Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Wee bit late bringing you #TwinTuesday.  Luckily, #TwinTuesday keeps up with the tradition of being well worth waiting for.   Pearls and paste.  You just probably want to start smiling when you gaze upon this unexpected pairing.

Today was Portfolio Day.  We were like a little assembly line in Room 200, getting the job almost done. Portfolios should be ready to go by tomorrow. In our portfolios for third quarter, we have photographs, literature logs, essays, paintings, historic brochures, power point presentations and cheerful letters. Go Thirdlanders!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Libraries

When we were in Seattle, we were interested in all the little free libraries scattered around E and B's neighborhood.  Come to find out, WordSavvy's getting a little free library as well.  I started reading about these libraries and where they are in our town and I came across this great local blog.  Blogs like this make me feel a bit insecure because of the focus on interesting and some would say pertinent content, but all I can do is keep calm when I have a qualm. And support my blogging colleagues with as much gusto as I can muster. Great job, Moonraking!

On another note, have you heard about the hygiene hypothesis?  There are a lot of studies supporting the hygiene hypothesis, which basically speculates that we're too clean for our own good.  Because of our hyper hygiene, more kids are getting allergies.  It's just a hypothesis, but the Thirdlanders are discussing this now and we feel it makes sense.  We've read 2 articles about the hygiene hypothesis.   Most of us support the hygiene hypothesis, but a few are holding out until more studies are done.  It's probably time for all of us to go back to the land.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Power of Hydrogen

The IU Biologists came to teach us about the water cycle and acid rain yesterday.  The Thirdlanders were in a bit of a funky mood.  They weren't great listeners and kept distracting me from learning about the water cycle and acid rain.  I did get to test the pH of some acid rain and when we dissolved some chalk in vinegar, a Thirdlander announced that the results "looked like barf."  Come to find out, we have quite a bit of acid in our stomachs so he was right on the money with his observations.  We had a serious talk after the IU Biologists left.  We'll be reviewing procedures and protocols on Monday.  Then everything will be fine again.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Movie Review

Part of a Mr. Painting
Why did I start writing comments on the report cards?  I've written 6 and I have 18 more to go. I'm not saying anything earth shattering, but I'm plugging along. I almost didn't blog this evening because of the pressure of the report card comments, but then I got my priorities in order.  I need everyone, if they want, to go out and see the movie What We Do In the Shadows.  Husbandman loved it too, and describes it as "good" and "funny."  He would give it a "4.5, maybe a 4," so you know that's a pretty good movie.  I would give it a 5.

All the Thirdlanders in the district went to see the ballet this morning.  We saw a snippet of a ballet called Jewels, choreographed by Balanchine.  The ballet has 3 parts and we saw the Rubies dance.  I wish that everyone wore ballet clothes to work every day because those costumes are striking and we would feel fancy if we wore ballet clothes.

Back to the comments.  I wish I could just write, "Your kid's amazing and we both know it."  But I feel I should be more specific.  Let's get this done.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Re-Entry

First day back yesterday was a bit tough.  I think my favorite brother in law may have passed on a Seattle Style Cold to me.  He's still my favorite brother in law none the less.  But really, a cold of any kind is the last thing I need right now.  Though I was feeling punky, we got some stuff done yesterday, including an interesting lesson about the history of IU.  One Thirdlander had an amusing revelation as he worked on his IU timeline.  He approached me for the gazillionth time that day to share his thoughts.  "Look here.  It says, 'Indiana University.'  Indiana starts with I.  University starts with U.  Get it?  I. U. That's why they call it IU.  IU stands for Indiana University!"
      He shook his head, "I never knew this before.  Now I get it."
      In conclusion, things that seem obvious may not be so to others.  Something to ponder on this grey midwestern Writer's Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


#TwinTuesday.  Pencil Sharpener and Battery.  Unexpected?  I believe so.

Today's the day I have to work.  I plan to give it my all, do my best, and forget the rest.  It's funny that I feel a little nervous about going back to work. I have to remember to stay calm if I have a qualm.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Return

Happy End of Vacation, Everyone!

It's been a bit of a tough re-entry, what with the imposed detention in Detroit, but in the end, everything worked out fine, as per usual.  I watched a fascinating documentary when I was held hostage on the plane. Because we were stuck on the tarmac for hours, the corporation gave us the films for free.  I watched a film called Finding Vivian Maier.  You probably already know about this film, but I'll recap anyway.  Vivian Maier was a street photographer whose work was discovered by a man by the name of Maloof.  By the time he went looking to find Vivian, she had died.  So he and his pal Siskel made a movie about Vivian's photography and her life as a nanny.  It's all fascinating and if you want to see it I think you should.  I like Vivian's photos.  I am thinking of becoming a street photographer down on Kirkwood this summer.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring Break Day 8

Day 8 was truly great.  E and B have a book called Seattle Stairway Walks.  We walked up and down staircases in the Mt. Baker Ridge area.  Stunning views, creative community gardens, floating bridges.  Someone posted Karla Kuskin's Spring poem at Bradner Gardens so we recited it together. Welcome Spring!  A little rain did fall yesterday, but as experienced Seattle-ites we knew to hop into a cafe for tea and scones.

Last night we saw a Moth Story Slam.  We were asked to be a judging team. We were the best judges there, ioho.  We called our team Moth Madness.  Being at a Moth Story Slam was a dream come true. Well done, Moth Storytellers! This trip is getting to be ridiculous in terms of how much fun we're having.  Case in point: we're off to a Wildlife Refuge today.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Break Day 7

Day 7 was really heaven.  Highlights involved:

  • the calming paths of the Japanese Gardens
  • the fascinating Native American art pieces in the Indigenous Beauty exhibit
  • the WILD neoPOP art of Mr., at the Seattle Asian Art Museum
  • the blooming flora of the conservatory
  • perusing and purchasing Elliot Bay Books 

After seeing the work of Mr., I bought a book called How to Draw Manga and I'm going to get started on that project today or some time later this week. Tonight we're going to hear a Moth Story Slam.  Can't even write about it because I'm so crazy excited.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Break Day 6: Thursday Creativity Share

@Large Exhibit:  Political Prisoners in Lego
@Large Exhibit:  Porcelain blossoms in hospital cells
Goodbyes and hellos on Day 6.  Crossed state lines into Washington and right away began experiencing our sister city with a stroll around Green Lake.  Blue skies, cherry blossoms, bald eagles soaring above. Come to find out, we have a plethora of creative opportunities ahead. As soon as I get my act together, we'll be checking out our own Seattle Art Museum for the first United States exhibit of Mr:

Having grown up during Japan’s postwar “economic miracle” period, Mr. often exercises his art as a weapon against social expectations. As a member of the otaku subculture, his work ties closely with the lifestyle, which is marked by obsessive interests in anime and manga and being confined in one’s room with limited interactions with other people.

I know, right? Here's another thing.  Our nephew works at Carnegie Hall now.  Just FYI:  People in the know call it Creativity Hall.  At Creativity Hall, there are people working on Lullaby Project, where musicians assist young moms to compose lullabies for their babies.  Some of the moms are incarcerated or homeless.  I love this project a lot and wish I could help the moms compose their lullabies.  I make up songs all the time.  

I've got to get moving. The day is slipping by, my friends.  The day is slipping by.  Thursday Creativity Share. Invitations to explore creativity from coast to coast in this great land of ours.  Inspiring Stuff Yet Again.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Break Day 5

Day 5 gets a solid FIVE on the fist of five.  We took the ferry to Alcatraz, toured the prison with an audio tour and explored @Large, the Ai Weiwei exhibit.  The Ai Weiwei exhibit is incredibly moving. Well done, everyone involved.  In the evening, we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with 20 Something and her Fab4 Roomies.  We're glad 20Something has such a good crew of peeps. 

Husbandman and I are at the airport now, heading north to Seattle.  We've left #1Son behind with 20Something.  I hope they're not too distraught and confused about what to do next.  When we're with them, we do a great job of pointing out tips for safe living.  Case in point.  Right after our goodbye hugs, I told them to go down to the crosswalk because jaywalking could be dangerous.  20Something and #1, don't hesitate to call if you have questions.  We love you both a ton.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring Break Day 4 Continued

Fantastic photo of Muir Woods

#TwinTuesday and Spring Break Day 4

Lemon and plastic bug. It doesn't get much better than this. 
We walked in Muir Woods yesterday.  Beautiful. Then we saw the Rosie the Riveter Museum.  Fascinating. Then we had wine at a beautiful wine bar with Cynthia.  Cheer!  Memories are being made, my friends.  Memories are being made. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Break Day 3

Sunday moved along swimmingly.  We took a walk at Cesar Chavez Park where we saw a sea lion, an egret, many squirrels, and a gopher snake, which #1 Son became quite good friends with.  Good Pals Cynthia and John and Madeline hosted a get together.   I always feel amazed when I'm at Cynthia's house surrounded by so many years of fun memories and knowing that there are so many more to come.  Thanks, Cynthia for hosting your Hoosier Kinfolk.  Don't want to brag, but I brought some excellent plastic bugs for everyone at the party.  Old times. New Times.  It's all the same to me.  
20 Something must toil at her job today, so we are heading out to the Redwood Forest.  In conclusion, this land was made for you and me.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Break Day 2

Clearly, things are going very well.  We had a long walk in Golden Gate Park yesterday.  Golden Gate Park wins hands down for best park on the planet.  We saw wildlife and ate ice cream.  We had dinner with dear chums at Fang, best Chinese restaurant on the planet.  Then we stood up on the best rooftop on the planet and talked with chums and drank cocktails.  In conclusion, it's all a dream come true.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring Break Day 1

Woke up in California this morning.  20 Something rode her bike over.  We're having coffee and talking.  Life is so good.  We're beside ourselves with glee.  I'm going to be documenting this spring break every step of the way.  So you can all rest easy on that score.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: @Large

You know that we're heading for California tomorrow. But did you know that 20 Something Daughter got us tickets to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit on Alcatraz Island?  The exhibit is called @Large and the national park service web site tells us 

@Large will provoke visitors to consider the broader social implications of incarceration and the possibilities of art as an act of conscience. 

One of my fave things to do is to consider implications and possibilities. You know this about me. So clearly I'm excited as all get out.  

Thursday Creativity Share:  A small bit of information about an exhibit we'll see next week. Impressive work, imho

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Meeting

At morning meeting yesterday, a Thirdlander raised her hand and said, "I have a concern about gym class.  People are getting really competitive and hurting other people's feelings and body parts.  And I really don't think we should hurt people's feelings or body parts.  Because we want people to have happy feelings and healthy body parts."

It took everything in me not to laugh every time she said body parts, but I just looked down at my crocheting project and miraculously kept it together.  There's something about the term "body parts" that seems super funny to me.

We finished IREAD yesterday.  Some schools have had computer glitches during the test, but my class did not.  It took 90 minutes to take the test.  After the test was a thing of the past,  I gave them a 20 minute indoor recess and some gushers to eat.  While some Thirdlanders worked on the whiteboard, others played a game called ASSASSIN.  I'm sure no one's surprised that 2 people were crying at the end of the recess.  One because of hurt feelings.  One because of a hurt body part.  I'm glad spring is on its way.  We will be done with testing and we will go outside when we have time for an extra recess.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


#TwinTuesday involves TheBachelor Farmer and a travel mug.  I wish they had a show where someone falls in love with a travel mug.  You can see from this photo that there's serious potential for a show about a man and his mug. ABC, if you're reading this, I'll share the rights with you.

The big tension of the show this season involved TheBachelor's home.  He lives in Arlington, Iowa and there's nothing to do there.   Lots of the women on TheBachelor were super nervous about moving to Arlington, and I fear the town is missing out on some fabulous citizens.  If only they would step up their game, life could be better for all Arlingtonians, present and future.  Here are some of my ideas for helping out Arlington.

Hey Arlington, what about:

  • a bike path through the corn fields?
  • a drive in movie theater on one of the huge farm building walls
  • night time limo drives from barn to barn, where the barns are decorated with candles and roses and artisanal cheeses are served.
  • An annual corn and craft carnival
Work with me Arlington.  We've got to turn this negative town image around.

Monday, March 09, 2015

The Consequences

This is one of those days where you wonder about possible paths.  The Thirdlanders take IREAD this week.  I've decided not to make mention of the fact that a consequence of failing IREAD is going to summer school. Why stress them out?  They read well.

So I've decided not to tell them.  Someone else can tell them.  Probably someone else already has told them.  But am I concealing information that's important?  Anyway, let's ignore the whole sad news of summer school.  Some people probably like summer school. Just for the record, I don't agree with high stakes testing.  Especially for the Thirdlanders.

Our goal for the week is to participate.  Jump in and get involved.  Participate in our own lives.  Be fully present and take that next right action.

This could be fun.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Fractions

I hate to tell you this, but I'm not great at teaching fractions.
I need to up my game in the fraction department.  An assessment this week showed pretty clearly that I'm an epic fail as a teacher of fractions.  I'm going to keep plugging away though. Fractions might be where the rubber hits the road and I kick it into gear and start cooking with gas.

I've always liked fractions because there are so many weird little things you can do with them.  Improper fractions, simplest form, finding the common denominator.  What's not to like?

Truth be told, if I spent half the time I spend watching the owl cam instead reading articles about being a good fraction teacher, (even 1/10 the time in actual fact), I'd likely win Ms. Fraction Teacher USA.

Truth be told, I can't stop watching the owlets.  Today they are eating a white belly rat.  I am going to be sad when they fly off to their own lives.  I've been in this situation before so I don't know why I'm going to put myself through the whole thing again.  Having 1/2 of your family leave is tough, so I know what Mama Owl is going to go through soon and I want to be there for her.  But the good news is that 3/4 of our fam is joining 1/4 of the fam next weekend.  4/4 of us will be together.  In conclusion, our family will again be one whole.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Holiday

Winter Jellyfish
Hooray, Hooray!
It's Report Card Saturday!

This is the day I go into my job to get report cards done.  I woke up kind of grouchy about it, but then I decided to turn it around and make it into a National Holiday.

On Report Card Saturday, every classroom gets tea service delivered in the afternoon with tea, scones, and artisanal cheeses!

On Report Card Saturday, schools hire a body worker to provide chair massages in the morning and in the afternoon!

On Report Card Saturday,  florists show up every few hours with beautiful bouquets of tulips.  By the end of the day, the classrooms look like spring gardens!

On Report Card Saturday, teachers get gift cards to local eateries every time they finish recording all the grades for a subject area!

Sing it with me, peeps.  Hooray!  Hooray!  It's Report Card Saturday!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud : A Barred Owl

I was listening to the radio and heard about the Poetry Out Loud competition.  This local teen has started a poetry club at her high school.  Her passion for poetry was palpable.  In her interview she said that her club would be about poems and about loving one another and healing and changing lives. Sign me up, I screamed at the radio.

I also learned about a program at the Indianapolis Museum of Art called Closer Look.  I'm interested in this program because you team up with a curator and talk about one piece of art for an hour or so.  Doesn't that seem like a perfect thing to do?

Thursday Creativity Share:  A poem about an owl.  A photograph of a crocheted chick apple holder.  Closer Look.  Glory days once again.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Ages

Screen shot from the Cornell Lab Great Horned Owl Bird Cam

 We're reading a book about a guy who invents a potion for reversing aging.  He's an elderly man who now inhabits the body of a 13 year old.  I asked the kids to write about ages. Most like their age quite a lot. One Thirdlander is very pleased that she's nine because she now has a bra and uses deodorant.  At morning meeting, every kiddo read a snippet from their texts.  When they were all done I read my lead, "I like being 54.  I get to stay up as late as I want every single night."  The group erupted into vehement screams of "THAT'S NOT FAIR!"

They really got quite riled up.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Well it's #TwinTuesday.  Celebrate good times.  We've got a decorative box and a cheerful dish towel.  Some people call dish towels "tea towels." We should probably start doing that from now on.  I wonder who designed this tissue box.  Whoever it was did a darned fine job.  Kudos.

Last night I watched the Women Tell All.  There have been a few comments uttered this season along the lines of, "I'm not here to make friends."  What's up with that?  Why wouldn't you want to make a few extra friends no matter what your specific purpose might be?  I'm open to making friends each day even though I'm contractually at my job to educate Thirdlanders. Why not keep my eyes peeled for friendship along the way?  Win win. I could go on, but I think I've made my point. Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other's gold.

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Chapter

The snow does look beautiful out in our backyard, especially since we have a two hour sun shiny delay.

It's time for me to pick our goals for the week.  I circled this quote in my Julia Cameron book.  It's written by Shakespeare:

Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.

In conclusion, let's try to get something done this week, no matter how small.

I've already accomplished something pretty major in the shoveling of snow off our driveway. I also sent a draft of chapter 2 off to the editor.  It took me about 4 months to write and I'm not super happy with it, but it's done and let's remember.  Things won are done.

Now it's time for me to look forward and think about doing some other stuff.

My first order of business is to finish this cup of coffee that Husbandman made for me.  Don't want to beat a dead horse, but please remember.  Thing's won are done.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Driveway

I'm not kidding.  It took me literally 2.5 hours to shovel snow out of my driveway.  People, I just don't have that kind of time right now.

Before I headed out to get the job done, I watched about five or six videos about snow shoveling.  You should watch these champs go to town on the snow removal. I'm talking swagger.  I'm talking sophisticated style.

I learned a few tips from the shovel superstars, but let's face it, I have a big driveway and I was dealing with a significant amount of snow.  Also, they had some pretty good tools.  

I basically need better equipment.  I'm considering getting a snow blower, but they cause thousands of injuries each year, including amputations.  Let's face it.  That's the last thing I need right now.

I think it's hot toddy time.  Husbandman's home from his Ohio math trip and his DC math trip flight has been cancelled.  Husbandman, what say you to making the toddies?   (I'll have Husbandman read this blog entry after he gets done finding a new flight to DC and get his feedback on my query).

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...