Friday, September 30, 2011

Procrastination: Periadolescence and Stereo Projects

I have LOTS of grading to do:

All those piles aren't ALL grading. Some of the papers are graded papers to return, copies of handouts, and administrative papers. Those books are copies of the selections for my class book club. I am still missing two books, so I will post pics of those later. If you look closely, you can see a small, white bottle of ibuprofen at the far end of the table.

I think ibuprofen should come with a teacher discount.


My daughter is almost 11 and 1/2 years old. Things are happening to her body. THOSE things. Along with THOSE things come the moodiness, fits of temper, and the prerequisite acquisition of knowledge superior to adults in each and every way. Might I call it periadolescence? Between HER hormones and mine, I am pretty much aggravated at her every waking moment.

I have little reminders, though, of the actual PERSON she is in the midst of all of this. I bought some mini pumpkins the other day for her to decorate. This is what we have scattered around our living room right now:

 Harry Potter pumpkin

 Traditional Jack-O-Lanterns

 I think this is a girl pumpkin.

 Angry pumpkin. Grrrrr!

Another girl pumpkin. Apparently the long bang, swept to the side is popular right now.

When I see these, strategically placed around our living room and entry way, I remember that underneath all that pre-adolescent angst and know-it-all-ness is my crafty, hands-on, creative girl.

She thought very carefully about WHERE to put each pumpkin. "Which one goes with a horse, Mom?" Here are the results of her contemplations:

Please note blue plaid curtains from Target. The folks at Wrath of Mom are quite fond of them.


My husband has worked on a few projects around the house lately. The results of which mean I can listen to music on two different systems in the living room or one in the dining room--RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER from the living room.

System One: Please note directions. This isn't my husband being overly picky. They are necessary so that I am able to listen to music when I want and so that I do not blow up the precious amps.

 System Two: Good for listening to music and for listening to the television. Please pardon the blurry picture. It is what it is. The truly spectacular part of this system is the volume control. Done with the device pictured below:

Even more special is that it is connected to Sound System Two via this lovely cable: 

And now, System Three:

   This system features an extra fancy "Now Playing" indicator:

Extra fancy tech. That's how we roll in the LUE household.


Well, that was truly a decent amount of time spent procrastinating. Mission accomplished!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Surprised by Waltzing (A LUE Rerun)

Somehow, on the first day of my Tuesday night class, the subject of my favorite band came up. Without hesitation, I said, "The Band." Then I had to explain to a group of people, who were mostly under the age of 22, who The Band is. To be absolutely truthful, I don't know that The Band is truly my favorite band. It might be The Blind Boys of Alabama. However, The Band, as featured in the documentary, The Last Waltz, represents so much more than just music to me. Here is a post I wrote about that movie a few years ago:
Sometime in the first year after I graduated high school, I read Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C.S. Lewis and his definition of joy as "an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction" captivated me. Joy, to Lewis, was a feeling inspired by any number of things from encounters with nature to the sound of friends' laughter. Eventually, as he sought out these moments of joy, he began to believe the emotion he was experiencing was a recognition of the divine which creates in us a longing for God.

At 18, I sensed the truth in his words. I knew that joy as he described was different than the happiness we are often taught should be our life's aim.

At 18, I felt I had experienced those longing glimpses into the divine.

I'm sure I had, but as I reflect on my life with its grown up burdens and responsibilities... as I consider the sad and tragic circumstances that can befall people, those glances of joy are more poignant to me. Sometimes they are almost boringly obvious: the heart-bursting ache that comes with a glance at my son or daughter; the gasp that comes with the sight of the local mountains, freshly covered in the snow after a storm. I think these are universal experiences which don't lose their depth of meaning in their prevalence.

Sometimes, though, I get that sense of Beauty and Longing in places I wouldn't expect. Today, Sober Briquette* picked up on a recent post of mine in which I chose a shopping cart to represent myself in a transportation metaphor. Her choice is great and the options she eliminates along the way are very funny. At the end she embedded a You Tube clip of Van Morrison singing with The Band from The Last Waltz.

The Last Waltz has been on my mind of late. We have the DVD and Colin recently purchased The Band's Greatest Hits (along with The Best of Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett's Greatest Hits and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band--this kid has great taste in music). The film brings back fond memories. The first time I watched it was the first time Paul and I discussed forever. But more than that, the film and the music in it evokes in me a sense of the sublime. It is just so good it almost hurts--that good hurt.

Here's where my descriptive powers will fail me. How do I go beyond the Valley Girl-like "It's so awesome!!!" to communicate how the interviews with the members of The Band, along with the footage of amazing musician after amazing musician singing and playing with the band is just a little slice of heaven here on earth? How can I explain that I see God in the community these men had with each other or that the musicianship seems to be the quintessential example of being in the moment with the music? I don't know.

I'm not really a music person. I like lots of music but I don't pursue music in my life and I'm not musically literate. I can't tell you anything about what makes a good song. There's something more than music going on in The Last Waltz, though, and it surprised me with joy.

*Sober Briquette is no longer blogging under that name or I would link to that post for you.