Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm painting again

I'm beginning my first oil painting in nearly fifteen years and possibly second oil ever. I've been a watercolorist for a long time and was also satisfied with the seemingly limitless agency of pen & ink.
Now, for an individualized instruction (that is not unlike an apprenticeship of old without the gopher/studio management and more self-development), I am painting oil. I continue with a series I had begun with 5 by 5 inch square heavy cold-pressed watercolors handling the subject matter of my recently passed grandmother and a book by Pessoa, posthumously reknowned and published entitled "The Book of Disquiet."
I have been working with the wheels removed from my easel on the third story of my farmhouse which I have recently learned to have once been host to a small rural beauty parlor. The aromas are once again rich and slightly intoxicating as were the perms of the late seventies and early eighties that were set in this space.
I am working less abstractly with oil and more voyeuristically. I am setting my goal on Hopperesque abstracted realism... thin layers, stacked with little caking, roughed architectural edges and skin that glows from within.
In honor of my cousin, a CT man turned Brooklynese, bachelor soon to be groom, I have included this image of his favorite and the most famous Hopper; "Night Hawks." Of course, this is an adaptation or appropriation of such. Please let me know of other parodies, but what I'm really looking for is a play put on that mimics this scene. I have already had some of my middle school art students bringing life to these characters in skits and one-acts.
I will include pics of my work as it becomes more... becoming.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I had finished reading for the evening, satisfied that I was being consistent with my measures of self-preservation. It was time to buckle down........ and stare at Ruby. She was asleep beside me, tucked beneath the duvet. I watch for fifteen minutes as small movements alternately show between her left cheek and her right hand of digits. I whisper and coo, and she smiles in her dreaming. I study the flatness of her thumbnail before looking at the flatness of my own. I tickle her wrist and kiss the bulge of her palm. I think about my years as a young girl, an adolescent, then a woman, and the divisions between those titles as being blurred the further along I go.
I think about Ruby as a young girl, as an adolescent, a woman and have deep hopes and heave deep sighs. River is my son, my boy. She is to be a model of my better times, my best and beyond what I have been. Now that I have a daughter, there is deep pressure to forgive myself for my times in becoming a woman. Those trials of great risk and great neurosis behind me, in a way, that are implicit in womanhood - particular to the women who developed at a solitary and strangely wild rate; free from the immediate influence of premature monogomous relationships... women who came of age basically untethered and on their own. Having entered motherhood with more life experience than I can bare to consider, I shoulder the task ahead... beyond the tender appreciative and surrendering kisses of adoration. I'm still here, and I am witness. Sweet dreams, Ruby.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Folie a Trios

It can't be common for three psychotics to share in one delusion, but this phenomenon occured this evening beside a billiards table in a small rural town called Topton.
Had we ever been decent pool players was not the question but rather the impossibility as was evident by the clear shots missed in that lounge in Topton.
It may have been the ice, the sore gums from spicy foods, or the terrible television program about the 200 weirdest ways a person can be killed. Albeit, we all psychotically believed that we had once "had it." One thing we recognized and could be seen to have been truly correct on knowing was that we weren't experienced poker players but craved its secrets. For those of you who don't have it memorized, as it is the first step after learning some method acting skills (or the behavioral tactics of nihilism), the ranking order for Texas Hold'em is, from least to greatest:

a high card

one pair

two pairs

three of a kind



full house

four of a kind

straight flush

royal flush (not to be confused with the potty humor that plagues my family gatherings).

There you have that. As far as some billiards tips, I found this from the wiki-how site on playing pool like a pro helpful.

Focus on the proper hit. As a beginner, don't waste time trying to make the ball "follow" or "draw" after hitting the cue ball. Every little extra thing you try to do will adversely effect your accuracy. Just hit the cue in the middle. Before every single shot you should take 2 or 3 practice strokes and then follow through. If you want to get fancy, you can hit the cue slightly above center to make the cue ball follow the ball you just hit or slightly lower than center to make the cue ball stop or actually spin back toward you after hitting the ball. Hitting the cue to the left or right of center is called " English " and will cause the object balls trajectory to be augmented in one direction or another. Not for beginners, stick to the center of the Cue Ball.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tsotsi and a one-horned heifer

Today I felt a deep sense of shame that brought me yet again, close with those who suffer from daily doses of oppression. Cashless but with passes for my children to attend a traveling zoo and carnival (indoors, naturally), I was permitted into the arena of animal bliss to use the ATM to pull out cash for the entrance of the one adult in our party, myself. River was patiently adoring Pekin ducks while I was on the phone with my credit card company until I noticed two security guards approaching a bit sheepishly. They informed me that the ATM was out of cash and the I was to find some other way to come up with my own fare. River was horribly chagrined, as, afterall, he was IN! Thankfully, my dear friend arrived with her own two and some cash, having been forewarned. I had anticipated that a group of carnies would not be set up to manage cards, though the service is now renderable via smart phones... an each roving clerk at any Apple store carries portable ATM devices so you can purchase your MacBook Pro without approaching any kind of pay kiosk or waiting in line.
Albeit, we were back in and could more closely study the one-horned heifer, two elephants, enough ring-tailed lemurs to think you were being invaded by their reproductive rampage. The boys bounced within an inflated castle, rode miniature Mustang's on 60's era track. The little ones drank their mother's milk while their mothers recharged on borrowed french fries and talk of parrots and dromedaries.
After returning home to Padre, a homemade pizza later, the largest Thomas track I've ever witnessed (mind you, I don't attend Thomas trade-shows) had been constructed beside a fire, and we all watched River and Logan play while sipping wine and listening to a young prodigy play Beatles songs on the Tenor Sax. It was a good day, albeit strange.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Student Teaching Begins Tomorrow

I have always been the blessing and the curse as perceived by faculty. Though I was brought up as a product of teachers whose projections of how one is perceived in the school community factored into the rewards and punishments of my scholastic behavior, I tested my boundaries. Some teachers appreciated that my challenges made them work, and I feel that these are the students whose actions I will seek most for a source of vitality in my own teaching. Others were disturbed by the reality that they would have to stretch and be sharp.
As a female, I have always had a sensitivity to sexism even at a young age. So, I would be remiss if I didn't say that equity and even feminism in the young classroom marks good teaching. As empowerment is probably the most important message and gift, it should be delivered without distinction.
Good teaching requires a sharpness in the way of being concurrent with best practices as they reflect each new need. An invested interest in teaching as an art form rather than a paycheck is an antidote to teacher burnout and student struggles. Poor teaching is that which invites homegrown negativity, good teaching brings elements of the humanity/the reality of the teacher as a fallible person. I am a big fan of metacognitive teaching. I believe that a classroom in which the perspectives of the student are valued and invited into the rule-making and curricular building of the classroom. I believe in a mutual voice; one in which safe risk-taking is invited into conversation. I want students to understand boundaries that exist without feeling oppressed by authoritarian patterns they have learned to know in the American public school system so often.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Out on good behavior? I doubt it.

Folks, our son has entered yet another phase of maturity. The fourth wall, if you will, of his bed has been removed, and while a gate will exist to foil attempts at willfully crossing his very present threshold, what exists between himself and his world of toys (and my walk-in) is fine orange-hued air.
Throughout history and across many attended and gated boarders there have been many "great" escapes. In Ireland, in the early eighties, nearly 40 IRA inmates eluded Scotland Yard after taking guards hostage in their H-block and bypassing the 15 foot walls. This particular "joint" now has high wires positioned to prevent incoming helicopters after additional breakouts since. Another UK convict's accomplices positioned padlocks and screw-eyes to lock down guards to permit time to mysteriously pass beyond locked doors and 20 foot walls.
And, of course, there are the 14 escape attempts from the 34 inmates from Alcatraz most of whom were antipated and/or killed. However, there were those whom were never found. And those few who disappeared were, by default, believed to have been successful.

Toddlers are not put into high security prisons. They start out after settling into the walkability, by running away in the exploration of freedom and the celebration of finally being "fast" after months of being prone or reclined... subject to the whims of Mom or Dad, or whomever was permitted or interested in moving them. I have witness the many contraptions of Mama/Daddy wardens or guards in the form of those white plastic fences for kids, the excersaucers, the leash made to innocently portray a monkey backpack... the baby gate, the crib. Now, River has but one major manifestation of containment in the house (of the aforementioned list)... his baby gate. So, readers, beware of stories to come of night-marauding and heist; atleast someone in the house might be flattered by horizontal stripes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daddy's home

atlast, a talkative but placid babe whose first day of angst occured today amidst beautiful east coast heavy wet snow, was anxious until her Daddy returned home hungry for burgers and she hungry for Daddy's oil burner working-man smell. Doin' donuts in a mustang, throwin snowballs at undergrads, puttin the dog out in her sheep hair. It's a wonderful life indeed.
I wonder how Hank is? How I miss him, and please know, readers, don't ever be bullied into taking your cat away from your home... no matter how many .22's she has or how Dutchy she can behave.