Monday, December 12, 2011

two things and more

My husband has been gone these past two evenings, leaving home around six-thirty, to be up at his mother's before seven, the time at which the shift of "Bill's Girls" ends...
But that's another story.

Having this time "alone" with my boys, I forget to:
1. think about Dinner,
2. prepare Dinner,
3. clean up after Dinner, and
4. clean up after cleaning up after Dinner.

Don't get me wrong here, my husband appreciates everything (just about) and anything (almost) I manage to get on the table. And likewise. And I really do enjoy it when we all sit down to Dinner, and light the candle, and say nummy-nummies, and talk non-stop about our days. Or at least try to. Usually the conversation does a degenerate doublebackhandspringdismount off the table and into the sewer by the time Dinner is over. Such is family life with three boys.

For the past two nights, though, it's been dinner. Frozen pizza. Michelina's microwaveables, single-serving yogurts, Wheat Thins and cream cheese, juice....whatever else they can scavenge for themselves in the kitchen that requires the bare minimum of preparation. Can't say as I blame them.

Meanwhile, I take a bath. When Bennett interrupts my bath to tell me he wants to listen to Christmas carols, I ask him to ask Grant to put on the Traditional Christmas Carols Pandora station for him. He wants the music on to help him finish up his GT geocity project that's due tomorrow. Grant robotically does what is asked, then returns to his Manga book, which he borrowed from his friend Mika who borrowed it from a friend. In the back of my mind, I think, "That's what makes a book truly good." Even though I could never read it.

You people who have no kids, yeah, I'm talking to YOU! You have NO EARTHLY IDEA what parents and teachers go through during the weeks before Christmas. It's just one deadline and due date after another. Book Project? Check. Final GT project? Check. Scrooge Musical? Check. Orchestra Concert? Check. Concert Band Performance? Check. Poem Memorized? Check. Goodies baked for teachers? Check. Goodies packaged and labeled for teachers? Check. Goodies in backpack to take to teachers? Check.

And those are simply the activities that my family experiences outside the bounds of The Little School. LSV has its own built-in stressor (not counting The Ball and Medieval Day and Robin Hood Family Book Club!): The Beta Quadrant Show. In Three Days. I know what overwhelming satisfaction and happiness will come after we've successfully pulled it off, so it's worth it. But the working up to it....... it's just so

After my bath, I plan tomorrow's LSV schedule with an attention to detail that would make someone with ADD proud (because they do, you know, pay exasperating attention to detail. When they want to.).

What was the main idea of this story again?

Oh yeah, I got to spend time with my boys this evening, just helping them with projects, and hanging out. Which brings me to the fact that all I originally started out to say in this blog post is that I would like to share two funny things that made me laugh tonight, one involving each of my sons.

Bennett's gem: Up in his bunkbed, while hugging me good night, he asks, "What, exactly, is the meaning of humbug?"

"It means when know, when you feel.....well, it means humbug."

Seriously, that was my answer. Good thing the boys thought it was hilarious. Remember when you first realized that some words truly have no definitions? They just ARE? And that to know the word, you have to know so much more than the word? You need its context, its story, its period, its character. Having just played the young man Ebenezer in Scrooge, and actually getting to say "humbug", well... he realized he already knew what it meant.

As for Grant, tonight he finished writing the entire Desiderata in calligraphy. Of course, it's not in any kind of font I tried to teach him, like Carolingian or Gothic. No, of course not. Instead, it's his own script he "invented". Then he refused to use lines under his parchment (ugh!)..... , and refused to start over if he made a mistake (ugh!), but damn! he wrote THE WHOLE FUCKING DESIDERATA in calligraphy! By candlelight. And now he wants to make copies of it, bind them, and sell them at SPQR on Thursday night during the Medieval Fair portion of the show.

Only one small problem while trying to make the copies ... the printer wouldn't work. Grant had just replaced the ink cartridge, and something was wacky. Right at the point when he was most peeved at the printer, I casually, only a bit cruelly, said, "You know, there's a low-tech answer for every high-tech question."

He turned on me as if I were a vampire and he had a wooden stake in his hand. "No. Way. I am so NOT copying this whole thing over ten times. No Way."

It was at that moment, I think, that he truly got the whole "Writing During the Middle Ages" thing. Oh, he knew it on an intellectual level, how monks spent years of their lives copying manuscripts, and about the importance of words and the significance of access to them. But this was visceral. And it was terrifying.

And it was very, very funny.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

a letter that turned into a poem

your pants down
while from your mouth, pain
from the wall to the mirror to your second son to me
like khet
with the eye of horus
splitting your 84 years of shit into angry lasers

no longer will i
after 5 pm
endure the bombardment of
vodka-laced two-way tasers
your anubis

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Most days, I wake up, head directly downstairs, and make coffee. After my cup is poured, I carry it upstairs, throw on some clothes, and pull my hair back into a pony tail. I might brush on some blush, or don some jewelry, but preparing for my day is certainly not slow and deliberate. Getting ready in the morning is a chore. It doesn't help that I really, really hate to get out of bed. Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep in my clothes; it would make mornings that much easier. No one loves Pajama Day at LSV better than me!

But today, I took the time to take care of myself. While prepping and primping, I realized that I am thankful for:

eyebrow pencils
eyebrow pencil sharpeners


body hair
Quattro razors
warm water

head hair
hair brushes
cute barrettes

Yup, this Thanksgiving, I'm grateful that I am hairy. I'm grateful for all the things I can do to my hair. I'm grateful, even, for the fact that I can remove it.
If I so choose.

Monday, June 13, 2011

an aching kind of growing

When a child first catches adults out — when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just — his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.

John Steinbeck

Sunday, March 27, 2011

me as an ape

Well......, I suppose that "Drawing" could be considered an "Elective", right? And during the time it is being taught to my students by Chris Alvarez in his Second Floor Studio, I could be having my "Planning Time" downstairs at Jive's. An hour and a half twice a week to actually plan lessons, complete with all the espresso and breve I could want!

But, no. Instead, I straddle the horse seat thingy, struggle my 18"x24" pad of newsprint onto the easel, embrace my unforgiving Sharpie, and ready myself to listen to the Master.

Drawing. It's something I've never been able to do. Never done. Never learned.

The 90 minutes spent drawing on Tuesdays and Thursdays is the reward I get for planning outside of school hours. I also, of course, hope to show the kids that learning is a life-long journey...... we say it, but do we really model it?

Anyway, Chris's homework was to draw a self-portrait of our face, while looking in the mirror, in a single-line contour drawing. Here's how mine started. Feel free to laugh! I did! Then Bennett came to check it out, and he laughed, too! :)


Then Bennett and I had a conversation that went like this:


And so I continued:


I'm going to try it again, and this time, start at the eyes (the worst part, in my opinion). I'll put on some music as well. And I'll slow down.

I hope, in the words of Mr. Chris, to "fail better".

Saturday, January 29, 2011

unsolicited advice from a woman with no daughters

a poem for Audrey, Meme, Ruby, Finn, and Sophia

they'll say
"Just Be Yourself"
as if that were THE ANSWER
i say
"Be your Many Selves"
keep your closet full of the different
yous and change as often as you like
accept and love them all
your girl friends will be
your source
for everything
this never changes.