Friday, May 26, 2006

The Other Life


I took this photo of Beth on the beach...it's calm moments like this that make summers so great.
Memorial Weekend is upon us. Am cleaning and sorting while watching our grandsons. Still a couple of weeks left of school before we can head north to the cottage.
Have a great weekend.
Marilyn

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

He Had Me From THe Start!!!



It's not about the best voice as there are tons of those out there...it's what you do with a song and how you make those of us listening feel about the performance. When Kat came on I thought she was a gorgeous girl with a beautiful voice. Taylor on the other hand made me want to clap, sing and dance along with him. Obvious choice for me! Congratulations Taylor. You won it fair and square.

My vote for most improved? Voice and appearance goes to Clay Acon. What a transformation! Did not recognize him at first.

Prince was SO GOOD...but he was out of place in what has become a Miss America variety show of music about promoting singers.

I was sorry that Mandessa didn't do a duet with Ruben Stoddard. Two great voices and a well matched couple (she has the hots for him already, according to tv hype).

Simon is riding this show and others to an early retirement with lotsa money for bling.

Am afraid by glorifying the odd ball acts with trophies it will encourage more to come out of the cracks next year and the show will lose the serious competition value.

Country music award shows are starting to impress me more...they put on a great show.

The Oscars are in the dumps and need to be reincarnated.

Life is good outside of the box (TV or flat screen).

Enjoy today.

Marilyn

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

True Golfing Story



Husband Bob calls this one, "as good as it gets", though to hear him tell it is what really makes it funny.

Years ago one of the city schools in the predominantly poorest part of town wanted Bob to be their golf coach. His team consisted of one guy who always showed up in a suit, one girl, a guy with a glass eye, and a gay guy who liked to tee off with a putter (he later killed a guy friend and is in jail for life). None of them had clubs of their own so he had to beg and borrow used ones...he asked me for my bag of clubs and I turned him down after I heard a kid wrapped a club around a desk practicing his swing in his classroom.

One day he and another coach were sitting in the pro shop waiting on the kids when someone told him his kids were beating up other kids on the course with their clubs. He said he reluctantly went out to stop them feeling totally embarrassed.

Bob said he got tired of being the lowest in the ratings every year at the city meets, as he had to bring the donuts five years in a row. He said he never wore his school shirts as he didn't want them to know where he coached!

Just another of Bob's school stories...he could and should write a book.

Marilyn

Norman Rockwell Golfing Print

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saturday Morning















Grandson Jake and husband Bob leave for an MG car meet this morning...building memories.

Dead Ends...



I left school so angry yesterday I wanted to throw things and cry, all at the same time. I have been in the trenches for 28 years now and thought I had seen it all but the apathy is more than I can handle for now.
We were watching an excellent film on artist Alexander "Sandie" Calder (1898-1976) and the kids were either sleeping or being reminded that the tv was in fact behind them, if they would just turn around to look at it.

I told them that their last project of the year was a mobile that was to be abstract, using only shapes and balance. Calder treated art as playtime and I thought they would be into that as it's been a struggle to get them to work on anything. These are 8th graders I am talking about. The counselor told me the computer was to blame for the three classes of lowest performing students in the school, but even I know that if you schedule students willing to learn into foreign languages, study hall, or band/choir there is nothing left but the apathetic students we are seeing more of every year. Notice I am not saying special ed. students who are also about 25% of my classes, as they actually come in wanting to learn.

"So, why are you making us watch this stupid movie anyway...it's BORING" said one girl ...I had taken this girl into my yearbook staff advisory and treated her with nothing but respect. I reminded her that it was to give her an example of an artist who made mobiles into an art form...that even his smallest mobiles command more than $100,000 at auction today.

Another kid who reminds me of the character Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) on the 70's Show chimed in with, "Yeah, like we want to be entertained. This is BORING."

Several others who had been punching each other in the arms as they entered the class also added their two cents about how they were being "forced" to watch a dumb movie.

I turned off the TV/VCR. and told them they had already done their last project of the year. Most of them slaughtered an architecture project based on the work of LA architect Frank Gehry, so I was attempting to bring the art back down to their level. I added that they would be reading and writing notes to turn in the last three weeks of class and I would be running it like a study hall...with the exception of a couple kids who give effort and care.

The yearbook gal and her female "lawyer" friend approached my desk to further their case, "But YOU need to give us stuff we want to do ." I supposed they meant like a few other students had asked the same day about doing an edible art project they could eat afterward (With their teacher of course buying the ingredients out of pocket).

In my anger, which I confess I shared with the principal later should he get a phone call, I told them Education has it all wrong. We need to be more European in our outlook. Stop education at 6th grade ,I told them, and send them out into the work force if they did not want any further education.

"And you will need to know how to speak Spanish, as your bosses will." I added. The lawyer friend called me racist and I told them that all they need to do is watch the news to know that they would be filling the jobs previously filled by people coming from Mexico, who would then move up the ladder.

The lawyer student said she wanted to be a tattoo artist. I told her she could apprentice and did not need school for that. She said it would be 6 mo. to a year without pay though. I answered that she would not need the money as she would still be living at home with her parents...she didn't like my response. The yearbook gal shot back..."You would be out of a job then!" I told them I could handle that if it meant the kids who want to be educated were the ones being taught.

Students are becoming increasingly apathetic because they have been given free reign by parents and society. They no longer have respect for adults or institutions as they have no self respect. They shout out obscenities to friends, wear their clothes to flaunt their bodies, sleep, eat, play computer games, talk and text message on cell phones, listen to their ipods, have sex before they are ready for the consequences and consume and destroy materials on a daily basis. Education is not something that is being sought by these students as their parents have never shown them an advantage toward having one.

Many of my students have parents in and out of jail, failed relationships, and finances. One student who has the latest clothes, nail and hair appointments has a mother who changes cell phone numbers and addresses almost weekly. I am shocked when a parent actually answers a phone or calls the school back on their student's behavior...as long as we are taking the kids off their hands (and off the streets) they are happy...gives them time to sleep in, make more babies, and run around.

Schools are asked to pay for these kids as they often do not pay fees, have money for breakfast or lunch, or the materials needed on a daily basis. "I need a pencil" they say instead of "I didn't bring a pencil". One student told me they didn't pay fees because "that's our Partying Money, Man!!" We also break up their fights and sort out their spats with each other. Better not stand in the middle of a hallway or you will be mowed down rather than walked around.

So, the next time you complain about the schools and the lousy job we are doing to educate your kids, remember that it's not the village that should be raising the kids, it's the people who gave birth to them. Wake up and smell the roses people. Stop being kids yourselves and take responsibility for the next generation before they decide to pay you back for the lack of parenting you gave them.

And this, my friends, is why teachers get their summers off...mental health. I know you begrudge us that break, but if we sent all the kids we see everyday to your house, you'd call the police!
Marilyn

Monday, May 15, 2006

Oh No, Yoko, It's time to go!!!!!!!!


I asked Bob when he plans to leave for the cottage for the summer. He said it's the beginning of the week following our last week of school in June! It's always too soon for me as I do things to close down this house. He, on the other hand, just packs a few clothes, puts his four wheelers on a trailer and he's ready to go.
I have school things to end...a breakfast, lunch and after school retirement to shop and set up for, a power point presentation of students throughout the year for the last day assembly, photo the rest of the student work and post online. Yearbook awards to get ready. Clean the room and grade the last of the projects.
Bills to sort and get into some sort of system...I am so lame with them. Tons still to toss or organize in the house. Beth's reports to lawyers and doctor appts., etc. to be done, as I am her guardian as well as her Mom. And clean as much as possible, since the dust and dirt settle in while we are gone.
Time to get the lists going in my head again!
Marilyn

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Birdie is a Class Act

I sometimes call my mother Birdie as she eats so little, or Audie, or just plain Mom.
My mother Audra is a survivor and then some. She and Dad raised all four of us as if we were only children...always there for anything important in our lives. Beth and I are driving up to see her today. Mom is 86 and lives in a care residence.
I will never equal my mother, can only aspire to be the best Mom I can be to my kids.
Mom was home with us when we were young and all her life kept an immaculate house, especially her domain, the kitchen. We had a hot meal on the table each night, clean IRONED clothes in our closets and fresh underclothing, clean sheets on our beds each week, no dust bunnies under our beds, etc. She would wake us every Saturday morning with the sound of the vacuum cleaner. The most I ever remember doing was to wash windows, dust or help with dishes.
Dad had a business reversal which one day I will explain, so Mom went back to work as office supervisor at our local hospital. She would come home on her lunch hour to start dinner and was up some nights until 2 cleaning that kitchen, ironing, etc. She worked at the hospital until she had paid for all four of us to finish college, something she and Dad had started but had never been able to complete.
After Dad died she was worn down to nothing. My sister Martha took her in. Mom's one vice throughout life was her smoking. She caught her nightgown on fire at the age of 85 and endured painful skin grafting that we never thought she would make it through. She is now the darling of the resthome as she is so up most of the time and appreciates anything done for her.
I LOVE YOU MOM, MORE THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW (That last part is what she now says to us everytime we see her). I thank God for her and my Dad. Sometimes in life you just luck out!
Marilyn

Thursday, May 11, 2006

STELLA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!





HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANK STELLA...
YOU ROCK!!
MAY 13, 1936--
My Soul Mate!


Dog Dancing

If you have never seen this woman dancing with her golden retreiver to the music of Grease and you love dogs, this video will make you :) Saw her on TV and my sister Martha sent it to me. Thanks Tha! Loved seeing it again.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2624556534843571648&q=grease+dog

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Things Bob Doesn't Know...

My husband still does not know I write this blog. He assumes I am writing email and never comes in to see what is on the screen.
His idea of being online is checking out the prices of cars or going onto Ebay to see how much an antique he bought at a sale is worth. He's not computer illiterate, but sees no use to be on them too much for anything else.
In fact, after 27 yrs. of marriage, I only this year put him on my personal checking accounts. Actually the bank forced me to do it...they would no longer let me deposit his paychecks to my account if Bob's name was not on the account. He never used to remember who or what he wrote a check to or for, and he left paying the bills to me, so I just never added him. Now that there are carbons for the checks, he does not have to remember. I even bought him a duct tape checkbook cover so it would look "manly".
Bob's first response to things he does not tell me is that I never asked. So, now I have this policy, what he doesn't know he didn't ask!
Hats off to all the women who keep little bits of themselves private, even in marriage.
Marilyn

Willie's pen is mightier than...



While looking through the bloggs listed on Delightful Bloggs I had the good fortune of seeing a blog I highly recommend you take the time to visit ....Willie Baronet's blog of cartooning and other funny observations. http://williebaronet.blogspot.com/

Ian Summers describes his blog the way I see it...
"Willie's blog gives us a glimpse into how he thinks and feels through an intimate artist's journal. His process gives insight into the creative mind and heart. I encourage you to visit. You will follow Willie through the full range of emotions, witness how he asks insightful questions of himself and others, and see some delightful whimsical artwork."

Ian Summers http://www.heartstorming.com/

Saturday, May 06, 2006

AMAZING GINNY


Ginny is the principal's secretary at our school and my best friend there. I seldom have but a few minutes a day to keep in touch with her and sometimes we email or talk on the phone.
She is the most organized and caring person you could ever want to know. I admire how she cares about her parents and sibs. She married her jr. high boyfriend Kyle, who is one of the nicest men ever. But most of all I admire Ginny as a Mom. She is devoted to the lives of her two daughters Amy and Molly and now her first grandson, Drew. She's the kind of Mom who will make things, collect things, clean things and help you get the things in life that you want. She's so dependable and an unsung hero in so many ways. No task is too hard for her to handle. She keeps lists to be on track. She totally runs our school and keeps everyone focused. I cannot imagine ever working in the place without her at her desk which is the central control of the school.
The above picture shows her with flowers cut from her own garden. Like the flowers in the vase she is a soft and beautiful person inside and out. I adore her as my confidant and friend.
Hope you are in your jammies , Ginny, just enjoying the weekend.
Marilyn

End of the School Year


Put up a Holocaust art show of 130 super and inspiring submissions. Also installed a student display of self-protraits at our local coffee house (two at left). Am photograhing large amounts of artwork to post on an artsite online, rather than an end of the year student art show...I teach 7th and 8th graders art in a rural city.
Husband Bob teaches in a large city school and says he needs a whole section for the "ankle-bracelet" kids who only come once in awhile and he has to call their probation officers instead of parents.
The two of us could write a book on the difference between city and country schools and education in general. Mostly what we are seeing are high and low end students. Bright kids heavy into technology and slackers who show but don't do the work taking over the class from the rest of the students. The most frustrating thing about teaching is that students want to be spoon fed and seem apathetic toward aquiring an education if it isn't fast-paced and entertaining the way their video games and TV shows are geared. Sex is a topic at a much younger age than we knew it. Clothing is scant or baggy. The kids look more mature at a younger age and are giving birth to babies as if they were stuffed toys to play with and their parents end up raising them. Luckily, there are students who make you see that the world will be a better place with them in charge and those give you hope. I just wish they had more time to be kids in this fast paced world. How do you slow it down for them?
Take time to get outside.
Enjoy your weekend...summer is near and your kids will soon be home.
Marilyn