Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Loomis Day

May 30 is Loomis Day--an actual holiday commemorating the 1872 patent awarded to Mahlon Loomis, a dentist from Washington D.C. who was the first to successfully construct a wireless telegraph. He also deserves credit for:

1. First to use a complete antenna and ground system
2. First experimental transmission of wireless telegraph signals.
3. The first use of kites to carry an antenna aloft.
4. The first use of balloons to raise an antenna wire.
5. First vertical antenna (steel rod mounted on top of a wood tower).
6. Formulation of the idea of ‘waves’ traveling out from his antenna.
7. The first Patent for wireless telegraphy.

Pretty cool.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Can I Get a Witness?

This is what every mom needs now and then: a quiet, candlelit
bubble bath...
Stamp from The Angel Company and Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers. Waaaaay cool glass beads from Penny Wise Arts. Ribbon from Michaels. Colored with Prismacolor pencils.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Hard Day for a Mommy

 For ten years my girl, Corinne, has been known for her integrity, work ethic, and skills on the trumpet. Today, she made a really tough decision--laying band aside for her Senior year. It isn't that she doesn't love marching band, but each year she has worked to demonstrate her commitment, leadership, and skill--and her work has been consistently ignored by the directors. A year ago she was frustrated by her placement, but she never complained and instead pushed herself to work harder. She organized sectionals, was the only current trumpet player to make District Honor Band (as she has done every year since we moved here,) the only one to have made All-State Honor Band, and worked with any student who needed help. She was certain she would be given a leadership position. Instead, she was handed a "support" role---and demoted to the bottom third of the trumpet section. To make matters worse, all the players "ranked" higher are guys and members of the volunteer jazz band. It looked suspiciously like favoritism---especially considering her audition score (38/40.) The likelihood that 5 players scored higher is pretty minimal.

She wrote out her list of questions. She created a pro-con chart. She talked to us. She talked to friends--in band and former members and non-band members. She slept on it. Today she talked to the assistant director (the director wasn't there) who danced around her questions. At the end of the day, she decided to find another place to play her trumpet and leave the Walton band behind. She still plans to speak to the director, but once she made her decision, she said she felt relieved of a huge burden.

I'm sad. Band has been a HUGE part of her life for years. Because she loved it, so did we. It was wonderful to watch her lead and play with excellence. It made us proud to see her peers looking to her for help. To watch her leave because of "politics" and favoritism just hurts. She should be looking toward the pinnacle of her high school career, but will find herself looking outside school for musical fulfillment.

She has wonderful memories. Football games, bus rides, competitions, the Tournament of Roses parade, and a host of inside jokes that make the last three years of Walton Band worthwhile. She is looking forward to singing more at church and auditioning for a community orchestra or taking lessons again. She is looking forward to getting a job and buying a car. She is looking forward to having a social life AND time to study AND sleep. She feels good about her decision.

Eventually, I will, too.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Favorite Books

It seems like every time I introduce a new book to my classes I make some comment about how much I love that particular one. A student recently asked me my favorite book--and I have yet to come up with an answer. Since it is the end of the school year, I thought it fitting to consider, if not my absolute favorite, the ones I recommend the most to others.

Farenheit 451--Ray Bradbury
             I don't think Bradbury had any concept of the prophetic nature of his book on censorship, but the things he feared are coming to be fact, not fiction. The way it's happening is absolutely not in his philosophical world view, but we are becoming a nation of superficialities.
Cry the Beloved Country--Alan Paton
              Alan Paton wrote this beautiful book about love and mercy and justice and redemption in 1948, before Apartheid was part of South Africa's dark heritage. His character, Msimangu, is wise, and his humility is a lesson to us all. Paton's imagery and symbolism of the land is breathtaking.
Til We Have Faces--C.S. Lewis
               Anything by C.S. Lewis is part of my favorites list, but this book is special. It is a retelling (with liberties) of the Cupid/Psyche myth, told from the persective of one of Psyche's sisters. It is one of his last books, and took him 30 years--and a conversion to Christianity--to write it. In it he explores the arrogance of natural man and the necessity of complete surrender to God in order to find peace. There are layers upon layers of meaning in this text, and Lewis called it his "most mature work."

Beach Read Authors: John Grisham, Frank Peretti, Brock and Bodie Thoene

Philosophy: Donald Miller, Madeleine L'Engle, Annie Dillard, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Jean Paul Sarte, Flannery O'Connor (a rather eclectic group.)

Poetry: Henry Wadsworth Lonfellow, John Donne, Robert Frost

Shakespeare favorites: Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing

And there you have it: my "recommended" reading for your pleaure and enlightenment. Take it for what it's worth---and enjoy.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Roses--George Eliot

You love the roses - so do I. I wish

The sky would rain down roses, as they rain

From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?

Then all the valley would be pink and white

And soft to tread on. They would fall as light

As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be

Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!