Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Blandishments

I'm sad to report that I again have the globus problem with my throat.  The globus feels like someone has their hands around my neck and is squeezing tightly.  Globus is a stress symptom and all the medical sites say that there's nothing to do but give the patient reassurance and sympathy.  I'm going to save myself time and not go to see my doctor about it.  Instead, I'm going to blandish the globus with positivity and hope it decides to make this visit a short one.

In conclusion, I'm not happy about my current medical condition which in years past was called globus hystericus, but everyone has something going on, and in the big picture, globus hystericus isn't that big a deal.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Ritz

For various reasons, I started passing out Ritz crackers every day around 2:00 in Room 200.  That's become one of our little traditions. I don't even know how it started, but that's what we do.

Last week, one of the more civic minded Thirdlanders brought in a box of Ritz to help out with our cracker habit.  

As we were passing out the ritz yesterday, Civic Minded Thirdlander exclaimed, "Wait a minute!  Is that the box my mom sent in?"  
I told her it probably was.  She zipped to look at the other boxes over in my office area.  She ran back, using an uncharacteristically loud voice, "This is all making sense now!  My mom buys WHEAT RITZ.  All year I keep telling her I want Ritz because I love them here at school. So buttery! So salty! But the ones at home never taste the same.  Now I get it.  She's buying the wrong kind!"  

Another Thirdlander yelled out, "I think my mom's doing that too!  These wheat ritz are HORRIBLE!"

The two Thirdlanders asked me if they could skip working on lit. logs so they could write letters home.  They even asked for plastic bags so they could bring both types of ritz home, for blind taste tests with their parents.  They seemed to be passionate about their topic, so I agreed to let them do this.  Probably not one of my best moves.  But really, People.  Wheat Ritz?  So wrong on so many levels. Gotta go with the Thirdlanders on this one. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Animated Short Films

On this Monday next, we're probably going to Bear's Place to see the Animated Short Films that have been nominated for the Academy Award.

I'm not a huge fan of animation nor am I crazy about short films, but we're probably going to see these movies on Monday night.  If you're interested, come on along.

We were going to see a German movie this week, but then we found out that the movie was 2 hours and 45 minutes long and we decided to pass.  I'm not crazy about the shorts, nor the longs, for that matter.

As you know, we've seen all 8 of the films nominated for best picture. We saw the sniper movie last weekend.  I thought it made war look hideous and insane.  Others think it glorified war. (Others by the name of Husbandman).  So that whole conversation is better left undiscussed.  Controversy aside, I really hope the sniper movie does not win the Academy Award.  I will be happy if Selma or Grand Budapest Hotel or Theory of Everything wins the academy award. I'll be unhappy if Whiplash or the sniper movie wins. Perfectly content if any of the remaining 3 brings home the statuette. 2014 was a pretty good film year, as film years go.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Future films.  Past films. A picture of a boy I learned how to draw. Not the best, nor the worst.  But pretty good, when you think about it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Open Mind

This week our whole school is working on Open Mindedness.  It's one of the traits we want to develop as we become an International School.

I need to work on this one.  I like my own ideas.  I like how I do things.  Jack Sprat could eat no fat, in other words.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
So in betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean.

I guess the moral of this story is that two complementary closed minds can get stuff done.  That doesn't ring true to me, but there must be something to it. Or else how could this nursery rhyme had endured through the sands of time? I need to find someone who disagrees with everything I do for a collaborative project.  I'm looking for a lean loving wife so to speak, to help me clean the platter.  I'm not going to lie.  This feels like a daunting task I've just given myself. Why do I always have to strive for excellence?  Why?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


So this week, we're presenting a scissors and an ice cube on this chilly #TwinTuesday.  This pairing really gets to the heart of the matter.  A lot of work went into #TwinTuesday this week.  As usual, it was well worth it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Tuning

I saw this lizard at the pet store last week.  He really impressed me with his stillness.  This guy can hold a pose like a granite statue.  In contrast, the parakeets can't seem to keep still at all.  We can learn a great lesson from the lizard.  Just stay still.  Don't get all ruffled up.  Thank you Lizard for these life lessons.  My goal and yours for the week is to focus on standing still whenever you remember to do so.  Just hold the phone on everything and take a breath. Check out what's going on around you without rushing into action.

Did you remember that I'm making my own goals and yours as well on Mondays sometimes?  This can save you some time and energy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Copier

On Friday, I ran at top speed to the copier 3 minutes before the ringing of the school bell.  I had a math test in my hand that desperately needed copying.  I felt lucky to have gotten to the copier just before a young student teacher.  Ha, Ha on you, Student Teacher, I thought to myself. I was going to make it.  As per usual, the copier told us there was a misfeed which we could not locate.  After yanking various parts of the machine to and fro, I looked at the student teacher and inexplicably began taking up more time with the following impromptu, yet heartfelt, speech, "You know, this is teaching.  Not only do you feel intense frustration and panic because a copier will always break when you need it most leaving you without essential materials for your lesson plan, you are also flooded with an intense self loathing because you've irresponsibly left an essential task to the last minute when you very well knew that decision to be potentially disastrous for all concerned. Frustration.  Panic.  Intense Self Loathing. This is what you want to do with the rest of your life?"

      He offered to run up to the copier in the main building and copy all our papers for us.  I thanked him heartily.  Later, I felt a little bad about the negative spinning I had done.  I should have ended with a cheery and true, "But everything usually works out just fine."

Way to take action, Student Teacher.  You're obviously going to be one of the greats.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Podcast?

 I don't know what to talk about on our podcast this week.  On the last podcast, I talked about having 3 goals and I haven't accomplished 2 of them.  I guess realism is important, but not super fascinating. Maybe we could have a section called Stuff I didn't get done this week.  Goals I Gave Up on.  Lack of time or Lack of Motivation?   I'm sure I'll come up with something.  We're going to record tomorrow.  Even though I didn't meet my goals, we did some interesting stuff.  I liked comparing two books about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   I've gotta remember to do my best and forget the rest.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Hooks

What do I want to do with this "one wild and precious day?"  I'm thinking of teaching the kids how to crochet.  We have all the materials.  Let's give it a go.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Prague Quadrennial 2015

Indiana University Theater Technology professors and graduate students have worked up a nifty interactive sculpture/exhibit that's going to be part of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.  We're heading to Prague my friends, to support IU as they represent us at the Quadrennial this summer.

I've also been doing some drawing lately using this book by Sachiko Umoto.  It's called Illustration School:  Let's Draw Cute Animals. The Thirdlanders like the book as well.  We made the cute dog the other day.

Also, we learned from Time For Kids magazine that someone has invented a rudimentary hoverboard.  It's an extremely creative thing to invent anything that can hover, so I hope the inventors keep working to improve the hoverboard.

I'd really like a hoverboard.  If I had a hoverboard, I could float around town with my new parakeet on my shoulder.  I'm thinking of getting a parakeet so I went to look at them at the pet store tonight.  They seem like creative birds, bright and cheerful and probably thinking about hover boards from time to time.

Thursday Creativity Share is a wrap once again.  We've got a sculpture that's heading to Prague, a book of drawing instructions (I've made the dog, bear and rabbit). We also have a new invention called the hoverboard and a photograph of a parakeet, looking stunning as all get out.  It just goes to prove to us all that the sky's the limit, when your heart is in it.  Well done!

The Cam

We don't have a window to the outside world in our classroom, so we've taken to watching the Cornell Lab Birdfeeder WebCam for much of each day.  Yesterday was a jackpot kind of day as we saw 6 evening grosbeaks at the feeder.  Evening Grosbeaks, people!

It happened during our math lesson.  The Thirdlanders shouted, "Take a picture, Take a picture! HURRY!"  Then they wanted to see the picture on my phone.  Then they wanted me to tweet the picture right away. And they suggested I put the photo on our classroom blog.  Not a ton of math was happening, but I think the Evening Grosbeak just acquired a slew of life long fans.  Fans they obviously well deserve.  We salute you, Evening Grosbeaks!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Yeah, it's #TwinTuesday again.  This week's unexpected pairing consists of a beautiful bouncy ball and a small food storage container.  All in good fun.  But also kind of fascinating to reflect upon.

Here we go.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Independent Film Review: Battered Bastards of Baseball

We watched an independent film about baseball this weekend.  It's a documentary about the Portland Mavericks and their owner, Bing Russell.  Bing Russell was Kurt Russell's dad.  I had a crush on Kurt Russell when I was a young girl because he was in a lot of Disney movies.

Me:  Husbandman, what did you think of the film?
Hm:  I enjoyed it.  It really showed one person's love for the game of baseball and revealed the heavy handedness of major league baseball.
Me:  Were you aware of the Mavericks when they were playing?
Hm:  No.
Me:  Do you think the players were actually good athletes?
Hm:  Yeah.  Certainly, Jim Bouten was.  They had to have been to have won as many games as they did.
Me:  The film kind of showed them as being clownish, using tricks or distractions to win.
Hm:  I don't agree.  I didn't see instances of that.  They were clowning around with each other in the locker room.
Me:  Well, maybe pay better attention next time when you watch a film.
Hm:  Does that include waking you up in the middle?
Me:  Fist of 5?
Hm:  I'm going to give it a 4.
Me:  I'll give it a 5.  I used to have a crush on Kurt Russell when I was a kid because he was in so many Disney movies. His dad was an interesting guy. Go Bing.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Unit

We had some time to sit down as a third grade team and plan a unit of study.  Our school is going to be an International Baccalaureate School, which I'm excited about.

Our unit will focus on the economy.  My mind is awhirlin' with ideas.  I want to learn more about fair trade and teach about that.  I also want to learn about water as a resource that greatly impacts the economy and vice a versa.  Did you know that Indiana University almost left Monroe County for wetter pastures because of our history with water shortages?  Thus the building of Lake Monroe.

I've also spent an hour looking at blogs about living in tiny houses.  In the NYT today, there's an article about the most expensive house on the market right now.  It costs 195 million dollars.  It's fun to watch the slide show and then check out some of the tiny house photos.  Would you rather live in a mansion on 25 acres, with its own Turkish spa, 2 kitchens, 12 bedrooms and a bowling alley?  Or would you rather live in a tiny house of about 400 square feet with a compost toilet?  These are the things I'm thinking about today.  Fair trade.  Tiny houses.  Water.

In conclusion, I've got a lot of work to do on the IB unit.   

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Knee

If you have preacher's knee, you know it's not a heck of a lot of fun.

I've diagnosed myself with preacher's knee.  Here are my symptoms.  Let's just say I'm sitting on the ground working with a Thirdlander.  Perhaps we're going over some of her writing.  Or perhaps we're working with some math manipulatives. At some point, I decide to regain verticality.   I'll begin to verticalize, which may put my knees in kind of a quasi-kneeling position.  One knee, which just so happens to be my left knee, gets a sudden shooting pain in a specific spot.  It feels as if I've pressed my knee hard into a stray lego piece that's on the ground.  It also feels like someone took a gun and shot a bullet right into the side of my knee.

When I regain verticality, my knee no longer hurts.  My knee doesn't hurt except when it's pressed to the ground in a quasi kneeling position.  This is called preacher's knee.  My preacher's knee will improve if I remember to stop kneeling on it for about six months.

In conclusion, I wish I did not have preacher's knee.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Je Suis Charlie

First there was a satirical picture of the prophet.  Then there was a terrorist attack killing 12 people, some of them involved with the creation of that satirical picture.  Later, artists responded creatively and you can see some of their images here. Creativity is powerful, as we all know.

 On NPR yesterday, I heard a Muslim leader saying that even though satirical pictures of the prophet are hurtful and offensive to Muslims, there should never be a violent response to such imagery, but all should follow the message of the prophet and respond with compassion, mercy and love.  Mercy and love are super powerful too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Teach Times 2 Podcast

KC and I have a cool podcast.  It's called Teach Times Two. This is our first episode.  It's about teaching and it's surprisingly amazing.  KC did all the recording and editing. I just talked. Thanks, KC!  I hope to be more helpful in future episodes, of which there will be many.   #1 Son contributed the music.  I'm really excited about this.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015



So it's that time of the week once again, the time we all like to call #TwinTuesday.  You're probably not expecting a small wooden object and some sugar.  Make of it what you will.  

 A kid in my class found the button on the ground and turned it in to me.  When I had it in my hand, I said, "I love this button and now it is mine." 
     "You should probably ask if it belongs to someone else," the Thirdlander said, a look of shocked concern on her face. 
       I didn't tell her that what I should do and what I actually do are often two very different things. 
Role model, and all that. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Mix

I'm not a huge fan of the wintry mix.  We're dealing with the wintry mix right now.  Little bit of rain, little bit of ice, throw in some sleet, maybe a snowflake every now and again.  It's a mess.

 Every county surrounding us is closed today, but we don't even have a 2 hour delay.  I need my 2 hour delays, peeps.  I need to talk to someone about this. I'm probably going to have to go straight to the top.

Monday's a good day for thinking about goals for our week.  Today, I'll make up goals for myself and for you as well.  That way you don't have to think about making up goals.

Let's try to stay upright and not fall on ice. In general, let's try to take extra good care of ourselves this week.  The wintry mix can get us down, so we need to wrap ourselves up in care and kindness.  If you're a California reader, you probably can skip this goal.

Let's shoot for speaking in a calm voice to adults and children, and to ourselves inside our minds.

Let's go to the store and buy our own special surprises for our lunches because sometimes people who make our lunches say they don't want to deal with the pressure of having to think up special lunch surprises. That can happen.  Let's try not to judge.

 It's all about self care this week.  And staying calm. And let's not judge other people.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Vice

Husbandman and I ventured out to see Inherent Vice last night.  Husbandman's off playing tennis right now so I'll review it here without him.  The basic gist of this film is that a hippie private eye is trying to solve a convoluted case.  Things keep happening to make the case more complex and more inscrutable.

The movie could have been funnier. It could have been more suspenseful.  I'm not saying it's the worst, but I'm not saying it's the best. I'll give it a 2.5 on the fist of 5.  I have to admit that I had a problem with twitchy leg syndrome during this movie and that made viewing a bit unpleasant.  So take these comments with a grain of ganglia.

I spent some time reading about the author this morning, Thomas Pynchon.  I find him to be extremely fascinating. I read one of his books when I was in college.  Maybe I should read more.  I'm not sure. The movie wasn't for me, but it did have some good parts, and it's based on a book by an interesting author.

I'm going to try to take what I can from this film, and apply it to my own life.  This is what I'm walking away with:  Crazy things happen all the time.  Just keep trying to do your job. If you can help someone out along the way, go for it. There are powerful forces that are trying to control and silence us.  Do your best to resist and undermine these forces. Choose freedom as much as possible.

Maya Rudolph has a small role.  She and the director are married and they have four children.  I adore Maya Rudolph.

So in the end, I guess I learned a lot from this movie.  If you want to see it, you should.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Napkins

Thanks to Husbandman I have a lovely lunch packed for me every day.  Thanks to 20 Something I have a brand new Rosie the Riveter lunchbox for this lunch. And a thankful shout out to #1 for liking my instagram photo of said lunchbox.

I was so delighted with my lunchbox yesterday.  Everything looked so neat and cheerful in there when I opened it up.  That's when I got an idea.  Let's make lunch even a little more awesome.  I emailed Husbandman right away with the request, "I'd like to have special surprises in my lunch three days a week."

Husbandman wrote back quickly.  "Extra napkins on Monday, Wednesday and Friday."

I have to schedule some time to talk with Husbandman about what "special surprises" might entail. I don't want to get too specific; otherwise the surprises won't be super surprising.  But we've got to start somewhere.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Crazy Horse Monument

Did you know that a huge memorial to Crazy Horse is being built in the Black Hills of North Dakota? People have been working on this sculpture for over 50 years and if it is ever completed, it will probably be the largest sculpture in the world.

We watched a DVD called Hello U.S.A.!: The Midwest! and that's where I learned about it. It's going to be massive.  Bigger than Mt. Rushmore by far.  I'm finding not too much information about the completion date of said monument, but we can still visit if we want to. There are multiple perspectives being shared about the site, so I'm going to have to take some time to reflect on this creative project. But in any case, friends who are driving here to visit us may want to drop by the Black Hills of North Dakota to see what I like to call the potential 9th Wonder of the World.

Thursday Creativity Share.  A monument that's slowly being built in the Black Hills of North Dakota.  A hand drawn illustration of a tragic, albeit ludicrous, event.  Will wonders never cease?

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Ludicrosity

The Thirdlanders get a big kick out of my fun antics.  This week I told them about a ludicrous thing I did when dismantling our holiday tree.  After we took off all the bulbs and lights, Husbandman left the room for a few moments.  That's when I, for some reason, got on the floor and started unscrewing the tree from the base.  Come to find out, the tree started falling down on top of me as gallons of water that had been sloshing inside the tree stand gushed out in torrents all over our living room.  I yelled for help and Husbandman did arrive to ask why I had done what I did.  I couldn't really answer because the action was ludicrous which means foolish and ridiculous. There was no reason on God's green earth to unscrew the tree with no one there to help me hold the tree upright.  Took quite awhile to get the water and the assorted debris cleaned up and discarded.  Since ludicrous was our vocabulary word this week, the kiddos illustrated it with pictures of me stuck under a tree calling for help. Their illustrations are quite good.  I'll try to share them soon.  But the long and the short of this whole thing is... think it through before you just haul off and do something that makes not a lick of sense. Think it through.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


#Twin Tuesday.  We've got a bag and a stamp.  Both items well designed, imho.  Sometimes I wish I could be a bag or a stamp designer.  I have some great ideas about bag and stamp design.  But for now, I just appreciate others for the work they're doing.  Thanks bag and stamp designers.  You really brighten up our days.

Speaking of brightening up days, a 2 hour delay would have been nice today.  Not going to lie.  Our neighboring county has a 2 hour delay, so what's up with that?

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Critics

Last night we watched Life Itself, the documentary about Roger Ebert.  It was phenomenal.  I keep thinking that Husbandman and I might eventually have a movie review show, similar to Siskel and Ebert.  Also, KC and I have been talking about creating a podcast about our teaching lives. Taking to the airwaves in 2015, by hook or by crook.  Just for the fun of it.

 But here's  the burning question of the day.  The Bachelor starts tonight and I usually live tweet that hideous show.  Common sense is screaming at me to avoid The Bachelor like the plague, but my fun side is saying, "Go for it.  You won't regret it. Much."  So we've got to figure that out today.  On my way to work.  I hope work is fun today.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Tips

We saw Big Eyes last night.  Husbandman liked it.  He said, "I thought it was an interesting story, I especially liked Amy Adams.  I wasn't totally sold on Christoph Waltz.  I was relieved Tim Burton played it fairly straight, which was good."

We haven't been seeing many independent films lately, so I'll just give you this partial review of a big budget film.  First of all, I liked Waltz's performance.  And B., I remember the Big Eyes prints all over the place when I was a youngster. I'm not sure why people liked them so much. That's the mystery of the day.  When I wonder about this aloud, Husbandman says, "Why do people like boy bands?"

    In response, I ask him, "Are you saying One Direction isn't good?  Because they totally are."

I will ponder about the Big Eyes Waifs today as I work on the report cards.  The new report cards are a disaster, imho, but work on them I must and work on them I will.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Schedule

This year is really flying by.  It's already January 3.  If you haven't seen Imitation Game yet, you should probably go out and see it. If you feel like it. 

I've been seeing quite a few bluebirds lately.  Which has gotten me to wondering about whether these bluebirds are from around here or are they just passing through.  Come to find out, these bluebirds may live here year round, or they may be migrating.  Bluebirds are "partial migrants,"  a fact I find fascinating:

There is a certain percentage of eastern bluebirds that make no attempt to migrate south for the winter. Many researchers believe that weather has little to do with the number of non-migrating bluebirds. They believe instead that migration has a genetic basis, with some individual birds programmed to migrate and others not.

On a more serious note, most bluebirds perish in their first year, but luckier bluebirds can live 6 to 10 years.  

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Serial

I'm obsessed with The Serial.  I listened to all of it and now I read articles about it every day.  I follow Rabia Chaudry on twitter and click on all her links.  I google Adnan Syed's name every day to find out if there's anything new in the case.  I wonder what will happen.

Sometimes I have hope that Adnan will be freed because The Innocence Project is working to get some DNA testing done that could exonerate him.  Sometimes I feel like there's no hope for Adnan being released.  Sometimes I wonder who really killed young Hae Min Lee.  Sometimes I wish I hadn't ever heard of The Serial.

My lawyer friend told me that there are many wrongly convicted innocent people sitting in jail right now, so now I'm going to start reading more about this over here. The Innocence Project does important work.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Gordon Parks

I read this article about Gordon Parks and I will tell you a little about it. You probably already know about this because it was all in the paper last week, but here's a brief and helpful summary. Gordon Parks, famous photographer, worked for Life magazine.   In his youth, Parks attended a segregated school and wanted to follow up with his classmates.  He went back to Kansas around 1950 (I think) and took photos and wrote notes.  Life decided not to run the piece and we're not sure why. Recently someone found the photos and now they're going to be exhibited in Boston. I was born in Boston, so obviously I should go back there, visit some kin and see this excellent exhibit.  Heck, let's all go.  It could be a creative way to spend some of our time in 2015.

Come to find out, Husbandman and I joined Nance and Kev for a New Year's Eve jaunt out to our local comedy club  and we listened to the antics of Mr. John Roy.  We laughed heartily at Mr. John Roy's creative comedic capers and now we believe we may attend more comedies in 2015.  Let's make a plan to support the Comedy Attic this year.  We were all nervous before watching the comedy, but it ended up being just fine.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Gordon Parks, legendary photographer.  A comic by the name of Mr. John Roy. Creative plans for the New Year.  Once again, we've hit it out of the park.

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...