After an afternoon of biking…
A new bike, sized right, a quiet cul-de-sac, and an experienced friend who’s a wheel-radius ahead in cycling development make for an afternoon of colossal advances in biking. The radius ahead, however, was often a radius to the right, to the left, a radius behind.
Much to the Girl’s consternation. Five year olds together, best friends, are often like an old married couple: constantly arguing, but inseparable.
After a day spent indoors, we were all in need of some motion outside. A damp, gray sky and cold air conspired to keep us inside — we all are fighting illness in one stage or another — but the promise of a warming walk won out.
We headed downtown, to Falls Park, with its cantilevered bridge and short, riverside paths. It had been months — probably over a year — since we’d been to that particular park, and it seemed there was a new attraction there: an entire fleet of bench swings.
And the Girl made a valiant effort to swing on every single one.
The swings certainly weren’t the only attraction. There was a fascinating tangle of roots,
several dozen rocks begging to be tossed into the swift current,
and an alligator that sneaked up on Mama and almost gobbled her up for a late afternoon snack.
Eventually, everyone needs a late afternoon snack, though.
We all go into the classics of literature with certain preconceptions and assumptions. We grow up hearing about Romeo and Juliet, and knowing that it is considered a classic love story, we expect to find a valiant and noble Romeo. What we find, as the play develops, is a character that is entirely more human than we expected. In fact, early impressions of the young man sour quickly.
These are some of the impressions from my eighth graders after a two-day look at 2.2, the famous balcony scene.
- I think Romeo is a little obsessive. Like when he was in love with Rosaline, he fell deeply in love, but he quickly moved on to Juliet. He didn’t even know who she was and he was already making out with her! I think nowadays he would be considered a player.
- He’s a major creeper and totally a player. I would never date him.
- I think Romeo has good logistics but when it comes to love, he’s a bit tipsy! He is a star-crossed stalker.
- I can’t believe he went to her balcony. That is mega-weird.
- Romeo is a psycho-creepy stalker!
- Romeo is very spontaneous. He lacks a lot of common sense that Juliet has.
- Romeo is someone I would trust but would not fully trust.
- I can see why Rosaline left [Romeo].
- Even though he is a creeper, he seems romantic and sweet.
- Boy is he a CREEPER! Come on now! You just met her!
- Romeo is brave yet incredibly stupid.
- I hope as we read on he will get back to the person I thought he might’ve been before, like charming and funny and bold.
- [Romeo] is annoying and very stalkerish, but I don’t see him as mean.
- I wish Romeo was more of a perfect gentleman, funny, daring.
- Romeo is a creepy, weird person. I thought he was cool at first, but not anymore.
- I feel like Romeo is being shallow.
- Romeo is a creep.
- [Juliet] seems like she would make smart decisions like not to smoke or drink.
- I think Juliet would be a cool person (without the old English).
- You’re telling me you wouldn’t risk life and limb for your belovèd? That’s not very gentlemanly. (In response to another student.)
- I probably wouldn’t be friends with Romeo because he confuses me a lot of times.
- [Juliet] has good views on love and is an independent girl. We will soon be BFFs :)
- Romeo is a professional psycho. ‘Nuff said.
- [Juliet is] NOT creepy, like Romeo!
- The crazy part of it is that Juliet ends up killing herself for the psycho! See, she’s the one that needs to be checked into a mental institution for liking him!
- Romeo is a stalking creep. Nope, we wouldn’t be friends. We’d be best friends. We’d go stalking together.
- Romeo goes with his heart and blacks out his mind, which is not good at all!
- Romeo falls in love a lot.
- Romeo would be the kind of person that would be overprotective and call or text you every day, say “I love you” a lot. (Clingy.)
- I’m not being friends with some mushy guy!
- I’d be [Romeo's] friend as long as he stays away from my window!
- I wouldn’t want to listen to [Romeo] sob about love and girls all the time.
- Romeo is a dreamer and a gal-pal and would be annoying.
- Romeo is starting to turn out a little weird.
- I think it’s pretty hardcore that Romeo lives in the present.
- I’d keep a fair distance [from Romeo].
- If Romeo says you can only love one person, then why does he love two?
The Girl has a little marble and maze puzzle (maybe “ball bearing and maze” is a better description) that involves manipulating the plane of the puzzle so that the ball bearing roles through the maze. Nothing new: we all had one growing up. She’s developed an unorthodox method of solving it, though: she simply shakes it until the bearing gradually crawls to the center.
K decided it was time to teach her how to do it properly.
The results were amusing for both.
Afternoon Playing, a set on Flickr.
We set the camera up and let the pictures tell the story.
The Girl and I spend a day out of school together.
It’s a delicate balance, making a test that is both challenging and yet not impossible. On the one hand, a good test measures how much students know. The flip side of that, however, is just as important: a good test also tells how well a teacher taught.
I found today’s exam did neither…
When I was a kid, there was once a toy backhoe that I saw in a department stores — I believe it was Sears back when Sears mattered — that I wanted so badly I could think of nothing else at times. Every single time we were in the store, I had to head over to the toy department and look at it, handle it, play with it as much as was possible in its wrapping.
I can only imagine my torture if someone in my class had said backhoe, brought it to school, and wouldn’t allow me to touch it.
The Girl finds herself in a similar situation. Of course it’s not a backhoe; it’s a Barbie camper. And she did have the awful situation of being able to see but not touch, of being able to watch someone play with it but not join in.
And so she decided there’s only one way to solve the problem, given the fact that the answer to the questino, “Mama, Tata, can you buy me…” was “No.”
Check the piggie bank and see how much she was short.
Poles traditionally don’t put up the Christmas tree until a few days before Christmas, as opposed to Americans, who seem to start getting ready for Christmas before Halloween. This is especially true in shops. On the other hand, Poles tend to leave their trees up until the end of January.
This late set-up, late pack-up habit undoubtedly comes from the Catholicism that permeates Polish society. Christmas day is only the beginning of the Christmas season, and accordingly, having the tree and decoration up during the season and not simply before it.
We work something of a compromise in our home: we decorate a couple of weeks before and keep it a couple of weeks after. Eventually, though, the time comes: we put on some carols for one last time and take down the tree.
The Girl, happy to have her dancing space back, spins in joy.