Tuesday, November 13, 2012

37 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald sank

Was thinking about this ship over weekend and thought  about Gordon Lightfoot's ballad. Decided to look it up and was surprised that it was the 37th anniversary (November 10, 1975) of its sinking in a winter storm.  The Great Lakes can be so unpredictable.  Growing up on Ontario I know how fierce  the lake can be. I was stunned watching this film clip  accompanied by Lightfoot's ballad (see below).  The list of the dead made me thoughtful too.  The range of ages 60-20.  Their portraits at the end of the film. 

I had a teacher/mentor who spent some  younger years as a merchant marine.  He used to talk about how the ship and water taught him a great deal about himself.  I'm sure he joined  the merchant marines with the intention of "seeing the world."     Back in the day, this was the slogan for the Navy too.

I began thinking about the Fitzgerald when I was watching the rescue of most of the members of the tall ship Bounty which was caught in the swirl of  Superstorm Sandy.  That was a remarkable effort.  How far our technology has come.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

First Blooms of the Season

First Blooms of the Season. Photo by K.Iuppa

My sister and I have a bloomin' competition every year.

We phone each other and
rattle off the number of blossoms.
Dang! She has me beat this year.

Isn't this gorgeous? 

I transplanted a lot of my
cactus plants this summer.
Some are very old (over
30 years and were given to me by my mom).
I actually have plants that are over 50 years old, which were originally my mom's.  Not bad.

 I haven't posted in a while.  It's always startling to see the number of days between blog entries.

O, where have I been?
Well I have been grading a lot of papers. Last week I read 45 quilt essays of 9-10 double sided pages, so that's really 18-20 pages.
My head is swollen with the voices of my students.  It really is amazing to hold all of this in my head-- all those words.  So many of the passages were remarkable.  Moments of my hand over my heart, which is a
honest gesture.  My audible Ohhh over the pages-- startled by the shift in the narrative.  My students know how to create tension.  Some of these narratives have solid pathos. So much to admire in these quilt essays.

My sleep to wake ratio is really altered now.  The fall back in time has given me an extra hour to grade.
I've been burning the candle at four ends in order to keep up.  I've been getting up at 2:30 a.m. to work until
10 p.m. at  night.  The quilt essays took me 20 hours to read and grade.  Stacked up, the pages equaled 3 full length novels.  It was such a weight loss handing all of the papers back. It made me giddy. So last week was significant.  We're rounding the corner to the semester's homestretch.

Last week  at St. John Fisher College, Anne Panning read from her new novel Butter. We had a good size audience for her reading.  My students just fell in love with her. She looked terrific with her yellow feather boa and yellow stockings and little black dress.  Her reading consisted of an essay on how Butter came to be, a factoid "Butter" essay, and excerpt from Butter and a home movie of her grandfather Griep working at the creamery.  We even had the tech stuff working without a lot of fuss, which was fortunate.  Nothing worse than waiting for the show to start!

 My Encounters class went to the RPO concert on November 8th.  Jeff Tyzik's premier of his new work commemorating the Memorial Art Gallery's centennial. The concert also included music selections by Copland and Bernstein. Jeff Tyzik, conductor; Kenneth Grant, clarinet.  It was an amazing evening--
such a thrill being in an audience, hearing new compositions for the first time. We were part of that history, and this wasn't lost on my students.  They understood the significance of the evening.  Equally, earlier in the semester, they had spent an evening at the Memorial Art Gallery.  So they recognized the paintings/sculptures
Tyzik selected as the inspiration for his new work.

It's hard to believe that students are registering for the Spring semester now.  In a week, we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving. Then two more weeks  left of this semester.  Oh it's moving quickly.  Was spontaneously humming Christmas tunes while doing chores over weekend.  We've had a couple days of really warm weather. I watched  several sluggish bees searching for a final swig at the hummingbird feeder outside my kitchen window and thought that it was the last hurrah.

I'm looking forward to this upcoming weekend.  Will be spending some time with my oldest, dearest friends.We're going to have our Thanksgiving Take 1 party. Can't wait.  I'm making the pies.

Hope all of you are well and finding a bit of time for yourself and others!  After all, what else is there?