Sunday, January 20, 2013

Feeling a teensy bit of FB withdrawal

I think more than anything, I miss Eastern Orthodox Ryan Gosling. 

Won't somebody post a baby picture or tempt me to make a snarky comment?


Oh, dear, sweet, blog, you're all I have.  

brotherhood of rock and roll

Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;

Alle Menschen werden Brüder,

Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Girl stuff

I found a red trench coat, bold and cheerful, at the thrift store down the road, but I have many other cheerful and bold red items of different hues which prevent me from wearing it. I can get away any combination of two of the following cheerful and bold items: backpack, knee-high wool socks, skirt or dress, sweater, scarf, etc., but any of these items pushes the coat over the edge. Even if all these items were from the very same dye lot, five feet and ten inches of cheerful and bold is just too much.

And if I'm not wearing a cheerful and bold red, then my outfit probably involves some shade of purple, or a bright green, so the trench coat either clashes or makes me look like a gargantuan Christmas elf.

 I'll have to think "serious and subdued" when I'm getting dressed, and then surprise myself with the trench coat.

The problem with learning French is....

It makes you hungry.

I was enjoying my Saturday morning coffee until:

"La femme ajoute le chocolat au sa cafe."

Why didn't I think of that?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Brew news

I've started a sourdough thingie, and so far I like having it around. It's nice to come home and look at the bubbles. Somehow I even enjoy the slightly tedious chore of putting it in a clean jar and washing out the old one. It's cool to always have a jar of discarded almost-dough in the fridge, which you can mix with flour and other stuff to make pretty much anything.  So they say; I've only made muffins and cookies. They were good. I guess it's good for you, too. I haven't made sourdough bread yet because I'm afraid of the commitment. It takes a lot of flour to make bread, man. I'm worried that somehow my starter won't be potent enough to leaven 13 cups of rye or whatever and I'll just have a big bowl of icky playdough. But I'll try it this weekend. It can't be that hard. My recipe-blog research indicates that all kinds of bad writers are able to do it, so why shouldn't I?

I'm getting into a rhythm with my kombucha, too. Pineapple and ginger seem to give me the fizziest brew, which is good because J'ADORE totally that flavor combo.

You've probably guessed by now that our landlord won't allow pets, so my familiars are fungi.

Last night we popped open some of Farrand's homebrewskies from last year, and they were much better than they used to be. Sadly, he doesn't have anything currently brewing, so that Striplings-2014 can be as happy as we are now.

We've made some changes to the class schedule at school, and so far it is marvelous. Last semester, on most days, I had three 60-70 minute classes to get through before lunch, and then another class after lunch. Now I have two very leisurely 90 minute classes before lunch and one after. We accomplished this by eliminating two of Farrand's five classes (junior high Greek and 4-6th grade History and Geography); he has taken one of my five classes (4-6th grade English), leaving each of us with four. Before, each student and teacher had four classes to prepare for each day (sometimes five for the kids!) and now nobody has more than three classes per day. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is a heckuva lot easier to think about three things each day than four.

Now I'm teaching:

  • Junior high "Humane Letters," in which we are currently reading Thucydides' Peloponnesian War. The other big change is that our colleague Z is now joining me as the "junior tutor" in this class, which makes an exponential difference in our discussions. I relish the chance to reread authors like Thucydides at a more sane pace than we did (or didn't) at St. John's College.
  • Art for 2nd-6th grade, which is actually rather difficult. 6th graders are definitely ready for a disciplined classical training in realistic drawing. Younger students draw symbolically and from their imagination. Both stages are crucial, and I worry that I'm making crippling compromises for both of them. Everyone seems to enjoy themselves over all, and I have seen improvement, but it's certainly not an ideal situation.
  • Pre-Algebra (6th grade). I have two students. We are reading through Leonard Euler's Elements of Algebra instead of following a textbook sequence. Luckily my students are very verbal, so reading a treatise works well for them. It's great preparation for logic and geometry, as he unfolds various proofs of laws that most people just memorize. In the meantime, we play "Warithmetic" (a card game I invented) to keep them sharp on basic arithmetic.
  • Junior high Latin. It's fun. We diagram a lot.

I just woke Farrand up with the smell of burning cookies. Oops!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

former cherry blossom looks back

We spent Christmas and passed the New Year in Maine. My husband's mom and step-dad live in a hippie-built octagon on a wooded ridge about half an hour from the coast, where my husband's cool older sister lives in a drooping, salty, antique house. I hardly left the hearth once a day for two weeks, but mostly looked out the window. Everything was caked with snow. We romped through the brilliant woods with a dog, following a deer trail backwards; I lay on my back to watch the living bones shiver, and pretended I was high. It really works!

Now we have been married two years. I am 24 and I will be 25 this year. My husband has already passed those pencil marks on the wall, and my God, he'll be 27. We're young, healthy, and happy, but look at pictures of us in college. 19, 20 and 21 sparkled even through the hangovers and the baby fat, the acne and the confusion. There is a picture of my husband playing the guitar, taken by a girl. He still has the same guitar and wears the same shirt, but his smile is sweeter and fresher than it could ever be again, even in the next moment after the picture was taken. Was it an earlier day in spring, or the song he was playing for someone else, or both? I was younger too. My vitality quivered and shimmered beneath the leaf, but sometimes it broke out in small brilliance, and I was told that I had power.

I don't wish to return to those days of sharper tongue and harder heart. I don't mourn them, merely mark them. I like the faint lines in our faces, which we've made for each other. We might have sparkled then like solitary stars, and hoped that we had distinguishing genius. But married light is softer, deeper, secret. Midnight wit gives way to morning knowledge... of some sort. I'm still only 24. Old enough to see the difference, that's all.