This Is Just to Say.

unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard reference to William Carlos Williams’ apology poem (or IS IT. Reread that last stanza).
So let me tell you a funny store (hang on to the end, that’s where the funny is!)
Every year, I use that poem as a template with my students to write their own sorry / not-sorry poems. After we examine the poem’s structure, and some previously written student examples, we usually write one together as a class to get started. My morning class wanted to write to our principal. For reference: Nobel bucks are reward dollars we give out for being respectful, responsible or safe (and students can redeem them for actual items at our school store).
Here’s what we wrote:
“Dear Mr. A.,
This is just to say
We have stolen
the Nobel bucks
that were piled on your desk
you were probably
for good kids.
Forgive us,
it was worth
all the toys
that we got.”
NOW HERE’S THE BEST PART: I emailed it to our administrators “Here’s a poem 208 wrote for you” and in the body of the email I wrote “based on William Carlos WIlliams.” Well, our principal didn’t read that part, he just clicked on the image.
Our assistant principal told us that all of a sudden he was scrambling around his desk saying “WAIT A MINUTE WHERE ARE MY NOBEL BUCKS!!!!”
Best prank ever especially considering we didn’t even intend to prank. The kids are going to FREAK tomorrow when they hear about his reaction! πŸ˜‰
It’s the little things, peeps.

Peace out, 2014.

[Old photos, not from 2014.] Candles, In Memoriam
Once, when posting pictures from a trip to Europe, I sheepishly mentioned that despite avoiding religion as much as possible, I do still light candles in memoriam. And my friend Ashley said “hey, sometimes it’s just about bringing a little light into the world.”
I have shared part of this quote before. It’s from the Christmas bulletin at my parents’ church.
If you choose, you can be instruments of hope in the world.
If you choose, you can counter the voices of anxiety and despair in the world.
If you choose, you can fight against the fear that freezes the heart of many.
The choice is ours to make, how we live into the possibilities.

Hey 2015, be the possibility. Bring a little light.
The Gate at Chion-In 4
Lit Up Bamboo, Inside
Pile of Christmas Family

You, in three songs.

I have been obsessed with this Fuel/Friends blog post since it went up in September. I’m home this morning thanks to a midday dr appt to check on my summer back injury (since apparently 2014 was the year my body completely fell apart. Six months healing my torn PCL followed by mystery incapacitating back injury that started July 1 followed by being sick ALL FALL–today is literally the FIRST DAY in 33 DAYS that I can fully hear out of my left ear), so I thought I’d whiz by and drop by a blog post on you. Then Safari crashed and I had to start all over so…this may not go up until tonight. ANYWHOSIT…
Here I am. This is me.
Take It on the Run, by REO Speedwagon
My favorite song since high school (yes I’m that old, I was entering high school when it first came out!). Ah, high school relationships. “Talk is cheap when the story is good” indeed. I was involved in a long-term relationship in high school with someone possibly even more violently moody than I am, so to say I spent a lot of time wondering what was going on behind the scenes would be a massive understatement. The way the singer vacillates between (I paraphrase) I totally don’t believe you cheated but you better run away if you did is such a microcosm of all young relationships isn’t it. Or just ME in relationships as short-term, long-term, friends before, never friends, no matter the situation it always feel both super serious AND super precarious to me. I also love the whispered quality of the beginning and end–this isn’t really being sung to the object of affection, it’s being muttered to oneself, while worrying, worrying, worrying. Yup, me to a T.
Bonus: my other favorite high school songs are 1) “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC possibly the best song in the entire world and I maintain that Back in Black is one of the world’s top 10 all-time albums; and 2) “Slow n’ Easy” by Whitesnake. Nuff said.
(Bonus 2: check out this hilarity. COME ON the lyrics are not that confusing.)
Weather With You by Crowded House
Gee, another song from 20+ years ago, who could’ve even guessed. My mom has always claimed that I’m such a strongly mooded [sic] person that it always wore off on all the people around me–if I’m in a good mood, suddenly the whole room is. And, unfortunately, VICE VERSA. I don’t know if I truly believe it, but I do see the effect of my mood on my classroom very strongly these days. That’s part of what this song is about for me–my emotional weather is how the world feels no matter what the sky looks like. Also not just in this song but in so many Crowded House songs, clever unexpected lyrical allusions just get me: “Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire / couldn’t conquer the blue sky.” They probably tried though!
Bonus: If you don’t know it, you MUST listen to “There Goes God.” The lyrics are amazeballoons. Here, lemme give you a sample: “Hey, don’t look now / but there goes God / in his sexy pants and his sausage dog / And he can’t stand Beelzebub / because he looks so good in black, in black.” COME ON NOW. Also: Crowded House is one of those rare groups where their fast songs and their slow songs are equally fantastic. They could do ANY style well.
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, sung by Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty
The first single from the fabulous Belladonna album that I still listen to quite often, even though it’s, you guessed it, 20+ years old. There’s another duet on this album also (“Leather and Lace” with Tom Henley) but Stop Draggin’ is by far the superior tune. This is also the album with the fabulous “Edge of Seventeen”, the compelling beginning of which was sampled in “Bootylicious” (Destiny’s Child). Basically this is the album no one should have ever stopped listening to… I mean I haven’t! And clearly Beyonce hasn’t either. Why is this song me? Well…I’m a bit of a typical pisces. Despite being born on the cusp, I have a completely overloaded empathy gene and man I can get my heart dragged around by so many different things. I have to work pretty hard to protect myself from falling apart at times. Just in case, say, I randomly see a commercial filled with Americana, a red pickup driving down a dusty country road past two boys tossing a baseball OMG WEEPING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT. Kidding…but it has happened. I’ve started crying WHILE READING ALOUD to my students (Martin’s Big Words, SOB). I teared up during an interview while talking about how important literacy is. The world has dragged my heart around so many times, and that’s not even thinking about relationships.
So those are definitely my all-time three, although at any given moment I could certainly come up with a “right now three” that would be entirely different.
What three songs tell YOUR story?

Peace Out, 2013.

This was really a quote about Christmas, but it actually applies to all of life.
The choice is ours to make, how we live into the possibilities of Christmas.
Here’s to better choices in 2014. Bring it on, possibility.
hblad 62: 'Blad Bokeh.

RIP Bella Schmella Schmoo.

My friend Carrie’s dog Bella died yesterday and I’m oh so so so very sad about this, I couldn’t even express to you how much. I loved her very dearly.
Spotlight on Bella
Bella ponders her kingdom.
Bella streeeeeeetch.
Bella scared.
Bella Schmella Schmoo
She was super camera shy as you may have been able to tell but I’m so glad I took her picture anyway.
33/52 me & Bella, cuddlin' on the couch
I’ll miss you sweet sweet girl.

Γ€ la Nick Hornby, books in/books out for August.


  • Rebirth, by Sophie Littlefield
  • Heartless, by Gail Carriger
  • Three Cups of Deceit, by Jon Krakauer*
  • Dead Iron; the Age of Steam, by Devon Monk*
  • Forever, by Maggie Stiefvater*

  • The Cradle in the Grave (Steph’s)
  • Divergent, by Veronica Roth (electronic)
  • Rebirth, by Sophie Littlefield
  • Heartless, by Gail Carriger
  • The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner
  • The Bone People, by Keri Hulme
  • The New Teacher Book, from Rethinking Schools
  • Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White (re-read)
  • A Summer to Die, by E.B. White (re-read)
  • Purgatory Chasm, by Steve Ulfelder (Steph’s)
  • Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

*Bookstore closing sale.

Dad’s and My Reading Challenge for 2011 [Updated]

Dad picked all contemporary novels written by women and I picked all contemporary novels written by men. (Yes, we planned that.)

January: month off / I was finishing up some 2010 books!

February: “Faith Fox” by Jane Gardem

March: “Mother’s Milk” by Edward St. Aubyn

April: “36 Arguments for the Existence of God” by Rebecca Goldstein

May: “Carry Me Down” by MJ Hyland

June: ” The Children’s Book” by AS Byatt

July: “In a Strange Room” by Damon Galgut

Aout: “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel

ETA: DUE TO MY LACK OF TIME FOR PERSONAL READING RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE POSTPONED THE LAST FOUR MONTHS ON THIS LIST, and instead we will read those books in Jan-Apr of 2012. So there you have it.

September: “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen

October: “The Air We Breathe” by Andrea Barrett

November: “Super Sad True Love Story” by Gary Shteyngart

December: “The Gate at the Stairs” by Lorrie Moore

I 100% agree.

A tiny excerpt from an overall great post you should go read on giving up the “list”. Whether it be officially a bucket list or just a “things I want to do before x” list. Or a “I won’t have done all the things I want to do if I don’t do these things” list. [SPOILER: WE WILL ALL DIE WITHOUT HAVING DONE ALL THE THINGS WE WANT TO DO! Srsly.]

You can’t know what will shape you, make you, save you, break you. Your heart cannot be cauterized on command. And in fact, it’s braver to see that you are imperfect, and be okay with it, and go forward anyway. Tiptoe past the ancient walls. Roar down the unmarked path through the endless field. See what you find.

Sure, some things you have to save for. “Travel to X in the next two years” may be a case of “reminder that I need to not throw $$ down the drain so I can afford this trip I’d like to take” [which in reality you’d like to take now, not then]. I’m not saying don’t have things you’d like to do. But the idea of this list that you need to accomplish by X time (or, in the bucket case, BEFORE DEATH), that setting up of a goal that you will most likely fail at leastpartially…and then be judged by yourself on?

I believe in the now. Do what you want to do. Do it as close to when you want to do it as you can. Don’t waste all your time planning for that mystery “one day” that will never arrive.
Live today.

Γ€ la Super Eggplant, currently, I am…

Attempting: To study for tomorrow’s Chemistry final. It would be really hard for me NOT to get an A in the class at this point (technically I think I could even get a B based on points alone without taking the final, if the professor were to allow that), but I have this secret desire to get 100 and beat my score from exam 2 (98). It probably won’t happen as I always make at least one silly mistake, but we’ll see!

Making: Not much.

Reading: I have done almost no non-school reading (I mean, seriously) but I did JUST read “Divergent” by Veronica Roth and it was fantastic!

Watching: Oh, summer TV. Such a frustrating season, when I have the time to watch and yet nothing is on. I am liking Haven again this summer, tolerating The Glades and In Plain Sight*, and not really liking White Collar AT ALL right now (sigh. so sad! it’s one of my favorite shows normally!). But this summer’s [White Collar] plots have all felt super rushed and sloppy to me and I’m not thrilled with how they’ve handled almost anything! Boo. I guess I am also watching Burn Notice but it’s not really pulling me in this season either. πŸ™

*I find I can watch mediocre shows with mediocre expectations and not get pissed unlike say The Killing for which there were SUPER HIGH expectations, some created by itself, and then it SUCKED so bad that it wasn’t even mediocre. And thus became unwatchable.

I HAVE seen a bunch of movies this summer though so I just threw up a post with quickie reviews. I mean, why are you here if you don’t want to know what I thought? πŸ™‚ Heh.

Listening to: STILL obsessed with the new Bon Iver which I LOVELOVELOVE. (Especially after we went to Milwaukee to see him/them in concert the other weekend. Blew the roof off.) Not listening to much else, just an occasional spin through The Weeknd (that link lets you download their album, BTW). Oh and also the new Beyonce. I’ve been doing a lot of bus-commute iPod listening but mostly to super old playlists of my own (Airplane Alphabet Soup 2007 anyone?). Don’t know why but those are the songs I’ve been wanting lately.

Failing at: Losing weight.