Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
I am only renting in Connecticut, but I can't help my drive to be outside down and to landscape. I'm use to the other two homes I lived in and the way I had everything laid out. Actually, this rental has a lot of good plants, but they are clumped together and they needed to be thinned out.
I dug up two giant clumps of hostas and relocated them into eight different parts of the yard. It would have been easy, but the lack of rain has the ground hard and I live on a hill so every maneuver I make is like a mountain climb. I also found a cluster of day lilies that need to be dug up and relocated and some lily of the valleys. It's not my home so I don't know how much landscaping I should do.
And I can tell you that I am definitely feeling 40. My knees, hip and back do not operate like they used to. I hurt and am not as limber as I used to be. That sucks because I always have been rather active. Even walking hurts. Yes, I know, they say it gets worse, but I certainly hope not.
Either way, I hope you have found time to get your hands in the dirt this spring. Everything seems to be blooming a good month in advance.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
It's always a pleasure to be around youth and their energy, especially on a day of general faculty meetings, academic stressors, and the drama that goes with adult life: finances, power positioning, egos, etc (man, adult are no fun...I much prefer Dr. Seuss).
So, if you have a squirt around, be sure to share your appreciation for them today. You probably should read them a book, too. It's good for them.
Friday, April 27, 2012
While teaching literature this semester, I have borrowed this wording to have my students think about those questions in relation to the books we have read. Advocating literary interpretation and the importance of books I find that such questions bring students closer to the importance of communicating what they read with those around them and for applying this knowledge to the greater community.
Listening to Diana Hulse and Captain Peter McDermott tonight made me reflect on the peer counseling training I had as a high school student and how important that has always been with my career and during times of dealing with traumatic events. My mentor Sue McV always said there is no learning outside a relationship and I am glad to know that down the hall from my office, relationships are the focus of a colleague's scholarship. It is an honor to know her and to be able to learn with her in Connecticut.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
This is the first time I've uploaded cell phone footage so I hope it works.
Facing the piles of work on my desk, this brief interlude yesterday made my life so much more enjoyable. Now, if only I can get the entire state of Connecticut to sing along with Austin's Ukelele. What a great guy! And Pam, wonderful impromptu singing!
Finally, Lois. As always, thanks for all you do. I couldn't ask for a more outstanding administrative assistant. Your humor, clever wit, dedication, and irreplaceable friendship deserve the Powerball several times over.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I posted this. It disappeared.
The zest is gone and now I have to leave for work.
Sing the National Anthem and Pledge Your Allegiance. I was making parallels between Thunder Over Louisville and the air show with the fear relocated refugees have over fireworks and planes. In our country, we see patriotism. For them, they have post traumatic flashbacks to the wars they fled.
And that is that.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Wow. It's been four years already and now, tea anyone?, it will be in England. I was stoked four years ago when it was in China because Lopez Lomong of Syracuse was representing Sudanese-Americans, but also named to carry the American flag. This summer, he carries the pride of representing Tide.
I continue to see his journey and accomplishments as miraculous. He has overcome tremendous odds and his life story is impossible to capture in words. Instead, I cheer him on in spirit and wish him the best in th 2012 summer Olympics. I know I will be watching enthusiastically from Connecticut.
Monday, April 23, 2012
I write about this because yesterday I spent a majority of my day working in my office and trying to stay on top of all the writing I need to produce and that my students are producing for me. The pace is insane and at six o'clock I needed nourishment. I drove off campus and found an Indian restaurant down the street. I got a falafel sandwich, some hummus, and a wonderful smile. Delicious. Good to know, Connecticut, that you, too, can satisfy my Sunday cravings.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
The soil in Connecticut is very rocky and with the lack of rain, it is hard as a rock, too.
While surveying the property, I found that daffodils, tiger lilies, Bleeding hearts, and lily of the valley have already been planted. They and the hostas, that are also everywhere, have not been taken care of and need to be moved to where they will get light.
These are the days that I am thankful that the Louisville Nature Center adopted me. While there, I learned so much - an education that didn't occur at school but that has remained with me for life.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
I took the computer to campus to see what they could do and, although they salvaged the data, the computer was cooked. It fried out and Apple doesn't cover the cost. It is a new system, but the expense falls on me. I know it is supposed to rain this week and, why not? I have had a black cloud hovering above me for some time. Time to go to the Apple Store in New Haven to see what they say.
I just want to catch a break. It's the end of the semester and I need to work. I got a loaner machine from campus, but still. Seriously? I do not like bad luck. I need a mental vacation soon. The string of misfortune gets old after a while.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Yo, Nikki. I looked for you at the WGI website but you're not in this video. Actually, you might be behind that one elephant. Either way, this is just another blog post to celebrate your year (although I'm sure you're glad it's over). I think you need to work on Larry about coming to Trumbull. That's by my house and I will work on the university to see if I can find housing.
And, if Mimi continues to demonstrate the flexibility as posted on Facebook, perhaps she can perform with you.
Happy Thursday, World. I have a lot to do.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
But I will persevere. I think the reason I am where I am is because I don't give up. I fight on, move on, and work to make things happen. As I do this I become more and more disgruntled by the systems we have in place. Our schools don't work because those in political positions do not invest in teachers and students. Bottom line. We can be blamed for the ills of society, but I am going to continue to argue that they are part of the problem, too.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I chose to end the semester by teaching Margaret Edson's WIT. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it, although it is an emotional script that makes you think. I also go back and forth with whether or not it is better to read or to view. I know the first time I saw it staged I was blown away, but every time I read it I think deeply about its content, too.
Anyone who has lost anyone to cancer can relate to this story and the frustrations with oncology, medical practice and the meaning of life. Cancer seems so meaningless, yet when it arrives it takes over the world to the families it hits. Here, however, is a woman all alone talking to an audience about what she's going through.
I think I love this play, too, because the playwright only wrote one play, won a Pulitzer, then became a 6th grade teacher. That's where her heart is.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
We often are critical of our own world, but when we put our opportunities in perspective with global realities, some of our nation's priorities and goals make more sense.
We did this after I showed a clip of Thunder Over Louisville, the air show, and knowledge of how the noise often frightens relocated families who moved to Louisville after surviving nations at war. The patriotic zest of such an event triggers post-traumatic stress. This, I believe, must always be kept in mind.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I forgot to post and at the last minute thought, "Fudge. Connecticut Crandall." Then I remembered a Billy Collins poem.
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.
No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
I love my potatoes. Each time I make them I get a little better at it and I have learned to make way too many so I have them left over. I'm sad to learn, though, that I missed Nikki's super model session with my mom. I guess Mother Sue is extra delicate when balancing on those long, crooked purple toes.
And so my first Easter away is now history. I woke up thinking I could take another day moseying around the house but I looked at my schedule and see I am booked solid all day. Giant Ugh. Kill me, Monday.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I still laugh when I think that I went to college with the daughter of one of the stars, Paula, on the MAGIC GARDEN and she had Sherlock, the Squirrel, in a box at her house. Yesterday when I was running, I thought of the Chuckle Patch, but my memory was that they were daffodils. I guess I was wrong.
Regardless, whereas this is Easter and I am missing my family immensely, and whereas Easter at Eastman can no longer be a CNY reality, I offer a few chuckles to celebrate the holiday.
Why do we paint Easter eggs?
Because it's easier than trying to wallpaper them!
What happened to the egg when he was tickled too much?
He cracked up.
What does a sick chicken say?
I have the people pox.
What do you call ten rabbits marching backwards?
A receding hareline.
Enjoy the day.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Lois emailed me this photo when she got home. She said, "Luis took it so I could have a butter fork, too." He snuck it into his camouflage carrying case with the lid to his soda and some napkins. To bad she was too chicken to take the fork and spoon from the salad bowl.
Given prices in Connecticut, we may all be doing such trickster work, soon. I filled my tank and also purchased coffee. It is amazing to think that everything I need to 'get up and go' is going to take me to poorhouse. But, I need caffeine and gas. Swiping restaurant silverware may be a means to survival.
Friday, April 6, 2012
They warned us the food would be spicy, but after eating Liberian food, this seemed like Yogurt. It was not that spicy. In fact, it was tame. The view, too, of the Connecticut River was also nice. Not so nice was the mixture they gave us to clean our teeth. It takes like bird food.
And so, in Connecticut, New York, Liberia, and Zambia were represented at an Indian restaurant. When I got home, I was fried. I couldn't do anything but drink a beer and prepare for bed. I hate that I won't be hosting my Easter dinner this year on Eastman avenue, but I was thankful for company for last night's dinner. Today. Let's call it a work day for revision, presentation and, perhaps a run.
That's the goal.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
I got the hiccups at about 1 o'clock yesterday and almost eight hours later I still gasped for air. I attended meetings with them, tried to show support at a vigil for Martin Luther King (but proved to be disruptive), and disturbed my concentration while working last evening.
hiccup. I can't get rid of them. HICK CAWP.
gasp. I'm driving myself nuts.
I've yet to figure our how to get rid of them.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Sad to report that the madness of March is now over. If it couldn't be Syracuse at the Championship, I was more than thrilled to see University of Kentucky representing and, it must be noted, that Anthony Davis is one of the most stellar athletes I've ever watched play basketball. It is as if he was hatched to play the sport and chiseled into the perfect specimen. Watching him play is like seeing perfection on the court...and he's young. Amazing.
Ever since I first saw the Cats play this year I thought they were national champions. Rarely, though, do such teams make it all the way through the tournament. This team did.
I suppose my tv will now stay off more than its on and my roommate won't hear me screaming at the screen. As she has said all March, "You watching basketball again?" --- sometimes she said 'baseball' or 'football.' "I don't know American sports."
I guess it's time to start thinking about doing outdoor work to passively numb my mind when I return home from work...The problem with that is I can't multitask while digging in dirt.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
And flashback. In Kentucky with over 120 students, I somehow managed to grade portfolios that averaged 22 to 30 pages. I'm not sure how I juggled that other than the fact that my responsibility was to the kids. At the university, the responsibility is 10% to the students and the rest is taken up by committee work, meetings, publishing, organizing, presenting, collaborating, covering financial needs, reading, and networking. Whereas I used to teach 5 days a week for six hours a day without a break, I now only have to teach four hours a week over two days, but the work almost makes that impossible. I shouldn't complain because I know, I KNOW, this is easier work than teaching in a high school classroom.
No, it's not easier; it's different. The verdict is still out on what makes for a better quality in life or makes for a more meaningful career. I enjoy new experiences and for that I am grateful. Experience is the best teacher. Still, I now ponder on where the experiences matter most: in urban classrooms helping youth find a path to higher education or in higher education where the majority of time must be spent beyond reaching America's youth that needs excellent teachers the most.
Perhaps this is the paradox I'm currently untangling.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Alas. The onslaught of spring and the wishy washy nature of buds, rain, temperatures and mold has my nostrils throbbing and my forehead veins throbbing. Thrill. The sinuses have caught up with me.
Time for some aspirin to begin another work week in Connecticut.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
I also thought rather impishly and how funny it would be to come up with many whacky complaints like the lack of circuses in the U.S. and the needs of unemployed clowns or concerns about eggplants brought to Congress by the Eggplant Growers of America.
Everyone has an issue and, if politics work correctly, they have a right to voice their needs to federal government. That is what I did this week. I said, "Whereas the Lorax speaks for the trees, I speak for 21st century writing realities in k - 12 schools." Teachers deserve professional development so they can be better instructors in their classrooms.
I wish I could say I was satisfied by the 3rd book of the trilogy, but it went way too far for my tastes. I guess the violence got out of hand and the chaos of Panem's panoptica was a bit too extreme. Even so, I feel I am a better man and teacher for reading them and I would not discourage anyone from the experience. Yet, whereas literature replicates life, I think the larger conversations we need to have is where Collins' books parallel societal realities that are not as far fetched as they may appear.
Happy Fools Day, April. This is posted by another Connecticut fool.