Monday, September 27, 2010

the wisdom of honest abe

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns 

or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. 

- Abe Lincoln

I have a professor who ends every class with a quote, and although part of me wants to think it is silly, I really enjoy them. I enjoy them and they always pertain to what we are discussing in class. In Special Education, professionals easily fall into the trap of constantly focusing on what is wrong with a child, what they are not doing, what they need to do better, what they can't do.  The other day in class, we discussed yet again, how we can't lose focus on what the child can do, however small it is. This seems to be a theme in my life right now. I am dealing with some kids with real behavior issues in my classroom and my life in general is topsy turvy right now, and that is putting it positively. 

So, I am trying to remember and focus on what in my life is really good right now. Like the fact that Ez cannot get enough of "reading". That both, BOTH of my boys are really good at soccer, and they love it. That I think I can make it through another year of grad school. I had breakfast with a girlfriend the other day and it was so much fun. I am learning to play an instrument. Right now there is chili in the crock pot and my class for tonight was cancelled. Those are all roses. And I have bunches more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

notes from an adventurer...

I must admit that I am a bit jealous that Molly and dad are now on their second adventure together. The last one, a couple years ago, lasted a month, maybe longer. They drove across the country together, hiking and camping along the way. My one consolation is that my dad sends us emails every few days illustrating the trip. My dad writes much like he talks and it is such fun to read his letters. He has the Carlisle tendency towards hyperbole...which can be entertaining. And of course he is a soil scientist so he can't help but talk about the landscape in very particular terms.

Here are a few excerpts...

     The next day got us into Nebraska and I80 was beginning to get wearisome so Molly discovered a road on the Atlas that cut catacorner in the general direction that we needed to go, Nebraska Rt. 2. Up to this time we noted that the foliage colors up to well west of Cleveland were pretty much the same as back home. The pastoral landscapes were not that different compared with what you might find in New York. The land was rolling with a bit of flatness here and there, pretty much like upstate. The only thing of real interest really was an occasional outburst from Molly when she was behind the wheel Her knowledge of expletives is fairly rich, and she makes excellent use of inflection to add diversity.
     That second day ended at a little town at the edge of the Nebraska Sand Hills called Broken Bow where we found an excellent hotel and a great meal at rural Nebraska prices. The Sand Hill region is one of the great grassland regions of the world. The hills themselves are stabilized sand dunes from a bygone geologic era, and provide great scenery. In the Sand Hills you begin seeing pronghorn antelope (cattle of course).
On the third day we drove out of the Sandhll region and then through a bit of pivot arm irrigation agriculture (makes the big circles that you can see from planes), and then through splendid canyon vistas, finally arriving at Cody, Wy, the gateway to Yellowstone Park.
     On the fourth day we mosied into Yellowstone, couldn't hurry because there is a lot to see in getting there. Saw a Buffalo grazing under a bridge before we even got to the park. Yellowstone is pretty other worldly. Maybe a hundred thousand volcanic vents, guysers, pools, etc. Lots of Buffalo, you soon learn that a Buffalo sighting does not get you many CUS credits (creatures of unusual size). Lots of mountains, great streams and waterfalls, and bunches of tourists, and this was the off season. We camped that night and it was cold. We observed all of the precautions against bears and red squirrels because half a hundred people this year didn't and payed the penalty, either being mauled, eaten and then killed by the bears or having their faces gnawed off by squirrels as they were trapped in their sleeping bags. I dodged a bullet that night in the tent, secure in my 20 year old sleeping bag. Molly was secure in the back of the truck with a 16 ounce canister of bear spray. Unbeknownst to me in the pocket of my sleeping bag was a large handful of salted peanuts. A stick of pepperoni would be worse.
     On the fifth day we continued through Yellowstone and then drove through the Grand Teton National Park to Jackson Hole.
     Which brings to today, where I am writing this from our motel room.
The journey continues.

PS We saw one moose from a quarter mile away, so I digicammed it, a bit fuzzy but our only moose.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

life long learner

At 33, I am learning salsa, merengue and Bachata (in my zumba class),weight training, finally. And, I am teaching myself to play the ukelele. I love it. I am practicing a bunch of songs now. Songs by Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Leslie Gore, The mamas and the papas, Dusty Springfield and Lefty Frizzel, Dolly Parton, the bangles ( I am a jill of all trades here) and more. I can barely feel the tips of three fingers on my left hand. I can't play that well yet but when I can , in a year or so. I will post a song here.
I like playing the uke for many reasons but most of all I like playing it because it means I get to sing, to music. ANd I have a good friend and neighbor who plays and sings with me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lump Sum

I have long loved this song and only recently discovered the acoustic version. And then had to look up the lyrics. Which are of course beautiful.

Lump Sum- Bon Iver

Sold my cold knot, a heavy stone
Sold my red horse for a venture home
to vanish on the bow
Settling slow

Fit it all, fit it in the doldrums
So the story goes
Color the era
Film it, it's historical, my

My mile could not
Pump the plumb
In my arbor till my ardor trumped
Every inertia lump sum

All at once
Rushing from the sub pump
So the story goes
Balance we won't know
we will see when it gets warm

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I did not sob today

How could I, with that grin on my little boy's face? And notice that the first thing Ez does is try to figure out how the windows work on the bus...

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Keewaydin Summer Cottage, Brooklin, Acadia, Maine

I am living in the now, really. I promise. But I have what I think is poison ivy again and I am starting to think that grad. school+ work+2 kids+life is a lot right now. Yikes. I know in a few weeks I will calm down and feel like I am handling it but why can't I have two more weeks of cocktails and fiction reading?

My mom sent this to me today. Which made me...
1. Excited for next summer family time and
2. realize that I need to chill out and enjoy right now. I can't spend all year waiting to lounge in a beautiful cottage in Acadia with my family next summer. Yes, life can be stressful but I have already proven to myself that I can do it. It' s just extra hard when your soon to be kindergartner is acting crazy and worried about school and yoru new third grader comes home the first day crying that he likes his old school better and all of his Best friends are in another class.
And I already have school work to do.

Henry's first day back and Wildwood School FIrst Day Parade

They wanted to match.
Slightly nervous last minute snuggles
Watching and listening for the big yellow bus.

We wave until we can't see each other anymore, a tradition started in kindergarten.
Ez and I check out the gym.
First Day of School Parade!!! A MArks Meadow tradition becomes a Wildwood tradition.


Henry's First day started off without a hitch.
He has another beautiful teacher whose name I can barely pronounce or spell.
Ezzie and Matty and I had a successful orientation at his new school.
Fall is falling into place.
And I am sure that the rash I have is not poison ivy. It can't be. Really.


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