Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Design

America:  Sculpture by Will Ryman

The barn swallow is found all over the world and it's the most common swallow of them all.

This morning, Husbandman and I woke up early and sneaked out of the house.  #1 Son is home for a visit and we had musicians sleeping in all the rooms, hither, thither and yon. We figured they wanted their morning sleep because that's how musicians seem to be we've noticed.

So like I already said we sneaked out and we went to breakfast.  Then we browsed through our local book store.  I bought a book called Designing Your Life:  How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.  I actually feel I'm living well and joyfully most of the time, but maybe there are a few tips in there that could be game changers.  Who's to say?

  Then we went to Leonard Springs and took a hike.  We saw the barn swallows zipping about over the sludgey pond.  I'm pretty sure they were barn swallows.  Maybe they were swifts.  Or house martins.  Who knows?

Now it's time for me to get back to editing the book.  I have ten files and two weeks.  This is my last chance to make changes.  Husbandman has strongly suggested that I not make changes, but there are always a few sentences that need tweaking here and there.  On Friday, the publisher also sent me a PDF with some samples of the book's design---the cover and some of the inside pages.  I can't wait for all of you to see it.  I think the book looks splendid so far.  I'm so freaking excited!!!!

Basically this is turning out to be a damned good Sunday.
Monday, you've got a hard act to follow, my friend.  And big shoes to fill.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Fuel

We had 7 hours of standardized testing this week and it wasn't much fun.  I am not pleased with the whole standardization machine. If you love standardized testing, I'm sorry, but I think you're insane and possibly dangerous.  So please seek help.  If you hate standardized testing as do I, please know that this week of testing added even more fuel to my fire of hatred.  We haters of the testing are in the right.  All others are wrong. Society, please stop all standardized testing of school kids.  All of the Thirdlanders are fabulous in all ways.  Every single one. We defy your scorish findings that try to tell us otherwise.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Flaw

 I don't have a good closing game when I'm on the phone.  I often hang up on the person when they're still talking.  It's weird because it seems like I'm hanging up at an appropriate time, during a pause.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The The

The conundrum of the Saturday morning.  The free time stretches out ahead of me.  How should I spend the free time?  We're talking about the possible hike and the likely picnic.  But what do we predict about the destination?  The Cedar Bluffs hike has the patches of the wildflowers this time of the year.  The new peninsula hike has the great views of the lake and sometimes the eagles appear.  There's the hike in McCormick's Creek where you can check out the remnants of the Old State House quarry.  That last one might be the ticket because we are presently studying the Indiana limestone with The Thirdlanders.  Did you know that if you drop the chunk of the limestone into the beaker of the vinegar it will start the fizzing?  That's because it has the calcium carbonate.  I will now share the interesting facts about the limestone from the WIKIPEDIA.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coralforams and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate(CaCO3).
About 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestones. The solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst landscapes, in which water erodes the limestone over thousands to millions of years. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock.

Friday, April 07, 2017

The Comments

Well, the book covers arrived yesterday.  The same cover comes in 3 different colors.  I think I like the green one best.  I'm going to ask The Thirdlanders what they think.  As usual, I'm hesitant to decide.  In short, I like them all.

The book title is surrounded by brief statements that an editor might make to a writer.  These have been put in there just as place holders.  I have to replace these with new statements this weekend.  Husbandman, ever helpful, thinks that comments like, "Rubbish!" and "What is this monkey business?"  should be added to the cover.  I wonder what the team would think if I sent them a cover full of rude comments for kids?  Too bad it's not April Fools Day any more.  That could have been a good prank.  PSYCHE!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Apology

As we walked in to the classroom, small Thirdlander looked up at me and said, "We've got a salamander."  I ignored him as I tried to direct the Thirdlanders toward a calm transition from recess to silent reading. After a minute, I came to my senses and said, "Is there a salamander somewhere in this classroom?"  Bouncy Thirdlander came running up, squirming salamander in hand.  "I didn't bring it in, but here it is."  I directed him to return it to the wilds of the playground and then I lectured about not bringing wild animals into the building.  Disappointed in my reaction, several Thirdlanders hostilely glared and scowled at me.

An hour later we were back outside for an extra recess.  I told the Thirdlanders that now I would like to see a salamander and I would like to take a photo of one.  I regretted those words as Thirdlanders began wildly flipping over logs and rocks near the creek.  Within seconds, all the searchers had at least one salamander and some Thirdlanders held three to four.  It was kind of horrific.  I took some photos and then asked the Thirdlanders to stop bothering the salamanders.  There was no stopping these salamander hunters at this point. They were in their glory.

Sorry, Salamanders.  I'll do better next time.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Worms

A Thirdlander asked me yesterday to help her with worm rescue during recess.  There was a puddle on the blacktop, brimming with writhing worms. The Thirdlander said, "When this puddle dries up, these worms will die.  Let's move them."  Luckily I had a pencil with me and come to find out, a pencil is an excellent tool for moving a worm.  We moved all the worms.  There were probably a couple dozen.  I wonder if those worms made it. The Thirdlander asked me on one of our last runs, "What do you think about what we're doing?  Do you think this is a good way to spend recess?"  I told her I was glad some of the worms might live, but I definitely wasn't having the time of my life.  She seemed okay with that.  Come to find out, worms have small brains.  They're probably doing the best they can.If you get a chance, rescue a worm today.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Shots

My editor asked me last week, "Can you send us some headshots for the book and the webpage?"  Lucky for me, I know an A1 photographer whose name is Goodwoman.  She's going to take my headshots soon. THANK YOU GOODWOMAN!

I'm thinking about ways to make the headshots unique.  You know I'm creative that way.  I'm going to suggest that Goodwoman come over to the house early one morning and get some headshots of me while I'm sound asleep in my bed.  Later, we'll get a few of my head in the shower, as I'm shampooing.  Those are the two ideas I've come up with so far.

I want the headshots to be friendly, professional, tell a bit about me as a person, and also be surprising, catch people off guard, so to speak.  Maybe Goodwoman can get a headshot of me applying bright red lipstick to my lips. I don't usually wear make up, so that could leave people wondering about what's going on.

I'll keep you posted on the headshots.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Sculpture

Photo from
Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Sorry, Artist, I can't find your name.
George Rodrigue, NOMA Sculpture Garden
Bloomington Stoneware is a sculpture in front of the Showers Building.  We've been studying this sculpture.  It looks like this.  The artist is Brad J. Goldberg and he lives in Texas with his wife and collaborator, Diana Goldberg.  Bloomington Stoneware is 14 feet high and 9 feet in diameter.  It is made out of locally mined, hand carved limestone.  The curvy water trough is called a runnel.  The sculpture may bring to mind Native American designs, limestone craftwork, and the uses of stone and water in times of yore.  The Thirdlanders and I are studying Bloomington Stoneware.  We are also looking in to some of Goldberg's other projects, which I believe are amazing.  Next time you're down at Farmer's Market, walk over to Bloomington Stoneware and take it all in.  Because of this blog post, I think you'll now not only have an even greater appreciation for the importance of public art, but you'll be able to use the term runnel while discussing the sculpture with your friends and family.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Peace

 So it's getting to be the time of year when I've gotten maybe too close to The Thirdlanders.  It always happens eventually, sometimes sooner, sometimes later.  We're at the point where they feel like we're all on an even playing field and they're basically me and I'm basically them.  They come in each morning, offer a hug and then start in on the advice about how the day should go.   They ask what Husbandman made for dinner last night.  They tell me why we need 5 more minutes of extra recess.  They suggest I purchase another soccer ball for them because sometimes they get two games going. They interrupt my lessons to tell me something that happened to their dog last night.  They walk up to me in the middle of a lesson and tell me they need to talk to me about something important. They thank me for a good lesson with an added, "That was actually interesting.  We should try this again."   They ask for my phone so they can take my picture after I shoot a stunning basket at recess.  They tell me to make a peace sign for the photo.  It's a schizophrenic time, as you can well imagine, but a bit fun too.  But I've probably got to work on re-establishing some basic procedures and routines.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Photos

  There's a Bloomington Photography Club and I'm pondering joining it.  The problem is I don't like to meet new people.  Might give it a try though.  I've been reading about Meet Ups too.  I'm looking for a meet up where you go to a place and just look at your iPad and your iPhone and don't talk to anyone.  Or maybe a meet up where everyone draws in their notebook quietly.  That could be fun. Or a meet up where you look at hamsters at the pet shop and maybe tell some stories about hamsters of yore.  This whole meet up thing connects to my desire to develop some hobbies outside of the work space.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Blooms

Fabulous exhibit at NOMA yesterday. I think it was called Art in Bloom.  Inspired by various works of art, gardenists arranged flowers as you can see above.  I love cross disciplinary projects like this.  Last night we heard two bands on Frenchmen Street.  Both were excellent.  Then we watched the St. Pat's Parade.  The men in kilts handing out green beads and plastic flowers wanted cheek kisses in return. The wait staff at Ruby Slipper are used to us now, and welcome us to breakfast each morning. We are totally in the groove here now, and wondering how we can stay.  #1 Son has a large bedroom that opens out onto a cozy courtyard.  With the warm weather, I think we can set up some hammocks out there.  We'll talk to #1 about this today and I will keep you posted.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Bobble

We got to watch #1 Son with Mighty Brother in the recording studio yesterday.  Mighty Brother has the best songs. Their recording work fascinated me. I'm probably going to take some classes in sound engineering soon.  We walked down Magazine Street to Audubon Park and watched the live oaks and the birds.  A kid walked by us carrying a bobble head doll.  As he passed us, he asked his doll, "Am I your best friend?" I looked around for his family and they were there, just trailing behind.  We sauntered over to St. Joe's Bar for a drink on the patio.   Then off to dinner with #1, the best son in the land.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Break

 It's all bon temps down here on the spring break.  Lots of walking and talking.  Some wine and some oysters. We heard some music and we sat in some courtyards.  We visited the temple of William Faulkner.

I like the vibe here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Finale

Will the Bachelor find the love he's been looking for?  Or will he find heartbreak?

It's been an incredible journey.

When you marry someone, you also marry their family.  No Husbandman here tonight, but I'm with my mom and my sister watching Nick's quest for love.

We're watching Raven right now.  Mom says, "Look at how fake her eyelashes look!"

"But do you think they're beautiful?"  I ask because Raven's eyelashes are quite remarkable, in my opinion.

Younger Sister says, "No, they look stupid. I'm sure it's an eyelash weave.  I know someone who paid 600 dollars for an eyelash weave and they started bothering her after awhile and she pulled them all out.  What an idiot."

Sister thinks Vanessa is also a "fake eyelash girl."

I think Nick's grown up a lot over this season and I sincerely hope things work out for him this time.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Break

I'm watching a movie with amy mom.  It's called Monte Carlo.  It's about 3 friends who take a trip to France.  Selena Gomez is in it. She has accidentally switched identities with a fancy wealthy look-alike and things are starting to get interesting.    After a few days in New Orleans with my famous family, I'll join Husbandman in NOLA.  Spring break has sprung.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Literacy

I'm ticked off at literacy right now. I had my book club last night, and now I'm super tired and dragging myself to work.  Why do we have to read and discuss books with friends?  I have a faculty meeting to attend in 28 minutes and I'm nervous about displaying an upbeat attitude because come to find out I'm wicked tired right now. Because of literacy I did not get to sleep at a good time.  Literacy needs to knock it off.

Having said that, the book we read was really good.  But that's neither here nor there.  I'm sick to death of literacy wrecking my life.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Rooms

Good pal Jayma went with her family to an escape room this weekend.  This is a fun adventure where you get locked in a room and you have to figure out how to escape.  Jayma and her family started out handcuffed to a bed in a dark room.  They got out alive with only seconds to spare.  They got a few helpful hints as they worked through their escape route, but not that many.

The escape room could be a good setting for a Bachelor episode.  I may suggest this to the producers when I speak with them tonight.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Productivity

When I have an extra day to my weekend, my productivity soars.  I didn't get any of the stuff on my To Do list done, per se, but it feels like I accomplished a lot.  Clearly, the extra day is good for my overall demeanor and keeps me from feeling saturnine.

I am going to end this glorious day with some paper grading and some Bachelor watching.  I keep asking my mom to join me in the viewing of this fine show, but she always refuses.  Tonight I called her and earnestly cajoled, "MOM, tonight's the HOME TOWNS!  You've got to tune in."
"I'd rather vomit," she answered.
"I really think you should reconsider," I told her, but I could tell I was getting nowhere. We moved on to other topics.  Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. I have no problem with that.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Pond

Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area is in our state, just about an hour away.  We drove down there today to make the best out of the bad situation that is global warming.  We saw two whooping cranes.  You might be saying.  Big whoop, whooping cranes, blah blah blah, but let me tell you something my friends.  The whooping crane was once pushed to "the brink of extinction."  In actual fact, the whooping crane is still endangered. Right now there are only about 600 whooping cranes on the planet and, yes, we saw 2 of them this afternoon.  When I showed the woman at the visitor center my photograph, she said, "Yes, those are whoopers.  Congratulations."  Her tone was calm and understated, but I could tell she was excited inside.

We also saw 2 swans and some snow geese and some fabulous sand hill cranes. A friend saw some pelicans at Goose Pond last weekend, but we had no luck in the pelican department. You can't have everything and the sooner some people realize that, the better.  A fine day at Goose Pond.  Let's all remember to support the whooping crane.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Chilling

When you get a 3 day, you've got some extra options.  You can chillax on the first day of the three day because you don't need to prove anything to yourself about how you have an interesting life.  You can sit by a fire and read a book without feeling like time's a'wastin' and so is your life.  Today was low key.  I did chip away at one of my many small jobs for the book that's coming out in August that I wrote, but mostly, we just sat around like idle noodles, spinning our wheels.  I spent some time wondering about TwentySomething and #1 Son. I wanted to text and ask them what they were doing, but I fear that gets annoying when I do it more than 4 to 5 times in a week. I'll wait til tomorrow.   Now we're heading to Bloomington's own Comedy Attic to hear Moses Storm.  I have high hopes for that young man.  He said on social media that this is his first time in our cool town.  Maybe we'll invite him over for bagels in the morning.  At any rate, it's no secret to anyone that the Three Day is  a marvel.  There's just no denying.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Wonderings

We've been talking about the importance of "curiosity."  We were curious about Juneteenth today, so we learned more about this holiday.  We were also curious about Frederick Douglass, so we read more about him.  We've also been curious about modern slavery and we're starting to gather some info.  There's lots of stuff to wonder about right now.  When I wake up tomorrow, I'll most likely get to wondering again. Let's see what comes of it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Offense

Okay, people, it's time to get back to blogging.  This weekend was tough with lots and lots of revising. But I did see a play with some good friends and I also watched the super bowl with some other good friends.  So as usual, I fit in the fun even when I'm working like a madwoman.

 I had a phone call with the production team at Heinemann this morning. I was nervous, but everyone was so friendly and interested in the story behind the book.  It's hard to believe that I met my editor 5 years ago at NCTE and now I'm finally done.  There are still tasks, but the book's going to be published in late summer, so no offense, but I'm basically done writing my book.

The Thirdlanders continue to add to my cheer.  This class is pretty great at getting focused.  Yesterday when I announced at the end of the day, "Let's start getting ready for dismissal," several kids yelled out, "Already???!"   One sweet Thirdlander added, "No offense, but these days just fly by."
      "No offense taken, my friend," I replied.  Then I started jabbering at everyone to clean up the tables and floors and we listened to our clean up music CD which is Waltzing Mathilda.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Book

I'm working on some revisions for chapter 4.  The working title for the book is Back and Forth:  Teacher Editors and Student Authors.  Though this title will probably change, it's fairly descriptive of what's going on right now.  Lots of backing and forthing as we hash out changes.  It's more fun than in the past because there's more frequent feedback and the revisions are more specific, so I don't have to spend as much time pondering and putzing around.  I have a Skype conference set up with the Heinemann production team in a couple of weeks.  I'm also gathering parent permissions for all the photos and writing samples.  You guys, I'm publishing a book.  It's starting to sink in.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Marchers

I love and thank all the marchers from the bottom of my heart.

I couldn't march today because I am in the hospital with a broken hip and fractured femur.  I lost my footing when walking in my driveway and fell in an odd way resulting in a BROKEN HIP and BROKEN FEMUR!  Also, I'm in a body cast.  And one of my eyes needs some kind of surgical procedure because my vision's all messed up because a stick went into my eye.  I'll keep you posted on that.   But  the good news is that you marchers are making me proud and happy and a little bit guilty.  I think anyone in their right mind can understand why I am not with you at this point in time.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Lack of Trust

The Thirdlanders came back to school cheerful and ready to take 2017 by storm.  Some highlights from the week involved comparing two news articles about Fidel Castro, researching Marian Anderson, and acting out some key scenes from First Day in Grapes, a book about farm worker families.  We also used the Indy Zoo web page to plan an imaginary field trip, an activity that allows us to create and solve our own elapsed time math problems.

The Thirdlanders are an amazing crew of kiddos.  If they have one drawback, it's probably a general inability to believe what I'm telling them.  Let me illustrate this point by sharing the following conversation as evidence:

Thirdlander:  Can I go to the library?
Me:  Did you sign up for library today?
Thirdlander:  Yes.
Me:  Are you next on the list?
Thirdlander:  Yes.
Me:  Well, you know you don't have to ask.  You just go to the library when your turn comes.
Thirdlander:  So I can go?
Me:  Yes.
Thirdlander:  I can go to the library?
Me:  Yes.
Thirdlander:  I can go right now?
Me:  Yes.

This type of conversation takes place about 50,000 times a day and it can get a little annoying, I'm not going to lie. I wonder why the Thirdlanders don't trust me.  I need to work on earning their trust before this school year ends. I'm going to do my best, and forget the rest.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

The Scurry

It's back to the scurry my friends.  I want to see the Thirdlanders, but I don't really want to do the lesson plans or the report cards.  I wish we could just hang out together tomorrow and talk about vacation.  Maybe work in our notebooks and read some books quietly.  We could talk a little math, walk down next to the creek, play some mancala, put on some jazz music and lay on the floor, humming along while we imagine the possible and the impossible.

Husbandman is going to help with xeroxing their zines this afternoon.  As usual, he wants me to choose a time for him to come in. I can't believe he really tried to pressure me into nailing down a time. I glared at him and told him, "You know I can't choose a time right now!  I'm obviously in a funk.  Why do you have to ask me these things?"

He ignored my funkiness and answered, "How about I pick up some burritos and meet you at school around 1?  We can have lunch together and then I can xerox?"

Husbandman really cheered me up with this comment.  And now I'm ready to follow my sankalpa goal: "I take small actions to make things better."  I'm heading in people.

Friday, January 06, 2017

The Photo

We visited the Atlanta Aquarium recently.  When we exited through the gift shop, I spied this awesome rubber whale shark.  I wanted it so much, but I hesitated to buy it because a.) I felt the buying season was over.  And secondly, there was a long line at the cashier, and I hate standing in lines.

 I walked around the gift shop for a long time, cradling the whale shark in my arms.  Eventually, I put it back on the shelf and left.

Not a day has gone by that I don't miss that whale shark.  I think about how it felt in my arms and wish I could hold it again.

 Let this be a lesson to all of us.  If you want a whale shark, just get one.  Take the time.  Spend the money.  But if you absolutely can't get a whale shark, take a photo and stare at it every day for the rest of your life. Remember the good times.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Minutiae

This is a good week.  Busy, but good.  Husbandman and I are working on our projects, Every day we eat lunch at a local eatery.  Every evening we see a film.

Last night we saw Why Him?  Not good but go ahead and see it if you want. Tonight it will be Fences.  Tomorrow Moonlight.

I went in to the compound for an hour or so today.  I have to collect a ton of work samples for the book.  I wish I had been more organized as I worked on the book, but there's no point looking back.  I'm just going to take the next right action tomorrow and hunt through hundreds of pieces of paper to find the originals of the work samples I need to send to the publisher.  I've told you before that I'm a big picture kind of person and can't be bothered getting bogged down in minutiae.  I wish my publisher could understand this about me. Minutiae puts me in kind of a bad mood.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The Lion

Last night we saw a fabulous movie called LION.  It's about a kid in India who gets horribly lost and ends up being adopted by Nicole Kidman in Australia.  I found the story of Saroo Brierley fascinating.  Dev Patel does a great job in the lead role.  Well done, all involved!  If you feel like seeing LION, you should.

I'm still working on my sankalpa for 2017.  It could be something like, "I keep my desk clean," or I may use something like, "I take the next right action," or maybe "I fit some fun into every day." I've considered borrowing KC's old one, "I'm a creative risk taker," because working with the editorial team to publish this book is going to require some forceful fortitude.  I don't know why I get so anxious about this book o'mine.  I love it, and I also worry about it constantly.   There's just so much worrying that can happen each day.  That's why the next right action sankalpa might be best.  Worry diminishes when I kick it into gear and try to do some small thing to get my life in shape. But my desk really needs to be cleaned up on a regular basis.  So I'm not sure what I want to do.

Monday, January 02, 2017

The Year

So now we're in 2017.  So far it's going well.  We went on a walk with Nancer and Kev at Lake Monroe.  Nancer found a rock that looked exactly like a big toe sticking out of the ground.  She was delighted because come to find out she has a collection of oddly shaped rocks.  Rocks shaped like fingers, rocks shaped like hot dogs.  Quite a few rocks shaped like hearts.  If you ever find a rock shaped like a heart or a body part, please save it for Nancer.

Yesterday I read a graphic novel called PATIENCE.  Husbandman gave it to me for Xmas.  Quite good.  You should read it if you want.  It's about this guy whose wife dies and then he finds out how to go back in time to try to prevent her murder.

My editor wants me to fix a few things in the introduction and in chapter one.  This might be the day to do it, my friends.  By following Poincare's formula for creativity, all I need to do is:  prepare, incubate, illuminate and execute.  Blogging is part of the incubation stage where I dream and honor the unknowns.  Moving in to illuminate, where maybe some new ideas will appear.

It's January and that's when I think of a new sankalpa.  Not sure what I want to focus on this year.  I'm going to pick something super easy peasy lemon squeezey.  I want to feel fine every day without excessive effort or struggle.