Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Perfection was walking in the snow, listening to Goldfrapp's "Felt Mountain" album.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Isn't it loverly?

This was part of the table setting on Thanksgiving day.
I took lots of pictures of the decorations and neat little touches that my father's cousin's wife put all around the house.
She makes her own cards.
Not little tape a picture on a blank piece of paper kind of card.
But cards that are artful, cute, and very nice. I suppose you'd say "She's crafty." We had a wonderful long discussion after dinner and she showed me all of her tools, supplies, and sample cards. We talked about constantly gathering ideas and being inspired and how your brain will see one little detail and then take it from there and turn it into something else. I was very excited and of course wanted to run out and start a hundred different projects. But luckily, I've narrowed it down for now. I do want to make more things and someday have a spot on Etsy someday. But I do have a tendency to get really excited, try to do something grand or millions of things at once, and then never finish.
So I decided to finally use the liner notes that Houston has been giving me. When he buys an album, he discards the whole packaging and just puts the disc in a giant wallet thingy he has. I noticed this and asked him to start giving me the booklets inside, insisting that "I'd figure out a way to use them." And now, I have. I'm going to make rock-n-roll valentines. Using the booklets, lyrics from whichever band and some of the card making techniques I've learned and Voila! I figure this gives me not only enough time to finish but also another way of celebrating my favorite holiday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh well. Life got busy.

maybe next year...

I'll post every day in November.

But no regrets this year.

My life is beautiful but busy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I've been searching for a heart of gold.

A lot of things don't make sense right now.

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.

These shoes are magic.

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

I held onto this longer than the friendship.

I had a dream about the girl who gave this to me, let's just call her E, last night and we were at the wedding of a mutual friend, which in real life we should have been but I got sick and didn't go. In the dream, she asked if I still had all the stuff I got on my 25th birthday which included this jar and I told her that most of it, I didn't know where it was but that I had kept this jar at my parents' house for years and finally gave it away. (All true.) And she didn't seem upset or anything in the dream, just kind of like "Okay."
And so I decided to write about this jar next.
It has the quote, "Joy is not in things, it is in us." On the bottom, she painted "Happy Birthday, Hillary."
That was one of the best birthdays ever.
My favorite people, these four girls who lived at the Cedar House (dubbed that due to its location) threw me a surprise gathering with all our friends and there was a huge potluck. I had to take my dj test that night, so before the test, I went over to their house and had dinner, was surprised, then went to take my test.
All the while, we listened to our college radio station since my best friend was playing all David Bowie for me. I had a tape of his show for the longest time. After my test, I went up to the cafe and there was another surprise. Those lovely Cedar girls had brought a cake and everyone, studiers and all, sang "Happy Birthday" to me.
I loved that day.
What is bittersweet about the whole thing is that I only still know/keep in touch with one of the Cedar girls and I don't really think anyone else I was with that day.
The memory remains good and happy though, even if I did give away the jar.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

If you continue, go to page 27. If you go back, go to page 8.

Remember the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books?
They had interactive stories that the reader would decide every so many pages.
Like there was one I read about a unicorn or something and one of the first decisions was whether or not to help the troll. If you didn't want to you turned to page 3 where the story ended but if you did you turned to page 5 where you ended up going somewhere and later making more choices.
Some of these stories were rather scary and the death of your character was just around the next corner. As a child, I'd sometimes look for the ending I wanted and try to work my way backwards to figure out how to get there.
I read lots of these when I was younger and recently came across a "free box" of books. Free is one of my top ten favorite words. So of course, I dug through the book and ended up with an armload of books including some more "Choose Your Own Adventure."
I read them and realized that while I absolutely love this series. I don't really need to hang onto any more.
I'm now choosing my own adventure everyday! (How's that for a good wrap up?)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reckless Spending.

I LOVE music. If you wanted proof, I could go on and on about how I used to keep time to the dishwasher with pots and pans as a child, about how I can recognize a lot of songs within a few beats, about how I was a dj, about how I love making mix cds/tapes/pick your format, and about all the other ways music influences, feeds, breathes, and invades my life. Trust me, I LOVE music. So, you'd probably think that I have tons of cds in piles all around my room. Yes, I do own a great many, have a great many on hold at the library and will eventually purchase a great many. But, I have also given away or let go of a great many. I justify this action with the following points.
1. Some cds are awful.--I used to have a three song rule. Meaning once you love three singles or at least three songs, you can buy said album even if it is by one of your eternals. (Eternals: musicians or bands that you "know you will love forever.") This is silly since some artists change and not in ways that you necessarily like. For instance, I love the whole "single gal, trying to take on the world stuff" since that is where I am right now but not the whole "I'm married and in love stuff." Therefore no matter who it is, three songs is not enough.
2. Certain albums will end up being tied to a specific time, moment or person. --I can't listen to some Led Zeppelin cause it reminds me of the one that got away. I can't listen to the Smiths too much since I think of a mortal enemy. You get the picture.
3. Sometimes, no matter how many people like it, if you don't, you never will.--How many people have done something because so and so thought it was cool? How many of you have bought an album because your best friend, Rolling Stone magazine, or even David Bowie thought it was cool? Yeah, okay, they ain't you. Follow your heart and buy what you like. Not what you think you SHOULD like.
I could write more but let's stop here. Let me sum this up by writing that like our government, I too have do some reckless spending. I'll try to reform my ways.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Change is in the air....

Not much to say, it is election night....I'm so excited. Hopefully you voted. Less than an hour and the Washington polls close!

Democracy is a wonderful thing.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Francesca Lia Block

I think I first discovered the author Francesca Lia Block during college. Although it might have been near the end of high school. I read her fabulous book "Weetzie Bat" of an outsider who has an amazing life and wonderful adventures. That is totally paraphrasing it, so you should check it out for yourself. Then, by chance, while visiting a friend in Portland, we went to Powell's books and she was there giving a reading! She had released all the "Weetzie Bat" books as one collected work and this tour was to promote that. I sat down, in awe of this women not only for her own magical work but also since she had interviewed Tori Amos once. She read the breathtakingly beautiful passage about soul mates from the book "Witch Baby." I seriously had to wipe away tears. It talked about loving someone and not being able to be with them but your souls had already gotten married so you still had this connection. Once again, read it for yourself. I have the collection, titled "Dangerous Angels." And what makes Block an amazing author, as proven in this big book, is that she isn't afraid to face tough issues in a lyrical, fairy tale, magical way. The stories deal with coming to terms with being gay, drug abuse, physical abuse, and the basic loneliness we all feel sometimes. These three books shown in the picture, I am letting go. Not because I don't love them. But because I read them once, and in the case of one of them never, and they didn't marry my soul like her previous stories. I know that doesn't belittle how much I admire Francesca Lia Block, I will and have continued to read her stories. But like Witch Baby learned, sometimes it just isn't meant to be.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grandpa's monkey

If you read the previous post, you know what the theme is for this month, as I try to post something everyday.
When my grandfather died, gosh I guess it has almost been two years now, my grandmother went through a lot of their stuff since she had decided to move to a smaller place. All of us relatives helped out and one day, in their garage, I discovered this monkey. He is made out of wood and his arms and legs move. It was very strange to find him among my grandfather's work area. My grandpa was sweet and called me and my mom "Tweety" but he also was a rather quiet and serious man. I imagine that he hangs out with Johnny Cash in heaven, since they both were very devoted to God but had had their own personal demons to deal with in life. That day that we helped clean out the garage, I grabbed this monkey along with a few other things in order I think to grab onto some piece of my grandfather. Perhaps, the pieces I didn't know that well. The monkey has stayed on my bookshelf keeping my childrens' books company. It seemed like a whimsical and logical choice but while I was cleaning the other day, I realized that this monkey doesn't really symbolize my grandfather to me. Who knows where Grandpa even got it? Maybe it was in his garage since he wanted to get rid of it too? The memories I have of my grandfather are strong and if I ever miss him too terribly, I do have his boots. His boots that I have always loved and have very early memories as a child of seeing him wear those boots. Those boots I will never give away. But monkey, good bye.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The 30 day challenge and possible themes.

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

I like...

*very sharp pencils

*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

Dance magic dance, an update from the oubliette.

Isn't this the greatest movie ever? I wanted to marry him when I was 8!

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

Like the leaves,

I am changing,


and relaxing into the season.

There are endings and beginnings.

My color may go from green to brown.

But it certainly is a beautiful time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm so sad, I could cry.

I just completed conferences, I have a bad illness, I will miss my students so much it hurts. I really can't think of it right now. I'm just going to cry, lay low, slowly turn 30 and miss some 9 and 10 year olds so much. I know this is a lesson in letting go, changing, accepting impermanence. But you know what? It effing sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A little reminder that it isn't so bad after all.

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

It was bound to happen...

Yesterday I became attached to the class I'm subbing in.

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

So it finally works...

I have been struggling with this class of mine. We have had our moments and if you know me well, you'd know I rarely yell or really get mean, but I have gotten mean with this group. So, today I went in with a new energy, I was taking names and something else as an old friend of mine would say. And I stopped by the other 4th grade class to talk to the teacher and she changed my world. She told me about sticking post-it notes on their desks and having them give themselves checks or stars based on behavior. Then, depending on your set up, corresponding stars and checks meant certain things. For me, it meant no checks, full extra recess. Each check was a minute off of extra recess. WHAT A DAY!!! We had the best day ever, since they were self-monitoring and the ones who hadn't been rewarded before finally received recognition. I came home and actually had energy! God bless you post-it note! And thank you for new beginnings!
ps. Thanks Alisha for the blog advice. I'm new to this whole thing, obviously!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bloggers! Help!

how do I get rid of that stupid screwdriver and wrench thing that seems to be on my blog?
The little annoying icon that repeats every so often...I don't get it. Help me please!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

First few days survived, more to come...

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


SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You've reached a phase in your astrological cycle when you have special power to expand, deepen, and enhance your web of allies. My advice? Don't just schmooze and party, but rather schmooze and party with an evangelical sense of purpose, taking advantage of the fact that people are more likely than usual to see you as attractive, be sympathetic to your cause, and lend you their support. The connections you forge and the synergetic collaborations you ignite in the next three weeks could be major factors in your success in 2009.

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

Fall beginnings.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Everyone's life is a hero's journey, yours included. You have been on an epic quest ever since you first realized that your destiny is unlike anyone else's, and that you have specific tasks to master as you pursue the long-term dreams that are uniquely meaningful to you. But like all the rest of us, you sometimes lose sight of this big-picture view for months at a time. You may even be fairly happy as you focus on your daily details without any thought of where your you'll be years from now. If that's the rhythm you've been in lately, Scorpio -- and I suspect it is -- it's about to change. Your immersion in the next major phase of your hero's journey will begin soon.

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

Say it with me now...

I will get a full time teaching job.

I will get a full time teaching job.

In August.

In August.

I will get a full time teaching job and be able to move out in December.

I will.

I will.

I even bought the H and T initial glasses to unpack first.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cameras and camping.

I did something quite remarkable recently.

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 feel like a mess.

Today I feel a bit messy.

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'll stop.

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

Just call me Alice.

Like from the Brady Bunch.

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

Endings and beginnings are sometimes troublesome.

The school year is officially over in the two districts I sub for. In a week, I start working for my parents and believe me this is not going to be some cushy slacker summer.

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

I'm down to two cameras.

Well, my digital camera broke somehow. I went to my Mom's school today to take photos for a Dad's Day project and the screen of my camera looks like a Dali painting and not in a good way. Of course I searched my "important files" box and don't have the receipt. I have everything but, so I must save up to buy a new camera. I guess this means I need to spend more time with my Polaroid camera or dig out the 35mm camera in my closet. Or, perhaps this is a sign to finally invest in the Holga camera I've been eyeing.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Upcoming projects.

camera walks
black and white photos of skateboarders at a skate park
Holga camera
Polaroid close ups
newsprint messes
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

I just need a reminder, now and then.

Scorpio - June 4, 2008Don't worry about not being on the right path, dear Scorpio, because you are. You seem to be always in the right place at the right time and there is no need to feel regret or shame about things that have happened in the past. Turn negative experiences into lessons for a better future. Even though you may not be able to change a certain situation, you can at least change your reaction to the situation.

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

Rob Brezsny's Horoscope.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Please join me in a boycott of horoscope columns and astrology books that insinuate all Scorpios are cruel, perverted, power-mad jealousy freaks. Let's refuse to read those propagandists until they cease and desist from brainwashing the masses into directing bigotry toward your tribe. It's true that there are some less-evolved Scorpios who speed up their cars to run over small animals and treat romance as a game in which there can be only one winner. But do we demonize all scientists simply because a few mad physicists created weapons of mass destruction? Of course not. I hereby proclaim June to be Scorpio Pride Month -- a time to celebrate your winning qualities, especially your unparalleled skill at helping to activate the dormant potentials of people you care about. Promise me you'll do that even more intensely than usual.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Isn't our world so fascinating?

I'm constantly learning about this strange world of ours and it makes me love life even more. Had to share this since I never knew about this...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I can do anything.

Although I may come across as a sort of free spirited/fly by night type of gal, in all honesty I love control and predictability. As a sub, you don't get this too often. Case in point: Today's assignment.

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 do you go to my lovely?

This morning, just a few minutes ago, while checking for available substitute jobs, I realized that there are only ten more days in May. And while May has never been on my top ten list of favorite months (allergies tend to start now), I was distressed.

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

I'm drunk with power.

This is a list of sentences I made some 5th graders write today since they talked too much during math. Normally they have to write each sentence 100 times but I just made them write each once and then add another sentence of their own creation.

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 they ended up with an extra recess so don't feel bad for them!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some old/new things I love right now.

1. Weezer---I love, love, love their first two albums. Plus their new single "Pork and Beans" is awesome.
"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

A reminder.

I saw this sign on the way to dropping my brother off at work. On my way back home, I pulled over and took this picture. I think it's great.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Nothing cute about it.

I felt really weird on Sunday. My anxiety was out of wack, my behavior was strange and I was super tired. I hadn't been sleeping well for a few days. I was so concerned with myself that I cancelled my job for Monday and went to the doctor instead. I had "acute stress exhaustion." I was given a sleep aid and told to take the next couple days off. Plus to come back in about two weeks.

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

Six months from today,

I will be thirty years old.

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

Near death experiences, awakenings, and Flight of the Conchords.

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.
Well, maybe it is more like we nearly got into a bad car accident.
Besides my retreat this weekend, I also had a screening interview with a school district that I am very interested in on Saturday afternoon. So O and I drove the hour and half to have my fifteen minute interview. On the way, through Morton, the snow was treacherous. I lost control of the car and we started sliding towards an RV, I couldn't move the car away but luckily we slid back towards the side of the road and didn't hit anything nor got stuck in the snow. O remembers that I was very calm and brave and said something like "It's not working." I was thinking that I can't get her killed and I can't miss the interview and all the books I've been reading say things like "Relax, breathe, and be in the moment." And in that moment, I was my true self: brave, strong and calm. We recovered control and went along our way. And I learned that not only is my true self the words above but that I don't need to always try to control everything. I can trust myself and the process and know that it will turn out okay. This may be reading a lot into the near accident but something clicked with me and I was very much awake. I've been working on being present ever since.
On a lighter less spiritual tranformationy note, I love the Flight of the Conchords. They are this amazing New Zealand duo who have a hilarious tv show and awesome music. I checked out the first season from the library, watched it all, made O watch some episodes, and now finally have ordered it online. The second season apparently comes out sometime soon but I'm also getting their album, out tomorrow. Watch the "Bowie" episode for obvious reasons but other great ones are "New Fans" or "Bret Gives Up the Dream."
Some links:
And finally as someone living at home right now, I love this one!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Loving and Hating


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


I have much to write about:
career fairs,
screening interviews,
the future,
car cleaning,
shoulder hurting,
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,
eye twitching,
bonus stipends,
artistic ideas,
and movies.
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

Some things are blooming here...

A little list pushes itself up like irises. "Everyday is a chance to start again..."

1. grabbed the latest issue of "Artful Blogging" and am getting inspired.
Some of my favorite blogs were featured, including hula seventy. People are so creative. I love it!

2. enjoying a quiet spring break, seeing old friends, and relaxing.
I have 8 boxes of calming tea of some sort..."Bedtime" "Sleepy time" "Quiet Evening" "Tension Tamer" with a dragon on the cover...

3. finding out that I'm too old to still have certain issues/behaviors.
Indulgences, old bad habits, I'm almost 30. Some of this stuff has to go. Plus, my anxiety creeps up full force when I'm not taking good care of myself...exercise, sleep, water, healthy food.

4. going to an Educators career fair to see if I can get a job.
Who knows? Maybe out of state? Maybe here? Maybe in a box with a fox?

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!
6. working out at least 4-5 times a week.
I ride the bike for like 40 minutes and listen to my pop/hip-hop/r and b stuff. I pretend that I'm biking with Madonna or Gwen Stefani. Sometimes, I'm racing Lance Armstrong.

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

Short and lame.

This is a really short post and rather lame one, in my mind. First, I have lost 5 more pounds on top of the size I had lost earlier. Yea! Also, I am super tired lately. I don't know if this is since I bike nearly 7 miles in less than 30 minutes, according to my workout bike at the gym, or what. I just had a super sneezing fit. I may be getting whatever latest child related illness is going around. Otherwise, I am so happy I could burst. This is due to the spring weather, season, my recent readings, art, and life in general. I finally am loving me and the skin I'm in. This may seem dorky but it is true. I just love love. I miss so many of you and want to see you soon but overall, I know everything is in its right place to quote Radiohead. I love you!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Busy with not much to say

I've been working a lot lately. I had two days of teaching art for one school, a fifth grade one day, and finally the class with my friend the student teacher ending the week on Friday. I also have been feeling rather uninteresting or lacking in things to say...which I know isn't true.

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

From "Magpie 2: The Whimsical Issue"

If there was one man that I would think of as summing up whimsical, it would have to be my hero, Andy Warhol.
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

My ego, surprises, and stereotypes.

I've been feeling very ineffective as a teacher this week.

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

I'm OBSESSED with this album.

"Now, ready to capitalize on such promise, Fiasco has returned with his second offering, Lupe Fiasco's The Cool. A largely conceptual tour-de-force, the album's title is inspired by a standout track from Fiasco's debut, a hustler-turned-zombie epic also called "The Cool." This time around, Fiasco introduces three new characters - Michael Young History (The Cool before his death), The Game (a male personification of a hustler's damaging influences), and The Streets (a female embodiment of an urban area's corrupt allure). The potent sense of thematic execution comes across perfectly on "The Coolest," a highlight of Lupe Fiasco's The Cool that serves as a prelude to the earlier track, "The Cool." Detailing Michael Young History's fall from glory to tragedy at the hands of his lover, The Streets, Fiasco employs his unique brand of imagery: "If the rain stops and everything's dry / She would cry so I could drink the tears from her eye." Elsewhere, Fiasco strays away from his characters to comment on his own rise to fame, an issue that clearly causes discomfort. Look no further than the first single, "Superstar," produced by Fiasco's closest collaborator, Soundtrakk, and beaming with poignant unease: "A fresh, cool young Lu / Trying to cash his microphone check, 2, 1, 2 / Wanna believe my own hype, but it's too untrue / The world brought me to my knees, what have you brung you?"Primarily produced by Soundtrakk, and also featuring contributions from a diverse array of atypical instrumentalists (including Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump), Lupe Fiasco's The Cool is evidence that Fiasco is anything but average. Rather than follow up a monumental '06 year - capped by his three Grammy nods, four BET Hip Hop Award nominations, and recognition as GQ's "Breakout Man of the Year," amongst other accolades - with an obvious attempt to further crossover, the young wordsmith has crafted a dense, dark, and atmospheric examination of life's pleasures. Whether negative or positive, what people consider to be "cool" ultimately dominates their every move, and Fiasco is completely aware of this. In hip-hop's popularity contest, Lupe Fiasco is the observer, a thinking man brave enough to dictate the acute thoughts that his peers ignore. Now, that is cool." 10/07

Sunday, March 9, 2008

In progress...

I was looking through some old issues of "Magpie," the printed version of this blog done years ago, and I've found some pieces of writing that I will be posting here soon. In other news, this is something I'm working on...inspired by Joseph Cornell's work and needing some additions. I had painted the weird wispy thing years ago and just left this sitting. Then today I added the images, saved from books and magazines, with mod podge. I feel it needs some more color or else an effect that makes the piece look like one of Cornell's boxes...

Friday, March 7, 2008

About the changes...

I felt with spring approaching and all the lightness I feel inside, the blog needed some sprucing up. However, the color on my computer is looks like black and so forth, so if it is really bad, let me know. I'm going to try to view it on another computer soon. Thanks, the molting magpie.

Persephone is coming home.

I am so excited about so many things right now, that I just can't stand it. Fate, the universe, God, Allah, whatever you want to call it has been setting up beautiful things lately and I've been enjoying life! An abbreviated list of my bliss:
*made a new fabulous friend with the student teacher I was watching. We have a ton in common and it is great.
*have more work lined up than I know what to do with! I'm wanted! Hopefully, this means more money saved!
*interviewed for a long term sub job, did not get it, did not want it since it wasn't right for me but am going to be "the art lady" for two days at this school. I get to pick my own lessons, have materials provided, and basically roam around like a gypsy teaching art!
*my yoga class is awesome. I sleep like a little stretched out baby afterwords and feel so lucky to have a body that can do these things.
*some difficult parts of my life have ended.
*my good friend Radiate Warmth added this blog to his page! Awesome! Now I have to step it up a notch!
*I found all these terrific books the other day and am reading like a fiend. Some are mentioned in the ING post. I'm very close to getting a Holga camera. That would be my 4th camera. I told a friend the other day, "I have 3 cameras, 70 paintbrushes, and no cell phone." That's my idea of modern technology.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Alpha dog H!

So I'm still subbing at this school where the student teacher is in total control and I sit in the back and read or do whatever. (Word to the wise, even if you are in this position, don't buy two new magazines on a Friday cause you'll jinx yourself and end up covering a 1st grade class.) And while this gig is pretty relaxing and I'm able to kinda hang back and observe, I'm starting to get cabin fever. Especially when it comes to management.
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


Here's what I'm "ing."

"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
this moment

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Through the looking glass...

This week and next, I am subbing at the school I student-taught at. I'm in a class with a student teacher who is into the full time teaching of her stay. She also happens to be going through the exact program I went through for my Masters last year! She also happens to have done her undergrad at the same school as me with an art degree just like I did.
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

Rob Breszny's Scoprio horoscope for this week.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Poet Sylvia Plath said she wasn't much impressed with the "photographic mind which paradoxically tells the truth, but the worthless truth, about the world." What she really loved was the "synthesizing spirit, that 'shaping' force, which prolifically sprouts and makes up its own worlds with more inventiveness than God." That's the aspect of your psyche I hope will be in full bloom during the coming weeks, Scorpio. It's a perfect time for you to enter into an unprecedented phase of building. You're ripe to dream up a host of creations for yourself -- to improvise and design and compose.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw.

"As I reflected on the day's events, I couldn't help but wonder if substitute teaching is the key to understanding relationships?"

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

The cloud has lifted.

After a week long battle with flu and the depression, anxiety, insomnia that accompany it, I feel once more alive and refreshed. I spent the morning cleaning my room and making plans for this spring. And I must say that nothing makes me happier than a list and a project. Here is what I have so far:

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

Do you ever have those days?

Where you can't really do anything productive or say anything meaningful? Where you just want to watch an "X-files" or "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" marathon and sit? Or what about when you feel down and alone and want someone to call or email you and nobody does? Or when you drive your brother to work and cry on the way home cause of some Pink Floyd song? What about that? Or when you are getting the flu and everything seems to bother you even more?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

And in the end...

The love you take
is equal to the love
you make...--The Beatles

My favorite holiday is Valentine's Day and I wish all of you a wonderful one. Love, hdt.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The other H.T.

In honor of my best friend who happens to be my brother's 27th birthday, here are some facts about this elusive man.
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

What the magpie found

Isn't he adorable? Don't be fooled by the sweet face!

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.
Another week without a new makeup story. But in other girly news, I got this fantabulous new bag from Target. And I've lost a size!
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.
Bath and Bodyworks "Sleep" Body wash and Foam Bath--It might just be a placebo but I think this stuff really helps lull me to sleep. It has lavendar and vanilla in it and a little bit goes a long way. Normally it is something like 13 dollars but recently they had a sale (5 bucks a pop) and I loaded up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This man is a genius!

Why does Rob Brezsny's horoscope always come at the right time? Seriously, I was thinking about how I need to not let certain issues that aren't my problem affect me and then I get this in my email inbox. Spooky.

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

What the magpie found

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.

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

Projects, plans, and paper.

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

What the magpie found


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.


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

And then, the other shoe drops...

Yesterday was another substitute job. This time in a different district and in a 3rd grade class I had been to once before. Apparently, even though I was there only a half day, the students spoke highly of me and asked their teacher for me to return. I thought they had hated me and the day was unsuccessful. I guess I don't know anything!

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

Don't get too comfortable, it might be good for you!

I have been subbing since September now and I have reached that point where teachers I randomly was assigned or picked are now requesting me. It is a fabulous feeling to be wanted.

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.