28 January 2008
For once, I performed in a way that wasn't tied to school, was solo, was my own creation and people received it with applause. It makes me glad and helps me to overcome a little social anxiety.
27 January 2008
It served me well. I used it the entire time I was walking then running off the pounds from 250 down to 180! Two years ago, the little diva helped me convert my 80's cassettes to MP3 so I make get my audiothèque as digital as possible and fully enter the 21st century.
Today, it gave up the ghost. I was converting some AP French language study cassettes to MP3 to make easier to use CD's for my one student using the accompanying workbook. After the first successful conversion, the motor in the 10-year old Walkman died. Poor thing. I haven't the heart to get rid of it. Whatever shall I do?
21 January 2008
Sitting in the café, commercial wonderland of books and coffee that it is, I see people around me, and I wonder about their lives.
The three students examine children's literature intently, consulting each other about publishers, authors, illustrators and content.
Spouses browse books. The wife is either oblivious or in denial a out her husband's status as a flaming queen. Really, she has to know; don't they all?
An old man flips the pages of a monthly on woodworking, glossy photos and drawings for next weekend's backyard or tool shed project.
Me? I stop writing long enough to read a few paragraphs of Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. Why exactly does Edmond Dantès need 1500 pages to exact his exquisite revenge on those who betrayed him?
At tables and in upholstered chairs, portable PC's plugged into wall sockets send data packets through WinSockets across WiFi connections freely offered by the bookstore.
The librairie is busy, and I imagine that there must be a reader for every one of the thousands of titles shelved for sale. But there isn't. The store could not accommodate as many, and so few people read books cover to cover any more.
Even these students--of education, of writing, of literature, who knows?--don't read the books piled before them. Pages flip. PowerPoint slides compile. Presentations materialize, but no one seems to enjoy the wealth and power of knowledge and experience in written word and artful images.
20 January 2008
With too many hours at video games,
Glazed eyes reflect the LCD.
Alarm clock's disabled so there's only
The gentle lift of café au lait
To soothe & revive me.
The quiet of late winter snow
Melts too quickly.
The brilliant white blanket
Erased from view but not from memory.
Photographic bytes & bits
Pointed & clicked into sepia warmth
Capture an excited dog's antics
Pixelated by 10 million
Turning the day into a White Christmas,
An unexpected gift to be cherished
God-sent on the tiniest fluttering angelic wings.
The purity of new fallen snow
Hides the sins of apartment dwellers
For one morning
All is an illuminated Eden.
Under the smoothed rubber sole of a Gortex lined boot,
There's first the gentle crunch and then the easy slosh.
Everything is temporary,
And in Georgia
Le temps des neiges s'enfuit trop vite.
19 January 2008
Saturday brings snow to the South! I do wish it had happened during the school week, but 3day weekend snow is just as lovely! Beau was hysterical; in fact he still is. He's been barking at flakes outside the window off and on all day.
Today's winter weather comfort food recipe:
In a 8×8 baking pan, drizzle enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom. Next, lay down finger-sized slices of homemade or bakery fresh bread. Cover this layer with ingredients you like on a pizza (I used vegan pepperoni, pitted Kalamata olives & artichoke hearts). Grind some pepper over this layer to your liking. I like a lot of pepper! If you want, you can layer some cheese here too, like parmesan or romano. For vegans like me, Toffuti Better than Cream Cheese works well as a substitute for ricotta. Now, use a spoon to break up the contents of a large can of whole stewed tomatoes. Spoon these all over the top of the dish. If you want more cheese, you can put that on now. Lastly, cover with foil & bake at 350° F for about 75 minutes. For the last 15 minutes, remove the foil so the cheese can brown a little. Let it stand until it stops bubbling when removed from oven. Oh, this comes out good and there's no need to bother with boiling noodles in advance.
18 January 2008
13 January 2008
11 January 2008
Today, my doctor's office called me at work. They had me up my inhaled steroid dose to 8 puffs a day for the next week and start oral steroids for 6 days, and I continue my albuterol, 2 puffs every 4 hours. If I'm not better by Monday, I'm supposed to call again. I haven't had this kind of trouble with my asthma in over 6 years. I'm grateful for my insurance plan and for my doctor.
10 January 2008
08 January 2008
Asthma, that malign feline crouches on my thorax, its heavy pressure poised to steal my breath.
Its lethargic purr is the sticky phlegm inside my constricted bronchia.
Albuterol, like water in a spray bottle; I give two squirts to shoo the cat away.
Two puffs, a minute apart, and then I wait, but can't relax.
Hope that the air will flow freely to fill my gasping lungs, leaving me jittery and exhausted.
But this time two puffs are insufficient.
The imperturbable wicked queen sits ready to snatch her prey.
I pray the cat will go away, let me breathe easy.
Four puffs later, my throat itches deep into my chest, unfriendly scratches from the asthma cat's claws.
My slow suffocation is the grimalkin's catnip.
06 January 2008
Don't answer that! I guess that I'm just forgetful, and maybe kind of a dork.
Anyway, I've really taken a liking to Sara Bareilles (pronounced /buh reh lis/, though I think it should be /bah rey/* since it seems to be a French surname). I downloaded her single "Love Song" from iTunes only to discover that I had downloaded a slightly shorter version of it from her EP a while ago, so now I have it twice on my iPod. The versions aren't even noticeably different despite a difference of 20 seconds in length. Next time, I should check my library before clicking OK on the purchase confirmation button. Thinking back a bit to the days of vinyl 7" singles and cassingles, ,I sometimes bought songs from an artist whose album containing the single I already owned. There's no accounting for sense despite education.
05 January 2008
Thursday began the spring semester at Northgate High School. I greeted my second period French 2 class with "Good morning and welcome to Human Sacrifice 101." The uneasy silence followed by an even more uneasy flutter of chuckles was a great reward.
Once again, I have only three class periods but five preparations. Being a minority language makes for time consuming lesson planning in order to offer a rich program to my students. Fortunately, this school year I have had help with the arrival of Mme Brockman, une québécoise, who took over the level one classes. That scheduling change allowed me to teach a section of visual arts, and I enjoyed the challenge of extending my teaching experience.
This new term requires extensive documentation to accompany my daily teaching as our school embraces "standards based instruction". It's the new catch prhase, but I've been aspiring to standards based instruction with performance based evaluation for years. "Eduspeak" finally catches up with me. I guess that makes me a trend setter.
In the National Geographic issue for January 2008, I read portions of an article on Ancient Indian artwork from temples and religious structures throughout the subcontinent. The artwork is inspiring and striking even in its decrepit state. I can hardly imagine its beauty in its most pristine state. My one, simplistic sketch in chalk does not do justice to the fresco depicting the god Krishna.