School Underway and All Systems Go…so far.

With the first week of school under our belt, life should settle into a comfortable, but relentless pace.  Sounds dramatic, even if it isn’t wholly accurate.  Suffice it to say it should be relentless for the RTR and I, who are most comfortable in our house potato state.

We prefer to characterize ourselves as easily entertained.  Simply entertained?  Okay, how about low maintenance in the entertainment department.

The junior year in high school blew in for my youngest this past week, and with it the expectations of a cool 150 pages of U.S. History and exam each week, and a studio art class that will, by the end of the year, allow him to produce a portfolio that is quite the humdinger.  There’s a project due every Friday and with the supplies and studio fee, the MoH’s plastic is about $375 heavier.  Unbelievable.

The decision to take Statistics instead of Calculus seems to be working — sure there’s homework every night, too, but it’s the “easy” class and he gets that done first.  Physics fits in here somewhere, but I haven’t figured that out yet.  The English teacher seems to be nowhere in sight.  AGAIN.  I know that this recurring theme is some perverse punishment meant solely for me — dedicated English teacher and passionate writing teacher that I once was.

The English teacher is the only one of his teachers that didn’t send home a syllabus.  I’ve never figured out how that’s even ethical…  Okay, so, here’s my kid for a year.  Teach him, but I don’t need to know anything about any of your plans because I’m just supposed to trust that you’re a professional, because you know, all teachers are professionals and have the exact same practices, right?  And that when my kid begins to show signs of faltering, and he will, trust me, that we will have absolutely nothing to go on to pitch in and support him like we know you expect us to, or we’ll be forever known as slacker parents, which wouldn’t be true, but you’d think it anyways.

You can tell I’m pretty much over school right?

Between my own education, my career, my boys education…I dunno.  I think I gave at the office.  But I think I’m going to enjoy my job as Chief Buttress in the History and Art departments this year.

Ah, yep.

Food, Art, and Heat in Paradise.

How was your weekend? Lovely and everything you dreamed of? I certainly hope so — especially if you are one to have weekends off. I’ve lived in both worlds: working nights with never a weekend day off, and working the daily grind with every weekend off — that is if you consider having to plan lessons and grade umpteen gazillion papers down time. Um, no.

So what did we do this weekend? Shucks. I thought you’d never ask.

Continue reading “Food, Art, and Heat in Paradise.”

The problem with Apple wireless keyboards…

Divine Simplicity I love the beauty and intelligent design of my Mac — the elegance of pearly white encased in thick, clear plastic; the low silver sheen of the monitor’s wide foot; the transparent case that surrounds the wireless keyboard. So uncomplicated. So simple. So sleek.

Sleek Design

Uh…so it would have been nice to know that my passion for understated elegance and ease of function could be so summarily doused.

Teenage Keyboard Detritus How could I have known that my senses would soon be assailed by unwanted images of the RT’s afternoon snacks, stuck in my one place of design nirvana (since I can’t afford one of those Kohler vanishing edge tubs)?

Shaking it doesn’t work. The crumbs. Are. Stuck. In much the way that dog turds do to your Cole-Hahns after you’ve stepped in a fresh pile.

I don’t want to have to take the screws off the back of the keyboard. Nor do I feel I should have to purchase one of those little vacuum cleaners, or a can of that sprayable air. Or one of those little duster thingys that can be inserted between the keys. Keyboard Exhibit A I want a clean keyboard.

One that only I can touch.

One that will not collect the detritus of my son’s frozen burritos and Hot Pockets, leaving it encased like a museum exhibit metaphorically illustrating the effect of teenagers on the hope of a simple existence.

Or something like that…

Nearly wordless, but improving.

Oh, look, everyone. It’s nearly wordless Wednesday. That would be the modified version for those of us who simply can’t keep our fingers still. But you will be impressed today with my accomplishment of fewer words…

Iron Fang by the RT

Meet “Iron Fang” who showed up on the kitchen counter after school yesterday.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

I wonder which class the RT drew this in when he was supposed to be acting like he was interested in the lecture?

Thoughts, Clouds, & Billy Collins

I’m not very good at “Wordless Wednesday” because I’ve never been wordless at any point in my life. As an infant, I most likely had the noisiest brain, making observations and collecting ideas and opinions for a lifetime of blathering. Therefore, I propose Thoughtful Thursday instead, and offer a bit of Billy Collins on the English artist, John Constable and being a “Student of Clouds” from his book of poems Questions About Angels which I truly enjoy.

The emotion is to be found in the clouds,

not in the green solids of the sloping hills

or even in the gray signatures of rivers,

according to Constable, who was a student of clouds

and filled shelves of sketchbooks with their motion,

their lofty gesturing and sudden implication of weather.

Morning Clouds

Outdoors, he must have looked up thousands of times,

his pencil trying to keep pace with their high voyaging

and the silent commotion of their eddying and flow.

Clouds would move beyond the outlines he would draw

as they moved within themselves, tumbling into their centers

and swirling off at the burning edges in vapors

to dissipate into the universal blue of the sky.


In photographs we can stop all this movement now

long enough to tag them with their Latin names.

Cirrus, nimbus, stratocumulus —

dizzying, romantic, authoritarian —

they bear their titles over the schoolhouses below

where their shapes and meanings are memorized.


High on the soft blue canvases of Constable

they are stuck in pigment but his clouds appear

to be moving still in the wind of his brush,

inching out of England and the nineteenth century

and sailing over these meadows where I am walking,

bareheaded beneath this cupola of motion,

my thoughts arranged like paint on a high blue ceiling.


The photographs here were taken today at different points between 6am and noon.
John Constable:  Cloud Study — 1822

Add a soundtrack of “Blue and White” by Beth Waters, “Storm” by Lifehouse, and “Ocean Size Love” by Leigh Nash, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday morning after working on my patio trimming and repotting. Nice.

Just call me Ansel.

The MoH and I went for quite the hike yesterday. In high weekend gear, as usual, he stated that he wanted to go because I had been with a couple of friends the week before, and he thought it sounded fun. So, in the brilliant late afternoon sun, that’s just what we did. Looking toward La Jolla

Torrey Pine Needles It felt good to get out and move around, enjoy the fresh air and be less than pleasantly reminded that I completely suck when it comes to hiking. Well, when there are hills, anyway. Yes, I know that hiking isn’t really hiking unless one has donned large boots with thick treaded soles to trudge up and down hills, climb rocks, and swing from trees. Wait. No, that would be Tarzan on the last part. Or perhaps, Jane. Oh, I wish.

Prickly Cactus You’d think I’d been a smoker all my life for all the gasping I did. The MoH barely worked up a sweat the entire time. How is that even possible? The guy is a desk jockey (love you hun…) who doesn’t exercise — unless I count the times he jumps off the couch and rushes the television when he thinks there’s been a bad call made against a player who’s on his Fantasy Football Team. Pushing the buttons on the remote absolutely does not count.
Dead Tree

It’s so not fair with all the walking and swimming and stretching and bitching (jaw exercise…?) I do. One would think that I’d be the athlete in the house.

Pacific The determination behind this particular hike is that once you’ve dragged yourself up the enormous hill, wandered off the main road and down through the winding paths, then schlepped back up the crude steps built into the hillside, you get to trek down, down, down to the ocean. At least someone figured out that there should be some redemption for people who just don’t think looking at indigenous scrub on eroding bluffs after months with no rain are beautiful. “Oh, look honey…A black sage. I wonder if its twigs ever have leaves on them?” Or aren’t too thrilled by the concept of waiting for a rattler to spring out and chomp on your ankle for interrupting his afternoon nap.

Sarcasm aside, I do think the landscape is quite interesting in all its unique beauty, but it definitely falls into the acquired taste category — at least at this time of year. Now, I would be interested in coming again when it rains. Well, if it rains. I could also be convinced to think differently about returning if I didn’t have to concentrate on how to keep air in my lungs. It sort of takes the fun out of trying to remember all the botanical names, you know?

Yes, thankfully, there’s an ocean at the end of it all. You get to rip off your shoes, peel off your sweaty socks, and walk through the refreshingly clear surf. Very nice, and more than motivating.

Strange Formations It’s such a stark looking reserve, at this time of year, most of the native plants look quite dead. The occasional pine’s long needles add a bit of green to the scenery, and termites busy digesting fallen trees uncover rich shades of gold within the trunk. But dust covers everything, and I can’t help but wonder how anyone would have wanted to settle here like they did hundreds of years ago. You know. The people who anchored their sailing vessels off the coast and decided to call this home. Not a palm tree in sight. Just the torrey pines, wild sumac and other plants that magically eke out an existence in the arid environment that is Torrey Pines State Reserve. Shade

I did seize the opportunity to look a bit through Ansel Adams’ eyes and examine the contrasts of light and dark created by the sun. I don’t know anything about photography, so can’t tell if any of my photos “work,” but it was a pleasant change of pace and I do like a few of them.
Torrey Pine

As we approached the shore, the saltiness of the air refreshed our dusty nostrils, and my attention was directed to the interesting striations of color in the bluffs. As much as erosion is rarely a good thing, the effects of it can certainly be beautiful. Hole in the Bluffs

Hike's End The tide was nearly at its lowest by the time we ventured down the stairs, so we knew we could hike back to our car from the beach. Good thing or the MoH would have had to call for an air lift. Seriously. I was pooped!

Barefoot in the Ocean The beach is firm and flat, and the waves push gently toward the shore so it’s easy to walk in the water and cool down. A rock or shell lies here and there. Birds with long beaks search for a briny morsel to eat.

A man and a woman walked toward us in their bathing suits, eyes averted as they passed, no doubt wondering about the layer of dirt on my upper lip stuck to my sweat. Or maybe it was that I’d thrown myself belly first into the water, kissing the sand much like Kevin Costner did as Robin Hood after setting foot in England once again. No?

So then it must have been the dirt mustache.

Whatever. At least I got my exercise in for the day — and am thankful for the MoH who is ever so tolerant in more ways than I can count.

And this is what it looks like in color. How could I change it to black and white, huh, Ansel? Tell me what you would have done.

Bluffs at Torrey Pines

Almost Wordless, but Not Quite?

 See updates below…

I have to work today. All day. Yes. A-L-L. As in all.

There’s no blogging. Warning Well, this doesn’t really count, right?

Because I have a lot to do. Gentle Reminder

Seriously. A. Lot. You know…tons.
I have several iTunes playlists at my disposal…mac Screen so that should help. *Okay, who in hell purchased Chumbawamba?*

But I’m going to wonder about that spider outside — right in front of the door at face level — whom I’ve named Clyde.

Okay. So maybe not? Fat Head

Update #1: Okay, so, like…I lasted until 11:54 (3.5 hours – not too bad, huh?) when a Liz Story piece came up on my iTunes play list and I decided to Google for sheet music — which I’ve never done. And whoa. There’s not only sheet music on line, but I can get it immediately with plastic money. And print it out. And play it. Do you have any idea HOW long it’s been since I purchased music? YEARS. Then I could park my caboose on that ol’ piano bench and actually play. OMG. There are distractions EVERYWHERE. And no, the time in my post above not correct, so don’t even think you can check up on me, Slick.

Update #2:  It’s nearly 4pm and my eyeballs have fallen out and are rolling across the desk.  Edu-speak is pouring out of my fingers and making absolutely no sense…wait.  That sounds normal, doesn’t it?  Have….to….finish…