Friday, December 28, 2007

Blog on ice

<-- Interesting postsecret card Its the holidays again, such a strange but beautiful time that we all look forward to and then are extremely happy to shrug off as the year continues. Wow, that sounds slightly depressing-- they are also a wonderful time of the year to spend with friends and family but they tend to bring up some difficult feelings in many people around family and death. I know my mom always mentions her son who died; around Christmas time-- even though it was 26 years ago. Then there's that religious problem in a spreading agnostic society it is difficult to understand what the meaning of the holiday really is. The general commercialism has a tendency to destroy anything sacred about the holiday, and the Christian connection can be a problem for some as well (like me). I am interested in learning more about the pagan roots of this time of year. Winter, trees and snow don't have to only symbolize the birth of a religion they can also symbolize the poignancy and clarity of wintertime in nature. On to lighter things--This Christmas, I made a holiday brew that I was pretty proud of. It was a dark ale with a spicy aftertaste. And it had a high alcohol content, the thing I was most proud of was my label. Here is the image I made:
If you had a chance to taste it please comment and let me know what you thought. Ilya-- sorry I forgot to send one home with Kristen.

Listening to KCSM Jazz

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Any poet, if he is to survive beyond his 25th year, must alter; he must seek new literary influences; he will have different emotions to express.
T. S. Eliot

Guess I have some changing to do.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Good Willies

“Bearing witness to both the beauty and the pain of our world is a task I want to be a part of. As a writer, this is my work. By bearing witness, the story that is told can provide healing ground… If we choose to turn our backs we’ve walked away from what it means to be human.” –Terry Tempest Williams

I just taught a lesson today that opened with this quote and I was surprised at the response I received. I think it is an utterly true quote, but my students brought it to life with this great conversation about the polarity of life. We talked about how there everything is weighed both ways. Like the quote, beauty wouldn't exist without pain, but more than that; happiness is force that changes and moves up and down through depression and enlightenment and it is far from constant. It was interesting that the girl with the most insight is diagnosed as Bi-Polar.

There is a theory called dialectics that says all of life is a constant push and pull, and when one force overcomes the other, change occurs. I shared this concept with them and they were completely receptive. It was a discussion that gave me chills down my spine. the kind of conversation that I never expected, but was moved by.

These students never cease to amaze me.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Resist Sickness and Social networking!

I guess I don't really have a lot to say. and I'm sure all you avid "lesson learned" blog readers are chomping at the bit.

I have quite the cold. It moved in slowly, making me think it was just a nasal thing, then, before I knew it, it attacked full force. Leaving me displaced in my apartment scowering our empty medicine cabinet for something to make the headache and nose-run to stop. I finally did find it. It was called Tylenol PM. It is quite the wonder drug, I thought maybe this sickness would resist its forces, but before I knew it, it was 6:30 and I was sawing logs in my old man chair.

Needless to say, after a good night's sleep I am feeling quite a bit better. I'm ready to attack one more day this week with my little buggers.

I met some other alternative school teachers today and they all seemed pretty amazing. Just the mention of the things they were doing in their classroom made me feel inadequate. And their staff goes out drinking on Thursdays! We don't do that at my school.

Anyhow, rain has finally made it to Santa Cruz, and Daren has also discovered this incredible social networking tool called Facebook that seems to suck his time away from blogging on a consistent basis. I have connected with some long lost friends along the way, which I guess is pretty cool.

I am teaching a class about activism and writing this term and I am seeing that there will indefinitely be some challenges, especially if I plan on attacking it the way I have been. But its so fun to stir up a little tension in the classroom.

We spent this week talking about oppression. It was very interesting. I also used this poem last week that brought up some really strong opinions:
A moment Of Silence Before I start this poem

I love poetry, but kids are so afraid of it that it can be difficult to teach. But I, gonna try!

Now playing: Xavier Rudd - Choices
via FoxyTunes