Thursday, February 28, 2013

random bits

 of humor for the week.

Last week, I saw a package of fake eyes at Michael's and wondered why anyone would need an entire bag of eyeballs.  Now I know.  Am rather tempted to do this at a couple of Targets.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Got a call during lunch to see if I wanted to sub last night.  As my car has recently developed expensive habits, I said yes.  Fortunately, it was at one of the CC campuses near me.  Rushed home to feed/water my cat and myself and then onwards to class.  To my horror, I walked in to discover it was a geometry class.  For THREE hours.

The best teacher trick I've learned is that when one is flailing--for any reason--make the students do the work.  So, I did.  Luckily there were enough markers for the white boards, so I drew groups of problems on the board.  

In every group--no matter the age, language, subject--you will find a smart-ass.  This is your Special Helper.  Last night, Calvin was mine.  He was brilliant--all shrieking about right angles, square roots,  and hypotenuse.   The class turned into such an exuberant session that we had the next door teacher coming to check on us.

The only down side to having such wonderful classes at night is that I'm wired up and writing lesson plans until late.

Well, that, and the enormous contrast in my day.  Mornings find me on the west side, watching students get dropped off in Escalades and Hummers and Jaguars.  Usually with mommy or nanny gushing over precious little so-and-so.  I feel sorry for this student body--they're already jaded with their weekends jaunts to Vail and Manhattan and summers in Europe.   They're lazy and disrespectful and entitled.  And they all have special little educational plans which the counselor has to go over.  (This is not to disparage children who actually need some kind of accommodation, but IMO, laziness and self-indulgence are not things which need an IEP.)

Oh, and they're all under 14.

By evening, I am in run-down classrooms that have broken desks and few amenities that we consider basic.  The students are dropped off by friends/family, walk or hop off the bus.  They've come from work and/or raising their kids.  And here they are.  Polite.  Funny.  And I haven't found the right word for the spirit of adults who are willing to learn--either the scariness/frustration of English or coming back to get their GED.

I hope it doesn't come across as condescending when I say I am humbled and inspired by the second group of students.  Yes, this population of the educational world has challenges, but for now?  It is giving me courage to get up in the morning and to stay in the classroom.

Monday, February 25, 2013

soul balm

Despite the 50 mph winds blasting through our town and electricity being on/off, my first ESL subbing class occurred tonight.  I had forgotten how much I actually like teaching.  What a difference a room full of kind and respectful students had on the learning process and my soul.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

close to magic

“Singers and Musicians are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they'll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every note, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because musicians and singers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment - to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another's heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes. 

~ David Ackert, LA Times

Friday, February 22, 2013

begin again

As Anne-with-an-e would say:  tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.  

Happiest of days--it's Friday!!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

because we can

Since high school, I have loved & listened to Bon Jovi.  They just kicked off a world wide tour and are coming to Austin in April.  

I. Just. Won. Tickets.   And two t-shirts.  And $50 for dinner the night of the concert.   This is far beyond a minute delight!!!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

here's to your health

A little snarky joy as I not only have to work my main job this holiday Monday, I am working tonight as well.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

capacity for delight

From this morning's reading:

'The quality of life is in proportion, 
to the capacity for delight. 
The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.'
 ~Julia Cameron

a sweet card from a grad school classmate.

penny found on a trash dumping trek

A newspaper-clipped recipe fell out of a book this morning and I took it for a sign that I ought to see if my torch still worked after the move.  Am happy to report that it does.  Not so happy to report that ground almonds catch fire rather dramatically.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

fiscal, piscal

What's sad is that I'm not a starting teacher and I'm not even at that figure --just filed the 2012 taxes.  Priorities are indeed skewed.

Friday, February 15, 2013


From an 8th grader as an apology for talking too much in my class.

Oddest thing ever--my celery-loving 6th grader came in to swap candy for veg.

A gemstone tiger.  

And I neglected to take a photo of my favorite gift of the day.  A student walked by with his overflowing Valentine bag o' goodies and plopped down on the ground and dug through everything to find me something 'magical' [I think I overuse that particular adjective in class] from Willy Wonka.   So while it wasn't particularly bought/designed for me, thought it was very sweet that he would part with some of his treasured sugar.

Friday!  Don't know of another word that brings such delight at present.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

the syntax of things

since feeling is first

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

~ e.e. cummings

Friday's poetry, a day early.  May your path have laughter, fluttering eyelids and some Spring foolishness today.  Happy hearts to each of you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras

Some--what do you call a Shrove Tuesday magical person?--elf created a festive table in the staff work room this morning.  And all the faithful children were running around cramming in as much Valentine sugar as possible before tomorrow's ashes.  Clickety beads were everywhere today and lots of sparkles as the sun returned this afternoon.  

Despite the challenges of this particular posting, I am so very glad to be living in sunshine.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

year of the snake

Very fun to live around the corner from the Asian Market as I've gotten to hear those little firecrackers and during my market run, saw the dragon dancers.

Forgive the horrid shot, but it was the only one I grabbed from last night's Zydeco festivities. Lovely live band with a French singer,lots of people practicing their swing steps and many sparkly purple/gold/green hats everywhere.  I had yummy tofu and enjoyed my dual culture celebration.

And in the spirit of the skin-shedding snake, decided it was time for a spring wallet.   Dithered about in the palace to accessories that is called Charming Charlie's and came home with purple chiffon roses.  Tres chic!  And I'm hoping that today's fortune is true. 

Gong Hay Fat Choy; may it be an auspicious year!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


This little cutie-patootie is six months old today.

Really needs no caption.

Friday, February 8, 2013

the solution to all worldly problems

Drive your car, drive to work
Drive to work to pay for your car
Drive your car, drive to work
Drive to work to pay for your car
The way I see it, just get rid of the car
Then you won't have to drive to work
The reason why you won't have to work
Is 'cause you'll have no car to pay for.

~Akara K.


I would love to live a car-less life; especially after this week of transmission scares and clutches beginning to fail.  Some sensor is off on my left wheel and the a/c doesn't work anymore.  I hate to even allow the thought to gain entrance into my life, but it may be time to consider replacing my faithful 2004 Honda.


Thursday, February 7, 2013


The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways.


I'd like to know exactly the time line between the thought & the ways.  Because if this is truly true--I'd be slender/fit, living a creative & comfortable life in a serene & cosy home.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

unholy glee

An 8th grader wanted to get something from his locker during 6th period today.  I told him that it was fine with me, but then he declined saying that the principal would leap out and get him in trouble.  I told him that was because the rooms & hallways were monitored.

That got the entire room's attention.  I said 'you only think Jesus is watching you, but all these crucifixes (i?) are cameras and the principals have apps on their phones to watch what's going on over the entire campus.'

Still snickering over this.   If I'm fired over my flippant sacralige?  It would be worth it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

joys, stumbling upon

Early Valentine from a jr. high student's mother with the words: "I know you guys get tired of sugary treats."  Amen and thank you!

The traffic gods smiled upon me and I was able to zip across the city at 4 p.m. and was able to get both my faculty parking permit and my ID badge (the photo is beyond hideous, so it will remain hidden).  I know they're just pieces of plastic and I'm only an on-call sub, but I'm still jazzed about being officially being on college staff!

Then I popped down to BookPeople to take more blurry author photos.  Tonight's treat was Dave Barry.  While he did give a synopsis of his latest book, he mostly just ad-libbed and took audience questions.  It was lovely to laugh to tears.   He has perfected dead-pan delivery.

At the end, I happened to see the hosts of the Superbowl party I attended--not only are they fun & globe-trotting/living people, it is nice to have been in town long enough to begin to recognize people while out/about.

Monday, February 4, 2013

six degrees

A high school classmate in Portland connected me to her Austin friend via facebook, upon which we (the Austinites) discovered that we were on the same undergrad campus at the same time.  It's been a fun connection as she and her husband are foodies.  

While it's perhaps not the most appetizing thing in a bowl, this broccoli divinity is what I'll be living on for the next month.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Despite the EARly a.m. class today, it has been a weekend of lovely elegance.

Delish dinner last night at the Driskill Hotel--one of my favorite buildings in downtown Austin.

And tonight found me at the school's annual gala/auction at another downtown hotel.

My favorite item at the silent auction.  I left before the tallies were in, but am guessing by the raves I'm still collecting from yesterday's concert--that this will be one of the top bids.

Friday, February 1, 2013

with a wink and a smile

lyrics from one of my favorite songs in today's concert...stay tuned to hear how 300+ singers did this morning!  Welcome February.

A Wink and a Smile

~Shaiman & McLean

I remember the days of just keeping time,
of hanging around in sleepy towns forever.
Back roads empty for miles.
Well, you can't have a dream and cut it to fit,
but when I saw you, I knew
we'd go together like a wink & a smile.

Leave your old jalopy by the railroad track.
We'll get a hip double-dip tip-toppy two-seat Cadillac.
So you can rev her up; and don't go slow,
it's only green lights and all rights.
Let's go together with a wink & a smile.

Now my heart hearts music; such a simple song.
Sing it again; the notes never end.
This is where I belong.

(dramatic key change)

Just the sound of your voice, the light in your eyes,
we're so far away from yesterday, together,
with a wink & a smile.

Weeeeee go together
Like a wink & a smile.

(if you've clicked on the title, the song ought to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.  You're welcome.)