Archive for April, 2011

I’m not sure if I have ever actually said this on my blog before, but I believe that education is important.   I don’t necessarily believe that you have to actually go to school to acquire education, but the existence of classrooms and teachers can certainly facilitate the process.

So, that being said, I am in the process of observing just how the whole “emportinse uv eddicashun” idea can be lost in the shuffle of life.

The people who live across the street from us are good neighbors.   The man of the house has been living there over five years — I really forget when he and his sister moved in, but she moved up to Osage Beach after a couple of years to be closer to her job.  He continued on as a bachelor establishment and a couple of years ago he got married to a woman who came equipped with three children:  Older sister, Middle Girl, and Male Heir.

Recently, I was engaged in conversation with my neighbor, and he expressed concern that MG (who is in fifth grade) was in a bad situation in regards to her science project.   Apparently, this assignment was made back in the beginning of February.   The little girl came up with an idea for her “experiment”, but in the ensuing months the materials she needed were not acquired (money and parental interest was lacking) and they went on a long vacation to Illinois to visit family, and. . .   the materials were not acquired some more.  Money is an issue.  Attention is an issue.   The girl being shy and retiring is a Huge Issue.

Daddy works hard but doesn’t earn a Lot of Money (although he has plenty of money for cigarettes and beer) and the wife’s sister, the sister’s husband (boyfriend, partner?) and their two year old daughter are living with them for the nonce since sister apparently has some sort of problem — unnamed but I suspect it has something to do with the INS — and Daddy is now supporting himself and 7 other people.  Another issue is that Mommy speaks English as a Second Language, and not well.  I am fairly certain that her education stopped somewhere short of 9th grade or so, right around the time she started popping out kids.    Daddy works nights and sleeps days.   No One has any imagination about science whatsoever.  Eight people crammed into a two bedroom house (with a dog) does not make for a lot of space and peace for studying or doing science projects either.

The science project is due in two weeks.   For some reason, probably my charitable impulses fueled by admiration for what my mother does, I agreed to help MG with her science project.   I have to admit that my decision was also motivated by Daddy informing me that when he was apprised of the situation (the project not being started), “She got a lickin’.”   Like this was some sort of achievement and his proper contribution:  He had done his part to motivate the student.   Geez Louise.

The first order of business was to figure out something that would be acceptable and possible in the two weeks remaining.  We figured out an observational science project which I have to admit was inspired by the presence of hundreds of cherry tree seedlings sprouting wherever the robins had deposted them last fall.   We are investigating the effect of the growth environment on the healthiness of cherry tree seedlings.   We managed to collect our samples and start to discuss the experimental design.   We needed to get something figured out PDQ because the very next day (yesterday) MG was expected to make a presentation in class regarding her project.   Pretty hard to make a presentation about nothing at all.

Suddenly, it was her bed time, and so we made a date for her to come over after dinner last night to work on the actual measurement and charting process.  So, did she come over after dinner last night?

She did not.   It was Wednesday night, prayer meetin’ night, and Mommy loaded her and her siblings and all the other relations into the van, went down the street to collect the blind woman who needs a ride to church and dragged them all off to church.  I’m fairly certain that prayer will not get a science project done.   Although He is reputed to note the fall of every sparrow, blah blah blah, God does not do homework.  Especially not science homework.

Well, jumpin’ jehosaphat but how in the name of McDonald’s is the child supposed to get anything done if no one gives a rat’s ass whether the project actually gets done, no money is available for supplies, and church trumps everything?  (And people wonder why I am not involved in organized religion)

So I have these effing seedlings sitting on my dining room table awaiting attention, the child is coming here after school today, and we are going to work on the dag-nabbed project.   Come hell or high water, which we seem to have a lot of in Missouri right now — high water that is — we are going to get something accomplished.   And she is going to do it in her own words.

What she really needs to do is learn how to write (her penmanship is right about first grade level) and spell (atrocious is the only word for her skills in this arena) and think (not practiced much given the religious and television orientation of the household).  I can only imagine how excellent her measuring and recording skills will turn out to be.  Her confidence is right about zero too, so I’ll see what we can do to increase that as well.

I have a suspicion that this young lady may turn out to be my unofficial literacy tutoring project, and I now say publicly that I am willing to apply myself to the project for the long term, because that is what it is probably going to take.  I imagine this beautiful little girl sitting toward the back or side of the classroom and hiding behind her cloak of hair and shyness, keeping her head down and avoiding too much attention, and just barely getting by.  The teacher probably thinks of her as “dumb” when what she really is is scared to death.  It is never good to get too much attention in her life, as the attention is usually negative.

{sighs deeply}

We have another project approaching us apace — a 20 year old young lady is going to be moving in with us this weekend and will be staying for an unspecified period of time.   She is also in need of further education, plus she needs a safe space in which to figure out Who She Really Is, which in all probability will include “I am a lesbian” as part of the definition, but who knows?   She has not been living in an environment where that statement is acceptable, and it is pretty hard to figure stuff like that out even when it IS acceptable.  We went out and spent upwards of $200 yesterday to acquire a bed for her to sleep on.  {another deep sigh}

Oh yeah.  The Son is getting married towards the end of May, here in our garden.  {Really huge sigh[of both happiness and trepidation]}

This should all be interesting.

Of course, you all know the old Chinese curse:  “May you live in interesting times.”


I had time to make another art journal page; another riff on “Patterns.”

I find it interesting to note that all my art regarding “patterns” has the patterns falling apart.   You don’t suppose this is a reflection on my life, do you?

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So,  day’s drive southwest of here everything is so dry they have wildfires eating the countryside.  In contrast, the Ozarks have received bunches of rain and we are now experiencing flooding.   It is so wet here that we can’t mow the lawn and the grass is really taking advantage of it.  In some places it is well over the 8″ limit that our fair city believes is the appropriate height for a lawn.

In the past five days, it has rained through four of them.   Total accumulation in those five days was 7.75 inches.   That’s a little over 20 cm for the rest of you.

My weeds are rank.   The asparagus is going nuts.   I walk past the raspberry bed and wonder if raspberries drown. . .

But the sun is out this afternoon.   I can hear the weeds growing.

I’ve been playing in my art journal.

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. . . alliums . . .

Lichen on benchback. . .

Flowers that sit on the shelf in my window. . .

Tulips ariot because it is spring. . .

These are a few of my favorite things.

(with apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein)

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My wonderful niece has taught me how to upload video.  These are lots and lots and lots of bumble bees in the patch of ajuga near the raingarden this afternoon.

(edits from niece – I apologize now for creating a monster)

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For Syncopated Eyeball.   As requested.  (and then some extra)

Last, but not least, I caught this vision of a dragon rising from the bonfire at solstice in 2006.

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