Saturday, May 23, 2009

Conscientious Objector

I am a conscientious objector. I conscientiously object to working on grading during the first Memorial Day weekend in Seattle in 30 years to have perfect 70 degree weather and cloudless skies for three straight days.
So I objected. I laid down the law. I made the decision - NO. I am not grading a single thing this weekend. I will stay late at school and work on grading during my prep, but I WILL NOT GRADE this weekend.

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This past week we talked about WWII in class. On Tuesday we talked about the Holocaust. It is the one day per year that I can lecture and have pretty much absolute undivided focus from every student. We talked about the meaning of genocide....the destuction of an entire ethnic group, and how the suffix "-cide" means killing. Like suicide, homicide, or pesticide.
This weekend I came to the realization that I am an herbicide. I kill plants.

I live in an apartment on the second floor and I have a balcony. It overlooks a garage, to be sure, but there are lots of trees and grass and plants in the flower bed below. Every year I get the urge to plant things....my dad is a farmer and my mom, well, you've seen her flowers before on this blog. I'm pretty sure this urge is genetic. Note, however, the very sorry looking balcony I had up to today. Yes, those are dead branches on the ground.
Because, you see, the problem is that while my dad and mom are both successful herbophiles, I have what I generally refer to as "the thumb of death." I plant things every year, and every year I do my best to keep those living things alive, and every year I utterly fail to do that one simple thing. Case in point, last year this was a perfectly healthy, blooming snapdragon. But every year I try again, and every year I believe I can do it. Every year I bring home a new crop of plants destined to end up the equivalent of a belly-up goldfish. Today was the day. Today was the day I brought home the doomed. Look at them there....not knowing that today is the day they begin the fairly quick march to death. I cleaned off my balcony - there were dead leaves and spiders, dirt clods and a fairly thick layer of pollen on everything. To make things more exciting, the apartment complex, in all of their wisdom, installed outdoor carpeting on all the balconies, so I'm sure the sight of me VACUUMING the balcony was somewhat odd.

I planted and potted and then took a break to nearly choke to death on the pollen clouds and the cottonwood fuzzies flying around. Stupid cottonwood trees....it's the only allergy I retained when I moved back from Texas. The cotton is EVERYWHERE - it looks like it's snowing. Here is the balcony afterwards...I now have the following things in pots: Chives, spearmint, romaine lettuce, spinach, oregano, chocolate mint, tomato, hot pepper, rosemary and a strawberry plant. I also have some snapdragons, because I love them. I am going to get one more plant, a gerbera daisy, and then enjoy these plants until I suffocate them with love and they all die. Now, I'm outside enjoying the fact that I have wireless internet and seriously, this is the view from my chair on my balcony. It's PERFECT here.
I am a tiny bit jealous of my neighbor's planter....it's a blue glass clawfoot bathtub, and even though I am not a huge fan of pansies, I think it's cute. By the way, this is hands down my favorite herb. A chocolate mint plant. Toss 5-6 of those leaves in some sun tea and let them steep for a while......Ahhhhh perfection. In fact, that might be the next thing I do today.

Enjoy the weekend everyone, I hope the weather is fabulous where you are, but I can pretty much guarantee it's not as awesome as here. =) And remember, fight the power. NO WORKING.

6 comments:

carla said...

Good for you! We are enjoying the good weather too. And I don't even have the nerve to plant things. I stick to perennials. I'm quite proud of my indigo this year. It will probably show up on my blog one of these days!

Rikki said...

You have inspired me - I brought home almost 200 Benchmark (standardized tests we give three times a year) essays to grade but I said IF SHE'S NOT DOING IT THEN I'M NOT DOING IT EITHER. (Thrusts fist into air twice)

Colleen said...

YAY for no working! You deserve a break...summer is around the corner.

I am impressed with your determination to grow/keep alive some green stuff. My ability to keep things alive is about like the 1st pic of the balcony, thus I do not even buy plants anymore. However, you have inspired me to make an Ikea run...they are cheap there!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I used to kill my plants too. I have kept them going now for over year. And, yes! I have a chocolate mint plant.

Congrats on the no grading policy this weekend.

Columbia Lily said...

Carla - I have never seen an actual indigo plant, I bet it's pretty.

Rikki - FIGHT THE POWER.

Colleen - I suspect IKEA plants of being predestined to die, which is why they keep them inside in the dark corners of the ground floor.

Pseudo - send some of that luck this way...I could use it.

Melissa B. said...

Try more gardening, less grading. That way, everything will be right with the world...BTW, if you have a chance, please stop by my Silly Sunday Sweepstakes. Featuring Flower Power today!