Grace should be my middle name.

Location: United States

Friday, December 30, 2005

Thank you Sirius Radio...

...for letting me start my day by cranking up the Volvo and hearing Mickey by Toni Basil, 1982. Now that's a great way to start the day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

By 4's...

1. Brand Rep for Abercrombie and Fitch (embarassing)
2. Summer camp tennis instructor (fun)
3. Summer camp art teacher (they made me teach ceramics)
4. Case specialist for Florida's Department of Health (boring)

1. Amelie (obviously)
2. Garden State (awesome)
3. Life is Beautiful (tears)
4. The Little Mermaid (classic)

1. West Palm Beach, FL (born)
2. Palm Beach Gardens. FL (lived)
3. Tallahassee, FL (sucks)
4. Stuart, FL (presently loving)

1. What Not to Wear (I miss TLC)
2. Everybody Loves Raymond (can always count on)
3. Dawson's Creek (best home-sick day show)
4. Laguna Beach (for the 11 year old in me)

1. NYC (with fam)
2. San Juan, PR (for Golden Birthday with Al and El)
3. Key West (why does my stomach always end up hurting when I go there?)
4. Omaha, Nebraska (family road trip...1993)


1. Esparzas (best MARGARITAS)
2. Duffy's (good bar food)
3. PF Changs (Al introduced me...ate there today with Beatrix)
4. Carabas (within walking distance from home)

1. Violet Bouregard (you know, the blueberry girl)
2. Pilgrim (was supposed to be a witch...grandma said witches are it was was complicated)
3. Indian (always a Nole)
4. Cowgirl (yee-haw)

1. Alamanda Elementary (good times)
2. St. Clare's (yuck)
3. Rosarian Academy (good times)
4. Palm Beach Gardens HS (2005 class 6A State Football champs)

1. Pizza (a staple)
2. Brownies (mmmmmmmm)
3. Chips and salsa (delicious)
4. Jello (I know...wierd)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ramon and His Missing Stuff

There are a few things that will always get me weepy. That "When Somebody Loved Me" song that Sarah McLaughlin sang for Toy Story 2 is one. The movie Old Yeller another. Some of those kids things just get me somewhere inside. I can't even begin to imagine reading "Where the Red Fern Grows" again or watching "Brian's Song" without just absolutely LOOSING it.

My last week of school, I came close to loosing it too. I guess to me, stuff matter. A lot. And I mean stuff in the most materialist and physical way. Partially, it's probably because I'm an art teacher. Where I try to get kids to MAKE STUFF. Nothing high, lofty. We make stuff. We do not, as a very smart professor used to say, make "Art with a capital A." George Weigel, one of my favorite writers would say it's also because I'm Catholic and for Catholics, physical stuff matters too.

Regardless of why or how, stuff matters to me. And I'm not talking about stuff like BMWs and fendi purses. Not that I'm opposed to that stuff or anything. It's just that sometimes it's the little things.

So last week at school, it was time to take home all the artwork. Since I know what 11 year olds are like, I know that if I just let them take their work home, about 2% would make it home. To avoid that happening, I have them take ALL of it home at the end of the term in a portfolio, along with a letter they write to their parents, telling them about the artwork. Returning the letter to me the next day gets a 100% homework grade, which in reality rarely makes a difference in their grades at all. The point is: your artwork MATTERS and your parents should SEE IT.

Whenever the day comes to take home the artwork, I get a lot of grumbling and complaining about carrying the stuff around with them all day. But they do it. And they bring the letters back. And lots of times, their parents write nice notes on them. All in all, I think it's the highlight of the term. But really, the point is that the parents need to know about their child. And the child should be proud and excited to share part of himself with the parents. The point is also that the artwork is saved, perhaps even precious.

Last week, a student, who I'll call Ramon, did not return his signed letter. Now Ramon is a sweet kid. He's also a pretty great artist. He is, however, not the sharpest tool in the shed. Ramon sometimes makes teachers want to scream, but he's just so nice, that they can't. So it's impressive that Ramon is so great at drawing. He drew these 3 birds, each in analagous colors earlier in the semester that I had considered keeping for a while to hang up at the fair or something, but I decided against it because those birds meant so much to him. He was going to hang them up in his room. I wanted him to be able to take them home for Christmas.

Ramon is also a student, who a few weeks ago was in a conversation with another boy, discussing the age old "Is Santa really real?" question. Ramon was adamant that Santa is indeed REAL. But the other kid was telling him otherwise. Then Ramon innocently asks me: "Ms. Grace, ISN'T Santa Claus REAL!" I guess it was sort of phrased as a question, but moreso it was phrased as, "Ms. Grace, TELL him that Santa IS REAL!" Of course, I said that Santa is real. To which Ramon said, "See! Even Ms. Grace says he's REAL!"

So anyway, this is the sort of kid Ramon is. And Ramon, the terrific artist, with the great bird drawings that took him FOREVER to make, didn't bring back a signed letter, showing that his parents had seen his work. When he told me he lost it, I thought he meant the letter. But no. Ramon had, in fact, lost EVERYTHING. Letter, portfolio, artwork and all. 9 weeks of work. For a kid, who I judged probably didn't get a lot of satisfaction out of the rest of his school work lost EVERYTHING he had made. Gone. Sure I asked some of his other teachers. And the PE department. And the lost and found. But Ramon's work was definitely gone.

This whole scenario made me want to cry the more I thought about it. So we talked. And Ramon's going to get to have more art another term. To a kid like that, stuff matters and I just couldn't ignore it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm Alive, I Promise!

Wow, it's been a disgustingly long time since I blogged. Seriously, this time of the year needs to slow the F down. Seriously. Thankfully, it will. In less than a week when I can clean my room, sleep in, take naps, and read.

Since I last blogged I have:

Met up with Ellie at Union Station, at lunch with her and bar-hopped until it was time for dinner for 4. Tapas and sangria. During the bar-hopping, we drank pomegranate margaritas *brilliant* and made conversation with a very fabulous jewelry designer man, clad in his own line of men's jewelry that you can see at

Sadly, El had a bout later that night with food poisoning and was rendered out-of-commission. I know, sad! And since I have recently fully felt the horror of food poisoning, I felt awful for her. Get well soon, El!

So, I made my way to Annapolis to hear my sister sing, eat gelatti and drink wine. Being there really makes you feel in the Christmas spirit. Really. There's just no way you can't.

I also have been going to Theology of the Body talks with my BF and parents. Interesting - yes. Teaching tennis after school, which is killing me. Christmas shopping online, fun. Getting a flu shot. Seeing my other sister's concert downtown. And probably like a lot more since I can't tell you the last time I really sat down and watched brainless and retarded TV or cleaned my room. Yeah, my room can barely be waded through. It's embarassing. Really.

Ok BEST Christmas present purchases so far: the complete, 5 seasons of the Muppet Show (20 CDS!) for Dad to have fun with during his month+ recovery from knee surgery, and an African-American Santa Claus to put on the Christmas tree for a sister (RUTHIE, DON'T SPOIL MY SURPRISE!)