Monthly Archives: May 2017

Reading the Inklings: Getting Back on Track

Earlier this year, I decided to read something by as many of the Inklings as I could. It started off well (with Robert Harvard’s appendix in CS Lewis’ The Problem of Pain.) Then things derailed a little bit.

The end of the school year is always busy, especially when there’s curriculum to review for next year. Unfortunately, that put me off track on the book I had started: Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy Sayers.

According to the Kindle, I’m 11% in and was having a good time. Dorothy Sayers writes mysteries — a genre that has always intrigued me, but that I’m not particularly good at.

Clearly, all of the stories about Lord Peter (a detective of sorts) tie together, and I can tell that I’ve come in partway through a series. However, there’s still enough that I know what’s going on — even though I don’t have a full appreciation for the relationships between some of the reoccurring characters.

Now that I’m back to reading what I want to read, I’ll have an update on this book hopefully sooner rather than later.

What are you reading right now? Have you ever heard of Dorothy Sayers or read anything by her?


Painting with the Cat

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I love my cat’s sense of curiosity. It sounds cliché, but it’s true.

He’s interested in everything: playing with yarn while I’m crocheting, batting at the fringe on my scarf, watching tv with us.

One of his newest interests is watching me paint. The first time was while I was working on my last painting. (Speaking of which, it’s been too long. Too many busy weekends in a row.) He perched on the arm of the chair and followed my every brush stroke for an unusually long time.

Fortunately, his curiosity hasn’t led him into the paint so far, but I guess we’ll see next time.

I wonder what he thinks of it all as he sits next to me. Does he have any idea what I’m doing? Does he see the pattern of it all? I don’t know, but there’s nothing as wonderful as listening to him purr as he sits against me and watches.

Do you have pets that like to get involved in your activities?


Graduation (A Poem)

I remember
when you were young,
sixth grade, awkward hair,
trying to find yourself.
You were the class clown,
teacher’s pet, quiet one,
queen bee, reflective writer.
I loved teaching you.
Years passed, you grew up,
but you never stopped
smiling at me in the halls,
taking classes just because
I taught them, talking about
the days when you were young.
But now you are grown up
ready to leave these halls,
and I am left feeling old
and wondering if I’ll see you again.
You toss your hat, leave the stage,
leave a special place in my heart.


Adventures with School Lunch

I spend lunch on Fridays with the students, and it’s one of the highlights of my week. The crowd is a mix of current French students, past middle school English students, and some of their friends.

Most of the time, the conversation focuses around a shared fandom: Zelda, Agents of SHIELD, Star Wars, among many others. Other days, the conversation turns to what’s in our lunch.

Recently, I went through the usual routine of making a salad for lunch. I’m not always as good about cleaning the lettuce as I should be. I’ll be much better at it from now on after what happened.

As I reached the bottom of the salad, I came to a strange conclusion. There was something weird in my salad. Normally, I can think and listen to the conversation going on around me at the same time, but it felt like everything went quiet. All I could see was the strange item at the bottom of the container: a huge bug.

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In this case, huge was not hyperbole. Just the body was a solid inch long.

Everyone noticed that I had gone silent and the horrified look that I must have had on my face. They all peered down at the bug. We half laughed, half gagged at the thought that it had died in the head of lettuce I had chopped up that morning and had been buried here all along.

Then it got more interesting. Another student pointed out that its head appeared to be missing. The rest of it was completely intact, legs and all.

To this day, I have no idea if I ate the head, but at least I had a great group of students to be amused and horrified with me.


Adventures in Art: May the Fourth

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May the Fourth has come and gone, but this year’s will live on in a special way. Some friends, my husband, and I went to a Star Wars themed paint night and created our own Death Stars.

Looking at the sample when we arrived, I had a feeling that it would be challenging. And it was. I’m not so great with drawing straight lines with a pen or pencil. Creating them with a paintbrush? Let’s just say it’s a good thing that you can touch up.

Besides the straight lines, the other most difficult thing about this project was the size of the paintbrushes. I’m used to small brushes. My collection is almost entirely made up of them. Even when working on larger canvases at other paint nights before, all of the brushes have been on the smaller side. These were huge. Like three fingers wide huge. So adding the fine details was much more difficult than I expected. Needless to say, I’m tempted to do some touch ups now here at home.

One fun thing was the way that we added the stars. We were supposed to get the white paint heavily watered down and then flick it onto the canvas. My husband had that technique down. Unfortunately, mine wasn’t so great (which is why there are so few stars). I think I flicked more paint on my face and my husband’s painting than my own. :)

All in all, though, it was definitely fun and stretched my skills a bit. Next time, I think it’s back to the painting book to try out some new techniques.

How did you celebrate May the Fourth?


Tolkien and Lewis’ Movie Date

When I think of JRR Tolkien’s contemporaries, I usually think of CS Lewis and the rest of the Inklings. I rarely think about what was happening on the other side of the pond — even though that’s where I live.

As anyone familiar with Tolkien knows, he had strong opinions, and that went for his contemporaries. One of those — one I never thought of — is Walt Disney.

Back in the 1937, The Hobbit and Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves made their debuts in their respective countries. Since both have always been a part of my life, I never realized that they came out within months of one another and share a protagonist surrounded by a band of dwarves. It’s just fascinating to think about.

While I don’t know what Walt Disney thought of Tolkien’s work, Tolkien certainly wasn’t a fan of him. Neither was Lewis.

Unlike the past several generations, they grew up only knowing the original (and usually darker) versions of fairy tales. To see dwarves — the creatures of Norse mythology — playing jazz and being downright goofy just felt wrong.

I can understand it. When Frozen first came out, I was appalled by just how different the story is from Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale. There are a handful of similar elements, but besides those things, the stories couldn’t be more different. Since then, I’ve warmed up to it (pun only sort of intended) and have come to like it as its own thing, but certainly not as adaptation. “Inspired by,” sure. “Adaptation”? Definitely not.

Needless to say, it was a fascinating read. If you want to check out the full article, it’s available here.

What are your thoughts on different adaptations of films? Have you ever found yourself in Tolkien and Lewis’ shoes?


A-Z Challenge: Complete (and May the 4th Be with You!)

This year’s A-Z challenge was a different experience, but I liked it. Sometimes in the whirlwind of lesson plans, grades, and housework, it’s easy to forget about spending some time every day (or at least a every few days) to do something creative. This put the pressure on to make it happen, and I feel some fresh inspiration.

Speaking of creativity, tomorrow is Intergalactic Star Wars Day!

It’s always one of my favorite days of the year, but it’s especially fun this year. Not only do I get to traipse around school wearing an homage to Star Wars (after all, there is still a dress code), but some friends found a Star Wars themed paint night. A picture of that will be up Monday!

So now, back to our regular posting schedule and more creative things — painting, poetry, stories, and otherwise — to come!

And May the fourth be with you… always.

How did your A-Z Challenge go? And are you celebrating May the 4th?