Saturday, April 20, 2013
what did my friend and i do this week? we baked a cake for no reason. an orange cake. it takes like spring and is just the right sweetness. we made one just because we wanted to; for no special occasion, throwing in the sugar, flour, eggs...laughing together as the kitchen came alive with citrus. out of the pan onto the cooling rack, drizzled with glaze, garnished with orange peel and voila: not only good news in a world that could use some, but an ordinary day transformed.
the word of the week? gumby. as in, "blessed are the flexible for they shall not break." we're still laughing, actually. petting zoo animals were scheduled to come to our school, only they went to the wrong room. when my students were transitioning between classes, another teacher met me at the door and our ironic conversation went something like this, her referring to the animals all the while i'm referring to the students. her: "are they supposed to be up here?" me: "uh huh, we just got out of the gym, but we're still on regular schedule today." her: "but who told them they could meet in here today?" me: "well, we always meet in here for literature on wednesdays, so after the assembly, i told them to come on up, we still have 20 minutes left in 6th period." her: "i don't know what you're talking about, but i'm talking about THEM" (opens the door and shows me a room filled with animals, complete with cockateel, kangaroo, snakes...) me: "i was talking about the students!" her: "i was talking about the animals!" (at this point a man carrying a tortoise walks by, i am not making this up) she and i look at each other, "students, animals...same thing!?"
i just returned from one of the best things i've ever let myself do: an art retreat in boulder, colorado! as i've mentioned in earlier posts, ali dejohn runs the makerie (www.themakerie.com) and brings together fantastic, creative teachers from across the nation. we stayed in cottages at Chautauqua, which was an adult education movement popular in the 19th and early 20th century. i can't tell you what a treat it was for this art teacher to be an art student for a while, indulging myself in a blockprinting class (www.samantha-hirst.com) and the art of letterpress (www.birddogpress.com). yes, the temperature ranged from approximately 14-57 while i was there, but that didn't stop the sun from warming us at the perfect moment for picnics on the lawn. and, as much as i love portland, it was great fun to explore pearl street, rent a b-bike, and hike near the flatirons. we were provided with delicious food, morning yoga, and a bevy of artistic company the entire time. maybe someday i'll run a northwest version of this retreat, but for now it was just fun to attend!
Monday, April 8, 2013
i just finished reading william kuhn's first novel, "mrs. queen takes the train", a delightfully fun story about the queen running away from BP (effectually, home as in Buckingham Palace) and the host of people trying to find her and bring her back. kuhn, an historian, peppers the novel with real photos and tidbits of facts about that era in a somewhat "downton abbey" fashion in terms of showing the lives of those who serve the nobles as well as the queen's desire to just be an ordinary person for a while. i came across three unfamiliar words which, as you know, lights up my brain synapses although it will take more coffee until i can use them in one coherent sentence. 1) equerry: officer of a noble in charge of caring for the horses 2) demesne: possession of and use of one's own land and 3) vituperation: verbal harshness, bitter railing or condemnation. in the non-fiction category, kuhn is also the author of "reading jackie" (jacqueline kennedy onassis), "democratic royalism" (henry and mary ponsonby--key players in queen victoria's court) and "the politics of pleasure" (benjamin disraeli, britain's most royalist prime minister)--the latter of which seems fitting for today as per the passing of margaret thatcher. see also www.williamkuhn.com
Saturday, April 6, 2013
this italian phrase translates to "love where you live" which i say at least once (if not fifty) times a day! i do love where i live! where else can you have chickens, biker commute in the city and have the ocean within a short drive? in fact, i'm headed to colorado for an art retreat (www.themakerie.com) and am so excited. each time i travel, however, be that france or a neighboring state, i come home appreciating my own backyard. i know i will love boulder; i also know i will want to head straight to the oregon coast afterwards! so tell me, what do you love about where you live? amare dove si vive...