Friday, October 1, 2010

Bob Dylan on Repeat

For the first time in a REALLY LONG time, I don't quite know what to do with myself tonight! I have been impossibly busy and sleep-deprived and inspired and in motion for quite a while--- and now I am just sitting and listening to Bob Dylan. on repeat-- he's the only mumbling rambler who will do at the current moment. (Sidenote-- one of the most depressing things I've ever seen in person was Bob Dylan shuffling out at the TDWaterhouse a few years ago and hearing him incomprehensibly whisper song lyrics. When it's time to retire, it's simply just time to retire. But thanks to LHarper for helping me realize a life goal of seeing him!)

I am in love with my class this year-- they are truly awesome. My kindergartners are so adorable-- I had forgotten the expression kids have on their face when they are still PSYCHED to come to school to see what there is to see. My first and second graders are the BEST-- I am so happy that I went for it and tried a new position at my school! I'm sure it's one of those things you learn in kindergarten, but the ideas that seem the riskiest always seem to be the most rewarding!

On a similar thread--
Included in my top five moments of all time would be climbing a huge hill at night to capture this image. For some reason, I had it in my head that I needed to travel to Hungary and see the Chain Bridge and Freedom statue in Budapest. So I got on a plane and checked into a hotel and learned 5 words in Hungarian, took a bus to the Buda side of the Danube River, and started climbing. I mention it now because it was on a total random whim I felt I was supposed to travel by myself to Hungary. (?!) And because I did, I was able to introduce an Italian violinist and a Hungarian cellist I met on the way, and today is their first wedding anniversary. Everything happens for a reason, I guess! I have incredible memories and they have a life-long marriage.
I am trying to make it a conscious effort, when time and money allow, to follow the strange ideas that blossom from inspirations to obsessions in my mind. Who knows what might happen if we all follow one randomly divine idea?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I came across a quote from Richard Dawkins:
“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings.”

This seemed to resonate with me, and as I read it a second time, I realized how focused I have been on inconsequential details.
Focused is a poor choice.... let me go ahead and say obsessed. Although I'm sure I'll need a reminder again soon, and somehow the universe will give me one, I am aware today that my problems aren't problems. They're not even close to being problems. If I were to focus even a fraction of my frenzied angst on actual problems, who knows what might happen?
I'm considering it a challenge--- stay tuned.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Heathcliff and Catherine and Bloodthirsty Vampires?

I honestly used to think my teachers dreaded the coming of Summer Vacation. I just knew they were cherishing every moment with the class, and they would pine away all summer for September and sharpened pencils and fresh bulletin boards. After all, what else would they be doing? They were teachers, after all!
I hope my students feel that way about me, and can't read all over my face that I was counting down the very minutes until I could be free.

The first Saturday of summer vacation, I kid you not, I had a parent of one of my students call me, asking what her child's grades were at this point in the year and how we could bring them up. (This was a parent I had called on a daily basis the entire year with no response.)
I explained that it was summer vacation, so the grades were final, and they were not good.
Summer vacation? No, she explained. Her child was at school today.
I assured her it was indeed summer vacation, and also a Saturday.
"She must be around here somewhere, then..."
--Let's hope so.

The wedding planning business is definitely picking up! Our new website,, is up and running and getting a great response. Event coordination, linen rentals, party supplies--- it will be a busy summer!
I have discovered that making websites is addictive! I made my classroom a new website,, and am now looking for the next excuse to make another one!
Since my last post, I have changed jobs a bit. When we return to school in the Fall, I will be teaching in the Gifted department for Kindergarten, First, and Second grade students. I am so very excited for the new challenge! Things are looking up on all fronts these days!

On a completely unrelated note, I recently purchased a copy of Wuthering Heights at Target. I had to look three times to make sure I was holding the right book at the check-out. The cover was black. The font was scary. There was a bright red wilting rose on the cover with a drop of blood dripping down. It was.....Vampiresque. Now sure, the moors were dark, the deception was depressing, but if my memory serves me well, Heathcliff never chomped into Catherine's neck. It got me to thinking-- just how badly every media outlet is selling out to trends they know very well are garbage. Not even Emily Brontë is safe, apparently. I cringe to think what my children will consider the great literature or music or movies from my generation. In the words of Kesha, (I say the name with utmost disgust,) ...."Blah Blah Blah."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's not personal, it's business.

According to Cyndi Lauper, money changes everything. I couldn't agree more, Cyndi.
In case you haven't been following the bore of local politics, there is a very very bad piece of legislation up for Florida Education which is passing in the Senate as bill 6. It changes everything about education, and just when you think it is the worst thing you've ever read, you read the next point and it gets worse. It's truly an Anti-Teacher bill. So, earlier this evening, I attended my very first rally.
When I arrived at the courthouse, there was Beyonce blaring out of huge speakers, (I'm a Survivor,) and lots of teachers in their bright red TShirts and witty signs waving in the air. My favorite of these signs read, 'Legislators:Teachers :: Dementors : Muggles.' Pretty clever, but then again, I'm a sucker for witty analogies.
There was, impressively, a local news van on site and several union leaders and parents wearing suits and ties in the hot Florida sun.
There was yelling. There was cheering! There was booing. There was information we had heard a hundred times before..... and the news van had left. The preachers were most definitely preaching to their loyal choir.

I hate talking (or thinking about...) politics, but if this bill does pass, it will mean money has taken over. Dirty old paper will have changed the course of every child's education, and every teacher's career. Cross your fingers, vote for responsible legislators, and don't drink the koolaid.

On a lighter note, and possibly a very related note should this bill pass, has taken off and our business is up and running!
Bring on the brides!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

364 Days of Being a Macaroni

On the 364th day of marriage, I am reminded of a quote from one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Safran Foer.
"I am doing something I hate for you-- that's what it means to truly be in love."
So I will fold my husband's socks which are full of hitch-hiking prickers and briers, and he will snake the shower drain and keep trekking the ladder to the attic for my seasonal decorations.

Life is good!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

music and lyrics and blankets

For most topics, the more you learn, the smarter you become. It's simple really.... you read, you file it away in the brain, and you feel good about the knowledge you have gained.
When it comes to politics-- from politics at my elementary school to international politics--, it seems the more I learn, the more ignorant I feel. I've begun to automatically ask myself, "I wonder what the real story is?" immediately following a conversation with a coworker or reading a news article. I wonder if the people actually in charge know what's going on.

Currently, I am listening to 2 wonderful albums: Neon Bible by the Arcade Fire
and Far by Regina Spector.
I can't stop listening to them both on repeat.

I also started reading the latest installment from the wonderfully talented Philippa Gregory. Highly recommended as usual!

I am listening and reading and sipping under a fluffy blanket :) (A blanket which , by the way, is new and bright purple with Viking horns and does not BEGIN to match my living room.... the things we do for love.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Foreigner At Home

Today while at work, I had a very unexpected flashback. I honestly never thought I could ever feel this way again while standing within the borders of our fine country.
I was completely reminded of my first English class after arriving in Japan. I was to teach 5th graders their days of the week, months of the year, four seasons and holidays. All in one class period. (After introducing myself and providing 'cultural exchange.' Yes, it said 'cultural exchange' right there on the leson plan.)
I remember looking up at these uniformed wide-eyed students, muttering a few Japanese phrases I had tried to memorize the night before, ("Ganbatte kudasai! Do your best!") and then diving into my English lesson. The look on their faces--- that of utter bewilderment and blank incomprehension-- is the flashback I am referring to today.

Today, I was standing in front of 21 third graders on their first day back from Thanksgiving Vacation. For some reason, I thought it would be no problem at all to slip back into our routine of fact families and multiplication facts.... it had been only 6 days, after all.
What I saw staring back at me was enough to make me actually laugh out loud. My lips were moving. Words were coming out. There was body language and enthusiasm and even several octaves going on.... but there was not a TRACE of awareness on any of my 21 darlings' faces. In my mind's eye, I was back in the rice paddy, flapping my arms and singing and dancing my days of the week... in a foreign language. I was the white girl who kept on talking... in a WingDings equivalent.

I am offering up a prayer tonight. God, please give me the patience to hang in there. Fabio and friends are sure putting up a fight in this whole 'education' thing.
(On a related note, Fabio peed his pants today on purpose. Please make this an isolated incident.)
Thanks, God. Amen.