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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Knit Knote

WARNING: This blog contains both the words "shan't" and "daresn't". The surgeon general has determined that these words should be used only under a doctor's care.)

My good mother Martha always said, "Sometimes you have to get into a mess to get out of a mess." My mess in its early stages resembled something akin to post tornado destruction. Getting into the mess required much rousting about, walking with mincing step, and ruthless tossing. Getting out gobbled up about 11 hours of my life.

This sheep is the silent (save occasional snide remarks) observer of all that transpires up here. He does sometimes render opinions (taken for what they're worth). I picked him up...wait for it....wait for a....(you're going to like this)...truck stop in Wyoming!! I know!!!!

Some unusual things are dropping off my knitting needles these days. You would never never guess what. I did a bit of organizing (as evidenced in the pre state pictured above) in my knitting loft (What? You say you DON'T have an entire room of your house devoted exclusively to yarn???), gave in to my inner anal, and labeled all my pending projects. PP1 (Priority Project 1) through PP30 something and CP1 (Christmas Project 1) through CPTeen something. It is a long-established truism that any good knitter worth her salt has not only an infinite stash of yarn and patterns BUT also unfinished projects. I prefer to call them "opus/opi?" much like unfinished symphonies. Recently I made a list of 32 projects in one stage or another of doneness which I was going to complete and exhibit at Thursday Night Knitting in the next few weeks. Some of these projects will be under Christmas trees this year, so I daresn't elaborate only to say that I AM ROCKING THEM OUT!! (insert high karate kick and Braveheart victory whoop). Sometimes I even take projects to bed with me knowing full well that I run the risk of skewering myself nicely in the night if I fall asleep knitting. I could write long and hard about knitting. I shan't tonight, but be forewarned that it is coming...
I knitted 50% of the hats in this picture of one of my favorite daughters-in-law, Season, and another great thing about my son (his baby daughter, Clara). Hint: think stripes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Amen to This!!!

This an absolute testament to what a teacher unhampered by standardized tests could accomplish...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paradigms Schmaradigms

It most recently came to my attention (in the shower yesterday, in fact) that a major contributor towards my angst of late is the fact that not only are my planets not aligning, but the vast majority of the inalienable paradigms of life have shifted. This is unsettling. I direct your attention to Exhibit A (a list of former paradigms):
a. money socked away for retirement is nice and cozy in American banks waiting patiently for your hair to gray whereupon it will provide you a kooshy retirement enabling you to get early diner discounts courtesy of the thriving American dollar on the national and international stock market scenes
b. the United States government has your back at all times so sleep well
c. American schools will educate your children in a warm non-hostile environment
d. your food will nourish you and provide adequate cell rejuvenation
e. your superior status as an American globally is intact so hold your head up proudly
f. as ye sow so shall ye reap
g. the lazy bums will get theirs
h. cheaters never prosper
i. what goes around comes around
j. noble souls who choose to teach in the American school systems will never make a huge living, but the job is rewarding and the community, state, and nation will respect the title of teacher
k. children eventually DO grow up
l. all that is good and decent will prevail
m. a home is a good sound investment
n. husbands and wives live together
o. the planet is a large friendly safe ecosystem
p. a college education is good insurance and guarantees your survival
q. work hard and your investments will pay off
r. parents teach their children to be good contributing citizens
s. be loyal to your boss and company and they'll take care of you
t. honesty is the best policy

And the list goes on and on. The disconcerting part (at least to Paco and myself as per our post shower conversation) is that we're all skating on bacon grease wondering what the future holds! What ARE the next paradigms? How long will THEY last? It's a grab bag! A crap shoot! Russian roulette! Anybody's guess! Stay tuned! Keep reading! Not so quick! Hold on! Maybe so, mabe not!

The only paradigms that haven't shifted are the ones I've been taught by my parents and in church for the last 58 years. I don't foresee them changing. That gives me comfort. In a world of shifting idealogical tectonic plates, the simple truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ give me comfort. Sleep well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Paddle Faster!! I Hear Banjoes!!"

What follows is a pictoral documentation of a trip down the San Juan River in southern Utah which I took with three friends--Bruce, Lana, and Corinne--in mid September. Bruce is a veteran River Rat and graciously invited us to join him. He also served as chef, paddler, and guide extraordinaire. We girls pitched in as sub rats and became semi-handy by the end of the trip. I personally was transported back to September of 1974 when I traipsed over much the same territory with my fellow survivalists from BYU's Youth Leadership 480--an experience from which I have never fully recuperated, thank heavens...The particulars of this trip are quite simple: 3 days and nights on a river, rapids and whitewater on occasion, campfires, tents, quicksand, mud, limited other lifeforms, 54 miles, some pushing and pulling the raft over sand dunes, swimming in pools, hiking up canyons, conversations about every BODY and every THING and every BOOK and every MOVIE and every EXPERIENCE, a few truth games, a little singing, and much much much raucous laughter which reverberated off the narrow canyon walls. Oh, and (because you'd never think to ask about this) we had to carry out all our solid human wastes in an old ammo can. That alone pretty much separates the men from the boys as to who could actually REALLY enjoy such a trip as this! Leaving the river was much much more difficult than embarking, once again proving that going from complex to simple is much easier than going from simple to complex. Lights! Enjoy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blogger Sloth Plays Catch-Up

Rosie Rae was the big news of the summer. She was ordered with all the extras (even though it cost a little more) and took to being Belle of the Ball quite naturally.

We spent a great day in Baltimore at the Art Museum of Baltimore, Little Italy, and Inner Harbor.

Rosie got a private tour of the museum with her own personal "aht teachah". You can't imagine how long it took to line that nude statue up right over her head. We're sticklers for artistic details like that.

And this over-the-top-one-of-a-kind-aht-teachah-Eric Carle quilt!!!! I say if you are gonna have friends, choose classy ones...I excel at it.

What this picture DOESN'T show is the extra savois faire exuded by my two friends, Cathie and Eileen, who had just returned from the Mediterranean.

These guys...oh, THESE guys...

Pete is a professional 2 year old. Do not, I repeat DO NOT attempt what he does in your own home. Remember--he is a professional.

Slacker bloggers have to play catch-up--not because any readers are wondering what happened to vast amounts of time in the blogger's life when no posts appeared, but because bloggers use this medium for their own selfish purposes a.k.a. journal/photo album/memory jogger. So nanner nanner. Be forewarned that tomorrow I'm going to plaster this thing with pictures from my river trip in September. I'm not hoping to win any literary awards--just catching up. That's all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ravine

My annual Halloween tradition doesn't involve pumpkins or cookies or costumes. But it DOES involve complete darkness, kids sitting on the floor, and a spooky audiorecording of Ray Bradbury's "The Ravine" taken out of my favorite book of his Dandelion Wine. This year I went in search of THE darkest room in the school which I found underneath the auditorium, just right of the boiler room, down a long dark cement passage with a few unexpected steps, past two foot thick doors, and be sure to duck your head because the pipes are low-hanging AND keep on the lookout for spiders who have NEVER seen the light of day!!! On the board where I write the day's agenda and learning outcomes, I wrote merely: ?????
You can imagine this if you try. We've all been there--wanting to be scared, begging for it, not wanting to lose face with our peers, so we settle into our terror and just wait it out. When we got into the room, we turned off the lights. Complete pitch blackness. I threatened them all with "project abortion" if heart-stopping silence wasn't maintained. Three minutes into the audio someone alerted me to the emotional state of a boy up against the wall. On come the lights and the invitation to go back to the classroom. Five kids clung to each other and made their way back down the cement alley and back to the real world and their reading books. I said a silent prayer to the patron saint who protects teachers against lawsuits and cowboyed on. It was ever so spine-tingling and fun. I repeated this with over 60 students. Multiply that by 10 years or so and we're talking some serious Halloween anxiety. Mwaaaaahhhh...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All the Pirates I've Ever Met Have Been Named Cynthia

I struck pay dirt on a flight home from Tulsa last week. You can imagine my delight when my seatmate in the pink tanktop turned out to be a charming, talkative, very open, living, breathing, walking, talking...(wait for it).....PIRATE! Of course she didn't divulge this information immediately. She veiled her true identity behind her day job (Oregon state investigator for Medicaid fraud--OH MY GOODNESS! The tales!! Stings in Texas! Stings in a vet office!), her marriage story (Rick was four seats up. Large gorilla of a guy she met in Home Depot where he was most helpful AS SHE REBUILT A HOME BY HERSELF!), her overseas (Macedonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria) exploits involving humanitarian work where her marriage ultimately caved, and the woes of a beloved stepchild turning away from her. Cynthia poured out her heart over the death of her marriage. I detected another woman in the story. We both teared up. Probably somewhere over Denver the conversation turned to life on their sailboat/home in Portland, plans to sail the world, and then she ever so casually mentioned that Rick and she belonged to the Portland Pirate Association...AARGH!! That's where the conversation veered sharply. I was immediately transported into THAT world! AHOY OH BOY!!! Treasure hunts, swashbuckling, "hangings" from trees, large bonfires, gangplanks, bustiers, eye patches (I could picture Rick as a very LARGE imposing pirate!), and a sort of comradery with other pirates that might resemble much the same one I have with my knitters. I received a personal invitation to "Come up!" which I shall entertain most seriously and perhaps combine with the ukulele festival I'm investigating. So we landed, we hugged, I was introduced to Rick, she handed me a cool business card with a picture of their sailboat home on it, and I mozied back home. Bending minds didn't seem all that exciting, after all. Life in my classroom oftentimes resembles a mutiny, I DO swashbuckle on occasion, my students are probably only a few steps removed from true barbarism, and I DO have a sword that drips fake blood in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet which we use as a prop when the need arises. I most likely will never sail around the world, nor will I don a bustier. I'll probably retire as a dowdy English teacher (minus the bun). Ho do I stand myself?

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley