Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good fences, good neighbors?

Hurricane Katrina knocked down much of the wooden fence in our backyard. When we were putting it back up we decided to put in a gate between our house and the neighbor's house. That way, we reasoned, the girls could go back and forth between the yards without going around the front. However, after we got the posts and cross beams up, we decided we rather liked having no fence there at all, and left it. It remained that way for 4 1/2 years.

We walked through the open space many, many times. For crawfish boils and Easter egg hunts. Games of hide and seek and and tag and soccer. Even a Louisiana snowball fight. The first time I ever ate raw oysters I was summoned to the neighbor's back deck.

We would see the neighbors outside playing and send the May Queen out to play, too.

Now that our house is for sale, the fence has had to be completed. A wooden wall now divides us from the neighbors. Even the area for the gate was filled in. No hinges.

They say that good fences make good neighbors. We found that no fence made the best neighbors of all.

Friday, May 21, 2010

An Owl on the Side of my Road

I was driving home this evening, about 11:30pm and saw a sight I've never seen in my neighborhood: an owl. The bird was sitting atop a sign, looking away from me. I nearly missed seeing it.

Nearly 2 years ago, around The May Queen's 6th birthday, we had a hawk visiting our backyard. Several commenters wrote about the associations and meanings assigned to hawk visitations. So I decided to see what an owl is supposed to represent.

It may be a symbol of mourning and desolation,"a bird of ill omen".

OK... I'm about to make a move across (up?) the country, and am in a bit of mourning about it. Ill omens are not welcome.

The owl could be seen as a keeper of a spirit, "winging it's newly freed soul from the physical world into the realm of spirit".

As far as I know no one close to me has died today.

According to Native Americans an owl can indicate either insight or deception.

Clear as mud.

Of course, everyone is familiar with the idea of an owl as being wise.

I don't feel particularly wise these days. Rather, I feel frazzled, unsure, and fraying at the seams.

I'm not particularly superstitious. I suppose I can wait and see how things play out and then assign this owl the meaning that fits. Regardless, it was a beautiful and haunting sight, this owl on the side of my road.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thank You for Singing

I stood in the back of the room and watched as their names were called. The students came forward and were handed their rolled up diplomas. They posed and (hopefully) smiled for their parents, eagerly and hungrily snapping pictures. Then they returned to their seats where the rolled diplomas quickly became spyglasses, trumpets, and even guns.

Yesterday the preschool where I work had its first ever "Stepping Up" ceremony for the 4 year olds.

At the end of the ceremony the 40 or so kids stood at the front, singing the words we sang together at the end of every music class I've taught there over the last 4 years:

(to the tune of Frere Jaques)
Goodbye Friends, Good Friends
Time to Go, Time to Go
Thank You for Singing, Thank You for Singing
Love You So, Love You So.

I stood in the back of the room, signing along with tears in my eyes. Because the kids aren't the only ones moving on. I will never again sit in a circle with those kids, singing those words. Waving goodbye. The hugs and the high-fives that followed will go to another teacher next year.

I fell into the job when the previous teacher moved on to a full time job, and the director of the preschool asked if I was interested. I protested with my lack of formal music training. She said she knew I could sing and do hand motions. And that I would love the kids.

And I have loved those kids. True, there were days I wanted to duct tape a few of them to a chair. But even those kids... I have loved them. It has been a joy to watch them grow. It has also been a joy to watch the teachers who work with them. If you haven't thanked a preschool teacher lately, do it today. It takes an amazing kind of person to do that job.

It has been a gift to me to share music with so many children. One morning as I left for school I said to my husband "I'm off to instill a love of music in small children." I hope that I have. They have helped deepen mine.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Operation Beige - the reveal

I have been working for some time on an undercover operation. I will later write more about it, but these pictures will let you know what's been in the works.

From this...

From this...
to this...

From this...

From this...

From this...

From this...

From this...

From this...
to this...



all original color photos from this tour of my colorful home. All current photos are now Sherwin Williams Biscuit... aka "beige," except the previously polka dot bathroom, which is now simply white. And for the record, I did NOT paint any ceilings beige.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Helping to rename BP

Holly and I have decided that BP needs to find a new meaning for its acronym (it used to be "British Petroleum, but they seem to have dropped that) that reflects the depth of the tragedy that is this oil leak in the gulf. We are currently taking submissions... all angry and snarky suggestions will be given full consideration. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Completely new acronyms also welcome.

Friday, May 7, 2010


A tiny taste of John Boutte singing Hallelujah. When he sang this at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival last Friday it brought me to tears.

(this recording is not from jazz fest, and does not even begin to do it justice, but it still brings goosebumps to my arms)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May Day!

It was a muggy, windy and overcast day, but we managed to joyfully welcome May, anyhow. I've been quite busy and stressed out, so didn't quite do ALL the things I had planned for our festivities, but I did enough! The party lasted over 2 hours, which included dinner.

I made the floral wreaths for the girls out of dollar store leis... bought a pack of 3 for a dollar and then trimmed them to fit their heads. The extra flowers were then glued to their homemade May Baskets!

I pilfered bells from the Christmas jingle bells I use with my preschool students to tie around our ankles for the Morris Dancing. This was one of the favorite activites... the girls created their own pattern (tap sticks, shake the bells three times, skip three times, repeat)
and giggled, giggled, giggled.

We all twirled around the Maypole, which eventually turned into the girls RUNNING around the Maypole.

Then I held the Maypole and they twirled around ME, wrapping me up in the ribbons. They all got a big kick out of that.

Trying to get the "May Hoop" to go straight was a challenge. There were a lot of tongues sticking out in concentration, and again, a lot of giggling.

Giggling. This to me is the sound of success.

Happy May Day!