Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Someone I love dearly, my grandmother, is in severe pain and I don't feel much like writing or doing a lot of other things.
It just seems like every moment is very precious.
And that not much else matters.
Plus, it gets dark so soon, I'm lonely, and work hasn't been that easy.
But I'm complaining and there is no room for that right now.
I love this picture.
Have a good night and I hope this isn't too sad. I'm down right now but will be back up, soon.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
These shoes helped me lose twenty pounds.
These shoes gave me leg muscles that would make Lance Armstrong cry.
These shoes have walked many miles on both land and treadmill.
These shoes my mother bought for me from the store our friends' used to manage.
These shoes have little breast cancer awareness ribbons stitched into the tongue of the shoe.
These shoes almost went to Europe but then understood that they would be "too dorky American touristy" to cut it.
These shoes have now been retired but their service will never be forgotten.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
So I joined the national blog post month organization today.
The idea is to make a post everyday during that month. I think this will be a good structured way of making sure I devote time to my blog as well as my art as well as my life ( in order to make the posts more interesting).
I was thinking that perhaps the month should have a theme. But I am having trouble deciding.
One goal I've made is to work out or be active for 30 days but who wants to keep reading about Gymrat McFitter and her barbell brain all the time? Not me.
The other idea I had was to focus on taking a picture everyday with my new camera and writing about that. Done before, yes but could be interesting for a while.Until all the pictures end up being erratic or just taken to take a picture.
My last idea for a possible theme was more material/sentimental. Yesterday I rearranged my bedroom and really went through a lot of the stuff I've accumulated. I do this quite often and keep the nearest Goodwill in business. Once again I was thinking of giving away a lot and even have some possible re-gifts to give this Christmas. But would it be fascinating to write about each of the items I'm letting go? You know, where they came from, what they did for me, the experiences behind or with that item...I'm thinking I could take a picture of each and each day a new item would have its story shared. It fits very much into the Keri Smith "How to be an Explorer of the World" collecting/exhibiting idea.
Yes, I think I have a winner.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
*my new camera
*the fall colors and leaves especially when I'm driving and they fall on the car like snowflakes
*the smell of lavender at night
*Keri Smith's "How to be an Explorer of the World" book
*my teal coat that my cousin got me via gift certificate
*the crisp feeling of change in the air either due to the weather or the upcoming election
*soup, like a lot lately
*that November means a clean slate, a new start, just like turning 30 a few days ago
*The Doors and the Beatles, always and forever
*Possibilities and honestly, my ability to grow and change
Saturday, October 18, 2008
My stay at the class I've been long term subbing in has been increased by five days. Wednesday will be my last day and we are having a potlatch, since we've studied the Coastal Indians, to celebrate my leaving. I also think it will be good closure and a way to make them promise to try to be well behaved and accepting of their new/old teacher. It truly is a bizarre situation. I love them, I know they'll do well, but I'm scared for them at the same time. They already have been acting out since they sense a change in the air.
In other news, I turn 30 on the 27th and am excited. A clean slate in my mind. I'm planning an intimate dinner (I just love how that sounds) with friends at an old favorite spot. I'm also taking off 4 days cause I can. Tra-la-la.
I feel good. Mostly since I'm getting paid soon, will have a celebration,etc. But also I've been doing more exercising and self-care. I think it going to be okay. And I love the leaves right now. Not much I know, but I had to write something. Lists and goals have been made, an art project is in the works, and I feel like a fog has lifted. Woo!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In the next 24 hours, 200 million people will make love on this planet, as they do every day of every year.
*Wired* magazine reports that vast supplies of frozen natural gas lie beneath the oceans, harboring more potential energy than all of the world's oil reserves.
China and India, which comprise one-third of the earth's population, have more than twice the wealth they had in 1989.
Rising rates of intermarriage are helping to dissipate ethnic and religious strife worldwide.
Death rates from cancer are shrinking.
Acreage devoted to organic farming is increasing rapidly.
Levels of literacy and education and political freedom are steadily growing all over the world.
If forced to decide between having a bigger penis and living in a world where there was no war, 90 percent of all men would pick universal peace.
With every dawn, when first light penetrates the sea, many seahorse colonies perform a dance to the sun.
An average cloud is the same weight as 100 elephants.
There are always so many fragments of spider legs floating in the air that you are constantly inhaling them wherever you go.
A river requires a million years to move a grain of sand 100 miles.
Diamonds rain from the skies on the planets Uranus and Neptune.
The five most beautiful words in the English language are luminous, crucible, melody, undulates, and gratitude.
---Rob Brezsny's weekly horoscope delivered this to my inbox today. My two favorites are in bold.--
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I even had started re-arranging the desk that I work from for part of the day, when it hit me.
This isn't my class.
It was so depressing for a while to think that soon, after all this work together, I'd have to leave them. In the beginning, I kept telling myself that this wasn't permanent and on bad days that was really helpful.
But now, even though yesterday wasn't a stellar day, I know I'm going to miss them a lot.
Children have such interesting lives and personalities. They fascinate the hell out of me.
More later but I'm fighting my first cold of the school year. Ugh!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
ps. Thanks Alisha for the blog advice. I'm new to this whole thing, obviously!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I am subbing again this year at a school that I love for nearly a month, maybe more. In the 4th grade with a class that so far has been quite the group. There are 25 of them and many personalities. I'll discuss the students more later but first some background info needs to be set up.
The district changed their Math standards this last year and that of course means different curriculum, different plans, etc. Last year, they had in place a very easy to follow program that you could modify and add to ( well good teachers did anyways) and if you were a sub this gave you flexibility as well as one less thing to worry about. Not any longer! Apparently, the goal is for all students to reach Algebra in 8th grade. Which means everything before this has to be re-adjusted to get those students there. (Side note: Why 8th grade I do not know. I took Algebra in 8th grade but I'm a freak. Look at this blog!)
What does this mean for your friend hdt? LOTS AND LOTS OF PLANNING. Don't get me wrong. I know teaching is hard work, good teaching especially but I was not prepared for the level of dedication I would be giving to this particular job. Especially since I will have to leave in a few weeks.
I know, I know. I'm looking at it the wrong way. It really has nothing to do with me. It is all for the students! Who are taking Algebra in 8th grade! Woo-hoo!
On the more positive side, I am working with fabulous people. The other 4th grade teacher is so good it is scary. And she is good in a "working hard to make sure the kids get it and do well" kind of way. Not the bad way.
I know I will have more as time goes on and this blog will once again be filled with my misadventures in teaching but right now I have to go plan Math.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
This just totally came at a point when I was thinking of friends, near and far. If you read this, send me an email or something. I miss the heck out of a lot of you.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I have a long term sub position for the beginning of the year. At a school I love, with students I know pretty well. It is only for a little over a month but we will see what happens. I'm trying to not worry about the outcome of things and just savor the journey or the process.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Yes that is me in a pink dress! Here I am a bridesmaid in C's wedding. It was lots of fun and we are all very happy for her.
The summer really has flown by and I feel as if I don't have much to show for it. Instead of focusing on the negative however I will list some accomplishments that I am proud of.
1. finally got a Holga camera, though I need to print the pictures soon, I am having fun not taking the camera too seriously.
2. have so far had two rumblings/dealings about jobs....nothing has come to full-term yet but I feel pregnant with possibility. (Okay, I even grossed myself out with that metaphor.)
3. have gotten visibly fitter and stronger and love exercising even more. If you knew me a few years ago, you'd be shocked by this. Now, it is just pretty much part of my life.
4. only was really sick once this summer and have gotten into really good health. This is a big deal for me.
5. have been very brave in my own way with doing somethings I'd never thought possible.
6. was able to see some friends, make some new ones like the other ladies in C's wedding (I'm talking to you j, j, and t!) and even bond with my family.
...there's more to come but I must go for now...
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I went camping.
I haven't camped in years and am really fond of sleeping in a bed not a "bag." But due to the gentle prodding of a great friend, I went camping for two nights up by Packwood, WA. And you know what? I enjoyed it. We hiked a lot, saw beautiful falls, made a fire, and even bonded. Oh! And I took pictures with my new Holga camera! I will have to get them developed and post them somehow. It is a 35mm version, black with no flash, and really cute. It looks like a toy.
And right now, it is my favorite toy.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I'm all sweaty and gross due to the mugginess and heat/humidity here right now.
I don't have a working camera right now (Polaroid is out of film, you know the rest of the story. See earlier post.)
I'm tired due to the late night last night and the unhealthy food I've been consuming the last week.
Luckily, I finally got back on track with my eating and exercising today so that adds to the sweatiness and tiredness.
And right now I'm complaining.
I'm buying a new camera on Thursday so the creative, happy posts will be coming back.
(Or the annoying, "Why did she take a picture of that?" posts will return. Depends on your viewpoint.)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I have officially started my summer job as the housekeeper for this crazy family I am somehow related too. It is rather interesting.
Or at least I think it is.
For instance, today I chauffeured young Master T around to the dentist and a training session for his job. Then I organized the linen closet and looked online at the Container Store website for some different options. I sat in traffic while construction workers fixed a road that didn't need fixing. I was going to pick up dry cleaning. When I got to the dry cleaners, I started thinking about housewives and maids and whether or not I looked like one. Nah, probably I look like some body's daughter. Then I drove home and gathered the mail, straightened up the kitchen, threw some laundry in, wondered if I needed a uniform, looked at the Gap website for possible "uniform" outfits, applied for some jobs, emailed some pals, and now am writing this.
It should be rather fun this summer since I like to be in charge of silly projects and make little lists and figure out problems like what kind of boxes will look good in the laundry room.
I also have gym time worked into my contract and cannot be terminated until August 22nd.
Uh, oh...The boss lady's coming home. Gotta go!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
They mean business.
And with my money dwindling and a dead digital camera, the possibility of income seems nice. I have projects that I am working on that will have to wait to be posted up here. I'm also listening to the new Coldplay album A LOT. It is different, good and makes me feel a bit melancholy, which I like. This blah mood is fitting for today since in a while I must go to a farewell party for a dear friend. She is going home to Korea and I will miss her. I will also have to visit her. Not much else, will write more later.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
black and white photos of skateboarders at a skate park
Polaroid close ups
exploring the work of Diane Arbus, Man Ray, and others
not working or worrying about school stuff
really, REALLY cleaning out my closet
another foreign film fest
having a ball and laughing like crazy
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Sometimes, I get insecure about stuff. Especially when I'm tired and have been working too hard or I don't feel well. I worry, I overthink. Does anyone else do this? What is my constant need for perfection for myself? As an artist, I like the mistakes, messes and unpredicatability of the work. But as a human, I get scared sometimes. I guess I just have to work a little each day on accepting myself and relaxing with the flaws.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I had signed up for a 2nd grade class that I had been in once before. I arrived on time, got the attendance stuff and went to the classroom. Ten minutes later (I won't make a comment about the "regular" teacher being late.) the teacher whose room it is comes in with a sort of "what the hell are you doing?" look and says, "I don't have a sub today."
First of all, nice attitude.
Second, don't leave someone else to do your cancelling.
After some discussion, it is apparent what happened and the woman goes down to the office to see if I am needed elsewhere,etc. When I get there, they ask the words I never like to hear, "How do you feel about 6th grade?"
How do I feel? I hate it! I hated it when I was in 6th grade. Every experience with 6th graders since has been horrible. I want to scream, cry, and swear...but instead I say, "You know, I really don't like it, am not good at it, but I'll give it a shot."
Luckily this school has like a dean of students or what a vice-principal would be in a middle school. She was awesome. She gave me some tips, said she'd come by, and other words of encouragement.
And you all know how this story ends. They were a great bunch of kids, we had fun, I survived and even enjoyed myself at points. Although I did end up sending two kids to the next door classroom for a few minutes (due to attitude, I can't stand attitude.), the class was really well behaved and earned some time outside at the end of the day. Now, I know this is not a typical 6th grade but I felt like I had conquered the world. I really needed this small victory to see that I am capable of so much more than I realize. I am stronger, braver, and tougher than I ever knew. And more importantly, tougher, braver, and stronger than I look!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Where does the time go? Seriously!
I'm trying to recall everything I have done in the last twenty days, the particular sensations felt or adventures had and I can't!
I want to be aware and always enjoying the moments. And this shock at time's passing reminds me again to really be there in the present.
Maybe I need to start writing everything down, recording the mundane as well as the sublime.
This brings up the next logical question.
When will they open the HDT Museum of Unnatural History to house all my relics? Ooh, maybe there could be a whole wing devoted to May's passing?!?
Friday, May 16, 2008
1. Miss Thoren is a crazy old lady who makes us write sentences when we talk too much.
2. We could not prove her wrong. (I told them to "prove me wrong and not end up writing sentences").
3. We irritated her and she got revenge.
4. Even though we are in 5th grade, we cannot be quiet when a teacher asks.
5. Miss Thoren is a beautiful, smart, and excellent teacher.
6. I should buy her a present.
7. (This was their own sentence. I got things like "I should listen to Miss Thoren." Or "I'm sorry I talked so much." etc,etc.)
Yes, this was silly and yes I wasn't really that concerned with the talking. But I had threatened.
And when I threaten, I mean it. They loved it in the end...plus they ended up with an extra recess so don't feel bad for them!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
"I'ma do the things I want to do, I ain't got a thing to prove to you...I ain't gonna wear the clothes you that you like, I'm fine and dandy with the me inside."
2."Franny and Zooey."---what a terrific book! I actually borrowed this from an ex-boyfriend and kept it. When I first read it I totally related to Franny (with her slight breakdown and inept boyfriend) and now I think I relate more to Zooey (sassy, in the bathtub for a long time). But the whole thing is great. Hands down, my favorite Salinger book.
3.Sharpening pencils---yes, this is weird but somehow very therapeutic. I think I spend too much time with K-3 graders, they are notoriously obsessed with sharp pencils.
4. Duffy and Estelle---Duffy is a Welsh singer who will be compared to Amy Winehouse undoubtly but who is amazing and has her own "old soul sound." I love her album. I got it just yesterday and am listening to it non-stop. Yes, it is in Starbucks but she is definitely worth checking out. Estelle is a British hip-hop/soul singer that John Legend discovered or signed or something. She is awesome and raps in a British accent. "If I wanted to be part time, I'd work at the checkout counter."
5. Maps---I have always been fascinated by maps, atlases, globes, etc. I have the pocket world atlas by my bed and have been looking up different places at night before I go to bed. (Those who know me will recall the dictionary in the bathroom at one of my apartments for looking up words while in the bathtub.) My most recent search : New Zealand, since I was watching "Flight of the Conchords."
These are the things that are filling my world right now. Along with Columbo episodes on dvd, tea, squirrely children at my sub jobs, and the smell of spring in the air.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I was just glad it wasn't all in my head. I know that I am a sensitive sort and that makes for good art but too much and I start to go cuckoo.
So, once again, I'm making some changes. I only drink one of coffee a day, so I'll stick with that. I'm staying away from wine,spirits,etc. for a couple months. I'm going to do more art, writing, photography. Keep up the exercise. I'm just taking it easy.
I'm also simplifying my life. Letting go of some physical and mental clutter. I write this entry to not only make myself feel a bit better but also to let others know that is okay to slow down and breathe. That it is very easy to become overwhelmed. And nobody understands that better than me. Take care of yourselves.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
And I am so excited, I can't stand it.
I was scared to turn 20, even my golden age of 27 was nerve racking but this was all since I was uncertain as to who I am. Don't get me wrong. I'm still learning. I'll continue to grow, make mistakes, change,etc. But as I woke up this morning, looked at my alarm clock that has the date as well, I felt tremendous peace. Yes, I'm living with my parents, I have no full time secure job, I have barely any money saved, I'm single, all that other stuff that is considered "successful" or "what you should have/be doing." However, I don't care! Not one bit! I'm happy with who I am, made peace with my past, love my life and am living in the present. I have a creative, purposeful important career, a passion for art, amazing family and friends, a caring heart, and a delightful laugh. These are what matter to me. And I see the next 30 years continuing in this fashion. I'm glad to reach this monumental age.
I must say I also feel the next six months need some sort of project. As like a count down. I know that Polaroid film is on the way out so maybe I could utilize its finality with the finality of my twenties...Hmm...
Monday, April 21, 2008
This weekend I got away. A dear, best friend and I drove out towards Packwood, WA and stayed in a cabin for two nights. It snowed the first night. We ate great food, watched the Darjeeling Limited (awesome! Make an agreement to watch it!) and then nearly died.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
being sick with some sort of stomach/sinus deadly combo
the anxiety that accompanies getting ill
the depression that accompanies getting ill
not sleeping well
seeing friends recently (H and S, plus C who I see all the time)
The Flight of the Conchords--brilliant! I haven't gotten to the "Bowie" episode yet but maybe today
tuna fish and crackers
the new Mariah Carey album---good stuff, a lot of songs are going to make their way into my "Workout mix"
Looking forward to wellness and the weekend...
Thursday, April 3, 2008
bridesmaid dress ordering,
Jill Scott's first album (and 2nd and 3rd),
having to drive soon down from my vacation cabin (in a few weekends with a friend) to be interviewed for 15 minutes,
But I am very tired tonight and need to unwind, unplug, and recharge. After some good brew and good bathing, plus Law and Order: CI watching, I'll be new again.
Don't forget to rest and do some self-care yourself, Reader!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
(yes, this is rather cheesy but these are two of my favorite entertainers so i feel i should share the news with everyone. although, now i have to fight iman and beyonce for my boys?!?)
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
1. grabbed the latest issue of "Artful Blogging" and am getting inspired.
2. enjoying a quiet spring break, seeing old friends, and relaxing.
3. finding out that I'm too old to still have certain issues/behaviors.
4. going to an Educators career fair to see if I can get a job.
5. saw an excellent exhibit/permanent collection of art at the Seattle Art Museum.
They have 4 Joseph Cornell boxes, lots of Mark Tobey, this lunar type thing by Lenora Carrington. Oh, C and I were in Modern Art Heaven. We did peruse the Roman Art on loan. But I was much more fascinated by the naughty children in line, who tried to mess with the ropes or get in without admission!
7. feeling restless, like I need an art project or something.
8.becoming okay with me, the real me...all the highs and lows. it is what it is.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
For instance, the art lessons I did totally rocked! I actually got to talk about the Surrealists and what they did with kids! They even learned Andre Breton's name! The lesson was a short mini-art history spiel on the Surrealists, a demo of automatic drawing or scribble drawing (First draw without lifting your pencil off the page, using lots of shapes and lines. Then outline line in black, finally color in with either watercolors, colored pencils, really whatever.) And the thing is that this school has K-6 grades, so all ages were exposed to this. I found that the 1st graders and the 6th graders really liked it a lot.
Another fun sub story. The 5th grade class I subbed in I had been in once before. They are really great kids, lots of character and their teacher has in place a system of "behavior bucks." I always try to pay them as much as possible since I think he is a little hard on them. Anyways, the schedule is on the board and next to the slot where an assembly was, I had written "$15-20." I figured that I would inspire good assembly behavior with some "bbucks" as they are known. Well, the day got started and in the chaos I forgot to mention it right away, so after announcements, a student asked about the schedule. "Oh, right...well we have 2 math lessons to try to finish and later there is an assembly where I will pay good audience members 20 dollars," I announce. The class is totally silent. They are looking at me really strangely. No one says anything until finally one brave soul raises his hand. "You mean you're going to pay us? Like real money?" "OH NO NO NO! I mean 20 behavior bucks!" They look a little disappointed but continue on. For the record, nearly everyone was excellent during the assembly. Who knows what they would have done if I was handing out real money?
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Andy Warhol came from Pittsburgh and went on to become one of the most famous artists, as well as icons, of the entire world. He was an odd character who challenged a lot of people's ideas about what an artist should be like or what a celebrity should do. I am here to shed a little light on the elusive man and also to sing many of his praises. Here are some facts.
1. No one is entirely sure of when he was born. A fantastic storyteller, Andy claimed one date as his birthday, while others searched for the exact date on his birth certificate. However, the birth certificate has been disputed, being claimed as a forgery from his parents' during their trip over from Czechoslovakia in 1912.
2. Andy got his new last name, Warhol, when he submitted some drawings for a magazine and they accidentally cut off the last "A" of his name: Warhola.
3. He often had a friend pose as him in public wearing a wig and glasses and just not saying a lot.
4. He went to church every Sunday of his life until he died, never did any sort of drug, and lived with his mother.
5. Andy wrote to several celebrities when he was young. He had to stay home in bed due to St. Vitus Dance, a disease.
6. When he met David Bowie, the length of their conversation was as follows: "I like your shoes." "Thanks."
7. Although he would become one of the wealthiest individuals in America, Mr. Warhol never carried any money and recorded his spending habits everyday.
8. He referred to his tape recorder as his "wife."
9. His mother often signed his work.
10. Andy Warhol thought of himself as a business or commercial artist first and foremost.
This crazy platinum wig wearing man is quite possibly the most fascinating creatures of modern life. Not only did he get his start in the art world by drawing cats and shoes but he made everyday products like Coke and Brillo soap seem like da Vinci's "Last Supper." (Which he did a remake of.) Andy was painfully shy and hated the attention he got. In interviews, he would ask the reporter to tell him what to say. (Ironically, Warhol founded "Interview" magazine.) His studio, the Factory, was a constant party scene crammed with people. However, he felt that "all [those] people aren't trying to hang out with him but rather he is trying to hang out with them.
Andy Warhol died in 1987 due to surgery complications.
"If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, there I am. There's nothing behind it." --Andy Warhol.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I worked three days so far and each day became increasingly difficult. As much as I tried to enter into the classroom open minded, flexible, and calm, I found that I felt really stupid. The book I'm reading would say that that is just my ego talking and wanting to feel important. That the real Hillary is limitless and infinite. But could that Hillary sub for me, ego Girl, one day?
As a sub, I have a big bag of tricks. Tricks to get every one's attention, tricks to make Math more interactive, tricks to get the room super clean. I call these "tricks" since "skills" implies consistent success. Tricks can fall short, which this week they did. I hate to yell, I hate to have a "no-talking classroom" but that was what I was reduced to more often than not. It isn't the students' fault, it isn't really even totally mine. It just is.
I will admit that there were proud moments. Yesterday, in a first grade, I remembered what it is to feel something small is very important. Brandon and Eric had had a fight over something and Brandon was crying. It was in the middle of a math game, where everyone was crazy, and I had been losing patience. But then, I stopped. I took a breath and thought, "I am Brandon, sometimes." So I called him over. He was crawling on the floor and kept his head just below a desktop. Instead of saying, "Stand up! Brandon!" I lowered my head to meet his eyes and said, "What's upsetting you? How can I help?" To the rest of us, the problem would've seemed minor and trivial. But in this moment, it was tearing apart two friends. We talked, and then walked over to Eric and smoothed things over. The boys ended up playing the math game together. And for a small moment, I, ego and all, felt good.
The other thing I realized this week was how much I compare situations to either music or movies. I was in a fifth grade class of about fourteen students that I had been in before. This is a school that is in the middle of a small town. Everyone has known everyone for 100 years. And this fact makes children very mean to one another. Normally, I enjoy this group immensely, they make me laugh and we have fun. But this day, they were the rudest people on earth. Pestering one another, making fun of hats, or what position someone played in baseball. (All boys, of course.) This is when I enforced the "no-talking classroom." They had a bunch of worksheets (yuck, I wanted to make the work a bit more fun.) and the students ended up working in silence because they couldn't be decent to each other. As I sat there, with my mean substitute face on, I thought about how I was like the principal in "The Breakfast Club." And really I was an outsider who didn't understand the politics of the school at all. I had even started stereotyping the class before this. "Oh this one is the diva, he's the jock, he's the charming funny one..." I thought. And while I'm not happy I did this, at least I recognized it in the moment and was able to stop. And once I stopped, we had a better time. We even ended up going outside!
I have to change the first sentence of this blog. I've been ineffective as a teacher this week but I've been a very willing student. This job never ceases to amaze me. I'm always wondering, "Who is the real teacher?"
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
These kids tend to put the teacher through the wringer in terms of noise and it takes so much restraint not to start in on them or try to handle the chaos. At one point today, a boy was standing on his desk jumping. I had to bite my tongue and my hand.
Now, of course, I am there to see to it that no one ends up in the hospital or delegate if an emergency occurs. But overall, I am to not overstep my boundaries. I hated when teachers did this to me as a student teacher (still hate it as a sub) and am not about to intentionally become something I abhor.
However, this sensation of wanting control is fascinating. I know that I like to be in charge and even have a difficult time when there is another teacher sharing power, but I never thought of myself as controlling. I aspire to some sort of Buddhist/hippie notion of letting go and live and let live but I cannot seem to do it in the classroom. Do I subconsciously use teaching as means of creating order in my chaotic life? Do I feel powerless deep down? Could I just be the re-incarnation of Napoleon? Have I read too much Orwell?
Sunday, March 2, 2008
"On photography" by Susan Sontag
"Don't Get Taught Art This Way!" by Theodore L. Shaw
"Holga: The world through a plastic lens"
Lupe Fiasco's latest album
Chris Brown's "Exclusive"
Talib Kweli and Hi Tek's "Reflection Eternal"
INXS "Greatest Hits"
Duran Duran "Greatest"
mixed medium paintings, these are in progress and will be put up here when done
too much noise according to my brother
lots of plans for March with friends
a torch for Vincent D'onofrio and Jay-Z
a red patent leather bag
my camera, everywhere
a small Andy Warhol notebook to keep track of spending and what I eat
new spring clothes courtesy of the Gap and Target and Anne Taylor Loft
my hair down
cheap shoes according to my mother
"about my doorbell, when ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it?" --Jack White
about photography and why did I get a C in it during college?
about spring and rebirth
less and more healthily than ever
string cheese at least once a day
tea, tea, and lots of water
"Rosemary and Thyme"--a British mystery series featuring two gardeners. It is brilliant!
"Amelie"--for the billionth time
"X-files"--I'm going to buy the complete series someday.
my crazy beautiful wonderful life
my friends and family
Thursday, February 28, 2008
It has been a surreal experience witnessing her and remembering my own experience. I basically sit in the back of the room all day since it is her time and I'm not to interfere. I don't mind. I've read a few books, done some word searches, corrected papers for her and listened.
Today all the painful flashbacks of student teaching came back during the math lesson. The students were out of control, the principal was observing and the lesson was rather confusing for everyone. I felt her pain. But like the strong teacher she is becoming, she got through it.
It's funny. Yesterday I felt all cool experienced teacher lady, imparting some wisdom to her and feeling confident. And yet, today, watching and remembering, I realized that I have so much to learn. When does it end? Do I even want it to end? And what does being a good teacher mean?
My first yoga class is tonight and I have a lot to think about. I'm not too satisfied that this post really expressed what I'm thinking. I might have to write more tomorrow...ta-ta!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Yes, I did think that yesterday and let me tell you why. Due to the nature of my Master's program and the nature of myself, I am a reflective person. I think about stuff...a lot. And every night, after I've had a sub job, I rehash the events and ponder what lessons I've learned. Sometimes they are fun. ("Hannah Montana rules!") Sometimes they are not. ("You are ugly and I hate you!") Sometimes they are useful. ("Don't let a chatty class work in partners or groups.") Sometimes they are not. ("You have to hold some pencils at a slight degree when sharpening.") But the best lessons are ones that are about my own teaching and me. My strengths, my weaknesses, my obsession with walking down the hall quietly. These bits of insight can be amusing or sometimes painful.
For instance, I realized that I am not as consistent as I should be. While this is a great skill for improv jazz musicians or thieves eluding the cops, for a teacher, it is death. Students expect certain things. Their world at school has a rhythm and routine that just you being there is interrupted. To make up for this rudeness, you must be steady and somewhat predictable. You cannot let Jimmy sit at the back table but then tell Cindy she cannot. As a substitute teacher, you must be an equalizing force. Be Switzerland! Better yet, be the UN Council!
Secondly, I realized that I need to state my expectations at the get go. While being mysterious or holding back might get you a wink at the bar, in a class you will be called unfair and probably a picture of you with horns will be drawn. I have to be straight forward and unafraid of asking for what I want. I find this difficult since I could never do that with dates my own age but now am forced to do that with twenty or more 5-10 year olds.
The more I thought about these and other insights, the more I realized this was what I needed to improve any relationship I have or will have. It was quite strange and yet very exciting.
Does this mean the more I teach, the better I will become at other things? Are pencil sharpening and wood sculpture connected? After a day of standing in front of a tough crowd of 2nd graders, will I then be able to do stand-up comedy?
(Forgive any spelling errors, my blog's spell check is not working.)
Saturday, February 16, 2008
1. start Hatha Yoga up in Graham with my mother.
2. finish a small painting.
3. buy a Holga camera.
4. visit out of state friends and reconnect with those nearby.
5. buy some new clothes.
6. find some sort of volunteer position for one day a week.
7. have Meredith, Zac, and Israel give me a cooking lesson.
8. go to Seattle a few times.
9. maybe do another issue of Magpie.
10. go to the ocean.
I can smell spring in the air, just around the corner here and it is beautiful. Make some spring goals of your own and don't forget #4 on my list! I miss a lot of you!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
1. His favorite color is blue
2. He can fall asleep in any vehicle including boats, planes, cars, and even golf carts. We haven't tested spaceships but give it time.
3. He knows a lot about history especially any war.
4. He owns nearly everything Johnny Cash ever recorded...still needs some of the albums with Rick Rubin but he's close.
5. He is fascinated by things like 401ks or investments or stocks.
6. He once went to culinary school and can cook very well.
7. He can eat anything he wants and not gain any weight and stays fit from his custodian job.
8. He is deathly afraid of snakes.
9. He will not sing or dance no matter how much you plead or offer to pay.
10. He loves cats.
11. Even though he likes their work, he refers to both Andy Warhol and David Bowie as "that freak."
12. He drinks his coffee black.
13. He is an Aquarius which supposedly means he is a great communicator. But really he is the strong but silent type.
14. He is the kindest and most generous person I know.
15. He would absolutely hate this list.
16. I love him.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Houston will be 27 on Thursday and it is quite the deal. I remember when he was 7. In honor of his growing old, I thought I'd share a story of when he was little. Apparently I used to torment him a lot. (I know! Me? Torment Houston, unbelievable!) And one day, when he was barely 2, he had had enough. My mom says that he leaned over like he was going to kiss me and instead he bit my cheek! My mother remembers me being completely shocked and silent. She tried not to laugh since I deserved it. I still tread a little lightly when harassing Houston.
Working out--I'm seriously addicted. I have to do something physical each day otherwise I have trouble sleeping and I get grouchy. I've never felt better.
The new Mary J. Blige album--She's awesome, tough, strong and has a killer voice. She is the Queen of Hip Hop after all.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): One goal of meditation is to empty the mind of its obsessively generated thoughts, rationalizations, and images. Alas, much of the media functions as a reverse meditation machine. Not only does it stir up your own mental clatter, it also floods you with the seething surge of other people's private pandemoniums. Furthermore, it delivers this rattling racket with entertaining words and brilliant color and crystalline sound, driving it as deeply into your psyche as your own flotsam. Keep this in mind throughout February, which is Clean Out Your Brain Month. Cut way back on your media intake. Snack lightly rather than gorging continually.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
This time it is about me. When I was in the first grade, I got my very first migraine headache. I remember that we were doing silent reading and all of the sudden waves started to pass before my eyes. They say that sometimes these headaches cause lines or spots to blur vision. I saw waves and immediately thought I was going blind. I don't remember what happened next but I have two memories after the wave sight. First, being in the nurse's office while they called my mom and laying on a vinyl cot. Next, I remember sitting on my Aunt Bettie's kitchen floor and she gave me Pepto-Bismal with a spoon. I loved it!
I bring up this memory since Friday night I started to get another migraine headache. I haven't had one in quite a while and this was a particularly heinous one. It forced me to not only miss a dear friend's engagement party but also rendered me useless, anxious, and sick all day Saturday. I know I have been pushing myself too hard lately and everything finally came crashing down on Friday night telling me that my body needed a rest. I don't know if it is being a Scorpio or being a Hillary but I tend to drive myself to extremes. As much as I constantly am seeking balance or a middle ground, I often force the pendulum to swing a little to hard.
THE MASTER AND THE MAKEUP
I don't really have a new makeup story for this week but I can write about my lotion issues. I love lotion. I tend to have about 5 or 6 different lotions going at once. Right now, I have a sleeply lavender lotion near the bed for night time, two different skin firming lotions, a shimmer lotion, a lotion spefically for hands and one for sensitive faces. It is really out of control. But I figure that this is the least harmful of any possible addications. Plus I did not buy all of them myself. Some came from my lotion enablers like my mother.
Watch the PBS series Art 21. There are four seasons out on dvd, most likely available from your local library. They are divided into themes. Each season usually has four like "Play, Space, Humor, etc." Throughout the themes various contemporary artists are introduced and explain their work, open up their studio, and reveal ideas, projects, what have you. They are absolutely wonderful. Art is my true love, I just teach for the money and this series reminds me how much I love art and art history. I watch the show, taking notes, and making plans, ideas. It really is very inspiring. Plus the artists use all kinds of mediums. A recent favorite is Judy Pfaff. She is this very cool lady welder sculptor who uses welding, tree roots, giant plaster sculptures to make these fascinating installtions. Even if you do not consider yourself an artist, these are interesting for everyone.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I woke up to a bright sunny day this morning and it sent me flying. Yesterday I could feel the inspiration swirling around. This usually means that projects aren't far behind. And then this morning, it all came at once.
Last night I had made a collage or two, wrote in my journal, and started researching Holga cameras. I don't know much about them but want to learn. It happened quite by accident. I was looking at the urban outfitters web site and checked out their home section since they had a David Bowie poster. The home section has a "camera and appliances" subsection that introduced me once again to the Holga camera. It is known for unpredictable effects on the photos and has that whole retro kitsch thing going for it.
This morning, remembering that my library was going to reopen after renovations, I browsed their website and have several cds (Iron and Wine, Modest Mouse), dvds (a bio on Man Ray and another on Edna St. Vincent Millay) and even a book (celebrity tattoos) on the way.
I love these little spells of creation. Since today is my last day off before a long week of work for my mentor teacher, I'm happy to putter around playing with paper and rubber cement. Maybe I'll go wild and even break out the India Ink. I love being a curious magpie artist!
P.S. If you can tell me what this machine is that would be lovely. It spins when the sun is shining. I'm sure it is called a photo-something but I can't remember.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
okay so it is more of a story about me but Houston is in it. Houston and I have this joke (Well, really I think it is our joke and he just tolerates it.) that he is a "scragglemuffin." This is what I call him when he hasn't shaved in weeks, his nails are getting long, and he is just generally unkempt. (By the way, there is nothing wrong with this look, I fully support it, I just need something to tease him about.) Recently I decided that the scragglemuffins need a newsletter and that Houston is co-editor. It really is funny to mention this to him because he gets rather put out or laughs and says that I am a lunatic. Maybe some future posts will be scragglemuffin newsletter excerpts.
THE MASTER AND THE MAKEUP
This week I got a manicure. I have done this before but usually for some one's wedding or graduation. This time it was for pure glamour. My nails are painted a classic red and I absolutely love it. However, a manicure makes one realize just how much you use your hands. Now normally I have the excuse of "I'm an artist, I use my hands a lot." This still is viable but I've come to understand just how much I use my hands. I talk with my hands ALL THE TIME. I cannot tell anything without some sort of motion or waving for emphasis. I also tap the beat of music quite frequently. Either on my leg, steering wheel, or with a pencil. I touch my face a lot. And I play with my hair too much. All of this and much more do I subject my hands to on a daily basis. I really need to think about using my feet more!
Goldfrapp--great group from England who have a new CD coming out soon. Check out "Supernature" for sure but "Felt Mountain" and "Black Cherry" are also good. Their music reminds me of the James Bond movies' themes
Veggies--this seems like a no-brainer but I really have been having more vegetables lately. Like the veggie skillet I had for breakfast today. Fantastic!
Monk--I bought my Mom like 3 seasons of this show on DVD for X-mas and it is great. He is a super-smart detective like my boy Robert Goren or Sherlock or Columbo but he has OCD and several phobias. It is very funny and charming.
Count how many times I use the word "just" in this post!
Or older posts.
Winner gets a just reward...haha.
Friday, January 18, 2008
This time I was going to be teaching all day and although the teacher has several systems in place for behavior, consequences and rewards, I brought some extra tricks. See, this is a tough class. When the other teachers say that there are some challenges, it is true. Not necessarily because of the students themselves but rather because of everything that goes on in their lives. Their homes ain't so pretty and this carries into how they behave at school.
Sidebar: I have always had a relatively wonderful home life. But my friends haven't. This makes me very sensitive to those whose homes are different than mine. I am always trying to be understanding and reach out.
Sidebar 2: I actually don't like girls. I know I am one but they can be really evil, petty, manipulative and stupid.
Back to the class. The day was mostly okay. I made a word search of their names and promised that as a free time activity if we got everything else done. I also used some of her systems and added that if they treated me well this would benefit what they already had going. And like the fifth graders before, we had fun. I even invented the "music clean up game." I think I stole this from Mary Poppins but when I sense that the kids really need a break or some movement, I play this. I turn on music and as long as they hear the music they have to run around picking up stuff, moving, dancing, whatever, until the music stops. They love it.
So things started to go well until X (those of you who know the story will find it funny that her real name starts with X) started giving me attitude. She had been catty the last time I was here and today had been decent until the afternoon. I cannot stand mean girls. I had the students take out paper and said that once everyone was quiet I would explain what we'd be doing. She says, "I BET IT'S BORING!" I wanted to slap her. It got worse. I won't go into too much detail but eventually I heard that she had called me "an ugly b-word" according to another student. Now the last time I dealt with this kind of garbage was in Middle School and it wasn't even directed at me. I pulled her aside outside the class before Music and she kinda caved, I could see that there was a human underneath the cold attitude. Luckily, her teacher even called during Music and we chatted. Maybe stuff is going on at home the teacher thought. This made me come back down to the teacher Hillary side and not the attacked girl Hillary front I had going. (Don't tell anyone but I had thought of pushing over her desk! I know but I was really upset.)
I realized that this just happens. That I didn't know her well enough to approach her and have a heart to heart. I hadn't earned that trust yet. And that bugged me. I want to earn trust, I want to be more than just the lady of the day bossing people around. I want to be some one's "teacher." Not the "sub." It is hard to realize this since when I was relaying this story to a friend over Thai food I was funny, calm. And then driving home, I realized "Hey! I am affected."
And yet, they have no idea how much they mean to us.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
And so today, I was planning on returning to a class I had taught in during November. The teacher has a pretty cushy deal. First, the whole school is late start elementary. So even if you are there at 8 am, which is the usual required time, the students do not come until like 9:15. Then, this teacher does not have any students until nearly ten. 1st graders from each of the 2 classes come for math and reading. It is called "enrichment." After that, they go to lunch, as does the teacher, then there is a while before some 5th graders come to do math and reading as well. Last time, since everything was planned and I am pretty familiar with their curriculum, I had huge amounts of time to do nothing. So, when I had the opportunity to come back, I jumped at the chance. Especially since the next day would be a tough class. It is sometimes nice to have an "easy" day. I packed a lunch, my current reading "The Freedom Manifesto" and a magazine called "Artful Blogging." I had visions of relaxation and quiet reflection.
If you are ever going to substitute teach, don't ever think anything is set in stone.
I arrived at the school, smiling secretly while thinking of my play day, and found that this was not to be. The school was short subs, and the teacher I was going to sub for had requested me due to a release day. This means she was at school but was going to plan with her grade-level team. Things got switched around and suddenly I would be covering a 5th grade class instead! They asked if I was okay with this which is always funny since what am I like going to say? "No. I don't ever want to get a job because I want to be known as demanding and inflexible."
As I made my way to the class room, a helpful teacher showed me where some things were and on their way out said, "Oh this is a tough group. They'll test you." Great. There goes perusing "Artful Blogging."
But you know what happened? IT WAS AWESOME. We had fun. They were characters definitely but nothing as evil as had been alluded to. I even got a little card that said "Miss Thoren, you rock! B.S.E." (For those of you not in the know, that means Best Sub Ever.)
I just hope this doesn't mean tomorrow will be terrible.