Saturday, March 10, 2007

It is the height of flowering tree time - redbuds, fruit trees - couds of pink and white blossoms. The lilacs and wisteria are starting to burst - just over the last three days, adding purple to the haze. Zachary continues to call spring "color time" and he is right. Bob reports bluebonnents popping up in south Texas, though I have seen none here yet - no blossomes at least. The plants are in evidence and many people think the cold wet winter sets us up for a great bluebonnet season. I hope so!

Ruth and I have been doing serious spring cleaning - house and yard, and that feels great. We are organizing the craft/guest room with marvelous results. I continue to be in awe of the ability she and Joanna both have to see chaos and impose a system I just don't think like that - have trouble finding a handle with which to attack physical disorder - a way to think about how to make sense of things. What I'm good at is persistence. Its so wonderful to have help getting started and looking at space and objects differently. I' also thrilled that Ruth finished the repaint of the kitchen and put on new drawer pulls. Its all bronze/copper and green now, which is fun.

This is the first day of spring break and Bob and Chris both seem to be in need of it - as most teachers and students are. Bob seems discouraged with the attitudes of the students (I'm not sure what percentage of them) - that they seem to need to be "made" to do work, aren't intrinsicly motivated, and that many of them steal and sneak in various degreees to various extents. Almost none of them will pick up mess someone else made and in one class all of the students accepted and were willingto use rewarde tickets they knew were stolen. I think I would have to attack the character issues and trust issues very directly in order to try to teach kids - and that would be hard in a system that focuses on the academics andmaking sure they all have the academic skills to pass a given test on a given day.

Kent's father died yesterday after a long fight with cancer. He was a surviver of the Battle of the Bulge, and a good spirited and gentle man who loved his family well. It touches me to see his son missing him. The World War Two generation is near its fading - my generation entering the fading years - the next generation rising to power and responsibility - interesting to be part of the shifting cycles. I want to think about the legacy of the generation that we are losing - the strengths and the limitations and write a bit about that. But not right now. I have wild dinosaurs named Danny and Zachary in my house.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

We just got back from the Edwards' rally. It was much smaller than the Obama rally here in Austin two weeks ago - held in the restored old train station. Ruth and I arrived early so we stood in front, only about four feet from the candidate. He spoke well and with intensity about issues of substance - starting with global warming. One thing I noticed was that he seems to be a naturally good teacher, to explain back ground concepts readily without distracting from his flow. I was surprised he did not talk at all about the veterans' health issue since he sent (online) a petition on that topic today. It is exciting to me to see presidential candidates espousing views I can embrace. Yes, as several of you have indicated, it is early and much could change before November 2008, but I'm excited to have this time to learn about the candidates and their views and to see them in different contexts.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lots of bits and pieces.

Danny has a new red eared slider turtle baby named Rock Star (Danny's name because of his proficiency climbing rocks) He's silver dollar sized right now but will grow to be hand sized. They already had a tank, so its great its inhabited now. Danny is proud of his reptile, who is cute.

Tomorrow Ruth and I will go hear John Edwards speak in San Antonio. Its exciting to hear candidates speak live. And I always love a road trip, even a short one, with Ruth.

Fourth graders learn so much more than I did at that age. KK's proficient with decimals, all kinds of graphs and the concept of median. It surprises me. And her discipline continues to impress me.

I'm up way to late for having an early day tomorrow - seem to be resisting sleep lately. I wonder what that's about.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I am in a really great mood at this moment, and have been pretty much all day. Zachary and I worked on his letters and numbers, had lunch, played at the park on a gorgeous spring day. Red bud time is in full tilt - not at its peak but well begun, and it makes me smile. Zach and I took a color walk and, without prompting, he told me it was getting to be "color time - not all brown." That made me smile too. He was especially impressed by a beautiful patch of all white tulip buds - still not open. Next week he will get to see them in full bloom. He's also at the age of beginning to identify letters on license plates - numbers too, and ask me if he's not sure. Its a fun time to walk with him as long as we aren't in a hurry. I'll miss these Monday mornings when he starts kindergarten in the fall - no more easy, automatic Zach and Grandma time. We'll have ot work for it, like with everybody else. He has been such a gift.

I also feel good because I have successfully started - far from finished - some garage organizing and cleaning tasks I was having trouble facing. I four big bags of extra trash out on the curb and two hanks of cardboard - still trash in the backyard, but its better. I am distressed at how much I can get bogged down and unable to start projects. If I start I seem to be able to keep going, but starting - it's hard. Having Mondays off really is a sanity break for me, even though my other four work days are long and intense as a consequence.
In Memory of Bloody Sunday - I am copying this from Wikkipedia. I love the proverb. I was fifteen in 1965, still under my parents' jurisdiction, too young to run off to be a freedom rider. I thought then that I would have done it if I had been old enough but I know now courage can be greater in hypothetical situations. I wonder if I would have done it if I had been eighteen. I wonder how my life would have been different if I had.

When You Pray, Move Your Feet.-- African Proverb.

On Sunday March 7, 1965, about 525 people began a fifty-four mile march from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Montgomery. They were demonstrating for African American voting rights and to commemorate the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, shot three weeks earlier by an state trooper while trying to protect his mother at a civil rights demonstration. On the outskirts of Selma, after they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the marchers, in plain sight of photographers and journalists, were brutally assaulted by heavily armed state troopers and deputies.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The second bob threat at Chris' school seems to have been a hoax - frustrating to all but at least no one was hurt.

Danny got a baby red eared slider turtle today and named it Rock Star. Rock Star is about the size of a silver dollar and precious - will grow to at least the size of my hand. Danny has an aquarium but the fish died, and he is excited to be converting it into a turtle home.

Full moon tonight and lunar eclipse - temperature in the thirties despite clouds of redbud flowers. I love late winter early spring - a sweet fragile, delicate time when both death and new life seem close and precious. We had a If March were a color" prompt for my writing group and I wrote:

March is aquamarine,
the color of moving air
and flowing water that
remembers being ice,
first petal of first
baby blue eye in
greening graveyard..
Fragile as hope,
salted with tears.

KK just finished a summary sheet - three pages - of study information about the Texas Revolution. I remeber learning all of that when I was a fourth grader in Houston. Some things never change. Its time to take her to the Alamo. Danny's working on hard spelling words - like hour and our. I love helping and watching the kids learn. The kids are playing red light green light in the hall and I'm fixing Mama's meatloaf recipe. I wish Bob were here, miss him this weekend that he stays back in Corpus to save gas and prepare math work packages for his students.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The bomb threat drama continues. Chris called Ruth on a friend's cell phone because his was left in the school when all were evacuated yet again for another bomb threat - we think empty, we think copy cat who wanted to get out of school on Friday afternoon - but the possibility of harm, the amount of anger floating around, is freaky.

I had a sweet eperience this afternoon. I got to sit with Ruth and a client of mine who is getting married later this month as they created this young woman's vows. I was glad Ruth was next door in her studio when the issue of vow writing surfaced. My own sense of vows is simple, traditional, the promise to love honor and cherish in sickness, in health, for richer for poorer, to the exclusion of others from this day forward, til death do us part. I have heard alternate wording, but apparently the whole concept of vows is different in today's wedding culture, or can be. The "vows" part of the wedding gives bride and groom a chance to talk to/about each other and their joy and hope for the marriage, as well as their comitment . I loved listening to my client come alive and glow like - well - a bride - as she talked about the reasons she feels confident and joyfull about spending the rest of her life with this young man. I also was surprised that both young women like the "til death do us part" wording - feeling that married love is not ended by death. They have different takes on what the enternity of arried love means - and I also believe all love is eternal. This vow writing experience was another moment for me of realization that I have a twentieth century consciousness and sensibility in the twenty first century - a little unsettling but in this case very sweet.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Yesterday a nineteen year old - much teased at the high school where Chris teaches, scrawled on the mirror of the boys' bathroom"The bomb will go off at 3:00. All survivors will be shot." Of course the threat was taken seriously, with police search and evacuations - the young man under arrest after confessing. There was no bomb. I think about the threat of violence in schools (and everywhere) - of the fragility of sanity and civilization. The red bud tree across the street burst into bloom last night - literally - pink for the first time first day of March.