, I always think of that song, NORTH! To Alaska! They go north, the rush is on.
I'm hoping she can send me some wildlife fotos for the blog.  I asked for grizzlies and narwhals.  She thinks the former is more likely.  I'll take what I can get.  
Today's the day I get ruthless about room remnant removal.  20 Something, I'm sorry, but much of your stuff is about to be destroyed. #1, your stuff is next.  I've been sorting through things to keep, to donate, to discard. Remembering all the good times with each piece of writing, photograph, bookmark, stone, shell. The sentimental journeying's really slowing me down.  I've got to break on through to the other side. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Review: Levon Helm: Ain't In It For My Health

The Black Racer
Okay, so we saw this awesome documentary about Levon Helm.  Here's our review.
LH:  So, what did you think of this film?
Hm:  I thought it was a well done documentary.
LH:  Did you cry 2 times like I did?
Hm:  No I never even came close to crying once.
LH:  Did you have a favorite part?
Hm:  I guess when he sang Springsteen's Atlantic City.
LH: That's one of the times I cried.  Also when they sang The Weight at Woodstock.  There was so much history in this guy's life.  I was really moved by it.
Hm:  (silence)
LH:  Say something now.
HM:  You  didn't ask me anything.
LH:  I don't always have to ask stuff.  The reviews should be more conversational.
Hm:  I was surprised they didn't have more about Dylan's relationship to the band.
LH:  Me too.  I have a feeling there were some tensions around that relationship.
HM:  Probably.
LH:  Fist of 5?
HM:  I'll give it a 4.
LH:  Why just a 4?  It was awesome.
HM:  It wasn't scintillating, but it was good.
LH:  Wouldn't it be great to go to some of those Rambles in his barn?  They sounded so awesome.
HM:  Yeah.
LH:  I'm obviously giving it a 5.
HM: Inflation.
LH:  Our history, our artistic soul.  Not inflation.  Knock it off.  If people want to see it, they should.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Rogen

This Is the End is a fun movie.  You should see it if you want.  Goofy and amusing.  On a fist of 5, I'll give it a 5.  Or 4.5.  Either way, good stuff, imho.

I'm thinking about getting a dog when we get back from Israel.  Husbandman wants a lab.  I want a corgi, and I told him that a corgi is a good compromise dog.  "How's that a compromise?" he asked, surprisingly.

"It's a compromise because I really want a Savannah Cat," I replied.  He seemed to understand, then.
I looked up Corgi personality - fun, intelligent, loyal, but not a barker. I want the Cardigan corgi, not the Pembroke.  I think I'll name him/her Tuffy.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Mulberries

Men are in our tree with saws.  The Mulberry Tree is being killed.  It feels selfish to cut it down.  It's a huge healthy tree.  We are paying the hitmen to kill it because the tree drops mulberries all over our cars and our driveway.  The mulberries get tracked into our home and stain our rugs.  One of the hitmen asked me if I ever ate the mulberries.  I told him no, they seem more like a waste product than a food item.  He responded that he intended to eat as many as possible once he gets up into the tree.  I feel bad about hiring the hitmen to kill the mulberry tree.  I'm going to have let go and forgive myself for this moral lapse, after I think about it all day long. Farewell, Mulberry.  Better luck next time my friend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Bechdels

I finished Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel today and immediately started reading her first book, Fun Home. I read all day, so I'm almost done with Fun Home. These are graphic novel memoirs and they are phenomenal. I'm thinking of writing a graphic novel.  I've been sketching some little images here and there.  Once I get some kind of concept, I'm good to go. At any rate, try to read these books by Alison Bechdel if you want.  Both very good.

I spent half my day reading, and half my day trying to clear out closets.  #1 Son is not super helpful with this work. I asked him today, "Do you think I can move your... manga collection / old sheet music / toys of yore... to the Goodwill bags, or do you want them in a box in the attic?"
#1 is non-commital, usually offering something like, "Either way, it's not going to make much difference," or "Why do you even have to move any of this stuff?"  I'm not sure why he thinks his roommates will want to stay in rooms filled with his old stuff, but he seems to think they won't mind. I didn't get much done.

Changes are happening at Artful School and it feels weird to read about said changes via emails or texts knowing that I don't work there any more. I was getting all hyped up talking with people about school yesterday and today I realized I need to back off and let people live their lives without my 2 cents.  It's a little tough not knowing where I'll work in a year and my major goal is to not think about this anymore, but I still keep thinking about it.  I hope I stop soon. I don't do well with uncertainty. I think we all know this.  If I knew where I would work next, I would stop thinking about it right away.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Selling

I bought some books yesterday at corporate book store.  I was in a great mood after spending an hour grazing on books there.  Then when I went to buy the books, the poor cashier had to go through the suggestive sell script and I felt a mixture of pity and annoyance that lingered for awhile.  Script went like this:
Would you like an awards card? It saves you money.
-No thank you.
You could save 8 dollars.
-No, not today, but thanks.
You could get a coupon for an e-reader at half price.
-No thank you. I'm going to pass on that.
Well, here's your receipt, and it has a coupon on it for a 10 dollar cheesecake. You can get it over at the cafe.
-Oh geez, I really don't need a cheese cake right now, but thanks.
Oh, no worries, you can't get it today. You have to order the cheesecake today, and you can pick it up in 48 hours.
-Okay, well, thanks.  Thanks again.
If you order that cheesecake, I promise to eat half of it for you. (laughing oddly)
-Well, thanks, I'll keep that in mind.  Appreciate it.

I find these exchanges irksome.  I already spent way more money than I should have and I already feel anxiety around that. Now I have to parry with you about spending more money on stuff I don't want or need, like cheesecakes. But then I remember my days at Taco Bell and I try to feel solidarity with the suggesters.  At the bell, if we didn't suggestive sell, we got yelled at by the manager.  I would ask about every 10th customer, "Would you like another taco?" And the customer would look at me like I was insane. I think one time in 8 months someone said, "Yeah, okay." I was shocked. I don't think suggestive sell works that great. But I could be wrong. A new thing that's been happening to me lately is cashiers give me their name and a web site and ask me to get on line to review their service quality.  I'm never going to do that. Who would? When I'm on the internet, I don't want to be helping others. I know that's not super kind, but I fear that if I help them, I'm going to get tangled up in a new corporate game somehow.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Shoes

In the past week, I've told 3 young people to avoid the teaching profession.  That does not feel good.  I have always been a booster for new teachers, applauding them with gusto.  But things aren't good right now in school land, peeps.  I even had a horrible school dream last night where someone was yelling at me and I ran away without shoes on.  Then today I read an article about Common Core in the NYT.  The testing with the core is going to be hideous and I sometimes wonder how I'm going to hang in there for the next 10 to 12 years.  I keep telling myself to shut off the school brain and move into sabbatical brain, but then I ignore myself and sit around stewing about schools and scores and standards.

On a good note, I'm seeing an independent film with Judith tonight.  Maybe she'll help me with a review.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Tickets

Tickets to Israel purchased.  This is the time I start freaking out.  Why can't I just have a simple life?  I don't know how to get around in Haifa.  I don't know what buses to take.  I don't speak Hebrew.  I don't enjoy meeting new people.  I have anxiety walking into Jimmy John's, so now I'm going to schlep around a new country every day for 9 months? Alone?  Purposeless?  What if people look at me or try to talk to me?  How should I react?  I'm a bundle of nerves, paralyzed by fear.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Practicing

Brilliant #1 Son shared his practice schedule with me yesterday.  He typed it up and put times next to each piece. I copycatted him and made up my own practice schedule, with 20 items on it.  I will try to do as many of these each day as possible.

Zoo highlights from yesterday;  Baby elephant running along with urgency, Aviary, Giraffes, Rhinos, Butterfly Garden.   At the giraffe place, a mom said, "Look the giraffes are eating just like in your book."  Her kid responded, "Why aren't they saying munch munch?"

There were a ton of kids there, but except for one, all seemed in great moods. I can now check off my favorite item on my practice schedule.  On to housework.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Zoo

The Grolier 100 is a list of books that collectors like to have.  The list came about as part of an exhibit in 1903 in NYC of course.  The exhibit had 100 books that some peeps deemed important and collectible.  They called the list the Grolier 100.  After that, a guy named Lilly started collecting the Grolier 100.  He collected 99 of them and then donated his collection to IU in the 1950's along with a bunch of other books he had.  The Grolier 100 is on exhibit now and it's a fun exhibit and you may want to check it out if you feel like it.  My fave was Pickwick Papers in their original installments.  If you walk across to the gallery formerly known as SOFA, you can see the Kinsey Juried show.  In between you can sit by Showalter Fountain and enjoy summerness.  First Field Trip of the Summer.  Today we're heading north to the zoo.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Dawning

It's dawning on me slowly but surely that I don't have to work for a year.  This is a good kind of dawning let me tell you.
We had some sadness here last night with the Pacers playing badly and losing to the Miami Heat. Damn you Pacers. #1Son saw the Biebs on tv, watching the game and wearing a Heat hat.  Now he wants me to remove our Justin Bieber doll from the TV room.  I'm torn. Honestly, I'm torn.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Code

Fast and Furious 6.  Saw it this afternoon and from it I learned some valuable life lessons.  First off, people need a code by which to live.  You can be like Vin Diesel and have a good code about family and loyalty. Or you can be like the bad guy whose code is precision and efficiency.  Also, if your family turns their back on you, you don't turn your back on your family.  You stay loyal.  It's also important to be who you are and to improvise if your plan falls through.  Probably most importantly, even if you think the worst is over, it's not.  There's always something else bad that's going to happen.  So just deal with it. Your loyal team will help you get through it all. Some of the team might die though.

I'll probably go to every dumb summer movie so I can learn more valuable life lessons.  I'll share what I've learned with you.  Right here on this very blog.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Gambol

Found this foto on my phone this morning.
3 college graduates gathered around a celebratory artifact
known as a birthday cake.
The family is back together.  And we're joined by these cool friendies.  Last night we went out to a martini bar to hear #1 Son play with Charlie.  There was merriment, singing and dancing.

Nance and Kev joined us.  At one point, Nance pointed to 20 Something and said "She grew up, Lee!"

So then we both started crying.  And then we rightly decided to pull it together and get back to FunLand.  

Gambolling GENERATIONS, people.  We've got it going on.

Set break.  Time for intergenerational mix and mingle.

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...