Friday, April 29, 2005

A Permanent Revolution
Because real educational reform doesn't just happen at weekly School Board meetings. We need a continual dialogue to effect dramatic change.

One of the BEST education blogs I've seen.
This blogger is the president of the Board of Education in Buffalo, New York.
Wow...If Cleveland could only clone her.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Art and MEMS--an interesting collaboration

Over the past couple of months I have been working with Bob Schmidt, Fred Lisy, and Colin Drummond, from the Ohio MEMS Association on an interesting project that combines art with math, science, engineering, and workforce development.
In a letter, sent several months ago, Bob expressed the projects' goals.

As you know, Colin Drummond, Fred Lisy, and I have been working to develop a new MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) industry in Cleveland. [MEMS are miniature, usually silicon-based sensors and actuators. "If microprocessors are the 'brains,' MEMS are the eyes, ears, arms and legs of systems." MEMS based accelerometers are the sensors that actuate airbags in automobiles upon a crash.] This new MEMS industry will help promote 21st century, high technology, jobs in Cleveland. However, creating a new industry requires a significant change in culture; away from the iron and steel, hierarchal mentality to the silicon-based, networked society.

As Joseph Campbell told us, the artists are the keepers of the culture. So, to change the culture, we need artists to lead the way in changing Cleveland's culture. I am asking the Cleveland Public Schools to join us in our quest to help improve the city and its economy, to help us grow wealth in our community, and to better educate our citizens.

To increase community awareness of MEMS technology, and perhaps inspire young people to pursue careers in the industry, the Cleveland Municipal School District and the Ohio MEMS Association are sponsering an art contest/exhibition.

The Art of Small Contest and Exhibition
Sponsored by:
Ohio MEMS Association and Americas'Arts and Sciences Foundation
Exhibition, Tues., June 7th, 2005

PURPOSE: To stimulate and demonstrate the process and end result of'seeing' in a different or unusual way the things that makes up our world.
To develop and exercise the habits and patterns of mind that lead to
innovation, invention, resourcefulness and ingenuity.

Subject: Things that are small and/or ordinary, seen in a
different or unusual way. There is not a requirement for a literal
reproduction or imagery of MEMS, but there must be some connection to
the domain of those things micro or nano, small in some way. Devices,
fabrication techniques, facilities, uses of devices, or any combination
thereof, or any other MEMS related activity is encouraged. The final
submission is up to the artist, but remember, the best artwork changes
the viewer's perspective and may change the culture of the audience.

This past Monday, 25 Cleveland high school art students from across the district, were invited to the Cleveland Innovation Center to learn about MEMS, and talk about the exhibit's theme: The Art of Small.

A few days ago I posted some of my thoughts concerning local corporations involvement with the public schools.
Here is one example of an industry that understands the importance of developing these relationships.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Now What?

The headlines today read 'A Day In Cleveland's Schools'.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer sent 30 reporters, unannounced, into the high schools to get a first hand look at what was really going on. The reporters didn't discover anything that surprised the students, or the staff, who work at the schools . The high schools that have a reputation for working well had strong leadership, and well-behaved students. The schools that are reputed to have problems, had problems. They also had administrators who were not welcoming to the reporters, naturally not wanting any dirty laundry aired in public.

My question is...Now what?

What will the public do with the information gathered by the reporters?
What will district administrators do with it?
Journalists made people aware of what the city schools are like on a typical day, without the dog and pony shows that usually accompany a reporter's visit. They identified some things that were good, and some things that were troubling. Will anyone take this information and look at it with the intention of using it to solve the problems brought to the attention of the public? Or will this article simply serve as fodder for the whiners and complainers?

I've heard from numerous people who say the problems in the Cleveland schools are so immense, so overwhelming, no one can possibly solve them. Rather than throw up our hands in despair because we don't have enough money to solve all the problems, let's start by identifying the things we CAN do that will have a big impact on the learning environment.
I say the problems aren't so big if you tackle them one at a time.
Why don't we start with one common issue the reporters identified today? Kids roaming the halls. Figure out what is needed to keep all the kids in the classrooms in every school, implement a solution, then move on to the next problem.

Isn't this just common sense?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A Cleveland Student Writes:

Wow, I looked at the newspaper today, and saw all kinds of articles about area schools. Lay-offs in Cleveland and Beachwood, school closings in Akron, violence in Lorain schools. Add these to the spate of other news stories this month about school vandalism, fights, and shootings and it makes you wonder. Who in the world would want to go into education these days?

Luckily, the headlines haven't scared off all the potential recruits.
I'd like to share with you an e-mail I received the other day.


I just wanted to send an email complimenting you on your blog. Being a student here myself (I'm a junior at John Marshall), it's nice to see feedback from teachers that are not condemning every aspect of Cleveland's public school system. Too many of us are being conformed to the idea all students are like those at South High or Glenville, but they forget the thousands more who can get to class in 4 minutes, sit down, and actually be productive. It is also great to get a teacher's point of view...I'd like to start a degree in Secondary Education next fall in '06, and even though I am a part of the system as a student for now, the future tells different.

I'm also glad you happen to be an art teacher, mostly because if you were a math one I probably wouldn't have said anything to you (lol). My parents are both professional artists, and I became one just last fall. Who ever said art wasn't something good to get into should've bet on it. Anyway, you've inspired me to have a topic for my own blog. Just being a kid going through high school, soon to college. Cleveland is only as interesting as people like you make it....thanks for making this interesting again.

This is why I write...This is why I (we) teach...This is why we don't give up.

I will be looking forward to the new blog. A Cleveland student's perspective will certainly cast one more new light on the city schools.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essense of inhumanity.

George Bernard Shaw,

More Bad News

"That district is so bad, the whole thing needs to be scrapped! Destroy it and start over."

Looks like it's happening.

A couple of weeks ago the headlines announced fourteen more school closings. This weekend, the Plain Dealer reported 500 more teacher layoffs.
This follows the 1,400 teachers cut last year.

Whenever we think things can't get any worse for these kids, WHAM!! We take another hit.
I am afraid to imagine where all this is going.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

School/Corporate Partnerships

Rarely do I sit down and watch television. Rather, I like to use it as background noise while I do my mom-thing around the house.
The other evening, I heard something that made me walk over to the TV set and pay attention. Cleveland city councilman Mike Polensek was ranting. He was quite upset about the problems in the city schools, especially the reports of violence which have been making the news lately. One thing he said struck me, and I continued to think about it several days later.

"Where are the corporations?" he asked.

He wanted to know why the business leaders -- who've had their hands out, receiving tax abatements, as well as every other perk imaginable from the city of Cleveland, as incentive to keep their companies here -- draw back when it comes to helping out the city's children.

Like I said, it got me thinking...
Perhaps the city should re-address the Corporate Partners program, begun a number of years ago, which set up each Cleveland school with a Cleveland business. In a few schools the partnerships were successful. In most however, they were ineffective. This is the conventional wisdom gleaned from teachers I've talked with in schools around the district.

As far as I know, the success of the partnerships has never been evaluated by those who are in a real position to asses them. As a teacher in the Cleveland Schools for the past 17 years, I have never once been asked how any corporate partnership has impacted my teaching. Nor have I ever been asked what I might like the corporate partner to do to help make the school more effective. No business representative has come into my classroom, the teachers lounge, or even sent me a questionnaire asking what I might need that they could provide.

I've said this before, and I will say it again. Top-down management-driven attempts at problem solving will not fix the school district. In order to identify the needs of students and teachers, ASK THEM!
Administrators know what will make their jobs easier, but can only guess what the teachers and students need. New curtains for the stage might make the auditorium look very nice, but how will they help kids learn geometry when the students have no textbooks?

What if the mayor and the school district sent teachers an on-line survey. (Parents and students could be surveyed via regular mail) It would ask teachers to list what they needed to improve teaching and learning in their schools and classrooms. A wish-list of resources could be compiled for each school and posted on a web site. It would detail items ranging from books and supplies, to equipment, to personnel, field trips, tutors, ..anything. Businesses, or even individuals, could then go online, find a school they would like to support, and identify a specific need they could fulfill. All donations would, of course, be tax deductible.

I've talked to both residents and business owners, who say they would love to help the schools, but they don't know how, or who to contact. The voicemail system used by the district is very frustrating to people who would like to get involved, but are not sure who to talk to. This web site would allow smaller local companies to become partners with the schools as well as the large corporations that are already working with the district. It wouldn't cost much to administrate, since donors could contact schools directly via email. It would also be a great move politically.

Oh well, it's just a thought...
If anybody who is reading this likes the idea, and is in a position to implement it, please go ahead and use it.

If you could give me a little credit, that would be nice too.

Friday, April 22, 2005

"The teacher's to be clearheaded in separating out a student's poor performance or detachment and defensiveness from intellectual possibility.And when the conditions are right - the right teacher or approach or moment in a young person's life - when this clicks, wary students can be engaged, caught-up, sometimes to thier suprise. "Man, that's crazy!"

Mike Rose
From The Mind at Work 2004 Viking Press

Thursday, April 21, 2005


There seems to be a rumor floating around out there that I am in trouble.

The rumor has it that the CMSD administration has docked my pay, reprimanded, and censored me for my weblog, since the story written by Chris Seper came out in the Plain Dealer.

Well folks, I'm still here.
In fact,the exact opposite is true.

Last week, I recieved a very supportive letter from Barbara Byrd-Bennett,the Cleveland Municipal School District's CEO, encouraging me to "keep on blogging!".
Friday, after my radio interview on WMJI, John Eby, the director of Fine Arts in the district laughingly told me, "you will get fired if you ever STOP blogging."
Yesterday, the district administration gave Brian McIntyre permission to come to the school and film a segment about me and my weblog for the Ohio News Network on cable channel 70.

So now you know....but now I'm curious. Where DID that rumor come from?

What Makes a Good Teacher?

This morning's e-mail brought this message. I thought I would share my response with you all, since quite a few readers are education majors.

Dear Ms. Mathews;
One of the reasons for this message is the above subject.[What is a good art teacher?] I am a student in the Art Ed program at Kent and for an Intro into Ed course, I am to interview five people and pose the above question. Since reading the article in the PD I continue to enjoy reading your blogs and I wonder if you may find time to answer the subject question. If not, please let me know.
Thank you for your site

What is a good teacher?

I think I know what a good teacher is, but just to be sure, I asked my Art 1 class that question. This particular group of students range from 14 year old 9th graders to 20 year old seniors.

These were their answers:

"A teacher who makes us laugh"
"Good teachers take the time to explain things when you don't understand."
"They can "break it down"...make it simple."
"You know they will be there for you if you need help. Like, if you lost your bus ticket and don't have a way to get home they will get you another one."
"Good teachers make you work hard...they prepare you for real life."
"They make you want to do your best."
"They don't put you down and try to make you feel stupid."
"They make you feel like you are important....they take the time to listen."
"They don't make assumptions about who you are by what you wear."
"They take the time to get to know you."
You see, I like to check with the consumer to make sure I'm on the right track with my own observations.

First and foremost, I feel a good teacher must genuinely LIKE kids.

I have known too many teachers who do nothing but complain about kids and seem to enjoy being mean to them. I have known teachers who brag about how many kids fail their classes. Teachers who entered the field of education for all the worst reasons:
They had power issues. They wanted to be the one in boss others around. They may have had some unresolved problems dating back to their own student days.These teachers are the worst. They don't like to be challenged. They discipline by intimidation.

Next, good teachers model the behaviors they expect from their students.

Timeliness: If you expect your students to be on time for class, be on time to work.
Cooperation: Work together with the other people on your team. Involve community members in projects.
Creativity: Try new things! Experiment. Learn from your mistakes. Don't be afraid.
Reading: Talk about the books you are reading. Discuss what you read in the paper. Let them see how reading can open up their world.
Writing: Share your writing with them. Write them notes, letters, memos. Show them that writing skills are used in everyday life.
These last two things also help your students get to know you. They want to know you a little more personally. When you establish a relationship with them, they pay attention. They work harder for you.

Good teachers "know their stuff" ...and if they don't quite know it well enough...bring in someone who does. Tap your networks for volunteers, guest speakers, field trips. This way you learn along with your students....(this goes back to modeling).

Good teachers know how to keep their "cool". They don't overreact, or take things things too personally. They don't scream or "lose it" on students. They treat their students with respect. I've seen too many cases where a class will walk all over a teacher because they can. They know what buttons to push to upset the teacher. For a lot of kids, that's just fun.

Please notice. I did not include ANYTHING about curriculum mapping, measurable goals and objectives, writing action plans, or any of the other countless topics included in educational coursework for teachers. Those are the things many professors and administrators (who do not spend any substantial amount of time in the classroom)think make a good teacher, yet it all has very little to do with the reality of getting kids to pay attention and learn something.
You can write a phenomenal lesson plan, but have no clue how to connect with kids.The best teachers know you need to first build a relationship with your students...then you can take them anywhere.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Mystery Solved

I could drive from Cleveland to mid-town Manhattan in just seven hours.
However, the tour bus kept to the speed limit, and made a couple of rest stops along Route 80 to accommodate the needs of the 35 students and chaperones, stretching the drive-time to over nine hours.

Twice during my tenure as an art teacher at Trinity High School in the 1980's, I organized New York City bus tours for my students. This was the second.
The guide from the school tours company greeted us at the Ramada Inn, and took over the task of group check-in and room assignments. My roommate for the trip was my dear friend Vicque, who taught Senior English. We both gasped with delight upon opening the door to our assigned accommodations.

"It's a suite! Oh look!"

Sitting on the table was a beautiful basket. Cheese, crackers, fruit and a bottle of wine, all tied up with a lovely bow. A thank-you card from the tour company was tucked inside.
Soon the heads of our students were popping through the door.

"Wow. You guys are lucky!"

Vicque and I invited them in for a look around. Before we knew it all twenty-five teenagers were admiring our rooms.

"Okay, now everybody out! We have an appointment with the Rockettes."

After a show, dinner, and a trip to the top of the Empire State Building, we returned to the hotel.
After an hour in the pool, the kids were all in their assigned rooms. Everyone was accounted for.
It had been a very long day, and a nice glass of wine would be just the thing to top it off.

"Where's the wine? Did you put it in the refridgerator?"

"No, I haven't touched anything in that basket."

"Niether did I. Where the hell is the bottle of wine?"

"Those damn kids! Someone stole our bottle of wine!"

"They are NOT going to get away with this. Get the mothers. We are having a room search."

While the mother/chaperones stood guard in the hallway, Vicque and I began our investigation, room by room. We checked under mattresses, drawers, windowsills, luggage, every conceivable hiding place. Nothing, nothing, nothing...six rooms...nothing.
The last room was occupied by four senior boys.
Vicque and I knocked on the door.

"Sit down guys. Somebody stole a bottle of wine from our room. We are doing a room search."

The words were hardly out of my mouth, when a big grin appeared on Jerry's face. He was a tall kid with a head of dark curly hair, and an off-beat sense of humor.

"Did you say 'STRIP SEARCH'?"

Ty, (a Billy Idol look-alike) jumped up.


Suddenly clothes were flying through the air, and four boys were leaping around the room, jumping on the beds, in nothing but underpants.


Vicque and I were frozen for a moment like the oft referenced 'Deer in the Headlights'.
Wide eyed, mouths gaping.
I spoke first.

"How much do you think that bottle of wine cost, Vicque? About seven bucks?"

"It's not worth it. Let's get out of here."

We had no proof, but circumstance pointed to our nearly-naked seniors. We decided our best strategy would be to wait it out. Eventually somebody would talk. This was too good of a prank to not claim bragging rights.

We were right. Eventually the thief did come forward to confess...twenty years later.


A little over two weeks ago I appeared in the Metro section of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a story about my weblog. I received all kinds of phone calls and e-mails from distant friends, past co-workers, old boyfriends, and former students.

One such e-mail came from Kelly, an art student from my earliest teaching days at Trinity High School. She had been a quiet, serious student, mature beyond her years, and a talented artist. Now she created web pages for a design company in Beechwood. We made plans to get together for dinner after work and catch up on the past twenty years. That evening's discussion naturally started with reminiscing about old classmates.

"Have you ever heard from Ty or Jerry?"

"No. I wish I had. Those guy's were nuts."

"Hey, do you remember that trip to New York and the stolen bottle of wine?"

"Of course. I was always mad that we never were able to find that bottle. The boys created too much of a scene. There was no way we could have finished checking that room. They were ready to get naked."

"They didn't have it."

"What? But we searched every place else."

"Elaine and I stole it. We hid it in a toilet-tank on the third floor. We got it later."

"Wow. We never suspected. You were such good girls."

Kelly just smiled.


I will have to call my dear friend Vicque, now teaching English in a high school near Washington DC. I'm sure she will be just as surprised as I was.
The mystery is finally solved.

You have to watch out for those quiet ones.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Often the difference beween a successful person and a failure is not that one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage one has to act on one's ideas, to take a calculated risk - and to act.

What is opportunity, and when does it knock?
It never knocks. You can wait a whole lifetime, listening and hoping, and you will hear no knocking. None at all.
You are opportunity, and you must knock on the door leading to your destiny. You prepare yourself to recognize opportunity as you develop the strength of your personality, and build a self-image with which you are able to live.

Maxwell Maltz

Friday, April 15, 2005

On The Air

Yeah...That was me on the radio this morning.
If you were tuned to WMJI, Lannigan and Malone's morning drive-time show at 7:40 AM, and heard the woman talking about teaching in Cleveland, it was yours truly.

The producer contacted me a couple of weeks ago after the Plain Dealer story about my weblog came out, and asked if I would do a 10 minute phone interview. My initial reaction was "No way!"...I hate to be in videos, photographs, or listen to my own disembodied voice. But my friends encouraged me to do it, (I am assuming, for the sheer entertainment of listening to me stumble through questions) and so I agreed.

I hope you all were listening.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The roots of innovation lie in taking seriously and developing something which nobody else has paid attention to, and which the rest of the universe might be inclined to ignor.

Howard Gardner

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Out of Control

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett asked the question today, "Are our schools out of control?". She relates her conversations with Cleveland teachers since writing a column a few weeks ago about vandalism at Glenville High School.
Her column told the stories of students assaulting teachers in the schools.
Assault is criminal behavior. The fact it happens so often in our schools that each teacher is given a "What-to-do-in-the-event-of-an-assault" card to keep in our wallets at the beginning of the school year, is quite telling. Every day we deal with kids who have many emotional and behavioral issues.
Behavior management is a part of our job.
Situations can become volatile. Assaults happen.

What should disturb us most is not that some teachers get hurt, rather, that the students who commit these assaults remain in the building, often unpunished.
The type of consequence for inappropriate behavior is the biggest factor in determining the atmosphere of a building. When there are no consequences, or if they are inconsistent, the students will run the building.
And in many schools they do.

That this is happening in so many of our schools in Cleveland, should be an eye-opener to the administrators and politicians who sincerely want to see the schools change for the better.
Here are the questions they need to be asking:

What prevents teachers or building administrators from punishing students who behave inappropriately?
This is a question that must be asked of teachers and administrators anonymously, otherwise the answers will be:
"We always give appropriate attention to discipline problems."
Many teachers already told Regina Brett the real answer to that question.
High suspension and expulsion numbers look bad to the folks downtown.
This begs another question; Why?

A report detailing the numbers of students suspended tells the administration at the downtown office nothing about the atmosphere of a particular building.
Low numbers do not mean there are no behavior problems, they simply mean the problems are not being reported or addressed. On the other hand, a building with high numbers of students being suspended would not necessarily mean the building has too many behavior problems. Rather, it says that the principals are busy working to set a no-nonsense tone in that school.
If a person will spend a day in a school, and see students roaming the halls and classrooms out of control, they will know that the school has discipline problems. That is just common sense.
If we are ever to going to fix the schools we have to start dealing with the problems from a common sense point of view. We have to deal with reality.

Top-down problem solving never solves the problem.
The top usually doesn't even know where the real problems lie.
Ask the students what works to control their behavior.
Ask the teachers what support we need.
Each one of us can list the things that will make us more effective. We know what works, but rarely are we asked. When we are asked, our answers are given a cursory nod and filed away. Then outside "experts" are brought in and paid a lot of money to tell us what they think we should do.

This problem is not unique to the Cleveland schools.
The corporate world is just as guilty. How many CEO's will hire a consultant group for millions of dollars to fix a problem?
What the good consultants will do first is go directly to the shop floor, and ask the workers what is needed to do the job more efficiently. They know they can't get the answers from the corporate offices, since what those folks have are reports, doctored up to look good by middle-management. The 'bean-counters' can juggle information to tell any tale they want. The real story is always found on the factory floor, behind the register, or in front of the class full of kids.

The Cleveland schools need new answers to our old problems.
If we want different answers, we have got to start asking different questions..And we have to start asking the right people.
We need to ask the people on the front lines; the students and teachers. They know what the problems are. They know what they need to succeed

The answers are right in the classroom, in front of our faces...Listen.

I Did Say "No" to the Packing Noodles

"Can you use this? I was going to throw it out, but I thought maybe someone would want it."

"Hmmm... almost trash. Naturally, you thought of me?"

"Well, you're creative. Can't your students make something out of this?"

"Ahhh..ummm...well...uhhh...Thank you very much."

Mother taught us to be gracious, so I found storage for what ever bit of rescued refuse was handed to me. I have a very large supply room, and a huge classroom, 40' x 80'.
An amazing collection began to accumulate of margarine tubs, spools, half-rolls of wrapping paper, yarn, leftover fabric, house paint, leftover craft supplies, stryrofoam, chop sticks, shoelaces, cardboard name it. The list goes on and on.

Ironically, I don't do crafty projects.

My good manners are now coming back to bite me.

The Boss just informed me I have to pack up everything in the art room and move it to the east end of the building. Max Hayes High School is slated for renovation, with construction beginning this summer. All of the teachers on the second and third floors of our building will be displaced for a year. Some will move to trailers in the parking lot. I will be teaching in a much smaller room in the second floor annex.

I suggested we order extra dumpsters.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


"The man who promised to keep me safe was the one who tried to kill me."

The young latina woman stood next to me, her arms wrapped around the little boy riding on her hip.

"He had me convinced at first, that it was me...that I was too friendly with his friends. He would swear at me, call me whore. Then apologize. I would forgive him...he didn't know what he was doing...he was drinking. Then the pushing began,, the slapping, the punching. The accusations of cheating, and lying were devastating, but I always forgave him ... We are taught to forgive. Yes?"

I nodded

"I was beginning to believe jealousy was a part of love. The pain was just part of a passionate relationship. I was so stupid..."

"No, not stupid...naive." I smiled remembering myself at her age. "We want to beleive the best in people, especially those we love. We want to beleive it so much we blind ourselves to reality."

"Reality.." She shook her her head of dark curls. "Reality attacked me while I lay in bed with my son. He had been out, I had been home. He came in accusing me, again, of cheating on him. He pushed the baby off the bed, and grabbed my hair. He tried to choke me. I fought back. He had a knife. I hit him hard, where it hurts, picked up the baby and ran to my friends house and called the police."

"How was the baby?"

"My son was fine. His father was convicted of attempted murder. He is in prison now. He got 5 years. I'm afraid he may get an early release, so I am moving away. I wanted to say goodbye before I left."

"Where are you going?"

"Puerto Rico. I have family there. I have already applied to the university in San Juan. I want to get my degree. I would like to stay in touch with you."

"Please!" I quickly wrote down my phone number and e-mail adress on a slip of paper. "I think about you so often. I always wonder how you are doing."

"I promise to write, and I will visit again when I come back"

Why do so many of us endure things that are destructive, in the name of love? We hope and pray for change, expecting it to come from the other person, when the change really needs to come from within ourselves.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Get Back in the Box

There ain't no rules around here! We're trying to accomplish something.

Thomas Edison

Why is it we Clevanders impose limits on our potential by our own insistance upon regulation. We look for permission before we attempt anything new. We search to see if anyone else has tried it first...only then is it okay for us to consider.

We parrot the corporate cliche "Think outside the box", yet when somebody attemps to climb out of that "box", there are more than a few members of this community shoving them back in. Those people with new ideas are very disturbing to the status quo. They introduce the unfamiliar, the unusual, the uncomfortable.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The thing has already taken form in my mind before I start it. The first attempts are absolutely unbearable.
I say this because I want you to know that if you see something worthwhile in what I am doing, it is not by accident but because of real direction and purpose.

Vincent van Gogh


Yesterday I worked in my yard, digging and raking, discovering tender new shoots of perennials under the muddy brown oak leaves. Spring was finally making an appearance in my spirit as well as my garden.
Waking during the night I could hear the wind blowing a heavy rain hard against the window pane. Good, I thought, the grass seed I threw over the bare spots in the lawn could use the extra watering.
I walked over to the window at dawn and gasped.
Overnight the heavy rain became wet, heavy, snow that had been falling since the earliest hours of the morning. Once again it was winter in Cleveland.
The snow is still coming down this afternoon, about four inches on the old stump next to the garage.

In January I would have thought it beautiful.
In April, it is merely redundant.

Friday, April 01, 2005

In the News

The Plain Dealer is thrown into my flower bed at 5:05 each morning. This enables me to retrieve it in my pajamas or bathrobe without too much self-consiousness, since I am usually awake before dawn. Today I sprinted out barefoot, and picked the newspaper out of the crocus patch. I slipped the roll out of it's plastic bag, and flipped to the metro section.
There I was. Damn! I should have brushed my hair before the photographer showed up that day.
Although I am never bashful writing or speaking about the things I do, I am painfully so when I read what others write about me. I was almost afraid to read the was so long.

Thank you Chris, you did a nice job.

Here are the links.

True Tales from Inside a Cleveland School

From the online journal