Take a Sad Song and Make It Better*

It’s been an interesting week. Hot weather, too hot…while most of you are doing Fall weather. Local news turned national…not pretty. I don’t really want to talk about that much…it’s hard to say what should have happened, but probably someone shouldn’t have died. And all that has affected school. I’ll let all the post-shooting drama play out in the press, but I would like to say that I’m continually dismayed by the inability of many people to empathize with others. I think that might be our core human problem at the moment. I really do feel helpless in the aftermath of all the anger I see out there, the shootings, the deaths, the reactions I see. It would be easy to blame it on the presidential election, but it’s been around longer than that. I hear so many of my own friends and acquaintances who want all this crazy to stop, but it seems just saying that does not make it so. Of course. Why would it? I can go on and on here and either you’ll just ignore me because you don’t agree, or you’ll nod your head because you do. No change. What would it take for change to happen? No racism. No sexism. No hating others just because they have some difference? Because they came from somewhere else? Because they worship differently? By the way, if your worship also proposes hate of another group for their worship, then it is another hate group in my mind.

So all that has been in my head. Plus I have an image growing from the Brock Turner thing…yeah, I know it’s late, but my brain often mulls stuff over and over, and in the end, it won’t be about him…it’ll be about having a college-aged daughter out there in the world, about having been a college-aged woman traveling around, about the fear every woman carries in the back of her head when it’s dark and she’s walking alone down the street to her car. I wanted to draw last night, but the dog barking at night is getting to me. Coyotes. He’s gonna kill them all. But not let me sleep.

So I didn’t quilt. I don’t have the right color of thread. I’ll go get some today, if I can do it and avoid a protest. Serious thought there. I don’t want to be at the protest. I’ve never…ok, not never…but it’s been a long time since I thought gathering in a huge group to yell about things was my thing. I still think it should happen, because I need people to see it happening, but I don’t handle crowds well. I guess my path is through my art…although again, what to say? How to portray what’s in my head? I don’t quite know.

I did some stuff yesterday though. I helped my students finish their anti-bullying door. I had been gone for two days and was reading through what the kids had thought about how to decorate the door (we do this every year…and it’s one of the things I hate dealing with…). And Trump’s name kept popping up. Huh. Well. OK. So I asked them about it and they burst into animated speech about how what he says is bullying, statements about women and immigrants and Mexicans and Muslims and blacks…and I’m looking at a classroom full of girls and immigrants and Mexicans and Muslims (I do have black students…just not in my homeroom). So I let them do it. They had to find quotes that qualify as bullying, so we talked about what that means…and then they wrote it out and crossed it off in red. We didn’t want people to think those things were OK. So then I have to admit, I hadn’t read the instructions (it was a bad week), and it was something to do with random acts of kindness. OK. We can do this. Every kid got a post-it note and wrote INSTEAD at the top, and then they had to research random acts of kindness and write one down. So we taped those to the door to counteract the negativity.


They came up with the catch phrase. And the thing is, they’re so proud of it. They keep showing it to other people. Lots of kids are talking about it and standing around outside my door and reading it aloud to each other. I want to tell them that we won’t win the doughnut party because it’s political, but they’re so sure they’ll win. So I’ll probably go buy them doughnuts. Because really? They did all the critical thinking and were really amazing during the process and they deserve some major kudos for that. Yeah. I drew Trump for them. But that’s all. There wasn’t a single kid who wasn’t involved in this door.

I had a teacher say I should have done Clinton as well as a counterpoint. But honestly, I would have had a hard time finding a bunch of bullying statements that she had said. I guess my own politics are showing there. But whatever. I’ll stand up for my kids’ process and product.

So what else did I do last night? I did indoor skydiving for the first time. It was a teacher freebie (can’t afford that shit!). And it was awesome. They did the event to try to get us to sign up for field trips, but there’s no way our kids could afford them, even at half price. That said, Wow. Just wow. I really loved my 60 seconds. I smiled, a big goofy grin, all the way home. Even with the drool all over my face.


I was the second teacher out there. No fear. And those boys in the front watching me, I was totally yelling at them. Yeah!!!

Then I came home and spent an hour on the phone with the girlchild, helping her with an essay. I don’t write them for her. I just tell her what’s missing. She knows something is missing…that’s why she calls. The boychild used to send me sentences that were 50 words long and ask me if they made sense. He doesn’t do that any more, so that’s probably a good thing…gotten past needing mom to read your stuff.

I graded. I cooked dinner. I mulled over the political crap in my head. I worried. I petted a bitey puppy.


It’s all I could have handled honestly. Oh yeah, and this quilt sold.


I have an Etsy shop for some of my smaller quilts. I closed it down for a while and then opened it back up. This is from the Journal Quilt Project that Karey Bresenhan spearheaded back in 2005. I’m pretty sure this one is in the book and probably traveled to IQF. A million years ago. Anyway, it has a new home, once I put a label on it and pack it up. So there’s that. Etsy shop is in the sidebar.

OK. Off to school. Hopefully no major issues. They’re kicking us out early due to protest action that’s planned for the afternoon. I guess I’ll be grading all afternoon. Maybe I’ll be able to draw too.

*The Beatles, Hey Jude

2 thoughts on “Take a Sad Song and Make It Better*

  1. Thank you for this post and for allowing your students to express themselves. It sounds like we are on the same page about many things. Congratulations on selling one of your small art quilts and on skydiving… I thought that was a Computer generated photo when I first looked at it – so cool!


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