butterfly in the sky

Today Reading Rainbow made its final broadcast. This fact has made me a bit wistful . . . and a bit riled.

What's next, Sesame Street?

Some research-based policy decisions in the Department of Education concluded that TV isn't an effective tool in teaching children how to read.

Really? Are you shocked?

But Reading Rainbow never focused on phonics and phonemes; its focus was more affective - encouraging kids to read because reading is fun and makes life limitless. The kids who know this already are the kids whose parents are likely to donate to PBS, and its a truth that may now be kept a secret from kids whose parents use the television as a babysitter - because they sure won't be able to watch Reading Rainbow.

". . . but you don't have to take my word for it."

Anyway, on a more personal note, my favorite episode of RR is called "How much is a million?" The featured book taught ways to conceptualize huge numbers. LeVar and his friends visit a crayon factory and show the process by which crayons are made - I wanted one of every single color of those millions of crayons so I could draw billions of pictures. Do you remember a fave episode?


false start

Last night I drove home from school with the window down . . . the whole hour of my commute. The feel of the cool evening air and the tricolor sunset just made me feel good. It made me feel like I was in college again . . . . because I am. I live for this time of year; I love the end of summer and the beginning of school. Something about living by the agrarian calendar just feels right to me.

Last fall semester I found myself a bit disappointed in my Master's program, underwhelmed by the expectations of my professors, and unimpressed by some of my classmates. At the time, I just expected more. I wanted to be intellectually intimidated -- as a form of motivation to be and do my best, and I just didn't feel it. I have looked forward to grad school for a long time; perhaps in my anticipation I let my expectations get a bit too lofty.

This semester, I thought I knew what to expect. I was so ready to get back to school that I purchased my books two months ago and started reading a bit. As I arrived at school on Monday, there were more people than I have ever seen on campus. There was a barbecue on the quad. The marching band was practicing. Cheerleaders were tumbling. But, as I approached my destination I could see on the door of the poly sci building a bright orange paper that read, "Classes begin on August 25th". Awesome. Two hours and two-hours' worth of gas wasted.

Yesterday, the day classes actually did start, I got my first dose of Public Policy Analysis, and it made me want to take back every bad thing I have said about ISU (except about its customer service; it's still terrible). The students I sat by had great ideas and varied perspectives. There are more women in the progam this year and more international students (which is to say, there are more than zero). There were thirty people in my class, none of them afraid to talk . . . and what they said was interesting and applicable. The textbooks and reading selections are interesting and full of theory. Needless to say, this will be a vastly different experience than the last. I may just have drive home with the window down every night this semester.


kudos to clark

Clark was recently recognized at his company for his mad skillz. By editing video for it's upcoming convention, Clark saved the company "tens of thousands of dollars" as announced at a pre-convention meeting. He got a Home Depot gift card out of the deal - 25 whole dollars - a sweet kickback from those tens of thousands in savings (?!).

At least he didn't have to attend convention this year. in Florida. in August. without me. We can console ourselves by thinking of Clark's awesomeness . . . and by building a fence, deck screws compliments of Home Depot.


bread fail and other adventures

I have a small obsession with food. I love to talk and read about it, grow it, bake it, cook it, eat it, and feed it to others. Though cooking has come pretty naturally, I am relatively new to baking. In fact, Clark is the baker in this family because I just can't resist experimenting - an endeavor that, when baking, usually ends in disaster. This is the latest:

(The red fan at the top is blowing away the putrid smoke
pouring from the bread machine.)

We didn't have any milk, so I thought, "Why not try almond milk? Who cares if it's chocolate?" Then we didn't have any eggs, and I was already in it too deep by then. I tried an egg replacement technique (corn starch + water) but got the ratios wrong - - obviously. Also, I used honey instead of brown sugar. Maybe three substitutions was two too many.

The bread machine is usually pretty safe for me. Anyway. It's not all failure. I made some amazing pita bread for falafel on my first try. Also, Mom G has taught us how to make artisan bread and it works out well most of the time . . . unless you try to substitute whole wheat - then it burns on the outside before it finishes cooking on the inside and the loaf ends up weighing about ten pounds.

(Yeah, I take pictures of my food. So?)

This post inspired by Cake Wrecks, which I found on Sara's blog, and Craft Fail. Check them out.