Tuesday, September 29, 2015


#TwinTuesday.  Bear and Coffee Maker.  Fun times, right?  They're so different in all ways, and yet they've learned how to get along and even be friends.  Can't we do the same?  Sometimes #TwinTuesday really gets me aponderin'.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Lotus

We get high marks for doing everything perfectly at the Lotus Festival this year.  We chose the perfect bands to hear with nary a mistake. We shared the event with a wonderful friend, pictured here in this picture, taking a picture.  We danced and chatted and sang with nary a care in the world.  After the music stopped, we stayed up all night long going to house parties hosted by students.  Okay, the house parties thing we didn't do, but we actually did stay up very late indeed and we did make every second count. Kudos to the Lotus Festival.  You've done it again.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Festival

It's time for the Lotus Festival.  Our good friend Cynthia is here from California.  Here's the plan.  Hiking in the day.  Dancing in the night.  Talking every step of the way.  In short. Get ready for greatness, people.  Get ready for greatness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


The poem is Sleep by Donald Hall. The charm came off a wedding invitation that I was excited to receive.  Poem and Charm.  Kind of makes you happy to be alive, does it not?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Independent Film Review: Meru

Meru.  It's a film we saw last night about 3 guys climbing a mountain in India.  The mountain is called Meru.  You all know that I climbed Everest when I was 22 without oxygen, but let me tell you, Meru is a whole different kettle of fish.  Husbandman, your thoughts?

Hm: Excellent movie.  Didn't think I would like it but it was quite engrossing.
Lw:  The cinematography was ridiculously striking.  I'm talking over the top.  But here's the thing. As I watched the movie, I could not understand the motivation to climb Meru.
Hm:  It's somewhere between a hobby and a sickness.
Lw:  Do you know that I'm following those 3 men on Instagram right now?
Hm:  Let's just hope you're not following them any further than that because that would be called stalking.
Lw:  The point is, I loved this movie.  I'm giving it a solid 5 on the fist of 5.
Hm:  (holds up four fingers while eating cereal and reading NYT on his laptop).
Lw:  I'm speechless.  4.  For Meru.  Really don't even know how to respond.  The point is.  Everyone should definitely see this movie if they feel like it.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Times

The times they were achangin' this week.  There were ups and then there were downs.  Case in point. Have you ever freaked out about something publicly?  In front of a lot of people?  I did that this week and I regretted it instantly.

Our school district has a new report card and I don't care for it. But here's the thing. I don't just dislike this report card, I turn crazy angry when I think about it.  I really should see a therapist or a hypnotist about it. I'm surprised at the intensity of my feelings about this. I need to remember that in actual fact, the report card is just a cumbersome and somewhat meaningless part of my job that is my reality.  (Please don't get me started on how much I hate meaningless wastes of time.  It's not helpful). For my own mental health, I need to accept the report card and find ways to calmly cope and make it work.  Good thing I have good friends who talk me down, around and through my freakiness.  Without them, I'd be lost, but not forgotten.  Nance even has me on a report card completion schedule that I plan on following to the letter. JW helps me with the computer glitches and nods sympathetically when I start the twitching and the cursing.  And gives me cold brew coffee and/ or perrier.   And writes me supportive texts.  Hoorah for FRIENDSHIP!

The thing is, I don't know why I go so crazy about the report card.  Going crazy is not going to change anything.  It just results in rueful regret and remorse.

 I've decided to let bygones be bygones. I have moved through the stages of reconciliation.  On day 1, I bought bagels of atonement for everyone who had to listen to raging rants when they were trying to get work done. (Really truly sorry, friends!)  Then (after the contractual work day) I had drinks with Kathala, Sandy and JW and talked it all through 3, 4, 5 times in a row. Maybe 6 I'm not sure.  (These gals are patient!) Then on day 2, I bought some ridiculously expensive hair products. (No lie.  Capital R for Ridiculous Pricing on the hair products).  I also went for a wondrous walk with Husbandman through the Beanblossom Bottoms.  Then I went into the compound and rearranged all the furniture.  (So satisfying). Also went out to dinner with Husbandman and saw a movie. Today, on day 3, I think I'm finally feeling back up to snuff.  I may need some more self care purchases, but I'm definitely moving in the right direction.

In conclusion, it's time for me to do my best and forget the rest.  Today's a beautiful new day and as Norman Fischer tells us, it's our birthright to enjoy this new day with an open mind and a tender heart. I've got this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


#TwinTuesday is here with a dollar bill and a lifesaver.  Nice right?  Here's another thing that's nice. Yesterday we were having our book buddy time at the end of the day.  I was zipping around listening to kids read to each other, trying to learn the names of the littles who were our guests.  A teacher walked by, entered the room and pulled a post it off my back. "Lee, you have a post it on your back," the kindly teacher told me.  Come to find out the post it read, "Book Buddies Suck!"  Nice, right?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Independent Film Review: Gemma Bovery

Last night we had a lovely evening viewing the Ryder Film of the week, Gemma Bovery.  Our pal Patricia joined us and we all agreed the film had merit.  Here's an Independent Film Review featuring my conversation with Husbandman, for your reading pleasure.

Me:  Gemma Bovery?  Your thoughts?
Hm:  It was entertaining.  I enjoyed watching it.  It was totally forgettable but a cute movie.  Surprising for a French movie that they didn't mess it up.
Me:  We've had some problems with the French film industry this year.  Can you give a synopsis for alittleleeway readers?
Hm:  English couple moves to quaint town in Normandy.  Neighbor fantasizes that the plot of Madame Bovary is playing out in the young wife's life.
Me: Fist of 5?
Hm:  I'm going to give it a solid 3.
Me:  I'll give it a 4.  I think people should see it if they want.  I loved the setting.  So beautiful.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


When I woke up early today I turned  on public radio and listened to Krista Tippett's show for awhile.  It's not my favorite show, but I listen to it anyway, on some occasions.

Ellen Langer was the guest today.  She's a Harvard professor who writes about mindfulness.  She said a few interesting things about how we can frame our lives positively for some decent results.

She also said that she doesn't believe in compromise.  She believes everyone should keep talking things out until everyone is pleased, that compromising is a lose - lose scenario.  I don't agree with Ellen because I think compromise actually results in mutual satisfaction.  It's good to negotiate and give and take and come up with something new.  Sorry Ellen, you struck out on this one.  Compromise is good.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Sometimes I wish that Lifesavers really had life saving powers.  I just ate two of them.  A purple and a red.  It would be so awesome if something magical would occur within the next ten minutes or so.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Mighty Brother

#1 Son plays on Mighty Brother's new single.  We like this song and we play it several times a day.  You should listen to it if you want to.

A cadet teacher works in my classroom this year and she is a dream come true.  Right now she's teaching the Thirdlanders a dance, using the song In Summer from Frozen. She choreographed the entire dance.  It's made me think about choreography and how I really don't do enough of it.  Sure I'm making up songs every day of the week, but I rarely make up an entire dance.  I'm inspired to give it a go.

Thursday Creativity Share:  A band called Mighty Brother has released a new song into the world.  A wonderful high school senior has choreographed and taught a brand new dance to the Thirdlanders. It really doesn't get much better than this.  Glory Be.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Grimace

For some odd reason, a Thirdlander got on a crying jag yesterday and the kid would not stop.  Come to find out, she got behind on a couple of math problems, and that upset her.  So she cried for about 90 minutes quite audibly.  I got pretty annoyed and talked to her during recess duty about it.  I told her I was having a hard time letting it go.  I mean she really did wreck a perfectly great writing lesson with the incessant sobbing.  After lunch we were both cheered up and the afternoon progressed on an even keel.  During Reader's Workshop, I introduced our vocabulary venture word---grimace.  The Thirdlander cheerfully offered the sentence, "I had a grimace on my face for most of the morning."
I replied, "Yes, and I had a grimace in reaction to your grimace." She thought that was hilarious.  Truth be told, I'm still a bit annoyed about the whole thing, but I know I can get past this. I need to let it go and honor the true words of Thich Nhat Hanh:

"Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.  If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free."  

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


#TwinTuesday pops up suddenly after a 3 day weekend.  Hail to you, #TwinTuesday.  Your sock and gum are welcome here and will be cherished and honored throughout this very day.

Monday, September 07, 2015


Labor Day with Lupe.  Lupe's here in my chair being the best dog ever.  I'm trying to talk her in to visiting me again in Indiana.  My hometown date is coming to a close.  I've had tea, taken walks, eaten at fun restaurants, watched a lot of movies, done a lot of talking. In short I've relaxed.  THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!

My mom has been ill, but as has been stated since time immemorial, you can't keep a good woman down.  Mom just put out the Stars and Stripes for Labor Day.  True to her spirit, Mom's letting her freak flag fly. I plan to do the same. Now she's offered to make me breakfast. My mom can barely lift up the milk container, but when I try to help she reminds me, "I can still do things."

Today on this Labor Day of 2015, I salute the indomitable spirit of my mom. She knows how much I love her and I know how much she loves me. Nothing's been left unsaid.  Nothing's been left unfelt.

Speaking of feelings, I wish my mom felt better and I wish I didn't have to go home today.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The South

I'm in the deep south.  This morning I had grits for breakfast at a Deep South Restaurant.  They have a DragonCon going on down here right now.  I wonder if any of The Bronies go to DragonCon.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: The Bronies

Let's just pretend it's Thursday morning.  In short let's go back in time with the power of literacy.

And let's talk about The Bronies.  I don't know much about The Bronies.  From what I've pieced together they are men who love My Little Pony.

The Bronies have conventions and a huge internet community.  The Bronies are not creepy.  They're just men who love My Little Pony.
I think that's pretty creative.

I support The Bronies.  I would become part of The Brony community but I'm not that into My Little Pony.  Still, Go Bronies! If you happen to be or know a Brony, I'd love to interview you for this blog and spread the magic of friendship to alittleleeway readers through your creative bronosity.

Thursday Creativity Share.  All about the Bronies.  Love these guys.  Well done.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Gifts

We've been talking about 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy.  It's about a gift of cows that the Masai tribe gave to the U.S. because of the the terrorist attacks on September 11.

Cows are a big deal to the Masai, so this gift was significant.  The cows still live in Kenya and they can never be slaughtered.  A Masai elder takes care of them.  If I get a chance, I plan on swinging by and visiting these cows.  There are 35 in the herd at this point, to my knowledge.

We did an arts based strategy with the theme of this book where the kids simulate gift giving.  The kids write "I want you to have this" passages.  Then in a line they approach a kid who is sitting there and read their words.  They're supposed to symbolically give something they care about, something they think will help the other person feel better.  Not all kids wanted to participate but most did and the event was lovely.  I want you to have this.  This blanket.  This stuffed animal.  This skateboard.  This pencil.  This box.

I'm going to follow up with the theme of gifts. Why people give them?  Why people don't?  I'm going to read William's Doll about a kid who wants a doll for a gift but his parents don't want to give him one.

In short, things are going well with The Thirdlanders. And I'm touching base with the olde Fourthies at recess on Tuesdays.  Several of them want me to do a pull up so every Tuesday I give it a go.  So far no luck, but the crowd of kids around me watching me hang from the bar seems to be getting bigger each week.  I need to work on my arm strength.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015


Pretty excited about this produce -  bubble combo. It's got charm, it's got whimsy. It's posted on Tuesday morning.  All's right with the world.  We're back people.  We are back.

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...