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?


A-Z Challenge: Zebra

(Okay, so it’s getting published a day late, but hey, better late than never.)

There is a picture of a zebra
in my parents’ guest bathroom
taken when my brother visited
Namibia. Though it was afar,
it stared straight into the camera;
its gaze still pierces in black and white.
The first time I saw it, I admired
its incredible beauty but soon felt
awkward as it stared at me–piercingly–
by the toilet, at the sink, as I hurried
beneath its high shelf back to the door.
I must not be the only one
surprised by its gaze. A gazelle
has taken its place
and now stares at the zebra
hanging on a discrete wall by the door.


A-Z Challenge: Yclept

(A continuation of A-Z Challenge: Worn.)

It hadn’t taken long for her eyes to adjust to the constant darkness of the Wilds, but her heart raced just as fast as when she first stepped foot into the forest.

Everyone knew the stories about this place. Here, wild monsters lurk behind every shadow and time itself bleeds away. She had always hoped that they were just myths, but the crunch of nearby footsteps and uncertainty of the hour confirmed that it must be true.

She gathered all of her courage and pressed on, sword clenched tightly in her hand. She had to. She was her people’s last hope.

There were footsteps to her left, louder than any she had heard yet. She stopped and peered into the darkness. At first, she couldn’t see anything. Then, between the silhouette of trees, she made out a light. A torch was headed her way.

She gripped the hilt firmly with both hands now. Her mind raced. The torch and its bearer were getting closer now. Clearly, her presence was already known. There was no point in running, and even if she did, losing the path would mean the end of the quest and likely her own life.

Finally, the person stood within clear view, for a person indeed it was. The light bothered her eyes more than she expected, but she could plainly make out the man donning hunting gear.

“Who are you?” she asked, tightening her grip with her sweaty hands.

“Sorry, miss,” he replied with a bow. “Didn’t mean to scare you. I’m a hunter yclept Theron. Who are you?”


A-Z Challenge: Xenomania (A Poem)

Quiet dinner with my husband
on a perfect spring evening.
We sit along the sidewalk
to people watch over soup.
He refills drinks inside and I watch
the girls at the next table.
Over the chatter, familiar sounds
catch my ears. I listen carefully
to the melodic French flitting
between them and try
not to make eye contact.
One is disgusted with a Facebook post,
the other agrees. All the while,
I smile. I wonder if they guess
that the girl sitting at the next table
actually knows what they’re saying.