For whom the Keyboard tolls…

See? I’m not the only one to whom it happens. And it really isn’t all that rare, either. But it is a discipline thing. On some level, I guess I’ve always known that and I try to impart that to my young charges. However, perhaps it is one of the truer ironies that teachers know most of all that discipline is all good and well, but if you don’t want to–you don’t want to. And it is motivation that is the key, friends.

Sorry. I just watched one of the more intense scenes in cinema. A Beautiful Mind is on and it really is a tour de force. Russell Crowe once again and it’s one that really opened up his versatility. The guy is just fantastic.

A full weekend, this–but also a little relaxation. Off to proctor the SAT’s in the morning. I get paid to watch the kids take a test and eat a bagel. Can’t beat that, really. Tomorrow night is a church event that ought to be kind of cool. Then, Sunday–off with the family for a little more adventure. I’ll say no more for now.

Shoulder and neck are a bit sore-ish today. I had physical terrorism and that always works me over. I think I need to lie horizontal for a while. The rain today was a welcome invitation to a quiet evening at home with the fam and so we had a little pizza, drank some margaritas (well, some of us) and watched Christmas shows–The Little Drummer Boy and Santa Claus is coming to town. The Rankin/Bass ones that are just the coolest claymation, or whatever weird materials they make those characters out of. Peanut has grown to love them as much as I did when I was her age and so when I saw them on sale a couple of years ago, I bought the set of three DVD’s and now webreak them out each year. It’s the herald of the season.

It started off a brutal week, but it has mellowed quite nicely and the weekend will be feathered and floated into, rather than landed on with a thud. That’s where you’ll find me…floating about.

Then again.

Whew. Friday is tomorrow. I suppose I’m like many people in that I don’t think it can come soon enough. Yet, there are aspects to my busy-ness that I rather like. I like the deadline pressure of the student publications. I mean, I really like it. I think I would have thrived as an editor in a newsroom somewhere. Unfortunately, I think largely newsrooms are going the way of the doh-doh. (I write with the ‘h’ for fear of do-do being pronounced ‘dew-dew’. And that’s icky). No, newspapers won’t disappear tomorrow, but unless they make some profound changes and become much more intensely local, I think they’re going to disappear…..eventually.

I like teaching novels–and that’s what I’m doing now. Huck Finn and Gatsby take up my literature classes and they’re a real treat. I really enjoy them. Everytime I go through them, there’s something new. I like that. I like the articles I’m doing for the magazine, I like pitching new ones to new places. I like the tutoring I do. I’m actually really enjoying most of it. And that’s a good thing.

I’m also dog-tired, but no more than I deserve to be. So, I suppose in a way, I’m content. The neck and shoulder are a bit sore, but I think I’m seeing improvement there. Anyway, I’ve avoided surgery thus far and I plan to continue doing so.

In any event, Christmas is coming and I dearly love this time of year. Poor Sofie has been swamped with homework and Water-polo games and she has been helping us around here since Sue’s thumb has been out of whack and my neck. She had a rough day today, but I think she’s doing a little better now. She talks to us about it and lets us know. I can’t ask for anymore than that.

Ramble, ramble. That’s the way these past few posts. It seems a lot is happening, but I’m hard pressed to put it in words. That’s the sign of a true writer, eh? Eek. I’ll work on that. Till then…Cheers.

More of the nothings, with humblest apologies

I love my home. But the inanity of it all does not escape me. We paid a LOT of money for this place and in the past year, that money has simply evaporated. When times were good and the corn was high, it was simple. We sold our house for far more than it was worth and we bought this for far more than it was worth. Now, the reckoning….

Luckily for us, we’re not moving anytime soon. God help us if we were. Still, even with that knowledge, knowing I am paying what I am for the place is a little disconcerting. We’re working on some new financing, but because of the loan to value ratio, etc. etc. well, you know the drill. There’s still some hope, though. We will just have to see where it goes.

I’m not as sanguine as I’d like to be about it. I mean, yeah, we can afford it–but you don’t exactly sleep well at night knowing you’re not in your optimal financial position. And that’s where I want to be. Lo, for the lamentation songs are long. But tonight, there was good wine, good food and company to help ease the pain, pass the time.

Still, rates are coming down–even if values are too. Eventually, someone will lock it in for me. I just don’t know when. Not knowing…sucks. Or, as Tom Petty said….well, you know.

Anyway, work is work, writing continues to heat up a little which is a good thing–and I’m working on even more if I can. And Christmas is coming fast. Wow, several nights of nothing much to say. Hate whe that happens.

This is only a test.

Oh, this is just a test. You see a writer should be able to write even when he doesn’t want to write and part of me does want to. I’m just bitterly tired. 4 days of vacation and one day of back at ’em has proved a bit taxing. I’m a wuss, eh? Yes, I know.

So, the test is this. Can I write anything relevant? Anything fun or interesting? Well, let’s find out. Christmas decorating is taking us a lot longer than usual this year. It’s as if we all want Christmas to be here, but we cannot seem to get everything out of the boxes and onto their various Christmasy places to sit. It’s laziness, I know. No other excuse makes any sense, actually. Well, OK–it might be that we’re just unfocused on Christmas.

I don’t know why, but it seems that Christmas got here early this year. Last year, we were traveling about and doing various things. We even flew over to Arizona a week before Christmas to see the family. We got back just a few days before the big day and still, we had all our decor up. We’ve been low key this year and there are many reasons. Sue’s got her thumb bandaged up after surgery on it for removal of some kind of odd tumor. My neck, while getting better is not 100 percent. And honestly, we have a new member of our home this year and Sofie, along with Peanut, is the real focus of our attention this year. We’re enjoying taking care of the kids and catering to them a bit. It’s honestly pretty darned cool.

Meanwhile, we’re doing a bunch of things financially and changing banks and such and that has taken a great deal of our time and energy as well. When you bank with auto pay, auto deposit and online banking, you cannot just up and switch banks. There’s a lot of process to go through so we’re doing that. It’s rather challenging and fun and all.

OK, I’m failing the test. Nothing to see here. Move along. This guy–my personal favorite–knows how to write about nothing. And something...

New article up

I didn’t know this one was coming out today. I wrote it some time ago and submitted it a couple of months ago. Well, here it is. And tomorrow, work should be interesting. But that’s OK.

Sunday and the last day of Thanksgiving break. One month to go until Christmas break and a lot to get accomplished before then. A good amount of work, a good amount of writing and a good amount of reading to do. I’d write more, but Scoop-dog is giving me the “look” which means it’s time for a walk. Off we go…

Enchanting, indeed

Enchanted was enchanting and I’m probably the 8 millionth person to say that. It really is a film worth watching. What surprised me most was the tight and focused writing and the refusal to descend into derivative cliches while allowing itself to be derivative in a familiar and understated way. The casting was brilliant and the character of Robert (Patrick Dempsey) was the most impressive. I was afraid that he would be the first victim of sappy American comedy cliches and I was wrong. He turned out to be real and serious while not stealing one liners and absurd or wry comments.

Giselle (Amy Adams) too was phenomenal. She is beautiful, certainly, but she also had to play both over-simplified and fairly complex emotions all with elan and grace. It really was a delightful film and a lot of fun.

Christmas decor went up today, but we’re not done. Sue is just getting over the flu and she was slower than her usual self today. But she did yeoman’s service putting up lights and assorted Christmas tinsel and joy. Peanut and Aunt Laurie did the Christmas tree and Sofie helped me with the outside lights. It has been a really fun, simple and quiet weekend and I’m sad that it is ending. Christmas break cannot come soon enough.

Nothing Weekend

The Thanks continue as I was able to spend last night with my oldest brother and tonight with my middle brother and his family. Doug was here along with his roommate, Scott, for Thanksgiving and tonight, we drove down to Downtown Disney to eat dinner with Jerry and April, Eric and Gabriel (my nephews–the niece is with grandma this weekend). We dined at the Rainforest Cafe and we did a little shopping. It was great to see everybody again.

A slow day with nothing much–and to be honest, I like it. Nothing much need be done. I need to be able to have a few days like this where we simply don’t do much. Perhaps a movie with Peanut tomorrow–maybe some friends over in the evening. That’s it. And unfortunately, it breeds a slow writing mind…

Giving Thanks

We give thanks to God. The blessings that are on my head are many. As many as the fluttering worries that I carry with me every day. My beautiful wife, my child, our home, our family, our Sofie who is now part of our family, our dog, our church, my life….these are things for which I give thanks. My career, the written word, cold nights, fog, big trees, the sea, great food, great wine….these are things for which I give thanks.

My friends, vacations, long sleeps, quiet evenings, shared memories, ancestry, faith, hope, love, charity, responsibility, privileges….these are things for which I give thanks. Freedom, a military willing to defend us, the defeat of terrorism, a strong President, voting, speaking my mind….these are things for which I give thanks.

A million other things I could count, need to count, must count. There are times when I don’t live like I’m grateful and there are even times when I’m not grateful. But that is my sin and my shame–not a badge.

Happy Thanksgiving.

A long day's journey into night….or something like it

Physical terrorism. I call it that for a reason. Overdid it today, friends. And it shows. I’m sore, I’m tired. Sue has the flu, or something like it. Peanut had a friend over today. There was a faculty meeting that lasted an hour and meant nothing. There’s a deadline tomorrow for the yearbook and I don’t know how it’s going. I spent the part of the day I wasn’t working seeing if I could refi (I can’t). I had to tutor a student after school. I had to re-write at least 3 stories that were done poorly. Oh, what the heck. I could whine forever, I suppose. There are a lot of people who had it worse, a lot worse.

But really, life is good–Sofie has been an abundant help and is amazing with Peanut. She’s pretty busy herself and with Sue down, I’m literally relying on her. The bills are paid, my neck is healing, Sue is getting better, we ate dinner–I walked the dog. It’s the little things, the prosaic ones. I’ve got nothing poetic to say. I’m not going to “Sing America” as it were. I’m just going to rely on the evening to pass with a wee dram of the Johnnie Walker Green label and a night of quiet once the kid is in bed.

A year has gone by already since last Thanksgiving. Last year, Grandma came to visit and we had a grand time. This year, some 11 people are expected at the house. With Sue not feeling good, it’s dicey–but she has two nights to recoop. One hopes that’s enough. If not, I’ll send them all away and get Sue mad at me. But I’ve found that sometimes I have to get people mad at me so that I can give them what they want. Ooooh. Did I say that out loud? Sorry. Ego gets me sometimes (here, a chorus of you just read it and said, “sometimes?” Sorry. I mean nothing by it).



Medieval literature aside, I think the blog can survive without another review. Don’t know why I started writing reviews, I think it was more of a challenge than anything else. I love movies, always did as a kid and do now. For a while, while Peanut was a young toddler, movies just weren’t part of the deal. We didn’t hire too many babysitters while she was young and soo the movies we watched, we rented. And I like doing that. I’ve got Netflix and everything. But–as watching a sporting event on TV is rarely satisfying, so too for me there is something missing if I don’t go to the theater and sit on the seats. My whole peripheral vision becomes the screen and I am able to fully escape. Perhaps that’s the upshot–escapism. If so, I’m OK with that.

Peanut already knows that Enchanted comes out on Wednesday and she’s ready to go. We’ll probably go on Friday, though because Wednesday night will be a “prep night” for the big Thanksgiving feast. 11 people in our home of various stripes and personalities. All family–or connected to family in some way. That’s fine–the more the merrier. I’ll eat my turkey, walk my dog, and take up my position on either the sofa or the patio. I’ll probably put a fire in the Chimneia and maybe a movie in the Bose. There’ll be some good wine, great food–and there will be naps. Many, many naps. Hmmmm….feasting, talking, walking, napping, fires, drinking. What was that about Medieval lit. again?

Drank a Harrison Clarke Grenache, this evening. My friend Scott calls Grenache the Kool-aid of wines. He has a point. No matter who makes it, the Grenache grape tends to have low tannin, high acid and a little sweetness. It’s pretty darned good. This one in particular is redolent with strawberries and some earthiness. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

Sue is down with the crud. She went back to the doc again today and he did a chest x-ray. He thought she might have pneumonia. The x-ray is clear, thank God–but she’s running a fever and her lungs are a bit compromised. Some gunk in there. She’s in bed now and she’s been given strict orders to pretty much get Peanut to school, then come home and go to bed again herself. She’ll have the right day for it. It’s been nice and cool this week so far, thank God–and she can curl up and sleep all morning until at least 1:30 in the afternoon or so. That’s what she needs more than anything at this point.