Saturday, November 30, 2013


Just in case anyone was worried we didn't have enough hockey in our lives, let me assure you: We do.  Shef has three games in as many days this weekend, Mac has practice, we have a net in the driveway under constant assault, and we have several video versions of the game that receive playing time, as well.

We have hockey jerseys, hockey sticks, hockey pucks, hockey balls, and hockey pads littering every corner of the house.

We watched Miracle the other weekend, and Dan was bawling his eyes out due to the thrill of the victory. Dudes were completely amazing, and Herb Brooks is the man.

Okay?  Get it? We love hockey.  Three of us do.  The other one tolerates it.  I'll let you guess who the hold-out might be.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Okay, I have reached the end of my second alphabet in a row. The alphabet frame served me well in a tough blogging time, but it's time to move on. The frame is holding me back, at this point. Getting in my way.

It's kind of the same issue I'm having with the Vivaldi concerto I'm working on. My teacher says the sheet music is getting in my way at this point. I have to memorize completely in order to get better.

You're probably wondering how the Vivaldi is going, and so I recorded this video for you. I'm not wearing any make-up, I haven't combed my hair, and my tummy is sort of sticking out in my violin position. Please enjoy.

In blogging news, I'm going to blog every day between now and the new year.  As much as I can.  I'll probably miss a day or two, but it's the effort and the intention that matters.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


For a small fee, or for nothing, Mac will draw you a portrait. Here's a sample. It's Uncle Kevin.

Monday, November 25, 2013


An xyster is an instrument one uses to scrape bones. Seems gross.

In other news, today in 6th grade Humanities class we talked about migrant children. We just finished reading The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez. Also, we've been working on ways to develop and assess empathy in our students. Turns out, that's kind of hard to do. We've been thinking about perspective-taking as a way to display empathy. To that end, kids took on the perspective of one of the stakeholders in the CARE Act, HR 3564 and wrote a letter to try to persuade the Minnesota senators to support their opinion. Tricky stuff.

The CARE Act is not yet a law. It's probably not an option at this point; however, I'd really like the U.S. to take more of an interest in the health of migrant farm workers. Especially the kids. We can start by viewing The Harvest [la cosecha]. Then, we can decide what to do after that.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Many of my current students haven't read the Harry Potter series. They were born in 2000 and 2001. The first of the novels was published in 1997, and most of their parents weren't obsessed with Muggles and Wizards the way Dan and I were.

I totally miss Harry as a common, dominant cultural fixture. He and his pals were very useful for teaching about literary elements and themes, for one thing. For another thing, I just love those peeps.

Imagine my delight, then, when I began listening to J.K. Rowling's latest book, The Cuckoo's Calling, which she wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and recognized so many conventions I enjoyed while reading about Diagon Alley, Privet Drive, and Hogwarts. Long sentences, complex characterization, gentle humor, and brilliant plotting. Rowling says she's going to write more books in this detective series. I'm so excited. I really am.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Here's Dan rebuffing my conciliatory arm rubs at last weekend's family baptism party. I said something that offended him, and instead of just accepting my apology, he swatted at me long enough for people to take photos. This is what mature, capable Godparents look like.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I'm seeking 100% support from my family for this Christmas tune arrangement called "Fiddle Like the Dickens!"

Basically, this medley is irresistible and will be a huge hit at our family holiday party. My violin teacher says that Dobby, Mac, John, Jane, and I can play the violin parts on violin and recorder, and Sarah can play the cello parts on the piano. Dan and Shef can cheer for us and maybe dance. I'm sorry, but this number is too cute to refuse.

I have already started practicing it, and I love it. I won't take "no playing" for an answer.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


We've reached a new stage. At this point, Shef can text me via his iPod to complain about Dan's parenting in my absence. Tonight, he wrote, "Where r u mom? Mom!!!!!!???????"

And I said, "I'm at moms' club [yes, I'm in a moms' club]. What do you need?"

And then this:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


On my weekend of rest, I forgot to account for the 4-5 hours of work I have to do on Sundays. It's not like I hate doing that work, but this weekend, I really wanted to not do it.

Another slight problem is that it's getting to be winter. The older I get, the less I appreciate the biting winds and prickling cold. Right now it's 13 degrees Fahrenheit. This disappoints me and makes me want to go to work in sweatpants. But once I got there, I'd be heartily embarrassed.

A final slight problem is the size of my feet. I've been dutifully wearing my Dansko clogs every day. To tell the truth, it's a bit of a relief to have a shoe uniform. No thinking about the shoes. Yesterday, my good truth-telling pal Adriana asked how it was going with the clogs. "The funny thing," she said, looking at my shoes and kind of shaking her head, "is that your feet are so big."

Friday, November 8, 2013


I'm planning on spending as much time as possible in my pajamas this weekend. I'm wearing them right now. Other plans include violin practice and some running on my rehabilitating feet. Can't wait for this restful time to continue. I'm totally embracing it. In fact, I had a meeting with my boss today, and the concept of rest came up.

She basically said I'm doing a great job, except I'm not allowed to take on any more things.

"I won't be approving any staff development for you next summer," she said. "It doesn't matter what the opportunity is - you can't do it. I'm insisting you take the summer off."

I'm also not allowed to join any more committees or take on any new initiatives. "I'm telling people your plate is full," she said.

It's true. It's full. I'm looking forward to the REPRIEVE.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I've written before about the mechanics of reading Of Mice and Men with seventh graders. We've already had our discussion about language. "What are the words you were surprised to hear me read aloud?" I asked.

"You want us to say them?" they asked.

"Well, yeah," I said.

They giggled. "Damn," they offered. "Hell. Bastard. Son of a Bitch."

"Good," I said, writing the naughty words down. "Any more?"

"Shit?" one kid offered.

"Well, that's not in there, Jimmy, but how'd it feel coming out of your mouth?"

That turns into a longer conversation, but it's beside the point here. Yesterday, kids asked about a character named Susy.

"Who is she?" one girl said.

"Oh, she runs the house of prostitution."

"What's that?"

"You're asking what a prostitute is?"

"I guess, yeah."

"It's someone you pay to have sex with."

"Oh." Stunned faces. "I thought I'd heard of that before."

I'm sure the parents are really glad I've covered important topics like swearing, prostitution, and synonyms for slut.