Back to School Work

I’ve never outgrown the school/summer vacation cycle, and having school-aged kids has reinforced it. With kids underfoot, it’s hard to cram work in around my summertime “activities director” role. September means back to school(work) and schedules get hectic again. So far, October and November have been my busiest months, and I’m hoping that pattern continues this year, especially since summer was a little slow. But I did get a few things out in August and September. Here they are:

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On Scheduling, Article 1 §4.2

On Wednesdays we study the Constitution. I struggled over what to write for today. Last week I studied Article 1 §4.1, dealing with the management of elections. This week should be Article 1 §4.2, but let’s face it. Nobody gives a shit. I don’t. This week the Second Amendment is the only Constitutional topic on anyone’s mind. I spent the whole morning figuring out what I wanted to say, but eventually realized that anything I write on that topic today will be a rant, and when I deal with that topic, I want it to be the best researched, most carefully formulated analysis of my life.

So I’m going to stick to the program after all and write about Article 1 §4.2, knowing that there will be a fresh atrocity to reference when I do get to the Second Amendment. For now, then, fuck your thoughts and prayers, on to the articles. Continue reading

Wet Dog

One summer, I was invited to go camping in the San Juans. My dog was so old that I worried about leaving him at home alone. So I brought him with me. It rained so hard for those two days the waterproofing on my tent gave out. I had to leash the dog to make him leave the tent to pee, and when he came back in, he coated the entire inside of the tent with mud and the scent of wet dog, a scent that also pervaded my car for at least a week afterward. His toe nails punctured my sleeping pad. It was the last time I ever took that dog camping. He died a few months later. I’m so glad I took him with me to the island.

50 Years of Jewels

Milestone birthdays inspire reflection. Especially when the milestone in question is 50 years, and Jewels are being reflected. This year, Jewels, the collection of three gemstone-themed ballets by George Balanchine, turns 50. I’ve been watching Pacific Northwest Ballet for nearly half that time – I fell in love with ballet at PNB’s Nutcracker in 1993. Continue reading

Article 1 §4.1 on Elections and Districts

Democracy is hard, but it helps if you know what you’re doing. I want to be better at democracy so I’m studying the Constitution, and blogging what I learn.

The Constitution contains seven articles. I am reading Article One, which deals with the legislative branch of government and has 10 sections. Section One establishes a bicameral Congress and Section Two deals with the House of Representatives. Section Three deals with the Senate. Last week I read Clause 7, which placed limitations on impeachment. Today I am beginning Section Four. Continue reading

Rain Shadow

My friend has gone camping on Lopez Island every summer for nearly 20 years. She likes Lopez, because in the Pacific Northwest rain is always a possibility, but Lopez is in the rain shadow. In all those years, she never had always had good weather. A few years ago she invited me along.

American Dream Inversion

Nina Yoshida Nelsen and Hae Ji Chang in the world premiere of An American Dream. © Philip Newton c/o Seattle Opera

Seattle Opera is one of Seattle’s biggest, most “establishment” arts organizations, but they are appropriately progressive to our left-coast city, relative to other major opera companies around the country. American Dream is the perfect example. I’m a little late in talking about American Dream, since I attended the very last performance. I think it’s still worth talking about it, even though the performances are over, because it completely inverts the typical opera experience. Continue reading