Thoughts are Scary…

Every once in a while, I just. Can't. Sleep. Peace tends to turn to chaos on the morning after Thanksgiving, when the people of our country wake from their relaxed, food-induced stupors to fight each other for low-priced merchandise all across America. And even though I never had any intention last Friday of rising at … Continue reading Thoughts are Scary…


Upward, not Northward

The Annotated Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott, notes by Ian Stewart "I find science more subtle, more intricate and more awesome than much of science fiction." --Carl Sagan, "Science Fiction--A Personal View" (1979). Published in "Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science" (1993) "...the whole tale is much too imaginative to have been invented--certainly … Continue reading Upward, not Northward

How I learned to transcribe songs by ear

The author of Ask Ceil is taking the holiday off, but she'll be back next week. When I learned how to play piano and guitar, I'd either learn songs from friends, or puzzle them out from sheet music. When I started playing in bands, things changed: Someone would hand me a record or a tape … Continue reading How I learned to transcribe songs by ear

Let’s Compliment Some Students For a Change

As Thanksgiving draws upon us, I enter into the long weekend feeling very thankful for my job--and most of all, for my students. Yes, with so many teachers turning to Facebook and private blogs to "vent" about their kids, I'd like to bring some positivity to the Internet, and just in time for the holidays, … Continue reading Let’s Compliment Some Students For a Change

Words for which I hold strong opinions

Humor This terrible, misused word is meant to describe things that are funny, but most often refers to the category of "vaguely amusing". It doesn't sound like a word that names a thing that could result in any sort of laughter. "Humor" also makes me think of phlegm, bile, and feces. (Perhaps these humors were … Continue reading Words for which I hold strong opinions

Ask Ceil – Stuff It

Dear Ceil, Why do we stuff turkeys for Thanksgiving? Stuffed in Stamford Dear Stuffed, A very long time ago, right after we discovered fire and began to cook things, we decided that it would be a good idea to put food inside our food. Perhaps we did not own much cookware then, and in lieu … Continue reading Ask Ceil – Stuff It

And The One Thing Harder Than Writing is…

...teaching writing. You can take my word on this--I've been teaching writing, in some form or another, for the past five years. Back when I first had my own real classroom, I focused primarily on writing, rather than on literature. My students typically completed two or three major writing assignments per month. Over the years, the major … Continue reading And The One Thing Harder Than Writing is…

Chili recipe – winter 2011/2012

And now for something completely spicy: I haven't changed my chili recipe all that much since last year's decision to cut down on the many, many kinds of spices. (I used to use chili powder, paprika, black and red pepper, and often most of my spice drawer.) Since I knew I wouldn't have much to … Continue reading Chili recipe – winter 2011/2012

Ask Ceil – Glee. Yawn.

Dear Ceil, As a US Citizen, am I required to watch Glee? Pressured in Pomona Dear Pressured, No. As a matter of fact, I am standing with you. I am coming out as a Glee-less American. It's not that I have anything against...whatever it is that they do on that show. It's simply that I … Continue reading Ask Ceil – Glee. Yawn.

Practicing What I’ve Preached

Inspiration has been severely lacking this week. And yet, here I am, pushing through the pain, forcing myself to type words even though I have no idea yet where this particular post should go. In short, today I'm truly practicing what I've preached for the past few months. In a previous post, I talked about … Continue reading Practicing What I’ve Preached