Friday, May 29, 2009

Graduation After Retirement

Congrats to the Class of 2009! Just sat through graduation at my favorite high school, my first after handing my senior class sponsor sash and tiara over to another teacher. Two things today's experience taught me:
  1. Life does go on without me.
  2. I am waaaaaaaay critical.
Nothing skidded to a halt without me. Everyone got in the O-rena and found a seat. Programs were printed. Speeches were made (good ones, too--funny and touching). Names were called. Tassels were moved from right to left and mortarboards tossed. But...and this is a big but...from my spectator's seat, I nitpicked. Since I've done the job before, I had the two column thing going in  my head: How I'd Do It vs. How It Got Done. And since I am my father's daughter, I found plenty of things in the HIGD column that were most definitely not HIDI, which made them BAD and WRONG. Isn't that always how it is with us semi-control freaks? Our way is THE way?

But all that's not important. What's important is the smiling faces of all those newly-minted graduates, ready to take on the world. (We won't tell them about mortgage payments and other related adult fun just quite yet. We'll let them think being "grown" is all fun and games. For now.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ten Celebrities You're Tired Of

  1. Sarah Palin
  2. Jennifer Aniston
  3. The Octo-Mom
  4. Jon & Kate
  5. Paris Hilton
  6. Tom & Katie
  7. Mischa Barton
  8. L'il Wayne
  9. Beyoncé
  10. Anyone from one of those vapid shows I don't watch but practically know everything about because they're freakin' EVERYWHERE, like Gossip Girl or The Hills or that Kardashians nonsense.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Who is Kate, and Why Should We Care?

Apparently, tonight is the season premiere for Jon and Kate Plus 8, yet another reality series I've managed to avoid. If you've been under a rock lately, you haven't seen Jon and Kate Gosselin's mugs (and her ridiculous attacked-by-a-string-trimmer-from-behind hairdo) splashed across every possible tabloid/celebrity mag at the checkout. From what I gather, they were a semi-normal family until the fertility drugs took with a vengeance and they had sextuplets. Then the camera crew arrived, and all hell is continuing to break loose.

I don't know about you, but I'm baffled by this type of reality show. I have enough to deal with raising my own two children. I don't need to watch a dysfunctional Midwestern family try to raise their brood of eight, or a dysfunctional California family try to manage their rich and clueless offspring (Keeping Up With the Kardashians), or graspy overprivileged women who don't have real jobs and yet complain about how tough their lives are (Real Housewives of Orange County/Atlanta/New York/New Jersey), or Q-list celebrities who can't seem to tell their heads from a hole in the ground (Hogans, Gottis, etc.). What exactly are we supposed to be learning here? I have money, therefore, I'm a gold-plated asshat?

Seriously, when did the intellectual common denominator in this country fall so low? Why are intelligent, thoughtful dramas like The Unit and Eleventh Hour canceled while shows featuring vapid women who live for nothing more than their next tanning appointment or plastic surgery seem to continue indefinitely? And spark followings, no less, of regular women who know every petty detail of these people's lives? Is making a connection in our own real communities so unworthy of our time and energy that we send our kids out of the room so we can watch the latest money-fueled trainwreck play out in all its ghastly glory?

Find something constructive to do with your time. Step one is turn the dial. Better yet, turn the thing off. Got a few minutes? Page through Chris Van Allsburg's marvelous children's book The Wretched Stone. Think about what happens to those poor sailors. Then turn off the tube and read a book. I'm sure Jon, Kate, the Kardashians, and those damned housewives will get along without you just fine.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Love Geeky Scotsmen!!

And this is one reason why. Check out Craig Ferguson, bustin' the moves:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Life Imitating Art?

Okay, this is freaky. The other day, I was cleaning out my storage room at school, and one of the charms on my bracelet (the bagpipe) got caught in the large spiral binding of a book. Pull, pop, the bagpipe goes flying, and my bracelet ends up in two pieces. After some choice vocabulary words that will not be on my students' next test, I scooped it all into an envelope and took it to my jeweler for repair. Fine. Dandy.

Today, I pick up the bracelet, and it has issues. One part's been soldered on in reverse, so now the typewriter is on the end instead of the Cosmo glass. That can be fixed. But then I notice--horrors!--that MY COURT JESTER HAT IS GONE!!!!

It's only a charm, of course, and I can get another one for $15.95 plus tax, plus shipping, but that's not the point. The totally random thing is that Robin, the heroine of The Five Step Plan, realizes that her life is going to hell because she's lost her court jester charm. You know how you include little details of your life in your books? Well, Robin wears my charm bracelet. Her jester disappears, her man cheats on her with her boss. I lose mine...

No worries there. Sparky is the coolest of husbands. Still, it's creepy! Ever realize that you're living your own fiction?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Block, or What?


More cleaning of the cabinets today, since les élèves are taking an exam, and of course I get sidetracked by a book. Miracle's Boys, by Jacqueline Woodson. One thing leads to another, I end up at her website, and I find this: 

I don’t believe there is any such thing as Writer’s Block. I think it’s just your mind telling you that the thing you’re writing isn’t the thing you really want to be writing. If this happens to me, I start writing something else. 

Okay, she has a point. I just wish it weren't quite so, erm, pointy. I'm a big one for avoiding work. Doodling, planning, scheming, but not actually writing. Does that qualify as a block? The difference between me and Jacqueline Woodson (who really is a fine writer for young people--do check her out ASAP) is that she's productive. I'm not. I make a fine case for wanting to be a writer. Actually doing the writing? Not so much. 

It's interesting, since I was all kinds of productive during NaNoWriMo. Getting up at 4:00 and slapping on the headphones was a great way to get a story out. Once it's down, though, I lose steam. That, or get sidetracked by another idea. Since new ideas are always far more interesting than the work required by revision, I get sidetracked. Easily. Woodson might claim that the new idea is what I should be writing (that thought sure is seductive!), while the "write every day no matter what" crowd would say I'm a dilettante. I think I'm both, but I've never been a clear judge of my own character. 

What say you, writer types? Do you stick with a book until the bitter, multi-revised end, or do you flirt with the new guy when he sashays through your cortex?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

10 Awesome Bands

  1. Foo Fighters
  2. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  3. R.E.M.
  4. U2
  5. The Police
  6. Barenaked Ladies
  7. Rush
  8. Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band
  9. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  10. The Rolling Stones

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Success Looks Like...


...this fabulous young woman, who is now a proud graduate of the University of Florida. Prior to joining the Gator Nation, I taught her in my AP English class. She started hyphenating her last name with mine at the tops of her papers and calling me "Mom," so of course, "Mom" was in the O'Connell Center this morning taking pictures and beaming alongside her actual for-real mom. They don't tell you that these moments are the bonus pay you'll get when you become a teacher. They are so worth it.

Congratulations, C!! I can't believe you're (I'm??) this old!!

the dish Design by Insight © 2009