This graphic was in a Signing Savvy newsletter I received recently and the quote resonated with my writer self. I love that written words can ring out loud and free when verbal words are unheard by deaf.
About Robert Panara
I first heard Robert Panara’s name in my sign language classes. He was a pioneer in deaf education who developed new ways to teach those who are deaf. Interesting fact, his wife Shirley was the first deaf librarian at the Library of Congress. Read his full biography here
My Christmas tree is out – out of the closet. Perhaps after my last Christmas performance on December 21st I can get it out of the box. Such is the life of a music teacher. I had forgotten how busy and stressful the Christmas Season could be. After 10 years at my previous school I was running on autopilot. I knew the kids. I knew the program and what was expected.
Not so true this year.
Having 6 times the number of students sounded great and presented endless possibilities. I may have been a little over ambitious given the fact that their knowledge and skill base was different than I had anticipated.
There was a complete set of marching drums in my new office and I decided a drum line would be fun. (I completely ignored the fact that I have never played drums much less directed a drum line.) That all sounded wonderful in August before I had met any of the students. They were not all excited about the plans I had made. Many moments of frustration and “what was I thinking” have gone by.
But the day before the Christmas parade there were 6 students on drums marching around the parking lot keeping a remarkably steady beat and not tripping over each other. Even our son Matt, the percussionist, was impressed with them.
Next week I will be fine-tuning the bells and voices for our rendition of “Carol of the Bells.” I’m not sure getting twenty-seven 5th and 6th graders to participate cheerfully was ever a realistic goal. But again, there are enough that want to play and sing so we’re giving it our all.
The 3rd and 4th grade recorder players have been a pleasant respite. I’ve taught recorder forever and these kids were excited to learn.
The final performance on Dec 21st is at the preschool which is much less pressure. The younger students are cute and their parents love them regardless of how they sound.
Then, on December 22nd, I can put up our tree. In some cultures the tree traditionally goes up on Christmas Eve. Perhaps music teachers should be part of that culture.
The snow and cold in Colorado we enjoyed so much during Christmas will be missing this year. We’re back in Texas for our most favorite holiday.
Our oldest granddaughter, Catherine, is ecstatic that we’ve returned home to our roots. Her fondest memories are Christmas Eve at Nana and Pepa’s house. And, at her special request, we’ll restart the family traditions this year.
You’d recognize the familiar “Night Before Christmas” poem with a definite Texas spin. Santa’s all decked out in Levis, a ten-gallon Stetson, a cowboy vest, and a bandana around his neck. His faithful “hosses” pull his buckboard “sleigh” piled high with gifts and boot stocking stuffers.
As a child I spent hours listening to Gene Autry read the poem. That original 78 record is floating around in storage some place. We’ll have this YouTube version playing as we decorate.
Come Christmas Eve, we’ll munch on baked ham sandwiches on pumpernickel rye bread, homemade mustard potato salad, and cutout Christmas cookies. I’ll be the only one eating fruitcake, which is so sad but no one else in the family likes it.
There might be a plate of tamales too. It wouldn’t be Christmas without tamales, a true Texas tradition. Read all about it here.
In true homage to our German roots, some lucky child might find a pickle ornament hidden on the Christmas tree and gain good luck for the New Year. Learn about the Weihnachtsgurke legend here.
And before our holiday time together ends, you’re sure to hear.
Yes, Catherine, we are as excited as you are that we’re back home with all the wonderful, unique Christmas traditions of the Lone Star State.
Reading Ludwig Wittgenstein’s quote, I was reminded of a school friend of mine named Phyllis. In junior high, I’d sometimes spend the night at Phyllis’ house. Every morning at breakfast, her father would share a word for the day. He always gave us the correct spelling, pronunciation, and definition then made us use the word in a sentence.
Every morning at breakfast, her father would share a word for the day. He always gave us the correct spelling, pronunciation, and definition then made us use the word in a sentence.
Once he thought we’d master the new word, he’d say, “And now you’ve had a worthwhile day. You’ve learned something new.”
I guess you could say Phyllis’ dad nurtured my love of words. I still remember the very first word he tossed into our conversation.
It’s an uncommon word, but I’ve managed to use it in a few discussions over the years. Sometimes it falls on doubting ears and, I’m sure, the hearer went home and checked a dictionary to see if it is a real word. Whatever the reaction, interjecting that new word grows a discussion just as the Austrian philosopher says.
With every new flock of chickens comes a certain amount of training. A friend of mine gave me a chicken training book one Christmas.
While the book is highly entertaining, this is not the kind of training the birds need. Our birds must learn to go into their coop at night. This seems simple enough. After all it is much safer in the coop. However they still resist. At first they hide under the coop. Enter the “multi-purpose net.” We scoop them up and put them where they belong.
Once they get big enough to join the big girls in the big coop, they tend to find places to roost outside the coop. The beehives provide perfect roosting places and we simply pluck them off and put them in the coop.
One of them likes to roost in the tree.
While this is a natural thing for wild chickens, ours are not meant to be wild. Rachel clipped its wings which helped somewhat. It still likes to get as high as possible on the beehives.
Every night I take the chickens from the hives and put them in the coop. I keep hoping they will get the message but they are pretty stubborn. I have raised three teenagers – so am I.