Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Upcoming 30 Day Challenge of April

As you probably know, there will be 30 days of blogging in April.  Let's all have low expectations about quality.  We're shooting for quantity here.  Here's a preview of what you can expect over the next 30 days.  

Starling's New Home
Lee Heffernan

We have an owl box in our front yard.  Our friend Jeff made it and placed it in a tree for us.  It was a birthday gift.  I love that owl box and hope for an owl to appear.  Unfortunately, some starlings have moved in.  Starlings are known as the worst bird on the planet, but here's a little known fact about starlings.  (You actually might already know this fact, but read and review anyway if you feel like it.)

Starlings didn't want to come to the United States.  Eugene Schieffelin brought them to New York City in 1890, against their will.  He wanted to introduce all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays to Central Park, which is weird by anyone's standards.  He tried to introduce other birds to the park as well.  Some made it, some didn't.  The starling is now considered an invasive species and everyone hates them. There are millions of them here now, and they're taking over the nests of native birds.

Geez Louise.  Let's not blame the starlings for Eugene's idiocy.  On the good side, starlings eat a lot of insects and they are talented nest builders.  To be honest, there's part of me that  still hopes for an owl to arrive who will kill and/or kick out the starlings, and then take up residence in our owl box, but if that doesn't happen, the starlings can stay as long as they like.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Habits

I listened to Matt Cutts on TED RADIO today.  Do you know this guy?  He chose a habit he wanted to develop and then he did that habit every day for 30 days.  He wanted to compliment his wife more, so he complimented her for 30 days.  He wanted to write more, so he wrote for 30 days.  He wanted to practice creative facial expressions each day and he didn't accomplish thirty days for that goal, but he was fine about it.  At least he tried.   I'm going to copy Matt Cutts and blog every day in April.  If I don't make it, it doesn't matter.  At least I tried.  I'm thinking about writing about stuff I've learned or stuff I've taught.  If you want to join in, please comment so I can read and comment on your entries.

I've been fairly down lately, and beating myself up for being such a downer.  It's ridiculous.  It's bleak to think about how we're all just heading toward death and some of us will have a heads up about our departure date and some of us won't, but it won't matter that much because life's just going to continue for everybody else anyway and we're all dispensable and that's the way it is and the only way it can be. Okay, so anyway, I'm going to aim for blogging in April thirty times.  I'll either do it or not.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Combustion

I went for a walk with Judith this morning. and after 6,000 steps or thereabout, we said good bye when we were directly across the street from my house.  Judith kept walking south and I crossed the street toward my driveway.  I stopped in the middle of my driveway to stare at our owl box.  Just last night we heard an owl hooting outside. Coincidentally, Judith also heard an owl hooting last night. I was standing and making a wish that I could see an owl, when I suddenly noticed that my right hand was on fire.  It had literally burst into flame.  I screamed for Husbandman, but he didn't come out of the house.  I ran to the bird bath.  Luckily it had rained this morning and there was an inch or so of water in it.   I pushed my fiery hand into the shallow water and the fire extinguished immediately.  What's weird is, the horrible pain stopped right away as well. I walked in the house to tell Husbandman.  He didn't believe me at first, but though my hand appeared to be okay, it had a hideous smoky smell to it that quickly permeated our kitchen.  The stench is only now dissipating, hours later. 

 I thought it odd that the fire didn't spread to the rest of my body. Just my right hand.  I've been googling for information and it seems I might be dealing with a case of specified spontaneous combustion.  Either that, or I might have a mild form of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. I have an appointment with my doctor this Thursday for a routine med-check, so I'll probably talk it over with her.  The good news is I'm fine now.  

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Dwindle

Dwindle means "to diminish gradually in size, amount or strength."  It's a pretty good word, as words go.   

The school year is dwindling.  9 weeks left.  Spring break is dwindling. 1 day left. The time to complete my report cards is dwindling. 3 days left. My energy is dwindling as the day chugs along. 6 hours left.

My sadness about Jayma's death isn't dwindling, but it will and I'm honestly not too happy about that. Last night I was watching Broadchurch which is quite good and you should watch it if you feel like it.  One character's child was murdered and someone was telling her that her pain would dwindle with time.  She shot back, "I don't want my anger to go away.  It's all I've got right now."  
   I thought, "Amen, Sister."     
  I'm depressed, but there are good things too.  Caring friends and family and lots of loving kindness milling about and two chipmunks beating each other up in the backyard.  And the memory of Jayma coming across the hall, into my classroom, to tell me about the day's funny shenanigans.  Those things aren't dwindling.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Friend

Our good friend Jayma died on Monday night.  She was recovering from heart surgery.  She was 54.  We're all in shock.  We're trying to cope with this massive loss.  I always described Jayma as, "the best person I know" and the people I'd say that to would inevitably reply, "Yeah, that about sums it up."

 I job shared with Jayma for ten years, me in the morning, she in the afternoon. I don't like to brag, but together, we were nothing short of amazing.  When she wanted to go back to full time teaching, I was a real brat about it.  I couldn't handle that my perfect job with my perfect friend had to go away.   She was patient with me as I threw several tantrums about the end of the job share. I tried job-sharing with some other peeps, and it was fine, but not what I had with Jayma.

For the past few years, Jayma and I have been directly across the hall from each other.  I could see her teaching her Firsties and she could see me with the Thirdlanders. After school, we would chat about the craziness of any given teaching day.  Then we'd get to work.  Around dinner time one of us would yell out, "Come on, pack up, time to go!"

I'll tell you some more stories about Jayma later.  Right now, I'm heading to the funeral home for a visitation with her family.  Please send us all some good thoughts. This sadness is overwhelming.

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...