Friday, June 02, 2017

Oh Glorious Weather that astounds me

There is a terribly old and trite statement about the weather in Texas.  If  you don't like it, wait fifteen minutes. Rimshot.

I have a late spring birthday (tomorrow) so I can remember volatile and extreme weather that peppered my birthday celebrations.  It makes me happy. I have an aunt called Stormy (whose birthday is in a month). I internalize the storms and the winds and the rains.    

Weather in Texas can be so spectacular.  I can tell from the weather radar that I am in the lull between the storms.  Texas is known for thunderstorms that can produce all kinds of effects and vary from longitude to longitude.  We have been blessed during this first wave of hellation. No trees are down, no hail to speak of.  The yard has washed out into the street. Again.   

Personally, I think we get a big break because of urban heat. I live near a confluence of two major interstates and very often the weather seems to break around home.  This is fortunate because the local infrastructure is prone to flash floods. 

I would be reluctant to get out and drive around in the near future except for family emergencies.  I would go through ravaging floods for one of my offspring, but they're really all very bright and know better than to go out when the local creeks are overflowing their banks. They grew up around here and played "The Tornado Game. "  

I see a glow over my neighbor's roof. It's kind of funny. This time of year the sun gets in my eyes for a few minutes as it ascends and the declination changes I catch glare from over the neighbor's roof. I can see a brightening of the roofline which is different from early afternoon. I can see an atmospheric glow of light over the rooftop but it is not in my eyes.  

Things cleared for a bit, but I still hear thunder and the cloud cover seems to be eating the sunset.  

Thunder is a residual line of backstory. 

We are between the embrace of racing weather systems.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Unhappy Camper

It's hard as a teacher to give parents bad news.  Most of the time the parents are not surprised.  I've had a challenging year with some of my students.  To begin with, it's hard to fail art.  You have to be a real jackass.  You don't fail art because you are bad at art,  you fail art because you don't even try to put a mark on a piece of paper.  We have students of all ability levels.  We grade on effort.  You can be the worst talented person on the planet, but if you try the assignments and show effort you'll make an A.

I got a call from a counselor today about student a.  The counselor said that student a needed my class to graduate.   This student had a failing grade the first semester and an even lower failing grade the second semester.  Um, all of the points that he got all year were sympathy points.  If I look at his overall effort for the year I could with great kindness give him a 7.   For the year.  The counselor said I needed to talk to a parent so that this student didn't show up for graduation rehearsal tomorrow.

So, I had to call the parent to tell her that her student had failed the class and she said she knew he had because of a meeting she'd had with school people.  I reminded her that I'd sent her emails during the year but she denied getting any. I found an email that she had replied to, so I guess she doesn't remember well.  I guess, she never looked at his report card that did not reflect a single passing grade all year.  It's a little late to get irate about it.

I gave her the courtesy of a phone call as requested by my administration.  I told her that I had tried to work with her student and would have enjoyed working with her student and she said "I'm sorry YOU are so boring."


Student a came in tardy almost every day.  He laid his head down and slept pretty much every day all year. I would wake him up and he'd go back to sleep.  I got a sketch or two out of him all year.  I graded him accordingly.  I reported to administration that I thought he was under the influence.  All he would be accounted for was with being sleepy.

Somehow it is MY fault because my class is boring according to the student who was a total lump all year.  Our class space is precious.  So many kids wanted his seat in the class.  Our classes fill up so fast.  We have to turn children away who WANT to be in our program.

This is the kind of thinking that drives dedicated educators out of the field.  Blame the teacher because the student didn't/wouldn't do the work.  Damn.

We need teachers.  We need individuals who understand the value of an education.  We need to help our community understand the need for education.  We need to support our teachers who are in the trenches.

It's a Gestalt thing.  Also my rant. Pardon me.

Happy Camper

It is nearing the end of the school year. Things are exciting.  The seniors are all stoked about graduation.  And well they should be.  Graduating from high school is a major accomplishment.  I am privileged as a teacher.  I can count the top four and six of the top ten graduates as my students.  Does it get better than that? I taught several of them for multiple years.  Wow.

I am so grateful to share my educational experience with so many great kids.  I know they will do amazing things.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

My dog was sexually harassed at the dog park today

I'm on summertime.  The best thing I can do is sleep and lose track of which day it is.  It's my mental healing. I hibernate in the summer and go on "dreamtime."

I was up before noon today and agreed to go to the Dog Park.  Mark told me we needed to go before it rained.  Mark has a "duty" for one of our children in the neighborhood so he dropped Mike and me off at the dog park.  Mike doesn't mind me as well as he does Mark.  I think it is kind of hilarious that at the dog park I am hollering "Mike" and I wonder how many guys at the dog park are named "Mike."  I think that one guy today thought I knew him and was so excited that I was hollering his name.  I've been watching too much of Criminal Minds.

Mark did his duty and reported back to the dog park.  It was sauna hot with no breeze.  Mike was hot, I was hot and Mark suggested we adjourn to a grassy knoll in the shade.  We did so adjoin and then there was this fluffy dog that came up and made untoward advances toward Mike.  There was a young nubile whippet female who flirted about and seemed to like Mike.  There was a lot of posturing and a pissing contest ensued around the tree that provided our shade.  At one point there were four dogs in a line to piss on the tree.  I thought that the fluffy dog was trying to impress the whippet but it soon became obvious that he was interested in our Mike.  Mike ran away and fluffy dog ran along beside him trying to offer ..... favors.  Mike ran here and he ran there and fluffy dog chased him all over and was relentlessly offering "favors."  I hollered after Mike and said "Mike, just say NOOOOOOOOO."  Mark thought that was rude.

Anyway, we sat there for a while and Mike and his admirer laced in and out between us and we discouraged aggressive behavior.  Fluffy chased Mike all over the place and out into the bushes that are more hidden and Mike ran away and Fluffy kept offering favors and he would try to run along next to Mike while rendering favors and it was kind of intense to follow.

Fluffy's human came by and scooped up his dog and says "I think my dog likes your dog."


Monday, May 16, 2016

16th of May 2016

I saw many things today.

Retro....back goes up in smoke.

The children are wild and unruly.  They are so over high stakes testing and AP testing that they are just out of their minds.   I'm so tired after AP testing and I'm not done yet.   We are all a cocaphony of intensity and emotion and angst.

The end of the year looms and beckons with golden skies.

Today I saw Blue Jays.  I also saw a Cardinal.  I saw fat white winged doves.  I remember how tasty doves are.  Is that wrong?

Saturday, March 05, 2016

What I Saw Today

What I Saw Today  Throw back a few years.

To soften things, I spent the day with other teachers who are out for Spring Break.  I get to listen to A Way with Words on the way to book club.  One of the things they talked about what kind of environment one needs in order to write.  Grant said that he put in earplugs that expand into your ear canal and block out any noise and Martha says she put on earbuds and was able to write with "spa" type music (my interpretation)   I said that I can write in a hurricane but it is hard for me to write unless Mark shuts up.  He's talking as I write and screeches at me as he talks about deciding about what he needs to stay alive.

I am distracted.  He's gone off into glory.  I would like to write about things that I would like to write about but I've been hijacked as a muse to tell his story.  He wants grandbabies.  I want them too.  He's a superstar and could live twenty years and wants to spend time with them.  I do not want to discuss his health situation but I am a faithful scribe because I was going to write about things important to me but Mark wants me to tell his story.

I totally got hijacked.   I can't keep up with him.   I kind of forgot what I wanted to talk about.  It's kind of hard.  I had a stroke that reduced my attention span to that of a goldfish.

I am frustrated every day because I start to talk about something and something distracts me and I forget what the hell I was thinking.

It's hard being an art teacher at times.  It's glorious at others.  We want our kids to ask questions. We want them to challenge the problem.  It's great when they do.

Sometimes, I'd like to write my own narrative. That's my point.

I just need for him to be quiet for a space of time and not feel threatened that I'm not paying attention to him.   I could write glorious things if he would just be quiet and not feel threatened.

He doesn't seem to realize that I have a blog for many years.  He's not interested.  I'm married to the man 33 years and he's not interested.  That's kind of tragic.

So, I move on.  I'm grateful that I have friends that love me and give a rat's ass about my daily existence.   I'm glad that there are folks that have some interest in what I have to say.

I'm trying to express today about how I feel about the people I love.  I love them all.  You all know who you are. I'm still being distracted by Mark's narrative, he won't leave me alone. I forgot what I was going to say because apparently I'm a bad person because I'm not giving my undivided attention to my husband.

That's what I saw today.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Jump Down Turn Around Pick A Bale of Cotton

Ya wanna jump down turn around
(Pick a Bale of Cotton)
Do ya wanna jump down turn around
(Pick a Bale a Day)
Do ya wanna jump down turn around
(Pick a Bale of Cotton)
Do ya wanna jump down turn around
(Pick a Bale a Day)

Whoa Whoa Lordie
(Pick a Bale of Cotton)
Whoa Whoa Lordie
(Pick a Bale a Day)
Whoa Lordie
(Pick a Bale of Cotton)

Do ya wanna jump down turn around
(Pick a Bale of Cotton)
Do ya wanna jump down turn around
(Pick a Bale a Day)
Do ya wanna jump down turn around..."

I heard this go by recently and the tune haunts me and harkens back to days of yore ;)  The melody and energy of the song are both energizing and has been stuck in my head like a tunneling ear-worm.

I learned this song at the knee of my grandmother when I was small.  I can still remember her acting it out for me.  She had picked a lot of cotton in her day.  Her hands were roughly worn, but still always brought joy.  She told me once that she would leave picking cotton to go up to the house to have a baby.   She showed me cotton bolls when I was tiny, I remember how they pricked and scratched.   She didn't have to pick in the fields anymore because they had some newfangled cotton-picking machine.

I was humming it at school the other day and a child asked me what the song was.  I sang pretty much the above lyrics with joy (I am known for interpretive dance). Some of the kids thought it was catchy and one kid said "Miss, that's racist."

I asked how.  The kid said "That's making fun of black people."

I asked how.  She said, "That's a slave song."


I asked her how she knew that.  She said, "Well, that's just my opinion"

I asked her if she'd ever known any slaves.  No.  I asked her if she'd ever known anyone who picked cotton.  No.

People make assumptions.  My Cherokee/English grandmother picked cotton and showed ME how she did it.  I don't know if I know anyone else who can say that.  I think I own that song.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

Welcome to the Grand Opening of the Dog Park Everyone!

Yesterday, the White Rock Dog Park reopened after some months.  We'd gone up there last week when it was supposed to open initially, but after all the rain we've had lately, it was probably good to let it dry out a week.

We started off at the small dog side. Mike was funny, he didn't want to go run as much as he wanted Mark to walk around the place with him.  I had my iPad and was content to try to catch up a few pages on our book club book.  Mike got bored, so Mark took him over to the dog launch and I just sat on the bench in the shade and read and pet occasional dogs that go by. They usually pet me first.

While I was reading I felt a nudge and there was a very wet fox terrier with a show dog cut that asked very politely if I would scratch an itch for him.  I did and he went his way.  There were other people there.  There was a guy with a real book and if I'm not mistaken a Bill Nye the Science Guy bookmark.  He also was wearing a boot on his ankle so I had instant sympathy since I've recently gotten out of one.

There were a couple of girls with a dog named Sadie that ran all over the place and was really not a menace. There were folks with itty bitty dogs. There were a group of ladies standing in the shade behind the bench where I was and random folks would come by and try to engage their dog with the newfangled water fountain but not many of the canines were buying that noisy contraption.

My attention was then drawn by a histrionic queen just going off on the group of ladies behind me.  "Don't you touch my dog (the same fox terrier I had obligingly scratched) and they said they'd leave his dog alone.  He started disparaging them about his supposition of their lack of education (I believe he said sixth grade).  One of the ladies said "God Bless you, sir." and he was walking off and turned around said "NO, God Bless  YOU, have you got your food-stamps yet this month?"

I'm thinking in my own head that I could sure use that BFA in metalsmithing to demonstrate what an education with hammers can do for an individual, but the guy and his fancy dog were leaving the small dog area.  The guy with a book says, "What an asshole, this is a public park, people are going to touch your dog if the dog approaches them."  One of the ladies came to refill a water dish and I told her my favorite new quote about unpleasant people.  "You can't stick a flower in an asshole and call it a vase."  They laughed and one said "That man is strange."  I eavesdropped on them for a bit and I think one of them was a teacher and they were asking about another's daughter that had just graduated from college.

I was proud that these ladies just considered the source and went on.  I was horrified.

And then he came BACK.  He walked right up to these ladies and shot their picture and said "I hope you like Instagram." and then left again.   That left all of us there shaking our heads and thinking "Bless HIS heart."

Meanwhile,  Mark and Mike holler through the fence that they are going to the big dog park.  I'm settled back down and I'm reading again when the same jerk (I'm feeling sorry for the dog at this point) comes back in and sits about 20 feet from this group of ladies and stares at them.  I see Mark coming back so I get up to head out.

He can tell I'm rattled and I tell him the strange and surreal time we spent apart at the dog park.  I guess I can have adventures anywhere I go.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Interview

We watched this silly movie today.  It really had me laughing almost all of the way through.  I could have skipped that part in the Korean Control Booth.

I think that this film is as much a statement of international diplomacy as Idiocracy taunts sociologists and anthropologists.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Observing Humanity

I hardly slept last  night... We are farming out a litter of kittens and were down to the last two.  We have restrained their access to the world at large and they cried a lot.  Momma cried because we separated her from her babies.  The babies cried because they missed Momma.

I am a hibernator.  I want to sleep as late as is humanly possible.  I was woken up probably a hundred times last night.  I was wide awake before ten am on this Sunday morning and so we kick-started a very busy day.

One of our favorite Sunday destinations is Circle Grill.  It's infamous. There are tables named for regulars.  We've been in the neighborhood for some years.  We went for our favorite breakfast meals. I get a #1 over medium with sausage patties and hashbrowns (need to  remember to order them crispy) and biscuits and gravy.  Mark gets the veggie platter.

Today we are seated in the back of the front room.  I look around to see if I see folks I know.  1/2 the time I do.  It's very busy and things are running slow.  We see two families with children in the corners.  

One family is ambiguous.  We watch carefully because we are nosy and observant.  We see a booth behind us with a boy and a girl in a princess costume and two daddys. There is a lot of coloring going on. There is a lot of manners training about napkins in the lap.  We can hear them talking to their children.

We see another family.  A young latino couple with a toddler.  The baby is allowed to peel all the lids off of the jelly and the creamer.  We see the child throw a creamer past his dad's head and it hits the wall.  We see the small child escape out of his booth and go about and harass other diners.  

Dad is about to pay and the toddler grabs a hundred dollar bill out of his hand and carries it to another diner.

I see the boy and girl being talked to and colored with and celebrated and we see this tiny boy being ignored and allowed to be a nuisance in a public restaurant.

Who would society support?  The two attentive daddies or the inattentive Latino mom and dad.

As a public school teacher, I want the kids that are being colored with and are being taught manners.  They have a much higher chance for success than the tiny Latino boy that was allowed to run rampant.

Why does our society support the machismo view in poverty?  That small Latino boy will be taught that his stuff doesn't stink and that his mother is less than.  He's going to be spoiled and uneducated.  The two daddys obviously support their children learning good manners and using their time being creative.   The Latino parents loosed their child on the restaurant because Dad thought it was cute for  him to be a menace. It was obvious that mom was not allowed to say boo to the boy.
Later in the day I was waiting in a parking lot for my hubby to pick me up after a pedicure appointment.  I saw a couple walk by.  They were holding hands.  The man was singing at the top of his lungs.   I could see the doobie tucked behind his ear.

He sure sounded happy.

What an odd day to see things!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dude, It's Christmas

We had some errands to run today.  We had lunch with our local children and planned out our holiday activities.  It's a bit different this year as some of the family is unhappy with us.  We weren't invited to Mark's family celebration for the first time ever... I've been going since 1981.

I can live with that, in fact, I'm somewhat relieved. We didn't really want to spend time watching our step father/father in law act like a jackass.

The weird thing today is the guy I heard.  Sometimes, I hear people talking in my head.  Some folks are very loud broadcasters, especially if they are upset for any reason.  Mark ran in to a convenience store while I sat in the car.  I could hear him mulling it over in his head if I would be an easy mark.  I talked back in my head and said "Dude, it's Christmas, don't be hating."  I zoned out for a minute. I think I plead for kindness.

Mark came around the corner of the store and didn't look happy. He loaded up his purchases and said "did you see that guy?" I looked up and the guy was leaning against the side of the store smoking a cigarette.  I said that I didn't see him.  Mark was upset and said, "he was standing by our car right behind your door."  He moved over there when he saw me coming.

I looked at the guy.  He was still broadcasting very loud.  I looked him eye to eye and thought "Dude, it's Christmas, make the best of it."

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Super Saturday

I really had fun today.  

We had an Open House for new art kids at our school today.  We had several that came up and looked around and asked questions. 

I talked to parents who were checking things out and wanted to find a friendly place for their quirky kids.  

I run a friendly establishment. 

I insist on polite behavior. 

I believe in being gracious and kind at all times. 

Art rooms have the very best toys. Seriously dude. 

Some of my best kids came up today.  We had fun.  One had a birthday and we celebrated him. Some of them got to work and use the resources and get community service hours. What a sweet deal?

Thank you all for sharing this day with me.  I will treasure it.  

Miz Em   

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Keep Coming Back

Today was busy, kind of a blur.  I got some grading done and was looking forward to Art Club after school.  We had a pretty good turn out and there was some math tutoring going on and some ceramic slab construction, some drawing on the Wacom tablet and quite a few folks making flowers out of plastic water bottles.

One of my angels seemed to be hanging back.  I chatted with her and admired her scarf.  She's got the biggest smile.  I saw hesitation on her face--she's such a great kid--second in her class.  I've met with her to talk about things she needs to do to apply for architecture school.  She's so bright and so motivated that any school would be happy to have her.

I have been apprehensive for her because she doesn't have a drawing background and I know that a lot of kids that go into architecture have gained a lot of skills before they go.

So today she hangs back. I see the doubt.  I talk about my day teaching and she beams and says "I've been reconsidering studying architecture."  I tell her I know she's going to be successful no matter what she tries and she says "I think I'd love to teach.  I see you and how much you love it and I want to love something that I do that much."  I tell her that I came to teaching later but that I appreciated the chance to love what I do and love the kids.  She beams some more and says again that she thinks that she could love it a lot.  We talk about what she'd teach and she mentioned that she's taught Sunday school to 2nd graders for four years and that she loves the little one but that she REALLY loves Art History but she's not sure how she could deal with big kids.  I told her she'd be great at whatever she chose and that she should choose something she loves so that all her life she'll have a constant state of "WOW."

It was one of those days....

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

I Double Dog Dare You

Dear Legislator,

I understand you have HARD decisions to make.  I know you try SO hard to represent your constituency.  You get to VOTE about education in America.  Please tell me how much you understand the system?

OH, your sister-in-law told you that she had great insurance and she's a teacher.   She didn't mention that she was insured through her husband's medical.  SO, you make decisions for the health insurance of all of the public school teacher servants in the State of Texas based on that conversation at your niece's birthday party.  .   .   .   .

Aw, well, um, let me know how that works for the hundreds of thousands of "state" employees affected by that decision.  oh no, you don't know what that means but you don't really care because teachers are defective human beings because if they were REALLY smart they would do something that made money rather than teach.

Dear Legislator,

I double dog dare YOU and EVERY person in government to go in and TEACH a class for ONE WEEK. If you have not spent a week juggling strong personalities and mentally ill children then do not tell me about how to teach school.

I do very well thank you. I teach....(Drawing II, III, IV, AP Art History, AP 2D Design, AP Drawing, Ceramics, Art One, Art One Advanced) nine distinct course offerings and I'm accountable for lesson plans for ALL of them and I'm responsible presenting inspiring curriculum that should motivate all children to create excellence.  I'm cool with that.

I should not have to "step gently" around criminal, heinous, mentally ill, dangerously aggressive, will freak out and hurt people CRAZY, to teach NINE different things. Many teachers teach 2 things. A good number teach 3 things.  Dedicated teachers teach 4 things.  Between 4 and 9 is a no-man's land.  Even PE teachers don't go much past 4.

OH, you're going to tell ME about how to teach children.  You can tell me this because you know        What?  You have so much experience with inner city children who share 12 siblings with their father and 4 with their mother?  You can teach me What?

I Double Dog Dare you.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Legend of the Warrior Amazon Lesbian Hamsters

Now, about the Warrior Amazon Lesbian Hamsters....
My daughter comes home from her first year of college at Reed College. She lived in Chittick, one of the "Cross Canyon" Dorms. They had a deck all along the backside of the dorm that looked out over Reed Lake.
Apparently at Reed, one can have a pet if it will fit in an aquarium.
So, one of her suite-mates B. brought two hamsters to school with her because she had a friend who could NOT take them with her.
They and their friends all loved the little hamsters
They were cute little burly girls and some said they were warriors, some specifically said Amazon and everyone agreed they were lesbians.
Well, my girl gets home one day and she looks in the aquarium and is alarmed and says "B, the hamsters are dead!!!" B looks and says "They're not, they were just fine...they hibernate you know. We don't want to bury them and have them wake up screaming three days later." My daughter buys into this fantasy.
Their friends become concerned as the hamsters certainly look dead and not wanting to have friends that keep dead rodents called for another friend who was pre-med. He comes over and picks them up. Thumps them gently. Listens with a stethoscope and says "Man, your hamsters are dead."
A great wail of anguish goes up and then someone gets the idea to have a Viking funeral for them down at Reed lake.
Some are dispatched to build a funeral barque. Some are dispatched for Schlitz, Some prepare the Viking ceremony, and some get BBQ lighter fluid.
They assemble down by the shore of Reed Lake and tenderly lay their precious charges on the hastily built vessel, douse it with lighter fluid set it at the shore, light the flame and push it off into the lake.
One of the hamsters immediately rolls off into the water.
The other retains its precarious perch and a nutria swims up and sniffs at it then swims away.
About that time one of the campus security guards shows up and wonders why they have set something aflame and afloat in a National Wildlife Preserve.
They explain very quickly about the Warrior Amazon Lesbian Hamsters and the Viking Funeral. The security guard's name was Svenson, so he took a Schlitz and toasted them on their way to Valhalla.

The end