Folk Thursday: Peter, Paul and Mary

1. I think Mary is having altogether too much fun here.

2. WARNING: This video may have unwanted side effects. If you experience an earworm that lasts longer than two weeks, click here to exercise the Jim Henson nuclear option. (Just don’t blame me if you find the cure worse than the disease.)


Munchkin Tuesday: Woodward and Bernstein

OK, so maybe anecdotes about cigarette smoke, acerbic editors, and disgruntled sources aren’t your typical triggers for flashbacks to childhood, but my childhood can be divided into two eras: pre-newspaper and post-newspaper.

Thanks to one Patrick Will, who was maybe the greatest teacher in the history of education, I fell madly in love with journalism at age 9. I had my first byline in a daily newspaper at 10, and I supplemented my babysitting money by chasing stories for 50 cents a column inch at the local weekly from ninth grade on. The smell of printer’s ink still gives me a thrill I can’t fully put into words — it is, as I explained to one young colleague during a tour of the Southern Illinoisan office when I was 17, the smell of being done — and most of my high-school memories are a blur of late nights spent in a smoky, wax-scented newspaper office, burnisher in one hand, X-acto in the other, scrambling to make another deadline.

With that in mind, you can imagine how I felt when I learned that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein would be speaking at TU this evening. Ron and I had already purchased tickets to Glen Campbell’s farewell show a couple of months ago, but the more I thought about Woodward and Bernstein, the more I could smell wax and ink and stale cigarette smoke, and by the time I got home from work this afternoon, I was pretty sure that if I went to the concert, I would just spend the whole evening trying not to pout every time I thought about the fact that I was missing an opportunity to listen to some good war stories and maybe meet a couple of my idols.

My title these days may be teacher, but Ron knows my identity is still journalist, so when I asked him how mad he’d be if I blew off Glen Campbell in favor of Woodward and Bernstein, he just grinned and said he’d been expecting that question all afternoon.

That would be my battered old copy of All the President’s Men that Bernstein is signing.

If I close my eyes, I can still hear Mr. Will explaining the difference between libel and slander to a 9-year-old girl with visions of White House press conferences dancing in her head….


Hell for leather

March has always been a busy month for me, but this one has been ridiculous even by my standards.

Last time I blogged, we were getting ready for an accreditation audit at school. We passed with flying colors and apparently impressed the snot out of the evaluators. It was a lot of work, but I kind of enjoyed the excuse to design some new instructional materials, write some really whizbang lesson plans, and show off for the visitors. Two of my journalism students spent the better end of two days following the evaluators all over the building with a camera and a notebook; you can read their article here.

I got busted rifling our very dignified assistant principal’s trash during lunch on the 14th. It was Pi Day, and I needed a pop can to add to my collection of cylindrical objects the kids were going to measure as part of the lesson. Somebody told me Saundra had just finished a can of Dr. Pepper and suggested I go Dumpster-diving in her wastebasket to get it. Predictably, she walked in just as I retrieved it. Thank God she has a sense of humor and appreciates my gonzo teaching style….

After working an 11-hour day the Thursday before break, I came home and spent another 13.5 hours laying out the Trip Guide. When I finished, I took a nap, went out to dinner with Ron, and then drove nine hours to Illinois to visit my family. Major kudos to the state trooper who saw me changing a tire near Catoosa and stopped to help. (I have now decided I need to buy one of those hydraulic jacks like cops carry in their patrol cars, because that thing made quick work of a tedious job.) Ron wound up meeting me at the next exit and swapping cars, as there was no way I was going to attempt a thousand-mile road trip on a doughnut.

Flat tire notwithstanding, I had a pretty nice trip. I got back from Illinois (locked the front door, oh, boy!) on Wednesday and spent the remainder of my break finishing up the mural at Brews and Bytes, running errands, checking beehives, and writing lesson plans for next week. Looks as if I’m in for another crazy week, as I’ve got a ballgame, a concert, an NHS induction, and a visit from my in-laws planned between now and next Sunday.

Ah, well. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.


Sunday Lit Meme: Nonfiction

Sorry I haven’t kept up the blog very well this week. Don’t expect much for the next couple of weeks, either. Baseball season started last week; we’ve got an accreditation audit on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I’ve put in about 18 hours on school-related projects this weekend; parent-teacher conferences are this Tuesday and Thursday; and I’m scrambling to plan our NHS induction, which is right after spring break.

If you think I’ll be relaxing when spring break starts Friday, you’ve obviously forgotten what I do over spring break¬†… and I’ve got to finish the Trip Guide as quickly as possible so I can head east for a visit with family that will double as a preliminary research trip for my next big project, which I’ll announce after I work out the logistics and feel more certain that it’s actually going to get off the ground.

In the interest of preserving my sanity, I traded in my piece o’ crap cell phone for an iPhone 4S the other night. Internet service on the iPhone is $30 a month, which is twice as much as the AT&T plan on my iPad cost, but Verizon also gives me eight times as much bandwidth as I was getting from AT&T, and I basically upgraded the phone to get Siri, which means I’ve basically just hired a personal secretary who’ll work 24/7 for $15 a month.

Now … on to your lit meme:

What’s the most interesting nonfiction book you’ve read lately?

Mine would have to be Bloody Williamson, which more or less helped clinch my decision to blow off New Mexico in favor of a trip back home if I can clear my plate in time to enjoy my spring break. Being a Southern Illinois girl, I should have read it a long time ago, but I just never got around to it. I finally got a hand free last weekend and read it cover-to-cover in about a day. Fascinating stuff. Go buy a copy and read it while I’m too busy to blog … and if I don’t get a chance to get back online before then, enjoy your spring break.


Yes, I’m still alive.

Sorry for the extended silence; I’ve been unbelievably busy lately and just haven’t been able to work a hand free for blogging.

The calendar still says winter, but I think it’s officially spring in Red Fork. It’s been gorgeous out for the past couple of weeks, we’ve got a dove nesting on top of the pergola, the front yard is covered in little flowers (henbit, star chickweed, shepherd’s purse, spring beauty, and a few dandelions), the bee yard is busier than O’Hare International Airport, the Webster baseball team had its home opener this evening, and I bought half a flat of strawberries and a couple of Brussels sprout seedlings at Lee’s Feed the other day.

Most telling of all: The baby chicks are in at Lee’s. If somebody hadn’t already reserved all the Araucanas, I would have bought a couple to add to our flock.

It’s spring! Yay, yay, yay, yay!