About This Blog

For the next 365 days, I am focusing on KARMA as my resolution to 2010. I'm open for stories, ideas and kismet. EMAIL ME.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

a food entry

Charles Schultz wrote happiness is a wet dog. I am writing that happiness is a coincidental dinner.

I bought a cooked chicken on Monday and cut off all the meat to save in Tupperware. I also bought two bagged salads, because they were two for one. One of them I got by mistake: a southwestern salad.

Well, that turned out to be a karmic bonus. I put the chicken in the salad and used their dressing and taco bits. My salad ended up tasting like a taco. Not bad for a late, Wednesday dinner. I actually felt quite domestic as I used this dining experience as an alternative to Triscuits and cheese - my usual fare.

Today is the last day of September. Remember, it all flies really fast. I was reading over my data last night and in my notes I have a kid running up to me and saying, "Man, you got mad gray hairs coming in." I said, "Dude, I'm pushing forty." He says, "Huh, I thought you were twenty something." The teacher thought the same.

September. Remember, it all flies really fast.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The buzz keeps coming to this


That's what my life has revolved around for the vast majority of it. Currently, money is pouring in from those who have it to make the system better, often by challenging the system with a new system. We implicate families, poverty, teachers, unions, etc. as entities to blame, and I question where government and institutions of higher education see themselves in the construction and reconstruction of failing schools and arguments. My environmental degree is at the heart here: how are we sustaining ourselves environmentally, economically, academically? Failure in schools tends to equate to failure in society and failure costs money. We can't afford NOT to think deeply about the future.

The public system was (and I envision will remain) a triumph in American society, but the state of affairs is that students can't learn all they're capable of, teachers can't teach all they're capable of, and schools can't function as well as they're capable of, because we have not been creative enough with how we approach learning. We're good at developing tests to measure what we're doing, but I'm unsure if we're critical enough of how the tests that have washed out both teaching and learning. A nation of test takers does not a strong citizenry make.

Here, I will champion the karma and beauty of the Brown School as I knew it and as it is known to students today. Diversity. A mission of shared values. Small size. Vision. AND the flexibility to teach every student as an individual, first, before they are seen as a percentage for test-driven data is a formula for success.

Or, at least that's how I perceive it. In the meantime, we all should be talking about what we're doing: this includes questioning the role of government, its educational agencies, and the ways higher education defines knowledge. At some point we have to be able to stop and say, "Are we really being practical?"

This is a short post on an enormous issue. I can't give it justice, but I can give two cents on this blog and that's what I just did. I would have had three cents but my nephew swallowed the third penny.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'd rather have my parents spaghetti

Because none of us want to take a second mortgage on our home so that Nikki can continue to twirl a rifle for the CNS Northstars, the family met last night at Spaghetti Warehouse for bread, salad, and pasta served in tomato soup. I've never eaten there and I'm guessing last night's meal was a simulacra of what they normally serve and that if I was to dine there and pay more, the food would be memorable.

The atmosphere was.

So, between the chocolate, the dome days, the t-shirts, the sponsorship, the admission costs, and now the pasta, all of my family can now say that Nickerdoodles owes each of us a trip to Australia when she finally makes money. That will be karma in return. She can work for a change and sponsor us to see Koalas and to search for Nicole Kidman.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday & I wanted to know something

Running yesterday in Cherry Heights, I began wondering why the pigments change in the autumn leaves. Good ol' YouTube helped me out. The seasons are meant to exemplify change and remind us of the inconsistencies, yet the predictability, of all stability. In other words, everything changes and such change will never fail us.

AKA "a cycle."

So, Fall is bringing back its honesty once again to remind us that with its beauty comes a reminder of life's colder days.

And it's beautiful.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Saturday

I finished off my Saturday by attending Syracuse Stage's one woman show of NO CHILD. The actress portrayed several characters in a political statement about what is needed to encourage youth to be their potential and it was followed by a post-show conversation about education, the state of teaching, and where the nation needs to go next.

Yesterday was also spent at LeMoyne College with the Dinka and Didinga community, and then at a dinner in Manlius.

Karma, at least for this Sunday, is being wiped out from being over stimulated. Exhaustion is a sign of living life to the fullest.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

When you're looking for a distraction on a Saturday

You can get excited that the next Harry Potter trailer is out and there's something to look forward to. Of course, it also makes me want to pause in my place, reread the entire series and prepare for the new release.

It seems like such innocent days when I reflect on taking time for myself to read one J.K. Rowling novel after another. Okay, I devoured them, and magically lived through the spirit of her words.

I know when the films come to an end, so will the absolute joy of this innocence. Karma, however, is knowing she put such good in the world and that those of us who read the books could absorb the kismet. And now we must live to reproduce wonder for others to consume.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Karma is how time doesn't marinate

There's buzz online about the class of 2001's tenth year reunion. The irony is that they were enrolled in their junior year when I experienced my own. Now, they are the age I was when I was teaching them. Two G's and A Dollar (2001) were with me for my first four years of teaching. They had me during their freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior years. When they graduated, I felt a chunk of who I was disappeared. A few years later, I'd learn that they were special, but many things are meant to only be temporary.

We all experienced the same cave for four years of life and now, almost ten years later, we are on to our own things, simply connected to the way we used to be.

Even so, thinking about those four years with them and all that occurred, it is hard not to feel a karmic connection. As they paced the cage towards graduation, I too would began to stroll. Strolling is where the real learning occurs, anyway, and now I'm thinking of them and how so much life has occurred since they were so central to my own.

This, I suppose, is the life of a teacher.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Penny for His thoughts

Because Sean decided to digest a penny at Grandma Sue's, I brought him a roll of pennies last night as a joke, and to teach him how to place them in his piggy bank where pennies usually go. He looked at the roll and asked, "What's that?"

I opened it up and showed him the 50 pennies.

"Oh, Uncle Bryan," he said, "I can't eat all those."

But he can count to fifty and they are now stored away for a later date. The karma came just from seeing my nephews on a Wednesday night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

um, a gripe

Dear Young Woman Who Almost Killed Me Yesterday,

So, I'm a 21st century dude, myself, and I have fallen victim to the digital connectivity of being a driver and one who is attached to the world. Still, I keep my phone in my pocket so the temptation is minimal. That is why I'm thankful that karma was on our side yesterday when I was running and you didn't change both of our lives forever. You didn't kill me.

But you came close.

I was running on Smith Road when you came speeding along my side, crossing over the double lines while listening to the effervescent rap song that blurted, "Baby, I wake up thinking of your Pu**y/you'll see/your Pu**y's on my mind." I've never heard that particular song before, but that was what you were playing while you were also texting when you should have been driving defensively. You came close - so close I could see your ATM machine cleavage popping through the window, and I know I surprised you because you swerved to miss me.

Now, you were cute at the moment listening to the song that was obviously degrading to women all around the world, and I imagine you liked your outfit, which is not my gripe. My issue was with the texting while driving because you almost hit me.

No, I wouldn't have enjoyed that much. That is why I post this today. Be careful Young Woman Who Almost Killed Me Yesterday. Drive smarter next time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The way it used to be

If you live in the upstate area and you have an appliance to be fixed, I highly recommend Arnold's Appliances and Home Repairs out of Fulton, New York. When I called Maytag about a washer that no longer worked, they gave me Arnold's number. I called, but I cancelled the visit because I thought it seemed silly to have someone come all the way from Fulton. I guessed there'd be something closer.

There was, but for some odd reason (karma, I guess) I chose to call Arnold back and go with him. I'm so glad I did.

Arnold came to America in 1954 when he was 16 years old from Amsterdam, Holland. He had already finished schooling there, but when he came to the United States, they put him into an American high school. He didn't last very long, especially as the teachers puckered his face and tried to get him to say Ws and Ths the way "Americans" do. He went into small mechanics and has never gone without food. Someone has always needed something fixed. Today it was me.

He brought his son along and he helped a lot. Arnold had the knowledge of what to do, but something told me his body had seen better days. I'm guessing he's been through chemo lately.

Even so, through sounds, slight touches here and there, and smells, he knew instantly what was going on. He showed me a trick to jimmy the machine to work (a trick that works 99% of the time), but I was the unfortunate 1% and I needed to get a new water pump for the machine. He drove into the city, got it, and came back to install it by directing his son. And he charged me $35 for his labor.

Now, he and I talked about sending jobs overseas, the cost of higher education, the making of America after World War I, and the art form of his trade. I look to my generation and younger and I think, "Gosh. There isn't a chance we'll ever catch up to the integrity our progenitors had in forming this country. Their work ethic and devotion is simply amazing."

So, if you have a small job you need to get done...I'd call Arnold. I feel like I was blessed to meet him today.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I was invited by Verbal Blend to "ride the bus" of Nancy Cantor's Connective Corridor with several underclassmen who are involved with spoken word poetry and hip hop. We toured sites of Syracuse and then drove to Auburn to visit Harriet Tubman's home.

I didn't realize there was the Auburn connection and it was a great way to spend Sunday listening to high energy poets and learning more about Harriet Tubman.

Alas, though, I have a fall cold and my sinuses have the best of me. I'm in major need of hot soup and rest. I can barely think. I haven't quite processed how karma fits into the day, but I will figure it out sometime.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Northstars 2010

And it's another year for a Starburst - this time they're doing it asymetrically. Here's to Nickerdoodles and her fall season. It is wonderful to see the pride in her mom's eyes (my sister's) and to hear my mother on the side (you can hear her in the video a few times).

This year's show brings some of the Northstars' pride back to the way it used to be in the late eighties.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Most people don't like mushrooms, but I love them. Last night, my friend Robbi and her friend Phil called me over for Mushroom Masala. The three of us cut up peppers, mushrooms, garlic, onions, tomatoes, tofu, and basil from her garden and she did the rest. It was delicious and great karma for the stomach. She told me the secret is to improvise the recipe.


2 onion (pyaj) cut
1/2 kg mushrooms (goochi)
1 tsp garlic paste
salt (namak) to taste
1 tomato (tamatar) cut
1/2 tsp red chilli (lal mirch) powder
3 tblsp oil
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tblsp fresh corriander, cut
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder

How to make mushroom masala:

Cut mushrooms in slices.
Heat oil and fry onions until golden brown in colour.
Add garlic paste and cut tomatoes.
Put chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and salt.
Saute for 3-4 minutes or until it starts leaving oil.
Add mushrooms and mix well.
Simmer and stir fry till mushrooms are tender.
Add very little water, if necessary.
Serve decorated with coriander.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I can't stand the rain

I was looking up at my shelf last night and saw my pair of autographed Missy Elliot Adidas kicks and thought about the video, "I can't stand da rain," which you can get to by clicking on the song title (I couldn't embed her video here because I couldn't find it to do so).

This is for a Friday full of funk and karma. I hope you TGIF it in style. I'm thinking about the fact that I have a pair of signed sneakers and laughing. Check out the video. It'll make you smile.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's too soon

I typed in "Brrrrrr" and this is the image I got.

Seriously? Does it need to be this cold already?

I have been shivering all day, except when I was running. I'm not ready to throw wood in the stove and I refuse to turn the heat on.

And by the way...to go with my vacuum cleaner and my garage door, my washing machine fried out today. Yeah. Joy to the World. Tis the Season to be absolutely jolly....in September?

It's good, though, because I'm tasting the karma of dumplings, warm tea, chili and holiday cookies. There are many things to look forward to. In the meantime, I will wrap myself in a blanket.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The story of Pandora is a greek tale that explains all the negativity of the world. Curiosity caused Pandora to open the box, and when she did, all the evils of the world ran away, leaving only hope in the chest.

I love, to believe, in hope.

I am living by this motto and hope that everything - including karma - works out for the good. Hope is all we have to believe in and without it, we have nothing.

And this is why I continue to hope for a better world.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It wouldn't be September without a posting like this..

I don't know how old I will be when I stop being amazed at Monarch butterflies that choose to run with me when I'm trying to keep control of my Ripley genetics and I'm out on the streets pounding the pavement. Yesterday, a monarch flew by my side for a good ten minutes, dipping in front of my eyes and then flying low by my shoulder.

It's as if they fly in from outer space. One second I'm panting and analyzing my day, and the next minute I'm running with An E. Rip, who dances in the skyline in the celestial ways I remember from my youth.

I found this video online and there are three reasons why I love it. One is that it shows a monarch's first flight. The second is that this particular Monarch moves upon a purple butterfly bush (like the one at my parents, my backyard and at my sister, Cynde's). The third is the the child's voice watching it take off and the mother's surprise when it actually does.

For me, everything is in the five letter K A R M A of this post. That is all that's ever really mattered to me, except now I see the importance of getting Casey, Dave, Jake and Sean a butterfly bush next spring.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I went to my nephew's fall baseball game after chugging a gallon of water and running four miles. Of course, I had to use the loo so I found the closest port-o-potty.

Okay. This is a strange one.

The inside of the port-o-potty had an interior decorator and this decorator had a baggy with her business card inside (she was advertising her business while others do theirs). Apparently this woman freshens up port-o-potty experiences all over Central New York with silk flowers, deodorizers and, in the case of this field, wiffleballs.

The strangest thing, however, is that she placed a team picture in direct eye contact of where one stands as they enter. I'm used to newspapers at some urinals and at times a quote or two, but this photo of a little league team seamed very odd. I'm not sure I'd want my kid's photo as port-o-potty decor.

Even so, I did think that such art work was awesome karma for this particular interior decorator. As they say in the south, "Bless her heart." Actually, bless all our hearts.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Well, it wasn't quite like this

The New York State Field Band Conference began last night at ESM High School, and there were my sisters and I supporting Ms. Nickerdoodles out on the field. It was cold. Or I'm not used to being outside at night. And it wasn't 1988 or any of the memories I have of watching what used to be DCI that my parents used to watch on PBS. But it was entertaining and music is always karmic.

And it was very early in the season. We sat next to nice people who were Pirates Of Onondaga Lake (Parents of Obnoxious Liverpoolians). Their kids didn't have the viagra plumes of the Northstars, but their ships bow had the same protrusion of West Genny's helmets (And if anyone needs shiny wrapping paper this Christmas, I imagine the Wildcats Colorguard wouldn't mind selling their uniforms for a cheap price).

But I miss the volume of year's past and the booming of horns and drums. The local bands simply don't recruit like they used to.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

something frozen besides peas - day two

Karma is having a hot fudge, peanut butter sundae delivered to you as you sit looking like Chucky the day of your boob job. Actually, eye lid job.

All turned out beautiful (baby blues) and everything went well - that is the ultimate karma, actually. Soon, the stitches will heal and mom can return to her blue eye shadow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Because eye wish her the best

What is the best way to begin a Friday morning's best wishes for a little nip tuck? Well, a little Joan Rivers of course! Who is the queen of cosmetic surgery? Trump's Apprentice winner, herself.

And with this said, all my best wishes and hopes go to my mom while she gets eyelash extensions and a boob job today. We're all thinking of you! (Even though Cynde wonders why you wouldn't consider your toes, as well)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

When underdogs stay under.

Year two of witnessing the CNS vs. Nottingham Bulldogs soccer match. Last year was a bit more fun with an unexpected tie. This year, my brother-in-law and I wondered about a lot of things - the match up wasn't as even (at least the way the Bulldogs played).

Even so, I watched the game in awe knowing that so many of the kids I've worked with over the last two years were out on the field as Varsity leaders. They had moments of brilliance (and Bior saved more goals in tremendous ways than he allowed in - those goals were the fault of his defenders who didn't block the Northstars from shooting), but in the end, they went scoreless, 4 - 0.

But on a good note, Pavone's Pizza, baby!!! (Note: the above photo is from their triumphant summer league championship...definitely not from last night's game).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Molasses and Dog Cookies

Tuesday wasn't so great. Without going into details, I can symbolically summarize it by the karma of coming home. I immediately let my dog out back and she stood around the yard. I let her in when she came to the back door and she immediately ran to the carpet and vomited yellow bile, a few biscuits and a dead mole. This was my kismet for today.

I would ask where she found a dead mole but walking around my yard, I imagine they are bountiful and that is what the snakes like to feed on. So, Baby simply ate one neglected by a snake.

She came in, heaved, and in the sunshine chunks of her puke, was a mole. Need I say more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Karma Clap

Nikki taught us tonight that whenever she and her friends gossip about one another, they do a "karma clap" with their hands over their head to keep them safe from their talking. Grandpa Fred picked up on it and mastered it, indeed, especially as Grandma Laura, Cynde, and Grandma Sue modeled small talk worthy of the karmic clap.

This maneuver should come in handy, especially as I talk about Brooke Hogan from Hogan Knows Best - heck, the whole Hogan family deserves my karma clap when I try to make sense of their world.

Monday, September 6, 2010

a need for fresh air

The air condition is out of the window once again.

We went from 95 degrees to 55 degrees in a manner of two hours (thanks to Hurricane Earl). The good news is fresh air will bring karmic dream to my pillow once again and I won't be bother by the humming of a machine. Instead, I can curl up tightly in winter blankets and listen to the nature of outdoors.

And I look forward to a good night's sleep and a chance to rest my eyes for a few hours.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I stumbled upon this yesterday and thought, hmmmm, nice to know this document exists. Not sure how well I like seeing myself on camera, but am glad to know that the summer work was documented.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I got into my car after stopping to run at my parents (and perhaps getting the last pool day of the season) when I noticed my dad repaired my truck registration with scotch tape. This year's batch of stickers were not very sticky and the adhesive didn't adhere to my windshield. I looked up and noticed my dad went to work on the material.Karma, I decided, is having a father to look out for me to do the labor that fixes the little things that irk me. The fact that it hasn't stuck has been a pet peeve of mine, but I haven't found a moment to repair it myself. Driving to my little sister's home for ribs and salt potatoes, I was highly thankful for my dad's patchwork with Scotch Tape. Now, I'm registered and looking classy in my floor explore. This is what family is for.

Friday, September 3, 2010

You are what you eat

I took a mid-day break to go for a run, a dip in the pool (while seasonal karma would allow it), and to eat a sandwich. As I told me mom, "A sandwich always tastes better when someone else makes it."

Turkey. Lettuce and Mayonnaise.

Yum. this was the mid-afternoon ingredients to fuel the rest of the day - the best think that happened yesterday on a thursday. So...so...so much appreciated.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mr. Clean

I've been shaving my head now for the last seven or eight summers (maybe even longer). I've grown so used to the shaving that I don't even need a mirror. I can feel for my missed spots and I can do it in about three minutes.

Last night, Abdi wanted me to shave his hair. I can honestly say that a white man's hair comes off completely different than an African man's. Half way through, he said, "I think I'm supposed to come my curls out." I was like, "okay...sounds good to me." The combing did help, but the hair was beyond thick. We got it down to a buzz cut when he decided he wanted to go Dr. Evil. So, we got a razor and shaving cream and, wola! No more hair.

I guess karma is a free hair cut. I know that my $14 clippers have saved me numerous barber shop visits. And, I also know that there will be a day in the summers to come where I, too, will go for the bald look.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I chose to run at night. Why? The late August sun decided to exert itself with an end-of-the-summer blitz and the heat is above what is normal for this time of year. I didn't make it to my parent's pool, so I chose to wait for the heat to set into the evening horizon.

Even so, I am thankful for the sun and all it provides everything on this earth. Without it, we wouldn't have any karma. It is the heart and soul of it all.