20 July 2009
18 June 2009
Don't ask. I haven't.
The miniature botanical garden I have in assorted terra cotta and ceramic pots sways charmingly in the June air. Unfortunately, so does the artificial plant-like structure in the corner. I want it to leave. Ah, punny. In its place, I'd like a chiminea where I could put a couple or three candles to burn in the evening. There just a few other odds and ends that I'd like to toss in the rubbish: two rusty metal bolts that John brought home from a job, two rusty half-spent propane cylinders for a camp stove, and the rusted base of a hurricane lantern. There may be a theme in that last list.
A couple of well placed citronella candles, and this would make a nice little spot for an evening dinner. If only I invited people to visit, it would be pleasant for entertaining too.
15 June 2009
Page, Marie, and I were seriously buggin' (pun intended) on the creep factor of this arcade entertainment. It wasn't a video game, it was like those whack-a-mole games only without a mallet. You just jump up and down on these raised red spider bodies. A couple of little tykes walked up to play it while we had sodas, but those two lost interest. After they left, Page walked up and finished off the game. He won one of those prize redemption tickets.
Suddenly those mechanical claws that reach for stuffed animals but always drop them at the last second don't seem so bad.
13 June 2009
What this family needed was a little summertime project.
When my step-mother was here, we put some new plants in my barren porch post. However, once they were green and pretty, I just realized how decrepit my old wooden table appeared. Yesterday, I stopped at Home Depot and bought primer and two colors for the table: Glidden's poolside blue and ripe apricot. The finish is exterior high gloss, though I'm sure enamel would have been better to handle outdoor use. My kids helped me prime everything, though as I painted colors, there were several places that lacked the primer coat. Of course I had to pick a slightly complicated arrangement of colors, and most likely there are places that have a stray brush stroke of the wrong color. With the apricot and blue, it's a bit like being at a little seaside café.
As I finished painting, a neighbor came to my porch fence and asked about the table. She wanted some ideas for an old dinette set she has. Her conversation ended with compliments on the table. Then as I took photographs, my table and chairs had another little visitor. I think there were a few more compliments from that guest.
Painting with my children was fun, though I don't think I'll quit my day job to startup a new family business. Proviso! If you have upstairs neighbors, watch for dripping bags of trash placed over head. They can ruin a paint job and a hairdo! Anyway, this service set for four will make a pretty little spot to sit on sunny days...after the paint cures a bit. There's also hope that the Fingerhut craftsmanship from more than a decade ago will hold out a little longer.
24 May 2009
11 April 2009
06 April 2009
As a youth I have watched my father, younger then maybe than I am today, methodically layout sleeves, collar and body of shirt over the padded board, carefully removing wrinkles with steaming metal. Although I know our housekeeper in Turkey ironed most of our clothes, and I know that on occasion he took shirts for professional pressing, I still have this image of him next to an ironing board, smoothing dress shirts to a crisp finish.
Maybe it's as much age as the need not to look like I slept in my clothes.
Interestingly, the process often matches my mood. When I'm a bit agitated, some shirts seem to fight the iron. Instead of removing the crumple left by the dryer, I add new creases that I have practically to beat from the shirt with the iron. It's also a time for deeper discovery: the tomato sauce stain that didn't wash, the missing button, the tear at the seam. These small moments of reflection lead to moments of renewal: scrubbing and mending.
Ironing lets me see that it's never going to be done. There'll always be wrinkles. Examination always finds flaws. Constant reflection has to require constant renewal. New shirts don't solve any problems uncovered by ironing. Eventually, even the "wrinkle free" fabrics demand attention from the iron. Nothing is free; nothing is easy. At least my Black & Decker Quick 'n Easy 365 (how ironic...ha!) helps me find a little yogic harmony in the contemplation of wrinkle removal. Perhaps I can take it all to a deeper sense of balance by alternating tree poses as I press my shirt sleeves.
03 April 2009
31 March 2009
Another sonnet of caring heart
I will not write.
Oh, lame poet,
whose pen betrays,
lets stray thoughts cross
a page of notebook paper.
He is the dearest friend
of the me I share
not at all.
from those around
so pretense of fabulous wit
is intelligent fakery.
28 March 2009
but with whom you've never been friends
Ask to "friend" you
It was years, decades ago:
the old conflicts, the hard feelings.
You thought you were over it.
It seems that you're not.
Do you pretend?
Do you swallow pride?
Do you accept the invite
and then just never message?
Living thousands of miles away,
it's not like you'll ever see them.
And if there's trouble,
can end a flame war.
So maybe it's like the teen talk
that you keep close
letting the Internet
be the glass
15 March 2009
Yoga is going well. I've been at it for 10 weeks now this year, and I feel a lot better at work, and sleep a little bit better each night. However, I've not exactly kept pace with my online yoga club. It's not really something I have to keep at a certain pace though. Some weeks are a bit more challenging than others, and when weekends were too busy with course work to download workouts and pose tutorials, I relied on a couple of DVDs that I have from the same company. Because of those little bumps, its sometimes tough to get through morning practice. I do it though. I need it. Beau watches me; he stays curled up in his chair and watches me do downward facing dog. How ironic.
Now, I just have to work on my diet a bit, reduce stress induced sugars and fats. Then maybe some of this spare tire that I've stored up can go a way. I'm not so concerned about the weight itself, just the shape of my body and my overall fitness level.
25 February 2009
Below is bibliographical information if any of you faithful readers are truly interested. All is in APA format since I need to practice that style for my EdS research work.
Monye, L. P. & Swanson, K. A. (2001, September). Convergences thématiques et narratives dans La Rue Cases-Nègres de Joseph Zobel et L'Enfant noir de Camara Laye. CLA Journal, (45)1, 95-113.
That article is listed and or cited in the following:
Renaudin, C. & Toczyski, S. (2003, July 11). Ressources et illustrations. In En préparation à l'examen AP: L'Enfant noir de Camara Laye. Sonoma State University. Available from http://www.sonoma.edu/users/t/toczyski/camaralaye/clayeressources.html
Thompson, W. J. (2003). French XX bibliography: Critical and bibliographical references for the study of French. Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press.
The latter means that I have contributed to the scholarly, peer-reviewed research and critique of French literature from 1885 to present! The former is a citation of my work in an AP French Literature study guide.
Thank you for your tolerance of my shameless self promotion.
15 February 2009
- complete readings for each of my two graduate courses
- complete discussion questions & responses for the aforementioned classes
- complete an assignment/paper for each of these classes
- grade papers for all of my own classes
- prepare lessons for all my own classes
- prepare substitute instructions for all my own classes for three days of the following week
- arrange a carpool for my son for the three days that I'll be attending a graduate colloquium
- attend a graduate colloquium that begins Saturday
- practice yoga daily
- walk the dog daily
- have the car serviced: change oil & request little warranty repairs; rotate tires; wash
- wash & fold laundry
- do dishes
- do the custody shuffle with children and ex-wife
- shop for food
- watch TiVo with addictively reckless abandon
- read Watchmen
- bathe the dog
- press the Easy button
- do the Dew
- Just do it
14 February 2009
Tomorrow, I think that I will have my hair cut.
07 February 2009
30 January 2009
After checking out that bit of retrotechno, I decided to hunt for more cool tech. I found Steampunk. These are beautiful works of art that, alas, are not for sale. That keyboard is downright beautiful. I've always been fascinated by the aesthetic of cyberpunk: analogue and digital coming together in such crafted elegance. [post scriptum: I found a site where a man makes keyboards like these for sale - Datamancer.net. Heck, the name of the site alone requires a little creative loafing on my part!)
In other news (look around a bit, you'll see me standing out from the crowd), the high school where I teach is now award winning. I wish the recognition weren't merely for high test scores because so much more happens at Northgate than simple standardized achievement. I work with some very inspired teachers, and I have students that impress me every day. I'm proud to be a teacher at NGHS. Go Vikings!
25 January 2009
During the new president's address, we commented to each other, and when the address ended, we commented more. My favorite part, right now anyway, was "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." That call for peace, for the end to the anger in the world, it was the line that touched me.
As a teacher in a public school, the next portion of the speech that touched me was this passage: "What is demanded, then, is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task." Making this nation great requires hard work on the part of all Americans. For years I have heard criticisms of thrown at our country, our people and our schools--by Americans! The only way to improve our country is to get off "our" critical backside, take off the necktie or high heels, roll up your sleeves and get to work on making the United States a better country. I believe in public schools, so that's where I teach. I believe that public school teachers are great people, so I work hard to be a great teacher and to help my colleagues to the same. Thank you, Mr. President, for the reminder that each and every one of us is responsible for our success or failure in the world.
Although our previous president was not necessarily my favorite, I do not envy the hard tasks he faced during the last eight years. In all, I feel hopeful for this new administration. I'm grateful that this new president has a very different vision for the United States, and I look forward to the changes to come.
17 January 2009
I've also decided to clear off my Stephen King collection of hardbacks and rare paperbacks. If this link works, you can see my Amazon storefront. Maybe if you're looking to update your collection, I might have the book you need.
I plan to sleep a little extra this weekend because of the Monday federal holiday.
Tuesday, my school system is authorizing classes to have students watch the Inauguration during the school day. I'm glad; it's an important experience to witness.
10 January 2009
For my online courses, I've enrolled in one course in collaborative professional settings. The other is in curriculum development. The courses seem to be off to a good start. I've got all of this week's work done, and tomorrow I will dig into the next unit.
My kids are enjoying their new school terms. Both have had positive comments on their teachers and classes, but I'm sure each would have enjoyed a few more days for Christmas break. I think I would have as well.