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things that make me happy
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1. Lying on the couch while Rose plays the cello.

Our beloved health and fitness teacher gave the kids their April homework. At least once a day, they must do something their parents ask of them on the first ask. Rose is looking for opportunities to do what I say, and practicing her instruments is high on the list. Yesterday, it was the piano. Today it is the cello. Could Mr. Milsap just move in with us? As you may know, I am not a fan of squawking, screeching instruments, but Rose is slowly moving away from screeching and into those low deep notes we love the cello for.

2. Snuggling on the couch with David and having him wrap my arms around him.

This occurred five minutes after I told David five times his t.v. time was over and then turned off the t.v. before he was able to jump the bridge. (It's a wii thing.) He was not pleased with me. As part of his recovery, he doesn't seem able to eat much. No food=no ability to cope with adversity. Given the screaming that had just happened, it was nice be forgiven so quickly.

3. Practicing our dance routine in the kitchen.

John and I are gearing up for a new performance at Folklife. We'll be taking a two hour dance class every Saturday and performing over Memorial Day week-end. The first class was last week. We didn't have babysitting, so the kids came and watched for the first hour, and then I missed the second hour to take them home for lunch. John was getting me up to speed. Plus, there had been so many women in the class that I had volunteered to lead, so I had to reorient myself. I got the boogie forwards and the suzie q's, but I'm having trouble with lindy circles.

4. Listening to A Wrinkle in Time with David.

This is one of my all time favorite books. It's too sophisticated for David, but he listened in when I read it to Rose a few months ago, and if you just make Star Wars allegories--the darkness emanating from It is like the dark side--he gets enough to enjoy it. They were on their way to Central Central Intelligence while I did the dishes, and I am terrified.

5. Rose writes essays in her head.

Rose's class is preparing for the next round of standardized tests. (Pause for retching sounds.) The fourth graders have to write a narrative and an essay, so their teacher taught them how to write an essay using the hand as a model--the thumb is the attention grabber and the thesis, each finger is a sub-point developed with examples and details, etc. Rose completely understood, retained, and recreated this structure. She wrote a practice essay in her head as she was going to bed one night and related it to me on the way to school. Then she wrote it up for her teacher who was in awe. I am in awe simply because I have known so many students who struggled to learn this structure as college students. I even mentioned transitions to her and she understood. Next we are going to bring in counter-arguments and rebuttals.

6. Mathew Zapruder agrees with me about clarity in poetry.

I am in the middle of writing a book review. The book is literary analysis, a field I kind of left twenty years ago, analyzing W.S. Merwin, a poet I had heard of but did not know deeply. It has not been easy going, but much to my pleasure, I persevered and am getting a lot out of the experience--not money or fame--but perhaps more thoughts about poetry, like this one:

"Clarity in poetry is for me a kind of generosity, a willingness to be together with the reader in the same place of uncertainly and striving for understanding. To give the impression that something important is happening, but that the mere reader cannot have access to it without some kind of special esoteric knowledge, strikes me a deeply ungenerous, even cruel." Zapruder

I knew you shouldn't keep secrets in poems, and I knew it made me angry when beginning poets did it, but now I know why.


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