Tuesday, March 31, 2009

skabby poets

So, just one more little post, and then I'm out of here. It's so much nicer playing around with writing for a little bit after school rather than burying myself under piles of papers needing to be graded.

Andrew thinks he's pretty clever, and he is. I love his silly pictures. Of late, he's morphed into a rhyming machine. He sent Nat and me the following poem March 10:

I heard that God gave one sisters,
instead of big blisters,
so that one could grow strong,
knowing you're always wrong.

I know that God gave me sisters,
instead of fat misters,
so I could have angels around,
when I go into the ground.

I received this poem and couldn't believe that he'd written it. I actually googled it to see if he'd snagged it from somewhere. I told him later what I'd done, and he couldn't believe me. I think it added just a few pounds to his big head that I actually entered it into a search engine. Then just yesterday, he sent this one:

My sisters, from a father so frugal,
Get great deals on odds and ends,
knowing the market and its bends

They know how to use google,
just to check my poem's merits,
and to find a great sale on carrots.

I have no clue what carrots he's talking about, but it still made my day happy. I hit "reply all" and sent back the following.

My sibs,
The coolest in the crib,
From the days we sported bibs,
To the day I broke my rib,
Have always been good at ad lib.

I fear I'm not quite their match.
I can cook cookies in batches.
Heck, I can even play catch.
But my tongue is in latches
And in all sorts of rough patches

When put on the spot to rhyme.
Oh blime


And thus ends my story of Skabby poets (at least for today).

cruelest month

I read the following paragraph today and fell in love with it (it can't break my heart, so I think I'm pretty safe). It may be found on page 43 of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I thought it very timely too since tomorrow begins April for us. Enjoy:

"April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot wrote, by which I think he meant (among other things) that springtime makes people crazy. We expect too much, the world burgeons with promises it can't keep, all passion is really a setup, and we're doomed to get our hearts broken yet again. I agree, and would further add: Who cares? Every spring I go there anyway, around the bend, unconditionally. I'm a soul on ice flung out on a rock in the sun, where the needles that pierced me begin to melt all as one."

Hopefully I'm not doomed for life, eh?

By the way, I'm only 50 pages into the book, but I think I'd already recommend it. Read it.


days till i get to kiss these cheeks!

Friday, March 27, 2009

five cent magazines

are just one of the reasons i love the library. i picked up seven new (to me) national geographics yesterday for five cents each. i will read them and then cut them up to make new envelopes and perhaps wallets. i love the vivid photographs. i love stripping them from the magazine and turning them into something different--into something i can give to someone.

i also love the library because i can check out books (yes, thank you, captain obvious, but it's true).

for book group this month we're reading some rumi, seamus heaney, and federico garcia lorca. i wasn't able to find any rumi, but discovered a whole slew of heaney. i read his first collection death of a naturalist last night. i also checked out the following by him: electric light, seeing things, selected poems, and the spirit level. two more books stack the pile to a nice, uneven seven: selected verse by lorca and lamentations of the father by ian frazier.

i don't know why i stick my nose into so many books at once. i'm still not finished with dreams from my father. i'm also now thumbing through the omnivore's dilemma, fast food nation, and animal, vegetable, and miracle for some readings to include in our junior english inquiry unit. i've been sucked in by all of them. kingsolver (animal, veg, miracle) is an incredible writer and makes me want to read the bean trees and the poisonwood bible again.

anyway, i'm blathering. it's friday. i'm out of here (school). we'll see if i can push myself to do 4,000 yards in the pool. i've been letting my leg heal up from my nasty powderpuff football injury, so i slacked off both wednesday and thursday. sometimes it feels nice to be lazy. and sometimes it doesn't feel nice. i'm just hoping i can make my goal next week of riding in twice; hopefully it'll warm up so i can get my baby-pants self on my bike.

happy weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

uncle walt

In answer to Ashmae's question, "I sound my barbaric YAWP from the rooftops of the world" is famous to me because it comes from one of my favorite parts of "Dead Poets Society." Robin Williams, playing Mr. Keating, an English professor, scrawls this phrase on the chalkboard while pronouncing it. He follows up with a lovely attributive tag: "W.W. Uncle Walt again." So it's a slightly-off version of a line from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself." Line 1330 (in the very last section, 52): "I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world."

I've not read "Song of Myself" in its entirety, but I'm prone to think it wouldn't be too bad of an endeavor. Here are the first few lines:

"I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass."

Makes me think of what Wendell Berry said about loafing--that it leads to conversation.

Happy, snowy Thursday!

I'll have to write more later about my powderpuff football adventures of Tuesday. I've been buried beneath end-of-term grading (completely my own fault) and I'm now beginning to resurface. Breathe.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I sound my barbaric
from the rooftops of the world!

(Or at least that's what I wish I was doing right now.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

well, not yet

searching for a picture to add as the banner, but not liking anything i already have. guess it's time to play with my camera. here are some oldies, though, to enjoy perhaps. i'm also just getting excited for our europe trip, and looking at these from my trip (almost two years ago!) with papi really continues the excited mood for me.

santander, spain

outside accra, ghana

istighofen, switzerland

huzzah for saturdays. i was able to sleep in till a delicious seven this morning. ah.

and you should see our driveway. it is beautifully covered with drawings, languages, stories, and tales. yay for sidewalk-chalk parties. warm cement makes me happy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

so what you wish for won't come true. you aren't surprised love, are you?

nothing like guster to get you started in the morning and then some ben folds singing and piano-playing tiny dancer. sigh.

reached my goal for this week (biked in twice). feels so nice. only eight more weeks to go. i'm not really counting the last week of school because i'll only be here one day. holy moly, only eight weeks of school left? madness.

Happy First Day of Spring! isn't that splendid?

well, back to the grading i'm struggling to finish. today's the last day of the term, and grades are due wednesday. i've a lot of work to do.

before i go. here's a poem and my hope that it'll be me one day gazing across the breakfast table at another like so (and knowing it's much more than meat and bone; it's possible to love and be loved forever, for longer than our earthly sojourns):

Love Poem With Toast

by Miller Williams

Some of what we do, we do
to make things happen,
the alarm to wake us up, the coffee to perc,
the car to start.

The rest of what we do, we do
trying to keep something from doing something,
the skin from aging, the hoe from rusting,
the truth from getting out.

With yes and no like the poles of a battery
powering our passage through the days,
we move, as we call it, forward,
wanting to be wanted,
wanting not to lose the rain forest,
wanting the water to boil,
wanting not to have cancer,
wanting to be home by dark,
wanting not to run out of gas,

as each of us wants the other
watching at the end,
as both want not to leave the other alone,
as wanting to love beyond this meat and bone,
we gaze across breakfast and pretend.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ramen delight

Because I'm struggling to grade Gatsby papers. Because I'm not quite ready to shut these eyes. Because I'm in the mood to write. Because I dreamed in Russian the other night and woke up missing Simferopol so badly that I almost came to tears in the shower; I saw myself on certain street corners, at certain cookie stands, near certain flower peddlers. Because I wrote a few posts ago about this very delight and said that, perhaps, I'd elaborate later.

Ramen delight.

Well, that's my English name for this concoction first introduced to me by my last companion, my lovely Olichka. I don't remember what she called it--perhaps, mavina salat? Something like that. So how do you make it? Cook up some ramen. Make sure you break it up into little pieces before so doing. Cook it up like usual and drain all the water when it's done. Whilst doing this, boil some eggs. Let's say we're making this for one hungry Lyn. I'd use one pack of ramen and boil two eggs. This is really so easy and so not healthy. But it tastes just like the mission to me. So that's almost it. Slice up your boiled eggs and add them to your ramen. Add some corn (half a can or more, if desired), some mayo, and as much of the ramen seasoning as you like. And eat.

We would make up quite a big bowl for ourselves, eat it warm, and then have cold salad leftovers for later. I know it sounds like quite the strange dish, and I must admit I was slightly hesitant when first trying it, but I instantly liked it. Tislenko never cooked anything bad, though. Everything she made (and she cooked a lot for me) was so delicious.

Spasibichko sochnaya moya!
(The lovely Olya and I in Odessa.)

oh my my. oh hell yes. honey, put on that party dress.

pardon my french, s'il vous plait, but these were the exact lyrics running through my head near the end of the crazy run i did yesterday with lisa. they were happy lyrics because i couldn't believe i'd actually made it. oh my my...

i go over to lisa's and see that she has a couple water bottles out on the counter. i start thinking, hmmm, where are we running today? we usually don't carry water with us because there's a water fountain to satiate some thirst when we make our way up provo canyon. she tells me that we're running up to rock canyon and then south along the bonneville shoreline trail (pic snagged from this site). i brace myself and start thinking positive "you can do it" thoughts.

there's no no no way i could have pushed through all that by myself; lisa's amazing. we ran all the way to slate canyon from good ole 2950 n. the whole run took about an hour and forty minutes and had to be pushing 11 miles. it was lovely for the most part and sinfully wicked on a couple steep hills. man. it was almost summer sunshine and heat. it was catharsis. it was food for a solid night's sleep.

and now it's thursday. time to get going on grading. some numbers: 17 school days till spring break, 16 days till arlette's due date, less than 2 months till the ogden half marathon, 10 weeks till europe. still finding joy in the journey despite my excitement for these upcoming events.

love, peace, happiness.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the rider

Because I'm in a bike-enamored mood of late (of always, but especially of late because of the warming weather), here's a poem for the day:

The Rider

by Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn't catch up to him,

the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.

What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.

A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.

Leave my heart in the dust. The loneliness of despair. It's true--I think--this victory. It can be won. I've floated free into clouds of non-despair, into patches of sunlight, into freedom from bounds. It doesn't necessarily have to come on a bike. Running, swimming, reading, laughing, walking, hiking, frisbeeing, bouldering, writing, climbing, footballing--I've felt it. And will feel it again; in this I hope.

flickering headlamp

i biked to school today. i know i likely overuse the word lovely, but that's precisely what it was--lovely. it was lovely to be on the road with my thoughts. it was lovely to be up before the sun. it was lovely to feel tears fall and know their falling had nothing to do with the state of my heart but everything to do with the canyon wind. it is lovely knowing i'll bike home in the warm sunshine this afternoon.

it takes me about 35 minutes from my house to my school. that's only 15-18 minutes longer than it takes to drive. it's a nice, fresh wake-up. plus, i don't have to use gas in my car when i bike into school. i did pretty well at the beginning of the school year to bike in every friday. my new goal is to bike in every tuesday and friday (or at least twice a week...weather depending). as long as the weather's nice and i don't have to kill my bike by drenching it in rain, then i think my new goal ought to work.

oh, i love my bike. mine's not as clean and pristine right now as the one below, but don't you just adore the orange and cream? my lovely creamcycle...

i stole this image from here

i can't believe this: only two and a half months of school left!

Monday, March 16, 2009

right now

i am thankful for
  • band of horses
  • my bike
  • wake-up swims
  • sunshine
  • nonsensical language and songs
  • sunday walks
  • walks that turn into trash (collecting) walks
  • the map of the usa at rock canyon elementary
  • sleep
  • new days
  • trips (not the kind when you fall, although they're oftentimes humorous; this morning i'm thankful for trips which take you away from where you are now)
  • frisbee
  • "called to serve"
  • bobi, guya, nantsu, papi, mama
  • lovelies and friendlies
  • bouldering
  • oranges
  • mailwomen (more later?)
  • basking
  • hope
happiest of mondays!

Friday, March 13, 2009

be nice to the sub, children!

(that's me saying, hey, be nice to the sub, guys!)
(that's also me thinking, ah, today's already a good day.)

i'm taking the day off--a "personal day." i've only missed one day of school so far this school year and that was to attend a conference, so i'm feeling no guilt at all. try as i might, sleeping in wasn't really possible. my eyes blinked open at 4:30, and despite my willing them to stay shut for some more slumber, they resisted. i stayed in bed, though, trying to luxuriate until 5:40. i crawled out of bed and went to some yoga with heather and becky. it was my second time ever doing yoga, and i liked today's better than my first time. i'm not completely sold on it yet, but i do enjoy being with my aunties.

just finished off a juicy orange and a big bowl of oatmeal (with raisins, yum). and now i'm ready to play catch up. i didn't get much done last saturday, so my list of things to do is quite long. i am playing a little bit today, though; i'm going to the english reading series at byu (lance larsen is reading), and then later tonight i'm going climbing with angie. ypa! so here's my list...thinking out loud whilst trying to decide what to tackle first: clean room, clean bathroom, fix bike's flat, clean car (inside and out), taxes, scriptures, journal, letters to some missionaries, gre planning/figuring it all out, temple (probably that will be tomorrow morning). that's all i can think of for now. i best get started.

i was going to write more about yesterday--about going to katelyn's funeral--but that might still be something waiting to be written about in the future. i'm not feeling it right now, so like i alluded yesterday, i've been touched. for that i am grateful. it's good to know this hard-hearted lady is still soft enough to be touched.

happy friday!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I went to Katelyn Mikolasy's funeral today. And right now I'm full of much more than words, and so no words seem to be lending themselves to me and my use. For now I'll write this: thank you, Katelyn, for your life and example.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


went to gallery stroll last night with lovelies. saw my beautiful hunt relatives and aj at bowls for humanity and then we did some wandering around to the other little makeshift galleries. the plastic, soulless creations gracing the sidewalks' sides were just a bit creepy, but i wasn't too afrightened since they were all around our school at the beginning of the school year.

we also saw letters from iwo jima. it was a beautiful film and had me in tears throughout. i must admit to closing my eyes through all the fighting/bombing/crazy violence scenes. i cannot stomach or heart it at all. but overall, it was a great film and had me continuing my head-shake of confusion as to why war ever? the piano music in it was pretty grand too. well, happy saturday, time to get some stuff done. peace till later.


well, here follow my notes from the other night. i know the picture is fuzzy and distant, but i was far away and was simply happy enough to be there in his presence. i didn't worry too much about capturing a great image because it was wonderful enough to just soak in his words. he has a great drawl. may i call it a drawl? he just speaks differently than people around here, and i quite like it. my notes might not make the best of sense, but here they are. the q&a is really only a because it was hard to hear the qs. i enjoyed all of it. hope to live up to it.

ken sanders intro:

wb was last among us 20 yrs ago for the wake of edward abbey. now he's here in celebration of the cent. birth of wallace stegner

wb has over 40 books. so what? if you haven't read his novels/essays/poems then it doesn't matter

poet, farmer, essayist, citizen, and true american patriot...wendell berry

wendell berry:

first 7 pgs of a draft of an essay about the economy. following stegner's example in sharing an essay and a piece of short fiction

essay draft:
  • money vs. goods
  • i see my unqualification in looking at/analyzing the economy as a qualification
  • economy is science only in restrospect
  • i'm contributing my pov
  • my pov is from ground level--agrarian
  • put nature first: 1. nature 2. land use 3. manufacturing 4. consumer
  • law of return--what's taken must be given back
  • an authentic economy is renewable
  • essential virtues...honesty, thrift, care, good work, generousity, imagination
  • put nature first, consumption last
  • goods from nature and human work
  • give precedence to needs
  • psalms 24: earth is the Lord's
  • leviticus 25:23 land shall not be sold forever
  • land is sacred
  • land is priceless
  • land ownership. land would be entrusted. use land as its servants and in behalf of the living
  • our economy has become an anti-economy
  • the order is inverted--based on consumption
  • spending is not an economic virtue: spending>products>consumption
  • saving is an economic virtue
  • not wasting is an economic virtue
  • authentic economy asks "what do people need"
  • anti-economy creates needs, confuses real goods with goods that are merely marketable
  • land...everything that has a price will be sold. everything that's sold will be ruined

"burley coulter's fortunate fall" (short fiction):

burley's favorite theological term is maybe

"it was either true, or it wasn't"

  • we may be surprised to find out how much we need each other again
  • leadership from the bottom. recognize need and address it. saw what needed to be done and got it done or started doing it. good leadership is committment to community.
  • through all hard times he's seen, he's noticed farmers have managed to do well bc of 2 things...1. they stay w/in their boundaries and 2. they're frugal
  • loafing leads to conversation: when the young boys were getting tired and going home was when the old men were getting bed-weary and coming out to talk
  • homecoming--college ought to teach this. for too long it's taught upward mobility. homecoming is teaching people in a way which prepares them to come home. we're raising children now who literally don't know who they are; they don't know the local plants, animals, birds, streams, etc.
  • rather than taking orders, we need to answer these questions: what happened here? what should have happened here? what is the nature of this place?

Friday, March 6, 2009

one line from last night

on the state of things now and on who knows what's to come:

"We may be surprised to find out how much we need each other again."

-Wendell Berry

Thursday, March 5, 2009

picture of said lovebug et moi

sigh. i just love her. she's so much bigger now (of course), as this picture was taken in july. can't wait to sit outside in summer sunshine again!

leaving for slc (wendell berry!!!) in an hour with Pa and Heather. i'm planning on taking copious notes. looking forward to being filled with greater understanding and enlightenment.

this week has flown. i can't believe tomorrow's friday. madness.

one of my students told me today that i appeared in her dream last night. she just had to tell me. in her dream i was married to a very good looking specimen of a man. she said we were just having class like usual in her dream when my husband walked in the door. ha! visionary revelation? certainly not happening anytime soon. i love that she we have a chill enough relationship to tell me in front of the whole class. oh, i adore my students. after she shared her bit, i let everyone get a little bit freaked out by telling them that i'd dreamed of students before. they groaned and said, ah, ms. skabelund. why'd you tell us that? i replied, well, it's true. once in a while, you silly students happen to show up in dream.

anyway, i'm blathering. laters. love, peace, and happiness.

p.s. i don't just sit around and talk with my students all class period--just for a few choice minutes, and with some classes, a few more choice minutes than with the others. favoritism? highly likely. i'm human and prone to many weaknesses.


Lovey, Livvy, Livers, Livvigans.

My lovely little neighbor, who turns one at the end of the month, has so many pet names, and for good reason because she loves and gets love in return. She gives the best kisses and loves ever. Why just yesterday, she graced my cheek, chin, and mouth with several open-mouthed kisses. After bestowing all her kisses, she kindly attempted to burrow her head into my shoulder.

She quite possibly made my day yesterday. No, strike that. Not possibly. She certainly did. Things that also made my day, but which didn't make me smile quite so loudly: running 11 with her (Livvy's) mom, making a birthday card for my next-door neighbor teacher, eating ramen delight (more to come on that later, perhaps), and sleeping.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I can't get this line out of my head after discovering Berry's poem again: "I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief." I usually do okay living happily in the moment, but there are times when I do fret. Nature does afford me peace, and for that I'm deeply grateful.

Happy Wednesday! "You know it's gonna be alright." "Revolution" by the Beatles. Missing playlist, but glad there's still pandora. My station is set to Neil Young right now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

wendell berry

One more thing before I finish preparing for today (oh man, so much grading to do!). Wendell Berry will be in the city of Salt Lake this Thursday. I've only read a few of his books and essays, but his stuff is pretty amazing. My dad has read loads of his work and he's impressed enough to revere him as a "prophet." My all-time favorite one-liner from him, I think from Jayber Crow, is, "We are eternal beings living in time."

I'm pasting in one of my favorite poems by him followed by another I just discovered. And then I'll tack on the information about his upcoming visit. I'm excited to hear him read and see him in the flesh!

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be.
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world and am free.

A Warning to my Readers

Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.

The info I snagged from KUER's PSAs:

Wallace Stegner Center Symposium, An Evening with Wendell Berry

The farmer and poet Wendell Berry will make a special appearance at Ken Sanders Rare Books, followed by a reading at the Salt Lake Masonic Temple auditorium, Thursday, March 5th (appearance and book signing at Ken Sanders at 5 p.m. and the reading will be held at 6:30 p.m.) as part of the Wallace Stegner Center's symposium on the life and legacy of Wallace Stegner. Ken Sanders Rare Books: 268 South 200 East, SLC; Salt Lake Masonic Temple: 650 East South Temple, SLC. For more information, visit http://www.law.utah.edu/stegner.

playlist blocked

here at school as of yesterday. makes me sad. i'll have to revert back to pandora. perhaps i ought to get itunes on here. i just have to have my music before and after school and during prep. i'll miss "true affection" by the blow, "i will possess your heart" by deathcab, "amen omen" by ben harper, and countless others. sigh. oh well, pandora will suffice for a while. listening to "fidelity" by good ol' regina right now.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

merci beaucoup

went hiking yesterday. didn't take any pictures. but i felt like posting some old ones today because i'm ever so grateful for the great escape it is to walk and breathe in outside air. happy Sabbath!