Saturday, February 28, 2009

InspireMe Thursday 2/26 - "Moon"

Metaphoric Moon

The moon,
a cold, flat coin
spinning on a black table
its face flashes by
whirling, twirling,
until it becomes half circles
one side, then the next
finally, a sliver, rolling on its edge -
just a glimpse as it rotates in the sky

PS: Sorry I didn't post last Thursday's prompt- my attempt at a "Holy Sonnet" in the style of John Donne did not pass muster! Perhaps if I get it right, it'll make its way up here!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

InspireMe Thursday Prompt: "Lace"

As I usually do, I have written a free verse poem in response to last week's prompt (sorry for the tardiness of posting!)

"Every touch matters..."

wiping a crumb from the corner of my mouth...
blowing a lash off my cheek to make a wish...

tickling my nose with a feather while I nap...
pinky-swearing secrets to the grave...

that delicate not-even-there feeling just before two hands meet...
tipping a tear off my face before it has the chance to roll...

nothing is too small to feel...

not even the brush of a baby's eyelash
in a whispery kiss as soft as lace...

Every touch matters.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Dinner

What could be more romantic than...Buying dinner at the grocery store? Well, if you have a Whole Foods around... it's definitely up there for ME!! Here's our menu:

  • Avocado/Cucumber Sushi
  • Crab Cakes
  • Hazelnut Crackers
  • Dry-Aged New York Strip Steak with Grilled Onions OR Gorgonzola Cheese
  • Baked Potato
  • Steamed Buttered Asparagus
  • Petite Raspberry Cheesecake
  • Key Lime Tart
  • Chocolate Tuxedo Cup with Raspberry Mousse
  • Green Apple & Tangerine Italian Soda

And... let's not forget the romantic trip to Home Depot before the grocery shopping - every man's Valentine Dream come true... we're doing the basement walls & floors...

Lastly... the "piece de resistance" (not sure how it's really spelled in French) to the Dia del Amor was the "interactive" Valentine card I made for Matthew - I incorporated our very first picture and added a significant photo from the past 6 years together (dating/marraige included). Enjoy the "movie!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quote of the Day Prompt

Ours is the age that is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to.
-- H. Mumford Jones

Beware the machine... it is our modern-day Jabberwocky!

If you can't calculate yourself, you'll never get the most out of your calculator!

I don't have much more to say on this topic, as I already wrote about intelligent thought & behavior yesterday!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Being "Smartical"

When I was younger, it was "nerdy" to get a 100% on a quiz or test. Today, as a teacher, this same disparagement of intelligence continues, as I watch kids downplay good grades, or I hear a student put down a peer for a good answer by saying, "Oh stop being so smartical, you make me feel dumb." Students "eyeball" each other for approval before volunteering to answer questions, or decline to answer when I know they have told me the right answer in private. Even among adult peers, there can be subtle "put downs" and then an immediate change of conversation if you mention an academic or intellectual pursuit: "Oh, she'll probably write a perfect report again!" "Oh, when do you find time?" or "I just CAN'T keep up with you" - maybe these comments seem innocuous, but honestly, can they really be taken as compliments? Nobody's saying how great it is that you've spent a lot of time on a report, or been reading a book or writing a story (or blog!).

All this embarrassment or veiled criticism of academic success and intelligence - where does it come from? Are people intimidated by those who are (or behave) intelligent(ly), or are they just making thin excuses for not attempting to expand their own minds? Why do we downplay academic achievement? Why is it not "okay" to be "smart?"

Most of what people think is "sheer genius," is simply a function of 1) hard work and preparation and/or 2)being in the right place at the right time. I learned this from reading Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell) and thinking about my experience when I ran the Hartford 1/2 Marathon this year; people seemed impressed... but it didn't take talent really, everybody can put one foot in front of the other. All I did was keep putting one foot in front of the other for a very long time - if you think about it, as much as it might sound painful and boring to many of you, I only ran for 2 hours and 13 minutes. Most movies today are longer.

Academic success is often the same. Many people have the ability to achieve it, but people are discouraged from engaging their minds. The students that achieve highly in my class aren't the ones with the most original ideas or brilliantly poetic lines. (In fact, often those students do a bit lower than I'd expect because they are not really trying lest they be thought of as "different" (read: "Smart!"). No, the students that get the high A's in my class are often the students that turn in one homework after another, one neatly written page that follows directions after another - for a very long time - 180 days to be exact. And yet, they are criticized, mocked, and teased for their efforts, or their success is made to seem not really that big of a deal. Folks, learning is a BIG DEAL! We should celebrate and encourage mental exercise among children and adults.

However, being "smart" is a negative in our society. One hundred years ago, it was in high fashion to be able to discourse on the latest novel with your friends. One hundred years ago, students may have fought to have "1st place" in their one-room schoolhouse class. Now, to admit that you have read a novel over the past week or scored an A on an essay makes you odd, different, nerdy. If our young people are being made to feel embarrassed to be smart, or that behaving intelligently is a behavior that will isolate them, what will the result be? We will have students that fail to reach their potential, students who feel "guilty" for simply being capable and acting on that capability. What if young people, who've been made to think that being smart is a negative, isolating trait, try to fit in by going into more "popular" vocations like entertainment instead of medicine or law? In short, we will short-change our whole society.

I say, let's not downplay intelligence. The next time a person tells you they read a book, show interest, congratulate them, and ask what it was about. If a young person says they did well on the test, be excited, ask how they studied, and commend them. Let's make it a positive, desirable trait to be "smartical" again!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

InspireMeThursday: "Fold"

I'm still feeling at the bottom of Bloom's Taxonomy today so I'll create a simple poem that defines and explores the many facets of this word:

"Folds In My Life"
Fold a paper - events of a nation
Fold a page - bookmark imagination

Fold a chair - end an evening
Fold up time - wishful thinking

Fold a napkin - set the stage
Fold a letter – the lost age

Fold a dollar - pay a fare
Fold a flag – waved ‘til threadbare

Fold a thought – restless musings
Fold the laundry – count your blessings

Fold a flock - Shepherd's Care
Fold your hands – and say a prayer.


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