Archive for the ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ Category

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The Thirteenth Constellation

July 3, 2007

night sky

 As you might guess from the header and title of my blog, the night sky has always held a strange fascination for me.  Perhaps this is because they are so orderly.  No wonder man has seen pictures in the sky almost since the advent of written language.  Oh, and incidentally the person who comments and correctly identifies the constellation in the image above gets treated by me to the Starbucks poison of thier choice, minus the astronomy lecture  :).  I’ll give you five seconds (Jeopardy theme plays ominously in the background).  Finished?  Okay then…is that your final answer?

Billions of points of light, rearranging themselves, fluctuating in intensity.  Some are intimidated by the sheer vastness of the universe; I am calmed.  My belated study of astronomy began when Mircat visited this past weekend.  Charles, Miriam and I drove to nearby Shultz pass and spent a good hour gazing up at the sky, contemplating the meaning of life (Miriam and I are agreed about the supremacy of chocolate, while Charles argues for tacos).  The next night, we made the trek to Lowell Observatory.  The last time I visited Lowell, I was a gawky eighth grader in town for a band competition  (yes, I do play flute and yes, there was an incident one summer at band camp 😀 ).  Impressively, we were able to see the rings of Saturn.  Chilled from our nighttime endeavors, the three of us proceeded to Outback where we warmed ourselves with good food and good conversations. 

 Phillipians 2:14-15 is a reminder to:

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

I am grateful that, like the stars which often are born in interconnected pairs, I am privileged to walk side by side with friends who sharpen me and challenge me to shine more brightly than I’d sometimes like.  Instead of deifying the stars and planets, as the ancient Greeks did, I notice the fingerprints of the Creator scattered across the heavens.  They still speak, if only we bend our ears to the stillness and our eyes to the points of light that make the darkness bearable. 

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Say It With Petunias: or, Too Early for April Showers

March 2, 2007

Mood:  rosy

Song: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”

*Warning: This Post is Slightly Belated*

white roses by modotti

Since my darling husband and I both worked on Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. “Singles Awareness Day”), we made the prudent decision to celebrate the day beforehand.  I had no idea what he intended, but I was quite content to go along for the ride.  We ended up at the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum for a romantic morning spent tiptoeing through the tulips and rambling among the roses.  I was also treated to a history lesson thanks to a display covering the long-forgotten language of the flowers.

That’s right; even this English major acknowledges that there are ways of speaking without words.  Some sources believe that the practice of assigning meaning to particular flowers originated in Persia and the near east.  Perhaps King Charles of Sweden, who visited Turkey in the 1700’s, brought the tradition back with him; possibly Crusaders carried the secret significance of flowers back with them to the courts of Europe.  

The language of flowers spanned many cultures, each contributing meanings to local blooms; in fact, though modern minds may think it strange, great expense was poured out to obtain just the right flower to signify a desired meaning.  In certain instances the order of flowers was set by a long ribbon so that the message would be read properly and in order.  During Victorian times the Medieval tradition was revived, allowing young lovers to communicate despite strict cultural mores.  While sceptics (both Victorian and contemporary) will scoff at the idea that flowers can bear meanings, be assured that the language is still alive today; what clearer token of romantic love can sweethearts exchange than a deep red rose?

Read the rest of this entry ?

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In Other News…

July 28, 2006

On this day in history…

1868 14th Amendment adopted
1932 Bonus Marchers evicted by U.S. Army

AMER. REVOLUTION
1776 Sargent and Hutchinson arrive at Horn’s Hook, New York

AUTOMOTIVE
1973 Bonnie & Clyde’s Ford V-8 sold at auction

CIVIL WAR
1864 Battle of Ezra Church begins

COLD WAR
1945 U.S. Senate approves United Nations charter

CRIME
1990 A soft drink containing liquid cocaine kills an unsuspecting drinker

DISASTER
1945 Plane crashes into Empire State Building

ENTERTAINMENT
1948 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein opens

LEAD STORY
1976 WORST MODERN EARTHQUAKE:

LITERARY
1814 Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin elope to France

OLD WEST
1923 Indian agent James McLaughlin dies

PRESIDENTIAL
1929 Future first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy is born

VIETNAM WAR
1965 Johnson announces more troops to Vietnam

WALL STREET
1841 Senate passes Fiscal Bank Bill

WORLD WAR I
1914 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia

WORLD WAR II
1943 Hamburg suffers a firestorm

1980:  I was born in Las Vegas, NV

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Does Alex Trebek Make House Calls?

January 24, 2006


Mood: Horrified
Song: “Battle of New Orleans” (50 years early, I know, but my students wouldn’t 😦 *sigh*)

***Also titled: Why We Ought to Be On Our Knees or Composing Songs of Praise in Honor of the [Lindsay] Marshall Plan***

Today’s Assignment:
Write “I am a dedicated professional” 100 times

Poston’s lowest scores on last year’s AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards-read, the ridiculous standardized test that determines our school’s earnings but does nothing to keep students accountable) test were generated in the area of “Historical and Cultural Aspects of Literature.” Not to nitpick, but the total number of questions classified in this area on the AIMS test: 2! However, my entire English department is racing around attempting to insert lessons focused on this miniscule portion of AIMS. I am a team player (plus I genuinely believe that literature wasn’t written in a vacuum, making history essential to the understanding of text) leading to this discussion as I was giving background notes on O. Henry’s “Twenty Years After”:

ME: 1862-1910. Those are the dates of William Sydney Porter’s (O. Henry’s) life. Please write them in your notebooks, since you most likely (ahem…will) be asked to recall them. Now, what important event in American history was going on when O. Henry was born?

STUDENT #1: The Great Depression!

ME (secretly pleased that a student is actually familiar with Black Tuesday): Well, interesting idea, but you’ll have to think earlier. The depression started in 1929.

STUDENT #2: Ummmm…The Revolutionary War?

ME (thinking that at least they’re getting warmer): You’re right about a war, but we’re looking for something later than the late 1700’s.

STUDENT #3: Oh! I know-World War II.

ME (inwardly sighing): Almost, but that happened after the Great Depression.

STUDENT #6 (students 4 and 5 listed Vietnam and WWI, respectively): Is it the Civil War?

ME (thrilled but concerned at the same time): Excellent! The Civil War. Who can tell me the name of the President of the United States during the Civil War?

***Side Note: the quote of the day, written on the board, happened to be by Abraham Lincoln***

SHOW OF HANDS-I RANDOMLY CALL ON A STUDENT IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM

STUDENT #7: Franklin Roosevelt, right?

ME (counting down the minutes until I can sprint to the school nurse for aspirin): *sigh* Close.

The worst part? I watched Ken Burns’s ENTIRE Civil War documentary in my 5th grade class and have been a diligent student with the War Between the States ever since. I am proud to say that I resisted the temptation to list all the major battles of 1862, including the generals. Fredericksburg, anyone?

My students constantly amaze me by what they know and are able to recall (I don’t even remember what I wore last week), but there are days when I just have to recall the quote, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Go home tonight and call your history teacher to say thanks.

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And Then Alexander Graham Bell Text Messaged His Assistant…

September 13, 2005

Mood: Bemused
Song: "Don't Know Much About History"

My students are an endless source of enlightenment and amusement-

Our daily language activity for today involved a question on the Industrial Revolution.

The answers were quite amusing, since many actually thought that Bill Gates was a major figure in said significant historical period :).

Sigh…back to History 101.

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Happy Birthday To…

July 28, 2005

Mood: Positively Ancient
Song: "Happy Birthday"

Jacopo Sannozaro (1456)

Maximillian of Burgundy (1514)

Thomas Heyward (1746)

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844)

Beatrix Potter (1866)

Rudy Vallee (1901)

Kenneth Fearing (1902)

Selwyn Lloyd (1904)

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929)

Jim Davis (1945)

Sally Struthers (1948)

Terry Fox (1958)

Lori Laughlin (1965)

Elizabeth Berkeley (1972)

Me (1980)

JRW

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Dearest Friend

November 17, 2004

Beloved Charles:"Dearest Friend"

That's what John Adams and his wife Abigail called each other, and I am blessed to share that bond with you.

Since we met:
11 months, appx. 330 days, 7920 hours, 475,200 minutes (give or take a few ;)-remember, I'm an English major, not a math major).

In almost exactly 6 months, I will be your wife.

It was in darkness that you left me, love,
With a kiss I can still feel in my toes,

Warming me even now.Your words, taped on my mirror,
were sweeter still.
You are home,
your presence lingers here.
My thoughts fly apart,
To that day
Two will be one.

You think you are weak…

yet you have the strength to live virtuously in a world full of evil and shame.

You think you are unattractive…

yet your soul shines brighter than any star I've seen, calling me from a distance.

You think you are unlearned…

yet you read me perfectly when I don't know myself.

You think you don't have the proper words to speak…

yet you are listening with your heart, cuttingthrough my endless supply of words.

You think you are impatient…

yet injustice must be swiftly ended.

I love you, more than I ever thought possible, and in you I understand that "to love another person IS to see the face of God".

When you ask me how I can love you, I tell you that it is because Love Himself has loved me and then given you to me, and you are infinitely valuable

On this night, as I think of you, the words of an old, familiar song come to mind.
I share it with you now:

Geoff Moore and the Distance
If You Could See

All of my life, I have dreamed
That somehow love would find me
Now I can't believe you're standing here
If beauty is all in the eye
Of the beholder
Then I wish you could see
The love for you that lives in me

(Chorus)
And you would know you have my heart
If you could see,
What I see:
That a treasure's what you are

If you could see
What I see
Created to be
The only one for me.
If you could see,
What I see

I know there are days when you feel
So much less than ideal
Wondering what I see in you.
It's all of the light and the grace;
Your belief in me drives me to say
That I promise you
A faithful love, forever true

(Chorus)

If you could see,
Then you'd understand
Why I fall down to my knees
And I pray my love
Will be worthy of
The one who gave his life
So our love could be.
If you could see what I see (x2)
You're created to be
The perfect one for me

If you could see
What I see.

If beauty is all in the eye
Of the beholder, then I
Am beholding…
True beauty.