Friday, July 30, 2010

The Cat TOTALLY Knows Something’s Up

Hi! This is Buffi and I’ve highjacked Tina’s blog, to tell you I know something is up, and I want to know what!
Exhibit A: Neelix (the dog) went to the vet without me which only happens when he and mom are going on vacation.
Exhibit B: There are suitcases in the living room. They are sealed, but clearly belong to more than one person.
Exhibit C: The whole house is clean, which only happens when mom is going on vacation. Sub Exhibit C: even Tina’s room is clean, which only happens when Tina is going on vacation
Exhibit D: There is catnip in the house. Let me repeat that, THERE IS CATNIP IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Exhibit E: Mom and Tina are obsessively trying to cuddle me, which is somewhat normal, but it’s excessive to be normal.
How do they know I knows
Exhibit A: I didn’t hiss at Neelix when he got back from the vet
Exhibit B: I tried to climb in Tina’s suitcase
Exhibit C: I messed up the living room. Twice
Exhibit D: I won’t stop looking at the fridge (where the CATNIP is kept)
Exhibit E: I cuddle back. And I go looking for cuddles. I do not cuddle.
I totally know something is up!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I. Am. A. Moron!

How big a moron? Tomorrow I am taking my students on a field trip to the local police station. We will hear what police do, tour the station, hopefully see the jail (only if there’s no one in it at the time), etc. Then we will return to our school just in time for lunch. After which, I agreed to have water day. The next day we have an even bigger field trip to the local hospital. It just recently opened and is super green so we will reinforce our lessons about living a green lifestyle from a few weeks ago, and learn about medical heroes all at the same time. Sometime in all that excitement, I *get* to tell my kids what I’ve planned for our big end of summer celebration. They’ve been guessing since before summer even began because I let them look through my lesson plan book and it’s marked out with “End of Summer Field Trip” but no details. I have enjoyed lording over them that I know and I’m not telling. But now I have to tell, and I lose all the fun I have at work :( Also, I’m a moron for planning on taking them where I’m taking them (Lincoln Park Zoo). But hey, at least on Friday we get to watch Ghostbusters. And on Saturday I leave on vacation.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Art?? Update

My friends and I have been discussing what art is ever since I came back from the Art Institute last weekend. Most people agree with my decisions on what was "art", what was "maybe art" and what was "NOT art". One person tried to convince me that what I saw as "not art" I simply didn't have the depth to perceive correctly. Meanwhile my best friend gave me her definition of art
A) it must be aesthetically pleasing to SOMEONE
B) it must make you think about SOMETHING or challenge you in some way
C) it requires some level of talent, i.e. she should not be able to produce it.
Therefore, the "Untitled" portrait which became the center of several art discussions over the last week was deemed "not art" before I even finished my explanation. Honestly, I love my best friend and I respect her opinion. Often I am swayed to agree with her fairly easily because I think she is smarter than I in most ways. However, in this case I was not swayed. I am still not sure it is "art" but neither am I sure it is "not art".
Tell me internet, how do you define "art". Not having seen the piece in question, do you think it can be potentially labeled "art"? What about the other pieces I mentioned?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Burny Crispy Owie Pain

Today my class had our bi-annual (is that the right word for every two years?) 50/50 carwash. It was technically free, but we accepted donations, which nearly everyone made. The money is split 50/50 with half going to our end of summer celebration and half going to charity (UPDATE: The kids decided to donate to two differant charities since we raised so much money. We will be adopting a tiger from WWF and donating $25 to Little Angels, a home for severely disabled children and young adults. they picked both charities themselves!). We raised $100 (including Miss Tina’s generous donation of $30 for a car wash that left both dirt and water spots on my car) in a car wash that was supposed to go from 1-3. We washed our first car at 12:30. We finished our last car at 4:00.

In other news my skin is normally this color.

Now it is this color.

In case your color is off, in the summer I tend to avoid the sun and am a nice truly healthy shade of mid beige. While my arms are currently a brown with pink undertones, at the moment by chest and back are pink-red. I don’t QUITE resemble a lobster yet, but another day of sun and I will. There’s a reason you’re supposed to reapply sunscreen every two hours, even if the bottle says “Sport” “Waterproof” and “All day protection”. Tina is burny-crispy :(

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Today I took the train into Chicago. I intended on wandering the Art Institute for a few hours and then going to Skydeck (the observation deck of Sears Willis Tower). I did go to the Art Institute, but I didn’t really want to go to Skydeck alone. Somehow I decided I would go back to Chicago tomorrow and see the other half of the Asian exhibit, which is my favorite. I only saw about half of it today because I wanted to the Modern Art without Kristin who really only likes to point and laugh at modern art, and go to Skydeck then. However, what I really wanted to tell you about, is the modern art wing at the AIC. Believe me people, sometimes art is cool, or challenging, or disturbing, and sometimes it’s just NOT art. Let me explain…

Mortar and Pestle by Janine Antoni-

Disturbing, and weird? Check! Art? I’ll let you decide. Then there was…

Untitled (Portrait of Ross in LA) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Sorry, I can’t post an actual picture as it is LITERALLY a pile of wrapped hard candies stacked in the corner of a room.
According to the description posted, the artist also calls it “Ideal weight 175 lbs”. You see his lover died of an AIDS related illness. The candies start out as a pile ideally weighing about 175 lbs (the lover's ideal weight) and instructions are given that adult visitors may eat one piece of candy so that the weight of the pile slowly deteriorates like the artist’s lover did in his final illness. Instructions are also given that the candies should be replenished when they run low, thus “giving the piece and the man [I think the lover] eternal existence”. I can assemble candy in a corner. But can I give it meaning? It did make me think, it challenged my preconceptions of what I was looking at, it even challenged my ideas of what art is. I was tempted to write it off as “not art” but I can’t. At least I’ll still think about this one.

The one I won’t think about (except in outrage that someone deemed it “art") is called Distorted Circle Within A Square by Robert Mangold. It is literally a rough black circle drawn on a plain, grey painted square canvas. I could literally make the exact same thing. Shoot, I have three year olds who have to do the exact same thing (draw a circle, not paint a square) as a test to make sure they are developmentally where they ought to be. NOT ART!

However, there is always my favorite thing in the modern wing to go to when I’m outraged. (Despite my comments above, I have been there before and I do enjoy it.) It’s a painting called White Crucifixion by Chagall.

This is a painting of the crucifixion of Jesus done in 1938 Europe (France). Above Jesus are the Jewish matriarchs and patriarchs, and below him are representations of the pogroms so prevalent at the time. Here Jesus is not murdered by the Jews as in the prevelent, contemporary view, but rather a Jewish martyr like so many others. It is moving, challenging, hard to really look at, and it is art. There is nothing challenging to drawing a misshapen circle inside a square, no reason for me to really look at it and nothing to make me truly think.

Perhaps I really will go back tomorrow (I’m a teacher, so I get free admission and I still have my weekend pass for the train…). If I do you can guarantee I will finish the other half of the Asian exhibit. I might even check out the Chagall again. But I promise you I will skip the plain black canvas with nothing on it someone deemed art. Also if I go, I really am going to Skydeck.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Home Safe

Well I’m home safe and sound from vacation. It was pretty much one of the best weeks ever, I highly recommend renting a beach house/cabin/cottage thing instead of a hotel room if you go on vacation. We saved money both on rent and on food, we had more room to spread out without getting in each other’s way and no one felt like they had to sleep when they didn’t want because there was a living room for reading. We didn’t swim quite as much as we expected because we also went wine tasting (three girls, seventeen bottles of wine in the back of the car on the way home, we felt a little weird about it), drove into St. Joseph proper a few times (random shopping, art show, and killer pizza if you cared), and got a delicious birthday dinner, complete with craptastic service but killer crème brulee. I’ll post pictures and such in a few days but now I need a nap. And also to wash some laundry :(

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Internet, I went to the Taste of Chicago today, and it was GREAT. I love the Taste and have gone on the third the last several years. We started going on the third because I LOVE fireworks and this way we see Chicago’s on the third and Freeport’s on the fourth and it. is. awesome. Sadly, this year Chicago didn’t do July third fireworks (boo!! hiss!!) so I only get one display. Also the Taste was oddly small with fewer restaurants than usual and no shops. I love the world market style shops where you can buy a sarong for twenty dollars, tax free. Anyway, we ate goat (yummmm) and ribs (I love bbq sauce) and tempura veggies and other vegetarian choices (it doesn’t count if I only ate about five bites of meat right?). Then we got bored and tried to think of things to do that were cheap. Did you know the Skydeck (now with ledges!) at Willis Tower is sixteen dollars??? Like what the heck Willis Tower people? So we decided that we’d save up for that and do it another day (assuming the stars align so that we have money, time, and a clear day all on day when we’re in Chicago). Then we thought about the Art Institute but no one wanted to spend fourteen dollars for like an hour of entertainment. So we walked to the Borders on Michigan Ave. Or, we tried to walk to the Borders on Michigan Ave, but for some reason we gave up after like forty miles of walking when it was about three blocks away and decided to walk to the Borders on State St. If only people listened to me, this would be a story about going to Borders. Instead, this is a story about sitting in a Dunkin Donuts drinking $0.99 iced coffee bitching about how far the train station was (about a ten minute walk). I told them if Borders is between Randalf and (some other street I can’t remember) State St HAS to run perpendicular to those streets and thus parallel to the street we were on, we should go down Randalf, turn left onto State and we’ll find Borders. Instead we continued on the street we were on until it became clear I was right, turned on another street and passed State two blocks and five iced coffees later. We missed our planned train by like ten minutes, stood in line fifteen feet from the train we wanted on until five minutes before it was supposed to leave when they finally let us board and then promptly realized we were hungry again. So we went out for chicken sandwiches. I am clearly a terrible vegetarian. :)
Okay, I really am leaving town in a few hours, so I won’t be blogging the rest of the week. Pictues when I get back! Have a SAFE and happy holiday!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Work! Family! Personal! We've Got It All!!

Sometimes I don’t write anything because nothing has happened, but in this case I haven’t written because too much has happened. I did want to write before I leave on vacation (Taste of Chicago Saturday, Rockford fireworks Sunday, leave for St. Joseph’s Monday!!!). First, work…
I have told you about the situation at work. First a few weeks ago, a parent complained because her daughter got wet and (GASP!!) dirty. Last week the same parent complained (to me, not my boss for once) that her daughter was never in our class newspaper. I explained calmly to the parent that her daughter goes to summer school in the morning, and the morning is when the kids write their articles, and when we do the things that show up in the paper. Friday the daughter threw a FIT about having to play kickball. The class rule is that you play the first half hour at any one place (ball field, park, etc) and then you can sit out. She threw a fit in the middle of the ball field and told me her mom said she didn’t have to play if she didn’t want. After warning her that her behavior would lead to “serious consequences” I made her apologize to her classmates “I’m sorry I ruined your fun.” She had to say. Then I let her off. I told her sister who picked her up, because she was still upset. Monday her mom complained about the way I talked to the sister. Tuesday she slapped another girl in the leg while I was sitting about six inches away. I made her apologize. I should clarify that I make them apologize by looking whoever they’re apologizing to in the face and saying “I’m sorry for…” which you hear in my class about every 2.3 minutes. The girl refused to sit up, refused to apologize for several minutes, finally did it mere seconds before mom showed up. I’m no longer allowed to speak to the family, so I said nothing. Thirty minutes later my boss came downstairs with the mom and her daughter who had been telling them that I made her apologize to another child because the other child kicked her. Twenty minutes after that the kid admitted that she had slapped the person she apologized to, and her mom didn’t care. She was too caught up in what I had done (made her kid apologize). She eventually threatened my boss with a phone call to DCFS (our supervising agency), my boss told her to go ahead. She also said that we favor staff kids (I personally am probably harder on staff kids). Her daughter came outside where I was watching ten other kids to yell “What is wrong with you?!?” at us. She is now hanging out in another teacher’s class until I get back from vacation. Her mom was told she had until then to either adjust to my class (getting dirty, participating, respecting everyone…) or to find a different school for her kid. Works rocks (no, I’m serious, I’m so glad how supportive my boss has been throughout this situation).
Now Family…
We took Niece and Nephew to the zoo again. Nephew can now say rilla (gorilla), pant (elephant), ger (tiger), sheal (seal), fin (dolphin), pig (guinea pig), cat (self-explanatory), and I don’t even know what else. Kid knows his animals is what I’m saying. He’s just over a year old now, so I’m pretty proud of him. We took in a dolphin show, touched the stingrays (actually Niece only tapped the top of the water because she was afraid and Nephew’s arms weren’t long enough, but I touched the rays), played at the play zoo, pet a guinea pig at the play zoo, saw the gorillas and the alligators and rode the carousel. It was an excellent day, but at this point I think they just expect to go to the zoo when they see Aunt Tina and Grandma. I hope they don’t get upset when I’m gone the next three weekends!
I got to hang out with a friend from high school. This is the last of my Christian friends, the rest of them having fallen to the wayside as they became more conservative and I became more liberal. Also as I objected to being used as a scapegoat for everything wrong in people’s lives (more on that another day maybe). She is one of the sweetest people I know. She is also the friend whom I told you was adopting.  I hadn’t really hung out with her the last month or so due to the drama in her life and my new work schedule. Later, I ran into a friend I usually only see a few times a month at the library tonight. Next thing I knew almost an hour had passed and I had seen his famous movie list (he’s listed every movie he’s ever seen apparently), and records every movie in some crazy system I think only he understands. It was pretty cool. He also showed me this. Mel Gibson is clearly a troubled man.
As of six pm tomorrow I’m on vacation, so this will have to hold you over until I get home. Then I’ll tell you all about vacation, and also what happened to my Christian friends.