1. Starting in February I’m taking a class in which I will learn to make jewelry using dichroic glass. I’ve been making beads with polymer clay, which has been great fun, but I think I’m ready to move on.
2. Polymer clay is a gateway drug. I am ready to move on and learn new skills, but I’m not going to stop using it. Right now I’m making mosaic tiles for flowerpots. Pretty much everyone I’m related to has a house full of plants. (We have a yucca plant in our kitchen. I thought it would never survive the Western Massachusetts winter, but we’ve had it for almost two years now.)
3. What I really want to do is blow glass. Make lighting fixtures and jewelry and vases and wine glasses.
4. Today is a snow day. We found this out when a neighbor walking her dog saw Bean waiting for the bus and told us school is cancelled.
5. My therapist doesn’t work on days school is closed, so she cancelled our appointment this morning. This isn’t a problem, exactly, but she’s been giving me art therapy assignments and I really wanted to show her the beads I made that look like cookies covered in blue and white fondant.
6. One of my uncles still uses the Christmas tree ornaments my brother and I made for him 30 years ago. (They are angel-shaped pillows that my mom made and we decorated with paint pens.) So last night Bean and I made a little star-shaped birdhouse and then painted it in green and red and gold. He did most of it but I cleaned up the edges and filled in the missed corners. So it was a joint project but Bean was totally art director.
7. Bean outgrew his snow boots and so my mom took him out - IN THE STORM - to get him the appropriate footwear for playing the in snow. They have been gone for more than two hours and I am starting to get annoyed. She probably just didn’t see my call or text. It’s somehow beyond her to remember that I need to know what they’re doing, especially in weather like this.
8. My father asked me what to get for Bean for Christmas. I said a real camera. He asked what kind. I sent him a link. So Bean is going to have a camera that’s way nicer than mine, and this is exactly as it should be.
9. I did almost all of my Christmas shopping on Etsy, buying handmade and vintage items from PEOPLE I KNOW. I feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy about this. (It offsets my feelings about shopping at Target. I wouldn’t have, but LEGOS.)
10. I’ve volunteered to bring an art project to my cousin’s house on Christmas. I will wrangle the children using only finger puppet kits.
11. That’s what I’m doing today. Making finger puppet kits for ten children.
12. I’ve also got to convince Bean that we really do not need to shovel the backyard.
Bean update: His teacher emailed to say that 1) she is on board with letting the homework slide and 2) today in school he asked the guidance counselor to make him a behavior chart. We also agreed to have a meeting in January and include him so he can have input on whatever we plan. I’m pleased.
The principal of Bean’s elementary school was a classmate of Bill Cosby’s. They have, apparently, kept in touch, because on the first day of school last year, Bill Cosby was there and shook the hand of all the new students. This included Bean.
I never would have known if my brother hadn’t overheard a woman in his aerobics class talking about it.
Naturally I had to investigate. “Your uncle said you met Billy Cosby.”
Me: “The man who shook your hand on the first day of school.”
Him: “Oh yeah!”
Me: “Oh yeah? Did you talk to him?”
Me: “BE-EAN. What did you say to him? What did he say to you? You shook his hand? Was he wearing a sweater?”
Him: “He said that it’s not his fault if I’m late to school.”
I can only assume this is the punchline to the funniest joke I will never hear. The conversation continued with my asking a few more questions. Bean finally noticed I was KIND OF EXCITED and said,
"Oh, you know him too?" So I told him about the Cosby Show, and also the dentist routine from that HBO (?) special.
It wasn’t until the end of the year, when the yearbooks came home, that I saw a photo of the two of them together. There are many other kids in the photo, but my Bean is front and center, less than three feet away from Bill Cosby. His little hummingbird face and body are completely at rest, entranced; listening.
Education has changed a lot. Also, I didn’t grow up in a university community. This town is teeming with professors and graduate students and undergraduates too, though it’s really the professors who are parents, I think, who have shaped the school system here. Bean is in second grade and I am a little traumatized by his homework. Or, more precisely, *he* is traumatized and I am traumatized by his trauma. Homework. He’s seven. I was at a “good” private school at his age and I do not remember having homework at all. There was probably some but he’s got more than an hour’s worth, every weeknight. And because he resists it can easily take two hours. Half of it is he’s supposed to read aloud.
This is hard core. Apparently there was a study that said that a kid’s lifelong scholastic aptitude will more or less be set by the time s/he is in third grade. It’s a valid point but definitely not true for everyone. It’s an average; it’s never going to be true for half of people.
Thing is? He’s doing it. He’s reading out loud right now. He’s reading The Dark is Rising, which I didn’t read until fifth grade, and I always loved books. He has started to write stories and one of these days I’ll scan and post some. Because he illustrates them too. This kid, right?