Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Tinies

National Leeographic
 Last weekend we took a walk and I took this amazing frog photo. Look how awesome it is.  We also saw some red breasted mergansers at Saltwater Creek which is a new breed for us.  Welcome, Mergansers!

Today I've been inside all day long, watching tiny house shows for hours on end.   Geez Louise I want one of those tiny houses in the worst way, but I'm nervous about the impact of the tiny house on my physique.  I'm researching tiny houses for the elderly, because I can't be dealing with crawling up skinny ladders to shimmy into a loft bed.  Getting older is on my mind a lot these days.  I'm starting to accept that my ankle will hurt for the rest of my life, but I'm not thrilled about other impending health problems in my aged future.  Case in point: I could be losing 2 to 3 inches in height in the next 15 years. That's disturbing, but could make living in the tiny house for the elderly more feasible, so I guess I'll relax about it.  Tomorrow, I'm getting out and about.  This day's been ridiculous.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thursday Creativity Share: Feel the Burn

In Kenya, there will be a massive burning of ivory tomorrow.  You can read about it here.  The Thirdlanders have been reading about some of the ways people are trying to stop poaching.  Giving poachers alternative jobs, using drones to search out poachers, establishing national parks, setting up ivory burns.  The creativity and ingenuity is happening all over the place. Husbandman is leaving for Israel today.  If I were him, I'd take a detour to Kenya to attend the ivory burn.  It's going to be the biggest ivory burn in history and government leaders from 12 countries will be there to feel the burn and get moving on taking right action.
I'm going to miss Husbandman.  I wish he wouldn't go.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


So I didn't get #TwinTuesday posted here yesterday.  I apologize and now let's move on.  I don't want to be criticized in any way, shape or form.  This week, we have something original and evergreen fresh:  Things that start with T.  I have a Toadsuck post card and a tuna can.  KC has a trophy and some tape.
This pair of pairings got me to thinking about the Tennessee Tuxedo song.  Which got me to a'googlin' and guess what?  I've been singing this song incorrectly for decades.  Geez, my way seems better.  As per usual.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Independent Film Review: Love Thy Nature

Love Thy Nature seemed like it might have some merit.  It's a documentary about getting outside in nature, narrated by Liam Neeson.  I love nature and I love Liam, so what could go wrong? Here's our chat.

Lw:  So Love Thy Nature.  What went wrong there?
Hm: It was a movie that shouldn't have been made, but if they were going to make it, they should have focused on solutions to problems created by humans by drawing on patterns found in nature.
Lw:  Biomimicry?
Hm:  Yeah.  They talked in vague terms about biomimicry and then didn't provide any examples.
Lw:  Do you think the film changed how you'll live your life in the future?
Hm:  Only in the sense that I would never ever watch a movie again by that director.
Lw:  But did you feel different when you were walking outside today?
Hm:  No.  Except for still overcoming the shock of how bad that movie was.
(At this point, Husbandman stands up in order to crush a stink bug that has landed on our bedroom ceiling. I asked him if he would like to just put it in a tissue and bring it outside, but he preferred to kill it with brute force. Then he came back to bed to watch the Mets.)
Lw:  Do you want to volunteer in the community orchard?
Hm:  No.

So, you can go ahead and see this movie if you want to, but it was quite bland and didn't change our lives as far as I can tell.  I did take the Thirdlanders outside to write in our notebooks this morning, but many of them wrote about mine craft, so I'm not sure if a great appreciation of nature was inspired by our outing.  Still, being outside is good.  Stay outside and far away from any theater playing Love Thy Nature if you know what's good for you.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Jazz

Last night we walked over to the IU Jazz Celebration.  #1 Son was playing one song with the Plummer Jazz Combo toward the end of the show.  (This I Dig of You, by Hank Mobley).

  We sauntered in, only to hear a woman sharply inquiring of us, "DO YOU HAVE TICKETS?"  We explained that we didn't know the event required tickets and offered to buy some.   Come to find out, it was too late to purchase tickets of any kind. Husbandman explained that we like to come to the MAC to hear our son play and that we've been enjoying this kind of thing for years. A manager came over and we spoke of our son and how we like to see him play jazz and he let us enter which obviously was the right thing to do because we should be able to see #1 Son play jazz if we want to.

The show was incredible.  BRAVO, I texted to #1 Son after it was over.  Then we walked through campus under a starry sky, humming jazzily as we reveled in the glory of watching our favorite bass player in the world.  No strings attached.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The 20

So last Saturday we learned all about Andrew Jackson at the Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson musical.  And now, mere days later, Andrew Jackson is getting the boot off the 20 and guess who's getting popped on? Harriet Tubman, one of my heroes. Farewell, Andrew Jackson.  You weren't a great guy and it's time to head back to the Hermitage and leave the 20 to someone who stands for justice and incredible bravery. HARRIET!

Maybe I'll bring this Harriet Tubman poem with me to POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY tomorrow.  We're going to be popping poems all day long.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff
Wasn't scared of nothing neither
Didn't come in this world to be no slave
And wasn't going to stay one either

"Farewell!" she sang to her friends one night
She was mighty sad to leave 'em
But she ran away that dark, hot night
Ran looking for her freedom
She ran to the woods and she ran through the woods
With the slave catchers right behind her
And she kept on going till she got to the North
Where those mean men couldn't find her

Nineteen times she went back South
To get three hundred others
She ran for her freedom nineteen times
To save Black sisters and brothers
Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff
Wasn't scared of nothing neither
Didn't come in this world to be no slave
And didn't stay one either

     And didn't stay one either

I might pick this one though:

Went to the corner
Walked in the store
Bought me some candy
Ain’t got it no more Ain’t got it no more
Went to the beach
Played on the shore
Built me a sand house
Ain’t got it no more Ain’t got it no more
Went to the kitchen
Lay down on the floor
Made me a poem
Still got it Still got it
Both are by Eloise Greenfield.  So that means it's probably going to be a Greenfield kind of day.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


It's #TwinTuesday again, with a bottle cap and an earring.  You can check out the twin over at KC's place.  KC's doing a lot of cool stuff right now.  She has a newsletter and I'm pretty sure you're going to want to subscribe to it.  I subscribe, so why wouldn't you?  If you want to, you should.  KC's a fantastic writer and an awesome friend.  Kind of like Charlotte in Charlotte's Web.

KC's diagnostic research showed that #TwinTuesday doesn't produce the big page view #'s.  I found this shocking.  Who wouldn't want to stare at this beautiful yellowish combo all day and night?  I myself will probably click on it about 12 or 15 times today.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Dish

I wish #1Son hadn't displayed the empty potato salad dish as I was snapping photos, and I told him so this very evening.   After listening to my complaints about the potato salad dish, he looked at this photo for awhile and then replied, "You could crop a little picture of your face over it."

At first I was annoyed with his reply.  Then I remembered that he's probably trying to be helpful and that he probably realizes that displaying the potato salad dish was a bad choice.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Times

Family Reunion's going great.  Unfortunately 1/4 of our family played three gigs yesterday so he joined us only sporadically.  Today he plays 2 gigs, but we will be together for a sacred repast I like to call dinner. Yesterday we had a snafu that ended up resulting in a happy turn of events.  We thought we were driving to Hemlock Cliffs, but we ended up at Hemlock Bluffs.  Super different.  Today, though, we're righting the situation and driving to Hemlock Cliffs, a "special place," according to the webpage.  I'll be the judge of that.

BTW, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a fab musical and I learned a ton about our 7th President.  Also, 20 Something went to the Bluebird last night to hear the Phunk Nastys and reported that the show was rip roaring.  I'm thinking about paying some money to the Phunk Nastys to play in Room 200 so I can hear them in the day time.  I wonder what that would cost.  Well worth any sum, I'm sure. Dance Party in ROOM 200!!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Ratchet

Yesterday,  we had a wasp in Room 200.  As you know from last year's entries about wasps, nothing can get done with a wasp in the vicinity.  This year is no exception, but because The Thirdlanders tend to be a highly spirited crew, they really ratcheted up the wasp drama as said wasp dive-bombed us repeatedly.  Students screamed, cried out in anguish, fell into each other's arms, ran out of the room, etc.  No one was stung, but I suppose the potential was there.  I myself got stung twice last year as you may recall.  Still, I remained calm and explained to the Thirdlanders that running, screaming and crying are things that do not help a wasp situation.  Today I'm armed with wasp spray, and whenever a wasp appears, all educating will cease, so that wasps may die. I'm also going to talk to The Thirdlanders about appropriate behavior in tough situations.  Again.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday Creativity Share: Family Reunion, Full of Surprises, Which I haven't thought up yet.

I'm hosting book club tonight.  The book was pretty good.  It's called My Name Is Lucy Barton.   This weekend we're going to see a musical called Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.  #1 Son is playing bass and even has a line.  Nice!  One other creative thing is this.  20Something is coming home for a visit so we're going to commit ourselves to just fun, nothing else.  All weekend long. It will be family bonding time like it's never been done. I'm not even going to enter the school building once.  I'm committing myself to the most epic Family Reunion the world has ever seen. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


You probably didn't expect to see a harmonica and a nativity scene on #TwinTuesday this Wednesday morning.  But there they are.  Just so relaxed and harmonious.  KC has the twin and a damned interesting rationale for loving TwinTuesday over here.  You should read KC's piece if you've ever had a doubt about how #TwinTuesday can benefit you personally.

I'm going to toss in some writerly wisdom from Dani Shapiro since it's Writer's Wednesday.  In a section titled FOG, she writes about how you really can't be certain what's going to happen with your writing when you sit down to write.  Not-knowing is the heart of creativity.  I find that comforting since I don't know what's going on half the time, with writing and with life.  From Still Writing:  "E.L. Doctorow once compared writing to driving down a country road on a dark and foggy night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make it all the way home just by slowly creeping along."

I like this quote.  Today I'm going to slowly creep along.  I'll make it home eventually.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Caimans

I'm hooked on Naked and Afraid, as I may have already mentioned.  Sometimes the survivalists are quite good at hunting.  I just watched an episode where the survivalists killed a snake, a catfish and a caiman.  Sadly, the caiman was filled with bugs, but they picked the bugs out, cooked and ate it.  These two really impressed me.  They did everything right.  Sadly, when they got back, they both contracted leishmaniasis, which is a parasitic disease resulting from sand fly bites. People, let me tell you something.  Googling images of "leishmaniasis" is not a good idea. The images are quite disturbing.  And you know I can take a lot when it comes to disease imagery.

What a drag to survive 21 days in the jungle, naked and afraid, and then get back to your suburban home and have one of your ears eaten away by parasites.  It doesn't seem fair.  This show really helps me gain perspective.  Life is good right now.  I'm clothed and comfortable, with no parasites that I'm aware of. Husbandman's making me a grilled cheese sandwich. If I could stop googling "leishmaniasis," everything would be perfect.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

The Centers

We're almost finished with our Simple Solutions unit.  Our central idea is, "People use simple machines to solve real world problems." In addition to learning about how simple machines work, we learned about the recycling women of the Gambia, the Americans with Disabilities Act and of course William Kamkwamba, the boy who harnessed the wind. I'm thinking about ending with a little info about David Sedaris and the bicycle, a compound machine. David rides around his village in England picking up litter.  I'm thinking about buying a new compound machine called the bicycle.  I have an old bicycle and I could fix it up.  But darn it. I think I want a new one.  I probably won't solve any problems with my bicycle.  But maybe I will.  We may never know.

Friday, April 08, 2016

The Creativity

Yesterday was a bang up day for creativity.  First Kevin Hawkes came to speak.  If you don't know about Kevin Hawkes, you should find out about him if you want.  He's an author and illustrator whose artwork really knocks your socks off.  Judith did so much to make his visit meaningful and we are truly thankful.  We were already Kevin Hawkes fans because we've read so many of his books, but when you hear Kevin Hawkes speak and you watch him draw, you start having a little author crush on him and you can't help it.

Then we made collages about animal rights.  We've been reading in Time for Kids about wild animals kept as pets, wild animals poached and smuggled for their body parts, wild animals hunted and displayed as trophies.  We had a collage studio going on.  The creativity was incredible.  It was messy and the clean up got a little tense at times, but you really can't argue with the cool products.  We need to send our collages out into the world.  They're life changers.

After school I spent some time reading about William Kamkwamba, also known as The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.  At age 14, he made a windmill out of odds and ends, including several simple machines.  He read books about making windmills and then he did it.  The windmill really helped out his family farm in Burkina Faso.  I'm going to talk to the Thirdlanders about William today and we're going to watch his TED talk.  He's always making stuff.

The Creativity Share.  The amazing Kevin Hawkes.  Social Justice Collages.  Windmill making William Kamkwamba.  Go, MAKERS!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Headphones

I ran into Mr. Rudest Guy on the Planet at a store this week.  He lives and works in my very own town.  This guy belongs on an SNL sketch called RUDE GUY. Here's how it went down. I was trying to buy some headphones for #1 because he turned 22 on Monday. A birthday gift of sorts. I asked Mr. RGotP a few questions about the headphones.  He kept rolling his eyes at me and answering my sincere queries with scorn and derision.  I'm the type of person who just ignores adult rudeness because really what's the point?  It's too late for these people. They're fully grown.  With the young, I address these moments 100% of the time. That's why they pay me the big bucks and my vigilance in this department has helped the people I teach, and have taught, become the truly amazing human beings they all are.  With adults, I usually just shake my head in wonder.  But Mr. Rude got so hostile that I finally said to him, "You should learn to speak more courteously to customers."  Mr. Rude actually said, "THANK YOU!" and turned and walked away from me. What in the world?

I talked to the cashier about what went down and she said, "Oh gosh, you imitate him so well.  I'm getting the manager."
I talked to the manager who seemed not all that concerned.  At that point, I wanted to move on from the whole thing.  I just said, "You know, this is your problem, not mine.  I hope you deal with it, but it's really not my concern."  And out I flounced.  With the headphones. Which may have dampened the strength of my argument.  But I don't care.  I do what I want.

Saturday, April 02, 2016


I keep thinking about the mushroom death suit (MDS).  With the MDS, your family can put your corpse out in the yard.  Mushrooms will grow out of the suit and help to decompose your body.  Easy peasy lemon squeezey.  I have done a lot of reading about the suit, but can't find a cost for it. How expensive can it be?  It's just some cloth embedded with mushroom spores. I'm also not sure how long it takes the body to decompose in the MDS. That would be critical information to share. I've read quite a few web pages, so I'm frustrated by the lack of info.  I can't commit to buying the MDS until these issues are cleared up.

The Crawfish

A few crawfish are coming to live in Room 200.  Not sure what to do about that.  They've donated their lives for science education.  I...