Thursday, March 27, 2008

But I still don't believe in Mount Rushmore...

Greetings visitors from planet Diaperswappers! And I have no idea who gave me the props, but they are my new best friend.

Buddy's in the back yard setting up a leprechaun trap. The original notion of such a trap came from his kindergarten class (where a note I found stuffed in the bottom of his backpack two weeks after the fact informed me that he was not allowed to build a leprechaun trap as a result of having done something stupid with scissors).

leprechaun trap, however, is a pure-D Buddy Creation: it's a box with Lego guys set up inside to "look like they're having a fun party." The idea is that the leprechaun, unable to resist the temptations of such a rockin' affair, will be lured into the box, at which point Buddy will slam shut the door and... well... I haven't quite gotten him to think through the next part. I believe gold theft is part of the plan. My question is, what do you feed leprechauns? Whiskey? I don't think we have any...

I will admit that, one sunny afternoon when I wanted to watch Ghosthunters and didn't want to have to spend my next drive to school denying the existence of spectral dead people lining the road, I did tell Buddy that there were elves that lived under the cedar tree and maybe he should go look for them. Though he hasn't yet spotted any, he still seems to believe me.

I remember visiting my mom's Uncle Donald in his cabin in Colorado once. Another random young relative and I build a fort of some sort in the trees. The next day, we found the fort in tatters. Uncle Donald told me soberly that the Artesians had done the dirty deed by dark of night. I believed him and was rather frightened of Artesians (without ever really knowing what they were) from then on.

I also had myself convinced for quite awhile that I was secretly a unicorn.

Buddy's doomed, isn't he?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Aten't dead...

I just finished reading Elegy for Iris, a memoir by literary critic John Bayley about his marriage to novelist Iris Murdoch, and his thoughts on her journey into the neverwhere that is Alzheimer's.

I've never read any of Iris Murdoch's work, but one thing Bayley's rambling, whimsical narrative makes clear is that Iris' was a unique and powerful personality. Now that that personality is completely devoured by the memory-destroying disease, who is the person inside the body of his wife? And where or what is the woman he fell in love with fifty years ago?

It is, despite the light, loving and positive tone, a very disturbing book.

It must be a very good book, in it's odd little way, because it has obliged me to reflect on many things. My grandmother, who was the light of my early childhood, suffered from some form of senile dementia. When I met her for the last time, with a three-month-old Buddy in tow, she did not know me or understand that she was holding her first great-grandson. When she died a few months later, I took comfort in the conviction that, upon arrival to Heaven, God took mercy and restored her memories to her intact, including the ones formed in the end, and that she was rewarded with an understanding that I had come to see her one last time, and that she had met Buddy.

But that is a posthumous comfort, and not available to the friends and family of the living. I can only approach the puzzle of Iris in quick feints, because the whole of the question is terrifying. And also the whole of this question: what if it should happen to me?

Another author, one who's books I have read -- all of them, multiple times -- also has Alzheimer's. Iris Murdoch is an abstract puzzle to me, but Terry Pratchett is a blow much closer to home. Along with Douglas Adams (oh, well) and Neil Gaiman (get in line) he is one of the few authors I've ever wished to meet in person. I certainly have a complete imagined personality ascribed to him: a quite, thoughtful man, with a devilish streak and a secret lust for bad puns. His voice and his values pervade his work, and those books are reliable old friends that I turn to, when, more that anything in the world, I just need a bit of fun.

I imagine that he, like Iris, is very much loved by those who truly do know him. And that the spectre of his disappearance by inches... well, mustn't wallow. In a blog post on the topic, Mr. Pratchett himself quoted his greatest character, Granny Weatherwax, saying: I ATEN'T DEAD. And he would thank folks not to mourn him prematurely.

Meanwhile, in a style that fits my image of him to a tee, he has done something proactive and positive by donating nearly $1,000,000 to the Alzheimer's Research Trust. And a movement has come out to support him and his cause. Click and check out Match it for Pratchett.

I have zero money at the moment, but I can at least envision the purchase of a sharp tee-shirt in my near future. I think thirty bucks to help good people fight a disease that scares the living crap out of me is a smart investment.

While composing this post in my head, it even occurred to me that I could auction off a Feegle, provided anyone would be so louche as to purchase one. If you think that's a good idea, comment and I'll get to work on it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My public needs me...

I know you're being quiet and reserved about it, and I respect your civility, but I can tell that teh innernet is once again crumbling without my participation. I don't actually have a story to tell or an annoying picture to post (what do you have to DO to actually get up on icanhascheezburger? Maui's lolcat wasn't exactly genius, but it could hold it's own, I felt.)

But that's okay, because House is coming back someday and in the meantime, New Amsterdam isn't half bad and I'm all about some American Idol. I just wish Simon and Ryan would have sex or shoot each other already and get it out of the way. The problem with that whole side-drama is that Ryan Seacrest has about three fewer IQ points than an empty Coke bottle and is standing around all smug like he just launched the Killer Zinger From Mars when in reality he was just being...

Lord, need to shut up about that.

Moved four-fifths of a truckload of wood chips this weekend. That's about 12 cubic yards. That's about a drivewayful. How long does that take? Exactly six hours, thank you very much. (He Who Looks Hot in Jeans was at work, he got the other three cubic yards moved today. ) Anyway, guess which body part hurt from this assault of unaccustomed physical activity? And guess who had to sit on said body part all day on Monday? Not pleasant.

Busier than a one-handed paperhanger, to tell the truth. But just wanted to let all my worried fans know:


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

i can has lolcat...

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I'm not html literate enough to make this fit properly on the page, so click to see my clever caption!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Everything I need to know about life I learned from playing with my Legos...

Buddy's teacher has said, on multiple occasions, that he has a hard time following directions. Especially multi-step directions. I'm willing to believe this.

A few weeks ago, Buddy received several Star Wars Lego sets. One afternoon, he sat down and proceeded to put together a kit with 248 pieces and 29 pages of instructions. My assistance was in the department of "clicking" fiddly bits, not in the department of interpreting directions. He did that all by himself.

And I said to myself: This kid can follow directions.

How could I translate the Lego success to classroom success? I put forth a suggestion to his teacher: if Buddy had picture cards of each step of his directions, as visual cues, and also as elements of his own exercise of assembling the appropriate direction cards in the correct order, we might just have a strategy in place for improving this little deficiency.

She said it was a good idea. Several days later, she sent home a note with a list of directions he needs to work on.

This morning I made the cards, and brought them to school when I joined Buddy for lunch. She said they looked great and they'd give them a try.

This afternoon Buddy gets in the car and I check his backpack for homework and notes (S.O.P.). I find his direction cards in his folder with a note from the teacher saying she is barred, by law, from using the cards in the classroom without testing and documentation that he may use these modifications.

I'm flabbergasted. What's more, I'm a teacher. When I was in the classroom and had a kid who needed to go at it from a different direction, we worked on a strategy that would reach him or her. I know nothing about this law she's citing.

She's a first year teacher, and has all of my sympathy on that note. I'm sure she showed the cards to an experienced teacher, who rattled off this stupid notion, and she bought it hook, line and sinker. Part of my problem here is that I would never have done that, even in my first year. In fact, I was notorious for demanding, "Why the hell not?" Heh, still am.

She gets a little cringe-y around me, 'cause she can smell that I have a temper. What she very well may learn when I walk Bud into class tomorrow morning is that, up until now, I haven't unleashed it on her.