Monday, October 15, 2012

repeating myself..that's OK.

I simply could not find my way with clay this morning-- my graceless pot I could not make to please me-- I have an idea and I will go back later and try again-- without the crowd. Today I felt like I was not an artist of any type! WOW! that was bad for me. I had to get out of there. I am making some chicken and noodles and having some fresh coffee. I really do see some other bad stuff that people are happy with... boom boom boom. There is a lot of good, too. I do like my very first project. Evidently I forgot to publish this. A week passed. I bought two nicely shaped pieces of glassware to use as slump molds for a plate and a bowl and made them on Saturday, and pleased myself. I stayed every minute and then some. I am now finishing up the rest of the weekend and my fall break with the grand boys of central Illinois. Tomorrow is back to work, refreshed and ready for the last mad dash to the end of the grading period. I wouldn't be sad if Miss Grumpy decided to skip a few days. ;^). The grand boys were confused and H said frustrated, I am here, so he must not need to go to school. He will find a little zentangled heart in his school folder sometime today! I may do one more surprise for them all after lawdaughter leaves for work in a few minutes.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Trying Clay Again

I bought 2 nicely shaped glass containers, one a large plate the other a nice big bowl, and built coil spiral pots using the glass pieces to support them. I think they are going to be really cool and I did not feel the frustration of last week at all. I thought today was out last day but next Saturday is our last session. I have an idea of how I want to glaze the mask-- It is not yet bisque fired so that has to wait. I was leaving in a few minutes to go to LeRoy but they are having a tremendous storm. It does not look like it is going to slam us but north of here is a different story. I think I will wait it out, maybe take a little nap to make up for all the waking up last night! I took no pictures today with my filthy clay hands so, no pics for you!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Arden's Pics

How about these? 

Arden's photos.

 a few pictures my grand D took last summer during her stay in Indiana. These were from the Shedd where she went with her Grandpa Larry. I am trying to relearn, you know, use it or lose it, posting pictures in various places.

I found this jelly shot very lovely.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The War in Education

Read anything by Diane Ravitch to discover what is going on in education. I am just going to say that the stress of this year in this political climate has teachers as exhausted as they usually are in May. I am at the age of retirement, love teaching and will teach until I don't feel that way. The students keep me young in many ways and focused and thinking. I know that teaching in an 80% poverty school, there is no way for my pay to go up-- that's OK, I am at the end, but why would a young person stay? Why would teachers dedicate themselves to these students who need them the most? The climate must swing, it just won't in my time. I am so grateful to be in art, the joy and creativity has been sucked out of science, my earlier incarnation, now it is practically scripted, day by day and if the student doesn't get it, no matter, we must move on. What happened to mastery? Where is creativity? We are losing it. Second grade teachers having to be on the same page, the same word the same time? bullshit. Not only are students not automatons, neither are teachers. Bring back the joy I say, bring back the joy! Have you ever seen a 6th grader dissecting a frog? It's a peak experience and I thank Ms. Lindsey for teaching me that so I could share it later!

Whenever I post after long periods I realize what a rambler I am-- so what--it's my blog. I'll ramble. But right now it's shoes and socks and go to the clay studio!

Trying Clay, Clay is Trying

Clay is my husband's art form, not mine. I have learned to have fun with it teaching it in 8th grade but now that I am in a 6-week class offered by our local university, I see that it is really not mine. I have one good new project for class but my more "adult" attempts I find rather graceless. We have two classes left and I hope to make this last giant coil pot (giant for me) into something I am not ashamed of. Larry is coming right back up to speed after years of not doing clay. Some of the other retired educators are as well, and some not so retired. I will give it this, it is fun to be in the room with all these familiar people making some kind of art. I have a plan for today but I haven't even tried the wheel. I was very perfunctory in my college days with clay and have not done the wheel because I won't be doing it in the future. Just don't want to. But I am curious to see if I can relearn centering and actually pull something up. The real challenge today will be PARKING. It is ISU's homecoming parade and we somehow have to park in a certain lot on campus. I am dressed for the parking war but will miss the parade with the marching bands that choke me up every year! I am looking for collegiate and leggy today and I might flirt with that white haired man in the back doing the Dr. Seuss themed pieces.
I just got clay started with my 8th graders yesterday and they will get their hands in it on Monday. It is always a combination of excitement and Zen.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Old Growth

 Old Growth Forest

 Leave it Be

 and other monsters

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


fun loving
endlessly patient with us AND with demanding parents
a beloved mother
a beloved wife
a beloved daughter
a person who made each of us feel so special
and as we learned
My last look before the diagnosis was her flipping that gorgeous red hair
revealing that growing lump that wanted to strangle her and would have
as she left to do down the road that brings us to today
I don't want to see that word again
She brought up the best kids
they love her so
first grandbaby coming soon will not be cuddled by Melanie
the arachno-whatever that paralyzed her from the waist down
the cells climbing the spine
still looking forward as of Saturday
to coming home
building strength
a phrase I love from Leah
May her memory be a blessing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

United to Fight--Team Mel

Our school secretary is battling a particularly aggressive lymphoma, Burkitt's Lymphoma. She has undergone the most grueling chemotherapy of anyone I have ever known. Right now she is struggling to get her white count up enough to have the last two rounds of chemo that bathes her brain to keep the cells from climbing in.  Something else, arachno---- gripped her spine (from the many lumbar punctures) and paralyzed her from the waist down. Her first grand baby is due in October and she wants her life back. Tonight the restaurant where her daughter worked for 6 years as she put herself through college held a fundraiser for Melanie and it was packed. It was a very gratifying evening, her children, her mother in law, her children's spouses, teachers and administrators from all over the corporation, and life long friends of Melanie were and are in attendance. Beef O'Brady's is such a  terrific participant in the community, they do so much for so many and this was particularly wonderful. Our sweet tiny little Melanie has this cancer most common in young teenage boys of African descent. She does not fit the profile at all making this a difficult and unexpected diagnosis.  If you stop by here and read, rattle the universe, speak a prayer, send a warm thought of healing to a lovely lady who needs and appreciates all she gets from every corner of the earth.

Friday, June 8, 2012


When we moved in 35 years ago, our side yard was an open sunlit expanse of grass where you could play croquet. At some point we plowed it up and planted one of those big boxes of wild flowers and had fabulous displays of wildflowers for years.  We planted an English walnut which eventually shaded out all but a very few hardy coneflowers and the bluebells in spring. "Suddenly it seems" we have a shady breezy extremely pleasant arbor of trees, a giant maple towering over the walnut, an apple tree sweeping over the pond, and tiger lilies blooming nearby. It is wonderful. I know it isn't sudden, it just seems suddenly pleasant to have such an inviting spot to sit in the yard and read in the dappled sunlight. An English walnut tree grows branches highly suited to grandsons and tree houses. It also makes a lot of trash, but Larry and Henry built a little firepit and we can burn a few of those little branches when the boys are here.  If yard crashers saw this yard, they would scream in dismay, it is bumpy, scarred by a crazy digging dog and emergency plumbing work, there is a constant battle against encroaching poison ivy and that honeysuckle that is trying to take over the Midwest.. but, let me get another glass of lemonade ready and take my book outside to read.

Friday, May 25, 2012

41 and His Mommy Still Calls Him Baby

Today is the anniversary of the day I became a mother. My adult son was born 41 years ago tonight around 11:30 p.m. in the old ST. Anthony Hospital where the nuns told me to stop breathing like that (panting) I was going to hyperventilate. I was on the crest of the natural childbirth age and got my learnin' from a book, not a class, so panting was my strong suit. It worked. 8 hours of fairly intense labor and a beautiful 11lb6oz bouncing baby boy entered this life. I always wax nostalgic on the days of my children's births, I consider them birth days for me, too. Happy birthday, Ry. Find your dream.

Small Memories of Bob and Linda

At 5 and 6, I was 6 and he was 5, I got one of those metal dollhouses for my birthday and, to my dismay, he got a big fat metal airplane......on MY birthday!
Somewhere near that age we were going to marry. each other.
When I was 10 I had to take the "little ones" trick or treating, he got to go as far as he wanted and would come home with grocery sacks full of candy, he was a boy. Once we made a pact to read the entire bible together, we may not have made it through Genesis. He very cleverly learned that if he broke a few dishes, he wouldn't be required to wash them.....grr/ When our baby brother got burned, we had to sit out in the car while Mom and Dad went up to visit, This was during those barbaric days when Mothers were not allowed to stay over in the hospital. I punched him in the nose and gave him a bloody nose. I always feared his retaliation, and when I asked him about it 15 or 16 years ago, he didn't remember it. Whew.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

still practicing-jogging my memory a bit

 try some text. Oh
it's right here. an IL sky if I remember right.
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the problem with short attention span

I forget how to do things like post pictures unless I post pictures. I chose areas with no text and forgot how to put more than one picture in a post. AND I let Leah get away before I realized this. Maybe Speedway can help me out here. Jeez, sometimes I feel like an idiot!

don't try this without a title

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ok screwing up

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some trophy heads

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winged dragon.

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I think this is right

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Memories from a Decade 9/11

What was I doing on that sunny blue-skied day? Teaching science-- Most of the nation's tragedies in my lifetime have taken place while I was in school-- a student, an aide, a teacher. The sky was spectacular. Who said turn on the tv? I cannot believe I do not remember that detail. I remember the full on horror as the second plane hit and the paradigm shifted. Was I wearing my feel good yellow dress? Maybe a student of mine would remember that--I don't. The day followed in stunned quiet. We had to go out for a bomb threat and stand, the entire school, on school property as far from the building as physically possibly yet within the "safety" of the fence. Did we do that twice in one day or twice in the week? At the end of the day as quickly as I could I went to the blood center and got in line where I stood for hours, was it dark when I left? I had thought of an act I could do. It was so difficult, I was still so very heavy. Some local business person sent pizzas to the people in line which was so thoughtful. Eventually my turn came and I was able to donate. Later it became clearer and clearer that the blood would help no one in that hideous pile of rubble. Maybe it only helped me to feel as if I had done something. There turned out to be no need for blood at all.

That was a week also wrapped in family drama. Larry was trying to drive to Texas before his dad died, he didn't make it and had to drive home. Rayne was on her honeymoon in Vancouver, Canada and the car rental company said keep the car, drive it home, do not try to fly out of Seatac. So they were trying to get home for Grandpa's funeral. Grandpa was on the very last plane to land in Indy before the skies were closed, he just missed sitting on the tarmac in Canada for the duration. Leah lived in Durango and needed to get home for the funeral. I was alone in Terre Haute handling the details of the funeral. Leah was on one of the first flights after the skies opened again, another terror filled flight for mom. Leah did a beautiful eulogy for her grandfather, not the last one for a grandparent, she has lost two more since then, the rest of the grandparents.

Have I said how beautiful the skies were completely empty of jet trails? I had no idea how much of what I see in the sky is from technology. It was so quiet for those days. Quiet and beautiful and hideous.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Annual Student Art Show

Yesterday was a dark and stormy day, that did not prevent the crowds from coming to the museum for the reception and opening of the annual show. My kids' work looked great, oops, I forgot to take pictures. What kind of a teacher am I anyway? The Sheldon Swope museum always does a wonderful job of hanging the art. High school seemed a little low on 3-D this year. This show has gone from being a Vigo county only show to a show of at least 3 counties, if not 4. My students feed into South and 6 of the 13 South High School pieces were from former students of mine. Am I proud? Yes, I am. I do not usually say things like this, but one piece of middle school art was embarrassingly bad, I would never show it-- another teacher suggested it was special ed. I asked her to choose the special ed students' work from mine-- she could not. HAH. Neither could I! I had to come home and look to see that 3 of my pieces come from a variety of special ed students. One student is autistic, 2 others are L.D., which, honestly, I hardly even think of as special anymore.

Afterwards I went with 2 of my elementary art teacher friends to the corner coffee shop where we sat and talked for 3 hours! Every possible topic was covered. Other tables of art teachers would cycle in and out while we were there. Thanks, Boo, for the convenient meeting place.

I came home started chilling and burning up with fever, went to bed for a few hours, the fever broke and now I am fairly OK-- I may just have a little touch of bronchitis again. grr. At any rate, a bit of a cough in my chest but no further fever.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Haven't Posted in Months

Larry is recovering from the nerve surgery on his leg at a much better rate than we hoped. He completed rehab for a time and will do it again when the leg is stronger and more nerve has regenerated. I am letting Pinterest and Words with Friends take the time I should be using on other things, like reading and art! Twitter and Facebook have replaced blogging, sad but true.

This has been a hard grading period with an unruly and so far untamed 6th grade! I have selected my pieces for the student art show and I am proud of the work. This year I am featuring more 8th graders. I have also hung art in 3 major hallways-- Things are looking really bright. A visitor told me how much she liked all the art hanging. I hung the trophy heads and dragon heads in the cafeteria in the very first grading period and they are still up, so I have also taken over the cafeteria! I did take one down to put in the student show.

High stakes testing starts tomorrow and we have high stakes nerves with the climate in the nation and the active work of our governor against teachers and education-- maybe it isn't so much against education as it is thinking children are widgets to be processed by automatons and turned out on a conveyor belt with no defects. Our principal and assistant principal are stretched thin between our school and a closing school and I will finally admit, it is rough going. Next year should be better for all of us.

My WLS health is good, vitamins are good and I have passed the 3 year mark following surgery. I cannot believe it has passed so quickly, I am pretty sure my body would have given out and I would have been forced to retire if I had not made the choice I did. After much reading, the only thing I would do differently is select Vertical Sleeve instead of RNY for the malabsorption issues.