in a rhinoceros. This week I introduced two new desk toys to the classroom. One is a Jane Austen action figure wielding a pen. The other is a hot pink rhinoceros that happens to be an eraser. Every time I turned my back, Jane Austen and the rhino were in a new pose. They spent most of the week dueling. “The pen is mightier than the horn,” I would muse to my bewildered students. When I left Friday afternoon, Jane was calmly petting the rhino, now fast friends after a tempestuous week. This is all so silly, but it’s why I love teaching. Or at least I love hanging out with eleven-year-olds.
Other updates: I finally made Esther Bolick’s Orange Marmalade Cake. It was delicious. The layers all fell in the middle due to my using the wrong pan size and not compensating for high altitude. The cake leaned horrendously. But frosting covers a multitude of sins. Especially when the frosting is sour cream mixed into whipped cream with a bit of sugar. At the end of the day, a pretty good cake. I see why Father Tim would risk life and limb for a slice.
I’ve continued to watch Downton Abbey. My friend Lindsay graciously puts up with my darkly sarcastic mutterings the whole time. There are many things wrong with the series (Why does Lord Grantham wear his uniform all the time, yet bitterly resent the presence of convalescing officers in his enormous home? How is it that for every day spent on the front Matthew seems to earn a three-week leave in England? Why isn’t the whole thing about Maggie Smith anyways?), but the thing I hate the most is when writers use characters as tools. Let me explain. Matthew becomes engaged to Lavinia. Mary becomes engaged to Sir Richard. Everyone knows that Matthew and Mary will be together by the end of the season. Why create characters that serve no purpose except to be obstacles to the happiness of the hero and heroine? I find myself watching and pitying Lavinia and Sir Richard and wishing that Julian Fellowes had the gumption to marry Matthew off to Lavinia because that’s what happens in real life! Anyways, I still watch with rapt attention, so I guess I don’t care that much. But really, if you’re looking for an excellent BBC miniseries you ought to try Cranford (probably the best, in my opinion). Or if you like sweeping family drama in which characters grow and change as time passes (something that Downton Abbey neglects) you need to watch The Forsyte Saga. The rant is now over.
I tried dry shampoo for the first time this week. Let’s just say that it has changed my life forever.