Friday, February 17, 2012

north to the mountain

A home for a gnome? Seen on a dog walk I took with Ella a couple of weeks ago.
Our knitting guild is holding a getaway retreat in Highlands, NC this weekend, and I am headed up there. Supposed to be like a "camp for adults," it's at The Mountain retreat center. My friend Debbie and I are driving up there this afternoon - it's about 3 hours away. The capable Cathy is coming again to babysit my beasts and hold down the Atomic Lodge whilst I'm off breathing rarefied air and knitting up a storm.

Handknits lucky enough to go with me are: the long-languished Noro Stripey Scarf, Aidez, a sock that is just not moving, and a gift for my swappee for the Outlander Swap. The scarf is really just an hour or so away from being done, after nearly 2 years on the needles. What can I say? I am slow, and some knits, while desperately wanted in finished form, just don't get knitted up all that fast. I am trying to make a sincere effort to finish or frog some longstanding UFO's though, over the next month or so. I will report progress on that front when it becomes less shameful to do so.

I promised an update on my employment status, a couple of entries ago. I got hired on as a sub teacher in the district, and started working in some of the schools in my area. The money is so-so, but the biggest epiphany for me, in this job, has been how amazingly different the school culture has been from last year's hell job. Teachers seem happy, kids go to recess, admin seems to be somewhat less psychotic in these 3 or 4 schools where I've concentrated my efforts. The possibility of maybe teaching full time again has entered my mind, though I am enjoying the pleasure of half-time work.

For a few weeks, I was trying to doing some work with a company who ran Lego robotics classes as an afterschool program. This was fun, and initially, I thought it would be a take-off new direction for me, but alas, it was not to be. There weren't many hours, and what hours there were conflicted with my subbing, and it just didn't pay enough to justify my not taking sub work, which I consider very easy money, most of the time.

During my Lego phase, I was offered another job, at a tutoring center which served mostly high schoolers studying for the SAT. They were getting a lot of requests for an elementary tutor, one who could teach reading and writing to children whose primary language was Korean. This had more hours, evening hours which would allow me to take sub jobs if I chose to keep doing that. I've been doing that for about 10 days now, and am kind of enjoying the work. The kids, for the most part, speak pretty good English, though the moms prefer speaking Korean; mercifully, my boss is bilingual and translates. My students are in 1st through 4th grades, and we're working mostly on reading and writing, with a little math thrown in, and a little test prep, mostly because this is Georgia, and the test is the tail that continues to wag our dog. The center has a lot of resources, so it's not a huge planning and prep toll, and HEY!! I don't have to submit lesson plans; merely to record what we worked on for each session. It's nice to be working, it's nice to see the same kids each week, and to feel like I have a little more flex in what sub work I take. I'm off on Wednesdays and Fridays, and on Saturdays when I'm in town (commuter marriage and all) I see a first grader for a couple of hours. Seeing a paycheck, albeit a small one, is a good thing.

Beyond that, I'm kind of languishing in an end-of-winter doldrum here. I've had a nasty cold, which I treated with a combination of Chinese herbs, elderberry syrup, hot tea, and chicken soup. I spent every non-working hour in bed, asleep, for about 3 days, and really think this "let-it-run-its-course" approach is a wise approach for such illnesses. Funny thing, a month into working with children again, and I get sick. Predictable as the seasons, right?

I've been continuing to have fun in the kitchen, of late, and have been making homemade salsa, using a Rick Bayless recipeinvolving canned fire-roasted tomatoes. I am never eating store-bought salsa again, I think. I also put together some preserved Meyer lemons, and they are about ready to eat, so we should see some tagine in the near future.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Brigid's Day Silent Poetry Reading


I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear: that roars for blood,
I am a salmon: in a pool,
I am a lure: from paradise,
I am a hill: where poets walk,
I am a boar: ruthless and red,
I am a breaker: threatening doom,
I am a tide: that drags to death,
I am an infant: who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen, arch?

I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.

Translated by Robert Graves;The White Goddess.