Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sharpen Your Pencils Everyone




I was in my child's 3rd grade class earlier in the week reading out loud to the children and monsters a book about Unicorns, or more correctly a book about a Unicorn about to be born, which in no way sounds like fun to me especially given the mother of the Unicorn in question is a Horse.

Thankfully the teacher was otherwise occupied and not really paying attention because it gave us all time to talk about what we thought might happen in the case of such a supernatural birth and what exactly it means to be "in foal"...you know important stuff.

I really do not like reading a loud to anyone, it is just a weird quirk I have. Mostly because it distracts me from my own imaginings, so it always surprises me when rapt little faces look at me and beg me to continue. I have been told that I "do voices" of which I am entirely unaware, but it must be because that is how I hear things In my head when I read.

But that is neither here nor there. We finished the prescribed chapter and though we all wanted to go on and learn more about the fearsome owner of the horse, and her kindly young girl caregiver and most importantly the foal, which we secretly talked about maybe more than we should-how did it get in there? -because it would be Unicorn was it magically conceived?- Did the Flaxen cord have anything to do with it?-what exactly is Flax? You know important stuff.

Anyway after reading I was asked to help the kids with their drawings of geometrical shapes, yay, I always love it when kids have to draw things according to prescription...NOT! This is how I found out the rule of the class was you could not under any circumstances sharpen your pencil during class. What the Hell? Really? So if you break your pencil, use it up, or in the case of one child the absent minded teacher steals your pencil you cannot sharpen one because....why? The earth may fall out of rotation?

It is these sort of rules that make me feel like I really should be in class more often. If only to bring in freshly sharpened pencils everyday like a bouquet of flowers. Now I know it can be a distraction that little children and other monsters will use to sharpen their pencils and avoid a task, but really, maybe they need that avoidance minute.

Or maybe they need a really newly sharpened pencil. I was thinking to myself how when I was a child and computers were not yet the norm, a new sharpened pencil made me want to do new things. Somehow I was more excited about math, spelling and yes even geography when I could write beautifully and precisely with a nice sharp point. We all have our thing that makes us feel good and I think maybe some of us should re-think our rules around distraction in order to make others feel good.

So I sharpened pencils in the "NO SHARPENING PENCIL TIME" The teacher after all could not tell me not to, and I think everyone should have something that makes them feel empowered.

I don't know why, but the teacher still looked to me for help on the "GUM ISSUE" after that, (GUM ISSUE=Absolutely no gum at anytime for any reason) Since I have older kids she wanted to have me back her up regarding the "Universal GUM LAW" in school, apparently she thought the kids would quit it if they knew their Miley Cyrus aged cohorts also couldn't chew gum.

So Naturally when she asked me if kids in Jr. High and High School could chew gum I threw her a bone and answered with a quote from one of my favorite Gurus: "Chewing Gum is Really Gross, Chewing Gum I Hate the Most"~Willy Wonka.



I think from the giggles that the quote will work out in her favor. You just gotta know how to relate.

And bring your sharpened pencils.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Writer's Block and This and That




I had meant to do an end of the year write up, however then I got sidetracked with researching sticky legal issues here as well as an article I am working up for Subversify.com. Unfortunately one of the side-effects of filling my brain up is over-thinking everything and living with an ongoing circular argument in my head, until one side or the other wins out in this argument (figuratively of course, there aren't actual people in my head...usually) I also usually come down with a bad case of writer's block.

While it has consistently been proven to me that curing writer's block requires writing, NO MATTER WHAT, I like someone who wants to lose weight and not exercise and eat cream and butter, persist in dreaming it will go away on its own.

So that is what I have been up to, sitting on my favorite fireside chair gobbling books and making pasta and walking, and reading some more and worrying about my schizophrenic cat (seriously, not just in the normal cat way, he sees thing and attacks his own tail when it gets dark out, does anyone know a cat whisperer or psychic who will work for free, nobody is sleeping at night and he has learned how not to swallow benedryl.) and reading some more.

I will be around for now, But I will also be spending more time away, the 'zine is taking up a lot of time and with people taking off, valuable folks that I want to talk to are now more scattered.

I know I didn't get around to a complete write up of my year, but here is one in brief.

2009 was hard, personally and politically and while not financially for me, that rug was pulled out several years earlier at my house, I did spend a good part of my year teaching others what I had learned as they woke up from their dreams of prosperity.

I fell in Love with Amanda Palmer this year, You can check out her music, performance art and blogs HERE.

My very favorite book of the year is The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson which is really too good for me to give any of it away, trust me on this one and read it. It also lead me to read The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri again and I am working on my second translation of it now just to see what the differences are.

My favorite Movie of the year was Watchmen-in the theatre and my biggest disappointment began early in the year with Benjamin Button which they thoroughly ruined. See my review HERE

As you know all plans for the summer were thrown out when I severed the tendon on my foot. It is all healed up now and I just stopped going to Physical Therapy, which was horrendous at first but I miss now because at the end it was more like having a free exercise trainer. (Shhh, don't tell my insurance agency!) I still can't wear heels though my big toe won't allow me, it gets all cranky and I still have a big knot of undisolvable stitches in there that I have to decide if I want to live with or go back in for them. Having had two surgeries this summer I am not excited about it and probably will put it off as long as they don't bother me. But I am happy to report I am in all other shoes and only slightly afraid to trim the rose bushes.

I did do one trip to the Coast at Thanksgivingtime as always. I was going to write it up but really, it was Ocean, it was sunny we saw lighthouses and played ghost hunters and ate copious amounts of chowder in search of the best bowl.(Which we never found and I ended up having to make.) It was relaxing but there is not a lot to say other that we enjoyed the family.

Clam Chowder Recipe:

5 or 6 biggish potatoes-cleaned coarsely cut and unpeeled

1-2 lbs of fresh clams or 2 cans clams

2 (or to desired consistency) cups of half and half

1 sweet onion

2 Tsp fresh ground pepper

1 Leek

2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Butter ( you decide, I don't know what you like better)

1 lbs of bacon chopped and cooked or 2 lbs of your favorite sausage ( the sausage I just tried as a joke due to an Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode, I used Italian Sweet)

Kosher salt to taste.

In a dutch oven or large soup pot sweat onions and leeks in olive oil or butter with a pinch of salt, when most of the water is out but not yet browning add potatoes and enough water to cover, cook until potatoes are "Irish" (slightly underdone) and add clams, if fresh just cook until done, if canned just warm up.

Drain Potatoes saving stock. Add the Potatoes back into the pan then add everything else and stir together. If not soupy enough for you, first add back a cup of saved stock then a half cup of half and half until you reach desired consistency.

Serve with favorite bread.

Be aware this is the first ever written recipe of this, if it doesn't work out for you too bad, you'll have to come and watch me that's how I learned it. It's also how I learned not to drink too much while you are making it and forget the potatoes, they tend to burn...Burnt things taste bad and you have to start all over. Don't be afraid to make it yours, by adding whatever, if parsley is around, I'll throw that in, If I don't have a leek but I have everything else, I make it without, cooking should be fun.

Oh I did fall in love on that vacation with my second favorite book Wraeththu by Storm Constantine. It is a fat book which in the end gave my arms cramps, but I was delighted with the world created. I should warn you, if you are slightly homophobic in the least it will not set well with you, all of the bad reviews I read had to do with people "not getting" or "not being into" the hermaphroditic love. Which I find strange because hermaphrodites are not strictly male or female but it turns out a lot of men have a hard time with this, if reviews are anything to go by.

In any case the New Year started out well for me and I'm sure with the right mindset will continue to BE, no matter what comes. The top picture by the way was taken from my back yard on New Years Day, which I thought was fitting.

Now I am hoping this fufill's my HAVE TO WRITE for today and my brain block will start moving like a spring ice flow, but less chilly and loud.