Just checking in…

I have nothing interesting to say.  Sorry!  Just checking in to let you know I’m still out here.  When I took a first aid class once, they said you should ask three questions about a person in distress:  Is she breathing?  Is she bleeding?  Is she comfy?  Well, I’m okay on the first two….  Not sure about the last.  But I can say that not blogging has freed up just enough of a smidgin of time for me to be able to stay caught up in my grading…. SO FAR!  LOL 🙂

I tell you what…here is another link to a funny video.  Who says I don’t think of my friends…?!

Again, I can’t get this to show up directly into my post (anyone know how to do that if it isn’t YouTube?)  But I laughed out loud at this kid. She is too precious in her wily storytelling ways!

the hippo was allergic to magic

Amelie rocks!

Advertisements

here’s a laugh…Finnish goats

A friend of ours sent me this link to a cartoon made by some Finns of the “Three BIlly Goats Gruff” story.  It includes the most addicting little song.  My husband tried to turn it into a ringtone.  We all sing it to one another at odd moments to lighten the mood.  My son begs for it!  I secretly watch it all the time. 🙂

I could not get this video itself to show up on my site, but it is SOOOO well worth the click.  Hope you enjoy!

http://plektra.kapsi.fi/KolmePukkia.mpg

Baaaaaa!!  🙂

Tuesday, 11:22 p.m., week two

So far I am not yet really behind in my teaching/grading for the spring term.  That is an improvement over last semester when I was behind before I began and never caught up until Christmas Eve.  Ah, but this term is different.  I have found the answer this week number two.

In my husband’s words, texted to me the other day after I had been up til 2 a.m. but had a splendid day teaching (go figure), “You found the answer.  Never sleep!”

So here I sit in with my laptop, having just updated my on-line poetry course materials, sent that class an email, checked the Discussion Board (how could there already be almost three hundred posts?)  And I am trying to decide whether to tackle updating my lesson plan on Dryden’s literary criticism or go to bed.

And then… a noise, a clanking.  Hmm.  Pause.

Again a little quieter.  Oh, my son has knocked something over in his room as he sleeps, something harmless.  Typing begins again.  Hmmm.  Should I tackle Dryden or can I wing it at ten a.m. after … how much sleep will I get if I go to bed now?  Maybe I should get up at 4:30 again tomorrow.  Worked today…

Then … a different sound.

My son is singing in his sleep.

I’ll let him serenade me and turn off the light.

Goodnight.

dragonhunter in my head

Recently, we moved my son’s cello out of his room and into the living room (since we had put a humidifier in his bedroom).  Crazy winter weather, dry air, lots of cold viruses — you get the picture.  So now I get to hear my son practice up close and personal!

At least it isn’t the violin.  Eeek.  No offense, but the sound of a kid practicing violin can send me to the liquor cabinet.

Anyway, so he’s been practicing a lot for their concert, one of only two concerts for the entire year.  He belongs to a city-wide children’s orchestra called the String Project.  It’s run by the University where I work.  Great program that enables inner-city kids (who would otherwise never have the opportunity) to play a stringed instrument.  The program offers instruments to rent and tuition for the program at rock-bottom prices.

One of the songs that he’s been playing, though, has taken over my brain.  It is called “Dragonhunter” and I find the music compelling and suspenseful, especially now that our son is mastering the piano/forte contrast stuff.  I wish I could give you a sense through words of the song, but its hopeless.  😦

But I do have a picture to show you of the ensemble on stage at last Sunday’s concert.  The house was almost packed (empty seats up front are for the kids), and the children did a wonderful job.

0125091522

I have to admit that right before they played “Dragonhunter,” I turned to my husband and said, “Don’t expect too much….”  I wasn’t being mean or anything.  Honest.  But every single rehearsal when I went to pick up Bubby, I listened to them rehearse that song, and it was not exactly a stellar performance, if you know what I mean.  The conductor once told them that the part when they pluck instead of bow sounded like raindrops.  And that wasn’t a compliment.

But they totally rocked the dragonhunter.  Who knew that they could do that?  What changed from the last rehearsal to the concert when playing the song?  I have no idea, but I clapped enthusiastically at the end and shouted “Bravo!”

Kreativ Blogger? Wow, thanks!

I want to say a big thanks to Montessori Mama, who has given me the Kreativ Blogger award!!

kreativeblogger

You know, it feels kinda good.  I needed the boost — thanks again, MM.  Coming from one of the most creative of all bloggers I know, this award means a lot!

Now, on to the rules:
– List six things that inspire my creativity
– Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers
– Link back to the person who gave you the award
– Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.

so…

SIX things that inspire my creativity:

  1. family night — We decided to rotate the responsibility to each family member each week  to choose an activity for Friday night that the whole family would enjoy.  Last time that it was my turn, I chose painting, and we had a marvelous time just hanging out and painting together. Never done such a  thing together ALL three of us at the same time.  Cool!
  2. Christmas — Something about that holiday brings out my creative side.  I relish the chance to make things beautiful, to use my hands to create something new out of something old (ornaments, table decorations, handmade cards….)
  3. teaching a text that students seem to find boring — Ah, I love that challenge! That’s when I revert to drawing crazy pictures on the board, jumping on top of furniture to act out a concept, bringing in wigs and hats for students to stage an impromptu dramatization of that boring 18th century poem, etc.
  4. dinner parties — I know you aren’t really “supposed” to make up new recipes when you have company coming, but I love to get creative in the kitchen for my friends.  Almost always there’s enough delicious food (if I do say so myself) in the meal to make up for anything borderline.  Even the flops are food for funny stories later on. 🙂
  5. scrapbooking — Okay, I admit it.  I actually like doing this activity.  I haven’t been able to work on anything for years, but I love how it is both a creative (making something new) and retro- and intro-spective activity.  I need to find a way to do this craft again, as it gives me much pleasure both in the doing and in the viewing later.
  6. Grandma’a life — I find my beloved grandma to be incredibly inspiring.  Writing her book is one of the most meaningful things I have undertaken in my life and one of the hardest.

Now, on to listing SIX more kreativ bloggers:

The Sruggling Writer is a wonderfully creative guy — I like how he just keeps on writing despite being busy with work and his young family. I’ve seen a noticable change in the quality of his writing, too, clearly proving that practice makes perfect. Paul, you’re awesome!

I read Kitty’s delightful blog  The Show Must Go On almost every day.  She is witty and hilarious and kind.  Check her out!  But bonus…she is also a gifted photographer and has another blog The Cuckoo’s Nest filled with interesting pixs.  This gal can do anything.  She even turned me on to cooking cabbage (yup, Kitty, I finally bit the bullet and cooked that thing in the bottom of my fridge — delicious!  Who knew?)

Ginny over at Praying to Darwin is a crack up.  Always makes me LOL when I read of her and her family’s escapades in the great white north of Canada.  I’ve actually snorted with laughter when reading her before.  Thanks, Ginny, for cheering my day!

I love handmade paper products (books, cards, etc.), and I really admire Diane Aldred’s work, often showcased on her blog Much of a Muchness.  She has a real knack for choosing just the right design.  She’s also a good writer, and despite my jealousy over her exciting travels, I’m nominating her as well.

I don’t recall exactly how I first found Katie Hoffman’s blog Paint Fumes, but I have enjoyed visiting it and viewing her paintings for a long time now.  I always find something worthwhile to contemplate there, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about the art wold from her interesting written posts, as well.

When I first began blogging a year and a half ago, I was searching the blogosphere using the keyword “grief”  and came across Linda’s mysteroriley, a “blog I never wanted to write.”  What strikes me so much about this blog is Linda’s courage and the strength of her creative energy in the face of the painful loss of her 20-year-old son.  Linda, I admire you both as a writer and as a human being.  You inspire me!

So, there you have it folks!  And I want to encourage everyone to visit Montessori Mama‘s site, too.  She is a gifted artist, teacher, and a great gal. Thanks!

The Obamas’ National Day of Service

Recently, the Obamas called on Americans to participate in service projects in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day.  So my son and I signed up to help at a local goods bank in our city.  A goods bank is like a food bank only with furniture, clothing, etc. for needy families.

About eight years ago, Donna Hunnewell, came up with the idea after sitting through a years worth of meetings of our local Hunger and Homelessness Commission and hearing case workers talk about how much time it took them to track down things like cribs and couches for their clients.  Donna decided that while she could never work directly with the clients herself (she told us, “I’d sit there crying all day if I did that”), she did know that she could gather used furniture and clothes for the caseworkers so they could concentrate on doing their real job, helping these families with job training, housing, health care, and education issues.

Here is Donna, speaking at our volunteer event yesterday:

0119091124

At first Donna began informally, using her porch and garage as a holding space for goods, which she delivered in her van.  Then she moved operations to a mini-storage unit, then several units and finally a warehouse.  This past year her Lowell Wish Project surpassed the one million dollars in goods mark and has now served over 27,000 clients, including 600 families that received an entire house full of furniture, right down to the shower curtains and pots and pans.  Remarkably, she and her volunteers can now pull together a whole house full of furniture, etc.,  in just 20 minutes!

So, my son and I arrived and were amazed to join over a hundred volunteers as we sorted donations — everything has a clearly marked place, so it’s very easy to find.  I had to crack up because we were assigned to mitten and hat duty, supremely ironic because my son and I had a rather unpleasant discussion the other day about keeping track of mittens….  SO here we were, sorting donated mittens, destined for families who could not afford to buy such things.  What luck!

0119090927

After we sorted and refilled the various bins from an extra bin in the back of the warehouse, we wandered around looking for the places where some odd items that we found really belonged (these items had somehow made their way into the girls’ hats bin by mistake).  As we walked, we saw everyone busy sorting and organizing.

0119091112

And we saw so much stuff that had been donated, almost all of which was clean and usable, if sometimes a bit, well, ur, ugly, to be honest.  As we walked by one woman with two teenagers, I heard the mom explaining, “Yeh, it’s not that attractive, I know, but if you had a bedroom window that looked right out to the street, you’d be glad to have this to cover it!”  I saw the teens nod.

0119091113

At the end of the day, Donna told us that our band of Obama-incited volunteers had in one morning accomplished what it normally takes volunteers about three months to do.  “You helped make wishes come true.  Thanks!”  She also said that her Project is responsible for reducing the local landfill input by 1%, not bad for a little organization started out of someone’s garage!  Every little bit helps.

We will be going back for sure.  This was an easy service activity for me and my son to do together, and they offer a lot of flexibility for volunteers to come lots of different times of the week, inlcuding evenings and weekends.  “Guilt-free charity” Donna calls it — come again if you want, or not.  They also sponsor 18 service projects throughout the year, including a back-to-school backpack drive.  I’m sure we will find many ways to get involved.

So, on this inauguration day, hats off to the man who inspired over a hundred people ot spend their Saturday morning in a warehouse sorting donations to help out local families in need.  It’s going to be an interesting four years.

Store Wars… Cuke Skywalker versus Darth Tator

I just watched the funniest video about organic versus conventional produce….  Sounds dry, right?!  NO WAY!  It’s a Star Wars spoof made with real fruits and veggies in a real supermarket.  LOL.  Enjoy!