Friday, December 30, 2016

The Freaks

What a difference a day makes.  Case in point.  Two days ago, my mom and my little sister and I went to the zoo. There are baby pandas at Zoo Atlanta and this is the first week that the public could possibly see them.  I kept explaining to my kin that I was going to freak out if I got to see the baby pandas.  I didn't want to have high expectations because the web page said we would be "lucky" if we saw the panda babies.  So I told my mom to keep praying that we would see the pandas as we zipped around looking at binturongs, bustards and bush dogs.  When we got to the panda exhibit, we could see proud PandaMOM showing off one of her twins. It was crowded around the exhibit but because my mom's in a wheelchair, many people stepped aside and let us get up close.  SCORE!  I was shaking inside as I tried to take the photos of the panda baby.  I'm not kidding, I was hyped.  I felt like everything on earth was going my way.

Fast forward to yesterday.  My poor mom takes a fall in her bedroom.  Sister and I take her to the emergency room.  CAT scan. MRI.  3 stitches.  Everyone at the hospital was friendly and professional and actually made me wonder about trying to get a job at a hospital some time. But on the bad side, it took several hours to get the stitches into my mom's head and she continued to bleed profusely.  They had to change the bandages on her head several times, but the blood just kept pouring through. I worried that she was going to bleed out.  I decided to take some pictures because how often do you get a photo of your mom with blood all over her head?  After my mom got stitched up and an all clear report from her tests, I showed her one of my photos.  She stared at it for awhile and sighed, "What a freak."

We're all home now, doing our best and forgetting the rest.  But we're keeping in mind that a day can make a big difference and I'm hoping that today is kind of in the medium zone.  Nothing too exciting, nothing too horrid.  Just basic same old same old.  Let's stay calm and carry on in 2017.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Puzzle

This puzzle took a long time to complete.  Not going to lie.  But because we're awesome puzzle builders, we got it done.  We just stayed focused because that's how we roll. You probably are amazed at this puzzle's complexity and beauty.

 Every year we bring a puzzle to Mom's house.  We never fail to complete it within 8 to 12 hours.  It's really quite an accomplishment, when you think about it. If you can complete your puzzle in fewer hours, I challenge you to prove your prowess and report your successes publicly here on alittleleeway. The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Eve

It's the day before Xmas
and all through the AIRBnB
Not a creature is stirring
'cept Husbandman and Me.

The adult kids are nestled
all snug in this rental
We'll wake them up soon
so our day can turn mental.

We're in charge of the supper
so get ready for clatter
We've never made gravy
But what does it matter

We're off to McDonough
with a trunk full of loot
to see six sweet dogs
and our family to boot.

Hi Lupe! Hi Minnie!  Hi Tejas! Hi Rudy!
Hi Karl with a K and Hello to you Gurley!

Let's watch some Fox News
and try not to get hateful
Our holiday's here
and for that we are grateful

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Choices

I was looking over the Santa collection on the mantel last week.  "I wish I could find another great Santa for the collection," I mused to Husbandman.

"You have enough Santas," he illogically replied.  "In fact, I've been thinking that you should choose one each year to get rid of, and then when you get down to zero Santas, you should start collecting them again. You should start now.  Which one do you choose to throw away first?"

This kind of comment from Husbandman is really not helpful. For a sad moment, I felt the pain of the main character in Sophie's Choice and a devitalizing sensation of glumness and dismay surged through me from head to toe.

Then I pulled out of it.  Obviously there are some great Santas out there and I just need to work harder to track them down.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Justiciness

Foto Credit:  Nancer
Last week we read about Woody Guthrie.  Did you know he wrote over 1,000 songs?  And did you know that This Land Is Your Land has 3 extra verses that have been left behind?  I asked the Thirdlanders how the 3 verses change the tone of the song and Quiet Kid said, "I don't know.  They just make the song more justice-y."  I loved this.  He's so right.  Sing along, my friends:

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

See? Did you know that Woody Guthrie wrote a song that's not too complimentary of Donald Trump's dad? You should check out the lyrics here.  Woody Guthrie lives on.

I'm trying to get myself out the door to the library to pick up a book called Which Side Are You On?  It's about a song that was written in support of some coal miners.  Not sure I'll go because it's cold out there and the roads are icy and I want to stay extra safe until Thursday afternoon when I get off work and leave on my trip to the South. Mom made some haystacks and they're a'callin' my name. 
            In conclusion, don't be a scab.  Support Workers.  Sing out! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Nights

It's time for vacation, but our school district wants us to work for four more days.  It's discouraging because, come to find out, I find it difficult teaching our nation's youth during the Xmas season.  Yesterday a Thirdlander smacked another kid in the face with a tissue box because he "couldn't get his attention" during an indoor recess game.  They're playing a game called Five Nights at Freddy's based on a video game.   It's all they can think about right now.  They play it at indoor recess.  We had four indoor recesses last week.

When the Thirdlander repeated, "He just wouldn't listen while I was trying to tell him something," I felt like saying, "Dude, I can't get anyone's attention right now, but I'm not getting physical about it!" Instead I just asked him to write an apology note.  From his note, I could see he felt some remorse. I guess that's all I can expect right now. Outlandish behaviors followed by tearful regrets.  That's how we're going to roll out the final days of 2016.   Ho Ho HO!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Cards

I'm now feeling ill.  Sore throat, runny nose, exhaustion. Sundry aches and pains. You get the drill.  Ho hum.  I could hardly get out of bed this morning, but get up I did.  Because of my bravery.

 I lingered a little at home, hoping for a 2 hour delay.  Snow was falling and I heard some other schools had cancelled.  No luck, so I sucked it up and headed in.

After 2 hours or so, someone came in and whispered, "School's closing early today.  12:30."  I swear I could see golden light radiating from this visitor's glorious crown.  I was in such blissful shock at my good fortune, I was rendered speechless.  I thought, "I'm going to make it.  12:30 is 120 minutes away.  I can do this.  I can be back in bed by 12:50 if I play my cards right."

About 20 minutes after that, the visitor returned and whispered, "Hey, I was wrong about the school closing.  It's only one school in the district, because they're having a power outage.  Sorry. I read the email incorrectly."

Again struck dumb, I lowered myself into a nearby chair, forcing myself not to hold my head in my hands and begin wailing.  The Thirdlander writers continued on with their work, and after a few minutes, so did I. Again, my bravery came into play.  I made it through the day. After doing my oblogatory posting of Santa,  I'll be in bed by 8:15 pm.  Maybe Husbandman will make me a hot toddy if I play my cards right.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Moonlighting

Yesterday I saw a couple playing Santa and Mrs. Claus at Fountain Square.  They did a great job.  I wonder if they're married.  Maybe they don't even know each other.  This could be a job for me one of these days, but I'd prefer to do the gig solo.  In other words, sans Santa.

When kids ask where Santa is, I'll tell them various imaginative tales.

"Santa's dealing with a massive goiter at the moment, so I'm here by myself today.  He's going to be fine, the antibiotics are kicking in, but things are kind of a mess right now. These giant goiters can linger on like nobody's business.  Ask Mom and Dad to help you google 'goiter' when you get home and you'll see what I mean. You can leave your list, but honestly,  have low expectations.  This year, we're doing our best and forgetting the rest, and you should try to do the same."

 I'll slip a few extra candy canes to them while their parents are paying for the polaroids.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Cold

It has turned blustery cold these past few days and the Thirdlanders aren't too happy about it.

When I planned for an extra recess one morning this week, several Thirdlanders argued that they would rather stay inside.  I for one wanted some fresh air so I made the decision that we should venture out.  Most Thirdlanders were happy; a few grumbled bitterly, making comments about frostbite.

I wrote to my mom yesterday, telling her that I made some kiddos mad about going out in the cold.  She wrote back, "Well, 24 degrees really is cold, so I don't blame them.  And please don't make the kids mad.  Many families have handguns now and something bad could happen."

My mom always puts a new spin on things.  As usual, she makes a good point.  Thanks, MOM!  Ho!  Ho!  Ho!

Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Blues

Sounds of South came by yesterday to sing some holiday classics to our entire school.  I was rockin' around the Xmas tree with them when I suddenly realized that I have not been hearing enough Xmas music.  What's up with that?  It's December 8th, People. Is this somehow related to the war on Xmas?  I should be sick of the Xmas music by now, not craving more. Let's crank it up and kick it into gear.  I want Xmas music blasting from every street corner morning, noon and night.  If you aren't shoving Xmas music through my eardrums and into my brain 24/7 via radio, TV, store speakers and tornado siren amplifiers, you are now dead to me.

Remember, the sky's the limit when your heart is in it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Jail

We had indoor recess today.  Indoor recess is kind of a drag.  The kids get very hyper.  I usually stay with them during indoor recess.  Otherwise, my afternoon really suffers.

Today I told them that I could not handle the screaming.  There's no reason to scream, I explained.  And then I added, "If you scream, I will give you a warning.  You will get two warnings.  On your third screaming episode, you will come and sit in this chair next to me, while I play Connect 4. You will sit in this chair for 5 minutes."

The first kid went down about four minutes after my announcement.  I told him that he was now in Heffernan Jail and that his five minutes would feel like 5 years especially since all he could have was bread and water.  I handed him an "air plate" and said, "Here's your bread and water. That's it, Prisoner."  He thought that was pretty funny and soon began giving me hints on how to win Connect 4.  The next two went down soon thereafter.  After consuming their air plate of bread and water, they asked me, "Do you want to play UNO?" I said yes. "Sometimes I do interact with the prisoners," I told them. I looked at my watch and said, "You have three more years in your cell."    They beat me handily at UNO.  

I can't say the afternoon ran smoothly after that.  I probably should have let them scream a lot more during indoor recess. If we have indoor recess tomorrow, I'm going to put on the big headphones that we use in the computer lab and focus only on Connect 4. Or mancala.

Monday, December 05, 2016

The Regret

I have a pretty good Santa collection.  Not the best in the world, but pretty good.  Come to find out, I'm having a hard time finding new Santas and it's been a few years since I've found one I loved.

I almost loved this guy pictured here, but he's actually kind of stupid looking so I left him behind.  Now I'm filled with a little regret.  Look at his cool vest. And his charming walking stick.  AND HE WAS THE ONLY ONE LEFT of HIS PERSUASION!

Alas, but here's the good news.  We saw an awesome movie last night called Little Men.  Hoosier Greg Kinnear is the star.  You should see this film if you feel like it.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The Cheer

We drove to May's and we got the tree yesterday.  The whole tree enterprise took us 5 hours, from beginning to end.  This is good information for next year.  Last year I didn't put a tree up because I thought it would be too much hassle.  WRONG!  5 hours is not much time to create a festive mood, no matter how you think about it.  Especially when part of that 5 hours is watching a movie while decorating. MASCOT is a Christopher Guest movie and quite funny.  It's a pseudo documentary about the folk that dress up as team mascots.  God bless them, every one.

I think I'm going to try to post all holiday photos during the month of December.  Perhaps with a specific focus on Santa Claus, but I'm not sure about that part yet.

I have been feeling down because the editor has not contacted me for awhile and whenever that happens I start fearing that she hates my manuscript and everyone else will too.
Here's the thing.  It's holiday time, and we don't have time for negativity right now.  We need to focus on the lights and the gifts.  I've told Husbandman that I would like one gift for each night of Hanukah.  He didn't make much of a response, so he's probably already in deep reflection on how to make the holidays of 2016 extra special.  HOORAY for Husbandman!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Visit

 Thanksgiving Break was nothing but fun and now we're back in the game.  A thirdlander walked in yesterday morning and said, "We went to Chicago for break, but we didn't visit my grandmother because she voted for Trump."

PS:  Are you listening to the Homecoming podcast with Catherine Keener?  You should if you want to.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Delusions

Here we go, Peeps.  It's Thanksgiving Day.  Let's remember it's a marathon, not a sprint.  PACING!

Husbandman and our kin have the menu all planned out. People right now are in our kitchen making pies and cinnamon rolls.

My role?  Keeping cooks supplied in the tools of their trade.  Organizing some side line fun.  Documenting progress on social media.

You're probably all wondering what I'm thankful for?

I'm thankful that Hillary Clinton won the election by so many millions of votes and will take office soon. The progressive legacy of President Obama will continue for the next 8 years.  I'm also thankful that so many Democratic candidates will take office in the Hoosier state in 2017.

For this day, I'm taking a break from despair and floating about on delusional denial.  I'm letting myself have this. I think that's okay.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Independent Film Review

🍐 (pear)

We saw Dying to Know.  It's a documentary about Timothy Leary and Ram Dass.  They took a lot of LSD and got paid to do it by Harvard University. After they left Harvard, they kept up their various antics. Ram Dass learned, wrote and taught about eastern spirituality practices.  Timothy Leary went to jail, escaped, went to jail again, and then spent some time as a supportive step dad.

The film had some good elements to it, but I agree with Husbandman that it was "too long and too biased toward the subjects."

I also agree with 20 Something's questioning of the idea that higher consciousness can be achieved solely through an exploration of the self.

I was intrigued by the focus on Timothy's death.  He had inoperable cancer and in true Leary fashion, he made an event out of it.  His dying words were, "Why? Why not?"  Words to live by or words to die by?  I'm not sure.  So see this movie if you feel like it.  Turn on, tune in, drop out.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Pick Up

This is a public service announcement. There's a good new hike over near Gnaw Bone.  It's a Sycamore Landtrust hike in the Laura Hare Nature Preserve.  This hike features ravines as well as glacial erratics.  Here's the catcher though.  You might lose your way while on this hike and you might have to flag down a pick up truck on a nearby road, and you might have to ride in the back of the pick up five miles to your car, and during that five mile drive you might just get stopped by a sheriff who might suggest it's illegal to ride in the back of a pick up.  The good news is, you will probably eventually get back to your car.  No harm, no foul.  But still, be careful.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Stroller

Our vocabulary words this week are nostalgic and overbearing.  I shared a story from my dad to illustrate the meaning of nostalgic.

 "We had such great times when we were kids.  I'll never forget the time we strapped Buck Mullin into a baby carriage and pushed him down a steep hill.  The carriage picked up speed until the bottom where it overturned.  Buck lost his two front teeth.  Probably didn't get them repaired until he went in the army years later.   Those were good times."

When I told my dad that the experience didn't sound too awesome to me, he replied, The Mullins family had 8 or 9 kids, so Buck wasn't really essential."   I wonder where Buck Mullin is now.  I hope he's doing well.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Benches

We have a new buddy bench at our school.  The buddy bench comes with some guidelines and procedures.  If you need a buddy and you sit on the bench, you're expected to look around for opportunities for play.  In other words, don't just sit there like a pitiful victim crying about your lonely plight. Take some responsibility and action. Also, if someone comes up and invites you to play, you have to say yes.  In other words, you can't just say, "Well, I'm actually waiting for a better opportunity to come along, but thanks."  Also, if a friend happens to come by to socialize with you, you need to get off the bench and do your chatting elsewhere.

If I were designing playground benches, I would make one called the "ALL ALONE AND I LIKE IT THIS WAY" Bench.  When you sit on these All Alone benches, your solitude is protected and respected.  You can do whatever you want on the bench---ponder, nap, read, stew in resentment---but if you see someone you feel like chatting to, you can't motion them over to the bench.  You need to get off the bench and do your chatting elsewhere.  In that way, my new bench is similar to the Buddy Bench.  Both benches have specific purposes and socializing is not one of them.  I'm ready to move forward with the All Alone Bench.  This project has potential.

The Book

I am proud to say that I finished my book club book this month.  We read The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry.  It's a good book and you should read it if you want to.

I like that the main character owned a small book store.  This is a dream of mine.  I would like to have a small store front book store called Fist of 5.  I'll only have 5 books at any time.  But these 5 will change periodically if I don't get too busy.

When you come in, you can just sit down on the comfy chairs and look over the 5 books, or you can bring in your own fist of 5 books to read.  But you can't drop off books or give me suggestions because I don't want to deal with extra books in the store.  I also don't really want to chat about the books, nor do I want to hear others chatting too much about the books, so please keep all interactions to a minimum.

I may serve Capri Suns and Ritz Crackers with the books.  Also, there would be some blank sketch books and high quality coloring pencils laying about.  A place of quiet reflection on 5 books.  If the store were to open today, I'd have AJ FIKRY, ELIGIBLE, RAIN REIGN, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN's MEMOIR and M TRAIN featured. A nice variety.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Sadness

Today's a sad day.  There's been some crying.  There's been some heartache.  I knew it was coming.  I was the one person who without reservation declared that I thought Trump would be the winner of the election in the international poll I conducted on Saturday (Sample size 11).  I wish I could have been wrong.
Looking forward,  the Thirdlanders will be starting a unit on using creativity to work for social justice.  We'll be focusing on music as representations of collective identity and action. The unit comes at the perfect time.  We'll be dusting off We Shall Overcome and singing it together with fortitude and determination.  Join in, my friends.  Let's start the singing.  Oh Take My Presidential Blues Away.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Halloween Memories

I asked my mom about trick or treating and this is what she wrote me:

When I was a kid we went out in droves and used to do mean things! One night we saw a lady left clothes out on the line and we cut the line and the son came running out and grabbed me by the back of the shirt and lifted me up. (I was dressed as a boy) and He said "Oh, you're a girl" and let me go. Another night we were "Practicing" for Halloween. We used to soap windows and a guy opened the window and pulled me into the house and said "I expect this on Halloween night but damned if I'll put up with it before!" and made me wash the soap off. Lois was with me and she got a good laugh out of that! Well I guess it's better that they go to Halloween parties today now that I'm a would be victim. but it used to be fun! Love you, Mom

I talked to my dad on the phone and he said he and his pals used to set fires in the alleys behind the homes where he trick or treated, if they didn't have treats.  I asked my dad, "What were you doing with matches?" and he just laughed.  

Things were a bit on the wilder side back in the day. It's pretty clear that I come from solid rapscallion renegade stock.  And come to find out, I've got a hankering to soap some windows this week.  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Girl on the Train

I read the book, Girl on the Train, and thought it was fun and suspenseful.  Then the movie came out and the reviews were horrible.  So I didn't see it for awhile.  Yesterday we saw it, just for the heck of it.  Come to find out, it was fun and suspenseful, just like the book.  Husbandman gives it a 3 on the fist of five, and

adds, "I was surprised.  I thought it was going to be a one or a two."  I give it a 5. Good job, Emily Blunt.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Socks

It's Socktober, so we're collecting socks and soup for the Community Kitchen.  We've got 167 pairs of socks and 122 cans of soup.  All three third grades are part of Socktober.  There are still a few days left in October.  If you want to give socks to somebody, do it ASAP.  Don't let Socktober slip away.  

We saw a good movie this week and it is called Don't Blink.  It's a documentary about the photographer Robert Frank.  This guy is creative and he is fascinating and he is inspiring.  You should see this movie if you feel like it.  I am thinking about buying a little tin roof shack somewhere near the ocean somewhere in Northern Canada.  I need a new setting to get my creativity going in full gear.

Have you carved your pumpkin?  A few years ago, a Thirdlander gave me some great roasted pumpkin seeds.  They were fantastic.  This year, I teach her brother, and I'm thinking about dropping a hint about the pumpkin seeds.  Seems like they would remember on their own that I liked the pumpkin seeds so much.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The KickStarter

I'm thinking of starting a kickstarter or gofundme account.  But in my account, people wouldn't give me money.  They would give me heirlooms for my Heirlooms Gone Awry Gallery.  The gallery would be filled with heirlooms that didn't quite make the mark, stuff people gave to you that were special to them, but to you they're just things that you have to have around your house for the rest of your life.  The heirlooms have to be passed down at least twice to be in the museum.  This might be hard to get going, but there's potential for glory somewhere down the line.  FYI: This idea is still in the development stage.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Greatness

3 questions for you.

1.  Did you see the Hunter Moon last night?   It was a super moon. What do you think of this awesome photograph I took?  Good, right? FYI:  Next month we'll get to see an even super-er moon.  So get ready.

2.  Did you see #theAccountant yet?  Ben is just a marvel in this beautifully made, emotionally moving film.  Check it out ASAP. We saw it yesterday.  Husbandman gives this ground breaking heart wrenching film a 3 on the fist of 5 and calls it "watchable."  Not sure what he means by that, because the film is a 5 from beginning to end.  I suspect that Ben will be picking up another Oscar for his incredible performance.

3.  Question 3. Did you walk around talking about a cool school board candidate and our district referendum any time recently ?  I did this yesterday with Judith and it made for quite a pleasant afternoon.  People were happy to talk about the elections and seemed to appreciate getting the literature. As predicted, Judith talked and I stood by, recording which homes we visited.  I'm very happy to say that in this great town of ours, most people we talked to wanted to make it clear to us that they were going to vote, that they were interested in our school board race and they also threw in for good measure that they were NOT supporters of the republican presidential nominee.  SCORE!

Bloomington, Indiana.  The only place in the world where you can see a super moon, watch a fantastic movie, and talk about a phenomenal school board candidate all in the same day.  Go B-TOWN!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Walk

Heading out to talk to some voters about our district's referendum.  I'm wearing a referendum t-shirt and I have a referendum yard sign up.  Judith is the one who signed up and got all the materials.  She told me about doing this civic duty last night while we were enjoying some beverages and some jazz under the moonlit starry sky at Scenic View.  I said, "Oh, I'll go with you!"  I didn't really think it over, just blurted out that I would join her.  Smart move?  Who can say?

We all know that I'm not big on talking to people I don't know, but probably Judith will do most of the work.  I'll just walk with her, wearing the VOTE YES t-shirt.  My hope for today is that in between houses we can focus on sundry chit chat. Chatting with Judith is a ton of fun.  Maybe I can pass out some flyers about this blog while we're walking the vote.  Multi-task, so to speak.
My biggest hope for this civic outing is that everyone likes the referendum and reassures us that they plan to vote YES.

I'm just not in the mood for negativity today, people, so let's get our act together and support public schools.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Proof

Huddle up, Peeps, I've got to tell you something.  I hate proofreading.  I don't have a ton of little pesky errors because I read everything over 50,000 times as I'm writing, but I do have many sentences that don't sound quite right.  And I have many headings that don't perfectly match up with the corresponding content. I have photos that need interesting captions. I also have a Table of Contents that needs to be adjusted for the thousandth time.  It's all making me a nervous wreck so I keep checking in on our democracy, which adds more to my hideous stress.  What we've got going is a truly vicious cycle.

But here's some good news.  #1 Son came home at 2 am.  We had lunch together.  He's here for some musical performances aka gigs.  And here's the other good news.  I only have one more chapter to proofread and it shouldn't be too bad.  Maybe. The proof will be in the pudding.  Whatever.  I'm sick to my stomach just thinking about proofreading it.  Don't even get me started on fixing the Table of Contents after I'm done with that. Please. I beg of you. Do not get me started.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Return

Wedge Rock.   Glaciers had their hand in all of this.

So here I am back in action on the blog. WAY TO GO, ME!!!! Forward Ever, Backward Never!  

So what's been going on?  In the past two weeks, I've been doing a lot and I'm now presenting my activities in the form of a bulleted list.  If you've seen me around, you know I've been:

  • proofreading the book, line by line, finding and fixing, fretting over each and every sentence
  • toiling away at the nonsensical report cards that I dislike, but have accepted as my reality
  • picnicking at Turkey Run State Park 
  • chuckling at Jessie Eisenberg and Todd Barry at the Comedy Attic
  • thinking about #1 Son and Twenty Something
  • worrying about my mom who fell recently
  • loving the fall weather
  • refereeing four square games
  • learning about global citizenship
  • getting involved in sundry antics with Husbandman
  • trying to stay away from five thirty eight

Life is good.  And like DT, there's zero percent chance that I'll back out of this blog.  So don't worry about that my friends. We're #strongertogether, so keep reading the blog and never doubt that there will be another post sooner, rather than later. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The News

Good news:  I finished that book I've been writing for over 3 years.  I finished it this morning.
Bad news:  Soon it will go to the editor and she'll say to revise it more, but let's just focus on the good news right now.
More Good news:  We're going to dinner with #1 Son tonight.
Bad news:  He's going back to New Orleans tomorrow. Rats.
Good news:  This week is Banned Book Week.  I like talking about Banned Book Week with the Thirdlanders.
Bad news:  People ban books.  Think it through, Book Banners.
Good news:  I took this excellent photo of a hawk this morning.
Bad news:  I'm not sure what kind of hawk it is, but I think it's a broad winged hawk.  I'm bad at hawk identification.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Mightiness

This is Mighty Brother.  They're roaming around these parts, singing their songs.  They live in New Orleans, but they're on a tour of the Mighty Midwest.  We'll probably have a house party soon and book them as our main act.  I'm trying to think of a good opener for them.  I could polish up some of my own compositions.  Come to the Rug.  Folder, Folder. Let's not forget Cut and Glue That's What We Do. The songs flow in Room 200 and I need to start getting them out there.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Peace Day

Wednesday is International Peace Day so let's do some peaceful stuff.  The whole world is having a moment of silence at noon.  Try to do that.  Quite a few people are making peace poles to place hither thither and yon around town. That could be good too.  You can make some origami cranes or have a ceasefire of sorts, making peace with someone.  You can sing the Peace Day anthem with some friends.   You can get acquainted with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.  I'm going to remember to wear my peace sign necklace that Judith gave me. The point is, let's spread the word about International Peace Day.  This will be the first time I'm celebrating Peace Day, so I hope I do a decent job with it. I want to do it right.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Miracle

Mitzker's going to Israel soon and I've been trying to think all morning of the name of this restaurant. 20 Something ate there with us when she visited us in Israel. Is it near Megiddo?  It doesn't matter.  There are so many beautiful places to visit there that missing this one won't be a game changer.  But I still wish I could remember.

Yesterday was a busy day in Room 200.  I'm not sure why, but the Thirdlanders were quite active all afternoon and some might even describe them as rambunctious.  They're 8 so we're going to chalk it up to Friday Frenzy and move on. We got through the afternoon and left the school site for greener pastures.  When I got to Kathala's house, I hopped out of my car, ready for some fun and friendship.  Imagine my surprise when I noticed my phone contentedly sitting on the roof of my car.  I guess I put it there when I was putting my backpack in the backseat and then just drove happily away.  It's nothing short of a miracle that my phone was still there after the drive.  It's also a testament to slow driving, which is the way I roll.  I wonder if my phone enjoyed the ride, kicking back on top of the car, gazing at the clouds and blue skies overhead.  Don't get used to it, Phone.  Sorry Charlie, but you're on a tight leash for awhile.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Editor

Well, I have a phone call set up with my editor for Thursday when the kids are at music.  I'm living kind of a bi-polar life right now.  I wonder if I'll make it to the finish line.  I'm doing my best, and I've just got to forget the rest.  Okay, let's focus on some good news right now.  Come to find out, I'm great at four square game regulation.  I've imposed some good rules that I learned about on the youTUBE and the Thirdlanders seem to really appreciate the innovations I've introduced. This victory's put me in mind of getting a physical education degree, with a focus on four square and kickball.  I want to teach gym.  Instead of a whistle, I'm going to wear a harmonica around.  If I could just finish this book, I could start working on my next big dream. Sweat Pants Every Day of the WEEK!  I'm in like Flynn!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Lip

Yesterday was tough.  I had anxiety about my work and a new symptom to report: the classic quivering upper lip.  My lip was quivering off and on all day.  I ignored it for the most part.  Finally I got a few minutes to myself so I decided to diagnose the situation.  Come to find out, my quivering lip could be a sign of stress, which makes a lot of sense because my stress level is off the charts right now, what with the final chapter of the book being due a week ago and not yet written and a full time job that I'm passionate about and obsessed with both night and day.  Secondly, it could be a result of too much caffeine. This also rings true because in order to be more like Patti Smith, I started drinking my coffee black this summer. Also to be like Ms. Smith, I now drink black coffee all day long because that's what Patti Smith does and Patti Smith is someone I admire more than I can tell you.  But peeps, here's the bad part.  My lip quivering could be a pre-cursor to Bell's Palsy or Lou Gehrig's disease.  There are some even worse diseases that I won't go into here.  Let's take one day at a time.

Today my lip is not quivering, but it obviously could start up again at any moment.  And that's the story of my quivering lip. I've learned that the best way to lessen anxiety is to get right to work on the thing that's freaking me out, so I'm about to continue working on chapter 5 right now.  Chapter 5 is the final chapter, so you would think I would just be on that thing like a cowgirl at a rodeo.  Such is not the case. I'm a slow writer.  You all know that by now. Let's wish me luck today, if you remember to do so. And if you feel like it. But why wouldn't you?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Son

#1 Son left.  He moved to New Orleans.  I hope he's happy and safe.  I could get myself pretty glum about this if I chose to, but I'm going to stay strong and throw long.  That's an expression I made up when I threw javelin in college.  I told the Thirdlanders that my son moved away and that I felt sad about it.  They were quiet for a bit and then a Thirdlander said, "At least you still have us."

       They're right of course.  I still have the Thirdlanders.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Hills

We went to Scenic View to hear #1 Son play some jazz on Saturday night.  The view was striking. Because of all the rain, patches of steamy mist hung over the foresty hills.

Another thing we did was see The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.  Set in New Zealand, it's about a kid in foster care.  His foster mom keels over dead and he goes on the run with his foster dad, into the bush, because he doesn't want to go back to the juvenile detention center.  Husbandman says if he were in a generous mood, he'd give the movie a 3.  I'm shocked by this.  I'm giving the film a solid 4.5.  See it if you feel like it.  It has great views of New Zealand and some fun comic scenes as well.

I finished chapter 4 yesterday.  Not thrilled with the ending and I still have to put some photographs in there, but mostly, it's okay and I'm following the maxim that Done is Better than Good.  Doing my best, forgetting the rest.  Not actually totally forgetting all the rest. I keep thinking about stuff.  But trying to remember the important motto CATCH AS CATCH CAN, and leaving well enough alone.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Thirdlanders 2016

I have met the new crew and they are wonderful.  3 days of school and we did a lot of awesome stuff.  I also made this website to market our classroom press.  I'm writing about marketing in chapter 4, so this is all part of the game plan.  I already have several favorite moments, but maybe my most favorite was when we started our writer's notebooks on Friday afternoon, 20 minutes before the end of the day.  I showed the new Thirdlanders how I liked to sketch and write in my notebook.  They were excited about doing the same kind of work in their notebooks.  One 3Ler said, "I wish I had done that this summer on my trip."  And then another said, "I'm going to start doing that in my notebook this weekend." Then another said, "Wow.  You are a REALLY good draw-er."

So, as you can see, we're ready for another epic year in Room 200.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

The Possibilities

Our first International Baccalaureate unit is about Sharing the Planet.  We're focusing on rights and responsibilities of global citizens.  I usually spend a lot of time mucking about creating units, but this time, I'm just going to follow a Unicef unit that looks interesting.  More on that later.

 Just wanted to check in because I'm missing you, blogosphere.  School starts Monday for teachers, Wednesday for Thirdlanders.  I'm still working on chapter 4, and proceeding forward. I'm inspired by Vice President Biden's words, which I've adapted for my own purposes.  "I own the finish line.  Don't forget it. This is America.  Come on! We're America!"

Really gets you pumped up if you scream these lines repeatedly as you walk around your home.  Husbandman loves to join in as well. Give it a try. COME ON! We're America!

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...