March 31, 2008

Mission: Paint

We had decided to paint today, after cleaning out the room and taping yesterday, but once Mark has a mission, it is all systems go. So, we painted our family room/downstairs den last night. The color looks beautiful--it looks like a different room--and we should have enough to paint the guest room and office the same lovely color. We painted it Lakefront, which is a nice steel blue. I'm not posting any pictures, so that friends/family who read this will have to come visit us at some point.

I promised knitting pictures, so here are my two major works in progress that will be getting worked on this Spring Break (woo-hoo):

Mark's Ravenclaw scarf, from the Charmed Knits book

A stole for myself out of a lovely variegated yarn--blue, purple, and gray tweedy stuff

Spring Break #4: Spring Break 2000 in Cheyenne at State FBLA
In 2000, I was a sophomore in college, but I attended Wyoming's State FBLA because my sister was running for President of FBLA, and I was her campaign manager and go-to girl. I had a suite at either Little America, or the Hitching Post (I honestly can't remember), and helped out with the whole Chugwater FBLA chapter. It was very fun--time with Sarah and friends, reliving the whole fabulous FBLA experience--but it makes the countdown because I was also spending a lot of time listening to a mix tape from this nice guy in college who I'd been on one date with, but who had given me this tape. I probably listened to it forty times. It had a lot of Journey, Toto, and 80s rock.

March 29, 2008

Spring Break! Whoo!

Yep, that's right. I'm on Spring Break. So what did I do with my first day off? I went to a tour of the new jail facility Mr. Cool will be working in, and then I went to a teacher store to stock up for the next two months. (A big shout out to Knowledge Bound in Windsor--if you are a teacher in northern CO, go there.)

Plans? Well, we (I) hope to: paint, clean, fix good meals, work out, go to the museum, go to a yarn shop, knit, read, plan a plethora of Greek lit. lessons (coming up: The Odyssey, Antigone, and Greek mythology), visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for Gold, see a movie, eat nice food, work on my knitting club for teens, ride the motorcycle, clean the van inside and out, and relax. Whew!

Here, I'll be counting down my five best Spring Breaks ever. Feel free to share your own!

#5: Spring Break 2007--Utah and Arizona, including the Grand Canyon
Mark and I hit the road right after school, to drive through Colorado to Utah, where we enjoyed Monument Valley. We then hit the Grand Canyon, and stayed in Scottsdale at my grandparent's house.
Best Moment: Finally seeing the Grand Canyon, which even after 27 years of hype was amazing.
Worst Moment: Being quite sick with a head cold almost the entire week. Fresh, blooming air and swimming were much less fun.

An inspring sight at the Grand Canyon

Mr. Cool and I at the Grand Canyon

I collect pictures of themed Coke machines at national parks/monuments.

March 28, 2008

Those Aren't My Pants: Tattoos

Tattoos became popular in the western world after Captain Cook and his contemporary explorers returned to Europe with tales and examples of Japanese, Maori, and other Pacific Islander indigenous art - tribal markings and local lore etched into the skin with whale bone needlecombs and hard wood hammers - using the natural ink of sea life to pay tribute to one's culture in the most public way possible.

The 1800s found Europe's Royalty escaping to the Pacific Rim and returning with the latest craze of Conspicuous Consumption (if you’ve never read The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstien Veblen – you’re missing out on the most accurate social commentary to reach print that’s as relevant today as it was when it was written), sparking a long lasting fad among the landed gentry. Unfortunately, in 1891, Samuel O’Riley began the downturn of body art as his invention of the tattoo gun would eventually bring tribal rituals to the underclass, proving status and prestige can no longer be bought with ink.

Along with his invention, came the trivial art that now plagues our society. For every tramp stamp, barbed wire band, broken heart, or "MOM" tattoo that clutters our society, let alone the blitz of tattoo reality shows, it makes me long for the pure days when tattoos were for warriors, poets, royalty, the landed gentry, and men for whom scurvy was a common occurrence.

Not surprisingly, some of the greatest concentrations of American Tattoos are in the Jails, Prisons, and local Harley Davidson dealerships. (I happen to frequent two of the three - but can you guess which ones?) In my time I have seen some pretty odd stuff: tattoo needles crafted from staples, pens, pins, batteries, or paperclips; tattoo guns built from radios, soap dispensers, and computer parts, colored ink manufactured from Sunday comics, home depot ads, and even jolly ranchers.

Tear drops, bunny tracks, rosaries, crosses, hearts, horns, dragons,guns, knives, Aztec symbology, and gang affiliated scribbles, it's all been documented with jail house "hepatitis needles." Some of it good, some of it bad, and a surprisingly amount misspelled (one guy got his own name wrong!). The coolest tattoo I've see "inside" - a replica of his baby's footprint, very tasteful. The creepiest - an ode to white supremacy on one's wedding tackle. This week, while scouring the endless sleeves, half suits, and various murals sported by my clientele, I noticed a guys' eyes (not something you would normally admit in such a setting). I asked him about the work on his skull and neck (they love to share), and then asked what was tattooed on his eye lids. He closed his eyes, and similar to Dr. Jones' love interest from Raiders of the Lost Ark, this gentleman had "Game Over," one word for each lid. I suppose in the end, while laying his blue festooned casket, having his homies parade by paying their respects to "Joker," that his final statement should be so expressive: life is game which I don't take seriously and will lose anyway. His mom must be so proud...

Me and Mr., Mr. Cool . . .

Mr. Cool is striving to be ready to guest blog soon. Since we are two months out from our sixth anniversary, I thought it might be time to share my:
Top Five Things Mr. Cool Does That I Pretend to Hate But Secretly Enjoy

#1: Every time he sucks me into an episode of Modern Marvels, relying on my natural and geeky curiosity to propel me into watching the history of glue.

#2: The fact that every time I organize an Oscars picking contest, or an NCAA bracket, he beats me. He beats me even though I do research and care much, much more than he does.

#3: He gets crumbs everywhere. He cannot eat any type of food without scattering crumbs thither and yon.

#4: One of his favorite things to do is to fly model airplanes. Not outside, though, but on a computer game/program with a special joystick device. That's right, he flies model airplanes on a computer.

#5: While he might deny it, the truth is he is a blanket hog. A mathematician/scientist may work this out to a complex mass/velocity equation, but the reality is he always has more covers unless I stoop to stealthy maneuvers.

Stay tuned for Mr. Cool's "Those Aren't My Pants!"

March 27, 2008

Wait a Few Minutes

A common refrain in states/countries with varying weather is the comment, "If you don't like the weather right now, wait ten minutes and it will change." This was somewhat true in my Wyoming childhood, but even more true in my Colorado adulthood.

See, yesterday it was 70s, sunny, and birds were beginning to chirp. I woke up this morning and it was rainsnowing with a bit of sleet and temps in the 30s. It hasn't changed in about two hours. I believe I deserve a mental anguish day for having to put up with this. I liked the weather yesterday! I didn't want it to change!

Mr. Cool has been diligently working on his guest blog, which hopefully will appear tomorrow, and on Saturday I'll be taking pictures of my knitting projects and my fabulous crafting desk.

So how to fill up today? With random thoughts of course! (I need some random thought theme music.)

#1: I have to admit, I just can't take American Idol anymore. I've hung in for a while, but I'm through. Mostly they just make me get out my IPod and listen to the good versions of songs.

#2: I'm beginning to get tired of the election. I've enjoyed it for a while, but I think it's time for a nice summer hiatus before the conventions. We need to recharge our interest in these people and events. I did hear an interesting report on NPR on the sounds of candidates last names, and how that plays into their likability. Apparently, we voters like names with a solid, DUH-duh (stressed/unstressed) sound, like Tru-man, Linc-oln, Ad-ams, Clint-on, Rea-gan. That sort of thing. Apparently, both Obama and Clinton (obviously), score higher than McCain, but as Hilary has been branding herself as Hilary, all bets are off.

#3: Eating healthy, non-processed food makes you feel healthy. Shocking, I know.

#4: When you've been working on a research project for over a month, and your teacher tells you every class for two whole weeks that you must have your list of ten sources by 3-26, you should have it. She's unlikely to be very sympathetic.

#5: is a time-sucking fabulous addiction. If you knit or crochet, check it out. You will have to get on a waiting list to join, but it is amazing.

#6: I still love The Simpsons. Even after all these years, nothing amuses me more. Nearly everything that happens to me I can relate to an episode of The Simpsons. I don't think that's necessarily good, but I do laugh a lot between 6-7 PM.

Thank you, and good day!

March 25, 2008

Queen Mab

In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio's big, dramatic speech begins, "Oh, then I see Queen Mab hath been with thee," and then proceeds to unspool a dramatic yarn about Queen Mab, a fairy who brings specific dreams, all meant to taunt Romeo for his belief in dreams.

I had a bizarre dream last night, so I suppose Queen Mab visited. I dream a lot, and frequently remember my dreams, and that's been true most of my life. Mr. Cool rarely remembers his, although recently he had a great one that concerned arming battling Lillipution-types in our house with toothpicks and cocktail swords. It was pretty funny.

So, last night, I spent a good deal of the night knitting. I knitted for a while on Mr. Cool's Ravenclaw scarf, and then cast on a new project, a "My So-Called Scarf" from Imagiknits in Patons Soy Wool Stripes Natural Earth. It's going okay--it has a bit of a tricky pattern, but good practice, and it should be a nice scarf, if not for me, then as a gift.

I stayed up a bit late working on this new project (I had to cast on three times to get the first row right), and then finally went to bed. I immediately started one of my all-night dreams. These are dreams I fitfully have all night, despite waking up, or getting up. I dreamt that it was the end of the world, thanks to biochemical warfare, and everyone was preparing to die. Planes were passing overhead, there was a general apocalyptic feeling, and I was gathering together my bags of knitting WIPs (works in progress), because I was pretty sure I could take those with me. An interesting thought--somehow, I was confident that books and money would not be permitted in heaven, but the Lord would surely let me have my knitting.

Curious, no? I woke up this morning and completed a few quick rows on my scarf, just in case.

March 23, 2008

Sunday Musings

First off, Christ the Lord is risen today! He is risen indeed!

Sunday Musing #1: Lazarus & Buffy
Today, we had a wonderful sermon on the resurrection of Lazarus. My pastor, David Shelley, is a delightful, intellectual speaker. and you can find his sermons on iTunes by searching Thirst No More. I believe the actual podcast is Bucket (Thirst no More). Anyway, he questioned us at the end to consider who had it better: Lazarus, who was in paradise and returned to earth, or the thief Jesus promised to see in paradise that day.

Anyway, this got me thinking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In Season 5 (I think--I don't have these on DVD), Buffy dies sacrificing herself for her sister. Her friends think that she is in hell, so they work really hard to bring her back from the dead. She returns back, but her friends were mistaken. She was in heaven, which was quite a bit better than earth (especially when your job is slaying vampires). Buffy waits quite a while to tell her friends, and it takes her a while to gel with life. It made me wonder about Lazarus--did he ever tell his sisters about paradise?

Sunday Musing #2: Bracketology
So, my bracket is already in serious trouble. I had a good feeling about K-State and Michael Beasley, so I took them to the Final Four. I know, I know. Then Duke lost, Marquette, the Wyoming women, and I was in despair. I have since resolved that I will not fill out a bracket next year. Sure for some people (see Mr. Cool), filling out a bracket engages you in the tournament. For overly competitive people like me, however, a failing bracket causes pain, anguish, and a diminished interest in March madness. Maybe, if I do not fill out a bracket, I can just enjoy the spectacle.

Sunday Musing #3: Laziness + Tetris
I've had three days off. I had grand plans. Have I accomplished them? No. I have knit, watched basketball, college wrestling, made meals, done some laundry, and read pattern magazines. Oh--I also loaded Tetris onto my Ipod nano this week. This was not a good idea. I didn't grow up playing video games (thanks mom and dad!), but I have always had a fondness for Tetris. I believe it is the perfectly designed game for us obsessive-compulsive types. However, once we get started, we must continue until we get perfectly straight lines. Suffice it to say, I haven't planned my honors Oedipus unit, read more of Kristin Lavransdattar, or figured out how to hijack HBO (I wish I was watching John Adams, Hannah.) Nope. Maybe during my Spring Break . . .

March 21, 2008

We are an American Family!

Last Saturday, Mark and I started out at a gun show and then visited a yarn store. Today, we combined our hobbies again. The couple that enjoys dissimilar hobbies together, stays together. Other pictures from our trip today might turn up in a future "Those Aren't My Pants" column, and a few will not be posted in the fear that I start receiving Militia e-mails. (She shoots and knits--how useful!)

March 20, 2008

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Today would have been Mr. Rogers's eightieth birthday. Please celebrate by wearing a sweater (I've got on my favorite cardigan) and using your imagination.


When my wife told me I should start my own blog, it was given its due consideration. Which is to say for the next 15 minutes, Amanda realized she was stuck in the passenger’s seat and had opened Pandora’s box when it comes to my rantings and thoughts as to what one would title such an endeavor. Obvious my sojourn into the blogosphere must be titled: “we put a man on the moon…”, as if you’ve been in my presence in the last few years for longer than 20 minutes, most of my rants start with “we put a man on the moon for Pete’s sake, why can’t we: have a front windshield defrost button, design a car door that doesn’t dump snow on your seat when you open it, eliminate the penny (more on this one later) or switch to dollar coinage, or for that matter... put another man on the moon?

I think you get the picture, so let me hit you with some knowledge (TANGENT ALERT!): Pete, in the “Pete’s sake” phraseology, refers to Captain Pete Conrad (USN), Command Pilot of Apollo 12, the third man in human history to step foot on the moon, and one of my many heroes. Contrary to popular belief, while the lunar module was often called “gumdrop,” it did not sport a thin candy shell, but your head has a thick candy shell if you have to read this sentence twice to get it.

Alas, as my rantings would prove, what is at first obvious is sadly not the truth of the matter. While I enjoy the freedom of writing and ranting, I’m more hands-on with instruments of destruction than computers. So, Amanda graciously offered to host my guest ranting which lead me to my current title: “THOSE AREN’T MY PANTS,” which is an oft used declaration to pass the buck in my line of work. (If you aren’t up to speed on my biography: I work as a Corrections Officer for the Sheriff’s Office and have had plenty of opportunities in the last 4 years to analyze the depths of the stupidity of the human condition and failure to take responsibility.)

I want to do more with my semi-weekly guest blog than question why NASA hasn’t mass produced my jet pack yet. So, in the coming weeks, I will share with you a few of my “man on the moon” moments, regale you with stories from my work place, and attempt to share my thoughts on the topics of life, love, guns, politics, religion, and the counter-productive coining of our nation’s most useless currency.


March 19, 2008

Oh, the Horror

I just finished checking my students' tests for stray marks. This is an important part of sending the tests off, but also gives the worried teacher many fearful moments, as she realizes that she has not been able to teach her class how to spell helmets (9/10 said "helmits" was OK!), or what personification was, or many other things that might mean her job when the scores come out.

However, I was saved from total depression by one student's delightful spelling: he said he would like to visit the "Eyefull" Tower in Paris. I loved that--such a fun/accurate misspelling!

Woman, I Feel Like A Man

I like to surf blogs. You do too, don't lie, you're here. I found a new one today, that combines knitting and women's reproductive rights. Yeah, in case you hadn't noticed, knitting is big everywhere. We feminists are reclaiming the creative arts and pink, proving that we can knit, have hot pink ipods, and still be dang strong.

Anyway, reproductive rights. I'm pro-life. I believe life begins at the moment of conception. When that sperm finds the egg (bingo!), a new life has been created. No ifs, ands, or buts. (As part of my beliefs, I don't believe in the death penalty. Life straight across the board.)

As I read fellow young feminists' blogs, I am confronted with a pretty common feeling: pro-choice is pro-woman. If I am pro-life (or, as they call it, anti-choice), I am not for women. I am for feudalistic slavery to men and our reproductive systems. On some level, I can understand this feeling. History books I've read have opened my eyes to what women went through in the past, and I sure as heckfire don't want to be pregnant fourteen times. However, I still believe in life and women. Can't I be for both? Now, more than ever, women have other choices than abortion if they don't want to spend their adult lives pregnant.

I don't know that I have much more to say about this, but I'm still thinking. Perhaps there are even more issues here--can I be pro-life, pro-women, and still follow God? I suppose my biggest gripe is that I want my fellow feminist knitters to accept me--to accept that my morals are not backwards and misguided. Can't we all just get along?

March 18, 2008

The Perils of Last Hour Plan

For any secondary teachers out there, this will make sense. If you're not a member of our hardy tribe, read on, and let me know if this applies to you.

High school teachers are blessed with at least one period of planning time each day, depending on your schedule. This is time for you to plan for lessons, grade, accomplish administrivia, and work on anything you need to for your classes.

Today, due to our testing schedule, I have last hour plan. Usually, I have second hour, which is okay. Last hour plan, however, is a special thing. Either beloved or condemned, last hour plan frees you for a quiet, blissful time. From the end of third hour until the end of the day, I have no students. I love it.

It is not without its perils. The largest is this: you don't have to do anything immediately. Your next class isn't for at least eighteen hours or so. Today the perils are doubled--the quarter ended last Friday, so I have no pressing grading, and I have short and easy classes tomorrow due to testing.

What should I be doing? Planning ahead, getting a head start on something, being a productive member of the work force.

What am I doing? Well, blogging, obviously. When I'm done, I plan to knit. Ah, the glories of a last hour plan.

March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of the day, I present:

The Lorica of St. Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today through the strength of Heaven
the rays of the sun,
the radiance of the moon,
the splendor of fire,
the speed of lightening,
the swiftness of the wind,
the depth of the sea,
the stability of the earth
the firmness of rock.

I arise today through the power of God:
God's might to comfort me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to lead me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's Heavenly Host to save me
from the snares of the devil,
from temptations to sin,
from all who wish me ill,
from near and afar, alone and with others.

May Christ shield me today
against poison and fire,
against drowning and wounding,
so that I may fulfill my mission
and bear fruit in abundance.
Christ behind and before me,
Christ behind and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around and about me,
Christ on my right and on my left,
Christ when I lie down at night,
Christ when I rise in the morning,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone that speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

- St Patrick

March 16, 2008

Poll #1 Closed

Mark will get his acrylic camoflauge hat. Sigh. It might take me a while to find a pattern.

Timely Truman

When the election season arrives, I find myself returning to all my presidential books, seeking more knowledge and tidbits to add to election discussions. I am currently re-reading/finishing David McCullough's Truman, a brilliant book on one of my favorite presidents (yes, dad, I know he was a democrat.) Whenever I am reading a book, the person I am spending the most time with is bombarded with information. Now that I am an old married person, Mr. Cool takes the brunt of this info assault.

Unfortunately, he doesn't like Truman, and considers him a party hack. I've tried numerous arguments (Marshall liked him! Sure, he started out working for a party boss, but by the time he was president Pendergast was dead! He said, "The buck stops here."), but each argument seems to fail.

As I continued to read today (my reward for finishing grades), I came across this line: "Hopkins [executive clerk], who was himself extremely punctual, also noted admiringly of Truman, 'When he went to lunch, if he left word that he would return at 2:00 PM, he was back without fail, not at 2:05, not at 1:15, but at 2:00 PM.' The longer he was in office, the more conscious Truman seemed of time. On his desk now he had a total of four clocks, as well as two others elsewhere in the room and his own wristwatch." p. 557

Perhaps this will convince my punctual husband. In reality, my bigger problem is probably my need to convince Mr. Cool that he should like Truman. I'm afraid I fall into the category of people who feel that if I like something, it is worth liking, and everyone I know should like it. If they don't, they're stupid and I must argue and debate until they agree with me. Seriously, though, Truman was a great president--and from Missouri!

Why, Yes, I Do Knit a Bit

Before I return to my regularly scheduled grade production, I finally visited my sister (the sole recipient of my decent finished knit objects), and obtained some pictures. I must confess that yes, I have only finished two nice objects--a novelty ribbon yarn scarf, and a Patons SWS iPod cozy (based a bit on a Stitch n' Bitch design). (Wait! I made Hnnh a headwarmer! Hah! Three nice pieces!) I have three higher level items on the needles--a stole, knitted toilet paper, and a Ravenclaw scarf--but it might be a bit before they are done.

Sarah's Ribbon Scarf
Here it is, on the model, and in its natural habitat, a giant CostCo container of the fabulous Jelly Belly.

Sarah's iPod Cozy
I made this out of Paton's Soy Wool Stripes, in a bit of a rasberry chocolate colorway. I experienced my first real finishing and blocking on this project, and of course, it multiplied in size and is a bit big for her iPod Nano. I show it here with my iPod modeling the cozy.
Bear with me as I work out my camera and loading pictures into blogger, but here are a few of my knitting projects. I am now feeling a bit sad that my three carefully completed projects were all gifts! I must be a nice person! (Cue maniacal laughter.)

March 14, 2008

With Apologies to REM

It's the end of the quarter as we know it, (and grades are due!)

That's sad, it ends with your work late, overdue and out of date, and I am not afraid to give you that bad grade.

8 am, Monday morning, I must turn in all my grades
So, no, you can't turn it in on Tuesday and be okay, why?

Cuz it's the end of the quarter as we know it, (and grades are due!)

March 12, 2008

Standardized Testing: The Haikus

Students sit silent.
Comprehension or question?
Teachers are more stressed.

It is time for break.
Sudden loudness fills the halls.
Testing is pure peace.

I walk in circles,
Under a flourescent glare,
Fill in the bubbles.

March 11, 2008

The Unforgivable Sin

Warning: Semi-Adult Content Contained in Rambling Rant

When I was young, I used to listen to DC Talk. One of their classic tunes contained the immortal line: "S-E-X is a test when I'm pressed, so back up off with less of that zest." (from memory) This came to mind tonight as I listened to continued news of the Elliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. In our modern, open society, I can catch re-runs of Sex and the City on one channel, and on the other watch a crusading governor brought down by sex. We in America are apparently unable to escape our puritan past. We want to be modern and free of prudishness, but nothing will splash a headline across the newspapers faster than the hint of sex. Multiple politicians have been tainted by the faintest whiff of a sex scandal. Remember poor Larry Craig? The former senator from Idaho merely reached under a bathroom stall. Ted Haggard, Bill Clinton--sex is what sinks them. I seem to remember drugs being connected to Haggard, but sex was the real crime.

Now, to be clear, I'm not advocating infidelity or homosexuality, just an "equal rights" view of sexual sin. See, I'm a glutton. I like to eat a lot of bad food. This is one of the seven deadly sins, right up there with lust, but while people might not find me as attractive as a skinny model, they will never impeach me or destroy my career because I visit the vending machine more than I ought (or, if I were in power, because I sent the Secret Service to buy me french fries).

I could do a quick rundown of various sins, and we could all have fun ranking them in order of seriousness, but the truth is, a sin is a sin. Are we attracted to sexual scandals because sex is attractive? Are we interested in train wrecks, tabloids, and soap operas? Heck yes, I would answer, but the comments I am hearing in the wake of Spitzer's are incredibly judgmental. Maybe this all comes down to choosing who to judge--or, more deeply, realizing that we cannot judge. I may feel shocked and drawn to sexual scandal, while feeling quite content in my own feelings that I will never be involved in a sexual scandal. Would I be as drawn to the story if Spitzer had paid a NYCPD officer to bring Krispy Kremes to D.C.?

I could turn this into a longer rant on the focus on homosexuality in a lot of Christian organizations. When I first taught a homosexual student, I had to realize that my sins were no worse than hers, and if God could love me, I must love her. It makes me weep that fellow Christians can judge so quickly one sin, while not noticing their own. We can sigh, and shake our heads, and claim that politicians are an immoral, power-hungry lot, but we fail to recognize that their trysts are the same as our gossip, pride, and wrath.

My rambles have no real point, I suppose, just expressing my thoughts on this issue. I have thought a lot about this, as Mr. Cool (my hubby) could confirm. Sex is a test, and it seems to be one we are eager to watch individuals fail.

I, I Will Survive

I leave you now to prepare for a four hour study hall, in which I will guard/trap/cage twenty-one freshmen so that they cannot disturb the testing sophomores. I have plans for test prep. I also brought movies.

Let's play similes!
Freshmen for four hours is like:
-visiting Chuck E. Cheese with septuplets
-sitting on a delayed plane on the tarmac for hours
-an extended stay at the monkey house at the zoo
What are your ideas?

Update: 3-11-2008, 14:17
Actually, it was quite pleasant. I managed to get them through about an hour of test prep, which they were quite good at, and then we happily watched movies and colored. Votes on my G/PG movies resulted in an animated water feature: Flushed Away and Finding Nemo. We enjoyed ourselves, but now must prepare for more testing tomorrow.

Final Simile: Four hours with freshmen is like my old job at the movie theatre, with less popcorn.

March 10, 2008

A Cool Shakespearean Line

Why hasn't this shown up in politics?

" . . . a wolvish-ravening lamb . . . " Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 2

Used to describe Romeo when Juliet is briefly angry at him for [spoiler deleted], and is listing the ways he looked good on the outside but was bad on the inside. Basically, we're talking about a fluffy lamb who eats like a wolf. My froshies had great fun with the idea of a cute lamb preying on another adorable critter. This counts as my yarn/knitting post of the day.

Just what exactly is rural?

I'm taking a chance here--dad, please don't think this post means I'm supporting Obama. I'm just questioning semantics.

While still a registered Republican (see, dad?), I've been fascinated by this year's democratic primary. Finally, someone other than a white male is running for president. I love learning about presidents, and I can guarantee you that they were all white males. (Several also had white hair.) At last we have a choice!

Anyway, I'm not so sure about the Clintons, and I've been secretly rooting for Obama. (I guess that secret is out.) Recently, my native state of Wyoming had a good bit of attention focused on it by the Democratic party, and Obama won. Obama also won in the caucuses of my adopted state, Colorado. I grew up in a rural area of Wyoming, and I now teach in a rural area of Colorado. So, I guess I just don't understand this quote from Bill Clinton: "If you can unite the energy and the new people that he's brought in and the people in these vast swaths of small-town and rural America that she's carried overwhelmingly, if you had those two things together she thinks it'd be hard to beat," Clinton told ABC News in Pass Christian, Miss.

See, I felt like Colorado and Wyoming were rural areas with small towns, like Chugwater. I've never been president though, so maybe I'm wrong.

Every Other Day of the Week is Fine (with apologies to the Mamas & Papas)

Tomorrow, the state testing starts for my high school. Kids will be spending hours over the next two weeks testing their skills in math, reading, writing, and science. I teach English--thus 1/2-2/3 of the test, depending on the grade.

I get a little stressed out this time of year. The importance and weight of state standardized testing in the past decade or so has increased the pressure on teachers. We must find a way to communicate the correct information and we must help students succeed, or we must not be doing our jobs correctly. Just last week, I had a student ask, "If we do badly on the test, doesn't that make you a bad teacher?" I was a bit floored. I had no good response.

Partially, my lack of a comeback relates to the fact that it's difficult to convince HS students to give their all for a standardized test. We bribe them with prizes rewarded for appearing to do well, but as I review last year's scores yet again, I don't feel it's helping. One of my most reliable writers did not score so hot last year--does that mean he has improved dramatically, or does it mean that he doesn't care about the test?

Maybe this is just a Monday malaise. I'm psyching myself up to psych up my students, to run quickly over a few last things, to really try to prepare and encourage them for the tests. Hopefully, they'll give it their best shot.

March 09, 2008

Pew Writing

John Meets Jesus--Take 2

I did not know him, but for the dove.

A bird, a voice speaking to me, the voice crying in the wilderness.

Pure, white, then light from clouds, just as white. "This is my son--I am well-pleased."

Joy, fear--the end of me is the beginning of Him.

But I did not know him, but for the Dove. I turned, spoke to my followers. "Be his--he is the Lamb of God--He takes away the sins of the world. Take His blood to complete my water."

I watched them hesitate, repeated myself, and looked at him--the light, the dove, the lamb.

I knew him--as I had leapt in the womb and first known him. The lamb!

I needed a locust.

I wrote this poem over three years ago--1-15-2005--while sitting in a church service. I like it more than almost anything I've written, so I thought it should be the first bit of writing I put up. The next poem was also written during that service. It was productive.

Facts & Figures

We can total up the world's population, food supplies, $, diseases, celebrities, weight, pets, race, gender--

But is there any way to total up the world's sin?

All of them?

Maybe a survey would help--

People Like Pictures

This is my birthday cake. Why is it here? Because the title of my blog refers to a line from The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf hands Frodo the recently heated ring and says, "It is quite cool." Of course, he's talking about the temperature, but many LOTR nerds (hey, buddies!) have adopted it as a phrase to express our feelings about LOTR.

So, the cake? My family and friend Hannah threw me a surprise golden birthday (I turned 28 on the 28th of the month) party, with a LOTR theme, and this is my one ring cake. It's quite cool.


I've tried a few blogs--one with the purpose of helping me write a novel, and one with the purpose of working on my class reunion. I ditched them both. This blog has no purpose, other than to let me purge my adult conversation, and document that I actually completed my knitting projects.

I've actually been encouraged to start this blog, and I guess part of my purpose is to quit leaving long comments on my friends' blogs--perhaps this can serve as a place for me to let all my conversation hang out.

See, I teach freshmen in high school (and two classes of sophomores, but, hey, same dif), and I spend a lot of the day not expressing my thoughts and feelings, but rather redirecting theirs.

So here I can talk, about presidents and purls, sisters and stitches, Jane Austen and folk shawls, Tolkien and textures, and anything else that crosses my mind.

Stay or don't, but I'm looking forward to this. A post a day? One can only grade for so long.