Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Decision

I've got a big decision ahead of me right now.  Should we go get the Christmas tree today?   Maybe, maybe not.

3/4 of our kinfolk left town yesterday.  We always have such a grand time with our Thankgiving crew. They come in and get the job done. Our Thanksgiving dinner was the best ever and our hand turkeys exceeded all expectations.  On Friday we drove to Jug Rock in Shoals, Indiana. Jug Rock is a large rock formation that you can admire for awhile. After learning about Jug Rock, we visited the West Baden Hotel in French Lick.  Then we cruised over to the casino.  Our official plan was for everyone to lose 5 dollars at the casino.  I ended up losing ten, but at least ten is a multiple of five. Eve won 1.75. Everyone else lost five dollars, according to plan.  I wish Eve could follow the directions.  Geez.

So, back to the tree.  We should probably get it, right?

And what about a December blogging challenge, based on the title of Kenneth Koch's beautiful book, Wishes, Lies and Dreams. We write 20 to 25 posts in December focusing on a wish or a lie or a dream.  Fabulous fabrications and confabulations?  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Award

Jacqueline Woodson just won the National Book Award for Brown Girl Dreaming.  Why haven't I bought that book yet?  I'll take care of that situation, post haste.  This author's been part of our house for a lot of years because 20 Something read If You Come Softly many years ago and made us aware that this author's important work was a life changing reading experience.  Congratulations to Ms. Woodson and thanks for all the great books.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share: THE HAND TURKEYS!

Eve made this Wild Thing on Parade

Eli made this Condensed Milk Can Turkey.

Lee made this Garden Club Turkey

Rosalyn made this Gourmet Turkey Cupcake.

Bill made this turkey called Travel Om.

Peter made this Four Alarm Fire Turkey.

Quinn made this Galactic Explorer Turkey

And all our turkeys were in the Poultry Parade.

Thursday Creativity Share: Georgia O'Keeffe

Nick Cave
 You're probably thinking about the hand turkeys right now.  Well, we haven't even started making them yet.  It's super hard to coordinate the creativity that's happening around here right now.  There's so much.

A great creative thing to share is the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit up at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.   It features Georgia, but mixes in works by other artists who were part of the Taos Art Community.  Don't delay, go there today.

Another cool thing is the movie that's called The Theory of Everything.  It's all about Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde.  They were quite the pair.  We all liked the movie.  You should see it if you feel like it.

So, Thursday Creativity Share is a wrap.  We've got photographs of some cool art pieces.  A recommendation for an exhibit featuring one of the best artists our nutty nation has to offer.  And a movie about a couple of people who have to deal with motor neuron disease while creating theories about time and the origin of the universe. Great times.  Turkeys to follow. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Reunion

There comes a time when people come home and that time is now.

Eve and Bill are here and we saw fabulous John Hiatt singing on Monday night.  But get this.  The opening act was a guy by the name of Andrew Ripp and he played a love song on the Bachelor in Paradise show.  So that was kind of a thrill to hear about.

Now our much beloved magical nephew is here.  He's right in the same room with me right now.  He used to blog,  so I'm asking him to blog again.  20 Something (who has been dubbed Queen of the Red Eye) will arrive in a few hours.

I'm just cracker jacks for this vacation right now. I plan to bring honor to the family by blogging the holy heck out of this reunion.  I may blog more than once each day.  Just for the fun of it.

No links!  Husbandman says we have to go right now to pick up 20 Something.  IMPORTANTE!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


#TwinTuesday.  Cranberries and Qtips. See the twin picture here.  An impressive pairing, as usual.

Update:  We have 75% of our visitors here with us now.  And tomorrow we pick up 25%.  Hoorah!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Disorder

Did you know that multiple personality disorder (MPD) is now called dissociative identity disorder (DID)?  I watched a video about this at the NYT today.  I read the book Sybil in high school and found it fascinating.   Come to find out, there's been some debunking of the MPD diagnosis. That's one reason it's been renamed.  Instead of more than one personality, people with DID have less than one personality. Their personalities are fragmented and they have trouble integrating these fragments into one cohesive whole.

I don't think I have DID and I highly doubt that you have it.  Long story short: It's extremely rare and some doctors don't even believe it exists, so if you're worrying about having DID, just let it go.  You're probably fine.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Rain

It's a rainy Sunday.  I went into school yesterday and today in the hope that I might enjoy Thanksgiving break without thinking any more about school.

So that's done.

Except I keep thinking of things I forgot to do.  Teaching is a good job for me, a job I sincerely love, but I find I can't shut it off ever.  I may even head back in tomorrow to fix up some of the stuff I didn't fix up today and yesterday.

Maybe it's not good to get a jump on things school related because I just stretch everything out into infinity, which might be a sign of mental illness, truth be told.  My pal told me today that going into school on the off hours is a bit like wandering into the Bermuda Triangle.  She's right. I need to just get back on dry land and focus on the here and now.  A 4:50 viewing of the Hunger Games flick is going to help.  Probably.  I'm hoping it will.  May the odds be ever in my favor. As they say in the Hunger Games.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Band

 Yesterday afternoon Sandra and I were at Kathala's house and for part of the evening we were able to hang out with her entire fam, including two young awesomes.  We watched snippets of a show about the One Directions, a band of young men who are taking the world by storm.   I had heard of these One Directions, but I had never seen them in action.  "Which one's your favorite?" I asked Eldest Awesome (EA).

She quickly replied,  "Harry.  I'm crazy in love with him."  I could see that.  Harry One Direction is a cute young man.  I'm not sure he needs the tattoos, though.

"I wonder if 20 Something knows about this band?" I asked.
"Yes, I'm sure she does," said EA.  "Everyone I know is crazy in love with them right now."
"Do you think there are dolls of these One Directions yet?"
"Yes, there are dolls.  You can buy them," she answered, her eyes riveted to the screen where the One Directions were frolicking on skateboards and looking jolly.

Well guess what Twenty Something and #1 Son?  Be ready for some One Directions under the old tree this year.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share: Frazey Ford

Well, thanks to Cynthia Butler, also known as CB here on the blog, we have an awesome song to sing and a new singer to learn about.  Frazey Ford used to hang with the Be Good Tanyas, but now she's going out and doing her own creativity.  Frazey, we are liking this Blue Streak Mama song so keep it up.

Frazey's parents escaped the Vietnam War by moving to Canada.  They lived in a commune.  I read about her here.  I can see myself doing something like that in the future.  Grabbing 20 Something and #1 and Husbandman and just heading north to start our own creative collective.

Also I took a picture of some fungi that I like.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Frazey Ford Talking a Blue Streak.  Fungi to find on campus.  You just got to sit back and wonder.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Gobbling

Turns out we're having a Gobble Off this week.  Our student council reps announced this to the class after lunch.  After sharing the basic story line, Rep One added, "If you don't feel brave about gobbling on the intercom, you shouldn't enter the contest. Because the winners will gobble over the intercom."

As is typical with the Thirdlanders, a barrage of questions ensued.  Tons and tons of questions.  Questions you could never even imagine if you tried.  Question after question without end.  It was great to sit back and watch these two Thirdlanders handle the questions like old pros.  Finally though, I could sympathize with their exasperation at the intense scrutiny the gobble off was receiving.  Rep Two finally shut it down by saying, "Look guys.  In short, we need one person to gobble on Friday.  Dr. H. will decide who that will be."

Later I found a small note on my desk.  It read, "Dr. H., If you pick me for the gobble off, I will bring you more roasted pumpkin seeds, like I did at Halloween."

You can see my conundrum.  I love the roasted pumpkin seeds.  And yet, there's the issue of fairness.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


#Twin Tuesday.  We've got a ceramic fowl and a classic movie.  You're probably thinking this is such a cheerful pair.  Yet so symbolic of things to come.  You're probably on the right track there, with your thinking.  It's fairly algid outside, so why don't you just hang out at home, contemplating #TwinTuesday and recalling your recent accomplishments?  That's what I'd be doing, if I weren't going to my job right now.  The job I'm going to be late for.  Because I want to get a latte on the way.

#TwinTuesday.  Fowl.  Film.  Not sure how we keep pulling this off, week after week. I guess it's in our blood.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Snow

One week away, one week away, one week away!
We got a couple of inches of snow last night. I will try to get outside to take some pictures. Never fear.

Right now I'm obsessed with the mountain gorillas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  There's oil in Virunga National Park and so this haven for the gorillas may be cut down in size soon.  The people in the DRC are having some arguments about this.  This is one of those things where you can almost see both sides.  Poor country, riches underground, endangered mountain gorillas, only place where they can live in relative safety. No surprise that I'm coming down on the side of the gorillas. I just love gorillas now because of The One and Only Ivan.  Every day I read about gorillas and watch videos of gorillas.  I wish I could be like Dian Fossey and just head over to the DRC to study the gorillas. I need to be a primatologist.  It's in my blood.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Plans

We saw Dear White People last night. Highly recommend.  After seeing the movie, I  read this excellent review and I think you should see it if you want to, especially if you care about issues of white privilege, racism, social justice, and if you like to go to the movies.    I'm still thinking about the characters and Husbandman and I have some lingering questions.  2 good signs for any movie.

I'm going through a laziness phase today.  I don't want to work.  I want to play.

Maybe I'll start with a walk in this algid weather.

FYI:  Algid means cold. Did you already know this word?  Because I for one never heard the word in my life. We learned this word from the NYT Crossword puzzle this morning.  I'll be throwing it around for the next couple of months.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Game

Morning Meeting was a big hubbub of Thirdlanders upset because some kiddos from other classes keep messing with their recess games.  I suggested talking it out with the miscreants, to which a Thirdlander replied, "We do, but they keep doing it and they call us liars!"

My next suggestion which admittedly was not well considered was, "Okay, so maybe can other people in our class watch out for this problem and try to help?"

So come to find out when I picked them up from recess, everyone was astir. Turns out the Thirdlanders had linked arms and encircled a few of their pals to protect their game.  This caused the rascals to ratchet up their mischief. A near riot ensued.  "Now our game is banned!" yelled one Thirdlander.  I said, "Well, that's a drag.  I probably should have just talked to those little peeps myself.  But it does sound kind of cool that you all linked arms and tried to help."

"It was awesome," chirped a chorus of smiling Thirdlanders.    I'll try to sort this all out next week. Obviously my class is totally in the right.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Cheeks

Multiplication.  Not sure we give this convenient and radical operation its due recognition.  Multiplication makes our lives easier every single day.  Instead of the repeated addition tedium, we just memorize those multiplication facts and zip zip, we've got our answers.  This week we talked about items that come in pairs.  Chopsticks, shoes, twins, nostrils.  One kiddo offered, "butt cheeks."  I almost added it to the list because, darn it, butt cheeks do come in pairs.  There's no denying.  Instead I just said, "Inappropriate," and called on another Thirdlander.  I felt somewhat conflicted about this, as you can imagine.

I'm officially calling this Multiplication Appreciation Day.  You've been around awhile, Multiplication, and sometimes I feel you're just getting lost in the hubbub.  I barely ever talk about multiplication when I'm out with friends, or even at home with Husbandman, which is especially odd since he's a mathematician. You'd think we'd be chatting about arithmetic operations over dinner at least a few times a week. Not so, my friends.  Multiplication Appreciation Day.  Join in.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share: Grace Hartigan

We received an awesome book this week called Modernism from the National Gallery of Art.  Our friends MEM and BOB sent it our way. Thank you, you little dolls! Can you imagine getting such a gift through the U.S. Mail?  What a thrill.  I don't want to brag, but I'm on a first name basis with most of the artists in the book.  And I'm  excited to meet some new ones.  Like Grace Hartigan, who painted this beautiful painting called Hester and Essex.  Listen to what Grace Hartigan has to say about art after meeting Jackson Pollock.

"I knew the paintings and the person who painted them were one-and-the-same.  Painting was not an activity but a total life.  And you would do anything to keep painting, even if you starved.  You were the paintings and the paintings were you."  

The author of the piece, curator Harry Cooper adds, "The equation of self-expression and creation became her dogma."

That's kind of how I feel about this blog.  I am the blog, and the blog is me.  And I will do anything to keep blogging, even if I have to starve.  I'm pretty sure of that, at any rate.

Thursday Creativity Share. A beautiful book. A cool new artist by the name of Grace Hartigan. We've done it again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Cameras

Husbandman doesn't like any of my ideas for Hand Turkeys 2014.  I may have to go rogue this year. I'm thinking of making a flock of turkeys.  My own personal flock of wild turkeys.
Our schooling system is going to a new evaluation plan next year. We have a list of 41 elements that should be visible in our lessons.  That's going to be tough, not going to lie.  It's going to be tough for principals too. Checking, checking, checking. I'm coming up with a new plan that I personally think has potential.  Get this.   Classrooms will be outfitted with hidden cameras so administrators can observe teachers all day long, at random times.  The hidden camera will be outfitted with a computer program that automatically tallies our teaching methods as well as the attentiveness of our students.  At the end of each day we will get a printout of goals for the following day.  This is going to save everyone a lot of time and stress. I hope I can get my name on this invention.  It could be a moneymaker.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Chalk and Starburst. There you go.  It doesn't get much better than that.  I actually don't care for starbursts that much.  That's probably why they are hanging around my kitchen, bored out of their little minds.

On another note, it's Veterans Day.  We thank veterans for their military service. The thirdlanders are having a presentation today.  Their voices are beautiful and I do enjoy their medley that ends with the foot tapping tune, You're a Grand Old Flag.  I think Veterans Day should also be a day where we send apology notes to all vets.  I apologize to all veterans reading today, the pair of you, that we haven't figured out how to stop fighting and hurting and I apologize that you have to go off and do the fighting and hurting and being hurt because we've been lame about this.  I'm reading The Things They Carried and thinking of people in the military past and present with respect and regret.

Okay, back to #twintuesday.  Chalk, starburst.  Let's mull them over in our minds.  Get it done.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Stones

We went off in search of Hoagy Carmichael's grave yesterday.  Find it we did.  We walked by Alfred Kinsey's as well.  Then we got doughnuts at the famous Bloomington institution, Cresent Doughnuts, known and loved by one and all, and headed over to visit the tombstone of Lefty Galloway.  He could have been a professional baseball player, but sadly, he got in a truck accident at a young age.

The Rose Hill Cemetery is a pleasant field trip for a grey day, especially when paired with a visit to the famous Bloomington institution, Cresent Doughnut Shop. Cresent Doughnut Shop is open 24 hours a day, so it might be fun to walk through Rose Hill in the middle of the night, with candles.  Several citizens brought carved jack o lanterns to the cemetery last week and those jack o lanterns sit there to this day, making a cheerful contrast to the gravestones old and new.  Neat idea, fellow citizens.  Might give this a try next year.

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Literature

A small group of Thirdlanders discussed a classic novel this week.  Because a character dies in childbirth in this excellent text, one spry child got to asking about childbirth and "how it all works."  I tried to gently put the kibosh on this line of inquiry by diverting to another topic when a kiddo confidently piped up with, "The babies come from the balls."

At that point, there was an extremely animated hubbub of talking back and forth about this comment as I kept repeating stuff like, "Okay, that's it.  Stop now.  Moving on. Stop, I mean it."  As the literature group ignored me and continued arguing over the merits of the statement, the confident kid just repeated in all seriousness and more loudly, "The babies come from the balls."

That's when I lost it and started laughing in an uncontrollable fashion.  My weird laughing broke up the conversation and when I pulled it together at last, we collected our lit. logs, shut our books, and called it a day.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

鳴子系こけし/こけしの岡仁 from dmp on Vimeo.

This is a great video showing an artist making a wooden doll.  I think I'll show it to the Thirdlanders today.

I'm also checking out this blog called Teaching Like It's 2099.  Jennifer Magiera has a cool Ted Talk on her site.  I loved the movie at the end of the TED talk, made by kids who want to educate people about their Chicago neighborhood. Well done, Students.

Who knows?  Maybe I'll make these turkeys one of these days too.

Thursday Creativity Share.  We've got a video of an artist making a lovely wooden doll.  A blog about teaching with playful purpose.  Some colorful turkeys.  Pretty good for someone who woke up one hour ago without a creative clue about this blog entry. Don't know how, but I got it done again.  This is blogging awesome.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Blues

The Thirdlanders came up with one of our principles for improving our dismissal procedures. "Contribute to the calm and not to the chaos."  I'm going to adopt this as my personal guideline today.   Not too happy about the election results.  That's how it goes sometimes.  I could just go downtown and start rioting, but instead I'm going to stick to my normal routine.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


It only comes around once a week.  As you know, we call it #TwinTuesday.  This week we have an anthropomorphic vehicle with a leaf. There's really not much more to say. Just think about it.  That's all we ask.

Happy Election Day everyone.  Time to get our Democracy on.  So excited to be casting my vote.  Go DEMOCRACY!

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Nightcrawler

We saw the Jake Gyllenhall movie last night.  It's very good and you should see it if you want.  I think Louis Bloom was about as creepy a character as you can find.  He kept repeating Business 1A platitudes with utmost sincerity.  He creeped me out.  But no one can deny the greatness of Jake's performance.  Well done, Jake Gyllenhall!

On a sidenote, today is 20 Something's birthday.  She's 24 and I'm 54.  Do the math people.  We're 30 years apart in age. Interestingly enough, my mom is 84. At any rate, 20 Something is an amazing woman in all regards. If you know her, you know what I say is true. If you don't, get to know her asap.  You'll be happy you did.  I for one am counting down until I see her again, which will be on the holiday of thankfulness.  One of her birthday wishes was a request for bookmarks.  I invited the Thirdlanders to make some bookmarks for her.  The bookmarks were sweet and the Thirdlanders were excited to make them.  One Thirdlander wimped out on the coloring, just outlining a design in pencil, but he told me, "I'm thinking she can color this any way she wants."  True that.  20 Something Dearest, color away.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Keen Observation

Look closely at this photograph.  Do you see the two friends on the right?  Those are our Canadian friends who came down for a visit this weekend.  We don't usually have visitors so this is not only fun, but also exciting.  But now look again, readers.  Look closely at what you see around the necks of not only the Canadians, but around the neck of Husbandman as well.  You see 3 scarves, right?  Now, think for a moment about who might have made those scarves.  Just sit and think a bit.

Okay, I'll just tell you.  I made those scarves.  I crocheted them using yarn and a crochet hook.  I'm thinking of starting a scarf business.  Look at the jaunty expressions on the faces of this merry trio of mathematicians. With these jaunty scarves, they're ready to set out and solve the problems of the world.  I may call my cottage industry, "Jaunty Scarves."

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Costumes

We had some princesses, some Harry Potters, some ninjas, Artemis, Thing 1, Karate Kid, Soldier, Darth, Japanese Doll, a fox and a zookeeper.  We had a raucous party with games and crafts.  We had a parade that 1/3 of the Thirdlanders somehow decided they weren't interested in at some point and returned to the classroom without their teacher.  We had roasted pumpkin seeds. We had treat bags.

Stick a fork in it.  Halloween 2014 is done. Best Halloween ever.

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...