In Other News…

I am now in full grading isolation, as the term is coming to a close and I wade through classes of twenty-plus page portfolios of student work. The end of term is always one of near hibernation for me. However, I must say it is not without its pleasures. I have been surprised with the level of talent that many of my young writers display in their initial efforts. There are some truly clever ones amidst this bunch, capable of turning a phrase with a deft hand and a depth of thought well beyond their years. I am so often stunned at just how revealing some of their writing can be, not in a bad way by any means, but in a window to the soul kind of way. I have had moments while reading many of these that grant me far greater insight into who the student is then I have ever previously believed likely, their troubles and their triumphs. Many of them show a daring and courage that is quite inspiring. Plus, I also get a much sharper vision of how best I may be able to serve them: who to push, who to lead, who needs me to just stay the hell out of the way. Despite the workload, the really good work makes everything remarkably more enjoyable than one might imagine. Still, with the number that I must make my way through, there may e a bit of a gap (No surprise there, right?) between now and the next posting. We’ll see.

Also, in the news on the engagement front, Ali and I had our first meeting with the Jade Moran, the incredibly talented woman that will be crafting both engagement and wedding rings. The initial design meeting was an astounding success. Plus, it gives me a chance to gloat, just a little.

Ali was convinced that we were going to be the couple that would reign as the most difficult and contentious pair the fine, young jewelry maker had ever encountered, as we had an enormously difficult time working together on the prototype ideas of the ring. Ali was endlessly frustrated by my less than verbal, contemplative style on this, which was reticent to commit to anything prematurely. So while she had developed multiple sketches, I searched and ruminated on concepts and motifs with little success and virtually no “Aha!” moments. Despite my failed efforts, I remained positive, mostly thanks to my good friend Joanne, who assured me that our designer would be of assistance. Meanwhile, Ali was at her wit’s end with my inability to articulate what had been rolling around in my skull, waiting for a catalyst. So, we each entered the shop with a certain amount of trepidation, for completely separate reasons, and a keen hope that our meeting would not end in a homicide, most likely mine.

Yet Joanne’s wisdom reigned and my hope of jewelry maker Jade providing the catalyst was delivered. After about thirty minutes of discussion and looking at various examples of design elements, with a fair amount of patience displayed by our host, my fertile mind received its seed. While Ali continued her discussion with Jade, I began to sketch what will essentially be the main motif of the design, a ribbon-like relief that twists and turns its way around the surface of the rings, providing a platform for other smaller details inspired by the natural world. It is a rather difficult thing to define with precision without an actual picture. I know that sounds ironic, coming from an English teacher. But it is safe to say, that in this case, it is true. A picture will do far more justice than my description, and when the final design takes its shape I will no doubt tip you off on the status. In any event, the ideas I presented were a success and in a truly rewarding collaboration, with both Ali and Ms. Moran, everything quickly began to take shape.

We will be heading back to the shop for a look at some gems stones to adorn my beloved’s forthcoming engagement ring later this week, and everything looks like Ali will have it for display by Christmas, our original target date. Thus, everyone will be able to see her bling by the time we venture back to the Heartland.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way things turned. Best of all, I remained positive, amidst Ali’s panicked threats of dismemberment. Plus, I got to be right this time, which doesn’t always happen that often with “la maestra de la botega,” I can assure you. I have to take my victories where I can get them, because truth be told, I am extremely lucky to have such a keenly sharp lady at my side, who does have tendency to be on the right side of things, sometimes much to my chagrin.

Finally, I just noticed that the last post was the 50th, since the redesign, just over a year ago. So I guess it was a kind of milestone of sorts. Hopesully I can get to a hundred a little bit quicker.

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